Thursday, November 11, 2010

M: Pumpkin Maple Granola and Aurorae Yoga

I begin with apologizing because you are probably SO tired of all the pumpkin overload! But, since I have can after can in my pantry just in case there is another shortage, I need to use the stuff up. I know, I'm a little pumpkin obsessed. I just remember around this time last year when I needed it and couldn't find it any where! So I'm more than covering my bases this year!

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Enter this pumpkin maple granola recipe I found from Two Peas and Their Pod. I followed it almost exactly, but since I couldn't find pepitas at the grocery store, I omitted those, and I also added about 1/3 cup of raisins (because I love raisins in my granola) with the dried cranberries. The hubs and I gobbled most of this up in the mornings mixed in with our yogurt, but there are so many different things you can use granola for!


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And can I please tell you how amazing my kitchen smelled while baking it in the oven? I also love the mixture of the maple syrup, pureed pumpkin, and applesauce. It's sweet, but the maple is not overbearing at all. The fall spices are seriously the star in this granola, so if you like nutmeg and cinnamon, then you are in the right place!


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Yum! Now onto subject #2 =)

So, as I'm sure most of you don't know about me, I practice yoga...as much as I can. It has become a very important part of my life and has truly helped me find balance and peace, especially during times when I have needed it most. I have never enjoyed the gym - actually it is a place I have come to really dislike. Don't get me wrong, I used to be there almost everyday working my butt off, but I just despised going for many different reasons. And please don't misunderstand, I admire people who love the gym and enjoy it, I wish I did! But, different things work for different people - not everyone enjoys the gym, not everyone enjoys yoga, etc, right? I just got to the point where I couldn't do it any more and I needed to find something that I loved that was healthy for me at the same time. Enter my first yoga session =)

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The whole idea of yoga is immersing yourself in a pose mentally and physically and letting go of everything else, just breathing in and out. It's like a pause in the middle of your everyday chaotic life. As Tara Brach stated in her book "Radical Acceptance", "The sacred pause helps us reconnect with teh present moment. Especially when we are caught up in striving and obsessing and leaning into the future, pausing enables us to reenter the mystery and vitality only found here and now".

You can see that when you put yourself in an environment where your focus is quieting your mind/pausing and strengthening and stretching your body at the same time, it is amazing what can come of it! I can be having an incredibly hard day and literally be driving to yoga ridden with anxiety or stress, but the second I walk into that studio and sit on that mat, I am calm.

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My time on the mat is very important, and I have had a great week of yoga so far thanks to this incredible new one that the nice people at Aurorae Yoga sent me (disclaimer: I received this product for free) - all of the pictures on this post are of me on my new mat. First of all, let me show you my old mat in comparison to my new Aurorae mat (the old one is in green - if you couldn't tell!)

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These mats are the thickest I've seen - I mean, compared to my old one, it was like I was sitting on a cloud! Although they are not too thick to grip onto. They are odor-free and made of eco-friendly materials! The mats are also extra long so your body is always cradled by the mat no matter what pose you are in. And, lets talk about how much deeper I feel like I can go into savasana! I could fall asleep!

I truly feel like I have had so much more support underneath of me with this mat through my yoga sessions, and much more support for my knees and other joints. You can also get the rosin bag (disclaimer: I received this product for free) which I think is crucial to have with your mat - it is like gymnast chalk in a little baggie that you can just pat onto your mat or your hands and feet so you don't slip around, which can be so important to have during those hot yoga sessions while you're sweating like crazy! I felt much more grounded! I also used my new mat for meditation, which was also a great experience.

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I was so happy when I saw that I had received the lavender mat. All Aurorae mats come in different colors which represent different meanings. The lavender represents spiritual, soothing, calming, and meditative, which is perfect for me and why I practice yoga.

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I just can't say enough about this yoga mat. It makes me want to practice even more often than I already do just so I can use it more frequently! I am really so pleased with the mat that my plan is to order some of their awesome accessories as well. They have everything from denim yoga mat bags and yoga blocks to organic spray mat wash.

Seriously, if you love yoga, or maybe want to start doing yoga, and are thinking about getting some props or a new mat, I really recommend visiting Auroraeyoga.com or go to their Amazon store - all of their products are so reasonably priced. The people that work at Aurorae are also such nice people and you can truly see that they care about yoga and want to stay true to its values. I support a company like that!

Til next time!

