Oriental Broccoli

With the summer solstice upon us, now is the time of year we begin eating more locally grown vegetables from our weekly farmer’s markets. Along with eating more veggies, I focus on consuming them raw and over the last three years my repertoire of raw food recipes have grown substantially. This is an easy one to try if you have never even considered raw foods and it’s super tasty. Bon appetit!

broccoli

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 dates
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup Nama Shoyu (I’ve also used wheat-free Tamari or Bragg’s Amino Acids)
  • 1/4 cup sesame seed oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
  • 4 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds

PREPARATION

  1. Combine all ingredients except the broccoli and sesame seeds in a blender and puree.
  2. Combine the broccoli and sesame seeds together in a bowl and stir. Pour the puree over the broccoli and toss. #noms

 

 

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Agua.

Water is life. Without water, there is no life. Our body composition is more than half of this simple but remarkable essential molecule, H2O. We use water to clean everything including our bodies internally and externally. Water is worthy of our attention and time, not only from an ecological perspective but also for our own healing. Take the time to care about the water you drink, from the container that holds it to the energetics it contains. Avoid drinking from plastic cups or purchasing plastic bottled water as these contain BPA (bisphenol A) which has been shown to disrupt the endocrine system and affect the brain and behavioral development in children.

Equally important is the energetics of the water. We have seven main energy centers of the body, called chakras, which align the spine, starting from the base of the spine through to the crown of the head. All chakras are associated with a color and vibration. The heart chakra is green with a vibration at 528 Hz, the frequency for healing and DNA repair. Place water in a glass jar and fill a bathtub while playing a recording of 528 Hz or the F singing bowl so the water is constantly being vibrated by this love frequency. Water your houseplants and fill your pets’ water dishes with this loving healing water. Take a ritual bath with this water using La Luna Alchemy’s Ritual Bath placing the crystal on your heart space (Anahata chakra) while soaking. Feel negative energies release as its qualities open your heart, expand your consciousness, prompt peace and hasten healing. Love loudly yogis, Namaste.

 

 

Surrender.

When we surrender, we release fears, anxieties, doubts and all the endless agitations of the mind discovering our difficulties are only temporary. Our perspective expands tremendously and we change our karma…giving without expectation. Yoga Sutra 1.23, Isvarapranidhanadva, is devotion to a higher power. When we bow or surrender to a force greater than ourselves we find that what we seek is already present within us, the divine source of life. To devote or dedicate is the means to dissolve the citta vrtti, that place of mind chatter, and surrender to love. Truly devoting ourselves becomes a selfless service to all beings as we recognize the Divine in everyone. Imagine what a world this would be. Surrender to the flow yogis, Namaste.

Soma.

I have been recently delving into jyotish vidya, the divine science of light, also known as Vedic astrology. Originating thousands of years ago, sages first described astronomy and astrology in the Hindu text Vedanga Jyotisha. This system is so rich in mythology and meaning as exemplified in the story of Chandra, the moon god. Chandra had married all 27 daughters of King Daksha, each of whom was named a Nakshatra (constellation aka lunar mansion). However, Chandra loved to spend time with only one, his beloved queen Rohini. The other wives complained to their father, King Daksha, who repeatedly brought this up to Chandra, unwilling to change his behavior. King Daksha got angry and cursed Chandra, causing him to diminish (wane) in size. The Devas (gods) intervened and requested King Daksha to withdraw the curse, who did upon reassurance that Chandra would visit all his wives. Since the curse could not be completely revoked, King Daksha allowed Chandra to regain his strength for half a month (wax) while transitioning all 27 nakshatras (wives) in the month thereby completing the zodiac orbit.

The 27 nakshatras complete the entire circle of 360 degrees of the zodiac as each constellation is 13 degrees and 20 minutes when measured from the fixed initial point. Each nakshatra is divided in padas of 3 degrees and 20 minutes. The 27 nakshatra, each with 4 padas, give 108, which is the number of beads in a mala. Malas are used in meditative practice where each bead is used to count the repetition of a mantra. I am now offering malas on my website each lovingly handcrafted by me. The silver white luster of the moonstones in the Lunar Love Mala is said to balance yin and yang and promote greater flexibility and flow with life.  As the moon waxes and wanes through the month, moonstone is a wonderful crystal to remind us that we too are always full, choosing what we illuminate to the world. Shine brightly yogis, Namaste.

