Archive for the ‘Health & Wellness’ Category

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.

Ayurveda Meal Time Prayer

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Ayurveda Meal Time Prayer

Anam Brahma

Raso Vishnu

Pakto Devo Maheshvaraha

Evam Jnatva Tu-yo-bhunkte

Anadosho Na Lipyate


The food is consciousness

The plasma in the body is the Protector

The fire which digests the food is the destroyer

of the impurities in the food

If you know this

The food becomes pure consciousness


Yatha Pinde Tatha Brahmade

(as in the microcosm so in
the macrocosm)
Blessing contributed by Jamie Tancredi, Karuna Yoga teacher

Fire Cider Recipe

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Eileen’s favorite remedy, that she serves in her grandmother’s sherry glasses, part of her enjoyment is watching the blood rise to drinkers’ face and listening to their oo’s and ahh’s as they swallow it!

1 quart Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup Horseradish root grated
1/8 cup of Garlic chopped
1/2 cup of Onion chopped
1/2 cup of Ginger grated
1 tsp Cayenne
1 whole Lemon
1 tsp. Turmeric


1. Place all ingredients in a quart jar and  cover with Apple Cider Vinegar.
2. Cover tightly.
3. Steep for 8 weeks.
4. Strain into clean jar, or, if you like, enjoy unstrained. (more…)

Thanksgiving Recipe: Maple Squash or Pumpkin Pie

Friday, November 16th, 2012
Maple Squash or Pumpkin Pie
2 c. dry mashed organic squash or pumpkin
3 local eggs
1 and 1/3 c. maple syrup (or combine maple syrup and organic brown sugar)
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
dash of ground cloves
2 T. vanilla
1 – 1.5 c. soy creamer (or cream)
Blenderize all ingredients.
Pie Crust (from Tassajara Bread Book)
2 c. unbleached all purpose white flour or ww pastry flour
1/2 c. safflower oil
1/2 c. salt
1/2 c. cold water
While briskly stirring flour and salt with a fork, add oil a small amount at a time.
Continue stirring with fork while adding water until dough clings together (you may
not need all the water). Knead lightly. May be rolled out immediately.
This recipe makes one 9″ pie crust or two 8″ pie crusts.
Drape pie crust over pie pan and crimp edges.
Pour custard into unbaked pie shell and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for about 1 hour
and 15 minutes (or less).
Test to see if custard is done with a cake tester or knife: if it comes out clean, it’s just right.
Cool on a rack before serving. You may press small pieces of candied ginger
into the surface in a circle, when it cools–pretty!
If you don’t want the gluten, omit crust and pour custard into a 9″ pie pan and bake for
about the same amount of time, maybe a little less, testing as above.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Contributed by Susan Yard Harris, Karuna Yoga Teacher

Recipe: Goji and Chia Elixir of Life

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Chia and Gogi drink

2 Tbsp Gogi Berries

2 Tbsp Chia Seeds

16 oz water (room temp or cool) or juice

Pour water or juice into a large jar or glass. Add goji berries and chia seeds and stir or shake immediately. Let mixture sit for at least 10 minutes*. Stir or shake again. Some of the chia may have stuck together, that’s ok. In the future the more you initially stir or shake the less the ingredients will stick together.

Drink and enjoy, and don’t forget to chew to help activate the digestive process!

*chia seeds need at least 10 minutes in liquid to activate, goji berries can be added at any point for desired consistency. This drink can be consumed several hours after it is mixed but consistency will change over time. Experiment with time to achieve your favorite consistency.

Originally used in the highest peaks of the Himalayan Mountains, Gogi berries have been used for thousands of years by traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine. Known for their strength building qualities and properties associated with longevity, goji betties are also an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamin c and dietary fiber.

Chia has recently picked up popularity in the US and is considered to be one of nature’s most perfect foods. Originally grown in Mexico and Guatemala, chia is believed to have been cultivated by the Aztecs as a major food crop and was used to provide strength to warriors and as a medicinal to relieve joint pain. Chia seeds provide heart and brain health support and help to stabilize blood sugar levels. They can be used for their anti-inflammatory properties, assist in weight loss and appetite control, provide energy, and aid with detoxification and elimination of toxins. They are a high quality source of protein, fiber, antioxidants, Omega 3’s, iron, calcium, zinc and phosphorus.

“There are people in the world so hungry that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread” –Mahatma Gandhi Take time this holiday season to feed someone and support your local community!

OmTat Sat

Jamie Tancredi, Karuna Yoga Teacher

Yoga For Gardeners

Thursday, August 9th, 2012


We are so lucky to live in an area that allows us to delight in the pleasures of growing endless varieties of food and flowers in our gardens. For many of us gardening is a practice like yoga; it is an opportunity to enter into communion with the same energy we find in asana, in pranayama, and in meditation. There is satva, lucidity, in the sweetness of a tomato off the vine, still warm from the sun, or in the vibrancy of lupines or the sweet scent of peony. Our practice as gardeners is much like our practice as yogis; we are nurturing and supporting vitality, protecting it and nourishing it, and cultivating space for it. It isn’t difficult to relate the experiences of our yoga practices with those in the garden yet often we loose sight of our physical bodies while in the garden. In order to give support to our plants we sometimes forget to support our muscles, bones, and joints. Much of the work we do in the garden can cause soreness in our bodies. Luckily it is possible to bring your yoga practice into the garden! Jo Schneiderman, a teacher at Karuna, has put together the following recommendations to help you support your body before, during, and after your time in the garden. Here are her recommendations for both reducing gardening’s strains on your body and relieving pain if it does occur:

Before you go into the garden do this one minute sequence:

From Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
1. reach your arms out the sides, roll them so your palms face the ceiling, inhale and lengthen
from the center of your chest to the pads of your fingers.
2. Repeat but add lengthening from the space between your shoulder blades to your fingernails.
3. Lift your arms into Hastasana (arms overhead, palms facing one another), inhale and lengthen
from your feet to your fingers.
4. Hold a railing or the kitchen sink. Walk out so you come to a flat back. Then bend your knees,
continuing to maintain a flat back. Then walk in slightly and bend more so you lower your
buttocks move toward the floor and round the lower back. (Malasana). Repeat in reverse to come up.

Recommendations while gardening:

Sit in Upavista Konasana, Sukhasana or Vajrasana – kneel – on knee pads whenever possible.
Use a wheelbarrow.
Ask someone else to help with heavy lifting.
Avoid bending forward with straight legs – and especially avoid doing this while lifting.
When carrying liquid like compost tea, many small trips are better for your knees and back

After gardening regardless of whether or not you feel sore – attend to your tender areas.

Back – Lie in Savasana resting your calves on a chair seat ( The Woman’s Book of Yoga and Health,
Patricia Walden and Lisa Sparrowe pg 186), or a bolster under your knees.
Shoulders – Supported bridge on a bolster or blanket pile. ( BKS Iyengar Yoga pg. 219)
Knees – Virasana on two bolsters (BKS Iyengar Yoga pg 188)
Hamstrings – urdva prasarita padasana ( The Woman’s Book of Yoga and Health, Patricia Walden and
Lisa Sparrowe pg 164 only closer to the wall depending on hamstring flexibility) against the wall or
viparita karanii (BKS Iyengar Yoga pg. 216-217)
Hips – Supta Baddha Konasana with a lot of support under your thighs and a sandbag in each inner

Sequence by Jo Schneiderman. Illustrations by Erin McNally.

Jo Schneiderman teaches Yoga Level 1 and Specific Needs on Wednesday nights from 5:30-7 at Karuna. She is a seasoned Iyengar Yoga teacher and an avid gardener.

Yoga For the Long Drive

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

It is summertime already which, for many, means family vacations and weekend trips. While the vacation itself will hopefully provide rest and relaxation, getting there can be uncomfortable for our bodies.  The following sequence is for those long drives that often make us sluggish and sore. Find a patch of grass at a rest stop and take a little time to do these stretches, it will revitalize you and hopefully make the drive a lot less stressful on your mind and body. Sequence by Eileen Muir, illustrations by Erin McNally.

1. Car Dog– adjust the height of your hands from the bumper, trunk or the hood. Push away from the car.

2. Parvatasana in Tadasana– Open your armpits, straighten your elbows, press up towards the sky with your palms while rooting down through your feet

3. Gomukhasana Arms in Tadasana– clasp your hands or hold on to your shirt behind your back, switch sides.

4. Reverse Namaste– press your palms together behind your back, roll your shoulders back and soften your lower ribs into your torso.

5. Car Dog

6. Guardrail Baby Backbend– find a sturdy structure (guardrail, fence, bench, boulder etc)  and carefully use it to support a gentle backbend

7. 3 Sun salutations– choose your favorite variation

8. Car Dog– use your car again or explore the many structures available to you at the typical truck stop


Garlic Mustard

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Garlic Mustard
Allaria petlolata,  Brassicaceae [Mustard family]

Maligned as a stubborn invasive, this common herb found along roadsides and edges between field and forest is an unsung hero for both planet and people. A pre-eminent Earth-healing plant, garlic mustard does not deplete but rather enriches soil, returning nutrients to worn-out, people-disturbed areas.  Wherever one finds a stand of garlic mustard, underneath the soil will be richer and darker, and other plants in its vicinity will benefit from the added nutrition.
Garlic mustard is nutritious – and delicious — for people as well. Part garlic-tasting and part mustard-tasting when eaten raw in salads or as a pesto, it provides as much nutrition as any Brassica grown in the garden, rich in vitamins A and C. Cooked as a pot herb, it loses its pungency but retains most of its nutrition.
Medicinally, its pungent nature is warming and stimulating, promoting movement of qi, dissolving congestion, allowing for smoother flow of fluids and healthier-functioning mucous membranes. It  enhances all aspects of digestion, assimilation and elimination, from stomach and liver to small and large intestines, stimulating release of digestive juices. It clears congestion and hoarseness from sinuses, throat and lungs, an effective treatment for enhancing lung health and capacity. It stimulates urination, and the seed helps dissolve urinary tract deposits. Taken hot it promotes circulation and opens the pores, promoting perspiration and the release of toxins. And seed and leaf are rich in antioxidants, helping to keep our blood clean and immune system strong.

Too good to ignore, insult, or abuse, Garlic Mustard quietly calls to us from the forest edges, asking us to generously partake of its food and medicine.

By Chris Marano, Founder of Clearpath Herbals:

A Letter From a Student

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Dear Karuna,

Two years I was read the riot act from my doctor when I went for my annual check-up. Body was creaky, blood pressure, which had always been high normal since my early 20’s, was now high (150/105), my cholesterol numbers were not good but not terrible, and I was about 40 pounds overweight. After promising the doctor to be better, I spent a year getting worse, putting on another 10 pounds or so, and starting to look and feel like my elderly father.  Around 4 months ago on my birthday I made a resolution to eat moderately better and start pranayama, restorative and gentle yoga classes 2X weekly at Karuna on advice of a friend who is also a student at Karuna. A couple of weeks ago I went back to the doctor feeling better than I had felt in years. And the reports were amazing. My weight is down by 25 pounds and my cholesterol numbers are normal (simple dietary changes has a lot to do with this), but the other improvements are definitely the yoga. Amazingly, in just 4 months I have reclaimed a quarter inch back on my height (I still have another quarter inch to go), and most exciting, my blood pressure is spot-on normal by statistic (120/80, and that was on a high stress morning), and personally better than it has been since my teen years when I was super athlete.  Most important for me, I feel at least a decade younger, and I have really only just started. Can’t wait to see how things are after a year.

Chris Marano

Chris is the founder of Clearpath Herbals:

Twist Into Spring Detox- One week later…

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Twist and Detox – One Week Later

It has been one week since the twist workshop and I feel amazing – very open and light. I have been trying to carry over some of these new habits: changing my diet moderately to include more vegetables and fruit, with more basic grains. As far as my diet goes -I have gotten much simpler. Nothing too fussy, just simple and clean.

I have also been taking more time for myself, or what I would like to call “smell the flowers time”. My workload has picked up at my full time job, but even with this extra work and stress, I am taking more time for myself and allowing time to be with myself. Spring brings so many beautiful things that you can miss if you don’t pay attention – in yourself and your surroundings. If my time with the detox has taught me anything, it is to enjoy that time.

The workshop itself had a larger effect on me than I originally thought. I left with a rather large post-class euphoria. I was really affected by the chakra-related twist. I love working with natural rotation/axis. Feeling the natural rotation and momentum that the body has, without much effort, is very powerful. I look forward to next year’s detox and Twist Into Spring workshop.

Paul Menard, Karuna Yoga Teacher, 500 Hout Teacher Training Student