Category Archives: Nourish

We Just Call It Christmas

In England we don’t call it the “Holidays”… we call it Christmas. Depending on your stand point you could say this is a classic example of British traditionalism … or a lack of cultural sensitivity. Either way, it is something that has stuck out for me as the festive season picks up speed. You see, prior to moving here my understanding of the American Christmas was derived from movies like “Christmas Vacation” or “Home Alone” and television. On the flat screen the American Christmas did not seem so different to the English one. How wrong I was…

Having observed the different traditions and nuances of both countires I have to say in my humble opinion there are both positives and negatives. I like what America brings to the food and beverages department… Egg nog, Gingerbread Houses and Spiced Pumpkin Lattes. Delicious. I think it is also fair to say that you do not do decorations by half over here. Stores and homes go all out and it looks great!

That being said, I think there are is one area where you could learn from your cousins across the pond… Christmas music.

Now don’t get me wrong, Bing Crosby, Jingle Bell Rock and something about Grandma getting run over by a reindeer… they all put me in the festive mood. However, listening to the “holiday station” in the car, I have encountered for too many truly terrible songs. I don’t know the names of half of them, but there’s a Faith Hill Christmas song that almost brought me to tears… and not in a good way. I’ve heard countless versions of the drummer boy, although I’ve yet to make it through the whole song, and in between these horrendous tunes I’m forced to listen to the cheesiest DJ’s to grace a microphone.

Now, it wouldn’t be right of me to just bash your music without at least providing a British alternative so I give you The Pogues and Kirsty McCall – FairyTale of New York

Merry Christmas!

Time Magazine’s Year in Health: Yoga

Thank you to one of our clients for bringing an interesting article in today about yoga and eating disorders. This excerpt comes from Time’s annual The Year in Health article, which focuses on important medical topics and developments from 2009.

“A session of yoga for teens with anorexia, bulimia or other eating disorders may provide more than a spiritual and physical boost; it could also help them get over their illness, according to a new study of 50 adolescents, mostly girls. The girls were seriously ill — nearly half had been hospitalized because of their eating disorder — and were being treated at an outpatient clinic at Seattle Children’s Hospital. The teens were randomized to receive either their usual treatment at the clinic or that treatment plus two hours a week of yoga classes.

The study lasted eight weeks. While the non-yoga teens showed improvement during treatment, they relapsed a month afterward. In the yoga group, improvement started slowly, but a month later, the teens were showing steady gains. The exertion required by some yoga poses had no negative effect on weight, which was reassuring — the last thing dangerously underweight subjects needed to do was shed more pounds. The researchers suspect that yoga may help by reducing the obsessive concern about weight associated with eating disorders. In their study, they wrote, “Food preoccupation may be reduced by focusing attention on yoga poses.” Some subjects even expressed this idea directly to the researchers. Said one: “This is the only hour in my week when I don’t think about my weight.” A larger study is planned to confirm the findings”

Kate P

My Top 4 Yoga Tips

I have only been practicing yoga regularly since I started working at NOURISH. Before that it was just MTV yoga dvd’s in the living room and an occasional free class if I could get a hold of a coupon. Since starting to do yoga more intensively at NOURISH, I have realized it is imperative to continue your practice on a regular basis. I feel more flexible, energized, relaxed and overall in better health if I do yoga at least once a week. In addition, keeping up with yoga helps me remember all the tips and adjustments I am supposed to be implementing!

Here are some things that I have learned at NOURISH which I like to keep in the front of my mind while I do yoga:

1. Keep your hands and feet active: Sometimes its easy to forget these extremities when you are concentrating on your back posture and the larger muscle groups involved in a pose. I felt and saw such and improvement in my practice after Victor gave me this little tip. Simply spreading your fingers or flexing your foot can activate more muscles and work them harder than letting your paws slack while you are in the pose. Flexing your foot makes the biggest difference for me in seated poses, where my legs can get lazy. It really helps stretch out my hamstrings and even gets into my back! As for your hands, Kate showed me that when you are in poses like  spreading your fingers wide without raising your wrist too much can help make your arms more active and involved.