Asparagus Soup

Last weekend I had the opportunity to participate in a wonderful workshop called Renew & Restore: A Conscious Cleanse that included bodycare, yoga and nutrition. Jessica Yoches of Earthly Eating Nutrition shared with us so many invaluable bits of information like the fact asparagus assists our body with detoxification as it contains the highest amount of glutathione than any other food. In the workbook everyone went home with, there were some delicious recipes including this insanely easy and delicious one I modified slightly per my taste. Enjoy!

Asparagus-Soup_18542

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 cups chopped asparagus
  • 1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon sage
  • 1/8 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of almonds
  • black pepper to taste

PREPARATION

  1. Place the asparagus, onion, and garlic in a saucepan. Add 2 cups of water, cover and bring to a simmer. Steam the asparagus for 5-7 minutes until tender and then remove from heat.
  2. Drain off any excess water and transfer the mixture to a food processor. Add all the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
  3. Return to saucepan and warm to the desired temperature on a medium-low setting.  Makes 2-4 servings.

Wisdom.

Knowledge is one thing. Abiding in it is another. Steadfast wisdom is a result of unwavering experiential knowledge. It develops from constant reinforcement that strengthens our conviction…through our practice. Every time we show up on our yoga mat the Truth is lit up as the teachings spontaneously present when we need it. And this is no ordinary understanding; with each breath and movement, we polish the lens of our Citta, our mind-stuff, to develop Viveka Khyati, discriminating wisdom.

This perception is not a simple distinguishment of salt from sugar. This is recognizing Truth from the ever-changing names and forms it assumes. A tree is cut into a plank to create a chair that degrades to firewood then burned to ash. The substance is always there; it simply changes form. If we remember this basic Truth we will not attach to one particular form nor find disappointment when it changes. Nothing is lost or gained and in this knowledge is the key to our liberation.

Yoga Sutra 2.26, Vivekakhyatiraviplava hanopayah, is exercising this continuous discriminative discernment as the remedy for our unhappiness. Viveka khyati opens our eyes to realize we are no longer powerless and do not have to accept suffering. It frees us from living stuck in the daily grind of convention and rather become the architects of our own destiny. Through our practice and disciplined inquiry, we make the conscious effort to develop our unique style of surrender that raises our awareness enabling us to separate true consciousness from Maya, the illusion. True consciousness exists in all of us, in everything. Our bodies are just containers for this Spiritual Spark. Imagine we are all gems on a strand and Truth is the thread that is strung through each and every one of us. Shine on yogis, Namaste.

Retro.

Hello retrograde…this month has five retrograde planets, yes I said five: Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, and Pluto. While the new beginnings of the Spring season arrive with enthusiasm, this retrograde movement in April will delay any firm rooting. Retrogrades have a funny way of stirring up the past, creating a wrinkle in time that allows us to retrace our steps, reflect, and offer us the most opportunity for soul growth. So be sure to give situations additional thought, care, and consideration.

Mercury goes retrograde on April 9th. The Mercury Retrograde period is an excellent time for deepening our trust and connecting with our intuition. Allow additional travel time, exercise patience with yourself and others, take care of your technology and triple check details before signing on the dotted line. In the midst of all this rerun flashback, I am really excited to offer La Luna Alchemy’s Mercury Retrograde Elixir to help neutralize or prevent potential negative effects of this 3-week period. This elixir supports us to relax and shift into an “intuitive” perspective more easily to help resolve disruptions that bubble up during this time.

Saturn goes retrograde tonight so it’s a good opportunity for us to think about the things in our lives that led us to where we are in our relationships and our jobs. We can take this occasion to go over any steps we need to take to rebuild our career or see where aspects need reworking, remodeling or reviewing.

Jupiter retrograde requires introspection and an awareness that inner growth is necessary for our hopes and dreams to materialize as personality traits and behaviors that require extra development will be illuminated. Even if we are traveling on the right path at this stage, we will be reminded how important it is to be happy and content with what we have.

