Twisty, Flowy, Detoxing Flow

When I use my practice as a detox, I add in  twists and counter-twists and a whole bunch of other great stuff to create a churn-like action through my core to get things moving and work my obliques like crazy.    First round, I hold each pose for about 5 breaths to help center myself within the asanas and the transitions.  Then, I move through the flow rythmically (eg. one breath, one movement) 2-3 times on each side at a quick, but not rushed, pace.

On a physical level, this kind of breath-based flow builds heat, tones and cleanses my body.   I also find that when I’m intent and focused on the task of moving with intention and compassion (and not falling flat on my ass), all the excess chatter in my mind is suspended.   While cleansing my body of toxins during yoga, I also reboot my mind and  when I lay down in savasana I sigh with relief feeling both lighter and renewed. Continue reading

Rice and Sprouts and Greens, Oh My!

Welcome to Detox Day 1!!

For all of you who joined us at the Sunday Funday to kick this detox week off, you know Kath and I are not your typical detox kind of gals. I admitted to the love affair I am currently having with all things bread and cheese. We both really love red wine and chocolate (especially when that chocolate is surrounding a delicious peanut butter center). Don’t even think about talking to either of us before we’ve had half a pot of coffee in the morning. (Okay, that might be more me than Kath, but still.)

My point is that I’m not really in the habit of denying myself much. So when I cleanse, I don’t want to walk around feeling like my brain is going to explode from lack of caffeine or like I am so hangry I could contemplate eating the rubber off the wheel of my shopping cart in Target or like I am going to pass out when I’m demo-ing inversions while I am teaching. The idea of this detox – we won’t even call it a cleanse – is to reboot you back into really fabulous food. Every recipe we post this week will be real, whole, solid, warm, DELICIOUS food. And all things that are easy to find around here. (I do pretty much all my shopping at the Lexington Co-Op.) We’re here to make this as easy as possible, and to fit your reboot into a super busy life full of chasing kids, meeting deadlines and going to yoga classes. Consider yourself UN-deprived :)

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Fun with Tripod: Drills for advanced transitions

Before my second pregnancy, I was practicing tripod (=sirsasana B), arm balances and the transitions between the twain regularly.   Although requiring a lot of stamina and endurance, my body didn’t exactly mind these ashtanga 3rd (advanced) series transitions.  I took great joy in the exhiliration and challenge.

After Rhys, however, tripod felt heavy and icky.  My deltoids would immediatly fatigue and my neck hurt during and after.  Transitioning back to crow—which I previously practiced without any difficultly— elluded me and anything involving a twist and a press was just out of the question. Continue reading

Beliefs and Intentions (or, me trying to tie The MaddAddam Triology to yoga)

“What is ‘belief’ but a willingness to suspend the negatives?” ponders the protagonist in Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam.  She goes on to suggest that “if you acted according to a belief, that was the same as having the belief.”

I paused when I read this passage within the novel and reread it a few times.  Something, although unidentifiable in that exact moment, resonated with me.  I trudged on in my reading, eager to conclude the book—book 3 in a kick-ass dystopian trilogy—abandoning my analysis of the quote.

Yesterday, within the final moments of a yoga class I took, the teacher said that the language of our intention (or New Year’s resolution) matters.  For example:  words carry different meaning when we preface them with “I want to…” instead of the more affirming, “I will…” She suggested, at least I interpret that she suggested, we have to believe in our intention, and it’s possibility, in order for it to come to fruition and continue to blossom over time. Continue reading

A Bubbly New Year’s Eve

It’s the last day of 2014.  A time to reflect, to get nostalgic, to plan ahead and set intentions for the coming year…and a night to drink a LOT of champagne.  Am I right??

But truly, New Year’s Eve to me has always had that magical, anything-is-possible quality, and what better way to usher in all those new possibilities than with a glorious glass of bubbly? Continue reading

Getting Back on Track Salad (gluten free and vegan option)

Even though I continue to eat the carb-rich, not-so-nutrient-dense stuff laying around my house, my body is CRAVING my healthy routine and habits.  I’ve had a ton of fun acting like a jack-ass with my family but I’m claiming today as my last day of lethargy, over-caffeination and excessive indulgances.  I am so looking forward crashing at a decent hour tonight and catching up on some sleep. We have more vacation days ahead of us and I want to enjoy them and feel energized and alert.

I made this salad yesterday for Christmas dinner  as a healthy and gluten-free option.  It turned out delicious (even though I douced it in my mom’s marinara sauce and paired it with a side of buttery mashed potatoes).   Everyone in my family gobbled it down and they seemed grateful for the extra vegetarian-friendly, energy-packed dish.   Continue reading

Love in Motion Holiday Gift Guide

Last-minute shopping got you in a frenzy??  Never fear!!  The queens of procrastination ourselves, we’ve put together a gift guide that’s (mostly) local, super fabulous and ridiculously easy to put together.  So now everyone on your list can have a very Merry Christmas.

