This past weekend marked my second month of yoga teacher training. Words can’t describe.
Here are my takeaways:
- How you show up on your yoga mat is a reflection of how you show up in the world. Most days, on my mat, I challenge myself to push a little further and go a little deeper. I put a lot of pressure on myself to “please” the teacher. Comparison creeps in and I look at others to reinforce that I’m doing it “right”. This is often how I show up in my own life. My intention I’ve set for myself is one of loving acceptance, of being satisfied in the present moment with whatever it is I bring to the table. There are some days where “going a little deeper” just doesn’t serve us. Those are the days when being gentle and compassionate with ourselves is exactly what we need. Yoga has taught me to listen to my body and honor it, stop judging it.
- There is no perfect pose, there is no final destination. I’ve often said to myself “I’ll feel ____ when I get ____”. I’ll be satisfied when we move into a bigger house. I’ll be stable when I get that promotion. Well, no. Things don’t end whether you get to X or not. Warrior II looks different for everyone. Work on progress; because you’re idea of the destination is going to change ten-fold and there is no finish line in life.
- It’s okay if I’m vulnerable. By being vulnerable, we give ourselves the opportunity to take productive risks. On the mat that may look like going into an inversion, knowing I might topple over, but letting myself do it anyways. In life it may be going on that interview you’re scared shitless of and feel totally unqualified for. You may fall, but what if you fly?
- Alignment matters. Focus on alignment and you’ll feel an awakening within your body and in your poses. Align your actions with your values and you can drop the guilt game and feel some peace within yourself.
- Find ease in the discomfort. Embrace that shake in your legs when you’ve sat in chair pose (Utkatasana) for too long. Life is unpredictable. It has ups and downs and there will be many points where we feel some form of discomfort. Find the ease in it, allow yourself to sit with it, it will pass.
Explore what comes up for you throughout your practice, because that’s what yoga and life is. It’s a practice, it’s not a destination and it’s certainly not something to perfect.
:: Namaste ::
This isn’t a food blog. But sometimes it thinks it is. Especially on cold, snowy days where nothing beats the feeling of hanging out in the kitchen with something comforting, warm and steamy (you dirty mind, you) . What’s up with New England winter being nonexistent until two weeks ago? Not that I mind; we’ve never really been “snow” people and I forgot to get E a snowsuit this year which resulted in her wearing 4 pairs of leggings and her rain boots only to soak through within 10 minutes. I’ll be more prepared next year.
C was sick a couple weeks back and only recently got his appetite back; I know because he housed 2 bowls of this. And E ate it. Somedays she hates everything so this was a total win. This super easy one pot dish is great to divide and pack for lunch during the week. Makes a relatively quick work night dinner or freeze it for later. It’s paleo, Whole 30 approved (just leave out the peas if you want, but I think they’re yummy), packed with veggies and super comforting. And it makes your house smell like tikka masala if you’re into that, which we totally are.
I forgot to take pictures while the sun was up, and now that it’s dark there’s no taking a good photo; plus we ate most of it. So much for those lunches. #fail
Trust me. This is a keeper! And my next go-around I’ll throw some pics up. In the meantime here are some stock photos of pretty spices that kind of have something to do with my post but not really. Keeping it real.
Coconut Chicken Curry
- 2 chicken breasts cubed (or boneless, skinless thighs)
- 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 c organic chicken stock (no sugar added)
- 2 tbs healthy fat - olive oil or coconut oil
- 1 tbs curry powder
- 1 tbs garam masala
- 1 c diced carrots
- 1 onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 c potatoes, cubed (I used fingerling and they were velveety & amazing)
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 1/4 c frozen peas (leave out for paleo adaptation)
- S & P
- In a dutch oven or similar thick bottom pot, add oil and heat over medium-high heat
- Add curry & garam masala and stir until fragrant and toasty
- Add onion and cook until soft 2-3 minutes
- Add diced chicken (extra oil if needed) and generously salt and pepper
- Add garlic when chicken is about halfway done
- Cook chicken approx 5-7 minutes until cooked through; this will depend on size of cubes
- Open the can of coconut milk; you'll probably have a thick solid layer of the cream. This is the good stuff.
