Monthly Archives: January 2013

Sculpting a New Beginning

If you told me just three months ago that in 19 days I’d be starting Yoga Sculpt teacher training I’d tell you that you were off your rocker. There’s absolutely no way. You’re crazy.

But I am.

For those who’ve never heard of Yoga Sculpt before, it’s heated power yoga with weights and it’s just as intense as it sounds. Each class includes strength-training exercises such as squats, lunges, bicep and tricep curls while you’re in yoga poses (such as Warrior II or Chair) as well as cardio, plyometrics, and lots of other components I’ll learn about very soon.

You want to know the truth? I can hardly make it through a single Sculpt class without stopping to catch my breath. At least once per class (and frequently more often than that) I have to put down the weights and do the exercises without them.

It’s humbling and challenging and sometimes the most difficult thing I do in a day and that’s exactly why I want to teach it.

Hello frenemies: Let's do this! (Usually they're stacked more neatly, but I snapped this right after a Sculpt class.)

Hello frenemies. Let’s do this! 

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past few years it’s that change and growth happen when I challenge myself. Like so many other humans I’m a creature of habit and feel most comfortable when I’m doing things I know I’m good at. But true joy, true reward, and true balance, I’ve learned, come from those experiences where I step outside my comfort zone, try something new, push myself, and make mistakes. (Nowhere is this more evident in my every day life than when I cook.) I also experience all of these things in every single Sculpt class. Even when it feels like I’m the only one gasping for air or moving without weights in a class packed with 30 other sweaty bodies I never feel defeated. Because for the first time in my life I truly feel like the only person I’m competing against is myself.

I’ve also learned there’s something so deeply rewarding about noticing real, tangible progress in some aspect of your life. For me, Sculpt isn’t about sculpting a certain kind of body. It’s about becoming stronger physically, cardiovascularly (is that a word?), and mentally. I may not notice a change every time I step on my mat. If there’s anything I’ve learned from yoga (without weights) it’s that every day is different and some days I may feel stronger or weaker than others. But over time, with practice, patience, and focus, change will happen inside and out.

Of course, I could continue being solely a Sculpt student, but I love teaching yoga so much and I can’t wait to learn more about this puzzling practice and share the yoga love. I also want to help students see the bigger picture like I have: it’s not about the immediate physical changes. It’s about the long-term rewards that come from dedication, progress, and lots of sweaty fun along the way.

Chicken with Tomatoes & Mushrooms

Image

Happy New Year, friends!

I hardly know where to begin. Is it really 2013? For the first time in my life I was really sad to see the year come to an end. It was without question the very best year of my life. The funny thing is when I think about all of the wonderful things that happened in 2012, it seems like they occurred within the span of a single week: I moved into a new apartment with Robert, I passed my yoga audition and officially became a yoga instructor at CorePower Yoga, I learned a book I ghost wrote was accepted by the publisher, and I got engaged! (Read the full recap of that unbelievable week here.)

But the truth is although these mega life events came to fruition within a single week in August, I had been planting the seeds all year long and even before 2012: I took the leap and signed up for yoga Teacher Training early in the year; I scored the writing contract at the end of 2011 and pushed my writing limits throughout most of 2012; and Robert and I had been building the foundation of our relationship since the day we met in 2010 (though I had no idea he would ask for forever in 2012). When I look back at the magical milestones that occurred in 2012, they’re a great reminder of just how far hard work, dedication, and following my heart can take me in my life. They’re also a great reminder for those moments, down the road, whenever I feel stuck that when I keep pushing forward, stay focused, and challenge myself in new ways marvelous things can happen.

Of course there were countless highlights that occurred outside of that week including a few trips to California (L.A., Carmel by the Sea, San Francisco, and Sonoma), New York, Vermont, Kansas City, Michigan, Florida, FRANCE, and a Christmas cruise with Robert’s family.

Image

Merry Christmas from a Caribbean Cruise

When the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve I knew there were so many wonderful things waiting for me on the other side of 2013 and I’m ready to dive in. Of course there’s our wedding in September (!!!) and a honeymoon after that (no idea where we’ll be going yet – happily, Robert’s in charge of that!) We’ll also be celebrating lots of other friends who are getting hitched this year all across the country. Hopefully we can plan another trip for the end of Robert’s busy season (though I’m not sure it’ll be quite as fancy as France). And when it comes to work, well, who knows what the future holds! Every year has been dramatically different from the one before it with new and ever-changing opportunities. So I’ll continue plugging along with my magazine and custom publishing writing and the rest is an open book (PUN!) I also want to continue pushing the limits right here with cooking and blogging. I have big ideas in store for this lil’ blog that could. Thank you so, so much for taking this journey with me : )

For now, I thought I’d kick off the year with a super simple, super delicious, and super healthy home-cooked meal: Chicken with tomatoes and mushrooms. It doesn’t get any simpler than this, folks. Just three ingredients (four if you count the two cloves of garlic (not pictured)…five if you count dried oregano…). Point is: that’s it! With so few basic and inexpensive ingredients it’s a great step toward my eco friendly and budget conscious goals for 2013.

Mushrooms, Chicken, and Tomatoes. (Four ingredients if you count the two cloves of garlic.)

Mushrooms, Chicken, and Tomatoes

It kind of tasted like a stripped down chicken cacciatore. At one point I contemplated adding some onion or even a little red wine, but I wanted to see what would happen if I kept things as simple as possible. I’m so glad I did–it was the kind of soul-warming food you want in early January, took less than 30 minutes to prepare, and created very little mess to clean up (it’s a one-pot meal). I served it over brown rice with a simple salad of arugula, fresh navel orange, toasted blanched almonds, and a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. In a word: success.

Chicken with mushrooms & arugula salad

 Arugula salad & chicken with tomatoes and mushrooms 

Chicken with Tomatoes & Mushrooms

Serves 4

Ingredients

1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

16 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms (or any kind)

1 (14.5 oz) can diced & fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles (or any kind of tomatoes you like)

1/2 tsp dried oregano

Preparation

Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add chicken to pot. Season with salt and pepper. Cook chicken, turning to cook all sides, until cooked through. Transfer chicken to plate, cover with foil. Add minced garlic to pot and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and oregano. Cook, covered, until tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes. Add chicken and any accumulated juices back to the pot. Toss to coat and cover until chicken is heated through.

Adapted from Martha Stewart