Don't Just Show Up | Alex Silver-Fagan

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The difference between showing up and doing the work.

Have you ever taken a yoga or fitness class and the teacher says at the start, “You did it, you made it. You showed up.”? You know what I’m talking about right? And I’m sure when you hear the teacher acknowledge your participation, you feel relieved and think to yourself, “I did show up. I’m here.” But there’s so much more to it than just showing up. And I guarantee that you actually aren’t getting the most out of your time, especially after being praised for “simply showing up.” Why? Because life is crazy and we run around with our heads cut off half the time that when we finally do get to that class or workout - when we show up - we’re already completely drained. 

Unfortunately, this means we’re just wasting our time. If you don’t commit past just simply showing up… you aren’t getting anything. You gain the most when you push past the other junk and focus on what we came for. You need to go all in. 

In other words: It’s not just enough to show up. You have to make the effort to work hard and be present for every moment. This doesn’t just apply to yoga or fitness classes, it’s applicable to every aspect of your life: workouts, business meetings, quality time with friends, even brushing your teeth! What I’m referring to is being present in the moment and focusing your energy on that particular task or activity, whatever it may be. When we just simply show up, we zone out. But when we show up, tune in and focus… we get to find a state of flow.

Flow is an amazing experience, and one that we should all find in our daily lives. It’s something I strive for every day and part of the focus of my “Flow Into Strong” class. 

You’ve probably already experienced it even if you didn’t know it. Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi, author of the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, outlined this theory. He says, flow is a psychological state that people experience when they engage in an activity that is challenging and involves concentrated focus on a task. This complete immersion can bring about deep learning and high levels of personal and work satisfaction.

Every activity you participate in will be more beneficial if you’re focused on what you’re doing. You can exist in the moment rather than worrying about the other twenty things on your to-do list. This type of multi-tasking, aka what most humans in 2018 do every single moment of the day, produces extreme anxiety. 

In my class, “Flow Into Strong,” I challenge my clients to dig a little deeper and work IN rather than just workout. I want you to learn how to focus your energy and concentration during every second of the class. This way, the experience is worthwhile. Rather than just an hour of moving mindlessly.

Instead of staying on the constant gerbil wheel of your life and running around aimlessly towards a thousand different goals, take a moment to look around, take a breath, and enjoy where you are and what you’re doing… RIGHT. NOW.


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Alex Silver Fagan is the founder of Flow Into Strong and fitness instructor in NYC with weekly classes at Solace. She is also leading the SYB Adventure to Belize - December, 2018. 

8 Reasons To Trail Run Iceland

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Iceland is ideal for running, as the trails are plentiful and the scenery is spectacular. Running is a popular sport here and many people come from all over the world to enjoy Iceland’s pristine beauty and unique environment, shaped by ancient and current volcanic activity and other natural forces.

 Inga Fanney leading a run tour

Inga Fanney leading a run tour

I took up trail running after starting a family and having less free time for hiking and spending time in the mountains. Here are my top eight reasons why Iceland is an amazing trail running destination:

1. TEMPERATURES ARE IDEAL FOR RUNNING

The weather is rarely too warm and most of the time very refreshing. Iceland’s average temperature in summer is 10°C, and often there is a cool breeze blowing. This is because Iceland is situated by the Arctic circle (between 62° and 66° north) yet isn’t entirely glaciated (despite its name) except for parts of the Highlands.

2. OUR WATER IS PURE AND SAFE TO DRINK EVERYWHERE

Iceland tap water comes directly from the mountains and isn’t treated. And when you’re in the back-country, it’s not necessary to purify the water before you drink; rather, you can safely drink directly from number of streams along any running route.

Iceland’s environment is very clean and we even heat our houses with clean energy resources.

For example, most Iceland homes, swimming pools and greenhouses are heated with geothermal water pumped directly from underground, where it is naturally heated. As Icelanders, we take great pride in our eco-friendly practices and place great importance on protecting our island’s vulnerable landscape, which is why we have three large national parks, one of which is Vatnajökull National Park, covering 13% of the country, as well as many protected areas and nature reserves.

3. REJUVENATING NATURAL HOT SPRINGS ARE ABUNDANT

There is a lot of water in Iceland, and you may be surprised to learn that much of it is steaming hot. This is because one Iceland sits atop one the planet’s six geothermal “hot spots.”

The the underlying magma heats up all this water and gives us natural hot pools to soak in after our runs. The geothermal water comes directly from the earth and the ground underneath us to the surface, sometimes boiling hot.

In areas such as the Westfjords, Icelanders form small bathing pools from natural materials such as rocks and moss. The geothermal water bubbling up from underground is mineral rich and nourishing for the skin and body.

4. EXPLORE TRULY UNTAMED WILDERNESS

Very little of Iceland is inhabited by people. Which means that while trail running you, you rarely see any sign of human impact on the landscape.

One of our trail running tours takes us to Europe’s most powerful waterfall called Dettifoss. Other top trails for running take us around ancient or active volcanoes, such as Hekla, which erupts approximately every 10 years.

And one of Iceland’s most adventurous single track trails, Fimmvörðuháls, spans the distance between two glaciers, each covering an active volcano. One of them, Eyjafjallajökull, famously erupted in 2010 and disrupted flight traffic around the world for days.

5. ICELAND HAS NO PESTS OR PREDATORS

It may sound like a dream to be able to run anywhere in a whole country without worry about mosquitoes, bears or rattlesnakes, but it is possible in Iceland.

Apart from the occasional small midges, there is no wildlife here that can bite you. While mosquitoes lurk on both the East and West coast of Greenland, Norway, and the UK, they don’t settle in Iceland.

You can also have peace of mind there there are no ants, cockroaches, snakes, bears or lions in our country.

6. NO TWO RUNNING TRAILS ARE ALIKE

Every part of Iceland is different, thanks to being continuously shaped by nature’s most powerful forces including relentless winds, pounding waves, sputtering lava and powerful geysers. As glaciers scrape over the land and raging rivers cut deep valleys, every part of the country has its unique characteristics.

Enjoy the sound of the trail running shoe hitting different surfaces, such as fresh lava from recent volcanic eruptions, pumice from older volcanic eruptions, snow that doesn’t melt in summer time, vegetation such as grass and moss that has managed to cover older terrain, stones and birch-tree branches and black-sand beaches.

7. 24 HOURS OF DAYLIGHT

Feel like running all day? In Iceland you can, thanks to the continuous daylight during the summer solstice. In fact, for the entire month of June and into July.

Since you have all day –and all night– there’s no need to rush your pace. You know the feeling of being inspired on your run and you feel like running all day? Let the abundant daylight fuel adventurous runs during which you can explore off trail, or wherever your curiosity may take you.

8. SOME OF OUR RUNNING TRAILS LOOK LIKE THIS

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Inga Fanney is the leader for the SYB Iceland Adventure July 25-29, 2018. She was born and raised in Iceland and has been leading trail running trips all over Iceland since 2003. 

5 LIFE-SAVING TRAVEL TIPS | Jackie Caterina

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Up, Up and away you go..........

Who doesn’t like to travel?! In a world of experiences becoming a huge part of the millennial culture, travel is becoming more and more common in a person’s routine. But because we are creatures of habit, the healthy and mindful routines we have while at home suddenly become disrupted and some people make their time in an airport a free for all in the candy store or with the meal service on the plane.

If you are preparing yourself for your next SYB adventure, here are some tips I’ve put together for you to help stay on the healthy track while you’re on the road for those adventures:

 airport handstands anyone?

airport handstands anyone?

1. Meal prep on the move

  • Keeping your body and mind fueled at the start of your journey will likely keep you from making a pit stop at the Hudson News across from your gate and going H.A.M on the chips and snacks. Try to have a meal rich in Omega-3s (salmon) antioxidants (berries) and folate (dark leaf greens) to keep you happy, full and nourished.
  • Grab a couple of those organic instant flax seed oatmeal packets you have in your cupboard. I LOVE Nature’s Path brand but Whole Foods 360 is a great alternative.
  • If you need to grab some snacks to keep you satisfied while in the air, (and haven’t packed your LiveFit approved protein bars), go for the raw almonds, maybe some Skinny Pop if you want some crunch and go for a Lara Bar if you want something sweet. I also like Peeled Mango snacks if you really want something candy like and their are no options for a fresh fruit cup anywhere in sight. If you are burning through your meal already and think you might need another one, find a mixed green salad with protein to take with you on the plane.
  • When the meal service comes around and you think you need something, check the menu for the dairy free, veggie loaded option (some of my clients have Low Lactose or Vegan selected in their airline profiles so the airlines know their meal preference beforehand). If that’s not your style, pull those oatmeal packets out and ask for some hot water and an extra cup. The meals and snack boxes they offer on most airlines are loaded with sodium, empty carbohydrates and sugar.
 travel light... unless you're a leader

travel light... unless you're a leader

2. Make yourself a weapon

  • Air travel in particular is a breeding ground for germs, so make sure you are loaded up on tons of vitamins and minerals to keep a shield around you from all that recycled air.
  • Grab some juice before you head to the airport (I like Mother Earth and Mthr Fkr Fireball from Juice Press) and drink these before you go through security (No one likes their liquids confiscated by the TSA). These will give you an added boost of vitamins to keep you healthy while up in the air. If you’re looking for something on the other side of the security check point, Evolution green juices that are sold at most Starbucks are a good alternative. Just make sure you check the label for the proportion of fruits to veggies. If it’s mostly fruit juice, you want to watch out for the sugar content.
  • Once on board and the beverage service starts, ask for an orange juice as extra Vitamin C insurance.
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stay sexy

3. Water, Water, Everywhere

  • Remember to keep yourself hydrated with your best friend... water. Grab 1 liter of water for every 5 hours you are up in the air. The airlines are a little stingy with beverage service so make sure you are taking care of it yourself.
  • When it’s snack or meal time up in there air, there are so many opportunities to dehydrate instead of hydrate.
  • Keep it simple and stick with water, club soda or tea. If you are traveling overseas, just because wine and liquor are free, this isn’t a signal for an open bar opportunity to get lit (it’s just not a good look).
  • Add some lemon to the water to give it some punch and vitamins. If really think you want something more, go for the orange or apple juice. Although high in sugar, the added vitamins as we spoke about earlier are always helpful.
 wtf is going on here... 

wtf is going on here... 

