Thursday, January 26, 2017

Hillary's Toughest Yoga Pose

Street art by Pegasus

I wrote this new piece for YogaDork. It's been on my mind since the moment I saw Hillary step out of her town car to attend the inauguration. No matter who you voted for, holy shit: you've gotta admit what a gut-wrenching, shattering experience it must've been for any human being with a heart to have to sit up on that stage watching her opponent being inaugurated. Thanks to YogaDork for being brave enough to publish political schtuff. And thanks to Hillary Clinton for teaching me yoga. Because politics is yoga is life. 💕💪💋🙏
* * *

There's a long-running yoga teacher cliche that goes something like this: "The hardest yoga pose is savasana."

I beg to differ.

The hardest yoga pose is Hillary Clinton sitting silently onstage while her former opponent (a man whom she beat by 3 million votes in the popular vote and who was possibly/probably elected via illegitimate Russian means) is inaugurated as President of the United States.

I mean, can you imagine?

I stood in my kitchen Friday morning and scanned Twitter for inauguration updates. Slate tweeted a video of the Clintons stepping out of their town car and preparing to walk into the ceremony, Hillary clad in peaceful winter white. That's when it really hit me: My God, this poor human has the hardest job in the world today. She's gotta stride in and smile gracefully and sit on that platform with all the other former Presidents and their wives and pretend that she's not totally, wretchedly miserable. 

No matter where you stand on the election, you've gotta have sympathy for the agony of that experience for any human being.

What pure torture to walk onto that stage and know the world's eyes are upon you, just waiting for you to betray a glimpse of pain, and to have to stay calm and pleasant when your insides are screaming bloody murder.

This is also known as: yoga.

We walk into the yoga studio knowing, every single time, that at some point in the practice we'll feel uncomfortable, awkward, frustrated, inadequate, angry. It comes with the territory. You hold a pose long enough, all your unresolved issues flare up. But you unroll the mat and stay, taking a deep breath, knowing it's just a matter of time til everything complicated and ugly burbles to the surface and your mind screams, "Just give up and run outta here already!" But, no. Your job is to sit with the discomfort, watching it, noticing it, resisting the urge to run away or give up, and using the breath to remain tenderly with the pain until it passes.

It's a practice of choosing how to react; of learning to watch the mind and not get caught up in it, realizing it's not you; realizing you don't have to get swept away in all your big feelings.

Which is EXACTLY what Hillary had to do last Friday. 

Over the course of the campaign, much was made of her steely demeanor and untouchable poise, deliberately cultivated after years of living in the critical public eye. But this? This was a new high. A masterful performance. The ultimate yoga practice.

Hillary could've chosen differently. She could've — very understandably — bailed on attending the Inauguration. She could've bawled her eyes out mid-ceremony and run off the platform. (Which would, of course, have wrought a media shitstorm.) But to sit there onstage, listening, witnessing, the whole world watching, cameras trained on her face waiting for the slightest hint of a reaction, knowing she's no doubt deeply in pain, and to manage to remain graceful and equanimous?

That, my friends, is yoga.

That is Buddha-level mastery.

(Okay, yes: maybe it was Xanax, too.) 

She may not be the Commander In Chief. But she's the yogi-in-chief, for sure. 

Hillary: thanks for teaching me yoga. I am grateful. I hope you downed a cocktail the size of your head when that shit was finally over.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

King Pigeon Posture Clinic

Super stoked to be leading this King Pigeon posture clinic next month at YoYoYogi. Join us on Feb 12th as we break down this much-loved/loathed pose. We'll flirt with a few cousin poses like Natarajasana (Dancer's Pose), too.

Register here.

Monday, January 23, 2017

How To Survive Snow Days As An Introvert Parent

New article out today! I wrote this for introverted parents everywhere who die a little inside when school is cancelled. :) Thanks to The Huffington Post for publishing.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

10 Ways To Make Friends With Your Body During A Hot Yoga Class

Thanks to The Huffington Post for picking up my recent article about 10 ways to make friends with your body during a hot yoga class. You can read the full piece here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Easy As F*#k Comfort Foods That Won't Leave You Feeling Like Sh*t The Next Day

Oh hey.

Here we are, January. Four days in. Have you blown your resolutions yet?

I know lots of folks aspire to "eat healthy" in the New Year. That's often easier said than done, right?