2. Make it challenging, not painful: On Sunday, Kate said something very important for yogis of all levels: The difference between sharp pain and a slight challenge for your body. We are constantly trying to push ourselves further in yoga, both physically and spiritually. These changes should be incremental and positive in order to be most effective. If you feel a sharp pain in any pose, you went too far! Try to slowly fall deeper into the pose with each breath or ask for an adjustment from the instructor if you are just plain uncomfortable in a pose. Challenge is imperative for improvement in yoga, but the changes you make must be controlled and smooth in order to be beneficial.

3. Smile with your buttocks: Try it! Literally try to make your booty smile. I like this tip not only because of the physical effects, but also because it never fails to put a grin across my face! It’s hard to explain in a blog, but just try to uplift your butt with your back and core. Kate taught me this one as well, and it really helps to make poses engaging and comfortable. I think this technique is implemented mostly in standing poses, but I just try to do it in class whenever Kate mentions it. Mention it next time you are in class and I am sure she will be stoked to teach how and when it should be done.

4. Enjoy! Victor sometimes says this after students enter a pose and will be there for a while. I think this is one of the most important tips I have learned at NOURISH. If you are not having fun and feeling great, something needs to change! Yoga should be a positive experience that de-stresses you and brightens your day. Sometimes in the grind of things, people forget that they are at yoga and are supposed to be letting go. Don’t think about what you did that day or what you will do tomorrow, think about how you feel in the pose and just relax! Leave your stress at the door and enjoy some physical and spiritual release, that is what NOURISH is all about!

Keep in mind that I am not a yoga instructor, so these tips should be used with caution! These are just some things I like to remember when I do yoga that have helped me over the course of my practice. So….as Victor says: Enjoy!

Poppy Waiting for a Harvest Surprise

First of all, thank you so much for such a warm welcome. I feel blessed to be a part of the Nourish community and connected to all you wonderful people through this gem of a wellness center. Santa Cruz is living up to my every hope, and then some.

Teaching here for the first few weeks has been a sweet journey towards reconnecting to the part of me that exists out in the world, rather than home with the girls. Needless to say, I had been feeling a little restless. It’s nice to be reminded that the solitary nature of the practice is overshadowed by the opportunity so many of us are taking these days to be in dialogue with others about our process. To be out in the world, practicing together, sharing breath and space in the yoga room has been so much a part of the practice for me over the years. Coming to Nourish, I am reminded I am here, with others, seeking answers. And that though we are turning to look in, we are still connected, looking in together. I have missed this in the year I took off to birth my second baby.

I commented in Savasana one day something to the effect of our practice being an opportunity to let go of our expectations, because all we really have is what is happening right now and that ultimately we don’t know what will happen in the next moment. As yogis we sacrifice our musings about the future and the past for what is here before us, seeking truth in the present. A student came up after class to ask about the possibility of choosing our reality by working with our energies, and our beliefs as a way of manifesting what we believe possible and want to bring into our lives. If we visualize ourselves in abundance, wealth, or love (indeed whatever we are seeking) then we will have it.

Certainly we have to have an idea first, believe it can exist, and then bring it forward into reality. That’s how we say…get dinner on the table. And I do believe we must see more esoteric things into the realm of possibility too. Like love or abundance, or the fulfillment of a dream. But I was wondering if Maya, the illusion, is nothing less than the world of our wildest dreaming, our greatest wishes manifesting all over the place, and every other possibility too. And if that’s true, then it’s not the energy around us that we have to influence, but how we receive. Because we may or may not have control of the energies rushing us in the coming moments, but we do get to decide whether we perceive them as obstacles or opportunities. And what an opportunity it is to get to practice with you all. Finding my way into your beautiful space did not happen for me without effort, fear, or uncertainty. Yet here I am, grateful and full of delight.

Thanks for reading!


Bonfire Night!

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The gunpowder treason and plot,

I know of no reason,
Why the gunpowder treason,
Should ever be forgot.

Today I feel a little homesick as I think about the festivities that will occur in my home country tomorrow. November 5th is a holiday in England called Bonfire night, or Guy Fawkes night.

I won’t bore you with all the details but the gist of the history behind the holiday is that a band of dissenters led by a man called Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up King James I and his men with a large amount of gun powder in 1605 (he was Scottish – it’s a long story) .

Mr Fawkes was caught before he got the chance to light the fuse (his cousin betrayed him) and we celebrate the fact every year by setting off fireworks and lighting big bonfires. Some people even make a Guy Fawkes model out of hay and throw it on the bonfire too. It’s one of those twisted traditions that it is best not to really think about – needless to say it’s a lot of fun.

