Month: November 2014

Delicious Stuffed Mushrooms

Most of us are on overload from Thanksgiving feasting, and these stuffed mushrooms are a delicious and healthy way to get back into a healthy routine. It’s also a great way to use leftover gluten-free stuffing (I’ll include my incredibly delicious gluten-free and HEALTHY recipe soon) Mushrooms are actually a great addition to the vegetarian’s diet. Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, and very low in sodium, yet they provide important nutrients, including selenium, potassium (8%), riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D and more (source here). What’s not to love about that? I personally love mushrooms, but some people can’t stomach them on their own, so stuffing them adds a great additional flavor profile. To make stuffed mushrooms, here are two options: Bright Veggie Stuffed Mushrooms and Traditional Stuffed Mushrooms. Bright Veggie Stuffed Mushrooms: Ingredients: Large shiitake mushrooms (4-6 inches) Veggies of choice (I used grape tomatoes, red peppers, zucchini, white onions, and baby spinach) Fresh sprinkling of Parmesan cheese (optional) Jasmine, brown, or basmati rice (optional) 1/4 clove of crushed garlic Seasonings: curry, garlic …

Thankfulness & Other Thoughts

We often talk of gratitude and contentment, but it’s sometimes harder to live out. Out of all the holidays, Thanksgiving is one of my favorites, because it’s dedicated entirely to being thankful for what we have, while realizing contentment despite what we do not have. Thankfulness has nothing to do with the contents of our lives and everything to do with the condition of our hearts. Would you take this challenge with me? Let us practice deep contentment for what we have, keeping our focus off of materialism and turning it towards things much less tangible but more valuable. I also set the intention on and off the mat to nurture my sense of joyful gratitude. Thankfulness is not playing a Pollyanna “Glad Game” and merely finding things to be happy about each day, or ignoring the bad. It is a state of the heart, in which we acknowledge the pain, disappointments, and hard situations we face and say, “Even so, I choose joy. I choose to recognize that nothing is permanent, including this hard time, …

Monday Mantra: Facing the Fear

“Fear to a great extent is born of a story we tell ourselves.” Sometimes we must face the fear and do it anyway. I often am terrified of failure, and I’d sometimes rather just not do something than try and fail. But you know what? I’ve lived every failure down so far just fine and more often than not, I fly. Fear challenges me. Challenges make me grow…When we’re out of our comfort zone, we soar to new heights. Yoga pushes me to face this fear and extend grace to myself wherever I’m at. My intention tonight is courage with grace. Much love and namaste

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes: Because Too Much of A Good Thing Is Delish!

Can you ever have too many pumpkin recipes? I submit to you that you can not! If you read my last post about making pumpkin bread, you’re probably aware of my crazed enthusiasm for all things fall and pumpkin related. I can’t even feel bad about this…I mean, fall is the most wonderful time of the year (take that, Christmas! Kidding, I kid…Santa don’t send me coal!) Plus, pumpkin is AMAZING for your health. The bright orange flesh is chocked full of ingredients that aid digestion, immunization, anti-aging (SIGN ME UP!) and even helps with disease prevention. (For fellow nerds who like to research, check out this link on the benefits of pumpkin) My favorite meal is Brinner: breakfast for dinner. It’s all the benefits of breakfast with the perks of dinner. ‘m wide awake, loving life, and ready for a hearty meal. Unlike at breakfast, I have no thoughts of how much I’m missing my bed. I also tend to drink only lemon water and a green smoothie for breakfast to let my digestive …

How to Do: Side Crow into Eka Pada Koundinyasana

Bakasana (or Crow pose) is usually the first pose that most people learn, but I actually like side crow even better. It flows so perfectly with a typical vinyasa practice, and not only do you get the benefits of core strengthening, but you also get the detoxing, cleansing effects of a side twist. What?! #winning! Another added perk is you get to start adding more transitioning poses and start building up your yoga practice. The Koundinyasana pose is optional, and you can add it on just as easily as leave it out. Tips: 1) Warm up with your sun salutations (review here) and crow (review here)  to get in your flow. 2) Have good contact points! Firmly connect those chatarunga arms to your legs. The key points are close to the hip and the side of the knee. 3) Use chatarunga arms as a platform to get into the pose. 4) Make a triangle of your two hands and gaze focused in front of hands. 5) Spread fingers wide! This will really help with balancing. …

