Hello! It’s been awhile. Summer is in full swing, and for us it’s included buying our first house and a move. Not to mention continuing Physical Therapy and Yoga trainings, which always seems to be my happy place!

I have always had a connection with trainings, information and books. In fact during the moving process the heaviest and bulkiest items to move were all our books. As I was packing them all, I wondered if books could serve as a Talisman. I have been coming to realize for me, this is true. There are two books especially that take me back to the time when I was first introduced to Yoga, Physical Therapy, and the Mind and Healing connection as I was working back from multiple surgeries.

The first is Getting Well Again by Carl Simonton MD, a truly innovative book for it’s time confronting the Mind/Physical connection and healing, especially with Cancer. The second is Quantum Healing by Deepak Chopra MD, one of his earlier books and I think the first I read by him. Both opened my mind to the potential of healing, way past the boundaries and restrictions I set upon myself.

As I looked at the covers they are a reminder of how much I went through back then, and what a different and amazing space I am in now. Rochester handstand hollow backJust like these old cobblestone structures in Rochester, NY. Such beautiful buildings serve to remind  a more modernized town how much it has truly changed through the years.

In the process of purging and releasing of what we do not need now, physical and emotional, sometimes its helpful to have a  physical object reminding us to appreciate all that we have worked through, and calling attention to what we are truly capable of overcoming.

I will be back soon with more Physical Therapy, Yoga information, and recipes. In the meantime search out your talisman and enjoy your summer!

endless encinitas summer

Creamy Chocolate Nut Butter

It’s been awhile since I have posted.Time has escaped from me recently. In reality time is an illusion, because when you are truly present it is hard to tell if 5 seconds or 5 minutes have passed by. Apparently in my case it has been a few weeks, and for good reasons; time with family, time outdoors, and time indoors at Yoga and Physical Therapy trainings. It’s been a good past few months.

moonlight beach sunset

I will make up my lack of posts with the simple, quick and easy Nut Butter recipe. As I navigate through the Vegan world, in most ways the transition has been so effortless. However, one area that can get tricky is baked goods or chocolate cravings. Dark chocolate is a good substitute, however there are those days when you desire just a little more. This recipe fits the bill, plus  you will digest a healthy dosage of nutrition from the almonds and cashews.

Creamy Chocolate Nut Butter

chocolate nut butter2
1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup raw almonds
3/4 cup chocolate almond milk
2 Tsp Grade B Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp Cocoa
5 drops liquid Stevia
1/4 Tsp Sea Salt

1. Soak cashews and almonds for at least 3-4 hours.
2. Throw all ingredients into your Vitamix or Food Processor.
3. Blend it up until you reach the consistency you desire.
4. Enjoy with some bananas, over a bagel, or just by itself.

Chips are Vegan by Chocolate Dream

chocolate nut butter 4Hope to see some of you May 3, for the Low Back Workshop at Prana.

swirly camel

Yoga Therapy Workshop: Preventing & Relieving Low Back Pain

For those of you in San Diego I will be hosting a Workshop in beautiful La Jolla at Prana Yoga Center. See below for details. Hope to see you there!

Yoga Therapy Workshop: Preventing & Relieving Low Back Pain

Saturday May 3, 1:00-3:00 PM
at Prana Yoga Center. Sign up at www.prana-yoga.com or call 858-456-2806

Yoga wall traction2Do you suffer from low back pain, or wish to prevent low back pain from taking hold? There are a variety of issues that can cause pain, in this workshop we will work on a few steps to address this common ailment.

 ◌ Explore how the hips, pelvic position and core stability can affect the lower back.
◌ Understand why some Asanas work for some people and not for others.
◌ Utilize the Yoga Wall to create improved space between the joints.
◌ Learn Asanas to maintain the mobility, stability and length found in class.
Fee: $35 by April 30, $45 after

You can e-mail me with any questions or like Berry Happy Bodies on FB to keep up to date on where and when I am teaching.

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Vegan Penne and Broccoli with Creamy Chickpea Sauce

While talking to my Mom who lives on the East Coast I am reminded of how lucky I am to be here in San Diego. This time of year in the New England states can be so rough. With the drastic changes in temperature and never ending sleet, snow and icy rain, it can all weigh down on the soul. I remember when I lived back there when the sun did make an appearance I would try to run outside and savor the rays as much as possible.peekabo sunRight now in Southern California we are in a bit of a drought, with many days of sun and very little rain. So I’m sending you over there on the East Coast some Sunny Rays and Warm Air. And, a lemony recipe to bring a feeling of Spring.

No matter the coast, or the time of year lemons always bring a breath of fresh air and energy. This recipe is from One Dish Vegan by Robin Robertson. Whether you are a meat eater or Vegan, I highly recommend this book. So many quick and easy recipes. And, like my husband who loves meat, hopefully you too will feel satisfied by the complexity of nutritious combinations so much that you will not miss the animal products at all.

With Robin’s gracious permission I have posted the recipe exactly from her book. If you would like to view more of her recipes visit her website at: Robin Robertson’s Global Vegan Kitchen, or click on the link above to buy the book on Amazon.

