August Newsletter~ Expressions Of The Soul

Namaste~
Happy August to you all.  I hope that this newsletter finds you well and wonderful~ content wherever you are in this time and space.  Summer is fully in bloom here in BC, and although it has been cool and cloudy, I feel much gratitude for the temperate climate~ sending the breezes to those of you in the midst of the humid heat waves to the East.  Its been a busy month, filled with joy~ whether its through work, gardening, or amazing river hikes and swimming.  A month filled with introspection as well as expression, coming into deeper awareness of all the connections~ between everything, and anything.   Melting in to a deeper sense of trust and awareness, knowledge that everything is just fine, just divine.
This upcoming month offers lots of new adventures and opportunities.  I am excited to announce two new yoga classes (Thursday~4-5:30pm, and Saturday 10-11:30 am) at the Oceanfront Suites in Cowichan Bay~ on the deck, with an ocean view.  I am also pleased to announce the next Ayurvedic Cooking Class on Sunday, August 28, the last cooking class was filled with garden abundance, hand picked~ peas, broccoli, chard, cucumbers, and fresh herbs~ and this month there will be even more:)  Of course I am always inviting you to try the blissful, nurturing body experience of Abyhanga, I just find it is the perfect way to really sink deep into the peaceful spirit.  As a special treat this month, schedule an Ayurvedic Consultation (1.5 hours, with a free half hour follow up) and an Abyhanga for only $190 (normal price $210).

Expression Of The Soul Self

Angel heartI have been thinking a lot about expression lately, its many different forms~ the ways that we can share our own unique part of the consciousness ocean.  August is a Pitta month Ayurvedically speaking and Pitta’s energy thrives by expressing itself, whether in words, movement, lifestyle and in countless other ways.  In working with clients, friends, family and the self, I have been asking “ Am I expressing my soul self to the fullest? “  and not reacting to what comes, but just listening, noticing and paying attention to what is there.
Do you express your soul self to its fullest potential?   What does that phrase mean to you?

Some of the ways that the expressive energy manifests in my consciousness are

1. Through speaking my emotions, my feelings, any pent up energy that manifests in thoughts~ not necessarily to others, maybe just to the universe, or by writing in my journal… maybe if I really feel the need going out into a private space in the beautiful world and singing or screaming very loudly, letting it all out whatever it is… without judgement.  As humans we all experience a full range of emotions,  from blissful loveliness, to uncomfortable fear, or anger.  When we hold these emotions tightly it can manifest energetically in frustration, anger, anxiety, and depression, physically it can eventually lead to muscle soreness, nerve problems, and disease.

2.  Noticing what it is that I am “doing” in this physical life.  
Am I in tune with my deeper desires, am I acting in balance with my soul choices.  This can range anywhere from work, to the way I relate to others, to my own self perceptions.  Many of us in this westernized world we live in, do what we are “supposed” to do, and sometimes feel stuck in the idea that we can’t move out of the space that we are in.   There are no locks holding us anywhere, our spirits are free and ready to move anywhere, anytime~ and its important to trust that the universe will support us fully when we step in line to our higher desires, and our souls path.  Are you content with where you are?  If not what can you do to open the door?  What can you do that will allow your soul self to find its path?  If you sit for a minute, and ask this, something will come, and when it does, allow it to express itself in thought form, maybe in an image, or in words… its different for all of us.  In whatever way it comes, embrace it.. notice if the mind tries to shut it down with a “can’t” or “its not possible” that is just a trick, a societal conditioning.  Believe its possible, and it will be:)  A good way to manifest the path to expression is by creating a vision board, drawing pictures, or cutting out phrases and photos from magazines relating to your highest dreams~ pasting them on a posterboard and hanging it where you can see it every day.  It works like magic (we are magic).  By creating healthier, forgiving, soul self loving perceptions, we start to create new energy waves in the consciousness ocean, drawing more like energy towards us, opening the doors to everything we ever dreamed of.  It is all there, when we block our expression, when we lock it tight, and stay focused in our “shoulds”  the path becomes muddy and unclear~ again creating a space for anxiety, fear, and illness.

瞑想3.  Movement~ Connecting With Nature~ Meditation
Another way I look at expression is within my physical manifestation of my soul self.  Am I moving enough?  Am I outside enough? Am I sitting enough?  Sometimes when I am holding things in, my body becomes tight, I sit in the same place, all day~ usually working on something that I feel is important, or maybe its cold outside and I just feel sluggish and tired.  Not that having days off isn’t important, this is more when there is some energy floating around that needs to move~ but doesn’t want to.  One of the best things I can do for my “soul self” here is to go for a beautiful walk in nature, or go out on my deck if the weather is good and do yoga~  Even 15 minutes of a mindful practice, whether walking or in Yoga, moves things tremendously~ allowing my energy to flow, and releasing any pent up physical blocks.  Another great practice is to get in the garden and really touch the earth, starting by walking through the yard with bare feet, and then getting on my hands and knees feeling the earth in my fingers~ so grounding.  To be outside connecting with the elements, feeling nature, and knowing that I am a part of it all.  Embracing that connection~ allowing my spirit to really soar with everything that it is a part of.
Now, as humans we do have monkey minds, and our minds sure can create a lot of havoc for us~ with thoughts, storylines, “important” things, the list is endless.  A very important part of my life is allowing the mind to express itself~ without playing into it.. without judging it, or holding on to any of its meanderings~ this is through the practice of meditation.  An opportunity to allow my soul to again connect with the universal consciousness, while sitting still~ the mind may be busy at times, very active~ expressing itself fully, but in the bigger picture my true expression shines brighter and fuller, allowing peace, energy and acceptance of what is.

