Take it off!

The woman in the photo below is my hero! If you click on the photo you will be linked to an amazing article that I just had to share with all of you because I feel as though the world needs more people like Emily Nolan. 

Emily Nolan, the author of the article and the woman in the picture, describes 10 reasons why she takes her shirt off in yoga. She obviously isn't the stereotypical size 1 model that we so often see in fitness magazines, doing yoga with her foot behind her head, balancing on one fingertip and toe. But I'll tell you what she truly is. She is the woman that I strive to be, the woman I want my daughter to know and the woman that should be on every single cover of Yoga Journal. She is strong, courageous, honest and authentic. She is my role-MODEL. As a mother of 3 I can say that I definitely know the vulnerability and even fear that comes from the thought of removing my shirt, even in yoga. But at Ethos our yoga room is a safe haven and our yogis are a community. There is no better place to show your vulnerable side. You are loved over and over again. So get naked! Ok, well not really naked, your yoga teacher might freak out. But dare to bare those insecurities. Be you on every level and know that we are all here to support each other. See you on the flip-dog...shirtless!

Yoga In The Park

It was another really fantastic year for Yoga In The Park. Ethos celebrated it's 9th anniversary of bringing yoga and healing arts to the local community. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and the yogis were yogaing. A great big thank you to all of the fabulous folks that showed up and for those of you wonderful people who couldn't make it.. we'll see you next year! Peace, Love and Yoga!!!

Sit Tall And Smile

Volunteers were asked to stand in either a ‘Power Pose’ or a ‘weak pose’ for two minutes. A power pose is regarded as an open body posture. Think ‘Wonder Woman’ – hands on hips, legs apart, spine erect, shoulders relaxed, head straight and eyes fixed straight ahead. A weak pose, on the other hand, is a closed posture – perhaps arms folded, shoulders a little slumped, spine not quite straight, eyes looking down.

The volunteers in the study had saliva samples taken before and immediately after the two minutes was up and the scientists measured testosterone (women have it too) and cortisol. Testosterone, in both males and females, is related to feelings of self-confidence. Cortisol is a stress hormone.

After just two minutes, testosterone was up by 20% in those who did the power poses and cortisol dropped by 25%. It was the opposite in those who did the weak poses. They experienced elevation in cortisol levels and drops in testosterone. In other words, a two minute power pose was enough to actually boost a person’s confidence and reduce their stress.

In other words:

Power Pose creates confidence and reduces stress 

Weak pose reduces confidence and creates stress

Read More

Power House Pick-Me-Up

Summer’s almost here! The sun is shining, you’re getting more active and your body starts to say, “Give me more nutrients!” A lot of people answer this call by provided their body with more food, but that’s not always the answer. If you’re feeding your body, like the majority of the population, using processed foods as your main source of calories (or as Joan Borysenko, Ph.D. calls it, SAD, the Standard American Diet) then intaking more food DOES NOT equal more nutrients. In fact, a lot of processed foods are referred to as containing empty calories because you’re not gaining anything from them except calories. When we eat processed foods that are depleted of minerals, vitamins and enzymes our body stays hungry more often than not because we’re not getting all the good stuff that our cells need and our body keeps sending out the call for “More nutrients!” 

An easy solution, especially for those hot summer days… GrEEn SmOOthiEs. 

If you’ve never heard of a green smoothie, where have you been? These power house drinks are the new go-to for excellent nutrition and although some of you might cringe at the thought of drinking kale or spinach just keep in mind that my kids LOVE THEM! They can’t be too bad if a 3 year old is in the kitchen begging for her green smoothie everyday. There are literally hundreds of green smoothie recipes on the internet and in books, you can now buy green smoothies at your local health food store and you can even order them at places like Jamba Juice and Tropical Smoothie Cafe. With a 5 person family it is much more efficient for us to make our own so I am always on the look out for a great green smoothie recipe. This is a recipe that I tried out this morning. It's from the absolutely fabulous blog This Rawsome Vegan Life, by Emily and it's definitely a keeper! Try having it in the morning. It not only is a great way to get some veggies into your diet, but it energizes, alkalizes and nourishes your body. No better way to start the day!

