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After a particularly long workday, I was driving down Woodland Street en route to the Turnip Truck for some dinner goods. Realizing I had some letters to mail, I stopped at the post office and dropped them in the box. Before I could get back to my car, the woman selling newspapers outside hollered that she had a question for me: “Can you give me a ride home?”

It was hotter than the eye of a blowdryer outside, she was carrying about 18 bags of things, and I sympathized.  I wouldn’t have thought of offering but it was definitely the nice thing to do, so why not? “Sure,” I replied, and with that she hopped right in. She asked me for my name, even though we recognized each other – I’ve seen her most every day for the last 3 years at least, the sweet black lady who usually says, “Hey Baby” (like a sassy, southern mama bear) when I see her.  I learned her name for the first time as well. I continued along Woodland, silently planning my trip to the Turnip Truck (hopefuly this would include a smoothie sample) when she informed me that she lives in Madison. Immediately my paradigm shifted from my pleasant grocery trip and the particular items I wanted for dinner to the realization that I would now have to visit a grocery store in Madison or even Rivergate (my ultimate destination was in fact all the way up to my new residence in Goodlettsville). My heart sank a little but I turned the car north towards Madison and away from my beloved natural market. I told myself to quit all that nonsense and be grateful for the opportunity to help someone out but visions of smoothies were still dancing in my head.

We tried to make conversation on the 15-minute trip up north weaving in and out of traffic. I kept telling myself to “just be cool.” I was trying not to say something silly like some petty gripe that might normally come up in an everyday conversation but would seem rather insulting to someone whose job it is to stand outside 8 hours a day in the heat and cold, rain and snow, selling The Contributor for $2 apiece. So, I mostly just listened. Turned out she was born and raised here in Nashville. “We seen a lot,” she kept saying. “Things gonna get worse ‘fore they get better. A lot worse,” she said in response to her mainly one-sided conversation about the “improvements” in the area, which I’ve heard others refer to as gentrification. She seemed sorry for the young folks living through it and getting into trouble. Saddened by family members who have gone to jail or been killed. “They need a job, something to do. They NEED Jesus!” I nodded and tried to imagine life in her shoes… Our lives were different but we shared faith.

We got to the duplex where she lived, she got out and thanked me for the ride. I felt like it wasn’t nearly enough … but in the moment realized, what could I have done that would have been enough? Maybe it was just right. For today. I gave her what she needed in the moment…. I continued up the road. I called to tell my husband I’d be late because I’d gone off-course and also hit rush-hour traffic. He then asked me to stop at Walmart for some additional items since I was going to pass by the one on Gallatin. Getting hangrier by the minute, I agreed with an extra bit snappiness. I knew I was going to need something to eat to get me through the rest of the less-scenic driving route and the additional unpleasant errand. I pulled into the nearest grocery store, which was nothing like the pristine aisles of Turnip Truck with the stylish folks that frequent it. Here in Madison, I grabbed the first roasted chicken I found, Caesar salad in a bag, and a bottle of white wine (an impulse buy which seemed justified at this point).

Continuing on up the road, I pulled into Walmart, turned off my car and decided I needed to eat a chicken leg NOW. Realizing that the wine was a twist off bottle, I figured I might as well have a couple sips before going inside, then grabbed my purse and headed through the automatic doors with my chicken leg and greasy fingers. Another lesson in embracing the moment. I didn’t need the Turnip Truck. It would always be there tomorrow. And maybe letting go of attachments was the very thing I needed to be reminded of. Every moment of every day, I’m making plans and then trying to carry them out. But I’m not here just for myself. I can put my plans or desires on the back burner from time to time, and maybe sometimes, like today, that will be ultimately more rewarding.  


Step 1 – Admittance: I am a Bikram yogi. I am continually in love with, healed by, and captivated with this addiction. It is an incessant influence, a time-consuming preoccupation, but predominantly worthwhile addiction. If it weren’t, I wouldn’t be here now, having the gift of a yoga studio where I get to share my passion for yoga with others and, hopefully, give them something that will also change their lives. But the journey has had its ups and downs. In fact, I’ve come full circle with the practice.

Myself and most anyone who has practiced the 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises that were taught to us Americans by the now-notorious Bikram Choudhury and his guru, Bishnu Ghosh, has likely experienced both love and hatred for this practice, and skepticism about its founder. But I’m not interested in talking about the man today; I want to talk about the practice. That journey through being broken down, built up, humbled, empowered, opened, closed off, stretched, compressed, emptied out, filled up, never-the-same-again yoga revelation. Bikram was the first and only kind of yoga I knew for the first 8 years of practicing.

My feelings about this style over more than a decade range from “I can barely get through a class” to “I can still barely get through a class.” The challenge never changes. It is always hard, physically and mentally. Yes, over 10 years or longer, it never gets easier. But it does become different.

My original teacher was explaining how a posture works and said, “when you’re a beginner – you know, the first 10 years of practice…” Wait, WHAT? …. You’re a beginner for the first TEN years? I laughed in my head when I heard him say that because I considered myself at least intermediate-level by that point – but now, after 10 years, I’m beginning to understand.

There have been, and will be, many seasons of my Bikram journey – times when I hated Pranayama breathing (the first breathing exercise), another when I was tediously impatient in Half Moon, periods when I am in love with Standing Bow, and seasons when I deeply dreaded Camel. There are times when I fall from a posture and an unexplainable flood of tears comes to my eyes, and there are times when I laugh out loud. There are times when the postures hurt and times when the postures heal.

