December Newsletter~ Step Into Your Magic

elephants familyNamaste and Happy December~ (A day early:))
I hope that this newsletter finds you all well and wonderful~ finding time and space for yourself at this dark and inward time of year.  It has been a while since I have been in contact.  Life has been full and my energy has been directed both inwards and outwards.  November was a month full of hope, acceptance and trust~ A time of letting go of any thoughts of control and just allowing life to unfold.  A very uncomfortable experience, at the same time very humbling.  A necessary period, that has just led to an even greater knowledge of the magic that is all around us.
Things have been evolving here at Ananda Ayurveda, the flow is steady and smooth~ so much opening and growing.  Yoga classes are ongoing at Oceanfront Suites in Cowichan Bay~ a wonderful space to practice, with a gorgeous ocean views.  The classes are always strengthening  yet gentle~ great for all levels~ Mondays and Wednesday’s 4-5:30, $10.  I will be taking the week off from December 26-January 2.  I am also thrilled to announce a Ayurvedic Holiday Cooking Class on Sunday, December 18.  A wonderful vegetarian menu~designed as a healthy, and tasty alternative to the traditional Christmas dinner.  The classes are filled with learning, laughter and Amazing food!
It is the holiday season and I am offering gift certificates for all of my services~ as a special gift to you, I will offer $15 off all gift certificate purchases (except for cooking classes, yoga and tarot readings).  Remember~ I can do Tarot Readings, Intuitive Counseling, and Jyotish Astrology Readings by distance as well (with skype or by phone)~ so a wonderful gift for anyone, anywhere:)

Winter is the Vata time of year, Ayurvedic Body Therapies are a wonderful gift to others, or to your self, Abyhanga and Shirodhara are both grounding, balancing, and such special gifts to the body and to the spirit.  If you haven’t experienced one yet, perhaps this winter you can find the time to treat yourself, a gift to remember.

Step Into Your Magic

mandala grungeAs we move into December, the darkest month of the year~ Vata season, dry and cold, (although sometimes the rain brings a dampness here on the west coast), it is a wonderful time to check in with the undercurrents of your being, to slow down, and to rest.  Embrace the solitude of the night, and relish in the beauty of the light in these short days.  Solstice is coming, as is the holiday season~ a great time to express gratitude to your loved ones, to celebrate the coming of the light, and the possibilities of the new year.  A time both of inner work, and outward joy.
Contemplating what to write about this month~ so many things happening and going on in this wonderful world, at such an accelerated rate.  Friends, family and clients are all expressing their feelings of being on a rollercoaster~ emotional and energetic experiences moving so quickly~ seemingly huge blocks coming up, yet dissolving as fast as they appear.  Huge movements, affecting us all from the roots of our beings to the peaks of our energy,  on each and every level that you can imagine.
It is a magical, crazy, wonderful time~ A time of tremendous growth.  Everything is accelerated, and while it doesn’t feel comfortable, it is necessary for us to evolve and move through these changing times.  It is time to let go of the shoulds, the can’ts, the fear,  everything and anything that is holding you back from expressing your true self.  Knowing that there is nothing to fix, nothing to change, that you are perfect, you are here for a reason.  Now is the time to own your magic.
As human’s we have a tendency to always think that there is a better time for us to begin to do what we are here to do, maybe it will be when we are less stressed, or when we have more free time~ The time is now, its always now.  As soon as we step into any limitations of the mind, putting off our true power until a later date, we are just stepping away from ourselves, falling into the false safety of a“comfortable” life.  Are you really following your heart?  Are you listening to your soul?  Are you able trust that you are able to do what you are here to do?  No pressure, no guilt, knowing that yesterday is the past, and tomorrow is just a dream.. Now is whats important, So step into yourself~ awaken to your magic and BE it.  The time is NOW.  Every moment is an opportunity, to begin, to awaken, to trust, and to believe.  Things are moving fast for a reason, we are opening and awakening.  Jump into the flow of your spirit~ move with the universe~ let go of the control, and enjoy the ride.

Recipes

As winter is descending upon us, I thought I would share two of my favorite dishes~ a wonderful Vegetable Biryani and a soulfully warming Pear Chutney.

