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The Drishti Yoga Blog

Yoga, Health, Lifestyle, Clothing & Fashion

  • Health Recipe: Pimped Out Oatmeal by Rachel Wilkins

    Today's recipe comes from the fabulous Drishti boutique manager / SB yoga teacher, Rachel Wilkins! Enjoy.

    I don’t know about you guys, but cooler weather always gets me stoked on getting cozy and making warming, nourishing foods. Once the temperature drops and the days get shorter, I switch out my morning smoothies for a bowl of oats. Not the grey, boring,  gruel kind- the kind packed with super good for you spices, chia seeds and healthy fats.

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  • Fall Neutrals: Drab, or The Spice of Life?

    We at Drishti LOVE neutrals. Always classy. Always versatile. And now in hip in activewear!

    This fall and winter we are rocking these understated muted tones in a variety of ways. Here are some of our favorite pairings:

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  • 7 Mindful Ways to Curb Sugar Cravings by Andrea Ferretti

    Today's guest post comes to you from one of our favorite EVER yoga writers and fellow yoga enthusiasts - Andrea Ferretti. We are so thrilled to have her wise words just in time for the coming holiday season. ENJOY!


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    I was recently hanging out with some old friends and mentioned that I’m living a nearly refined-sugar free life. (I say nearly because I believe in balance and, on occasion, sharing a chocolate croissant with my family is worth it.) They gasped. While I’ve always attempted a clean diet, it was shocking for them to imagine their former fro-yo lovin’ friend off of sugar. I chalk it up to one of the things that a breast cancer diagnosis did for me – scared me straight off the sugar crack.

    You may have heard somewhere that sugar “feeds” cancer cells. According to reputable cancer centers like MD Anderson, that doesn’t appear to be altogether true. But, there are other reasons to reassess your refined sugar intake. For starters, eating excess sugar increases your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.

    Refined sugar is also nutritionally vapid – it’s a big zilcheroo. According to USDA people who consume the most sugar have lowest intake of essential nutrients, like vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, calcium, and magnesium.

    Beyond that, sugar affects your physiology and has an addictive quality to it. When you eat sugar, it quickly converts into glucose in your bloodstream, leading to a blood sugar spike. You feel a rush of energy – woohoo! But quickly thereafter, your energy crashes leaving you tired and unconsciously jonesing for another sugar high. There you are in your cubicle at 3pm and, man oh man, does just one more candy from the candy bowl sound tempting right now.

    In yoga, we talk a lot about training the mind to observe and stay neutral so that we’re not pulled by the vicissitudes of our thoughts and emotions. From a neutral place, we can make better decisions, be more productive, and have better relationships. When I applied the things I’ve honed in yoga – like self-observation and open-minded curiosity—to my diet, I learned that I was being pulled this way and that, several times per day, by the vicissitudes of my blood sugar. As nice as it was to have an occasional treat, it’s much more satisfying to feel grounded and stable. That’s what I think about when I’m tempted by something these days – I think, “Is this going to be worth it?” Usually the answer is no.

    So, if you’re with me, and you want to start curbing your sugar habit, read on. For those of you thinking – but nooooo! I can’t do this now! Not with Thanksgiving, Chrismakwanzukah Festivus around the corner! I will counter that by saying that the holidays are a great time of year to reassess your diet and strategize to get the results you want– balanced, energy-filled days where you’re satiated instead of caught in the thrall of bad fruitcake.

    Even if you don’t have the desire to cut out sugar altogether, it’s worth staying within the American Heart Association’s recommended daily range: For women that’s 25 grams daily—about 6 teaspoons. For men it’s 37 grams daily—about 9 teaspoons.

    Here are a few of my strategies from having been in the trenches myself:

    1. Basic Formula is TBD – Time. Balanced Meal. Dehydration.

    According to Karyn Duggan, a nutritionist at One Medical Group in San Francisco, the acronym “TBD” can help you remember the three most essential ways to set yourself up for nutritional success. To break it down, you need to:

    Timing -- Eat at regular intervals. When you wait too long to eat, your blood sugar drops and you start to crave simple, sugar-loaded carbohydrates to give you an energy boost. As One Medical Group nutritionist Karyn Duggan says, “At that point, there’s no chance of making a healthy choice.” Duggan suggests eating within one hour of waking and not going longer than 4-5 hours between meals.

    But, test it for yourself. When I first gave up sugar, I needed to eat small, protein-packed meals every 2-3 hours.

    Balance - Eat balanced meals and snacks. A balanced meal, says Duggan, has a combination of protein, healthy fat, and complex carbohydrates. This combo will keep your blood sugar steady, helping you to feel satiated. (To learn more about how to create this healthy balance, you can read my blog post, Best Tip for Healthy Snacking.)

    Don’t get dehydrated. “People often confuse thirst with hunger,” says Duggan. Her recommended intake? About ½ ounce per pound of body weight. So, for a 150 person, that’s 75 ounces per day.

