Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding

{Note to reader: For full effect, engage a posh British accent to review to this textt.}
Countess Yasmina Krystyna Von Ashtanga Yoga here reporting on the Royal Wedding...

What a lovely, lavish, luxury to be privy to this historical event today, this day, being the Royal nuptial of HRH Prince William and his beautiful bride Miss Catherine Elizabeth Middleton. A smashing dress, a bunch of trees, some Christmas carols, a quick kiss, and a three-year-old bridesmaid, who adoringly covered her ears, as the crowd in front of Buckingham Palace was just a bit too much for her to bare sans ear plugs. Shortly after the service at Westminster Abbey and the Queen's Breakfast (I sat with Elton), I begged pardon of her Majesty for I simply had to depart. I had pressing matters to attend to in my land of Om-West-alot The Monarch understood, of course, given that tonight, this night, in the grand land of Om-West-alot was shhhhheduled an extraooorrrrdinary Ashtanga Yoga Conference accompanied by the live performance of the esteemed Sir James Olmstead of Percussion. Graciously, the Queen lent me her enchanted Royal Winged Horse and I arrived right at the cusp of the hour in time to greet my court. And all was well and good.

The End.


All right... Jokes aside for now. I know all this Royal Wedding hoopla is over the top and super fromage, but with all the doom and gloom projected in the news these days, it's kinda nice to have something else to focus on for a day or two, I mean now that the Habs are out of the playoffs. Right? (psst: did you catch the hockey reference?)

I'm really no wedding dreamer, and I don't even own a TV, but even I got a little caught up in the festivities today. (Clearly.) Here's what really went down: 

After teaching a sun and moon salutations practice at a big, fun lululemon event in Montreal last night, I drove over to my parents' house or a sleepover. As mentioned, I don't own a TV, so my mom  had proposed a sunrise Royal Wedding date on her couch. At the crisp hour of 5:30am, we were up. Reluctantly at first, my dad joined us too, but he came dressed for the occasion. See the Gordie Gow English Wedding bonnet below:

(Knock offs of the splendid Gordie Gow Royal Wedding Bonnet are in the works right now, says a source.)

After the long anticipated kiss, we all enjoyed homemade pancakes fait par maman and then it was off to Om West for yoga teaching at 9:30am. But this time, I wore my best Royal Wedding Chapeau and pearls to the amusement of my students. (See adove and below.)

Tonight was Ashtanga Yoga to live music played by James Olmstead. Another packed house, but this time no one had to practice in the hall.

So all and all, a good day with a good excuse to play!

What did you get up to?
Your thoughts?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Vegetarian Jambalaya - Good Friday Recipe

Today, a student told me she was fasting for Good Friday-- no meat products or oils.  She asked me for a simple yet delicious vegetarian recipe for tonight's dinner. Now, I'm not really one to use recipes, but I recalled a great one that my friend Evan made for me ages ago.  It's a super tasty vegetarian Creole style Jambalaya and it's easy to make. I thought I'd share it with you folks as well in case some of you are also in need of a little vegetarian inspiration.




  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 chopped celery stalks
  • 1-2 chopped yellow, orange, or red pepper
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups eggplant, diced
  • 1-2 zucchini, diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 6 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 3 cups uncooked long grain brown rice
  • 2 tbsps reduced-sodium soy sauce or Brags
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
  • Chili flakes to taste (optional)


1. In ¼ veggie stalk or water and/or olive oil, saut√© onions, celery, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, eggplant, and zucchini in large non-stick skillet until sweet and tender. Stir in the tomatoes, soy sauce, parsley, and seasoning. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in rice and veggie stock/water.

2. Transfer contents into a large baking dish. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 65-70 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.

3. Garnish with parsley and serve with a green salad and/or corn bread!

Yum Yum!

(If you try it, let me know what you think.)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pagan Full Moon Party

Forgive me. It has been a while since I last posted a blog.  Lately, life has been moving far too quickly for me to keep up with everything. But here I am. 

