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NEWS

The Joy Within Discipline

Jennifer Oechsner

jennifer_runner.jpg

On September 5th I embarked on a 30 day plan to clean up my diet, change some unhealthy habits I had adopted over the summer and prepare for my fist olympic distance triathlon. I eliminated inflammatory foods, focused on getting more sleep, decreased my social time to turn my attention inward and up-leveled my training which included more rest days. All of these things required concerted effort and non of them were easy (yes, even taking more rest days). Making change, even when we know the change is positive, is not easy. It takes discipline, but discipline doesn't have to be a dirty word. Over the past month this discipline has helped me cultivate a sense of peace and an unexpected undercurrent of joy.

In the Shambhala tradition the snow lion represents joy, unconditional cheerfulness and a mind free from doubt. Over the past month I have noticed a shift in my general sense of well being, beginning to feel the embodiment of the snow lion. Skipping the wine with dinner improved mental clarity in the morning. Eliminating coffee took away a crutch I realized I didn't need. Implementing more rest days helped me push myself to greater improvements on my training days. Although there were moments of joy when I felt my muscles getting stronger riding hills and on my training swims in the Columbia. Even more importantly I felt a greater sense of peace.  Life's struggles are still there but there has been lighter feel to obstacles. Even training through a hip injury felt more navigable than it might have been

I was certainly not perfect on my 30 days to healthy living plan but that was also part of the process for me. Faltering didn't derail me as it would have in the past. Taking extra time off of training to nurture an injury was hard but worth it in the long run. I left room for self compassion when I wasn't perfect and recognized this as a growth point rather than telling myself I failed. 

When the day of the triathlon came after so much anticipation, pain and excitement I felt ready to dive in full force and accept what happened in my body. I might not be able to run, I might have to take breaks but I committed to doing the best I could. And it turned out, my mental an physical training paid off. I soared through the mile swim, climbed the hills with a vengeance on the 25 mile ride and found my stride on the last half of the 6 mile run. As I sprinted toward the finish line on my runners high there were tears of joy in my eyes. Joy for completing the challenge, the amazing backdrop of the endeavor, and gratitude for my blessed life. My heart is full.

Want to know how you can up-level your life with 30 days to healthy living? Contact me at warriorflow@gmail.com

Roaring at the Leo Moon

Jennifer Oechsner

leo-full-moon.jpg

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love my birthday. It's a day all for me to do whatever I want. It's a day to celebrate all that I have accomplished, all that I am and to set intentions for my next trip around the sun. It's a day of reflection. I always spend it doing things I love that empower me, surrounded by people I love.

Some of my favorite things about living in Portland are forest park and the rivers in and around the city. So I started my day with a long trail run and followed it up with a picnic and swim at the Columbia. We got a little lost on the run and ended up running much further than planned. Admittedly, I lost my cool and gave up on myself and my ability to make it through those last 4 miles. But then, I thought, I am Leo hear me roar and even though there were moments of walking, I made it through to the end. Although I have to say I have never been so happy to see a trial head as I was yesterday afternoon. The swim in the cool Columbia afterward was glorious and the picnic was perfect.

The time of the Leo moon is a time of power for me, a time for me to commit to big leaps. A time to think big. I'm excited to see how the next year unfolds.

As I celebrate the beginning of my 41st year and reflect back on past birthday celebrations here in Portland I am reminded how blessed I am. I have so many lovely souls to share my life with here. The strong women (and men) in my life inspire me, motivate me, and hold me up when I need it.  Every lion needs her pride, I'm blessed to have such a lovely one to share the upcoming weekend relaxing and celebrating at the Roaring River. I hope you all also have a fabulous summer weekend doing things that nourish your heart and soul. 

The mental push ups of mindfullness

Jennifer Oechsner

Movement is a big part of my life and on most days I engage in some type of physical activity. This helps to keep me grounded and connect to my strength (both physical and otherwise). When I am in times of struggle, the ways I move my body tend to get more intense. I run faster, I lift heavier, I stretch deeper. Moving my body helps me to heal my mind. 

However, I tend to miss and important part of the healing process. My meditation practice takes a back burner, subconsciously avoiding sitting with the difficult emotions. Its so much easier to sit when positivity dominates my mental landscape. However, its during times of struggle that I need it the most. Recently, I have been exploring sitting with sadness when it arises. My pattern is to fight it, beat it into submission. With an open and tender heart, I am learning that all of my emotions are ok and that they key is not to let them carry me away. This is not easy work and I'm not saying I will stop going for a hard run during times of struggle but I am making more of an effort to sit in the space I am in. Running is easy, sitting is hard. 

