Alright…I know I’m a little late to the 2017 reflection party. I wasn’t even sure I was going to do it this year, but when I thought about it more, there is something so gratifying to me to look back and reflect, on the highs and the lows. I find often I’m moving so quickly I have to very consciously make time to pause and reflect, to take a step back and realize how much I have to be grateful for.
A lot happened in 2017 – I traveled to Greece, Chicago, Arizona, Nashville, Denver, and Washington D.C.
I backpacked the back country of the Canadian Rockies in Banff National Park and the Inca trail to Machu Picchu.
I completed my 100 hour trauma sensitive yoga teacher training, which included restorative teacher training and a Reiki certification, and started my 300 hour advanced yoga teacher training. I celebrated a year of studio teaching at Yoga on High and started volunteer yoga teaching to homeless youth every week. I loosened my grip of control on every aspect of my life even more. I learned to more openly accept and give love, unconditionally, and to be more patient. Some relationships ended and some strengthened, all of which I grew from. I met some really amazing, beautiful, inspiring people. I ate more seafood and more carbs, and was more than okay with it. I did my 2nd juice cleanse, not from a place of losing weight, but from a place of giving my gut and digestive system a break, and it was like “THANK YOU”! I didn’t blog much, continued to have the intention of doing it more, and never did, and I’m okay with that too. I didn’t run as much and strength trained more than I have in the last 8+ years. I still did run another Cap City Half Marathon, and another marathon, the Marine Corps marathon. I got Miso, my kitten, who has become the love of my life and brought my so much joy. I experienced friends committing to the love of their lives. I watched countless sunrises and sunsets. And ALL of that was beautiful.
I used to set lofty New Years resolutions. I still don’t think there is anything wrong with doing that, but this was the first year I didn’t even think about doing it, and I’m content with that decision…actually I’m more than content with it. It feels COMPLETELY right not to do it this year. Along the same river I’ve been flowing down, a sort of loosening of my grip and type-A -ness, I’m just going to continue going down it because I’m liking it. Go with the flow, receiving things as they come, instead of trying to setup every detail ahead of time and getting upset when it doesn’t work out the way I had imagined or planned. I have loose ideas of what I would like to do in 2018, like continue traveling and seeing the world, and exploring new foods, and really listening to people when they speak, but none of these will make or break my 2018 if they don’t come to fruition. They’re just nice to haves. 🙂
If I were to define my 2017 in one work it would be grateful. My word I set at the beginning of the year was authenticity, to myself and when communicating others. I’m not sure whether I “achieved” that or not, but oh well, big deal…What I enjoy most about reflection is the opportunity to recognize and realize how much we have. All these things I did in 2017 were opportunities a LOT of people don’t get and I really saw that in the situations I put myself in in 2017, weaving myself in communities that don’t have all the luxuries I have in my life, some things I have taken for granted my whole life, like having parents who support and love me, or the financial and physical ability to go to a grocery store and buy whatever I perceive I need. I would be with these people and they were SO happy still, with so much less than I have. It brought tears to my eyes at times. They were still grateful for what they did have. I don’t feel guilty for having what I do have. I see no benefit in bringing in that negative energy. But the recognition is now there. I am SO beyond grateful for the love I am constantly supported and surrounded by, including from you all, and the opportunities I have been given.
I encourage you to reflect on your 2017, whether it was a “hard” year or an “easy” year (it’s all perception), and see what comes up. No judgement. Can you be okay with whatever comes up? You are still whole. You are still here if you’re reading this. You are loved (if not by anyone else, by me:)). What single word describes your 2017?
Good things are on the horizon, 2018! Even if I don’t know yet what that is…:)
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!!!
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