A warm and beautiful mini-retreat this weekend at Just Breathe. Part yoga asana, part pranayama (breathing practices), part education and awarness, part meditation and lunch, our first mini retreat was all relaxing and fun!
Cheapest therapist in the world is right at your finger tips--morning pages--a big word dump. An active stress relieving way to sort out your head.
After a beautiful yin practice everyone settled into a deep relaxed state to enjoy a guided meditation.
Naturally, I was so pre-occupied I did not get a single pic of our lunch, which was completely plant based and gluten free, except the cookies. We enjoyed a pumpkin lentil soup with turmeric rice, roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds and cilantro. Hummus with celery sticks and tortilla chips, my fav. A green salad with romaine lettuce, apples and cranberries dressed with an orange vinaigrette, herbal tea and Moroccan Almond cookies.
We shared good, nourishing food and conversation, the perfect way to end our retreat.
Vegan Pumpkin Lentil Soup
1 TB olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 carrots, sliced
1 TB fresh ginger, grated
1-2 TB yellow curry powder
¼ tsp cayenne
3 c water or vegetarian broth
1 c red or green lentils, or a mix of both.
1 can coconut milk (15 oz)
1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz)
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh cilantro, minced
Roasted sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds
*options—serve with rice, brown rice or farro.
Rinse the lentils by putting them in a fine mesh sieve and running them under cold water until the water comes clear. Set them aside and let them drain before adding to the soup.
In a large pot over med high heat add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot add the onions and saute for 3 min, or until they begin to soften. Add the carrots and garlic and cook for another 2 min. Add the ginger, curry powder and cayenne, cook about 1 min, stirring constantly, to let the spices bloom.
Add the water or broth, coconut milk, lentils and pumpkin puree. Stir to mix completely and bring the soup almost to the boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 8-10 min, until the carrots and lentil are cooked. The soup will begin to thicken, so keep an eye on it and stir frequently. If it becomes too thick add more water or stock.
When your soup is done, taste it for seasoning and add salt and fresh ground pepper. Serve it in warm bowls with fresh cilantro and roasted seeds. For a heartier complete meal I serve the soup with rice or farro. You can find farro at Winco in the bulk bins, rinse it like the lentils and then cook 1 c of farro in 2 c of water, bring it to the boil and reduce to a simmer and cook for 8-12 min. Farro is a nutty grain that adds great texture and nutrition, it is not gluten free.
1 can (15 oz) chick peas
2 TB lemon juice
1-2 TB olive oil
1 heaping tsp cumin
¼ tsp garlic powder
Pinch of cayenne powder
Partially drain the chick peas, reserving about ½ of the liquid. Put all ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth. If your mix seems sluggish and not smooth begin to add water a tablespoon at a time, this is a not an exact thing. Just keep adding and processing until you a have a creamy smooth mix. I like my hummus lemony and spicy so I taste it and add more lemon and cumin until I get a mix I like.
Put the hummus in a bowl with a swirl of olive oil and a little shake of paprika always looks pretty.
I serve it with veggie sticks and tortilla chips because I love the salty crunchy chips with the creamy hummus.
Moroccan Almond Cookies
2 ¾ c ground almonds
1/3 c sugar
2 TB butter, softened
1 tsp slmond extract
½ tsp salt
20-24 small almonds
2/3 c confection sugar
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place confection sugar in a small shallow bowl.
Place all remaining ingredients in a bowl and use a fork to combine until you have a smooth, slightly sticky dough. Scoop the dough in heaping teaspoonfuls and roll each into a small ball, then roll each ball in confection sugar until completely covered.
Place each ball onto the parchment paper and press slightly to flatten the ball into cookie shape. Place a small almond in the center of each cookie.
Bake for 12-15 min until the cookies are cracked and firm on the outside. Remove and cool on a rack completely. Store cookies in an airtight container. Can easily be frozen as well.
Can you unwind at the end of a stressful day? Do you have trouble letting things go? Are you distracted, preoccupied or worried? Do you find yourself in an endless loop replaying the events of the day? Is it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, you are not alone. For my own well-being I have been studying stress for years. Digging into why we experience stress, what it is, what effects it has on our sleep, our relationships and on our bodies and I have found some answers and a great deal of relief that I want to share with you.
This retreat is an opportunity to connect with your self on a deeper level, where you can nurture your own well-being and begin de-stressing and creating habits that will help you let go of needless stress.
If you are interested in unwinding and letting go to useless stress, please join me for this beautiful retreat. Part yoga, part breathing, part connecting, part massage and totally relaxing, I have a beautiful event planed for you.
Saturday, Feb 25
10 am - 1 pm
Just Breathe Yoga
Please register with your payment by venmo, cash or check. Attendance is limited.
Full disclosure, I am officially a senior citizen but I don't feel my chronological age. Thanks to a regular yoga practice I am fit and flexible and enjoy a very active retirement--kayaking, hiking and cross country skiing. My body, just like yours, keeps score. I have osteoporosis and cranky joints but I am usually first through the rapids and down the ski hill. I may be bringing up the rear on steep hills but I am out there with confidence thanks to yoga.
