Among my sources for inspiration to grow and learn as a yoga teacher is the community I serve. Unique individuals are drawn to our yoga community for different reasons, whether to condition their body, manage stress or dive deeper into the 8 Limbs of Yoga as a path to Self-realization, or union with Higher Consciousness. And like my personal yoga journey, their reason to stay and continue to consistently show up as a community may evolve as their own yoga practice matures.
Shona Ganguly has been attending our yoga classes for over 8 years. Shona is a dancer by hobby, natural environment protector by profession and now an expectant first-time mother. She began her yoga practice to find balance in her busy world. And while this benefit still brings her to the practice weekly, she explains yoga’s wisdom teachings, echoed in her Hindu upbringing and Indian heritage, that instill a deeper sense of balance throughout the many aspects of her life off the yoga mat. Enjoy this 25-minute interview with Shona, and perhaps her story or “why” may resonate with you.
I’m not a huge fan of following recipes or measuring ingredients to the T, but I do like to peruse them for inspiration. Here’s a 30-minute Coconut Curry Recipe from Minimalist Baker that inspired some of the ingredients and steps in creating this warming spicy concoction that feels like soul food.
Why curry? It’s a great way to load up on your nutrients and throw in the vegetables that are about to go bad in your fridge, honestly.
Instead of the quinoa in the recipe, I decided to add sweet potato to the vegetables in the curry. Here are 6 Surprising Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes, according to Healthline. A main attraction is their assist in boosting your immune system with their epic amounts of Vitamin A.
My favorite dark leafy greens to promote gut health, another key to boosting your immune system, are kale and broccoli. Another immune system-protecting warrior is shitake mushroom, which you can read about here. They are an excellent source of Vitamin D, which seems to be a key word in helping to prevent or combat COVID. Turmeric, which includes Curcumin, “demonstrates anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic, antiaging, and antioxidant activity, as well as efficacy in wound healing,” according to this article published in the National Library of Medicine in 2018.
I could go on about the many other nutritious ingredients I added to this curry, but do the research and see what ingredients you need to tailor for your particular health needs or allergies.
Now last but not least, compelling taste is an important factor in choosing what recipes I post here, as my kitchen experiments do not always please the senses (practicing satya here)! This won not only for my plant-based belly, but a vegetarian’s and a non-vegan/non-vegetarian eater, whom I shared it with. I made it a few times, and I found that a key to good taste was to do the preliminary sauté mentioned in step 2 of the recipe and add all the spices (I measure to personal taste). And, I added almost equal parts of regular coconut milk and vegetable broth, again adjusted to personal taste. I let the senses, especially attuning to the aromas, guide the proportions of it all, sort of like an abstract painting. If you do decide to give this a try, or have another vegan healthy recipe to share, feel free to comment below.
I can understand the jadedness some people express about the word “love.” Valentine’s Day candies inscribed with messages like “be mine” as if to love someone is to possess them like property. Pink and red fluffy hearts with doilies decorate love with a feeling of daintiness and fragility.
But what about the kind of love that drives a single mother in Bangladesh to work in a sweatshop 14-16 hours everyday to try to feed her toddler who has to live with her grandparents and hardly see her mom? Or, the love that chooses to liberate a suffering pet of 15 years from their painfully aging ailing body despite the sadness of losing their best companion?
Author Sharon Salzberg likens love to water in its soft and strong qualities—so flexible it takes on the shape of whatever vessel it flows into, “yet over time, water will carve its own pathway even through rock.” And it’s a testament to our interconnection, “an incarnation of the water in the juicy fruit you ate yesterday may have fallen as rain halfway around the world last year, nourished a flower offered to a beloved in India…” and so on.
As we’re surrounded by holiday decorations of “love,” I’m compelled to look into the ways it deeply connects, inspires, enlivens and heals us as a pure expression of our inner nature.
Compassion is a highly regarded practice by mindfulness authors, like Pema Chodron, who teaches that it expands our capacity to love without condition and necessitates our ability to fully feel our difficult emotions. In metta meditation, one practices sending sincere loving kindness to themselves and others in a series of stages.
This is a valuable tool for feeling and rippling love from within, and I’m inviting you to join in. Sat, 2/13 @5:30-6:30pm PT on Zoom, I’m facilitating a mind-body-spirit practice of Gentle Yin Yoga, breath work and Metta Meditation, by donation of whatever energy exchange you can afford.
To access the live event, 'Metta Date' Night, RSVP at Root2RiseYoga.org/Community-Events
May we feel the love that is at the core of our being and all beings, as Mother Nature exemplifies.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”― Viktor E. Frankl
This sums up one of my reasons for meditating daily. In case you don't know me that personally, I tend to be very passionate. While this passion joyfully fuels my work and play, it has also lent itself to impulsive reactivity. In a fit of rage, I once punched glass repeatedly with my bare fist until it shattered because I felt betrayed and disregarded by a partner I loved and trusted. That "rock-bottom" moment of being hijacked by my anger was over a decade ago, and I have the scar to remind me that I'm committed to self-healing, which includes letting go of my shame about it in order to transform "my karma (or, effects of my actions) into my dharma (or, spiritual path or duty)," as author Kathleen Hanagan says.
I felt nervous to post this, but it's a part of my shadow that spurred self-study and tools for self-healing. I eventually started a daily sitting meditation practice in 2013 and it continues to serve as a tool for learning to observe my thoughts and emotions without getting caught up in them that I lose myself. Meditation is my teacher of equanimity, the ability to feel wholeheartedly (not sweeping uncomfortable things under the rug) but allowing the space for discernment to choose my response.
I share this story because in our common humanity, I understand we all feel difficult emotions, especially when life challenges arise. And during physical distancing and quarantining, we might forget that we have support and are not alone. Thankfully, we're in an era of technology that lets you read this or live-stream together from different time zones. So, I'm taking the opportunity to share what I can and what's been of great service to my healing and continues to be: my meditation practice (the 7th limb of yoga).
You can find a link to a free YouTube playlist of various lengths and kinds of guided meditations, from beginning to sit for it to dealing with anger and negative self-talk here:
If you'd like to share the practice live, here are some Zoom events you're welcome to join:
1. Fridays 4:30pm Yoga postures, breathwork and 10 minutes meditation (weekly)
2. Sat, 2/13 at 5:30pm Metta Date Night: Yin Yoga, breathwork and a guided meditation for sending loving kindness to yourself and others
3. Thur, 2/18 at 6pm Integrative Yoga Night focusing on Nurturing Resilience
4. Sat, 2/27 at 1pm Peace through Forgiveness: Qi Gong + Integrative Yoga, co-facilitated by Sigal Mehuyas
Details + Sign Up at Root2RiseYoga.org/Community-Events
You're welcome to invite a friend. Come to practice with a community that supports each other.
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