Pose of the Week: Firefly

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Model: Lacey Grillos 

Firefly

TITTIBHASANA

“It is through the body that your realize you are a spark of divinity.”

~ B.K.S. Iyengar

Pose Benefits:

  • Strengthens arms and wrists
  • Opens and stretches groin, hips, back, and legs
  • Improves balance
  • Tones abdomen

Asana Breakdown:

Begin in a squat with your feet positioned less than shoulder width apart with your slightly arms firmly planted between your legs. Walk your hands back as far as you can, fingers pointing forward. Engage all five knuckles as you gently begin to tilt your torso forward. Carefully begin to lift yourself off of the floor and extend your legs forward. Keep your inner thighs as high on your arms as possible. Straighten your arms, hollow your chest, and widen your shoulders to get as much lift as possible, then spread your toes apart. Slowly begin to lift the head upward. Breathe — see if you can hold this pose for at least 15 seconds, then release.

 

References:

http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/firefly-pose/

Pose of The Week: Hanumanasana

hanumanasanaModel: Lacey Grillos 

Monkey Pose

HANUMANASANA

“Hanuman not only gives us liberation, but he also fulfills our beneficial desires.”

~Krishna Das

Hanuman, the monkey king and son of the wind, teaches us the strength in surrender and devotion. We learn through surrender, the balance of holding on and letting go. When we come to this space, we can open ourselves to peace, clarity, and stillness in the heart.

Benefits of the pose:

  • Relief for Sciatica
  • Opens hips and groin
  • Engages abdomen
  • Improves function of vital organs
  • Stretches and strengthens hamstrings and thighs

Asana Break Down:

Begin kneeling on the floor with both legs slightly apart. Place one foot in front of you extended with your heal touching the floor. Sink into your hips, allowing your heart to move forward as your hands come to frame both sides of your extended leg. Slowly begin to extend your back knee behind yourself until both knees are simultaneously touching the floor. Once you have come into the split position, raise your arms over head and gently find length in the spine. Stay here for a few breaths. To get out of this posture, press both hands into the earth and slide your back knee under your hip coming into the initial position. Then repeat on the other side.

Variations:

Advanced:

1) From the split position, exhale and bring your arms down and fold your heart down towards your front knee.

2) From the split position, inhale and lift your back foot. Reach for your foot with one hand, open the chest forward, and tilt your head back.

Adjustments: 

1) Place a bolster or folded blanket underneath your pelvis or your back knee.

References:

http://www.artofliving.org/us-en/yoga/yoga-poses/hanumanasana-monkey-pose

http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/monkey-pose/

Persimmons & Quinoa: Breakfast From Heaven

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Have you ever had a persimmon? To me, they taste like the cross between a mango and a papaya. Needless to say, they are a fruit from the cosmos and this is the time of the year to get ’em fresh! Not to mention, they are loaded with Vitamin C, A, various B vitamins, Fiber, Potassium, and many other nutrient/health benefits.

So here is the breakfast of your life time that is gluten free, sugar free, and dairy free. And you never would have guessed unless I told you. So eat up!

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Ingredients

1/4 cup Quinoa

1-2 Persimmons

1/4 cup Almond Milk

A Pinch of Salt

1 tbsp Cinnamon

1 tbsp Cardamon

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Take your quinoa and rinse it thoroughly through a fine mesh strainer. Then, take out a small pot and fill it with 1/2 cup of water and put on high heat. Once boiling, add quinoa and turn the heat to a medium/low, then cover with lid. Let cook for about 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, skin and dice the persimmons, place in a frying pan with about 1/4 cup of water and added spices. Let simmer until the water has absorbed fully and add almond milk and stir. Turn off heat and place cooked quinoa and persimmon sauce in a bowl and serve. Add more Cinnamon and cardamon, if needed. ❤

Note: If you can’t find persimmons in your local health food store or it’s not persimmons season, you can easily substitute peaches or your favorite fruit instead.

A Change In Perspective

  

“Yoga is the uniting of consciousness in the heart. 

The lotus flower has long been a symbol for the unfolding of spirituality. It is one of the most elegant illustrations of the meshing of our human and Divine natures.  

The lotus seed is planted and grows in muddy waters, below the surface of the lake, far from the light. Though the light is murky and clear, the flower blossoms by drawing energy from within. As the bud passes through the muddy waters, it lifts its face to the sunlight and finally emerges. Miraculously, not a trace of soil remains on the flower. It lives in the mud yet it is not affected by it….

