Rainbowyoga's Blog

Not just another yoga site

May 31, 2011

Filed under: Dailies — rainbowyoga @ 9:59 pm

The time has come to get clear about who we are and what we choose. There come moments in every person’s life when a decision is necessary. A big decision. A major choice. Such a time is now. What we get to choose today is who we are and who we choose to be, and what we wish to experience in our life. Remember, not to decide is to decide.

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Filed under: Dailies — rainbowyoga @ 12:15 am

If you’re like most people, you notice what goes wrong more often than what goes right. Human beings seem hard-wired to notice how reality fails to meet some idea of how they think things should be. How many times a day do you sink into disappointment, frustration, or sadness because others haven’t met your expectations? If you limit your attention to how life lets you down, you blind yourself to the myriad gifts you receive all the time.

You may, for example, have ideas about the “ideal” holiday visit with your family: where it will take place, who will be there, how everyone will act, what you’ll eat, what kinds of presents you’ll exchange. But the visit surely won’t match that ideal. And that’s when you’re likely to act like a child who has his heart set upon a certain toy for Christmas: As he unwraps one present after another, not finding that one toy, he grows ever more upset and disappointed. Utterly dejected, the presents he has received lie unattended.

You can end this frustrating situation by mindfully shifting your attention. Begin by paying attention to the reality of what is rather than the desires you cling to. For the fact of the matter is, regardless of how dissimilar your holiday gathering (or any other moment in life) might be from what you had imagined, there is much to be grateful for.

Consider the effort it took for your family members to get together; the vehicles that brought you all to the same spot—and all the people who constructed and helped maintain them; the house where you’ve gathered; the trees whose limbs burn in the fireplace. Your food, whether vegetable or animal, was once a living thing and is now providing you with nourishment. And that food did not just magically appear. Before it was cooked, it required the energy of the sun, the minerals of the earth, the rain, the work of farmers, processors, truckers, and retailers—plus the cooks in your family—to bring it to your table.

It is, as the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says, the gift of the whole universe. When you stop and really look, you see that you are supported continuously in literally countless ways. This is the highest wisdom of yoga, the truth of interbeing, of no separation.

To begin to pay attention to how fully and completely you are supported, you have to break out of your constricted cage of Self. Once you have a more balanced view of reality, you are less preoccupied with what’s not meeting your expectations, and more present to what is given. You grow more appreciative of what you have, and seeing how dependent you are on others, you grow in generosity, wishing in some small way to repay at least a part of your debt.

You may even come to see the truth in the exhortation of the 13th-century mystic Meister Eckhart: “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”

 

Yogic Tea May 30, 2011

Filed under: Vegetarian Recipes — rainbowyoga @ 11:41 pm

Yogi tea is a wonderful spicy, chai-like tea that supports your digestion, liver, bones and nerves and it just plain tastes great. Serve hot or cold with your favorite dairy or non-dairy beverage (to protect the stomach from the tannins). Great whizzed up in a blender with ice and sweetener for a Yogi Tea Frappe! Use fresh bulk spices from your local health food or Indian spice store.

Measurements vary according to your taste (cinnamon and cloves can be very strong). Add spices to 3 quarts boiling water:

10 – 20 whole cloves

20 whole green cardamom pods (crushed)

20-40 whole black peppercorns.

5 sticks cinnamon

5 quarter-size pieces of sliced ginger root.

Continue boiling for 30-40 minutes until tea is dark red / brown color. Dip a black tea bag for 15 seconds (acts as an alloy for the ingredients). Store in a glass container in the refrigerator.Reheat on the stove, add the milk and bring to a boil. Feel free to add honey, maple syrup or agave, if you prefer your tea a little sweeter. Each ingredient has a specific use within the physical body: cloves fortify the nervous system; cardamom relieves as and aids digestion; peppercorns purify the blood; cinnamon strengthens the bones; ginger stimulates the immune response and provides extra energy. The milk aids in easy assimilation of the spices and prevents irritation to the digestive system.

 

 

 

 

Eggplant Confetti Salad

Filed under: Vegetarian Recipes — rainbowyoga @ 10:06 pm


Color and flavor add up to make a wonderful salad that is as good to eat as it is to look at. The eggplant is made “Parmesan” style, but is baked rather than fried.

Eggplant:

1 medium eggplant, sliced in ¾-inch rounds
7 Tablespoons spaghetti sauce
3 Tablespoons whole wheat breadcrumbs
½ cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
¼ cup olive oil
dash of salt

Salad:

8 cups spring mix
⅓ of a medium cucumber, cut in half moons
¼ cup of a combination of red, yellow and orange peppers, diced small
3 Tablespoons pine nuts, toasted and cooled

Dressing:

4 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup olive oil
½ teaspoon garlic, minced
2 teaspoons palm or coconut sugar, or any type you like
1 egg white
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Directions:

1.      Brush both sides of eggplant slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until well browned.

2.      Make dressing by whisking together the balsamic vinegar, egg white, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour in olive oil and whisk to desired consistency. Set aside.

