September 30, 2011

Be Yourself

This is the simplest truth.  I have been trying to tell myself this lately.  I feel like I've been having subtle and maybe not so subtle confrontations with people in my life lately.  These people aren't all that important, maybe they are, who knows.  But the point is, I need to let it all go.  It really doesn't matter what these people may think of me because I think well of me and those who love me think well of me.  And all I know is that I try to be the best of my best every day and if that isn't good enough for some people, well then, they just don't matter.

September 29, 2011

Product Review - Tofu Noodles

I was at my local grocery store the other day and discovered these Tofu Shirataki fettuccine noodles.  They were on sale for 2 dollars a pack so I thought I'd give them a try.

The package instructs you to first rinse them very well and then boil for 2 minutes and rinse thoroughly to "reduce the authentic aroma".  Yes, they smell.  They kind of smell like fish.  Not fish gone bad, just fish before you cook it. 

Ingredients: water, tofu, yam and calcium hydroxide

They actually look and feel like real fettuccine.

I followed the directions.  Rinsed, heated and rinsed again and then tasted them before I topped them with the pasta sauce.  They were chewy, very al dente, and had no residual smell.

My tofu noodles on the left and LW's real pasta on the right.

I topped my noodles with strips of zucchini and my homemade tomato and beef sauce.  They were tasty and a nice change to just eating my pasta sauce with zucchini strips.

Would I buy them again?  Maybe.  At 2 dollars for one serving they are not bad but I could just as easily eat my zucchini noodles and be thoroughly content.

September 28, 2011

Rest Day

I decided to give myself a complete rest day today.  No P90 X, no yoga.  Usually on my rest days I practice yoga but I needed a break.  I was in no mood for a Bikram class today.  I did a short 40 minute practice on my own at home but it isn't the same thing.  I was actually excited for a day of nothing.  I puttered around on my bike but that was the extent of my physical activity. 

You know what?  I didn't like it.  Now, at 8:00pm in the evening I feel off, restless and hungry.  I shouldn't be hungry I've had enough to eat.

Lesson?  I should practice even when I don't want to.  I need to do something that increases my heart rate for a more than 10 minutes at a time.  It helps me feel better, more productive, more centered.

On another note, I really want to try Ashtanga yoga.  Really, really want to.  I want to go to the specific Ashtanga studio in town.  I think I want to expand my yoga practice and try new things.  I feel the need for more information and new asanas and growth.  I know I would continue to grow in my Bikram practice but I just feel the need in my heart for something different.  

September 27, 2011

Bikram Yoga and Weight Loss

I first signed up for Bikram yoga because I'd heard that it helps the weight melt off.  I was so excited, ready to work hard in class and watch the extra pounds drop off.

It didn't happen.  My body shifted a little.  I firmed up a little.  I know I definitely got stronger but I didn't drop any pounds, my tummy didn't shrink and I didn't fit into a smaller dress size.  For 2 years I practiced and yes, I got stronger and yes, I became more flexible, I gained confidence and got to know my body but I lost zero pounds.

It was after the Bikram Yoga Saanich Asana Competition and I was looking at photos of myself and I didn't like what I saw.  I was proud of myself but I expected my body to look different after 2 solid years of practice.  I decided to take matters into my own hands and see what else I could do.  

I contacted Kyla of Inside Out FitnessShe appealed to me most of all because she also practices Bikram yoga so understands a practitioner's need and want to practice yoga.  Once a week, for 6 weeks, I met with Kyla for a private training session.  She gave me a 40 minute workout that I could do on my own at home and incorporated weights, body weight exercises and a little cardio.  She also suggested that I increase my protein consumption to at least 15 grams of protein per meal.

By week 4 I was wearing underwear that had never fit me.  Finally!  The results I had been looking for.  I think what had happened was that as with any exercise my body got used to the cardio aspect of my yoga practiceGaining muscle mass and increasing my protein intake did me wonders.

I believe that some people probably lose weight through yoga practice.  I know some women who have quit their gym memberships once they started practicing Bikram yoga.  I think that my food choices probably limited my weight loss and I believe that my body just needs more muscle to be slim.  I believe that every single person is different and you need to find what works for you.  But if you're struggling with weight loss with Bikram yoga, try kicking it up a notch.  Try a couple body weight workouts through the week.  The more muscle you have the harder your body has to work to keep you going throughout the day.

September 26, 2011

Comfort Food - Raw Brownies

Sometimes life, well, it's just simply annoying.  This afternoon, I developed a general dislike for most of the human race.  When I feel this way I want to eat, I want to drink, I want to crawl into bed and watch Almost Famous.

So in order to solve my eating problem, I decided to go to the grocery store and get the ingredients to make - wait for it - a raw brownie recipe.

