Ashley Wray on Imposter Syndrome & Wellness When You’re Hustlin’ Meet Ashley Crush it in your career, live with confidence, do all the self care and don’t forget to smile! Women are balancing more than ever before between career, personal life, health & happiness. Ashley Wray is the founder and CEO of wildly successful Mala […]
Written By: Mala Collective Founder & CEO, Ashley Wray
I like to think our home is an extension of who we are. Our values, our mindset, our dreams and our goals are reflected there. When you look around your home, does it feel inspirational? Does it make you want to step into the best version of yourself, and reach for new potential?
I believe our home reflects our mind, body and spirit. Our homes are a physical manifestation of how we want to feel, and a reflection of our values. When Mala Collective started in 2011, this was a manifestation of how I wanted to feel. While we ultimately began creating mala beads, I have always held space for curiosity about what it means to create a sense of calm, love, and grounding in my home space.
This curiosity has grown, and Mala Collective has evolved into different ways we can support people’s meditation practice in their most beloved spaces. I asked myself often, what would it look like to be reminded of my intention and to reflect on my meditation practice throughout the day, rather than simply sit for a few minutes in unintentional silence each morning (or a few mornings a week) and then move on with the day? How do I turn meditation into a living practice, one that I feel inspired by throughout the day?
Below, I’ve outlined a few ways I personally hold space for myself to reflect, to connect and most importantly, to breathe. I want to encourage you to consider the ways in which you may feel inspired, too.
We all know the saying, ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ Visual reminders can be a powerful motivator for us to sit in meditation.
And if we have something that’s in visual line of our eyesight on a daily basis, we will want it to be beautiful, and reflect who we are. This space can be whatever you want it to be — a meditation room, an altar, etc. Just start small and grow and add to the space as you grow in your own personal journey.
Here are a few tips to creating a home space that inspires you to slow down, reconnect, and breathe.
Before you start putting together your area, get clear on your intention. This will help you decide what to bring into your space. Is it clarity? Maybe keep the area really clear and clean. Is it grounding or strength? Maybe use some darker, more grounding colors.
This is a gorgeous first step in bringing your intention to life in physical form. Not only do crystals help us clear a space, but they also help remind us of an intention. Personally, I like to place quartz crystal in my meditation space to help clear the area of any negative energy. Then, I will add in different crystals depending on what I am calling into that practice. For example, rose quartz is for love. While moonstone inspires our connection ton intuition. Lava helps us tap into our strength, while labradorite reminds us of the serendipity and synchronicity of the universe. I find that laying out crystals infront of me in my practice is a powerful reminder of my intentions, as well as a beautiful way to set the stage for my meditation.
Placing a cushion in a space helps to create the foundational space. For me, it represents the centre of my meditation space. From here, I lay out crystals, light incense, use my singing bowl, etc. But this cushions marks my center. I’ve heard from many people that having a meditation cushion in a visible spot in their home has helped remind them to meditate each morning.
Meditation cushions are also functional in a practice. A round, taller cushion helps to support and elevate your hips. It’s important in a meditation practice to keep your spine straight allowing your breath to fill your body in every corner. Elevating our hips helps us to do this. While a larger square floor cushion below the round cushion will provide padding for your knees and ankles — this helps prevent them from falling asleep in meditation. One less distraction during your practice! (This can also be a thick blanket or rug.)
Malas aren’t just beautiful pieces of jewelry you can wear — they are also tools for your practice. Like crystals, the different malas carry different intentions. This often comes down to the stones and crystals you have in your mala.
Personally, I like to have one or two malas that I meditate on that don’t leave my house or meditation space. My mala helps me to count my breaths and affirmations as I’m sitting in practice. It helps when my mind starts to wander — bringing me back to something tangible in my fingers. Because there’s 108 beads, it also helps me to know when I’m done a full meditation as working your way around a mala signifies a full practice.
Having a crystal bown or tibetan bowl is a beautiful addition to a home meditation space. Using one of these in your practice is a powerful inclusion.
Tibetan Singing bowls have been used in meditation and healing for centuries. Handmade by artisans in Nepal, our singing bowls are hand-hammered. This is the most traditional technique to make the bowls. The sounds from the singing bowls are thought to ease the brain into the same brain wave frequencies that induce deep meditation, clarity and intuition. The sound vibrations are believed to impact our nervous system, allowing relaxation and stress release.
