Browsing articles in "meditation"

A Yogini’s Knitting Corner

Mar 9, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, creativity, knitting, meditation  //  No Comments

It’s been a little while since my last knitting corner and that’s really been because I’ve been focusing my attention on three larger projects, so there wasn’t much to write about. I have finally finished one of those projects – my uncle’s 2011 Christmas presents.

Basketweave scarf - approximately 50 inches long - made with Berroco Remix yarn - pattern from Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting

Seed stitch hat - made with the same yarn - pattern #90446B from Lion Brand

I finished the scarf and with so much yarn leftover, I decided I would take a shot at making a hat, and I loved the fact that it only took about 7 hours. The Seed Stitch Hat was quick to make and I think worked really well in this yarn. I am not sure if it’s the right size, I may have made it too big, so as I mailed it to California, my note said, “I hope the hat fits and is your style. If not, please donate it to charity.”

I love knitting and I’m happy to be back on track with both fast and slower paced projects. My niece’s blanket is 64 rows away from completion, my leg warmers have another 9 to 10 inches to go, and now I’ve got another metro project, a really fun hat that I found a pattern for in Knitscene magazine. Progress pics of that one will be along next week, along with featuring some of my friends latest projects. It’s nice to be back on the creative track as we get ready to spring forward.

Are you working on any fun craft projects? Any pattern resources that you can recommend?

Adventures in Cooking… sweetened quinoa

Feb 5, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, food, meditation  //  2 Comments

Sweetened Quinoa

For a while I’ve been striving to cook at home at least a couple times a week and to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables everyday. Well, a few weeks ago I tried something new. My dad has pulled every breakfast quinoa recipe that he has found for the last couple years and sent them home with me. And in the last couple of years, I read them and then put them in a binder. I finally took some inspiration from those recipes and got a little adventurous in the kitchen – I made some sweetened quinoa. And after I tried a very basic recipe, I then decided that I would get a little more creative with it. Here’s my “more creative” recipe:

  • 1 cup coconut milk or vanilla almond milk
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger (if desired, said to aid in digestion)
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped small butternut squash or pumpkin or 1 cup chopped apple

1. Bring “milk” to a boil (watch carefully as it does tend to over boil). Add quinoa and stir constantly for 10 to 12 minutes until grain has fully absorbed the milk and is soft. After finished cooking add maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

2. Place squash or apple in microwave for 3 minutes to cook through and soften. Add cooked squash or apple to quinoa mixture. Stir in and enjoy.

3. Adjust spices for preferred taste level. Can be made in a large batch and refrigerated in small portions for heating up later in the day or the week. Stores well for up to 7 days.

I added the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger after taking a workshop on Ayurveda and learning that they are great for helping balance almost all of the ayurvedic constitutions. And honestly, it gives it a nice taste, which does help me cut back on the amount of sweetener I add,

I had a lot of fun making it, even cleaning up the boiled over almond and coconut milk. And since I really had to watch this, making this recipe was definitely an exercise in mindfulness and I’m actually happy it was. Being more present when I cook, helps turn the basic act of cooking into a meditative experience. I am always looking for more opportunities to bring meditation into my life and if this can be another one, that’s just an added benefit.

I had been making this for my daily breakfasts, but then I got lazy. I am planning on making it again soon. It helps me save money during the week (fewer soy lattes = more money for other things) and is a lot healthier for me, since I can watch exactly what I put in it. I’m also hoping that breakfasts are just the beginning of more home-cooked meals. And I’m looking forward to making more variations of this breakfast quinoa.

What were your last adventures in the kitchen? Do you follow recipes or just play it by ear? What are your favorite home-cooked breakfasts?

A Yogini’s Knitting Corner

Jan 25, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, creativity, knitting, meditation  //  No Comments

arm warmers made with S. Charles Collezione Venus yarn

This last week, I’ve done a bunch of knitting. I finished the arm warmers for my colleague’s daughter, who was a great arm model (see the pics). I’ve spent some more time working on the baby blanket, there is still a ton to go, but it’s coming along nicely. I’ve also gotten further with my uncle’s scarf and started a pair of leg warmers for myself.

such a great arm model, don't the arm warmers look great?!

