Wellness

3 Year Anniversary of the Leap

3 years ago today, I left my full-time career as a digital marketing manager to pursue a career of my design comprised of yoga and meditation, mindfulness and wellness, and the craft of writing.  Teaching yoga and mindfulness, engaging in the wellness world, and writing were all deep passions of mine that I had been doing on the side part-time whilst working full-time in the marketing realm for nearly 6 years.  Finally, I reached a point where I realized I would never be fulfilled being a full-time marketing manager or eventual executive.  It became crystalline clear that in order to be fulfilled I profoundly needed to teach and to write and to see the direct impact of my work on other humans.  And so, I leapt from the stability of my marketing career into the unstable, riveting gig economy.

Me running away from the corporate world

Since then, I have taught thousands of yoga classes, led multiple yoga teacher training programs, taught hundreds of meditations and mindfulness workshops, written hundreds of articles, pages, and posts, become a ‘micro-influencer’ and a somewhat working model, and met hundreds of beautiful, inspired humans and have had greater opportunity to work with and befriend them.

It has not always been easy.  Leaving my marketing career meant leaving a perfectly steady paycheck, employee covered insurance, perks, and more.  I have still worked in the marketing world taking on consulting and project jobs as means of supplementing my income.  (And to be clear, I am grateful for any marketing job I have had and have great friends from those jobs who I would still work with in some capacity!)  Especially in 2020, having a career like mine has been incredibly stressful and continues to be uncertain.  

My current work attire

Still, I would not change the last 3 years for anything.  For in these years of doing the work that I love and building a life that is more on my terms, I have felt myself blossom into the best version of myself.  It is this version of myself who has been able to help more people, learn and grow abundantly, and connect with so many wonderful humans.  Thank you to everyone who has been a part of and supported my journey.  Now, let’s continue forward together!

Rise Bar Partnership

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Vitamin Bounty

I’ve been interested in trying out nutritional supplements for a while, but with so many brands on the market it is hard to make an informed choice about which to go with. Luckily, I found Vitamin Bounty.

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The Lost Lightworkers

*Disclaimer: Since writing this post, I have been informed that some people see the term “lightworker” as an offensive term synonymous with spiritual bypassing (the using of spiritual teachings and beliefs as a way to avoid facing unresolved emotional and psychological issues and trauma and generally avoiding and denying necessary “shadow work”) and colorism (discrimination based on the shading of skin color, generally labeling lighter as good and darker as bad).  Thus, I want to be clear that the definition for “lightworker” that I am working with is not attached to spiritual bypassing and colorism. My use of “lightworker” and “light” does not have any correlation to skin color or race and does not promote spiritual bypassing or emotional avoidance of any kind. My definition for the term “lightworker” is someone who dedicates their work and/or life to helping others by promoting health, wellness, kindness, compassion, and love. This is the definition I am working with for the below article. Based on the research I have done, the use of “lightworker” is safe when such a clarification as this is made. If you would like to discuss this topic further, please fill out my contact form and correspond with me directly. Thank you.*

            In a time where the fear and the reality of job loss, business closures, financial ruin, social separation, illness, and death plague our country, there has never been a greater need for lightworkers. In the spiritual, new age community, a lightworker is broadly defined as someone who is intensely drawn to help others. Lightworkers display an abundance of empathy and compassion for others in their close and distant circles. Such individuals often pursue careers in healthcare, psychotherapy, massage, yoga, meditation, reiki, and other such modalities in which their jobs directly touch and impact other humans. (Please read the *Disclaimer above for further clarification on the definition being used here) Lightworkers who have chosen careers as doctors, nurses, and the like find themselves in higher demand than perhaps ever before. And that demand is sure to only continue rising in the coming weeks and months. There are, however, many other lightworkers in this country who find themselves unable to fulfill their vocations. What happens to those of us that exist in other corners and sectors of the wellness world who want desperately to work, to help, and to heal, but find our paths for doing so closed? What happens to us lightworkers who are ready and willing to come to the aid of others but suddenly find ourselves struggling for survival in an economy that never truly realized our value and potential? In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us lightworkers find ourselves wandering, wondering, and lost.

