Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach yoga, Nia, and stretch online!

    ALL CLASSES ARE ON ZOOM AT 10:00 AM PDT

    Tuesday Gentle Yoga 

    Wednesday Nia

    Thursday Stretch

    Please see my website for details!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training all virtual, of course!

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • My Bloggey Past

  • ******

    Chose a month above to visit archives, or click below to visit a page.

Archive for March, 2016

Seeds: Sesame and Nigella

Posted by terrepruitt on March 30, 2016

My favorite recipe as of late called for white sesame seeds and Nigella seeds.  Now I know what sesame seeds are, but I didn’t know there were black/brown ones.  I didn’t know what Nigella seeds were and the recipe even noted that they might be hard to find so black sesame, black cumin, or onion seeds could be used as a substitute.  But I found them easy enough on Amazon, but they were listed under several different names.  And when I googled them, even more names came up.  I love this recipe enough I can see myself using all the seeds just for this, but if not I was curious what else I could use them in.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitI know that sesame seeds are used in a lot of dishes, but I don’t normally use them.  According to Nutrition and You they have been used in “traditional medicines for their nutritive, preventive, and curative properties and are an important source of phyto-nutritents.”  Sesame seeds are high in protein, and like all seeds and nuts they are also high in fat.  But it is thought that this fat is actually one of the better ones in that it has been shown to lower the LDL cholesterol and raise the HDL cholesterol.  The USDA National Nutrient data base has the pictured information listed for “Seeds, sesame seeds, whole, dried”.

You are probably familiar with sesame seeds because they are used in many things.  For one they are famous a top a bun, yes?  They are also what makes up Tahini which is an ingredient in humus.  They are used in so many things it is almost as if they go unnoticed.

Now this nigella seed, what it up with that?  Well, Wiki helps a bit with the names by stating “In English, Nigella sativa and its seed are variously called black-caraway, black-cumin, fennel-flower, nigella, nutmeg-flower, Roman-coriander, and kalonji (from Hindi).”  As I mentioned the recipe I made said you could us black cumin as a substitute, but according to what I have seen on the internet (included Wiki) black cumin is just another NAME for nigella seeds.  It seems that this seed just has a lot of names.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitJust like the sesame seed, there are claims that the nigella seed helps lower LDL.  Claims also include they help to lower blood pressure, have anti-asthmatic effects, relieve viral sore throats, protect the brain against radiation damage, help reduce the possibility of morphine addiction, reduce symptoms of chemical weapons exposure, helps prevent post-surgical scars of the  a thin, delicate sheet that lines the inside wall of the abdomen and covers the uterus and extends over the bladder and rectum (the  peritoneum), protect neurons, slow the spread of cervical cancer, and, as a topical, helps with psoriasis.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitInternet information refer to it as the “cure all for everything but death”.  And it sure sounds like it with all of the aforementioned information that was found on NaturalSociety from a post from 2013.  I hadn’t even mentioned the info on the first part of the post stating that is it thought to help people with Type 2 diabetes, epilepsy, colon cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, and oral cancer.  AND . . . (yes there is more) help protect against damage to the heart from heart attacks, and also treat MRSA!  Wow.  And to think I had never even heard of the stuff.

This is the type of seed that can be added to many dishes.  The recipe I made called for it to be sprinkled on the pan so it stuck to the outside of the cake while baking.  But I really liked the flavor of both the seeds so I plan on putting some on top, if not inside.  I think inside the cake they would not get the same toastiness that they did on the outside of the pan.  But I can see adding them to other things.  I will add it to vegetables as I cook them and then on top when I serve them.  I might put some on my sandwiches.  They will probably add a nice extra layer of flavor.  Oooo.  I can’t wait to try that.

Seems like the benefits thought to be held in those little seeds are worth adding them to everything.

Do you cook with nigella seeds?  What about sesame seeds?

