12.18.2014

Detour ahead. Change required.

Embracing change

In order to move forward change is required.  It often includes a high dose of fear and excitement too. I caught up with a wonderful friend on the phone today who I met through the 2012 Belize yoga retreat.  I let her know some things I haven’t shared with too many yet about where I am now and where I see myself going in the year ahead.  It felt wonderful to share with someone who I knew would understand in some ways. Her feedback “In order to move forward change is required” and everything else she said made complete sense. We also discussed how the fears that surround great changes also bring excitement at the same time. Opportunities are usually filled with both fear and excitement. You choose what to focus your energy on.

As I sit here with a cup of homemade coconut chai latte I feel grateful and happy after sharing a few of my dreams and goals. Hearing it out loud and listening to feedback made it feel even more real.  I’ve invested a whole lot of time, money, and heart into what I do for a living and having worked for myself for the past 13 years I’ve confronted the ups, downs, and changes of running my businesses. It’s the ups and downs that have made me grow as a business person and also in my personal life. Change becomes your greatest teacher, but only if you choose to look at it and learn from it. Starting a new company is not easy, but when you are passionate and believe in what you are doing it’s oh so worth the rewards. I have come to a turning point where it’s time for me to move forward and grow. It feels like somewhat of a difficult decision at times yet it’s really an easy decision because it feels like the right thing to do.  Even putting this in writing tonight and reading it as I go feels like a step forward. It becomes more and more real.

I’ve learned to embrace the impermanency of parts of my life and the opportunities that come my way. It’s important to acknowledge change rather than approaching change from a place of resistance. I am never stuck in something and when I allow my intuition, goals and passions to drive me I will always move forward. Acknowledging this out loud today with my friend and in writing tonight was a big step.  If I could predict the future (which I can not) I would say that I believe a lot is about to change in a very short period of time. Embracing change and creating new opportunities has brought strength, courage, and believe it or not more inner peace into my life. I welcome the change, opportunities and challenges.  I look forward to the experiences ahead. I know it will be my newest teacher.

 

12.17.2014

Spiced Chocolate Sweet Potato Latkes

chocolate sweet potato latkes

I’m on a roll with the sweet potato pancakes. I’m actually thinking about doing a different latke for eight nights in a row. Stay tuned….Zucchini latkes with avocado and cilantro for dinner.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, washed and grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 TBSP flour (or brown rice flour)
  • 2 TBSP organic raw dark cacao powder
  • 2 TBSP raw organic honey melted (use sugar if you like them real sweet)
  • dash salt
  • 2 TBSP Olive oil for frying
  • optional tiny dash cayenne, ginger or nutmeg if you like spiced chocolate

Directions

  • Grate sweet potatoes using a hand grater into a bowl.
  • Add eggs, flour, melted honey, salt and stir.
  • Add cocoa powder, and optional spice.
  • Add oil to skillet and heat medium to high.
  • Scoop 1/4 cup of mixture and round and flatten slightly with back of spoon.
  • Fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side.
  • Serve and top with raw honey, sour cream, Greek yogurt or whip cream. 
12.17.2014

Cranberry Maple Brussels Sprouts

cranberry maple brussels sprouts

Looking for a simple, seasonal way to include some healthy greens and incorporate fresh cranberries packed with health benefits?  This time of year, fresh cranberries are found everywhere and an entire 1 pound bag is usually just $1.00. You can use them in anything from fish and meat dishes to salad toppings, desserts, drinks and stir-frys. Besides being a good source of antioxidants they add a wonderful tart yet sweet kick, especially lightly cooked with pure maple syrup.

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs shaved brussels sprouts or whole brussels sprouts cut in half 
  • 1 TBSP Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries cut in half
  • 1/8 cup Pure maple syrup (not maple pancake syrup)
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon lemon zest and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • dash sea salt

Directions

  • Heat the oil in a skillet on medium-high heat.
  • When the pan is hot add the brussels sprouts and cook for 5 minutes, stirring until lightly browned.
  • Add the cranberries, maple syrup, lemon zest and sea salt and cook for another three or four minutes.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon and serve hot.