In the Shambhala tradition it is taught that opening to sadness with a tender heart is a source of genuine bravery. This warrior's path teaches us to live courageously, meeting the challenges of our lives with compassion, allowing us to care for ourselves and others. Life's circumstances and corresponding emotions fluctuate day to day and sometimes minute to minute. It is only through mindfulllness practices that we can learn to navigate these fluctuations with grace. I wouldn't expect to be able to do any push ups without conscious work. Likewise, I can't expect to become skilled at taming my mind without regular practice. 

Do you have a regular meditation practice? Are you looking to start one? I would love to help. Contact me and let's put a plan into action!

A shield, a sword and love....

Jennifer Oechsner

There's a wonder woman in all of us.

Since I was a very little girl I always thought wonder woman was pretty damn cool. She had that awesome costume (and looked so pretty wearing it!), she didn't take any shit, she had her very own jet she could take anywhere and no one could see her fly away because it was invisible. And then the biggest one, she could outfight and outsmart so many boys. (i'm sure this last point of admiration had something to do with the fact that my older brother did such a great job terrorizing me). 

Like so many women from my generation I was thrilled when the Wonder Woman the movie recently came out. Like so many others, I left the theater inspired and empowered.

Don't worry, no spoiler alert!....

In the movie Wonder Woman left her comfortable home to venture out into the world to fight. She could have stayed in her comfort zone but she couldn't ignore the pull to fight the demons who were destroying the world. She was told not to leave, there were times when she was told she couldn't do it. Yet she persevered. She was told to keep her head down and that there was nothing she could do but she chose to fight. At a pivotal point in the movie she shed her cloak of disguise so she could fight unencumbered. And then she really kicked some ass. 

While most of us will not have to fight on an external battlefield, we all walk a battlefield within on a daily basis. We are faced with people who tell us we can't do it, we limit ourselves through our self doubt, we wear cloaks the prevent us from showing our authentic self to the world. We all need to find a shield to deflect the naysayers, a sword to cut through our own limiting beliefs, and to shed the cloak the hides our inner light. 

Over the years I have been drawn to practices that provide the arsenal I need to get through life's battles. Yoga helps bring me peace, a pair of boxing gloves and a heavy bag kick the shit out of some self doubt and meditation helps me to let my light shine.

What is your shield? What is your sword? How do you bring love into the battlefield of life? I'd love to hear from you. We are in this together. Let's all be soldiers for peace, peace that starts within. If more of us were fighting for peace within and fighting for those who cant fight for themselves how different could the world be?

Fuel your body, fuel your life.

Jennifer Oechsner

My private clients and class members often ask me what they should eat in the morning. People also wonder whether they should eat before a morning workout and if so, what is best?

Starting your day with a healthy breakfast is important. This doesn't have to be complicated or time consuming but I do believe that certain components are integral to give your body the fuel it needs to thrive.

All too often the go to for breakfast is simple carbohydrates. Pastries, bagels, fruit juice, pancakes and some cereals all fall into this category. These types of food spike the blood sugar and while this can give you a burst of energy first thing in the morning it is a recipe for an energy crash later. Put very simply, over time this cycle can disrupt your body's natural ability to regulate blood sugar levels. This potentially causes insulin resistance and makes weight loss difficult.   

What's the alternative? I recommend always including protein in your breakfast. I get up and go first thing in the morning so I need something quick. Most days I have a smoothie that includes protein powder. I resisted using protein powders for a long time and thought I didn't need supplements to get the nutrients I need. While that might be true, I found that adding protein powder to my morning smoothie kept me full much longer. Here's one of my favorite go to smoothie recipes:

  • organic frozen Cherries (about 1 cup)

  • 2 tbsp ground flax

  • Arbonne chocolate protein powder

  • large handful baby spinach

  • unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Just like any meal of the the day, keep it balanced. Include some healthy fat and complex carbohydrates like whole grains or vegetables and you are good to go. As to the question of what/if you should eat before morning exercise, I think this is an individual thing. Some days I wake up hungry and know I want to practice yoga or run in first thing. On these days I have a banana or a couple of mandarins and save my main breakfast for after exercise.

The body digests fruit quickly so it will give you energy more quickly without spiking the blood sugar like fruit juice does on an empty stomach. Most of the time I just have some water or a cup of tea before morning exercise and I have plenty of energy. If you are exercising in the morning and feel weak or get light headed, this is a good indicator that you should eat before exercise.

Another great breakfast that is easy to make and grab n' go is the omlette muffin. This recipe is grain free and dairy free. Make a batch and they are ready to go for busy mornings. You could heat them up but I thing they are great cold too. 

