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dragonfly briaHello there, long time, no hang. I’m still around, and busy as always, prepping up for hosting a Yoga retreat St. Lucia, teaching classes, and wrapping up an ayurvedic detox/cleanse.
The cleanse has put me in the rejuvenation state of mind, body, and spirit, and inspired me to offer a very special Yoga workshop with this exact theme. Bonus: my retreat co-leader, Charlie, is co-teaching this weekend’s workshop with me.  If you’re in NYC, you should totally join us!

Join Bria and Charlie for a refreshing session of postures and breathing techniques that will cleanse, rejuvenate, and relax body and mind. Embrace a deeper connection of heart and soul, with aromatherapy delights to intensify your bliss. If you liked our recent Yoga for the Curious event, or weren’t able to make it, now’s your chance. You’ll love our latest Spring-y offering!

Bria-and-yoga-Charlie-side-by-side

Saturday, May 4, 2013
4-6 PM

At Asali Yoga Center in Harlem
Asali is located on 135th St, between 7th and 8th Avenues (closer to 8th)  C train to 135th Street

$18 pre-paid

$20 at the door

Keep pre-payment easy breezy by using this secure link:

Pay here now via PayPal

We look forward to seeing you all there!

Wishing you all a fabulous weekend :-)

Shanti,
Bria

 

 

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My next retreat might be somewhere beachy.
A belated Happy 2013, everyone. Hope the new year is treating you wonderfully. I’m popping up quickly to alert my NYC Yoga students to some exciting schedule changes.
If you practice with me in Harlem, you’re in luck. Starting this weekend two of my weekend classes are now 90 minutes.
Sundays, 8-9:30 AM at the NYSC at 145th and 8th Avenue (Note the earlier start time)
Sundays, 1:30-3 PM at the NYSC at 115th and 5th Avenue
This is so exciting! So many of my Uptown yogis have been practicing with me for years now. Longer classes mean we can spend more time working on seated postures, challenge poses, meditation, breathing techniques, restorative postures, and enjoying a longer savasana. I’m open to requests, always, so if there’s something you want to explore, let me know.
One more thing…I’m working now on finalizing my next retreat. Hint: Looks like it will involve beaches!
Have a great weekend, everyone. Here’s my current teaching sked in case you needed something to tattoo to your forehead ;-) :
Mondays, 10:30 AM at NYSC at 23rd and Park. Format:  Hatha/Slow Flow Vinyasa Yoga
Mondays, 12:15 PM at NYSC at Union Square (14th St near 5th Ave). Format: Vinyasa Yoga.
Tuesdays, 7 AM at NYSC at 145th Street. Format: Vinyasa Yoga
Tuesdays, 1:45 PM at NYSC at Grand Central.  Format: Vinyasa Yoga
Tuesdays, 7 PM at The District. Format: Open Yoga (residential, members only)
Wednesdays, 12 PM at NYSC at Mercer. Format: Vinyasa Yoga
Thursdays, 7 AM at NYSC at 145th Street. Format: Vinyasa Yoga
Thursdays, 12 PM at NYSC at 59th and Park Avenue. Format: Vinyasa Yoga
Saturdays, 12:30-2 PM at NYSC at Union Square (14th St near 5th Ave). Format: Vinyasa Yoga.
Sundays, 8:00-9:30 AM at NYSC at 145th Street. Format: Hatha/Slow Flow Vinyasa Yoga
Sundays, 1:30-3 PM at NYSC at 115th and 5th Avenue. Format: Vinyasa Yoga.

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A neighborhood park in Paris (Montmartre).

My New York students may have heard that I was away for a minute. I’m back now. Missed ya’ll! London and Paris were great. It was a total blessing to get to take such a trip, and I aim to post some related pics, recipes, and randomness about my trip eventually.

I know many of you have travels of your own planned and we move deeper into the holiday season. How can we keep our Yoga practices alive during this time? My thoughts:

1. Keep things simple. A few basic poses daily, plus even a minute of meditation can make a huge difference. For example, while I was away, I did the Five Tibetan Rites  almost daily.  I also meditated briefly most days.

