Category Archives: detox

Ahimsa and Veganism

by Susan Craig

“The most violent weapon on earth is the table fork.” Mahatma Gandhi

I became a vegan nearly 30 years ago – long before I found Sri Dharma. My decision to stop eating animals was born out of a very hopeless period in my life when I was severely abused. During that darkest days of my life I made a pact with myself that, as small and inconsequential as my life seemed to be, knowing what it felt like to be abused and to be treated as if I had no value, I would do my best not to treat others as if they had no value. This decision included non-human animals; the least that I could do was to stop eating them. Little did I know that this decision, along with the beginnings of an asana practice, would take me on a most amazing journey which recently included finding Sri Dharma Mittra as my yoga teacher.

While the deep pain in my life did not suddenly dissipate as a result of becoming a vegan, I did experience some immediate benefits. My overall physical health improved quickly and dramatically (To this day, at nearly 60 years old, I am far healthier than I was in my teens  and twenties.). Along with that, issues around body image and eating that had been a source of personal torture since my teens disappeared and never returned. These were miracles!

With veganism as a non-negotiable core value, along with the beginnings of an asana practice, I began the slow and arduous climb out of the deep pit that I found myself in. While I have utilized many additional means of recovery support along the way, I believe that the deepest and most profoundly transformative decision that I have made has been to become a vegan. Sri Dharma’s core teachings around Ahimsa certainly support this.

It is a rare individual who has not eaten animal flesh, dairy, and eggs. We have been born into cultures that treat food animals as commodities meant to be eaten. From birth we have been indoctrinated into a culture that tells us that we must consume animals, that it is normal and necessary for health. Upon questioning this indoctrination, however, we find that it is based upon false information. The human body is designed to thrive on a vegan diet. Additionally, on a deeper, spiritual level, the simple act of changing what we put on our plates at each meal – the decision not to participate in the abuse and slaughter of food animals, is liberating  beyond words. The benefits extend far beyond one’s health and spiritual development. As the effects of climate change become become increasingly evident, numerous sources of scientific research indicate that animal agriculture is the leading cause of global warming. (Perhaps the law of Karma is at work here…as we reap, so shall we sew.) What a blessing that, by choosing a plant-based diet, we are improving our own health, we are ceasing to participate in wide-spread violence towards sentient beings, and we are drastically reducing our contribution to the environmental stress on the planet!

In June 2015, I participated in the deeply transformative 200 hour LOAY training with Sri Dharma Mittra. Prior to making the decision to go through the LOAY training, as I searched for my yoga teacher, I started with one screening requirement: I needed a teacher who practiced and taught veganism as a core requirement of being a yogi. This one requirement narrowed the field of potential teachers down to few enough that I could count them on the fingers of one hand. Out of these few, I found myself drawn to Sri Dharma – his wisdom, dedication to his practice and to selfless service, his humility and egoless presence, and his fidelity to practicing and teaching the Yama of Ahimsa or non-violence. Ahimsa literally means A=not, himsa= killing or violence. In the LOAY Teachers’ Manual (2015, p. 4) Sri Dharma says, “Ahimsa means love; ‘thou shalt not kill!’ This applies not only to human beings, but to every living creature.”

Sri Dharma is one of the only yoga teachers of whom I am aware who does not shy away from teaching the yama of Ahimsa to his students truthfully. He regularly states while teaching that one must extend one’s compassion beyond one’s pets and that when one eats animals one is engaging in cruelty. He talks about how when one consumes animal products, one’s body becomes a morgue. In Sri Dharma’s words, “Without taking on the yama of ahimsa, there is little benefit to observing the other four yamas or any other aspect of the holy science of yoga.” (LOAY Teachers’ Manual, p. 5) I know, from the center of my soul, that this information is true and correct. The decision to become a vegan as a core component of one’s practice of Ahimsa will deepen and strengthen one’s  yoga practice. It will simultaneously improve the quality of one’s life immeasurably while benefiting other beings and the health of the planet. I highly recommend it!

Note: For additional information on the benefits of veganism that this blog has room for, I recommend reading The World Peace Diet by Dr. Will Tuttle and viewing the documentary, Cowspiracy.

Susan Craig is a Berkeley, California native who participated in the transformational June 2015 LOAY 200 hour training. Susan strives to practice Karma Yoga each day in her job as a school district administrator where she oversees support services for marginalized youth, as an advocate for animals through vegan activism, and as a teacher of a weekly donation-based yoga class. She resides in Napa in the home of the four cats and a rabbit who rescued her. Susan is most grateful to have found Dharma Yoga and to have Dharma Mittra as her yoga teacher and spiritual guide.

Crispy Kale with Vegetables Recipe

By Gabriella DiGiovani

Before transitioning into eating vegan, we often wonder how we will maintain a varied and interesting diet in light of cutting out certain foods. While it may seem that a vegan diet is restrictive on the surface, we soon discover that this way of eating allows for a great deal of creativity in the kitchen. The more we pay attention to what we put into our bodies by eating vegan, the more we seek to nourish ourselves in a healthy, pure, and non-harmful way. Over time, we learn that there are endless foods and recipes that sustain a fun, interesting, and healthy diet which further enhances our lives.

