The transition of the year end is ideal for reflection, inward awareness and setting intentions. But few of us (including myself at times) have made this the sacred period of ending and beginning it can be. This year is different for me. As you read this, I’m at the Vaidyagrama Ayurveda Healing Village in Coimbatore, India, where I’ll spend four weeks engaged in personal panchakarma and self-reflection.
By Lisa Akesson
It can be tricky to find time to eat well when on a full schedule. I used to sacrifice real food and just have snacks. But really, everything goes so much smoother and easier when we're well fed at regular times. Freshly prepared food gives us more prana, or life energy, and supports us to make better decisions. We simply function on a higher level.
When you prepare your food yourself (or when a dear one does it for you) you know that it's been made with love and care. This is crucial for the quality of the meal. Try adding that bit of extra sweetness and good intentions next time you cook and see how you feel!
The beautiful thing about Ayurveda is how it can so easily be integrated into every aspect of your life, even the holidays. If you have a tradition of sharing cookies with your loved ones, here are three Ayurvedic cookie recipes that will make them feel even more loved. Each one is simple to make, lovely to eat and sweetened without even a dash of refined sugar.
There’s another benefit to these Ayurvedic cookies – they are based on foods that build ojas. Considering the role strong ojas plays in supporting health and immunity, these cookies couldn’t come at a better time as many of us are traveling during the holidays.
No garlic, no onion, no nightshades please: How I enjoy an Ayurvedic meal at (almost) any restaurant
By Stephanie Stillman
I love cooking. But sometimes I’m invited to dinner at a restaurant or simply want to enjoy a meal outside of my home. When I first came to Ayurveda I felt it was impossible to eat well off a menu, but now I’ve got tricks that help me to enjoy an Ayurvedic meal at almost any restaurant.
People often say that a meditation practice is difficult to begin. But that’s because we haven’t been trained to think of ourselves as the spiritual beings we truly are. Sitting down to meditate for the first time can be uncomfortable for the mind – even painful. But the more we cultivate our spiritual nature, the more our spiritual nature will take a leading role in our lives.
The quest to explore our spiritual connection doesn’t have to happen through meditation alone. Mantra is another tool to bring you closer to the divine. When done with intention, mantra can deepen your meditation practice and your connection to the god of your heart, no matter your starting point.
Poems by Judith Michaels Safford
Most of my writing from the heart comes from a meditation experience. The first writing I want to share with you is from watching the Sycamore leaves. They are the last to fall here in New Mexico and often hang on until December.
The power of the trinity is recognized in cultures around the world. The number 3 represents a perfect balance, and has been used in mantra and divine representations in the Yoga tradition for centuries.
Your body can mirror this divine representation in trikonasana, triangle pose. Aligning the natural triangles in the sacrum, sternum and skull as you create triangles with your legs and body, and building from the three anchor points of your feet and front hand, this pose offers a beautiful flow of prana through your whole being.
By Lisa Akesson
For many of us, the holidays are an excuse to eat whatever we want and how much we want. Rituals, traditions, family agreements all suggest that this is freedom. I was once of that understanding, too. When I moved away from home and was in charge of my life, it felt like freedom to eat what ever I felt like (even foods that didn’t do me good).
I’ve come to realize it is actually not true freedom. Myra Lewin once said something that stayed with me. She said, “This kind of thinking comes from a misunderstanding that what is outside of us brings us happiness and joy.”
With more than 5,000 years of history, Yoga is having a resurgence in modern times. In fact, in nearly every city and town, we are fortunate to find a range of Yoga studios. As more people roll out their mats and practice finding physical flexibility in a class, we have the opportunity to rediscover the many other aspects of this beautiful science that can help us find mental and spiritual flexibility.
By Judith Michales Safford
When I was a child, I often visited a neighborhood playground. There were swings, monkey bars, teeter-totters and a merry-go-round. Holidays and digestion remind me of the teeter-totter and the merry-go-round. Up, down, round and round go emotions and expectations.
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