March Newsletter~ Spring Cleaning

Vector beautiful spring tree, consisting of butterfliesNamaste
I hope that this day finds you warm, happy and filled with peace.  March is here, and with it the arrival of spring.  Snowdrops have been in full bloom here at The Hawthorn for a few weeks now, and their beautiful white color illuminates the path into the heart of the property.   Yellow Aconites bring so much brightness and color after the long grey winter, and the crocuses are popping their heads up with joy.  Every morning I hear more and more birds singing, as the trees begin to bud, and the daylight grows stronger and stronger.  It is such a beautiful time of rebirth, beginnings, and awakening, a very inspirational time.
In Ayurveda this time of year is considered Kapha season, its energy is wet, cool, damp and earthy.  A time when our physical body is still holding onto winter’s slow and sluggish energy, yet the desire is there for lightness and movement.  It is a wonderful time to move any old stale energy out, and an Ayurvedic Cleanse is an amazing way to shift into the brightness of spring.  An Ayurvedic Cleanse is a very gentle way to stimulate digestion, and release any stored toxins.  Feel free to call me for more information, or to book an appointment to start your spring cleaning.  For more information on Kapha Season, visit last years March Newsletter.
As always things are wonderful here at Ananda Ayurveda.  Yoga Classes are ongoing at Oceanfront Suites in Cowichan Bay, its such a beautiful place to practice.  Satsangs are also continuing this month, biweekly on Thursdays at The Hawthorn.  Springtime also means more fresh local and wild greens are appearing, and its a great time for a Cooking Class, this months class will be held on Sunday, March 25.

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.  I am continuing the specials on Jyotish 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.

Spring Cleaning

anemone hepaticaAs I mentioned above, spring is a wonderful time to cleanse our body, but it is also a perfect time to cleanse our energetic and emotional layers as well.  Spring cleaning on all levels freshens the energy and opens the doors for true contentment.  As we work with the physical body, perhaps during a dietary cleanse, we affect the other layers of our being as well, loosening up old patterns, and beliefs so that we can let go, heal and grow.  Even for those of us who have a regular “spiritual” practice, we can lose awareness of the things that we hold onto, the energies that we carry around on a day to day basis.  Receiving energy work, or nurturing bodywork can often bring some of our deeper holdings up to the surface.  While your body and mind relax, the “stuff” can rise up into awareness, a wonderful opportunity to let it go, to release it once and for all.  I was surprised and fascinated during a session the other day (when I was the one being treated) how much stuff I was carrying in my energy field, the deep emotional patterns, and daily armor that I was walking around with.  By becoming aware of this, I was able to release and shift the energy, giving my soul a sense of peace, deepening my awareness, and polishing the jewel of my existence.  These things that we carry around aren’t “bad”, they offer us a peek into the lessons of this lifetime.  They offer us a wonderful chance to breathe life into the beauty of our being, to honor the magic of the soul, and in true awareness to smile at our humanness, showing us that we can move the energy with intention, awareness, and love.  So I invite you to dive in,  to ask yourself what is it that you are carrying?  What is keeping you from fully experiencing your bliss, your joy and your being?  Not judging just noticing, and then allowing whatever that may be to float away in a fresh breath of springtime.

Recipes

Fresh Nettle Juice

Its that time of year again, stinging nettles are starting to spring up everywhere.  Such a nourishing and amazing gift from the plant kingdom to us.  Filled with essential vitamins, protein and nutrients, these wild greens are a superfood.  I shared information about them last year at this time~ as well as a great soup recipe.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy nettles is in a delicious green drink.  As more and more greens and herbs start to appear locally, I often add them in, but here is a great basic recipe for a lovely green juice.  It will fill you with energy, give you a great nutritional boost, and it tastes delicious too.
Ingredients
1 Big Handful Of Nettles
½ Apple
Water
any other greens or vegetables you like

Chop the apple into small cubes, and put them into a blender with the nettles.  Its great if you have a Vitamix or a Blendtech, but a regular blender will work fine too.  Add about a cup or two of water, and blend until the apple and nettles are mixed very well in with the water.
Strain through a Nut Milk Bag, or a clean nylon/mesh fruit bag.
Enjoy

~ I like to add dandelion greens when they come up (they can be bitter, but oh so good for you)
~ I also add chickweed, spinach, lettuce, and fresh mint when it appears.
~ Cucumbers are a tasty addition, but they don’t grow locally here at this time of year.
~ A squeeze of fresh lemon, often adds a nice flavor
~ Play around and try different vegetables, see what tastes best to you and trust that your body knows what it needs.

