We are in the air, heading back to Nashville. A couple of slightly ragged but completely transformed and empowered women, drinking our Bloody Mary’s and wearing the same clothes we left in. Inside jokes from our 6-day, 5-city journey filter into our conversations… maybe a little too often but nobody else is listening… along with lyrics from hip hop hits that are still running through our heads. There’s also this continuous movement … spiraling at our core and buzzing in our brains … we are energized, and we have met a side of ourselves that we previously did not know existed. Yes, we are coming home from Buti Yoga Teacher Training.

Buti Defined: an Indian Marathi word meaning A CURE that has been hidden or kept secret. The mission of buti yoga is to help one strip away the layers that hide this cure and bring total freedom and transformation. The movements are inspired by tribal dance to unleash one’s primal energy to nourish and heal our bodies.

They (the founder of buti yoga and the master teachers) are focused on helping women in particular to find this hidden cure but I believe it is relevant to anyone. They express a commitment to creating a community of empowered women who support each other rather than compete with one another. They refer to classes or studios as a Tribe. I can definitely get behind that! Plus, this became a total reality at the training. Our teacher, Kate, said on our first day that in this tribe, we show up for our sisters. No matter what. About halfway through the training, I learned exactly what that meant. In just 2 days, me, Sarah, Kate and 9 French-Canadian girls, formed a tribe, a sisterhood, and we supported each other through something we each had never experienced before.

So let’s back up…. How did we get here and what’s this about 9 French-Canadian girls? Sarah Norris and I embarked on this journey to Buti training 2 days prior to our meeting of the French ladies in Quebec City. And actually, we started our Buti journey a few months prior in our home studio thanks to our own, Chelsea Young, who started the first Buti Tribe in East Nashville! It was not long after my first Buti class that I decided to go to teacher training. And I must note here that I haven’t been inspired to leave Nashville for a yoga training EVER. You could interpret that to mean I am a complacent yoga teacher but all I know is I found a fresh inspiration that totally awakened my desire to learn and grow.  And for a skeptic like me, that doesn’t happen often. Never have I endeavored to teach anything outside of the Bikram Method, and here I was scouting our Buti Yoga trainings all over the world! Turned out that Sarah wanted to go too – you can get her side of that story from her sometime – but either way, we had a mission! Buti or Bust! And since the Atlanta training was already full, we decided to high tail it for Quebec City, Canada! I mean, why not, right?

After a breathtaking drive through the White Mountain National Park with fall foliage that I cannot begin to describe or capture on camera and an overnight stay in a rustic cabin in Vermont featuring no electricity, running water, or toilet, we found ourselves in Quebec City. We walked the 30 minutes to Studio Rebel, which is a beautiful studio in downtown Quebec with an herbal infusions bar (hmmm… next Nashville project??). Our walks to and from the studio turned out to be a great way to warm up and decompress from the demanding training. At the studio our first morning, we met our new classmates 9 French-Canadian gals ranging in age from 18 to 40 and in occupation from pole dancing instructor to landscape architect. Going into the training, I knew that we would be in French-speaking Canada but I guess I was expecting Quebec to be more like my trips to Western Canada. Much to my surprise and delight, we were all-in for a French cultural experience! Besides our buti teacher, Kate, who is a total badass from the Midwest, we were the only primarily English-speakers there. Lucky for us, the course was given in English and the French gals were amazing at following along and relaying their conversations back to us in beautifully broken English. The French gals seemed to be unaware of time… taking long relaxing lunch breaks with a full dining experience while we were wondering where the Turnip Truck at up in dis place and where we gonna get a Lara bar from? We had to slow it down … and eat real food… Our new tribe had some differences but we soon found that it didn’t matter and we could learn a thing or two from our new buti sisters.

