As a special gift of gratitude for the support of all my students and friends, I created the Your Holiday Aligned guide, complete with tips, recipes, and contemplations to keep you centered and vibrant as we enter the New Year.
Let’s evolve the way we live and act to add more light and love in the world.
Wishing you a healthy holiday season filled with gratitude,
YOUR LIFE ALIGNED is a philosophy, therapy and ever-evolving goal integrating all the elements of physical, spiritual, nutritional and purposeful living.
Give yourself (or a friend) an oil rub down! Daily massage with warm oil especially around your joints is beneficial in the fall. Use oils such as sesame, olive, almond, or coconut. This luxuriously relaxing, blissfully comforting body warm oil massage will gear you up for peak performance.
Strike a new pose! Choose a new Yoga pose for the season. Play your edge and select a pose that inspires or challenges you deeply. Work on it for 3 minutes a day during your home practice or during or after each yoga class you take.
Work it out! Vary your routine and find a mix of fitness activities. Rake or shovel your property, or if you don’t have a lawn or driveway to tend to why not bring joy to others by raking a lawn or shoveling a car out of the snow for an local elderly neighbor or new Mom.
Heal Yourself! Take the New Year, New You: Time to Heal Special Therapeutic Healing Semi Private Series. Learn how to heal from any injury and pain you are experiencing. Realign by utilizing your breath and biomechanical principles.
If you are suffering from lower back pain, sciatica, scoliosis, rotator cuff injury, repetitive strain injury, cartilage/ligament damage, carpel tunnel syndrome, ankle and knee pain, hamstring/groin tears, shoulder and neck strain, piriformis syndrome, or anything else, this series is for you. Click here for more details.
Go Organic! Use all natural products, and buy them at Nurture My Body. Buy yourself or someone a gift and support small business with goods that are all natural. Nurture My Body is a small husband and wife company that produce face, body and hair care items for everyone’s needs. They have gift sets that work for men, women and babies. Click here for more information.
CONNECT TO SPIRIT
Meditate! Meditation is well worth doing. It relaxes the body and calms the mind rapidly; it is the best way to reduce stress; it improves your health and helps with many common illnesses; it makes your thinking clearer and more imaginative; it puts you in touch with your deeper emotions; it dispels sadness and confusion; and it makes sensory pleasures more enjoyable. It can bring peace, beauty and wisdom into your life.
Short on time, check out Flip the Switch: 40 anytime, anywhere meditations in 5 minutes or less by Eric Harrsion. Click here to check the book out.
Contemplate! Take time to contemplate the growth and transitions you have experienced in your life this year. Vision for how you would like to create your future. Write your thoughts down on paper, and share with a friend.
Give Gifts of Love! Express your sincere love to those you care about. Articulate clearly what you love about them.
Give the Gift of YOU! The best thing you can do for your family and friends this season is keep yourself in balance. Choose one thing that you can do to honor yourself that will root your spirit and relax your soul. Taking care of yourself will calm your being and allow you to more fully serve the people you love.
Give and Receive! Plan a trip to somewhere you always wanted to go and do service. Make your holidays sacred and experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share the gifts of living, while practicing yoga in a rural and indigenous Andean village. Click here for more information.
Gifts that keep on Giving! If you really want to inspire change and awareness this season, here are some of my favorite organizations to support:
http://www.Kageno.org/ Kageno’s MISSION is to transform impoverished communities into places of opportunity and hope, through the development of self-sustaining community directed programs. Give a donation, sponspor a child, or take a journey to Rwanda like this one: http://tinyurl.com/RwandaService
http://www.newyorkcares.org/ Help New Yorkers stay warm this winter and register for the New York Cares coat drive.
Express Gratitude! Sit quietly on your own, with your family, call a friend, or lay down with your kids or loved one at night, and say at least two things you are grateful for from that day. Mean it. Share a deep breath and shake off any nervous energy from your day. The gratitude exchange will prepare you for rest and fill your dreams with positivity.
Create sacred space! Make room in your home for what is truly important to you. Clear out the anything that you are not using or that is cluttering your space. Leave the things that hold meaning, bring joy, and are useful, and give away anything that does not serve you anymore.
EAT, DRINK, AND BE NOURISHED
Give Thanks! Take 60 seconds to think about and give thanks for the food in front of you. Yes…60 full seconds for every meal leading up to and including Thanksgiving before you devour your plate. Don’t rush. After this minute of thanks, take a deep breath and truly enjoy what you consume. The food will taste better and you will make better choices around what you eat.
Have Rhythm! Eat on a regular schedule three times a day around the same time each day. Eating at the same times every day helps bring stability and comfort to your relationship with food. It also improves the functioning of your digestion and metabolism.