It’s been a quieter week as I haven’t finished many projects, but I keep moving along with the ones that I have in process. Here’s a sneak peak at the progress on those other projects.

still a lot more work to do on this baby blanket

 

 

 

 

 

baby pink leg warmers - in process

 

basket weave scarf for my uncle

 

I’m looking forward to finishing these in the next few weeks, so I can move forward with a few other projects on my 2012 project list. And there are more knitting creative gatherings on the horizon too, so hopefully I’ll be sharing some more of my friends’ projects too.

Do you have any projects on the horizon? What are you working on this week?

Evoking change… developing a daily practice

Jan 20, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, meditation, self-care, Yoga  //  No Comments

This last November, I was inspired to start making changes for what was left of 2011 and had begun setting my intentions for 2012. I am happy to say that as a result of that process, I have successfully been eating my veggies and fruits every day. Then in December, I committed to a 25-day Yogathon created by Teeg of Living in the (k)Now. I modified the requirements of her yogathon to fit into my life, while committing to change body, mind, and soul. My commitment was to:

- practice yoga everyday – at a minimum, 5 sun/moon salutations each day (mind)

my comfortable seat for meditation, I use a cushion too sometimes.

- develop a daily meditation practice – 5+ minutes of seated meditation each day (soul)

- eat healthier – 5 fruits/veggies each day, leveraging my November changes (body)

some of those veggies - a vegan pizza slice from Whole Food Foggy Bottom

I found that by changing my mindset of what it meant to do yoga everyday, it was a lot easier for me to commit to practicing everyday. I also found that by not requiring myself to do more than what works out to about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes of practice, that it became easier to build my home yoga practice. There were days that my body wanted more than the 5 sun salutations and I ended up practicing at home for a lot longer, sometimes 45 minutes or an hour even. There were also days where 5 sun salutations was exactly enough.

Through this “yogathon”, I also learned that I can sit and meditate without fidgeting. I would set the timer on my phone for 5 or 7 minutes the first couple days and when it would go off, I actually felt disappointed, I wanted to sit longer. So, then I increased the time 12, 15, 18 minutes and sometimes that even felt too short. I learned that I could sit, focus on my breath, and just be. It was amazing.

My preferred meditation was a Sanskrit mantra meditation, referred to as Soham or Hamsa. I would practice Soham during my yoga practice – inhale “so”, exhale “ham” (like hum), as I moved through my practice. And I applied a visual that one of my yoga teachers taught me, envision on “so” energy as a bright light moving down the spine, on “ham” see the light explode and leave the body in all directions. After I completed my practice, I would come to sit and practice the inverse – Hamsa, inhale “ham”, exhale “so”. I’d visualize the energy moving up the spine this time. In and of itself, this mantra is suggested to be the natural mantra. It is the natural sound of inhalation and exhalation. I think this is why it resonates so much with me.

These last 9 months, I had found that I was having a lot of trouble finding my practice again, after becoming a yoga teacher. I found this yogathon to be my way of coming back to my mat and my practice. And it was a nice bit of encouragement to help me develop a meditation practice. Although I do falter some days and my practice may not be exactly what’s expected, i’m learning to let that go and be happy that tomorrow is always a new day and another opportunity to come to my mat and meditation cushion.

Are there any daily practices that you have struggled with coming back to or have always wanted to develop? Are there any you “resolved” to start in 2012? What will you do to make it easier to keep them?

A Yogini’s Knitting Corner

Jan 17, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, creativity, knitting, meditation  //  No Comments

my latest finished projects - my designs (infinity scarf and wrist warmers in S. Charles Collezione Venus yarn)

These last two weeks have been quite busy and I haven’t done as much knitting as I would have liked. I did have fun completing some projects and getting together with my friends for a morning of knitting creativity again. I finished a pair of wrist warmers and my infinity scarf. I love them for indoor wear (they aren’t so warm that I can enjoy them outside).

