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Home Rituals – Berry Walnut Muffin Bread

Berry Walnut Muffin Bread 2

I just completed my first month of massage therapy school. It’s been a wild ride so far and I’m loving it. It is a full time program so I’ve had to make some changes to my diet and lifestyle – particularly breakfast. I usually eat a big mid-morning meal, but with school starting at 8am I’ve had to switch things up a bit.

The solution? Muffins! Hearty, wholesome and packed with good ingredients. These babies are a great mid-morning snack and carry me though until lunch. This week I played with a new recipe: berry walnut muffin bread (all the goodness of individual muffins in bread form).

Berry Walnut Muffin Bread 3

So just to clear up a few things. The ingredients in this recipe might raise a red flag for some people and to those folks I say (with love in my heart…)

Don’t like wheat? Don’t eat it. 

Don’t like sugar? Don’t eat it. 

Don’t like dairy? Don’t eat it.

But to those of us who can enjoy these foods unabashedly I say mangia! Eat with the confidence that comes from choosing the most beautiful foods. Wheat, sugar and dairy are incredibly powerful foods so long as they haven’t been tampered with.

For this muffin bread recipe I used organic non-GMO flour, organic milk and butter. The butter was on sale, otherwise I’d have used any conventional rGBH-free variety. I also used organic frozen mixed berries and non-GMO sugar.

The media has been working overtime to demonize sugar (remember when they tried telling us that butter was bad for you?). Sugar is a superfood in its own right. Sugar is listed in the Materia Medica of Chinese Herbal Medicine as a Qi (energy) tonic. And sugar, wheat, milk and butter are all recommended foods in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika:

64. Wheat, rice, barley, shastik (a kind of rice), good corns, milk, ghee, sugar, butter, sugarcandy, honey, dried ginger, Parwal (a vegetable), the five vegetables, moong, pure water, these are very beneficial to those who practice Yoga.

So let’s get cooking! This berry walnut muffin bread is fantastic. It’s almost like eating cake for breakfast. The tang from the buttermilk compliments the sweetness of the berries. I made my own buttermilk by mixing whole milk with a little vinegar (lemon juice works too) and letting it sit for five minutes.

I didn’t want the bread to be soggy so I used raspberries, blueberries and blackberries (and cut up the blackberries into smaller pieces). And I always toast nuts before baking with them. Toasting kills off any molds and enhances the flavor of the nuts.

Berry Walnut Muffin Bread 1

Berry Walnut Muffin Bread

1 Loaf

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups of flour (1 cup whole wheat + 1 cup all purpose)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk + 1/2 Tbsp vinegar)

1  1/2 cups frozen mixed berries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
2 Tbsp sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan with butter or coconut oil.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a small bowl.
  3. Place frozen mixed berries in a small bowl. Add 1-2 Tbsp of the flour mixture and toss to coat. Cover bowl and place in freezer.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla.
  5. Add flour mixture a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk.
  6. Fold in the berries and walnuts and pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  7. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp sugar over the top of the batter.
  8. Bake for 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serve warm or toasted with lots of butter!

*** High Altitude baking note: decrease the amount of baking powder to 1  1/2 tsp. ***

Berry Walnut Muffin Bread Slice

 

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100 Days of Meditation

100 Days of Meditation

On January 3, 2016 I completed my first 100 Days of Meditation marathon. It took me three attempts in seven months to finish this challenge. My parameters were to meditate 1-2 hours a day for 100 consecutive days. I used the Insight Timer app to track my progress.

Obstacles Create Incentives.

An Iyengar teacher once told me that whenever life gets busy our personal practice is the first thing to go. Before starting this marathon I anticipated that moving would be my biggest obstacle. After moving eight times in four months it felt like I was constantly trying to get back on track. I was determined to realign with the root of my practice.

In yoga we talk about the necessity of foundation. The root of our practice comes from consistent, comprehensive application. Foundation also relates to our basic survival needs – food, shelter, money, resources. It’s very difficult to commit to any kind of spiritual practice without a solid base to work from. For a practice to mature a good foundation is essential.

But there are times in life when we’re called to step outside our comfort zones and perhaps grow a thicker skin. As easy as it might be to lose track of our routines, these opportunities are the BEST times to practice.

