Sweet Potatoes with a KICK

In transition from a girl to a woman to a wife and a mother, there are items over the past couple of years I’m especially grateful for. One is I do not have to cook Thanksgiving dinner. For every Thanksgiving dinner I do not prepare in my home, gratitude is intense. I am so fortunate to have my close family nearby. There my parents are, still nourishing their kids and the grandkids and their own parents on Thanksgiving Day. And when my time comes to prepare Thanksgiving, I hope to be able to do with half as much love as has been shown to me. Watching both my Grandparents and my parents cook has been the ultimate symbol of compassionate cooking, of putting others first. Being in the kitchen and cooking, or preparing food is an energetic exchange not to be rushed or begun with a flimsy foundation. Rather, a place where breath, patience and compassion combine with all the senses – taste, touch, sight, smell and hearing.

Offering nourishment to others is offering life to others and few other deeds could be more respected. Fresh foods of the recent harvest are easily transformed into a feast of a dish. Incorporating Ayurveda into Thanksgiving simply ensures you are eating fresh foods, adding lots of spices for flavor and creating moist, warm and soft foods of the fall harvests.

 

Sweet potatoes with A Kick! Great for winter, Serves 5-6

4 large sweet potatoes, washed well and cut into 2″ cubes. You can remove the skin if you’d like, I leave it on for extra nutrients (if potato is organic!)

EVOO
4-5 T ghee
Spices! Black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper! Cinnamon, Ginger and cardamom. Dash of salt.
¼ cup slivered almonds, soaked overnight and drained

Place ghee into the saucepan on med/low heat. Add 1/2 t of each pepper, 1/4 t ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. Add the almonds. Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes in the saucepan. Turn down the heat so not to burn the spices.

Preheat oven to 375f. Place sweet potatoes into covered baking dish and drizzle with EVOO until lightly coated. Lightly salt and bake for 30 minutes or until easily penetrated with a fork .

Be sure Asafoetida, aka Hing, is in your spice cupboard

From NPR’s “The Salt” – Meet Hing: The Secret Weapon of Indian Cuisine by Carolyn Beans.
In response: It’s fantastic to learn how a single spice can have so many uses! Let’s relate this spice to Ayurveda! It’s a pungent herb more commonly used today for its carminative (gas relieving) properties. It stimulates movement in the body channels, particularly that of the colon. Samana vata is movement in the body governing assimilation of, well nutrients in this case. And apana vata governs downward movement – both are stimulated through Asafoetida. The spice is cleansing to the colon and stimulating for digestive power.
A little goes a long way!! At spice stands I’ve seen them mix hing with fennel. This makes it a little safer to keep the in cupboard. I keep my hing in a zipped baggie inside of an airtight jar. A reused baby food jar works well. The smell really could contaminate your whole house but try a 1/4t in your next rice dish, or vegetable soup. Many ways to incorporate, similarly in flavor to garlic and onions.  My favorite is adding a 1/4t hing to cooking beans or making it a part of vata reducing churna – perfect for fall.

Other notes of asafoetida’s ability to stimulate movement is in the blood, called an emmenagogue. Additionally, it’s a nervine which strengthen functional ability of the nervous system. Also an aphrodisiac but you wouldn’t guess that by the smell! Vajikaranas is the word for aphrodisiac. “Vaji” is horse, or stallion and these substances reinvigorate the body by reinvigorating the sexual organs. Asafoetida is used externally as well, creating a medicated paste or oil for abdominal pain, arthritic pain and painful joints.

Information for this posting comes from The Yoga of Herbs by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad.

Spring Cleanse

Ayurveda spring cleanse offers positive growth and improved digestion both mentally and physically. Patterns you can’t kick but are ready to may simply lack tools and self-support. Almost everyone can benefit from the spring digestion reset we gain during a cleanse.

Why spring cleanse? Well, maybe a bit of Ayurvedic wisdom can shed some light. Winter is Vata dominant. It’s frozen and cold, windy antics of nature have dormancy happening as well. Really, depletion is the word. We hold onto all we can and hopefully all the good stuff we need from routines and relationships hold to ‘get through’ winter. And change is not resilient. Ayurveda says to choose the most stable time of year to cleanse, thus spring cleanses. Spring time is kapha dominant, so the vata has turned to cold, wet, sticky traits our body could be showing through allergies, congestion in face or chest, heaviness in the body and/or the mind. There could be less than desirable habits you feel are holding you back and you lack tools, motivation or drive to move them behind you. These are all signs of increase in kapha dosha. The kapha time is dominated by earth and water, much more resilient elements than the air and ether dominating fall and winter. Since change and growth require a stable establishment, naturally the spring kapha time is best for a big cleanse.