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Cauliflower Cake

Posted by terrepruitt on March 25, 2016

So yummy.  My friend posted on Facebook that she had to explain to her child that the Cauliflower Cake she made for dinner was a savory CAKE, not like a birthday cake.  She said it was a recipe from Ottolenghi.  Of course I Googled it and I was intrigued.  Then I noticed that a head of cauliflower was to be delivered in our produce box so I thought, ok. Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit The challenge according to the posted recipe was finding the nigella seeds, but I think Amazon meets each and every challenge with a “pppprrrruuuuuf”.  I ordered both the white sesame seeds and nigella seeds online and had them before my scheduled produce delivery.  The recipe noted you can use black sesame, black cumin, or onion seeds instead of the nigella/black caraway seeds.

I altered this recipe because I used the head of cauliflower I had and did not specifically shop for a small one as the recipe called for.  I also could not bring myself to use the 5 (FIVE) tablespoons of olive oil that the recipe called for.  I put two in the pan and almost stopped there, but decided to go with three . . . which I think was PLENTY!

I don’t like biting into rosemary stems so I had my husband grind them.  He used a mortar and pestle and he does an excellent job making them fine and powdery!  I also used SHAVED cheese instead of shredded Parmesan, and it was actually a Parmesan/Romano blend.  I like how there is more cheese in a bite that way . . . but I am sure either is fine.  The recipe called for unsalted butter, which I bought once for a recipe a long time ago and will not be doing that again.  So I used regular butter.

Since I use my blog as my recipe book I put my ideas for next time I make this in the recipe below in asterisked italics.  That way I don’t have to continue to scroll down to check what I want to do different and I won’t forget because it will be right there.)

This is what I did, which is an adaptation of Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe I found on thekitchn.com

_________________________

Savory Cauliflower Cake

(Serves 4 to 6)

1 cauliflower head, cut into pieces (not small pieces, about an inch big)

1 medium red onion

3 tablespoons olive oilDance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit

1 teaspoon rosemary leaves (which I had my hubby grind up for me)

7 large eggs

1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped **use more**

1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 teaspoon (heaping) ground turmeric **1/2 to 1 teaspoon**

1 1/2 cups shaved Parmesan or Parmesan/Romano

Melted butter, for brushing the sides of the pan

1 tablespoon white sesame seeds

1 teaspoon nigella seeds (also known as black caraway)

1 1/2 teaspoon salt  **to 2 teaspoon**

black pepper (to taste)

9 1/2 springform pan (or a 9-inch cake pan or even an 8-inch square pan)

Preheat the oven to 450°F.  (The original recipe called for 400° F, I mistakenly did it at 450° which requires less time . . . .so I think I will stick to 450° F and bake it for less time.)

Place the cauliflower florets in a saucepan and add 1 teaspoon salt. Cover with water and cook until the florets are quite soft. They should break when pressed with a fork.  (But don’t break them up.) Drain and set aside while preparing the rest of the ingredients (whatever you didn’t get done while the cauliflower was cooking).

Peel the onion, then cut 3 slices, almost 1/4-inch/5-mm thick, off one end.  Set the onion rings aside.

Heat up the 3 tablespoons of oil in a small pan.

Coarsely chop the remaining onion and cook it in the oil with the rosemary, stirring as necessary.  Cook it until the onion is soft.  When done remove from heat and set aside.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitWhile the onion is cooking you can line the bottom and sides of the springform pan or your chosen baking dish with parchment paper.  Then use the melted butter to butter the paper in the pan, the sides and the bottom.  In the 9 1/2 inch springform the mixture does not go all the way up to the top so you only need to butter about halfway up.  Mix the white sesame seeds and the nigella seeds together.  Then sprinkle the seed mixture on the sides of the pan.  **USE ALL THE SEEDS!  Perhaps even putting them on the bottom of the pan.**

While your onions are cooling, break the 7 eggs into a large bowl and whisk well.  Add the basil and whisk.  Add the cooked onion and rosemary mixture to the eggs.  Whisking and stirring.  Then stir in the flour, baking powder, turmeric, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper.  Stir until all ingredients are mixed well.  Then mix in the Parmesan.  Then add the cooked cauliflower.  Don’t stir too much that you break up all the flowerets into little pieces, but mix it enough so that it is all mixed together.