3.      Sprinkle eggplant slices with breadcrumbs, spread with sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Bake another 10 minutes to melt and lightly brown the cheese. Allow to cool to room temperature.

4.      Arrange spring mix on plates. Add cucumbers, peppers and pine nuts. Drizzle with dressing.

5.      With a spatula, lay cooled eggplant on top of salads and serve.

Serves four. Total cooking time: 50 minutes

Health Tip:

Palm sugar is made from the sap of a sugar palm tree (also called date palm). Coconut sugar comes from the buds of coconut tree flowers. They are two different types of sugars, but sometimes you can find a combination of both. Both are natural sweeteners that come from trees and are collected as sap — like North American maple syrup. The sap is then boiled in enormous vats to create either a sugar paste (sold in jars or tins) or rock-like chunks of sugar also known as “jaggery.” (Jaggery can be made from cane sugar as well – it just means the solid, rock-like form of sugar.) I have both palm and coconut sugar in my kitchen. It came in bags and looks like brown sugar.

Health food or natural food stores are the best bet to find either kind of sugar.

 

Detox deliciously

Filed under: Vegetarian Recipes — rainbowyoga @ 10:00 pm

Who says you have to starve to cleanse? Adding nutrient dense foods, coupled with eliminating the most common dietary toxins, will help your body detox daily.

First, lose the sugar; it causes inflammation and encourages the growth of Candida albicans yeast that upsets normal intestinal flora and depletes the liver of enzymes needed for detoxification. Other dietary demons to avoid: coffee, wheat, gluten, dairy, yeast, corn and excess animal protein. Eat fiber-rich vegetables, to improve bowel function, and drink plenty of water to flush toxins from the body.

Then include plenty of naturally detoxifying foods, like cabbage, leafy green vegetables, bitter greens, garlic, parsley, lemon, ginger, celery, green tea, artichokes, cayenne pepper, grapefruit, sea vegetables and asparagus.  They’ll nourish your cells and organs, and help you detox daily. Feast, don’t fast, with these naturally detoxifying recipes:

Dandelion and Bitter Greens with Spicy Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 pound dandelion greens, stems removed and discarded
1 small head chicory, outer ribs discarded and remainder torn into 1-inch pieces
1 small head radicchio, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
1 medium Belgian endive, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
2 cups packed baby spinach
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 medium carrots, grated
2 medium stalks celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal
Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves
1 or 2 small garlic cloves, pressed
Dash cayenne pepper

1.    In a medium bowl, combine dandelion greens, chicory, radicchio, endive, spinach, parsley, carrots and celery. Toss to mix.

2.   In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine olive oil, lemon juice, basil, garlic and cayenne. Shake vigorously to blend well. Season with sea salt and white pepper.

3.   Just before serving, toss greens with just enough dressing to lightly coat leaves. Serve immediately.

Kale, Blueberry, Goji and Avocado Salad
Serves 4
2 small bunches of Tuscan kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup dried goji berries (soak them if they’re very hard or dry)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, soaked overnight, drained
1 cup blueberries
1 medium avocado, cubed

1.    Remove stems and center ribs from kale. Stack leaves and thinly slice crosswise into ribbons. Drizzle with oil, and sprinkle lightly with sea salt and white pepper. Using hands, massage oil and salt into kale leaves. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Add goji berries, pumpkin seeds and blueberries to salad, and toss to mix. Divide between individual plates, top with avocado, and serve.

Grilled Baby Artichokes with Grapefruit and Rosemary
Serves 4
16 baby artichokes
1 medium lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Juice and zest of one red grapefruit
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 large red grapefruit, cut into 12 thin wedges

1.    Fill a medium glass bowl with cold water and squeeze lemon into the water. Cut off stems of artichokes near the base. Remove tough outer leaves, leaving softer, yellowish-green inner leaves, then cut the top 1/3 off. As you trim each artichoke, immediately place into lemon water to prevent browning. Steam artichokes for 7 minutes, or until bottoms are just tender.

2.    While artichokes are steaming, combine olive oil, vinegar, grapefruit juice and zest, minced rosemary, garlic and white pepper in a bowl. Add steamed artichokes to the marinade, and toss to coat. Add grapefruit slices. Let stand for 15 minutes.

