True You Hot Yoga Lodi Stockton

True You Blog

10 Years of Gratitude

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I remember so clearly the day I knew I was going to open a yoga studio. I was one week into my practice and this little voice told me, "Open a yoga studio in Stockton." At the time I was not connected to the Stockton community. As a matter of fact, as a kid I was told never to go to Stockton. :) However, the voice inside of me was strong and distinct and I had every intention of listening. It took me 4 years to make my first real move in that direction. I practiced yoga relentlessly for years taking countless workshops, reading books, and seeking the truth about yoga.

Finally in the fall of 2006 I took the plunge by quitting my job and attending Bikram's Teacher Training. I got home from training in November and within a week God's plans for me began unfolding as I met my business mentor and started writing my business plan. Denise Ost, a local Stocktonian, served as my mentor and Community Business Bank of Stockton loaned me my start-up cash.

I remember the first time I saw 2341 Pacific Ave. I thought to myself, "This place is huge--it's too big for me!" I was coaxed by several people to take the risk. "Build it and they will come," one of my close friends said to me. At the time I was married. My husband, his family, and my entire family(!) provided much of the labor to build the studio as Bob Leonard Construction oversaw the project. People coming to the studio today may not realize that I helped tear down and rebuild the studio with my bare hands. I spent my Thanksgiving holiday in 2007 demoing the front lobby, more days loading a massive pile of old debris, and months assisting in building walls and sealing ducts. I went to Home Depot countless times while working long, long days to build the studio in just 5 months!! It was extremely hard work and only God could have made it happen so fast.

On Friday, April 11th of 2008 I opened my doors. My first class at 6am had 9 people in it. The studio opened offering 21 classes a week. In no time at all my passion for yoga paid off. People started to flood through the doors and there I was, a proud hot yoga studio owner in Stockton, CA!

I almost wish it was as simple as that but of course it was not. Little did I know that God had more plans for me. The plan was never to simply own a yoga studio--I had much to learn as a studio owner. I learned some massive interpersonal lessons, with a variety of people, which would deeply humble me, teach me to be compassionate, and show me what real yoga is.

Most of you do not realize that I almost lost our studio several times. The internal pressure of surviving a second studio, lease issues, a changing market, and personal growth polished me in a way that only experience can. More people than I can mention here saved my ass along the way and like so many times before, the community, YOU, helped me through! You trusted me, you were patient with me, you put your resources into the studio when I really needed it, and we made it work together. There have been so many twists and turns in the last ten years that cannot all be expressed here, but please know that I am so grateful to you, I am so proud that we have made it this far, but above all I am so happy that I got to learn so many lessons through owning a yoga studio with YOU.

What started with a few instructors has rooted into meaningful and lasting bonds resembling a real family. These bonds now reach far beyond my comprehension. At some point the studio was no longer mine, but ours as I simply became the steward of something that was much bigger than me.

True You has been built on loyalty and excellence. I have pushed our teachers to be their very best in very direct ways. The strong ones survived my style and have come to serve you in incredible ways, taking deep pride in their own excellence and representing the True You brand. I could not be more proud of them!! (crying right now) We are very loyal to each other and we take great pride in providing you the best service possible on any given day. A special Thank You to all the teachers, past and present!

Today True You is a staple in Stockton. It has become an important part of the fabric of the Stockton community. True You is a place people come to have a good time and feel the warmth and light the building has to offer. I t's a place people rely on in times of trouble. It's a soft place to land after a hard day's work and a fierce place to be when you need to sweat and feel amazing. You don't have to tell anyone what's going on with you, but somehow coming to True You will provide you the strength you need and the answers to your questions. In the beginning and in the end all the glory goes to God. I thank God for every experience I have had over the last ten years and one more time I want to Thank You.

My goal is that as many people as possible in our area practice yoga so that we can feel amazing every damn day. At our Gratitude Festival on April 28th I am going to announce a Thank You gift. Please come to the festival to enjoy our community, have a lot of fun, and receive our gift of gratitude.

I love you so much! Namaste

Tips for Replacing Bad Habits with Good Ones During a Major Life Transition

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It’s hard to make big changes in your life - even if you know you need to make them. Whether it’s giving up a bad diet and starting to eat healthy, beginning to exercise instead of living a mostly sedentary life, or distancing yourself from people and activities that are causing you too much stress, the human brain loves to resist change. Taking a major life transition, like moving or starting a new job as an opportunity to piggyback some other lifestyle changes is a strategy that many employ. Here are some tips for replacing those bad habits with good ones.

