Whether you’re a runner, triathlete, yogi, cyclist, or any other type of recreationist (or person), if you’ve ever had an injury that has “sidelined” you, it sucks. There’s no sugar-coating it. It actually doesn’t even have to be an injury, it could be anything you’ve experienced that has interrupted your “flow”, an interruption to something your heart is set on. You’re off of your normal routine. For me, feelings of inadequacy and not being “enough” (i.e. good enough, strong enough, prepared enough, etc.) are first to arise. Some say it’s a blessing in disguise, I am still trying to find the silver lining.
I sit here and write this at 5:30AM, my usual time to be out on my morning runs with the birds. My morning runs that I refer to as my moving meditation. If you follow me on social media or know my personally, it’s obvious I find therapy in that ritual. Just me and nature, actually nothing to do and nowhere to be, but soaking in my natural surroundings. A little over a week ago, I was out on my normal short-ish morning run and very suddenly, my sacroiliac joint (sacrum/low back) was thrown out, and putting any pressure on my left foot since then is generally painful.
I am in the midst of training for the Marine Corps marathon in Washington D.C., one that has been on my list for years. It’s the weekend of my birthday, so I have been waiting in anticipation. On top of that, all the reviews I’ve read of how inspirational the race is, has me buzzing. I struggle right now to use past or present tense to express my feelings of excitement, because I’m over a full week in of no running, and am not sure if I will be able to run my marathon this year. I am still hopeful, but sat out of a 12 mile run last weekend and will very very likely have to forego my 20 mile training run this weekend. There is no higher high for me than crossing the finish line of a race – I can bring tears to my eyes just thinking about it. It is this overwhelming surge of accomplishment and relief and support – all at once. I am a relatively injury prone runner, but I have never had this bad of an injury this close to a big race.
Admittedly I have tried to continue to keep up my exercise and movement still through the last week. My focus of “what can I do?” has morphed slightly into “you can do this!” – i.e. aggressive yoga asana practices, strength training/weight lifting, and spinning. I have never had an injury that wouldn’t allow my body to do the listed practices, ones I usually do anyways to balance my running. Each of these I have tried and felt okay during the movement, but after my body is screaming with pain.
The last few days feelings of defeat have washed over me. If I can’t even practice yoga, can I even stay sane? I am in a yoga teacher training with Rodney Yee this week and what came up first, with full force, as we started our yoga asana practice, was inadequacy, in not bring able to physically practice with the rest of the teachers. My type A personality, the one that keeps me going through long races, is requesting me to persevere, keep pushing, you can do it, it’s just a little pain! The yoga teacher part of me, the one I have worked hard to refine, to balance out the constant push, is requesting me to emphasize my yoga practice “off the mat” – the other 7 limbs of the yoga practice that aren’t asana. Ahimsa (the practice of non-violence to all beings, including ourselves), Satya (truthfulness), Brahmacharya (conservation of energy, my interpretation), Dharana (honing our concentration on one thing, the first step to meditation). etc.
I have been trying to focus on other things that bring me joy – giving to others, taking walks, getting a cold-pressed juice, getting my nails and hair done, taking baths, cooking, but still, every time a runner goes by me, it hurts. I am working through this, sitting with it, trying to slow down enough to observe and listen to my reactions and self-talk. I have been meditating more and been even more introspective, allowing all the emotions to come up, allowing myself to feel bad for me a little bit and let the tears of self-pity and physical pain flow, and allowing a little anger and frustration to bubble up. I have these feelings that “no one understands it”, but when I’m realistic with myself, a lot of people get it – it may not be the exact situation, a running injury preventing regular scheduled training, but something that is halted and not going as planned that our full hearts are in for.
