April Newsletter~ Opening To The Joy Within

paesaggio fantasticoNamaste
Happy April:)  I hope that this newsletter finds you all at peace, enjoying the beauty that is springtime.  Here at the Hawthorn, spring is very slowly making its presence known, the daffodils are in full bloom, the swallows have appeared, even a few hummingbirds have flown by, and the cool, rainy days are making sure that there is plenty of water in the wells, and the earth.  Every day the leaves on the tree’s  open a little bit more, slow but steady, welcoming the light that is always there, even when it’s hidden behind the clouds.  A wonderful metaphor for our own blissful beings, the light that is always there, always present, even though at times it feels hidden.

As always things are wonderful here at Ananda Ayurveda. We have a very exciting month as we have been invited to be part of a documentary on Ayurveda and its transition to the west.  There will be filming at Yoga on Wednesday, April, 18th, as well as at the Ayurvedic Cooking Class on Sunday, April 22.  We will also be offering a group meditation on that day, thinking 2 oclock, but will confirm later.  Very honored and blessed to be a part of this work, and so much gratitude to all those who have volunteered to share their treatments on camera.  Would love to have a big group out for yoga, don’t be camera shy~ you can ask to not be filmed:)

As always things are wonderful here at Ananda Ayurveda.  Yoga Classes are ongoing at Oceanfront Suites in Cowichan Bay, its such a beautiful place to practice.  Satsangs are also continuing this month, biweekly on Thursdays at The Hawthorn.

As always I am offering beautiful and wonderful Bodywork Therapies, so soothing and nurturing, conscious healing, on such deep levels~ in a very gentle heart opening space.  Consultations, Intuitive Counseling, Tarot Readings, and Jyotish Astrology are also ongoing.

Why So Serious?

Loving the lifeLife as always is such a special gift; each moment and each breath offer us the opportunity to be fully in the beauty of ourselves, yet most of us walk around carrying the weight of seriousness.   This beautiful life, this wonderful existence, with all of its ups and downs offers us so many chances to experience the innate joy that is part of all of us.  Yet instead of opening to it, unfolding our petals to the playfullness that is possible, we hold ourselves tightly in, wound up in our “story” , always looking to the next moment where we may be able to relax more, once whatever we are caught up in is done. Does that moment ever come~ doesn’t another chapter always appear?  The moment is always now.  There is no place but the present, and locking ourselves up in a tight ball doesn’t allow us to experience it any better.  That’s not to say, that we “should” or will feel happy all the time, feeling the full range of emotions from grief to ecstatic bliss is part of our energetic flow.  To let go of our “serious” voice and to experience what is, even in the midst of emotions is a powerful practice .  You may be surprised to find joy there, no matter what the situation.  Our time on this planet, in this life is but a fleeting breath in the universal picture, why not enjoy it?  Finding the laughter in the mistakes we make, playing like innocent children in our daily lives, trusting that all that is happening is part of the magical balance of life.  Even in being serious, seeing that energy in our life, and smiling at it, perhaps accepting it as part of our journey, but not allowing it to squelch our amazing life force.  The light force that breathes, sings and lives in open hearted, peaceful joy.  So next time you feel so serious, take time to step back, smile and notice what shifts for you.

Recipes

Its that beautiful time of year when the nettles are coming into their full glory.  Reaching out to the sun, their leaves filled with nutrients and power.  Last month I shared with you a wonderful green juice recipe, and this month I am happy to share this lovely greens dish, packed with nutrients, and spices to balance kapha.  If nettles don’t grow by you, feel free to try this recipe with kale, chickweed, spinach, chard~ whatever it is that you enjoy and desire, you can even make a mixture of all of your favorite greens.