 Yes, you read that correctly.  It is a raw brownie.  I discovered the recipe on the My New Roots website.  Sarah Britton has a whole lot of amazing recipes and nutritional information on her blog.

The original recipe calls for raw cacao.  I did not use this, I used plain old cocoa powder.  I did some research on the difference between cocoa and cacao and the opinions are incredibly contradictoray.  Sarah even mentions in her comments that she is uncertain of the nutritional differences.  If you have any ideas, I would love to hear.

I've adapted the recipe to the ingredients I had on hand.

Raw Brownie

1 cup walnuts
1 cup hazelnuts
1 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups fresh dates
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

The original recipe calls for chopped almonds, which you see on the left, I didn't use them
 Chop the walnuts and hazelnuts in the food processor and blend on high until they are finely ground.  

Add the cocoa powder and salt and pulse until mixed together.  

Turn the food processor on low and the dates one at a time through the feed tube while the processor is running.  

The mixture should stick together when pressed in your fingers.  Grease a pan with coconut oil.  Pour the mixture into the pan and press until the mixture is firm.  Allow the brownies to cool in the refrigerator for a few hours.

After chilling, cut and enjoy!  Even LW likes these brownies!

September 25, 2011

It Is Your Practice - a little tip for beginners

One of the most common comments I hear from beginners in the yoga studio is, I'm not flexible enough to do yoga.  This is such a huge misconception.  You do not need to be flexible to practice yoga.  Flexibility is one of the products of a regular yoga practice.

Another comment I often hear is, I'll never be able to do what you do or why can you do this and I can't.  There is one thing that I cannot stress enough when it comes to a yoga practice, just try your best, do what you can do in the proper alignment and above all STOP comparing yourself to anyone else.  And, if you want to see changes you need a consistent practice.  2 days a week will probably not result in many noticeable changes.  Now that doesn't mean that 2 days is not good for you but you need to practice consistently and constantly to really see changes.  In the past 28 months I have had a very steady practice of an average of 5 classes a week, which is why I think my poses have changed a lot.

Let me give you a little breakdown on how my Bikram yoga practice has changed since I first entered the studio in May 2009.  
  • 28 months ago, I could not keep my arms straight and elbows locked through the entire Half Moon series.
  • 28 months ago, I could not wrap my legs completely around each other in Eagle pose.
  • 26 months ago, I thought my heart would explode out of my chest during the standing balancing series.
  • 26 months ago, Camel pose made me feel sick. 
  • 26 months ago, I had to walk my knees up to meet my head in Rabbit pose.
  • 24 months ago, I could not kick my leg out in Standing Head to Knee pose. 
  • 24 months ago, I finally learned how to breathe properly on the inhalation in Pranayama breathing.
  • 20 months ago, I could not see my foot above my head in Standing Bow Pulling pose.
  • 18 months ago, I could not wrap my arm around my back in Final Twist.
  • 18 months ago, I could not sit with straight legs and a flat back in Stretching pose.
  • 12 months ago, my elbows did not go below calf of my kicked out leg in Standing Head to Knee pose.
  • 12 months ago, my chin never touched my shoulder in Standing Bow Pulling pose.
  • 12 months ago, I could not meet my own eyes in the mirror.
  • 8 months ago, I could barely kick my kicking leg forward in Standing Head to Knee pose, in order to keep my hips in one line.
  • 5 months ago, I could not get into Fixed Firm pose for 5 classes.
  • 2 months ago, I started feeling sick in Camel pose, again.
  • 1 month ago, I could not keep my arms locked above my head in Half Moon.
  • Today, I could not lock my knee in Standing Head to Knee pose. 
I didn't want this to be a list of things that I can't do in my yoga practice but I wanted to show that I have struggled, I still struggle, that our bodies change all the time and that EVERY BODY is different.

You may look around the room sometimes - you are hot, it's humid, sweat is in your eyes and you are struggling to keep your knee locked and your thigh contracted - you see people locking their knees, with what appears to be, such ease.  It's not.  It's not easy for any one.  You may think that the person next to you has a beautiful Standing Bow, I can guarantee you that 95% of the people who first try Standing Bow feel exactly the same way - that it is nearly impossible.  I know I did.

Stop comparing yourself to other people because your poses will never look like theirs.  You are unique and completely different to the person next to you.  Remember that walking into the hot room and practicing yoga is more than most people will do in one day.  Remember that you are there for yourself - be good to yourself, be gentle, be compassionate - if you can't balance one day, it just is and let it go.  Remember that if you don't understand something, ask questions!  Keep asking questions!  Ask different teachers the same question!  And above all, remember that it is your practice.  Do what you will, do what you can, try and simply get your ass to the studio.  The rest will take care of itself.

