contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.

NEWS

Filtering by Category: lifestyle

Faith, Hope & Confidence

Jennifer Oechsner

unnamed (1).jpg

My time in India thus far has been flush with adventure, exploration,  introspection and also some struggle. I am grateful for all of it. After all, some of the biggest lessons in life show themselves when we are in the midst of a battle. It can be hard to see clearly through the chaos but with careful and brave reflection I see the message the universe is sending. 

I'm going to share a secret, and even as I write it makes my palms sweat. I am fully aware that I am living a good life and I am grateful for the opportunities that have come my way. I have achieved a lot but I could be achieving so much more. Why do I think this? What is stopping me? Courage. The courage to fully believe in myself. I don't want this to come off as self-pity. I know that I have accomplished some great things but I also know that I am capable of more and the only way to greatness is on a path of courage and self-confidence. I also know that for most of us these qualities have to be cultivated. Over the years I have become more self assured and that shy and scared little girl I remember lives in the past (most of the time). However, I also know that I continue to get in my own way. Thankfully I have some awesome women in my life who are willing to call me on my shit and remind me of my greatness when I forget. 

To me,  important ingredients for confidence are faith and hope. Hope is defined as the feeling that what is wanted can be had. Faith is defined as trust in a person or thing that is not based on proof. This is the tricky part of confidence and what can paralyze action. If we only take action when we have proof that things will turn out as we like, then our actions will be few and our growth will be limited.

Through growth of my businesses I have learned that confidence comes with taking scary steps even when the outcome is unclear. Confidence comes when I have those tough conversations even when I would prefer to keep my mouth shut and accept what is before me. Confidence comes when I dare to dream big and take the actions I need to get there. I firmly believe that the magic in life lies just outside the comfort zone. This is part of why I travel, why I love triathlons and why run my own businesses. There are easier paths I could have chosen, but what fun is that?

One of my goals is to continue to explore this crazy world. While I know my family in the Midwest and my friends and trees in the Pacific Northwest will always draw me back, the explorer in me will always take me on adventures. Right now I am again at a fork in the road. As I contemplate the best route to choose it is important to keep in mind to remain confident in my abilities, have faith that I will make the best choice and remain hopeful that my path will continue to be one of growth. Stay tuned for what's next!

Reset your diet to reboot your health, 30 days to healthy living

Jennifer Oechsner

02.jpg

It's that time of year again...the time of year we open the windows and spring clean our homes. Well, our bodies need it to.

A diet high in refined sugar, coffee, processed food, fried foods and conventionally raised meat can wreak havoc on the body and cause toxic build up. Here are a few signs you might be experiencing toxic build-up. 

  • sugar cravings

  • blood sugar issues

  • skin issues (rashes, acne)

  • moodiness

  • insomnia

  • increased belly fat

  • autoimmune conditions

  • inability to lose weight

A build-up of toxicity in the body can indicate a sluggish liver which is an important organ for detoxification. When we give the liver a break for 30 days it can catch up and help to rid the body of toxins. This can also help the body to shed stubborn fat stores. (fat tissue is a storage facility for toxins that keeps them away from vital organs)

Want to give yourself the gift and health and give that poor over-worked liver of yours a break? Then its time to embark on the Arbonne 30 days to healthy living plan! This IS NOT a crash diet. This IS NOT a starvation diet or liquid diet. This is a whole foods, complete body reset. Yes, it is recommended that you give up some things for the 30 days but I assure you that you will feel better for it. This amazing body reset includes the following:

  • Complete meal plan including recipes

  • daily support email

  • bi-weekly email or text check in (calling is tough since I'm in India)

  • access to a private Facebook group to recipes, successes and failures with other people on the program  

  • vegan, gluten free toxin free supplements to support your body reset. 

For an overview of the program as well as more info about why you might need a detox check out this short VIDEO I made. 


If you have any questions please don't hesitate to reach out! I would love to hear from you.

The Warrior in Warrior-Flow

Jennifer Oechsner

unnamed.jpg

After our yoga practice the other day a few of my students asked about my tattoos. You could say that the 2 larger ones express a sort of fierceness. One is dragon inspired by Shambhala, representing "unwavering strength". The other is a cluster of cherry blossoms with the Japanese symbol for warrior in the center. I laughed  to myself and thought, "they must think I'm so tough". And in some ways I am but that is not the reason I am drawn to these inspirations of fierceness. Way back in 2011 when I was contemplating what to call my business and came up with Warrior-Flow I wanted something that sounded strong and yes I am a martial artist and a warrior in that sense. But the warrior in Warrior-Flow came from something deeper which is the essence of who I strive to be in the buddhist sense of the word which is to be strong in who you are. This a battle many of us fight.