Pour the egg and cauliflower mixture into the pan.  Spreading it evenly, then put the onion rings on top.  **Sprinkle some seeds on top**  Place in the center of the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.  Bake it until golden brown.  Check complete doneness by inserting a knife into the center.  It is done when the knife comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and serve to your liking, hot, warm, or cold.

_________________________

I ate on this for a few days.  I can’t wait to make it again with my extra **tweaks.  I really like it.  I thought it was super yummy.  You can use it as the main dish or a side and serve it with a salad and something meaty.  It could be breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  It is yummy!

Well, what do you think?

Posted in "Recipes", Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Cauliflower Flavorless But Good

Posted by terrepruitt on March 23, 2016

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, meaning it is “of, relating to, or denoting plants of the cabbage family (Brassicaceae, formerly Cruciferae)” according to Google.  It is of the same species as kale, broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, and brussels sprouts and in the same family as daikon, arugula, rutabaga, and bok choy, to name a few.  It is also consider an anti-inflammatory which is good because many of the (overly) processed foods we eat are consider inflammatory.  And scientist are linking chronic inflammation with a whole list of diseases and ailments.  So, I am all for foods that will help with inflammation.  Although, I am not really a fan of cauliflower.  I don’t grab it off of a veggie tray at potlucks.  I don’t put it on my plate when it is offered as a cooked side.  I am not a fan.  Because I am not a fan I do want to try the myriad of recipes that include it and make it the star.  Like the cauliflower pizza crust or the version of macaroni and cheese made with cauliflower or the many recipes that used riced cauliflower.  I will get to some of those one of these days.  But first a little about cauliflower.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitTo me it is pretty tasteless.  It has no flavor really.  Not that I can remember . . . but then again I can’t remember the last time I ate just cauliflower.  I have cooked it and used it in this yummy stuffed portobello recipe.  It is one of those vegetables that can add substance but not really flavor.  That is probably why it goes so well as the base for some many things . . . you can make it taste like anything because it tastes like nothing.

But in addition to it being an anti-inflammatory it has a very low Glycemic Index.  The GI as you may know affects our blood sugar so  food low on the index help with keeping the blood sugar level even.  Also, it is high in vitamin C, giving you 75% of the DV% in a cup.  It also contains vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, vitamins B6, B2, B1, and B3.  Also fiber, potassium, and protein.

It also comes in different colors.  There is white, orange, and purple.  There is green cauliflower with the normal  shape and the Romanesco Broccoli or Italian cauliflower kind.  I’ve had that before.  I roasted it (surprise!) and it was kind of sweet.  The texture was odd.

Recently my friend posted something about cauliflower on Facebook.  She had recently made a recipe that she had to explain to her child.  It got me curious and I ended up making it . . . hence the post on cauliflower.  I am in love with this recipe and it has cauliflower in it.  It is a really yummy way to eat cauliflower.  But I will save the recipe for another post.

For now you can tell me:  Do you like cauliflower?  How do you eat it?  Do you eat it raw?  Do you cook it?  How?  Have you tried any of those recipes like the cauliflower pizza crust?

 

Posted in Food, Vegetables | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Svadhyaya – The Fourth Niyama

Posted by terrepruitt on March 21, 2016

I’m still looking into the Eight Limbs of Yoga (1:  The yamas – restrictions/restraints/ethical principles    2:  The niyamas – rules/observances/spiritual practices    3:  The asana – the poses    4:  Pranayama – breath work    5:  Pratyahara – withdrawal of the senses    6:  Dharana – concentration    7:  Dhyana – meditation and    8:  Samadhi – transcendence)  I am working my way down the list posting about a little bit about each limb.  With the first two limbs there are five of each yama and niyama.  I am working my way through them, too.  Well, this post is about the fourth niyama or rule, observance, spiritual practice.  It is svadhyaya – study of self.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitT.K.V. Desikachar’s The Heart of Yoga states that svadhyaya means to get close to yourself or study yourself.  Sva = “self” or “belonging to me” / Adhyaya = “inquiry” or “examination” . . . so self inquiry, self examination.

