Eric & Rina
As yogis who have studied collectively for over thirty-seven years, we are filled with information, from ancient to present teachings, about the art of conducting relationships. Yet as we sit here thinking about a Valentine’s message on relationships, we both choose the importance of being playful together!

The simplicity of having fun carries a lot of value in a relationship. When we are playful, we laugh. When we laugh, we are experiencing a moment of freedom. We are present. Laughter lowers levels of stress by altering cortisol levels, creating happiness and a special connection with your partner. Conversely, stress is kryptonite for any relationship. It makes us uninspired to be romantic and keeps us alienated from one another, leading to a disinterest in sex, which then causes all sorts of other problems. But let’s keep this article playful 😉

Children tend to laugh three times more than adults. Being playful brings out that wonderful child-like quality within us which makes us feel light-hearted. Laughing with someone creates a bond, and bonding is continually needed in order for a relationship to flourish and to feel trust with your partner.

Since many people complain about their partner not being present or engaged in the relationship, playfulness can reinforce that your partner is with you and you are with him/her. Take a moment to reflect if you are the one who might need to add some playfulness to your relationship. If so, here are some fun suggestions we do together to ensure our relationship stays alive, healthy and present.

1. Give each other silly, sweet nicknames so that when you say their name or hear your name, it automatically makes you softer and sillier.

2. Watch a movie or TV show that makes you both laugh hysterically. Rewind a funny moment and watch it again. Crack up at each other cracking up!

3. Do things together that you would do as kids … bike ride, skateboard, kick a ball around in the park, go to Disney World, play dress up (in whatever way you want to interpret that.)

4. Play games when you’re doing mundane, routine things, like driving, or eating dinner at home. For example, play eye spy, license plate games, or sing songs together.

5. Remember your teenage years, when you might have been a bit more adventurous and willing to do rebellious things that now as an adult you might never do? DO THEM ANYWAY!!! Pinch your partner’s butt cheek in public, dance, or step away from a party to go make out!

6. When you see your partner stressed out, make them laugh in any way you can. Make silly faces, speak in an accent, tickle them and talk gibberish. Lighten the mood with your presence.

These are just a few ways that help us stay young and exciting during the ups and downs of a relationship. Be the couple that plays, stays engaged, interactive, in the moment and creative.

Every day will be your recess and the world will be your playground—all while hanging out with your BFF!

Written by Rina Jakubowicz and Eric Paskel
Today’s Yoga

Rina Jakubowicz and Eric Paskel are both students of the foremost Vedanta teacher in the world, Swami Parthasarathy. Rina and Eric are published writers and international touring teachers. They have owned and operated multiple studios and have led retreats and trainings worlwide. Rina and Eric are currently based out of Los Angeles where they somehow find sanity amongst the “cray”. For more information, check out rinayoga.com and ericpaskel.com or electricsoul.yoga.

 

4 large fresh tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon fresh lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.
Taste for seasoning.
Cover salsa and refrigerate.

Note: Roma tomatoes are a good choice as they are more “meaty” with less juice.

 

1 head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch thick slices, approximately 4 steaks
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt
Pepper
½ cup barbecue sauce, your choice

Brush both sides of each slice of cauliflower with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place cauliflower slices on heated grill and cook for about 5 minutes per side.

Coat each side with barbecue sauce and place back on grill for about 3 to 5 more minutes per side.
Or you can roast the cauliflower “steaks” at 400˚ on a baking sheet fitted with parchment paper for about 30 minutes, flipping them over about halfway through.
Then coat steaks with barbecue sauce and roast for 5 more minutes.

Makes 4 steaks; 1 steak per person

Note:  Do not discard the cauliflower pieces.  If grilling, season pieces with salt and pepper, brush with olive oil.  Wrap first in parchment paper,  then with heavy duty tin foil and place on grill.  If roasting, just add the seasoned pieces to the baking sheet.

1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil

In a medium saucepan or dutch oven, heat olive oil on medium-high heat.
Add green beans, garlic and seasonings.
Sauté for approximately 5 minutes.
Make sure garlic does not burn.
Add liquid.
Bring to a boil.
Cover and turn heat down to medium-low.
Cook for 20 minutes, or until green beans are tender.
Adjust the seasonings.

