• Be Strong Yoga Challenge with Kino MacGregor

    Increase your strength with Omstars Members Be Strong Yoga Challenge. In this 13-Day challenge, Kino MacGregor will share her personal experience from years of practice and exploration, passing on the the tools you need to safely progress to develop your strength.

    Strength doesn’t happen overnight, but as you complete these classes you’ll lay the foundation you need to have a safe home yoga practice. Use this challenge to take your strength to a whole new level and transform not only your practice but your life. The most important part: Remember to have fun, believe in yourself, and never give up!

    In the Be Strong Challenge you will:

    • Learn the building blocks of strength.
    • Integrate body, mind, and soul as you train yourself to be strong both mentally and physically.
    • Find inspiration and support with daily emails, our online community & Kino’s expert guidance.

    Sign Up Today!

    The decision to be strong is a statement of self-worth. When you decide you’re worth it, you also decide that you’re willing to put in the work to be strong. It’s a shift in the heart that says, yes, I’m good enough.

    Join this challenge and expect to be, well, challenged. Strength is hard work and building strength takes time, patience and determination. The lesson of strength took me years to integrate in body, mind and soul. I designed this challenge so that you can learn all the tools I learned on my journey and safely progress deeper in your practice. It doesn’t matter if you get it right on the first try.

    In fact, you should expect to fail and then slowly build up from there. Learning how to be happy with failure is one of the lessons of strength. If you need to get it perfectly on the first try, then you’re in a competition. We are here to learn and grow, not to compete with ourselves or anyone else. It only matters that you try and learn from your experience.

    The 13 classes of this challenge build you up from the basics and take you all the way to the peaks of the strength. This journey has taken Kino over 20 years so be patient with yourself as you commit to the process.

    Daily Poses:

    1. Hands to a T-Shape
    2. Full Navasana
    3. Full Plank
    4. Chaturanga
    5. Pinchamayurasana
    6. Side Plank / Vashishtasana
    7. L-Sit
    8. Tittibhasana
    9. Handstand Tuck
    10. Crossed-Leg Lift Up
    11. Handstand Pike Position
    12. Parsva Bakasana (straight arms)
    13. Meditation Seated Pose

    Daily emails will include modifications to make the practice truly accessible! Remember to have fun, believe in yourself and never give up.

    Are you ready? Join Now! 

     

    By Kino MacGregor & Omstars

     

  • Yoga, Journaling, and the Healing Power of Self-Discovery

    The human experience on this Earth is one that often comes with discomfort, pain, confusion and suffering. Our job, as human beings, is to navigate our way through the challenges presented to us in life so that we can find healing. This is what it takes to make our way back to our own essential natures, which are peace, love, beauty, and bliss.

    Yoga, Journaling and the Healing Power of Self-Discovery

    My belief is that the key to healing is self-discovery. As we begin to know ourselves more and more, the truth of our own essential nature becomes more apparent – like sifting through mud to find natural treasures buried beneath. Unfortunately, we cannot simply decide to know ourselves, snap our fingers and make it so. Self-discovery is a process that we must be fully dedicated to for it to unfold.

    Up to this point in my life, yoga is one of the most powerful tools for self-discovery that I’ve come across yet; and journaling, I’ve found, can be a pivotal piece in our ability to process that which we discover. We can think of yoga as the lens we use to see and capture the most beautiful pieces of ourselves, and journaling as the mechanism for focusing and zooming in so that the image becomes clear.

    As we do the work of capturing the most beautiful parts of ourselves, often times, we have to sift through our own muck first. Remember the discomfort, pain, confusion and suffering I mentioned earlier? These things often build themselves onto our being like a thick muck that keeps us from tapping into our essential nature. Both yoga and journaling can also help us with chipping away at our muck.

    If you’re already a yoga practitioner, it’s possible that you’ve been able to encounter the beautiful pieces of yourself on more than one occasion. When you’re ready to begin the work of processing and further developing your understanding of those things, so that you can integrate them into your life effectively, journaling could be the next step.

    Develop a Journaling Practice

    One of the best things about journaling is that there are no rules and you can choose to develop your practice in whatever way suits you. Whether you’re the kind of person who likes to make lists, build out thoughtful essays, write through stream of consciousness or just sketch and doodle, you can develop a journal practice.

    One of my favorite ways to journal is through stream of consciousness. A good yoga practice can help us tap into that essential nature I was talking about – the part of each of us that is peace, beauty, love and bliss. So, whenever I practice yoga at home, I like to lay out my mat and keep my journal close by. Then, after I move through my practice and/or meditation, I’ll grab my journal and just write down whatever thoughts pop into my head. Trusting that the words I come up with are either helping me work through the muck that blocks me from my essential nature, or helping me to focus in on that essential nature is key.