  • 8 eggs

  • 8 ounces organic sausage 

  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper

  • 1 cup diced onion

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. While oven is preheating, brown sausage. Line muffin tin with paper liners. Beat eggs together in a large bowl. Mix cooked sausage, bell pepper, onion, salt, black pepper, and water into the beaten eggs. Pour egg mixture evenly into prepared muffin cups. Bake in the preheated oven until muffins are set in the middle, 18 to 20 minutes.

Enjoy! I'd love to hear your feedback. And feel free to reach out if you have questions about other healthy breakfast options (or any other meal for that matter)

To truly live is to grow, how can you grow in 2017?

Jennifer Oechsner

A lot of people prefer to avoid New Years Eve celebrations and shun the idea of New Years Resolutions. I am not in this group. I love celebrating the end of one year and welcoming in the next. For me, the New Year is an opportunity to wipe the slate clean, to start fresh. Resolutions are a way to remind myself to stay on track and assess where I would like my life to go.

Maybe the word resolution is too loaded and makes you shy away from the idea of making change. Maybe it makes you think that you have to give something up. Instead, how about New Years Declaration, or New Years Purpose? Maybe it doesn't have to be about giving something up but about taking steps toward a larger goal. Here are a few ways to stay the course.

  • Personally, I have a lot of goals for 2017. Some are large, some are small. A good way to keep perspective and not get overwhelmed is to set quarterly goals. Some of what I am working on will take time, but I need to have strong roots in place to achieve the growth I desire. I need to carefully plant the seeds and tend to them along the way. 
  • Another way to stay on track is to share your goals with friends and family. Encourage each other to persevere and hold each other accountable. Making change is not easy and we all need support along the way. Surround yourself with people who inspire you and embolden you to do your best. When you feel yourself falter, call on a loved one for help. Meet a friend for coffee and talk it out. To falter or fail is an opportunity to reassess. Ask for help!
  • Keep track of successes, no matter how small. I know how easy it is to fall into the trap of self loathing.  I tend to beat myself up when I skip yoga for too long, make poor food choices or when a workshop I hold has low attendance. One way for me to get out of this downward spiral is to remind myself of things I have done well. I encourage you to document these successes. Changing mental framework takes time, repetition and diligence. The simple act of writing things down is a useful tool. 

Now get out there and kick some ass in 2017! For me that means growing my business, sticking to a budget, daily meditation and visiting family more. I'd would love to hear from you about YOUR goals for 2017! Share them on my Facebook page and we can ALL support EACH OTHER in being the best we can be for 2017 and beyond.

 

Foster Global Oneness

Jennifer Oechsner

In these uncertain times it is easy to shut yourself in. It is easy to sit paralyzed with fear, wondering which direction this country will take. It is easy to fall into the trap of anger and resentment. It is difficult to cultivate a sense of hope and togetherness when there are strong lines of division. We are a city, a state, a country and a world that is made up of many different kinds of people. People with different religious beliefs, opinions,  genders and races. Yet we all still want some of the same things. We all want to be happy, to be healthy and free to make our own choices. Just as there are things that divide us, these common desires create a common ground. 

Recognizing these universal truths is part of why I love to travel. It is easy to get caught up in our everyday lives and disconnect ourselves from the world at large. Traveling introduces us to new people, places and ways of living. It stimulates the mind and the senses. But it also can remind us of our similarities. We all laugh, we all cry, we all want the best for ourselves and our loved ones. We all want to love and be loved.

I feel blessed to have traveled to many countries and to have spent several years living abroad. These experiences have shaped the woman I am today and have inspired me to share my love of travel with others by organizing trips to new and interesting places. 

In 2014 I led a group to India, this year me and Kimi Marin led a group to Nepal. In March her and I are taking a group to Ecuador! On these trips we create an experience of togetherness, compassion and adventure.  

We will start our journey in Quito working with street children. Humanitarian work fosters human connection and reminds us of the commonalities between us. While you will undoubtedly be struck by how differently we live, you will also notice that laughter is the same. Love is the same. Compassion is the same.

After we leave Quioto we will travel to the rain forest where we will spend the remainder of the retreat exploring, connecting with locals, meditating in the jungle and practicing yoga. I look forward to sharing each of these experiences with you. Contact me for more information Or visit Kimimarinyoga.com to make your deposit.

Warrior for Change

Jennifer Oechsner

To Change is to Grow.....

Do you find yourself plodding through your work days? Are you continually telling yourself you really need to eat better, exercise more, sleep more.....wishing you just felt better about your life? It's easy to get caught in ruts. We perpetuate our circumstances through repeated thought patterns. These patterns are a part of the brain and are a very real part of your brain chemistry. But don't worry, we can all create new patterns of thought and behavior. However, it's not easy and it generally involves stepping out of your comfort zone.