Vegan Penne and Broccoli with Creamy Chickpea Sauce

penne and broccoli2Ingredients
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
5 Garlic Cloves chopped
8-12 ounces Cooked Penne (I used a Brown Rice variation)
3 cups Broccoli Florets
1 15.5 ounce can of Chickpeas
3/4 Cup Warm vegetable broth
2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast or 1 Tbsp mellow white miso paste
1/2 to 1 Tsp smoke Paprika
1/4 Tsp Oregano
1/4 Tsp Basil
1/4 Tsp freshly ground black pepper
Salt to Taste

1. Heat the oil or water in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and reserve.
2. Cook the penne in a large pot of salted boiling water, stirring occasionally, until it is al dente. About 5 minutes before pasta is done cooking, add the broccoli. drain the cooked pasta and broccoli well and return to pot.
3. While the pasta is cooking, combine the chickpeas and reserved garlic in a food processor. Add the broth, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, paprika, oregano, basil, pepper and salt to taste. Process until smooth.
4. Pour the sauce over the pasta and broccoli and toss gently to combine. Serve hot.

penne and broccoli4

Chest Unlocking

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, some talk about the heart. As kids we express our emotions much more freely with less of a filter, then we typically do as adults. As a child, If we were excited to see someone, we would just run and jump into their arms. If we were upset, anyone within earshot would hear it. As adults we are taught to control our emotions, which is important to avoid flying off the handle, and function in society. However, this restraint can sometimes be over compensated, and then we have difficulty expressing how we truly feel.

happy pup2Our 7 month old puppy, Wiley, actually reminds me of this restraint as he patiently tries to become friends with our 10 year old cat, Azul. Azul will actually sit next to Wiley if he is calm. It takes so much self control for that little guy not to leap, lick and nudge Azul. Wiley has learned in the past Azul just runs away if he pounces. So now they sit close together with Wiley’s tail going 90 beats per minute wanting so much to play with Azul, and Azul just sitting there contently. It seems they have reached a compromise for now, but not long enough to be photographed yet.


As adults we do the same restraining with our emotions and excitement, holding in our fears and worries. Our chest tightens, shoulders slump forward and our breathing becomes more shallow and sometimes we are so unaware of this change. And, unfortunately overtime this position becomes normal and accepted. This is all exacerbated by our sitting postures of driving and computer work.

One way to reverse all this, and release the pent up emotions is with a simple chest opening sequence. Disclaimer, Yoga has so many benefits but practice at your own risk. Be gentle, if it is painful stop. If you have any questions contact me.

supta baddha konasanaStart to slow the mind, and allow gravity and props to gently open the chest, deepen the breath and relax tension in the muscles with Supta Baddha Konasana. Fold a blanket long ways and align it so when you lie down your spine will fall in the middle. supta buddha setp up Make a long loop with a strap and lasso yourself placing the back of the loop around your Sacrum (the flat part of your low back). Then place the other end of the loop around your feet. Sit in front of the folded blanket, gently tuck your sacrum (to avoid over arching) as you lie back. Slide the shoulder blades down your back to open the chest, make sure you neck is comfortable and then allow gravity to do the rest.

cobraCobra is a great way to strengthen the muscles along the spine, as well as warm up and begin to open the chest. The danger here is pushing to hard through the hands, and aggressively lifting too high before you are ready. A good way to prevent this is to focus on the legs, try to glue all 10 toe nails into the round as well as lift up on the knee caps igniting the front of the thigh.

clasped hands stretchStanding with your hands clasped behind your back is a great way to open the chest. If you have a tight chest or shoulders clasp your hands around a strap, shirt or belt instead. Begin in Tadasana, or Mountain pose keeping the legs active, draw the tail bone subtly towards the ground maintaining the normal curve of the low back. Then from there clasp your hands on your low back maintaining the above, extend your arms, drawing the shoulder blades down your back. Avoid letting the front of your arm bone come forward, or extending too far and arching through your low back.

puppy bridge

Bridge pose does so much. A strap can help prevent the knees from coming to wide. Again avoid over arching, instead create more space in the spine by drawing your tailbone towards your heels slightly. Avoid over gripping.

wide leg forward bend with strapThese 2 Wide Leg Forward Folds are a progression to the standing clasped hands. The important thing is to maintain the same foundation as standing clasped hands but with wide legs. It is important to bend through the hips and not through the low back, as well as keep the thighs engaged. Same as before a strap or shirt is always an option.

wall wide leg forward foldkauai down dogDownward Dog is always a great strengthener and if you avoid clasping through the shoulder joint it is a great way to subtly open the chest as well as the back of the legs. One variation to focus a little more on chest and shoulders and ease out the hamstrings is to lift the heels while sill keeping the front of the thigh active.

wiley childs pose

 Wind things down with a supported Child’s Pose. Place your forehead on a bolster, blanket or block. Here I am using the same fold as the first pose in the sequence. Have your knees wide enough for your ribs to graze them as you come forward onto your prop. Inhale lift the head, create length in the spine. Exhale draw your hips toward your heels. If you have tight quadriceps or hips then you may want to place a bolster or blanket on your calves to elevate the hips.