Sunday, December 27, 2009

Practice #4 and Squash Pizza

Today I looked in the fridge and decided to make a pizza for lunch, which with peeling squash was a bit of a labor of love. It was amazing. I suggest you give it a try: Acorn squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into half-moon slices Pizza dough, your favorite recipe Fresh mozzerella, sliced Olive Oil Garlic Thyme Rosemary Red Pepper flakes Salt Pepper Spread olive oil on your prepped, uncooked pizza dough. Sprinkle with chopped garlic, herbs, and spices to taste. Lightly dress your squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Distribute the squash all over the pizza and cook at 425 for 18 minutes. Top with cheese to melt and slightly brown it, 3-5 minutes. Tonight I went to The Yoga Space, which I instantly fell in love with. A good mix of yogis showed up for practice, all really nice people. The studio is very much like Wake-Up Fairmount in that the majority of the space is the studio (and about the same size too) and you walk directly into the studio space. Off to the side is a changing area with shoe racks, coat hooks shelves and curtained off spaces. The tiny bathroom is off of the studio itself near a door-less closet for prop storage. Since I've been here I've been craving communtity chanting and haven't even got three OMs in a row. In particular I've been living with the mantra 'lokah samastha' for some time now. Here at this class, that particular mantra was chanted which I took as a bit of a sign. Michele teaches and Ashtanga based Vinyasa class where the sun salutations are counted in Sanskrit. It was the best class I've been to yet in Portland. She gave incredibly intelligent and informative adjustments and everyone got some love in savasana. This was a great class, I'll certainly be back for more. I liked the place so much that I asked about subbing here, something I wasn't ready to commit to at either of the other studios at this point. This might be a good yoga home as they teach vinyasa, yin, and restorative yoga.

Practice #3 and Christmas food shopping

Wednesday before Christmas I went to a Vinyasa class at Yoga Union. The pace was rather slow, although the class description had this as their most vigorous vinyasa class. The teacher taught a lovely class, which was perfectly fine, but the slow pace and long holds weren't jiving with me. My practice is rhythmic and constantly flowing, holds are only 3-5 breaths with the exclusion of inversions and raja kapotasana. I plan to explore at least two more classes at this studio to see if I fit in here. Christmas food shopping required some effort for us. We first went to ABC Seafood who gets fresh from the sea fish daily. Stop two was People's Co-op who have a farmer's market every Wednesday and a great bulk section including spices and herbs. No meat here, so I asked the check-out girl where I could buy a local ham. She sent us a few blocks away to New Seasons market. This place is AWESOME!!! It is your typical grocery store on the surface, but most of the items are local and labeled as such. The meat department crafts their own ham from pork raised on small local farms. This store is a dream, and the prices are good too which completely surprised me. Until I join a CSA, which is really the most cozy experience for me, I'll be shopping here. Yoga tour continues tonight at a new studio, The Yoga Space. I am still trying to decide to test out their yin offering or the vinyasa class. Maybe I'll do both, but I'm not the biggest fan of vinyasa followed by yin so likely not. Now that I have a school schedule I was able to craft a tentative studio practice schedule. I plan to take up an Ashtanga practice two to four times a week in the new year as I think this style will satisfy my craving for breath and rhythm. Ashtanga might be just the thing to balance the crazy chiropractic school schedule by resting in the repetition.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Practice #2

Last night I went to what was quite possibly the most beautiful yin class I have ever taken in my life. Todd was substituting at Yoga Union and totally rocked it. Yoga Union's studio space looks like it was once a mechanic's garage, it's about the size of 2.5 Wake-Up Fairmounts and one garage door still remains that they open to let some heat out. The wall opposite the door is all windows and they wrap around to the neighboring wall for a short amount of window space. Underneath the big window is a ledge that they fill with candles. Everyone practices in the middle of the room here, lined up in rows. What could be more appropriate on the winter solstice than yin yoga? That was the theme, and someone should have tape-recorded all Todd had to say about it as he linked all sorts of aspects of nature at this time of year to the body and breath. He started out with a bit of a slow flow of the arms circling in a seated position instead of jumping right into the postures. As we worked through yin asana Todd gave his speech about yin and the solstice that I wish I could remember more of. Near the end of class we all moved our mats to the walls, now we were all in a big rectangle, for legs-up the wall. After that was a supported uttanasana with the back against the wall, a short squat and then my favorite part, savasana. At this point we are all on the outer edges of the room, the music is off and Todd turns off the lights and blows out the candles. After resting here for some time, Todd turns on the music softly...Here Comes the Sun by, George Harrison. We continue to rest for a few moments. As we emerge from savasana we notice an abundance of big candles all positioned in the center of the room. Todd reminds us that from this point on it's only going to only get lighter and that all tomorrows from here on out are indeed going to be brighter tomorrows. It was all very cute and put a huge smile on my face. Getting home on the bus at 9:30 however did not make it easy to crawl out of bed in time to catch a 6:15 bus for my morning practice today that I had planned. Yep, I have a lot of kappha in me an living in this moist city in a dark time of the year really encourages sleeping in these days. Tonight I'm exploring The Yoga Space for a vinyasa class. Wednesday I've planned to go three classes since Thursday and Friday are holidays and both studios I've visited thus far are not open on those days. We'll see if I'm up for that, and it might be logical to not start at a 'new' studio when they are closed for two days and I'm using unlimited deals. So it will likely drop to two classes.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Yoga Tour-Day 1

I finally recovered the yoga mat from behind a pile of dusty boxes where it had been temporarily lost. Connie and I celebrated our joint birthday in style in Hood River, and she has a great CSA hook-up. I did a lot of studio internet research and found four studios that I'm going to check out, all with introductory deals. I'll be practicing twice a day with these deals: Bhakti Shop, $20 for a week Portland Yoga Studio, $20 for 10 days The Yoga Space, $20 for a week Yoga Union, $25 for two weeks Most of these are vinyasa classes, but 2 on my 'tour schedule' are yin. I'm planning on 15 classes in a week... but Christmas schedules might throw a wrench in the works. In the new year I'm thinking about jumping into an Ashtanga practice, at least trying it on for size. This morning I took my first class on this tour, Linda's vinyasa at Portland Yoga Studio. I don't think I'll be practicing with her again. Her style just didn't jive with mine at all: the pace was slow, and there was a lot of fru-fru language in place of breath and alignment cues. Tonight I'm going to a yin class at another studio.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I have a new home in Portland, OR. Two things start this week amid unpacking of boxes: Portland yoga tour and Portland local food scene 101. People can't starve, so my honey and I had to go to the Fred Meyer (kind of like a bit classier Wal-Mart) up the street for some groceries last night. For me, a grocery store is a bit of a foreign experience. Why you should buy Peruvian onions or milk from Cincinatti is beyond me. I found myself checking all the labels for the words OREGON and WASHINGTON. California was acceptable, in lieu of Mexico or Florida. I did find some gems, a variety of squash from a farm right here in Portland for 79 cents a pound and a five pound bag of Oregon potatoes for 99 cents, yogurt from Eugene, OR and eggs from the Columbia River Gorge. Thank God for Tillamook dairy products with their hormone free cheese, butter, and ice cream all made here in Oregon; a big enough company that it's sold everywhere You can buy local in the grocery store, it's just more work. I prefer the coziness of a CSA or farmer's market. Speaking of Farmers' markets, there is one two blocks from my new house...but it only runs from June-October. That makes November-May pretty rough for a locavore like myself. Expect more posts on my explorations of both the local food and yoga scenes of Portland in the coming days.