Step 2 – Faith: It was this last part of the journey that has really challenged me over the last four years. I had an injury. An un-diagnosable pain in my right hip. I went to all the doctors, physical therapists, Rolfers, acupuncturists and chiropractors. Finally, I took a break. I took a break from yoga for two months. It was something I thought I would never do. I had practiced for nine years, at least five to seven times a week. I rarely missed a day; sometimes I would even do two classes a day. Then I remember the day, as I was laying in savasana, feeling defeated from the pain and the lack of mobility that I once had, I realized that it wasn’t fun anymore, so I decided right at that moment, I would let it go… for a while anyway.

When I came back to the mat, I approached everything very carefully. Every posture. I made sure to really keep my core engaged and not overdo it in postures just to look a certain way. It felt a lot better but the hip was still not fully recovered. I started back in just a couple times a week and eventually added different yoga disciplines – vinyasa power flow and eventually Buti yoga. The new practices and new postures opened up certain areas and strengthened others. It turned out to be the perfect complement to my Bikram yoga practice, and I began to realize that the answer was, as Bikram himself would prescribe, “more yoga.” Well, not exactly… first I needed a break and then I needed more yoga, and different kinds of yoga. The thing about the 26 postures is that it is a lot of repetition, and if you are not careful or practicing with proper form with muscular support, then the repetition can be hard on certain joints. The bikram dialogue is designed to ensure that you do practice the postures correctly but, depending on your skeletal structure, your joints and the stress your life may have brought them thus far, there is the potential for repeated stress to occur and even potential injury.

Although I now have a love and appreciation for many different styles of yoga, I have an even stronger faith in Bikram yoga and a deeper appreciation for it. For all my ups and downs with the practice, I have always admired this elegant series – these 26 postures and the brilliance of their sequencing. The heat, the mirrors, the dialogue, they are added tools, which all work together to force out any opportunity for outside distraction. We are truly forced to concentrate and given the opportunity to be fully present. There’s really nothing else we can do. Just yesterday during a class, the dialogue made more sense than it ever had. Same words I’ve heard a thousand times but they were once again new to me. The words were all I heard… my mind was blank but for these words: “PUSH your stomach, hips thighs forward!” I did so, and it worked. Another layer stripped away. In final savasana, I had peace in my mind about something I’d been worried about all day. It wasn’t the first time these things had happened. They can happen any and every time we practice this series. No matter how many years we’ve practiced this yoga series, there is always something to learn, and it will always be a great accomplishment to finish the class.

So far, in my first 10 years as a beginner of bikram yogi, I have learned some of the greatest lessons and habits of my life. Habits that have helped me through every scenario – heartbreak, anxiety, worry, opening businesses, friendships, and marriage. I wanted to share just a few of these with you:

  • If you can, you must (Bikram Choudhury).
  • Don’t react or attach to the pain or the victory. Calmly observe it and let it pass by so you can give your full energy to the present.
  • Let nothing steal your peace. (Bikram Choudhury)
  • Don’t waste your energy on the things you cannot change.
  • Transcend discomfort by sitting with it, allowing it to be part of you as you move with it until it is no longer there.
  • If you are trying correctly, even if only able to do just a small step of the full posture, you will receive 100% of the benefits.


It’s another year. Another opportunity for all the Re’s – Resolve, Reflect, Recommit, Reiterate, Renew, Repair, Re-do….

As another busy holiday season of family, friends, travel and logistical coordinating comes to a close, I find myself sitting with the first few moments of stillness and solitude in weeks. I’m on a plane, of course, which means I am not exactly part of a serene picture of solitude (with baby screamos left and right) but I am, at least, forced to be still. So it is here that I finally have the space to give my attention to the things that have been off in the horizon for some time. That vague awareness that the party can’t go on forever, the vacation must come to an end, and the cookies and cocktails must be put back on the “sparingly” list. Per usual, I am more than ready for the my return to home and work, and for a fresh start to the new year.

Goals can be set any time but the spark of a new year or other momentous occasion is always a nice time. It feels like we leave the past behind and start with a clean slate. Just in taking the time to write down goals, we have set the intention, probably visualized the goal (at least briefly) and perhaps come up with a rough plan to make it a reality. I think that’s what they call Manifesting your Future. We don’t need to be woo-woo about it or even ceremonial but writing down a list, conjuring up some mental pictures, is actually fun and practical – it opens up the space to dream and gives us the confidence to walk out the door tomorrow with a plan. So there’s already one thing in 2017 to pat ourselves on the back for!

Sure, it’s a little obvious to do the typical New Year’s Resolution dog and pony show, and sure, we could be anti- and just revolt against resolutions entirely …. Or, we could take just a few moments to pay attention to what we want for our ourselves and what would make us feel really good in this next year. But even with this, let’s hold ourselves with grace and a positive outlook and remember, that we can set these types of goals any ol’ time, and we can also recommit to them at any point. One step forward is still a step in the right direction, and we’re not counting steps back. And for any hiccup or detour, we come right back to where we left off because every day, every hour, every minute is a fresh new day, hour and minute to do our best.

