Ajai Alchemy

Gurney’s Montauk Retreat with Fern Olivia

GurneysMtk

If there is one thing I love about spring, it is that the weather is nice enough to take a day trip out to Eastern Long Island—before the official start of tourist season begins. I usually reserve such excursions for the warmer weather (read: beach season), but when my beloved thyroid guru, Fern Olivia, told me she was going to be in town and was having a weekend retreat at Gurney’s Resort & Spa in Montauk from May 5th – 7th, I knew I needed to keep that weekend open.

Last August, I attended my first of Fern’s Thyroid Yoga Retreats (which was held at a private home in Montauk). It was one of my fondest memories from the summer of 2016. I met so many inspiring women, whom I still keep in touch with and who have become friends. Since then, Fern and her teachings have had a lasting influence on me, and she is someone whom I both admire and respect for the important work she is doing to raise awareness and help those of us suffering with a thyroid condition. Her essential oils and morning thyroid yoga sequence have become daily rituals in my life. Through her event at The Ash Center with Dr. Gabrielle Lyon this past January, she taught me the importance of self-love and has guided me when it comes to nutrition.

Needless to say, I am beyond excited to attend her upcoming event in a couple of weeks, and I am looking forward to walking away with even more knowledge about my body and overall health (and making some new friends in the process!).

So, if you find that your schedule allows for a trip out to the beautiful Gurney’s Resort & Spa, or you just need to take some time for yourself and want to be surrounded by incredible women, then join us! The retreat promises to be both restorative and informative with meditation, yoga, and of course, spa time.

You can peruse the schedule of events and register, here. Hope to see you there!

Thyroid Yoga Functional Nutrition Intensive: A Recap

The Ash Center View

This is turning into quite the Wellness Week here on Living in Steil, with the introduction of the Thyroid Yoga Functional Nutrition Intensive earlier and then Heather’s incredible story of surviving mesothelioma. I am excited to give you all a recap of the amazing seminar with Fern Olivia and Dr. Gabrielle Lyon that I went to last Saturday at The Ash Center.

The Ash Center is a tranquil space with breathtaking views, in Midtown Manhattan; although located in a bustling metropolis, it has an oasis-like atmosphere that is conducive to healing. When I first walked through the door I immediately began to feel my energy shift. The stress from the nearly two-hour commute from Long Island dissipated as I made my way to a cozy recliner by the window and began filling out a health questionnaire.

Upon arriving and seeing Fern’s warm smile and meeting Dr. Lyon and the other women who were about to embark on this wellness journey, I knew it was exactly where I should be—where I needed to be.

When I think back to this seminar, words like much-needed, life-changing and game-changer come to mind. I was excited to meet Dr. Lyon and I realized how much I needed to hear her words once I was there. One of the first things that Dr. Lyon said to our group of “wellness warriors” was that secrets keep you sick.

Want to know my secret? I am terrible when it comes to taking care of myself. Eating and proper nutrition have always been a struggle for me, and one which I preferred to avoid for longer than I should have. There, I said it.

Despite knowing better and being a cancer survivor, I buried my head in the sand when it came to food. Why? Because it seemed easier to just laugh it off and continue on my Starbucks diet; I didn’t want to be bothered learning how to eat right; picking up whatever was around on my way home from work was easier; and cooking seemed like a huge chore. Those were all of the lies I told myself to justify my actions. But who was I spiting? No one but myself, as I suffered and my body failed.

But I could no longer ignore how I was feeling—tired, sluggish, irritable—all the time. Of course, I immediately blamed my Synthroid and lack of a thyroid for these symptoms. However, the truth was that it was time to face the music that I was so desperate to tune out. My body was screaming—yelling at the top of its lungs—trying to tell me that despite its best efforts, it could no longer function on the lack of sleep and infrequent eating schedule that I had imposed on it.

When I went to The Ash Center last weekend, I walked in knowing that I had to change my ways—before it was too late. I was aware that I needed to be open, honest, and willing to accept that I would have to learn about nutrition and implement new eating habits.

Fern Olivia and Dr. Gabrielle Lyon

{Fern & Dr. Gabrielle Lyon}

Together, Fern and Dr. Lyon created an inviting atmosphere for each of us to tell our individual stories. I was struck by how in the span of minutes strangers could become survival sisters, as one person’s story was followed by another. At times, I felt my emotions getting the best of me, especially when it seemed like another woman had walked a mile in my shoes.

