Happy end of January!
Lots of great links, tips and inspiration in the YWP newsletter. Enjoy!
January is almost over… how are your resolutions going?
Starting off the New Year with good intentions is great but, let’s face it, life gets in the way. We’re busy. The days are short. It’s chilly and damp. Maybe you caught the flu.
The good news is it is never too late for a reboot. It is far more effective to think of “resolutions” as small continuous changes than big, sweeping all or nothing declarations. Here are 5 practical steps to help you do that.
5 Tips to Reboot Your New Year’s Resolutions
What are your tips for sticking to New Year’s resolution?
I’m partial to chocolate, especially when it comes with added comfort and health benefits! This “Mayan Spiced” vegan hot chocolate is packed with good-for-you ingredients. Chocolate itself is rich in antioxidants; cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar; cayenne has anti-inflammatory properties; coconut milk has medium-chain fatty acids which your body can easily burn for fuel (valuable on chilly winter days!) As a bonus, adding a pinch of salt replenishes electrolytes lost through sweat in the hot room. This is a simple, indulgent treat that is great for your body.
Thanks to Minimalist Baker for the recipe + photo.
Creamy, sultry vegan drinking chocolate made with dairy-free milk, dark chocolate and a blend of Mayan spices. An indulgent, dairy- and -gluten free dessert in 15 minutes.
Cuisine: VeganServes: 4Ingredients
- 2 cups non-dairy milk (I use 1 cup full fat coconut + 1 cup unsweetened almond milk)
- 5 ounces (~1 cup) dairy free dark chocolate, chopped (70% cacao is best)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp cayenne (more or less, depending on preferred spice)
- Pinch nutmeg (optional)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1-2 Tbsp raw cane or coconut sugar (optional)
- Coconut whipped cream for toppingInstructions
- Add coconut and almond milk to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add dark chocolate and whisk to combine.
- Add spices and whisk vigorously to combine.
- Once chocolate is completely melted, remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Whisk to combine. Taste and adjust flavors as needed, adding sugar or sweetener of choice if not sweet enough. Add more cayenne for kick.
- To serve, top with coconut whipped cream, a dusting of cocoa or cacao powder (optional), and any additional spices and/or chocolate desired.
- Store leftover drinking chocolate covered in the refrigerator for up to a few days. Freeze for longer term storage, though best when fresh.
Share your favourite winter treat recipe in the comments!
Need a break? The Adventure Travel Show is at Olympia, London 23 & 24 January, with a tantalising array of off-the-beaten path travel options.
With two Yoga Holiday With Paul Retreats this summer I’m not sure I have time to book a big adventure, but window-shopping is always fun, right? If nothing else, it’s important to occasionally remind ourselves what an awe-inspiring world we share 🙂
The Adventure Travel Show offers loads of inspirational and essential travel advice, specialist seminars, and speakers including explorers, adventurers, tour leaders and guidebook writers.
For those of you ready to take the holiday plunge, there is a massive array of specialist travel operators on hand to offer guidance on everything from walking and trekking to exploratory journeys, safaris, overland trips, volunteering projects and much more.
Head-to-knee pose, aka Janushirasana with Paschimotthanasana, is the next-to-last posture in the Bikram sequence. Which makes it easy to check out during, especially if you’re new to the practice and all you can think about is getting to the final sivasana.
There are only 26 postures in Bikram yoga, however, and each one is important and part of the sequence for a reason. Head to Knee has many specific benefits. It is good for digestion, immune system and thyroid, as well as boosting liver and pancreas function. Remember: it is a compression posture, like separate leg head to knee. It has the added benefit of being seated so you don’t have to worry about balance and can concentrate on perfecting the posture. It also provides a fantastic secondary stretch for your back and legs – especially the Achilles tendon and hamstrings.
Here are five tips for getting the most from head to knee pose:
Questions about head to knee posture? Ask in the comments!
To improve your practice talking (before or after class!) is the best and quickest way to get the direction you need.
I do my best to offer corrections in class, but no teacher can watch every single posture by every student. More importantly, teachers are not mind readers. Things you find difficult, or don’t understand, or would like to work on might not be obvious and visible. The only way a teacher can help is if we know your concern!
So please, take the time to come a bit early, or stay a few minutes after class, and ask questions, or tell me what’s on your mind. You may think you’re doing something wrong when it is just fine; a minor adjustment might give you new strength and confidence; you might learn something new about a posture that will help you go deeper.
It is easy to rush into class, do your yoga, rush out to shower and go on to the rest of your day, but taking the time to talk can change your practice and outlook for the better.