Green Life Magic Smoothie: serves one
2-3 cups dinosaur kale
1 mango
1 banana
1 handful frozen strawberries
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 to 1 cup water, as needed
Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Sip and enjoy!!!

 

LOVE

A day late for Mother's Day but a beautiful talk about the unconditional love and acceptance we see in parents. 

"And I saw, I saw how splendor can illuminate even the most abject vulnerabilities."                                        -Andrew Solomon

Hay House World Summit

It's HERE! 

Hay House World Summit starts tomorrow. "What is that?" you may ask. Well, I'll tell you. It's "a 20-Day Journey to Self-Discovery, Health and Success." It is a free online event of interviews with the world's leading experts on subjects such as health, science, happiness and prosperity. Last year I was so excited to catch the tail end of all of the interviews but this year I'm ready to go from the beginning. Please join me in learning some amazing new things about how our bodies work, the importance of mindfulness and many other fantastic ideas along the way! 9 hours and counting. Woohoo!


What's in our food?

We are back from our crazy east coast road trip and along the way I was introduced to a book called, “Autoimmune: The Cause and The Cure.” by Annesse Brockley and Kristin Urdiales. It is a very informative book! Lots and lots of great research and evidence of our food playing a HUGE role in our health. In the chapter entitled, “Food as Medicine” Annesse talks a little bit about trans fats, an ingredient we should definitely steer clear of. Take a listen…

When William Procter and James Gamble started their company, Procter & Gamnble®, they hired a chemist, E.C. Kayster, to develop a process to hydrogenate cottonseed oil. This process would ensure the shortening would remain solid at normal storage temperatures. This was in 1911. The initial purpose was to create a cheaper substance to make candles, rather than the expensive animal fats which were in use at the time. 

Electricity began to diminish the candle market, and since the product looked like lard they began selling it as food. The product became known as Crisco®. It’s name is derived from the initial sounds of “crystallized cottonseed oil.” And so it began; ‘trans fat’ became a part of the American diet…

Trans fats have been linked to depression, infertility, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, liver dysfunction, cancer, reduced immune function and diabetes…

Mankind has been consuming nature’s fats, such as butter, lard, and coconut oil for thousands of years. Yet, heart disease only became common after 1920, when more people started to consume less expensive trans fat. Dr. Walter Willett, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard Medical School, is a recognized authority on trans fats and has found that for every 4 to 5 grams of trans fat you eat, your risk of heart disease nearly doubles. To put that in perspective, some brands of microwave popcorn contain 14 grams of trans fat per bag. That is a big risk to take for a bag of popcorn. 

The story above is a great example of how profit often becomes much more important than our health and how money seems to direct our food industry. If people really knew what they were ingesting perhaps it would be a different story. Annesse does us the wonderful favor of explaining how margarine is made. 

First, the oil is subjected to extremely high temperatures and pressure. Then, hydrogen is forced into a trans isomeric molecular structure to harden it. This process requires toxic substances, such as nickel oxide, which act as catalysts that enable the chemical change. The final product is a gray, smelly, greasy mass. Now it must be deodorized, again using high heat and chemical additives. This gray grease is then bleached white and then dyed yellow. Finally, artificial flavors are mixed in to make it taste like butter. Is it any wonder trans fats are linked to cancer? 

Can you imagine if this process was described on the food label? 

(Illustration courtesy of Jeff Convery)

Maybe it’s time to evaluate what you’re putting in your body everyday. Can you pronounce all the names on the ingredient list? Does it have more ingredients than you have fingers? Does it have trans fat? Does it make you feel good when you eat it or tired and even more hungry? When we fill our bellies with healthy, nutrient rich foods our lives can’t help but be effected in a wonderful way. Educate yourself and choose wisely. Real food is our friend, not the enemy.

When in rome!

We (my three kids and I) are into our 2nd week of road trip travel. We’ve been to Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and now Massachusetts. This is my first extended travel while choosing to eat vegan. At home I find that there are times when it seems to be a little difficult to find viable, healthy options for vegan food (visiting relatives, family holidays, etc.) so when planning our trip east I was somewhat overwhelmed and nervous to see how I could actually make that work. Well, I’m happy to say it’s going great, so I thought I would share some of my “traveling vegan techniques” with my favorite yogis.  

