Crushed by Baptiste Level One, with the viral video made famous by real yogis everywhere

If you’re looking for the infamous, wildly viral video of the Baron Baptiste Impressions so you can see what all the Baptiste-inspired yogis are talking about, scroll straight to the bottom of this post! Together we say: Namaste! 

Dear authentic, inauthentic, whole person that you are, 

The thin towels had absorbed as much as they could take, and my yoga mat was a shimmering pool of salty sweat. I didn’t know if tears were streaming down my face, or more rivers of perspiration. I couldn’t tell where my leg was any more. Was it even still attached? I couldn’t move my head to see. Was I breathing? I couldn’t remember. Was there music playing, or were my ears ringing? Somebody was sobbing behind me, and on the other end of the room, a ripple of hysterical laughter had started, weaving through the 160 bodies flattened on their mats in half pigeon pose. The sobs on the mat behind me heaved into wails of laughter, and I felt a shaking, inexplicable, unreasonable chuckle well up from my diaphragm, bubble up my throat and fall out of my face. This is Level One, Baron Baptiste Power Vinyasa Training. 

My life is changing before my very eyes. 

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On August 1st, just a few days ago, I arrived at the Menla Mountain Retreat where our week-long training was to take place. Carved into the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York, this is the Dalai Lama’s retreat when he visits the United States. It is a place of special and unique power – wild animals roam, unafraid of the visitors, a lush vegetable garden tended by the chef sprawls in a sunny pasture, and wooded glens and cool ponds provide sacred spaces for contemplation. 

Training that first night starts out friendly enough – Baron is everything you would want him to be, engaging us with humor and friendly compassion on our aching, travel-weary bones. “Go yogi, go! Flow yogi, flow!” He calls us through the sequences, a stiff-lipped smile cracking his face when we groan in wheel, and he says, “You aren’t working that hard! Stop being yoga weird. Stop complaining. Do the work.”

Morning comes soon. Intensity drives up quickly. We roll out of bed by 5:30 AM to hit an early breakfast prepared by retreat staff, and march up the gravel-littered path to the yoga room where we will spend the majority of our day sweating, crying, discussing and listening to each other. Today, we aren’t contemplating on the edge of a placid pond – we’re sweating mercilessly, in a lake of our own making. Maybe somebody in here is contemplating, but probably on things more profane than the mysteries of the universe. Faultlessly assembled in an unraveling sequence of increasing depth, the training is designed to take you inward – past the love, peace and feel-good emotions we all recognize and parrot, and into the beating heart of the ugly, selfish, unworthy and unlovable stories and masks we create around ourselves. Our carefully constructed barriers, wedged tightly with the precision of a Mayan pyramid over our lifetimes, start to crumble from the inside out. Unfolding, peeling back, stripping away, the training takes us through the heart of yoga and out the other side. Driving back the clutter of semi-spirituality, breezy patterned t-shirts and over-priced Lycra pants, Baron systematically shreds away our expectations, assumptions and falsehoods about “real” yoga.

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“Double pigeon pose.” The room groans in concert as tingling legs swing around to stack in another equally painful hip opener. “Why are you here?” The sound of dripping sweat and deep breathing expands to fill the space. “Fear is present in the room,” he acknowledges, and the fear manifests itself as we hesitate on the edge of the pose, arrange our towels and blocks and poke at loose strands of hair. He challenges us, walking across the sticky mats in his signature measured gait, arms swinging confidently at his sides. “If not now, when?” We sigh heavily in unison as our bodies draw forward, some farther than others, into the depths of the pose. “Be here. Be here now. Be in the now, and you’ll know how.” It rhymes, it sounds like a cliche, and it drives the truth home. 

Somebody starts to cry again. Sobs muffled in a towel. These aren’t sobs of physical pain, though – we’re unwrapping our lives on the mat. The sweat is secondary – it’s a tool. It’s part of the process. Nobody cares about that any more. We’ve gone beyond. 

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It was a week that felt like two days, two years. The friendships that were forged under duress of exposing your truest self, struggling in unison on the mat and in front of the class, and rising early and going to bed late and sharing showers and running out of water and chasing a bear through the woods [it happened, true story] are bonds that will be cultivated for years and lifetimes to come. How to explain what happened? You have to be there to experience it. There isn’t a day in the rest of my life that won’t be affected by what happened this week. 

I’m ready for yes. 

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The week finished with an explosion of celebration – we cut loose, rocking out yoga style, and exulting in the new freedoms we had found personally, collectively, authentically! The next morning, lingering over our last breakfast, we found a spot of local talent among us as Chris showed off his impersonations of our teacher, Baron. It was too good to let it pass and we ran outside for an improv film session. Jump in to a few seconds of Level One with this re-creation of The Yoga Room! 