I like to use the bowl and the beginning and end of my practice to help signify the opening and closing of my meditation.
Adding the ritual of scent to a meditation space is one of my favorite things to do. For example, lighting incense at the beginning of practice or a candle helps activate the space.
I also like adding aromatherapy by choosing a blend that aligns with the intention of the practice I am setting up. If it’s for calming, I will choose a most calming blend. If my meditation is for energy, I will choose a blend that reflects and supports that goal.
Personally, I always like to have something nearby that’s alive and providing oxygen. To bring something living into your meditation space is a simple yet thoughtful addition.
And finally, a journal. I always have my journal nearby so that I can reflect on my practice after meditating. It’s a great way to bring closure to your sit. Oftentimes, when I journal, I will include my daily mantra and any images, reflections, or feelings/sensations that arose during my practice.
A home meditation space is personal — only you will know what is truly supportive and reflective of your personality, desires, and intentions. Start small, and grow the space as you grow your practice. I hope this helps you take a moment for yourself in your busy mornings and evenings.
If you have any questions, comments or feedback on creating your home meditation space for who you are, or anything else mindfulness, meditaiton or self-love related you can visit me at www.malacollective.com or reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Namaste xoxo.
When I have anxiety one of the first things I do is reduce my caffeine intake. I cut out coffee completely and stick to one Earl Grey tea (my fave blend is Cream of Earl Grey by DAVIDsTEA) in the morning. Enough to clear away the brain fog while preventing the jitters and keeping my nervous system calm.
Reducing caffeine can also help you sleep better, stabilize those blood sugar levels (see ya crazy cravings) and tune into your hunger and fullness levels. Here are some of my fave reduced-caffeine options out there.
***Use discount code RawBeauty20 for 20% off**
There’s nothing like a nice cup of tea on a cool fall day…and it’s even better if the ingredients are organic and the mouthwatering flavours pack a nutritional punch. DAVIDsTEA is a favourite in our house (I’m embarrassed to tell you how many blends we have) and I wish I could pour every single one of you a big, warm cup of it. Below are two of my favourite blends:
Need a little immune booster? This vibrant tea is bursting with freshly squeezed orange, sight saving carrot and a sunny dose of Vitamin C. With hints of hydrating hibiscus and tart lemon, it’s a citrusy tonic that’ll leave you feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after one sip. Did we mention it’s amazing hot and iced? Go ahead and C for yourself.
Need a good night’s sleep? With four organic infusions made with ultra-relaxing ingredients like valerian and chamomile, this variety pack of 20 tea sachets will have you ready for bed in no time. Unwind with floral Serenity Now and honey-scented Calming Chamomile, or prepare for drift-off with Dream On. Need to catch some serious Zs? Reach for fan favourite Mother’s Little Helper. Good night!
Organic •Kosher •Fair Trade •Caffeine Free
FOUR SIGMATIC MUSHROOM CACAO MIX with REISHI
I started hearing about adaptogens about a year ago, and since then have learned they are natural substances that help our body deal with stress and fatigue. One of my favourite ways to incorporate them into my routine is with superfood mushroom magic from Four Sigmatic! You read that right…mushroom! They offer everything from a mushroom cacao mix to a turmeric latte, all packed with the benefits of mushrooms and other superfoods (but without mushroom taste). My favourite is their Mushroom Hot Cacao with Reishi for a mid-afternoon pick me up or bedtime treat. It really packs a (caffeine-free) punch to calm my nervous system and build immunity all while tasting creamy, chocolatey and delicious. Win!
Organic • Paleo • Vegan • Caffeine Free
KOMBUCHA – RISE GINGER & WHISTLER ELIXIR RAZZ-GOJI-ROSE
Rise is a Canadian produced, organic, fair-trade vegan kombucha (a mix of tea, water, raw sugar, natural flavours, and SCOBY culture fermented together into a delicious concoction). The perfect balance of fizziness and bold flavour, Rise Ginger Kombucha does have a small amount of caffeine in it but nowhere close to the amount in a cup of coffee- this flavour is actually brewed with white tea, making it the ideal choice for those of us who are sensitive to caffeine’s effects.
