Monday, December 26, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #24

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hannukah, or Happy Kwanzaa. Or whatever other holiday floats your boat this time of year. Although I no longer consider myself a Christian, I do celebrate Christmas since I was raised Christian and family traditions around the Christmas Holiday.

I taught my last "community" class at 3Sisters at least on Friday nights because it will conflict with my Sober Yogi class I teach at Soul Stretch in Westlake. I also taught my weekly Fitworks class as well as subbing on Wednesday night. I am now over 50 hours of teaching since getting certified. Still have a long way to go as a Yoga instructor but so much better than when I was first certified. Still need to find my voice in terms of expressing and talking about themes. Well themes with a spiritual bent anyway.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Fourth Limb of Yoga - Pranayama

So this year I have been slowly reviewing the the 8 Limbs of Yoga in order to figure out what my intentions for 2016 are going to be. Clearly, since it is already November, this process will transition to preparing for setting my 2017 intentions. As we get closer to the New Year's or early next year I'll review what I had defined, what I achieved and see where we end up. But let's keep moving forward.

Which means, next up of the 8 Limbs is the fourth one, Pranayama.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #23

This weekend started off with my Sober Yogi Hour followed by a Life Is Good discussion. After YTT Anatomy weekend last weekend, I was back to teaching my class at Fitworks. I also subbed at Stat Crossfit at 8am on Sunday before heading to my weekly infusion of Marni Goodness. Went grocery shopping and Christmas present shopping then spent the rest of the day cooking, watching football (Browns, ugh).

Monday, December 12, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #22

This weekend started off with my Sober Yogi Hour followed by a Life Is Good discussion. Spent most of the rest of the weekend taking Gina Schatz's Anatomy class for Marni Task's YTT program. I skipped out early on Sunday to take my fellow YTT grad Kim Hackman's restorative yoga class at Confluence. I may or may not have snored.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #21

This weekend started off with my Sober Yogi Hour followed by a Life Is Good discussion. Took my weekly infusion of Marni Task goodness on Saturday morning before teaching at Fitworks in Highland Heights. Sunday I headed out early to take Lori Palmer's yoga class at Soul Stretch in Westlake.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Sober Yogi Yoga at Soul Stretch Yoga in Westlake

So if everything goes according to plan, Soul Stretch Yoga in Westlake will open its doors for business this Friday Dec. 2nd. I am also happy to announce the inaugural Sober Yogi class on Friday at 6:30pm where we will begin the journey of exploring the integration 12 Step programs, the 8 Limbs of Yoga, and a whole foods, plant based diet in recovering addicts lives. After 60 minutes of an All Levels Vinyasa flow we'll have an hour long Life is Good discussion recapping all the good things that have happened in the last week because we are sober.

The class is a donations based class, and we are suggesting a $5 donation. All donations received during the month of December will go to The Lantern Center for Recovery in Cleveland ( . The Lantern Center's mission is to provide quality sober living to chemically dependent men and to educate and assist people with recovery from drug & alcohol addiction. So if you want to donate more please feel free!

I am a recovering alcoholic of 21 years, a recovering smoker of 4 years and a SAD (Standard American Diet) recovering addict. My class is open to addicts of all persuasions with the only caveat that your are committed to your recovery process.

I do get a lot of questions about classes for friends and family. While the Sober Yogi class is for recovering addicts only, the Roots of Recovery classes are open to everyone impacted by addictions - friends, families, and the addicts themselves. Check the Soul Stretch Website or Mindbody for the schedule details.

If you know someone who may be interested, feel free to share this post.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #20

So this was a "long" weekend since it was Thanksgiving. I subbed on Wednesday night at the Highland Heights Fitworks which was pretty fun. For Thanksgiving, I pretty much cooked all day long and took it all down to Mom's apartment and Judson Manor .and we had a really good time. We had an extensive conversation with Mom about how she is struggling with the transition to her new abode. As nice at it is it's not the house she lived in for 25 or 30 years of her life. It was really good to get "real" with her.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #19

Started the weekend off doing a triple upping the ante from last week. I took a class at work and then two at 3 Sisters. Taught my class at Fitworks and spent most of the day reading and planning for Thanksgiving. Sunday Morning I started re-reading the Big Book after 20 something years. I recently finished Yoga and the 12 Step Path by Kzcy Hawk. Then later Sunday morning I went to my teacher's, Marni, class at Cleveland Yoga.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #18

Started the weekend off doing a double at 3 Sisters followed by Marni on Saturday morning. Taught at Fitworks after Marni's class at Cleveland Yoga then subbed for a friend at Stat Crossfit in Avon.