We are all on a journey. We are all worth our own experiences. Unconditional self-love is my ultimate intention. The world will not end if I have to defer my race entry to next year. I am human – I am enough. I am strong. I am not defined by one thing, I am multidimensional. I am love. I am light. I continue to repeat positive mantras to myself until, hopefully :), they begin to soak in. When difficult times arise, you can repeat such positive mantras to yourself too. Actually, please do. 🙂
Peeps, I have been wanting to share this recipe as soon as I got it to “work”. I have been making it non-stop since. For several years, I have been trying different brands of non-dairy yogurts, but have never found one that has the fluffy and super creamy texture that some dairy yogurts have – like Greek yogurts, or Siggi’s…until now! After seeing Coconut Cult yogurt popping up all over Instagram, I decided I needed to try it! It looked as creamy as my favorite dairy yogurts! I went to go buy it online and it was $72 for 2, 16 oz jars (GASP!)! I am ALL about supporting new and budding American-born businesses, but I live pretty comfortably and still could not justify spending almost $75 on 2 jars of yogurt, even if it was the best. Over the course of the next several months, I went back to their website a few times, maybe there was a sale? maybe they lowered their price? maybe they’re selling it closer by and I can just buy one jar…?? Maybe someday I will get lucky enough to try some Coconut Cult!
After researching a few recipes on yogurt making, it seemed like something I could do without too much effort. I figured I already had the 2 necessary ingredients, and if it didn’t work, all I’d lose was a can of coconut milk/cream and a few probiotic capsules. But it WORKED! I did lots of recipe testing to get this one right for you guys, and for me 😉 ! It is so so creamy and delicious and tangy and FULL of gut-happy probiotics! I don’t have a ton of experience with fermentation so I was afraid I would end up with a lumpy, smelly, moldy mess, but even with my “worst” batch, that wasn’t the case!
You read that right…all you need is a can of coconut cream + 2 probiotic pills! There are a few caveats to that to reach utmost creaminess and tangy yogurt taste, I’ll share those below.
If you want to make it even more creamy, you can line a strainer with cheese cloth and let it drain for a few hours. What gets strained out is probiotic coconut water, that can be consumed by itself or added to something else. What is left over is just the coconut cream without water.
You can use full fat coconut milk, it will just be a bit runnier, unless you strain it out using the above method. I’m all about simplification and coconut cream is basically the coconut meat with the water already mostly removed.
If your house is >70F, you can just leave the jar to ferment in a kitchen cabinet, or other dark spot. If your house is <70F, you can put the jar in the oven with the oven light on.
I tried this without guar gum coconut cream and I personally thought it was disgusting. >_< Guar gum acts as a thickener/stabilizer, so without it the coconut cream/milk will separate in the jar while it’s fermenting. Some other recipes I found online said it was fine it you stirred/strained it, but I was grossed out by the lumpiness and consistency. I ended up composting mine because I was grossed out. The coconut cream brands I’ve used that have worked beautifully are – Native Forest and Thai Kitchen. I am not sure if these are BPA free. Thai Kitchen does not currently have organic coconut cream. Whatever you choose to use, I recommend ensuring the ingredients are coconut, guar gum, and maybe water.
It’s important to use a probiotic that has lots of live and active cultures. You’ll quickly find out whether that’s true if your yogurt doesn’t ferment or smell tangy (like yogurt!). I happened to have medical grade probiotics that I bought online – VSL 3 . I also read Silver Fern probiotics work well. You’ll likely need to use probiotic capsules that you can open and empty out, rather than probiotic tablets. I have not tried to crush up tablets, so I don’t know if that works.
You’ll know when your yogurt is ready because it will have that delicious slightly sour, pungent smell that all plain yogurt has. Although I haven’t experienced it, if, at the end of the fermentation period, you yogurt has any mold or discoloration or other funky smells, throw it away – or even better, compost it!
I would LOVE to hear how you all are enjoying this delicious, dairy-free, raw coconut yogurt!! Also share any tips, or fails :), that you have!
