Another edition of your monthly Yoga With Paul blog round up! Enjoy.
Yoga With Paul newsletter FEB 2015
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You know the difference a single Bikram yoga class makes to how you feel, inside and out. Picture a whole WEEK of Bikram — plus delicious healthful food, sunshine, glorious scenery and wonderful company. That’s Yoga Holiday With Paul, which takes place 19-26 June at Quinta Mimosa in the Algarve, Portugal.
Space is limited so Reserve your place by email: YogaHolidayWithPaul@gmail.com
Being a beginner I was nervous – you hear stories about how tough it can be – but Paul guides you with such a present, kind and safe hand that you feel completely safe to challenge yourself and let go. I always felt great after class. My body was tired sometimes but the good feeling you get from a proper workout. I really felt my practice improved over the week and now I am hooked on Bikram. ~Maria Øveland
The retreat had astounding people, it was well organised, positively nourished our mind, body and souls with the practice, stunning location and unbelievable food. It helped me to overcome tough challenges and start healing for which I am extremely grateful.
Reserve your place by email: YogaHolidayWithPaul@gmail.com
Eating on the run isn’t ideal, but it is a fact of life for a lot of us.
The trick is to make the most by preparing simple, healthy, portable food you can tuck in your bag so you don’t succumb to pasty supermarket sandwiches or fatty take-aways. Wraps are perfect — they are more durable than sandwiches, simpler to eat than soup… and you can fill them with just about anything. Fresh salad, leftover roast vegetables, chicken, fish, tofu, scrambled eggs. As for the wrap, you can use wholegrain wraps, buckwheat crepes, nori seaweed sheets. Again, the only limit is your imagination.
For inspiration, check out this post from Lunch Box Bunch with ten terrific vegan wrap recipes.
Curried Quinoa Wrap with Avo-Citrus Slaw
vegan, makes 3 wraps (plus leftover quinoa)
1 1/2 Tbsp Muchi Curry
2 tsp sea salt
2 1/3 cups dry, unrinsed quinoa
3 cups water
1/2 cup apple cider or orange juice
fold into cooked quinoa:
1 1/2 cups frozen peas (thawed or warmed)
1/2 cup salted cashews
1/2cup sweet onion, chopped
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 cup tahini (add less for fluffier quinoa)
1 satsuma or seedless tangerine, peeled/diced
2 Tbsp maple syrup (or agave)
1/4 cup chopped mint (optional)
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp orange juice
1 avocado, diced
1 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
1 cup shredded or matchstick carrots
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
2 Tbsp tahini
1. Prep your slaw and toss well. Place in fridge to marinate/chill until ready to assemble wraps.
2. Heat your quinoa ingredients (not toss-in ingredients though) on stove in large soup pot. Bring to a boil. Cover with lid and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 11 minutes. Turn off heat. Let sit, lid-on for about ten minutes. Lift lid and fluff with fork. Follow fluffy quinoa instructions here.
3. Add the toss-in ingredients to the still-hot soup pot. The warm quinoa will gently heat and cook these ingredients. Yet the onions and cashews will still stay nicely al dente.
4. Grab your extra large whole wheat wraps and start adding ingredients…
Share your favourite wrap recipe in the comments!
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Bikram sit-ups are supposed to be challenging. But sometimes when I watch students do sit-ups, I say to myself, “What was that?!”
I see too many variations! And students looking and sounding like it’s a chore to even think about doing a sit-up. C’mon folks! The sit-up is in the sequence to give you energy. Don’t exhale like it’s your dying breath…
If you’ve been in class recently you know I focus on doing sit-ups step by step. There are so many benefits. Sit-ups strengthen the lower back by engaging the the abdominals. By engaging the abdominals during the sit-up you get a flat tummy you’ll want to show off when summer comes. If that isn’t incentive enough, I’ve been upping the stakes: if one person does the sit-up incorrectly the whole class gets to do another sit-up… however many times it takes to get it right!
A correct sit-up goes like this:
Toes and heels together. Flex your feet, keep your heels on the floor, (push your heels to the floor. This will help with the sit-up.)
Arms over your head, cross your thumbs, arms and head together.
Inhale breathing, quickly sit up.
Exhale breathing, grab your big toes, double jerk.
Touch your forehead to the knees, elbows to the floor (bend your knees, if you can not touch forehead to your knees with straight legs).
This bonus exercise will help strengthen and tone your abs:
Lie on your back with legs together and point your toes like a ballerina.
Press your palms into the floor by your side.
Lift your legs off the floor one inch and hold for 20 secs, engaging the abdominals.
Questions or thoughts about sit-ups? Hit me back in the comments!
I talk a lot in class about listening to your body. During Bikram practice that means paying attention to your strength and flexibility on a given day, in a given posture; it means paying heed to your breathing, your balance, your emotional state.