I've been meaning for awhile now to throw up some of the favorite easy (vegan & gluten-free) comfort foods that have been rocking my world for the last few months. These recipes are perfect for the lazy non-cook (speaking from experience). They're not fancy and they're definitely not gonna show up in some famous foodie blog (way too many shameless short-cuts involved here).

But most importantly, two things: 1) they're fucking DELISH, and 2) they're vegan and gluten-free.

Going gluten-free back in 2009 was pretty easy, because I immediately felt so much better that it wasn't worth the occasional tempting bagel. But I struggled for a decade to go full-on vegan and stick with it, in spite of being totally ethically and philosophically on-board, mostly because cheese and ice cream are SO DAMN DELICIOUS. Even though my mind knew I'd feel waaaaay better and be waaaaay kinder to the planet/my body without them, I couldn't resist the siren call of melty mac 'n cheese or chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. It took getting pregnant to really inspire me to go cold turkey.

(Seriously, folks. Shaking those drugs was like kicking heroin.)

What I learned is that the key to turning the vegan corner and never looking back is finding good comfort food substitutes that didn't make me feel like I'd be living the rest of my life deprived. It was no longer a matter of forever relinquishing melty goodness; it was just a matter of finding or creating versions of favorite foods that didn't leave me feeling like shit the next day.

And people, the great news is: it's totally possible! I've done it, and I'm a terrible cook!

So here's the first in what will become a semi-regular series, otherwise elegantly, succinctly known as

Easy As F*#k (Vegan + GF) Comfort Foods That Won't Leave You Feeling Like Shit The Next Day

For our first installment, you get:
Photo via Detoxinista
Homemade Vegan Mac 'N Cheese

I found this recipe on Detoxinista after trying out a few others from all over the place.

OMG, people: this one is so. friggin. easy. I really never thought it was possible to find an easy go-to homemade mac 'n cheese recipe. I mean, usually, what a pain in the butt, right? But this one you can get done in literally five minutes using only a Vitamix, and it's based on cashews, nutritional yeast, and a few spices. SOLD, bitch.

The first time we made it I already had some leftover naked noodles in the fridge, so I just warmed those up, added some quick broccoli and peas, and poured the cashew cheese sauce on top. Heaven. You can also add frozen chopped spinach or cauliflower, too. It's good however you do it.

All you have to do to make this recipe gluten-free is to use brown rice or quinoa-based noodles. My new favorite trick is to use the organic black bean spiral pasta at Trader Joe's, so my kid gets a ton of protein while thinking he's just scarfing down delicious mac 'n cheese. We even tried long spaghetti noodles last time, and those worked well, too. The original Detoxinista recipe calls for baking it, but we usually don't even bother with that, and just dive in.

This one's a big hit with both guys in my household. We make it at least once a week, and will be making it for years. Highly recommend introducing it to your rotation of regular hits.

Photo by Bowl of Delicious

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Ok, so this is another easy vegan substitute that will make you forget Ben and Jerry's ever existed. My little guy is two and he loves to help me make this. And I love the fact that he can eat "ice cream" without getting his insides glued-up by all that antibiotic-laced cow's milk junk that's really only meant for baby cows to eat.

I'm a firm believer in the whole "just throw shit in" approach to cooking, so apologies in advance for a not-very-specific recipe here. You really can't mess this one up. If you want more of an official recipe, check out this example over at Bowl of Delicious. But even that one is fancier than we usually go for.

Yesterday, for example, we just threw these ingredients in the Vitamix and voila!
Two fresh bananas
A couple tablespoons of baking cocoa powder
Hemp seeds
Chia seeds
Vegan protein powder (see how I'm sneaking in a ton of protein and my kid doesn't even realize it?)
A big scoop of almond, sunflower, or peanut butter
A strong pour of coconut or almond milk
Ice cubes
You're smart, you can figure out proportions. Experimenting with it is part of the fun. I like to add some coconut shavings, or peppermint extract, or frozen cherries, to play with different flavors. And if you REALLY want to re-create your beloved chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, buy a few Cookie Dough flavor Lara Bars, chop them up, and throw them in. Perfection.

We used this recipe to make sweet-ass chocolate robot popsicles the other day, too. Fill up your popsicle molds and you can enjoy chocolate treats that won't send your kids' blood sugar through the roof.

Ok, friends. That's your comfort food dose for today.

Look forward to a belly-friendly twist on your favorite Italian classic and killer pumpkin protein balls to come.

In the meantime, start noshing. And don't be surprised to find mac 'n cheese on the menu next time you roll over for dinner.

Food is medicine, yo. Hit it.