Saturday, May 30, 2015
Obstacles – the best way to prevent obstacles from distracting you from your practice is to keep an open mind and stay focused. When you decide to do one thing just stick with it. There is no value in digging shallow wells in hundreds of places. It is better to dig one deep well even if you encounter obstacles. This reminds me of a story I read about a miner who became frustrated with his mine and sold it. The new miner dug for one foot and struck gold. Don’t stop one foot before you reach your goal.
Perseverance (practice) will allow you to achieve success in any endeavor. When it comes to yoga you will need a steady mind, an open heart and a clear conscience.
But remember this; all your ideas are simply symbols that you use to reach your goal. And what is the goal? To find happiness, peace and serenity. Do what you love with devotion and success will follow. This is Bhakti Yoga. Let’s practice.
Stick to one thing and forge ahead. Why? To clear the mind so you can transcend the obstacles that get in your way. You don’t cling to your ideas, but you use them like a ladder to climb to the roof. Once you reach the roof you can leave the ladder behind. You’ve reached your goal and with it will come happiness, peace and serenity. Bkakti Yoga – do what you love with devotion and success will follow.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Mix cinnamon and cloves and you’ve got a sexy combination! It’s no secret that spices can enhance your sex life. Cinnamon and cloves happen to be among the best. Both spices were highly prized in Biblical times. Spices were an important commodity used both to preserve and add taste to food , as well as for medicinal purposes.
Cinnamon ( the best quality produced in China and India) is one of the oldest known spices. It was and still is used medicinally as an antiseptic, for circulation, as a parasiticide and an aphrodisiac.
Clove is a native of the Molluca Islands and is one of the best known spices of the world including cinnamon, pepper and nutmeg. It is used as an analgesic, antiseptic, calmative and aphrodisiac.
So what makes these two spices so sexy? Tucked away within the structure of these two spices are volatile oils and gums that cause the body to react in a biochemical way when we ingest them and smell them. The oils are stimulating and warming causing the circulation of the body to increase. Blood circulation is a precursor to sex. It is well documented that these spices heat up the digestive system. The Chinese use cinnamon to regulate blood sugar.
Research conducted at the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation concluded that when men smelled foods such as pumpkin pie and cinnamon buns( foods spiced with cinnamon and cloves) blood flow increased, suggesting cinnamon and cloves could be good for erectile dysfunction.
New studies also show that cinnamon and cloves speeds up the brain’s ability to react to visual cues. We all know that men are more visual than women so if you want to make a woman more visual and enhance a man’s visual ability feed a guy cinnamon and cloves!
The very definition of an aphrodisiac is anything that is believed to enhance sexual desire, performance or pleasure. It can be food, an aroma, music, light, color, your partner or in other words anything that helps to set the mood. Although unproven, foods that are purported to be aphrodisiacs usually are foods that support sexual health. Yes, your hormones and your abilty to perform are influence by your state of being. But, your hormones also need to be fed.
For example; manganese supports reproductive health. It helps to produce sex hormones and sperm. It increases sexual energy and enhances the brains ability to receive and send messages. Manganese is needed for the health and development of the sex organs. Manganese exist in the pituitary gland where the sex hormones are produced.
Cinnamon and cloves are very rich in manganese delivering –sugar and spice and everything nice. Spice it up!
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Today we are going to practice Karma Yoga. The ultimate goal of Karma Yoga is the elimination of all karma. Since action produces karma, non-action or the process of meditation is said to be the means of eliminating all karma so that we find a place of balanced enlightenment.
With karma there is no good or bad. There is no judgement. Karma simply means cause and effect. What action you take body, mind and soul will have a result in the physical world. It is impossible for us to cease all action so what we attempt to do when practicing karma yoga is teach ourselves how to be mindful of all our thoughts words and deeds. Life becomes what life does.
Meditation brings us the closest to realizing stillness and it is in stillness that we find freedom or liberation from the bond of karma. It is a place where we leave everything behind which includes anger, fear, anxiety and insecurity. Nothing matters, but the moment and in that moment you are free and that is enlightenment.
To get there we must established balance, flexibility and strength because this is what it takes to bring peace and serenity to our lives. This is why we practice yoga. Karma yoga teaches us to be mindful of our actions. Let’s practice.
The purpose of meditation is to quiet the mind so we can heart the pureness of the universe; a place free of deceit, greed anger and pride. From this place of pureness we can create anything and everything. Beyond this the purpose of meditation is to realize that the point of life is realized in the moment. Right here – right now!
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Once you realize your ability to exercise free will over your life and implement an active response of choice to all that life presents, you learn to make choices based upon a strong sense of intuition, and leave behind the need to be right or wrong. You realize that there are no right or wrong choices, but simply choices. This of course suggests confidence in self and a belief in control over your life.
