Flax Seed Oat Bars

Packing lunches for the kids and husband just about every day over here!!! I strive to pack lunches that are both healthy but also boy approved. That means hearty, fulfilling and preferably something chocolate!! They love chocolate chip granola bars but the individually packaged ones at the store create so much waste and don’t even get me started on the preservatives! So as I continue to work (imperfectly) to reduce waste, eat healthy, and buy sustainably, here are my favorite homemade granola bars!!

1 cup coconut oil; 2 tablespoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of water 1-1 1/2 cup organic oats, flax seeds, chia seeds, maca root powder, ground cinnamon and chocolate chips or raisins (optional, but obviously recommended). Mix ingredients together and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. I like making mine in a muffin pan because it makes a nice “to go” shape without trying to cut nice bars in a cake pan! I always make a mess of mine! Cake pan works too! Enjoy!

Flax Seed Oat Bars

Laundry Day (the eco way) 🌿

My skin is so sensitive!!! My boys both inherited my super sensitive skin. Scented products, laundry detergents, soaps, if someone looks at it wrong… dryness, rashes, itchiness. Not only was I so tired of paying so much money for laundry detergent, but most of the sensitive expensive brands still caused me to breakout!! Shout and other stain removers… forget it!!! Also…. think of all of the plastic waste those laundry detergent bottles create… don’t even get me started with dryer sheets!!! Killing our planet and putting toxins on our skin! I have been perfecting my technique over the past 8 years and this is what I use!!!

Soap Berries for detergent. They are dried berries that are a naturally strong cleansing detergent and they arrive in a cardboard box! Find a reusable glass bottle and pop about 4-5 in the bottle. Boil water and let seep for 15-30 min. 1 batch usually yields about 4-6 loads of laundry. 1 box has hundreds of berries in it, it usually lasts me about 4-5 months and I do a ton of laundry!

Marseille Soap for stains. Works better than any toxin-filled spray any day… and even with all my boys, pets and lots of stains.. usually lasts about a year!!! ($9 Amazon)

Wool Dryer Balls instead of dryer sheets. Pop a dryer ball in the dryer!!! Reuse until they fall apart! I have had mine for years!!! ($8 Amazon pack of 3). I use a couple drops of diluted lavender oil on the balls for a lovely smell! An air drying rack is great for most of my clothing items but I like to use the dryer for my sheets and towels!

Sweater Bags to protect delicates. Also great for fleece and jeans to prevent fiber waste in our water and helps protect your homes water system!! Old school trick of putting pantyhose over the hose helps too!!!

Thanks so much for reading! Go make the world a better place!

Namaste 💗

This is how I do my laundry!!! Works great, no toxins, low waste, saves a ton of money, and great for our planet!!! 🌎 💙

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

I love baking! Since bananas are a huge staple in our house, inevitably, I always end up with a few over ripe bananas! Here is my recipe!

4 overripe bananas

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon whole or coconut milk

2 tablespoons honey

2 eggs

2 cups flour (reg, whole wheat, gluten free)

1/4 Cup flaxseed

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

Dash of cinnamon and nutmeg (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Mash up bananas and add liquid ingredients. Add dry ingredients. Pour batter into bread pan (I like cast iron because it gives the bread a delicious crust, is more eco friendly and no nasty toxins from non-stick cookware seeping into my food!!!) Bake for 1 hour and enjoy!! 💛 🥖 🍌

Lavender

I harvested the last of my lavender right before the early snow hit. There are so many great uses for lavender and it is so easy to grow! I dry mine and use it for tea and oil infusions to make lotions and beauty products.

Try seeping dried lavender in almond or jojoba oil for 6 weeks (keep in a dark place and strain with a cheesecloth) for an amazing homemade oil or mix dried lavender leaves with dried chamomile and lemon balm for a relaxing herbal tea. 🌿

Dried lavender from my garden

A Few of My Favorite Yoga Books and References

Postures and Anatomy

Yoga Anatomy Leslie Kaminoff

Light on Yoga BKS Iyengar

Yoga for Healthy Aging Baxter Bell

Pranayama

Light on Pranayama BKS Iyengar

Philosophy

Bhagavad-Gita

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Light on Yoga BKS Iyengar

The Tree of Yoga BKS Iyengar

The Yama and the Niyamas Deborah Adele

The Path of the Yoga Sutras Nicolai Bachman

Peace is Every Step Thich Nhat Hahn

Living Your Yoga Judith Lasater

The Chakras C.W. Leadbeater

Health and Healing

Health, Healing and Beyond: Yoga and the Living Tradition of T. Krishnamacharya T.K.V. Desikachar

