Take A Yoga Break and Rejuvenate Your Practice!

I woke up in Costa Rica this morning to the sound of birds chirping, monkeys howling, the sun peeking in through curtains and my love beside me. Thank you Universe!

Although this quick trip was planned for “the business of yoga” as we call it, the moment we landed yesterday, we looked at each other, smiled and nodded without a word. We’re taking a break. Our yoga practice for the next few days will consist of long luxurious sleeps, stillness on the beach, meditating with the nature of this glorious country, visiting with friends and making new ones.

It’s impromptu, beautiful breaks like these that always light my practice on fire when I return to the yoga mat. I return with so much more light and a whole lot more in tune with life.

When was the last time you took a break and let the Universe whisper something new into your ear? Maybe it’s time.

No worries, I’m back on the mat (With a renewed spirit!) next week with all of my classes, private students AND Vinyasa bytracye Saturday, March 7th, 11:00am @ The Yoga Collective NYC. Get more info and CLICK HERE to reserve your space!

 

 

 

Yellow & Orange Winter Soups That Rock!

Yes, it’s still winter. And, yes, soup is still one of the best games in town because…well…because it’s cold! So, I thought I’d put a little warm sunshine and happy bright vibes (and some power packed yummy nutrients) into your day. Presenting the colors yellow and orange in my new (and one old) favorite soups!

Roasted Acorn Squash & Sweet Potato Curry Soup. This is one of my favorite recipes from chez bytracye. Really, you could do this with any winter squash. But, the sweet potato gives it a bit of sweet and the curry gives this soup that warm “I’m so happy be to cozy” feel.

Sweet Potato & Red Lentil Soup with Aubergine & Kale Topping. Disclosure:  I love all things Green Kitchen Stories! And, this soup is divine.

Leek, Fennel, Apple + Walnut Soup with Turmeric.  This soup from The First Mess is gorgeous! Plus! Code word: Turmeric.

Carrot Orange & Ginger Soup. Spoiler Alert! There are dates in this soup by Nutrition Stripped.

Stay warm and be assured, spring is coming soon! Also, let me know your thoughts in the comment below.

Top 3 Reasons to Practice Yoga at Home

Aside from the fact that it’s really, and I mean really, cold, snowy and slushy in New York right now, there are so many other reasons to stay in, clear a little space and start to develop your own personal yoga practice at home.

1. You get to come just as you are. There’s no rummaging through your “fancy yoga pants” drawer required. It’s a roll out of bed, throw on whatever you like (or leave on your PJs for that matter), brush your teeth, sip a half a cup of coffee or tea and get on the mat kind of thing. There’s no dress code because nobody’s watching! Ok, maybe your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/family/etc. but they’ve seen you in those ragged genie pants and your “vintage” 2008 NYC Marathon tank before so who really cares, right? The point is that maybe at home, without a studio wall-to-wall mirror and twenty other people, there’s an opportunity to let the ego have a fit that you, perhaps (or maybe it’s just me ;-) ) look a fiery hot mess and couldn’t care less. You’re practicing yoga. Om shanti.

2. You discover your own flow. “You gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,” right? With a home practice you get to choreograph your own dance and enjoy the party without letting the ego get you all revved up because you’re not in that back bend with your leg up in the air thingy of a pose. “But what if I don’t know what to do or how to start?”, you say. I hear you! Try starting your practice standing or seated with eyes closed. Tune into your breath. Tune into your body and ask it what it needs. No, really I’m serious, ask! You might be surprised and get a response. Set an intention or dedication. Then, perhaps, kick things off with a few Sun Salutations. From there, it’s all yours to play. If you need a few pointers or direction as you first begin, a private session with your yoga instructor might help. Click here to get info on private yoga bytracye. And you can also check out my quick Sun Salutation breakdown for Navafit.com here.

3. You get it in.  With dedicated practice comes, you guessed it, a dedicated practice. As long as you have your body’s length and width in floor space somewhere in your house or apartment you’re good to go. A mat really is optional fanciness. Ideally, it would be great to have a separate, quiet, beautifully designed yoga space where no one in your family could interrupt by asking where they could find their other sock (Again, that might be my world.), but you don’t need that. At home, and especially before work, school, and the rest, you get the chance to “get it in” and take a dose of all the good physical, mental, and spiritual vibes this practice brings to those who, you guessed it, practice!

Would love to hear how you work your home practice or questions about getting started in the comments below!

Lover’s Chocolate Cake

Sweet, rich, smooth, with a nice little bite of surprising heat! I make non-spicy variations of this super easy “almost vegan” i.e. no eggs, no milk, no butter, etc. cake all of the time for family and friends. However, this one is just for me and Bruce (and you!). Enjoy!

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 cup raw sugar or sweetener of your choice

1/4 cup cocoa powder (Listen. Hear me now. Get and use a good quality cocoa powder. It makes the cake!)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon (See “Listen” re: cocoa powder)

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use extra virgin olive oil and it’s perfect.)

1 tsp vanilla extract (Again, see “Listen” re: cocoa powder)

1 tsp balsamic vinegar (You could also use distilled white vinegar)

1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan and coat lightly with a bit of whole wheat flour (Shake out excess). Mix all dry ingredients. Add all wet ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Pour into pan and bake for 45 minutes.

A Camel Pose for Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s my Cupid-like duty to offer up a yoga pose that will open your heart and allow you to soak up all of the love you deserve. Oh yeah, and allow you to give just as much away too!

Heart openers, especially during the cold winter season, help to lift you physically and mentally out of a funk and help you to find a bigger, fuller breath. They help to prepare you for all of the rockstar gifts the Universe wants to give you. And, they literally, help you to glow!

I kind of have this thing with Ustrasana or Camel Pose. We go way back to my very first yoga practice, years ago in a Bikram studio on Grand Avenue in Oakland, CA. Of all of the twenty-six poses in the sequence, Camel was THE only pose that, as I like to say politely, made me want to lose my cookies a.k.a. throw up! Not an encouraging sign, I thought, for a budding yogini. However, I came to learn just the opposite, as my (at the time) Type A “I will beat yoga!” ego sent me back for more of the dreaded Camel.

And, so I practiced. Never actually “losing my cookies.”

As my personal and teaching practice has grown, Camel Pose has been a part of the journey. As I look back now on that first day, I remember being a younger me with “Tracye’s Drama of the Heart” in full swing. You name it! There was the bad boyfriend breakup, a great job I no longer wanted, and the all too typical “family stuff”. My heart was a hot mess and Camel Pose was just what the yoga doctor ordered.

In order to let in, we’ve got to open ourselves up to LET GO!  With Camel Pose, our heart is wide open, just letting all of the nonsense and stuff that no longer serves us out. And so we practice. Ready to receive. Ready to love and be loved.

Happy Valentine’s Day!