3 Bullet Thursday–Yoga Tips

When I first conceptualized the yoga tips blog post called 3 Bullet Thursday, I thought I would post it twice a month because I really didn’t think I consumed enough yoga content to warrant a weekly yoga tips rundown. As it turns out, I’m a much bigger yoga nerd than I thought I was and my running list of bullets for 3 Bullet Thursday is getting out of hand. Anyway, I did my best to pare down the yoga books, yoga music, and yoga inspiration I’m currently churning through for my fellow yoga nerds.

What I’m Reading–Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Full disclosure; you should know that when I say I’m reading something, that really just means I’m listening to the audio version of the book on audible.com. I commute about 11 hours a week and spend at least that much time in airports, airplanes and taxi cabs (okay, Ubers). To make that time feel well spent, I binge on audiobooks.Siddhartha On Audible

So about Siddhartha; it’s on many yoga teacher training reading lists because it chronicles the spiritual journey of self discovery of a man named Siddhartha. Spoiler alert, the sanskrit translation of Siddhartha is literally “he who has found the meaning of existence,” or “he who has attained his goals.”

It’s a quick and easy read (3 hours on Audible) so even though the title gives away the ending, I suggest you have a listen–even if you aren’t a yoga teacher or practitioner. It’s a classic and it won’t kill you to learn something.

What I’m Listening To–BuddahBar

Yes, I am referring to the compilation albums of lounge, chill, and world music. They are produced and distributed by the Buddha Bar bar, restaurant, and hotel franchise. It’s the company’s ambiance music and is the perfect background music for my life right now whether I’m at work or at home. No words (I get plenty of those coming my way) just chill sounds. iTunes seems to have the whole collection but I also have all the CDs (yes, actual CDs) so if you are local–that’s you Three Dog Yoga friends–and you want to borrow one, let me know.BuddahBarAlbumnsonitunes

Deep Thought I’m Pondering–“I wish I did not wish”

“I wish I did not wish” is a koan, which is a question or statement meant to test a student’s progress in zen practice. More or less it is meant to break your head.

I came across this koan on a Tim Ferris podcast where he was interviewing Gretchen Rubin about her many happiness related writing projects. That podcast is great, but too long, so I’m not going to recommend it here. I do, however, fully endorse koans.Gretchen Rubin on Tim Ferriss Podcast

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com.

Go to Yoga Tips & Hacks for more of this from GroundingUp

Barley Stuffed Peppers

These barley stuffed peppers from ThugKitchen are a staple at our house. I posted them on the blog about a year ago, but wanted to repost with a few additional notes.

A couple of thoughts regarding these barley stuffed peppers

In our humble opinion, it needs cheese. So, we add 1/4 cup of shredded parmesan to the actual stuffing mix and then we sprinkle shredded parmesan as a garnish. Obviously, doing this makes the recipe “non-vegan” but we are cool with that.

Technically, the ThugKitchen version of these barley stuffed peppers calls for white OR kidney beans. We always use white beans because they are smaller than kidney beans, which just seem to bulky to be stuffed into small places.

Also, the barley stuffing can be used to stuff much more than just peppers. We have used it to stuff zucchini, acorn squash, and tomatoes.

The kids, age 3 and 11, have a great time selecting their bell peppers. Audrey usually goes for green and you can’t really count on John to be consistent with the color of pepper he chooses. I usually buy a few extra peppers because the kids manage to eat them raw before I even have time to get the stuffed peppers in the oven.

Print Recipe
Barley Stuffed Peppers
These barley stuffed peppers from ThugKitchen are a staple at our house. I posted them on the blog about a year ago, but wanted to repost with a few additional notes. Bell peppers with a vegan barley stuffing. Serve as a main dish for a light meal or as a side for a colorful and flavorful addition to any meal.
barley stuffed peppers
Course Dinner, Main Dish
Cuisine Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings
Stuffed Peppers
Ingredients
Course Dinner, Main Dish
Cuisine Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings
Stuffed Peppers
Ingredients
barley stuffed peppers
Instructions
  1. 1–In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it starts turning golden, about 3 minutes. Add the celery, carrot, garlic, thyme, and oregano and cook for another 2 minutes. Throw in the barley, tomato, and vinegar and stir. Add the broth, salt, and pepper and let it come to a low simmer. Cook, uncovered, until all the broth is absorbed and the barley is tender, about 15 minutes. 2–While the barley is simmering, heat your oven to 375° F. Cut the tops off the bell peppers and scrape out the seeds. Place them in an oiled pie place or loaf pan, something where their asses won’t be sliding around once they’re stuffed. 3–When the barley is done, fold in the beans and turn off the heat. (This filling can even be made a day or two ahead of time, no fucking problem.) Fill the bell peppers up to the top with the filling, cover them tightly with foil, and bake until the peppers are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let them rest for 5 minutes after coming out of the oven, ’cause those fuckers are hot. Top with the parsley and serve.
Recipe Notes

