Sunday, October 31, 2010

Poached Salmon and Kale

I came up with this recipe this evening when trying to figure out how to integrate "normal" foods without all the fat.  My usual kale is sauteed in a healthy dose of olive oil.

1 lb salmon
1 bunch of kale
1 cup organic unsweetened apple juice
salt
pepper
cumin

preheat oven to 375
Line a baking vessel with tin foil and have enough excess to be able to fold the foil over the fish and cover it.  Pour apple juice into the bottom of the container.  Rip kale into bite sized pieces and put into the container with the apple juice.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Lie the salmon, skin-side down, on top of the kale.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle a light amount of cumin.  Fold in the sides of the foil (en papillotte style) sealing it well so that steam won't escape.  Bake for about 30 minutes.

I served this with my imitation of the byrani rice that we get from our local Indian restaurant. 

reintegration!

The cleanse is ending and I'm starting to phase in normal foods.  Yesterday, I enjoyed a baked sweet potato (plain) and today some steamed spinach for lunch. This evening I had some delicious poached salmon. 

Reintegration can be challenging.  It's difficult to not dive right into the bourbon and donuts.  Sometimes I feel like this part of the cleanse is actually tougher than the rest of it where there's no black and white.  I guess I don't like food ambiguity.

But I'm managing to go gradual.  I made my husband the  buckwheat sourdough donuts from www.nourishedkitchen.com and will simply take his word for it that they're good until Tuesday - if they last that long.  If not, I'll sample the next batch.  We bought a fancy bourbon from the Whole Foods (I wasn't kidding about bourbon and donuts!) which Shawn opened last night.  He was so sweet and asked if it was ok if I smelled it.  I thought so. It smelled rich and comforting and everything you want in a winter digestif... after Tuesday!


I've also begun reintegrating my practice.  I haven't practiced Intermediate for quite a while, since my leg was first injured, maybe 3.5 weeks ago.  I felt so light and clean moving through standing but the fatigue of the fast caught up with me once I hit the floor.  I continued through and let the poses be what they wanted to be.  I thought there might be binding in pasasana considering the amount of weight I dropped, but no such luck.  I made peace with it and flowed through to karandavasana. My stamina was pretty much gone at that point.  After two attempts I moved on to backbends and finishing.  Sometimes it's nice to let go of the struggle and just let the poses be light and humorous.  That's what my practice was like today. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Feed the Bitch or she'll die

This line is about my sourdough starter, not about me as I near the end of my cleanse.  "Feed the bitch or she'll die" is a line from the amazing Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (I love him!  He's like a Hans Solo who can cook - yes, I'm that nerdy).  I highly recommend the book especially if you like his series No Reservations.  He writes like he talks.  In this case that's not a bad thing.

Anyway, I have been making sourdough bread since August.  I was initially turned on to the idea by the Nourished Kitchen.  It's almost sinfully easy to do once you get started.  Here's a really good website on the process.

Admittedly, the first few batches took a long time to rise and were still quite dense.  But after the first month, we had loaves with a nice crumb and perfect crust. And we never cheated by using packaged yeast!

I usually make two loaves a week either on Saturday or Sunday. This yields plenty of bread for the week and then some.  Now that I'm comfortable with the process, I've started experimenting.  Today I made one loaf with wheat flour and added fresh home grown alfalfa sprouts.  Shawn said it tasted like "lying in a field of grass in the summer."  It smells that good, too.  The other loaf I made with a smashed up leftover sweet potato, oat flour and oats.  He didn't dive into that one yet.



I'll get to try both when the cleanse is over.  I can't wait.

is it safe to emerge?

I'm asking myself if it is now safe to leave the bathroom.  Last night I wrapped up the purgation portion of the cleanse by taking castor oil before bed.  When I got up this morning, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the "evacuation" was. 
I went about my normal Saturday rituals, made coffee for Shawn, made bread for the week (more to come on that!) and prepared my kanjee for today.  Kanjee is a kind of really simple rice cereal.  It's basically overboiled brown rice.  You eat the liquid part first then the rice bits if feeling ok.
I really over-boiled my kanjee and there was no liquid to speak of left.  Rather than struggle with smashing the rice through the strainer, I went straight for the rice.  I added some honey and cinnamon.  It was actually a tasty little cereal.
I continued my chores and was feeling really good until the second wave hit me.  How could there possibly be anything left to purge?!  After quite a while in the bathroom, I felt confident to emerge.  Hopefully that is the end of it.  I teach today at 3pm.  I don't want any scenes where I have to stealthily put my students in downdog and run out to use the bathroom!  I wouldn't be the first yoga teacher to do this, but I don't want to go there if possible!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Too much information

