Category Archives: yogi favorites

Indaba Recap

by Adam Frei

It has been four days since we returned from London and somehow it seems to have taken place a few months ago. Sri Dharma said to me at the start of our trip that in a moment it would be over. On our way back to the airport, he said: “You see? Already finished – like a dream.” It was, for all of us that went, a very pleasant dream.

Sri Dharma travels less these days than a few years ago, but he still travels quite a bit and his teaching takes him around the world. For the last couple of years, he has been saying that he really wanted to take the Dharma Yoga Kirtan Band along with him. As the London workshops seemed like they were going to be large and some of the band members had the dates available, we were able to make it happen. Although my position at the Center means that I get to work closely with Sri Dharma, it has been a while since I’ve been able to travel with him. It was, for me, a very special opportunity.

The venue was part of the Lords Cricket Ground in North London. It easily accommodated the 250 plus people that were part of each session. The presenters, Indaba Yoga, did a great job managing every aspect of the weekend. Most of the classes were two hours long. Somehow, Sri Dharma managed to include a full practice of Asana as part of each one, a brief, but focused spiritual discourse, an introduction to basic Pranayama techniques, recitation of mantra, Kirtan with the band and a full experience of Yoga Nidra. The classes never felt rushed, yet he managed to include so much. Spiritual discourse treated such topics as compassion, the Kleshas and the Koshas. What particularly impressed me was how Sri Dharma gave us a full experience of Yoga Nidra, sometimes in as little as twelve minutes, but that included complete relaxation of the body, visualization and autosuggestions. Truly extraordinary. The enthusiasm of the students was wonderful to observe.

Some highlights from Sri Dharma’s teaching as part of and outside of the workshops:

Indicating a small, cube refrigerator: “You see, that’s the perfect size for a Yogi.”

“I’m going to add some extra sugar to all the sessions this weekend.”

“We are doing Rabbit (Pose) here now. I bet if I look around the room, I see many Camels. If I catch any Camels, I throw them out.”

“If G-d come here right now and catch you not singing, that would be a catastrophe!”

“The action of compassion is to see yourself in others.”

“The orchestra is going to come and play now, so leave your mats and come close.”

“Move together like in a parade. Then we share all the knowledge psychically and become one.”

“I have an old car (body). The brakes don’t work so well anymore and some of the systems are starting to shut down. That’s why I always try and put the best quality fuel in. In about 10 or 20 years, I’ll be back with a new car.”

“We’re going to do Spiritual Breathing now so you feel spiritually inspired.”

“If you are interested to go deeper into yoga, you should read The Yoga-Sutras and The Hatha Yoga Pradipika. For those just interested in living a more ethical life, there’s The Dammapada.”

“From the Hubble Space Telescope, we know that there are millions of blue planets. Some are ahead of us. Some, still with dinosaurs. The reason the aliens never come here, is because when they look through their telescope and zoom, zoom in on McDonalds, they see us eating animals, and then they never come here. They are soft and their limbs are tender. They are afraid that if they come here, they get eaten.”

“In one generation, it is predicted that there will be harmony among all the people of the earth. Then no need for the first step of yoga – the Ethical Rules – what for?”

“Do you know about the Koshas? These are the sheathes that cover Atman. It's good to know about them so you can negate them.”

“You become one with G-D at this moment. One with the Supreme Self.”

Special thanks to Kenny Steele, owner of Idaba Yoga, Olga Asmini, Indaba Yoga’s exceptional manager, her wonderful team, Mark Kan, our main Dharma Yoga teacher in London who really established Dharma Yoga there, Andrew Jones who did much work behind the scenes in advance of these workshops, Pam Leung and Yoshio Hama for beautiful demoing throughout the weekend, to Andrew and Yoshio for playing until their fingers bled, for the dedicated students who came from all over Europe and America to be part of this weekend and to Sri Dharma Mittra who somehow seemed fresher, funnier and more energized by Sunday night than he had at the start and who at almost 77 years of age continues to devote his life to sharing what he knows with all of us that are fortunate enough to learn from him.

 

Adam Frei is the director of the Life of a Yogi Teacher Training programs at the Dharma Yoga Center in NYC.

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: Spinach Salad

Since the Popeye days, spinach has always been associated with iron and great energy and strength. We now know that this was due to an accidental but significant misplacement of a decimal point when German scientist Emil von Wolff was measuring iron levels in spinach in 1870 (this date was eventually corrected in 1937 – but by that time the myth had already taken hold).

