Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cleanse FAIL

So, I'm postponing the cleanse. There's way too much going on for me to be successful at it.  I'm thinking of joining my teacher's online cleanse group when she starts it in May.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chicago - My kind of town

I just got back from a 4 day weekend in the Windy City. The city did not disappoint in the wind department nor the freezing cold department.  How quickly we forget the horrible weather we once enjoyed every spring.  Brrrrrr.

Weather notwithstanding, I had an amazing time.  I practiced yoga at Moksha Yoga. I practiced there many years ago but most recently Yoga View has been my stomping ground when I go to Chicago.  I chose Moksha this time partly out of convenience.  It was closer and fewer transfers to my friend's place in Hyde Park.  And they had a guest teacher from Miami.  I practiced with her on Sunday and the regular Mysore teacher on Monday.

What to say? At first I was apprehensive because my Oregon experience was less than stellar - my fault, not the studio's.  This was the complete opposite.  The room was warm and bright and sunny.  Despite being on vacation, I felt magnificent.  I walked my hands to my heals in backbends on both days even though I only practiced primary.  And, on the second day, I got help with Kurmasana.  YAY! 

I'll let that deliciousness carry me through the next few months until I can practice in a Mysore room again. 

Today I missed practice because my alarm didn't go off.  The extra sleep was a good thing, but I was disappointed.  I wanted to follow that momentum from Chicago.

Today I was also supposed to start the cleanse.  I delayed the start for tomorrow.  I had totally forgotten a work lunch obligation.  It's easy to be strong in the middle of a cleanse, but that's it's hard to take your first cleanse meal in a restaurant. So tomorrow it is.

I did take the liver cleansing beverage this morning.  Is it gross that I love it?  Here's what it is:

In a blender combine 1 clove garlic (important to crush garlic first), the juice of 1 grapefruit, 1 tbs of flax seed oil, the juice of 1/2 a lemon. 

Side benefits - you get to smell like garlic all morning!

Tomorrow the real deal begins, complete with mono diet.  I'll do that until next Friday (4/8) and fast on Saturday 4/15. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Cleanse Schedule Part 1

OK.  I know I promised to give this yesterday, but I was busily cooking two tomato sauces (one veg one none veg).  Sauce takes a lot of work!

My cleanse will begin on Tuesday, March 29 and run through Saturday, April 23 (so as to enjoy chocolate bunnies).

I'll start food and function journaling tomorrow through next Monday and will be 100% honest about everything I consume during my trip to Chicago.

More details to follow!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I really need to plan for a spring cleanse.  I do a cleanse every spring and every fall. This spring I need the cleanse probably more than I ever have. It's been a stressful, booze filled, sloth-like winter.  My body needs to release toxins in a bad way and my liver and kidneys need a big break.

So why do I stall?  Why do I pull up the calendar to make the plans, only to divert my attention to Facebook or something else?  On the one hand, there is a semi-legitimate reason.  I have some things in the works that could throw any planning off-balance. On the other hand, that's how life always is.   I can't wait for the "perfect" schedule to do this.

That's my pep-talk.  Expect a cleanse schedule here by tomorrow afternoon!

miraculous healing castor oil bath

I've been taking a Saturday castor oil bath every Saturday since the new year.  Besides the castor oil being more sticky, I haven't noticed a huge difference between it and the sesame oil bath I'd been doing for years.  But I stuck (no pun intended) with it.

Today amazing things began to happen.  I actually began to feel my body healing.  The only vestige of the B12 nerve damage that I had in the fall is a constant burning sensation through my left side that starts under the rib cage and runs to the tips of my toes. 

As I lay in savasana listening to soft gentle music, I began to feel a hot sensation in the area that had been bothering me.  Then, my left leg began to twitch.  I was tempted to try to control it, but I remembered my teacher and our lesson on spontaneous release.  I knew I had to stay with it and allow that energy to run through my body and unravel the dead twisted nerves and bring new life to them.  Letting that feeling run through me and actually feeling my body heal itself was a beautiful experience.

Monday, March 14, 2011

1000 page views!

Ok.  I know that in cyber world, 1000 views is peanuts. But I'm still pretty jazzed about it.

Thank you to all you people - I know who some of you are...some are strangers - for listening to me think out loud. xoxoxo

you never know what you'll find on the internet

I was just googling myself (sounds dirty) for fun and I found this on Chris McIntosh's Photography blog.  What fun!  I love the toenail pollish! Can't wait for sandal season to break that color out again.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

what I did with the black chana

We recently discovered a Middle Eastern market near our local food co-op.  The market appears to be run by folks from some part of the Middle East or Northern Africa, but they have a large Indian clientele.  Everyone in the market, besides us, was Indian.  And so they carry a lot of what I think of as Indian ingredients, though I'm sure they may also be used in Middle Eastern cooking.  They carried our beloved harissa (a hot sauce used in Tunisia).  It's not quite the quality of the harissa I brought home from Tunisia, but it will do.

dried black chick peas

Among some of the other things I got excited about were the black chick peas (black chana or chana desi).  I've never cooked with them before and am can't wait to try them out.  I looked for recipes online but didn't find any that looked exactly like something I'd like.  So what I'm making is a sort of amalgam of about a dozen recipes that I looked at. 

