Monthly Archives: February 2013

Crunchy Green Salad

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The winter blues always seem to get the best of us this time year especially when we’re teased with a few mild spring-like days and then two days later it’s rainy, cold and gray all over again. When it feels like spring is never coming and each day feels a bit colder and looks a touch grayer I head right to the fridge and pull out the greenest ingredients I have toss them in a bowl and devour. I truly believe in the power of food and how our food choices, good or bad, can affect affect our body in terms of mood, emotional, mental and physical well-being. With that, I choose foods that foster as much goodness as possible for my body, so when my mood is dark and damp just like the weather, I turn to my greens.

I’ve seriously been obsessed with this salad all week, I just can’t get enough of it – it’s crunchy, hearty, creamy, and just so easy to make. I’ve been making a large batch of the dressing and eating it with everything, it’s oh, so amazingly yummy! As for my moods…completely transformed, I feel lighter, refreshed and just all around great.

Crunchy Green Salad

2 handfuls arugula
1 handful shredded romaine lettuce
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds or almonds
10 kalamata olives, chopped
1 small head of broccoli florets, blanched
1 small ripe avocado, sliced

Creamy Tahini Miso Dressing
1/4 cup tahini
1 small shallot, finely diced
1 medium clove garlic, diced
1 tablespoon white miso
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
generous pinch of ground cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste (optional)

Mix all the salad ingredients in a large bowl except the avocado. Once the dressing is whisked and creamy, pour over the salad and toss well. Add avocado slices on top. Serve and enjoy.

Recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks.
Photo: Heidi Swanson, 101 Cookbooks

A Poem On Awakening

We don’t normally post on Wednesdays here at Yin Yang Yogis but this morning upon checking my inbox I got an email from a fellow Yin Yang Yogi who’s currently in India teaching and traveling, asking me to include this poem as one of our posts. I don’t feel that the poem needs much of an introduction because its beautiful prose, hard-hitting truths, and words of wisdom are so thoughtfully articulated. As I read this poem I thought, what an amazing way to start the day. I hope you all enjoy.

Written by an Irish woman and sent by Mother Brenuth.

The Awakening…

A time comes in your life when you finally get it —
when, in the midst of all your fears and insanity,
you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere
the voice inside your head cries out “ENOUGH!”

Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on.
And, like a child quieting down after a blind
tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder
once or twice, you blink back your tears and
begin to look at the world through new eyes.
This is your awakening.

You realize it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for
something to change or for happiness, safety, and
security to come galloping over the next horizon.

You come to terms with the fact that you are neither
Prince Charming nor Cinderella. And that, in the
real world, there aren’t always fairy-tale endings
(or beginnings, for that matter). And that any
guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with
you — and in the process, a sense of
serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect
and that not everyone will always love, appreciate,
or approve of who or what you are…and that’s OK.
They are entitled to their own views and opinions.

And you learn the importance of loving and
championing yourself — and in the process, a
sense of new-found confidence is born of self-approval.
You stop complaining and blaming other people
for the things they did to you (or didn’t do for you)
and you learn that the only thing you can
really count on is the unexpected.

You learn that people don’t always say what
they mean or mean what they say, and that not
everyone will always be there for you, and
that it’s not always about you.
So you learn to stand on your own and to
take care of yourself — and in the process, a
sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers and you
begin to accept people as they are and overlook
their shortcomings and human frailties — and
in the process, a sense of peace and
contentment is born of forgiveness.

You realize that much of the way you view
yourself and the world around you is as a result
of all the messages and opinions that have
been ingrained into your psyche.
And you begin to sift through all the junk
you’ve been fed about how you should behave,
how you should look, how much you should
weigh, what you should wear, what you should
do for a living, how much money you should
make, what you should drive, how and where
you should live, who you should marry, the
importance of having and raising children,
and what you owe your parents, family, and friends.

You learn to open up to new worlds and
different points of view. And you begin
reassessing and redefining who you are
and what you really stand for.
You learn the difference between wanting
and needing and you begin to discard the
doctrines and values you’ve outgrown, or
should never have bought into to begin
with — .and in the process, you
learn to go with your instincts.

You learn that it is truly in giving that we
receive. And that there is power and
glory in creating and contributing and
you stop maneuvering through life merely
as a “consumer” looking for your next fix.

You learn that principles such as honesty and
integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone
era but the mortar that holds together the
foundation upon which you must build a life.

You learn that you don’t know everything,
it’s not your job to save the world and that
you can’t teach a pig to sing.

You learn to distinguish between guilt and
responsibility and the importance of setting
boundaries and learning to say NO.

You learn that the only cross to bear is the
one you choose to carry and that martyrs
get burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love. How to love, how
much to give in love, when to stop
giving and when to walk away.

