I have an unhealthy obsession with trying to hop forward to handstand. It’s down the road, but I like to think one day I could get there.
In a workshop we partnered off trying to stack the hips over the shoulders. With a yoga buddy standing in front of you they served as a wall and could gently guide the hips back down with a gentle nudge. That’s assuming you could get the hips to lift that high.
The whole act of hopping forward scared the crap out of me though I was in no danger of getting my hips that high.
None. Nada. Zip. Zero.
But I’m a determined chick. I found Kino MacGregor’s video on floating forward. I was still too chicken to do it without the wall. However, that aside, I followed Kino’s direction. And I practiced and practiced.
Though I was sure I was getting closer, I wasn’t sure how far I had to go.
My friend Jessica teaches an early morning hot vinyasa class that gets the juices flowing. After class, we were talking about hopping forward. I was demonstrated my lack of progress.
But then, a new element was added. I got some encouragement. Bam. I was up. My feet were planted, but I was in handstand. Excited, I sprung up!!
Someone said, “You just needed a few cheerleaders!”
Ain’t that the truth.
We could all use a few cheerleaders along the way.
Yoga is community. Yoga is support. Yoga is cheerleaders telling you that you CAN do it.
I’m so grateful. Cheerleader yoga.
I’ve been playing with healthier updates of comfort food classics. There’s nothing like a warm meal when a nip is in the air. The smell of hearty stews and sage laced with sage lifts me on my toes like a cartoon character and spins me around, partner that with something like mashed potatoes and I’m in heaven. Since foods like that aren’t in my life anymore I re-imagined some meals I love with a twist!!
I must confess this is vegan and not vegetarian. I haven’t found a great substitute for egg whites- but if you know of any, please share them in the comments!!!
For the filling
- lentils – 1 cup
- mushrooms – chopped (optional but extra step, for even deeper flavor chop up a few dried mushrooms and soak them)
- balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup
- onions – 1/2 cup sautéed
- garlic – 2 cloves minced
- veggie stock – 2 and 1/4 cups
- sage – 1/2 teaspoon
- thyme – 1/2 teaspoon
- salt and pepper to taste
For the topping
- sweet potatoes – 3 peeled cubed
- egg whites – 4
- cardamom – 1/4 teaspoon
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- Spray sweet potatoes with olive oil spray and bake in a 350° oven until they are tender about 30 minutes
- While the potatoes are baking start the lentils. Heat the stock with the lentils in pot. When the stock boils reduce to a simmer and cook lentils uncovered for 30 minutes.
- In a separate pan heat olive oil over medium heat to sauté onions, garlic and spices. Cook for five minutes before adding the mushrooms balsamic and 1/4 cup of veggie stock.
- Cook for another 20 minutes until the liquid is reduced.
- Add lentils to the mushroom mixture. Mix and turn off heat.
- Spray a lasagna pan with non-stick spray.
- Transfer mixture into pan.
- Whip egg whites until the have stiff peaks.
- In a separate bowl use a mixer (or food processor) to whip sweet potatoes and cardamom.
- Fold egg whites into sweet potatoes.
- Evenly spread sweet potato mixture on top of filling.
- Bake in a 375° oven for 35-45 minutes.
- Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
- Fresh out of the oven!!!
- photo credit health.com
PMS is no fun. Anyone who says it’s fun is perhaps taking lots of drugs. PMDD is a very serious condition that requires a doctor’s care. But for the 40 million women who suffer monthly with the more mild aspects there may be help. Did you know that there are several foods that can help alleviate some of the symptoms of PMS? In addition to exercise, here are 9 foods that may take some of the steam of PMS discomfort.
For those that are creeping closer to peri-menopause listen up as well because these tips can help you too. Cramps, bloating, moodiness and fatigue be gone!
- Artichokes. Artichokes contain magnesium. Magnesium supplementation can help alleviate many symptoms of PMS including cramps, irritability, fatigue, depression and water retention. Magnesium is a good muscle relaxant. This makes it especially important for women who suffer from menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhoea). Cramps are caused by strong contractions of the uterus and magnesium helps to relax the powerful uterine muscles.
- Flax seed. High in lignans, a natural hormone-balancing substance, flax seed oil flax seed oil is effective in treating mild depression symptoms brought on by PMS. (Also It’s also good for depression and fatigue. An alternative is to buy ground up flax seed, and sprinkle it on top of your food (such as oatmeal and popcorn).
