Esprit\Blog

ESPRIT: Liveliness of mind or spirit.  

Whatever crosses our minds, lands on our plates, sets our spirits free, or makes us feel more alive - read about it here.

'Tis the Season

Ten thousand flowers in spring,

the moon in autumn,

a cool breeze in summer,

snow in winter.

If your mind isn’t clouded by

unnecessary things,

this is the best season of your

life.

Wu-Men

Worth it.

I am incredibly honored to contribute to the good stuff happening at Liberty Preparatory School in Smithville.  I believe, whole-heartedly, in the students and their potential - in the staff and their vision put into action - in the space that is held for support, empowerment, and growth.  

This article is a beautiful celebration of all that is Liberty Prep, including the mindfulness we practice there.  Every layer we peel back, every breath we take as a group, every discovery we make on our mats - none of it comes easily, but it is SO worth it.

 

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Be WELL

I believe mental and physical health are equally important and inextricably linked when it comes to your personal well-being.  Through YOGA\VIVRE I get to work with clients in a way that supports the vital life energy that fuels both body and mind.

I am supporting the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Wayne and Holmes Counties because I want to ensure continued access to vital mental health and addiction treatment services in our community. This weekend, you can join me in supporting them! Please go to this link to learn how you can get involved:  

 

http://mailchi.mp/c0ce38b788a8/mhrb-levy-announcement-1530393?e=[UNIQID]

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Understanding

Last night, in class, I talked about the real purpose of poses.  When we fold, we surrender.  When we open our hips, we free our emotions.  When we take Savasana, we gesture to the world that we are at peace in the moment and open to what will arise.  Yoga asana practice is not meant to string us along, with ideals and a checklist of fancy poses.  It is meant to reveal what is concealed in our inner beings.  It is meant to serve as a vehicle to transport us to the deepest part of ourselves.  It is only the beginning -- a jumping off point.

Today, I came across this excerpt in an article in Yoga Journal: "For many of us, hatha yoga practices can easily become another opportunity to over-effort or get caught up in accomplishing or striving to get better at a pose."  That approach to yoga seems divergent -- a veering off point.

My yoga classes are curated to move your physical body.  I like to be creative with sequencing and variations on poses.  I like for each and every person in my classes to really feel things in their muscles and bones.  -- That is because experiencing things in a physical sense aids us in exploring our subtler layers of self.  

Speaking for myself: Surrender is far more important than stretching my hamstrings; Freeing my emotions feels way better than Flying Pigeon; Savasana teaches me far more than any perfectly aligned and executed pose.  

While the intention behind my practice changes daily, I can certainly benefit, every time I hit my mat, from balanced effort instead of over-effort, connecting instead of getting caught up, accepting instead of accomplishing, understanding instead of striving to get better at a pose.

What's New?

This is what's new!

WINE + YOGA Registration is open!  Buzz me to reserve a spot!

  • Saturday, July 15 \ 3pm \ On the patio of The Market Grill in Downtown Wooster \ $28

NEW YOGA CLASS!

  • Every Monday in July \ 9:30am \ At Wooster High School \ Free for WCSD Employees, $3 for non-employees

WATER WORKOUT SERIES starts next week!

  • Every Wednesday in July \ 10:15am \ At the Wooster Country Club Pool \ $10

NEW MINDFULNESS & YOGA Classes with the Mental Health & Recovery Board!

  • July 6: The Divine Everyday \ July 17: Soften, Open and Receive \ August 3: Back to School Bliss \ August 24: Stand Your Ground \ Registration coming soon! \ Free!

Fueling Abundance

The first Downtown Wooster Farmers' Market of the season was Saturday.  We loaded up on all that lush, fresh, local goodness!  That means spring's abundance was in full swing for dinner tonight: 

Vegan Garlic Scape Pesto on Baguette

  • Garlic Scapes [Boii Gardens], chopped
  • Par-Cel [Adonai Acres], chopped
  • Rosemary [Adonai Acres], chopped
  • A few almonds
  • The juice of a lemon
  • A splash of olive oil
  • A couple splashes of vegetable broth (just to thin it out)

Blend all of the above together.  Make sure it is spreadable.  Adjust amount of each ingredient to your taste.  Note: I prefer a non-oily pesto, which is not traditional, so I used very little oil here.  Make it however you like it!

  • Vegan Baguette [The Grain Maker], sliced diagonally, slices toasted
  • Lavender Balsamic Vinegar [Mott's Oils & More]

Spread the pesto over baguette toasts and drizzle with a little vinegar.  

Delight in the beauty of springtime in Ohio and revel at the taste of your creation!

Moment after Moment after Moment...

Thank you to everyone who joined in the Mental Health and Recovery Board Mindfulness & Yoga Session on Wednesday evening!  Your presence was powerful and meaningful -- whether it was in-person or online via Facebook Live.

I'd like to offer-up a few of my notes from our time together, in the hopes that some of these thoughts resonate with you and inspire your ongoing, personal mindfulness work.  

