Favorites: Bali yoga

I bid Bali adieu on Tuesday and 44 hours later… I'm home. I'm operating kind of like a jet-lagged zombie but overall I feel pretty good. I'm attributing most of my feeling goodness to the amazing yoga in Bali that filled my cup for the past 5 weeks. Oh, and hydrating. Drinking lots of water on the plane is a must.

Bali is the yogi mecca of the East. LA is the mecca of the West, in case you were wondering. The yoga vibes are contagious. Like, literally, you're breathing patchouli all of the time. I almost certainly would have gotten a chakra tattoo if I stayed any longer. Or at least started wearing more earth tones. The scene is pretty serious. There is actually a nice process to the whole thing - you show up and lather yourself with all-natural bug spray (since everything in Bali is partially outdoors), set up mat/blocks/towel, commence class (which starts on time unless there is scooter traffic), practice, finish, drink coconut water straight from the coconut. And repeat.

They must not have any obstacles here. Ganesha is like the main man in Bali.

They must not have any obstacles here. Ganesha is like the main man in Bali.

I loved practicing in Bali. It totally hit the spot. Spirituality, flow, breath, meditation. I was able to get to most of the main studios - there are a few amazing places I didn't get to practice at, but the ones I recommend below are a pretty solid representation of the Bali yoga scene. Om.

Canggu -

Desa Seni - This gorgeous eco-friendly yoga resort has a great mix of teachers and styles - from Anusara to Ashtanga. I considered this my home studio for a couple weeks and I was always excited to take class there. They have a great yoga community, lots of ex-pats who live in Bali - and they do regular community events and lots of workshops. I practiced mostly with Octavio - vinyasa with some bhakti infusion. Desa Seni has Manduka-ish mats for use and they offer complimentary tea post-practice. Expect to see lots of people from Australia, Canada and the US. Book one of their excellent massages afterwards for a real treat. Yum!

One of two studios at Desa Seni

One of two studios at Desa Seni

Uluwatu

Morning Light Yoga - One of the most beautiful studios I've practiced at. They do two classes a day - 10:30am and 5:30pm. The morning one was my preferred time - so you can see the morning light, of course! Lots of surfers and wives/girlfriends of surfers in class. The teachers are mainly from California and have great sequencing and good vibes. Stick around to chat after class about how the surf is in Java or how good Land's End Cafe is. 

Dreamy set-up at Morning Light Yoga

Dreamy set-up at Morning Light Yoga

Ubud

Yoga Barn - Whoa, yogi. This is yoga central. It's basically a yoga compound. The class schedule is amazing - tons of classes and options. But it felt like everyone took themselves too seriously. They have everything you could ever want from a yoga studio - delicious cafe, showers, massage, tibetan bowl meditations, ecstatic dance classes, Ayurveda doctors, shopping, a tiny bookstore, on site accommodations (which I stayed at) - but overall the vibe was a little heavy for me. Good to visit for a class or two - the teachers totally know their stuff - but I wouldn't practice here regularly.

Radiantly Alive - Beautiful studio and training center with less pretense than Yoga Barn. The airy, light filled upstairs studio was a joy to practice in. I only got to one class (Vinyasa) here but I really enjoyed it. They have a pretty solid schedule with a variety of classes per day, including aerial yoga. This would be my preferred studio if I was in Ubud, just off the vibe alone.

Radiantly Alive in Ubud, Bali

Radiantly Alive in Ubud, Bali

So now that I've been able to get on my mat consistently for 5 weeks, it's time to pass that energy on in my classes. I'm back to my normal class schedule and I'm excited to announce that I'll be teaching a new class - Monday 4:30pm at Green Monkey Miami Beach. I've also got an H2om next week - June 27th at 8pm at the Standard Hotel. Check here for details! xo

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Favorites: Bali food

Whoa. Have we really been here a month? I've slipped into a vortex of scooter rides, 2 hour yoga practices and coconuts as far as the eye can see. Time is losing it's grip on me. I find myself wondering what day it is. 9:30pm feels like midnight.