1) Be prepared! This is the number one rule. If you know that you’re going to be traveling for hours in the car, flying across the country on an airplane or hiking the Appalachian trail, get your preparation pants on. Shop, bake, mix, and blend. The last thing you want is to get hungry and have french fries as your only vegan option. There’s nothing better than home made goodies filled with healthy deliciousness. Here are a few of the recipes I used for our travels. 
      -Vegan Blueberry Muffins
      -Cranberry Macadamia Nut Squares
      -Homemade Larabars
      -Nutty Maple Granola
      
2) Did someone say vita-mix? Now although this might not be an option for air travelers, if you’re taking an out-of-town trip in your car, throw in the good old blender or vita-mix. Heck, you could even bring your juicer. Joe Cross did in his trek across the states. It’s super simple to stop for fruits or veggies on the way (every grocery store has them) and make all kinds of fabulous drinks while at your destination. My kids LOVE smoothies! They’re packed with power and so easy to make. Get creative yourself or stop along the way to grab a recipe book. 
     -Superfood Smoothies
     -The Best Green Smoothies on The Planet
     -The Blender Girl 
      
3) Order an APP-itizer! There are so many apps available these days. Apps for games, apps for yoga and of course apps for food. Happy Cow is an app that helps people connect with suppliers of wonderful healthy food wherever they may be. It totally saved my nomad pal Ashley as she traversed Europe and South America and has proved to be a valuable tool this trip.
 
4) Ask, ask, ask and then ask again? Ask the people who live near the place you’ll be staying for suggestions. If you’re staying with a friend or family member ask them if they’d entertain the idea of exploring a vegan diet with you for a few days. A good thing to keep in mind is that there are a lot of restaurants that are willing to cater to your needs if only you ask. Many vegetarian dishes can easily be made vegan by just losing the cheese and some places will even whip up something from scratch. Don’t be afraid to ask. What's the worst thing that could happen? They say no...

Overall these 4 tips have been a lifesaver while traveling away from home. The kids and I are feeling fantastic with lots of energy and delicious food in our bellies. I would love to hear if any of you have a vegan road trip tip for all of us wanderers. Until then, peace, love and travel!

Healing Spirits Herb Farm

The kiddos and I are on a fantastic 2 week road trip out east. Hooray! I just love to travel. It’s something that I yearn for, that feeds my soul. I feel as though it has always helped ground me and help me grow. I want my children to be able to experience that as well so about 7 hours from home we have landed in a most remarkable place outside of Avoca in the beautiful state of New York. It is here where I once learned almost all of what I know about herbs, on a wonderful herb farm: Healing Spirits.

Healing Spirits Herb Farm and Education Center has been owned and tended to by the amazing Andrea and Matthias Reisen for 30 years. Their goal? “To live a simple, gentle, fun-filled life on the land, raising a family in harmony with all of creation.” Although the rolling hills and garden beds seem a little naked at the moment, in late spring, summer and fall this farm is vibrant and buzzing with color and life.


The aroma as you walk into their small herb apothecary will send you straight into heaven.

Their healing room (for zero balancing energy work) is a sacred space of serenity. My favorite place to hang out, especially at this time of year, is in their drying house where they sun dry all of their organic herbs.

Yesterday they had sweet birch bark drying on the shelves and the smell was absolutely incredible. And of course we just had to have freshly dried sweet birch tea for an after yoga treat. Yes yoga! On Monday and Thursday nights they offer the community the opportunity of Kundalini yoga on the farm. What a dream! Actually that’s exactly what they said, “The farm is a dream come true for us!” If you ever find yourself in the western New York area I encourage you to stop on by this place that is near and dear to my heart. And if you’re looking for a good source of herbs or herbal products visit their online store here. Everything they do and offer is infused with love. Organic, sun dried, love-infused herbs... can’t get any better than that!

Local CSA Needs YOU!

Trim Pines Farm is one of my favorite local farms. The kids and I have been going there for years. Sometimes it’s for produce at their roadside stand, sometimes for local honey and we’ve even been there for hayrides and pumpkin fun. Trim Pines Farm is a family owed farm that is looking for some amazing folks to partner up with. They run a CSA and as of now they are still in need of some people to support their growing endeavor. If you’ve ever wanted to try a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) nows your time! Please contact Mike...

