Monday, February 22, 2010

DIY Restorative: Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Also known as "Reclined Goddess Pose"

I love this pose for SO many reasons. I will get into more detail about the posture and it's benefits in a moment. First let's discuss what you will need.

1) Padding/Support for under your knees: The goal here is to have your knees resting on something so there will be no strain in this restorative posture. If you have yoga blocks/bricks (I have one under my head in the photos, for reference) great! If not, any number of items you can find around your house will do just fine. You can see in the photo I've used two stacks of books. You could also use pillows, folded blankets or towels. Be creative!!!

2) Padding/Support for your back, shoulders, neck and head: In the photo you will see I used two blankets and a foam yoga block. Basically you want a little lift; 4-6 inches or so, to make this a bit of a gentle back bend. Again, be creative and don't be afraid to experiment. It may take you a few tries to find the right combination.

So, now you have all your props ready to go, and you are ready to settle into this delicious restorative posture!

Sit about an inch in front of your back/neck support with knees bent and feet on the floor. (have your knee support nearby)

Bring the soles of your feet to touch and allow your knees to fall open to either side, and come to rest on their support.

Now, gently lower your back, shoulders, neck and head to rest on the support you have created for yourself.

Lift your hips slightly, then lightly place them back onto the floor. This should alleviate lower back pain (if any) by combing your buttocks flesh toward your heels.

You may place your hands in any of the positions shown, close your eyes. Settle in, breathe, and let gravity do it's job. Surrender your body to the support and breathe into your blossoming rib cage.

If you find it hard to relax, you may try this breathing exercise:

Inhale for 3 counts, and then exhale on 6 counts, noticing the pause between breaths at the bottom of your exhale.

Stay for at least 3-5 minutes. To come out gently roll off your props, to your right side, and press your self up to sit.

This pose is especially beneficial for relieving menstrual pain in women. But, not to worry boys, there are a myriad more benefits for both men and women! It's great for digestion, and as I mentioned this version is also a gentle back bend; so don't be surprised if you feel a jolt of energy when you come out of the posture! Supta Baddha Konasana relieves sciatic pain and open up the inner groins. Practicing this restorative posture will help you immensely in your asana practice with postures like Padmasana (Lotus Pose) and Vrksasana (Tree Pose). Also, as always, your restorative practice stimulates the "relaxation" response of the nervous system. This allows the body to slow down and just "BE". Even if it's just for a few minutes a day, this practice will have an enormous impact on your regular asana practice and in life.

Namaste (The divine in me bows to the divine in you)

More New Pics :)

Natarajasana with Hoop (Lord of the Dance Pose with Hoop):

Vrksasana with Hoop (Tree Pose With Hoop):

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Please check out my DIY Restorative posts, I've added photos which I think will be MUCHO helpful in executing the poses in the sweetest way possible for you!

Namaste darlings!

Friday, February 19, 2010

A (very) Random Act of Kindness

One of the most beautiful random acts of kindness I've ever received was not from a human being, but from a kindly old black lab.

I was at the Sivananda Yoga Ranch, an ashram in upstate NY, and it was my last day there. I had some free time after brunch and I wanted to hike the trails behind the property, which sits on 100 acres of beautiful forest in the foothills of the Catskills. The only problem was, there wasn't an organized hike and the head of the ashram had warned us not to hike the trails alone because they were not marked very well.

Nevertheless, I stood at the head of the trail weighing my options. It just seemed like the perfect thing to do to mark the end of my time there. I had just had a magical asana practice, and I wanted to take a walk in nature to reflect upon it.

As I was standing there contemplating, I hear a rustling behind me; of the four legged variety. The black lab (one of the animals who lives at the ashram) came padding up next to me, paused, and then trotted about 30 feet ahead of me. Then he looked back, went another 10 feet, and looked back again. Was this dog telling me to follow him??!! Either way, I did.

We walked together like this along the trails. He would run ahead, never more than 50 yards or so, look back, wait until I caught up a bit and then he would run ahead again. Astounding! He guided me toward the big field next to the entrance of the property, where the cows live. I perched on the gate while he galloped in circles around the sacred creatures. This seemed to be a favorite activity of his. I smiled and giggled to myself, to see his joy and the cows' indifference. After a few minutes like this he came out and resumed guiding me along the trail.

While I walked I reflected on his kindness and how touching it was that he chose to help me. How did he know I needed his help? What energy did he feel? I didn't want to leave!