            I consider myself to be a lightworker; a title I wear proudly. I am a yoga and meditation instructor as well as a writer in the wellness and mindfulness space. Like many other lightworkers, I am deeply passionate about my modalities. The work I do is work I would always do no matter how much money I had in my bank account. Give me a billion dollars and you will still find me teaching yoga at the studio and writing articles to inspire inner growth. True retirement from these jobs is something I will never choose. My work is less of a job that earns income and more of a vocation that fulfills the mission of my soul. Yet as the coronavirus continues to alter the state of the country and the larger world, I find it increasingly difficult to perform the work I believe I have been placed on earth to do.

            I live in California where a statewide shelter-in-place mandate has been instituted until further notice. With this, both of the yoga studios I teach for have closed and temporarily laid all instructors off without pay or benefits. The corporate offices I contract for as a yoga and meditation instructor have closed as their employees are required to work from home if they are to work at all. While some private individual clients may still continue to request me to come and teach them in their homes, at any moment they could choose to suspend our classes or else law enforcement could prevent me from reaching their residences as more and more checkpoints are put in place. Furthermore, I am certainly not acquiring new clients during this time of social distancing and quarantine. 

            Thus, I suddenly find myself with fewer platforms to practice my modalities of teaching yoga and meditation to the hundreds of people I used to see regularly every week. The modest income I earned from these opportunities has been halted. Like the ever growing millions of people in the US who have temporarily or permanently lost their means of income in a capitalistic economy that clearly has no elasticity and flexibility to it and a social security net that is being loosely woven at the eleventh hour, I now must wonder about how I will procure the money I need to support myself and survive in a system that would normally allow me to fall into ruin. And worse, I must mourn the loss of the work I did, love so deeply, and want so badly to continue doing for the value I believe it adds to the world.

            Clearly, I am not alone in these personal and financially devastating losses. Yoga and fitness instructors, meditation leaders, massage therapists, reiki and alternative practice healers across the nation all find ourselves out of work, forced away from our vocations, and in some cases, fresh out of luck.  It hurts our wallets and our hearts. We worry not just for ourselves, but for the clients that we have served in earnest for so long. We want so desperately to continue helping, but our industries are not safe to operate in. Our industries are closed for the greater good and health of our clients and ourselves. And as we reflect, we face the hard truth that while our clients may personally value us and our work, clearly the society we reside in and serve does not – at least, not enough to ensure that we too are cared for and that our resource needs are met during these uncertain days.

            Still, not all hope is lost. Some of us lightworkers are finding innovative ways to continue performing our vocations. Many yoga and fitness instructors, including myself, are teaching virtual classes via platforms like Zoom and Instagram Live. I have been teaching four to five free community classes per week via Zoom to an audience comprised of most of my normal students. On the financial front, some of my students have contributed donations for these classes via Venmo which has been nice. More importantly, it has been a rewarding experience to see my students’ faces, hear their voices, and still be able to lead them through a yoga flow. My students have expressed immense gratitude for my continued teaching in this time which provides them with a way to move their bodies and clear their heads as well as evoke some sense of normalcy in a season in which nothing feels normal. Additionally, one of the corporate companies I contract for as a mindfulness and meditation instructor has decided to expand the program I normally lead solely at their Southern California branch and roll it out nationwide with virtual sessions, allowing me to reach even more people across our country. And again, I am not alone. Lightworkers are leading virtual classes and support groups, performing “distance reiki”, creating online mindfulness courses and workbooks, and much more.

