Ayurvedic Cooking Class

What a wonderful day ~ Today we held the 2nd cooking class at The Hawthorn, my home/workshop/healing space in Glenora.  It was a wonderful group, amazing food, and this time I remembered to take pictures.

I hope you enjoy looking at them:)  The next cooking class will be held sometime in April – will post details and the menu soon:)

 

Carrot Ginger Achar (Pickle)

Ginger Raisin Chutney

Date Coriander Fennel Chutney

Lentil Salad

 

 

 

 

 

Saffron Basmati Rice

Aloo Gobi Masala Curry (we made the spice mixes ourselves)

Lentil Salad

Not pictured- Vegetable Papillottes

 

 

 

Table set for 5 with Vegetable Miso Soup served- with daikon, carrots and freshly picked nettles- YUM

Baked Apples, with dried blueberries, cashews, sunflower seeds, lemon, vanilla, cardamom, and cinnamon.

A lovely group of people to share time and energy with, it was a truly lovely day:)

Kapha Season is here:)

Magnolia flowersNamaste,
Happy early spring, things are wonderful here in Glenora. The weather has been very temperamental; lots of rain/snow mix, but warm enough to start some spring greens, and spinach in the greenhouse. Feels so good and grounding to be working in the dirt, and to be planting the seeds for the summer to come.

The last month has been very busy, spending time and sharing energy with some wonderful workshops. The cooking class on February 27 was a huge success; our next one is March 13. It was a great group of people- and lots of fun. Planning a new menu for an April class. New yoga classes are beginning the end of March, these will be Hatha classes, suitable for all levels, see below for more information. I am still manifesting the Yoga and Meditation day, as well as a weekly meditation sit at my home. Open to any ideas you may have as well.

***

Greeting the new day

Kapha Season

Although the days are getting longer and spring is in the air, it is still pretty cool and damp outside. Ayurvedically speaking spring is the season of Kapha, wet, earthy, cool and damp. Winter’s energy has settled into our bodies, causing the Kapha Dosha to accumulate (water and earth). This energy can affect us in many ways, from the onset of a cold and flu to feeling a bit sluggish in the body and the mind. After a long winter, it is time to bring some warmer, more active energy into the being.

There are many easy ways that we can get the kapha energy flowing, expanding its sweetness, while keeping its heaviness at bay.

  • A great way to increase energy flow is through physical exercise; A brisk walk in the morning sun, energetic yoga asanas, like warrior, or even adding a few sun salutations to your daily yoga practice. Vigorous exercise will get the lymph moving in the body, helping to eliminate any congestion. It’s also a great way to stimulate digestion, and help to detoxify any ama that is built up in the body.
  • Springtime/Kapha time, is also the perfect time of year for a dietary cleanse. A cleanse is a great way to stimulate digestion, creating a sense of lightness in the body, and affecting the being on more levels than just the physical. In Ayurveda, a cleanse is not a fast, it means eating a lighter, healthier and pure diet of easily digestible foods. Favor bitter, astringent and pungent tastes, these help to increase digestion and remove toxins. As in vata season, warm cooked foods are easier for the body to digest, especially during any cleansing. Millet and quinoa are great lighter grains, as is white basmati rice.
  • Another easy way to warm up the body, and to keep digestion flowing is by drinking warm water throughout the day. Take a thermos to work and, try a warm tea, made with 1tsp fennel, ¼ tsp coriander seeds, and ¼ tsp cumin seeds, tasty and balancing to all of the doshas. If you have a sweet tooth, try cutting back your sugar intake and have a licorice tea, instead, sweet, warming, and satisfying.
***

Nettles
Nettles are a green superfood growing somewhere close to you. Thought of as a weed by many, and shied away from because of their sting, this amazing plant is highly nutritious and very tasty. It’s so wonderful after a long cold winter, to see the little nettles poking up from the earth, bright green, and full of vitamins- a great sign that spring is here. Nettles are the highest source of iron that you can get from a plant source, and very high in Vitamin A and C. They have many minerals, and are 40 % protein, again very high for a plant. Being so nutrient dense they are great for strengthening the body, fighting disease, and giving a boost of energy. Nettles grow abundantly in many places, often on the edge of fields, and they especially like to grow next to blackberries. Be careful picking them, as they do sting, wear gloves long pants and long sleeve shirts. I usually just pinch the tops off. If the stem is getting tough, you can always remove it while cooking. Great to substitute for any green, nettles lose their sting as they cook. Rich in flavor, nice texture, and amazing taste, a wonderful springtime energy booster to any meal. Try making a fresh green juice out of them in the blender, or replace the basil with nettles in pesto. Yum:)

