Each 10 days you will get a new recipe list and a new grocery list to help you along your journey. Look for those on my blog within my website: http://www.chelseajyoung.com/

The idea over the course of 30 days is to find out which foods/ food groups your body thrives on and which may make you feel a little sluggish. The structure for each of the 10 days is below:

Step 1: over the first 10 days, we will focus on eating whole foods, closest to their natural state (i.e. eliminating all processed foods and thus getting more nutrients and energy)

Step 2: the following 10 days we will eliminate gluten and dairy (to reduce inflammatories and see how the body feels without them).

Step 3: the final 10 days, eliminate sugar (to further observe the body free of inflammatories and empty calories). Ie fruit, all other GMO grains (or all grains in general if you like).

The idea is to ease your body into these whole food changes. Can you have coffee? What about unwind with wine? See below for how we will approach the two!

Coffee: Yes you can have coffee! I want you to be mindful over the first 10 days on what you put in it. If you like cow’s milk in your coffee it will be a good idea to slowly decrease the amount you are putting in over the 10 days so when you get to day 11 you can eliminate dairy. Almond milk is okay, but is also processed and takes a bit of work to make your on own. So what is the alternative? Black coffee J….you may be surprised how good it actual is!

Alcohol: During the 30 days together we will be limited to drinking dry red wines. Dry red wines have the least amount of residual sugar. The driest red varieties are Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. You may drink up to, not more than 2 glasses. If you want to see faster results you can eliminate alcohol entirely, but sometimes social gatherings, celebrations occur and it’s nice to be able to enjoy a nice glass!

MAKE WATER INTAKE A MUST! More important than any food consumption is water consumption. Everyday make it your goal to at least drink 60% of your body weight in ounces. 100% if you took a hot yoga class! Water will help flush the body of impurities and allow you to eliminate extra bloat / salt the body is hanging on to, especially during the summer months

Foods Lists & Ideal Portions for sustained energy:

Vegetables: go nuts! No limit on how many a day you eat…should be in every meal!

  • Greens (kale, collard, spinach, etc)
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Tomatoes
  • Squash
  • Green Beans
  • Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Artichokes
  • Eggplant
  • Okra
  • Jicama
  • Snow Peas
  • Zucchini
  • Cabbage
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Radishes
  • Onions
  • Sprouts

Proteins: Make an effort to have at least 4 servings of the following. Serving size is about the palm of your hand. Those in blue will be eliminated after 10 days.

  • Sardines
  • Chicken Breast
  • Turkey Breast
  • Ground Meat (Chicken, Turkey, Beef)
  • Wild caught fish
  • Eggs (2 eggs/ serving)
  • Shelfish
  • Lean red meat
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
  • Pork Loin
  • Tuna
  • Protein Powder (See below for options)
  • Greek yogurt, plain
  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Cottage Cheese

Healthy Fats: These are so good for us but we tend to over-eat these if we get the chance, so be mindful here and try to stick with ½ cup total throughout your day. Those in blue will be eliminated after 10 days

  • Avocado
  • Nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, etc)
  • Hummus
  • Coconut Milk
  • Cheeses (Parmesan, Feta, Goat, etc)

Healthy Carbohydrates: This is what most of us will definitely crave after a yoga class and want to scarf the minute we get home, these are great quick sugars for our body but we want to make sure we have a good balance throughout our day. Try to stick with 1 cup cooked total throughout the day. Understand some days you might need 2 cups and others none, the body will ebb and flow with this food group. The items listed in red will be eliminated after 20 days.

  • Sweet Potato/ Yams
  • Quinoa
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Edamame
  • Peas
  • Refried Beans
  • Brown Rice
  • Wild Rice
  • Corn
  • Amaranth
  • Millet
  • Buckwheat
  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Steel Cut Oats
  • Rolled Oats

Fruits: This is the sweet most of us crave when we eat whole foods, it is easy to sit and eat a whole bag of grapes in one sitting if you are not mindful. Try to stick to 1 ½ cups throughout your day. All fruit will be eliminated after 20 days.

  • Berries
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Orange
  • Tangerine
  • Apple
  • Apricots
  • Grapefruit
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Kiwis
  • Mango
  • Peach
  • Nectarine
  • Pear
  • Pineapple
  • Banana
  • Papaya
  • Figs
  • Honeydew

Oils, Seeds, Nut Butters & Dressings: Keep these guys in check, they are great support for your meals and can easily be over used. I have the hardest time with the nut butters!! Try to limit yourself to 2 tbls throughout your day.

  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Olives
  • Coconut
  • Nut Butters
  • Seed Butters
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil

Great food compliments: Use as much as you would like of these to flavor your food

  • Lemon & Lime Juice
  • Vinegars
  • Mustards
  • Herbs
  • Spices
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Hot Sauce
  • Salsa

Protein Powders:

There are a wide variety of protein powders on the market. I drink my breakfast 5 out of the 7 days a week because as a busy mom I don’t have time to make myself breakfast. I use Vegan Chocolate Shakeology and if you are interested in learning / trying it let me know I can supply you a sample. My husband uses Orgain which is also a vegan chocolate powder from Costco.