Confidence is in part Spiritual Fitness. When we are confident with a strong grounding in self we make wise choices. No matter the outcome we have the ability to not only survive, but to learn and grow from all of life’s experiences. A Spiritually Fit person is confidant within their body, their mind and their soul. With self-confidence we have the power to act without the restraint of what others may think or say. It is called free will – the power to be!
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Buttermilk is not really buttermilk but the milk that is left behind when butter is made. It’s also referred to as fermented milk and used in many cultures both as a drink and as milk for cooking. It is a tart drink that gets it tartness due to the presence of acid in the milk. The acidity is primarily due to lactic acid, a byproduct produced by lactic acid bacteria while fermenting lactose, the sugar found in milk.
Buttermilk can be found in the grocery store, however, it usually comes in a large container so if you need just a small amount for making pancakes or a cake; add 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar, apple cider vinegar or fresh squeezed lemon to a cup of milk and let sit for five minutes.
So is fermented, lactic acid, tartness good for us? Buttermilk has less fat than milk because the fat has been removed to make butter. It is also high in potassium, vitamin B12, calcium, and riboflavin as well as a good source of phosphorus. Buttermilk is a probiotic food source. The “good” bacterium in buttermilk passes through the digestive system where the bacterium becomes active. These healthy bacteria thrive off the lactose or sugar that is found in our intestines. The good bacterium, boosts the immune system, gives us energy, improves digestion, protects against carcinogens and protects against cardiovascular disease.
Butter milk is known to have been used by the ancient Hindus as far back as 5000 years ago. At that time butter was so precious that it was used as currency, making butter milk also quite valuable. Irish folklore claims a glass of buttermilk will cure a hangover. Heat a cup with a clove of garlic and it is known to cure a variety of ailments or perhaps tastes so bad it will make you forget about your other ailments.
According to American folklore immunity from poison oak or ivy can be established by drinking buttermilk. Pioneer women used buttermilk on their face to make their skin smooth. This is not too far off as the acid in the milk in known to soften skin.
In terms of health the digestive system says it all. Every part of your body-mind thrives because of the digestive system. Nutrients are digested and then distributed throughout the body to nourish and support life. When the digestive system is not working properly the body cannot receive the nutrients it needs to produce health. Buttermilk is a natural and healthy aid to the digestive system and at the same time supplies a rich source of calcium, vitamin B12, riboflavin and potassium.
Riboflavin or B2 plays a key role in energy metabolism and the metabolism of fats, carbohydrate and proteins. Buttermilk is a good source of this essential vitamin. Calcium supports bone growth. Vitamin B12’s key role is the functioning of the brain and the nervous system. Potassium is necessary for the functioning of cells and phosphorous is a component of phospholips that form all cell membranes.
So… build me up buttermilk. Never let me down because I need you so badly to keep me healthy and my skin so smooth.
Saturday, May 16, 2015
Mental distractions such as stress, despair, depression, anxiety and fear are obstacles that get in our way as we strive for balance and peace. That is why we need to take care of our day to day activities, associations and lifestyle. Diet, exercise, rest and of course yoga are all things we can do to bring balance to our body-mind. We cannot find balance and quietude by meditation alone and that is why we need to take care of our daily lives. If we hope to find a sense of nirvana here on earth we need to pay close attention to how we live our lives. Every day focus on the most value gift of life and that is your health; body, mind and soul.
Let’s begin with the practice of yoga.
“When health is absent, wisdom cannot revel itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot be exerted, wealth is useless and reason is powerless.” Herophiles, 300 B.C.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
There is a symbol in Chinese which means both danger and opportunity. Opportunities sometimes arrive out of disappointment or chaos. In fact most opportunities in life present themselves after we have lost something we thought we wanted. That is why they often come disguised as misfortune. In mystic writings such as those found in the Kabbalah there are many stories of worthy souls losing all their worldly possessions only to be presented with a greater opportunity. The difference between those who discover the opportunities and those that don’t is all in the attitude and belief. It is the ability to perceive beyond the event.
Today let’s focus on being open to possibilities. Being willing to let go to make room for something new.
With faith, strength and determination any set back can be viewed as simply an opportunity. Focusing on Spiritual Fitness you will notice that every time a door shuts another one opens. Each new pathway will bring you growth and opportunity.
Saturday, May 09, 2015
Disease, dullness, doubt, carelessness, laziness, false perceptions, failure to stay grounded and not slip from any progress we’ve made and distraction of the mind are all obstacles we must face. Everyone faces these obstacles.
One of the most difficult obstacles is slipping from the progress we’ve made. This one is important to examine because we all feel from time to time like giving up or defeated because of setbacks. But we need to remember that the mind can’t function on the same level every moment. Sometimes it will be high and sometimes times it will be low.
In the practice of yoga many obstacles or challenges will be put in our way. They are there to make us understand our capacity. The challenges teach us strength. Something we all possess even though we often forget. We need challenges and obstacles to help us remember. Otherwise we get lethargic.
