Monday, August 25, 2014

Recipe: Food Is Medicine

After the expansive playful days of Summer, it is natural to feel a pull toward prioritizing new healthy routines.  Much of what we put in our bodies is the source of how we feel. The earth itself is our richest resource for healing foods. That is why I have created several unique recipes for Silk Soymilk. This Southwest Quinoa Bowl provides fiber from whole grains, plant-based protein, anti-oxidants from cilantro, and the healthy fats of my friend, the avocado. Remember that food is medicine and what you consume is vital to your well being. Whole foods, which are plucked from the earth in their natural state, are abundant in nutrition and flavor (look for "organic"), and can truly help you heal. When you are the chef, you become the healer in your own home. Most importantly, prepare your medicine with a positive attitude and love. Be well this week and enjoy!


4 Servings

This filling dish has a little kick. Serve alone or with sliced avocado.

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups Silk Unsweetened Soymilk or Silk Organic Unsweetened Soymilk
1 (15-ounce) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
5 scallions, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons cumin
Juice of 1 fresh lime
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a saucepan add quinoa, and Soymilk. Bring to a boil.
2. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes until Soymilk is absorbed. Remove from heat.
3. Add black beans, green onions & tomato to the quinoa.
4. Mix in olive oil, cilantro, cumin, and lime juice. Stir thoroughly.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Serve warm or store in fridge and serve cold. 

1.Close eyes and take several deep grounding breaths.
2.Find a connection to your heart and the feeling of gratitude.
3.Remind yourself that what you are about to consume is healing and healthy.
4.Open your eyes.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Create Your Reality

It is your birthright to be creative. Nature shows us that it's inevitable in one way or another. When part of a plant is cut and replanted, it then creates a whole new plant! By the looks of all the double baby strollers in my neighborhood, and the expanding gatherings of my friends, two have become three and four... Everyone is doing it. Life is creating, duplicating and expressing itself from an endless stream of ideas and intentions.

We are creators building our reality from one moment to the next. As I have said for myself, the same energy I have used to build myself up, I have used to tear myself down. Or give me a task, point me in a direction, and watch me go. Consider this: when you are heading in a direction, you may very well get there. So you may want to take a moment to step back and set your course. Here's a little tip: you are already creating your next moment. Look around you: this is the reality you have created. That is awesome! Now what?! If you want to re-create your reality you cannot simply wave a magic wand or declare your way into it. As the saying by Albert Einstein goes "You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it."So how to access your creativity?

Personally, I am in a transitional moment in my life. I have outgrown and fulfilled the last chapter.  Lately I have been feeling that there is more of me that wants to be seen and heard, yet I don't know what that "new self" looks like yet. The creative process begins with that emptiness. The emptiness and the unknown can be daunting, yet this is where the well of creativity exists. I have been trying to get someone to join me here. Take my hand and jump into the abyss with me! (How romantic!) Waiting. Waiting for someone to join me. Looking for a friend to go paint along side me....I finally decided to jump in myself.  So what shall I do with this blank canvas? I decided to get an actual blank canvas and to go paint. Yet, what to paint?

Here's how I started: I had an intention–the impulse to paint was a call to awakening more of my creativity.  I reflected on what it felt like to "not know" what I wanted to express, and defined it with words. It feels like I'm withholding. As if I'm hiding from spirit. Like I am holding my breath. I decided to call the painting "Exhale."

I picked out a canvas shape, which was inspired by my prior nights dream. I chose acrylics, for ease. I then sketched what I thought represented my exhale. My call to my creativity. I highly recommend playing music in the background that inspires your creative intuition! Then let it flow. I do not stick to the plan when I paint. If I do, frustration quickly reveals itself. Paint doesn't respond to control. It responds to layering, and patience and loving what you do. When I was a girl, my mom was a great artist and taught me how to color inside the lines, as well as shading and perspective. By the time I was 14, I was able to do exact renderings...but that is not the nature of my spirit. I am more whimsical and free. So I encourage being as much like a child as possible. As Henry Miller used to point out (although he was known for his writing, painting was a huge part of his creative process), a child always paints a perfect picture. Picasso says : "It takes a long time to become young again".

I felt so loved once I was done painting. The act of painting, itself,  felt like an exhale. I felt seen and heard in the moment. I felt expressed. I wanted to paint and I painted! Perhaps it's that simple. If you want to sing, SING! If you want to dance, DANCE! Perhaps instead of plotting out what you think needs to happen, from the same mind that got you right here, you can instead tap into the source of creativity that is inspiring you to take broad new leaps in this very moment.