If you have a protein powder and are unsure it is a good fit from a nutrition standpoint ask me and we can talk about ingredients. I think there are a lot of great protein shakes / nutritional shakes out there on the market. For this 30 days I would suggest if that is something you want to use, make sure it is whey-free and gluten free.

How to buy groceries & start cooking!:

Since we are eating whole foods you should stick to the outside of the grocery store and almost never have to venture inside unless your organic section is mixed in. Most stores have separated an isle or two with organic selection so you can stay focused. Organic can be expensive so for the purposes of this 30 days use the ‘dirty dozen’ recommendation unless you buy everything organic.

Dirty Dozen: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ALB00035/The-Dirty-Dozen-Foods-You-Should-Always-Buy-Organic.html

Things you can stock up on and have in the kitchen to use: things I use at least 1x/week in meals I make

  • Coconut Oil – Traders/ Costco
  • Cooking Olive Oil – Traders
  • Himalayan Sea Salt
  • Good Cracked Pepper
  • Cumin/ Coriander/ Chili Powder/ Garlic/ Onion Salt/ Italian Seasoning
  • Ghee –Traders or Raw butter from a local farm source
  • Fish Sauce – Red Boat Traders
  • Hot Sauce – Louisiana
  • Rice Wine/ Red Wine / Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Mustard – I like the grainy kind
  • Pepitas – Raw Pumpkin Seeds
  • Tamari/ or Coconut Aminos / Gluten Free Soy Sauce
  • Quality Balsamic Vinegar & Olive Oil

If you are shopping for a family I like to go to Costco…Great non-processed items to have on hand:

  • Organic Chicken – Easy to Freeze until use
  • Organic Ground Beef / Turkey/Bison – Easy to freeze until use
  • Frozen Fish from list below
  • Frozen Berries /Fruit– Big Money Saver
  • Frozen Spinach/ Kale
  • Frozen Organic Broccoli
  • Coconut Oil
  • Raw Nuts (Walnuts/ Almonds/ Pecans)– You could go organic here
  • Cooked Beets
  • Organic Eggs 24 pack
  • La Croix…I’m obsessed
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Green Beans
  • Organic Spinach / Greens
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Avocados
  • Chopped up Butternut Squash
  • Wild Caught Canned Tuna & Salmon
  • Organic Chicken Stock
  • Organic Black beans
  • Almond Butter

**Please do not buy anything processed…it may look / sound good but this program teaches us how to put whole foods together to avoid anything ‘extra’

Some of my favorites websites/ blogs out there:

  • Against all grain
  • Nom Nom Paleo
  • Detoxinista.com
  • The Clothes Make the Girl
  • Cooking Light
  • Paleo OMG
  • Paleo Grub
  • Minimalist Baker

Google :) – I google what I have on hand and put ‘paleo’ in front so there isn’t any junk in there and taylor it to what I have in my cupboard.

Let’s do this!

Each 10 days you will be given 2 breakfast recipes, 3 lunch ideas, 5 dinner recipes and a grocery list for all 10. (This can be found on the blog)

Bring any and all questions to the website www.chelseajyoung.com under my blog posts so I can answer you and that way the group can see the answer incase they have the same question.

We will meet in person at Hot Yoga East Nashville on August 14th at 8pm and then again before our final 10 days to check in with everyone. During our 30 days together we can all post our yummy creations on instagram and support one another along the way! Exciting for our journey!!








  • Buti yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Bikram yoga,  Hot yoga,  East Nashville
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If you’re interested in joining our nutrition group to learn more about food and how it impacts your wellness, please keep reading! During the 30 day program, we will discuss nutrition principles, tips on how to buy and cook food, and try a few eating experiments to discover how different types of food impact our body. Our goal is for each person to create a sustainable nutritious lifestyle.

Chelsea Young, a full-time yoga teacher and mom has studied many food and nutrition trends over the last 10 years and boiled all this information down into a few key principles that she’ll be sharing with our group! What works for one may not work for everyone, so we’ll be sharing our experiences within the group to compare notes and best practices.

How will this work?

We will focus on eating whole foods for 30 days (nothing processed, foods in their natural state). Every 10 days, we’ll experiment with our food intake to get a little leaner and meaner so it doesn’t feel overwhelming to try everything at once. Our goal is to find nutrition habits you can sustain after our 30 days together.

1st 10 Days: Aug 15th – 24th Eat whole foods (unprocessed), monitor intake of dairy, grains & natural sugars (ie fruits)

2nd 10 Days: Aug 25th – 3rd   Eliminate gluten, GMO grains & dairy in diet

3rd 10 Days: Sept 4th-13th   Eliminate all grains and sugar in diet


The group will start August 15th. On August 14th, we will have an in-person group meeting at the studio so you can ask any questions and get all details before you start on Monday. Before our final 10 days we will meet again for further support and share best practices, recipes before we take on the final third.