Kapha Season Biryani
At this time of year, when the Kapha energy is so prevalent, its helpful to add a bit of heat to your meals.  Its a great time to cook with more fresh ginger, even spicier peppers and garlic, which stimulates digestion as well as the immune system.  If you have predominately pitta energy, you may want to eat these spicier foods in moderation, but they can still be a helpful addition to your diet in small doses.  This Vegetable Biryani recipe, has some chili’s in it~ if you aren’t used to spicy foods, try cutting the dosage in half.  The basmati rice, cilantro and almonds help to balance to the heat,  creating a wonderfully nourishing and very tasty meal.

Ingredients
1 cup Basmati Rice
2 Leeks sliced thinly
¼ tsp Saffron
1 Carrot, Sliced Diaganolly
¼ cup Green Peas
Salt to taste

The Paste
6 Almonds soaked and peeled
1 tsp Coriander seeds
2 tsp Fennel seeds
2 tsp Poppy seeds
2 cloves Garlic
2 inch piece Ginger
1-2 green Chili’s
¼ cup fresh Cilantro chopped
¼ cup fresh Mint chopped

The Tempering
1 ½ Tbs Ghee or Sunflower Oil
1 Bay Leaf
2 sticks Cinnamon
3 Cloves
2 Black Cardamom Pods

1.  Soak the almonds overnight, if you don’t have time, then soak for 20-30 minutes, peeling them and grinding them with all other paste ingredients~ I use my food processor
2.  Wash and soak the rice for 10 minutes.  Strain and set aside.
3.  In a pot heat the ghee or oil, and add the ingredients of the tempering, when they begin to let out their aroma and you hear some crackling, reduce the flame and add the onions.  Sautee for 4-5 minutes until the leeks start browning.
4.  Add the paste and continue to saute for 2-3 minutes.  Stir in the rice, saffron and vegetables.  Add 2 cups warm water, and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil, then cover and turn the heat down to low.  Let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
5.  Fluff the rice with a fork and Enjoy:)

Yoga Asana Of The Month


Springtime is a great time to invite some more dynamic postures into your yoga practice. As our bodies try to shake off any remnants of winter it can help to add in a few more standing poses, perhaps you may even want to try out some sun salutations.  This will create energy,  increasing digestion, and flow in your body, as well as encourage the elimination of any stored toxins from the past winter.

Downward Dog
Downward Dog is a wonderful posture, a key part of any sun salutation, or vinyasa flow, and it is perfect for practicing on its own as well.  Strengthening, Rejuvenating, and Relaxing.
Instructions

1. Start by taking some time seated, or in child’s pose.  As always before starting a practice allow yourself a moment to shift away from your practical thinking mind, opening your awareness and taking time to connect to your breath and body.  Take as long as you like, perhaps spend a minimum of 3-5 minutes before moving further.  Use this time to deepen your breath, relax your body and your mind, and to just enjoy this time you are giving yourself.

2.  Bring yourself to a table position. Take a moment here to connect a bit more with your body.  Spreadyour fingers wide, deepenyour breath, and find a bit of movement, perhaps wiggling your hips, or lifting your heart, and then curling your spine on each inhale and exhale. When you feel ready take a deep inhale and move your hands forward a few inches in front of the shoulders.

3.  Exhaling, curl your toes underneath you and lift up the hips, keeping a soft bend in the knees.  Lengthen your tailbone away from your pelvis, lift the sit bones towards the ceiling and breathe.

4.  Find some movement here, maybe wiggling the hips, lifting one leg and then the other, or pressing one heel down and then the other (this is called walking the dog:)).  Take a few breaths exploring this asana while moving.
5.  Exhaling press both heels towards the floor.  The legs will be straight, but check in with your knees and make sure that you are not locking them, a soft microbend, will allow the flow of prana (energy) to continue through your body. Feel the energy in your thighs and roll them inwards slightly.

6.  Check in with your hands, making sure your fingers are spread wide and you are feeling energy in the tips of your fingers, and the base of your fingers, allowing the weight of your body to be distributed throughout your entire hand.  Allow the shoulder blades to roll back towards each other, this opens the heart a bit more:)  and let your head be long and steady between your arms.  The elbows are firm, but not locked, encouraging the flow of breath and energy throughout your being.

7.  Breathe deeply and stay for as long as you like, if it is challenging for you, take a few breaths then come down to childs pose, you can always revisit it after catching your breath:)

8.  When you are ready, exhale down to child’s pose, take a few breaths (or more) and when you are ready slip into the relaxing release of savasana.

This posture is very energizing and calming at the same time.
It stretches and awakens the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches and hands, and strengthens them at same time.  It sparks the fire of digestion, and is very calming to the mind. It helps to relieve headache, insomnia, back pain and fatigue, opening and awakening the main energy flows in the body.   Its also very therapuetic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica, and sinusitis. Such amazing benefits and a perfect asana for the Kapha time of year.

