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Gut Health Series Part Two: 7 Detoxifying Yoga Poses to Boost Digestion

Have you ever been two days into your dream vacation or work trip and your GI tract suddenly turns against you? Trust me when I say it’s not bad timing…it’s travel that is to blame. Why? Well, stomach issues tend to happen when we are out of our routine, which unfortunately means that trip you’ve been planning all year, will likely be a target for an intestinal temper tantrum.

With gut health on everyone’s minds these days, most of you know the importance of eating foods with naturally occurring pre and probiotics, taking supplements and delish drinkable concoctions, but did you know that yoga can actually improve digestive issues day to day and actually help keep GI issues at bay during your travels? This practice of movement and breathing helps relax the gut and  is deeply detoxifying – a key factor for improving digestion. Gentle poses and twisting postures can help increase the oxygen to the tummy, aid with bloating, enhance digestion and encourage your liver and kidneys to flush out toxins.

7 Detoxifying Yoga Poses to Boost Digestion - So Sasha

7 Detoxifying Yoga Poses to Boost Digestion - So Sasha

What I’m Wearing: Strappy Sports Bra in Dark Mauve // Mesh Legging in Purple & Grey courtesy of Joe Fresh

Part one of my gut health series (linked here if you missed it) shares a lot about my own personal experience with tummy troubles, how I developed severe GI issues and most importantly how I overcame them (it’s a must read if you feel like you may be suffering from the same thing), but I’m still learning new things every single day to help me improve my health. On a recent trip to Florida to attend the annual Gut Health Summit with Activia Danone, I actually got to experience first hand the benefits of starting the day with an awakening yoga flow. Some quality time spent with Camilla Lee, a Vancouver based yoga expert and Activia’s personal yoga instructor on the trip, I discovered some simple yet effective poses during our sunrise yoga sessions that can be done alone or before your favourite flow to combat digestive issues.

From a seated position, make your way to tabletop. Your hands should be underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips. Inhale as you draw your belly button to the floor. Look up to the ceiling, and exhale.

Then draw your belly button to spine, tuck in your tailbone, and chin to throat. Repeat 5-10 times. Breathing deeply in these poses will massage your organs as you alternately

From downward facing dog pose, step your right foot between your hands. Inhale and raise your arms above your head. Add a gentle backbend. Exhale and bring your hands down to heart centre and bring the left elbow over the right knee for a gentle twist. Hold here for several breaths. Then exhale and release, step your feet together, and come into a forward fold. Come back to Downward Dog and switch sides. This pose places gentle pressure on your liver and kidneys, encouraging detoxification.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

Come to your back and bend your knees, bringing them above your feet. Make sure you can graze your heels with your fingertips. On an inhalation, push through your feet to raise your hips. To add a shoulder opener, clasp your hands and press your forearms into the mat. This pose puts gentle pressure on the kidneys and adrenals to give the body a natural burst of energy and function at its highest potential. Now that you have cleansed and cleared space in the body, mind, and heart, open up to what you want to cultivate there. This is a great pose for post-detox intention setting. Hold for several deep breaths, then exhale to release your hands and lower your hips.

Supine Twist

Extend your legs out in front of you and then hug your right knee into your chest. With your right hand on your right knee, roll your hips and knee to the right, resting your knee on the ground if possible. Hold here for several deep breaths before switching sides. Reclined twists put gentle pressure on intestinal flow to maximize elimination.

5 Reasons to Fall in Love with Las Vegas, Nevada Off The Strip

For the 30+ years I’ve been on this earth, I’ve travelled the world for both work and play but Las Vegas was never amongst my list of conquered destinations. This action packed location just outside the desert has become almost a right of passage if you will, for most North Americans in their 20’s looking to celebrate moments like milestone birthdays or their last days of single life before tying the knot. Usually filled with champagne showers and epic night outs, that may or may not be remembered, after their “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas” weekend experience is over. After discovering that Vegas hosts nearly 40 million visitors each year, it had me thinking that it’s quite possible the city is not as one dimensional as I once thought. This past January, with my interest piqued, I flew to the state of Nevada for four days to see if there really is life and entertainment off the strip. And let me tell you, I was in for a big surprise.

Obviously well known globally for it’s lavish hotels, casinos and nightclubs, turns out Vegas can also be added to the bucket list of anyone who is an adventure seeker or loves the outdoors. I can easily say that the only time I was indoors during this trip was to either eat or sleep in my hotel room and have zero regrets. If you followed along IRL on my Instagram stories, you may recall some hilarious, outrageous and breathtaking moments but I am summarizing the best of the best below that will 100% have you thinking a bit differently about this destination.


VOTED: MOST BALLER EXCURSION

When it comes to sightseeing experiences, I don’t think there is anything cooler than a helicopter tour. I’ve done a few  of them over the years and it never gets old. If you’re anything like me and the Grand Canyon has been on your bucket list for as long as you can remember, a heli tour over the canyon’s vast expanse and down to the depth of it’s floor in one of Papillon’s state-of-the-art choppers is definitely a must!  During our hour long customized tour, my mind was blown by the most majestic topography I’ve ever seen in my life; 100% making the canyon worthy of it’s status as one of the World’s Seven Natural Wonders. Papillon, the world’s aerial sight seeing company has helicopter tours starting at $200 and is perfect for a romantic date for two (ideal setting for a proposal) or a small group activity.