When I moved to Portland 6 years ago to start a new career I was terrified. What if I wasn't good at it? What if I couldn't find work? What if I wasn't "successful"? While my business has grown a lot since I arrived in Portland, those old patterns of fear based self talk still creep into my internal dialogue. How do I fight it? 

By continuing to step out of my comfort zone through new endeavors and being more open about my challenges with those close to me. My inner warrior tells me to be strong and that I can deal with things on my own. But as I allow myself to be just a little but more vulnerable and lean on others just a little but more, I realize how helpful this is for me. The internal fear based dialogue becomes a little easier to let go of.  2016 has brought big change, grand adventure and now, new endeavors. Each of these has brought excitement as well as fear. But I know I can move right through that fear. With a few kind souls to hold my hand when I need it.

I challenge you to consider changes YOU can make. What internal dialogue is holding you back? How can you change your story? How can you grow? We're in this together! I would love to hear from you!

Warrior-Flow Fall Happenings

Jennifer Oechsner

Happy Hour....and "Journey to Ecuador" 

Thursday, November 3rd, 6pm

Hello Friends! Want to grab a drink and talk yoga and tropical adventures? Join Kimi Marin and me at the Bye and Bye to learn all about our NEXT yoga, mediation and volunteering trip...."Journey to Ecuador". We will share our plans for the trip, answer any questions you may have and build excitement for our next once in a lifetime adventure. Join us for on November 3rd and you will receive $50 off the price of the trip. Not in Portland? No problem! Kimi and I can set up a Skype call to and we can have a cyber toast.


Warrior-Flow @ Yoga Union

Saturday, November 3rd, 1-3pm

Join me for this very special Warrior-Flow workshop. No experience necessary, just a willingness to try something new and HAVE FUN.
$25 before October 22nd, $35 at the door
 

Reserve your spot TODAY! 


Healthy Appetizers For Your Holiday Happenings

Sunday, November 6th,  4 - 6:30 pm

Tired of bringing the same nibbles to holiday potlucks?
Join me to learn step by step preparation to make simple, fun, seasonal, and healthy recipes with a creative twist that are sure to be a hit for large parties to more intimate ones.

Lots of samples provided and recipes to take home!

$30 @ Rain Meditation and Yoga, 2735 SE Main Street
*RSVP by 10/30 so I can determine food amounts*
 

 

Finding solace in stillness...

Jennifer Oechsner

I spent part of my weekend at a meditation training at the Shambhala Center, it was wonderful. It was eye opening, challenging, emotional and at times tough to get through. I was forced to face some demons I didn't want to face. I looked my self judgement in the face and wanted to turn away, but I sat and I breathed. I felt my fears bubble to the surface and wanted to push them down and run, but I sat and I breathed. I told myself I was doing it all wrong, then I sat and I breathed. I'm not saying I found all the answers on how to stop the wandering mind and the patterns of self judgement that arise, but I found glimmers of peace and self compassion. As I sat and breathed and we shared our experiences as a group, the window to another way of living opened a crack. In stillness I was able to catch glimpses of how I can follow a new path; one that casts aside self judgement. I know how important it is to practice self compassion yet no matter how many times I tell this to friends and students, in truth, I have a hard time living this. I am ready to let the light in. I am ready to live this truth. I know I will falter. And I know that is ok. The monkey mind will keep swinging with fervor if I do not learn to train it. What is most important is that I keep trying, keep breathing, keep coming back to the practice. Can you strive to find solace in stillness?


If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

What can you open up to in your life?

Jennifer Oechsner

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
-Anais Nin

Have you ever felt stuck? Have you ever felt like your on a hampster wheel that you just can't seem to get off of? Have you ever wanted to alter your course but couldn't quite figure out the right path? I'm sure you all said yes!


As I approach my 40th birthday I find myself pondering these questions and ready to  break free from self-limiting behaviors and self talk. I'm ready to blossom in all aspects of my life. Inklings of the need to change have been whispering to me, that inner voice became more of roar on my recent trip to Nepal. I became even more aware of how quickly the years pass and how short life is. Time spent living in a cocoon is time wasted. What can we do to break free from this tight bud, this cocoon? Here are my suggestions for overcoming the stickiness of self-limiting behavior that prevents us from living a full and authentic life.

