Getting “Real” with Yoga at Home

IMG_2215Today I got on my mat. Ok, I get on my mat most days, but today felt special. After a long week of holidays and family and travel, and ‘make do’ practices, I’m finally home and was expecting a friend to join me for an asana and breathing session chez moi. I thought “Now I will finally have a real practice!” But winter arrived unexpectedly today, and my yoga buddy wasn’t able to drive. I was back to facing the idea of a solo practice. In times past this might have spelled the end of my ‘get back in gear’ plans, but somehow today’s practice was amazing, focused and sweetly sweaty. It felt just as ‘real’ as any day in the shala. How’d that happen?

Well, partly after all these years I’ve finally grown up in my practice. I still LOVE being in the room with a lot of other devoted folks and all that energy, but my mat and my own breath are familiar to me, and the habit is ingrained. I can make the energy myself if I need to. And partly I’ve developed a few rituals over the past several months of mainly self practice that have really helped me make the most of my alone time and keep the yoga fires burning, even without community around me. Here are a few:

  1. Lemon water. I get up in the morning and drink it first thing. It makes me feel virtuous and begins the ritual of the morning. Ok, I drink my coffee after that too, but the lemon water is what makes it feel like I’m beginning my day in a healthy way and setting the tone for the practice.
  2. I set a time in my mind for getting on my mat and when the clock strikes that time, I “ekam inhale.” Practicing at the same time every day is even better, but though I don’t always manage to do that, I set a time in my mind the night before and keep it like an appointment.
  3. A little rebellion. I often practice to music, at least for the opening sun salutes and standing postures. There I said it, ashtanga police be damned. Sometimes a driving beat is helpful in getting me going or keeping me flowing. I respond deeply to rhythms. They draw my breath, heartbeat and mind all into one pointed focus.

Looking for inspiration to get on your mat, go to a class, or design your sustainable delectable life and practice? I’d love to help! I’m working on a free gift for you—a cheat sheet of my ten top tips for getting on the mat regularly. In the meantime, share your unique struggles with me via email or comments and let’s see if we can start your motivational tuneup!

And, coming in the New Year, I’m launching a new program for creating a healthy-yet-balanced life that includes a dedicated yoga practice AND room for mindful indulgence. In short, A Life Delectable. To get first dibs when the program launches and keep up to date on the latest tips and recipes, don’t forget to sign up for email updates and ‘like’ the A Life Delectable facebook page!

And now back to my New Year’s Eve healthy indulgent menu planning…

Wishing you happiness, health and lots of dark chocolate in the coming year,

Laura

The Pose I Wish Wasn’t

Eka Pada Bakasana A
A number of months ago my friends at the Ashtanga Dispatch hosted an Instagram Challenge, and one of the required poses was “the pose you wish…wasn’t.” So yeah, my immediate reaction was to avoid that challenge! But seriously folks, there are very few poses I wish didn’t exist. Though there are plenty of poses that challenge me, I find most of them enjoyable to work on. But there are one or two poses that feel more than challenging. They feel impossible. As if there is no finger hold. Nowhere to begin. Like they were designed just to show me my limits. There’s no work, just a feeling of inadequacy. READ MORE >

Crazy Pants, Body Image and Musings on an IG Challenge

baddha hasta sirsasana D“You know, there really is so much too much of you!”-A Tale of Two Cities.

This is sometimes how I feel about myself. Too many thoughts, too loud, too curly, too curvy, too many asanas, singing when I should chant, talking when I should be silent. Part of my journey of yoga: embracing it all. There is exactly as much of me as there should be. Yes, self-transformation can be good, but self-acceptance is even better. If it’s true as the Baghavad Gita says, that “yoga is the practice of tolerating the consequences of being who you are,” then I may be slowly, slowly almost practicing yoga. I see the growth and the stuck places too, everywhere in my life. And it’s evidenced in my yoga pants and my Instagram account. Say what??? READ MORE >

PB&J Chia Parfaits

chia parfaits 6Hi folks and happy moon day, otherwise known as a day ashtangis may sleep till (gasp!) 6 or 7!

On mornings like this, moon days and Saturdays, I sometimes find myself weirdly relaxed, or alternately at loose ends (like, what in the world am I still doing in my pajamas at 7 am?!) or crazy hungry. It’s like my belly knows we don’t have to power up for a practice first and demands feeding, pronto like.

