Optimism through asana, salutation Mondays, plus, From the WLF Kitchen:Remembering Peter Clements
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How to Turn A Pessimist into An Optimist Through Asana

by Tracey Rich

If I really see myself
I laugh out loud at the humor of it
If I really see myself
I fall silent in awe
If I really see myself
I burst into a thousand pieces from inspiration
And if I fail to really see myself
I am sealed in the cement and stone of my own prison

--Anonymous (shared as a Rumi poem but found no verification)

Most likely, you can't turn a pessimist into an optimist, but you can try to observe pessimistic behavior in yourself and not surrender to it wholly as your habitual outlook. Challenging times call for greater awareness. They call for support that boosts and nurtures your soul. If you think about everything as energy, then pessimism can be experienced as weighty, resistant, or even constrictive. In contrast, optimism can feel expansive and buoyant. How do we find optimism within a churning external landscape that can throw your world off-center regularly, and make you turn to pessimism on a daily basis? Observing energy could be the key.

A yoga practice teaches the art of cultivating energy. The ideal is when a practice leaves you balanced. The alchemical dance of the physics of upward and downward moving energy are always at play in your asanas. Your breath is key in observing and responding to these natural flows or energetic rhythms.

In your practice you are learning to move with the expansive, uplifting qualities available in the inhalation. Remember, the word inspire is defined as to inhale, enliven, or animate. You are also learning to....

From the White Lotus Kitchen

Endive Salad with Wholegrain Mustard Dressing

Remembering Peter Clements

Our first White Lotus chef was Sally Ruhl, a funny, fiery, extremely talented young woman whose friendship remains a treasure. Sally was just nineteen when we hired her. She and her then fiancé, Peter Clements, both chefs, were regularly running marathons and participating in triathlons. It was not only their combined talent and food that was impressive. Sally came from the catering world, and Pete was thoroughly trained in the high intensity world of restaurant kitchens. They were both stars long before the celebrity chef era came into fashion, notwithstanding, the world renown Santa Barbara resident, Julia Child, whom they both knew and enormously respected.

Pete and Sally married and moved into the Center where over five years they would begin building their family that eventually included three children. Our staff holiday dessert parties were epic. Pete would sometimes pitch hit and help Sally in the Center kitchen during programs. Our open kitchen setup was not his cup of tea. He preferred to concentrate on his creations rather than the constant flow of well-meaning onlookers asking questions. This too was before the open kitchen concept was in vogue that so many restaurants adopted post Jeremiah Tower and Wolfgang Puck. Pete loved his wife and the Center, but often found the situation maddening. At the time, he preferred the sanctum of the heat, the noise, the unrelenting pace, and the insanity of the haunts of his training.

Pete worked at many notable Santa Barbara restaurants throughout his career, including co-owning and cheffing for a great, local Italian restaurant he helped create. He also worked to help change the worldview on the food served at one of our hospitals and a senior living community, and for many years, he worked privately for some of Santa Barbara's high visibility celebrities.

A few weeks ago, Pete passed away from natural causes while on a biking trip in Spain. He...

Salutation Mondays

Slow Your Flow

While we hope that your Yoga practice will be balanced and holistic everyday, here is one possible way to refine your practice and liven up your week by focusing on different aspects of your poses on different days. Here we begin with Salutation Mondays.

Let your morning begin with salutations. There is nowhere to go but to be in the present, with these flow sequences. Allow your breath to guide each moment of the individual asanas that combine to create a complete salutation. Move in tandem with your breath. Time the fluidity of your movements to the time it takes to completely fill or empty your lungs. Slow flow your salutations on Mondays. It's a less is more approach, with the simplicity of beginner's mind.

Dedicate a minimum of fifteen minutes to your salutations making some Monday's exclusively dedicated to salutations. Or, simply make some Mondays an intensive focus of a larger practice.

See sequence and details that follow. Also, use them to inspire your own ideas.