Author Archive for Julie – Page 3

Simple Sushi (no fish needed)

Are you a sushi fan?

It took me a long time to come around to this popular cuisine.

My main resistance was that I don’t do raw fish. Come to find, you don’t even need fish! That said, seafood is still an option if you do like it cooked. The pic to the right shows a “California Roll” which has cooked crab in it. My second barrier to trying this delicious treat was that it would not be satisfying. I expected I’d be hungry an hour later. I’ve discovered this not to be the case. Now that I tried sushi, it’s one of my favorite on-the-go meals because I can pick it up at most of my local grocery stores. Since I like it so much I decided to give it a try at home. Here’s the basics for making a simple veggie or California roll. From this recipe you can get creative and make your own sushi magic to match you appetite. 

Ingredients & Directions:

  • 1 cup dry sushi rice
  • 2 sheets nori (seaweed paper)
  • 1/2c shredded carrots
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced lengthwise in 1/c strips
  • 1/2 medium cucumber cut lengthwise in 1/2 in. strips
  • Optional: cooked crab (imitation is what I used here), pickled ginger, wasabi, soy sauce
  1. Cook the rice per package directions. Generally 1:2 ratio of rice to water. Boil water then add rice and reduce heat to medium. Cook covered for 20min. 
  2. While rice is cooking, slice carrots (or buy pre-cut as shown), cucumber and avocado. 
  3. Let rice cool enough to work with. You can buy a bamboo sushi roller thingy like I did but honestly, I found it unnecessary. Lay a piece of wax paper down or just work on a clean cutting board. Lay your nori sheet down and gently spread the rice with the back of a large spoon. Cover the paper evenly about 1/2 in. thick.
  4. Lay your ingredients lengthwise at one edge then gently roll it up. Cut with a serrated knife into bite size pieces as shown above. Serve right away or chill for 30min first. Stores well for 2 days.

I love mine with lots of ginger and wasabi. Play with adding different veggies like snap peas and peppers. Some people even add fruit! Bon Appetite! 

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Welcome To The New Site!

Greetings friend! Thanks for stopping by the blog. This post is both a welcome to new folks just finding their way to my work as well as a big virtual hug to those who have followed me over to this incarnation of my yoga passion. In either case, I appreciate your presence here in this moment. As I write this, I’m knee deep in refreshing my free Body Karma Healing eCourse for the new site and finally getting this body of work into a book for those who prefer that format. I am also getting my second poem book together. Stay connected for updates by sharing your e-mail HERE if you’re not already on my list.

It’s been about nine months since I last wrote a blog. The symbolism of that time frame is not lost on me. It seems like a huge cycle of death and rebirth has happened, something I believe happens for each of us many times in our lives. Sometimes we allow these cycles, sometime we are forced through them. If you read, or rather listened to, my final Body Karma Healing blog you know that I was on the precipice of big change. The short form of it is, I realized just how much my work was still driven by old patterns of doing too much, pushing too hard, perfectionism, comparison, and that chronic sense of “not enough.” Once I fully acknowledged this to myself I knew I had to step away and focus inward again. I am coming to recognize this cycle needs to happen periodically to stay in balance and be of effective service to others. It seems even more crucial these days that we do our own deep work, which in and of itself is service, and that we share our stories, our passion, our love and learning to inspire and support each other.

The path of yoga in such a gift in my life and yet I see so many students struggle to reap the full benefits. As I took time to rest and reflect, to face and erase the ways of being within me that brought suffering to something I loved, I realized more fully that yoga is just that; a remover of obstacles. Sure I’ve heard that before in teachings but it really sank in that the barriers to deeper peace were mostly within me. I also “got it” that the process of transformation is much more fluid and cyclic than it is linear. Again, these were concepts I was familiar with but needed to live into. I found myself feeling lighter and freer with doing less and allowing for more space, questions and ease instead of feeling anxious letting go of the wheel. It’s amazing how clarity, healing and abundance emerged. More than anything, I realized yoga is all about “getting out of our own way” a phrase my riding coach used to bark at me all the time way back when. He’d be delighted to know I finally get what he meant!

I say all this to express my intent for my work moving forward. It is much the same but with a refreshed awareness of heart and understanding of yoga. My wish is to simply be here for others exploring it. I will share my classes and resources with a hopeful heart that you will find your way to what you need here and/or elsewhere. I will trust that all of us are constantly growing towards the light through our delightfully different, winding (sometimes wild) personal pathways. I intend to continue cultivating and sharing the love that I Am and treating my fellow humans as the same.