Think of a seedling, planted properly in dirt this spring. Ideal growing conditions include stable ground, fertile soil, ample moisture and sunlight. Also the temperature can’t be too cold. If the growing conditions accumulate too much wetness, low temperatures, lacking sunlight and the seedling continues to be relocated, it will never sprout. The proper conditions are necessary for growth and this exists in the human body and mind, too. Spring cleanse time is when we take rest, reset our body and mind’s growing conditions!

 

So I’ve been blogging other places more than my own site

Here are some places you can read my writing and I’ve guest blogged more over the past year than my own site! I should be blogging about what’s like to be an Ayurvedist on a spiritual path, a new(ish) Mom, solid job gig while also sharing my passion to learn and teach with anyone who will listen. But ya know what, it’s time for bed. And I teach in the morning. Putting aside time for my japa mala meditation, some gentle asana, oatmeal and chai before teaching just feels right. So, time to go put my legs up the wall. goodnight <3 Namaste. Winter Care for the Yogi-Nasya Oil This is The Yoga Bar's blog (theyogabars.com)
http://www.yogadrunk.com/2015/11/winter-care-for-yogi-part-1-nasya-oil.html

Ayurveda is Coming to Thanksgiving!
Guest blog on KathrynTempleton.com
http://www.kathryntempleton.com/ayurveda-comes-to-thanksgiving/

Fall Rejuvenation workshop – a gentle seasonal cleanse

Establish a foundation of Ayurvedic education through understanding the role of self-care, seasonal change, ama (toxin) reduction and conduct your own gentle cleanse at home. With Ayurveda, a gentle fall cleanse utilizes relation techniques, daily self-care rituals and a kitchari mono-diet. Enjoy dishes of split moong dahl, basmati rice and freshly cooked veggie with cleansing spices that regulate digestion and abate toxins in the body. The fall rejuvenation is removing toxins and helping to establish daily practices of self-care. Fall is a gentle period of cleansing where the body and mind is creating vitality, called ojas which is our vital life source. Building vitality is important as we prepare for the depleting time of winter. Seasonal cleanse allows an individual time and space to clear out excess dosha, often the inflammation of summertime pitta, so we don’t burn out in the winter months. A seasonal cleanse, to some extent, is ideal for most all individuals as fasting is not a part of a seasonal cleanse rather creating dining practices of nourishing and easy to digest meals of kitchari. A tea mixture of coriander, cumin and fennel is sipped through the day along with room temperature water.

There is a level of cleanse for everybody and meant to be enjoyed at a level ideal for YOU. Let Ayurveda meet you where you are, right now. No forcing, nothing stressful as bringing Ayurveda into your life is a gradual process meant to build upon itself as your experience into this science and lifestyle gentle builds over time.

Sept 13, noon-3PM at The Yoga Bar in Newport. 701 Park Avenue, Newport, KY 41071. register in advance theyogabar.net for $39. View the event here.

low res 4 part image fall rejuv 2014 2 pic

 

Lets Make Ghee Together Today!

Let’s make ghee today!

25 minute ghee making with Lisa Snowden, Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist

25 minute ghee making with Lisa Snowden, Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist

25 minute ghee making with Lisa Snowden.

YOU NEED:

-4 sticks (1 lb) of quality, unsalted organic butter, yielding 2 cups ghee.
-Cheesecloth
-Metal mesh strainer
-clear glass cup (drinking glass) Or modify the recipe with ease. Today I’m using 6 sticks of butter to yield 3 cups of ghee.

Set a timer for 25 minutes.
Get the clock going!
Place butter into a med.-large heavy pot on MED heat. Use a pot without a non-stick coating. No lid is ever necessary during ghee making as you want to remove all the water from the butter via evaporation. Keep stirring until the butter has completely melted.

At 20 minutes left on the timer, the butter is melted. Turn heat toward LOW, almost to LOW. We want to cook the butter just until it gently boils.  We begin to hear a sizzle from the bottom of the pan.  Don’t let it burn; Use a metal spatula to scrape and stir.

At 17 minutes left, the butter is foaming, sizzling and we are moments away from the gentle boil. Keep an eye on it, stirring and scraping often. Just don’t let it burn.

By 13 minutes left the butter is gently boiling, heat on LOW. See my 5 second video on Instagram demonstrating.

 

Mantra This cooking period is lovely to offer vibrational intention into the food items, and the yoga and Ayurveda tradition calls this mantra.

image and mantra article credit to yogainternational.com

image and mantra article credit to yogainternational.com

The vibrational sounds sets an intention into the food, in this case to nourish our bodies, minds and essentially assist in keeping us on our best path in life. If you are a mantra newbie, perhaps reciting “AUM” is essential – Universal Sound. The, “maha mrityunjay mantra is ancient with deep significance to the constant healing needs of the world and those within. Here is a link to Yoga International article by Rolf Solvik, President and Spiritual Director of the Himalayan Institute. He explains the great significance of this ancient vibrational recitation of Sanskrit syllables.  Within the article, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait has an audio feature explaining how to recite this mantra.