VOTED: MOST DARING AND ADVENTUROUS

If speed and excitement is your thing, Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon will not disappoint. Just a 30 minute drive from the strip and starting at just $159 per person, it’s the perfect adventure for those obsessed with adrenaline. After a brief drive up the hills of Boulder City, followed by a short hike to the top, is the first of four separate runs that span over a total of 1.5 miles long. If you have a slight fear of heights, the scenic views and friendly guides are just the recipe you need to overcome it and enjoy the experience. We laughed our asses off for days about Jenn’s elegant finished on the final run of the day. So thankful to have have captured some of the fun and laughs that morning in an Instagram video:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BP_TlfaAglA/?taken-by=sashaexeter

 VOTED: MOST NIQUE PLACE TO FIND YOUR ZEN

I used to think that I had done yoga in some very unique and beautiful places but leave it to Vegas to take my yoga game to new heights, and I mean literally, with a 60 minute vinyasa flow at 550ft in the air inside the High Roller Vegas. The pièce de resistánce of the LINQ’s outdoor shopping and entertainment promenade, the High Roller is the world’s tallest observation wheel, eclipsing both the London Eye and Singapore Flyer. Facing both north and south and running parallel to Las Vegas Boulevard, the gigantic observation wheel, is compromised of 28 glass enclosed cabins, gives riders expansive views of Vegas and the strip and if you planning on adding this to your list of things you “Must Do” while you’re in town, and is most spectacular at sundown.

Each revolution of the wheel takes 30 minutes to complete, so our private session with our Silent Savasana yoga instructor meant that we got double the pleasure, doing the journey around twice. And as if the experience wasn’t already cool enough, we all donned state-of-the-art LED headphones so we could be guided through the sequences while also listening to a curated playlist of Beyoncé remixes.

VOTED: MOST BAD ASS DESERT EXPERIENCE

I don’t care who you are, how old or where you come from, everyone should experience at least one ATV excursion in their lifetime. Sure, it can be a bit intimidating at first and depending on what type of landscape your driving in, it could get pretty messy but you’re guaranteed to have a blast. Most of the others who joined me on the trip were ATV virgins and so I contently sat back as I watched each of them get fitted for their helmets and goggles with some slight fear in their eyes.  I’ve done it a handful of times before on press trips and from experience it always winds up being a fave of everyone on the trip. A few hours riding around the desert might seem like too long but trust me when I tell you, this is one activity you will be begging you wish went on just a bit longer. It wasn’t long before the ATV newbies got in their groove and with increased confidence we were able to pick up some speed and handle some more technical driving along the dusty trails.

We chose Awesome Adventures for our ATV tour of Eldorado Canyon, located only 45 minutes from Las Vegas, and our guided tour took us through desolate desert trails and through the Tecchaticup Gold Mine – the oldest, richest and most famous gold mine in Southern Nevada. The gold mine ran from 1861 to 1942 and most of what is on site was is preserved and looks exactly the way it did 70+ years ago. The Eldorado Canyon tour starts at $199 for a single seater ATV and $160 for a two seater and also includes round trip transportation from wherever you’re staying, a professional guided tour in addition to a boxed lunch.

VOTED: MOST BREATHTAKING VIEWS

With the most awe inspiring views you wouldn’t expect to see so near to a major metropolitan city, the desert beauty of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area was the perfect way to conclude our active trip to Nevada. Not to worry if you’re not a highly skilled hiker or mountain climber, because I’m certainly not. Due to being so quiet and isolated, the conservation area has become very popular amongst tourists, sightseers, joggers and cyclists as a temporary getaway from the craziness of the strip and expertly recommended and arranged by the overly accommodating concierge at the J.W. Marriot hotel.

More vast than you can imagine, there are actually a total of 19 trails with differing difficulty and gains – making this activity appealing to all. For those not able to explore the grounds by foot, you can still experience Red Rock’s beauty by car via the 13 mile scenic drive loop. The speed limit around these parts is actually 35 mph (and in some areas even lower) to purposely encourage drivers to enjoy the spectacular scenery and also for the safety of runners, cyclists and wildlife. On a time crunch and of course thirst for the most epic landscape photos, our crew hit up Calico Tanks trail. With a distance of just 2.5 miles and rated as “moderate” on the difficulty scale, it’s a great trail for families or those wanting a relatively short intro to Red Rock Canyon because it combines all the elements that make Red Rock famous – a colourful mixture of sandstone, a hidden water pocket and an awesome view of Las Vegas. Open daily between 8am – 4pm. Entrance into the conservation area is only $7 per vehicle and free for cyclists and hikers who park and leave their cars at the loop.

Have I enticed you to re-think your own outdoor adventure to Las Vegas? For more Vegas inspo head to LasVegas.com or be sure to follow the destination on Instagram and Twitter.

Make Your Move Towards Your 2017 Fit Goals in Joe Fresh Activewear

It’s the start of yet another year. Despite the frigid cold temps here, January is one of my favourite months because no  matter what has happened in the previous calendar year, January marks the beginning of something new and fresh (pun intended). And the best part is, wherever you are right now is far from who you will be at the end of 2017 and that excitement is what fuels me every single day. After a much needed break over the holidays, I’m kicking off the year by sharing four activewear looks I curated with the amazing team at Joe Fresh from their forthcoming Spring ’17 collection. To showcase how diverse and versatile the line is, I was able to show each look in three different ways, giving you guys more inspo and wearable options at a price point so amazing you’d be crazy to not get the entire head to toe looks.

As seen on JoeFresh.com

When it comes to activewear, I have seen and worn just about everything on the market so my standards when it comes to quality and functionality are higher than most. It’s so important to have the right support and fabrications in your clothes to allow you to feel and perform at your best, or chances are you’re not going to stay committed to working out. Joe Fresh has stepped things up this year and has created what I think is a very solid collection of activewear that can take you from the gym to the street (and everywhere in between) – that feels good, looks great, and is affordable…making it accessible to everyone!