You learn to look at relationships as they
really are and not as you would have them be.
You stop trying to control people, situations, and outcomes.
And you learn that alone does not mean lonely.

You also stop working so hard at putting
your feelings aside, smoothing things
over and ignoring your needs.

You learn that feelings of entitlement are
perfectly OK, and that it is your right to
want things and to ask for the things you
want — and that sometimes it is
necessary to make demands.

You come to the realization that you deserve
to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity,
and respect — and you won’t settle for less.

And you learn that your body really is your
temple. And you begin to care for it and treat it
with respect. You begin to eat a balanced diet,
drink more water, and take more time to exercise.

You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear,
and uncertainty and so you take more time to rest.
And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels
our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that, for the most part, you get in
life what you believe you deserve — and that
much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You learn that anything worth achieving is
worth working for and that wishing for
something to happen is different from
working toward making it happen.

More importantly, you learn that in order to
achieve success you need direction,
discipline, and perseverance.

You also learn that no one can do it all
alone — and that it’s OK to risk asking for help.
You learn the only thing you must truly
fear is the greatest robber baron of all: FEAR itself.

You learn to step right into and through your
fears because you know that whatever happens
you can handle it and to give in to fear is to
give away the right to live life on your own
terms. And you learn to fight for your life
and not to squander it living under a
cloud of impending doom.

You learn that life isn’t always fair, you don’t always
get what you think you deserve, and that bad
things sometimes happen to unsuspecting, good
people. On these occasions you learn to not
personalize things. You learn that God isn’t
punishing you or failing to answer your
prayers. It’s just life happening.
And you learn to deal with evil in its
most primal state — the ego.

You learn that negative feelings such as anger,
envy, and resentment must be understood and
redirected or they will suffocate the life out of
you and poison the universe that surrounds you.

You learn to admit when you are wrong and
to build bridges instead of walls.

You learn to be thankful and to take comfort
in many of the simple things we take for granted,
things that millions of people upon the earth can
only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running
water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.

Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for
yourself by yourself and you make yourself a
promise to never betray yourself and to never,
ever settle for less than your heart’s desire.

And you hang a wind chime outside your
window so you can listen to the wind. And you
make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting,
and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

Finally, with courage in your heart and God by
your side, you take a stand, you take a deep
breath, and you begin to design as best you
can the life you want to live.

Quote

Learn To Trust Yourself

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”

– Steve Jobs

If we don’t learn to trust ourselves and truly listen to ourselves, we’ll miss everything and never create the life of our dreams. The key to gaining this trust is listening. If we don’t listen to our heart and intuition we can not self-actualize. You may not hear what you are being told to do, or maybe the action steps that will help guide your way. We will not be able to recognize our destiny or see clearly on how to live out our life mission if we continue to live our life according to the opinions and thoughts of others. This is not your life, nor your destiny. Our destiny is to live a self-actualized life, one in harmony with the universe and of course your Self, where we can act out of and take action on our destined path from a place of faith and love.

And as we do, expect and allow miracles and synchronicities to show up in the most amazing way!

Goodnight, Full Moon.

full_moon

In light of this evening’s full moon we wanted to share with you a beautiful lunar yoga practice. Moon Salutations, also known as Chandra Namaskar, are a soothing yet empowering variation and counterbalance to classical Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar). They allow us to honor the yin or feminine side of our energy, in contrast to the Sun Salutations, which are more yang and masculine in nature. When practicing moon salutations these yin qualities are evoked helping to calm the mind and soothe the body bringing you into a relaxed and balanced state of being.

Moon salutations can shift energy without increasing heat in the body and tend to be less stimulating than Sun Salutations, thereby balancing hot emotions, relaxing and calming the mind and body and restoring balance. While Sun Salutations are designed to allow us to connect to the sun’s powerful energy and are often practiced at dawn. The Moon Salutations are especially effective when practiced during the full moon, as this is the most powerful lunar phase – making it a great practice just before bed time.

Over the years, numerous variations of Chandra Namaskar have emerged,  usually the sequence includes some variation of the following postures. The practice below is in 28 parts honoring the lunar cycle. I encourage you to stay in each pose for 3 – 5 deep breaths.

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  1. Mountain
  2. Prayer in Mountain
  3. Extended Mountain
  4. Half Moon (right)
  5. Extended Mountain
  6. Half Moon (left)
  7. Extended Mountain
  8. Goddess
  9. Five-pointed Star
  10. Triangle (right side)
  11. Pyramid (right side)
  12. Lunge (right side)
  13. Half Squat (right side)
  14. Squat
  15. Half Squat (left side)
  16. Lunge (left side)
  17. Pyramid (left side)
  18. Triangle (left side)
  19. Five-pointed Star
  20. Goddess
  21. Extended Mountain
  22. Half Moon (right)
  23. Extended Mountain
  24. Half Moon (left)
  25. Extended Mountain
  26. Prayer in Mountain
  27. Mountain
  28. Shavasana

Just before settling in to your shavasana don’t forget to give thanks to the moon and mother earth and all the bounty of beauty they bestow on us every day and every night.