I could get used to this.

My Bali goals of journaling every morning and beach walks haven't happened with the regularity I would have preferred, but every moment has been perfect and exactly what it should be. What we have not forgotten, though, is eating. With a large and hungry surfer as my traveling companion, we have tried many amazing Bali favorites. And as a yogi and foodie (yoodie?) I am very happy to help Mike sample the fresh and tasty offerings around Bali.

Here are the ones I have to share with you today… categorized by the aforementioned areas of Bali. Note - There are lots of diverse places to eat in Bali, these are my yogi-friendly recommendations. They are mainly vegetarian/vegan and pretty mid-range in price, which is essentially half the price of anything in Miami and twice as healthy and delicious. 

Seminyak - Bali's Miami

Revolver Espresso - where I am writing this blog post from:) Awesome coffee and breakfast/lunch spot with incredible eats and a great local and international vibe. Gun themed menu and venue rocks my world. The Smith and Wesson (read: smashed avocado on gluten free bread) is the jam.

Cappucino at Revolver Espresso. They get a 10 on presentation every time. 

Cappucino at Revolver Espresso. They get a 10 on presentation every time. 

Earth Cafe - This vegan cafe slash grocery store has all kinds of great organic finds. Extensive juice menu and lots of lunch and dinner choices. They have lots of yummy little desserts and energy balls pre-made in the fridge. We eat here basically every day.

Watercress - Such a cool vibe! One of my favorite places in Bali. Great menu with creative salads and sandwiches and they serve Revolver Coffee (the gold standard of coffee around here). Breakfast served all day? Yes, please!

crate cafe

Canggu (my favorite spot - it's like the Purdy Ave of Bali!)

Crate Cafe - Everything I've always wanted in a little cafe. Breakfast served all day, green smoothies, good wifi, amazing coffee and cool people. The iced latte is to die for - it can only be described as a latte slurpee. Mike loves the brekkie board. Oh, and they mix two types of smoothies together in one glass! You really can't go wrong. 

Cafe Avocado - Great casual lunch spot, juices, smoothies and lots and lots of yummy things involving one of my favorite foods - avocado. Coffee is ok. Food is yum.

Betelnut Cafe - Quick, easy and healthy dinner spot. Lots of mexican and salad options. Cool vibe with upstairs seating overlooking Batu Bolong and some rice paddies. They do breakfast and lunch too but not breakfast all day - bummer. Oh and they have the best chocolate chip cookie in Bali.

Old Man's - Aussie beach bar with lots of lounge seating and beachy food options. Not the most healthy but fun to go for the vibes or a drink - they normally have weekend events with live music or DJ's. Big local hangout where you can meet people from all over who now call Bali home.

Sunday nights at Old Man's

Sunday nights at Old Man's

Uluwatu - the dirty South

Buddha Soul - Veggie burger like whoa. We ate here lots when we were in the Bukit and it was consistently great. Cool outdoor seating with umbrellas and lots of nice choices for a tea or smoothies if you want a midday pick me up. 

Land's End Cafe - The best green smoothie I have found in Bali so far. Mike's egg wrap rocked his world. This little warung turned cafe has a California vibe and excellent eats. Looks a little shady when you first pull up but trust me, it's worth it. 

Cashew Tree - A great night time spot, they often have live music. Lots of healthy menu options  and pretty good Mexican fare. Great couches and seats to lounge in and soak up those hazy Bali nights. 

Ubud - Hippie paradise

Clear Cafe - Cool place! Super modern. Organic. My favorite is that they have a shoe valet, which means everyone is barefoot inside, which I love (and is quite common in Bali). Extensive juice menu, raw vegan options, come here more for the vibe and a juice than the food. Little shop in the front where they sell snacks, chocolates and such.