I'm debating how much should be shared here about the last day of ghee. Do you really want to know all the details?
Today I fasted. The last solid food I had was last night, two apples, around 6pm. Since then, I've had some apple juice and of course the BIG ghee. Throughout the day I took some juice and some herbal detox tea. Just now I had some miso soup with some alfalfa sprouts (which I grew myself).
Let's just say that throughout the day, the results have been pretty dramatic. I definitely feel that the ghee has gotten deep into some places where it hadn't in the past. I'm also feeling the results of bi-annual cleansing beyond just what is happening in this cleanse. I'm letting go of a lot of shit (literally and figuratively).
This cleanse has really enlightened me on my relationship to food. Today I packed some kichari as a safety net. I didn't want to feel starved and then freak out and pig out on campus chow. I was able to sit all day with the kichari and not eat it. To be able to have food around without the impulse to consume is huge. I felt very free in my relationship to the food and still feel that way.
Consuming has been a huge struggle in my life. The impulse to buy and the need to have RIGHT NOW have caused me great financial distress. My weight struggles have been reflected in that. Somehow this freedom from food, from the impulse to eat RIGHT NOW, signals something larger to me. And it does in many ways mirror things that are happening in my financial life.
There is no greater sensation than freedom. In my yoga teacher training we often talked about "choosing freedom first." Something huge has unblocked itself in me and I am finally getting there.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Follow your intuition

A little recap on my leg episode: A few weeks ago, my left leg went numb and tingly. Over a period of about 4 days, it got worse and then the right leg went into this foot drop thing. That's basically where you lose control of your leg/foot and are basically dragging it around. Then my right hand joined the fun and I could barely hold a pen.

First visit to the health clinic yielded a diagnosis of "sciatica" even though I insisted that I had no lower back pain. No blood work was taken.

The condition got worse and I didn't believe it was sciatica. So, I started doing some online research. Many diseases had the similar symptoms, but tracing them back to their causes, I kept finding the same root: B12 deficiency.

B12 only comes from animal products and nutritional yeast. Since moving to Kentucky, my intake of animal products, which was already only dairy and fish, greatly diminished. Seafood isn't exactly plentiful here.

Upon this discovery, I called the clinic again and insisted getting blood work done. They had me come back in and after an hour, the practitioner agreed to order the blood work for B12. Meanwhile, I began to take a vitamin with high levels of B12 (400% dv).

My legs are 100% better now, about 3.5 weeks later. And I finally received the results of that blood work. Drum roll please....the blood was taken 4 days into my vitamin regimen, so I was expecting that I might even be normal and never have the satisfaction of proof...continue the drum roll...but here are the results: my B12 levels are at 149. The normal range is 175-852.

The lesson to be learned is
1) Don't let healthcare practitioners bully you into the easy "diagnosis."
2) Always follow your intuition. If someone says you have sciatica, and you feel that is not true, press on and find the answer yourself.

Once again, I'm so grateful for the yoga. If I hadn't learned how to listen to my body, I could have ended up treating the wrong problem and never finding a solution.
I figured out a way to make the ghee go down much easier. I put the "prescribed" amount of ghee into a tea cup. I dowse ghee with cinamon and cardamon and pour hot water over it. When the ghee mostly melts (it never seems to totally melt)I shoot back the thick stuff on top and then drink the rest (the ghee tends to float and the hot water and spices sink). This isn't the perfect solution, but it does get me through it.

Why the ghee anyway? The theory goes that most toxins like to live in fat. So give them a whole lot of fat to get into. When the body passes the ghee the toxins go along with. It is also nourishing for the joints. At least this is my understanding.

Some fasting/purgation days are coming up soon. I asked my teacher about adding a gall cleanse to it. She said that adding in this kind of "hocus pocus" would be unecessary and too much. I have to say that having done a gall cleanse before, I'm somewhat relieved. Here's a description http://www.astrodreamadvisor.com/Cleansing.html. Adding this on would probably be the cleanse version of "jumping the shark!"

