Becoming a Yogi Pt. 2: Flow-ga!
I don’t know about you, but I love how yoga gives me freedom. A flow style yoga class gives me that sweet freedom whilst making me feel invincible. Yoga Flow Open class glided me through (hopefully) gracefully and freely.
The Yoga Flow Open classes rotate teachers, which means it’s refreshing and reviving each time. The class gently allows individuals to move at their own pace, find their natural movement and range of mobility – with the use of props and modifications, you can devise a gentle and calming practice OR a more invigorating, heated practice.
It was a scorching hot day, but the natural movement of air in the studio combined with some cooling style of breathing allowed my previous stress from the morning to melt away slowly.
The class I went to was instructed by Laura Hughes who led the class beautifully, making sure if anyone had any injuries that she needed to be notified of. I’m pretty sure all yoga teachers are lovely, but at Camyoga there is a real sense of genuine interest and passion for yoga which leads the students to feel the embrace of trust much easier in a class.
The class focused mostly on the key, essential asanas of a yoga flow, and having a teacher there to remind you of the “mini yogi posture checklist”, as I like to call it, (stuff like navel drawn in, tailbone down, etc) is super helpful as it really helps you to move deeper into your practice. We also focused quite a lot on different Mudras (hand gestures) that had different benefits and feelings attached which further helped to deepen the entire practice. If you’re more into a solely stretching style class, this one may not be for you but I encourage you to try it as it lifts your spirits and feels exhilarative as you twist, glide and rock your way through the hour.
Overall, I loved this style of class – the flow followed by some gentle seated postures was the perfect afternoon pick me up, so if you’re feeling like you want a lively lunch hour, bring a packed lunch and go flow-ga!
5 Ways to Sneak More Veggies into Your Diet
We all know that vegetables are great. And we all know we need to eat more of them, but there are only so many salads you can munch on in a day and so many carrot sticks you’re willing to chomp on – so how can you get more vegetable goodness into your daily diet enjoyably and easily?
Even if you are a plant based powerhouse yourself, maybe you know someone who needs a little convincing before they join the veggie tribe, or maybe you have a child who will not eat anything green. Here are 5 ways to sneak more veggies into your diet without you even noticing!
Don’t fancy cooking yourself? Our Chef Alice makes fresh dishes every day, so you can simply pop in for something yummy and even take it with you if you’re in a hurry!
Becoming A Yogi
Yoga teaches us to calm the mind, and draw our attention inwards. In return, we get paid through the amazing feelings of energy, gratitude, self-love, peace and other pretty great thoughts and feelings (uhh, not to mention strong lean yoga machine bodies). But it takes hard work, dedication and devotion to your practice and I have decided: I’m Esh, sixteen years old and so ready to surrender to the gorgeous practice of Yoga. So here’s my journey to becoming a yogi.
Wearily, I stepped into the studio ready for my first Iyengar Yoga class. At Camyoga, there is a massive variety of classes to suit everyone, and the best thing is to try a little bit of everything and stick with the ones that move and groove how you like. Coming from a self-confessed Vinyasa-flow-freak, Iyengar Yoga was pretty different, but wonderful.
At the beginning, you take your props (e.g. blocks, pillow and chair) and take a relaxation however you like (for example, laying in reclined Baddha Konasana). This instantly helps you to rid of your inhibitions, and open up to the practice. The props help to deepen and further the practice, and as I walked out I could feel my tailbone tucking down, sternum lifting up – it’s a feeling of openness, not just in your body but also in your mind as you feel more free. Even drinking my mango smoothie afterwards felt different!
Iyengar yoga not only can ease your daily life (for example, if you fancy doing a yogi squat in the middle of Parker’s Piece, you may find yourself sinking into it happily) but also your own yoga practice (in a fast paced yoga flow class, injuries will be prevented because you now know the best alignment). It can be suited to everyone and help improve whatever you do for a living or how you go about your day.
So whether you’re a Jivamukti junkie or an Ashtanga addict, I can safely say give Iyengar a try to further your knowledge and precision of alignment.
Courgette noodles with mint, almond and sun-dried tomato pesto
It’s been a while but I’ve finally got the spiralizer back out of the cupboard! We have had an abundance of herbs delivered by one of our very generous clients today, and I decided to use them in my favourite way: pesto. Using courgette instead of pasta is great if you’re cutting out gluten from your diet, or even if you just fancy a lighter alternative to the Italian staple. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can create flat courgette noodles by using a vegetable peeler and just peeling off strips off the courgette. The mint, almond and sun-dried tomato pesto might seem quite thick, but as you start to combine it with the courgette, moisture is released from the vegetable so you don’t want the mint, almond and sun-dried tomato pesto any runnier or it’ll become too wet. In this vein, it’s important to dress the courgettes noodles just before serving as it doesn’t keep well at all and if it sits for too long, you will end up with a pile of water at the bottom of your bowl!
