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Get Fit Without Exercising

Instead of boring yourself for 30 minutes while you run on a treadmill, try thinking of more creative ways to exercise. There are many ways to get fit while you have fun, so you won’t even feel like you’re working out. Here are some of my favorites:

 1. Dance class
From the waltz to the salsa, all forms of dancing are great for your mind and body. WebMD notes that dancing is good for your heart and improves strength, balance, and coordination. As you learn the choreography and form, it will challenge your brain, giving it a workout, too. A 30-minute dance class burns up to 250 calories, about the same as jogging. You can take a class at a studio alone or with a group of friends. If you would rather stay home, you can purchase an instructional DVD or watch a video online.

 2. Dog walking
Dogs are known as man’s best friend, and they provide excellent companionship for their owners, which results in lower stress levels. A study by Michigan State University found that dogs also have the benefit of increasing exercise in their owners. The study showed people who walked their dogs generally walked about an hour longer per week than people who didn’t walk their dogs. Walking with your dog encourages you to go the extra mile! If you don’t have your own dog, no worries. There are a lots of people–from senior citizens to busy professionals to overscheduled parents–who need help walking their dogs. Consider becoming a dog walker as a side job. That way you can reap the physical benefits and make some money in the process. 

 3. Hiking
Hitting the trail will burn some major calories. According to Huffington Post, just one hour can burn more than 500 calories. You can intensify your calorie burning by increasing the incline and the weight of your backpack, so it’s a great option if you want to start slow and gradually increase to keep challenging yourself. You may think it’s the uphill climb that’s giving you the workout, but resisting the downhill pull is a workout too. Of course, there is also the added benefit of enjoying the beauty of nature and a breath of fresh air. Instead of taking your next date out for dinner, consider a nice hike with a picnic at the end.

 4. Trampolining
Bouncing up and down on a trampoline might seem like playtime, but it can also give you a solid cardio workout while simultaneously providing a strengthening exercise. A study by the American Council on Exercise found that jumping on a mini trampoline 19 minutes was equivalent to running, biking, or playing a game of football. Although trampolining was found to be moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise for the body, the participants ranked it as feeling like a light-to-moderate intensity exercise. Basically, the workout felt easier than it really was. Dr. John Porcari, an author of the study, credits this to the trampoline making the activity less jarring for the muscles. He adds, “The enjoyment factor may make things easier, as well.”

 5. Laser tag
Running around and dodging laser bullets is sure to get your adrenaline and heart pumping. With an intense game of laser tag, you are definitely getting in cardio. You’re also working your upper body by carrying the equipment and the constant raising and lowering of the gun. Since most teams also develop a strategy, you’re working your brain too. Next time your group of friends wants to enjoy a fun night together, consider laser tag as an alternative to more sedentary options like watching a movie.

6. Yoga
Not only is yoga a great way to exercise, but it also stretches and strengthens your muscles, and it aids in recovery from other forms of physical activity. Yoga doesn’t have to just be on a mat at home, either. Yoga studios offer a variety of classes (think hot yoga or power yoga) for all levels. And for the truly adventurous, there is stand-up paddle board yoga, which challenges your balance as you float on water, and even yoga events AND festivals, which offer up to weekend-long yoga-centric activities that are not only great opportunities to exercise, but also a fun way to meet people, inspire yourself and make awesome memories!

If you want to perform push-ups and crunches as a form of exercise, you certainly can. But if you want excitement from exercise, try thinking of an activity you enjoy, such as hiking or yoga, and make the most of it! You really can have fun while you burn calories and get in shape!

Author: Paige Johnson

Paige Johnson loves everything fitness. From strength training to running to yoga, she infuses her workouts with variety and encourages others to do so as well. She writes about her own fitness journey and provides advice to others on LearnFit.org.

Yoga for More Connected Intimacy

Did you know a regular yoga practice can contribute to a more pleasurable sex life?

A growing body of research has shown yoga to have  immediate psychological effects including decreasing anxiety and depression, and increasing feelings of emotional, social, and spiritual well-being. Simultaneously, yoga has also been shown to aid in physical health concerns such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, muscular tension, and anxiety. All of which affect or sexuality and/or adrenal systems that help with hormone production.

Regular yoga practice cultivates mindfulness and greater body awareness so you don’t miss a single juicy moment with yourself or your lover. Typically in sex we are simply going at it in search for orgasmic event lying ahead. We mechanically or habitually rub our genitals against each other faster and faster. Maybe we are enjoying it? Maybe we aren’t until we reach orgasm (maybe), after which we roll over on our side and fall asleep, or if we are lucky, we get to cuddle. Body awareness is crucial to lifting our sexual experience to new heights. When we drop our awareness into our bodies we become cognizant to a multitude of processes occurring all in the same moment. We become attentive to our heart beating in our chest, our breath rising and falling from the belly, our body temperature radiating from our skin, subtle vibrations and tingling sensations, tension, and rhythm in our movement. All of a sudden sex becomes more than just a tab A into slot B, boom orgasm; it becomes a fascinating world to explore and experience.

