Professional athletes do not wake up every morning and begin their training session by playing a full game, start to finish, of their specific sport. Rather, they lift weights, practice skill transfer exercises, run sprint drills, do yoga (if they’re smart) and learn the required strategies to help them become better athletes in their sport. So, why do the most serious yogis in the world practice yoga six days a week as their training?

Answer: We can do better.


Here are five (5) movements any yogi can practice during training to help enhance their experience on the mat and remain injury free:

1. Box Squats

Two words: Posterior chain. Yoga does a great deal to build our anterior chain—hello, Chaturanga!—but when it comes to our glutes and hammies, we’re often left with all stretch and no strength. We love the box squat for its capacity to build strength in your back body while also creating stability in your core. It’s also an effective movement to help prevent wear and tear on the cartilage surrounding your hip joints.

2. Strict Pull-Ups

Yoga is all about balance. Pose, counter-pose, pose, counter-pose. Unfortunately, as yogis, we push and push and push with no pull. Adding strict pull-ups (or ring rows) to your routine can help balance all the pushing we do on our mats, allowing us to better hold our own if we’re ever challenged to a game of tug-o-war with a group of paddlers.

3. Hollow Body Rocks/Holds

All yogis want to stand on their hands and have a few arm balances in their back pocket as fun party tricks. Hollow body rocks and holds are a perfect way to build the core stability needed for achieving complex gymnastics movements such as handstand. The best gymnasts in the world use these movements as part of their regular training, which allows us as yogis to benefit from their expertise, mirror their techniques in practice and improve our abilities to gravity surf like a boss.

4. Hill Sprints

Yes, it’s as simple as running up a hill — fast. Yoga is an amazing practice, but it’s not a complete physical practice because we rarely encourage a spike in our heart rate. By adding (up-hill) sprints into your practice, your body gets a stimulus that is imperative to maintaining overall physical health. Having that extra stimulus will also prevent you from pushing too hard on your yoga mat where overexertion often leads to injury.

5. Turkish Get-Ups

Stability, balance, strength, rotation and unilateral loading all come together into this one elegant movement. The Turkish Get-Up is an incredible exercise to help you practice stabilizing your body under a load. Many yogis struggle to balance on one foot and/or create a stable shoulder position in downward-facing dog. Practicing the Turkish Get-Up with a dumbbell or kettlebell will drastically improve these two essential pieces of your yoga practice while also building core stability and breath awareness.

C  O  N  C  L  U  S  I  O  N

Now that you have the tools, it’s time to find yourself a badass coach and supplement one day of your practice per week with these functional training techniques.

You’re guaranteed to be the strongest, most sustainable yogi on the mat as a result.

Debbie Steingesser, E-RYT 500, CF-L2, has been teaching her inspired approach to Vinyasa yoga for over a decade. She holds her Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher certification at the 500-hour level with the Yoga Alliance and is a CrossFit Level-Two Coach. Debbie was named one of the “Top Yoga Teachers in the Bay Area” by Common Ground Magazine in 2008, and has been a featured presenter at Yoga Reaches Out, Bhakti Fest and various international retreats. For the past eight years, Debbie has been a committed brand ambassador for Lululemon Athletica.

Debbie’s mission is to guide individuals towards a deeper sense of strength, balance and personal power through yoga and movement. She is the creator of, a website and interactive community bringing accessible yoga practices to athletes. Debbie provides regular content and offers her Functional Yoga For Athletics seminar through Debbie’s classes and workshops are fun, challenging and open to all experience levels.

To find out more, visit: and follow @debbiesteingesser on Instagram.

> > > Live well!

By: Karenia Bowman |

Salmon is one of my favorite seafood superstars.

It’s an excellent source of protein, jam packed full of healthy Omega-3’s, and really good for the heart. Don’t get me started on the taste! Not only is salmon a quick and healthy option, salmon is an absolutely delicious option as well. This time of year, we have a tendency to embrace the heartier comfort foods we all know and love, but lighter fare can be just as comforting, especially if you embrace all the season has to offer.

Salmon is a great protein option you can enjoy year-round and can easily be customized for your seasonal needs. Whether you are rushing home after running endless holiday errands, or you have dinner guests and are in need of something easy and elegant without being too pretentious, or perhaps you just need a convenient option that gives you that fun seasonal moment while keeping your lifestyle practices fit and flexible, salmon is the jam! One of favorite ways to prepare salmon involves a tried and true two-step process: marinate & broil. With a few simple ingredients like an orange, a drizzle of honey and a few cloves of garlic, you can easily transform a simple fillet of salmon into an unforgettable main dish that will leave your taste buds singing (and your guests raving).

