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Born in 1969, This is 53

Last week was my birthday. Since I turned 50 I’ve been waking up first thing in the morning to take a selfie.

This one turned out a little darker than I’d hoped-it looked different on my phone.

I started this selfie tradition as an attempt to be seen and to get more comfortable with selfies.

Now, there’s an internet trend for people born in the 60s and 70s to show our faces.Be seen and don’t disappear because we’re older.

Being seen, especially as a woman over 40 in the US isn’t an easy thing. It’s very easy to disappear unless you make an effort to stand in your power in be seen.

At a certain point in your life, right around 40, you notice that you’re invisible. While the absence of catcalls is a delight, women over a certain age get ignored in public overwhelmingly. Our US culture has a weird fascination with youth. A bartender is more likely to overlook us, even though we’re more likely to run a larger bar tab. Women 40 and older get cut off in lines and in traffic more. Even our doctors, our chosen advocates, are less likely to take us seriously or listen to us genuinely. It is how female heart attacks and tricky to diagnose cancers kill us. Not because we’re older and more prone to these health issues, but because when we .describe our symptoms we’re told it’s probably nothing, or it’s just a part of aging or that it’s not that bad. If you’re a woman of color you’re even less likely to be heard in the doctor’s office. Your doctor may be a perfectly wonderful doctor, but their training is woefully lacking.

It can be depressing. Instead, I choose to dance in the glory of age and wisdom. In our 40s and 50s women generally have more autonomy, more financial power and better sense of who we are than we did 20 years ago.

I’ll take it over catcalls any day.

As a yogi, who I am mind/body/spirit is stronger, clearer, more comfortable than any time in my life. I feel strong and powerful on the mat in a way that I never did in my 20s. My body, while there’s a bit more of it, is way better than it was 33 years ago.

As a yoga teacher, with over 20 years experience I am more confident and have more fun in my classes. I step proudly into my expert status than ever before. If you don’t like my classes or the way I teach, it’s not because I’m not a great teacher, it’s because you and I are not a good match. And that’s okay. There are a lot of other teachers out there. So, keep trying classes, until you find your teacher.

I often say that EVERY body can practice yoga. And what I mean by that is that there is a class for everyone. I tend to talk a lot in class, mostly because I’m a talker, but also because many of my students have anxiety, ADHD or trauma. Sometimes laying on a mat with eyes closed in silence can be overwhelming. So, I mix in a bit more talking with moments of silence than the average class. Not everyone enjoys that.

And that’s okay, but it took me a lot of years of teaching, and quite a few years on the mat to accept that and not feel bad if a student doesn’t come back to my class.

This is the joy of getting older. Being 53 means that I can let a lot more roll off my back. Not in a defiant, Who the fuck cares way, but in a gentle, healthy way. I can accept it in a place where I can see my beauty as a teacher along with their beauty as a student who is searching, growing and learning. I can see our beauty as humans on a path.

If there’s something I could tell my younger self, I think it wouldn’t be the usual platitudes. I think I would tell 20 year old Melissa that your 20s are something to get through. Melissa, I would say, it’s going to get better. So much better. You will not worry so much later, you will find greater joy in simple things, you will be on top of your game with some experience under your belt. I would say enjoy your 20s, don’t stress, keep putting one foot in front of the other and know that everything you’re yearning for will come.

As I look around my life this morning, meditating on Clarity, our focus for the session I acknowledge that I don’t have the things that I yearned for in my 20s. The material things that I hoped for are far less important and all the other stuff is so much bigger. It’s a good life in a way that I couldn’t conceive in my 20s or even my 30s.

This is 53.

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Learn To Erase the Words Grind and Hustle, Align Instead

I love this. I love the idea of eliminating the words grind and hustle from our vernacular and our mindset. They are only hurting us.

Our last yoga and mindfulness session, we focused on the word Align. With my wellness coaching clients, in my yoga classes, in the blog and the podcast, we focused on being mindful with the word Align. Through that work, we also subtly worked on replacing the words grind and hustle . We meditated on all the different things Align could mean. I’ve been wanting to do this work with you for a while now. Grind and hustle are such detrimental words, aren’t they?

