Ready to Give In

It’s day three and I’m ready to throw in the towel.

I’ve been cleansing, as I have done for several years now, with the seasonal change from Summer to Fall (and also Winter to Spring).

I walked by the brewery and a cute guy from the rooftop was smiling at me. I wanted to go in. I was on my way to Yoga, to practice, not teach. Something I made sure to schedule in this week. The silks class was great, by the way, and exactly what I needed after a full day! Yesterday, when driving by the brewery, I also wanted to go in….hmmm…..is it about alcohol? I don’t think so, but what I notice is my desire to give in has to do with socializing.

I’m standing in the kitchen, warming my kitchari on the stove while listening to my dog eat his own dry processed food (I do want to make his own someday; it’s an aspiration without a plan). My plan to eat a mono diet for 3 or more days feels challenging this year. I scoop my supper into a bowel and silently say to my dog,

“it’s ok, I’m eating dog food, too, this week, the same thing every meal.”

 

Hold up! I have a choice, people.

I talk to myself as if my own crowd of witnesses! And, I have Himalayan sea salt. The vegetables I’m eating I grew on the farm where I worked summer, and my food is warm, cooked, and I actually like it!

What’s happening here is I am craving company. Cleansing inevitably slows my social calendar. My roommate is at dinner with a friend, and a part of me is envious. Another friend considered a night on the town, and my commitment to 10pm bedtime and no alcohol for these several days, stops me from joining her.

Over the past few months, I let the wind carry my cares, and now I’m intentionally getting back to business. Fall is like that. It’s a good time to recommit and settle into a groove.

What About Self-Judgment?

I catch myself though, with the judgment. I point out to myself too often where I lead myself astray. Instead, this week, I will remind myself that I am grateful. Grateful for these few days of discipline, for the great sleep I am getting, the work I am accomplishing, the complete elimination (and then some )I am experiencing (yes, we talk about poop a lot as Yoga Health Coaches!), and also the opportunity to watch my thoughts, let them go by, or catch them and ask them what they’re really trying to tell me.

My thoughts of resistance this week tell me that I’m a social being, who can benefit from a break here and there, AND that being a people person is a blessing. It’s something I love about me, not something to criticize, rather to support with ample down time for reflection, lest I get carried away and ungrounded, feeling lured into bars handsome, bearded men I might meet, rather than lured into my kitchen with the promise of my own deep and nourishing love.

It’s a journey, friends. One we are all on. When we pause to cleanse, stuff comes up. Whether it’s craving for food or friends, or back talk to ourselves about who we are or how we are taking care of ourselves, we all face it. Part of cleansing is turning the camera around to face ourselves.

It’s a true selfie opportunity, no stick required.

 

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How to Cleanse When Menstruating

This one’s personal. Blood & Cleansing.

I planned to start my annual fall cleanse Monday. Because it’s now officially Fall. Because it’s my small gap between friends in town and an upcoming Yoga Health Coaching retreat, and cleansing is a good way to prepare for retreat. It gets me in the right frame of mind to learn, connect, and envision myself thriving. My guess is this may be why you cleanse, too! Also, because I want to be a few steps ahead of those I am guiding through a cleanse, and because I already promised my little sister (Big Brothers Big Sisters) that we could make spaghetti together on Thursday after we give ourselves manicures and pedicures. And semolina flour is not a cleansing food and I want to be able to join her, at least for a taste….but on Monday, I was bleeding.

How I Cleanse

In Autumn, I choose a 3 day cleanse. 3 days of true food simplification. I make kitchari. I favor slow evenings, going to bed and wake up early (10/10:30-6/6:30), and gentle movement rather than rigor or lethargy. I choose not to over book myself. Generally, I slow my roll on the scrolling, and opt out of excess media engagement. It’s a time for writing, listening, walking slowly in nature, and pausing longer with more gratitude before meals.

Before cleansing, I find myself nesting a bit. This go ’round I did a deep clean of the kitchen, which often includes re-organizing the pantry and scrubbing out the fridge. Sunday night, I went through all my clothing with the “Love It?” measure. If I couldn’t say “yes”immediately (or it didn’t have deep sentimental value — for I am deeply sentimental and have on occasion regretted parting from a beloved item), then it goes. I have a department store bag stuffed and ready for a Naked Lady Party (aka girls night clothing exchange post cleanse, sure to include non-cleanse food).