I'm going to be candid here. From a very young age I struggled with self-confidence and body image issues started very young. I was always a sensitive soul and tears have always come easily to my eyes. For much of my life I saw this sensitivity as a cross to bear and was ashamed of the tears that often fell. While I now see my sensitive soul as an asset I am still working on the tears part. However, in my heart I know that however I experience my emotions is ok. If I cry, so what. Crying is a release and an expression of deep emotion and what is wrong with that? This past week one of my students was struggling with this issue and I reassured her that her tears were ok and not to worry about how it seemed to others. I reassured her that there is strength in letting yourself feel your emotions. It was a good reminder for me to give this same compassion to myself. 

As I have mentioned, living in India has had its share of ups and downs, as life always does. Sometimes life's daily struggles seem amplified here. Maybe it's because so much is foreign and so little that is familiar. I don't mean this negatively, but rather that there is constant food for thought. Sure I have my daily routines and places I frequent but these routines are still met with a sense of having to navigate carefully and be strong in who I am. For example when I go to the gym in the early morning I have a basic structure I like to follow. When I select my weights for each exercise in my circuit sometimes some guy will come and take them when I put them down for a moment. Now, I realize that there are a limited number of dumbbells and I don't want to hog them but to me its customary for people to share in this situation, but there hadn't been this consideration. I assumed it was because I am a woman (usually the only one in the free weight area) but I wasn't sure whether I was being overly sensitive. Was their behavior a cultural thing? Was it reflective of Indian sexism? Now I think so. Over time, people started asking before they take weights that I might still be using. And now they even return them to me when they are done so that we can share. I feel like I had to earn the respect of my fellow gym-goers. I don't know why it took so long, I can certainly squat more than most of the men there who seem to only be interested in working their arms (but this is a story for another day). My point is that even something simple like gym etiquette is the source of personal reflection and cultural analysis. 

Life will always be filled with tests; tests of strength, of courage, of beliefs and of one's ability to communicate kindly. I firmly believe that strength in one's sense of self is the key. Strength begets strength and sends a positive vibration into the universe.  So the fact that I am drawn to intensity and messages of fierceness is the fact that I need regular reminders to stand strong in who I am. There is a beauty and grace in this for everyone. The only way to soar is to see that you have wings. Sometimes it hard to spread them but once you do its hard to go back. 

What makes you soar?

Your perception is your reality

Jennifer Oechsner

0c3369d3-e1bb-41dc-b81d-ce16da5b60f5.jpg

How many times have you had an experience or been part of a conversation that you and someone else remembered completely differently? How many of you sometimes love the rain but some days its the worst thing ever? How often have we wished for the warm sun on your skin but then other times just want hide from its burning rays? How is it that one day you wake up with a smile while others you just want to pull the covers over your head and avoid the day all together. 

While of course there are many factors that effect our day to day existence, but what I’m talking about is perception. Our perception shapes our reality. Our perception affects each of our experiences. I spend a lot of time thinking about this facet of life and am fascinated by the minds ability to bend and shape what our eyes see, our ears hear, and what our skin feels. We are complicated animals and our experiences along our journey through life effect our perceptions to varying degrees. But how often are we cognizant of an opportunity to look at something a different way? How often do we pause and consider changing the lens through which we see the world? Perception can be the cause of inner turmoil as well as conflict with others. Not only that, but when we become too deeply mired in our own existence we might miss the opportunity to shift our own experience for the better.

Living in India has given me so a plethora of food for thought on this topic. When I boarded that plane back in September embarking on this journey to Jaipur I thought I knew what I was getting into. After all, I had been to India 3 times before and traveled to various parts of the country, including time spent in the are I'm currently living. I knew it would be hot, but this leo loves the sun and the idea of skipping winter seemed just fine to me. And of course I knew there would be mostly vegetarian restaurants, an overabundance of horn honking and cows in the streets. However, nearly 5 months here my perspective has changed. 

Some days the horns hardly exist to me but some days the incessant noise makes my blood boil. Some days the cows are charming but some days I don’t even blink an eye at them. I suppose the novelty of things wear off but there seems to be more to it than that. Some days I even long to bundle up and play in the snow! (maybe you can’t take Wisconsin out of the girl). 

