Going Deeper

Tues, Sept 25

Tonight’s class was another fave! First we had a very crazy and fun practice with Amy! She was in a kookie mood and was really funny throughout the class. It was probably the most fun I’ve ever had in a power class (with a great workout to boot!).

Then our teacher training class started out with our feelings check-in around the circle. Then we went around and commented on what we liked about Sunday’s class and what we didn’t. Many of us said that it had been our most favorite session so far – largely in part because we learned some more about each other. I thought the same thing and I actually could not think of anything I didn’t like about Sunday. Then we went around and each shared what we felt we were doing well (yogically speaking) in our life and what we were working on. It was a little bit deeper of sharing and I loved it! It was a great sharing and connecting activity for our group. While I won’t share what the rest of the group said, I can share what I said. I said that I was doing better at living in the present moment and shared an example from vacation this summer. I said I was still working on not reacting. I seem to do well for a time or a certain situation, but then at the next react the way I normally would. I notice that if I’m worn down or tired I tend to go back to my default mode. Like I keep saying, it is a work in progress. It was really neat to hear everyone share. I think we have focused on practicing the sequence so much that we needed to spend some time connecting with each other. Both Sunday and tonight really cemented that and it felt good. That conversation took most of the time. The last hour we spent talking about concerns or problems we had about our class project. Amy and Michelle helped us by giving us great suggestions about cutting down sequences and helpful cues to use for beginners. We also talked a little bit about the role of themes/stories in the class. I feel a little better about how to construct my sequence and have a better direction about what I will share during my class. I have 13 people who have RSVP’d “yes” so hopefully they can all still come on Oct 7! I will email them reminders a few days before just in case. And there are other people who may just come that didn’t RSVP and that is great! I’m a bit nervous just because I feel like this is my only yoga class to teach. I mean, I hope I will have more in the future, but right now – it is all about this class!! So, no practice teaching again tonight, but that is okay. I’m practicing with my partner on Thursday night so we should be in good shape for her class on Sunday!

This week’s activity:
Tuesday – noon yoga at JCU, Teacher Training class – 75 minute power and class
Wednesday – Home practice
Thursday – 6am Power; noon – teach at JCU
Friday – 6am Stretch; Run 3 miles; Brian’s class (45 min); Practice teach and practice – 60 min
Saturday – 90 minute power; Observe Anya’s class
Sunday – Yoga Stretch, Teacher Training class; Restorative


Sun, Sept 23

During today’s class there was no practice teaching at all! It was a nice break, actually! We spent most of the time in discussion. First we talked about the homework we had turned in – the review of all different types of yoga. Then we talked about the various yoga workshops people attend and the pros and cons of opening a yoga studio. It was interesting to hear Amy’s perspective and how it has changed from where she started 4 1/2 years ago when she opened.

We then reviewed the Yamas and Niyamas and journaled about how we have incorporated them into our lives. This was cool and it was nice to reflect on how I do feel like I’m incorporating them into my life! I’ll refrain from sharing it all here. Suffice it to say it was a good exercise to journal about.

Next we talked a little bit about Brian’s class. Amy and Michelle gave him feedback and then the class (those who were there) gave some feedback too. We were reminded about the following things for our own classes: greet people, and make a donation jar if we are doing a donation class. We also were reminded to keep promoting the class! I think I have about 13 who have said they will come, so hopefully they will all come! I think I’ll send them all reminders too!

Next we did this cool partner strap exercise. We took turns in certain poses and our partner used the strap to lift us into better alignment. We did this in downward facing dog, warrior 2 and triangle. Then we practiced chanting for the first time and that was fun. We did call and response with about 3 different chants in Sanskrit. Next it was time for restorative which was majorly relaxing today!! I almost fell asleep again! At the end we did this cool partner exercise sitting back to back. Very cool and a cool connection.

We ended with ohms and that just like the right place to end.

1. Research all the triangle variations we can find. Explain the different styles and variations and compare it to the Baron version.
2. What the six deep external rotaters and how are they all opened up in all the poses?
3. Sutra book: page 84, number 3

First one done!