As with everything, people will perceive the final expression from their own perspective. One of the women at the paint lab said my painting looked like a fairy princess. Someone thought I was painting something to go in a yoga studio. The highest compliment came from my niece who said she wished that she had painted it. I don't suppose it matters much in the end what someone thinks, except for in a sharing way. Just like the piece of the plant that is replanted and becomes it's own, so does the new creation. When you are creating, go for the feeling. It is the feeling that brings the new reality.
Your moment is a blank canvas and you are an artist

This happened.

It looks like a happy battle!

This woman worked at the lab and she recognized my voice when I asked for more white. She does the Yogalosophy DVD with her daughter all the time! She is an art teacher .


Monday, August 11, 2014

She's Extraordinarily Childlike

A couple of decades ago I dreamt I had a store. It was called: She's Extraordinarily Childlike. When I awoke from my dream, all I wanted to do was go back to that store. Something about it felt so right. It wasn't child "ish" it was child "like." In a way, my sense of play has been the ingredient that has enlivened my classes, has made my one-on-one clients my playmates, and my virtual audience an exercise in having fun with people near and far. I want you to have fun with me!

When I look at the world through my child-like eyes of play, everything comes alive. I am filled with a sense of joy and wonder. I discover and co-create instead of fall in line with the same old behaviors that once worked, but are now just habits. As I grow in years, the act of stripping down my conditioning and becoming more like a child feels like the place of re-creation. Not only do I recreate my body, but my life becomes a playground. When I re-create my life daily and live from my heart instead of my head, I have boundless energy and seem to dance effortlessly with my environment. I see everything that falls into my path as a total gift. Even the tears I feel in my heart today are a gift. I feel my vulnerability as a precious commodity in this moment.

Summertime evokes memories of childhood for me. I love to find the nostalgia of a day at the beach, wet sandy hair and the salty taste in my mouth. The Summer fruits, a perfect balance to the dry heat. I take advantage of the late sunsets with a walk by the coast, or frequent the outdoor concerts at the pier near my neighborhood. I fall in line physically by engaging in more outdoor activities, recreation, and hobbies. This Summer, I have gone sailing, stand-up paddle boarding, rollerskating and dancing.

Consider looking at your day with a beginner's mind, a child's eyes. Some ways to do this may be:

  •  Eat with your hands. Corn on the cob, watermelon...anything that you can get your hands on will help to remind you of the early years. (Please, no food fights....) 

  • Have dessert for lunch and breakfast for dinner. Yep. Sometimes you just have to let loose and break all the rules. It helps if the "ice cream" is coconut milk based and sugar free. Plenty of options out there these days! 

  • Roll down a grassy hill. Do somersaults, or simply lay down on top of someone. We get so used to being in our bodies in one way. Try using the body without the help of your arms or legs. Rolling around has you moving in a circular motion. Change energy into motion.

  • Get a group together and play a game in the park. Soccer, capture the flag or tag.

Of course, one of the best ways to tune into the energy of a child is to be around children. Although I do not have children myself, I get a real kick out of watching my niece ham it up with the microphone, dance and twirl around...and even enjoy watching the occasional temper tantrum. (The joys of being an "extra adult".) In all circumstances, feel into your heart and heartily enjoy how you feel, no matter what state. Being alive is an extraordinary gift. ENJOY! 
child's pose with my niece and grandma


my guru

kind-a havin' fun

Monday, August 4, 2014

You Are the Light Shining In My Eyes

Friday marks the 10 year anniversary of my father's passing. So much has happened in these years, since that incredibly sunny August morning: 8/8.
I am reminded of a phrase that came to me, just prior to my dad's passing:

"He is the light shining in my eyes" and "I am the light shining in his eyes."

This phrase translates the over arching theme of my relationship with dad. He was a bright light, but sometimes his shine was harsh to my sensitive gaze. He, ironically felt that I cast a judge mental look upon him, and so we triggered one another in this way. Each of us "too much" for the "other'.

Dad was brash, made "adult" jokes, sometimes made fun of me, had little patience for my sensitivity, and was a bit of a bully. Dad was a meditator, on the cutting edge of scientific and spiritual discovery, was an avid reader, and a yogic practitioner to the core. He was arrogant and humorous, a bit of a show off and he was a lover. It was a lot for a child to hold. It shaped and formed me. I was like a tiny sprout of a flower growing under the light of my father's presence.