September 24, 2011

Workout Rage

If Tony Horton had been in my living room, this morning, I would have punched him in his smiling happy face.

I had workout rage this morning.  It was Legs and Back today and I did not want to do it.  I have started doing the legs workout without the video because I prefer listening to music but this morning I thought I probably needed the extra motivation to get me moving.  The anger is probably what propelled me through the workout.  It was hard.  I was tired.  I hate lunges so much.  I did it.  I finished it.  Week 9 is now done.

10 Reasons Why I Didn't Quit
  1. In the last 9 weeks I have noticed a significant inch loss in my hips, my thighs and my waist. 
  2. My arms are starting to have definition I have never ever ever had before.
  3. Each exercise only last a couple minutes
  4. The entire workout is only an hour.  I can handle an hour.
  5. I really like the calf exercises and that is near the end of the workout.
  6. I really really don't like quitting something I've started.  Except for a book, if a book doesn't grab me in a couple chapters I will quickly put it aside.
  7. LW was in the next room cheering me on.  Even though I wanted to take out some of the rage on him, how could I quit when I had that encouragement right there to push me just a little more.
  8. In some weird creepy way I think Tony would know if I quit.  He keeps telling you in the videos how he'll come to your house and track you down if you slack!
  9. There is something amazing about feeling your heart pound and the sweat trickle down your body.  Even if you're not into it, sometimes you don't want it to stop.
  10. Now, I feel amazing and happy and proud that I completed the workout.

September 23, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Pudding

I love pumpkin pie.  It is one of my favourite pies, which I find interesting because I never ate much pumpkin pie growing up, it was always Dutch apple pie (which is amazing).  In the last little while I developed my own version of pumpkin pie.  A "pie" that is a little healthier, minus the crust, because the best part is the filling

       Pumpkin Pie Pudding
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (14 ounce) can Pure Pumpkin or 1 3/4 cup of pureed fresh pumpkin
  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • coconut oil to grease casserole dish
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease baking dish with coconut oil.
  2. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin, maple syrup and spices. Gradually stir in almond milk. Pour into baking dish.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F.; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
 I entered all the ingredients into LiveStrong.  Using my 8.5 by 8.5 casserole dish and estimating 9 servings, the website calculated the recipe to be 111 calories per serving.  Not bad for a little treat (or two) during the day.

One of my favourite things to do with this recipe, is in the Autumn I go down to my local market and buy the sugar pumpkins.  I then roast them in the oven and purée them in the food processor.

I forgot to get a photo post-bake but I swear to you it is as delicious as a pumpkin pie!

September 22, 2011


Thanks to Hearts Expanding for sharing this.

When I think of infinity I think of:
  • endless possibilities
  • the ocean
  • children (I used to say infinity all the time)
  • space
  • experience
  • darkness
  • Toy Story
  • ant hills (yes, I know they're small but imagine being the size of an ant and having all those tunnels to move around in)
  • art
  • the sky
  • clouds
  • dreams (speaking of which.  i dreamed last night that i was possessed by the devil and arguing with a priest. wtf?)
  • knowledge
  • books
  • the web (seriously, i can't wrap my head around where all of this stuff resides)

September 21, 2011

Small Goals

Since the beginning of June, I have applied for about 14 advertised jobs in the GIS field.  Their locations have ranged from Ontario to northern Alberta to my hometown of Victoria.  I have heard nothing - nothing, from any of these potential employers.

Does my resume suck?  Is my cover letter terrible?  I have revamped them both in the past couple of months with some professional help.  Do I lack in experience?  Perhaps.  Am I limited by where I will move to?  Not really, look where I have applied.  Is my heart into it?  I don't know.

Why isn't my heart into it?  Well, because I know I don't want to be a GIS technician forever.  I feel I have more to offer, to give and there is something out there that is better for me career wise.  But, I do know that when I am challenged in my job as a GIS tech, I like it.  I love being challenged.  And I know that when I work for a company that I respect, generally, as a whole, I will work hard for my pay cheque.  And I know that I'm proud that I've developed this technical side of my brain because I never thought that I ever COULD.

So what are my options?  Well, the first thing that always pops into my head is that I should just go back to school and try again.  Unfortunately, I'm nearing the age of 30 (less than 2 months!) and as much as I love learning, always, I can't bloody well afford to, in the traditional sense of University.  I know that I do not want to be a starving student and I know that I want to be debt free.  I know that I could do an online course again (I earned my GIS diploma on line while working full time) but I need to be seriously interested in the subject.

