Yoga prop GIVEAWAY: NEUlotus

Hey guys! I have been focusing on making my life with autoimmune diseases more manageable. I eat healthily, exercise daily, meditate and try to learn new things often AND I practice positive living as much as possible. Not only do I want my health to improve but I also want to impact my children’s lives with positivity and growth. Part of my “yoga” time is spent on researching props that will benefit my health and make yoga more accessible.

I found this little miracle worker during one of my hunts. I’m actually sitting on it right now and it’s relieved the pain all the way through my spine – NEUlotus:

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It is a NEUlotus. and here is how the company describes it:

NEUlotus has been specifically designed with meditation and seated postures in mind, as the shape allows your SIT bones to be grounded to your mat, rocking your pelvis forward just enough to be neutral. When we sit in a neutral pelvis, our spine can lengthen into its natural curves, bringing an ease to seated work. It can allow you to deepen your mediation practice as you will no longer be focusing on your back, just your breathe! Unlike other props, NEUlotus keeps you close to the ground and is easy to bring along your travels. Try it, It may just change your life.

NEUlotusNEUlotus… Making it simple! To put this in the easiest terms, we have made an easy to use, easy to carry, compact prop that will allow you to align, connect and breathe in many exercises and postures throughout your asana practice.”

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And here I am to say, it is all true. We all have boney spots, hips, arms, knees, tailbone, skull.. you know.. our bones. When I first started yoga (so many years ago) I felt extremely discouraged every time I had to put my knee down and felt it was just too much pain. Sitting to meditate often causes my tailbone severe discomfort and worse than the rest my hip bones when lying on my belly for any pose was absolutely impossible. I hated rolling up towels or buying thicker and thicker mats, it just didn’t work for me.

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Then I got the  NEUlotus. Over the past few weeks not only has it made scary poses much more comfortable (and showing me how capable I really am at these practices) but I also found ways to use it to challenge me in other poses, either through balance or just changing my point of strength a tiny bit. Actually, I never used to be able to do sit-ups because ehemm.. my tailbone is a little long (NO! I don’t have a tail but if I did I would just be that much closer to being a unicorn). Needless to say, I totally use this for sit-ups.

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http://www.NEUlotus.com gives plenty of ways to use the product: ”

Seated

From meditation to any seated yoga poses, NEUlotus will make sure that your pelvis stays neutral.

Lying on your front

Place the NEUlotus prop under your hip bones to allow space in your low back for poses such as Cobra, Sphinx and Bow pose.

For core work

Placing your NEUlotus as a wedge between your pelvis and your mat during core work will help you to stabilize and train your true core. No more back pain, all core gain!”

 

 

I adore the NEUlotus and think you will too! So we’re both lucky because here’s a giveaway from our lovely sponsor NEUlotus ❤ enter through the rafflecopter below

 

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

http://www.emilygiffin.com

from Amazon: “A pair of sisters find themselves at a crossroads in this dazzling new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Where We Belong, and The One & Only. First Comes Love is a story about family, friendship, and the courage to follow your own heart—wherever that may lead.

Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious, relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing, Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes, their delicate bond splinters.

Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter is assigned to her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.

On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she’s married to a wonderful man, and together they’re raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired.

As the anniversary of their tragedy looms, and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover that they need each other more than they knew—and that in the search for true happiness, love always comes first.”

To the point: Emotional, this book will give you every feel you never knew you had

Review: WOW. I read this book while in the hospital and due to the summary I was afraid it would be a downer. And I was wrong. This book is so unbelievably realistic, I didn’t know how to handle it. This represents so many life lessons, so many and depicts how they actual interfere with our relationships and how we feel about ourselves.

It drove me nuts to see the sisters accounts of the same event. Their miscommunication so realistic to a lot of sibling relationships in real life. You want to grab them and yell “JUST talk to each other!”

I really loved each character and hated how the other characters misjudged each other. The tension is so amazingly written that I don’t believe it is actually fiction.

It was really hard to see the journey after such a tragedy and all the avoidance actually caused the problems throughout the book.

You’ll probably love this book. I can almost guarantee it. It is so well written, so well thought out, so emotional and relatable that it is this ” wonderstorm ” of amazing. If you’re having a hard time getting into a book, I suggest this one to reawaken your book love all over again.

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin. Hardcover: 400 pages. Publisher: Ballantine Books (June 28, 2016). I received this copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

Book Reviews: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkin Reid

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkin Reid

http://www.taylorjenkinsreid.com

From Amazon: “From the author of Maybe in Another Life—named a People Magazine pick and a “Best Book of the Summer” by Glamour and USA TODAY—comes a breathtaking new love story about a woman unexpectedly forced to choose between the husband she has long thought dead and the fiancé who has finally brought her back to life.

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.”

To the point: Heartbreaking, romantic and absolutely beautifully written

Review: This is a book that everyone will have to read. You can’t pass it by because everyone is talking about it. So read it before it gets spoiled.