Earth to yogi, earth to yogi – go yogi, go!

The Baron Baptiste-Inspired Impression Series is now live, presented by the Phoenicia Rising 2014 Level One Group! Starring Christopher Byford as Baron, Michael Suing as host, Andrea Huehnerhoff as producer and camera crew, Lani Levi as the student and beautiful yoga volunteers as the class, this very un-cut edition is raw and real – just like your story. 

 

I’m a yes for being full of freedom and integrity – what are you a yes for?! 

Wholly, 

Mrs H

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Photo credit Baron Baptiste Group

Find out more about the Baron Baptiste training events around the United States and Canada by going to www.baronbaptiste.com. This post has not been reviewed or endorsed by the Baron Baptiste group. Experience the yoga for yourself and find a Bapsiste-certified teacher near you! 

cherish wise

Photo credit Cherish Wise

laura teseriero

Photo credit Laura Tesoriero

laura tesoriero

Photo credit by Laura Tesoriero

Photo credit Maria Kknds

Photo credit Maria Kknds

susan bilello bushee

Photo credit Susan Bilello-Bushee

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Cold Overnight Salad: Remedy for a Hot Day

Dear toasted, roasted, baked and burned, 

It’s Throwback Thursday!  Time to share another hot post from the historic bloghouse. When I originally shared this family favorite on May 10, 2012 (I’m starting to drool just writing this, and literally changed my dinner plans for tomorrow so I can make this recipe), the post shocked and startled me by blasting to the top slot on the blog in just a few days, overriding popular posts that had been up for months of repins and shares!  The anecdote makes the recipe even more precious to me … 

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Dear gardeners and market-scouters,

As the CSA season for Virginia gears up, and the farmer’s markets are all beginning to carry bounties of fresh produce – it is time to start looking at some of my favorite salads!

Nothing beats a cold, crisp salad on a hot evening.  Served with some iced lemonade, and maybe a loaf of sourdough bread – what could be better?

My uncle, a renowned doctor in the allergy world, loves to create and serve fabulous meals for family gatherings.  It is always a joy to attend meals at his home.  As a scientist, he intimately understands the chemistry and interactions of food on a molecular level and his cooking is enhanced by this knowledge.  The following recipe is a very simple one that he gave to me, handwritten on a sheet of paper, after I begged for it one Christmas Eve.  When I asked him for it, he shrugged and said, “It’s just a salad, you know.”  But I had to recreate the experience for myself … and I have never been disappointed!

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Cold Overnight Salad

Download the Overnight Salad recipe here

When Dr Uncle serves this at family gatherings, I head straight for it and eat about four servings … This salad also makes a phenomenal meal if you serve it on top of a steaming, broken-open baked potato.   

1 medium head lettuce – washed and chilled
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 8 oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained
Optional: 1/2 bell pepper, seeded & sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 package frozen peas
3/4 lb bacon, cooked crisp & drained
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
2 tomatoes
Mix together: 
2 cups mayonnaise, preferably homemade (or, 1-1/2 c mayo and 2/3 c sour cream)
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Chop lettuce into bottom of 4-quart dish.  Layer: green onions, then water chestnuts, then green peppers and celery, then still-frozen peas.  Spread the top of this strata with the mayonnaise mixture.  Top with the bacon and eggs.  Cover and refrigerate overnight or for several hours (or you can eat it right away if you are as impatient as I).  Top with tomatoes, coarsely chopped.

Serve as a stand-alone dish, or on top of a large baked potato, split open and fluffed with a fork.

Download the Overnight Salad recipe here

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Layers of goodness, 

Mrs H
We cut through the fat and deliver it straight on Facebook
I’ll send you a cute heart when you comment on Instagram! 

Yoga Playlist: Set One – peaceful to powerful

Dear peaceful,

There are some misty, lush days on the farm when the rain falls, the peepers peep, and the frogs splash.

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Time to read a book – an old one, or a new one.

Sip some coffee; some tea; hot water with lemon slices soaking.

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And maybe enjoy some yoga in the coolness of your own home, or here on the farm.

This is a favorite playlist I put together for a yoga class – it runs an hour and eleven minutes, so you can practice some quiet meditation and grounding for the first fifteen minutes, start the music, and then enjoy an introspective-to-powerful asana practice ending in savasana.  