I practice yoga with people of all ages, body types and sizes. You can adapt yoga to fit you, not the other way around. Yoga is not about contorting your body into a pretzel, it's not a competition, it's about moving and breathing. It's about quieting your mind so you can listen to your body. It's about finding stability and ease and balance.
People tell me all the time they would like to try yoga but they are too something--too stiff, too tired, too busy, etc. Try listening to your body, I think it's trying to tell you to come to yoga. Stop listening to the voices in your head that don't see you as a yoga person, your head is full of stuff that doesn't make sense. Listen to your body and come practice with me and find out what yoga can do for you.
Never heard of sound meditation or sound bathing? It's pretty much just like it sounds, you just let your mind float on the the music as you are bathed in sound. Usually it's the sound of crystal bowls, brass singing bowls, drums, gongs, bells or a combination of any or all of these instruments.
At Just Breathe Yoga our events begin with a relaxing session of yin yoga to prepare your body and mind, getting you in tune for the sound bath. Then your job is to close your eyes and breathe while the music swirls around you.
We always close with an herbal tea and conversation for grounding, a time to discuss and share the experience.
If you are interested you can secure your space with payment. Venmo, cash or checks.
Clean Sweep Yoga & Sound Meditation
Friday, Nov 11
"Maybe getting on the mat is actually making a decision to embrace silence. First finding outer silence: no music, no talking, no chatter. When that choice is made, then we then have the opportunity to embrace our inner silence. This awakening to our inner silence happens because getting on the mat creates the space for our inner silence to arise."
Awareness: A home practice to enhance grounding and awareness
Sit cross-legged or on the front edge of a chair. Inhale, and slowly circle sweep your arms up. Bring your palms together over your head. Exhale, and draw your hands down into heart space. Repeat for 10 rounds.
2. Cat and Cow poses
Come onto your hands and knees. Exhale, press into your palms, drop your head, and curl your belly back toward your spine. Inhale, soften your belly as you reverse and move into cow pose, arching your back and bringing your heart up and forward looking up. Continue for 5-8 rounds. Initiate the movement from your pelvis.
3. Downward-Facing Dog pose, with a block, bolster or stack of blankets
This restorative variation allows you to release the weight of your head (literally and metaphorically). Release into child's pose, with your arms stretched out in front of you. Place your support (block, bolster, blanket stack) between your hands. Curl your toes under and push back and up into Down Dog and adjusting the block under your forehead. Make sure your neck is a soft extension of your spine, don't press your head on the block, just use it as a resting point. Close your eyes and stay for 10 breaths.
4. Plank pose to belly
Exhale as you release into plank. Hold your plank for 30 seconds, then slowly lower down to your tummy. The deep core work of this pose has a soothing and down-regulating effect on your nervous system.
5. Cobra pose
Think of a sailboat floating effortlessly up and down on gentle waves. Feel that slow rhythm as you inhale into Cobra Pose and exhale your forehead back down to the floor. Repeat 3-6 times, then press back to Down Dog.
From Down Dog, walk your hands back to a Standing Forward Fold. Move your feet as wide as your mat, turning your toes in slightly so the outside edges of your feet are parallel to each other. With your legs straight or a soft bend in your knees, drop your head. Hang here for 5-8 breaths.
6. Triangle pose
Inhale up and bring your feet back in so they are inline and under your hips. From standing, step your left leg back. Turn your left toes out pointing to the long side of your mat, orient yourself so that everything else is aligned with the long side of your mat, externally rotate your front leg, rolling your thigh muscle outward. Inhale, and open your arms. Exhale, and move from your pelvis, first extending forward and then down, aim your right hand for your block, shin or the floor. Let your back hip do whatever it wants (usually moving slightly forward rather than remaining rigidly stacked).
7. Half moon pose to standing forward fold, with a block or other support
From Triangle, bend your front knee over your middle toe, and shift forward. Bring a block with you to support your front hand, and extend your back leg parallel to the floor. After a few breaths, release the back leg down into a Standing Forward Fold and repeat triangle and half moon on the other side.
8.Malasana to Apanasa, garland squat to knees to chest
Stand in mountain pose with feet pointed outward or pointing to the top of your mat, inhale and circle sweep your arms up, palms together overhead, exhale moving hands into heart space and lowering into a deep squat. Pause and hold for 30 seconds and then lower into sitting. Hold your shins, and roll back onto your back. Rotate your knees in small circles to release your sacrum and lower back.
9. Bridge pose, with a block, bolster or rolled up blanket
Lie on your back, bend your knees, placing your heels near your bottom, turn your toes in slightly and align your hands, palms down along side your body. Inhale and lift your hips up into Bridge. Hold for 5 breaths. Roll down, and repeat 2 more times. On the third round, place a block or other support under your sacrum. Close your eyes, and rest for as long as you’d like. Remove the block, and slowly roll down.
10. Corpse pose
This is yoga’s most powerful pose. It is an opportunity to move away from the constant activity of your waking life, let go of control, and taste the deeply satisfying state of pratyahara, or sense withdrawal. Your body already knows how to relax; all you need to do is set a timer for 5-20 minutes and receive the joy of Savasana.
Yogi, instructor, seeker