So that my husband wouldn't have to suffer the cleanse, I ordered him a pizza. I made sure to get toppings that are disgusting to me: sausage, jalapenos, so as not to be tempted. Pizza is probably my favorite food in the universe. As he chomped away on the pizza, I sat and ate my kichari.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

ghee and support

It's day 4 of the kichari cleanse. Physically, I feel lighter, more compact, less a "waste of space." Mentally, I feel very sharp. I rode my bike home this evening. It was cool and damp. Every sense seemed heightened: the sweet smell of the fallen leaves, the deep dark blue-black of the post-rain sky, the cool damp air on my hands as I biked home.

Today started the second phase of the cleanse, "stepping it up a notch." This entails taking a certain amount of ghee in the morning. I'm not specifying, because if you're doing this, you should really be working with a teacher. Each morning the dosage of ghee increases for a few days.

There was a big change in this this time around. The first time I took the ghee, it was no big deal, even the biggest dose. This time, I could hardly stomach it and I'm only on the first ghee day. I wonder if this is the leftover effect of the gall cleanse I did in the summer in which I drank a disgusting amount of olive oil. At any rate, it was tough.

Also, my appetite has greatly decreased. This is a first for me. Usually, I can get through my pot of kichari and then some. This cleanse, I'm hardly finishing a pot a day.

Writing this blog has been really great for me. In the absence of a group and teacher to do this with, the blog is helping me express what I'm going through. I'm also very grateful to my friends who are commenting (virtually and in person) about the process. I feel very supported by this "virtual" community. And it's wonderful to see the curiosity this inspires. In the end, so much of doing this practice, a yoga practice, or a meditation practice is about curiosity. Part of the motivation of these practices is curiosity about foods, the body, and the mind. On every level, it's beautiful to see that curiosity in others.

Shawn comes home tonight from five days at his dad's in Oregon. This will be a boon of support to my cleanse. While he doesn't participate in the cleanse, he always offers me encouragement and is very respectful of my choice to engage in this practice. I owe a lot of my past cleanse "success" to him.

Monday, October 25, 2010

dreams of bread

I drifted off last night with dreams of bread in my head. I've been making an amazing sourdough bread from scratch ! As I was getting ready for bed, I kept thinking about just one little piece. But I let it be. The bread will be there when this is done.

I found an Indian grocery store yesterday near UK. It opened only a month ago. Among other delightful things, they carry Moong Beans! Hooray! Now I can really get wild with the kichari.

Yesterday afternoon I took a huge nap. I blame the cats. As a Kapha dominant type, I should really not nap. And I know why: A body at rest tends to stay at rest. I could barely get up after a full three hours. When I did I was sluggish. Then of course I slept super poorly last night.

Intermediate Series is forbidden during the cleanse. Only primary is to be practiced. Primary is supposed to be therapeutic (yoga chikitsa). Today's practice felt really good - very light and open. But I want to be practicing Intermediate. Since I was injured a few weeks ago, I haven't practiced any of my second series postures. It's been about two and a half weeks. I'm afraid of coming back to them and having regressed. But maybe this is what I need right now to cleanse and continue to heal.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

evening practices

Yesterday was mostly easy. I hid out for the majority of the day, except when I taught my class. I spent the day doing yin and meditating and just generally relaxing. All was going super until about 10 minutes before bed time when I felt so hungry. I didn't entertain it and just went to bed. The hunger was not there in the morning. Maybe it was boredom instead :)

In the afternoon during a cleanse, I try to do a seated practice daily for at least 20 minutes. Meditation is tough for me. I alternate practices between pranayama, chanting, and silent meditation. For pranayama, I practice the four purifications. For my chanting practice, I chant the first book of the yoga sutras (I'm trying to memorize it. I have one through 15 more or less memorized). Meditation is my weakest practice. I usually try to either focus on my breath or practice the Loving Kindness meditation.

Then I have my dinner (more kichari!). And then I practice Abyanga (self-massage). It's better to do this in the morning, I'm told, but I don't have the time. So, I tend to do it at night.

For Abyanga you need:

A body brush
Sesame oil (if too cloying, you can use something lighter like grapeseed oil)
Coconut oil for hair (if doing hair)

Start by using the dry body brush to exfoliate. I begin at the belly and go in circles with the brush, then I do the limbs using long strokes on the arms and legs and circles on the joints.

After I've brushed, I massage the sesame oil in the same order that I did the brushing. Coconut oil is massaged into the hair. I sometimes add tea tree oil to the sesame and coconut oils, sometimes I use them plain. Then I sit for a few minutes. On occasion, this is when I do my seated practice.