Organic •Vegan •Canadian •Low Caffeine
Whistler Elixir brews their kombucha in small batches right in my neighbourhood, with a focus on local ingredients and whole botanicals and fruits to improve overall well-being. Their Razz-Goji-Rose flavour is my go-to, a delicious blend of organic raspberries, goji berries and rose petals.
Many people who drink Kombucha credit their improved gut health and the antioxidant properties as health benefits…but the fact that Rise and Whistler Elixir are organic, local companies is enough for me!
Organic •Vegan •Canadian •Low Caffeine
Do you have any favourite low-caffeine beverages that we can add to the list? Share them below and we’ll credit you in the post! Our goal is to make this a beautiful resource for anyone looking to reduce their caffeine intake.
xo – Erin
Essential oils offer an effective, natural way to support your wellness. However, just because something is natural doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take precautions when using it. There are varying grades of essential oils and limited regulation of the industry, which can make it difficult to know where to start when incorporating them into your day. I did my research and then jumped on a call with Saje’s National Product Educator, Linnette Carriere, to get the 4-1-1 on essential oils so that we can all reap the benefits in the most effective way possible.
Here’s what you need to know:
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are known as the life force of plants. They are highly potent chemical compounds, created in nature, by nature to help plants thrive. Unfortunately, many essential oils on the market are nature-identical, synthetic or adulterated in some way. To get the most effective and safe benefits, always look for oils that are 100% natural, like the ones you find at Saje.
How Do Essential Oils Work?
When you apply an essential oil blend topically, it moves, directly into the bloodstream through hair follicles and skin tissue. Once in the bloodstream, the molecules are carried to the area of need where they can have their powerful effect. It’s recommended to apply essential oil blends to areas where your blood vessels are closest to the surface of the skin, such as your neck, wrists, and temples.
When you inhale essential oils, molecules travel through the nose to the olfactory bulb, a structure in the front part of the brain that helps process smell. From there, they are sent to the limbic system where the aroma is processed in the amygdala, resulting in the release of neurochemicals. These chemicals can be stimulating or relaxing depending on the essential oil being inhaled. This process is what links the power of plants to our mind and body wellness.
How Can I Feel Confident About Essential Oils?
One of the reasons we love Saje is that their team has spent over ten years working with Health Canada to license many of their remedial blends as natural products in the Natural Health Product system. After launching in the US, they worked to register certain formulations as Over the Counter Drugs with the FDA and recently have become certified 100% natural with the National Products Association. Saje is all about creating enriching natural products that are recognized by regulatory bodies.
That being said, not all companies are as proactive and committed to natural products. Even the best quality ones can cause adverse effects if they aren’t used properly, so we’ve outlined some key steps to help you use essential oils effectively and safely:
- Always test new oils on a small area of skin, then wait 24 hours to re-apply to ensure there is no irritation.
- Never apply single note essential oils directly to the skin. For topical use, always blend with a carrier oil, or choose a pre-blended option like as Saje’s roll-on remedies, which are intended to be applied directly to the skin.
- Look for companies that do GC/MS testing on their oils. This ensures you are getting pure oils that do not contain additives or synthetic ingredients.
- Only diffuse in well-ventilated areas, ensuring pets are able to remove themselves from the room if they need to (animals can be much more sensitive to oils).
- When diffusing essential oils, only diffuse for 30-60 minutes and then allow at least 30-60 minutes before turning it on again. We want to allow your body to respond to the oils at its own pace.
- Keep out of eyes and ears and wash your hands after using them.
- Never use photosensitizing oils like lemon, lime, bergamot, and grapefruit before exposure to UV, as you may increase your risk for sun damage. Try to store these allow in a cool, dark place.
- Always check with a family physician before using essential oils on children or when pregnant or breastfeeding.
How Do I Use Essential Oils?
There are two primary ways to get the benefits of essential oils: Breathing them in or applying them topically to the skin. Below are three of our favourite methods for getting the beautiful benefits of essential oils.