Chelsea will provide grocery lists, recipes, tips & tricks to help you make this an easy and enjoyable 30 days. We will discuss how to use food as fuel for the body while creating beautiful, delicious meals with simple ingredients. This will be a great way to discover what types of food your body thrives on and which may weigh you down.

photo by Karsyn Dupree (@wldrnessa)


As part of our upcoming food and nutrition group – East Nashville 30!, we will be sharing our personal experiences and experiments with food.  We all have our own unique stories about how our relationship with food has progressed over time.  To start, let me share my story and how I became passionate about food and nutrition:

I grew up playing soccer and played competitively through college.  As an athlete and young person, I could eat and drink whatever I wanted and not see any negative consequences, so I had the typical American diet of processed foods with few nutrients.  I ate ready-made meals and had fast foods on the go – I even recall eating chocolate donuts and milk right before a game! I rarely gave a second thought to nutrition or a well-balanced diet.

After I graduated college and joined the world of corporate finance at GE, I sat at a desk for most of the day.  I knew I needed to do something to counteract the sedentary desk work and my slowing metabolism.  To compensate, I started training for marathons and packing what I considered “healthy” lunches to eat at work, which mainly consisting of a sandwich, chips, and a drink.

After a few years of corporate work, I discovered Bikram Yoga in Chicago in 2008 and fell in love with it.  A year later, I moved to Cincinnati, where there was no Bikram studio, so the only way I could get my yoga fix was to go to Teacher Training and then open my own studio.  In 2011, during my first year as the studio owner and manager, I was still working a full time job at GE and had a ton of things on my plate.  It was essential that I maintained my energy throughout the week to accomplish everything I needed to do, so I began to focus more on what food I put into my body.  It was during this time that I started experimenting with raw foods, paleo method, whole 30, and even did a couple of detox programs with health coaches. From all of these philosophies, I started to figure out what types of food groups my body thrived on and which ones made me feel tired, bloated and sick. I love experimenting with new ideas, and after trying each of these methods, I gained more insight into how to fuel my body in a simple, affordable and sustainable way.

In 2012, I got married and soon after became pregnant with my first child.  Food became an even bigger focus for me because I was now taking care of a family.  However, it’s really tough to eat clean, whole foods when you are pregnant and crave carbs all day!  To help reduce my carb and sugar cravings I made sure to have fats, proteins and low glycemic carbohydrates at every meal. Water intake during pregnancy was key and helped me create a habit of drinking way more water then I was ever used to. My best trick for flushing the body and ridding it of junk is water, water, water. Throughout pregnancy I allowed myself to eat what I felt I needed, but by this time, I had enough experience to know that I would feel worse, not better, if I went totally bananas (no pun intended ;)), so I continued to just do my best with eating smart while balancing life… like eating cookies, when needed. :)

In summer of 2015, I sold my yoga studio, had my second child, and moved to Nashville. With 2 kids, 2 big dogs, and trying to navigate a new city, it was the first time in my life that working out took a back seat.  Food was they key for me to stay healthy and maintain when working out everyday just wasn’t an option. To kick start my metabolism and regain my muscle strength after pregnancy, I tried a couple another eating program which again focused on whole foods, paired with portion control and healthy protein/fat sources, which continued to give me insights into foods that my body thrives on. Around the same time, I discovered Buti yoga and really fell in love with it. Buti was my Yang to my Bikram Yin.

Today I’m leaner and more confident than I’ve ever been despite working out half as much as I did 3-4 years ago.  How is this possible?! Food. In my opinion, the food I eat determines ~80% of how I feel on a daily basis (energy, confidence etc.).  Sleep and exercise are important too, but food has really been my foundation for feeling healthy and energetic.  I am by no means perfect in my nutrition and am constantly seeking to learn more, but my current philosophy about nutrition has been very effective for me, and I think I can help others too.

Part 2: So what and how do I eat?

I focus on eating whole foods in their natural state.  I try to make delicious meals that also look good because it helps me get excited about the food I’m eating. Check out all of my creations on Instagram (@chelseayoungyogi)! During the week I try to stay away from dairy, grains (corn, wheat, rice, oats etc), and sugars (including fruits and natural sugars).

I still allow myself a couple of guilty pleasures, or as I like to think of them: rituals. These include coffee and wine! Rituals of life, celebration and fellowship with others. My day usually starts with coffee (sometimes a few cups ….but hey, I’m a mom of two young kids and don’t usually get a full night’s rest ;)).  I frequently end my day or enjoy a meal with my husband and/or friends with a glass or two of red wine.

What works for me may not work for you, but I hope that the group will at least provide inspiration to experiment with your eating habits and optimize them to best fit your lifestyle. For me, re-setting the body with whole food and getting creative by making my meals from a local source is one of my favorite challenges and gives me a great sense of accomplishment!

I would love to have you join our East Nashville 30!  I want everyone to gain energy and pride in what you cook and put in your body. We will share great recipes that you can save and grocery lists to make things easy. After 30 days, you will at least have gained some insight into what type of foods your body responds best to and others that weigh you down. I also believe that when you do things in a group setting you find more inspiration and accountability to make positive changes in your life.  If you want to get a better feel for how I eat, follow me on Instagram @chelseayoungyogi to check out some recipes.