Pajama Yoga, anyone? Here I am on my friend’s balcony in London, keeping my Yoga practice alive.

2. Do what you can to keep the connection to your practice, and yourself, alive. Part of Yoga is flexibility and nimbleness not only of the mind, but of the body. Ditch the “all or nothing mentality.” Instead of locking into a rigid idea of what your Yoga practice “should” be, why not fully focus on a few simple poses daily while away. You can get back to your favorite teachers and lengthier classes when you return.

3. Employ technology. Podcasts, Youtube vids, DVD’s if you’re feeling very 90s. More on some great options below.

4. Know that your practice might improve if you back off a bit. This totally happens to me. For example, my heels are closer to the ground now in downward facing dog than they were before I left. Yes, I was active on my trip, but in different ways, which allowed my body to heal and change in unexpected ways.

Bise wants to know if those are the mountains out there in the distance somewhere. Why yes, they are there, kitteh!

By the way, some of my students have asked me if I have any YouTube videos of my teaching. The answer is, “Not yet. But I am indeed working on that as a long-term project.” For reals.

Meanwhile, here are some tips for Yoga you can do at home, or on travels of your own:

Baron Baptiste in bakasana (crow pose).

If you’re looking for a podcast, Baron Baptiste Power Yoga is a solid bet. I haven’t personally studied with Baron, but have practiced via his videos.  Reliably good stuff.

Yoga Today is a pretty cool site. My favorite thing about them is that they practice out in nature, with beautiful natural scenery as a backdrop. They don’t flow as much as we do in most of my classes, just FYI. They offer a free weekly class. Remember, repetition brings nuance, so you could keep things simple by doing the free class throughout the week. More info from their site:

YogaToday.com photo courtesy by Jesse Brown.

Discover a new way to do yoga. Search, stream, and download from our library of over 200 one-hour video classes –in settings that harmonize with the postures and at the level and intensity that’s best for you.

Much more than a convenient practice, Yoga Today is a growing community where you can immerse yourself in a lifestyle of health and wellbeing.

Finally, YogaGlo is a site a few of my students are into. I’ll probably be into it myself very soon. Yes, as a teacher I do my own self-practice. But sometimes you want to be led and inspired by another person :-)

Yogaglo.com offers a cool variety of classes, including restorative Yoga, which I LOVE!

More on YogaGlo:
Our goal is to offer online classes free of advertising.  You get unlimited access to YogaGlo classes with an $18/month membership, the price you would normally pay for one class.  You can experience YogaGlo classes with full screen HD or normal quality video.  You can sort archived classes according to teacher, style, level, duration and specific use. 

I hope this info inspires you to keep your Yoga practice going if you have one, and perhaps to check out some Yoga if you’re curious. It’ll be a beautiful addition to your holiday season and life. Promise!

Let me know if you have any questions, ya hear?

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I love hosting Yoga retreats. Seeing my students finding bliss in their Yoga, relaxing, having insights, making  new friends, plus enjoying beautifully prepared food, a roomy vacay house, and outdoorsy stuff…well, it’s  just awesome.

This year, my annual Upstate New York Fall Harvest Yoga4Soul Retreat is October 12-14 (Friday evening through early Sunday afternoon).
Here’s a snap from my last retreat, in Vermont in May.

We had such a blast at the last retreat. This time my Fall Harvest Retreat is in Upstate New York.

Next up? Our beloved Yoga home away-from-home in Upstate New York. Specifically the Grail house, in lovely Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, about 90 easy  minutes from NYC. So close, but yet, a world away from the city bustle. Perfect.

The Grail House in Upstate NY, home of my annual Fall Harvest Yoga4Soul Retreat.

I got back recently from Colorado, and I can tell the difference that taking some time out for self-care and reflection has made in my own life. Maybe this is why I so enjoy creating these retreat experiences for others…because I know how powerful and important taking time out and taking care of ourselves is.

Maybe this is why many retreaters who go away with me once return again and again. Because, they, too, know the power of these getaways and immediately see the benefits in their own lives.

Fresh seasonal food will star in the retreat menu.