Mike Yancho, Sr.
Cell 810-814-6453
VP & General Manager
Trim Pines Farm, Inc.
4357 E. Baldwin Rd. Holly, MI 48442
Phone 810-694-9958   Fax 810-694-8229 

mike@trimpines.com

www.trimpines.com 

"We are so excited that our pepper transplants are growing, this means that they will be ready to plant into our hoop houses next month! We will begin harvesting for our 20 week CSA starting in June. Of course we will be following organic principles and avoiding synthetic sprays, fertilizers, and GMO's!"
-Trim Pines Farm

Going Bananas

With three kids in my house it seems as though my fruit basket is always packed with bananas. If I let them, my kids would probably eat a whole bushel of bananas in one day. Needless to say there comes a time when the perfectly ripe bananas become a little overripe. You know the ones: spotted black, squishy to the touch. So, into the freezer for smoothies they go orrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, time for a delicious treat! It was definitely a treat sort of day so we searched the world wide web for a delicious banana vegan goody and TA-DA! we found these… 

Vegan Banana Nut Scones. 

(Picture courtesy of Kate Taylor from Cookie+Kate Blog)

Score! They were simply delectable and quite easy to make. My 3 year old helped out and the end product was just as lovely as the picture above. The entire family was pleased. Thank you Cookie and Kate for the wonderful recipe and suggestions. Visit Cookie+Kate blog to view this recipe and for more fantastic and wholesome goodies. 

Rock and Roll!

I have a new best friend. I met him through the yoga studio. He gives me great massages and helps me deal with stress. He might not be a living, breathing, human-being but let me tell you, I think I’m in love. 

A few months ago I was having some issues with sore muscles in my thighs. I had received a massage but going in once a month was just not doing it for body. Melissa Harris (one of the beautiful and talented massage therapists at Ethos) suggested that I buy a foam roller. She just happened to have a few she was selling so I bought it, tried it out and for the first couple of days I was geeked. It was painful but pleasant at the same time. It was like a massage therapist in my house but I didn’t know much about it and as with lots of good things, it was put on the top shelf in my bedroom and never to be heard from again. Well, maybe not never. See, days went by and then… to my absolute surprise and excitement Ethos announces a Roll and Release workshop. Heck yeah! I was like, “Sign me up!” 

Cue Andrew Goforth.

Last weekend during the Roll and Release workshop at Ethos, Andrew, a certified massage therapist, guided 16 of us through a 2 1/2 hour massage extravaganza. We breathed, we rolled and we definitely released. Andrew was such a great instructor. His knowledge of the body and muscles and his experience as a massage therapist made for a super informative and accessible class. Using a foam roller, a yoga block and two tennis balls I’m pretty certain I became aware of at least a million places in my body that I was holding tension without realizing it. Suprise! And I thought yogis didn’t have tension. Tension, as explained by Andrew, is not only caused by the physical things that we do but can also arise from the emotions we experience. And tension in one part of the body can definitely cause irritation in another so it’s important to approach the practice holistically. I loved the class so much that I have been having a late night affair with my foam roller every night since. I think you should try it out. I mean who wouldn’t mind a new best friend. :-)

For more information about Roll and Release workshops, foam rollers and personal massage contact Andrew Goforth at...

 

810-333-7990 

andgoforth@gmail.com

 

Keep rollin, rollin, rollin!


Shoulder Shout Out!

How are your shoulders feeling lately? 

If they’re not feeling too hot maybe it’s time to pause your push-up and put your plank-asana in check. Often times in one yoga class (especially in vinyasa) we can find ourselves flowing through A LOT of weight bearing postures on our upper body such as push-ups, cobra’s and downward facing dogs. This puts a whole lot of pressure on our shoulders and if we’re not positioning correctly, “the tendons attaching the biceps to the fronts of the arm bones can be strained and may begin to tear.” (Doug Keller) “The tendon of the supraspinatus muscle can get sandwiched between the bones of the shoulder blade and the arm” and create what is called a rotator cuff injury. Ouch! That doesn’t sound fun. As yoga instructors we try our best to keep an eye out for incorrect posturing and to create a well-balanced practice, but no one knows your body like you do. Slow down and take a moment to evaluate your shoulder positioning in the following asanas…

In plank…
Your shoulders should stack directly over your wrists. Your heart drops forward as your collar bones pull away from your sternum. Shoulders pull back and broaden away from the spine.