The group starts August 15th, and there will be a detailed plan coming to the Hot Yoga East blog page in the next couple of days, so stay tuned!


One of my heroes is coming to Nashville. East Nashville, in fact, coming to our very own studio! Esak Garcia is a legend in the yoga community. He was a legend before Instagram or smart phones even existed. In fact, you won’t find many filtered, Photoshopped photos of Esak out there, although you might find an inspiring video of his posture demonstrations at various workshops he leads around the world or at the USA Yoga Competition where he won the world championship. But Esak himself will tell you himself, it’s not about the best-photographed posture or the depth of your own postures, nor about winning a competition; it’s about learning from yoga, throwing out false conceptions that hinder us, and understanding that yoga means union within ourselves and with others. “You don’t need to push yourself to extreme depths to realize that.”

But Esak would also say that if pushing yourself, training for a goal or finding new depths in your postures, flips that switch for you, as it did for him, then go for it! He’s here to help. :)

Esak has been devoted his life to yoga for the last 22 years. His mother, a lifelong yogi, introduced him to yoga and to the Bikram practice when she attended the first-ever teacher training in 1994. While studying political science at Yale, Esak often practiced the classic 26 postures he had learned from his mother to supplement his football and martial arts practice, finding a small room on campus with a strong heater! After Yale, he went on to become a certified teacher under Bikram’s training and began teaching in San Francisco in 2002.

After reading the book, Hell-Bent, I indeed became hell-bent on meeting Esak. I was all-out obsessed with this “Jedi Fight Club” – the affectionate name given to Esak’s famous back-bending retreats. Author, Benjamin Lorr described his pain and struggle over 7 days of attempting upwards of 50 “wall walks” per day. I was enticed, while simultaneously fearful of Jedi Fight Club. From one page to the next, I both want to sell anything and everything to go to the 7-day retreat and/or close the book and never think about it again! But reading the final paragraph of the Esak chapter, I regain an obsession with back-bending and with Esak: “The next day, driving back to New York, I find myself doing wall-walks against the aluminum siding of a rest-stop gas station. There is a moment, where I wonder what I’m doing… But I just shrug my shoulders, roll my eyes at the sky, and arch back to meet the pain like it’s a moral obligation. When I’m done, my shirt is off and I’m smiling like a fool.”

Lorr also describes the person, the mystery – Esak Garcia. “In many ways, Esak feels like a shining example of the promise of yoga. He rarely sleeps, yet he never seems tired. When faced with a problem, his reasoning always begins with the communal. He has a diffident energy surrounding him. I understand that on a fundamental level, his body hums in a different way from mine… I want to know what he knows, learn what he’s learned.

And so we will. See you August 7th!

#Living – My Yoga Life and Then Some

Hi, happy summer, y’all! Sorry it’s been so long! There was the flurry of building the new studio and moving in and then the Teacher Training, oh, and then my wedding reception and the honeymoon…. Life! But enough with the pleasantries and excuses. Time’s a-wastin’! The good thing about talking to old friends (like us) is that you don’t really have to explain yourself at all. You just pick up where you left off.

So we left off with Mindful Living, the theme of 2015.  I wasn’t really hit with any particular theme for the new year back in January, so let’s just say that we continued our Mindful Living practice and that our themes don’t have to correspond with the Gregorian year. A moment for a brief aside – I have recently, and finally relented to the lure of the insta-yogi – it is a relatively small surrender, but I have begun to follow two instagram-famous yogis. I have also begun to notice some of their hashtags – #yoga #yogaeverywhere #yogaeverydamnday #headstand #om #myyogalife. Now I won’t go into all of my opinions of insta-yogis or the hashtags – most people are just doing their gosh-darned best – but I paused on one hashtag when I saw it, #myyogalife. First thought, “I could get onboard with that. Maybe I’ll use that one!” Second thought, “Would that really be true or just a show? I mean, I want a yoga life…. I’m trying to have a yoga life…. Some days I do have a yoga life…. Maybe someday I’ll have a full-blown yoga life like that person’s” All of these thoughts filtered down in a matter of a second, and I didn’t really analyze it at the time. At a later date, which is today, I began to focus my mental energy towards a new blog theme. I remembered, #myyogalife and thought that might be fun. But then I remembered all of my accompanying thoughts and self-judgments that came up concerning how unattainable that perfect yoga life seems and has always been in my head.  Of course, I know that yoga doesn’t have to be perfect and that it’s a practice but still, what about just living? Living #myyogalife + #mylife. Aren’t they really one in the same? Concisely, #living…

Really LIVING. In the moment, fully, abundantly. Mindful, yes; also with our hearts, bodies, busy schedules, and changes.

So what are my goals and how can I practice really living? I believe the evidence of me really Living, that abundant, in-the-moment, clear-eyed, whole-hearted, is the difference we make in the lives around us. Goal #1 – Living to help others.

Second, when I’m truly living, not just sleepwalking through life, then I think I feel, YES! I do feel happy, fulfilled, thankful and free. The great Doc Watson said, “you have to be yourself, otherwise people won’t know who you are.” Allowing this emergence and purposefully Goal #2 – Living to be my fullest, freest, truest Self.

