Cookie and the Essential Oil Blend for Bravery

Cookie came into my life at one of my darkest moments. My first dog, Preston, was tragically hit by a car and instantly taken from me many years before his life should have ended. While grieving for him, I started looking for another dog. I knew that I wanted a bulldog. My brother has a wonderful French Bulldog, Willow, who had been Preston’s best friend and a wonderful ambassador for her breed. I also knew that I had to rescue, and that rescuing a Bulldog (either French or English) is quite a feat. These are dogs that are “desirable” and usually spend just moments on pet finder before having many hundred applications.

I figured that it would take a long time and the Universe would provide me my next dog when I was ready. I sent out one or two applications. The next day, by a miracle, I got a phone call from The Simon Foundation in Bloomsfield, CT. I was approved for adoption and they had TWO Frenchies that I could meet the next day. From the moment Cookie came leaping and snorting into the room, I knew she was my girl.

Cookie was about 11 months old when she came home. She had been in the shelter for 3-4 weeks being treated for mange and a belly infection, being spayed and getting her shots. Prior to arriving at the shelter, Cookie spent her life in a puppy mill in Ohio. She was being held to become a breeder, like her mother, to spend 5 or 6 years being bred over and over and live in a small cage with no love or affection and very little care. Cookie and several other Frenchies were saved from this mill because they developed Mange and other health problems that the mill did not want to bother treating.

It has been a real joy to see Cookie blossom and thrive with care and attention from a loving Mom. Still, she has a lot of nervousness and anxiety in new situations and is sometimes fearful to a point of freezing. Cookie also has a lot of separation anxiety and sometimes struggles when it’s time for me to go. (It’s pretty lucky for her that her Mom works from home so much). I turned to essential oils to help because I have used them for so many years to help calm my own nerves and provide energetic balance throughout the day.

Cookie is a very expressive girl, if she smells something she doesn’t like she will sniffle and snort and turn her nose up! (And her least favorite smell is, Cinnamon!) When she smells something she does like, she also makes that clear either by becoming very calm, or very interested and bright. Through many months of experimenting, Cookie and I came up with a blend that works like a charm to calm her nerves.

Cookie’s Blend is made with Lavender, Vetiver and White Fir. These oils are known for their properties of being grounding, calming and soothing. This is a great blend for when you are feeling anxious, during meditation or yoga, during relaxation, and for sleep. The scent is pleasant, heavy woods balanced by the lighter floral scent of Lavender, I consider it a unisex blend.

I made this blend for humans, but I do use it on Cookie by rubbing it in my palms and then running my hands through her fur. This adds the scent to her fur in a more diluted way and also softens her fur. Before using any oils on your dog, let your dog smell the oil and see how they react. Wear the oil yourself for a few days so they can get used to the smell. This oil is not meant to treat severe anxiety or other illnesses. Please speak with your doctor (or your vet!) in serious cases.

The experience of creating this blend with Cookie was so rewarding and inspiring that I’ve decided to start sharing my essential oil blends in my shop. I’ll be adding a new blend each month for a different purpose. I’m using Organic Jojoba Oil as a carrier, which is great for your skin! I use super high quality doTerra essential oils in my blend. They are my very favorite oils and I am happy to talk to you more about these oils, or offer you a custom oil blend!

What’s your experience working with essential oils? Have you tried essential oils for calming? I’d love to hear from you below!

Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution with a Custom Mala and Oil Blend

Another year has passed, and we find ourselves facing our goals and intentions for the new year once again. This can be a really inspiring time when the seeds for your dreams are planted. Here ate Love Headquarters, I believe in the power of setting intention, and the practice of pursuing it.

Crystals, Essential Oils and Meditation are incredible tools to help you achieve your dreams. It’s all about focus and reminding yourself of your goal, as well as your own incredible power to reach it. I’ve been dreaming of even better ways to help you stay focused on your own intentions, and I’m pleased to present you with an opportunity to merge these powerful tools!

This month (January 2017), each and every custom mala order will include an essential oil blend in organic jojoba oil ready to roll on. I will personally use my knowledge and love of essential oils to craft a unique blend just for you, one that supports the intention we set for your mala beads. When you are meditating with your mala, you can roll on your oil to bring you even deeper into a luxurious and sensual meditation experience. When you are not on your cushion, use your oil to remind you of your practice and your intentions. Each oil is blessed in a New or Full Moon to increase the energy and magick.

