Yogi Kick

Yoga and Martial Arts World


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I said yes!

We went to Rome to celebrate my parents 35th wedding anniversary and I was surprised by my partner with a wedding proposal after practicing AcroYoga in Vatican.
With so many things in common with this sexy man I am so proud to announce that Ricardo are and I are getting married!

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Cherry Chocolate Shake

Hi beauties,

Coming from a chemistry background I love to experiment in the kitchen!

On the other day  I was craving something fresh, sweet and with chocolate. I made this smoothie with cherries and cacao nibs and the result was heavenly good! I had to share it with you!

Cherries are packed with antioxidants  that offer many health benefits, including help with insomnia, belly fat and aging.

In a study, researchers found that when rats had received whole tart cherry powder mixed into a high-fat diet, they didn’t gain as much weight or build up as much body fat as rats that didn’t eat cherries.

Cherries are actually  one of my favourite summer fruits, and if it helps to avoid belly fat, that is awesome!

The Smoothie is very easy to make. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients
  • Serves 2 (medium glasses)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup frozen organic cherries (or fresh, if you have the patience to de-pitt them yourself!)
  • 1 ripe banana (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2  avocado
  • 2 tsp. raw cacao nibs
  • 2-3 drops of vanilla extract
  • Toppings: non-dairy chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Add the coconut milk, cherries, banana, avocado and cacao nibs to the blender. Starting the blender on a low speed, blend until smooth. If needed gradually increase to higher speeds and blend until smooth.
  2. You can add a bit more of coconut milk to achieve the desired consistency.
  3. Top with non-dairy chocolate chips if desired.

Enjoy!

Happy bank holiday!

x

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The importance of breath in Yoga

breath

The first thing I always tell my students when they first start doing Yoga is about the importance of the breath, which is done through the nose, in and out. This is opposite to what we do if we are at the gym or doing other physical training (in through the nose, out through the mouth). And then I teach the Ujjayi breath, which not only involves breathing in and out through the nose, but also involves adjusting it, so that it’s like a whisper on the way in and out. This is achieved by creating a constriction at the back of the throat, enabling the breath to be more controlled and effective. This also creates heat in the body which helps to release toxins.

The big challenge is to maintain the breath throughout the practice

Of course the challenge is to maintain the Ujjayi on the inhale and exhale throughout the entire class. To achieve this you need to maintain the calm, controlled and even breath whether you are doing a challenging pose or just seated on a cross-legged position. It is very important to always be focused on the breath and this is the basic foundation of Yoga.

However, this simple basic foundation is often lost since most of us is focused  on keeping up with the class, on the postures and on which part of the body goes where. 

It gets even easier to lose the awareness of the breath, if the class has music. I personally like to include music in the classes as it helps to relax and get into the spirit but it also becomes easier to lose the ability to hear or even feel our breath. This is why it is important that the teacher constantly reminds the student about the breath. But even when we don’t breathe properly, we still leave the the class soaked in sweat and completely wiped from the experience but happy that we survived the experience. And yet it feels good and this is why we go back for more!

Yoga should give energy, not take

The thing is, the Yoga practice was developed to help us become in harmony with ourselves through mind, body and breath, but if we are leaving a class absolutely drained, then we are not in harmony. We may feel better because of the sweat and the raised endorphins, but the truth is that we are more fragmented than before starting the class.

And when our energy is drained after a strong class we wash out the Life Force (Prana)  within us. With an exhausted body all we want to do is sit on the sofa to recover. And that way, we can sometimes create the opposite effect of the one intended. Yoga should be giving us life, not taking it away!

“We should be doing our Yoga (Asana) to live our lives better,

not living our lives to do our Yoga (Asana) better.”

Leslie Bogart, Yoga instructor

And yet this a mistake we see very often! It is easy to lose the focus and purpose of Yoga and get lost in the postures (Asanas), competing against others in the class. That is not the point of a Yoga class. As Patanjali reminds in The Yoga Sutras, Yoga is non-competitive and the goal is to release the ego in order to ultimately achieve Samadhi or enlightenment.

Notice the quality of your breath

Not all breathing is the same. Life Force is translated as Prana in Yoga. Not all breathing is Prana, or Life Force. When you sit in a car driving in the traffic, you are breathing, but are you full of life? When you sit at a desk the whole day inside an office, are you full of life? But you have been breathing, otherwise you would be dead.

Most of us are exhausted after a day of work because we haven’t noticed our breathing nor put attention to the quality of the breath. The way we breathe determines whether our breath is just breath or if it turns into Prana (Life Force). And what happens is that when we take a strong Yoga class that requires a lot of physical effort, we focus on the exhaling and grunting to keep up with the class and without focusing on long inhales. It is not surprising that we get tired and all we want after the class is eat and go to bed, or top up on caffeine to get through the rest of the day.

In Yoga, breathing does matter! It should be smooth, steady, and balanced on the inhale and on the exhale.


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The Power of Meditation

The power of meditation!
These photos are impressive! They show how meditation makes you look younger! It is well known that meditation helps to relax and connect you with your inner self, but who would have thought that it can have an anti-ageing effect?

