Why I Choose to Not Focus on One Student Population

Many yoga teachers focus their energies on a particular group of students:  adults new to yoga, adults who are very experienced, adults healing from injury and needing a gentle practice, elders, pregnant women, new mothers, or kids.  I have taught students from all of these groups and have never focused solely on a particular group. Why?  Because I truly feel the gifts of yoga are for everyone and I enjoy adapting the lens through which I teach for different classes. 

I currently teach Yoga Fundamentals, a class suited for those new to yoga. However, I teach biomechanics in a way that experienced yogis learn something new about muscular and fascial integration as they move pose by pose. I teach elders how to reawaken muscles and fascial connections so they can re-discover fully mobility again. There is no reason to slow down to a stop as we age! I teach Embodied Flow, a class that integrates the core (all six sides of it) mindfully so the poses feel quite strong. I typically draw more advanced practitioners to this class. I teach postnatal yoga for mothers ranging from 6 weeks to 14 months postpartum. I share practices to help them engage with themselves in mind, body, and spirit with kindness and focus such that they invest in their inner-felt resources on the mat and off the mat as they take care of their babies day after day. I teach yoga at my daughter’s elementary school. It is a true gift for me to share the art of yoga with children in grades K through 5 and watch them marvel and surprise themselves at the strength, flexibility, and balance they had inside and never knew was there. We do breathing exercises and share how they apply to daily life. We move through Sun Salutations and explore a range of standing and seated poses. We journal what we discover about ourselves in each class and close with a guided meditation. I pray the skills I teach them carry them through the stressors childhood can throw at them time and again.

I include meditation and chanting in every class I teach. It is so important to embrace stillness and listen for the quiet in our hearts. From here, we can tap into vocal resonance and feel the depths of our spirit as we share an OM.

But, why do I not focus solely on one group? Because, at the end of the day, the inherent gift in yoga arts stays the same for all:  we all deserve to love ourselves and treat ourselves with kindness, honesty, and respect as we seek a path for wellness. Yoga shows us a way to do so. Therefore, in a way, I teach one practice, but I adapt it for all to further spread the message and practice of self-love and wellness regardless of where you are on life’s journey.  

Feel Music When You Speak to Prevent Burnout

          We all have days in which we feel completely disconnected from how our bodies feel and what we say. This may be due to exhaustion, stress, anxiety, or chaotic circumstances. You speak, but have no idea what you said or the manner in which you said it. Or, even worse, you yelled at a crying baby out of frustration and fatigue and don’t know who you are anymore. It’s as if a mommy monster climbed out of your throat and forced negative energy into the room and all over your child. It surprises you, scares the baby, and feels awful for everyone.

          Instead of feeling disconnected from a core sense of self, you can use your opportunities to speak as moments for embodied practices. This means two things: first, you explore how your voice feels right now. Do you notice any sensation in your mouth at all when you speak? Does your voice feel tired? Do you feel like your voice is stuck in the back of your throat? Does your voice feel strident? Notice I am not cueing you to the sound of your voice. It’s not possible to truly hear the sound of the voice unless audio recorded due to the amplification process in the skull. Therefore, the “sound” of the voice as you interpret it is unreliable. It is more accurate to focus on the feeling of the voice—where the vibrations resonate on the bony surfaces of the skull, hard palate, and teeth. When you work towards an embodied voice, you work to release the physical tensions surrounding your voice and the emotional tensions beneath.          

Start by tuning in to the feeling of your voice in an activity we do daily to feel well:  humming!

        Close your eyes or find a soft gaze. Hum on an M consonant and feel the vibration on the lips. Experiment with your lips to notice the change in the quality of the vibration—press the lips hard together and hum; soften the lips a lot and hum. Now find the “just right” amount of pressure between the lips to feel the most vibration that feels good. 

            Keep the voice on one pitch, or note. Usually saying, “Hello, my name is Mom” and sustaining the M at the end of Mom brings you to a pitch comfortable in the conversational range. Feel the vibrations of the M on this one note for different lengths of time—the length of a three second exhale, the length of a five second exhale. Next, feel the vibrations of the M while exploring up and down two or three pitches above the conversational pitch from before. Keep the vibrations on the lips and out of the head—we are exploring the speaking voice, not the singing voice, right now.