One can study or examine oneself for various reasons.  One way many are probably familiar with is eating . . . you have probably heard the terms “emotional eater”, “stress eater”, “bored eater” and the idea is to stop and think – examine when you eat so you can identify if you are one of these types of eaters.  These labels could be applied to many things . . . drinker . . . fighter . . . .abuser . . . “neglector” . . . cleaner . . . . smoker . . . whatever the situation, the study has to be done first in order for the behavior to be altered.  WHY is it you are doing what you are doing?  What is it that causes you to do what you do?  With that type of knowledge of self then steps can be taken to change.

A lot of our behaviors are habits and sometimes just acknowledging that and applying a little bit of mindfulness we can change the habit.

If you want to think about svadhyaya in relationship to “on the mat”, the actual practice of the third limb of yoga, the asana, then it can be applied in the sense that it is all about you when you are on the mat.  There is no competition between the person on the mat next to you.  Or you having to do something in order to please or impress the teacher.  It is all about you and what is going on with you at that particular mat time.  This is a great time to practice svadhyaya.  It is when you get to stop all the other thinking and think about things like how your foot is connected to the earth.  It is your whole foot or just the edge?  Are you using the muscles necessary to make certain that it is the whole foot.  Are your shoulders down?  Is your chest open?  Is your spine long?  Is your stance too wide?  Can you tweak your arm/leg/head just a little in order to invite in that sense of relaxed control?  Where you are not sinking into your joints hanging out in a pose, but using your muscles but not over using them?  Are you aware of the placement of your knee?  Are you focused on your breath?   If you study how each pose is sensed by your body it allows you to try to determine if you are in the pose correctly and allows you to get the most out of it.

With the study of self there is knowledge gained about self.  With the knowledge of self one can work to improve or enhance oneself.  With enhancement of self, the idea is that one moves closer to the divine.  Many think of the divine as different things.  But most people agree that we all have areas in which we could grow.  Most people agree there is always room for improvement.  It makes sense that we have to look in and examine, practice svadhaya, before we can change.  This is just one way – and a brief one at that – to look at svadhaya.

What do you think?  Do you think of svadhaya on the mat?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Baked Golden Beet “Fries”

Posted by terrepruitt on March 16, 2016

Oh, if you have read any of my food post one of them probably was about our grass-fed beef.  I highly recommend getting some if you can.  So yummy.  Something that allow us to have hamburgers WAY more often than we ever would.  I don’t know about you, but I love hamburgers WITH fries.  They are served together everywhere they serve hamburgers it is no wonder that I just love the combination and kinda don’t like to have burgers without fries.  I don’t actually make french fries though.  I do sometimes roast potatoes and let them sub in as the french fries.  But since we eat burgers WITH buns so often, I don’t do that always.  Sometimes I make other kinds of fries.  Once I made squash fries.  Well, today I was going to roast beets.  Then I was thinking I would just cut them into little sticks instead of the normal cubes.  Then, of course when I was already late making dinner, I decide to bread them.  What a mess that was.  I don’t bread things because I can never make the crumbs stick AND it is such a waste to me.  I always end up with leftover egg and bread crumbs that I have to just toss out.  Wasteful.  Hate it.  But . . . these little guys were kinda good.  My husband said, “Those beet fries . . . much better than I was expecting.  You should blog about them.”

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitHa.  Poor guy.  I usually only make things with things that we like so I figure that it will never be too bad.  But he doesn’t have that kind of faith so sometimes when I tell him what we are eating he just braces himself . . . I guess.  So when it turns out good he is surprised.

In order for the bread crumbs not to burn I didn’t cook the beets as long as I would have, so they ended up crunchy and slightly under cooked . . . but cooked fine.  Perhaps not so much “under cooked” as not-as-cooked-as-I-normally-would-have-cooked-them.

So we had golden beets.  They came in our produce box.  And they were tiny.  Two of them were about the size of a golf ball and one was a little bigger.

