Wednesday, June 29, 2011

super amazing eggplants!

On Wednesdays there is a small farmers market on campus.  I try to visit it every week to at least see what's on offer.  Today the Amish were selling perfect purple eggplants and fragrant bunches of basil.  I bought both and brought them home. This is what I made:

Super Amazing Eggplant
1 eggplant cubed, salted and let to drain in a strainer for a few minutes
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
two small cloves of garlic
one large handful of fresh basil, juliened
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (less or more to taste)
2 teaspoons ginger powder
3 teaspoons curry powder
3 tablespoons ghee

Heat the spices in a dry pan until fragrant.  When fragrant, add the ghee.  Once the ghee has melted, add the garlic cloves whole and heat a minute or two.  Be careful not to let the spices burn.  Then add the onions.  If the ghee begins to evaporate before the onions are soft and translucent cook with a lid and/or add some water.  When the onions are translucent add the basil and eggplant.  Cover again with a lid for 15-20 minutes and stir occasionally.   Serve with saffron basmati rice.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Even with the air conditioner on, every where in Philly feels like it's sopping wet.  That's great for yoga, but not so great for sleep, which makes it hard to get out of bed in the morning, which in turn makes it not so great for yoga after all. 

I finally managed to shove myself out of bed at 6:30 for my practice.  Then I had to turn off the air conditioner - -cold practice = yuck.  In no time, the room was feeling warm and toasty again.  And once I made it to my mat, I had a pretty decent practice.


* Tremendous back popping in Pasasana - love it!
* Heels to my bum in Bhekasana
* Almost grabbed heels in Kapotasana (I probably could have, but didn't want to push it as my body still feels like it's in the healing stages)
* Handstand is back (against the wall - let's not get ahead of ourselves :)

As always, I'm glad that I made it to my mat.

There are a few things that I've "lost" over the past year in Kentucky that I need to get serious about:

*  Coming up from Laghu Vadrasana - I'm dipping back 3-5 times to prep in order to bring this bad boy back
*  Landing in Bakasana B - this disappeared a few years ago when I went careening to the left and hurt my old arm injury (a broken bone high on the upper arm)

and weight related:
*binding in Yoga Nidrasana
* touching fingers in Pasasana with help of a towel (I've NEVER been able to bind on my own in this one - in some shalas, I'd still be stopping at Pasana 8 years after getting it). 

I plan on doing a summer cleanse.  That's not really orthodox.  They're usually done in the spring and the fall.  But I skipped my spring cleanse and could really use some cleansing now to help with the weight problem. I'm also praying that a LH comes this month which may also resolve the issue (Caution TMI ahead: pre-LH I can put on as much as 10 lbs in water weight; thus I believe that missing a LH after the first round of BC following the MC has left me with the water weight I would usually get rid of - or I could be in denial :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day

Yesterday was Father's Day.  One of the biggest perks to living in the City of Brotherly Love is that I now live only a 2 hour drive from my parents.  So the husband and I got in the Versa and headed north for the day yesterday.  It was the first Father's Day in at least 15 years that I spent with my dad.  We had a lovely low key day watching baseball on t.v. and eating off the grill.

In many ways, I am grateful to my dad for my yoga practice.  He taught me from a very early age that there are other forms of spirituality besides those that are organized for us by churches and other institutions.  While my mom took us to Sunday school, my dad would go to the creek (as he still does on almost every free occasion) to practice his religion - fly fishing.  Communing with nature is for him the way to get closest to God - whatever that may be. He honors the fish by setting the free after he catches them.  I imagine for him that the hours he spends on the water are as meditative if not more so than the moments that I spend on my mat.  Unfortunately, fly-fishing doesn't appeal to me, but I have learned a lot from it and from my dad's "practice" of it.

So, this week, in honor of father's day, I will dedicate my practice to my dad in gratitude for teaching me to be open to other forms of spiritual devotion. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

moving forward

It has been approximately one month since I learned of my miscarriage and had my surgery. This morning I came across this great blog post on miscarriage that almost brought me to tears.  One of the things that she touches on is how isolating the experience can be.  She offers up some thoughts on things that friends and relatives can say and do to help.

Honestly, I don't think that there is much to be said that can be helpful.  Everyone lives the experience differently.  I think that on my part, for the few friends and family members that do know about my experience, I've tried to be compassionate towards them.  I realize that seems a little backwards, but it's difficult to know what to do about someone else's grief.  Just as we shouldn't tell other people how to grieve, I think it's also difficult to tell other people how to react to our grief. What we need in one minute, we might not in the next.  What may seem insensitive at one moment, may ring true at another.  Grief is an organic, fluid thing. 

For one, I would say that I have wonderful friends and family and haven't really received any reactions that I found particularly hurtful.  The toughest part for me has just been that everyone else has moved on - and why shouldn't they - while I'm still dealing with the physical and emotional repercussions.  This includes even those closest to me.

And then there is the added bonus of living somewhere new and making all of these new contacts, none of whom have any idea of what I've been through in the last month.  I can't figure out if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

So I find myself mostly sorting through my feelings on my own.  At the same time that I struggle with mixed emotions (yes, I said mixed - sadness, guilt, relief, despair), I'm also struggling with physical manifestations, in particular, rapid weight gain.  I don't know if the weight gain is because I haven't had a period yet or because I'm back on birth control until I see a doctor again or maybe a combination of the two.  It could also be from the stress.  In any event, it's certainly not helping me feel better.

But I am seeing some signs of healing.  This has been my first full week of practice, mostly practicing intermediate.  Kapotasana is still a bit stiff - I think I can push myself farther, but am letting fear keep me back.  My handstands came back for the first time on Thursday and drop backs are feeling natural again. 

I'm reading the Hatha Yoga Pradipika in the evenings.  It's really helping me take to my mat in the mornings.  I may start making a list here of my favorite aphorisms...stay tuned for that project.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

City of Brotherly Love

My year of "study abroad" in Kentucky has officially ended.  I started my new job a week ago and we are well settled in to our new apartment.  Almost everything is unpacked.

Last week I practiced primary.  Between the surgery and the move, I hadn't had much time or energy until this past Sunday to get to my practice.

Primary is excellent for many many reasons, but I had to come back to my regular practice at some point.  Now I'm back to my intermediate postures.  I took one away from myself, one that I gave to myself anyway, until I am back to where I was before.

This week marks the first time that I've done my practice three days in a row since the surgery.  Today is a moonday.  I'm getting a little help from the Cosmos as I move back into my practice.  I've been going to a Sunday led primary practice at a local studio.  I'm really happy with it.  It inspires me to work harder through the week.  The teacher is fabulous and very knowledgeable.  Once things are settled here, I'll start taking Mysore practice with him.

After Sunday practice, we chant and he answers questions.  A few weeks ago, he was talking about the bandhas.  He said that if you practice with correct alignment, the bandhas will come naturally.  I'd never thought of it that way but I can definitely see that happening to me, especially in inversions. It's food for thought.