Marathon Highlights

SO much happened in seven months. Just to review some highlights:

This marathon helped me take my practice to the next level. Each time I practiced it was like hitting the reset button of my whole being. My body healed in some extraordinary ways (you CAN be your own chiropractor!) and my mind became more resilient and flexible. Like the saying goes, “don’t sweat the small stuff,” this challenge helped me navigate some really big stuff. I did get shut down a couple of times while moving but I managed to finish in the midst of a week-long moving endeavor.

Good Advice

Now that we’re at the cusp of a New Year and resolutions are fresh in people’s minds, I’ll offer the same advice that I received before starting this challenge: “Just do it.”

And I’ll add my two cents: pick a goal that challenges you in a healthy way. Be stubborn about your goal but flexible in how you go about achieving it. Breathe through the tough spots. Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you fall off the horse get back on.

One other tip: if you’re feeling really beat up after a super-long day and still want to practice, try washing your feet and put on a fresh pair of socks. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel.

100 Days of Meditation

To document this challenge I posted mini-milestones of my journey on Facebook. Much like how people will post updates for their runs, cycling routes, or check-ins at the gym or studio, I shared little updates on my progress. You can find these posts on my Facebook page along with the hashtag #100daysofmeditation.

Interested in starting your own meditation marathon? I’d love to chat with you. There are so many different kinds of meditation. We can discuss these options in your free no-obligation consultation: Book Now

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Winter Solstice and the Guru Bead

Winter Solstice Guru BeadThe winter solstice marks the shortest and darkest day of the year. After December 21st the daylight increases but for a few days the sun’s high point appears to stand still before changing direction. Within this stillness a powerful change is taking place. The winter solstice is a time for reflecting on the past before beginning the next cycle.

With all of the parties, projects and presents calling our attention we may resist the urge to turn our focus inward. But setting aside time for reflection helps us clarify what we hope to create in the coming year. The winter solstice can be a time for grieving as well as celebrating past memories. It can be a time of gratitude for our accomplishments and identifying the lessons of our mistakes.

If we can be gentle with ourselves we’ll be able to move through this process with ease. A time of reflection is an opportunity to be lovingly honest with ourselves. Opening our hearts to the past can help us release old patterns that may no longer be serving us. The solstice presents us with a valuable opportunity to connect with our inner teacher.

On a personal note, this is my 109th blog post. The number 109 has a special significance. A Japa mala is a string of prayer beads that is used for meditation. The most common malas have 108 beads. 108 is a sacred number in Hinduism and Buddhism. Almost all malas have a large bead at the end called the Guru bead. This extra bead is also called the Mother or Seva bead.

When using a mala a practitioner holds each bead as they recite a prayer or mantra. This practice helps to build tapas, the alchemical or purifying heat of transformation. Once a practitioner reaches the Guru bead they reverse direction.

The Guru bead serves as a reminder of the sacred connection between a teacher and a student. It is considered to be disrespectful to pass over this bead. The Guru bead reflects the awareness that we should bring to every aspect of our lives and the value of contemplating the intention of our meditations.

As I’ve reached the Guru bead of my writing meditations I’ve been going back and updating articles from the past four years. I recently started learning about SEO and have been applying this technology to my website. This time of reflection is helping me prepare for the next evolution of the Mind Body Mandala. You can find the fruits of my labors on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a peaceful New Year!

Emily Seymour Yoga Guru Bead Reflections

 

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Small Group Yoga Training

Small Group Yoga Training

Let’s face it. Exercising with friends is a lot of fun. We can learn so much about ourselves from being part of a team. And in our busy, technology-oriented society, finding quality time is becoming more of a priority. When we create healthy, long-lasting experiences that support our lives every day, we grow stronger as individuals and in our relationships.

Small group training is a wonderful way to experience the benefits of Personal Yoga in a supportive team environment. Receive the high quality experience of private instruction at an affordable rate, while building teamwork and camaraderie along the way. Families, friends, couples and co-workers can form their own teams (and can even pick their own custom team name).

Flying solo

If you would like to join a team simply request to be added to an open group. This is a great way to make new friends and connect with people in a positive setting. You might also choose to receive additional help through one-on-one training while participating in a small group program.