I love playing with different recipes, and find that with some adjustments, it is easy to make anything vegan friendly. I have been a big fan of kale chips over the years, and often make them as a snack or side dish. I came across a dish that uses crispy kale chips to give the rest of the recipe a delicious crunch. This is one of my favorite dishes, which is sure to please vegan and non-vegan eaters alike.

Ingredients:
4 cups of curly kale
1/2 cups carrots sliced thinly
1/2 cup zucchini sliced thinly
1 serving brown rice
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

Peanut sauce:
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp organic sugar
1 cup hot water

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare brown rice on stove top. Mix together olive oil, kale, and sprinkle sea salt to your liking in a bowl. Spread kale on baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges turn brown. To make the peanut sauce, mix together the peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice and sugar. At the end, add 2 tablespoons of hot water and mix, continuing until you reach a desired consistency. Put coconut oil in a pan over medium heat, then add carrots and zucchini, saute to your liking, and add the peanut sauce at the end. On a plate, place the sauteed vegetables on top of brown rice, and top with the crispy kale. Yum!

 

GabriellaGabriella began practicing Yoga four years ago in search of spiritual guidance. When she discovered  Sri  Dharma Mittra and embarked on the Life of a Yogi teacher training, her life was catapulted into a new upward direction. Through Dharma Yoga, Gabriella has found a stability and peace through constant practice. She seeks to grow as both a teacher and student of Yoga. Gabriella also works on a farm and apple orchard, and is a supporter of sustainable agriculture and small farms.

Removing Desires and Rising to Raja Yoga

By Jerome Burdi

Of all the yamas, brahmacharya is the greatest struggle for me. It is, however, possibly the most important to really taste true freedom –freedom from desires. Even the gods admire the one who is free from desires.

Swami Sivananda mentions the importance of brahmacharya time and again in his book, Raja Yoga, detailing the Yoga Sutras. I read the book in preparation for the 800-hour Dharma Yoga Life of a Yogi Training in August.

The other yamas — non-violence, not stealing, non-greed, and truthfulness –are much easier practices for me and many other yogis. Curbing desires is the toughest and if it’s not done successfully, all the other yamas can be tainted.

Only when desires are quieted can one progress along the spiritual path.

This is also the essence of Lord Buddha’s teachings: Desire and ignorance are the root of all suffering.

I enjoy Sivananda’s technique of destroying the evil vrittis, or thought patterns. It’s a sort of meditation, an awareness that one must maintain to have success on the path of yoga.

When an evil thought arises, think of its opposite and all the benefits of the good vrittis. When the thought of lust arises, think of brahmacharya; when anger rises, think of love; when pride shows its ugly head, chop it down with humility.

Desires will keep you in a rajasic, overactive state of mind, always unsettled. One must work properly, from a calm, sattvic state of mind.

“When sattva increases, the mind becomes steady like the flame of a lamp in a windless place,” Sivananda wrote. “He who is sattvic can do real concentration and meditation, and can enter into samadhi easily.”

The difficulty is how to find that sattvic mind and finally concentrate.

“Have perfect trust in God and be steady in your sadhana,” is the advice Sivananda gives. “Faith sustains the yogi like a kind, affectionate mother.”

Faith is a crucial component as one moves along the path. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting nowhere in my practice, but then come those moments of holding a difficult asana or having a steady stream of concentration. And that’s it! There’s the bliss! It may not last long, but it’s enough to get me through to the next episode. There’s falling along the way, but the faith gets us back up again and back on the path. We can’t beat ourselves up over the past. We get up and keep moving forward.

“Everything is present for the yogi,” Sivananda wrote. “Everything is here. Everything is now only.”

When the mind is filled with passions and desires, you cannot sit still to do your sadhana. The mind is always moving. The asana comes easily for many, but we must remember this is only a preparation so we can sit and work on the higher limbs of yoga that lead to the goal, samadhi, complete union with all of creation.

When I read about the states of mind a yogi can reach, I am reminded of how much work I have to do to reach the goal. The distractions are always coming like hurricane rains, like waves in the sea, or wind atop a mountain. But with practice, the yogi finds stillness. That’s why we do our practice, why we have our faith, why we stay on the path despite the digressions.

Stillness.

In those blissful moments we are mountains. Desire cannot touch us. We are truly free.

