Monday, April 22, 2013


Brew your own kombucha at home!
Kombucha is an amazing, probiotic drink which is pretty expensive when purchased at the store.  But you can make this wonder drink for just pennies at home.  If you can make tea, you can make kombucha!
To begin, you need:
-a big glass jar (I use a big pickle jar, left over from a concession stand, but you can even just use a quart jar, if you don't want to make much)
-Tea (not herb tea, black tea!)
-sweetener (for true kombucha, use white sugar, for Jun, a relative, use honey)
-a kombucha "mother".  These can usually be obtained by asking around (I have a few at the house right now) or can be ordered online.

Bring your water to a boil, with the tea bags in.  For a gallon of water, I use 5 small tea bags.  Once it's boiling, add your sweetener.  For my gallon of water, I use about 1/2 cup of sugar, or 1/4 cup of honey for Jun.  Make sure this gets evenly distributed.  Let cool completely before adding your "mother".  Cover your jar loosely, like in the photo above.  I use a towel and rubber bands.  Let sit on your counter or in a cupboard for several days, up to several weeks.  When the weather is warmer, it doesn't take as long.  Taste your kombucha periodically, and enjoy when it gets to your liking.
If the kombucha develops an odd smell, or a really gross look, throw it out!  When you're ready to make another batch, repeat the process, and add your new "mother" and a little of your homemade kombucha to the new tea mixture.

For more about kombucha, visit  Happy brewing!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Why I do Yoga: part 3

Do you know what a type-A personality looks like?  Always stressed, always hurried, always freaked out about one thing or another.  That’s me.  Or at least it used to be me.  And I still fall into that habit every now & then.  But it’s not how I live.

I come from a long line of worriers.  I could worry about anything.  I’m sure if there were awards for worrying, I would be a finalist.  If you’re a worrier, you know how hard it is to live that way.  Never peaceful.  Never content. 

The first time I tried Sivasana (the meditation at the end of each yoga class), it was just 10 minutes to worry, uninterrupted!  My monkey mind was all over the place.  How did these people lie still so long?  Aren’t they dying to get up & do something?

Slowly, very slowly, Yoga, Pranayama (breathing) and meditation have changed all that for me.  Most of the time, I can quiet my mind.  Now, I’m more likely to be thinking of just one thing, instead of many things at once.  I still worry, but not as often.  Now, with practice, I can breathe, calm my mind, and stop freaking out.  I can prioritize and accomplish my tasks in a calm and peaceful manner.

This has been another liberating aspect of yoga.  Slowing down, letting go.  Most of my friends and acquaintances now wouldn’t know what a type-A I used to be.  I like that.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Can Yoga Help...?

As a yoga teacher, I tend to think yoga can help everything.  But here's a list of some of the health conditions shown by scientific studies to benefit from the practice of yoga.  From Yoga As Medicine:  The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing by Timothy McCall, MD
Alcoholism & other drug abuse
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Carpal Tunnel Syndrom
COPD (Emphysema)
Congestive Heart Failure
Drug Withdrawal
Eating Disorders
Heart Disease
High Blood Pressure
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Monopausal and Perimenopausal Symptoms
Migraine and Tension Headaches
Multiple Sclerosis
Neuroses (e.g. Phobias)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Pain (chronic)
Pancreatitis (chronic)
Pleural Effusion (fluid collection in the lining of the lung)
Post-Heart Attack Rehabilitation
Postoperative Recovery
Post-Polio Syndrome
Pregnancy (both normal and complicated)
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rhinitis (Inflammation of the Nose)
Scoliosis (curvature of the spine)
Urinary Stress Incontinence

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Why I do yoga: part 2

In this series, I’m exploring all the reasons I choose to do yoga and own a studio.  What I’m discovering is that it could be a long series.  There’s so much I love about practicing yoga!

But today, I want to talk about one of the physical reasons I practice yoga:  my back.

If I could show you my x-rays, you would see a weird bone formation at L-4/L-5.  Those are two of the lower vertebrae, just above the pelvis.  When I was 18, I was having a lot of back pain, and I went to a Chiropractor.  He found that I have a natural fusion of the two vertebrae, and that they form a strange shape, and are connected on the left side of my spine.  This was affecting me in several ways.  First, the spot of fusion was hurting a lot.  It seemed that the fused bones were rubbing on the upper part of my pelvis, and since there was no natural cartilage there, it was pretty painful.  Also, I got “referred pain”, which means that I had muscular pain on the right side of my mid-back, in my left shoulder, and in the right side of my neck & jaw.  And I was just 18, and very fit.

My parents took me to an Orthopedist, who said he could do nothing for me.  He also said that I wouldn’t be able to walk by the time I was 30, and then they would do surgery.  (BTW, I’m about to turn 36 and I walk pain-free!)

Dejected, I began studying how to strengthen my back.  I found that the stronger my back, the less pain I experienced.  I was a personal trainer, and everything I had been taught had to do with the superficiality of the body-the muscles you can see.  I began training the deep muscles of the back.

But then came yoga.  At first, I was so frustrated when I struggled with some of the poses.  I was so strong and healthy, right?  But I learned that my core strength, while better than before, was sadly lacking.  Yoga works better than any other exercises to target, strengthen, and stretch the deep muscles of the back, to support the spine.

Today, I have been practicing yoga regularly for almost 10 years.  I have no back pain.  On a rare occasion, I will “over-do” and hurt.  But now, I know how to fix it.  Yoga has been the ultimate solution to my back pain problem.

If you’ve got back pain, what are you waiting for?  Try a class!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Why I do Yoga: part 1

I've been reading a business book, entitled, "Start with Why".  It's been pretty powerful.  I've asked myself, "why DO I work this hard to keep up a yoga studio?"  So, the following is just the first story of why I love yoga.  Some of these will end up in our marketing materials, but it's been very therapeutic, just to write about it. 
I spent the majority of my life critical of myself and others.  There were many reasons for this, but it was mostly a lack of self-worth.  I was my harshest judge.  Anything short of perfection was I was always unacceptable.
When I went to teacher training for the first time, I was so uncomfortable.  Look at these people:  she needs to brush her hair, his clothes don't match, what's with all those tattoos....Not to mention judging myself:  what will they think of me?  What should I say?  That was stupid of me.  How do I look to them?  I could not relax.
But one morning, in my hotel, getting ready to go, I looked at my messy, wild hair and for the first time, I thought "that's OK."  I suddenly realized that my yoga friends weren't judging me.  This was a major first in my life:  unconditional acceptance.  It blew my mind & opened the door for me to stop judging myself.
I have not mastered this skill.  I'm still my own worst critic.  But now that I've tasted the freedom of accepting myself, it's a part of my daily life.  And I find I can be kinder to others as well.
This is just one of the ways that yoga has helped me find my peace.  Let it help you find yours.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Don't compare your body to anyone else's!

Each of these women weigh 154 lbs.  I saw this from EJNamaste Fitness and Yoga Inspiration, on facebook.
What strikes me is that the four in the middle are around the same height, but carry their weight very differently.  But aren't they all beautiful?  So stop comparing!  God made you beautiful.
Also, notice the confidence radiating from each of those faces.  That's inner beauty shining through. 
If you want to be more beautiful, practice yoga, but not just the movement (asana)...practice the meditation, practice the lifestyle....and your confidence will shine through, also.