Kath’s Picks:

Lisa B. Socks:  I admit I have an obsession with cozy, chunky socks. Functionally, the keep my feet warm (duh).  But they also add some detail to my outfit.  Yoga pants, chunky socks, Frye boots create the perfect effortless and ridiculously comfort look.  Lisa B. socks, knit from a delicious blend of cashmere and wool, come in solids, prints, over the knee and mid-calf (trouser) heights.   If you live to layer like me, some of the socks are a tighter knit than others, so it’s easy to wear more than one pair for extra comfort.   I’ve stocked up on pairs for friends, family and of course for myself.  If you are local to Buffalo you can find Lisa B. cashmere  at Modern Nostalgia and Blue Collar on Hertel Avenue.  If you are from out of the area, check out Lisa B.’s website.

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Photo by Erin Habes for Modern Nostalgia

 

Sumbody Skincare Products:  My love affair with Sumbody began with their coconut oil-based, all natural, aromatherapeutic soaps.  My mom bought me a few bars while I was pregnant with Hannah and I fell in LOVE.   Once I began using all natural, chemical free soaps, I find the synthetic scents to be, well, very synthetic (redundant, I know).   Sumbody makes all kinds of skincare products that ranges from the more indulgant sugar and salt scrubs to all natural face cleansers and anti-aging product.  Today, I popped into a local bath and body shop on Elmwood Ave. called Renew to purchase Sumbody soaps and goodies for Christmas Presents.  I learned, via their sales associate, that Sumbody’s owner and creator, Deborah, formulates all of the product herself from scratch and she also speaks directly with stores and vendors selling her product.  Amazing soap, therepeautic scents and kick-ass female creator and owner… Sumbody has got it going on!

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Amika: Nourishing Mask:  One might assume that I shower regularly and often since almost all of my favorite things this holiday season are indeed used in the shower.  Assumptions, as we know, make an ass of you and me.   I try to shower as often as possible, and I relish in the idea of showers, but I usually skip a few days before even my top know looks disgusting and I’m left with but no other choice than to shower.   Eww, I know, TMI.  Back to this product…  My hair is thin and straight but it easily becomes wicked tangled.  It took two girls to brush my hair–after they shampooed and conditioned me– last time I got a trim.  This conditioning mask can be used as often as you like.    It leaves your hair so soft, less tangly and full of body.  Locally, the amazingly talented ladies at The Refinery Salon on Saranac and Hertel Avenues sell Amika products.

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Kate’s Picks:

Mahina Jewelry: Jocelyn, the creator of this gorgeous, island-inspired line, is quite possibly the most generous, lovely human I have ever met.  She designs her pieces with so much love and care, and if she doesn’t have quite what you’re looking for, don’t worry – she’ll make it for you on the spot if you are lucky enough to catch her at a trunk show.  She sells at several area boutiques, but I picked up my pieces at Modern Nostalgia on Hertel Avenue.  (Pssst…she just dropped a TON of new product there last night, so get in and get it while it’s hot!!)

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Photo by Erin Habes for Modern Nostalgia.

 

 

I.Love.Lettuce.: Anyone who knows Kath and I knows that we have a ridiculous obsession with the leafy green stuff.  We eat it with hot sauce, with peanut butter, practically straight out of the ground.  So when I found this fresh face mask with the moniker “Love Lettuce” at Lush Cosmetics, I knew I was about to enter a pretty fantastic love affair.  It’s got a cool, creamy texture and a deliciously light lavender smell that’s perfectly relaxing after a long crazy day.  It’s a great gift for someone who burns the candle at both ends, and it’s just the right amount of indulgence.  Find it in the fridge at our local Lush! (Yes, you have to go to the mall, but I PROMISE this super ethical, crazy cool company is worth the trip.)

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Linwood Candle Co.: A recent new discovery of mine, I am already obsessed with the delicious smells this place has concocted.  Fresh Grapefruit, Mission Fig and Pumpkin Pie are just a few, and they are all hand-poured right here in the Queen City.  Small-batch, soy-based means that they burn clean and don’t have any of the extra gross stuff you find in mass produced candles.  They make great stocking stuffers or work-buddy gifts.  Who doesn’t like a yummy smelling house around the holidays?  Grab a bunch at Anna Grace on Elmwood Avenue.  They have extended hours, right up until Christmas Eve for all you procrastinators out there :)

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Happy shopping, y’all!  And if anyone has any gorgeous, inspirational gifts of their own, let us know!!  We’re always looking for great new finds you can’t live without. ( Also, Kate is pretty stumped this year and could use a little help in her procrastinating gift shopping :))

De-Stressing During the Holidays

Holiday stress, for a lot of us, begins around Thanksgiving and lingers into the new year.  It can cloud our judgement causing us to feel embittered and frustrated instead of enjoying the days off from work, extra time with family and all the other goodness that surrounds this season.

