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NEWS

Filtering by Category: lifestyle

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!

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.

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! 

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!

Breathe, Balance, Bliss

Jennifer Oechsner

As nature makes its way from summer to fall, I too find myself in a place of transition. Nature is graceful. The air become crisp, the days gradually grow shorter, and the leaves start to gently change color. My transition has been a bit bumpier. I have been in the process of moving to a new home, I'm sure that all of you can relate to all that this entails. There is always something to be done and it is easy to get caught up in the stress and lose grounding. In addition to all of the extra work on my plate, it is important for me to  ensure all of my private clients and yoga students who see me every week are still taken care of. Then there is self care; I need to find the time to take care of myself too. 

Mindfulness practice is vitally important to keep balance during times of chaos. The rhythm of life is in a constant state of fluctuation. Sometimes life feels spacious and calm, and other times life becomes more demanding and we take on a frantic energy that feels restrictive. The dance lies in how we maneuver.

When life is spacious do you become lazy or do you take the time to observe and reflect? When life becomes hectic do you live in a state of anxiety or do you strive for peace amidst the chaos? It is easy to get trapped in anxiety and stress. The only way out is to pause, breathe and take time to tap into what brings you balance.

A few months ago I wrote about finding your passion, what are YOU passionate about? Delving into this part of you is a great way to press pause and bring yourself back to a mindful state. Whether it be art, books, writing, yoga or music, taking a break to do what you love is an important part of self care. I am a big believer in the importance of this. Stress can weaken the immune system, take the nervous system into overdrive and cause tension in the body. Taking breaks when you need them, even for short periods of time is imperative to long term wellness.

Transitions are a challenging part of life that can test our resolve and patience. Taking time to breathe and find balance during these times of stress can help you to achieve moments of peace. Tap into your breath, find balance, create your bliss. 

Parallel Paths

Jennifer Oechsner

When I started dabbling in yoga it was mostly curiosity and the desire to improve my flexibility. My body was also beat up and tired from martial arts and I thought that yoga would be good for me. I thought it would help my back pain (which it did). But I also thought it would be too slow for me (which it wasn't). My weekly practice became something I really looked forward to, even though at that point it was secondary to my martial arts practice. When I started really listening to the messages that were shared at the beginning of my yoga classes I realized that the spiritual aspects of these 2 paths are similar. 

When I began my martial arts journey in Taekwondo, we were taught a list of principals to follow as part of the path. Contrary to what I had originally thought, this path was not just about being tough and learning how to defend myself. There was so much more to it. Within the Taekwondo system there are 5 tenets, or principles, that are an important aspect of the system. These tenets are courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control, and indomitable spirit. To be an honorable student, one is encouraged to live and practice under these principles. 

The spiritual system of yoga also has a set of ethical guidelines. These guidelines can help us live in harmony with others, and with ourselves. These principles are non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, non-excess, non-possessiveness, purity, contentment, self discipline, self study and surrender. To apply these principles to everyday life, we have to look at them from different angles. For example, while it's obvious that it's wrong to cause physical harm to others, non-violence also applies to harmful speech. This might prove more challenging to adhere to. When practicing truthfulness are you doing so in a way that is not hurtful to others? Literal interpretation of these guidelines is not always enough, one must view these principles through a wide lens. 

When considering the tenets of Taekwondo and the ethical guidelines of yoga the overlap became clear. Courtesy correlates to truthfulness, integrity to non-stealing, perseverance to self-study, self-control to non-excess and indomitable spirit to self-discipline. Realizing this overlap made me realize that the two paths I have been on are not really two paths at all, but one path with steps that shifts their rhythm. Some days I need sun salutations to remind me to live my life from a place of contentment. Some days I need the catharsis of round house kicks to bring me back to my indomitable spirit. Sometimes I find myself running in too many directions and I use inversions to remind me of the need for perseverance. Sometimes I notice myself becoming lazy and losing track of my goals and I practice my spinning kicks to reaffirm the need for self study.

Both martial arts and yoga give me great joy and I feel blessed to have found these passions in my life. Martial arts gave me confidence and a sense of belonging when I needed it most. It continues to help me cultivate mental and physical strength, attributes I am proud to posses. Yoga provides me balance, peace and a connection to myself and others. All of which are important for a well rounded life. What brings you strength? What are your passions? How do you connect? I would love to hear your stories. 

Nourishment and Protection

Jennifer Oechsner

I spent the 4th of July weekend rafting on the Deschutes river. It was a wonderful trip and a much needed break. We contemplated not going because of the extreme heat but in the end decided the heat and sun would just add to the adventure. When we got to the river Thursdaynight just before dark, the heat of the day was still heavy in the air. By the time we got settled in and were relaxing by the river, the moon had come out to greet us. The full moon shone brightly over the river, the basalt cliffs loomed over us and the warm air enveloped my skin. The scene was magnificent, the backdrop set for what was sure to be an amazing weekend. We would just have to remember to take care of ourselves.

I love summer and I have definitely had more than my share of days purposefully baking in the sun seeking to achieve that "perfect golden tan". Growing up in the midwest, we didn't have much time so sometimes we even used baby oil to really get a good burn. I know, crazy right! Thankfully, the baby oil burns are years behind me and I am much older and wiser now. Even though I am more careful than I used to be I do still love the sun and sometimes get so wrapped up in outdoor fun I forget to protect my skin and stay hydrated. 