Sure, there are things that were novel and no longer are and there have been growing pains associated with living in an Indian city. There’s the “foreigner price” for things that you just have to deal with. There’s the confusing income tax system. There’s the traffic rules (there are no rules?) There’s the sometimes overwhelming attention that comes with being a white woman living in a conservative Indian city. Even my perception of this varies. Some days I find it infuriating, others I pass it off as innocent curiosity and many days I take little notice. Again, my perception is my reality and can shift on a daily basis. 

I'm borrowing a friend's scooter for a bit and I took it out for my first ride yesterday. I was nervous the the traffic would be too much and I took it out during a less busy time just to be safe. The roads are chaos here and I wasn't sure I would be able to smoothly navigate the roundabouts. However, it turns out that the being a passive participant in the back of a car is much different than playing an active role in navigating the chaos. Its far less intimidating. 

One of the struggles I face with life in India is trying to understand the Indian perspective and ways of doing things. I'm not gonna lie, it can be super frustrating. But that's part of living in another country. And part of having a peaceful existence her (and anywhere really) is being able to roll with the punches and letting things roll off my back. It’s not always easy, but it is of course a matter of perspective.

Commit to self -improvement and forming better habits...

Jennifer Oechsner

0079a206-d35c-4468-8e3e-21ddd8b77667.jpg

Hello friends ☺️
To help people embrace their best self, I am leading a 30 Days to Healthy Living Group and would love to have you jump on board or spread the word! Do you or anyone you know looking to have more energy, sleep better, reduce bodily pain, or lose weight?

The 30 Days program is a simple wellness plan and will deliver everything you need to reboot your system in a way that is healthy and safe. It is about detoxing on a cellular level to eliminate ‘addictive’ and allergenic foods, beverages and ingredients and eat WHOLE, REAL, UNPROCESSED FOODS to increase nutrient intake and help you look and feel great from the inside-out.  

With daily emails, recipes, and group support, we will follow an eating regimen which eliminates the most toxic and sensitivity-causing foods and beverages, we will use a combination of Arbonne's 100% gluten-free, vegan certified nutrition!

Arbonne has an awesome deal on nutrition right now! It’s the Arbonne Essentials ASVP with free Prepwork Gel Eye Masks and free shipping! Normally it would be $444 for all of this but with PC discount ($29), it’s just $266.40! This equal to less than $10 a day (that is a coffee and muffin at Starbucks!).

Call me and let’s get yours ordered before it’s gone! Please refer any friends or family who really are looking to feel healthier in 2019! They will forever thank you! AND theres strength in numbers. Committing with a friend or loved one increases your chances of success!


Who wants to add to this commitment to health and jump on board with me for a pushup challenge? Im committing to doing 100 per day for 30 days! New to pushups? Start with 10, 25 or 50. I do mine in sets of 10 and vary the type of pushups. Spme i have to do on my knees but that's ok! Ill get there. Forming one new healthy habit can be a catalyst for adopting many more (more on this later). Need suggestions on types of push ups? Let me know and i would be happy to send you some ideas! Lets do this together!

Its time to plan that January clean-up!

Jennifer Oechsner

warrior_flow_yoga_veggiefruit-19.jpg

It's that time of year again...we are bombarded with holiday treats and sweets and at the same time right around the corner will be the call for New Year's resolutions. (yes, I know some of your don't make New Year's resolutions so you can call it something else. lol) 

Even though I am a health and fitness professional I am not going to tell you to skip the holiday parties, or fill your plate with veggies to avoid the treats. Let's be real, does this really work for people? I believe in balance and I think that balance means treating yourself sometimes. Balance does not have to mean an austere life. (not that I'm condemning anyone who chooses that path, its just not the one for me) Life ebs and flows with the change of seasons. Sometimes we find ourselves in a season of overindulgence and its time to hit the reset. For many this time of year is stressful and hectic and this can also result in bad food choices and putting self care on the back burner. These habits can cause a build up of toxins in the body. Here are a few signs you might be experiencing toxic build-up. 

