The Sweet Spot

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Coming off of another phenomenal retreat weekend, I am touched by the stars and hearts in the students' eyes as they head off to their homes.  I am continually amazed by the coming together of so many souls and lives -- first a bit apprehensive, and as the weekend unfolds each heart slowly opens and offers itself up to a collective experience of truth, kindness, laughter, relaxation and community.  

It dawned on me while guiding a long and luscious meditation and root chakra practice on Saturday that "we need YOU".  This means that the world needs the divine feminine energy -- the conscientious, rich, and nourishing energy that comes from awakening your sleepy and shy soul.  So, if you can't make it to the YogaFarm for a retreat or daycation, my greatest hope is that you are doing something -- anything -- to clear your heart, shine the mirror, and awaken to your true nature.  You are just so marvelous, I wouldn't want you to miss that part.  Ever.

Kristin & Suzanne, two amazing souls and yoga teachers and graduated of Deva Daaru School of Yoga -- assisting at the Foundations retreat

Kristin & Suzanne, two amazing souls and yoga teachers and graduated of Deva Daaru School of Yoga -- assisting at the Foundations retreat

All this talk about Love and Truth makes me hungry.  So, how about we fill your belly with some of that Luv?

After each retreat, I have so many scrumptious treats left behind to nourish my family here. Tonight, for example, I pulled out of the freezer a few frozen banana chunks that had been cooked in ghee and cardamom and served with one of our breakfasts.  I made an incredible little "dessert drink" for my Love and I out of these little jewels.  

It was so incredibly delicious, I couldn't help but share (the recipe I mean.  I ate the smoothie already.  Sorry!)

 

Banana Coconut Cacao Smoothie

1/2 cup frozen ripe bananas (you know the ones that turn brown on your counter -- peel them, throw them in an airtight container, and freeze them)

2 cups organic rice milk

1 heaping teaspoon coconut milk

1 heaping teaspoon raw almond butter

3 dates, pitted

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

pinch of Himalayan salt

1 heaping teaspoon raw cacao powder

1 heaping teaspoon raw cacao nibs

Blend it all together in a Vitamix (or the likes) and eat!  

I get soon excited about these things that are delicious enough for dessert, filling enough for a meal, and nutritious enough to start your day with as breakfast!  

Enjoy!  

And hope to see you at the YogaFarm 

 

Eat Dessert First

Oh, Baby. 

I am not one of those who usually dies for chocolate.  I like it alright.  But I wouldn't tackle someone for a taste.

 

But these?  These rock my little world. 

Originally, they were a no bake brownie recipe from Julie Morris.  (Google her to watch her in action making magic).  I tweaked them a bit, and made them into balls for easy consumption, and also to hide them in my pocket more readily (did I say that out loud?) 

Anyway, here's the recipe: 

1 cup raw walnuts

8-10 pitted medjool dates

1/2 cup powdered cacao

1 T. ghee or coconut oil

pinch of sea salt

raw cacao nibs

 

Super simple, super food:  In a food processor, chop the walnuts until they make a course walnut flour.  With the food processor on, slowly add the pitted dates. Then add the powdered cacao and the salt.  The mixture should hold together when you pinch it in your hands -- if it doesn't add either a little more ghee, coconut oil, or water.  

Roll them into balls, then roll them in more cacao and/or raw cacao nibs.  You can make the outsides even more scrumptious by rolling them in gogi berries, ginger flakes, coconut flakes, or add a little cinnamon or fennel powder to the cacao before rolling. 

My favorite part about these is that they are loaded with anti-oxidants and micronutrients, taste like dessert and can be eaten for breakfast.   

Scrumpdillyicious. 

Namaste, 

Britt

 

 

 

Hanker for a Hunk of Chocolate

 

I tend to be one of those slightly odd individuals who does not gravitate toward chocolate.  Strange, I know. However, amidst my embarkment upon a significant cleanse the day after Thanksgiving, I have been hankering for something sweet, and due to the health benefits of dark chocolate and my limited choices otherwise, chocolate it is.  

For the record, since the day after Thanksgiving, my diet has consisted of a whole food vegan mash of sort:  a.k.a. no wheat, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, soy, sugar, tomatoes, or animal products, to hit the big ones).  I am also taking some supportive supplements.

Oh, and now?  Chocolate.  I am pleased to say I am taking chocolate.

So, I will start at the beginning.

