February Newsletter~ Hold Your Heart Light In Your Hands

Om symbol
Happy February (a few days early)~ it always amazes me how time passes by, so quickly~ Even when we had a few days here on the west coast of being snowed in, where everything seemed to stop (except for our monkey minds of course:) ).  I am trusting all is well with you, as you move with the ebb and flow of this great journey we call life.
This time of year is the beginning of Kapha season, and boy have we been feeling it here on the west coast.  Lots of rain, grey foggy days, and although there has been a warmth to many of the days, there seems to be a general feeling of sluggishness and sogginess.  Now that is not to say that we didn’t get our winter wonderland either, an amazing few days of snow~ about 6 inches here at the Hawthorn, and it was truly beautiful. I even went sledding down the hill behind our home~ scary, yet exhilarating at the same time.  And the quiet beauty of the snow. Truly majestic.

Feeling so blessed, life is such a beautiful journey~ the more I surrender, the more I appreciate the wonder around me.  Lots of new adventures beginning~ I am starting a six month Ayurvedic Counseling Course~ working with my dear teacher Dr.Paul Dugliss, exploring consciousness, chakras, astrology, and expanding my knowledge on how to facilitate healing for us all.  I was also contacted last month by a film company based in Victoria BC, they will be out to do some filming for a documenatry about Ayurveda, and its transition from the east into the west, very honored to be a part of the process.  Will keep you updated~ I may need some people who aren’t camera shy to take part.

I am so excited to announce a few new offerings this month~ as well as the continuation of current classes, and treatments.
Yoga Classes are continuing at the beautiful Oceanfront Suites in Cowichan Bay on Monday’s and Wednesdays~ a balanced, healing practice~ with an amazing ocean view. This class is wonderful for all levels, and all ages.  This months Cooking Class takes us back to the basics.  Learning to make easy, nutritious and tasty dishes cooked according to Ayurvedic Principles.  If you haven’t tried a class yet~ they are so much fun, and nurturing to the spirit too:)

New this month, we are offering evenings of Satsang and Meditation, beginning Thursday February 9, at 7pm.  It is so wonderful to sit, listen and absorb teachings ~ and then share in a short meditation afterwards.  These evenings will continue every other Thursday.

I am also pleased to announce a Chakra Herbal Workshop, on Saturday, March 3 that will be taught by my dear friend, and amazing healer Denise Holden.  Come explore the magic of plant medicine and how it resonates to your being.
As always I am offering beautiful and wonderful Bodywork Therapies, so soothing and nurturing, conscious healing, on such deep levels~ in a very gentle heart opening space.  Consultations, Intuitive Counseling, Tarot Readings, and Jyotish Astrology are also ongoing.  My special offering this month is Astrology Readings for $110 ($10 off the normal price).  Gain some insight into your time here~ the karmic patterns you may hold, planetary influences around you, and deep knowledge about your souls path.  Very interesting, intuitive and always helpful.

Wow.. Lots of information, I hope I am not overloading you all:)  One more exciting piece of news.. we will soon be offering Ayurvedic Spice Mixes for sale.  Dosha Specific Mixtures, Curries, and Digestive Blends, check our website for more information.

Red glass heart in woman handsHold Your Heart Light In Your Hands~ Breathe, Accept and Center

A question that has been coming to me lately, is about the ability to integrate a strong spiritual practice into busy lives, as well as into emotionally or physically stressful times.  Often we can push ourselves too much,  not taking the time we need to ground, to center, let alone trying to find time to meditate.  Or perhaps we are in a very emotionally challenging situation, one where all of our spiritual practice seems to go out the window, and emotions overwhelm us (fear for example).  Is there a clear answer, or a clear way for anyone? All of us experience our souls journey’s very uniquely.  But there are a few practices that can help bring us more in contact with consciousness when we are overwhelmed on any level.

