Thursday, 29 November 2012

Last Post

This is my last post.  Life is becoming very busy for me now.  I seem to
be entering a new phase with new part time jobs as well as trying to
maintain my yoga and zumba practices.  This has been a huge learning
experience and I am thankful for my small band of regular readers.
Take care and keep trying new things.  That is truly the Fountain of Youth.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana - Supported Bridge Pose

This is a back bend that you learn in stages.  First thing to try is
simply lie on your back, bend knees so feet are flat on the floor.
Gently lift your hips up and hold.  Repeat this enough times until
until you are feeling strong.  Start placing foam blocks under your
hips to rest on.  It might be 1, 2, or 3  blocks.  When you can get 
to 4 foam blocks, try using a wood block eventually getting it under
you in an upright position.  Then you can start working on extending
your leg.  Do not rush.  this can be a very challenging pose.  Below
is another one of Geeta's great teaching videos.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Beaumont - Hamel

About 40km south of Arras, France is the World War I Memorial Centre of
Beaumont - Hamel.  Here is where the Dominion of Newfoundland Regiment
suffered huge loses on July 1, 1916 during the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Paschimottanasana - Seated Forward Bend

Another YouTube video of Geeta Iyengar teaching at a 2002 conference
in Italy.  Not as good as the other two I've put on the blog but you'll get 
the idea.  If you cannot reach your toes, use a belt.  Do not compromise
your back by hunching it to force reaching your toes.  

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Juno Beach, Courseulles-sur-Mer

June 6, 1944, the Allied forces made the push to successfully land in five
locations on the coast of Normandy, France. The 3rd  Canadian Infantry
Division landed at Juno Beach.  Below are some pictures on the Juno Beach

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Lest We Forget

Ypres (Ieper) Belgium is home to the Menin Gate, the most visited Great War Memorial on the Western Front.  Every night, regardless of weather or date,  the "Last Post" ceremony of remembrance is performed.  Here wreaths are laid to honour those who died in the field. Ypres (Ieper) is also home to the small but powerful In Flanders Fields Museum.  

Thursday, 8 November 2012

St. Julien and Passchendaele

The St.Julien Memorial, 7km outside of Ypres (Ieper),was
erected in memory of the Canadian soldiers who fought and
died during the first gas attacks of World War I.


Passchendaele, often referred to as the Third Battle of Ypres, has gone down
in history as one of the bitterest struggles of World War I.  The low solid
monument sits atop of the hill overlooking the now peaceful Belgian

Monday, 5 November 2012


Below, my teacher Susan demonstrates a Headstand.  I am a long way
from achieving this but I can practice the prep poses such as Dolphin
and walking up with my head balanced into a folded blanket.  Not
something to attempt without proper instruction.


Thursday, 1 November 2012

Vimy Ridge

During World War I, Vimy Ridge was a significant part of the German
defense system. At daybreak on April 09, 1917, four divisions of the
Canadian Corps, aided by the British 5th Division and a great number
of artillery units,  started the push up the Ridge. By mid-afternoon most
of the Ridge had been taken.  On April 12 the 4th Canadian Division and
the British 24th Division completed taking the northern end.

There were a total of 10,602 casualties of which 3,598 were Canadians.

Monday, 29 October 2012

"The Oak Tree"

A mighty wind blew night and day.
It stole the oak tree's leaves away,
Then snapped its boughs
and pulled its bark
until the oak was tired and stark.
But still the oak tree held its ground
while other trees fell all around...
The weary wind gave up and spoke.
"How can you still be standing, Oak?"
The oak tree said, "I know that you
can break each branch of mine in two,
carry every leaf away,
shake my limbs, and make me sway.
But I have roots stretched in the earth,
growing stronger since my birth.
You'll never touch then, for you see,
they are the deepest part of me.
Until today, I wasn't sure
of just how much I could endure.
But now I've found, with thanks to you,
I'm stronger than I ever knew."

one of the ancient oaks in Sherwood Forest

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Chickpea Curry

I love chickpeas.  Here is an easy recipe from Peak of Market for a hot dish
for one of the cold days we will be facing in the upcoming months.

