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!
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!
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 =)
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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!
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!