  • sugar cravings

  • blood sugar issues

  • skin issues (rashes, acne)

  • moodiness

  • insomnia

  • increased belly fat

  • autoimmune conditions

  • inability to lose weight

A build-up of toxicity in the body can indicate a sluggish liver which is an important organ for detoxification. When we give the liver a break for 30 days it can catch up and help to rid the body of toxins. This can also help the body to shed stubborn fat stores. (fat tissue is a storage facility for toxins that keeps them away from vital organs)

Want to give yourself the gift and health and give that poor over-worked liver of yours a break? Then its time to embark on the Arbonne 30 days to healthy living plan! This IS NOT a crash diet. This IS NOT a starvation diet or liquid diet. This is a whole foods, complete body reset. Yes, it is recommended that you give up some things for the 30 days but I assure you that you will feel better for it. This amazing body reset includes the following:

  • Complete meal plan including recipes

  • daily support email

  • bi-weekly email or text check in (calling is tough since I'm in India)

  • access to a private Facebook group to recipes, successes and failures with other people on the program  

  • vegan, gluten free toxin free supplements to support your body reset. 

For an overview of the program as well as more info about why you might need a detox check out this short VIDEO I made. 

My colleagues are also hosting an event on December 13th, 6-7 pm at Tea Chai Te on NW 23rd. Kimi and Amy will give you a breakdown of the program and will also have samples of the products for you to try. Unable to attend? The event will also be a facebook live to watch later. Let me know and I will get you added to the private group.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to reach out! I would love to hear from you.

the stark dichotomies of life in Jaipur

Jennifer Oechsner

742eaa47-55cb-49ab-9673-d5a04a6cd660.jpg

On my first trip to India there was a lot of shock and awe, especially on those first few days. This bold (some might call foolish) step to move here for a short time has certainly brought its share of both. But I'm going to be real with you. Some of this shock and awe can be paired with anger, disgust and a complete loss of patience. 

On each of my trips to India I have found great joy, seen amazing beauty and experienced deep compassion. On each of these trips I have also experienced anger, tears of frustration and the ugly side of human existence. As I have said before, in spite of this, I am continually drawn to return.

As I sit and write horns continue to blare and as the the sun sets a layer of dust settles over the city. But the other side of this same coin is the Peepal trees and Bougainvillea blossoms adorning the city, the overpasses painted with pink and white Rajput designs and the bright smiles shared with me each day from the people selling produce on my street. India is filled with these dichotomies.

Many Indians take great pride in the natural beauty of the country. The Himalayas, the stunning coastline, enormous banyan trees and the thousands of glittering temples are all celebrated by Indians and foreigners alike. Yet there are still so many people who think nothing of tossing discarded plastic wrappers on the ground and burning piles of trash. (although I was pleased to find out that many cities ban the use of plastic bags in stores and instead give you "carry bags" made of recycled fabric)

There are signs of economic growth everywhere. Construction is heavily underway in Jaipur and part of this growth is bringing a metro system to the city. Some portions of the city are nicely maintained including signs calling on its citizens to "keep Jaipur clean and green". Yet at the same time, a large segment of the population remains undernourished and illiterate. 

Another part of the scene that I find strange is the situation with the cows. It's charming that cows roam freely on the streets and that they are cherished so deeply. Most Indians I've encountered in Jaipur who do eat meat wouldn't dream of eating a cow. Of course there are religious reasons behind but there is also a pragmatic one. (one might question which came first) One cow can provide nourishment to many people for many years with its milk. The meat of one cow can only feed a handful of people for a short time. It makes sense to avoid eating them, particularly in a country where there is so much poverty. The strange part is that the cows on the street are often fed vegetable scraps that are left in plastic bags. This results in the cows eating plastic bags and part of the reason so many sick and malnourished cows are roaming around. 

Along with these dichotomies I observe is the interesting roller coaster of emotions accompanying my experiences here. The beauty is breathtaking yet the waste can be repulsive. I have met amazing and inspiring people and I see others who treat people like animals. Of course these type of dichotomies exist everywhere but they do seem to be more pronounced here. And of course life is always filled with ups and downs, this is part of the richness of human existence. Without sadness there is no joy. Without pain there is no pleasure. Without rain we don't appreciate the sun; or in the case of living in desert state of Rajasthan, the constant sun deepens my appreciation of rain. 

Living in a place that so much is different means walking around with eyes more open. This heightened sense of presence is party self preservation because if you don't pay attention you might get side swiped by a tuk tuk. But I also think that taking in the surroundings with an open mind has been good for my practice of mindfulness. I have realized that this is part of why I love traveling so much. Its not only about seeing the natural beauty of another country, ancient architecture and finding culinary treats. The simple experiences of wandering the lanes in a foreign city make me look more deeply at my own life and my own thought processes. When I feel anger or fear or sadness what are my own patterns of thought that take me to these states of being? When I place judgements on others how do I justify doing so? What habits can I address to take me away from self-created suffering?

