Shallot, Fennel, Thyme & Quinoa Bowl
“Thyme” for the seasons to shift
Eating seasonally is very important, and there are still plenty of delicious herbs and vegetables coming in fresh at this time of year. Take advantage of the deliciousness before “thyme” runs out, and the selection of herbs and vegetables diminish in winter.
A pungent herb, thyme is beneficial to pacify overabundant vata (space & air) and kapha (water & earth) qualities that can result in intestinal distress symptoms such as gas, bloating, or nausea. Thyme can increase pitta (fire) qualities due to its heating nature. So, if it is very warm where you live or you are experiencing a pitta imbalance, use it more sparingly or substitute fresh cilantro for it. Thyme is wonderfully aromatic and infuses this dish with a flavor that pays compliments to its culinary counterparts.
The shallot belongs to the allium family. It imparts a more refined, yet onion like flavor. Shallots are grounding, so they balance out the stimulating effect of thyme. Cooking shallots diffuses their heating nature and increases their sweetness.
You may know fennel as the vegetable with a mild licorice flavor. Sautéing or braising fennel softens the licorice flavor and brings out its sweetness. Fennel acts an amazing agni (digestive fire) enhancer without increasing heat in the body. It is diaphoretic and diuretic, so it can flush excess heat and fluid from the body. This comes in handy post-summer. Fennel is also known to help increase mental and visual clarity.
We tend to lump quinoa in with grains, but it is actually a seed. There are many varieties of quinoa, with the white, red, and black varieties being the most popular. You can often find all three mixed together, which reminds me of the three constitutional types of Ayurveda (Vata, Pitta, Kapha). Quinoa offers a protein punch and is tri-doshic (beneficial for Vata, Pitta, Kapha). If you tend to lean toward vata imbalances, be more generous with the amount of ghee you use in this recipe.
Shallot, fennel, thyme, & quinoa bowl
- 1 cup quinoa, soaked in water overnight and rinsed
- 3 large shallots, chopped
- 1 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced (reverse the wisp-like dark green fronds for garnish!)
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 carrot, grated
- Ghee for sautéing
- Pink Himalayan salt & white pepper to taste
- Generous handful of freshly-chopped cilantro leaves
1. In a medium-sized pot, sauté the shallots in ghee for a few minutes, until clear or slightly browned.
2. Add the fennel and sauté until soft.
3. Add the carrot, quinoa, salt, pepper, and about 2 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer and cover.
4. Cook about 15 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed.
5. Remove from heat, transfer to serving dish, and garnish with cilantro and fennel fronds.
Interested in incorporating vibrant, delicious Ayurvedic cooking into your health and wellness goals? Check out the Ayurveda Culinary Retreat, hosted by renowned Ayurvedic chef Nalini Mehta at the Art of Living Retreat Center from November 2-4, 2018!
Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!
Wellness, Naturally: The Magic of Panchakarma
The Art of Living Retreat Center’s Panchakarma cleanses are magical, and it’s such an honor to be a part of that process. We heal people from all over the country who are seeking greater health, whether they’re already fit or at the beginning of their journey.
Panchakarma: the basics
We haven’t watered down the program to make it more comfortable. It’s much different than the average Westerner’s daily routine. Being out of this comfort zone creates incredible mental, physical, emotional, and energetic growth.
Throughout the cleanse, you’re supervised by an Ayurvedic doctor, who helps you determine what’s out of balance in your body. You might already know what’s keeping you unbalanced, or you might be completely surprised. Either way, these daily check-ins monitor your progress and help us tweak the program to fit you best as the days go by.
During the Panchakarma cleanse, we eat an Ayurvedic diet to heal and nourish. There are incredible authentic Ayurveda treatments at the spa: Abhyanga, Shirodhara, Nasya, Marma. We do a very balancing yoga and meditation practice. My favourite part is that every day we hold a knowledge session hosted by an expert. Every day you’re learning practical tools of Ayurveda and how to integrate them into your life. You bring these experiences back into your life, and continue to improve your health and well-being and raise your vitality.
