Saturday, November 11, 2017

Golden Milk Morning Concoction

In September I promised my yogis at Red Hook Pilates that I’d share with them the recipe for my morning concoction which consists of golden milk paste, maple syrup or honey, almond milk and tea or coffee.

It took a while, but I have finally documented the process for them and anyone else who would like to know.

My son thinks I should have prettied myself up a bit for this video but, hey, sometimes you just gotta keep it real.

Turmeric has been touted for its anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties.  It has also been credited for curing all kinds of afflictions from cancer to Alzheimer’s.  Some of these characteristics I believe, others not so much, obviously.  Honestly, I don’t know if feel better or my health has improved as a result of my making turmeric beverages almost every morning for the better part of a year but I don’t care.  I think this stuff tastes great and if improved health is the result then so be it.

One more word to the wise, turmeric required pepper for be effective so make sure that you include it.  Coconut or another oil will also be helpful for absorption as turmeric is fad soluble.  


Primula Cerebri

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


Yesterday I did what my family has been asking me to do for some time.  I practiced yoga with my son.  Now 15, he ha been in physical, occupational and speech therapies since he was young.  Even though he only remains in speech therapy and does well in school there are physical challenges that remain.  

In middle school he ran track and cross country.  This helped a lot with the physical challenges.   His high school, as much as we like it, doesn't offer the same caliber of athletic training.

In going through a simple yoga sequence with him I learned a lot about his body.  Man, there are so many incongruities and nothing that some regular, simple practice can't address.  The kid is 15.  He's been in his body a much shorter time than I've been in mine.  It is now my job to make sure that this body serves him well.

Even simple things need practice sometimes; pedaling a bicycle, reaching for something on a high shelf.  Which muscle actions are useful and which I ones are unnecessary.  He needs to learn this.  It doesn't help that he's grown about 5” this year.  It's like he's always getting used to a new body.

I will continue to find the time to practice with him because it's important that he have the physical stamina, coordination and mental focus to face what lies ahead.  I may not be a physical therapist but I know I can help.

Gusty and Sister Princess now

Monday, August 7, 2017

Age Is Just a Number

Age Is Just a Number

My dwindling budget aside, I have really been enjoying the free yoga offered every Thursday in Prospect Park.  These classes are being offered all summer long and the last one is on August 31.  Take advantage if you can.

One of the things I like best is that every week the class is taught by a different instructor.  Having belonged to one yoga studio for the better part of two years I found a routine that worked for my schedule and went to the same classes with the same teachers weekly.  Sure, I loved these teachers and their approaches but also found joy when there was a sub.

While many, if they know a sub is scheduled decide instead not to practice, I always welcome the opportunity to experience a different approach.  I discovered several talented teachers this way as I have with #Prospectparkyoga2017.

Last week’s teacher was a boisterous, big, black woman with a studio in Crown Heights.  Her voice was her own as she took us through the sequence challenging our expectations, bodies and breath.  As the class progressed it became clear that this was going to be a challenging yet basic class well intended to motivate beginners and seasoned yogis alike.

As you might imagine, I was surrounded by yogis 20 or more years my junior.  It didn't take long for them to begin groaning as the sequence became harder and their breath became unsteady.  I was resolute, maintaining even inhalations and exhalations and finishing the class as I should, feeling strong, grounded and refreshed.

So, to all those 20 and 30 somethings practicing in the grass with me I say, keep it up and you too could be strong like this middle aged lady.

As the class came to a close it began to rain.  Savasana in the rain is an interesting experience, as this video will attest.

See you in the park next week.

Raindrops Keep Fallilng in my Eyes

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Musings on Ardha Chandrasana

Musings on Ardha Chandrasana

In considering the principals of alignment based yoga I am reminded of my recent experiences with Ardha Chandrasana,

Ardha Chandrasana is a posture I had been executing with relative success until 18 months ago.  During my 200 hour YTT I was asked to maintain the outward rotation of the standing leg, plug the femur bone in to the hip socket and maintain Trikonasana alignment in that leg.  18 months later and my foot and leg still want to turn inward.  18 months later and I am still more likely to fall rather than balance in the posture.  18 months later and I am finally able to extend my arm towards the sky for a few breaths (sometimes).

Externally rotating the femur bone and maintaining that alignment of the standing leg leg has completely changed this pose for me.  Sure, one way it has changed is that is much harder for me to maintain my balance.  But why?  The adjustment is seemingly minor.  It seems simple.  It isn't.  I've had to look at why my foot turns in and why the balance is so much easier when it does.  Is it just habit?  Is it easier to cling to my Samskara rather than evolve?  Does that inward turn make my base more stable?  I doubt it.

Those are the the challenges of the change.  What are the positives?

Other ways the asana has changed for me is that it is much stronger.  As my distribution of weight has changed so has the strength I can gather in my standing leg.  As my bones align the muscles are able to engage more fully.  That strength more readily transfers from the foot to the leg, into the hips and out to the extended leg and heel. I can feel this energy course up my spine, into my skull and into my outstretched arms and fingers.  Binding it all together is the breath.  As soon as that stops the whole thing falls apart.

