Bliss Juicery

Some days I get the heady kick of feeling accomplished and in control.  To-do list is checked off, work has been done well, laundry is washed, emails are answered, nutritious meals are cooked and mascara is applied, all while seeing the bigger picture and not swearing at anyone in traffic.
And other days (most days) I’m eating peanut butter on toast for every meal, plastic is mixed up with glass and paper in the recycling bin (and I don’t care), I’m slurping down caffeine while anxiety eating chocolate, all the while pondering if I’ll ever be a successful human being.
I’d love to juice every day, as much as I’d like to consistently grow my own food, go with the flow, meditate (more on than off), and not waste hours of my life wondering about other people’s curated existences on social media.  But in a world where grocery shopping sometimes seems an impossible task, and just keeping my legs hair free is not always possible, Bliss Juicery saves the day.
Bliss has opened a small store a stone’s throw away from my home and they offer every manner of fresh cold-pressed juice, from the fruity, to the green.  The almond milk variations are super delicious too!  They deliver throughout Joburg, and they offer juice cleanse programs, which is a real win.  I like to do a juice fast (feast) every autumn and spring, but sometimes find the admin of buying enormous quantities of vegetables, and juicing what feels like the whole day long, a little overwhelming.  Now it’ll be super easy 🙂
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Okay veganism

I’ve been a vegan before (for about two years in my late teens), and I’m 95% vegan these days (the other 5% made up of the odd bit of eggy/buttery cake, Sunday croissants, dinners cooked lovingly for me where the pasta may contain eggs, the odd scoffed piece of milk chocolate, and social gatherings where I can’t be too sure if there’s parmesan in the pesto).  I’m reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer at the moment,  have watched parts of Earthlings again, and am enjoying the insight of South African Veg-IT, and all are leading me further down the path of a fully plant-based diet.

The hardest bit is the social aspect: most people can cope with cooking for a vegetarian, but few manage the idea of vegan cooking without a little blanching.  In actual fact though, it’s really not that hard.  There are MANY wonderful blogs dedicated to the art of tasty and nutritious vegan cuisine, The First Mess being one.

I made an utterly mouthwatering dinner today based on a recipe on The First Mess (spaghetti squash noodle bowl with lime peanut sauce), although I swopped out the squash for what I had in the house (orange sweet potatoes and carrots).  I’ve made the dish with butternut squash before though, and it’s sublime.  I used baby spinach instead of kale (kale seems exceedingly hard to come by in SA), used almond butter to replace the peanut butter (this makes very little difference to the deliciousness of the dressing, while boosting the nutritional aspects a bunch), and replaced the grapeseed oil with extra virgin olive oil.  I also added some smoked tofu.

So much yum factor.

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How to practice

I read this great article the other day about the importance of a daily practice.  I’ve been practicing ashtanga and teaching for a while now and I’m faced with the same questions from students again and again.  Ashtanga requires some serious commitment – I get it – so here are my answers on how to get that daily practice, wherever you might be right now.

I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible.  That’s much like saying you can’t run around the block because you can’t run a marathon.  Flexibility comes with the practice – it is not a prerequisite.  In fact, inflexibility might be your greatest teacher and allow you to tap into yoga’s lessons so much faster than flexy-bendy girl.

I can’t get up so early in the mornings.  Hey, it’s never easy.  In winter it’s cold and dark; in summer it’s warm and light – staying in bed is always comfortable and seductive.  David Swenson taught me this: just get up and put your yoga clothes on.  If you’re still tired, go back to bed.  If you make it to your mat, just do some sun salutations, and if you’re still thinking about your duvet, go back to bed.  I often use this strategy and tell myself I’ll just do the standing and finishing sequence today – by the time I get to the end of standing though, I’m awake and ready to carry on with the whole 90 minutes.  Just get up.

I can’t practice six days a week.  So don’t.  If you have a young practice or have just returned to ashtanga after some time apart, don’t set yourself up for failure.  Committing to a six day a week practice and expecting to go from zero to hero is self sabotage (again, are you going to run 20km four times a week when you currently only run 5km once a week?).  Three days a week is ample.  Allow your practice to grow organically – over time you’ll naturally start adding days and building up to that six day a week practice.

A dedicated six day a week practice is no mean feat.  In fact it usually involves some dramatic lifestyle changes – eating habits, sleep routines, relationships and perhaps even career changes.  Often these happen quite easily over time though – the more you practice, the more you change.  Allow your practice to change you.

