I enjoy reading my fellow ashtangi practitioners and fellow CRONies blogs. If I place a lot of graphics, art or photos in my blog it's because that is my world - a visual one. I spend my entire day creating drawings, looking at drawings, looking at pictures, designing spaces, etc. So for something that I create to look complete to me, there needs to be a picture - even though I studied philosophy and could make do with just writing. The picture is of the caves of Camuy, Puerto Rico, taken by my sister-in-law. I hope to be enlightened by the intensive, as rays of light enlighten the caves. (Ha! can't touch this. I used the "e" word. Fellow Buddhists would be bonking me on the head now for claiming to be enlightened. How could I ever claim such a thing, they would say. Have I ever learned anything in my hours of sitting in meditation, that there is nothing to be reached?)
There was an article posted by Dr. Al Pater on the CR Community list on a study published in the BBC about the importance of getting enough sleep. It was titled, "Bad Sleeping Doubles Heart Risk." So suddenly I feel really sleepy as I have just arrived home. Am I being a bit perhaps too suggestible? I would like to draw an image of the yoga position, Bhekasana, or Frog Pose. It will have to wait until tomorrow. Good night!
Coming back to this post this morning, I drew Bhekasana based on a picture of one of the practitioners in Mountainview. The photo was so beautifully composed, and the asana so well done that it was like a composition by my artist friend in Austin. I practiced with Greg N., an authorized teacher, a few years ago in Orlando and noticed that he did this pose perfectly, getting the toes down and the arms bent correctly. You need a lot of flexibility in the arms to be able to rotate them to that position. You also need the chest to open up and the shoulders to move backwards so the arms can push the feet down.
I would have gone to practice this morning regardless of how I felt because I was inspired by a Dharma talk on Sunday. The teacher, David Ezra, made his talk be about the feelings he went through in preparing to talk. Someone commented that it was like the movie about the making of a movie. When he realized he had forgotten to prepare for his talk, he felt aversion. He thought of not giving a talk. Then he started asking himself if it was skillful behavior to call to cancel it. It didn't seem to be. Then his neck hurt. So he thought he should go back to bed. But he thought that there might be times when getting rest is what he needs, but this time it seemed like an excuse. So he practiced Qi Gong in his patio and felt better. Then his significant other's car needed a part, and David was jumping to get to a phonebook to find a mechanic. His SO asked him, "you don't want to prepare for your talk, do you?" He realized that and went back to preparing. I asked myself this morning if I was feeling sore and wanted to sleep in, or wanted to go to practice. I practiced.
CRON-wise, I made a nut and fruit bar, in the hopes I can wean myself from baked stuff. I bought a raw pumpkin seed bar at Whole Foods a few weeks ago, then bought the ingredients to make a variation of my own in the dehydrator. It contained 2 cups flaxseeds, one cup pumpkin seeds soaked overnight, dates and dried Bing cherries soaked in water 2 hours, the juice of a lime, a tablespoon of agave syrup and about a cup of water, enough to make a cohesive mixture. When ready to dehydrate, I mixed all of the ingredients, waiting about ten minutes while the flaxseeds start absorbed the water. It was dehydrated in jelly roll pans for 6 hours at 105 degrees, taken out of the jelly rolls, and left to dehydrate another 6 hours. A 20oz serving has about 80 calories. Dates are not low on the glycemix index, but it's better for the body than eating cookies containing sugar, fat and flour.
I like posting something graphic daily, so in my post are two more paintings by Michelle Manning, prints of which were being given out in front of her studio this past Sunday. The alpine scene reminds me of Paradise Valley in King's Canyon Park.
The Berkeley Studio is in a artist's design center. There is an architecture firm, a landscape architecture firm, an advertising firm, several artist studios and the yoga studio in the same building. When I finished showering, I noticed a sign that said "Free". There were several prints of pastel paintings by artist Michelle Manning. A note in her studio door said that she is semi-retired and is spending more time in Maui after the passing away of her husband. The painting is of the Grand Canyon, a place I would like experience from the vantage point of her artwork.
