Ice Bath

I just completed my third weekend of yoga teacher training and I am more flexible, more knowledgeable and beyond exhausted.

I have always appreciated my body, whether it was hand eye coordination in lacrosse or endurance during my half marathons. Over these past few weekends I have been pushing my body to find its new “edge” in my yoga asana practice and I am amazed at how far I have come in just under a month.

My body has been working hard to stretch, fold and twist, and it’s always nice to repay yourself with a little R&R. But then there are those times where a simple hot shower to soothe the body is just out of reach.

Yup, that’s right. I have had two hard days of yoga practice and only ice cold showers to rinse away the sweat of the day. What does one do when they need a little warmth when their hot water is broken? Why a bucket of kettle boiled water of course!

no hot water

Filling a bucket with warm water to use in the “shower”

I hope you are all finding ways to stay warm this winter. And please cross your fingers for me that my hot water is fixed sooner than later…

Initiated

Happy New Year!

In lieu of a 2014 wrap up post, I will do a 2014 wrap up long sentence:

2014 was the year I became an Israeli citizen, I saw some of the most important people in my life when I went home to the states for vacation, I took a big career leap, played tour guide to my parents who came to visit and lived through a war. Yup, it was quite a year.

2015 has already kicked off with a major milestone. I took a big leap into deepening my connection with yoga by starting my first yoga teacher training class. Over the next 4 months I will be stretching, breathing and downward-dogging, as a complete the 200 hour yoga teacher training course.

Since my accident, yoga has been an outlet for my exercise needs. But yoga has also turned into a vital form of mental therapy and a way of life.

I am up for this big challenge and excited to see where my yoga journey takes me. If you have completed a course, of if you are in the middle of a course right now, I would love to hear your reflections.

I hope everyone’s 2015 is off to a great start!

initiation_yoga

Yoga Inititation

 

That perfect recipe

I am not a baker. I am not one to take the time to get out the sifter to properly sift the flour. Nor am I the type of person who uses the 1/2 cup measuring cup when I already have a perfectly good (just used) 1 cup measuring cup from which I can just eyeball 1/2 a cup.

That being said, I still enjoy baking and most of my creations turn out to be enjoyable. Lately I have been on a banana bread kick due to the fact that I keep buying bananas but fail to eat them before they are past their prime. Over the last few weeks I have tried several different recipes from the internet and family members and today I think I found a real winner.

It’s the simplest of the recipes that I came across, and it doesn’t involve any sour cream. (Before this little baking streak i didn’t even know you could put sour cream in banana bread.)

So if you’re looking for an easy way to use up your old bananas and enjoy a sweet treat, try your hand at this banana bread recipe.

As they say in Israel, (be’te-avon) בתיאבון!

banana bread #1

That movie with Keira Knightly

You know. That one with that famous green dress? Atonement?

Yes, that is the name of the film, and also another name for yesterday. In Judaism yesterday’s holiday is known as the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the holiest day of the year. This is the day we reflect on all the things we are sorry for doing and atone and repent for these transgressions. As part of the tradition Jews across the world fast for 25 hours.

But, in the Jewish homeland there is also a tradition that people actually look forward to on this day. Ta Da! No cars!

Screen shot 2014-10-04 at 9.42.00 PM Yup. Not only are our stomachs without food, but the roads are without motorized vehicles. The whole country shuts down and people take to the streets.

Take a look:

http://360.io/Dks5Tw

http://360.io/LS7tLf

I hope everyone observing had an easy fast. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Dinner’s On

Since the last time I posted (I know, it’s been awhile) life has been pretty busy.

When people say “life has been pretty busy” they are usually talking about how their work schedule has intensified, which mine certainly has. Or they are alluding to the their many social engagements with friends and family; of which I have also had many. However, I can guarantee you that when people normally use this phrase they are not describing a time in their life that was taken over by war.

As many of you are well aware, I live in Israel at the moment. And just a short while after I arrived back in Tel Aviv from my American vacation, a war between Hamas and Israel broke out. I will pass on the details at the moment, but in short, life was pretty busy.

