Do What You Love!

do what you love

I am running again after 2 years off the road. When I was physically unable to run, I felt stuck. Lost. Finding yoga got me UN-STUCK. For me the journey back to running began when I was finally willing to let it go and to embrace something new.  Now I have both- running and yoga. My runs aren’t the longest or the fastest, but I’m running again. I am doing what I love!

Gratitude for the physical capacity to run is motivating. I get up at 5 AM and run because I CAN!

What do you love? What’s keeping you from doing it? What old love is it time to rekindle? What new love lies ahead?

Vegan Lemon Sage Asparagus & Mushroom Pasta

Last week my mom sent me a recipe from The Minimalist Baker that I couldn’t wait to try. The original recipe was for Vegan Lemon Asparagus Pasta. I made a few minor adaptations. I added some sautéed portobella mushrooms and sage. I also used less pasta because I like there to be plenty of sauce. It was delicious. Here is a photo of mine, but you should click on the link above to see the photographs on John & Dana’s website. They are beautiful.

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While I love fresh vegetables and fruit, every once in a while I really crave something creamy. This recipe satisfies the craving. Enjoy!

 

Inversions 101 with Laura Sykora

If you read Yoga Journal or Yoganonomous online, you have probably read about Instagram phenom Laura Sykora (Kasperzak). When she posted that she was going to be teaching at a local yoga studio, I jumped at the chance to attend. It was amazing!

Not only is Laura great at doing handstands and assorted inversions, she is an outstanding teacher. She started the class by making everyone feel welcomed and by telling us that she was a little nervous. She was masterful as she moved a large class of people at various levels through class. We warmed up and did a few stretches for the arms and shoulders that I hadn’t done before. She set it up so that everyone was successful on every pose. She did this two ways. First, she gave lots of alternatives. She would explain each pose with variations. One variation was for those who weren’t ready for the full pose, and one was for those who could already do the pose. Each of the inversions was like that too.

She gave warnings about using the wall as a crutch, and then shared alternatives for getting off the wall with assistance. She shared three things that are needed to do handstands.

1) Establish a consistent yoga practice. This will build up the core, arms, shoulders, and increase flexibility.
2) Stay positive. Some days you will fee like your making a lot of progress. Others days you might not be able to get up at all. It’s okay.
3) Practice. Practice. Practice.

The mantra at the end wasn’t typical, but lots of fun. “I’m a bad ass. I’m a mother f*** bad ass.” I wasn’t expecting it, but we finished with a deliciously long savasana. Perfection.

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Grilled Romaine Salad

When I lived in NJ there was a seafood restaurant that we used to love to visit. There was a special grilled romaine salad that wasn’t on the menu, but that could be ordered. The salad was delicious and came with crab and lobster meat on top. We wanted to create a vegan option. It was delicious and really easy!

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Just clean the romaine and cut the head in half. Lightly oil the lettuce before placing the cut side face down on the grill. Leave them on the grill for just a few minutes. You can top the grilled romaine with any combination of chopped ingredients that you like. This time we included avocado, tomato, and a simple chopped tapenade made of leftover olives. A simple lemon vinaigrette finished it off. Simple. Easy. Delicious.

I Choose Happiness

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“There is no distinction between means and ends. There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

 

What do you want in life? Many people will answer that they want to be happy. What if happy isn’t something you earn or get lucky enough to experience. What if being happy is something you choose? It’s a powerful idea that I have been playing with in my mind. I realize that ego is the thing that keeps happiness from being the way for me. I’m not happy when I feel I have been overlooked or mistreated. When I take ego out of it, it’s easier to be happy.

I still notice a slight, but I try not to let it define how feel. I accept that it just…is. I don’t take it personally. I work hard, and I do a good job. That’s enough. Everything that follows is irrelevant. For now I am where I belong. When it is time to move on, I will know. In the meantime, I’m happy where I am.

Breathe Deep and Focus

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Occasionally I end up next to someone in yoga who is really annoying. This happened to me tonight for the first time in a long time. The people who I find the most annoying all seem to do the same things. They try to rearrange the people around them so that they can get the spot they want. They don’t pay attention to personal boundaries, so you will find their foot or hand on your mat at some point during the class. They have strong opinions and let them be known to others. They breathe louder than all of the typically heavy breathers in the class. It wouldn’t be totally unheard of for me to point out the annoying behavior to a stranger, but I didn’t want that to happen today. Today was different.

Tonight’s visitor was actually a gift. As soon as she came in I knew I was in danger of letting her negative attitude distract me. As we waited for class to start, I imagined that I was in a bubble protected from whatever stuff she brought in with her. I focused on my own practice. I said a prayer of gratitude. I have a great studio. I have a wonderful teacher. I was able to get out of work early enough to go to yoga. I am happy and focused. I am standing in the light.

Voila! It worked. Breathe deep of gratitude. Relax and allow joy to carry you forward. This is my lesson for today.

Homemade Vegetable Stock

I go through a lot of vegetables. In the beginning of my switch to a primarily plant-based diet, I was so busy with all of the preparations, that it didn’t occur to me to do something extra.  I recently started to think about making my own vegetable stock. As I clean and prep all of the vegetables I eat, I have started to realize how much I am wasting that could be used for stock. My first attempt was simple and surprisingly tasty.

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I used onions, leeks, celery, asparagus, peppers, mushrooms, and carrots. It looked beautiful simmering gently on the stove and filled the house with an amazing aroma. It also felt good to make use of all of the scraps that would have typically gone in to the trash. I am always looking for ways to simplify my life. Wanting less and wasting less are two ways that I am trying to do that. I know it may sound corny, but making this stock felt like I was taking a step closer to simplifying. I was using what I had.

I often find things like homemade stock allude me. I blame it on working so much, but it really didn’t take much more time or energy. Next time you prep a pile of vegetables, try it! You won’t be disappointed.