This morning I was on the website for the cleanse I am doing and came across an afforded dessert via DrBenKim.com.  It looked tasty, and... as my norm, I fiddled with the recipe a fair amount and couldn't exactly tell you what the original would taste like. However, the one I made was absolutely phenomenal.  I recommend it to anyone who is interested in a sweet little spot.  I would bet my life that even those of you allergic to cleansing would enjoy it immensely.

 

 Here it is:

First, a quote from our sponsor (the doc whose website originally posted the recipe):

"A healthier version of Reese peanut butter cups, these chocolate cashew butter cups deliver plenty of heart-healthy flavonoids and healthy protein. If cashew butter isn't your thing, feel free to substitute with your preferred nut butter - almond butter and organic peanut butter work just as well, though both are less naturally sweet than cashew butter, so you may want to add a little more honey to the filling."

- Ben Kim

 

Ingredients:

You will need mini baking papers (about 1/4 the size of a standard muffin paper), and a round, metal pan to place them in for freezing.

 

 

Chocolate Ingredients:

1/2 cup cacao powder (we had some our friend, Lelir, grows, harvests, roasts, and processes on her land in Bali)
1/4 cup rice syrup (a natural, low glycemic sweetener)
1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
1/8 teaspoon organic almond extract
1/4 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

Filling Ingredients:

1/2 cup cashew butter
1+ tablespoon cacao nibs (optional, but ohh so necessary for the crunch)
1 tablespoon rice syrup
Dash of fresh ground Himalayan pink salt, to taste (... remember how those Reese PB cups tasted with a little salt in the peanut butter part?)

Directions:

1. Combine the chocolate ingredients above. Mix well.

2. Use a spoon to spread this mixture on the bottom of each mini baking paper.  Your chocolate should be about 1/4+ inch thick and fill approximately 18 papers. You may use all of the chocolate.  (Note:  Melting the coconut oil in a pan of hot tap water will allow the chocolate to be thin enough to spread flat in each paper.)

3. Put these prepared liners in the round, metal pan (to help each cup maintain its shape) and place in the freezer. (I used a 10x10 round cake pan and 18 fit in it perfectly.)

4. While the cups are setting in the freezer, combine the filling ingredients, again mixing well.

5. Once your filling is ready, take the muffin pan out of the freezer and fill each cup with the cashew filling, spreading evenly among the quantity of papers.  Note:  I found that the filling ingredients to be a bit stiff, therefore I opted to dip my finger in remaining liquid coconut oil and spread the filling around on top of the chilled chocolate.  Works great!)

6. Place the cups back in the freezer for 10-30 minutes.

7. Peel the cupcake liners off and enjoy!

 Seven Chakras... Seven steps to NIRVANA!

Caution:  Don't eat too many... there is nothin like a whole food, vegan, macrobiotic food coma.  I should know.

A bit more seriously:  Ayuredically, this dessert is great if you are looking for a little energy boost in a way that does not vitiate vata.  It is sweet, salty, and nourishing to the dhatus (tissues), and is a great snack for the new or full moon, or for women during menses... OR just a great pick-me-up coupled with a chai (Search this site for a complementary chai recipe over to the right side of this blog window.)

 

 

Enjoy Nirvana!!!! 

 

Namaste, 

Britt

 

 

Winter Inspired Tummy Luvin' Goodness

I write this on a full tummy, so I do hope my food coma doesn't affect my ability to communicate.

This morning, a student, fellow yogini, karma yogini and all around sweet Devi (goddess).... sent me a recipe, referring to it as "my recipe for today" because SHE planned to make it today.  I decided to steal it, and modify it drastically, considering we are sort of "stranded" in the snow out in Vernonia.  The driveway as I am leaving the YogaFarm... it just stopped snowing.I made sure to integrate the six ayuvedic tastes, and a good dose of healthy fat to keep nice and warm.  This recipe is generally tri-doshic, balancing for any one of us, especially particularly during the winter months. The six tastes* are sweet, salty, astringent, bitter, sour, and pungent.  They all made it into the modification of this recipe, and my tummy and entire body are grateful for it!

Doing my best with what was in my stranded kitchen, here's what I came up with.... close but quite different than the original recipe (as all good meals tend to be in my house)...

I must say, I outdid myself in the kitchari department.