 

 

Jerome Burdi is a Brooklyn native who discovered yoga during a shamanic retreat in Brazil in 2010. Since then, he’s been enveloped by the path of the yogi. He left his job as a newspaper journalist to go to Rishikesh, India, and become a yoga teacher. Upon returning to NYC, he discovered Dharma Yoga and has been hooked. Though Jerome grew up in NY, he had to go to India to come back and see Sri Dharma with clear eyes and to hear the truth that is Dharma Yoga. Jerome is also a Middle Eastern style percussionist and holistic nutritionist

Jerome Burdi is a Brooklyn native who discovered yoga during a shamanic retreat in Brazil in 2010. Since then, he’s been enveloped by the path of the yogi. He left his job as a newspaper journalist to go to Rishikesh, India, and become a yoga teacher. Upon returning to NYC, he discovered Dharma Yoga and has been hooked. Though Jerome grew up in NY, he had to go to India to come back and see Sri Dharma with clear eyes and to hear the truth that is Dharma Yoga. Jerome is also a Middle Eastern style percussionist and holistic nutritionist.

Raw Vegan Spaghetti with Carbonara

By Ivy Mok

As Sri Dharma Mittra said, “The secret is really to eat the right food and to realize the knowledge.”

From constant practice of yoga, I can tell eating a diet that is vegan and almost completely raw, is the best diet for my body. This is something I experienced after the 500-hour Life of a Yogi teacher training last year. My asana practice progressed faster than ever (I was more flexible, light) and my mind was calm. My skin has been very clear and I have become more compassionate to others. This was one of the quickest ways to transform myself, my practice, and my mind.

Just experiment by giving yourself one to two days a week of eating raw vegan meals and you can tell the changes from the inside out. Withdrawal syndrome could be unpleasant if you have been indulging in a processed food, high sugar diet, and other stimulants. Listen to your body and use your intuition to gradually leave the old diet habit and eat in a purified and compassionate way.

Ingredients:

½ Zucchini (around 3 inches long), spiralized
Handful of rocket leaves aka arugula
2 medium crimini mushrooms
¼ avocado, sliced

Sauce:

A handful of cashews (10-15), soaked for 4-6 hours
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ tbsp coconut nectar
1-2 basil leaves
¾ avocado
Suitable amount of water (I used ~100ml)

Put all the above ingredients into high speed blender and blend. Add in water until they are well blended. Water amount depends on how you like the consistency.

Mix the sauce into the spiralized zucchini evenly. Add arugula, crimini mushroom, and ¼ avocado sliced nicely with the zucchini “pasta” on the plate, add in a dollop of sauce on top for mixing with the salad, sprinkle with diced raw pecan and half a teaspoon of za’atar on top.

 

 

IvyMokBlog 3A physiotherapist based in Hong Kong, Ivy learned yoga as a remedy for lost souls in a hectic city. She is blessed to quickly find her lineage in yoga despite living on another side of the world from her beloved guru, Sri Dharma Mittra. Constantly a student on all sorts of therapeutic modalities (visceral manipulation, craniosacral therapy), she finds the ultimate medicine for all sorts of ailments is “self-realization.” Ivy is always ready to spread whatever she learned to her students and patients.

 

 

 

10 SuperStar Superfoods as featured in LA Yoga Magazine

By Rainbeau Mars

Want to feel younger, healthier and bring your gifts to the world?  The answer is: begin within. Aside from bulking up with herbal and protein supplements, salads, fresh juice and smoothies, we can “Let thy medicine be thy food” by utilizing superfoods to get more nutrient bang for our caloric buck. Though there is an abundant variety around the world, some superfoods can be easily grown in our own backyards. Notice the SuperStar effects on your health when you stock up with these powerhouse favorites in my family’s kitchen.

1.     Cacao – raw chocolate
2.     Chia
3.     Avocados
4.     Kale (and the other dark leafy greens)
5.     Seaweed
6.     Sea Salt
7.     Raw Organic Honey
8.     Lemons
9.     Olive Oil
10.  Garlic

1. Cacao – raw chocolate

Edible, beautifying bliss, cacao is the bean that chocolate is made from. In its raw state, it contains more antioxidant flavonoids than red wine, green tea, or blueberries, making cacao a delicious way to support the immune system, brain and a healthy heart. Have fun incorporating this superfood into your smoothies, desserts, and other compatible recipes.

LIVE CHOCOLATE PUDDING

INGREDIENTS

fresh meat of 1 Thai coconut
1 avocado
3 to 4 dates (soaked and pits removed)
2 to 3 tablespoons cacao powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
pinch of Celtic sea salt
1 teaspoon chia seeds

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients and blend until creamy smooth.

2. Chiachia

Chia seeds are an ancient miracle food that was a staple for the Aztecs. A small serving goes a long way, and the plant grows very quickly (just think of those ch-ch-chia pets) making it a sustainable resource. Chia is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, extraordinarily high in antioxidants, and it is a demulcent (referring to the way it gels up) which helps to strengthen body tissue, reduce inflammation, and aid in healing. One of my favorite ways to eat them is by soaking chia seeds with cinnamon, a little nutmeg, vanilla, fresh almond milk, and a touch of salt and raw honey for breakfast or as a delicious afternoon dessert snack. My daughter likes this too and has her own, simpler version. Often times, both she and my husband, Michael, grab a Mama Chia and go.