Finally, the thought occurred to me that we don’t have to have Living figured out just yet. That’s the whole point of this thing, right? Learning, growing, practicing.  I can’t have all the end goals to something that is still somewhat of a mystery, so Goal #3 is Living to learn, experience and grow.

Practice for this week: Being present, connected with each moment and the people whom I may be sharing that moment with. Instead of trying to change every situation, every moment, to conform to my wants and personal gains, to simply be fully invested and available to the nature of the moment, to my senses and to the people I’m with.


by Sarah Norris

The summer solstice is the day of the year when the sun shines on us longer than any other. It’s the ripest time to come together and celebrate our lives and honor our intentions with 108 sun salutations. The number 108 has so much significance, and here are a few reasons why:

108 connects the sun, moon and earth as the average distance of the sun and moon to earth is 108 times their respective diameters.

108 is the number of beads on a Catholic rosary.

108 is the number of beads on a Tibetan mala (prayer beads, analogous to a rosary).
108 is twice the number 54, which is the number of letters in the Sanskrit alphabet, one set masculine (shiva) and one set feminine (shakti).

108 is twelve times the number 9, which is the number of movements linked to breath in a sun salutation.

Last June during the solstice, I was away in Virginia for a month of tantric yoga training, living in a house of eight women. We did a ton of work on ourselves in order to get clear about what we really want. The most surprising part of this was seeing that, mostly, what happens when we’re asked about what we want most of all in the world, is we get really…angry. People get defensive and upset when asked about their dreams. That sounds crazy, right? But doesn’t that make total sense? That question brings us right up against all the things we’re doing INSTEAD of manifesting our dreams, or, what we do that are exactly counter to that fulfillment.

So, for this month of training last summer, the eight of us lived in a pressure cooker in which we got clarity about what we want, our heart’s desire.

We were forced to look at the ways in which we weren’t supporting that, often by telling ourselves we don’t have time. To that end, we had to list ways we waste time:



Social media

Talking about the past

Worrying about the future

Then we had to choose one thing on our list that we were really and truly ready to give up in order to make room and have energy to invest in what we most want, so that it could become like a happy, chubby, juicy baby. In this way we would have to stop telling ourselves the story that we don’t have time for what’s most important to us. Because we would carving out the space now, deliberately. We did this, ultimately, with an incredible fire ceremony. One by one, we had to throw into the fire what we were giving up.

Into this fire, I threw “talking about my past relationships.” With love, with compassion, with gratitude, I set free the men I had loved or was hung up on in some way. It was a moment of reckoning for me. I was sabotaging the fulfillment of my dreams by focusing on relationships that no longer existed. My teacher and I talked about it, and she warned me, “Once you give them up and give up the energy you give them still, they will come into your life full force. Be prepared to hear from your past loves, names on this list and then the men who you’re not even aware now that you’re still carrying around with you in some way. They won’t know why they find themselves suddenly wanting to reach out to you. It will be because you’ve cut the cords and set them free. And this liberation has to come form a pure, pure place within you. You cannot do this if what you actually want is to be together with one of them and are hoping in some way that by going through the motions of setting them free, they’ll come back to you.”

We talked especially that last part, about how if, for some reason, I were to end up in love and together with someone from my past, it could only happen after I did this clearing out and my intentions were clean and open. I was fresh out of a three-year relationship, and this untangling was taking up a lot of my heart and my life. Setting us free from each other, I knew, was a necessary thing. Letting go of trying to protect him from himself, letting go of feeling his feelings, of taking his issues on as my own because I’d felt I needed to. Letting him go in order to save myself and live in the present. I prayed over this list, I meditated on it, I danced with these ghosts — literally danced, like a wild woman — and I laughed and cried and wrote in my journal and felt all of the feelings: joy, love, private moments shared between two people that I was leaving behind.

When I’d looked at first at my list of time vampires, this was the one I felt the most resistance about. It played itself out as an internal conversation: “Sarah, are you willing to give up complaining in order to live the life of your dreams?” And the answer, immediately: Yes, yes, of course. That’s how I felt about the others on my list, mostly, except for this one. “Sarah, are you willing to give up your past loves in order to make space for what you most want in your life now?” The answer, more slowly: “Ehhhh do I have to?” I didn’t want to, not really at all, at first. But the more I considered it, the more obvious it became that I had to. So I said goodbye to these men, from my heart. I prayed for the men I had loved and, one by one, I let go of residual attachment I had to living in the past. To living in the past, period, and to talking about it.

My teacher said, “Sarah, get ready. Now they come.” As if these exes would pop up be like a game of Whack-a-Mole, to test my resolve. I thought she was out of her mind, saying this because why would guys I’d not talked to in years — years — get in touch now? You can guess what happened, right? That very afternoon, I got an email from the boy I dated my junior year of high school. And the next day I heard from my an ex in Connecticut, with whom I’d not talked in more than three years. And it was like this for a few months. Or, rather, I should say it’s been like this for a year. I’ve been doing nothing differently and I can’t think of any other explanation but I’ve been hearing from my past.