My room was clean, desk organized, I did my shopping. But I was still bleeding.

What About The Blood?

I have a regular cycle, but I had a busy, exciting, adventurous past month, thus started flowing a few days later than normal, and so, was still at the time I planned to start cleansing.

Many think of cleansing as a detox. When we are menstruating, our body is already doing it’s own cleanse. When I am bleeding I rest more, move less, and try to eat more mindfully, favoring nourishing, unprocessed foods. While I crave sugar and tend to give in to at least one baked good while bleeding, I know my body needs easy to digest, hearty, protein-rich foods, with ample fat.

So this week, I gave in a little, I stock-piled myself with snacks. Rarely do I snack, even when not cleansing. But I knew that having local plums and raw coconut, walnuts and pumpkin seeds on hand would support my effort to stay out of the bakery. It worked!

I also added as much oil and Himalayan Pink salt as I craved to my kitchari. I made golden milk at night.

In no way have I felt nutritionally deprived. If you plan a cleanse and happen to have a visit by Aunt Flo simultaneously, be gentle with yourself:

  • Favor nutrient dense foods like root vegetables, sesame, ghee, flax and coconut oils
  • Give yourself an out: pack healthy snacks to resist cravings for sugar
  • Slow down: favor gentle or restorative Yoga, crawl in bed early with a book, journal an extra 10 minutes

So, it is possible to keep going with your cleanse while menstruating. I would not recommend a juice fast or the master cleanse at this time. Your body needs you to show up with lots of love and support and there are ways to do that without giving in to every craving, and still getting the nutrients you need.

If you’re not sure how to do this, book a FREE strategy session with me hereūüôā

Still Craving Sweet?

Cleansing is a great time to practice empathy and generate sweet talk to your self. Even if you aren’t eating that brownie you’re craving, you can bring in sweet taste with:

  • Sweet vegetables (like carrots and beets), grains (like basmati rice), and oils
  • Your favorite soft, comfortable clothes and adding that fuzzy blanket to the mix with your book and tea
  • Early bedtime to rub your feet and snuggle with loved ones (pets count!)
  • Sweet words of encouragement ~ you may even choose, like I do, to write yourself a love letter to open before your next cleanse!
  • Sweet Yoga ~ here’s a free taste of Yoga with me:) –> buy my full Yoga video library here!

As you dive in, I wish you sweet nothings on your cleanse journey, whether or not your bleeding, remember why you are here. My guess is you want to feel good. Cleansing can feel good, too. Start with love, and stay sweet as you go. 

 

What You’ve Been Waiting For Is HERE!

We went LIVE this morning.

I said, we went LIVE this morning!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Well, If you haven’t gone to check out the video by now, I will share a few other words that may be of interest to you;)

Other than clicking that button, posting on Facebook, twitter, sending out a newsletter, texting family & the entire H.E.R.E. team, it was, a fairly normal day, with a few hiccups, which are not abnormal. If you are curious about the life of a woman, nearing 30, who teaches yoga about town and is studying Ayurveda. I will give you a peak into a day in the life, of me!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

2:08am

Wake up with a neck ache (I did something yesterday during my practice, but actually all I was doing¬†was coughing! It led to pain, and limited movement–no, yoga teachers are not invincible); my husband is¬†up, too–head cold, which means the dog is¬†also up and the pitter-patter of Porter (dog) nails on the wooden (and fake wood) floors is the metronome to our searching the kitchen and cabinets for what we need. Me: ibuprofen. I had held off long enough, and now I cannot sleep. (It’s a last resort, but sometimes sleep is more important than not putting natural food stuffs in your body, only sometimes.) Chris moves to the couch and grabs tissues, a paper bag, and I am not sure what else.

