Yoga Updates: Article, Workshop and New Classes

Just a couple of exciting updates to share today if you haven’t already seen them both on Facebook.

My first article for WalkJogRun went live last night. In it I outline the benefits of yoga for runners. If you run and are dabbling with the idea of adding yoga to your training, hopefully this will give you the extra push you need. If you’re not a runner, feel free to check out the article anyway, I’d love your support as I continue to build my writing career.

WalkJogRun Article

Secondly, if you’re in the Boston area on Saturday, March 30th I’m teaching a Fearless Back Bending Workshop at All One Yoga from 1:30-3:30. We’ll working through the fears associated with back bending to deepen your practice.

Back Bending Workshop

Lastly, my teaching schedule will be changing in the next few weeks as I add some classes at All One and shift classes from Crossfit Back Bay to a new studio in Jamaica Plain. I’ll update my teaching schedule page when everything is final and sorted.

Self promotion done.

Back to the food tomorrow. I’m currently working on a millet dish and a quinoa casserole that has huge flop potential but might be worth the gamble.

Have a great Wednesday.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Week of…

Blogging is a funny thing. I originally set out to chronicle our life here in Boston and share some of my favorite recipes. But like most endeavours, it has turned into something much larger and better than I thought it would. I love sharing my creations and thoughts here with you all, and I love connecting with so many wonderful people, both those I know and those I’ve never met. However, sometimes I struggle with what to write. Some weeks there just aren’t enough new recipes to share or the recipes were flops. Sometimes there aren’t enough Things I’m Loving or enough Little Bits of Random. This is when I contest with whether to write nothing at all or to write about nothing. Yesterday I did the former, today the latter.

I apologize to those of you who follow for the recipes, maybe just skip posts like these? And for those of you who ‘read’ just for the pictures (Sarah, who probably didn’t even get this far), there just aren’t many of those this week either.

Maybe someday I’ll look back on posts like these wishing I hadn’t babbled on about nothing but what can I say, I like to write, I like this blog, I like all of you, so write I will, even without a cohesive theme for this post beyond what happened this week.

Here’s a snapshot.

A Week of Workouts:

There isn’t much rhyme or reason to my workouts. I try to do something active everyday like walk to and from my classes but I purposefully workout five days a week. I try to switch it up and attempt to get in two structured yoga classes a week in addition to my home practice. Running and the gym fall into the other days.

Monday was a rest day except for walking Eli and a little home practice with Guy.

cat yoga

On Tuesday I took to the treadmill. I did an incredibly tedious 4 mile run. I hate the treadmill. Every mile feels like 10 and I’m not one who can cover up the time with a towel and just run. So I watch every minute tick by in agony while I play games with myself like, “run until you hit 1.25 miles then you can stop”, at which point I move the goal to 1.50 miles or to running for 18 minutes or whatever the next milestone is. This trick actually works really well for me but it’s a painful process.

On Wednesday I took a hot hatha class after I taught. It’s pretty much a Bikram class but only 75 minutes and not as hot. I’m not a huge fan of Bikram but it was nice to change it up.

Yesterday I got out for a much more enjoyable run. I headed down to the river and ran 3.25 miles at an 8 minute pace. I thought I was going a lot faster but my watch told me differently. Regardless it felt good to stretch my legs again.

Today I plan to make it over to Baptiste for a power class this afternoon.

A Week of Bites:

I had a lot of Starbucks this week. I’m not sure why but I was craving lattes. This is from Wednesday. Sometimes I like to write and do work away from home, gotta love Starbucks for the free wifi and never kicking you out. It’s also amazing people watching.

Starbucks Soy Latte

I also made a lot of sweet treats.

Beyond these

peanut butter chocolate tart

I also tested a banana cake recipe for my friend’s cookbook. I saved a few slices for myself and shared the rest with my 4:30 yoga class yesterday. I was helping a student with arm balances right after class so I didn’t get a chance to ask how they liked it but the entire cake was gone in two minutes so it must have been good. If any of you are reading from that class please let me know what you thought so I can report back.

banana cake

I also made some banana raisin oatmeal bars. I smothered them with my new favorite Bonne Mamam jam: Apricot Raspberry (Flo, it’s almost as good as the plain Raspberry, almost).

oatmeal bars

Earlier this week I also attempted a not so sweet and not very good cashew cream. I haven’t had much luck with cashew creams. I think it might be my lack of a blender?

cashew cream

Anyhow, that’s about it for the week. Thanks for reading the babble if you got this far.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Enjoy and Exhale!

All Things Yoga

I did zero cooking this weekend. Usually I’ve done something worthy of sharing but I wasn’t feeling inspired to do more than toast some bread and spread on some jam. I’m pretty sure you’re not interested in that recipe!

Unexpectedly the weekend became all about yoga instead. My weekends are often part yoga but this weekend it seemed to dominate.