So, without further ado, here are my 2017 Resolutions:

  1. To live a simpler, less-busy life. Too much of the last 4 years have been just trying to stay afloat. I’m tired of hearing myself answer every “how are things?” question with “just really busy.” I want a more interesting answer to that question this year. And I want to have the brain space and time to ask an interesting question back and have a meaningful conversation. This is all part of my Simpler Life Initiative that I began back in 2013 before moving to Nashville. Well, that was the goal really – do what you love for work so it’s not really work, and live in a place where you don’t have to plan your entire existence around traffic and paying rent. I am part of the way there, and being in Seattle this last week was a good reminder of the wonderful quality of life I have in Nashville, but I can still manage to get myself all stressy and distracted and worried when it doesn’t have to be that way. So my goal is to be more light-hearted about my work, to remove distractions from the time I spend with friends and loved ones so that I can be more present, to unplug more frequently from technology and social media, to relax with reading and music more than television, and to make time to count my blessings each day to keep things in perspective.
  1. To be a good leader. I am profoundly grateful for the amazing people in my life and feel that I have a great responsibility to those who work at my businesses – to make sure they know they are appreciated, to keep organization and harmony, to give them the tools that they need to do their job, and to make the work place a peaceful and comfortable place to be. One of the peace-stealers to me and the rest of the work family can be my stress or distraction, other people’s stress, or emotional reactions / chains of reactions. It is my goal to remain calm and objective when conflicts arise in 2017. This again involves slowing down, not reacting in the moment, taking the time to hear all sides of the story, consider everyone’s perspective. Finally, just taking the time to check in with people – face-to-face, “how are you?” Doing real-life relationships.
  1. To seek spiritual nourishment and community. When I neglect this part of my life, I feel it. I know the opportunity is there but I get lazy. There will always be excuses I can find, other things to do, and maybe nobody to go with me but it is my goal to make time for this area of my life and my being, even if I have to go it alone. Come warmer weather, I hope to continue my version of front-porch pickin’ and talking about life (named Porch Church), which was another nourishment to my spirit that so easily fell to the wayside when other obligations arose. We have to make time for the good things, for the spirit-deep things.
  1. To do more for my community. I got a taste of volunteering and organizing service projects in East Nashville this last year, and I am excited to do more of that in 2017. The need is great, and the people who have needs us are so very close. They are across the street and in our back yard. I hope to continue to use the resources I have to benefit the community and the people whose lives can be changed by someone taking the time … by just getting an opportunity. Maybe yoga is an opportunity to change someone’s life. We are here, let’s see who needs us, and see how we also needed them.
  1. To refine my eating habits. Sure, they’re not the worst of eating habits but they sure do swing from one end of the spectrum to the other, more often than not. I’d love to make healthy eating choices because I want to, not because I have to. Because I know, deep down in my core that I feel better and more free when I’m not eating crap. And that I don’t really love all the crap anyway. And I want the right motives. To eat good, clean food – not just for the external results but for the internal benefits. To nourish my body, to give me energy for the work I’m doing, to enjoy all the amazing culinary creations, and to commune with others. To feel like my best, most alive self.
  1. To be a great hostess. Does this one sound a little like it may have come out of 1950’s issue Home and Gardens Magazine? Well then, perfect! I am 36 years old, and I think it’s about high time I kept some iced tea in the fridge, some gin and tonic on the shelf, and some snacks to be shared when company comes calling. You couldn’t step foot in my grandma’s kitchen without being offered food and drink at least 5 times. I want to carry on that tradition, and I would love in 2017 to create a space in my home to host friends and folks who stop by or who come from far and wide to visit Nashville. I want to be ready to host!

That’s all for now! Maybe more will come, and I’ll add them to the list. Because we can do that. Now tell me what your resolutions are!



We are in the air, heading back to Nashville. A couple of slightly ragged but completely transformed and empowered women, drinking our Bloody Mary’s and wearing the same clothes we left in. Inside jokes from our 6-day, 5-city journey filter into our conversations… maybe a little too often but nobody else is listening… along with lyrics from hip hop hits that are still running through our heads. There’s also this continuous movement … spiraling at our core and buzzing in our brains … we are energized, and we have met a side of ourselves that we previously did not know existed. Yes, we are coming home from Buti Yoga Teacher Training.

Buti Defined: an Indian Marathi word meaning A CURE that has been hidden or kept secret. The mission of buti yoga is to help one strip away the layers that hide this cure and bring total freedom and transformation. The movements are inspired by tribal dance to unleash one’s primal energy to nourish and heal our bodies.

They (the founder of buti yoga and the master teachers) are focused on helping women in particular to find this hidden cure but I believe it is relevant to anyone. They express a commitment to creating a community of empowered women who support each other rather than compete with one another. They refer to classes or studios as a Tribe. I can definitely get behind that! Plus, this became a total reality at the training. Our teacher, Kate, said on our first day that in this tribe, we show up for our sisters. No matter what. About halfway through the training, I learned exactly what that meant. In just 2 days, me, Sarah, Kate and 9 French-Canadian girls, formed a tribe, a sisterhood, and we supported each other through something we each had never experienced before.

So let’s back up…. How did we get here and what’s this about 9 French-Canadian girls? Sarah Norris and I embarked on this journey to Buti training 2 days prior to our meeting of the French ladies in Quebec City. And actually, we started our Buti journey a few months prior in our home studio thanks to our own, Chelsea Young, who started the first Buti Tribe in East Nashville! It was not long after my first Buti class that I decided to go to teacher training. And I must note here that I haven’t been inspired to leave Nashville for a yoga training EVER. You could interpret that to mean I am a complacent yoga teacher but all I know is I found a fresh inspiration that totally awakened my desire to learn and grow.  And for a skeptic like me, that doesn’t happen often. Never have I endeavored to teach anything outside of the Bikram Method, and here I was scouting our Buti Yoga trainings all over the world! Turned out that Sarah wanted to go too – you can get her side of that story from her sometime – but either way, we had a mission! Buti or Bust! And since the Atlanta training was already full, we decided to high tail it for Quebec City, Canada! I mean, why not, right?

