Yoga with Rebecca Santillo



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Getting Real

Posted on 16 January, 2020 at 0:45 Comments comments (4)

The past couple of months I have had quite a few moments where I have seen how my practice has helped me to shift and grow. It's like I am starting to reap the rewards of all that I have been cultivating for the past 8 years. One such 'aha!' moment came during my family's Christmas dinner. I sometimes think of myself as an introvert, where these get togethers can be quite draining. Don't get me wrong -- I love my family and treasure our time together. But here's where I had a major moment of realization: I was chatting with one of my aunts and she began to tell me about her struggles with her aging mom. Being a caretaker for a parent who is slowly drifting away is hard. She teared up as she recounted her struggles. And then she quickly apologized. "I'm sorry Becky, I didn't mean to dump this on you. You were just asking how things were going and I launched into my sorrows."  Upon reflection of our conversation I began to realize that it's not so much that my introvert tendancies are what is draining to me, it is the shallow and obligatory "how are you doing?" with no desire to actually hear how we are doing. I WANT to know how my aunt is dealing with her aging mother. I WANT to know how my cousin is dealing with being a single mom. I WANT to hear about my uncle's adventures on his new RV, the sunsets on the California coast that took his breath away.

And while the "how you doing?" surface questions is a socially accepted norm with the cashier at the grocery store, with people you know and love it is kind of sad. So maybe it's not so much that I am an introvert, but that I can't stand the superficial bullshit that comes along with many social gatherings.

I thought of my teacher Yoganand who often says "Yoga is about getting real. About being real." And that is one of the countless gifts yoga has given me. Being real, first with myself. Living an authentic life. Doing more things that bring me joy. And then being real with others. Sharing my story without fear. Allowing others to share with me without judgment. It is those REAL conversations that I crave. What are you going through now? What makes your heart sing?

Chemical-free Sunscreen

Posted on 23 May, 2018 at 13:25 Comments comments (2)

Summertime and the living is easy --  unfortunately, the sun isn't easy on my skin. As I have aged, years of baking in the sun has started to take its toll. But I don't want to give up gardening, long days on the boat, or hanging at the beach.

Studies have shown that the common chemicals added in many sunscreens can actually give you cancer too! What's a girl to do? Make her own sunscreen of course!

Now, I do have to give you fair warning -- this sunscreen contains zinc, which leaves a white residue on your skin. So this isn't going to be your every day sunscreen. This is for the days you know you are going to be in the sun for a long period of time and you don't mind having a slightly pasty look. And with all sunscreens, you will have to re-apply after going in the water or every couple of hours, whichever comes first.

You can order the zinc, fractionated coconut oil, raspberry seed oil and the vegetable glycerin on Amazon. I reused an old cosmetic container to put my suncreen in. Or maybe use a sunscreen container that's just about empty that you have hanging around from last year. Grab a funnel to help make the job easier.

Sunscreen Recipe

6 tbsp zinc

3 tbsp vegetable glycerin

2 tbsp fractionated coconut oil

2 tbsp raspberry seed oil

1 tbsp olive oil

Combine and shake well before each use! Happy Summer!

Pesto-Parmesan Quinoa Bowls

Posted on 22 March, 2018 at 11:40 Comments comments (1)

As I made this recipe, I instantly fast-forwarded to summer, when my garden will have many of these wonderful ingredients readily available. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this vegetarian dish sure to please even the pickiest of meat eaters.


1 c. quinoa
1 can of chickpeas
1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes
large handful of kale, stems removed, roughly chopped
1 small eggplant, medium dice
1/2 onion or 1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
Parmesan cheese (say when)
3 tbsp Pesto

Preheat oven to 450-degrees. Prepare quinoa according to the package. When the quinoa is finished cooking, you will mix in some grated Parmesan and the pesto. (I buy the ready made tube in the produce section or even a tube of minced parslay works well).