- Scoop out that cream and throw in the pot along with the tomato sauce - stir
- Add chicken broth
- Throw in the potatoes and carrots, mix it up real nice and taste the broth to see if you want to add more spice or if it's all good the way it is
- Bring the whole thing to a boil then lower and simmer approx 20 minutes or until veggies are super tender
- Add frozen peas at the end
- We chose to eat it as is in giant cereal bowls, but feel free to serve over rice or with naan to scoop up all that awesome sauce.
Marianne Silva http://www.mariannesilva.com/
I just had to.
I’m a total freak on weekends. My mind has too much time to race around and it ends up leaving me obnoxiously indecisive about everything [[ we had dinner at 9pm last night ]]. Although the time would be well spent if I was binge watching Netflix, I get it, I can’t do that on the regular.
But they’re my favorite because it means the best breakfast, making a mess of my kitchen, and not having to rush to clean it. Most weeks I end up with a stash of veggies that never got used and now they’re wilting in the back of my fridge. I know you know how that goes. One day I decided to throw them all together in a skillet, top with eggs, hot sauce and avocado, and yes. Then it continued, each week making something oddly familiar but a little different. So do this. You’ll thank me.
This recipe is totally adaptable, you can make it paleo or not. Add some cheese and serve with toast. No judgments. Because sometimes we eat paleo, sometimes we eat giant cheeseburgers.
Ideally you just add whatever’s been squatting for a little too long so you don’t have to throw it out. I’ve added spinach, diced zucchini, grape tomatoes, black beans, corn… get creative! And then let me know how it went.
Paleo Breakfast Skillet
- 1 red potato, diced into small chunks
- 1/2 chopped onion
- 1/2 chopped pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 chicken and apple sausage (Aidell's is paleo & Whole 30 approved!) or a few slices of crumbled bacon
- 2 or 3 eggs (depending on serving size)
- 1/2 avocado
- 3/4 cup shredded Brussel sprouts
- olive oil (not that EVOO garbage, pref. cold pressed)
- 1/2 tsp herbs de provence, or more if you're addicted like me, or rosemary and thyme if that's what you have on hand
- Franks Red Hot sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large oven-proof skillet. Add the potato and herbs de provence and cook until potatoes soften and begin to brown. Throw in the onion and chicken sausage and cook until onion begins to soften. Stir in the red pepper (or green or whatever color you have on hand) and garlic and cook for another minute or two. Salt and pepper to taste. At this point the potatoes should be starting to crisp up. Add olive oil at any point if it begins looking too dry, this will also help the potatoes get crispy because that's really important. If I had it my way the whole thing would be burnt. Throw in the brussel sprouts cook for 2 minutes or so depending on how thick they are sliced. Take the hot sauce and add a few dashes, or just pour it like I do and stir the whole thing up.
- Crack the eggs right over the skillet and throw the whole thing in the oven at 350 until eggs are set - or - fry eggs separately and put on top
- Top with avocado !
Marianne Silva http://www.mariannesilva.com/
First weekend of yoga 200RYT training done.
And my final thoughts were, really, why can’t I do this every weekend?
It’s like vacation.
I could probably write on and on about the experience and so many different lessons were passed on this weekend, but a small few really stuck. Somewhere towards the beginning of the weekend, our instructor said, “approach it with curiosity”. I’ve since forgot what the “it” was pertaining to, but moving forward I really think the “it” can be whatever we want it to be. In therapy, this approach of always being curious, is so pertinent to the work we do. Because a person is more than their problems and I want to see beyond the presenting issue.
But think about how widely applicable this simple lesson is?
What would life look life if we approached any or all situations with curiosity? The simple act of doing this would eliminate judgment and encourage understanding. Because when I’m curious about something, I’m seeking to understand it, I want to know more and search for what I’m missing. We can also be more curious about ourselves, about what is driving a certain emotion or thought. Sometimes I’ll feel some envy or start noticing that I’m getting all hung up on everyone else’s shit, and then judge myself – “I’m being ungrateful… there’s something wrong with me because I keep having these thoughts…”. But if I could step back and be a little curious about why I’m feeling what I feel, I’d probably realize that it might be me recognizing something that I want which can then be motivation to get my act together and start making it happen.