Besides Yoga, we have a trip to an apple orchard and a winery on tap. Plus lots of great food prepared by Chef Dave, who is new to “cheffing” my retreats, but has been studying Yoga with me for years. Did I mention he has culinary training and an amazing Yoga practice? Niiiiceeee.

Maybe we’ll get our asana on outdoors. (Weather permitting, of course!)

Early bird rates are available for the retreat for a few more days. We’re talking rates starting at $300 for the entire weekend, which includes all classes, all meals, and outings. This is a ridiculously affordable rate, so bring some friends, your love, or some fam!

Newer to Yoga? No problem, I’ve had absolute beginners at retreats numerous times, and, if needed, I’ll lead special Yoga sessions for those who are newer.

Click here for more details on retreat rates and house pics.

Click here for a sample itinerary (from a past retreat)

FAQ page is here.

Ready to book? Use this link and scroll down for the PayPal button.

If you have any questions, please drop me an email. Shanti, shanti, shanti, and I hope to see you Upstate.

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Hey there, everyone.  I hope you’ve had a great week. Any big plans for the weekend? Planning my next Yoga weekend getaway has been taking up a lot of my time lately. This time we’re retreating to the Green Mountain State, a.k.a. Vermont, from May 4-6.  I’m so excited!

My friend Maria Nieves is catering my upcoming Vermont retreat. She made this raw vegan pie for us to taste test. We're still debating between flavoring it with mango, lime, or both. I say both, with a big side of coconut sorbet to compliment the pie's creamy texture.

This weekend away is happening in Plymouth, Vermont, at an amazing venue, Good Commons.

Good Commons, in Plymouth, Vermont, is hosting my next Yoga weekend getaway, May 4-6.

For more info on the weekend, have a look here. There will be Yoga classes daily, an outdoorsy outing, hot tub time, and farm-to-table cuisine prepared by my awesome chef, Maria Nieves. Also, my amiga Ilana will be leading a kirtan. Seriously can’t wait for all of this!

In New York for the weekend? So is the Yoga Journal conference. Check it out.

It’s really healthy to leave the day-to-day and take some time to refresh and re-set our lives.

As for this weekend, New Yorkers might want to check out the Yoga Journal conference. There are lots of free events and a (free) exhibit hall. Click here for deets.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Just today I learned that pineapple is excellent for the throat...for both healing and preventing laryngitis. I can't think of a more delicious remedy than fresh pineapple juice. Photo courtesy of stock.xchng.

Hey guys. I hope you all have had a great weekend. Mine has been a mixed bag. See, I had a cold last week. First legit cold in nearly a year, but a cold nonetheless.My immune system, fortunately, is pretty strong, and I thought the cold and I were done. That we’d kicked one another to the curb in record time. But then it was like “Not so fast, suckah!” and promptly boomeranged back to me early Friday morning. . .in the form of pure evil, I mean, laryngitis.

Holy throat chakra, Batman! I haven’t lost my voice in over two years. I thought was on a roll in that department.

Long story short, I’ve been on vocal rest since Friday, only talking when absolutely required. I’ve missed some work, and had to miss Khat’s birthday celebration. Which really sucked. But I would have have been bad, bizarre company with my squeaky vocal range and weird hand gestures.

So alas, not being able to talk has given me time to listen. To myself and others.This has been oddly refreshing, rejuvenating, even. I could get used to this.

And one of the things that dawned on me while giving the ol’ gift of gab a break is that I really ought to post on here more often. And I quickly realized that I’ve been letting arbitrary rules I’d “set” for myself determine what my posts had to be.

Spending time in quiet, and in meditation, is helping re-balance my chakras. (Dear Lord, did I just type that...it sounds so hokey. But it's TRUE!) Photo courtesy of stock.xchng.

The advice I often give my students and clients about letting go of the all or nothing mentality? I SOOOO wasn’t following my own advice in terms of this blog.

I’d backed myself into the corner of thinking that most of my posts needed to be full-on recipes, photographed by me, and with some sort of a little story to go along. I was “shoulding” myself to death!