If you were to take a peek inside my closet, you would find a common thread with my workout clothes. I have been known to get a bit crazy about tights. I am VERY particular with the cut and length, preferring a high waisted silhouette to give me adequate coverage in the rear during certain bending, yoga poses or lifting in the gym. Also, with  spring transitional weather being so unpredictable at times, the options of layers is always welcomed.

Photography by Jess Baumung for JoeFresh.com

Floral Running Active Jacket $39  –  Print Contrast Active Legging $29  –  Scoop Neck Active Tank $16  –  Reflective Active Long Sleeve Tee $29  –  Cut Out Active Tee $29

Check back here every Monday over the next month as I will be sharing a new look each week built around my fave pieces from the new collection, which will do doubt be yours as well. For more of my #MakeYourMove curated looks and to view the entire Joe Fresh activewear collection head to JoeFresh.com/MakeYourMove.

Nordstrom Presents: Camp Nordstrom in Toronto September 10th

It’s been a long time coming for fashion lovers south of the border but Nordstrom is finally opening it’s doors here in Canada this fall. The luxury retailer has pulled out all the stops making sure the highly anticipated openings of their CF Toronto Eaton Centre and Yorkdale locations September 16th and October 21st at 10am respectively, are on top of everyone’s minds. To help celebrate the launch of the much welcomed luxury department store, Nordstrom is hosting a slew of events over the next several weeks but the one I am most excited for is Camp Nordstrom fitness event taking place on Saturday September 10th.

Camp Nordstrom Toronto

Mackenzie White - Nordstrom Camp TorontoMackenzie White, Model and Yoga Instructor

As a leading fashion speciality retailer offering carefully curated clothing, shoes, accessories and beauty collections, Nordstrom has also entered the fitness apparel game by launching their exclusive modern activewear collection, Zella, in 2007 which features flattering workout separates for women designed to let you to move with ease, a men’s and children’s collection, in addition to swimwear . Camp Nordstrom is a one day only fitness event, hosted by yours truly, where guests will be able to check out the Zella line and participate in one of two complimentary fitness classes led by Model and Yoga Instructor Mackenzie White.

Camp Nordstrom

Camp Nordstrom Toronto

Camp Nordstrom TorontoPhotos by JessBaumung.com

What I’m Wearing: “Live In” Leggings and “Pure Energy” Seemless Bralette c/0 Zella by Nordstrom

What can you expect: Taking place outdoors at Toronto’s Sherbourne Common Park on Lower Sherbourne at Queen’s Quay, the Camp Nordstrom event will feature both a morning and afternoon high energy boot camp style class with a yoga cool down, a Greenhouse Juice Pop-UP bar, an interactive photo booth, giveaways and much more.

WHEN:      Saturday September 10th, 2016

                  Registration at 9am & noon

                  Classes commence at 10am & 1pm

WHERE:  Sherbourne Common Park. 61 Dockside Drive. Toronto, ON. M5A 1B6

I will be hosting both sessions and hope to see you there!

2016 Lolë White Tour Toronto Giveaway

Yoga has come in and out of my life over the last several years and played an integral role in keeping me injury free as a tennis player, helped me on my road to recovery after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia and has allowed me to find a connection with my mind, body and breath. Although my practice hasn’t been as consistent as I would like, there is one thing that remains the same  – every time I get back into it my first thought is always, “I should have never stopped” because I just feel so amazing afterwards.

Lolë White Tour

Through yoga you’re body becomes stronger, leaner and more flexible. Most see changes in terms of their body fat, are able to cope with stress better, learn to slow down and be more mindful, and let go of things that no longer serve them. And interestingly enough, the more more you become in tune with your mind and body, you actually begin to listen to your intuition and inner voice more often.

Lolë White Tour

I’ve tried many yoga studios in Toronto and definitely have my favourites that I hit up; Moksha Yoga, Misfit Studios, 889 Yoga, Chi Junky and believe it or not, the yoga classes at Equinox are pretty damn great…but there’s nothing like doing a flow outside, especially close to water.

Lolë White TourPhotography by Tristan O’Brien (@tristancobrien)

On Thursday July 28th, Lolë brings back their cult fave “Lolë White Tour” yoga event to Toronto at Exhibition Place. This is one of the most unique yoga events you will ever experience, where guests dress in all white and are guided through an incredible session at sunset dedicated to inner peace by some of the Toronto’s leading Yoga instructors. Tickets are not easy to come by but thanks to the Lolë team, I am able to give away a pair of tickets to one lucky reader. Entering the giveaway is easy…you must follow @LoleWomen on Instgram and leave a comment on my most recent Lolë post on my Insta account (@SashaExeter) letting me know why the practice of Yoga is important to you. The winner will be announced and contacted directly on Wednesday July 27th at 8pm. *Please note, contest is open to Toronto residents only. Good luck!

#LoleWhite #LoleWhiteTour 

Degree #BeTheMovement Series – Fly Queen West Aerial Yoga

Degree #BeTheMovement

One of my major rules to live by is making sure I move at least once a day. I can almost hear you say, “sure, that’s easier said than done!” but today as a society, we move less than we have ever before. Between commuter traffic, jobs that keep us strapped to our desks, and let’s be honest, freezing temps during the winter that makes us want to stay inside with a glass of red wine, it’s sometimes hard to find the time or motivation to exercise. Trust me, I get it, but this is actually the reason we have to make an effort to make fitness and wellness a priority for ourselves.