I served these with Sweet Potato Latkes.

12.17.2014

Sweet Potato Latkes (Sweet Potato Pancakes)

sweet potato pancakes

Yummmmm!  Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate.  I loaded up my shopping cart last night with 10 sweet potatoes and it occurred to me this morning that tonight is the first night of Hanukkah. These healthy sweet potato latkes turned out so delicious that I’ll be making them again tomorrow night.They’re pretty easy too.  I haven’t food blogged in awhile so it’s about time I share something so delicious.  Did you know sweet potatoes contain more potassium than bananas?  They also contain vitamin B6,  vitamin C,  vitamin D and they’re a great source of iron and magnesium. Save your potato peels and onion bits to make homemade veggie broth another day!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons flour (all purpose flour would do but I used brown rice flour)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • light sour cream or Greek yogurt

Directions

  • Grate sweet potatoes and onion into bowl, using grater on the large hole side.  It’s easy and grates better than a food processor.  
  • Beat eggs with a bit of salt and pepper and add to potato mixture. Add flour and mix everything well.
  • Heat 1 TBSP olive oil in skillet. Fill a 1/4-cup measure with sweet potato mixture, pressing to compact. Place into skillet, flatten and round with back of spoon into about 3 inch diameter. Form two or three more depending on what fits in your skillet.
  • Fry over medium to high heat for 3 minutes. Carefully flip with a spatulas and fry second side about 2 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. You could drain on a paper towel but using just 1 TBSP oil they don’t have much grease. Add more oil to pan and continue the second batch with the remaining potato mixture.  Top with sour cream or Greek yogurt. Makes about 8 yummy latkes. You’re welcome!

I served my sweet potato latkes with a side of Shaved Cranberry Maple Brussels.

12.16.2014

30 days to 2015 Triathlon Training

2015 Philadelphia Triathlon Club

Hi! So it’s been a while since I’ve talked triathlon, but a new year of triathlon is right around the corner! 30 days until the kick off of my 2015 triathlon season and training for Ironman Lake Placid 2015 Team for Cures begins.  I am looking forward to training and racing so much!

When my first season ended for me in September I didn’t have to ask myself “now what?” My first year of triathlon was a blast although when it ended I looked forward to a few months of other fitness stuff.  I felt excited about workouts that I hadn’t done for most of 2014 and appreciated the next few months of going with the flow, having no races ahead to focus on.

My training season officially begins January 16 and no, it has nothing to do with starting a new year. I’m not a believer in waiting for a new year to roll around to make a list of resolutions to get your goals and dreams started. It just happens that mid-January is the exact amount of time I’d like to train and focus on 2015 triathlon goals. So far my race schedule includes a few sprint triathlons, one Half Ironman, and my biggest focus Ironman Lake Placid 2015 MMRF Team for Cures.  Throughout the off season I’ve focused time on organizing events and raising funds for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and it’s surely provided me a challenging learning experience.  It’s my first experience with fundraising and boy is it harder than I imagined.  It’s okay though, I’m motivated and this cause is very important to me so I’ll keep going, learning, and soon enough I know I will reach my personal goals for the MMRF. I guess it’s kind of like Ironman and it doesn’t happen overnight. Persistence, dedication, passion and believing in what you are doing is key. I look forward to the new challenges bringing me into my second season. Triathlon always provides new challenges. Setting and conquering new goals, PRs, new tri friends to train with, or racing at a new destination are always exciting to look forward to.  I’ll share more of my goals and plans when I start mid-January.

Are you training for a triathlon in 2015? What plans are you using? Do you have a coach? What are you most excited about for triathlon season? If you’ve never participated in a triathlon before, are you interested in doing one?  Happy Tuesday, I’m off for a short run.

12.4.2014

The Substitute Yoga Instructor

Priya Hot Yoga

You arrive the yoga studio ready to finally let go of the day, when in walks an instructor you weren’t expecting. Your favorite instructor is not there and instead, someone else will be teaching class.  That person tonight was me.  I was fortunate that all twenty-something students smiled and welcomed me as I began class.