Small groups are small for good reason

Keeping the number of participants low makes it possible for each client to receive as much personalized attention as possible. Small groups are typically made up of two, three or four people.

How long does a training program run?

The ideal time frame for a small group training program is 5-10 weeks. You could start with a single session and if you decide to continue I recommend upgrading to a discounted package of five sessions.

Personal yoga training program session prices for individuals and small groups

 

Assemble Your Team


Some helpful tips on forming your own Personal Yoga team:

INVITE A FRIEND 

Everyone needs a little motivation from time to time. Give your friends a little nudge and share this post with them.

 

FIND A TEAM 

Ask to be added to a team that is right for you. We’ll connect you with people who have similar needs and goals.

 

Get Motivated


Read a few success stories from past clients on the Testimonials page and on Google+

Learn about the many Personal Yoga Benefits

 

Get Started


Start your Personal Yoga journey today! Sign up for a FREE no-obligation consultation: Book Now

 

“It’s not about who can jump the highest – it’s about how we can all jump together.” – Arthur Hall

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Thai Curry Soup

Thai Curry Soup Recipe

It’s great to be back on the Western Slope of Colorado. There is something extraordinary about this place. I felt it the first time I drove across the Utah-Colorado border. After exploring Arizona, Colorado, Idaho and Utah for the past six months it’s wonderful to know that this is where I want to live. The synchronicity that led to moving to Grand Junction was nothing short of miraculous. And the work that has gone into getting to this point has been significant. Needless to say, I am very, very grateful to be here.

The weather is perfect for soup.

It’s starting to cool down a bit at night, so I’ve been making some small changes to my diet and lifestyle. Soup has been calling my name, so I made a big batch of homemade chicken stock. Last night I whipped up a pot of Thai curry soup. The warming spices and rich coconut milk melded with the slow-cooked meat and vegetables which made the house smell wonderful!

A bowl of good medicine.

This recipe is incredibly versatile, so feel free to play around with the ingredients. I used what I had on hand and made my own curry powder with a good-quality organic turmeric powder. Turmeric is a great addition to your medicine chest [a.k.a. pantry]. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola:

“It has a long history of medicinal use in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as well as Ayurvedic medicine.

Traditional medicinal uses include the treatment of liver disease, skin problems, respiratory and gastrointestinal ailments, sprained muscles, joint pains, and general wound healing.

Its benefits have since been well documented in the medical literature, and curcumin—one of the most well-studied bioactive ingredients in turmeric — has been found to promote health and protect against a wide array of health conditions.

It actually exhibits over 150 potentially therapeutic activities, including anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity, as well as potent anti-cancer properties that have been intensely studied.”

The full list of health benefits is way too long to list here, so let’s get cooking! One of the ways to really amp up the flavor of any soup or stew is to add a sprinkling of Celtic sea salt in the final stage of cooking. Just be careful – this stuff is STRONG and a little goes a long way. I also add just a touch of sugar to balance the flavor of the curry. I like spicy food but I can get a little heavy handed and the sugar helps to round things out.

Thai Curry Soup

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 1/3 yellow squash, chopped
  • 2 mushrooms, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup cooked dark chicken meat, sliced
  • 1 rounded Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1/2 a can of full fat coconut milk
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • Kosher and Celtic salt
  1. Start by warming the chicken stock in a small saucepan over low heat.
  2. Place a large wok over medium heat. Add coconut oil, chopped onion, red pepper and carrot. Stir occasionally and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add chopped yellow squash and mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes. Sprinkle with Kosher salt.
  4. Add minced garlic and sliced chicken meat. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then coat with curry powder. Stir mixture constantly (it will be dry) for another 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add chicken stock, coconut milk and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then simmer until carrots are tender (15-2o minutes). Add a sprinkle of Celtic sea salt and adjust seasonings as needed.
  6. When ready to serve, add a generous handful of baby spinach and stir until the leaves are wilted. Ladle soup into two bowls.

Serve with hot white rice or cooked noodles.