CHIA PUDDING

INGREDIENTS

3 cups chia seeds
6 cups pure water
3 to 4 tablespoons maple syrup
cinnamon to taste (optional)
clove to taste (optional)
nutmeg to taste (optional)
½ chopped apple
½ cup chopped strawberries
½ cup blueberries

DIRECTIONS

1.     Put the chia seeds in a bowl and soak. It takes about 10 minutes for the chia to absorb all the water, but leaving the water and chia to soak overnight is okay. Soaked chia alone is good for up to 2 weeks

2.     When the chia is gelatinous, add the chopped fruit and any desired flavorings (sweetener, spices, fruit, etc.). Mix well and serve!

Note: In general, soak chia seeds in 9 to 12 times their volume of water. You can also make chia as a savory, salty, or spicy type of porridge. But the best taste is sweet. You can also try it with cinnamon extract, chai spices, or cacao nibs.

3. Avocadosavocado

Avocados are a great source of digestible protein and balanced fats. Eating avocados can actually help to shed unwanted weight because they feed your body with the healthy fats it craves for optimal metabolism and brain function. Avocados nourish the skin by helping to maintain and rebuild collagen, and are also great for satisfying PMS-related cravings. Eating avocados targets the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female—it even looks just like these organs. Research shows that eating one avocado a week can balance hormones, shed unwanted weight, and prevent cervical cancers. How profound is this fact: It takes exactly nine months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit.

MEXICALI SOUP

INGREDIENTS

2 to 3 celery stalks
1 to 2 avocados
1 ripe tomato
corn from one cob
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 dash of cayenne, chili powder and/or paprika
Celtic sea salt to taste
handful of chopped cilantro leaves (optional)
2 cups of pure water, slightly warmed

DIRECTIONS

1.     Place all these ingredients in the food processor and pulse until blended but still with texture and chunks.

2.     Spice to your liking and enjoy!

4. Kale (and other dark leafy greens)

Kale is a mainstay for my family, and it’s always a hit with my daughter and her friends! This alkaline and slightly bitter green leafy vegetable is nutrient dense and a versatile food in the kitchen, lending itself well to salads, soups, smoothies, green juice, stir-fries, or steamed vegetable entries. Kale is 45 percent protein based on the total calorie content, and contains folate, which supports healthy cell growth and nourishes hair, skin, and nails.

When using greens like kale, you will want to break down the plant fibers by massaging the greens with lemon, olive oil, and salt to make them more digestible. Kale is listed as one of “the dirty dozen,” according to reports published by the Environmental Working Group, meaning that it is more likely to be sprayed with chemicals and pesticides by growers and should always be bought organic.

EASY KALE SALAD

INGREDIENTS

1 avocado
1 bunch kale
½ lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch Celtic sea salt

DIRECTIONS

1.     Chop the avocado and kale into bite-sized pieces and place in mixing bowl.

2.     Drizzle with lemon juice, olive oil, and sea salt, then massage until thoroughly marinated. Bon appétit!

Option: Add tomatoes and your favorite herbs. Toss in some hemp seeds for added protein.

KALE CHIPS

INGREDIENTS

2 cups kale, de-stemmed
¼ cup raw cashews
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

DIRECTIONS

1.     In a food processor, mix all ingredients except the kale.

2.     Rub the mix into kale and lay out to dehydrate in the dehydrator at 105° F.

5. Seaweed

Seaweeds, such as kelp, nori, arame, irish moss, or dulse are a nutrient-packed addition to soups and salads.  Naturally enriched with all 98 essential minerals from the sea, including silica and magnesium, seaweed nourishes the kidneys, hair, skin and nails, and like avocados and olives, is a healthy source of the fatty acids that maintain and rebuild collagen. Seaweed is also 5 to 30 percent protein based on the total calorie content (depending on type). So next time you’re craving salt, instead of reaching for a bag of potato chips, eat more high-mineral foods such as seaweeds.

I’d like to mention that there has been some controversy lately about consuming seaweeds and other foods from the ocean due to such modern ecological disasters as Fukushima and the Gulf Oil Spill. While these concerns have their merits, it’s also valid that seaweeds are revered for their ability to assist the thyroid in detoxing from radiation and other poisons, due to its high levels of iodine. However, as a precaution you may prefer to purchase seaweed from more protected sources, such as products from Maine.

