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Growing and Changing….

Hello darling readers, subscribers and non-subscribers all! This may very well be the last post on this site, as Robyn Hurst and Vessels of Clay Yoga have MOVED! Sure enough, you can check out all future posts at www.RobynHurst.com

Previous Blog posts have been imported and can be found there as well…just look under the “Blog” tab. The new site will give you access to Class schedules/rates, Calendar events, Products/companies I support, Blogs to Inspire, and more!
Come on over! Can’t wait to see you there!

(And if you are a subscriber, please go on over and subscribe; I’ve got the button all ready for ya! Choose one of the many web feed options or click on the e-mail tab to have it sent to your inbox!)

www.RobynHurst.com

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Awake O Sleeper, we have a winner!…and some of my favorite Victories!

First things first, we have a winner for the Fun Feet Give-a-Way and it is…(drum roll, please…using your fun feet stomping on the floor, perhaps….)

Carissa!!!!

Let me know when to expect you in class next, and I will bring the bag of crazy toe socks from which to choose!!! Congratulations!

And thank you to all who entered…as you can see by the photo from the last post, there are more than one pair of socks, which means there may well be another give-a-way in the future, so keep on a readin’ for the next chance to win!!!

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This week’s message at Vessels of Clay Yoga:

Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” Ephesians 5:14

What are the dark places in your life today? Is there any part of your life that you have been “sleeping” through? Perhaps this is your prayer…

Lord, give me grace and strength to persevere and an obedient heart to do your will.

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Here are some of my favorite recent Victors and Victories!!!!

I’m lovin’ all the versions of tripods, headstands, and of course, the final rest in waterfall…(first picture I have ever posted of my darling Seniors/limited mobility class!  I soooo wish I had gotten their Warrior II’s today…they have grown so much stronger!)

Have a wonderful week!

Love, me.

Sending you His Light and Love!

What’s on my Bookshelf, Pt 1…& Fun Feet Give-a-way!

Well.  It has been a little longer than I anticipated to get back here!  I have been overcoming a slight cold that led to some ear infection and ultimately, a ruptured eardrum, just to be factual…the details of the drama of the last 2 weeks are too icky and no fun to relate, so let’s just say…I am still resting when I can and trying to get back to “normal” in a  balanced way…meanwhile, I am, at best, getting used to the “extra instruments” in my right ear that come with having a hole there.  Honky-tonk piano, anyone?  Alien autotune?  How about an out-of-tune harpsichord?  It seems at any moment, I get to hear a few more sounds that the average Joe or Jill…At least it makes life even more interesting as a professional singer….but ANYWAY…

Truly, I have been praising God for His supernatural favor even and especially in this trial.  There have certainly been many little incidences where I can see His love and protection, even while the world would say I was at my worst…so, it’s all good.  Cuz He’s ALL GOOD, amen?!?

Today I am starting a blog series called “What’s on my Bookshelf?” where I will be talking about the various things I am reading at the moment…it will definitely come in parts, though I will not commit to the blogs being consecutive!  You just never know what life is gonna throw at ya’, so I choose to go with the flow in at least this area…=-)  (It’s a good thing, since I meant to write this particular post a week and a half ago…that is, before I came down with whatever-it-was…)

Something you should know about me: I love books.  Always have.  I love fiction, I love self-help, I love inspirational, I love non-fiction, I love biographies, etc, etc.  On any given day, I would guarantee you that I have a minimum of 4 books “cracked open” that I am switching back-and-forth on, depending on my mood.  Usually at least one fiction, one edifying, and/or one educating, not to mention my ongoing devotional and Bible choices…

As a yoga teacher, I am constantly learning more about yoga via books.  Sometimes the books are about a famous teacher’s method or style of yoga, sometimes they are about breathwork and meditation, sometimes they are about the lifestyle that goes with it (according to the author).  As a registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance, I actually HAVE to continue my education in this way (among others) to continue being registered, and I am actually quite thankful for that.  I also always have a few yoga magazines partially read, waiting to be finished, laying around my nightstand.

I like fiction for when I need to escape or DON’T want to think too hard…whether secular or Christian.  Usually they center on some interest of mine: a place, a time, a lifestyle, a country, a language, what-have-you…

And there is usually something else educational or thought provoking—-not necessarily self-help, but something that teaches me more in depth on a subject.

Finally, though, the most important book (or books) on my proverbial bookshelf?  My bible.  Ok, bibles.  I like to compare versions.  I like to study.  I like to revel in the amazing words and meanings.  So, let’s just start there…

There are bibles all over my house, really, so I am just going to discuss the ones sitting on my nightstand shelves. Typically I have an NIV (New International Version) Bible, an Amplified Bible, and The Message Bible.  The NIV, for those who don’t know, is probably the most commonly used “standard” version.  It is not so formal or high language as the King James version, but it is also not necessarily a contemporary language version, either.  Kind of right there smack in the middle of it all…So, I often look at it first, to read the Bible verses as I have heard them most of my life before I compare them to a different version.