Upcoming Events

Oceanfront 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

Satsang And Meditation
Thursdays 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 are offered every other Thursday from 7-9. March 8 and 22.

No prior meditation experience is necessary

By Donation

Call 250 597 3973 for more information

Satsangs are offered every other Thursday from 7-9. March 8 and 22.

Springtime Ayurvedic Cooking Class
The Hawthorn, Glenora BC
10-1:30

Its a wonderful time of year to experiment with new things, so why not try an Ayurvedic Cooking Class.  These class are a wonderful way to incorporate healthy, nutritious food, that is balancing to your dosha, and the season.
Learn:
~About the 6 tastes and how they relate to each dosha
~How to make Ghee,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
Wild Greens Juice
Mint and Cilantro Biryani~ spiced for Kapha Season
Fresh Springtime Vegetable Curry
Warm Spiced Dal
Spinach Chutney
Kapha Spice Mix
Chai
Call 250 597 3973 to reserve your space- limited to 6
$75

Once again, I would like to thank you all for taking the time to read this.  I would love to hear any comments and feedback that you may have:)  I wish you a wonderful spring, filled with warmth, love, happiness and peace.  Enjoy Yourself~ Every Moment Is A Gift~ And You Are Living Your Dream:)
Much Love and Peace
Asrael

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

The Heart Leads The Way~ January 2012 Newsletter

Namaste,
Winter background with triangle textureHappy New Year~ I hope that your holiday season was beautiful, blissful and filled with joy. 2012 has arrived and with it a sense of awakening, wellness and acceptance. Entering a new calendar year can often bring with it a sense of beginnings, of strength, and of excitement~ seeds to be planted and intentions to be nurtured. Things are moving quickly all around us in the universe these days, great awakenings are happening every moment and the time is ripe for growth in leaps and bounds. Enjoy the freshness of this year, and a clean slate.  Believe that all you desire and all you are here for is not only possible, but is happening~ jump in and enjoy the journey:) Let go of any fear~ remember the time is now~ And Now Is AMAZING:)

Things are beautiful here at Ananda Ayurveda~ I had a relaxed holiday season at The Hawthorn, and have been enjoying the dark, winter rainy days. January offerings continue, with another marvelous Ayurvedic Cooking Class on Sunday, January 29~ they are always such a joy to take part in~ lots of learning, and lots of fun:) Yoga is ongoing~Mondays and Wednesdays at the beautiful Oceanfront Suites in Cowichan Bay~ A great class filled with spirit, energy and bliss.  And as always the regular offerings here at The Hawthorn~ Beautiful Ayurvedic Body Therapies, Ayurvedic Consultations, Jyotish Astrology, Intuitive Counseling and Tarot Readings

The Heart Leads The Way

sunset in heart handsThe New Year always brings with it intentions and resolutions~ ideas of what we would like to create in our life and in our universe. It is a magical time where the entire human consciousness allows us to believe that we can change, we can start new patterns, and we can open to the opportunities of anything and everything. These opportunities and this magic is available to us at any time, at every moment but for some reason on January 1 it feels like a new starting point, on a much larger scale.
I feel that in these times of universal change, perhaps one of the biggest intentions that I have brought into my being is to connect more fully with my heart energy. To shift the attention from the mind, into my spirit and to allow spirit to guide me. Trusting fully that I am supported in each and every way, that life is graceful, and that there is nothing to fear. To allow my connections with each and every being to be rich and present, knowing that each being is just a reflection of myself. To believe that I am here for a reason, and that if I surrender to my spirit, the flow will guide me into each and every moment, taking me exactly where I need to be~ at all times. Control is an illusion, a trick of the mind. Life can be a wild ride sometimes, but what a magnificent adventure it is, and I intend to jump into it, living each breath as it comes, riding each wave with acceptance, and most of all staying open to all possiblities. The heart shines brightly, leading us through the darkest times, always glowing with a unique brilliance. This heart light is with us always, and it is not something that is separate from us, it IS us.. and my intention is to walk within that light even more completely~ in grace, in gratitude, and most of all in love. I invite you, if you haven’t already, to look at what you have imagined possible for yourself, to feel your intentions, and then to bring them into active being. Trust that you can be all that you intend, and whatever that is to walk with it in Love.

Recipes

In Ayurvedic Cooking, we can help to bring balance to our bodies with different tastes. In winter when it is cold and dry, cooking with sweet, sour and salty food we can bring a little bit of warmth, and moisture to our beings, here on the west coast where it can be quite damp at this time of year, foods that are more pungent are also a great addition to the diet. Also our bodies often start to long for the fresh green vegetables from springtime and summer, salads are not the most easily digestible food for us in the winter. This month I am happy to share with you a warm rubbed kale quinoa salad, and a immunity boosting spice mix~ that is great for the winter season.