Sanskrit

The Language of Yoga Nicolai Bachman

Gentle Morning Warm-Up Sequence

My morning routine is so sacred to me and often one of the only times during the day that I have to myself. Don’t get me wrong, I struggle waking up early, I struggle getting out of bed, sometimes I don’t get out of bed. When I do I feel so much better. I am working on making my morning routine stronger and more fulfilling. I wake up early, start a pot of coffee, sometimes dry brush my skin and then a little bit of yoga or stretching. I love waking up and moving before I start my day and whether I wake up and exercise or practice yoga for 20-30 minutes or just 5 minutes of gentle stretching, getting the body moving, stretching and breathing has so many health benefits and makes me feel great starting out my day! I follow my stretching or yoga routine with a warm glass of lemon water. Then coffee… Looking for a place to start for a super short morning yoga/stretching routine? Try this out in bed or a chair!

Urdvha Hastasana

Begin gently warming up the spine my extending the arms over head. Keep the belly lifted and the chest open. Reach through the arms. Slightly tuck your chin so your gaze in on the horizon. Hold as long as comfortable.

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Ardha Candrasana 1

Extend the arms over head. Gently holding the right wrist with the left hand, palm open towards the ceiling. Inhale as you reach through the arms, exhale the gently bend to the left. Hold aslong as feels comfortable. Switch sides.

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Gentle Twist

Find a comfortable seated position on your bed or chair. Inhale as you extend the arms over head; exhale as you gently twist to the right. Moving slow and gently warning up into this posture. Hold as long as comfortable, breathing in and out through the nose. Make sure you release from your twist very slowly. Switch sides.

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Seated Cat/Cow

Seated on your bed or chair, inhale as you stretch your arms behind your back, gently holding onto the back of your chair or clasping the hands together. Pressing softly out through the chest and gently opening the neck as you draw your shoulder blades closer together and round the entire spine forward.

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Exhale as you release your arms forward stretched out in front of you, Gently tucking the chin and rounding the shoulders forward as you curl the entire spine back towards the back of your chair.

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Warrior 1

Take a wide leg stance using the bed or your chair for balance if needed. Front heel is approximated aligned with the back heel, but adjust as needed for balance. Gently facing the hips forward, reaching through the arms and dropping the front knee to about a 90 degree angle. It is ok if the knee doesn’t come all the way down to a 90 degree angle but be sure that the knee never drops over the ankle to maintain support and safety. Hold as long as comfortable, switch sides.

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Tabletop/Downward Facing Dog

Feet are about hip distance apart but feel free to distance them a bit more if necessary for balance and stability. Inhale as you reach the arms overhead, exhale as you hinge forward lengthening your arms across your bed. Reaching the arms forward as you press the thighs back towards the back of the room. Hold as long as comfortable and come up very slowly.

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Autumn Equinox

This week’s practice has been all about grounding, balance, and spending time in nature while preparing for the equinox. The Autumn equinox is a time of equal lightness and darkness. A time when the day is balanced with the night. As we shift from the lightness of long summer days, the equinox is a time to practice gratitude and to celebrate abundance as we prepare for longer nights and the darkness of winter.

Ways to Celebrate the Equinox

  • Stretch and practice Yoga
  • Meditate
  • Write and Reflect
  • Spend time in nature
  • Collect fall leaves and flowers
  • Cook and decorate with harvest vegetables, herbs, and flowers from the garden or farmers market
  • Bake homemade bread
  • Enjoy a meal with friends and family
  • Or enjoy time by yourself
  • Practice self-care with a bath or deep hair mask
  • Clean and organize the house
  • Reduce clutter in the home and donate anything that is no longer needed
  • Practice gratitude

Autumn Equinox Yoga Sequence for Grounding and Balance

Hold each Posture for 1-5 Minutes

  • Virasana (hero’s pose) à urdvha hastasana à ardha canrasana 1
  • Danadasana (Staff pose)
  • Cat/Cow
  • Adho-Mukha-Svanasana  (downward facing dog)
  • Uttanasana (forward fold)
  • Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1)
  • Parsvatanasana (pyramid)
  • Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior 3)
  • Vrksasana (Tree Pose)
  • Uttanasana (forward fold)
  • Bakasana (Crow)
  • Balasana (Child’s pose)
  • Jathara Parivartanasana (reclined abdominal twist)
  • Savasana