That corner and all that “shoulding”? Very limiting. Why stay stuck in a corner when you have a whole world to explore?

I’ve decided to come out of the corner and toss my own rulebook. So from now on, there might be more posts, but maybe not every single post will be a recipe. I live in NYC, and this place can be absurd and inspiring, sometimes all at once. Would you guys mind if I posted random, funny and/or poignant tidbits and photos from my day to day life?

Peacock pose. Central Park, NYC. I totally look Photoshopped in, right? But it's for reals. Photo by Marisa Train.

I love Yoga, fitness, meditation, travel, nature, and Downton Abbey. You won’t mind, will you, if some posts delve into those topics? My friends are some of the most interesting and talented people I’ve ever met. You won’t mind, will you, if I periodically post a “day in the life” of some of them….such as my friend Alena who is currently a Broadway performer in the musical “Sister Act”?

And yes, Persian food, food in general are near and dear to my heart, always, and will be talked about on here. Some of you send me events and info about community events and film screenings of Iranian and other Middle Eastern films. I love that stuff. Keep that info coming. I’ll do my best to include it here. (And apologies for the information I might not always post. I’m not the most organized gal, admittedly.)

I could go on, but for now, I’ll simply say:

Here’s to letting go of the “All or Nothing Mentality.”

Now, I must ask…

In what areas do you have a tendency to think (and maybe act) in an “all or nothing” fashion?

Are you game to change that tendency and see what happens? Or maybe you’ve made such changes already…how’d that go? Any tips for the rest of us?

Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. Would love to read about others’ “all or nothing” tendencies. I can’t be the only one who thinks this way, right?

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My green drink. Old pic, but the drink color is accurate.

Hey Guys!

I just got back Sunday night from my Upstate New York Fall Harvest Yoga Retreat.

It was a lovely weekend, full of Yoga, amazing food, and time outdoors, breathing in the fresh air and taking in the beautiful sights, like colorful fall foliage and deer snacking on grass just outside of our retreat house.

It was also wonderful to spend time with such an amazing group of people.

The retreat inspired this smoothie. Throughout the weekend, my chef/friend/student Maria prepared foods with the best flavors of fall: apples, pumpkins, fall spices, apple cider, and more.

So I threw that idea (along with some random, but seasonally-appropriate ingredients)  into the Vita-Mix for a green smoothie that tastes has a very strong overtone of pumpkin pie flavor. It’s quite delicious.

Flavors of Fall Pumpkin Pie Green Smoothie

Yield: About 8 cups. Recipe can easily be halved.

  • 1 16 ounce frozen spinach, thawed or broken into chunks that your blender can handle
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup milk of choice (I used coconut and almond milks)
  • 1 cup apple cider or apple juice

    Pumpkin is off the wagon and in this smoothie.

  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie seasoning (yes, I like a lot of this ingredient)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sweetener of choice (I used stevia)

1. Add all ingredients into blender, and blend. Add more liquid as needed.

2. Taste for sweetness, and adjust as needed.

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One unscathed peach, as the rest simmer in the background for Lazy Peach Butter, my peach butter that leaves the skins ON.

Peach butter’s all over the blogosphere. I’m aware of this.  It makes perfect sense: peach season is winding down, and canning is the cool thing to do these days. Like all old school and retro and local and Recession-friendly and stuff.

So if anything, I’m kind of late (and a follower to boot) by even “going  there” with this recipe.

However, my peach butter is different in a key way: it leaves the skins on.

Personally, I haven’t yet run into any peach butter that doesn’t involve either:

a. Blanching, then peeling the peachies.

b. A food mill.

I hate peeling fruits and vegetables. It’s a pet peeve of mine, to be honest. Because I’m lazy like that. I’ll admit it. Plus, I love the skin of fruits like peaches, plums, pears, and apples. The skins have tons of flavor and all of those beautiful colors. Plus, I mentioned I’m lazy, right?

Bless this mess. Chunky, messy, peachy goodness.

Regarding canning:  I’m not yet set up to do canning. In the future, I wanna be all up in the canning scene. With decorative labels and shiny Ball jars and both innovative and classic preserves flavors. But for now, that’s not the deal over here.

