No Such Thing As Free Yoga

Just stumbled across this gem in my drafts folder. Yes, I created this blog about a year ago… and then never posted. It didn’t take much perusing to realize that year-ago me was much cooler, and way funnier than present-time me. Basically, I want to be year-ago me when I grow up. (Except present-time me is better at yoga)

Spoiler Alert: The kick-ass friend I followed to yoga class in this post? She’s now a core-power yoga instructor, and even more kick-ass. Don’t believe me? Look at her Instagram. It’s the perfect level of awesomeness that leaves you unsure as to whether you’re inspired or feel bad about yourself. Ultimate kick-assery.(I’m not kidding. Look.)


You know what they say, “There’s no such thing as free lunch.” Well, I am coming to an end of my “free week” of yoga classes. Yeah.. I get it, I’m late to the game. I know what you’re thinking “I’m listening to this girl, who’s writing a post at 5 a.m., and isn’t even a regular yoga-goer (yet?) about a healthy lifestyle?” And to that I say… oh shut up.

Anyway, a new yoga studio just opened up in Georgetown. My friend and teammate (who happens to be, like, really intense at yoga) goes to the same studio back in her hometown, and because this girl is kick ass I obviously invited myself along to see what it was all about.

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Now, don’t get me wrong. This was not my first yoga class ever. Back in high school I actually used to voluntarily get up early for sunrise yoga before school with a friend and then-teammate of mine. (I know what you’re thinking- what a freak) But let me tell you something about sunrise yoga (at least sunrise yoga at my home gym — S/O Parrish Health & Fitness)… it’s relaxing. There is something really tranquil about welcoming the sun into the world with coordinated breaths and stretches first thing in the a.m. The level of difficulty may have had something to do with the fact that my friend and I were the only people younger than retirement age to take the class, but I’m not one to jump to any agist conclusions.

My first corepower yoga class was “yoga sculpt.” Wow. I consider myself to be a decently in shape person… but let’s just say I was about as unprepared as a seagull in a desert. I showed up with no mat, no towel, no water, and a false sense of confidence.

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“Sand? I got this.”

So, here are a few things I think everyone should know before their first trip to Corepower Yoga:

  1. Your instructor will kick more ass than you. But this is a good thing, right? Listen, this is how it goes. You’re gonna walk into the studio and see some really cute receptionist. She’s going to be in awesome shape and so you’re going to make the assumption that all employees get to take free yoga classes and that only someone at least vaguely obsessed with fitness would work at a yoga studio anyway. Be nice to the receptionist, because later, as you’re laying on your yoga mat ready to begin class, she will walk into the room and introduce herself as – wait for it – your instructor. If your ego is anything close to mine you’ll begin thinking about how you should become a yoga instructor. This thought quickly fades and halfway through the class is completely erased from your consciousness as your teacher jumps around yelling in an astonishingly cheerful tone while you slip in puddles of your own sweat. Where does she find the energy? Yep, she kicks more ass than you.
  2. Be Smart. Be Prepared. You think you can handle the heavier pair of dumbbells. Go lighter than your instincts are telling you. You’ll thank me halfway through the class as your quads are quivering.
  3. This is not a good first date. Seriously. You’re going to struggle. And you’re going to sweat. It’s not cute, so unless you are comfortable with looking like a wet cat – and smelling like a wet dog- around your date… invite someone else. Or just go alone.
  4. Have fun!! and GO! Your first week of classes is completely free of charge. They have mats and towels on location. And it’s not nearly as bad as I’ve made it sound… And it’s GOOD to have your ass kicked. Really, you have no excuse.

If you’ve been paying any attention, I know what you’re thinking now: “But you said there’s no such thing as free lunch yoga.”

You’re not going to pay a penny for your first week at core power. That’s the truth, no strings attached. But you’re gonna pay somehow. Me? On day 1, I paid with my calves. Ouch. On day 2, I paid with a nice, long 3 hour nap that afternoon. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little soreness and exhaustion. It means your workout…actually worked out!

Pre-Race Pasta with Protein-Packed Arrabbiata

Tomorrow is race day. I’ll be running my first 5k since November, and my first 5k on a track since 2012! I had to sit out last year’s track season due to some pesky injuries, so last weekend, when I ran the 1200 leg of the DMR, I participated in my first track meet in 2 years! It was also the first time I tried this new dish.

