Recently, a few of my students have approached me with injuries wondering if they should still be practicing yoga. Wrist injuries, shoulder injuries, knee injuries, ankle injuries -- all kinds of funky things! My answer is almost always, "YES, you can absolutely practice yoga. Let's find a way to modify your practice."
The general rule of thumb to practicing yoga, or any exercise, is it pay close attention to your intuition. If you are feeling pain, you should immediately stop whatever you are doing so the pain stops. Intense stretching is great. Pain is not good. Please do not ever put yourself into a position that feels painful. And really, isn't that something we should practice in all areas of our life??
I love the practice of yoga because every single time I step onto my mat, I experience something completely unique. With Ashtanga, my practice looks similar from day-to-day, and of course I experience my share of consistencies and progress, but my body and mind always feels just a little bit different during each practice.
Some days, I show up on my mat and have to convince myself to complete just one sun salutation. Once I've done one, I can usually convince myself to do five sun salutation A's and five sun salutation B's. Before I know it, I've practiced every pose in the primary series and am ready for savasana.
The days that I get on my mat with no expectations are sometimes the days when I have my best practices.
I am a yoga teacher.
What does this mean to you? Perhaps it means nothing.
To me, it means everything.
I think the message of yoga has been lost over the years. The American idea of yoga is a fitness class, or as I've heard it been called before: "ass kicking stretching". The yoga that I know and love is a time to be alone with our thoughts. A time to be alone with ourselves to connect with ourselves. A time to breathe and be still.
I think the idea of being still, of disconnecting, of actually being present, is incredibly intimidating to most people. Not only is it intimidating, but it's also very difficult.
One of my favorite places to grab a quick and healthy bite to eat is a cute little restaurant called The Juice Room. It's a very simple menu of made to order items, including juices, smoothies, soups, and sandwiches. It's fantastic! There are many restaurants offering meals on the go, but few of them offer healthy, vegan-friendly options. I love The Juice Room because I can order a soup and a smoothie and feel completely satisfied while knowing my meal was 100% nutritious.
I few months ago, a friend of mine stopped by there and had the most amazing soup. Her soup eating experience was documented in a series of text messages to me, most of which were about fifty "licking-the-lips" emojis combined with "OMG THIS SOUP!". I knew I had to get over there and try it. I stopped over the very next day, and sure enough, OMG THIS SOUP! It really was incredible. Creamy, yet made without dairy. Delicious in a way that you might describe Thanksgiving dinner. And filling, so damn filling! Chickpeas, rice, and vegetables -- oh my!
In early 2011, I met a friend for dinner and we we talked extensively about our training for an upcoming race. I mentioned that all the running I was doing was making me feel really stiff, and she mentioned that she had started taking yoga classes recently to aid in her recovery time between runs. I always wanted to try yoga, but never knew where to go for a class, and with all the running I was doing, it seemed hard to fit it into my schedule. I was curious though, so I found time to fit in a yoga class the very next day.
On the night of Tuesday, January 18, 2011, I walked into Dana Hot Yoga to practice yoga for the very first time. About half way through class, I remember feeling incredibly challenged. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, it was blazing hot, and I wasn’t as flexible or strong as I had once thought I was. In summary: I was getting my ass totally handed to me!
For the last year and a half, my yoga practice has been almost exclusively Ashtanga. Some days it's feels amazing and other days it's a hot mess! Lately, I have been working into deeper backbends, including dropping back from standing into urdhva dhanurasana (wheel pose) and standing back up.
Although I'm not quite there independently, I am very comfortable doing this with the assistance of my teacher, Caroline. For whatever reason, there is a lot of fear in this movement for me, so it was a pretty big deal when I dropped back to floor all by myself last week! The first time was witnessed by my teacher (yay!) and the second time was during my home practice.
A friend of mine tried this recipe and said it reminded her of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but of course, it's not a sandwich. Ironically, this delicious little treat was created by a peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich-loving six year old.
This simple and sweet recipe reminds me to enjoy the little pleasures of life. Enjoy this recipe as a dessert or just a snack in the middle of your day and I promise you that it will bring a smile to your face :)
Ever since I made the transition from vegetarian to vegan, I find myself wanting to recreate some of my favorite non-vegan recipes. Over the years, I have made vegan versions of pizza, mac and cheese, lasagna, buffalo chicken, and even cheesesteaks.
I don't usually like to toot my own horn, but TOOT TOOT! I feel like a pro at creating vegan versions of non-vegan dishes!
My latest creation is a vegan version of the classic combination of grilled cheese and tomato soup, both of which are usually not vegan.
I've always dreamed of having my own garden. I'm not talking about just a few potted plants. No, I'm talking about several acres of fruits, vegetables, and herbs!
For the time being, I am just dreaming about this fantasy garden, and I've settled for two raised garden beds in my own back yard full of things likes tomatoes, zucchini, a variety of herbs, cauliflower, lettuce, and blueberries. I have to be honest; it doesn't feel like I have settled at all! Fresh grown food in your own back yard, no matter what the quantity, is better than any other food in the whole wide world! It really is the best.
Written By: Andy Weir
You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And that’s when you met me.