    2. Taper Off Slowly

    Once you’ve got your basic strategy in place, you can get tactical about your sugar intake. I’m of the belief that it’s better to wean yourself slowly. For example, you can cut down on one sugary habit per week, like putting sugar in your coffee or starting your day with a sugary yogurt. Like yoga, going slowly helps you get to know yourself better: You can really feel what a small change does to your energy and mood. You can start recognize your habits, your challenges, and from there you can keep strategizing.

    3. Learn to Read Labels

    When you pay attention to labels, you may be shocked by which foods have hidden sources of sugar – ketchup, breads, soups, tomato sauce, granola, and salad dressings are just a few offenders.

    Any item that lists any form of sugar in the first few ingredients or has more than 4 grams of sugar is a no-go. (These are all ingredients to look for: high fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup, evaporated cane juice, glucose, malt syrup, molasses, lactose, sucrose, dextrose.)

    4. Eat Whole Foods

    It’s easier to avoid added sugars if you stick with the basics: fruits, veggies, and complex carbs that are loaded with fiber and will keep you full; proteins that will help keep your blood sugar steady.

    5. Trade Bitter for Sweet

    Bitter foods have compounds in them that make them healthy (flavonoids, carotenoids, or polyphenols). Americans tends to be stuck on the salty to sweet pendulum. But bitter foods can expand your palate and help you appreciate different foods. Anytime I have a sugar craving I take heed: I have olives, a Turmeric Toddy, or I make a dinner with some delicious bitter greens. I try to keep my food interesting and adventurous.

    6. Have Healthy “Treats” On Hand

    The last thing you want is for food to be a bummer and to feel deprived. Having some healthy treats on hand can be helpful as you’re weaning or if you know you’re going party hopping and you want to avoid mindless sweets.

    This past year I have become very creative in the kitchen with some major fails but successes, too. I’ve learned to make killer almond flour muffins, beet brownies, sugar cookies without sugar, and I’m working on a chai pound cake. I use agave or maple syrup in moderation in these instances – these are rich with minerals and agave is lower on the glycemic index (which means less blood sugar spike if used in moderation). But there is some evidence that even sugar substitutes create more sugar cravings, so I try to be modest.

    7. Don’t Try to Be Perfect. Find Your Perfect Balance.

    Is pumpkin pie your favorite dessert that you look forward to all year long? Then have some pumpkin pie! Did your kid’s ice cream cone nearly fall to the ground and you just had to give it a few licks? Look, you were just doing your job. What I’m trying to say is that it’s important not to lose your sense of humor about all of this. Do the best you can and don’t beat yourself up over the small – or even the large -- missteps. Food is fuel, but it’s also social. It’s a way for people to commune and share time together. If you want to indulge from time to time, my philosophy is that’s OK.

    What’s important to me is that I make conscious choices about what I’m eating – that I’m not sucked into a daily abyss by my cravings. If you feel like you’ve gone over the edge for a day or a week, reel it back in and ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” (Answer: To feel great!) “What do I have to do to find my perfect balance?” (Answer: Keep watching, keep breathing, keep tweaking along the way.)


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    Andrea Ferretti is the former executive editor of Yoga Journal. She spends her days writing and managing the blog for her yoga teacher husband, Jason Crandell, and hoping that her three-year-old will grow up to say “Please” and “Thank you.” You can find more of her writing here.

  • Yoga Alignment Tip: Quad Stretch Update

    Today's yoga alignment tip comes from our online store manager Candice, who also happens to be a certified yoga teacher :)

    Hi guys! Who among us doesn't have tight-feeling quads? Those guys are used so frequently: in our lunges and warriors of our yoga practice, on our awesome bike rides, and through imbalanced gait and tension patterns. Phew - I need a rest just thinking about it!

    Now this may sound obvious in theory, but when we go to stretch the quads, we want to make sure we are actually stretching (ie: lengthening) the QUADS. But all too often, we bypass this stretch by moving another part of our body - giving the illusion that we are stretching the quads, when really, we're doing something else entirely.

    But why? Why does this happen? Well, because those quads feel so tight, and we therefore experience limited flexibility in this region, many of us end up moving at the HIPS and/or SPINE to compensate.


    In this pic, we can see how I am attempting to stretch my quads by arching my low back excessively. My quads didn't actually have to lengthen at all in this move. But I did compress my lumbar spine, which isn't the point of stretching the quads at all. Also notice how my hips have tilted forward (which is called "anterior pelvic tilt"), and my knee has traveled back in space to achieve this shape.


    In this second example, my friend and fellow Drishti gal / yoga teacher Meredith is doing the same thing, but on the floor. She pulls her heel in close, allowing her low back to arch. Her pubic symphysis is no longer in contact with the mat because her pelvis is in an anterior tilt - this is the same alignment mistake I'm making in my standing pose.