Degree #BeTheMovement

It doesn’t matter if you’re a self-proclaimed workout fiend or just the type to partake in an occasional sweat sesh, we all fall victim of getting in a workout rut from time to time. I am definitely in one right now. When I am feeling uninspired, I use it as an opportunity to look for cool and unique new workouts to try out that are so fun, I actually forget I am working out.  In an effort to get my Hannah Bronfman on, I decided to challenge myself to a session of aerial yoga at Fly Queen West.

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

Whether I am running a 10k, spinning/cycling or doing a restorative yoga class my sweat does not discriminate, which is why my antiperspirant is one of the most important parts of my beauty regimen each day. After years of using the same deodorant, I was recently introduced to Degree Women ActiveShield Dry Spray Antiperspirant and now I could’t think of using anything else for sweat protection. Why does it work so well? With my lifestyle, I need an antiperspirant that can withstand my super busy schedule and keeping me smelling just as fresh at the end of the day as I did when I started it. This level of protection is only possible because of its 3 part anti-bacterial system to help control sweat and its MOTIONSENSE technology to protect from odour as you move. The best part, it goes on completely dry meaning no awkward white clumps under my arms or residue left behind on my favourite garments like this bodysuit from Adidas Women’s SS16 collection. Degree understands the importance of exercise in everyday life and I am teaming up with them this year as part of their #BeTheMovement campaign to help motivate and encourage others to keep moving so we can all enjoy the benefits that come along with leading an active lifestyle.

Degree #BeTheMovement

Degree #BeTheMovement

Aerial yoga, also referred to by some as anti-gravity yoga, combines the practice of traditional Hatha yoga with beautiful silk hammocks that are suspended from a few feet off the ground. I may be a lot of things but I will admit, flexible is not one of them. I find it difficult to get into certain postures due to my lack of hip and ankle flexibility because of my injuries and the brilliant thing is – the beautiful silk hammocks in the studio actually served a purpose and just aren’t pretty to look at. Similar to a block or strap, they are intended to assist with alignment while executing more challenging moves, deepens awareness while also providing the immediate benefits of spinal decompression. Completely out of my element, which was a bit daunting I have to admit, I forced myself to relinquish my fear of solely relying on a silk sheet to stop me from dropping on my head during inversions. Once I let go, trusted my body and my amazing instructor Kaye to help guide me through the positions; something amazing happened. Tight muscles and joints began to slowly loosen up. I was able to get deeper into certain positions and I actually started to have fun. It was like some sort of therapeutic treatment that had me giggling like a 6 year old and ending on a complete high.

Degree #BeTheMovement

 Why should you give aerial yoga a try? Here are 5 reasons…

 1) Total Body Workout: Due to the nature of the workout almost all body parts are forced to move and stretch. Toning, redefining, regenerating and strengthening the muscles and joints are happening during the workout.

2) Improves Balance: While going against gravity is obviously super fun, aerial yoga also helps with balance and stability in daily activities as well.

3) Aids Digestion: The different types of stretches and movements can help in healing various digestion related issues including constipation and indigestion.

4) Increases Strength: Aerial yoga also improves strength and flexibility, which is a huge bonus for those who run or cycle. The core workout is really beneficial for runners and helps them increase stamina and is the perfect active recovery exercise to help re-set muscles and joints.

5) Mood Elevator: The first thing I was told by one of Fly Queen West’s owner’s was, “I dare you not to smile during your entire workout!”  Well, that was a bet I was no doubt going to lose because it’s impossible not to smile while flipping upside down and hanging from the ceiling. It gets your adrenaline going and releases “happy” hormones like serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine, which boost your mood and gives you energy.

Degree #BeTheMovementPhotography by Jillian Botting

Although not as intense as my typical HIIT (high intensity interval) style workout, I still managed to break a bit of sweat during my aerial yoga experience. As beautiful as these poses are to look at, don’t for one second think that it doesn’t require some strength and balance to execute properly. There’s no better way to get out of a workout rut than finding an activity that is so fun, you forget you’re even working out. For more information on this workout, check out FlyQueenWest.com.

Degree Women Dry Spray Antiperspirant is available now in stores nationwide. Use the hashtag #BeTheMovement and make sure to follow me on Instagram as I will be sharing more out of the box workouts and small changes you can make everyday to stay active, healthy and happy!

Los Cabos Travel Series: Mind, Body, & Soul Rejuvenation

Los Cabos Series

Most think of vacations as a time to become a complete sloth, to eat and drink just about everything in sight and lay out until their skin colour is at least three shades darker than when they deplaned the aircraft at their destination. By no means is this considered a bad thing. Heck, I yearn for a couple days of nothingness from time to time, but there are a distinct few who look at their vacations as a strategic retreat where they can undergo a complete mental and physical overhaul, where luxury and comfort is not compromised. If you happen to fall within this niche category of travellers, you need to add Los Cabos to your bucket list.

Los Cabos

I recently crossed this dreamy destination off my bucket list and to be honest, I loved it so much I am heading back at the end of the month. Most, including myself until my visit, confuse this luxe locale with Cabos San Lucas, which has more a reputation for it’s clubs and party atmosphere. Los Cabos though is what I would consider it’s older, more sophisticated sister. The destination is referred to as “Lands End” for being situated at the tip of the southern Baja California Peninsula. Known for the warmth of it’s people, mind blowing food and deep rooted heritage, it’s varying landscapes of desert, sea and mountains also keeps visitors coming back for more.