            Now feel the M in words that end with M while sustaining in a second or two longer than you normally would. This in not an invitation to be louder or forceful with the sound, but explore duration in speaking. We are playing with rhythm and tempo. Explore these words then find your own: mom, him, same, seem, flame, momentum, came, postpartum. Feel the M when it ends a syllable. Notice the fun change in tempo and musicality when sustaining the M for a moment longer than the other consonants. Feel it in these words then find your own: symptom, amplitude, membership, exclaim, kingdom.

          You can extend this awareness to other sounds/consonants while you speak to continually engage with your expressive spirit every time you speak.  It's a wonderful way to find a state of embodiment and yoga (union of mind, body, breath, and spirit) for daily life. 

Meditation for the Nursing/Bottle-Feeding Mama

In postnatal yoga classes, I often have moms need to opt out of the postural practice to feed her baby. I can sense her frustration: she sees if a pacifier can hold the child over for a few breaths or waits to see if a smile or coo can distract him/her. But, when the baby needs to eat, the baby needs to eat. Mom gets a bit disappointed to not fully participate with the others, but wants to nurture her baby. In these times, I offer meditation! Meditation is the perfect activity to do while feeding your baby to continue the integration of body, mind, breath, and spirit. As long as Mom has an upright spine (no slouching—bring Baby to breast if nursing), feels her breath moving in and out, and focuses her awareness on the present moment, she is meditating. Start by sitting comfortably, use a nursing pillow (a yoga bolster is a FABULOUS tool in place of a nursing pillow), bring Baby to you and enjoy.

I simply call this meditation "Holding Baby Scan:"

Feel baby in your arms, gaze lovingly at your baby, and focus on your hands.

Feel the warmth of your hands, feel Baby in them, feel your hands on your baby as the foreground against the background of your body. Breathe here. 

Feel your heart—front and back with your awareness on your breath and baby’s breath. Feel your shoulders and the position of your arms holding Baby, but not having to grip. Soften the shoulders where you can. Feel the pelvis connecting you down while supporting the upright alignment of the spine and Baby in your arms. Breathe here. 

Stay here feeling your breath and this loving warmth for as long as you can.

When you are done feeding your baby, you can place him/her down on the receiving blanket after burping and rejoin the asana practice. You never left your yoga practice!

 

A Life Lesson to Mixing Up Your Practice, Part Two

Earlier I wrote about the merits of committing to the same yoga practice and how it can inform your life off the mat. Now, I'm offering some tips on why it's nice to do a different practice whenever you step on the mat. Sometimes we feel in a rut with the activities in our lives-- we eat the same foods, wear the same five shirts each week (ahem....or three shirts if I'm being honest!), drive the same route, watch the same shows...you get where I'm going with this. Doing the same yoga practice repeatedly may feel like it is hindering your creative spirit. Here is where you can tap into what Erich Schiffman calls "Freedom Style Yoga" and move according to your spirit's desires.  When we find stillness within, we can then discover the movements our bodies, minds, and spirits crave. Perhaps you notice your back wants to expand into a forward fold or your thighs want to ground in strong standing poses. You cannot know until you give yourself the space to explore. 

If Freedom Style Yoga seems too open for you, try subscribing to an online streaming service and follow a teacher you enjoy. You will find a variety of classes taught in a style that resonates with you. Or buy a monthly pass at a local yoga studio and try several different teachers, styles, and even times of day to practice (if your schedule allows). Every teacher has a different approach to beginning class, building a sequence, and closing class-- how do you feel as you explore different teaching methods? What do you learn about yourself? How does the way to talk to yourself about these differences teach you how you approach change in the world?

When we mix up our yoga practice, we encourage ourselves to be flexible. We can either tense up or soften and improvise. Maybe you discover you thrive in routine, which, in that case, points to following the same yoga sequence daily (see Part One of this discussion). The way you react on the mat probably mirrors your approach to life off the mat. If you want to be more flexible and spontaneous in life, try practicing different yoga classes by different teachers and see what you learn about yourself, yoga practices, and your behaviors in daily life. 

A Life Lesson from Doing the Same Yoga Sequence, Part One

I once enjoyed a studio that taught the same vinyasa sequence over twelve weeks. There were a total of five sequences over a year with one for each of the five elements: fire, water, earth, ether, and air. They all had similar anatomical themes, but offered progressions in different manners with particular poses. When I first practiced in this way, I felt a little bored. Honestly, I was still working on diminishing my ego and truly finding the art of  yoga for myself and my life. But, I began to find the value as I matured in my practice. 