The Amplified Bible has been a favorite of mine for a long time.  It has this wonderful way of expounding on the meanings that could be meant or conveyed for various words (based on the original Hebrew or Greek), so you can really get a thorough/deeper view of what is meant by what you are reading!  For instance, typically if one were to recite to you a “regular” version of John 10:10, it would sound something like “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”  Ok, pretty cool.  Thank You, Lord Jesus, because we are so grateful for that!

But here is what the Amplified Bible says: ” I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, til it overflows).”  Wow!  We don’t just have our lives because of Jesus, we are entitled as His followers to enjoy them, too!  And, a LOT.  Overflowing wonderfulness….wow, wow, wow!  Or often, when the word “blessed” is used in a verse, it says “blessed (happy, to be envied)”.  Doesn’t that just give you  SUCH a better picture!?!  So, I love to use this bible as I study…

When I TEACH, however….

I most often use the Message bible.  I do use the other versions as well, but most often, my class scriptures are from The Message.  Why?

I was introduced to the Message bible while doing my yoga teacher training.  I liked how it said things, sure, but I was still a major devotee of the Amplified.  However, my teachers certainly emphasized how it put things in such a way that was great for a class–especially when your students are currently relaxing and centering themselves with eye pillows over their eyes, it’s nice to keep things as easy and simple to understand, without too many words to complicate their meditation and stillness…..so, I looked into purchasing one.  It wasn’t until I learned WHY it was written that I became totally gung-ho…

The author, Eugene Peterson, is a pastor and a scholar, among many other cool things…feel free to look him up on the internet…but he didn’t start as those things.  He began as a teacher of Hebrew and Greek.  When he began pastoring, he noticed that people in his congregations either knew next to nothing about the bible, or they had been reading it for years and  it somehow had gone dry and boring for them…reduced to trite sayings and cliché’s, perhaps.  (Now, here is where I DO want to say that our RELATIONSHIP with our Savior is an ongoing thing, and if we are feeling dry, perhaps we need to dig a bit deeper?…but I totally understand what Mr. Peterson is talking about…)  Here is a portion of what he writes in the Foreword of my edition of the Message bible:

“I lived in two language worlds, the world of the Bible and the world of Today.  I had always assumed they were the same world.  But these people didn’t see it that way.  So out of necessity I became a “translator” (although I wouldn’t have called it that then), daily standing on the border between two worlds, getting the language of the Bible that God uses to create and save us, heal and bless us, judge and rule over us, into the language of Today that we use to gossip and tell stories, give directions and do business, sing songs and talk to our children.

And all the time those old biblical languages, those powerful and vivid Hebrew and Greek originals, kept working their way underground in my speech, giving energy and sharpness to words and phrases, expanding the imagination of the people with whom I was working to hear the language of the Bible in the language of Today and the language of Today in the language of the Bible.”  He did that for 30 years with one congregation and  was eventually asked to write a Bible that expressed what he had been sharing with them.

I also love this quote:

“When Paul of Tarsus wrote a letter, the people who received it understood it instantly, When the prophet Isaiah preached a sermon, I can’t imagine that people went to the library to figure it out. That was the basic premise under which I worked. I began with the New Testament in the Greek — a rough and jagged language, not so grammatically clean. I just typed out a page the way I thought it would have sounded to the Galatians.” (from Wikipedia:Clint Kelly. “Eugene Peterson: The Story Behind The Message”, Use of Italics, mine.)

I believe it was that quote which sent me rushing off to buy my own copy…imagine!  The Bible written with language that expressed the emotion and passion behind the words, in a way that might make as much sense to me emotionally as reading a heartfelt letter from a friend or laughing at a joke someone tells!

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I believe the Bible is the Living Word.  I can get a new revelation from a scripture I have read many, many times, each time I read it…and it doesn’t matter which version I am using…

But it is nice to know that the Message version is not just some “watered-down” version of the Bible as I have heard some suggest who have not actually looked into it or know its origins.  In fact, it is right on the money.  The real meaning with the real passion.

For fun, here is another description of why the Message was written:

http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Message-MSG-Bible/

I do compare the verses of different bibles often…and, there are times when I like the NIV best or another version over the Message…I just leave that up to what the Spirit is revealing to me at that moment!

However, here are a couple of my faves from the Message:

For instance, the NIV of Matthew 11:28-30 is classic, and I love it:

   28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I ALSO love this MSG version, though:

28-30“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Learning how to “take a real rest” and “the unforced rhythms of grace” certainly appeal to this driven, type-A personality, let me just tell you….
Or, how about John 10:10, since we already mentioned it above?:

I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

Now, I will tell you right now, my favorite version of that is still the Amplified…BUT, I do love the comparison of Real life and Eternal life…more and better than I have ever dreamed of??!?!  Wowza.  So, I basically cannot even begin to comprehend or imagine how amazing my life is intended to be according to my Lord’s standards…how cool is THAT?!  Both the life I am living here right now, and the future life in heaven…or both the natural life I am living practically, and my Spiritual life that is also happening right now in the heavenly realms…THAT is part of my inheritance in Christ…and all I need to do is believe and step into it!  So….