________________________________________

Baked Golden Beet “Fries”

3 golden beets
egg
panko bread crumbs
season salt / your choice of seasoning
garlic salt / your choice of seasoning
coconut oil
aluminum foil

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitCover your baking sheets with aluminum foil.  Cover the aluminum foil with the coconut oil.  Preheat the oven to 450° F.  Cut the beets up so that you have little french-fry shaped pieces.  I put season salt in the egg.  And garlic salt in the bread crumbs.

Put the beets in the beaten egg.  Then put the beets in the bread crumbs.  Cover them as much as you can with the bread crumbs.

Spread the beets out on the baking sheet.  Give them a lot of room.  Making just rows and rows of little breaded beets.

Bake them for about 15 or 20 minutes at 450° F.  Then turn the oven down to 300° F and bake for a few more minutes.  Of course, that was my oven so you might want to check yours and bake accordingly.  You want the crumbs to be golden brown.

________________________________________

I was out of parchment paper so I used aluminum foil, but it might have actually turned out better.  I think the foil might get hotter than the paper.  It might help them cook.  I used aluminum foil with my asparagus the other day and they turned out awesome.

Anyway . . . these were good, much better than the squash “fries”.

Do you like beets?  Do you like golden beets?  Do you like fries with your hamburger?

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit

 

Posted in "Recipes", Food | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Light Ginger Marinade

Posted by terrepruitt on March 14, 2016

Unfortunately I don’t always measure when I am cooking or making a marinade.  I actually hear a lot of people say that.  When you are cooking you just pour and sprinkle and shake, right?  It makes it very difficult to share recipes.  Normally I don’t even remember what I put in a marinade and every once in a while I wish I had.  This one was a little different from my normal marinades and I really liked it.  I liked it so much that in the middle of eating I jumped up and wrote down what was in it.  Then later that same week I made it again.  The first time I used it with boneless pork chops.  It was really good.  Then second time I used it with boneless chicken breasts . . . just as good.  I have not used it with beef so I don’t know if it will be as good with that as it was with pork and chicken.  I’m calling it Light Ginger Marinade.

I put in:

_________________________________________________

Light Ginger Marinade

sherry  (1 1/2 cup)
teriyaki (1 tbsp)
soy sauce  (1 tbsp)
worcestershire sauce  (1 tbsp)
garlic powder  (1 tsp)
ginger (powder)  (2 tsp)
dry mustard (this is a powder) (1 tsp)
ground thyme  (1 tsp)
and chopped onions  (1/4 to 1/2 of a medium sized one)

Put it all in the dish you (or even a zip lock bag) are going to marinate the meat in and let it set for at least an hour.  I like mine to marinate at long as possible.

_________________________________________________

I have guesstimated the measurements because, as I said, I didn’t measure.  But I really liked it.  Ha, as I look at it I realized it really is not all that different from my normal, but it is — in my opinion — really good.  And that is really all that matters when I am cooking to eat it, right?  I need to think it is really good.  Ok, well, yes, my husband has to at least like it or why would I make it again, but I am the one that needs to think it is good.  But I still felt I needed to type that.

I think the difference is that instead of using a lot of the teriyaki, soy sauce and worcestershire sauce I only used a tablespoon of each.  Usually I use a lot more of all of those.  Or I make the base the teriyaki.  But this time I was trying to just add those flavors a little bit.  That is why I am calling it “light” because it is not as dark as the other marinades.

I am going to use this recipe the next time my hubby makes a Costco run.  We can do some of the chicken AND some of the pork in this.

Of course, when you make it, adjust it all to your liking . . . and to the amount of meat you are trying to juice.  Perhaps adding some salt and pepper?  For me, everything needs salt, but not pepper.

I bet it would be really awesome with fresh ginger!

Do you have a “go to” marinade you always make?

