Saturday, February 27, 2016

Self-Care Saturday: Self Reiki with Chona

For the Morning, or Before Going to Sleep: 

If you just want general healing to recharge and balance your energies, place both hands over the solar plexus chakra, just above the navel, the left hand underneath and the right hand on top. The solar plexus is the life energy battery of your body. Breathe in white light through the nostrils, down the spine to the base. On the out-breath push the white light up the spine a little, then out to the solar plexus center and exhale the energy into this center. Do this exercise for no more than 21 out-breaths. On completion of the healing you may conclude with a prayer of thankfulness and then detach.

Chona offers Reiki on a donation basis on Thursday evenings at the studio. You can sign up on our workshops page. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Recipe Share: Easy & Delicious Anti Inflammatory Vegan Lunch

Citrus Cilantro Kale with Quinoa and Cauliflower

This recipe is a cinch and will leave you feeling nourished and light. 

  • 4-5 Kale leaves, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1/2 cup cauliflower rice, either processed on your own or purchased (Trader Joe's has premade cauli rice in the produce section!)
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 1-2 tbsp cilantro (to taste)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 tbsp lime juice (to taste)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Steam the kale & cauliflower, either on the stove top or in the microwave, to your desired doneness. I recommend leaving a little crunch.
  • Combine kale, quinoa and cauliflower in a bowl.
  • Combine remaining ingredients in a blender & blend until combined.
  • Pour dressing over your veggies.
  • ENJOY!


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

NEW CLASS: Hatha | Kriya | Pranayama with Nora

photo by Dave Getzschman
In our Western/Modern classes, we usually address just the "body" body through the posture or asana practice. But what if we had a class the addressed our other bodies? What if I could spend more time breathing and mediating in class? How would that change my practice? How would that change my day?

Often when I am in my more standard vinyasa or hatha yoga classes, I want to breathe more, or move a bit differently, or spend more time in my savasana or meditation at the end of class. I think I feel this way because, according to the ancient yogic text The Upinashads, it is explained that human beings are made up of not one body, but of five bodies. Explained briefly, those five bodies consist of body, breath, mind, intelligence and consciousness. In this class, the aim is to address two additional bodies of our selves through their corresponding practices : the breath body through pranayama, and the mind body through meditation. If you are like me and find yourself wanting a more multi-faceted yoga experience, one that addresses the multiplicity of your bodies, if you want to breathe a deeper breath and feel a more directed flow of energy and consciousness, then this is the class for you! 

- From, Nora -

Sundays at 4pm, join Nora for Hatha | Kriya | Pranayama to focus on spiritual elements of yoga: powerful meditative exercises (kriyas), spiritual gestures (mudras), verbal formulas (mantras), and breath work (pranayama). Utilizing movement, sound, breath and meditation to relax & restore your mind and body, we delve deeper into a multifaceted yoga practice, and emerge with an enhanced understanding of the gifts of yoga, while improving strength, flexibility and endurance. These classes are for everyone.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Recipe: warm chia pudding with berry syrup

With nutrition, they say, "Fail to plan and plan to fail." This is especially true at breakfast-time, when it is easy to grab the quickest thing and be on your way. But, a healthy breakfast sets you up for less bloat and more energy for the rest of your day. We love this recipe for warm chia pudding, inspired by our student Jasmine, who is a personal chef.

The best part of this recipe is it is quick, easy, cheap and can be made in advance.


  • 3 cups coconut milk (I prefer canned)
  • 6-8 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or sweetener of your choice, optional)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (to taste)
  • 1 cup berries (I typically use organic frozen berries to save money and waste less)

  1. Chia pudding must sit for 3-6 hours. I recommend setting the pudding overnight in the fridge.
  2. Combine coconut milk and chia seeds in a 1 cup: 2 tablespoons ratio. If you prefer a more gelatinous pudding, you can use a 1:3 ratio. For this recipe, the 3 cups of coconut milk can be used with 6-8 tablespoons of chia seeds
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of honey or syrup, and vanilla. 
  4. At this point, you have some choices:
    1. Place everything in a sealed container and shake it like a Polaroid picture. *This is the way I recommend because it is easy. No extra cleanup! I just combine everything in a mason jar and shake it up.*
    2. Whisk it all up in a bowl.
    3. Blend it with an immersion blender for a little smoother texture.
    4. Blend it in a blender for a very creamy texture, more similar to regular pudding.
  5. Set in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 6 hours. For the first few hours, turn the container upside down or whisk briefly every hour or so. You will notice the chia starting to expand and become like pudding nearly immediately. If you see clumps, give it a shake, a whisk or a flip. 
  6. This should hold you over for a few days to a week! You can enjoy a spoon or two for dessert or a snack anytime of day.
  1. When you're ready for breakfast, place a pot on the stove at low to medium heat.
  2. Add 1 cup of berries of your choice.
  3. Continue to heat, stirring occasionally, until the berries release some water and soften. The consistency will be like syrup.