Joshua 24:15

But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

Or the Msg version says, As for me and my family, we will worship God. =-)

(Stay tuned for future blogs in the series, “What’s on My Bookshelf?” for fun reads, inspirational reads, things you might wanna’ pass on (maybe?), and things that will teach and reach you!)

This week at Vessels of Clay Yoga, we have been considering  God as our comfort, our refuge, our Answer, our Help…

Dear Lord, help us to give up our fears and anxieties and give ourselves fully to you.

The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

Deuteronomy 33:27

Psalm 20:6 “That clinches it–help’s coming, an answer’s on the way, everything’s going to work out.”

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Finally,  it’s time for our Fun Feet Give-a-way!!!

The winner of this week’s give-a-way will receive the adorable pair of crazy toe socks of their choosing (from the photo), which can even be used to do yoga! 

Comment below to enter; need an idea of what to say?  Maybe you’d like to share what your favorite version of the Bible is…and/or perhaps include a favorite verse?  Or would you like to share your reading style? (one book at a time, no distractions, or multiple books going off-and-on, or just magazines thank you much, or are-you-crazy-I-only-read-blogs, etc, etc…) And/or say where you would choose to wear your crazy toe socks if you win!!!

Good Luck!!!  I will draw a winner’s name from the bunch early next week!  May God bless and keep you this week as you cast your fears and anxieties up to Him and lay back in His everlasting arms….

We have a Winner!….and some recipes!…and some inspiration!!!

First things first, WE HAVE A WINNER!!!

Believe it or not, the winner of this week’s give-a-way is…..

paula!!!

(again!!! I know…right?!? but more on that in a minute…)

Paula, you have your choice between those mists in the give-a-way; let me know which one, or you can smell each at the next class and decide! (and just fyi for anyone reading, I really do make out little name-slips each time, throw them in a baggie or box, shake em’ up, close my eyes, and draw…OR I have my hubby draw if he is here…it’s a little fun thing I get to do!)

NOW, since Paula DID recently win, I am going to extend the give-a-way for the other 3 entrants…if ya’ll read through today’s blog post and comment accordingly, I will hold another drawing for any of the three of you who comment…I will give you until Monday night (the 3rd) to respond…and then you can choose between the 3 mists that are left (after Paula’s choice). Cool?
*addendum (10/3/11): Paula chose the Eucalyptus Spray, so up for grabs are the Tea Tree, Jasmine, Vanilla, and Lavender. Hubby just helped me draw the extended give-a-way winner, and it is Amber! Congrats! I will get them to you to choose…

This is just a little post this week since it is sign-up time for Vessels of Clay Yoga and there is a lot going on…So, here are two of my favorite recipes right now.  One is really new to me, but I love it, and the other has come to me in the last few months, and the thought of it sends me straight to the fridge to get some greens!

Wheat-free, Yeast-free Irish Soda Bread

This recipe came to me from one of those Reader’s Digest Collections of stories books…yes, really.  I was reading one of Patrick Taylor’s “Irish Country Doctor” series books, and the traditional recipe for Irish Soda bread was included as a bonus. (I love how Reader’s Digest does that.)  Anyway, instead of regular wheat flour, I used a combination of Spelt and Rice Flour.  Note: this recipe is wheat-free, not gluten-free.  Spelt is a cousin of wheat that can often be tolerated by those of us with wheat sensitivities, but it is NOT gluten-free.  Just fyi.  I used a small portion of rice flour to lighten it up, as Spelt flour can result in heavier bread.  To make the traditional version, substitute whatever regular flour you like…but it might not be as healthy!!!!

Oh, and yumminess?  Total 10 out of 10 by me AND my hubby!

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cup Spelt flour, 1/4 Cup Rice flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 heaping tsp baking soda, 1 C Skim Milk with 1 Tbsp. Vinegar (instead of buttermilk…this is an easy sub if you don’t want to buy a carton of buttermilk.  Next time I will try using almond milk, to get away from the dairy. If using buttermilk, the recipe calls for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups.)

Now, I cooked this in my NuWave Oven Pro on level 10, but here are the actual instructions for your regular oven.

To Make:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease and flour a baking sheet and set aside.  Sift the flour, salt and baking soda together into a large mixing bowl.  Then add enough buttermilk to make a soft, but not sticky, dough.  Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board and shape it into a round cake about 1 1/2 inches thick.  Transfer to the baking sheet; then, using a sharp knife, score the top of the dough into 4-6 wedges.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Cool on the baking sheet, then separate the wedges.

If desired, the dough can be cut into wedges and cooked on a lightly buttered griddle over medium heat.  This is the more traditional method.  (I did the first option.)

Serves 4-6.

Like I said, it was super yummy.  This may be a regular at our household from now on!

