The Secret Ingredient to a Happy Holiday Season

The Secret Ingredient to a Happy Holiday Season

Would you like the secret to actually having a happy holiday this year? To not spending significant amounts of time curled up on the floor drinking heavily spiked eggnog while hiding in a DIY wrapping paper fortress (although you can do some of that too, if that’s what you’re into)?

Lean in close…


I’m not refusing to tell you, I’m saying that’s the secret. “No”. I understand that it’s easier to say “no” in a post than it is to say it out loud to your mamma or your kids, so here are a few tips:

1. Decide right now what the holidays actually mean to you.

Think about the kind of holiday that will make you happy now, before the onslaught of invitations and demands start rolling in. What is important to you this time of year? Spending time with family? Avoiding family and hanging out with friends? Your spiritual or religious practice? Figure out what is important to you and focus on that.

2. Prioritize

Realistically, you can’t say no to everything that doesn’t vibe with what you find most important during the holidays. So, once you do step one, prioritize those things. You may have a long list of things you love this time of year, but pick what you would be really disappointed to miss and make those your priority (even if it’s just having time to do nothing).

3. Compromise

If it was completely up to me, my holiday would consist of curling up on my couch with my cats and eating cookies. Actually, that’s pretty much what my life would consist of if I could get away with it. However, the happiness of those I love is also important to me, so I need to balance what I want with the things that are important to them. So, put on that ugly Christmas sweater and go to that party, but also schedule some downtime if that’s what you need.

4. Acknowledge your feelings

This is not the most wonderful time of the year for many people. Grief for those who are no longer here to celebrate, financial pressure, social anxiety and a plethora of other things can make the holidays miserable. Acknowledge the things that you are struggling with and allow yourself space for those feelings. It’s OK to be sad, or angry, or just hide for a little while (I wasn’t totally kidding about the wrapping paper fortress). Respect your limits and don’t be afraid to set boundaries.

5. Eat tasty treats.

Most of my family roots are in Scandinavia. Do you know what Scandinavian people love other than death metal and questionable dishes featuring rotten fish? Butter. One of my great grandmother’s most beloved Christmas cookie recipes is made with a literal pound of butter. Another is a cake, also made with a pound of butter, and then drizzled with butter sauce. Most cultures and families have decadent treats they trot out once a year. Allow yourself to enjoy these foods. Not only are they delicious, they also provide a link to the people you love who came before you.

Eat, drink, nap, and have yourself a merry little Christmas (or whatever else you may celebrate). Enjoy this time of year with those near and dear to you, and prepare for a wonderful new year.

Pose Breakdown: Downward Facing Dog

Pose Breakdown: Downward Facing Dog

English: Downward Facing Dog
Sanskrit: Adho Mukha Svanasana

Does taking 3 breaths in downward facing dog feel like an eternity? Don’t worry, I feel you. It used to for me too, I used to cringe when the instructor would say, “let’s meet in down dog” and then we would wait for everyone to meet there. Today we are going to breakdown this common posture and help you comfortable relax into one down dog.

Here’s how to do it:

Starting from a forward fold, place your hands shoulder-width apart on the mat. Really plug your hands into the mat. You can bend your knees as much as you need to in order to get there. Next, step your feet back on at a time, keeping them somewhere around hip-width apart, maybe a little closer. You are stepping back as if you are going into plank, but not quite that far away from your hands. Keep your feet close enough to your hands to be able to push your hips up in the air, elongating your spine. I like to think of yoga in terms of making shapes, and you are making the shape of a piece of pizza with down dog, where the crust side is your hands and feet.