Instruction/drawing from Yoga Wire.

Tantra Pranayama

Build love by bonding twice a day with these Tantra-based techniques. This practice can be done at any time with your partner, and not just as a way to reconnect after a disagreement but it’s also a great practice to reaffirm each other’s love and devotion to one another. Since we couldn’t have set it better ourselves we’re rebloggling Yoga Journal’s Tantra Techniques article.

Each of us has days when we arrive home tired and cranky, wake up on the wrong side of bed, or get stuck in a conflict with our partner. Rather than waiting until you drift apart, couples can proactively build love by bonding twice a day through practices that Western Tantra teachers Charles and Caroline Muir call “10-Minute Connects.” Here are two techniques:

Nurturing Meditation

The position for this practice is good old-fashioned spooning. (Esoteric theory of energy flow dictates that you should both be on your left sides.) Decide which one of you feels most in need of nurturing, this person will be the receiver of energy. Since the partner in back will be the giver (though you’ll both rebalance your energy through the exercise), the giver should snuggle in close behind their partner, lining the chakras up: heart center to heart center, belly center to belly center, and so on. Both partners should use pillows to prop head, neck, and shoulders high enough so the giving partner can slip their left arm under the receiving partner’s neck and bring their hand to rest lightly on the third eye chakra of their partner’s forehead or the crown chakra at the top of the head. The giving partner’s right arm should cradle their partner, with their hand over their loved one’s heart; both partners clasp hands here.

After a few moments, move into the “harmonizing breath.” Notice your partner’s breath, and begin to synchronize with it: Inhale together, pause together, exhale together, and pause again. As the receiver inhales, focus on accepting energy through your back into all of your chakras; as the giver exhales, they concentrate on sending energy out the front of the body and into your partner’s body.

When you’re ready, you can use this technique to charge each chakra individually. Begin with the heart chakra, and focus there for three full breath cycles. Then move your awareness to your third eye chakra for three breaths; then your “root” chakra at the base of the spine. Next, move up your body to your second chakra (your genital area), then your navel chakra, your throat chakra, and your crown chakra. (Skip the heart and the brow, since you’ve already charged those.)

Hand on Heart

Sit comfortably, cross-legged, facing your partner. Each of you places your right hand on your partner’s heart chakra and your left hand atop your partner’s right hand. Tune in to your heart: first, your physical heart, and then the emotion and energy of your heart chakra. Can you sense your heartbeat? How does your heart chakra feel? Expansive and open? Constricted? Fluttery? Vibrating? Peaceful? Try closing your eyes and focusing on the connection between your heart and your partner’s hand, or you can gaze into each other’s eyes and/or engage in the harmonizing breath.

Adapted from Yoga Journal, full article here.

Oldie But Goodie

 

Served throughout India as “Masala Chai” which translates to “spiced tea,” yes, “chai tea” as we refer to it in the west, literally means “tea tea” this beverage dates back thousands of years. The simmering aroma of the exotic spices of this medicinal blend instantly brings us back to our many trips to India where it is served everywhere, all the time, year round, hot and iced. As we fight our way through these cold winter days we can think of nothing more soothing and satisfying than a rich and creamy cup of Masala Chai. Enjoy and let us know how you like it.

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Yin Yang Yogi Chai Tea

Serves 4

1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
1 tablespoon of cardamom pods
6 Whole cloves
6 black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
1” piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced (optional: if you like the extra flavor and heat or are recovering from the flu or a cold)
4 ½ cups of filtered water
2 tablespoons of Darjeeling, black tea or any loose tea of choice (you may use tea bags but the quality found is generally better with loose teas)
1 cup of Milk, nut or dairy
Sweeten to taste with brown rice syrup, honey or agave

Combine first 5 ingredients in a mortar and crush with pestle just to release their aroma. Be very careful not to turn into powder. If you do not have a mortar and pestle place on a cutting board and use a heavy pan to crush.

In a medium saucepan add the crushed spices and fresh ginger. Pour in the water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for approximately 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat, add the tea leaves, and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain immediately, it will become strong quickly, discarding tea leaves and spices. Stir in the milk and sweeten as desired. Bring the mixture back to the saucepan and return to simmer for a few minutes until milk and sugar are warmed through. Serve immediately.

*Note: There are hundreds of chai recipes so feel free to add or eliminate spices to your own taste. Some variations could include vanilla bean, a bay leaf, star anise and nutmeg to name a few.

Quote

To Inspire You

“Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.”

– Rumi, Sufi poet