We are all connected, all one, yet we are all expressions of that one~ each with a unique energy, a unique path, and a unique way of expressing our manifestation in this life.  See if you can take some time this month to listen to your “soul self”, and to notice if you are swimming in its special currents, or if you are treading water~ and believe that whenever you desire you can open the door to the adventure of your highest potential by jumping in to your dreams.

Recipes

Zucchini (and all summer squashes)
If you have a garden you are probably familiar with the luxurious bounty each summer from the magnificent squash plants.  It often seems as soon as I pick one, there is another one popping up, ready to be savored and enjoyed.  Summer squash (zucchini, yellow crookneck, pattypan) are probably one of the most Pitta balancing foods available in the garden, fresh from the garden, they offer cooling and sweet energy~ perfect for a hot summer day.  The abundance of the summer squash, gives us the opportunity to eat them as much as we like, and there are so many wonderful ways to prepare them.  Roasted in the oven, Steamed (best if steamed whole and then sliced, to retain their flavor),  In salads, Stuffed squash boats, the list goes on and on. The blossoms are wonderful to eat too, you can stuff those as well, or just toss them into a stir fry.  As many of us are out all day in the summer~ whether it be working, enjoying nature, swimming in the lovely river I am sharing a quick, easy and versatile recipe this month.  One that takes minutes to prepare, and can be enjoyed on its own, as a side dish, with rice, or even in a sandwich~

Grated Summer Squash

6 cups grated summer squash
2 Tbs Ghee or Sunflower Oil
Asafatida
Salt
Pepper

1.  Sprinkle the grated squash with salt and toss.  Allow to stand for 10 minutes, then drain well, squeezing out excess moisture.
2.  Melt ghee in a large pan, or add sunflower oil to pan.  Add the asafetida and saute over low heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the squash and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.  If there is excess water in the pan drain.  Season to taste

Creative Options (Let your playful Pitta energy come out)
~  Add 1 Tbs  fresh ginger to the asafetida
~  Add your favorite homemade curry powder to the asafetida
~  At the very end of cooking, add some fresh herbs from the garden~ dill, cilantro, pepperment, thyme, basil~ whatever you like
~  At the very end of cooking squeeze ¼ of a fresh lemon onto the zuchhini
Try one of these, or a mixture, and Enjoy:)

The main recipe was taken from Heaven’s Banquet by Miriam Hospodor

Summer Dessert

Vancouver Island offers a wonderful abundance of fruit and berries in the summer time, and wonderful way to get lots of Vitamin C, as well as satisfy any sweet cravings.  I have been blessed with fresh cherries from our own wild cherry trees, raspberries from a local farm, u-pick strawberries, and blueberries and saskatoons are next on my list~ all of them have been so amazingly wonderful to eat.  In our last cooking class I made a wonderful Berry Cobbler, sweetened with Maple Syrup.   Maple Syrup is very cooling to Pitta, and has such a wonderful nurturing sweet taste~ I prefer to use grade C as it has the most minerals and the strongest flavor.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did:)

Mixed Berry Cobbler
Fruit
6 Cups fresh or frozen berries (if frozen do not thaw)
¼ Cup maple syrup
½ tsp ground cardamom
1 ½ Tbs arrowroot powder

Pastry
1 ½ cup spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp sea salt
¼ cup sunflower oil
⅓ cup maple syrup
¼ cup almond milk
½ tsp vanilla extract

1.Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Mix all of the fruit ingredients together.  Place the entire contents in a
2.  Combine flour, baking powder, sea salt, and sunflower oil together in a food processor and pulse until mixed.  Add maple syrup, almond milk, and vanilla and pulse only until the liquids are mixed in.  Top the berry mixture in a pan with 6-8 spoonfuls of the mixture~ space them evenly.
3.  Bake for 25 minutes

Enjoy:)

This recipe was adapted from the book Vegetarian Traditions by George Vutetakis

Yoga Pose Of The Month ~ Janu Sirsasana

Forward Bends are extremely relaxing to the nervous system, cooling to the body, and help to bring balance to our being.  Janu Sirsasana allows us to breath deeply as we extend from the hips, lengthening the spine, and bringing light and energy to the hamstrings.  Great for hot summer days, for calming excess mental energy,  and a wonderful every day practice

Instructions

1.  Start by sitting on a folded blanket or a soft pillow, legs extended in front of you hip width apart.  Arms by your sides, fingertips on the earth.  Take a minute or two here to breathe, creating intention for this moment in time, allowing your energy to ground into the earth, noticing with each breath the heart lifts and fills with light, the spine lengthens, and the body begins to relax~ remembering not to rush, reminding the self to be present.
2.  When you are ready take a deep inhale and bending your right knee, bring the sole of the right foot to your inner left thigh.  The outer right leg is on the floor, perhaps with a folded blanket under the knee for comfort. Exhale.
3.  Take another deep inhale, and lengthen the spine, turning slightly so that the center of the torso is over the left leg.
4.  Allowing the heart and the breath to lead you exhale and fold over the left leg.  Notice if you are collapsing into this bend and allow your shoulders to roll back, your heart to stay open, and the feeling of lengthening in the lower back.  Arms can be by your sides, holding your shin, or perhaps even your left foot.  If you like take an inhale to lengthen the spine once more, and then exhale fold more deeply into the leg.  Your neck is soft and relaxed.  Eyes are closed and breath is deep and flowing.
5.  Enjoy hear for at least 5 big breaths, staying for up to 3-5 minutes.  Melting deeper as you relax and float in your awareness of the moment.  When you are ready Take a deep inhale slowly come up, extend both legs, I like to give them a shake here:)
6.  Take yourself through the opposite side

This is a great pose for calming the mind, soothing the mood, balancing anger, depression, and uncertainty.  It helps digestion, stimulates the liver and the kidneys, its great for menopause, menstrual discomfort, headaches, and sinusitis.  All in all a truly magnificent and wonderful Yoga Asana to be in.

