Happy Birthday to us! Yippee we are 2!

Hey there SYSters,

Thank you for coming back to the blog, We love having you here.

Guess what? - It’s our second birthday! It’s all thanks to you turning up to class - wow - thank you. By showing up you allow Setagaya Yoga Studio to continue doing the work that we absolutely adore. Seriously- thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Recently I have had a few students come to class at SYS after being told that they have to learn a certain pose to be able to stay in their group class at a different studio. I’m not judging anyone else or any one else’s studio but where ever possible I like to think that we can find options for every person in every class here.

This made me really think about what we what we do at Setagaya Yoga Studio and what our intentions are for the studio but also for everyone who walks through the door. It’s our 2nd birthday this month and we want to be super clear about what we can do for you.

Obviously we are practicing yoga here at the studio, but that encompasses so many things. We work with many people and many types of bodies and minds, each person who practices here at SYS has a complex personal history that they bring with them.

Basically when people start a yoga practice they are saying ”I’d like to see how this practice can help me and if yoga can have a positive effect on my life” we believe we can help you in the following ways.

  • It’s our greatest goal to help you feel like your best self through your yoga practice.

  • There is a time and place for being serious in yoga and also a time to be playful too, we encourage both facets at SYS.

  • At SYS we ease you out of your comfort zone in mind and body. We help you to set realistic and attainable goals for yourself. We know your hopes and dreams for your yoga practice and what you want it to do for you.

  • Once you understand the discipline of attending regular classes at SYS you can begin to understand that discipline in other areas of your life can be so beneficial to harmony and growth.

  • We don’t go too heavily into the spiritual stuff in regular classes but we remind you it’s there should you choose it.

  • Tokyo is filled with so many people that sometimes it can feel overwhelming and yet sometimes it can be a big lonely place. SYS can be a great place to meet like minded people. We extend the hand of friendship to everyone who walks through our doors. It is our intention to nurture our community and to help it thrive.

  • We keep our classes small at SYS. We don’t teach rote classes, we teach to the students in the room and to their needs and energy levels, lets be honest - sometimes we want to sweat a lot and sometimes we’re just hanging out for a super sweet long savasana.

  • We will be introducing some really lovely workshops over the next few months. They will be inline with our philosophy of helping you to feel like your best self, we will post about them in our blog but so you don’t miss it make sure you sign up for the Newsletter.

Thank you once again, we can hardly believe we have been open for 2 years already - how time flies when you are having fun and doing meaningful work.

YOu are going to love this! Apple Crumble the Vegan way

So on to today’s SYS recipe, Apple Crumble the Vegan Way - nom nom nom!

I just love apple crumble, it was one of the first recipes that I was keen to veganize after stopping consuming animal products, I hope you’ll enjoy it too.

Either hot or cold this apple crumble is delicious and many of my Japanese friends who have eaten it as dessert after dinner at my home say they would love to make it for their breakfast. That’s the interesting thing about living in a different culture, one man’s dessert can be another man’s breakfast.

Happy making and happy eating everyone. This is a recipe that I have yet to find a hater for, everyone likes this!

ingredients

filling

4 or 5 big apples - (you know those giant Fuji ones we get in Tokyo, they are so sweet and don’t need any extra sugar. If you don’t live in Tokyo I guess around about 1 kilo of apples is a good amount.)

75g raisins ( if you don’t like them leave them out)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

enough water to cover bottom of a saucepan by 1/2 cm


topping

2 cups of rolled oats - separated into 2 equal parts

1/2 cup coconut sugar

pinch of salt

6tblsp coconut oil ( heat the oil and then measure over wise you my end up with way too much oil if it’s in it’s solid state)

1 to 2 tblsp water ( 1 tbsp if it’s humid 2 if the air is dry)

To make the filling.

peal and chop the apples into 2 cm chunks

put into pan along with the raisins, cinnamon and water

bring to the boil and then turn down to a low heat and place the lid on the saucepan for 8 minutes, you may want to check after 2 minutes to see if there is still a little water left in the pan so the apples don’t burn. By this time the apples should have started to soften and begin releasing their own juices. After 8 minutes you can take the lid off the apples and turn up the heat and watch carefully until almost all of the liquid has evaporated.

