Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Everything is going to be okay...

Chronic back pain? At 31? For an active yogi? Seriously, what twisted version of the Twilight Zone is this?

There could be a hundred reasons why I'm dealing with this in my body and truthfully it's probably a combination of many things: working in the service industry for 12 years, ski injuries, falling off things, teaching yoga (yes it's hard on the body, demonstrating unwarmed, adjusting), years of poor posture, emotional stress, and so on. Unfortunately I paid no attention to warning signs that something might be going on and waited until I couldn't bear to sit or stand to do something about it. I found a great chiropractor, we're working on it, and a month and a half in I'm finally starting to feel a bit better, but the point here is not my back but what this injury has done for me in a positive way.

Being forced into a gentler yoga practice as well as other forms of activity that are kinder to my body has been a test of patience. When I finally let the frustration go that I wouldn't be able to do headstand for awhile or push really hard rock climbing because I can't risk falling, so many other things opened up to me. Instead of taking a vigorous hike I take a longer walk and notice all of the beautiful things on the trail. I have developed an even deeper sense of awareness of what is going on inside my body and how it reacts to certain things. I think about how my body might be affected by an action or movement. There is an incredibly powerful surrender and beautiful form of acceptance that takes over, and man alive when it does yee haw!

At some point in most of our lives we are faced with an injury or an ailment that doesn't allow us to live life as we normally would. Often this is incredibly frustrating, especially for those that tend to be active. However, with a little shift in perception and a little risk (admitting you like that water aerobics class is okay), you can find zen moments with yourself. Looking at the girl sweating and miserable on the stairmaster while I am contently jogging away on the elliptical was a pretty satisfying moment. I don't have to bust my ass everyday to feel good in my body. All I have to do is provide what my body wants and I feel great.

Everyday for the past couple of months has been a test of patience and an adventure of discovery. I'm not saying go get injured because it's great for your psyche and you'll achieve some wicked sense of enlightenment. You can do this without pulling, tearing, compressing or straining something. We often find ourselves injured because we tune out and turn off what is really going on in our bodies. We stop listening. We need to step back and ask ourselves are we really being good to our bodies. Turn down the vinyasas and treadmills and turn up the sound of our own beings. Find some balance. Search for some honesty.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Homemade Banana Ice Cream!!!


Okay beautiful people. Two recipes in one week!! I'm tellin ya, being broke is awesome for the belly. So much kitchen love going on around here lately. Buy some groceries, pump that stereo and what do you get? Tasty treats for the belly and tasty licks from the tunes. What follows came about as an all out refusal to use the browning bananas for banana bread...I thought this was too cliche and I hadn't unleashed the ice cream maker yet this year which is just a travesty. Yum!


3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 - 1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 - 4 ripe medium bananas
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract


Mix milk, sugar, and nutmeg until sugar dissolves (a wire whisk or hand mixer works well).
Mash or puree bananas until the bananas are pureed well.
Stir bananas into milk mixture.
For best freezing results, chill banana/milk mixture for at least 1 hour.
Add whipping cream and vanilla.
Stir well.
Pour mixture into ice cream maker.
Churn about 25-30 minutes or according to manufacturer's instructions.

The ice cream turned out a little too sweet and a little too banana-y for my tastes but other ravenous beasts around the house seem to love it. If I make this again I'll probably use 2 bananas before they get too brown and halve the sugar. I like the flavor of a not quite ripe, a little green at the top banana and I think this would go really nicely with the salted caramel that was added.

If you make this send me photos and let me know how it goes! I'd love to get a solid recipe for this so I can add it to the book!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

So delicious...

After a long weekend of working and workshopping I was super excited to come home and home cook myself a bit of food. I know this sounds crazy but I made stew. Hot and hearty stew. Even though it's been close to 90 degrees here in Portland there was something pulling me towards a pot of veggies. Perhaps it was the vast amount of farm vegetables my mother bestowed upon me a few days ago. Potatoes, cabbage, carrots, green beans...what the hell else are you gonna do with it?

So here's what happened. Don't freakout about the lack of measuring. I'm mostly a baking kind of girl and a bit of a, as some would say, control freak. I would much rather call myself someone who appreciates efficiency and it really only manifests itself in some situations.

What Was In the Fridge Stew

3 stalks of celery
4 medium red potatoes
1 yellow squash
handful of green beans and wax beans
couple of crowns of broccoli
few carrots
4 cloves of garlic
1 yellow onion, chopped up
half of a Nappa cabbage
10 cups of chicken or veggie stock
3 sausages (meat free, bratwurst, polish, kielbasa) optional

I sauteed the onion in some olive oil on low heat until they started to soften and turn translucent, then added the garlic and celery. After that started to smell really good I added my stock and the rest of my veggies except for the broccoli and squash. I like to add these veggies a few minutes before it's done so they are crisp. If you add squash early on it tends to get squishy and disintegrate...which is kind of gross. You don't have to add the sausages and I wasn't going to until I realized the majority of my stew was going to be cabbage and potatoes, and when I think of cabbage and potatoes I can't help but think about sausages. Yum!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Willfully surrenduring...

Tonight is a full moon. In any given full moon there lies an opportunity to release. The moon has a very strong gravitational pull on the earth & when it is full it has the most power. Releasing what no longer serves you on a full moon is a very powerful way to align your intentions with the natural cycles of the universe, in this case, the moon. And since we are a part of the whole, this release is a microcosm of the macrocosm for what release is going on in the universe as all living things are naturally called to release on a full moon. You might not even realize it, but you are innately aware of these natural cycles. Sit, right now, and connect with what it is that you would like to let go of. Close your eyes and go there.
Now, spend another moment breathing deep, letting the intention of using your breath & your mindfulness as a form of prayer, devotion or love as an offering to a higher power, in which you are a part of. Your conscious participation in this release sets you up for the universe to illicit a shift in your consciousness to create more space from which you can create what you really want.

Surrendering all to the self is a difficult if not impossible task for most people. This is because we are not aware of the peace such surrender brings. There are many kinds of surrender: there is surrender in war, when the defeated side surrenders in order to preserve whatever life and property remain. This is a willful surrender to a superior force -- some thing like a plea for mercy in the hope of avoiding death and total devastation. Then there is surrender in a totally hopeless situation, the surrender of a man, for instance, facing an unavoidable death. And there is also willful surrender to some thing overwhelmingly pleasant -- like the surrender to a lover, or surrender to some desire or to the senses. Such surrenders are qualified by extraneous desires and circumstances, but there is a total and perfect surrender -- the surrender unto the self.