I talked to other students at the studio to get their impressions of this approach. Some students began anticipating the poses and moving one or two steps ahead of the teacher. Others enjoyed the reliability of knowing what came next so they stayed grounded and meditated through the practice as they moved.

Keeping with the same practice is a traditional approach to yoga. In the past, the teacher (guru) would give one pose to the student and only advance to another pose until he thought he/she was ready. Teachers of Ashtanga Yoga lead students through the same sequence when exploring the primary series (or any series beyond this level-- there are six total) and, similarly, Bikram Yoga offers the same 26 poses. There is a value and a lesson in doing the same sequence that can inform your life off the mat. (Stay tuned for Part 2!)

When doing the same poses, you give yourself time and space to not only learn the them wholly, but also to dive in more deeply every time you do them. When I practiced at the above mentioned studio, I surprised myself at how deeply meditative my experience became when I didn't have to place the biomechanics of the pose at the forefront of my mind. I got stronger in the poses week after week and became capable at taking the poses into more advanced variations. When I practiced Ashtanga Yoga through a Mysore approach, I worked steadily at refining the poses in body and mind (i.e., my attitude towards the poses and myself working on them) and felt proud and encouraged when the Mysore leader progressed me to the next pose.

Doing the same poses gives space to refine your understanding of yourself and the poses every time you get in and out of them. My Iyengar yoga teacher used to say, “It’s never another Downward Facing Dog! There’s always something different!” She’s correct. How many times have you done Downward Facing Dog? Dozens, hundreds, if not thousands, right? Every time you do it, your body is in a different capacity to receive the pose  because it is either stronger, more flexible, or more tired from what came before-- that alone makes it a new experience of the pose. There is an infinity of sensations within and they are awaiting exploration every time you do a pose.

Subscribe to this website and use the free at-home practice I will email you as a test for how it feels to do the same practice for at least a month. Take time to learn the poses. Find the gross movements of each and how you feel in each pose. Then, take time to find the subtleties. What are the nuances of the arches of your feet in standing poses?  How can you find length in your spine in each pose? Where is your breath moving in the body as you move in and out of poses? How does your breath feel when you settle into a pose?

Take this awareness off the mat and discover something new today about your commute to work, your spouse or partner, or your attitude towards life as you embrace every moment as a new beginning for exploration. I enjoy taking this practice off the mat every time I sit at the table with my family. I notice a new freckle or two on my daughter's face. I see a little more gray in my husband's hair and how dignified he looks as he ages. Or I notice the differences in how I eat the lentils on my plate (their taste, their texture, the spice arrangement), which is a food I eat almost daily. Comment below how you feel doing the same yoga practice daily and how it affects your attitude towards life. 

 

Slow and steady gets you strong

I recently took over a class called "Vinyasa Flow" at a prominent studio in which I started teaching a few months ago. I'm new to the area and getting to know the students, but not by talking to them. As a yoga teacher, I get to know the students by leading them through several sequences and determining how they respond to them. I read their bodies; I sense the energy in the room. I may do an adaptation of the Primary Series from Ashtanga Yoga and learn if it's too rigorous for them. I may do a practice with more standard hatha yoga poses that are linked with a mini-vinyasa here and there. I may do a class with a dozen Sun Salutations scattered about to keep their heart rate up. What is "Vinyasa Flow" anyway but a label for a class that moves on the breath? Technically, "Vinyasa" comes from the Ashtanga Yoga tradition. But, in my experience teaching Vinyasa classes, many students are not interested in moving as quickly or as deeply as what Ashtanga brings. So I wonder, "What are the students expectations of this class?"

At the end of the day, I need to teach the class that is authentic with me and how I define Vinyasa Flow. I continually return to the questions:  What is the purpose of this sequence? What is the purpose of this pose? What do we really need right now?

I did a couple of classes in which I disregarded the name of the class and I taught what I felt was right based off of the research I was doing in my office and on the mat. I have been deeply interested in fascial systems in the body and how our sense of proprioception comes from  fascia. Our muscles are all saran-wrapped with fascia and tight fascia prevents any true connections to our bodies and minds (which inhabits the body through and through). I led the class with mindful movements that slowly flowed from one movement to the next, all while following the lines of fascia along the body. In order to move in this way, you have to attune with your deep core muscles to stay connected to the chains of movement from beginning to end. It's a flow. It moves on the breath. And it is surprising a wonderful challenge that feels fantastic. After my second class I finished with "Ommmmm...Namaste" and shared with the class that the style of that class felt the most authentic to who I am as a teacher and I would like to continue the class in that manner. The students enthusiastically nodded their heads with  approval. We are all aligned. It was wonderful. I offered the name "Embodied Flow" to the studio owner and he changed it on the website without hesitation. 