Afterward, I will shower if I'm short on time, or I'll soak in a salt bath. I have thick hair and usually have to spend a good amount of time rinsing the coconut oil from it. So, the coconut oil tends to be a weekend thing.

I stop eating at 6. Sometimes I'll do a short restorative practice just before bed.

Before bed I take Triphala tea. You can find it in a capsule form at Whole Foods, but I get the powdered from Banyan Botanicals . Triphala is a mix of herbs that help digestion.

In preparation for bed:
Rinse the face with cold water
Brush and floss teeth


To the extent that it's possible, I don't use any lotions (body or face) during this time. It doesn't make a ton of sense to slather all kinds of chemicals on the skin when you're trying to cleanse from the inside.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

cleansing food - kichari

Over the next ten days, I'll be eating one thing: kichari. Kichari is an awesome nourishing dish of grain (typically white rice), a legume (split mung - oh where oh where are you split mungs in Lexington - or red lentils), and some veg. It sounds like it could get a little boring, but honestly, it's not too bad since you can switch up the type of vegetable and your spices. I sometimes even get nuts and use brown or white rice.

There are soupier versions, but I like the one I first learned from my teacher. It's great even when you're not cleansing as something easy to make for lunch. And if I feel myself coming down with a cold, I'll make a big batch of this and go on a one or two day mini cleanse.

For one day:

one half cup lentils
one cup rice
soak lentils and rice overnight in water

1 tbs of ghee (I've seen recipes that use as much as 3!)
your choice of spices (mine are usually, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, ginger, paprika or chili powder) - garlic is to be avoided (there's garlic in chili powder - this makes my spice mix a little "incorrect")

one cup of veg (preferably green leafy things, but I also like squash and sweet potatoes)

Drain the soaked lentils and rice. Put them in a pot with 3 cups of water and your veg. Bring to a boil, turn heat all the way down and cover for about 20-30 minutes.

In a separate pan, heat the ghee and add your spices. Heat until you can smell the spices, but don't let them burn (this is a fine line to walk!). As a rule of thumb, I generally combine no more than 3-4 spices. It's easy to get carried away and end up with a spicy inedible mess.

Add the spices to the rice mixture and you're ready for the day.

Kichari is a great place to learn about your spices because the food isn't contributing that much flavor to the dish. You have the opportunity to get to know the properties and individual flavors of each spice. You can use that information later in cooking other dishes.

I'm not a huge in-between-meals eater. During a cleanse, I do keep some soaked almonds on hand for the occasional snack. Soaking makes them easier to digest. As I understand it, the water triggers the nuts to start acting like seeds and break down their fatty bits to begin metabolizing and turning into plants. I soak a handful of nuts over night, drain them, and keep them out on a paper towel.

Miso broth is also good on the cleanse. It's great at this time of the year to take the chill off. I just boil some water or veggie broth and then add a spoonful of miso.

During my first cleanse, when I felt that I had to have something that was like cheese, or the whole thing would come to a grinding halt, I've taken a bit of avocado, sprayed some Braggs on it, and pretended it was cheese. That's not a terrible stand in in a real emergency. Otherwise, it's just kichari.

The largest meal of the day should be at lunch (seems like that's what everyone in the world but us does anyway) and then no dinner or a light dinner. Eating ends before 6pm.

day one

Today begins the first day of the "real" cleanse. In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that last night I attended a birthday party and had a few glasses of wine. This was already figured into my planning for the cleanse. It does set back some of the work that I did throughout the week. But birthdays are so important. And just as important as it is to get in touch with yourself through practices like cleansing, it's also important to be connected and have community. Balance.

This does make me reflect a little bit on the difference between starting your fourth or fifth cleanse and your first. The first time I did this (and perhaps the second), the day before the cleanse felt like an all or nothing bacchanalian extravaganza. I felt like I had to get everything in before the two weeks of deprivation. I would stuff every morsel of bread and cheese in my face, over drink, and start the cleanse feeling like crap. Now that I've done this a few times, I realize that two weeks isn't actually a very long time and those things will be there when I come back up to the real world.

So what does the first morning of a cleanse look like?

