Monday, October 26, 2015

The Yoga Experiment

my home yoga studio
I've been on a mission to bring Asana back into my life lately. Because this is how things frequently go in the version of reality I frequent, the very week in which I hoped to realize this goal turned into the craziest week ever, in which getting home by 9 without having eaten dinner yet was considered a triumph. So, no asana happened that week. Now, you may be thinking, 'but you're a yoga teacher! But this is (sometimes) a yoga blog! How could asana have slipped out of your life?? Because I'm a really busy human, and specifically, I'm very busy moving. I train on silks and sometimes aerial hammock five days a week, doubles trapeze once a week, and take a ballet class about once a week as well. I also do physical therapy exercises for my shoulders, arm, shoulder, and core conditioning moves on my pull-up bar, and stretching routines for my shoulders, hips, legs, and spine pretty close to daily. Yoga classes felt not challenging enough, and not stretchy enough, to be worth the investment in time, especially once I cut back on my volunteering schedule, which meant I just wasn't hanging around the studio as much.

Moving with intention is great, but the longer I go without a good old fashioned vinyasa yoga class on my weekly schedule, the more I suspect there's something to those specific shapes and movements...I don't know what it is. But I think its something.

I'm looking forward to having a new perspective on the asana practice. I haven't taught a regularly scheduled floor yoga class in over a year now, and I don't have any plans to do so in the near future, so I won't be taking notes of interesting transitions, helpful verbal adjustments, or effective sequencing. I'll just be a student, doing my practice, after a significant absence. Like so many other yoga students.

Stepping away from the practice was initially just a product of changing my routine, but then it because an experiment. What does yoga do for me? Will I miss it? Do I need it if I'm still meditating? Is it harder to still meditate without that practice? Yes, yes, and yes. At least, I think so. The experiment won't be complete until I come back to the practice for a while and evaluate what shifts.

In its own weird way, my stepping away from the asana practice was part of my larger yoga practice. Yoga is the science of happiness, and you aren't expected to take anything on faith. Exploring what yoga brings to your life by stepping away from one or more components of it can be very much part of the journey. In fact, intended or not, it is for just about everybody who ever steps on a mat. Yep, even teachers. And now its my turn.

Live Omily,
~em

Monday, October 19, 2015

Eating Omily: A Seafood Classic Debuts at the Farmers Market

So I know we're not quite due for an Eating Omily post yet, but I was so excited by this latest development at the Farmers' Market that I'm interrupting the usual schedule! I mean, who's really keeping track of the pattern, anyway?

Quick question: when you think seafood, what's the first thing that pops into your head? Ok, seafood appetizers? Shellfish? I'm looking for shrimp! That cocktail classic, that scrumptious scampi, that deep-fried munchy...

After years of enjoying local seafood from the Farmers' Market, including scallops, oysters, mackerel, porgies, calamarie, and more, I suddenly realized I had never seen a single shrimp. I thought perhaps shrimp just weren't common in these waters, but I wasn't sure.

Then, last Friday, I did. A brand new vendor to the market offering only shrimp. Great big, buttery, jumbo beauties no less! I scurried over for a closer look, and found myself reading a laminated article about this new business: eco-friendly shrimp farming!
Now, I've always tended to look askance at farmed fish, preferring its wild brethren, and for good reason: fish are often farmed via unsustainable methods involving habitat destruction, chemicals and antibiotics, and a not-tasty, not-healthy final product. But overfishing is a real problem, and shrimp are an important component of many food chains. Breeding them for our own appetites could be a solid alternative, if it can be done without chopping down mangrove forests, or dumping antibiotics into our oceans. And it turns out, it can!

Eco Shrimp Garden farms shrimp completely indoors, in upstate New York using a process that recycles 100% of the water used, and is completely free of antibiotics and other creepy additives. These shrimp are sold fresh, never frozen, and are at the market within hours of being harvested. You can order online and have fresh head-on, tail-on shrimp at your door for dinner the same day!
I am super psyched to prepare these guys this week, and I'll be sure to take some pictures when I do. In the meantime, you can go to www.ecoshrimpgarden.com to learn more, and maybe even place your own order.
Seriously, guys? If you have access to this, why would you waste your money on any other shrimp?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Omily Tarot: A Fortunate Clarification

Pop Quiz: whats the difference between a tarot reader, and a fortune teller?