 

Slow Cooker Kitchari, Greens,  & Cardomom Applesance 

You can make this recipe using your slow cooker on either the low or high setting. This recipe will cook quickly on high so be ready to come back to it after 3 hours. It will take about 6 1/2 hours on low. 

1 1/2 cups sprouted rice and quinoa blend (you can use any variety of brown, red, or wild rice and quinoa--it's a great way to blend and use up small amounts of grain)
 

1 cup dry french lentil beans (mung beans would be ideal, but french lentils were all I had and worked great)
 

 1 teaspoon ground garam masala

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon lemon rind

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon dried ginger (or 2 teaspoons fresh grated)

6 cups filtered water

1 can organic coconut milk (full fat for the vata or pitta type, low fat for kapha)

1 teaspoon sea salt

Place the grains, legumes, ground garam masala, turmeric, ginger, and water into a 3-quart crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 6 1/2 hours. After the grains and legumes are cooked, stir in coconut milk and salt. Be sure to stir in any additional ingredients about 30 minutes before the end of cooking time. Turn off heat.

Carmelized Onions:

Heat a 10 or 11-inch cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, then add onions and salt. Saute for approximately 40 minutes. Turn the heat down as they cook so they don't burn. By the end of cooking I am using low heat.  Place them atop or beside each serving. Add a good sized serving of greens (especially for Kapha Dosha). Garnish with cardomom applesauce.

Greens:

Tonight I happened to have some organic baby spinach and red chard in the fridge.  First I made a quick dressing with olive oil, balsalmic vinegar (oil to vinegar 1:3), a clove of garlic, sea salt and pepper (fresh ground), and 2 medjool dates for sweetness, and blended them all together in my VitaMix (these blenders surpass any I have ever had for use, power and clean-up).  I blended it and then tossed my chopped greens with it.  Simple and very yummy. (By the way, this is my favorite simple dressing.)


Garnish:
homemade cardomom and cinnamon applesauce

This part is super simple:  just cut up about 10 organic apples of your choice, and put them in about 1/4 cup water in a big saucepan, cover, place on low heat... and watch them, stirring occassionally, until they are soft. Add 1/8 teaspoon cardomom, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, cover for another 3-5 minutes.  Transfer to a Vitamix (or megablender of some sort, food processor would also work)... and blend until desired consitency.  I used gala and fuji apples.  You can add about 1 heaping tablespoon on the side of your kitchari. 

 

*Where are the six ayurvedic tastes in this meal?  

Sweet:  slow cooked whole grains and coconut milk

Pungent:  Black pepper

Sour:  unsweetened applesauce and balsalmic vinegar

Astringent: (this is the "make your tongue dry" sort of flavor) skins of the apples and rind of lemon

Bitter: lemon rind

Salty: sea salt

Serves 4 to 6.

*  Thank you to Lauren Trank for sharing the original recipe, which came from nourishingmeals.com

 

Namaste,

Britt

Sweet for the Season

gluten-free and no refined sugar.... an organic, ayurvedic dessert dreamWhen the rains come and the leaves have all abandoned their branches, I get a craving for something warm and sweet. Ayurvedically, this makes perfect sense. The autumn time is the culmination of Vata:  wind and cool, dry (until the rains soak in).  The body feels this cool, windy season engulf us, and craves warm, sweet, oily foods.  Entering this season consciously, attending to the cravings of the body intuitively, and balancing the doshas can be done simply and deliciously.

Yesterday, after a chilly morning of picking chantrelle mushrooms in the forest, followed by a cold-to-the-bone, windy afternoon... something warm and soothing was indeed in order.

In my freezer, I had a bounty of organic peaches we purchased in the gorge a while back, as well some frozen blueberries, and wild blackberries I had picked and was saving for a perfect dessert.  

On this chilly, windy afternoon, I opted for a crostata -- one of my favorite, easy and elegant desserts.  I also love it because I can spice it up to make it even more ayurvedically delicious, casting a medicinal benefit on what might otherwise merely induce a sugar coma.