Wake up before sunrise (lucky me! in Kentucky the sun doesn't come up until about 7:55!)
Use tongue scraper to remove all the gunk from my tongue (this is one of the practices that I've actually kept and made a daily routine)
Brush teeth
Brush hair 100 times (this is something I added in myself. It just feels very nurturing)
Rinse face with coldish water
Drink lemon tea (hot water, juice of half a lemon, honey, a dash of cayenne)
Neti and then treat nostrils with sesame oil


Unroll the mat for a yin practice and meditation

You might notice there's no mention of food yet. So much of the cleanse has nothing to do with food. I think that's important to remember. It's very easy to get really hung up on the food part of the cleanse which is really just a reflection of our consumptive nature as Americans. The real challenge of the cleanse is the self-care. It's making enough time for yourself to do these little rituals and bring the entire self back into balance. Not just the waistline.

Off to the mat...!

Friday, October 22, 2010

groceries

I'm ready for the cleanse. I went grocery shopping last night and should have enough goodies to get me through the next week. Here's what my cleanse grocery list looks like.

Already on hand "pantry" items:

ghee
sesame oil
trifala (www.banyanbotanicals.com)

From the whole foods

red lentils
white rice
brown rice
frozen peas, spinach, and brocoli (these are my cheater items when I'm too pooped to cut up fresh)
fresh ginger
lemons
limes

unsweetened organic apple juice

Tomorrow I'll go to the farmer's market and pick up some fresh greens and maybe some squash. Otherwise, I'm good to go.

This is my fifth day without caffeine or booze. I feel pretty excellent. My practice this morning was very fluid. Everything felt great. I made some oats for breakfast and had some quinoa kichari for lunch. There was a tiny headache after lunch but some fresh air and a tea remedied that.

Here's my recipe for oats:

1/4 cup (generous) oats (soaked overnight if possible)
1/4 cup (stingy) shredded coconut
1/2 tsp coconut oil
a dash of salt
cinamon and cardomon to taste
a palmful of raisins

cook the above together for about 20 minutes (or as long as it takes you to get dressed and put on your makeup :) )

then dress with a little bit of raw honey.

YUM!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

four days in

First, let me say how completely overjoyed I am at the fact that my leg has made a complete recovery. Who knows what happened there, but it's better and I am grateful.

I'm on my fourth day of preparing for the cleanse. I've had no coffee or alcohol since Sunday. The booze actually isn't much of an issue. When I go out with friends, I order a cranberry juice spritzer (half cranberry and half seltzer). It's really refreshing, doesn't attract attention (most people assume it's a vodka cran), and really keeps me awake. It's a great feeling to socialize and feel so alert and engaged.

The coffee is the real challenge. The days are getting shorter. It's dark out when I wake up. The morning is colder (although not as bad as in Boston! so that's been somewhat easier). I'm drinking my detox tea as my morning at-work-beverage. I haven't felt too bad before noon. But around 2pm, I really start to drag. I get so sleepy that I could fall asleep right at my desk.

Today I tried the Tazo Orange Blossom Tea in the afternoon for a little pick me up. I don't think it's caffeinated. The orange and spicy aroma did the trick. I felt like I had taken an hour long nap. That's going to be my go-to through the rest of this cleanse, I think.

Tomorrow is a birthday party. I'll bring items for my mocktail. Then Saturday I start the real deal...kichari for two weeks. Yum!

Monday, October 18, 2010

on the mend and getting ready to cleanse!

Lesson learned: follow your intuition. If someone says to medicate for something you don't think you have, keep looking for the right solution. 5 days after starting to take vitamins (chock full of B12) the limp is 95% gone. I was able to do the full primary series practice this morning without modification. And I'm generally feeling clearer and more energetic.

There was a discussion a while back on one of the lists that I'm on about how to keep the excitement for the practice alive. Make every day a celebration of what you can do! I was never a natural athlete. Doing this practice pleasantly surprises me every time I hit the mat. The human body is a wondrous thing.

Now that I'm back in form, I'm getting ready to start a fall cleanse. I try to do a full on cleanse twice a year under the guidance of my teacher, Kate O'Donnell. I am going to document some of what I'm doing here. But I recommend that if you choose to cleanse, you do so under the guidance of an experienced teacher. If you are in the Boston area, I recommend that you do the cleanse with Kate (www.one-yoga.blogspot.com)


Cleansing, for me anyway, is not dieting. It is cleansing - cleaning out the system. Unclogging all the nasty gunk I put in there and greasing the joints. It's also taking some additional time to myself to reflect and journey inward. Yes, I inevitably lose an insignificant amount of weight when I cleanse. But the more important results are a sense of clarity and lightness.