Kathy was originally introduced to me through my lovely sister. We met when she was a teacher at Yoga on High, and was a mentor during my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training. In 2016, she opened her own studio in Worthington, that offers a variety of classes integrated with Ayurveda (the “sister science” to yoga). I can say first hand her Yin classes are AMAZING, so relaxing and therapeutic. Kathy is one of the most genuine, kind, people I have ever met. Her true kindness shines forth when you meet her. She is like a ray of sunshine when she enters the room. I am so honored to have met her!
I opened Kasa Yoga and Wellness in July of 2016 in Historic Old Worthington. I had the dream to open a yoga and wellness center in Worthington since I moved into the area in 2005. After teaching from my home studio, I realized it was time to get a bigger space that also had more visibility to attract more students to practice and incorporate the lifestyle of yoga into their daily lives. We offer a combination of Vinyasa, Aroma Flow, Yin Yang Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Beginner Yoga, and Yin Yoga classes. Along with offering the opportunity to learn the physical aspects of yoga, we are also incorporating the sister science of yoga-Ayurveda. My vision for the studio is to be a holistic wellness center where students can feel at home and be their true authentic selves with all the tools and support to guide them on this journey. We also offer Reiki sessions and will soon be offering Ayurveda sessions for overall well-being. Our teachers are well trained and the “talk” around the town is that Kasa has an amazing group of yoga instructors all under one roof. Students feel safe here and in good hands with our experienced teachers.
Where did you do your teacher training?
The answer is long as I have done many teacher trainings. I will always be a student as well as a teacher.
260-Hour Vinyasa Teacher Training with Ma Nithya Lochananda in Miami, FL, in 2004
I decided I wanted to be a yoga teacher shortly after I quit my corporate job as a Fashion Designer and Buyer. I took a few months off from the corporate world, back in 2003, took a few months off to travel and freelance and decided, “I want to be a yoga teacher. It is what I love and I want to teach what I love.” It was the best decision I could have made! It has changed my life!
Yoga with or without music? If with, what kind?
I like both options. I find benefit in bringing people into the ambiance with music but also crave silence during some practices such as Yin Yoga. When I do use music, I like to use music with Sanskrit chants the most. When I teach yoga, I connect with the roots of yoga in India and playing Sanskrit chants is a way to honor the traditions of yoga.
How has yoga impacted your life?
Yoga has impacted my life on so many levels. First, it has influenced my spirituality, making it a priority for me to practice daily rituals to connect with the divine in everyone and everything, including myself. It has taught me to see beauty in everything even when times are difficult. The biggest impact it has had is on my diet. I became vegetarian and after many years, vegan, to practice Ahimsa (non-violence). My first teacher taught us the importance of an Ahimsa diet to live our Yoga lifestyle in harmony and peace. Yoga has helped me to have flexibility of the mind in so many situations. It has influenced how I raise my children with more mindfulness. Yoga is constant practice.
What advice would you give to someone who says “I can’t do yoga”?
I would say, “Everyone can do yoga. There are many styles to choose from and finding the style and teacher that resonates is important. I have also learned that yoga comes to you when you are ready for it. It is a practice of transformation and it arrives in one’s life, when you are ready to open to other possibilities.”
Who or what inspires you right now?
My mom inspires me right now, actually always has. She is so strong. My dad has been sick for a long time and she has been the prime caretaker. Her strength and resilience is amazing. Sometimes, I do not know how she does it all! She has always taught me to be STRONG and TRUTHFUL.
What is your favorite pose or poses?
My favorite poses are Utthita Trikonasana (Triangle pose) and Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana (Pigeon pose)
What is your least favorite pose or poses?
I can’t think of one right now. I think, right now, I like all of them because when they challenge me, I know it is challenging me on a deeper level that I need to explore.
Anything else you want to share?
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi. This is my favorite quote and one that I try to live by. Be your TRUE AUTHENTIC SELF no matter what. You are all gifts to this world! Come practice with us at Kasa Yoga and Wellness in Worthington. Would love to meet you!!!