    So how? How do I stretch my quads without moving at my spine, or my hips? Here's your tip!


    In standing poses, actively work a "posterior tilt" of the pelvis by drawing your tailbone down, and lifting your belly up. Most likely you'll feel a more intense stretch when you try this, and you may not have very much range of motion at all! One indication you're doing it "right" is that your knees will be more or less flush with one another. Notice how my knees line up here.


    In lying down poses, just make sure your pubic symphysis (aka "pubic bone") stays connected to the floor. Your heel won't come as close in towards your hip, and that's just fine! Your goal is to stretch your quads, not be on the cover of Yoga Journal. It's a little harder to see in this example, but notice how now Meredith has created some nice length in her low back, and her heel is a bit farther away from her glute in this version.

    That's it! Try incorporating this tip into your basic quad stretches, as well as any yoga poses that incorporate a quadricep stretch: Natarajasana, King Arthur, Dhanurasana, and more. :)

  • 7 Ayurvedic Wellness Tips for Transitioning into Winter

    Hi everybody! Today's post is brought to you by our lovely Drishti employee Michelle Rousseau- Santa Barbara based yoga therapist, yoga ninja, and Ayurvedic experimentalist.

    Screen shot 2015-11-16 at 12.46.12 PM Michelle modeling for us at the boutique. :)

    As fall ends, the days get longer, darker and colder. Our natural response to this changing of the seasons is to go into hibernation along with the rest of the animal kingdom.  Staying balanced and healthy is important during this time in order to gain the full benefits of this restful time and protect oneself from imbalance.  For some this might seem difficult to do, but thankfully, the teachings of Ayurveda provide us with guidance on how everyone can maintain vibrant health.

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  • People Who Inspire: An Interview with the REAL Modern Tarzan!

    Santa Barbara is known for being home to many household names: From pop stars like Katy Perry and Gigi Hadid, to entrepreneurs like Oprah and Paul Orfalea, to musicians and actors like Jack Johnson and Jeff Bridges - the list goes on.

    One of our Drishti blog contributors, Chantal Peterson, recently had a chance to interview a young athletic prodigy who will one day be included on such household lists. And yet, ending up on a list of famous people is probably the furthest thing from this man's mind.

    The truth is, you'd be hard pressed to categorize this guy at all. Is he an athlete, a performance artist, an activist, or a health guru? The answer is that he is all of them. His name is Nicholas Coolridge, but you may know him as Modern Tarzan.

    And he is, literally, just that.



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  • Harp Massage: Harping on the Best New Thing in Town

    What could be better than getting a really amazing healing massage? Or how about listening to a private concert of live classical music? The answer is simple: Experiencing both at the same time. Check out this review by Camille Robins of what may very well be, the best new thing in town...

    Yogis believe that the body is an instrument to be tuned through movement and breathwork. With a steady asana and pranayama practice, we know that we can strengthen and lengthen the body, sensitizing it to subtle internal and external experiences. There are times, though, when our own personal practices leave parts of our body untouched – perhaps we can’t connect with a muscle underneath the scapula that refuses to loosen; with the bottoms of our feet that carry us to all our commitments off the mat; with the browline that can forget to unfurrow on busy days. When this happens – when fine-tuning our instrument on our own becomes difficult – it can be helpful to look outside ourselves and our practice for help. A skilled massage therapist can be the perfect person to consult at this time, helping us to address the things we can’t on our own.

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  • Sporty Bras: Every Woman's Secret to a Perfect Activewear Ensemble

    Here is a little secret that most women know, but we thought we'd remind you juuuuuust in case. ;) Behind the scenes of every great activewear outfit, there is usually an awesome bra! Whether built-in to your yoga top, or worn on its own, the perfect bra makes an activewear outfit not only fashionable but truly functional.

    Here's a snapshot of some of Drishti's favorite sporty bras, and why we love each one.

    Merideth on the mountain_goddess bra

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  • Outfit inspiration for yoga mamas and their buddha baby bellies

    We were blessed to have local dancer, yogini and pilates instructor Kaita Lepore Mrazek come in to our boutique the other day with her 34 week budding baby bump - omg! Luckily for us, she wanted to try on some comfy, cozy, throw-it-on-and-feel-amazing styles. We learned that the secret to maternity wear is comfort and ease. We wanted to share her favorite Drishti outfits with you!

    FullSizeRender-3 The most radiant and stunning mama ever.

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  • This Just In: New Joah Brown Collection, Featuring LONGSLEEVES!

    falljoahpicWe just had our first little cold snap here in Santa Barbara (by which we mean it sprinkled on Monday, and yesterday it was a bone-chilling 65 degrees. Hehh). Thankfully, the new Joah Brown collection arrived just in time - complete with tons of cute and cozy LONGSLEEVES! Check out the Joplin Henley in Wash Graphite, the Essential Longsleeve Crew in White, and the For Keeps V Neck in Olive, to name a few.

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