There are many reasons I chose to take this leap and move to India when I had a perfectly good life in Portland. In the time I have been here I have heard time and again that India "India will change you". It is always said with a gentle smile. After 2.5 months in India I am starting to feel those shifts. Like all of us I am a work in progress. There are many layers to this work but one commitment to the process of self development is keeping my eyes open to the lessons each day has to offer. I know I didn't have to move to the opposite side of the world to do this but it sure is an interesting place to learn life lessons.

                           

Finding my flow in Jaipur, India

Jennifer Oechsner

facade-of-the-hawa-mahal-palace-of-winds-in-jaipur-rajasthan-india-636950806-58e24eed5f9b58ef7e556bbb.jpg

From my first day of exploring India in 2008 I was hooked. From a very young age I was enchanted by the far east and had a yearning to see the world. My wander lust took me many places, including time spent living in Ireland and Japan. But India was different from any other place I had yet experienced. On that first wander around Delhi I was enthralled.

I found India to be a constant stimulation of the senses. The noise of the traffic and muslims being called to prayer, the women gracefully navigating busy streets adorned in beautiful saris, the smell of the coagulation of 17 million people, countless dogs and cows wandering the lanes, the beautiful architecture alongside the makeshift homes of people living on the street, the heat of the day and the palpable emotion of the people....the chaos drew me in. 

On that trip to India I explored the Himalayas, the grand state of Rajastan, experienced the grandeur of the Taj Mahal and the relaxing beaches of Goa. After 5 weeks there, I knew I would be back. I traveled to India again for my yoga teacher training in 2010 and again in 2014 for my first international yoga retreat. Each time I visited India I longed for the opportunity to stay, to soak it in for a while; to become a local in this fascinating place. I finally got my chance.

As the result of a very serendipitous encounter in Nepal in 2016 I was offered a position to teach yoga and English communications at a small design college in Jaipur called Gurukul School of Design. As everything was coming together for my position and relocation I kept feeling as though I was in a dream. The job seemed to be the perfect fit. I was to be a wellness coach, yoga instructor and English teacher for students learning fashion design. And the location seemed great. I had only spent a day in Jaipur on a previous trip and I remembered it as a city rich with culture and liked the fact that it it's not too big. Yes, 4 million people live in Jaipur but that pales in comparison the the 17 million living in Delhi just 4 hours away. 

Although I had long wanted to live in India I was faced with a tough choice. I loved living in Portland. After nearly 8 years in the Pacific Northwest it had become my home. I had lost love, found love, grew my business and have a wonderful community of friends who became my family. Yet, I knew that if I didn't seize the opportunity I would always wonder what might have been. Maybe the job wouldn't be great, maybe I wouldn't love living in Jaipur; but maybe I would. And after all, my wander lust still lives, my sense of adventure guides my heart and I knew I could always return to the PNW....so off I went.

Those first nights in the hotel were filled with dreams. Dreams of the past; stressful disorienting dreams of the future. I would wake up tearful and exhausted, wondering whether I made the right decision. I was thrown into things at work and felt out of sorts. The noise of the traffic got to me and the intense heat was stronger than I thought it would be. The hotel was clean and quiet and when I stepped out the door in the morning I felt bombarded by the surroundings. I knew there would be an adjustment period and I tried hard to keep that in mind.

The days passed and things got easier. My co-workers and I became fast friends which has been a huge help. I found an apartment, found where to buy the things I needed to make it a home and slowly I am finding my way. I have made a few more friends, gotten (more) comfortable running through the neighborhood in the early morning hours, found a gym and become acquainted with the local vegetable markets. Its slowly becoming home. I've traded the cab ride for a 30 minute walk to catch my ride to school and love how it feels to be part of the city starting its day. The rooftop of my apartment building provides the perfect backdrop for my morning yoga practice and I'm becoming accustomed to the heat. (although I am definitely looking forward to the "winter" people keep talking about)

I am slowly finding  rhythm in my life in India. Its been 1 month since my departure from Portland and as I find my routine I'm finding my flow. Like so much of life, its the little things that make such a huge difference. Naturally, I'm looking forward to returning to Goa, camel rides in  the desert and train rides to visit enchanting palaces. This is all part of what enticed me to take this leap. But life is made up of many small moments, not just the exciting ones. It's how we choose to live each of those small moments that forms our reality. Wherever we choose to go we have to learn to seek out happiness, to find our flow that brings us peace. My flow is in friendships, love, health and laughter. I am finding all of that here. How do you find your flow?

