Friday, January 25, 2013

Quick Notes of Y12SR

In a few hours, I'll start the Y12SR teacher training program. The second piece of the Yoga of 12 Step Recovery training. Randomly, I stumbled upon this blog. I don't believe it's random at all.

Stories that No Longer Shame Me - by Backbend Addict

This is America. We are all addicted to something. Codependency. Coffee. Cocaine. Shopping. Being busy. Drinking. The list goes on. If you continually use something to escape your current state or reality, you are an addict.

I'm an addict.

Do you choose to accept this fact and dig into yourself? I do. Let's go.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sweet Potato Pie - Community and Gratitude

Every time I say the words "sweet potato pie", I think of that old country song. "...sweet potato pie and I shut my mouth..." Song of the South by Alabama. Then my head goes to American Pie. What would an American holiday BE without pie?!

We have pies for every occasion and season. We gather, we celebrate and we eat pie. Thanksgiving ushers in pumpkin pie. Maybe apple, pecan or a cheesecake grace our tables. But, what about sweet potato pie?

I never tasted it until I made one from scratch. The key is in the buttermilk hand rolled pie crust and the oven roasted sweet potatoes. Buttermilk makes a tender crust and roasting the sweet potatoes provides a lovely caramelized flavor and color. Add a few secret ingredients and you're set to "shut your mouth".

Spend time with your loved ones. Take a moment to give thanks for what you have and what/who you are. Gratitude.

No time to bake from scratch? No worries! Pick up one of these beauties for a donation to Just B Yoga between $10 and $15. Pay what you can. All proceeds to benefit Just B Yoga. Buy one before or after either Thanksgiving Day class (8:30 am - full class, 11:00 am). Support yoga and tai chi in Lansing AND eat a pie.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Make it Easy - Use Good Stuff

I love this time of year. Fruits and veggies are abundant here in Michigan. Even with the drought, we have so many options! When in doubt...choose good shit!

An organic free range tiny 3 lb chicken. Zucchini and summer squash from a local farmer and friend, Green Eagle Farms. Tiny red skin potatoes from the Lansing City Market. Aw yeah.

Boiled the potatoes for 30 mins, drain water, add Greek yogurt and smash.

Slip your hand between the skin and meat of the chicken. Make space. Get in there. Don't hurt the skin! Melt butter and fresh parsley. Stuff it between skin and meat. Add some lemon basil, thyme and a few smashed cloves of garlic. Do the same with the cavity. Tie it up with kitchen twine. Cook, breast side up, 45 mins at 350 F. Raise temp to 425 and cook 20-30 mins more, until the juices flood out and run clear. Use juices + vermouth + flour to make gravy!

Meanwhile, cut up and sauté veggies. I added some leftover corn. Succotash! Lightly season with salt, paprika, garlic and onion powder.

Drool. Serve. Savor each bite of local summer farm goodness. Give the cat a chicken scrap when he asks nicely. Make stock out of the little chicken. Breathe in, breathe out, enjoy.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Eggplant and Keeping it Simple

I haven't baked much lately. The latest were vegan strawberry muffins to celebrate a friend's liberation. Tonight, I decided to play with simplicity and an eggplant.

Slice eggplant into quarter inch slices. Salt and let sit 30 mins. Preheat the broiler.

Olive oil a baking pan and place eggplant slices on it. Oil tops. Broil 4-5 mins. Meanwhile, slice a tomato and separate basil leaves. Crumble some blue cheese.

Turn eggplant and broil on the other side 4-5 mins. Take out. Remove to a plate.

Place 1 basil leaf, a few strips of tomato and some blue cheese on eggplant. Roll up. Skewer with a toothpick. Repeat. Devour.

Simple and tasty. Finding grace in food. Enjoy.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Freedom and Cake

This past weekend was one of the best of my life. It was spent with Belinda and Monica and amazing yogis at the Yoga Service Conference, at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. It is going to take me some time to decompress and sift through the ideas, concepts and realities that I gained from the conference. In the meantime, I wanted to share some new happenings I found in my last two asana practices.

James Fox, founder of Prison Yoga, explains that yoga is a three layered cake. Mindfulness on top, pranayama in the middle and asana on the bottom. Pranayama is the middle layer because it affects both of the others. Thus, I say asana practice because it is simply one of the eight limbs of yoga. Asana does not equal yoga.

On Sunday, Seane Corn led us through a sweet physical yoga ritual practice. We languished in our sun salutations. Different presenters that had led discussions over the weekend were asked to speak to who they serve, so that we could dedicate each sun salutation. Wow. A slow, methodical and intention filled practice with over 150 folks who are dedicated to their own practices and to serving others. That made for a powerful class. Full body prayer.

One panelist shared testimonials from her prison outreach group. A woman who has been sentenced to life in prison at the age of 17...said that through her yoga, she has found freedom. She will be behind bars for the rest of her life, and yet she feels free. If she can find moksha, freedom and liberation, who I am not to access that freedom in every breath? How dare I not practice to my full potential in every moment? How dare I not serve? Be present; be here. Float. Fly. Speak the truth. Be brave. Walk with confidence. Relax.