Fri, Sept 21

We had teacher training tonight from 7:45pm – 10:15pm, but first many of us went to Brian’s class! He was the first one of us to teach his class for the final project. It was from 6:45pm – 7:30pm. He did a great job!! I’m really glad I went. I hope to make it to all of them! Most of the people there were either from our class or were people who practice regularly so I think that made Brian feel more comfortable to see familiar faces!

Teacher training went pretty well. We paired up with another person (not our partner) and practiced teaching the whole sequence for an hour, gave feedback for 15 minutes and then switched. I worked with Lisabeth. I felt good about my teaching. I remembered the sequence really well and gave fairly good instructions with a few flubs here and there with lefts and rights. She gave me some good feedback about remembering to offer modifications and to be careful about assisting – to really be gentle and guiding. This was really helpful.

Practice Teaching

Thurs, Sept 20

So today I was able to actually teach a real class – thanks to our yoga instructor at JCU! Lisa is so kind and generous. Once she found out that I was doing teacher training she offered to let me teach her class sometime for practice. A few weeks ago I just did a few Sun A’s and then gave it back to her, but today I did the whole class! The one bummer was that I had a 1pm meeting so I had to leave a bit early. I taught up through 1/2 pigeon and then had to leave. I didn’t like having to leave before the class was over, but I really enjoyed the chance to practice teaching! I got some good feedback from my friend, Mary Ann. I would have liked to get feedback from the rest of the class – hopefully I can next week. Lisa did share some feedback to via email which was helpful. She said she thought I did a great job, but need to remember to let there be silence sometimes. I was aware that I talked a lot during the class. The other thing she said was if I tell the students they will have 3 breaths to allow them the time to take them. Both of these things are true and I think are just the result of nerves for sure!! I think in general I just need to slow down. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to teach again before my class on Oct 7.

Fabulous Feedback!

Tuesday, Sept 18
Week 7!

It is so hard to believe that we are on week 7 already of teacher training! I feel like I just started in so many ways and I want to keep on learning. I understand now what everyone meant when they talked about how little 200 hours really is. I’ve learned so much, but still feel as if I’ve only just scratched the surface of yoga in teacher training. I think I’ve given it my all given the other things I’m juggling right now. I mean it would be great if I could get and read all the books on the suggested reading list, but let’s face it – I’m lucky just to get the required stuff done! And surprisingly, I’m okay with this! It just means I can keep right on learning!

So tonight we had a great practice. Even on her off days (which I didn’t think it was one, but she might have) Amy has such a great class. She has such a gift of being able to connect with people and share in the yoga room with just the right balance. I hope I can do that.

Next we did the best feedback/practice teaching exercise yet. We picked out of a bowl (okay it was the Tibetan singing bowl!) to figure out what part of the sequence we were going to teach that night. Five of us were on the mats first while 5 were observing and writing feedback for each person. So one person started teaching his/her part of the sequence for 5 minutes to the other four. After 5 minutes, the next person taught the next part, etc until those first five were done. The people writing feedback then turned in their anonymous feedback to Michelle to distribute to each person. Then the groups switched. I was in the second group and taught the triangle series. I was really happy that I drew that one because I felt really good and confident that I could teach that one. I got up there and just did it. I felt calm, cool and collected, definitely better than I have ever felt teaching before. I remembered the sequence and felt like I cued the poses well and gave good breath cues. I also felt like I connected well with the “students”. When everyone had finished teaching we got a chance to review our individual feedback and then summarize it for the group. For the most part my feedback was really positive so that felt good! Our feedback is formatted with four (4) prompts: (1) I heard…(2) I saw… (3) I feel…and (4) I can relate to.

Here is the summary of feedback that I got:

I heard…
a nice volume and breath being called; sometimes a bit of hesitancy, but that will change with time
called the poses, good directions
clear enunciation, knowledge of poses in her voice, good volume for the room, guiding breaths for class to hear and imitate
a confident voice, good direction, good cues on breath, called poses well
a soothing voice

I saw…
someone really watching the students; some discomfort with assisting, but that’s just due to multitasking
breathing with groups’ movements
connection with students
a teacher really watching the students; got block for student who needed it; adjustments being made, calm presence
gaze at students good, observant teacher, wanted to help, a confident teacher
a nervous face – I saw you wanted to assist and then would back off – just get in there! You also seemed to want to jump out of your skin (body language) Relax!