Now take that information and apply it to partner yoga, and you will learn how to not only connect within yourself, but learn to feel into your lover, as well. Partner yoga is a great way to strengthen your skills for intimacy by literally experiencing how you show up in a relationship through physical touch, trust, control, and communication. You can join Dr. Cat every last Sunday of the month for Sexy Sunday Partner Yoga Flow! Our next opportunity to experience partner yoga is THIS Sunday, March 26th 7:30-8:45PM. Book your tickets here.

Every day we are bombarded with images surrounding sex, whether is from the media, movies, conversations with colleagues around the water cooler, locker room, or our best girlfriends. The problem is that most of these sources a) only tell you the most cosmic, out of this world sexual experiences, b) do not tell you their struggles or insecurities around sex, and c) are not professionals on the topic.
Luckily, you have us.
Sex therapist Dr. Cat Meyer (teacher at Create Yoga) and Nutritionist Diane Kazer believe that sex matters for both our individual and relational happiness. Through their Eat Play Sex podcast, they reveal to you what works (and what doesn’t) in the most entertaining and easy to understand way so that you can get back to being the confident, sensual and sexy thing you are. These are real life stories and expert interviews to help you improve your sex life, by addressing mental blocks, nourishing your body, and balancing your hormones. This podcast will feel like you’re sitting down for coffee with your two best girlfriends to chat about the most erotic and embarrassing things you’re dying to share and get advice about. The best part? They’re the experts. Our topics encompass all things sex and sex hormones such as self-love, sex toys, bedroom play, body shame, libido, frisky food, PMS, hormone balance and anything else sex-blocking. Each episode will give you simple steps and sexy strategies you can implement NOW to leave you feeling empowered, courageous, playful and motivated.
You DESERVE to have the body, the love and sex life you desire. And it starts with giving yourself permission to be curious and explore. So join us on iTunes or EatPlaySex.com and help yourself to all the juicy information we have to share.
Want more from Dr. Cat? Join her classes at Create! You can look for her weekly playful and sensual yoga classes for greater intimacy with yourself or join her once a month for partner yoga flow!
Connect with Dr. Cat on:
INSTAGRAM
BLOG
PODCAST
FACEBOOK
Want more from Diane?
Check out:

Helping you IGNITE your love life

with sexy food and attitude
so you can get back to play and pleasure in everything you DO.
#sexmatters
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5 Tips to Help You Shake Off Unnecessary Holiday Stress

The Holidays are here! We know how this time of the year can be: short, cold days (even in LA!) and stressful yet memorable, hopefully magical family-oriented times. We struggle even more than usual to find time and energy to work out; and it becomes harder and harder to stay focused on our own wellbeing let alone find gifts for others + get ourselves prepped for family and social gatherings.

Lucky for you, we’ve got your back with 5 helpful tips to help you shake off holiday stress + maintain your inner zen during this hectic time of year.

1. Empower yourself to say NO.
sad pup_247Though it is a definite challenge, mindful use of your time is a huge way to avoid stress during the holiday season. Believe us, we totally get it: there is so much to do ON TOP of your usual busy schedule; such a long task list; so much budgeting to tackle; so many invites to respond to. We too find ourselves buried in gift shopping, wrapping, family, traveling, much avoided emotion AND a need to get through it all with perfection. All this considered, it’s important to remember no one but you says you’ve got to sacrifice your personal wellbeing for some yule tide cheer.

You can say NO. Often times we forget that we have the power to respect our own needs, decline plans or conserve our time and energy; we say YES to everything and end up exhausted and overspent (endng up on our bed at the end of the day looking much like the above puppy). INSTEAD, empower yourself to pick and choose your commitments! It is important for your mental health to not overload yourself with hundreds of obligations, during the holiday season and always. Pick your battles: respect your time and keep the things that are truly important to you in your schedule.

2. Remember: the important people in your life do not care about the money behind your gift (and if they do, you have our permission to give them a friendly lesson of personal values; we’re never to old for coal 😉 ).couple_61Overspending because you feel obligated is not going to help anything. Anxiety over the amount of money you have spent, are going to spend or don’t have to spend is all a waste of time and valuable energy! Reality check: the intent behind your gifting is what is truly important. Realize that handmade things, and experiences are by far better than a Brookestone neck massager that someone will use once or twice and forget about. Memories are what stay with us forever; not that pair of designer leggings you’re pretty sure your best friend wants. Whether you find yourself tight on funds or just don’t know how to curb your inexplainable need to gift material things, remind yourself: people love you for what you give them every day; your friendship, your love, your kindness, that extra selfless mile. Need some meaning-making, budget respecting gift inspo?  Check out these awesome DIY ideas we love from Pinterest or, read up on our Last Minute, No Copout Holiday Gift Guide.

