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Try a new ingredient — Thai Salad Rolls

2 Jun

Here’s the original article in the Bodhi Tree’s June 2011 Newsletter.

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T.K.V. Desikachar wrote in The Heart of Yoga that “the proper practice of asanas requires our mind to be fully focused; this is automatically achieved by arousing interest and attentiveness through new experiences.”

Taking Desikachar’s words into consideration, do something to spice up your everyday routine: go to a movie alone; sign-up for a Meet-Up group dedicated to a subject you’re interested in; or volunteer with a charity you’ve been meaning to get involved with. In your yoga practice, try a class you haven’t been to before, do a practice at home, or go for a pose you’ve shied away from in the past. You may be surprised at what interest gets stirred up inside of you.

This month seek out recipes that use ingredients you’ve never tried before. Start small by substituting the flour in your favourite muffins with amaranth or spelt flour, or try this month’s recipe, Thai Salad Rolls, which has one or two ingredients that are out-of-the-ordinary. Don’t worry if they aren’t perfect in the beginning; rice paper is finicky to work with. You can add peppers, avocado or other vegetables as well. No matter the results, they’ll taste delicious and you’ll learn something new. Continue reading

Curried Carrot and Ginger Soup

24 May

Here’s the original article from Bodhi Tree’s May 2011 newsletter.

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Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations, are often the first series of poses that many new yogis learn; a sequence of postures designed to warm-up the large muscle groups and invigorate the body. Doing a few salutations to the sun is a great way to self-practice while bringing focus and clarity to the mind. For  students who are building a self-practice at home, or for beginner teachers, the basic formula of these salutations is easy to build onto, allowing you to incorporate different poses on a whim, or according to a plan. That said, it can be easy to fall into a Sun Salutation rut, repeating similar poses due to their ease, but not necessarily challenging your body and expanding your mind. Continue reading

Baked Oatmeal

27 Apr

Here’s the original article from Bodhi Tree’s April 2011 newsletter.

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One cannot think well,
love well, sleep well,
if one has not dined well.
~Virginia Woolf.

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” You may have found that if you come to yoga on an empty stomach, you get dizzy and have very little energy, especially first thing in the morning. Your body is a complex machine that needs fuel to function properly. Nourishing the body with good food at regular intervals maintains your blood sugar levels, allowing you to think clearly and use your energy efficiently to remain active throughout the day. Continue reading

Root Vegetable Slaw

26 Apr

Here’s the original article from the Bodhi Tree’s March 2011 newsletter.

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Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving — it doesn’t matter,
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow a hundred times,
Come, come again, come.
~ Rumi

This yo-yo Calgary Winter can have an effect on our moods, often sending us soaring when warm winds spill over the mountains and the sun basks us in his rays, only to draw us down when the brisk air whips across the city, covering us once again in layers of snow. Many of us are ready for some consistent sunshine and the smell of Spring. Continue reading

Spicy Hot Chocolate

25 Apr

Here’s the original article from Bodhi Tree’s February 2011 newsletter.

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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. Continue reading

Cravings – Kale Chips and Chocolate Coconut Balls

20 Apr

Here’s the original article for the Bodhi Tree’s January 2011 newsletter.

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Each time we step onto our mats we resolve to be steadfast in the present moment. By doing this we bring attention to our breath, to the quality and content of our mind, and to whatever sensation our physical body is experiencing.

New Year’s resolutions can feel counterintuitive to developing compassion for Self and discovering joy in the moment. Determination to start exercising, eat healthy, be positive, be more loving, can lead to a desire to dive right into the deep end, skipping all the baby steps, while expecting immediate mastery. I’ve discovered that when I put too much pressure on myself after setting an intention, I judge myself harshly for falling short and each step forward is met with three steps back!

I can recall numerous times in my yoga practice when the teacher reminds us to be mindful of what our bodies are asking for. I often receive gentle reminders that moving into a posture that doesn’t feel right – skipping all the preparatory work – will not only result in injury, but will deprive my body of the basic alignment and foundation needed to set me up for success.

The same goes for healthy eating. Cravings for those high-in-everything-that’s-bad-for-you things after cutting them out, can get overwhelming. Especially when it’s cold outside and all you want to do is eat comfort food. So start slow and build up a repertoire of foods that are good for you, satisfying and won’t be forgotten by mid-February. Continue reading

The Best Muffins

10 Apr

Here’s the original article from the Bodhi Tree Yoga Centre’s December 2010 Newsletter.

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The draw to pick up a muffin with your coffee on the way to work can be hard to resist. But what’s really in that muffin?

Baking at home allows you to choose your ingredients, avoid allergens and incorporate your ethical choices about food. I know it can seem overwhelming, time consuming and sometimes tedious, but I have a simple fix for you: a good base recipe!

Just like setting the foundation – hands and feet – in yoga allows you to build from the primary poses into more advanced variations, having a good base muffin recipe allows for a reliable quick cake that can handle varying flavours and textures. You can ensure you always have the ingredients you need on hand, so when the urge to bake arises, you’re ready to go.

To save time, make a double or triple batch every few weeks, then freeze them. Take a few out of the freezer whenever you want and pop into the toaster oven. You’ll pull out perfectly baked muffins every time!

Here’s my favourite base muffin recipe. I’ve included variations I like to do in brackets and flavour combinations at the end. This recipe can easily be made wheat-free, dairy free, or vegan. Continue reading