Focus Magazine Interview with Unplug Meditation

I’ve had a tough time starting a meditation practice, but as soon as UNPLUG MEDITATION opened, I became hooked! I was lucky enough to sit down with the owner, Suze Yalof Schwartz, and speak with her about the studio. Check out my FOCUS MAGAZINE interview below video interview: http://focusmag.us/video/suze-yalof-schwartz/

Unplug Meditation

Suze Yalof SchwartzSuze Yalof Schwartz has taken the mystery, (and the mysticism), out of meditation. She believes that everyone needs a quiet space to unwind for a few minutes, before they rejoin their hectic schedules.

by Kaleigh Walker

You were referred to as “The Fairy Godmother of Makeovers” by the New York Times, and worked for some of the trendiest fashion magazines on newsstands today. How did you get from fashion to owning your own meditation studio? I was doing makeovers for Glamour for about 14 years and I loved my job. My husband wanted to move to California, so he dared me, and I said yes. I was going back and forth to New York doing fashion and I was stressed! My mother-in-law suggested that I meditate. I went to try to find a place to meditate and I could not find one that wasn’t a huge commitment, that fit my schedule, or that was “chic” in a way. So I thought “I need to do this! I need to build this!” I started taking all of these classes, and the more classes I took, the more I realized there was a real need for Unplug Meditation.

How did you come up with the aesthetic of Unplug? I started looking at pictures on Pinterest and through that, I really came up with a game plan and strategy. I went to IKEA and a lot of the stuff that you are seeing is from there. For instance, the front desk is actually a kitchen cabinet but we created the front panel to make it look more like a desk. I was also inspired by James Turrell, an artist who deals with light, so the room has a purple hue that automatically just makes you feel relaxed.

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What is a typical class like? It’s always a different experience depending on which class type you take and that’s the beauty of meditation. I’m really fortunate that I have instructors that are holding the bar at a high level. But we’re not bringing Buddhists into the room, we’re not bringing Sanskrit into the room. We’re trying to make it accessible, relatable, and affordable for as many people as possible.

What is something you can share with those people that are skeptical about trying out meditation? Meditation has taught me how to press the pause button internally. A lot of people are living in the future and it stresses them out, or they are living in the past and they get a little bit depressed. But when you are in the present moment, you are in the zone. And getting in the zone is when you are at your best. The truth is, the present is all we have. So meditation has taught me to make the most of right now. And the more you meditate, the more you realize just how limitless you are.

You were so successful in your fashion career, but you didn’t have a lot of experience opening up your own business, right? I had zero experience opening up my own business, all I had was an idea. But someone said to me, the way to learn about business is to just learn as you go along. And opening up your own business is like going to business school and you will learn so much. The more I just went for it and did it, the more I realized it’s really not that hard.

What were some of the difficulties you faced when opening Unplug Meditation? When I filed my LLC, it was “Unplug Meditation,” but the company that filed it for me wrote “Unplug Mediation.” I waited six months to find out that I had to re-file the whole thing. So what I’ve learned, the hard way, is to pay attention to all of the details. Listen to your gut and take the time to stop and focus on what you are doing, because when you glaze over everything, a lot of mistakes can happen.

What are some inspirational words you would give someone who is interested in opening up their own business? Ask yourself, would you rather say “Oh well” or “What if?” Because for me “Oh well” is much better than “What if.” I’m living it, I’m breathing it, I’m doing it. I came up with an idea and I’m executing it. There will be zero regrets. The trick is to not be overwhelmed by everything you have to do, but to say to yourself “I get to do it.” Do not be afraid, put fear away and just go forward.

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unplug meditation

12401 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 101, Los Angeles, CA 90025 T: (310) 826-8899 unplugmeditation.com

 

About the Author: Kaleigh Walker is a certified Yoga Instructor, Personal Trainer, and Nutrition Coach. She teaches regular yoga classes at Maha Yoga and Corepower Yoga and is available for private instruction.

kaleighwalker.com 

Ready. Set. Goal! 5 Successful Ways to Set Your Best Goals

Growing up, I never had a problem being self-motivated. I was one of those kids that liked the challenge of completing a task and enjoyed working hard to attain a goal. After college, my over-achieving tendencies followed me straight to Los Angeles where I worked in the mecca of type-A personalities, the Entertainment industry. When I decided to leave and follow my true passion, starting my own fitness business, I continued to work hard to build a brand that I was proud of. However, I began to notice how challenging it was to not have structure. I didn’t have a teacher, my parents, or a boss telling me what had to be done. Even though I had a steady flow of clients and taught classes at several studios, I started to feel stuck. I didn’t feel like I was moving towards anything. I realized how much I had relied on that extra pressure, that person to please to find my own self-motivation. It wasn’t until I met with a friend to chat about goal setting that I realized what I was lacking.

As we started talking, I recognized two important things:

*I WASN’T WRITING MY LONG-TERM GOALS DOWN.