I feel…
you are getting more comfortable and enjoying yourself
you are amazing
Lisa will be a very good teacher. Her voice is strong and calm at the same time
you knew the series well, told good stories about why the pose is helpful
feel confident that you know the sequence

I can relate to…
how hard you are trying, lots of poses – can’t really get through them in 5 minutes on both sides
the nervousness

For the first time I felt relaxed and more natural teaching tonight. I almost forgot that it was an “exercise” and I found that my 5 minutes went extremely fast, rather than finding myself wishing I could be done in a hurry! I noticed that everyone had improved quite a bit since last time! It was a good way to teach and give feedback. It was a positive, productive and fun class!

Outdoor Yoga

Sunday, Sept 16
Week 6!

Today was a mixed bag of intense sessions and some light and fun ones. We began with some housekeeping items. Michelle reminded us that we need to observe 3 classes and complete forms for each by the end of training. I’m glad she mentioned this because I had totally forgot about it! I need to look at the schedule and plan those in!! Michelle also clarified that we are not doing the fruit cleanse as a group. Baron Baptiste has a 7 day cleanse that he recommends for people to do occasionally. I saw it on the schedule for this coming week and was a little nervous about it. Amy is not a big fan of fruit cleanses at least not like this – she recommends it after a vacation or a holiday. I was a bit relieved, but also a little disappointed because I sort of wanted to try it at the same time. But I don’t do real well when it comes to giving things up and feeling deprived. However, Michelle also recommended a different cleanse. There is a book called Clean by Alejandro Jungar

that has another type of cleanse in it. But after reviewing that one, it looks a bit intense for me with supplements and such. Michelle also suggested picking one thing to give up for this week – like wheat or dairy. I decided that I will give up dairy this week and journal (blog) about my experience. Next, we began talking a bit about the sutras and some of the philospophy behind the science of yoga. Sutra mean’s “thread” and our Yoga Sutras book that is the translation and commentaries by Sri Swami Satchidananda is basically the philosophical backbone of yoga.

The next hour and a half was a little intense. We talked about the whole aspect of feedback. Last Tuesday we all practiced teaching for the first time in front of the whole group and then got feedback from Amy about how we did. It was constructive feedback, but there were some tears (not from me, this time!!). It was late that night so after we all had our tour to teach we scattered and went home. So, we took some time today to go around the circle and share our reaction to the feedback now that we had time to think about it. Like I said it was an intense discussion, but overall really good for all, I think. How about that for vague! Hey sometimes things that happen in the yoga room, stay in the yoga room.

Next we were told to roll up our mats and head outside. We walked over to an empty area and did our own “home practice”. Charri was talking about how important it is to have a pretty consistent home practice, especially for teachers. What happens many times is you start teaching more and practicing more in the studio. But since it is important to practice yourself, you can still do that as a part of an active home practice. Today was cool. The sun was shinning. It was a beautiful day, but not too hot or cold. There was a nice breeze and I really enjoyed it. It was the first time I have ever done yoga outside actually. We had about 25 minutes to practice by ourselves…doing the sequence or whatever poses we felt like. We ended in meditation together and then om’d together at the end. I started doing the sequence and then morphed into a few other poses that I like a lot. I learned a lot from this outdoor experiment. I loved practicing outside…I kept my eyes closed almost the entire time. Plus it felt good to move around a bit and sweat, which of course I did! I definitely want to cultivate my own practice at home. Very cool.

Next we went back to the studio for the restorative class. I felt SO relaxed in that class – almost asleep a few different times. I was just ready for it after moving around a bit today beforehand. Lastly we did some practice teaching. We partnered up and took turns teaching the warrior and triangle series. The first time each pose was 1 minute and the second time it was 30 seconds. It was really helpful to have our poses timed out like that so we could notice just how much time is needed. I felt pretty good about my teaching tonight!