For a more substantial dish, the pesto works wonderfully served hot with real spaghetti. I would use 300g spaghetti for this amount of pesto, and combine it with around 400ml of the cooking water from the pasta to loosen up the sauce a bit. For some greens, 300g peas instead of the tomatoes is always a winner with pesto and pasta.
Finally, feel free to play around with the ingredients. Pesto is a great way to use up any herbs you have lying around, and you could use any nut or seed (instead of almonds) and any citrus fruit (instead of lemon). For an Asian twist, you could use peanuts, coriander and lime, like in this quinoa recipe.
Serves 4 hungry people
For the pesto:
60g sun-dried tomatoes (or 40g dried, re-hydrated with hot water and then drained after 20 minutes)
Zest (2 tsp) and juice (75 ml) of 1 lemon
3 cloves of garlic
90g extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
For the rest:
300g cherry tomatoes
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees C. When hot, toast the almonds on a baking tray for 10 minutes and then remove.
- Whilst the almonds are toasting in the oven, it’s time to spiralize! 1200g courgette makes around 900g of courgette noodles (or ‘courgetti’), but hang on to the discarded bits- you can thrown them in a soup or grate them in to a salad.
- To make the pesto, simply blend all the ingredients in the food processor, wiping down the sides regularly. It takes a while to grind the almonds to a smooth paste so be patient.
- Chop the tomatoes in to quarters, and roughly chop the extra mint. Combine it all (with your hands!) in a big bowl until everything is incorporated. Enjoy!
Chanting – The Sound of Yoga
Contrary to belief, Yoga is not just about flexibility and postures. Chanting and mantra recitation have accompanied yoga practices for thousands of years. So, what benefits can chanting bring?
- Your energy increases and your mind becomes sharper
- A study by Dr Alan Watkins [senior lecturer in neuroscience at Imperial College London] showed that while chanting, our blood pressure and heart rate drop to its lowest in the day. Doctors say that even listening to chants normalises brain wave patterns, adrenalin levels and lowers cholesterol levels.
- You feel vibrant and flowing with creative ideas
- You gradually become more in tune with every thing in life
- Neuro-scientist Marian Diamond from the University of California found that chanting helps block the release of stress hormones and increases immune function. It also keeps our muscles and joints flexible for a long time
- Chanting can build your confidence and releases your inhibitions
- Chanting is fun, easy and always available to you (and hey, it’s free!)
- Using chants as part of our exercise regimen, helps facilitate movement and flow of the body during exercise
- Chanting removes blocks and connects us directly to the heart, leading us to experience a natural harmony with the world around us
The overall experience is like a meditation with voice. You will leave feeling free, energized, uplifted and joyful for the day, week or weekend ahead.
If you’re keen to give it a go, why not try one of our chanting workshops this June, there are three to choose from. Maybe you’ll even become addicted and want to take them all
It’s National Cookie Day today, guys. As far as we’re concerned, whoever came up with that concept deserves a medal.
We felt we just had to share this yummy peanut-ginger-sesame cookies recipe with you. We admit this is not our own recipe, it’s from one of our favourite vegan cookbook “Veganomicon”, which you should totally check out if you’re looking for delicious vegan recipes. Don’t be put off by what looks like a long list, it’s really straight-forward and these bad boys are totally worth it!
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegan shortening, softened
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1 1/4 cups sugar (plus additional sugar for rolling)
1/2 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces candied ginger, diced finely
1/3 cup each white and black sesame seeds (or just use 2/3 of one kind)
Here’s how to do it:
– Preheat the oven to 175C, grease 2 cookie sheets
– Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon -> set aside
– Cream shortening (light and fluffy) with whisk, approx. 3 mins
– Add peanut butter, rice syrup, sugar, soy milk, and extracts -> continue beating until creamy (4-5 mins)
– Stir in flour mixture (with spatula or wooden spoon)
– Add chopped candied ginger -> stir until forms very firm dough (can use hands)
– Roll tablespoon of the dough into small balls
– Roll each ball in sesame seeds and a little sugar, place on cookie sheet (leave 1 1/2 inches between each cookie)
– Flatten balls slightly and bake for 10/11 mins (if you prefer them less chewy and firmer, bake for 14 mins)
– Remove from oven, cool and finally: hide from the cookie monster!!!