Namaste =)

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P.S. Don't forget to enter our CSN Stores Giveaway! Entries must be in by tomorrow morning at 7:00AM! Just refer back to our previous post. We will announce the winner tomorrow!

22 comments:

Erica said...

I have to go to yoga with you sometime! Glad you loved the mat- I think they have the best mats around. The granola looks super yummy too. Question- was it nice and crunchy? Although I enjoyed the granola I made from the cookbook the other day (the one that I used the pumpkin puree in) - it wasn't nearly as crunchy as my normal nola. Let me know! Thanks again for the gift- you are so thoughtful :)

lee said...

I really want to get more into yoga. It seems like everyone who does it really reaps the benefits.

Stephanie @cookinfanatic said...

I love my Aurorae yoga mat too! It's by far one of the best ones out there, love that it's super thick and soft. Great review :)

RhodeyGirl said...

I LOVE that first photo!

Faith said...

I have to say that the granola looks fantastic! I could never get sick of pumpkin. :) Thanks for telling us about that mat, I've been thinking of getting a new one!

Ms. Emily Ann said...

Yum! That granola looks amazing, I have never made it before, but may have to try this recipe out! Even just for the smell.. :)

And that mat looks incredible, thanks for the info, I will have to put in on my Christmas list!

oliepants said...

My first granola attempt was an epic fail as I didn't read the recipe closely and added the dried fruit into the mixture for baking. Womp womp womp...I have to give yours a try! :)

Beth @ DiningAndDishing said...

I really need to make homemade granola! I think it would make such a cute little gift for people. Maybe this Christmas! Your pumpkin version looks delicious.

Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday said...

Namaste :)

I LOVE yoga too, but I balance it with my love for the gym and my love of running.

I use a Manduka mat which gives a lot of support but is still quite firm. I'm not impressed by it's grip though. I still find that I slip around a lot on it unless I have a towel.

Dawn Dishes It Out said...

I agree with you totally about yoga. Over the last year it has really helped me find peace during some pretty crazy times. That mat looks nice and plush.

Pound said...

mmmm granola! im going to try that one too!

the mat looks awesome! i am def going to make myself do yoga, the benefits seem endless!!

fittingitallin said...

I need to get a new yoga mat...mine has super thin spots from overuse! I was considering either this brand or Yogitoes.

hbobier said...

I love yoga, but I've never done it outside! You look so peaceful. And that mat looks heavenly. I've had mine for like 5 years now, so I should probably upgrade!

Tracey said...

Yum!

I've never made granola but I have thought about it more than once.

Yoga is something that I still want to try. I've tried it before and didn't really like it but now I'm thinking it was more the instructor I didn't like:)

Holly said...

i love yoga too! i find my time on the mat is so precious too. i ALWAYS feel better after practicing - it's a total mind cleanse for me :)

Simply Life said...

oh that granola looks incredible! I'd be scared I'd eat the whole pan of it in a day! :)

Mandi said...

Erica, awesome question. Actually I did find after a few days in the container it definitely wasn't as crunchy. It had great crunch until then though! And, by the 2nd or 3rd day there wasn't much left anyways LOL

We Are Not Martha said...

Definitely not sick of pumpkin!! I made a pumpkin cranberry granola a couple weeks ago that was to die for!!

I'm not big on yoga, but I do love pilates :)

Sues

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

love this post!

pressed for time but i have been a yoga teacher for 10 yrs and it changed my life, 10 yrs ago :)

i have a MASSIVE!!!! yoga FAQ's post on my site. Right sidebar OR in my popular posts section.

Everything you talked about in this post, i can totally relate to...namaste my friend!

xoxo

Alissa @ Not Just Apples said...

yum, that granola looks great!

Krista said...

The granola sounds amazing and your photos are beautiful! I did yoga for awhile and didn't *love* it. I do LOVE pilates but lately I've been thinking of giving yoga another shot. Maybe it was the type of yoga and instructor that I didn't enjoy, not the yoga itself, right?

Mandi said...

I really do suggest trying a few different studios or even going to different instructors in the same studio. It took me about 3 different studio visits to find the one that I really loved and got the most out of. I also have my favorite instructors there - every instructor is different in their style of teaching and not everyone enjoys the same style of yoga either (vinyasa, jivamukti, bikram) so you have to find what's right for you. So I would definitely say to try another instructor or another studio if you didn't have a really great experience the first time around =)