1. We need to create/alter the whole sequence to accommodate for one of the following: injured shoulder, injured knee or injured neck.
2. We need to research the following types of yoga: Power Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Jivamukti Yoga, Satchidananda Yoga, Forrest Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Bikram Yoga (yick!), Yoga Fit, Dharma Nitra Yoga, Sheva Ray, Rodney Yee, Paramayhansa Yoga Nanda. We need to (1) write the names of the different types of classes for that type and (2) what is and is not attractive about these styles/teachers.

Classes/Activities This Week:
Tuesday – 6am Power, JCU Yoga, TT
Wednesday – Kickboxing
Thursday – 6am Power
Friday – 6am Power, 12noon Restorative
Saturday – 9am Power 90 minutes
Sunday – Yoga Stretch, Restorative
Monday – probably 6am Power, Running 3 miles at noon

Naked Yoga?!

Tuesday, September 11
Week 6

Okay, so only half naked! Last night was another fun one! We met at Walden again – this time for a lesson on Massage Therapy! The director of the massage center at Walden instructed us about the 5 basic massage strokes. And yes, we worked on each other! We were three people to a bed so while one person was the “body” two others practiced the various techniques. We all picked our backs as the area to get worked on so we all had to remove our upper garments! The two men in our class stepped out of the room while the ladies tented the sheet and all that jazz. It really was no big deal, but we got a big kick out of it. I really enjoyed learning the different techniques and being able to practice and watch people do it. Although I’ve had several massages I’ve never observed one (obviously!). Here are the basic massage strokes that we were able to practice:

1. Effleurage – a long, smooth stroke that slides over the skin and is usually very fluid feeling. The gliding stroke is often used to warm-up the tissue, apply the lotion and connect iwth the body. Effleurage massage strokes can be light or deep and are able to be performed on any part of the body. The massage therapist can use full palm, fingers, elbows or forearms to perform effleurage strokes (long stokes).

2. Tapotement – is a quick percussion stroke where the body is struck in a quick, repetitive way. This is probably the Swedish massage stroke most people recognize from what they see in the movies. Percussion strokes are light, fast-paced and stimulating. Depending on how the massage therapist used their hands, the stoke can be called cupping, hacking, tapping, pincement or others (chopping).

3. Friction – these strokes are used in Swedish massage to create heat in the soft tissues of the body. Rubbing one surface over another in a quick motion creates the friction effect during the massage. Superficial friction can be applied to the skin and is a warming stroke for Swedish massage therapists to use when warming up the muscles for deeper work. Deep friction strokes work more specifically into tight and resistive muscle tissues (finger sliding).

4. Vibration – a Swedish massage stroke that create a similar oscillating effect to mechanical massage devices but the effect is created by the massage therapists hands instead of an electronic gadget. Fine vibration is created using the fingertips and is usually applied to a small, specific portion of the body. Coarse vibration can be created by jostling an entire joint or muscle body during a Swedish massage (rocking).

5. Petrissage – a kneading stroke that squeezes the muscle body. Massage therapists can perform petrissage with two hands, one hand, or between the fingers in a rolling type motion. The wringing motion helps increase circulation to that specific area, break up adhesions or myofascial restrictions. Muscle fibers are separated and increase overall relaxation in that muscle group (kneading).

The second half of the class last night was rough. We laid 6 mats out so six people were practicing, one was teaching and the others were assisting. After about 5-10 minutes the person stopped teaching and was given feedback on things that were done well and things to work on. Each of us took our turn – Amy selected the person to go. I was the second person up. I did okay. I was more confident than last time, but still need lots more practice. My biggest thing is that I get stage-fright and forget where I’m going in the sequence! It is totally different than just teaching Mike in my family room!! We were there until about 10:45pm and then of course once I got home at 11pm I had to stay up and settle down before going to bed – at midnight. So, I was tired today.

I retyped out the sequence tonight and will practice in the car to and from work each day until it becomes memorized. I’ll get it. Just. Takes. Practice. And Breathing.

Mindful Eating

Sunday, Sept 9
Week 5!