So, as far as I'm concerned, I need to keep looking.  Someone said to me the other day that if yoga starts taking over your life maybe you should make yoga your life.  As wonderful as that sounds there's something inside of me that is still unsure.  And one thing that I do know fully about myself is that I know when I make a decision and want something I feel it in my gut to the depth of my bowels and I am positive and it is easy.  Once I make the decision or know that I want something doors open.  I haven't had this feeling in quite a while.  I'm not sitting around waiting for it but I have my feelers out there.  I'll know when something is right.  

In the meantime,  I'm blogging, which I am loving, by the way.  I have a bunch of post its stuck to my computer for topics that I can talk about.  It really is stimulating and I am rediscovering my creativity and am enjoying my daily practice.

James Altucher says that he starts noticing results after a month, then 3 months, then 6 months.  Who knows?  But I'm glad I picked up the practice and I'm 23 days in!

September 20, 2011

Easy, I Have It Easy...

Definitely not feeling like I have it easy today.  I've been having nights of very heavy sleeps coupled with very vivid dreams, along with day times of feeling down and out and not knowing what I want or how to get it.

I'm finding it tough to get my butt to yoga and to make dinner.  I've managed to keep to my meal plan, throwing in a couple pieces of dark chocolate here and there to keep me sane.  I feel like I'm walking through a bit of a fog and I know I just need to keep pushing because the sun will burn off the mist eventually.

And really, in the grand scheme of things, I don't have it all that bad.  I was driving home from lunch with a friend, trying to psych myself up to start Week 9 of P90X and K-OS came on the radio.  It's my theme song for the rest of the day.  Here's to the start of Week 9!

September 19, 2011

Body Image and Hard Work

Self esteem and body image are something I have struggled with my entire life.  As a little girl I had thick glasses that made my eyes look small and distorted my face.  As a pre adolescent I developed breasts much earlier than all of my friends.  I remember my mum constantly telling me to stop slouching - I wanted to hide my new forming body.  I was never a little girl.  My dad and my brothers are all 6'4".  I have my Dad and my Oma's body type - high waisted, slim, muscular legs and a tendency to gain weight around the middle.

I remember the day that I first felt even remotely pretty.  I was fourteen years old and my mum and dad finally said I could have contact lenses.  Mum and I were in the optometrist office and the doctor put the contacts in my eyes.  I looked at the reflection of my face for the first time - with no glasses or having to be three inches from a mirror and said, "I never knew I was pretty."  This was one of the best moments of my life - to be able to see my face with no distortion from glasses - to be able to see all of it clearly in one piece, not my eyes then my nose and then my lips, but my beautiful face all in one glance.

My weight fluctuated a lot during high school and I was never fully happy with how I looked.  I had my eyes and my face but was never very happy with anything else and I would never let anyone see me with my glasses on.  By the time I got to my early 20s I was busy traveling and I tried not to give it much thought - I pushed my weight and how I looked out of my mind most of the time but compared myself constantly to my friends and strangers around me and was never satisfied with what I saw in the mirror.

I moved back to my hometown when I was 25 with a broken heart, run down and 50 pounds over weight.  The main reason I had even come home was to have surgery.  I had been waiting for 2 years to have a breast reduction and I was going to have it no matter what.  I woke up from surgery a different person.  It was as though I had been in a deep meditation and life seemed clearer - I knew above anything else that I had to get healthy.  I started practicing yoga at home with a video and walking.  I was unemployed and healing so I couldn't do too much but the yoga helped me focus on something that wasn't my broken heart.  6 weeks into my unemployment I got restless and found a job.  My office was right next door to a gym so along with my yoga video every morning I went to the gym five days a week.  I started gaining confidence.  I lost fifty pounds.  Shirts that never would have fit me before the surgery fit like a glove.  I was full of energy and felt like Juliana for the first time in my entire life.

Then I met my LW.  He encouraged me to show myself off and not hide my body.  He would constantly tell me I was beautiful and sexy.  He made me feel beautiful when I was with him and I believed that he thought that I was beautiful.  Some days I would look in the mirror and be alright with what I saw but was never fully satisfied.

And then I discovered Bikram yoga.  I was exposed to myself completely in front of those mirrors.  I met myself head on with no excuses and no exceptions.  I went from wearing shorts and a tank top to shorts and a sports bra.  I moved from the back of the room to the front of the room.  I went from not wearing a bathing suit in public to baring every part of me in the BYS Yoga Competition.

About 6 months ago I looked in my bathroom mirror as I was getting ready to go out and I thought to myself, "I like what I see.  I like all of this.  I am beautiful." and I believed every word.