Then put apples into a high sided baking dish, the shape of the dish doesn’t really matter. I tend to use a 20cm pirex square dish. you can use whatever you have in your cupboards. a smaller dish will make a thicker crumble a larger one thinner - no big deal.

preheat oven to 375F. 190C Gas 5

to make the topping

divide the oats into 2. place half in a food processor and whizz them up until they are ground into a course flour. Transfer into a bowl.

add the remaining ingredients and mix together.

sprinkle the topping onto the filling and place in the oven for 30 minutes. if the top is getting too brown you can cover with aluminium foil.

It’s now ready to eat. let me know what you think in the comments.

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Forgiveness is for you

The definition of forgiveness in the Cambridge dictionary is :

1.To stop blaming or being angry with someone for something that person has done, or not punish them for something.

2.To stop being angry with someone who has done something wrong.

Raise your hand if you find forgiveness difficult. (You can’t see me over here but my hand is way upon the air, I’m getting better at it but sometimes it takes me a moment to remember what I’m about to write here)

I suspect many people reading this don’t find forgiveness that easy.

Why forgive?

So why should we make the effort to forgive someone? The answer is quite simple -because by not forgiving the other person we are hurting ourselves. By harbouring feelings of animosity towards another person it doesn’t make us feel any better. It’s even possible that the other person doesn’t even know they have done anything wrong and you might be walking around feeling unforgiving all by yourself -so completely pointless and so damaging to you!


Is it possible to forgive?

Just think about when we make a mistake and how long it takes to forgive ourselves - not nearly as long as it takes to forgive someone else right? We forgive ourselves by telling ourselves that we did our best at the time and that we can do better next time. In my opinion I think it’s possible to extend this forgiving attitude to others too.

Is it important to forgive?

I believe that is is important to forgive and the reason for that is that it makes ourselves feel better. Consider for a moment the feeling you get when you are harbouring animosity towards another person, You may initially tell the person out loud how you are feeling but after that initial contact or confrontation you can often be left feeling really unhappy and angry or keep running over the scenario in your mind. Possibly even going over what you could have said to inflict more pain or prove that you were right. But imagine how you could feel if you forgive. Instantaneously tension leaves the body. You see, forgiveness is not for the other person, forgiveness is for YOU. Shedding the feelings of annoyance make YOU feel better. Leaving sadness behind makes YOU feel better. Thinking about repairing bridges rather than burning them down brings a sense of ease to YOU. Forgiveness sets YOU free from the control the other person had over you.

I don’t think you actually have to even tell the other person that you forgive them if you don’t want to and sometimes we may not be given the opportunity to do this. But to know in your own mind that you are free from that gnawing feeling of resentment and to extend the gift of forgiveness to another is actually a true gift to yourself.


The Rotten Fruit Award goes to ..... Bananas.

Lindsey’s ( up until now secret) Banana Bread Recipe.

I used to be the kind of person that always seemed to be throwing away old bananas. You know the kind, the ones with the really black skin that would be way too ripe to eat just as they are, way too sweet and far too mushy. I have rectified this problem by baking those yellow bad boys into delicious bready cakeyness that I never have to throw in the trash, in fact I barely have to cover it over for the night as the whole family goes back for seconds.

I have experimented over the years and this is my favourite Vegan Banana Bread Recipe. It’s super easy and really just involves a few ingredients, throwing them into a bowl, mixing and shoving into the oven for a while. It’s a good one to make with kids and it’s a hit with everyone. I consider it to be cake more than bread but it’s the kind of cake you can eat for breakfast with a nice cuppa and not feel too guilty about it.

So here you go here’s my gift to you, go forth and make B Bread and feel free to share the recipe if you love it, it comes from my heart to fill your tummies. Let me know how you like it in the comments.

Recipe

2 very ripe Bananas ( plus 1 more to decorate if you want to)

2 tblsp chia seeds

10tblsp water

1 and 3/4 cups of rice flour ( you can use any kind of flour that you like but the rice flour gives a really dense texture and a really crispy crust so it’s my favourite )

1 cup of coconut sugar ( you can use brown sugar if you prefer)

1 cup of walnuts or peanuts ( omit if you prefer)

1/2 cup of coconut oil ( actually any oil will do however I don’t love olive oil in this recipe)

1/4 cup plant based milk ( I use soy)

1tsp baking soda

1tsp vanilla essence

1/2tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350f, 180c, or gas 4

Oil and flour your baking tin so the banana bread doesn't stick whilst cooking.

