Yoga Sutra 1:14

The last time we spoke, I was starting my trek to become a Registered Yoga Teacher through Southern Star.  It's only fitting that I check back in, 7 months later, the morning that I'm heading down to Flowering Lotus Meditation Center in Magnolia for the final week of training.  I found myself with a few minutes to spare (before Bottle Tree opens, duh) so I figured that I'd share my final paper in this space.  Our assignment was to write about how one of the Yoga Sutras has impacted our lives....hope you enjoy! Happy Friday!

Sutra 1:14

            Truth time.  About halfway through this teacher training, I didn’t want to do it anymore.  There was no specific event that triggered this change of heart, more a combination of slightly uncomfortable factors:  a dislike of practice teaching, a guilt related to never quite understanding the material and never quite studying enough, a desire to have my Sundays back.  I didn’t quit, though, because I’m a big believer in the universe giving you what you need when you need it.  Since I’d signed up for this training I figured there was a pretty cool lesson nestled somewhere, something cooler than nailing a handstand because let’s be honest…I’ve got a minute until that happens.  If the lesson didn’t reveal it self, I thought, I’d walk away with a deeper understanding of a practice that I love and no one would be hurt.  Not to bad either way. 
            Over time, as they usually do, things started to fall into place.  The morning after I found out I was pregnant I stumbled out of bed at 5 am, got dressed, headed to sunrise yoga.  Why?  Because Sri Swami Satchidananda nailed it when he translated Sutra 1:14:
Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness. 
            It’s almost like something beyond my consciousness pushed me out of bed and into my yoga pants.  Of all mornings to skip, that would have been a good one to.  However, doing things that help, helps and this is an obvious fact that I always like to ignore.  My mind stuff stays pretty active, it got even more active after finding out there was a baby on they way.  I thought about all kinds of things that I didn’t have any control over: selfish thoughts, comparing thoughts, fearful thoughts, planning thoughts, panicked thoughts.  Then I remembered that I did have control over something.  I could attend my practice without break and in all earnestness.  That I can try and do. 
            Practice of this sutra in daily life reminds me to give sincere and regular energy to the things that help and try to stay away from the things that don’t help.  Daily meditation practice, either through a seated meditation or practicing mindfulness as I move through my day can calm the mind stuff, helping me to feel less reactive and more confident.  Reading of helpful books can help to nourish my mind and (kind of) prepare me for what is coming up next.  Regular asana practice helps to feel strong in my body (and less like Jabba the Hut) and more aware of physical and emotional sensations as I experience them.    
            It’s easy to get wrapped up in the quickness of life, forgetting to pay attention to the stuff that helps. It’s also easy to feel guilty, worrying you aren’t doing enough and aren’t doing what you are doing well enough.  Sutra 1:14 reminds me that a sincere and regular practice of yoga will lead to countless benefits, one of my favorites being that your lesson is always there…sometimes you just have a wait a bit for it to reveal itself.  


We Belong To Each Other

If we made a list of things that are hard for me to remember it would include the following:  how to spell college and that we belong to each other.  

At least, that's how Mother Theresa put it.  We belong to each other.  Isn't that lovely?  We could also say we are in this together or we are all one or we are all just walking each other home.  Whatevs.  Same thing.  Same meaning.  Same party.  We're all here.  And in it.  And you know, sometimes we are in it.  But that's another day, another post.  

I started my yoga teacher training this morning.  Yes, this morning.  In Oxford.  The day after the Ole Miss Rebels beat the Alabama Crimson Tide so everyone was a bit tired.  I also had some tightness in my chest after a rousing wave of anxiety the night before.  What caused it?  Probably energy knowing it's about to get stirred up something good and not wanting to face it.  But that is, also, another day, another post.  

Today I'll remember that we all belong to each other.  Me, you, Brandon, the neighbors that are never here in my complex but are here this weekend and up in my parking spots.   The man sitting next to me at the game yesterday that had his middle fingers proudly extended as he called the refs everything but children of God.  The people that came before us, the people that will come after us.  

