{We're Obsessed} Time to Groom Your Gut

photo via 

photo via 

Gut health has evolved from hush-hush to hot topic and it’s no secret that elimination is one of the most important movements our body makes– it amps up our immunity, metabolism and moods.

We all know by now that a diet rich in whole grains, fibers, fresh fruits, and vegetables is essential for optimal digestion. But we must also make room for good bacteria in our digestive systems. Probiotic supplements and cultured dairy products like kefir – yogurt’s three times more potent family member – have an abundance of them. Kombucha and fermented veggies should also be on your radar and are a great excuse to rescue your mason jars from the cabinet’s caverns.

Food isn’t the only thing we can ingest in order to digest either; activated charcoal may be the most buzzed about ingredient lately, but we've been telling our clients for years to buy some for its unique ability to magnetize toxins and keep you healthy on the road. - Lindsey Jarrett

Balinese New Year Celebrations

Nyepi, Balinese New Year, takes place every Spring, but due to moon cycles, the exact date changes yearly. In 2015 the holiday fell on March 21st and it left us longing to be back in this magical place celebrating with the locals. Enjoy this video we created of our 2012 wellness tour to celebrate Nyepi's Ogoh-Ogoh day where evil spirits are awoken in order to banish them and cleanse the island.

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Bogota | Colombia

PHOTO PRAVASSA©

PHOTO PRAVASSA©

Just back from our latest scouting trip we fell in love with the vibrant artistic nature of Bogota, Colombia. This modern city is spread out but with cheap taxi rides, an incredible bus system, along with walking and bike paths throughout the city, there is no excuse to stay in your hotel room. Like any major metropolitan hub, Bogota welcomes expats from around the world and offers food, hotels, and tours for any budget. Check out the gallery of our latest wellness travel finds. 

Interested in booking a #customWELL itinerary to Bogota? Click here

4 Reasons to Stay Active in Winter

photo via Shutterstock

photo via Shutterstock

It's not even March and we're already sick of the cold winter weather. We admit it happens every year. As the sunlight dwindles so does the appeal of the outdoors. Yet continuing to stay active in the cold months is vital for your wellbeing. Here are four reasons you should make movement a priority:

1. Boost Immunity. Research continues to show that consistent exercise, including a simple daily walk, strengthens the body's immune system. By increasing circulation, your white blood cells are more able to keep viruses, bacteria, and the flu at bay. Work a walk into your every day routine by going out to pick up lunch or taking the stairs in your office building.

2. Restore Energy. Your body already works overtime and the short days of winter can make you feel as if the day has come and gone before you've accomplished anything. Active rest like listening to a soothing guided meditation or visualization can keep your blood pressure, muscular tension, and nervous system in check. 

3. Try New Things. If you spend your time outdoors in the summer weather, use a nice, warm indoor setting as an enticement to explore in a new way. Check out the nearest rock climbing wall, try a spin class or an intenSati workout, walk through an art gallery, or book a fusion cooking class. Bonus points if you bring along a friend for motivation and company!

4. Maintain Weight. Of course we know we should be choosing salads over creamy soups this time of year, but the cold winter elements including lack of vitamin D can wreak havoc on our cravings. Manage your stress and food cravings by keeping your fitness routine in check. This way you can indulge a bit without a second thought. Then when you return to a more balanced diet in the spring, you won't feel like you have excess weight to shed.

{We're Obsessed} JADETribe

photo via Jadetribe

photo via Jadetribe

'Fashion with a conscience' is JADEtribe’s motto and their natural, organic, ethical textiles follow suit. You can find us wandering the streets of Thailand or Colombia with any one of their messenger bags– large enough to carry water and a camera, but not too big to be uncomfortably heavy. Our founder, Linden often get stopped in the streets and asked “where can I purchased this bag?” The feel of the hand-woven fabrics seems local no matter where in the world you find yourself. The fact that New York-based founder, Kimberly Hartman uses JADEtribe as a platform to employ small women’s co-ops in South East Asia makes us return every season to see what’s new. Get yours at www.jadetribe.com

Give Love

IMAGE VIA SHUTTERSTOCK

IMAGE VIA SHUTTERSTOCK

Love comes in all shapes - romantic, friendship, family connections - and having meaningful connections does a body good. Lowering your blood pressure and staving off loneliness are just two great side effects according to the Journal of Psychology and Aging. Rely on your loves to listen to you vent after a long week or provide you with an endless stream of laugher, which reduces tension and anxiety. If you are in a romantic relationship, make time for a special getaway and enjoy a sexual romp. "Sex is a great form of exercise that burns about five calories a minute, lowers your risk for heart disease, and improves your sleep." says sex expert Yvonne K. Fulbright, PhD. While it won't replace the gym, we'll give it a try, doctor's orders after all! 