4. Get moving

  • If you are on a flight that’s over 4 hours long, make sure you take some time to get up and walk around and stretch. Keep the blood going and muscles stretched out. Some carriers have in flight wellness programs as a part of the entertainment. I’ve seen yoga, stretching and meditation on some flights.

5. Stress Less

  • If your flight gets delayed and you start to stress out, don’t run for the nearest bar or grab that bag of popcorn just yet. Stress is the #1 trigger of emotional eating (and drinking). Breathe through it with your breathing exercises and calm your mind. Be present, be thankful for being able to take this trip and know that everything will work out and you will get where you need to go. Running to the bar to get drunk to pass time is only going to give you a hangover before you even get on the plane (not a good look). And ripping through your snacks won’t change the situation or help. Be mindful of your triggers and recognize them before you reach for the snack. Knowing to check yourself before you wreck yourself is empowering.

 

Arriving to your destination healthy, happy and hydrated is the goal. No one wants to arrive to a fitness adventure feeling sluggish, bloated and under the weather. By being mindful of your choices you will be off to a great start for one of the best vacations of your life.


 Jackie chillin' on SYB Nicaragua NYE 2018

Jackie chillin' on SYB Nicaragua NYE 2018

Jackie Caterina

@livefitnyc

livefitnyc.com

#BEWHOLEBODYHEALTHY


SNOW DAYS | Clay Perry

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I've been traveling for as long as I can remember. I've been snowboarding for 20 years. I've been drinking beer for a decade. I've been doing yoga for 6 months. I'll be honest, I really did not know what to expect heading into my first Surf Yoga Beer trip. So, I decided to try out SYB because I was looking for a new, fresh travel experience that involved recreation, beer, and meeting new people. Oh, and snowboarding!


What I felt within the first hour was the welcoming and energetic community that is SYB. From the get go it was smiles, laughs, and major stokeage. Shortly after meeting the crew, we jumped right into an amazing yoga practice, greeting our arrival and the 11,000 foot mountain outside our window that would be shredded in a mere 12 hrs. Minds clear, stomachs full with an amazing first dinner, and body relaxed after a few beers, we headed to bed. I knew I was in for a fun few days.

I've never seen the movie "Rocky" but I now know how Silvester Stallone got his motivation. Man, Eye of the Tiger on full blast will really get your day going. Once up, we had a beautiful meditation session surrounded by the smell of bacon, which led to yet another amazing meal. Bodies and minds energized, we tackled the mountain like school kids on a playground during recess.

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Back at the commune, we unwound that afternoon with a decompression yoga sesh. We all got cleaned up and headed into the iconic ski town that is Crested Butte for a family dinner for the ages. Another night, another time to lay our heads to bed with a full soul.


Last day - sore and fulfilled from more activities, we said our final goodbyes with hugs, high-fixes, and some tears. It’s not goodbye – it’s “I’ll see you later”.

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I was surprised at how the SYB experience can bring complete strangers together in such a short period of time. You quickly learn to let your guard down, to be a kid again, to get out of your comfort zone and into a place that is safe and welcoming.

SYB reaffirmed my personal feelings that food, fun and fitness really does bring people together - in an absolutely stunning location.


NYE | Jackie Caterina

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NO SHOES, NOT SINGLE, NO PROBLEM.....

 The group on a private beach together

The group on a private beach together

When my boyfriend and I signed up for the SYB Nicaragua trip, we didn’t really think about who else was going to be on the trip.
We both are very active NY’ers who workout 6-7 times per week and the idea of an active vacation including early morning wake ups for beach boot camp, surfing and sunset yoga led by one of our favorite fitness instructors seemed like the perfect way to start the New Year together.

As the trip approached, it dawned on us that we might be the only couple on the trip and that we may or may not be a part of singles trip with a low guy to girl ratio. We had no idea what to expect but regardless we were going for the workouts, to surf, to meet some new people and chill out.

With all judgement behind us, we arrived in Nicaragua and quickly came to realize that we were 1 of 2 couples and that there was a pretty even ratio of dudes to chicks. Not a bad start.
I consider myself an outgoing person as is my boyfriend, so being friendly is a non-issue. We both quickly found ourselves having conversations separately from one another and making friends with everyone together & separately. Being a couple on a predominantly singles trip could have been challenging - but we thrived in it actually. We loved competing against each other in boot camp games on the beach & motivating each other to push harder or run faster when we were doing individual relays. It was fun seeing the competitive nature come out in both of us and made us appreciate and trust each other more as the week went on.
A few times that week, it may have crossed my mind that I may have wanted some alone time with my dude but the people we were with made being with everyone together enjoyable. We had some small moments to ourselves to just enjoy a sunset or check out the waves but not once was I upset about getting woken up at 630am by Mantas and Jenn to Kanye West.

As we looked back on the week, we both agreed that this trip could have gone south real quick if we weren’t already confident in our relationship. Instead, those 6 days of making incredible bonds with complete strangers, helped to solidify that feeling. I realized that back in our real life in NYC we had a divide in our life with “his friends” and “my friends” but now we have “our friends” and we have SYB to thank for that.

I am so grateful to everyone at SYB for starting my year off on such an amazing note & cant wait to go on another adventure.

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Jacqueline Caterina is a fitness enthusiast who lives and works in New York City. She and her boyfriend Mike went on the SurfYogaBeer Nicaragua New Years Eve Yoga and Surf Adventure - Dec 2017!

https://www.instagram.com/jaccat15/

Breaking Free from 2017

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There's a lot of goal setting going on this time of year. This year I'm taking a break from the vision boarding and breaking down what really makes me happy in 2018. I have a strategy of ways to break free from normal patterns. When I break my routine, life starts to show itself in unique ways I wouldn't have thought of. Goals feel less forced, and become more guided from a natural flow.

1. Break Up

WHY: Break up with anything negative from 2017. Stress is the new smoking. Stress shortens your patience, relationships, and most importantly your life. Simply by taking out small negative stimuli you can create space a happier mindset.

WHAT: Visualize your normal routine during the week. Go through each part of your day. What parts of your schedule bring you extreme stress? 

HOW: Example: if your commute to work causes a guttural lump, think of creative ways to make it different. Can you carpool, walk with a friend, download 3 new audio books or podcasts, spend money on a cool music app (like rock my run), listen to Deepak Chopra meditations, uber twice a week to mix it up, take a different route, ask your boss to change your hours to off peak traffic hours a couple days a week, get courage to ask to work from a coffee shop one day, etc. Go through each of your days stressors and see where you can vary the routine. Ask a friend for help if you're stuck. 

2. Break Free

WHY: Actually create "free time" in your week. I tend to over schedule as a default tool to keep me away from the present moment. To avoid sheer exhaustion and "netflicks zombie time" at the end of the night schedule "free time" for yourself (literally free from phone/internet/radio/computers)

WHAT: Visualize your Monday routine. Is there any space you can force yourself to not plan anything? 

HOW: Example: If you have a 9-5 kind of job, see if you can actually schedule 10 minutes in your Monday to plan nothing. No phones/screens/radio. Personally, pretty much every day I have free space 1-1:15. I set a calendar reminder for "FREE SPACE" and just look up. Sometimes I sit on a bench, sometimes I go for a walk, sometimes I just sit in my car with my eyes closed and music off. Just that simple practice of freeing up space from obligations and screens immediately brings my mood to an elevated state of calm. If you want to take this to the next level, start to schedule pockets of 1-2 hours in your calendar for absolutely nothing. Only when you're actually at that moment, let your body/mind/spirit tell you honestly what it wants be it a walk outside, a nap, a good book, meal prep, drawing, be with your animal, etc.

3. Break Down

WHY: Focus on smaller bites of your goals. My to do list will never end. There will always be something to check off. When I focus on smaller scale goals, I allow myself a sense of self pride and respect. 

WHAT: What are three things that if completed today you can call it a successful day?

HOW: Example: Each morning I wake up with an extra 15 minutes for me. I sit in bed, before I look at my cell phone, and decide what three things that I WANT to accomplish that day. The second you look at your cell phone, you are immediately reacting to your texts/emails from others. By deciding first what your priorities are that day, you set the trajectory to make yourself proud. To keep it easy, I divide it into three categories; mind, body, spirit. My personal list this morning sounded like, "Mind: I will practice Spanish with pimsleur method audible book for 30 minutes. Body: I will take 5:30pm yoga. Spirit: I will spend thirty minutes searching flights for my next trip." The best part is when those three things are accomplished, I immediately congratulate myself for doing the work that makes me happy. Granted, there are still dozens of things to check off the list, but I practice appreciation of myself. Watch your self esteem grow and your to-do list seem less important. 

 

These three practices may seem small, but when put into practice (just try three weeks worth) I notice a measurable difference in my sense of calm and self respect. When you build these emotions within yourself, doors start to open in your life you didn't think possible. The big life goals like healthy relationships, strong physical health, and financial abundance come flowing towards you because you're at a vibrational state that's ready to meet them.


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Katie Burke has lead several SYB adventures around the world including Belize and Cuba. Her next trip is to Costa Rica January 17-22, 2018. 

Champion Macho Man

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Fellow adventurers,

My name is Hunter and I will be your Sherpa on this amazing obstacle course adventure to Costa Rica. Like many of you, I used to be a city slicker, living it up in NYC -- subway-surfing through life. At heart, I knew slacks and penny loafers weren’t for me so it was time to trade them in for flip flops and endless sunshine on the West Coast. I’m a man’s man! I need adventure and challenges, not laptops and excel spreadsheets. When I left that world behind me, I began to embrace life in a more “here and now” mindset to find a richer taste for the experience.

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During this trip, I challenge all of you to throw away the suit and tie attitude and trade it in for a bikini (or mankini)!! Try to discover yourself in the jungle and beaches of Costa Rica, capturing and creating our own meals and finding satisfaction from the earth rather than our electronics. At the table, I will be your YouTube, Mantas will be your Instagram, and the obstacle course will be your motivation! If you’re excited, let me hear it at the top of your lungs! If you’re afraid, hold someone’s hand and we will all get through it as a team. If you’re ready for a kick ass adventure, I’m ready to push you to your greatest potential.  I love a good challenge, but what I love the most is to experience and guide others through challenge!