Most often, I see these struggles and frustrations with down dog:

  • Thinking your legs have to be straight. They sure don’t have to be. It’s much more important to push your hips up and have a straight elongated spine, this means anything from a gentle to generous bend in your knees is a-okay.
  • Worrying about getting those heels flat.  Your heels don’t have to be flat. This is something to aspire to but take a lot of time (and hamstring flexibility to get to). Let those heels come up off the ground, walk the dog (alternate bending and flexing the knee and ankle) to gradually build your strength and flexibility. If you need some extra support, out a rolled up blanket under your heels.
  • Stiffening or scrunching up your neck. Be sure and let your neck be loose and fluid. Moving your shoulders away from your ears and flattening out your armpits by pushing up your hips really helps with this. Keep your head in between your upper arms and gaze towards your belly button.
  • Painful wrists. Usually this is caused by gripping with the fingertips instead of suction cupping the palms and really plugging them into the floor or pouring weight too far forward into the wrists. If your wrists hurt, play with the angle, push the hips up further, bend the knees to flatten the back. You can use blocks under your hands to change the angle and take some weight out of the wrists. Alternatively, put your forearms on the ground and avoid the wrist action all together.

Practice these tips and in no time you will be comfortable “hanging out in down dog” for as many breaths as you need to. If you need some hands on help with making down dog feel right for you, join us for the free Beginner Yoga Basics Workshop on Sunday, October 7th.

Pure Synergy Wellness & Movement

Pure Synergy Wellness & Movement

A new entrepreneur thinks about a lot of things, A LOT; their vision, their mission, their passion. They dwell about how to make it a reality and how to get other people to love it.

In the 18 months since we opened Pure Synergy Wellness Studio, we have continued to add to our menu of services and classes based on the wants and needs of you, our clients. We learn from you every single day we open those doors. I believe that if you listen to your clients, with your own intuition, a business can grow into a thing of its own.

After a lot of thought, we have made the decision to re-brand Pure Synergy Wellness Studio to Pure Synergy Wellness & Movement. Our love for yoga and Pilates has not changed, but we feel the time has come to move forward and offer you more. We are very excited to announce that we will soon be offering cardio and strength group fitness classes, as well as circuit training!

So we have a new name and new classes, but you will also be seeing new additions to the studio and boutique as we go. Please keep in contact with us. Let us know the things you love and even the things that we could be doing better. Remember we do this for you!

With great gratitude,


Which is Better: CBD Oil or Essential Oils?

Which is Better: CBD Oil or Essential Oils?

Which is better…CBD Oil or Essential Oils?

Let’s cut right to the chase, they are both amazing in their own ways, but one certainly stands out as a more holistic approach to what ails you.

Occasionally we get asked some form of this comparison question, “which is better… X Essential Oil or CBD Oil?” or “is copaiba oil really better than CBD?” As with most topics in wellness, it can be difficult to separate the science from the marketing hype, so let’s break it down for you here by starting with a little pertinent scientific information on the endocannabinoid system, essential oils, and CBD oil.

The Endocannabinoid System

Have you ever heard of it? It’s totally fine if you haven’t, because it was actually only discovered a few decades ago. In science, a discovery that is only a few decades old is often not fully developed, and true to this pattern, science is still discovering new tidbits about the endocannabinoid system all the time, especially as we decriminalize cannabis.

The Endocannabinoid system’s primary focus is to create a perfect balance within the body, sometimes also called homeostasis. It releases and regulates different internal cannabinoids in reaction to anything, external or internal, that threatens to throw the body off balance. Sometimes this reaction is in response to a physical health threat, but much of what the endocannabinoid system deals with is the mental/neurological/energetic side of the threat.

A good example is stress, whether it is related to a internal stress like a health issue or an external stress, the endocannabinoid system regulates the internal chemical release around that stress. This is why the endocannabinoid system is often considered a type of subconscious emotional regulatory system.