I would love to talk to you more about your own custom mala beads for 2017, reach me right here for more info.

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Are you thinking holiday yet?

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September always used to seem like way too soon to be thinking about holiday, until I started Love by E! The last few months of the year have become a beautiful whirlwind at Love headquarters. I know we all want to avoid holiday overwhelm, whether it’s in our professional or personal lives. So, this year I’m doing things a bit differently and it will make it easier for you to shop Love this holiday for friends and family, or for yourself!

I’ll be producing lots of pieces between now and the end of the year and updating the shop weekly. Check in to see what’s new as many of the mala I’ll be making will be unique designs that may not be repeatable if your favorite sells. Of course, feel free to reach out if you miss a piece and I’ll work with you to create something inspired by that design just for you.

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Self Love Mala Available Now
Soft Heart Mala Available 09/22
Soft Heart Mala Available 09/22

Custom mala make such a thoughtful and special gift for the women in your life, and I am honored each time someone trusts me to create such a heartfelt gift. If you’re thinking of giving a custom mala as a gift this year there is no time too soon. As the season gets busier custom orders may take longer to process and create. I will always do my best to help you meet your deadline, but I can’t guarantee timing on orders placed with less then 3 weeks window. Let’s work together to leave lots of space and ease in the process.

Enjoy this transitional season as summer turns to fall and we have a chance to refresh and set our intentions anew.

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Inspired by :: Elena Brower

The first time I met Elena Brower was at Wanderlust Stratton in 2011. I adored her from that moment to this one and beyond. Her teaching is authentic and real. She isn’t afraid to reveal her process, to change her mind, and she continues to explore and evolve. In the time I have known her she has transitioned from Anusara to Kundalini to Katonah Yoga, and has integrated all she’s learned along the way. I see a lot of my own teaching and my own path in her journey, and I can only hope to become a teacher like Elena in my own future. Elena’s teaching speaks right to me, every time I see her I leave feeling clearer, more motivated and happier.

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In 2013 I began Elena’s year long Art of Attention training. Amidst a group of 34 other women discovering themselves and willing to dive into this work, we became a tribe of lovers. The energy that Elena began grew into a family and truly special community that I am honored to continue to be a part of. This is one of her gifts, Elena is able to dream something and then send it out into the world to grow all on it’s own. We all benefit from her sharing, and we all share in our own right.

Community may be the biggest gift I have received as a student of Elena’s. Not only her incredible friendship (she will answer my texts or emails to lend support even as she steps onto an airplane!), but the community that has sprung up through my studentship with Elena. My lady tribe. It was this community that inspired me and supported me as I began Love by E, and so many other monumental moments in my life.

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Elena’s contribution to the Inspired collection was designed with community in mind. The Empower Half Mala is for teachers, Clear Quartz to create clarity and hold your highest intention. Rainbow Moonstone and Smoky Quartz for Ajna and Muladhara, your Third Eye and your Root Chakras. For softness and grounding, for teachers and eternal students. 

Thank you, Elena, for being a light that has shown me my way.

Inspired by :: Jean Koerner

I met Jean Koerner when I was 18 years old. It was my first day of 200 hour teacher training in 2006. I had signed up for training based on Alan Finger’s good reputation and a few Google searches, but had never met Jean before.

To say I was inspired is an understatement. I was in love.

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I continued on to study with Jean in my 300 Hour teacher training and chose her to be my mentor. Even now, ten years later, Jean is an amazing mentor. I know that I can reach out to her at any time, and that she offers this kind support to any of her students.

Jean’s teachings have shaped me as a teacher, but also as a woman. Her elegance and clarity are something I still emulate to this day. Jean is creative and loving, in fact, she has her own gorgeous line of jewelry, Gems that Heal.

Our common passions have made us close as student and mentor, as well as friends. Her energy feeds me every time I am lucky enough to be in her presence. I am beyond grateful to know her.

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Together, Jean and I designed the Awareness Mala. A lovely 108 bead mala made with Cape Amethyst, Amethyst, Crystal Quartz and Rose Gold Plated details. Strung on deep purple silk with a handmade silk tassel, this mala will connect you to your Third Eye Chakra as well as your feminine grace.

The Awareness Mala was inspired by the awareness Jean cultivates as a teacher. Her practices take you into your own body with clarity and kindness.

52 Poses :: Salamba Sarvangasana, Shoulder Stand

In 2015 I’ll be highlighting a new posture each week. Find sequences, benefits, and archives here.

