self love

Yoga Heals


In my opinion, every person has the ability to enhance their lives by adopting a consistent yoga practice, especially people who have suffered a trauma. While the road to recovery for sexual abuse survivors is long and difficult, and there's by no means a cure-all to such trauma, many survivors of sexual abuse have turned to yoga to help.

Being a sexual abuse survivor myself, I have experienced yoga’s healing power in a very real way. For me, movement is extremely important. After going through a body trauma, like rape, it was difficult for me to be inside my body because I felt uncomfortable in my own skin.  After a couple of months of practicing, I noticed several changes: my mind was clearer, my body wasn’t as rigid and I felt stronger. I felt like I could finally breathe again.

Yoga has helped allow me to find stillness in a world consumed with chaos. I love the feeling and effects of yoga. When stepping onto my mat I begin to feel immediate changes to not only my physical body but also my mental capacity. These changes have helped me to long term health and transformation.

Incorporating yoga into your daily routine can be beneficial and healing for survivors. Here are some reasons why:

  • Yoga quells the fluctuations of the mind. It helps slows down the mental loops of frustration, regret, anger, fear, and desire that can cause stress.

  • Yoga and meditation build awareness.

  • Yoga combines the elements of breathing, poses, and mindfulness in a gentle way allowing survivors to reconnect with their bodies and emotions.

  • It teaches us to foster self love and compassion.

  • Yoga gives us strength and helps show us how strong we really are.

  • Yoga helps us regain control over our bodies. It can empower you to take your life back.

Yoga provides tools to help you grow and you might even start to feel better the first time you try practicing. Then, the more you commit to your practice, the more you benefit. Yoga can help give you power to effect change and seeing that you can effect change gives you hope. Hope itself can be healing.

Written by: Keri Mandell

Nurture Yourself


Are you feeling a little tired and rundown? Then it is time to take a day out of your busy schedule to nurture yourself and show yourself a little self love. It’s good for the mind body, and soul.  So turn off your cell phone, cancel your plans, and make some time for the most important person in your world – YOU.

A day for YOU:

Steps to having a great day!

  1. When you get up, start your day with a big smile and thank the Universe for the gift of another day, another chance and new opportunities. Then start your day with a little mediation or mindful breathing- slowly inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.  Imagine your breath nourishing and renewing your body. Let go of stuck energy and anything that isn’t serving you and then imagine all the toxins leaving your body.

  2. Opt away from coffee and instead squeeze some lemon in a mug of hot water.  This further helps you to eliminate toxins in your body and gives your skin a healthy glow.

  3. Now either roll out your yoga mat (visit Empower Yoga), go for a run (or walk) outdoors, or go for a swim. This is your moment to connect with your breath and your mind. Exercise is a great way to clear the mind and gives you energy.

  4. After your morning exercise enjoy a delicious smoothie. I love going to my favorite juice place (Tico’s Juice Bar) for one or I’ll make one at home. I like to add greens (kale or spinach), banana, pb, chia seeds, hemp seed, and coconut water to my smoothies and then blend it all up!! Yum!

  5. Take a bath, maybe add some bubbles, light some candles, and/or relax with a good book. Enjoy the simple pleasure of just being in the moment.

  6. Dress in comfy clothes and plan a leisurely walk in the park. When there, maybe stop to journal on a bench (start a new gratitude journal)  or just stop to look around and appreciate all the beauty that surrounds you.  

  7. Lunchtime make yourself a nourishing salad that will feed your mind, body and soul. My personal favorite is spinach or baby kale; avocado, baby tomatoes, cucumbers, and some grilled chicken with a little oil and balsamic vinegar.

  8. Spend the afternoon in self love. Burn your favorite essential oils, play some of your favorite tunes, and set your creative inspiration free. Maybe create a vision board, setting some goals for yourself, create a bucket list, or just start to declutter an area of your home you’ve been putting off. Get rid of what you don’t need and make room for good things to come.

  9. In the evening, enjoy a delicious meal- maybe some hearty soup. After, unwind with a cup tea (my favorite is raspberry) and climb into bed.

