Archive for the ‘Health & Wellness’ Category

Plant Medicine

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

The following information was submitted by Eileen Daugherty, a student in Karuna’s 500-Hour Five Element Shiatsu Program ,as a part of the Local Herbs and Plants as Medicine component of the training. In this elective to the shiatsu program, students study with local herbalist Chris Marano, RH of Clearpath Herbals. Students take herbal walks and forage indigenous herbs to learn to make medicine in the form of tea, tinctures, glycerin, oil, and liniments.

Dandelion Root Tincture

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Dandelion Root Tincture

For years, dandelion has been used as a blood builder, detox and liver cleanser, especially in the spring – after the dormant winter months.  All parts of this ‘weed’ can be used as medicine – the leaves, the flowers and the roots. 

Dandelion is one of the top 6 herbs in the Chinese pharmacy of herbs.  It also appears in the US National Formulary and in the formularies in Hungary, Poland, Switzerland and Germany. 

The health benefits of the Dandelion root include:

  • one of best known blood builders and purifiers
  • safely reduces blood cholesterol
  • Contains Vitamin A, C, D and B complex
  • Contains iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese, copper and calcium
  • one of best liver cleansers
  • supports digestion of fats
  • speeds breakdown of various steroid hormones
  • helps flush out urinary tract between kidneys and bladder
  • helps build energy and endurance
  • good for use in hepatitis
  • increases activity of pancreas and spleen
  • strengthens female organs – excellent to prepare for pregnancy and estrogen balance
  • helps clean skin disorders.

What you need:

  • 2 year old, actively growing dandelion roots dug from a spray-free, pet-free  yard
  • spade to loosen soil from the roots
  • canning jar with a tight fitting lid
  • vodka, 80 proof

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Harvesting Dandelion Roots:

  • to dig roots, use a dandelion digger or a sturdy fork.
  • you want to break/damage the root as little as possible so you don’t lose much sap, which is where the medicinal properties lie.
  • Deep, rich soil will produce the thickest, easiest to harvest roots.

To Prepare the Tincture:

  • wash off the soil thoroughly
  • remove any crushed roots, leave root hairs
  • cut the roots into ½” sections
  • place roots in the canning jar, cover with vodka plus an inch or so, cap jar
  • steep contents for 3-4 months, in a dark cool place to full extract medicinal properties
  • when finished, strain off the tincture with a coffee filter, into dark bottles and label
  • discard the used root pieces.

Dosage:

  • ½ teaspoon 3-4 times a day
  • can be taken directly under the tongue and held in mouth for awhile and then swallowed.
  • can be placed in a small amount of water and swallowed
  • can be placed in a small amount of hot water, to evaporate off the alcohol.

Label and Date your final product.  Store in a dark place, out of direct sunlight.

  • use dandelion tincture with caution if you have gallbladder disease. 
  • Never use dandelion if you have an obstructed bile duct

Benefits of Dandelion Leaf

One of the main benefits of the dandelion leaf is the way it supports liver function.  Research has shown that dandelion leaf can promote healthy lipid profiles, reduced insulin resistance and suppressed fat accumulation in the livers of mice.  These benefits are likely due to the antioxidant content and the ability to calm systemic redness and irritation.

Some research suggests that dandelion leaf may protect the liver from acetaminophen toxicity.  Acetaminophen can produce oxidative stress which is especially hard on the liver.   Antioxidants like those within dandelion can be one of the best alternative therapies. 

Dandelion leaf can benefit the liver — and can also benefit other parts of the body:

  • Normal bile production supports efficient digestions which utilizes nutrients and purges toxins
  • Encourages fat metabolization, which helps achieve normal lipid levels
  • Helps to purify the blood.
  • Promotes normal blood sugar levels.

Dandelion leaf can be used as a green in salads, although it is bitter.  It is also offered in dried, loose leaf to be used as a tea. 

Plantain Salve

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Plantain Salve

Plantain, is sometimes called the band-aid plant.  Plantain contains iridoids, which have a very soothing, anti-inflammatory affect on the skin.  It also contains aglycone and aucubigenin, which have antimicrobial properties and allantoin, which support skin healing. 

Plantain is helpful for:

  • bee/wasp stings
  • spider bites
  • mosquito and other bug bites
  • poison ivy / poison oak/ sumac
  • eczema
  • psoriasis
  • sunburn
  • diaper rash

Ingredients – makes about 1 cup

  • 1 cup fresh plantain leaves (from an area with no chemicals), chopped  – use only very dry leaves.
  • 1 ½ cups olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp grated beeswax, tightly packed
  • ½ – 1 tsp tea tree essential oil, optional

Quick Version:

Harvest leaves on a dry, sunny day.  Pull off any distressed parts and brush off dirt.

Chop leaves or grind in a food processor.

Place leaves in a clean, dry pint mason jar and cover with oil.  Oil should completely cover leaves.

Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of your crockpot and place jars inside.  Add enough water to cover about half the jar.  Set crockpot to lowest setting for 12-24 hours.

If desired, give the oil a quick swirl with an immersion blender to release more of the plant into the oil. 

Strain the oil through cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve.  Let the oil sit for several hours.  If there is any water in the oil, it will collect in the bottom of the jar.  Removing water extends the shelf live of the salve.

Gently heat the beeswax in a double boiler.  When it is melted, add the plantain oil – taking care not to pour in any of the water that may have collected in the bottom of the jar.

Stir until thoroughly mixed.

If adding essential oils, wait until the mixture has cooled a bit and then stir them in.

Pour salve into clean, dry container and allow to cool. 

Slow Version:

Harvest leaves on a dry, sunny day.  Pull off any distressed parts and brush off dirt.

Chop leaves or grind in a food processor.

Place leaves in a clean, dry pint mason jar and cover with oil.  Oil should completely cover leaves with room for the leaves to expand a bit and go to the top of the jar.

Let jar sit for 4-6 weeks at room temperature.

Strain the oil through cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve. 

If there is any water in the oil, it will collect in the bottom of the jar.  Removing water extends the shelf live of the salve.

Gently heat the beeswax in a double boiler.  When it is melted, add the plantain oil – taking care not to pour in any of the water that may have collected in the bottom of the jar.

Stir until thoroughly mixed.

If adding essential oils, wait until the mixture has cooled a bit and then stir them in.

Pour salve into clean, dry container and allow to cool.

Label and date the salve.

This comprehensive information on dandelion and plantain medicine is one example of the wonderful resource  the 500-Hour Five Element Shiatsu Program is to the Karuna community. Another great resource are the Shiatsu clinics coming up this August, September and October. Practitioners in the Shiatsu Certification Program will be offering 45 minute full body treatment for $25! For more information and to reserve a session click here

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What is Shiatsu?

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015
What is Shiatsu?
 

As we prepare for our next 500-Hour Shiatsu Training Program, I decided to answer the question I hear the most: What is Shiatsu?

The translation of the word Shiatsu is “finger pressure.” In addition to applying pressure with fingers and thumbs, practitioners will utilize other techniques such as stretching and joint mobilization. They leverage the weight of their bodies to apply pressure to acupuncture points and meridians with their palms, elbows, knees, and other body parts in addition to their fingers. This pressure relieves tension and pain while improving body functions throughout the organ systems.

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Shiatsu is often used as a method to enhance health and can be used as preventative care treatment. Shiatsu addresses imbalances of the vital energy of our body or Qi (pronounced “chee”). Through Shiatsu treatments, the practitioner can help Qi return to balance and ideally bring the body into a balanced state of being. Graduates of our program will also apply a knowledge of the five elements to understand relationships between phenomena in the body and apply treatment.

Shiatsu is typically received while lying on the floor on a comfortable cushion or futon. You can expect the practitioner to ask about your physical and emotional health and feel the body’s Qi through diagnostic points on the belly, wrist, or back. The practitioner then plans a treatment based on the patient’s responses and the diagnostic results.

Graduates of our program can expect to learn how to provide a treatment based on diagnosis utilizing different methods of pressure, stretching, and joint mobilization with an understanding of Qi and the body’s relationship to the five elements. In addition, our graduates will have access to multiple teachers sharing elective subjects that will enhance their  treatments. Topics include: herbs, cupping, moxibustion, scraping, pulse evaluation, and more.

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For more information on our 500 Hour Five-Element Shiatsu program, you can click the link below:

http://karunayoga.com/karuna-five-element-shiatsu-program/

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From 1982-1984 Eileen studied at and graduated from the Ohashi Shiatsu Institute in New York City. She travelled to Japan in 1984 and lived there for a year and a half. She studied privately with two different Shiatsu teachers, both with very different styles. One teacher was Susuki Sensei of the Masanaga School of Tokyo, and the other was a little old man called Yamamoto Sensei, who taught in the Namikoshi style. Eileen graduated from the Swedish Institute of NYC in 1987 and taught level one through advanced Shiatsu there from 1987-1995. She developed and taught a Shiatsu/yoga curriculum for the New York Open Center, and taught there from 1989-1995. Eileen volunteered at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and worked extensively with patients with HIV and cancer for several years. Eileen has had a private Shiatsu practice since 1983. She is the only AOBTA-Certified Instructor in the New England area who is offering a 500-Hour Certification Program in Five-Element Shiatsu.

The Metal Element

Saturday, September 27th, 2014


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This month Karuna’s 500-hour Five Element Shiatsu training focused on The Metal Element, Jin.  Jin represents Autumn, and much like the harvest season, Jin’s characteristics are of decline but also of substance, strength and structure. The Metal Element is associated with the emotions of grief and sadness and also courage and dignity. In the body the metal element represents the lungs and large intestines. In a post about Autumn and The Metal Element from Elements of Healing,  acupuncturist Scott Molan writes:

 

“The Metal element has the quality of contraction.  In its natural state Metal is hard and was used as the most exterior part of one’s clothing in the form of armor.  However, if heated up, it could be shaped and molded to make shields, swords etc.  This element is also related to minerals that are born out of the earth and infuses life to water as it flows over the ground.

The lungs and large intestine organs are associated with the metal element according to Chinese medicine and acupuncture.  These two organs in many ways have the same resonance and qualities as described above.  The lungs are similar to a bellows, in that they expand when air is brought in and contract when releasing carbon dioxide.  This is similar to the expansion and contraction that is seen in the element metal.  Likewise, the large intestine contracts (peristalsis) in order to empty, hopefully on a daily basis.  These two organs are considered our armor in many ways and like metal armor, are the most exterior of our organs, being directly connected to the outside environment.

One of the most important lessons that the metal element can teach us is in letting go.  We learn this lesson from the lungs and large intestine.  We can take a breath in and it nourishes us with needed oxygen, but we can not hold the breath for very long.  Eventually we must let go of that air, to make room for more as our body utilizes what it has just taken in.  Similarly the large intestine needs to let go of what it is holding so we can eliminate what we don’t need.”

The transition of the seasons can be quite challenging on our respiratory systems. Supporting faculty Chris Marano of Clearpath Herbals provided information on treatment of lung disharmonies with herbal remedies. Along with herbal supplementation, Chris recommends we:

  • Avoid foods that congest lungs, including refined sugar, refined carbohydrates, dairy, and any food to which there is a food sensitivity;
  • Utilize foods that counteract the energetics of the Lung invasion, e.g. cooling foods for hot invasion, warming foods for cold invasion, mucilaginous foods for dry invasion;
  • Steam inhalation (with herbs and/or appropriate essential oils) are useful;
  • Herbs in general include those lymph tonics, antiviral herbs, antibacterial herbs, antiseptic herbs, expectorant herbs, herbs that drain Damp-Heat (as from Intestines).
  • Important either to use herbs that do not amplify but counteract the energetic nature of the Lung invasion, or to temper the energetics of an herb chosen with others that balance the energetics.
  • Foods that strengthen Deficient Lungs include decongesting proteins and naturally sweet foods, including organically raised, grass fed meats, especially lamb, root vegetables and squashes, high in assimilable complex carbohydrates and beta-carotene, super-foods and mineral-salt rich foods (especially if they have a mucilaginous component), such as sea vegetables, spirulina, chlorella, dark green leafy vegetables and wild greens. Also cooked members of the onion-garlic family, including chives and scallions.

Additionally Chris prepared a lung health tincture with herbs grown locally. Here is a list of herbs that are beneficial to lung health and function.

 

TOP LUNG HERBS

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Adaptogens: herbs and mushrooms that help body and mind adapt to stressors of all kinds, and also replenish the Core (Chinese Kidneys). All help the Lung yin and Lung qi, and many help the Lungs more specifically. Examples include American Ginseng, Ashwagandha, Astragalus, Codonopsis, Cordyceps, Eleuthero, Ginseng, Licorice, Reishi, Rhodiola, Schisandra. These are all major Lung medicines.

Andrographis: Clears Heat, Dries Dampness; antiviral, antimicrobial, antiseptic, treats Lung EPI with heat, including wide range of Lung conditions, sore and swollen throat.

Chickweed: Clears Heat, Dislodges Phlegm; demulcent, nutritive, heals tissue, moistens mucosa, loosens hot-dry phlegm.

Chinese Asparagus (Tian men dong): Moistens Lungs, Clears Lung Heat; antibacterial, treats Dry Lung patterns including dry mouth, thick stuck sputum, weak lungs, TB, strep.

Echinacea: Clears Heat, Releases Exterior; treats acute respiratory EPIs, allergies, strep, stimulates surface immune system.

Elecampane root: Redirects Qi Downward, Expels Phlegm; treats hot congested lungs, wheezing, copious clear or white phlegm, acute and chronic illnesses, congested Lungs, wheezing.

Fenugreek: Strengthens Lung Yin, Moistens Lungs, Transforms Phlegm; treats deficiency, wheezing, dry cough.

Garlic: Disperses Cold and Phlegm, Releases Exterior; antimicrobial, treats EPIs broad range, Damp-Cold painful chest distention from congealed cold phlegm, including wheezing.

Ginger: Lungs, Transforms Phlegm, Rescues Devastated Yang; treats Cold Lung disorders with congestion, weakness, lethargy, thin, watery phlegm. Releases Exterior,Promotes Sweating, Disperses Cold, Stops Coughing, Invigorates Wei Qi; treats colds, flu, Cold-Damp Wind-Cold EPIs, sweating with no improvement, cute and chronic coughing (infections and emphysema.

Ginkgo: Astringes Lung Qi, Strengthens Lung, Stops Pain; treats wheezing, cough, “Kidneys Cannot Grasp Lung Qi.”

Golden Seal: Clears Heat, Drains Fire; antibacterial, antiseptic, treats EPIs and chronic respiratory infections, with fever, irritability, thirst, cough, thick yellow phlegm, refrigerant in fever management, antibacterial, including sinusitis, pharyngitis, thrush, bronchitis, strep, tonsillitis, sore throat.

Ground Ivy: Clears Heat, Transforms Phlegm; expectorant, antiseptic, resolves congestion, treats colds, flus, bronchitis.

Horehound: Clears Phlegm; excellent expectorant.

Hyssop: Wind, Clears Phlegm; decongestant, expectorant, antiviral, antibacterial, treats Hot or Cold EPI, allergies.

Irish Moss: Clears Heat, Transforms Phlegm, Builds Lung Yin; demulcent, nutritive, soothes and heals dried, damaged tissue, lung heat with difficult expectoration; swollen glands.

Lobelia: Dispels Wind, Drains Dampness; antispasmodic, stops coughing, wheezing, spastic cough, asthma, also clears floating edema.

Marshmallow root: Moistens Lungs; stops Dry Cough, soothes and heals damaged, irritated, ulcerated tissue.

Mullein: Relaxes and Tones Tissue, Expels Phlegm; astringes and soothes tissue, mild expectorant, treats broad range EPIs.

Nettles: Strengthens Tissue, Nourishes Lung Blood; nutritive tonic, strengthens mucosa.

Ophiopogon/Turf Lily (Mai men dong): Moistens Lungs, Stops Coughing, Nourishes Yin; useful when Lung Yin has been injured, dry cough, thick sputum difficult to expectorate.

Plantain: Moistens and Astringes Tissue, Transforms Phlegm; soothing, mild expectorant, stops bleeding, rebuilds tissue.

Platycodon/Balloon Flower (Jie geng): Disseminates Lung Qi, Expels Phlegm, Specific Harmonizer; treats Wind-Heat or Wind-Cold coughs, Lung abscesses, loss of voice, redirects effects of herbs to lungs and head.

Propolis: Clears Heat, Tones Tissue; antiseptic, astringent, expectorant, treats infections, allergies, strengthens voice.

Slippery Elm: Moistens Lungs, stops Dry Cough, soothes and heals damaged, irritated, ulcerated tissue.

Solomon’s Seal: Moistens and Strengthens Lungs; treats dry, unproductive coughing from Lung Qi and Yin deficiency, wheezing, TB, chronic bronchitis.

Spilanthes: Clears Heat, Releases Exterior; antimicrobial, antiseptic, treats acute respiratory EPIs, allergies, strep, stimulates surface immune response.

Thyme: Clears Heat, Moves Phlegm; antimicrobial, expectorant, antiseptic, treats Cold-damp Lung EPIs, bronchitis, pneumonia.

Wild Cherry: Tones Tissue, Transforms Cough; astringent, antispasmodic, treats coughing, asthma, allergies, weakened tissue.

 


Eileen Muir provided two recipes to nurture the lungs, detox for respiratory and intestinal health, and to savor in this season of amazing harvest and fecundity:

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup for Nourishment

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All ingredients should be organic.

  • ½ head of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large parsnip
  • 1 leek
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 cup butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 nice, big, fat beet
  • 1 carrot
  • 3 inches of daikon
  • splash olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (to tatse)
  • approx. 10 leaves basil
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 handful thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • approx. 1.5 pints water
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Chop all root vegetables into large cubes.  Splash with olive oil, cumin, and cayenne.  Roast in the oven for 35 minutes.  Bring about 1.5 pints of water to a boil in a large pot.  Add roasted vegetables to pot and cook 5 minutes.  Add all of the herbs to pot and simmer until cooked.  Remove the bay leaves.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Pulverize the soup (in a blender, with an immersion blender, etc.).  Eat.  Yum!

 

Fall Detox Smoothie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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All ingredients should be organic.

  • 1 cup green grapes
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 pear
  • 2 cups curly and Italian parsley
  • 5 leaves kale
  • 1 big, fat cucumber
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds (pre-soaked)
  • 1 tsp. hemp seeds (pre-soaked)
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 pint water
  • maple syrup to taste (I like 1 tbsp.)

 

Blend all ingredients and enjoy!  Yummy!

 

It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Aint Got That Jing

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Karuna’s 500-Hour Five Elements Shiatsu Certification Program just commenced its third weekend training. The focus of the training was on the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) concept of Jing. Jing, the Water element, is stored within the kidneys and “is said to be the material basis for the physical body and is yīn in nature, which means it nourishes, fuels, and cools the body…Jīng is also believed by some to be the carrier of our heritage (similar to DNA )” (1) Considered highly important for longevity, “one is said to be born with a fixed amount of jīng (pre-natal jīng, also sometimes called yuan qi) and also can acquire jīng from food and various forms of stimulation (exercise, study, meditation.)” (1) In addition to shiatsu technique focused specifically on promoting the generation of Jing, supporting faculty member Chris Marano of Clearpath Herbals lectured on indigenous species of herbs that offer medicinal properties that promote the balance,  health and generation of Jing. In tandem with Chris’s teachings, students were given a recipe for a “Summer Jing Smoothie” and a “Jing Energy Bar”, both concocted by Eileen Muir. Here are the recipes!

Summer Jing Smoothie
Makes 4 Servings
All ingredients should be organic.
• 3 cups coconut water
• 1⁄2 cup blueberries
• handful goji berries
• 1⁄2 apple
• 1 inch ginger root
• 4 kale leaves
• 6 mint leaves
• 2 tbsp dried nettles
• handful walnuts
• 1 tsp chia seeds
• 1 tsp black sesame seeds
• 1 tbsp. flax oil
• 1 tsp hemp powder
• 1 tbsp dark green powder
• 1 tsp maca powder
Blend and enjoy!
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Jing Energy Bars
Makes 2 Servings
All ingredients should be organic.
• 1⁄4 cup walnuts
• 1 oz. raw coconut butter
• 1 tbsp raw blue agave nectar
• 1 tbsp raw black sesame seeds
• 1 tbsp raw sunflower seeds
• 1 tbsp raw pistachios
• 2 tbsp raw goji berries
Pulverize all the nuts and seeds in a suribachi or mortar & pestle. Mix these with the
remaining ingredients and squish them into the shape of an energy bar!
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It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that Jing – Chris Marano

Fermenting!

Friday, September 20th, 2013

It’s harvest season! Yay! What a great time to ferment your vegetables!! Here is a good video on how easy it is!

Richard Rosen Workshop Thursday 2/7-Friday 2/8

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Richard Rosen is joining us next Thursday and Friday to teach a Pranayama workshop at Karuna!

Here are a few videos to inspire you to join us in this practice.

Pranayama 101 with Richard Rosen from Naada Yoga on Vimeo.

Reflections on practice: Ujjayi, Viloma and Brahmari Breath

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

As part of the last 200 hour Teacher Training at Karuna students were asked to reflect on their experience of three different methods of pranayama: Ujjayi, Viloma and Brahmari. Aurora Sjostrom shared these reflections

My Pranayama experience recently has been profound. I have enjoyed Ujjayi for quite some time now- the sound of the breath like waves of the ocean. It is supremely soothing, but sometimes so soothing that sleep creeps in. At bedtime this can be really nice, but in class not so much. I have found Ujjayi is a good tool to pull out of my pocket during the day when I need to take a moment to calm down. Villoma has profound effects- I can really feel the energy grow with the inhale in segments. My mind feels much more alert. In contrast, exhaling in segments (especially 3 parts) is so calming- I feel my heart settle, my eyes soften. The feeling I get when I get into the groove with Villoma on the inhale and the exhale, each parcel being equal in space and softness, each sip of air equal to the others- it is supremely beautiful and I feel like I could go on forever. Sometimes, however, my mind is too busy to handle Villoma, but when its good its so good! My experience with Brahmari has changed so much. I remember Eileen once saying shre tried to find the OM in the sound of a chainsaw- the OM in Brahmari is so beautiful. I start slow, quiet. Each breath becomes longer than the last, the sound louder, the reverberations deeper. I pull the air in and feel myself expand in space, I exhale and sound engulfs my being. I can find a kind of quiet that is so unique- I find myself feeling out of place when I return to normal breath- like the world is somehow less real. I very recently had a moment in Savasana that was a completely new experience. Upon being instructed to do so I placed one hand on my belly and the other on my heart, and I breathed into the space under my hands. After a few breaths I found a warm light growing in my chest, filling my experience with a kind of loving and softness I had never found. The softness of this moment stays with me. I found my heart, my tiny atman, and I held it in my hands and smiled. I was there for a moment, and eventually we were instructed to roll to our sides and come up to sitting. I thought ‘No- I want to stay in this warmth forever now that I know it is here’ but I rolled over anyway. I sat up slowly and with my eyes closed bowed my head to my pressed palms, and I could have wept for all the sweetness in the world.

The Five Contemplations: Food Blessing by Thich Nhat Hahn

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

This food is the gift of the whole universe: the earth, the sky and much hard work.
May we live in a way that makes us worthy to receive it.
May we transform our own unskilled states of mind and learn to eat with moderation.
May we take only foods that nourish us and prevent illness.
We accept this food so that we may realize the path of understanding and love.

~Bless this food~

Jessica Smith shared this blessing with us. Jess is a Yoga teacher and macrobiotic cook in Ithica, NY and a graduate of Karuna’s 200hr TT. Photo by Derek Goodwin

Vegan Holiday Feast!

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Almond Nog
Soak 1 cup almonds 8 hours. Strain. Place in blender
Add 1/2 cup dates soaked for 30 minuets. Strain. Add to blender
Add 1/2 vanilla bean or tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp grated nutmeg
3 cups water
Blend, strain if you wish. Chill and enjoy.

Country Style Cashew Gravy
2 cups water
1/2 cup cashew
1 tbsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp soy sauce or gomasio
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp cornstarch

Soak cashews 30 min. Strain. Add to blender. Add addition ingredients. Blend on high for 2 to 3 minuets. Pour into saucepan and cook on medium to high heat stirring constantly until thick. Serve over loaves, potatoes or biscuits.

*

Savory Shepherd’s Pie
Filling :
1 small or medium chopped onion
3 small carrots
1/2 cup spinach chopped
1 stalk celery chopped
1 large tomato chopped
2tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup cooked (or canned) lentils
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp soy sauce

Topping:
3 medium potatoes chopped
1/4 cup soy milk
1tbsp butter or olive oil
Salt to taste

Optional layer of corn

Preheat oven to 350 *f. In medium pot of water, boil the chopped potatoes until they can be pierced with easily with a fork. In another medium saucepan, sauté the onions, carrots, spinach, celery and tomatoes in the oil. Once carrots are tender, add the mashed lentils, basil, salt and soy sauce. Stir and simmer without a lid until the liquid cooks off.

Meanwhile, in a food processor or a medium bowl, mash the potatoes, milk salt and butter with a masher. Set aside. Pour the veggie mixture into a lightly oiled pie plate and then layer the mashed potatoes over top.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

*Photo from www.veganfamilyfavorites.com

Recipes Contributed by Jamie Tancredi, Karuna Yoga Teacher.

Leek Miso Soup

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Leek Miso Soup from Wild Flavors by Didi Emmons

Makes 4 Servings

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium leeks, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces, green and white parts seperated

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup yellow split peas

2 teaspoons freshly minced ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

pinch ground cloves

1 cup chopped carrots, in 1/4-inch coins

2 heaping teaspoons mugi (barley) or soybean miso

Freshly cracked black pepper

4 handfuls chopped green herbs (such as arugula, chickweed, cilantro, mustard, or sprouts) or 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary  (optional)

1. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add white part of the leeks and the garlic. Cook until the leeks soften, about 5 minutes.

2.Add the yellow split peas, ginger, cumin, cloves, and 51/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes. The split peas should still have some crunch.

3. Add the carrots and simmer another 3 minutes.

4. Add 1/2 cup or so more water if the soup has become too thick. Dissolve the miso in 1 tablespoon water and stir into soup along with the green parts of the leeks. Then remove pot from heat. Whisk in more miso and fresh cracked pepper to taste (be careful not to boil the miso; it will lose its health benefits.)

5. Serve the soup in big bowls topped with the chopped greens or herbs.