After a breathtaking drive through the White Mountain National Park with fall foliage that I cannot begin to describe or capture on camera and an overnight stay in a rustic cabin in Vermont featuring no electricity, running water, or toilet, we found ourselves in Quebec City. We walked the 30 minutes to Studio Rebel, which is a beautiful studio in downtown Quebec with an herbal infusions bar (hmmm… next Nashville project??). Our walks to and from the studio turned out to be a great way to warm up and decompress from the demanding training. At the studio our first morning, we met our new classmates 9 French-Canadian gals ranging in age from 18 to 40 and in occupation from pole dancing instructor to landscape architect. Going into the training, I knew that we would be in French-speaking Canada but I guess I was expecting Quebec to be more like my trips to Western Canada. Much to my surprise and delight, we were all-in for a French cultural experience! Besides our buti teacher, Kate, who is a total badass from the Midwest, we were the only primarily English-speakers there. Lucky for us, the course was given in English and the French gals were amazing at following along and relaying their conversations back to us in beautifully broken English. The French gals seemed to be unaware of time… taking long relaxing lunch breaks with a full dining experience while we were wondering where the Turnip Truck at up in dis place and where we gonna get a Lara bar from? We had to slow it down … and eat real food… Our new tribe had some differences but we soon found that it didn’t matter and we could learn a thing or two from our new buti sisters.

The training was intense – a crash course you might say but we absorbed a lot and will continue to study and grow in our knowledge of this yoga practice. The knowledge we gained was great but the experience was what truly transformed us and was worth all the miles travelled and all the dollars invested. The first day began with a Master Buti Class (which was phenomenal by the way) and then the remainder of the day was spent in studying the postures and movements, while learning the form – i.e. practicing. We were POOPED by the end of the day. We also learned that we were required to give a 14-minute demo of a buti class the following day as our final test in order to receive our certification. Now, Chelsea had given us a heads up on that requirement but it turned out to be a more involved demo than I had realized – had to incorporate at least 6 different aspects of the buti class. I immediately started planning my night – get back to the flat; shower; have a glass of wine; and then cram, cram, cram until I had the PERFECT routine. Note – we were specifically instructed by Kate NOT to plan, not to prepare a studied routine but of course I wasn’t going to listen to her. 🙂 By 8:30 when we arrived back at our flat and still needed to find dinner, all bets were off. Shower did not happen; studying did not happen; creating the perfect buti demo did not happen.

Wine did happen, however, and shortly after, we crawled into our bunk beds and our sore bodies immediately fell asleep. About 4 am, I was awoken by dreams of my near-future buti routine dancing through my head. I decided to get up and prepare. Playlist – check. Careful notes of postures and sequences – check. Practicing it 3 times through from start to finish – check. I felt ready, or as ready as I’d ever be. Sarah awoke shortly after I started my third rendition of my routine and said, “I thought we were ordered not to practice the demo? What are you doing?!” Well, my Type A personality just couldn’t help itself. But Sarah was obedient to Kate’s instructions and also true to her spontaneous nature and did not prepare. I smugly thought to myself, “How can Sarah be so negligent? I could never go into this demo without preparing.” But I was yet to be proved wrong by Sarah and by many others!

We finally arrive at the studio and start with an “easy buti class” which is not easy at all and was somewhat defeating for my tired body. I start to wonder if I’m going to feel and be 100% for my demo. I decide to drink more coffee… we then have to draw numbers to see who goes first. Thankfully, I’m number 6, so I’ll have time to perk up. One of the younger french gals is to go first. I honestly wasn’t expecting much from her. I kinda thought she was gonna bomb the demo (I have already admitted to being skeptical but I’m here to find the hidden cure right?). She had never taught a yoga or exercise class, she hadn’t been practicing buti yoga very long, and she seemed quiet and a bit timid. Well she got up there and the music began. It was LOUD! We could feel the bass in our ribcages, and she spoke au francais, “Attention! ….” And that was the last I understood of words. We were moving, and she was fierce! Kate started whooping and then everyone was chiming in! Like war cries coming out at random from all over the room. Everyone was involved. We were all IN IT! She might not have had perfect form or transitions but she was incredible! An inspiring Goddess up there, not holding anything back. All the whooping and music and energy was driving her even more. Before we knew it, her demo was over, and we were sweating, clapping and giving high fives. She nailed it!!! I knew right then and there that my smug study session was going to do nothing for me if I didn’t give it everything I had in the moment. I had a new perspective and I was ready to be and do and give my 100%.

Soon my turn came, and I set up my mat in front. Sarah set hers up next to mine. 🙂 My music started, and I began with kaphalabati breathing. The fire was lit and we were off! Hair flying, butts shaking, whooping, hollering, jumping, and being totally caught up. Some things I didn’t plan came in and some things I had planned were forgotten. It was as spontaneous as a math/science major like me gets and it was glorious! I was happy. Everyone told me it was great and fun and Sarah said I killed it! I immediately felt the overwhelming support of my buti sisters! I was getting it now. Sarah said that it was like a different Brooke up there, and I would soon say the same about her! She was second to last of the demos and had been chomping at the bit to do her demo. In came a Sarah I had never seen before. Her hair came down, “Bossy” by Kelis came through the speakers, and the creativity just flew out of her! We were spiraling our hips and then our ribcage and then lunging and then in the standing splits. It was an amazing transformation to see! And we all saw it in each other. Not a single person was the same as when they walked in the day before. I have a mental picture of each awe-inspiring soul that got up there and put everything out on the mat. I was proud of all of us. So proud!