The first wine was a 2006 Chardonnay. It had hints of butter, vanilla, butterscotch, and lemon chiffon. He had us pair sips of the wine with each of these ingredients, so we could notice them in the wine. It was a filtered wine about 1 year old.
The second wine was a red wine, a 2002 Chianti. It had hints of raspberry and vanilla. The third wine was a 2001 Nebbiolo Sangiovesse. It was unfiltered and had a full body taste. He told us it actually was a very high end and expensive local wine made in honor of Italy.The fourth wine was a sweet and sparkling dessert wine, a 2006 Muscato d'Asti. They paired that with chocolate cake and cookies.
For the first time I understood what wine writers meant by their statements, such as "hints of raspberry," etc. The various ingredients of the wine bring up tastes that remind us of fruits and other foods. The oak barrels impart the taste of vanilla, for example. The tannins in fruit rinds impart flavors such as raspberry.
There was advice on food pairings. But I could not take advice on food preparation seriously, primarily since I'm vegetarian. Every recipe proferred seem to involve meat. The presenter was about 6'-5", weighing 350 lbs. He claimed his grandmother is 95 years old, is 6'-1" and weighs 320lbs. He wore a size 76 suit and had a 20" neck. I'm not estimating this, he volunteered this information. Many of his friends, he said, weigh in over 400 lbs. He talked about an upcoming food festival contest where he is planning to present a bacon bacon bacon burger. Bacon is prepared, the bits placed in the ground meat. The bacon grease is mixed with butter and spread on buns, which are then grilled. More bacon is placed on top of pineapple. Or how about this recipe - ribs cooked in beer, later on after being cooked, are left overnight so that the meat glues back to the bone, then the next day they are battered and fried and served. Hello? I do calorie restriction here. When chided about dangers to his health, he said he didn't have to worry about that because his cholesterol was normal. Ahem, a close relative claimed the same thing until pre-diabetes closed in on her. And several other people I know of about the same height and weight have full blown diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, glaucoma, etc. One may have good genes, but without moderation, one cannot enjoy good health.
I live in wine country, but I rarely overindulge in wine. In fact tonight was one of maybe 8 times during the year that I might drink wine. That doesn't make me stronger in CRON than my fellow CRONies, because I have a weakness for sweets, but I'm not tempted by alcohol because consuming it makes me lose my self control. Anyway, it was a very enjoyable and fun presentation. I learned a lot about wine. The tiles presented were spectacular as well - some with very innovative shapes and finishes. And I appreciated the hospitality.
This morning I missed yoga practice. I took an antihistamine because I have a slight congestion. It knocked me out and I overslept. I feel I need to catch up with my yoga practice, particularly because of Kino's workshop next week. It's too bad I missed yoga practice because my main teacher was attending a workshop and substituting her was Leigha Nicole, who was visiting from Colorado. I'm sorry I missed practicing with Leigha, but life intervened. Sorry for the cliche.
I went to a professional association presentation. That meant sandwiches for lunch. So I ate the inside of a tomato, arugula, basil and mozzarella sandwich. I ate one quarter of the focaccia bread. They offered a juice drink and an apple. Overall it was a healthy lunch. I knew what was going to be served, so I carried a fork in my pocket. Last time I attended one of these group meetings I had to use hold the bread and bring the contents of the sandwich to my mouth. At least today I felt more graceful. I think fellow CRONies should carry a fork when going to vendor or association luncheons, since most likely they will be offered sandwiches, and they'll want to avoid the huge amount of bread that these are presented in.
We added a few positions before Urdhva Danurasana to open the chest, and an additional inversion. The final headstand required me to lift my head off the floor. This gave a additional upper body strength.