  1. Stir 1 cup of chia pudding in with the berries to make one complete serving. If you are cooking for multiple people, use 1 cup of berries and 1 cup of chia for each person. 
  2. Stir until the chia is warm. 
  1. Top with 1 tablespoon of cinnamon (to taste). You can add allspice, turmeric, a dash of sea salt, or any other seasoning you like. 
  2. You can top your chia pudding with granola, fresh banana, or be creative and add whatever you want!


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Self-Care Saturday: Self Reiki with Chona

For Self Healing: 

Place your hands where you would like the healing to take effect. For example, if you need healing for your knee, place both hands on the knee, one above and one below. Continue breathing in white light but, on the out-breath, allow the energy to flow down the arms and hands as well as the heart chakra. Feel the healing energy leaving the palms of your hands and entering the affected area. Spend about 10 minutes on each body part that needs healing. The energy centers in the palms of your hands are your healing tools.

Chona offers Reiki on a donation basis on Thursday evenings at the studio. You can sign up on our workshops page. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Teacher's Book Stand: Hannah's Eclectic Recommendations

We asked our teachers to snap a picture of their nightstands and tell us what they're reading. Here is a glimpse at Hannah's recommendations.

Pictured here is a very clean version of my nightstand table – normally you would also see a collection of cups, receipts, and potentially important pieces of paper that I haven’t figured out how to categorize yet.

Currently I am making my way through the hard cover book you see, The Goddess Pose by Michelle Goldberg. I’m extremely excited to recommend this book to anyone in the yoga world, or just anyone interested in history.  Yoga as we know it now grew out of a complicated dialogue between the East and West.  Around the 1930’s in India, the practice of Hatha yoga was being newly revitalized. One of the Yogis leading the way was a teacher named Krishnmacharya. During his long journey as a teacher, he had four illustrious pupils who went on to become famous teachers in their own rites: Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S Iyengar, T.K.V. Desikachar, and Indra Devi.

These four instructors helped to disseminate yoga to the rest of the world, and started their own lineages of the tradition. The only woman among them was Indra Devi. As the author writes, her life was “audacious” to say the least. Born Eugenia Peterson, a Russian actress before the Bolshevik revolution, she made her way across Europe, and eventually to India, what she considered her spiritual home. She didn’t begin her study of yoga until well into her thirties, and from there took her teaching to China. Did you know that in the Japanese concentration camps set up in China during WWII there were yoga classes going on thanks to Indra Devi?

After the war, she arrived in Los Angeles where she was able to ingratiate herself into society and began sharing her knowledge of yoga once again. So much of what we now see in the modern Yoga world is thanks in large part to Indra Devi. Before her tutelage with Krishnamacharya, it was relatively unheard for a woman to have anything to do with the practice of Hatha Yoga. Indra Devi introduced what we now recognize as vinyasa yoga to women (and men) all over the world.

The second book is Quiet (The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking) by Susan Cain. If nothing else, this book is vindicating for an introvert like me. So much in our world is focused on Personality rather than Character. Often times we tend to value the biggest voice over the wisest voice. This book helps to explain the psychology of our society at present, and gives some insights as to how introverts can functionally navigate our noisy world. Roughly half of the U.S. population considers themselves to be introverted, so this is a great book for everyone to read, even you if you happen to be more of an extrovert.

Not pictured here (because it’s already out on loan) is my favorite fiction series: Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. They made one of the books into a movie some time ago…but if you saw the movie, forget what you watched and read the books instead. The books have a fascinating message that weaves together physics, religion, and the mysteries of the universe with a heart stopping adventure tale. There’s even romance. Though technically these are children’s books, I get more out of them every time I re-read them, and would recommend them to any adult who wants to enjoy a well told piece of fiction that also feeds their mind and inspires their heart.

My Final Book recommendation (Also not pictured, also on loan) is Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss. Caroline Myss might be categorized as  “self-help” writer, except that she asks questions rather than providing all the answers. Anatomy of the Spirit gave me what I still consider to be the best introduction to the human chakra system. She draws parallels between human anatomy, spiritual well being, and rights of passage seen in different traditions and cultures. Every chapter is concluded with a list of provocative and thoughtful questions. The intention with this book is for the reader to develop their awareness, and to become their own spiritual healer. I always find myself coming back to this book when I feel that I have slumped into a spiritual malaise or that my body has become unwell. If you’re curious about the chakras or looking for a way to inspire your own spiritual growth, get your hands on this book. I promise it’s worth the read.