( I use a 20com bundt baking tin because I like to have a good ratio of crispy crust to gooey cake but you can use a loaf tin or a round cake tin if that is all you have )

Put chia seeds in a bowl with the water and leave for 10 minutes until they form a gel like consistency. ( stir once after about 3 minutes so the chia seeds absorb water evenly)

Whilst the chia seeds soak up the water mash the ripe bananas in a separate bowl. Literally throw in the rest of the ingredients in no particular order and mix with the fork that you mashed the bananas with - somehow using a fork rather than a spoon makes a better textured cake - probably something to do with aeration.

Throw in the chia seed gel once it is ready and mix again.

Pour the mixture into your prepared baking tin and slide into the oven for around 30 minutes. you know your own oven so if it’s slow it will need more time and if your oven cooks quickly you’ll need less time. You’ll know when it’s done when you slide a metal skewer into the centre of the banana bread and it comes out clean with no cakes mixture stuck to it.

Remove from the oven and leave in the baking tin for about 10 minutes to cool a little and then serve as it is or you could add ice cream if you like……

BE WARNED! - this cake is very moreish!!

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Putting the ME in my own regiMEn.

Who keeps a diary?

I do, it consists of a long loooong list of all the things that I have to do. This is my current list for this week.

Pay this bill.

Pay that bill.

Take the cat to the vet.

Buy rice flour and avocados.

Make new class materials.

Pick up the dry cleaning.

Go to the dentist.

Do business school modules.

Although some of the things above I enjoy and they will be productive I don’t necessarily find them to be very relaxing. After finishing work, taking care of my family and crossing off the things on my to do list I wasn’t really finding much time to do anything just for me and it was getting me down a bit. So I figured that I really needed to schedule in me time otherwise I was never going to get chance to do the things that I wanted to do.

Lately I have scheduled in “me time” into my own diary, and guess what - it works - hallelujah!!!

This is what my “me time” list looks like -

Meditation - everyday

Self yoga practice - 6 days/week

Coffee with a friend - once/ week or more

Sports massage -once every 2 weeks

Sitting quietly/ being idol/ doing sweet FA - twice/ day

These things are non negotiable, these moments in my schedule won’t be changed because something else comes up. These are the things that I need to feel well and whole and happy. So if I may be so bold as to offer you some guidance today it is this - if you are feeling like you are not getting chance to do something that you want to do PUT IT IN YOUR DIARY and treat it like you would anything else on your list of things to do. Keep your promises to yourself like you would keep a promise to your best friend. Guard this time fiercely and make sure it happens. Take time to enjoy doing something for yourself even if it’s just sitting quietly for 10 minutes with some tea.

Once I had made the conscious decision to make time to do the things that I enjoy my time seemed to expand, and let me tell you that life has become much more enjoyable and I am a much nicer person to be around.

I’ll leave the blog there for now because the alert in my phone is about to go off and signal that it’s time to do absolutely nothing at all.

The BEST roast pototoes ever!!

I have a rosemary bush in my garden that just grows and grows and grows, I never have to water it or take care of it in anyway it’s super self sufficient - just the way I like my plants to be - low maintenance. From time to time I look at it and give it a trim and use it’s delicious stalky branchy leaves to cook with. This recipe is without a doubt my absolute favourite way to use rosemary.

Rosemary Roast Potatoes

Do you know how to make roast potatoes with just the right ratio of outer crispiness to inner fluffiness?

Read on friends, (you can thank me later!)

Take your potatoes/ tates/ spuds or whatever you like to call them give them a wash.

Cut potatoes in half leaving the skin on.

Put them in cold water and bring the water to the boil and keep boiling until they are just soft enough to put a knife through easily.

Strain the potatoes

turn on the oven to 200c or 400f degrees gas mark 6 (or 180c or 350f or gas mark 4 for a fan assisted oven)

Now this next part will make ALL the difference so don’t forget this next step. Put the potatoes back into the pan and turn the heat on again, this will dry all the moisture of them and when they look dry begin to shake the pan, the potatoes will start to break up a bit and look fluffy, now stop and put them onto a baking tray.

Pour enough olive oil over them to coat them, sprinkle over some salt and add the chopped up rosemary - in my opinion you can’t really go overboard with the rosemary!!

Pop them in the oven for about 20 minutes, turning them over to coat with oil after around 10 minutes, they are done when they are golden and crispy. They may take a little bit longer depending on the type of potatoes you use and the speed of your oven.

Enjoy as they are or with all sorts of delicious accompaniments - I like to eat these with a good salad, if you are a meat or fish eater these go very well with that sort of stuff too.

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