Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Iyengar Yoga Quote

"Yoga recognizes that the way our bodies and minds work has changed very little over the millennia. The way we function inside our skin is not susceptible to differ either in time or from place to place. In the functioning of our minds, in our way of relating to each other, there are inherent stresses, like geological fault lines that, left unaddressed, will always cause things to go wrong, whether individually or collectively. The whole thrust of yogic philosophical and scientific inquiry has therefore been to examine the nature of being, with a view to learning to respond to the stresses of life without so many tremors and troubles."
~B.K.S.Iyengar -Light on Life, p. xv.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Cobbler's Pose or Bound Angle Pose - Baddha Konasana

You are sitting on the beach watching the world go by.
Good time to practice a little yoga!

It's like sitting cross-legged except you put your feet together.  If you have 
difficulty with your hips, you may need to sit on a height.  General rule; 
knees should be no higher than the top of your hip.   Press your feet together 
and concentrate on pushing your knees towards the ground. Keep your back 
straight.  If you cannot reach your feet or ankles to hold, have a yoga belt 
handy. Hold for 30 seconds and release.  Repeat again.

I like to sit in this pose as an alternative to cross-legged pose.  You are sitting 
evenly, not pressing down on an ankle. 

Friday, 27 July 2012

Banana Cherry Slice

A very old recipe my mother cut out of the long defunct Winnipeg Tribune

1  1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup cold butter (add a pinch of salt if you use unsalted butter)
3 tbsp brown sugar

35 large marshmallows
17 maraschino cherries, chopped
2 ripe bananas, mashed

Cut butter into flour and brown sugar to make a crumb mixture.
Press into bottom of 9" x 13" greased pan.
Bake crust at 300F for 20 minutes.  Let cool.
Melt marshmallows in top of double boiler (or in microwave).
Stir in fruit.  Spoon over cooled base and chill.

1/2 cup soft butter (pinch of salt if using unsalted butter)
3/4 cup icing sugar
1-2 tbsp milk (or Amaretto)
2 tsp almond or vanilla extract (don't bother if using Amaretto)

Mix it all up and spread over cooled slice.

Thursday, 26 July 2012


To all the teachers whom I've had the privilege to work with.
What I have learned I share; and so on, and so on, and so on.

“As a teacher of yoga, what we share with students spreads out like the
wake from a boat and touches people we may never see or know."
- Judith Hanson Lasater -

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Food in my Travels

Here are photos of some sumptuous foods I have seen on my travels.
What's for supper tonight?

Chocolate shop, Ieper (Ypres), Belgium,  In Flanders Fields Museum square

 Wonderful seafood offered at the Sunday market in Caen,  Normandy,  France
                        Quiche in store window, Place de la Madeleine,  Paris,  France

                                                 Bakery in York, England.  The sweet.....

                                                                and the savory............

                                       Baklava in bakery window, Istanbul Turkey..........

                                                         .......and fresh strawberry tarts

          Italian cookies offered on our tour bus the day we left Lanciano for Assisi

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Absolutely Fabulous

Time for a little comedy with Eddy and Pats.
Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley are at it again all for Sport Relief 2012 (Britain).  Or is it for free designer clothes from Stella McCartney?  Just a fun reminder for those of us trying our best to keep physically fit and those of us who will follow the Olympic Games 2012 London.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Eagle Pose - Garudasana

Another pose for those pesky shoulders.

Extend your arms out to the side and swing them forward hooking the left elbow into the right elbow.  Press the right elbow (lower arm) up and the left elbow (upper arm) down.  Try to clasp your hands or clasp your wrist or whatever you can reach.  Arms should be at chest level.  Hold 30 seconds.  Release arms and rest for a bit.  Raise arms again and swing forward doing reverse; right elbow hooking into left elbow.  Hold 30 seconds and release.  Repeat once or twice more.

In the classic pose you also cross your legs in the opposite pattern so if your left arm is the top arm, then you would bend your knees slightly, cross your right thigh over your left thigh hooking the right foot around the left calf ideally balancing on the left leg.  Needless to say, do what you can.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Honey Ginger Snaps

I don’t know where I got this recipe.  I’ve had it a long time and it is a popular cookie.