Recipes

Stinging Nettle Soup

Ingredients
1 pound stinging nettles
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 leeks, sliced thin
1/4 cup white basmati rice
4 cups vegetable broth or water
1 tbs fresh grated ginger
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 2 teaspoons of salt. Drop in the stinging nettles, and cook 1 to 2 minutes until they soften. This will remove most of the sting. Drain in a colander, and rinse with cold water. Trim off any tough stems, then chop coarsely.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat, and stir in the ginger, leeks, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and turmeric Cook until the leeks have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, broth or water, and chopped nettles. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Puree the soup with an immersion blender, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more water if needed:)

Ginger Raisin Chutney
This Chutney is great for the spring time, very balancing to Kapha and Vata

1 Tbs Fresh Lime Juice
1/3 Cup Fresh Orange Juice
1/2 Cup Chopped Peeled Ginger Root
1/2 Cup Raisins

Combine ingredients in a food processor and grind to desired texture.

If raisins are dry soak for an hour before making

March Yoga Asana

Tree Pose-Vrksasana
As the trees start to bud, and leaves start to open up to the fresh springtime sunlight, I thought it would be a wonderful time to practice tree pose. Grounding, energizing and opening. Imagine your favorite tree, and as you open your arms and your heart, visualize the strength and energy flowing through you.

Instructions
Stand at the front of your mat in mountain pose. With your feet together or hip width apart take a moment to rest here, to feel your energy. Grounding down through all four corners of the feet, rolling your shoulders back so the heart opens, and letting the chin come down just slightly so that your neck is relaxed. Breathing deeply, connecting with the current moment.

When you are ready

  1. Shift your weight slightly onto the left foot, keeping the 4 corners of the foot in contact with the floor.
  2. Turn your right heel in towards the left ankle, coming onto the tips of the toes (right foot) Depending how you are feeling today, you can stay here, or move the sole of the right foot up to the inner left shin, the thigh or maybe even using your hands to place the right foot into the inner left groin, toes will be pointing to the floor.
  3. Find a focal point in front of you, something steady and solid.
  4. Bring your hands to heart center and take a few breaths here. How do you feel?
  5. Raise your arms overhead, shoulder width apart. Keeping your gaze steady, your energy grounding through your left foot, and your heart opening.
  6. Stay here for at least 5 breaths, longer if you can, eventually working up to a few minutes.
  7. Release on an exhale. Shake it out and then take yourself through the other side.

If you want to challenge yourself, try closing your eyes☺
Feel free to do this pose next to a wall for support.

***

This Month At Ananda Ayurveda
more to be added as the month goes on:)

Follow Your Bliss and Enjoy Yoga with Asrael- Thursday’s 7-8:30pm at Natasha’s Temple- beginning March 24th

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.
Drop Ins-$15 6 class series-$72

Ayurvedic Cooking Class
Sunday March 13, 11-2, The Hawthorn, Glenora
Only one spot left- look here for details:)

And as always,
Blissful Bodywork, Astrology Readings, Consultations, and Intuitive Readings

I wish you all a wonderful day ~ enjoy!

Asrael

Imbolc Blessings

A day of light, of the coming spring, of fire, and of a time of blessing.

Imbolc is a Pagan/Wiccan/Celtic blessed day, that marks the mid point between the Winter Solstice and the spring equinox.  A day for a celebration of the coming of spring, of the energy of the home, and of the triple of fire goddess Brighid.   Brighid is the patron of poets, healers and magicians, a goddess of divination and prophecy.

Today’s energy offers a little extra space for magic, listen to yourself and notice if there is more clarity, if you see or feel things on a deeper level,  and trust that whatever comes to you today is real, and right.  Dive deep and honor the inner intuitive, the inner healer and the transformation that is occurring within, and around you.  Trust, Enjoy and Honor your feminine.

I thought I would share a few traditional ways of honoring Brighid, and the energy of this day.

  • Tie up a piece of white fabric outside, perhaps a scarf, or a piece from your altar, even a piece of sheet would be fine.  Dedicate its energy to healing, and allow the energy of it to flow into the earth and consciousness as Brighid’s energy and the energy of us all flows by.
  • Light a red candle, and keep it alive all night, again as a blessing and a light to this beautiful goddess, connecting to all of the other flame keepers around the world tonight.. Place something you would like blessed by this flame and allow it to absorb the energy of the light.
  • Take a few minutes to meditate or find some silence, to connect with your inner energy, perhaps with the intention to allow yourself to slow down and open to the light and the energy of the coming spring

Today is also called Candlemas in the Christian religion, taken from this pagan celebration, it is an honoring of Mother Mary, by all means if that is more comfortable for you, enjoy your celebration and meditation with her energy.

In the more secular world today is Groundhog Day, and from what I have head, he didn’t see his shadow.. it looks like spring is coming soon:)

Tomorrow or course is Chinese New Year.  Year of the Golden Rabbit… a time of relaxation, restoration, flow, and enjoyment… to prepare for the Year of the Dragon to come.