YES!!! GOOD PLANK

NO!!! BAD PLANK

Chaturanga Dandasana (half way down)…

Cobra…
Hands should be pressing into the mat, fingers facing forward and elbows hugging into the back body. Shoulders pull down the back and away from the ears. The chest lifts as you pull your heart forward.

YES!!! GOOD COBRA

NO!!! BAD COBRA

Downward Facing Dog…
Hands on the mat, shoulder’s width apart, fingers spread wide. Press down evenly through both hands. Firm through the outer arms and lengthen the inner arms from wrist to shoulder. Rotate the upper arms outward and broaden the collar bones. Shoulders pull away from your ears towards your tailbone. 

YES!!! GOOD DOWNDOG

NO!!! BAD DOWNDOG

Although these are only a few of the weight bearing postures we experience with our upper bodies during our yoga practice, it’s a good place to stop and check in. If you’re feeling a little achy don’t be afraid to skip a vinyasa or side plank. Yoga is about connection and not exertion. We can connect without force, without struggle or pain. 

For more information about shoulder pain and yoga…

https://yogainternational.com/article/view/how-to-avoid-shoulder-injuries-in-chaturanga-and-plank

http://sequencewiz.org/2014/04/09/shoulder-problems-yoga/

Oh my my my! Chocolate Ginger Macaroons!

I was looking for a sweet little treat a few days back and came across this delicious recipe that I had received during yoga teacher's training. Chocolate Ginger Macaroons! Yes, they are surely the cat's meow. I didn't even add as much maple syrup as the recipe called for and they were still super sweet. Play around with it. Tweak it, double it, maybe quadruple it.  I added some yummy sliced almonds towards the end of the mixing process. So good. Get your macaroon on! 

Chocolate Ginger Macaroons by Matthew Kenney, Everyday Raw

1 3/4 cup dried coconut
3/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp coconut oil, softened to liquid
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 1/4 tsp vanilla
pinch sea salt

Mix together all dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix thoroughly (I placed everything in my food processor and let it rip).Place small scoops on a cookie tray and stick in freezer until set. Remove and store in fridge. 

 

Joe Cross

Last year around this time I wrote a blog about the importance of juice. Not the typical apple juice or grape juice you would find on the grocery store shelves but the fresh kind that comes directly from a juicer. In the blog there was a link to the wonderful and eye-opening movie "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead." This is a must see! If you haven't watched it yet here is a link to the full movie... http://www.rebootwithjoe.com/watch-fat-sick-and-nearly-dead/.

Well, Joe Cross, the man from the movie is back!

He not only has released a new film entitled "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2," he also has a new book out this week. "Reboot with Joe: Fully Charged" is filled with lots of great advice from someone who has walked the walk and certainly talks the talk. The best part of the new book launch is that Joe is throwing a party and you are all are invited! That's right. Mr. Joe will be here in Detroit, Michigan, at Detroit Tough, just a stone's throw away from good old Holly. Ok, maybe not a stone's throw away but definitely a lot closer than his hometown in Australia. He will be "signing books, enjoying Drought juices, and sharing the details of the journey he's been on for the past eight years." Here are the specifics... 

Drought: Fully Charged Book Tour Event

Saturday, March 7th
3PM – 5PM (Doors open at 2:30PM)
Detroit Tough
1244 Beech Street, Detroit MI 48226

Although the event does not require a ticket, seating is limited so you should definitely show up early. I know that juicing has become such a big part of my life. It is often how I sneak lots of good veggies into my children's diet. Come on out and support one of the greatest success stories of the juicing world. Juice on yogis!

