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!


Gratitude to the darkness teaching me about light

Writing just to write and sharing because I can.

A need to cleanse is here – I bet you have felt the need to relieve something heavy.
Sure, hopefully it’s a little warmer. Around here in Cincinnati it’s said, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.” Well, at least I say that. Last week was snow boots, scarf and gloves and this weekend is sandals, v-neck tops with short sleeves…and rain jackets. What was frozen last week is now wet, cold and heavy. We’re glimpsing into actual springtime. Ayurveda calls the spring characteristics kapha.

We are preparing for change, growth and evolution from the hibernated space of winter. The daffodils and tree buds clue us in on the outside. Early March marks garden time, for me this begins with leek seedlings in my office windowsill.

In my body, I feel the springtime. Or maybe I should say I feel the movement away from winter. In yoga talk this ‘movement away’ can be expressed with the term apana vayu, down and away and udana vayu, up and out. Vayu is movement.

My yoga practice has helped to bring growth. This has been challenging, rewarding and a bit painful in itself, and I don’t mean challenging postures. Yoga is simple and the practice brings awareness to the complications I create on my own accord. It’s brought the need to have heartfelt conversation with myself, where I am the passive listener lacking judgment.

I remember springtime healing my heart years ago, long before my first yoga class, or ever hearing the word ‘Ayurveda’. I had been stuck, with a stacking sense of gloom and inability to move. Grief had stricken my family and I felt isolated and lacking direction. But being outside in the warmth and simply witnessing Mother Nature’s natural sense to go from deadness to completely lush with bright green upward moving growth toward the sun. And it made me realize I too, could get out of my mental state and use my natural abilities to adapt, develop solid structure of which growth and movement upward could occur. I’d say that was the first time, the first spring that I employed the essence of Ayurveda I now teach to others.

Gratitude to the darkness teaching us about light.


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 for $39. View the event here.

low res 4 part image fall rejuv 2014 2 pic


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

Rice Cooker Kitchari

Oh kitchari….Love the taste but I’m ok updating the preparation method to provide a little more no-fail ingenuity to the kitchen routine.  I genuinely enjoy it’s tastes and feel nourished while restricting my diet to only kitchari during seasonal balance sessions. The best, simple, explanation for the mono diet aspect of an Ayurvedic balancing session, and what makes up the mono diet, is to consume food providing relaxation and rejuvenation for our digestion and senses.
Have your churna of choice ready- Maybe follow these guidelines:

Vata churna for fall and coldest parts of winter: coriander, cumin, fennel, turmeric, cumin, ginger, fenugreek, asefortida (hing).

Pitta churna, nice for summer: coriander, cumin, fennel, green cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger

Kapha churna, great for late winter and spring: coriander, cumin, fenugreek, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper or touch of cayenne.

OK so you really came here to learn how to make your Kitchari in a Rice Cooker!

My rice cooker/vegetable steamer is a Cuisinart 4 cup Ricer Cooker/Steamer. It’s a non-stick interior. This is important to know because I’ve only used this type of rice cooker and do not have experience with other models.

Rice Cooker Kitchari:
Yields two-three servings

3/4 cup WASHED basmati rice and SPLIT mung (moong) bean combination
*Generally, you will add double the amount of water as rice/bean mixture
1 3/4 cup water
1 T ghee
1 t churna, or spice mix of your needs of the dosha variety

vegetable of your seasonal choice. Today we have
1 carrot
2 small yams
2 stalks of kale

Always use no-scratch utensils in your cooker/steamer 🙂

Plug in rice cooker and add ghee. Turn the cooker onto “heat” and press the non-stick bowl into the heater (this usually makes it stay on rather than popping up to “warm” setting.  It has to feel weight, then it will stay on “cook” mode). As ghee melts, add the churna mixture and quickly the ghee will melt and spices will begin to cook. don’t overcook.  Turn device onto “warm” if needed to control the fast heat. Add the mung bean and basmati rice, wet from washing.  Mix the ghee and churna with the rice and beans, allow to brown very slightly then add the 1 3/4 water.  Stir. Cover and make sure the cooker is set to “cook”.
Just a reminder-Never allow your rice cooker to do its thing while underneath countertops as the steam is very hot and can damage woodwork, etc.

TIMER for 20 MINUTES. Use your steam basket which comes with most rice cookers today to add the root vegetables of carrots, potatoes (whatever you have!)  and replace the lid overtop the vegetables. After 5-10 minutes, add the kale or leafy greens you are in to.  by now you probably have about 3-6 minutes before the rice cooker/steamer automatically turns off, onto “warm” setting and now you have maintenance, no burn (!!) kitchari.  Delicious!  Add a touch of salt to taste.  If you reheat leftovers to make your balancing session easy, do it stovetop with a couple tablespoons of water added.


Ingredients and supplies


Fresh, organic ingredients and split mung dahl
Fresh, organic ingredients and split mung da

Let those spices cook, but don't burn :)
Let those spices cook, but don’t burn 🙂

Brown the rice and beans so slightly
Brown the rice and beans so slightly

Add water and let 'er cook!
Add water and let ‘er cook

After 15 minutes, add the root vegetables
After 15 minutes, add the root vegetables

Then add the leafy kale

Add the kale and it’s almost done!

Rice Cooker Kitchari in 25 minutes

Rice Cooker Kitchari in 25 minutes

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