Prescription for Joy: Radiate Love and Light – 40 Day Practice

Prescription for Joy: Radiate Love and Light – 40 Day Practice

B and I started a 40 day practice this month. Usually we have our own activities we like to do in order to feel good: mine would be yoga, Pilates, watching old TV shows, and his would be basketball (REAL and XBOX). This month we decided that the New Moon would be the perfect time to start a shared daily practice for 40 days to boost our energy and spirit levels.

We are STILL doing our favourite activities, naturally!

Everyday we practice a set sequence of yoga postures, followed by mantra meditation and we drink a green drink that I labelled our ‘Elixir’. This last part is major because B has never been on board with drinking anything green although I feel like that’s being very picky since he is slightly colour blind anyway? For all he knows it could be pink? SUDDENLY he can tell it’s green. I mean.

Anyway.

The mantra we chant is personal to each of us but I’ll share mine with you below. We chant out loud and with confidence, 11 times and then we sit quietly and let things marinate.

Somedays we do our practice in the evening like last night when we came home from a wedding party. We showered, changed and stepped on our mats. Then we had our green drink. We slept like babies even with both of us recovering from the flu.

It feels wonderful!

To go along with our 40 day practice we also cut out coffee. I typically drink a lot of coffee, alarming amounts even, but I’ve never had any issue with stopping. I never even get headaches if I go without coffee but it’s that comfort factor that I like. I love comfort! So when I want a warm drink I’ll make myself a Coconut Maca drink. I’m having one righttttttt now. 

 
I’m very lucky I’ve never enjoyed soft drinks and I drink a lot of room temperature water. Even warm water in a mug can be comforting. I make a ritual out of heating the water up, choosing a favourite mug (B and I both like to hog the same mugs) and then enjoying the steam puff up. It’s all about the ritual and process! Aren’t humans funny?

We started out as a very small community of just two, but in just over a week a few of our friends have started to join in. One of my girlfriends asked for a shopping list so she could run out and grab all the ingredients for the ‘elixir’ the very next morning.

Which is great! The more the merrier, and slowly little by little we generate more good vibes. If you would like to join us (we’d love to have you!) feel free to come up with your own mantra, or use mine:

RADIATE

Be well and be radiant! xoxo

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Sunday Feels – The Healing Power of Taking Rest

Is there anything better than waking up to rain against the window pane at the end of a busy week? Not only a rainy day but a rest day for me. I still woke up hella early as usual but gosh, it felt like luxury to have all those hours. Today is a Moon Day and I am looking forward to taking rest from my usual morning yoga practice.

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The constantly changing weather seems to be wreaking havoc on my body and after croaking my way through teaching this week, I could feel my voice leaving me for a well-earned vacation. Somewhere warm, I imagine. There was an ad years ago that showed a couple discussing where they would go for a holiday. The woman decided she would go to Phuket or somewhere like that and then the man promptly said he would go to Bali. Kind of reminded of that right now. Plenty of warm water and an early night seem to have done me the world of good today. Rest is always the crucial thing for me. If I don’t get enough of it, my body reminds me soon enough and then it will MAKE me have to take rest. I made some goals for myself this year and my body seems to have come up with a goal of its own for me – to take more time to rest.

breakfast in bedWhat do you do when you get the day off?

I like to shower and get into my comfy home clothes, make a simple brekkie, perhaps apply a face mask, laze around reading books, think about a late lunch, more lazing, perhaps even take a nap?! Already I feel so much better than I have in days! It is so important to find time to rest. Later on I will do a little light stretching, some Pilates exercises. It’s still important to get the body moving! If it is to be a rest day like today, then I won’t do much in the way of chores, but I will wash any dishes and the towels. It feels better to know that the kitchen is clean and tidy. And later on I will be glad when we have fresh towels. Food will be the really simple kind. That seems to suit me best. Here’s what I ate so far:

Breakfast: Avocado on multi grain bread. I like to smear what is left in the shell on my face which as it dries seems to tighten my skin. Such an easy face mask, and afterwards when I finally remember to rinse it off my skin feels incredibly silky. I walked around with a green face for an hour before I remembered to go splash the avocado off. But not before I took the rubbish out and said hi to my neighbours. Nice.