I can't say that I like my tummy every day of the week or that I am fully satisfied with my arms BUT I know that everyday I work hard at being stronger and I work hard at loving myself.  A year ago I couldn't do one full push up, now I can knock out 20 (I did just get on the floor and do them, I couldn't lie to you!).   It makes me fully believe that we can do whatever we want - we just have to believe in ourselves.

September 18, 2011

Ups and Downs

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as bird wings.


I was searching the mighty world wide web for some thing to inspire my required post for the day and stumbled across this quote by Rumi. 

It got me to thinking about all the ups, downs, twists, turns, mountains and deep crevasses we all experience throughout our lives.  Every moment, every thought, every breath that we inhale and then exhale makes us who we are.

Every person in the world is constantly contracting and then expanding.  We are all changing, all growing, all learning.  Embrace that growth, celebrate the small victories and love yourself for those moments.  They make you, you. 

September 17, 2011

Saturday Afternoon

Today we drove 20 minutes north of Victoria to the closest bowling alley around.  There used to be 2 in Victoria but they've, unfortunately, been long gone and turned into parking lots and Walmart.

It was a five pin alley so you hold the tiny ball in one hand and only have 5 pins to knock over.  It was fun.  There were black lights and cheesy music.  I felt like I was in high school all over again. 

Not the best shot but it captured the mood of the place.

September 16, 2011

Perfect Example

This morning's practice was the exact reason why I practice yoga.  It was like the dialogue was speaking directly to me this morning and I was responding perfectly to every instruction during each asana.  

The owner of the studio was teaching this morning and although I see her around a lot, I am rarely in one of her classes.  I was nearly directly in front of her and for whatever reason the moment she walked into class I absorbed the calmness she emanated and her voice hypnotized me. 

For the first time in a long time, everything that I know I need to do with my body to get into the asanas, was related to me through the dialogue.  I didn't add my own little tweaks - I didn't  use my own mind at all.  I simply listened and my body responded.  I moved strongly and fluidly.  Thoughts would float in but they would just as easily float on away again.  All that existed for me this morning was her voice, my ears and my mind working together to get my body to respond.

I've noticed in the last little while, and have heard other people discussing it, that when something clicks in your Bikram practice, it's like you'd never heard it before and suddenly there it is every time you hear the dialogue.  I remember this happening to me when one of the instructors specifically told me to place the palms of my hands flat on my heels in Camel pose, it was like that phrase had never existed for me before and now I hear it all the time.

I've had a few teachers tell me that they don't do a lot of physical corrections in Bikram yoga because they are trying to emphasize the mind-body connection.  It's starting to make sense to me.  You hear what the teachers are instructing you to do but how many of us are actually carefully listening to these instructions for the entire class?  From what I understand, the purpose of the dialogue is to allow us, as students, to simply listen and follow.  We shouldn't have to think about anything except for the moment that we are experiencing and the words that are being relayed to us.

Now, I don't know whether this morning everything just lined up perfectly for me - I was in the right space and I picked up on my instructors energy perfectly.  Or whether she brought something special to class this morning with her calmness and grace.  But I think this is a new experience for me - it wasn't about the postures or how I performed them, it was simply about listening, responding and being. 

September 15, 2011

Warm Autumn Zucchini Soup

It has started getting a little chilly here the last couple of days.  Today I rode my bike in a hoodie with the rain spattering my sun glasses and all I could think of was some warm soup to have for dinner.

Warm Autumn Zucchini Soup

2 medium zucchinis
1 medium yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 stalk of fresh rosemary
pinch crushed red pepper
salt and pepper
parmigiano reggiano (optional)

In a large pot heat olive oil.  Add the onion and saute a few minutes, add garlic.  Chop up zucchini and add to the pot with salt and pepper, crushed red pepper and the rosemary.  Allow to cook until the zucchini is soft, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the stock and simmer for 15 minutes.  Carefully pour everything in the pot into a blender and puree in batches.  Hold a cloth over the top of the blender to prevent the top from popping off from the heat of the liquid.  If you have an immersion blender you can use it.
Pour the puree back into the pot and keep warm on the stove.  Add parmigiano when ready to serve.

Served with raw flax cracker from Cafe Bliss

September 14, 2011

Major Project Complete

I started this afghan about 9 months ago.  I dabbled in it on and off and last night, while watching Game of Thrones, I finished it!

Just in time for cold autumn days!

September 13, 2011

Types of Therapy

I wanted Retail Therapy.

I wanted Food Therapy.

I chose Yoga Therapy.

Yoga kicked my ass again and again today.  I knew it would.  I didn't want to go.  I wanted to spend money or eat a big ass greasy burger.  I chose the Yoga.  The Yoga kicked my ass.  But you know it shifted some things around.  Shook me up a little.  It was probably worth while.  And it cost me nothing.

