Bicycle Yoga

bike yoga sunset

Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving.

– Albert Einstein.

I bought a bike a few days ago.

Sweet.

I’ve been talkin’ smack for weeks (months) about getting a bike.

I’m beyond excited.

Grove Street Bicycles was really helpful. M, the salesperson who helped me saw my look of confusion and walked me through the basics. I was able to trust but verify my findings with the assistance of my Dad. He’s one of those guys who masters sports with uncanny ease.

Uncanny ease.

There isn’t a sport he hasn’t tried, but cycling has been stuck with him for the long haul. His tips were invaluable.

M measured me, asked questions about me and bike goals. After a lesson about proper mounts, dismounts and stops I was off for a test ride.

Aw shucks….. Memories whooshed by as I pedaled.

Instantly, I was transported to the 70s cruising down the street with a wide grin like a dog hanging out the side of a car window.

This bike was fast- but solid. I changed gears…

In another moment it was 1988 and I was with my high school best friend, making a 12 mile ride from home to New Hope, PA. Even back then it was a cool artsy town.

I had to have this bike.

Despite being a yogi, I’m still a not so secret fan of instant gratification. Show me a bike shop, I’ll show you an Oneika who wants to walk out with one on the same day.

It doesn’t work like this- who knew?

But I will be picking it up this week!

Cruising from classes and to clients should be a breeze. And zipping to the green markets? Forget it! Stoked.

I have a feeling the town will seem different on a bike.

Just like lots of things these days.

Dig it.

Namaste y’all.

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Adventures in Yoga- Attitude of Gratitude

The attitude of gratitude is the highest yoga

These days, I have an attitude of gratitude.

I’m speaking in slogans again.

It’s trite and corny. But truth be told, I’m a  lil trite and a lot corny so, there you go.

How we choose to respond to a situation can be the difference between a fence mended or a bridge burned.

I’m talking about gratitude.

Each morning I make a  mental list for all the things for which I’m grateful. It plants the seeds of a great day.

Life is short. Thanksgiving should be every day.

The term ‘gratitude’ is the latest to make the buzzword list, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth discussing. An overused word perhaps, but gratitude has the ability to make change our day, promote healing and make our lives better. In 2007 Robert Emmons wrote a book, Thanks: How The New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. For over 8 years Emmons researched people who practiced gratitude. The findings were quite telling:

  • Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress.
  • Maintaining a gratitude journal for three weeks resulted in better sleep quality and duration, more energy and even more time spent exercising.
  • A grateful approach to life can be one of the most effective ways of coping with disease, disability, and even death.

 

  1. Keep a gratitude journal– it keeps you focused on what really matters and inspires positive thinking
  2. Thank people without wanting a ‘You’re welcome’ in return
  3. Smile- research has shown that smiling can actually be good for you. Wired.com had an interview with Marianne LaFrance who wrote Lip Service: Smiles in Life, Death, Work, Sex and Politics. She has studied the impact of smiling on the human body. So turn that frown upside down. It will truly make you feel better.
  4. Reflect– taking a moment to think about what makes us grateful changes our attitude. It can make tough moments easier to get through. Take a moment to remember that you got through hard times before. You can get through them again.
  5.  Repeat– repeating actions cause habit, both bad and good. So repeat good actions and create positive habits that you can keep for life!

So now you. What makes you get grateful?

Make a list. Check it twice.

Reading it out loud can be nice.

Namaste y’all.

Relocation Frustration aka Moving Yoga

moving truck backs

I had this plan that I would smoothly transition from my old place to my new place.

Ha. Cue raucous laugh track.

My move was more than just a new place to sleep. It was symbolic of a new life. Though I’ve been teaching yoga and working on a business plan to be a yoga entrepreneur, the new home would make it official.

At least it would feel that way. I began this blog to document my new start, and this relocation seemed like just that.

In my head everything was timed like clockwork.  The movers would come- I’d cheerfully direct them! They’d laugh. I’d laugh- we’d do a few yoga moves in my empty living room. After namastes all around they would declare that this was the most tranquil move they ever did.

Ah- but life had other plans. It was a mess.

A bloody diasaster. And not in a cute British accent way. I’m talking real f@cking horror show. At least it felt like that in the moment. I could hear people screaming out like the aliens had arrived. Flames were shooting up from manholes, the masses were running for cover declaring that this was indeed the end of the world.

Well, that’s what it felt like.

The whole delay was a few hours. It felt much longer, mostly because of me and the gravity I gave the situation.

We all do that I guess, make things more important than they are. A minor impasse is distorted to mountain-sized road block.

This happens with poses. A point of resistance becomes a place where push happens. A more effective response is to breathe. This allows for release. I can feel it now even as I type- I feel a space where it seems like I can’t get deeper and after a few deep breathes my entire body falls into place.

On my mat I know this is how it works.

Off my mat, I need reminders.

I didn’t deal as effectively as I would have liked.

