Eat Like a Yogi: The One Bowl Method

Thanks for visiting! This post was written before I adopted an intuitive eating/anti-diet approach to eating. However, he idea of eating from one bowl still intrigues me, and it must also intrigue others as it continues to be my most visited blog post! I no longer write here at YogawithsShawnee.com. However, I recently started a new blog called Sunday Morning Yoga at www.sundaymorningyoga.com. I’m considering a regular One-Bowl featured post in the future. Please hop on over to my new blog and give me a like and a follow so you don’t miss out when it happens. For now, enjoy The One-Bowl method.

You know when you have one of those profound ideas – one of those ideas in which you are absolutely certain nobody else but you, in the history of humanity, could have possibly dreamed  up.  I had one of those thoughts recently.

This idea that I should just eat like a monk kept circulating in my mind.  I had no idea what it meant.  I just had this picture of a monk sitting in silence, getting his one bowl filled with food, expecting nothing else and being totally content.

one bowlI thought, that’s a perfect a book or cook book.  I’m gonna do it.  I’m gonna eat like a monk.  So I googled it.  Turns out there are countless articles about how eating like a monk is very beneficial to your health and can reduce weight, heart disease and cancer.  There was also a book written in the 70s called “One Bowl” and there are a few cookbooks based off of a monk-inspired three bowl eating.

Shucks.

After letting the disappointment that I did not in fact have a totally unique idea soak in, I decided to investigate further.  Turns out there is a Catholic Monastery where the monks use two bowls, and it is traditional of Buddhist monks to use three nesting bowls at each meal.

After checking out “One Bowl: A Guide to Eating for Body and Spirit” by Don Gerald from the library and reading through the first chapter, I discovered the idea of eating from just one bowl actually stems from Buddha himself.  When he started his pilgrimage as Siddhartha, he took just one bowl with him and relied on others to fill up his bowl at each meal.  I am guessing there were some meals where he went without.

The goal of one bowl, two bowl or three bowl eating is to eat in a mindful, appreciative and quiet manner, helping you to become better attune to your body, to your food, to those who prepared your food and to the earth.  It’s kind of a sweet practice.

For the past three days I’ve been eating from just one bowl.  I have a smaller two cup bowl and a larger bowl that I am designating for salads and less calorically dense food.

Today I actually used two bowls for lunch.  I had a small leafy salad in my small bowl and in my large bowl I had chicken bone broth with two small gluten free toast boats carrying two roughly poached eggs.

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It was beautiful , nutritious, and incredibly comforting on this rainy March day.  And I did find myself more mindful of my food.  I thought about the organic spring mix growing in rows; the chicken roaming on the farm; my mom gathering the eggs; and the bone broth I let simmer all day long.

During the past few days I’ve been trying this idea, I’ve found myself drawn to nutritious foods.  Since nutrition is very important to me, I want to fill my bowls with food that will be the most nourishing to my body and soul.

As I continue this journey, you can follow my one bowl eating on Instagram.  Additionally, I hope to share a few one bowl recipe ideas and a book review on my blog as well.

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The Yoga of my Portable Dishwasher

DSC_0047editedSome weeks yogic lessons are hard to come by.  Not that the lessons aren’t present, more like I’m not present in my own  life and therefore don’t experience the lessons.

 

Last week, however, my lesson was yelling loud and clear.  I don’t think I was any more mindful, but sometimes God makes things obvious.

 

It started with my husbands ok to purchase a portable dishwasher.  I’ve been washing dishes by hand for 3.5 years.  Let’s just say I was a little excited.  The only problem was that we aren’t really in the financial position to spend $700 on a new one.

 

Don’t worry, that’s not gonna stop gal.

 

I immediately hopped on Craigslist and found 3 in our price range (that would be the lowest price range).  I inquired about 3, and I purchased one from the first person who responded.

 

Not hasty at all.

 

We picked it up that day, but unfortunately we couldn’t test it out until the next day when we were able to purchase a faucet-dishwasher adapter.

 

I became instantly anxious.  I wanted to know, now, if it worked.  See, waiting and being patient have never be a strong point for me.
I kept wondering what I had done.  We spent cash out of our already limited home repairs fund.  If it didn’t work, we couldn’t just buy another one.  Through an act, which can only  be attributed to God, (no really, I had several people praying for me) I was able to get a full night of sleep.

 

Luckily, once we got the adapter, the dishwasher worked just fine.

 

Though a long process, I think yoga teaches us to wait; to take a pause; to slowdown and stop being so hasty.  Yoga also teaches us to recognize when we are not being mindful.

 

This lesson definitely reminded me to slow down.