My experience of myself in relationship to others has been that I can feel that I am "too much" emotionally. This may be true, or I may have been branded by my 23 year old father from the time I was an infant. Still, I have his genes. He had the intensity as well.  In part, this intensity serves me very well in my work or in my myriad accomplishments. Point me in a direction and obsession can be extremely productive. When seeking is directed to the heavens or the universal force that connects us, one to the other, this drive is pure potential. The experience of being driven is transcendent and this is all passed down from my father to me. I believe that this was passed from my grandfather to my father....and now, here I sit holding this powerful light.

How many times have you questioned who you really are? Your authentic self and all of it's gifts. Some may say "flaws", but nature makes no mistakes.

Shame is involved. Yes, shame. I am unclear as why, but it certainly a feeling that vibrates my cells and has me nervously urgent to somehow shout it out, or give it away.

Stillness. Finding center stage, finding my place in the "light" is the answer. There it is again: the light shining in my eyes.  I look out into the dark. All I can see is the light shining on me. There is no more Lloyd Ingber. It is me, standing alone, looking out into the dark and the audience awaiting the performance. What do I want to say?

My art today wants to say: You are not too much. You being fully you and standing in your power takes nothing away from anybody else. I celebrate you, exactly as you are by expressing and being exactly who I am. I want to say, come here and let me feel your beating heart even though I can't see you. I want to say "yes!" I want to say "you were in here all along".

"There is nothing to be afraid of."

I want to say: " I am not too much. I am the light shining in your eyes, and you are the light shining in my eyes. "

It's been quite a decade, Lloyd Ingber. Thank you. Each time I look up at the sun, I think of you.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Playfulness! Celebrate Your Body!

Summer reminds me of the playfulness of childhood. Swimming pools that I swim in until my fingers turn to prunes; watermelon sticking to my hands and running down my chin; riding my bicycle throughout the neighborhood with my best friend until after dark; packing a lunch and going for a three mile hike on foot for fun.

 Then there was my endless multi tasking, making paper dolls, listing my favorite fruits, holding my breath under water. By the end of the day, I would feel so exhausted in the best way : each cell in my body vibrating with life force. It was healthy, but I didn't even realize it because  I was just playing and having fun. In my adult years, I etch my to-do lists into my daily journal and  my iphone that is (sort of) synched up with my e-mail. Each free moment is spent on another angle of accomplishment. In celebration of my childhood Summers,I remind myself daily to do things only because I really want to, and in the spirit of fun. I encourage you, this month to join me in taking time out for fun and to challenge yourself just because you love to.

  • Try a hand stand for the fun of it.

  • Gather some friends to play a team sport.

  • Try something new, like stand up paddle board or acro yoga.

  • Eat nature's candy. The summer fruit season is my favorite. I have been living on berries, cherries, peaches, nectarines and watermelon. Yum.

  • Set yourself up for an alfresco dinner.

  • Be excited when you rise for the day. Life is a celebration!

When the sun moves into the astrological sign of Leo, I encourage creativity, play, childlike wonder, and discovering what your true passion is. The planet Jupiter just moved into Leo as well this week, so it expands the qualities of this sign. Leo rules the heart, so living from your heart, opening your heart and expressing your heart's desire are in the spotlight now. Take center stage, and play your role. There is nobody quite like you, and if you don't fully play your part, it won't get played. The essence of you is all you need to bring forward and let it shine. Since Leo rules the heart, cardio vascular exercise and anything that gets the heart pumping is great. I also like playful things like games (soccer anyone), swimming or jumping rope. Yoga poses like Camel, Wheel, and Upward Facing Dog literally open the chest and heart. When you have a moment in your day, close your eyes and see if you can allow yourself to energetically connect to your heart. Watch yourself unfold. Be the love. Celebrate your life and your body and play! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Anger: the Taboo Emotion

As I write this, I am laid up in my bed, flat on my back, on an ice pack. It is no surprise that I have recently experienced the break down that often comes, post break up. I am experiencing this "unyoking" in a new way: I am not blaming him or myself. Sometimes even when there is love, things simply do not work out. This experience has left me sad, of course. I also feel a little joy, because there is hope for future love and life is a beautiful adventure. I feel and express sadness easily. Sadness is safe and acceptable in our culture and joy is desirable. Anger is another story for me. It is the taboo emotion. It's the one I don't want to admit that I have or express openly, but most of all, it's the one I don't like to feel.