 

Here is the recipe, and I will explain the medicinal and beneficial aspects of it below: 

PEACH AND WILD BERRY CROSTATA

Ingredients for the pastry:

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill organic rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar or maple sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon earth salt
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) very cold, organic, salted butter diced
  • 2 tablespoons ice water

 

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 2-3 cups frozen or fresh sliced peaches
  • 1 cup (approximate) organic berries of your choice (I used blackberries and blueberries)
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar or maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon earth salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice 
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) very cold, organic, salted butter diced

Directions

For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl and mix loosely with a fork or pastry blender. Add the butter and mix with for, or pastry blender until the butter is the size of peas.  Add the ice water all at once and mix with a fork.  Removed fork, and turn the dough onto a well-floured board (rice flour) and form into a disk. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Flour a rolling pin and roll the pastry (pressing some with the flats of your fingers) into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to a baking sheet, lined with foil or parchment paper.

For the filling, place peaches and berries in a heap on the crust.  With fingers, lightly toss the chunks with the orange zest.  Leave a 1 1/2-inch crust border.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice in the bowl and mix loosely.  Add the butter and mix until crumbly with fingers.  Sprinkle evenly on the apples. Gently fold the border over the fruit to enclose the center region, pleating it to make a circle.

Bake the crostata for 25-40 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the fruit looks tender. Allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Now for the ayurvedic and medicinal thoughts:

Cinnamon and ginger are very warming... Baked fruits are soothing to vata, as is a slow-baked, sweet, buttery dessert.  If one wanted to make this dairy free, in addition to gluten-free, you could use coconut oil instead of butter.  Using maple syrup and maple sugar (crystalized maple syrup) further addresses high vata for the season (the slow, dripping of sap from a maple tree helps to energetically balance the high winds of fall, one of Vata's most favorite seasons).  In addition, hand-prepared foods, minus food processors, blenders, etc. embue the benefits of energetically connecting to the food through the creation of our hands.  Each time we interact with the ingredients, we are provided an opportunity to infuse the ingredients and the final product with Love.

Conscious preparation and consumption of food rich with Prana is one of the most powerful ways to heal the body and balance the dhatus (tissues).  

Everything is connected. 

Namaste,

Britt

 

Kitchari-Hit the "Body Reset Button" with this Simple Ayurvedic Dish

BanyanBotanicals.com website, is my favorite, and one of the best sources for ayurvedic supplements available in the United States. It is a great source for supplements, information, and deepening your understanding of Ayurveda. The following information is from their site. Enjoy!

In Ayurveda, things that we ingest are divided into three categories:

1. Poison
2. Medicine
3. Neutral

Poison is defined as anything that hinders digestion. Medicine is considered to be anything that we ingest that aids the digestive process. Neutral is anything we ingest that gives support and nourishment without either aiding or hindering the digestive process.

Kitchari is a unique because it falls under both the neutral and medicinal categories. It not only provides nourishment for the body, but, due to its spice combination, also benefits digestion. This makes kitchari an ideal food of choice during times of stress on the body, such as during an illness, periods of overwork or change of seasons. It is also an especially good food to use while on a mono-diet as part of an internal cleansing regime.

There are several variations to a basic kitchari recipe and the one below is basic, easy to start with, and balancing to all three doshas (vata, pitta and kapha). You will find that the ingredients are readily available at most health food stores, including New Seasons, my favorite locally owned and operated whole foods market.

Ingredients:
2-3 TBS ghee (clarified butter)
½ tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 small pinch of asafoetida ("hing") powder (you can leave this out, if you can't find it)
½ cup split yellow mung dal, rinsed well, soaked overnight and drained. (It is best to use mung dal with the hulls still on if you tend toward constipation)---you can also use green mung beans, whole or split.
1 tsp rock salt (Himalyan is best.. it is the pink salt)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 cup white basmati rice, rinsed well and drained.
6 cups warm water
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
4-5 thin slices of fresh ginger root

In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the ghee on medium heat. Ghee burns easily, so be careful. Sauté the mustard seeds and cumin seeds in the ghee until the seeds pop. Then add the drained mung dal, asafoetida powder, turmeric and salt. Stir until the mix almost starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Then add the rice, water, cumin powder, coriander powder and ginger. Stir well, making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pressure cooker or pot.

Cover and bring it to a boil on high heat. Then turn the heat down and let it simmer until both the rice and dahl are mushy.

You may have to experiment with how much water you use to find a consistency that you like. (The more water, the thinner the consistency). A thinner consistency is preferable if your digestion is weak. You will notice that kitcheri will thicken when it cools and you may need more water than you originally thought.

In order to provide the best quality of energy to your body, Kitcheri should be made the day that you wish to eat it and served hot.