Do you still need to work on this? It’s a process. I’m still working on it. As I sank into the word Align I felt it in my bones. I felt better aligned mind/body/spirit. I felt a bigger awareness of body alignment and a new alignment between intention and action, which shifted my day to day living. in a gratifying and delicious way.

Almost immediately, I recognized how thinking I need to hustle or grind was hurting any sense of peace of satisfaction I had. My therapist is happy that I can focus on work and then let it go better than I used to. I worked with wellness coaching clients, pushing them to envision the word align, to breathe into Align to say the word to themselves daily. I encouraged yoga students to focus on the word as we settled into the mat for our initial check-in and then repeatedly asked them during poses what feedback the had mind/body/spirit about Align. It was an awesome way to spend a session.

Students, clients and community members reported feeling a shift;in thinking, experiences, body sensation, connection with the larger world and with loved ones. It was a beautiful thing.

This session, that just started a week ago, in time for my birthday month, we’re focusing on the word Clarity. Isn’t that yummy? I don’t have a plan for what we focus on, it comes out of my practice, my meditations, my teaching and your feedback-the clients and the students.

Clarity is helping grind and hustle fall away even more. See, it’s always a process. It will continue to shift this year and into the next and into the next, as long as I stay present and mindful. Slowly, with Align and Clarity you can obliviate grind and hustle. And our next word will help even more.

What does clarity mean to you? I think it’s important to recognize that it can mean one thing today and something different tomorrow, or next week.I encourage you to close your eyes or soften your gaze, take a few deep breathe and move your shoulders. Inhale and squeeze your shoulders up to your ears and as you release the breath drop your shoulders. Just one swift move. Drop them quickly and heavily.

Then ask yourself. Where are you craving clarity in your life? What would clarity feel like? Imagine it might feel lie freedom. Dream, dear heart. Ask yourself for what you deeply want for yourself. As always, we’ll do it together.

After our sessions of first focusing on Love, primarily self-love, then Align, Clarity feels like the next obvious step. Opening my heart led me to see the progression from Ahanhata, the heart chakra energy. moving to my throat chakra, Vishuddha focusing on my truth, all the way and to Ajna, my forehead chakra to connecting with purpose and meaning. I saw the well-aligned path and the many ways it could twist and turn and if felt exciting and motivating. And that’s why Clarity felt like the perfect next step.

Do you want a winding road or do you want a zig-zagging path or do you want a straighter trail?There’s no right or wrong answer, it’s about listening to that open heart and moving into your truth to decide what connects you with your higher self. That will always lead you to what’s best for you in the moment.

For quite a few years I’ve been winding and twisting and turning and it’s been a lot of fun and I’ve gwon and I’ve learned and I am so much better for it. Now, however, I’m fired up about several projects and am feeling like a straighter journey will keep me motivated and make me most effective.

This month is my birthday month, a month I want to develop a deeper relationship with peace and love. I’m teaching Practices for Peace my birthday weekend,and I think focusing on clarity is going to help me deepen that relationship. What do you think? I’m hosting sessions both online and in-person, definitely consider joining us.

For now, take time to daydream a little. What parts of your life need some clarity? Are there parts of who you truly are that you’re your hiding? Don’t worry, dear heart. We all do it. You will dig into them and revela them when you’re ready. Keep asking the questions, though. Are you deluding yourself at all? You don’t have to rip any band-aids off today, but you can start thinking about it.

We’re going to dig deep and soar into clarity this session. Join us online for classes, and to listen to the podcast. We’ll be talking about it into July and I think the next word we’re focusing on is Joy!

Are you ready for it? To fully sink into your joy, you need some clarity. See you soon!

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My Office Today

Today is a beautiful day full of yoga. This is my office between classes. Chicago is sunny and mild today. Sitting in the porch is the perfect place to process my early practice and hydrate and eat for my brain and my energy level for the next session.

