Tag Archives: ashtanga

Beneath the Surface

I miss UVM…

Watch this video!

Just one of the many reasons I love it so much!  We have our own Farmer’s Market, and it’s fabulous.  Plus, Feel Good, an amazing organization that is ending world hunger one grilled cheese at a time, sells sandwiches there!  Guess who is next year’s deli manager 😉  MOI!

It gets pretty cold selling sandwiches outside the library during finals. But we smile!

Imma manage that deli like it’s my JOB!  Well, it sort of will be my job 🙂  cheese + bread + changemaking = MY LIFE

My running fuel this morning was an instant coffee w/ soymilk and vampire toast:

I guess it wasn’t that flash that made it look like blood…my secret is coming out…

I went for a pain-free 30 minute run.  I wanted to go longer, but I played it safe.  Yoga was a good cardio workout yesterday, anywho!  To me, Ashtanga really is the most well-rounded workout out there: strength, stretch, and cardio.  It really puts your endurance to the test.  You try doing 10 sun salutations in a row, only one breath per move!  You’ll be huffing and puffing and sweating like a beast.  We tend to focus so much on how our workouts benefit us on the surface, like slinking off fat or building up sexy muscles.  But the most important benefits occur inside: healthy joints, healthy heart, healthy mind.  And yoga nourishes all three ❤

Once back from my run, I had a no-big-deal bowl of oatmeal (cinnamon + 1 spoonful of p’nut butt-)

I had a marvelous morning doing laundry! lol And preparing for the practical exam during class today.  It wasn’t too difficult, it was a test to see if we could administer New Zealand’s standardized math assessment.  Essentially, reading through a script and knowing where to go next per each response.  Easy peasy!

Lunch was leftovers from yoga dinner yesterday:

Potatoes with the most heavenly seasoning ever, and some kind of roll with tzatziki, spinach, and ???

I think more potatoes, maybe?  I also had a snack to hold me over until after class: 3 crackers with p’nut butt-

and a ginger slice as a treat.  Those fill me with so much DELIGHT!

See that dwindling foodstash behind me?  (We have the top shelf)  We are trying to hold off grocery shopping until this weekend, because some huge American college guy is crashing with us for two weeks…

Halloween (he doesn't normally wear a hat lol)

Hannah’s boyfriend is arriving next week, yay!  But we need to stock up for his hungriness, big-time.  It’s be a big haul, lol.  (And expect some man-friendly recipes soon!)

Thus, dwindling foodstash = this for dinner:

Good thing we had some in-stock!  The perfect brain-food for trivia tonight!

What benefits are you getting from your workout?




Filed under Fitness, Food, Life, New Zealand, Running, School, Yoga

Vampire Toast! (and Yogic Chanting)

Last night, around bedtime, I noticed two strange things:

  1. I was starting to get a REALLY bad headache
  2. I had not eaten any chocolate ALL DAY!

Related or unrelated, I decided to eat some chocolate:

I got three of these packages of Cadbury milk chocolate buttons for nz$1 each at the supermarket.  All I need to do is pop 2 or 3 of these in my pie-hole, and my chocolate craving is conquered!  Not as good as chocolate pie would be, but it does the job 😉

Despite the chocolate (which usually cures everything) my headache still pounded on.  Sometimes I get hunger headaches, and though I didn’t feel hungry, I had a piece of toast in the dark while watching my nightly Shaytards (an adorable family’s daily vlog).

Vampire toast!  aka wholemeal-multigrain toast with strawberry-jam-that-looks-like-blood-with-the-flash-blaring-on-it!

Turns out all I needed to do was sleep because I konked out at 10pm and woke up happily at 5:45am (still dark out of course, lol!  can you tell by the breakfast pic?)

I reminisced about my trip and had my staple breakfast while on the road: a microwaved egg on toast.  Plus some vampire toast since it was such a hit last night!

Breakfast was not filling enough, so I snacked on some almonds and a mandarin orange during class.  I also treated myself to a cappuccino during our break!  My justification was that I would probably have bought one for my mom if I had seen her on Mother’s Day!  It even had a little dusting of cocoa powder on top.  😀  Thanks, Mom!