Upcoming Events~
There are lots of exciting events planned for this August~ Would love to see you at any or all of them:)

Oceanside Yoga at Oceanside Resorts in Cowichan Bay, BC
So excited to be teaching yoga on the deck this month

Flow with your breath. Connect with your spirit. Move into your being. More yin then 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.

Thursday Afternoons in August~ 4-5:30 pm
Saturday Mornings in August~ 10-11:30 am

$10 drop in

Ayurvedic Cooking Class~ August Menu
Sunday,  August 28 ~ 10:00-1:30
The Hawthorn  $75
250 597 3973

Its time for another cooking class:)  The gardens here at the Hawthorn are just flowing with abundance~ and the August menu is going to take full advantage of these lovingly grown vegetables and herbs.  The classes are always so much fun, with lots of learning, sharing, and enjoying amazing meals with wonderful people.  Nutritious food, that is easy to make~ working with the Ayurvedic principles of the 6 tastes, happiness while cooking, and food grown from sustainable sources.  These classes are limited to 6 students. Call to reserve your spot today:)

Menu
Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad
Nori Rolls with Summer Garden Pate
Tempeh and Garden Vegetable Kebabs in a Spicy Almond Marinade
Vegetable Coconut Thai Style Soup
Summer Fruit Chutney
Cilantro Mint Chutney
Sesame Halvah
Spiced Ginger Nectar
5 Spice Mix

Blessings to you all~ I wish you a wonderful month, filled with expression, love and peace
Namaste
Asrael

July Newsletter~ Season Of The Sun

Namaste,
I hope that you are all well and wonderful and that the seeds you planted this spring are growing into beautiful realities:)  Today is New Moon in Cancer, as well as a solar eclipse, so a wonderful time to water and nurture the seeds in your heart, as well as to plant new ones.

Summer is here, and with comes the hot sunny days that we all love~ Ayurvedically this is Pitta Season.  Hot, damp, energetic, filled with lots of fun, but a time when it is also easy to overdo, and overheat.  Its important to take care to nurture yourself, and to allow yourself to enjoy this time of year.  Slow down, get outside and have fun.  I know here on the West Coast of British Columbia, it still feels cool and Kapha like, but I trust that it will shift soon,  to help manifest this, I am focusing this newsletter on bringing balance to the being in Pitta season!

Things are wonderful here at The Hawthorn, the garden is growing, the flowers are blooming, the bees are buzzing in abundance, and there is joy and laughter everywhere.
I am excited to announce the next Ayurvedic Cooking Class, which will be held on Sunday, July 17, and well as another Yoga Nidra night on Tuesday, July 14.  I am offering a wonderful special this month~ Buy two 90 minute Abyhanga’s  (Ayurvedic Massage) for $150 (a 30 dollar savings), truly a treat to oneself.  I am also offering a 1/2 day retreat during the summer~ Visit me at The Hawthorn, and receive an  Ayurvedic Consultation, a 90 minute Abyhanga, and then enjoy an Organic Garden Fresh Ayurvedic Lunch, and take your time relaxing and enjoying the magical gardens, or sit in the meditation room~ only $225.
For those of you who like to stay in Duncan, I am offering Tarot Readings from 11-2 on Thursdays at The Healing Arts Station at 164 Station Street in downtown Duncan, pop in to say hi, or to get a reading.  I would love to see you:)  I am always available by appointment at home or by the phone:)

Vector sun background. Only for your designPitta Season

Some tips for keeping Pitta in balance at this time of year.

Pitta energy when in balance is nurturing, fun, energetic and playful.  When it gets out of balance it can show itself mentally with frustration, anger, overdoing things at work, or on a physical level manifesting itself in headaches, rashes, and hot flashes.   It is important to check in with yourself, to see how you are feeling~ Are you overdoing it? Are you taking the time to rest and enjoy?  Notice where you are at and what you are doing, that is perhaps the most important step towards keeping yourself in balance at any time of year.

Enjoy Nature and Play

When the summer sun is shining, and the air is warm its a perfect time to be outside and to be in nature.  Nature is very balancing to Pitta. Its a wonderful time of year to enjoy your garden~ working with the earth is extremely grounding and cooling, and sitting in the shade, smelling the beautiful flowers is an energetic air conditioner.  Take nice long walks in the morning or the evening~ even better if they are gentle hikes in a park or woodland by you.  The power of mother earth settles us on so many levels~ and is such good medicine at this time of year.  Another great way to cool off at this time of year is by embracing any water sources near you.  Jump in your favorite lake, river or ocean~ let the currents carry your stresses away.  If you don’t have a nice natural water source close by, take a bath, throw in a few scoops of epsom salts, your favorite essential oil and relax~  keep the water temperature a bit cooler, warm is ok:)

Loving the lifePitta is very playful in its energy.  If you notice yourself spending a lot of time working inside or are stressed because you are feeling overwhelmed by everything that you “need” to get done, STOP.  Overdoing and overworking, can energetically take our physical and emotional beings to an unhealthy place very quickly.  Give yourself permission to play and enjoy life.  Make time for your friends and your family~  go on a picnic, or a camping trip, or maybe just have a nice dinner together once a week. Life is too short to rush around “doing” all of the time.  When the days are long and sunny, when there is more chance for connection and holiday, take advantage and jump in.  Embrace your innerchild, and then embrace those that you love around you~ great medicine for the soul, and a wonderful way to balance to much Pitta energy.