The benefits of Panchakarma
It’s so amazing to be with each person when they start this journey, and to see them daily in the process, and watch their results come to life. They always far exceed my wildest expectations of what people can get out of Panchakarma. Physically, they feel lighter and cleaner. They’re eliminating better. Their mind is clear, clean, focused, and balanced. They experience weight loss, pain relief, and more energy.
This program not only relieves physical imbalance, but mental imbalance as well. Our emotional health is deeply connected to our physical wellness. When we don’t have ideal digestion, there’s no way the mind can be calm. If we’re experiencing constipation or bloating, it can extend to anxiety, insomnia, and even depression. If we have acid reflux, that disrupts our sleep, and if our physical bodies are not functioning well, we might feel agitated, irritated, frustrated, and overly self-critical. We might feel lethargic, dull, slow.
Panchakarma’s emotional connection
Panchakarma helps with anxiety, depression, insomnia, and a lack of connection. During the cleansing process, emotions come up that no longer serve our highest best self. We give you the support you need to dissolve those emotions and leave them behind. Ayurveda has known for 5,000 years that our digestion is intimately related to our state of mind, and that’s why it’s so important to eat a pacifying diet and cleanse at least once a year.
If you’re interested in learning more about Ayurveda, schedule a call with one of our Ayurveda ambassadors to talk about what your wellness goals are and how Ayurveda and Panchakarma fit into your journey. We can’t wait to speak with you!
We are honored to hold space for you to begin your journey to health, happiness, and balance with Ayurveda. The Art of Living Retreat center offers personalized consultations, retreats, and treatments – check out our catalog or call 800-392-6870 to find the right program for you.
Kimberly Rossi, director of Shankara Ayurveda Spa, has been studying, practicing, and teaching Yoga, Meditation, and Ayurveda classes and workshops for seventeen years. Kim is a Kripalu Ayurveda Counselor. A certified yoga teacher and Ayurvedic practitioner, Kim believes these paths assist us in being the very best version of our self.
Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!
Ayurvedic Recipes: Sauteed Greens
Ayurveda calls collard greens sattvic. This implies that they support peacefulness and purity of body, mind, and spirit. Collard greens possess bitter, astringent, light, dry qualities. Their digestion is aided with spices, healthy fats, and substances rich in digestive enzymes and stomach acid boosting abilities.
Enjoy collards as a side dish, a main dish with protein rich nuts, seeds, and beans or, in a soup. Read on to discover more about the greatness of these greens and the ingredients by which they are accompanied in February’s recipe.
The ‘personality traits’ of the ingredients
- Collards Greens are packed with fiber and are an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins A , C, E, K, folic acid, iron, calcium, magnesium. Their bitter taste aids in de-stagnation of the liver and enhances bile flow.
- Tamari contains digestive enzymes and provides that “umami” taste.
- Apple Cider Vinegar will give your stomach acid a boost and supports healthy blood sugar.
- Ginger enkindles the digestion fire, keeps us warm, and detoxifies unhealthy fat from the body.
- Ghee-the butyric acid in ghee nourishes the gut and provides a great source of healthy fat.
- Pumpkin & Sunflower Seeds provide protein, are mineral rich and protect against free radicals.
Sauteed Greens with Pumpkin & Sunflower Seeds
- 1 cup water
- About 10 cups washed, dried, and chopped fresh collard greens
- 2 teaspoons fresh chopped ginger
- 1.5 tablespoon ghee
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1/4 c. toasted sunflower seeds
- 1/4 c. toasted pumpkin seeds
1. In a large deep skillet, on medium heat, sauté the ginger until soft and slightly golden.
2. Add the collard greens and mix well.
3. Add the water, cover and reduce the heat to low and cook until the collard greens are tender.
4. Turn off the heat and stir in the tamari and raw apple cider vinegar.
5. Transfer to serving bowl and stir in the sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!
Wellness, Naturally: Balancing Pitta in Winter
In Ayurveda, there are three types of energy, including pitta. Pitta is a building block of the world, and can be found in everything and everyone. It’s closely related to digestion and intelligence, and is regarded as “fire energy.” Pitta individuals are typically athletic and tend to gain weight evenly. The pitta individual is typically success-oriented, energetic, quick witted and has a great capacity for achieving balance. However, an excess of pitta can overheat the body and mind.