Our kick off for June, my birthday mont, is filled with Pop-Ups. We started the day strong with Early Morning Wake Up Yoga at 6:30. What a way to start the day.! You open your body and breathe deeply for a energizing and peaceful way to start your day. The regulars are committed, you should join us or request for a morning that works for you.

At 1:30 we’re back in the mat with Slow Flow. Today, we’re focusing on upper back and shoulders with our all-level flow that offers you an opportunity to open your heart and cultivate clarity, mind/body/spirit.

Clarity is our word for the session. How does that make you feel? One of the key components of clarity is honesty. How are you being honest and dishonest with yourself? Will you dig deeper with me this session?

Honesty feels like freedom. The resulting clarity changes your life. We’re exploring the complexities of clarity during classes that help you open, release and connect with love and peace during each practice.

Tonight, we continue with our regularly scheduled Joint Freeing Practice at 8:30p. Feeling stiff and achy, especially first thing in the morning? This is the gentle and simple movement class for you! You’ll sleep wonderfully and wake up feeling grounded , present and energized.

Then there’s one more Pop-Up tomorrow at 8:39a for Lay Down and Roll Around Yoga. This is one of favorite classes, regularly scheduled on Saturdays at the same time. You stay on your back for most of the classes, releasing tension and warming up mind/body/spirit for a great end to the week. After this class we feel in top of the world!

The rest of the weekend is all regularly scheduled classes, but you can always ask for a Pop-Yo whenever it fits in your schedule.

This is the last weekend I’ll be away. Next week look for Restorative Yoga in-person at my house in Lawrence! It will be our first in-person class since March ‘20. We’ll still stream it, tho, so wherever you are you can catch it on Zoom!

All of our classes, except for Yoga in the Park, are streamed in Zoom. You always have the option of live yoga from the soothing comfort of your living room or bedroom.

I deeply believe that yoga should be accessible to all, classes are always by donation. Our yoga family lives and supports each other and creates equity with yoga by donation for a cause.

Looking forward to seeing you in Zoom! ID 494-009-9537, password Peace.

See you soon!

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Feeling It All

A heart-opening pose to release pain and suffering.

Feelings are hard, aren’t they? Then someone tells you to feel it all. The bad and dirty words bubble up, don’t they?

Don’t start swearing just yet. We’ll get this through together with minimal pain.

Personally, I have a lot of feelings. Always. I’m the one that doesn’t understand how people don’t feel anything about a subject, a bite of dessert, a situation. I always have a feeling about what’s happening in this moment. I feel EVE#RYTHING ALWAYS.

So, I’ve learned to manage it. Mostly. Like everyone else on the planet my feelings can get away from me at times. They can feel bigger than I know how to handle. But, not always.

We’re just coming off Memorial Day weekend, a time that we set aside for remembering. Remembrance is a bittersweet action. It can make you both laugh and cry uncontrollably. I know, there are those of you who do not want that. You want to push it away.

This is know. When you are given an opportunity to do something big and possibly hard that doesn’t feel comfortable at the same time that everyone else in the country is doing it, do not let that opportunity pass.

So, if you didn’t take time in remembrance over the weekend, do it this week with us. Join us for online classes to process and releaser feelings of loss and pain around grief.It doesn’t strictly have to be around a death. Anything you need to move through? Come to yoga and heal. And, if yoga isn’t your thing, grab a friend or schedule an extra therapy session this week Our yoga family energy will swirl around you, loving and supporting you no matter where in the world you are.

This is the week to feel all the feelings. Just because Memorial day is over doesn’t mean the feelings disappear. Pull out old photos and go down memory lane. Stop at the store and grab some flowers. Whether you take them to the cemetery or put them on your coffee table in honor of someone you’ve loved doesn’t really matter. Light a candle. Be present with your feelings of loss and grief.

Some days are about honoring the dead. Today is a day to honor your feelings, your memories, your loss and pain. Today it IS about you.

Treat yourself gently and kindly. Hold your heart lightly as if it were precious and fragile, cause it is. But it is also strong and durable. Don’t be afraid to build and stretch your heart muscle.

