Monday, June 30, 2014

Gregarious Green Foundational Support

I hope you are all having a great start to your Summer. July is the month to get your foundational support in line. The kids are home more, and for those of us who are without kiddies, we too get some more home time in the daylight. Instead of zipping off to a destination, perhaps you can even regroup at home with a stay cation. Find more ways to give yourself the foundational support that is needed to replenish us at this time. I had the opportunity to travel all last month, which was amazingly fulfilling, but now it is time for me to fill my own tank. I plan on making this the month to try a new recipe and share it with you on my blog all month. Last week, we went back in time to a childhood favorite: Strawberry Kanten. This week, I prepared this delicious all green soup from Clean in 14 .This awesome vegan detox handbook is written by Melissa Costello, Tony Horton's personal chef and creator of @KarmaChow , who was foundational in the meal plan for Yogalosophy: 28 Days to the Ultimate Mind Body Makeover. Enjoy the recipe below.

Ideas for a strong foundation: 
  Try a new recipe once a week
  Hike or Swim once a week
  Breathe mindfully for 10 Minutes daily
   Look at family photos and share

1 large zucchini, chopped
1 1/2 c green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 c broccoli florets
1/4 c chopped onion
2 small red potatoes, cut 1/4 inch cubes
2 garlic cloves
1 handful spinach
1 handful parsley
1 handful dill
Dash of cayenne pepper
1/3 c cashews
1 T lime juice
Sea salt
Bragg's liquid aminos
Fresh cracked pepper

1) Steam zucchini, green beans, broccoli, onion, potatoes, garlic, celery, and spinach until slightly soft and bright green.

2) Place veggies in blender with the steam water, parsley, dill, cayenne, cashews, and lime juice. Season with sea salt or Bragg's to taste. Blend on high until creamy smooth. Add more water if needed. Top with fresh cracked pepper.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mom's Apple Pie.

 I was taking a moment to remember being my mom's kid today (since her birthday is coming up on June 27th!), and I couldn't help but thing about all the ways she fed me. Mentally and emotionally for sure, but most importantly: physically. Mom had a way of making everything taste delicious. If she prepared it, there was a magical caste to it, that could not be duplicated. I even remember my brother asking her to "make him a pickle", which really meant, taking it out of the jar, and delivering it half-wrapped in a paper towel, folded just the way he liked it. I know that not everyone out there had a mother like this, but we all have this fantasy, if not our version of " mom's apple pie", or the equivalent. My mother spent hours in the kitchen. Yes, she was one of those dream moms who catered to each family member's needs. She made that her job and responsibility. Even early on, my mother's favorite memory of me was the bonding she felt from breast feeding me. This is an unusual thing for a mother to share with a child, I am sure...but it says a lot about her. Mom loved to feed me. And I loved to get fed by her. As I grew up, our family meals changed from lamb chops  to brown rice, hijiki, dandelion greens and pressed salad. We became macrobiotic days due to my dad's influence. As his health needs and dietary education changed, so did the menu. We eliminated dairy, sugar and meats from the diet. One thing that never stopped, was my mom's loving hand and creativity. My mother would fill my sack lunch with care, which would always include a fun note, and foods that were delicious and my favorites. As our restricted diets took over, I began to restrict, and reject the nurture. I see this now, looking back. That food is like the mothering for my body, as exercise is the fathering. For so long, I turned away from the mothering for fear of being too dependent.  As I have grown up, and grown down into my family roots, I turn towards more my mother and to the locally grown organic foods and to the simplicity of the diet we adopted when I was about age nine. As I recall my favorite foods, I can feel myself sinking into the foundational love which I was fed all along. I would like to share with you one of my favorite macrobiotic desserts: strawberry kanten.  Kanten is a gelatin, but made from sea vegetables instead of animal hooves. Agar agar is a gelatinous seaweed that replaces jello. You can add any type of fruit juice and fruit to create the cool Summer dessert you desire. Here's a basic recipe to follow.

