How we live our days

I am starting my day with a short meditation, or rather than calling it meditation, it is more of a sitting in silence.

I have also been ending my days with silent sitting.

And it has been interesting to watch how thoughts and emotions, created by the same thought, simply come and go. Like waves.

A few years ago I met Masterji here in Goa, an 85 year old man, an astrologer, sitting in a small room at the very fancy hotel Taj, a simple man. I came to him for the first time in despair. Maria Boox, our first teacher this season gave me his number (as far as I can remember). Astrology was never something that I really thought I would consult, although I was always interested in it. But that very first time a few years ago, I was in such bad mental and physical condition, and nothing seemed to give me  peace of mind.

So I ended up with Masterji, and he began to guide me with the help of an astrological chart. Masterji has seen a lot, met many people and besides having a specific and very special connection with the stars, he is a truly wise man.

I went back to him one month ago as well…  Referring to life in this specific moment, he told me:  ‘Karolina, sit in silence and observe’. So this is what I have been trying to do. In the past month I paid Masterji many visits, not to talk about astrological charts: he has been the person who has with his stories, been guiding me through present life. And he is an amazing story teller.  So much so that I will write more about Masterji in a later blog post.

I have been reading a lot lately, questioning life, I suppose this is what happens when you are facing a new life situation. You wonder what will happen now, what to do with the future, should I be here or should I be there. Then I remember Masterjis’ words, ‘sit in silence and observe’.

Sri Ramana Maharshi was an Indian enlightened man, he was nine years old when he went through a realisation and an awakening. He left his family and sat in silent meditation for many years at the holy mountain of Arunachala in Tirivanumalai, Tamil Nadu. Today this little village has become a hub for Adavaita Vedanta followers, and devotees of both Shiva and Sri Ramana Maharshi.

sri ramana maharshi

Sri Ramana Maharshi

I was reading a conversation between Sri Ramana and one of his devotees about life and renunciation. Where the devotee is in two minds drawn between the worldly things and renunciation. He feels that there is no possibility to find a closeness to the universe without leaving both family and work. He feels that renunciation is the supreme means of breaking all the attachments.

Sri Ramana answers him –  It might be so for one whose mind is already free from entanglements, but you have not grasped the deeper thought of renunciation: great souls who have: abandoned the life of the world, have done so not from aversion to family life but because of their large hearted and all- embracing love for mankind and all creatures. When you feel that equal love for all, when your heart is so expanded, you will not feel like giving up this or that, you will simply drop of from secular life, and you will feel that the whole world is your home. The life of action does not need to be renounced, if you meditate  every day, you can carry on with your duties. If you meditate in the right manner, then the current of mind induced will continue to flow, even in the midst of your work. The same line as you take in your meditation will be expressed in your activities. As you go on you will find that the attitude toward people, events and objects will gradually change. Your actions will follow your meditation. A man should surrender the personal selfishness which binds him to the world, giving up the false self is true renunciation…..

These lines made me really think of how I am approaching daily life,  and how I would like to approach situations which I face daily… As well the importance of the intention set in ones’ daily practice. And how important it is to always remain with that intention – throughout the day and throughout life. Bringing ones’ awareness to ones’ actions performed during every minute of the day, will make us more aware about different patterns in our behaviour. Both good and bad.

Rolf my teacher said the other day during a pranayama class :

“Every time we turn up to do our practice, remember we are a part of something bigger. It is not your practice, it is not a selfish act, instead, we are contributing to improve the collective vibration of the universe. When we sit down in contemplation, perhaps meditation will happen, and perhaps we will be able to feel how our limitations are dissolving and we become a part of the vibration. We realize that we are all the same, in different forms. The yogi sitting in the Himalayas is not looking out for enlightenment, he is not performing a selfish act. Enlightenment is a natural state of being. The yogi, with his practice is contributing to the collective oneness, improving the energy of the universe. When you start to think of your practice in this terms, perhaps it will give you a different meaning….perhaps not….”

These words also made me think of mine own approach to the practice, my state of being when I wake up, when I turn up for practice on my mat, when I perform my daily work. The deeper meaning of our practice…. today there is so much focus in the yoga world on asanas only. But what does the practice really mean to you?