{We're Obsesssed} Life Coaching Made Simple

Are you ready to start living your extraordinary life? Life Coach and Yoga Educator, Laura Erdman-Luntz thinks you are and she's made it her mission to spread the good word. As a former Five-steppers we can tell you that through her infectious enthusiasm, Laura guides her clients toward making their dreams a reality. By helping people discover what makes them deeply fulfilled and vibrantly joyful, Laura has had thousands of success stories over 20-years of teaching. Want to become one? Watch the video to get started. 

{Well On the Road} Kirsten Alana

PHOTO VIA KIRSTENALANA.COM

PHOTO VIA KIRSTENALANA.COM

Kirsten Alana
Travel Photographer

Most recently in: Germany and California

The one snack you can always find in my carry on is: Almonds!

Tell us your in-flight rituals: Since I am an avid reader I like to catch up on reading; I never take the time to do that between trips when there is always some other kind of work that demands my attention. I also like to write for the fun of it, in paper notebooks. The thoughts and ramblings sometimes later turn into pieces for my blog or are just kept for personal enjoyment later on. Honestly, my favorite part of flying though is just starting out the window (in daylight hours). I love to see the earth from up above. What I need to be better at, is moving around and walking aboard the plane. I always request a window seat, end up trapped and then emerge from flights with very sore limbs!

How do you conquer jet lag once you've arrived? I try to never allow myself a nap on that first day but I do try and have a cup of coffee and a healthy meal. I don't sleep until it's time to do so according to the local time. Then, I take a melatonin pill to make sure I have a good, long sleep the first night. I also recommend staying busy on arrival day– things like bike rides or long, uninterrupted walks help.

Which fitness icon best describes your 'workout on the road' style? I am terrible about staying fit while traveling, except by staying active through long walks and bikes rides, so I guess I'd say Bruce. I always mix it up. I am trying to become more of a yoga person and I'd like to do more outdoor adventuring because I do like being in nature. However, my travel for work is always more city focused, than nature focused. 

How do you keep sickness at bay? I carry airborne with me and I drink a glass with one tablet of the medicine every day. I try to get a lot of sleep and I'm not the person who stays out partying even after my work commitments are done for the day (as some other bloggers and writers do).  

What's your 'go-to' restaurant item? Steak! I'm such a meat and potatoes person it isn't even funny. Which is why I eat a lot of salads between trips, when I am at home!

What do you do to stay grounded? I am far more grounded when traveling, than at home. Living in NYC, it's easy to get caught up in all the wrong priorities. On the road, I'm more apt to get lost in cultures, stories, as well as the needs and worries of others that always seem more level headed than ours here in the USA.

What is your preferred method of staying connected with loved ones? WhatsApp or Skype- thank goodness for technology!

About Kirsten: Kirsten spent a decade as a professional portrait and wedding photographer before turning her lens to travel. Now you can view life through Kirsten's lense as she inspires via FacebookTwitter & Instagram. At home in NYC, you can spot her as the InstagramNYC  Community Manager and as a Walks of New York tour guide

6 Movements Toward Kindness

Photo via Shutterstock

Photo via Shutterstock

Many of us learned the staples of kindness in kindergarten: put others’ interests before one’s own, speak positively about other people, refrain from yelling or name-calling and share; but do these things really make us kind? In comparison to some people it does, but have I also cut someone off driving in the last month or let the door go because the person behind me was just a step too far to hold it? For sure. Have I diverted my eyes instead of embracing the chance to smile at a stranger? Absolutely. If we’re honest, most of us could identify these times, but the abstract idea of “being more kind” in our own lives isn’t something we often stop to think about, and when we do, it can be overwhelming.