Signs of pitta imbalance
There are typical manifestations of pitta imbalance that can signal as an imbalance of the mind and body. These manifestations include anger, irritability, overall discontent, acid indigestion, heartburn, inflammation and heartburn. Pitta can become imbalanced when one doesn’t get enough rest or eats spicy foods.
Here are three easy ways to bring pitta back into balance.
1. Drink a cool glass of milk. Milk cools the fiery energy of pitta.
2. Stay hydrated. Make sure to drink lots of water throughout the day.
3. Take regular breaks. When pitta is high, there is a tendency to focus and dive in. This can be useful, but it must be balanced with occasional breaks. This will help refresh your spirits and keep you cool and relaxed. This way you can work without letting the work overwhelm you.
Understanding how to feed your fire
If you have a pitta constitution, it’s wise to avoid pungent, salty and sour foods. Reduce sour fruits like grapefruits, and stick to sweeter fruits like mangoes, pineapples, grapes and melons. Avoid veggies like tomatoes, onions, and hot peppers. Instead, favor veggies like cucumbers, green beans, potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli.
Pitta individuals should use seasonings that are cooling and soothing. These include clove, cilantro, cardamom and fennel. Hot seasonings, such as cumin and mustard seed, should be used sparingly. And if you’re a non-vegetarian, chicken and turkey are better than beef and seafood. Dairy can help balance the heat of pitta and should include things like butter and milk.
Keep your cool
Balancing Pitta also includes lifestyle. Allow for some free time every day, so you can balance rest and activity. Don’t skip meals and wait till you’re famished. Spend time in nature. Take a stroll in the woods and keep plants and fresh flowers at home. Most of all, make sure to laugh a lot every day. You may even want to consider performing a daily massage with cooler oils like coconut. Take in some aromatherapy with mint, lavender or sandalwood.
At the Art of Living Retreat Center, we provide guidance on how to keep your pitta in balance. We offer a sense of connection, inner peace and rejuvenation. Nestled on scenic mountaintop in the Blue Ridge Mountains, our center is the ideal location for Ayurveda and personal transformation. Everyone is cared for like family.
Wellness, Naturally: Balancing Kapha in Winter
When you learn to look at the world from an Ayurvedic perspective, it won’t be long before your view on achieving and maintaining your own personal sense of wellness will become not only clearer, but also attainable in ways that you may not have thought possible. In this post, we’ll be focusing on the various techniques for balancing Kapha through the cold months of winter.
Know your dosha
One of the first steps toward gaining clarity and control over your own health is understanding the three dynamic energies known in Ayurveda as doshas. These are Vata, Pitta, and the one we’ll be focusing on specifically in this post, Kapha. Doshas are, put very simply, the biological energies that make us who we are as individuals. They are not one size fits all! Your dosha is not only as unique as you are – it is what makes you so unique.
What does it mean to be kapha?
Each of the three doshas project both mental and physical attributes that will reflect the elements related to them. The elements related to the kapha dosha are earth and water. This manifests in people who are thought to have a dosha balance dominated by Kapha as both a solid physical frame, as well as a strong, calming presence and grounded personality.
Kapha in winter – losing your balance
When you fail to take care of yourself properly, your doshas can become imbalanced. This will be noticeable both in the way you feel physically and mentally, but also in the way that you interact with others and even how they respond to you. If you find yourself feeling “off” or “unsteady”, chances are good that your doshas have gotten out of proportion.
Kaphas who allow themselves to be too sedentary in the winter months will suffer the consequences, and often find themselves experiencing some of the following negative effects:
● Weight gain
● Depression and lethargy
● Poor circulation
● Respiratory issues
● Oily skin
Balancing kapha: 3 easy ways to feel lighter in winter
Ayurveda is all about keeping your doshas balanced. Fortunately, when you become aware of an imbalance, there are a lot of ways to make balancing Kapha again a cinch.