The yoga with it's promise of Ahimsa (non-violence) was a contradiction in my household. Since  my father was a devout yogi and meditator and student of spiritual philosophies one would imagine that he would be calm. It was quite the opposite. . The truth is, there was rage in my family of origin. My father would have outbursts of rage seemingly out of nowhere, and I had a sensitive nature in my constitution. This was hard on me. Of course I know that without the yoga, it could have been a lot worse, but this feeling of growing in up in a war zone permeated my childhood. Survival meant protection. It meant defense. The best defense is a good offense, they say. I have said before that I grew up in an emotional war zone and was trained to be a suicide bomber.

The home became an every-man-for-himself type of existence. I felt such discomfort with the rage that was contagious and passed to me that I would feel the need to somehow exaggerate it and get it out of me. I would even take myself down if it meant taking my father down in order to feel safe. My alternative outlet was self-deprivation that fueled my an eating disorder as a youth. Much rage lay beneath the surface, and I was trying to starve it out of me. It was a blessing to find performing when I was a teenager. The perfect platform for self expression, and pent up emotion.In acting they say that in order to access the full range of human emotions, you must be able to access anger. The anger is the gateway to even the elation and joy. In class I studied the classics, but in the working world, I was usually hired for comedy. Joking and even sarcasm distorts the anger. They say "sarcasm" at it's root means to tear flesh. There is still violence in sarcasm, so it doesn't really resolve the issue. 

To this day, my anger lays dormant. (perhaps in my lower back?) I often wish that I was able to feel and channel my anger fully. It's "in my chart" as my ex says. Meaning: my astrological chart gives me a certain make up, and there is an aspect of me that gets triggered, but my warrior is fighting with water guns and whipped cream pies. When channeled productively, it helps me to turn energy into rhythm, find spiritual power, help others to help themselves, start my projects and motivates my work outs. Anger can be a positive. In fact I just read an article in Psychology Today that celebrates anger. People with easily expressed anger have less stress hormones. They are more positive about outcomes and have more confidence! Food for thought, my fierce friends.

Reconciling myself with the yogic ideal of non-violence while living in a world with war in the background feels like a conflict/resolution purgatory. The contradiction that lives within me is mirrored in the world I see "out there".  So I lay myself on an icepack. Pull inward, feel into the discomfort and breathe. Finding strength in forgiveness, seeking spiritual solutions...and, (why not?) the occasional joke.

"Anger , he smiles towering in shiny metallic purple armor....My red is so confident he flashes trophies of war and ribbons of euphoria..."
~ Jimi Hendrix
 Bold As Love

Monday, July 14, 2014

Homeward Bound

Yoga Basics started in my home and in my personal home base: my physical body. I was homeward bound, as I was too young to drive myself to a class. Back in the 70's there were very few classes anyway. Most yoga practices were at home. A common goal: learn the body with it's structural limitations and work to deepen the practice. One way to deepen your posture is to bind.

Bound Side Angle Pose
The yoga bound poses, involve clasping the hands so as to rotate and open the shoulders and torso. Patience is a quality that must be developed, for binds require flexibility, strength of body and mind as well as balance. Resisting the temptation to react by either giving up or forcing it, are qualities that translate and assimilate into the emotional body as well. In order to deepen your practice, there must be a willingness to meet your edge, while disengaging from the end result and above all: listening to your body.

The yoga pose pictured above: side angle pose, is a good posture to play with.

Tips for Binding:

  • Warm up with sun salutes. This will loosen and open the chest and shoulders. 
  • Stretch the legs with Warriors and Lunges to open the hips and hamstrings
  • If you feel tight, listen to your body. Err on the side of doing less. You don't win when you injure yourself! 
  • Make sure you are opening your chest. Try spiraling your chest open. Draw shoulders back and down
  • Breathe! A slow mindful breathing pattern will keep you in tune with sensation.
  • Play. Remember this is just an exploration. Enjoy the process with beginner's mind.

For next steps: You may try walking your back leg in and stand, adding balance to the bind. For added flexibility, extend leg...and act like it's a piece of cake. 

bird of paradise prep: step 2
Bird of Paradise: full bloom!