Creating a Home Yoga Practice with Janet Brown



Many people love going to a yoga class, but get overwhelmed when it comes to a home practice. They often rely on trying to recreate classes they have attended with varying levels of success. Today we hear from Janet Brown, one of the yoga teachers at The Wellness Center and a massage therapist with Heidi Ella Wellness and Massage to learn more about how to establish a home practice.

How do you recommend people start?

I always start by asking people what their goal is. From there you can build a sustainable home practice. You can also create one that will result in measurable outcomes based on their expected goals. If you were hoping to improve your core, it is less productive to work on multiple hip opening sequences, etc.

What should people expect of a home practice?

First and foremost, a home practice is not the same level of intensity and focus as a class would be. That is another thing I feel is important to bring up when working with private clients. Home practice is for you. It is maintenance. It keeps you present and able to decide to challenge yourself in the safer environment of class where you have a second set of eyes trained to check your alignment.

What style of yoga is best for a home practice?

Again, this goes back to their goals. I encourage people to practice a variation on what they do in class in order to maintain a certain level. But I find that it is difficult for some to integrate some of the more challenging (power or ashtanga) yoga styles into a home practice without years of experience. That is not to say it cannot be done. It is just a reality that you do not work solo the same way you would in a class setting.

Do you have any tips for sequencing for a home practice?

I would say, unless you are coming up with a series of  routines that you will work through, creating a full body sequence is more important that targeting one specific area. Also, like creating a home practice based on a goal, it is important to think about time of day you will be practicing. A gentle practice may be more appropriate for the end of the day. While a more intense practice may lend itself  to an early morning session. You know your body best. Listen to it.

Janet Brown and Alicia Cross teach group  and private yoga classes at The Wellness Center. Each are available to work with you to develop a home practice that will be safe and effective. For more information, check out the Yoga page of The Wellness Center.

Recipe of the Month: Easy, Healthy Lunch Ideas on the Go


Making a commitment to healthy eating is never wrong. But many of us find it difficult to maintain that commitment when it comes to lunch. It becomes a battle of reality vs expectation. You buy things ahead and hope to prep each morning, but are uncooperative or nuts, the greens went bad…it just doesn’t happen and frustration sets in. Next thing you know you are at the little fast food place trying to Google what you should eat.

Menu planning can be one of the most useful tools in creating a realistic expectations and outcomes. If I know I am making roast chicken one night (or dashing to the store for a rotisserie one when Plan A fails), I plan to use the leftover chicken in a salad the next day. If I make a larger dinner (like lasagna) one night, I plan on the leftovers being my lunch later in the week. Sounds simple, right? I will not lie and say each week runs seamless, but a menu does allow for me to make plans and allot resources in a more efficient manner than scrambling to be innovative each morning.

Here is an example:


Lunch-Lentil Soup with Brown Rice

Dinner-Roast Chicken, Roast Potatoes, Sauteed Spinach with garlic


Lunch-Balsamic Chicken Salad (1)

Dinner: Sausage Lasagna with Roasted Beets


Lunch-Chicken Rice Soup with Seaweed (2)

Dinner- Pan-seared  Salmon with Baked Sweet Potato and Roasted Broccoli


Lunch-Sausage Lasagna with Greens Salad

Dinner- Bean Enchiladas with Homemade Pico de Gallo and Guacamole


Lunch-Cheese Quesadillas with Guacamole

Dinner-Tagliatelle with Roast Chicken, Broccoli and Beets

Is it the most inspired menu? No, probably not. But each item is prepared at home from scratch. You will have control over quality of ingredients and quantity. Less sodium and fat and more fresh vegetables into your diet is never a bad thing.


1.Balsamic Chicken Salad

  • 2c Greens (I use baby spinach because it seems to be the best mix of hearty and taste)
  • 3oz roast chicken
  • 1/4c cubed feta cheese
  • 4-5 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • homemade balsamic dressing (1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp dijon mustard and salt/pepper to taste; whisk until emulsified)

2. Chicken Rice Soup with Seaweed

  • 2c homemade chicken broth (using the bones from the roast chicken)
  • 1/4c pulled chicken (rib and wing meat from roast chicken)
  • 1c cooked brown rice
  • 1 sheet of nori, crumbled

Heat the broth in a sauce pan until just beginning to boil. Add the rice, chicken and crumbled nori and turn down to a simmer. Simmer for 10 mins.




Setting Yourself up for Realistic Wellness Goals


Creating Realistic Goals

Each year you may embark on a new plan for a new you. You make a commitment to join a gym and eat healthier. With the best intentions, you start your way on this plan. Often this results in the inevitable backslide and then you give up all together. This does not have to be the norm. Rather than plans and intentions that set you up to fail ahead of time, spend time working on goals that are realistic for your life. And not just your Instagram life…

Start Small

Grand plans can be overwhelming. Investing in small steps from the beginning will help you process and integrate the changes you are trying to make in your life. Sure you read about it on a website and it sounded like a good idea. Then after several trips to the various stores to buy supplies and several attempts at complicated recipes later, you are tired and just phone it in. Not only is this is waste of resources, it does not get you to your end goal. Look at things you already do in your life and look to improve them. For example, do you really love your green smoothie at that little cafe every morning but it is full of sugar and not-so-nice ingredients? Investing in a good blender and finding some recipes for you at home would be a good step towards creating a wellness goal that in manageable and worthwhile. It is the small changes that build into large changes that make the most meaningful results.

Make Connections

Charts and graphs and lists can only take you so far when you are planning out wellness goals. While having a graphic reminder can be helpful, especially for you visual learners, but each item in your wellness plan should not be treated like it is a separate entity. You need nourishing foods to give you the fuel to rebuild and recover from starting an exercise plan. The exercise and healthful food will help to improve your quality and quantity of sleep. More sleep means a healthier you. It is all interconnected. You do not just do one thing for one result. Because of this, it is most helpful to create an interconnected wellness plan that has meaning to you.

Ask for Help

Just like your wellness plan is not made up of separate parts, neither are people. If you need help along the way, ask for it. Working with professionals in the fields of wellness is an investment in your overall health. Asking a friend to be a partner to you on your wellness goals will give you encouragement and accountability. Using resources like these is not an unnecessary luxury and they do not take away from the fact that you are the one doing the actual work. But they do make it easier for you along the way.



Product of the Month: Healing Hands Joint Repair B with Warming Mitts $35.00


The cold weather can exacerbate joint stiffness and arthritis. Our January Product of the Month is a combo package to help just that. You will get our new Healing Hands Joint Repair Balm with a set of Herbal Concepts Warming Mitts for $35.00 (a $43.00 value).

The balm contains:

  • Infused Olive Oil : willow bark, St John’s Wort, comfrey root, solomons seal and arnica with
  • Therapeutic Oils: andiroba oil, shea butter, beeswax, Vitamin E and meadowfoam seed oil
  • Essential Oils: Birch, Ginger, Clove Bud and Wild Orange

Use the balm to help to reduce stiffness and soothe inflammation. The warming mitts add additional therapeutic support.

(If you would like to try the balm, it is available in a tester in The Birch and Bamboo rooms! And we have the mitts to try, as well.)