If you answered, fortune tellers are quacks, swindlers, or Scooby-Doo characters, well, I can't say that I blame you for that impression

In an effort to be taken seriously, and to impress on people how much everyone can benefit from tarot readings, I, too, have sometimes skewed into a judgey attitude toward 'fortune telling'.

But, what's so bad about telling fortunes? What's so bad about amping up the fun and the mystery, and skipping the in-depth analysis? Especially at a place like a carnival, or a party, where people go for, you know, FUN, rather than talk therapy?

I mean, really? When did we sign up for the Fun Police? Feck that. Tarot is FUN! And the best way to connect to the tarot and get something out of it is to be enjoying the process! Of COURSE you have to take fortune telling with a grain of salt, but that's true of ANY tarot reading, and you can also take the grains of truth that are there, and discover a powerful new insight into your self! Because that's how the tarot works!

Of course, plenty of people have been turned off of the tarot because of a shoddy fortune telling style reading, but I'll bet tons of other people have been inspired to pick up some cards and dig deeper on their own because they could sense that behind the faux gypsy trappings, there was something there. The reader was really onto something! And, honestly? No doubt plenty of people have been turned off of the tarot by a shoddy analysis-style reading, too. Maybe even more, because they were bored as well as unimpressed!

They are different, and they call upon somewhat different skills, but they're much more similar. You still have to understand the cards, trust your intuition, and be realistic about what a client can absorb in that moment. You might couch it in more flowery or exciting language, but you aren't making things up, unless you really are a total hack. Please don't read for people if you're a total hack. I don't care what you're calling it. Ok, unless maybe you're calling it Discount Dahlia's Completely Crap Fortunes...no seriously, I'd pay for one of those. That sounds hilarious.

Moral of the story? Don't hesitate to pull out the chair (or more likely get on the wait list!) in that tent at the Ren Fair, or let somebody at a halloween party pull a card for you. There's magic everywhere, and the universe will use any channel to get a message though. But perhaps most importantly, have fun!

I was inspired to write this post by my first fortune teller style gig, happening this coming Sunday the 18th at the Muse in Brooklyn at 7:00pm. I'll be offering single card pulls as the beautiful and seductive Lady Death from my aerial hammock. If you're in the area, you are not going to want to miss this one. Tickets are $15 at the door, or $10 presale at this link. Come on out, and let me tell you your fortune! We'll both be learning a lot.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Eating Omily: Changing Seasons, Changing Menus

I can't believe how quickly this Summer flew by! The Farmers' Market is still overflowing with delicious produce, but some of those treats are on the wane...stock up on tomatoes and berries right now! We usually get our first frost around mid-October, which will be the death knell for many of those summer treats. We can still enjoy watermelon, along with winter squash, apples, and grapes, though, and I'm seeing more kinds of pears this year than ever before! I'm loving the bright red pears I'm seeing, as sweet and tender as Bartlett's, but so visually striking!!

Other Autumn specialties to avail yourselves of? Whiskey! Ok, you can get whiskey at the Farmers' Market ANY time of year (which is amazing!!!), but isn't this just the perfect time of year to bring it back onto the bar?? Ok, so I drink whiskey any time of year...but seriously, Manhattans? In the Fall? Yes. All of them.
And how about, lima beans! Not kidding! These universally hated veggies have a season, and it is now, AND, trust me, if you've only ever had the canned, or even frozen variety that have the texture (and roughly the flavor) of sawdust, you're going to want to try fresh lima beans! Simmer in salted water till tender, then sauté in butter with onions, garlics, late season tomatoes, whatever sounds good to you. You'll thank me.
Autumn is also a great season for baking: apple crisps and pies, sweet potato pie...mmmmmm...and your treats will taste even better and be better for you if you opt for local grass-fed butter, and locally grown flour! 

I also find myself drawn to eat more meat as the weather cools. I love making hearty strews in my slow cooker that only taste better when I reheat the leftovers later. Try goat, bison, duck, and rabbit from the Farmers' Market, or stick to the tried and true classics like beef. They've got that, too. Ask the farmer what cut they recommend, and what herbs, spices, and veggies they like to add in. I promise you'll leave with a mouth-watering recipe!
No matter how your tastes shift with the weather, you'll be able to put together spectacular meals with the Farmers' Market harvest. Get out there and see for yourself!