Do Yoga! Easy as 1-2-3!

July 20, 2010 § 35 Comments

Or simple as do-re-mi
A-B-C, 1-2-3, baby you and me, girl

Yes, everyone can do yoga, even if you are the most inflexible person on the face of the planet. My favorite pose out of thousands of yoga poses is easily this:

Savasana
Corpse Pose
(shah-VAHS-anna)

Savasana is a pose of total relaxation, in which your body is in the most natural and neutral position.Β It is mostly used at the end of a yoga practice for the body to relax its muscles after usage and for the mind to savor the blissful moments of yoga. In our high-stress, fast-paced world today, everybody needs a little savasana now and then.

Benefits:

  • Calms the mind and eases stress
  • Relaxes the body
  • Reduces headaches, fatigue, and insomnia
  • Helps lower high blood pressure

Well, it definitely is not called “corpse pose” for no reason! In this position, you should be as limp as a dead person, your breath so still that you can barely hear it yourself, and your muscles so relaxed that you feel like your entire body is sinking to the floor beneath you.

How to:

  1. Lie down on a comfortable spot (duh). Make sure you got plenty of space around you so you don’t feel cramped.
  2. Check the alignment of your body. Make sure your legs are angled evenly in respect to the mid-line of your body, and let your feet fall naturally to either sides. Your pelvis should be resting lightly on the floor. With your hands, lift the the base of the skull away from your neck and and release the back of your neck towards your tailbone (you can use a folded towel to support your neck too).
  3. Let your shoulders, arms, and back relax. Imagine yourself sinking. If it helps, reach your arms toward the ceiling, perpendicular to the floor, to help broaden your back and shoulders. Then release back down. Rest the back of your hands gently on the floor and release any tension.

[Source: http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/482%5D

As simple as this pose may seem, it is harder than you thought. Sure, all you are doing really is lying on the floor in some sort of spread-eagle style, but willing your body for total relaxation is not such an easy task. After years and years of practice, I still struggle with Savasana. Sometimes my mind will be racing, thinking about what to wear for the day, what to eat for breakfast, and going through my mental to-do list. Sometimes my muscles are still contracting, subconsciously.

However, over the years I have developed a mental checklist before I delve into Savasana.

Step 1: After you’ve lied down on your back (as described above) and aligned yourself, take a few deep breaths. Inhale into your tummy, and exhale through your mouth. With each exhale imagine the tension and stress being released from your body.

Step 2: Starting from the top of your head, scan your body mentally to make sure every inch of you is relaxed.This is where it gets interesting, because what you think is a “relaxed” state isn’t really. Soften your forehead, your eyebrows, the root of your tongue, the wings of your nose, the channels of your inner ears, and the skin on your face. Let your eyeballs sink towards the back of your head, and give in entirely to gravity.

Step 3: Clear your mind as if you’re about to enter a deep slumber. But don’t fall asleep! It’s a tough trick to achieve the balance between falling asleep and maintaining an awaken mind. If thoughts arise in your head, don’t force it away. Instead, observe it as if you’re an outsider, and watch it subside. You’ll find that your thoughts are really like waves. They come and go, some large some small.

I like to do a little 5-min Savasana before I go to bed each night. Not only does it help me relax my entire body, it sort of “prepares” me for bed. Something like a “transition” from being awake to going to sleep. It tells my mind and body that it’s that time of the day to rest. I’m generally a very light sleeper, and I find that this little exercise before bed helps me fall into a deeper slumber 100% better! If I don’t do this pre-bed ritual, I’ll fall asleep but not be as rested.

+ Do you have a “pre-bed ritual” that you like to do?

After my Savasana of the morning, which follow my yoga practice, I needed some refueling to tackle the day. I’m glad to announce that Ms. Buddha Bowl is back! πŸ˜€

It’s a yogurt-cottage cheese banana soft-serve fruit bowl with french toast waffle sticks! Whew, long name. Okay, so from bottom to top:

  • ~ 2 tbsp plain nonfat yogurt (all that I had left 😦
  • 1/3 cup cottage cheese
  • banana soft-serve using 3/4 of a medium banana
  • sliced fresh strawberries and fresh blueberries
  • French toast waffle sticks

For the french-toast waffle sticks I used Van’s Wheat free/Gluten free Blueberry Waffles. I cut them into strips and dunked them into an egg white mixture of about 1/4 cup egg whites, cinnamon, vanilla, and a splash of almond milk. I cooked them on a pan sprayed with butter spray till crispy and browned. Yumyumyum! πŸ˜€

The banana soft-serve + cottage cheese + yogurt combo made the perfect dipping sauce for the french toast waffle sticks!

I don’t usually take pictures of my lunch, since they’re usually leftovers from the night before. When I do have interesting lunches I always share! But for now…

Hi, my name is Elaine and I’m addicted to jam + cheese sandwiches.

I was totally going to make a kick-butt dinner tonight, but I got home late and my laziness settled in. I usually just want to whip up something quick ‘n’ easy when the clock is ticking close to 7 o’clock.