Mysore freaks me out.  Yes, a Mysore class can be intimidating.  Or rather, the thought of a Mysore class can be intimidating.  Once you are on your mat, moving in a room filled with people breathing and practicing, this intimidation falls away.  The thing to remember here is that everyone in the room started out not knowing how to do one sun salutation.  No one knew the sequence and those people busting out the crazy postures are the ones who have been practicing their butts off for years, and most likely have the most respect and compassion  for anyone beginning their ashtanga journey.  Give your teacher and the other practitioners in the room the benefit of the doubt.  Give yourself the benefit of the doubt.

Can’t I just self-practice at home?  Self-practice is the end goal, sure, but hell it can be hard. When your practice is still young, it’s important to practice in a studio with a teacher who can help and advise you, and a community who can support and inspire you.

I can’t do X, Y, Z posture. The thing to understand here is that you’ll never be able to ‘do’ any of the postures.  Sure the more you practice, the closer to your toes you’ll get, and binding and jumping through/back for instance might become possible. But there is no end game to a posture, no perfection, only more layers to explore – slower, deeper, stronger, with more extension and consciousness.  As with life, wherever you are in a posture is exactly where you need to be – can you be okay with that?

How you are on your mat is how you are on in your life.  Do you constantly compare yourself to others, berate your body, shy away from things that are hard or that scare you?  Do you ignore your body when it tells you something hurts or is wrong?  Do you make excuses instead of doing what you know you need to do?

Treat yourself with some compassion and kindness.  Allow your ashtanga journey to teach you about yourself, to change you over time and to be your drug of choice.  You know it: practice and all is coming.

x

Round-up

Crikey.  This week has flown by!  It’s Thursday already!

Today I’m:

Feeling pretty introspective.  I’ve been thinking a lot about romantic love the past few weeks.  I read an interesting article in UK Vogue yesterday about “settling”.  We’re taught never to settle.  That settling for a man who isn’t Prince Charming or Mr 100% Right is wrong, and that we’re compromising ourselves and setting ourselves up for a marriage of dull lovelessness.  I’m fully aware of the unrealistic romantic ideas that are instilled in little girls’ heads from the moment they can understand fairy tales, and I have to agree with Vogue – settling for 80% of the attributes one wants from a husband doesn’t sound all that bad.  As long as the big ones – honesty, fidelity, respect, equality and non-abusive behaviour are met.  Oh, and physical attraction, albeit that attraction changes its nature and focus over time.  It’s a hard one though – do you make the decision consciously to settle, or is it something that happens after years of deciding not to settle (and to find someone else?).

Wearing slippers, baggy jeans and a sample tee from the summer range. 

Looking different.  Extensions were added yesterday and I’m feeling full- and heavy-headed.  They’re very cool.  I have to say though that the extravagance and unnecessary indulgence makes me feel a little uncomfortable.

Thinking about work and the fact that my BFF is moving to Denmark in about two weeks.  That is something I’m blocking out!  I’m also thinking about how much chocolate I’ve consumed in the last week…seriously, sugar is very bad! 

Happy about my yoga practice this morning!  No amount of trying gets jump backs happening, and only sometimes does a jump through occur, but, yay, two postures from second series have been added!  AND, I managed not to rip out my new extensions when I jammed by calf behind my head (and tried to look comfortable!).

Wishing the lure of biting my nails would vanish in a big puff of acetone.  And that I could raid Weylandts!

Contortionist

 Yesterday I took myself off for a Thai massage.  I’ve been feeling in need for weeks now, all stiff and sore, and I’ve also  acquired a yoga butt injury (or lower-right-butt-cheek injury to be precise).  The little lady worked on me for 90 minutes, sparing no energy when it came to stretching, pummelling and pushing her elbows and knees into me.  It was great!  I walked out of there feeling limber for the first time in weeks…and then 10 minutes later felt like hell.  I won’t go into the gories, but clearly la petite masseur released some serious toxins, and they had to get out! 

I have just returned from a physio appointment and am feeling a little rough after a sore yoga practice this morning.  One of those days that I should’ve listened to that voice in my head who constantly advocates the easy route (“just stay in bed”).  

The studio building continues – roof is on and painted, outside walls are painted and the floor has been thrown.  I love building terminology: throwing the floor, chasing the wires.  All very active!   🙂 

Now it’s just the finicky stuff and all the damn (but pretty) finishes.  I just want to move in now! 

If today, like me, you’re in need of something along the lines of ‘keep calm and carry on’, here are some words of wisdom: 

 

 

Via Busy Being Fabulous and The Diversion Project 

xx

Loving Dullstroom

A very lazy weekend spent in Dullstroom, on a lovely farm filled with dams, a river, some hills, a forest or two, and buck, jackals, otters and aardvark (not to mention family).  So nice!  I managed to yoga, walk, eat, sleep and read.  PERFECT.

Here are some shots of the very wintery landscape (and classic highveld winter sky).  Awful, I know. 😉