Diet

Diet is also very important at this time of year.  Pitta can be aggravated by lots of spicy, pungent and sour foods.  Not that you can’t enjoy your hot pepper salsa, but notice if you are finding imbalance in your meals~ bring in some cooling energy to even it out.  There are so many fresh garden vegetables available to us at this time of year, fill your dishes with them.  Add some cooling herbs, or fresh coconut to your dishes~ cucumbers are great.

Assortment of spices in wooden spoons and jars,I will share a list of some foods to minimize, and some to increase, but again everybody is different, find what works for you.  And remember minimizing doesn’t mean don’t eat, it just means to find a balance for your body.  If you notice heat increasing in your body, then increase the recommended vegetables and decrease the heating ones and see how you feel:)

1. Liquids: Avoid iced drinks, as Ayurveda teaches that extremely cold or iced drinks extinguish the digestive fire. Instead, during the summer it is best to take all drinks cool, warm or at room temperature.
2. Fruit: Enjoy sweet fruits like apples and berries rather than sour or citrus fruits.
3. Vegetables: Eat plenty of sweet and bitter vegetables like cucumbers, spinach, celery and zucchini rather than pungent veggies like raw onions, hot peppers and tomatoes.
4. Grain: Choose white, wild or basmati rice rather than brown rice and go for quinoa, barley and bran rather than rye, corn and millet.
5. Dairy: If you can digest dairy products, use ghee, cow’s milk, goat’s milk, unsalted butter and unsalted cheese. Ice cream is ok, on occasion. If you are prone to congestion or weight gain it is better to avoid it. Sour cream, buttermilk, and salted dairy products are not recommended, especially during the summer, as they are more heating.
6. Meat: If you eat animal products, do so moderately, and try to limit it to the white meat of chicken or turkey, freshwater fish or egg whites.
7. Spices: Use an abundance of cooling spices like cilantro, dill, coriander and fennel. Avoid heating spices like cayenne, chili peppers and mustard seeds. Fresh ginger is ok, but do not use dried ginger. Sprinkling coconut on foods is also a cooling treat.
8. Legumes: Beans in general are astringent, and balancing for pitta.  If you eat nuts, choose almonds (as they are less heating than other nuts). Soak and peel them for healthiest results.  Sunflower seeds are lighter and less heating than nuts.
9. Alcohol: If you drink alcohol, choose beer and dry white wine, in moderation. Avoid hard liquor and red wine which are heating.

10.Tea or Coffee: Chamomile, dandelion, fennel, licorice and mint teas are best. You can also make a cumin-coriander-fennel tea. Coffee is not recommended. If you drink coffee, add cardamom as an antidote.

~ This list was created by Banyan Botanicals, and I think its a great explanation of recommendations for diet during Pitta season:0)

Massage

Treat yourself to the gift of a nurturing massage.  Its great at any time of the year~ always balancing.  Ayurvedic Massage is wonderfully nurturing and balancing.  Choose an essential oil to help cool the senses down, Lavendar, Rose or Ylang Ylang are great choices:)  Shirodhara is also extremely cooling, and relaxing to the nervous system and the busy mind.  If you haven’t experienced it yet… maybe now is a good time:)  This month I am offering a special on Abyhanga (Ayurvedic Massage)~ Buy two massages for the price of $150 (a 30 dollar savings).  They must be used within 3 months from purchase.  If you haven’t tried it yet, it is a truly amazing experience:)

Yoga Asana Of The Month

Pigeon

Hot Yoga is the rage right now, whether it be Bikram, Moksha, or Vinyasa Flows~ they are fun, energetic, and very strengthening.  At this time of the year, when the heat is all around us, its important to balance the “Hot” Yoga with some slower, gentler, more cooling practices, especially for those of us who may have a Pitta imbalance.  Now is a wonderful time to create a calmer, more relaxed attitude towards your practice, letting go of any inner compitition or need to be perfect.  Try to schedule your yoga practice in the morning, or in the evening, in the cooler time of day, taking time to relax and melt into each posture.  Inverted asana’s can be very cooling, when not held too long, and chest opening and hip opening postures are also very balancing, letting go of any excess heat in the body~ Standing and seated forward bends are both extremely cooling.  This month I thought we would play with pigeon~ A Hip Opening Forward Bend that asks you to open your heart and surrender to the moment.

Pigeon~ Kapotasana
Pigeon is a wonderful asana to release excess heat and stress, and allow your self to melt into the space that is Now.  It opens the heart chakra, as well as the 2nd chakra, using a combination of strength and surrender.

As always before you begin to practice take a few minutes to sit or lie down, allowing yourself to breathe, and relax, to slowly come into this space of quiet practice.

1.  Come into a table position on your mat.  Take a few breaths here, maybe even making some movement~ arching and curling your back on the inhale and the exhale, release any stored stress in your spine.
2.  Exhale and bring your right knee up towards your hands.  Turning the knee allow it to float towards the right side of your mat, as the right ankle rests on the left side of the mat.  Allow the left leg to slide back so that it is extended, the hips lowering towards the floor.  The toes of the left foot can be curled under or flat.
3.  Press down into your fingertips, grounding into the earth.  Inhaling lift the crown of the head up towards the sky, not straining your neck, but lengthening the spine~ opening the heart~ Breathe deeply.  Exhaling allow the hips to sink down to the earth.  Allow your shoulders to roll back down your spine, so that the heart can open more fully.
4.  Breathe and enjoy the opening:)  Feel free to stay here, or allow yourself to fold forward over your right leg, onto your forearms, letting go, and feeling the release in the hips.