Up Your BYOB (bring your own bag) Game

We are all familiar with the benefits of bringing our own reusable tote bags to the grocery store and the environmental impact that each individual can make by our daily choices. Here are a couple other great ways to make your next shopping trip A bit more eco friendly!! First of all, don’t forget, BYOB is not just for the grocery store! I like to keep plenty extra tote bags in my car for target runs, Walgreens, and even clothes/beauty product shopping! At the grocery store, if you are looking to up your game beyond reusable totes consider having reusable produce bags, bread bags, and even deli bags to prevent extra unnecessary waste! Also, While I try to keep my Starbucks runs to a minimum, sometimes you just need a caffeine break! I always keep a reusable coffee cup in my car as well, just in case! 🌍 💙✌🏻

BYOBing It 💙

Masterpiece in Progress

I first started dabbling in yoga when I was 22. I was slowly recovering from a major surgery after doctors found a softball sized tumor in my pancreas. I ended up having to have my entire spleen and 60% of my pancreas removed. Apparently, you can survive without the entirety of these organs but, I can tell you, it is not always easy. I had almost died in the hospital from this unknown tumor but miraculously I survived. And I have a serious scar to prove it. While I was grateful to be alive, I had no idea how hard the road to recovery ahead was going to be. I felt sick, weak, and tired most of the time. One day during a routine doctors check up, I had a wonderful, beautiful nurse who recommended yoga to me. She said it was great for rebuilding strength and posture and would help to manage stress and deal with trauma. I have changed, evolved, stepped back, moved forward, made mistakes, fallen down, cried, lost myself, found myself, built strength, made friends, discovered peace, embraced my insecurities, battled my hatred, found my beliefs, started over again, and again and again, all on my yoga mat. This is my personal journey through yoga and life. And what I have learned through it all is that you have to have intention. When I first began attending yoga classes I was introduced to the concept of setting intentions. Basically asking yourself why am I doing any of this. And this pertains to life off of our mat as much as it does on. Setting an intention at the beginning of the day, at the beginning of a yoga practice allows us to decide what we want out of our life, out of our practice. Instead of going through life on autopilot, we begin to take control. We begin to live a life that is beautiful, authentic and meaningful to us. So Finding your purpose, your path, your reason, your why just may be the first step. I am lucky to be alive. You seriously have no idea how precious life is until it is almost taken from you. I have a purpose. I am still coming into my why. It is still changing, growing, manifesting. A beautiful masterpiece in progress. What I do know is that I want to be happy. I want my soul to feel free. I want to live in alignment with who I am and how I feel. I want to wake up everyday with purpose and go to bed every night with gratitude. I want to dance outside with no shoes, get my feet dirty, my hair wet. I want to live a simple and peaceful life enjoying yoga, music, nature, and my family. I want to take care of the earth that we live on and I dream that one day our children or grandchildren will know a more peaceful, safe and beautiful world.

Long Way to Go

Thank you so much for reading my first post! My name is Carlene and I am a mom, yoga teacher, and existentialism enthusiast. My inspiration for this blog was my amazing students. When I first started teaching yoga I began occasionally giving my students handouts. Copies from magazines or books that inspired me, things I wrote myself, info on posture, alignment and anatomy, sequencing ideas, self-care tips, the list goes on… My students loved all of the extra take home info!!!

However, as my kids got older (busier) and I started teaching more classes, handouts became hard for me. It began to feel like a chore and would often take away from my practice and sequencing prep time. Also, as I am constantly working to reduce clutter in my home, simplify my life and be more environmentally conscious in the choices that I make it was definitely time for a change! I stopped the handouts altogether this busy summer and it gave me a lot more time to relax and reconnect.

I still love the idea of being able to share more with my students and connect off of the mat. This is how Carlene Haavig Yoga began, this is my living handout about motherhood, yoga, self-care and ayurveda, healthy eating, natural beauty, herbs and oils, simple and intentional living, mindfulness and eco friendly lifestyle. Thank you for joining me on this crazy journey as I grow, evolve, manifest and dig a little deeper into this raw, rare and beautiful existence.

Namaste, Carlene