Tuesday, October 2, 2012

This Must Be the Place: Magic in Yoga, Recipes and Heart

Sometimes magic happens.  Sometimes it's music.  Sometimes it's yoga.  Sometimes it's gluten free Pumpkin Cider.  Sometimes it's rainy festivals.  Sometimes it's an email from a friend. Sometimes it's a hug.  Sometimes (most of the time), it's breakfast potatoes heavily salted and covered in maple syrup and hot sauce.  Whatever the magic is, I've decided to make more of an effort to embrace it.  

I like this advice.
I went to Pennsylvania again for ten more days of yoga teacher training.  I'm all trained up to become an RYT200 (registered yoga teacher with 200hrs).  My favorite part of training was this philosophy homework assignment we had.  The Yoga Teacher Alliance dictates that 20% of an instructor's training is to be yoga philosophy, so over the course of the ten days, I listened to maybe four or five philosophy lectures.  I generally find them quite interesting - knowing the history of the yoga really matters, I think.  I don't agree with everything, but I like that with yoga, you're able to sort of embrace what applies to you, and consider those things that may not.  

My set up-3 zeds and a roll.  Woo!
My favorite of Patanjali's sutras: Tada drastuh svarupe vasthanam - once stillness enters your mind, the bliss within you will release.
I know it doesn't look especially impressive, but the Warrior Poses are challenging to properly align and maintain!

So anyway, one night we learned about the five yamas of yoga.  I think of them as principles to live by.  They don't all apply to me, but they are all quite interesting to think about, at least to me.  So one night we had the task of choosing a yama and keeping it in mind for the next 48 hours until we had another philosophy discussion.  I chose ahimsa, which means non-harming.  It can mean non-harming in a variety of ways-to yourself, to others, to animals, to the environment, etc.  Well, I just tried to function with this notion of non-harming in mind towards a difficult situation.  I knew that I was feeling really negative about it and it wasn't helping me, or anyone else involved; I decided to make an effort to think about it positively, to realize that dwelling on the complications would just make it more complicated.  Once I applied this mindset to this one situation, I realized that my demeanor shifted.  Something sort of magical happened.  I stopped compulsively checking my phone, facebook, my inbox and instagram and felt a weight lift off my shoulders.  I was kinder to myself, and as a result, kinder to others.  I can't stress enough how meaningful this one tiny assignment was to me. 

Well, I'm home now and trying to maintain that approach to every day.  I'm back to reality, and making soup...

one pound of carrots
Collard Greens - I did the prep work ahead of time
Root Vegetable Chowder (from Vegetarian Times)

3 Tbs orange juice
1 Tbs pure maple syrup
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 oz. collard greens (1/2 small bunch)
5 tbs. olive oil, divided
3 cups (14 oz) medium-diced onions
1 1/2 Tbs minced fresh ginger
3/4 tsp salt
2 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and diced (I used more like six because I omitted the Rutabaga-I forgot to buy it, I also don't care for it and I LOVE potatoes) 
1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into medium dice
1/2 large rutabaga (or not!)

1. Combine orange juice, maple syrup, and vinegar in glass measuring cup.  Set aside.
2. Remove stems from collard leaves.  Stack 5 or 6 leaves at a time, roll up lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-wide ribbons.  Chop ribbons into 2- to 3-inch lengths.  Set aside.

3. Heat 2 Tbs. oil in Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onions, and season with salt, if desired.  (I desired).  Cover, and cook 6 to 7 minutes.  Uncover, and cook 15 minutes more, or until onions are lightly golden.  Add ginger, and cook 30 seconds.  Add 7 cups water and the salt, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and cook 15 minutes.  Remove from heat.

4. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add potatoes, and season with salt, if desired.  (I always desire salt).  Cook 6 to 8 minutes, or until potatoes are well-browned on at least 2 sides, stirring occasionally.  Transfer to bowl. 

5. Add 1 Tbs oil to same skillet.  Add carrots and cook 6 to 8 minutes, or until well browned on at least 2 sides.  Transfer to bowl with potatoes.

6.  Repeat step 5 with rutabaga, if desired.

7. Add vegetables to onion broth, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 9 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.  Add collard greens, and cook 5 minutes.  Stir in 1-2 Tbs of orange juice mixture.

8. Enjoy!

Okay, side note, the potatoes I browned were the VERY BEST BREAKFAST once I added 1/2 can of rinsed black beans and a tablespoon of salsa.  Heaven.  

Minus the Bear at the Royale in Boston=So, so, so good
Third Eye Blind in Brooklyn, CT
Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band in Brooklyn, CT
Oh, the real magic of the last month was seeing David Byrne and St. Vincent.  The most amazing concert I've ever been to, and the greatest night.  <3 <3 <3  
"it's true, i am a shaky ladder"

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