Pear Chutney
We had lots of pears in the orchard this year, and that led to jars and jars of pear sauce and pear chutney.  As I make the chutney I really play around with it each time, not holding to a specific recipe.  The recipe I am sharing has a spicy flavor to it, but is balanced with the sweetness of the pears, and the dates. Perfect for vata, warming and grounding at the same time.  The fenugreek leaves add a nice touch of astringency as well~ This is a great recipe to accompany rice and vegetable dishes, to have on crackers, and sometimes I even like to have it mixed in with my morning curd:0)

Directions
3 Tbs Sunflower Oil
3 to 6 Dried Red Chili’s
1 ½ tsp Fennel Seeds
1 tsp Cumin Sees
1/4 Cup Dried Fenugreek leaves (Methi)
1/2 tsp Paprika
Pinch Asafetida (hing)
6 Bartlett or D’Anjou Pears, Peeled, Cored and Cut Into Chunks
1 ½ tsp sea salt
¼ Cup Chopped Dates (add more to taste)
2 Tbs Raw Cider Vinegar
1.  Heat the oil with the chili’s fennel seeds and cumin seeds on medium-high heat, until the cumin is browned (2 minutes)
2.  Stir in the fenugreek leaves, paprika and asafetida, and stir~ then add pears and salt.  Cook until the pears soften and get juicy. (3-5 minutes)
3.  Stir in the dates, and the vinegar, reduce heat to medium and let cook for 30-40 minutes, until the pears are soft, golden and caramalized.

Stir often, and taste….adding more dates for sweetness, and experimenting~ I sometimes like to add cinnamon and cloves, or a pinch of nutmeg.  If you are unable to find fenugreek leaves, that’s ok, its very good without them as well:)

Vegetable Biryani
A Biryani is a wonderful Indian dish, layers of rice and vegetables, spices and tastes.  I have been making this Biryani for years, and it is one of my favorite recipes.  The saffron and turmeric rice is beautiful in color, aroma, and is mouthwatering to the taste.  The vegetables are softly spiced, with a spicy sweetness, that is simply divine.  Topped with the toasted cashews~ this dish is balanced, nourishing, and perfect for these cooler winter days.

Directions
1 ½ Cups Basmati Rice (White or Brown)
1 Tbs Ghee, or Sunflower Oil
Pinch of Saffron
Pinch of Turmeric
½ tsp Salt
3 Cups Water

1 cup Chopped Leeks or Fennel
1 Tbs Ghee, or Sunflower Oil
2 Tbs Grated Fresh Ginger Root
½ tsp Ground Cumin
1 ½ tsp Ground Coriander
½ tsp Cinnamon
Pinch Of Cayenne
½ Cup Water
1 Sweet Potato, Yam or Carrot Diced
2 Cups Cauliflower Florets
1 Medium Bell Pepper
½ Cup Green Peas (fresh or frozen)
⅓ Cup Raisins
¾ Cup Cooked Chick Peas
Salt To Taste

¼ Cup Toasted Cashews

1. Saute the rice in 1 Tbs of ghee or oil, coating each kernal in a medium size saucepan.  Crumble in the saffron, add turmeric, salt and the hot water.  Bring the rice to a boil, cover the pan and reduce the heat.  Cook for 15- 20 minutes if white basmati rice, 30 minutes if brown.
As the rice cooks you can prepare the vegetables
1.  Saute the leeks or fennel in 1 Tbs of oil, or ghee, softening them~ about 5 minutes.
2.  Add the ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cayenne, and cook for one minute, stirring the spices.
3.  Add ½ cup water and add the sweet potato, and the cauliflower, cover the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes.
4.  Stir in the rest of the vegetables, raisins, and chick peas.  Continue simmering until vegetables are tender (not over cooked).  Add salt to taste.
5.  Butter/Oil an oven safe dish and spread ½ of the rice in the bottom, top with the vegetable mixture, and then the remaining rice.
6.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes

Garnish with toasted cashews and enjoy

As always have fun with this dish.  Work with the vegetables that are in season by you.  I usually add some greens, as well as whatever is in my garden.  If you’d like it spicier, add a bit more cayenne or fresh ginger.  Less spicy, omit the cayenne (keep the ginger).  Most importantly, enjoy making this beautiful dish~ and eating it will be even more of a treat:)