It’s a shift. A simple shift of perspective.
Whenever we feel a negative emotion it’s a sign to check it out, not beat ourselves up about it, but to explore what’s going on. Sometimes that emotion might be a sign that we need to be a little more gentler with ourselves. This is exactly what’s taught in our yoga practice. Pay attention to your body, be curious, go a little deeper if it feels right or be gentle to yourself when you need it. And it’s all good.
Creating a vision board with your little ones is a stellar way to encourage beautiful discussion, creativity and intention setting for the upcoming year. The other night E and I broke out the Modge Podge and got cutting.
What is a vision board?
Easy. It’s a collection of images/phrases/objects that represent how you want to feel, be and do in the upcoming year. It’s about setting intentions & goals. So, if I put an image a bright, fluffy peony on my board, it’s not because I want more peonies in my life [but hey, that’d be pretty cool], it’s because I feel fresh, vibrant and happy when I have a fresh-cut bouquet in my kitchen and I want to create more of that in my life. It likely represents that my work is flourishing because I can afford to have fresh-cut flowers for no other reason then they make me feel good. I might also put a photo of a vacation spot because I want to build memories with my family, or images that represent health and wellness.
The focus should be on creating a visual representation of what it is you want to accomplish. Figure out what your goals are for the year & write them down! If you know your outcome you are more likely to achieve it and work through the steps it takes to get you there. When your intention is set on where you want to be in life, the vision board acts as a way to reinforce behaviors that will lead you closer to that place. So put it where you will see it everyday!
This was a great activity to do with E. As she cut out images, we talked about what each one meant to her. Some were funny and cute, like the dog because she always feels playful around dogs [seriously, the girl that screamed death around a dog?] and wants more of that. She also put boss lady because, simply, she’s awesome and is coming into her own independence.
As a mom to an almost-tween girl, candid conversations are less frequent & I’m not as “cool” as I used to be. When kids are busy creating, the conversation just flows and this was a great way to connect with her.
Here are some links that talk more about vision boards, what they’re about and how to get one started! Enjoy!
The Reason Vision Boards Work and How to Make One
Christine Kane on how to make a vision board
Dr. Martha Beck on Oprah Network on creating a dream board
“Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait, and wait without anxiety” – A Course in Miracles
I began my relationship with yoga 8 years ago.
I remember my first time walking into a hot yoga studio in New Haven. I was nervous, didn’t know what on earth I was doing, but that I needed some serious grounding. When I left my legs and arms were literally shaking, but there was a new lightness in my heart I hadn’t felt in so long. I’ve tried (literally) almost every workout, hobby, interest, blah blah, out there. But this was different. It wasn’t just about moving my body and feeling like this was a great workout (however, it’s a major bonus). It was a lifestyle that aligned perfectly with how I wanted to be in the world. Over the past 8 years my practice has waxed and waned; sometimes I can hold a handstand like a champ (thanks gymnastics) sometimes I smash my face into the ground (thanks ice cream & wine). But when I return to the mat, I feel home.
And then I learned about yoga and therapy. Wait… what?
I remember learning about the yoga prison project back in my undergrad program. And thought.. I can do this?!?
And then I forgot about that. Life went on and I was lucky if I could carve out 2 hours a week to get to a studio (thanks Yogaglo). Two years ago I found a local studio (thanks Erica) that felt like the right fit. If you’ve ever been to multiple studios you might know what I’m talking about – some places just didn’t vibe.
This past year has been all about GROWTH, leaning into fears, doing things before I feel ready and just not giving a f***. So I figured, why not add one more thing?
So I did.
In two weeks I’ll begin the 200 hour RYT course! And continue my work at the VA, build my practice, raise two kids, love my friends, family & M, and smile. And laugh, and cry and probably throw something across my kitchen because I’m so frustrated. But then I’ll be able to use yoga in my daily work and spread its healing magic all over because it’s just that good. And it will take a year, which seems so long. But it’s all good.
Because I’m certain of the outcome.
As the days get shorter, colder, and darker, without fail, I notice myself slipping. If it snows once, great, if it snows 3x a week I want to curl up in a ball and hide. So here’s a collection of some things that I hope can help you bust through your winter blues !