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Following up my last post about Headstand (Sirsasana), otherwise known as the King of All Asanas, I’ll be looking at Shoulder Stand, Salamba Sarvangasana, also called the Queen of All Asanas.

Just as the benefits of Headstand go on and on, Shoulderstand is a pose that packs a HUGE bang for it’s buck. The benefits of Shoulderstand range across the board, with perhaps its most notable being the balance of the Thyroid gland (especially when it’s followed by Fish Pose). So many people suffer from a hypo/hyper-active thyroid and imbalance in this gland creates imbalance in your entire Endocrine System. Impacting your body’s ability to regulate your hormones. Hormones control nearly every process in the body: digestion and elimination as well as reproduction, stress, relaxation, happiness, depression, immunity, all are influenced by hormonal balance.

In addition, Iyengar says of Shoulderstand in Light on Yoga:

The importance of Sarvangasana cannot be over-emphasized. It is one of the greatest boons conferred on humanity by our ancient sages. Sarvangasana is the Mother of asanas. As a mother strives for harmony and happiness in the home, so this asana strives for the harmony and happiness of the human system…

This passage continues on to list the numerous benefits of the pose:

  • Cures most common ailments.
  • Benefits the heart and vascular system.
  • Increases blood flow to the neck and chest, relieving breathlessness, palpitation and asthma.
  • Soothes headaches, even chronic ones.
  • Relieves constipation.
  • Revitalizes and energizes

The list goes on and on.

So, better get practicing, right? Well, not so fast.

As is the case with most asana that claim big benefit, the risk involved with this pose is big, too. In fact, the vast majority of students in an average yoga class are performing this pose to their detriment.

In Sarvangasana, your body is turning completely upside down. Your weight is moving onto the tops of your shoulders and your upper arms. At the same time, your head is bent at a 90 degree angle with your chin extremely tucked into your chest. Herein lies the problem.

Most people are not flexible enough in their shoulders and necks to take this degree of bend in the neck without rounding their shoulders. This causes your weight to drop out of your upper arms and shoulders, and right into your neck. DO NOT DO NECKSTAND.

At any point, if you feel pressure in your neck in this pose you should immediately come out.

Just like Headstand, I never recommend learning this pose without an experienced teacher’s guidance. Here are some additional tips to help you keep your neck safe in this pose:

  • KEEP YOUR HANDS ON YOUR BACK. There are versions of this pose where you would lift your arms alongside your body. I’ve never seen someone execute this without compromising their neck. I’m not saying it’s impossible, I’m saying you have to be an extremely advanced practitioner to pull it off and it’s not something the average Yogi will conquer (I am talking about with your legs reaching straight up here, other variations are easier in this regard).
  • Use blankets under your shoulders. This opens up the 90 degree angle of the neck and will help maintain a safe curve in your back.
  • Very gently press the back of your head into the floor. Do not move your chin into your chest, move your chest to your chin.
  • Reach very strongly up through the legs to lift your weight out of your base. Use your hands to help with this by walking your hands towards your shoulders.
  • Start in Bridge Pose. It’s much easier to get your shoulders underneath you when you begin in Bridge Pose and this sets you up for a much safer Shoulderstand.

As you can see, I take this pose very seriously. That doesn’t mean it isn’t wonderful, amazing and worth learning! Take your time and don’t underestimate the intelligence and experience involved in performing this pose. When you think you have learned Shoulderstand is when your work is only beginning!

Safe practices and Balanced Hormones abound!

Until next time, Much Love.

Inspired by :: Sarah Finger

the Inspired Collection features mala beads inspired by Elizabeth’s teachers and mentors in the yoga community. Each of these women has played a special part in Elizabeth’s journey, read more here

I remember meeting Sarah Finger (then Sarah Platt) in 2006. It was the very first day of my first 200 Hour Teacher Training at Be Yoga (on the cusp of becoming YogaWorks Union Square). She was assisting the training (with Chrissy Carter led by Jean Koerner!). I swear she looks exactly the same almost 10 years later.

Sarah is elegant and defines inspiration. Currently, as co-founder of ISHTA Yoga in Manhattan (with her incredible husband, YogiRaj Alan Finger), Sarah leads trainings, workshops and retreats around the world. She teaches and mentors many students in New York City, and does so with grace and kindness.