 

One of my favorite ways to slow down and find pause is through a breathing technique I learned during my teacher training.
Try this: Sit or lay in a supported-comfortable position.  Close your eyes and begin to focus on your breathing.  After several minutes of watching your breath enter and exit the body, bring your awareness to the natural pause that happens at the end and the begging of the breath.  This pause is not forced or created, it just happens.  Remain here for several minutes focusing on that pause.  Allow it to become your own mini sanctuary, anytime you need a break or to just slow down.

 

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 <–I always need reminding of that.

 

Thanks for reading!  I’m gonna go not do the dishes, because they are all clean or in the dishwasher…seriously…all of them.  😀
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Chicken Soup and Yoga for My Soul

It’s the end of March and it seems the cold and flu season isn’t even close to being finished. As I sit here typing, I’m listening as my poor daughter lies in bed, attempting to hack up a lung (Don’t worry I’ve done all the good-mommy, all natural tricks). She’s on cold # 3 or 4 since November while my hubby and I are on #2. My mom on the other hand has been sick for like 9 weeks straight. It’s been a rough season for sure!

Since going gluten free and paleo, I haven’t been able to enjoy the ever so comforting homemade chicken noodle soup. Likewise, I also haven’t been able to partake in the yummy processed goodness that is Campbell’s Chicken Noodle or Cream of Chicken with a ginormous handful of saltine crackers either (Honest to goodness, there is a really big 5-year-old living in my body who is throwing a huge tantrum about that one).

Either way chicken soup is a must during fall, winter, and the cold and flu season. I mean, I can’t imagine not having some sort of chicken soup. This year I’ve been working on a Chicken and White Sweet Potato soup.

Today, I think I finally perfected it.

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Chicken and White Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients:

6-8 cups of Chicken Broth (homemade or low sodium)

1 medium onion

5-6 stalks of celery

5-6 whole carrots

1-2 very large white sweet potatoes

4-5 Slices Bacon

1 small Bacon end (optional)

1 cup (or more) cooked chicken

Salt to taste
Directions

1. Make chicken broth (I boiled/simmered 2 carcasses with fat and drippings in about 6 cups of water…added water as it boiled down) OR add store bought broth to soup pan.

2. Dice onions and celery, and peel and dice carrots and potatoes.

3. In a frying pan, fry bacon. Do not discard fat. Remove bacon from pan and sauté onions in bacon grease until caramelized. Dice bacon.

4. Add onions, bacon and rest of veggies to broth. Add bacon end to broth for more flavor, if using. Simmer veggies until sweet potatoes and carrots are soft.

5. Add chicken and salt to taste. Remove bacon end.

Yoga for Immunity.

If you are trying to boost your immunity and avoid a cold, a regular yoga practice can help. Your immune system is weakened by stress. Since yoga and yogic breathing helps to combat stress, your immune system will get a boost just by doing yoga.

If you don’t have a cold and are trying to avoid getting one, try a heated or a vinyasa class. No time for a class? Try three rounds of Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara A) followed by a series of balancing postures such as Tree Pose (Vrksasanana) and Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana). Both flow and balancing poses help to build heat quickly in the body and is ideal for immunity boosting.

If you are currently sick, take it easy! Try a restorative practice. Start with five minutes of focusing on your breath.  Next move into a few rounds of Cat/Cow, take a Child’s Pose, Downward Facing Dog, a lying or seated twist, and end with legs up the wall with your hips supported on a bolster or stack of blankets.signiture copy copy

Flexibility in Training

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Practice: Gentle practice centering around the neck, working into Fish pose and Shoulder Stand.

Inspiration: Flexibility in emotions, thoughts and life in general. ie. bending to be straight.

Life Lesson: I decided to take my daughter and niece to a children’s museum just a quick 40 minute drive up the freeway. The museum had rave reviews and an awesome website showing the fun attractions for my littles to enjoy. A 40 minute drive later…we find the museum is closed and in search of a new location.

Seriously!?! Well, (insert internal explicative here). So we stop at a gas station, grab a cheese stick for the girls and a Kind bar for me. I tell them, over our snack, that we’ll drive back home and go to the library. “Yay! Let’s go!” Their excitement baffles me.

They taught me a lesson in flexibility for sure.

I was grumpy for the rest of the day (could be from lack of carbs). But, the girls enjoyed the library and doing yoga with me, so I guess it wasn’t a total loss.

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Why you couldn’t pay me to weigh myself.

Vashistasina in my space pants and feelin' fine.

Vashistasina in my space pants and feelin’ fine.

I don’t weigh myself. I don’t own a scale. I intentionally avert my eyes when being weighed at the doctor’s office. If I really wanted to I could get out my Wii Fit board and see the damage. But I don’t want to. I especially don’t want that damn little animated board telling me, “That’s overweight!”

