Five Pillars Yoga

Posts Tagged ‘green living’

Save Face

Our skin, our largest organ, absorbs what we put on it: The ingredients in our body lotions, shampoos, lipsticks and sunscreens eventually make their way into our bloodstreams. The products we use impact us in much the same ways as the foods we eat—turns out you are what you apply, too.

So, what’s in all those creams and concealers? For the most part, not stuff you’d want to put in your smoothie. The list of what to avoid and why is long; for an in-depth breakdown of common ingredients and what they do, visit the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics‘ comprehensive Chemicals of Concern list to learn about what’s in your lip gloss.

While the US food industry is attempting to keep up with consumer demand for transparency in labeling and regulations, the beauty industry is lagging behind. Label claims like “organic” and “natural” and even “FDA-approved” mean little to nothing at all, and, for now, it’s up to consumers to be their own fact and label-checkers.

Our advice: Keep it simple. Products with lengthy ingredient lists are likely to have more ingredients to avoid; a pared-down beauty routine—one with fewer products to vet and claims to investigate—is an easy way to feed your skin good food. If an ingredient is unpronounceable, look it up and learn more or move on.

Beauty Brands We Love

There are, thankfully, companies doing it right. We look for brands that champion holistic practices and pure products. Here are a few favorites: 


Earth Tu Face

Plant-based skincare from two herbalists in California. Their products are made from organic, high quality and food-grade ingredients.

Product we love: Virgin Coconut Oil + Cardamom Body Butter. 


Vitner’s Daughter

Winery owner April Gargiulo created her cult-favorite skin serum in an attempt to simplify her complicated skincare regime. It took two years of tinkering, but the result is a game-changing, nutrient rich face oil that uses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich plant ingredients to maintain and restore skin’s natural radiance.


Tata Harper

Made in small batches in the company’s laboratory in Vermont, Tata Harper products are packed with from-the-earth, active ingredients like red algae (for elasticity) and borage (moisture retention). Many of their ingredients are grown on their own bucolic farm.

Product we love: Be Adored


Living Libations

For love-infused products from two high-vibrational souls, look no further than Living Libations. Essential oils, a holistic oral healthcare line and self-proclaimed “renegade” beauty products are all meticulously sourced; the founders, husband and wife Ron and Nadine Artemis, believe that radiance is a birthright, and they manage to capture that philosophy in every offering.

Product we love: Seabuckthorn Shampoo and Shine On Conditioner


In New York we love visiting CAP Beauty in the West Village (they also have an excellent website), and Living Libations‘ newly-opened store in Venice Beach, Los Angeles. For treatments, questions, and holistic beauty coaching, pro-makeup artist and Ayurveda expert Jessa Blades is a bi-coastal treasure.

Top image: Splash Happy; all brand images from their own websites; the Living Libations image is Courtesy of CAP Beauty.

Your Green Yoga Lifestyle

Today’s topic: food waste.


Our culture of consumption has resulted in a major garbage problem. And, there is an easy solution that begins with you! And me. So let’s take our yoga off the mat by reducing food waste this week. Like other resources, we can reduce (take only what we need), reuse (leftovers? food drives?), and recycle (compost).


Food Waste Facts:


  1. 40% of food in the United States is wasted
  2. 97% of food waste still makes its way into the landfill!
  3. This waste breaks down anaerobically (without oxygen) and releases methane, which is a major greenhouse gas 21x more potent than carbon dioxide.


Ending food waste would be a major step toward easing climate change.


So what can you do?


  1. Reduce the amount of food waste generated in your household.
  2. Plan ahead and donate canned goods to a local food drive before they expire.


For more information on global food waste and what you can do about it, check this out:


Thich Nhat Hanh said: With negative energy you can make the positive energy. A flower will become compost someday, but if you know how to transform the compost back into the flower, then you don’t have to worry. You don’t have to worry about your anger because you know how to handle it – to embrace, to recognize, and to transform it. So this is what is possible. 