Healthy Salad Dressing Recipe from VEGA (Brendan Brazier)

This recipe comes as courtesy of the Vega website, Brendan Brazier’s company.  If you are not familiar with him, he is the author of the Thrive Diet books, which are centered around how even triathlon athlete types like him can totally thrive on a plant-based diet! Google it; you will be glad you did.

So, this dressing recipe is so totally yummy, that just remembering I have some made up/in the fridge makes me WANT to go make a salad.  Yes, it’s that good.

Ingredients:

            4 Tablespoons Flax Oil of your choice (Vega recommends their own Vega Antioxidant Oil Blend; I used the flax oil I have on hand)

  • 2 Tablespoons agave nectar (or maple syrup, yakon syrup)
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To make:

Just thrown it together, shake it in a jar or whisk it, and enjoy!  Here is what else Vega says:

“Using your imagination, you can turn this base into a delicious spectrum of dressings you’ll love.”

Finally, this week we remembered we are Divinely Created Temples.  This week’s inspiration at Vessels of Clay Yoga:

1 Corinthians 3:16 (MSG)

 16-17You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God’s temple, you can be sure of that. God’s temple is sacred—and you, remember, are the temple.

There is but one temple in the Universe…and that is the human body. Nothing is holier than that high form. We touch heaven when we lay our hand on the human body.”—Thomas Carlyle, British historian

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So, we have come to the weekend again…can I get a Hallelujah!  For my previous give-a-way entrants, let me know: do you have a favorite healthy salad dressing recipe to share?  Did you enjoy this week’s scripture and inspiration, or have any thoughts about it?  Would you actually try the soda bread recipe?  Share some thoughts, and we’ll have another tiny give-a-way…

As for everyone else, Have a great weekend, feel free to comment, and stay tuned for “What’s on My Bookshelf?” and another FUN give-a-way!!!

“Green” recipes, little tidbits, and a winner!!!

Happy Friday, everyone!!!!

Gonna share some “green” recipes today, whether in color or just use of produce or items, as well as throw in some little newsy bits and announce a give-a-way winner!

A little while back when our garden was over-run with zucchini, I tried out this recipe from Hobby Farms magazine.  It would be appropriate to make it again, as my basil plant is now flourishing!!!

Zucchini-basil Soup

Puree zucchini, basil and other farm-fresh ingredients for a refreshing summer soup.

Ingredients

  • 3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ cups roughly chopped onions (any kind)
  • 1 T. chopped garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup seeded and chopped sweet bell pepper (any color)
  • 2½ cups coarsely chopped zucchini
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 cups fresh spinach leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh sweet basil
  • chopped fresh tomato for garnish (optional)

Preparation
Heat the olive oil in a large, thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Sauté onions, garlic and salt until vegetables start to soften. Stir in pepper, zucchini and stock. Bring to a simmer, and cook until pepper is soft, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the spinach and basil just until wilted. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Add more salt if needed. Serve hot, topped with chopped fresh tomatoes if desired.

Making Zucchini-basil soup

Makes about 6 servings.

This soup is great for on-the-go, as well, whether hot or cold!  “Green” tip: store wet things like soup in clean jars in the refrigerator; good re-use of something rather spending energy on recycling or (gasp!) just throwing it away, and storing things in glass cuts down on your chemical toxin intake (some plastic storage containers have been known to leach unknown substances into your food, even when cold).

Zucchini-basil soup stores well in a mason (or other) jar!

Hubby's empty bowl....he loves it with a bit of Parmesan Cheese! (The real stuff, not the desecrated milk kind...)

I have a confession to make: I have a sweet tooth.  If you know me at all, this is not really a confession, but a “so what else is new?”  Having a sweet tooth can lead to unhealthy choices if we do not operate in the fruit of the Spirit called Self-control…but luckily we can also choose healthy recipes so that we can enjoy treats once in awhile (not overeating them, mind you) without even having to be concerned over what the “bad” ingredients might do to our little temples (like some other items we might choose…ahem.)

Here is a recent DELICIOUS recipe I tried recently after watching an episode of “Giada at Home” on the Food Network.  I tweaked it to make it healthier.

Lime and Cornmeal Cookies with Citrus Glaze (they are Gluten-free!)

Ingredients

Cookies:

  • 1/2 stick, at room temperature (I used Earth Balance instead)
  • 1 cup sugar ( I used 1/3 C Stevia-in-the-Raw, 2/3 C “Swerve”*)
  • 3 large limes, zested
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (2 to 3 large limes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups rice flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Glaze: (I only did HALF the recipe, and it was plenty)

  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar (I used equal parts Swerve* and Stevia-in-the-Raw ground up in my Magic Bullet to make powder…don’t waste your money buying the powdered version when you can do it yourself!)
  • 2 large limes, zested
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Special equipment: 3-inch round cookie cutter

Directions

For the cookies: Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper. Set aside.

In a food processor, pulse together the butter, sugar, and lime zest until combined. Add the egg, lime juice, and vanilla. Process until smooth. Add the rice flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Process until the mixture forms a dough. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 20 seconds. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly flour a work surface. Cut the dough in half and roll out each piece into a 9-inch diameter circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut the dough into 10 circles and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Gather any scraps of dough, knead together, and roll out to 1/4-inch thick. Cut out 2 additional rounds of dough and place on the baking sheet. Bake until light golden around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely, about 15 minutes.