– This Kate Spade planner for all my type As. Yes ! January means we get to start over with a crisp new planner. Get on it.
– Katie Dalebout’s blog, The Wellness Wonderland for some daily inspiration, super pretty graphics, and connection with other like-minded women.
– Bacon blue cheese mashed potato waffles. Make these now !
– Pull the kids off your ankles and occupy some time with these creative, easy & cheap winter activities.
– Make a funfetti sugar cookie house because.. yes.
– Practice gratitude. I can’t say it enough. It has the power to change your brain structure (WHOA) and if you don’t believe me check this article out.
– Lastly, get up and move. Get those endorphins pumping. Get moving for the purpose of FEELING GOOD and ONLY that purpose. It’s not about calories, weight or size. This is my absolute favorite online yoga studio and you can snag a 2-wk free trial.
Have a happy, healthy and inspired holiday !
Today I want to bust a belief. A misconception. Something I feel holds us as empowered women back vs. elevate us further.
Who’s heard some variation of the phrase “You can do it all. Career, family, it’s the modern world” ?
I have. And I believed it and instilled it in me. Because absolutely I wanted it all. And who the hell was going to tell me I couldn’t.
But two kids came, a career and blossoming business, student loans, mortgage, dirty dishes, you know.. life happened. And before I knew it I was trying to get ready for work and my kid smeared his greasy avocado hands all over my leg. Thanks C.
I’ve embraced this belief that perfection is impossible. When you strive for perfection, when you strive to “do it all” you will inevitably fall. And then beat yourself up, which often leads to a whole host of other self-harm behaviors (I’m notorious for eating a whole pint of B&J and hiding it in the garbage).
We live in this world where “mommy wars” are showing up everywhere -in schools, our FB feed, magazines.. bottle vs. breast, cloth vs. disposable, co-sleeping or crib, work FT v. SAHM v. WAHM.. It’s so much pressure ((not to mention acronyms to keep up with)). As a full-time working mom of two, I need to know that my progress is more important than perfection. The act of trying to balance everything and portray this “I got it all together, I make having a career and family look good” is exhausting. But if we can make small shifts in how we think about this responsibility imagine the shift in how we feel and manage the work. If we are striving for perfection, every mishap at home or in our professional life will sound like “I’m a failure”. If we are striving for progress a mistake sounds like “I wish things happened differently; let me ask my [friend, co-worker, partner] to help out” -or- “Maybe this is a sign I need to slow down.” When my actions are being led with these thoughts my work improves in all domains of my life. Maybe this means hiring someone to help with the cleaning at home, not taking on the extra project at the expense of being swallowed in stress, or ::gasp:: leaving the dirty dishes in the sink all night.
I can’t do it all and I sure as hell don’t want to.
Life gets busy.
Things get pushed aside, “saved for later”, and let’s face it, these things are often the most essential for our well being. How many times have you reflected on your day and got stuck on all the things you didn’t do vs. all that you did?
That’s where I’ve been stuck lately. Over the last 6 months or so I’ve developed some stellar plans on what I want my career, family and lifestyle to look like. When it comes to goal setting, I can can create a killer “treatment plan” for myself. Then I freeze. I begin a project, just to get hung up on one detail that curbsides the whole thing. I believe wholeheartedly that our greatest strengths are often our biggest weaknesses, but also weakness can be a strength! I am extremely self-critical. Often this leads to me getting wrapped up in negative self-talk, zero self-care, and an all-around lack of compassion for myself. Sounds awful just writing it! I would NEVER want a client of mine to engage in this behavior. But then… I realize self criticism is way more than putting energy to one’s faults or weaknesses. It’s about being away of your beliefs, thoughts, and actions. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. The more self aware I am, the more I know what I want and the more I recognize what steps I need to get there. It’s all about perspective.
For that I am grateful. I can come from a place where it’s not about what I didn’t do or what I wish I had done. It’s putting my energy towards those things I did do. No matter how small. Being able to prepare a meal for my family, staying fully present while sitting through a difficult session, hell, even just remembering to put on deodorant before leaving the house.
What can you reflect on today, in this moment? What happened today that reflects living the kind of life you want to live and what can you do tomorrow to keep the momentum going?