MAGICAL MERMAID SOUP

INGREDIENTS

3 cups coconut water or pure water
2 tablespoons coconut oil
¼ cup dulse or kelp seaweed
¼ cup nori, shredded
¼ daikon, shredded
pinch of Celtic sea salt (optional)
1 teaspoon miso (recommended brand:
Shaman Shack Herbs Sea Clear, with fermented kelp and chlorella)

DIRECTIONS

1.     In blender, combine coconut water, coconut oil, miso, and dulse or kelp. Blend until smooth.

2.     Stir in shredded nori and daikon and a pinch of salt and serve.

6. Sea Salt

When cooking, and especially sautéing, I always use dried herbs with a pinch of Celtic sea salt or Himalayan pink salt to season the food. It is a pure source of the 98 essential minerals that is easily assimilated into fuel for your body in the form of electrolytes. For hydration, put a pinch of Celtic sea salt into your water, perhaps even with some lemon juice and raw organic honey as a nourishing replacement for artificially colored and sweetened sports drinks. Something to consider is that when a patient is first admitted to a hospital, they are almost always first given an IV, which is essentially salt water. If used as a first response in the case of illness or injury, why not utilize sea salt as a daily dose of preventative medicine.

RAW POPCORNpopcorn-300x210

This easy recipe is proof that living foods are fun! The popcorn does not have to be dehydrated to be enjoyed and often is eaten before the job is done anyway.

INGREDIENTS

1 head cauliflower
½ cup nutritional yeast
¼ cup olive oil
pinch of Celtic sea salt

DIRECTIONS

1.     Chop the cauliflower florets into small popcorn-sized bits and put them in a bowl.

2.     Add the nutritional yeast, salt, and oil to the bowl and cover the cauliflower completely with the mixture.

3.     Option: You can dehydrate the cauliflower for up to 4 hours or longer for a more distinct popcorn texture and taste.

7. Raw Organic Honey

Raw organic honey has a myriad of health benefits. In addition to being a mineral rich substitute for sugar and sweeteners that are highly processed and weakens the immune system, honey in its raw state is also anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal and can either be consumed or used topically. A potent source of antioxidants and enzymes, raw honey actually boosts immunity and helps to stabilize blood sugar levels when used in moderation. It also contains trace amounts of protein, vitamin c, calcium and iron, and fuels us with simple sugars and starches the body can recognize.

The best part of getting your honey organic and raw, is that in addition to preserving all the nutritious goodness, you are also supporting farmers who harvest their honey in the most humane practices possible and actually support the bee population and well-being, as opposed to some conventional farmers whose disregard as led us to our present plight of the disappearing bees.

BANANA SANDWICH

INGREDIENTS

2 slices of gluten-free or sprouted grain bread, or flax cracker
½ banana (sliced)
1-2 tbsp nut butter of your choice, almond, peanut, cashew, or tahini
1-2 tbsp raw organic honey
1-2 tbsp coconut oil (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1.     Toast your bread slices and spread on coconut oil, nut butter, and honey

2.     Thinly slice the banana in rounds and evenly spread between slices.

21DSClemon8. Lemons

Lemons are a useful way to “cook” raw/living foods without adding heat. When you marinate foods in lemon juice, they begin to oxidize and break down, making them easier to assimilate and digest. Foods may be acidic in composition, like lemons, but it is the food’s effect on the body when it is metabolized that determines whether it is labeled acid or alkaline. In the case of lemons and other citrus fruits, these foods are actually quite alkalizing, although when they are pasteurized they have an acidic effect. Fresh lemons being a sour food also lend much needed contrast to the habitual sweet and salty tastes, and when used in juice and smoothies can have a wonderful detox effect. Add lemons to your morning regimen in the form of a Lemon Liver Tonic, by adding lemon juice to pure water, optionally with raw honey and cayenne. A happy liver is one of the great pathways to beauty, so make lemons your best friends and have them stocked, but make sure to brush your teeth after consuming them because lemons are strong.

LEMONADE

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons raw honey
4 cups pure water
6 lemons, limes, orange, or grapefruit

DIRECTIONS

1.     Blend all together in a blender.

2.     Garnish with mint sprigs. (Serves 2)

9. Olive Oil

If you’re feeling hungry as you transition to a healthier nutrition regimen, be sure to eat as many fruits and veggies as you want and get as much liquid fat as possible. Organic extra virgin olive oil is nutritious, hosting beneficial fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins E and K. Being anti-inflammatory, olive oil is also shown to help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and preventing unwanted blood clotting.

Olive oil is one of the most volatile oils and is best stored in a dark glass bottle away from heat, and should never be used as a cooking oil. Instead, olive oil can be used in fresh, raw meals or added to a dish as a final step in its preparation.

OLIVE PESTO

Serve over vegetable pasta or on dehydrated crackers.

INGREDIENTS

½ cup pitted, sun-cured black olives
¼ cup basil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon chili powder

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a blender or a food processor and puree. Makes 2 servings.

10. Garlic

Affectionately called “the stinking rose,” garlic is an amazing nutritional powerhouse that is rich in antioxidants and sulfur-compounds which support the immune system. Garlic could be your first line of defense during cold-weather flu seasons and has many wonderful medicinal properties. According to Ayurveda, it is a bit stimulating (called rajasic in Sanskrit) and can be too strong for everyday use.  A great source of manganese, selenium, vitamins B6 and C, in its raw state, garlic is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory, supporting the respiratory and circulatory systems by helping to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. It is also a very thermogenic herb, cultivating our internal heat and metabolism.