The Joy Of Nettles~ Steamed this time

1 T ghee or coconut oil
pinch of asafetida (optional)
1 T minced ginger
1/4 t whole fenugreek seeds, freshly ground
1/4 t whole cumin seeds
4 c fresh nettles (Can use any fresh greens)
lemon, salt & black pepper to season

Bring about 1-2 inches of water in a pot with a steamer to a boil.  Add the nettles to the steamer and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until soft.   Set aside. In a large pan, heat the ghee/oil. Add the hing, ginger, cumin & fenugreek, and saute over low heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add greens and cook, stirring frequently, until flavors are combined. Season with juice of lemon, salt and pepper.

The Magic of Millet

Warm breakfasts are a wonderful way to start the day, especially in Kapha season.  Instead of going for a traditional oatmeal, or cream of wheat cereal, why not try millet?  It is a wonderful grain packed with nutrients, immune boosting, easy to digest and gluten free.  In terms of Ayurveda millet is heating and drying, so it is a wonderful food choice  for the Kapha time of year as it balances water retention, excess weight, excess mucous, and it is a natural detoxifier.  Adding coconut milk, dates and nuts can bring balance to the drying qualities, making it an acceptable food choice for all dosha’s. This is my breakfast of choice lately,  so delicious and grounding, fills me with energy yet leaves me light on my feet as I embark on my day.

Creamy Millet Porridge
½ cup millet
1.5 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
6 cardamom pods ground
½ cup grated coconut~ fresh or dried
1 apple cut into cubes (optional)
2 Tbs soaked chopped almond or sunflower seeds
Coconut milk or almond milk to taste

Place millet and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add the cinnamon sticks, and ground cardamom, and apple if desired.  Let simmer for about 15 minutes, until the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat, add coconut, nuts, seeds and then ¼ cup almond or coconut milk to taste.  No sweetener needed.  Delicious, nurturing, and filled with nutrients.  A perfect start to a spring day.

Yoga Asana Of The Month

Savsana~ Corpse Pose

Savasana~ the art of letting go.  This is perhaps one of the most important yoga postures of them all.  One that is often longed for in a more difficult part of class, and one that can often be rushed through at the end of class, or in a home practice.  This pose is about total relaxation; physical, mental and energetic.  Allowing your being to just melt into the mat, allowing all that you have just experienced in your day, in your yoga practice, in your mind to be integrated into your being, and released into the universe.  Sounds easy:)  For many of us, letting go can be the most difficult practice. Giving ourselves the permission to relax, to accept and to let go completely is a wonderful practice and one that we, in the west, are not used to.  Give yourself this beautiful gift of peace, letting yourself be and notice the difference when you arise fresh and anew.  Savasana is the final pose in most yoga classes, it can be done after your home practice, or just on its own.

Instructions:

1.  Lie down on your mat, making sure that you have made any physical adjustments that may keep you from letting go (putting socks on, covering yourself with a blanket etc.)

2.  Let your legs spread as wide as the mat, and your arms fall down by your sides, palms up.  If you like you can place your hands on your belly and your heart,  just make sure that you will be comfortable here, able to surrender to the fullest potential.

3.  Roll your head from side to side, and let it find a nice centred resting place.  If your neck is tender feel free to place a rolled up towel under your neck.  Traditionally the head is flat on the floor, so that the neck can stay long. If you find this uncomfortable, a soft pillow is ok.

4.  If you are just coming into Savasana on its own, take a few deep breaths, to centre and to soften.  If you have just finished your normal practice, allow your breath to soften naturally.  Close your eyes, feeling free to cover them with an eye pack, or cloth.

5.  Once centered let the breath soften, let the awareness float and allow each part of your being and your body to relax.  Feel the ground supporting you wherever your body touches it, and allow your muscles to relax, to sink into the earth.

6.  Notice your body, see if there is anyplace that is holding tension, and just allow that to relax, often just by bringing awareness to that part of the body it will naturally happen.

7.  Allow yourself to rest in the beauty of your own being.  Let your awareness flow, as you soften.  This is not the time for sleep, instead it is a deeper relaxation as you float in the space of your own consciousness, letting go of the attention to the physical body, yet still deeply aware of your energetic being.