Kafe - Ah, Kafe. I ate here pretty regularly in Ubud. All kinds of yumminess on the menu. Macrobiotic, raw vegan, Ayurvedic. They also have an offshoot inside Yoga Barn called the Garden Kafe. Same menu, but service is much better at the original Kafe on Hanoman Road.

Soma - Raw vegan paradise. Gorgeous place with an awesome vibe, great for hanging out at night. The night we went they had some live music and people with bindis and sarongs were congregating everywhere. Great food, but typical raw vegan small plates so we ended up ordering a few things. Cash only.

Bali Buda - A Bali institution. They have four locations but we went to the one in Ubud a couple times - it's just across the street from Radiantly Alive Yoga. They also have a market around the corner with lots of goodness. Great menu. Amazing pizza and veggie stuff. Not great Mexican. 

Sari Organik - They have a couple spots - the Bodag Meliah one is the one I'm referring to. It is worth it just to go and experience the location. It's in Ubud but feels like a different world. You take a really crazy footpath out into the rice paddies and stumble upon this open air restaurant where they serve stuff straight from their garden. You're sweating by the time you get there so order a coconut (if they still have some left) Excellent salads and the views are amazing. Give yourself extra time to wander around the rice paddies and slip back in time.

sunset over Sari Organik rice fields

sunset over Sari Organik rice fields



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Favorites: NYC edition II

After a full weekend of yoga and walking slash biking the streets of NYC and Brooklyn, Mike and I got pretty hungry. And we love food, especially new places. So here is a round-up of some of our favorite healthy options to add to my list of NYC favorites:

1. Hu Kitchen, Union Square

This place is the JAM. It's paleo based and they have lots of vegan options. They call themselves nutritionally superior and delicious and I agree. They have a super cool vibe and food choices for any palate. The "hu" part stands for Human - as in taking you back to basics. I got a veggie plate and the veggies were insane, lots of roasted options and salads. Mike had the Primal Kale Salad that was off the hook. They also have a mash bar, basically an alternative to DIY fro-yo places. You can pick of their tried and true blends or create your own - choose a base of chocolate or vanilla chia pudding, taro pudding or almond butter and load on favorites like fruit, cashew cream, berries, grain-free granola on top to create a better, yummier and paleo version of a sinful treat. We went for lunch but I hear breakfast is amazing too. 

Somehow after lunch at Hu Kitchen, both me and Mike ended up in a breakdance performance in Union Square.

Somehow after lunch at Hu Kitchen, both me and Mike ended up in a breakdance performance in Union Square.

2. Sun in Bloom, Tribeca (they also have one in Brooklyn)

Vegan, gluten-free and raw kitchen? Yes, please. We stumbled upon this place after a lovely Saturday morning Kula Flow class. We were on our way to La Colombe for coffee (another fave) and happily peeked in here when we saw vegan and gluten-free written on the sandwich board outside. Healthy breakfast and they served La Colombe coffee too?! Score. The coconut kefir with homemade live granola was amazing. I also tried a gluten free carrot muffin with walnuts. The juices looked divine, although we didn't have any (needed coffee first). They had chocolate brazil nut mylk. And quinoa macro bowls with a whole bunch of things you can add in. Mmm. Totally would go here all the time if I lived here.

yum yum Sun in Bloom

yum yum Sun in Bloom

3. Organic Avenue, all over NYC

I like to go into juice bars and see what they're making, just to get inspired by ingredients and combinations. And there are juice bars all over Manhattan so there's lot of competition. We popped into the Organic Avenue near Soho. I wanted one of everything. They are spot on with their juice and smoothie offerings, at least in my humble opinion. They have a smoothie named Green Monkey! And they serve their own kombucha? Awesome. We tried the Royal Red and Matcha Chia juices and were not disappointed by either. They also do soups and entrees. Friendly people, clean place and great flavors. Definitely high on my juice bar favorites list!