So that was the training. We had much to reflect on as we drove off to Montreal that night. We were chasing the sunset towards the west, and it lasted for 2 hours, like seeing 8 different sunsets. The sky was as expansive as we felt.

The Buti training experience can’t really be put into words. It’s a practice for doing not reflecting on. So with that said, get in here and find your tribe!



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10 days down, and I think we’re all feeling pretty great! Figuring out what our vices are when it comes to processed foods and finding great whole/real food alternatives. 🙂 I’d say we’re getting our sea legs for eating with the perspective of fueling our body with what it needs rather than the junk that gives us temporary highs but no real sustained energy. We are what we eat, and I’m feeling better already by eating food I can see in its natural state, maybe grown locally or organically and not in a plastic bag with 30 other unpronounceable ingredient. Go team 30!

So this is the start of 2nd 10 days!! What we’re adding on here, or rather removing from our plates, is Dairy and Gluten. Remember to fill your plates with enough healthy protein, fats, carbs and of course veggies, and you won’t even notice that dairy and gluten have disappeared. We’re looking to gain benefits of reducing our intake of inflammatory foods, and may see some other benefits in our skin, respiratory system and our sleep! Boom! Don’t forget your water. Water! Water! Water!!!


Please refer to: www.chelseajyoung.com for recipes! You can always remove items from this list if you’re making veggie/vegan versions and/or omitting any of the recipes from your game plan.


  • 2 Bananas
  • 1 Head of califlower
  • 4 White onions
  • 6 Bell peppers
  • 1 Box mushrooms
  • Bag of sugar snap peas or green beans
  • 1 Large bag organic carrots
  • 1 Bag organic celery
  • 3 Heads of garlic
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 1-2 Large sweet potatoes
  • 1 Bunch flat or curly leaf parsley
  • 1 Bunch of green onions
  • 1-2 ears of sweet corn (optional for Mexican quinoa)
  • 3 avocados
  • 2 limes
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 Bunch cilantro
  • 1 Large eggplant
  • 1 Large spaghetti squash or 4-6 medium zucchini (Turkey Meatballs & ‘Spaghetti)
  • 2 Medium zucchinis – for turkey muffins
  • 1 Bunch of curly leaf kale

PROTEIN: (Fresh, Frozen & Canned)

  • 1 Dozen organic eggs
  • 1 Box of organic egg whites
  • 4-6 Organic chicken breasts (could easily use beans/ tofu) this is for stuffed peppers and curry dish
  • 2 lbs Organic ground turkey (1 for turkey muffins, 1 for turkey meatballs)
  • 5oz Prosciutto de parm (optional)


  • 2 13.5oz cans of full fat coconut milk
  • Rolled oats (not quick)
  • 8oz can of wile caught salmon/ or tuna you choose!
  • Gluten-free flout (almond, coconut, oat)
  • 1 ½ cup of dry chick peas
  • Quinoa
  • Organic vegetable broth
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans
  • 2 15oz cans of chick peas
  • 2 14.5 oz cans of roasted tomatoes
  • 2 Jars of marinara sauce (no sugar added)
  • Nutritional Yeast – can easily buy in the bulk bins only need 2-3 Tbls
  • Tahini


  • 1 Bag of frozen broccoli
  • 1 8oz box / bag of frozen spinach


Spices you will need for 2nd 10 days: If you don’t have one / two of these check where they are used and you may be able to substitute something different. That is the beauty of getting creative with what you have on hand!

  • Cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • Dried dill
  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Cardamom
  • Coriander
  • Cayenne Pepper (optional)
  • Chili powder
  • Madras curry powder
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Dried parsley
  • Dried chives (optional)
  • Garam masala (if you are making hummus but not needed)




Each 10 days you will get a new recipe list and a new grocery list to help you along your journey. Look for those on my blog within my website: http://www.chelseajyoung.com/

The idea over the course of 30 days is to find out which foods/ food groups your body thrives on and which may make you feel a little sluggish. The structure for each of the 10 days is below:

Step 1: over the first 10 days, we will focus on eating whole foods, closest to their natural state (i.e. eliminating all processed foods and thus getting more nutrients and energy)

Step 2: the following 10 days we will eliminate gluten and dairy (to reduce inflammatories and see how the body feels without them).

Step 3: the final 10 days, eliminate sugar (to further observe the body free of inflammatories and empty calories). Ie fruit, all other GMO grains (or all grains in general if you like).

The idea is to ease your body into these whole food changes. Can you have coffee? What about unwind with wine? See below for how we will approach the two!

Coffee: Yes you can have coffee! I want you to be mindful over the first 10 days on what you put in it. If you like cow’s milk in your coffee it will be a good idea to slowly decrease the amount you are putting in over the 10 days so when you get to day 11 you can eliminate dairy. Almond milk is okay, but is also processed and takes a bit of work to make your on own. So what is the alternative? Black coffee J….you may be surprised how good it actual is!

Alcohol: During the 30 days together we will be limited to drinking dry red wines. Dry red wines have the least amount of residual sugar. The driest red varieties are Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. You may drink up to, not more than 2 glasses. If you want to see faster results you can eliminate alcohol entirely, but sometimes social gatherings, celebrations occur and it’s nice to be able to enjoy a nice glass!