*I WASN’T ALLOWING MYSELF TO SET GOALS THAT MADE ME FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE OR THAT MIGHT ACTUALLY LEAD TO FAILURE.

After these realizations, it reinforced that I didn’t actually need someone else to direct me, I just needed the proper system to inspire me and hold myself accountable. I also needed to put aside my perfectionistic tendencies and be okay with failing every once in a while.

As I started visualizing what I wanted out of my life and writing it down, I felt like my old over-achieving self again. I was excited, and life no longer seemed so mundane. I felt more clear-minded and focused and less overwhelmed with how I was going to achieve those long-term aspirations. I was ready to conquer the world one goal at a time!

Here are FIVE EASY STEPS to get you started on your way to setting goals that will lead you to your most fulfilling life!

FINDING BALANCE: We’ve all heard of those people that have an incredibly successful career, but have been divorced four times. It’s important to find a balance in ALL aspects of your life when it comes to goal setting. Don’t just focus on your career, focus on your mental and physical health as well as your relationships and personal aspirations as a human being. That’s going to lead to your most fulfilling self.

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START BIG, go small: Start with a large goal that might take you a decade or so to achieve. That goal might seem overwhelming or unattainable, but if you set several smaller goals to reach that scary one, it doesn’t seem quite as foreboding.

bigThink BIG, Start small. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently. – Tony Robbins

LESS IS MORE: It’s proven that setting around 2-3 long-term goals in each area of your life is better than setting a laundry list of different goals. You can then add-in the same amount of short-term goals that will get you closer to those bigger ones. It’s even good to write out a clear vision of where you want to be in 5 or 10 years so that you can visualize precisely what will bring you the most fulfillment and happiness. Remember, there will be bumps, challenges and changes along the way, but that’s what keeps it interesting!

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PLAY IT S.M.A.R.T: This acronym is a great reference tool when writing out your goals.

  • SPECIFIC: Be as precise and concise as possible.
  • MEASUREABLE: You should be able to track your progress and measure the outcome.
  • ATTAINABLE: Make sure you’re setting realistic goals that you can attain based on your individual capabilities.
  • RELEVANT: Identify goals that are most important to your definition of success and happiness.
  • TIME-BOUND: Write a specific by-when date to create a sense of urgency and importance.

EMBRACE FAILURE: As Albert Einstein notably said, “You never fail until you stop trying.” Failure is not something any of us likes, but it’s something that will make us stronger in the long run. It will make success that much sweeter when it’s attained. Just imagine if Steve Jobs would have quit after his first time attempting to build a computer. Even Thomas Edison joked about the difficulties he encountered when inventing a better light bulb saying, “I have not failed. I’ve just found ten thousand different ways that won’t work.” Another positive outcome of failure is realizing you might not actually want the goal you initially set. Not achieving that goal allows us to evaluate what we were going towards, or how we were going about getting there. It could be the end goal that needs revising, or it could be the approach we were taking.

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Harvest Blue Clothing Photo Shoot

I recently had a photo shoot for the clothing line, Harvest Blue. They have amazing yoga & fitness clothes for men & women. Check out some of their pieces below. 🙂

You can also purchase them at Corepower Yoga or harvestblue.com.

Maha Yoga photo shoot with Kaleigh

We had an amazing photo shoot with Kaleigh Walker at Maha Yoga in Brentwood, CA. Huge thanks to Kaleigh, Suzy and the whole Maha Yoga family. Kaleigh is an instructor at Maha Yoga and Corepower yoga in LA. Her practice is next level! Check her out at kaleighwalker.com

Kaleigh is wearing the Harvest prism print legging made from recycled fabrics and the Gamma Sports bra. These technical pieces are breathable, and moisture wicking to keep you comfortable during your practice.

Kaleigh is wearing the Ombre print Escape legging and Gamma Sports bra.

The Swirl Razorback tank is our take on the classic tank top but made with 4 way stretch, breathable recycled fabrics so its great for your practice and good for the planet.

Harvest your life…

 

 

 

6 Ways To Avoid Getting Sick!

How many times have you heard someone say, “The flu is going around!” or “I just caught the cold my husband had!” I remember when the dreaded “cold season” used to be mainly in the fall and winter months, but now it seems like anytime of the year I know someone who is under the weather. But did you know that it’s NOT inevitable to get sick every time you’re exposed to someone who is? I’ve only had two “colds” in the past five years and I’ve worked in some of the most germ-infested places including heated yoga studios, gyms, preschools, daycare’s and a homeless shelter. How is that possible? Because each and every day I make it a point to build up a healthy immune system. It’s only when I neglect these important steps that I get sick.