Lunch: I’m avoiding anything oily or too salty so as not to upset my throat. And I am just crazy about turmeric in all my food so I steamed some rice with turmeric and garlic. After the rice was perfectly cooked, I lifted up the lid, threw in some green vegetables, cracked an egg, and tossed in some white mushrooms. I’m so chill right now I can’t recall what they are called exactly, possibly oyster mushrooms? Anyway, I close the lid so the steam doesn’t billow out and instead stays inside and perfectly cooks all those toppings. This is one of my favourite ways to make a meal and I’m glad my body seems to love this type of food too.

steam powered

A few years ago I was working as a lawyer for a construction company, and all of us, and I truly mean the entire legal department, went through a phase of being obsessed with the hot chips from the cafe downstairs. They were so delicious we couldn’t get enough! Of course we completely overdid it one afternoon and I went home with the most terrible headache. I was so thirsty and all I wanted was steamed broccoli. When I went back the next day I found out I wasn’t the only one with a hot chip hangover. Yikes!

Back to my lunch. So, after a few minutes of gentle steaming the white of the egg is glossy and opaque, that’s when I know it is perfect. You may like your egg a little more firm but I like the yolk to be slightly oozy. My grandma used to make me gooey eggs like this and she would tell me it was my mum’s favourite way to eat eggs, and she called it “suo suo dan“; “dan” being the word for egg and “suo suo” being the action you make when you try to slurp up the goo. I still describe my eggs like that to this day. As to flavour, I just dash a very small amount of light soy sauce and sesame oil over the top. You can add white pepper, chopped chillies, coriander, but I’m happy with this and so is my tummy. Can there be anything better than having a warm feeling in the belly when it’s raining outside?

What nice things will you make for yourself to eat this weekend? xx

 

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What’s for dinner? – Easy recipe for when you need a weekend to recover from the weekend

How was your weekend? We took it really easy, it’s my first weekend back in town so naturally we had loads of laundry and chores to catch up on. The last thing I want is to then have to drag myself out for dinner but I also don’t want to expend my remaining energy on making dinner but I want home food.

It’s all too “I know what I don’t want but I don’t know what I want but I know I want it now.” I KNOW! TIRESOME!

What then?

This Spicy Vegetarian Cous Cous Goreng has been a breakthrough over here. I always have a few random odds and ends hanging out in the veggie drawer of the fridge. When I make cous cous I can never make just the right amount there’s always an extra container of it. I keep a few spare packets of spice paste so all I do is just grab everything and throw it together and dinner is done! It’s so satisfying and warming, best of all you can just make it in the one pot and that’s as good as it gets, washing up wise.

So so easy! It’s my new favourite way to have cous cous. And you can sneak in all those vegetables.

Ingredients: 

Your choice of cooked grains: rice, cous cous, quinoa, oats, barley etc

A packet of spice paste (don’t be afraid to try other flavours too! Great ones to use are green/red/yellow curry paste)

Chopped veg (the softer the vegetable, like leaves, the less time it needs to cook)

Bit of oil, I like coconut oil, but use whatever you like

Options: fried egg, shredded meat, or leave out to keep it vegetarian

And yes, I am using my rice cooker to cook dinner. There’s no gas for my stove but I will always find a way hahaha.

Enjoy your Monday! xx

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Yoga to Move into Stillness

So legend has it that when you can’t sleep at night it is because you are awake in someone else’s dream.

Please stop dreaming about me whoever you are.

Aaaaaaaahahahahaha allow me to cackle away merrily whilst you take the time to roll your eyes.

I’ve been struggling to sleep properly and it seems to be some sort of excess nervous energy from prepping to go home for the holidays. This time next week I will be back home and ohmigoshonlyafewmoresleepstogoooooooooooooosomanythingstodosolittletimetodoitin.

You know those jitters? 

Verrrrrry similar to the kind a kid gets the night before Christmas. Who could possibly sleep?! It’s just all too exciting. TOO being the keyword. Too much going on. Around us and inside our heads. Without an outlet to channel all the excitement into, those sensations spill over everywhere and amplify existing feelings. 

There is a lot happening during holiday season and all that change can be stressful on a body. 

Resisting the change causes friction which leaves me restless and kinda twitchy. Then as I lose sleep I become tired and cranky. The cycle continues on a loop. When I was younger I couldn’t figure out how to settle myself down and found myself buffeted along by the things that kept happening TO me no matter how hard I tried to avoid them or take full control. I felt so resentful and frustrated. Did I have a target on my back?

Now I kind of understand it is up to me to decide if I want to struggle and kick my way along or flow through change. But the way is always THROUGH the obstacles or the change. And whilst I can control some aspects there are many others that I can’t. Discerning what I can and can’t change, much like the serenity prayer, are key to giving me the space I need to regain a sense of calm.