Her practice is something to behold. I have always been amazed at how simply and smoothly she is able to transition through inversions, arm balances and deep backbends. Making postures seem effortless even when they are incredibly difficult. Combined with the sheer delight of seeing Sarah’s adorable daughter Satya hop in for photo fun, Sarah’s Instagram is one of my absolute favorites.

 

One of the reasons I am so grateful for social media is because it keeps me connected to nearly all of the teachers in my history. As my teaching began, Sarah’s blossomed and it’s been Inspiring to me to see her gain the recognition she deserves as an amazing teacher and mother.

Sarah and I designed the Connection Mala together.

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Her intention as a teacher is connection both inward and outward. She guides her students to experience intimacy through yoga, intimacy with ourselves that allows us to be intimate with others. She is resonating with the third chakra, Manipura, which relates to empowerment and manifestation.

Citrine is a third chakra stone. It helps us manifest abundance and empowerment. Citrine also opens and balances the crown chakra, which connects us to universal intelligence and to all life. With all of this opening and shifting, Smoky Quartz grounds us in the root and keeps us steady.

If I am lucky, I will be a teacher and mother like Sarah one day. In the meantime, I am thrilled to know her and feel her presence in my life.

Introducing :: The Inspired Collection

I’ve been sitting on some truly big news for MONTHS now, and I am SO happy I can finally tell you about the Inspired Collection, launching June 15!

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the Divine Feminine Necklace, one of the pieces available as part of the Inspired Collection

This super special collection of mala beads, wrist wraps and precious wire necklaces is in line with my usual obsession with high quality gems and beautiful things; AND, this collection has a special twist! Each of the Mala and Half Mala beads included in the collection were co-designed and inspired by the amazing yoga teachers who have played important roles in my life.

Without these women, I can ABSOLUTELY share that I would not be where or who I am today. They have each played pivotal roles in shifting my perspective and bringing me home to my own heart. These are my teachers, I can never bow to them humbly enough or express the gratitude that I have for them.

This collection is meant to honor these women and share this immense love in my heart with all of you!

In the coming weeks I’ll be writing in depth about each woman and the part they’ve played in my life (and some sneak previews of the pieces they’ve helped me create!)

For now, wondering who has filled my heart so sweetly? Here’s a list of the Goddesses who have inspired, well, Inspired:

Tiffany Cruikshank 

Chrissy Carter

Jillian Pransky

Cyndi Lee

Elena Brower

Sarah Platt Finger

Katie Braja

Jean Koerner

Erica Jago

(I TOLD you I’m so excited!)

I can not wait to share more with you, including previews and stories about how these women have helped me find myself, become myself and love myself.

Much love,

E

52 Poses :: Sirsasana, Headstand

In 2015 I’ll be highlighting a new posture each week. Find sequences, benefits, and archives here.

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Sirsasana, or Headstand, is also known as the king of all asanas. That’s a pretty big claim for one pose, and Headstand lives up to its name toting incredible claims for benefits (see below). Certainly one of those poses that most people think of when they think of yoga, this is also one of the goals that many new practitioners set for themselves. Finding headstand without the support of the wall is a huge moment for an asana enthusiast and requires a LOT of practice, patience, and a helping of bravery to top it off!

Headstand is an ancient yoga posture, seen in some of the earliest descriptions and instructions for asana. Headstand requires strength as well as poise. When performed properly, this inversion is sending Kundalini energy from the base chakra directly to the crown. This balances the energy body and opens the 7th chakra, allowing entrance into samadhi (the bliss state or enlightenment).

In addition, BKS Iyengar writes in Light on Yoga:

Regular practice of Sirsasana makes healthy pure blood flow through the brain cells. This rejuvenates them so that thinking power increases and thoughts become clearer. The asana is a tonic for people whose brains tire quickly. It ensures a proper blood supply to the pituitary and pineal glands in the brain. Our growth, health and vitality depend on the proper functioning of these two glands.

People suffering from loss of sleep, memory and vitality have recovered by the regular and correct practice of this asana and have become fountains of energy. The lungs gain the power to resist any climate and stand up to any work, which relieves one from colds, coughs, tonsilitis, halitosis and palpitations. It keeps the body warm. Coupled with Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) movements it is a boon to people suffering with constipation. Regular practice of Sirsasana will show marked improvement in the hemoglobin content of the blood.

It is not advisable to start with Sirsasana or Sarvangasana when one suffers from high OR low blood pressure.

Regular and precise practice of Sirsasana develops the body, disciplines the mind and widens the horizons of the spirit. One becomes balanced and self-reliant in pain and pleasure, loss and gain, shame and fame and defeat and victory.