You see, I always like to eat pasta the night before a race. A typical runner’s carb-o-loading dinner. I get that I could eat any well-balanced meal and be fine, but I always feel like I need pasta. Superstition, I guess. It’s important to have protein, too, and usually I’ll make a vegetarian chicken parm with morningstar “chicken” patties, or put some boca crumbles in the pasta sauce. But Trader Joe’s has been running a little low in the fake-meat department, so I’ve had to improvise.

So, I worked with it. And honestly, what I came up with is better than any fake chicken parm. I DARE you carnivores to try this, too. I promise, it’s DELICIOUS. You won’t even know you’re eating tofu!

I knew I wanted an arrabbiata sauce – sometimes I like my pasta sauce to be a little spicy. Luckily, I still had half a jar in the fridge. I also had some baby bella mushrooms and capers, which, yum. I sliced the baby bellas up to small pieces and cooked them in the frying pan with some tofu.

Usually tofu is served cubed or sliced, but to make a meat-sauce like consistency I used a spatula to kinda of smush the tofu into a ground-meat consistency.

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For flavor, I sprinkled the tofu with ground red pepper and cinnamon, and a little bit of oregano and basil.

End result? A delicious, slightly spicy, and high-protein vegetarian pasta dish!

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If you prefer a milder sauce, replace arrabbiata with your favorite pasta sauce, and cut the red pepper from the tofu!

Pre-Race Pasta with Protein-Packed Arrabbiata

  • Linguine (or pasta of your choice)
  • Jarred Arrabbiata Sauce
  • Sprouted Extra Firm Tofu
  • Mushrooms
  • Capers
  • Red Pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Oregano
  • Basil

Directions

Boil a pot of water. While waiting for water to boil, heat olive oil in a pan. Pat tofu dry with paper towels. Slice into smaller pieces before putting into pan if you want. You’re going to break it into small, ground-meat (or scrambled egg) like pieces in the pan, so you can start with the big chunk if you want. Add the tofu in to the pan and use spatula to break into pieces, as in the picture above, or smaller. Sprinkle with ground red pepper (cayenne) and cinnamon. When the water comes to a boil, add the linguine. Cook as directed. Slice mushrooms into small, thin pieces. Add to pan with tofu. (add more oil if necessary) Sprinkle with oregano and basil. Cook the tofu and mushrooms over medium to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Drain linguine, and then put the noodles back into the pot. Add the tofu/mushroom combination, followed by the arrabiata sauce and then a few spoonfuls of capers. Stir/fold to mix. Serve, and Enjoy!

For some laughs while you’re cooking. I was skyping my boyfriend while writing this, and he asked to be featured in my blog. He even posed. So, here ya go. World, meet Chris. 🙂

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Arugula & Parmesan Ravioli with Mushrooms and Arugula

We all fall into funks sometimes. Little bumps along the road that jolt our tired minds and bodies just enough to make us realize that Netflix and online window shopping are no longer providing ample outlet for our “me-time.” You realize that your free time should be spent doing something you love. A hobby, so to say.

I recently had one of these moments. I finally finished gossip girl, and now my inner 16-year-old girl is content. I flew through House of Cards Season 2 weeks ago. And Orange is the New Black doesn’t come back out until June. Instead of searching for another show to binge on, I decided to take my free time and do something reasonably useful with it – do two things I love, but haven’t been doing nearly enough: Cooking, and writing.

So, I looked in my fridge to see what I had and I came up with…

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Seven Ingredients. Fifteen Minutes. One Easy, Delicious Meal.

Arugula & Parmesan Ravioli with Mushrooms and Arugula

Ingredients:

  • Ravioli (I used Trader Giotto’s Arugula & Parmigiano Reggiano Ravioli)
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms (I used Baby Bella)
  • Fresh Arugula
  • Parsley
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Bring a pot of waiter to boil. While waiting, heat olive oil in a pan. Throw in some garlic and a handful or so of mushrooms. Sauté, flipping and stirring impatiently. Decide water is taking too long to boil. Put lid over pot. When water is boiling, add the ravioli. Cook 3 minutes, or follow the directions on package. Drain ravioli, then put back in pot. Toss with mushroom, garlic, olive oil, parsley, salt, and pepper to taste. Plate and top with fresh arugula. Wah-lah! Bon Apetit! Tweak recipe as you like.