Julie was a quick “Instagram friend” of mine. I found her account, which at the time was Julie Pedal and Flow, 2 things I LOVE – yoga and cycling! I also saw she had the same love for nourishing foods and cooking as I do. Then I saw her boyfriend was a runner and was running the Chicago marathon last year, which I was too, and I was like “OMG new bestie!” We got to meet in person when I went to one of her cycling classes at Cycle 614. Julie is a fellow yoga instructor who found yoga as a way to complement her exercise and has had a past, also similar to mine, in her path to body compassion, but I’ll let her tell you more about herself. 🙂 She is an absolute joy to be around, with her bubbly and upbeat personality, which carries into her teaching as well.
Life excites me. I’m filled to the brim with energy, always have been, and hopefully always will be! I search for the good in life and believe we are capable of anything… if we work hard enough. If something scares me, I know it’s worth my time. I’m a crazy morning person, known to wake up at 4am five days a week! (AHH, I know! haha!) I’m a hard-core foodie. Get me going about the Cbus food scene, and I won’t shut up! I’m obsessed with my Bernese Mountain Dog, Maple. Fun fact? She has more than DOUBLE the Instagram followers as me. HAH! Oh, one more: Beyoncé was a center focus in my Master’s thesis. 😉
What type of yoga do you teach?
Currently, I teach a hot vinyasa class that builds towards a peak posture. I love structuring a class around what needs to be stretched and/or strengthened to access poses we never thought were possible. Because, well, that’s just empowering as can be! As I move forward in teaching, I look to expand to all different styles, my journey is just beginning.
What drew you into your first yoga class? What kept you coming back?
In college, I was a personal trainer/group fitness instructor. I initially went to the yoga classes at our rec center to compliment all the power lifting/HIIT workouts I did… but what kept me coming back was the mindfulness, the breathing, and how it entirely shifted my perspective on my body, health and… life.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not on the yoga mat?
I love cooking — I’ve been making my way through the Inspiralized cookbooks and the amazing Taylor Riggs’ book: Real Food, Real Simple. I also love taking Maple to local breweries. We (my bf and I) love craft beer, and when we bring Maple, we get to meet so many people because she is such an insane fluffer nugget who wants all the love from EVERYONE. I also enjoy writing, when I have time! And, of course: cycling. I teach at Cycle614, and it is one of the places, besides my yoga mat, where I feel most alive and most myself. My version of self-care would be laying by the pool listening to a podcast, The Wonder Jam Cast has been one of my faves this summer.
What do you hope your students take away from your classes?
Time to tune in. Time to check in. Time to realize their true power within.
What is your favorite pose? Or poses?
Forearm stand/scorpion, pigeon, wheel, lizard, half-moon… oh man I could go on and on!
What is your least favorite(s)?
Supta kurmasana is the death of me!! One day that will change 😉
Anything else you want to share?
One of the things that drew me to yoga the most, was how it empowered me to love my body unlike ever before. Growing up, I always struggled with body image. I had a TERRIBLE relationship with food and exercise. Yoga was the turning point that helped me dig deep, get reflective and start to get curious about my beliefs… why was I at a constant war with my body?
It’s been a JOURNEY over the past, well, years, but really my entire life. And this year I’ve embarked on something I am SO excited to share… I’m launching my own health coaching business. I am thrilled to start working with women one-on-one who, too, have struggled with eating/exercise/body image and empower them to love their bodies and live their best lives. I just launched my website, www.juliewojno.com, and am excited to be enrolling clients in my coaching programs!! Woo hoo! I’ll be launching some fun group “challenges.” too, it’ll be a blast. (PS: BIG shout out to Columbus’ amazing Autumn Theodore Photography, she did all the photos on my website and is a truly fantastic human — (oh yeah, I firmly believe in sharing the love — community is what’s up)!
PS I am SO SO excited for Julie and her new adventure!! Cheers to following your heart’s calling! <3
Peace, Love, Whole Food is a food, nutrition, & healthy living blog embracing plant-centric whole foods and living. I will show you how to improve your health with deliciously simple recipes & life improvement tips. Join the PLWF lifestyle to nourish from within & become your optimal self!