November 7, 2018

“Success is due less to ability than to zeal.”
~ Charles Buxton

Statue can be found here


Several years ago, I wrote a short post about the exclamation “yay!”.  A conversation I had with a yoga therapy client this morning inspired me to share those thoughts on this joyful word again today.

I had been sampling various yoga classes around town as part of a continuing education yoga course I was taking.  One of the classes I attended was held early on a Saturday morning, in a local park, under the shade of a big, beautiful tree. The park was surrounded on all sides with jasmine, which infused the air with a heavenly scent.  It was a beautiful way to start the morning.

This particular class was Kundalini Yoga, a style that focuses on breathing techniques and postures designed to direct the flow of energy up the spine, as well as the singing and speaking of mantras.

A mantra is a sound, a word or a collection of words whose repetition is intended to create a transformation.  According to Vedic tradition, mantras are sound manifesting spirit into matter and can be heard underlying everything in nature.  The most recognizable mantra of Om or Aum is said to represent the infinite universal consciousness.  The word mantra is Sanskrit and consists of two parts: man, which is the root of the Sanskrit word for mind, and tra, which is the root of the word meaning instrument.  Therefore, the word mantra can be defined as “an instrument of the mind”.  The repetition of various mantras is said to help transform, not only one’s individual mind, but also the expression of the Universal Mind.

We began that morning’s class by repeating “Om” together as we sat under the big tree.  The teacher led us through various movements.  After a particularly challenging sequence, we all collectively took a deep breath and, as we exhaled, the teacher smiled and exclaimed, “Yay!”

As a former cheerleader, I am someone who frequently expresses moments of joy and enthusiasm with the word, “Yay!”  I sometimes worry that my frequent use of this exclamation might make me appear silly and unsophisticated, but I can’t help it; the word just bursts forth from the center of my being when I am feeling exuberant.

When I heard this yoga teacher proclaiming her joy with the word “Yay!”, it suddenly occurred to me that Yay is more than just a word.  It is a primordial sound vibration that rises up from the center of our beings.  “Yay!” cannot be silenced.  It bubbles up to the surface of our physical bodies from those energetic centers that process joy.

As I lay quietly on my mat for the final pose of the morning, staring up at the big, beautiful tree providing us all with oxygen, protection and shade, I thought of the simple blessings of that moment: fresh air, food in the fridge, gas in the car and yoga in the park.  I smiled and silently repeated my mantra over and over and over again, “Yay!”


These tasty, nutrition-packed Chocolate Hemp Protein Cookies will have you exclaiming “Yay!” with each bite.

Chocolate Hemp Protein Cookies
These yummy and nutritious cookies make a tasty snack or on-the-go breakfast item.  You can find hemp protein powder in the nutrition supplements section at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or online.  Semolina flour is a high protein flour with more texture (it’s what makes the bottom of some pizza crusts crunchy).  Flax meal can also be found in the baking section of Whole Foods or the breakfast foods section at Trader Joe’s.


1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled a bit (I used salted)
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
Seeds scraped from 1/2-inch piece of vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup hemp protein powder
1/2 cup semolina flour
1/4 cup flax meal
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
1/4 cup raw, whole almonds
Scant 1/4 cup roasted coconut chips or coconut flakes


Preheat oven to 375°F

Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a medium bowl, beat butter with sugar and beat in egg until mixture is well-combined and lightened.  Stir in vanilla.  Set aside.

In another medium bowl, whisk together hemp powder, semolina flour, flax meal, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Add dry ingredients to bowl with we ingredients.  Add chocolate chips/chunks, almonds and coconut.  Stir until just combined.

Divide mixture into 8 mounds. Drop mounds onto baking sheets about an inch apart.  Flatten slightly with a fork.  Bake 9 to 11 minutes.  Let cool a minute and remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 8 cookies (approximately 6 grams of protein and 217 calories per cookie)

Bars Variation
Lightly grease an 8″ round cake pan and press mixture into pan.  Press to form an even surface.  Bake 12 to 15 minutes.  Cut into 6 or 8 wedges.

6 wedges = approximately 8 grams protein and 290 calories
8 wedges = approximately 6 grams protein and 217 calories


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