This last weekend, I also started on what will be a really important project – my first baby blanket.

my first baby blanket (Loops & Threads Impeccable yarn in Fresh Lilac Ombre)

 

 

 

I’m excited about this latest project. It is going to be a lot of work – 40″ x 40″ when finished and it takes me 15-20 minutes per row. I’m excited to see how this continues to evolve.

My morning of knitting was a lot of fun too. Alison, Eve, Melissa, and I met up at our local coffee shop. It’s so fun that our knitting group is beginning to grow. And we all worked on one of our latest projects. I started my first baby blanket.

Alison worked on a scarf for her dad.

 

Alison also did the finishing on two projects. This is her purple cowl. Totally cute!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melissa was working on a some yoga socks. I realize I need to try out the pattern she used.

 

 

Eve was back to her sweater. I cannot wait to see it when it's finished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Melissa finished the first half of the pair.

 

 

 

 

It was such a great morning/afternoon. So much fun with the girls and looking forward to our next get together. And I can’t wait to share more photos of the baby blanket and another project or two that I hope to start in the next week. Such a fun and creative morning, looking forward to having more very soon.

When was your last creative morning? When is your next?

A Yogini’s Knitting Corner

Jan 3, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, creativity, knitting, meditation  //  4 Comments

The holidays have come and gone and this last week has definitely been quieter in my knitting world. I spent the better part of the last week out of town with my family and didn’t have nearly as many opportunities to pick up my sticks. I’ve been focused on two different scarf projects since I had been away for the holidays.

Basketweave Scarf - made with Berroco Remix Yarn in Ocean

I started this scarf which will be a belated Christmas gift for my uncle. I’m having fun working on it, and thoroughly enjoying knowing that I will mail it in the next couple of weeks. I found the pattern in the book – Chicks with Sticks, Guide to Knitting. It’s a simple basketweave pattern and I love the yarn. 

Last week, I also started an infinity scarf for myself. I had so much fun making Sabine’s vertically striped infinity, that I wanted to make one for myself. This is the start of that scarf. I’m hoping to have this finished by the end of the month so I can wear it a bit this winter.

vertical stripe achieved by knitting 4 rounds then purling 4 rounds

 

My vertically striped infinity in S. Charles Collezine Venus yarn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also had the opportunity to meet up with my friend Alison yesterday and we knitted for a bit at the Barnes & Noble cafe. It was a nice was to spend the afternoon. I spent some time working on the basketweave scarf. I’m looking forward to having more time during the evenings this week to knit and getting further along with both of these projects. I also am beginning my thesis project for my advanced teacher training – Yoga & Knitting: An exploration of mindfulness, meditation, and creativity. Over the next few months, I’ll begin to share more about that here. I’m excited about the thesis project and can’t wait to share as I delve into the topic.

How have you shared your creativity recently? Are you working on any new projects?

A Yogini’s Knitting Corner

Dec 29, 2011   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, creativity, knitting, meditation  //  2 Comments

my yoga socks in Glass Slipper - Cotton Bam Boo yarn by Classic Elite Yarns

This is the second part of this week’s Yogini’s Knitting Corner. One of my favorite projects to make recently has been yoga socks, an idea suggested by Kimberly (who happens to be in the pink socks below). And I’ve been asked a few times now for the pattern that I’ve used, so I wanted to share it here. I found a pattern for Easy Peasy Yoga Pilates socks and made some modifications that have made them fit my feet and ankles a bit better. Here’s my final pattern:

Kimberly's yoga socks in Provence Pink - Cotton Bam Boo yarn by Classic Elite Yarns

Yoga/Pilates Socks

US  Size 5, 9″ circular needle
Classic Elite Yarns Cotton Bam Boo (knitting weight DK – so any sock, fingering, or DK weight should work)

This pattern can be used to make socks for regular and wide width feet. Numbers in parenthesis indicate the wide width modification.

