Tag: yoga

An Interview With Author Jennifer Niles




Jennifer Niles is the author of My Yoga Transformation and Eating Vegan – On a Budget! Here is a link to Jennifer’s Website:



Q: What inspired you to write My Yoga Transformation?


A: Over the course of the past five years, due to my regular yoga practice and vegetarian (then eventually vegan) diet, I have lost over 85 pounds by ridding myself of several unhealthy habits and channeling my energy into something positive.  By implementing these two healing practices into my life, I have completely transformed on all levels: mind, body, and soul.


Of course like everyone else, I will always be a work in progress, but I cannot deny how far I have come on this journey.  Over the course of my life, I have been through many difficult experiences and now feel that it is my calling to share my tumultuous story with others.  By putting myself out there, I hope to help those who may be struggling with similar issues such as weight loss, poor health, anxiety attacks, depression, and substance abuse.



Q: Why yoga?


A: Quite simply, my yoga practice changed my life.  I originally started yoga because I was 85 pounds overweight and desperately wanted to shed the pounds and live a healthy life.  Also, at the time I was your stereotypical stressed-out East Coast professional who did not know how to relax.  Yoga seemed like a one stop shop for all of my problems and so I tried it out.  My first yoga class was an utter disgrace considering that I almost passed out from dehydration, but I didn’t give up and continued to practice.  I was hooked on the post yoga high. Within months of beginning a practice, I realized that yoga was surprisingly providing the much needed balance that was missing from my life.  Prior to beginning my yoga practice, my idea of relaxation included binge drinking, bar hopping, and stuffing my face with pizza and fast food on a daily basis.


Q: Why did you decide to go vegan?


A: After moving overseas to a small island in the middle of the South Pacific three years ago, I was delighted to learn that pigs and chickens are free to roam around the streets here.  Naturally, my boyfriend and I found ourselves with numerous pet pigs and chickens that decided to wander off the street and move into our yard.  After bonding with these amazing, smart, personable, and loving animals, I could no longer continue to consume animal products in good consciousness.  An egg omelet was just not the same after witnessing a frantic hen loudly crying and searching for her missing eggs that a person had stolen.  Cheese quickly lost its appeal after remembering the starving, sickly looking cow down the road, with all of her ribs sticking out, who was forced to live her life tied to a tree by a rope, with very little access to water.  Things drastically changed for me after I was confronted with these horrible visuals day in and day out.


I also decided to go vegan because I had gained 30 pounds back after moving overseas, due to reverting back to the drinking lifestyle (which seems to be the expats favorite hobby on an island) and eating in restaurants all the time.  Within three months of going vegan, I lost the 30 pounds once again, plus 15 more, and am still continuing to lose weight, slowly now that I am down to my last 10 pounds, but it’s still coming off.


Q: What is the biggest mistake you see new vegans make?


A: The biggest mistake that I see new vegans make is eating too much flour.  Being a healthy vegan means consuming mostly all-natural and unprocessed foods.  Even though yes, flour is technically vegan, it is highly processed, and bleached in the case of white flour.  It has been proven to slowly poison your body over the course of time.  Not to mention that consuming flour also negatively impacts any weight loss efforts.


On the other hand, a huge mistake that I constantly see new vegetarians make is replacing meat with cheese.  I made this extremely common cheese-replacement mistake for many years, as did my boyfriend, in the beginning of our separate vegetarian journeys.  Literally, all I did was eat vegetarian pizza, cheese fries, and anything else that included massive amounts of cheese.  During my first two years while masquerading around as a vegetarian yogi, I remember feeling so confused about why I wasn’t losing any weight.  It was because I was consuming boat loads of cheese and binge drinking five nights a week, which prevented the weight loss that would have taken place due to the yoga, if it were not for my bad habits.  The key to lasting weight loss is a healthy diet and exercise.


Q: You have a book called Eating Vegan – On a Budget!  Do you think veganism tends to be something that is more often practiced among the upper classes?


A: This is a very common misconception.  Most people believe that vegan food is too expensive and that they cannot afford it.  This misunderstanding is the exact reason why I created my cookbook, Eating Vegan – On a Budget!   So many people briefly consider going vegan, but quickly decide against it because they think they cannot afford healthy food, or because they cannot imagine giving up bacon.


