Flying J Ranch Park

11 Apr

http://jeffco.us/open-space/parks/flying-j-ranch-park/

4.3 mile loop

Hiking with the peeps

Hiking with the peeps

Jeremy, the wayfinder

Jeremy, the wayfinder

Icicles on a fence

Icicles on a fence

Ice Trekkers: Don't leave home without 'em!

Ice Trekkers: Don’t leave home without ’em!

Gorgeous afternoon light through the pines

Gorgeous afternoon light through the pines

The forest cathedral

The forest cathedral

Knocking snow off the trees onto each other... can't take us anywhere.

Knocking snow off the trees onto each other… can’t take us anywhere.

Posing on the big wooden bench

Posing on the big wooden bench

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Still Lake

28 Mar

The benefits of waking up extra early for some sun salutations at dawn… I love Florida (even if it is 37). Have a lovely day y’all.

“To be calm, to be serene! There is the calmness of the lake when there is not a breath of wind. . . . So it is with us. Sometimes we are clarified and calmed healthily, as we never were before in our lives, not by an opiate, but by some unconscious obedience to the all-just laws, so that we become like a still lake of purest crystal and without an effort our depths are revealed to ourselves. All the world goes by us and is reflected in our deeps. Such clarity!” – Henry David Thoreau

How not to lock your knee

26 Mar

I’ve noticed lately that my knee gets quite sore from straight-legged poses like Intense Side Stretch. It didn’t occur to me that I might be locking my leg. I’m glad I saw YogaGypsy’s post “Yoga Tip Tuesdays: How to keep a straight leg without locking the knees.” Please read her full post, but here are just a few quick tips to get you started:

If your knee is locked in a balance pose, it means that the joint is holding the weight of the body, instead of the muscles.

If your knee is locked in a weight-bearing standing pose, for example triangle pose, the joint is again at risk, but in addition, because you are now stretching as well as bearing weight, the ligaments and tendons surrounding the knee joint are also at risk of taking the strain of the stretch, instead of the muscles.

In the pose you are working with, lift your toes – just your toes! – off the mat.You’ll find that it’s pretty much impossible to lock the knee while lifting the toes at the same time, because lifting the toes creates the muscular engagement, or “hugging in,” that brings the weight of the body into the muscles instead of the joint.

She also gives step-by-step instructions on isometrically engaging your leg muscles. Here’s the accompanying photo (but go read her post too!):

I learn something new everyday!

Sushi Rolls (GF/Paleo)

25 Mar

Give me a family-sized platter of sushi & sashimi and I’ll show you some power-eating with my eyes glazed over in delirious joy. Eel & its delicious sauce is one of the best foods on the planet. I honestly save it for last because it’s like dessert. But sushi restaurants aren’t particularly cheap. And not paleo-friendly with all the gluteny (glutenous?) starchy rice.

So we tried making our own rolls at home and it was rad. It’s also a flexible recipe so you could use whatever veggies you have on hand or love. There’s no “wrong” when it comes to sushi. Bonus points for wearing a sushi chef hat.

Paleo / Gluten-Free Sushi Rolls

Paleo / Gluten-Free Sushi Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium avocado
  • spicy mayo (liberal amount of sriracha mix with mayo)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced or julienned
  • 1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced or julienned
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced or julienned
  • 2-3 scallions, green tops only
  • 4 ounces cooked, chilled shrimp (I bought one of those cocktail shrimp rings because I’m lazy & cut each in 2 pieces)
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon
  • 4 sheets nori
  • wasabi

Directions:

  • Lay a piece of nori on a bamboo rolling mat, shiny side down, with the guidelines for slicing vertical.
  • Smear about a 1″ stripe of either avocado or spicy mayo along the edge closest to you. You’ll make 4 rolls, so we did 2 avocado & 2 spicy mayo.
  • Then start making little rows of your goodies.
  • Finish with another smear of something sticky on the far edge.
  • To roll them up, start at the edge closest to you. Use the bamboo mat to fold the sticky edge onto the first row of ingredients. Then just keep rolling it up & squeezing the roll as you go to make sure it’s compact. Note: the bamboo mat doesn’t get rolled up into the roll. Yeah we learned that quick.
  • Once you’re at the far end, again make sure you’re giving it a nice little squeeze to “seal” it. Somehow we managed to get sriracha-mayo all over the bamboo mat & each subsequent roll got… stickier. But it’s all good. Life is messy.
  • To slice the rolls, first sharpen your knife then wet it a little bit. Slice along the guidelines into 1″ rolls.