½ cup butter
½ cup honey
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves

Cream butter.  Add honey, sugar and egg.  Sift dry ingredients and stir into butter mixture.
Cover and chill dough for one hour.  Drop one level tablespoon size balls of dough onto
prepared cookie sheets.  Bake at  375F  for 10-12 minutes.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Quote from B.K.S. Iyengar

"In order to find out how to reveal our innermost Being, the sages explored the various sheaths of existence, starting from body and progressing through mind and intelligence, and ultimately to the soul. The yogic journey guides us from our periphery, the body, to the center of our being, the soul. The aim is to integrate the various layers so that the inner divinity shines out as through clear glass." ~B.K.S. Iyengar –Light on Life

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Edinburgh, Scotland

I think this is an incredibly beautiful city.  I was there is mid-September when the roses were just past their peak.  August must be a glorious month.  There are green spaces and parks in central Edinburgh.  During my visit there were many painted, pre-fab, animal sculptures on display that were to be auctioned off as a fund raiser for endangered animals.

The historical centre of Edinburgh is its castle on top of a hill (a series of extinct volcanoes).  This is also where the famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is held every summer during the month of August.  The city cascades down from the hills to the Firth of Forth to the north.  There is no lack of stores, shops, pubs and restaurants of every description.  A lovely city to walk through on a pleasant sunny day.






Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Monday, 16 July 2012

Cow-face Pose (Gomukhasana)

So, you sit hunched over a desk clicking away and its keyboard.  When you
are cold, you hunch your shoulders up, for some of us that’s for several
months through a hard winter.  On top of that, there are those annoying
little pulls from lifting something too heavy or over stretching while
reaching up to a top shelf.  Stiff sore shoulders are incredibly common in
western cultures.

Cow-face (cow-head) pose will help open up the should joints and stretch the
muscles across the chest.  For some, it is and easy pose but for most, like
myself, it is a long process to achieve.  I can now touch my finger tips on one
side (right arm up, left arm down) but it took four years to get there.  You will
need a belt.  I use a cotton belt like those used in yoga studios.  Other props
I’ve used are luggage straps and jump ropes.  Whatever you use, it should not

Place belt over your right shoulder.  Raise your right arm and gently pull it
back just passed your ear (if you can).  Bend your elbow so your hand
touches somewhere between the bottom of your neck and between the top
of your shoulder blades. Your left arm is down. Stretch it back a bit, bend
the elbow and have your left hand go up the back aiming for your right hand.
If your hands to not clasp, grasp the belt and wiggle your fingers to try to get
your hands closer.  Gently pull on the belt and hold pose for 30 seconds.
Release grasp and shake your arms to relax.  Drape belt over left should and
repeat steps of pose with left arm up and right arm down.

Repeat pose cycle one or twice more.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Lemon Bars

I got this recipe off an old show on the Food Network quite a few years ago.
The show was about favourite recipes made by regular folks.
This is a very good standby recipe and is better if you make it a day ahead.

1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1 - 1/4 cup rolled oats
juice of 3 lemons
zest of 3 lemons
zest of 1 orange
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk (I use 2 x 300 ml cans)

Make crumb mixture of butter, sugar and flour.  Stir in oats.
Make filling by blending juice, zests and milk.
Press 2/3 of the crumb mix into greased 9" x 13" pan.
Pour filling over base and cover with remaining crumb mixture.
Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes until golden.
Cool, cover and refrigerate.

Recipe cuts better if you make it one day ahead.
I’ve also done this recipe with limes and lemons.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Tai Chi 

About two years ago the Reh-Fit Centre in Winnipeg starting offering Tai Chi and QiGong classes.  I had heard of them and was curious enough to try them out.  Both classes were excellent.  The QiGong I only needed to take once and then practice, practice, practice.  Our teacher, Peter Yeung, gave all his students a workbook as back-up.

Tai Chi was more complicated.  I took the class twice and still had a lot of practicing to work on.  Peter taught us a beginners 8-Form Tai Chi.  Movements needed to be very exact to get the full benefit of Tai Chi.  If you are looking at it as a good physical fitness practice, Tai Chi works on your co-ordination, hips and legs.  If you become very proficient at it, there are longer forms to learn.

Unfortunately I was taking too many practices at once and had to give up the Tai Chi for now but it is my intent to return to it one day.  Fortunately Peter had made a great YouTube video as a teaching tool.   It was filmed in front of the big mirror in Studio A at Reh-Fit.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Gocek, Turkey

A lovely small town of some four thousand inhabitants, Gocek is situated on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey.  It has become an international centre for yachting enthusiasts.  We spent an idyllic day cruising out to the spot where Antony and Cleopatra once swam in the blue-green water. Afterwards we stopped for a late lunch at one of the many local restaurants and then checked out the local shops down Gocek's pedestrian mall taking us back to the lovely D Marin Resort.



Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Quote From B.K.S.Iyengar

"The supreme adventure in a man’s life is his journey back to his Creator. To reach the goal he needs well developed and co-ordinated functioning of his body, senses, mind, reason and Self."
 ~B.K.S. Iyengar -Light on Yoga

Monday, 9 July 2012

Uttanasana - Standing Forward Bend

Forward bends come easily to me.  Don’t know why except I probably have
some natural flexibility in my hips to start with.  I guess what is surprising
is I carry my excess weight in my belly but I am able to get my hands to the
floor in a standing forward bend.  Just another reminder that yoga can work
for anyone willing to spend the time.

Start in Tadansana (Mountain Pose).  Your feet can be together or apart to the
width of your shoulders.  Hands on hips and gently bend back a bit to open the
hip flexors.  Hinging from the hip joints, bend forward keeping your back
straight.  Try to concentrate on rolling your abdominal muscles in and up as
you bend forward.  Take your hands to a height (chair, blocks, floor) where
you can comfortably hold this pose with your back straight.  Do not force this
pose.  This is where I over stretched my hamstrings when I first started out in
yoga.  Let the pose settle into your body and allow the whole back (from heels
to shoulders) learn to release.  It helps to press your hands into your supports
to encourage the back muscles to let go.  Hold for 30 seconds.

When you are coming up, place your hands back on your hips.  Use you glutes
(those are the big butt muscles) and pull yourself back up.  Repeat two more times.

This is one of my “go to” poses especially after a long walk, Zumba, or any
other time I am using my legs a lot.  Forward bends become easier as your
hips open up and your legs become stronger.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Virginia Pound Cake

I’m quite fond of pound cakes.  They are very versatile and easy to make.
I got this recipe through the web one day under Pound Cake Recipes.
You can make one big tube cake or make loaves.

1 cup butter, softened
½ cup shortening
3 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs
3 cups cake flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon baking powder

An electric mixer will make this an easier job.
Cream together butter and shortening.  Add sugar and cream until very
smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating until well blended.  Add cake
flour a little at a time. Slowly add milk and extracts.
Add baking powder LAST.

Grease and flour your chosen pan(s).  Pour batter into prepared pan(s)
and place into a COLD oven.  Turn oven on to 325F and bake about
1 hour and 15 minutes or until tester comes out of cake clean.  Cool for
about 15 minutes on rack and then remove from pan(s).  Glaze or dust
with icing sugar if you wish.

Very good with sliced strawberries, ice cream, whipped cream, or
toasted and buttered.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Quote from B.K.S. Iyengar

“Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they're meant to be." ~B.K.S. Iyengar

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Assisi - In the Footsteps of St. Francis

A beautiful town in the Umbria region of Italy.  This the birthplace of
St.Francis of Assisi, founder of the men's Franciscan Order, the women's
Order of St.Clare, patron saint of animals and the environment, and one
of the two patron saints of Italy.   Along with the Basilica and churches,
Assisi has shops and restaurants to interest everyone.  The women in our
group had a shoe shopping safari.  We took advantage of our location and
took side trips to Perugia and Urbino.

Like many ancient Italian towns, Assisi is built on a hilltop (or is that
mountain top). If you should visit, be prepared to walk up into town from
one of the public parking lots.  Cars and buses are not allowed in the historic
town except for a few taxis.  You can walk along side one of the monks that
are commonly seen in town or one of those amazing elderly Italian women
who have been hiking up and down Assisi streets all their lives.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Restorative Yoga

One of Susan’s, my yoga teacher, favourite yoga authors/teachers is
Judith Hanson Lasater.  Susan used Lasater’s general Restorative practice
from her book, Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times for
our last restorative class for our spring session at the Reh-Fit Centre.  Lasater
also has a wonderful insomnia practice in the same book.  They are favourites
with all my yoga buddies.

Supported Bound Angle Pose
Mountain Brook Pose
Supported Bridge Pose
Elevated Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose
Reclining Twist with a Bolster
Supported Seated Angle Pose
Supported Crossed-Leg Pose
Savasana with Elevated Legs

“During deep relaxation, all the organ systems of the body are benefited, and a few of the measurable results of deep relaxation are the reduction of blood pressure, serum  triglycerides and blood sugar levels in the blood, the increase of the "good cholesterol" levels, as well as improvement in digestion, fertility, elimination, the reduction of muscle tension, insomnia and generalized fatigue.”  Quote from Judith Hanson Lasater’s website.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Happy CANADA DAY !!!

Wishing all of my fellow Canadians a great and safe July 1.
Enjoy the day and all the fireworks.