 

Three things I want everyone to try while on our trip-

  1. Change something about your appearance- if you wear your hair down, put it up. If you’re a guy who always wears a shirt tear it off and let it all hang out. If you’re a girl, take away makeup for a few days and let your skin breathe.

  2. Learn something new everyday- learn to surf, learn to do a backflip, learn how to make a fire, learn how to embrace new challenge. This trip is meant to be an experience!

  3. And most of all: Be mindful! Be present!


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Beer & Yoga | Nancy Joyce

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Know the feeling of getting off the mountain, taking off your boots, and grabbing a drink to hang by the fire with your friends? What if we get off the mountain, take off our boots (and socks), still grab that drink but take the hangout to our yoga mats? Thinking beer and yoga don’t really go together? Join us in Breckenridge this winter and see that they do! We’ll be on a retreat after all, a vacation, a adventure, so why not break a few rules. Because after all, life’s all about balance, isn’t it? Now I’m not saying lets do drunken yoga, I’m just saying a beer by the side of the mat is no harm no foul! And to be quite honest, your body is going to want the yoga, after a day on the slopes.

Snowga Benefits:

1.     Mobility and Flexibility – Skiers (and snow boarders) may not realize the importance mobility and flexibility plays into improving function, range of motion, and performance. Adequate flexibility, particularly in the hips, allows for better speed, turns and cuts. The pre-stretch is just as importance as the post stretch. Think deep hip openers, calves and quads.

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2.     Breathing at Altitude – High altitudes can create challenges with depleted oxygen flow through the body, making it a challenge to breathe calmly while walking around in ski boots, even just going up the stairs. Yoga will give you the tools you need to focus on the breath, and help the flow of blood, oxygen and heat within the body.

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3.     Sleep – Spending a day on the mountain can take a lot out of you. You need your energy, and the best way to get that energy is to get a good nights sleep.  It’s been proven that practicing yoga can help you sleep longer, fall asleep faster, and return to sleep more quickly if you wake up in the middle of the night. Get your beauty sleep on!

4.     Stress Buster

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Beer Benefits:

1.     Beer can be nutritious – Beer is made from hops, barley and wheat, so the beverage contains some of the same nutrients the grains do, including potassium, calcium, vitamin B and minerals. It’s also a source of fibre and antioxidants!

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2.     Beer may boost bone health – Dietary silicon, found in beer, is important for the growth and development of bones and connective tissues. One study (Journal of the American Medical Associate) found that moderate drinkers were 38% less likely to have osteoporosis than non-drinkers.

3.     Improves Digestion – Beer is shown to possess a number of digestive properties, including the stimulation of gastric acid and pancreatic enzymes.

4.     Stress Buster

So the round that up, yoga reduces stress, beer reduces stress. Yoga will tend to your sore muscles post-ski sesh/day on the slopes. And we’re just doing all of this for fun, for a good time, and to feel better, while on an epic winter adventure. Join along for the ride, and for the Pre-ski, and après ski, yoga (beer optiona!l).


 Nancy showing that deep runners lunge.

Nancy showing that deep runners lunge.

Nancy Joyce is a yoga teacher at Y7 and other studios in New York City. She will be leading the recover and yoga sessions on the SYB Ski Adventure to Breckenridge March 2-6, 2018.

re-treat Yo’self | Kristin Calabria

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Retreat Season is upon us. From now through June, get ready to live your actual best life.  Beyond the vacation, the new friends, the incredible experiences, and the delicious meals, retreats offer you the chance to reclaim who you are and how you show up in the world.  Especially in a culture that champions working through exhaustion, the ideas of ease, pause, and balance can feel foreign. At SurfYogaBeer, we are all about balancing the crazy city living with some good quality chill time. Here are three reason to join us on our next adventure!

  1. Recharge

    For most of our lives, we’ve been part of a system that facilitates and encourages breaks.  Every school calendar, from elementary to collegiate, has built-in weeks off. Remember how, just at the point when you felt like you were going to collapse from exhaustion and deadlines, Thanksgiving/Winter/Spring break arrived, you breathed your first true deep breath in the last month, and returned to a normal person again?  Welcome to adulting where that break is still very necessary, but no one gives it to you.  You have to carve out the time for yourself.  Unlike school, the last thing you want to do with your PTO is sit at home and burrow into your cocoon of Netflix and seamless (maybe that’s exactly what you want to do, but there are many better uses of PTO than this).  Retreats are a completely curated and well-rounded experience to help you recharge your batteries.  Escape the monotony of your routine by snorkeling with sharks or sky diving or taking breathtaking hikes.  Fill yourself up with experiences that remind you of the gift of this life.
  2. Recommit

    Ever think, “I could commit to a fitness/wellness routine if only someone were to wake me up at 6am so that I could roll out of my bed and onto a beautiful beach with other amazing humans to break a serious sweat”? Well, you're in luck! We’ve got you covered.  All it takes is a few days of assisted waking up to realize that you too can commit and crush a morning workout routine.  Get a jumpstart on those New Year’s wellness resolutions with the tools we give you to enjoy your workouts and wellness.
  3. Rewire

    You can train your brain to be consistently more happy.  Happiness is tied to presence and gratitude.  How many times do you viscerally experience the gift it is to be alive?  Most of us are bogged down by the mundane minutia of our lives, failing to recognize the miracle that is a falling leaf, the warm sunshine hitting your face on a chilly fall day, a single breath, looking into the eyes of some you care deeply about and know that they see you right back. Sometimes, it takes being thrust into a place with overwhelming beauty to realize these miracles. Shifting locations helps to shift perspective.  Because every experience is new, it can feel like you understand what it means to breath for the first time. Everything from watching the sunrise to eating a slice of fresh watermelon becomes a moment endowed with overwhelming gratitude. Take this back to your everyday life. When we are truly present in each moment of our lives, the mundane becomes magical.

 

PS. I'm dishing out these good vibes for five days in Nicaragua! Come join me and the SYB team Nov 21-26.  I can’t wait to meet you!

-KStar

The Rundown on Run Club

Fun fact: I don’t like running. I want to like it, but I’m not good at it. When I try to do it on my own, I tend to give up as soon as I start feeling out of breath. I even coined a term, “wogging,” to describe my runs, which by definition is what one does when they set out with the intention to go jogging and ends up walking instead. Spin for 45 minutes straight? Hell yeah! Do strength training until I can’t feel my legs? Sure, why not? Hike a mountain, or hit golf balls until my arms fall off? I’m down! Yet for some reason, the motivation to commit and follow through on a solo run eludes me.

Enter: SYB Run Club. I was hesitant to try it out (due to that whole not liking to run thing), but since I live so close to the meeting spot I couldn’t think of a good enough excuse not to. I had already been texting one of the other #SYBabes, so both “I overslept” and “my phone died” were out. That is how I found myself lacing up my kicks early last Wednesday morning and letting Justin Bieber’s melodious voice coming through my earphones soothe me into thinking I might not collapse somewhere along the West Side Highway.

Despite my apartment’s proximity, I still managed to be the last one to the meeting spot, where the group was stretching and looking suspiciously happy given the time of day. I generally don’t like to be spoken to or interact with humans until I’ve caffeinated properly, but Mantas was smiling and cracking bad jokes, which then made everyone else smile, too. Even me, pre-coffee.

We started running and I quickly realized it was not going to be easy. That being said, there’s something about running in a pack of people that makes you want to keep up with them when you would normally stop. It helped that my fellow runner, Molly, was regaling me with stories that were making me laugh so hard I couldn’t breathe. Laughter is absolutely the best way to begin the day.

New York, New York - Summer 2017

We ran slowly, we ran sprints, we ran sideways, we ran backwards. But don’t let the name “Run Club” fool you—it was a mash-up of that and SYB’s signature booty-kicking bootcamp moves. Lunges, situps, squats, pushups—no muscle was left unattended to. I exercise almost daily, but I’m still sore three days later from that particular run. And, as always, it was a judgement-free zone, which meant I could run at a snail’s pace if necessary without worrying about looking like a fool.

A challenging workout, plus getting to hang out and goof around with some of my favorite people—all before kicking off my work day? I think I just fell back in like with running—sign me up.

If you’re looking for a way to get moving, check out some beautiful cityscapes by foot and grow your social network, you can sign up for either a summer membership or just give Run Club a test run with a single session. Here’s the scoop:

 

THE 411

WHO: Whether you run like Usain Bolt or a sloth, all are welcome!—the workout is challenging but modifiable for all levels

WHAT: 1 hour of running (distance and sprints to improve both stamina and speed) + strength training (no weights required—you’ll use your bodyweight), followed by happy hour or breakfast

 

  • WHERE: Meet at The Chester in Meatpacking (subject to change, so check for updates!) and run/work your butt, legs, arms and abs for 2-3 miles north along the West Side Highway and back
  • WHEN: Bi-weekly through summer, every Monday @ 7pm and Wednesday @ 7am
  • WHY: Not only will you get a great workout in—you’ll have fun doing it (and make even more fun friendships along the way)
  • HOW: Peep the official schedule and sign up here

A beach bum at heart, Kirsten Robinson is a writer and editor living, working and playing in NYC.

Mountain Moments | Jessica Johnson

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 road trippin'

road trippin'

The Tuesday morning following Labor Day weekend I woke up around my usual time (6:25am) to get ready before leaving for work. But, it didn’t feel like any other Tuesday where I drag myself out of bed and then continue to drag myself to work. I felt refreshed, rested, and really really sore. Like, what was happening to my arms?? You’d think I was doing 100 pushups and endless dips for the past 72 hours. Oh right, I totally WAS doing that. But, let me explain, this was no regular fitness retreat I was on this past weekend. I was getting my ass kicked and absolutely loving it because every minute was pure f-u-n. The Hunter Labor Day weekender started Friday afternoon when the group of about 15 took off from NYC to Upstate. I unfortunately missed the group ride up to Hunter, but myself and workout bestie/partner in crime Didi, drove up separately in our luxury ride (IE. my Rav4). When we arrived to the massive log cabin where we’d be spending the next 3 nights, I was already feeling the good ju-ju. The group of lovely ladies that arrived with Mantas, Kingsley, and Marcos was doing yoga in the huge living room of the house. I have to say, I was a little nervous about meeting the other people in the group, but was immediately put at ease once I realized they were all very chill, cool people. At dinner, Jani (our chef for the weekend) had set out a very healthy, very delicious meal. Jani prepared healthy, fulfilling meals that had lots of flavor. I was quite pleased to find plenty of vegetarian options at every meal, without feeling like I was surviving on baby carrots all weekend.