We have arrived at the 108th day of the year. Today is my last day of 54 chandra namaskar and it's a full moon no less! To celebrate, I am inviting students to join me at Om West for a practice of 54 moon salutations by candle light. I am really looking forward to tonight's practice. I made Almond Crescent Cakes that are traditionally served during Pagan Full Moon ceremony and have prepared gifts for my students, prayers, and beeswax candles.

Throughout this 54 day journey, I was not alone in practice. I enjoyed the company of many students and friends, including: Bossa Pavkov, my trusty student of five years and 108 sun sal pal; Bruce Chase Dunn, who stayed true to his own 54 day yoga challenge (read his story below); And Erin Halpin, a close family friend and student, who, for Lent, did cumulative sun salutations for 40 consecutive days. I also thoroughly enjoyed sharing the moon salutation practice with all my students. 

The last few days have been the hardest. You see, I've been at the Toronto Yoga Conference since last Thursday and I taught nearly 250 people over five full workshop. So I had difficulty finding time and energy to practice with all the travel and teaching. But I did it. Rather than killing myself with midnight asana that I clearly did not need more of, I visualized my entire 54 practice on Thursday sitting on the couch in our rented condo. It was very challenging, yet extremely gratifying. On Friday afternoon, I did the practice manually as I felt up for it before teaching. Saturday and Sunday practices were a combination of virtual salutations and physical one. (Special thanks to Craig for joining me last night and encouraging me despite my huge fatigue.)

Here is the very sweet and nicely presented piece written by Bruce:
(More photos and videos to come this week...)

A prayer from a Wiccan Full Moon Ceremony
Lady Moon bright and serene,
Shining with the bounty of the Mother,
Look down on us your Children of the Earth.
Come, light of the Goddess,
Fill us with your power.
Lend us your blessings,
Let your light surround us.
Impart to us your light and blessing.
Your love and grace, surround us.
Surround us Goddess,
Surround us with your love.
(For more info about theses Wiccan Full Moon
rituals and prayers, click here)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cookies & Music for yogis

Things are progressing nicely with the Moon Salutations. I am actually working on a little video to show you a clip of my practice, but it's not ready yet.  So meanwhile, here's a vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe from Emilie Brunet, one of my yoga teacher trainees at Om West:

  • 1 cup coconut butter, almond butter (or margarine)
  • 1 1/2 cup natural crane sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cup flour (spelt, whole wheat, or kamut)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a large bowl, beat margarine, both sugars, applesauce and vanilla until well blended.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt.
4. Beat the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.
5. Add the chocolate chips and mix well distributing them evenly.
6. Drop balls of dough on non-stick cookie sheets. 
7. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until edges have browned.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies. Yum Yum.

I've also been meaning to share my new favorite playlist of yoga tunes. This was complied by Bruce Chase Dunn, another teacher trainee. It's such an amazing mix. (Maybe one of you blog supporters might be able to create an YouTube playlist of these tracks or another cool playlist for us to practice to??? I hear this is possible...)

Bruce's Radio Om mix
  1. Visions of you - Jah Wobble
  2. Walking thru babylon - Thievery Corp.
  3. Teardrop - Massive Attack
  4. The Stopper - Cutty Ranks
  5. I Hear Vibrations - Wooden Shjips
  6. Holographic Universe - Thievery Corp.
  7. One More Dub - The Clash
  8. Two Sevens Clash - Culture
  9. First Snow - Emancipator
  10. Clap + form your soul - Damu
  11. Lagos Communique - Thievery Corp.
  12. Regiment - Eno + Bvrne
  13. Angel - Massive Attack
  14. Seen + not seen - Talking Heads
  15. Keep On Runnin' - Cat Power
  16. House of Cards - Radio Head 
  17. Pink Moon - Nick Drake
If you have any other cookie recipes or playlists to share, please post them. Craig is a cookie monster and I am forever looking for cool music to practice to.

+ April 18th is just around the corner. This will mark the last day of my 54 day Moon Salutations and the one year anniversary of the 108 x 108 day practice. I would like to do something really cool and I want you all involved. Any ideas?