            Yet for as wonderful as these new ways of performing our vocations, the innovative ventures some of us lightworkers are pursuing are still insufficient for us on fiscal and energetic levels. Furthermore, these alternative paths for virtual work are not accessible for all lightworkers who do not have the necessary technological savvy or for those whose modalities simply cannot be offered virtually – an older meditation teacher may not know how to operate Zoom for a virtual class and a massage therapist simply cannot work unless they are physically present with a client. For those of us who do have virtual offerings, there is a heightened level of competition present between us. None of us want to recognize this truth, for as empaths we want everyone to succeed, but when it comes down to earning the money we need to pay our rents and put food on the table, we cannot help but realize we want and need students to be taking our own classes and making donations to us. And so, us lightworkers find ourselves in a paradoxical time. We want to help our communities and we want our comrades to succeed in doing so too, yet we often cannot help our communities and realize that some primal part of ourselves we wish we could ignore desires our own success and survival at a greater tier than we have before. All of this has created the overwhelming sensation of being lost.

            Although, while the reality is that we are facing a uniquely challenging time comprised of loss of resources, lack of support, and daily fulfill-able purpose, us lightworkers will never truly stop. It is true that the current pandemic has us feeling unstable, uncared for by the crumbling social structures in this country, and confused about exactly how we fit into the world at this time, but something that we possess is a potent, undying drive to do good in the world. While we may endure moments of fear, scarcity, and hopelessness, we will ultimately return back to our inner truths that we simply want the best for all and want to play some part in that. At the end of the day, lightworkers will find our way back to ourselves and strive to do our work no matter what. Even if all we can do is meditate and pray for the well-being of the larger collective that is what we will do. We are lost in this time, but we are still here, and we are still trying.

Confined Contemplations

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to shake the foundations of our world and change our lives on a daily, updating basis, I find myself contemplating a myriad of topics, thoughts, and emotions. As quarantine forces me into a state of stillness, I am allowing myself the opportunity to reflect deeply on the following. These questions were developed uniquely for me, but if they resonate with you as well, I encourage you to reflect on them and perhaps even journal about them.

What do I miss that I had access to before but do not have access to now?

What are the things that I do not have access to anymore, but do not miss?

What did I have access to before that I realize I did not take full advantage of now that it is no longer available to me?

What parts of my busy routine do I miss and that I feel were serving me well?

What parts of my busy routine do I not miss and which parts do I feel were not serving me well?

What did I once deem necessary and vital that may not seem so important anymore?

What practices have I taken up in this time of isolation and quarantine that are positive? Which ones are negative?

Who do I miss seeing on a regular basis?

Who do I not miss seeing?

Who have I connected with more deeply in the wake of this pandemic that I want to maintain a greater connection with when this is over?

Who in my life has changed in my eyes, for better or for worse, based on how they have reacted to this pandemic?

If I had a giant house and could take in 20 friends and family members for quarantine, who would make up those 20 people?

Overall, how have I responded to this pandemic?

In what ways have I handled this pandemic positively? In what ways have I handled this pandemic negatively?

What have I learned in the past few years of inner growth that I am actively applying to this situation?

What have I learned in the past few years of inner growth that I could stand to apply to this situation?

What types of stress have I experienced from this pandemic?

Where has the stress of this time resonated in my body?

What coping strategies have helped me to cope with this stress?

Am I being of service to others in this time?

How can I be of more service to my community and the world right now?

What lessons am I learning in this time as a person?

What lessons are we learning in this time as a collective?

What have I already learned in this time that I want to take with me into the future?

Universe/God/etc – Where would you have me go? What would you have me say? What would you have me do?

Goli Nutrition Gummies

This is a sponsored post done in partnership with Goli Nutrition

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We all know that Apple Cider Vinegar is healthy AF – it’s packed with vitamins like B9 & B12, helps maintain a heart health and good cholesterol, controls blood sugar levels, promotes healthy digestion, and maintains clear skin. Especially right now, ACV is fantastic for boosting our immune systems, so we need to be taking it more than ever. ⁣

Unfortunately, straight ACV tastes like poison even though its medicine. But Goli’s gummies make getting your daily dose of ACV tasty and fun! The gummies are like little fruity gushers – take one after every meal as a treat for my taste buds and a boost for my body. ⁣

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If you are interested in more ACV in your life and want it to taste good, then I highly recommend Goli! You can get 5% off your first order with my code JOHNNYLAPASTA. Head to the link below to order today!