I must say, there was a very brief, vague disclaimer from Mantas the night before, where he said there would be wakeup calls on Saturday morning.

After dinner, the whole group played charades. I can’t even remember the last time I played charades, never mind with a group of girls I had just met less than 6 hours ago. I’m also pretty sure I never laughed so hard in a very long time. The antics that ensued cannot be documented here, so I’ll take you onto details of the following day.

Saturday started like no other Saturday you’ve experienced. I must say, there was a very brief, vague disclaimer from Mantas the night before, where he said there would be wakeup calls on Saturday morning. But, this was a wakeup call unlike any other. I did know SYB uses some unusual wake up tactics used on all their trips. So I wasn’t completely taken by surprise when Marcos, carrying a speaker with disco ball attached (R2-D2), Mantas, Kingsley, and Kristin (yoga guru) busted in with music playing and Mantas dancing all over Didi who was laughing hysterically. What better way to start a Saturday? Once everyone in the house got their specialty wake-up call, it was onto the first workout of the day, BootYCamp. There were drills, sprints, sit ups, push-ups, and more running. What did I get myself into? This was unlike any girls weekend I had ever taken before. But, when you’ve done BootYCamp, and you’re ready to start a hike up Hunter Mountain all before lunch, you feel pretty damn accomplished. REAL TALK: Hunter Mountain. Hiking, to the top of a ski slope, if you will. When we arrived at the base of Hunter mountain and Mantas announced he and Marcos would be running up the mountain, I thought to myself, well it can’t be that hard. Well, that damn mountain almost got the best of me. This was no stroll in the park, it was a really challenging hike. In fact, Mantas came back down the trail from the top (after running all the way up) to retrieve us stragglers and encourage everyone to make it to the top. Close to an hour after we started, I finally made my way to the top. Of Hunter Mountain. Where people usually ride a ski lift UP, and then make their way DOWN. Everyone that started this hike finished too. After taking lots of pics, and one epic group shot, we all rode the ski lift down. And at the bottom we all drank well deserved BEERS.

I don’t even know what time we got back to the house, but lunch was pretty much a blur to me, followed by naps. Yes, everyone napped, and it was amazing. Before dinner that night, Kristin Calabria led the group through an amazing, relaxing vinyasa. This was a much needed stretch after morning BootyCamp, and afternoon hiking. Feeling so chill, I really felt like I was connecting with all the other people on this trip, and it had only been 24 hours. Everyone headed outside after dinner to gather round the fire pit Marcos had started up. Oh, did I mention there were S’mores? Of course there were, I’m pretty sure that’s why fire pits exist.

The following morning was sleepy, rainy, foggy, cozy. The weather didn’t allow us to do morning boot camp, but it was absolutely perfect for indoor yoga. Kristin’s teaching style is right up my alley, just the right pace, not too fast, not too slow. I think everyone was feeling tired, sore, and maybe a little lazy after the previous day’s events. So, after yoga, there were chia pancakes for breakfast. It was Sunday after all. Jani actually made pancakes healthy, they were gluten-free and yet, still so comforting. I didn’t miss the sluggish feeling you usually have after eating box mix pancakes.

My biggest take away from the goal-setting workshop was that you shouldn’t feel afraid or ashamed of any goal you have, big or small, for 1 year from now or 10 years from now.

Since it was still rainy outside, the next activity of the day was a goal-setting workshop led by Kingsley. Feeling like I would not enjoy sharing my goals or dreams with a group of people I still (technically) don’t know very well made me a little uncomfortable. I am a very private person and typically would not open up about goals and dreams to a group of people I’ve only known for two days. However, the way Kingsley presented this workshop was much more approachable than I had anticipated. My biggest take away from the goal-setting workshop was that you shouldn’t feel afraid or ashamed of any goal you have, big or small, for 1 year from now or 10 years from now. Those goals speak a lot about who you are, where you came from and where you’ll ultimately end up in life. So, don’t hide them, it’s ok to share those goals with someone else, it’s not as scary as you might think.

After the goal-setting workshop we all piled into the SYB van and headed to…a waterfall, yeah you read that correctly. Since the weather was still rainy/foggy, walking down the tree lined path to Kaaterskill Falls was almost surreal. Naturally this backdrop led to prime IG moments, and everyone was suddenly a model on location shoot. Kristin does take some amazing pics, the girls got talent (even outside of the yoga studio). After the impromptu photo shoot we followed the path to the waterfall, and of course were not disappointed. It’s so funny how just 2 hours outside of Manhattan there’s mountains, waterfalls, sooo much fresh air, and cute little towns. After a quick stop in town for a drink or two, we headed back to the house. Piling back into the van, and chatting with everyone a long the way made this feel like a family trip. And we didn’t leave Kevin behind. (you’ll giggle at that reference only if you were born in the 80’s)

Sad to say, the last supper had arrived. What happened to the time? It was only a couple days ago that I was stressing about emails and now I’m trying to hold onto the last minutes of my amazingly perfect weekend. After dinner that night there was an SYB talent show. I’m sorry, actually Kristin insists it be called a “Passion show”, because you may be passionate about something, but not necessarily talented at it. Fair enough. So, there were a variation of “passions” from singing, to baton twirling, to rapping, performed throughout the night. Oh, and Kingsley choreographed a dance that you may have seen on IG, NBD. The weekend belonged to Taylor Swift and the dance us girls performed in her honor. But, I must say, nothing finished off the last night better than a silly dance party. You had to be there to fully know just how silly and fun it really was. Remember when you were 7 years old, and had sleep overs with your best girlfriends? The dancing was that level of silly fun, except now you’re old enough to drink and your parents weren’t in the next room yelling at you to keep it down.

Every meal on this trip was like with family, everyone sitting down and discussing their day.

Ok, every story must come to an end..But, first, it’s time for another SYB wake up call (and it’s Monday)! Ah, sad to say this was the last one of the weekend. Now, it’s BootYCamp time again. Mantas was well rested since he didn’t get to run drills the day before, and the weather was perfect for being outside. I liked this BootyCamp more than the previous one since all the exercises were done with a partner. Push ups, sit ups, relays, and sprints seem easier to do when you and your partner can high five between stations. Onto breakfast before packing up to leave this amazing house on the lake. Since I didn’t mention it before, each meal feels like a family gathering. I come from a small family, and every night we would eat dinner together, before anyone had cell phones. Now, having a meal with humans who would rather have a conversation than scroll through their phone is so rare. I think we’re all guilty of having a meal with someone and being completely distracted by their phone instead of paying attention to the living breathing person across front of you. Every meal on this trip was like with family, everyone sitting down and discussing their day. There’s a rose, and thorn to everyone’s day, and it’s so interesting to realize how one person’s rose of the day could have been another’s thorn (Ahem, Hunter Mountain hike).

Finally, before everyone departed the house to head back to NYC, we were invited to sign the SYB banner. Hello yearbook flashbacks! As I went to sign the banner and leave a note of thanks, I realized, it’s highly likely I’ll go on another SYB adventure. I know this won’t be the last time I have dinner with this adopted family..or run relays..or hike mountains. Wait, I take back that last part. JK  But I whole heartedly can’t wait for the next silly dance party!!  #lookwhatyoumademedo


Jessica Johnson is a fitness enthusiast and works in NYC. 

Not Ur Avg | Jamie Wilkinson's Hudson River Adventure with SYB

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I teamed up with the awesome crew at Surf Yoga Beer for their weekend fitness adventure to Hudson River, NY.

Surf Yoga Beer knows how to do a weekend retreat right; just take one look at their lineup of action-packed adventures to exotic locations like Cuba, Nicaragua and Costa Rica! SYB was started in 2014 by Mantas Zvinas, the company’s designated fitness guru and the ultimate party starter. He has a unique way of making even the toughest workouts fun, which inspired the concept for Surf Yoga Beer’s international fitness adventures and local NYC events. With the help of Mantas’ equally amazing partners, SYB has grown into a culture of motivated, wellness-loving individuals who love to have FUN! Check out their website to learn more about their local NYC events and incredible upcoming trips.

I was invited to join their team on their weekend getaway to Hudson River to share my nutrition-savvy tips. I felt like it couldn’t have come at a better time, as wellness and nutrition have recently played a huge role in my life. My close friends know that I follow a pretty strict diet due to food intolerances. Throughout my entire life growing up, I was able to eat whatever I wanted, until suddenly I developed severe allergies that made it painful to eat just about anything. Since then, I’ve done a complete 360 degree flip on my diet, but in doing so, I’ve learned so much about how to cook the right foods to nourish your body and feed it what it needs. I was thrilled to share my love for healthy and simple meals and hopefully encourage the group with my recipes!

*Disclaimer*: I am not a Registered Dietitian or Nutritionist; I have been inspired by my personal dietary restrictions to seek a happier and healthier relationship with food. This ongoing journey has made me passionate about sharing the simple things that have helped me improve my health. Figuring out what works for your body is absolutely different for everyone and I always suggest doing your own research. 

The week before the Hudson River trip, I met up with Eddie Larios, SYB Partner and Owner of NYC restaurant Salud, to plan out the weekend’s menu and some “Nutrition Do’s and Don’ts” to share with the group, which you can find at the bottom of this post. Our goal was to develop quick, easy recipes that they would actually use once they’re home. With Eddie’s kitchen expertise, we came up with a fantastic menu that would change the way the group viewed meal prep.

Unsure of what to expect, I (over)packed my bags with lots of fitness gear and my camera (stay tuned for a SYB Hudson River Vlog!). Going on a weekend trip not knowing anyone can be a little scary, but you can’t help but leave with new friends by the end of a Surf Yoga Beer adventure!

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DAY 1

We met up with the leaders for the weekend, Mantas, Eddie, Mike & Marcos, in Union Square and hit the road for Hudson River. It took us about two and a half hours to get there and once we arrived, all 20+ of us took to exploring the scenic property. The house was insane in the best way possible; from the vast amount of rooms, to the ultimate party/game room, and the perfectly manicured yard, this was the ideal getaway spot. One of my favorite parts was that when you stepped outside, it was quiet except for the sounds of nature; something you never hear in New York City!

