Mushroom & Lima Bean Stew

January 7, 2013

I ripped this recipe out of an issue of Whole Living magazine a few years ago and it has become my go-to, flu-preventing, belly-filling winter stew. It takes a bit of time since you are starting with dried beans but, trust me, it is so worth the effort. Hardy, healthy and warming. If you are doing my cleanse this month, just skip the oil and substitue a splash of broth instead.

Mushroom & Lima Bean Stew

Ingredients
1 cup dried lima beans
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 large onion, diced (2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
8 ounces portobello mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bay leaf
8 cups low-sodium chicken stock
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 bunch kale (8 oz.), stems removed and leaves thinly sliced (6 cups)
Kosher salt

Directions
Soak beans overnight in water. Drain.
Heat oil in a large pot over medium
flame. Add onions and garlic. Cook until
tender, 6 to 8 minutes; transfer to a
bowl. Turn heat to medium high. Working
in batches, add mushrooms; cook
until golden brown. Transfer to bowl and
add more oil to cook remaining mushrooms.
Return mushrooms and onions to
pot and add squash, beans, bay leaf,
and stock. Season with pepper. Bring to
a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover
partially. Cook until beans are just tender,
about 50 to 60 minutes. Stir in kale and
cook until tender, about 5 minutes more.
Season with salt.

Unplanning Ourselves

January 7, 2013

schedule photo
Over the weekend, I had the chance to sit down and read. Yet, instead of picking up one of the many books waiting patiently to be read, I was called to a well-worn, much thumbed through copy of The Yamas & Niyamas by Deborah Adele. I suspect the reason this book is such a staple in my studies and practice is that every time I pick it up I read something new. Literally. It as if what I need to hear is hidden in these pages until just that moment when I am open to reading it.

So this weekend, I pick up my book, open randomly and read, “rather than planning ourselves, what if we practiced unplanning ourselves.”

While my physical self remained composed and pretended to be normal, my soul jumped up, shouted “YES!” and did a fist pump worthy of Judd Nelson and The Breakfast Club.

Have you ever noticed the endless lists we impose on ourselves? Things we will do, ways we will behave, how we will improve… On and on the list grows and likely the more and more unhappy we become. Always striving to attain – a better pose, a bigger bank account, a more impressive job title.

Instead of planning ourselves, can we unplan? Unpack some of that pressure and see what lies beneath? Can we love our present selves for exactly who we are, as imperfect and perfect as we are?

With this lightness, might we fly just a little higher?

As I sit here writing this, a friend has come up to say hello and shared this quote from The Upanishads:

“Those who know the self & those who know it not, do the same thing, but it is not the same: The act done with knowledge, with inner awareness and faith, grows in power.”

Let’s unplan ourselves and know ourselves.

Beginner Series: A introduction to Vinyasa Yoga
January 5 – 26, 2013
Saturdays, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Interested in yoga, but nervous about dropping in to any old class? Already have a practice but want to deepen your understanding? Join me for Atlanta Hot Yoga’s Four Week Beginner Series and learn what you need to know to be safe and confident in any yoga class!

Learn key techniques such as:

popular breathing techniques
alignment cues to keep your joints safe and build strength
intro to Vinyasa
how and when to use props

$40/person

First five students to sign-up will receive a $20 credit towards their next package at Atlanta Hot Yoga.

Questions or Ready to Sign-up: ask at Atlanta Hot Yoga or email register@merylarnett.com.

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Crossing The Threshold

December 24, 2012

As we journey from the darkest day of the year towards the birth of a new year and all the hope that comes with it, we stand at the threshold of intention. Perhaps we acknowledge our hopes and aspirations for the new year, perhaps we bury those same hopes under the fear of past disappointments.

The last two years, I gave up listing out my resolutions of a healthier life, more practice and better balance because they started to feel stale. They felt as if they were expected rather than heartfelt. Something my small self, my ego, stated confidently while my true Self sighed and shook her head. Is that what growth is about? Is that how we go about digging in past the expectations of a “good person” and actually see that “good person” within us?

Last year, I gave up my list of resolutions and gave myself a word – Truth. This word had showed up in many of my practices and as I stared at the unknown territory of the upcoming year, I asked if that year could be an exploration of Truth. It was my word.

That isn’t to say I was always Truthful; hardly. But, by having this focused intention, I was able to be more aware of both my honesty and my dishonesty. I was able to watch just a little bit. I didn’t miss the disappointment – there was no “I have to do THIS” or I “failed to do THAT” – it was just a word that I kept present in my thoughts.

Ganesha So this year, as we share our one practice together before 2013. I’ll invite you to search for your intention, maybe it is a word, a feeling or something indescribable that you just KNOW. We’ll build our breakthrough energies and practice dissolving obstacles through some powerful and fun backbends and a whole lotta breath.

See you at 6 a.m. Thursday at Atlanta Hot Yoga.

Take Care of Yourself

December 17, 2012

In the midst of the busiest of all seasons, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the tragedy in Connecticut, can we take the time to honor our feelings?

Every year at this time, I find it easy to stuff my feelings and sensations into the background so that I can plow through the mile-long to-do list of holiday shopping, baking, and decorating, not to mention the normal day-to-day work that doesn’t disappear just because it is the holidays. And this year, on top of the normal stresses, we are also faced with the fear and pain that comes from witnessing the tragedy and heartbreak of our neighbors up north.

It is in these moments that our practice guides us to listen. To trust the instincts of our bodies. To give ourselves permission to feel.

This is permission to feel anything. No matter how appropriate or inappropriate you might think it is. No matter how serious or silly. With sense or without. Feel.

How can we take care of ourselves in these moments? The ways are as endless as the needs. Some of my personal efforts this week will include –

– soup: to me, nothing is as nourishing and soothing as a warm bowl of soup. I lean toward the homemade variety but if a can is all I have time for, I’ll savor that can as if it came from scratch.

– candlelight: there is something so satisfying about the light of a candle. Warm, pure. I will light a candle and actually look at it each day this week.

– sleep: can I get a holla on this one? we can all use more sleep, can’t we? This week I have written 9 p.m. “bedtime” on my calendar for Monday – Wednesday. It will happen and I will be better for it.

– practice: often, I struggle with the shoulda, woulda, coulda syndrom in my practice. I should practice more intense postures. I could have done 10 more minutes of pranayama. I would be better if… This week I give myself permission to let my practice take whatever shape it needs to take. I will let it soothe my soul and help my heartbreak. I will let it help my find the spirit of this season again.

This week, as we practice together, I invite you to feel and to take care of yourself in whatever ways feel right to you.

“Or, the light within which is free from all suffering and sorrow.” ~Yoga Sutra 1.36

Namaste

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