This does not simply apply to being on my yoga mat in a class or at home. No, this applies to every breath I take. Within every action and interaction, I have the opportunity to completely be. From the moment I wake up until the instant I go to sleep every day. I can choose.

Tonight, as I found my ashtanga practice at Hilltop Yoga, I could not stop thinking about the different groups the Yoga Service Council members serves. Sex traffic victims. Prisoners. Juvenile detention centers. Children. Teenagers. Addicts. Victims of natural disasters. Community. Our neighbors. Everyone. As Seane says, "we are one." I am they. They are me. Each movement tonight had me thinking of a different group, of a different individual, of my fellow yoga service warriors. Breathe. Move. Flow. Find my freedom. Float to the top of my mat. Hold that half headstand a little longer. Find that bind. Breathe and move with intention and focus. Practice to my edge on the mat and off the mat.

I walked away with the reminder on my wrist - a bracelet that says "off the mat, into the world".

I am a proud new member of the Yoga Service Council. I am thrilled to keep practicing my practice with a new illumination. Truly, who am I not to find my freedom in each moment? As yogis, we work within to work without. The revolution begins on the inside.

Much more. Much later.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pachem & Community #LoveLansing

Rina Risper has invited you to Keep the P.E.A.C.E. & Stop the Silence March - Saturday - April 28, 2012, said the little red flag on my Facebook account. Hm. What's that?

P.E.A.C.E. Police enforcement and community engagement. Dona nobis pachem. Latin for "give us peace". I sang that song acapella so many times in my Catholic church choir. The song sweetly demands peace.

On Saturday, I demanded peace along with almost 300 others.

I admit, at first, I ignored this simple electronic invitation to join my community in a walk against violence on Lansing's streets. I wasn't sure if it was "my kind of event." What does a walk truly do? Are we really changing anything? Who would go? Would I be the only person like me? AKA someone who has barely seen violence and might not be able to understand or to identify? Would I be judged for being some silly middle class white girl from the countryside who thinks she knows something about any of this?

Then, Belinda created a rallying cry for the community to truly be and act as community, with her blog post (excerpt below),

"Our children are being shot and killed. Our elderly are being abused. Our neighborhoods held hostage. Even as that is true, Lansing is also a victim of the PERCEPTION of being OVERRUN with crime. Across Twitter and Facebook the criticism and jokes about the degradation of our city is troubling. We can’t turn our backs and run. Don’t leave and turn around and criticize from outside. What did you do when you were here? 

What voice did you speak with?

What did you do to be heard?

What did you do to change the PERCEPTION and display another side of our community? The creative and innovative side? The generous and supportive side? The resilient and brave side?"

With this, I realized that while I may not be the 100% perfect fit to blend in at this event...this is my community. This is my home. I live in Lansing. I am Lansing. I have an obligation to support, to show compassion, to activate change. Community. Compassion. This was an opportunity to be and to live my yoga. I was in.

I showed up to the rally and quickly made friends with Diane, a mom in Lansing who was also simply invited via the Facebook event. Her 20 year old daughter questioned why she was going. She thought it was "being fake" to march in some demonstration. Her mom took the time to explain that this was important to her, and she came to the march. Her daughter didn't join her...but Diane made a statement and took a stance to support her community. That conversation happened. Diane took action.

I struck up a conversation with the all-weather-prepared Marvin, who had a long coat, a furry hat and a huge umbrella. Marvin is a former MSU administrator who is working on his second Master's degree and looking for a new job in policy and/or helping people to achieve their potential. He realized he saw me speak at a job fair downtown. He told me that seeing someone like me at this kind of event humanizes me. I didn't realize I had been dehumanized. Solid reality check. Thank you, Marvin. Community. We are one.

I walked with my neighbors. I introduced myself to my community. Was I the minority? Yep. I wasn't an elder or young adult related to or friends with someone who was shot on our Lansing streets. I don't live in a particularly bad area of town. But I felt at home. I was invited. I came. I supported.

Take the invitation. Support your community. We are one. Rina says it best, love people.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mostly Vegan Bunny Food Cake

This is the first Easter with little fanfare. Dinner was comprised of poached salmon, kale and potatoes. Dessert, I decided, needed to be a bit special. I made a carrot cake - vegan - but with cream cheese frosting.

My mind and body needed today. Power Yoga - 1.5 hours. Bicycling - 1.5 hours. Meditation - 1.5 hours. Next up? Baking and wine.

Vegan Carrot Cake - adapted from multiple recipes
2 cups flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 cup sugar
3 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup coconut
1 T cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t cloves
1/2 t vanilla

Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet. Preheat oven to 350F. Combine mixtures. Pour into 2 pie or cake pans. Bake 40-45 mins. Let cool.

Beat cream cheese with milk and add powdered sugar to desired thickness. Mix until desired consistency. To stay vegan, try tofutti, soy milk and powdered sugar.

Frost one layer. Add next on top. Frost. Devour. Add another glass of wine. Breathe. Have a fabulous day.