Taylor Jenkins Reid is a magician with her story telling. Something unique happens as Emma transitions in life, her narration changings. Everything is so seamless. Perfectly meshing to create a magical story that becomes completely whole in the end.

It’s absolutely wonderful and I think everyone is going to read it anyway but here I am saying, go get this book!

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Paperback: 352 pages. Publisher: Washington Square Press (June 7, 2016). Contemporary. I received this copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

Why I had to put my books down for a better life

My first personal blog post and it’s about giving up books from a former book blogger. Give up books?! Absurd, I know. I’m sitting in the hospital for another inpatient test without books, writing this instead. I had to do it to live a better quality of life and be happier. There was a time where reading a book a day made me happiest. Eventually I was reading books to avoid my unhappiness. Somewhere along the journey I confused a hobby with an unhealthy addiction. No, books were not my addiction, it just manifested in that way. Avoidance was my addiction. I struggled coping with family and relationship issues, health problems and parenting. So I read a story to emotionally invest in something other than myself.

Reading became painful, physically and emotionally. I neglected my health and well-being rather than focused on it. I became obsessed with book giveaways, spending hours on Goodreads and searching the internet for my next victim to read and not appreciate. My bookshelf became overloaded and literally broken. I could no longer see the books I adored and spark the emotions I felt when reading them. I still appreciated the authors and their writing and their beautiful stories but I no longer felt anything. I numbed myself with an obsession, a distraction.

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I have had a long confusing health history from Lyme Disease as a child, Hypothyroidism as a preteen, PCOS as a teen and Lupus and Celiac Disease as an adult, among other little autoimmune problems like Oral Hairy Leukoplakia and Acid Reflux Disease  (yes these things get weird). I tried various coping methods throughout the years, healthy, destructive, even non-existent. But I dabbled in yoga since childhood and it’s the only hobby that has made me happier and healthier (with healthy eating).

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I didn’t practice asanas (poses) as a child. I wasn’t some superstar 4-year-old doing Warrior II or Crow pose. I meditated. It sounds unusual but in my late childhood I started using my imagination to calm myself and get through physical and mental struggles. My favorite was lying flat in Corpse pose (though I did not know the name nor the purpose at the time) and imagining a large ball of energy, looking like electricity, hypnotizing in metallic colors and methodic movements. I imagined the ball floated above my core (or specific area with pain or other problems) and pictured strands of electricity connecting to each and every joint and pulsing with energy, a constant flow of life back and forth. I did this often until I calmed so deeply I fell asleep without realizing it. I still use this skill to this day, during times I cannot quiet my mind, or am struggling with a particularly bad day of chronic symptoms.

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I eventually donated almost 300 books to libraries, sold 100 and have 400 in boxes to either donate or sell. I cleared my shelves and limited myself to only keeping books I actually enjoyed. I made space to put yoga props, holistic oils and other things that spark joy for me.

I still read, there just isn’t room in my life to only exist in books. My health needs constant care and neglecting that can never be a hobby.

This year I took a leap. I stopped using my Bookstagram and felt it was a burden. I started looking to connect with others who suffer from Lupus or other autoimmune diseases. First, I found someone who wrote this:

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“If your fatigue can be cured with a nap or caffeine, if you work full-time, if you see your friends, if you can wake up and have enough time to brush your hair and put on make up, if you’re not in pain, if taking a breath doesn’t take all the energy you have … Be grateful.  Cherish your 20 min nap and cup of coffee.  Cherish your make up and combed hair.  Cherish to be able to work full time and provide for your self and house hold. Cherish the time with your family and friends.  Cherish the hours you’re awake and making memories. #lupuswarrior”

I started to cry. I had no idea other people could put into words how I felt on a daily basis. This moment made me realize how much it actually helps to have the community of others fighting the same fight. I didn’t feel alone anymore. I didn’t feel crazy anymore  (these symptoms are real!).

I kept connecting with others battling autoimmune diseases and I came across an unbelievably strong (in the physical sense as well as mental) woman who posts fitness photos and videos everyday. Then I realized she has Cystic Fibrosis. Instantly I said “wow”. There’s no more crying, no more wasting my life. I banned myself from ever staying in bed because of pain. That day I got up and practiced asanas.. for 30 seconds. I got up the next day, another 30 seconds. And I did this everyday until I could handle a minute. I joined a yoga challenge and even only 14 days later, my pain was different. It was no longer devastating. My emotional health was improving. My anxiety decreased significantly.

I decided to share my health journey on Instagram.

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I never expected anyone to like my photos, or even hear my story. Somehow 800 of you enjoy my terrible asanas and corny life quotes. Every single day I connect with someone over yoga. I feel like I have this entire team cheering me on daily, hoping to see me thrive and never expecting to see me fail. It’s unbelievable the connections you can make over the internet.

