A Touch of the Rebel

confluence hanumanasana b

Photo: Tom Rosenthal

I am very traditional about my yoga. I’m an ashtangi after all. We do the poses in a specific order, on specific days, in specific ways, staying true to the lineage that has gone before us. I often liken ashtanga yoga to Bach, or scales in music. It’s classical, steeped in tradition. Orderly. But even though I deeply believe in the system, even though I honor all the little details of the ashtanga yoga, I find there needs to be a little wiggle room, just like with my diet, just a tiny bit of rebellion to keep me going. READ MORE >

Your Ivory Tower Has No Legs

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not a big fan of rigid rules and restrictive protocols. Diets are never really sustainable. They’re endured…for a time. Cleanses can be useful resets or jumpstarts, tools that can help you tune in and find your hull speed, but they aren’t meant to be a lifestyle.  Rules and formulas can’t hold up forever because they’re not organic. You may have resolved to be healthier but you can’t fuel that resolve with will power and nothing else. At least, I’ve found I can’t. READ MORE >

Finding ‘Hull Speed’

Scan 131260001From as early as I can remember, I’ve always loved boating. It was my parents’ main passion, and every sunny day off in the summer, we’d find ourselves motoring off somewhere. Often, my mother wanted to go faster than my dad. She’d get a little bored with the puttering and ask him to “let it out a little.” And often he’d indulge her, taking us on a short but fun, super speedy ride.

Dad, on the other hand, wanted to go even slower than he usually did. He had always wanted a trawler, a boat that’s meant to go that slow (but my Mom wouldn’t give in on that point). 

When I asked him why not just go slower if that’s what he wanted, he explained about ‘hull speed’. READ MORE >

A Fall Soup to Ease Summer’s Passing

It’s fall. Yep, I mean, there are still summery days, but fall is in the air. I refuse to wear socks, or boots, yet. But I admit it. I love fall. It’s so awesome to be able to throw on a scarf and walk in the crisp air, it really makes my heart sing. But it’s always a little sad to say goodbye to the easy breezy summer lifestyle. Salads with fresh tomatoes. No need to turn on the stove. Flip flops and a sun dress.

This soup will ease the blow. It’s creamy and comforting and about as fast as a home-cooked meal could be. It may be the easiest soup of all time, and it’s about as delicious as any I can think of. READ MORE >

To Sharath or not to Sharath? That is the question. Or the “Tin Cup.”

The BHH and I have a term we use for things we have a mental block against. We call them a “Tin Cup.” It’s because long ago we had the movie Tin Cup sitting around our house for months on end and couldn’t bring ourselves to watch it. We just thought it was going to be painful and irritating somehow. And when we finally watched it, we liked it a lot. Anyway, any time either one of us doesn’t want to do something, watch something, etc, we say “Is that going to be a Tin Cup?”

So, I haven’t practiced with Sharath Jois in kind of a while. He’s the grandson of Pattabhi Jois, I guess you’d say the founder of ashtanga yoga, and he is the current torch bearer for our tradition. Not only has it been since, oh, 2011, but I don’t have a close relationship with him to begin with. I’ve only had the one trip to Mysore, India, plus a few NYC led classes. And I’ve never really done my full practice with him. Being a nervous, shaky-poodle type, this has led to something of a “tin cup” situation.

The past couple of years when Sharath has been teaching near-ish, it’s been Connecticut. Too far for me to get to easily and work as well. Also, I’ve been out of town when he’s visited, so no decision to be made.

But this year, I found that I would be in town during the “Sharath week.” And not only that, but he is teaching in NYC, close to my teaching and work and home. 

The choice was pretty obvious. I was going to have to get over my “Tin Cup.”

Today was day one. An ‘easy’ day. Primary series only. Not that it’s ever easy in a led class with a mischievous Indian man slowing down the counts at just the hardest moments. But at least it’s a comfortable series. Sweaty good fun. No real “speed bumps” to worry about. And there were long-lost friendly faces from near and far.

We stood for Samastitthi the same way we do in every led class anywhere in the world, and in that traditional comforting way I began to breathe a little easier. Everything felt so familiar. That’s the power of ritual and tradition in action.

Mind, you know it’s a hard class when you get sweaty before the last sun salute, lathered by middle of the series and tired and almost cool before back bending. The whole arc in less than an hour and a half. But the old magic was there. The same way it can always be, in any ashtanga room anywhere, as long as I focus my mind.

I left the room beaming and ravenous and cleansed in body with a slightly quieter monkey mind. Joined friends for a brunch dosa as big as my carryall and headed to work with a spring in my step. Not a bad way to start a Wednesday morning.

Now, to get over the second series hurdle..I may need to quit coffee and invest in some kind of calming herbs for that. But I’m on the track for the week now. There’s no turning back. No way to let it keep being my “Tin Cup.” What a relief.

keep calm shirt

Labor Day Brunch

Pancake with Berries 1Here it is, Labor Day. How did that happen? Last time I looked it was March and 22 degrees and now summer is just about officially over. I will say this though, I’ve loved this summer. It hasn’t been too hot, and so I’ve been able to keep up with my cooking experiments. I’m saving some to bring to you in a new way soon, but couldn’t resist sharing this one right away. It’s just too perfect. If you don’t make it for Labor Day brunch tomorrow, well, you are totally missing out.

The great thing about this is you just put it in the oven, pull it out and serve. It’s like eating pancakes without all that flipping and paying attention business. And those late summer local berries are perfect on top. I dare you not to love it!

Not only that, but it’s not heavy and floury like your normal pancake breakfast. You won’t need a big nap. but it’s ok if you take one anyway…after all, it’s a holiday.

Thanks Noelle Smith for these amazing photos! (she and her daughter loved this by the way and said it was super easy to make which made brunch a breeze). Noelle is an amazing food photographer/stylist. Find her at noellebeesmith.blogspot.ca

Skillet Cake MediumBanana Pecan Skillet Cake
Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free Optional

Serves 4 (or 3 if one of them is my big hungry husband)

2 Overripe Bananas
4 Eggs
1/4 Cup Coconut Flour
1 Tblsp. Pastured Butter or Coconut Oil plus more for the pan
1 Tblsp. Pure Maple Syrup or Honey
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch salt
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
To Do:
Preheat oven to 400.
Mix all ingredients except nuts well in blender or stand mixer, then stir in nuts.
Mash bananas well then mix in all remaining ingredients.
Grease a 10-inch oven safe skillet with coconut oil or pastured butter.
Pour in batter.
Bake for 20 minutes. Test for doneness then bake another 5 minutes if necessary.
Cake is done when it is firm on top and a toothpick comes out clean.
Serve with pure maple syrup, more bananas, berries or nuts as desired.
Note: you can cook this in a smaller skillet, like an 8 inch. It will be more fluffy and cakey than thin like a pancake and may need to cook a little longer.  I love it both ways!
Pancake with Berries 2

What To Do With Your CSA

Well, here I am in the middle of celebrating my birthday. And while I would love to document it for you, I’m a more “in the moment” person than “write about the moment” person it seems. I’ll have to give you a little recap later.

Meanwhile, a friend wrote and asked what to do about the CSA deliveries that are drowning her right now, and even in the middle of princess-like birthday celebrations, I love nothing more than to share delicious ideas with friends. So, since I suspect loads of you are in the same boat, here are some suggestions. Not recipes, just ideas of what to do. If you have questions, ask me in the comments and I will help! READ MORE >