Garnish:
Fresh cilantro (great for pitta - ok for vata and kapha)
Coconut (great for pitta, good for vata, but not so good for kapha)
Lime (ok for everybody; unless pitta is very out of balance)

Enjoy the benefits of hitting your "Body Reset Button" with kitchari.

Namaste,
Britt

Biker Boots & Brown Rice: It's FAST Times!


Nothing like a little Yoga in my ski jacket and biker boots. But look at all of the greenery? It's poison is my pleasure.... pure, rich, oxygen. Embrace the cool, wetness of this spring.

Ahhhhhh..... I sit this afternoon, halfway between inspired and amazed by the massive amount of rain that is pouring from the sky... sideways! Realizing that it is "spring" in terms of what the calendar is telling me, but that my body feels called to put on a turtleneck sweater and fleece socks.

It's times like these that I really feel the call to align myself with nature. Her natural majesty.... the mother of all mothers... Mama Earth. So, what do we DO in weather like this? Here are a few seasonal ideas to support you in springing forth into your best life....

1. Get up with the sun: Even though it may still feel a little blustery out there, getting up with the sun helps us to align with the natural rhythms of the season.
2. Get outside: Take a brisk walk, jog, or hike. Get outside before 9 am, and spend at least 30 minutes interacting with cool, natural air. This wet springy air helps to purify our lungs, but specifically if we are breathing vigorously, otherwise wet air can make us feel heavy and decrease our energy. To take advantage, get the heart rate up, get into the trees and as they wake up after sleeping through the winter, they will wake you up too.
3. Purify your diet: This time of year is the perfect time to cleanse your body, as well as spring clean your house. Consider a 3 day fast.

GENERAL TIPS: The day before beginning your fast, eat a healthy and light dinner. Drink ample amount of room temperature water. During your 3 day fast, drink herbal teas; particularly ginger and peppermint during the mornings and mid-day, and chamomile, rosehip, or lavender tea during the evenings. Drink moderate amount of liquids during your fast. Rest as much as you are able, and fast also from strong emotions, television, news media, and other cultural stimuli. Journal, listen to nourishing music, and enjoy observing or being in nature.

DAY 1:
* Breakfast: Oatmeal, brown rice, or quinoa for breakfast. Top with cinnamon and unsweetened rice milk
* Lunch: Salad loaded with vegetables of your choice(no potatoes), with olive oil and fresh-squeezed lemon for lunch
* Dinner: Steamed vegetables of your choice (no potatoes), with olive oil, fresh-squeezed lemon, and brown rice

DAY 2 Breakfast through Day 3 Lunch:
Fast with hot water--steeped with fresh herbs, herbal teas, (and brown rice, only as needed. If you do add brown rice, supplement only when you are feeling quite hungry, and chew each bite 20-30 times, until the rice is liquid in your mouth. Take your time and savor each bite.)

DAY 3 Dinner:
How successfully we fast has a great deal to do with how we break the fast. The best way to break a fast, is to do so gently, and by consuming small portions.

The best way to break a fast is by consuming 1-1&1/2 cup Kitchari: Dinner on Day 3, around 6 pm is ideal:

This is one of the most nutritious and easiest foods to digest, perfect for a detox.

Yields 4 servings

KITCHARI

1 cup white basmati rice

1 cup split mung beans

1 tablespoon ghee 

1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds 

1/4 teaspoon brown mustard seeds 

1/4 teaspoon turmeric 

1/4 teaspoon rock salt or sea salt 

4 cups purified water

1. Rinse the rice and mung beans until the water is clear.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the ghee and add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Stir a moment until the seeds pop.

3. Add the rice, mung beans, turmeric, and salt, and stir until well blended with the spices.
4. Add the water and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
5. Turn down the heat to low and cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Cook until tender, about 20-25 minutes.

DAY 4 Breakfast: Light breakfast, following a walk, hike, or jog in nature.

The biggest challenge is to continue to avoid white sugar, processed foods, and snacks. Do your best to keep your diet primarily loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables. As Michael Pollen says it best, "Eat FOOD, mostly plants. Not too much."

You are welcome to continue the fast for additional days, and you will know when it is time to break it by the way you feel: You will feel clear, relaxed, energized, rested upon waking, emotionally balanced, and peaceful. That's your natural YOU!