Strawberry Kanten

3 cups filtered apple juice
2 T. agar agar flakes
2 cups sliced strawberries (or blueberries)

In a medium saucepan, combine juice and agar agar flakes over medium heat and stir often until it boils. After is comes to a boil, reduce heat. Keep stirring as the dish simmers until agar agar is dissolved. Approximately 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally while cooling. Add fruit.

Arrange fruit in dessert cups or place in 9 inch pyrex glass dish or glass bowl. Pour gel over fruit and let it set in refrigerator for 2 hours.


Monday, June 16, 2014

The Words We Choose

 Let me be pure in thought word and deed. To begin my day with a simple statement declaring my intentions, is to speak a truth that is larger than me. Of course, my imperfections may shine through the way the sun is shining through the leaves of this tree at the Omega Institute where I lead my weekend workshop: Love Your Body Into Shape with Intentional Action.
my words are like the leaves of my tree.
I had heard of the Omega Institute throughout my childhood. I grew up going to a mobile school for experiential learning. We would travel throughout the city of Los Angeles, learning from our community members. Each human adding value to our collective community. From the sewage system workers to the architects...every being has something to say and is worth listening to. We are each others teacher. The Omega Institute highlights the higher mind: the spiritual, philosophical, psychological and creative community. I was very blessed to be asked to teach where "high-minded" humans like Ram Dass, Deepak Chopra, Alex Grey, and Eckhart Tolle lead retreats. I'm glad I trusted when Omega asked and said "YES!"
she continued on her path, wildly trusting the future.

there she is. she has a happy face that has accepted and integrated her lessons well.

let's put all of that together now. this is a grateful tree. write it down and reach for the sky with your branches!
As I walked the grounds where I would be teaching, I spontaneously and continually erupted with the words, "Thank You". I could feel the order around the natural environment. The Eco Community is rich with wellness programs, treatments for support, lush grounds, wide open and green spaces, a meditation sanctuary, healthy and plentiful meals provided in part by the sustainable gardens on the property, a bountiful book store and a library that that was a Disneyland to me! At the same time, all who work here are volunteers and the quarters are very spartan. Simplicity removes all cares.

They make it easy to do the right thing.  I drink from the well.
Since my workshop was based around creating the life we want, it was a nice reminder to see this:

self explanatory.
When I began the workshop with a grounding yin yoga practice on Friday evening, there was a heaviness in the room. Many were tired from travel. Since we began at night, it surrounded us in the unknown of the dark. I am glad that the angel card I selected for myself was; PATIENCE. It helped to remind me that all would unfold in it's due time. As I explored further, I found some tools to raise my vibration.

These crystal gems remind me of my childhood. Treasures of the earth.
 The bookstore is filled with many hidden treasures. As I explored, I was reminded that my own dreams had come true! I am in the bookstore at the Omega Institute. I am blessed with the ability to declare my dreams, move through the process, claim them and then share them with others. That requires a lot of PATIENCE.

There I am. See me on the lower left hand corner? Yogalosophy Book & DVD! 
On Day 2, we did the Yogalosophy Routine together as a group, and then it was time for arts and crafts. Did you know that everything I envisioned for myself, I put on a Vision Board and it has come true? Even Oprah does it. Most people say they would like to make one, but most people don't set aside the time. So I decided to include this in the weekend. No sooner had we begun, then we were all busily cutting and pasting. It felt like we were back in the best part of school. The creative part!
You can use any magazines or markers or pictures of yourself, but make it something you love! 

It was this woman's birthday! 
It's so wonderful to create a bounty of sayings that word for you. Words like "Yes", "Release", and "Be" give us simple bite sized reminders of larger concepts. Life is really quite simple. If you choose your words carefully, a little goes a long way. The word PATIENCE allowed me to move through my own process of leading the class and my own feelings and stray thoughts that cycle through my body energetically. I could always return to the word I chose. Other words that were chosen: Creativity, Celebration, Responsibility, Delight, Humor, Grace, Depth, Gratitude, Authenticity....Forgiveness & Flexibility. What words will you choose today?

Your words are treasures. Choose them with mindfulness. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Let's Play Yoga!