But look, I totally get it. Even as an instructor I too have teachers and classes I especially like. I have been there with the initial let down when someone else shows up to teach class and I’ve learned to appreciate the surprise of someone else teaching. I’ve been on the “other side” of the studio too, teaching classes for other instructors and I want to say a heartfelt thank you to all the grateful students tonight who stayed for the entire class and an extra big thank you for those who stayed to chat after class. Teaching a room of unfamiliar students is an engaging, challenging and wonderful experience. Substitute teaching is one of the best ways to take a look at your teaching skills and I always notice growth after these classes.  It gives you the chance to become a better communicator, adapt to the unknown and make the most of the opportunity. But what do you do when you couldn’t wait to end your day on the mat with your favorite instructor and someone like myself shows up? Trust me, it’s going to be okay and if you keep your mind open it might be an incredible class.

Let go of expectation.  I centered class around letting go of expectations tonight.  When a substitute instructor shows up practice letting go of expectations.  Sometimes the simple experience of letting go is one of the most challenging parts of our practice.  Let go of the stories we tell ourselves, the expectations and judgements we experience through our practice, and any criticisms we might hold that keep us from our true potential. Sometimes that little voice about what’s happening on the mat needs to just let it go.  Two thumbs up for coming to class, but recognize that it’s not just the asana that completes our practice, but it’s paying attention to the breath, focusing, letting go, and so much more.  Take this experience off of your mat and see how letting go of all the expectations and judgments can help you be more happy and free.

Be open. You’ve made it to class so be open to a new experience. Sometimes a substitute yoga teacher forces us to get off autopilot and explore something new. We can easily get set in a routine but with a new teacher, you may learn new language, new ways to enter and exit poses, and sequencing will be different. Try to appreciate what’s difference and your opportunity to try something you were not expecting. You may like it, you may not. Either way, it’s a productive way to see what does or doesn’t work for you. Again, take this experience off of your mat and see how staying open allows you to grow in your ever day life.

Ask questions.  Ask the instructor questions when you have them.  We love teaching and we want you to enjoy your practice! Don’t go along with something that doesn’t seem right, ask!  Most yoga teachers enjoy questions and assisting postures.

Give Feedback.  If you have the courage to stay after class to provide feedback I assure you we very much appreciate this!  Be honest and kind.  Compliment what you enjoyed, share what you learned and provide constructive criticism.  If you enjoyed the instructor and want to take class with them again, let the studio know so they’re more likely to return the next time a substitute is needed.

Taking a yoga class with a substitute yoga instructor presents an opportunity.  We notice what happens when we don’t get our preference and when our habits are disrupted. Yoga teaches us to accept what is, instead of dwelling on what could have been, should have been, etc. Yoga also teaches us to face unexpected challenges and deal with disappointment. So the next time your favorite teacher goes MIA, approach it as just another opportunity to practice yoga. As we approach a new year this is a great time to welcome in the new and unfamiliar, perhaps with a new teacher or a new class. Remember, the world is full of surprises. Make the most of them. Thanks again to everyone who allowed me the opportunity to guide tonight’s practice. Namaste.

image of yoga peach in Old City, Philadelphia taken by Art + Life Photography

11.28.2014

Thanksgiving Stretches for Overeaters

Thanksgiving Philadelphia Events

image via Buzzfeed BFF

Let’s face it, for most people Thanskgiving = overeating In fact, today brings the year’s biggest day for caloric consumption in the United States. Thanksgiving is an awesome and yummy holiday and I hope you all enjoyed your day.

It’s funny to me that I’m drooling over everyone’s Facebook foodie pics right now because I’m actually pretty hungry! I haven’t stuffed myself to give thanks this year although I’m just on my way to dinner now. Don’t get me wrong… I think stuffing yourself into a food coma on days like today is a pretty special thing many of us are fortunate to be able to enjoy with family and friends. For those of you who are stuffed to the max, check out these cute and silly Thanksgiving day stretches for overeaters. Oh, and like the picture suggests above…go help yourself to another plate. Enjoy!