For the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, lime zest, and lemon juice until smooth. Spread about 1 teaspoon of the glaze onto each cookie leaving, a 1/4-inch border around the edge. Allow the glaze to harden for about 45 minutes before serving.

*To order “Swerve” or get information on it, go to  http://www.pcflabs.com/store/swerve.htm

Newsy Tidbits and other info…..

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know that we have been “fostering” a plethora of felines on our compound, desperately seeking new homes for the sweet babies!  Hallelujah, we found one!!! Thank you, very much, Paula, for opening your heart and home to one of the darlings!

There are still 2 babies in need of a forever home.  Today is our callback date to the Humane Society to see if they have room, which is no guarantee, but not only will that cost us $10 per kitten, I would truly rather these adorable wee ones went straight to a good home!  They are about 12 weeks old and so sweet.  If you have not yet seen their pictures or read their story, you can go here:

https://robynlooksup.wordpress.com/2011/08/13/lots-of-love-in-little-packages/

I have been meeting a personal challenge lately in the form of a Couch to 5K program.  Tomorrow I will be on Week 2, Day 3.  So far, so good.  By the Grace of God, the Power of the Holy Spirit, the word of my testimony, and the sheer grit all of those empower me with to get my hind end outside, I am overcoming limitations left and right!  Feel free to read about that journey and what helps me here:

https://robynlooksup.wordpress.com/2011/08/20/family-yoga-couch-to-5k-and-a-give-a-way/

I am actually looking forward to tomorrow’s run!

Also, you can picture me out there with a little pink pepper spray bottle due to a catastrophic run-in (no pun intended, since I was on a bicycle) with a Rottweiler mix nearly 2 months ago.  My left derriere STILL has a 4 inch square bruise with a scar-on-top!  Read about how God soothed me here:

https://robynlooksup.wordpress.com/2011/07/02/things-i-love-that-lift-my-spirit-part-1b-a-k-a-the-holy-spirit-is-a-crooner/

This week at Vessel’s of Clay Yoga was “grab bag week” in which rather than having just one scripture that we all shared, we “grabbed” one from a pile of previous scriptures…those scriptures have been prayed over in advance that God will send the right ones to the right people for whatever they are needing!  This is not only a good use of resources, it also allows for a little more literal “quiet time” during the beginning and end of our classes, as we quietly contemplate what God is saying to us today.  Here is the scripture God had for ME this week and as always, He was right on time:

Psalm 145:9 (NIV) The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.

Isaiah 30:18 (The Message)  But God’s not finished.  He’s waiting around to be gracious to you.  He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you.  God takes the time to do everything right—everything.  Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.

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Speaking of waiting and how good things come to those who wait (is THAT where that phrase came from?), some of you are waiting to find out who won this week’s give-a-way of either a yoga mat or a Vessels of Clay Yoga coffee/tea mug….and the winner is…..

Paula!!!!

(I even had Hubby draw the name for me, since we are both up-and-at-’em this morning!)

So, at your convenience, Paula, let me know which you would prefer: a yoga mat in either Buttercup Yellow or Dark Teal (check last week’s blog post for pictures) or a Vessels of Clay Yoga mug!  And congratulations!!!

Thank you to all of the participants!  It sure is fun getting your answers here and on Facebook!!!

(For those who don’t know, that’s http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vessels-of-Clay-Yoga-LLC/73576731717)

Blessings and favor be upon all of you this weekend.  Seek His face first, and you will not stumble over your own feet….Psalm 25:14-15 The Message (among many others, actually!!! I dare you to type the word “stumble” or “trip” into the search engine at Bible Gateway.com!)

Glory to God!

Family Yoga, Couch to 5k, and….. A GIVE-A-WAY?!?!

We just finished week 3 of a 4-week Family Yoga series with Vessels of Clay Yoga, and I just wanted to share with you some of the ADORABLE things we have going on!

Not only are we learning Sun Salutations and cool poses like Lizard on a Rock, Tripod, and Crow, among all sorts of others (flower, bug, Warrior II, and on and on), but we are bonding with our folks, giggling at ourselves, and learning that sometimes the “challenge” is not the pose itself, but being still and calm IN the pose…Just like life!

We are learning how much God loves us, just as we are, and that we can come to Him anytime!!!  He can be our best friend!

One more week, and then a look at the calendar for future series, I hope!  These kids and their parents have been a highlight of my week for the past 3 weeks!  I have been teaching this class on a 2 show day—BETWEEN shows—and it has been a great vitamin before I have to ramp it up again for the audience…I will miss the kiddos!

This week’s message at Vessels of Clay Yoga:

Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer injury to one’s self-esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily. -Thomas S. Szasz

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16

(The Message versions speak of accepting “God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child”…and it is mentioned multiple times….be blessed, little children…and be little children. =-)…)

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W1D1….Cto5K….does this cryptic language mean anything to YOU?