Mondays are a pretty awesome food day because falafel pita wraps are the special at Pita Pit, a healthy deli right around the corner from our apartment.

They are HUGE!  Today I ate them in stages.

Stage 1:  I ate the first half on top of some salad while skyping with the fam.

Stage 2:  I pretended I was saving the second half for lunch tomorrow, but approximately 90 minutes later, I warmed up the second half and devoured it.

Inside the wholemeal pita: Falafel grilled with mushrooms, green bell peppers, and red onions.  Avocado spread, hot sauce, and S&P.  And shredded carrot, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, sprouts, pickles, jalapenos, and black olives.  All for nz$8.

A little before yoga, I had a snack because I am a yoga rule-breaker and I was hungry.

I had three large crackers with this new hummus we got!  It was on sale!

That means pumpkin and sweet potato.  Perfect for winter!  I really liked it because it was nice and thick, not watery like the crap I usually buy other stuff I’ve bought.  Plus, the flavors were very subtle so it was still a garbanzo-ey hummus but with a hint of those warm harvest fruits/veges.

For snack-dessert, I had a large cracker with p’nut butt-

And a teensy ginger slice–guilty!

And 3 more chocolate buttons–guiltysquared!  But really, I’m not guilty.  It was quite enjoyable.

Mondays are also awesome food days because it’s my night for Ashtanga yoga and karma-free meal at the Loft Yoga Lounge!  Tonight, I did what I did last week and packed up the main course to bring home for lunch tomorrow: I just ate the soup, salad, and dessert after class.  The soup was spicy with lentils, the salad had OLIVES, and dessert was a delicious berry custard.

When I got home, I ranted to poor Hannah for a solid 20 minutes about how different yoga is here in New Zealand than it is is America.  It’s definitely a good experience to learn different interpretations of the ancient practice, but you can guess which style I’m partial to 😉  One big difference is the chanting.  As in, I haven’t heard any chanting other than an occasional “om” and and rare “shanti.”  They barely even say “namaste”!  And I miss it.  A lot.

I would like to share with you one of my favorite chants, the Ashtanga Closing Chant, which I often whisper to myself if I can’t fall asleep at night, or sing to myself if I am in a particularly jolly mood.  Here is the English translation:

May all be well with mankind

May the leaders of the earth protect in every way

by keeping to the right path

May there be goodness for those who know the earth to be sacred

May all the worlds be happy.

May the rain come

May the crops be bountiful

May the people be full of nutrition and happiness

May the rulers rule with the people in mind

May all of this occur in an atmosphere of celebration.

And here is a recording of my wonderful yoga instructor and friend Adena doing the chant.  Also look at how beautiful she is on Yoga Vermont’s homepage!  Though I have learned most of what I know about yoga from Kathy, the owner of Yoga Vermont, it was Adena who first started to teach me about the practice that has changed my life.  She was the one who encouraged my to go to my first Ashtanga class.  She was the one who practiced this chant with me over and over until I could sing it along with her, too ❤ Yoga is a very personal practice, but it can also connect you with other people in a way that is totally unique.

I love chanting because it really helps me focus and get serious about my practice, connecting me to the spiritual side of yoga.  It also fosters self-love because even though I may not chant it the same way or as perfectly as someone else, it always sounds and makes me feel beautiful, which is how we should feel about our practice.

How do you feel about chanting?



Filed under Fitness, Food, Life, New Zealand, Yoga

Hungry Hungry Yogi

Again, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the mothers of the world!  As a teacher and a daughter, I think I know better than anyone how wonderful you all are.  Read about my mommy here!

After a classic bowl of oatmeal (coconut-almond-cinnamon-p’nut butt’) I went to a 90 minute long beginner’s Ashtanga class at Auckland Yoga Academy.  I was really looking forward to a good stretch because of the knee pain I was dealing with yesterday.

It was a really wonderful class that got my heart pumping and my sweat flowing.  Since it’s a longer class, I had to pay 2 freaking extra dollars! we did 5 full sets of Sun Salutation/Suryanamaskara A & B (we usually do 5 of A then 3 or 4 of B) and I was happy to be feeling the burn, baby!

