I’m Inspired By: Bikram Calgary South

3 months ago, I stumbled upon Bikram yoga. I’ve been curious about hot yoga for a while, but thanks to one of those Living Social Deals, I signed up for 20 classes for $20. This was, without a doubt, the best $20 I have EVER spent. Bikram Yoga has changed my life.

I’ve worked out my whole adult life, in various levels of intensity. The last almost 2 years have been my super-fit years, running quite a bit and finally for the first time really committing to long term health and exercise. IronSister got me into running, which was amazing and I loved it and, in typical fashion, overdid it enough to be looking for a little change this fall. I will definitely run again, but I am enjoying the little focus switch.

I don’t know if I found the yoga or if the yoga found me, but I can tell you this: I have NEVER experienced anything like it. The 90 minutes in the hot room are intense, challenging, and empowering every.single.time. I’m just finishing up my 3rd month of practicing regularly, about 4 times a week and in some ways I feel so so new at it(which I am) and in other ways I feel like it’s a deeply valuable and solidified part of my life.

Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 postures, 2 breathing exercises, 90 minutes in a room that is heated to well into the 40 degrees and high humidity. The hot room makes you detox(which I can assure you I feel every single molecule of sugar detoxing out of me, motivation to rarely eat it!). Literally the sweat pours off and soaks the towel over our mats. In the 3 months, eating healthy as I regularly do, working out only 4 times a week, I have noticed a more dramatic change in my muscle tone, strength and flexibility than ever in my life.

I cannot recommend this enough. If there is a Bikram Yoga Studio near you, you should try it. Even better, if you live around here, then you should stop by Bikram Calgary South!! This is the yoga studio I practice at. The people here are AMAZING. Seriously the instructors are amazing, inspiring, cheerleading, super fun people. They make everyone feel important, like it’s THEIR pleasure to have us there. It amazes me every single time. Lindsay and Morgan, the owners are just so incredible. Lindsay is a yogi goddess, and Morgan is about the friendliest most personable guy I’ve ever met. I’m not sure if he treats everyone who walks in the door like his best friend, or if they ARE his best friends…Heather is so sweet I always feel a little sad to leave her when the 90 minutes are over…Hillary could be a professional cheerleader as she rah-rah’s you through the intense work out…Annie is so calm and peaceful, it’s always easy to breathe through her class…Liana is so motivating and attacks the classes with so much energy, absolutely catching…Anne-Brit always seems to get the best out of me, partly because I’m terrified of her and partly from motivation that yoga has given her the body of an olympian.

Honestly, these people are my friends, whether they know it or not. I am deeply inspired by them. I have learned to be able to take 90 minutes, leave my stresses in the cold hallway, focus on breathing, on moving, on listening. I am stronger. I am happier. I am healthier.

I am grateful.

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Recipe: Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

oatmeal chocolate chip dough

The house is very very quiet. Picky Princess got new skates for Christmas from Grandma and Grandpa, so she and Sexy Husband are out in the chill skating. Foodie Baby is sleeping upstairs. The peacefulness brought a deep sense of….cookies. They were begging to be made!

My Little Family has been overwhelmingly gracious about being back to a life full of healthy food. I’ve barely heard a peep this week about meals featuring lentil salad, roasted kale, and bok choy. I know the peace will end soon; with pink cheeks begging for hot chocolate, giggling girls, piano practicing and the singing from the Studio that NEVER ends.

And I will greet the madness with…cookies.

chewy and easy

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes 3 dozen

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup coarse raw sugar(demerara) use brown sugar if you prefer

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup spelt flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup oats

handful each of shredded coconut, pecans, chocolate chips (measure carefully 😉

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until combined. Drop by teaspoon full onto baking sheets. Bake for about 12 minutes. They will be slightly golden on the bottom, and chewy in the middle.

How’s that for easy?

Foodie Baby approves

Think Fresh: Winter Salad

Sauteed Mushroom Salad

I am full of inspiration for salad all summer long. I could eat it three times a day and I never seem to run out of creative combinations for fresh summery greens. In the winter, however, I don’t want to eat salad. I do, because it’s healthy, but I just do. not. want. to.  But I’m kind of tired, this week, of the same roasted veggies I’ve been eating, or the same raw chopped veggies. I also had the dark and heavy realization this week that it is a LONG time until summer(this always hits me at some point, usually the first week of January). So I thought I would combine some of the comfort of warm roasted food, with the health of piles of raw spinach. This salad was delicious, flavorful and felt a bit gourmet. I will proudly serve it to guests later this week!

If you are needing some winter salad inspiration, give this one a try. The great thing about it is that you don’t have to have a dressing. The garlic/olive oil/cherry tomatoes/mushrooms have enough flavor, and the balsamic drenched sourdough croutons are hearty enough, that nothing more is required. Enjoy!

Sauteed Mushroom Salad

Makes enough for 2 as an entree or 4 as a side.

Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium heat. Add 2 cloves of garlic, minced, and 1 tsp of coarse sea salt and a pinch of chili flakes. Add 2 cups of halved small white button mushrooms and 1 cup of cherry tomatoes. Saute until golden(as we’ve all learned from Julia Child, don’t crowd the mushrooms if you want them to really brown).

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, put 2 cups of coarsely torn sourdough bread. Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a bit more sea salt. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes, stirring once.

On a large bed of spinach, dump mushroom mixture and hot croutons. Garnish with shredded parm and serve! The combo of cold spinach and hot mushrooms is delicious!

 

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