RAW COOLING GAZPACHO

INGREDIENTS

1 whole tomato, chopped
1 whole cucumber, chopped (if organic, keep the skin on; it’s a beauty food!)
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1 bunch of cilantro or basil
1 cup pure water
juice of half a lemon

DIRECTIONS

Put everything in the food processor and pulse until it combines. Go slowly to ensure that your mixture remains somewhat whole and not overly blended.

No matter what a person’s present daily eating habits, start including any or all of these 10 vital foods to experience a myriad of benefits both physically and spiritually. When transitioning, think about thriving and nourishing rather than dieting or withholding. As we are part of the solution and creating actions that are part of the healing of ourselves and the planets, we begin to shine with radiance.

 

21DSCstrawberryEver since her birth in a tepee under a double rainbow, Rainbeau Mars has helped inspire others on their journey to a greener, healthier way of life. The renowned yogi (and former face of Adidas) has sold more than 2 million yoga DVD’s worldwide. Her new book the 21 Day Superstar Cleanse outlines her signature zero-calorie-restriction vegan cleansetaking readers on an adventure of food, fun, fitness, and personal awakening! Featuring more than 75 recipes, positive affirmations, yoga poses, and a foreword by Woody Harrelson, the tome has already been endorsed by celebrities including Josie Maran & James Cameron. Mars has also previously shared her unique health insights on top tier press outlets including Good Morning America, E! News, and more.

 

Photo Credits for all images belong to Jeff Skeirik (aka Rawtographer)

Yogi Favorites: Carrot Raisin Salad

Recipe:
2 tbs. sun-dried raisins
2 carrots
1 tbs. lemon juice or juice of half a lemon
5 tsp. raw honey, date, or brown rice syrup
2 tbs. cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil

This deceivingly light and simple recipe is an excellent dish for an antioxidant boost. Every single one of the ingredients in the Carrot Raisin Salad contains various forms of phenolic compounds that work to alleviate oxidative stress and cell aging. Phenolic compounds are characterized by a broad spectrum of beneficial antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Besides increasing antioxidant activity, fresh squeezed lemon juice also adds vibrant Vitamin C, while high levels of monounsaturated fat in olive oil reduces inflammation, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Meanwhile, the natural sugar content in dates and honey make them great natural energy boosters. Dates are high in dietary fiber and rich in tannins, a type of flavanoid polyphenolic antioxidant, while honey’s anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties have been used throughout history to treat everything from respiratory problems to open wounds.

With all the superfoods in this dish, it’s hard to pin down one superstar, but among all the sources of Vitamin A, carrots boast the highest levels, making them an essential for benefits such as good eye health and clean skin. They also a great digestive aid, as they help cleanse the intestines, liver, and colon of ulcer and cancer-causing toxins.

Raisins are lower in phenolic content than raw red grapes, but still a great source of quercetin, the type of polyphenols found in this particular fruit. It is recommended to use dark raisins for flavor and also because they are available sun-dried, whereas golden raisins must be treated with sulfur dioxide to prevent oxidation and caramelization.

For an interesting variation of this salad, try steaming the carrots lightly.

Carrot&Raisin_Salad_@Marta_Simonetti2

Text: Lana J. Lee  Picture: Marta Simonetti

Recipe Source: The Dharma Yoga LOAY Teacher Training Manual

Yogi Favorites ~ (1) Dharma Green Cleanse Juice


Many people know that juicing is good for you and yet not that many people include it in their everyday routine. This is why you should try to:

Celery, cucumber, and lemons are all very effective for balancing acidic pH levels in the body. The body does have its own system for regulating and maintaining homeostasis to keep this balance, but only so long as we do our part. 


Celery and cucumbers contain 95-96% percent of their weight in water that is naturally distilled, making them superior to ordinary filtered water. As its physical shape suggests, celery helps increase bone mass with high levels of Vitamin K  that promote bone tissue activity. The leaves are rich in Vitamin A, while the stems pack vitamin C and various other essential vitamins and minerals. 


The silica content in cucumbers also helps form healthier connective tissue, meaning stronger bones, tendons, cartilage, ligaments, and muscles. The skin is an excellent source of vitamins C, A, fiber and folic acid. 

Lemons are high in Vitamin C, which cannot be produced or stored by the human body, meaning it is essential to acquire in our daily diet through nutrition. They are nature’s tonic, making them the perfect addition to the Dharma Green Cleanse Juice. 


Here’s how to do it:


Get the celery, cucumber and lemons ready. Wash the celery stalk by stalk in salted or ‘veggie wash’ water. Rinse well. 


Peel the cucumber if it’s not organic, otherwise it is a matter of taste. Cucumber peels are generally bitter and may not be that good to consume.


For this amount of juice at least 2-3 lemons are needed. Celery is a hard vegetable for juicers, so use the high setting.