For me, it means I am trying again.  I tried before, but previous injuries flared up and a slight tendency toward asthma made its presence known as well…

W1D1 means Week 1, Day 1, and Cto5K means “Couch to 5k”, meaning “get up off the couch and train for a 5k, why don’t ya?”

The old hip injury (resulting in a bursitis…yes, my right hip acts as if it is many decades older than the rest of me), is hardly ever, if ever, inflamed anymore due to the expertise of my chiropractor, combined with the  body sensing and exercises I have learned as a practitioner of yoga since 2003.  Also, I have been learning about/practicing Chi Walking and Chi Running by reading the book/watching the video, etc, and thought, “why not give this a-go using those principles, now that I am feeling better?”

As for the asthma, first of all, I prefer to say that I am overcoming it, not that I have it.  I don’t own it.  I don’t want it.  I didn’t even know about it until 2002, after a few decades of life had passed!  (I had a sever case of bronchitis and was given an Inhaler at that time.  Once it was spent, I did not get another one.  I prefer not to take in any kinds of steroids, even in my lungs.)  I usually only experience symptoms after exercising in cold weather, or VERY intense cardio, or both…and the symptoms I overcome are mostly coughing later in the day or feeling a little short of breath; sometimes during the exercise I can get a bit tight feeling, but I don’t have asthma attacks, per say.

SO, again I say, why not?

I have just finished my first week, and I am very happy about it!  First, because I actually accomplished it.  Second, because thus far my hip is not bothering me any more than it might normally due to my high activity life as a performer and yoga teacher…and I usually just need to do some specific TLC to take care of it. On the asthma front, I DID feel a little tight in the chest yesterday, later in the day (which was W1D3, by the way, at the end of a long week of teaching and performing, etc), but it was also very hot on our stage which can sometimes make it hard to breathe.  Finally, I don’t get bored because I am using 3 DIFFERENT COUCH-TO-5K-PODCASTS.  Which means, in my aim to train 3 times a week, I get to listen to 3 different programs, alleviating boredom…which for me, is a sure-fire exercise killer.

I downloaded weeks one and two of each of these programs many moons ago when I was trying the first time…ok, it was early spring.  Later today, I will download the rest, since I like them so much!

They can be found at I-tunes (I use my I-pod) and are (in order of how I do them):

The Chubby Jones podcast (Mia Jones)

http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-chubby-jones-podcast/id286596177

Podcasts for Running (by Robert Ullrey)

http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/podcasts-for-running/id173959170

NHS Couch to 5K

http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nhs-couch-to-5k/id394384987

“Are you there, God? It’s me, chubby”(that’s what it says on the I-tunes album cover)

I did the Chubby Jones podcast on Day 1 because, well, it was 5 minutes shorter.  I figured I better ease into it in whatever form possible.  Mia has a mellow DJ vibe going on, and based on her website (http://chubbyjones.libsyn.com/), she has been doing this for awhile.  The music is pretty cool, but a word of caution…in her style of encouragement, she does use a few words that are allowed on TV but maybe not in your own homes…not the worst ones, mind you, and only once or twice,but you may or not be startled.  I k now, I sound like a prude, but for some of you it would be a workout killer.  For me, it wasn’t that major, and I enjoy her spirit of encouraging that comes from a place of experience!

Podcasts for Running

When I first began last spring, this was the first one I tried.  I really enjoyed it!  Occasionally when it is time to begin running, Robert preps you gradually and finishes with “Go!”, which for some reason makes me smile every time.  The music is sort of fitness/dance club sound, not irritating, not overwhelming, good beat…sort of just a good accompaniment that at this moment has nothing remarkable for me to remember other than general good vibes. The website link on I-tunes did not work for me just now, so I won’t post it…if you actually download the podcast, he does mention an e-mail address at the end…but I always think, “I am out here sweating buckets, I can’t go write that down right now!”  One of these days I will make a concentrated effort, so I can e-mail and tell him how much I like the podcast.  It is fairly no-nonsense, not emotional, but very encouraging.  Also, if you have an I-pod that has a picture window, this podcast has a graphic which shows which run you are on (Number 5 out of 8 one-minute runs, for example); I like that.

THIS JUST IN:  As I type out this blog post, I am not able to download the next podcasts from Podcasts for Running.  I have sent a note to I-tunes and hope to have it resolved soon!  I would really like to continue with my 3 different styles!

NHS Couch to 5K

The website link works, first of all, so good news there. 

