One of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras reads, “Consciousness settles as one radiates friendliness, compassion, delight and equanimity toward all things, whether pleasant or painful, good or bad.” This could be interpreted as directing our attention outwards to loving interactions with friends, family, coworkers, and equanimity towards the opportunities that arise and pass in our lives, or we could shift our focus inward for a moment – to our relationship with Self.
In this season of love, it is sometimes easy to forget to pay attention to ourselves before we can offer love to others. In your yoga practice, this could translate to giving yourself credit and trying a more advanced variation of a pose you’ve long thought you couldn’t do. It could also mean giving yourself a rest and laying down in child’s pose or savasana partway through class. Tune in to what your body is asking for and shower yourself with love this season as you consciously intend your experiences and invite in what serves you.
Like the holiday season that just passed, tempting treats are everywhere we look in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. Take heed and recognize whether grabbing a handful of cinnamon kisses is really what your body needs, or if it comes from a habit to alleviate boredom or bring about distraction. If it really is what you want, perhaps try this spiced hot chocolate! Made with whole, good quality ingredients, it’s a treat that will definitely satiate you. A little goes a long way and if this is what your body is craving, you could go ahead and make it for a special someone too!
This recipe, published in the Globe and Mail in December 2010, is the perfect balance of sweet and spicy:
Spiced Hot Chocolate
2 cups whole milk (soy works too!)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 star anise
6 whole cloves
2 tablespoons pink peppercorns (or 1/4 tsp cayenne, depending on your taste)
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1 cinnamon stick
zest of a lemon
zest of 1/2 orange
3 ounces good bittersweet chocolate
In a small pot heat the milk, water, and honey until steaming. Turn heat off and add the spices. Allow to steep for 1 hour then strain the mixture.
Bring the infused milk to a low simmer and add the chocolate. Whisk until melted. Use only 2 ounces if you’d prefer a lighter flavour. Top with a bit of real whipped cream and a tiny dash of ground pink peppercorn or cayenne.
Note: if using dried spices, decrease quantities to about 1/4 what is called for.