  10. Before you fall asleep, revisit your new gratitude journal and write down three things that you are grateful for. Close your eyes, take a mindful breath, and get lost in your dreams.


Break Up With Your Poor Body Image!


Most of us are not very kind to ourselves, myself included. When we look into the mirror we hate what we see. We think things like - I am fat, I’ve got a big head, big butt, small breasts, big breasts, too many curves, not enough curves etc… whatever it may be, we always find something wrong.  However, coming face-to-face with ourselves and confronting these negative beliefs can be one of the most difficult things, yet one of the most critical steps in our journey to true self-awareness and self-love.

Negative beliefs and feelings about ourselves can be really persistent. Often these ideas have been deeply ingrained into our psyche since childhood. As a result, we think these things or say things to ourselves without even realizing it.   We also may not  understand how these negative thought patterns are affecting us, our relationships and our life.  However, now is the time for these negative thoughts to end. We need to acknowledge these old beliefs, bringing awareness to them so that we can let go of all the negative thought patterns that hold us down. By letting go of them for good, we can begin to love and accept ourselves more and help ourselves move on.

We need to stop fixating and focusing on what it is about our bodies that we don’t like and begin to find things we do like, so we can begin to feel more confident in our skin.

The more time we spend being negative about our body image, the more all of our thoughts turn to the negative. Some believe that focusing on their flaws will help motivate them to make changes to their lives, but often it doesn’t.  Motivation comes from compassion and gratitude. Critical and negative thoughts stress and depress us, making motivation to change harder. So the more positive you are with your body, the better you will feel emotionally and physically.

I have struggled with body image and eating disorders from a very early age, and to this day I still feel insecure at times. However, I have gotten much better and have begun to embrace my body and let my poor body image go and you can too.

Here are some ways to help you improve your body image and confidence.

  • In order to overcome negative body image – forget about what society portrays as “normal” or “attractive” and do what is right for you, your life and your body type. Do you often compare yourself to the men and women you see in magazines? Remember, those people/celebrities are not “average” people. Celebrities have an entire team of people who make sure they eat right, exercise and take care of their skin and hair just so they can look better on camera. In many cases they are even photoshopped.

  • Don’t be mean to yourself or anyone else. What you think about others are often the same thoughts you use when you judge yourself. Stop looking to compare yourself to others or put someone down to make yourself feel better. The more you do that, the more your preoccupation about your looks and can reach very unhealthy levels.

  • Forget about a diet. It's all about healthy choices and moderation. People who constantly diet have a higher risk of developing eating disorders and are more likely to binge eat which will then cause a domino effect of physical and mental health issues (i.e. depression & anxiety). Plus, most people cannot sustain a diet so they’ll gain back the weight they lost or gain more. Eating right, regular exercise and sleeping are your weight control keys to success!

  • Instead of spending so much time obsessing over your outer self/appearance, consider focusing your attention on other things… how smart you are, the talents you have, hobbies etc… You have a lot to offer the world.  

  • Know and accept your body. Maybe you inherited your mother’s hips or your father’s broad shoulders. Our genetics play a huge role in our unique body type. Everyone is different. Learning to love and accept our bodies and let go of things we cannot change, is the first step in working with our particular body size and shape.

  • If you’re overweight or out of shape and want to take up yoga, running, biking, build more lean muscle mass, etc... know that progress takes time. So set reasonable and realistic goals for yourself and remember healthy weight loss is considered by experts to be one pound per week. So over the course of a year, you can lose more than 50 pounds! Losing weight the healthy way increases your chances of keeping it off for good!

  • Celebrate you. Love yourself, respect yourself and appreciate all the wonderful things about you. This will help to make you more confident, increase your self-esteem and make you more attractive to others. Remember, you are more than a number on the scale. You are not defined by how many inches your waist is, your clothing size, or  whether or not you have six-pack abs. You are unique and special, embrace it. Be your biggest fan!

Remember that your body is the only body you’ll ever have. It’s the one body you were given and it does so much for you each day. It allows you to live, love, help others and make a difference in the world. Begin today by treating your body with a little more respect!