As we all know, the holiday season brings joy, laughter, and festivities galore. Unfortunately, it’s also the season for coughs, colds, sneezes, and sniffles.

Being a health-focused chef, I’m all for wellness support and the healing properties found in foods.


Did you know that you can use easily accessible, affordable, seasonal ingredients that help boost your precious immune system when you become the most vulnerable? Well, you can…and this recipe is a perfect example. I absolutely love oranges. Mandarin oranges, Navel oranges, Blood oranges, and so many more. Oranges are an awesome ingredient when preparing both sweet and savory dishes. Oranges are sweet, juicy and loaded with the immunity supporting, antioxidant protection of Vitamin C. Consuming foods rich in Vitamin C is an easy, convenient (and tasty) approach to the common cold prevention that many of us need this time of year.

Honey (aka: liquid gold!) is a common ingredient I incorporate into many of my dishes, especially marinades. Most of us have a jar or bottle on hand even though it’s delicious healing properties are often overlooked. Honey is a natural cough suppressant, which can be really beneficial this time of year. It has been suggested that by enjoying a teaspoon or two of mother nature’s sweet throat-coating nectar, you can silence a pesky nighttime cough so your restful night’s sleep can resume. For those of you who love a little trivia, the Manuka Honey variety is especially good for us. It is know to help us combat all of the seasonal “sickies” that we often encounter this time of year.

Manuka honey contains anti-­inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.

Last but certainly not least, we have to give some love to garlic. Garlic has and always will be one of my go-to ingredients. On one hand, it elevates the taste of absolutely anything and everything. On the other, it’s just plain good for you. Don’t let the size of a garlic clove fool you. Garlic may be small, but it’s mighty—packing quite the nutritional powered punch! Research suggests that garlic can help combat coughs and colds. Garlic is also known to be a heart-healthy food and can even assist in healthy digestion.

These three immune boosting superfoods are not only delicious on their own, but they make a delicious marinade as well. I love teamwork, and these three all-stars paired with some fresh salmon hit a home run for an immune-boosting, wellness-supporting entree that requires minimal time and effort.

R  E  C  I  P  E

Sweet Garlic Citrus Marinated Salmon
Servings: 4
318 calories per serving
Macros: 32g Protein | 8g Carbs | 16g Fat

1 lb. Atlantic Salmon fillet
zest from 1 whole orange
1/2 cup orange juice, fresh-squeezed
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbl. honey
2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt

1. Preheat the broiler. Line a sheet pan with foil and set aside. Mince the garlic cloves and add
them to the mixing bowl. Grate the orange peel and transfer the zest to the mixing bowl.
Squeeze the orange and add the juice to the mixing bowl. Add the remaining marinade
ingredients to the bowl and whisk until well combined.

2. Place the salmon fillet in a large resealable bag. Pour the marinade into the resealable bag
over the salmon, remove any air, and seal the bag. Place the salmon in the refrigerator for a
minimum of one hour, flipping once halfway through.

3. Remove the fillet from the resealable bag and place it on the sheet pan. Pour the remaining
marinade over the salmon fillet. Place the sheet pan in the broiler for 8-10 minutes, or until
the salmon begins to flake and/or the preferred level of done-ness is achieved. When the
salmon is done broiling, remove the sheet pan from the oven and let the salmon rest for 10
minutes. After the salmon has rested, enjoy immediately or transfer to an airtight container
and store in the refrigerator for later.


> > > Live well!


... and giving thanks are always topical around the holiday season. It’s a perfect opportunity for us to reflect on the multitude of blessings we have in our lives including family, friends, work, health ... 

On the flip side, it is much less intuitive to be grateful for the difficult situations and challenging people in our lives in the same way we are for the good people and good things. (Think about the family member we avoid all year long but who we have to hang out with at Thanksgiving.)

You may be thinking, “Why the heck would I give thanks for this hard situation or that difficult person?” These situations and individuals obviously provoke a negative emotional response of anger, frustration or even pain.

But if we peel back the initial emotionally charged layer, there is typically a virtue hiding right underneath the surface, a lesson that will allow us to elevate beyond the anger or frustration to a place of gratitude. We can be thankful for the difficult situation or person who helps teach us to be be more patient, selfless or kind. These virtues of acceptance, patience, humility and unconditional love help fuel us to be the best version of ourselves. As Tony Robbins says, “Life is not happening to us, it’s happening for us.”  

So the next time we find ourselves in a challenging situation or with a difficult person (maybe at the Thanksgiving dinner table), let’s move quickly past any negative initial gut reaction and on to the deeper understanding of gratitude, realizing the ultimate lesson these situations and individuals and there to teach us.

I know it may be counter-intuitive, but the most rewarding depths of gratitude often come from those moments we would be least likely to offer thanks for at first glance.