As my cookbook demonstrates, this is simply not true.  You can eat healthy, cruelty-free food without breaking the bank.  My boyfriend and I have actually cut our grocery bills in half since eliminating cheese, milk, eggs and all other animal products.  A good tip is to make sure to purchase all your fruits and veggies at a farmers market, not from a grocery store.  You will always save money this way as grocery stores jack up their fresh produce prices.



Q: How do you feel about meat substitutes?


A: Meat substitutes are like flour to me.  They are fine on occasion.  Even though meat substitutes taste good, they are not all-natural and therefore are highly processed and include unhealthy chemicals, preservatives and fillers that the body does not need or process well.  In order to reap the potent health benefits from your vegan lifestyle, your diet must consist of a vast majority of all-natural, whole foods.  Sure, meat substitutes have their place in certain meals, like vegan chili, but my advice would be to limit anything processed and man-made, which includes meat substitutes.


Q: What do you think is the most misunderstood thing about yoga?


A: The most misunderstood thing about yoga is that people believe that it doesn’t require strength or help with weight loss.  I have lost over 85 pounds as a result of my regular yoga practice and developed strength and endurance – no other exercise required.  The last time I stepped foot in a gym was years prior to starting yoga and losing the weight.


Of course the weight loss potential is determined by which type of yoga you practice.  I tend to gravitate toward Power Yoga and Vinyasa Flow, which enables you to burn anywhere from 400-600 calories per hour.  This is equivalent to one hour of busting your butt in the gym.  In my mind, if I know that I have to spend one hour exercising to burn 400-600 calories, I would rather invest that hour into a healing practice like yoga, that has been proven to restore the body vs. create more wear and tear like many other exercises do.


Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does yoga help you deal with it?


A: My day job in my old life, prior to moving to the South Pacific and becoming an author, was as a headhunter in NJ/NYC.  For 10 hours a day (or more), I spent my time negotiating on the phone with countless clients and candidates, writing and formatting resumes, emailing, coaching people through the interview process, making offers and closing deals.  When you live on the East Coast, time is money and things are expected to be done yesterday.  Needless to say, it was a very stressful 10 years of my life.


Yoga helped me learn how to find a balance by lowering my constant anxiety and stress levels.  My practice helped me to learn how to calm down, live in the moment, and not stress about the past and future as much.  After enough years of yoga, it is no wonder that I retired from corporate America to teach yoga, which is what ultimately led me to move overseas.  I became way too calm to be part of the rat race anymore.  And for this I am forever grateful.


Q: What is the most advanced yoga pose that you can do?


A: This is a very difficult question to answer because there are so many advanced yoga poses, and they are all challenging.  Considering that I started yoga when I was 85 pounds overweight, nothing about the practice came easy to me.  Everything was a struggle.  The arm balances took me forever to learn, headstand took me several months to master, and the deep backbends were simply torturous in the beginning of my journey.  Yoga poses are different for everyone, as it all depends on your body, your strengths and your weaknesses, and your current level of fitness.  The answer to this question would truly be different for every yogi.  But, I would have to say that I am rather proud of my Side Crow.


Q: What have you done to promote your books?


A: I have been channeling my energy into a ton of marketing and networking, which I have learned is just as important and time consuming as writing the actual books.  A common misconception about publishing a book is that once you publish, everyone will immediately buy it.  First off, people need to know that the book exists in order for them to even be interested in it!

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.



An Interview With Lucid Practice Owners Paz Romano and Brian Levine

Paz Romano and Brian Levine own Lucid Practice, which is a website that offers useful information on yoga, travel and wellness; here is a link:


Q: What is Lucid Practice?

A: Lucid Practice is a community for our readers to live, learn, and give. Anything and everything from our daily practice is brought forward for conversation. By practice we mean daily thoughts, activities, captivating books and websites, to some of our opinions on love, faith, and life. We would like to help our readers “stay lucid” on their journey throughout life.

Lucid Practice is a little piece of positive energy. It’s a ripple. How far will it spread? We don’t know but we’re excited. We hope our readers will find http://www.lucidpractice.com to be a useful daily resource for living a more loving, conscious, healthy, lucid life. We focus on yoga, travel, wellness, and art.

Q: What inspired you to start it?