I soaked two cups of the chana desi last night with one bay leaf, three whole cloves, and one cinnamon stick.  ( I would have thrown some cardamon pods into the mix, as most recipes called for them, but despite climbing around on my cabinets for 10 minutes, I could not find my cardamon).

soaked black chick peas

Here are the chick peas after they've soaked for about 16 hours.

chick peas boiling
Then, I boiled the black chick peas with the bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cloves for about 1.5 hours.   Meantime, I diced an onion and 2 cloves of garlic. I put the onion and garlic with some salt in the mortar and pestle and smashed up to a paste.  

tomato and onion mixture
Then, I heated two tablespoons of ghee in a frying pan. To that I added, cayenne, a dash of cardamon, a dash of  garam marsala, ginger, cumin, and pepper.  I let those simmer for a few minutes and then added the garlic onion paste.  I sauted that for another few minutes until the onions practically dissolved and were a light brown.  Then I added a can of diced organic tomatoes and simmered for 1/2 an hour.

Finally, I added the tomato mixture to the chick peas.

This dish was spicy rich and comforting.  I will definitely make it again.

Suze Orman and living your truth

I was never a very big Suze Orman fan.  It always struck me that her advice was for people who actually had money.  For instance, I remember one talk show, maybe 5 years ago, where she recommended that you put your extra income towards your credit card debt and pay that off before you began saving. That is very sound advice...for anyone who has "extra income."  I was not such a person at the time I heard that.  I needed advice for someone who had about $25000 in student loans and was approaching the same in credit card debt.  I was living in Boston at the time, a very expensive city.  And while I was making good money (by my standards, but probably not by most), I was not making ends meet.  I would pay the minimum payment on my credit cards, only to have to use them again about two weeks into the month.  This vicious cycle made me almost entirely dependent on credit cards.  I got a second job, which I loved, but even that was only enough to make the minimum payments.  This went on for years, and eventually was the number one reason that I ended up leaving Boston.  If Suze Orman ever had advice during those years for people like me, I never heard it.  I even considered writing to her, but thought the answer would just  be too unrealistic and frustrating.

Now I live in Lexington, KY, a place that in many ways, allowed me to break the cycle of bad habits and free myself from negative financial patterns.  This place has been a sort of cocoon for me where I've been able to transform my life.  I am very grateful for that.  Perhaps, I'll one day write more about the steps I took in my cocoon, but I'm not quite ready yet. 

This morning after I biked home from a lovely practice with the Sunday morning shala, I turned on PBS and sat down with my cup of coffee.  Who was on the screen?  Ms. Orman.  I decided to watch for a little.  Her message was quite different from the one I remember.   She advised that people not make decisions based on the money they might one day have but based on what you have now.  She spoke a lot about accepting your financial situation in order to "live your truth."  This message resonated strongly with me.  It was the very conclusion that I had come to when I decided to finally make the move I needed to to live a more economically sustainable life.  She advised people to not identify with their debt and lack of money but to realize that they had "done the best they could and lived with integrity."  And she criticized the laws regarding student debt and bankruptcy. 

I was at once pleasantly surprised and quite moved that the nation's personal finance guru was speaking in these terms.  This was the message that I needed 5 years ago.  I am grateful that it's getting out there now for people who feel as futile and depressed about their financial situation as I once did.

Inspired by the show this morning, I put on my to-do list this week "Pick up Orman DVD from library."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I'm into Yin (again)

Somehow since the beginning of the year I let my yin practice drop off almost entirely.  Maybe the winter is yin enough without adding that practice.  Maybe I just let the winter get the better of me.

At any rate, I rolled out my mat this morning and did my first Saturday Yin practice in a long time.  I'm working on opening the psoas and the groin so that I can get into hanumasana.  I'm not really concerned with hanumasana, but I think finding openness and stability here will lead to finding balance in pincha mayurasana.  So, I practiced square, pigeon, dragon, and finally hanumasana.  I'm extremely lopsided.  I can easily come into full hanumasana on the right side and hover about 4 inches from the floor on the left.  I closed my practice with Marci's chest opener.

After practice I did my castor oil bath routine.  I even did the hair today.  That stuff does not wash out easy.  My hair still is quite sticky.

This afternoon I taught my led primary class.  All the opening and care I put into my morning really benefited me in my teaching.  I felt very joyful and confident and engaged with my students.

Some of this might also have to do with spring!  It was warm and breezy and sunny today.  Lovely. Time to start planning the spring cleanse...stay tuned.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Something new

I was recently in Philadelphia for a few days.  When I travel, I rely pretty heavily on the MindBody iPhone app to find classes.  This app is really great, but it doesn't include studios that don't subscribe to MindBody.  So I usually also to a little web search too.

The MindBody pointed me to a class at Dhyana Yoga in West Philly which was about a ten minute walk from my hotel.  I thought that I was going to an Ashtanga class, but when I got there found out that they were only offering a class called Align and Flow.  (I later discovered that my app was set to look for classes about three weeks in the past - whoops!).  Since I haven't really stuck to my resolution of taking a new class every week, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to renew that intention.  So I stuck around.

Only one other student showed up for the class.  It was a great flow based around creating core strength to build to handstands.  I really enjoyed the flow and the teacher's cuing.  She comes from an Anusara background, a style I have little experience with.  Over all, it was a really great experience.