Serves: 4

1 1/2 cups sliced carrots (thickness of a quarter)
1 1/2 cups sliced onions
1 1/2 cups green pepper strips
1 1/2 cups celery, sliced and peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
15 ounce can stewed tomatoes
15 ounce can tomato puree
6 ounce can tomato paste
1 cup tomato juice
Juice of 1 lemon
2 – 15 ounce cans kidney beans, drained
15 ounce can chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained
2 large or 4 small garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Preparation

Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat and saute chopped vegetables
until just barely tender. Transfer to large pot and add
the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Simmer for about 20 minutes
or until hot.
Season with more salt and/or chili powder to taste.

Serves 4
Do not overcook or vegetables will be mushy
.

Yield: approximately 3 quarts

 

1 package ready-made pizza dough
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1 8-ounce block non-dairy cheese, your choice; shredded
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425°

Position 1 rack in top third of oven and 1 rack in bottom third of oven.
Spray or brush olive oil on heavy large baking sheet or large pizza pan.
Press or stretch pizza dough to fit either pan.
Brush dough with 1 tablespoon oil.
Toss tomatoes, bell pepper, zucchini, and onion with remaining 3 tablespoons oil in large bowl. Arrange vegetables on large rimmed baking sheet fitted with parchment paper.
Place pizza crust on top rack in oven and vegetables on bottom rack.
Bake until pizza crust is golden brown and vegetables are softened and brown in spots, about 13 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Sprinkle crust with cheese and top with vegetables.
Top with basil and bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 3 minutes.
Cut into slices.

Serves 2 – 4

Note: Inspired by a recipe on epicurious.com

 

Medium butternut squash; halved, seeds removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350°.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place butternut squash halves on baking sheet.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Sprinkle with chili powder and cumin.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Remove squash from oven and drizzle with maple syrup.
Return squash to oven.
Bake 10 more minutes, or until squash is tender.
Slice squash halves into thin slices.

Serves 6-8

 

1/2 large yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1 inch chunks
6 ounces fresh broccoli florets, about 4 cups
6 ounces fresh cauliflower florets, about 4 cups
4 tablespoons non-dairy butter
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup almond milk
salt, pepper to taste

In a large pot, over medium heat, melt non-dairy butter.
Add onion and garlic and sauté, until golden, about 6 minutes.
Add potato chunks, broccoli and cauliflower.
Add vegetable broth.
Bring to a boil.
Cover pot and lower heat to simmer.
Cook for approximately 25-30 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
Uncover pot, turn off heat.
With an immersion blender, puree soup until creamy.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add almond milk and puree for 1 more minute.

Serves 6

Note: The soup can be made using a pressure cooker, cutting the cooking time in half.

 

2 pounds tomatoes, halved
1 onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable stock
Olive oil
Non-dairy butter
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Place tomatoes on a roasting sheet, sprinkle with enough olive oil to coat and season with salt and pepper.
Roast in oven for 30 minutes.
In a large pot, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium.
Add onions and carrots, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften.
Add garlic, and sauté for another couple of minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add roasted tomatoes to pot and stir.
Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
Lower heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Turn off heat and using and immersion blender, blend soup until tomatoes are pureed. (If you do not have an immersion blender, you may ladle soup into a regular blender, returning to the pot once pureed.)
Add 2 tablespoons of butter and stir until it has melted into soup.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 6

Note: Inspired by a recipe from today.com/food

 

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion (peeled, finely diced)
1 bag chopped kale (8 ounces, about 6 cups)
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Hummus

6 pocketless pita breads
2 tablespoons olive oil

In a large sauté pan, add olive oil and heat over high heat.
Add red onion and cook until almost tender, about 4 minutes.
Add kale and allow to cook until slightly wilted, about 3 minutes.
Add vegetable stock, vinegar and chili flakes and allow to cook until wilted, about 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
.
Preheat grill or grill pan to medium heat.
Brush pita on both sides with olive oil and place on grill.
Allow to cook until charred and warmed through, about 2 minutes per side.
Remove pitas to a plate or platter, spread hummus on top of each pita and top with kale.

Note: Can use your favorite flavor of store-bought hummus for these flatbreads.

Inspired by a recipe from  ABC’s The Chew