Thanks to ThugKitchen for the recipe. I didn't technically ask them for permission to publish their recipe, but those assholes can just fucking get over it.

For more vegan and vegetarian recipes, visit the recipes are of this site here. Check out the homepage for additional yoga information and inspiration. Namaste!

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com

3 Bullet Thursday–Yoga Tip Resource

Welcome to the inaugural “3 Bullet Thursday” your yoga tip, information, and inspiration resource.

What I’m watching

Does anyone even have cable anymore? Why would you when there is endless content to stream? Anyway, I’m currently working my way through a 13 episode Gaia mini-series on the origins of yoga called YogicPaths. For new yoga nerds, it’s a great primer on where yoga comes from. For advanced yoga nerds, it might be fun to compare and contrast with what you know about the practice. It is interesting and visually beautiful. So check it out.

YogicPaths
Yogic Paths, a Gaia mini-series

When I’m not watching something yoga related, my husband and I are deep into the Longmire series on Netflix. Based on the Walt Longmire mystery novels a dedicated sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyo. Longmire patrols the county, which seems to have a shockingly high murder rate as far as fake rural counties go. Each episode pretty much begins with the line, “Sheriff, we’ve got a body.”

What I’m listening to

I would imagine a lot of you have made resolutions to start or expand a meditation practice in 2018. Mindfulness and meditation are both hot buzz words right now. The Breathing Club podcast is great for beginner meditators or those looking to explore other forms of meditation and expand their knowledge of the practice.

Breathing Club Podcast
Breathing Club Podcast with Patrick Beach and Carling Harps

Hosted by renowned yoga teachers and wellness consultants, Patrick Beach and Carling Harps, the podcast covers meditation (obviously), related books and content, and provides regular guided meditations in a variety of styles.

 Quote I’m pondering

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards”– Soren Kierkegaard.

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com

 

Chia Seed Pudding with Pomegranates and Kiwi

To me, chia seed pudding seems so bizarre. I mean, who looked at their chia pet and said, “I bet I can make a great pudding from these seeds!”? Nothing about a chia pet appears to be edible let alone appetizing. And yet, here I am, experimenting with chia seeds for breakfast and desserts.

Because it’s Christmas time, I wanted to create something festive using seasonal fruits. That means pomegranates and kiwis were first on my list of toppings to use for maximum food styling points. I have created versions of this for Thanksgiving as well using pomegranate and persimmons and pears. You could go really crazy and use figs and dates and chopped toasted nuts. Anyway, the options are endless and I strongly encourage you to use your imagination.

You can make this pudding with milk, water, or juice rather than almond milk, but keep in mind that the absorption rates differ quite a bit depending on the liquid you choose, so you’ll need to be willing to experiment or search the web for other recipes where someone has done it successfully.

There is a wide variety of flavored almond milk on the market as well, so if that’s what you are using, cut back on the maple syrup and the vanilla. I recommend always using plain unflavored almond milk so that you have control of the flavor, but hey, you do you, okay?

In other news, but still related to chia seed pudding, my kids are in love with this recipe. I suspect it is because they live for pomegranate seeds, but I’ll take it. Anytime I can get my kids to embrace something as nutritionally action packed as chia seeds, I take the win.

Please enjoy the recipe and use it all year long with whatever is in season. Use the comments section to let me know what you are putting in your chia seed pudding these days.

Happy Holidays and Namaste!

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com. 