The Sardinian Way

Jennifer Oechsner

unnamed (1).jpg

Last weekend I returned from an amazing trip to Italy. I had the great fortune to host my most recent yoga adventure on the island of Sardinia. The island was the perfect backdrop, I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful location. We spent part of the week in the charming Catelonian city of Alghero and part in the cozy beach town of Cala Gonone. We swam in the awe inspiring turquoise waters Sardinia is famous for, practiced yoga, ate, drank and explored together. It was an week filled with deliciousness, adventure and laughter. 

Being on Sardinia for a week was magical. I felt that I could easily slide into life there. I could feel the slower pace, the energy of the people and natural beauty draw me in. I loved starting my days with a walk or a run, sipping a cappuccino and taking in the surroundings. 

One of the interesting things about Sardinia is the longevity of its people. Sardinia is one of 5 "Blue Zones" in the world which are areas identified as having inhabitants that often live beyond 90. The other four are Okinawa (Japan), Nicoya (Costa Rica), Icaria (Greece) and the Seventh-day Adventist community in Loma Linda, Calif.

The secrets of the longer lives in Sardinia aren't really that surprising. Seafood is plentiful and meat has a weekly rather than daily presence in the diet. Sheep cheese is a staple and goats milk is part of the traditional diet. Sheep cheese is more nutritionally dense and much easier to digest than cheese made from cow's milk. Goats milk is high in omega-3 fatty acids and is anti-inflammatory.  Sardinians also eat what they grow and grow what they eat. Being an island, access to food from elsewhere is more costly and less accessible. As a result, sustainability reigns and eating with the seasons is the common way to go.

Another influence of the long lives of Sardininans is the inclusion of a small amount of red wine on a daily basis. The traditional red wine produced there, cannanau, is particularly high in flavanoids which are anti-inflammatory and help ward off disease including heart disease and alzheimers.

Sardinians also take things at a slower pace and live in community. Meals are an event shared with friends and family. They take time to prepare, to enjoy and linger over them. Elders are cherished and looked after. Afternoons are  quiet and slow and Sundays are more often a day of rest. I feel blessed to have experienced a small sliver of life on Sardinia and look forward to the day I can return.  

The Middle Way: The path to long term health & happiness

Jennifer Oechsner

0079a206-d35c-4468-8e3e-21ddd8b77667.jpg

Within Buddhist philosophy there lies the concept of the middle path or middle way. This refers to living a life away from extremes. Arisotle also favored the virtues of this path and wrote, "every virtue is a mean between two extremes, each of which is a vice.”  

Many of us could benefit from following the middle path but sadly our modern society does not support it. Multi-tasking, extreme workouts, and fad diets are the norm and somehow jam packed schedules seems to be the rule rather than the exception. How often have you had to schedule a time to have a phone conversation with a friend? How many times have you jumped on board with an extreme diet but just gained the weight right back? How many of you have embarked on a fitness regime that called for maximum intensity every time? This energy and attitude for living is not conducive to long term happiness which is why this path of extremes is not sustainable. 

This middle path makes sense to me but it can be hard to walk the talk. Thankfully, progress has been made over the years. When I was younger I was not as conscious of my diet. I largely ate what I craved and used intense exercise and periods of deprivation to combat weight gain. This behavior often left me physically depleted and emotionally depressed. I still enjoy intense exercise and preparing for triathlons and relay runs is a great source of empowerment. However, I temper this intensity with regular yoga and taking time off to recover after events. I have also become better at listening to my body and making adjustments to my training regimen when necessary. ALthough I have to admit that I do need reminders sometimes that its ok to take breaks.

One area II do need to work on is my schedule. I often feel as though I am trying to keep many plates spinning. When I check my messages first thing in the morning, I recognize I lack the discipline to sit in meditation for a few minutes instead. (even though I know I feel so much better for it) I rely on vacations and weekends away to recharge rather than making time for stillness on a daily basis.  Finding MY way to the middle path means (sometimes) saying no to more commitments, meditation over hitting the snooze and turning my phone off when its time to wind down in the evening. What's YOUR edge? What would help you find the middle path? I would love to hear from you!

Aligin with nature this spring

Jennifer Oechsner

unnamed.jpg

Spring seems to finally be here in Portland. I know some of my friends here and around the country had a tough time with the drawn out cold and wet weather. As I write this the sun is coming up on what is sure to be a gorgeous day. Seeing the sun is even more magical when its been hiding for a little while.