For the most part, I have stayed the course. The test has been not to go searching for my future by digging through my past and recycling. The result of consciously liberating something that’s taking me away from my dreams is space and energy and time to invest in my own well-being and spirits. It’s alchemy: turning one thing into another. The tradition of practicing 108 sun salutations together is so powerful in this capacity because we connect to our respective purposes and close the distance between where we are and what we want. The extent to which we feel and believe our dreams are coming true IS the extent to which they are coming true. That’s what this practice is about. An invocation of honest mindful living. Embodied joy and space making.


By Sarah Grace, Bikram Yoga Seattle

Summer is stretching ahead of us, but for me, the HYEN Hot Yoga Teacher Training is getting close, and I am excited, eager and ready. I already know that teacher training in Nashville this fall is going to be an awesome experience. After spending time in Nashville at HYEN a year ago, with its warm, friendly, and dedicated group of teachers and students, I can’t wait to come back and help launch the first-ever HYEN Hot Yoga Teacher Training. And I am truly honored to have the opportunity! This has come from a slow evolution, a gathering of experience and education. Some years back I started teaching not only yoga classes, but some workshops and private lessons. Eventually I was invited to teach workshops for teachers, and a section of a teacher training at a Seattle studio. This last winter, I created and taught (with the help of a dedicated team of experienced teachers) a teacher training program at my home studio, Bikram Yoga Seattle. It was successful (our trainees are now real teachers!) we all learned a lot, and it was fun. And I think I know why:

I love to teach yoga, and it becomes really extra special in the context of working with other yoga teachers, or teachers-to-be. We are united in a special love for yoga and our quest for greater understanding of it. When are there other opportunities to truly geek out, for lack of a better word, about a practice, a process, a way of being that so utterly changes our lives, pulls us into its depth and immensity? There are so many ways to approach this huge body of knowledge, but at the end of the day, we all approach it in the same fundamental way – through our practice: on the mat, in our poses, seated, with the breath. With dedication and humility, with effort and awe. Through practice we study yoga, and through practice we start to understand that really what we are studying is ourselves. Through practice we learn about ourselves, we are better able to connect with others, and be at ease in the world. This incredible gift comes straight from practice. I love to teach because I get to witness this process again and again in my students and in myself.

Why else is teaching so satisfying? I get to listen and observe. I now understand that teaching is is not about me (what a relief). There is exciting, tangible fulfillment when students have a moment of understanding, whether about a pose, a philosophical point, a specific anatomy question. Teaching is creative, and requires total focus, concentration and energy in order to be effective. And back to the root of it all – I get to see students connect with their true selves and in so doing become more at ease in the world. With ease comes laughter, love, fun, and a greater sense of curiosity. There is nothing better!

I am really looking forward to the HYEN Hot Yoga Teacher Training. It will be a unique process that will allow our hearts and minds to grow bigger as we learn together, knowing it is all in service of our students.   See y’all soon!






By Josh Garcia

Over the past 18 months, I have actively pursued a healthier weight through more mindful eating. The journey has not been without its setbacks, but I nevertheless derive great satisfaction from reflecting on how far I have come. I regularly receive compliments on my forty pound weight loss, but for me the truest satisfaction lies in the changes I have observed in my relationship to food.

The works of Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Gabrielle Bernstein and many others have guided me toward an approach to eating that centers on food’s value as a fuel and nutrient source. This description may seem bland, but it is in reality quite the opposite. When prepared and consumed mindfully, a meal can become a beautiful and exciting act of self care. As I have moved along the path of mindfulness, gradually transforming eating into a studied act of love, all other dietary factors have naturally fallen into place. The internet is replete with healthy recipes and weight loss meal plans, but I have learned that none of this knowledge could have an effect on me until I accepted a simple truth: my issues with food were emotional issues, and thus had to be resolved on an emotional level.

The process of unpacking and releasing my emotional attachments to food has been long, but rewarding. It has involved a great deal of self study and patience as new habits began to form. If you are seeking to develop a healthier relationship with food, take comfort in the knowledge that many of the specifics will sort themselves out after you get your emotional house in order. There is no need to rush out and immediately buy a new diet book or health shake: the tools and teachers you need will appear when you are ready for them.

Begin simply by planting the seeds of mindful eating within your psyche.  With time, they will grow. Know that no specific action is required on the physical plane; your practice of conscious eating will yield deep, sustainable, and tangible changes in its own time. Slowly, the seeds of mindfulness will grow and transform your life. You cannot resist this gradual, seismic shift toward your best self, not even if you wanted to.

Each time you prepare to eat, ask yourself one or all of the following three questions. Then take three normal breaths and allow mindful eating to run its course.

“Am I hungry right now?” Isn’t it amazing that such a simple question can cut to the core of compulsive eating? 

“What am I hungry for?” Hungry for love? Success? Peace of mind? Food can only eliminate physical hunger. Sit with this knowledge for a moment. 