    Stream of consciousness journaling isn’t always easy for everyone, however; especially those who are newer to the practice of journaling. That’s where journal prompts come in. Using prompts to guide your journaling practice can help you focus on certain aspects of your life and yourself. You can choose to pair these prompts and your journal time with your yoga practice or keep them separate. Ultimately, working with prompts will help you let the process of self-discovery unfold in specific ways.

    When you’re ready to deepen your connection with the truth of who you really are, Omstars will be here to support you with yoga practices, meditations AND journal prompts. A membership with Omstars will give you access to regular practices and meditations; following @omstarsofficial on Instagram will give you access to weekly journal prompts.

    Every Friday, Omstars will share a new journal prompt that will help you develop a deeper understanding of yourself, your yoga practice and the world around you. Each month’s journal prompts will focus on a different overarching theme and each individual prompt within that theme will build upon the other. Ultimately, these prompts are designed to help create an organic unfolding of self-discovery and movement towards healing that can be supported through the practice of yoga. Plus, there will even be downloadable worksheets that you can print out and use to put together your own journal as you go.

    The human experience always comes with discomfort, pain, confusion and suffering in some form or another. Begin the work that will help you transcend these elements of humanity when you join us in this journey of healing and self-discovery through yoga and journaling. Let this be the beginning of a path that leads you back to your own essential nature of peace, love, beauty, and bliss. Sign up for your Omstars membership to practice with us every day and follow us on Instagram to journal with us every week!

    Download the Free Flow Friday Journal Template

    By Alex Wilson

    Alex C. Wilson is a SWFL based Writer, Certified Yoga Instructor and Ayurveda Yoga Specialist who is dedicated to helping others establish a strong sense of mental and emotional well-being. After spending much of her life in a state of depletion as a result of being fully dedicated to others, Yoga taught Alex how to first, be dedicated to herself. Now she spends her time helping others create more space for their own healing and self-discovery without ever letting her own cup become empty in the process. See more from Alex by following her on Instagram or visiting her website at www.alexcwilson.com.

     

     

  • Ayurvedic Potion: Adaptogenic Golden Mylk

    This is my favorite tea to drink. I drink this multiple times a day, especially when I’m writing, and it’s adaptogenic golden mylk.

    So, what are adaptogens? Adaptogens are a type of herb that adapt to whatever your nervous system needs. So, let’s say you wake up, first thing in the morning, and you’re really tired, and you take an adaptogen.  That will actually bring up your energy, so, it’s a really good replacement for coffee, matcha, any other kind of stimulant, and there is no caffeine.

    Now, let’s say, you take that same adaptogen, at night. It will actually help cool you down, chill you out, and prepare you for sleep. So, they really adapt to whatever the nervous system needs at that time. Either, more energy, or bringing it down. So, it’s really good if you have a stressful job, adrenal fatigue, or anything like that. So, the adaptogen that I am using today is called, Ashwaghanda, and Ashwaghanda literally means, strength of a stallion. It’s a very commonly used adaptogen in Ayurveda, and formally was used more for men, to give them strength, but now a lot of women, we need that extra strength, too. So, Ashwaghanda is good for everyone, and the feminine version of it is called, Shatavari. And you can make this recipe with Shatavari, as well.

    So, golden mylk, a lot of people call this yogi tea, is a turmeric-based potion. The reason why turmeric is the base, is because turmeric is really anti-inflammatory. So, we spoke about how it’s really anti-inflammatory for the brain, and that helps it work as an anti-depressant. Clinical research has now found it as effective as Prozac, but it also works in the body. So, if you’re doing a lot of yoga, you’re doing a lot of exercise, physical activity, inflammation can be created over-time.  So, the turmeric is going to help just alleviate that so you feel much more agile, much more comfortable in your body.  So, it’s really good for everyone. Turmeric also helps burn belly fat, which is another really cool thing about it. It’s been found that it specifically works on fat in the mid-section, again, because it’s stress-related, cortisol-related.  So, turmeric really helps with that. So, I love turmeric for so many reasons, which is why it’s the base of golden mylk.