Gluten Free Spiced Pumpkin Bread

I have no problem admitting, when it comes to anything fall or Thanksgiving related, I am all about #thingsbasicbitcheslove. I wear infinity scarves, add pumpkin to anything and everything I can, and I filter the hell out of pics of trees changing colors and then post it on instagram with a pithy, heart felt quotes. I also do a Friendsgiving the week before Thanksgiving, which is a great time to get together with friends and show them a little appreciation. One of my besties has Celiac disease, and I actually eat very little to no gluten products, so this gave me the perfect chance to try my hand at some gluten free recipes. This pumpkin bread recipe is one I experimented with, and it’s really delicious—and low calorie! Best of all, it’s a really healthy alternative. I also included a vegan version for my vegan friends (it can be soooo hard to find good vegan recipes! This one is quite good:) Ingredients: 3 eggs ¾ cup full-fat canned coconut milk 1/3 cup of coconut nectar …

How to Do: Sun Salutation B

So you’ve mastered the sun salutation A sequence and you just want to keep going? Of course you do! I actually love this sequence, and I’ll tell you why (you’re welcome in advanced): go through this five times and you’ll feel it in your legs and booty. “I don’t want a good butt!” said no one EVER. So get to it, little yogini 🙂 After you flow through the sun salutation A 5 times, you should start feeling much more flexible and warmed up. Tips: 1. Alignment not only helps you build strength by properly working muscles, it will also protect you limbs and joints. When your yoga instructor tells you make sure your knee is properly aligned, that means it’s not track OVER your toes or leaning to the right or left. It’s in a straight line. 2. Keep shoulders pulled down away from ears in all poses. If you feel them shrugging up into a “turtle neck” pose, gently roll them back down your back. 3. In chair pose, keep weight shifted to …

How to Do: Sun Salutation A

It’s easy to get mesmerized by fancy pants poses like eka pada Koundinyasana or some such other challenging pose. I really ignored the importance of the sun salutations for years, because quite honestly I’m a razzle-dazzle kind of girl. I like mind-blowing anything. The salutations were a bit of a yawn…or so I thought. But they’re actually a gorgeous incorporation of essential yoga principles. Ashtanga teaches the importance—scratch that, the necessity of having strong foundation poses and sequences. Most yoga classes regardless of style will often incorporate the sun salutation sequence, and when you can really nail this sequence and get great alignment, you’ll find it spills over to the more advanced poses as well. Here in your sun salutation, you can truly work on strength, breathing, and focus. And yes, a strong foundation gives you a solid foundation to build razzle-dazzle poses on, thank the inner light in you and me and just about anything else cuz I need some pizzazz in my poses! While I often did the sun salutations in classes, I …

Learn: Crow to Headstand (and back again!)

Oh, Bakasana, how we love you! Bakasana (crow to those who want to keep it simple) is definitely that elusive arm balance that introduces us into the addictive world of arm balances. I’m an arm balance junkie, and I just love love love any arm balance; the more pretzel like the better! You can take crow up a notch by learning to go from crow into a tripod headstand (and back down again!) Not only will you work your core like a BAMF, but it’s a pose that’s credited for soothing anxiety, depression, and all manner of ailments. All I can say is it is just goddamn fun. 1. SET UP IS EVERYTHING! Everything! Arm balances are built on foundations we set up. There are many ways to get into crow, but we’ll start with a basic yoga crouch. Hands out about 6-8 inches in front of you with those FINGERS spread out. 2. Hike up on your haunches and place your knees as close into your armpits as possible and form chatarunga arms. SHIFT FORWARD. …

Arm Balance Workshop: Or, How to Wear Out Your Body (in a day)

Today I did an arm balance workshop at a yoga studio in Adams Morgan. First of all, I was wildly impressed that I didn’t abandon my intention to learn and perfect some arm balances, because that area is one of my favorites to brunch in. It’s so fun and eclectic, and I just adore it. I biked over from my home (I know, could I be more considerate of the environment? I mean, maybe if I were a little better at recycling, but whatever)