Every Embodied Flow class is safe for beginners because I teach the landmarks of yoga poses as I introduce them. But, it may also be a very hard class for advanced practitioners because we move with intimate awareness of how the deep core activates and initiates movement. It might be slow movement, but you may surprise yourself with a sweaty forehead. I teach my students to work intelligently. Stay curious about how the body/mind works as a system. No movement is truly isolated-- it's all connected somewhere. Stay grounded, stay humble, and marvel in how awesome it feels to integrate body, mind, breath, and spirit at once. And when we get to the yummy OMs in the end, yes, notice how glorious your voice feels in a body that has warmed up with focused breath for the past 75 minutes. It is truly magnificent. Come join me. 

Anatomy of OM

As a certified yoga teacher and certified voice teacher, my favorite part of a yoga class comes with the OM.  

OM is a sound we chant in every yoga class. Some of my students wonder why it feels so good.  I have many theories for myself, but I thought I’d share some information about OM to deepen your understanding of it and appreciate it every time you sound it.

First, OM is spelled two ways:  OM and AUM.  The second spelling reveals more of the phonetic experience of the sound. OM represents the sound of Divinity. Every time we chant it, it is as if we are connecting directly to God by not only saying his name, but sounding the vibration of which he is the pure essence. Cool, right?  But there’s more…

There are four parts to OM—three are sounded and the last is silent. We begin OM by first inhaling. Put differently, we inspire ourselves for connection.  We then open our mouth to the most relaxed lip opening we can make without unhinging the jaw:  AH.  This sound starts in the back of the mouth.  As we move towards the small circular lip opening that makes up the second part of the sound—oo—we move through several sounds that track along the length of the hard palate. These vocal vibrations resonate through the hard palate into the skull and through the crown of the head. The crown chakra connects us to God and all that is Divine in the universe.  Then we get to the third part of the sound—M.  We hum on the M and these vibrations waft up into the sinus cavity and the front of the forehead between the third eye. The third eye chakra opens our intuition to see ourselves clearly in the world. The fourth sound of OM isn’t a sound at all—it’s the silence that occurs as we breathe in again; thus, allowing the vibrations of the first three sounds waft up to God. So, this simple, potent sound connects us fully to the space in our mouth and skull, opens our spiritual chakras, and connects us to God and the universe.  It's amazing. 

Some people prefer to say OM with a long O vowel and not the AH.  That’s fine!  If you feel a true circular lip opening as you exhale on the OH, you can channel pure vocal vibration up through the hard palate and feel the same connection through the crown chakra. The M will vibrate the same as the other experience I described; thus, connecting you to the third eye chakra.  The silence on the inhalation remains as well. 

OM is a powerful chant and a wonderful tool for meditation.  Chant OM several times in a row.  Connect with God, find stillness, and feel how God connects with you.

Thankful

We're here in the season of Thanksgiving and I'm focusing on feeling grateful.  But, it's hard to find gratitude when you also see what is not so great. 

Let me spell it out:  I miss my family and friends that are scattered all over the country.  I have recently moved to upstate New York and don't regret this move one bit.  It was absolutely the best thing for us.  But, I miss my yoga teachers and yoga colleagues in Northern VA.  I miss my friends. I miss the GROCERY STORE where I got the BEST Fair Trade coffee in the world (MOM's organic market-- I'm talking to you).  I miss a few restaurants that I could hardly afford, but the one or two times I went with my husband on a rare date night felt like Heaven's culinary gates had opened for us.  I miss my church.  

But, I don't want to wallow in a sadness party.  Instead, I choose to be grateful for things abundant in my life now.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to teach yoga so soon after arriving to Albany.  I'm grateful for all of my yoga students, who are so receptive to what I bring. I'm grateful that we found a house that has a proper studio space so I can teach people from home.  I'm grateful for learning-- I'm always learning something knew and I'm so grateful to not be stubborn to the point that I feel I have nothing new to learn.  Perhaps it comes from my theatre training in which I learned there is always another possibility, always another strategy, always another collaboration waiting to happen.  I always have more to learn.  

