Taking it ALL In


Om.
Leela, one of the yoga retreat Devis, takes in the long lost sunshine during a break after lunch at the weekend yoga retreat.

Om....
I am just coming off a beautiful yoga retreat with 30+ Devatas (brilliant lights).... and I am reminded of all of the ways that we can "take it all in" even when we are NOT on retreat.

Each time I offer a retreat, we all arrive "buzzing" from the rajas of life. Running here and there, doing this, finishing this, getting that, and so on and so forth. We arrive, and slowly.... but surely.... the "buzz" starts to leave us... We meditate, walk and rest in nature, read, laugh, laugh, and laugh... cry, purge, release. We dance, spin, and gorgeously... we build up a NEW kind of buzz. One that is rich with prana, light, and the nectar of who we really are.

Curious, isn't it? We are searching.... seeking.... longing for "the buzz". But, oh, how we settle for less than the highest vibration. So, how DO we get back to the highest, richest, vibration?

Here are some thoughts:

1. Practice 9 complete rounds of Surya Namaskar every day
2. Eat LIVE, high vibrational foods... no need to overthink it: colorful, fresh, no can openers, no freezers, no additives
3. Sprawl your beautiful self out on the grass whenever possible
4. Average yourself "up"... spend as much time with people who bring your vibration UP UP and AWAY!
5. Love. Love. and when in doubt, Love some more

Take it ALL in.... bring it on, and TRUST that "this too shall pass" and that beneath all the hubbub.... there you shall find yourself... radiant, full of light and life and joy and eternal bliss.

I am light. I am eternal bliss and happiness. I am transformation itself. I am Shiva.

Om Namah....

Namaste,
Britt

Light My Fire

"This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine" was one of the many, potent take home messages shared by the 32 participants this weekend at a three night four day yoga and ayurveda retreat we shared together at Cedar Ridge. Coming home, I feel inspired, clear, peaceful and scrumptiously exhausted, and I am gratefully reminded of the importance of keeping one's internal light bright so we are able to peacefully and blissfully walk this path.

At this crucial time on the planet, awakening and purifying the internal fire within each of us is of utmost importance to navigate the cultural and global challenges we are facing. Our world is undergoing unique shifts that require each of us to do our part to balance and nourish the antikarna, or inner instrument.

Loving, earthen food, coupled with a balanced life and regulated practice are both foundational and nourishing for this sacred journey.

Here are three prana-rich recipes to balance the palette and awaken the digestive Agni!

GRANOLA MUFFINS

1 1/2 cups whole grain flour (spelt, kamut, etc)
1 cup granola of your choice (be sure to note sweetener used in granola and opt for an unrefined sugar, honey or fructose as best choices)
1/4 cup sugar (brown, demerrara, or sucanat are best)
3 tsp non-alum baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 cup prunes
1/4 cup ground flax
1/2 cup warm water
3 Tbsp each molasses and honey
1/4 cup oil (sunflower, sesame or walnut are great choices)
1 cup milk (almond, rice or soy)
1 tsp vanilla

Begin by chopping the prunes into raisin-sized bits, then soak in a bowl with boiling water just to cover. Preheat oven to 400F. In a large bowl combine the flour, granola, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices. In a small bowl whisk together the flax and warm water, letting it get gloopy for a minute. Then add the molasses, honey, oil, milk and vanilla. Strain the prunes (drink the juice if you're so inclined) and stir into the flour mixture. Pour in the liquid mixture and stir until just moistened. Spoon into a lightly oiled muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes at 400F, then lower heat to 350F and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer (test with a knife inserted, if it comes out clean they are ready). Makes 1 dozen muffins.

CHICKPEA & ARTICHOKE STEW

4 cups water or veg stock
2 medium onions, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced or chopped*
2 tbsp olive oil*
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp sweet paprika*
4 medium red or white potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes (about 4 cups)
1 sprig fresh rosemary (1 tsp ground dried)*
5 leaves fresh sage, minced (1/2 tsp dried)*
1/2 cup pureed winter squash or sweet potatoes
3 cups drained cooked chickpeas (two 15-oz cans)*
1 1/2 cups drained quartered artichoke hearts (14-oz can, in water)*
sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
lemon wedges and grated pecorino or parmesan cheese to garnish (optional)
(You may also choose some fresh chopped cilantro for garnish)

In a soup pot, bring the water or stock to a simmer. While the water heats, saute the onions and garlic in the oil (using a separate pot) for about 8 minutes, until soft. Stir the turmeric and paprika into the onions and saute for a minute. Add the potatoes, rosemary, sage and the simmering water or stock. Cook for about 12 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the pureed squash or sweet potatoes, and add the drained chick peas and artichoke hearts. Remove the rosemary sprig, add salt and pepper to taste, and return to a simmer.

Serve with lemon wedges and top with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

LEMON TAHINI DRESSING

1/2 cup tahini
1/2 water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1-2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Whirl it all up in a blender and serve on your favorite vegetables, raw or cooked.

Eating is our first and ever-revolving interaction with the environment outside of our selves: If the choices surrounding nourishment are based upon love and harmony, our bodies, our lives, and the impact we have on the world around us, will purely, and clearly reflect just that. ~David Frawley

Namaste and Bon Appetit!

Same time Same place

Last night I presented for 1.5 hour on yoga "off the mat". And today I conducted a prelimary training on intention for an ayurvedic spa in Portland. In both circumstances, I walked away realizing that there is more to learn about yoga than one could likely embody in a lifetime. I also was reminded that there are some very basic ways to integrate yoga into one's life. But first, it's worth asking the question, "why would I do that?"

Why would I want to integrate yoga into my life? Yoga provides the practitioner with a tried and true methodology for weathering the storms of life. Simply stated, disease, disagreeable circumstances, old age, and death. And it offers us systematic techniques that will, if practiced, build "ojas" or one's "life juice", and strengthen "agni", the digestive fire that digests everything from food to emotions and sensory inputs. These two, simple, aspects of our beings, when enhanced and strengthened can eliminate a great deal of the challenges we face. That, and yoga provides us with a framework to connect to our hearts, think from our hearts, accept ourselves as we are and relinquish the need to be anything other than we are at this moment in time. And that's a good thing.

That being said, there are some basic practices that will help you bring the benefits you experience on the mat, off the mat:

* Rise before sunrise: Gulp. I know this can be challenging, but once you train your body to do this, you realize its power. This early morning time is the most peaceful and provides your heart and mind with a quiet environment to realize and shed light on what is needed in your life to balance and enliven you.

* Same time same place: establish a morning ritual with music, tea, incense or candle that is your way of joining with the Divine and stepping into your day together.

* Choose Nature first. When in doubt, eat close to nature, function close to nature, encourage your senses to take in nature and realize you are part of nature and it is part of you.

These three simple tools can profoundly impact your practice, your emotional state, your hormones, your digestion, your relationships, the vibrance of your skin and hair.... you get the picture.

Three is the magic number.

Namaste,
Britt