The training was intense – a crash course you might say but we absorbed a lot and will continue to study and grow in our knowledge of this yoga practice. The knowledge we gained was great but the experience was what truly transformed us and was worth all the miles travelled and all the dollars invested. The first day began with a Master Buti Class (which was phenomenal by the way) and then the remainder of the day was spent in studying the postures and movements, while learning the form – i.e. practicing. We were POOPED by the end of the day. We also learned that we were required to give a 14-minute demo of a buti class the following day as our final test in order to receive our certification. Now, Chelsea had given us a heads up on that requirement but it turned out to be a more involved demo than I had realized – had to incorporate at least 6 different aspects of the buti class. I immediately started planning my night – get back to the flat; shower; have a glass of wine; and then cram, cram, cram until I had the PERFECT routine. Note – we were specifically instructed by Kate NOT to plan, not to prepare a studied routine but of course I wasn’t going to listen to her. :) By 8:30 when we arrived back at our flat and still needed to find dinner, all bets were off. Shower did not happen; studying did not happen; creating the perfect buti demo did not happen.

Wine did happen, however, and shortly after, we crawled into our bunk beds and our sore bodies immediately fell asleep. About 4 am, I was awoken by dreams of my near-future buti routine dancing through my head. I decided to get up and prepare. Playlist – check. Careful notes of postures and sequences – check. Practicing it 3 times through from start to finish – check. I felt ready, or as ready as I’d ever be. Sarah awoke shortly after I started my third rendition of my routine and said, “I thought we were ordered not to practice the demo? What are you doing?!” Well, my Type A personality just couldn’t help itself. But Sarah was obedient to Kate’s instructions and also true to her spontaneous nature and did not prepare. I smugly thought to myself, “How can Sarah be so negligent? I could never go into this demo without preparing.” But I was yet to be proved wrong by Sarah and by many others!

We finally arrive at the studio and start with an “easy buti class” which is not easy at all and was somewhat defeating for my tired body. I start to wonder if I’m going to feel and be 100% for my demo. I decide to drink more coffee… we then have to draw numbers to see who goes first. Thankfully, I’m number 6, so I’ll have time to perk up. One of the younger french gals is to go first. I honestly wasn’t expecting much from her. I kinda thought she was gonna bomb the demo (I have already admitted to being skeptical but I’m here to find the hidden cure right?). She had never taught a yoga or exercise class, she hadn’t been practicing buti yoga very long, and she seemed quiet and a bit timid. Well she got up there and the music began. It was LOUD! We could feel the bass in our ribcages, and she spoke au francais, “Attention! ….” And that was the last I understood of words. We were moving, and she was fierce! Kate started whooping and then everyone was chiming in! Like war cries coming out at random from all over the room. Everyone was involved. We were all IN IT! She might not have had perfect form or transitions but she was incredible! An inspiring Goddess up there, not holding anything back. All the whooping and music and energy was driving her even more. Before we knew it, her demo was over, and we were sweating, clapping and giving high fives. She nailed it!!! I knew right then and there that my smug study session was going to do nothing for me if I didn’t give it everything I had in the moment. I had a new perspective and I was ready to be and do and give my 100%.

Soon my turn came, and I set up my mat in front. Sarah set hers up next to mine. :) My music started, and I began with kaphalabati breathing. The fire was lit and we were off! Hair flying, butts shaking, whooping, hollering, jumping, and being totally caught up. Some things I didn’t plan came in and some things I had planned were forgotten. It was as spontaneous as a math/science major like me gets and it was glorious! I was happy. Everyone told me it was great and fun and Sarah said I killed it! I immediately felt the overwhelming support of my buti sisters! I was getting it now. Sarah said that it was like a different Brooke up there, and I would soon say the same about her! She was second to last of the demos and had been chomping at the bit to do her demo. In came a Sarah I had never seen before. Her hair came down, “Bossy” by Kelis came through the speakers, and the creativity just flew out of her! We were spiraling our hips and then our ribcage and then lunging and then in the standing splits. It was an amazing transformation to see! And we all saw it in each other. Not a single person was the same as when they walked in the day before. I have a mental picture of each awe-inspiring soul that got up there and put everything out on the mat. I was proud of all of us. So proud!

So that was the training. We had much to reflect on as we drove off to Montreal that night. We were chasing the sunset towards the west, and it lasted for 2 hours, like seeing 8 different sunsets. The sky was as expansive as we felt.

The Buti training experience can’t really be put into words. It’s a practice for doing not reflecting on. So with that said, get in here and find your tribe!



