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Floral Feng Shui- A Yoga Feast With CoreLife Eatery & Chuck Hafner’s Garden Center

Have you ever wanted to revamp your life, start eating and just all-around living healthier? So many people do, but so many people have no idea where to start, who to turn to. I can vouch for this, because up until about a year ago, my eating and workout habits were hit and miss at best. It started when I found an exercise I loved, for me this happened to be spin classes, and as my physical motivation grew, as I got over the fear of going to the gym by myself, the rest began to fall into place. But I know this isn’t the case for most people, and finding healthy options in Syracuse, where we’re trapped indoors for 9 out of 12 months can be difficult.

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This past Saturday,  CoreLife Eatery and Chuck Hafner’s put on an incredible Yoga Feast & Wellness Celebration, showing that getting out and getting active, eating right and having a good time is easier than you may think, and you’re not alone in doing so. The event offered yoga and barre classes in Chuck Hafner’s greenhouse, a kombucha-brewing workshop, Ayurveda lecture and “grow your own” container garden… all for FREE! Donations were accepted at the door and all proceeds went to the Get Livin’ Foundation, an organization that runs health and wellness, mindfulness and personal development programs for youth. The culmination of mental, emotional and physical health at the event was, in my opinion, an enormous success, and it was great to see so many women and men turn out for the cause and having such a fun time.

While at the event, I had the opportunity to try out a new CoreLife bowl (Spicy Chicken & Ancient Grains… TA DIE FOR), take a yoga class taught by Trish Law, Method 360 Founder & Fitness Director, and sit down with health coach Holly Lowery to talk all things healthy living but diet-free.

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I first found Holly when I went to sign up for the various wellness events being offered this past weekend. Although I was unable to attend her kombucha workshop, the idea behind this special tea intrigued me, especially with the ever present intestinal problems that I’ve been struggling with for years. Her overall thoughts on what it means to live a well-balanced life drove me to ask her a few questions about her own business and what it means to her to be healthy:

J: What exactly is kombucha?

H: Kombucha is essentially a raw, fermented tea that is made by aerobically (with oxygen present) fermenting sweetened black tea with a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), or “mother” as some people like to call it, and is filled with a plethora of probiotic bacteria.

J: How did you come up with the idea for the kombucha workshop?

H: I started brewing kombucha at home about 3 years ago, and after a little trial and error realized how simple it was to brew, and how much money it was saving me now that I wasn’t buying a bottle at the store every other day. Not to mention that brewing at home typically yields a more diverse and resilient body of bacterial than any store-bought brand. I had been tossing around the idea of teaching a class for awhile, as I love teaching people kitchen skills, and after a bunch of my friends started asking me questions and for my spare SCOBY’s, I figured why not. As it turns out, there are a ton of people who drink the stuff and are also tired of paying $4 a bottle to keep up their habit!

J: What exactly does being a health coach entail? What services do you offer?

H: Being a health coach means something a little bit different for me than most other health coaches, I think. Essentially, I look at your specific situation and goals, but look further than just the food and fitness stuff. I cover the total mind-body-spirit spectrum, because I don’t truly think you can have one in good standing without the others. I approach healthy from a non-diet perspective, offering my clients support and accountability while they uncover some of their underlying issues with food and body image. But rather than prescribing a cookie-cutter nutrition plan, we work together to figure out what does make their bodies and minds feel the best.

Currently, I offer a couple of different coaching programs, the first being my new course, Body Truce, which is currently open for registration until April 28th. The course is all about (re)learning how to feel confident in your body and how to eat in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling obsessive or guilty, which I truly believe is crucial if you want to get to a healthy place. I also offer a “DIY” coaching program where you can essentially design the program yourself. It’s meant to be flexible with your needs.

(To learn more about Holly’s services, visit her website here).

J: How did you get into workshopping “weird foods?” How does this fit into you overall brand?

H: I decided to call myself a “Weird Food Workshopper” based on the fact that I wanted to teach people a lot of things in the kitchen- some of them being weird like fermenting vegetables, making old farm tonics or brewing kombucha, but some of them being simpler. For instance, I also teach a workshop called “Play. Prep. Plate,” which is a dinner party-style workshop where we all cook two courses together and dine in a somewhat “fancy” space. It’s a really easy way for people to come together, learn something new and, if I did my job right, inspiring, and break bread. I don’t know anyone else doing this kind of thing, so in a sense it’s kind of weird, uncharted territory in Syracuse.

I like using the word “weird” because I think my coaching style is also a bit weird. Like I said, I don’t advocate for any rules or diets or prescriptive nutritional plans- it’s not my style, and at the end of the day I know it’s not sustainable. If I just told my clients what to do and what to eat to get to X weight or X fitness level, I’d be cheating them out of their own growing experience, and quite frankly, I’d be cheating them out of their hard earned money.

J: If you had to boil down your best advice for healthy eating/living into a 1-2 sentence mantra, what would this be? 

H: Oh gosh… well this is what I constantly return to in my own life: give yourself permission to have whatever it is that you want, so long as you stay curious about it. And no matter what you do, take pleasure in what you’re eating and how you’re moving your body. If you don’t feel that joy in your head, your body isn’t going to feel it either.

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After my super healthy lunch and great conversation with Holly, I was feeling pretty charged up and ready to tackle my yoga class. Now, while I am not a yoga junkie like some people, I do like to think that I am in shape, but when instructor Trish Law told that class that she “hoped we brought our sense of humor with us,” I looked at my friend Lilly, and we both knew we were in trouble. Anyone who has ever thought yoga does not constitute exercise, think again. Every time I take a class I’m reminded of just how clumsy and entirely inflexible I am. An hour and countless Warrior II’s and Bakasana’s later (no I did not take part in these), I walked away sweating and sore, but in a good way. Not to mention the fact that this class was held in a greenhouse, aka HOT BOX, this was the hot yoga class I had always wanted to take but didn’t realize I was signing up for. After watching the woman in front of me perform a headstand for a solid 3-4 minutes, though, I can genuinely say I’ll be back. Add *doing a headstand without breaking my neck or any vertebrae* to my bucket list. Trish, thanks for kicking my butt and for a fun, energetic class- I’ll definitely be back!

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