  1. Self Acceptance– Having compassion, gratitude and full acceptance for exactly who you are in every moment.  Sure there are times when we may live an unhealthy lifestyle, or feel so caught up in a range of emotions, that we become swallowed by the thoughts, feelings and energies swirling around us.  Instead of feeling guilty for not taking the time to practice, or for feeling so “out of control” trust that you are doing the best you can.  That the expression of your being is giving you these beautiful yet challenging lessons to open you to greater awareness and a stronger sense of being.  Every up does have its down, there is balance in every facet of the universe, these times that are more stressful are all a perfect part of the weave of our magical existence
  2. Take A Deep Breath-So simple, yet so important. A wonderful practice that takes so little time, yet clears our energy, and ground us so completely.   We often have the awareness that we are doing too much, or perhaps we are in a reactive emotional state. At this time if we can just think Stop, Center and with that intention,  take a deep full breath, through the nostrils, or the mouth, and then release. This action brings fresh oxygen into our body, allowing pent up energy to flow.  After taking one breath, it will be easier to take another, a deeper one, allowing yourself to fill your lungs with air, perhaps even filling up your lower belly.  And this time try opening your mouth and release the exhale, maybe with a little bit of sound escaping.  Continue to do this as long as you like.  But trust that even one breath is enough to shift things.  Know that if you take the time once for this, the next time will be easier, and the patterns swirling around you will start to shift. Each breath we take brings us more fully into the present. Each moment we are aware of our breath the stress and the anxiety can move out.  Each breath we take is filled with light energy, that transforms us on the deepest level.  So simple, yet so profound.
  3. Put Your Hands On Your Heart~ A step further than deep breathing, one that you can do at the same time, or weave it into your day at other times, perhaps in the shower, or just before bed.  Place your hands on your heart center, the center of the chest, and feel your heart beat, the vibrations flowing from that space, your sacred energy.  Its amazing what spending time with your heart, with your compassionate center can do.  Even when in a high stress state, it is immediately grounding, balancing, and really truly beautiful.  This action is a straight connection to our true nature~ love.  It soothes us to our deepest core.  As we take a moment to just feel that heart energy, its light moves into our hands and travels into our cells, and into our chakras.  It infuses our aura, with balancing blissful light.  Our hands also send light into the heart, clearing any emotions or energies that are holding us tightly, keeping us from realization of our true nature.

Simple yet effective, these are just a few tools that you can bring into your life when things just feel intense.  There are many more practices, such as meditation, self massage, and exercise that can help shift things, but when we get caught in the whirlwind of life, we  often don’t allow ourselves the time.  It only takes a moment, to let go of the guilt, to shine compassion towards the self, to take a deep breath, and to hold your heart light in your hands.

Recipes

Thermos Flask Lunch

At this time of year, more than ever it is so important to enhance our digestion, and nurture our physical bodies with warm, healthy meals.  Often times we find ourselves in a rush at lunch time, especially if we are working out of the house, this can lead to unhealthy food choices, or eating sandwiches and salads, which can be dry, and cool, inhibiting proper digestive functions.  I thought I would share with you an easy to prepare thermos flask lunch, nicely spiced, warming, and perfect for a midday meal.  Balance in our bodies is supported through healthy meals.

Ingredients
¼ Cup Red Lentils or Split Mung Dal
¼ Cup White Basmati Rice
1 to 1 ½ Cups Fresh Seasonal Vegetables
1 tsp Ghee, Olive or Sunflower Oil
2 Cups Water
¼ tsp Fennel Seeds
¼ tsp Cumin Seeds
¼ tsp Ground Coriander
¼ tsp Turmeric
2 Pinches of Salt

Instructions
1. Rinse the lentils and rice, put in the water and bring to a boil.
2.  Briefly saute the spices in the ghee or oil.
3.  Add the chopped vegetables and saute for 1 minute
4.  Add the vegetables and spice to the lentils and rice, simmer for 5 minutes.
5.  While still boiling pour the mixture into a 1 quart thermos.
6.  Close the thermos quickly, leave closed for about 4 hours.

  • You may need to cook the mixture a bit longer depending on the heat retaining quality of your thermos.
  • Heavier vegetables, like carrots and beets need 1-2 more minutes of cooking with the rice and lentils.
  • Feel free to add some grated fresh ginger for added spice.

