Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Green Smoothies

Something weird has been happening in my yoga practice lately. You know how sometimes when you're stretching and bending and meditating.... suddenly your body tells you loud and clear that it is craving a certain food? Well lately mine has been screaming 'I WANT A GREEN SMOOTHIE'. I usually have a frozen fruit smoothie in the morning but now sometime between Standing Bow and Balancing Stick my muscles and cells seem to crave the energy they can only get from greens.

I tried searching online for recipes but couldn't find a simple one that used everyday ingredients. I just wanted to use the things I had in my fridge and try something 'safe'. I mean, I had no idea whether this was even going to taste good or not. I came up with a simple recipe that has a very mild green taste and gives my body the boost it needs.

This is a great smoothie for Bikram yogis, it only takes five minutes to make and the coconut water and spinach are good for hydration. The banana gives you potassium and also makes the smoothie taste creamy and light. Be sure to drink at least two hours before yoga because protein powder takes a long time to digest and will make you feel full in class.

Banana Spinach Protein Smoothie


- 1 Banana (frozen for a thicker smoothie)
- 2 cups Spinach
- 1 cup Coconut Water or Tap Water
- 1 scoop Whey Protein (I usually use Vanilla but was craving Chocolate today, both taste good)
- 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds or Other Supplements


1. Break Banana into smaller pieces and put into blender container.

2. Add in 1 cup of Spinach.

3. Add in Protein Powder and Chia Seeds or other supplements like Flax Seeds or Hemp Hearts.

4. Pour Coconut Water into the container, it should wilt some of the Spinach and push the mixture down, creating more space.

5. Add the other cup of Spinach to the container now that there is more room.

6. Blend all the ingredients together and drink at least 2 hours before yoga.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back to School

I am back in Vancouver now and happy to be here.

I loved the last two months in Kelowna. I learned so much from the teachers at the Bikram Yoga studio, I got to practice more than usual and the weather was phenomenal. I feel like I have had a good long summer and I'm ready for fall. This never happens because I'm not a big fan of the rain and it feels like the summer in Vancouver is never long enough.

But I'm happy to be back. Today was my first day teaching in Richmond again and it was wonderful. Both of my classes were relatively small and the students were working hard and listening closely. I had quite a few first-timers in my second class and a lot of people who had come back to yoga after taking the summer off. I can relate to them more easily after taking a bunch of time off at the beginning of the year to travel. I just tried to encourage them to realize how strong they were and to keep on trying.

One of the people just returning looked a little green at one point and another lady could only sit on her mat but they both made it through the whole class without leaving and their determination inspired me. If they could finish up class, I had no excuse not to myself! One of my favorite teachers was there too and it was a pleasure to see her practice and hear her feedback after class.

Then I took class, and I have to say I was the one being schooled. I haven't taught two classes in a row for almost four months so I was pretty tired after teaching. I noticed how exhausted I was when I took class. My breathing was heavier than normal and I struggled to get it under control during the standing series. That's ok though, it means I am working on my cardio and improving my lung capacity, it is all good.

I'm starting to find the beauty in struggle in class, the things that are hard are the things your body really needs and that's how you make change happen. I also noticed that I have let go of being 'perfect' in class. If I needed to go a bit easy in a posture I didn't stress out like usual. I've been focusing on the form of the posture and letting go of how far I can stretch into it and it's had an impact on my mental state when I'm in the room as well.

These are just some personal observations I have made about the differences between Kelowna and the Lower Mainland studios. The Kelowna studio is hot and dry. It was hard to get in and take class because I was already sweating when I got to the studio. In contrast, the air in Vancouver is much cooler but more moist. Taking a breath in here is like drinking water, it is so refreshing. It also means the classes are more humid, and seem hotter as well.

In Kelowna the teachers taught with a strong focus on dialogue and there were a good group of experienced students who practiced regularly. In Vancouver there are so many more beginning students that the teachers use less strict dialogue in an effort to explain the postures in a more accessible fashion. Both are good. Vancouver teachers make up for less dialogue by correcting more experienced students so I have gotten some good tips on my practice, Kelowna teachers have such wisdom in the things they say between the postures and I feel my teaching grew much stronger as a result of their motivational classes.

I'm stuck between missing Kelowna and looking forward to bringing everything I learned back home and putting it into practice in Vancouver, but I know it's going to be a great fall and winter!