Yoga Asana Of The Month

Legs On Chair Pose

While deciding on the yoga asana for this month, I had many ideas come to me; relaxing postures, postures to open the hips, strengthening and grounding postures, but none seemed to resonate strongly when I started to write about them. I kept coming back to legs on a chair pose, not the most exciting name, not the most interesting asana, but one that is deeply relaxing, wonderful for the lower back, and accessible to Everybody.  Similar to legs against the wall, but more supported and easier to let go in~ allowing the breath to flow, the body to open, and deep release and relaxation to take over.  Take your time with this asana, don’t rush~ Enjoy and allow yourself  to melt into your being

Directions
1.  Take a moment seated to just breathe and let go of your day. Maybe taking as long as five minutes to just relax, soften and open to your energy. Allowing the breath to deepen, and your body to settle into the space and time for yoga
2.  Place a blanket on the chair if you like to make it softer for your legs.  If the chair is tall, feel free to place a folded blanket underneath your lower back for additional height and comfort.
3.  Lie on your back, and lift your legs onto the chair, so that they are supported and relaxed, the knees are bent, the spine is straight, and your heart is open.
4.  Palms can be by your sides, or on your stomach, or heart, wherever feels right to you~ knowing that you can move them at any time.
5.  Reconnect with your breath, breathing deeply, softening and opening. If you notice any areas that are tight, either physically or energetically imagine the breath going there.  Softening, relaxing, and deepening.  After a few minutes relax your breath, letting it almost slip away, just as if you were in sivasana, allow your self to float in your own awareness, and enjoy your self.

Take as much time as you like with this asana, at least 5 minutes maybe as long as 15.  You can use a pillow underneath your head if you like, or a soft neck support.  Its your practice, do what makes you feel comfortable.  Know that you are facilitating deep healing and relaxation in this asana.

To come out, gently bring your knees to your chest, giving yourself a huge hug, rolling from side to side, massaging that lower back, and eventually rolling to one side, taking as much time as you need to rise up.

Upcoming Events

Oceanview Yoga
Oceanfront Suites Cowichan Bay
Monday and Wednesday Afternoons~ 4:00-5:30
No Class December 26-January 2
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

December Ayurvedic Cooking Class~ Holiday Dinner
At The Hawthorn
Sunday, December 18
10am-1:30pm

Come enjoy a delightful early vegetarian holiday meal and learn about Ayurvedic Cooking at the same time. This month we have prepared a wonderful holiday themed menu~ both delightful, and healthy at the same time. These classes are wonderful, filled with lots of laughter…, learning, and of course amazing food. We support local growers, have a wonderful garden, and always cook with LOVE:)

Menu
Ayurvedic Roast with Walnut And Figs
Vegetarian Gravy
Cranberry, Orange and Ginger Chutney
Honey Glazed Parsnips
Rubbed Kale Salad
“Egg Nog” Lassi
Chocolate Log

Full Meal Is Included

Call 250 597 3973 to reserve your space- limited to 6
$75

So once again, so much gratitude for the time that you have taken to read this.  I wish you all a wonderful solstice and holidays, hoping you all have the opportunity to take time for yourself and your loved ones~ wherever and however you are celebrating!
Much Joy, Bliss, And Peace To You All~
Asrael

October Newsletter~ Autumn Harvest

Namaste~
vector1229I hope that this beautiful autumn finds you all well and wonderful. Such an amazing time of year, as we begin the transition from summer into winter. Darkening days, cooler nights, beautiful colors and here at The Hawthorn lots and lots of harvesting. Abundance in its full force. Such a magical and busy time. Reminding myself that even though life is full and busy right now, it is important to take the time to breathe, slow down, and allow my being to prepare for the more inward time of winter. I have been truly blessed this year with the visit of my parents~ they have been greatly helping with the harvest, as well as gifting me with the experience of change in my routine~ allowing me to flow and to be in different ways, filling up many cracks and crevasses that were ignored and of course sharing their love and support~ Great Gratitude mom and dad:) And Great Gratitude to you all, as we enter this time of Canadian Thanksgiving- I so appreciate your support, energy and time~ Thank you:)

I am happy to announce a few new offerings this month. Yoga classes will continue at the Oceanfront Suites, in Cowichan Bay beginning Wednesday October 12~ Inside but still with an amazing Ocean View. Classes are on Monday and Wednesday afternoons 4:00-5:30 and great for all levels.
I am also pleased to announce the next Ayurvedic Cooking Class, on Sunday October 23 at The Hawthorn in Glenora BC. A wonderful spiced harvest menu~ and the classes are always such a joy for all involved. 10:00-1:30~ full lunch included.