Read my whole story of my yoga journey here: The Yoga Book

Get some mindfulness goodies with a discount here (I’m in love): YogiSurprise

Or find me on Yoga Lifestyles

Talk to me! Tell me about your self journey in the comments below or shoot me an email @ saveserenityblog@gmail.com.

 

Namaste 🙏

 

Why you should try Graze.com

Graze let’s you try a box for free and with all the new weekly snack subsriptions out there I figured why not try it.

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Each sample box comes with four selections while the subsription comes with 8. The choices range with 112 recipes! 

They have a box type for everyone:

our favorites

Discover our most popular graze boxes.

8 snack variety box

Enjoy all the snacks graze has to offer.

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8 snacks$11.99

flapjack box

Our range of unique rustic rolled-oat flapjacks, handcrafted from a family recipe.

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8 snacks$13.99

popkern box

Get the best of both worlds with our light & airy popcorn and our crunchy half-popped kerns.

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8 snacks$11.99

sweet treat box

Guilt-free sweet indulgences that are not only delicious but also nutritionist-approved.

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8 snacks$11.99

savory box

Explore just our savory snacks, inspired by tastes from around the world.

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8 snacks$11.99

top 20 box

Experience the graze fan favorites with a variety of the top rated snacks.

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8 snacks$11.99

afternoon pick-me-up box

Good sources of protein and/or fiber, to keep you going through the day.

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8 snacks$11.99

breakfast box

Start your day the graze way with a variety of our tasty bites.

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8 snacks$11.99

wholesome nutrition

Nutritionist approved plans to meet your goals without compromising on taste.

carb count box

Let us do the carb counting for you, and just enjoy the tasty snacks!

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8 snacks$11.99

protein box

Tasty ways to get more protein into your diet.

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8 snacks$11.99

calorie count box

Delicious top quality snacks all under 150 calories.

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8 snacks$11.99

sugar count box

Tasty snacks all under 5 grams of sugar – the easy way to eat less sugar.

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8 snacks$11.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The flavor combinations are quite magical! There’s sweet, salty, savory and of course sweet and salty together.

 

I'm only 130 calories per serving

 

I'm only 110 calories per serving

image of spicy thai sriracha crunchspicy thai sriracha crunch

sriracha peas & popped corn kernels with jumbo salted corn

 

 

This snack contains 7g of protein. See nutrition facts for fat and sat. fat content.

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baked salted peanuts, mini cocoa cookies, redskin peanuts and vanilla fudge

I'm only 130 calories per serving

 

I'm only 130 calories per serving

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white chocolate dip with wild blueberry toasts

My box came with Sesame Garlic and Crunch and it was delicious. The garlic isn’t too strong and the crunch is perfect. Their oats snacks are nice and moist, not dry like I always fear with oats. The mango dip is like a dessert, it is so sweet and tangy and very addictive.

The subscription is suggested for weekly at around $12. While the snack packages seem a little small, they’re also gourmet with wonderful quality ingredients. The subsription options can also range from weekly to monthy and a one time purchase.

I have one warning, the company states that Graze boxes are NOT suitable for anyone with allergies as cross contamination may occur even if the snack choice doesn’t have your allergy in it (unfortunately my kids and I had a reaction because of a gluten intolerance).

My overall opinion: these are pretty great boxes and while I can’t enjoy them I love them for gifts! If you don’t have allergies, you might just fall in love with these. But share the love people, Father’s Day is coming up after all 😊

Order here & enjoy>> http://www.graze.com

Use code LIZM1D4DB to get your 5th box free!

Book Review: Appetite by Sheila Grinell

Appetite by Sheila Grinell

http://www.sheilagrinell.com

from Amazon: “When Jenn Adler returns from a year in India, she has a surprise for her parents: a young guru from Bangalore whom she intends to marry. Her father, Paul, is wary of this “beggar” Jenn has brought home―who, he suspects, is conning his much-loved daughter―while her mother, Maggie, is frightened that this alien stranger will steal away her only child, her focus in life.

In the months leading up to the backyard wedding, Maggie is forced to reevaluate her virtues as she casts about for support, and Paul faces an unexpected threat at work―one that Maggie could help him meet, if he would only ask. But even with these distractions, the two parents are focused on one primary question: Can they convince their daughter she is making a terrible mistake before the wedding takes place?”

To the point: Extraordinary, wise and quirky.

Review: Sheila Grinell’s writing is fluid and her storytelling is hypnotic. Once you pick the book up you wont be able to stop reading because the words flow like music.

The plot is amazing. Each generation has a difficult time connecting with the last. As time changes so does our culture and figuring out how to bridge the two different cultures into one can be really emotional. This book expresses all the difficulties of growing up and away from our parents as we navigate the new found world. Maggie just might get you thinking about how to or when you were finding your place in this crazy world.

Loved this book. Very emotional, relatable and lovable!

Appetite by Sheila Grinell. Paperback: 328 pages. Publisher: She Writes Press (May 17, 2016). Contemporary. I received this copy in exchange for an honest review.