1. Get Moving! – Regular physical activity is key for balancing Kapha . Bundle up and take an invigorating winter walk around your favorite park or better yet, use the chilly months to give hot yoga a try!
2. Keep Your Diet Light – It’s easy to fall into a routine of eating more in cold months, no matter what your dosha is, but Kaphas often tend to have a slow metabolism anyway. Be mindful of your portions and don’t let yourself go overboard, especially on rich, heavy foods. Which brings us to…..
3. Avoid Kapha-Rich Foods – Foods that increase Kapha will tip your balance, so you’ll want to take a pass on that big slice of gooey pecan pie, and anything else that is overly salty or sweet. Heavy foods will only weigh you down, but try taking inspiration from the pitta dosha until spring comes, with lots of warm, light veggies (think green beans, yellow squash, or zucchini) and oats, quinoa or basmati rice. And be sure to have lots of ginger and lemon hot tea!
If you’re new to Ayurveda, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by information – but don’t forget that intuition and self-awareness about how you feel mentally and physically play a big part in living an Ayurvedic lifestyle. It will soon become second nature and the benefits to your overall health are worth it!
Wellness, Naturally: Balancing Vata in Winter
Seasonal changes affect our lives in many ways. They play a role in a person’s very nature, something known as a dosha in Ayurveda. The winter season can affect and imbalance a vata dosha, or constitution, so balancing vata is important during this season.
Vata is one of the three constitutions in Ayurveda. Associated with the air element, it expresses itself in attributes like cold and dry skin, feeling restless, having a thin body, talking a lot, and gravitating toward a warm climate.
It’s important to be mindful of how a dosha imbalance happens. Once you understand this, you can focus on preventing it or bringing yourself back into a state of balance. Some factors that imbalance vata include sleep problems, high-pressure work situations, a lot of worry and stress, and an abundance of talking or traveling. During the winter season, cold and windy climates can throw off a vata constitution. Winter is generally hard on a vata type, because of their cold and dry skin, cold hands and feet, and overall difficulty handling cold weather.
These problems are particularly pronounced when a person’s vata is unbalanced. Some things that indicate an imbalanced vata include problems with the joints, body pains, restlessness, and trouble sleeping.
A vata constitution will feel much better when in balance. You’ll feel healthier and happier, with a more calm state of mind. You’ll sleep better, feel less pain, and have a more stable and focused mental state. And throughout the winter, you’ll feel warmer and experience healthier skin and circulation. While there are numerous steps you can take to balance vata, try these three methods this winter:
Follow a daily schedule
Create a better routine that provides balance. Your schedule should help manage your workload and personal responsibilities by breaking them down into smaller steps and allocating enough time. This way, you can reduce stress and still remain productive. Plan ahead of time for personal care and meditation. Make an effort to get to sleep earlier by making your nighttime routine more calming. Try to find motivation in getting more sleep, such as noticing the difference in how you feel, both mentally and physically, when you go to sleep earlier.
Help yourself achieve a better state of calm by cutting down on stimulants. This includes caffeinated beverages like coffee, as well as processed sugar that creates a quick sugar high and then an energy crash. Instead, find more stable sources of energy through complex carbohydrates and healthy fats and proteins. Meditate and use other methods to calm and rejuvenate yourself, rather than reaching for stimulants.
Follow a vata diet
Rejoice in winter comfort foods. Foods that are cooked, warm and soft will be good for you, so enjoy stews, macaroni and cheese, and similar comfort foods. Take in healthy oils and a lot of moisture through foods and beverages. Some ideal vata-balancing foods include olives, dairy products, avocado, nuts, seeds and wheat. Also, choose salty, sweet and sour tastes like fruit, yogurt and kimchi instead of bitter, pungent and astringent ones like radishes, kale and legumes. Fried dishes and overeating can cause problems to vata, while rich yet nourishing meals help balance this constitution’s lightness.
Ayurvedic Recipes: Beet Soup a la Poland
Food blogger and yoga teacher Kasia Fraser specializes in healthy, delicious food with a flair for vegan and raw cuisine. Here Kasia shares a recipe for one of her favourite winter meals – beet soup a la Poland! Beets are a wonderful Ayurvedic winter food, due to their ability to cleanse the liver and rejuvenate the blood.