So to finish of today’s blog post I wanted to share with you some words of Sri Ramana Maharshi, which he said to his mother after she came to see him in Arunachala. Keeping in mind that this is a mother seeking her young son, for the first time after many years, asking him to come back home.

” The ordainer controls the fate of the souls in accordance with their “parabdhakarma” ( destiny to be worked out in this life, resulting from the balance sheet of actions in his past lives)

Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try as you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what you can to prevent it. This is certain. The best course therefore is to remain silent”

You have to read the lines a few times, to really feel them…

With love

Karolina

 

 

 

A new beginning

This year I will be completing my 12 years in India. Sadly, I must admit that I still cannot speak Hindi freely, a few words and phrases,  but I do understand more than people think. I can do my shopping in Hindi. I can speak little with the staff….but I am shy… And once again, I am determined that this year I will learn more. What I have learned (and learnt to love) over the past years however, is invaluable: eating spicy hot food, peeing at ‘squat toilets’, traveling in loud, crowded buses. The ability to live without electricity, to sleep between sticky, humid sheets during the monsoon… and yes… I have certainly stopped waiting for people,  I have become far more patient, although I wish I would be little better at controlling myself, once I do lose it…

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goa sunset…

I feel I have become more accepting, towards myself and others, I am more humble, and definitely more generous with words, feelings and even money for the beggars, although it is against my principles to support begging, I have become better to view life from different angles… I do not take things for granted, and while coming back to the West, I see the amazing benefits, schools, cleanliness, financial freedom, and I know that some people will never experience Western wealth. I see myself lucky and privileged to have had the opportunity to be a part of both.

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sunset continues….

Coming back to Goa and India this year, my life took a very unexpected turn, a very painful one and unwanted in the moment. Transformations can be very hard, challenging, and particularly when we do not want that change to happen,  when we are happy in the moment just as it is…

But sometimes life  and Universe is having something else in mind, we can either fight what is coming and increase the pain, or reaming silent, and watch it. I did both.

The second option worked best.

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….and continues…

 

I was reading a book, Pointers of Ramesh Baltsekar, which a friend of mine – Gautam Sachdeva has written. He has during many years been a disciple of Ramesh  Baltsekar and the Indian  Philosophy, Advaita Vedanta.

This he wrote about Destiny – everything is predetermined. Right from the time of conception, whether the conception is aborted or a baby is born – till it dies, everything is predetermined. The amount of pleasure and pain that has been assigned in ones life is predetermined. One is hurt because it was ones destiny to be hurt. If it is not ones destiny to be hurt, no power on earth can hurt you. Though everything is predetermined, knowing that will not help you in anyway, as you will never know what is predetermined….Though everything is predetermined, knowing it will not help you in any way, as you will never know what is predetermined.

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….almost set….the beauty of nature …..

Which means  we need to allow life to flow with acceptance. Going through all these changes in life, fast and unexpected, yoga became my tool towards that acceptance. It helped me to watch my behaviour, from mornings where was just lying on my yoga mat, without moving, with no energy, to a slow regain of senses, breath and movement. The asanas are bringing greater awareness, to the present moment. They have been helping me to scatter my thought on the mat, and the same awareness and breath, I could use  in life, while not being on the mat. It was not easy, but it worked.

A man I met in Mumbai once told me , you should leave the asanas and go deeper in meditation, but we are all the spot in life where we are just suppose to be. Yoga, no yoga, meditation, work, family relation ships….everything is exactly the way it is suppose to be… but it can still be very painful, before we accept it.

So opening up Purple Valley this season feels very special, it is not only an asana practice, and some random postures taught here – it is a tool which is helping  us in how to deal with situations in life . This is what  we are practising here in the shala, with some of the most dedicated teachers of ashtanga yoga…

It is such a gift to be able to be here at Purple Valley one more year….with all this wonderful practice.

23 days to go ….and a new season will start…

 

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….and finally the best sunset company in Goa… Rolf , my guru in all practices.