I really like this one, too.  The female trainer has an accent from the United Kingdom, which for this Scotch/Irish/Welsh on my mother’s side girl who adores BBC America, Masterpiece Classic, All Creatures Great and Small, and a thousand other things UK, is simply wonderful.  The music is kind of club music and actually has some great words and messages!  Reminds me of some soundtracks I love from British movies, in fact…This was the last one I did this week, being the longest, and I certainly felt it in my last one minute run.  Keep in mind, though, I was again at the end of an already very physically and mentally taxing week….

which begs the question, why not do the hardest run first in the week, then?  Well, I thought about that, but in my world, the beginning of the work week is actually more taxing with a 2 show day in which I also teach a class, followed by a day in which I teach in the morning, followed by a show.  In other words, by Tuesday night, I am spent.  Wednesday is currently a glorious day in which my only physical activities are whatever my workout is for that day, plus one show.  I usually try to schedule office stuff that morning and have some kind of date night with my hubby that night.

So, those are my podcasts, which I am currently downloading further…if the Podcasts for Running is no longer available, I am not TOO upset (though a little; I really liked Robert’s instruction!), as both Chubby Jones and NHS have some weeks with additional run options, so I won’t be listening to exactly the same thing.
THIS JUST IN:  Did a search for Robert Ullrey’s podcasts and found this:

http://www.c25k.com/podcasts.htm

It looks as if you can download them to your computer and then add them to your I-tunes library, which I actually like anyway.  I will try it out a little later…

It’s GIVE-A-WAY time!

This week you have TWO ways to be entered into a drawing to be held at the end of next week, and yes!  You can enter both ways, gaining TWO CHANCES!

I am giving away your choice of either a Vessels of Clay Yoga coffee/tea mug or (for the driveable distance) a yoga mat.  The colors of mat to choose from are Buttercup Yellow or Dark Teal.

Yoga mats in Buttercup Yellow and Dark Teal, which would you choose?

Vessels of Clay Yoga mug; on the back it says "Beloved, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well." 3 John 1:2

How to enter:

1.  Leave a comment below, relevant to anything in this particular post, and/or

2. Go “like” Vessels of Clay Yoga on Facebook, and leave me a post on the Wall saying that you have!  (and yes, I will be checking. =-)…)  If you have already “like” the page, write THAT on the Wall!  I would love to have 500 followers by the end of today, and 8oo followers by the end of the week! Tell your friends!!!

I will announce the winner on the next blog post, and I will share some yummy recipes!!!

Blessings to all of you in all that you do!

Philippians 3:12-14

The Message (MSG)

12-14I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

 

**Addendum**As of August 22, I want to add another word of caution about the Chubby Jones podcast.  I have now done the Week 2, Day 1 version.  If you are offended easily by coarse language or worldly lyrics, this is not the podcast for you.  I started this one today loving the music and the DJ’s groovy vibe, but sometimes the language is a little off-putting, and one of the songs is NOT something I would listen to…but I was able to tune it out.  Also, some non-healthy beverage options thrown out at the end…was hoping she was being facetious…
This may be a podcast you totally enjoy, and I myself will give it another week (since I only listen once a week)…but I wanted to be sure I let you know…
 

What is right for YOU?

I am often asked both by my own students and by other folks who just want to know: do you know of any good yoga videos for beginners? What else do you do for fitness? etc, etc…

So, about a year ago or so, I made a handout for my students so that they could continue their practice away from class if they so choose, and recently I realized it might just be a good thing to post it here, as well! I am also editing some things that have changed since the last time I typed it up. Finally, I will be including the video suggestions I have for Seniors or those with limited mobility, and the scripture we used in class this week…

Beginner Video Rec’s

Being a complete yoga nerd myself, there are sooo many videos I could recommend for you to try, but I will limit myself! Should you not be able to find these or they are not satisfactory, let me know, and I can give you some other suggestions based on what may suit you better or just based on availability…

By the way, I suggest going to www.half.com first….I have gotten some videos from there that cost less than a dollar! With media mail shipping, that came out to $5 or less per video!

My next suggestion would be to check the “clearance” section of www.gaiam.com (and possibly yogajournal.com. Gaiam sometimes has good deals…most often Yoga Journal does not.)

Also, if you already have a list like I am giving, after www.half.com (and maybe before Gaiam), check http://www.amazon.com. They often have used videos at good prices, too, but I will say I have seen the best prices on half.com

(And with any sites in which you may be buying from a small entity rather than a large company, make sure to check out their ratings…I would hate for you to lose out on even 5 bucks because the seller was shady…)

There is also a website called www.yogaaccessories.com where I get my special props at good prices, and they may have videos.

Finally, if you prefer going to a store, Target does have a bunch of Gaiam products, but they are full price. I have seen some videos at Wal-mart previously, but I have not gone in quite some time.

So, yoga experts. You name them; I have probably heard of them…may or may not have done any of their videos. Here are a few (and not all, mind you, I know of/have more) that I would recommend to beginners:

Yoga for Christians with Susan Bordenkircher—this one comes with a book called Yoga for Christians. Very cool. My first experience before I found Yahweh yoga. Simple video, easy to follow.

Gentle Journey by Yahweh Yoga (where I trained). You may only be able to get this at their website, and full price, www.yahwehyoga.com…but it is a fun place to stop and visit anyway, and an AWESOME video. (There is also an advanced video available called “Faithful Flow”. …And a great book explaining Christian Yoga, gives pose pix, etc. I will be doing a separate book recommendation sometime.) ***Seriously, if you can spend a little more, this video is a must! I love it.