2 tbsp (30 ml) vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 small piece of cinnamon stick
2 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
1 tbsp (15 ml) ginger root, finely grated
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 cans chickpeas, drained but save liquid
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin
1/2 tsp (2 ml) ground coriander
1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt

In large skillet, heat oil.  Add onion and cinnamon stick.
Cook stirring until onion is soft, about 10 minutes.
Add ginger and garlic and continue cooking another 3 minutes.
Add tomatoes and simmer about 10 minutes until tomatoes are soft.
Stir in chickpeas, cumin, coriander and salt.  Simmer 10-12 minutes.
Add about 1 cup reserved chickpea liquid to make it saucy.

Serves 4

Monday, 22 October 2012

Loving a Body

Loving a body is about nooks and crannies, 
the first hints of silver at the temples,
laughing out loud at the TV in the next room,
a pile of unwashed dishes but
opting for a snuggle instead.
Loving a body invites an opening,
a breathing into acceptance of that
one damned trait that can absolutely-drive-you-crazy –
until you let go,
celebrating strengths instead of obsessing.
Loving a body is both charted and uncharted;
we often have guides, some better than others –
who lead us into possibility.  Who hold
the stumble as precious and expected,
even welcomed.
Loving your own body is a wild landscape –
some have gone before you, but
the dispatches are few and far between.
And what is endearing in loving another
quickly turns to scorn when the object is yourself.
Loving your own body is practice, patience, persistence and
the metabolism of loss.  That is how I heard yoga
described recently, and the way the two
map each other is inextricable.  Broken and organic,
ragged and seamless.
Anna, Curvy Yoga

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Walk in the Park - Leo Mol Sculpture Garden

Just as the fall colours were starting, I took some time and went to
the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden at Assiniboine Park in my home
town of Winnipeg MB Canada.  Below are just a few pictures I
took on my walk.  Not many; I got caught up in just looking around.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Standing Wide Angle Forward Bend - with pictures

I have posted Prasarita Padottanasana before.  I'm just taking the 
opportunity to post pictures my teacher, Susan, took of me in the pose.  
This is a great forward bend if you have tight hamstrings and have 
difficulty bending forward with your feet together.

Feet apart, bend forward till you hands reach the floor or blocks.  At 
this point your back is straight and you are facing the floor.  Hold for 
a few seconds and then release forward bring your hands between your 
feet, bend elbows, and let your head drop. 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Philippa Gregory - Cousins' War series

I've always enjoyed history.  Sometimes stories of real people and events can
seem more fantastical than any fiction.  One author I've become quite fond of
is Philippa Gregory and her series on the War of the Roses.  So far she has
written four books: The White Queen is the story of Elizabeth Woodville,
wife of Edward IV and mother of the "princes of the tower".  The Red Queen
follows the life of Margaret Beaufort, mother to the future Henry VII.
The Lady of the Rivers is the story of Jacquetta of Luxembourg, mother to
Elizabeth Woodville.  Her latest book is The Kingmaker's Daughter about
Anne Neville, older daughter to Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick and wife
of Richard, Duke of Gloucester the future Richard III.

The stories are about the women who were the daughters, wives and mothers
to incredibly powerful men during a period of great turmoil in British
history. Each woman has her own "energy" that propels her through
extraordinary events of history.  Jacquetta has mystical powers to see into
the future.  Elizabeth is a great beauty and has considerable charm.
Margaret is of royal blood and truly believes in her divine destiny.
Anne and her sister are used as pawns by their father.

For read the story lines on these books go to
To order any of these books, use the Amazon link to the right.
Warwick Castle

Entrance to the Tower of London

Monday, 8 October 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving in Canada!
View of autumn colours from my condo window.
Skyline of Winnipeg, MB Canada

Friday, 5 October 2012

Chocolate-Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

This is an easy Kraft recipe cookie.  If you do not want raspberry
jam for the filling, use another flavour or try a whole almond or
hazelnut instead.