Again, we invite you to be in the love and support of our yoga community and the universe as you release your feelings of loss and pain around grief. Everyday that you choose to be on the mat is an opportunity to sleep well that night and wake feeling refreshed and energized!

All of our classes are by donation and help our yoga family practice Seva, selfless service by feed people. It’s our practice off the mat. Join us!.

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Wellness Wednesday, Moving Into Clarity

It’s Wednesday again, dear heart. How are you doing? are you slogging through the week? Are you skipping with energy and motivation?

Wellness Wednesday is the day that I encourage you to think about who you are mind/body/spirit. You know what’s coming, right? Taking a moment to be mindful about who your are mind/body/spirit is always my go to, both as a wellness coach and as an a yogi.

Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Really do it. What have you got to lose? Take a moment to do something a little different. You might be surprised.

Take a moment and feel your body. Just your body. Just feel. Notice aches and pains, notice areas that feel tingly, that have ease or lightness in them. Breathe into your muscles, spine and toes.

Then bring your attention to your heart. What emotions are floating in your heartspace (the breastbone). Listen to your emotions and if you can’t hear them, that’s okay. Breathe into lovingkindness and compassion. How does that feel? Does it bring up emotions of peace or fear? Does it feel good or scary? Or anywhere in between? Just listen.

Stay with me here.

Gently move your attention to the space right in the middle of your forehead. Observe your brain. Are there a lot of thoughts for you or just your normal amount of thoughts? It’s different for each and every one of us so try not to be judgy with yourself. Just notice.

So, now you have a sense of who you are in this moment. I want to remind you, that you are always changing. You are always you, of course, but your heart, your energy, your mental thought patterns, your physical health, shifts and grows and changes your whole life long. Which means that it is worth your time and energy to focus on finding who you are right now.

Don’t rely on past patterns. They are not reliable. Don’t think that you’re just like you were last week or the week before or even ten years ago. Be present with this moment.

Then, let me remind you that we started this whole exercise because it’s Wellness Wednesday and we did this exercise together to focus on your wellbeing and what steps you can take right now towards better health and wellness mind/body/spirit.

Often when I talk to coaching clients about focusing on wellness (it is called wellness coaching, afterall), your minds go right to the physical. There’s nothing wrong with that. Today, I encourage you to think about what your heart needs. What is your brain craving?

What can you do for yourself, right this minute to increase feelings of wellbeing, peace and feeling loved and cared for?

Wellness Wednesday is an opportunity to focus on wellness weekly, not just randomly. Each week you have a n opportunity ass I remind you it’s Wednesday,to up the game. Did you decide to start hydrating more last week? Awesome! What’s the next step? Could it be working more on hydration? Perhaps shifting when you hydrate the most during your day? I’m a big fan of getting my brain started right away with more water first thing. Also, I hate getting up in the middle of the night to pee. So, I like to drink more in the morning and through the day. No so much in the morning.

Do you need to build on something? Or do you need to move to a new area that you’ve identified that you’d like to focus on? Maybe today is the day that you walk past your usual subway stop to the next one, so that you increase your steps and let your brain calm a bit more before you get home. Or maybe you stay an extra 15 minutes at the gym tonight for a longer workout. Or for a steam. Both are good for you mind/body/spirit. It’s just about where you want to increase wellness.

Where is your focus when you’re clear with wellness goals? Whatever it is, I highly recommend that today is the day to increase clarity and take action.

This session of A Yogi Kitchen’s yoga classes and workshops, we’re breathing into clarity. We focuses on the word align, which naturally led us into the word Clarity. Where are you craving clarity? where do you need it? Take a moment and breathe into the idea of clarity.

Join us, wherever you are on Zoom. Check out the website for class descriptions. Email or comment below, mel@ayogikitchen.com

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2022 Asked Me to Edit Even More.

A long time ago I connected with the energy and inspiration of healing people mind/body/spirit. It was a turning point in my life. This isn’t the first time you’ve heard me talk about this or post about this, but I’ve been thinking about it in a new way this year.