Moreover, I’m not about to buy a food mill, not just yet. Most of my cooking and such doesn’t really justify owning one, and this humble kitchen is tiiiiiiight for space as it is.

So my peach butter is beyond simple; it keeps the peels on, and it’s a good thing it does. Because once I tell you what I went through to get these peaches from farm (market) to table, you’ll realize the wisdom (and hilarity) of my Lazy Peach Butter. Keep reading, or scroll on down for the recipe. . . .

Labor Day 2011 summed up my entire summer in so many ways. It included:

  • Biking
  • Yoga
  • Fresh produce from the farmer’s market
  • Buying a random (but needed) item off of Craigslist
  • Eating an ice cream cone (I’ve been nuts about ice cream this summer; this doesn’t happen every year, so go figure)
  • Mishaps
  • A lazy,  minimal recipe

Today’s agenda sounded so simple. After taking it pretty easy this weekend (only teaching 2 classes, as all of my other gigs were canceled, and I hadn’t been doing much of anything), I was ready to pick up the tempo.

I decided to ride my bike down to Chelsea to take a Yoga class that’d been gifted to me by a friend.  Today was the last day I could take the class, and wasted pre-paid classes make me sad, so I was up kinda early to get rollin’. I figured a farmer’s market run at the nearby Union Square Greenmarket after class to snag the peaches for peach butter would be a smart idea. Sounded simple enough.

I already assembled the garment rack. Took all of five minutes. Loving it already! Note the mix of summer and fall clohes hanging on it.

Until I got an email from a girl I’d written to on Craigslist, telling me that the garment rack she was selling was still available, and could I come get it today.

I’ve been wanting a garment rack for ages. This one was only $15. She was in the East Village, and I was going to be nearish to there anyways.

So I made plans to meet her after class, pre-market.

I figured I’d take the garment rack parts and stash them in a locker at one of my work sites, returning  to fetch them later in the week. Surely garment rack parts would be too bulky to carry, especially on a bike. Right?

Wrong.

This is where my Iranian Engineering kicks in.

What’s that, you ask? Well, growing up, my dad had a way (he still does) of, ahem, rigging things up around the house, and at his businesses. My mom used to roll her eyes and say, “There’s a right way to do something. And there’s a wrong way. Then there’s your Dad’s way.”

So my dad’s Iranian, and he’s trained as an engineer, he has his ways, so there we have it. Iranian Engineering.

Apparently, folks,  the gene got passed on to me.

The garment rack parts were light enough that I decided we were all coming home together: Me, the rack, and eventually, the delicate, fresh peaches. One the bike. On Labor Day. In Manhattan. Ahem.

I was able to stuff most of the “poles” of the rack into my Yoga mat bag. I wrapped my super lightweight travel mat around them, secured the mat and the poles with a heavy duty rubber band. I stuffed the rest of the garment rack parts in my backpack. Then I slung both the Yoga mat bag and the backpack on my back. Carefully. (And I wonder why my shoulders tweak out sometimes, but that’s another story for another day).

The farmer’s market run was pretty quick and painless. I stuck the peaches in a plastic bag, and stuck that in a reusable bag. I looped the reusable bag around the bike handlebars a couple of times, and we were off. I’m pretty sure some people thought “friggin’ idiot” as I rolled past, but I pit them no mind. I was too psyched that I might actually get all the stuff home in one trip.

Soon enough, I realized the Yoga mat was going to keep slipping off my back and possibly cause me to bob and weave across the road like a drunk. I’m totally against doing that unless already intoxicated, plus I can think of better ways to go than getting mowed down by a garbage truck. So I rigged up a way to loop my mat around the handle bars. I then took my two “U” locks and looped them around the mat and the handlebars to further secure it. (Yes, I have two locks. Don’t ask).

It was a feat of Iranian Engineering. Lemme tell ya. It was actually quiet comfortable and relatively stable, and I was proud.

Peaches cooking up. I swear the pic is in focus. The foggy look is from the steam floating off of the peaches.