 

Posted in "Recipes", Food | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tapas – The Third Niyama

Posted by terrepruitt on March 11, 2016

Tapas, no, not the little plates of appetizers in Spanish cuisine.  But that is, honestly, how I remember this niyama.  I think, “What is the third one?  Oh yeah, little plates of food.”  As I have mentioned before, and this word is no different, you will probably see it spelled many different ways.  If you want to not confuse it with the little plates you could spell it Tapahs. Although, the Heart of Yoga, does link Tapas to food.  First he says that it literally means “to heat the body”.  He goes on to say that by doing so we cleanse it.  Another form, he says is “paying attention to what we eat”.  So that does kind of tie in with food.  The book further states that “posture, attention to eating habits, attention to breathing patterns are all tapas.”  I learned tapas as discipline.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitSo that would be discipline over your posture, eating habits, and breath.  The idea is that if you have discipline over all of these things you are purifying the body and practicing tapas.  The Heart of Yoga also says, “Tapas is often described as penance, mortification, and a strict diet.”

I like the way Connie Habash, talks about it in her article. She talks about tapas as being that fire that gets you to do things.  The inner flame that motivates you, she says.  That desire or discipline that has you doing chores or a daily workout even when you really don’t want to.  The thing that keeps you on track.  I am way more on board with that then “voluntary self-punishment inflicted as an outward expression of repentance for having done wrong”.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitWhich is good because I guess even though “tapas is often described at penance” it doesn’t mean penance or castigation” so it is mentioned later in The Heart of Yoga.  Basically we are disciplined with ourselves.  Not doing something (eating, exercising, working, playing) in excess.  Doing what we need to stay healthy, but not taking it overboard.  While exercising is a good thing it can be done to a point of making the body or mind unhealthy.  And that can be said of many things, as I mentioned work and even play.  If there is too much “play” then there is no balance.  Yoga is all about balance.  Things need to be in balance.  The yin and the yang.

The practice of tapas allows for balance as it is the discipline that keeps everything in check.  So, this is a brief idea of tapas.  Tapas is the third niyama.  There are five niyamas.  Niyamas are the second limb of yoga.  There are eight limbs of yoga.

I have mastered none.  I am just posting about them as a way to familiarize myself with them and a way to keep them and their ideas at my fingertips.  Yoga is a practice so these are things I can process for years to come.  I share them, too, as a way to introduce you to the other aspects of yoga.  Just like I share the principles and other things that make up Nia.

Can you easily see why yoga is called a practice?  🙂

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Being Content – The Second Niyama

Posted by terrepruitt on March 9, 2016

Ahhhh Santosha, the second niyama.  The niyamas and the yamas are the second and first limb of the Eight Limbs of Yoga.  As with many things there is often more to it than what is popular knowledge.  Most people are familiar with yoga, in the sense that they know it has to do with stretching.  Many people will even say, “I am not flexible enough to do yoga.”  Ha . . . that is probably more true than they know.  Tee hee.  But, actually they are just referring to the physical aspect because, again, that is what is popular knowledge.  To me, that is fine, just knowing yoga as a physical practice is fine.  In fact, if that is all you want to do when you think of yoga, that is fine too.  I am not here to say you have to do yoga a certain way or that you have to practice all the limbs or you aren’t doing real yoga — in fact, to say that, in MY opinion — is not practicing “real” yoga.  Ha . . . so intertwined it all is.  But anyway . . Eight Limbs . . . More To Yoga Than Just Asana.  The first two limbs (yama and niyama) are rules and observances.  There are five of each.  I have posted a bit about the five yamas and now I am working my way through the five niyamas.  This post is about the second one — Santosha, contentment.

Ahhhhh.  Sigh.  Sounds so super easy . . . if you consider yourself content.  But it might not be if you look at it.  If you really look at “true” contentment it might be a little bit more difficult than at first glance.  This one is tricky because in some cases it might appear to be laziness or unambitious.  But really it is just being content with where you are.  Again it can be connected to some of the yamas, because we would be content with where we are and not try to “steal” something away from someone else.  We will be content with what we have in that we won’t try to get all that we can (either material-wise or sexually).  We will not try to possess everything and hoard it all.  These are comparisons to the last three yamas.