I have to work this weekend in preparation for a client presentation and study for a training class I'm attending Monday and Tuesday. So my drawing today is quite sketchy. But there is always time to plug a good product like Prana shorts : ) and that company does not pay me to endorse their products.
Pommerlau, and he gave me permission to pass it
on. He has an interesting website which you
can check here. This is a very healthy snack.
I make a batch every three weeks and keep
it in a drawer at the office, with the snacks
wrapped in little packets of two pieces. I have
introduced some comments in parentheses
to help in grocery shopping.
Mega-Leather – vegetarian jerkey
Recipe by Dean Pommerlau, modified by Arturo
Kefir, soy milk 1000g (about 35oz)
Vinegar, cider 125g
Oil, olive, salad or cooking 45g
Whey Protein Powder 30g
Brewer's yeast, GNC brand 30g
Nuts, almonds, dried, unblanched 40g
Sucralose 0.2g (1/4tsp)
(or 2 little packets of SweetNLow)
Spinach, raw 225g (about 8 oz)
Kale, raw 225g (1 bunch)
Mushrooms, raw 225g (about 8oz)
Strawberries, frozen, unsweetened 300g (1 large frozen packet, about 1 1/4 c)
Sweetpotato, raw 175g (about 6oz)
Psyllium husks, raw 50g
Almond extract (or cherry, or lemon 13g (1 Tbsp)
* Preparation time: about 1-5 to 2 hours including cleanup (w/o
dehydration time - approximately 12 hours). This prep time can
be split over two days - see Directions section for how t
split up the prep.
* Ingredient amounts:
- Sucralose: 1/4 tsp (or 2 little packets of SweetNLow)
- Spinach: ~3/4 lb before removing stems
- Kale: ~1 lb before removing stalks
- Mushrooms: 1 8oz package
- Strawberries: ~340g before thawing. Can be substituted
* Makes 7 servings of 250kcal each. On paper, it actually makes
slightly over 7 servings, but due to losses from ingredients
sticking to the various surfaces involved in preparation, the end
result has almost exactly 7 servings of 250kcal each.
* I typically make a double batch (14 trays instead of 7) to achieve
economies of scale in preparation, and so I only have to make it
every couple weeks.
* Food dehydrator with seven trays and thin film "fruit leather"
inserts for each tray. The dehydrator I use is a Nesco/American
Harvest Snackmaster Elite model FD-40, available at Wal-mart.
You'll need 14 trays + fruit leather inserts for a double batch.
* Food processor - preferably large capacity (e.g. 8 or 9 cups) with
an S-shaped blade. A blender can be used instead, but I've found
a food processor works MUCH better for pureeing.
* Scale with gram readout - sorry, except for the small ingredients,
all the ingredients are measured in grams. There are 28.4g/oz
if you want to convert to English units.
* Large mixing bowl
* Small mixing bowl
* Large wooden spoon
* Measuring spoons
* Cup (measuring cup or otherwise)
* Spatula - angled cake decorating spatula works best
* Cutting board and knife
* Chop sweet potatoes into 1" chunks, put in covered bowl w/
a little water and microwave for a 2-3 minutes to soften
* Thaw strawberries for 2-3 minutes small bowl in microwave to soften
* Wash and cut stocks/stems from Spinach and Kale - weigh to make
sure you have the right amount after removing the stalks/stems.
* Chop nuts in food processor using S-bland until bits are very
small - almost a powder.
* Add the first 8 ingredients (kefir through sucralose) to food
processor and blend until well mixed
* Pour liquid into large mixing bowl temporarily
* You may need to do the following pureeing in several batches,
depending on the capacity of your food processor.
