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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