Rolf says, “Along with the Gayatri mantra it [maha mrityunjaya mantra] holds the highest place among the many mantras used for contemplation and meditation.” Regardless of how you choose to pay respect for the food and its nourishment to your body, we have these practices to draw ourselves closer to the source of that which nourishes.  The cows, the farmers and the humbling notion we all need to take a moment to think beyond ourselves.

Back to Ghee making! You’ve been stirring and mantra-lovin’!

Now we have 5 minutes left on the timer and this butter is now a golden-brown, and smelling of hot butter-like fresh popcorn!  White curds are separating (very good!) and we want to keep an eye on the ghee because when the curds turn from white to light brown then we’ll remove this from the heat and allow cooling. TIP* Remember I said we are removing all the water via evaporation? Take a clear glass and turn it over, upside down overtop of the ghee.  Place the brim just overtop of the ghee and wait for the glass to collect evaporation.  If you are collecting evaporation, the ghee is not finished.

 

Is your 25-minute timer complete, but your ghee is not?   No worries! Don’t let it burn- keep the heat on low.  Since this varies from one stovetop to the next, look for the ghee to gently simmer. Stir occasionally, and gently. When ghee is complete, we need to place the 2 layers of cheesecloth into mesh metal strainer.  Run the ghee through the cheesecloth and mesh strainer. Sometimes I use just the strainer without cheesecloth and that is fine for day to day cooking while other times I want the ghee incredibly smooth, so I include cheesecloth, too).

STORE in airtight container away from moisture to prevent spoilage.  Use clean, dry spoons when serving ghee. Does not need to be stored in refrigerator and ghee is said to improve with age.

Use the glass trick for help finalizing the ghee creation process!

Use the glass trick for help finalizing the ghee creation process!

Don’t be afraid to mess up this ghee-making process once or twice before feeling comfortable. At the beginning, I would begin smelling the ghee I made after a few weeks.  I was a little nervous I left moisture in there and spoilage was in the future.  This is why the glass trick is so helpful.  You KNOW when the water moisture is out. Enjoy and have fun bringing Yoga & Ayurveda into your household!
Namaste

Ayurveda Yoga Life with Lisa Snowden

Ayurveda Yoga Life with Lisa Snowden

 

 

 

 

Follow Lisa Snowden on her urban, travel filled-life where her goal is to, “Feel at home – Everywhere I go.” Using Ayurveda and yoga lessons, she keeps herself cool and grounded with the right tools. Her Ayurveda Yoga Life lessons will help you keep grounded, too, despite the busy, dare we say AIRY Nature of our lives in the world we live in.   Calendar of Upcoming Teachings – coming soon. Responses and comments are welcome via Lisa’s Ayurveda Yoga Life page on Facebook.
Lisa on Instagram

25 minute ghee making with Lisa Snowden, Ayurvedic yoga Specialist

25 minute ghee making with Lisa Snowden, Ayurvedic yoga Specialist

Recreational yoga reading does a mind good

Recreational reading is an indulgence in itself so offering time for the body to rest, and mind to expedition in the teaching of B.K.S. Iyengar is quite the luxury. Within the first fifty page, I connect to his words pertaining to the “real” goal of a yoga instructor is to teach the students expansion, and then extension.  It feels in asana we spend years “extending” and after time and time of practice the space to really expand occurs and we begin to experience the freedom.  Space creates freedom.

Despite the yoga upbringing in my early adult years favored Ashtanga, my desire for a teaching training program led me to Marianne Wells, an Iyengar teacher from Minnesota offering teacher training immersions in Costa Rica. There, in her training, I began to find the  deeper, and much more vast than I had imagined history and distinct lineages of yoga available to us.

Years later, textbooks on Ayurveda and trainings have surrounded me for some time, and I’ve put off learning Spanish (with commitment!) and painting that hallway in my home just isn’t going to happen this summer. Despite numerous other projects sit by the wayside, including my garden this year, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed absorbing more content than I’ve previously interpreted from a master of asana and yoga teachings, B.K.S. Iyengar in his book, “Light on Life”.  Pick it up on paperback or digital. He is an example of great ability to take ancient science of yoga and establish comprehension for the modern yogi.

An indulgent read from a wise master of yoga

An indulgent read from a wise master of yoga

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ayurveda and the importance of spring cleanse for body and mind

According to Ayurveda, spring is the season for growth. Mother Natures wakes up from her slumber and SPROUTS!  Energy moves upward and spring is considered the “king of seasons”!