Try reading the next two paragraphs out loud slowly and with intent:

I remember that I can control my breathing. I can inhale fully and exhale completely. I can move my body as I breath slowly and deeply. I can give complete attention to moving my body with my breath. 

And with that I feel my heart rate calm down, my stomach ceases to twist into knots, my eyebrows unfurrow and my mind quietens and I move into stillness. Then I can sleep soundly and deeply. I wake up feeling joyful and excited about my days. I will nourish my body with fuel so I have energy to go about my day. I will move my body because it feels good to be active. I look forward to anything that comes my way. I feel content with the present moment because it is perfect. 

I hope following along to this short video helps equip you with a sense of calm as you go about preparing yourself for this holiday season. Please practice safely and take good care of yourself. 

Processed with Rookie Cam

Namaste. 

 

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Choose Joy, Always

Gold Foil Learn to be happy quote

Making happy faces at you from behind the screen. *Waves*

Currently editing a video which I described as for lazy bones (bonses?!) on my Instagram but maybe we should reframe that? What do you reckon? Lemme know?

Meanwhile this lazy bones hardworker is going to have some lunch (leftovers from a recipe I will also be sharing with you) and then will post those up.

See you later! xx

P.S. how has your week been? I want to know!

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A Well Spent Sunday

brings a week of content.

Quite so!

Actually I had a lovely time on Saturday as well so I’m in for a fortnight of wonderfulness. How grand would it be if each day we spent well gave us a credit for the week ahead? Like a sort of happiness coupon.

The more pragmatic of us would point out that we could alternatively just live each day well and forget the coupons already. Yes. Of course. That would be an easier way wouldn’t it? So how many of us do that?

Hmm.

If I had to say what exactly it was I did over the weekend that filled me with such bliss and contentment, I’d struggle to mention anything super exciting. It’s always been those tiny little moments that sort of creep up on me. Which is such a relief because that means during the weekdays I can just keep myself open to more of such treasures.

The heroine of a favourite book of mine had a ritual with her best friend called “White pebble or black pebble”. Each day they would fill an imaginary jar with white pebbles for anything wonderful that happened and black pebbles for anything not so. At the end of the day the women would ring each other and announce whether it was a white pebble type of day or a black pebble one. Ever since reading that book I keep a jar in my mind, a tad dusty as I don’t tend to it all the time, but I take it out more and more these days and check how many white pebbles I found during the day. The occasional black pebble shows up but I try to be less diligent with those.

Here are some of my white pebbles this weekend.

Usually I teach during the weekends, which I adore, but it was nice for a change to have my entire morning to myself to awaken very lazily with a coffee. After a huge yawn whilst shuffling these cards I drew (I kid you not) the Awakening card. Do you believe in coincidences? Or destiny? Can we have both?

Awakening
It’s important to be yourself!

I’ve gotten really fascinated with geometry, I’m always seeing these fancy circles and squares showing up on weheartit and so on. So I gave it a go this weekend. Let me tell you, there’s more than one way to join the dots. Like a zillion ways. Figuratively and literally. Aside from getting a little cross eyed at certain points it was really absorbing. An interesting way to meditate if you can’t stand not doing anything at all. I think there are still more dots to join.

More than one way to connect the dots

The power went out in our building, so we were trapped for a while. Luckily I had already made a coffee so fine by me. No harm at all. Until I felt ready for a second coffee. But then we figured out that the power inside the bedroom worked. We’re problem solving people. Hehe.

No I did not care to check if the washing machine had any power. Priorities.

Would you believe I have not had rice crackers until now since I was at uni?  The first time around? If you want the math for it, that would be almost 15 years ago. Far out. And after I merrily ignored the serving suggestion and made my way through just about the entire packet I realised why I didn’t buy rice crackers anymore when I wouldn’t stop bouncing off the walls afterwards. And then I was insanely thirsty for hours. No original flavour for me thank you very much. Gimme the BBQ. It weirded B out to see snacks in the house AND to see me eating them. I don’t buy snacks because that was how I was brought up. We only got them if we were having a party. I think I will revert to that rule. But it was a nice treat x 4 serving sizes.

Serving suggestions are not serving rules.

Oh, and I also had a visitor drop by during the afternoon to see how my drawing was going. Birds drop by from time to time and I always feel like it’s a good sign. My mood always lifts when I see the flutter of wings even for the briefest instant.

Eventually the power came back on and we watched a bit of The Other Woman. More than anything I think we like Leslie Mann’s voice. And I like the expressions Kate Upton makes, she seems so goofy. Oh and I felt really happy about the dinner I threw together. To counter ALL the rice crackers I ate. When everything is really fresh, not a lot needs to be done to make a delicious meal. And a cool salad is so good for balmy nights. And minimal clean up!