In the afternoon I was Metrohealth auditorium for PlantBasedCLE's screening of Food Choices. And we had a great panel discussion including Dr. Pam Popper, Jane Esselstyn, Brian Hart, and Patricia Slimbarski.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #17

I spent my weekend volunteering at the Health Care is Self Care's Wrapping Our Heads, Hearts, and Hands Around Plant Based Eating - Holiday Edition workshop at The Knob. If you have an interest in a plant based lifestyle do yourself a favor and head to the Knob for one of these workshops. It is well worth it! Check out my photo album of this weekend:

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

The Third Limb of Yoga - Asana

In two previous posts, I reviewed the first two limbs of Patanlji's 8 Limbs of Yoga, Yama and Niyama. Those two limbs contain the equivalent of the 10 commandments; the first five focus on how to treat others, the second five on how you and your actions. The third limb is the one most people seem to consider Yoga until they really begin to practice. Actually for many people this is all there is even knowing seven other limbs exist. And that's okay, but the goal I set at the beginning of the year was to be more yogic.

So we need to dig a little deeper and understand it in context of all 8 limbs.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #16

I spent my weekend volunteering at the Engine 2 sponsored 2Forks Weekender here in Cleveland at the Downtown Marriott hotel. The amount of information was absolutely staggering. There were times that I felt such a disconnect to the rest of society, that such critical, lifesaving information is not more widely known. There shear amount of data demonstrating the overwhelming benefits of a whole foods, plant based diet is almost overwhelming.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #15

So I started off the "weekend" doing a yoga triple, one class at work and then two at 3 Sisters Yoga + Fitness; one class was with one of the sisters (Courtney) the other was a community donation class with Jen teaching.

I taught one of these classes a few weeks ago and will be teaching it again. It's a great opportunity offered by 3Sisters. We get practice teaching, people get to try yoga very inexpensively (for free if you don't donate), and any funds raised get donated to a local charity. What a great win-win opportunity. Thank you 3 Sisters.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #14

I had a great weekend attending Marni Task Yoga Jivasara Yoga Teacher Training. I graduated in May of this year but Marni welcomes back alumni to participate in the teacher training. It's incredibly generous of her!

I can tell you that I feel like I am learning even more than I did the first time around. That actually cannot be true since I pretty much didn't know *anything at all* last time around. That's also why is almost seemed overwhelming. Last year I had been doing yoga for only a year, where as now I am a grizzled veteran of practicing yoga for two years.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #13

On Saturday I was having trouble figuring out what do do with my day (too many choices leading to indecision) when I randomly posted a question on PlantBasedCLE's closed Facebook group if anyone had any recommendations for a spiralizer. The response was great with some great recommendations and a link to one site's ranking of spiralizers.

More importantly, though, one friend (thanks Victoria!!) reached out and mentioned that her friend's dad had one he wasn't using. So I jumped at the chance and Victoria offered to deliver it that same day! Thank you universe.

Sunday was also my first staff meeting for Soul Stretch Yoga where I will be teaching Friday nights at 6:30. I missed the Browns game which isn't so much a loss but was bummed the Indians game was rained out.

Welcome to this week's Tao Te Ching verse. See here for what this is all about. 

Verse 13
Success is as dangerous as failure.
Hope is as hollow as fear.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #12

So Friday night I taught my first Community Class at 3 Sisters Yoga + Fitness and had my first class as the "permanent" yoga teacher at Fitworks in Highland Heights. Spent the rest of Saturday cleaning out closets and getting rid of clothes which is what happens when you lose 50 pounds in two years. Sunday was a fun day with a Marni class (of course), lunch with my friend Jenny, and trying my hand out at Lentil, Chard & Sweet Potato Curry from Forks Over Knives. It was delicious!

Welcome to this week's Tao Te Ching verse. See here for what this is all about. 

Verse 12
Colors blind the eye.
Sounds deafen the ear.
Flavors numb the taste.
Thoughts weaken the mind.
Desires wither the heart.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #11

This last weekend I was able to get three of my teacher Marni Task classes in! And don't tell anyone but we bought a car.

Welcome to this week's Tao Te Ching verse. See here for what this is all about. 

Verse 11
We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center whole
that makes the wagon move.
We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house, 
but it is the inner space 
that makes it livable.
We work with being, 
but non-being is what we use.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #10

This last weekend I spent Saturday volunteering at Health Care is Self Care's Wrapping Our Heads, Hearts And Hands Around Plant-Based Eating at "The Knob". Fantastic learning experience and love the #hcisctribe!

Welcome to this week's Tao Te Ching verse. See here for what this is all about.

Verse 10
Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to original oneness?
Can you let your body become
as supple as a newborn child's?
Can you cleanse your inner vision
until you see nothing but the light?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #9

I had an incredibly full weekend of volunteering, attending yoga/spin studio openings, my first staff meeting at 3 Sisters Yoga + Fitness, the one year anniversary of starting Marni Taks's YTT program. Oh yea, and a little yoga here and there.