5. To come out of this asana, allow your hands to support you as you take the right leg back to table, maybe taking a downward dog, lifting the right leg to the sky, or even childs pose, before embracing the other side.

When teaching this asana in my yoga class, I always remind my students to breathe and be here, as it can be uncomfortable, our minds may try to take us away… Come back to the breathe, surrender and enjoy.

Recipes

I thought this month I would share a chutney and Lassi drink.

Lassi’s are a yogurt drink that are wonderful for digestion.  Yogurt on its own can be quite sour and heating, but when mixed with cooling spices and herbs, it is transformed into a sweet and cooling nectar.

Mint Lassi~ Mmm So good
1 cup yogurt (organic or homemade is best)
2 cups water
¼ tsp crushed cardamom
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves~ try spearmint or peppermint..
Pinch of salt
1.  Mix yogurt, water, maple syrup, cardamom, mint leaves and salt in a blender.Blend until smooth.
2.  Blend until smooth

Enjoy:)

Feel free to play around with this ~ toss in a few rose petals from your garden, roses are so cooling and nourish the heart:0), cinnamon tastes good too… is there another spice you would like to try?  saffron is nice~ add a handful of soaked almonds, or some cashews… Maybe a date?  Add more water for a thinner drink, Less to make it creamier.  Embrace the playful pitta energy and see what you can create:)

Cilantro Mint Chutney

Chutney’s are an amazing way to bring some spice to your meal with out overdoing it.  Usually they are taken with the meal to help digestion, as well as adding a complexity of flavor.  This is a chuteny we shared in our last cooking class.  Cooling, but with a little bit of spice at the same time.  Delicious!

2 cups loosely packed coarsely chopped fresh mint
2 cups loosely packed coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2 roma tomatoes
1 Tbs minced fresh ginger
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

Put all ingredients in a food processor and mix.

Upcoming Events

This month at Ananda Ayurveda, I am pleased to offer another cooking class, as well as the monthly Yoga Nidra Meditation.

Ayurvedic Cooking Class~ July Menu
Sunday, July 17 ~ from 10:00-1:30 at The Hawthorn
$75

The cooking classes are a wonderful way to learn a little bit about Ayurveda, see the beautiful space that is The Hawthorn, and to enjoy a wonderful meal, as well as make new friends. This months menu is filled with lots of garden fresh vegetables, and flavorful dishes that are really quite easy to prepare on your own.

Fresh Garden Pea and Zucchini Soup
Brown Rice Salad with Fresh Dill, Currants and Pumpkin Seeds
Sesame Kale
Swiss Chard Pecan Dolma’s with Lemon Mint Sauce
Bengali Apple Chutney
Quinoa, Amaranth, & Rice Flour Crepes with Fresh Seasonal Fruit
Cinnamon Mint Lassi
Ayurvedic Digestive Tea

Curry Powder Spice Mix

The class is limited to 6 students~ please call 250 597 3973 to register.

Yoga Nidra ~ At The Hawthorn
Tuesday, July 14~ 7:30-9:00
By Donation**

Yoga Nidra is a body-centered form of meditation that can help us discover a greater sense of wholeness and balance that is naturally ours.  This method of self-inquiry is practiced in a comfortable lying down position, in which participants are guided into the deepest levels of relaxation and mediation.  This practice burns away negative patterns of conditioning, creating the space for transformations on the physical, emotional, and energetic levels.

Join Me For 30 minute Yoga Nidra (a recorded session by Swami Niramjamananda) followed by 30 minute silent sit

I hope you all have a wonderful July~ Thank you again so much for reading, enjoying and sharing your energy with me!
Much Much Love and Peace
Asrael

Ayurvedic Cooking Class~ June Menu

Namaste,

I am excited to announce the Menu for the upcoming cooking class on Sunday, June 19~ 10:00-1:30 at The Hawthorn.  It is going to be a wonderful class with garden/local fresh vegetables and herbs,  great recipes, and of course an amazing meal!  Would love to see you there:)  Call 250 597 3973 to pre-register, the class is limited to 6:)
June Menu

Coconut Quinoa Salad with Mixed Greens
Warm Asparagus with Basil and Mint Pistou
Fresh Garden/Local Vegetable Saute with Tofu and Almonds
Spiced Dhal
Irish Soda Bread – Wheat and Yeast Free
Date and Amaranth Energy Balls
Cucumber Raita
Cilantro Chutney
Ayurvedic Summer Tea
Pitta Spice Mix

The class is limited to 6 students
$65

Call 250 597 3973 to pre-register:)

June Newsletter- Great Gratitude

Autumn floral background with birdsHappy June everyone,
The sun is shining, gardens are planted, and the days are long and bright, filled with beauty, warmth and the promise of a wonderful summer. I hope that you are all well and wonderful, and finding time to do whatever it is that makes you smile. It has been a very interesting month for me, on many levels~ a time filled with many ups and downs, travel, on both the spirit and physical levels, and immense learning, more that I could ever imagine. I have come to a place of deeper understanding, acceptance and gratitude for each and every moment. Life is such a gift, as are all of our connections~ those with our families, close friends, and any being that touches us in a special way. To love and honor those around us wholeheartedly, and to be able to express that love, offers the chance for true surrender into our heart.