There are 4 internal endocannabinoids that are the most well understood currently:

  1. Oxytocin. Oxytocin in an internal endocannabinoid molecule that is often associated with being strictly a female hormone. It’s actually produced and used by both males and females. Oxytocin is generated during labor, orgasms, and sexual activity, but it’s also produced during other affectionate expressions, like during hugs and moments of bonding. It’s also associated with empathy, trust, and generosity.
  2. Serotonin. Serotonin is another well-known molecule, although it is uncommon to know it as an internal endocannabinoid. Interestingly, serotonin is a neurotransmitter which is primarily made and regulated by the gut, bringing truth to the old saying that “the way to a person’s heart is through their tummy.” Many happy feelings, such as the feeling of safety, positivity, and calmness mostly come from within your stomach and intestines.
  3. Anandamide. This cannabinoid is a big influencer in your mental health. It is often called the ‘bliss molecule’ as it promotes relaxation and feelings of happiness. Anandamide is produced within human cell membranes and is a neurotransmitter which interacts with both CB1 and the CB2 receptors.
  4. Acetylcholine. This is a neurotransmitter responsible for attention, memory, creativity, and neuroplasticity. The cool thing about this cannabinoid is that depending on where it is in the body, it can have opposing effects. Acetylcholine interacts primarily with the CB1 receptor.

CB1 and CB2 Receptors

In telling you about the Endocannabinoid system I mentioned the neurochemicals above as well as the receptors where the body uses the neurochemicals. There are two primary receptors in the Endocannabinoid system for both internal and external cannabinoids, CB1 and CB2. These are important when comparing Copaiba and CBD oil because it will help you see the difference in the two substances and how they work on the body, and perhaps more importantly, in their therapeutic uses.

CB1 receptors are found in the central nervous system and both CB1 and CB2 receptors in certain peripheral tissues. CB1 receptors are neuromodulators as well as immunomodulators meaning the play a big role in both your mental health as well as your immune system health, they are specifically involved in the pituitary gland, immune cells, and reproductive tissues.

CB2 receptors are found primarily in peripheral tissues. Both CB1 and CB2 receptors CB1

activation appears to relieve inflammatory and neuropathic pain.

So now we know what the system is that both CBD and Copaiba essential oil act on and the receptors that are involved, let’s take a look at each CBD and Copaiba a little closer.

Essential Oils

First, let’s look at Copaiba. Essential oils are wonderful wellness tools and can be used for a myriad of ailments. The essential oil most often compared to CBD oil is Copaiba oil, although a few other oils, like Rosemary, share very similar terpene profile to the Copaiba, and that drives the comparison of CBD and Copaiba.

Copaiba essential oil comes from the Copaifera tree, which like another popular essential oil, Frankincense, can be found throughout South America. The Copaifera tree produces a resin, that is steam-distilled, and the end product is copaiba essential oil.

Copaiba oil has recently been subject to some fairly intense scientific exploration. Early studies show evidence of Copaiba’s legitimate healing capabilities in antibacterial wound-healing and anti-inflammation. Once these studies were released, many oil-lovers started shouting from the rooftops that Copaiba is the new “legal” CBD oil.

Copaiba’s medicinal properties are largely related to the terpene content, specifically beta-caryophyllene, which is also an ingredient/property in CBD oil, thus compounding the oil-markets excitement and lots of confusion.

Copaiba is touted as a powerful anti-inflammatory, and it is, but it is different from CBD in how it reacts in the body, or how the body can put it to use. Copaiba has a single pathway, through  terpene beta-caryophyllene, to act on inflammation and pain through the endocannabinoid system on only the CB2 receptor.

One of the drawbacks of Copaiba over CBD oil is that it is still an essential oil, and although it is a unique essential oil because it is safe to use internally in low doses. Unless you are under the care of a qualified Clinical Aromatherapist, I would discourage this at home because dosing is difficult to calculate and measure. The side effect of ingesting too much Copaiba oil will cause general tummy distress, such as pain, nausea, and vomiting. Prolonged ingestion can lead to damaged stomach and intestinal lining.