Yogah Citta Vritti Nirodahah. Yoga is the uniting of consciousness in the heart” (Devi 16).

I am happy to report a change in my life. For the past two months or so, everyday has seemed to bring new horror and drudgery, leading me into the shadow-self. It didn’t take much, just a few changes and suddenly I was able to see the beauty around me and the amount of abundance I have to be grateful for.

There were so many people I encountered in the last two months that were so blissful and grateful for the life they had. I saw them and thought to myself, I want that kind of bliss and contentment. It’s hard to feel happy all the time or even grateful for one thing in your life. Yogis are often painted as figures who see the world in technicolor all of the time because they are supposed to have some mystical secret told to them by the yoga gods, but that’s not true. Yogis are human, just like everyone else. We each have the opportunity, like the lotus flower, to be affected by our circumstance, to blame what has come before. However, we can also choose to see each day anew and gather strength from within. Instead of looking at all of the mud we are surrounded by, we can take our gaze to the sun; to the infinite.

So today I shed gratitude for all of the circumstances of my life, they bring to to new depths and new challenges, but they also bring me to new heights and new joys.

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

-John Lennon

Mistakes: A Step In The Right Direction

It is a misconception to think any one of any stature is ever free from the capability of making mistakes. Mistakes can arise from even the most sincere intention or the smallest lapse in judgement. The importance of mistakes is that they give you feedback and new direction.

Growing up, I was a girl who strived for perfection and deeply criticized myself, my worth, and my merits if I did not meet the impossibly high standard I had set for myself. Interestingly enough, I did not have parents who pressured me to act this way nor was anything else in my surroundings urging me to do this to myself. It came from with in. This unfathomable fear of being wrong. I would say today I can at least pat myself on the back for not being a perfectionist, but I still do strive to answer the question, “What is the most right?”.

I remember this summer, I briefly took a job as a barista at my favorite coffee house. I really had no business being there, however. I knew nothing of coffee, nor did I even drink it myself. On one of my first days, I kept making a series of mistakes that lead to lots of spilling and clean up. I was so embarrassed, but relieved when I apologized to one of my co-workers who replied, “That’s okay. Mistakes are where life happens.”

Even recently, when I moved in with my partner — a move I may not have truly been ready for in my heart, but quickly learned to adapt to — he said to me a quote of similar nature: “Mistakes are unavoidable so you might as well have fun and enjoy the ride.”

Naturally, the part of my brain that has in some way or another programmed itself to strive for perfection was being overrided by the notion that a mistake could possibly been a good thing.

Mistakes are bound to happen. They hurt ourselves and they can hurt others, but they are ultimately how we learn, where we grow, and are what makes our journey unique. I recently lost a job I cared about deeply for a careless mistake, a mistake compatible to that which you make on a math test and think to yourself, “Really? I can’t believe I forgot to do that!”. It’s with a heavy heart that I step away from there, deeply regretting my actions. But I’d like to think that nothing happens without reason. Even mistakes. Yes, even mistakes are divinely orchestrated and can lead you to exactly where you need to be.

This post isn’t to say that you should purposefully make mistakes, but, perhaps, when you do make them, give yourself some room to breathe. Give yourself permission to mess up because that’s where life happens. When you find yourself in the midst of self-ridicule try to change to tone to one of self-compassion and have a little faith. Even though, you may feel deeply sorry for your actions, trust that all is as is because the universe is as is. And, ultimately that it will be okay. Have trust in your actions and faith in your merits. ❤

Pose of the Week: Hanumanasana

Lord Hanuman Pose

HANUMANASANA

Benefits of the Pose:

  • Stretches groin, hips, & thighs
  • Opens Heart
  • Strengthens & improves functionality of abdominal muscles
  • Increases flexibility of hips when practiced frequently

Asana Breakdown:

This pose requires great flexibility and strength and definitely requires a bit of a warm up before getting into it. Personally, I keep this posture till one of my final poses, to ensure that I don’t hurt myself and can get the most benefit out of the asana. For preparation, I like to start off in Ardha Hanumanasana (Half Hanuman/Half Splits). To begin, start in Downward Facing Dog. Inhale one leg into three legged-dog, exhale step it in between your legs and bring your back leg down to the floor. Begin to straighten the front leg, allowing your foot to come off the floor, resting on your ankle. Begin to melt your heart closer to your knee and breathe here. This is the traditional prep pose for Hanumanasana.

