Something big happened to me recently. Like, grand scheme of things big. [Insert VHS rewind sounds] as we center our focus on January 1, 2015, in which, by not partaking, I make my yearly reassertion that, to me, New Years Resolutions are not a great way to promote self-acceptance. That day last year, I instead chose to focus on learning something new, something that would help me to stop avoiding something else: I began to teach myself the Ashtanga Primary Series postures, because I knew in my heart of hearts that not knowing the postures was the reason I had not yet attended a Mysore-style class.
Now, Ashtanga is a highly private, individual yoga practice. Especially in a Mysore setting. My interest in Ashtanga had stemmed from attending Led classes only, in which my teacher followed the sequence of postures, and guided us through the entire series for each practice. The difference between Mysore and its Led-counterpart is that, though a teacher is present at both, Mysore is self-guided. You show up to a room where others are practicing over the course of several hours, and you follow the same set of postures on your own, with a teacher there to help you only when you need it. When you’re dealing with a yogic practice that is so physically demanding, it’s considered a moving meditation, walking into a room full of strangers at different phases of the series can be quite intimidating. And so, I decided to address the aspect of the practice that intimidated me–uncertainty.
Over the last year, excluding some strange pauses in my ability to practice consistently, I committed to including the Primary Series in my daily routine. There were months when I would practice six times a week, when I would practice two-three times a week, when I wasn’t able to practice enough. Practicing, I acquainted myself with some remarkable aspects of my existence. Not practicing, I felt an Ashtanga-shaped void. The process was miraculous and fierce, marked with unfathomable progress and strength. And then, a year later (read: this past week), I found myself in my favorite studio in the whole wide world, warmly greeting the teacher I met when I first started my practice months and months ago. It was in that moment-when she walked into the lobby and exclaimed, “KELSEY!”-that I realized it was time. A couple days later, I set my alarm for 5am and I attended my first Mysore class.
Given that I don’t practice often with those I am close to, I don’t really get to share my progress. The thing is, though–Ashtanga is a huge part of my every day life. With every trial and tribulation off the mat, I remember the times on the mat when I have discovered I am stronger than I even imagined. Ashtanga has formulated a mantra in my life that both quietly and loudly resounds: Yes. I. Can. That just won’t change.
And so, in alignment with this concept of Constants in our lives, I have for you (finally) a soup recipe I have been making for ages. Like, this recipe is almost a decade old. Many of you who are close friends in real time and space have been asking me to share it since I started doing this blog thing. For years, I have mixed vibrantly colored vegetables-like red bell pepper, carrots, edamame, and corn-with warming flavors-think ginger, cayenne, and aromatic curry paste-and kept it stocked in my fridge. This recipe is my go-to, the thing I have repeatedly counted on to fill and nourish the grumbly places in my soul. Darlings, it is, at last, the time for you and this soup to collide.
And, in case you’re still stupefied at my wording regarding where I recently practiced Mysore–YES, I am once more in a place you’ve known me to be. I’ve found it’s best to do only the things that make your heart sparkle its brightest and, well, I guess I realized that Minneapolis and I just weren’t quite done with one another. If there were a hashtag for this moment, it would be: #happytobeHOME
One Year: The Best Granola
Two Years: White Chocolate, Fresh Cranberry, and Cream Cheese Scones
Three Years: Marbled Banana Walnut Loaf
Vegan Coconut Curry Soup
Makes 10-12 Servings
1 tbsp extra virgin coconut or olive oil
1/2 red onion (about 3/4 cup), diced
3 scallions, thinly sliced, divided
sea salt, to taste
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin half-moons
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
1 cup frozen corn
2 large yukon gold potatoes, cubed
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
juice of one lime
1 tbsp yellow curry powder
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
1 1/2 tsp red curry paste
1 15-oz can coconut milk
1 15-oz can light coconut milk
1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) vegetable stock
scallions, chili flakes, fresh cilantro
In a large pot, heat coconut oil on medium heat. Add onion and white and light green parts of scallions (reserving darker green parts for later). Season with sea salt and cook until onions are translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Add carrots and red bell pepper, stirring to coat, and cook until carrots begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in edamame, corn, and potatoes, cooking until edamame and corn have warmed, about 5 more minutes. Stir in fresh ginger, lime juice, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne, and red curry paste, ensuring vegetables are evenly coated with spices. Pour in coconut milk(s) and vegetable stock. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil before reducing to medium low and simmering until potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes. Season to taste with sea salt. To serve, top with scallions, chili flakes, or fresh cilantro, as desired.