Easy Thai Curry Soup Recipe

If you enjoyed this recipe you might also like: Home Rituals – Tortilla Soup 

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Off-Grid Living

Mescal CanyonIt’s pretty amazing to be in Arizona again. The first time I came here was twenty years ago as an apprentice for an artist in residency program. This time I’m fulfilling a dream of interning at an off-grid eco resort. I’ve been learning about organic gardening and assisting with the operations of a family-run bed and breakfast. In my free time I dive into my practice and absorb the life force of this extraordinary place.

Since landing here a little over a week ago, the effects of unplugging from the electromagnetic matrix have been remarkable. The most noticeable changes have been from being in a larger living space. After the experience of an Agenda 21 micro apartment it’s been wonderful to stretch out again.

I am not a fan of the tiny house movement.

Free range humans need space to thrive and create. While micro-apartments may offer an affordable housing solution, the health risks are significant. According to University of Texas psychology professor Samuel Gosling, an apartment has to fill psychological needs such as self-expression and relaxation, which might not be met in a cramped space.

Rosemary

The Mescal Canyon Retreat has been a welcome source of peace of mind. A crime wave was sweeping through Montrose, Colorado, the likes of which had never been seen by its thirty-year residents. After hearing reports of numerous break-ins, robberies and attempted abductions, it was time for a change of scenery.

It’s wonderful to decompress in an off-grid setting.

My brain has relaxed in the absence of cell phone towers, wi-fi and smart meter radiation. I find that I’m less inclined to go online or use technology. I see phosphenes more often, and the low levels of light pollution make it easier to observe the Milky Way.

Sunset

My sleep schedule has changed. I rise with the sun and go to bed early. I shower and wash dishes with solar-heated water that’s free of chlorine, fluoride and bromine. Hummingbirds and swallowtail butterflies skim over the flowerbeds during my meditations. I eat fresh pomegranates from the orchard.

Ayla

Furry friends.

Ayla and Moki keep watch over the property. Moki the Hound takes his job very seriously, and sometimes you’ll hear him chasing coyotes through the canyon. Ayla is a cheeky red fox in a dog’s body. She’s earned many nicknames, including Face, Furface, Foxface and Naughty Girl.

It’s been raining here (a much needed blessing for this area). Last weekend a downpour caused a flash flood through the canyon. For a few hours there was no way to cross the river or leave the resort. There’s nothing quite like being stranded to make you appreciate self-sustainability.

Being here has inspired me to offer Personal Yoga retreats for my clients. There’s nothing quite as wonderful as being able to dive in to one’s practice in a serene and natural setting. It’s an experience that I hope to share with as many people as possible. Let me know if you’re interested!

Trumpets

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Liberty Health and Wellness

Liberty Health and Wellness Yoga

Liberty Health and Wellness

 

I’m proud to announce a new partnership with Liberty Health and Wellness, a holistic and alternative health care service provider on the Western Slope of Colorado. We have clinics in Grand Junction and Montrose, and are planning to set up a third clinic in Moab, Utah! We specialize in home care and clinical services including acupuncture, tui na, yoga, as well as dietary, herbal and exercise therapy. To learn more about how Oriental medicine can help you and your loved ones please visit: libertyhealthandwellness.net

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Body as Clay

Body as Clay

Imagine holding a ball of clay. It’s damp to the touch, cool, heavy for its size. Press your fingers into the surface. They leave a slight indentation. Press again and again. The outer layer begins to soften from the warmth of your palms. The surface glides with the motion of your fingers. Your hands grow tired but you keep working. The middle layer softens but the inner core remains solid. You dig in to reach the center, pulling the ball into new shapes. The clay is pliable, ready to be molded.

It’s the same with warming up our bodies in yoga, where we start with gentle poses before diving into more dynamic ones. With class sequencing the basic rule is to warm up for five minutes in an hour-long class. A personal practice allows for much more flexibility and the freedom to decide how long you want to warm up on any given day. Which is, in my humble opinion, absolutely essential.

A proper warm up is a very personal process. 

Most adults have developed some level of compression in their bodies, either from an active or an inactive lifestyle, or simply from the continuous gravitational pull of the planet. Yoga helps to realign our bodies into a state of balanced, expanded strength.