1. The Saje Breath
Roll your favourite Saje remedy onto the palm of your hands. Rub them together vigorously to warm the oil, then cup your hands over your mouth and nose, taking a deep breath in while holding your palms close to your face. I show how to do a Saje breath in this video.
2. Ultrasonic Diffuser
Diffusers not only look beautiful, they can also improve air quality and safely deliver essential oils to your system. Diffusers produce negative ions, which bind to dust particles, making them heavier and dropping them to the ground (where they can easily be vacuumed or cleaned). At the same time, they’re filling your space with naturally pleasing aromas that are packed with benefits.
3. Roll-On Remedies
Essential oils should always be blended with a carrier oil before topical application. Most essential oils are very potent and, depending on your environment and your skin type can be too harsh if applied straight to the skin. Saje blends its essential oil remedies with pure and gentle carrier oils for safe, topical application. This allows for targeted, quick action for specific wellness needs.
Are Essential Oils Safe for Young Children?
Babies and young children have more sensitive nervous systems so extra precautions should be taken when using essential oils around them. As a general rule, children under the age of two should not be exposed to essential oils. There are a small number of oils that can be used around older children. A great option is Saje’s Aroma Fairy blend, as it was formulated specifically for children to enjoy. For more information, I recommend reading this article: READ.
Essential oils have enriched my wellness and the daily routine in our home and I can’t wait for you to experience the benefits too. Whether you’re having trouble sleeping, experiencing aches and pains, craving an energy boost or just looking to make your home smell like heaven, there is an essential oil to support you! Head on over to staging.rawbeauty.co/Saje to learn all about my favourite products (the ones we use EVERY. SINGLE. DAY) and for a tutorial of the Saje Breath.
For a limited time our friends at Saje are offering you 20% off everything online with the code RAWBeauty20!
If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below and I will get back to you!
Meditation has been such a powerful tool for me throughout my wellness journey, helping me to practice staying objective and calm no matter what else is going on in my life. Whether it’s a body scan, vipassana meditation, mental rehearsal or guided meditation, you can find me on my cushion 4-5 times a week for a minimum of twenty minutes. While I believe you can practice in any environment without fancy tools and resources, there are definitely a few essentials that I can count on to take my experience to the next level!
MALA MEDITATION CUSHION
Having a designated meditation space in my home really helps me focus and makes my practice more intentional. My absolute favourite element of my space is my meditation cushion from Mala (and it also serves as a great reminder to take the time to practice when I see it in my house!). Designed to support your mindful journey while meditating at home, these cushions are handmade in India and are the perfect height to support your hips and knees. Bonus: they make for a beautiful addition to any room!
Use code: rawxmala for 20% off any Mala Collective purchase.
SAJE AROMA OM DIFFUSER AND TRANQUILITY DIFFUSING BLEND
Please note: If you have kids or pets, it is important to read the labels of all essential oils before use to ensure they are safe.
If you follow along on my insta stories, you know that I am a huge fan of everything Saje and have multiple diffusers in my home. The Aroma Om diffuser comes in a variety of sizes and colours so you can choose one that fits perfectly in your home, and the beautiful stone one in the image about has three timer settings you can choose from. This ultrasonic diffuser purifies and humidifies, and when it’s filled with Saje’s Tranquility blend you’re truly restoring balance and harmony to your sacred space. Tranquility was designed with downtime in mind and is a grounding blend of roman chamomile, lavender, and marjoram.
Use code: RawBeauty20 for 20% off any Saje Wellness purchase
MEDITATIONS FOR SELF LOVE: DIGITAL DOWNLOAD PACKAGE FROM RAW
Meditations for Self Love: Digital Download Package is a collaborative effort between therapist, mind-body medicine researcher, author, writer and all-around amazing woman, Michele Kambolis and I. Focused on self-love and creating the consciously healthy, happy, confident life you were born to live. Available now, this package is mindfully priced so that everyone can take advantage of the benefits of guided meditation.
What’s In The Package?