“Why have I chosen this food?” It isn’t a sin to choose food because of taste, convenience, or even emotional reasons like nostalgia. Remember that the goal is not to berate yourself for making “bad” choices. Your aim is simply to understand your thoughts and the decisions you make. 

I would conclude by reminding anyone interested in this journey that mindful eating is a practice, not a destination. There will be times when your focus on healthy portions and nutrition is impeccable and borderline monastic. There will be times when you find yourself eating robotically and blank eyed while driving down the highway. As with a dedicated yoga practice, the only goal is to continue showing up, day after day. Surrender your attachment to outcomes, so that the vibrant, perfect, present moment may (at long last) arrive.


We are well into spring, and by now, we may have done some Spring Cleaning in our spaces. Maybe our closets, our garages, our offices, our cars…. but what about our bodies? Does our body need a spring cleaning too? Why clean from within? There are many reasons to clear out the cobwebs in our bodies – a desire to have more energy, to increase vitality, to access and maintain a heightened clarity of mind, to realign with our internal guidance systems, and to examine our food-body-mind relationship. Not only does a cleanse help us bring into focus our relationship with food but it helps us to break away from cycles of dependency on, or addiction to certain foods that may only give us a temporary high rather than a sustained energy level. A good cleanse is designed to provide plenty of nourishment but we consume it in a different form than we may be used to – the form of juice or smoothies composed of raw, natural, fibrous whole foods. While the juiced food will provide all the calories we need, the respite from chewing on food (food that makes us very comfortable) for an entire three days will be a significant challenge. We will feel uncomfortable at times. We will start to notice that our instincts (the itch we can’t scratch) towards snacking and chewing may simply a withdrawal symptom of not giving our bodies the sugar/carb highs it’s used to, or that we have temporarily lost this crutch, this activity of eating to pass the time or mask some other feeling that we don’t want to sit with. This temporary discomfort will be an amazing tool to help us to be more mindful of when and why we go to food and will help us, after the cleanse, to view food with new eyes – as nourishment, a good and enjoyable part of life and not a source of escape and potential guilt.

In addition to breaking the cycle of mentally and physically craving foods that are not sustaining, these three days of cleansing can do even more to boost our health and energy! The three day cleans allows the stomach and digestive tract to rest, allowing it to Re-equilibrate and find balance in the microbiome (flora and fauna balance) an acidity levels of the gut. The liver is also allowed to rest and finally release the toxins it has not been able to pass if overloaded with the toxins from the food of the average American diet. In three days, you will find your appetite reduced – that you find yourself satiated with less food than usual. This provides the psychological boost to help change habits for the long term.

There are so many good mental habits gained through the cleanse and likewise, poor habits broken. When we have a prescribed cleanse to follow, we do not have to waste our energy worrying or thinking about what the next meal will be. We break the habit of an unhealthy focus on food. It’s wonderful to enjoy good food, and this cleanse will help us do that all the more but nobody wants to be a slave to eating – thinking about it all the time. This way, we don’t have to, at least not for 3 days.

The cleanse will temporarily eliminate foods that take away our energy, cause inflammation or other harms to our body, such as dairy, wheat, gluten, alcohol and coffee. Instead, we will flood our bodies with all of the vitamins and minerals it needs, as well as the amazing phytonutrients that are the workhorses for our clean-up and healing process. Juices are by nature raw foods — and retain nutrients that would be lost in cooking, including some B vitamins and especially (digestive and anti-inflammatory) enzymes. We may even lighten our load a bit with a few pounds lost along the way, providing the jump start we may need to a longer diet plan and/or clean eating lifestyle. With more energy from these whole, raw foods, more hydration (from the extra water and elimination of coffee and alcohol), we will feel like superman or woman in no time. Wake up and spring out of bed? What?!

Finally, the three days of cleansing and flooding the body with anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories will allow maximum detoxification and restoration of our cells. The average American body carries 147 industrial chemicals in its bloodstream. This cleanse will help to remove the toxins that have accumulated in our bodies and allow our cells to function optimally – without the constant battle they face against free radicals and inflammation.

Get ready! We plan to start the cleanse on Sunday, May 3rd! The plan is this – it is up to you if you would like to do a 100% Juice Cleanse, drinking only organic, raw pressed juices or if you would like mix in homemade smoothies and raw, pureed soups. For ease and convenience, we are pairing with Juice Nashville, who will provide a 3-day cleanse packet including 5 juices per day, delivered in a refrigerated tote that you can keep. The package is offered at a discounted rate of $100. If you would like to make your own juices or supplement with smoothies or raw, blended soups, simply choose from some of the recipes we will be posting in the next few days. One person might drink the 5 juices per day and feel amazing. The next person might blend up a smoothie for breakfast, drink juices for lunch and snacks, and have a blended raw soup for dinner. This is a plan that you can adapt to your lifestyle and still receive all of the intended benefits. Just remember, no chewing. :)

While on the cleanse, drink as much water as you feel like or need, but be sure to consume at least 1½ liters throughout the day. Always begin the day with warm water with lemon, as this will assist in flushing your digestive system, preparing your stomach for food by increasing stomach acid, and alkalizing your entire system. Herbal teas are a great alternative to coffee, and you can choose ones that are particularly detoxifying, such as burdock, cleavers, chickweed, yarrow, nettle and plantain.