So we are halfway through! Whew! It is kinda going fast! According to the records at the Yoga Lounge I have 28 classes on the books (and we are supposed to have 25) so I’m doing okay there. I feel like I’m really learning a bunch and am so excited to feel like I’m progressing more with my teaching! I made my flyer to promote my class on Oct 7 and sent it out to a bunch of people through electronic means. Once it gets officially approved tomorrow, I’ll get some printed and distribute them to groups like Weight Watchers and the Tae Kwon Do studio (that was Mike’s idea!). So far I have 8 people who have agreed to attend and most of them are not even related to me! Ha, ha!

So last night was another fun class. And I mean, really fun! It was probably the most fun I’ve had so far.

First we had a nutrition session with Barrie, one of the teachers at Yoga Lounge who is also a nutritionist. She started with a cool meditation activity involving a breathing exercise and then ending with dropping something in our hands while our eyes were closed. We were then to pop the item in our mouths with our eyes closed and not chew it – just let it sit there for a bit. Then we were instructed to put the item up to our front teeth, take a bite and get ready for an explosion of flavor. It was really cool! It tasted a little sweet and a little tart to me. I thought it might be a dried cranberry, but it didn’t taste exactly like that. Then while we continued to taste, chew it and swallow it, Barrie asked us things like, “Did you like it?” “Do you find yourself wanting more or are you satisfied?” Then we went around the room and shared our names and what we thought of the exercise. It was a great introduction into the topic of Mindful Eating. Now this topic is close to my heart, of course, based on my experience with weight loss, Weight Watchers, tracking, etc so some of the information was not new to me, but a good refresher. Barrie shared the general concepts of “yogic eating” and the timing: what you should eat (or shouldn’t eat) before your practice and how long before. She covered the basics of nutrition in terms of carbs, proteins, fats and fiber and gave us some good reference material to be able to use if a student is looking for help in this area. She gave us some good tips about what to keep in our pantry and her thoughts on “to supplement or not to supplement”. Lastly, she introduced us to some good names/books to look for if we are interested in vegetarianism or veganism


She also referenced Dean Ornish and talked about his study of the Mediterranean Diet. This looks really interesting. I definitely want to learn more about all of these things. Anything that pulls me more and more away from processed foods and toward REAL food has got to be good!!

The next part of the class was with Charri. First we went through the sequence and talked about the purpose of each part or element. The vinyasa (high plank to low plank, upward dog to downward dog – or chattarunga) is to cleanse the body – it is like a sorbet. Here is how the rest of the sequence breaks down:
1. Integration – Become a child and first steps
2. Sun A and Sun B – clarifies the mind – brings you into the breath and a state of humility in your mind/body
3. Warrior Series – purifying the ego, grounding teaching strength, stabilizing and heating – strengthening the will
4. Balancing – comes from the Solar Plexus – creating balance in the body – rooting and connecting
5. Triangle – opening sequence – cooling aspect; teaching equanimity
6. Backbend – back of body – strengthening and stretching, flexibility
7. Abs – counterbalance to backbends
8. Inversions – preparing mind for meditation; blood flowing
9. Hips – preparing mind for shevasana; releasing toxins
10. Forward bending – cooling poses
11. Shevasana – final relaxation

I really loved thinking about the sequence this way. Charri emphasized why it is so important to have at least one part of each element of the series in the class. If not, the student will be missing something. Next we had to do an in class assignment of making up a sequence for one of the following special situations:

1. More heating and detoxifying
2. More shoulder opening
3. More hip opening
4. More therapeutic for a certain area
5. If someone were paralyzed from the navel down
6. If someone were pregnant

After the restorative class, which was so great, we talked about a few more of the sutras and then we broke down into small groups to practice teaching. We had 45 minutes to teach the sequence and we each took 10 minutes. It was really fun and there was lots of laughing, but lots of learning too.

Our homework is to keep our home practice going and to read pgs 54 – 57 in the Sutra book.

Livin’ at the Lounge!

Sat, Sept 8

So yeah, I kinds of lived at the lounge today! I visited three different times for different things.

1. Practice – I went to Amy’s 90 minute power class at 9am because, well, I love it! It was a great practice with splits – one of my faves!

