Join me for a spring time yoga workshop this coming Monday where we’ll rejuvenate, purify and meditate our way to samadhi.
As a yoga instructor who works with many moms, I find that the most common area mamas want to focus on is strengthening the core. After childbirth, the abdominal muscles get stretched so much that many women find it difficult to get rid of the “pooch”, even after losing the baby weight. I find that Navasana (or boat pose) is a great way to tone the abs, strengthen the lower back and rebuild the integrity of the pelvic floor. Here’s a version where you can cuddle with your baby and tighten your midsection at the same time!
Start by having your baby snuggly in your lap facing away from you. Make sure you’re firmly on your sit-bones with your feet planted on the floor. With a flat back, lean back until you’re on the edge of your sit-bones and tailbone, feeling your abs engage. When you feel steady, lift up your legs so that your shins are parallel to the floor. Cradle baby with your arms or extend them to either side of your legs, parallel to each other and the floor. Inhale and exhale for up to 10 counts. Repeat as many times as you’d like. Tickle baby’s feet to make the time go by faster. 🙂
Ok, I’ll admit that I’m a bit challenged in the kitchen (I mistook garlic for an onion a few years ago and my husband STILL pokes fun at me every chance he gets…), but I recently tried this veggie paella recipe from my friend and chef Nikki Croes, and it was a success! My husband went back for seconds and eagerly ate it for dinner the next day (this never happens!) so you can imagine how pleased I was. It’s an easy to follow recipe and a great way to stay on track with your health goals this year!
The only thing I did differently was add Paprika on top when it was done. Take a pic of yours and post it here!
Adapted from The Get Healthy, Go Healthy Vegan Cookbook
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
1 ½ cups brown rice
3 cups vegetable broth
¼ tsp. saffron
1 15-oz can/jar artichokes, drained and chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 ½ cups cooked kidney beans
Salt, pepper & oregano
Heat the olive oil in a pot. Saute onion and garlic until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
Add rice, broth, saffron, 1/2 tsp. salt and a pinch of pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
Open the lid and layer the artichokes, peas and beans on top of the rice. (Do not stir.) Cover and cook 10 minutes on low.
Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork to incorporate the ingredients. Season with salt, pepper and oregano.*
*Nikki’s Notes: I season to taste, so please do the same. The sodium content of your stock will inform how much salt you will need. Generally, a few generous pinches of salt, pepper and oregano can really dial up the flavors. You can also finish the dish with green olives and red pepper flakes, and serve with lemon wedges.
Tis’ the New Year! Time to start making resolutions that will be forgotten in 2 weeks, jumping on that juice diet because you ate way too many cookies during the holidays, and working overtime because of all the vacations you took during the holidays. But OH NO! You’ve caught a cold?
During the winter months, there are so many germs flying around, we are bound to catch a cold or two. When you’re sick, it is more important than ever to listen to your body and be gentle with yourself. Sometimes being active is the last thing you want to do, so this simple, relaxing pose is perfect to help open the chest and the shoulders so you can breath easier, quiet your nervous system and release stress. Practicing yoga not only boosts your immune system so you’re less likely to get sick, it can also help to reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness.
Here’s an easy one for you to try:
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining bound angle pose)
What you need: 1 blanket, 2 towels or 2 blocks
- Use a bolster or a rolled up blanket (see picture on bottom left) and place it lengthwise along your spine from the base of your lower back to the top of your head so that you’re in a mild back bend. Prop up your head with another blanket if that feels good.
- Bring the soles of your feet together and use blocks or roll up towels to place under the thighs. Remember this is relaxing, so it should not feel like a deep stretch in your legs.
- Bring your arms away from the body in a V, palms up. Prop up blankets under your hands and wrists if that feels good.
- Close your eyes, put on some soothing music, and breathe fully and deeply. Stay here for 5-10 min.
To deepen your experience, you can cover yourself with a blanket and use an eye pillow. Also try humming (“Om” or “hmmm”) and hold it a little longer than usual to help clear up your sinuses. The “mmm” sound vibrates in your nasal passages and could help to give you some relief.