Goli Nutrition Website

Keep It Moving, Quarantine

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all spending a lot more time cooped up inside our homes. This forced period of isolation can result in a lot of sitting, lounging, and general lack of movement. Even for those who typically sit at a desk in an office all day may find themselves even more sedentary than normal as need to commute to and from the building, walk to get lunch or coffee, or migrate to different offices for meetings are all eliminated. While social distancing and quarantine offer us the opportunity to slow down and to rest, it is still important to continue moving and exercising our bodies to maintain our best possible health. Studies have shown that sedentary behavior is linked to a variety of health issues including high blood pressure and a heightened risk for over 30 chronic diseases and conditions. So clearly, we are species that needs to be moving and doing so often.  

 In this piece, I am sharing with you some ideas for how you can move your body, in addition to regular exercise, throughout your days in quarantine! You do not need any special equipment or large amounts of space. There are plenty of ways to move your body throughout the day and maintain your health.

Regular Exercise

 Before I go any further, I want to stress the importance of continuing to get regular exercise every day. I am defining “regular exercise” as 30 minutes or more of consistent movement – walking, yoga, pilates, weight training, kick boxing, etc. There are thousands of coaches, teachers, studios, and gyms online right now providing resources, instruction, and tips for how to continue exercising during this time. There are online yoga, pilates, and HITT classes, there are sample body weight and cardio routines, there are full, well rounded at home programs to follow. I suggest exploring your options, choosing what works for you, and striving to do regular exercise for a minimum of the 30 minutes per day, 5-6 days per week.

 Now for the remainder of this piece, I want to offer ways in which you can move your body throughout your quarantine days in addition to the “regular exercise” discussed above. Once again, we will be finding ourselves more sedentary in the coming weeks, and so getting creative and dynamic with movement throughout your day is key.

Movement Breaks

 Again, you may find yourself sitting and lounging for hours on end. While stillness and rest are great, we are a species built for movement and ignoring that fact can lead to a myriad of health problems. According to Healthline.com, sitting for extended periods of time everyday can lead to weakened leg and glute muscles, tight hips and back, weight gain, a heightened risk for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, and can instigate and/or exacerbate anxiety and depression. Thus, we are encouraged to move, to move dynamically, and do so often.

So, I propose incorporating “Movement Breaks” throughout your days in quarantine. Set a recurring timer for every 1.5 – 2 hours, and when it goes off, stand up and do one of the following:

1 minute of Push-Ups

  • Maintain pectoral, arm, and back strength
  • Try different variations like:
    • Wide Arm
    • Narrow Arm
    • Diamond Hands
    • Claps

1 minute of Squats

  • Strengthen glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves and more
  • Try different variations like:
    •  Standard Squats
    • Hamstring Curls
    • Calf Raises
    • Lateral Raises
    • 1 Legged Twists
    • Squat Jumps

1 minute of Lunges

  • Strengthen legs, glutes, and more
  • Try different variations like:
    • Backward Lunges
    • Forward Lunges
    • Side Lunges
    • Switch Lunges

1 minute of shoulder taps or army crawlers

  • Strengthen arms, shoulders, pectorals, and back as well as practice coordination

1 minute of mountain climbers, plank jacks, burpees, or jumping jacks

  • Strengthen a variety of muscles groups while incorporating plyometric and cardiovascular exercise

Dance Break!

  • Incorporating a cardio burst into your day and have some fun!
  • Put on your favorite pop, R&B, or hip hop song and dance to it for the full 3-4 minutes.
  • This is my personal favorite!

Choreography

  • Find a choreographer/dance instructor on YouTube and learn the choreography dances from some of your favorite performers like Britney Spears, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, and more!
  • This leads to a full cardio workout as well as coordination exercise and can be a fun group activity!

Walks

  • While we still have the privilege to take walks through the neighborhood, consider taking multiple 15-20 minutes throughout your neighborhood and enjoy the fresh air!
  • Be sure to stay at least 6 feet away from any other passerby.

I hope you enjoy these suggestions for keeping your bodies moving in this unique time! Cannot wait to see you all again when we are out of this!

