What I Wish Every Yoga Student Would Do

I try to teach my classes for every student, beginner or advanced. I love—LOVE seeing students listening to their own bodies and making the class their own. That may mean dropping a knee in a pose, or resting in child’s pose for a bit longer. That may mean recognizing that you could transition into headstand from this certain pose, and going for it. What feels good to you?

It’s also important to stay in alignment and not strain your body for the sake of a pose (that certainly wouldn’t feel good). Let’s consider pigeon pose. One leg is forward and bent, one is stretched back. The hips are even. We begin by pushing the chest out and up, stretching the torso, then, if it feels right, bringing the chest toward the ground. I usually start with my forearms on a block. When that begins to feel comfortable, I remove the block and bring my forearms to the ground. When this feels comfortable, I sometimes stretch my arms out in front of me, bringing my chest to the ground. I walk my students through this, emphasizing that they should go deeper only if it feels comfortable to do so. The most cringe-worthy feeling for me as a teacher is when I see a student with their hips not in alignment, trying to stretch their arms forward while their hips are falling to the side. If you’re about to topple over, if your breath is labored, if you feel uncomfortable at all, this is probably not good for your body. In fact, this can be straight up unsafe. I’d much rather see a student using a block for support, listening to their body, making their own little adjustments as they feel the desire to. The progression will come in time.

No matter what modification you choose to take—advanced, more relaxed, or none—make sure it’s what your body needs in the moment. Do your own thing 🙂

Sick Days & Gentle Yoga

When I get sick, it goes straight to the lungs and sinuses. I’ve rarely had the flu or any other illness, gratefully, but I get bad colds, and they linger. A month ago I was running over 6 miles. Over the last couple weeks, I don’t even want to breathe more than I have to, let alone run! Or even get upside down in yoga (sinuses!)

The worst of the cold brought an incredibly tired body. I’m doing a lot better since then, but I’m still taking it easy. It’s going to be a little while before I’m running again. This week I’ve started to be more intentional about stretching in the mornings. In bed, I’ll stretch my arms up, twist my body, crawl forward to Child’s Pose, roll up to all 4’s, snake my spine, and do some Cat/Cow’s. All from the comfort of my bed. I keep my bolsters on my bed (it’s a big bed and I’m a single lady, so there’s room!) and sometimes I’ll grab the round bolster and throw it under my hips, propping my legs up to let the blood flow to my heart. I’ll then slide over the bolster, letting the bolster arch my back.

Stretching my body first thing in the morning makes a world of a difference for a tired, sick, tight body. If that’s all I can do in a day, I’ve still done something.

* I’ve grown to be a big fan of in-bed yoga—it’s a great way to naturally start the day! Intentional stretching. I talk more about this in my free e-book, “Wake Up Well,” available as a download when you sign up for my email newsletter.


Sick Days & Home Remedies

It started with a dry throat one evening and turned into sinuses draining, then a full blown cold. My body was heavy and I felt so tired. I sniffled and coughed for days. I’m still sniffling and coughing, but gratefully my body has its strength back. Ironically, I’ve spent my sick days planning for a home remedies class I’m teaching this week. Ha! I guess you can trust me—I’m using these remedies right now!

When I start getting sick, I pull out all the stops. I’m hydrating, resting, taking elderberry syrup, using various essential oils in various ways, taking warm showers, cleaning out my sinuses, drinking herbal teas—anything I can think of. I ended up also adding Sudafed in the routine. I am not against modern medicine at all. I just love knowing that I have tools outside of those to rely on first, and continuously through the sickness. It’s empowering knowing that I can care for myself, my family, and my friends with ingredients I already have on hand in my home.

Two products I love to have on hand for myself are doTERRA OnGuard and Breathe. I go for doTERRA essential oils because I know for sure what is in them (if you go to sourcetoyou.com, you can put in the batch number printed at the bottom of each bottle of essential oil and it will show you the testing that has been done on that particular batch of essential oils). The OnGuard essential oil blend contains wild orange peel, clove bud, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus leaf, and rosemary lea/flower—all oils that are great for immune system support. I dilute and roll this oil on my feet (pores on the feet are bigger than on the rest of the body and can absorb oils faster), or take it in the form of a softgel or throat lozenge. I also love the Breathe blend, which contains Laurel Leaf, Eucalyptus Leaf, Peppermint Plant, Melaleuca Leaf, Lemon Peel, Cardamom Seed, Ravintsara Leaf, and Ravensara Leaf, and is great for respiratory support. I like to diffuse this oil at night when I’m sleeping, or roll the Breathe Vapor Stick (like Vick’s Vapor Rub) on my chest to breathe in the soothing aroma.

I’ve begun feeling better, like I said, but I’m still using these two oil blends regularly as I’m on the tail end of recovery. I can’t recommend them enough!

Back to that home remedies class I mentioned. I’m teaching this class at Harmony this Thursday night at 5:30pm. It costs $15 and attendees will be bringing home a bottle of elderberry syrup (to help shorten the duration of the flu/colds), a shower disk (to help with congestion), an essential oil rollerball to help with either allergies or earaches (you choose!) and a handout detailing all of my go-to natural remedies. I love teaching, and I particularly love this topic. I can hardly wait to share it with you!

Corn Chowder Recipe…Mmm!

I’ve been fighting sickness this week and it’s been the pits! That + cold, snowy weather means that I am craving healthy, warm comfort food. So when corn chowder popped into my mind and I couldn’t find a recipe for exactly what I was looking for, I decided to make my own! And let me tell you, it is everything I could have wanted and more. It has onion, carrots, a potato, and corn in it (veggies!), and is vegan. And, it’s pretty easy to make. Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments!

CORN CHOWDER

Ingredients: 

1 tbsp oil or butter
1/2 onion (diced)
2 carrots (diced)
1 white potato (diced)
1 can of corn 
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp cumin
2 cups vegetable broth
1 can of light coconut milk**
garlic salt (to taste)
onion salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)

Instructions:

Heat oil or butter in a large pot. Add onion and a dash of sea salt. When onion is soft, add garlic, carrots, potato and corn. Add paprika, cumin, and a bit of garlic salt, onion salt, and pepper. Stir.

When veggies are starting to soften, add in vegetable broth and light coconut milk. Cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes or until veggies are soft.

Use an immersion blender or blender to blend soup until smooth. Season to taste.

* Optional: Top with some green onion for garnish.

** Light Coconut Milk: Find cans of these in the international food aisle of the grocery store. I lightly shake the cans and try to find ones that sound more solid than sloshy. I store my cans of coconut milk in the refrigerator as it helps it solidify.

*** I used Redmond Salts to season it— “America’s only unrefined ancient sea salt!” —and it is good stuff! It feels good to know exactly what is going into my food.