It is the lessons born from those challenging situations or people—teaching us, helping us to grow and become better versions of ourselves—which is where true gratitude resides.

May your holiday season be filled with gratitude and opportunities to give thanks, equally in both the easy and challenging moments of your life.

Aaron Hinde

To learn more about Aaron, follow @aaronhinde on Instagram.

> > > Live well!


September is always one of the nicest months of the year in Northern California. The tourists are gone, the weather is fantastic and it’s hard not to enjoy the bounty NorCal has to offer. The start of Indian summer brings along with it our annual LIFEAID company retreat. This is an incredible opportunity for our entire team to come together, celebrate the accomplishments from the past year and embark on a shared journey of personal and professional development.

At LIFEAID Beverage Co., we have 10 core values that drive our culture and ethos:


  1. Create the most fun, healthy, holistic and fulfilling work environment in Santa Cruz County (and beyond).
  2. Grow deliberately, sustainably and consistently create long-term value for our customers and stakeholders.
  3. Be curious, ask questions, communicate and adopt a growth mindset.
  4. Everyone is an owner—approach your work as such.
  5. Work hard, play hard—have fun doing both.
  6. Create raving fans—of our team members, customers, suppliers and community.
  7. Be solution-oriented, not problem-focused.
  8. Do more with less.
  9. Strive for continuous improvement rather than perfection.
  10. Always play the long game.


Although we practice these core values on a daily basis, the annual retreat brings multiple core values to light all at the same time, allowing us to revisit and focus on them in new ways each year.

This year was extra special to me on a personal level because we embarked on a journey to Lake Don Pedro—a lake I practically grew up on, having spent countless weekends waterskiing there as a kid. Our team rented six houseboats, four Jet Skis and a ski boat. We had professional caterers join us on board to prepare all of our meals, and we brought in seven dynamic speakers to present to our group over the weekend.

It’s amazing how things often work out even better than we could have imagined. I knew it would be an amazing retreat, but we were fortunate to experience what seemed like

a rare, perfect balance of personal development and fun in the sun.

Aside from the occasional mimosa, each morning began with about a 60-minute talk from one of our dynamic presenters. Our entire team gathered around, happily crammed onto the top deck of our main houseboat with our notebooks and pen in hand, eager to learn, grow and be challenged. Little did we know just how much of each would take place!

I should mention that four of our presenters were professional speakers—highly recognized and accomplished authors, TED Talks speakers, leaders and so forth. However, three of our presenters were not well-known, at least not beyond our little circle. They were LIFEAID team members. Honestly, it was pretty amazing being able to empower and then watch individuals on our team get out of their comfort zones, stand up in front of 70 of their colleagues and deliver incredibly well-crafted and powerful messages.

I intentionally gave no direction to any of the speakers when they first asked me what topic I would like them to present on at the retreat. I simply told them about our team, our values and our vision. Then I basically said, “Just deliver a presentation you feel would provide the most value to our group. I trust you.”

Boy, did they ever deliver! As the weekend progressed, a common thread began to develop between each speaker’s message. No one knew what the other speakers were presenting, yet a consistent theme began to emerge. As fate would have it, it was a theme that we all needed to hear.

After three full days and seven amazing speakers, the 2018 LIFEAID Beverage Co. retreat theme can be best summarized this way:

We are all powerful human beings who are manifesting our ability to be agents for positive change in this world. As human beings, our thoughts (conscious and unconscious) are eventually reflected in our words. With our words we create — our words drive our actions and lead to results (both positive and negative). At LIFEAID, our team has been uniquely unified by the common cause of improving the health and well-being of our diseased nation. We each realize and are fueled by the need to get people off of high-sugar, high-caffeine sodas & sports/energy drinks. As an alternative, we are passionate about providing everyone with our clean, healthful products. We possess the power to improve our lives and the lives of everyone we touch by being mindful and intentional regarding our thoughts, words and actions.

By the end of the weekend, we were not the same team we started as.

We had all experienced some “aha!” moments which have forever improved our trajectory as individuals and as a team. We ate, we drank, we played, we laughed, we cried, we danced, we shared, we contributed and — most importantly — we grew. It’s undeniable, watching the people who you care about have breakthroughs that will stick with them for the rest of their lives is what it really is all about.

Our brand is not merely our founders (myself and Orion) or a single product (like FitAid or FocusAid). Rather, it is the collective efforts and inventions of all the great women and men who comprise our LIFEAID team, a team which manifests in each and every one of our products and customer experiences.

While I can say, “I am LIFEAID” and “You are LIFEAID,” I am even prouder still to state that together,


Aaron Hinde

To learn more about Aaron, follow @aaronhinde on Instagram.


> > > Live well!