As soon as we reached the end of the trail, and the main building of the ashram was in view, he took off running.

Afterward, I sat under a tree outside the temple and wrote this poem:

the trees are talkin'
to each other
and my mind is dancing, with a butterfly on my nose;
in a field of wild
the colors of
grace, god and love.
the colors of this
moment. a divine moment.
i can talk
to black dogs
and read scottish minds.
if i could put duct
tape over my heart
to stop this feeling
from seeping
I would

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Inspiration, Wisdom from the masters

"Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos - the trees, the clouds, everything"

- Tich Nhat Hahn

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Chakra Meditation

A chakra meditation, I sometimes do in the morning:

First find a comfortable seated position. If you are sitting cross legged, make sure you are elevated on some kind of support, especially if when you cross your legs, your knees are higher than your hips. You want the knees to be descending well below hip level to sit comfortably for any length of time. If you aren't able to sit with legs crossed for at least ten minutes, you may do the meditation sitting up in a chair, or laying down on your back with knees bent and the soles of the feet on the floor.

Now, wherever you are (unless you're laying down :P), sit well, place your palms face down on your thighs. Feel the sitting bones descend into their support. From that descending, allow your spine to ASCEND, growing taller, gently spread the collar bones open to blossom the chest open. Now see if, in doing that, did you stick your bottom ribs out, creating a concave curve in the mid back, and soften the front ribs. Take a few natural breaths in and out. You may repeat to yourself: "breathing i am breathing in, breathing i am breathing out", so as to bring your attention inward.

Beginning at the root chakra and working your way up to the crown chakra, take your attention to the area of your body where each chakra resides, and keep it there for 20 focused breaths. Like this: inhale 1, exhale 2, inhale 3, exhale 4, and so on. If you lose count, or the mind begins to wander start over. If you are unsure where you chakras reside there is a list at the end of the post for reference.

I think this is a nice way to say hello to and wake up the energy centers of the subtle body.

After you've breathed prana into all 7 chakras. You may choose to spend a few minutes repeating the mantra of any chakra you feel needs special attention, either out loud, or to yourself.

root/pelvic floor: lam (l-ah-m)

sacral/pelvic basin: vam (v-ah-m)

solar plexus/navel: ram (r-ah-m)

heart: yam (y-ah-m)

throat: ham (h-ah-m)

third eye/in between eyebrows: ksam (ks-ah-m)

crown/just above your the the top of your head: om

To close my meditation practice I like to bring my palms to touch in front of my heart, bow my chin to my rising chest and say a short prayer. You may just repeat the syllable "om" one to three times. Then crack open your eyes and SMILE!!!!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Day Fun!!!!

This was soooooo fun and exhilarating!!!

I know it does not appear Yoga related, but I consider hula hooping an extension of my Yoga practice, in the same way I do cooking. It makes me feel centered, present, and ecstatically joyful!


Be Healthy Y'all!

White Bean, Rosemary, and Kale Soup

2 cans White Beans (drained and rinsed)

4 Cups vegetable stock

3 tbsp olive oil

½ cup unsalted butter

1 sprig of rosemary

2 sprigs of thyme

1 bay leaf

½ small yellow onion (chopped)

2 clove garlic (chopped)

Tbsp lemon zest

½ cup cubed parmesan cheese rinds (optional)

Bunch kale, stemmed, chopped and rinsed (you can use ANY thick leafy green! I like to use whatever is freshest at the store or market)

salt & pepper to taste

Into a medium pot on low heat, add the olive oil and butter until the butter is melted. Add the chopped onion and let sauté on low heat until the onion is translucent, 10-15 mins. Then add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and sauté for another 3 minutes. Stir in the white beans, then add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the beans are super tender. Remove the herbs, and bay leaf. Add salt and pepper to taste. At this point you could use a hand held blender to blend the beans into a smooth textured soup, or you could transfer to a blender (carefully, with the hot liquid), I don’t have either and I personally prefer the texture of the whole beans.

Now, add the lemon zest and cheese rinds and let simmer for another 10 minutes. Now stir in the greens until bright green and slightly wilted. *

*an option for making the soup FRESH every time if you’re not going to serve the whole pot all at once. Ladle the soup into a bowl and THEN stir in a handful of greens. Let the soup cool and then transfer to a tupperware container and refrigerate, place the rest of your rinsed greens into a big zip lock baggie with a paper towel, and then add a handful to each serving when as you reheat. Otherwise the greens get unpleasantly wilted and slimy as you continue to reheat the soup.