3. Be okay with adjusting your usual fitness routine as you STAY ACTIVE.
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Losing our usual routines (namely health and fitness) during the holiday season can be a huge contributor to stress and anxiety. We don’t need to be incredibly hard on ourselves but we DO need to find ways to maintain balance; we know it’s a challenge to counter overindulging in goodies, sleeping in, drinking hot toddies, and partying with the crazies we call our families + friends. Good news is, you’re not alone! But the trends of the season do not define you; you can still be kind to yourself!

Reward yourself for working out instead of punishing yourself for when you don’t; make a workout buddy agreement with a few friends to help you stay motivated; balance the christmas cookies with some kale and FORGIVE yourself for not sticking to your “normal” routine. Make simple adjustments: set your alarm 20 minutes earlier, make a healthy breakfast at home, drink tea over coffee, get 4-5 15 minute runs in instead of 2-3 hour long jaunts. Embrace the change and any little NEW routines you can add to your day to help you wake up in the morning and feel good about feeling good! ANY health + fitness is SOMETHING. Need some more ideas? Here are some additional tips to help you stay healthy + fit through this season of gluttony.

4.  Replace your visions of the “Perfect Holiday” and “Perfect Family” with GRATITUDE for what you DO have.

We call this “Perfect Holiday + Family Syndrome.” And we are all guilty of it some time or another. It’s real; and it’s very hard for a lot of people to get past this, especially during the holidays.

Our media and culture depicts perfect holiday families with perfect christmas trees and perfect mountains of perfectly wrapped gifts; we are set up to fail when we compare ourselves to visions of flawless people with impressive family dynamics, money, laughter and overly broadcasted success. Lets be real here; pretty sure the ideas that come from christmas cards or movies are just that: ideas. Doesn’t everyone have a little crazy in their family? Don’t we all do through ups and downs, divorces, break ups, layoffs, changes etc.?!

Find GRATITUDE for what you have, instead of what you lack. It really is as simple as that. Friends ARE family. THIS moment IS a gift. Who cares what the ornaments, the centerpieces and brand names are?! Who defines what a meaningful, special person or relationship in your life should look like?! YOU. Take this time to aim your attention to all the positive things you DO have in your life; appreciate your version of family + friends AND all the positive things about YOU. Don’t compare yourself to others, what they have, or how they outwardly appear. Things are always changing and all we have is fleeting; GRATITUDE helps us keep it real. No one is perfect and, in reality, we all have so many of the same things to deal with, regardless of different context and relative scales. Need some helpful daily practices to keep you grounded in this truth? Check out Wanderlust’s blog on 100 ways to find gratitude.

5. Ditch the FOMO for love and acceptance of your priorities. 

Life is busy and constantly moving, even without the holidays. Does this time of year have you feeling especially guilty about work obligations? OR left out that you can’t travel during the holidays? A lot of us encounter this, especially those of us with crazy schedules in big cities like LA; us millennials, hard workers, entrepreneurs and over achievers. But we’ve got goals and we are where we are because we CHOSE this path. Just because it’s the holiday doesn’t mean that priorities fall away; this idea complicates things, compiled with added pressure to travel, take time off or show face at social gatherings. Take a deep breathe and reassess. These festivities and pressures are temporary. But the priorities we have to face, the goals we are working towards and the time we have to put in to get there are staying AND important. Appreciate yourself for your hard work. It will pay off.  Things balance out. Travel time will come. And friends and family can forgive a busy schedule. We all have priorities. And it’s surprising how much weight is lifted off our shoulders when we let go of resentment and learn to love and accept that.

Remember, the holidays and EVERY DAY should be about cultivating happiness, positivity and love. Life isn’t perfect; our experience ebbs and flows. This is why we call it a journey and a PRACTICE (yes, on AND off the mat). Try to not to get consumed by the nonsense and remind yourself that you have 365 days of EVERY year to celebrate, show people you care, give gifts, take a trip and spend time with loved ones.

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Last Minute, No Copout Holiday Gift Guide

Gift-giving season is upon us. And as avid gift givers, it seems we get ourselves amped up about an overflow of ideas every year, just to realize that we’ve run out of time to execute them! (Do you feel us?!) How does something we are so excited about turn into such a stressful time-crunch? Still, we refuse to turn to lame copout gifts, because we LOVE that happy feeling of seeing the authentic smile that comes from a person we care about receiving a meaningful gift! So what about gift guides without time constraints?! All this considered, we decided to share the wealth of doable ideas in this round up of our favorite last minute suggestions that are, at once, so perfect and accessible the time crunch won’t even matter.

You’re welcome 🙂

Give the Gift of your time together + a fun experience:
Plan a staycation for you and your significant other or best friend!

893888d4_originalBook a hotel or Air B&B in Malibu for a quick, doable weekend getaway + a have fun during your stay with a visit to Malibu Wines for a wine hike, wine safari or wine sail (genius, right?!) For more info on Malibu staycations options, check out Air B&B’s suggestions on their wishlist.