Until an incident with the bag of peaches hanging low on the handlebars and um, somehow getting caught in the front wheel.

You know what they say about low-hanging fruit. .  .

Long story short, about half the peaches were pureed before I even got north of 23rd Street.

Sigh.

This is where Yoga kicks in. The old Bria would’ve been madder than a hornet’s nest at such a turn of events. And yeah, a few curses did fly, as I freed the bag and the peaches from the wheel and got all sticky in the process. But really, I mostly laughed. My bike had done some of the prep work for me.  And I was able to salvage every last peach. After a good rinse at home (of both the peaches and myself), everything was fine. Except for the brown sugar I’d chosen to use almost burning up the whole pot of peach butter.

Yes, another error. Again, luckily one I caught in time. The simple flavor of peaches and the slight caramel note added by the brown sugar is quite delicious, but next time, I’m do half brown sugar, half regular sugar to prevent scorching. I’m glad I didn’t add any spices. I’m also glad that I went pretty easy on the sugar, because a lot of fruit butters are too darn sweet. To me, this one is perfect.

Thank goodness, considering what I went through to make it!

Lazy Peach Butter

(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.)

Yield: 1 and 1/2 cups peach butter. Recipe can be doubled, tripled, etc.

  • 1 pound of peaches, pits removed and cut into 8 pieces per peach
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar (I used brown sugar, but it seems more prone to scorching, so just be aware and feel free to use white sugar or a mix of brown and white sugars)

1. Add peaches and water to a pot/Dutch oven. I used my small Le Creuset.

2. Boil for 15-20 minutes, until tender.

3. Allow to cool for a few minutes.

4. Place peaches in blender (I used my Vita-Mix) or food processor and puree lightly until desired consistency is reached. (Go slowly, especially if you want a chunkier texture, like I did).

5. Return puree to pot and add lemon juice and sugar.

6. On a low heat, simmer for another 5-10 minutes (up to 40 minutes for bigger batches), stirring gently and often.  (Mine was done at 5 minutes, and I think the brown sugar caused the bottom of the Le Creuset to get a caramelized layer on it, so be careful here.)

7.  To test for correct consistency, place some of peach butter on the back of a wooden spoon. When one finger swiped down the middle leaves a clean space, the peach butter is thick enough.

8. Allow to cool, and store, covered in a jar for up to a month. Alternatively, you can freeze it. I’d guesstimate it’ll last at least 6 months frozen.

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Maybe I'll catch up on my reading...Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng.

 

It took a hurricane to get me to finally update this blog. Ha!

As you may have heard, we on the East Coast are fixin’ to get walloped by Hurricane Irene.

For some people I know, myself included, it takes a major storm and a shut down public transit system to get us grounded and to spend time in relative stillness.

As much as I love lounging, I typically work a lot on the weekends and am often social as well. But not this weekend. All of my classes are canceled, and New York City transit isn’t running.

Let me say this now: I’m safe, prepped, and have coordinated with my neighbors and friends so that we can help one another out should the need arise. So please, no one worry! And no, I’m not in an evacuation zone. Thankfully!

I was slated to teach one class this morning, near an evacuation zone, no less, but once I got there (miraculously on time!), it quickly became apparent than no one was showing up to take the class. So I worked out instead.

I'm getting this top soon. Can't wait to work out in it. Red, cheetah print, black, and with a criss-cross/lattice back? Yes, PLEASE! To see the back view, click here: tinyurl.com/3u8x95c

Why not work out, I figured. I was already in a gym setting, and it was quiet. Love that. Here’s what I did :

Bria’s Hurricane Workout

  • 30 minutes on the elliptical, hill intervals
  • 10 minutes of Yoga, with a simple flow: Down Dog to Down Dog Split to Warrior One,Warrior 2, Reverse, Triangle, Revolved Triangle, Warrior 3, Warrior One, Vinyasa. Repeat on the second side.
  • I practiced a bit of headstand and handstand as well.
  • Then 20 pushups (10 regular, 10 narrow hand position)
  • Hyperextension: 20 reps
  • One set of Pilates hundreds, some oblique crunches (16 per side)
  • A few cool-down stretches. Done!