Serves 4-6

Inspiration, wisdom from the masters

Success is as dangerous as failure.
Hope is as hollow as fear.

What does it mean that success is as dangerous as failure?
Whether you go up a ladder or down it,
your position is shaky.
When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
You will always keep your balance.

What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear?
Hope and fear are both phantoms
that arise from thinking of the self.
When we don't see the self as self,
what do we have to fear?

See the world as yourself.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as your self;
then you can care for all things.

- Tao Te Ching, Chapter 13 (translation by Stephen Mitchell)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Be Healthy Y'all!

Once upon a time in a dorm room on Roosevelt Island (a little island in the East River nestled between the boroughs of Queens and Manhattan), there lived a girl who subsisted on boxed mac n' cheese, ramen noodles, pop tarts and McDonald's. This girl brazenly bragged about not being able to cook, and blabbed ad nauseum to anyone who'd listen, about how she would NEVER ever ever ever become domesticated. Life went by just like this for many years until her body revolted, and one day a little voice inside finally got the girls attention, and it said "Put DOWN that coca cola, and pick up this vegetable!!!!!!!", and she listened.

And that, my darlings, is more or less how I became a food enthusiast, and a pretty decent cook if I may say so myself. :-P

Food has become an extension of my philosophy and a important part of my lifestyle. Cooking is Yoga for me, because it stills and quiets my mind. And, as we learned last week in Sutra Study, Yoga IS the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind. Lately my cooking has become a creative and playful adventure, and I wish to share with you some of my favorite healthy and DELICIOUS dishes here.

I want to note that I follow an Ayurvedic diet for my overactive Pitta dosha. So, I avoid hot spices and spicy food in general. Always feel free to be creative and add a little somethin' somethin' if spicy food is your trip.

Be Healthy Y'all!!!!

Chick Pea Burgers

1 Can Chick Peas (drained and rinsed)
1/2 a cup H2O
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tbsp plain oats
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
salt & pepper to taste

Put your chick peas in a pot with about half a cup of water (just enough to not quite cover them), and boil until very soft. The pour the whole pot, including the water into a mixing bowl and mash the chick peas well. Add the flour, oats, spices and mix together. You may have to add more water along the way to get the mixture to a "hamburger" type consistency. Remember to taste your mixture as you go along to make sure you've added enough spices, salt, and pepper.

Makes 2-4 patties (depending on how big you make 'em) that you can fry up in a pan with a little bit of olive oil.


* notes: you can make your mixture in a blender or food processor if you have one. I don't so I do it by hand. Also, feel free to add ANY spices your little heart desires!!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

BEING MY OWN POWER, an essay on potential by: Anonymous

I had a true breakthrough today. I realized something. It felt like I was blowing dust off an old relic, like I was an archaeologist who had discovered something long-buried and could finally start to detect a familiar shape. It was like I was removing a layer of grime from something shiny hidden in my attic from decades ago. It was like removing rust from a piece of long-forgotten machinery.

I realized that I AM MY OWN POWER.

As soon as I realized this, I had a SUPERCHARGE.

It was building up all day, as I started to FEEL MY POTENTIAL, truly feel it. It finally hit today. I am a self-enclosed entity. I am my own power. I am my own god. I AM GOD.

A few days ago, I began to monitor all my interactions with other people. I realized that no matter who it was I was conversing with, it was like I was constantly scrambling after ENERGETIC CRUMBS, desperate for other people to give me some type of shallow validation that I am worthy of attention, deserving of love. I wanted the crumbs of other people's affection, I wanted to have some type of reassurance of my existence, I wanted other people to acknowledge me, to make me feel valued, to make me feel special by responding to me, by communicating with me to help me prove to myself that I exist, that I am worthy, and for too long I have relied on these paltry energy returns to build up my self-confidence and self-image. Well guess what folks: You cannot thrive on crumbs.

In fact, good luck even surviving on them for long. You can't nourish yourself on crumbs because you're just constantly looking for more. More attention, more validation, more pieces of fragmented love from people who are just doing the same thing you are, desperate for those tiny slices of validation, of being noticed and appreciated. IT'S A FLAWED SYSTEM. Destined to fail, destined to bring discontentment, frustration and bitterness to those who utilize it.