Additionally, iron from plant sources are rich in non-heme iron, as opposed to heme iron found in animal sources. Non-heme iron is not as readily absorbed by the body, but Vitamin C can help increase levels of uptake so adding the lemon in this salad is truly essential.

Sun-dried and raw tomatoes are also both rich sources of Vitamin C, and together with lemon, they boost spinach’s nutritional power and add great benefits of their own.

Mushrooms are low in calories and  sodium, yet they provide important nutrients including selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D and more.

Spinach_Salad_@Marta_Simonetti2

 

Recipe:

-1 large bunch of spinach
-1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
-4 oz. chopped mushrooms
-Sea salt to taste
-1 squeezed lemon
-1 tsp. cumin (optional)
-Olive or flax oil (optional)
-Chopped avocado and tomato (optional)

Spinach_Salad_@Marta_Simonetti 4

Add the tomatoes and mushrooms to the spinach and toss. Add the dressing and toss to combine. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Recipe Source: The Dharma Yoga LOAY Teacher Training Manual

Yogi Favorites ~ Dharma Pure Tropical Bliss

Avocado and coconut, what? Yes! The avocado in Dharma’s Pure Tropical Bliss recipe is what gives this drink its smoothie-like quality, while the pineapple adds fruity punch to the tropical coconut water and meat. Coconut meat and pineapples are both high in dietary fiber, copper, and manganese.

Among its numerous benefits, copper helps the body utilize iron to form red blood cells, keeps thyroid glands functioning normally, and reduces tissue damage by free radicals. Manganese is a trace mineral that metabolizes amino acids, protein, carbohydrates, and cholesterol, providing the necessary chemical reactions to convert  food into energy.

Caution is advised when extracting coconut meat with a knife or spoon from a raw young coconut . It takes yogi patience and some practice, but can be done! Otherwise, it is readily available at most health food stores.

Tropical_bliss

Recipe:
1 ripe avocado
1 pineapple
1-2 cups coconut water
Meat from 1 young coconut
1 tbs of vanilla extract or vanilla bean seeds
Pinch of sea salt
Agave nectar, honey, maple syrup to taste (optional)

Prep everything. You can adjust how creamy or watery it is by adding more or less coconut water.

Place all ingredients in blender and mix until liquified to a smooth, creamy consistency.

Tropical_bliss

Try it with fresh mint if you have it! Voila!

Text: Lana J. Lee & Amy Stinchcombe Pictures: Amy Stinchcombe

Recipe Source: The Dharma Yoga LOAY Teacher Training Manual

Yogi Favorites (4) Dharma Salad

Avocados and tomatoes are both superfood fruits in their own right, but together they make a true power couple! 
 
The Dharma Salad is a great example of how good food combining can provide even more nutritional benefits. Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, which is better absorbed by the body when consumed with fatty foods like avocados. Lycopene is a pigment-rich nutrient from the carotenoid family that gives tomatoes, among other fruits and vegetables, their red hue. Studies have shown this powerful antioxidant’s potential to reduce risks of cancer and cardiovascular disease. 

For the purest benefits, try to purchase organic and locally grown tomatoes. 

Here’s how to do it:

Cut one avocado into cubes.
 

 

Slice two large tomatoes.

 

Mix a splash of cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil with a splash of Bragg’s liquid aminos or sea salt. Add the sprouts (any kind). Stir all ingredients together and enjoy!  (Serves 1-2)

Text: Lana J. Lee Pictures: Cayla Carapella & Enid Johnstone
Recipe Source and Sprouting Instructions: The Dharma Yoga LOAY Teacher Training Manual

Yogi Favorites (3) ~ How to make Sprouted Almond Milk


Why sprouted almonds? Seeds and nuts contain vital energy forces that enable them to grow into trees and plants, given the right conditions. With the life essentials of water and sunlight, inhibitor enzymes built in to protect the seed are released and begin to germinate, increasing the power and bio-availability of vitamin and mineral content. 

Note: During germination, the skin becomes toxic, so always peel your sprouted almonds! The germination process transforms the chemical composition of the almond, giving it a nutritional profile more like a living plant than an inert seed. 