Actually replace the habit

We develop bad habits for a reason - whether they provide some sort of pleasure, convenience, or a combination of the two. Habits are also hard to break, because we become desensitized to their negative effects the more we do them. This is why it’s vital that you not only cease doing or participating in whatever activity or situation is harming you, but that you find something to actually replace it with - perhaps something that provides a similar benefit (but healthy and productive). For example, if you’re trying to stop smoking, take a short walk whenever you have a craving or set up a small home gym so that you can do a quick 5 - 10 minute workout using your treadmill or weights instead of smoking. Or if you’re trying to end a negative relationship, meditate each time you want to engage with that person. Replacing your bad habits with positive ones can help you double the positive benefit of eliminating those harmful practices.

“Because bad habits provide some type of benefit in your life, it's very difficult to simply eliminate them. (This is why simplistic advice like ‘just stop doing it’ rarely works.) Instead, you need to replace a bad habit with a new habit that provides a similar benefit,” says

Make a specific plan

Your chances of success diminish when you over-generalize your problems and your solutions. If you’re in a bad habit of eating unhealthy, and you say “I’m going to eat healthier”, it’s kind of hard to make that happen. You’re not being specific enough.

Instead, identify the problem. “I eat too much fast food”, or “I am eating too many empty sugar calories”. Make a defined plan. “I am going to cook dinner at home five days a week”, for example.

“Studies show that it is much easier to stay motivated when we have a very specific end point in mind, and can know at any moment exactly how far we still have to go,” notes Psychology Today.

Don’t keep your plans secret

It may sound extreme, but not wanting to let another person down is a very strong motivator. Of course, you should make any and all lifestyle changes for the right reasons - and those reasons are that you want to do it - for you. But once you’ve made the decision, it sometimes doesn’t hurt to throw some extra accountability into the mix. If you have a buddy system, you may feel more motivated to keep going down your path of self-improvement.

“There’s a reason that many recovery programs include group meetings and individual sponsors or therapists. Being accountable to others is a powerful incentive to keep on keeping on. By both giving and receiving support, you keep the goal in focus,” says

Take it slow and accept setbacks

Just because you make a big decision doesn’t mean you can achieve it in large, quick chunks. Change, even ambitious change, usually happens gradually through a series of small victories. Don’t try to grab it all at once. If you’re trying to shift your life into a more active one, for instance, don’t try to start running three miles every day. Start smaller, and build on your small achievements.

Don’t miss the opportunity to reconfigure your life and ditch bad habits for some good ones when you’re in the midst of a big life change. When your mind is in change mode, it’s easier to accept and go along with ancillary changes.

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How Yoga Helped Me Prepare and Recover from Open Heart Surgery

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I started Bikram Yoga after moving to Stockton in August 2010. But it took me about six months to become completely dedicated to this practice. In January I signed up for the studio's 60 Day Challenge, started attending class at least 6 days a week and gave up running. I haven't look back.

I used to be a fitness instructor, so I've tried a lot of different exercise programs. I have never found anything more effective than Bikram Yoga. The magic of Bikram Yoga is that it's more than just a workout. Not only have I eliminated my minor back pain and gotten definition in my abdominals (which I never thought possible), but I am also a better person. In the studio I sweat, I breathe, I stare at myself in the mirror, and I let go of all my stress, worry and tension.

We all bring baggage to our yoga practice - both physical and emotional. Yoga gives us the opportunity to confront and accept this baggage. When I was six days old, I had a life-saving open-heart operation in which a surgeon repaired one of my heart valves that wasn't allowing blood to flow properly. The surgery was successful and I lived a relatively normal life until April 2011 when I received some bad new from my cardiologist. After 26 years, my valve was now too "leaky"- meaning the valve wasn't properly transporting blood and my right ventricle was severely dilated. Even though I felt fine and was able to do as much yoga as I wanted, the doctor said that I needed a valve transplant surgery in the next three to four months.

My heart defect was major baggage. I felt quite helpless and scared for my life and my future. Nevertheless, I realized that while I couldn't control the fact that I was born with a defective heart valve, I could control how I reacted to facing another open-heart surgery. I continued my yoga practice with a renewed fervor- to become the healthiest and strongest I could possibly be so that the surgeons could operate effectively and so that I could rapidly recover. It was scary to stare at myself in the mirror during yoga class while thinking about the imminent surgery, but at the same time it helped me to accept and prepare for it mentally.

