Soul Warming Chai

IMG_4259As you may have heard, we’re a little snowed in here in the DC metro area. Though winter storm Jonas has made it’s way out of here, we’re now dealing with serious dig out. Feeling chilled by the cold and wetness, I decided it was time to make chai—one of my favorite drinks.

Chai is a type of Indian tea made by boiling water, milk , sugar and spices together .It has been popularized here in the west and can be found at any good coffee shop. However, I find the syrups used at most of these establishments to be too sugary and overpowering. One sip of homemade chai and you’ll never go back! [Read more…]

New Year’s Intentions: Finding Forgiveness

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I’ve been thinking a lot about my New Year’s intention. Last year it was confidence. This year, it’s all about forgiveness.

Forgiveness is this funny thing. You can say you forgive someone, but then some times goes by, something happens and  you realize you are still holding on to the hurt thought you released. You can tell yourself you’ve moved on, but all it takes is one simple word or action and you’re back in the place you started. Forgiveness is, by definition, the action of stopping or cancelling an emotion and thereby the act of letting go.  As I examine what this intention will mean to me in 2016, I understand that in order to forgive I must learn to truly surrender.  [Read more…]

Soften Into Love & Compassion

1a26a3e94bb420fb1f97d1a26ab5063eI’ve been trying to think about what I might talk about today in class on this Christmas Eve. This time of year hold so many beautiful insights. The one that keeps coming up for me is LOVE. The act of love and the practice of compassion are truly life changing. We are so used to toughening up, sucking it in, brushing things aside. Instead of hardening ourselves in this process, what if we stopped, softened a little, slowed down, stopped judging, hoarding, and consuming and instead shared love and kindness to those that need it most, including ourselves.

Take a look at the state of the world and what do you see? Now, take a moment and look through the lens of love and compassion and how have things shifted? Don’t you recognize that the other person is you? Stop the separation. It only leads you to feelings of isolation, loneliness, and fear. And those feelings are the doorways to many dark places. Softening into love and compassion will help you see that your struggles are no different than anyone else and will lessen the pull from those dark places. It’s the lens through which we discern our struggles that can change the world. You have the power to change your experiences in this life based on your perception of reality.  Choose wisely.

I don’t mean to sound overly lofty and idealistic here.  It is so easy to get caught up the complexities of our lives. Let’s be honest though, we only make life as complex as we want it to be. And, that’s okay too. It is very human to make mistakes and move through all of these things, but hopefully we do so with grace.

Sri Dharma says “when we are quiet, we see everything with love.” So, today what if instead of making things more complicated, we chose simplicity instead? What if instead of anger, we chose love? What if instead of lack, we chose abundance?  What if, instead of judgement, we chose compassion? Imagine what could happen if we all chose love.

Less is So Much More

54488ca6cdfcb2cd77e3d26b02714ef0After a few months of being home with Noah, I desperately wanted to get back to teaching yoga. I thought that the faster I got back to teaching, the faster I’d start to feel like my old self again. Being a new mom really threw me for a loop. Teaching and working is something I understood and could identify with—being a new mom was not. I am eternally grateful to my son for blessing our lives by choosing us as his parents and could not imagine life without him. In the beginning I grasped on tightly to my former, familiar, non-mom self even as our new life consumed our day-to-day. As soon as I was cleared for physical exercise, I lined up my schedule with classes and got back to work.

After a few months keeping up with the tedious pace of caring for a newborn, housekeeping, healing from my pregnancy and disrupted digestive issues, teaching classes and doing some part-time office work on the side, I started to fizzle out big time. Hubby and I argued more,  I was constantly tired and I lacked enthusiasm for my work. No one was getting sleep and we were all an exhausted mess.
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Ghee: An Ayurvedic Elixir

gheemainI’ve just returned from part three of my Ayurveda Yoga Specialist training at the Himalayan Institute. This weekend’s focused on the six tastes, the different forms of agni (digestive fire), and how to make ghee, kitchari and medicinal teas to help balance different issues. Coming home I felt ready to putting our knowledge in to action and in particular, make my own batch of ghee.

Ghee, also known as clarified butter, has many benefits including a high smoke point, so it can be used as an oil when cooking; it is rich in vitamins like A, D, and E and also butyrate, which is a short-chain fatty acid known to be beneficial to colon health because of its anti-inflammatory qualities; and it’s also known to be good for casein and lactose intolerance because the skimming and straining process removes those elements making it easier to digest.

In Ayurveda ghee is said to balance the doshas and help support or build ojas, a vital essence of the body and mind. Ayurvedists use ghee to deliver herbs and other medicines to the body deep in to the tissues.  Because of it’s known digestive and health benefits, I was eager to give ghee a try. I started using it in my cooking a few months ago and have felt a big change for the better in my UC and digestive symptoms and overall health.

Ghee is relatively easy to make and can be stored at room temperature. I have ours out on the counter ready to use. It also ages well, like wine. It is said that the older the ghee, the more healing properties it contains. It is recommended to take no more than three teaspoons of ghee per day and it should never be taken in equal parts with honey.  [Read more…]