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10 days down, and I think we’re all feeling pretty great! Figuring out what our vices are when it comes to processed foods and finding great whole/real food alternatives. :) I’d say we’re getting our sea legs for eating with the perspective of fueling our body with what it needs rather than the junk that gives us temporary highs but no real sustained energy. We are what we eat, and I’m feeling better already by eating food I can see in its natural state, maybe grown locally or organically and not in a plastic bag with 30 other unpronounceable ingredient. Go team 30!

So this is the start of 2nd 10 days!! What we’re adding on here, or rather removing from our plates, is Dairy and Gluten. Remember to fill your plates with enough healthy protein, fats, carbs and of course veggies, and you won’t even notice that dairy and gluten have disappeared. We’re looking to gain benefits of reducing our intake of inflammatory foods, and may see some other benefits in our skin, respiratory system and our sleep! Boom! Don’t forget your water. Water! Water! Water!!!


Please refer to: www.chelseajyoung.com for recipes! You can always remove items from this list if you’re making veggie/vegan versions and/or omitting any of the recipes from your game plan.


  • 2 Bananas
  • 1 Head of califlower
  • 4 White onions
  • 6 Bell peppers
  • 1 Box mushrooms
  • Bag of sugar snap peas or green beans
  • 1 Large bag organic carrots
  • 1 Bag organic celery
  • 3 Heads of garlic
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 1-2 Large sweet potatoes
  • 1 Bunch flat or curly leaf parsley
  • 1 Bunch of green onions
  • 1-2 ears of sweet corn (optional for Mexican quinoa)
  • 3 avocados
  • 2 limes
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 Bunch cilantro
  • 1 Large eggplant
  • 1 Large spaghetti squash or 4-6 medium zucchini (Turkey Meatballs & ‘Spaghetti)
  • 2 Medium zucchinis – for turkey muffins
  • 1 Bunch of curly leaf kale

PROTEIN: (Fresh, Frozen & Canned)

  • 1 Dozen organic eggs
  • 1 Box of organic egg whites
  • 4-6 Organic chicken breasts (could easily use beans/ tofu) this is for stuffed peppers and curry dish
  • 2 lbs Organic ground turkey (1 for turkey muffins, 1 for turkey meatballs)
  • 5oz Prosciutto de parm (optional)


  • 2 13.5oz cans of full fat coconut milk
  • Rolled oats (not quick)
  • 8oz can of wile caught salmon/ or tuna you choose!
  • Gluten-free flout (almond, coconut, oat)
  • 1 ½ cup of dry chick peas
  • Quinoa
  • Organic vegetable broth
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans
  • 2 15oz cans of chick peas
  • 2 14.5 oz cans of roasted tomatoes
  • 2 Jars of marinara sauce (no sugar added)
  • Nutritional Yeast – can easily buy in the bulk bins only need 2-3 Tbls
  • Tahini


  • 1 Bag of frozen broccoli
  • 1 8oz box / bag of frozen spinach


Spices you will need for 2nd 10 days: If you don’t have one / two of these check where they are used and you may be able to substitute something different. That is the beauty of getting creative with what you have on hand!

  • Cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • Dried dill
  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Cardamom
  • Coriander
  • Cayenne Pepper (optional)
  • Chili powder
  • Madras curry powder
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Dried parsley
  • Dried chives (optional)
  • Garam masala (if you are making hummus but not needed)




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 Brooke Asbury

This is the last post of our series, Mindfulness in 2015 but the mindfulness won’t stop here. We’ve had some Mindful triumphs over the year… who can forget the truly mind-stirring (i.e. crazy-making) sensations of the Spring Juice Cleanse? That was a good exercise in mindfulness! And there were many others as well. We are just coming to the completion of our 3rd annual Strive for Five challenge during the busy holiday months, and one can only imagine the state of mind we’d have been in over these last few weeks had we not given ourselves the opportunity for mindfulness, the solace of peace and stillness we find on our mats. We have succeeded at being more mindful of mindfulness in 2015. However, I, for one, could stand to continue this theme into 2016 and likely every year after. I guess that’s the point of mindfulness. It’s a lifestyle, a habit, a way of living in the present and staying aware of the things we have around us.