Although most towns organize a large bonfire and firework display for the public to attend, lots of people choose to hold their own bonfire night in the back garden. It’s certainly a fire risk (although England is mostly damp) and every year people blow off their fingers, but it’s also very exciting.

My family takes it pretty seriously. My mum and nana combine to cook soup, chili, baked potatoes and parkin (a kind of delicious gingerbread) while my dad and granddad are in charge of the fireworks. Like kids in a candy store, they pick out the biggest explosives we can safely ignite in our small back yard and then everyone drinks tea or beer and watches as their money goes up in colorful clouds of smoke!

It’s essentially an excuse for people to get together and have a fire and that’s why I think I like it so much. There’s something very pagan and honest about it… and who doesn’t like fireworks?

But this year I will miss out. California does not even allow me to let off a commemorative roman candle. Perhaps I’ll light a match and smell the smoke…


Clean, Green and Mean – Tesla Motors

Here’s another note from the bright side:

So we’ve all heard the buzz about global warming and the problems it brings. It’s often difficult to find information on any potential solutions, which only adds to the feeling that we’ve got our collective head in the sands, but recently I found a breath of fresh air in learning about a company called TESLA MOTORS.
There was a recent interview that aired on the “On Point” NPR show that explained how TESLA is trying to move the entire automotive industry toward clean technology (you can learn more and listen to broadcast HERE.
By the sounds of it we could be seeing real electric cars on the road that can perform as well as a regular family car as soon as next year. I can’t wait for the day I recharge my car with solar panels and the left over energy goes back into the grid!

News From The Bright Side

I just wanted to share some news from the brighter side of life. Sometimes the news can really be a downer and I think that it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the things that are hopeful and really inspiring

One such thing that I’ve been looking into and find really fascinating is “Cymatics”.
Cymatics is the use of sound to form sand and other substances into different geometric shapes, with higher frequencies creating more complex designs. I think the thing I like most about this is – if everything is energy and sound is a form of energy then this process allows us to look at the world with a little different point of view.
You really need to see it to appreciate it, so check out the “vibration creates form” on the Youtube video below. If you dig it, there is lots more related material on the actual youtube site and the designs on the walls of Roslyn chapel are especially awesome!
I hope you find as much inspiration and fascination as I have!

New Year’s, Early

I love yoga. I really do! But sometimes I can’t muster up the strength to get by booty to class. After work and school, you would think I’d be chomping at the bit to put myself in a relaxing environment. But I just get so tired and lazy, its truly frustrating! Even though I know it will feel so good to get a little work out and center myself, it can be all too much for me at times.

I admire all the students at NOURISH who come to class on a weekly basis. Heck, some even come daily! You all are truly inspiring to me and I love coming to class when you are there. I love practicing yoga with the people I am working for and with. It gives us a bond that is more than just a hello! in passing by the front desk or a reminder call for their next appointment. What we all have going on at NOURISH is truly unique and I am proud and lucky to be a part of it!

Think of this as my New Year’s Resolution: From here on out I want to make a commitment to myself and do the things that make me happy on a weekly basis! This means going to Tuesday night yoga with Victor, hanging out with Emily, Brittni & Kate more often, doing nice things for my boy friend and pursuing a new hobby. I also think it would be nice to do my homework and reading on time….

Thanks for the inspiration and NOURISHment : )

Kate P

yoga anytime

Wish you had more time for yoga? Do a pose right now, right where you are! Doing just one pose can change the way you breathe and feel…for the better! So stand up…yes out of your computer chair….. reach your arms up overhead (Urdhva Hastasana) and strrrretch up towards the sky. If you like fold from your hips and move into forward bend (Uttanasana). Ahhhh…feel better?

You can also improvise and make up a pose like my daughter Lily. Here she is doing a cross between down dog and forward bend. Good job Lil! And smiling while doing yoga is even better, great for you mood!


Swell Coming

Next week we are supposed to receive a significant pulse from the West. If the forecast is correct we should be dropping into double over head waves by late Thursday. Come to the surf yoga class Thursday night after your session to limber up those paddle worn arms and shoulders, and twist out your cutback and lipper battered body, so you’ll be ready to shred some more on Friday.