I was sort of expecting to be really stiff or creaky in my knees, but it was actually the opposite!  In fact, for the first time EVER I felt like I was actually doing Marichyasana B

source (that’s not me)

and D!

source (that’s not me, either)

WTF, knees?  I thought you were upset about something?  Admittedly, I could not do it as perfectly as these women, but for the first time, I could actually get into the posture and it didn’t feel like I was faking it!  Marichyasana D is supposed to be “the most challenging posture” in all of Ashtanga (the response in my head to that is usually, according to who?) but either way, it is certainly one of the most challenging ones for me, especially on my knees, ankles, and hips.

I can only take that as a message that yoga is the best thing for my body. It’s just what my body loves most.  Period.

When I got home, I was starving after working so hard for 90 minutes, so I put together a robust sandwich for myself.

On two quite toasty slices of Wholemeal Multigrain bread, I put three warm falafel balls, a hardboiled egg, and a handful of salad greens.  It was a bit dry (it would have been good with pasta sauce or tzatziki!) but it was still soooooo satisfying!

Though, surprisingly, my tummy was grumbling a short while later!  Probs because I hit the mat so hard today 😉

So I reheated 1/8th of the leftover pizza and also ate two mandarin oranges from the farmer’s market.  They are so sour!  And many of them in the bag are mushy?  Not pleased.  Must chat with fruit farmer next week.

I spent the afternoon lesson planning.  I’m pretty excited for my maths measurement lesson this week!

For dinner: Curry Shrimp with Broccoli and Lentils  While boiling some brown rice, microwave chopped broccoli for 2 minutes (this “steams” them), then saute said broccoli with shrimp, pre-cooked lentils, 2 tsps curry powder, and some soy sauce!

yumyumyumyumyum  If you don’t microwave the broccoli, it won’t soften very easily while sauteing them; mine usually browns without getting soft at all.  Not what we’re going for!  But this, on the other hand, was perfect 🙂

For dessert:

2 small slices of ginger crunch.  Perfect way to end the night 🙂

What type of exercise is your body’s favorite?



Filed under Fitness, Food, Life, New Zealand, Recipes, Student Teaching, Yoga

Yoga Solutions!

Today has been a grrrrreat day!  We woke up to sunshine, so of course I woke up smiling.  But how could I not smile the morning after a night of fun at Father Ted’s?

I do have bad news about that, though.  We came in last place for trivia.  😦 Humiliating.  Also, Hannah and I didn’t have anything prepared for Karaoke, so we just spectated.  But that turned out to be so much fun, we ended up staying a long while!  We really missed Father Ted’s while we were on break.  I love that the bartenders recognize us and the trivia dude always chats us up.  I feel so at home there!

Anyway, back to today.  I went to yoga and guess what, it was stupendous!  I guess Monday was just an off day.

I attended a beginner’s Ashtanga class at Auckland Yoga Academy.

Just 50 minutes long, it’s like an abridged version of full Primary Series, which is usually a breeze for me.

But today it totally kicked my butt!  Maybe that’s because I’m still getting into the swing of things, but whatever the reason it felt soooo good.  I love it when yoga makes me a sweaty yet confident mess, with breath like a refreshing life force as my muscles work until they shake.  It was awesome.

lol!  That’s a card I got today from Hannah’s mom today.  Isn’t it just perfect for me?  She sent Hannah a package, with a few things in it for me, too!

It was like Christmas Easter morning as we opened up the package!  I got that hilarious card with a lovely message, that cute puppy, a box of Rainsinet’s (my fave!), a fun wooden airplane kit, a square of Ghiradelli 60% Dark Chocolate (my OTHER fave!), and a gift card to Starbucks!  Lucky me!

Thank you so much, Mrs. Pace!  It was so thoughtful and generous  🙂  I love you and miss you!

Me & Mrs. P apple picking in VT, fall 2010

Getting the package made me yearn for home a bit, but I came across a quote today that I am trying to keep in mind:

Don’t count the days, make the days count.