CO 42 (48)
Round 1: knit all stitches
Round 2: purl all stitches
Round 3: knit all stitches
Rounds 4-31: *k2p1, repeat from *
Round 32: 21 (24) k2p1, bind off 21 (24) loosely in k2p1 rib
Round 33: *k2p1, repeat from *, turn work
Round 34:  *p2k1, repeat from *, turn work
Round 35: *k2p1, repeat from *, CO 21 (24) and rejoin work
Rounds 36-78: *k2p1, repeat from *
Round 79: knit all stitches
Round 80: purl all stitches
Round 81 knit all stitches
Round 82: purl all stitches
Round 83: bind off loosely in knit

Make your second sock and you are ready to wear these on and off the mat. Increase or decrease the amount of rounds between 36 and 78 based on how high you would like the sock to come up onto the calf.

If you have any questions about the pattern, feel free to comment. I’m a novice pattern writer and I’ve been doing my best as I write patterns to have them make sense.

I hope you enjoy making these as much as I do. Happy Knitting!

A Yogini’s Knitting Corner

Dec 27, 2011   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, creativity, knitting, meditation  //  No Comments

Kimberly in her Provence Pink Yoga Socks (made with Classic Elite Cotton Bam Boo yarn in Provence Pink) - look forward to the pattern in a post later this week.

These last two weeks have been incredibly busy, and so I’m a bit behind with all things blog related, but it has been quite a couple weeks in knitting. I’ve been enjoying finishing some quick projects in preparation of the holidays. I’ve also started some new ones and invested in some books to help me learn some new knitting techniques. I’ve spent a lot of time knitting in the round and have determined that I do prefer circular to straight knitting needles, even when knitting flat. Here’s a sampling of some of what I’ve finished in the last couple weeks, modelled by those who received them:

Sabine in her vertically striped infinity scarf (made with S. Charles Collezione Venus yarn)

Jackie in her wrap (made with Lionbrand Homespun and Fun Fur yarns)

 

Aunt Mary in her horizontally striped infinity scarf (made with S. Charles Collezione Venus yarn)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharon in her wrap (made with Lionbrand Homespun and Fun Fur yarns)

My mom in her horizontally striped infinity scarf (made with S. Charles Collezione Venus yarn)

You can see that it’s been quite the last copule weeks in knitting. And although the holidays have come and gone very quickly, that is not the end of my project cue. In the next few weeks, there will be more wrist warmers, scarves, and yoga socks, plus stepping out of my comfort zone to try sweaters, blankets, and maybe even some baby accessories. The next few months will be busy and I am excited to continue to share my and my friends’ knitting projects.

Have you expressed your creativity lately? What projects do you have on the horizon?

Yoga teaching and accounting collide…

Oct 12, 2011   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, Events, meditation, Yoga  //  2 Comments

extracted from video webcast, copyright: PCAOB

So, I don’t usually write about my work in accounting, but I had an incredible opportunity yesterday and I wanted to share it. I got the opportunity to present for the first time at an open board meeting. We were finally proposing after nearly 6 months of work on this. I got to present part of the staff opening remarks and answer a few of the Board members’ questions. It was really exciting and a little scary too. It was my first time doing an oral presentation in this format, but then I took a step and realized, I had all the tools and many have recently been developed through my yoga teacher training

One of the first things that they taught us in my yoga teacher training was to take the seat of a teacher when you are teaching a class. This is less about being in command and more about having a certain presence in the space you are in. Apply that concept in this forum and it meant taking my seat as a professional, translating to being and staying present in the meeting and conveying confidence as I sat at the table.

Then in my yoga teacher training, in addition to taking my seat as a teacher, I have to develop my teaching voice. Part of finding that voice includes learning how to be clear, concise, non-repetitive, and articulate as I teach (plus having fun). As I continue to teach, I continue to refine my voice and my ability to learn these skills. These are also key traits of being an effective public speaker. And my teaching practice helps me to refine these skills (I’d like to say, they helped me, but in reality, it’s on-going development and growth), which I brought with me into the meeting.