Sprouted almonds are anti-inflammatory, diabetic-friendly superfoods packed with protein, fiber, omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins – the perfect Dharma yogi food! 

Here is how make it – easy, a little time consuming, but 100% worth it every time.

1 ½ cup sprouted almonds or brazil nuts

4 cups filtered water

3-5 dates 

1 Tbs vanilla (or fresh vanilla bean seeds)

Pinch sea salt, agave, honey or maple syrup to taste

It takes about 10 minutes to peel the sprouted almonds. Hold the large end in your finger tips and squeeze, the nut slips out of the skin pointy side first into your palm. Rinse after peeling to remove any lingering toxins from the skins. 
About the dates, if you remember to do it, soaked is better, if dry however, they soak themselves in the milk after blending and dissolve away leaving only skin that falls to the bottom.
Pour the nuts and water together into the blender. Close the lid and blend on high for a couple of minutes.

The better blended the more nutrition you will gain from the nut pulp.


Any linen type cloth or very fine cheese cloth will do for straining. It doesn’t have to be a bag but that will make squeezing it easier.  Make sure your bowl is large enough.

Pour the milk through the cloth into the bowl.

When the sprouted nut meal pulp is still in the cloth you can dip, wet it again and squeeze with your hands. This will yield more of the vital essence of the nut. You can add a little more fresh water into the bag as well to help with this.

You can also pour the milk through a second time, again its like squeezing milk from coconut pulp, the more you work it, the more comes out of the pulp. Once you’ve done this to your satisfaction, then you are ready to pour the milk back into the blender without the pulp now, and add the dates (pitted), vanilla and salt.

Store your Almond Milk in a glass container and shake well before consuming. It will last three plus days in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Text: Lana J. Lee & Amy Stinchcombe Pictures: Amy Stinchcombe, Enid Johnstone

Recipe Source and Sprouting Instructions: The Dharma Yoga LOAY Teacher Training Manual

Yogi Favorites (2) ~ Sprouting Almonds & Making a Dharma Sun Salute Blend



“I think it’s the best food.” ~ Sri Dharma Mittra on sprouted almonds

Five facts about Almonds:

  • Almond oil is excellent for the skin and almonds build muscle, reduces cravings, fight obesity and can prevent heart disease;
  • Almonds make for a good flip side to dairy and is officially the healthiest of all nuts;
  • If you plant an almond tree it will be covered in lovely light pink flowers in the late winter or early spring;
  • In Greek mythology the almond tree is represented by the beautiful princess Phyllis. Left at the altar on her wedding day, Phyllis waited for years before finally perishing of a broken heart. In sympathy, the gods transformed her into an almond tree, as a symbol of hope. When Phyllis’ fiancée returned to find her as a leafless, flowerless tree, he embraced it and the tree burst into bloom – a demonstration of love not conquered by death;
  • Almonds are a Yogi staple and Dharma Yogisare great consumers of Almonds.

Sprouting Facts:

Most raw seeds, nuts and beans should be sprouted to reap their maximum potential.  Sprouting changes the entire chemistry of the seed, nut or bean, flooding it with the Prana (vital life-force), thus turning it into a mature, healthy plant that is easy to digest.


A sprout is a complete food and can supply the physical body with vital nutrients in promoting life and radiant health.  Once seeds and beans are sprouted, they can be placed in direct sunlight for 30-60 minutes.  The sprouts then become a green vegetable, a wondrously complete Superfood.


Sprouting instructions:

Soak the almond for 12 hours and then rinse every three to four hours for a period of 18 hours.  Sprouted almonds should be covered in water and placed in the refrigerator.  The water should just cover one half inch over the top of the almonds.  Peel the skin off before eating, as it becomes toxic during germination. Enjoy!


Using sprouted almonds:




Dharma Sun Salute Blend


Instructions:


Add the following ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy:

2 large bananas or 1 avocado
1 cup of sprouted almonds (peeled)
1 to 2 cups of the fresh juice of your choice or rice/soy/almond milk
Agave nectar to taste (the bananas are naturally sweet if ripe so you may find you do not need an additional sweetener)

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


“I said to the almond tree, ‘Friend, speak to me of God,’ and the almond tree blossomed.”  ~ Nikos Kazantzakis


Post written by: Enid Johnstone Pictures: Lorenza Pintar

Recipe Source and Sprouting Instructions: 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