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The Hugger Mugger Yoga Blog

  • Meatless Monday: Chilled Yogurt Soup

    When I first heard about chilled soups, probably 30 years ago, I wasn’t convinced. My picture of what soup should be was hearty and warming, served with a piece of toasted, crusty bread.

    Once I ventured into making gazpacho, I realized that chilled soup can be a refreshing change in the summer. It’s also a great way to use up a surplus of homegrown tomatoes. Since then I’ve tried all sorts of chilled soups including different gazpacho recipes, an amazing plum soup and vichyssoise (potato-leek soup), which I also enjoy hot in the winter.

    I’m not a big...

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  • Teaching Yoga—30 Years of Gratitude

    Friends who knew me in grade school and high school would probably never have pegged me as a person who’d end up teaching yoga. I was painfully shy. If students had been graded on participation back in my high school days, my GPA surely would have suffered. Knowing I had to give a talk in speech class kept me awake at night. I trembled uncontrollably while performing solo on piano and oboe—not a pleasant situation, especially on a wind instrument.

    And yet, when I first became enamored with yoga and was made aware of a teacher training course back...

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  • Meatless Monday: Pizza!

    Ever since I stumbled onto premade pizza dough by Epicurean Chefs, I’ve been enjoying anew the joys of homemade pizza. While I do know how to make a pretty mean pizza dough, I have to say the Epicurean Chefs really know their stuff. I’m willing to concede that compared to their dough—which IMO is pretty much perfect—mine is in need of some serious rethinking.

    I’ve been buying their frozen dough at a small neighborhood market in Salt Lake City, Liberty Heights Fresh. But a couple Saturdays ago I ran into the chefs themselves at the Farmers Market. So I...

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  • Spine-Healthy Forward Bends

    Forward bends are asana staples. In yoga practice, we bend forward while standing, sitting and even lying down. Actively lengthening back body muscles—especially the muscles of the hips and hamstrings—helps counteract the effects of sitting in chairs. Forward bending is inherently calming, as long as we approach it with an attitude of ease and curiosity, rather than an attitude of forcefulness.

    Keeping muscles of the hips and hamstrings supple can also be healthy for your back. Relaxed muscles in the hips and hamstrings help you maintain your spine’s natural “S” curves. Tight hamstrings can position the pelvis so that...

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  • Meatless Monday: Simple Arugula Salad

    I love the peppery taste of arugula. Mixed in with other greens, it adds a tangy, spicy flavor. On its own, arugula—especially as it matures and its flavor becomes bolder—makes a flavorful salad that doesn’t need a whole lot of other ingredients to make it interesting.

    One of my favorite quick summer dinners is an arugula salad with a simple dressing, hard-boiled eggs for protein, and a crunchy sourdough toast. The idea comes from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. The original recipe doesn’t specify a particular type of dressing, but I use a very simple mix of lemon and olive...

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  • Coming into Fullness

    On my pre-dawn walks each morning, I gaze up into the dark sky, mesmerized by the moon as it appears in different shapes over the course of a month.

    Earlier this week I saw the thinnest sliver of a moon hanging over the rooftops, a fingernail moon, the faintest outline of white drawn around the edge of the sphere’s shadow like a piece of iridescent twine, giving the moon a three-dimensional depth that I don’t recall seeing before.

    Its striking appearance in the sky that morning reminded me of how the moon reveals itself in stages, and that...

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  • Meatless Monday: Arugula Pasta

    I don’t know about other climates, but peppery arugula grows like a weed in Northern Utah. Once the weather turns hot, it goes to seed so fast it’s hard to keep up.

    I love arugula raw, in salads. But as arugula matures, so does its bite. When I buy a bunch of larger leaves (or the leaves in my garden mature) I like to mellow the bite a bit by cooking them. Cooking arugula is also a great way to utilize the leaves you picked or bought a week ago. They still have plenty of flavor, but the texture...

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  • Yoga and the Unexpected

    What is it about a yoga and meditation practice that helps us to handle situations that would put many people over the edge?

    I’ve been practicing yoga and meditation for quite some time. A couple of months ago I had an opportunity to see how well my practice supported me. I had just finished an energy session. My phone had a bunch of messages from my son and the school counselor. I called the school and she told me that they received an essay from my son explaining that he had tried to hurt himself.

    My first reaction...

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  • Meatless Monday: Fruity Kale Salad

    Recently I read a post that claimed putting fruit in salads is blasphemous. While I respect the author’s cred, I can’t agree on this. Sometimes a sweet, juicy fruit is the perfect foil for bitter greens or a pungent cheese. Think gorgonzola and grapes.

    Such is the case for this easy-to-prepare salad that I made a few days ago. While it contains relatively few ingredients, each ingredient perfectly sets off the others—slightly bitter kale, creamy avocados, sweet strawberries, crunchy almonds and salty feta. The dressing is very easy to put together and again, a perfect combination of flavors to...

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  • Alignment vs. Continuity in Yoga

    My 30-plus-year yoga practice is rooted in the Iyengar system. For decades, I studied with Iyengar teachers, almost exclusively. The non-Iyengar teachers I’ve gravitated to have mostly been people whose practice and teaching was grounded in the Iyengar system before they began moving in a different direction.

    B.K.S. Iyengar is probably best known in the yoga world for his emphasis on alignment. It makes sense. When I studied with B.K.S and his daughter, Geeta, in Pune many years ago, he stated that the purpose of asana practice was to create in the body an energized and peaceful environment to...

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