Beet soup a la Poland
- 2 organic beets with the leaves intact
- 1 organic potato
- 1 organic carrot
- 1 organic parsley root
- 1 small celery root
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger (optional)
- 3 tbsp of olive oil
- half of a lemon, juiced
- fresh dill
- salt and pepper
- Cut all veggies, and cook in the hot water with a bit of salt. Once soft, add olive oil, black pepper, and lemon juice.
- Add chopped beet leaves and turn the heat off. Keep covered for 3-5 minutes.
- Spoon into a bowl, and garnish with fresh dill! Enjoy with a spoonful of vegan yogurt and wheat-free warm toast.
Check out more of Kasia’s amazing recipes at hellodelicious.info!
Wellness, Naturally: Health Benefits of Ginger
Health benefits of ginger
The perennial plant ginger is cultivated all across the world. It is available in different compositions and widely known for its culinary use. However, ginger is more than just a spice that can be added to your favorite dishes. The Eastern holistic healing approach of Ayurveda recognizes the interconnectedness of the mind and body and celebrates ginger as a tonic that can help balance the body. Ginger root also offers a huge variety of health benefits.
Ginger for weight loss
Obesity can reduce a person’s life expectancy by as many as 20 years. However, research shows that ginger may be instrumental in controlling your weight and suppressing obesity by reducing a variety of contributing factors, including glucose and body weight.
Ginger for beautiful skin
Thanks to its anti-aging properties, such as gingerol, this perennial plant also helps to rejuvenate your skin. Studies indicate that ginger helps reduce the synthesis of melanin and reduces aging of the skin.
Keep infections at bay
Ginger’s antimicrobial properties make it a powerful tool for fighting infections, including bacterial infections like strep throat. It’s been used to remedy a variety of conditions, including flatulence, nausea and flared sinuses. Ginger is also an ideal immune support during cold and flu season.
Minimize inflammation and pain
Some conditions, such as fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, can come with chronic pain due to inflammation — the body’s natural response for healing injuries. The longer the inflammation persists, the more painful it can be, but ginger may provide alternative pain relief. Research shows that ginger helps to reduce inflammation and pain, due to the presence of gingerols and essential oils.
Ginger for digestion
This famous superfood can help you to not only digest your food, but it can also help control and enhance your appetite. A common Ayurvedic practice includes consuming ginger during lunch, as it is believed to facilitate nutrient absorption.
Including ginger in your diet
Leveraging ginger’s health benefits is not hard to do. Here are four simple ways you can include ginger in your diet:
1. Ginger Tea. Relieve stress and uplift your mood with the power of ginger tea. Ginger tea can provide soothing relief when you have a cold. You can boil ginger root in water to flavor the warm beverage for a potent taste. You can also add ginger powder to a hot drink or take an even easier route by steeping ginger tea bags in hot water.
2. Cooking With Ginger as a Spice. Ginger adds a little kick to the flavoring of meats, fruits and veggies. Try enhancing the taste of your steak, chicken or asparagus by incorporating some freshly peeled and diced ginger into your dish.
3. Pickled Ginger. You can include ginger in your diet in pickled form. Pickled ginger is great appetizer that for neutralizing your taste buds, especially after you eat sushi or raw fish.
The health benefits of ginger stretch beyond its culinary appeal to help with skin rejuvenation, healing and appetite control. Using the power of ginger, you can adopt the Ayurvedic approach to extend balance from the mind to the body and leverage its numerous benefits.
Exploring Wisdom: Nikki Myers on Overcoming Addiction
Recent Art of Living Retreat Center retreat host Nikki Myers has created a revolutionary, holistic approach to addiction recovery that combines yoga philosophy and the tools of the traditional 12-step program. We recently spoke with Nikki about how these two philosophies work together, the role of sacred transformation, and her own road to recovery.
A practice born from lived experience
Here’s the story: my life was in the thrall of addiction for many years. There’s a phrase used in 12-step programs that goes ‘jails, institutions, and death’ — well, all of those I understand, and all of those I have experience with. My inspiration to create this program comes out of my own lived experience with addiction and recovery.