Cardamom Kheer With Saffron (Rice Pudding)

Warming to the soul and healing to the heart~nurture yourself with this grounding and satisfying treat.  Kheer (or rice pudding) is a wonderful Indian dessert,a favorite dish of Shiva’s and an integral part of weddings, festivals and spiritual celebrations.  Traditionally made with milk, and sugar~ this recipe substitutes coconut milk, and almond milk, which gives it a natural sweetness, and makes it suitable for vegans.  The energy of saffron is very nurturing to the heart, and the cardamom, enhances digestion. Very easy to make, rich and tasty without being too heavy.  A delight to the taste buds, that sends its energy throughout the entire body.

Ingredients
1 ½ Cups Coconut Milk
2 ½ Cups Almond Milk
2 Tbs Raw Jaggery (Or Cane Sugar)
½ Cup White Basmati Rice
¼ Cup Raisins
½ tsp Cardamom
1 Pinch Saffron
⅛ Cup Toasted Sliced Almonds
⅛ Cup Raw Pistachios

Instructions
1.  Bring Coconut Milk, Almond Milk, and Sugar to a boil.
2.  Add Basmati Rice and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes until it thickens and rice is tender.
3.  Stir in Raisins, Cardamom, and Saffron and cook for a few more minutes.
4.  Serve garnished with the nuts.

Organic rose water is a lovely addition to this dessert.  Try adding 1/2 tsp to the mixture at the same time as the saffron, cardamom and raisins.  Rose increases the vibrational energy to the heart:)

Yoga Asana For the Month

Spinal Balance (Balancing Table Pose)
As we enter the Kapha time of year, our minds and our bodies can start to feel a little sluggish, dampened down, and even just plain lazy.  This asana is wonderful for strengthening the lower back, creating some fire in the belly~ and at the same time allowing us to surrender to our breath~ knowing that its prana will support us, allowing us to float and enjoy in this balancing posture.

Instructions
1.  As always take some time to sink into a space for opening your body, your breath and your awareness.  Perhaps start in a comfortable seat, or lying on your belly or back, feeling the earth supporting you.  Begin by starting to notice your breath, and then slowly allow it to deepen, flowing through your nostrils, down to your belly and then back up, allowing your spine to lengthen, your heart to open, and your body and mind to relax.  Move slowly with this breath, there is no need to force or to rush, be patient, and know that as you soften, it will flow deeper naturally.
2.  When you are ready, make your way onto all fours in a table position.  Check to make sure that your wrists are underneath your elbows, which are underneath your shoulders.  Notice that your knees are underneath your hips.  Spread your fingers wide and distribute the weight through your entire hand, instead of dumping it into the wrists.  Also notice that there is a slight bend to the elbows.. they aren’t pointing forward, they are soft and fluid, yet very strong.  Allow your heat to sink towards the floor, shoulder blades hugging towards each other, and allow your belly to hug up to the spine… Breathe… Enjoy this feeling of stability.
3.  When the time feels right take a deep inhale and lift your right leg back behind you hip level.  Take a moment to feel the extension, point your toes to the floor.  Breathe, Be. Maybe this will be where you want to stay.
4.  If you would like to go a bit further, Take another deep inhale and extend your left arm out in front of you, shoulder height, palm is facing in towards your center line.  In face a good time to spread those fingers and give a beautiful thumbs up to the universe.  Breathe Deeply Here.  Your neck is long and relaxed and it helps to have a soft gaze towards a point on the floor.
5.  Take as many breaths as feels comfortable here, perhaps it will be 3~ perhaps you will be able to float in this space for 10.. A little wobbling is ok, but if your breath becomes ragged, its time to come down.
6.  Take a childs pose in between and then when you are ready repeat on the other side.  Finishing with another childs pose.