For the Fitness Obsessed, Well Heeled Traveller

Esperanza Resort

For me, the dream vacation would consist of equal parts fitness, fun and relaxation. If you’re a Type A personality who takes their food, workouts and recovery seriously, Esperanza Resort is Mecca. Part of the boutique luxury hotel company, Auberge Resorts Collection, this unique property has managed to find the perfect balance between pure leisure and a variety of physical activities designed to challenge all fitness levels. Esperanza’s state-of-the-art fitness facilities allow guests to enjoy daily complimentary classes – everything from Beach Bootcamp to TRX, to Sunrise Yoga to a private running concierge service and everything in between. They take their programming so seriously, the hotel has created a “Trainer-in-Residence” program where they feature renowned guest fitness instructors from the best gyms and studios across the US. No matter your level or goals, this hospitality gem’s dedicated staff can customize a bespoke wellness experience to suit your needs.

Esperanza Resort

Esperanza Resort

Esperanza Resort

Part of this experience involves an exceptional culinary experience to accompany your desired workout regimen. With ingredients from local fishermen and farmers, Esperanza Resort’s Cabo dining will knock your socks off. For the foodie, Cocina del Mar’s sea-to-table fare will have you thinking you’re in heaven. Looking for an interactive food experience? There’s hands-on cooking classes with Resident Executive Chef Gonzalo Cerda and more much.

Esperanza Resort

Esperanza Resort

Esperanza Resort

Esperanza Resort

Esperanza Resort

Esperanza Resort

With all the fitness, activities, available excursions and phenomenal dining, you can only expect Esperanza wants it’s guests to be able to rest and rejuvenate – enter The Spa at Esperanza. Focusing on spiritual well-being, stress reduction, detoxification and revitalization, this world renowned sanctuary is sure  to restore your body to it’s intended, natural state. Highly trained staff turn to healing agents indigenous to the area to create treatments tailored to clients specific health and wellness needs. And if that’s not enough, there is no way you cannot sleep like a King or Queen in any of the property’s accommodations. With suite options ranging from 900 sqft casitas (starting around $2,500 USD per night) to Villas and Residences up to 4,000 sqft (approximately $11,000 USD per night) guests can expect that no luxurious detail is overlooked. Offering expansive layouts, indoor/outdoor living spaces, oversized bedroom and washrooms, infinity hot tubs or pools, plus full concierge or butler service, it comes as no surprise that Hollywood’s A-List chooses Esperanza as their favourite private getaway in Los Cabos. For more information or to book online, head to Esperanza.AubergeResorts.com.

Affordable Luxury for the Whole Family

Hilton Los Cabos

Hilton hotels are known globally for their first-rate yet affordable, family friendly facilities. After being severely damaged in the hurricane back in 2014, The Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort re-opened to both first time and returning guests. Situated on one of my favourite stretches  along the Sea of Cortez in Los Cabos, the Hilton boasts beautiful vistas from every single corner of the property. With six dining options plus 24 hours of in-room dining service, guests can enjoy the amazing pool views with farm-to-fork brekkie (my fave) or sea-to-table dinner at El Meson; sip from Cabo’s largest tequila collection inside Azul, feast on regional Italian cuisine at Vela or grab comfort food and bites from one of the various poolside grills. If you have food restrictions or prefer healthy options; you need not worry here. With plenty of options on the menus, those with even the pickiest of palettes will find something that will have you eager for the next meal.

Hilton Los Cabos

If relaxing poolside all day isn’t your thing, the Hilton is the place to be. However, laying out by one of their two deluxe pools isn’t too bad of idea here because the hotel has a pool concierge service that comes by to mist you with Evian, clean your sunnies and even provide you with iPods in case you need tunes while you sunbathe.

Hilton Los Cabos

You can discover so much of the Baja Peninsula’s beauty by staying at Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort. December to March is whale watching season and the optimal time to see these beautiful animals close-up. The resort gives guests access to an amazing whale watching safari but if you keep your eyes on the waves, you can actually see them from the hotel’s oceanfront view guest rooms, the restaurants and infinity pools.

Cabo Adventures

Cabo Adventures

Cabo Adventures

Cabo Adventures

If you’re the adventurous type, this could possibly be the vacation of your dreams. The Hilton’s concierge is always eager to help guests plan world class excursions that is very likely to be the highlight of any visitor’s vacation; think dolphin swim programs, outdoor zip lining, flyboarding, mountain bike tours, sailing, outback tours, camel safari’s and much more via Cabo Adventures. My choice of adventure was mountain biking through Cabo’s outback, which probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise to most of you. Only a 30 minute drive from Cabo’s city centre, we ventured to Rancho San Christobal, a protected reserve overlooking the majestic Pacific. Our amazing tour guide led us through a stunning ride down cactus-lined tracks to a gorgeous hidden beach where the views literally took my breath away. Along our guided tour, our guide educated us about the area’s amazing flora and fauna plant life with natural healing properties, chilled with some camels, and visited the secluded habitat for baby turtles. Post ride, we headed to Rancho San Christobal’s “Casa Tipica” for the most flavourful and natural Mexican meal and tequila.

Hilton Eforea Spa

Hilton Eforea Spa

Eforea Spa

The only way to follow that kind of excursion was a full day at the Hilton’s Eforea Spa. Eforea takes relaxation practices from around the world to create a unique concept for it’s clients. But of course, honouring it’s Mexican heritage, the spa draws on native rituals and local ingredients, paired with traditional spa menu offerings. And if that’s not enough, guests can further customize their treatments by choosing natural herbs from the spa to be infused into their massages, facials or body treatments. Have kiddies with you on your stay? Being a parent doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some relaxation too. Here, children can enjoy the Cabo Kids experience at Eforea with kid friendly treatments and spa services. Rates per night start at only $319. For more information or to book online head to HiltonLosCabos.com.

