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The Hugger Mugger Yoga Blog

  • Starting a Yoga Practice

    A new year is upon us. A healthy percentage of us use this annual marker to reset our lives—resolving to give up what doesn’t work and start something new. If that something new you’d like to start is a yoga practice, here are some tips that might help: Finding the Right Yoga Class Ask friends. The bigger, better-funded studios have much more advertising power than the more modest studios and teachers, so they are easier to find. They may also have great teachers, but huge classes are not for everyone. Ask friends, relatives and co-workers where they like to practice...

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  • Give Your Body Some Gratitude

    The past few years have given me a bit of a wake-up call. My body, which has always been very low maintenance, has been sending me a big message: “Stop taking me for granted!” Almost two years ago, my left hip was replaced because of hip displaysia. I’ve long known it was only a matter of time for my right hip. Now the time has come. In another week, I'll have a new, titanium hip joint to match the other one. On the first day of an 18-day meditation retreat I at Spirit Rock Meditation Center last summer, I received...

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  • Meatless Monday: Warming Soft Polenta for Any Meal

    As the holidays approach, two things are likely: Temperatures are dropping, and you’re probably crazy busy. I love to spend an hour or two on a warming winter meal, but especially at this time of year, it’s not always an option. Soft polenta is a go-to for me when I don’t have a lot of time, but I want to eat something warming and soothing. You can dress up soft polenta in lots of different ways. Here are a few ideas: Add chopped, mixed, cooked greens; add a variety of steamed or sautéed veggies; throw in some simple, sautéed tofu...

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  • Grounding Your Yoga Practice

    In 1989, I went to Pune, India, to study with Geeta and BKS Iyengar. A group of 30-some dedicated practitioners from around the U.S. joined senior teacher Mary Dunn for a three-week intensive. I gravitated toward a group of teachers who all stayed at the same $10 per night hotel—which I’m sure is not nearly that good of a deal these days. In the evenings, we’d gather on one of our balconies and discuss our day of classes. A theme that kept arising in our discussions was disappointment in the absence of “advanced” poses in our asana classes. Most wanted...

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  • Celebrate National Cocoa Day

    Happy National Cocoa Day! My first memories of hot cocoa: Coming indoors from an afternoon of sledding, fingers and toes numb, coat and hat covered with snow. Peeling off thick layers of sweaters and a wet jacket. Wrapping my hands around a hot cup of chocolate that seems to have appeared magically on the kitchen table. Ahhhhh … The hot chocolate of my youth is not the hot cocoa that has survived through the ages, however. A robust, bitter brew, the cocoa drink of old contained no sugar or milk, just the pure, earthy cacao powder that Yucatan civilizations, including...

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  • Meatless Monday: Masala Lentils

    Until my mid-20s I didn’t care much for curries. Commercial curry powder has always tasted musty to me. But when I first made Indian curry from The Vegetarian Epicure, mixing the spices to make a unique curry flavor, I fell in love with it. Recipes for Indian food can look daunting. The ingredients list is always long. But most of the ingredients on the list are spices. If you look at the recipe below, you’ll see that half the ingredients are spices—or more than half if you count sriracha and salt as spices, which I do. The veggie chopping prep...

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  • Bakasana: Not Just a Party Trick

    It’s the season of colored lights, familiar carols and full calendars. In December we’re often juggling family, friends, gift-buying and parties. The dizzying pace can often leave us feeling unbalanced. Yoga has remedies for this. My favorites are Restorative practice, long Savasanas and balancing poses. Balancing poses not only teach the extremely valuable skill of balancing, but they can also collect a fragmented mind. They require concentration, so they teach us about concentration. At the mention of balancing poses, we often think of Vrksasana (Tree Pose) or Hasta Padangusthasana (Standing Big-Toe Pose). But standing on one foot is not the...

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  • Meatless Monday: Celery Root Soup with Granny Smith Apples

    Soup season continues today with an elegant, satisfying gourmet-style soup. Bonus: it’s very simple and uses only a small number of ingredients. Until I made this soup I’d never cooked with celery root before. I’d seen it at Whole Foods and other fancier grocery stores, but I had no idea what to do with it. Celery root definitely looks a bit imposing in its wabi sabi earthiness. I’m always game to try something new though, and this soup, from The Conscious Cook by chef Tal Ronnen, paid off handsomely. I’ve made this soup for a number of holiday dinners and...

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  • Trying Hot Yoga? Here Are Some Tips

    As the year comes to a close, most of us have one major priority: finding just the right gift for each person on our list. A close second could be finding a way to maintain fitness while navigating the season’s traditional celebration of copious amounts of food. The key is to remember to move our bodies, even as we enjoy our holiday treats. But the weather can be a bit nippy for a brisk walk. So why not warm up AND move your body by trying a Hot Yoga class? Most Hot Yoga classes take place in a room heated...

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  • Meatless Monday: Roasted Cauliflower

    Winter is officially here, at least in my part of the world. I'm watching snow come down as I sit at my laptop. My drafty old house—that will be turning 100 in January—is not all that warm. So it’s a good time to start using the oven to give my house a little warmth boost. Cauliflower, a veggie that was once maligned as boring, has enjoyed a renaissance in the past few years. It’s being used as a grain substitute—think cauliflower rice. I’ve also seen ground cauliflower used as the base of a pizza crust. I’ll admit that I’ve always...

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