If you love lemons and the lemons are organic you can juice the peel as well. Otherwise use only the juice. 


Add the lemon juice at the end. One whole large celery bunch and one large cucumber yields about 36 oz of juice. 

While making your blend, chant the Mantra for Purification at least three times.


Drink immediately while the enzymes are still living. Enjoy!


Post written by: Lana J. Lee & Amy Stinchcombe Pictures: Amy Stinchcombe

Recipe Source: The Dharma Yoga LOAY Teacher Training Manual

Five Ways To Conquer Cravings

By Sara Schwartz



I used yoga to quit smoking. I did so after I noticed that after my Power Vinyasa class I was less eager to grab a cigarette. It also turned out that I liked the taste of fresh air, so when I decided to give up smoking, I just figured I would do a ton of yoga and it would be easy.

Turns out that quitting smoking was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. The craving struck and sat like a piece of lead on my throat and tongue. Sometimes, it settled around the center of my chest. The craving created a real physical ache as well as annoying mental repetitions. “If I only had… I would feel better…”

To break a habit you have to use the force of willpower and willpower is essentially the movement of the spirit. You need willpower to move through a craving. Logically, cravings just cause us mental pain, and this mental pain is the feeling of an old habit breaking. To pass through cravings is to be in touch with the divine force of will. In a craving you can sense the movement of your spirit, strengthening your connection to your spiritual anatomy.

The second time I came face to face with intense cravings was during my Dharma Yoga Life of aYogi 500-Hour Teacher Training when we were instructed to follow a fairly strict vegan diet.

“Food is a very emotional experience,” LOAY Director Adam Frei told us. I thought to myself: I don’t have any emotional issues with food – I’ll eat anything!  But then, I realized I couldn’t have my Chai Tea Latte and I cried! Chocolate cake, even though I never ate it, became my newest obsession. But I stuck with the diet; I ate my salads and drank my juices. At first my body didn’t feel very good. I was tired and hungry all the time. I realized I was detoxing. Then I adjusted and began to feel calmer, cleaner, and my yoga practice felt solid.

Overcoming my cravings meant I had to stake out uncomfortable territory. I had to re-visit what I had done when I quit smoking. 

Here are five ways to get rid of cravings and live a healthier life:

    • Make a list of why you want to give something up and allow that to become your mantra. Why would I want to follow a yogic diet? Because “healthy body, healthy mind”. So when I craved chocolate cake I asked myself “does this cake cultivate a healthy body better than a banana?” Of course the banana wins this round!
    • Take one day, one moment, and one breath at a time. This is what they say in Alcoholics Anonymous and I used it to quit smoking. Each morning I would think, “today I am not going to smoke.” If during the day the craving was bad I would think: “right now, I am choosing not to smoke.” If I was in front of a store ready to jump in and buy a pack of cigarettes, I would think “now I am inhaling; now I am exhaling” as I breathed.
    • Read spiritual literature. Sri Dharma Mittra recommends this all the time! When you are feeling uninspired and uncertain, the Bhagavad Gita can point you in a good direction. Arjuna also didn’t know why he was supposed to fight, and Krishna gives him a ton of reasons why he should. Sometimes you might not be sure why you’re fighting your cravings, so you too can apply Krishna’s counsel.
    • Practice Pranayama. It can be as simple as a square breath: Inhaling for a count of four, exhaling for a count of four. If the craving is strong you might try a stronger, more complicated Pranayama: like Nadi Shodana with Kumbakha (alternate nostril breathing with breath retentions). As Swami Sivananda said “the veil is removed by the practice of Pranayama. After the veil is removed the real nature of the soul is realized.”
    • Remove the tempters. Clean your kitchen of those culprit foods. When you shop at the grocery store first go to the fruit and vegetable section. When I tried to quit smoking I stopped going to the smoker’s corner on my lunch break and I went to the park instead.
These are just techniques to test out in the laboratory of your own experience. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a cigarette or a piece of chocolate cake. After I had decided to quit smoking I slipped up for a good year before I was actually able to buckle down and commit to a daily yoga practice. During the LOAY Teacher Training Diet one day I walked into a Starbucks and had a cup of tea and a scone and enjoyed every moment of the sugary and caffeinated goodness. But the next day I woke up and was back on track.
Over the long run the cravings get less and less. And now, three years later, if I smell a cigarette it makes me feel sick. Now, most sweets are too sweet for me since I spent half a year not eating sugar.

You can create the life you imagine! It just takes time, awareness, and as Sri Dharma says, a little bit of ‘angry determination’ to get back up again after you fall.

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Sara Schwartz lives in Queens, New York with her husband Yancy. She currently teaches at Yoga to the People, where she received her 200-hour certification in 2010. She recently graduated from the Dharma Yoga Center Life of a Yogi 500-Hour Teacher Training. “Offer up the fruits of your practice” is her favorite advice from Sri Dharma Mittra. She is very grateful for the guidance of Sri Dharma and all of his teachers.