6:22am

I hear some sweet chime-like sound in the distance and realize my alarm has been going off for 37 minutes, and the volume is too low to hear. I have exactly 18 minutes to get up, practice my dinacharya (daily routine of eliminating, scraping tongue, brushing teeth, neti pot & nasya ~ which I leave out on this rushed morning~ sip hot lemon water, shower), grab what I need for the day, and head out the door. I make it on time to my 7 am class.

8:00am

Return home to check on sick husband. Our new plan is to meet for coffee/tea (if I am honest I will say it’s coffee 9/10 days) Tuesdays between my teaching gigs and before he goes to work. But today, I make him ginger-lemon-tumeric tea with honey and prepare a simple, yet delicious breakfast for myself: homemade sourdough bread with apple butter, a fried egg over freshly foraged garlic-mustard and dandelion greens.

9:30am

Pull into Pilar’s Tamales parking lot, and proceed through the kitchen greeted lovingly by her mother, her husband and her young daughter. Joe asks about my neck and empathizes with the pain. Over the next 30 minutes, we finalize everything necessary to go ….

10:02am

LIVE! There are, of course, some delays with pages loading slowly, etc., but, really, we meet our goal!

10:30am

Private Yoga Lesson with a dear friend in the little wellness room

12:00pm

People’s Food Co-op. Grocery shopping happens between Saturday and Tuesday depending on the week. Foraging for morels, wild asparagus and greens this weekend held us off a few days. I enjoy the 15% Tuesday bulk discount at my favorite establishment for food-shopping, and head home.

1:15pm

Dog walk. We meander through the parks surrounding our neighborhood. I look for more mushrooms, with no luck. The dog does his business, as they say, and we come home to settle ourselves in the sun on the back deck. I eat leftovers from Sunday (still within a safe 3 day range for food from the fridge, through fresh is always best!).

2:00pm

I scour facebook, indiegogo, my email, my phone….did anyone make a contribution? What are they saying? I also catch¬†up on some emails from school, and remind myself of my goal to not schedule anything new until after June 15, so I can focus on completing my homework in time!

3:00pm

A friend shows up for a followup Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultation. We follow it with chit-chat and sip cool (not iced) herbal tea. ¬†We do a brief ¬†online yoga class together (because even yoga teachers need inspiration from each other and …. the internet)

5:00pm

The kitchen calls. I am making a coconut curry chicken and rice soup for my kapha-congested love. I look through a few cook books for ideas, and decide to stick with my instinct. Starting with vegetable broth from our freezer, I add a bay leaf, last season’s garlic scapes, ginger and turmeric. The chicken is browned in butter (I am due to make more ghee!) with freshly ground cumin, coriander and mustard seeds. I put brown rice in our rice maker with water, coconut milk (only a little~1/4 cup), turmeric, and sea salt. Local Bok Choi greens steam on top. After the chicken is ready to go into the stock pot, which also has been cooking now with the remainder (3/4 c) coconut milk and the chicken bones (these are removed at this point and are still on the stove 2 hours later making more stock), I saut√© the carrots and bok choi stems with a little dried chili pepper. All this and the rice get added to the pot. I leave the greens separate and toss with a mixture of garlic-mustard pesto and aoli that a friend made. ¬†My husband eats two bowls.

7:00pm

Normally, this is family time (i.e.: Watching Justified or Call the Midwife on our computer), but tonight is quiet. I am writing, contemplating the weekend with girlfriends and gardening, and generally feeling thankful for life.

Namaste.

(Oh, the night is still young, you say? Well, I will likely be in bed by 9:30, reading or sleeping, readying for an early morning yoga practice and a day of homework and teaching:) ~ oooh, and a massage!

 

Seriously, if you are still reading, go to igg.me/at/HERE and make a contribution, then print & share THIS ¬†FLYER¬†with your friends, family, colleagues and neighbors! You’ll get an awesome perk in return. Think of it as a reward for reading this entire post;) See you at Pilar’s Tamales!!

Healing Fall Cleanse & Day of Silence

It’s a great time to clear out the mind, body, and maybe even your closet! A great time to rest (we get an extra hour this Saturday night!), be quiet, and warm yourself with hot tea, and cozy blanket. It’s a great time for an Ayurvedic Cleanse & Day of Silence! I recently emailed friends & family about the 3-day cleanse I will be doing this Sunday through Tuesday and invited them to join in my adventure. I just emailed recipes and guidelines and did not want to leave you out of the loop, so I am pasting my email below. Enjoy your exploration, and share with me your results!