 

11.28.2014

Gratitude Gram

Thx Gratitude Gram

The John Templeton Foundation just launched Elements of Gratitude encouraging people to express gratitude and thanks through free, customizable gratitude grams. Organizations and individuals are invited to upload a photo or video and add a message of thanks, and to share their gratitude gram on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or by email., encouraging people to express gratitude and thanks through free, customizable gratitude grams. Organizations and individuals are invited to upload a photo or video and add a message of thanks, and to share their gratitude gram on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or by email.

I created two gratitude grams today and ask you to please share at least one thing you are grateful through a gratitude gram tonight through Christmas Day on December 25, 2014.  In this mornings Thanksgiving Gratitude Yoga Class for Charity I mentioned that feeling gratitude without expressing it is like wrapping a gift and not giving it.  Share what you are grateful for with family and friends through a Gratitude Gram.  Here’s my first two gratitude grams.  Please share yours with me.

Yoga Peach Gratitude Gram 1         Yoga Peach Gratitude Gram 2

Gratitude Gram

11.27.2014

Happy Thanksgiving Yoga: Priya Hot Yoga

Priya Hot Yogs Events

Happy PLANKSsgiving!  Did we work up a sweat this morning or what?  From poses that aid digestion to bird poses to marathon recovery poses to relaxation and a guided gratitude meditation we had some serious fun at Priya Hot Yoga.  And yes, I made sure to include a sequence of planks because it is indeed a Happy Planksgiving! 

Priya Hot Yoga Events

Every year at Thanksgiving, family and friends offer gratitude among themselves giving thanks for comfort, for joy, for love, the abundance in our lives and for one another. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because the awareness of gratitude comes up. Giving thanks on only one day a year is simply not enough, however, for the benefits of gratitude to take root. Gratitude and yoga go hand-in-hand, both beneficial to our well-being. Yoga teaches us to be grateful in the present moment. It allows us to appreciate the full spectrum of life, from pleasure to pain and joy to sorrow. Through the practice of yoga we even express gratitude for the darker moments, the fear, the anger and weaknesses in human nature and acknowledge darkness in the human spirit is temporary and creates, through contrast, the moments of joy and love that shine even more brightly.

Thank you to everyone who joined me for the Thanksgiving Gratitude Class this morning. It was truly an honor to guide seventeen students through yoga on such a meaningful holiday.  An extra special thank you to Priya Hot Yoga for opening their beautiful studio and offering me the opportunity to guest teach on the holiday to support the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and my efforts on the MMRF Team for Cures.  Multiple Myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer and while there is no cure, great progress has been made. I will be racing in the 2015 IRONMAN Lake Placid on the Myeloma Research Foundation Team For Cures. My commitment is to increase awareness and raise funds for the MMRF over the next six months. It fills me with joy to be able to practice for 75 minutes together and raise $279.25 for the MMRF. The word namaste is an expression of deep gratitude and recognition. We began and ended our practice in Anjali mudra, the seal of gratitude, with our palms together in front of our heart center as we brought awareness to many of the things we are grateful for beginning with the breath.

In a power yoga class I encourage students to push to their edge while at the same time expressing gratitude for where they are today, respecting their limits and honoring when to ease back.  We come to yoga for a variety of reasons and although yoga may often be a challenge, yoga is not a competition. Many people are drawn to yoga for fitness or even weight loss, which is a wonderful thing however I encourage you to recognize that fitness is not the intention of yoga. It is simply often one of the results or benefits of a regular practice. Yoga exercises gratitude as it does every other muscle. Just as asana and pranayama practice opens up the breath, and meditation the mind, the practice of yoga contributes to the gratitude that exists within you and our mental, physical and spiritual overall well being. By practicing gratitude, in essence, we create more reasons to be grateful. Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving.

If you were unable to join us and would like to make a donation to the MMRF your contribution is greatly appreciated.

Namaste and love, Keli

Priya Hot Yoga Events

 

11.25.2014

It’s been one month.

1 month tonight. Not a day has gone by where I haven’t thought of you and heard your voice in my mind. I struggle inside when I think about how I will never hear your voice, see your smile, or feel your hand again. I wrote this three days after you passed away but I still feel the same. It’s still hard for me to believe that we won’t share times together again. I miss and love you, dear friend.

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