    Golden Mylk Powder Mixture

    • Turmeric
    • Ginger
    • Black Pepper
    • Ashwaghanda

    Golden Mylk Potion

    • Unsweetened non-dairy milk
    • Hot water
    • 1 teaspoon Golden Mylk Powder Mixture

    I like to make this ahead of time, I actually travel with it because I can just take a spoon and add it anywhere. It’s like a tea that requires really no steeping. So, again, turmeric, ginger, black pepper, and the ashwaghanda. Just mix up the powders. You can put it in a little glass jar, travel with it, keep it with you at home. You can actually kind of customize it to what you want. So, let’s say you want it a little bit more spicy, a little bit more gingery, you can crank that up. You can add more black pepper, less black pepper, again, there’s really no rules, just make sure you have the ingredients in there somewhere.

    Learn more with Sahara’s Ayurveda course on Omstars

    By Sahara Rose Ketabi

    Sahara Rose is the best-selling author of the Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda, which is the #1 best-selling Ayurveda book globally and Eat Feel Fresh: A Plant-Based Ayurvedic Cookbook. She has been called “a leading voice for the millennial generation into the new paradigm shift” by Deepak Chopra, who wrote the foreword of both her titles. Sahara hosts the Highest Self Podcast, ranked as the #1 top podcast in the spirituality category on iTunes. Sahara’s mission is to awaken people to their innate potential so they can share their gifts and fulfill their purpose on this planet. “This is Ayurveda’s next evolutionary step. Sahara Rose has successfully refreshed and revitalized the ancient knowledge without watering down its significance and depth. She blends reverence for the tradition with an awareness of present-day needs. Find more wisdom on Sahara’s website or Instagram.

  • Challenge Update: Supporting Young Families in India

    Last year, Omstars teamed up with Sahara Rose and Bhakti Chai for the #EatLikeAYogi challenge. Through this challenge, we had a goal to raise funds for the non-profit organization, OneProsper, in effort to help them support young girls living in the Thar Desert of India. We are pleased to announce that through this incredible challenge, we were able to raise a total of $5,000 for OneProsper, which enabled them to sponsor 10 girls living in the Thar Desert of India.

    By March 2019, these girls will start attending school rather than walking 5-7 hours per day to collect water. This is an amazing feat, and we couldn’t have done it without the support of our amazing community of yogis. Thank you so much for your helping us achieve this goal!

    One of the girls sponsored by OneProper is called Gita. At the beginning of the program, back in August of 2017, Gita would accompany her mother in walking hours each day in the searing desert heat to collect water.  Gita and her siblings frequently faced stomach pains as a result of drinking dirty water.  Together, this family lived in a basic shelter made from tree branches and four poles.  Most importantly, Gita was not able to attend school because she was busy helping her mother to collect water and complete chores.

    Thanks to your support, OneProsper has built a rainwater harvesting tank with a bio sand filter for Gita’s family.  Gita received a bicycle, school supplies and tuition to attend school. OneProsper provided Gita’s mother with seeds and training to grow crops for nutrition and income.

    Today, Gita’s life is filled with books.  She attends school on a daily basis thanks to a brand-new rainwater harvesting tank and bio sand filter. Free from walking hours to collect water, Gita’s mother has found work and is building a new home made of bricks. What a wonderful accomplishment for this beautiful family. We are so honored to have had the opportunity to support Gita and her family, plus the 9 others just like them.

    Unfortunately, this work is not over yet. There are countless other families out there, just like Gita’s, who need our support. Knowing this, Omstars has plans to team up with OneProsper for another challenge at some point this year. Stay tuned.

     

    By Alex Wilson &  Raju Agarwal

  • Practice Yoga Online with OMstars – Your Yoga Network

    As more and more people become aware of the benefits of yoga, more and more people are starting to look for places to practice yoga online. Even though there are plenty of yoga studios in communities all around the world, many people still prefer to practice from the comfort of their own homes. That’s where OMstars comes in.

     

    Whether you’re completely new to yoga or you’re already a dedicated yogi, OMstars offers something for everyone. From the free yoga classes that come with our regular challenges, to our entire library of easy to follow practices, meditations, wellness videos, cultural shows and more, OMstars is your go to place for all things yoga. Plus, we’re yogi owned!

     

    OMstars.com was founded in faith by world renowned Ashtanga yoga teacher, Kino MacGregor. Students wanted a place where they could, not only practice yoga online, but totally immerse themselves into the world of yoga, all from the comfort of their own homes. So, with a lot of hard work and dedication, plus support from Kino’s friends, family members, and the global yoga community, OMstars was born.

     

    The best part is, because we are a yogi owned company, we are not backed by a major corporation, or big parent company and there is no venture capital private equity. It’s just us. That means, OMstars is the only place where yoga is not only bottom line, but it’s truly at the heart of everything we do.

     

    We are yogis and we tell the story of yoga. From our at home yoga practices and yoga instructor interviews to our plant based recipes and our philosophy courses, we carry the heart of yoga with us.