The change of seasons brings an energetic shift. Its easier for me to get up when my alarm goes off (even on those 5am wake-up days), I feel more energized for my workouts and the food I crave is lighter and healthier. I feel myself shifting from the sluggishness of winter and I love it. This leo has missed the warm sun!

I believe that part of being our best selves is aligning with nature. Part of this is eating with the seasons. In Ayurveda (yoga's sister science), there is a strong emphasis on the energetics of food, the impact this has on the constitution and how this impact shifts as the world around us shifts. 

Spring is a time of re-awakening, a time to release the stagnant energy of winter. In the winter months moisture builds up in the body and we need to clear that moisture to help rid the body of toxins and reset our health. In Ayurveda, this means eating food that helps to stimulate your digestive system and avoiding food that cause water retention. Here are a few tips to align your nutrition with the season this spring:

  • Avoid sour and salty foods

  • Use herbs and spices that heat the digestive system like cayenne, garlic, ginger, cumin and black pepper

  • Eat warm and lightly cooked meals. Cooked food is easier to digest than raw

  • Include plenty of high fiber foods such as cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower and (soaked) beans that act as a chimney sweep for your digestive track. 

  • Drink herbal teas that include herbs such as clove, cinnamon, licorice, dandelion, hibiscus and cardamom

  • Avoid heavy and oily foods

Yoga can help connect you to the energy of any season. In spring, I recommend emphasizing twists in your practice to help stimulate the digestive system. Twists compress your mid section and limit blood flow. When you release the twist, it stimulates flow of blood and energy to those areas. A short yoga practice is a great way to start your day. Here's a short sequence you can practice daily to to help bring you into the flow of spring. I recommend holding each static pose for 5-10 breaths per side

Need help with this sequence? Reach out to me at warriorflow@gmail.com and we can arrange at time to walk you through it step by step. Visit my Facebook page for healthy lifestyle tips and recipes.

 

SLOWING IT DOWN. READY FOR TAKEOFF.

Jennifer Oechsner

a43ed054-52a9-42b5-a74e-8348ea533586.jpg

As a holistic wellness professional I coach people in various aspects. I teach people how to eat better and give their bodies the fuel they need to thrive. I teach people how to move to improve body awareness, lose weight, gain strength and improve balance. But the coaching doesn't stop here. What we eat and how we move our bodies is only part of the equation. The mental emotional component is a huge aspect of overall wellness. Our internal dialogue, our self care habits and our relationships all have a huge impact on our daily lives. These aspects of wellness are often the trickiest part for people to navigate and most difficult to change. The same goes for me.

Towards the end of the year I decided it would be the best for me to reset. In September I embarked on a 30 day health reboot and I felt great. With the holiday indulgences, ongoing injuries and some personal hardship weighing me down I decided it would serve me to do it again. Giving up things like alcohol and dairy for 30 days is only a part of the commitment I made for the program. Its also about paying better attention to how my habits effect my overall sense of well being. Just like my clients, that mental emotional piece is challenging to navigate. Even more so than eliminating coffee for 30 days. 

Part of my struggle in this realm is dealing with my inner critic that rears its ugly head when I don't exercise hard enough. And to be honest, this inner critic wins even when I know the hard workouts have been preventing an injury from fully healing. However, I am happy to say that I have been taking my own advice. 

Over the summer and into fall I was training hard for various events and really enjoying challenging myself at the gym. I thrive on physical intensity and it empowers me both physically and mentally. However, I fell away from my yoga practice during this time and my body suffered because of it. Not only that but I wasn't spending nearly enough time in stillness. 

At the start of this 30 day reboot I re-committed to my yoga practice. A big part of this is forgoing some harder workouts in exchange for time on my mat. I already feel better for it. A couple of days ago I was getting ready for my day and it normally would have been a day for circuit training. My mind told me to push through and do it. But my body and my deeper energy told me to skip it and take a 90 minute yoga class instead. That little battle inside my head ensued. In the end yoga was victorious. It may not seem like much of a victory, but it is for me. 

In addition to getting my butt back on my matt I have committed to getting more sleep too. (which I have to say is easier and of better quality when there is no wine with dinner). Sleep effects everything. When I don't sleep enough it shows  around my eyes, my mood suffers, I am more likely to make bad food choices and it is harder to focus on my work. I'm sure you can all relate. It took a couple of long nights of sleep to remind me just how important it is. Taking better care of myself means I can better navigate the busy season in my business and put myself into position for up-level my life and businesses in 2018.