I found my way into 12-step programs by the grace of something bigger than myself. The 12-step program absolutely, positively saved my life. For 8 years, I was immersed in this program, but even after 8 years clean, I relapsed, and found myself falling back into addictive behavior all over again.
After my first relapse, I was reintroduced to yoga. I’d had experience with yoga before, but coming back to it, I truly fell in love with the practice for the first time, and began to understand how closely the philosophy and practice of yoga relates to the 12-step program.
Working together to heal addiction
There were so many connections that I saw between yoga and the program, and after four years of studying yoga and staying clean, I decided that I didn’t need the program anymore. And you know what? I relapsed again. It was only after that second relapse that I came to realize that I was keeping these two practices in separate boxes. What I really needed to sustain recovery was a marriage between the two.
Y12SR was created out of my personal experience, and along the way, I discovered there were so many more people like me. The 12-step program deals with the cognitive aspects of addiction, but yoga helps with the somatic aspect, and together, they create a full-system set of teachings.
There is a model in yoga philosophy that comes from the yoga sutras, stating how the root of so many problems is in Avidya, which ultimately is a misconception of who we are. We think we’re separate from each other and from nature, from the universe, and even from our own bodies.
The founders of the 12-step program address the same problem, but a little differently. They call it “stinkin’ thinkin'”, but it’s the same thing as misconception. We look at things through the lens of our own subjective experience, which can lead us to misinterpretation of the world around us and ourselves.
One of my teachers says the answer to everything is ‘it depends’. When the pain of not doing something at all became greater than the pain of taking a step forward, then I knew it was time to take the step forward.
This step could simply be an investigation. I tell people all the time to just try some things on. One of the things I personally tried early on was giving up — if you want to see if you’re addicted to something, watch what happens when you take it away. Your mood, your attitude, even your physiology can change. If you experience these kinds of changes, it could be an indicator of a serious problem.
A spiritual solution to a spiritual problem
There are many avenues to combat addiction. Of course, there are 12-step programs, which are absolutely brilliant, and do tie very closely to yoga. You could try yoga, or online resources. There are many ways to begin the journey to recovery.
At its heart, the crisis of addiction is a spiritual problem, a spiritual crisis. We’ve taken a pharmaceutical approach to it, and in my experience, what I assert is that there will never be a pharmacological answer to a spiritual crisis. Both yoga and the 12-step program affirm this. Addiction is a spiritual issue that needs a spiritual remedy.
What I love about the combination of yoga and the cognitive pieces of the 12-step program is that together, they offer tools and processes to begin to support that spiritual transformation, that sacred road to recovery.
Art of Living Journeys: Elizabeth’s Panchakarma Experience
Elizabeth recently joined us for our Panchakarma Retreat to deepen her understanding and experience of Ayurveda. What she found was peace, rejuvenation, and a new and integrated way of life. We sat down with Elizabeth to chat about her experiences.
A Spiritual, Physical, and Emotional Cleanse
The Panchakarma Retreat was much more than I expected. I didn’t realize that it would touch me as deeply as it did, that it would be such an amazing cleanse on all different levels – spiritually, physically, and emotionally.
Experience the Whole Package with Panchakarma
My experience with the Ayurvedic aspect of the retreat has been wonderful. We explored concepts that have made sense logically to me in the past, but I’ve never actually experienced how effective these principles are until the immersion of the retreat. You begin to understand in real time what this way of life can do, how your diet affects your mood and your mind. You get a sense of it in a very concentrated amount of time.
I’ve been doing yoga for so long, but I never quite understood how well yoga and Ayurveda work together. I now understand that the diet and lifestyle work beautifully as a whole package.
Space to Breathe
The Art of Living Retreat Center is wonderful. I loved the green, the peacefulness, the sense that all is right in the world. The lack of traffic and noise and airplanes and busyness. Everything slows down.
Everyone should have the opportunity to do Panchakarma, and not only once, but every year. It’s very transformative in ways that will surprise you.
Experience the difference for yourself. The Panchakarma Retreat runs regularly.