With less than two months left in this amazing country, I really need to focus on that idea.

Lunch was last night’s leftovers:

We made roasted mushrooms, carrots, and broccoli with quinoa.  After dressing the chopped veggies in olive oil mixed with Italian herb paste and S&P, I roasted them in our microwave/oven for 25 minutes on 240*C (tossing them halfway through).  They came out still a bit crunchy so I probably could have left them in longer.  But I didn’t, and it was still fab!  Fresh, but with enough roasting to bring out those flava flaves.

What quote is getting you through lately?



Filed under Fitness, Food, Life, New Zealand, Recipes, Yoga

May Foliage

I started my day with a long chat with this crazy bunch:

My family in Pennsylvania!  That’s my sister Sam, my Dad, my dog Ghia, and my mom (She has a new hobby!

Collecting vintage Pyrex bowls!  It’s fascinating!  That’s my g-ma Gram L. creepin in the background.)

Once we said our goodbyes, I set out to try running again among the autumn foliage.

Good news! My run today was much better than Sunday’s!  I ran (with some walking for recovery, especially after/during hills!) for 45 minutes and saw lots of pretty leaves changing.  Nothing can compare to Vermont of course, but I’ll take it!

After doing a loop around the Domain, I intended to stop once I crossed the bridge, but instead I cranked “Shipping up to Boston” and pushed pushed pushed!  I did finally call it quits after one hard loop of the park near my apartment to “Dog Days are Over.”

I felt pretty good most of the run, with just some side cramping that is pretty typical for me.   I just walk it out until it goes away.  But also, my hamstrings were really tight from yesterday’s yoga, so I needed to stop and stretch a few times.

A fabulous lunch was waiting for me to heat up when I got home.

Though my practice wasn’t exactly perfect last night, dinner after yoga did not disappoint!  The studio I attend on Mondays offers a full vegetarian meal after class, included in the nz$14 drop in price for students!  Last night they served this lasagna, veggie soup, a side salad, real AMERICAN lemonade (“lemonade” here is really sugary and carbonated), and apple crumble for dessert (made with apples from my friend’s tree!)  Since I wasn’t feeling my best after class, my appetite wasn’t as rampant as usual–I can usually clean the plate!  I finished the soup and salad and a few cups of lemonade.  I don’t have to tell you that I was feeling well enough for dessert 🙂  But I brought all of the lasagna home!

It was amazering.  A HUGE bowl of spinach and kumara (sweet potato) lasagna was the perfect way to refuel after my run.

I also had a nice instant coffee with oat milk before class.  Gotta stay awake during the 2pm-5pm class somehow!

During class, we got the news that a tornado had struck just north of Auckland.  Traveling at 200km/hour, it swept away cars and roofs of buildings, injuring many people and killing two.  Luckily, I am home safe and the storm system has dissipated.  In comparison to the tornadoes in Alabama, it seems like nothing, but it is a huge deal for Auckland and New Zealand – stuff like this simply doesn’t happen here.  I am so thankful that I am safe, but those affected are certainly in my thoughts and prayers.



Filed under Fitness, Food, Life, New Zealand

Winter is almost here…

You heard me!  It’s the start of May and apparently we are seeing the first signs of winter here in Auckland, New Zealand…

Rain and wind and clouds.  The wind is so loud that it sounds like thunder when it pounds against the buildings!  This is not helping my post-vacation slump.

Also not helping my slump is my skin issue.  Since it had appeared to be on the mend, I thought that maybe by the time I got back from my trip it would be even better.

But alas, it looks about the same.  (See how sunny and warm it was last time I took the pictures!?)  Of course, this could have been due to the craziness of the trip, but I kept up with my regimen, so I don’t see why there is no improvement.  Perhaps it has plateaued?  Have my current meds done all they are capable of doing?

The good news is that the pain I was experiencing before I started to use the medicine has completely gone, which was my main concern.  I’m still worried about it because I have been noticing some other aspects of my health aren’t quite right.  I know when my body is at its healthiest, and I feel like it just isn’t there lately. My body is in some sort of slump.