Drain, rinse and pat dry the chickpeas. Thoroughly dry those bad boys, otherwise they won't be crispy. On a sheet pan, toss the chickpeas and the diced eggplant with olive oil, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Roast about 15 minutes until eggplant is tender and chickpeas are golden brown.

Drizzle some olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook another 3-5 minutes. Add the kale and cook another 2 minutes until the kale is wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve it up! Place the Pesto-Parmesan Quinoa in a bowl, top with eggplant, chickpeas, kale and tomatoes. Finish with some more grated Parmesan cheese. And if you are still buying that shitty Parmesan in the green container, I am judging you. Go to the cheese section in your grocery store and pick up a block.

Eat mindfully: No tv, no books, no devices. As you sit down take a moment and smell the dish and take in all the colors. Give thanks to all the workers who grew, packaged, and sold you the food on your plate. Thank yourself for preparing it! Take a bite and place your fork back down. Chew slowly, savoring each flavor and the texture of all the individual ingredients of the dish. Continue to take one bite at a time, placing the fork down after each bite. If you are dining with someone, enjoy their conversation. If you are dining alone, just look around. What do you see? Hear? When you are finished eating take a moment to give thanks again for your full belly.  I like to finish a mindful meal with a cup of decaf tea to aid in digestion, although mindful eating in itself is a great way to improve your digestion. Mindful eating also helps you to recognize when you are full, so you are less prone to over-eating. And you will also enjoy your food even more when you eat with awareness.

Buon Appetito!

Recipe adapted from

Winter Retreat

Posted on 9 February, 2018 at 15:10 Comments comments (1)

Words can not even begin to explain how good I feel right now. I feel light, free, joyous. I feel creative, clear, and energized.

What's my secret?

A one day retreat.

Maybe you're like me and you tend to get the winter blues. Not full on depressed, just stagnant, melancholy. Ok, maybe a little depressed. The shorter days and more time spent inside takes a toll. You try to negate this low energy with more caffeine. And maybe just one donut to go with your iced coffee. Your diet is so poor, you think your body might actually reject a piece of fruit. You pour the second glass of wine or maybe, because it's the weekend, a third. And before you know it, in addition to the winter blues, you are a few pounds overweight. Ok, maybe like 10. Fine, 15.

Maybe you're like me and you are on a device allllllll the time. When I'm not on my phone, I'm on my iPad. When I'm on my iPad, the TV is blaring in the background. You are checking feeds, posting, liking, sending, emailing nearly every moment of your day. And then there's the news. Screaming heads on cable news, fake news in your social media feeds, and NPR News in your car. And just when I thought I couldn't handle much more, here came the onslaught of #metoo. As a survivor of sexual abuse and sexual harassment, it was all just too much. From Roy Moore, to Matt Lauer, to the USA Olympic team women and girls were under assault.

So here I was. Depressed. Overweight. Emotionally exhausted. Physically depleted. Inundated with noise. Desperately trying to distract myself from myself. And as a yoga teacher, feeling empty and unable to give my students what they needed. I needed to get away.

I desperately needed silence and introspection. My body needed yoga, to melt in a sauna, the healing power of a massage and to chant and dance during kirtan. I needed to sit in meditation and watch my flow of thoughts come and go. I craved to be the student, learning new ideas and different techniques. One day without devices and hearing or reading the word "Trump."  Twenty-four hours that included nourishing food eaten in a slow, mindful way and a long walk in the crisp mountain air. One day of tears, reading and journaling.

Upon my return, I continued in "retreat" mode. I kept the devices off. I cooked a healthy dinner (no wine!) and enjoyed a long conversation with my husband, catching up. I cuddled my dogs. I read. I journaled.  I created a schedule for the next day that included yoga time, meditation time and device time, among other things. I went to bed early and woke up with the sun, feeling blissful and rejuvenated. 

With my creative juices flowing I decided on the theme of the next weekend retreat I will be hosting.  There will be yoga, of course, but I want to focus on meditation. I'm thinking mindful hikes, mala making and space for you to find clarity, compassion and creativity. Stay tuned....