  • Make a list of your professional and personal goals. To successfully cultivate change it is important to know where your want to go. The path will reveal itself when you decide on the destination.
  • What are your self-limiting beliefs?  Cultivate self awareness by taking note when you experience self doubt, fear of success or feel that you are not worthy of achieving your goals. It takes work to change these negative thought patterns and awareness of them is the first step to change.
  • Surround yourself with people who nurture your spirit and help you remain true to yourself. We all need people in our life to lean on, to listen and to keep us in check when we falter from our path. Share your goals and dreams with your support system. We are social beings that need community to thrive. 
  • Commit to a regular meditation practice. Even 10 minutes of mindfulness practice each day can calm the mind, soothe the nervous system and breed a deeper connection to the Self, your truth.

What changes are you working on in your life? What helps you when you feel stuck? I'd love to hear from you! 

 

Fearlessness: the Path of the Garuda

Jennifer Oechsner

Last month I wrote about the path of the snow lion, the path to cultivating a joyful and meaningful life. This is one of four symbolic dignities that is part of the Shambhala tradition. This month I am drawn to the path of fearlessness. In Shambhala, this path is represented by the Garuda, a legendary Tibetan bird. It is said that the Garuda hatches from its egg full grown and soars into space with no limits. This symbolizes our ability to expand without limits, to go beyond preconceived limits wth nothing to obstruct our vast mind. Through harnessing the fearless nature of the Garuda we can release anxiety about how far we can go in our lives. 

It is easy to fall into the trap of self doubt. Our self-limiting belief systems prevent us from living up to our full potential. We doubt our abilities and strengths and tell ourselves that we are being "safe" or "logical" by perpetuating the status quo in our lives. What doubts can you release in your life? Fearlessness is not to live without fear, but to move and grow in spite of it. Move through it rather that running from it. Is it time to change jobs or careers? Is it time to let go of a relationship that has run its course? Is it time to climb that mountain you've only observed from afar? Is it time to travel? How can you enrich your current existence, move beyond fear and doubt and live the path of the Garuda? I would love to hear from you!

Let's support each other on this path.

Cultivate Joy, the Lion's Path

Jennifer Oechsner

As most of you know, I recently returned from a 3 week journey in Nepal. Two weeks of that journey were spent co-leading a yoga and meditation retreat with Kimi Marin. Upon my return I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the experience. So often when we return from a vacation we bask in our more relaxed existence for a short time and then quickly return to our patterns of stress, sleep deprivation and old thought patterns. Following my recent journey I have been focused on keeping the emotional and energetic benefits I received from this fantastic adventure at the forefront of my mind. 
 

One of the feelings that comes to mind when I reflect is joy. Joy for being able to visit such a fascinating country, joy for sharing the experience with a dear friend, joy for the new friends I made, and joy for the laughter we found along the way. Joy isn't just about having fun, but also about the deeper spiritual connection it cultivates. A connection with ourselves and with others.

The Shambhala tradition references the importance of joy in our lives. The path of Shambhala is about awakening to the potential in our lives. In part, this potential is awakened by living a meaningful and joyful life. Within the Shambhala tradition, this joy is represented by the snow lion. The snow lion breathes the fresh air high in the Himalaya, free from the cage we often place ourselves in. We cultivate joy through discipline. Discipline can be practiced in many ways, through meditation, yoga, creating art, living a healthy lfe, or service to others. Each of these paths can lead us down the path of the snow lion, a life of meaningful joy. To find this joy, we must be mindful in our endeavors. Mindful pursuits that feed the soul cultivate joy, help us to realize all that we are capable of, and make us better citizens of the world.

Your weekly yoga practice is a great place to cultivate a mindful life. When you come to your mat, have fun, be joyful and be mindful. Embody the snow lion.

Journey to Nepal...a journey within

Jennifer Oechsner

As many of you know, I am co-leading a yoga and meditation retreat to Nepal with Kimi Marin.

This adventure has been in the works for a year and it's a project Kimi and I are so excited to be working together on. Our partner in Nepal, Asahi Treks and Adventures, has been a great pleasure to work with. Thank you, Kumar for all of your help. This trip is another dream come true for me and as I prepare, I find myself filled with butterflies and joy. I encourage you to put your dreams on paper, make a plan and set the wheels in motion. Find what brings you joy and gratification and keep it in sight.

Arranging the volunteer component of Journey to Nepal has also been a moving experience for me, an experience from and of the heart. I am grateful for our guests' enthusiasm for this endeavor and for the many individuals who contributed to the cause. I embrace the opportunity to travel to this enchanting country and practice Karma Yoga, yoga of service.  I am grateful for each individual who is joining us on this journey.

I will be posting messages and photos periodically throughout the trip. Follow me on Facebook for updates on our adventures. 