In particular, this next year I’d like to strive for mindfulness in marriage. Well, in all relationships really but I happen to be new at the marriage relationship and am excited to learn the craft of being mindfully married. Like yoga, I know it will be a daily practice. The final expression of each day will hopefully be a little deeper than the day prior. I’m sure to fall out of the pose at some point, many points, and I’ll have to practice getting back in without wasting time sulking or self-berating. Grace and discipline, love and hard work. Just like Triangle posture – the perfect “marriage” between the heart and the lungs.

It took me 35 years to find “the one.” Or more likely, it took 35 years for God and life to form me into the woman I’ll need to be for Clay (my “old man” ;)), and 30 years for Clay to become the man I love and will need him to be for the rest of my life. But either way, there were times that it seemed like a long wait. Though it’s easy to forget now that I’ve found him (like forgetting the pains of childbirth upon holding one’s newborn baby, or so I’ve heard) and seems perhaps irrelevant in light of the blessings I have and had along the way. Still, I like to reflect on those 35 years and spend a moment in homage to the single gal’s life. The spirit of a woman who spends a good part of her adult life on her own has undoubtedly withstood many a test. Whether it be buying a wrench and fixing that dad-gommed leaking faucet on her own or showing up at a dinner party as the only unmarried guest and engaging in “we” talk the whole damn night, it ain’t always easy. Worse, the undeniable, all-too-familiar feeling of disappointment that comes after each lost cause of a potential partner that comes and goes. The utter loss-of-faith-in-goodness-and-love that sweeps in after risking your heart (yet again) only to find that it landed in the hands of someone who didn’t see its story, its worth, clearly at all and never appreciated its spirit anyway. Thankfully, many of us are blessed with incredible friends who support us along the way and let us know that we’re not really alone. They help us to keep our hearts open, when we would rather close up shop and resign ourselves to a life of cats and Netflix. Some wait 25 years, while others wait 45 years to find their person. Our journeys are all unique but I tend to believe, the longer the wait, the sweeter the reward.

On my first morning of marriage, I woke up next to my husband and my heart immediately welled up with joy and thanksgiving. Without a moment’s hesitation, without forcing it or conjuring it up, I looked up to the heavens in my mind’s eye and said THANK YOU!!! It was a moment of true mindfulness, of being present, of allowing my spirit to be free and express what it felt without holding back. And it came effortlessly. I told myself that I better be sure to do the same thing each and every morning, as long as I awake to this gift that I have been given. I guess I’ll call that step one of mindfulness in marriage. Though I am yet to learn many more intentional steps towards being mindful in marriage, I know that I can never be too thankful. And if I start each day looking at my husband as a gift to be cherished, one that came to me after 35 years of hoping and praying, then I may be less likely to be dismissive, short of temper, unforgiving or otherwise lacking mindfulness. In some cases, looking back at your journey, your history, how you got here and seeing it – all at once – from that broad perspective, will help one in that moment to practice mindfulness. Because the path we’ve walked does create the person we are in each present moment. In this case, I want to remember my story as a single woman to make me a better married woman in this next chapter.

Two months into marriage, I still wake up thankful. As someone once told me (and for some reason, they don’t tell you this until after you’re married), being married is the fun part! Deciding to get married is the more difficult task. Though it would appear that I decided to get married quickly (after 4 months of dating), I did not make the decision quickly or take it lightly. Need I remind you of the previous 35 years of life experience and twenty-some years of dating experience? Truly, one can contemplate this decision from a hundred different angles, with the gravity of “the rest of your life” and Mother’s warning of “the most important decision you’ll ever make” and find themselves in a state of decision-making paralysis. But once you are able to move forward, with your person (“the very best one” as Grandma advised), everything really falls into place. Life seems better and easier as a team. Relinquishing your identity as a single lady is really not as scary as it seemed. It’s actually one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done.

Realizing this truth and the fact that we are always most free when we are living authentically, on God’s path and openheartedly, I am excited for mindfulness in marriage and in 2016. I may have 35 years of stubbornness, independence, and hard-assness to break but this cantankerous ol’ mare is ready to be broken. They say being married is like having a mirror held in front of you… Well, my eyes are open.