As I watched my things file out of the old space, I was happy.

After every storm the sun comes out. Nothing is forever. This too shall pass etc… etc..

More importantly though, I realize now that nothing is that critical. Because in comparison with the age of the universe, we are only here for a second.

And I, just like the stress that seemed so finite and so lasting is temporary.

My next part of the chapter awaits.

 

Namaste y’all.

Vegan Diaries – The Big Salad

photo the recklesschef.com

Episode 88 of Seinfeld was a monumental day for salad everywhere. Hearing George Castanza shriek about Ellaine having to have the ‘biiiiig salad’, we all started to give salad a second look. It used to be just an afterthought to be ignored on a plate but I’m convinced Episode 88 gave salad the limelight it deserves!!!

And as long as you don’t go mad with the dressing, salads are great for you. My favorite salad is actually pretty spartan- cucumbers, lettuce, Meyer lemon juice, light tasting olive oil, flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper.

I eat my salad alone. Sometimes I have my salad as a sandwich- sometimes I

meatless monday, black women yoga, summer salads

What’s your favorite salad?

Namaste y’all!

Food Yoga – Eggplant and Asparagus Over Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 2 cups eggplant cubed
  • 1/2 lb baby asparagus ( or regular is fine- baby was on sale)
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1lb mushrooms sliced
  • juice from one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400° or heat up a grill pan or your grill
  2. In a medium/large bowl combine spices, olive oil and lemon juice
  3. Toss all veggies in spice mixture
  4. Place veggies on a roasting pan
  5. Roast/Grill for 25-30 minutes
  6. Prepare rice and quinoa according to package directions
  7. Arrange veggies on top of rice and serve!
I put a dollop of plain soy yogurt that was mixed with tomatoes, chopped cukes and some spices on top- but that’s completely up to you!! I’ve used greek yogurt in the past and didn’t miss it. Squeeze some lemon and you get the same tangy flavor.
Namaste y’all!

 

Vegan Diaries – Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are usually healthy idea gone horribly wrong.  A mixture of beef, cheese, rice, tomatoes, onions topped with more cheese sounds amazing but if you’re thinking about your health, not so much.

I don’t think you have to give up flavor when you eat for optimum health.

This brings me to quinoa. It’s magically delicious and good for you.

Now we can flip the script on this meal that was a fat laden calorie catastrophe

Come with me to stuffed pepper heaven. C’mon, don’t be shy.

Ingredients (enough for four fantastic peppers)

  • Quinoa
  • 1 small onion (I used a red one)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 handful cilantro (or parsely)
  • 5 mushrooms
  • 5-6 stalks of asparagus
  • 3 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions
  2. While the quinoa is cooking put all veggies except for the asparagus and 2 mushrooms into a food processor
  3. Roughly chop the veggies in the food processor
  4. Chop the asparagus and mushrooms by hand (I did this for texture- you may choose not to)
  5. Saute the mixture in a pan with the olive oil
  6. Fold in quinoa once cooked
  7. Stuff yer peppers
  8. Now if you like crisp peppers go ahead and dive in (This is actually quite good on a warm night- and actually I shoved some spring greens in the pepper first. Yes, shoved- that’s a fancy culinary term.)
  9. If a cooked pepper is what you are after, put the stuffed peppers on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until the peppers are tender.

Go on now- get to cooking.

If you have a tasty stuffing that you’d like to share- please, please do!!! I collect stuffing recipes like…a person who collects stuffing recipes.

Food yoga. It’s real.

Namste y’all.

Adventures in Yoga- Get on the Good Foot

yoga toes

It’s all about the feet.

The plantar fascia is a long, thin ligament that lies beneath the skin on the bottom of the foot. It connects the heel to the front of your foot, and also supports the arch of your foot.

Strong feet make for strong poses, which builds the foundation for a strong practice. A strong stance works in concert with the breath which ultimately (in this humble yogini’s opinion) cultivates peace.

Last Friday with Daba, we worked on our feet. I love classes like this. A few months ago I talked about finger splits.  Finger splits changed my practice especially my downward dog. I want everyone to have hands like platypuses. Though incorrect, I like the sound of platypi better.

Hands flat and fingers wide like platypi. It sounds plain old silly when you say platypuses. 

Sorry, I digress.

Let’s jump back. After a vigorous standing series in the heat we spent time working on our toes. By standing on a block with the toes on and heel off, I was able to work on the big toe and the calf muscle. With my heel level as if I was standing on the floor I moved into vriksasana.

After we removed the block and did the posture on the ground. I swear I felt roots spring from the sole of my foot.

I also dug doing toe squats. You can feel the fascia stretch. It’s intense but wonderful. My feet felt fantastic the next morning, especially now that I’m getting older. The older I get the more my feet hurt in the morning. Ugh.

Toe squats are a part of my morning routine now. Foot pain be gone!

This is yoga. Haaaaiiiiiiy! Get on the good foot.

Namaste y’all.