Each year I will offer a new opportunity to travel with me to an amazing location.  Next year's retreat is already in the works.....Journey to Ecuador! Save the dates, March 23-April 1. It is going to be another amazing adventure with yoga, reiki, meditation, horseback riding in the jungle and more. This trip will also include Karma Yoga. Stay tuned for details. 

 

Spring Cleaning for Home and Health

Jennifer Oechsner

As the days become longer and the first cherry blossoms show themselves in Portland, I notice myself having the desire to clean house. Its time to eliminate clutter. Clutter in my closets, and clutter in my body. During the colder, wetter winter months it is easy to become stagnant. We spend more time indoors, less time being active and heavy comfort foods seem so much more appealing. Not only that, but those New Year's resolutions we were so sure about just 2 short months ago may have fallen to the wayside. Now is the time to turn things around.  

  1. Let go of clutter. Fill (at least) one garbage bag with things you no longer use. Those t-shirts that stay scrunched in the bottom of the drawer. The old, ratty tennis shoes you keep saving "just in case". The sweaters that you think you just might wear again but have stayed on the closet shelf for another winter. Maybe you have a drawer full of mismatched discolored socks you could toss. I recommend donating your lightly used items to your favorite organization. Your discarded items might help someone in need.
  2. Clean up your diet. Can you really commit making change? Try a 3 day juice fast, or give up dairy and sugar for a month. How about a week without coffee to give your adrenal glands a break? Try going vegan and/or gluten free for a 2-4 weeks. Challenge yourself to get 8 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Even something as simple as increasing your water intake to 8 glasses of water every day can help flush out your body. If you do have a health issue you are working on, adjusting your diet can have a strong impact. Digestive upset, low energy, sleep disruption, skin issues and sore joints due to inflammation can all be traced back to the gut which is directly effected by the foods we eat. But you have to be patient. Food is medicine but it doesn't work quickly like pharmaceuticals. Give your body time to adapt to adjustments. If you are unsure about what you need, it can be beneficial to enlist the help of a nutrition professional to guide you down the right path. I can help!
  3. Get your fitness back on track. Are you keeping up with regular workouts but finding that you have hit a plateau? It could be time to change things up. To get the most out of your workouts its important to alter your routine every 4-6 weeks. The body is an efficient machine and it wants to save energy where possible. If you keep doing the same workout, your body will figure out how to make those movements more efficiently, thereby utilizing less energy. To continue to see and feel results we need to continue to challenge the body. A simple way to change up your workout is to add weight and or repetitions to an existing routine. Giving your body new exercises is ideal in order to work your joints at different angles through different ranges of motion.
  4. Clear your mind. Implementing a regular meditation practice is a wonderful practice to start your day with. Clear your mind of clutter and set positive intentions for your day. How about slowing down and riding your bike instead of driving once a week? Connect to your body and to the natural world by experiencing the natural elements. Slowing down physically can clear stress from mind and body.

As a health professional I have a plethora of tools to draw from in order to help my clients improve their health and wellness. And I can help you too! Contact me today at warrior-flow@gmail.com to set up a FREE health consult and learn more about how I can help you reach and surpass your goals. I am available in person in Portland and on line for out of town clients. I look forward to hearing from you! You can learn more about me on my website warrior-flow.com.

See you in class! 

Make Friends with Fat

Jennifer Oechsner

As a wellness professional, I am passionate about helping people navigate their way to better health.  Naturally, part of this process is developing new patterns of eating. I don't believe that a "one size fits all" approach is the way to go and I work with each individual on a case by case basis. Recommendations vary based on age, gender, activity level, dietary preferences and level of health.  Within these broader parameters there are several constants that hold true across the board. One of these is that dietary fat plays an integral role in health.

Even if you are only mildly paying attention to nutrition buzz words, Im sure you are all familiar with the term "healthy fats". Healthy fats include nuts, seeds, olives, avocados, coconut and oils derived from these foods. I recommend you include these items in your diet on a daily basis. Focusing on the whole food (avocados versus avocado oil) is the healthiest way to go. Even though you may be familiar with the term "healthy fat" , do you still find yourself shying away from these items when trying to be healthier? If so, there are numerous reasons to adjust your mindset around dietary fat. Here are just a few of the reasons you should be including sufficient fat in your diet.

  • Nutrient Absorption. Fat is essential for your body to absorb fat soluble vitamins A,E, D and K. These essential nutrients are important for all of the body's systems.
  • Skin Health. Without sufficient dietary fat our skin can become dry and irritated. It also helps produce collagen which helps keep skin supple and smooth.
  • Hormone production. Dietary fat plays an integral role in producing all of our hormones. Our hormones are responsible for metabolism, blood sugar control, energy levels, quality of sleep and sexual vitality. 
  • Fat increases satiety.  Meals that include fat better satisfy hunger and help us feel full longer. Fat contains more energy per gram and is broken down more slowly in the digestive system so it stays with us longer. 
  • Fat burns fat: For anyone trying to burn through stored fat, dietary fat is also your friend. To put it simply, the liver is stimulated by dietary fat. This organ is integral to burning stored fat.