MAKE WATER INTAKE A MUST! More important than any food consumption is water consumption. Everyday make it your goal to at least drink 60% of your body weight in ounces. 100% if you took a hot yoga class! Water will help flush the body of impurities and allow you to eliminate extra bloat / salt the body is hanging on to, especially during the summer months

Foods Lists & Ideal Portions for sustained energy:

Vegetables: go nuts! No limit on how many a day you eat…should be in every meal!

  • Greens (kale, collard, spinach, etc)
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Tomatoes
  • Squash
  • Green Beans
  • Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Artichokes
  • Eggplant
  • Okra
  • Jicama
  • Snow Peas
  • Zucchini
  • Cabbage
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Radishes
  • Onions
  • Sprouts

Proteins: Make an effort to have at least 4 servings of the following. Serving size is about the palm of your hand. Those in blue will be eliminated after 10 days.

  • Sardines
  • Chicken Breast
  • Turkey Breast
  • Ground Meat (Chicken, Turkey, Beef)
  • Wild caught fish
  • Eggs (2 eggs/ serving)
  • Shelfish
  • Lean red meat
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
  • Pork Loin
  • Tuna
  • Protein Powder (See below for options)
  • Greek yogurt, plain
  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Cottage Cheese

Healthy Fats: These are so good for us but we tend to over-eat these if we get the chance, so be mindful here and try to stick with ½ cup total throughout your day. Those in blue will be eliminated after 10 days

  • Avocado
  • Nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, etc)
  • Hummus
  • Coconut Milk
  • Cheeses (Parmesan, Feta, Goat, etc)

Healthy Carbohydrates: This is what most of us will definitely crave after a yoga class and want to scarf the minute we get home, these are great quick sugars for our body but we want to make sure we have a good balance throughout our day. Try to stick with 1 cup cooked total throughout the day. Understand some days you might need 2 cups and others none, the body will ebb and flow with this food group. The items listed in red will be eliminated after 20 days.

  • Sweet Potato/ Yams
  • Quinoa
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Edamame
  • Peas
  • Refried Beans
  • Brown Rice
  • Wild Rice
  • Corn
  • Amaranth
  • Millet
  • Buckwheat
  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Steel Cut Oats
  • Rolled Oats

Fruits: This is the sweet most of us crave when we eat whole foods, it is easy to sit and eat a whole bag of grapes in one sitting if you are not mindful. Try to stick to 1 ½ cups throughout your day. All fruit will be eliminated after 20 days.

  • Berries
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Orange
  • Tangerine
  • Apple
  • Apricots
  • Grapefruit
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Kiwis
  • Mango
  • Peach
  • Nectarine
  • Pear
  • Pineapple
  • Banana
  • Papaya
  • Figs
  • Honeydew

Oils, Seeds, Nut Butters & Dressings: Keep these guys in check, they are great support for your meals and can easily be over used. I have the hardest time with the nut butters!! Try to limit yourself to 2 tbls throughout your day.

  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Olives
  • Coconut
  • Nut Butters
  • Seed Butters
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil

Great food compliments: Use as much as you would like of these to flavor your food

  • Lemon & Lime Juice
  • Vinegars
  • Mustards
  • Herbs
  • Spices
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Hot Sauce
  • Salsa

Protein Powders:

There are a wide variety of protein powders on the market. I drink my breakfast 5 out of the 7 days a week because as a busy mom I don’t have time to make myself breakfast. I use Vegan Chocolate Shakeology and if you are interested in learning / trying it let me know I can supply you a sample. My husband uses Orgain which is also a vegan chocolate powder from Costco.

If you have a protein powder and are unsure it is a good fit from a nutrition standpoint ask me and we can talk about ingredients. I think there are a lot of great protein shakes / nutritional shakes out there on the market. For this 30 days I would suggest if that is something you want to use, make sure it is whey-free and gluten free.

How to buy groceries & start cooking!:

Since we are eating whole foods you should stick to the outside of the grocery store and almost never have to venture inside unless your organic section is mixed in. Most stores have separated an isle or two with organic selection so you can stay focused. Organic can be expensive so for the purposes of this 30 days use the ‘dirty dozen’ recommendation unless you buy everything organic.

Dirty Dozen: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ALB00035/The-Dirty-Dozen-Foods-You-Should-Always-Buy-Organic.html

Things you can stock up on and have in the kitchen to use: things I use at least 1x/week in meals I make

  • Coconut Oil – Traders/ Costco
  • Cooking Olive Oil – Traders
  • Himalayan Sea Salt
  • Good Cracked Pepper
  • Cumin/ Coriander/ Chili Powder/ Garlic/ Onion Salt/ Italian Seasoning
  • Ghee –Traders or Raw butter from a local farm source
  • Fish Sauce – Red Boat Traders
  • Hot Sauce – Louisiana
  • Rice Wine/ Red Wine / Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Mustard – I like the grainy kind
  • Pepitas – Raw Pumpkin Seeds
  • Tamari/ or Coconut Aminos / Gluten Free Soy Sauce
  • Quality Balsamic Vinegar & Olive Oil

If you are shopping for a family I like to go to Costco…Great non-processed items to have on hand:

  • Organic Chicken – Easy to Freeze until use
  • Organic Ground Beef / Turkey/Bison – Easy to freeze until use
  • Frozen Fish from list below
  • Frozen Berries /Fruit– Big Money Saver
  • Frozen Spinach/ Kale
  • Frozen Organic Broccoli
  • Coconut Oil
  • Raw Nuts (Walnuts/ Almonds/ Pecans)– You could go organic here
  • Cooked Beets
  • Organic Eggs 24 pack
  • La Croix…I’m obsessed
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Green Beans
  • Organic Spinach / Greens
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Avocados
  • Chopped up Butternut Squash
  • Wild Caught Canned Tuna & Salmon
  • Organic Chicken Stock
  • Organic Black beans
  • Almond Butter

**Please do not buy anything processed…it may look / sound good but this program teaches us how to put whole foods together to avoid anything ‘extra’

Some of my favorites websites/ blogs out there:

  • Against all grain
  • Nom Nom Paleo
  • Detoxinista.com
  • The Clothes Make the Girl
  • Cooking Light
  • Paleo OMG
  • Paleo Grub
  • Minimalist Baker

Google 🙂 – I google what I have on hand and put ‘paleo’ in front so there isn’t any junk in there and taylor it to what I have in my cupboard.

Let’s do this!

Each 10 days you will be given 2 breakfast recipes, 3 lunch ideas, 5 dinner recipes and a grocery list for all 10. (This can be found on the blog)

Bring any and all questions to the website www.chelseajyoung.com under my blog posts so I can answer you and that way the group can see the answer incase they have the same question.

We will meet in person at Hot Yoga East Nashville on August 14th at 8pm and then again before our final 10 days to check in with everyone. During our 30 days together we can all post our yummy creations on instagram and support one another along the way! Exciting for our journey!!








  • Buti yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Bikram yoga,  Hot yoga,  East Nashville
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If you’re interested in joining our nutrition group to learn more about food and how it impacts your wellness, please keep reading! During the 30 day program, we will discuss nutrition principles, tips on how to buy and cook food, and try a few eating experiments to discover how different types of food impact our body. Our goal is for each person to create a sustainable nutritious lifestyle.

Chelsea Young, a full-time yoga teacher and mom has studied many food and nutrition trends over the last 10 years and boiled all this information down into a few key principles that she’ll be sharing with our group! What works for one may not work for everyone, so we’ll be sharing our experiences within the group to compare notes and best practices.

How will this work?

We will focus on eating whole foods for 30 days (nothing processed, foods in their natural state). Every 10 days, we’ll experiment with our food intake to get a little leaner and meaner so it doesn’t feel overwhelming to try everything at once. Our goal is to find nutrition habits you can sustain after our 30 days together.

1st 10 Days: Aug 15th – 24th Eat whole foods (unprocessed), monitor intake of dairy, grains & natural sugars (ie fruits)

2nd 10 Days: Aug 25th – 3rd   Eliminate gluten, GMO grains & dairy in diet

3rd 10 Days: Sept 4th-13th   Eliminate all grains and sugar in diet


The group will start August 15th. On August 14th, we will have an in-person group meeting at the studio so you can ask any questions and get all details before you start on Monday. Before our final 10 days we will meet again for further support and share best practices, recipes before we take on the final third.

Chelsea will provide grocery lists, recipes, tips & tricks to help you make this an easy and enjoyable 30 days. We will discuss how to use food as fuel for the body while creating beautiful, delicious meals with simple ingredients. This will be a great way to discover what types of food your body thrives on and which may weigh you down.

photo by Karsyn Dupree (@wldrnessa)


As part of our upcoming food and nutrition group – East Nashville 30!, we will be sharing our personal experiences and experiments with food.  We all have our own unique stories about how our relationship with food has progressed over time.  To start, let me share my story and how I became passionate about food and nutrition:

I grew up playing soccer and played competitively through college.  As an athlete and young person, I could eat and drink whatever I wanted and not see any negative consequences, so I had the typical American diet of processed foods with few nutrients.  I ate ready-made meals and had fast foods on the go – I even recall eating chocolate donuts and milk right before a game! I rarely gave a second thought to nutrition or a well-balanced diet.

After I graduated college and joined the world of corporate finance at GE, I sat at a desk for most of the day.  I knew I needed to do something to counteract the sedentary desk work and my slowing metabolism.  To compensate, I started training for marathons and packing what I considered “healthy” lunches to eat at work, which mainly consisting of a sandwich, chips, and a drink.

After a few years of corporate work, I discovered Bikram Yoga in Chicago in 2008 and fell in love with it.  A year later, I moved to Cincinnati, where there was no Bikram studio, so the only way I could get my yoga fix was to go to Teacher Training and then open my own studio.  In 2011, during my first year as the studio owner and manager, I was still working a full time job at GE and had a ton of things on my plate.  It was essential that I maintained my energy throughout the week to accomplish everything I needed to do, so I began to focus more on what food I put into my body.  It was during this time that I started experimenting with raw foods, paleo method, whole 30, and even did a couple of detox programs with health coaches. From all of these philosophies, I started to figure out what types of food groups my body thrived on and which ones made me feel tired, bloated and sick. I love experimenting with new ideas, and after trying each of these methods, I gained more insight into how to fuel my body in a simple, affordable and sustainable way.

