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

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