On Friday afternoon I took a workshop with Nikki Vilella. She is co-owner of Kula Yoga in Brooklyn and I immediately loved her. She was so knowledgeable and personable. The workshop focused on hands on assists. For those yogis reading you know how wonderful and amazing assists can feel during a practice. My ultimate goal is to get much more comfortable and confident giving them in all types of poses. Those of you regulars in my classes (Joeli!) I hope you don’t mind being guinea pigs while I test what works and what doesn’t.

The workshop definitely didn’t feel long enough but I got plenty of good starters. I also bought this book a couple of weeks ago so I’ll be taking pointers from it as well.

Extra Love: The Art of Hands-On Assists

Saturday morning I taught my Power Yoga class and then headed to another of Nikki’s workshops. This time it was all about back bending. I’m teaching my own back bending workshop next month (March 30th at All One Yoga, join me) so I figured it couldn’t hurt to get some new ideas. It was an amazing! I came home right after and jotted down so many notes my hand started to cramp.

yoga notes

That woman is a wealth of knowledge. I wish I lived close enough to take her classes all the time.

Saturday night we headed to Coolidge Corner for sushi. We tried out FaGaKyu which turned out to be a huge restaurant right off the T. The sushi was good but I don’t think we’d go back. I had a sweet potato and pineapple roll (front) that was really tasty. The second was a garden roll that was okay. Michael had a bunch of unpictured tuna rolls.

veggie sushi

Sunday morning we took a long rainy walk to the Commons with Eli. We both forgot our phones so there are no pictures to share.

We spent the afternoon watching more Dexter and reading while the rain turned to snow. I’m attempting to read one for fun book and one yoga book at a time. I just finished Eastern Body Western Mind which took me months to get through, it was dense! I’ve now moved on to this book my mom bought me for Christmas.

the science of yoga

In the evening I went to a Weekend Warrior class taught by the lovely Kaileen at All One. I’ll be taking over her Sunday classes while she’s on maternity leave so I wanted to get a sense of her style. Wow, her class was so fun! In about 2 minutes she made me realize that I’ve been taking my teaching way too seriously. I need to allow for more joy and celebration. I think I’ve been so worried about getting everything perfect that I’ve forgotten how fun it can be to just move and play on your mat (and off your mat really). Thank you Kaileen for the wonderful reminder.

After class we watched the Oscars and had dinner. Pasta for him, taco salad for her, our individual versions of comfort food. 🙂

I spent this morning with an old work friend in town from Korea so now it’s time to log off and get cooking.

Have a wonderful Monday.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Things I’m Loving 2!

If you missed Things I’m Loving 1 you can find it here.

I sort of love this series. It gives me the chance to find awesome things on the internet or in the world that don’t make much sense to share on their own and make them into a cohesive post.

1.) First up, a birthday gift from my lovely friend Kate. I couldn’t believe it when I opened it. A gold kale leaf! It’s now become a permanent part of my key chain and I smile every time I open the door. Thank you Kate!

kale leaf key chain

2.) I know we’re like 8 years behind the times but we just started the Dexter series and can’t get enough. It’s such a good show, I don’t know how I can root for a serial killer but I love him. Michael C. Hall is brilliant! If you haven’t already watched it, you should.

Dexter

3.) This mini-workout. I found it on Pinterest the other day and did it after a run. It was fun to add a little something different to my usual routine.

Victoria Secret Workout

4.) This book. Unbeknownst to me I downloaded it from the library before realizing it’s about 800 pages long. I’m about 50% through, finally, and although sometimes it can be slow I’m now very invested in these Hungarian characters.

The Invisible Bridge

5.) These Athleta yoga pants. I have been a big Lululemon fan for as long as I can remember and really love their stuff but the prices are a little high, especially on a teacher’s salary. Now that I’m teaching some community classes at Athleta, I thought I’d try out a pair. And then another. And another. I’m loving their pants. They fit great, don’t ride or bunch and are less expensive than Lulu. I also bought a pair for my sister for Christmas and she’s a huge fan for running. Worth a try, you can return after a workout if you hate them, no questions asked.

Athleta pants

6.) The city by the bay. Tickets are booked! We’ll be home the first weekend in April. Let the countdown begin. Napa, Urban Flow, Gracias Madre, fog, friends and family here we come.

Golden Gate

Enjoy and Exhale!

And Exhale?

 

yoga

I’ve been thinking a lot about my blog title as I’m sure you have too :). Overall I feel really good about the Quinoa and Kale part, although I do owe you a few more kale recipes but that’s for another day. Right now it’s the exhale part that’s got me bothered.

When I started this blog I sort of resigned myself to allowing my MindBodyGreen articles and occasionally talking about going to or teaching a class to cover the exhale/yoga but I’m starting to think it’s not enough. I spend so much of my day reading, thinking about, practicing, and teaching the exhale part that it seems sort of odd not to talk more about it.

The problem is my own low self-esteem when it comes to yoga. I have been practicing for many years and although there is more to learn (side note: there is always more yoga to learn), I feel fairly confident in my own asana (or physical) practice. Unless of course I get around Michael’s sister-in-law who officially has no spine and makes me feel like an 80-year-old woman, though that’s besides the point.

