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Dharma Kitchen

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Filtering by Tag: yoga

The Summer of Energy

Carrie H

Gather around, friends. I want to talk a little bit about energy. 

It's both visible and invisible, palpable and seemingly inexplicable. It's what enables us to do what we need on a practical level, with our homes, with our vehicles, with our stoves, with our campfires, whatever you use at any given moment to work with heat, fire, fuel, flame. 

It's in all elements: air, water, and earth, too. It's present in trees; their roots, the expression of leaves and colors. It's the processes that transpire at the root level that remain invisible to us mere mortals. It's in the breeze, or the lack of it; the humidity, the gusts of wind that upturn pieces of furniture, the cold, spare air of winter. It's waiting in the stillness of a pond or a lake, or the frenzy of high tide in an agitated ocean. Oh, is it ever in water. I feel the balm and sanctity of water like no other element. (It's all those rose and Epsom salt baths. But I digress).

Props to the people who grow roses. Or anything that comes out of the earth, cultivated, with intent. 

Props to the people who grow roses. Or anything that comes out of the earth, cultivated, with intent. 

But understanding and working with and respecting energy—those are totally different things altogether and a work in progress, right? Sometimes we can do this reflexively as we take in the vibe of a room. But sometimes there's so much happening, the degree of simultaneity so sky-high, that it can be overwhelming; we have to sift, sort, sit with it. And then other times, things move quietly and slowly, as though nothing were happening at all. But that is exactly when things ARE happening. You just aren't privy to them yet. That's where patience and trust come in. 

This has been a very unusual summer, one of Reiki attuning and energy shifts at lightning speed (it's finally slowing down) and multi-dimensional experiences and cellular regeneration and telepathy and releasing karma and an expansion of inner knowningness and signs from the universe and trusting in the unknown more than ever, on every front. It's been about modulating my expression, dialing some things back in challenging but rewarding ways, and amping it up in new and beautiful ways. It's assimilating things that happen and sitting with them. It's waking up with music that was put there while I slept, and about resolving stuff through weird dreams and waking up and going, huh, how about all that. And then getting breakfast ready for the kids. It's seeing the smallest thing on a walk in the woods and having that shift my perspective, make me think, or take me out of my brain altogether. It's seeing the trees smile at you, one after the other. It's synchronicity, serendipity, it's numbers, it's all of it. It's gratitude for the small things when the large things seem insurmountable at times, or more likely, just inchoate. More concretely, it's also the summer of deer and turtles and horses and owls.

Props to Julie Spencer (the Restoration Space) for creating a gorgeous, positive place for all kinds of healing. And for the endlessly quippy signs. 

Props to Julie Spencer (the Restoration Space) for creating a gorgeous, positive place for all kinds of healing. And for the endlessly quippy signs. 

And goodness, energy is about the various kinds of work we do, too, and what we do when we stop working. Sometimes it's about messing up and struggling to focus and making meals and doing all the things of life because there is meaning in all of that, too. It's about work and cooking and blowing off steam when possible and eating Playa Bowls in the kitchen with Alison as we shoot a recipe. It's about not taking any of this way too seriously, either, because no one wants to perpetually live in that kind of spiritual rabbit hole; life needs to be lived (unless maybe you are a rabbit). Sometimes it's about totally checking out for 24 hours or more from the nonessential things so you can just not think about anything. It helps us engage with the beauty of ordinary things, of forgetting all of this super heady, woo-woo stuff and happily be a human doing human things. Being absorbed in a book, or sitting on my deck and looking at the stars and eating ice cream with the boys, or the astuteness of their neverending questions. It's listening to my kittens do parkour all over the house as I type this. (It's also sometimes about binge watching Mozart in the Jungle and eating sea salt potato chips because apparently that's emerged as the snack du jour. Just go with it.)

The other kind of work? My yoga practice and that entire tribe and all the tentacles of light that stream forth from it. It's the work that we do that facilitates the work off the mat. Mastering all the emotions that arise, sometimes in the same practice, and coming out balanced and laughing. It's the magic of the nothingness and everything that coexists in meditation. It is the default setting of laughter and joy that bubbles back up, always.