Realizing this over the past few days, I hit an apex today. What to do? I'M TIRED OF LIVING THAT WAY. I'm tired of feeling desperate, disappointed and let down in my interactions with others. I'm tired of always pining for more: more love, more attention, more validation. It's bullshit. For one thing, you will NEVER be satisfied. NEVER. NOBODY ELSE CAN EVER SATISFY YOUR LONGING HEART. Nobody else can ever give you enough validation for you to feel worthy of YOURSELF. Nobody else can ever give you enough love to feel complete. It's impossible.

So I've been thinking about this. Pondering and pondering. Today, in my pondering, I hit something new. It felt like I was dusting off a piece of myself I haven't used in awhile. I felt a thrill of excitement when I realized how FAMILIAR it seemed. It was something I remembered...vaguely...something I had known, intuitively, instinctively...long ago...something that I thought had disappeared.

Without even realizing that it had.

It was POWER.




In finding it, a rush of epiphany.

I realized I could do anything. I realized that I could do Anything. I realized I could do ANYTHING. No more fear. I could do anything I wanted. Say anything I wanted. Nothing in my way. And if there was? HA! I'm the martyr. I'm the heretic. I CANNOT be repressed!!! It goes against my design to be coerced. I am the black sheep. I am DESIGNED to go against the grain. I am MADE to rebel, to resist. I always have. My entire life. I am designed to adapt, to find out what works. And when I find what works, there is CONVICTION:

Conviction I will fearlessly take to the grave.

The strength in my position in life, the strength in my design, overwhelmed me.

I began to realize my role as a black sheep. I began to FEEL IT. I began to TAKE DELIGHT in it. I felt mischievous and playful and fierce and determined and VERY CONTENT in my role in life. But that was only the beginning of realizing my power.

In realizing all this, a feeling swept over me, a sensation of throwing back my head and laughing hysterically, manically, even though I was deathly composed and joyously still. I felt something budding, something big, something fierce, something STRONG. It was confidence.

I am not afraid anymore. Not now. In understanding my Human Design, I have come to feel who I really am. And it blows my mind.

I am not afraid to be who I Really Am anymore.

Today, I realized I am my own Power. Worshiping God? Looking up to a Higher Power? I AM my Higher Power. I AM GOD. I AM love. I AM validation. I AM attention. I AM


To realize FREEDOM.

And there is more. Something even more deliciously blasphemous.

I REFUSE TO FEEL ASHAMED TO BE WHO I AM. I AM WHO I AM. Among our society, there are those guilt-stricken unhappy souls who would like everyone to feel as embittered and distraught and helpless and beholden to the OTHER as they are. I know this, because I have been one of them. To cling to the idea of the OTHER as something to NEED, something to CRAVE endlessly, something to WORSHIP as HIGHER then the SELF. These are the same people who want everyone to be disempowered. These are the people who NEED to be NEEDED to feel like they are worth something. By saying, "I AM GOD" and "I AM MY OWN POWER" they are threatened.

I know. I have been one of them.


I FEEL MY POWER. I acknowledge that I AM GOD. And I am focusing on that. I'm going to experience this, for ALL ITS WORTH.

I'm not giving my power away anymore. I'm not going to "give it up" to GOD. GOD IS EVERYTHING. I AM GOD. And I'm focused on the I AM. And I am self-confident and self-satisfied in my new understanding..of my SELF.



You know what else?

In realizing I AM: EVERYTHING IS.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Hey darlings! I just wanted to let you know that I have a photo/video shoot in a couple of weeks, so DIY Restorative will be back and better than ever shortly after!

stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Inspiration, wisdom from the masters

A force of nature; B.K.S. Iyengar is one of the greatest living yoga masters and a profound inspiration in my practice and teaching. I want to share a quote of his with you, dear yogi's and yogini's. It's from an interview with him that Yoga Journal ran a little over a year ago, and I just came across it in an old journal. When asked what his practice is like now (He just turned 91 this past December), this is how Mr. Iyengar responded:

"Even now the maximum my body can do, I do. I am 90, and still I practice. I stay in sirsasana (headstand) for half an hour, even without shaking. I'm improving still, progressing still. That is why I am still practising with such energy. The mortal body has its limitations. Therefore I will still practice 'til the last breath of my life that that I do not become a servant of the mind, but rather the master of the mind. Old age makes a strong man say goodbye. I am breaking the fear complex and living with confidence."

If that is not inspiring, then I don't know what is.