I am also very excited to announce this months special~ A 90 minute Ayurvedic Massage And Shirodhara treatment for only $125. Perfect for soothing the mind and the body as we transition through the seasons. An experience that you will never forget:)Decorative Summer Mandala

Recipes

As the seasons change so do our dietary needs.  Its a wonderful time of year for roasted vegetables, squashes, soups and stews~ Foods that are nourishing and grounding to both the body and the nervous system.

Ginger Chutney
1 Tbs Lime Juice
⅓ Cup Orange Juice
¾ Cup Peeled Fresh Ginger Root
½ Cup Raisins

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend.

  • I like to let the chutney sit for at least an hour so that the flavours have time to meld together.
  • Fresh squeezed organic juice is so much better for you than store bought juice~ I always squeeze my own
  • If your raisins are too dry, cover them with water and allow them to soak overnight.
  • You can substitute dried figs for the raisins~ Yum:)

Great to revive a sluggish appetite, also good for cleansing excess ama out of the body.

Coconut Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:
4 cups fresh pumpkin, diced
1 cup fennel bulb, finely diced
2 cups coconut milk
1 Tbs ghee or olive oil
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cardamom
1 Tbs fresh ginger
Water
Fresh cilantro to Garnish

  1. Heat the oil or ghee in a saucepan~ add dried spices and fennel bulb. Sautee for about 5 minutes, or until the fennel becomes soft
  2. Add the diced pumpkin, and cook until golden brown, adding water as needed to keep from sticking
  3. Once golden brown, add 1 cup water, and 2 cups coconut milk, and the fresh ginger
  4. Simmer until soft~ about 15 minutes~ add more water if you like
  5. Blend with a stick blender~ or leave chunky
  6. Garnish with fresh cilantro~ salt and pepper to your taste:) Enjoy:)

Play with this, when I can get them I like to add fresh lemongrass and lime leaves with a pinch of cayenne pepper for a little extra spice. Lemon and Lime Juice are nice too:)
What could you add that would make your taste buds sing?

 

Yoga Asana Of The Month

Heart To Earth Pose
Uttana Shishosana

As we move into autumn, harvest time is at its peak~ at the same time we are adjusting to the darkening days, the cooler weather and perhaps a more rigorous schedule. As these changes happen we can often push ourselves harder than we normally may, encouraging patterns of energetic holding~ in the muscles and in the emotional body. With all that is happening in the world at this time, our beings also are filtering a huge amount of energy from the universal consciousness~ this can manifest in insomnia, anxiety and tension in the upper back and in the heart. In my own practice I have been working with heart opening asana’s and this months is one of my favorites- great on its own or with a bolster for extra support, try both see what works for you:)

Invite the playfulness and innocence of a puppy into your being~ This is a wonderful asana for opening the heart and the shoulders as well as for releasing tension in the spine. Its energy is calming to the mind, yet invigorating to the body. A wonderful prescription for insomnia, depression, stress and tension~ allowing the heart to open, bringing clarity and peace to the entire being.

Instructions

As always take a few minutes seated or lying down to let go of your day, taking time to create peace in your body, remembering not to rush, to stay present and most of all to enjoy.

  1. Come onto all fours in a hands and knees table position.. Connect with your breath here~ inhaling and exhaling through the nostrils. Invite some movement into your body, maybe arching the back and lifting the heart on an inhale, and curling the spine on an exhale. Or in the spirit of a puppy, give those hips a wiggle~ whatever feels good to you:)
  2. After a few breaths find a nice firm table position. Shoulders are above the wrists, and the hips are above the knees. Take at least 3 deep breaths here just to feel the strength of your body’s support.
  3. Walk your hands forward a few inches, and as you exhale sink your sit bones down towards your heels. Arms are extended in front of you, elbows are off the ground. Release your forehead to the floor, or to a soft comfy pillow. Let the neck be relaxed. We are releasing tension, not creating it.
  4. Breathe into your entire being, feeling the extension in the spine. Stay here for 30 seconds to a minute- keeping the energy flowing as you stretch through the arms, and the buttocks~ feeling alive, and energized~ notice if you are holding in the shoulders and let the heart sink to the earth~ giving gratitude to all.
  5. When you are ready to come out- Allow your sit bones to sink to your heels, and enjoy child’s pose for a minute or two before moving on.