On our trip to the Deschutes I was determined not to get a miserable sunburn and was well aware of the need to drink a lot of water in the extreme heat. (the temperature broke 100 every day!). Even in the morning hours I was sure to apply my SPF 30 sunscreen liberally and reapplied several times throughout the day. I protected my skin with a long sleeve shirt in the heat of the afternoon and the only time I didn't wear my hat was in the water and after the sun went down. 

When choosing what strength of sunscreen you should get, its beneficial to understand the difference. Here is a LINK to a helpful diagram that breaks down the efficacy of different strengths, explains the different types of rays and their effects, and gives recommendations for frequency of application.

As a nutritionist and personal trainer, I often talk to my clients about the importance of staying hydrated. Sufficient hydration is important for digestive health, skin health, can reduce joint pain and helps us to flush waste products out through our sweat and urine. On an average day I aim to drink 75 ounces of water. Add 100 degree heat into the mix and I knew I needed a lot more. My goal was a gallon. (unfortunately I didn't quite make it).

It was a wonderful weekend rich in laughter, stunning scenery and relaxing floats down the river. I feel blessed to have had the chance to experience it and to live in a place that is lush with so much amazing natural beauty. I am pleased that I enjoyed my weekend mindfully and managed to take care of myself along the way. 

I hope you all are having a safe and enjoyable summer so far. What have you been up? Share your summer adventures and photos on my Facebook page. Stay cool, stay protected and stay hydrated.

From The Heart

Jennifer Oechsner

The earthquake that shook Nepal on April 25th left over 7,000 people dead and over 500,000 homes destroyed. The historic city of Katmandu has been decimated. My heart goes out to all of the people effected by this disastrous event. I can't fathom what it must feel like to be in the midst of the aftermath of this disaster. I want to reach across the miles and help. I want to wrap my arms around the children who have lost their families and homes. I want to share my compassion and somehow ease a sliver of the suffering.


Compassion is innate, we all have the same compassion in our hearts and the potential to express it. The problem is that we fail to make the effort to cultivate this inborn quality. I am reminded of this when I see suffering on a such a grand scale. I am reminded of the responsibility we all have to practice compassion and share our world with kindness and love. We can do this by being kinder to ourselves, and to each other. I don't mean just the people we like, but those we don't usually notice, or those that we conflict with. Even the smallest acts of kindness can have a large impact of the well-being of another. How does this apply to natural disaster relief? Keep the conversation going. Through social media we can keep awareness alive and at the forefront.  The more we talk about it, the greater the impact. Most of us don't have the means to travel to Nepal and help directly, but we all have the ability to give, just a little. The more of us who contribute from a place of compassion, the greater the impact. 
 

When we are so geographically removed from an incident like this it is easy to be detached and go about our daily lives. For this natural disaster it seems as though the media coverage is already lessening. The people of Nepal will need help for months and years to come to rebuild their infrastructure, homes and lives. I encourage you to give what you can to support this ongoing cause. If you are unsure of where to direct your financial assistance, here are a few organizations you can connect with.:

Together we can continue to raise awareness and support. Together we can live with compassion and make a difference as a collective whole. The more people who live from the heart, the greater the shift in consciousness the world needs. 

The Process Of Passion

Jennifer Oechsner

As many of you know, I have been a student of  martial arts since I was 24 years old. Under the guidance of my amazing teacher Sahnya Thom in Milwaukee, WI, I was exposed to a wide range of styles and techniques within kickboxing, Taekwondo, and Jeetkundo (a blended martial arts style pioneered by Bruce Lee). I left Wisconsin in 2015 to start a new career in Portland and my physical practice of martial arts was pushed to the back burner. The practice was crowded out by my yoga practice and the challenges of starting a new career. That being said, I never lost that feeling of passion for martial arts. I knew I deeply missed it but was always making excuses. I told myself I didn't have time, I couldn't afford it, I didn't know a good school to go to. This winter I finally committed to a regular practice again and decided to try a new art form at Portland Shaolin Center. Here I found my passion again. 

Getting back to my first passion has really lit a fire in me. It feels amazing to reconnect to that inner warrior that has carried me through so much in my life. I am reminded of my power, my talents and my desire to live with passion and courage. 

Walking into the Shaolin Center on that first day was daunting. I wondered if my ego could handle going back to white belt. I wondered if I would still be good at it. I wondered whether it would be a good fit. I felt the fear of being new. Then it came back. The belt didn't matter, the movements came, and the fear dissipated. Connecting to this passion has filtered into other areas of my life. My yoga practice has become more focused, I am meditating more, and I have been commuting by bike most days. Most importantly, my self-confidence has been given a boost. How can your passion, whatever it might be, facilitate change in your life? How can you change your life practices to shift your consciousness? This practice might be yoga or another physical endeavor. It might be a creative art.

Whatever it is, connecting to your passion can have a powerful effect on all aspects of your life, if you tune in. 

Take time to investigate what stirs passion in you. What can you let go of to get you out of a rut. My negative patterns are to make excuses to avoid what is hard; to hide behind my fear of failure. What patterns can you let go of to allow for a shift of consciousness.  What can you renunciate to make space to grow and transform? What steps can you take to renunciate fear, move into courage, and live fiercely?