Once you feel comfortable here, you can begin to ease your front leg forward and extend your back leg on the ground behind you. Straightening both and coming into full Hanumanasana. Here, you want to square your hips as much as possible. So let’s say your left leg is forward, take your attention to the right hip and begin to draw it closer to the front and allow for an external rotation in the the back leg. Lengthen the spine and allow the collar bones to lift and spread.

This can make the pose uncomfortable. The best way to ease int this pose from grace here is to use your hands as leverage and pull your groin a few inches off the ground. Drawing the thighs in closer together, you will begin to get deeper into the pose as well as your hips. Practice here, until you can comfortably remain in the traditional expression with integrity. From here, you can start to play. Options including, bending the back leg and grabbing the foot, reaching arms up over head or leaning forward over the front leg.

Gluten Free Sugar Free Paleo Muffins

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These muffins are surprisingly good! I expected them to turn into a rock of bland luckiness, but I was delighted to find that they are sweet, nutritious, hardy, and soft.

This is the perfect breakfast or snack for any one with severe allergies, wants to lay off the sugar, or is doing the Candida Diet. This recipe was inspired by one I found online at http://www.thecandidadiet.com, but I put a couple of my own special twists in there.

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Ingredients

1 Cup Coconut Flour

1/2 Cup Coconut Flakes

1/4 Cup Flaxseeds

1/4 Cup Walnuts

1/4 Cup Pumpkin Seeds

2 Tbsp Chia Seeds

1/4 cup Raw Cacao

2 Tsp Cinnamon

1/2 Tsp Nutmeg

1/4 Tsp Clove

2 Eggs

1-1 1/2 Tbsp Stevia

1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract

1/4 Cup Almond Butter

1-2 Cups Unsweetened Coconut Milk

Time: 25-30 minutes

Makes: 12

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Set the oven to 375 degrees. Take out one large mixing bowl and place in flour, coconut flakes, seeds, almond butter and cacao. Add in eggs and coconut milk and whisk until all the ingredients are well blended. If needed, add more coconut milk until the batter is sticky but not watery. Add in cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, stevia and vanilla extract and continue to stir the batter. Take out your muffin tin and line it with cupcake liners or grease well with oil or butter. Fill your tin with the batter. These muffins don’t rise very much, if at all, so be sure to fill your liner to the brim. Garnish with more seeds and cacao, if you please. Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Check your muffins by placing a fork in the middle. If batter is still wet in the center cook for another 5-10 minutes. Once done, let them cool for 10 minutes, serve with a glass of coconut milk and then enjoy ❤

Nutrifetti Super Smoothie

confetti juice

A party in your mouth, this one is! Full of superfood and goodies, you’ll want to try this one out for sure!

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2 bananas

1/4 cup Vanilla Brown Cow Yogurt

1 tbsp Spirulina

2 tbsp Hemp Seed Hearts

3-4 tbsp Goji Berries

1/2-1 cup Orange Juice

Serves 1-2

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Blend baby blend ❤

Brussel Sprout Chips

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Such a quick and easy snack that is great for kids, apps, or as a side dish!

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1 lb Brussel Sprouts

3-4 tbsp Olive Oil

A pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt

A Pinch of Garlic Powder

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Set the oven to 360 degrees. Pull out a baking pan, line with either tin foil or cooking paper. Cut the bottom of your brussel spouts and begin the peel the layers off to make your “chips”. Drizzle olive oil over brussel spouts, add salt, and himalayan pink salt, and mix together with your hands to evenly coat. Pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes. When done, taste, and season more if needed. And then you’re done. It was that easy ❤

Veggie Omelet

veggie omelet

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Ingredients

3 eggs

1 Portabello Mushroom

1/2 Red Bell Pepper

1/2 Yellow Onion

1/2 cup Spinach

2-3 cloves of Garlic

1/4 Cup PepperJack Cheese

A pinch of Salt

A pinch of Pepper

Vegan Butter

Toppings

Avocado

Lemon

Cilantro

Pepperjack Cheese

Salsa

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Get out a bowl and place all the ingredients in there except for the butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix all together. Butter a frying pan and put on medium/high heat. Place the eggs in the pan and begin to scramble. Once they are all scrambled and ready to go, add toppings of your choice.