Eat Seasonally! Now is the time to eat warm and grounding foods like sweet potatoes, peas, beets, carrots, kale, squash, peppers and artichokes.
Enjoy Some Herb! Ayurvedic Herbs can aid our bodies in more natural and efficient adjustments to seasonal changes. Try Dashamula, (sometimes Dashmoola, meaning ten roots), a warming and grounding herb, which is a combination of ten roots and is used to balance the wind and dry elements.
Drink Up! Sip warm water in the morning first thing to activate your body and get things moving. Pay attention to the weather. It’s cold AND dry, and we do not always realize how thirsty we are when the weather turns away from the hot days of summer. Plan your daily activities with your favorite water bottle at your side and keep drinking!
WINTER WONDERLAND SQUASH SOUP
1 medium sized winter squash – can be acorn or butternut, peeled and cut into chunks
2 small yellow crookneck squash or green zucchini – depending on season
2 cloves garlic
1 small jalapeño pepper
3 scallion stalks – chopped
1 tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. sea salt
1 can organic coconut milk (must be can of unsweetened coconut milk, not carton)
1 cup organic veggie broth
Put all ingredients in Vitamix blender or food processor. Blend well for up to 2 minutes. Can be served as a raw soup or heated after blending and served hot. Add pepper to taste. Yields 4 bowls.
HOT MULLED APPLE CIDER
Pour one gallon of fresh cider into a large pot on the stove or in Crockpot. Place 1 teaspoon of whole cloves, 1 teaspoon of whole allspice, 1 tbsp zest from an orange and 3 cinnamon sticks into a square of cheesecloth and tie shut. Add to the pot.
Heat the cider to a low boil, stirring regularly. Leave the pot uncovered so that you and your family or guests can enjoy the warm, delicious aroma. Once the cider boils, lower the setting to simmer for at least another 15 minutes to allow for thorough infusion of the spices. Stir occasionally.
Remove the spices from the pot and ladle hot mulled cider into mugs or other glasses designed for hot beverages. Add a splash of spiced rum or brandy and sprinkle top lightly with nutmeg to really warm up a chilly day.
VEGAN CARROT GINGER COCONUT SOUP
This soup is divine. Sweet carrots are cooked down and mixed with spicy ginger and creamy coconut. It’s vegan. It’s healthy. Your insides will love you.
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons minced ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
4-5 cups diced carrots
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup light coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
serves 4 to 6
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger and sauté for 4 minutes, until softened and fragrant. Add coriander and diced carrots. Stir to incorporate. Add the vegetable broth, reduce heat, and simmer mixture until carrots are completely softened, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Blend soup, return to pot, stir in coconut milk. Add salt and pepper to taste.
VEGAN MAC AND CHEESE!
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and chopped (yields: 3.5 cups raw)
3/4 cup raw cashews
1 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened + unflavored soy milk), •
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp salt
6-7 tbsp Nutritional yeast (provides the cheesy consistency)
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp or a bit more of dried Italian seasoning
1/4-1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4-1/2 tsp Paprika + more to season
Your pasta of choice
Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet. In a bowl, season chopped squash with some oil (~1 tsp) and sea salt (couple pinches) and stir. Add to baking sheet and roast in oven for 40 minutes, flipping once half way through baking.
Assemble your cheeze sauce ingredients (cashews, non-dairy milk, lemon, salt, nutritional yeast, pepper, mustard, seasonings) and add just the cashews to food processor. Process until a fine crumb forms similar to corn meal. Now add in the rest of the cheese sauce ingredients and process until smooth. Leave the sauce in the processor, as you will be adding the squash. Cook your pasta according to package directions. When squash is finished roasting, add it to the food processor and blend it with the cheese sauce until smooth. Adjust to taste. The sauce will thicken up with time. If at any point the sauce becomes too thick, you can add a bit of almond milk to thin it out. Drain and rinse pasta with cold water. Now add the pasta back into the same pot and add your desired amount of sauce on top. Stir well. Add in any desired mix-ins like peas or broccoli. You can heat this up in the pot, or pour it into a casserole dish, sprinkle on breadcrumbs + paprika, and bake it at 350 for about 20-25 minutes. The casserole will serve about 4 people if you use 450 grams dry macaroni or penne. Store any leftover sauce in the fridge and use within a few days.
REMEMBER: Practicing gratitude directly leads to increased life satisfaction, and a decrease in negative feelings. With amplified levels of optimism, we can meet life’s difficulties with a clear, open heart. Offering thanks encourages us to look beyond the superficial everyday constructs that we form in our minds, and provides us with a deeper, more refined appreciation for the miracle of life as it unfolds moment by moment.