A: Lucid Practice began as a “blog journal.” We intended to keep record of our thoughts and of the lucid articles and videos we came across day to day. We thought Lucid Practice would serve as a central hub of positivity and sharing that we could always refer back to. Additionally, we thought that others might benefit as well.

However, we never imagined that http://www.lucidpractice.com would be having such a positive impact on so many readers in such a short period of time.

We’re grateful and have enjoyed sharing our thoughts and hearing from readers to create connections and foster conversations that matter.

Q: How can yoga make the world a better place?

A: In Sanskrit, the word “yoga” means “to yoke.” Yoga is a process of self enquiry. Yoga is a process of yoking our body, mind, and breath. With consistent practice, we feel more connected to ourselves, to those around us, and to God and/or the universe.
In this sense, yoga can yoke people together. We feel that if people are at peace with themselves and truly aware of their actions, they will be selfless and their actions will not be contingent upon their own ego.
Yoga is a method of purifying one’s self. Unskillful thoughts and actions that have become patterns in life can be brought to attention and reflected upon. The Tao Te Ching eloquently notes, “In the pursuit of learning, something is acquired every day. In the pursuit of the Tao, every day something is relinquished.” By becoming our best selves through yoga, we can all live at peace together and let the world take its natural course.
Q: You make videos of your travel destination; what makes your videos unique?

A: Many of our readers are backpackers and international travelers. We feature travel videos that we think will have a positive impact on our readers. One of our blog contributors, Danielle, has studied film. She’s so talented in an array of artistic mediums and we enjoy sharing her work with our readers.

Also, we’ve recently been uploading clips on YouTube that viewers can’t find anywhere else. We like to blend yoga with music and the early results of this have been decidedly positive.

Q: What kind of training have you had?

A: We participated in an Ashtanga yoga retreat in Koh Phangan, Thailand with our teacher (who we’re still very much connected to) Rory Trollen. During this retreat, our concept of life as we knew it was forever changed. We do not profess to be experts by any means. We are students first and foremost.

We’re not so sure about (well, we’re not so sure about anything) the Western approach of “200 Hour Teaching Training Courses” which can essentially be crash courses designed to make a quick buck for the yoga studio owner. We feel the real training comes from your own consistent, daily practice. We feel the best training is consistent, daily practice and we mean six days a week for several years consecutively.

Who is more qualified to teach: the 200 hour certified yoga teacher who just found yoga 4 months ago or the “uncertified” practitioner who has studied and practiced yoga daily for twenty years?

Q: You both have backgrounds in football, is the football culture accepting of the teachings of yoga?

A: Ten years ago the answer to the question would be drastically different to what it is now. Yoga has become widely accepted. In the Western culture and especially in American football culture, men tend to have a “tough guy” mentality (we know because that was us!) and yoga was seen as contrary to that. This cultural norm has been flipped upside down as more and more NFL players have expressed their gratitude for the practice.

The best athletes in the world practice yoga regularly: Lebron James, Calvin Johnson, Ray Lewis, etc.

Q: How did yoga help improve your game?

A: We both began practicing yoga to become more dynamic athletes. We became more balanced, more flexible, and less prone to injury. We didn’t realize it at the time but now know that mental aspect of yoga can be even more beneficial than the physical.

Overall, we both agree that yoga helped us bring our game to the next level. The proof is in the results: We both helped lead our respective teams to conference championships while being awarded individual accolades that otherwise may not have been possible.

Q: What are the different types of yoga?

A: Yoga is a form of meditation for cleansing the mind, gaining spiritual consciousness, and forming a connection with the One of life. The Bhagavad Gita is one of the core texts of yoga. The Gita is eighteen chapters long and it’s said that in each chapter a different type of yoga is discussed.

While reading the Gita I didn’t necessarily notice eighteen types. I recognized four main branches of the practice: Karma yoga, Bhakti yoga, Raja yoga, and Jnana yoga. In basic terms karma yoga is the yoga of action, bhakti yoga is the yoga of devotion, Raja yoga is the practice of meditation, and Jnana yoga is the yoga of knowledge into practice.

Hatha yoga is the practice we see many people in the West practicing today. It is a form of Raja yoga. Many people associate Hatha yoga or Ashtanga yoga (a type of Hatha practice) with the well-known eight limbs of yoga. One limb of this practice is the physical asana or postures. This meditational practice is changing the world.