     

    We make the tools of traditional yoga practice available to everyone and we unite ancient techniques with modern life.

     

    If you’re a truth seeker, we’re here to light the spiritual path for you, every step of the way, and we want to inspire you to dive into your yoga and start living the yogi life.

     

    We host challenges, and share free yoga classes that help us raise money for causes we believe in, so we can empower yogis to change the world. We are a force of change, a global yoga movement, and we are your window into the world of yoga.

     

    We carry the torch of yoga, lead you to the true light, and create the spark that sets your world on fire.

     

    So, if you’re looking for a place where you can practice yoga online from the comfort of your own living room, without being tied to a yoga studio; if you’re looking for an all encompassing platform that offers more than just yoga practices at home; or you’re looking for an online yoga community that’s number one goal is to share the gift of yoga with everyone; then you’ve come to the right place.

     

    We are OMstars and we are yoga.

    By Alex Wilson

    Alex Wilson is a writer, yoga teacher, Ayurveda Yoga Specialist, and the content manager here at OMstars.com
  • Suffering, Transformation, & The New Reality

    Needless to say, there is suffering. Part of suffering is unavoidable. Small sufferings can wreak havoc momentarily as we attend educational programs, training, relocate, have a child or suffer the loss of a loved one. Often suffering is not the cause of something that was unforeseen though not desired. The word “change” means that something will be made different. It does not say how. We often hear the famous quote “Be the change you…” without taking into account that in order to be change, it is a position elected for one comfortably moving into that which is different, unknown, change itself.

    One of the first ways to seek out the imbalance in Ayurveda is by creating routine. Dinacharya, or a daily care, allows a reset to transpire. The regular, consistency is also crucial in a yoga practice. This daily practice, usually aimed at self-realization, is referred to as sadhana. At root of that work, we have ‘sadʼ to find truth. Seeking change is different than seeking truth. Change can come if we call it but truth is exploring that which is universal and simultaneously internally

    stationary.

    When we seek truth rather than transformation we create stability in our own light. The change can move around us rather than through us. This sets us up for what I refer to as a shift in our psycho-spiritual framework.

    What does this look like?

    Professor Narasimhan and Dr. M.A. Jayashree presented this concept of a metabolic state to me. Think of a coned, funnel standing on the tip. Easy to knock over. Now imagine it balanced on the mouth. Harder, however you can still push it over. If you leave the funnel on its side and push it, it spins in a complete circle. You see it moving but the center of it looks still. The change spins around the fixed point.

    Taking this concept into the framework I mention above it is not as simple as okay, Iʼve knocked the funnel over, I understand. The mind is often not prepared for this change. As Samkya philosophy and yoga introduce there are plenty of dualistic views; good and bad; hot and cold, etc., yet some are blurry to us: pain and pleasure; happiness and sadness. They become blurry as we usually seek to fulfill one that is appealing and avoid one that is potential suffering or painful.

    Patanjali, author of the “Yoga Sutras” spoke of this very concept as part of what is termed “avidya” which is not seeing clearly or with knowledge. This provides us with some word weaponry. One is that knowledge is not merely what you know. It is what you can access, experience and conceive within living. Further, sight is not limited by what you see but it can be limited by avoidance, fear, egoism and demands we place in the world. You can imagine that when the view, or our sight is reactive and operating from avidya that it is incredibly difficult to have a desired, long term outcome that creates stability. In turn, our ideals, mind, get caught up in the spinning of change and it appears as if this is happening to us. That we are in fact here to suffer in the world.

    I am not going to pretend to know anotherʼs suffering and will not ask you to understand that which I have suffered. Perspective, understanding brings about empathy and this is one of the beauties of being a sentient being. You can actually care for someone else. And you can feel for them. That is amazing in itself. Going into that amazing, intimacy, suffering, healing, feeling, each of us also possess a quality which is unique to us. Dharma, which has many definitions, but we will expand into individual purpose. I have noticed in mentoring and teaching and talking to people about life, that we most suffer and experience pain when we are missing or forgetting purpose. Not our occupation but our purpose.

    Another beauty with yoga is it is not for a select few with an unlimited clothing budget, but is readily available to all as it aims at self-identity and realization and part of that is purpose. Our own dharma is a guide. When we move with that, the mind is clear, steady and the movements around us are like a dance. We feel the vibration of the world, people, places and in height or downturn but constant and steady amongst the change.