Clearly, there are lots of reasons to practice headstand, AND big poses usually carry bigger risks. This means that practicing good alignment, building slowly and asking a teacher for help are crucial to learning this pose and receiving its benefits.

Some important alignment points for practicing Headstand:

  • Your weight is directly on the crown of your head, where a baby’s soft spot is. This should ensure all 4 sides of your neck are evenly elongated.
  • Keep your shoulders drawing away from your ears (towards your heels), if your shoulders are tight, you may not be able to come upside down completely without risking your neck. Be patient and wait for your shoulders to open.
  • Your tailbone reaches towards your heels and your legs extend straight up to the ceiling. Try to remove any excess arch from your lower back and any hinge from the front of your hips.
  • Headstand has 4 traditional variations: bound, tripod (shown above), open hand and no hands. They are traditionally taught in this order (and numbered I – IV), as each progressive variation places more weight into the head itself.
  • Do not kick up into headstand. Draw one knee at a time into your chest (as shown above) and then extend your legs straight up. Eventually, you can lift both legs together and even keep them straight as you reach them up.
  • If you are not ready to do headstand, practice Dolphin. Place your elbows on the floor (shoulder distance apart), lace your fingers together, lift your knees up like Down Dog and walk your feet closer and closer to your elbows. In Dolphin pose, your head is off of the floor and stays off of the floor. This pose will build shoulder and hamstring flexibility as well as strength in your torso to eventually practice Headstand.

Finally, when we talk about Headstand I think it is very important to remember that everyone will meet this pose in their own time. Some people take to it very easily, even within weeks of their first yoga class (or before!), while others, like myself, will take years. Use the wall for support when you first learn the pose, be willing to do your prep work. And, most importantly, do not compare yourself to others or race to accomplish any pose. Allow your strengths to be your strengths and continually work to balance your own weaknesses. Practicing Sirsasana without proper form will injure you. Give yourself the gift of patience and know that with practice it will come.

How do you feel about headstand? Love it or hate it? Let me know!

 

52 Poses :: Matsyasana, Fish Pose

In 2015 I’ll be highlighting a new posture each week. Find sequences, benefits, and archives here.

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There are many variations on Matsyasana, Fish Pose. The most traditional, active variations are done following shoulder stand to help regulate the flow of blood and prana to the Thyroid gland (as well as a host of other benefits). However, many passive variations of the pose, performed on various props, are quite prevalent in yoga classes around the world.

Fish is a relatively friendly backbend, but does require mindfulness around the shoulders and lower back. A good understanding of the principles of backbends goes a long way in this posture. To perform Fish Pose with maximum benefit:

  • The curve of the backbend should stay even throughout the spine (do not bend excessively in the lower back)
  • The sternum lifts towards the sky and arms stay externally rotated to keep the head of the humerus towards the back plane of the body.
  • Passive versions of this pose support the chest (and sometimes head as well) with blankets, blocks or bolsters, as shown above.
  • Active versions of the pose use the arms for support initially, and eventually support comes from the strength of the muscles in the back body alone, as shown below.
  • For experienced practitioners, lifting the legs to a 45 degree angle adds fire to the posture; but, should never be done at the cost of the low back. It takes practice to engage the core to this degree without collapsing the spine.
  • Another active variation includes placing legs in lotus, this should only be attempted after much hip opening and practice as the deep rotation of the hip can be irritating to the lower back in backbends.

To enter the active variation of Matsyasana, I recommend first sitting up to look at your toes, as if you are laying on the beach. Then, puff your chest up and tilt your head back, your head may or may not come to the floor. (If your head doesn’t touch the floor, continue to use your forearms for support). This will keep your upper arms well away from the floor and create adequate space for your backbend.

In Restorative versions of the pose, aim to support directly under the sternum with your prop. You want to allow your shoulders to drape off of your prop so that your arm bones can drop back towards the floor. Support under your head as needed with blankets or blocks and to modulate the intensity of the stretch in your chest.

The benefits of this pose (both active and passive unless indicated):

  • Aids in balancing the Thyroid gland (especially combined with shoulder stand)
  • Opens the shoulders and chest
  • Promotes healthy and unobstructed breathing. Great for asthma, allergies and congestion (but may be exacerbating if you are super congested)
  • Strengthens the muscles along the spine (active version) and in the legs (advanced variation)

 

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