With this new awareness, I look forward to this beautiful month of June. I will be offering an Ayurvedic Cooking Class on Sunday June 19, from 10:30-2:00 at The Hawthorn, it will be a wonderful early summer menu, with as much local, and homegrown produce available. I am also continuing the special of a free tarot reading with the purchase of a 90 minute Abyhanga, so luxurious, relaxing and healing:) Tuesday June 14, will be a Yoga Nidra night beginning at 7:30. I will be updating the website soon, with other class times and special events.

***

dentro de la barriga

Surrender And Enjoy

Something that is so simple yet so difficult for most of us to do. Let go, and just enjoy what is, trust and surrender to the knowledge that all is just perfect. Do you take time to really enjoy where you are at, what you are doing, or does your mind fill with the clutter of so many worries, stresses, thoughts and things that take us away from the true beauty and magic of this amazing life we live. This past month, I was confronted with sudden serious illness of a close relative, an experience that although extremely emotional, was perhaps one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. It really brought to my awareness what is important, and very clearly illuminated the amount of time and energy I spend focusing on the trivial things in my daily life. Every moment is a chance to feel love, to feel gratitude, and to experience the wonder around us. Each thing that happens is full of magic, full of light, and giving us opportunity to grow and to learn, whether it may seem difficult or easy. Embrace whatever it is that life brings, trust that it is all wonderful, and needed, and allow yourself to enjoy each and every moment. It truly is a gift.

I also experienced an amazing amount of love and gratitude for my family, my friends, and all of those around me. To be able to express on a heart level with those that we have long standing relationships, is such a gift, cutting through the layers of the past, to the beauty and energy of the true connection. To feel the support and energy of so many, from both the people close to me, and from some that I didn’t even know, was truly humbling. To see so clearly, how we are all connected, we are all one, and we are all light beings- such innate trust ~ what else is there to do but to surrender?
I thank all who sent their support in every and any way:)

***

Yoga Pose Of The Month

Reclining Twist

A wonderful way to wring out any tension in the spine, very relaxing, and rejuvenating at the same time.

Directions

  1. Lie on your back, arms down by your sides palms up, legs about mat width apart. Take a minute or two here to breathe and slow down your mind and your body.
  2. Bend your knees, placing your feet flat on the floor, about hip width apart… take a moment here to connect with your body, how are you feeling? Notice if your chin is coming down slightly.. if not, or if it feels strained at all, feel free to place a pillow under your head.
  3. Bring your knees up to your chest, and give yourself a big hug.. Enjoy this beautiful self love, and if you like, rock slightly from side to side, massaging the lower back.
  4. Release your arms and allow them to float down to the earth outstretched, palms up. Let your knees melt down to the earth on your right side, again, feeling free to place a pillow underneath the legs, or in between them. You can keep your head straight, or if you would like you can turn your head to the left. Remember to breathe:)
  5. Allow yourself to be here with the breath for about 3-5 minutes, and then take yourself to the other side.

Don’t push yourself, allow yourself to relax, and be here.. This asana is very opening, in a very gentle way, relax and enjoy. When you are ready to come out, feel free to give yourself another hug- or just release into savasana, and enjoy.

Some benefits of this asana-

  1. Opens the 2 main meridians (nadi’s in the body)
  2. It is a wonderful release for any stuck energy along the spine, it also releases and relaxes the lower back.
  3. This asana wrings out all of the abdominal organs, which is both cleansing and renewing.
***

June Recipes

Green Goodness-
At this time of year the gardens are just beginning to share their bounty of wonderful healthy food. One thing there is definitely not a shortage of in my garden is greens. Amazing spinach, leafy lettuce, chinese greens, and of course the ever plentiful kale. If you haven’t noticed from my past newsletters greens are a important and favorite part of my diet, they carry so many nutrients, are great in juices, salads, and in pretty much any cooked dish. And they can be even more versatile than that.. Many of us love to snack, even if it may not always be the healthiest thing for our bodies, especially if the snacks are store bought. I thought this month I would share a healthy, easy alternative, for a crispy and delightful snack. Chips~ Made out of kale (Next spring when nettle season is still going, you can make these with stinging nettles as well)

Kale Chips

1 Bunch Kale- organically grown, or even better from a garden close to you
1-2 Tbs Olive Oil
salt to taste ~ just a sprinkle

If you like you can add these spices for added enjoyment, and they are great for digestion
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground cardamom

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Tear the leaves off of the stalk, and into pieces, not too big, maybe 2-3 inches square
  3. Drizzle with olive oil, and toss with salt, and spices if you choose
  4. Lay onto a baking sheet, I like to put parchment paper down first
  5. Let cook about 15 minutes, checking about half way, and giving a stir.
  6. Enjoy

Asparagus
Another wonderful spring vegetable that is just popping up locally here in BC is asparagus. So delicious and so wonderful for us. Ayurvedically Asparagus is a wonderful for all dosha’s it cools pitta, soothes Vata, and purifies Kapha. High in potassium, very easy to digest, and a natural blood purifier, it is very high in folic acid, it is a great vegetable to include in any meal. I often cook it in a pan with a little bit of olive oil and salt, trimming the base of the stems off, and cooking about 5-10 minutes until tender. Easy and Delicious.

Quinoa and Asparagus Pilaf

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
½ tsp salt
1-2 tsp oil
1 lb asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup fresh peas- they should be at a local farmers market soon:)
1-2 Tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbs Olive Oil
¼ cup chopped dill
Salt to taste

  1. Rinse the quinoa in a strainer.
  2. Place in a pot with the water, add salt
  3. Bring to a boil uncovered, turn down to simmer and cover. Let cook 15-20 minutes
  4. In a pan lightly saute the asparagus and peas in 1 tsp of oil, until tender
  5. Toss with quinoa, drizzle with olive oil, and lemon juice, mix in the fresh dill.