    Transformation is experienced by feeling our way, growing in the shit and allowing our findings to push into the light. Change is the way in which we transform and it bring us from known to unknown. This can be made steady by dropping the identity in which we had before. Classically, when a siddha (master of yoga) would pierce these states, they would change their name. This is common in yoga by identity but classical is earned through initiation process and reflected purpose and not a cool name that you saw or heard. You lived by the name, reflected in sound and breath and an aspect of the energy that poured through you. That you danced that way, dreamed that way, held another that way and when the mind holds onto identity of that which was, this is when we have psycho-spiritual strife.

    Now what is amplified is not the suffering but the identity of the suffering as one moves from the center of the spinning funnel and into outer spaces of their mental, emotional understanding. Healing involves our own identity that we have with suffering. Transformation involves allowing the body, mind to change, dropping the skin of those results, cravings, desires and moving into the more visible light of our own purpose, over and over again until we no longer need to hold steadiness as we become it amongst change. Is that awesome, you, radiant one!

    Will Duprey

  • Plant-based New Years Eve Appetizers

    We can’t believe 2017 is almost over! What will you be doing when the clock strikes 12? Maybe you’re having a relaxing night in by the warm fire, or perhaps you’re heading out for a night on the town, whatever your plans may be you’ll need to figure out what your going to be eating on the last night of the year! How about your spice up your night with delicious plant-based recipes by Naomi Seifter owner of Picnik Austin! She has pulled together two absolutely amazing dishes just for you and your nearest and dearest to enjoy- Butternut Squash Soup and a Holiday Platter full of incredible flavours with each bite!

    Holiday Platter

    We played around with using yummy ingredients as the ‘bread.’  We used steamed butternut squash, steamed sweet potato, apple, red bell pepper, jicama and cucumber slices.  We also went the traditional route, using bread rounds for the crust.  We wanted to give loose instructions so that you to make this at home with your favorite fillings.  Take ours as a guide, but have fun and make it your own!

    ‘Crust’ Ingredients:

    • 1 large sweet potato

    • 1 butternut squash

    • 1 jicama

    • 1 red bell cucumber

    • 1 cucumber

    • 1 apple

    • Optional: gluten-free bread

    Directions:

    Step 1: Prepare “crust”

    Crust options are: cucumber rounds, gluten-free bread, steamed sweet potato rounds, apple rounds, jicama rounds, and red bell pepper. Mix and match to your heart’s desire! (see image below)

    1. Using a mandolin (or very sharp knife) cut the sweet potato and butternut squash into 1/8 inch thick slices length-wise (see below for reference).

    2.  Steam sweet potato for 5-7 minutes (dependent on how many you put in the steamer at once). You want the potato to be soft but not mushy. You want it to still hold it’s shape.

    3. Steam butternut squash for 5-10 minutes (dependent on how many you put in the steamer at once). You want the squash to be soft but not mushy. You want it to still hold it’s shape.

    4. Place both squash and sweet potato in fridge to cool.

    5. Using a 2 inch round cutter, make your “crust” rounds.

    *Repeat using 2 inch round cutter with other crust materials but do not steam apple, jicama, red bell pepper, or cucumber. These are best served raw! The bread can be toasted to make it crunchy.

    Step 2: Make Fillings

    Curried Chickpea “Chicken” Salad

    Ingredients:

    • 1 15 oz. canned organic chickpeas

    • 1 shallot bulb, minced

    • 1 celery stalk, small dice

    • 2/3 cup apple juice sweetened cranberries, rough chop

    • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard

    • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)

    • 1 tsp. Himalayan sea salt

    • 1.5 cups avocado oil

    • 2 tsp. curry powder

    • 2 tbsp. pecans, finely chopped

    • 1 pinch cayenne

    • 2 pinches paprika

    • himalayan sea salt and pepper to taste

    Directions:

    1. Strain can of chickpeas. Place brine in Vitamix and chickpeas in a large mixing bowl.

    2. To the bowl, add minced shallot, chopped celery, cranberries

    3. To the blender, add mustard, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt. Turn Vitamix on low and slowly drizzle in avocado oil to create your homemade vegan mayonnaise (you can skip this blending step entirely by using the pre-made mayo of your choice).

    4. Add ¾ cup of blended mayo to the bowl.

    5. Using a wood spoon, fork, or potato masher, mash the chickpeas for several minutes until the chickpeas break apart and are well incorporated with the other ingredients. *If you prefer, you can use a food processor to speed the process up, although we did not demo this method.

    6. Add curry powder, cayenne, paprika, optional honey, and pecans.

    7. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    8. Place in fridge until ready to plate sandwiches.

    Other filling examples:

    Hummus

    Mix a 8 oz. container of hummus with ¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper and ¼ cup finely chopped cucumber (reference photo) or other vegetables you prefer. Place on crust rounds of your choice.