Ajai by Fern Olivia

{Fern’s incredible Ajai Alchemy line}

Once we shared our stories, Fern guided us on a Thyroid Yoga meditation aimed at recharging our endocrine system. We did breath-work and together chanted “Wahe Guru” before finishing our session. It was the perfect restorative practice to conclude the morning’s activities.

After a brief break for lunch, in which I found my way to BRGR and then a Juice Press (because the healthy smoothie compensates for having a burger for lunch, right?), Dr. Lyon began the next session where she discussed macronutrient recommendations for thyroid and hormonal health.

Dr. Lyon gave an overview of nutrition along with helpful handouts about the Elimination Diet and a food plan. Since my knowledge on nutrition is limited, I took copious notes—and have a lot of reading to do! One of her recommendations was that we eat 30 grams of protein at each meal—or 90 grams a day. My first reaction was, “How on earth am I going to eat 30 grams of protein at each meal?” That seemed like a lot for a girl who typically has coffee and a muffin on the run each morning. And having lunch and dinner in the same day? I tend to eat a late lunch and skip dinner, or skip lunch and have a big dinner—neither of which are healthy ways to eat.

Overall, I was impressed by Dr. Lyon’s entire approach to health and medicine. Over the last few years, I have spent considerable time seeing doctors in the medical community. And while I have found some are worth their weight in gold (like the one who found my thyroid nodule), most times I have walked away from my appointment with more questions than answers. The idea of curing the underlying ailment instead of merely treating the symptoms is a premise I whole heartedly support.

The Ash Center

I certainly found my tribe at The Ash Center and look forward to seeing Dr. Lyon after all of my thyroid testing is complete. I left that day ready to tackle the hard work that was in front of me, but motivated knowing that I had the power to change how I am feeling. With the tools that Fern and Dr. Lyon shared with me, I have already effected some changes. For starters, I make sure to eat three meals a day and I have incorporated both fruits and vegetable into my daily routine. Although I haven’t made it to the magical 30 grams of protein at any meal yet, I have curbed my sweet tooth and cut back on carbohydrates. In addition, I started practicing yoga again and made daily meditation a ritual before bed.

While I may not be able to reverse the damage already done to my body, I can pave the way to a healthier future one meal at a time—and offer myself some self-love by repeating this affirmation: I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.

Fern Olivia at The Ash Center

A big thank you to Fern Olivia and Dr. Gabrielle Lyon for this transformative day!

Interested in working with Fern? She will be hosting a Pure Yoga – Thyroid Yoga™ Training Immersion on Friday, April 28th, Saturday, April 29th, and Sunday, April 30th.

Here’s some information about the training immersion:

Thyroid Yoga™ artfully infuses wisdom from western and eastern medical perspectives to create a total healing approach, founded by thyroid expert and master teacher, Fern Olivia Langham.

Trained in Biomedical Engineering, now a renowned teacher and speaker on the power of integrative medicine and intuitive self-healing, Fern Olivia has guided retreats, experiences and classes worldwide.

Thyroid Yoga™ has been endorsed by leading medical doctors as a proven way to help restore and realign the energetic and biochemical mechanisms that influence thyroid functioning.

Become a Thyroid Yoga™ certified practitioner today to deepen your own knowledge and gain the confidence to create your own ripple effect of health and healing in our global community.
The benefits of this unique immersion go far beyond “another certification.”

After completion of this training, participants come away equipped with the tools and resources to confidently provide value-added offerings and resources for their clients and students, and have a deep and broad understanding of how the thyroid is supporting using integrative and holistic therapies.

If you want to expand your work in the world and learn from renowned healers at a one-of-a-kind teacher training with a world-class yoga institution, sign up for the Thyroid Yoga™ Training Immersion and Workshop today!

Please contact Fern Olivia at love@thyroid.yoga if you have any questions.

Thyroid Thursday: Fern Olivia’s Daily Rituals To Improve Thyroid Health

I’m always looking for ways to carve out a little “me” time in my busy schedule. When I came across a post that Fern Olivia wrote about her daily rituals, I knew it was something that I needed to read, and also wanted to share with the readers of this blog. I love how Fern makes taking care of her mind and body a priority, and I hope you find her routine and the products she uses as insightful as I did.