Outside the studio, listening to your body means paying attention to the food you eat. I was completely floored when a friend who went for a lactose intolerance test told me she found a bunch of articles online — including those published by official medical bodies — that recommend people who are lactose intolerant KEEP EATING DAIRY. Seriously, folks. If your body is trying to tell you something about your diet — LISTEN.
If you are sensitive/allergic/intolerant to a particular food or food group (e.g. dairy, gluten, nuts) listen to what your body is saying. Despite what the heavily subsidised and advertised dairy industry would like you to believe you do not NEED dairy in your diet. Sure, eliminating dairy (or gluten, etc) is inconvenient, given the prevalence of these foods, but that in itself should tell you something. Dairy and gluten are ubiquitous in the Western diet not because they are essential nutrients, but because they are the basis of hugely profitable industries.
Nobody is going to die from dairy deprivation, despite what the marketing campaigns would like you to believe. If, like my friend, your stomach balls up at the mere thought of the white stuff, ditch it. We are fortunate to have an abundance of healthier alternatives (almond, hemp, coconut, oat or rice milk, say) that also happen to be better for the environment and kinder to animals.
Food is fundamental to our well-being and our bodies are smart enough to know what works for them. Let’s listen.
Have you changed your diet based on listening to your body? Tells us about it in the comments!
“There is no remedy for love but to love more” ~ Henry David Thoreau
It’s hearts-flowers-and-chocolate time again, yes, Valentine’s Day. Whether you think the holiday is a beautiful tribute to romance or crass commercial exploitation, it provides a reminder, an opportunity, to think about how we think about love and its role in our lives.
The popular image of romantic love is exclusive. We are supposed to meet The One, fall head over heels, and live happily ever after. Some people are blessed with this “fairy tale” version of romance; others are blessed with love stories of different shapes; some are still on the path to creating the love story of their own life.
Wherever we are, we should remember one thing: LOVE IS INFINITE. We can love a partner with our whole heart, and still have limitless love for family, friends, pets…. In fact, the more love we give the more we have. The more we act and express loving thoughts and words and deeds, the more love infuses and elevates our lives.
I like to think of Love in the same terms I think of Yoga. There are infinite ways to enter into it, to practice it, to allow it to transform our minds, bodies and hearts. The more we practice yoga — and the more we practice love — the more flexible, warm, giving, and compassionate we become.
Whatever else you do to celebrate Valentine’s Day, make time for yoga — even if it’s just a few asanas at home. Love and yoga are blessing that enrich our lives. The more we do, the more we have to give.
A new free exhibition on the black British experience at the V&A starting Monday February 16 2015 and running till Sunday May 24. Well worth checking out!
This is a new display in Gallery 100 that showcases a variety of photographic responses to black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s. The images were acquired as part of a collaborative project with Black Cultural Archives which aims to increase the number of black British photographers and images of black Britain in the V&A. 118 works from 17 artists have been collected so far, with pieces ranging from Yinka Shonibare’s large-scale series Diary of a Victorian Dandy to JD Okhai Ojeikere’s black and white studies of elaborate head ties worn by Nigerian women.
The exhibition includes oral histories from a range of subjects including the photographers themselves, their relatives and the people depicted in the images.
The Black Cultural Archives will also present an exhibition drawn from the Staying Power collection at their heritage centre in Brixton (1 Windrush Square, SW2 1EF. Thursday January 15 to Tuesday June 30, Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm).
Karma is a word we often use, but what does it really mean?
Karma is defined as the sum of our actions in this life and previous lives that decides our fate in future existences. However, I don’t think you need to believe in reincarnation to understand or embrace the concept of karma. Another way of looking at karma is as an expression of Christianity’s “Golden Rule”: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
This doesn’t mean being a doormat, or living your life through other people, it means having equal measures of respect and self-respect so that you can see other people as unique, valuable individuals. When we are able to do this it automatically changes our attitudes and behaviour. We are kinder, more compassionate, more open.
Karma, ultimately, is not about the universe keeping score, waiting to turn us into a cockroach if we screw up, it’s about having a philosophical approach to life that keeps us present, balanced, and humble. Karma can be as simple as the kindness of giving up your seat on the bus and the smile you get in return.
Yoga helps us cultivate the mindfulness and presence to strengthen our karma. Through the breath and the asanas we learn to inhabit and respect our bodies, and our place in the harmony of living things. It is a tool that brings us awareness, develops patience, and teaches us to appreciate the uniqueness of every being.
Read more about Karma yoga — the practice of transforming everything you do into selfless service.
How do you define good karma? Share in the comments
I love this recipe — a perfect warming, soothing, cleansing, caffeine-free drink that is equally good before or after Bikram yoga, first thing in the morning or as a calming evening cuppa.
Thanks to Megan Telpner Nutritionista for the recipe!
8 cups water
6 cinnamon sticks
2 Tbs cardamom seed
2 Tbs whole cloves
2 inches fresh ginger root (sliced)
almond milk as desired
Put all spices into pot with water.
Simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and add honey and milk.
Serve hot or cold.