 

Prefer to stay local for the holidays? You can book a staycation for a special weekend at our local Santa Monica Bungalow instead; let go of your obligations + enjoy your time near the beach with delicious cocktails on their stylin’ deck! 

 

Give the gift of relaxation: 

Sign up a friend for a float experience at Pause. Have you heard of floating? This sensory deprivation experience is a helpful way to effortlessly slip into meditative states, release toxins + stress and accelerate recovery + overall well being. For more info on benefits of floating, read this list from Pause’s site.

 

Give the gift of good times alongside health + happiness:
Booking tickets to a fun event or workshop in LA for you and a friend is another great idea to share time together while you spend your money in a meaningful way.

Need suggestions?
Our friends at Bender host awesome rooftop events around the city and the Conscious Family Dinner’s held by Integral fitness have changed our world. If you are willing to travel a little further, follow Xanadu for frequent, epic outdoor adventures and yoga socials. And, if you want to keep it in our community subscribe to our events to see what we have in store and purchase tickets for a memorable time together in the New Year!

Feeling indecisive? Our CREATE gift cards can be used towards any purchase at CREATE. Contribute to your friend’s ability to afford CREATE memberships, class packs, event + workshop passes and more!

 

Have an athlete or yogi in your life?

IMG_4296-1024x683Lucent Hue Yoga Mat – These mats are like no others we’ve scene, not to mention the designs are locally hand-painted watercolors  + the materials are eco-friendly. From the moment we found this company on Instagram, we were in love.

 

Evolve Active Wear – Put love into action when you gift yoga wear that GIVES BACK! For every item bought Evolve donates proceeds to one of their partner charities. ‘Cause we believe we SHOULD care where we put our money during the holidays AND every day we love that we can feel EVEN better about gift-giving for every Evolve purchase.

 

Some meaningful, keepsakes:
Buddhaful Creations Jewelry – have you seen the beautiful handmade jewelry that’s hanging on our wall? Come by and pick out your favorite, affordable piece made by our friend Kylie; support local artisans AND give a one-of-a-kind gift! Win, win.

 

Insta Wall handmade Dream Catchers – Yet another beautiful thing that we decorate our walls with; you can check out these inspiring and unique pieces made by our talented friend Esmerelda at our studio or, on her Instagram!

Whatever you decide to gift, we wish you zero stress and much meaning.
We hope this gift guide helps!
Here’s to happy gift exchange + a memorable holiday! You’ve got this.
-The Create Fam

Insight + Interview: The Spirited Woman Foundation’s Nancy Mills

We meet people for a reason; we come together, whether with missions alike or diverging, and offer up important opportunities to those we encounter: opportunities to connect, to learn, to grow. In the case of Nancy Mills, we found all three. Nancy, founder of the successful and inspiring Spirited Woman Foundation, has made it her mission to give back in powerful (and empowering) ways. We were fortunate to meet her so serendipitously at the LA Green Fest, and to be able to join her in giving back to the non-profits she supports through our donation-based class this Friday. To learn more about her motivation and connect with more people who want to have fun making a positive difference,  join our community for free snacks and refreshments at our yoga mixer tomorrow; until then, explore our uplifting interview with Nancy below!

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Who is “the Spirited Woman” to you?|
A Spirited Woman is unstoppable. A woman who carries an energetic life force within. A woman who shines her light to the world.

I began Spirited Woman as an empowerment community for women close to 20 years ago. I felt there needed to be a place where women could come together and support one another; shine a light on each other if you will. I believe we’ve accomplished that – Spirited Woman is now a leading woman’s empowerment community known around the world.

What is the Spirited Woman Foundation and how was it created?
Almost four years ago my dream of establishing The Spirited Woman Foundation came true. Oh, it feels so good to give back. The purpose and mission of the Spirited Woman Foundation is “To help heal and support women through actions of empowerment.” As I expressed above, Spirited Woman is one of the leading women’s empowerment communities in the world, and we are so pleased to carry our mission one step further – by helping others who deeply need our help.

A large portion of our Foundation money continues to be raised through our Sisterhood of the Sacred Scarves project. It is by purchasing our “Spirited Woman Prayer Scarves” that a portion of each scarf’s proceeds is donated by Spirited Woman into the Spirited Woman Foundation. It also comes from the Spirited Women worldwide who continually support us through our various activities.


What is the Sisterhood of the Sacred Scarves?
I would say the Sisterhood of the Sacred Scarves is the life force of Spirited Woman and it makes my heart sing. Going strong now for close to five years, it honors women through scarf and ceremony – bringing together spirit-minded women from around the globe. The Spirited Woman Prayer Scarf is a symbol of spirit, empowerment and beauty. To date there have been 16 scarves each with a different theme. 1000s have been sold worldwide, connecting women together energetically. A portion of each scarf sale is donated to our foundation which in turn donates funds to select non-profits.
I also believe The Sisterhood empowers women on every level by giving them the opportunity to purchase and enjoy a sacred scarf, join a global community, come together through ceremony, and a heartfelt way to make a difference and contribute to non-profits that benefit women. 