And remember, there is only one more installment of Thyroid Thursday after this week (how is it already the end of September?). Leave those questions in the comments section, and I will devote next week’s final Thyroid Thursday to answering them!

Now, here’s Fern!

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{Photo Credit: Fern Olivia}

Beauty is the healing food I nourish myself with, the sensual alchemy that kisses my skin, the gorgeous friends I choose to enjoy time with, the sacred home I have created, and the healing experiences I treat myself lavishly with every day. Beauty is taking care of myself in the most loving and kindhearted way. I have a big purpose on this planet, and I need to feel my best to give my best — I know that I have to keep up!

Here’s how I do it:

A.M. Ritual

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{Nicole Granato/Moon Deck}

My beauty ritual begins the moment I open my eyes and mentally say a prayer of gratitude. Then, I prepare herbal loose leaf from my friend Nicole Granato — she has an organic hibiscus rose petal tea that is just so beautiful. During my recent visit to Aja Malibu Latigo Canyon, I had the gift of receiving an intimate tour of the property’s biodynamic vegetable and medicinal herb gardens with the beautiful founder, Iannya Magick. As I picked and tasted whole herbs fresh from the earth, I felt reconnected to the beauty of life. Returning home, I have made infusing my tea and lemon water with fresh herbs a daily beauty ritual.

Each morning, I also pick a card from my Moon Deck, a beautiful intuitive oracle set created by my friends Aarona Ganesan and Andrea Keh. It is such a lovely way to connect to intuition through the path of self-love and ritual.

Then it’s a run out my front door, through the sand, into the cool Pacific Ocean. Splashing in the waves invigorates me and stimulates my lymphatic system — and as a bonus, cold water plunges are incredible for immune health. I’ve noticed that I feel significantly more energized when I have my ocean plunge first thing in the morning.

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{Photo Credit: Alicia Panetta}

I cleanse my face and body with manuka honey, coconut sugar, and coconut oil. I apply a healing mask depending on what I feel I need, and massage my face with facial crystals from Benshen. Then, I moisturize with Solar Sun Protect, a skin protectant from my own organic beauty apothecary, Ajai Alchemy, made from all organic essential oils in a base of carrot oil and coconut oil to protect my skin. Living in Los Angeles and traveling frequently to sunny destinations such as Sedona, Hawaii, and the Cayman Islands, I made this to give my skin some extra love as I spend my days practicing and teaching yoga on the beach. I apply Radiance Hair Serum to my hair, which keeps my beach curls wild and sexy without the frizz.

Thyroid Yoga

Sadhana, or daily practice, is a must for me, and it’s a pillar that I talk about in my Thyroid Yoga course. It’s a nonnegotiable holy practice that reminds me that I am worthy before I go out into the world — and yes, that means before I turn on my phone and check email or my Instagram feed.

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{Photo Credit: Alexa Gray Photography}

I start every practice by applying Grace Alchemy, another one of my own creations, to my thyroid gland, tracing the infinity sign horizontally and massaging my lymph nodes — it serves as a luxurious reminder that I am a radiant, beautiful woman and that treating myself with love is very important. Once I have applied my alchemy to my neck, I begin my daily sequence, which I go over in the videos during my course. My practice includes chanting, yoga asana, breathwork, and meditation. Depending on what my day looks like, it could range anywhere from 20 minutes to over two hours!

Often I will kick my practice up a notch and join my teachers Guru Jagat and Harmanjot Kaur at Ra Ma Institute in Venice, and when I’m too lazy to leave my Zen den (because yes, sometimes I’ve stayed out too late), then I can catch the classes streaming on Ra Ma TV.

Superfood Smoothie

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{Moon Juice}

I follow a 12-hour intermittent fast from the time of my last meal the night before until the next day after my sadhana, and I like to keep things light in the morning. I’ve found that works best for my body type and energy levels. To make sure I’m getting enough protein, I add Dana James’ Beauti-Fuel into my morning green smoothie. My go-to is matcha, hemp seeds, a few very generous dashes of cinnamon, a tablespoon of coconut butter, half a frozen banana, and schisandra berry and pearl from Moon Juice. Since my friend Amanda Chantal Bacon mentioned these were her beauty secret weapons, I’ve been hooked ever since.