On one of these mornings I found myself dreaming of peanut butter. Not almond butter or sunflower butter or calcium rich tahini, but peanut butter. And I wondered why you never see a peanut butter chia pudding. I mean, really, have you seen one? It’s always goji or strawberry or chocolate spirulina or some crazy thing. My go-to has always been simple vanilla with cardamom and/or cinnamon. But this week I wanted something slightly more decadent. And while I was at it, I thought, if PB, then why not PB and J?

Yes, I went there. And I’m so glad I did. I think It’s going to inspire a long list of chia parfaits. Actually, vanilla layered with the berry might be even better (how about vanilla layered with blueberry? Or cherry? OMG). I think Chocolate layered with the peanut butter would be awesome. And how about coffee? Like your morning brew and breakfast all in one go. Oh man, I’m getting hungry right now.

To be clear, I didn’t use real jam. I wanted these to be somewhat healthy. I merely made strawberry flavored milk to create my chia pudding, which, in combination with the peanut butter, give the PB & J effect. But you could use some jam as a topping or layer if you like.

And, just as a reminder, chia seeds are amazing health promoters. Their mucilaginous properties make them great for gut healing, while the high fiber content keeps you full. With protein, calcium and omega 3s, they’re teeny tiny little health powerhouses. And adding nuts and seeds, plus fruits and other super foods makes this a pudding fit for a super hero.

chia parfaits 7I made a big batch of these parfaits one Saturday morning and enjoyed them for a few days, with friends. So they’ll last. Make some on a day off then take them to go for those faster paced days. I know you might buy those chia pods or the like when you’re on the go. But chia pudding is simple to make. I know you can do it. And, those tiny little pods are not nearly enough to satisfy my breakfast hunger. Admit it, you eat two as well…

Anyway, I loved these for their beauty and their decadent flavor. One day I even ate mine drizzled with extra homemade nut milk. This is what my grandfather always did with his tapioca pudding and it’s perfectly indulgent.

You can, of course, eat just one flavor at a time. But I ask you, why????

chia parfaits 5

PB&J Chia Parfaits
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Sometimes you want the comfort of PB&J. This is the childhood flavor, all grown up.
Servings Prep Time
4 15Minutes
Passive Time
1Hour (or overnight)
Servings Prep Time
4 15Minutes
Passive Time
1Hour (or overnight)
PB&J Chia Parfaits
  • 1
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Rate this recipe!
Sometimes you want the comfort of PB&J. This is the childhood flavor, all grown up.
Servings Prep Time
4 15Minutes
Passive Time
1Hour (or overnight)
Servings Prep Time
4 15Minutes
Passive Time
1Hour (or overnight)
Ingredients
Peanut Butter Pudding
Strawberry Pudding
Servings:
Units:
Instructions
Make the Puddings
  1. Add nut milk, peanut butter, vanilla and dates to your blender jar and blend well.
  2. Pour the peanut butter 'milk' into a large jar, add chia seeds, cover and shake well (about 30 seconds).
  3. Let sit for a few minutes, then shake again.
  4. Store in the refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight to allow the chia seeds to expand and the pudding to thicken.
  5. Add nut milk, strawberries, dates and vanilla to blender jar and blend well.
  6. Pour the strawberry 'milk' into a large jar, add chia seeds, cover and shake well (about 30 seconds).
  7. Let sit for a few minutes, then shake again.
  8. Store in the refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight to allow the chia seeds to expand and the pudding to thicken.
To Assemble the Parfaits
  1. Spoon a layer of peanut butter pudding into each of four jars, glasses or goblets.
  2. Layer banana and strawberry slices on top of peanut butter pudding.
  3. Spoon a layer of strawberry pudding over strawberry and banana slices.
  4. Repeat until remaining pudding and fruit is used up. Top as desired with granola, buckwheat crispies (soaked, dehydrated buckwheat), nuts and seeds, cacao nibs or whatever strikes your fancy. Some extra peanut butter thinned with a little liquid coconut oil makes a fantastic drizzle.
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Cacao Chia Cherry Bread

date cacao bread 2I come to you with just a recipe today. No deep thoughts. Well, maybe only deep, dark chocolate ones.