After settling in, it came time to start prepping the kitchen for Friday night’s dinner. Eddie and I took off to stock up on more groceries, while the group did one of Mantas’ killer Booty Camp workouts, followed by an evening yoga flow and meditation by the water. Lucky for us, the local grocery store, Tops, had everything we needed. Being in a small town, we could have easily been out of luck with an AVG grocery store, so we were ecstatic. I even got to drive the van!!!

DINNER

The majority of our meals had a heavy focus on vegetables with a meat option. We wanted to show the group that you can create a well balanced meal focused on the wonderful nutrients from vegetables that won’t leave you hungry.

Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Portobellos: Trader Joe’s sells pre-packaged portobello mushrooms that make meal prep TOO EASY! Simply wash them, take out the center core and roast them in the oven for about 20 minutes on 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Separately, sauté spinach on the stovetop until it wilts and then add in ricotta cheese. Fill the portobellos with the ricotta/spinach mixture and voila!

Roasted Broccoli with Garlic: This was one of the group’s favorite sides. Some even asked how long it took to cook this because it was packed with so much flavor, but there are only four ingredients: olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Be sure to coat each broccoli piece completely with the added ingredients and roast them in the oven for about 20 minutes on 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Kale Salad with Roasted Peppers & Cabbage: I really value the simplicity of meals made with pure, natural ingredients and this salad is the perfect example! We used Trader Joe’s pre-packaged kale, cabbage, and cherry tomatoes, along with oven roasted red peppers. To give this salad a kick, Eddie taught me a simple dressing recipe that I know I’ll be using all the time: In a bowl, combine about 3/4 cup of olive oil with about 2 tbsp of Grey Poupon mustard, salt and pepper. Mix together and either mix the dressing into the salad or keep the side.

Barbecue Chicken: I love to include a source of protein in my meals and Eddie is known for his amazingly fast preparation of flavor-packed food, like this BBQ chicken. He simply coated the chicken in olive oil, salt & pepper, lemon, and BBQ sauce and stuck it in the oven.

Cauliflower Rice & Quinoa: We even found a way to add veggies into our carbsTrader Joe’s sells cauliflower rice that we mixed into our quinoa after it was cooked. Cauliflower is great for improving your digestion and quinoa is an awesome source of protein.

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DAY 2

BREAKFAST

The group started off their morning with another workout and run with Mantas, while Eddie and I prepped Smoothie Bowls for breakfast. This was our favorite meal to prepare because it took no time and come on, who doesn’t love a smoothie topped with ALL of your favorite fruits?! Plus, it’s a totally Instagrammable moment!

Smoothie Bowl Workshop: We bought just every single fruit in the grocery store for this workshop! We wanted to teach the group how quick and easy it is to make a smoothie with your favorite fruits & toppings. We made two different smoothies for everyone to try out:

Berry Smoothie:

  1. Almond Milk
  2. Bananas
  3. Blueberries
  4. Strawberries

Green Dream Smoothie:

  1. Almond Milk
  2. Bananas
  3. Avocado
  4. Spinach
  5. Pears

Toppings:

  1. Sliced Fresh Fruit: bananas, kiwi, mango, pear, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries
  2. Dried Fruit: Goji berries, dried cranberries, pitted dates
  3. Nuts & Seeds: sunflower seeds, trail mix
  4. KIND Vanilla Blueberry Granola
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Pancitos with Bruschetta and Ricotta & Honey: To make pancitos, aka “Little Bread”, slice and toast a baguette and then add bruschetta (diced tomato and basil) on half of the pieces & ricotta topped with honey on the other half. The ricotta pancitos were my favorite; the perfect mix of savory and sweet! This recipe is great for any occasion, like when it’s your turn to bring an appetizer to a party!

Roasted Potatoes with Herbs: Baby potatoes are a great side for any breakfast and the perfect post-workout carb. Coat them in olive oil, salt & pepper, and spices like rosemary or thyme, and roast them for about 45 minutes.

Boiled Eggs: Last but not least, the protein of the meal! Boiled eggs are a great staple to keep on hand for breakfast or snacking throughout the day.

After breakfast, some went for a 4 mile run with Mantas, while others hung out in the backyard to enjoy the sunshine. One of my favorite parts of the weekend was relaxing on the dock with a specially crafted citrus drink courtesy of Eddie’s cocktail making magic! We all hung out by the water for a few hours to tan, float in the river, and kayak.

LUNCH

This post-tan/ pre-nap lunch was kept light to leave room for the huge dinner that was ahead!

Romaine Lettuce Wraps with Chicken and/or Beef: Lettuce wraps are a great alternative/Gluten Free option for an open faced sandwich. We provided two options for a lettuce wrap: chicken and veggies or ground beef with zucchini noodles.

Gourmet Grilled Cheese: A NOT UR AVG twist on the typical grilled cheese included mushrooms, onions and gourmet cheese.

Cucumber Kale Salad: Mixed with kale and tomatoes, this salad was kept light and refreshing with the perfect summer veggie, cucumber.

DINNER

You know the meal’s good when the whole dinner table is quiet! The second night’s dinner was definitely the crowd favorite. Eddie and I went all out cooking all of the leftover food we had in the fridge to make this last dinner at Hudson River the best it could be. My favorite comment that someone made was that even though the meal almost entirely consisted of vegetables, it was still super filling and packed with different flavors on top of those amazing nutrients.

Chicken and Veggie Skewers: I was so looking forward to making these when I first heard that the house had a grill! I picked out some of my favorite veggies to grill, peppers and zucchini, chopped them into big pieces, cut boneless chicken into cubes and placed them on the wooden skewers. Tip: Soak the skewers in water before putting them on the grill! This will help them survive the heat of the grill without burning.

Carnitas with Xochitl Asada Verde SalsaCarnitas are “little meats” typically prepared shredded in tacos. We gave the group the option to make their own taco with these organic carnitas coated in spicy verde salsa. The Xochitl brand salsa adds a great punch of flavor and takes all of the work out of preparing a homemade salsa.

Roasted Asparagus, Carrots, Parsnips, & Butternut Squash: Roasted vegetables are my specialty; I shared with the group how easy it is to coat them in olive oil, salt & pepper (and your favorite herbs/spices), throw them in the oven for about 20 minutes, and you’re DONE! This saves me on weeknights when I’m too to get groceries for a meal. I often purchase frozen carrots and squash from Whole Foods so that my freezer is always stocked and I can just pop them in the oven when I get home.

Grilled Corn on the Cob: Because what’s better than corn on the cob in the summertime?!

Chips and Guacamole: When someone asked for chips and guac, Eddie was ON IT. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen someone whip up guac so fast! Using several avocados, add in squeezed lemon juice cilantro, and salt and pepper for extra flavor. Avocados are packed full of vitamins and minerals and are a great source of healthy fat.

The group finished the night hanging out & dancing in the game room and some even stayed up until the a.m. when it stopped raining to cook s’mores!

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DAY 3

Just look at this view! Our final morning at Hudson River couldn’t have been more scenic. After we all got up for the final SYB wake up call, we all had our coffee on the dock and took in the view one last time. After we all had a little more energy, Mantas led us in an ab workout, which was quick but super effective!

BREAKFAST

Grilled Veggie Omelette Cups: Omelette cups are an excellent low-calorie alternative to a heavy egg breakfast. Grab a muffin pan and crack 1-2 eggs into each spot and add your favorite veggies to the mix. We added spinach, asparagus and mushrooms to ours!

Warm Cinnamon Oatmeal with Toppings: Warm oatmeal is my go-to breakfast. It’s light on the stomach if you’re planning to go workout and, like smoothie bowls, you can top them with your favorite fruits.

Grilled Chicken Sausage: Another great source of post-workout protein that we simply popped in the oven to cook!

PIT STOP IN DOWNTOWN BEACON, NY

After breakfast, we all packed our stuff up, took a couple group photos and headed back to NYC. To break up the long drive, we stopped in Downtown Beacon, NY, which had a farmer’s market going on and lots of cute cafes and restaurants to grab a snack. I got this pure mango fruit smoothie from the local coffee shop:

Although we didn’t want the weekend to end, we said our goodbyes and exchanged numbers & hugs back in Union Square. I had an unreal experience with Surf Yoga Beer and meeting the incredible individuals who were on the trip. I learned so much about my own abilities to cook for a large group and share my passion for nutrition & well being and I cannot thank the SYB team enough for that!

Eddie and I worked like the perfect duo to cook the meals on time and educate the group in a non-forceful way on the benefits of each meal. My favorite part, besides eating the food, was having one-on-one conversations to share more about how I make healthy cooking easy. As mentioned earlier, I try to live by the following “Nutrition Do’s and Don’ts” to create a balanced lifestyle:

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I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip with Surf Yoga Beer as much as I loved the weekend itself! The SYB community is full of active, fun-loving people that I’m so lucky to have met. It was such a unique experience to be able to cook for a large group of people and to open up about my nutrition story. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about my experience and I highly recommend looking into Surf Yoga Beer’s fitness adventures in NYC and beyond! Check out their Labor Day retreat to Hunter Mountain and upcoming Hudson Valley trip.

 

XX,

J

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JAMIE WILKINSON - Born and raised in sunny South Florida, Jamie is currently based in New York City pursing a Masters degree and sharing every new experience on her lifestyle blog, NOT UR AVG. Her passion for nutrition and wellness were inspired by food intolerances that developed her love to cook. Don't be AVG and wait until the New Year to make that healthy change in your lifestyle; check out her and her BFF's blog, www.noturavg.com, to get all the inspo you need to be your best self!

Hunter Retreat Testimonial | Nora Zanella

I have to start by saying that this isn't my first SurfYogaBeer trip and it certainly will not be my last. Continue reading at your own risk, because this will make you want to go on one of their adventures...

It's a regular Sunday afternoon, post SYB BootyCamp and SYB founder, Mantas, starts convincing my friend and I to go on the Hunter mountain weekender adventure; which honestly didn't take much more than him mentioning the word “s'mores." Yes, we went on the trip on the promise of s'mores and bonfires, but this was only because I already knew that I would be having one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. 