It’s pretty straightforward you just need to mix together a dressing, tear up some leaves, and add anything else you want to make it a filling meal.

Teevee Dinner
“What is up with your hot brother?” Yeah, Leslie, tell us.

So how was your weekend? I hope you had a wonderful weekend and a week ahead filled with magical white pebbles. xx

 

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Hurrah for Yoga in Pyjamas

Heyyy! How have you been?

I know, I have been away for so so so long. I missed you though! I will totally update you on what I have been up to one of these days. But, let’s get down to business, yoga business.

Please can we pretend I said that in a Morgan Freeman type voice.

Are you wondering if I was away doing a Masters in how to be even more cheesy? Maybe I was.

ANYWHO, I promised I would upload a yoga video for the Not So Flexible.

Let’s make it a series!

High five to those of you who, like me, roll out of bed and are almost deafened by the sound of creaking as you stumble around the place. And you also struggle with identifying the difference between words and grunting. Oh, aaaaaand you feel incredibly un-coordinated and any kind of activity that involves looking graceful and fluid just leaves you standing there on the spot, blinking with a thought bubble hovering over your head that goes, “NOPE”.

Enter: a very short session for easing into the morning. This little segment takes about 2 minutes so you don’t need to worry that you will lose your spot in the queue for the shower/someone will finish all the coffee. Well done, by the way, if you have a queueing system for who gets to use the bathroom next. We sort of have an “I’ll scissor-paper-stone you for it”/arm wrestle system.

So, ok, not really a system.

Shall we get moving? I didn’t bother with an introductory greeting (who can speak coherently in the morning?! besides, we’ve already met) so be prepared to just hop straight to it.

Super important: Please be kind to your body, practice safely and I really hope you enjoy! No judgement here if you head straight back to bed with your coffee/tea/cat/dog/human/all the above/etc afterwards. That’s just awesome!

If you’re already at work for the day, then just give this a go when you get home. Ixnay on the changing into PJs in the office, unless you work at home, then, cool, go nuts!

Chat soon X

Good morning!

If you’re anything like me, it doesn’t matter how much stretching happens at night, when you wake up in the morning you can just about hear everything creaking as you start to move around… into the kitchen to make coffee. Ha!

So here’s a really short easy sequence you can do to help you ease into the day. Whilst the coffee brews. No special equipment needed and you can do it in your pyjamas.

You can repeat this sequence as many times as you like just be sure to take it slow and gently to give your body a chance to awaken. Please please please listen to your body, practice safely and enjoy!

Thanks so much for watching. Please let me know if you enjoyed that and if you have any special requests, comment down below. X

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YOGA ALL DAY

Why am I shouting the title at you?

Sorry, I’m a little deaf these days, there’s constant hammering away in the apartment above my head since we last chatted. They’re doing it to drive me crazy renovating.

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Hence why, I still haven’t uploaded that video I have been promising! I need to construct a sound proof room first which reminds me of the old music room at my school. I would go there every lunchtime for piano lessons. The entire room was wall-papered with egg cartons and painted blue to accord with the school colour. The effect was, uh, very crafty and three-dimensional. But aside from being quite visually effective the egg cartons really didn’t work very well.

Which brings me back to where I am seated right now. It sounds like the people upstairs are diligently tinkering away with teeny tiny hammers and chisels at the ceiling above my head. Which makes me imagine they are either chiseling a statue or they are trying to tunnel their way into my apartment.

Am I annoyed? Sort of, I guess I’m half laughing at the imagery and half wishing the noise would stop. I am distracted by the incessant tunnelling hammering. That’s what is getting me, that I am allowing myself to be distracted and affected by this external activity. It is beyond my environment so why is it having such a huge impact on me?

It is just like in yoga classes, if you have had the fortune to experience, when a person, perhaps on a mat next to you is a REALLY LOUD BREATHER. Really, really, really loud. There is silence all around, except a sort of hum of coordinated movements and breathing… then this fantastically pervasive rasping sound emanating from the person next to you. Has that ever bothered you?

Or how about if the lady next to you in her struggle to do any postures is blustering and swearing away. “Oh geez. Oh !@#$%^&*#@#@***” on and on and on she goes for the entire ninety minutes. She hangs in there for the full class. She has paid her entry fee and by *&$#@ is she gonna get every last #$@&* minute out of that @#$%^&* session.