I'm grateful for the magic I feel when I'm teaching and I am clearly attuned with my students, the space, and the information I bring forth that I learned from practicing for hours on my mat, studying with a master teacher, and NEVER being embarrassed to raise my hand and ask the question.  

I'm grateful for where I am.  I have a path ahead of me in a part of the country that is new to me and it's all an unfolding from here.  I'm grounded on this trail with my head rising tall, heart open, and curious to what's ahead. 

Sincere thanks to all of my students who continue to teach me every day.  

Namaste. 

Comment below.  What are you grateful for?

Stressed Nutrition= Stressed Mom

When I worked on my dissertation, I was up past my eyeballs in acting theory and it was enough to make my head spin.  For fun, I decided to immerse myself in a completely different topic so I could learn something new and give my brain a rest from my dissertation.  I studied nutrition and a whole food way of life.  I won't call it a "diet" because that word has too many negative and constrictive connotations.  "Way of life" suits the choice much better as any changes to the way we eat must reflect core values and be sustainable.  It has to make sense for you.  

I am deeply passionate about postpartum women's health and compassionate for all women going through new motherhood.  It's hard.  It's deeply isolating.  And it's impossible to live up to any standard, whether we create it for ourselves, perceive a family member placing it onto us, or insist on a societal expectation that we imagine for ourselves.  I am a member of several Facebook groups for new moms and I see time and again a post from a mom who is about to lose it over what to feed herself and her kids.  She's exhausted.  She has very little money, Her kids are acting out.  She feels she has no support.  She probably doesn't. 

I would like to spend the next few posts sharing easy and healthful recipes that a mom can cook while still managing her life; meaning, these are not the 30 minute meals a la Rachael Ray that require you to watch the stove while dicing this and then return to the fridge to retrieve that and then place the other thing into the oven, etc.  These are meals I make all the time and have been making for years.  Here is the first:  lentils and rice with green veggie of choice. 

Lentils and rice make up a complete protein when eaten together.  Brown rice is the best choice as it is a whole grain, has fiber, and good source of vitamin B6 (good for your brain function).  Lentils and brown rice inexpensive and you can get several meals out of one bag.  The green vegetable of choice is best when it is leafy-- the darker green it is, the better (more minerals!).  I love kale, but you can use spinach, swiss chard, or collard greens.  Sometimes I chop up broccoli finely and mix that in.  The options are endless! As for the lentils, green lentils are the cheapest (they actually are tan in color!).  You can also use French lentils or brown lentils.  Red lentils are a different creature altogether-- they get quite creamy and change the consistency of the dish-- save those for a different recipe. 

For a family of four (two adults, two kids) I would cook 1.5 cups of lentils and 1.5 cups of brown rice.  It's a good idea to rinse them in a colander until the water runs clear before cooking (but, honestly, I skip this step a lot of the time and it still turns out fine).  With your three cups of lentils/rice, place to the side and boil 6-7 cups of water in a large pot. The usual ratio is 1:2 (rice/lentils:water), but I like to add a bit more water to compensate for steam/evaporation. Boil the water and add the lentils and rice.  Put the lid on, but crack it a bit or vent it so steam can escape. Cook on medium heat to sustain the boil.  While the lentils/rice are cooking, wash your veggies.  If we're using kale, I take out two or three large leaves.  Wash off any dirt (organic is best, but don't beat yourself up if it's not), cut the leaves off the stems (just run your knife along the outside of the stem from top to bottom on either side), fold the leaf in half long-wise and cut horizontally so you end up with little ribbons.  You can cut further from there if you want it smaller.  

You can stir the pot a few times to check the water level and be sure the rice and lentils are softening (only check once or twice-- the steam needs to be a part of the process and you don't want to release it all). Once there is a little water left, add your veg and stir it all around.  The steam and minimal water left will cook the greens.  Turn off the heat and leave the lid on for a minute or so.  Remove from heat, release the lid and stir in a decent drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper (if your kids will tolerate pepper-- I leave it off for my daughter).  Viola!  You have a complete meal that took one pot to cook and will take one bowl to eat.  And you have a meal complete with protein (lentils and rice), complex carbohydrates (lentils and rice, again), simple carbohydrates (the green veggies-- BUT they act like complex carbs due to their fiber content), and fat (the olive oil).  A meal with all three macronutrients and with lots of yummy, earthy flavor--- AND it seriously didn't cost you more than $4.00 or $5.00 at most to feed your family. Sometimes I add chicken breast to this, but it doesn't need it!