For the Spiritual Wanderluster

Hacienda Encantada

For those who care less about catching sun rays or going on excursions and prefers to explore once in a lifetime spiritual experience, trying a Temezcal at Hacienda Encantada must be on your bucket list. I’ve had a lot of alternative spa treatments in my day, but until last November I had yet to experience anything quite like this before. Temazcal is a native health ritual that originated hundreds of years ago in Central America and Mexico. It’s direction translation, which stems from the native Nahuatl language means “House of Steam” and in this instance the translation is not an understatement.

Hacienda Encantada Temazcal

A Temazcal is a tiny stone chamber resembling a dome where super hot stones are placed in a hole in the centre on a brick. To create extra heat and steam, the hot stones are splashed with water infused with several healing herbs. One of the first things I discovered about these treatments is that when people enter the chamber, the environment replicates that of a mother’s womb resulting in a very powerful physical and mental experience for those partaking in the session.

Hacienda Encantada

What makes the Temazcal so unique is that it incorporates all four elements: earth, fire, wind and water – combined creates a powerful healing process that has been known to treat everything from arthritis, liver issues, circulatory problems, bronchitis, prostate issues while also reliving stress, muscle tension and most importantly negative energy; leaving you feeling so energized and refreshed.

Hacienda Encantada

Hacienda Encantada

Prior to entering the Temazcal, we were saved to clean our energies and bowed down just in front the entryway before stepping in. Inside, we were asked to sit or lay down in the extremely close quarters. There was only four of us during this session and it felt that one extra person would have made it too crammed but apparently often times there can be up to 20-25 adults inside at one time. For close to two hours we sweated profusely as the two leaders sang songs and started engaging conversations asking each of us what we would like to let go of both physically and mentally during the treatment. I am a lover of dry saunas but I had never felt this kind of heat before in my life and didn’t think I could make it through at first. But the process forced me to let go and to concentrate on my breathing to relieve my anxiety. Half way through, aloe vera was passed around for us to use the jelly to scrub our bodies down. We happily used ice cubes, which barely stood a chance, to wash the aloe jelly residue off our bodies.  After some closing meditation, our 90 mins of sweating was over and we excited the Temazcal feeling mentally cleansed and physically rejuvenation. For more on Hacienda Encantada’s Temezcal treatment check out HaciendaEncantada.com.

I left my heart in Cabo in November and was compelled to see what more this magical place has to offer. Stay tuned as I will be heading back this month on a culinary adventure. To learn more about Los Cabos, Cabo San Lucas and surrounding areas head to VisitLosCabos.Travel.

Hudson’s Bay Lifestyle Collaboration: Street Friendly Activewear

HBNewYour

Although I’m frequently doing checks and balances throughout the calendar year in regards to setting goals and making sure I stay on track to attain them, there’s something about the beginning of a new year that’s always extra special. It’s filled with so much hope and excitement of both the unknown and what’s to come. A few years ago I got in the habit of writing down my goals for the upcoming year on December 31st. Funny enough, when I started SoSasha.com I created a dream list of brands I wanted to work with and I’ve been extremely fortunate to collaborate with almost all of them. Until 2015, there were only a few that I had not yet knocked off my list and Hudson’s Bay, Canada’s iconic heritage department store, was on this short list. So naturally I was thrilled when they asked me to share some personal tips and tricks that I have up my sleeve to keep me inspired and motivated to achieve my overall wellness goals in 2016. For the rest of the month of January, you will discover what keeps me going from recipes, helpful fitness related apps and devices, beauty secrets, my go-to pieces for outdoor winter running plus my favourite workout and athleisure looks that get me to and from the gym in style. The timing couldn’t be better as Hudson’s Bay has just recently launched their active wear shop online.

HBNewYou

HBNewYou

HBNewYouLole Look: Kavita Cross Back Top // Printed Running Tight // Java Jacket // Deena Duffle Bag

During the winter months, I have a tendency to dress in more muted or dark colours. Most likely a reflection of my mood due to the dropping temperatures. I’ve decided to shake things up a bit and jump on this “New Year, New Me” bandwagon, so I am trying to take a brighter approach to my workout wear this winter (pun intended), which you may have noticed as of late on Instagram. I may have actually gone from one extreme to the next, but I have added a few new killer tights to my collection; think bold and colourful patterns that can put energy in anyone’s step, no matter how gloomy and cold it is outside. My styling tip…when getting a bit crazy with prints on the lower half of your body, remember to keep it super simple up top. I usually opt for solid coloured bras and tops in white, grey or black in order to not compete with the pants.

HBNewYou

HBNewYou

HBNewYou

HBNewYou

HBNewYouPhotography by David A. Pike for Hudson’s Bay

Adidas Look: Originals Mosc Printed Leggings // ClimaHeat Marled Zipped Hoodie // Aeroknot Burnout Tank // Arianna III Running Shoes 

 Need more tights-piration? Here’s a few more of my faves that can be found at Hudson’s Bay : Nike Dri-FIT Legendary Engineered Lattice Tights // Reebok Graffiti Yoga Tights // Stella McCartney Activewear Tights // YAS Graphic Cut and Sew Leggings

Head to TheBay.com for more legging and tights options and to preview the rest of Hudson’s Bay active wear collection. Make sure to follow @HudsonsBay on Instagram for more active wear trends and get more of my tips by using the hashtag #HBNewYou

How To Workout At Home While Juice Cleansing

ELXR Home Workout

So you’ve ordered your juice cleanse, prepped your body and rid your kitchen of any tempting treats, but what about your workout routine? Besides asking whether surviving off only juice for a few days is tough, “Can I work out?” is the second most common question I get about juicing.  The answer to the latter is yes, but done in a smart and safe way. Getting in a good sweat actually helps the detoxifying process but it’s imperative that you listen to your body. Light workouts not only stimulate lymphatic flow, respiration, and blood circulation but they also improve liver, lung and kidney function. This all helps process and eliminate the toxins being released from your body while cleansing.

