What to do if… You’re Late for Class

Sometimes it’s inevitable – there’s traffic, your meeting ran long, the kids wouldn’t let go of your legs when you tried to walk out the door and leave them with your mother… sometimes you will be late for your yoga class.

Chances are, if you are late, you are stressed out because you are late. The first part of every yoga class is about leaving the worries of the day behind and bringing your focus to your practice, so if you sail into the studio halfway through the initial meditation, you are missing something that will greatly benefit you. You will not only be interrupting the instructor and distracting your fellow yogis, you’ll also be shortchanging yourself.

But, as I mentioned, sometimes it is inevitable. So what should you do if the door is closed and class has already started?

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  • If you are stressed out because you couldn’t find a parking spot, stop and take a deep breath before entering the room. If you rush in and make audible apologies because you are flustered, you will only end up irritating everyone around you.
  • If you can see the class (for instance if it is in an open foyer or a church’s recreation room) or hear what is going on, wait until there is a clear pause or the teacher has finished speaking. Then enter the room or space.
  • If you are more than ten minutes late and the quiet time at the start of the class is just finishing, wait until it is over before entering.
  • Enter as silently as possible and immediately find a place to put your mat. If you do not have your own mat and must go to the front of the room to collect one, do so without stepping on anyone else’s mat or interrupting their flow, even if they are a friend.
  • If, embarrassingly, people have to move in order to accommodate you be grateful and courteous – but do so quietly!
  • Join in with everyone else when you are ready and focused, even if it means taking a few moments to close your eyes and breathe.
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For those of you that live a block from your studio or arrive half an hour early just to get your favourite spot in the room, don’t hate on the late! The fact is, everyone is going to be late for something at some point. If the late students are considerate and respectful of the other yogis and the teacher, then everyone can enjoy the practice. 🙂

(I offer this advice as someone who has to hang around for an hour after work before heading to the studio a five minute walk away. I have the opposite problem – I’m bored and often ten minutes early!).


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Egg-Free Protein Pancakes

I like eggs. They taste good, are an excellent source of protein, and they are rather vital to pancakes. But when you don’t have any eggs in the house and you want pancakes, then you have to get a bit creative!

Egg-Free American Canadian Style Protein Pancakes
(makes 3 small pancakes – serves 1)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour of your choice
1 tbsp protein powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/2 tsp baking powder
sprinkle of salt
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp oil (olive, vegetable, bran, etc)
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 cup milk (cow’s, almond, rice, soy, etc)

Mix all dry ingredients. If you don’t have a sifter, use a whisk to break up any lumps. Add the agave nectar, oil, vanilla, and some of the milk. Continue adding milk until you reach pouring consistency.

Heat a frying pan to a high temperature. Spray or coat it with oil to keep pancakes from sticking. Then pour your pancake batter into the pan and flip after a few minutes, when they have started to pull up slightly on the bottom.

Fry 'em up!

I used bran oil and semi-skimmed/2% milk in my pancakes. I also may have broken up a square of 85% dark chocolate and added that to my pancakes as they were frying…

Top with your choice of toppings – fruit, maple syrup, a nice berry compote… whatever you feel like on a gloriously lazy Saturday morning!

I managed to break every single one when I flipped them, creating a lovely, gooey, pancake-y mess in the pan and on my plate, so I didn’t take any pictures of my pancakes before I devoured them. I can prove they were good though, look!


Do you still bake or cook what you like even if you’re missing an ingredient or two? I do it all the time, and generally my attempts end in success. It drives my boyfriend crazy though! 🙂

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The Downward Dork’s Guide to Beginner Courses

On Wednesday I had my first true beginner’s yoga class. I have been taking the intermediate class at my studio for a few weeks and really enjoy it, but I wanted a stronger foundation for my poses. Beginner’s classes are a great way to learn more about the yoga style of breathing (this is one of my weaknesses – I tend to hold my breath without realizing it!) and proper alignment even if you are already familiar with the basics.

If you have been practicing yoga for a little while, you may find a beginner’s course too slow for you. Poses are taught stage by stage, and then the stages are combined. Poses are repeated multiple times so that the students can ‘get’ it while focusing on correct breathing and position.

Some simple yoga poses like the cow pose and the cat pose are good for beginners.(Picture Source)

Poses you might encounter in your first class are cow or dog pose and cat pose, pictured above, downward dog, Warrior I & II, tree pose, mountain pose, forward fold, and corpse pose, pictured below.

These courses are for those with no experience (as the term ‘beginner’ tends to suggest), and hopefully your class will be small enough that the instructor will be able to provide one-on-one support to each student. This aims to provide a fun and supportive atmosphere for new yogis. Beginner’s courses are also great for going back to the basics if you are a bit more experienced or getting back into yoga after a long break.

You will probably also encounter people from every age group. The amazing woman next to me was 70 years old and had never tried yoga before in her life. If she can do it, we certainly can! She was a real trooper and truly shows that you can start practicing yoga at any age and for any reason.