2. Workshop – I went to the Basics Workshop with Mike from 12:15pm – 2:30pm. He actually was the one who asked me to sign him up for it. It is a great workshop to learn proper alignment of the poses in Integration, Sun Salutation A and B and a bit of Warrior I and II. Mike enjoyed it and learned some new things from it, but he also said he has learned a lot from me (aw, how sweet!). He was a great student Friday night – I was able to go through the entire sequence teaching him and he is such a good sport! It took us like an hour and it was late! It is really helpful teaching him because since he is new I have to really be clear with my cuing.

3. Workshop – I went to a workshop on the Ayurvedic Diet. The woman who led the class had studied in India. It was very interesting information that was all new to me. The word ayurvedic means “life science”. Using this philosophy can help us get back into balance. The quote she started with was very cool. “When the diet is right, medicine is of no need. When the diet is wrong, medicine is of no use.” So true!!

In the beginning of the class she talked about the concept of the 3 gunas. . According to this philosophy everything in life falls into one of three qualities.

  • Sattva -Purity – just being; harmony and in a peaceful environment. Some examples of this in terms of food are: fruits, and vegetables, grains and greens, nuts, legumes and anything that is not processed. Also, in terms of behavior it would be any action that is pure with no strings.
  • Rajas -Dynamism and activity – makes us go; movement. Too much of this (ego) leads to war. Some foods that fall into this are all spices, coffee, tea, onion, garlic, ginger, chocolate, sugar, beer, wine and tobacco. Anything sour or pungent or extreme things.
  • Tamas – darkness, intertia, stability, consistency. To the extreme this could be lethargy or depression. Fried food and all processed foods fall into this category as does red meat, cola and food preserved in salt. This can make the mind dull.
  • For the rest of the workshop she talked about the different types of “constitutions” or doshas that people have. They are made up of the 5 elements: air, fire, water, earth and space.  We took a short quiz to figure out which type we fall into you.

  • Vata – Air/space;  This is the cold and dry dosha so he/she likes things that are the opposite of that: warm and moist.  They should stay away from raw vegetables and choose warm foods instead.  These folks are usually thin and creative and like movement.  When out of balance they can be anxious and fearful.  Eating on the go is not good for them – they like routine and regular meals.  They can pretty much eat whatever they want.
  • Pitta – Fire/water;  This is the hot and moist dosha so he/she likes cooling things – loves salads and everything cooling like juices and smoothies.  These folks are the change agents and leaders with firey personalities.  They have huge appetites and can lose or gain weight easily.  They should avoid direct heat, spicy food, caffeine and alcohol.  When out of balance they can be angry.
  • Kapha – Earth/water; They are the heavy and moist dosha so they need light and dry.  They are calm, patient, grounded, stable and tolerant.  It is easy for them to gain weight.  They should avoid heavy foods, eat dry foods and have a lighter breakfast.  They are the most content of the three, but are at risk for depression when out of balance.
  • According to my quiz score, I am a Pitta type and I could relate to MUCH of what I learned today!! We learned much more, but too much to write here. If you want to learn more, click here or research on your own. Or even take your own quiz!! It is indeed very interesting!!

Greens and Grains: Life Beyond Spinach and Brown Rice!

Tuesday, September 4
Teacher Training Tuesday!

So last night’s teacher training class was really fun and different! We met at Walden which is absolutely beautiful and huge! I had a bit of trouble finding the spa at first, but then arrived okay and even on time. Thankfully, Yoga Lounge has a connection to this wonderful place through one of the teachers so that is why they are able to partner with them. We will meet there again next week to learn about massage techniques (sweet), but last night we had a cooking class with Chef Pete! It was so fun! I kinda felt like I was on a cooking show! We all sat at this long bar overlooking this cooking station and Chef Pete introduced himself to us. Servers came around to get drink orders – all ice water with lemons, I think although some of us mentioned we wouldn’t hate a glass of vino! Smarter heads prevailed since we had to practice after the cooking class!!

Chef gave us a bound packet of info to keep and explained he was going to focus on “Greens and Grains” for us that evening. He then proceeded to show us a variety of greens in their raw state and then prepare a variety of them for us. Of course, we were able to taste each one after he prepared it.