With Bolster- Feel free to try this posture with a bolster, it takes some of the pressure off of the knees and the lower back, and can allow you to hold it for a longer time. Place a rolled up blanket or a pillow between your thighs and your calves.

 

Upcoming Events

Yoga By the Sea~ Indoors with a view at the beautiful Oceanfront Suites Cowichan Bay
Monday and Wednesday Afternoons~ 4:00-5:30
Beginning Wednesday October 12
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.

 

Ayurvedic Cooking Class ~ October Harvest Menu
Sunday, October 23, 2010
10:00 am -1:30 pm
At The Hawthorn~ $75

Enjoy the bounty of our garden’s (and other local gardener’s) harvest, as well as learn to make amazing organic vegetarian meals, according to Ayurvedic principles. This month our menu is warming to the soul~ with both some sweetness, and a little bit of spice. These classes are always a wonderful time, filled with lots of laughter, learning, and of course amazing food.

Menu
Fresh Homemade Paneer
Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup
Maple Roasted Beets
Basmati Rice Pilaf With Cashews
Palak Paneer
Poached Pears With Sweet Orange & Date Glaze
Bengal Apple Chutney
Chai

Full Meal Is Included
Call 250 597 3973 to reserve your space
Limited to 6

Once again, much gratitude to you all for taking the time and the energy to read this newsletter. I wish you all a wonderful October, A Happy Canadian Thanksgiving, and all the happiness that is in everything:)
Namaste
Asrael

September Newsletter ~ Everything In Its Perfect Time

Namaste~
Happy September:)  I hope that you are all well and wonderful and have enjoyed the beauty of the last month.  It has been a wonderful time here at The Hawthorn, sunny skies, abundant gardens, and a softening into the seasons as the long days start to shorten, dewy mornings precede hot afternoons, and manifestations of intentions and dreams continue to unfold.  Beautiful moments of yoga by the sea, picking cherries, rafting down the Cowichan River (truly exhilarating and a great teacher about fear and letting go), connecting with old friends, and sharing energy with so many wonderful people.  I feel truly blessed:)
As we enter September we begin to move into a bit more of a vata season (drier, and cooler), but I am keeping my fingers crossed that the summer pitta energy will still hang around for a bit.  As we enter a changing of seasons its a great time to slow down a bit, and check in with what we need, see what can bring more balance to our being.  Notice if there are different desires, or energy levels, perhaps you are craving different foods, or exercises~ and adjust to what suits you for the moment or the time.  Enjoy these last days of summer, and start to open to the coming autumn~  and of course Enjoy Every Moment:)

I am excited to announce some wonderful new events and specials this month, as well as the continuation of some old ones.   I would also like to remind everyone about the amazing experience of Ayurvedic Massage, Abyhanga. Treat yourself to a blissful, balancing, restorative 90 minutes~ for only $90.  As the monthly special I am offering  Tarot Readings for $30 a half hour reading, a wonderful 25% savings, great in person or by distance on skype or by phone:)  Yoga In Cowichan Bay is continuing for the month of September, weather permitting~ Classes are Thursdays, 4-5:30pm, and Saturdays 10-11:30am, such a wonderful place to enjoy yoga~ look at the ocean, feel the breeze and float with your being.  I am also introducing a New Yoga Class that begins on Wednesday, October 5 at the Duncan Recreation Center~ pre registration is great, and if I get enough students drop ins are more than welcome.  Wednesday mornings from 9-10:30, $80 for 8 classes, and wonderful for all levels:)  I am taking a break from cooking this month, so the next Cooking Class will be October 23, menu will be announced closer to the date, mark your calendars~ and fee free to pre-register.   Also Coming in October~ weekly meditation evenings, and Yoga Nidra.

