10,000 Vinyasas

Archive for August, 2011

The Return To Practice…

by on Aug.28, 2011, under Acro Yoga, teaching, Yoga, Yoga injuries, Yoga practice

Well, I was kind of joking a few posts ago about the “sweatiest practice ever,” but I think yesterday’s return to my Saturday led Primary Series really was, in fact, if not the sweatiest, then certainly up in the top three. Also noted that this practice was done on perhaps the hottest day of the year here. At any rate, brought one of my students along to help him experience a different teacher and environment; he acquitted himself well.  My shoulder has almost completely healed, and I did not aggravate it yesterday by jumping back (I am doing this with more awareness now, so I think we can continue without fear of further injury). I had missed the led Primary class quite a bit, and despite some normal difficulties, got through it with a sense of serenity and peacefulness.  Looking forward to getting back into more practice, although I may have to attend to my “other” job more than usual this week. In other news, I have picked up a new class at the gym on Saturday mornings, and am scheduled to sub for a teacher at the gymnastics center not far from the house.  Acro has been going well, also (pictures to be posted).

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A Serious Injury

by on Aug.12, 2011, under Acro Yoga, teaching, Yoga, Yoga injuries, Yoga practice

I have noticed, probably without thinking much about it, that I have recently developed a weakness in my left shoulder, manifesting itself in pain when jumping back into chaturanga.  When we resumed acro-yoga this week, I was doing a kickover when I felt a searing pain in the front of the shoulder.  I immediately attended to it, and was actually able to do a regular practice of handstands, but the pain has really prevented me from doing my usual yoga practice, and in some of the classes I’ve taught this week, I most obviously cannot jump back in the normal manner. I discovered today that one of the issues was my left hand coming slightly off the floor when jumping back, and consciously planting that hand eliminated the pain. Further healing seems necessary, though, and I have decided to forgo my usual led Primary Series tomorrow and Mysore practice on Sunday.  I can do some of my personal practice without straining the shoulder, and my teaching job at the gym enables me to take some rehabilitation without cost, so I have an appointment Monday for some of that. It’s a little discouraging, but I do have a history of using injuries in a positive way, to develop other skills or parts of my body. For acro specifically, we are working on extending my handstands by quite a bit, and that is developing my endurance.  I am also emphasizing more of my splits, which are already almost developed, but need a little extra attention.  It was kind of upsetting to have to teach in pain this morning after I strained the shoulder again (couldn’t help demonstrating something I shouldn’t), but I do think acro-yoga does slightly help the injury, since the alignment is fixed and the shoulder is worked in that position. Sorry to be so self-centered in this post, but I think it’s valuable to record some of my responses to adversity in addition to the positive ones (which, by the way, outnumber the negative exponentially).

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Teaching Cues We Love

by on Aug.02, 2011, under teaching, Yoga, Yoga practice

Following a improvisational vinyasa class last week, and hearing an unfamiliar and startling cue, I started thinking about how as yoga teachers, we try to find new ways of inspiring our students to go deeper in their practice or into a particular pose. As yoga students, I am sure we are all familiar with the “aha!” moments when a teacher says just the right thing to help you find your way into a pose, or you leave practice thinking more about some spiritual aspect of yoga that was mentioned. At this point, I thought I would throw the floor open for helpful or inspiring cues that you’ve heard, or used yourself. You can attribute these, or not. I’ll start with a few:

On poses:

“take it to wherever it goes”–Ken Willian

“don’t hurry”–Lisa Long

“no forcing”–Ana Hollis

“surrender to the pose”–unknown (or, mine)

On the breath:

“let me hear you breathing”–Lisa Long

“soften your breath”–Ana Hollis

“without the breath, yoga is just exercise. With the breath, it becomes something else.”—mine

And one of my all-time favorites:

“I just make this crap up”–Meg Stecher

And here’s an original one from me: “some of my language is aspirational”

Now, let’s open the floor to readers…any takers?

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Adventures With Kamut

by on Aug.01, 2011, under Cooking, food, Kitchen, recipes

I stumbled across this ancient grain a few weeks ago, and liked the taste of the salad made with it, so I got some and last night made a delicious meal of it, using the following recipe for an outline:

Wilted Spinach Salad with Kamut and Sauteed Vegetables


* 1 cup uncooked kamut, soaked overnight in cold water
* 3 cups fresh baby spinach
* 1 medium red onion, sliced 1/4″
* 3/4 lb yellow squash, sliced 1/4″
* 8 oz mushrooms, sliced thinly
* 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
* 1/4 cup cubed Pecorino Romano
* 6 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
* 1 red pear, cored and sliced thinly
* 2 tsp Kosher salt
* fresh ground pepper to taste
* 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to saute
* 2-3 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar


1. Place the kamut in 4 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 50-60 minutes. Drain and allow to cool slightly at room temperature.
2. Place the sliced squash in a medium bowl and toss with 1 tsp kosher salt. Allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. This will draw out much of the water which would otherwise prevent the squash from caramelizing. Drain the squash and pat dry.
3. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauteuse over medium heat. Add the squash and saute for about two minutes until one side begins to brown, turn over and saute the other side for an additional two minutes, or until lightly brown. Remove from pan and set aside in a large bowl (you will build your salad in this bowl).
4. Add the sliced onion to the pan and saute until it begins to caramelize. Remove from pan and set aside with the squash.
5. Repeat step 4 with the garlic. Reduce the heat slightly.
6. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the sliced mushroom and stir in pan for one minute. Add one tablespoon of Balsamic vinegar and stir. Allow mushrooms to lightly brown and then remove and set aside with the squash.
7. Remove the pan from the heat. Add up to 1/4 cup of olive oil to the pan (*you might scale this back a little if you were heavy handed with the oil while sauteing) and 1-2 tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar. Stir to incoporate the brown bits into the warmed dressing. Pour over the sauteed vegetables. Add the pine nuts and kamut. Toss well.
8. Add the spinach, sliced pear, and 1 tsp of kosher salt and toss well, allowing the spinach to wilt.
9. Garnish each serving with some of the cubed Romano. Sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper, and salt if desired, to taste.

I left out the spinach and pear, and changed the cheese to something I had already, but overall, this worked out extremely well. Give Kamut a try; it’s available, probably, in your local bulk bins.

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