Guru Purnima – full moon 12/07/14

gurus in action

Gurus in action

vande gurunam charanaravinde
sandarsita svatmasukhava bodhe
nihsreyase jangalikayamane
samsara halahala mohasantyai
 
abahu purusakaram
sankhacakrasi dharinam
sahasra sirasam svetam
pranamami patanjalim
om

I bow to the lotus feet of the Gurus
The awakening happiness of one’s own Self revealed
Beyond better, acting like the Jungle physician
Pacifying delusion, the poison of Sansara
Taking the form of a man to the shoulders
Holding a conch, a discus, and a sword
One thousand heads white
To Pantanjali, I salute.

Today is one of the most auspicious days for all spiritual aspirants – Guru Purnima.

In India there is an old and widely spread guru- disciple tradition. Within the ashtanga system, we, as well, follow parampara. Meaning that the knowledge of ashtanga yoga is passed down (undiluted) through successive generations, from Krishnamacharya and his teachers to Patthabhi Jois, Sharat and all the teachers following this specific lineage.

Two gurus

Guru Purnima is  a Hindu festival dedicated to spiritual and academic teachers. This festival is traditionally celebrated by Hindu and Buddhist devotees as a celebration, and of gratitude to their teachers. The Guru Principle is a thousand times more active on the day of Gurupournima than on any other day. The word Guru is derived from two words, ‘Gu’ and ‘Ru’. The Sanskrit root “Gu” means darkness or ignorance. “Ru” denotes the remover of that darkness. Therefore one who removes darkness of our ignorance is a Guru. Gurus are believed by many to be the most necessary part of our lives ( here we are not talking about yoga only) . This day gives us, all disciples, an opportunity to offer a puja ( ritual prayer),  and say thank you to the teacher we have now, and have had in this life and other lifetimes. This is also a very important day for all academics, which during Guru Purnima thank their present teachers and all the teachers that have been important to them throughout their work and studies.

Guru Purnima is celebrated as a memory of the birth of the great sage Vyasa, who wrote mainly the Mahabharata, the 18 Puranas and the Srimad Bhagavata. It is always celebrated on the day of the full moon in July- August.

This is the routine for Guru Purnima,  Swami Sivananda recommends ( from about.com/hindu) :

“Wake up at Brahmamuhurta (at 4 a.m.) on this most holy day. Meditate on the lotus feet of your Guru. Mentally pray to him for his Grace, through which alone you can attain Self-realization. Do vigorous Japa and meditate in the early morning hours.

“After bath, worship the lotus feet of your Guru, or his image or picture with flowers, fruits, incense and camphor. Fast or take only milk and fruits the whole day.
In the afternoon, sit with other devotees of your Guru and discuss with them the glories and teachings of your Guru.

“Alternatively, you may observe the vow of silence and study the books or writings of your Guru, or mentally reflect upon his teachings. Take fresh resolves on this holy day, to tread the spiritual path in accordance with the precepts of your Guru.

“At night, assemble again with other devotees, and sing the Names of the Lord and the glories of your Guru. The best form of worship of the Guru is to follow his teachings, to shine as the very embodiment of his teachings, and to propagate his glory and his message.”

rolf monsoon

Rolf – my guru in a monsoon Goa…

Perhaps you will decide to wake up early tomorrow in the hours of Brahmamuhurta, before sunrise when the world is still silent and asleep.  And perform your own little Guru puja…lighting an incense and candle, in gratitude to all the teacher you have had, which have helped you find clarity and light in moments of confusion and darkness.

Me and Rolf

Also it is said that this specific day, is a very good day to intensify ones sadhana, ones spiritual practice. It might be a good opportunity to start that sitting practice or pranayama which you have been planning to do for such a long time.

Not forgetting all the farmers on this day – we also celebrate the life giving monsoon rain, which makes it easier to accept the fact that it has been raining in Goa, nonstop for the past 4 days… 🙂

Rolf med elever i Candolim

Rolf with his students in Candolim

 

Season that went and season to come

Hello all fellow yogis,

I hope that all of you are doing well, where ever you are in the world.  Meeting the day to day life with a big smile 🙂

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A big smile during Holy celebration at Purple Valley..

It has now been 1 month since we made our new teachers line up public, and already one of the retreats is almost fully sold out, only 5 non residential spots left for David/Gretchen and John Scott.