Serve with wasabi, sriracha and/or soy sauce (or amino acids if you do that kinda thing).

Peace out!

Why my blue wall is my BFF

25 Mar

We have a navy blue wall in the living room which looks rad. Once I figured out how to use a photo timer app on my phone, I started looking for places for photo-ops for Instagram. Hello blue wall. It didn’t take too long for it to become a key piece of my practice at home.

I’m really hooked on inversions because they don’t lie. I can’t fake a headstand/handstand. If I’m frazzled, distracted and can’t quiet my mind, I’ll fall. If my shoulders aren’t strong enough to support me in a new pose, I’ll fall. If I’m fearful of what I’m trying and can’t let go of that fear, I’ll fall.

I keep practicing them with my blue wall every day though. Practice makes progress.

I’m reasonably comfortable with headstands away from the wall… but handstands? I get that flash of cold fear/adrenaline saying “OMG YOU’RE GOING TO FALL BACKWARDS!” and “OMG I NEED TO DO MORE PLANKS!” Oh, brain, hush up already. Each time I try, the voices quiet for a few more seconds. But isn’t that part of why we practice yoga? To find our balance, to quiet our mind, and to learn that we’re stronger than we think, we’re capable of more than we know.

Before I ever put my hands flat on the ground for a handstand, I started by working on dolphin pose then walking my feet up the wall. It’s still kind of awkward. I feel like my shoulders and upper arms are being twisted open against what my joints want to do, not just a big stretch. Maybe that will get easier. My legs were still up a little high… staying in a comfort zone to fight the fear of falling.

"Dolphin up the wall" (?)

“Dolphin up the wall” (?)

Just last week I tried downward dog then walking up the wall. Seeing photos of my poses give me moments to 1) be proud of the progress I’ve made, and 2) objectively see what is working and what room for growth there is … i.e., not making a scrunchy-freaked-out-face and bending my knees still.

Handstand prep, using the wall

Handstand prep, using the wall

It’s a lesson in the balance of my internal practice and the external form. I know that text-book-form isn’t what it’s all about. But I know that as a newbie, not learning bad habits in the basic asanas will be harder to unlearn in the future as I try new things. So I breathe to stay in the moment and in my body. And I take a little time to be objective about what I need more focus on.. and about the progress I have already made. Both of the poses above are hard for me to find ease in. But my blue wall will help get me through it 🙂

Peace out!

“Where are the baby pigeons?!”

23 Mar

30 Rock was one of the most clever shows. Like watching a live-action, snarky cartoon train wreck. Kenneth was my favorite, and this line from the series finale had me in tears laughing:

30 Rock: "Where are the baby pigeons?"

So imagine a quiet yoga studio with everyone doing their nice ocean-sound-breathing and the next pose is pigeon. I seriously have to stifle laughter because this is all I can think of.

I know pigeon is one of those love-it-or-hate-it poses (based on my scientific research of listening to people either groan in exasperation or sigh happily with relief in class). My & my hips love pigeon. That is, until I tried lifting my leg up. Turns out my quads aren’t nearly as flexible as my hips! I’m still working on it in these two variations. Ya like my green shag 70’s rug? SWAG!

Pigeon, with a strap

Pigeon, with a strap

Pigeon, no strap

Peace out!

Quinoa Tabbouleh (GF)

22 Mar
Quinoa Tabbouleh

Quinoa Tabbouleh

So we do the paleo thing which is gluten-free and no other grains. But I’ve been finding lately that my energy fades about an hour into my yoga practice and after hot yoga, I would sleep for like 4 hours straight. I think the issue is that, despite my best efforts, I’m just not getting enough carbs and I really need them especially when I’m exerting a lot of energy. Increased protein & berries & nuts & bananas just don’t tide me over. So I’m going to try adding some quinoa back into my diet & see how that helps things. I also invented some chewy insane chocolately Clif-like-bars, which I’ll share soon 🙂

Back to quinoa. The first thing I knew I wanted to make was tabbouleh. So here is my creation, which turned out really rad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c quinoa
  • 3 c water
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • 3/4 c olive oil
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cucumber, finely diced
  • 5 peppadew peppers, finely diced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, finely diced

Directions:

Add water & quinoa into a cold pot.
Heat to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 12 minutes.
Prep veggies.
Whisk together oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper.
Pour the delicious dressing over the veggies & toss.
Remove quinoa to a container and let it cool down in the fridge.
Add the veggies to the quinoa & toss well.
Get your nom on.

Peace out!

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