For me, the extra excitment surrounding the holidays impacts me in either one of two ways:

1)  Overreactive:  I’m an extremely extroverted introvert.   I LOVE people; I especially love my people.  However, I require alone time to recharge my social batteries.  When I don’t get my required time in solitude, I feel spread quite thin and I become pretty agitated and irritable.  I am reactive and snippy; mess with me even a little bit and I might snap.   I use my alone time to practice yoga, meditate, read, clean or just lay around.  I find it helps me center myself and gain some much needed perspective.

2) Grateful and Loved:  When I compromise my me-time, I’m pretty much a total bitch (why sugarcoat it?).   However, if I meet my Kathleen-time quota, I love the holidays and the enormous sense of gratitude, love and appreciation I can share with my community.  I love to throw parties and organize get-togethers  as long as I take care of myself as well. Continue reading

On Family

Sparing the nitty-gritty details, I will just say that there was some seriously unpleasant animosity during my family dinner last night.  Every Sunday, the local and available members of my large family meet for dinner.  Sometime, we are on; we nail the whole loving-family-quality-conversation bit.  Other nights, e.g. last night, all of our repressed dirt seems to spread all over the table.  We–those of us engaged in the altercation– become reactive, defensive and judgemental.  The innocent bystanders begging for peace unwillingly fall victim to the plague-like contention.

Last night, we were able to cajole the parties most upset by the situtation.  We ate dinner in peace, packed the kids and headed home to our quiet and safe haven.  And although the drama was mollified, I still left thinking about stress.  Namely, the stress that is so obviousley caused by our families.   Continue reading

Better Out Than In: Some tips for detoxing

Holiday season is upon us and our routines—especially the healthier ones—are interrupted.  Amid all the festivities and preparation, time for healthy decisions and exercises is scarce.  Contrarily, Cookies, chocolate, champagne and other indulgences are in abundance.  We want to be able to enjoy the goodies without feeling a ton of guilt, Right?  Even if you don’t have time for a full 90 minute practice everyday, yoga can still help to detox before and after you retox!

These are my a few of my favorite yoga detox tricks that I weave into my practice whenever I need to jump start my metabolism.  These can be added into any longer practice, performed before or after any class or just practiced on their own when you have a couple of minutes!

I find that these exercises at once release the physical junk that weighs me down and clear a mental and emotional space.   Feeling less bogged down physically and mentally can allow us to see the big picture (eg. the good stuff) more clearly and enjoy the season with less regret and guilt.

  • Kapalabhati Breath (=breath of fire or skull shining breath) is hands down my favorite breathing exercise. I use kapalabhati to help me stoke the fire in practice to build heat, cleanse and tone my belly.  If you have never done this before, start slowly to improve your technique and strengthen the exhale.  Gradually, increase your cadence and add more rounds.  Basically, you are pumping the diaphragm to produce sharp, short exhales through the noses.  The inhale will happen naturally and passively.  While you do this, think of pumping the belly back with each exhalation.    You can practice kapalabhati in any position, my favorite way asana for this breathing technique is a wide-legged yogic squat and the hands positioned in anjali mudra (=prayer).    Instead of counting, I use a timer.  Start with 30 seconds and each day you practice, add more time.  I usually do a 2-minute round per practice.  Avoid this exercise if you are pregnant and limit your duration or skip on days where you are menstruating.kabala
  • Swivel Chair: In general, twists are the one of the best ways to ring toxins out of your body.  One of the perks to rotation in asana practice is that you can strengthen your core, namely the obliques.   This twist is a hybrid of utkatasana (=chair pose) and a kundalini yoga breathing exercise.  Start in chair pose and bring the arms into goal-post arms.  Steady the lower body—hips remain as static as possible—and begin to rotate the waste from side to side.  Breathing ujayii breath at a normal pace.  If it feels alright you can move at a quicker pace than the breath.  The arms and shoulder remain stationary in relationship to the spine; the rotation comes exclusively from the waste.  Stay here for 10-12 breaths.  Optional:  thread this into a single practice a few times.swivel chair
  • Cat Tail Pose: So, you are feeling lethargic and maybe nursing a little champagne or chocolate hangover but you need something to get stuff moving? Cat Tail is a yin pose that includes a deep, yet static, twist.   Fortunately, ALL twists have the power to detox; even the static postures.  Cat Tail requires a bolster (or a pillow or rolled up blankets) and maybe a strap.  You start on your back with the bolster aligned perpendicular to your body at the line of the hip.  Hug your left knee into your chest and cross the thigh bone over towards your right.  Align your inner-leg on the bolster.  You want the bolster to support your leg, so you might have to rearrange the angle a bit.  The knee may or may not straighten depending on hamstring length.  Optional, and not pictured below:  bend your bottom leg (right leg when twisting to the right) and take hold of your foot with your left hand.  If you can’t reach, wrap a strap around your foot and hold the strap instead.  This pose gives you an amazing lateral-thigh stretch on the twisted leg and anterior-pelvis stretch on the bottom leg.  Stay here on each side for 3-5 minutes to allow your body to settle into this passive twist.   I’m not an expert in Yin Yoga; to read more about this pose click here.cat tail