Welcome to this week's Tao Te Ching verse. See here for what this is all about.

Verse 9
Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt

Monday, September 05, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #8

Happy Labor Day! I teach at Fitworks in Highland Heights this morning but will be back for breakfast by 9.

Welcome to this week's Tao Te Ching verse. See here for what this is all about.

Verse 8
The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying to.
It is content with the low places that people disdain.
Thus it is like the Tao

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


In my last post, I described the Yamas. This post is the Niyamas, the second of Patanjali's 8 Limbs Yoga. These posts are a series of posts reviewing the 8 Limbs of yoga with the purpose of helping my think through my 2016 Intention of being more "yogic".

The yamas, the first limb are focused on how to treat with beings outside of you, with other people. It talks about being honest, not stealing or not being greedy. The Niyamas are more focused on how you should treat yourself or personal actions. Literally meaning positive duties or observances.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #7

Welcome to this week's Tao Te Ching verse. See here for what this is all about.

Just to comment though, for now I am not adding any commentary. I am just going through the verses. At some point, I'll probably do it again but take my time and thinking more about each one.

Verse 7
The Tao is infinite, eternal.
Why is it eternal?
It was never born;
thus it can never die.
Why is it infinite?
It has no desires for itself;
thus it is present for all beings.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #6

Just returned from our two week whirlwind tour of Japan. I'll have at least one post on that experience.

Welcome to this week's Tao Te Ching verse. See here for what this is all about.

Verse 6
The Tao is called the great mother:
empty yet inexhaustible,
it gives birth to infinite worlds.
she welcomes both saints and sinners.
It is always present within you
You can use it any way you want.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #5

Still in Japan, but still not going to miss the weekly post.

Welcome to this week's Tao Te Ching verse. See here for what this is all about.

Verse 5
The Tao doesn't take sides;
it gives birth to both good and evil
The Master doesnt' take sides;
she welcomes both saints and sinners.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #4

So just because I'm in Japan right now you thought I wasn't going to post? Think again! :-)

Welcome to this week's Tao Te Ching verse. See here for what this is all about.

Verse 4
The Tao is like a well:
used but never used up.
It is like the eternal void:
filled with infinite possibilities

Monday, August 01, 2016

Weekly Tao Te Ching Verse - Week #3

Welcome to this week's Tao Te Ching verse. See here for what this is all about.

Verse 3
If you overesteem great men,
people become powerless.
If you overvalue posessions,
people begin to steal.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Tao Te Ching - Weekly Verse - Week 2

I am currently reading the Tao Te Ching will be posting one verse per week for the rest of the year or until I am through all of them.

Verse 2
When People see somethings as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see somethings as good,
other things become bad

Monday, July 18, 2016

Tao Te Ching - Weekly Verse

So I recently bought Steven Mitchell's translation of the Tao Te Ching. In another life, I think I read this as an East Asian Studies major in college but I have zero recollection of it.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

Had Caitlin Hawkins​ and Barbara Hawkins​ over yesterday for Memorial Day, my birthday, George Hawkins’​ birthday, my graduation from Marni Task’s​ Jivasara Yoga Teacher Training and Caitlin's graduation from grad school at Case, the finding of an apartment, and landing a job here in Cleveland!

Since it was Memorial Day weekend, I wanted something "traditional". So I decided to try carrot dogs as a replacement for the typical hot dogs. To be honest, I was skeptical. In addition to the fact that I'm not really a fan of trying to recreate "meat" foods with veggies, since that's like an alcoholic drinking near beer (not really a good idea) I'd rather just go straight for a new thing altogether.

Much to my surprise, though, it was actually really good. The liquid smoke I think is really what makes it, but I topped it with arugula, mustard, Ketchup and caramelized onions.

I also tried out two new recipes this time from the PlantPure Nation Cookbook. Three actually since one them called for Tofu Cashew Mayonnaise also from the PlantPure Nation cookbook. The first was a Thai Tofu Wrap which was only okay. It'll be good if I can figure out something else but it needs a little more moisture, more of a kick, and more peanut butter maybe. It called for Sriracha which we didn't have so I used Cholula which we did, but probably not enough.

You can see the wraps on the plate covered in saran wrap. There's a pun in there somewhere.

The second recipe used a quarter cup of the Tofu Cashew Mayonnaise. For my fellow no oil friends, this recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon of tahini. I bought tahini that had no extra oil added but it was still quite oily. I like the flavor of tahini I just don't want the oil. But for yesterday I used 1/2 teaspoon of tahini.