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{Body + Eden}

I also blend in organic raw probiotic from microbiome expert Body + Eden. This is the ultimate beauty food! Why? Beauty begins in the gut — when we’re not digesting our food properly, we feel puffy, bloated, foggy, our skin breaks out, and we get sick. More potent than a capsule, naturally fermented herbs and superfoods allow for easy assimilation and better absorption of minerals and nutrients while helping your body replenish its beneficial gut bacteria.

If I feel like I need a bit more energy for the day ahead, I top my smoothie with a sprinkle of bee pollen, one of my favorite beauty superfoods.

Midday: Meetings & Turmeric Lattes

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{Fern Olivia, Thyroid Yoga Recipe Book: You Nourish You}

Typically I head out in the late morning or early afternoon to work out of a coffee shop or cafe in Venice — you can find me setting up shop at Butcher’s Daughter or Plant Food and Wine on Abbot Kinney, sipping on green juice and turmeric lattes.

Before I go out, I like to apply makeup that gives me a dewy, natural glow. I use only organic products on my face and body. If I wouldn’t consume it, it’s not going on my sacred skin! My favorite beauty products are W3ll People, Vapor, and Kjaer Weiss. I’m obsessed with CAP Beauty, Net-a-Porter, the apothecary at ABC Carpet & Home, The Detox Market, and Goop, too, as sites to buy from.

Afternoon: Goddess Time

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{Alyson Charles Rockstar Shaman}

One of the pillars of my healing regime is to luxuriously treat myself with loving care. This means getting a massage weekly, acupuncture, facials, and a spa mani and pedi. If I’m feeling extra artistic, I’ll paint my own nails with The Blessed Power Set, a gorgeous five-free set of nail lacquers blessed by Alyson Charles Rockstar Shaman. Or you’ll find me taking a midday pamper session at Olive + June, a beautiful nail spa in Los Angeles.

P.M. Ritual

I feel extremely lucky to be a five-minute bike ride from Erehwon, a chic grocery market stocked with beautiful aisles of only the cleanest and purest sustainable foods. I recently became a member and I’m obsessed — I’m in there every day picking up superfoods and fresh produce. It’s here where I get my daily fix of Elissa’s Thyroid Juice, a beautiful elixir made with dandelion greens, parsley, ginger, and other potent healing ingredients.

I love cooking and preparing my own foods, so much so that I recently became inspired to write a recipe book after serving up foods as chef on one of my recent retreats. I’ve birthed the Thyroid Yoga Recipe Book: You Nourish You, with gorgeous photography and additional recipes featured by Parsley Health founder Dr. Robin Berzin; expert Ayurvedic practitioner Tina Paymaster; plant-based chef and healer Cassandra Bozdak; and I’m very excited to share it with you. It’s all about intuitive eating and intuitive cooking, topics I am so passionate about teaching.

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{Photo Credit: Eve Bregman Photography}

Living on the beach in Venice, I feel called to catch magic hour with a sunset stroll. An evening meditation is a gift I give myself and a much-needed break from my work. I take my massive rose quartz from Sedona with me to the ocean and charge it up in mamma blue. Bubble baths with organic bath salts set me up for a restful beauty sleep. In my bath, you’ll find Pursoma Après Savasana Soak, plus some rose petals from a bouquet I bought myself just because. I light candles, burn sage and incense, and listen to the special bath playlist I created with soothing beats, earth sounds, and sacred sound currents by the talented Aya and Tyler, White Sun, DTO Music, Aykanna, and Mirabai Ceiba.

After a soothing bath, I massage virgin coconut oil all over my body with a few drops of my Grace serum — I love smelling like love when I go to bed! The scent is an aphrodisiac, sexy and so beautiful. It is such a simple pleasure, and I sleep like a baby. Oh, and I have to sleep naked. It feels incredibly liberating and is one of my body-love beauty rituals. Try it; you’ll never want to wear anything to bed again!

As I sleep, I have a mantra playing softly in the background. I play Antarjamee by Ajeet Kaur on repeat — her voice is angelic! I also love the new White Sun II album — it’s next level healing!