In comparison, CBD oil is a lot like an essential oil in that it is derived from plants and is natural and has been used for many years in healing and wellness. Cannabidiol oil (CBD) is a cannabinoid sourced from the cannabis sativa genus of plants, usually from industrial hemp plants (not marijuana). CBD is often confused with THC (from marijuana), but even though the are both cannabinoids, CBD is legal in all 50 states and is non-psychoactive. This means that despite what some essential oil purveyors may try to lead you to believe, CBD oil does not trigger a ‘high,’ anxiety, or euphoria. It triggers a mild sense of relaxation, if any physical sensation is noted at all.

The medicinal properties of CBD oil are attributed to two ingredients/properties, both terpenes (like you find in Copaiba oil)  and cannabinoids (found only in the CBD oil). CBD oil is pretty unique in that especially when using whole-plant extracts, CBD oil can contain many different compounds, each with its own unique effects on the endocannabinoid system. Through this interaction and with the benefit of a broad range of healing compounds, CBD has demonstrated huge potential as a treatment option for lots of health issues, including mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, autoimmune disorders, pain issues, cancer, inflammatory diseases and so much more.

As mentioned, CBD oil does contain beta-caryophyllene which acts on the CB2 receptors, and yes, this is the same terpene as Copaiba. CBD’s benefit over Copaiba is really in its influence over the entire endocannabinoid system, both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD targets pain and inflammation in multiple ways, even beyond the beta-caryophyllene terpenes.

Currently, there is no recommended maximum dosage for CBD oil, and there are some documented acute treatments using upwards of 1,000 mg of CBD oil a day. While that isn’t a dose I would recommend without consulting your Wellness Practitioner, over-the-counter dosages are regarded as safe and perfect for oral consumption.

So which is better?

Copaiba, while a good essential oil with many healing properties, simply does not stack up to the healing ability of CBD oil. As mentioned, Copaiba’s health benefits come only from its beta-caryophyllene contents that act on a single receptor, CB2.  Whole-plant CBD (not CBD isolate) oil benefits from a synergistic effect between all the complex compounds, like the cannabinoids and terpenes. Multiple studies have confirmed the various compounds in CBD are stronger when working together, instead of isolating their parts. Copaiba would be considering isolating only one of CBD’s beneficial parts.

CBD oil is THC free and is legal in all 50 states. If you are wondering if CBD oil would be helpful for you, get in contact with me here.


Yoga Etiquette 101

Yoga Etiquette 101

While I don’t necessarily think yoga has “rules”, I do feel that there should be a certain level of respect to the studio space, it’s teachers and fellow yogis just like you. This will allow everyone to maintain their own practice in a room filled with different types of people. Maybe you enjoy a quiet, deeply relaxing class or would you’d rather a base thumping, fast flow? Either way in a room of many people and many goals, the following points will help to make everyone have a better experience on (and off) the mat:

1) R-E-S-P-E-C-T – Respect your instructor and the other people in the studio. Some days the room will be quiet when you need music or the class will be fast when you need it slow. That’s life, my friend. Roll with it. The instructor planned that class for a reason. The other people in class have come to that class for a reason. Please respect all the people (it’s about more than just you or me).

2) EARLY YOGI GETS THE MAT – Get to class 10-15 minutes early. Life is crazy and busy and loud and overwhelming. Arriving early allows you to take a breather before breathing on cue and slow down before your first down-dog. Take this time to talk to your instructor, journal or get out your wiggles and start to get centered. If you are a couple minutes late, please be quiet entering the studio. If you are more than a couple minutes late, please understand if you are turned away.

3) MUSIC MAKES ME LOSE CONTROL… hold it. NO. Turn off the need to be entertained. It’s not about that. Yoga is about getting inside of you; your head, your body, your heart. There are sounds (or not) for a reason. Maybe it’s to block out our intersection or it’s for a themed class, regardless there is a method to the madness. Trust us!

4) DIGITAL OVERLOAD? In a world where there’s a screen every time we turn around, use this chance to turn it all off. It’s one hour. ONE HOUR… Please turn your phone to OFF or DO NOT DISTURB, vibrate is not an option. If you feel it’s a do or die, it’s probably better to come back on a day when you can fully focus.

