"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.
What is yogassage? Easy, yoga + massage and it's the hottest thing trending in the yoga world right now. Yogassage is simply combining yoga movement with simple massage. Much of the massage can done by yourself--that's the self-care aspect. And the rest of the work is offered by a partner, friend or teacher, someone who can access places you can't reach.
So many of us come to yoga to quiet our minds and restore our bodies, and have found the relief in breathing and movement, this just takes yoga to a new level. When we connect with our breath and begin to relax and lengthen our over used muscles we are in the perfect state to receive and really benefit from massage. It's the cherry on top!
This cacciatore is a classic in my kitchen and an excellent meal for cold weather days. Cacciatore is the Italian word for "hunters" so this is hunters' chicken, a hearty rich dish to feed hungry hunters after a chilly day in the woods. I enjoy cooking this on the weekends, filling the house with the smell of simmering herbs, onions and tomatoes. It's a big recipe that will feed 4-6 people, just add enough chicken thighs for each serving, unless you are going vegetarian. (Honestly, I can't decide whether I like the classic chicken cacciatore or the vegetarian version. They are both so flavorful.) This recipe is enough for two supper meals and a lunch too--like many saucy dishes it just gets better each day.
Chicken Cacciatore with Polenta
2 TB EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 onion, peeled and diced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
8 oz mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp fennel seed
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
2 TB tomato paste
2 cans of diced tomatoes in juice
2 TB EVOO
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
2 TB flour
Salt and pepper
3 c chicken stock or water
1 c milk
½ tsp salt
1 c corn meal (I like course meal, but the Italiani prefer fine meal)
1 TB butter
¼ c grated parmesan cheese
Film the bottom of a large heavy bottomed cooking pot, I use an enamel covered Dutch oven, with the oil over medium high heat. When the oil is shiny, that means it’s hot, add the onions with a pinch of salt and cook for 3 min, until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and the mushrooms with a pinch of salt and cook for 3 min. Add the peppers and a pinch of salt (each time I add vegetables to a dish I season them with salt so that everything in the dish is evenly seasoned) and cook for 3 min. Add the herbs and stir them in, cook for about 1 min until they begin to release their scents and make a hot spot in the center of the pan and add the tomato paste. Let the paste cook without stirring for a minute allowing it to caramelize and then add the tomatoes and their juices. Stir and bring it to the boil. As soon as it begins to boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer.
*If you are cooking vegetarian, skip the chicken part obviously and make your polenta with water and milk if you wish, or just water.
While you are waiting for the sauce to boil you can begin the chicken. Over medium high heat film the bottom of a non-stick saute pan. Dredge the thighs in flour, shaking off any excess and put them in the oil, season with salt and pepper. Cook 3 min on each side. They will just be golden brown but not cooked through. Remove them from the heat and place them in the sauce, it should be gently simmering by now. Place a lid on the pot and simmer for 15 min or until the chicken is cooked through, it will be tender, no need for a knife.
If you do not like polenta, cacciatore is excellent over egg noodles or any other type of pasta, but if you want a winter treat, I suggest polenta. Polenta is super easy, just know that for the next 10 min or so you cannot leave the kitchen.
Place a large, heavy bottomed pot on the stove over med high heat and add the stock and milk and then add the corn meal, stirring it in with a whisk—ta da—no lumps! Now just keep stirring until you see steam beginning to rise and you can feel the polenta taking shape, it will begin to thicken. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting on the smallest burner and continue stirring. As the polenta thickens it will begin to resemble a golden pudding, when it is the consistency of a thick yogurt or like cream of wheat, remove it from the heat. It will continue to cook and thicken so don’t be too concerned if it is a little lose. Add the butter and parmesan cheese, stirring it in as it melts. Taste and season with salt if needed.
To serve the cacciatore make a medium (polenta is very rich) mound in the center of a warmed plate or large open bowl, add a chicken thigh and ladle on the sauce. Add a little parmesan cheese and enjoy. Buon appetito!
We are celebrating our 12th year of building the yoga community in Blackfoot with special classes and events throughout the month of October. So here's the back story:
In 2007 I saw a flyer for free yoga for the month of October at the community center and joined about twenty other enthusiastic yogis. The teacher, Larinda, was great, the yoga was great, the setting was dismal, but hey, we were doing yoga. At the end of the month we asked Larinda if the classes would continue. Little did we know that the free classes were a required component of her very first training and Just Breathe Yoga was born.
Classes continued and our yoga community began to grow and strengthen.
During the first several years Larinda pursued her yoga training, traveling throughout the country for weekend trainings, while attending school during the week. After reaching her first goal in 2012, graduating with her 200-hour RYT. Larinda asked me to teach on occasion to allow her more time to focus on school. In 2014 I completed my yoga training in India. And now in her own words…Larinda was thrilled. She knew Just Breathe Yoga was in good hands and turned the business over to me so she could finish her engineering degree. Which she did with honors!
In twelve years, we have practiced in many different locations, a community center, a dance studio, an art gallery, a salon/photo studio and in a tiny studio in a behavioral health clinic, before we built our forever home here on the farm. We have grown from one teacher, one class a week to classes five days a week with three different teachers. And, in true yoga tradition, every teacher here began as a student at Just Breathe Yoga.
Chakra Alignment & Crystal Sound BatheFriday, Oct 4, 7 pm$10, pre-payment and register required
After a special yoga session activating and invigorating your chakras, the seven energy centers along your spine, Kebbie Williams will play her crystal bowls, washing sweet sound vibrations over your mind, body and soul. Herbal teas in chakras red, yellow and blue, for after.
Henna Hen PartyFriday, Oct 18, 7 pm$20, pre-payment and registration required
Katelyn Pincock of Cortlyn Creations will be in the house to cover you in henna tattoos. Henna is a natural dye, used for centuries to create temporary tattoos. You can see some of her work here: cortlyn creations
This is an evening for celebrating and socializing, communing with your yoga community. We’ll provide drinks and desserts and you are welcome to bring something to share, but do not feel obligated.
Yoga for the Office by LarindaTuesday, Oct 22, 7 pm
If you work in an office setting and are bound to a desk every day this class is for you. Our founder, Larinda, who now rides a desk, has created a series of short vinyasas to yoga-up long days at work. Each mini flow works and lengthens tight muscles and re-energizes your body.
Just Breathe Yoga HoodiesDon’t forget to order your very own super cool Just Breathe Yoga hoodie. Deep charcoal, cotton/poly blend hoodies with our very own yoga-licious logo in S, M, LRG & EXLRG. $25, zippered hoodies $27. Sign-up sheet in studio.
Yogi, instructor, seeker