8.  Stay here for at least 5 minutes, if your mind wanders thats ok, bring it back to your soft breath, and then release that attention.  If you have done a longer practice allow time for a longer savasana, typically at least 5 minutes per half hour, and feel free to stay longer if you like:)

9.  To come out of Savasana, gently bring the attention back to your breath and your body, perhaps wiggling your fingers and your toes as you take deeper, fuller, more intentional breaths.  Bring your knees up into your chest and give yourself a big hug. Feel free to rock and roll from side to side massaging your lower back.  And then very gently roll over onto one side. I like to take a moment here to rest and reflect on my practice, on any insights that may have come to me, or perhaps on one of my favorite teachings.  After some time here, gently bring yourself to seated and continue on with your day:)

~ Feel free to place pillow under your knees if there is any strain there at all:)
~ Let go of any judgement of what the experience “should” be and allow yourself this time to really surrender to each and everything that is happening.

Upcoming Events

Oceanfront Yoga

If you haven’t tried a class yet, Its a wonderful experience, in an amazing place.  Suitable for all levels, and of course filled with opening and joy:)

Oceanfront Suites Cowichan Bay
Monday and Wednesday Afternoons~ 4:00-5:30
All Levels Welcome
Hatha Yoga-Mixed Level Classes

Flow with your breath. Connect with your spirit. Move into your being. More yin than power yoga these classes are great for all levels of yogi, offering a challenge to those more experienced, yet very accessible to the beginner. Flowing at times, we learn to be with our breath, our body, and our thoughts as we melt into the asanas. Experiencing the moment, opening the heart and the mind, and accepting the energy of being where we are, at the same time creating strength, stamina, and flexibility. Always infused with spirit and bliss, and lots of smiles:) Yoga poses, pranayama, and relaxation are all experienced in these classes.
$10 drop in
Call 250 597 3973

Satsang And Meditation
Thursdays, April 5 and 19
7:00-9:00
Satsang~ an opportunity to listen, absorb and open our awareness to spiritual teachings from many different sources.
Just be present as we listen to Dharma talks from the likes of Adyashanti, Eckhart Tolle, and Thich Nhat Hanh (and others).
Followed by a 30 minute silent meditation (All lineages/practices welcome).
Is there anyone you would like to hear from? Let us know:)
Each session will be devoted to one teaching
No prior meditation experience is necessaryBy Donation Call 250 597 3973 for more information Satsangs are offered every other Thursday from 7-9. March 8 and 22.

No prior meditation experience is necessary

By Donation

Call 250 597 3973 for more information

Satsangs are offered every other Thursday from 7-9. April 5 and 19.

Ayurvedic Cooking Class- Documentary Special
The Hawthorn
Sunday April 22, 10-12:00
$40

Join us for a wonderful spring cooking class.  This class is a shorter version of our regular monthly classes, and will be filmed as part of an upcoming documentary on Ayurveda.  A full lunch will still be included.  During the class we will focus on the ghee, the spices and a few of the main dishes.  You will leave with the entire menu’s recipes

These class are a wonderful way to incorporate healthy, nutritious food that is balancing to your dosha, and the season.
Learn:
~About the 6 tastes and how they relate to each dosha
~How to make Ghee,and Spice Mixes
~How to cook simple,delicious & nutritious meals
Organic, Locally Sourced (when possible) and Vegetarian
Lunch is Included

Menu
Ghee
Kapha Season Spice Mix
Red Lentil Dhal with Fresh Turmeric & Spring Greens
Mixed Vegetable Curry~ Spicy & Balancing For Kapha Season
Jeera Rice
Ginger Raisin Chutney
Cardamom Almond Cookies

Call 250 597 3973 to reserve your space- limited to 6
$40

Once again I thank you so much for all of your time, support and energy.  I wish you all a joyous month.  Have fun playing outside in the freshness of the season, breathe in the beauty of life, and most of all~ Enjoy Your Self:)
Namaste
Asrael

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