- Oatmeal is a good source of manganese (see #1).
- Tofu contains soy. Soy may support better menstrual health by favorably altering estrogen levels and estrogen metabolism. Several studies suggest that pre-menopausal women who consume soy protein significantly lower their estrogen levels to more “balanced” levels.
- Edamame also contains soy. (see #4)
- Dark chocolate! Eating chocolate stimulates the release of mood-affecting chemicals such as endorphins, phenylethylamine and serotonin. These feel good chemicals may also explain why women crave chocolate when they are suffering from PMS. Serotonin levels often drop in the days before menstruation begins, so eating chocolate can help boost those levels and improve one’s mood. Read this very informative article about dark chocolate benefits.
- Brown rice is a complex carb that also contains magnesium and has fiber. Fiber-rich foods are complex carbs that take longer for your body to break down and absorb, further curbing your cravings. Eat more whole-grain breads and cereals, and produce like legumes, fruit, and starchy veggies, which are on the complex-carb list.
- Cheese contains calcium and vitamin D which have both been shown to ease PMS symptoms. Vegan? No worries, dark leafy greens like spinach and kale contain calcium and vitamin D as well.
- Wine and Grape Juice– Oh mama. Now let’s get one thing straight, we aren’t talking about tying one on, but studies show that moderate alcohol may have some benefit. Dr. Heller is a family practitioner, specializing in helping his patients with PMS, depression, anxiety, and chronic diseases since 1995. He is the founder of PMS Comfort and a Research Fellow for the Optimal Health Foundation in California. Here’s what he says about red wine consumption:
A dash of wine or other alcohol. A glass, or even half a glass, of wine every night is healthy for most people. We consider red wine preferable to white wine, since it is higher in antioxidants. That said, most research shows that white wine, beer, and even hard liquor also lower risk of heart disease and other health problems—when consumed in moderation. Once you increase your alcohol consumption to more than a drink or two per day, alcohol becomes unhealthy. Of course, some people don’t do well at all with alcohol, so this recommendation truly needs to be custom-tailored to each individual. We’ve met women whose PMS and PMDD improved quite a bit when they quit drinking.
Life is best lived in moderation. Servings sizes of these foods should be reasonable. Many studies suggest that no one fix is out there but a combination of healthy food choices and activities like yoga can make a real impact.
I used to beat myself up if my asana practice wasn’t what I planned.
I should have taken a few more classes last week …
I have to get to more hot classes (even though I’m exploring some other disciplines)
Fortunately, I’m understanding a bit more that negative self-talk isn’t helpful. Some leaders out there are insistent that breaking down by beating down is the way to go, but I’m not so sure.
Make no mistake- I’m not saying let’s hold hands and sing campfire songs- challenges help us grow. But calling yourself an idiot while it’s happening may not help you get the best possible outcome.
Persistent repetitive thoughts can be useful when you are trying to lose weight, quit smoking or change your diet. But what happens when the thoughts hold you back from the things you want to do? When self-doubt creeps in it seems that negative thought is like a song programmed repeat in our heads.
We all have the ability to put an end to that pattern. Here are 3 ways to halt those thoughts and get back on track to success.
1. Acknowledge the thought
Noticing that you are having a negative thought is a necessary first step. After recognizing that you have started to play that self-destructive song take a moment to figure out why you started to play it in the first place. Did you face a stressful situation? Were you faced with making a decision and unhappy with what you chose? Have you slipped in your workout routine or made a few unhealthy food choices? Beating yourself up isn’t the answer.
2. Confront the thought
When a particularly powerful or insistent negative thought strikes you, examine it. If it’s an objectively true thought, agree with yourself and then restate your commitment. Maybe you just heard yourself say, “I can’t workout for an hour by myself.” Squash that thought by getting in its face. Reply instantly “Don’t ever say that you can’t do anything”. This kind of confrontation gives you power and control over damaging thought patterns.
3. Change the thought
As you notice yourself saying something negative in your mind, you can stop your thought mid-stream my saying to yourself “Stop”. Saying this aloud will be more powerful, and having to say it aloud will make you more aware of how many times you are stopping negative thoughts, and where. Replace a limiting thought like ‘I only ran for 30 minutes’ to ’30 minutes is the most I’ve run yet!’. Good feelings create more good feelings and before you know it those patterns are broken.
Thoughts are things so choose to make the them good ones!