In 2012, I got married and soon after became pregnant with my first child.  Food became an even bigger focus for me because I was now taking care of a family.  However, it’s really tough to eat clean, whole foods when you are pregnant and crave carbs all day!  To help reduce my carb and sugar cravings I made sure to have fats, proteins and low glycemic carbohydrates at every meal. Water intake during pregnancy was key and helped me create a habit of drinking way more water then I was ever used to. My best trick for flushing the body and ridding it of junk is water, water, water. Throughout pregnancy I allowed myself to eat what I felt I needed, but by this time, I had enough experience to know that I would feel worse, not better, if I went totally bananas (no pun intended ;)), so I continued to just do my best with eating smart while balancing life… like eating cookies, when needed. 🙂

In summer of 2015, I sold my yoga studio, had my second child, and moved to Nashville. With 2 kids, 2 big dogs, and trying to navigate a new city, it was the first time in my life that working out took a back seat.  Food was they key for me to stay healthy and maintain when working out everyday just wasn’t an option. To kick start my metabolism and regain my muscle strength after pregnancy, I tried a couple another eating program which again focused on whole foods, paired with portion control and healthy protein/fat sources, which continued to give me insights into foods that my body thrives on. Around the same time, I discovered Buti yoga and really fell in love with it. Buti was my Yang to my Bikram Yin.

Today I’m leaner and more confident than I’ve ever been despite working out half as much as I did 3-4 years ago.  How is this possible?! Food. In my opinion, the food I eat determines ~80% of how I feel on a daily basis (energy, confidence etc.).  Sleep and exercise are important too, but food has really been my foundation for feeling healthy and energetic.  I am by no means perfect in my nutrition and am constantly seeking to learn more, but my current philosophy about nutrition has been very effective for me, and I think I can help others too.

Part 2: So what and how do I eat?

I focus on eating whole foods in their natural state.  I try to make delicious meals that also look good because it helps me get excited about the food I’m eating. Check out all of my creations on Instagram (@chelseayoungyogi)! During the week I try to stay away from dairy, grains (corn, wheat, rice, oats etc), and sugars (including fruits and natural sugars).

I still allow myself a couple of guilty pleasures, or as I like to think of them: rituals. These include coffee and wine! Rituals of life, celebration and fellowship with others. My day usually starts with coffee (sometimes a few cups ….but hey, I’m a mom of two young kids and don’t usually get a full night’s rest ;)).  I frequently end my day or enjoy a meal with my husband and/or friends with a glass or two of red wine.

What works for me may not work for you, but I hope that the group will at least provide inspiration to experiment with your eating habits and optimize them to best fit your lifestyle. For me, re-setting the body with whole food and getting creative by making my meals from a local source is one of my favorite challenges and gives me a great sense of accomplishment!

I would love to have you join our East Nashville 30!  I want everyone to gain energy and pride in what you cook and put in your body. We will share great recipes that you can save and grocery lists to make things easy. After 30 days, you will at least have gained some insight into what type of foods your body responds best to and others that weigh you down. I also believe that when you do things in a group setting you find more inspiration and accountability to make positive changes in your life.  If you want to get a better feel for how I eat, follow me on Instagram @chelseayoungyogi to check out some recipes.

The group starts August 15th, and there will be a detailed plan coming to the Hot Yoga East blog page in the next couple of days, so stay tuned!


One of my heroes is coming to Nashville. East Nashville, in fact, coming to our very own studio! Esak Garcia is a legend in the yoga community. He was a legend before Instagram or smart phones even existed. In fact, you won’t find many filtered, Photoshopped photos of Esak out there, although you might find an inspiring video of his posture demonstrations at various workshops he leads around the world or at the USA Yoga Competition where he won the world championship. But Esak himself will tell you himself, it’s not about the best-photographed posture or the depth of your own postures, nor about winning a competition; it’s about learning from yoga, throwing out false conceptions that hinder us, and understanding that yoga means union within ourselves and with others. “You don’t need to push yourself to extreme depths to realize that.”

But Esak would also say that if pushing yourself, training for a goal or finding new depths in your postures, flips that switch for you, as it did for him, then go for it! He’s here to help. 🙂

Esak has been devoted his life to yoga for the last 22 years. His mother, a lifelong yogi, introduced him to yoga and to the Bikram practice when she attended the first-ever teacher training in 1994. While studying political science at Yale, Esak often practiced the classic 26 postures he had learned from his mother to supplement his football and martial arts practice, finding a small room on campus with a strong heater! After Yale, he went on to become a certified teacher under Bikram’s training and began teaching in San Francisco in 2002.

After reading the book, Hell-Bent, I indeed became hell-bent on meeting Esak. I was all-out obsessed with this “Jedi Fight Club” – the affectionate name given to Esak’s famous back-bending retreats. Author, Benjamin Lorr described his pain and struggle over 7 days of attempting upwards of 50 “wall walks” per day. I was enticed, while simultaneously fearful of Jedi Fight Club. From one page to the next, I both want to sell anything and everything to go to the 7-day retreat and/or close the book and never think about it again! But reading the final paragraph of the Esak chapter, I regain an obsession with back-bending and with Esak: “The next day, driving back to New York, I find myself doing wall-walks against the aluminum siding of a rest-stop gas station. There is a moment, where I wonder what I’m doing… But I just shrug my shoulders, roll my eyes at the sky, and arch back to meet the pain like it’s a moral obligation. When I’m done, my shirt is off and I’m smiling like a fool.”

Lorr also describes the person, the mystery – Esak Garcia. “In many ways, Esak feels like a shining example of the promise of yoga. He rarely sleeps, yet he never seems tired. When faced with a problem, his reasoning always begins with the communal. He has a diffident energy surrounding him. I understand that on a fundamental level, his body hums in a different way from mine… I want to know what he knows, learn what he’s learned.

And so we will. See you August 7th!