2022 invites us to think about what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and how we’re doing it. One of the gifts of the pandemic for many is the encouragement to edit our lives. We’ve learned to super-focus on what’s most important.

I’m releasing. I’ve learned to release all the things that I’m not. There’s a deep, unhealthy part of me that tells me that I should be everything to everyone. That’s just silly thinking and I’m working on it.

I’m not going to be the person to go to war, I’m not going to be the person to teach the next generation, to cut into people or to give them prescription meds. I’ve known that for a long time, but this shift in thinking is different for me. I embrace what I’m not. I accept it and still love myself unconditionally.

What I’ve learned is that who I am is lovely, just as I am, with all my flaws and all the things that I’m not. I don’t need to learn/advance/grow to be great at who I am.

Learning and growing are core values for me, so I always want to grow and learn, but I don’t have to. When I do learn and grow it doesn’t make me more lovable and acceptable than who I am right now. If I can just sink into that truth, then my life seems a little easier, a little better and moves a whole lot better.

When I realized that the majority of people I teach are in helping professions, I connected with my purpose and.this is the energy that swirls around the Anju Chakra, the home of intuition, higher-self and your personal connection with the wider universe.

This energy is extremely important to me. It is where my core values, from my heart space, come together with my truth, form my throat energy, to align with my purpose.

While I may not teach the next generation or removed diseased organs, I teach those people to relax, to heal and be grounded mind/body/spirit. I am one of the reasons that your surgeon slept well last night and your kids’ teacher can smile at them today. I feel called to this work.

We all have a calling. Whether it’s working retail, creating art, building, counseling, healing, raising people, it’s all a calling. Whatever you are doing in your life, can be your calling. Only you know whether you’re called to something or just paying the bills.

Let me suggest to you that the world needs you with whatever gifts and talents you have. Some of us are super great at cleaning, some are great with numbers and others are good at talking. There is no hierarchy.

However, in the US, we certainly hold that idea dear. The idea of an hierarchy? Ugh. Doctors, lawyers, scientists and CEOs are highly valued, while our teachers, who do possibly the most important job ever, are treated, well, like crap. And in our most recent history, we value people with millions of followers, people we call influencers.

Tell someone you collect trash for a living and they have a judgment about you. Don’t even get me started about when you tell someone you’re a yoga therapist.

I deeply believe that you’re valuable, no matter what you do to get money to live your life. What you do is not who you are. That was so hard for me to understand for so long.

Being a teacher or a yoga therapist doesn’t make you a better person than someone who cleans toilets. You can be very similar people coming from very different jobs.

For people like me, that do feel that what we do is integral to who we are, it still doesn’t put us on a pedestal. That’s not always the message that society bombards us with, though.

I teach people to be grounded, centered, connected with their purpose and full of love and peace. It is what feels right to me and what makes me feel most like me. However, I am learning to let go of the idea that this makes me feel different than anyone else. I’m embracing the idea that people who serve fast food can have the same level of satisfaction and pride in their work that I do mine and that their work is equally important.

Over the last few years I’ve been giving a lot of my time to my community. I’ve met Pharmaceutical reps, housewives, artists, accountants and so many more who also have huge hearts and want to contribute to their community, like I do.

I was raised in a family that felt compelled to make money in the way that they felt drawn to show up in the world. However, not everyone makes money in that way and that was an eye-opener to me. It’s embarrassing, but I didn’t understand how someone who taught math felt the same way about our community as I do. I didn’t believe that those people could honestly care about people the way that I do.

To love and serve is something I deeply believe in. I believe that’s why we’re all here. I believe that while we’re all called to something we are also called to love and be of service. Sometimes they are the same thing. Sometimes they show up in different ways in our lives.

What makes you feel most like you? Why do you do what you do?

Next month I’m celebrating my birthday for the first time in a few years. I’m teaching Practices for Peace to celebrate love and peace for my next turn around the sun. And I want to do it with my yoga family.