At my yoga teacher’s recent dharma talk, we were asked to close our eyes and remember a time that we hurt someone- whether inadvertently or purposely. We were not to judge ourselves, but simply notice what the memory did to our physical bodies. Almost immediately my breath shortened, my shoulders and jaw tightened, and I got that awful sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. She then told us to let go of the memory and recall a time that we did something kind– either for a stranger or a loved one– and bring awareness to that effect on our bodies instead. This time, my breath deepened, shoulders relaxed and body became lighter and more expansive. Every action in our days, both big and small, have a tremendous effect on our overall wellness.

Increasing your kindness rating is a lot like learning to run– it takes time, training, and practice. With these six steps, you’ll be running a kindness marathon in no time. Here are six movements toward kindness:

1. {Crawl Forward} Be Kind to You
I could instantaneously rattle off a list about the things I’d like to improve about myself, but I’d have a bit more trouble telling you the things I like. Take the time to make a list of the things you love about you. Examine it and make a point to bring those things to the forefront of your mind. Wake up each morning, look in the mirror, and remind yourself of one of the things. Say it aloud because you deserve to not only think it, but to hear it. Cultivating kindness in our lives begins with being nice to ourselves first.

2. {Baby Step} Start With a Smile
Research shows that each time we smile our brain releases happiness hormones, which have a direct effect on our stress levels and wellbeing. Make an effort to smile more. Increase your kindness rating by making eye contact and smiling at two strangers per day. You’ll not only be increasing your own happiness, but chances are that stranger will return your smile and you’ll be helping to increase theirs as well.

3. {Take a Stroll} Say “Thank You”
Scientific gratitude expert, Robert Emmons, spent years studying how gratitude positively affects health and happiness. His work proves that being grateful creates physical, psychological and social benefits. Taking time to thank someone not only makes them feel appreciated but provides you with a chance to reflect on a reason you have to be grateful. Watch how this small action spreads positivity in the world around you like wildfire!

4. {Speed Walk} Offer a Compliment
You never know whose day you might make with a genuine compliment. Psychology Today calls them “little gifts of love” and in giving them, you'll notice the positive attributes of those around you. It’s easy to notice that a person’s outfit doesn’t match, but if you instead notice how great their new haircut looks, your focus moves toward the good and away from the bad.

5. {Go For a Jog} Donate Time
Time is arguably one thing many of us could use more of, and giving it to others is a giant step towards increasing kindness. Spend a weekend day volunteering at a local shelter or charity or, for those who may not have that availability, get creative: let someone merge into your lane during a traffic jam instead of cutting them off; allow the person behind you in line to go in front of you; stop to give someone directions even though you’re in a rush. These small things only take a few minutes from your life, but they can help another person tremendously.

6. {Full on Sprint} Practice One Good Deed A Day
I recently purchased the book, One Good Deed A Day which offers 365 simple ideas for increasing kindness daily. Suggestions like, "write a nice little note on the check to your server" and “ask your partner about his day and listen” make it easy to start cultivating kindness. Pledging to do a good deed every day is certainly a big a commitment, so go back to the baby steps and vow to be kind to yourself even if you miss a day of being kind to other people. My guess though, is that once you start inching toward kindness, it will start to become part of each step you take! - Kate Lombardo

5 Ways To Wellness In New Mexico

America’s Southwest is filled with vast sprawling landscapes and colorful floral oases that can be mistaken for mirages. New Mexico has an added air of Wild West and Butch Cassidy fused with healers and art galleries that make it unique in its own right.

PHOTO PRAVASSA©

PHOTO PRAVASSA©

Physical Activity

Rock Climbing. With over 300 days of sunshine a year, rock climbing is a year round sport in Taos (though morning shade is the best time to get started). Test your skills with the vertical to low angle granite cliffs in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, which offer beginners and experienced climbers bolted routes or multi-pitch climbs. Pack your gear and set out for an adventure on these uncrowded cliffs that offer magical panoramic vistas.

Stress Reduction

Absolute Nirvana. Located in a quaint B&B and run by an ex-pat French couple who were inspired after numerous trips to Bali, this spa has an other worldly feel. Spas and healing treatments are available on every corner in Santa Fe; to stand out, Absolute Nirvana only works with Master level therapists (that’s 17+ years of experience) and only use green, chemical-free massage products. I’d give you more details, but I only remember being expertly rubbed down and coming out of the room feeling like jelly.