In many parts of the country, spring means snow melting.  We make this transition from cold, icy winter ice and snow to hot summer through the sticky, wet transition of snow melting.  Similarly, accumulated kapha dosha can show as liquefaction in the body, causing allergies, spring colds and runny noses.

Spring cleanse is a method for cleansing and purifying the body of excess doshas and accumulated toxins.  A gentle cleanse is nourishing and has a dramatic effect even if introducing techniques of Ayurveda into a person’s life. Subtle cleanse consists of mind-body care techniques and optional 3-5 days of kitchari mono-diet.  The Ayurvedic goal for spring cleanse is simply to create easy digest for body, and mind.

Offering the body rest and rejuvenation during this seasonal change prepares our physical and mental self for positive growth in spring.  Learn about living your life in balance by becoming familiar with Ayurvedic techniques suitable for you and helping you achieve your full potential.

 

The Yoga Bar Spring Workshops for Ayurveda 101 and Spring Balancing Session

Cincinnati and NKy have two opportunities this spring to learn about Ayurveda and take part in an Ayurvedic Spring Balancing Session.  What is a Spring Balance Session?  Ayurvedists take time during seasonal changes and examine characteristics of the season’s change and compliment their diet and lifestyle. Ayurveda says to work hand in hand with these external shifts in nature and promote internal cleansing as we shift into growth of spring.

Beautiful flyers for you to read more!
March 16 @ CLEAR Wellness, 2542 woodburn ave 45206 Ayurveda 101 from 12-1:30 and 2:00-5:00PM is Spring Cleansing Session
March 17 @ The Yoga Bar, 825 Main St 45202 Ayurveda 101 from 1-2:30 and 3:00-6:00PM is Spring Cleansing Session.

Yoga Bar Spring Cleanse March 17

Homemade chai tea latte for a warm winter treat

This week in Kentucky the winter weather has swept in appropriately with the winter solstice on Dec 21, 2012.  Now, officially it is winter.  The nights are long, days are short and we are lucky if typical grey skies will instead let the sun shine through for even mere minutes of the day. Dry, crisp air outside and in…Especially in this old home where I type now.  The secret to my productive work day is the space heater near my legs.  The warmest part of the house is now against my legs, under the desk.  There ya go! That’s my productive winter work day-

A favorite luscious treat of mine for the winter days is homemade chai lattes, and really it’s an innocent pleasure.  This warm drink has favorite flavors of pungent heat with savory sweetness AND caffeine!  Keep it your style by choosing the style of milk from whole to skim to coconut or other milk alternative.  The best chai comes from Happy Cows raised and milked humanely.  Same goes for the coconut, hemp or whatever milk you enjoy 😉

Today’s chai recipe comes from Himalayan Institute. Two weeks ago I traveled to the Honesdale, Pennsylvania campus to complete my Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist training with Kathryn Templeton.  I think HI’s chai is now my favorite because of the ginger with vanilla. Check it out.  All your friends will force you to make this for parties and brunch get together occasions.  P.S. I totally recommend making the jump over to Himalayan Institute in Honesdale to experience the yoga and meditation programming regularly conducted at the ashram. Thanks to HI for sharing this masterpiece.

HI Style Chai Tea Latte!

2 steps, First make a 8-12 ounces of black tea and add ginger root.  Let steep.

Second, after starting the black tea, take a saucepan to pour about 3 cups of milk into over medium heat on the stove. Add sugar or jaggery* with whole cardamom, whole cloves and either 2 vanilla beans or a “spec” of quality vanilla extract.

Then, turn up the heat and stir into a soft boil.  Then remove from heat and add the black tea, removing the ginger root.  You can strain all of this through mesh, or cheesecloth.

Traditionally, chai teas are sweet so continue to sweeten to your own taste with the jaggery, or raw honey.  Only add raw honey once the milk or tea is no longer cooking.

This is delicious!  It’s great with no black tea, as well, for a decaffeinated warm, drink.

In the next post over the Christmas holiday I’ll offer recipe and instructions for nighttime rasayana, or “yummy sleep inducer” as I like to call it at home.  It will be milk, ghee and spicy sweet fest you’ll look forward to!!

*Jaggery “Gur” or whole brown sugar is a pure, wholesome, traditional, unrefined, raw & whole form of sugar made with from fresh sugar cane juice with whole molasses intact and has a much better Glycemic Index.

Your comment are welcome on our Facebook page-https://www.facebook.com/AyurvedaYogaLife

Milk from happy cow

Milk from happy cow!

Cardamom for chai!

Cardamom for chai!

Clove

Clove

 

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla Extract