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Homemade Ghee

Hi Friends,
¬† So glad you are interested in learning more and perhaps participating in a 3-day cleanse and up to 24 hours of silence with me! Even if you cannot participate on the same days as me (11/3-5), feel free to incorporate this practice at a more convenient time. (Hint: Don’t wait until the perfect time, there won’t be one! You will have to prioritize this the way you do vacation, wine night with friends, and caring for others!)
  The recipes I intend to use are printed in my school notebook. I did a little searching online to find some that are similar to encourage you to try.  The final  link below is a good guideline for mindful eating during your cleanse, and really, anytime! Lisa Nelson is auditing the Ayurveda courses I am enrolled in, and we made a nice connection (even got in trouble for chatting on the day of silence!) when I was at Kripalu. Enjoy:
  • Kitchari Recipe: this is for you to prepare each morning of your cleanse and eat for breakfast, lunch & supper.
    • Vary the vegetables and spices each day to change it up a bit
    • Utilize local, organic vegetables like zucchini, butternut squash, carrots and beats & cook them enough so that they are not crunchy, but ¬†not so much. Colors should be vibrant and beautiful to the eye.
    • Spices like turmeric, cumin, mustard seed, fennel, coriander, ginger will help get your digestive fire going!
    • If you have a strong (or too strong digestive fire, use less spices, focus more on the vegetables and implement coconut oil for cooling effects)
    • If you are not vegan, and even if you have some lactose intolerance, I encourage you to explore¬†making ghee. ¬†Otherwise as warming sesame oil to your kitchari
    • If you prefer, rice can be prepared in a rice cooker, and mungbeans prepared separately on the stove
    • The people’s food co-op in Kerrytown has bulk split mung beans (easier to cook than whole green mung beans)
    • Please let me know if you have any questions!
  • Ginger-Lemon Appetizer: You can sip this like a tea 30 minutes before or after eating, or make it with only enough water to down it like a shot about 15 minutes before your meal. This is meant to stimulate digestion, particularly for those whose digestion is constipated or slow. If you have smooth and fiery digestion already, please skip this step!! If you have particularly dry skin, and sinuses, use maple syrup (local & 100% maple!) instead of raw honey. Add the honey or maple when the tea is not scalding hot, add when ready to drink it.
  • Sipping Teas: Do you best to have 3 sustaining meals.¬†Make lunch a larger portion than breakfast ¬†& supper.¬†If you are hungry between meals, start with sipping warm water or try one of these teas. You can find the ingredients in bulk at your local co-op foods store. Brew in equal parts (1/4 tsp. of each for 2 cups of boiling water about 10 minutes).¬†You can make a big pot and put it in a thermos to carry with you throughout the day. Notice for which reasons you should drink each tea. Eliminate ingredients you don’t prefer, but be ope to trying something new.
  • REST!! This is very important during your cleanse. Consider turning off electronics 30-60 minutes before bed, and heading to bed earlier. Set a goal to go to bed & wake up at the same time each day, especially during the cleanse.¬†Share with your friends & family about your cleanse and give yourself permission to rest, skip out on the late night social scene, and curl up with a healing story, soothing lavender infused bath, or simply sleeping more.
  • Exercise¬†should be lessened slightly these 3 days. You don’t have to stop, but if it would be healing to you, utilize this time to step it down a notch. Attend a¬†Restorative Yoga¬†Class (Here is the link is to¬†A2 Yoga¬†where I teach Restorative Yoga 2 times/week! The other is for some online postures), walk briskly instead of running,¬†meditate¬†(a link to a 25 minute guided meditation from one of my teachers).
  • Day of Silence:¬†This cleanse is largely about calming the mental and physical chaos we accumulate with the changing of the seasons (starting school again or simply living around those who are quite busy can do this). A day of silence may be more healing than changing your diet or exercise patterns, as the mind can be louder and more demanding than the body sometimes.¬†Select a day or 1/2 day when you can really tune out of what’s around you and into yourself.¬†Be prepared that this may amplify the voices in your mind, and accept this now:) Let it be an opportunity to get to know yourself as well as your seek to know those around you.¬†Consider turning off electronic stimulations: phone, computer, T.V., radio, and either take a quiet walk or read an enjoyable (not violent) story/book instead. This is a good time to explore making Kitchari, tea, spending time outside, meditating, doing a gentle yoga practice, making a card for a friend or writing a letter.
  • Mindful Eating: A guide to enjoying your meals, anywhere, and anytime:)
   I am so thrilled to share this knowledge with you. It has been a blessing in my life to slow down like this, and I hope it will be for you too!  Please feel free to contact me with any questions, and know that my day to tune out and tune in is Sunday November 3 at 3pm-Monday the 4th at 3pm (during which time I will not answer calls/email)
  I will email you again in a month to see how it went for you!
  I would like to offer you the opportunity to give back to the Kripalu School of Ayurveda, where I am enrolled, and where much of this knowledge was birthed in me (although I have done many cleanses before, this is the more comprehensive approached I have explored). As a student in the school, I applied for and am benefitting from a scholarship that covers 10-20% of my tuition. It is a great gift and has allowed this opportunity to be possible for me while on a low Yoga Teacher budget. I am committed to returning to the Foundations in Ayurveda Part II with $50 to contribute back to the scholarship fund. 
  I will put $25 in an envelope and am inviting you to help me match it! You can contribute $1, $25 or anything in between. Think of it as your fee for the cleanse if you like and know that it will go to more seeking to learn intimately the knowledge of Ayurveda and share that loving gift with their friends, family & future clients:)
  If you would like to contribute, you can add cash to my KSA envelope when we see each other next, or mail me a check: 2217 Hilldale Dr Ann Arbor, MI (check to Grounded Here LLC, and I will write one big one before school)
  All my love & joy to you in your cleansing adventure!
Namaste,
Andrea
P.S. If you are interested in trying more Ayurvedic recipes beyond your cleanse, check out Doing¬†Health Differently! Kyle’s website has been a great resource and inspiration for me:) Another great option is receiving Radiant Life Ayurveda‘s monthly newsletter with all sorts of good tips & knowledge! I saw Rhonda for my first Ayurvedic consultation this summer and was very pleased with her insight and encouragement:)

