>Rosemary Olive Oil Spelt Cake (& a Few Words on Savasana)

March 14, 2011 § 23 Comments

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I remember when I first started yoga I didn’t think that savasana was anything special. I wondered why we even had to do it, wanting to skip that pose entirely and leave class before the finishing pose – I would have too, if I didn’t consider it so rude to leave before a class was over. Outwardly, I nodded when others spoke of the importance of savasana, but internally I scoffed and poo-poohed at it and them. But then as time passed, I started to enjoy and even look forward to connecting with the ground and letting everything go, limbs stretched outward and reflecting on the practice I had just experienced. More recently I find myself skipping or shortening the last suggested poses so I can have a longer, juicier savasana. A teacher told me recently that savasana (translated: corpse pose) signifies closure or an ending, and coming out of it to a seated position signifies a rebirth – often why we pass through fetal position on the way up – and starting anew. I found that to be very provoking and try to honor that thought at the end of each practice now.

As special as I heave learned savasana pose to be, I never fully understood its importance until last week. As we began to settle in to our final rest, someone’s Blackberry began to go off. It must have been someone’s alarm because it kept going and going… Normally I’m able to block out distractions and turn inward but I think because it was the same ringtone I used in the past as my morning alarm, I lay hovering in a distracted state. I lay there, a bit saddened by the thought that my practice might be left incomplete because of this. Eventually, the owner of the phone walked over and turned her phone off. Then, it was silent and I began to feel the peaceful vibration of energy buzz through the room like a blanket. It was the moment I was waiting for, and it was at that moment I realized just how profound savasana was.

This doesn’t really have anything to do with the cake I posted but I felt compelled to write about it. I can say though, that they are both very special! This is another recipe I used from Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain, and say without a doubt that this is the best recipe I’ve tried so far. With each baked good I make from this book I love it that much more. I’m a bit lazy about transcribing recipes, but if you’d like to make this wonderful cake (and I whole heartedly encourage you to!) you can find the recipe on Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks. My only difference is that I didn’t add the sugar on top for crunch – perhaps I glossed over that part in the book but it sounds like a lovely addition.

>Wordless Wednesday 03.02.11

March 2, 2011 § 12 Comments

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(turtle)

>Yoga Break: Bharadvaja’s Twist, Intention – Peace

December 7, 2010 § 19 Comments

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I’d like to take a quick break from food (although there is a photo of a pear below, does that count?) and talk about one of my other loves. Last weekend was definitely Bruin themed but it was also filled to the brim with yoga. I started off on Friday with a home practice. On Saturday, Eric was working so I found myself with an empty day to fill as I pleased. I decided to double up with classes at my om away from omYogis Anonymous. It is challenging to do three full hours of yoga, but it still left me feeling refreshed and invigorated. Sunday found me back at the Promenade again, ready for more. This time I visited my other studio, the beautiful Yogaco, for class with my friend Jennifer.

Yogis Anonymous – Before my second class
At the beginning of class, teachers often give us students a moment to set an intention for class. That could be anything – a word, a thought, an emotion, etc. (I promise it’s not as cheesy as it sounds) In the past I have thought about things I want to nurture or let go, or sent out positive energy to those who are going through hard times. On Saturday, I chose the word peace. Peace – partly for the holiday season, as it is a strong theme that carries us through the holidays, but also because it is something I would personally like to cultivate more of. Throughout the three hours of practice I periodically came back to this thought of peace. Sometimes, I would just internally repeat the word to myself, and other times I thought about how I could encourage more of it within myself.
Asian pear from the Santa Monica Farmers market;
A snack between classes
I decided to keep this same intention of peace in Sunday’s class. And what a good decision that was. Usually when I am in class everything else melts away and I can just focus on the practice. On Sunday though, my neighbor was, albeit unintentionally, encroaching on the peaceful space that I was trying to create. A vigorous practice, I get that – one of the reasons I practice yoga is for the physical benefits; strength, flexibility etc – but this was just frantic and I could feel this frenzy seeping over on to my mat. I began to feel agitated and thought about moving my mat to another side of the room, but I didn’t want to disrupt the class and reminded myself that I was here to practice peace. So I repeated it to myself – peace, peace, peace. Eventually, it melted away (either that or he settled down) and I found that peaceful place. It happened so organically that I didn’t even notice it happening – rather, I noticed it later as I looked back on that class.
Yogaco – snapped after my class on Sunday 
The photos I’ve posted at the beginning and end of this entry are of me in Bharadvaja’s Twist. They should be mirror images so one is of me twisting left and the other is twisting right. It is a bound pose, meaning that I am ‘binding’ myself into a pose by grabbing my hands or feet. They are active and help me pull myself deeper into a pose, but I also find them to be calming and relaxing. I actually just learned this one on Saturday and instantly fell in love with it. There is just so much going on in there, but when I get there, sit in it, and be, I really do find a moment of peace. (PS If you’d like to learn this pose here is a quick video you can take a look at LINK)

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