Most of the greens I had never cooked with before, but recognized the names. First he gave us a sampling of kale chips which I was already familiar with and love.

It was funny because he too tried them from Heinen’s for $8 and decided he could cut the price down to like $1.29 by making them himsellf!! (Sound familiar?) They were good.

Next he made us collard greens. That was the first time I had eaten them and they were delicious!

He just used 1 T sugar and 1 T of cidar vinagar and an onion to one bunch of greens in a soup pot. Then he covered them with water, added a vented lid and cooked them down for 2 – 3 hours. They were so sweet and yummy. I totally want to make them.

Next was mustard greens.

To prepare these he made an Indian dish called saag

This was phenomenal!! I had never had this before either. He used:

1 onion – sweat it
2 T gee (clarified butter)
1 t curry powder
Cook this down and let it simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Add 2 T heavy cream (maybe yogurt as a substitute) at the end.

This was so good! He suggested serving this over rice and there is your meal! So noted, Chef Pete! I will definitely try it at home!

The next dish was my favorite by far. He made a Tofu Scramble and his plan was to add swiss chard to it.

The funny thing was that he got so into the recipe for the scramble (below) that he forgot to add the chard to it! So he cooked it up separately and we tried it that way. I was not a fan of this one – a little bit bitter for me. However, the scramble was to die for! I’m going to make it at home and I hope I can get the fam to get on board with tofu!! It tasted very much like eggs and Chef recommended serving it for breakfast!

16 ounces extra firm or firm regular tofu
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 medium sized onion diced finely
1 poblano pepper diced finely
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 bunch scallions sliced thin
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 roma tomato diced
1 avocado peeled, pitted and diced
Salt and ground black pepper

1. Cut the tofu into 1/2 inch pieces.
2. Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Add tofu and saute until slightly brown on each side, about 5 minutes. Next add in the onions, peppers and mushrooms and continue to cook for about 2 more minutes or until the vegetables are slightly wilted. Next add the scallions, cumin, and soy sauce and cook until combined, about 20 seconds. Add the avocado and tomato; continue to cook until avocado and tomato are slightly warmed, around 20 seconds. Season the scramble with salt and pepper to your liking and serve immediately.

Last, but not least we had the broccoli rabe. This is in the same family as broccoli, but definitely not the same. He cooked it up with a little bit of garlic and salt and I did not really like it either – pretty bitter.

It was so fun to try all of these different greens. It is helpful to know some easy ways to prepare them so they taste good. Hopefully I can work them into our diet somehow and nudge the fam to at least try them!!!

The second half of the class focused on grains. Chef showed us 10 different types of grain, both in the raw state and the cooked state and we tried them all!

  • Amaranth – okay
  • Barley – good – had it before – might be able to try it in place of cereal
  • Brown Rice – Duh – part of our everyday diet already – urged us to use a rice cooker
  • Buckwheat – okay
  • Farro – This was yummy and I had not had it before – on the bigger side – another one that would be good in cereal
  • Millet – Okay
  • Steel Cut Oats – Duh – part of our everyday diet alreadyQuinoa – Love it!! I just need to remember to make it more often
  • Wheat Berries – These were yummy – never had them before! He recommended using these in salads!
  • Wild Rice – This may have been my favorite! Not like Uncle Ben’s – tasted like the real stuff!

He also gave us a really cool chart listing about 13 different grains and directions on how to cook them (amounts of water, cooking time and yielded amount).

The second part of our class for the night was a practice teaching session. Thankfully we taught in pairs this time rather than round robin! First we talked through the various modifications we can suggest for the basic poses like Sun A, chattarungas, chair, warrior 1 and warrior 2. Shelly and I took turns going through our cards – we each had 20 minutes to teach each other. I felt SO much better this week compared to last week! Practicing with my live-in student (hubby) is starting to pay off!! I actually felt a little more relaxed teaching this time and am looking a little bit less at my note cards.

Homework: Next week we have to have our note cards done for the entire sequence! We also have to have our brochure/flyer done and turned in that will promote our final project class. I feel re-energized by the class last night. I got positive feedback and feel like I know what I need to do to really learn the sequence well and become more confident. Practice, practice, practice!