Enjoy!!! Love to here your feedback on these. Give them a go
Top 6 Misconceptions of Barre Classes
Feeling confused about BARRE classes?
Here’s a list of our top 6 misconceptions of barre classes:
1.) I don’t have any dance experience, so it will be difficult to keep up in barre classes.
2.) Barre is basically ballet and is only for women.
3.) Barre doesn’t give you any type of cardio workout, so what’s the point? I can simply stretch at home!
4.) Barre classes are hard and you need to get in shape beforehand.
5.) I have to be super flexible to take a barre class.
6.) I will have to buy ballet shoes.
So, what is BARRE?
So, the good news is: you don’t need ballet shoes, don’t need to be super flexible and you really don’t need any dance experience!
BarreConcept is a low impact, total body workout performed at a ballet barre that will appeal to everyone. Small isometric contractions are performed and integrated with an interval training approach that improves cardiovascular fitness.
Posture, flexibility, stamina and core strength improve, resulting in a body that is realigned, rebalanced and works harmoniously and efficiently.
At CAMYOGA our barre classes are suitable for everyone as various modifications are given to suit the abilities of all students, so just come along and give it a go!
Click here to book and see our barre class schedule to find out when it’s next on.
Green quinoa salad with steamed vegetables and baked tofu
This quinoa salad is a great one-pot meal, which transports really well and could be a great dish to take to work for lunch. The inclusion of tofu, peanuts, cashew nuts and quinoa makes it a real high-protein meal which will certainly keep you going all afternoon. Try and get British-grown quinoa if you can, and use whatever vegetables are in season. I’ve used pak choi and carrots, but asparagus, spring greens or kale would all work really nicely here too. If you’re short of time, you could just throw in some raw vegetables instead of cooked and if you have leftover rice or noodles, the dressing also works well with those instead of quinoa. I’ve also used the coconut milk from a carton rather than a can, which is just a less concentrated form of coconut. If you only have the canned variety, you could use half canned coconut milk, and half water.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp tamari soya sauce
100g pak choi (or any greens)
60g fresh coriander
60g peanut butter
60ml coconut milk (I use Alpro coconut milk from the carton)
2 cloves of garlic
Zest and juice of 1 lime (I just peel the zest off with a grater)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp agave (or any liquid sweetener)
- Cook the quinoa according to packet instructions. I use 250g quinoa to 375ml water and a pinch of salt. I steam the quinoa on a low heat for about 15 minutes until the quinoa has soaked up all the water. Then, in a colander, run the quinoa under cold water until it is cool.
- For the tofu, pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C. Slice the block of tofu in to slabs around 1cm thick and place on a baking tray. Smother with the vegetable oil and tamari, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for around 30-45 minutes, until it is beginning to develop a crispy exterior. Remove from the oven, allow to cool and cut in to bite size chunks.
- For the vegetables, cut the carrots in to chunks and roughly chop the pak choi. I tend to cook these together, with the carrots boiling in some hot water in a pan for around 10 minutes and the pak choi steaming in a sieve above the carrots, with the saucepan lid tightly on. This way, both vegetables are cooked together, and are just tender at the same time. Like you did with the quinoa, drain the vegetables and run under cold water until they are cool; this will halt the cooking process.
- For the dressing, I use a food processor to whiz up the coriander, peanut butter, coconut milk, garlic, lime zest and juice, salt, chilli flakes, pepper and agave until a smooth consistency if formed.
- Finally, combine all the ingredients. I use my hands to incorporate the quinoa, tofu, vegetables and dressing to make sure everything is mixed in.
- Garnish with roasted cashew nuts, lots of chopped coriander, extra chilli flakes (if you want) and a wedge of lime.
Airport Yoga Is Taking Off
Travelling can be extremely stressful at times, can’t it? By the time you’ve packed, sorted out all your documents, itinerary, accommodation, found someone to look after your pets and water your plants, and finally rushed to the airport (fingers crossed there’s no traffic!)… here you are, about to embark on your trip. Not exactly a stress-free way to start a day or holiday, let alone a business trip. And, by this time, you haven’t even had to deal with check-in queues, security, passport control and sitting in cramped seats for hours.