Vector floral decorative background.“Everything in its perfect time. Everything is unfolding. And I’m enjoying where I am now, in relationship to where I’m going. Content where I am, and eager for more”~ Abraham Hicks

In my yoga classes I always try to weave in a sense of spirit for the day~ the source of this can range from happenings in my daily life, to sharing lessons from a spiritual teacher, or perhaps a gift of knowledge from a friend.   I worked with this beautiful quote from Abraham Hicks the other day, and a student asked me to share it in my newsletter, so here we are:)

When you have a few minutes I invite you to take this energy in, and to read these few sentences out loud to yourself.   Then take a moment to sit with the energy that you have just invited into your being.  Ask yourself, does this ring true for me?  Am I content where I am?  Is everything happening in its perfect time?  Am I enjoying where I am at now?
Often as the wonderful human beings we are, we are constantly waiting, pushing, hoping, rushing through things, wishing the outcome would happen “now”. When we come to a standstill, or a period that seems to be blocked, a time of stillness and waiting~ which can be quite uncomfortable, often our minds and our beings are thinking, whats wrong, this is never going to happen, what can I do to fix it, to move it along.  Perhaps its just perfect.  Perhaps the stillness, the slowness needs to happen,  allowing the universe to come together to support it/you.
Often times I think that its the hardest when we are still, after putting out so much energy and joy into bringing our manifestations into being~ the greatest lessons can happen here in our discomfort, in our “waiting” period.  Instead of stepping into the ego and the mind, instead of jumping into the doubts, the disbelief that all is manifesting~ see if you can come to the understanding and the trust that it is all perfect in every way, as its whats happening.  And isn’t what happens perfect?
That is not to say that its not important to water those seeds of intention that we have placed in our heart, to be “eager” for what we are here to do. But eagerness, is not the same as discontentment in the now, in the present.  Do you feel content where you are right now? In this space, in this time? Do you enjoy whatever it is you are experiencing?  Even the challenges?
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t the ups and the downs, the joys and the pains.  The ebb and the flow of life is endless, and the balance of it all is perfection.  It is such a gift to be here, to experience all and everything that is happening, in these human forms.  When we can step out of the mind, step out of the future, and embrace the perfection that we are~ even with all the little imperfections that our human minds can say, we and life have~ when we can feel the wonder of each moment~ to trust that all is absolutely just fine and to know with certainty that everything is happening in its own time, peace and contentment will be there.  And that eagerness, that excitement for what is, will grow as we continue to plant and water the seeds of our personal garden, a garden that touches and affects everything in the universe.

Recipes

As the seasons start to change, notice that you may be drawn to different foods, more hearty, warmer, and sweeter~  Harvesting apples and pears, maybe even some squash and pumpkins, carrots, potatoes, and beets, foods that are more grounding in their energy.   Enjoy their tastes, their energies and the qualities that they bring to your meals, balancing out the fresh summery salads, salsas, and lighter foods that you are filling your belly with.  A wonderful time of harvest with such abundance of vegetables and fruits to delight our taste buds.  I thought this month I would share a wonderful Bengali Apple Chutney, that warms the belly and brings the taste of autumn to our being, as well as a lighter rice noodle salad, great with garden vegetables, and wonderful on those days when we are too busy outside in the light, to spend much time in the kitchen.

Bengali Apple Chutney
½ tsp sunflower oil
¼ tsp mustard seeds
¼ tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fresh green chili, finely diced
1 Tbs ginger root, peeled and minced
¼ tsp turmeric
2 whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon
2 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled and cubed
1 ½ Tbs fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp sea salt
2 Tbs evaporated cane juice

Heat oil in saucepan on medium- high heat, add mustard and cumin seeds and let pop.  Add green chili, ginger and turmeric.  After 20 seconds add all remaining ingredients.  Turn down to medium- low heat, cover and cook until apples soften and break down, about 20 minutes… Serve warm.