3.    While artichokes and grapefruits are marinating, preheat grill. Grill artichokes and grapefruit for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until artichokes are tender, basting with marinade several times. Remove to a serving platter, drizzle with additional marinade, garnish with sprigs of fresh rosemary, and serve.

 

Ayurveda and foods May 29, 2011

Filed under: Vegetarian Recipes — rainbowyoga @ 9:52 pm

More than 5,000 years ago, the great seers of ancient India studied the fundamentals of life and organized them into a healing system called Ayurveda. This system—which in Sanskrit means “science of life”—is essentially an operating manual for the body, mind, and spirit. This operating manual shows how the body, mind, and spirit are interconnected by providing a map of their characteristics. According to the Ayurvedic system, people are born with a particular constitution (or prakruti) that defines their baseline of health. An individual’s constitution is made up of a delicate balance of three vital energies, or doshas, known as vata (air), pitta (fire), and kapha(water). These doshas govern all the psychological, physiological, and patho-physiological functions of mind and body and are the basis for diagnosing illness.

The three doshas are really three processes. Vata is the process of movement, and its catabolic energy breaks down matter. Pitta is a process of metabolism that creates heat and energy in much the same way that fire breaks down a log. Kapha is dense, heavy matter that stores energy, like the fat and padding in our bodies.

Foods are also classified as vata, pitta, and kappa, and they either decrease or aggravate a person’s doshas. The aggravation of the doshas goes along with ill health, as either cause or result. The healing properties of an Ayurvedic diet can be summarized in three basic principles:

1. Food should have a neutralizing effect on the doshas and not aggravate them.

2. Food affects the body differently depending on when it is eaten.

3. How you eat food is just as important as what you eat.

If you are late for work, driving in traffic, worrying about getting back on time while you are eating a sandwich, your body is not going to respond the same way to the food as if you were sitting in the backyard looking at the flowers while you were eating.

Eating foods that complement your constitution helps to maintain the body’s balance. An illness, whether a common cold or a serious disease, indicates that the doshas are out of balance, a condition that is exacerbated by eating foods that clash with your dosha.

According to Ayurveda, you are ingesting more than just food when you eat. As you eat, you take into yourself the subtle influences attached to the food and prana as well as the physical form of the food. Even the stages of production to which food is subjected affect its qualities. Food is part of the dynamic dance of life, and its qualities, both obvious and subtle, affect your well-being.

The basic Ayurvedic diet consists of whole, fresh foods in season, with vegetables forming between 20 and 40 percent of the diet. Usually only a quarter of the foods are eaten raw; the rest are cooked. An ideal Ayurvedic diet is different for each person, based on the individual’s own blend of vata, pitta, and kapha. The process of constructing a personalized diet is best done under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic physician.

But Ayurveda is not intellectual. It is a practice that uses your intuition, the creative aspect of your mind, your own body knowledge. The bottom line in Ayurveda is relying on what your body tells you, not what a theory or a book or a practitioner tells you. Ayurveda is just a framework for understanding your own body.

When a person is cold and has congestion in the chest, that congestion is kapha. In order to reduce the kapha, pitta needs to be increased. Pitta is heat, so eating hot foods, like ginger, will reduce the congestion. Continuing to eat kapha foods, like ice cream, will increase the congestion.

The following Ayurvedic recipes are helpful for cold symptoms.

Tea for Colds

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root

1 tablespoon dried hibiscus flowers (from a health food or herb store)

1 to 2 sticks of cinnamon

Put ginger, hibiscus flowers, and cinnamon sticks in 3 cups of boiling water. Simmer for several minutes, then turn off heat and cover. Sweeten with fresh orange juice or honey.

Sore Throat Gargle

This very traditional remedy is less palatable and more antiseptic than the tea, but it strengthens throat tissue.

1 teaspoon of turmeric powder

Dissolve turmeric in hot water. Gargle with it, then swallow.

Kichari

Kichari is the best food for those recovering from illness, as it is very healing and easy to digest.

1 tablespoon ghee

6 ounces basmati rice

3 teaspoons cumin

3 teaspoons coriander

3 teaspoons fennel seeds

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

3 ounces split yellow mung beans (dal)

vegetables appropriate to your doshas

Wash rice and beans together under cold water. Melt ghee in a pan, then add fennel seeds. Cook for one minute. Add cumin, coriander, and turmeric, and the rice and beans. Stir so the mixture is coated with ghee. Then cover the mixture with hot water by about two inches. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally. Add more water as needed—you don’t want the pan to dry out.

Add diced vegetables, starting with root vegetables. Leafy vegetables, like spinach, should be added toward the end of cooking time. The dish is cooked when most of the water has evaporated and the grains are soft and slightly mushy.

 

Filed under: Asanas — rainbowyoga @ 9:42 pm