Friday, November 29, 2013

Reflections: One Year Later

I apologize for the three week long radio silence. My life was thrown some amazing curve balls this month and I am relearning how to balance my life with all the new and wonderful things that are all vying for my attention. 

Yesterday, my apartment was filled with the sounds of laughter, friends who have become family, pumpkin spice, apples baking, and a whole lot of wine. It's funny, a year ago I sat down in my parent's kitchen and talked to my mom about the direction for my life. I was tired, ill, unhappy, and un-joyful: all of which is not my normal. I was convinced that the road I had been on for two years was not the path I was supposed to be on, but I was paralyzed by the fear of changing it. As I sat and talked I realized that there were so many things in my life that I wanted to be different. I wanted time for friends, for community, for yoga, for coffee chats, for reading, for my family, for my boyfriend, and for myself. The life I was living left no room for all of the things that I held most dear and the thought of continuing down the same path was frightening to consider. 

So I made a plan. A life altering and seriously divergent plan from the one I had set for myself (and if you know me, you know that new plans terrify me). But I was convinced that my life needed to be seriously overhauled, and one year later as I sit in my kitchen surrounded by my family of friends, flowers, and candles, I realized that I had done it. I had truly leapt into the unknown, dreamed big, opened my heart, mind, soul, and stepped fully and presently into the dark and you know what the amazing thing was: I accomplished everything that I had dreamed of last December.

So today I am filled with miles of gratitude and have found the courage to lean in to the uncomfortable. 

I hope that you had a moment to say thank you to yourself and those around you who alter your life everyday. We all could use more people to uplift, support, challenge and change us. Be that for yourself and for someone in your life who has made all the difference. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New Spaces: Black Dog Yoga

A small retail space greets you at the entrance to Black Dog Yoga. The studio has a very homey front desk feel, two people were checking students in while the teachers greeted me at the entrance to the practice room. There are two large studio spaces, each room has hard wood floors with windows lining one side of the room. The studio space is neat and clean, the props are well taken care of and the room feels warm and inviting. Cubbies are available at the back of the room, but students are encouraged to leave unnecessary items in their cars as space for excess belongings is minimal. Shoes are not allowed in the studio rooms, students should remove their shoes before stepping into the space.

I took Lauri Janover's Gentle Yoga Class on Saturday from 9am-10:25am. Lauri's students felt really at ease with her. She is very familiar with the students in the room and you can tell that she makes a sincere and thoughtful effort to know everyone who sets down their mat. Her music is soft and used more as background noise, it seemed to be there only as a way to ease you into your practice and bring you mindfully to your mat. The sequence is very accessible and was a real treat for my personal practice. She was very upbeat, encouraging, and she truly brought her awareness into the room. Her students were incredibly receptive to her teaching. It was a really great class filled with very mindful movements designed to open up each line of the body. This flow mostly incorporates floor postures, seated and lying down.

Additional Information:

Website: Black Dog Yoga for all class schedules, pricing, and special events/workshops

Location: 4454 Van Nuys Blvd. Sherman Oaks, CA 91403 (huge parking lot, free for 2 hours!!)

$30 for Two Weeks Unlimited for New Students
Accepts the Passport to Prana card for 1st time students. 
$18 Drop In Class
$16 Drop In Reserved Online
A variety of class packages, memberships, and workshops are available

Props Available: 

Monday, November 4, 2013

It's Fall, Y'all: Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Bread

The weather shifted, the scarves came out, the slippers are on, and that means we NEED all things pumpkin. I didn't have to look very far from my kitchen to find everything in this recipe.

I hope your fall is full of falling leaves, your favorite mug, your favorite blanket, and some good old fashioned snuggling up.

Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Bread
(tweaked from Joy the Baker's recipe for Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Bread)

3 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups of light brown sugar, packed (pack it, that is important)
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon backing powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 teaspoons of all-spice
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1 cup canola oil
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup water
1 cup chopped pecans

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8x4x3-in loaf pans and set pans aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soap, salt and spices. In a medium bowl, carefully whisk together pumpkin puree, oil, maple syrup, and water.

Add the oil mixture all at once with the flour mixture. Use a spatula to fold the ingredients together. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl well, finding any remaining bits of flour and sugar that might still be in the bowl. Fold in the chopped pecans into the batter.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake for 1 hour or 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of each load comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Let rest in the pans for 20 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack.

Serve bread warm, in thick slices. Loaves can be wrapped and kept at room temperature for up to 5 days.