What about the self-appointed class joker (hey, why did you look at me for?) on the other side of the room, who takes it upon himself, everytime the teacher claims says “One more breath here” to do a countdown “Five, four, three, two aaaaaaaaaand ONEEEEEEEEEE!!!”

EVERY. TIME. No one laughs after the first time. But he persists.

Or what about the person who is just too sweaty? Or the showoff? Or the two ladies who won’t stop talking in the back? Or the person who doesn’t smell nice? Or the person who is wearing hardly anything and you can see right up their bandha?

The list could go on and on ad nauseum.

Well? Do you recognise these people? Do you think to yourself, “What classes do you attend, and why haven’t these people been thrown out?!”

Well, these people don’t just go to yoga classes. They also show up in your life. They’re in the supermarket, at your workplace, at uni, they’re on the bus with you, the train. Yep, sometimes they’re in the guise of your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, best friend, mum, dad, or child or brother, whatever.

And they’re doing something and it just bothers the bejeezers out of you.

What is a ‘bejeezer’? You don’t even know. You’re just so annoyed right now you’re creating new words. Oxford Dictionary look out, coming soon your way, get ready to take notes.  

Oh, and of course you’re not being nitpicky. It’s them. Right? It’s always them.

Do they have to do that? And in that way?*

YES THEY HAVE TO. And the more that it bothers you, the more they have to do that.

If you have ever experienced this then my suggestion is below. It seems to snap me out of my egg-cartoned mindset quick-smart. What works for me, might work for you. If you have never experienced this, well done, I guess you can carry on reading for entertainment?

Here’s the solution: Change your mind. Leave the world alone. Your world will evolve with time to fit the shape of your mind. You can make it as easy or as hard as you like, as I like to tell my students about our yoga practice. The choice is yours. You can struggle, or you can float. You do get to choose. You always have a choice.

Take a good look at these supposed ‘challengers’ and be glad they exist. They’re your true teachers. You will learn more from them than a workshop with a ‘celebrity’ yoga instructor. These are the teachers that teach you how to live. And they do it so effortlessly.

“Look at

all your fellow

humans and name

them accurately.

‘Brother.’

‘Sister.'”

– Erich Schiffman

I have met all sorts of teachers in yoga classes and I have to say over the years I still catch myself feeling exasperated and yes, distracted! It happens less and less but it still happens sometimes! Sometimes it’s the small, seemingly insignificant things that trip me up the hardest. I forget and think, “I am beyond that point. I love life. I love everyone. I’m fine.”

And then bang! I totally walk on my floaty cloud feelings into that trap my mind has set for me. I’m no longer practising yoga when that happens. I’m in somethingsomething-asana but it’s just a shape my body happens to be in. Because at that point, I have chosen to be more important than anyone else, more deserving to be there than anyone else and have decided that my comfort is more important than the comfort of anyone else, there in that class room. How egotistical does that sound when said out loud?

Instead of saying, “Oh, they’re so ANNOYING” but instead to phrase that as “I’m more important than they are.”

Yeesh! No, we have left yoga at that point. We’re just sweating and bending and stretching.

No yoga there. Just ego.

Oh, beware the ego trap! It is there all day everyday. There will never be a day when you reach nirvana and the trap is no longer set for you. You need to be on alert at all times. Be present in the moment. Live mindfully and completely in each moment. Question yourself.

And so, this is what I mean by

YOGA ALL DAY.

You do have to shout that a little at yourself, to get it through, past that ego trap. It has egg cartons painted in a hideous colour to distract you to the point of rage from realising that you have fallen deep inside. You can hear the sounds of life around you, but all you can see are those cartons. You are blind to the lesson in front of you.

There is far more to yoga than just yoga as I say. Our ability to do the splits, to touch our toes with our legs straight, or to stick one leg behind our head or stand on our head will not insulate us from the lessons of life. The ability to do any of those things are just acrobatic.

The goal of yoga is to cultivate an attitude of equanimity and one of compassion.

We’re all in this together, some of us swearing away, some of us panting loudly, some of us excitedly talking, some of us silently and we’re all chiseling away at this unshaped rock to make sense of our life purpose and find our way. When we look to our left and right and see we’re all trying in our different ways to do the same thing, live our lives any which way we can, the scales fall from our eyes, and the sounds and activities of life become what they always have been. Just a soundtrack of life.

Don’t get distracted by the soundtrack to your life.

Breathe. Practice your yoga all day. Know your fellow humans by name. Thank your teachers.

And between you and me, I don’t know what it is, maybe the renovations have finished upstairs, but I can’t hear any noise anymore. It is perfectly silent. All I can hear is the sound of my breathing and the sound of my fingers tapping on the keyboard.