What is the 1000 Goddesses Gathering?
The 1000 Goddesses Gathering occurred on October 22, 2016 in Washington D.C. It was a visionary event designed to bring Wisdom and Compassion into Washington, D.C. so that it would ripple from there throughout the world. It also was created to invoke the Divine Feminine to ground Her healing energies deeply into the Earth. Close to 500 sisters from around the world came to herald in a positive arc for humanity.
I am proud to say that Spirited Woman was one of the sponsors of this event, and that a portion of NAMASTE – our latest Spirited Woman Prayer Scarf – was donated to the 1000 Goddesses Gathering to help fund this significant day and that there were a sea of sisters wearing NAMASTE, shining their light together.
1000GoddessGatheringWhere do you see a need for creating change in our world today?
Oh-my-goddess that is a big question. I think the first thing that comes to mind is peace over violence. We need to stop the violence. When I was a little girl (many moons ago) I stopped going to temple. Why? Because I really felt that religion was the seed of war. And all these years later, putting religion aside, I still feel we need to stop the violence. Do I have an answer? No. I just really want a change.
You’ve told us that the Spirited Woman Foundation contributes to charitable causes and we love it! What charities have you worked with? What causes have you supported? 
To date, we have supported 14 non-profits. Typically, we take a portion of the proceeds of each scarf and donate it to one organization at a time. We’ve supported an array of causes from domestic violence to teen empowerment to breast cancer awareness. I look for non-profits that are a bit under the radar and truly need our support. For a full list, and the full story, I urge anyone reading this to go to our site.

What motivates you to give back in your own life?
I am motivated to give back because it is part of my essence. I think the better question is: How can I not give back? Giving back just makes me feel good. One of the greatest things is to see a face light up, a smile of appreciation, a nod of acknowledgement. We all need each other. Pay it forward and it will come back.

How do you suggest people get involved in giving back? How can we be the most effective with our efforts?
Gravitate to like-minded people and causes. If you don’t like dogs, don’t give to animal shelters – it will not be part of your passion. Feel into your passion – what is it? Do you love to cook? Then reach out and feed the homeless or start a cooking club with a group of like-minded sisters and help put food on someone else’s table over the holidays. I feel this way, you are most effective in giving back if it fuels your passion and helps you fuel someone else’s dreams.

What are the top 3 most important qualities you think a business or community could possess?
Clarity of mission. Compassionate recognition. Focused growth.

What inspires you to connect to CREATE and contribute to our First Friday event?
Believe it or not, I started doing yoga over 40 years ago! It changed my life. So I am a yogi at heart. When I recently met Marissa and Selah, two of the co-owners of Create Yoga, at the LA Green Expo, I instantly connected to their sense of helping others. They just felt fun, strong, compassionate and smart. Then I went online and read about their mission. How could I not get involved? We have two separate businesses, yet we are clearly on the same page.

Where do you see the Spirited Woman Foundation in a year? 5 years? 10 years? What about yourself?
I see the Foundation as helping many more non-profits and with larger donations. Next year it is my dream to sell 1,000 scarves – presently we sell from 400-500 per year and by selling 1,000 that will enable us to give more. In five years, I would like the Foundation to have a much larger presence internationally. Every non-profit we have given to (except one) helps women within the United States, I’d like to work with many more charities that work with women internationally. It would be an honor to give to women’s causes around the world. In ten years, I see more of the same, but bigger, and on a personal note, I’d like to be on the board of other charities that pertain to women, so that I can lend my expertise and mentor others.

How can the community support your Foundation’s efforts? 
The best way to support the Spirited Woman Foundation is to buy the Spirited Woman Prayer Scarf for yourself, your friends, your family, as gifts, for your alter, for your travels, for your meditations, your yoga class – whatever. The more scarves you buy, the more women on this planet will know about us, and the more we can give.

You Ask, We Listen: New at CREATE

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We believe in the power of co-creation and pride ourselves on working with partners in our community; we also believe that YOU, our clients, are our most important partners yet! Unlike a lot of businesses we’ve encountered in our world, we plan to take action and DO SOMETHING about your feedback. THIS is our philosophy of co-creation put toward making a space that truly serves the people who are important to us. We heard your words, yes, but we want you to FEEL that you’ve been heard too!

Our October additions are: (drumroll please…!)