Starting working at Purple Valley in September 2013, already as an Ashtanga lover, I did not think it was possible to become more fascinated and affected by this wonderful practice. But for sure, from experience, it was possible. I can not even think of how it will be after the upcoming season. Having practised with so many  teachers, this season, it is clearly that the start of  ashtanga source, is the same.  Being different individuals, all of them are creating their own approach – but the trunk is the same.

The source of ashtanga – Guruji…and now Sharat.

The past season , and my first season as a Director of PV,  was amazing. We had many great teachers visiting the centre, and many great students as well.  But now we are preparing for the upcoming season. Opening up the doors of PV on the 25 October with lovely Maria Boox.

Follow this link to see the full schedule www.yogagoa.com/courses/

Laruga Glaser, from Stockholm,  will be PV for the first time.  Laruga and Mark Robberds will be teaching the Christmas workshop together. And also Maty Ezrat will be coming back. Petri will be coming  ( hopefully) with Wambui and their little Sesam,  for the full month of February 2015. Kino and Tim will be here whole of January 2015. David Robson, Mark and Joanne Darby, Alexander Medin and John Scott- two times in one season.  Not to forgetting Joey Miles. Can hardly wait for the coming season to start 🙂 and I wonder if miracles will happen on the mat, and of course outside.

Down a video with beautiful Laruga…

 

Finally for all of you who have been here and know our wonderful manager Santosh… he is now a married man. This was the first wedding of Purple Valley and both Santosh the Manager and Santosh the Gardener ( who also got married) are now going to live happily ever after 🙂

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Santosh still as a single man 🙂

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Sonu the maffioso and Santosh

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Santosh weds Pinky 🙂

Maria Boox at Purple Valley Yoga Center in Goa

Maria Boox is one of the legendary yoga names in Sweden. She was one of the first Scandinavian yoga teachers to open a yoga shala in Scandinavia. She has practiced both with  BKS Iyengar, is authorized by Patthabi Jois and is now studying intensely with the O.P Tiwari. Maria was one of the participants in the David Keil and Gretchen Suarez retreat earlier this season, where we got an opportunity to both have a chat with her and make a few videos. Maria will be visiting Purple Valley for the first time in April 2014.

Soon in Purple Valley

Soon in Purple Valley

1. What brought you to yoga?

A deep longing for something beyond the materialistic world. A deep longing to get to know who I am. I started to practice both yoga, pranayama and meditation in the beginning of the 80’s. For many years, during longer periods I was living in India, deepening my understanding of yoga. My yoga path took me to all different teachers in the world.  The first Master was Mr. Iyengar, in Pune. I stayed at his Pune Institute almost a year. There I got a certification from the great Iyengar to teach yoga. That’s how I started to teach yoga.  After some time I met Guruji, Sri K Patthabi Jois: with him I felt like I was coming home, he became my teacher – and he still is. After 15 years of intense yoga studies, I was one of the first teachers in Skandinavia to open up a yoga shala, in Stockholm. At that time yoga was not known to people, and in the beginning we were very few on the mat in the mornings. My very first classes were for free and after some time I had a donation box. But that didn’t work so well so after some time I started to charge for classes.

Supta Kurmasana

Supta Kurmasana

2.How would you describe your way of teaching, what is specific for it?

For me yoga represents many things, one is to get to know yourself and develop faith within and without yourself. To practice asana gives us a connection with the body and the mind, beyond that, goes pranayama and meditation. The intention of the yoga path is to live in harmony with whatever is. Yoga is a tool in life, and with faith, it can take us beyond our thoughts and help us to break old patterns. The ones that seek for answers to the great mystery of life, will find answers through dedicated practice. As yoga students for life, we can take great inspiration from Patanjalis’ Yoga Sutra 1:14 “First when a correct method is practiced during a longer time, with dedication, without interruption, with an eager and positive attitude, we will have a possibility to succeed”. My teaching is based on love, and to see each student for what they are in this moment. Not to push or force anyone to be what they are not. Everyone is perfect as they are. If fear is in the way to love life fully, I as a teacher can challenge that fear on the mat, as well as guide students in their practice, to go through obstacles safely and with respect. I hope to be able to plant seeds of possibilities for each student, encouragement and suggestions, rather than expectations or directions. Practicing ahimsa – love, compassion and understanding towards ourselves and others and being present with every breath, will lead us towards the vital connection with what is bigger than us, which brings a deeper faith and trust towards ourselves and our lives

3. From where do you get your inspiration today?

Today the big inspiration for me is still – Guruji.