I also took a comfortable seat in a different way. Generally, we talk about this when preparing for meditation – come to a comfortable seat. In this case, I took what I’ve learned from meditation and brought it into the meeting with me. When you take the seat of a professional, especially in this forum, you don’t want to fidget, you want to be still and focused. So, when I wasn’t talking, I took a comfortable seat (modified for my situation – feet flat on the floor, spine long, shoulders broad, hands in my lap). I then spent the majority of the open meeting breathing softly, focusing on each person who was speaking, using my breath to help me stay focused, not fidget, and be present. It worked rather well. It was so effective and I stayed so relaxed that I intend to try this in other meetings I attend.

I was really happy with how everything turned out. And the feedback I’ve gotten from my colleagues has been incredibly positive. This experience really reinforced to me how yoga teaching is as much of a practice for life outside the studio as the physical asana practice is. I hadn’t thought about it until I was preparing for this meeting.

Do you do anything that helps you out both in life and in the activity (team sports, individual sports, etc.)? If you are a teacher, how do you take what you’ve learned from taking the seat of a teacher into other areas of your life?

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Other tidbits:

Parts of my opening remarks were quoted on the FEI Financial Reporting Blog today and I was almost quoted in a local newspaper.

Click here if you’re interested in hearing any part of this open meeting or just getting some insight into what I do during the day. You can find me approximately at the following markers: 0:07:23, 1:23:00, 1:33:00, and 1:44:00.

Knitting up a storm

Aug 28, 2011   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, creativity, knitting, meditation, Yoga  //  No Comments

my size 19 bamboo knitting needles from ChiaoGoo

I learned how to knit when I was about 10 years old from my mother’s mother, my grandmother. For as long as I can remember, she would always have a pair of knitting needles or a crochet hook and yarn with her almost everywhere she went. I have several afghans that she knitted or crocheted over the years. And at 89, you will continue to find her crocheting – mostly baby blankets for my nephews. I didn’t do much with knitting after the summer that she taught me, but I did remember bits and pieces of what she told me.

In 2009, I had a desire to pick up knitting again. I bought a “teach yourself how to knit” kit, some yarn, and a few extra needles to get started. That year, I completed one project and started one, which was put down shortly after starting it. Whatever I thought knitting would do for me, it wasn’t doing, so I just stopped. In 2010, while I was preparing to go up to NJ for the holidays, I decided that I might as well bring my knitting stuff with me. Afterall, I would be in NJ for a week, staying at my condo alone. And when I wasn’t visiting with family and friends, I would need something to do, that did not involve eating, shopping, or watching TV. It turned out to be a very smart decision.

While I was visiting New Jersey over Christmas, a blizzard (or near blizzard) decided to come for a visit dumping 5 to 6 feet of snow on us. Needless to say, I was condo-bound for a couple days and needed something to do – that wasn’t eating or watching TV, and reading wasn’t on the top of my to do list. It was the perfect opportunity for me to try knitting again. I found my knitting groove that week. I managed to finish 1 unfinished project and complete 2 short scarves from start to finish. When I was no longer condo-bound, I went out and bought a bunch more yarn to bring back to DC with me.

I got back to DC and the year of the scarf started. I decided that many of the important women in my life would be getting a handmade scarf in 2011. In general, I’ve always felt that there are few things better than receiving a handmade gift.  You can visually see and emotionally feel the thought that went into the gift. A handmade gift may not cost a lot of money, but in my years of giving handmade gifts know, they generally take a lot of time. The giving of time to make the gift is what makes it difficult to put a price on a handmade gift and makes it so special. The year of the scarf started by making scarves for my mother and sister for their birthdays. They were the first 3 scarves that I made in 2011.  I had a lot of fun making the scarves and the act of knitting was very calming and relaxing. Seeing how much my mom and sister liked the scarves when I gifted them cemented why I wanted to keep making and giving them away.

