My first class at 502 Power Yoga was a Karma class. The room was packed beyond capacity, and the energy was high; you could feel the love when you walked in—which, when you’re new to this style of yoga, like I was, can feel overwhelming. My friend and I were the last two people to lay our mats down and I was ready to get my zen on and tune the world out — which is my default.
When class started and the instructor asked us all to generate hellos/give hugs/shake hands, I freaked out. She wanted me to what? No. I had come to do some yoga and stay in my own secluded world, not to meet new people or hug strangers. Not to mention, I was already sweating, as was most everyone I was asked to hug. Instinctively, I went directly to my friend and hugged her, but soon found I couldn’t avoid contact with other yogis any longer. I hesitantly shook hands and hugged two other already-sweaty people. I felt self-conscious for the entirety of my practice, worrying that the people I hugged were judging me for sweating before class had even started.
Coming into a class at a new yoga studio can be intimidating. However, when I started to meet new people at 502 Power Yoga, I realized that I was NOT alone. Instead, I was in this together with every other yogi in the room. I was connected to a room full of 30+ people—talk about powerful! Side note: The room is hot, full of badass yogis, and everyone is sweating. Nobody is judging!
In that same class, the instructor had us support our neighbors in Airplane Pose. I remember internally having a strong “Nope, nopeity, nope, nope” reaction to this; there was no way I was throwing off my balance to put my sweaty hands on someone else’s sweaty body. And then I felt another yogi’s hand on my shoulder supporting me, which gave me the nudge I needed, and I reached out to support my other neighbor.
Where can you go in your practice once you’ve moved past what is blocking you? For me, letting go of insecurities led me to become more consistent in my practice and made me fall in love with the Baptiste Methodology, which led me to taking the BIG leap to sign up for teacher training with 502 Power Yoga. Removing my rocks opened me up to following my passion and creating some pretty amazing friendships in a community that thrives off of supporting others.
It works that way; the support and community. You may come in feeling nervous, scared, or vulnerable, and then you realize we are here for each other. That support can move mountains (or fly airplanes in my case.) From that, strength in your practice happens. Growth in your life off your mat happens. Big things happen. The sweaty hugs are actually something I look forward to now.
Embrace the sweaty hugs and handshakes—it’s the beginning of something spectacular.
Who said that eating healthy can’t feel a little indulgent? One of my favorite desserts is this “banana ice cream.” It goes well accompanied with a Quinoa Salad and Peanut sauce dinner, or as an afternoon treat. Eat with a spoon like soft-serve, or add a little extra almond milk, stick a straw in it, and take it on the go!
2 ripe bananas, chopped and frozen
3/4 to 1 cup almond milk, or milk of choice
1-2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 scoop vanilla or chocolate protein powder (optional)
Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
Place the milk, bananas, peanut butter, and optional protein powder in a blender* or food processor. Blend until very smooth, like soft serve ice cream, adding more milk as necessary. Enjoy!
*High powered blenders work best, but I did make this in a cheap blender during my college years just fine; I had to add more milk to get it to blend, though.
Bonus Recipe: Pumpkin Bread Pudding
I love making this single-serve pumpkin bread pudding for breakfast, snacks, dessert…I typically leave out the maple syrup and it tastes just fine. Topping with natural peanut or almond butter is highly recommended!
The gentle giant of our planet is a favorite for many. Elephants have a long history of being known for their intelligence, memory, and adorable behaviors. But a lot can be learned from these loveable creatures. They operate much like how we do and offer lessons we can apply to our mat.
Elephants create community. Built in a matriarchal society elephants hold massive communities of multi-generational families. While the males do leave the family unit at a certain age, the bond is still formed.
Elephants are large graceful creatures, and they trip and fall just like we do! When they fall they get right back up and keep moving. There isn’t drama or deeper frustration, they just do. This is something I have to remind myself when in Half Moon and I fall or even when I get stuck with a flat tire on the side of the road.
Elephants play and create naturally. Elephants love playing in mud, with ribbons and even create art! Elephants enjoy the act of creation and discovery. When on the mat or in the world we should learn that play and creation is essential to learning and fun!
Relying on our community, inspiring curiosity, and allowing ourselves to fail can be challenging. But keeping these lessons simplified by looking at our tusked friends, can make these challenges manageable. Namaste, yogis!
Week One is behind us, and last week we had a recipe for Vegan Chili (did anyone get a chance to try it? Leave a comment about what you experienced!) This week is a Quinoa Salad with Peanut Sauce (optional). This dish is light and high in protein. Feel free to get creative with this since it is easy to customize.
Quinoa Salad with optional Peanut Sauce
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water (for cooking the quinoa)
1 cup shredded red or green cabbage
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup carrots, shredded or finely chopped
2 cups edamame
1/4 – 1/2 cup green onions, sliced
Fresh cilantro (optional)
Cook the quinoa by placing it in a pot with the water and bringing to a boil; turn to low and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.
Transfer the cooked quinoa to a large bowl, and combine with the remaining prepared ingredients.
At this point, you can serve as is, or make the peanut dressing from the below recipe to stir in. (If you have a peanut allergy, try almond butter, cashew butter or sunflower seed butter!) Enjoy!
Week one of 40 Days to Personal Revolution (40DPR) is here! For many, the most challenging part of 40DPR is sticking with the healthy eating habits. Laura Olinger has taken the time to create some ideas for meals for each week, and she starts us off with some wholesome Vegan Chili to support a heating diet. This chili is great because you can share it with your spouse, kiddos, or save the leftovers for meals throughout the week!
For a heating diet: Vegan Chili
1/2 cup bulgur wheat*
1 cup hot water
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 heaping teaspoon cumin
1 heaping teaspoon chili powder
1 heaping teaspoon cayenne
2 bell peppers, chopped
15-ounce can corn, drained
15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Place the bulgur and hot water in a small saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil on high heat, then turn down low and simmer gently for about ten minutes.
While the bulgur cooks, heat the olive oil in a large soup pot and sauté the onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne. When the onions are soft and a little translucent, stir in the bell peppers and sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, corn, and beans into the pot. Stir, and continue to heat thoroughly on low heat.
Taste the bulgur. When it is cooked and chewy, add it to the pot. Simmer for a few minutes for the flavors to meld.
Serve and enjoy!
*Bulgur wheat can be found in the bulk section of many grocery stores; I buy mine at Whole Foods
For a Cooling Diet: Black Bean and Corn Salad
2 15-ounce cans black beans
1 15-ounce can of no-salt added corn
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
6 green onions, thinly sliced
Fresh cilantro (optional)
Lime juice, to taste
Salad greens, such as romaine or spinach
Combine prepared black beans, corn, avocado, bell peppers, tomatoes, green onions, and optional cilantro in a large bowl and mix.
When ready to serve, place a bed of salad greens on a plate and spoon mixture on top. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice if desired (or top with another light dressing.)