When looking for ways to integrate more fat into your diet, it is important to keep in mind that not all fat is created equal. There is a lot of debate around this topic, but I do believe that  saturated fat has its place in a healthy diet. Healthy saturated fat includes butter from grass fed cows, coconut oil and animal fat (including eggs) from hormone free/free range/grass fed animals. Steer clear of deep fried foods. 

There is a sea of nutrition information out there and it can be overwhelming to try to navigate through it. We need to find balance. Finding the right balance for you is key. If you need help finding the right path, let me know. I am passionate about helping people become healthy and vital, to become the best version of themselves they can be. Contact me at warriorflow@gmail.com to set up a free health consultation.

Yoga for Education: Nepal School Benefit

Jennifer Oechsner

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The 2015 earthquake devastated parts of Nepal and orphaned children. Many children are without the resources to continue their education. Yoga for Education: Nepal School Benefit is to raise money to provide school supplies for children in Nepal's Dhading Region.

Join me and Kimi Marin for a 75-minute yoga class followed by food and juice samples to move your body, nourish your spirit, and lend a helping hand to the world! 

Saturday, March 26, 3-5pm, 5514 SE Foster Road, Portland, OR

In April, Kimi and I are leading a yoga retreat to Nepal where we will visit and meet both teachers and students of the school the money is assisting. 100% of Profits will be donated.


What can YOU resolve to release?

Jennifer Oechsner

"Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own" - Bruce Lee

It's that time of year again, time for resolutions. The time to begin healthy habits, to let go of unhealthy ones, to start fresh. I know Im not alone in the desire to make this year my best. I know I'm not the only one who wants to be the best version of themselves that they possibly can. The question is, what does this mean? We often make resolutions for things like exercising more, eating less sugar, eating more vegetabes, reading more books, maybe watching less TV. These are all great. But this year I need to go big. This year I have a couple resolutions, but my big one is letting go of fear.

Fear can definitely be tricky to let go of. Fear has the power to create so much unnecessary suffering. Fear takes hold of the mind and has the power to keep us in a seemingly endless cycle of self-pity and sadness. The first step to changing fear based behavior is to stare it right in the face. What is the fear? What story do we allow it to give us? How can we change that story? Buddhist teachings stress the importance of mindfullness practice to become more aware when thoughts or fears arise. This helps us recognize that we are responsible for the thoughts our mind produces. 

When fear based thoughts arise breathe deeply and ground yourself in the present moment. You can do this by observing the world around you. Listen to the rain or the birds. Feel the sun, rain or wind on your skin. Let this ground you in the present moment. Fears are often rooted in past experiences or future expectations. Over time, practicing being in the here and now can be an effective antidote to fear based behavior.

In my life, fear rears its ugly head and limits my growth. I feel effecting different parts of my life and it is difficult to break free. As many of you know, I have been studying martial arts for a number of years. It is the first thing I was ever truly passionate about. When I followed my new passion and became a yoga instructor I had the idea to somehow combine these two practices into one class I could share with the community. When I first started teaching yoga I held a couple of classes at a small gym. To my great disappointment, it didn't work out. Maybe it was the wrong time, maybe it was the wrong place, maybe I didn't give it enough time. Whatever the reason,  I felt like a huge failure. Over the past 5 years I have kept thinking about it, trying to figure out how I can make it better. I kept telling myself I would get around to it when I figured that out. But the real roadblock has been fear. And damn is it a big one. The question is, do I have the courage to let it go? What if I try again and it doesn't work out? Well, I've decided there is only one way to find out. 

I have resolved to step beyond this fear. I am at the point in my career, in my life, that I need to take a leap. All leaps are scary but I certainly can't grow if I keep quietly wishing for things. My wish, my goal, is to create my own Warrior-Flow. My own class that combines my passions of martial arts and yoga. So that's exactly what I have done. And it's going to be GREAT!

Each class will consist of a unique blend of yoga and martial arts, drawing from various disciplines I have studied over the years. AND I'm sharing my knowledge as a nutritionist by giving students a weekly nutrition focus and weekly recipe. And do you know how I know it's exactly the right thing to do? My gut tells me. The butterflies in my stomach just can't be wrong.

Here's the class info. Please email me for more information. Classes are scheduled to begin at the end of January.