Q: How do you decide where to travel next?

A: We usually pick a starting place and have a defined but entirely open and flexible plan. At one point, we were about to book a flight from Beijing, China to Mumbai, India but at the last minute opted to fly to Bangkok, Thailand. One of our favorite aspects of travel is being spontaneous and disregarding cultural norms that most people are used to.

We prefer long duration trips and tend to stay in one location for at least a couple of weeks in order to get immersed in the local culture.

We’re passionate learners, meeting new people and learning about other cultures has taught us that there’s so much more to life than going to a great college, getting a great job, getting married, having kids and settling down. Many Westerners get distracted by “the rat race,” celebrity gossip, slavishly following sports teams, or other activities that to us seem trivial compared to seeing the world and having a positive impact on people.

Q: If a football player scored a touchdown and no one saw it would it score six points?

A: That’s a tough question! Yes he would, we think? Would he celebrate and showboat? That’s a discussion for another day.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Yoga Instructor/Blogger Jessica Tyner

Jessica Tyner is a blogger and yoga instructor. She currently resides in Costa Rica. Here is a link to her blog:


Q: What inspired you to start a yoga blog?

 A: Get it Ohm! is in its early stages, but what better way to get the word out? Let’s face it, I offer karma (free) yoga classes which means I have no paid advertising. Word of mouth has always been one of the best (if not the best) ways to spread messages. Blogging is the virtual equivalent with the added bonus of getting information straight from the horse’s (ahem, yogi’s) mouth – perhaps while in horse pose.

   Q: How did you first get into blogging?

 A: As a freelance writer, many of my clients/projects are blog-based. Currently I blog for everything from a Boston flower shop to a London arts organization. Get it Ohm! is the first blog I’ve created for my own project.

 Q: Do you think it’s possible to make a living from blogging?

A: Absolutely, I do make a living from blogging. I regularly juggle about eight projects at a time including blogging, SEO writing, web content creation, grant proposals, and advertising. I enjoy having a variety of different types of writing for different kinds of organizations. However, had I decided to focus solely on blogging as my income, it would be very doable.

 Q: Who are some of your favorite bloggers?

A: I regularly check out Cake Wrecks and Diary of a White Indian Housewife – obviously for very different reasons. Cake Wrecks is a way to feed my inner 20-something that wanted to go to Paris to study patisserie while I was living in London during my graduate program. I like the ridiculous wrecks set off by some of the most incredible pieces of cake art imaginable. Diary of a White Indian Housewife is one of my regularly checked out blogs because it’s difficult to find someone who has already gone through what I’m facing. Talking with friends about relationships is great, but it really takes someone who’s been on a similar path to relate.

Q: What sort of blogs don’t you like?

I wouldn’t know because I don’t read them. I don’t seek out blogs for blogs sake. I’m usually perusing for something in particular and stumble upon them.

A: What is the biggest misconception about yoga?

There are a lot. That it’s expensive (it can be). That it’s too hard. That it’s all uber-crunchy and spiritual. That you have to “look” a certain way, live a certain lifestyle, or have certain interests to enjoy it. I created Get it Ohm! as a means to allow communities access to yoga that might otherwise not have it, or might not be comfortable in the yoga studios that are available.

Q: What will you miss most about Costa Rica?

A: Immediate access to a (warm) beach. The Oregon coast simply can’t compare when you feel like swimming.

Q: What won’t you miss about it?

A: The sheer loudness of the city, the dirt, the inconvenience (it often takes a full day just to take care of business at the bank), the traffic, and the bars and razor wire around every house.

Q: What type of yoga do you like best and why?

A: My personal practice is Vinyasa with a peppering of Hatha and Hot Yoga. I began practicing with Vinyasa, which is a flow movement connected to breath. It had very little spirituality woven through it and is guaranteed to work up a sweat. To decompress I like taking a hot yoga class – plus going outside after being in a hot room always feel amazing.

Q: If someone doing yoga in their jammies fell on the floor while attempting downward dog, and no one heard them, would they be embarrassed?

A: It depends on the person. But not nearly as embarrassing as if they were attempting savasana.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)