Given how exhausting air travel can be, it seems obvious why more and more airports are taking to the idea of airport yoga with a dedicated space. After all, yoga is known to be relaxing. There are several good reasons why airport yoga is a great idea, here’s a list of a few:
- The muscle stretching encouraged by yoga postures is a good way to cool down after walking, or other aerobic conditioning, while deep breathing and meditation also help;
- It can help manage stress;
- Space devoted to relaxation allows you to take time to unwind and stretch before and between flights and enjoy a calm, quiet space;
- It gets your circulation going after remaining inactive during long flights;
- Last, but not least, yoga not only benefits your body but also your mind.
If you are already into yoga or thinking of taking it up as a practice, you may be interested to know that recent studies published by the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology also indicate that continuous yoga practice lowers heart disease risk as much as conventional exercise, which, in turn, lowers cholesterol. This way you can keep up your practice even when travelling, so what’s not to love?
Furthermore, Statistics Canada estimates that the number of global yoga practitioners is as high as 250 million, with 2.5 million in the UK alone. With such high numbers, many argue that if smokers have their own designated area, why shouldn’t yogis?
So, which airports offer these yoga rooms? This is a brief, and by no means comprehensive, list but it will give you a bit of an overview.
DFW International Airport
Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
Hallway between Terminal B and D
BTV International Airport
ABQ International Sunport
Albuquerque, New Mexico
RDU International Airport
Morrisville, North Carolina
HEL International Airport
ORD Chicago O’Hare International Airport
Mezzanine Level of the Terminal 3 Rotunda; near the Urban Garden
LHR London Heathrow Airport
London, UK (coming soon)
Tip: if your airport doesn’t offer a yoga room, you can still benefit from some mindfulness. Simply download the Head Space, Insight Timer or Happiness App (just to name a few; there are many more out there).
Brown Rice Risotto With Lemongrass And Coconut
This recipe is a more interesting take on the standard ‘vegan option'; the risotto. I’ve tweaked it to make it a little bit healthier by using brown rice instead of arborio, and the addition of coconut milk and peanut butter make it taste luxurious and rich, despite the distinct lack of butter and cheese! Going even more off-piste, this brown rice risotto contains loads of great flavourings from various tropical regions: lemon grass, ginger, chilli and fresh coriander give it a great burst of freshness and spice which means that this is far from boring vegan fare.
I’ve used sweet potato, parsnip and kale here, but feel free to use whatever vegetables you fancy, or whatever is in season. It may look like a long list of ingredients and a lot of steps but trust me, it’s worth it. This is the perfect meal to impress friends or family when they come round for dinner!
1 small sweet potato (around 400g)
400g block of tofu
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves
1 red jalapeno chilli (seeds removed)
25g fresh ginger
2 stalks of lemongrass
1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
250g brown rice
800ml vegetable stock (I use bouillon powder)
50g peanut butter
1 can of full-fat coconut milk
3 tbsp dark soy sauce (or tamari for a gluten-free version)
Zest and juice of 1 lime
20g fresh coriander, chopped
- Chop the sweet potato and parsnip in to small chunks and place in a roasting tin. Cover with a little coconut oil and roast for about 30-40 minutes in a 200 degree C oven, until tender and crisp.
- Slice the tofu in half length-ways and lay each rectangle in a roasting tin. Again, rub coconut oil and a bit of salt on to the tofu and roast in the same oven as the vegetables. The tofu will take about 45-60 minutes to get a nice crispy exterior. When it is done, cut in to bitesize chunks.
- Meanwhile, cook the kale. I choose to steam mine over a pan of boiling water until it is tender but still crisp; around 5 minutes of cooking time.
- In a large pan over a medium heat, warm the coconut oil. Chop the onion and fry in the coconut oil for about 5-10 minutes, until soft.
- Finely chop the garlic, chilli, ginger and lemongrass. I used a small food processor for speed and ease, but by hand is also fine.
- Add this mixture to the pan, along with the cumin seeds, salt and pepper and fry for a minute more.
- Then add the rice to the pan and begin to add the stock. Turn the heat to low but make sure the mixture is still at a simmer throughout. Like with a standard risotto, the aim here is to add the stock in small installments- adding a bit more each time it is absorbed by the rice- and stirring frequently.
- After you have used all the stock (this should take around 30-45 minutes), stir in the peanut butter, coconut milk, soy sauce, lime zest and juice, fresh coriander, roasted vegetables, kale and baked tofu pieces. Cook for around 5 more minutes.
- If the mixture is left to stand it will thicken up but don’t worry, add a little more stock to loosen the mixture again.
- Serve with a handful of roasted peanuts on top and a crisp green side salad.