    Nut Butter & Jelly 

    Combine equal parts almond butter (or peanut butter) with jelly. Mix together in a bowl. Try with apple or sweet potato crusts.

    Step 3: Arrange Tea Sandwiches

    Arrange tea sandwiches on a plate of your choice and top with any of the following:

    • Black sesame seeds

    • Hemp Seeds

    • Paprika

    • Flavored Salt

    • Garnish of choice

    Add fruit, herbs or decor to plate for extra color and sparkle!

     

    Butternut Squash Soup

    Before Naomi had a team to support her, she did all of the cooking out of her and Kevin’s house. This was a crucial time in our history because not only was Naomi creating the dishes, but she would then be at the trailer all day receiving feedback directly from our customers. That time laid a solid foundation of our food philosophy and helped us to discover exactly what kinds of food our regulars loved. This soup, was created during that precious time.  

    The coconut milk makes for a creamy and dairy-free base, while the spice mixture creates a unique, yet subtle, flavor profile; the ideal balance of sweet and spicy. Choose a veggie broth to make the soup vegan or a chicken broth if that is more your style. We hope you and your loved ones enjoy it as much as we do! Let’s get started…

    Ingredients

    Produce

    • 3 delicata squash

    • 3 apples

    • 3 cloves of garlic

    • 1 yellow onion

    • Olive Oil

    • Himalayan Sea Salt

    Liquid

    • 1/2 cup coconut milk

    • 1 cup apple cider

    • 3 tbsp maple syrup

    • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (we made a shiitake mushroom broth*, recipe below)

    Spices

    • 1/2 tsp turmeric

    • 1/2 tsp paprika

    • 1/2 tsp cayenne

    • 1/2 tsp ginger

    • 2 tsp cinnamon

    • 4 tsp himalayan sea salt

    • 2 tsp black pepper

    Directions

    1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

    2. Cut squash in half and remove the seeds.  Thick slice the delicata squash and large/rough chop apple and onion.  Peel garlic, and lay squash, apple, onion and garlic in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. Liberally apply olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Place in oven to roast for 1 hour at 400 degrees.

    3. When roasting is complete, add produce from your 1st baking sheet to your high-powered blender (Vitamix/Blendtec) with 1/2 of the liquid and 1/2 of the spices (everything except salt and pepper – this will be added at the end). Blend and transfer to a large stock pot.  Repeat the blend process for the second batch of produce, liquid and spices.  Transfer to the same pot.  

    4. At this point, soup can either be placed in fridge for later or it can be transferred to the stovetop and heated immediately.  I like to season this soup to taste with salt and pepper when I’m ready to serve it.  As the soup is thick, it can “pop” and make a mess as your heat it up, so it is recommended you use a lid.  An additional note:  If soup is too thick for your liking, feel free to add additional stock.

    5. Enjoy!

    Stock Recipe

    1. To make your own shiitake mushroom broth, add 1 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms to 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, turn down heat and let simmer for 45-60 minutes.  Final yield is about 6 cups of stock.

    By Naomi Seifter

    Follow Naomi on instagram at @picnikaustin 

    Discover more scrumptious plant based recipes on Omstars

  • Blow your mind with Meditation

    To me, the popularity of the war-time phrase ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ seems out of place in one of the most prosperous and war-free societies in the world. In our connected, fully wired 24-7 society, it can be hard to switch off.  Our normal rhythms are easily out of sync and ‘stress’ has become an everyday word.

    As a lawyer, I remember hearing stories about how – before email – documents took days, if not weeks, to be passed around by hand, typed and re-typed with corrections handwritten in different colours – now it takes seconds to ping an email to everyone and complex contracts can be marked up overnight with tracked changes. The pace of modern life is sometimes astounding. 

    It’s easy to lose ourselves in the rush and pressures of modern life.  Meditation is an antidote; a route to perspective and calm, to navigating the hectic traffic we experience in all areas of our lives. Meditation can change how we work, it can improve our health, and it can affect how we relate both to ourselves and to others.  Beyond a mechanism for coping with stress, mediation can be a vehicle towards finding more meaning, purpose, depth and connection in our lives.

    The mind is a surprising instrument. So powerful that science has yet to understand more than the basics of how it fully functions. But then, trying to understand ourselves has always been a tough, yet valuable pursuit.

    Our minds (along with our bodies) have developed over millions of years of evolution to give us the best chances of survival in a sometimes hostile world. Our brain is rewarded with pleasure – with substances such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin – when we do something that evolution would suggest is survival-enhancing. And, of course, the other side of the coin is pain when our survival is threatened.   When we sit in meditation and train our attention, we are acting against many of the reactionary tendencies that we have developed as a result of evolution.    