I feel called to teach on my birthday, I always have. I am so lucky to do what I do, to do work that I love and that can support me. Our community has expanded, due to necessities of the pandemic. Teaching on Zoom has been such a gift.

So, I’m teaching online and in-person for my birthday weekend. Really, I can’t imagine anything better.

You can check out what I do and join us if you’d like to celebrate with me. For the next few days I’m offering an early bird special to make planning easier and to make sure everyone who wants to join me, can.

I hope you’ll consider joining me. Connecting, loving, teaching is what I’m called to do.

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On Sunday, Set Intention For A Great Week

Yogi and yoga teacher Sarah in Supta Baddha Konasana

Happy Sunday, dear heart.

Today is a great day to set intention for the week. How do you want to feel this week? This isn’t about your goals or your chores, but about how you want to walk through your week.

When you have a sink full of dishes or a laundry room full of clothes, take a moment and decide how you want to do it. Do you want to blast music and dance? Do you want to be focused and wash mindfully; listening to the sounds of water, smelling soap, feeling cloth, water and your feet on your floor? There is no right or wrong. You get to decide who you want to be in every action you take this week.

The first step of setting intention is to get quiet. I know, the thought of being quiet can be scary for some of you. It’s a practice and you’re not expected to do it perfectly. Start your practice now.

Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your nose. Relax your shoulders. As you exhale, see if you can identify any place that you’re holding tension and let it go, breath after breath. LIsten to your heart. Sarah’s pose above, reclining bound angle pose, is the perfect resting restorative pose to practice everyday for 20 minutes, or even ten. You will see a change in your life with this simple pose.

Let me suggest that deep rest is a radical act and you deserve it on a daily basis. You need it. When you take time to sit in silence, put your legs up the wall in Viparita Karani or even nap, your brain gets a chance to reset. Simply getting your eight plus hours a night is not the same. Your mind/body/spirit needs more.

Steve in Legs Up The Wall

Sundays are the perfect days to cut out the busyness, breathe and listen to your heart. What does your heart deeply crave?

I know that it’s hard to set intention and stay connected throughout the week. Sick kids, an unplanned meeting, a flat tire throws everything out of whack and gets you off track.

That’s why taking a daily break just for you to rest and reconnect with your heart is so important. If, after your rest, you take a few minutes to journal, you’ll stay even more connected to your intention and stay on track even better.

Sunday is the perfect day to set intention and rest. Throw out the word hustle from your vocabulary and focus, instead, on the word Align. How do your actions align with who you want to be, with who you are deep down?

Yoga helps you reconnect to yourself. Yoga doesn’t give you anything you don’t already have. That sense of peace and wholeness that you feel in Savasana, the final pose in yoga was yours. However, when you’re hustling, when you’re running from one thing to the next without rest, you get away from that part of yourself.

So get on the mat today, take a nap, sit in a garden and just take in the beauty. Just be. Be still. Don’t worry if that’s hard for you. It’s like any other muscle, it takes a bit for it to get strong. Start with five minutes. If your mind wanders, let it be okay. Everyone’s mind wanders sometimes. Keep doing five minutes until you’re comfortable and then consider adding a few more minutes. Be gentle and kind with yourself.

If you choose yoga, join us Sunday evenings for Restorative Yoga at 8:30, CDT, on Zoom. All our classes are by donation, pay what works for you. Your donation helps us grow the business and feeds people.

As an aside, I made a mistake and have been posting all over the internet that we meet at our old time, 7p,. So, tonight (4/24), I’m offering Restorative at both 7p and 8:30p. If you’re really committed to rest and relaxation, you can join us for both. Each class will be a little bit different.

See you tonight!

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Fiber! It Can Change Your Life

Add fiber to your diet for a huge shift in your health. Avocados are the perfect way.

Creamy and full of healthy fats for your brain to function optimally and help you feel satisfied longer, avocados are easy to add to your diet.

Adding more fiber can help every aspect of your health. Depending on the size of your avocado, it can be an easy way to add up to 20 grams of fiber daily.