5) SECRETS SECRETS ARE NO FUN. No one likes a gossip or not feeling like they’re part of the “cool kid club”. I think you are all pretty special, so please play nice with others. NO gossip. NO cliques. ONLY peace and love. (That got real hippie, real quick.)

6) CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS! Please practice proper hygiene. Smoke, heavy perfumes, even strong essential oils can be very overwhelming in our intimate space. Also please do not walk on mats with shoes on. Yoga is practiced barefoot and your shoes are a cesspool of bacteria.

7) PUT IT BACK THE WAY YOU FOUND IT. Take just a moment and fold the blanket nicely. It takes just a minute to clean the mat and roll it properly. We want the class before you to make everything nice for your class, please do the same for the class after yours.

8) AND NOW SHAVASANA. Don’t skip it. Learn to love it, crave it, come to class for it, but also respect it. If you aren’t looking to calm yourself, it’s possible you are looking for all the right things in all the wrong places. Shavasana is a pose, just like pidgeon or child’s pose, but it can also be so much more. Please respect it as such and allow your mind and body to give into it. Settle. Breathe. Grow.

Now go enjoy every minute in the studio! Laugh (somewhat quietly), learn and love this little community we are creating. After all, being human is the first step in being a great human being.

What Makes Us Who We Are?

What Makes Us Who We Are?

Pure Synergy was created as a place for our community to come together and for the people “our tribe”. This is why our class times and types change; they evolve with and for the people taking them. Our classes are alignment based and small so we can make sure everyone is safe and assist anyone that may need a little personal help. We will never ask our instructors to teach a scripted class or our therapists to do an routine service, because we do what our clients need right now. That’s is the core of our existence.

Here are a few things that make us who we are:

We keep our class sizes small (never more than 15 people) and our instructors are hired based off of their ability to be aware of the needs of the people they are instructing. Whether the student needs modifications to make a pose more accessible to accommodate for an injury or inexperience; or they are looking for a little more of a push – the instructor can help with that.

With that being said, our very talented instructors are not mind readers. We always recommend that you come a few minutes early to speak with the instructor about your goals for the class and any injuries or worries you may have. They are here for YOU.

Let’s be honest – most of us don’t know how to do yoga when we first start coming to class… that’s why we go to yoga! Nothing is worse than going to a class and feeling left behind. We strive to avoid that. Our classes are designed to be educational. We want you to understand why we do the poses we do, what each pose helps in daily life, how to breathe efficiently, building your yogic foundation, and what namaste means!

In addition to our classes, we have monthly workshops to build community, to dive deeper into styles of yoga, learn difficult poses, learn more about holistic wellness, and occasionally drink wine!

Each year, we offer Advanced Yoga Studies & Teacher Training (next one begins in September). This program is about so much more than preparing yoga teachers! It’s about deepening your yoga practice, gaining knowledge and understanding about your mind, body & spirit, finding balance, and loving yourself. If you want to learn more about the roots of yoga and even be prepared to teach one day – this is a great place to start!

At least once a week someone calls and tells me that they have been putting off coming to classes because they are nervous, intimidated, or have never done yoga before. It’s heartbreaking to know that so many people have yet to experience the healing power of yoga because of the culture that the fitness industry has created.

That’s where we come in. Here at Pure Synergy – we greet all students with love and respect. We are so glad that you’re here! We provide mats, blocks, straps, etc. so that you don’t even have to worry about remembering to bring your own. Between the cheery front desk staff, the instructors, and the community of amazing people here – we hope to provide you with a comfortable place to practice yoga & pilates and find peace – if even for only an hour of your day. Look at these happy ladies – they want you to come to yoga!

If you ever have any questions, comments, concerns, etc. please do not hesitate to reach out to us! You can send us an email at or call/text us at 940.441.5991

Love & Light, the Pure Synergy Tribe