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 squares Baker's unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butter
1 pkg (250 gr/ /8oz) brick cream cheese, softened      
1 - 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup raspberry jam

Mix flour, baking soda and salt in one bowl.
Melt chocolate and butter together.  Whisk in cream cheese.
Add one cup sugar, egg and vanilla.  Mix well.
Stir in flour mixture to form dough.  Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Roll dough into 1" balls.  Coat with remaining sugar.
Place on prepared cookie sheets and press thumb into centre
of each ball.  Fill each indentation with about 1/4 tsp jam.

Bake at 375F for 8 to 10 minutes.  Cool on baking sheet for
one minute then transfer cookies onto cooling racks.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Chatsworth, Great Britain

September of 2011, I was on a tour of the UK from London to Edinburgh.  One
of our stops was Chatsworth House and its gardens.  Chatsworth is in the
heart of the Peak District in Derbyshire and is home to the Duke and Duchess
of Devonshire. The whole of Chatsworth includes the house with gardens,
park and farm.  My group got a tour of the house and a walk through parts
of the garden. The garden is extensive with flower beds, trees and shrubbery,
sculptures and art installations. Being it was September, the dahlias were
particularly lovely. For more information, go to

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Monday, 1 October 2012

Triangle Pose - Trikonasana

Triangle pose is a classic standing pose and is one of the first poses taught.
Remember you are bending to the side not forward.  If you cannot get your
hand to the floor, use a block (as in the video below) or a wood block on
stack of foam blocks or a chair seat.  As you progress in the pose, work on
turning the torso into a twist.
Below is a YouTube video of Geeta Iyengar teaching triangle pose at at
Conventia Italiana a Montecatini in 2002.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Tomato Couscous Salad

A quick and easy dish using a couple of those garden tomatoes many of
you are harvesting right now.  Recipe from Peak of Market.

1 cup (250ml) couscous
1/4 cup (50ml) lemon juice
1/4 cup (50 ml) olive oil
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup (75 ml) onion, diced
1 medium zucchini. diced
1/2 cup (125 ml) fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup (125 ml) feta cheese, crumbled

In a medium saucepan, bring 1- 1/4 cups (300 ml) water to a boil.
Stir in couscous and cover.  Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
Fluff couscous with fork.  Let cool uncovered for 10 minutes.

Stir in remaining ingredients except cheese.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours.
Add cheese and serve.

Spoon into lettuce cups or use a a filling for pita bread.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Ephesus, Turkey

Ephesus, inland from the port city of Kusadasi Turkey,  is considered one
of the best archeological sites in the western world. It all started around
1000 BCE as a Greek settlement. The site that exists today was founded in
the 4th century BCE by Lysinachus, successor to Alexander the Great. But
it was the Romans that made Ephesus the great Aegean port of its time when
the population rose over 250,000. What remains of the city dates back to this
era. The city went through three phases of construction mostly due to the
silting up of the harbour. It also played an important role in early
Christianity. Paul lived here between 52-52 CE. Two Great Councils of the
early Church were held in Ephesus in 431 CE and 449 CE. There are also the
ruins of the house the Virgin Mary was brought to by St.John the Evangelist
where she spent her last days. The ruins of this house are just outside the
centre of Ephesus.  Over time Ephesus had been invaded and sacked and
suffered damage by earthquakes. Sadly Ephesus was deserted when the
harbour had silted up so badly it no longer could function.  By 1090 CE it
was only a village.

The tour through the ruins starts at the top of a hill and visitors work their
way down getting impressive views of the colonnaded street and the Library
of Celsus with its statues to wisdom, virtue, intellect and knowledge. There
are many structures still with beautiful stone work such as the Temple of
Hadrian with its facade portraying gods and goddesses and the Gate of
Hercules.  Everyday life is reflected in the ruins of the baths, gymnasium,
brothels and latrines. On the hillside is a modern structure covering a
restored section of Terrace Houses, homes of the wealthy. The structure,
which covers a path of clear walkways built over the ruins, allows visitors
an opportunity to observe what has been recovered in these elegant homes.
Floor mosaics and wall frescos give modern visitors and idea of their
lifestyle. The great theatre could hold 25,000 spectators. It has been used
for concerts in recent times but suffered some damage due to the stress of
the enthusiasm of many music fans.