Corpse Pose(Picture Source)

Each class will likely conclude with savasana, also known as corpse pose. The class itself may be a bit fragmented as everyone picks things up at their own speed and the instructor comes around to assist individuals, but everyone comes together at the end for a bit of relaxation prior to leaving the studio.

All courses are different, as are all instructors, so you may find your experience is not quite the same as mine. If you have been considering yoga, a beginner’s course is a great place to start. You could always jump right into a class with a faster pace, but it is better to learn the correct alignment and positioning. You don’t want to accidentally pick up any bad habits! They are also extremely helpful if you decide to practice at home between classes.

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Pose Post – Downward Dog

Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

I thought it would be best to start off with the pose that inspired this blog’s name, and also a great pose for beginners. Downward Dog is an easy pose and has several variations for those just learning yoga – you can slightly bend your legs, or alternate bending your legs (first one, then the other, then back to the first one, and so on) as you relax into the pose. I find this especially helpful if you are doing your first downward dog of the day. If your heels don’t touch the floor, don’t worry too much – this may come with time or perhaps your muscles just don’t stretch that way.

If you need to use two blocks under your hands, go for it. It may make the pose more comfortable or easier for you.

Concentrate on straightening and lengthening your spine. Attempt to rest on your palms instead of your wrists. This can be tricky at first. Also focus on bringing your shoulders back, down, and away from your ears. Press down through your heels as much as you can (don’t stand up on your toes) and push your seat bones back towards the wall behind you. Bring your chest towards your thighs and relax your neck.

According to one of my instructors, downward dog is one of the most, if not the most, common poses in yoga. It is considered a resting pose, but trust me, as a beginner, it is far from restful!

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Baking with Protein Powder

I have never tried baking with protein powder before, so today I thought I would experiment by making some oatmeal protein cookies. I love using Sundays to prepare food for the week ahead so I don’t have to worry too much about it each day after work.

I was pretty impressed with my first foray into baking with protein powder since I didn’t really follow a recipe. Check out these beauties:


Quick and Yummy Protein Cookies

  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup semi-skimmed milk (2% fat)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp brown rice protein powder (or one scoop)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon (less if you don’t like cinnamon as much as I do!)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour of your choice
  • 1 tbsp hazelnut butter
  • a few cashews, broken into pieces (I used about 7, feel free to use more)
  • small handful of goji berries
Mix all ingredients together (you can start with the dry and add the wet if you like – but if you bake like I do, just throw it all into a bowl), then roll into balls with your hands and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Press each cookie down with your hand or a fork. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 170C (350F).

I made nine cookies, three of which are already in my tummy! According to the recipe calculator on MyFitnessPal, this recipe comes out at 101 calories per cookie, with 15g carbs, 2g fat, and 11g of protein.


You could up the amount of protein powder and lower the amount of flour, but as it was my first time baking with this protein powder, I was worried I might waste a whole batch of cookies if they didn’t turn out! There are lots of other things you can modify – use honey or agave nectar or stevia for the brown sugar, almond butter for the hazelnut butter, different nuts or dried fruit, and skimmed milk instead of semi-skimmed. Use this recipe as a basis and go crazy with fillings, modifications, and any other changes you think might taste good! You may also want to include a rising agent, such as baking power, or use self-raising flour, for bigger, lighter cookies. These are quite heavy and dense.

I used seeded bread flour in this recipe because it was the only thing I had. I am one of those people that will throw in whatever’s hanging out in the cupboard and hope for the best. Most of the time it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I was reassured by this cookie recipe by Alton Brown which actually calls for bread flour – if Alton Brown puts bread flour in his cookies, it must be okay, right?

My boyfriend would like me to warn you that these taste ‘like whole wheat bread mixed with muesli’ and that they taste healthy. I think both of these things are pretty good but he clearly disagrees! 🙂

If you have a favourite protein cookie recipe, please share it in the comments!

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Yogi Tea

I am a tea person. I have always been a tea person… I LOVE TEA!

I ordered this Yogi tea in Tahitian Vanilla Hazelnut flavour online with a few other things because it sounded interesting. I’ve never tried Yogi tea before but I was drawn more to the flavour than the fact that it has a name related to yoga.

If you like chai tea, I can recommend the Yogi Tahitian Vanilla Hazelnut tea as it has that deep, spicy chai taste to it. Don’t expect it to taste like vanilla or hazelnuts though, because I certainly couldn’t distinguish them from the rest of the strong flavours in there (which include cinnamon, cardamom, chicory root, ginger, black pepper and cloves).

Without milk, this tea is as dark as freshly-brewed coffee. Having tried it three ways in the last couple of days, I found it tastes best with a bit of agave nectar and a splash of milk.

An added bonus is the individual saying printed on the tea bag tag. Today’s was ‘Without realizing who you are, happiness cannot come to you.’ Who doesn’t like a bit of advice with their tea? 🙂

Have you tried any Yogi tea flavours? Which ones would you recommend?