Print Recipe
Chia Seed Pudding with Pomegranates and Kiwi
Vegan chia seed pudding with pomegranates and kiwi fruit. Almond milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, salt. Top with your favorite fruits or nuts. Here we used pomegranates and kiwi because it was Christmas.
chia seed pudding
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine Vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Passive Time 12 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk plain, unflavored
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds food grade
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup you can also use agave nectar or regular sugar and adjust accordingly
  • 2 sticks cinnamon or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon if you don't have sticks
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla or to taste
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine Vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Passive Time 12 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk plain, unflavored
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds food grade
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup you can also use agave nectar or regular sugar and adjust accordingly
  • 2 sticks cinnamon or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon if you don't have sticks
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla or to taste
chia seed pudding
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well mixed and chia seeds have absorbed some liquid. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for about 12 hours. You'll know it's ready when the consistency is thick and the chia seeds have a light halo around them.
    chia seed pudding ingredients
  2. chia seed pudding combined
Recipe Notes

I have often mixed this in a large mason jar. You can dump it all into the jar, give it a good shake, put the lid on and toss it in the refrigerator. This makes more than one service and it's nice to have a container with a lid to store it in. Just a thought. Enjoy.

African Pineapple Peanut Stew

Happy Meatless Monday all. I dug out an oldie but a goodie for this Monday. This recipe comes from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home cookbook my friend gave me a few years ago when she learned I had gone vegetarian.

The Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York is well known for its vegetarian cuisine. I’ve never been there, but their cookbooks are a great staple for any vegetarian and vegan kitchen.

Enjoy this delicious stew. Let me know what you think.

Ingredients
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 bunch of kale or Swiss chard (4 cups sliced)
2 cups undrained canned crushed pineapple (20-ounce can)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
salt to taste
Garnish with crushed peanuts and scallions
African Pineapple Peanut Stew
Sauté the onions until slightly browned; about 5 minutes.

 

DSC_3319
Add the pineapple and its juice to the onions and bring to a simmer.
DSC_3321.jpg
Stir in the kale or chard, cover and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until just tender.
DSC_3335
Mix in the peanut butter, Tabasco, and cilantro (if using) and simmer for 5 minutes.
DSC_3338.jpg
Add salt to taste, and serve. We served this over mixed grains, but the original recipe recommends serving it with rice, millet, or couscous. We have served it over polenta as well with great results.

The article originally published on www.groundingup.com

Me too, I guess

Yesterday, on my way to Los Angeles, I watched a man try to clear security with a cat in a duffel bag.

The man was asked to remove the cat from the bag because:

1) you can’t send a cat through the belt screener

2) TSA needed to scan the bag the cat was in.

The man objected to his removal of the cat because he and the cat had not been formally introduced, and to him, taking the cat out of the duffel bag didn’t feel appropriate.

TSA promptly guided the man and the bagged cat to a private room for a formal introduction and security check.

After the private screening, the man and the cat boarded the flight without further incident.

There is so much talk these days about what is and isn’t appropriate behavior in the corporate world, in Hollywood, and at home. And while the conversation is around male entitlement and power, it should also be about self awareness and context for both sexes.

Like the man with the cat in the duffel bag, if we all just took a moment to consider our next step and how that would play out in the context of the moment with our current audience, so much of this wouldn’t even happen. Because in so many cases, the intent in these terrible moments isn’t actually sinister, it is just fucking cluelessness.

#metoo

It’s Hollow Back, Not Hollaback, Duh!

I see a lot of hollow back yoga poses on Instagram these days. Personally, I suspect it is because hollow back yoga seems more artistic (Instagramworthy) than your standard Iyengar alignment. I also suspect that hollow back asanas are easier for most yogis.

What’s hollow back you ask?

Hollow back is a yoga term (which means it is not at all clinical or scientific) that refers to the creations of extension in the lumbar spine. The lower spine has a natural curvature, but in hollow back versions of arm-balance yoga poses, like fore-arm-stand and handstand, that curvature is increased. 

If you want to get technical, most yoga postures call for a straight back or a stacked alignment meaning feet over knees over hips over shoulders over elbows over wrists. Straight up and down, none of this fancy curve crap.

Because our backs have natural curvature, the straight back posture requires infinitely more deep core work to achieve and is something that yogis like me will spend their lives working on.