I smashed avocado to pumpernickel toast with arugula and an egg for a high protein, highly nutritious, delicious and satisfying breakfast.

But there’s so much more you can do with avocado than just avocado toast. Add a few slices to almost any sandwich. Bacon, arugula and avocado, anyone? Mash it and use it as a condiment instead of mayo, lowering your cholesterol intake. More fiber, specifically, avocado can help you lower your cholesterol.

Throw a whole avocado into your green smoothie with spinach, celery, a lemon and coconut water or a plant based milk. This is an easy, low-sugar, high fiber breakfast or mid-day snack that will energize you and keep your brain feeling light and focused. If you have a high-powered blender, just peel the lemon and throw it in whole.

I’m a strong believer in breakfast, but I know you may struggle to eat in the morning. A smoothie is a easy, healthful breakfast. Just make sure to watch how much fruit you put in. The sugar can really add up and leave you feeling sluggish and your brain fuzzy. If I want a sweet snack, a smoothie with a little fruit is a great way to get that sweet treat without overloading on sugar.

My favorite way to eat an avocado? Slice it in half, remove the pit, sprinkle salt or Everything But The Bagel seasoning and eat with a spoon. Yummy!

If there’s not a Trader Joe’s near you, Aldi’s Everything Bagel seasoning tastes the same to me. If you want to add a little anti-inflammatory properties, avocado goes well with tumeric, garlic, ginger, black pepper and even cardamom.

Another great high fiber food is apple. While there is some sugar, it’s also a great base to add tumeric and ginger for fighting inflammation. And it still goes great with celery and lemon, spinach and/or romaine. It’s actually the only way I really like apples, well, and sliced with some peanut butter.

My favorite fiber, though, is avocado. Toss diced avocado with some chia seeds or flax seed on your tacos, wrap them in your burrito, puree with olive oil and lemon juice and a clove or two of garlic, for a creamy and easy dressing. Drizzle it on your veggie omelet, salad, rice and beans-or almost anything.

The health benefits of increasing your fiber is astonishing. Fiber helps your digestive system, keeping your gut healthy and your body regular. Basically, the fiber cleans you out, especially helpful if you eat animal-based proteins. Fiber slows down food moving through your system so that you can better absorb your nutrients. More fiber will help you sleep better, can aid weight loss and even clear your skin.

If increasing your intake of fiber is as easy as eating something as delicious as an avocado or tossing nuts and seeds on somwething you already love, why not start eating more today?

Not a fan of avocado? Start slowly by throwing them in any smoothie or with the dressing you can drizzle. Absolutely hate them? There are so many ways to increase your fiber while eating low-carb and low-sugar. Oten when people think of fiber they think of oatmeal or multi-grain bread. , two sources of a fair number of carbs. While steel cut oats are high in fiber, they’re not a great choice for anyone trying to cut carbs. Add fiber another way, like eating more legumes, nuts or fresh veggies, it can change how you feel on a daily basis.

I love to get feedback. Follow A Yogi Kitchen and Pantry on FB, IG, Twitter or Tumblr to stay up to date with all the classes and workshops we have coming up as well as more food posts. Comment or email mel@ayogikitchen.comn and let me know how increasing changes your energy, sleep, weight, digestive system and elimination (yes, you can even tell me about your poop).

Play with different kinds of food s and enjoy the process as well as the results!

Enjoy!

Join us at the end of the month for a fundraising workshop to help you soothe your nervous system, feel grounded and full of love. Stand in love and radiate peace.

Practices for Peace April 20th in person and May 1 on Zoom. Sign up today to save your mat space!

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Dear Heart, It’s Time To Stand in Love and Radiate Peace

The world has been feeling topsy-turvy for a bit now, dear heart. I know. We’re all feeling like there are two normals. The normal that we developed during the heaviest, scariest days of the pandemic and the normal we use to know, are existing at the same time.

And now there’s a war, that’s breaking our hearts.