I've a brain that forgets and does better with visual cues.  So it's only natural that I think this is the coolest:
Notice not the watch, not the pony tail holder but the band of red (crimson?) string.  It's worn at the start of a journey and stays there until it is ready to fall off.  We sat together this morning, knee to knee, left hands up (receivin') and right hands down (givin') touching strangers that wont be strangers for much longer, knowing that we are all together not just on a journey to learn about yoga but on a journey to learn about the self.  Or the Self.  In oneness, breathing and belonging to each other.  From one long string came the bracelets that we will wear for the next bit of time.  Reminding me each time I look down that we belong to each other. 

We ended our time with Om Shanti (peace to me) Shanti (peace to you) Santihi (peace from our little group to the rest of the world).  My bitchy critical self said this is stupid but my kind self stepped in and said kindly hush, this is wonderful.  

Thanks be to God for journeys. 


A Few on Friday

1.  It's 5:21 in the morning and I'm making chocolate chip cookies with kettle chips in them.  Well, I was making them until I realized that I was out of baking soda so now I'm waiting until 6am to hit up the Kroger.  The struggle is real, y'all. 

2.  I think my knee is broken!  Well, not really.  I think I've got an IT band strain.  That's what I and Dr. WebMD have diagnosed me with so you know it's legit.  Feels like I'm being stabbed in the knee every time I walk.  Well, not every time but sometimes.  Please send my left knee good energy so that I'll be in tip top shape, or at least some version of it, for the St. Jude half in December!  These hills, I blame them. 

3.  I believe I slept through a tornado in Oxford last night.  I hope it didn't take down Game Day, that would be awkward. 

4.  I'm on the hunt for a new bag.  I think this Lines and Stripes Catch All would fit the bill.

5.  My bud Win and I went to a great little bible study/meaningful group called Connections at St. Peters this week.  The discussion was related to a chapter from the book The Secret Power of Yoga and it was all about sustaining equanimity.  It's really cool how if you wait and keep you eyes open, the paths of life will start to melt all together to create so pretty cool lessons to really learn what's out there for you to learn.  I've learned about equanimity in my counseling world, this book is one that had just arrived at my door step for Yoga Teacher Training and this is all being talked about at my new church!  I think that's the coolest.  But back to the discussion - it was good stuff.  Check out the book if you are interested...I haven't read it yet but if the whole book is anything like that one chapter than I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up, way up.  Find the book on amazon right here and head to Chapter 6 if you are interested.   

6.  Speaking of St. Peters, the blessing of the animals in next Saturday morning.  I'm taking the Big Browne Hound and it might be so cute that I will fall out right then and there.  Amidst the newly blessed animals and a bunch of people that I don't know.

Guys, if you're still out there, I hope you're well.  I'll be back soon!      


A Few on Friday

1.  Does What Not To Wear still come on?  If so, I'm going to need someone to nominate me for it.  Since I'm working in a high school now I'm rocking high school-esq clothes...hip teachers please tell me where you shop.  I'm so confused.  Today, for example, I wore a denim-y button up, some capri khakis from the Loft, flip flops and my mala beads.  It's worth mentioning that my mala beads had some ketchup on them.  I'm basically killing it with hip-ness up at OHS.

2.  I've been semi-killing it with dinner, too.
Blackened shrimp salad + a festive Rose.  Bam.  

3.  I've signed up for yoga teacher training through Southern Star in Oxford.  I'm 50% excited, 30% terrified and 20% beyond pumped because it meals I'm going to get a fresh three ring binder and some new books.  Namaste, y'all.  

4.  Speaking of things that I've signed up for...we are quickly approaching that St. Jude half marathon.  Have you made your donation yet?  Well, well, well you should jump on that!  Donate HERE.

5.  One benefit of living in a collage (college?) town is Communiversity.  I'm thinking introduction to sign language. That's a useful skill, right?  It's between that and fencing.  But not really.  I'd be the first one to loose an eye, that's for damn.  
5.  People keep saying "yes sir" to Brandon in his classes.  This makes me belly laugh.  It doesn't make him belly laugh.  Wherps.  