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com

Quick, Hold My Temper

Today, on my flight from San Diego to Sonoma, I received a lesson in the importance of context in relationships from the couple seated behind me.

The couple was bickering behind me:

Lady: hold this
Man: what is this? Are you going to have me hold your water?
Lady: yes
Man: well, what are you holding?
Lady: my temper
Man: okay

Nice work, lady. You sure told him, I thought.

Later, as they deplaned and I watched her patiently guide him down the aisle between the seats, I realized that what I had registered as a smartass comment from a bitter husband was actually a legitimate inquiry from a blind man who just wanted to know what he was holding.

Context is EVERYTHING.

Namaste.

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com. Go here for more real life application of yoga philosophy

Truth on the Train

Sorrento, Italy – Today on the train to Pompeii, I heard a man from Southern Florida tell a Napoli local that it gets so hot where he is from that even the animals die from heat stroke.

As a matter of fact, a few years back, a black cat just up and keeled over on the hot pavement right in front of him. He went on to explain that he immediately submerged the heat afflicted animal in a nearby river where the cat was promptly revived enough to scratch up his bare arm somethin’ terrible.

Watching this man tell his bullshit story I could see that he believed every word was true. It was also clear that the train passenger he was telling it to didn’t speak english and didn’t likely care if the story was true or a complete fabrication.

But the story made me think about truth and its subjectivity.

It is entirely possible that the cat was just laying down in front of the man hoping for a scratch behind the ears and instead ended up a victim of near drowning at the hands of a South Floridian with a hero complex.

I’m on the Amalfi coast this week at a yoga retreat, so truth or Satya is top of mind for me. Yoga, asana and meditation, offer a path to seeing things as they truly are, without the layers of bullshit we as humans pile on. Witnessing and understanding things just as they are.

Maybe he really did save the cat, maybe it was just a grim misunderstanding. But getting to the truth is a life’s work and in the case of this man’s story, we will never know what exactly went down. So chalk this up as another of life’s great mysteries.

This article originally published on GroundingUp

I gave up Chataranga and got my yoga practice back

For the past 7 years, power vinyasa has been my preferred and regular form of practice. So you can trust me when I tell you that power yogis are obsessed with Chataranga Dandasana.
For my non-yoga readers, Chataranga, also known as 4 limbed staff pose, is basically a yoga pushup. This pose is used to build core strength and stamina and features prominently in sun salutations. It is also used heavily as a transition pose throughout many vinyasa sequences.
Chataranga Dandasana, followed closely by arm balances, is the most workshopped asana in all of modern western yoga. Countless hours of discussion and demonstration have gone toward attainment of the perfect Iyengar Chataranga Dandasana. I’ll be the first to admit that I have never missed a Chataranga workshop.
And until recently, I completely subscribed to the idea that to be power yoga, a sequence must have Chataranga. Even after my orthopedic surgeon reviewed my MRI showing shoulder damage including bone spurs, tendinitis, and bursitis, from repetitive stress (i.e., too much chataranga) I kept at it. I thought that at some point the anti-inflammatory medications, all the icing, and the physical therapy would negate the harm I was causing with Chataranga. And with every practice, I was giving up other key asana because I was no longer able to do them while in excruciating pain.
Then one morning I awoke to find that my arm was too weak and painful to carry my little boy and I couldn’t raise my arm to hold the hairdryer.
And there it was. I could no longer ignore all that I was giving up to hold on to my notion of what a yoga practice should be. For fuck’s sake, I had given up the ability to raise my arms above my head so I could do 50 pushups every day. I had become so attached to the meaning I had assigned to Chataranga Dandasana that I had given up my ability to do 50% of the other poses in a power sequence. I had given up my practice for one asana.
It was time to let yoga cure my yoga. It was time to practice aparhigraha, or non-attachment. Time to let go of the idea that a perfect Chataranga was proof of a strong practice.
That day, I replaced Chataranga with a plank and never looked back. It’s three months later and for the first time since quitting Chataranga cold turkey, I can get my hands behind my back without pain. For the first time in more than a year, the entire power yoga sequence is accessible to me because I decided to surrender.

 

The article originally published on www.groundingup.com