Probiotics: Did you know that the majority of our immune system resides in our gut? If you have an unhealthy amount of “bad” bacteria residing in your intestines you are more likely to get sick. Unfortunately, when we consume antibiotics, prescription medications, are exposed to heavy metals or just have a diet filled with processed food, our intestinal flora is compromised. In order to restore a healthy balance of “good” bacteria, it’s important to take a daily probiotic supplement that contains several different strains of bacteria. I currently take Ultimate Flora Adult Probiotic. This brand has a lot of different options depending on the severity of your intestinal tract and even has gummy probiotics for kids!

Ultimate-Flora

Sleep: Having an erratic sleep schedule will not only leave you grumpy and groggy, it can lead to more colds, flus and illnesses. When you don’t get adequate shut eye, your body’s ability to respond and fight off foreign invaders is compromised. Studies have shown that people who get an average of seven hours of sleep each night not only have better immune systems, they actually live longer! Some tips for getting sufficient sleep include going to bed/waking up at the same time each day, not using electronics right before bed, avoiding alcohol within six hours of bedtime, meditation and/or stretching before you hit the sheets, reducing stress in your life, and exercise!

Plant-Based Foods: As Hippocrates said thousands of years ago, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” There’s no better way to get the proper vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants you need to ward off illness than through what you put into your mouth each and every day. I truly believe that the fresh greens juice with apple, lemon and ginger that I have for breakfast every morning has helped build my immune system and energy levels tremendously. I continue to eat a vast array of fruits and veggies throughout the rest of my day because that’s what my body needs to perform at its best. Some of the best immune-boosting foods and spices include: ginger, oranges, oats, barley, garlic, mushrooms, papaya, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, berries, bell peppers, thyme, rosemary and sage, to name a few.

Fruits-and-Vegetables

Avoid Hormone-Laden Meat: Large meat and dairy companies are looking to create the largest profit possible in the shortest amount of time. They inject antibiotics and hormones into cows, chickens and pigs to make them grow faster and bigger, and to prevent the spread of disease. Unfortunately, if you are not actively seeking out grass-fed or hormone-free animal products, you are not only advocating inhumane living conditions for these animals and promoting global warming, you are consuming some amount of antibiotics, hormones and resistant bacteria each time you eat them. Not only will your immune system be compromised with the exposure to unnecessary antibiotics and bacteria, you too will grow FASTER and BIGGER just like the animals! New studies have shown being overweight or obese can affect the body’s ability to produce white blood cells and antibodies to fight off illness and inflammation. As you can see, it’s a scary cycle! If you are going to consume animal products, I encourage you to buy directly from a local farmer or Farmer’s Market, or look for labels that include organic, hormone-free, grass-fed, and free-range.

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Exercise: During moderate exercise, blood flow increases and you start to sweat out the toxic waste from your body! The improved blood flow also promotes circulation of antibodies and white blood cells to help ward off infection and disease. Plus, you feel and look better, right?! So start walking, running, dancing, spinning, boxing or down-dogging every day.

Vitamin Supplements: It can be hard to get all of the nutrients from your food, especially if it’s not organic and because the quality of our earth’s soil is not like it used to be. In addition to following all of the steps above, I encourage incorporating a vitamin and mineral supplement into your diet to boost your immunity. (Remember it’s a SUPPLEMENT not a replacement for fruits and veggies!) The most important antioxidants to look for are: Beta-carotene, Vitamin A, C, & E, B Vitamins (B6 & B12 in particular), Zinc and Selenium. I take Dr. Schulze’s SuperFood Plus!

Six_Superfood_plus

I guarantee, these easy steps will lead you to a happier, healthier life! Remember, we only have one body…if we don’t take care of it, where else are we going to live?

Should I buy Organic?

We’ve all heard the word “ORGANIC” but is it really necessary to buy only organic fruits & veggies? According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) there are 12 produce items you should DEFINITELY buy organic whenever possible. For the past decade, the EWG has released a list called the “Dirty Dozen,” 12 fruits & veggies that contain the highest amount of pesticides. Pesticides have been linked to developmental problems in children, and may act as carcinogens or throw off the endocrine system, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They are also linked to cancer, birth defects, infertility, and kidney failure. In order to avoid the risk of exposure, I suggest you read this year’s “Dirty Dozen” below:

1. Apples
2. Strawberries
3. Grapes
4. Celery
5. Peaches
6. Spinach
7. Sweet Bell Peppers
8. Nectarins – Imported
9. Cucumbers
10. Cherry Tomatoes
11. Snap Peas – Imported
12. Potatoes

The good part is, the EWG also releases a list of the “Clean 15.” This list includes the fruits & veggies with the least amount of pesticide residue, and have tested low for total pesticide concentration. Feel free to eat these in a “non-organic” state!

1. Avocados
2. Sweet corn
3. Pineapples
4. Cabbage
5. Frozen sweet peas
6. Onions
7. Asparagus
8. Mangoes
9. Papayas
10. Kiwis
11. Eggplant
12. Grapefruit
13. Cantaloupe
14. Cauliflower
15. Sweet potatoes

Happy Eating!

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