ELXR Home Workout

As someone who is used to frequent and intense workouts, I know how difficult it can be to scale back on your physical activity, but trust me you will thank me later. Through my own trial and error, research and speaking with health professionals, I’ve discovered that the best routines are the ones that increase your heart rate slightly and help you break a bit of a sweat.  My go-to for a short to moderate length juice cleanse is ELXR Juice Lab. Providing eight juices and two tonics, the brand’s detox packages provides adequate nutrients, hydration, energy and calories to not only keep hunger at bay but also gives your body what it needs to sustain light exercise. In case you missed my thoughts on my first experience with ELXR, you can check it out here.

My recommendations are to get in a yoga workout first thing in the morning before your first juice or an hour afterwards. If midday workouts are best for your schedule, some light cross-training or rebounding would work well after consuming ELXR’s “Deep Breath” blend as it’s re-energize the body in the middle of the day and keeps you hydrated. I find that mediation is great either first thing in the morning to help you set up for your day or can also be effective at night to help you unwind and de-stress. The latter works well after drinking the final juice for the day – the “Smooth Operator”.

ELXR Home Workout

Because you’re taking in less calories than normal and you’re body is in a bit of a shock to a new way of functioning for a few days, during this time it’s best to remember the “less is more” mantra. Whether you’re just resting your digestive system for a day or cleansing for five, here are a few detoxifying workouts you can do from the comfort of your home…

ELXR Home Workout

YOGA: I think we can all agree that there is no exercise routine more detoxifying than yoga. Whether you are doing a grounded Moksha style flow or practicing jivamukti, ashtanga or bikram, the poses in your chosen flow are meant to help build smaller muscles that don’t get as much attention, give some much needed love to the muscles that are generally over worked while stretching and twisting the body which helps in the process of eliminating toxins.

The “At Home, How-To”: There are tons of amazing videos online but what could be better than having your own personal Nike Master Trainer leading you through a series of awakening flows perfect to start off your day? Traci Copeland’s “Reach and Recharge” yoga workout on the Nike Training Club (NTC) App is an amazing 30 minute power building flow to develop strength and improve flexibility. The app is free and can be downloaded here. You can find Traci’s yoga workout under the “Get Focused” section within the app.

ELXR Home Workout

REBOUNDING/BELLICON: If traditional workouts aren’t really your jam but you still want to get in some low-impact cardio, this is going to be your jam. I have become obsessed with doing these workouts regardless whether I’m on a juice cleanse or not. The low impact bouncing stimulates the lymphatic system, improves cardiovascular health, bone density, circulation and is said to also reduce cellulite.

The “At-Home, How-To”: There are loads of instructional rebounding videos that can be found online. Some of them better than others. I went through about 30 that made me laugh so uncontrollably because of the funny looking exercises, I was not able to even make it through the workout, but this 20 minute JustBounce Bellicon video is effective (if you can get past this guy’s hilarious accent!)

The “At-Home, How-To”:  PopSugar is a site I go to sometimes for quick instructional, out of the box workout videos and this fun “Becoming Beyonce” 10 minute workout video will have you breaking a light sweat in no time.

MEDITATION: Ok, so meditation is not really considered a typical form of exercise but it’s definitely a mental one. When your mind is cluttered and not focused, it can slow down the body. In theory, meditation sounds like a rather simple task but if you have never tried it before, sit down for a few minutes and try to think about nothing but your breath. With our fast pace life with everyone having a to-do list every day with at least 30 things on it, you will be surprised how challenging it is to calm the mind. Mediation gives your brain some much needed exercise and your body some much needed rejuvenation by making you focus on your breath which helps ease anxiety and any pent up emotions that have a tendency to stand in the way between us and our goals.

The “At-Home, How-To”: I would be telling a little white lie if I said that meditating was easy to do. It takes some people months, scratch that, years to learn how to do it effectively. Attempting on my own became frustrating because my mind frequently wandered to all the other things I could have been doing with my time instead of focusing on breathing and clearing my mind. Thankfully, there is an app for everything and I recently stumbled on a great one that helps teach the basics of mindfulness meditation. It takes you through a guided mediation lasting about 10 minutes and allows you to choose the background noise, think rain falling on leaves or crashing waves on the shoreline, to help get you centred. It’s called “Calm” and can be downloaded for free on iTunes.

ELXR Home Workout

ELXR Home Workout

LIGHT BODY CONDITIONING WORKOUT: No gym? No problem! There are tons of workouts I do in the comfort of my home or hotel room while traveling that is safe enough to do while on a cleanse and use only your body weight. 5-10 minutes doesn’t seem like a long time but you would be surprised at the type of workout you can get in during that timeframe. The goal here is to break a light sweat, get your heart rate up a bit and your muscles engaged.