September 12, 2011

Finding Peace

1. To move or act swiftly; hurry.
2. To make a sudden or swift attack or charge.
3. General haste or busyness

This is me when I work full time.  I am constantly running from bed, to the yoga room, to home, to the shower, to the bus, to the office.  And then I run home, get in a quick workout, cook dinner quickly because I want time to digest it before I go to bed.

I just got back from the grocery store.  I pedaled very slowly to it on my bike, looking around and taking in my surroundings and then I pedaled home again, thinking about how much I enjoy that I feel little pressure in how quickly or slowly I complete a task.

I have always been a very punctual person.  I am always on time - if not early.  My days are organized in my head how long it will take me to complete a task before I can move on to the next one.  I like order and things to fall into place when I expect them to.  I like things to run efficiently.  I like to be efficient.  I know that life doesn't always work this way but I do like to organize what I can control in my life and I get annoyed if things don't go the way they were planned.

I would like to take the stress out of being busy or rushing when I return to the work force.  I would like to somehow relinquish some of my control on time - especially in situations that I have no control over, like the bus.  I will never give up organizing my life.  I will always be punctual and will try to complete tasks with efficiency but I want the rigidity of what I expect of myself to diminish.  I want to remove the hastiness of life.  I want to remember coasting my bike to the grocery store and listening to the leaves rustle and the birds singing and smelling the ocean air blowing in off the Juan de Fuca straight.

I want to find peace in the chaos.

September 11, 2011

Saturday Night Feast

Raw Cashew Dream Cake

Portobello Mushroom Pizzas
Raw Tacos, Butternut Squash Dip, Flax Crackers and Heirloom Tomato

September 10, 2011

Leg Breaking Pose

How the name suits this asana.  I have just started exploring this pose in the Advanced classes.  It looks like the movement happens in the knee but I feel the stretch in the hip and hip flexor.

If I understand the pose correctly, eventually my foot should be tucked up underneath my rib cage.

Here is what Leg Breaking may look like one day, in the future.  I don't know the Sanskrit name for this pose, if anyone knows it and would like to share...
Update September 11: the Sanskrit name is Eka-pada Gokilasana.  Thanks Dancing J!

September 9, 2011

Flax Crackers

Last night I borrowed my mum's dehydrator.  She used to make us home made fruit leather with this dehydrator from the apples and pears from our back yard.  I found a recipe for flax seed crackers on My New Roots and wanted to give them a shot.

2 cups ground flax seed
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 cups water
dried basil and oregano
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.  Allow to become firm and then scoop onto a solid dehydrator sheet and spread thinly.  Cut the flax mixture into cracker shapes and dehaydrate for 5 - 6 hours.  Check periodically and when the crackers become dry on top, flip onto a mesh dehydrating sheet and allow them to become crisp, another 4 - 6 hours.  Store in a sealed container in the fridge.

They are seriously yummy.

I adapted the recipe slightly.  I found the mixture easier to work with after it had hardened slightly.  I was able to spread it more thinly.  And I found the crackers impossible to "flip" onto the mesh sheet so I slid a knife under them and one by one picked them up and flipped them over.  You could add any kind of seasoning you'd like to them.  I was thinking cinnamon and more honey the next time to make them more of a sweet treat.

September 8, 2011

Push It, Forget It, Move on

This morning I got extremely frustrated - with lack of communication, with the feeling that I'm at people's beck and call, with the fact that I do not comprehend why people run a business and treat their employees the way they do.

Moving on.  It was my Back and Biceps day for P90 X, so I decided to take not only what I learn in my yoga practice but also what Tony Horton reiterates in his workout videos - forget it, let it go, this time is for me, focus on now!  So I pushed it.  I was tired today - maybe from the advanced yoga class yesterday.  But I fought hard.  Biceps curls and all the many versions that Tony has you doing, are not easy!  Not to mention the many different versions of pull ups.  I can do one chin up on my own with no props but in order to get through my workout, I take Tony's advice and use a chair.  I use that chair to give myself a little boost to make it up the entire way, so that I can complete 10-12 pull ups in a set. 

I feel pretty ripped by the end of this work out.  My arms feel tight, almost swollen and I feel strong.  Focusing on my workout was the best way I could have dealt with my frustration this morning.  It allowed me to re focus my attention on what was important to me at that moment and what I could actually, productively, deal with. 

September 7, 2011

Breakfast Pancake

With this new eating plan I am experimenting with, I had to come up with some breakfast ideas other than my standard rolled oats, Greek yogurt and fruit.  What I came up with was a butternut squash pancake.