I am thrilled to say the surgeons successfully replaced my tired valve with a fully functional pig valve. Recovery was mentally and physically rough, but not nearly as bad as I expected. I truly believe that all the yoga that I had accrued in my body prior to surgery paid off tenfold. Even though I was still in quite a bit of pain, I was able to return to yoga about 6 weeks after the surgery. It was like coming back to an old friend. I tried to approach my practice from a place of patience - not being attached to what my body was able to do prior to surgery. As a result, I have been amazed and humbled by how quickly my body opened up. The heat and the poses were extremely detoxifying and therapeutic for my pain. After a week of returning to yoga I was virtually pain-free and I felt like I had my body back.

I am unbelievably grateful for my yoga practice and for the Bikram Yoga Stockton instructors that have guided me through and incredibly challenging time in my life. Even though I have only been practicing for about a year, I can't imagine my life without yoga.

My advice to you is that no matter what you may be going through, your strong yoga practice can be an invaluable part of the solution. Rededicate yourself to your practice today in order to ensure that you can face any challenges that lie ahead.

Update: This photo was taken 2-3 months after her surgery. It has now been 6 years since Veronica's open heart surgery. Veronica says she is continually grateful to her practice for getting her through all the ups and downs of life. And she is also grateful for all of the healers in her life including Nicole from New Leaf Ayurveda, Dennis Wong, and Dr. Moore from UCSF. She also can't believe how short her hair was in this picture!

Zesty Arugula Pesto

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Try out this yummy pesto recipe! And check out Trader Joe’s red lentil pasta--perfect if you’re looking for a healthier alternative to traditional pasta. This recipe makes about 8 servings. Consider freezing any remaining pesto in an ice cube tray so that you always have it at the ready.

https://www.banyanbotanicals.c om/info/blog-the-banyan-insigh t/details/pitta-pacifying- recipe-zesty-arugula-pesto? utm_source=Banyan+Botanicals+ Retail&utm_campaign= da783fdd85-Retail_Insight_ Digest_July14th_Seg1&utm_ medium=email&utm_term=0_d3f096 6145-da783fdd85-78647417&mc_ cid=da783fdd85&mc_eid= ad2c4e9ed6

Aloe Juice + Turmeric Tonic

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Aloe juice is fantastic in the summer for its cooling properties. It’s is good for the skin, digestion, and your immune system. Turmeric has been used for thousands of years as an anti-inflammatory. Combined together, they create a tonic that is both refreshing and healing. Ayurveda practitioners recommend drinking this daily before bed.


¼ cup aloe juice
Pinch of turmeric powder


Combine the aloe juice and turmeric powder in a small cup and drink.

Veggie Quinoa Salad by Veronica

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A light but nourishing dish, this makes a great lunch or dinner. This recipe makes about 4 servings.

Ingredients for the quinoa:

1 cup cooked quinoa
2 cups chopped mixed vegetables (zucchini, green beans, kale, chard, mushrooms, etc.)
1 cup garbanzo beans
Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
Chopped avocado (optional)
¼ cup toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds
Olive oil
Ingredients for the dressing:
¼ cup of olive oil
Juice from ½ lemon
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp coriander
½ tsp turmeric
Salt to taste


Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package and move to a bowl. Cook the vegetables by sauteing in a little bit of oil and add to the bowl. Next, add the garbanzo beans, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, and parsley or cilantro. For the dressing, combine all the ingredients for the dressing and whisk until well mixed. Add the dressing to the quinoa mixture. Add the optional avocado. Serve and enjoy!

Cucumber Melon Salad by Katlyn

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This cooling salad is a perfect treat on a hot day!


1/2 English cucumber peeled, cubed small
2 cups watermelon, cubed small
10-12 mint leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt
Juice from ½ a lime


Place the fruit and mint leaves into a bowl, drizzle the olive oil, add a tiny pinch of salt and the juice of 1/2 a lime, stir, and serve cool.

Easy Mango Lassi by Veronica

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A delicious snack, this mango lassi recipe makes about 2-3 servings, depending on how much water you use.


1 cup fresh plain yogurt
1 mango, peeled and pitted
2-5 cups of filtered water
Pinch of cardamom

Directions: Blend the ingredients together and enjoy! You can experiment with adding other fruit, such as dates, peaches, and banana.

Oatmeal Breakfast by Katlyn

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Start your day off right with this nourishing oatmeal! This recipe yields one serving.


1/2 cup of old fashion oats
1 cup whole milk (or substitute with nut milk)
1 tbsp of ghee
Blanched peeled almonds, chopped
3 chopped dates
Handful of fresh berries
Maple syrup to taste


Cook the oats in hot milk, add 1 tbsp ghee while cooking. Cook the oats until they are soft. Garnish with chopped dates, chopped almonds, blueberries, and maple syrup.

To the courageous and inquisitive: True You Hot Yoga is the healthy commitment that teaches discipline is the pathway to freedom.

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