*This post was written by Fern Olivia and originally published on mindbodygreen.

Montauk Magic Part III

Montauk Magic - Apothecary Pop-Up

As they say, all good things must come to an end. And with that, it is time to conclude the third installment of my day at the Montauk Magic retreat with Fern Olivia. But fear not. If you’re seeking to experience your own oasis, Fern will be hosting a few upcoming events that you should definitely check out. She has also graciously agreed to guest post on this blog and share her vast knowledge on the subject of thyroid health in September, which is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. I am so thankful that she has accepted my invitation to contribute to this site and I am looking forward to her posts!

But let’s get back to the afternoon events that took place at Montauk Magic. (If you need a refresher, you can refer to Part I and Part II in the series.)

Montauk Magic - Fern Olivia

{Photo Credit: Alexa Gray, Gray Media Lab}

Montauk Magic - Fern Olivia

After our morning yoga at The Surf Lodge and Alyson’s amazing guided journey to find our spirit animal, Fern shared with us what goes into her Ajai Alchemy essential oils, and we had the opportunity to make our own DIY bottle. The intention behind Fern’s Ajai Alchemy products is to awaken what’s inside of you — to strengthen your inner strength and to afford you the power to carry on and conquer what’s in front of you. While these essential oils won’t make you Superwoman, I will take all of the help I can get to become a better version of myself.

Montauk Magic - Apothecary Pop-Up

As the day went on, it was time to head back to our private home in Montauk for an afternoon of natural skin care with Apothecary Pop-Up and Doing Living. Recently, I started to become more conscious about the ingredients in my makeup and skin products, so I was delighted to meet Juliet, a makeup artist in New York City and an advocate for natural products. Juliet supports small brands that make their own goods and helps them with branding and marketing through pop-up shows, like the one she shared with us at Montauk Magic.

Montauk Magic - Apothecary Pop-Up

Speaking with Juliet about skin care and beauty was eye-opening for me and I enjoyed learning about the brands she was showcasing — most of which I had never heard of before. Not only does Juliet promote these smaller brands that use natural components, something I wholeheartedly support, but she takes the time to meet with the people who actually make the products and source the ingredients, too.

Montauk Magic - Apothecary Pop-Up

Montauk Magic - Apothecary Pop-Up

Montauk Magic - Apothecary Pop-Up

There were so many amazing skin care products on display and everything smelled incredible. The best part was that Juliet gave us samples of the products she carried — something that this girl with sensitive skin appreciates. I haven’t had a chance to try everything in my goodie bag yet, but here are a few items that I took home:

– Red Flower: Rose Camellia Plum Soft-Water Mist
– Palmetto Derma: Rejuvenating Antioxidant Mask
– Malaya Organics: Lavender Organic Lip Savior
– Palmetto Derma: Collagen Booster & Restoration Serum
– Red Flower: Refreshing Hand and Face Towelette in Italian Blood Orange

Montauk Magic - Apothecary Pop-Up

Montauk Magic - Apothecary Pop-Up

Montauk Magic - Apothecary Pop-Up

The afternoon ended with Juliet showing us how easy it is to create a scrub using either sugar or salt as the base. It was interesting to learn how a few simple ingredients can turn into something that benefits your skin…and it was a fun bonding experience with the other retreat participants.

I took a lot away from the day — being open to experiencing the retreat solo, meeting new people, and realizing that I am a goddess who is worthy of love and happiness. I left Montauk feeling like a whole new person — physically, spiritually, and emotionally…and I made new friends, too.

Ajai Alchemy - Fern Olivia

{Photo Credit: Alexa Gray, Gray Media Lab}

Lately, I have had this feeling of calmness, something I absolutely attribute to attending the Montauk Magic retreat — and perhaps my essential oil from Fern. I apply my Grace Alchemy to the inside of my wrist before bed and have found that its soothing aroma helps lull me to sleep. The scent isn’t overpowering and I love all of the beneficial ingredients that Fern uses in her Ajai Alchemy products. If you are interested in incorporating essential oils in your life, you can use the code LIVINGINSTEIL at checkout to save $10 on your order. I will be gifting these beautiful little bottles to friends and family for birthdays and upcoming events!

A huge thank you to Fern Olivia and Alyson Charles for having me for the day!