For now I will continue to refine this and all the other asanas that are integrated into my practices.  I will bring my awareness to what works and where the stability is and break habits to find new insight.  I will use that insight to push past fear and learn new postures well in order to preserve my joints and those of my students. Taking the time to get it "right", while potentially difficult, will elevate my practice and the practices of those I teach.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Oh Tannenbaum

This is how I found our gingerbread man this morning.  I swear...
A gift from Lois oh so many years ago

Our Christmas tree is still up.

Yup. Today is January 15 and our Christmas tree is still up. 

When I was a kid I would beg my mom to let us keep the tree until my birthday on January 9. She always said , "no". It would make too much of a mess. Denial on the other hand likes to keep the tree around until my birthday, which I love about him. All I know is that it remains up, a homage to our busy lives. Sure, after I get home and pretend to make dinner, get Gusty to do his homework, practice the cello and make sure that his music theory homework is done then put him to bed I COULD go to the basement get the boxes and wrap all of those small precious ornaments but it's all I can do to knit a few stitches, wash my face, brush my teeth and throw myself into bed.

Don't get me wrong, I like the tree. It's festive and smells good. The problem is that it's in what is supposed to be my crafting room. That's right. I actually get a crafting room. It doesn't matter though because when the tree comes down I'll be able to look at that space and marvel at how little I really use it.

I have plans to sew, make myself a dress form and design beautiful things to wear, sell and give away to deserving friends. I want to go through all of my photos, organize them and seriously get rid of the ones that mean nothing to me at this point. Oh goddess please afford me the time and energy to indulge my creative side.

Who am I kidding? I can't even find time to dismantle a tree. It is Sunday. I think today's the day.

The corner without the tree.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Au Revoir Marie Christine

 On Christmas Eve I learned of the death of a dear friend.

We met in the late 80's when I was just out of school and was working at ELLE Magazine. She had been aquatinted with my boss and was trying to get some work as a stylist. My boss, Regis, didn't care to hire her but somehow she and I managed to strike up quite a friendship in the process. I can't even remember how it came about really. She was significantly older than me. She had me to dinner at her home. I met her then husband. She went to France, came back, got divorced. She stayed with me and hosted me in Paris. I began raising a family and she rediscovered her stepdaughter. Childless, she fell in love with my son and her stepdaughter's son and showered them with gifts. She spent time with my family on Shelter Island and had great respect for my mother. She was at times frustrating but her giant heart and love of life always won out with me. For 23 years she made me crazy and we loved each other.

On December 8, while living in Paris (which she hated) she had a heart attack and died. Even thought I hadn't seen her in two years my world is different without her. She used to say to me, "Oh Tracy, getting old really sucks." Always attractive, even at 70 she would show up in leather pants and decked out in black. 

I have keepsakes. She used to wear all her rings on a chain around her neck. One day she took the chain off and removed a Cartier ring from it. "Mais tu est folle," I said. "C'est un Cartier!". "I have others," she said. "This one I want you to have.". Because of her I now wear my rings on a chain around my neck. When she last moved back to France I got to ransack her apartment. Among the items I got from her at that time is a small Le Creuset covered casserole which I have never used. It's perfect for confit and roasting small birds. Living as I do in my veg household I don't have opportunities to make such things so in her honor I have prepared this confit of cippolini onions.

If anyone out there has ideas of what other yummy vegetarian things I can slow roast in this beautiful casserole let me know. In the meantime I will savor my onions and lift a glass of Cotes du Rhone in Marie Christine's honor. Salut mon amie... 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

When I have a plan...

Thursday night went really well. That's what happens when I have a plan. Even though Gusty had street hockey until 4:30 and we didn't get home until almost 6:00 we managed to get all the homework done, practice the cello, have a real home cooked meal, watch a 1/2 hour of Boomerang and and still get to bed at a normal hour.

Dinner was braised tofu sticks with green beans and rice. I had never made tofu sticks before and was unsure what to do with them. If you've never seen them, they're available at Asian markets. They come in a bag and look like giant, yellow, gnarled witch's fingers. I have gotten them before and they languished in the cupboard and ended up in the garbage. Not this time. Inspired by Gusty's desire for a reproduction of the roast "duck" served at the vegetarian Chinese joints, I looked into their preparation. Suffice to say that they will become a regular on the meal roster.

I put them to soak in the morning before we left the house and when we returned home I put them in a pot with star anise, cinnamon sticks, sugar, rice wine, soy sauce, a few dried chilies and ginger. After a 40 minute simmer they were ready to eat along with simple preparation brown rice and some garlic sautéed green beans. Gusty, who originally complained that he would be eating something brown (huh?) ate them with wild abandon and we all enjoyed the chewy texture along with the sweet and savory broth. A topping of garlic chili sauce didn't hurt either.

The braising broth was complex. It had some spice, some sweet, some savory... I wondered what it would taste like if I simmered it until a reduction ensued. After refrigerating the tofu, I put the pot back on to simmer for about 45 minutes and I wasn't disappointed with the results. The broth reduced to a more pungent version of itself and I tried it over vanilla ice cream. That was good too but next time I'll sprinkle on a few sesame seeds. The plot thickens.

When I make the tofu sticks again I'm going to soak them in a more flavorful concoction, maybe some tea and peppercorns. They absorb a ton of liquid. Why shouldn't that liquid have some taste.

On Friday night we had tofu pups and popcorn for dinner. I definitely did not have a plan.