Chipp’s secret to a breakfast that lasts

by Chipp Allard

When you teach and practice physical movement, you need a breakfast that is going to sustain you for hours, not something that is going to leave you hungry again right away.  Smoothies, juices, shakes, protein bars–you name it, I have tried it. I spent years experimenting with different forms of my morning meal, only to find myself still searching. I didn’t want something too heavy, that would slow me down; and I can’t be hungry, because then I am weak, tired and grumpy- not the right mood to be in while teaching yoga!

 

About a year ago I discovered chia pudding, a make-it-yourself morning feast of seeds, nuts, nut butter, dried fruit, fresh fruit, and slow digesting chia seeds. Chia seeds contain calcium, omega 3, fiber and iron, as well as having 5 grams of protein per 3 tablespoons- that’s a lot! They are magical little seeds that form their own thick, pudding-like consistency when mixed with liquid. It took some trial and error, but I have finally perfected my recipe and I am excited to share it with you!

 

This breakfast really showed its value this last month when I was on the road. In the past, while traveling, I have always relied on bars, or just scrounged for anything I could get my hands on. I have even resorted to eating the hotel breakfast (yuck) that never fails to leave me feeling terrible. On this last trip, I packed enough chia puddings for each morning I was away and it was a whole new world. I had my meal ready to go each morning and I didn’t have to worry about where my energy was going to come from for my adventures that day! 

Start with a small bowl or jar. Add:
3 Tablespoons of chia seeds
A pinch of salt
½ cup of almond milk
Stir it up good!
Top with:
1 ( big) tablespoon of nut butter
Handful of blueberries, I use frozen
1 Tablespoon of pumpkin seeds
1 Tablespoon of honey
1 Tablespoon of dried  cranberries
1 Tablespoon of almonds, any sort

Put a lid on and let it sit in the fridge overnight or at least an hour. In the morning, give it a stir and your belly will love you!

See you in class!

Click here to learn more about Chipp Allard and see his teaching schedule.

What is mindfulness?

by Cat Enright

You probably hear this word, mindfulness, almost too often now, and may still wonder what it means. According to John Kabat Zinn, founder of the Center for Mindfulness Medicine at the University of Massachusetts, mindfulness is “paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”

Before practicing mindfulness meditation, I assumed that the practice was mind-centered because of its name, and was happily surprised to learn that it is body-centered. “Paying attention” is also known as feeling: feeling your body, right now, with a minimum of judgment or commentary. This might mean feeling the sensation of your feet on the ground or the touch of your breath inside your body.

Meditation

“I just can’t meditate. I can’t quiet my mind, not even for a moment!”

I hear this all the time from students. The mind’s habit is to go elsewhere, to other times and places, everywhere but here and now. That is not a problem! This is just a condition of having a human mind. Through practice we learn to notice the minds wanderings non-judgmentally, with kindness, and then bring the focus back into the body and the breath. At least half of meditation is this coming back, choosing the present with an open heart.

Kindness

For many of us, the kindness is a major obstacle. We are used to working hard, accomplishing things, and being rewarded for this. If you want to work hard, focus on kindness as the heart of your practice. You could call it acceptance, forgiveness, or compassion.

Why do we need to practice kindness? Our human minds have a negativity bias. As we’ve evolved we have had to prioritize safety to survive. The mind is always scanning for danger, looking for parts that need to be put in order or fixed, which develops our skill at noticing what’s “wrong.” We turn this keenly focused lens on ourselves and may only notice what we see as mistakes, only having awareness of the parts we want to improve.

Imagine having an antique teacup, painted with intricate detailed patterns, a delicate gold handle, shaped to your fingers, and your eye goes to the tiny crack. It fixates here, maybe missing everything else. It’s common to have this same experience with our yoga and meditation practices – and indeed, in all of life. In meditation we may only notice that the mind wandered. If we want to experience kindness we have to practice, again and again to balance the mind’s habit toward being critical. We have to meet the mind where it is, notice the attitude we have toward the mind, and choose kindness.

A short practice for you

Sit comfortably, on a chair or cushion. Invite a balance between elegance and relaxation in your seated posture (this makes a difference). Take some deeper breaths. Start to notice where you feel your breath: in your nostrils? Your throat? Your chest? Abdomen? Just notice the feeling and let go of thinking. Keep redirecting your attention to sensations of your breath. Your mind will start to go elsewhere. Remember, this is not a problem but a part of the practice. Regard your mind as you would a small child or a puppy and awaken your natural kindness. Guide the mind back to the feeling of your breath. Allow your body to relax more and continue to watch your breath. When the mind wanders again you might even gently smile, as you would with the young child or puppy, and keep coming back to yourself, to the moment.

Click here to learn more about Cat Enright and see her teaching schedule.