* Place spinach and Kale in your food processor with S-blade
* Add some liquid from large mixing bowl to food processor
* Run food processor until pureed, adding more liquid if necessary
* Puree the mushrooms, strawberries and sweet potatoes with some
blender liquid in the food processor using the same procedure
* Combine all pureed ingredients with any remaining blender liquid
in large mixing bowl
* Mix with large wooden spoon or spatula to make sure mixture
is uniform and all chunks have been broken up
* Optional - refrigerate for up to a day until ready to dehydrate
* Add psyllium - don't do this too early, as it will tend to
thicken the mixture
* Add flavoring - See below for flavoring options
* Stir complete mixture until psyllium and flavoring are fully
* Distribute mixture evenly to the thin film inserts of 7
food dehydrator trays.
* Each tray should receive about 345g of the wet mixture.
* Spread the mixture evenly on each the film as thinly as possible
without creating holes, in order to speed dehydration and
improve uniformity of leather. An angled cake decorating spatula
works well for spreading.
* Dehydrate for about 6 hours at 115deg F. in food dehydrator.
Use less time if using higher heat (not recommended if you
can help it). (I usually do this step at night and when I wake
up in the morning do the following steps.)
* Slice the leather into approximately 4" square pieces
while still on the thin film. My dehydrator actually makes
large doughnut-shaped rings of mega-leather, which I cut into 8
* Slide the spatula under the pieces, and peal them off the thin
film. Flip them and place them back on the dehydrator tray without
the film. This will speed dehydrating, and make the leather more
* Dehydrate for an additional 6 hours at 115deg F, or until
leather is still flexible, but no longer feels moist to the touch.
It is better to dehydrate too long than too short. I've found
the leather gets more pliable once removed from the dehydrator,
so don't worry if it feels crispy.
* Remove leather from the dehydrator. Cut into bite size chucks
and store in Ziploc bags or Tupperware in the refrigerator. Can
be stored at room temperature for several weeks.
Here is a link to a program on KQED in San Francisco on calorie restriction:
I thought I had not reached my caloric goal yesterday, according to C-O-M, so I kept eating in the evening until I thought I had reached 1800 calories. However, I was heavier by a pound this morning. My intuition told me I did not need to eat, which is what I should have trusted. I probably made mistakes in entering data on what I ate, or perhaps overdid the caloric consumption on Saturday and gained then. The body needs to adjust down during the week.
Practice was very nice. At teacher's request I did kapotasana three times. I wonder how DZM and (OvO) have the energy to do a handstand after kapo. And digressing further, should I be CYT, since Cody is VOC and people are adopting these acronyms? But back to kapotasana, since I'm still working on getting the hands to the feet, Teacher was saying to use the fingers, pointed, and the wrists to slowly walk the hands towards the feet, once I reach the floor. Then I needed to extend the arms. I kept hearing, "arms straight, straighten the arms," but I don't think my arms had much extension at that point.
In any case I really gave a great deal of effort to Urdhva Danurasana. Teacher gave a few important reminders. In assisted dropback, push the hips towards the front, towards the teacher. The hands have to be extended when landing. I was practicing against the window. Teacher instructed that when coming up, the hip bones have to be pointing upwards towards the window. That implies that the chest, the neck and the hands have to come up slowly and last.
By the way, Kino and Tim Feldmann will be in San Francisco at YogaShalaSF September 29- 30 conducting an ashtanga workshop.
Eliminate dairy, processed foods, meats. Do proper food combining. Recommended reading: books by Gabriel Coussens, Concious Eating, David Wolf, Natural Hygiene, Paul Pritchard, Healing with Whole Foods.
Yoga has eating habits, too. Food is energy from the sun, transformed into chlorophyll. Analyze the difference between organic and mass produced foods. The nutritional quality is better in organic greens.
We seek comfort and love. We vibrate at 7.8 MHz per second when doing yoga. Lack of love is bad. If we're imbalanced, we compensate. Food can bring comfort, but there is a difference between living to eat and eating to live.
Avoid white bread, starches and pasta, except whole wheat pasta. It’s all mucous forming and it causes plaque in the colon and in the teeth as well. Don’t eat anything refined.