Meditation 101 Handout
Self Love Worksheet
Four guided meditations (10-15 minutes each):
Meditation for Self Love with Michele Kambolis
Meditation for Self Healing and Grounding with Michele Kambolis
Mental Rehearsal for Self Love with Erin Treloar
Mind-Body-Heart Scan with Erin Treloar
When Your Foot Doesn’t Fit the Glass Slipper with Gabby Reece Meet Gabby… Gabby Reece is a world-renowned athlete, former pro-Volleyball player, TV personality, New York Times bestselling author, model, wife and mother to three girls. She was Nike’s first female spokeswoman and her commanding presence, passion for healthy living and fitness expertise makes her […]
Have you ever scrolled on your phone late into the night and then felt frustrated when you couldn’t fall asleep? Have you brushed your teeth while mapping out your schedule for the next day or washed your face while ruminating on something that happened earlier? I have and my guess is you’ve been there too.
Without enough sleep our body isn’t able to recover and replenish from the busy, connected lives we live today. Even though it is such a vital component of our wellness we don’t give it nearly as much attention as exercise or eating well. Without enough shut eye we have a tendency to choose unhealthy foods, we don’t have as much energy to move our body and we aren’t as productive. It turns out sleep provides a foundation for wellness that can’t be ignored.
Here are three beautiful rituals I’ve added to my bedtime routine thanks to my friends at Saje Wellness to help my body and mind unwind so I’m setting myself up to get the sleep of my dreams.
1.Scent the Mood
About 30-60 minutes before bed I add a few drops of Saje Tranquility Oil to my Aroma Om Diffuser to set the mood. A beautiful mist of calm starts to fill my room with a gentle scents of lavender, chamomile and marjoram, telling my nervous system it is time to relax.
2. Roll-On Relaxation
After I brush my teeth, wash my face and do my meditation, I do a Saje Breath using my Sleep Well Remedial Oil from Saje. To do a Saje Breath simply place a few drops of Sleep Well calming oil in the palm of your hands. Rub your hands together to warm the oil, then cup them around your nose and mouth and take 2-3 low and slow breaths. Elongate the breath out to turn off the fight or flight response and into a relaxed state.
3. Surrender to the Sleep Mask
When I’m ready to sleep I pop on my Saje Shut Eye Sleep Mask to help me slip into a dark, calm environment. This mask smells like heaven and has an incredibly soft liner so you don’t wake up with marks on your face. The elastic attaches at the back with velcro so you can secure it comfortably and I find it reduces puffy eyes in the morning.
I hope this inspires you to really relish in the simplicity of self care so that you can get the shut eye your body truly deserves. And for those moms out there with little ones and the girl with the crazy deadline coming up…I see you. I’ve been there and will probably have one of those nights again soon. Get through it, and when you can, start incorporating some of these tools to help you get back on track.
Now I’d LOVE to hear what you do to wind down at night in the comments below!
An 8-minute meditation to help you connect with your body’s innate wisdom and tap into it’s power.
Your body is on your team. It is a brilliant and sophisticated system designed to support you in experiencing life to the fullest. Our senses allow us to experience various dimensions of our human experience and we have the gift of feeling all kinds of emotions that enrich our lives. In moments our experience can be challenging and even painful and we’ve found many ways to avoid the uncomfortable feelings. We use food, our devices, tv, alcohol and other tactics to avoid the hard parts. We create a divide between our mind and our body, speaking negatively about it and trying to control it rather than work with it.
Our body is sending us thousands of messages every moment, communicating it’s needs and yet we rarely tune in to hear what it is asking for.
Sleep | Water | Movement | A Hug | A Good Cry | Stillness | Nature | Work | Sex | A Quiet Night At Home | A Dance Floor | A Green Smoothie | Deep Conversation….
What if we started tuning into our body’s requests and innate wisdom more often? I truly believe that this is the first step in truly becoming our happiest, healthiest, most confident self. This one simple thing can help overcome anxiety, overeating, unhappiness, many illnesses and low self esteem amongst a host of other things. In order to find our power we have to learn how to tap into our greatest energy source – our body.
This Mind-Body-Heart scan is an easy 8-minute meditation that will help you start to notice what is going on in your own body. You can do it as often as you need and we recommend using it as a tool when you’re feeling unsure, anxious, disconnected or in need of some TLC.
As you do it notice what your body is asking for and honour it. To download your free Mind, Body, Heart Scan, click HERE.