    Our evolutionary tendencies have helped us to survive so far, but some of them now lead us to overreact.  We have, for example, developed a bias towards negativity, giving far more weight and attention to negative events and emotions than positive ones.  And, particularly, under stress, we overestimate and ‘dial up’ the perceived ‘dangers’ around us. The evolutionary ‘down’ that we sometimes experience after the ‘high’ of being with a partner, is designed to draw us towards that person helping us to mate and procreate. But if that evolutionary tendency is too strong in us, our neediness may get activated and end up pushing the person away. Meditation helps us to temper the reactions that evolution has set in motion, so in that sense it is going against some of our evolutionary instincts.  But maybe, that’s what’s needed for us to evolve even further.

    Previously the purview of monks and lamas, meditation is now being used by the likes of Google, hedge fund managers  and MBA students to boost their performance. Scientific research supports many health benefits of meditation mainly associated with stress reduction, and ability to focus.  Cautiously promising research in its early stages even suggests that meditation may have some effect on a cellular level on patients in remission from cancer. Further evidence is needed to confirm that. So, maybe, in terms of health and focus, meditation is giving us an extra edge. 

    Meditation affects the quality of your attention and where you place it. And, as Stanford scholar and international meditation teacher B. Alan Wallace, PhD explains in his book The Attention Revolution, ‘Our perception of reality is tied closely to where we place our attention’. What we focus on shapes our experience and the things we ignore, pale into insignificance for us. In 2012, Usain Bolt says he won the 100 meters in 2012 by concentrating on his strength on “concentrating on his strengths” (execution) rather than his weaknesses (his poor start). Meditation allows us to choose where we place our attention.  That, in turn, gives us more control over how we shape our lives.

    Meditation also helps us to navigate our emotions. Neuroscientists debate whether regions of the brain perform specific functions or whether a more interconnected view is more accurate.  It is, however, established that the amygdala (emotional centres) play a huge role in the fear response. In order to deal with the fear-causing – at an evolutionary level read ‘life threatening’ – situation, we dissociate. We stop using the logical, decision-making functions of our brains. I interviewed Louann Brizendine, neuroscientist and author of bestseller, The Female Brain. She described this to me beautifully, using the analogy of a car with the clutch being pushed in. When we are in a state of stress and fear, the gears are unable to engage with the decision-making functions of our brains.

    Of course, modern day stressful situations are not always related to mortal danger. And, in a non-life-threatening situation such as work, most of the decisions we make would probably benefit from some logical engagement! Awareness developed through meditation can help break the cycle and get you back there. 

    Meditation helps us to press ‘pause’ on our reactive patterns. It gives us perspective and choice. This allows us to be cool under fire.  In this sense, it helps to blow the patterns that have been deeply ingrained in our minds out of the water, leaving us clearer, calmer and more available for genuine meaningful connection.  Any takers?

    By Mia Forbes Pirie

    Watch Mia’s course, Intelligent Start, on Omstars

    Join Mia’s 5 day meditation challenge and see how meditating for as little as 5 minutes a day can make a difference to your day https://intelligentchange.life/five-day-challenge/ or be part of Mia’s small Facebook “Not too Perfect”  Yoga & Meditation community https://www.facebook.com/groups/379578869076090/

  • Femininity, perseverance & gentleness- Magnolias- Omstars new print by Liquido

    Everyone is going Magnolias with Omstars! Check out our NEW Limited edition print: Gold Magnolias yoga clothing line! Omstars have partnered up with Liquido and have our first beautiful print ready for you to wear. The new Magnolias print is available in Om leggings, Shine shorts and our Twisted bra

    With so many different Yoga clothing lines out there sometimes it can be challenging to wade through them all to find what works best for you. Well look no further! Kino has helped to design our new Magnolias line which features extra long leggings with a high waist band, shine shorts, which are perfect for those hot practices and summer days, and our ever popular twisted bra top. All of these items have been created using Liquido’s Freedom fit fabric technology, which is a super soft material with lots of stretch capability for even the most pretzel like of postures! This lightweight, breathable material has been created for yogis of all shapes and to fit as uniquely as the human being that wears them. Whether you wear these items for Yoga, running or any activity for that matter, you’ll feel comfortable, confident and capable of fluid movement in all directions.

    Magnolias have long been regarded as a symbol of femininity, perseverance, and gentleness. Often found in nature to be subtle in colour but strong in appearance, these flowers capture the essence of practice and truly living the yogi life.