Do conscious eating. What is the state of our mind when we are eating? Who is doing the eating? Watch the breadth, as in meditation. This will speed down the speed of eating. Chew a lot. Kino likes to read while eating – feeding her brain while feeding her body. Keep a food log of what you are eating throughout the day. Try it for at least a week.
To diminish chocolate cravings, drink herbal tea with stevia for sweetener. Don’t use artificial sweeteners. Avoid flax oil unless it’s contained in a dark bottle. Oxidized flax oil is rancid. It’s better to chew on flaxseed. Omega makes good flax oil. Refrigerated oils are better than those on the shelves. Don’t take essential oils in capsules. You need 3, 6 and 9 omega fats. Good sources for oils are sesame and pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, and hemp seeds. You can grind the seeds and nuts in a coffee grinder.
Kino’s typical day might consist of: after yoga and meditation, breakfast of tea, fruit, whole grain such as oatmeal, or whole grain toast, fresh apple juice protein shake with spirulina. Her lunch is the biggest meal of the day, which might consist of salad with organic greens, avocado, sprouts and nuts. For dinner she might have dry fruits and nuts, eating light for early yoga practice the next morning. She used to snack a lot. But to get over it, she did a meal plan. Her main snack might be fruit.
Spirulina helps with sugar cravings. Once in a while, she might prepare a raw juice consisting of leafy greens such as kale, dandelion, spinach, celery, romaine, cucumber, adding ginger, lemon for acidity, and apple to sweeten.
Bitter greens are good for detoxifying the liver. Avoid protein bars. You can get the proteins from plant sources. Never eat partially hydrogenated foods (that contain margarine).
At the time of the seminar, Kino prepared most of her meals the raw way. Today she follows a sattvic vegetarian diet. Being vegetarian for a yogi is tied to the principle of ahimsa – non harming. If you are going to eat meat, then have respect and honor for the animal that was killed for your meal. After meat, eat a salad.
From hardest to easiest, the hardest foods to digest are meats, followed by dairy. Most of us lack the enzymes for digesting dairy. Next follow whole grain, starches, such as muffins, granola and oatmeal. Next follow nuts, legumes, followed by salads and fruits.
If yoga practice is making you feel spacey, you need some grounding. Cooked tofu can help achieve grounding. The starchiness reduces energy and slows you down.
Kino recommends eating sprouts. Sprouting germinates the proteins in legumes and makes them more digestible. It makes seeds alkaline to the body. You can sprout green peas, chickpeas, lentils and others. You can use the sprouts in salads instead of nuts. You can also create hummus with sprouted legumes. Gabriel Coussens has several easy, quick recipes in his book.
Kino then distinguished the doshas. Vatas can eat anything and still be thin. They tend to be restless. Pittas are in between. They can eat some fat and might have trouble with spicy foods. Kaphas are softer, evolved and calm. They are bothered by starchy foods.
Drinking water is important. It is cleansing. It’s better to drink water 20 minutes before a meal, not with a meal, unless you are eating dry food. Wait ½ hour after eating before drinking water again.
Do not over eat. Do not over eat. Whatever you think you need, take a third of it off the plate. Be a habitual under eater to live healthier and longer.
During a question and answer period, I asked what did Lino Miele mean in his book, Ashtanga Yoga, when he said “1/2 of the stomach is for food, 1/4 for water and 1/4 for air”. She said he was explaining how a Brahmin’s diet might be adapted to the West.
A Yoga Aspirant
If your yoga school had a grading scale you'd make straight As. You've found a yoga style that resonates with you, so you listen to the information that your teachers share and apply it to your practice. You've read many books. You put your mat down in the same place in every class, and you count among your friends other yoga aspirants, too.
|Take the Yoga Journal Yoga Aspirant Quiz!|
If could change the image I would, but inspired by Laksmi, at least I changed a few words. I'm not a snob of any kind. It's not Buddhist to be so.