Pic by French Girl Organics
We believe self care should feel good, be great for your body and be gentle on the planet. We’ve spent the last two years trying every product we could get our hands on to come up with a list of our fave items so you can save your time and money. Here’s our favourite non-toxic, cruelty-free and feel-fab body products for 2019 (hair, face and sun-safe lists coming soon!) so you can elevate your “you time” to the next level.
Woo More Play
Coconut Love Oil
An all natural personal lubricant made from organic coconuts, beeswax, vanilla essence and natural ingredients. Because you deserve great, healthy sex and your body deserves great, healthy ingredients. We’re obsessed. You’re going to be obsessed. You’re welcome in advance…
BKIND Konjac Facial Sponge
BKIND’s Konjac facial sponge infused with bamboo charcoal cleans your face in a single step without soap, meaning your beauty routine just got a whole lot easier. This 100% natural and biodegradable sponge is made from Konjac root fibers. Its irregular texture makes it a perfect smooth sponge that exfoliates very gently and is perfect for the most sensitive skins. Because the Konjac sponge is a cleanser itself, you can now reduce the use of plastic bottles!
This Konjac sponge is perfect for oily and acne prone skins.
K’Pure Drenched Moisturizer
Whipped Face & Body Butter
Meet the most luxurious face and body butter ever created by a mom of four! Whipped into a hydrating mousse; organic shea butter, organic coconut oil, mango butter and almond oil will melt on contact with skin and absorb beautifully, leaving skin silky smooth and never greasy. This moisturizer contains no water or fillers so you only get high quality ingredients. We can’t get enough of the delicious extra rich vanilla scent in the cooler seasons and the Patchouli/Orange for warmer weather. Warning: you’re going to want to eat this one.
French Girl Nail & Cuticle Oil
As a serial nail biter this beautiful oil is my new best friend. An enriching blend of dynamic extracts and essential oils help improve and maintain the health of nails and cuticles. Argan and pomegranate oil provide essential fatty acids for deep hydration. Rosemary and rose geranium essential oils help stimulate nail growth. Hemp and tamanu oil contain powerful healing, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. Take care of the hands that take such good care of you.
Everyone for Every Body Lotion
3-in-1 Coconut + Lemon Lotion
French Girl Lumiere
Caramel Shimmer Oil
Photo from @design_lovers_of_ig
If self love is an action we take to honour the unique individual that we are and the home that we live in – our body – it only makes sense to become more mindful about the products we are using for beauty, personal care and within our household. There are over 10,500 unique chemical ingredients used in our personal care products – some of them you can eat and some of which are known or suspected carcinogens, toxic to the reproductive system or known to disrupt the endocrine system.
I started detoxing our home when I was pregnant with James in 2015 and I still haven’t found alternatives for everything. I take an “everything in moderation” approach to detoxing products in the same way that I eat food. I still use L’Oreal mascara and eat Oreos because they make me really happy. I don’t think you need to part with products you absolutely love but if you can move towards cleaner products in some areas great! Here are some tips on becoming more mindful with the products you use…
Tips for Detoxing Your Beauty Routine
- Only replace items as they run out. Shifting to cleaner products shouldn’t break the bank and I never want to promote waste (unless you’re having bad reactions to the products you are currently using!) so just pick-up an alternative when your current option starts to run out.
- Use the Think Dirty app or EWG’s Skin Deep online program to learn more about the products you are using. Some of them might be great (it’s hard to tell just by reading the labels) and won’t need to be replaced. Think Dirty also provides recommendations from users so you can read the reviews to learn more about alternative options.
- In terms of products, most people I spoke to recommended switching out your deodorant first as we use it daily in a sensitive area that is right near our lymph nodes and our breasts. Traces of parabens (often used as a preservative) have been found in breast tissue. My favourite is Agent Nateur in Holi Rose.
- Next look at the items that you use everyday that could be absorbed by your skin – body lotion, sunscreen, foundation etc. and try to source alternative options.
- Check out our list of skincare product favourites that I’ve fallen in love with since I started to dive into this world. Body products we love HERE. Face, hair and sun-safe product suggestions coming soon.
Do you have tips for people who want to be more mindful about the products that they are using? Share them below and we’ll add them to the list, crediting you! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.