Light, cooling, nutritious and tasty:)

***

Upcoming Events

Ayurvedic Cooking Class- Early Summer Menu
Sunday June 19
10:30-2:00
At The Hawthorn
Fresh garden goodness, wonderful food, and a great time
Full lunch is included

Menu to be announced soon- check here for more information soon:)

Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra is a body-centered form of meditation that can help us discover a greater sense of wholeness and balance that is naturally ours. This method of self-inquiry is practiced in a comfortable lying down position, in which participants are guided into the deepest levels of relaxation and mediation. This practice burns away negative patterns of conditioning, creating the space for transformations on the physical, emotional, and energetic levels.

Join Me For 30 minute Yoga Nidra (a recorded session by Swami Niramjamananda) followed by 30 minute silent sit

Tuesday June 19– 7:30pm

By Donation

250 597 3973

***

Once again, I thank you all so much for your time in reading this. I wish you all a wonderful June, and I look forward to seeing and sharing with you all more. Remember, right here, right now, is what there is….. and its wonderful:)

Deepest love and gratitude,
Asrael

***

May Newsletter- Surrender To Love

Natural healingNamaste,

I hope you are well and wonderful wherever you may be this beautiful spring day. It is hard to believe that it is already May ~ A time to embrace the beauty and the joy of light and growth, both in the garden and within ourselves. To nourish the seeds we have already planted, and to sow more of what we would like to create in our lives. Knowing that what we manifest in our lives affects the entire planet, so practice mindfulness, acceptance, and most of all love.

May is the month of Mother’s Day, and in the spirit of that energy, I wish Happy Mothers Day to all of the wonderful mothers out there, and give thanks for your work, your caring, and your nurturing. You live the most important job of all~ Much Gratitude to you all. For those that are not mothers, I offer you to embrace the matriarch energy within yourself, that you share with the world in other ways, to honor, nurture, and love.

May is a very busy month for me at Ananda Ayurveda. I am offering a wonderful special ~ Treat yourself, or maybe your mom, to an hour and a half Abyhanga (Ayurvedic Massage) and receive a free tarot reading. See below for more information about the wonderful experience of Abyhanga.
I will be at the Bench School Fair just outside of Cowichan Bay, offering tarot readings on May 14, from 10-2, come get a reading if you are in the area, and for those far away, I am available by phone or skype ( just as powerful as in person). I am also pleased to share with you many new events at my house, The Hawthorn: A weekly meditation circle, yoga classes, a weekly toning circle, Yoga Nidra– and more to come. The next Ayurvedic Cooking Class will be on Sunday June 5 from 10 am -1:30 pm, I will be posting the menu soon☺ There should be lots of seasonal vegetables up then, and we will also use some wildcrafted plants too:).

Abyhanga – Traditional Ayurvedic Massage

Many people have never had an Ayurvedic Massage, it is a wonderful experience, one that heals the body on much more than just the physical, and it feels so good.

An Ayurvedic Massage balances your body, mind and spirit, while working on the subtle energy layers, allowing for tremendous healing, in a very comforting way. The experience of Abyhanga is very different from that of a Swedish Massage, or a normal western massage. It begins with warm organic oils (the oils typically used are sesame, or sunflower, and coming this summer, medicinal herbal oils), anointing the hands, feet, forehead and top of the head, activating these chakras. More warm oil, is poured onto the body, and massaged into the skin, the therapist uses long fluid, rhythmic strokes, that cover the entire body. These strokes activate the energy meridians (the nadi’s), clearing and allowing prana to flow. The oil grounds the physical body, lubricating the tissues, and allowing any toxins in the cells, and from the energy body to move into the digestive system, and be released. Our bodies luxuriate in the oil, absorbing much of it, its warmth is comforting as it nourishes every cell in our body. Essential Oils add to the treatment, offering to balance and relax on an energetic level, and just smell so good. While giving the massage, the therapist, is in tune with the client, its a meditation, a dance and a flow, one where energy awakens, chakras balance, and healing can occur on deep levels. A massage, that allows you to relax deeply, at the same time allowing for restoration and rejuvenation. A heart opening experience of bringing balance to your being in blissful awareness.

This months special: Free Tarot Reading with the purchase of an hour and a half Abyhanga .

***

Eating Ayurvedically

Wild Weed – The Amazing Dandelion

Dandelions are an amazing addition to the springtime diet. Dark green, bitter leaves, sunny, sweet yellow heads, and they grow just about everywhere. Many gardeners, do their best to rid themselves of the beautiful dandelion, but it really is a gift, offering so much to our bodies.

As it has been a wet, cool, spring here on the west coast, many of us are still feeling that kapha energy, perhaps a little sluggish, mucousy, and heavy. Dandelion greens offer a great remedy for that with their bitter taste. The energy of bitter helps to dry up the Kapha excess, and the dark green leaves enrich our bodies with calcium, iron, Vitamin A, B, C, D and Vitamin K, more even than a serving of broccoli. The leaves are great in salads, stir fries, and green juice.
The dandelion buds are another wonderful addition to salads, and cooked dishes. If you pick the fresh buds, before they open, toss them in a stir fry and you get a beautiful mixture of sweet and bitter, they soak up the juices, and are amazingly delicious. The flowers are a sweet and easy way to make your salads look pretty as well as taste good. Take off all of the green and its just sweet, a little green adds a bit of bitter. Its best to not eat the stem, doesn’t taste so good, and as the dandelion matures, there can be a latex milk that isn’t so nice to ingest.
The roots are amazing too, a fall harvested root can make a great coffee subsitiute, and they are great medicinally for the liver, and stomach. The leaves aid digestion, and are great for the kidneys, and bladder. And the flowers are relaxing, and satisfying, also great as a skin tonic☺ So for those of you that have dandelions growing in your yard, and know that there are no fertilizers, or pesticides on them, why don’t you try to make friends with them, enjoy the gifts that they offer, and eat well.

