Finding balance

Balance – I am trying hard to not let it slip away in the hustle and bustle of day to day life. Not always easy especially when back in the big city life.

During the summer I found my balance at a lake in Sweden. Back here in Tokyo? I am still searching!

Where did you find your balance over the summer? Where do you find it in day to day life?

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I hope you have a lovely balanced day,

AK

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The energising breath

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Often, and especially at Yoga, we talk about breathing patterns to calm us down, to help us to relax, to unwind. But we can use the breath to engerize, too. I tend to use it at times when I feel tired after a bad night sleep, struggling with jet lag or when I feel exhausted during a work out. It is kind of a quick-fix!

There are several “energising breaths” out there but here I will share my to “go-to” versions.

Attention:  Some breathing exercises may cause dizziness to some people, especially when new to it, or exhausted. If you start to feel dizzy – stop immediately and return to normal breathing!
Do not practise breathing exercises with a cold or when you encounter any other breathing discomfort!

Quick short breathing

  • Inhale normal (not actively) so that the muscles in the chest are relaxed, preferably through the nose
  • Exhale through the mouth with a quick, short exhalation, the upper chest will compress a bit
  • The inhalation will be longer than the exhalation (so an opposite to the relaxation breath!)
  • Depending on how I feel I repeat this quick breathing 10-20 times

I tend to use this breathing during exercise, when I need to get some energy back during a run and such.

Another one is the “Rapid Breath of Fire”. It is a good one to use when you sit comfortable, and need a “pick me up” while you work, study or simply have to go on with the day.

  • Sit comfortable, if you can try to sit tall
  • Relax the stomach muscles
  • Try to keep breathing in and out through the nose only, so keep the mouth closed
  • Inhale deeply through the nose
  • Exhale through the nose
  • Then begin to breathe faster, rapidly in and out
  • Focus on the navel area and pump that area in and out with each breath, pushing the belly button towards the spine with each quick exhalation
  • Repeat 5-15 times

The breath will be shallow to be quick.
Try to keep the in- and exhalation equally fast.

 

Wishing you a lovely day,

AK

 

 

Carrot cake ~ with cardamom ~

Carrots – not just for the rabbits!

While on holiday in Sweden my son and I tried several carrot cakes and most of the ones we tried in the Cafe`s had the special twist with cardamom!  It was a great treat to simply indulge, not too heavy, very fresh.

Three days back at home and we decided to give a new recipe a try and we found this one! It is delicious, light and just the right texture – and gets a lovely colour! Hope you will enjoy, too! Easy and quick at the same time!
I found this one on https://heavenlycupcake.se.
And if you manage to have some left over – it is still great the next day!

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Carrot Cake

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 3dl (*) sugar (I used a bit less and found it sweet enough)
  • 150gr butter
  • 5dl carrots finely grated
  • 3dl flour
  • 1 teasp vanilla sugar (I used 1 teasp vanilla extract)
  • 3 teasp baking powder
  • 2 teasp grounded cinnamon
  • 0.5 teasp cardamom grounded (I used a bit more for more intense flavour)
  • 0.5 teasp ginger grounded
  • 1 little pinch of salt

(*) 1dl – 100ml

 

Directions:

  • Melt the butter and let it cool down a bit
  • Mix eggs and sugar very well until white and a bit fluffy
  • Gently lift under the carrots and melted butter, best with a spatula.
  • In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients, flour, vanilla powder, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, baking powder and salt.
  • Gently mix the dry ingredients into the wet ones until just mixed, best with a spatula.
  • Spread onto a baking tray or baking form around 20x20cm

Bake at 150 deg C for about 1 hr on the lowest rack (check in between, e.g. with a wooden stick to come out dry

Remove the cake and let it cool down completely before adding the frosting.

 Frosting

  • 100gr butter
  • 200gr cream cheese
  • 1,5 dl cream (I did not add it but it will make it more “fluffy”)
  • 1 teasp vanilla sugar (I used vanilla extract)
  • 200gr icing sugar

I personally found the amount of frosting a bit too much and will reduce the ingredients by half the next time. But I assume this is personal preference.

  • Let the butter and cream cheese become room temperature
  • Mix only the butter until white and creamy
  • Add the cream cheese and continue mixing to a creamy consistency
  • Add the icing- and vanilla sugar (I used vanilla extract and added a bit more of grounded cardamom, too)
  • If you decide to add the cream, add it bit by bit and mix up to a fluffy frosting.
  • Spread it well into the cooled down cake.

 

Now, sit back with a coffee or tea, a nice book or friends and indulge!

Have a lovely day,

AK