Monday, January 26, 2015

Happy New Year and Green Smoothie Recipe - by Vonetta

Campo Pequeno
Happy New Year one and all. I just finished my first practice session in a few days. Over the winter so far, I have been travelling and moving and teaching and studying and being a Mother. My yoga practice often has to fit into my life and 2014 indeed was very busy, productive and outstanding. It is a little daunting to consider making it all happen again in 2015, but I am also reminded that my life will not fit without practice and it is on to the mat I go.

My setting has changed, I am now in a tiny little flat in Lisbon.  

For the last seven years at Vale de Moses my gaze while practicing looking forward out of the shala has always landed on a tiny little pine tree. From where I like to stand, this tree appears to be growing at the end of a fire path. When I first started practicing in Portugal this tree was pretty little. Like me, it has survived being in total isolation, aloneness, strong winds, blazing heat, electric storms and even a huge forest fire in 2012. I remember the first morning practice after the fire, I looked up ready to say goodbye to the little tree to find the fire had been put out by the brave firemen just above it. That morning when I came to practice Vrksasana I felt a communion with the little tree. It had survived and would therefore be nourished by the scary events that had taken place, depositing nutrient laden potash all around it.

This morning I am seeing the tree but only in my mind's eye. My real view now is an elegant yellow Lisbon apartment building. I am unable to sprawl around the shala and I am not receiving strong and satisfying adjustments as I would do in a studio. I have simply rolled out my mat and a delicious solitary practice can begin, time and space, after months of teaching, working, travelling, moving and mothering.  I am actually landing and there is no better place to land than on my own on my mat.  

This morning I am surprised by how light and happy my body feels even though certain more athletic postures feel awkward. I know that after a few days of dedicated practice more lightness, or freedom or whatever may come, but I am not concerned. The aloneness that this personal practice provides is needed right now.  

Tomorrow, I will be back to the studio, Casa Vinyasa in Lisbon (not unfortunately on this beach nor this mat in Barbados!), allowing my body to be artfully adjusted in postures, a benefit that I would not be without. I am sure this morning's gleeful leaping around the mat while it has personality, must lack technique. However today is a personality day and I am having fun. I am falling in love with lengthening and broadening again.

When I am struggling with accepting any phase in my life, then this little practice time helps me to just feel better after, or at the very least, less bothered. Practice is, after all, a tried and tested method of delighting in the now.

In a few months I will be back to retreat teaching and the joys of seeing known faces and new ones, of hearing their stories of the Winter face to face rather than on FB. My days will be filled with sweet smelling oils, pungent herbs and Qi balancing magic wands (acupuncture needles). Beautiful bodies of all sizes and descriptions will be nourished by the excellent Vale de Moses team and volunteers.  

Like my Yoga practice, the pleasures of retreat life have been tried and tested and I am relieved to have this in my future. Yoga practice with our other teachers coming this year will begin and there will be sharing and learning and a light competitive frolicking and I am looking forward to such long and generous summer days. However, right now it is good just to roll out my mat and be there.

The joy of yoga has to be being alone in your flat with your tunes, enjoying the immediate gratification of touching your toes.  

Ah, all that is left to mention is my Green Smoothie fetish. My favourite smoothie at the moment.  Created by Dr. Fuhrman and inspired by Victoria Boutenko's Green Smoothie Revolution and introduced to me by my Natural Physician Course. The course gives me the mental challenge I need while I wait for my loved ones: Andy from his work preparing the valley and cottages in the mountains for the Yoga Season ahead; Josh finishing school in Castelo Branco and Eloise finishing a day of art school in Lisbon. The juice gives me that zip that lasts throughout the day and will also help get rid of some of the Christmas loving.  

It's a lot of fun working on the course, I am constantly running little benign experiments on myself and it is worth it as I know the experiences I am having through this course will improve what we offer at Vale de Moses and in Barbados over many years to come. This juice was apparently drunk by Pop icon Peter Max every morning since 1998.  It is a deluxe Super Green juice that gives me the stamina to keep at it. If you would like to try the juice and do not have all of the ingredients, don't worry about it just substitute and omit. I often have to. 

The treat of a great juicer such as Hurom 700 GY or a Vitamix may be just the thing for you to get this 2015 off to a bouncy start.  

Dr. Fuhrmanʼs Green Longevity Drink
Makes 4 cups 

1 large head romaine lettuce 
1 1/2 cups spinach 
2 sprigs parsley 
1 cup broccoli florets 
2 leaves mustard greens or turnip greens 
3 collard leaves 
1/2 cup watercress 
1/8 tsp. oregano 
1/2 avocado 
1 banana, peeled 
3 large strawberries 
1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries 
1/2 papaya or mango 
1 1/2  tsp. flax seeds 
1 1/2  tsp. sunflower seeds 
1 1/2  tsp. sesame seeds
I hope 2015 is a Yogi Year.