Premier Yoga Retreat

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I made the trek from Ann Arbor to Elk Rapids on a Thursday evening at the beginning of May. When I arrived, the town and lakes were quiet and the air was calm and cool. I slept soundly, though in eager anticipation of hosting my first yoga retreat. My Friday morning began with a Vinyasa class at Yen Yoga in Traverse City, after which I completed my grocery list, including freshly made tofu (really the best I have ever had), at Oryana Food Cooperative. The rest of the afternoon I spent setting up the cabin to suit the retreat and preparing snacks for when my participants arrived.

IMG_1839Between five & 9:00 pm, arriving participants enjoyed homemade hummus, raw carrots and beets, Michigan maple syrup & sea-salted pecans, peanuts and pumpkin seeds and Lake Michigan Sand Cookies (a sugar cookie adaptation). At 9 o’clock I shared the healing benefits of pranayama breathing, and we welcomed the setting sun with moon salutations and a restorative flow that ended in candle light. I began this first session by asking a few questions that helped me to frame the remaining classes for the weekend, which meant I was up late planning the morning class after everyone else was snuggled into their beds. For the future I will chat with folks ahead of time and create general outline for my classes to allow for a little more precious zzzzz’s of my own!

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Early Saturday I began whipping up Quinoa-Beet-Pancake Mix, Lavender-Lemon Yogurt, fresh Kale, fruit & veggie juices and hot coffee while I waited for the crew to awake. We looked over the lake and practiced focusing on our breathing and greeted the day with Suryanamascar A and the intention to joyfully play in our practice on our mats. Brunch was delightful, our first full meal together after class in the sunny yoga room that doubled as a dining space. It sure was a balancing act playing yoga teacher and chef! I would love to have an assistant next time:)

 After eating some rested and walked, another ran along Lake Michigan, another caught up on work that could not be left behind. I prepared the Black-Eyed Pea & Kale soup and a Spring Salad from Mother Earth Living along with fresh Baguettes with olive oil, black pepper, sage & rosemary for dipping.