The Baron Baptiste Power Vinyasa yoga for beginners and all levels LIVE! Series…there are a few titles in this series, and I got each one for less than a buck. They are “Core Power” (mostly core workout- 30 minutes), “Unlocking Athletic Power” (all-over workout- 30 minutes), and “Soul of Strength (all-over workout- 60 minutes) Baron also has another 60 minute Power yoga video for beginners that I love—Journey into Power-Baptiste-Power Vinyasa Yoga Level 1 Beginners. These are secular videos, though he does give spiritual quotes from various faiths. Talks like Pauly Shore. Great instruction.

**Also, if you have Netflix, I know that they have his “long and lean yoga” in their streaming library…

LivingArts A.M. yoga for beginners and P.M. yoga for beginners with Rodney Yee and Patricia Walden…a 2 video set. Very simple and not very long, but a good start. (secular, not Christian…no actual faith promoted that I can remember) I will admit, I prefer the a.m. video with Rodney over the other, but that is just me.

Sara Ivanhoe’s Yoga Target Zone…a 2 disc set exclusive to Target (or so it says)…has 5, 20-minute yoga routines to be mixed and matched by you, according to what you are after that day—wanna do a little or a lot? Detox, weight loss? —and a bonus routine using a big exercise ball that is about an hour long. She is very personable and instructs well, kinda quirky and funny, too. I love this when I don’t have a lot of time but know I need to do SOMETHING. Also, secular, though she does give you some yogic hand gestures to use at the end, should you choose, but these are pretty much the physical part of yoga, less of the spiritual.

Just My Size: Yoga with Megan Garcia…This video was designed specifically with plus-size viewers in mind, but I found it to be a great instructional video that is not intimidating in the least. The actual “workout” portion did not seem to focus on anything particular to the video’s intended demographic, but there is a special feature with tips that might help. Truly, it is just a very basic pose “dip your toe in the water” kind of a thing, so for the absolutely new-to-yoga, not a bad idea to try…

Some of these videos will include at the end, the salutation, Namaste. Think of it as Shalom. It means the Divine with me acknowledges/is grateful to the Divine within you. (We call that the Holy Spirit, and hallelujah, Amen!)

Loving you all,

Robyn

Addendum to Video Rec’s

Addendum: Do you have Seniors or Friends w/limited mobility? I recommend these: “Yoga for the Rest of Us” by Peggy Cappy, and “Lillias! A.M. and P.M. Yoga”. Also, the Just My Size: Yoga with Megan Garcia might be a good fit, especially for the more mobile within this category, but not yet ready for a vigorous flow…

Addendum #2: I do not only do yoga as exercise. We all know by now that we will only do what we enjoy. For some of you, you may love getting out your aggressions in another form of exercise, and yoga complements it by bringing you flexibility, relaxation, and peace. For some of you, the rest of your life seems so aggressive that you are enjoying yoga so much as an antidote! Know that any exercise can complement or enhance your yoga, and yoga can enhance or complement your fave other exercise. (Also, some exercises do create imbalances in our bodies, but yoga is great to re-balance them! Ex: tense hips and tight hamstrings go hand-in-hand with walking and jogging; but don’t let that stop you…it is only temporary!) Personally, I prefer to walk outside and be grounded in nature, but sometimes I love jumping on a mini-trampoline, doing a tae-bo workout, or just dancing around my house to the radio…whatever! It is all JUST PRACTICE, just like yoga, so enjoy! Pick what your body is intuitively telling you that you need, and don’t just cow-tow to what the world says works…you have the mind of Christ. Trust it.

Other things I love to do: Budokon videos (with Cameron Shayne), rebounding videos (on my little trampoline…but also just listening to Praise music or sometimes watching tv), Bellydancing videos for Beginners (surprisingly fun! Like Dancing Yoga!), Zumba (live classes are more fun than videos, but in a pinch…), bicycle riding, walking or jogging (ESPECIALLY if it is Chi-walking, or Chi-Running, much nice for your joints. Google them; you may be glad you did!), regular “workout videos” such as P90x or Women’s Health: Train for your Body Type get rotated into my schedule, and of course, lots of Advanced Yoga videos! (That would be a whole other list!!!)

Just move….breathe…pray…focus…let it go and let it flow in Him!

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As always, God’s timing is perfect.  I knew that I would be blogging soon with the above recommendations, and I knew that I would be blogging this week’s scripture, but I did NOT realize until just now how complimentary they are!  How’s THAT for God wanting to get a message across!  You and I are each originals, with individual likes/dislikes, talents, weaknesses, passions, needs…so we choose according to His will and design for our own little selves…

Galatians 5:25-26 (The Message)

25-26Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

Have a most blessed and highly favored week-end/week, daughter or son of the Most High God.  You are a work of art, an individual Vessel of Clay, crafted and molded by the Ultimate Potter, with GENTLENESS and LOVE.
Any thoughts?  Feel free to post!

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