    Twist Bra Top:

    The Omstars twist bra top has been a winning item in our online shop and now you can go bold with this strappy bra featuring a keyhole design in our new Magnolia print! Perfect under a loose tank, or worn by itself, this bra makes a statement, and is anything but boring! It’s great for yoga, pilates, dancing, just about any activity, with its moisture-wicking lycra based fabric and open back.

    Shine Shorts:

    The Omstars shine shorts in Magnolia by Liquido are the perfect alternative to our leggings for the summer months, heated class and basically any activity where you’ll be sweating. These gorgeous shorts feature a super short fit, sit below the navel and feature side ties. Made from Liquido’s classic stretchy and soft Freedom fabric, you won’t want to wear anything else! Every Liquido short is unique so your pair may vary from the picture you see on the Omstars shop page.

    Om Legging:

    These super comfortable, extra long leggings have been constructed with a custom Poly-Lycra blend fabric that combines exceptional performance with a flattering and softened fit. Sitting snugly above the hips, the elastic-free higher sitting waistband is sinfully comfortable for all fits, athletic to curvy.

    Each of our new Omstars Magnolia pieces are constructed of 90% Polyamide and 10% Spandex, silky soft fabric and with a stretch that will never let you down, allowing you full freedom of movement for your yoga practice and beyond! If you’re practicing outdoors your skin will be protected by 50+UVA/UVB built into the fabric. Even in the sweatiest of practices, your new yoga gear is quick-drying and durable and you’ll be happy to know that each item has been made with love in Brazil, sweatshop free.

    What are you waiting for? Log on to shop our new print — Start shopping now Omstars Shop. You can then post your pics in our new print for a chance to be featured on our Instagram page!. Use #OSMagnolia.

    By Anna Wechsel

    Learn more about Liquido

    Visit our Omstars Shop for new leggings, shorts, tops and so much more

  • Ustrasana: the subtlety of heart-opening

    Not every yoga pose needs to bring you to edge of limits. Some poses lay the technical and anatomical foundation for deeper practice. It’s crucial that you apply healthy alignment principles in the foundational poses if you seek to maintain your practice over the course of your lifetime. If you jump in with all heart and zeal but forget to use wisdom and intelligence, chances are you’ll push too hard and miss out on the subtlety of your yoga practice.

    Backbending is a both challenging emotionally and physically. As such, it truly demands that you learn optimal technique from the beginning. If you try and force your backbends not only will you prevent your spine from opening but you may experience an entirely preventable injury. The beauty of backbends is that they energize the small micro-muscles of the back and stimulate the nervous system. Not to mention that in a healthy backend every single muscle of the entire body is involved.

    The process of backbending can be thought of as bending over backwards with the entire body. As the muscles of around your spine lift and create space around the vertebrae, the front body lengthen, the legs engage, the pelvic floor firms, and the shoulders and chest open. On a more internal level, the digestive system is cleansed, the cardio-vascular is stimulated and the nervous system is enervated. Finally on an energetic level, the vital life essence known as Prana is pushed upwards along the central channel, often bringing heat, emotions and rarefied states of consciousness to the surface. You will only progress to the deepest levels of realization within the inner body once the basics of alignment are set up well. Ustrasana, translated into English as the Camel Pose, is the perfect backbend to establish your awareness of anatomical and alignment.

    Starting off in Downward Facing Dog, step or jump your feet forward to a kneeling position. Place the knees hips’ width apart. If your backbend is relatively open leave the toes pointed, but if your backbend is relatively tighter then curl the toes under and use the strength of the feet for more foundation. Internally rotate the hip joints and gently activate the inner thigh muscles to adduct the femurs. A gentle internal rotation allows the sacrum to be free and helps keep the glutes soft. Activate the pelvic floor and send the hips forward, opening the fronts of the hip joints and releasing the psoas and hip flexors. Inhale as you draw the lower abdomen in and lift the rib cage away from the hips to maximize the space between the joints of the spine. Exhale bend each each of the joints of the spine in to extension and facilitate a soft arched back. Nutate the sacrum and distribute the bend equally throughout the entire spine. Place the heels of the hands on the heels of the feet, roll the shoulders forward to internally rotate the humerus and send the sternum up and forward. Allow the trapezius muscles to come up and support the neck pillow as you comfortably drop your head back and gaze towards the nose. Stay for five breaths. With each inhalation create space both physically and emotionally. With each exhalation surrender into that space in every way possible. Come out of the pose in the same methodical way that you entered, reversing the instructions and maintaining space and support for every joint of the body. Move with symmetry and awareness. Never force.

    By Kino MacGregor

    Watch Omstars Yoga Encyclopedia episode on Ustrasana