Zen Body Yoga + Wellness

Spreading the Zen to Tulsa!

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Fueling Your Body: Pumpkin Overnight Oatmeal

Written by: Calista Evraets

blogWith our fast-paced, busy lifestyles, it can be hard to make time to nourish our bodies with healthy foods.  It’s easy to get caught up in the day and miss a meal, or settle for fast food because of time constraints.  This recipe is a great one because it’s easy to prepare in advance for breakfast, or to take along for lunch!

This is the time of year where people seem to go a little pumpkin crazy, but don’t discount the health benefits of this fall food!  Pumpkin is rich in vitamins A and C and beta carotene, has more potassium per serving than a banana, and is high in fiber.  It’s a great addition to your diet, especially when it’s not mixed with a lot of sugar!

1/4 cup whole oats
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp Chia seeds (optional)
1 Tbsp chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts taste great in this recipe!)
Dash of cinnamon and cloves
Honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar to sweeten to taste (I use about 1Tbsp maple syrup)


Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake well.  Refrigerate at least 6 hours, until all liquid is absorbed.  Will keep 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

One of my favorite things about this recipe is how easy it is to customize.  As long as you keep the fruit, milk, oat, and yogurt ratios about the same, you can change it with what fruit is in season, or what you have on hand at home.  If pumpkin isn’t your thing, try omitting the spices and throwing in fresh or frozen berries instead!  Applesauce also makes an easy fruit replacement.  If you don’t do dairy, you can use coconut yogurt with a non-dairy milk option!  The combinations are nearly endless!

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10 Ways The Master Challenge Can Enrich Your Life

Written by: Calista EvraetsMaster Challenge FB

Have you ever noticed the chart outside the studio door and wondered what it’s all about? The chart is a simple way to track the number of classes you’ve attended. Each month presents a new opportunity to complete Zen Body Master Challenge! If you complete twenty-two classes in the calendar month, you’ll get a Zen Body Master Challenge t-shirt, but there are lots of other things you can gain from taking the challenge!

1. Yoga will become a regular part of your day.
Coming to a class at least five times per week will help you to make yoga a habit! It’s a big deal to plan to spend that much time at the studio, and you’ll find yourself planning your days around yoga classes. The next thing you know, you’re in the habit of setting aside time to practice!
2. Yoga skills will advance.
It goes without saying that practice makes perfect, but you might be amazed by how quickly your strength and stamina builds when you’re practicing almost every day.
3. You’ll feel better about your body.
This can come in a number of ways. Stronger, more toned muscles may help give you a boost of confidence. You may gain more appreciation of how amazing and strong your body is. You may feel a sense of gratitude toward your body as it carries you through each class.
4. Your posture will improve.
Yoga helps to strengthen the core muscles that surround the spine, so as your strength builds, you’ll find yourself walking taller!
5. Sleep may come easier.
Practicing meditation regularly can help condition your mind toward relaxing at the end of the day. Additionally, regular exercise can help to physically tire the body. If you work at a desk all day, your mind may be tired but your body may not have burned enough energy to be ready to settle down for restful sleep.
6. Planning around yoga classes can improve your diet.
After a few days of practice, you’ll start to learn which foods fuel your body to be active for your class. Since twenty-two classes is a big commitment of time, figuring out meals in advance may help you to eat a healthier diet.
7. Your stress levels may drop.
Eating better, sleeping better, and getting regular exercise can contribute to less stress, anxiety, and depression. Meditation will also give you a great outlet when you’re feeling stressed.
8. You will make new friends and build a community of encouraging people.
Yoga people are the BEST people! Every class is full of people making a similar commitment to their health and well-being. You might find yourself making plans with your yoga friends outside the studio!
9. It’s a great opportunity to try new classes.
Is there an instructor you’ve never taken a class from? Have you been meaning to try a restorative class, but haven’t found the time? Choose those new classes as part of your personal challenge!
10. You’ll feel confidence in your ability to reach a goal.
At the end of the month, when you reach your twenty-second class, you’ll be proud of your strength and follow-through!

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De-stress at the office with yoga stretches and breathing

Written By: Amy Miller

I see students in my yoga classes and private sessions every day with some issues relating to their work in offices, whether it’s low back pain from sitting, neck and shoulder pain from hunching forward over a keyboard, wrist pain from typing or using a mouse, or some other ailment from an unfriendly desk or chair.  All of this is compounded by the stress we feel in our daily lives and it leaves many of us aching from head to toe.