Questions about anything? Ask me in the comments, or Tweet @YogaWithPaul
The essential practice of Bikram, or any yoga, is simple: never quit.
We all have moments, days, or even weeks sometimes, when we think “I want to quit.” Yoga is too hard. Life is too busy. We have jobs, partners, kids, debts, commitments, houses, pets and our sanity to look after.
Sometimes yoga feels like one more line on a never-ending to do list. In those moments it can be tempting to quit. But yoga teaches us that quitting is not a solution. If we quit yoga when the going gets tough we are putting down the one tool that can help us hack through the jungle of stress and strife and come out smiling on the other side.
Yoga is where we hone our minds and bodies. It is where we return to ourselves. It is where we learn to breathe, be in the moment, and let go of external things. Yoga is also where we find community. Even if we dash in and out of the studio, we spend 90 minutes in a room with people who share positive energy and affirm the power of our practice.
Quitting is a temporary fix, like getting drunk after a bad week. But you wake up with a hangover, and feel worse than before.
If you are truly struggling for time and energy to practice yoga, it is better to modify, adjust, reschedule, or practice at home. Don’t quit on the one thing that will, over time, build a stronger mind, body, and spirit.
Have you ever quit yoga? What did it feel like?
I recently read a Harvard Business Review article about using mindfulness to manage conflict.
Conflict wreaks havoc on our brains. We are groomed by evolution to protect ourselves whenever we sense a threat. In our modern context, we don’t fight like a badger with a coyote, or run away like a rabbit from a fox. But our basic impulse to protect ourselves is automatic and unconscious….
Mindfulness is the perfect awareness technique to employ when a conflict arises — whether it’s at work or home. It allows us to override the conditioned nervous system with conscious awareness. Instead of attacking or recoiling, and later justifying our reactions, we can learn to stay present, participate in regulating our own nervous system, and eventually, develop new, more free and helpful ways of interacting.
Practicing mindfulness in the middle of a conflict demands a willingness to stay present, to feel intensely, to override our negative thoughts, and to engage our breath to maintain presence with the body. Like any skill, it takes practice.
The author goes on to recommend four techniques:
Each of these is an active element of yoga practice. Mindfulness alone is a good first step to handling conflict. Yoga adds the element of physical and mental discipline and practice. In the studio, we breathe, focus, move through postures, and are constantly grounded in the present.
We do this because it enhances our minds and bodies; because it feels good. But, as this article shows, it also applies to other elements of our life. Practicing yoga can make us better at handling conflict, resolving difficult situations, negotiating, and communicating. It gives us tools to handle challenges in a positive, proactive way rather than reacting to stress or upset.
How does yoga help you manage daily life? Share in the comments.
Clean eating is a great way to rebalance and reset your body after the holiday indulgence. Warming food like this white bean, kale and potato hash is full of nutrients including vitamins A and C, and iron, as well as a generous dose of protein, fibre and complex carbohydrates for energy. I’d make this for dinner then have the leftovers for a snack or lunch the next day. This is simple, healthful food that is kind to your body and your budget. Recipe via Beard & Bonnet
White Bean, Kale and Potato Hash (Gluten-Free and Vegan)
1 large russet potato, scrubbed and cut into a very small dice
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1/4 white onion, thinly sliced
1 tin white beans, drained and rinsed
2.5 – 3 cups of Kale, sliced into thin ribbons
1 lemon, zested
50g Parmesan cheese, shredded (optional)
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and a generous pinch of salt, toss well to coat. Cover the skillet with a tight fitting lid and cook for 7-9 minutes, tossing or flipping occasionally to ensure that all sides of the potatoes are browning and getting crisp.
Add the onions and the white beans to the skillet with the potatoes, mix well and gently arrange the beans and onions into a single layer in the pan. Leave to cook for 3-5 minutes, flipping once or twice, to ensure that the beans are browning and getting crisp.
Add the ribbons of kale and cook briefly until the kale wilts slightly. Remove from the heat and sprinkle in lemon zest, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and additional salt to taste. Serve immediately.
Happy New Year, yogis.
Whether you’ve been practicing yoga for a year, 5 years, 10 years, or are thinking about taking your first class, take the turn of the year as an opportunity to practice a new kind of yoga.
There are many ways to do this. You can literally take something new, like Vinyasa, Jivanmukti or Forrest, or you can choose to change an aspect of your current practice.
Here are 5 suggestions that can reinvigorate your practice for 2016:
What are your tips for renewing your yoga for the new year?