Thank you, Julie

 

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Dark Guides: Your Greatest Yoga Teachers

Image by © Elisa Lazo de Valdez/Corbis

Do you have someone in your life that can crawl right under your skin?  You know, that co-worker or ex-husband/ boy-friend/business partner/etc. that you ramble on about with friends over wine/beer/ coffee/ tea/food? A person you are convinced needs to change? They likely trigger “The FAT Experience” for you. That icky feeling of heaviness, body discomfort, unsettledness, etc. I know I do! In particular these last few months I’ve been met by with a negative force like no other. A person who’s attacked every aspect of my being from my body, to my cloths, my career, my child, my integrity, my friends, my community, my past and future. They even threatened my life.

Here’s a surprising fact that will blow your mind; THESE ARE YOUR GREATEST TEACHERS. Sure we all love to listen to Oprah and post flowery affirmations on Facebook, but what really sets us free is embodying what doesn’t feel so hot. That being the Fear, Anxiety and Tension which precedes each leap of spiritual growth we take. Every person we meet is a sacred mirror. They’re either reflecting our light (Atman-our True Self: Spark of The Divine) or our darkness (ego). They can awaken what lives deep within us that’s been forgotten or denied in order to fit in, to survive. We are relational animals. Interacting with others helps us become more conscious of ourselves. Take being inspired  for example. Once a client shared she was in my workshop because she loved me, that I was changing her life. That’s nice to hear, but truth is all I’m really doing is illuminating the love of herself she is reconnecting with through our work together. It’s what the word NAMASTE is all about. The Hindu salutation that acknowledges the innate Divinity within ourselves and others. Often translated as, “The light in me, sees (honors) the light in you,” in other words: 

I know I’m awesome. I can see that you are awesome too.

Now bring to mind that “enemy” of yours. What feelings do they illicit? What names do you want to call them and how do you think they should change? Sit with the sensations created when you focus on them.  This is what yoga’s really all about: reality and responsibility. My clients cringe when I say this, but they know it’s true and come to realize the gift of the practice with, well…practice.

Learning to sit (which is what the word asana means) with exactly what is, to be with your full experience is essential to healing and self-empowerment. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. Mostly you’ll notice the mind struggling to stay with what you feel, to stay IN your body. It wants to think, problem solve, judge or  play out the story line around it all to distract from what’s being felt. This is called “vritti” mind and is the result of repressing our soul experience.  This is often why we eat and exercise out of alignment.  Both are attempts to stop the flow of emotions through the body by stuffing, starving, or trying to “burn off” FAT.  That’s because our mind is mostly ego, The False Self we create to psychically survive.  This fear-based side of you is trying to avoid pain.  Pain that is simply a natural part of the human experience and it’s mostly caused by Forgetting Atman Temporarily.

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

                                                                               -Buddha

When I first recieved these vicious attacks my ego came out BIG time! I went from loving kindness to cut a bitch, pardon my french, real quick. I tried to escape the moment by ranting to everyone around me and blaming others for the actions of the perpetrator. Then I tried to talk myself into enlightenment, to rising above it all. HA! I can only giggle now looking back on my reactions. Eventually I realized all I had to do was what I teach, to sit with what I was feeling and release it. In short, I had to ground into the present affirming I was safe, surrender my mind (my ego) and allow what I felt. I had to nurture myself exquisitely.  I had to be alone with it all. Below the anger and agitation was sadness which once released opened my heart to see the situation for what it was and authentically come to compassion. This is what the path of yoga teaches. I sum up this process in my PHAT Practice technique that can be found in my free eCourse.

Hurt people hurt people. Our greatest teachers are often someone struggling to own their pain and therefore unconsciously create more in the world. This is karma and we heal it by tending to our souls fully.  By making ourselves the focus of our awareness. My favorite affirmation for when I find myself “working” on other people in my mind, through gossip, aggressive (or passive aggressive) behavior, or any of the other uniquely human defense tactics is this:

I’m my project.

When we completely embrace our experience we’re practicing self-love at it’s highest level. Immersing in the energy of love reveals our ego, our repressed pain so it can surface and be laid to rest in the light of day and leave you feeling, well…lighter! That’s why it’s so hard to stay present when things are most intense.  This is when we are doing BIG work! I find I get rubbed most when I am daring to allow more love, joy and abundance in my life. These trials remind me I am on the right track and as I stay committed to the path of yoga I just keep rising higher and higher.

This person continues their tirades for a while but as I became affected less and less, they stopped. In fact, they helped me by illuminating deeply rooted samskras (imprints left on the mind) I thought I was over.  HA! I have to laugh at myself here again because as long as we’re alive we will dance between the False and the True Self. We’ll have to live out our darkness and our light, each one just as important as the other.  We can however, learn to suffer less by coming back to Feeling All Truth more quickly. What’s really cool is this process can help the other person out. People can only fight if they have someone to fight with. By standing in your truth you set a beautiful boundary that offers others the chance to become more aware of themselves. Now, what they do with that is their business, not yours. And no taking credit for another’s evolution. Practice “apparigraha,” non-attachement to the outcome to enhance your inner peace. Pause here again and reflect on an enemy. Here’s a poem I wrote in the heat of an attack from this great teacher.  Use it for inspiration to free yourself and others. Be sure to share how this blog resonates with you.