Checking your phone again? Try this instead.

by Sondra Matara

pssssst! Did you know that cell phones and other wearable technology aren’t allowed in class with you? (if you are on-call for medical reasons, please discuss with your teacher prior to class). Yoga is a practice of connection…and DISconnecting with our phones for 60-90 minutes is great for mind, body, and soul. Need some help with letting go? Read on!

I just spent the last four hours working on trying on fixing some computer issues. Four. Hours. And the time just flew by. I can’t remember the last time I was so absorbed by something that I had such one-pointed concentration for so long. The ability to focus so acutely on one thing is the first step in successful meditation, and is called dharana (one of the eight limbs of yoga) in Sanskrit. In today’s world, where we all feel the impulse to constantly be reaching for our phones, looking at our Facebook feed, and checking our email, the ability to concentrate is increasingly more difficult and rare. Lucky for us, though, it’s also something we can practice. Read More

From model to self-love evangelist: my journey to ELM

by Minta Allred

When did you stop thinking you were beautiful? Have you ever thought about this question before? I first heard this question when I watched a Ted Talk by the Global Director of the Dove Self-Esteem Project at Unilever in London, Meaghan Ramsey, called “Why Thinking You Are Ugly is Bad For You”.

I came across this Ted Talk while spending a normal work day researching body image and the impact it has on our sense of self-worth, our relationships, and ultimately how we show up to life each day. Back in 2006, at just 17 years old, I moved down to California. After an attempt at city college, I ended up modeling and acting in Los Angeles. Coming from my background as a homeschooled gal from Orcas Island, this was quite an extreme. I always loved challenges! But oh wow, I was not prepared for the challenge ahead.Read More

Beat the heat with this cool smoothie

by Sondra Matara

We are so blessed here in the PNW to have what must be some of the loveliest summers in the country. Not only is the weather pretty amazing, but we are blessed with so much abundance in produce this time of year! One of the best ways to take advantage of both, is to blend up a cooling smoothie. Stay hydrated, beat the heat, and enjoy the fruits and veggies of the season! Here’s a current favorite:

1 stalk celery
1 c. frozen pineapple and/or mango chunks
1 big handful of parsley
Coconut milk to taste/consistency you like

Blend and enjoy!

In Ayurveda, summer is ruled by the pitta dosha, which can express in the body as agitation, sluggish digestion, sour stomach, and skin irritations. Ingesting cooling foods (look for foods with astringent, bitter, or sweet tastes) is one way you can help to counteract the effects of this fiery season. Other things you can do to balance pitta:

 

–  Stay near water! Swim or bathe in cool water as often as you can

– Cooling yoga practices, such as yin or restorative

– Avoid heating foods such as coffee, alcohol, meats, and fried food. Favor fresh, local vegetables, cooked grains.

Stay cool and enjoy this gorgeous summer while it’s here!

Busting through fear with yoga

by Sondra Matara, 3 OMS Director of Marketing and Community Builder

I have been reading Deepak Chopra’s Why is God Laughing, Here’s the line that has stuck with me:

“Either you’re a person wondering if you have a soul, or you’re a soul who knows that being a person isn’t real.”

Whoa, heavy stuff, right? That line hit me like a ton of breaks, right in my third chakra (this is the solar plexus, aka the spot right underneath your sternum where your ribs separate, aka the “bread basket.” This is the place where we hold our self-identity and fears). So much of our lives are fear-based, but the reality is that we cannot predict the future. Read More

3 podcasts to inspire your practice

Summer is upon us, and many of us will be spending more time in the car off to see family, spend time in nature, and enjoy all that the PNW has to offer. So whether you’re in line for the next ferry or spending long weekends tucked into a cabin in the mountains, check out a couple of these podcasts to keep you inspired and take your practice wherever you go.Read More

Download Yoga Nidra with Michal

Have you ever wished you could bottle up the feeling of deep, grounded peace you feel after a really great guided meditation or yoga nidra session to enjoy later? Us, too! We’re still working on figuring the bottle part out, but we’ve got the next best thing – a recorded yoga nidra session with Michal that you can enjoy anytime, anywhere!Read More

Open your heart with Durga

by Irena Lambrou

 
“As we move towards the bright season of light, remember that it is oh so nourishing and necessary to draw back into ourselves for healing…”
Our monthly Advance Your Practice theme will be Goddess Durga: Awakening Courage

Read More

Yoga for Healthy Neck and Shoulders

by Elizabeth Ruff  ERYT 500, LMT, Soma Practitioner

Oh man…if I had a penny for every time someone mentioned they wanted to work their neck or shoulders in yoga class, I could feed the world! It’s no wonder this request is so popular though, given this recent study from the July/August issue of the Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy stating that up to 75% of adults experience neck pain as a musculoskeletal disorder. Reasons stated range from ergonomics to trauma to insomnia. In addition, shoulder and rotator cuff problems are stated to be in 25% of adults over 50 yrs old and 30% of cadavers have torn rotator cuffs.Read More