That is the nature of life. Like a river the water flows easily without obstruction, but add an obstacle such as constructing a dam and the strength of the water takes on the form of great electrical power.
The most important thing we need to work on is being grounded and balanced because life will throw many obstacles our way. But from a balance state we never get thrown off by these obstacles. We simply muster the power to stand tall and steady finding the inner strength to move past life’s obstacles without falling down. It takes a strong base, an open heart and a steady mind.
Nothing is achieved without practice so let’s practice balance or kriya yoga.
You have an inner strength that can overcome life’s obstacles. Obstacles are necessary. Otherwise we would not find the strength of our being. Therefore seek balance in all things and in all things find balance.
Thursday, May 07, 2015
Each and every moment of our day we are faced with choices, which result in making decisions that will determine our path. If we wake up in the morning in a cantankerous mood, we can examine the reasons or accept it as our mode of operandi for the day. Perhaps the day before our diet was poor, we didn’t exercise or we had a fight with our spouse. Being in a cantankerous mood will not change any of these things. However, examining the choices we made that led to the mood assist us in changing the mood and thus changing the path of our journey. That one particular day we might be presented with an opportunity and miss it because of our fowl and dark mood. We can choose because we have free will.
Let’s choose to move – yoga and dance
Choice implies a sense of control. It removes the fatalist view that we are bound by our earthly existence and therefore no matter how hard we may try we can never control the outcome of our lives. With free will we realize that we are only bound by the limitation we place upon ourselves. If we choose to be bound by the illusion of “things”, that is how we will live our lives. Never seeing abundance leads to poverty.
Wednesday, May 06, 2015
As the Welsh say:
Mwynhewch eich bwyd!
Chicken in Honey Mustard Orange sauce with Braised Leeks
Start with the braised leeks.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Trim 5 medium leeks diagonally to create angled tips.
Heat large pan with about 1/3 cup of olive oil. Place leeks cut side down in pan and cook for 4-5 minutes. Turn leeks over and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Remove to a baking dish and line the baking dish with a single layer of the leeks. Add a little more olive oil to the pan and reheat. Sauté 2 shallots sliced and 1 tbsp of thyme leaves. Cook shallots about 5 minutes and then add 1/3 cup of white wine, cook and reduce by half. Add about 1 cup of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Scatter thyme sprigs and one lemon thinly sliced over leeks in baking dish. Add wine stock liquid to leeks covering leeks to about 2/3, cover and bake for 45-60 minutes. Remove and let cool to room temperature.
Whisk together 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, a tablespoon of red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of water.
Coat a serving dish with the Dijon vinaigrette and arrant leeks on top. Scatter with cooked lemon slices and 1 small chopped hard cooked egg. Serves 4
Chicken in Honey Mustard Orange Sauce
Serves 4 – 183 calories each
2 tsp olive oil
1 tablespoon of white wine
4 - 3 oz skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs
1 cup of cooked brown rice
1 can of nonfat cream of chicken soup
1/3 cup unsweetened orange juice
1 tsp of honey
1 Tbs of Dijon mustard
Dash of red pepper
Combine oil and wine in large skillet. Place chicken in skillet and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until brown on both sides. Remove chicken from skillet and de-fat liquid with a spoon. Add sauce ingredients to skillet; bring to a boil, add chicken, reduce heat and simmer for five minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Serve with rice and garnish with orange slices.
Arrange the leek platter into the center of the table to serve family style.
Serve with a good California Chardonnay which works well with this dish.
For dessert a light Berry Parfait
Fill half way parfait or dessert cups with vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt. Top with sliced fruit such as berries or cherries; topped with a shaving of dark chocolate.
As the Welsh say:
Mwynhewch eich bwyd!
Saturday, May 02, 2015
The practice of yoga teaches us how to remove the self-imposed obstacles that prevent us from discovering our true self. The mind and the body normally feel limited, but if we look to the soul we begin to understand the infinite energy of the universe and we then begin to transcend our self-imposed limitation.
This does not mean that if we think we can fly we will be able to fly. The body and the mind are controlled by the laws of nature. However, what it does mean is that we have the power to transcend our earthly burdens and experience nirvana right here on earth. But this takes practice and devotion or the practice of Bhakti yoga. Self-discovery is a journey that involves devotion.
Bhakti simply means we learn to use compassion and understanding (love) to consciously uplift and harmonize our relationships so that they help to serve the process of self-discovery. Life after all is a serious of relationships: with yourself, with others, with the earth and with the universe. What you devote yourself to is what you become.
Nothing is achieved without practice. Let’s practice.
Maya means illusion. It means that we are all caught up in the illusion of what we call our reality. Relationships are here to serve you; both the ones’ that make you happy and the ones that are difficult. It is the difficult ones that have the greatest opportunity to help you reach self-discovery. These call upon you to examine who you are. In all relationships examine who you are and what you are doing and being. In this you will begin to discover your true self.