Whatever the day.. whatever your belief, think of this as a good reminder to come into your own spirit a bit more, to bless the coming light, and to listen to your being.  A little bit of tradition, and ceremony is always helpful, and more powerful than you may think.  Intention is as powerful as doing, so connect with the heart, and enjoy whatever way you choose to honor this day and energy:)

Beautiful Sky This Morning

Namaste,

It is hard to believe that tomorrow it will be February.   Here in Duncan it is beautiful but cold outside… I awoke this morning to an amazing glowing pinky, red sunset.. reflecting the beauty and love of the heart.  Blissful, and magical:)

It has been a wonderful few months since I started this new blog, and this new journey in the Cowichan Valley.  Months of opening, sharing and creating.

On Saturday, I shared an Introduction to Ayurveda class with a wonderful group of people from the valley, and a few from Victoria, so much fun, I thank you all for coming:)

Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy classes begin this Thursday evening at Natasha’s Temple in Duncan, should be lots of fun, exploring energy, and consciousness.  Diving deep to heal, and giving permission to let go, of anything and everything.

5:30-7:00 pm, $15 drop in, $48 for 4 classes.

Also coming this month:

Ayurvedic Cooking Classes at The Hawthorn, in Glenora.  Right now I am thinking of either February 20, or 27th.. Let me know what works for you.  Lets explore the healing magic of ayurvedic cooking together, lots of fun- and we get to enjoy a wonderful organic meal too:)

The Deerheart Sanctuary Retreat, has been held off until the spring, will keep you updated:)

Some other ideas floating around in the magic of the universe are:

4 week Yoga and Ayurveda course.. 1 day, once a week – Relax, Connect, Learn, and Enjoy

A Day of Yoga and Bliss-  Morning meditation, Yoga Class, Organic Ayurvedic Meal, Yoga Nidra, Afternoon Yoga Class, Meditation.

Let me know if you’re interested, or if there is anything else you would like to try too:)

Also.. if you haven’t experienced the bliss of Ayurvedic Treatments yet, remember its never too late to try..  Nurturing to body, mind and soul, luxurious and healing:)

Enjoy your day:)

 

 

Blissful Healing

Namaste,

I hope that you are all well and wonderful!  I finally took some pictures of my the lovely healing space that is my treatment room!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Its a wonderful space to give and to receive healing in.  Bright and light and beautiful.

I look to forward to sharing its energy with you all.

January Newsletter- Flowing Into The New Year

Namaste and Happy New Year,

2011 is here and with it comes the hint of longer days, and the promise of spring.  The New Year also brings with it a sense of new beginnings, it is a time when we make new resolutions, and direct extra energy into our dreams and our goals.   In this spirit of beginnings, I am pleased to announce that Ananda Ayurveda is offering an Introduction To Ayurveda Workshop on January, 27 and Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy Classes beginning February 3rd, in Duncan, BC- more details at the end of the newsletter.  And in the spirit of giving, last months solstice special will continue, $25 off all Ayurvedic Body Therapies, Intuitive Counseling Sessions, and Jyotish Astrology Readings, treat yourself or a friend, you deserve it:)
I am also excited to announce that there will be a short article about Ayurveda, in the Cowichan Valley Voice newspaper, January/February edition.

As we move through January,  we are still in a Vata season, the Kapha energy of late winter and spring is coming but not here yet. With that in mind remember to ground, and to stay warm and energized.  Keeping the Vata energy in mind, I thought that this month I would share with you a few of my favorite recipes, essential oils, and a yoga asana, all will nourish, comfort and create opening.

Enjoy~

Recipes

Warm up with yummy homemade Chai
(8 Servings)

6 cups water
1 Tbs grated fresh ginger
1 Tbs whole fennel seeds
2 Tbs whole cardamom pods (crushed) or ½ tsp cardamom seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds (crushed)
1 tsp whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks (or 2 tsp ground cinnamon)
2 cups almond milk (homemade is best)
honey or stevia to taste

In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a rolling boil.  Add the ginger, fennel seeds, cardamom pods, coriander seeds, cloves, star anise, and cinnamon.  Reduce heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
Add almond milk to pot and let warm for a few more minutes.
Strain and serve, sweetening to taste.

If you’d like you can add 1tsp Peppermint, or 1tsp Rooibos herbal tea to the spice mix.
This recipe is great for balancing vata, and kapha.