-6AM Rise + Flow Yoga Classes (all levels) Monday, Wednesday and Friday
-4PM Classes (check schedule for variety of styles!) 4 days a week, Monday-Thursday
-4PM Donation-based Yoga (check schedule for variety of styles!) on Friday
-Class Packs are now available:

5 class pack = $85 ($17/class)
10 class pack = $150 ($15/class)
15 class pack = $195 ($13/class)

-Workshop/Event Pass prices dropped to $25 + Workshop/Event packages are now available (dropping price to $20 in advance):

5 Workshops/Events pack = $100

-All Access Membership (includes 48+ classes a week + 3-4 workshops/events a month) $140 Auto Pay

 

 

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Insight + Interview: ph8 Foundation

When you put your passion out there without inhibitions, you realize people who have aligned passions start showing up all around you. We are so grateful to all of the incredible people and companies we have already been able to work with! Whether you call it “law of attraction,” “destiny” or maybe “ph8” (ha!) we are sure these partnerships are purposeful. And so? We want to give you the inside look on what makes these people so inspiring. We got the chance to sit down with ph8 foundation and chat about their story. Check it out below and join us TODAY for a donation-based class where you can meet them in person, support the cause and vision.
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What is ph8 Foundation? 
The pH8 foundation is a group of close friends that believe that Clean Water, Healthy Food, Quality Healthcare an Enriching Education, and Clean Energy are basic human rights which everyone in the world can and must have access to. We began with the mission to end Global Thirst within our lifetime because access to clean, safe water helps make the rest possible. However, understanding that we can and must do more, we are also launching initiatives for self-sufficient social enterprises that empower communities in the developing world to flourish and alleviate poverty – one of the other largest hurdles in achieving equality.
How did the creation of ph8 foundation come about?
Originally, we had an idea to start a bottled water company geared toward bringing alkaline water to the mainstream. From the start, we planned to start a companion nonprofit with the mission of eliminating Global Thirst which would be funded by the company’s profits. As time went on, we decided to make a difference NOW rather than waiting until we had a profitable business. These issues need our attention today and we have the ability to help right away, so here we are!
How do you even go about beginning such a HUGE, important venture?
Just like anything else that one considers important in life, we have to take it one day at a time. Finding out what needs there are, deciding on a mission, raising awareness, doing the work. It is really simple overall, but the challenges come in making progress every day.
Where do you see a need for creating change in our world today?
This may be the most exciting time to be alive all of human history! Every day there are new technologies and innovations that move us closer to a world where every person on Earth has access to their basic human rights/needs. We are embarking on a future where humanity can thrive, not just survive, and it is truly amazing. Change needs to occur on every front to make this possible, so we encourage everyone to support the implementation of these innovations around the world. A wonderful and inspiring resource to get familiar with some of these world-changing inventions is the film “Billions in Change” which can be viewed on YouTube for free.
Why water? Drop your knowledge on us! 
Water is all around us! Roughly 75% of our planet’s surface is covered in water, our bodies are 70-75% water, our brain is 90% water. It is the essence of life. However there are over 663 million people on this planet (twice the population of the United States, plus another California) that lack access to clean water. Knowing that humanity possesses the tools in order to put an end to this and that we can make transformative change possible by ending the Global Water Crisis, we decided to begin there.
What motivates you to give back in your own life?
My biggest motivation is knowing that we are not here on this planet forever. We are just stopping by to pay a little visit. We all share the same air, the same water, the same atoms. Knowing that, I feel we are in a special position to share the privilege and abundance we have with others in the world who don’t, because we are all here together.
How do you suggest people get involved in giving back? How can we be the most effective with our efforts?
It’s all about intention. I strongly encourage people to get involved in local activities that give back to the community, like CREATE yoga! There are many ways to get involved that can enhance the community and enhance your spirit. As long as you find something that you’re passionate about you can make a difference.
What do you see as the future of the ph8 foundation? where do you plan to be in a year? in 5 years? 10 years?
-Over the coming year we will expand our scope and our impact, finding as many areas we can make a difference in through providing clean water and helping to alleviate poverty around the world.
-In 5 years we will be a fully operational nonprofit with offices around the world, on the brink of achieving our goal of ending Global Thirst
-In 10 years Global Thirst will likely be a thing of the past (the UN’s goal for global access to clean water is the year 2030, but we believe it can happen sooner) and we will still have plenty work to do in poverty alleviation and creating avenues for social enterprises in the developing world.
How can the community support ph8 foundations efforts? 
Following us on social media is probably the best way to stay up to date with our projects. Anyone in the Los Angeles area is welcome to attend our upcoming events (more info on Facebook) and
if you are compelled by our mission and would like to donate, feel free to go toph8foundation.org and support! We use the 100% Charity Model, so you can be sure that the entirety of your contribution goes toward funding our projects, not our pockets.

Behind the Scenes at CREATE|YOGA: Why Creative Events?

When we came together to bring the dream that is CREATE|YOGA to life, you can imagine the amount of idea-sharing, possibility-deliberating, absolutely yes, definitely no and who knows maybe-so’s that were a part of the conversations between us three founders (Jenn, Selah and Marissa). We all had ideas that came up, we all had ideas that fell away. Most importantly: we all created the space for each other to fully show up and share our own authentic, unique (and very impassioned) perspective on what we were creating. Because, we understand that a platform for unlimited possibilities—one that we can explore without inhibitions to create what our heart truly desires—empowers a kind of untapped creative exploration where magic happens. This is the birthplace of CREATE|YOGA. And by no coincidence, it’s also the foundation…

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Out of the magic, we built a yoga studio; one that was by no means intended to be just a yoga studio. And what do we mean by that? Why do these ideas we have about events and workshops and community make any difference? Why do these things set us apart?