So knowing how to handle and transform our waste can reduce our anxiety about bigger environmental issues. And as active participants,we make a big difference. Our efforts matter. We are all responsible. Sure, there are definitely some companies who contribute more waste than others, but every little bit counts! That means, the waste we generate in our homes, at work, and eating out adds up.

Actions that support a healthier planet also support your personal well-being. And your personal well-being and regular yoga practice supports a healthier planet. Win-win. But don’t take my word. The proof is in the compost.






Simply Delicious Summer Recipes For A Gourmet Dinner Party

When crafting the menu for our Summer Wellness Retreat, co-founder Karen Mehiel and long-time collaborator chef Jaime Sydney wanted to not only come up with delicious dishes, but ones that upheld the pillar of Right Nutrition.

They began with quality, seasonal ingredients… then created some fun and balanced combinations… which allowed the preparations to remain super simple.

The results were palate-pleasing and packed with nutrition.

Below you’ll find recipes for a light and flavorful quinoa salad, perfect to pair with a nice piece of arctic char finished with a zesty lemon & herb green sauce.

The quinoa is a super-food, as we know, with a good bit of protein and twice as much fiber as other grains. The raw zucchini in the salad helps with cholesterol and weight management, plus delivers high doses of potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C and antioxidants for healthy skin, hair, eyes and immune function. Heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil has a strong concentration of polyphenols, which have both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Finally, the lemon and herbs alkalize and cleanse the entire body.

These dishes are flavorful, healthy and as gourmet as it gets… And they are easy breezy to prepare!

Roasted Arctic Char with Meyer Lemon and a Green Herb Sauce

*Serves 12



For the Fish: 

  • 12 Arctic Char Filets
  • 3 Meyer Lemons, zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

For the Sauce:

  • 4 Cups of Parsley leaves, washed and dried
  • 2 Bunches of Chives
  • 1 Lemon, juice only
  • 1 Cup of Olive Oil
  • 2 Pinches of Sea Salt and Ground Pepper


1. Place the char on a parchment lined baking sheet. Season the fish with salt, pepper, lemon zest, and olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until done.

2. To make the sauce, pulse the herbs in a food processor until they are finely chopped. Add salt and pepper. With the blade running pour in the olive oil until it is blended. Cover the sauce until it is ready to be served. Serve on the fish or on the side.




Green Quinoa with Arugula, Mint, Pistachios, and Raw Zucchini

*Serves 6



  • 2 Cups of Quinoa
  • 5 Cups of boiling water
  • ¼ Cup of Olive Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
  • ¾ Cup of Pistachios
  • 1/2 Bunch of Parsley, cleaned, chopped
  • 6 Mint Sprigs, leaves removed, cleaned, julienned
  • 1 Zucchini, diced into small squares
  • 1 ½ Cups of Baby Arugula
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1. Boil the water in a medium large pot. Add a few pinches of salt to the water  and cook the quinoa for 20 minutes (or until the grains open up). Set the quinoa aside to cool.

2. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix. Easy breezy.





10 Tips to Support Your Green Lifestyle 

Eco-conscious living has become in vogue in the 21st century. If you ask us, this movement is far more influential than the latest trend… jumping on board comes with incredible benefits that improve the health of your body and greater society. Green products are better for your body and the planet. Green business solutions save money and protect our natural resources. Reduce, reuse, and recycle has become increasingly important as we face major environmental issues.


Today’s topic: Sustainability


What is “sustainability” anyhow?: The concept of “sustainability” is based off of the principle that we take only what we truly need, protect our natural resources and also consider the needs of future generations (our children).


When we choose to go green and live with “sustainability” in mind, we are making the conscious decision to participate in conserving and protecting natural resources. Every bite of delicious food we take, each product we purchase, the fresh air we breathe, and the water we drink stems from nature and will ultimately return to the earth.




Here are 10 tips to support your green lifestyle:


  1. Ask yourself what you really need to live comfortably and joyfully. Include your family and/or friends in a discussion. Simplify your lifestyle and reuse, re-purpose, or recycle items you no longer need.

  2. Purchase with sustainability in mind: items with less packaging, items that do not harm the earth (biodegradable), chemical-free personal care.