Our afternoon class was more invigorating. We work-shopped Adho Muka Svanasana (downward facing dog) and spent an optional 10-20  minutes in meditation to close. I began introducing meditative concepts in the first class and we built our time in seated silence throughout the weekend. After dinner, while I prepared ginger-sea salt chocolates & homemade chai, the puzzle of a marina and sailboats became the evening entertainment.

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Sunday morning, with refreshed minds and bodies anew, the class gathered for one final collective practice ¬†at the lake. ¬†Partner stretches to open shoulders, side-bodies, and hamstrings, followed by a deepening of the suryanamascar asanas (positions/postures) and a final unguided meditation sent us all into one final meal together:¬†¬†Sun-Dried Tomato and Pesto Quinoa, Rosemary and Tumeric Scrambled Tofu, Cherry-Ginger-Lemon Scones, Fresh Juice, Coffee and Tea. ¬†One participant commented:¬†“Scones are the bomb! Also loved the quinoa salad. The quinoa pancakes were awesome as were the juices. Loved it all,” so it seems the food was a home-run!

After cleaning, my mom insisted on a few yoga photos poses of me. So here they are. I know, my feet are out of alignment in Urdhva Dhanurasana (full wheel)! It was a beautiful place to teach, practice, share food, conversation and rest!

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I returned to Yen Yoga to take restorative class for myself and rounded out the weekend with a latte for the sunny ride home!

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All in all, this was a marvelous experience. Participants described it as relaxing, peaceful, calming and delicious…what more could I ask for?! Below are some more of their comments:

“Your yoga retreat was super, and I think back to the lovely time we all had. Many of your little tips have made a big difference in my daily work out. I hear you say “look out [in front of you],” and as I look at the bookshelves I think ‘it was much better looking out onto that glorious lake.'”

“My goal was to connect more with my body and experience immersion in yoga. Also to enjoy the beauty of Northern Michigan. The trip has exceeded expectations on all fronts.”

“I learned more about yoga poses that I could incorporate into home workouts. The emphasis on importance of breathing techniques was a key take-away.”

“My goal was to rest and de-stress my body and the retreat definitely exceeded my expectations. The balance of practice and meals and free time was great.”

I learned so much from my first 4 yogini retreaters and really do look forward to the opportunity to do this again! My parents opened their home for me to host my first retreat, but I am also eager to hosting them elsewhere. Please contact me at andrea@groundedhere.com if you are interested in a retreat at your place! One of my retreat participants commented: 

“I would like to have an opportunity to experience this more often! Are you planning any local, one day retreats?,”¬†asked one participant. So I imagine you are, too!

Retreat Resources:

Good to the Grain

Mother Earth Living magazine

Yoga Journal Magazine

Partner Yoga

Jivamukti Yoga

Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health

Pranayama: Beyond the Fundamentals

Genuine Happiness: Meditation as the Path to Fulfillment

Mindful Wednesday

This morning I awoke tired. Last night I finally had the energy to dive into my Key Muscles of Yoga and Key Poses of Yoga books by Ray Long and to joyously prepare to teach this morning. I had reached over the hump of the week and simply could not go to sleep just yet. I began my day today with 4 carrots, a 2″ piece of ginger, a wedge of lime and an orange that I put through my Omega juicer and drank it on the way to teach Sun-Centered Yoga at A2 Yoga. I decided to commit my day to mindfully observing my bodies needs.

Rather than staying for Heart-Centered Hatha following my class, I returned home to make a nourishing meal: oatmeal with raisins, cardamom, all-spice, cinnamon, maple syrup and milk and a cup of fennel-cardamom-licorice tea, and spent time setting some personal goals while icing my knee to continue the healing process of an injury. I look forward to an afternoon meditation and practice before heading out to visit a few friends.

My meals today are from the Eat, Taste, Heal cookbook and are suggestions for the Vata dosha.