  • Awareness is your innate super power!
  • Awareness channeled into the present moment is mindfulness.
  • Every day, every conversation, every interaction, every activity, every breath you take is an opportunity for a mindfulness practice or a full mind practice.  Whichever practice you choose is what the mind perfects… You can be your own "mental personal trainer," to stretch and strengthen your mindfulness muscles.
  • Pick a mindfulness practice that works for you. Breath, Movement, Exuberance (VIVRE!), Listening with your whole body, Be the witness or observer... It can be anything that helps bring your awareness into the present moment.  The important part is that you practice!  As Swami Sivananda said, "An ounce of practice is better than a ton of theory."  So, don't just talk about it, BE about it!
  • Don't let your mind get in the way of your mindfulness.  Rather than defaulting to your mind's ability to categorize, label and judge yourself and the world around you, can you create a mindfulness practice that helps you process the world around you in a more inclusive and accepting way?  

Exercise your mindfulness muscles with me every Monday on the MHRB website.  And stay connected with MHRB and me to learn about more free mindfulness and yoga events coming your way soon!

The Beginning of a New Train of Thought...

On New Year's Eve in Wooster, Ohio, I sat around a table with some friends, discussing the Netflix series, Chef's Table.  In particular, we shared our excitement for the episode that featured Grant Achatz, Chef and Owner of Alinea.  

Last Saturday night in Chicago, I sat around The Kitchen Table at Alinea with some of those same friends, talking, laughing and sharing in the excitement of an experience of a lifetime.  

That's what Alinea is.  It's an experience, not just a restaurant.  On Chef's Table, Grant goes one one step further with that thought when he says, "To me, the evolution of the experience is almost as important [as the meal]."  

Boom.  Just like that he links one of the major principles of yoga and mindfulness to dining in a restaurant: beauty lies within the process, not the end product. - Not exactly how you'd expect a chef to prioritize things.  But, this ideology enhances dinner at Alinea in the same way it enriches a yoga class or encourages meditation: When we release the idea of what something "should" be, we make way for all that it "could" be.  That's the moment.  That's where all of the color, flavor and texture of life exist.  

The moments we spent at Alinea asked that we be fully present; that everyone with a seat at the table play a role in the experience.

We weren't there merely to eat or enjoy the show.  We were an integral part of what was being created in the kitchen that night.  As the ones experiencing Alinea for the first time, our thoughts, expectations, attitudes, conversations, perceptions and reactions completed the creative cycle the restaurant started.  

Boom.  Just like that we were living yoga off the mat, at the dinner table:  We connected more deeply to our own senses, to each other and to the experiences unfolding in each moment.  We felt a sense of connection to the power of creativity that Alinea so generously brought forth and asked us to participate in.  We took part in something bigger than dinner, bigger than any of us.  I like to think that the connections and the feelings of unification that came out of that meal are the "evolution of the experience" Grant was referencing.   

To Alinea, thank you for setting the table for this experience.

To my friends, thank you for co-creating this beautiful evening with me.


syn·er·gy /ˈsinərjē/

syn·er·gy /ˈsinərjē/

noun

  1. the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.

Last night's dinner was pure synergy.  I suppose that can be said of any good dish.  Recipes, by design, create synergy amongst various ingredients, so that the combination of flavors elevates the overall deliciousness you experience at meal time.  

But, last night's dinner was not only about the interaction of ingredients.  It was a complete cooperation of several different recipes that wouldn't typically share a plate.  It was a blend of healthy nutrients, smart recipe directives from expert cooks and my own free-flowing creativity.

Dinner would have been great with any one of these recipes, but the synergy between them produced something greater than the sum of its parts.  And, it generated deep thought:

We are synergy.  

We are the interaction and cooperation of the organizations (families/jobs/communities), substances (food/drink), and other agents (thoughts/fears/emotions/beliefs) in our lives.  We are made up of everything we experience, and we have the potential put out a combined effect/energy greater than the sum of the separate effects of each of those experiences.

My food, my writing, my yoga, my workouts... everything I create or put out is an expression of synergy.  In fact, the very translation of yoga - yo·ga /ˈyōɡə/ Sanskrit, literally ‘union.’ - is synergy.  Yoga teaches us how to find synergy between body and breath, intentions and actions... between the layers of ourselves.  When we have that kind of synergy at play internally, our interaction and cooperation with others surges. 

Last Night's Dinner

Oh She Glows Chickpea Pancakes \ I added a big, green handful of chopped fennel fronds, fresh rosemary and thyme to the batter, and I skipped the recipe's serving suggestion in favor of the goodies below.

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What's On-Hand Vegetable Sauté \ To a splash of olive oil in a sauté pan, I added thin slices of yellow onion and half-moons of fennel.  Those things cooked over medium heat until just tender and the flavor of the fennel softened.  Then I stirred in a small roasted red pepper and some sun dried-marinated tomatoes (from the olive bar at Buehler's Milltown - I also like to find unique ingredients for my recipes.  More on this in another post.)  Just before serving, I swirled in a bunch of Red Russian kale that was stemmed and chopped.

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Minimalist Baker Vegan Parmesan \ I made this for a different recipe last week and had some left over.  At the time, I didn't have any cashews, so I used almonds that I soaked in almond milk for an hour.  This certainly changes the flavor, but it's still delicious!  And, it cooperates so nicely with the other recipes here.

Thank you to Oh She Glows and Minimalist Baker for elevating Last Night's Dinner!

Karma Yoga

"On this path no effort ever goes to waste and there is no failure."

From: The Bhagavad Gita, A Walkthrough for Westerners by Jack Hawley.

Esprit

Esprit: Liveliness of mind or spirit.  

Whatever crosses our minds, lands on our plates, sets our spirits free, or makes us feel more alive - read about it here.