Thank you thank you thank you. x

*Sometimes we are those very same people. We may not think it, but someone somewhere may be looking at us with disdain and think, “Oh go somewhere else, will ya?” How hurt would we feel if someone said to us that what we were doing was supremely irritating to them? Did we even aim our actions at them? Nope! We were just doing our own thing, right? Funny, that. Hmm. 

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Monday Mornings in the Kitchen

How was your weekend?

Sometimes I’ll catch up with friends and they’ll want to know what B and I do for our weekends. In truth we do a whole lot of nothing. And we LOVE it.

On Saturdays I might teach a class or two in the morning time whilst B sleeps in. And then we’ll head out for coffee and a bit of lunch. Sometimes yum cha. Don’t be surprised, of course I get into yum cha. It’s been a while so on Saturday afternoon I whipped up some focaccia to have with some cold things for dinner.

Sunday mornings we lounge around in our baggy t-shirts, having brekkie, coffee (me), homemade chocolate milk (him) until one or the other of us decides it really is time to get off the couch. We usually spend Sunday afternoon at the market stocking up and then stop by the car wash before spending the evening at home watching whatever the Powers-That-Be decide to air on tv.

We watched Divergent last night and felt so lost (what’s going on? what mean Divergent? Abne-who? erudite, what it do? why does everyone only wear black? what happened to Jennifer Lawrence? oh, she’s not in this?), I kept expecting to see some zombies for some reason. At certain points in the movie, I’d turn to B and say, “This would be a perfect time for some zombies.” Meanwhile, both of us were googling the plot synopsis to figure out what on earth was happening. Thank you IMDB.

I don’t know if B and I are the kind of couple other people would want to hang out on the couch and watch tv with because of our running commentary.

B: Is his name Four?

Me: Yeah, like the number.

B: I need to look up this Divergent movie.

Me: Make sure you search for ‘synopsis’, plot summary tells you nothing.

B: On it.

Me: (looking up from IMDB) you know he’s from Sydney?

B: No, you don’t say.

Me: Yeah. Says so right here.

B: What website are you reading the story line from?

On the screen, Shailene Woodley asks the man named after a number if she can see his tattoo.

B rolls his eyes at me.

I roll them back and send mine after them.

Me: You know she drinks clay water too?

B: Really? Wow.

Now Shailene is saying to Four she has no idea who she is anymore.

Me: You’re Mrs Four.

B: You’re Divergent.

Both of us: You’re welcome.

B: Do you think I’m a Divergent? (perks eyebrows meaningfully, whilst retrieving his imaginary gun from his imaginary holster)

Me: Definitely. It’s written all over your face. (nods solemnly)

B looks pleased.

Later that night in bed:

B: What does ‘divergent’ mean, by the way?

Me: Um. Away from normal.

B: I thought so.

Et cetera. And that is how we watch tv in this household. Which might not be for everyone.

Also not for everyone is cooking fish. People can be so nervous about cooking fish. I know I was to begin with. It’s really quite simple – so don’t be scurred!, as someone once said to me in a nightclub. I must have looked petrified. And I was. Especially after they said that.

Anyway.

To begin, I’ll help you get started with what I made for B to bring for lunch today. It’s so so so easy, which is always helpful on a Monday morning when I’m stumbling into the kitchen still trying to identify my elbow from my knee.

What you’ll need:

Piece of fish fillet with skin on. We picked up some gorgeous salmon yesterday but white fish is fine too.

Oil of your choice (I went with extra virgin coconut oil)

Bit of butter

Parsley, good quality sea salt and cracked black pepper

Ready? Here we go:

Grab fish out of the fridge.

Heat up the pan.

Whilst the pan heats up, pat dry the fish fillet with a paper towel, sprinkle bit of salt/pepper each side of the fish.

Add a good glug of oil to the pan and let that heat up. If you’re using a nonstick sort of pan, you may use less oil.

Place the fillet, skin side down in the pan. You will hear some very satisfying bubbling sounds as the skin starts to schleeerrrpppp! and crisp up in the pan.

Give that about 5 minutes to do it’s thing, just have the fire around medium to high. This would be a good time to chop the parsley, rinse some tomatoes, tear up some basil. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with cracked pepper/salt and throw the basil on top.

Back to the salmon: very gently, turn the fillet skin side up now. Depending on the thickness of the fillet this could do with just 1 minute or another 2 minutes. Don’t forget though that when you take the fillet off the heat to rest, it will still continue to cook through.