  3. Green your laundry by washing on the cold setting and hang-drying your clothes.

  4. Carry a cloth bag with you to the grocery store and consider cleaning/reusing plastic bags or replacing plastic bags with reusable bags or tupperware.

  5. Consider buying more organic produce and learn about the clean fifteen (produce with least pesticide use) and dirty dozen (produce with harmful pesticides) to protect your body and the earth.

  6. Eat less meat.

  7. If your morning cuppa joe is a daily event, consider carrying a reusable mug with you.

  8. Consider walking, riding your bike, or taking public transportation instead of driving.

  9. Host a clothing swap with friends to keep an inspired wardrobe without buying anything new!

  10. When you need a break from the daily grind, try a staycation or check out a Stewardship Travel Program for a sustainable vacation.



create helpful habits reminder or advice on a  slate blackboard against rustic weathered wood planks

Bottoms Up: Herbal Infusions for Modern Health

In the last five years, New York City streets have transformed. Where once there was only Jamba Juice, serving sugar-filled smoothies, there are now Organic Avenues and Juice Press stores every few blocks. We could not be happier about the cultural shift towards drinking healthier, but amidst all the fancy juice names and even fancier storefronts, how do you know which drink is worth your buck?

Well, look no further — the next wave of health beverages is here.

Here at Five Pillars we’re juicing veterans, and no health drink has excited us more than Goldthread Herbal Elixirs — a newly-launched line of delicious herbal infusions, each expertly formulated to support different health goals. Given the power of plants, from ginseng to goji berries and turmeric to good-old-fashioned chamomile, it seems obvious that the answer to restoring balance to the modern diet lies in the ancient practice of consuming medicinal herbs. When enjoyed regularly, Goldthread Elixirs function much like a super-charged multivitamin, delivering the micronutrients necessary to maintain proper digestion, hormone balance, immune health and positive energy flow.

Goldthread is a small, grassroots company helmed by William Siff, an acupuncturist, herbalist and long-time herbal farmer, headquartered in Western Massachusetts. His work begins with a key belief:

“health is more than just the absence of disease, it is also the capacity to maintain balance, adaptability, and grace amidst the continuous demands and shifting currents of modern life.”

This idea perfectly complements the ethos of Right Nutrition, and the mindfulness lifestyle we strive to embody at Five Pillars Yoga. Luckily for us, Goldthread’s artful blend of herbs, spices, citrus, fruit, roots & berries doesn’t force us to sacrifice taste for health! These light and flavorful teas allow you to fully enjoy nourishing your mind, body and spirit. Also worth Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 10.26.31 AMnoting, unlike most “healthy” beverages, they do not contain honey, sugar, agave, maple syrup or artificial sweeteners. Goldthread Elixirs are gently sweetened by the incredible Asian monk fruit — a fruit whose sweetness comes not from fructose but from natural mogrosides (yes, we’re getting technical here) that not only have zero calories but also doesn’t elevate insulin or blood sugar levels.


** Goldthread Elixirs are currently available at the Yoga Shop and will be coming soon to a Whole Foods near you. You can also stock up online at Goldthread’s Online Store


Here are a few of our favorite flavors, each one crafted to prevent the winter blues from taking root in your mind and body.

El Sol: This bright and invigorating recipe is your source of sunlight during the gloomy winter months. El Sol is a perfect way to kick-start your day, activate your metabolism, support digestion, and get maximum energy and vitality from your day’s foods.

Formula highlights: ginger root, lemongrass, cardamom.


Schizaam: Schizaam provides a healthy alternative to sugar and caffeine during the busy holiday season when you need a boost of energy. This powerful elixir will restore harmony in your body, and provide the endurance you need to help get everything done, just in time.

Formula highlights: gogi berry, rose petal, orange peel.


Forcefield: An immune enhancing powerhouse! This tangy-sweet flavor is a favorite with kids, and is perfect for warding off coughs and colds! Drink Forcefield when traveling for the holidays, or begin the New Year by packing sweet protection into your child’s lunchbox!

Formula Highlights: elderberry, hibiscus, rose hips.