I can empathize.  I used to spend many hours sitting at a desk and there have been times in my life when I have been a regular at the Chiropractor’s office.  Since I’ve been doing yoga regularly, though, I’ve been relatively pain free.  I know getting to a yoga class daily isn’t an option for everyone, so I’ve created this video for you with a few exercises you can do at your desk that will have you feeling better soon!

Making these yoga exercises a part of your routine can decrease or even eliminate body pain, fatigue and tension and increase overall muscle strength and flexibility, and can even relieve headaches.

What Will Help You Bloom?


Written by: Calista Evraets

IMG_20151008_131019As an avid gardener, I often find interesting parallels between my own life and my work in the garden. One of the challenges that I love about gardening is figuring out what a plant needs in order to bloom. Sometimes when I plant a new type of flower, it just doesn’t thrive the way I’d hoped it would. Then I have to do some research and figure out what I can do to help it along. Is it getting the right amount of sunlight? Is the soil too acidic or too basic? Maybe I’m over-watering. I recently noticed that while it’s easy to do research about my plants, it’s a lot harder where my own growth is concerned!

Perhaps you see a similar situation in your own life. Our lives are dynamic, and we continue to grow and change with our environments. Do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut? Has your routine become monotonous to the point where you don’t feel like you’re moving forward anymore? Maybe your stress levels are high and you feel as if you’re constantly running around without any time to enjoy the present. What can you change to feel more at peace in your daily life? For some of us, it may mean breaking out of the routine, trying something new, or exploring a new hobby or schedule. For others, it may mean cutting back on new calendar items, or saying no to some of the requests for our time and energy.

The same thing can hold true in our yoga practice. Many of us began our yoga journey as a way of achieving personal growth. Practice can become routine and static, and we may need to branch out and try something different. If you’ve focused on high intensity classes with lots of movement, maybe it’s time to try the stillness of a restorative class. Maybe you haven’t put as much focus on the meditation aspect of yoga, and you would benefit from a Kundalini class. If you’ve felt afraid to try something outside your comfort zone, you might appreciate the confidence that comes from taking an aerial workshop and realizing the amazing things your body can do! If you’ve felt your practice needs some fine tuning, it might be a great time to schedule a private session, where you can work one on one with an instructor.
One of my favorite things about yoga is this: I’ve found that when I make changes to my practice to achieve personal growth, other aspects of my life tend to slip into a healthier path with less struggle. My stress levels improve, I find strength and confidence, and I’m able to be present in my life, rather than always looking forward to the next minute, hour, or day. I encourage you to give some thought to what you need to bloom! You might be surprised at the answers you find!

Strengthening the Mind-Body Connection


Written by: Amy Miller

IMG_20151001_152808One of the greatest benefits of yoga is strengthening the mind-body connection.

You have probably heard your yoga teacher say “listen to your body,” which is often interpreted as “don’t hurt yourself!” whether or not that was the sentiment being expressed. A more powerful and truer interpretation of your teacher’s words are to listen to your body, and to really hear the message, to quiet your thinking mind and be present with the sensations you feel. That is definitely easier said than done, but yoga practice is, in my opinion, the most certain way to achieve this ability to understand the body’s signals.
Our bodies often send subtle signals, and sometimes, when we don’t heed the subtle warnings, aggressive signals. With a calm mind, we become more open to hearing the messages before we experience a negative outcome from ignoring the body’s whisper.

For example, when practicing yoga, you might notice that you are holding tension in your shoulders even when you try to relax. You might decide to spend some additional time breathing deeply into shoulder and neck stretches to ease the tightness.  If you didn’t notice this gentle tension for many days, you might begin to ache. Then a few days later, the aching shoulders have caused significant tension in the upper back. This creates a discomfort when moving freely, so you become stiff throughout the torso, creating a new pain in the lower back…and pretty soon, it’s time to take some Ibuprofen and a trip to the chiropractor. Again.  In other words, learning to hear and feel the signals early, before they become a problem, offers the opportunity to make an adjustment and defuses the potentially catastrophic outcome.

Additionally, you may notice your body sending you early warnings of mental or emotional harm. Have you ever had a “gut feeling” or a “lump in your throat”? These are physical reactions to thoughts, whether conscious or unconscious. We typically notice these physical reactions once the emotion or mental anxiety is acute. What if we were to notice the onset of a reaction earlier, before the anxiety-producing thought came to our conscious minds? This is a form of intuition, and it can be very beneficial in avoiding unsafe situations (such as a threatening person or place) or overwhelming emotional responses (such as outbursts of anger or sadness).