This week, I'm gearing up. That means that I'm cutting out caffeine, alcohol, and added sugars. Caffeine is always the toughest for me. I work long days and as the daylight hours become shorter, it's hard to skip that morning pick-me-up.

I'll be starting the day with some hot water with the juice of half a lemon and a dash of cayenne. Then, I do neti pot. Neti clears the sinuses, removes allergens, and is supposed to help you think more clearly (try it out, see what you think).

Throughout the day, when the desire to caffeinate comes, I'll be drinking either a decaf tea or Yogi Teas "Detox" tea.

Next week, I'll start the good stuff...the mono diet and eventually a one or two day fast. I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

healing!

i'm feeling so much better than i was at this time last week. i'm walking almost limp-free and am looking forward to my first practice in a week tomorrow. i will try not to push it too hard. i don't want to take any steps back in my healing.

but the B12 regimen definitely seems to be working!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

vitamins!

I've been on again off again about vitamins. On the one hand, I think that your vitamins should get in your system the old fashioned way...through your food. On the other, I've had moments where I felt I need something extra.

It's been a long time since I've regularly taken vitamins. And now I'm struggling with this peculiar nerve injury. I'm reading a lot about vitamin B12 deficiency and more and more am convinced that's the culprit.

The symptoms fit and even more so, the causes fit:

vegetarian (i hardly even eat eggs or cheese like i once did)
strange bacteria blocking the absorption of B12 (i was to India this year; I've been experimenting with fermented foods)

so, i'm taking my vitamins again and upping my dosage of B12 foods.

in a few weeks, I'll be cleansing with my teacher and folks in the Back Bay Yoga community. Hopefully, that will eliminate any bacterial friends that I've picked up.

I will continue to be pro-active in healing.

Monday, October 11, 2010

ouch! injured!

In the 8 years that I've been practicing yoga, I have never had to sit it out due to an injury. I've had to take breaks for the flu or colds, but I've never been injured badly enough to really affect my practice.

Wednesday afternoon I had pins and needles in my leg. Thursday it didn't go away, but that was a moonday. Friday, it was still there with some pain in the left abdomen. I could only do a half practice. I reflected on the impermanence of our bodies and was grateful for the practice that I'd had until now. Sunday was more of the same.

This morning, I got up ready to do what I could. It had become worse. Now the other leg joined in the fun. I couldn't get up from prasarita padotanasana b and c without putting my hands on the floor and really bending my right knee. I kept moving through standing, did a modified finishing and then lay on the floor in savasana crying.

In some ways, having an injury is good for my sturdy kapha type. It's hard to work with other people's injuries if you haven't experienced many yourself. But it can also be super frustrating feeling limited, getting scared that it will never be right again. I thought about my friend Gabe who took his own life last year. Some say it was because of his shoulder injury, that it was keeping him from everything he loved (body work, yoga, fire spinning). I never quite believed or understood that. Having this temporary injury even puts that into better perspective.

I thought it was a spider bite. My health practitioner says it's sciatica. There's not low back pain, so I'm not sure that I buy that explanation. I'm following my instincts and continuing to treat this as an infection.

In the meantime, I'll continue to do what I can taking each morning for what it is. I will try to accept that this can be a tool for me to learn more about myself and the practice.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall is time for change

I have always had mixed feelings about the fall. Growing up in the Northeast, I'm fond of the beautiful fall colors and the radiant light that comes at this time of the year. I still get excited about wearing new school clothes and snuggling up in cozy hoodies with my husband and cats.

But fall also is the end of the summer, my favorite season. It's colder and the days are shorter. Before my path brought me to yoga, I really struggled with seasonal depression. I would fall asleep at 6pm and find myself unable to do anything social.

Yoga, and particularly, my morning mysore practice, has made a huge impact in my reaction to this time of the year. I am more equipped to sit with the weather and fading light and I have a routine and something to look forward to in the morning.

I have also adopted a biannual cleansing ritual under the guidance of my teacher Kate O'Donnell. She'll be running her group cleanse again towards the end of the month. You can read more about it and the virtual option at her blog www.one-yoga.blogspot.com.

I'll be participating in the virtual option. While I've been through this several times now, I feel that having a support group can make all the difference in between a successful cleanse and a less-successful cleanse.

As I cleanse this time around, I will post periodic updates. Be on the lookout later this week for my timeline and goals for my cleanse.