By Brooke Asbury

Embarking on on Yoga Teacher Training is, for me, like the feeling of going on a huge adventure by yourself. Like hittin’ the open road, singing out loud at the top of your lungs, with windows and heart open wide. Doing something for you. Having the courage to pursue a dream. Taking a risk. Making sacrifices for something you believe in. Liberation.

It’s true that not every minute of training feels this high, but I personally experience a flood of happy nostalgia when I think of mine. Some folks attend a teacher training at their home studio; others travel to India and spend time at an ashram, others travel to LA to spend 9 weeks in a hotel, practicing the 90-minute Bikram series twice daily and attending lectures the other 10 to 14 hours of the day. My teacher-training experience was also unique: I lived in Seattle and commuted to Nashville two weekends a month. Each of these weekends, I left my other life behind. Aboard the airplane, I began my “me” time. Of course, I had my homework with me – anatomy studies, required yoga readings, and the teaching dialogue but it was still time invested in myself because it was what I wanted, not what someone else wanted me to study, as had been the case the prior 32 years of my life. I would get all nestled in my window seat with my reading, a celebratory glass of wine, and a pre-packaged, airplane “cheese plate,” and give a cheers to the start of the adventure once again. As the plane took off, and I waved goodbye to my rainy SeattIe Space Needle, and watched the Pacific Northwest timbers disappear as we flew off to Tennessee.

By studying and immersing myself in the practice (7 classes a week required to be exact), I learned about yoga, the postures, and myself. The greatest gain was the lifelong friends I made during training. Of course, that’s just how Nashville is. You can’t go anywhere without meeting a genuinely friendly and helpful person. Because I had no place to stay in Nashville, I made friends from Day 1 who opened up their homes and lives and invited me right in.

My enrollment in yoga teacher training was the first classroom setting I’d been in since grad school, almost a decade prior. It wasn’t easy sitting still for several hours at a time, concentrating on lectures, taking notes. It wasn’t easy submitting to another adult. Having eight years of consistent practice at a prominent Bikram studio under my belt, I wasn’t too keen on taking liberal input from this new teacher. “Liberal” in the sense that she had a more open or sinuous interpretation of the original Bikram dialogue (watered down if you were to ask me, but nobody did ask me). She would literally take me out of my postures, tell me NOT to sit any lower in Awkward posture, tell me to come up out of Eagle, tell me to stay on the floor for the rest of class when I had simply laid down to take a break. I was outraged to say the least. Still, I stayed.

I’ll never forget the feeling as I fought the hot, stinging tears and trembling lip as I laid in a forced Savasana that day. I didn’t need her or her dumb certificate, I told myself. Well, maybe I didn’t but that certainly wasn’t the point. The lesson was the same one I learn every day that I come to the mat – to surrender, to stop fighting, to let go of anything not serving me. My anger and frustration would not serve me. Instead of fighting, I practiced yoga just like I do in my class – the quiet surrender to the heat, the discipline and dedication to show up every day, the perseverance to get up and start the posture again – every moment that we fall out, we give ourselves grace start again. My next move was not to head back to Seattle and teach her a lesson but to submit and surrender. We ended up forming a strong friendship, and I never held it against her that she made my Awkward posture less extreme than it could have been.

The truth is that you never know where someone else is coming from, and my job was to be a student. Period. Graduation time came as soon as the leaves changed and fell to the ground. It was a flurry of reciting dialogue, taking final exams and celebrating our victory of becoming yoga teachers. I flew home. There were no more trips to Nashville on my calendar. That realization was the moment I knew the adventure could not end there. I couldn’t go back to “normal” life after that. I knew that I had to teach and that I had to teach in Nashville.

What is learned or discovered during Teacher Training cannot always be anticipated. You may get what you came for but most likely, you’ll get a lot more than that. One thing’s for sure, your practice will never be the same again, and you probably won’t be either. It was an exciting time that I’ll never forget but the truth is, that the learning never stops and the story keeps unfolding