Take a butternut squash, cut it in half and remove the seeds.  Bake it at 350 degrees until you can stick a fork in to the flesh.  Cut the squash into four equal pieces.  Take one of those pieces and scoop it out of skin and into a bowl.  Mash it up with some cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.  Add in a tablespoon of flax seeds and one egg or a quarter cup of egg whites.  Mash it all together until it is a lovely orange, brown mush.  Heat a pan on the stove and pour your pancake batter into the hot pan.  Fry at medium heat until the bottom starts to firm up - sometimes I add frozen blueberries at this point.  Flip carefully.  It will may fall apart - no biggie - just stick it back together again and finish the second side.  Slide onto a plate and top with whatever you'd like.

I like to top my pancake with Greek yogurt and fruit! 

September 6, 2011

P90 X Review

Today I completed my 42nd day of the P90 X workout.  

I was kind of skeptical when I started this 90 routine a little over a month ago.  I didn't really know what to expect.  I had never really lifted a lot of weights before and my 12 and 15 pound dumbbells collected dust for a couple years until I started bringing them out a few months ago.  The problem was I didn't really know what to do with them - other than your standard shoulder press and curls and incorporating them into lunges and squats - I felt a little lost.

I can now say, that with the help of Tony Horton, I feel stronger and leaner.  I'm seeing definition in my arms and shoulders that I've never seen before, I'm not afraid of trying a pull up, even if I need to use a stool to help me up, and I've lost an inch from my hips and 3/4 of an inch from my thighs.

I haven't followed his program exactly because I practice my yoga 5 days a week and I don't have the time, nor, do I want to do 3 days of weights, 5 days of yoga and then 3 days of other cardio.  So I've been following his weights and my yoga and on my rest weeks (Week 4 and 8) I do the Plyometric work out or Cardio X along with yoga.  

I also haven't been super strict with my diet.  I mean eat pretty damn well - I think.  Most days I consume less than 2000 calories (with the P90 workout calculation where you calculate your resting metabolic rate and then incorporate the workouts, I need 25oo calories to maintain my weight, so I cut it by 500.), I eat a ton of fruit and veg and get enough protein.  But I have bad cheat days and I didn't cut our my rice, pasta, oats for the first month, which the P90 program recommends. 

So, beginning yesterday, for 30 days I am going to avoid all oats, rice, pastas and breads.  I still eat squash and zucchini and fruit and salad, I'm simply trying a little experiment.  I figure if I've lost an inch from my hips and I'm half way done the program, let's just see what this will do in the next 30 days.  


September 5, 2011

Lotus, Ouch!

I practiced 3 hours of yoga today!  Love it!  My studio has started having advanced classes again, so I participated in my first one in nearly a year today.

All I have to say right now is, Lotus, my god, it hurts so much.  Not my hips, not my knees but my ankle.  Specifically my right ankle.  We do a whole series of Lotus poses that last for what feels like forever.  I can stand the first quarter of the series and then my right ankle starts to kill me.  I know that it is from the many, many times I have rolled it and pulled the tendons and sprained it.  The tendons are used to being so tight and this is finally allowing them to stretch out.

So, really, this is a good thing.

And, that's all I have to say about that - for today.

Happy Labour Day!

September 4, 2011

Pranayama Deep Breathing

Pranayama warms your body up from the inside to prepare you for the heat and the next 90 minutes.  This was a very difficult pose for me when I first started - 6 counts to inhale and 6 to exhale can feel nearly impossible when you first start.  All I can say here is try.  If you can only inhale 4 counts that's OK.  You will get stronger, your lungs will expand.  Just try.

Now, the "snoring sensation" that the instructors tell us to do is difficult.  For 6 months I was simply inhaling loudly through my nose.  Then I took a private lesson with Ida and in 10 minutes it made so much sense.  Essentially you are drawing the air in through the back of your throat instead of just through your nose.  If you have trouble with this, I encourage you to ask your instructors.  Ask a few different ones until you get it.

What I find just as important in Pranayama as the breathing is the foundation of your body.  You are standing in Mountain pose (Tadasana) before you begin the breath.  I find it very useful to plant my feet firmly side by side on the floor and distribute my weight evenly through the inside and outside of my heels and the balls of the big toe side of the foot as well as the little toe side.  Otherwise known as the four corners of the feet.  Contract your thighs, pull your knee caps up and make your legs strong.  Your legs and your feet are there to support you through the entire 90 minutes, so find them, engage them, become aware of them before you begin your practice.  Flex your glutes and push your hips just a little forward so you don't have a pronounced curve in your lower spine.  Extend your spine up - from you cocyx to the top of your head.  Lift up.  Stand proud.  Start strong.

When I clasp my hands and interlock my fingers, I like to interlock them with my dominant hand on top first and then during second set, I switch my grip.  I have switched my grip so often that I no longer know which is my dominant side.