Note: If you are joining us for the spring retreat in two weeks, I recommend you consider a 3 day fast before arriving to Cedar Ridge. Your yoga experience will be that much more impactful and healing for you... If you are not joining us, taking time for a personal retreat can be equally as healing... Enjoy and watch how you BLOSSOM!

Namaste,
Britt

Walk On the Wild Side I

 

A couple of weeks back, I had the great opportunity to travel to a house in the country and to take a class on "eatin' in the wild". We harvested all sorts of jewels from the forest floor and made a feast that blew our minds with flavor and culinary pizazz! I will post these in sections, as there are many photos and recipes... I must add a "caution note"... there are many plants that grow in the forest that are quite deadly, so only eat what you are sure is what it is.

Ayurvedically, greens are a great addition to one's diet this time time of year. In particular, those greens that are bitter and astringent. These flavors help to clear the kapha, or earth and water, that tends to accumulate over the winter. Spring is the time to cleanse the digestive track, and spring, wild-harvested greens are a great way to do just that. Not to mention, miner's leaf is also rich in Vitamin C and has been found to positively impact blood pressure and purify the blood.

MINER'S LEAF SALAD

Miner’s grass is very soft--google it if you want to see what it looks like up close). Spinach or mache is another option, particularly if you can't go "miner's leaf hunting" and find yourself at your local organic market instead.

Here's the recipe:
Miner’s grass (remove some of the really long stems ½ way up)

Top with:
Blueberries, raspberries if compatible seasons,
A blue cheese, Oregon of course, and organic
Wild violets if you an find them (another great thing to google and surely identify... there are also any other wildflower edible options)

Cukes might be good, too, thinly sliced - or cattail stalks.... but we'll talk about that in a later post :)

Dressing:
Get creative and shoot for something sweet and light.
Here's an option:
Cookie’s rhubarb wine 1 part (or any other wine of a sweet variety)
Rice wine 1 part
Light Olive oil -- 1 part (always first cold pressed and virgin)... not too strong or dark in color as that would overpower the delicacy of the miner's leaves.
Sea salt
Natural sweetener -- raw honey is best, or stevia leaves, lightly ground, or just a touch of agave

Variations to consider.....
A honey/cinnamon dressing or a honey mustard variety?
Mix well with dandelion greens since they grow in similar areas (yep, just the greens that grow with dandelions... but you can also buy these at New Seasons)

Enjoy exploring your spring harvest... you don't get any closer to nature than THIS!

Namaste,
Britt (and the others who walked with me on the wild side!)

SPRING FEVER!

Our spring retreat is just a little more than a month away, get a jump start on your own spring cleaning with these tips, and a recipe perfect for a springtime tea at the bottom. Visit YogaWithBritt.com for more!

Although the heavy spring rains aren’t convincing me that is, indeed, spring, I know it is. Generally speaking, the weather is getting kinder, and the evenings lighter… There is a lovely columnist, who writes for Yoga-Abode.com named Joanna Johnston. The following entry is written by her. Enjoy the spring, shed your winter coat, and any left over insulation if you are part bear :) … Even though it is 47degrees (yes, 47, as I write this in Vernonia). It IS Spring somewhere amidst this bristling wind. I just know it.

 

And, now, how to Spring into Spring... from Joanna Johnston and Yoga-Abode.com....

Spring is a time of increased warmth and wetness. Winter is predominantly a cold, damp season which causes kapha dosha to accumulate (earth and water elements). Now is the ideal time to reduce this build up of kapha (such as excess weight gain) to prevent feelings of sluggishness, as well as other kapha-related problems such as spring colds and hay fever.