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The Downward Dork’s Guide to Starting Yoga

I always wanted to take a yoga class. For years I tried to contort myself into positions on a tiny patch of floor in my student accommodation, and when classes were available, there was always a reason (or an excuse) why it wasn’t going to work for me – classes were at the wrong time of day, were too far away, too expensive.

Forget the excuses! Forget not being able to find the time – make the time! I finally did and I’m going to share a few pointers to help you on your way. 🙂

Someday I hope to be able to do this pose!(Picture Source)

Yoga is a relatively gentle form of exercise (especially if you are taking beginner classes) but if you have had any injuries or ailments that might affect your practice or you aren’t sure about a new exercise regime’s impact on your body, the best thing you can do is talk to your doctor.

If that’s all good and you’re ready to go, it’s time to dive right in!

Find a yoga studio or a gym that offers yoga classes in your city or town. As a former bedroom yogi, I know it is possible to do yoga in the comfort of your own home (even in your pajamas). But I can’t stress enough how valuable it is to attend a few classes to make sure your form is correct and that you are focusing on the right thing at the right time. Even if you do want to growl through tiger pose in the middle of your living room, taking some classes is a fantastic way to meet new people and make a commitment to doing yoga at a certain time of the week. If you are in the UK, check out localyogaclasses.co.uk or do a Google search for classes in your area. If you’re in the USA and have an iPhone, try out the Mindbody app which will locate a nearby yoga class. Friends might be able to recommend a studio or maybe your local gym holds yoga classes. They’re out there – you just have to find them!

Recruit a friend. Doing a yoga class together can be as good as meeting for coffee or going to a movie with a good friend. You will have a chance to catch up before and after class and learn something new together, which will give you even more to talk about! If you can’t find a friend willing to take a class with you, take one anyway – it can take a bit of courage to walk into the yoga studio alone for the first time, but I’m sure you won’t regret it!

Capris like these are great for yoga.(Picture Source)

Get yourself some yoga-friendly clothes. This might be easier than you’d expect because you can wear anything you want to practice yoga! The capris above are from Sweaty Betty and I wear similar ones which I also use for running. As long as you are comfortable in it, you can wear it while doing yoga. Do be aware that yoga involves a lot of bending and moving – make sure your underwear (or worse!) stays well hidden by doing some squats in the changing room or your bedroom before purchasing/wearing your chosen garments. As for the top half of your body, I would recommend a shirt that fits you well – it’s not fun to get a face full of t-shirt when you do your first downward dog. This doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive either – the t-shirt I wear was £4 from H&M and, truth be told, sometimes I wear old shirts that were consigned to the pajama drawer just because they fit snugly and won’t get in my way.

If you are going to be doing Bikram or hot yoga, it is best to keep clothing as minimal as possible (while still looking like the classy person you are, of course). Shorts and a tank top are a good choice because you can expect to get exceptionally hot and sweaty in these classes!

Also on this topic is the issue of a bra. I practice in the same bra I use for running, but it may not be necessary for you to invest in a proper sports bra for yoga. Again, go with what you are comfortable with, something that will hold you in but not restrict any of your movements. You may also be able to buy a tank top that has built-in support (not necessarily from Luluemon!).

Expensive mats are nice but not necessary if you are just starting out.(Picture Source)

Don’t invest in an expensive mat. If you are new to yoga, you certainly don’t need one. Even if you are old to yoga, you may choose not to buy a mat because most studios or gyms will offer them to students free or at a very minimal charge. If you do decide to practice at home, you probably will need to buy a mat. Do your research before buying one, though, as there are a wide range of mats available in different lengths, thicknesses, and prices, and you want to make sure you buy the one that’s right for your practice.

Triangle pose.

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Don’t be afraid to modify poses, especially when you are first starting out. Chances are you won’t be alone, and like all exercise, you don’t want to risk injuring yourself. Doing a pose with a block – or two – is not a sign that you aren’t good at yoga. Some poses require blocks and you’re not ‘tough’ or ‘a pro’ if try not to use one. It is better to look like a newbie than an idiot 🙂

If you are especially tight in a certain area, ask your yoga teacher for some help. In my first class, we had ten minutes of individual reflection and practice, and I sat on my mat confused and helpless, watching the people around me as they flowed from one pose to another. This was when I was able to ask the teacher what to do about my stiff, tight shoulders, and she showed me some moves (the top half of Eagle pose, as I found out a week later) that not only gave me something to practice, but brought relief to my weary sitting-at-a-desk-all-day muscles.

If this cat can do yoga, so can you!(Picture Source)

Keep your mind and your heart open, and don’t get discouraged. I am about as flexible as a piece of Swedish-made furniture (I can only bend so far before breaking!) and initially I wasn’t sure I would be able to get anything out of yoga. If you enjoy your class or your practice, and you feel empowered or relaxed by it, then there’s no good reason to stop. Practice makes perfect with everything, including yoga!

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