Photo by Pravassa

Food Education

Santa Fe School of Cooking. In its 25th year, the award-winning Santa Fe School of Cooking led the charge toward a local, sustainable lifestyle tradition when it opened in the late 1980’s. Offering more than just hands-on cooking classes, you can make reservations for a restaurant walking tour or sit down and enjoy the spoils from a demonstration class. If you don’t have time for any of the above, just swing by for the market place and stock up on clay pots, cookbooks (written by the founders of course), and southwestern spices.

Spiritual Connection

Ojo Caliente Hot Springs Tranquilo. The sacred hot springs of Ojo Caliente have long been a gathering place for healing and rejuvenation. One of the oldest natural health resorts in the U.S., these springs have been generating geothermal mineral waters for thousands of years. The cliffside pools have transfixing, meditative views and the mud baths allow you to bake out the toxins under the desert sun.

Photo by Pravassa

Photo by Pravassa

Cultural Involvement

Taos Pueblo. As the only living Native American community, this UNESCO World Heritage site is worth a visit. Local residents will give you a tour through the village and walk you through their oral history. The adobe buildings date back to 1000 A.D. with most of the structures having been preserved from their discovery in the 16th century. Take time to chat with some of the 1900 Taos Indian residents about their thoughts on advancement of modernization and how it will impact their cultural heritage. Pravassa’s 5-tenet wellness philosophy is rooted in these core concepts: physical activity, stress reduction, food education, spiritual connection, and cultural involvement. These principles have guided our company’s wellness practices from inception and are the foundation on which we build our travel vacations and educational content.

{Well on the road} Alexandra Bonetti Perez


photo via alexandra perez

photo via alexandra perez

Alexandra Bonetti Perez
Founder of The Bari Studio

Most recently in: Dominican Republic & Turkey

The one snack you can always find in my carry on is: Dried pineapple.

Tell us your in-flight rituals: I love using time on a flight to stay offline. I like to read or write, and if the flight is long enough, both! I always bring a fiction and a business book to pick depending on my mood.

How do you conquer jet lag once you've arrived? Two ways: One, is powering through time changes to maximize play time (especially during quick trips). If I’m traveling to Europe, I’d rather power through the day and go to bed at night instead of taking naps, whereas if I’m traveling to the West coast, I try to go to bed at a reasonable time instead of staying up late. Two, is avoiding coffee or sleep medication. I'd rather stay as natural as possible by relying on healthy carbs for energy, and calming herbal tea before bed.

Describe your workout on the road style: I am an outdoor adventurer, but without a knack for the extreme and dangerous. I think the best way to get to know a place is explore it in the outdoors- few things bring me more peace and happiness. I love hiking, skiing, camping, swimming, and everything in between. One of my favorite countries to explore is Ecuador and one of my favorite trips ever was doing the Inca Trail in Peru.

How do you keep sickness at bay? I don’t really get sick while traveling! Is that just me? I love to eat local, stay hydrated, and sleep well!

What's your 'go-to' restaurant item? I gravitate to the specials. One of my favorite things about traveling is food- there isn’t much I don’t eat or like. I always try to find an authentic, local restaurant and order whatever the chef found in the market that day.

What do you do to stay grounded when away from home? I try to always stick to daily meditation, regardless of where I am. If I’m traveling somewhere remote and country-esque, I get outside as much as possible. If I’m traveling to a new city, I go for a run and explore the streets that way.

What is your preferred method of staying connected with loved ones? In an ideal world, I’m travelling with my loved ones! When that’s not the case, I check in via email and Skype. For the most part, though, I do my best to disconnect.

About Alexandra: Originally from Venezuela, Alexandra has lived in Cincinnati, Philadelphia, NYC, London, and the Hague, Netherlands. Keep up with her healthy pursuits at home and on the road via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Who knows, you may catch her at one of the Bari Studios newest studios in Newport Beach, California or Summit, New Jersey!  

{We're Obsessed} Yarok Hair

We love everything in this organic, all-natural botanical, consciously sourced hair line. Years ago we were lucky enough to be invited into their beauty kitchen in NYC and we were hooked. Our favorite product is the Feed Your Youth Hair SerumThis deeply hydrating treatment is applied ten minutes before you shower and is best activated with heat. The pure avocado and natural oils moisturize dry hair and remove product build up. Apply it at the gym post-workout and before you step into the sauna or plan a visit the Yarok beauty kitchen and score a killer head massage and a hot towel wrap.