Lemon- Mint Sauteed Dandelion Leaves

1 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Tbs Fresh Mint
1 Tbs Dill
2 Tbs Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
Big Bunch of Dandelion Greens
1 leek sliced, or ¼ cup fennel chopped
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper

Sautee the leek, or fennel in the olive oil on low heat. Add the greens, and cook until soft, add the salt pepper, and toss with the lemon juice and fresh herbs. Enjoy.

Dandelion Flower Facial

My favorite Ayurvedic Face Lotion from India, is made from the flowers of Dandelions.
This is a great way to take care of your skin, it softens, heals, and nurtures, plus its so easy to make.

A handful of dandelion flowers- ones that are open already without going to seed
Water

Place the dandelions in a container that has a cover, pour boiling water over them, make sure they are well covered by the water. Place the lid on top and let sit for an hour or two.
Strain the water into a bowl, and place the wet flowers on your face, lying down, closing your eyes, and relaxing. Leave for about 10 minutes. Use the liquid to rinse your face, leaving its residue on. Any left over infusion can be put on your face before bed.

This is a recipe I adapted from Susun Weed’s Herbal Healing Wise Book.

***

Yoga Pose Of The Month

Balasana – Childs Pose

With all that is happening in the world today, I thought that it would be fitting to share Balasana, the pose of a child with you. This is a beautiful asana of surrender, and of acceptance. Child’s pose is extremely relaxing and restoring, great for all dosha’s, it restores the parasympathetic nervous system, is grounding, and a wonderful place to take solace and rest in. In any yoga class, this is a great place to visit when you need a break.

Practice

  1. Begin by coming to a hands and knees table position, Take a few breaths here, (if you like feel free to do the cat stretch, massaging your spine for a few inhales and exhales).
  2. Bring the big toes together, and spread the knees wide apart as you sink your sit bones back to your heels.
  3. Allow your upper body to melt into the earth, the arms outstretched in front of you, palms down. Forehead resting flat on the floor.
  4. Breathe deeply, all the way to your belly, and allow yourself to surrender to the moment, allow your thoughts to float by, and see if you can revisit the innocence and peace of a child.

Modifications

Feel free to place a bolster underneath your stomach, this is nice if you want to relax into the asana for a long time.

You may also bring the knees a little closer together, folding forward, forehead resting on the mat. Allowing your arms to float back by your sides palms up.

See what feels more comfortable for you, and enjoy, staying as long as you like

***

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events ~

There is alot happening at The Hawthorn this month, Weekly Meditation, Yoga, Toning, and Yoga Nidra.

Weekly Meditation Sit ~ At The Hawthorn
Join us on Thursday evenings, for a 50 minute sit. All types of silent meditation welcome. A wonderful hour spent in peaceful silence, supported by others.
7:30 pm-9:00 pm

Call 250 597 3973 for directions, and more information. Beginning April 28 – runs all Thursdays in May.

Weekly Toning Circle~At The Hawthorn
Healing with the magic and vibration of sound. Open yourself to the experience of moving energy, clearing blocks and opening through the power of our own expression. No musical experience or talent is necessary, we are working with our primal and natural instincts, and whatever tone comes out is just perfect:)

The class begins with time for sound to flow, in whatever form it may take, moving the bodies, and letting the voice be heard. After this warm up, this opening, we will sit and ground for about 10 minutes in silence, allowing the energy channels to clear and settle. We will then move through the chakra’s, working with different tones and sounds that resonate with each one. There will be the opportunity to share with the circle with words at the close of the circle. A truly powerful and moving experience.

Thursdays: 10am-12 pm
Suggested Donation $10~Circle dates: May 5th,12,19,26

Follow Your Bliss- Yoga With Asrael ~At the Hawthorn
A Class for all levels: from the beginner to the experienced yogi. We will flow with the breath, melt into the asanas, and open our hearts and our minds to the bliss of our being.

Small class sizes- practice in a sacred, healing, and loving space.

Wednesday mornings 10am-11:30 am
Class Dates- April 27, May 4, 11, 18, 25
Suggested Donation-$10
Call for Information/Directions- 250 597 3973

Yoga Nidra ~ At The Hawthorn

Experience the ancient art of
YOGA NIDRA
Yoga Nidra is a body-centered form of meditation that can help us discover a greater sense of wholeness and balance that is naturally ours. This method of self-inquiry is practiced in a comfortable lying down position, in which participants are guided into the deepest levels of relaxation and mediation. This practice burns away negative patterns of conditioning, creating the space for transformations on the physical, emotional, and energetic levels.

Join Me For 30 minute Yoga Nidra (a recorded session by Swami Niramjamananda) followed by 30 minute silent sit

Tuesday May, 10 – 7:30pm
By Donation
250 597 3973

Where is The Hawthorn?
The Hawthorn, is a magical, healing heart centre, located just a few minutes (4 km) from downtown Duncan, in the beautiful area called Glenora. At the end of a one way road, down a driveway tunneled through cherry trees, a 2 acre paradise, of gardens, peace and tranquility. Call for directions at 250 597 3973

Once Again,
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I wish you all a wonderful May~
Much Peace
Asrael

www.anandaayurveda.wordpress.com