Other than that though the tofu cashew mayonnaise was fantastic. Here's the recipe

1/4 raw cashews soaked for 2-3 hours
7 ounces extra firm tofu
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (I used less)
1/2 teaspoon tahini
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar (I bought the Braggs because of Theresa's comment at the last PlantBaseCle meeting)
2 1/2 Tablespoons Agave Nectar (I only used 2, but will probably use 1 next time)
2 Tablespoons Water
1/4 teaspoon xanthum gum (I didn't have any so I used potato starch as a kind of binder

Tweak to your heart's content, particularly perhaps just grinding sesame seeds up yourself will reduce the oil.

I used this mayonnaise for the Eggless Tofu Salad. For what it is worth I never really liked egg salad so I don't consider this a replacement :-) The Tofu Salad was fantastic, the dill adding it the perfect flavor. The bowl bigger bowl in the picture to the left is a Quinoa salad my wife Arisa featuring Chayote.

I used my friend Lori Palmer’s (website) suggestion to make "chips" out of Engine2’s Sprouted Ancient Whole Grains Tortilla (you only need to bake for maybe 5 minutes, I had mine in a just a little bit too long), and used them to scoop the tofu salad. Thanks Lori that was a fantastic suggestion!

For scheduling reasons we started earlier than we would have normally and we finished earlier as well. Which was just as good because by the time we would have normally just been settling in to eat we were inundated with rain.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Handstand Success

Some times I think it's okay to celebrate, so I'm posting my handstand. It took me 14 months of practicing a little bit pretty much every day. I finally hit it for an extended period of time.

Of course as a yogi I should not be attached to the rewards of my hard work but let's say that attitude is still a work in progress. High fives are welcome! :-)

Friday, February 26, 2016

CNN Reports on GOP Debate

So CNN was reporting on the debate had the following paragraph.

The big questions of the night: Which senator did a better job convincing voters they can best take on Trump? Did Rubio's attacks and interruptions show a new side of himself? Did Cruz do enough to persuade people he's worth another look? Or did Trump's dismissive counters -- Rubio is a "choke artist," while Cruz is a "liar" -- leave him looking like a strongman swatting away the sorts of politicians that turned his supporters furious in the first place?

These are not the questions that need to be asked. What needs to be asked is what has gone wrong with this country that these morons are our Presidential candidates for one of our two political parties.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Links For A Friend

I have a friend that recently disclosed that they experiencing some issues that sound to be dietary related. Or perhaps their cures are. The person is seeing a nutritionist that I know so I'm feeling good about the information they are getting. I did want to provide some links as well and decided to do it via this blog so others might see it as well.

In general, I strongly recommend This site contains work by Dr. Greger to review various scientific data "so you don't have to". You'll get that if you watch this behmoth of a video which is over an hour long. And the content, oh my. It's incredibly informative, but it's long. The video is called Food as Medicine and was released on August 23rd, 2015.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Yamas

It So I mentioned in my 2016 Intentions post, my main goal for 2016 is to graduate from Yoga Teacher training with Marni Task. Stemming from that are more specific goals, one of which was to apply more yoga principles to my life. I listed them out in that post and here they are again.

  1. Yamas
  2. Niyamas
  3. Asana
  4. Pranayama
  5. Pratyhahara
  6. Dharana
  7. Dyhana

Of course the last is Samadhi or bliss, the final stage which I am fairly confident I won't get to by May or even this year. These are actually from the The Yoga Sutras Patanjali and are described in the 3rd Book.

I did not get into these specifically. Also one of my goals was to blog more frequently and consistently than I have been. So I will use the fact that I haven't talked about these things in detail nor how I will apply them, I'll write up blog posts about that - two birds with one stone 一石二鳥ですな

The first post will be about the Yamas

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Plant-Based Lifestyle

So a friend came up to me recently and asked me how I did it. It, you ask? The implied question really was on multiple levels. The first implied question was how did I lose the weight that I've lost, was it really only diet and which one. The second implied question was about my diet and how I stay plant strong, plant perfect or what have you. At the time I answered it well I think but upon thinking about it could have put more thought into answer better.

This post will attempt to describe what has really made me successful up til now - and hopefully out into the future.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

2016 Intentions

So if you haven't seen my recap of 2015 you might want to read it first. This year goals, targets, intentions, whatever you want to call them are built off the success and failures of last year. Probably the most important of which is the fact that I am in teacher training. The teacher training with Marni Task will be the catalyst for most of my goals.

Another key factor is that weight loss is not part my 2016 intentions as I am at the general weight I want to be.  I fully intend to maintain my weight of in and around 140 pounds. So if I have to tweak what I'm eating to make sure I stay in that weight range I will. Weight loss per se, though, is not important enough to be part of my annual intentions.