Currently I am going through a quinoa – phase.
I could have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and quite frankly be very content with it.
There’s just something about quinoa, the structure, the taste, the smell.
It’s very versatile and extremely easy to prepare, the only negative thing I can think of is that it takes quite a long time to cook.
You can cook quinoa in water or vegetable broth for a savoury dinner dish or cook it in any type of milk for breakfast or a snack, always use 2 parts liquid for one part quinoa.
Rinse the quinoa.
Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add the quinoa. Let simmer for about 20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.
A breakfast yoghurt bowl with quinoa, berries or a banana, a sprinkle of granola or corn flakes for some extra crunch and a dollop of nut butter or jelly.
My favourite mix at the moment: soy yoghurt with quinoa, banana, chopped hazel nuts and macadamia nuts with a sprinkle of granola and melted peanut butter drizzled on top.
Quinoa cooked in soy milk with strawberries for as snack. Works great with water melon as well.
Left over dinner bowls with quinoa. Mine usually have spinach or lamb’s lettuce, some kind of beans (usually lentils) and some nuts for crunch. The one on the photograph had quinoa, a green apple, spinach, wasabi covered peanuts, some mozzarella cubes and some leftover falafel.
Take your time to wake up, stay in bed for a couple of minutes and enjoy the sensation of laying in your bed, the way your body feels after a good night’s rest.
Enjoy the sounds of the outside world, the sunshine on your body.
Cuddle with your cat.
Take a some time to meditate, journal, do some sun salutations.
Savour a cup of coffee.
Take time to really taste your breakfast.
Get outside, go for a walk or just take a couple of deep breaths in the morning air before heading out into the everyday hustle.
Hold on to this feeling of space and peace during the rest of the day.
As much as I love a vigorous ashtanga practise to start my day, I really don’t like taking an ashtanga or vinyasa power class late in the evening. It leaves me with all this energy and it usually takes me hours before I can fall asleep.
I do like to practise some restorative yoga before bed. There’s something about that meditative, soothing pace that makes me calm and ready to pass out. Today I’d like to share a series of hip opening poses I like to do before bed.
1.Reclining Bound Angel Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana) for 5 minutes
I usually get into this pose while laying in savasana. Just bring up your knees until your feet touch and you still feel comfortable. Make sure not to make it too hard on yourself since you have to be in this pose for 5 minutes. Don’t use any pressure on your knees and force them to touch the ground, just rotate your thighs out and gravity will take care of the rest. Your knees might touch the ground by the end of those 5 minutes or they might not, but as long as your thighs and hips are open and relaxed that’s not a problem.
2. One Legged King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) for 5 minutes on each side
Start in a down dog, bring your left leg to your left hand. Place your knee at your left hand and bend your knee so your foot will end op at your right hand. Feel free to adjust the hight of your feet to make you feel more comfortable (i.e. lower that foot if you feel too much tension in your knee or hip, the tension will lessen). Stretch out your right foot, make sure it is in one line with your mat. Fold over for more stretch.
Get out of the pose by gently standing on the toes of your right feet and moving the left leg back so you come back into a down dog. Stretch out, alternate the weight from one feet to the other.
3. Bound Angle Pose ( Baddha Konasana) 5 minutes with a straight spine, 5 minutes with a hollow spine
Start by sitting with your feet in front of you with a straight back, pushing your sitting bones into the mat. Bring your feet up and your knees to the side as far as you can. For the first five minutes keep a straight spine (aka not what I’m doing on that photograph), keep your sitting bones pushing into the mat and let gravity pull your head closer to the mat. For the next five minutes make a hollow spine and let gravity pull your head closer to the mat. You might find your head touching the mat by the end of the five minutes just by relaxing your muscles and letting gravity take a hold of you (never happened to me though, my hips are stiff) remember: no pushing and pulling!
4. Child Pose (Balasana) for 5 minutes
Go sit in child pose sitting on your heels. Open the knees a bit further than in a conventional child pose to feel a better stretch. Fold forward with your hand in front of you.
It is normal for your hips to feel a bit tight because our western life style often has us sitting in chairs for a long time each day. Hips may also feel tight because emotional pain and anger often gets stored in our hips. Hip openers can help for a part to come to term with those emotions.
Yin Yoga is a restorative type of yoga and thus is perfect to create a balance in your yoga routine because it will function as a counter pressure for yang types of yoga.
Yin Yoga does not focus on engaging muscles or increasing fitness levels. Yin Yoga works on the deeper tissues so it will make you more flexible. When you include this type of yoga in your practice you will also notice that you will not only be able to go deeper in the poses during this practise but that this effect will also apply to the other (yang) types of practise you are participating in.
Personally, I think yin yoga will be more challenging for most people. Not because it is physically demanding but because of the time you will have to spent in certain poses (3 up to 5 minutes).
Since it’s a yoga style that allows for meditation in a more conventional meaning of the word you will mostly be confronted with your mental boundaries: the feeling like you want to get out of that damn pose already.
Yin yoga will teach you to deal with discomfort and stay in the pose although you are physically and mentally aching. It will learn you to find comfort in your discomfort.