Practicing yoga regularly can bring about the body awareness that allows us to avoid physical injury as well as help us balance and respond appropriately to emotions. Through mindfulness, pranayama and asana, this early consciousness can improve our self-regulation and our understanding of who we are.

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Finding Your Life’s Purpose


Written By: Amy Miller

I’ve seen this diagram in the past, but it’s making its way around social media again and it still resonates with me.  Part of what I do as a Life Coach is to help people find their “Purpose.”

Spiritual Wellness is one of the 8 dimensions of well that I cover in 21 Days to Well and as a Life Coach.  Spiritual Wellness involves having meaning and purpose and a sense of balance and peace and may or may not include Religion.

Some elements of Spiritual Wellness include prayer, meditation, or personal reflection as well as understanding other’s beliefs and values. There should be a direct relationship between your personal values and your daily actions. Ultimately, we are talking about the self-awareness and understanding of your place in the universe, your purpose in life, your true passion.

Often, we are not immediately aware of our “purpose in life”.  Maybe you even think there is no such thing as a “purpose,” but it is here, in your purpose, that you will find true fulfillment.  Your purpose in life may not be something profound like “to heal others” or “to teach the next generation” or “end war.”

One purpose may be “to love” or “to be happy” or “to take care of my pets” or “to find and share my gift.” We may get so caught up searching for our Life’s Purpose, that we forget we may have many purposes.  But how do we find them?

We find our purposes by following our hearts and intuition and trusting ourselves to make the right choices. Listen to the thoughts that occur to you during or after meditation.  During meditation, we open the channels of communication between our mind and our unlimited awareness.  Listen carefully, as it will often be as quiet as a whisper and it might be overshadowed by the voice of the world – what you have been nurtured and enculturated to believe.

Try this exercise.

  1. Keep a notebook and pen just for writing down your plans for your future.  I like to have a pretty notebook and a special pen that I don’t use for anything else.  I keep mine in my bedroom because it is a calm space where I feel safe.  You might have a special meditation room or an office that makes you feel at your most comfortable.  Keep your notebook and pen in the place where you most often meditate.
  1. Practice meditation daily, even if only for 5 or 10 minutes.
  1. Once your meditation has become easier and you are able to let the mind and body relax for 5 minutes or more at a time, begin occasionally saying to yourself “reveal to me my highest calling” just before you begin to relax.  Then forget about it; don’t start thinking about what your calling is or should be.  It will only be revealed to you when you stop thinking and listen.
  1. During your meditation, if a thought pops into your mind, quickly write it down and then go back to meditating.  Don’t explore the thought now; that will close off your connection to your all-knowing spirit and set the human mind to work.  You can take care of that later.
  1. Remember that not every thought that comes into your head during this time will be an answer to your question, but it is usually placed in your mind for a reason.  Listen!

Don’t get discouraged when life doesn’t seem to be moving in the direction you want.  Sometimes, when things don’t happen in our lives exactly the way we planned or on the time frame we imagined, we think all is lost.  However, we ultimately have the knowledge of the way life is meant to unfold and while it doesn’t always meet our conscious expectations, if you listen to your heart and soul, the path you are on will not fail you.

Set-backs on your path are there to teach you something.  The sooner you learn from these trials the sooner you can get back on track to fulfilling your purpose.  As you explore your purpose, don’t be afraid to let it evolve and change.

Within each of us is a deep understanding of our values and through allowing our conscious minds to uncover these values, we can apply our personal strengths and abilities to create our purpose, our goals, our legacy.  Through this process we become the author of our destiny.  Every choice you make is a part of your life story but your story progresses in any way you choose.  Whatever you want with all of your heart, you can make happen.

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Toxin Elimination Bath


Written By: Amy Miller

Place 2 cups of Epsom salts and one cup of baking soda into a tub, run the hottest water you can stand and add 8 drops of lavender oil. Soak for 20 minutes and allow yourself to sweat. When you are finished bathing, wrap yourself up in towels and go under the covers and sweat some more. You should feel very relaxed and sleep soundly.

There are thousands of different dietary recommendations and philosophies, and new ones come up every day. The very best way to figure out your personalized diet is to begin to pay attention to how you feel as you explore different ways of eating and being. In the process of cleansing, you will begin to recognize which foods may not be serving you, despite what you have read or been told.