Happy Friday, guys and gals!  Keep it real, make it a good one.....


Loaded Quinoa Bowl (Make It and Pretend Like You Didn't Overindulge This Weekend)

What do you do after a weekend full of overindulgence and carbs?  You meal plan like your hair's on fire and invite one of your best buds over for a quinoa bowl.  Done.  Bam.  Balance is restored.  

Well.  If we're playing for-reals then we know that it's not that simple but this festive bowl sure is a start.  It also screams summer time and requires minimal cooking and prep time.  

Also, there's feta.  Who doesn't love feta?  Feta....it's a game changer.  But you know that already.  

On to the quinoa bowl.  This one was flavorful and packed with goodness and had I been able to reach the organic chickpeas on the very top shelf at the Kroger....it would have been "clean" too.  However, not one to go looking for trouble I decided that an all organic quinoa bowl wasn't worth a broken elbow.  Right?  Yes.

Loaded Quinoa Bowl
from Clean Eating Magazine

1/2 cup of quinoa
8 thin asparagus spears, trimmed and chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced radish or bell pepper
1 cup canned chick peas, drained
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup feta
1 tbl almonds, chopped
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Combine the quinoa with 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the water is absorbed.  Add in the asparagus and cook for one minute.  Transfer to a big bowl.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and toss to combine. 

Serving size 1 1/2 cup (makes 2)
Points plus 10


A Few on Friday

1.  I recently purchased, received and built this lovely cart from Ikea.  It's functioning as a bar cart right now, functioning quite well I'd say.  It's fantastic for folks with minimal storage and a great way to add a splash of color to your kitchen and a splash of soda to your vodka.  Cheers, people.  

2.  Any Weezer fans out there?  This is my  new favorite running jam:

3.  Are you in the mood to do a good deed today?  Excellent.  First....smile at the person beside you.  If there's no one around you then smile at yourself and give yourself a high five for being awesome.  Good job.  Second, throw some cash to a good organization.  Liiiiiiiike to my St Jude fundraiser! Go HERE.  Or to THIS Akita rescue site.  Or to THIS really cool program in Helena/West Helena.  Or to the always wonderful Episcopal Relief and Development.  Or maybe you want to help educate people on mental illness by donating HERE.  

4.  Although I miss many things about living in Greenwood, I sure don't miss the grocery shopping. Oxford has lots 'o grocery options...a new one I'm loving is the Living Foods Organic Cafe and Market.  It's there that I discovered Hilary's line....check it out y'all.  Their veggie burger is the bomb.  

Happy Friday friends!  Be well and do good work!     


Sauted Kale

Y'all.  I know that kale is hipper than bacon and cupcakes combined and you've probably had it a million different ways by now.  Chips, hummus, hell maybe you've had it baked into a cupcake topped with bacon.  Served it with a side of kale hummus or something crazy-town like that. 

But if you haven't tried this super simple presentation of it I suggest that you do.  I used red kale, the recipe called for young kale.  I'm not kale-skilled enough to know the difference so whatevs.  I originally got this bunch of kale to use for salads but like many of my best laid plans.....that one fell off to the wayside.  No fear, dudes, as I decided to enjoy this kale sauteed up next to parmesan catfish (recipe forthcoming) and homemade risotto (not even a little worth it).  Enjoy!
Sauteed Kale
from Food Network

1 head of kale, roughly chopped
2 tbl olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/2 cup of vegetable broth
2 tbl red wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large pan (make sure you've got a lid!) and add the garlic.  Cook the garlic until fragrant but not until it's turning any colors.  

Add in the broth and the kale, toss to get it all coated. Crank up the heat to high and cover.  Cook for five minutes.  

Uncover and season with salt and pepper.  Add in the vinegar and give it a good toss.      

**I didn't calculate the points on this one but I'd probably say that it's about 2 points for 1/4 of the recipe since it's got the olive oil in it.