The “At-Home, How-To”: I like create unique workouts based on moves I have learned from Canadian Nike Master Trainer Eva Redpath and the NTC app and keep rotating them to avoid boredom. Below you will find a sample workout that I love to do when I am in a pinch for time – and because of it’s low impact, it’s great to do when detoxing:

20 seconds – RUN IN PLACE

40 seconds – FLUTTER KICKS (click here for instructional video)

20 seconds – RUN IN PLACE

40 seconds – MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS WITH OPPOSITE KNEE TOUCHING OPPOSITE ELBOW

20 seconds – RUN IN PLACE

40 seconds – STEP UP’S WITH KNEE DRIVE CHANGING SIDES AFTER 20 SECONDS (shown in photo above)

20 seconds – RUN IN PLACE

40 seconds – OPPOSITE ARM AND LEG EXTENSION (click here for instructional video)

20 seconds – RUN IN PLACE

40 seconds – TRICEP PUSH-UP TO FROGGER (click here for instructional video)

Finish off this workout with holding a plank for 3 minutes. I know that duration sounds like an eternity…to help me get through I find a song approximately that length of time and work on holding myself in position until the track is over. If you want a bit of a challenge, try alternating your legs off the ground for more stability and core work

ELXR Home Workout Photography by Daneille Reynolds for ELXR Juice Lab. Apparel courtesy of Nike Canada

For more information on ELXR Juice Lab’s remedies and juice cleanses, head to ELXRJuiceLab.com and enjoy 15% off your online purchase when you use the promo code “SO SASHA“. ELXR juices can also currently be purchased at Bolt Fresh Bar on Queen Street West and Maman Toronto located on the mezzanine level inside First Canadian Place.

How To Live A Happier, Healthier Life With The League App

Join League

For those who have been following me since the early days of SoSasha.com, you are aware of my health issues and part of my journey to recovery. But for those you have recently discovered my site or my instagram account, you may be under the impression that I’m the picture of good health. Hard to believe it now, but three years ago I was in a very dark place – both physically and mentally. I was struggling with side effects from a rare kidney disease, I had developed fibromyalgia (a chronic pain condition – which seemed to come out of left field), that consequently led me deep into depression. Trust me when I say I was in a hole so deep, not even a firefighter without a collar bone could pull me out. I was so heavily medicated for my existing conditions, that those prescribed pills created new conditions, leading to a vicious cycle of distress and illness. It seemed as though I was on the road to no where…fast. I was seeing some of the best doctors in the country for my ailments but I knew deep down it wasn’t going to be enough to get me back to being a functional human being.

Join LeagueA sneak peek of League’s all star line-up for health professionals

After several months of online research, word of mouth and referrals, I had assembled a team of health and wellness professionals and I was certain their comprehensive approach would allow me to no longer be dependent on meds and move towards a pain free life. This was something traditional doctors didn’t feel was possible. Amongst this carefully curated team I had an osteopath, nutritionist, reiki specialist, acupuncturist, chiropractor, headache and joint pain specialist, tai-chi and yoga teachers, a personal trainer and a massage therapist. It literally took a small village. You name it, I had it  and without them, I wouldn’t be here today. There was a lot of trial and error in the beginning. When you are essentially trusting people with your life, you need to have a good connection with them. The process of assembling this roster was time consuming and tedious. I remember often thinking that I wish there was some sort of database where I could have access to all the top health professionals in the city. Fast forward a couple years and the team at League has brought this exact idea to life and I have no doubt this tool can revolutionize the way we approach our health.

Join League

League has the widest selection of health services right at your fingertips. Their pros are all hand picked, verified and ready to help you achieve your health and wellness goals, which can sometimes be difficult to attain on your own. How does it work? It’s actually quite simple. After joining the app for free, you can quickly find trusted pro’s based on where you live or work, to meet a specific budget or your schedule. You can set up an appointment, cancel and rebook; receive automated reminders, enjoy the convenience of automatic payments and even keep a record of your service history and wearables data all in one place.

Join League

Join League

Join League

Join League

I’ve been relatively healthy for the past year but every now and again I have some setbacks so there was no better time than the present to try a 30 day challenge with League for myself. Also, after suffering two injuries this summer, a severe ankle sprain and a hip flexor injury, one of my main goals was to look for a movement specialist.. I turned to Amber Joliat, Creator and Owner of Misfit Sudio in Toronto’s Queen West neighbourhood, to help open up my hip area with a mix of Pilates and Yoga practice. Unlike any other pilates reformer class I have ever done, Joliat takes cues from her dance background to help connect each move on the machine to create beautiful, fluid sequences that resemble somewhat of a dance. Combined with her melodic voice, angelic energy and sun drenched studio, our 60 minute private sessions are pure magic. I had no idea the severity of the injury until I compared the left side of my lower body to my right in a series of exercises I was lead through by Amber. It was clear during our first session that this is going to be a lengthy process so I am attempting to accelerate it by also seeing League expert Daniel Kocmiel for Facial Stretch Therapy. Unlike regular stretching that attempts to isolate and stretch specific muscles, FST targets facia, the connective tissue found in and around the joints. During my sessions with Daniel, he gently pulls then moves my legs and hips in a smooth motion while being strapped to a massage table. Here he removes pressure between joints, releasing a lubricating fluid and improving flexibility of my surrounding muscles. The below video is an excellent example of what my sessions with Kocmiel look like:

Photos by Nathalia Allen amillionminds.ca
As long and painful this process may be, I am dedicated to stay the course in order to get me where I need to be. For the remainder of my League program I will also be doing an extreme overhaul of my nutritional diet with the help of League expert and Holistic Nutritionist Nathalie Niddam. Stay tuned to find out how I am decreasing my fibro related pain with the help of a juice cleanse with Elxr Juice Lab and anti-inflammatory diet developed by Niddam. For more information on League and sign up for your free account to get started head to JoinLeague.com.
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