It’s hard. It’s hard for us as adults, but it’s especially hard for our children. Our kids are in trauma. Even if you don’t have kids, you know kids that are suffering. We’re all suffering.

It’s so easy to step away from something hard and not recognize the lasting effect it has on you. For those of us with traume in our past, it may just feel like more of the same. If there’s childhood trauma, you may even be feeling like you’re managing okay. You’re probably great at the hard stuff. For me, I can deal with crisis like a champ. It’s the after that’s hard. When I’m past the crisis, then the scary and the fear creep in.

This is why I believe it’s time to practice love and peace. I know, it may feel like you don’t have time for anything other than just getting through your days. That’s trauma and survival and I get the importance taking a beat, but to move through it, let’s mix it up. Research by Dr. James Gordon, a psychiatrist specializing in healing trauma posits that the best time to heal trauma is while you’re in the midst of trauma, not after like so many of us like to do.

Let me suggest this, practicing peace and standing in love is the work that’s going to help you heal and be more effective in your day-to-day life. This session at A Yoga Kitchen and Pantry we’ve been focusing on the word Align and the idea of doing what’s most effective.

When your heart is open and you’re connecting with feelings of peace, at least inside, it helps you create an environment of love and peace around you. It is the energy that helps you smile at the cashier and ask how they’re doing. I promise you, this makes a huge difference to them. Try it and see how they react. Try it day after day and see how it makes you feel.

Practicing to honor love and peace is also the energy that will help you smile at your kids/partner/neighbor when all you want to do is scream or be sarcastic. It will be the thing that helps you see their vulnerability as an human and find kindness.

This energy will also help you be more kind and loving in your everyday life. Years ago, a family member, let’s call them Alex, was picking up a food tray at the local grocer. Unfortunately and somewhat carelessly the grocer put the scan code on the top of the food tray. So the cashier turned it over, not thinking about how it would affect the food inside. Of course, the tray was ruined.

Alex delighted in telling us over dinner how they screamed at this young cashier who made a simple mistake, telling them how stupid they were and how they ruined the tray. Hopefully, that cashier thought what an ass Alex was and didn’t carry it With them.

As you now, and I know, that probably didn’t happen. They probably went home worried about their job, if they didn’t get fired right away. They probably believed what Ale said, that they were stupid and not worthy. Cause we all do that, right? We hear something negative about ourselves and slowly we wonder if the other person is right.

Now, this isn’t an example of sarcasm, but it is an example of how damaging our words can be. Wouldn’t it have be so much more effective for Alwex to smile and say Oh, Shit, that was a big mistake. How can I get another super-fast? Cause, I promise you, that grocer would have bent over backwards to make it right without all the hateful energy that Alex put out into the universe and hurt another person.

This is the difference between standing in love and peace. Love and peace would have created a situation where Alex could find kindness and forgiveness. Ultimately, it probably would have made Alex’s day go smoother.

I encourage you to think about how a situation like this would affect you. How does it feel when you tear another person? Does it bring you closer or farther away from your friend/child/partner? Does that feel good? Does it feel like you’re communicating from your higher self? What kind of person does it make you feel like?

Standing in love and peace helps us create equity. It allows us to treat every person we encounter like they are doing their best. Our best always has flaws and mistakes and that’s okay. We’re all allowed to make mistakes.

So, join us at the end of the month for Practices for Peace, a fundraising workshop. You’ll meet other like-minded people, practice gentle heart-openers and stand in your power to ground you and connect you with feelings of peace. When you’re feeling strong and grounded, you don’t have to succumb to fear.

If you’re in the Kansas City/Lawrence area, you can meet us by the Kaw to connect with nature while we practice in-person on April 30, 1-3:30p. If you’re far away or if the time doesn’t work for you, or even if your anxiety gets the best of you, you can practice from the comfort of your home and meet us on Zoom May 1, 1-3:30p. Go to the website today, to save sign up. I’ll send you either the Zoom ID and password or our location to practice.

GOt questions or concerns? Email me, mel@ayogikitchen.com, or text 785-760-5412.

Together we’ll stand in love and radiate peace!