NE PDX @ Whole Foods Market NE 15th and Freemont: Sundays 11:30-12:30
SE PDX @ 5514 SE Foster Rd.: Tuesdays 5:45-6:45pm


What can YOU let go of? How can you enrich your life experience and grow to become a better version of YOURself?

I would love to hear from you!

Eating with the Seasons

Jennifer Oechsner

Even before the solstice marks the official start of winter, the change of season is definitely here. The air is brisk, the mornings are dark and the heavy rain is upon us. It's time to nest, snuggle under a blanket and take time to prepare warming, nourishing meals for you and your loved ones. 

Eating with the seasons is optimal to be at your best and keep your body in tune with nature. As the temperature drops, I recommend leaning toward more warming foods. These foods include winter squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, onions, and garlic. Check out sustainabletable.org for a list of seasonal foods in Oregon. It's a great resource to help you eat seasonally. Eating seasonally nourishes you and our environment. Here are some great reasons to look to mother nature when making your weekly shopping list.

  • Seasonal foods can be locally sourced. Eating locally sourced fruits and vegetables means they have been harvested more recently and at a ripened state. Produce that is picked when it's ripe is more nutrient dense. When we eat produce shipped from thousands of miles away it has to be harvested long before it is at its peak. 
  • Seasonal foods provide our bodies with what we need at that time of year. For example, in winter we need more vitamin C and A to keep out  immune system strong. Winter squash and carrots are great sources of both of these nutrients. These vitamin C rich foods are also warming for the body. Cooling foods such as melon, berries and peppers are at their peak in the summer months, when we need them most.
  • Eating seasonal produce is good economics. Provide financial support for our local farmers rather than buying produce shipped from southern states and countries. And seasonal produce can save money on your grocery bill too.
  •  Seasonal eating also helps to protect the environment. Locally harvested food travels less to get to you, therefore using less fossil fuels. Produce like tomatoes and strawberries are often shipped from Central and South America to fill the shelves in Oregon during the winter months.  Help to reduce your carbon footprint by choosing seasonal items and freezing your summer fruits to enjoy in the winter.

Staying healthy all year round is about giving your body the nutrients it needs. But do you want to merely stay healthy or do you want to thrive and live with vitality? I believe that to being at our best means putting effort into nourishing our bodies. Filling your plate with seasonal vegetables all year round is the foundation of good health. From this foundation, a strong body and spirit can grow.

Step Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Jennifer Oechsner

I heard someone once say, "the magic happens when you step out of your comfort zone". This phrase has really stuck with me and I come back to these words of wisdom when I am fearful of putting myself out there. While I still get stuck in ruts and hide from change, I try to catch myself when I feel this happening.  

Over the years, I have definitely stepped beyond my comfort zone in some big ways. So far I have lived in 2 foreign countries, moved around the world and across the country for 2 career changes, traveled on my own to 8 countries, competed in full contact kickboxing competitions and fell on my face numerous times when trying to master side crow.  In each of these experiences I remember the vibrancy of my nerves, the butterflies in my stomach and the edge of fear. However, each of these situations taught me something new. Some of the lessons were painful, but each experience has made me a better version of myself.

Some of my best memories that involved me leaving my comfort zone have been found on the road. When I stepped off the plane on my first trip to India I was excited, nervous and a little apprehensive about whether I made the right decision to travel there on my own. That 5 week adventure had its ups and downs as any trip will, but overall it was amazing. To have a positive experience traveling in India one must be willing to embrace the unfamiliar. Amidst the chaos, the crowds, constant sensory stimulation and heat, I found peace. I found joy, I found presence, I found kinship, and I found a connection to this amazing and spiritual place. My time in the Himalayas was a big part of each of these treasures.

The Sherpa people of Northern Nepal have named Mt. Everest (the Himalayas and the world's tallest peak) Chomolungma or "Mother of the World". This speaks to the deep reverence people of that region have for these mountains. The Himalayas exude power, majesty and command respect. Next year I will again be traveling to the mighty Himalayas, this time by way of Nepal. And this time I will have the great pleasure of traveling with a dear friend and anyone who is inspired to join us on this grand adventure. 

Along with Kimi Marin, I am hosting "Journey to Nepal". We will hike together, practice yoga, explore the treasures of this fascinating country, and take our yoga off the mat by volunteering in a small village hard hit by the recent earthquakes. This is an adventure you don't want to miss. And you have just 3 more weeks to get in on the special early bird pricing. Contact me today at warriorflow@gmail.com for more information on this once on a lifetime adventure. Step away from a traditional vacation and wander from the comforts of home. Who knows, it just might change your life!