This all took about 45-50 minutes

And now I’m blogging.

As I said before, I’ve definitely put this space on Summer Hours for the past few weeks. It’s just been busy in my life, plus I’m cooking up some ideas on how to make this blog better. Perhaps much better.


Yoga has definitely helped keep me calm during a crazy week.

What a week!

Wanna hear my earthquake story?

Tuesday, I was teaching Yoga, in the MetLife building no less, during the earthquake tremor/aftershock. Really!

The room shook, and I saw and felt it move, but thought “Maybe there are window washers outside, and they’re working too vigorously. And also, those goons in the weight room really shouldn’t throw around their weights so much that it causes the entire floor to shake.”

I'll be watching lots of this. But where are my Law and Order marathons on a stormy weekend like this? Picture courtesy of Stock.xchng.

A few minutes later, a voice came on over the loudspeaker when my students were in Warrior 2, saying “We’ve had reports of the building shaking, and are investigating.”

A few minutes after that, we were evacuated. I ended up walking home, because no WAY did I want to be underground on the subway if another aftershock came through.

Fast forward a few days, and I’ve noticed that some of my friends don’t know what to do with themselves with all of this downtime as we wait to feel the full effects of the hurricane.

I say, get grounded. Have some fun. Maybe even be productive, but in a low-key, meditative kind of way, not a frantic, deadline-meeting, stressing ourselves out kind of way. Know what I mean?

Steak! I cooked one of these for dinner tonight. Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng.

Squeeze in a mini workout. Cook. Can food (like make quick pickles or preserves). Clean  house. Watch movies. Cuddle. Breathe and actually tune into that breath!

I typically have no problem keeping myself entertained. I love downtime, alone time, and quiet.

My plan is to do some or all of the following. This isn’t so much a to-do list as a list of options:

  • Meditate
  • Organize a bookshelf I recently got
  • Put up some laundry (never-ending chore!)
  • Attend to some other assorted light household tasks
  • Lots of lounging and napping
  • Plan upcoming trips (Montreal, Toronto, and I’m jonesing for a Winter island trip)
  • Drink tea. And hot chocolate. And my homemade kombucha! (posting my recipe for kombucha soon)
  • Catch up on reading; I just re-read “On the Road,” and think I have a crush on Jack Kerouac
  • Yoga and maybe some Pilates, too
  • Watch TV (but where are my Law and Order marathons when we NEED one? Wall to wall news coverage gets old when nothing NEW is being said.)
  • Watch movies. My friend Athena Lee has assigned me to re-watch Wedding Crashers. Gladly!
  • Pray the electricity holds. (Power outages and blackouts aren’t fun. Yes, I lived through the New York City blackout of 2003).
  • Cook. Not bake. Ha, too dangerous to have bunches of fragrant, gooey goodies lying around  ;-)

Anyways, forgive the light tone of this post. Yes, the storm is serious. I get that. I just really hope that everyone stays safe and makes the best of the present moments, even if they’re not what we expected for our usual weekend dabblings. Breaking the routine can be a good thing.

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Azaleas, snapped at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Azaleas remind me of Texas, actually. I love the flowers of summer.

Hey Everyone. I’m popping up for a moment to wish everyone a Happy Summer! Today is the official first day of summer. It starts at 1:16 P.M., Eastern Standard Time.

I mentioned this in class this morning, and one of my students asked me if I was counting down. Well, not really. Ha! I just heard that fact on the news and wanted to pass it on.

I hope everyone has some time to spend outdoors to enjoy these long, sunny days. If you practice Yoga, notice how the increase in warmth increases your flexibility. Some other worthwhile summer activities:

In the spirit of summer relaxation, I”m posting less lately, as you may have noticed. I’m calling this my Summer Hours. But don’t worry, I’m hard at work on different projects, have some travel planned, and definitely have a recap of my recent Yoga retreat that I’ll share soon. Also, I’ve got a couple of Summer-friendly recipes to share soon.

Until them, have an awesome first day of Summer.

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