Taking a quick detour from Mindful Living to introduce the 2015 Hot Yoga Teacher Training at HYEN! I am beyond excited to host my teachers from Bikram Yoga Seattle, who will be leading an exceptional training in the “Hot 26” – Bikram-style yoga. By “my teachers,” I mean these are my O.G.’s, my  yoga instructors, my influences, my inspirations, my gurus if I were to have a guru. I look up to them and consider them the best teachers I have ever practiced under, and they want to come HERE to teach YOU! I am confident that this training will completely change the lives of anyone who attends, as my training did me and as this yoga did 10 years ago in my life. With over 50 years of combined experience, Kevin and Sarah will be bringing a wealth wisdom and technical knowledge. Their unique personalities, their deep care for their students, and their passion for this practice will no doubt inspire each of us in our practice our teaching. I am excited to sit with them and learn. Just soak in everything. I personally plan to attend every hour of the training and feel so fortunate to have this opportunity. They are excited too! Registration is beginning now. It will be 5 weekends in late Sept through early November (every other weekend). Just Saturday and Sunday. The cost is $3,000 for early registration or $3,300 after June 15th. More below:

Hot Yoga of East Nashville Hot 26 Teacher Training 2015: September 19 – November 15 (every other weekend)

The Instructors:

Kevin Cooke

Kevin began practicing yoga in 1978.  In 1980, he met Margaret Iris, one of the very first Bikram method yoga teachers in the United States.  Margaret ran Bikram Choudhury’s San Francisco studio from 1975-1979, prior to moving to Ashland, Oregon to start her own studio.  Kevin practiced for seven years under Margaret’s instruction; and began teaching for her in 1984 and by 1986 was running the Ashland studio.  Kevin attended the very first teacher training led by Bikram Choudhury in 1997. Thirty-five years after meeting Margaret, Kevin credits her for giving him the foundation and inspiration for his practice.  Kevin, in turn, has inspired and continues to inspire countless students attending classes at his Seattle studio – the first and longest-running hot yoga studio in Seattle and all of Washington.  His tremendous energy, experience, wisdom and humor both inside and outside of the yoga room have made him a beloved teacher to many.

Sarah Grace

Sarah has spent over 15 years practicing and studying yoga in the Bikram method and beyond.  She began a frequent, dedicated practice in 2000 at Kevin Cooke’s Seattle studio, and began teaching there in 2003, after completing Bikram Choudhury’s 500 hour teacher training at his Los Angeles headquarters.  In 2013, Sarah sought additional training and education and completed the 200 hour teacher training at the Samarya Center for Ashtanga Yoga and Integrated Movement Therapy, with a special emphasis in anatomy and yoga therapy.  She continues to teach both Bikram method and Vinyasa style yoga and is currently studying Ashtanga yoga under Troy Lucero in Seattle.  After 15 years and counting, Sarah continues to be amazed and inspired by the natural intelligence, insight and sense of connection revealed by a consistent yoga practice.  She seeks to draw forth these qualities in students of every age, experience level and ability with her skillful, patient and thoughtful teaching style.

The Training:

The HYEN Hot 26 Teacher Training is an opportunity for you to acquire the necessary foundation, knowledge and skills to teach a Hot 26 hatha yoga class to all levels of practitioner.  The training includes discussion and practice of teaching techniques related to classic hatha yoga postures and breathing exercises, a specialized look at both gross anatomy and energy anatomy, an introduction to yoga philosophy, development of skillful speech and voice communications and instruction of modification of poses for special needs.  The course is designed with two goals in mind: giving you the skills to become a confident, effective teacher in any setting, and supporting the continued development of your personal practice.

It is recommended that applicants have a minimum of one year of hatha yoga practice experience; exceptions may be made on an individual basis with consideration of unique experience and a written recommendation from the owner/director of your home studio.

As a trainee, you can expect:

-Detailed discussion of each posture and how to teach it – proper technique, breathing, and sequencing of instructions

-Instructions in learning to “see” your students – proper alignment, adjustments and appropriate modifications

-Anatomy and physiology related to the postures

-An introduction to yoga philosophy (the 8 Limbs) & energy anatomy (the chakras)

-A thorough discussion and understanding of teacher ethics and responsibilities

-Instruction on developing effect speech and voice communication

What will be expected of you:

-Be on time and prepared to actively participate in all training sessions.

-Class will be held Sept 19&20, Oct 3&4, Oct 17&18, Oct 31&Nov 1, Nov 13&14. Saturdays will be 8 am to 9 pm and Sundays will be 8 am to 6 pm.

-Read 3 assigned books

-Practice 7x/week at HYEN (6 weekday classes, and mandatory attendance in the 8am Saturday class)

-Demonstrate thorough understanding of all material, including any homework assignments and assigned outside reading.


$3,300 for registration after June 15th.

$3,000 early bird registration between April 15th and June 15th.