Rubbed Kale Quinoa Salad

An amazing salad~ and wonderful for this time of year, you can serve it with warm quinoa, and the kale gets broken down as you massage your energy into it, making it easily digestible, and very very tasty:) The garlic, is heating, and a powerful antioxidant~ so a great supplement in moderation to the Ayurvedic Diet at cool, moist time of the year.

Ingredients
1 bunch kale torn in bite size pieces
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup chopped almonds

Dressing:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbs Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp. Tamari
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Tbs Honey
1 Clove Garlic, finely chopped

Combine dressing ingredients, stir, pour on kale and massage with hands to break down the heavy fibers of the kale. Add quinoa and almonds and season to taste.

Feel free to add in any other vegetables of your choice~ or leave it as it is. A very addictive and healthy addition to any meal:)

Winter Spice Mix
4 Tbs Turmeric
3 Tbs Ground Cumin
3 Tbs Ground Coriander
4 Tbs Ground Fennel
1 Tbs Powdered Ginger
1 Tbs Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Tbs Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Tbs Ground Cardamom

Mix all of the spices together, and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Use with stir fried vegetables, lentils, rice, or just about anything you would like to try it with. If you can, its best to buy the cumin, coriander, fennel, Black pepper, and cardamom seeds, and then grind them yourself in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. It only takes a few minutes, and the aromatics and energy of the spices are even more potent:)

Yoga Asana Of The Month

Ananda Balasana~ Happy Baby Pose

Lets start the New Year out with joy~ opening our hearts, releasing our lower backs, and creating energy flow and awareness in our sacral center and hips. Ananda Balasana is also very calming to our mind and our nervous system. Connect with the joy of your inner child as you breathe and relax in this joyful asana. Great by itself or a wonderful addition to include in your regular practice before savasana.

Directions

  1. Start by lying on your back. Take a few minutes to allow your body to relax, and your mind to transition to the space of yoga. Feel free to take a deep inhale and then opening your mouth, exhale and release any tension that you have been storing in your body. Then slowly start to bring attention to your breath, breathing deeply, inhaling and exhlaing through the nostrils. Enjoy this time of softening, relaxation, and rest that you are giving yourself. Allowing fresh energy and oxygen to enter your body, and knowing that with each exhale you are allowing all that is not needed to leave.
  2. When you feel a strong relaxed breath flowing through you. Bring your knees up to your chest on an inhale. Give yourself a big hug. Wrapping your arms around your legs. Perhaps you want to roll from side to side giving yourself a nice lower back massage. Enjoy. Take as long as you like with this.
  3. Exhaling release the knees and allow them to open, slightly wider than your torso, so that they have moved towards the armpits. They are still bent, soles of the feet are facing the sky.
  4. Inhaling, grasp the insides of both the feet with your hands. Bringing each ankle over the knee. Your shins should be perpendicular to the floor. Press down with your hands, as you press up with your feet creating a nice balance of resistance. Breathe deeply and fully.
  5. Relax into the posture for 30 seconds to a minute~ if you would like to stay longer, let the resistance go, and just enjoy full breathing and gentle opening for as long as you like.
  6. To come out of the asana exhale and gently release both legs to the floor. Shake the legs out. Take a few breathes, then repeat~ or take a reclining spinal twist before allowing yourself to float in savasana

Upcoming Events

Oceanview Yoga
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 ~ January 2012
At The Hawthorn
Sunday, January 29
10:30am-2pm

Join us for a wonderful adventure in Ayurvedic Cooking. Learn to make amazing organic vegetarian meals, according to Ayurvedic principles. This month our menu is warming to the soul~ perfect for the cool, wet rainy days we are having. These classes are always so much fun~ Fill your mind with knowledge, your spirit with joy and your belly with amazing food:)

This months provisional menu~ Subject to change on availability of fresh, organic produce. (and the whim of the chef)

Curried Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Baghar Baingan (Baked Stuffed Eggplant~with a spicy nut sauce
Black Bean Patty With Carrot Cardamom Jus
Spiced Kheer (Rice Pudding)~ with saffron, cashews and spices
Mystery Chutney
Cardamom Fennel Tea

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

As always, So much gratitude to you all for taking the time to read this, for your support and for your energy. I wish you all a very auspicious and joyous January~
Remember~ As we open our beings, to all that is possible, we spread our wings, to fly with our hearts~ embodying and enjoying all and everything in the universe~
Namaste and Much Love
Asrael

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

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