Rice Noodle Salad
Quick, easy and versatile, as well as nutritious and filling.  I have been enjoying this salad with whatever vegetables are fresh from the garden~ it is different every time and always delicious:)

2 Tbs Olive Oil
Package of vermicelli rice noodles-
Water- Enough To Cover the Noodles
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp turmeric
½ Tbs Fresh Ginger Root chopped
½ Lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste
¼ cups seeds of your choice (Sunflower, Pumpkin, Sesame)

Mix Of Vegetables (can be anything your heart/stomach desires)
Example-
1 leek
1 carrot
1 handful green beans
1 cup broccoli
2 cups chopped green chard
1 small zuchinni, or 2 small pattipans
Fresh Cilantro

Instructions
1.  Take the rice noodles and place them in a large bowl, I usually use about ½ pound (1/2 package).  Bring water to a boil.  Cover the noodles with boiling water and let sit 10 minutes.
2.  In a pan heat 1 Tbs of olive oil on medium heat, add the dry spices and let cook for 2 minutes or so.  Add the leek, and cook until it is soft (about 2 more minutes).  Add the rest of the vegetables and lightly cook for about 5 minutes, adding the ginger in at the end.
3.  Strain the noodles in a colander, place back in the bowl, and then mix with all of the vegetables.
4.  Toast seeds lightly in a small pan, until brown, then add to the salad mix
5.  Drizzle remaining olive oil over the salad, and the squeeze half a lemon or a lime over that.  Salt and pepper to taste, as well as ½ cup of a chopped fresh herb (cilantro, dill, basil)
6.  Enjoy then, or let rest for a few hours.  Great both ways!

Yoga Asana Of The Month

Virabhadrasana 1 ~ Warrior 1

Virabhadrasana allows us to connect with our own inner warrior.  Its a wonderful opportunity to dive in and experience your own power,  feel the rooted earth energy streaming up through your feet, let your breath flow through your open heart, and lift your arms to the sky, embracing the the universal sky energy.  This is an energizing and strengthening posture~ Very grounding to vata energy, balancing kapha to kapha as well~ giving a spark of pitta energy to our being.

Instructions
As always take a moment or two in a comfortable lying down or seated position to relax the body and the mind.  Taking a few deep breaths to ground and to center, to come in to awareness of the moment and of your being.

1.  Start in Tadasana, Mountain Pose.  Feet hip width apart, arms by your sides,  heart is opened, neck is relaxed.  Take a deep breath or two here.   Totally rooted in your being.  Feeling your power and your energy.

2.  Inhaling take a wide step to your right, the right foot will be facing the back of the mat.  the left foot will be turned out slightly, both heels are on the ground. Hips will be facing forward.  Exhale, and taking a deep inhale ground through the feet, feel your balance, your strength.

3.  Exhale and bend the right knee as far as you can comfortably go.  As you inhale lift your arms over head palms facing towards each other.  If you like you can press the palms together~ roll the shoulders back so that the heart can open fully.  If the hands are apart maybe imagine a beautiful ball of energy or sunlight between them.
4.  Breathe deeply, sinking further into this strong, supported asana with each exhale, and allowing each inhale to fill you with light, as you lengthen through the torso.  Filling your being with fresh energy, connecting with your own inner warrior.

5.  This is a very energized posture, try to stay for at least 5 deep breaths if it is your first time, longer if you have been here before or if it feels comfortable.  When the mind starts to wander, bring it back to your breath.  Root through the feel and extend through the body.  Alive, energized and at peace.

6.  To come out of the asana take a deep inhale and straighten the right leg, turn both feel to the outside (long) edge of the mat, release the arms, take a few breaths here and then turn to the left, coming in the asana on the opposite side.

7.  Afterwards take a few moments in childs pose or savasana to allow your body to release, relax and restore.

Upcoming Events

Yoga By The Sea – Weather Permitting:)
Enjoy Yoga On The Oceanfront Deck in Cowichan Bay

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 September~ 4-5:30 pm
Saturday Mornings in September~ 10-11:30 am

Call 250 597 3973 for more information

Autumn Morning Yoga in Downtown Duncan

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.

8 week session-
Beginning Wednesday, October 5
9-10:30 am
Entire session $80

For the class to happen I do need a certain number of full registrars, drop ins will be welcome too:)
Call me at 250 597 3973 for information
or the Recreation Center at 250 748 7529 to register.

Thank you once again for sharing your time with me~ I so appreciate it.  Feel free to write me with any questions or feedback.  I enjoy each and every connection I have with all of you:)  I wish you all such a joyous and wonderful month~ wherever you are… as you bask in the beauty of your perfect being:)
Much Peace
Asrael

For those of you on Facebook I have a Facebook Page too:)

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

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.

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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:)

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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.
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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:)

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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

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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

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