+ Do you have a time that is “too late” to make fancy dinner that requires alot of assembly, chopping, standing by the stove, etc?

Needless to say, roasted broccoli is the staple quickie dinner veggie (for me at least).

I also had some more leftover roasted butternut squash.

But what made the dinner interesting was this:

Some sort of eggplant roll-up? So I got the idea of rolling up eggplant from Jenny (who is a big MJ fan btw :-)). I wanted to roast some eggplant. But I also wanted to eat the tempeh I got last weekend. I also didn’t want cheese.

Please don’t judge me. I don’t know where I got the crazy lady idea of rolling the eggplant with tempeh.

I cut up some TJ’s 3 grain tempeh into bite-sized chunks and microwaved them till warm. I then put one little chunk in the middle of each slice of roasted eggplant, topped with TJ’s Garlic Marinara sauce, and rolled them up with more marinara sauce on top. Oh, and don’t forget that my dinner was doused in nutritional yeast.

Like I was saying, please don’t judge me. It was delish and satisfied my “tempeh-tooth.” I must admit that the first time I tried tempeh I was slightly taken aback by its pungent flavor. But I’ve come to love it! I love the grainy texture and the slightly nutty taste. It’s filling and high in protein too!

Before I go, I’ll leave you with this:

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with some crispy green seedless grapes.

Ciao~ πŸ˜€

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Om Shanti

June 4, 2010 § 6 Comments

And no, I do not mean that by the Bollywood film “Om Shanti Om.”

The Aum (Om)– Hindu


“Charged with religious energy, this most sacred of Sanskrit syllables is often articulated at beginning and end of recitations and prayers.”

True, I usually start my morning yoga practices with Om. It reminds me that for the next 1.5 hours or so, my mind is focused on my practice and not thinking: “Oh I wonder what I should have for breakfast..” or “What should I do after work today? Maybe bake some cookies?” I also end my practice by thanking the spirits/gods/supernatural beings/Mother Earth for giving me the energy that day to guide me through my practice, for having yoga in my life, for letting yoga guide me through calmly through the weathers and storms of life, and for the wonderful people I have around me.

And then lastly, I close with Om shanti shanti shanti, which literally means Om peace, peace peace. What I usually do is that on the first shanti, I imagein myself filled with a peaceful energy. On the second shanti, I imagine that energy spreading to my family, friends, and those I know. Lastly, on the third shanti, I see in my mind that same energy disperse to everyone living on this planet, for we are all born and raised by Mother Earth.

I truly enjoy my morning yoga practices because I just love the feeling of doing Sun Salutations to the rising sun. And then when I finish my practice with Savasana (corpse porse), the sun has fully risen and the chirping of birds are like music to my ears while I lay on my mat. Ahhh…the beauty of morning practices πŸ™‚

Anyways, so last night I had a spontaneous creation involving tempeh. I am still perfecting the recipe but what I would tell you is that it involved maple syrup, cinnamon, and sunbutter. I simply marinated raw TJ’s 3-Grain tempeh in that sauce for about an hour or so, flipping in between. Then I sauteed the marinated tempeh in a skillet lightly coated with cooking spray.

This morning, I created this sandwich to pack for my lunch:

Kind of looks like nuggets don’t it? The sandwich component was Multigrain Sandwich Thins, a bed of arugula, maple-cinnamon-sunbutter tempeh (gotta think of a new name for that too), and lastly a few slices of Harvarti cheese. I microwaved the sandwich at work today so that the sandwich thins were slightly warmed and the cheese slightly melted.

HOLY YUM! This was TO DIE FOR! Trust me. This combination may seem a little absurd at first, but cooking is all about experimenting right? Like Allie, I found this combo weird but YUMMILICIOUS! πŸ˜€

Today’s dinner was a lazy almost no-cook dinner, featuring Amy’s Pesto Pizza.

On the side I served steamed broccoli, which was tossed with some olive oil, lemon juice, and Spike Vegetable Seasoning.

I had 1/4 of the pizza and lots o’ broccoli! I was saving my stomach for the dessert I’m about to share with you guys!

It all started this morning, when I was craving some sort of strawberry frozen yogurt. Again, I’m still experimenting. My first batch this morning was kind of too runny, almost like strawberry kefir. So tonight, I added some xanthum gum to thicken the grub up. In the food processor went frozen strawberries, plain nonfat yogurt (may try Greek yogurt), honey, xanthum gum. The results? Take a look.

Better, but still not perfect. I might throw in a handful of ice next time. This totally tamed my frozen yogurt craving earlier though!

Tonight is a night of bumming around and vegging out! Sometimes I just like quiet Friday evenings for relaxation!

—————————

+ Are you a fan of Bollywood films? Which ones have you seen? I’ve seen a few here and there. All I can say is that they’re kind of ridiculous, but sort of fun to watch. πŸ™‚

+ Frozen dinners/meals–love it or hate it? I’ve tried a few Amy’s Kitchen products and so far I’ve been pretty impressed! They’re all organic and don’t taste like airplane food. They’re kind of pricey though, so I only get them once in awhile.

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