* A variation of the wonderful Chai Recipe in Eat, Taste, Heal

Red Lentil Dhal- Simply The Best
(8 servings)

2 cups split red lentils
7—9 cups water
1 Tbs fennel seeds
1 Tbs cumin seeds
½ Tbs coriander seeds
½ Tbs turmeric
2-3 Bay Leaves
½ Tbs ground coriander
½ Tbs ground cumin
1Tbs Olive Oil
Any mixture of carrots, potatoes, zucchinis, yam, fennel, leeks, celery
Salt
1.  Put seeds and turmeric in a pot.
2.  Warm on medium low heat for 2-3minutes, you will know its too hot if the seeds start to pop.
3.  Add Olive Oil and any vegetables you want to put in – the veggies depend on you, experiment and have fun with what you have in the fridge. Stay away from onions and garlic; use fresh fennel and leeks for flavoring instead.
4.   Sautee vegetables for 5 minutes on medium heat
5.  Add lentils, ½ Tbs of salt, bay leaves and 7 cups of water
6.  Bring to a boil and then let simmer covered for 30-45 minutes until the lentils are soft. Add water until it is the consistency that you like.
7.  Add ground coriander and cumin, salt to taste

The soup is ready to eat. Yum☺

Variations
•    Blend the soup after cooking with a hand blender to make creamy
•    Add fresh squeezed lemon juice to your bowl of soup- this is a favorite of mine

Essential Oils

Essential Oils not only smell wonderful, but have amazing properties that affect us on all the levels of our being.  You can experience the gifts of essential oils in many ways, a popular easy way is in a diffuser that is heated by a candle, if you don’t have a diffuser a few drops in a saucer of hot water will do.  You can also place them on your skin- always making sure to put them in carrier oil first, such as sweet almond, or jojoba.  One of my favorite ways to use essential oils is in the bath, especially in the cold winter months.  I find there is nothing that warms me, and relaxes me quite like a tub full of hot water, a scoop of Epsom salts and a few drops of my favorite essential oil.  Bliss.

A few scents that are balancing to Vata

Lavender– A favorite essential oil for many, Lavender is well known for bringing a sense of peace and calmness to the being.  It also connects us to our higher self, taking us out of the busy mind.   Lavender is great for relieving depression, and anxiety, and it also helps to clear the nadi’s. It is wonderful for creating emotional balance.

Myrrh– A spicier scent that is energizing and rich is also good for bringing balance to vata, and the busy mind.  It brings with it the energy of self-expression, and strength and confidence in one’s being and purpose.  It allows us to cut through the misconceptions of our minds, and brings us to balance within.

Sweet Orange– Sweet Orange has a soft, sweet aroma.  It brings with it a sense of calmness and clarity, and balances any highly charged emotional state.  It is wonderful for releasing and relaxing any emotional tension- especially on the subconscious level.

Yoga Asana For January

Goddess Pose- Supta Baddha Konasana

A wonderful posture to relax, open and be with.  This asana is wonderful for grounding Vata, as it creates energy flow through all of the chakras, bringing special attention to the 1st and 2nd.   Accessible to all ages and levels, be sure to use pillows and bolsters to be comfortable and try stay here for a while (at least 5 minutes).  Breathe deep, and full, maybe even sending those breaths to areas of the body that are speaking to you.   If there comes a time that you feel the need to just let go, release the breath, and relax fully into the posture- notice what happens.

Instructions

1.    Lie flat on the floor. Bend your knees and place your feet together flat on the ground. Slide your heels comfortably towards the sit bones.
2.    Allow your knees to naturally open and float towards the ground creating a stretch across the inner thighs and groin. Place pillows under each knee as high as needed to be comfortable, it is not about straining or stretching, it is about comfort, the opening will come over time and with the breath. Place the soles of your feet together as the outer edge of feet rest on the ground.   Feel free to place a small pillow underneath your head if it feels good.
3.    Notice if your lower back is arched, and if it is adjust your body so that the lower back is on the ground, or that there is a slight pelvic tilt.  Again, we want no straining
4.    If the knees or thighs feel strained at all, even with the pillows move the feet away from the sit bones, this will still be opening.  Soles of the feet are still together.
5.    Hands can go where you like, some of my favorites are: arms spread out to the sides, palms up, palms over the heart or palms on the belly.
6.    Close your eyes, and breathe long full breaths, directing the energy towards the belly.  After a few minutes, notice if the breath wants to flow somewhere else, or notice where your attention is directed. Send the breath there, and feel what happens

To come out of the pose you can either bring your knees up to the chest and give your self a big hug, or stretch the legs out one by one.  Take a spinal twist to either side, and then relax for a few minutes in savasana

Thank You so much for your time and energy in reading this.  I would love any feedback, and am here to answer any questions you may have.  I also invite you to share this newsletter with anyone you know that may be interested in any of the topics, its great information to get out there!
Most Importantly – remember that you are the one you have been waiting for, so enjoy your being, enjoy where you are, and smile because you are exactly where and what you are supposed to be.

Namaste
Asrael

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