But you see, the physical practice is only one of the eight limbs of Patanjali’s yoga and its main purpose is to set you up for a meditation practice, which I’m still struggling with. And then there are six other limbs that I am only now beginning to explore. Plus, the philosophy and the history and the ancient texts and the teachings and the chants I know some of the words to but not the meanings of, and, and, and you can see that I know very little about all of this and I don’t want to seem like a big, fat fraud.

yoga mat

Though the more I contemplate it the more my gut keeps telling me not to shy away. I have learned something about yoga, however little that might be, and I think there are some really valuable lessons to be shared. Everyday concepts that are easy for anyone to grasp, not only those who have dedicated their lives to the practice or live in ashrams or even those who’ve step onto a mat. So I’m going to do my best to cast aside my egoist fears and start talking a little bit more about what I now do for a living and my own personal journey with yoga. Everything may not be 100% correct but it will be 100% heart-felt and genuine to my life, practice and experiences.

Now that we have that out of the way, yesterday I read the following quote from Eastern Body, Western Mind and it struck a chord with me, especially in this time of technology obsession (btw, I have that too)!

“Disconnection from the body is a cultural epidemic. Of all the losses rupturing the human soul today, this alienation may be the most alarming because it separates us from the very roots of existence. With jobs that are degrading, routines that are automatic and environments that annihilate our senses, we lose the joy that arises from the dynamic connection with the only presence we are guaranteed to have for the whole of our lives: our body. To lose our connection with the body is to become spiritually homeless. Without an anchor we float aimlessly, batter by the winds and waves of life.”

I shared this quote in one of my classes last night and asked that my students stay really present in their bodies for the full 75 minutes, not letting their minds run off to their to-do lists and dinner plans, not setting themselves to autopilot. Of course, this was more easily applicable to a yoga class but what about everyday life?

Can we be a bit more present in our own bodies? Can we set aside the constant stimulation of technology and just be, even if for a minute or two? Can we take a moment to scan our own bodies to see how we really feel? Especially this time of year when we’re supposed to be cheerful, joyful, all holiday’d up, is it possible to be honest with ourselves about how we’re really feeling and be okay with whatever emotion comes up? Can we breathe a little more fully? Eat a little more slowly?

As I mentioned, I’m guilty of neglecting all of the above as well. So this morning I took Eli out for an extra long walk. I left my cell phone at home. I took a couple of deep breaths into the December sun, I gave my dog my full attention and my body a little time away from a glaring screen. Of course I’m back here typing but I offer this up as a simple reminder. Do with it as you please.

And if you read this far (bless you), check out this amazing story from a blog I came across yesterday, it’s a true depiction of the holiday spirit.

Happy weekend all and with a new sign off…

Enjoy and Exhale!

Yoga Filled Weekend

Happy Monday. If you’re anything like me you’ve been up for many hours now. Daylight savings plus Guy, who is the ultimate morning kitty, equals me being up before the sun. Of course, once Guy roused me from bed and was sufficiently convinced that I was awake, he went back to sleep!

Anyway, my weekend was filled with yoga. I began teaching my new weekly Saturday morning power yoga class at All One Yoga.   I loved the energy of a Saturday morning class. I’m so happy to share part of the weekend with my students and am looking forward to, hopefully, getting some regulars in the class. Come join me if you’re in the Boston area.

I also taught a free vinyasa class at the new Newbury Athleta on Sunday. The class was free to anyone and there was a great showing. Most of the ladies were part of a running club but were so lively and enthusiastic about yoga. I’m such a big fan of how both compliment each other, it was great to see others embracing this. Here’s a group shot from after. I had such a fun time teaching. I really encourage you to look into the free yoga classes in your area.

I also couldn’t resist myself so I bought a pair of their yoga pants. They are SO comfortable! I’m wearing them in the shot above. I don’t think you can tell but they are bright purple. I spend all my time in yoga pants and most of mine are black and gray, it was nice to get a little color. Okay, enough about yoga pants, haha.

Last yoga related tidbit. MindBodyGreen reran my Side Effects of Yoga article. Yay.

I didn’t cook much this weekend. We had Thai takeout on Friday and ate at a little hole in the wall Mexican place on Saturday night. Yesterday I did attempt gluten-free pancakes but they aren’t quite right so I’ll have to tinker a bit before I share the recipe. I hear the key to fluffy gluten-free pancakes might be almond meal, we’ll see. Michael also made a potato hash thing that was super tasty.

We also bought new couches last weekend that our being delivered tomorrow so we went about selling our old leather couches and rearranging the apartment again. I know, again. Once everything is in place I’ll take some more pictures but Michael and I are both liking the new set up much better, which includes using our dining room table! We’re such grown ups.

I’m off to figure out how the heck to winter-ize my scooter. The temps are dropping and poor scoot needs anti-freeze or a cover or something. This is not something we had to worry about in San Francisco, I’m sure it’s the first of many winter first for me 🙂

Enjoy your day!