The middle songs are faster moving – they’ll get the blood pumping and you’ll be inspired to move with the flow of music!  Prem Joshua is definitely one of my favorite artists when it comes to choosing music sets, and his upbeat Mangalam is one of the best songs in this set. 

The songs

Mirabai – Guru Ram Das

Deva Premal – Om Namo Bhagavate

Trevor Hall – The Lime Tree

Alexi Murdoch – Orange Sky

Zach Sobiech – Clouds

Secret Place – Prem Joshua

Prem Joshua – ”Mangalam”

The Beatles – Here Comes The Sun

Alexi Murdoch – Breathe

Deva Premal – Gayatri Mantra

Alexi Murdoch – Through The Dark

If you practice or teach yoga, who are your recommended artists, or what are your favorite songs?  Every teacher has a unique taste, and I love mashing them all up into one class! 

Namaste,

Mrs H

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Canning Dill Pickles – recipes, instructions and Food Lab, with hurricane-force winds

This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.
That’s how I earn my blogging income, so thanks for clicking through!

Dear jarred,

I love fermentation, kombucha, dehydrating, the whole bit. But out of all these food preservationy pursuits, my first love is, always has been, and doubtless always will be, canning.  Good, old-fashioned canning!

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When I was a food-nerdy, homeschooled kid with a lot of time to dream on my hands, I taught myself how to can out of my grandma’s old Farm Journal Cook-Book.  I fantasized about living on a farm, gathering eggs and piling muddy boots by the door, rolling out of bed before dawn and milking cows in a frosty-cold barn in the moonlight. I guess, in a way, these dreams have started to become a reality for me, since now I can gather eggs from 400 layers any time I please (that’s how it works, you know).

Back home in Washington, I spent many months in big groups of women, canning thousands of pounds of produce for our collective families and hauling it off to our respective homes at the end of the day – everybody eats together, the kids play together, and we trash one house – it’s pretty much a win-win.  Miz Carmen usually hosted – you’ll run into her again on this blog.

Our first canning Food Lab of 2014 (we had a few last year, too), was a raging success!  The first one had to be cancelled because of a tornado and a waterspout – I know, really?  Of all things.  The farm lost power, got flooded, and none of the students could drive out of their streets. So, we rescheduled, and many of the students were able to get in on the new date!

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Class was focusing on the water-bath canning technique, used for high-acid products like fruits, jams, jellies, pickles and the like.  I decided to make a classic dill pickle for our class; the original recipe came from my long-time mentor and dearly beloved friend Miz Carmen, who was gifted the recipe from another friend, who got it goodness knows where.  I have many favorite pickle recipes, but this one definitely tops the list of classic dills!

Everybody worked hard in class, and they each made a very individual pint of pickles based on the recipe – some added okra, others peppers, still others threw in zucchini; spices and heat varied, ranging from mild crushed red pepper to blazing guns ghost pepper!  Some cut their cucumbers into spears – others left them whole, still others diced them or sliced them.

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Fresh-Pack Dill Pickles or, Seattle Pickles at New Earth Farm

Download Dill Pickle recipe here

32 lb. pickling cukes, blossom ends trimmed

10 onions (1/3 per qt.)

4 garlic bulbs (2 cloves per qt.)

2-3 bunches dill (1-2 blossoms per qt.)

1⁄2 t. crushed red pepper per qt.

1⁄2 t. alum per qt. (optional)

1 t. pickling spice per qt.

Put all ingredients except cukes in jar. Cut onions, then pack cukes. Begin heating water bath, then prepare brine.

Brine:

3 qt. water

1 qt. apple cider vinegar

1 c. pickling salt

(Takes about four batches)

Cover to 1/2” with boiling brine. Wipe lids, screw on rings. Process 5-10 minutes.

Remove and store 6-8 weeks, to allow flavors to penetrate Pickling spice quantity is variable; brine is not.

Download Dill Pickle recipe here

More from the Food Lab: High Acid Canning Class

To read step-by-step instructions for water-bath canning and enjoy a few more pickling recipes such as my very favorite piccalilli or an award-winning pickled radish, download the entire canning class packet here

Recommended Reading

For those that want to can more, I have a few favorite books to suggest!

The Ball Blue Book is the industry standard on home preservation – canning, drying, and freezing.  Keep this book close at hand all year long – my copy is wrinkled, warped and scribbled on, but I have made good use of it!

Food in Jars, as seen on the popular blog www.foodinjars.com is a gorgeous, well-appointed book full of lush pictures and reasonable, human-sized, small-batch recipes that make a few manageable pints each.

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is everything we love about Ball, plus loads more. Lots of recipes to choose from, princples to learn from, and step-by-step instructions. 