This is the man who keeps the baseball diamond impeccable. DO NOT WALK ON THE GRASS.
I was so honored to teach yoga from the pitcher's mound at Fenway Park this weekend. Having been uncoordinated as a child, I was never chosen for team sports. On top of that, I went to a school so small (less than 40 children from grades 4-10) that we didn't have enough players to really participate in team sports. I was not confident since my hand-eye coordination was nil, and so never really learned to play. While my pals were engaged in these activities I was dancing and practicing yoga. Lo and behold, the universe opened up for me this weekend when I practiced yoga from the pitchers mound in the baseball diamond and the oldest ballpark in the U.S.A.

When I was a girl, and my dad was practicing yoga in the living room, encouraging me to do the same, I never imagined that yoga would merge with the mainstream. The Boston Red Sox Foundation has created an annual event: Fenwa Yoga to bring awareness and participation for their programs, which includes team sports for inner city children to improve self-esteem through baseball, scholarships for excellent students with financial hardships, as well as programs for veterans and young cancer patients. I was blown away to find that they run these programs internally. No wonder the Red Sox fans are so dedicated. I found this strength of character to permeate the entire event.

My part, was easy. Show up and play the field! Since yoga was a part of the lifestyle when I was a child, I see yoga as play. No need to be perfect in a pose. No need to be the most advanced, or to have amazing hand-eye coordination. Yoga is not a team sport in that each of us has our own little island, our yoga mat, and we can each do what we can and simply play by making shapes with our bodies. We are a team in that we work together to create a common goal of self-care, unity and dedication to being our best selves. I am my best self when I am at play!

So take the time this week to play yoga. Forget about attaining the perfect pose, or being reverent. The universe loves the light of a child, and if you are anything like me, you are a child at heart. 
I'm a winner!

women's locker room at Fenway Park

playing yoga with Red Sox Wife Lisa Pierzynski and Tina from KIND!

Warrior at the pitcher's mound! 

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Season of Change

This is the season of change. As we move into Summer, many of us have the desire to make changes to our bodies so that we "look" great in a bikini. Most important is to change your thoughts about the way you look and words you choose. I have learned, the hard way, that the things I say about my body have a real effect. Have you ever had someone give you a compliment: "You look thin!", and you shrug it off: "no, I'm not", then suddenly you do put on a few pounds? I find that on the flip side, when I speak kindly about my body, my body lovingly responds! Remember to speak well of yourself and others this week. When we watch our words and our thoughts, we are consciously directing our lives towards the best possible outcome.
As the Summer sun greets us, we begin to come out of our shells and find ourselves ready to be social, and connect with our community. I am so excited that I will be on the East Coast this Sunday in Boston to teach a couple of classes in Fenway Park. This gives us all an opportunity to better ourselves. By taking care of the body mind and spirit with some yoga, we will raise money for children who have achieved excellence and are in need of a scholarship. As a team, we work together and our interrelatedness feeds each of us individually. I know that I always feel so much better when I connect with others. Giving is a way of receiving the abundance available to us all.  At FenwaYoga,  I will be teaching yoga from home plate at Fenway Park! Let's help make a difference and create change! 
All of this change begins in the mind. The flow of our thoughts helps to form our brain and our communication forms the narrative of our relationships. There is a lot to be said for thinking before you speak. If you can take a pause to consider what you would really like to convey, before opening your mouth, that would be ideal. This applies to your body as much as anything else. Come up with a mantra or motivational affirmation prior to your workouts this week. Something like: "this feeling is the feeling of my body falling right into place." instead of "ouch, this work out is killing me" get the picture.  If you have time Join me at the Omega Institute on June 13th. We will be making vision boards, and setting our minds and our words in the most positive light so that we are loving ourselves into shape with intention. 
Remember you can change your view by seeing the world with childlike wonder when you go through your day. I had a chance to visit Disneyland with my niece and her best friend last week. It was most certainly, the Happiest Place On Earth. When I look at the world through the eyes of a child, everything looks magical and new! This is why I love change! 
Disneyland with two little princesses.
 Remember to embrace the changes as they come. I have had many little changes in the past few days, and I am going with the flow, doing my best to learn new ways of communicating, but most importantly, I am framing each change as a positive. The universe clearly has better in store for me during this season of change.