My Health Tips for Flu Season

Fall is here and it’s brought more than just pumpkin spice everything with it. This time of year marks the return of cold and flu season. But before you grab your hand sanitizer and don a face mask, Johnny La Pasta has a few tips to help you stay healthy and fit this sick season!

While I do fall ill sometimes just like everyone else, I have a pretty good track record of staying healthy most years, often completely missing the major flu or cold that everyone around me seems to catch (knock on wood). Even when I do contract an illness, I often bounce back from it rather quickly. This has led many of my friends, family, and students to ask me: How?

Here are my tips for staying healthy and fit during the flu & cold season –

-1- Hydration

water glass theme water

Hydration is always key, including during flu & cold season. Staying hydrated promotes your elimination system which can help to flush build ups of toxins from your body before they can take root and do any harm. So even if it’s cold outside, drink your water like it’s a scorching summer day!

-2- Citrus All Day, Every Day

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 One of the ways I stay healthy all year long is I am almost always consuming some form of citrus. As we all know, citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes are rich in vitamin C which is key for immunity. Citrus fruits have been shown to strengthen your white blood cells as well as increase your white blood cell count. White blood cells are the guys that fight off infection, so you want them strong and in abundance! So, how do you get your citrus in?

Put citrus into your water! Cut up citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit into wedges and store in mason jars in your fridge at home and at work. Anytime you refill your water, squeeze any combination of the fruits into the water and drink. This will make your water tastier and be consistently providing you with a powerful source of vitamin C.

-3- Apple Cider Vinegar

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Another way I keep my health going throughout the year and especially during this season is Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). ACV is rich in minerals, vitamins, and enzymes that help to bind to and then remove toxins from the body, promote better lymph circulation, and act as a natural antibacterial and antiseptic within the body. ACV has been used medicinally since ancient times in many cultures and science shows there is no reason to stop now!

Take a shot of ACV a couple of times a day or add a couple tablespoons to your water at least twice a day. Yeah, the taste is not the best, but the results are worth it! And if you do get sick, drink ACV all damn day to promote that illness getting killed off!

-4- doTerra On Guard® Protective Blend Essential Oil

on_guard_1400x

I swear on Oprah by this oil. Wild Orange Peel, Clove Bud, Cinnamon Leaf, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Leaf, and Rosemary Leaf/Flower essential oils come together to create a master oil that supports the immune and respiratory systems, protects against environmental threats, and supports the body’s natural antioxidant defenses.

Throughout last year’s epically bad flu season, I used this oil in a few different ways. The first was that every night, I mixed a few drops of On Guard into a couple tablespoons of coconut oil and rubbed that mixture into my neck, chest, stomach, and the bottoms of feet so that my body could absorb the oil and all its benefits overnight as my body restored. Secondly, I diffused a few drops of this oil in my oil diffuser next to my bed as I slept. Lastly, when I felt like I was rundown or perhaps coming down with an illness, I added a drop of On Guard to my water a few times per day and drank it down. And I will be repeating all of these techniques with On Guard this sick season.

You can learn more about doTerra’s On Guard® Protective Blend and how to safely use it here.

-5- Oil of Oregano

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Oregano Essential Oil has been used by the Chinese, Greeks, and Romans since ancient times as a medicinal substance. Oregano is highly potent with a phenol called carvacrol that possess powerful antioxidant properties. When ingested, oregano oil acts as an antibacterial, antiseptic, and antiviral.

I do not take oregano essential oil on the regular because it’s nasty AF. However, when I feel myself getting sick or am sick, I will use the oil to help fight and kill off whatever is in my system. You can honestly almost feel the oil burning away at the infection inside you. Again, oil of oregano is extremely powerful and so be mindful to use with caution. Best practice is to dilute 1 drop of oregano oil in at least 4 fluid ounces of water and drink, trying to avoid getting the oil on your lips as it can cause a burning sensation.

I use doTerra’s Oregano Essential Oil, which can learn more about here.