Lion Brand Yarn (clockwise from top left): Fun Fur Orchid, Fun Fur Prints Tropical, Homespun 329 Waterfall

A few weeks into the new year, I started my yoga teacher training and I was the knitting yogini. Training was held almost every weekend (Saturday and Sunday) from February through mid-April. And I would bring my knitting with me to the yoga studio. It was almost guaranteed that you could find me in the yoga studio’s tea lounge for almost an hour every morning of training – knitting. And during the week between training weekends, I would pull out my knitting to help me relax. Over the course of my 200 hr certification, I completed 13 scarves and 2 wraps.  I found that I would get lost in my knitting. It was like sitting in meditation.

I’m still only at a point where I knit and pearl – so I make many scarves or wraps that I can do with either a stockinette or a garter stitch, and garter tends to be my favorite. I find it to be the most relaxing and meditative, since I can get lost in the repetition of the movement and I don’t have to think about changing the stitch. It’s the same reason why I haven’t ventured into patterned pieces or shapes yet.  (One of these days, I’ll try to make a pair of sock slippers. When I do, you can expect that it will find it’s way here.) The repetition allows me to become aware of where I am, aware of my breath, and aware of my thoughts. It’s not quite the same as sitting down for samatha meditation, but still requires finding a comfortable seat and physically stilling the body.

I started a new project – another wrap – after teacher training over Easter weekend. Without teacher training, it took me much longer to finish the project – picking it up and putting it down many times over the last 4 months. Although the need for the meditative benefit still exists, I have not made the time to pick up my knitting needles. However, it seems like kickstarting my knitting goes hand in hand with severe weather conditions. Due to Hurricane Irene passing through the DC area, all of my weekend plans were cancelled or postponed until later in the weekend (Saturday to Sunday) or to later in the fall and I all of a sudden had a completely free weekend to do whatever I wanted. Spending the early morning hours blogging about passions colliding and catching up with a friend over breakfast, I spent the afternoon and evening hours, knitting up a storm.

pattern of finished wrap (used size 19 knitting needles; see below for instructions)

made a cuff with the yarn i had leftover (used my size 17 knitting needles for this)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rainy Saturday was the perfect weather to help bring awareness and calm back to my mind and my body. I finished the wrap, which I really do love, and made a cute wrist-cuff with the leftover yarn. (I’m hoping I have enough of the three yarns left to make a second cuff for a pair or possibly make a muff. I think they’ll be fun in the fall or winter.) This morning the rain continues, but is expected to stop in a few hours. After breakfast and maybe a nap, I plan to pick up another unfinished project and continue knitting up a storm.

How did you ride out the storm? What did you do while being stuck inside the house all day?

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Instructions for Wrap (modified from a 2-hr shawl pattern I found on Lion Brand’s website)

Materials: 3 skeins each of Lion Brand Fun Fur Orchid and Lion Brand Fun Fur Prints Tropical; 1 skein Lion Brand Homespun 329 Waterfall (if this color scheme doesn’t suit you, select complimentary yarn shades using the same ratios: 1 Homespun yarn and 3 each of 2 different Fun Fur yarns)

Knitting needles: size 19 for wrap

Instructions: Pull yarn together from each of the three yarns to create one thread. Cast on 20-22 stitches based on desired width. Knit each row until wrap reaches between 68 and 72 inches long. Bind off after reaching the desired length.

To make the cuff, I followed the same approach, using size 17 needles and casting on 7 stitches. I then knitted each row until I reached the desired length to fit around my wrist and bound off the project. I used a plastic needle and the ends of the yarn to sew the two ends together to create the cuff. I think that 16 to 18 stitches and the size 17 needles would have resulted in a cute muff. I may be trying to make one of those later today. Happy Knitting!

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About Lisa

Auntie to two adorable little boys and a beautiful little girl. Sister. Friend. Yogini. Yoga teacher. Accountant. Knitter. Amateur photographer. Very amateur golfer.

Where to Find Lisa

Wednesdays, 8:30 p.m.
Yoga 1 (1 hour)*
Tranquil Space Arlington

Thursdays, 5:30 p.m. Yoga On-the-Go*
Thursdays, 7:00 p.m. Yoga 1*
Tranquil Space Arlington

Substitute Teach, As Needed*
Tranquil Space Arlington and Dupont

*Click here to make a reservation for any of these classes!

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