(As a discursive aside, it happens to also be the summer of long-awaited things: kittens, streaks of red in my hair, and a tattoo. It's also the summer of inadvertent vegetarianism and subsequent weight loss and transforming into a person whose light seems to emit out of every pore. I cannot tell you how many people have made comments on my appearance. I am not a selfie person, but when others start to see things reflected in you, you realize you were reflecting that all along. So I started taking pictures; the radiance began in June.)

Props to Niki Brown for the good vibes, the friendship and the Reiki-ninja color work last week.

Props to Niki Brown for the good vibes, the friendship and the Reiki-ninja color work last week.

It is also about fully and freely feeding the fact that you were always left of center. Still, sometimes you need to gather up any of the flying you-know-whats that remain and, with equal parts grace and gratitude, release them on their way. Conversely, it's also about giving all the flying you-know-whats in the world to your process and the essence of the human emerging, and to those whom you love unconditionally (and vice versa) and whose connections feed your soul (and vice versa). Perhaps that's the most important of all of these ramblings.

But let's burn out the incense, blow out the candles and sit in the dark for a minute. The monkey brain, as my boys' Sensei always calls it, dies HARD, friends. That energy can be so persistent, insistent. We all know this. And so it's also been a summer of sleeplessness, of getting pissed off, crying unexpectedly and having a hard time sometimes with mornings for the first time in my life. And sometimes it's about totally checking out for 24 hours or more from the nonessential things so you can just not think about anything. It's vital. And playing music loudly in your house, or the car. Releases come.

It's about being momentarily frustrated and then objectively surprised when the dying neural programming bump up against new patterns that are taking hold as a more permanent state. That new programming is so full of ease, but the old stuff—it's like a parasite. It needs a host in order to sustain itself. And when it doesn't get fed the same levels of fill-in-the-blank-negative-emotion, it gets really confused. I have actively witnessed old parts of me resisting, throwing up distress signals for attention. You gotta just put your hands over your ears and close your eyes and say "blah blah blah blah I can't see or hear you!" The darkness wants to win. (C'mon, we've all seen Star Wars and those eternal narratives). Or another similar gesticulation. Maybe the middle finger is more your style, or some other forceful gesture. Just go with it. 

Somehow we continue to shift, evolve, and become who we are yet paradoxically remain who we are at the same time, because we were always were that person. It's a slow evolution but with pronounced periods of accelerated growth that only seem to emerge from nowhere. I'm still me among all of the shifts—just a distilled, more crystalized essence. It's a winnowing away and a honing in, peeling the layers. Those layers of old programming are turning to snowy, black-and-white static like on an old rabbit-eared television set. Can't tune them in most of the time. Layers of fear slowly dissolving in the place of patience and trust that seeks acknowledgment and equilibrium. Balance. But not so easily. My impatience, which I believe is the flip side of my enthusiasm for life, annoys the hell out of me. This remains one of the more challenging aspects of Carrie-ness.

I have heard this expressed before, but not quite like this. I can't take credit for it (thanks, Dustin Parent). Anything you know immediately and reflexively to be true, without pausing or thinking or allowing low-vibe shit into the headspace (fear, guilt, shame, blame, etc.), is from the higher self and therefore should always be trusted. I think about this as the new frequencies feel more buoyant and radiant. Those always, always, always win. They also happen to be a lot more fun, and they let in a lot more love.

Which reminds me. If you read this all the way through, I love you. 

 

Amaranth Crepes with Pomegranate Syrup

Carrie H

Ayurveda is the sister science to yoga, and it's long been a fascination of mine. I've learned a bit on my own and from various yoga teachers. The idea of Ayurveda is that we all have a unique constitution, prone to our own individual imbalances. And those imbalances are what can, if left unchecked, throw our health into a bit of a tailspin, whether it's minor things like viruses and colds, or much larger, systemic challenges. Broadly speaking, humans fall into three categories: vata, pitta and kapha, each with their own optimal list of foods, along with ones they should steer clear of. You can be a vata with a vata imbalance, or a pitta with a kapha tendencies; there are sub-doshas, too. (If you want to find out where you might fall in those three categories, check out this dosha quiz from the Chopra Center.)  The first time I had someone assess my constitution, so many things started to make sense to me. For example, I'm mostly pitta, and it's the more fiery dosha, which means I should steer clear of spicy foods (I don't like them, so there's that) and move toward cooling foods (like cucumbers, which I love love love.) With knowledge, you gain awareness and bringing that mindfulness to what you eat integrates almost effortlessly (at least for me) with the asana part of yoga practice.