Now that I am no longer dashing to the bomb shelter in the middle of drafting work emails or jumping out of bed to huddle in the stairwell with my neighbors, I am happy to say that I might actually be able to get back to a regular posting schedule.

I don’t mean to gloss over the ordeal that was “Operation Protective Edge,” and I promise to post my experience very shortly. But for now, I thought I would start back up with a post about pizza, because when doesn’t pizza put a smile on your face?

Just because dairy doesn’t agree with me doesn’t mean I have to avoid the deliciousness that is a piping hot pizza crust with sizzling toppings. Last night I made a whole wheat crust, recipe found here, with sauteed veggies.

photo 1

In America, my go-to pizza crust is the ready-made dough by Trader Joe’s. But this was actually an incredibly simple crust to prepare and even more satisfying knowing that I made it from scratch.

photo 2

photo 3

That’s just a taste of what I will be posting on a more regular basis. So if you’re in the mood for some more good eats, updates on life in Israel and yoga inspiration, then stay tuned.

What are some of your favorite toppings? Do you have a favorite crust recipe?

 

 

 

 

Home is where…

To answer this statement I first have to answer, where is home?

Growing up, home consisted of the house I grew-up in and my immediate family. But, now that I have reached my mid/late twenties (I’m not letting go of that “mid” just yet), I have created several different homes and my family has grown.

Two weeks ago I left one of my homes, Israel, for my childhood home of Princeton, NJ.

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While on this vacation I also spent a weekend in my Boston home. A home created during college and my first year in the “real-world”. In Boston, I also visited my extended family of best friends during our five-year college reunion.

Ladies

My vacation in American has just come to a close, and I am heading back to my Tel-Aviv home, where I now reside with my fiance.

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But, this new home follows our other home we created in San Francisco, where we lived for three years.

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These past two weeks have been full of homecomings, laughs, tears and love. And, in between all of the good times and memories, I have learned that:

Home is where…

you never feel alone,

laughing is the native language,

you always have a shoulder to lean on,

mom tends to be right,

you can be yourself,

and, home is where love is created and shared.

Thank you to all my friends and family, from all of my different homes, for making this vacation so magical. I can’t wait to see you all again! But, until then, I am sending you all lots and lots of love!

Namaste

Ok, so it’s been a while since I checked in on your progress this March. And, believe it or not, today is the last day of the March Meditation Challenge!

It has been 31 days since I proposed this mental and physical assignment, and now it’s time to see how you did…

Personally, I can’t believe that I managed to do some form of yoga every day this month, and I sincerely hope that some of you had similar success. Over the past 4 weeks I practiced both many old and new poses, strengthening and lengthening my muscles. I am hesitant to say that I mastered any moves, as I believe yoga poses aren’t meant to be mastered. In a sense, they will always present some new challenge depending on the day, mental state and current emotions. However, I have become much more comfortable with many twists that I once found inaccessible, and I can more easily transition into binds I was not able to reach last month. Not to mention that head stands are something I just do for fun now.

And while it will continue to be a challenge each session to leave the humming of the day off of my mat, I have started to ground my mind more solidly to my practice. I even find myself turning to oujai breath when I get overwhelmed or anxious throughout the day. And when I really need to transport myself to the peace of my mat during the middle of the day, I will listen to some calming yogi music. 

Whether you were able to keep up with a whole month of yoga, or simply had a chance to spend some time with yourself, reflecting and strengthening your inner-you, I want to say congrats! It’s not always easy to shut out the distractions of the every day, or to listen to how you are feeling at exactly one moment in time. And, I hope you have found some new strength, both mentally and physically, to continue this practice as you see fit.

My challenge does not stop with the end of March. If you wish to join me, I will be continuing my daily yoga practice, incorporating poses, stretching and meditation into my daily routine.

wide headstand

Here are a few yoga related links to keep you, or get you back, in the yoga mood:

Everyone is doing it 

My new obsession 

Great FREE online videos