4 Fun Things to Do on the Washington Peninsula

The Washington State Peninsula area may only be 28 miles long, but it’s jam packed with fun things to do, white sandy beaches, and outdoor recreation. Sure, it’s world renown for its fresh seafood, including amazing shellfish, but it also has a rich history and scenic beauty that beckons visitors from around the globe. If…

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Yoga class

What are the Best Ways to Learn Yoga?

Yoga is a complete lifestyle that encompasses the mind, body and spirit. My first instructor used to say, “It’s a work-in, not a workout.” It is all about harmonizing the body with the mind and breath through the practice of various breathing exercises (pranayamas), yoga poses (asanas) and meditation (dhyana). Many people often ask me what is the best way to start yoga or how to start doing yoga at home. There are many possibilities for how to start a yoga practice, but these are the best ways to start yoga.

The first thing you should know is that there are many different types of yoga. Why are there so many different types of yoga? The answer is simple, because there are so many different types of people in the world, and everyone has different preferences. The styles can be vastly different so it is a good idea to learn a little bit about them ahead of time so you can choose the type of yoga that is best for you.

Types of Yoga

 

Hatha yoga is a generic term that refers to any type of yoga that teaches physical postures (asanas). This is typically where most people get their yoga start. This is where you will learn basic yoga poses. Ashtanga is a rigorous style of yoga that follows a very specific sequence of postures and those postures are normally held for a longer period of time. Vinyasa classes are known for their fluid like movement or yoga flow. Vinyasa teachers carefully choreograph their classes for smooth transitions from pose to pose. Generally, they play music and sometimes it feels almost like a dance. Iyengar yoga is a very meticulous typed of yoga, with utmost attention spent on finding the proper alignment in a pose. In order to assist each student with achieving the proper alignment, an Iyengar yoga studio will stock a wide array of yoga props, like blocks, blankets, straps, chairs, and pillows.  In a Bikram class, you will sweat a lot as you work your way through a series of 26 poses. Like Ashtanga, a Bikram class always follows the same sequence, but the class is taught in a heated room, much like Hot yoga.  Generally, the only difference between Bikram and hot yoga is a hot yoga studio must deviate from Bikram’s sequence in some way, because the Bikram sequence is trademarked, so they must call themselves by another name.

Indian man serving samosa

6 Yummy Indian Street Foods You Simply Must Try

Indian food is hard to beat. From Masala Dosa, to Thali, and Butter Chicken, it’s all mouth watering good. The street food is equally as delicious, but just a fraction of the cost. It’s also fast and convenient. However, if you are a westernized foreigner visiting India for the first time, you should proceed carefully. Indians don’t have any sanitation standards for their street carts. They don’t wear rubber gloves. Hell, they probably don’t even wash their hands. So, if you have a tender stomach I suggest you avoid Indian street food, but if you’re ready to indulge in some serious India treats, these are six yummy Indian street foods you simply must try.

Samosa

Samosa is my new favorite Indian street food, and it costs only 10 rupees! That’s about twenty cents in USD. Samosa is a crispy deep fried snack with a flaky outer crust. Inside is a rich spicy filling of mashed potatoes and peas. It is usually served with a sweet and spicy sauce that reminds me a little of chutney.

Sunset on the Ganga River

What’s all This Spiritual Stuff Going on in Rishikesh, India?

The first few time I visited Rishikesh I was astounded by all the usual tourist activities, such as white water rafting on the Ganga River, trekking through the Himalaya mountains, and shopping for exotic handicrafts. Then, last year around this time I took a 200 hour yoga teaching training course and learned that Rishikesh has…

Sunset in Tuscany Italy

How Drunk did I get on My Wine Tasting Tour in Chianti Tuscany Italy?

I always thought chianti was a style or type of vino. Boy was I ignorant. Chianti is actually a region found in Tuscany Italy. So, you can even get white chianti. I learned all kinds of interesting things on my wine tasting tour, like you can buy a $70 bottle of balsamic vinegar, and that it’s pretty hard to hold a yoga pose when you’re a little drunk from all that wine. It was an incredible autumn day in Chianti Tuscany, and it was full of fun, fascinating facts, and new friendships.

Getting Around

The day wasn’t perfect. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the tour, the lack of organization surrounding the transport of guests was pretty shocking. It was kind of similar to my experience at the Rolling Stones concert in Lucca. It was a great event with lack luster planning. I can’t recommend to anyone using My Tours or GetYourGuide. The shuttle on the way out was 45 minutes late, and the shuttle at the end of the tour was over an hour late. I’ve been told that is just what you should expect as “Italian time”, but really? At the end of the tour, I had to call and pester the guide service to actually do what they had promised, shuttle me and some new friends back to our originating town. It was a real buzz kill, quite literally!

Rolling Stones concert in Lucca Italy

The Rolling Stones in Lucca Italy: A Spectacular Disaster

I went to the Rolling Stones concert in Lucca Italy, but I didn’t “see” the show. Probably only about 10 percent of the 55,000 people attending were able to see the show, because it was general admission on a flat field, that sloped slightly downhill the opposite direction. It didn’t take long for the crowd to get frustrated and soon drunk concert attendees were climbing up anything they could find to get a glimpse of the stage. Trees and concert rigging were popular places to perch, but it seems the best seats in the house were on top of the portable toilets! The Rolling Stones concert in Lucca Italy can only be described as a spectacular disaster, but I’m still glad I went!

The Ticket

 

I didn’t go to Lucca with the intention of going to the concert. But on my second day there we drove by the venue where they were erecting the stage and I realized that the Rolling Stones would soon be playing only three blocks away from where I was staying. So, I decided to go, but by that time tickets were next to impossible to find. I tried buying some online but the websites were all in Italian and they would only snail mail the tickets. With only a few days to wait before the show, I didn’t want to risk the tickets not arriving in time. Finally, I looked on Craigslist and got lucky! An American many (Jason) was going to go with his girlfriend, but she cancelled on him at the last minute. Like I said, I got lucky, and he got $200.

The view from Sassi Itlay

A Most Delightful Weekend in a 250 Year Old Home in Sassi, Italy

When my Italian friend and host suggested we go to Sassi for the weekend, I agreed, but I had no idea what, or even where, it was. Next thing I know we are headed out of Lucca and towards the mountains of northern Italy. Before long we are zooming along steep switchbacks, away from the city, enjoying the changing colors of autumn and the view of the valley below. Finally, we enter the most charming little historical village and stop in front of a giant red home, made of stones and concrete. To my right the Alps are towering in the distance and an ancient castle sits high on a hill. It was like like a view from a postcard. Staying in a 250 year old home, enjoying the astounding view, and mushroom hunting in the forest were all remarkable, and made for a most delightful weekend in Sassi Italy.

The Historical Home

 

Paolo Pocai’s family has owned the old homestead for generations. The front part of the home was built in 1770 and there is still an old brass plate above the door with the date on it. As if that isn’t remarkable enough, the back part of the building was a 15th century tower and still contains some of the ancient doors and the original circular stone staircase. The home contains some of the most beautiful antique furniture and chandeliers I have ever seen! It’s hard to guess how big the “house” is, as some rooms in the basement have never been completed, but I would estimate that it was well over 4,000 feet, which seems to be about normal for summer homes in the country in Italy. I helped Paolo prepare the home for winter as he doesn’t go there much anymore in the off season.