It's one thing to coach people on their health and wellness. It's a whole different ballgame following some of my own advice. But hey, I'm only human and the struggle to stay healthy and strong is real for all of us. Where those struggles lie varies. We all need some support to help stay on track. 

Do you need help finding a path to better health? Its not too late to put yourself in place to up-level your life for 2018. For more information on my 30 day health reboot or health coaching contact me at warriorflow@gmail.com. I would love to chat with you about how I can help you become healthier and stronger. I am also available for on site corporate wellness consulting. 

Hard Work Pays Off!

Jennifer Oechsner

karaandkettlebell.JPG

Over the years I have had the pleasure of helping people become stronger and healthier. I love what I do and take great pride in guiding people to realize their full potential. I believe that a big part of connecting to internal and external strength is the ability to connect to the physical self. Just as we are a product of our thoughts and mental habits, we are a product of our physicality as well. To be healthy inside and out we must move our bodies. To know ourselves is to know all aspects of the self. Know the life you want to live and take steps to get there. Know the way you want to feel in your body and give yourself the appropriate food and exercise habits to get there.

We are so unique. What gets me up in the morning might be very different from what motivates you. Some people thrive on short and intense physical activity, while some prefer slow and steady. Some prefer the heat, and some thrive when it is damp and cool. Some people thrive on a vegetarian diet and others do better including animal products in a plant based diet.

Part of the beauty of being a health and wellness professional is that I have the opportunity to work with so many different kinds of people. One client I have had the great pleasure of working with since the beginning of 2017 is Kara Hockersmith. She came to me because she needed guidance in her workouts and motivation to stay on track. It has been a great journey so far. 

When Kara and I started working together she balked when I handed her 8 or 10 lb dumbbells. One day I handed her a kettle bell and she said with a laugh "this is the heaviest thing I have ever lifted". She didn't believe me that she could hold 2 of them and do squats. But she did. When she was able to do push-ups she was genuinely surprised by her own strength (but I wasn't). She comes into each session committed to working hard and gives it her all. As with all of us, some days are harder than others but she's always willing to try what I put before her and is sometimes surprised by her abilities to squat heavy loads and do my crazy push ups.

It has been such a pleasure to be a part of the gains she has made in her strength, agility and balance. But she gets all the credit. She's the one who does the hard work. I nudge her to her edge and she takes the steps to growth. Kara's most recent development is adding miles and speed to her runs. Now SHE is inspiring ME to work hard. Sometimes the teacher becomes the student. Get it Kara! It takes commitment and perseverance when we want to improve and nobody said this was easy. But it sure is rewarding.

Want to get in on personal training in 2018? I have a few openings in my schedule and I am now available for personal training in 2 locations. Me Fitness Studios (Alberta and MLK) and Body Balance Techniques (121 SW Morrison). Contact me for available times and to discuss your wellness goals for 2018.

Fall into the rhythm of the season

Jennifer Oechsner

wf_fall.jpg

Fall is a wonderful time of year. The vibrant changing leaves, the crip air, and the abundant harvest define the changing season, one that many of us welcome after the heat of summer. I find fall to be such a nurturing time of year. Just like many of us, I LOVE summer and everything that comes with it. But let's be honest, all the activities and heat can be exhausting. With the change of season I feel called to settle in and take action. Time to clean out the closet and drawers and get rid things I don't need anymore. Time to set new goals and determine a plan of action. Time to cook thick, spicy soups on Sunday afternoons. Time to get out in nature and walk rather than run. 

This cold and windy time of year can also bring with it more sickness. According to Ayurvedic tradition this "vata" or air dominant time can be balanced by our diet and lifestyle choices. 

To find more grounding to balance the vata energy of fall establish a routine. Try to wake at the same time and give yourself ample time to set the tone for your day. Moisturize after your shower, spend 10-15 minutes in mediation as many days as you can. If you are new to the practice start with 5 minutes and work up to more. Get your body moving with more gentle exercise.

As you might guess, hearty and heavier foods are great for fall. Winter squash are abundant, delicious and so versatile. Other optimal foods to include during this season are oats, quinoa, beans, beets, carrots, chilis and garlic. Limit intake of raw foods as they are more difficult to digest, particularly during colder weather. 

Follow these simple tips this season and keep your body healthy, strong and balanced.  Contact me for more suggestions or for healthy fall recipes. 

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.