But more importantly, some hungry baby robins delighted us by hatching, their nest located just outside the front door of the Learning Center.

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It began to rain gently, and class broke up; a few students stayed to help Chef Lyndsay and I can the rest of the vegetables we had prepped (waste not!!).  The light rain turned into a torrential downpour with violent wind, thunder and lightening, and the remaining students eventually had to make a dash for it and escape through the storm! Lyndsay and I canned and cleaned until around 11:00 at night, when we called it a day, locked up, and went home.

I had such a contented, satisfied feeling from canning that day; and the beautiful building just added to my joy (despite the blurry, storm-sogged pictures you can still see how cozy it was!).

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Canning merrily into the night,

Mrs H
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Laundry and Cloth Diaper Detergent – a success story

This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.
That’s how I earn my blogging income, so thanks for clicking through!  

Dear historic, not to be confused with histrionic,

It’s Throwback Thursday, time to reblog one of your favorite posts from the old blogstead!  This post originally went up June 19th, 2012 – unbeknownst to me, just three days before our son would make his very welcome arrival into our home!  It’s been one of our most popular posts ever since it first launched, so much so that I had to write a follow-up. The following post has been modified from it’s original version; it has been formatted to fit your screen. 

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Dear frugal readers or earth-conscious types,

And those who write to-do lists,

I’m getting to the tail-end of my “to-do before baby” list, which is good since I’m also getting to the tail-end of my “how long it usually takes to build a baby” calendar.

One of the things on my to-do list was to make some cloth diaper detergent.

Why homemade?

Bona-fide bottled store-bought cloth diaper detergent – which can’t contain certain fragrances, whiteners, and other ingredients that adhere to cloth and diminish the absorbency of the diaper – can be expensive, especially if you’re trying to find something that’s not too harsh on the body.  I also feel bad going through lots of plastic bottles, since plastic doesn’t really deteriorate once you throw it out.  Homemade just seemed like a natural choice.

I started my recipe hunt, and stumbled across Elisa’s beautiful blog.  She shared several detergent recipes, including a cloth diaper recipe that was ultra-minimal to avoid causing any rash or problem with her child’s sensitive skin.

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This recipe became my choice for our diapers so far.  I like leaving out as many chemicals as possible, but I also like clean diapers.  I am grateful to Elisa for sharing this recipe!

Here, she explains the ins and outs of the recipe – as well as another recipe for your everyday laundry, if you need one!  (She also posted a recipe for dishwasher detergent!) We’ve chosen to use the following simple cloth-diaper-safe detergent for all of our laundry needs; when my husband comes home with fuel or grease soaked uniforms, I throw in some extra detergent, or even beef it up with Borax (I definitely keep the baby clothes separate from his uniforms!).

Elisa’s Three-Ingredient Cloth Diaper Detergent

Download the detergent recipe here

When you’re looking for an oxygen cleaner, if you aren’t sure exactly what it is just check the ingredients on the container – there should only be two.  The oxygen cleaner and washing soda would be in the laundry aisle, and regular baking soda will be in the baking aisle.  You can bring the cost of the detergent down even more if you can find these items in bulk at a big-box store or wholesale supplier!  

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Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate)
Oxygen Cleaner (sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate) Try Bio Kleen or Seventh Generation
Washing Soda (sodium carbonate)

Mix equal parts of each ingredient.  Use one tablespoon for a small load, two tablespoons for a medium load, and … you can extrapolate for the large load! For extra stains, throw in additional baking soda.

Download the detergent recipe here

I put the jars on the laundry-room shelf, and posted instructions for mixing more and how to use, in case family members ever volunteered to run a load.  Why only two tablespoons for an average load, you may ask?  Homemade detergents will always be more concentrated than store-bought detergents because we don’t bother to add extra fillers and junk to make it look like we have more than we do.  Using a one-cup scoop for laundry detergent feels pretty pointless now, doesn’t it?

I didn’t add any fragrances to this batch, but you could try adding essential oils if you wanted a little something more.

We’ve been using this laundry detergent for over two years now, and we’ve loved it continuously!  My husband has taken it on deployment, we’ve traveled with it and use it for all our towels, linens, laundry, dish cloths, diapers and the whole nine yards [of fabric].  Our diapers are remarkably stain-free, and our clothes are light and without a filmy residue of chemicals.  I borrowed a pair of jeans from a friend and was shocked that I immediately felt the residue of chemicals and fragrances all over the clothes – it took me a moment to realize what was “wrong” with them!  

Yours in laundry,

Mrs H
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There aren’t any fillers in our detergent or on our Instagram feed