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Favorites: NYC edition

Sometimes I like spontaneity when I travel. But not usually. Usually I prefer to know exactly what I'm getting into. In my ideal situation, I'll research before I go anywhere. Like, I look at menus before I go to restaurants. I"ll map how far of a bike ride it is. I'll google things like "best coffee shop to work from with wifi" and then read blog posts and reviews about it. And I appreciate those posts because they help me make an informed decision about how I'm spending my time. In the end, it comes down to efficiency.  

I've been asked a few times lately where I like to do "x" in NYC. X being get coffee, do yoga, eat, shop, etc. I don't actually live in New York. But I visit frequently (I'm in NYC as I write this) and I research things each time so I have a little cache of information to share with you about this fine and vibrant city. Here are a few of my fave things in the city (and Brooklyn!)

COFFEE

This one is first since it's my life blood. If I could get an IV drip of coffee attached to my alarm clock, I would. These two are a close second.

1. Toby's Estate Coffee, Williamsburg. I love this place. The vibe is awesome, huge windows and lots of tables. Super hipster. It's basically a commercial for Apple products and beards. The coffee is INCREDIBLE. It's an Australian import so the baristas have accents and are generally hot and surfer-ish. Great place to do work (if you can get a seat) and hang in Brooklyn.

2. La Colombe, Soho. This gem is small but wow, yum. They don't do almond milk but they do hemp milk (weird?) and it's probably the best latte I have ever had. I didn't get the hemp milk though, just FYI. Perfect spot for a quick takeaway coffee if you're in the Soho area. There isn't much room to sit and do work but the vibe is great and coffee is divine. 

BIKE ROUTES

I enjoy riding bikes on major roads in major cities. It's a total rush. That being said, it is not for the faint of heart. It is a rush because your life is always slightly on the line. The routes below are relatively tame, but it's good to recognize your comfort level and stay true to it. Both of them can take a couple hours so it's a great way to spend a sunny afternoon in NYC.

1. Bike the Hudson River Greenway. It's a dedicated bike/pedestrian street up the west side of Manhattan. Get a bike in the West Village at Waterfront Bicycle Shop and head north. You can go all the way to the George Washington Bridge. It's so scenic - you really never feel like you're in Manhattan. Alternatively, you can get a Citi Bike for cheaper but you have to dock it every 30 minutes, so you end up getting off the Greenway and back on - which can be annoying. Stop at crazy Fairway Grocery store if you need a snack and go in the cold foods section if you want to cool off. It's basically a giant walk in freezer room.

2. Bike from Park Slope to Coney Island. Or from Brooklyn Bridge, like this guy did. You get to ride through Prospect Park (gorgeous!) and there is a path most of the way after that, so you're not in the street as much. You're also riding to a destination that has go-karts and a beach, which is fun. We got bikes from Ride Brooklyn on Bergen Street - they were nice guys and good bikes. We started at the bike shop, rode through Park Slope, through the park and then down. It does get a little sketchy as you get closer to Coney Island but it goes pretty quickly. 

Whee, riding through Prospect Park!

Whee, riding through Prospect Park!

SHOP

1. I love the Williamsburg Brooklyn Flea. I love Williamsburg in general. A sunny Sunday at the Flea with some Toby's Coffee in hand is just so fun. The vendors are amazing. The food is all local and incredible. It's full of inspiration. It's also not that big, so you can do it all in an hour or less and then head over to Artists and Fleas - another winner, with great jewelry.

cute plants at the Flea

cute plants at the Flea

2. 21 Mercer. Ahh. This store. I come in here almost every time I go to NYC just to see what they have. The kicks are so dope and they have an in house Nike ID studio. Love, love, love. 

COOKIES

Yes, this is a category. I have researched cookies in NYC heavily. There's no time to waste calories on sub-par cookies! The cookies at both places are huge so split with a friend or two.

1. Levain Bakery. The one on the Upper Westside. Dark chocolate peanut butter chip. OMG. Walk over to Central Park and enjoy it on a bench there since there is no seating at Levain. 

2. Birdbath. The one in Soho. I mean, they have giant piles of cookies in the window. Yum!

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