Anybody ever flip off your TV? Cause I have.

I recently discussed this topic with a student of mine. We talked about how discouraging it is to see the number on the scale fluctuate: from day to day, from hour to hour. It’s like playing the happiness lottery. “Come on -1 pound, mama needs some chocolate!” I told my student how I refuse to get on the scale, and she told me I seemed to be pretty good about that kind of thing.

The truth is, I’m still learning to be “good” about that kind of thing.

Trying to undo 31 years of damage is going to be a life time of work, because until I can totally become immune to our society’s dysfunctional body image standards, my body-hate bucket will continue to be filled. Although, now, I imagine my bucket has a tiny, pin-point hole in the bottom, leaking out a little bit at a time.

I think I earned that pin-point hole about 2010 when I gave up dieting after reading “Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works” by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. (Side note: I both recommend and do not recommend this book. Please see my brief notes after this post.)

Following a miscarriage in 2009 I gained a ton of weight, maybe 30 pounds, and honest to goodness I couldn’t figure out why. So I did what any girl would do, I worked my butt off. I ran a few miles every day, and kept my calorie intake to 1200-1400. I felt like crud and gained more weight.

That’s when in 2010 I read that book and gave up dieting. I finally discovered in 2011 it was a sluggish thyroid and Hashimoto’s disease to blame. I continued with my non-dieting mentality and was able to maintain my weight.

Fast forward to 2012 post baby, I did eventually lose my baby weight and most my thyroid weight with a paleo diet. I didn’t consider it dieting, however, because I ate as much as I wanted and felt very satisfied. I had my energy back, and felt semi healthy and normal.

But during this time, I did continue to weigh myself. I felt good physically, but I mentally and emotionally I still felt like a failure. I was still a chubby yoga teacher and I couldn’t quite get back down to my pre-thyroid disease weight. At times I wanted to give up teaching yoga, all because my self-worth is/was wrapped up in three little numbers.

I’ll admit, I have recently gained more weight. And I partially know why this time: Stress of a big move, stopped my paleo diet, thyroid numbers being off, discovering a new health issue, etc. But I don’t know how much weight and I really don’t care to know.

I have not weighed myself or looked at a scale for almost a year now. So I am oblivious to those three little numbers.

Here’s what I do know:

*I am WAY stronger than I was a year ago. Hello biceps!
*My belly is deflating due to merging back to a whole foods/paleo diet lifestyle and the plank challenge.
* I bought my first pair of patterned yoga pants, which are slightly bigger than the last pair I purchased, but I don’t care because I LOVE wearing them. They make me feel wonderfully geeky and happy.
*I love teaching yoga.
*My health journey and struggle with weight and body image can actually be very helpful for my clients who struggle with similar issues.

Instead of the scale I choose to measure myself by how I feel. I reflect on how much love, happiness and strength I have gained. And, in a practical sense, the way my pants fit is the best, least frustrating indicator of how I am doing in the weight management department.

Despite not weighing myself, these self-defeating thoughts still rear their ugly little heads, but after a good cry and some chocolate, I get over it a whole lot faster.

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**A note about “Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works” by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. What I love about this book is that it can teach you how to know when you are truly hungry and truly full, which I do believe most of us have gotten away from. The book helps you overcome your fear of food being bad vs. good. There is also a helpful exercise helping you discover your real ideal weight. I found this to be pretty cathartic and eye opening. What I do not love about the book is that it doesn’t acknowledge food sensitivities or allergies, follows the government food pyramid, and doesn’t focus on a whole foods, clean eating diet. Let’s face it if I followed the government’s recommendation for portions, the Wii fit would be calling me obese. The science is from the 90s – when the whole low-fat thing was still a trend. They did just put out a new edition, but it doesn’t sound like the ancient science and food recommendations have been updated. Anyway, read at your own risk.

Because, Yoga: A story of body-hate, then love

urdvadahnurasana copyI have never been more excited about my yoga practice than I am right now.

In good ‘ole social media fashion, let me overshare my heart with you…

I, apparently, have had an emotional block, or disconnect with my yoga practice since, well, forever. I started yoga when I was 17, at the height of insecurities and body-hatred. I had recently lost about 40 pounds, and was looking and feeling smokin’. You see, my entire self-worth was wrapped up in how I looked.

My yoga practiced ebbed and flowed through college, marriage and first grown-up jobs. I was 27ish when I started giving yoga a second, deeper thought – when I thought maybe I’d like to teach. Even though it was close to ten years after I first discovered yoga, I still maintained all of my old insecurities (I could just hide it better), but I hated my body even more; because now I was sick and tired, and I didn’t know why.

All I knew was that I couldn’t sit behind a desk and keep my sanity any longer.