Let me back up. When your teacher asks you to do something, you do it, right? Fortunately, I like what was asked of me recently. I was asked to make breakfast treats for the hungry yogis at AYNY, a pretty fun and rewarding task. I mostly try to make the treats healthy. Indulgently healthy perhaps, but still healthy. Drool-worthy, but still healthy. Rich and satisfying, but…you get the idea.

READ MORE >

How Not To Go On Vacation (plus some easy spring eating tips)

Tulum last night restaurant sceneSo I was cruising for the finish line. I’d worked. Taught classes. Pitched articles. Visited my in-laws and extended family for holidays and emergencies, checked on my upstate house. I had 5 days to work hard at the day job, teach more classes and get everything organized and packed and set up so nothing fell down around my ears while I was away with family in Mexico when…BAM, the flu. Or something very like it. Yeah. That kind of knee-capped me. READ MORE >

Why I Won’t Offer You Perfection in 6 Easy Steps-And a Healthy Shamrock Shake

Can we talk about this whole inspirational healthy living thing? I’m beginning to be annoyed. If I see one more post about how to be better, happier, healthier, wealthier, thinner and more spiritually evolved  with “6 easy things you can do today” I will spit.

I understand these posts, and why they’re titled this way. Hell, they get even me to click. But the items are never what I’d think. And if they are, then I’m almost always already doing them.

And I’m not perfectly healthy, wealthy, skinny, evolved and spiritual. Go figure.

Drink lemon water? Don’t eat on the run? Get up early? Schedule in my mat time? Get rid of processed/packaged food? Check, check, check, check and check.

And oh, green juice is the ANSWER. Green juice is the DEVIL. Meat is bad. Meat is good. Plant milks are better. Processed plant milks are the path to destruction with their added emulsifiers. Can you really get to the bottom of it in 6 easy steps?

I tell you what, health does not come in pre-packaged sound bytes. No my friend, health and wellness and spiritual connection are hard. They are not linear and straightforward paths and there is no one answer for everybody. Also, there is no one answer for you at all times in your life. There’s still a lot of mystery to how the human body works, no matter how much we may have learned. And no one has the one, easy perfect answer.

On the other hand, there are some things we know. Real food is better than chemicals. Eating while stressed out isn’t a great idea. Moving your body is important. People who feel loved are healthier.

Ok, there’s somewhere to start. Go hug your husband/wife/dog/child. Stop texting or working on your report while you eat. Take a walk in the lovely spring weather. Oh, and make this smoothie. It’s jam packed with real food. No creepy food coloring, processed sugar or conventional dairy. Also, I didn’t replace the dairy with icky GMO, pesticide rich, mucus producing soy milk, as so many of the vegan shakes do. It’s pretty simple, a spin on my cashew milk, nog and hot chocolate recipes (which you can get by subscribing to updates in the sidebar, or if you’re already subscribed, by contacting me here). And it’s healthy enough to have for breakfast.

This shake is one step closer to a whole foods lifestyle, in a goblet or jar or glass. And it’s delectable. That’s my big idea.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Go drink your greens (and I don’t mean Midori or Jaegermeister).

Love,

Me

shamrock shake

Clean Green Shamrock Shake
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A healthy spin on the Shamrock Shake with only whole foods. Healthy enough for breakfast!
Servings Prep Time
1 3minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 3minutes
Clean Green Shamrock Shake
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You:
Rate this recipe!
A healthy spin on the Shamrock Shake with only whole foods. Healthy enough for breakfast!
Servings Prep Time
1 3minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 3minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Units:
Instructions
  1. Measure all ingredients except cacao nibs into jar of blender.
  2. Blend well until completely emulsified.
  3. Add more ice, avocado or water to desired consistency.
  4. Taste for flavor and add more peppermint extract if desired.
  5. Measure cacao nibs into blender and blend briefly on low, just to break up slightly.
  6. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

I like 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract for a mildly minty flavor, but you can add more if you're a big mint fan!

For extra sweet, you could add a little maple syrup or stevia.

For a little caffeinated morning kick add 1 teaspoon of matcha powder.

For extra decadence replace the raw cacao nibs with chopped super dark chocolate.

And, feel free to share, as dessert instead of a meal. But I bet you won't want to!

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