Switching from the concrete jungle to what seemed like an enchanted forest was everything I could have asked for, escaping a humid AF New York City summer.  We drove upstate to this beautiful, huge house that had a lake as it's backyard. Throughout the weekend, we all did our fair share of canoeing, paddle boarding, and some even took quick dips in the lake while the rest of us just sat in the dock; simply enjoying the view and the fresh air as we got to know each other. 

 Stretchin' with our squad.

Stretchin' with our squad.

SYB is a sweaty crew and we all love a little (or a lot) of fitness and sweat. We did outdoor bootcamps, went running to explore the town, and we hiked to the top of Hunter Mountain. Mantas is the master of leading pretty much everything that will make you drip in sweat; this guy will get you out of your comfort zone and get you doing things you never thought you could do. The second day, Kings was leading the charge and I finally got my ass kicked by her. Trust me, the next morning my body felt so good. She is good at what she does. Good thing we had a hot tub to ease our sore booties and relax for a bit before conquering the Hunter Mountain hike. The hike was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip because of the views (duh) and because even though you are doing all the work by yourself, we worked as a team by cheering and motivating each other to get each other to the top. It was not about how fast you got to the top, it was about the fact that you were doing it and enjoying the whole journey. Whether you are a super-human and went up running (Yes Mantas, I'm talking to you) or just walked up while snapping fingers to make it more fun, like Kings and I did, it was definitely something to be proud of. Breathtaking views, out of breath laughs and connecting with Mother Nature is a combination we don't get that often and let me tell you that once you get to the top and the endorphins start to hit, well, life doesn't get any better than that. It is something that I can't explain through words. It is something that you have to FEEL yourself to understand. 

 All the way up. 

All the way up. 

After our hike, we couldn't think about anything else other than food and sleep. So we took a quick power nap and Eddie and Andrea, our master chefs, cooked some delicious meals for us. Eddie and I both have Mexican heritage so I have a special bond with him and because of that, he spoils me and makes me “chilaquiles”, my favorite Mexican breakfast. Come to Eddie if you want some real Mexican food. 

 Smoothie bowls by Salud NYC #zayummm

Smoothie bowls by Salud NYC #zayummm

Talking about things you cannot do in New York, when was the last time you saw stars? Like thousands of stars lighting up the night while you eat s'mores (as promised) by the bonfire that our expert firefighter Marcos taught us how to build. On this trip we were constantly reminded of all the little things we miss because of our busy lives in the city. We often forget to take a minute to breathe, to look up and count stars, and we certainly don't get enough opportunities to share delicious meals in a table full of beautiful souls. This trip brought us back to living in the moment instead of thinking about work or emails or cooking dinner. It was such a relief to unplug and reconnect with nature and the present moment.

 Morning meditation moments. 

Morning meditation moments. 

The final morning of the trip. It is 6:32 AM and I'm sitting on a dock with two of my best friends. We are in front of a lake which we can barely see because of the heavy fog that is literally running through us. We just sat there. We sat in silence and listened to the frogs croaking, we followed fish with our eyes and we were consciously breathing the freshest air you can think of. In that moment it felt so good to simply just be right where I was. If this doesn't make you feel 100% convinced to go on a trip, I honestly don't know what will. 

Hunter Mountain, New York - July 2017
 

Nora Zanella is a fashion designer and fitness phanatic based in NYC. Nora loves Mexican beer, chocolate, sunsets, sleeping, and Kingsley.

 Nora, Jenn and Marcos riding the chairlift down after hiking to the top!

Nora, Jenn and Marcos riding the chairlift down after hiking to the top!

Sayulita Reflection | Meaghan McCann

The night before I left for Sayulita, I was so anxious. I paced my room, packing and unpacking, not sure what to bring. I had never traveled alone before and kept wondering what these people would be like. Are they going to like me? What if I hate it? I tossed and turned waiting for my alarm to go off that morning, and when it did, I took those first scary steps away from the known and into one of the most rewarding adventures I have ever taken.

I was the last one to arrive at the house in Sayulita, as my flight-booking procrastination landed me on a much later flight. I was nervous, wondering if the group had already bonded and if I had missed a key part of the trip. Walking up, I couldn’t help but notice that the house was pretty cool. It was right on the water with a huge porch that provided tons of space to hang out or do yoga in. I thought to myself, this wasn’t going to be a bad place to spend a week. My jitters about being the last to arrive lasted all of two seconds. Kingsley came running up from the beach to welcome me with a huge hug and introduced me to the rest of the crew. The cast consisted of California girls Susan and Heather, Napalonia from New Mexico, and then the New Yorkers: Christine, Noah, Patrick and Cole. Then there were our expert trainers Mary and Toussaint, and leaders Kingsley and Eddie. Kingsley and Eddie are amazing. Their warm welcome made me feel like we were all old friends, just waiting to catch up on what we had been up to for the last few years (and somehow one of Eddie’s equally amazing cocktails always find its way into your hand). Our first night, we spent dinner getting to know each other as we watched the sun set over the ocean. We shared our first rose and thorn and then fell asleep listening to the waves crashing. [SYB NOTE: “Rose and Thorn” is when we share our favorite (and not-so-favorite) moments of the day!]

 Over and out! #SYBSayulita

Over and out! #SYBSayulita

I will never forget my first disco ball wake up. Not every alarm clock has good beats and dance moves that put you in a good mood for the rest of the day. That morning we woke up before sunrise for yoga with Eva. I have never done yoga outside, or that early. It was so cool to be watching the sunrise over the ocean while finding my inner yogi. We played flag football, and our mascot for the week—Buddha the dog —joined us for the first time. After yoga, the team headed into town and off to our first surf lesson. Walking through Sayulita is an experience in itself. It is not a tourist town, but a local surfing town filled with good vibes. The houses are all painted bright colors and the streets are decorated with vibrant decorations and flags. At the surf lesson we met our instructors, Kevin and Adrian “Gato.”  They prepped us on the beach for how to lie on the surfboard, and how to pop up, but nothing prepared me for the excitement I felt when I first got up on a wave. It was pure joy to stand up on the board thinking, “Holy Shit! I’m really surfing!” It was such a rush and feeling of accomplishment. In the water I started to feel a sense of community and support among my fellow travelers. We cheered each other on when one of us got up.  We were from such different backgrounds and places but we all shared in the excitement of each other’s success. My favorite memories of surfing were seeing Toussaint and Christine kill it. They were the first ones in the water and last ones to come out, tenaciously chasing the bigger waves like they had been doing it all their lives.

 Meditation on the beach with our friend Buddha the pup!

Meditation on the beach with our friend Buddha the pup!

On the third day of the trip we did a hike to Monkey Mountain. We drove through a local cattle farm, getting checked out by the local cows and goats as we passed. As we were about to start out, Gato briefed us on the hike. He told us it’s a hard hike but the views are worth it, and then casually told us about all of the potential wildlife around us, this is the jungle after all. So out of my comfort zone, I went up the mountain and it was totally worth it. The hike was challenging, but when we reached the top the view was stunning. We saw the beautiful pacific coastline and greenery, and killer yoga poses from Mary, Kingsley and Toussaint that should all be on a postcard.

The day started and ended with group meals, and I can say that staying in was way better than eating out. There is no wonder that Eddie has two successful restaurants in NYC, the man can cook! I am not sure how he did it, but when he disappeared into the kitchen, not long after a feast of delicious creations would appear. Sitting around the table, we all shared our roses and thorns of the day. The thorns were pretty hard to find, but most of us had more than one rose to share. That day before dinner, Toussaint and I had gone for a swim. Coming up from the beach I realized that for the first time in a very long time I had stopped worrying about what was next to come, I was just enjoying the moment I was in. This was one of the biggest roses of my trip—I had allowed the rushing of New York to leave me and to simply be present with the people around me.

 Epic Salud NYC meals.

Epic Salud NYC meals.

Our last day may have been my favorite. The crew headed out on a booze cruise to an island off the coast where we spent the day snorkeling, paddle boarding and sipping on some pretty delicious cocktails. I finally got to see a dolphin AND got to play on an epic waterslide. I didn’t think that you could have that much fun on a slide as an adult ever; good thing I was wrong. We took a tour of the island and spend a little time exploring the caves. I watched as Cole lead the charge into a very small dark cave, military crawling into the abyss as the rest of us watched debating whether to follow or not. At first my thoughts went to a newfound phobia of small spaces, and then I realized when else would I have a chance to find out what was on the other side? So I YOLO'd it and followed. This was one of the moments that made coming on this trip worthwhile: being faced with a fear and conquering it. The cave was dark, wet and a super small space, but when we reached the beach on the other side I was happy I did it. We finished our mini tour of the island and caves and chilled on the beach to help Toussaint sort his rock collection.

 Off to explore the caves!

Off to explore the caves!

My Surf Yoga Beer experience was something that I will carry with me for a long time. I met 11 new amazing people, all open and excited for new adventures. In the last six months the trajectory of my life has completely shifted and I was thrown unexpected challenges. This trip gave me back a part of me that I had lost along the way. I was forced out of my comfort zone, faced fears in more ways than I knew, but most importantly it taught me that I may be a little braver than I give myself credit for and I might be a little stronger than I thought. So thank you Kingsley, Eddie, Mary, Toussaint, Patrick, Cole, Noah, Christine, Heather, Susan and Napalonia for showing me this. As I peel away the last layers of my Sayulitan sunburn, I find myself scrolling the SYB website for the next adventure and wondering where it will take me.

 
 

Meaghan McCann is a 30-year-old native New Englander who has lived in NYC for the last six years. After realizing that her Hogwarts acceptance letter must have gotten lost in the mail, she decided to give the school of SYB a try. 

 Meaghan and Christine sailing the high seas.

Meaghan and Christine sailing the high seas.