This is how we see it. Consider:

What we love about this industry: We love that wellness and fitness, yoga, self-improvement and exploration are “trending.” We think it’s beautiful that there is so much opportunity to bring people together for these meaningful purposes. And that the popularity of these topics makes them accessible to people who may not otherwise come across them.

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What we don’t love about this industry: We don’t love that the routine has been established to enter a studio, take class and leave with little to no connection. We don’t love that the popularity of yoga also breeds opportunity for financial exploitation in our business and money-minded society. We don’t love that talented and inspired teachers are being underpaid and over-exhausted; that as a result, sometimes students are getting the short end of the stick. The integrity of the very philosophies behind yoga and its practice are NOT being upheld both on the mat and off the mat, in so many facets of this industry (money steering decisions, exclusivity, corporate buyouts, popularity contests, inauthenticity and competition).

We are in full belief it doesn’t have to be this way. Amongst many of us, it isn’t. So, we want to join together.

We noticed an opportunity for a mindful shift back to this space for authenticity in communities, events, retreats and festivals popping up all around us; an opportunity for a breath of fresh air to check in—both individually and as an industry at large—before we take our next steps forward.

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We also noticed these communities, events, retreats and festivals often exist apart from what we know as “reality.” For instance, when we take off for an event, retreat or festival that empowers us to sense this creative freedom, we often feel like we check out of reality, like we have permission to be less stressed and act more ourselves. The pressure to conform to a standard is gone. And it’s no surprise we feel a deeper sense of connection with ourselves and the people arounds us in these settings, as a result. The bummer part? For many of us, this reignited sense of connection and freedom only lasts for so long. Because then comes 9AM on Monday and we have to shove all that aside and put on our societally accepted game faces to get our “real” work done. Until next time.

We are in full belief it doesn’t have to be this way. Amongst many of us, it isn’t. So, let’s join together.

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In these settings that are seemingly far-removed from “reality” we find a community where people are open and authentic, where we feel alive and accepted as we are, and able to show up with whatever it is we are going through. From the way we dress to the way we express ourselves: we feel fully seen. We’ve realized these settings have the capacity to catalyze a bigger movement. It’s simple: when you broaden what the “practice” entails, you reach a wider group of people. You take away the esoteric and limiting modern “yoga” associations and you open up the possibility to explore what yoga really is; you let the yoga exist beyond the poses and bring the opportunity to learn, connect, play (even party!) to the forefront and suddenly, people who otherwise might have overlooked these practices show up. They dive deep without expecting it. They find the ideas, practices and people they encounter have the power to change their lives!

 

It’s in these settings that yogis and non-yogis alike can join in whether they’re looking for a good time, seeking self-study, guidance, inspirational community or friendly support; no matter their motivating factor everyone is encouraged to offer up their true selves, stories, passions, and ideas without fear of judgement.

We want to create the platform for this open, authentic, self-discovery, raw connection, uninhibited imagination, and full-on possibility; amongst individuals, amongst communities, amongst businesses without bounds, so we can continue spreading the love to the world at large. We want to CREATE a movement for this change that we can all be a part of. So for whatever reason you feel called, be it mandala making and wine night, crazy yoga trick workshops, group hikes and meditations, deep house yoga at night clubs, rooftop yoga pool parties, charitable events or simply a welcoming community: we invite you to take part.

Insight + Interview: Jacqueline Smyth

Meet Jacqueline Smyth: Proud mama. Destination Coach and Yoga Teacher. Writer. Traveler. Story Collector. Believer. And Founder of Sisterhood of the Traveling Mats

Jacqueline Smyth

We are so excited to welcome Jacqueline into our CREATE community! We had the opportunity to get the down low on the experiences and insights that led her to where she is today just before her recent adventures in Bali and, we find ourselves spilling over with so much inspiration from her story that, we can’t help but share the interview with you:

How AWESOME is it that we’ve come together when so many things you’ve been manifesting are now unfolding Jacqueline! We can’t wait to see and hear about everything you are up to as your journey continues. It’s always so beautiful to watch people’s dreams manifest right before them; even more so, captivating to hear the story that goes on behind the curtain and all the experiences that got them there.  So, let’s hear it. We want to know more about the real you.

First thing’s first: yoga seems to be a huge part of your life. How did it first come into your life?

Yoga came into my life, I think like many, at a time of transition. I wasn’t incredibly happy with my life and career path, and initially found yoga searching for a new workout. But right away I found that after I practiced I found the clarity I was looking for. It didn’t matter what day or time, what I was going through–I knew once I stepped off of my mat I felt good. And that’s the way I wanted to feel.

