All posts tagged: health and fitness

Nail Your Handstands & Forearm Balances

My mentor and teacher Kino MacGregor is a yogini extraordinaire. Her handstands are like whoa! Actually, I think all of her asanas (poses) are ah-maaaaa-zing, but those handstands! OMG those handstands! SO fabulous! It came as a huge surprise to me when Kino confessed handstands are her weak point, literally. She’s naturally more flexible than she is strong, and she loses strength easily and has to work hard to build it back up. The fact that Kino has Mere Mortal Syndrome is both a huge relief and also tremendously inspiring. She has perfect inversions, because she trains to have perfect inversions. The take away: you can nail any asana with diligence and consistency. I’m still working on building up strength so that I can easily do my handstands and forearm balances even after doing a million vinyassas during my practice, but I’ve learned a lot after training with Kino both one on one and also in various yoga intensives. I wanted to share some of her knowledge. Another great way to get handstand training is …

How to Weekend + Travel Proof Your Health Game

Current situation: living across the pond in London proper for most of the month of September. Health game: Staying mooooostly on point, despite the massive attack (musical pun for you fellow fans out there!) on clean eating by way of incredible dining and wining in one of my favorite cities.  Let’s face it, weekends and vacations do a number on our health, and it can be incredibly difficult to reel ourselves back to reality. Many people, myself included, can testify that the “occasional indulgence” or exception accidentally become the norm. It’s so much harder to get back on track than to stay mostly consistent with our lifestyle. I’m speaking from personal experience of course; in all honesty my will power waffles and wavers entirely for a fancy pants meal, bottomless brunching, and/or an amazing bottle of wine. What’s a girl to do? Never dine out? Skip traveling? Forget it! That sounds like zero amounts of fun. I have major wanderlust and frequently travel both nationally and internationally. When I’m home, I’m fortunate to have a lovely network of friends …

Healthy Gluten Free Ramen Noodles with Aromatic Veggie Stock

Hello, from London my darlings! Despite being just a teeny tiny bit jet lagged, we’ve been bashing around the city with great abandonment. No food is left uneaten, no wine not drunk, and no site unseen. London is one of my favorite cities to visit, and each time I come here, it feels like home. I am so thankful to be able to experience this wonderful city with my amazing husband. We’ll be here throughout the month of September, in part for pleasure and also because I’m doing a 100 hour Ashtanga traning course with Kino MacGregor and her husband Tim Feildman. OMG GIVE ME ALL THE ASANAS! In the meantime: soup! Let it not be said I don’t love me a good soup recipe. They’re fast, easy to throw together, and have endless possibilities. Best of all, when soups are homemade, they have the opportunity to be incredibly nutritious.  Because I don’t live life like a typical 9-5 American, I’d rather take a Japanese bento box to work than buy food. Asian inspired recipes …

Chili-Lime Shrimp Tacos + Mango Salsa

I’m starting to panic, because mango season is coming to a close. Therefore, I am virtually living on mangoes so I can cherish each and every last second with one of my favorite foods. If someone asked me if I wanted to eat ice cream or a mango, I would say, “Um, duh! A mango!” and then I’d probably eat both, because I have a bit of a problem with gluttony. Since I’m on basically an Atkins diet, only the meat is replaced with mangoes, it goes without saying that I’ve been finding all kinds of ways to sneak them into my weekly menu. One way you can never go wrong is in a freakishly delicious salsa. I do eat vegetarian/vegan oh, say 97% of the time, but this week Tex-Mex Tuesday did feature some goddamn deliciously seasoned chili-lime shrimp for my husband and guests; I piled greens and salsa on mine and chowed down! The spice rub on the shrimp played so well with the sweet mango, that it was basically an Olympic dream …

Yoga Injuries: Now What?

When you end up with a yoga related injury, it’s a little…disillusioning to say the least. But the truth is, it’s not yoga. It’s the way yoga is being practiced. Pain is the body’s way of telling us we’re not properly aligned. Yoga does exactly what it’s supposed to: teach us where our bodies need to heal and how to heal. The key is to just listen.  Yoga is therapeutic. It’s known for it’s almost magical healing properties. It’s basically like the fountain of youth. So when you end up with a yoga related injury, it’s a little…disillusioning to say the least. It’s like finding out Santa doesn’t exist and Rudolph doesn’t even have a red nose all in one day. I mean, it’s actually just a bit offensive. You’re supposed to heal me, yoga! Not hurt me! How dare you! But the truth is, it’s not yoga. It’s the way yoga is being practiced. Pain is the body’s way of telling us we’re not properly aligned. Yoga does exactly what it’s supposed to: teach …