Mamas, we can do this.  It's hard, but buy real food ingredients that will be life-sustaining, not life-draining.  (I'll post on life-draining foods later)  Give this recipe a try and comment on how it goes!  

Metta,

Melissa

Don't sing louder, sing more effectively

The Guardian published an article today written by Bernhard Warner that really got me.  It asks why mega-stars like Adele keep losing their voices. Warner asks what is going wrong in today's voice/singing training.  It's a long read, but very interesting and worth it!  Warner reports how opera singers of prior generations were able to sing amazing pieces by the great composers and not fall into the same trouble today's contemporary pop stars face.  He reports a researcher's findings with opera singer Maria Carbone:              

          "Carbone was nearing 80, but still had a powerful voice. While Carbone sang, Brilla would clasp Carbone’s abdomen to feel what was happening inside her body. Carbone started with an aria from Tosca. As her voice rose, hitting higher and higher notes, Brilla’s eyes widened. 'I could feel this tick, tick. Tick, tick,' she recalled. It was the natural up-down release of her diaphragm. 'Nothing else was happening.' Carbone’s ribcage wasn’t ballooning out as she sang, and there were no deep gulps of air, as is common with today’s big-voiced singers. More amazing still, the movement of Carbone’s abdomen while singing was just as quiet and rhythmic as when she spoke. Brilla added: 'Whereas all the teachers in my life had been telling me to open, open, open' – to exaggerate her breathing and lunge into every high note to produce the biggest sound –Carbone 'was demonstrating the opposite'. "

To this point, I remember several college students who had classical singing lessons prior to my voice and speech class telling me how confused there were.  How could I tell them to feel an easy breath as they vocalize when their teachers had told them to expand the abdomen, push with the diaphragm, and pull the mouth wide?  I heard their questions and saw their anxiety as they spoke to me.  I would tell them to trust the journey I am taking them on, explore fully in class, experiment with singing in an easy, but optimal breath/posture, and share their organic discoveries with their singing teachers. Perhaps they could find a more natural and effortless way to produce the same desired tones.  

I read this article and remembered a private voice student which which I spent a considerable amount of time.  She wanted to access her belting voice and find ways to broaden her pitch range.  How did we approach this?  I started her with several weeks of relaxation, breath awareness, and posture. We took that into discovering the tactile quality of her consonants.  Can she feel their vibration without forcing anything to happen in her mouth or with her tongue/jaw?  Once there, we explored the resonance of her speaking voice and then took that into her dilute vowels. How can she feel the fullness of her vowels without forcing anything, speaking more loudly, or pulling her lips back?  

After several weeks of working with her speaking voice, we took it into humming and singing. Sure enough, her relaxed, yet optimal breath was all the support she needed for her singing voice.  If she wanted to stay on pitch, she could feel the resonance of her voice on her hard palate.  If she wanted to access those higher tones and even, yes, belt, she could tap into the natural elasticity of her lip's and mouth's musculature to open up into a yawn-like energy.  Her throat stays relaxed, her soft palate rises, and her voice was full of life and vitality.  And she never forced a thing. And she surprised herself and felt awesome.  And it all came by trusting in the bodymind's natural ability to pursue what feels good and by honing her awareness of these sensations. 

Force is never an answer for anything.  Let that sit with you.  

Instead, explore, be curious, and play with ease and keen interest in what you are capable of. Get in touch and let's  discover what you can do.  

Homemade gut-protecting applesauce anyone?

I rarely give my daughter processed foods from a store and try my best to make as much from scratch as I can to eliminate a lot of preservatives and added sugars.  When I discovered an apple with too many bruises to pass as a cut up snack, I decided to make a single serving of applesauce for her.  I found a small peach that was also close to crossing the rainbow bridge for produce and made a dish that she devoured.  Here's what I did:

Wash fruit well and cut up into small bits leaving the skin on (extra fiber!)

Boil in a small amount of water until soft.  Strain and add 1/2 tsp of organic extra virgin coconut oil (I include this for its anti-microbial and anti-viral benefits).  

I always add fresh ginger to her applesauce for its anti-microbial benefits.  I grabbed my microplane (a must-have kitchen staple) and grated about 1/2 tsp into the stewed fruit.  Then I blended it all into a chunky puree with my hand-held blender (another kitchen item that is very handy when you need to blend food directly in its cooking pot).  

The end result was a beautiful, fragrant peach-yellow applesauce that I knew not only tasted great, but also had gut-enriching properties.  Yum!