Think about your normal routine: which “postures” do you spend most of your time in? Sitting, standing, sleeping, and any number of repetitive movements all create imprints on your body-memory. Stress patterns (physical and emotional) are another factor, as well the effects of diet and lifestyle. Sam the carpenter would do well to warm up in a way that is very different than Susie the weekend-warrior-waterskiier. While Sam might need to warm up for forty five minutes, Susie’s ready to dive in at the ten minute mark. No matter what our level of experience may be we all have our own unique learning curve.

One other thing about the importance of warming up – consistency is KEY. Even five minutes a day is going to make a huge difference. What doesn’t amount to much is dabbling here and there. It’s like the clay ball analogy; if you stop working the ball loses its malleability. Starting over is okay, but when you decide to gain some traction you’ll be amazed at the progress you can make.

If you enjoyed this article you might also like: The Bowl of Light

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Personal Yoga Discount $

Personal Yoga Discount

 

Personal Yoga sessions are a worthwhile investment because of their effectiveness and numerous benefits.

A great way to receive the same results at a fraction of the cost is to become a research client!

As a research client, you will receive the same training program as other clients at a discount. You may be asked to:

  • Fill out pre or post session assessments
  • Participate in photo or video documentation
  • Spend a few minutes being interviewed about your progress

Your anonymity is assured, just like every private client.

Becoming a research client is a great way to help others while gaining valuable insight about your own progress.

Research clients save 25% or more off the normal session rate. Reap the rewards of Personal Yoga training at an amazing discount!

If you’re ready to commit to your health and contribute to other people’s wellbeing contact Emily today.
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Superfood Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach Artchoke DipDo you love cheese? Really LOVE cheese? So much so that you think it deserves to have its own food group? Could cheese be the answer to the world’s problems? Maybe not but cheese is still AMAZING for your bones, heart and brain. Cheese is a nutritional powerhouse that is just one of the featured superfoods in this recipe.

How about spinach? Also pretty amazing. These antioxidant-rich greens are great for the eyes, bones and heart. Spinach alkalizes, nourishes and strengthens your body with a plethora of vitamins and minerals. FYI – raw spinach contains oxalic acid which interferes with calcium absorption but cooking eliminates this problem.

What about artichokes? Did you know that artichokes have more antioxidants than any other vegetable? They’re great for the liver and contain a high dose of vitamin C. Artichokes also have anti-aging benefits and help prevent heart disease and Alzheimers.

All of this is to say that spinach artichoke dip might just be the best thing EVER. And this mega-delicious recipe is oh-so-easy to prepare. Just be ready to be asked for a repeat performance.

Here’s a few pointers on how to make this dish outstanding.

  • EXTRA garlic: I didn’t even get into the health benefits of garlic but needless to say you should add as much as you dare. Think elephant garlic-sized cloves. Garlic is an aphrodisiac so it’s best to serve extra garlicky foods with care. 
  • HARD cheeses are great for your health. I like asiago for this dish but you could also use parmesan.
  • CANNED artichokes: You could steam your own artichokes but if you’re short on time use a good canned variety that doesn’t add chemical preservatives (I like Reese’s). Select artichoke hearts that are stored in water as you won’t need any extra oil for this recipe.
  • FULL FAT DAIRY: The low-fat movement is over (thank goodness). REAL food is where it’s at and fats are your friend. Just be sure to avoid brands that use recombinant bovine growth hormones (rBGH).

 

Superfood Spinach Artichoke Dip

Serves 4

Ingredients

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 Tbsp butter or nitrate-free bacon fat

12 oz fresh spinach, chopped

1/2 of a 14oz can of artichoke hearts, drained of water and chopped

1/3 cup sour cream

4 oz cream cheese, softened

4 oz asiago cheese, shredded

1 tsp salt

1 tsp of your favorite hot sauce

 

  1. Saute garlic in fat for 1 minute. Add chopped spinach and cook until spinach is wilted. Turn off heat and push spinach mixture to one side of the pan to drain excess liquid.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl combine sour cream, cream cheese, shredded asiago cheese, salt and hot sauce. Add cooked spinach and mix well.
  3. Transfer mixture to a medium-sized pyrex casserole dish. Bake at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until it’s bubbling.
  4. Serve warm with crackers, toast or tortilla chips.

 

There’s no hard and fast rules here so feel free to improvise. You could add some chopped bacon, scallions or crabmeat if you want to get really fancy. Let me know how yours comes out!

 

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