The Essential Ayurvedic Cookbook by Lois Leonhardi, a Certified Ayurveda Practitioner, came out earlier this month. I like it because it gives you extensive background, enough to get you acclimated and provide a basic understanding of Ayurveda. The recipes are geared toward specific constitutions, but then she also tells you how to adapt if you are, say, Vata or Pitta. There are some recipes that are tridoshic, or good for all three doshas. The doshas also correspond to seasons of the year (we're in fall, which is vata, moving toward kapha, which is winter and spring), times of day and time of life. Among many other things, Ayurveda provides a way of thinking about food and health, with a bit of a learning curve—but that's the fun part, right? I, for one, really enjoy the balance she's struck here with these crepes. 

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     Courtesy of    The Essential Ayurvedic Cookbook    by  Lois Leonhardi  © 2015   www.robertrose.ca   Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.

Courtesy of The Essential Ayurvedic Cookbook by Lois Leonhardi © 2015 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.


Amaranth Crepes with Pomegranate Syrup

Have fun making these. Smaller crêpes will be easier to flip, but will be more difficult to fold due to the inflexibility of the gluten-free batter. The first crêpe may be a disaster, but don’t fret; it doesn’t count. Use it to contemplate how to modify your technique so you can create future crêpes of higher quality. Note that it is difficult to have wafer-thin crêpes using gluten-free flour, so set your expectations accordingly. The coolness of the amaranth, milk and cardamom will balance the warmth of the eggs for pitta. Kapha can eat these in moderation. Gluten free, soy free and vegetarian.

Makes two 10-inch (25 cm) crêpes

Tips

The astringency of the amaranth flour and pomegranate syrup is balanced by the sweet rice flour, coconut milk and butter.

The lemon zest and cinnamon mellow the strong flavor of the amaranth flour.

Using butter or ghee will give the crêpe a caramel taste and help with browning; this will be lost if you substitute oil.

You can double the recipe so you have extra batter on hand. Leftover batter can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but the amaranth flavor starts to overwhelm the spices with each passing day.

Ingredients

  • 10-inch (25-cm) cast-iron skillet (or crêpe pan)
  • 1  large egg                     
  • 1  large egg yolk                
  • 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) coconut milk (or cow’s, almond or soy milk)
  • 2 tsp. (10 mL)  pomegranate syrup
  • 2 tsp. (10 mL) grated lemon zest
  • 2 T. (30 mL) amaranth flour, sifted 
  • 2 T. (30 mL) brown rice flour, sifted, or almond flour
  • 1 tsp. (5 mL) ground cinnamon (no substitutes)
  • 1⁄2 tsp. (2 mL) ground cardamom (no substitutes) 
  • 1⁄8 tsp. (0.5 mL) Himalayan salt   
  • 2 tsp. (10 mL) butter or ghee, melted 

Instructions

In a medium bowl, whisk egg and egg yolk until frothy. Add coconut milk, pomegranate syrup and lemon zest, whisking until combined. Add amaranth flour, brown rice flour, cinnamon, cardamom, salt and butter, whisking until batter is thin and smooth. Cover and let set for 10 minutes in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200°F (100°C).

Remove batter from refrigerator and whisk briefly.

Heat the skillet over medium heat. When a drop of batter placed on the pan sizzles, you are ready to cook. Lift the pan off the burner and pour in a thin layer of batter (about 1⁄4 cup/60 mL). Gently tilt the skillet in a circular motion to spread the batter evenly across the bottom. Return the pan to the heat and patiently wait. When the bottom is done, you will see a change in color and the crêpe will easily lift from the pan. Test it by running a spatula around the edges. When the spatula easily slides under the center of the crêpe (about 2 to 3 minutes), it is time to flip. Flip the crêpe and cook for 30 seconds on the second side. Transfer crêpe to a plate and place in preheated oven while preparing the other crêpe.

Serving Suggestion: 

Top with pomegranate syrup, Vata Plum Compote, seasonal berries, yogurt, whipped cream or raw honey. Garnish with mint leaves, pomegranate seeds, sifted ground cinnamon or lemon wedges.

Courtesy of The Essential Ayurvedic Cookbook by Lois Leonhardi © 2015 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.