Now, this is a good time to throw in that knob of butter to melt into the pan. Sprinkle of parsley, maybe more pepper and you have a buttery sauce for your salmon. Although, I will just mention here that a good quality mustard (whole grain or Dijon) or just a squeeze of lemon goes very nicely. But I forgot about the lemon this morning because VERY EARLY IN THE MORNING.

Take the salmon out of the pan and let it rest to one side. To know if it is cooked you can do the loving squeeze test – squeeze the fillet gently with thumb and index finger. It should be firm but not rock solid (very cooked) or still squishy (bit raw).

If you find the fish is really overcooked, panic not. You can get two forks and just flake the fish and turn it into a salmon salad. Have no fear!

Anyway, you should be fine! When you’re ready to serve it up or pack it into a lunch box, chuck more parsley up top, drizzle some of that butter sauce over the top. I will admit to spending far longer than I liked trying to navigate how to pack everything in. Finally settled on having the avocado stand in as a makeshift bowl for the tomato and basil. And then I squeezed in a slice of focaccia for B to mop up any juices and smear the avocado onto. Clamped the lid down and took a victorious sip of coffee from a mug the size of my face.

Fait accompli! Just took me a while is all.

Waste not, want not. Remember that basil? After you rip the leaves off the basil stalk, plonk it into a glass of water. You will have the most gorgeous, refreshing infusion of water to drink.

Trophy please?

Never mind! B just texted me to say lunch was good. Awwwwwwww. Fuzzy feelings.

But please do try it, if it’s something you’ve always wanted to get on to, and let me know how you go! You’ll do great, I know it! Have you watched Divergent? What did you think?

Happy Monday! xx

 

Before You Begin – CAN You Do It? The Requirements of Yoga

Before You Begin – CAN You Do It? The Requirements of Yoga

Alright, alright, I hear you. Time to talk about yoga.

Let’s start from the top and talk about the REQUIREMENTS. Whaddya need and whaddya need to do. 

You need your body. Check.

And just enough space to swing your arms around you.  Check.

That’s it! You’re golden. Good to go.

There are no true requirements or criteria. Anyone can do it. You, me, Dupree, anyone.

People who learn that I teach yoga will usually say one of two things.

One: “Can you teach me? I’ve always wanted to learn yoga.

Two: “Oh… I have always wanted to learn yoga. But you know, I’m just not flexible enough,” sometimes with an added “and now it’s too late.”

Somewhere along the line, as yoga has become more known, this criteria of possessing existing flexibility has fluttered into existence. But is there such a requirement?

No, of course not!

You won’t be turned away at the doorsteps of a yoga class if you can’t bend over and touch your toes with your legs kept straight. There’s no secret handshake to gain entry. There is no audition to become a student of yoga. A teacher won’t ever say to you, “I’m sorry. There’s just nothing we can do here.

Over time with practice, one will start to see improvement in flexibility. But one does not need to be anything in particular to begin with. One just has to want to.

I remember when I was in primary school and failing miserably at a fitness test. Alright, timeout for a bit so everyone can have a good laugh. But no, seriously, I was really terrible at this test.

One component was the flexibility measure, and you had to plant your feet flat against a wall, and reach your hands along the floor towards feet whilst keeping your legs straight. I was truly a sorry sight. I will never forget it. I could not get my fingertips beyond my knees. I had the P.E. teacher trying to help me along, just about climbing onto my back to sort of wedge me closer to my feet. No one had ever seen anyone so hopeless. I mystified the entire staff. So young. So stiff. How is this possible? What does this mean? She is CLEARLY not trying.

Thinking about it now has me laughing so hard. The look on the teachers faces.

Some of us are born naturally flexible. I was not one of those. I have a reasonably bendy back but I still have those days when I reach for my toes and I feel like I have a metre extra of leg length that I could really have used in my torso area. So if we’re talking about candidates for yoga, I would not be what the general populace would consider ‘yoga material’. Have heart, friend.

Have you ever seen that cartoon of Batman and Robin? It pops up from time to time on social media. The one where Robin starts to say, “But I’m not flexible enough…” and before he completes his sentence Batman has slapped Robin so hard across the face his head must be spinning, yelling, “That’s why you do yoga!” It’s obviously a joke and completely not appropriate for any of us to walk around town responding to people Batman-style. We’ll talk about yoga and the practice of non-violence another time. Baby steps, hey.