So, teacher training. Because, yoga.

I was still sick, and overweight. And public speaking was my biggest fear (second to giant house spiders). But through it all, teacher training lead me to diagnosing myself, which was confirmed by a real doctor, AND the training seriously helped me overcome my fear of speaking.

So then, teaching.

I was on the mend physically (minus lingering baby and thyroid weight) and I was ready to take on the yoga teaching world! I quickly landed a teaching gig and was given the opportunity to teach as much as I wanted. That was exciting.

But then, teaching.

I equally loved and feared my students. To be honest, I got a lot of judgement from students who thought a yoga teacher should look a specific way. It hurt, a lot. But I also had a group of AMAZING, supportive students who I loved. They encouraged me, and so I kept teaching.

But, I found myself in a giant rut. I was teaching in a way that catered to the athletic, able-bodied student, because I didn’t want to be judged. I think, however, teaching in this manner burnt me out, because my heart wasn’t in it. I didn’t realize how damaging and how draining it was to please a group of people who were not even my target. I wanted to quit so. many. times. I am ashamed to share that, honestly.

And then, body positive yoga.

One day, feeling down about myself, I started looking at Instagram photos for the campaign #whatayogilooks and #yogaforall. These yogis defy the U.S. standards of a beautiful yogi and can do some amazing things with their bodies. Instagram led me to blogs, which lead me to some blogging of my own, which lead me to the Yoga for All teacher training (which starts this Tuesday!!).

These past few weeks of focusing my intentions on body positivity and teaching in a more gentle and loving way, has rekindled my passion for teaching yoga. I’ve literally done a home practice every day for about two weeks straight (I was only required to do 4 days a week during training)! I am just so excited to have an area of focus for my teaching. My goal is to reach those people who have felt excluded by yoga “standards.”

If you’ve been looking for a place in the Longview/Kelso area to do yoga; if you’ve felt excluded in a yoga class; if you’re worried you won’t fit in or won’t be able to do the poses; come try out Yoga with Shawnee at Summit Studios! I will do my best to accommodate you, to modify you, and to make you feel welcomed.

I am SO looking forward to starting the Yoga for All training and saturating my classes in body-positivity and yoga inclusivity!

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Set goals, not intoxicated resolutions

If you have some resolutions/goals (I prefer to call them goals) in mind for 2016, and you’d like to, you know, actually stick with them, may I make a suggestion?

 

Don’t make a last minute, semi-intoxicated toast committing to your resolutions. Cause guess what? You won’t keep them (there is also the possibility that you won’t even remember them come January 1).

 

1476a7ee-15aa-4cf9-baba-d52e0829fce1Instead, take some time to make a realistic plan for keeping your resolutions. Sit in a quiet place, with no distractions, with a pen and paper and jot down your goals.

 

Then, put them where you can see them every day. Make it pretty and put it in a frame if you have to (that’s what I’m going to do!). Yay for pretty things! Consider also making bite-sized steps for your goals. Break it down into bullet points or mind mapping, if you prefer.

 

Once you’ve had your brainstorming session and have your resolutions written down, commit to them daily.

 

Here is a tip I picked up recently: Every day write a to do list. Prioritize three things you MUST do that day. At least two of those things should contribute to your yearly resolutions. Next, you can prioritize your list by things you probably should do, and then things you’d like to do if there is time.

 

I’ve been practicing this method this week and I have found it very helpful. Honestly, I don’t even get to the “things to do if there is time.” I keep my list short, no more than 5 things. This doesn’t include day job tasks, this only includes tasks for at home or for my yoga business.

 

My three things typically look like this:

 

Morning Routine, which includes daily chores, exercise, and de-cluttering. (One of my goals for 2016 is to put more effort into being more efficient in my morning routine, which has always included exercise and de-cluttering.  I’ve just always seen these things as “I’ll do it if there is time.” Well, this past week and this next year, it’s going to be #1 on my list! My other goals are to move my body more and to de-clutter my home.)

 

Yoga Business related task, such as plan lesson, post a blog, boost Facebook post, etc.

 

Errand/Other necessity, so far it’s been doctor’s appointments or grocery shopping/meal planning.

 

By listing out my three must do’s for the day, I feel so much less overwhelmed. When I make to-do lists, I  make TO-DO lists. Often times my list will include 20 things I feel I should do in a day. But, I get so overwhelmed, I freeze.

 

Perhaps I’m resolving to have a shorter to-do list too! 🙂

 

Ok, to sum it up make resolutions/goals, but DON’T “wing” it. Brainstorm and write them down. Put them in a place where you can see them every day. Commit to doing something (even just one thing) toward your goals daily!

 

Now…718c4457-2721-4812-ace3-485685ec179d
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