Venus retrograde is one of the most significant astrological transits because it only happens once every 18 months. This is a time to heal the wounds of our heart, to let go of past lovers and relationships, to let go of past hurts and blockages, and to open ourselves to a deeper love. It is also a great opportunity to tap into our intuition and to really listen and follow through on our gut feelings.

While Pluto is retrograde we should be ready to let a piece of our personality, a piece of our life, or someone in our life give way or go in order for things to be changed and made new. It is a useful time to do a body cleanse and wash away the pollution inside our bodies or do a cleansing of our environment.  On Earth Day this month, I am offering a total body cleanse symposium which will discuss bodycare, a detox yoga flow and explore our relationship to the foods we eat for a more optimal state of health, well-being, and clarity of mind. For more details and to register go to Renew & Restore: A Conscious Cleanse. Take this extraordinary month to open to the marvelous possibilities of the cosmos and delve deeper into your true Self. Shine on yogis, Namaste.

Zucchini Hummus

I recently went to a food potluck where we all shared our favorite healthy foods and recipes. I came home inspired to make raw food variations of traditional recipes. You will find this in my fridge regularly as most prepared hummus are made with canned chickpeas, which are stripped of vitamins and acidic in nature. Carrots can be substituted in lieu of zucchini for a slightly sweeter taste. I love to spread this on a romaine lettuce leaf topped with a slice of avocado and eat it like a roll-up, though you can get creative and add other veggies. Enjoy!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups zucchini, diced = about 3 zucchini
    • be sure to leave the skin on as it contains most of the nutrients!
  • 2/3 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder

PREPARATION

  1. In a food processor fitted with s-blade, process all ingredients until smooth.
  2. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Now.

I am continually amazed at this incredibly phenomenal experience called life. When completely engulfed in its presence I am filled with curiosity, happiness and love. When trying to control it I am filled with fear, judgement and frustration.

I have several Sanskrit words written on my yoga mat to continually refresh my brain matter during practice. One in particular that has been resonating is Yoga Sutra 1.1: Atha Yoganusasanum. This very first sutra explains that in this auspicious moment, right now, the distilled teachings of yoga are being revealed. Every time we step on our mat is like no other; it is a new beginning, blossoming to reveal its vital nectar through the practice of yoga. Inhale each breath, savor it, then exhale all thoughts into stillness. While in a pose, smell the texture of the air as you watch it enter the nostrils in nasagre drishti. Off the mat, make eye contact with others to fully absorb what they say.

When our minds are clear, we are less attached to an outcome which enables us to be present in the moment. We can relish an experience instead of documenting it. It is in these instances our minds are free to be who we truly are and synchronize with the universe. Yoga is the practice of tolerating the consequences of being yourself. Choose to be content. Shine on yogis, Namaste.

Mantra.

Mantra means “instrument of thought” and is a sacred utterance, a numinous sound, a syllable, word, or group of words in Sanskrit. At it’s simplest, the word Om serves as a mantra. The earliest mantras were composed in Vedic Sanskrit by Hindus in India, and are at least 3000 years old. Kirtan is a musical form of chanting mantras. It is non-denominational, based on ancient chants and has the ability to quiet the mind if listened to with intention. Because kirtan has roots in India, most of the songs are sung in Sanskrit so that you can be completely immersed in the sound, with no words to distract the mind. The magic of the chants can then carry you within. In this style of music, the harmonium, a type of reed organ that generates sound with foot- or hand-pumped bellows, is often played as the lead instrument as the leader sings the mantra and the audience sing it back. As you sing with each other you experience a deep connection with the musicians, the other audience members and yourself. And when the music stops, your mind is quiet.

I have a deep love of mantra music and am an ardent student of the Hindu texts. As a yoga teacher, I offer a class once a week called Soulful Sunday Flow which includes chanting. After attending a Kirtan workshop this past month I realized what a wonderful addition a harmonium would be to this class and how far reaching its medicine is. Since this is a practice steeped in devotion, I came up with the idea to make malas for individuals to fund the purchase of a harmonium. Malas are prayer beads used to count the number of times a mantra is recited. The prayer beads of a mala are gemstones that carry specific energetic healing properties held as sacred and used to strengthen particular energies inside the person wearing them. For more information check out Fund Me A Harmonium on Indiegogo. Chant on yogis, Namaste.