I think it is great to encourage people to find what is good for their bodies but one needs to walk the line and not transform into a vigilante in the process. Health vigilantes can be especially tiresome. Especially when they have just made the transition into health-lover. Probably because they have all that extra newfound energy. Quite often, a person who has just discovered how incredible they feel after modifying their lifestyle to include working out, eating well, yoga-ing and so on, will then start to hound everyone in their circle to do the same. No one is safe. NO ONE. Everyone will be forced to listen to the benefits of spinning and kale smoothies.

If I had a dollar for everytime a pal of mine would bemoan their partner constantly nagging them to do whatever life-changing activity they have discovered, I’d have a quite a bit of money.

He loses 5 kg and now all day long he keeps telling me I should start running. UGH.

If she mentions the gym one more time…” (voice fades to ominous silence)

He just isn’t listening to me! I don’t want to!

That last one is especially telling. It’s about choice.

I learnt a long time ago that people will do what they will do when they want to and when they are ready to. And not a single microsecond before that. I’ve been blessed to have some incredible students, all of whom have heard some variation of the “You can’t make people do what they don’t want to do, no matter how good it is for them” speech. But it’s hard, I know, in the aftermath of a practice session, all those lovely endorphins and whatnot floating around. Sometimes one just can’t help wanting to share this little secret under the tip of their nose.

If only they knew!” I can just about read the thought bubble over their head.

That’s usually when I find myself wedged in that awkward conversational space between two people, one of whom is a student of mine, feeling glorious after Savasana (it’s the one where you lie down and look like you’re asleep) and the other, a friend of theirs and not a student of mine. Student will pipe up, apropos of nothing, “You should learn yoga from Dom!

By the way, my name is Dominique. Hi.

Non-student will look extremely apologetic and say,”Oh…. I would. I really would. But I’m not flexible enough.

Before I can open my mouth to express understanding and try to turn the conversation to some other topic, Student will exclaim, “That’s why you should do yoga!” Student then turns to me for confirmation. “Am I right? Right?!”

I can just about see the Batman light glowing in the distant skyline. We just need a cape, and a poor disguise and we’re there.

(Who is Batman even kidding by the way? I’ll just cover my eyebrows, and wear this pointy eared thing and I will look totally different. Him and Superman with the glasses. We are not fooled. We are just being polite and going with it.)

Where was I? Awkwardland, yes. Gah.

What my student heard was, “I have been given to understand that one must be flexible to practice yoga. I am not flexible enough, therefore, I cannot do yoga. Such is my life.

What I heard was, “I don’t want to. I’m trying to be polite and not offend anyone. Here is a reason so we can all move on. Away from yoga. Please. Let me live my life.

That’s what I heard. Should I take what the person has said at face-value? Possibly. But what I have learnt is that a person who has been wanting to do yoga, but felt they were not flexible enough, would have immediately turned to me and asked for themselves, “Can you still teach me? I’m not flexible.

If that question had been posed to me, then I would say this:

You do not need to be young, flexible or physically able. It is fine if you do not have a background in gymnastics or ballet. Perfectly ok.

It doesn’t even matter what shape or size you come in either. An acquaintance of B’s once turned to him, after meeting me, and exclaimed with relief, “I’m so glad she isn’t thin! I thought I was too fat to do yoga.”

So if you were thinking something similar, I hope that answers that.

You don’t even need to be fit. There is really only one requirement:

You must not, absolutely cannot, be lazy.

You just can’t.

” Every one can do yoga, young, old or sick people. Only lazy people cannot do yoga.”
R. Sharath Jois

And, as long as you aren’t lazy, you can do yoga.

We can even break the idea of laziness down to choice. A person who wants to and chooses to do yoga will never ever be too lazy to do something about it.

It is not so much can you or can’t you, or may you, but will you or won’t you. Do you want to?

If you read this, and thank you by the way, but if you read this, chances are very high that you want to do yoga. Chances are extremely high that you are not lazy. Therefore, you can do yoga. Please never let yourself worry about the need to be flexible enough anymore.

 

Are you still worried about the flexibility thing? Or the not fit thing?

Have no fear, I’m editing, hopefully in time for the weekend, a video of a short yoga practice you can do no matter how inflexible you are.

If I can get the spinning rainbow wheel to stop turning, that is. Talk about will it or won’t it.

Go edit yourself!
Yes, I am now at that point in video editing where I wave my wand and hope this video will edit itself. Maybe I should try the mouse.

 

For starters, here is what you can do. Hop up and walk to your mirror. Look into your reflection and say the following:

“I am clever and capable of doing anything I want to. I want to do yoga.”

By the way, the above works for anything. Not just yoga. You are never not enough for anything. You are just the right amount of you to do whatever it is you want to do.

Have an amazing weekend! We’ll chat soon! xx