Dark Guide

Hurting One
Crossing my path
Meeting to awaken each other
 
Much in common
Fearing man
Unsettled with our mothers
 
Psychic ties
Run deep and strong
In my ear you speak
 
They very words
Often heard
From my own inner freak
 
The one who’s scared
To just let go
Trust the Divine in me
 
Created in pain
To simply sustain
Afraid to live fully
 
And so you’ve come
To illuminate
What I try to hide
 
Thank you friend
Through bitter ends
You reveal my strength inside
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Chakra Power

We’re all well aware of our physical bodies but did you know we have another body? Within and beyond our flesh and bones lies another realm of our being, our energy body. Perhaps you’ve heard of this, perhaps it’s a whole new concept. Whatever the case, working with this level of self is fundamental to a well-rounded yoga practice. It enhances self-awareness, personal growth and physical/emotional healing. This blog provides a brief overview of the chakra system, the main aspect of our energy body, to help you understand these personal power centers and how exploring and balancing them through yoga can support you in life. 

The subtle body is a field of energy that carries our urges, emotions, and habits, as well as imprints of all that has happened to us throughout our life and even before we incarnated. It’s composed of  seven main hubs or concentrations of energy called the chakras and a pillar of light that runs through crown of the head into the heavens and down to the base of the spine. About 72,000 nadis, energy “veins”, branch off that pillar and a grounding cord extends from our tail bone down into the center of the earth. Crazy, right? I know! I was skeptical myself but yoga, acupuncture and energy medicine have made me a believer.

Chakras are “wheels” of energy created by the presence of consciousness (our soul) within the physical body. They serve as vital portals between the body and mind. They function to organize the reception, assimilation, and expression of our prana (life force energy) thereby affecting how we feel and function. Similar to taking food into our physical bodies, we take in life’s experiences though the subtle body. What we consume on both levels needs digested, assimilated and eliminated effectively. If we’re unaware of, or inattentive to, our subtle body this process is hindered along with our personal development.

As we experience the harsh realities of the human path our chakras can easily become congested, armored or imbalanced. This causes us to develop alternate defensive habits. These are well intended attempts to clear and rebalance the chakras but over time they actually cause more instability. Chakra work helps shift us back into balance by healing what wasn’t processed properly in the first place. We’re then able to move on and know peace more easily no matter what life throws our way. I do a great deal of chakra work with many of my private clients around the area of body image and the relationship with food. Here’s a brief outline of the chakras and their attributes but to dive deep, check our my free Body Peace eCourse .

Chakra One: Muladhara

Earth, Physical identity, Self-preservation

Located at the base of the spine, this chakra forms our foundation. It represents the element earth, and is therefore related to our survival instincts, and to our sense of grounding and connection to our bodies and the physical plane. Ideally this chakra brings us health, prosperity, security, and dynamic presence.

Chakra Two: Svadhisthana

Water, Emotional identity, Self-gratification

The second chakra, located in the abdomen, lower back, and sexual organs, is related to the element water, and to emotions and sexuality. It connects us to others through feeling, desire, sensation, and movement. Ideally this chakra brings us fluidity and grace, depth of feeling, sexual and other fulfillment, and the ability to accept change.

Chakra Three: Manipura

Fire, Ego identity, Self-definition

 This chakra is known as the power chakra, located in the solar plexus. It rules our personal power, will, and autonomy, as well as our metabolism. When healthy, this chakra brings us energy, effectiveness, spontaneity, and non-dominating power.

Chakra Four: Anahata

Air, Social identity, Self-acceptance

This chakra is called the heart chakra and is the center of the system. It is related to love and is the integrator of opposites in the psyche: mind and body, male and female, persona and shadow, ego and unity. A healthy fourth chakra allows us to love deeply, feel compassion, have a deep sense of peace and centeredness.

Chakra Five: Vishuddha

Sound, Creative identity, Self-expression

This is the chakra located in the throat and is thus related to communication and creativity. Here we experience the world symbolically through vibration, such as the vibration of sound representing language.

Chakra Six: Ajna

Light, Archetypal identity, Self-reflection

This chakra is known as the brow chakra or third eye center. It is related to the act of seeing, both physically and intuitively.  As such it opens our psychic faculties and our understanding of archetypal levels. When healthy it allows us to see clearly, in effect, letting us “see the big picture.”

Chakra Seven: Sahasrara

Thought, Universal identity, Self-knowledge

This is the crown chakra that relates to consciousness as pure awareness.  It is our connection to the greater world beyond, to a timeless, spaceless place of all-knowing. When developed, this chakra brings us knowledge, wisdom, understanding, spiritual connection, and bliss.

 

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