How has your practice changed over the years, both physically as well as teaching?

Oh man! I can’t even count the ways. Yes, I love the physicality of a strong practice–but more so for me, the mental aspect is where it’s at. I teach to what I need and what I’ve been going through… And it seems (just even by the memes as you scroll through your social media feeds) that we’re all going through similar things at the same time, and I find that even in a difficult pose, if you relate it to something mental, your body will open up and soften into it differently. Mind body connection over everything 😉

We love your blog! What inspired you to start Sisterhood of the Traveling Mats? (SOTM is a lifestyle blog for the dreamers, go-getters, yoga-loving souls and wanderlusting hearts of the world that offers online community, life coaching, retreats and more.)

SOTM was dreamt up in my yoga teacher training in Bali. The freedom, the knowledge, the travel, and the relationships were so captivating–I wanted to know what it’d be like to open that up on a broader spectrum.

How has SOTM evolved over the years?

It’s evolved the same way I have. From traveling, to exploring philosophy, to adventure (even in the day to day aspects), I want to encourage anyone who reads to follow their instincts–because at the end of the day, it will never lead you astray.

We know you love to travel. What are some of the most life-changing places you have been?

It seems crazy, but anywhere can be life changing. I’m the sort of traveler who doesn’t like to plan much, which automatically pushes the unknown on you! From being lost in the rain to finding connections with other travelers who are doing the same thing, to booking the shittiest hotel and checking out in the middle of the night–I live for experience. The once in a lifetime kind.

Life changing? Yes please!

What about travel inspires you?

What doesn’t inspire me about travel?! I love to get lost. I love to find more of myself. I love everything in between.

How does travel inspire your practice, both physically as well as teaching?

I think the one thing that travel really puts into such great perspective for me is that I am always exactly where I’m supposed to be. I’m always at home.

In my body, in my breath… Wherever that is in the world.

How does it inspire your writing?

Yoga inspired the travel, and travel inspired the writing. Again, following those simple instincts have dominoed into creating my whole life. And I’m really proud of the person I’ve become since I embarked on my yoga practice. Mostly because it’s 100% authentically me.

You’ve recently embarked on an amazing adventure. Why Bali?

Bali is the place in the world where transformation occurred the strongest for me. When I was a little girl I remember my mom telling me how when I was older I’d go away to Paris and paint and find myself. I chose Bali, and yoga chose me…but my mother was right.

Tell us about your son and your relationship to Bali!

I have a 2 year old son named Asa. He’s also a direct domino from my practice! (Long story, but seriously…direct 😉 ) When I was five months pregnant I left the country and traveled around the world solo; I wanted to fill my pregnancy with the best things I could, because after all…I was creating a human being. It came out of a place of really needing to find inspiration, and I loved the travels, but I wanted to bring a life into the world in the most magical of places that I could imagine… And so, back to Bali I went. We stayed for 4 months after he was born before returning back to the US, and now we’re back here again because I couldn’t wait to show him where he came into this world.

What were you most excited to do in Bali this time around?

First time I was here I was doing my YTT, second time I was super pregnant and then newborn status…this time…TRAVEL! I’m seeking out all the hidden treasures that Bali has to offer…and MAN…am I finding some good ones!

What are your plans when you return? Where can we find you to connect and hear all about your adventures?!

You know, it’s so funny. I’ve never traveled and had a strong home base before. Every time previous to now I was in some sort of life transition. I couldn’t be happier that I miss home. First time missing…and it feels SO good! I’m excited to come home and teach, lead women’s circles and get back to goal coaching–and so excited to be a part of CREATE and watch it blossom!

What are you most excited about with CREATE?

I can’t wait to build a community with you guys! Your vision is so amazing, the room is EPIC, and the tribe is really inspiring. I’m excited to…well, CREATE 😉

What makes you feel most creative?

The unknown. Transforming struggle. Coming alive through inspiration. So many things.

What are you excited to create this year?

I’m leading my first retreat here in Bali in January focused around manifesting for the new year! I’m super excited to bring a group here and watch the magic unfold. I’m also really excited about leading online women’s circles, and to connect with my readers that maybe aren’t able to access that kind of community.

And again, we are so thrilled to have you as a part of our community here. One last question, and this is one we may ask all of our contributors to the blog: When you’re 85, what’s the one thing you hope people will say you’ve created with your life?

A fucking life I LOVE. Filled with all the good stuff. Community. Connections. Love. Magic… Actually, all the best stuff.

Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Jacquelin Smyth

For more from Jacqueline Smyth about bringing the freedom of choice, adventure, authenticity and creation into your own life  join the inspired Sisterhood of the Traveling Mats! You can also celebrate her return to LA and attend her Manifesting Moon Women’s Circle Workshop at CREATE|YOGA this Friday at 8PM or, find her teaching her weekly yoga classes in our space Thursdays 5:30-6:30PM and Sundays 11AM-12PM!