Review of the Dharma Wheel

Yoga falls into that rare exercise category of “no equipment needed.” Other than a mat, all that’s needed is you, yourself, and your open heart. Maybe it’s our complex day to day lives that push us towards making everything more complicated than it needs to be, but sometimes yoga just seems…too simple. Surely I need more gadgets, gizmos a plenty, and at bare minimum some whozits and whatzits galore. (AND YES. I so just referenced The Little Mermaid, thank you fellow nerds and red haired children alike for knowing that.) Back to the point at hand: yoga. I find myself looking for ways to “add on” to my yoga practice. Aren’t there props that I need? Shouldn’t I be investing in more training apps that I may or may not use? I really will do a handstand better if I buy super expensive pants…right? Part of me still feels disbelief at how simple yoga is, and yet how transfiguring it’s proven to be for millions of people, including myself. Now, when I see the random belles …

Follow Your Bliss

 “There’s a lot I’m learning in life, but one thing I am absolutely positive of is that a big key to unlocking true happiness is to follow your bliss….” If you ask people what they love doing, I mean really, truly, light-their-souls-on-fire-love doing, many can’t give an answer. Those who can will usually follow up by saying with a heavy mix of regret or resolution, “But I don’t really have time to do it.” I understand that. Life comes with a wide array of responsibilities and events that eat up our time and devour our energy, and it just doesn’t always seem possible to find the secret formula for doing what we love in life. There’s a lot I’m learning in life, but one thing I am absolutely positive of is that a big key to unlocking true happiness is to follow your bliss. It sounds like a cliche (it is), it seems like a hippie-dippie yoga concept (for sure), but that doesn’t take away from the power of this simple concept. If you follow …

Give Me All the Upside Downs (Inversions!)

I love inversions. I mean, honestly I’m like a little monkey when it comes to certain asanas. While inversions bring both levity and varity to your flow, they also build upper body strength. This is a major plus, since a great deal of our yoga work is more from the core down.  In addition to being (in my oh so humble opinion) ridiculously fun, inversions have major health benefits.To clarify, an inversion is any asana (pose) where the head is below the heart. Here are just a small handful of the significant health benefits of inversions: 1. Reverses blood flow and improves circulation: this in itself is a huge heart-helper, because the heart spends all day long pumping blood against gravity to get blood to the body’s limbs. By getting yourself upside down, it actually takes strain off the heart. 2. Gives a great boost the the immune system: going upside-down allow lymph to move easily through the lymph nodes, picking up toxins and bacteria and cleaning out the body. The lymph system is an …

Love Nature More: Outdoor Yoga

“Nature is my religion. The trees my churches, the mountains my cathedrals.” One of the many amazing things about living in the heart of Washington, DC is that there are ample parks and locations dedicated to preserving and enjoying nature. My friends who aren’t from DC often think of here are a crowded city, but it’s actually incredibly scenic and gorgeous, and beautiful blend of stunning landscapes and architect woven together. I’ve never been one to really try the outdoor yoga thing. I saw way more disadvantages than advantages: people staring at you like you’re some kind of hippie-dippie weirdo, the distraction of what’s going on around your practice, the discomfort that can come with bugs and grass and sun and wind and whatever. Still, I felt the urge to get outdoors and soak up some bright greens and blues of nature, and it revolutionized my practice. “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly without fear for newer and richer experiences.”  It was such an …

Training with Kino: Fearless Backbends

Backbends: that part of a yoga class that makes most yogis inwardly groan. Most of us are perfectly content to skip all and any camel like poses. And count us out entirely when it comes to Urdva Dhanurasana. There’s actually a scientific and emotional base for most people’s dislike of backbends. Yoga poses release a cascade of neurotransmitters (they cause those feel good emotions or the shock of adrenaline that gets your heart pumping like crazy) that usually leave us feeling euphoric after a yoga class. Backbends aren’t always so kind to us. The spine is massive network of neuroreceptors and neurotransmitters. Needless to say, getting the spine involved in a big way can release a tidal wave of emotions that can flood us with notsohappy emotions. We usually like to back away from these overwhelming experiences, so we avoid getting deep into our backbends. Kino actually explained that these emotional blues are unavoidable in yoga, and hitting that wall is usually when people quit yoga. Introspection and discomfort isn’t usually what we sign up for when we …