Meditate every moment

This was a blog written by Canvas Voice a while back. It is so relevant to our everyday lives. Take a read. 

sometimes in the still of the morning
when the magic of the world is at its peak
i can sense the peace
and it's a piece of me
(canvas text)

Blog about the piece: I don't always have the time to sit cross-legged and meditate, don't always have the time to watch the sunrise and find that sense of peace and stillness. Sometimes I find myself moving around almost the entire length of my day at an accelerated pace. Like many of you I am busy. I have three kids and most of my time is dedicated to teaching them and helping them to get to know life. But I need those moments of stillness. I need the calm. E'yen A. Gardner writes, "Being still does not mean don't move. It means move in peace." There are certain ways we each find the calm. For you it may be full lotus, eyes closed and meditating, for others a serene walk or getaway but for me it is in the everyday. I have learned that through the simple act of awareness I can find myself in a more peaceful state of mind. For example, today was a little more crazy then usual. The children were bursting with energy, we had a garage sale going on and lots of people coming and going. On my way into the house I realized how disconnected I felt from the moment. I had been planning and thinking things out for the past couple of hours without even noticing what was truly happening around me. To center myself all I had to do was be aware. I honed in on my breathing, noticed my bare feet tip-toeing on the pavement, felt the cold metal handle in my fingers as I listened to the creaky front door open. Sometimes all it takes to bring us back to reality is following our senses. What do you hear, feel, smell, taste and see? When we ask ourselves this without analyzing it we find the stillness and connection to things because our senses are in the now. Know that every part of your day can be a mediation. Through awareness every part of your day can bring you into that wonderful stillness. Find this piece of peace in you.

Meet Kylene

Last week I had the most wonderful opportunity to finally meet and chat with our new Acupuncturist at Ethos, Kylene Goforth. What a delight! The Ethos community has been buzzing with excitement about her arrival for a couple of weeks and I felt so honored to have the chance to sit down and hear her story in person. Now, before we begin some of you might ask, “What in the world is acupuncture?” Well, here you go…

acupuncture: the stimulation of specific points along the skin of the body using thin needles (and I mean very thin)

An in depth explanation of acupuncture can be found here on Kylene’s website. 

Now... Let’s get to know Kylene:

Kylene’s interest in acupuncture didn’t come about until after she obtained her Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Health Promotion: Community Health Education. A year following college graduation she found herself sick with a case of shingles and was miraculously healed through the practice of acupuncture and herbs. She began working as a secretary for her acupuncturist and two other naturopathic doctors who encouraged her to get a Masters of Science Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and so she did.

After Kylene achieved her Master’s Degree she and her husband sold everything that they owned and moved to Bali. It was here that Kylene really started to connect with yoga, offering acupuncture to teacher trainees as well as yogis on retreat. When she made the move to Michigan, a year later, the connection she developed with yoga made for a smooth transition into the Ethos community.  

Kylene offers a holistic and collaborative health practice in which she and the patient gives %100 effort. “There is no A+B=C in this practice,” she says. “It’s malleable and multilayered. It’s unique for each individual. Ten people can come in with a headache but each one receives a different treatment. That is the art and the science of what acupuncture really is.” 

Kylene believes that our bodies are “always moving towards balance and homeostasis” and that her job is to work with people to help remove the blocks that aren’t allowing us to get there. Just as our yoga teachers do, she helps us to get to know our bodies, connect on all levels and integrate health with happiness. Kylene is enthusiastic to share her passion of healing with the entire Ethos family.  

The things that make Kylene SMILE:

her family--her husband Andrew--being near water--campfires--good conversation--her dog Vega--knowing her family and friends are taken care of--snuggling up with a warm cup of tea and a book on a cold day--hearing her favorite song on the radio--a delicious bowl of coconut ice cream--good dark chocolate--farmer’s markets on a sunny day--a yoga class that kind of kicks your butt… in a good way. 

Kylene's go-to song right now: One Republic, I Lived 

What's Kylene reading?: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Kylene’s Health advice in one sentence: Cut out the sugar and drink more water. 

You can learn more about Kylene and her practice at the website goforth-acupuncture.com. Feel free to contact her with questions or comments at kylene@ethosyoga.net.

What a great new addition we have to the Ethos caregiving team. Welcome Kylene. We already love you!

Strawberry Bliss Bars

Just in time for love day, a delicious and delectable treat!