Santosha extends to worrying.  Worrying is a form of non-contentedness.  We are thinking about the future and not content to be right where we are.  It could be a matter of not trusting that we are where we need to be.  It could be a matter of not focusing on the now.  There might even be an aspect of control to consider.  If we are always trying to control things it could be that we don’t trust what will happen to be the right thing or that we are unable to surrender to it.  Hmmmm . . . .

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitSo we are to accept what is happening, what is in the present, and what we have.  We are to be content with what is.  Santosha is not to worry about what will be and try not to control everything.  This does not mean we cannot make plans and have ambitions, it just means that we should enjoy what we have and not be too disappointed when it is not the way we think it should be.

Again I will say, I have not mastered this entirely.  I think I am content in some situations, but I might be a little non-Santosha in others.  But, again, it is a practice.

What would you like to share about Santosha?

 

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sauca – The First Niyama

Posted by terrepruitt on March 7, 2016

I teach Nia, you may know that.  You may also know that Nia is a cardio dance exercise.  You can go to class get a workout and not think about it at all.  Or you can take it a little further if you would like and delve into some of the things that Nia likes to do, like connect movement with things in life, practice the 13 Principles of the Nia White Belt in your daily life.  But the 13 Principles of the first level of Nia are things like being Joyful in your movement or doing something in your own time or noticing how your body moves.  Whereas if you are going to practice more than just the physical aspect of yoga you are going to be observing rules and restrictions and practicing breathing techniques and meditating.  So even though I often compare Nia to yoga saying that it is a practice, I don’t think of the Nia practice as rules and restrictions.  With yoga there are the Eight Limbs of Yoga.  I listed them in my post “More To Yoga Than Just Asana“.  I am more familiar with the first four than the last four.  I can say that the first four have more.  As in the first two have five each, the third has hundreds, and I am not even sure how many the fourth has, but I know of at least ten.  The first limb is the yamas.  I have written a brief post on each yama.  Now I am going to skim the surface of the niyamas.

As I mentioned, there are five niyamas.  Some call them rules, some call them observances, some call them spiritual practices.  The first of the niyamas is Sauca . . . . as with many of the Sanskrit words you will probably see it spelled different ways.  While it might be spelled different, it is pretty much agreed upon that this niyama is about cleanliness, purity.

The Heart of Yoga says “Cleanliness, or keeping our bodies and our surroundings clean and neat.”

Recently I had the opportunity to examine this niyama by being assigned to write about it.  I decided to take the points that were mentioned in the lecture and make a little table.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit

I decided I have showering down.  I believe that I do a good job with my general hygiene.  Although, it has come to my attention that some people don’t consider it “good hygiene” if you are not wearing make-up.  For some people wearing make-up is a very big deal and it had been pointed out to me recently – that make-up should be a part of every woman’s beauty regime.  So, I guess SOME people might not agree that I have the “good hygiene” thing down.

Oh, but if one includes, “dapper new clothes” in that “good hygiene”, yeah, I don’t have that down at all.  While my clothes will be clean, they might be really faded and what many people would think of as “time-to-get-rid-of”.  So just as someone who thinks that having make-up on is part of good hygiene, someone who doesn’t wear or tolerate old and faded clothes might think of me as not having good hygiene.

Keeping things clean is always a “needs work” because SOMETHING is ALWAYS dirty.  I mean, even if I spent all my time cleaning there would still be dirty things.  But I think I do ok with the necessary basics.  Our kitchen is clean, our bathrooms are clean (the showers could always use sand-blasting, but basically they are ok), the cats’ litter boxes are clean (that is a never ending “battle”), our house is basically clean . . . but I can’t keep up with the dust.  And, again, that is me saying it is “clean”, but I will not admit to it not being cluttered.

Who cannot swear with all this clutter around?

And cluttered speech . . . that is funny.  At times I am very aware of this and I can keep the clutter out, but sometimes a story is just so much more fun with all the drama (good drama, as in a play or good story) that clutter causes.  The suspense because you added three more sentences that were not necessary, but your audience is on edge.  Sometimes that is just too fun.