-6- Good Nutrition

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This one should go without saying. Making a nutritious diet part of your lifestyle is simply key to overall health and wellness. If you are eating wholesome foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals, then your body and immune system are going to be better supported to resist and fight off infection.

-7- Exercise

8 angle

Here again, exercise is just important to living your best life. When it comes to immunity, exercising promotes the elimination of bacteria from your lungs and airways. It also promotes the circulation of your white blood cells; it makes them more active in doing their job of fighting infection. So just move!

-8- Sleep

white bed comforter

Making sure you get your 7-8 hours of sleep per night is essential during flu & cold season. Deep sleep is your body’s time to restore and rejuvenate. If you give it the time it needs to do this, then it is going to be more equipped to ward off sickness. I swear, whenever I find myself in a situation where I am sleep deprived, I end up getting some sort of illness. We really do need our sleep, so be diligent about it.

_ _ _

These are the practices and techniques I have incorporated into my lifestyle which have served me in keeping my healthy and strong. I invite you to try a few or all of these on and see how you fair this sick season. Good luck!

 

 

27

Today I turned 27 years old. This is not an age that is by any means a milestone. It is, however, a number that holds much significance for me personally.  Ever since I was a little kid, 27 was always my favorite number. I know, it is a very odd number to select as a favorite; why not one of the primary numbers like 3 or 5, why not the superstitious 13, why not the clean even 20? I can’t explain it, but I always liked the look and feel of 27; an age young but mature, a dollar amount not huge but still worth something, a quantity amount enough but not excessive. 27 is the age I have assigned to many of my characters in my writing throughout the years. And now, I am this age and for me, there is a lot to reflect on because of it.

27 represents a crossing from the mid-20’s to the late 20’s – the final third of the golden decade.  When I was a teenager and even in my early 20’s, I truly believed that by my late-20’s, by 27, I would be a wildly successful writer of sorts, a homeowner, and married. Yet here we are and I am not close to being any of these things. My life has not unfolded in the ways I thought it would, but this is not a unique sentiment. Ask anyone and you will probably find that their life’s journey has unfolded in a multitude of unexpected ways as well, usually taking them to different destinations than they ever thought they would end up.  So rather than being disappointed or discouraged with where I am at as I become this age, I am choosing to be at peace and trust in the divine flow of the universe and my part in it. Additionally, I am choosing to believe that 27 is going to be a wondrous year for me. While my 27 does not look how I envisioned when I was young, I have reason to believe that my 27 will still be significant and meaningful.

Again, 27 has been an important number for me since I was a little kid. And they say that numbers you feel drawn to or repeatedly see again and again may be your Angel Numbers. What are Angel Numbers? Angel Numbers are codes from your spirit guides to convey messages to you throughout your life. Your numbers can change over time depending on what you are going through, and others stay constant. 27 has been constant for me and so I finally looked up what this angel number means.

The Angel Number 27 is a message from your angels that new information or news of a positive nature is on the way. It is a message to believe in yourself, your intuition and the callings you feel within. Angel Number 27 is a message of faith, trust, and self-belief. Your angels ask you to step forward on your life path with confidence and grace. Maintain a positive attitude and perspective and trust that you will manifest positive results, rewards, and blessings into your life.

What a positive meaning behind this number! The good, however, does not stop there. 2018 – this year that I turn 27 in – is a big year in astrology. I recently read an article from an astrological contributor at Elephant Journal that tells us that each sign in the zodiac has a lot of potential in 2018. I am a Pisces, and very much so, here is what they had to say about Pisces in 2018:

“A magical carpet ride is about to be set in motion. 2018 is your year to become enchanted with all of the mysteries of the universe and refuel your emotional reserves. Out of this realm discoveries are awaiting. Its finally time to swim care-free through an ocean of positive emotions. Your Pisces Mantra for 2018: ‘Get Enchanted’”.

So if we put this all together, I am in my Angel Number year of 27 being guided toward positive news and encouraged to believe in myself in addition to being a Piscean in 2018 which is to be an enchanted year that takes me on a magic ride. What a combination, right? So here is to believing that this new year of life, this next jaunt around the sun, is going to be beautiful!

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