Roatan Retreat Poem | Atwood Schubauer

We came down to Roatan

And now we are through

So if you've missed anything

Here's a quick review

 

There is actually no surfing

Just boot camps galore

Out on the beach

With sand as a floor

 

A swimming race early

Was complete in a flash

Sit-ups on the beach

Complete with a rash

 

A six hour boat ride

In swells and high seas

With Mantas the captain

Sailing with ease

 

Some have praised animals

And are grateful for pandas

We're all following the lead

Of the mighty man mantas

 

JP swallows hot dogs

Without an ounce of fear

And faces off to drink

Against a fearless Samir

 

Mark has us working hard

To shape, lean and tone

And after dark we help Kylie

Track down her phone

 

Eddie's food is amazing

We're full and we're fed

Some of us tanned

And some of us just red

 

There have been dancers with fire

And love from monkeys and sloths

Discussions of ninja warriors

Mediations with coughs

 

Dinner on the boat

Was complete with kebab

After an extensive session

On the papalampa blob

 

Sunset cruises

With the man we called "Chip"

Made all the better

By his top deck flip

 

This has gone on too long

That's surely clear

So here's to a week

Of SURF YOGA BEER!


 Callie, Atwood and Ally enjoying a beer while watching people get 'blobbed' into the water...

Callie, Atwood and Ally enjoying a beer while watching people get 'blobbed' into the water...

Atwood Schubauer works in Finance in NYC. She resides in the West Village and is originally from Cold Spring Harbor, NY. She was a member of the women's soccer team at Georgetown, her lucku number is 18, and her favorite food in the whole world is popcorn. She wrote this poem while laying out on a float on Little French Key while in Honduras! 

Cuba Retreat Testimonial | Paulina Grochala

Cuba has been on the top top top of my list for travels for as long as I can remember. There's so many drawing factors - the time travel-y feel as the country is basically frozen in the 1960s, the stunning landscapes, the kind hearted, wonderful locals... and the mojitos, obvs. ;)

 me fountain posin' with  Sunday Somewhere  sunnies (part of our goodie bags)

me fountain posin' with Sunday Somewhere sunnies (part of our goodie bags)

There's an amazing company called Surf Yoga Beer based out of New York, created by Mantas Zvintas, that specializes in fitness retreats around the world - but they're not your usual kind of detox/yoga/massage/juice cleanse kind of retreat (which are great in their own way). SYB focuses on adventuring and truly living to the absolute fullest on these retreats, combining daily fitness with massive amounts of daytime exploring and incredible nights out drinking and dancing. I mean, damn, our days were jam packed and we all slept probably only 4 hours a night but it was the best long weekend in Cuba I could imagine! I've been on the email list for a long time, but my schedule hadn't allowed me to take any retreats with SYB... until I got the email about Cuba for end of March. I booked it the moment I saw it. #noragrets

Traveling to Cuba for us Americans only became possible on direct flights very recently, and I had been considering just going on my own because I had been dying to go for so long. It was such a relief at the time to get the email about the SYB trip to Cuba, because I wasn't completely sold on doing it alone. I love solo travel but sometimes I prefer being with a group/guide - not on a slow, guided tour that drives me a little crazy, but a group adventure and/or a learning experience.

  kingsley! our cutest ever mama bear/trip co-leader

kingsley! our cutest ever mama bear/trip co-leader

Going forward though, now that I've been, I would totally go back to Cuba on my own. Seriously the people are some of the loveliest locals ever, and even though there's hardly any wifi capability, it is totally do-able on your own! But going for the first time with such an awesome group of people - and now all new NYC friends - was an unforgettable experience :) So! Lets get to it...

Day 1

I flew with some of the crew on Jetblue out of New York, and we met up with the other half of the group who had flown United once we got to Havana. Some of the people knew each other already, and all of them are regulars in Mantas' soulcycle classes (CAN'T WAIT to take my first class!), but even not knowing anyone and having only met Mantas once before in a yoga class, I felt warm and welcome right away. We all hopped on our bus for the weekend, (so much to say about this bus later) and headed to where we were staying - La Pradera, a 'health center' resort. I called it the wellness compound though, haha. It was just across the road from Castro's compound, so that just made sense. We all quickly got into workout gear to do a quick workout post flight and pre adventuring, jumped in the pool, and then got ready to head into Old Havana.

  Havana Club rum as soon as we all get on the bus ;)

Havana Club rum as soon as we all get on the bus ;)

We had the best guide ever with us on this trip, Carl. He and I are both originally from the Tampa/St. Pete area of Florida, which has tons of Cuban influence. He ushered us around all the beautiful, winding streets of Old Havana, where we stopped into La Bodeguita del Medio for OG mojitos (birthplace of the mojito) before heading to dinner. NOW! For food - I mentioned on instagram that I'd heard a lot about there not being good food in Cuba, but I genuinely enjoyed every single meal. This restaurant was absolutely adorable and quaint and lovely and one of the best in Havana, very hard to get into (thank goodness for our reservation for 18 people).

  immediate workout upon arriving

immediate workout upon arriving

After finishing up dinner and another few rounds of mojitos, we headed to Fabrica de Arte, another very hard place to get into. The line was winding around the block and I heard people saying they were waiting for over two hours. Again, we had reservations (that we were late for but ya know, Cuban time is different) but if you're heading here as part of your Cuba trip, I absolutely recommend a res or getting there super early to not have to wait quite so long. And Fabrica del Arte is a total must-do in Havana. Its this huge warehouse turned art museum/dance party/live music/everything you could want in a fabulous night out.

  ready for our first Havana night with all our new  Sunday Somewhere  sunnies

ready for our first Havana night with all our new Sunday Somewhere sunnies

Of course, we were all pretty lit when it was time to go home - ie I don't remember this part at all. But you know that bus we had to take us around all weekend? There's a microphone on it for guides to use, and some of the group got ahold of it to sing karaoke of songs from Moulin Rouge. I died when I heard this story the next day, so freaking funny - and the fact that most of us didn't actually remember that, ha, INCLUDING Carl, our guide. The best part - Carl got a phone call from the CUBAN GOVERNMENT (scary phone call to get) to say that there was a "grave problem" (double scary). They told him about the singing on the bus and he literally had no idea what they were talking about, and only pieced it together later the next day when someone brought up the singing and we were all dying over the fact that almost no one remembered. Apparently our bus driver was very straight edge and reported us for singing the whole twenty minute ride home to our compound, hahaha.

A few of us ended the night in the pool, drinking Chardonnay from the snack bar and talking about everything. Immediate connections, immediate friendships made that night. <3  I lost my room key card, of course, and my new friend Casey tried using his key to open my room for me - it freaking worked. Oh, Cuba. So secure.

Day 2

This is my favorite day of the trip. Oh man, what a day and what a night!

  tree pose-ing with Mantas Baños de San Juan

tree pose-ing with Mantas Baños de San Juan

We headed out into the countryside for a full day of adventures, my favorite kind - involving lots of swimming! I'm such a water baby, I loooove being in/near/around water. First stop of the day was this gorgeous lake where we got to play for a while, absolutely loved it. Next stop was Las Terrazas, an eco-village and UNESCO site. We visited an artists home, had another splendid meal at the first ever vegetarian restaurant (yay!) in Cuba called El Romero, and had coffee at a lovely little outdoor cafe.

Up next was tons of playtime at Baños del San Juan, a series of little natural pools and waterfalls. So beautiful. The water was pretty cold but it didn't stop me from spending all my time in it.

After our full day of water adventures we headed to a mountaintop for sunset yoga and meditation. God, what a view. What a practice. I don't have many words for this besides being so overwhelmed with gratitude for it that I cried my only little tear of the trip on the ride home, but with a smile. To be surrounded by such natural beauty and such incredible souls, to take those moments to just breathe it in and feel it fully, oh man... I hope everyone in the world can experience such serenity.

  living to the fullest out here

living to the fullest out here

  pure bliss with my silly friends (and a local)

pure bliss with my silly friends (and a local)

Once we got home and showered and changed into our fanciest outfits of the trip, it was time for the evening events - dinner and drinks and dancing. We had a beautiful dinner at El Litoral, keeping the mojitos flowing. Afterwards Carl took us out to an awesome outdoor club called 1830 on the waterfront with live music, dancing, and a view of an illuminated castle/fort-ish thing across the water. SO FUN, favorite dancing spot of the trip for sure! We even got our curfew extended because we were all having too good of a time to leave, haha.

 we took some epic pics thanks to Ken

we took some epic pics thanks to Ken

Day 3

I was successfully dragged out of bed by the boys for morning bootcamp workout (on only a few hours of sleep), which was a great foundation for the rest of the day. After grabbing breakfast with the crew in our compound, we headed out for another full day of beautiful moments and places to discover. First up was exploring the studio and home of muralist Jose Fuster. He's been called the Picasso of Cuba and his work is absolutely beautiful, highly worth a visit if you're going to Cuba.

  enjoying the view of the art from above

enjoying the view of the art from above

  looking through Hemingway's home

looking through Hemingway's home

Afterwards we got in our (non party but still party) bus and headed out to Ernest Hemingway's home. For me this was an absolutely do not miss spot, and it did not disappoint. His Cuban home is all my home dreams come true; airy, spacious, elegant, simple, with books EVERYwhere. His grounds include his home, a writing tower (fave), his pool area where he and his wife hosted skinny dipping parties, and his big boat is chilling by the pool. Oh, and a little bar area off to the side where we started drinking some cocktails again. The bartender let me bartend with him which was so fun, and there was a great local band playing and singing. We started the dance party, per usual, and the energy and joy was so off the charts even our straight laced bus driver was having a blast.

Last daytime stop was the beach - can't miss the beach on an island! The wind and waves were a little crazy but the water was beautiful. After romping around for a while we all ordered a beach lunch and more drinks - the pina coladas on this beach were actually the very best I've ever tried - and ended up meeting a magician, who performed for us.

We headed home to shower and get ready for our last beautiful Cuban night out. We had taken vintage cars home from 1830 the other night, but now it was time for a sunset cruise in vintage droptops. My car had a bottle of rum that we were sipping on during the drive, and I said "Are you even in Cuba if you're not taking a ride in a vintage car at sunset with a glass of Havana Club in your hand?" We took a quick stop at Hotel Nacional just to see, but I wish we could have had more time there - definitely next time! Next stop was El Floridita for daquiris, a total necessity, before heading to our last dinner. More mojitos and another delicious salad for me, and then to one last (more modern) club for dancing. I was pretty tired at this point so I didn't even drink anymore, but still had fun getting down one last time in Cuba! We ended the night with most of us hanging out at the snack bar as we weren't allowed to get into the pool following the previous night's pool rambunctiousness, ha.

 pizza and vintage cars is a heavenly mix

pizza and vintage cars is a heavenly mix

The next day we were all heading back to New York, 18 new incredible friends and innumerable insane memories made. I couldn't be more pleased that I chose to go on this trip with Surf Yoga Beer and that I have all my new friends to workout AND party with at home now! If you're thinking about embarking on an adventure with SYB, don't hesitate. And if you're thinking of taking a trip to Cuba, I hope my anecdotes help with the planning and executing of a trip to such a special country!

xx

Photos: Ken Francis + my iphone and canon


READ PAULINA'S BLOG AND MORE ON HER WEBSITE THE 'BROOKLYN KITTEN' HERE.

