Leaving Boston felt like someone was squishing my head between their hands a little too tightly, like I couldn’t breathe when I needed to and couldn’t quite figure out how was supposed to feel. When I expected to cry, I didn’t. And when I didn’t expect to cry, I did.
On my last day in the city, I went to my favorite yoga class — a class that I first attended 5 years ago on a random Tuesday night during my second week living in Boston. The same teacher still teaches that class, playing the same funky hip hop music and making many of the same students pour sweat. That Tuesday night session was a staple in my Boston experience, calming me down during bad work weeks, getting me through hellish winters and reminding me to breathe when things got tough. I hadn’t yet cried about my move — but when I left that classroom for the last time, covered in sweat, carrying my green lulu mat, I suddenly felt the weight of the move come crashing down. I walked out to my car and sobbed.
I was a gymnast and competitive cheerleader growing up, so yoga was a natural next step for me during college, when I suddenly found myself without a team or a workout schedule. I ran a lot, but I also started attending yoga once, then twice every week.
After I moved to Boston, my mom came to visit and saw a sign for a yoga studio on my block. She suggested that I go to a class, and I did — that very next Tuesday night. The yoga at this studio wasn’t like the yoga I’d practiced before. It wasn’t just meant to relax me or to stretch out my joints — it was HARD. I fell over in class a couple times. The next day, I waddled to my grad school classes, feeling the soreness in my legs. I left the room that first night covered in sweat but feeling deeply calm. I was hooked.
Over the next five years, I spent hundreds of hours at that studio. I became a member, attending unlimited classes every month, usually 3 or more times per week. Even when I moved out of my first apartment, I still walked a mile and a half to class, and a mile and half home. When they shut down the trains during the crazy winter of 2015, I still showed up. When they remodeled the studio, adding more classes and a new room, I rejoiced. I went on two yoga retreats, one to Mexico and one to Costa Rica, with the teachers I met there. I made yoga friends. I built relationships with the teachers, who in turn taught me more about the practice and myself than I ever expected.
Over those 5 years, my practice grew and changed a lot. After several years, I started to understand that yoga is about way more than just the postures. I’m a very anxious person, but yoga helps me manage that anxiety in a functional way. Instead of trying to be the best yogi in every class I attend (something I naturally do), I’ve learned to modify the poses so they feel right for my body. Because of yoga, I’ve become better at listening to what I need. I’ve learned how to breathe through the hardest moments, and how to be kind to myself when things aren’t going my way. I’ve also learned that yoga gets harder over time, and that’s the beauty of it — you can never master it, but you can begin to practice in a sustainable way that allows you to maintain that practice for years. Every day, yoga changes my day. Currently, it’s helping me through a major transition to this new city. It’s reminding me that the things I miss will come, that I need to be patient, and that being open to everything and everyone will help me get plugged in. As one of my teachers said before I left Boston: “The goal is to live with an open heart and a strong backbone.”
Yoga is my temple, my happy hour, my gym, and my therapist. No matter what’s going on in my life, yoga is home.
For years, I’ve been toying with the idea of getting certified to teach this practice to others. Yoga has given me so much, and I truly believe that even just a 20 minutes of yoga and meditation can change your life. But for a long time, my schedule hasn’t allowed the rigorous 200-hour training… until now.
Seattle has presented me with opportunities to take advantage of lots of new things (like a farm share, which gave me the veggies for this beautiful galette, below, as well as some much-needed extra time). So in October, I’ll be starting a yoga teacher training program at a studio in Seattle. It’s a scary thing, to disrupt a piece of my life that has been so stable, settled and personal for the past 9 years. But if this move has taught me anything, it’s that disruption can be good. Change helps you see life outside of your old routine. Disruption challenges you and helps you grow. It opens you up to new experiences, new people, and new ways of being. So… here goes nothing.
Summer Vegetable and Cheese Galette
Serves 6 as a dinner side. Crust recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen.
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 t table salt
- 8 T cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled in the freezer
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 t lemon juice
- 1/4 cup ice water, plus 1 t
- summer veggies (I used 1 heirloom tomato and 1 summer squash)
- 1 yellow onion, sliced thin
- 2 T butter
- 1 t brown sugar
- 1.5-2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
- 1/2 t fresh or dried thyme
- 1/2 t fresh or dried rosemary
- 1 egg yolk
Cut the butter into chunks and put it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, stir the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Once the butter is chilled, sprinkle bits of it over the flour and use your fingertips to work it into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal (the biggest pieces of butter should be the size of tiny peas). In a small bowl, stir together sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture. Then, with your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball. Wrap that ball with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour, or up to 2 days.
Meanwhile, melt 2 T butter in a saucepan and add the thin-sliced onions. Cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to caramelize. They should be light brown. Add a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper, plus 1 t brown sugar, and continue to cook for 5-10 more minutes, until the onions are completely limp and almost like jam. Set aside.
Slice the summer veggies and lay them out in a single layer on paper towels. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt (this will dry them out and allow them to crisp up in the oven).
Chop up your herbs and shred the cheese. Set those aside, too.
Once the dough is chilled, heat your oven to 400 degrees F. On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round (it doesn’t need to be perfectly shaped). Transfer it to a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet. (Deb from Smitten Kitchen recommends folding the dough gently, without creasing it, into quarters, then unfolding it onto the baking pan — I did this and it worked well for me.)
Dump your caramelized onions in the center of the dough, spreading them out but leaving a 2-inch border. Then, arrange your veggies (a spiral looks nice). Cover them with cheese and herbs. Finally, fold the border over the edges of the filling. The center will be open! Brush the crust with the egg yolk glaze (1 egg folk, whisked, plus 1 t water), which will help it get golden brown in the oven.
Bake the galette for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it’s puffed and golden brown. If you’re making it ahead for a dinner party (like I did), cook the galette for about 35 minutes, then pull it from the oven and let it stand for 5 minutes on the hot pan. Slide the galette onto a metal rack to finish cooling. Then, right before the party, slide it back into a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes to bring it up to high heat again. If you’re serving the galette right away, simply leave it in the oven til its fully cooked (likely about 40 minutes), then cool on the pan, put it on a serving plate and serve immediately.