Speaking of practice, I made my best intentions of going to Berkeley to practice this morning. When I arrived by bus to the Transbay terminal, signs directed us to the BART system, because the Oakland bridge was closed for repairs. I had forgotten about the bridge closing over the holiday. I took a bus to the BART station, but it was not open. So went I went for some coffee and returned home, where I am once again rearranging my furniture, planning to put up the paintings on the wall, and putting for sale things that physically don't fit in the apartment. My neighbor helped me bring down the mattress and box spring from the loft, so I can set up the bed near the window. Sleeping on the loft was not comfortable. He says he also got rid of a lot of things when he moved here, and it took him 6 months to get rid of them. I understand. I'm going through the same. You can look at this as simplifying one's life through design. I want to make sure that by the end of this weekend my apartment is complete, and I have a clean, attractive space within the apartment where I can practice yoga and meditation.
My CRON practice has not been stellar. My weight is stable, as are my vital statistics. But I waiver once in a while when I give in to baked baddies. That's what I've decided to call cookies. I usually find my way back to good behavior by resuming eating my homemade nutritious, simple meals.
I'm saying goodbye to this chair and ottoman. It's funny, the practice of blessing things and letting them go. My dear aunt is moving in with my parents, and she is going through the same, except at a great scale, since she's dismantling an entire apartment. She's at that point that she needs constant care and despite therapy, she is not walking, so she's remaining in her bed all of the time.
Changing the subject, for three weeks, I ate nonfat, dairy based yogurt. I did this because it was recommended in a nutritional book for yeast-like infections. It turns out the dermatologist said I had more of a dermatitis that got infected. For that condition the same book recommends against all dairy consumption. I could only laugh at so much contradiction. But I know now why basically I prefer being vegan. Not only can't my body digest dairy too well, even with dairy-ease pills, but at night I suffer from nasal congestion when I eat dairy. I was glad to find nonfat, unsweetened soy yogurt at Whole Foods this morning. I was expecting to find soy yogurt laddened with sugar, but was happy to find this one without it. I will consume it moderately, since overconsumption of soy causes problems for males.
At Whole Foods is where the TV pilot plots started this morning. Next to me at the coffee shop, a large group of young couples started congregating, putting tables and chairs together. I began to get upset at the intrusion into my peaceful reading of the paper while consuming some cookies. I always enter the cookies into the nutritional software every Saturday because I give into eating them anyway. Then I realized that I ocassionally get together with other groups of people and go to restaurants. The couples looked so much like those on TV - I don't even know the names of the programs. 90211? The numbers may have changed. It's funny, if you go read Craigslist looking for rooms to share in apartments, you can tell the age of the people already living there when they say, "we're very 90211 here." I can see I would not fit in. I'm of 1956 vintage.
Then when I got into the bus to return home, I sat behind a well dressed couple, all in black, perfumed and bejeweled. The man was wearing more jewlery than his wife. At first they seemed to be bickering. I thought, "Great! I never watch TV and now I'm being treated to a soap opera." But then their conversation turned friendly. He shared a candy with her. They continued swapping stories. The mechanics of the interactions between couples are fascinating. Talking is so important to them. Communication is what has kept my parents so happily together 60 years.
I noticed the red toenail polish on the woman's toes. It reminded me that earlier in the week I saw a masculine guy in his 30s, dressed in Abercrombie and Fitch type of wear, his bare sandaled feet showing manicured toes with red shoe polish. This was Union Square, not the Castro. Am I missing something? Did it become acceptable for masculine men to wear red toenail polish? I've heard of black toenail polish, but that is a Goth practice. But red? And as to A&F, I walked by one store Thursday evening, and the store played club house music. It seemed very entertaining to go in there and pretend you were clubbing, letting yourself be enticed into buy things that would make you feel you fit in, in a club. Hmm, yes, with a Buddhist non-attachment stance, I appreciated their great marketing techniques and then moved on.