Tips
* If your knees get sore, fold a blanket and put it underneath for some extra softness
* As you lengthen through your arm and leg, extend them~ open the channels of the cells, and then hug the energy back into center, feeling your strength and your solidity.  Be with this silent power of your core body, and hug into the centered grounded feeling
* Feel free to take a cat/cow stretch before, after and in between.
* And of course… Enjoy:)

If you have chronic knee pain, lower back pain or shoulder pain, be gentle with your self, Do not over extend, or hold for a long period of time.

Upcoming Events

Oceanview Yoga

If you haven’t tried a class yet, Its a wonderful experience, in an amazing place.  Suitable for all levels, and of course filled with opening and joy:)
Oceanfront Suites Cowichan Bay
Monday and Wednesday Afternoons~ 4:00-5:30
All Levels Welcome
Hatha Yoga-Mixed Level Classes
Flow with your breath. Connect with your spirit. Move into your being. More yin than power yoga these classes are great for all levels of yogi, offering a challenge to those more experienced, yet very accessible to the beginner. Flowing at times, we learn to be with our breath, our body, and our thoughts as we melt into the asanas. Experiencing the moment, opening the heart and the mind, and accepting the energy of being where we are, at the same time creating strength, stamina, and flexibility. Always infused with spirit and bliss, and lots of smiles:) Yoga poses, pranayama, and relaxation are all experienced in these classes.
$10 drop in
Call 250 597 3973

Ayurvedic Cooking Class~ Back To Basics

At The Hawthorn
Sunday, February 26
10:00am-1:30pm

A Hands On Exploration Into Fun, Creative & Healthy Cooking According To Ayurvedic Principals

Learn:
About the 6 tastes and how they relate to each dosha
How to make Ghee, Almond Milk, and Spice Mixes, as well as the full menu
How to cook simple,delicious & nutritious meals
Organic, Locally Sourced (when possible) and Vegetarian
Lunch is Included

Menu
Spiced Dal
Jeera Pulao (Basmati Rice Infused With Cumin)
Mixed Vegetable Curry
Ginger Raisin Chutney
Cardamom Almond Cookies
Ayurvedic Chai
Spice Mixes~ Seasonal and Digestive

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

 

Satsang And Meditation

Thursdays February 9, 23, March 8, 22

7:00-9:00
Satsang~ an opportunity to listen, absorb and open our awareness to spiritual teachings from many different sources.
Just be present as we listen to Dharma talks from the likes of Adyashanti, Eckhart Tolle, and Thich Nhat Hanh (and others).
Followed by a 30 minute silent meditation (All lineages/practices welcome).
Is there anyone you would like to hear from? Let us know:)
Each session will be devoted to one teaching
No prior meditation experience is necessaryBy Donation Call 250 597 3973 for more information Satsangs will be offered every other Thursday evening, beginning February 9.
The Chakra Herbal
Exploring Energy Anatomy & Plant Medicine
In this class we will explore:
* Nurturing our Bodies and Spirits with Herbs
• A basic understanding of energy anatomy
• The correspondences between chakras and colors, sounds & yoga postures
• Understanding the currents of liberation and manifestation for spiritual growth and living our dreams
• Using the Doctrine of Signatures to determine a plants’ chakra affinity
• Using plants to correct imbalances in chakras with oils,
baths, teas, tinctures and plant based meditation techniques.
•We will go through each chakra and discuss certain plants to assist in cleansing and rebalancing them, along with the mental and emotional  patterns they carry.
* Insight into the chakras from the perspective of Incan shamanism
* This will be a interactive, take tools home with you workshop.

Saturday, March 3rd
The Hawthorn – Glenora
 9:30 am – 1:00
$40
pre-registration required
Class Size is limited to 8

Facilitated By Denise Holden

Certified Integral Yoga Instructor
Plant Spirit Healing Practitioner
Registered Holistic Nutritionist
Family Herbalist
Once again I thank you so much for your time in reading this. It was a long one~ lots to say this month I guess:)
I wish you all a wonderful month~ shining gratitude peace and love your way.
From my heart light to yours
Namaste
Asrael
www.anandaayurveda.wordpress.com

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