Ski Yoga Beer Experience | Craig Jarvis

boardsbeers.jpg

ARRIVAL

Alarm goes off in the AM, the time has come to begin our journey. The smell of coffee fills the air as travel mugs are filled and breakfast is prepared. The gear is all accounted for. As we move the contents to the car for a long drive through the Rocky Mountains, we can’t help shouting out a loud “YEEEEEEEWW”. The Stoke is strong with us today. We are ready for our first SYB.

Boards, Bindings, Bags, Boots, Goggles, Helmets, Gloves, and various other trinkets populate the bags and the back of the XTERRA as we make the 4 -hour drive from Denver to Crested Butte. Clay’s phone gives off a loud chime as we roll into the valley. SYB crew is already posting pictures of the trip so far. We are beyond stoked to have joined in this retreat of epic proportions.

For many of us, the daily grind will eventually take its toll on the mind and body. Sending emails, making phone calls, and too many endless meetings can give anyone a case of cabin fever. That’s how I ended up in the heart of the Rocky Mountains with all these amazing humans. I think back on the moments of the past few months when I felt like if I had to put together one more design presentation or sales forecast my head would explode. Now, the only things on my mind are shredding some pow and immersing myself in this new culture and experience they’re all calling, S.Y.B. Obviously in this case we are talking about a variation of the original. SKI, Yoga, Beer in place of the original Surf. Yoga. Beer.

Anyway, In travelling to Crested Butte, I discovered that the SYB mindset and community is a contagious whirling tornado of positivity and magic. You will discover, You will connect, You will learn. It’s amazing how quickly an experience like this can take complete strangers, and magically turn them into family in only a matter of days. If you are having any bashfulness about a SYB trip, throw that out the window and dive headfirst into the bliss.

DISCOVER THE COMMITMENT TO THE COMMUNITY

One of my first discoveries of the SYB community, was that it seemed almost every person attending was from a different part of the country. There were people from New York, Baltimore, Fort Collins, Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. It was amazing how the leaders were so committed to the SYB vibes. No amount of space or land could keep these people away from each other or prevent the experiences they were about to have, from coming to fruition. It was the discovery of their commitment to each other that inspired me to embrace the SYB culture to the fullest. Eddie’s meals were amazing and cocktails, legendary! Family style with more than enough to go around, everyone was guaranteed to get their fill of the deliciousness. Erin’s Yoga teachings were something I really enjoyed. I would consider myself in the beginner category in yoga practice, but her knowledge and guidance made me feel right at home. Nothing too strenuous, but the sequences definitely activated the full body. From morning-meditation, to 108 sun salutations, to post snowboarding yoga session Erin had our backs!

DISCOVER THE NATURE

Whether you grew up in the mountains or on the beaches. It is healthy to take the time to appreciate the beauty of the nature around us. Sometimes the hustle and bustle of a city can get us wound up so tight that we forget how much beauty is around us. In this case, the Rocky Mountains. A favorite moment appreciating nature was during my final evening on the trip. Enjoying a tasty cocktail, compliments of Eddie, I was chatting in the jacuzzi with Kingsley when a fox creeped up from underneath the deck and stopped on a snow bank, not even 10 feet away. We both noticed, then the Fox and I played what felt like a 5-minute staring contest. Realistically it was probably about 30 seconds, but even in that short timeframe we felt a connection with the creature. It was refreshing to reconnect with nature in a way that a city could never provide.

CONNECT WITH PEOPLE AND LEARN

Going on an adventure with complete strangers will coax someone to step outside of their comfort zone. Whether trying skiing for the first time since childhood or throwing backflips and 360’s off a jump Carl and Connor built with nothing but their hands, gear, and wits. There was always a sense of comradery amongst all of the group. You truly learn something new from everyone in attendance. Everyone connects and the whole crew is on the same page. As the days came and went I felt myself becoming closer and closer to these people and learning so much about everyone’s perspectives. The real magic of S.Y.B. is when the “down time” turns into BONDING TIME. S’mores with cave man dances by the fire pit and playing in the freshly fallen snow in the early hours of the morning were some of the most joyful moments of the trip. The final night I was there, we celebrated Erin’s birthday with a surprise post-dinner song and cake. Afterward, then commenced an awards ceremony where everyone was recognized for their various “Stoke Levels” and shared some fun experiences about the trip from each person’s vantage point. One final cherry to top off the entire trip. There’s no vibes, like the S.Y.B. vibes.

TAKEAWAY

Deep in the heart of the Rocky Mountains I reconnected with some old friends, made several new ones, had a bonding moment with some of the local wildlife, and temporarily quenched my thirst for adventure. Mission accomplished. After having this experience, I have a new appreciation for taking the time to play in between the tough bouts of work. Work Hard. Play Hard. S.Y.B. for life. Until next time…

 

5 Things Honduras Offers That Will Make Your Travel Friends Mad-Jealous

 

ROATAN, HONDURAS (The Explorer’s Playground)

 

If you’re like me, a mention of Roatan conjures mental images of a fictional long-lost Byzantine Empire city, more than an actual modern paradise.

 

Luckily for us all however, this small exotic island is as real as can be, located in the Caribbean about 40 miles off the coast of Honduras, and is surrounded by the second largest coral reef in the world. Most activities on the island are based around their turquoise blue waters and expansive sea life, so while getting full-blown Nat Geo, what else is there to the Roatan Lifestyle? Well, a lot actually, and all guaranteed to make you an Instagram star both rn and on #FBF!

1. HUG A SLOTH

At Daniel Johnson’s Monkey & Sloth Hangout, all of your deepest sloth hugging dreams will come true. This animal sanctuary is located in French Cay and has several animals to interact with, including sloths, capuchin monkeys, scarlet macaws, and parrots!

  Yep SYB Roatan will visit this sanctuary...

Yep SYB Roatan will visit this sanctuary...

2. HAVE A DRINK IN THE CARIBBEAN

We’ve all seen the swim-up bars that many resort pools provide, but this is the swim-up bar to end them all. Located at Little French Key, a private island resort, you’ll have the ability to swim in the pristine Caribbean waters, and then paddle up to refresh your cocktail when thirsty. The resort also features white sand beaches, restaurants, and an air of “blissful calmness” that can only be described as 😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎

  Yep SYB Roatan is going here...&nbsp;

Yep SYB Roatan is going here... 

3. NIGHT SNORKELING

Roatan is known for their reefs, so you pretty much must simply go and explore! West Bay is the best location on the island for snorkeling, and some of the features include the infamous coral reefs, turtles, exotic fish, and rays. Last one in the water is a rotten egg!

  Yep SYB Roatan will try this off our own private dock...

Yep SYB Roatan will try this off our own private dock...

4. DOLPHIN KISSES

Everyone loves a nice peck on the cheek from a loved one or friend, but you know what’s even better than that? A peck with a friggin’ porpoise, that’s what (you see what we did there)! The island offers several locations where you can snorkel and swim with these friendly creatures, so brush your teeth and pucker up!

 SYB Roatan kissing booth...

SYB Roatan kissing booth...

5. SYB Sunset Catamaran Cruise

This one is more about the people that you are with that make it special, but of course it also helps that you're in paradise. Warm weather, healing sun rays, goofy good vibes, heart warming feelings, and memories to last for the rest of your life. 

 SYB always makes Catamaran cruises epic...

SYB always makes Catamaran cruises epic...


25 Powerful Quotes On Failure That Will Inspire You to Succeed

Real talk: nobody’s perfect. We stumble. We fall. We make mistakes. It’s easy to beat ourselves up when we fail, but the biggest mistake of all is to not get back up—or worse, let our fear of failure keep us from trying something to begin with.

Oftentimes, life’s greatest successes happen just a few steps beyond our perceived defeats. (I mean, where would we be today if Thomas Edison hadn’t attempted to create a light bulb 10,000 times before figuring it out?) The key is in recognizing that challenges offer the best opportunities for growth, and that failure isn’t fatal—it’s feedback. Learn from it. Embrace it. Use it as motivation to guide you to your best self.

Here are 25 of our favorite quotes on failure—that will inspire you to succeed.

 

  1. “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” — Robert F. Kennedy

  2. “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” — Michael Jordan

  3. “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” — Samuel Beckett

  4. “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” — Maya Angelou

  5. “If you're not failing 50% of the time, you're not setting big enough goals. So fall down. Fall down hard. Then stand right back up and show yourself exactly what you’re capable of.” — Kingsley Delacato

  6. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill

  7. “Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” — Coco Chanel

  8. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” — Thomas Edison

  9. “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” — Paulo Coelho

  10. “Get comfortable with failure. We should all fail. I look forward to the adrenaline rush of failing. Failure is where growth begins.” — Mantas Zvinas

  11. “I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.” — Herbert Bayard Swoope

  12. “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.” — Truman Capote

  13. “Have no fear of perfection—you’ll never reach it.” — Salvador Dali

  14. “You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” — Johnny Cash

  15. “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill

  16. “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald

  17. “If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.” — H.G. Wells

  18. “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” — Henry Ford

  19. “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” — Napoelon Hill

  20. “What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?” — John Green

  21. “It is fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” — Bill Gates

  22. “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with failure.” — Abraham Lincoln

  23. “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” — J.K. Rowling

  24. “Failure is enriching. It’s also important to accept that you’ll make mistakes—it’s how you build your expertise. The trick is to learn a positive lesson from all of life’s negative moments.” — Alain Ducasse

  25. “Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” — Dale Carnegie


 She's the beauty in the middle.

She's the beauty in the middle.

A beach bum at heart, Kirsten is a writer and editor living, working and playing in NYC. You can find her on Instagram @kirstenjoan.