Now although the title of this blog is Strawberry Bliss Bars, that is not what I originally had in mind. You see, Kathryn had sent me a most wonderful looking recipe for Strawberry Creme Truffles. I was so excited. I had all of the ingredients: just enough coconut butter, strawberries, chocolate chips but… I added too many strawberries and BAM the creme became a smoothie. Haha. I added a few more strawberries than the recipe had called for because when I stopped blending the first time it just didn’t taste as strawberry-ish as I would have liked. A lesson in following directions. So, I had to improvise and well, it worked! I turned what seemed to be a disaster into a darn-good-desert. Oh the power of creativity! So here it is... Strawberry Creme Truffles turned into bar loveliness. 

Strawberry Bliss Bars

Ingredients:

Filling

1 cup coconut butter

1 cup strawberries 

2 Tbs. maple syrup 

Topping

1 cup chocolate chips

3 Tbs. vegan milk of choice

 

Line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper and leave the paper hanging over the sides. 

In a blender or food processor mix coconut butter, strawberries and maple syrup until well combined. It should be a smooth texture not necessarily smoothie consistency. LOL!

Pour the mixture into the parchment lined pan and place in the freezer for 30 min. or until it becomes solid. (You want it to be pretty solidified because when you pour the chocolate on top you don't want it to melt and get all swirly… or do you? Haha. Maybe save that one for next time.)

When the filling is ready for its wonderful topping begin to warm the chocolate and milk in a double boiler over low to medium heat. (I actually often just use a pan on low heat and keep a very watchful eye.) When the chocolate is melted, remove from heat. You can allow it to cool for 1 minute and then pour and spread the chocolate on top of the frozen strawberry mix. Place back into the freezer for another 20-30 min. 

Remove from the freezer. Pull up on the parchment paper to lay flat and cut into squares. You can store them in the freezer or eat them all up at once like we did. (I’m entertaining 4 children here.) 

Good luck sweet-valentines. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Strike a pose: Sky Archer Pose

There's snow, finally snow! Sometimes all the snow tends to keep us indoors but all the more reason to practice yoga. Hooray! Today we’ll be exploring Sky Archer Pose. 

Break it down now: Sky Archer Pose

Sky Archer, sometimes known as Reverse Triangle, is similar to Reverse Warrior Pose except your front leg stays straight instead of bent. It’s a great precursor to Triangle Pose and a fantastic counterpose to Extended Side Angle. Sky Archer is a wonderful way to strengthen the legs, open the chest and shoulders and stretch the side ribs, obliques and underarm muscles.

Sky Archer Pose

Begin by standing at the top of the mat, feet together, hands by your sides.  Step the right foot back about 3-4 feet. Your front foot stays facing forward and your back foot turns out about 45 degrees. Keep both of the legs straight and turn your chest to the right. Next, allow your right hand to slide down your right thigh or wrap around the lower back as your left hand reaches up and over your head pointing towards the back of your mat. Try to create a nice side bend opposed to a backbend. Root down through your feet and keep extending through the left hand. Tuck the tailbone, open the chest and shoulders and take your gaze towards the ceiling or towards your back foot. 

Hold for a few breaths, rise up on an inhale and step to the front of your mat to repeat on the other side. 

Modifications:

Slowly work your way into the pose. If going for a deep side bend isn’t there for you today rest your hand higher on your thigh. 

If you feel unstable try using a chair or wall to support your back hand. 

Going deeper into the pose:

After you get a feel for the pose perhaps you can try gripping your left wrist with your right hand and guiding the side bend deeper. 

If you’re still not at your edge try lifting your front toes off of the ground and maybe even closing your eyes. 

Bust a move little winter yogis. 

Milk, it really does a body good! (ahem... if it's vegan)

Hello beautiful yogis and yogets. This is a serious post! Yes, I said serious. Mostly because it includes a how-to video from the one and only Kathryn Nicolai but also because the how-to is a recipe everyone should have. The other day the kids and I made some delicious almond milk to mix with even more delicious homemade vegan granola and I thought to myself, "How many people have really made their own milk?" I'm hoping that lots of you have but if not you're in for a BIG surprise. It's super easy and as we all know, homemade anything just tastes better. Check out Kathryn's video below and then while you're at it go ----> here and make some excellent vegan granola. Yummy in my uddiyana bandha!