TIPS TO STAY WELL THIS SPRING:
* Set your alarm for 7am at the latest; preferably earlier as sleeping later will further aggravate kapha. Massage your body with warm sesame or sunflower oil, followed by a warm shower. Dry skin brushing is excellent for stimulating lymph and reducing cellulite. Use firm sweeping strokes towards the heart to aid the elimination of fluid. Saunas can be a useful for drying up excess secretions.
* Practice vigorous exercise to get the lymph moving in the body, preventing congestive problems. It is also one of the best ways to stimulate a sluggish digestion and aid detoxification. Make your yoga practice dynamic and stimulating. Sun salutations are ideal as they build up heat, working all the major muscles. Kappalabhati pranayama is also good for generating internal heat and burning toxins.
* A spring ayurvedic diet recommends more bitter tastes (eg: herbs such as dandelion), as well as spicy (eg: fresh ginger herbal tea) and astringent (eg: all pulses). These tastes open the channels of elimination, clearing excess mucus and moisture from the body. Reduce kapha-aggravating sweet, sour and salty foods which could cause water retention at this time. In common with the winter diet, minimise raw and cold foods, favoring warm, lightly cooked meals. Lighter grains such as quinoa, millet and barley are all Kapha reducing, but minimise wheat dominant foods.
* Use a neti pot to give the nose a daily rinse with warm, salt water over a sink. This not only helps ward off colds and hay fever, but will also improve your pranayama. Read David Frawley's ‘Neti: Healing Secrets of Yoga and Ayurveda' which includes information on adding herbs to your neti to aid detoxification.
* For a spring cold, help clear mucous by eating light, warm, simple foods as you rest. Soup is ideal. Avoid dairy products, sweets, fried foods and yeasted bread, as it increase congestion. Fresh ginger tea is excellent, especially with raw honey added once the tea has cooled down. Raw honey clears mucous and kapha due to its heating, drying and channel clearing effect. It is the best sweetener for kapha types and is good for all in spring.

Kapha-Clearing Tea, perfect for the spring...

1/4 teaspoon dry ginger
1 clove
1/4 teaspoon dill seed
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seed
1 cup boiling water

Mix the dry ingredients together, Add the boiling water, Steep for 5 minutes, Strain and serve. Add raw honey (make sure it is raw) to sweeten if you desire.

 

Enjoy… and now is the perfect time for spring cleaning!

Namaste,
Britt

Naked By the Creek


this pic I took yesterday on our land... we did a little blessing in the morning and the well is being drilled today... Know where your water is...

Naked by the creek, huh?...
Okay, so it has been too cold to get naked by the creek. but three weeks ago, sitting in 90 degrees ad 80% humidity almost 24/7, what I longed for most was to sit naked by the creek . Naked by the creek and SCREAM! Scream, because in Bali, I found myself living in a paradox: the island and the magic that surrounds me brings forth everything that needs to be healed. Everything that needs to be awakened, moved, expressed, and shared. And at the same time, there is nowhere to cry out loud. Nowhere to roar like a lion, or even howl at the moon...

Everywhere we go, on this island of 3 million people, there are, um... people. And they don't speak my language, so if I just happened to let a blood-curdling one rip, just to get it out.... just to move some stuck energy... I wouldn't really be able to do much except smile and say, "Pas!"... which means delicious. It's complicated.

But I am home now. And at this moment, I am lying on the couch in our little apartment in Vernonia (or some prefer to refer to it as my "single-wide" but I'm just not there yet.) I am waiting for my husband, who is a few miles down the road planting trees on our land, and waiting for the well driller to get water (we hope). It is quiet here. I can hear a fly in the window across the room, and the hum of the cooling fan in my Apple. I like that.

Being home is good. It feels very much like home. It is also wildly transitional. I am acclimating myself into my skin again. Into the climate, into wearing shoes, hot showers, jeans, and sleeping under blankets. My body isn't yet ready to jump back into busyness, and I am teaching Nia less. Teaching Yoga less. Actually, interacting with people a bit less, in general. I miss teaching, but that's how it goes. I am settling into the "space" this new life is offering me, and we will see what magic comes forth. It always does.

This summer I intend to listen to my deepest voice more closely than ever. I intend to garden, be in nature more, listen to the waterfalls by our new cabin in the woods, camp with friends, pick berries, cook, and plant more seeds. Seeds of what is to come, and seeds of change. And, I intend to pray. Prayer "creates space" naturally. It comes from the mystery, from ether, and it returns to the mystery, to ether. And I choose to surround myself in these possibilities that I feel deep within my soul.
Space is important. It allows us to transition naturally from where we have been to where we are now, which prepares us for wherever it is we are going.

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you...
while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
~John Muir

Calming Tea

Here is a super easy-to-make tea that will help you rest and quiet your mind. It is delicious, and to-be-sipped slowly, and you will feel the relaxation seep through your body. It’s very soothing and safe for daily use.

1/4 cup dried chamomile flowers per cup
1/4 cup vanilla soy milk, rice milk, cream, milk, or half-and-half per cup
Honey, agave, or maple syrup to sweeten

Pour boiling water over the chamomile, cover, and steep 15 to 20 minutes, until strong
Add the soy milk and sweetener to taste.

Namaste,
Britt