Maria and Guruji

Maria and Guruji

I am hoping to pass on his teaching of ashtanga yoga, the way he would have wanted me to teach. I also get inspired by Sharath and Saraswati. Last year I met Shri OP Tiwari. Tiwarji is 81 years and has dedicated his life to teach pranayama and yoga philosophy. He is a very wise and kind man, always smiling and with time to answer questions. In the meeting with Tiwarji I moved deeper into pranayama, and will go back to him for further studies of the light, of this wonderful yoga path. Below is a short video of Maria about yoga… you can see more of her as well as other teachers on youtube.com/yogagoa  

Chatting and practising with Joey Miles

 

Joey Miles is one of the teachers visiting Purple Valley this season. He came to Purple Valley last April, and fell in love with the place, and Purple Valley fell in love with him.  We had a little chat with Joey, asking him about inspiration and yoga….

Joey will be coming to Purple Valley in November 2014 🙂

joey

1. What brought you into yoga? Why Ashtanga?

I started a daily yoga practice when I was 17 years old, it was my new years resolution.  I  wanted to quit smoking, get more flexible and improve my posture to have better presence on stage (I did a lot of drama). I also felt a bit lost back then, and something made me think yoga would help, so I started copying hatha yoga poses from a book. A year later at Goldsmiths University I went to my first ‘yoga class’ and it was ashtanga based. I loved it and replaced my old sequence for the primary series. I didn’t give the style any thought – it is just what I was exposed to. Looking back it was perfect for me to start at that time in my life.

2. A little about your back ground.

Besides Yoga I did a lot of juggling and circus arts, physical theatre and martial arts. I was quite a high energy kid and I grew up in Oxford so I was exposed to quite a liberal and tolerant culture – I was a teenager in the 1990’s so I caught the tail end of the rave culture and free party scene. Eastern iconography and the whole ‘escape from samsara’ kind of caught my attention there in the rave and dance culture, but of course they offered no method of how to practice. There was emphasis on altered states of consciousness and the mystical experience but nothing to ground me – hence my need, age 17, to find a grounding practice. Having done martial arts I realized a physical practice was required, it worked!

3. Tell us little about your time in Mysore.

As soon as I finished my degree I raised some money and went to Mysore, I was 22. I was already assisting Hamish Hendry at AYL, and he was there during my first trip. Having 3 months in Mysore and going back to the beginning of the practice, then re-learning everything pose by pose was a great experience. Although Guruji was then in his 80’s and teaching in quite an active way, Sharat was my teacher – he really pushed me to my limits and transformational changes occurred in me physically, emotionally and spiritually. I had always been drawn towards Buddhism and Buddhist meditation techniques that did not contradict my atheist or material world-view. But studying, memorising and chanting parts of the Bhagavad Gita and various Sloka’s slowly seeped into me, in a way it was during that trip I took my first Darshana. (You see the divine everywhere, in everything – it is kind of hard to explain!)

4. How would you describe your way of teaching, what is specific for it? What are you emphasizing?

I try to be supportive and encouraging. I enjoy bringing sound and detailed alignment principles to the asana practice. I ask some really simple questions – why do you practice yoga? My approach depends upon the student and that is why I have such a passion for Mysore style. This practice does take time. When appropriate (such as during a retreat environment) I also take great pleasure in leading students into stillness (sitting meditation practice).

5. From where/who do you get your inspiration when it comes to yoga and teaching?

I am inspired, obviously, by the lineage of Krishnamachaarya, Pattabhi Jois and Sharat. I owe them a great debt. I also feel deeply touched by Hamish Hendry who taught me how to do this job and hold space for people’s practice, he was my mentor when I was starting out, and he still really inspires me. Alaric Newcombe and the Iyengar method have been a huge source of insight. Alaric taught me to see clearly, he would ask: What direction is this part of the body moving? I had no idea, but he patiently showed me how to see directions of extension in modern postural yoga. Carlos Pomeda is a big influence, he teaches meditation and yoga philosophy which such enthusiasm and skill. His rigour is infectious! Other inspiration comes through Julia Cameron’s method in ‘The Artists way’, Gabriell Roth’s 5 rhythms dance practice and …. Everywhere really. It is in our job description to stay inspired and share that!