Remember to suck that belly in!  This will increase your lung capacity.  And keep your eyes open the entire time or you will get dizzy.  Check in with your foundation every so often.  I like to do this because sometimes my feet start to drift apart or my thighs release.  Keep that strength in the lower half of your body - it will help you during the rest of your practice.

It took Mr. Iyengar 20 years before he could master the art of Pranayama (1), so don't get discouraged.  Look at him now.


September 3, 2011

Old Friends Warm My Heart

Today, I drove 45 minutes north of Victoria today to meet my oldest friend for lunch.  I have known this amazing woman since she was 3 and I was 4 and through, first, our mother's efforts and then those of our own have managed to keep this friendship burning strong over 26 years.

My earliest memories are of L and her sister, C.  We were very strong believers of faeries when we were little girls.  We used to lay out food for them and build swimming pools.  We would believe, and perhaps it was true, that the faeries would drink our water and eat our food.  L and I were obsessed with Barbie.  We had so many Barbies and could create stories for hours and hours on end, then one of us would get annoyed with the other and we'd storm off to our own homes, 3 doors down.  There was no doubt a few hours later we'd be back for more. 

When L was 5 her family left Victoria for Cumberland, a small town 5 hours north of Victoria.  We continued to see each other every summer.  I would go and stay with her family for a couple of weeks and then she would come down and stay with me.  We would spend hours on beaches collecting shells and stones and then hours by the little creek on her farm with her dad's hammers trying to smash open big rocks searching for quartz - we never did find any.

We grew and changed in completely different directions - one was the rebel, the other the dancer and athlete.  Whether it was our bond from childhood or whether it was just meant to be - we stayed close.  As we got older we stopped seeing each other every summer but we wrote letters and emailed.  Sometimes we went for months and months without any form of contact but the moment we saw each other again, it was like not a day has passed.

Today, we sat in the restaurant gabbing for 45 minutes before we could even think of ordering.  I can't think of anyone who knows so many different facets of myself - who has seen me grow and change and morph into the woman I am today.  She has been there for me through thick and thin - even though some years we lived on different continents.

Today, I am incredibly grateful to have this amazing lady in life.

September 2, 2011

Oh, 6 am, How I Have Missed You

Because I am currently living a life of leisure, I rise late and have been attending the 9 am yoga classes.  They are great - I don't have to set my alarm, I don't leave the house in the dark and I have more than enough time to drink my sole.  But there is something magical about a 6 am class.

I decided to go this morning, I set my alarm extra early so I would have time to drink my Crystal Salts (more on these to come).  It felt a little eerie leaving my house in the dark, not a sound - the birds hadn't even started chirping - started up my car and got to the studio by 5:45am.  L was teaching this morning and she only ever teaches 6am classes so it was an added bonus. 

Class was wonderful.  It was calm and collected.  I moved through the poses with purpose and paid close attention to my alignment.  I am becoming much stronger in Standing Bow.  My kick is strong and I feel steady in the pose.  My right hip flexor is a little tight so I dedicate my first set to trying to stretch it out.  I love Triangle pose.  I never ever thought I would say that but in the past 4 months or so I have been able to sit right down so that my thigh is parallel to the floor and I get an amazing opening through my hip.  I am really starting to feel the stretch through my shoulders and have started to explore the twist in the torso more deeply.  Camel has been so difficult for me lately.  I get nauseous and dizzy and rarely do two sets.  This morning I was able to do both and while I was bending backward, I had an amazing flashback of a dream I had last night - I dreamed that I went right back into Full Camel.  I remember seeing my toes and putting my hands on feet and then my forehead on my feet.  It was incredible!

I left class feeling revitalized and refreshed.  The air is crisp this morning - Autumn is around the corner.  I picked up an americano on my way home and made myself a butternut squash pancake for breakfast. 

Happy long weekend!

P.S.  The best part of practicing at 6am right now is that I get to come home and write a blog post, instead of rushing off to work.  I am trying to enjoy this while I can.

September 1, 2011


Today I got nothing. 

Nada (Spanish).  Niks (Dutch).  Rien (French).  Nichts (German).  Faic (Gaelic).  Moshe (Arabic).  Nulla (Italian).  Nihil (Latin).  Ingenting (Swedish).  Kaimu (Japanese).  ничто (Russian).

I did a lot of talking today about sewing and yoga.  I cuddled two adorable chihuahuas that this lovely lady has the pleasure of caring for.  I rode my bike under a gray chili sky.  I had to wear a hoodie.  I did the P90X Back and Biceps workout (I'm on week 7!).  And I wandered the Asian grocery store.

So maybe I got something.