Five Ways To Detox Your Thoughts

by Sorsha Anderson

Most of us have an idea how to detox our bodies:  eating right, exercising and juicing or fasting.  But how do we detoxify our thoughts and thought process?  In much the same way: by choosing which thoughts to feast on and which to pass up.

Think of your mind as a giant store that is stocked with unlimited food.  Further realize that this store is stocked in part by the world outside which is filled with unhealthy influences.  No matter what our intentions, our store is not always the health food store we would like it to be.  The good news is that no matter what state our store is in, we can examine carefully each item that we take off of the shelf and choose whether or not to put it into our cart.

Try the steps below:


  • Understand that you are not your thoughts. 

Just as the food in your cart may belong to you, it is not you. The same is true with thought.  Thoughts are a product of the mind, the mind is a tool of the self, but it is not the self.  As Sri Dharma Mittra explains, “the mind is powerful, it loves its pleasure. It will throw you down! But you are not the mind.”   

He continues with this analogy:  the higher self resting in the body is akin to a driver in a car.  If you are driving the car and the brakes fail and you are having trouble with the electrical system, you are having trouble with the car, but you are not the car.  Next: 



©Jeffrey Vock

  • Observe your thoughts

This can be done very simply in a short period of time.  Pick a quiet time during the day, or even as you lay down before sleep at night.  Close your eyes and observe the thoughts that come into your mind.  Do not engage the thoughts, do not dialogue with the thought or practice arguments in your head…just watch the thoughts come up and then let them go.  Even five minutes at a time will help introduce you to your thought patterns and begin to give you the sense of the ‘observer,’ your higher self watching the thoughts.  It will give you an excellent idea of what shape your store is in.  Is it a health food store or a 7-eleven?

  • Don’t fear your thoughts.

Even if after some observation you notice negative patterns, keep calm.   Everyone experiences negative thoughts.  You cannot help the thoughts that float through your mind.  Remember, they are thoughts only and they are not you.  You can begin to control your thoughts by using your discrimination.  You do not have to validate every thought that comes into your mind any more than you have to buy unhealthy food every time you enter the store.  If a troublesome or unhelpful thought arises, ask first, “Is this thought compassionate? Is it compassionate to myself, to my friends, to the world?”  If it is, engage the thought and let it tell its story.  If not then let it go; leave it on the shelf.  Leave room in the mind for something worthy.  As Sri Dharma Mittra says, “Cultivate compassion, the rest will come.”

  • Strike a pose!

Try tree pose, with the eyes closed. No matter how observant and vigilant we become, all of us have trouble at times releasing negative thoughts. If the mind is stuck in a difficult place, give it something else to concentrate on.  Vrksasana, can be done almost anywhere, any corner of any room, even a bathroom stall at work.  Stand in tree, feel your standing foot on the ground and close your eyes.  Tell your mind, ‘Nothing changes here; I am simply lowering my eyelids.’  The mind may fight; it may panic as the eyes close and it loses the visual horizon; but remember, you are the driver.  Use the breath, feel yourself in space; imagine you are simply a tree in the dark.  The mind will start to understand that it does in fact know where it is in space without visual reassurance.  It will begin to settle. The worrisome detail the mind would not relinquish may suddenly dissolve in the moonlight!



©DovVargas

  • Count to ten – upside down.

In addition to the physical benefits of inverting the body, the mind greatly benefits as well.  One of the elements of inversions that hooked me early on was the instantaneous quieting of the mind.  If the mind won’t stop, if it becomes filled with obsessive thoughts and won’t let go, dump it out!  Turn your cart upside down, empty it out and start again.  The mind will begin to concentrate on not falling over and start to let go of everything else.  Something about going upside down is also reminiscent of being a kid again.  We physically recall a time when we felt fearless and invincible and our mood instantly elevates. 

You are not your thoughts, but thoughts are energy and the vibration of that energy affects our mood, our state of being and our physical body.  Next time you are revamping your diet because the body is calling out for a change, also take stock of the contents of the mind.  Choose to leave those uncompassionate, un-helpful thoughts on the shelf, and over time, your store may stop stocking them altogether.


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Sorsha lives and teaches in Vermont.  She has been practicing since 1991 and worked with very gentle and restorative yoga until her 30’s when she wandered into a hot and sweaty, but meditative vinyasa studio.  Neither a dancer nor gymnast as a child, and after having had two children, she surprised herself by balancing in crow for the first time at 36.  She never looked back.  Sorsha approaches each new pose with a sense of optimism and adventure and delights in encouraging others to try what only seems impossible at first glance.  She particularly enjoys teaching older women who are trying to find their way back to their bodies after a sometimes very long absence.  Sorsha is thankful to have found her way to the Dharma Yoga Center and makes the trip from Vermont as often as she can.  She offers gratitude for the beautiful physical and spiritual teachings of Sri Dharma Mittra.