My goal is to keep track of my symptoms and how I am feeling so that I am prepared with evidence when I can finally visit my doctors once I’m back in the US.  (If my symptoms get so bad that they start to interfere with my life, I will see a doc immediately.  I’m all for safety!)  I will also stick with my healthy living routine that I always follow: plenty of sleep, exercise, and healthy foods.

Speaking of the USA…

On being American:  When I moved to New Zealand, though I am very proud of where I come from, I didn’t want to be labeled with the “American” stereotype that we often fear from foreigners.  I am not selfish and greedy.  I am not fat and lazy.  I am not rude or obnoxious.  I’m not stupid or shallow.  Every time I tell people that I am from the States, I have to swallow the urge to say, “but I’m cool, I swear!”  But today, I have no shame in admitting that I am American.

Honoring the WWII Memorial with our sexy legs, Summer '10

The news of Osama bin Laden’s death bring me so much pride for my country.  It’s a huge symbol for what America believes in and how, as Obama said in his speech, “we can do anything we put our minds to.” This debacle has been going on for 10 years without much to show for it, but finally we are reminded we we got into the mess in the first place.  For justice.

But now it’s just making me really homesick!  I love America and I miss the spirit; I wish I was there to witness this bit of history firsthand, and join in on all the celebrations!

Being proud Americans, Memorial Day '10

But I’ll be home just a week before the 4th of July.  Plenty of time to celebrate then.

Today is my day of Ashtanga, Full Primary Series.  I was a bit apprehensive for class, since I haven’t practiced in over two weeks :/  I was nervous that I would feel out of shape, but I was also yearning for a good stretch.

And for the first time in my life, yoga did not make me feel better.  I could NOT focus.  My mind was wandering all over the place.  My balance was off.  The toast I had as a snack (2 hours prior, I might add!) felt like it was in my throat.  My lower back was hurting(!)  My vinyasas were sluggish.  I couldn’t wait for closing sequence.  I hardly even remember breathing.  Forget about drishti (gaze)!  I was feeling so wack that I couldn’t even keep my eyes closed during svasana.  WHO DOES THAT?!?!?!

Even my teacher noticed, who always comments on my endless energy, that I seemed tired.  She also informed me not to worry, that it’s just because the full moon is tomorrow.  Right.  (Don’t get me wrong – I actually believe in that crap now lol!)

I’m just keeping in mind that practice is NOT perfect, and tomorrow is a new day.

Until then, pictures from my trip always cheer me up!

Marlborough Wine Region

What helps you climb out of a slump?



Filed under Fitness, Life, New Zealand

PB&J French Pita!

This morning, I woke up at 5:45am to make a 6:30am beginner Ashtanga class at the Auckland Yoga Academy. I was so glad I did! I love having my practice done before I even start my day, and suryanamaskara (Sun Salutation) never feels more sincere than doing them as the sun rises. Though its so much more challenging since I’m so stiff from a 7 hours of sleepy stillness! Luckily, it’s the best way to wake my body up. I felt pretty bad, though because even though I turned my phone off, my 7am alarm still went on? Technological mystery to me!

After yoga, I took the journey all the way to the North Shore to turn in my literacy paper. It only took about 45 minutes (I was back by 8:30am), which is the best I could have hoped for. And now, it’s officially DONE!

When I got home, I made myself a pretty special breakfast to celebrate my productive morning: PB&J French Pita!

This is essentially French Toast made with a pita (pita bread dipped in an egg beaten with cinnamon)

But, I put peanut butter and jelly on the inside before dipping and grilling! So yum.

Update on my clear skin journey!

This Week

Last Week

It seems like I am improving!

This Week

Last Week

Since I have been using the correct “potion” (as my BFFL Dominique whimsically put it) my skin has felt a lot better.

This Week

Last Week

I realize it may not look all that much better, but I can feel it healing! It is less sensitive to touch and the bumps are going down. Definitely progress!

What have you accomplished this morning?



Filed under Fitness, Food, Life, New Zealand, Recipes, Yoga