These photos were part of a project to explore the “observable changes after a period” of one month of meditation.

Each participant took a photo on the first day and last day of the one month-long meditation retreat.
For consistency the photos were taken in the same background.

Have a look at the photos here and let me know what do you think!

At the Yoga Strength classes we always take some time for meditation at the end of the class.

Come and try!

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Vegan Mango Mousse with Creamy Layer

It is possible to maintain a healthy diet while indulging your sweet tooth. This Mango Mousse with Creamy Layer is a guilt-free dessert that is free from sugar and vegan. Here is the recipe:

For the Mango Mousse layer:

– 2 cups of frozen mango cut into pieces (Remove the mango from the freezer 10 minutes before using it)

– 1 ripe banana

-1/2 cup of coconut milk

Blend all these ingredients in a powerful blender and put in a glass/cup, making sure you leave enough space for the topping.

For the Creamy layer:

– 1 cup of cashew nuts

– 1/2 cup of coconut milk

– 1 banana

Let the cashew nuts soak in the milk for 10-15 minutes.

Blend all the ingredients and add it to the top of the Mango mousse.

You can make more layers if you want too.

For this recipe, you really need a powerful blender. There are several in the market but my favourite is the Vitamix. It’s a bit pricey but it is worth every penny!

Enjoy and please let me know what do you think of this recipe.

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De-bloating Smoothie

Bloating… let’s be honest: we all have felt bloated at some point and it’s horrible. It makes us feel down and grumpy. There are good and bad news about bloating. The good news is that bloating is often confused with fat. But that’s not the case. Bloating comes in the form of gas and water retention and adds centimetres and puffiness to the waistline. Not really nice! This means that by reducing bloating you will look slimmer and healthier.

The bad news is that bloating is a real health issue and there is no quick fix to get rid of it. But there are things that you can do that will help to reduce bloating. There are several reasons that cause bloating. I am not going to get into details today, as that is the subject of another blog post alone. But briefly the main causes of bloating are  indigestion, water retention and hormones.Obviously, diet plays a very important role in sorting this issue, which is why I am posting the recipe of this delicious Smoothie that helps fighting the bloating. It is also super fresh for Summer!

It has watermelon which is well known for its diuretic effects and good for constipation since its a mild laxative. Watermelon also contains medicinal properties: lowers the blood pressure, treats edema, skin fungus and more. Watermelon contains considerable amount of beta-carotene, vitamin B, vitamin C and essential minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iodine and manganese. All good reasons to eat watermelon.

Just like watermelon, raspberries are high in water — which can help decrease bloating. They are also high in fiber, which helps the food move through the intestines more quickly and decrease abdominal pressure and bloating. Lemon is a natural diuretic and a gentle laxative and can reduce the amount of salt retained in the body. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C.

Here is the recipe of my De-bloating Smoothie:

– 2 cups of watermelon (with seeds)

– 1 cup of frozen raspberries

– 1/2 banana juice of half lemon

– 1/4 cup of water Blend all the ingredients in a powerful blender and enjoy straight away.

Lots of love! 🙂

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Beauty Green Smoothie

If you are looking to add more greens into your diet and want to look great for summer try this Beauty Green Smoothie.

I call it Beauty Green Smoothie because that’s what it is. It clears the skin and makes it glow and it’s great for loosing those extra pounds that you are struggling to lose.

But most importantly,  it will dramatically improve your health since it is full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

I have been drinking Green Smoothies for five years now! I absolutely love them! I usually have one glass of Green Smoothie in the morning and one in the afternoon.

The Green Smoothie is great in the morning on an empty stomach because the body will absorb instantly all the nutrients from the smoothie. Because it is blended the body doesn’t have to do any effort to digest it. I also like to have a Green Smoothie in the afternoon to beat the afternoon energy slump at work.

The Green Smoothie is an alkaline drink so it will help to neutralize the acid in the body. For this reason, it is normal to experience some water retention and some tiredness when we start drinking the smoothies. This is normal since the body is getting rid of the toxins, and it happened to me! But don’t worry, it will go away after  2-3 weeks. After that you will start feeling fresh and full of energy.

Here is the recipe:

– 2 glasses of filtered water

– 2-3 handfulls of spinach

– 1 apple (with skin)

– 1 kiwin (pealed)

– 1 banana

– juice of 1/2 lemon

Blend all these ingredients in a powerful blender and enjoy! You can save it in the fridge in a glass container with a lid (I usually use foil) to avoid oxidation. The Smoothie will last two days in the fridge.

Please note that the blending will slightly increase the temperature so if you want to drink it straight away and have a good blender, you can add only 1 glass of water and a cup of ice-cubes.

You can then make variations to the Green Smoothie. Just remember to add 2-3 pieces of fruit and 1-2 vegetables. Do not mix too many ingredients as it won’t taste good!

The ingredients that I also like to include in the Green Smoothie are: celery, kale, orange, mango.

For an omega-3 rich Green Smoothie add 1 tablespoon of linseeds.

Try it yourself and let me know how it goes! I would love to hear from you!

Enjoy!

Lots of love!

Susana

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