Autumn Asana Sessions, One Breath Connected

Alanna Endahl

This Saturday I’ll be Teaching at the Autumn Asana Sessions here in Scottsdale Arizona along side 2 other amazing teachers Jessie Vold and Tristan Gandolfi.

Each of the Autumn Asana Sessions have 3 of the best Yoga Teachers in the Valley. We come together to Co-Teach an 1 and ½ hour Yoga class for a total of 6 Sessions, every week is a slightly different class style too. This Saturday September 12th when I’ll be Co-Teaching, will be a more Vinyasa and Power Flow. While the week 3 Session will also have Gongs and Crystal Bowls for some added Sound Healing.

Oh wait, did I mention that class is on the rooftop of The Hotel Valley Ho?

Cause it is! But wait, cause it gets cooler….

 These events are by One Breath Connected, each class every weekend is Free and Donation based. Your donation goes towards Building a School in Nepal!

Pretty spectacular if you ask me. I mean, rooftop Yoga AND Building a School?

Yes please.

 Seriously come do Yoga with me! This Saturday at 10am or join in one of the other amazing Sessions!

 Even though this event is Free, it’s still smart to reserve your spot for Class here:

 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/autumn-asana-sessions-tickets-18129467726

 For updates and more info, check out the Facebook Page for One Breath Connected!

 https://www.facebook.com/onebreathconnected?fref=ts

 Hope to see you on the Mat!

-Alanna

My top 3 coffee spots in Arizona

Alanna Christina

If you follow my Instagram it’s pretty clear that I love a good cup of coffee, it’s something that to me is a simple pleasure in life. If you ask my friends they’d  probably say how I get “overly excited” about coffee. (pshhh! No such thing as overly excited about coffee.) I also look for unique atmospheres of different coffee shops, I love going to places that have a special vibe all their own. To me, coffee shops are the place you go to hangout, read, work or just take a break from life and people watch. I’ll be sharing my top three favorite coffee shops in Arizona and the reasons behind them being so spectacular, and in no particular order as you’ll soon find out. To me, each shop is a special and unique gem of it’s own kind.

Starting with Echo Coffee in Scottsdale, AZ.

What’s right away a cool thing about Echo is that they are an organic coffee shop, pretty sweet right? They give off a relaxed vibe, playing great music that isn’t overly loud, and have friendly barista’s. Mainly the shop is filled with young professionals either quietly chatting or working/studying with books and laptops astray.

I seriously suggest trying there Dirty Chai. It’s my personal favorite from them.

Next up is Gold Bar Espresso in Tempe, AZ.

Gold Bar is sorta a dreamy neighborhood hangout spot, it’s my typical to go coffee and gathering place. Right away when you walk in you get the feeling of a quaint coffee shop, the owners and baristas are super sweet and always down for a chat. 

Depending on the time of day you go, Gold Bar is either filled with groups of friends, students studying (it’s literally surrounding by Schools) or old and young people alike just enjoying a cup of coffee and reading. Something I seriously adore about them is that they have game nights and live jazz once a week. 

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Last up is Lux Central in Phoenix.

Lux has a magical-hiperstry-city-vibe to it, nothing beats the atmosphere they have going on. They have multiple rooms with tables and chairs to couches and arm chairs, filled with loads unique and awesome people.

Not only does Lux have amazing coffee and pastry’s, but they also serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and have a bar. So basically they have something for everyone. 

My personal favorite thing about Lux, their hours are unbeatable. Sundays-Thursdays they’re open from 6am-12am, and Fridays-Saturdays, 6am-2am.

So if you live in PHX, or your stopping on through, check out these places and drink some coffee loves. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.

Intro to Mindfulness

Alanna Christina

Probably 95% of the time we hear the words Meditation or Mindful and start having these weird panicked thoughts like “my mind is supposed to be blank, I’m having visions of blue skies and ocean fronts, I am not thinking of anything….insert a million thoughts racing through your mind here” and then the classic frustration sets in. The frustration of not being able to still the mind be at that beach, staring at that sky, and we actually notice how the mind runs away on it’s own if left unsupervised.

What I hear a lot in all the Yoga Classes I teach is,

“I can’t Meditate”

“My mind just keeps going on filled with thoughts”

“I stopped trying because I became so frustrated”

So this one goes out to all you Yoga-Loving peeps looking to learn how to become a little more Mindful.

I often feel that many people are somewhat rushing into Spirituality or Mindfulness without fully knowing what it is exactly they are working towards, mixed with the fact our culture currently is very into the instantaneous reward process. If you’re coming into this practice with the mindset of “fast reward” you’re setting yourself up to become frustrated, and fast. We as a Society don’t like when we feel as though we are “going slow” and slow is pretty much the pace we start at when it comes to a more Mindful way of living. I’m not going to tell you to stop thinking of blue skies and ocean fronts, I’m not going to tell you to stop getting frustrated when the mind runs away filled with thoughts again, I am however going to ask you to try something new.

Rest your awareness on your breath.

That’s it.

That is all you need to start. Nothing else. Just your breath.

Set a small amount of time aside each day, maybe start with 5 - 15 Minutes, lay down, get comfortable, and take in a huge breath through your nose, and let it out through the mouth with a sigh. Then, not changing the way you naturally breathe, start to notice how* you’re breathing. Notice if you tend to mainly breath in your chest, taking in small sips of air. Notice if you take huge deep breaths. For a few minutes that’s all you’re going to do, notice how you* breath.

After a few minutes slowly start to shape your breath. Inhale and fill the low belly with air, then the ribs, up into the chest, and exhale slowly down from the chest, down through the ribs, and lastly hallowing out the low belly, really feeling the navel draw in towards the spine. If this starts to feel to difficult like you can’t expand all these different areas of your body, start to imagine it in your head, picture your whole body as balloon filling with air and deflating. Just by picturing this you can start to shape and change the way you breath.

Lastly, the mind will want to run away on you a million times, each time it runs off bring it back to the breath, repeat in your head as you inhale “Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in”, on your exhale “Breathing out, I know that I am breathing out.”  What this little bit does is it gives your mind something to “do” while still focus the attention on the breath.

At any point if you start to feel breath-starved or become slightly nauseous, release from the breath and return to your natural way of breathing. It’s fairly common to feel these ways when first starting a breath practice, so take it easy.

What focusing the minds attention on the breath does, is that it allows you to become in the present moment, it allows space to be created and allows the mind to become clear and peaceful. It’s a slow process, but stick with it. That doesn’t mean there won’t be times filled with frustration over the process, but be gentle with yourself. Take a few minutes each day to just breath.

 

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Cibo's Pizza

Alanna Christina

 

One of my favorite places in dine out in Phoenix is Cibo’s.

Quaint and eclectic, Cibo’s is in a 1913 bungalow filled with charm and twinkling lights. The whole house and yard makes me feel like I’ve been transported out of the hot Arizona desert and fills me with happiness. 

Cibo’s food is truly outstanding, from salads to pastas to pizzas you’ll find something you enjoy. Personally I’d suggest going here if you’re Gluten Free as they have one of the best Gluten Free pizzas. Seriously though, like we expected anything else other than amazing pizza options from Cibo’s. 

Just. Look. At. That. Beauty.

Told you they had twinkly lights.

If you’re looking for a place to take your gf/bf, or your group of friends next time you want pizza, check out Cibo and eat your heart out in the cutest house ever.

You're welcome.