Non-judgmental . . . this kinda reminds me of the Yama, Ahimsa.  Being “non-violent” with oneself.  I could work on judging myself less harshly so as not to judge others so harshly.

Regarding the non-violent thoughts, perhaps with the non-judging, I won’t want to slap the person that didn’t obey the traffic law or show any regard to common sense while driving.  Needs work.

Ok, I think I have the littering one down.  I say, I think because I don’t litter.  I don’t throw things away if it is not in a garbage can or recycle bin.  But there might be something someone else considers littering that I do, that I am not aware of.

Not damaging the planet actually made me laugh.  It should be “work to keep your damage to a minimum”.  Because all of our modern convenience damage the planet.  Driving my car, damages the planet, having a cell phone damages the planet, eating food from our food sources damages the planet . . . . so I try to be good about it.  I take care not to waste water or electricity or even “THINGS”.  I am not a big throw-it-out-and-get-a new-one person . . . . hence all my clutter.

Good intentions.  I try, I am sure it could be better.

I work hard not to gossip.  Not easy . . . but it kind of helps when you don’t have the opportunity.

Again, as with all the limbs, I am just barely touching the surface.  These are not all the ways of sauca, but I think the list/examples we were giving was a good representation.  I am sure there are other ways it can be looked at, but in light of this, what do you think?

 

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Don’t Be A Hoarder

Posted by terrepruitt on March 2, 2016

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitIn reviewing some of the things that actually make yoga yoga, I have been posting about the Eight Limbs of Yoga.  The first two limbs, the yamas and the niyamas are restraints and observances, respectively.  I am working my way through posting about them and I am on the last of the yamas.  The fifth yama is one that probably speaks to many of us. The fifth yama is about non-coveting, non-hoarding, non-clinging, non-possessiveness, non-greediness, non-grasping, etc.  You get the picture.  The fifth yama is aparigraha.

I think this is a big one in our have-to-have-the-latest-and-greatest-of-everything society.  We covet the new electronic gizmo our neighbor has.  We buy more than we need until our closets and garages are over flowing.  We have so much stuff that there are places we can rent to store the stuff that doesn’t fit in our homes.  We cling to the very idea that our lives will be better with more stuff.  We are compelled to consume.  And all of that is if we are just talking about material things.

There are other applications of aparigraha, just like with all the limbs and the other yamas, much could be and has been written about them.  I am just barely scratching the surface.  Another way to think about aparigraha and the “non-clinging” is letting go.  Perhaps we cling to things that no longer serve us, whether they be ideas or habits or even long standing customs.  Does everything we do serve us now?  Could we learn more if we let go of something we have always thought to be?  Would our lives improve if we didn’t do that thing that we have always done?

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitAnother way it could be applied is to people or relationships whether we look at it as letting go or non-possessing.  We might need to let someone go, a relationship that is no longer serving us.  Perhaps we have just grown apart or we realize that the relationship is just not a healthy thing so we need to let go.  Or, more directly related to teachers in my line of work and students, perhaps we need to let them go.  We need to not think of students as ours, so when they visit other classes we are not offended.  When they move on to different teachers we can practice aparigraha, by not getting hurt because they were “our” student.  No matter the reason they moved on, we can happily let them go to move on to what is best for them.

I liked that example of the fifth yama very much.  It is a great thing for me to remember and try to practice.  I mean I already know about the rest and I seriously need to work on it – as evidence by my closets.  But I liked the different way to look at it, too.  I always feel funny saying “my” students because I don’t mean for it to sound like they are MINE, especially since at the Camden Community Center, where I have a bulk of my classes the students are students to many instructors.

As is the case with all the yamas, I need to work on this one.  I am planning on practicing it big time as I do some Spring cleaning.  Going to try to not-hoard, as is my habit with clothing.  Might (notice I say might) part with more of my mom’s clothing, which I probably never will wear, but I was clinging to – for many reasons.

How about you?  Do you have anything (whether it be a material object or an idea, habit, or custom) that you might practice aparigraha with?

 

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »