Monthly Archives: December 2013

Cooking, eating and practising Ashtanga

 

Adam is one of the guest players here at Purple Valley this season.  He has been cooking for many years, and this season he is sharing his cooking knowledge here at the retreat centre. We have asked Adam a few questions about food and yoga…

Adam in kitchen

” cooking stretch” 

1. Tell us little about yourself and how you were brought to healthy conscious cooking.

My mother was my influence for eating healthy as she started exploring the world of whole foods when I was a young kid, as an alternative to all the processed foods from the food store.  As a result of this, I have spent my adult life in search of these types of foods.  It also created such a love for food that I decided that I wanted to make my living from being involved in offering these foods to others.  I have worked at all stages of food production, right from organic farming to sourcing to producing foods that I believe in, and can be proud of promoting and sharing them.

2. What kind of food philosophy do you have?

I believe in eating foods that make you feel good and nourish your body.  We are constantly changing every second every day, so I don’t believe in strict rules about what to eat and not to eat. It is best to follow your intuition on what works for you.  Of course you have to identify what is a craving or an aversion and this can take some practice.

3. Some people believe raw food is the best food, while others prefer ayurvedic foods or vegan and so on. What do you think, what, in your opinion, is the healthiest way of living when it comes to food? Also the best yogic food, in your view means….

I like to incorporate the benefits of all of these styles of eating.  For me I choose foods grown and prepared with love.  These foods are not only the most healthy for you, but also the most delicious in my opinion. With regards to foods for a yoga practice I find that eating satvic (pure and light, ayurvedic term ) foods and not eating heavy meals at night definitely helps me have a deeper practice.  So I save my ‘treats’ for Friday nights or Moon evenings 🙂

4. How do you cook? From where do you get your inspiration?

I believe in simple cooking.  I let the ingredients do the work for me.  I love to cook but I think I love going to the market even more.  That is how I decide what I’m going make and that’s where I get my inspiration for what to prepare.  Highlighting seasonal produce is a main focus of mine, just as much as thinking about colours, flavours, balances and textures which I use to structure my menu planning.

5. What is your opinion on food and yoga? How do they complement each other?

Well I have found that yoga helps everything. When it comes to food and yoga I like foods that are nutrient dense and don’t require much energy for my body to digest.  I have been starting my day after practice for many years now with a smoothie, fresh pressed juice and/or some fruits.  These types of foods give me the energy needed to get through my morning and don’t hold me back after my morning practice.  I have also come to love my Sundays as I love to spend the day eating and napping all day long after practice.

6.  A little about your yoga practice…

Every day on the mat is a good day for me.  It reflects life so much that I just keep finding out new things about day to day life and about myself each day.  I like how I can practice anywhere, be it at home, when travelling or at the local shala.  It only requires yourself.  And like anything in life it’s what you put into it is what you get out of it.

8. What is the best thing about Purple Valley?

The people.  Everyone takes great pride in what they do here.  Everyone greets you with a smile and a positive energy.  For me it doesn’t matter where you live, what is important is that you are practising something you love and have good people to spend time with.  It feels like home here at PV.

Meet the staff – wonderful Sashi and Shishikala

The juice bar would not be the same with out him…

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Sashi has many skills, except for making juice

Sashi is one of the people who work here at Purple Valley, he has been around here the longest, together with his beautiful wife Shishikala, they both came to Goa, twenty years ago.

Leaving their home state Karnataka, and the region Bijapur behind him, Bijapur being a big agricultural hub, Sashi felt he did not have any interest in following in his father’s footsteps. After finishing his schooling and junior college, and after his marriage, he decided to settle down in Goa with his wife.

Sashi and Shishikala met at a young age, and it was love at the first sight; fortunately their parents agreed to their union. Shishikala’s family, as well as that of Shashi, are simple people, and with both the families sustaining on agriculture, there was no possibility of a big dowry. Before the wedding Shishikala’s mother asked him what he was expecting from his in-laws in a dowry, and Shasi said proudly, “You are giving me your daughter, this is enough for me…”

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Sashi and Shishikala

At that time Shishikala was 19 and Sashi just 23…. Today Sashi is 43 and with a big sparkle in his eye, he refers to his marriage as a Gold marriage and his wife the Diamond in his crown.

He says that today he treasures his family the most – “God has given me a wonderful wife and three wonderful children.”

With a proud voice he says that all three are doing extremely well at school. Looking back at his life, he is very happy with the decision to settle down in Goa, the education system here is much better, according to him, and his children are also getting the opportunity to learn English, something that would not have been possible in his village in Karnataka.

Today Sashis extended family has chosen to move to Goa as well, for better prospects, with most of them working as vegetable sellers in Mapusa and  in the south of Goa. They are now eleven family members staying together.

Shashi says that when he first came to Purple Valley, which was 10 years ago, the retreat was just being built. “I came as a laborer, helping out with the construction. Looking around the retreat area he proudly says, “I laid many of the foundation stones to the buildings here, the Ganesh house, the Cottages, the Shala… and still during the off-season I help out with whatever has to be done.”

During the busy season, he is the one who greets all the participants as they come out after their morning practice. As soon as they reach the terrace of the retreat, they find a smiling Shasi who offers them a fresh coconut.

During the day Shasi is in charge of the juice bar, it has been his responsibility for the past five years. With sharp attention, he keeps an eye on the pool area, making sure that the guests have whatever they need, and their favourite juices are always available during their stay at the retreat….

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The Juice Man Sashi …

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Sashi and Shishikala

 

A different Tiramisu for us sweet lovers…


A sweet tooth at Purple Valley….

Purple Valley is more then just yoga, every Tuesday our cooks are sharing some of their favourite recipes with all, who wants to improve their cooking skills.

Below is one of the highly appreciated desserts here at the centre, easy to make and delicious…

Perfect recovery food for a hard working yogi.

Raw Tiramisu:  Serves 4

Ingredients:

Base
1 cup ground almond meal
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 cup whole flax seeds
1/2 cup dates
1 tsp coffee grounds (optional)
1 tbsp coconut oil

Add all dry ingredients to food processor.  Add dates one at a time.  Slowly add coconut oil.

Cream

1 cup soaked cashews (soaked for 4 hours)

1 vanilla bean or 1 tps (scant) of vanilla extract

200 mls coconut milk (little less than 1 cup)

Place ingredients into a blender and mix together.

Chocolate Sauce
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 c coconut oil
2 tbsp agava or other sweetener (honey, maple syrup)

Place all ingredients into a bowl and blend together by hand.

Using 4 small bowls (or cups), begin by placing the base in the bottom.  Place a spoonful of cream onto the base and then drizzle the chocolate sauce on top.  Best kept cold until ready to serve.

photo

Yummi, Yummi, Yummi

Sweet Sweet Tiramisu

Sweet Sweet Tiramisu

 

 

 

Where a yoga dream becomes a yoga reality….

 

I used to love reading One Thousand And One Nights when I was little….. 

In fact, I still do though it does not happen nearly as often as it used to.Tales of kings and queens in far away places, of forbidden love and endless passion, of magic lamps, flying carpets and mystic sadhus walking on fire…The never ending adventures of Aladdin, Sinbad the Sailor and Ali Baba got me completely spellbound, and I had no problem picturing myself in their exotic world of spices, crowded markets, beautiful palaces and colorful garments.

During this past week at Purple Valley, I was brought back to this exotic world again.With its amazing rooms, terraces and beautiful gardens, the resort could be the palace of king Sharyar and his queen Schereazade, or maybe princess Jasmine. It is indeed a lil’ taste of the world of Aladdin, though slightly safer and without the stressful markets and sadhus walking on fire (ok, so a fire was lit when this week’s teacher R. Alexander Medin did a fire puja, or an “oma”, on the terrace, but that involved walking around a fire rather than on top or through one).

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Santosh and Krupa preparing the Oma altar

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Rangoli painted for the Oma ritual

The day would start off with half an hour of “jappa”, followed by Mysore practice. The stroll down to the shala, snuggly situated all the way at the bottom of the garden, was a meditation in itself and set the mind in just the right mood for what was to come. After a well-guided practice by Alexander and his lovely assistant Kaiza, breakfast would be served on the main terrace, a buffet of exotic fruits, nuts, toast, home-made musli, juices and hot drinks. On some days, there would be delicious banana muffins fresh from the oven, or if lucky, the chef’s chocolate-avocado-strawberry porridge, a dish that made me have seconds and thirds when I thought I was full.

Between breakfast and lunch, one could take one of the many scooters to the beach, or read a book by the pool in the garden.The latter became a choice of preference, as one wouldn’t want to miss lunch…The meals at this place are a culinary heaven and beat those of One Thousand And One Nights by far. A variety of fresh salads, chutneys, dips, pesto hummus and normal hummus, vegetable soups, various rice dishes, vegan tiramisu, fruit salads..Every day would offer new, healthy surprises on the table, always a combination of Western and Indian vegetarian dishes. If you’re on a diet, this is not the place to go as you would miss out on an essential aspect of the Purple Valley experience.

At 16 p.m., the day’s second yoga session would begin. Led by Alexander’s melodious voice, class started off with chanting in sanskrit, followed by a lecture in Yoga philosophy. Alexander’s knowledge in the classic works of Yoga is beyond what I have ever encountered and it is always just as captivating to hear him speak of the Yoga Sutras or the Bhagavad Gita with such enthusiasm. The class would end with a little bit of “soft” yoga asanas, just in time for a quick shower before the gong called for dinner.

When on a yoga holiday, one heads to bed at a reasonable hour. However, for those wishing to postpone the journey to bed with an hour or so, they could settle comfortably among purple cushions on the terrace as a movie was on the repertoire every other night. In my case, I preferred sneaking up to my balcony for a lil’ hour of reading or dreaming under the stars. If I had brought One thousand And One Nights, this would be the perfect time to get absorbed in its magic. But since I didn’t, I had to do with my own, dreamy mind. And that seemed to work just as well.

Katinka Sætersdal Remøe is an adventure-seeking, wine-loving yogini with a passion for the unknown. Her curiosity has led her into many peculiar situations, from having tea with Sudanese ministers and road tripping through India’s heartland searching for guerrilla soldiers to crossing the Alps on skis. She loves contrasts, which is why you find a mix of high heels, climbing shoes, cowboy hats and yogamats in her closet, and strongly believes it enriches her life. Katinka made a visit to Purple Valley Yoga Center in Goa. where she joind the Alexander Medin retreat, now she is back musing on her mat in Mysore but will be back in Romsdalen, Norway, in a couple of months to continue teaching at Romsdal Yoga, bake apple cake at Sødahl-huset, and daydream on mountaintops. Check out her website and blog or connect with her on Facebook.

Below you can see one of interviews we made with Alexander Medin, while he was in Purple Valley in Goa…

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