Joey kashib asana

6. Last year you came to Purple Valley for the first time, what did you like most about the place.

I love the South Indian location, the warmth, the scents the sounds. The Shala itself has absorbed the sadhana, you can feel that when you walk in, its oozing out the walls and that feeds the soul. Those Sri Yantra designs on the wall are pretty great, I went to the market and took one home for my practice space! The sounds during the sunrise when we begin practice make you feel like you’re in the jungle – try chanting ‘jangalikaayamane’ during the opening chant and you just taste it. That makes me smile and fills me with enthusiasm. The people at PV are wonderful. All the staff were so kind and helpful – one guy from the kitchen even came to class (I have forgotten his name) – a place where they let the staff come to class just feels right to me. The students were a joy – witnessing students relax – as they did at PV is a real treat. The food deserves a mention – outstanding. The walk through the garden to the shala, past roaming chickens and beautiful plants and flowers – The evening cinema / just being outside at night, in the warmth was pretty fabulous. Not sure what I liked best, but those were a few of my favorite things.

The below video is of Joey, practising at Purple Valley, Advanced A…. or 3 series…

Creating a dehydrated flax seed cracker :)

Personally, I am not a ‘raw food only’ person, but I am fascinated by raw food cooking and diet. For me, a mix of both cooked and raw food is the best. Raw food diet in the middle of the day gives me more time to actively digest the meal… whilst in the evening, a nice light soup resonates most with my body, and supports my yoga practice in the most beneficial way.

Preparing for the crackers .

Preparing for the crackers .

Although not exclusively a raw foodie, raw food definitely catches my interest. Raw food often has a different, crispy texture, adding both colour and beauty to a plate. It definitely makes me feel more healthy 🙂

Grated carrots waiting to become a part of the cracker.

Grated carrots waiting to become a part of the cracker.

Since I was a little girl I have been told that many of the vitamins  and enzymes, which are important to our health, are destroyed when veggies are cooked, so the thought of food keeping more vitamins, when carefully prepared (or dehydrated)  is very appealing.

Soaked flax seeds, the base of the cracker.

Soaked flax seeds, the base of the cracker.

 

Flax seed flour. You can do this in a coffee grinder.

Flax seed flour. You can do this in a coffee grinder.

Food that reaches 118F/ 47,8 C is no longer considered raw. Apparently food heated up to more than this temperature loses the majority of its nourishment.

For food to be qualified as raw, the drying temperatures have to be between 105F/41C and 115F/46C.

It is important to remember however that vitamins and enzymes start to decline if stored for more than 9 months. Make sure not to make too much of it in one go – or eat it fast!

One of my absolute favourites in the breakfast buffet at Purple Valley (without forgetting the amazing buckwheat granola – recipe to follow soon…) are the amazing Flax seed crackers.

To make the crackers we have used a dehydrator, which comes with paraflex sheets. It is possible to use an oven: you will have to spread the batter on  a non stick oven ready pan or container. Put the oven on the lowest setting possible, as well use the fan ( if there is one) to make the air circulate. The drying time will reduce to as little as half of the dehydrator time. Using an oven might change the product, so it is not fully 100% raw.

More information on ways to dehydrate food: rawfoodswitch.com

Flax Seed Crackers – made in dehydrator

3 (Small) trays of crackers

2 cups – grated beets/carrots mix (or other vegetable)
1 teaspoon – garlic powder
1 teaspoon – onion powder
3 teaspoon – sweet paprika powder
2 teaspoon – sea salt
1 teaspoon – lemon juice

1/2 cup fresh herbs

1 cup flax meal
1 cup flax seeds – soaked 8 to 12 hours

Mix all together.
Spread batter on paraflex sheet on trays using a spatula.
Spread evenly over the tray from edge to edge.
Score the crackers.
Dehydrate at 105F for 12 hours, or until dry enough to flip.
Flip over and remove paraflex sheet, and continue to dehydrate for 12-24 hours until dry.

Spreading the batter.

Spreading the batter.

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Flax seed crackers, ready to be eaten.

Good luck with the dehydrating 🙂

Karolina

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