Embracing Wisdom

Life, food, wellness and love


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Kitchari

Let’s face it being a red-head has some great qualities: unique coloring (only 2% of the world population has red hair),  we well-known for a spunky temper and we have an awesome sense of humor due to years of being teased.  Believe me, I have heard them all. The not so great qualities of being a red-head: well, that very same temper plays both sides of the coin and I pity the person dealing with the not-so-spunky side, red-heads have a much lower pain tolerance and even bleed more than non-gingers, and seasonal changes especially from summer to fall is incredibly difficult. The hot PITTA dosha that most red-heads are can be exasperated this time of year. With that said, it is a great time to consider a Ayurvedic porridge made from rice and mung beans. This amazing stuff is wonderfully seasoned with ginger, cilantro, cardamom and clove. Kitchari is considered is used to purify (and cool down) digestion and cleanse systemic toxins from the body.

I typically do this process in the spring and most certainly in the fall.  I try to make the day or few days to be quiet ones where my focus is to love my body.  I practice Yoga, meditate, take short walks in nature and drink plenty of water.  This year I chose to do a one day Kitchari cleanse the day following a huge hike up a 14,000 foot mountain.  My body was tired and empty from the exertion and I felt this would be a great way to move gracefully into the fall season.

Kitchari reminds me of a  creamy rice cereal and a light dal, or lentil soup. Great for warming the body on a cold day, but even greater the cozy feeling is the rest it offers your digestive system.  This blend of rice, legumes and spices provides all the needed nutrients one needs while resting the system and also provides the body needed energy. Ideally eating Kitchari for three days is ideal but a once or twice a month day is a great maintenance practice.  The morning of the “cleanse” I avoid caffeine and I enjoy unsweetened steel-cut oats with butter or ghee.  The process of making Kitcahri can be meditative if you are open to seeing the process as one of health and vitality.

KITCHARI

  • one cup yellow split mung beans (can sub red lentils if unable to find)
  • one tablespoon chopped ginger
  • two tablespoons shredded coconut
  • handful of fresh cilantro
  • one teaspoon cinnamon
  • one-quarter teaspoon each of cardamom, pepper, clove powder, turmeric, salt
  • three bay leaves
  • three tablespoons ghee or unsalted butter
  • one cup basmati rice
  • six cups water

1. First, rinse split yellow mung beans and soak for several hours. Set aside.

2. In a blender, liquefy one ginger, shredded coconut and chopped cilantro with one-half cup of water.

3. In a large saucepan, lightly brown spices and three bay leaves (remove before serving) in three tablespoons of ghee, or butter.

4. Drain the mung beans and then stir them into the spice mixture in the saucepan.

5. Next, add raw basmati rice. Stir in the blended spice and coconut mixture, followed by six cups of water.

6. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook on low heat for approximately 25 to 30 minutes until soft.


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Portrait of Connection

I recently was asked to participate in a portrait project that looked to capture 365 personalities over the course of one year.  My criteria in order for me to participate: I wanted to in nature and I wanted to capture my presence of Oneness.  It was important to me to attempt to capture my connection to the greatness of the Universe and the totality of life.  Take a peek and see if the camera picked up on that.

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Sacred Space

One of the most important things in cultivating a personal practice is to carve out the space within your home for yourself.  No forgotten toys, no unread mail, no clutter.  Truly a sacred space. Placing items that are special to you on a bookcase, alter, or even a breakfast tray is a great way to create the sacredness that will allow you to have a meaningful space to unroll the mat or come to stillness.

Turn an unused corner or area of your home into your space to connect with you.  Place items of meaning, books, and anything else that will be a reminder of the goodness that dwells within.  For me, I have rocks from a special place in nature, a mala that was made for me, candles to remind me of my inner flame, and a Ganesh (remover of obstacles).

What about you?

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Practice

I have come to learn that a practice can look like many things, not exclusive to Yoga postures, meditation or pranayama.  Rather, the practice can be in the form of steeping the first cup of tea, walking in the morning, preparing a wholesome meal or petting your furry friend.  Really a practice is anything that has the potential to become a mindful habit.

For me, I begin each day with a walk regardless of weather or commitments.  I choose to make the time to connect with nature and myself.  During the seasonal changes I find I am in most awe of my surroundings.  Witnessing the budding of leaves and the bright specks of color dabbled in a field is magnificent to the eye.  Each day that I mind fully walk there is more and more aliveness and more reminders of the moment.  This is practice.

How do you practice each day?

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Leaving it on the mat

Sometimes the only solace available is that beloved rectangle.

How many times have you cried on your mat?  Laughed out loud? Experienced frustration?  Almost like a good friend or a therapist, my yoga mat has seen me through a vast array of emotions and situations— heartache, loss, death, happiness, contentment and love.

Following a recently emotional day, I spent as much time as I needed to work through the pain on the yoga mat.  Round after round of Sun Salutations.   As my hands felt the mat, I felt like I was in the comfort of an old and dear friend–the kind of friend who doesn’t judge, but instead just offers an open heart. I moved, I breathed, I repeated a mantra, I stopped to cry, and finally, I found peace.

One round after another I continued until I finally dropped to my knees and wept.  Grateful for my old friend.

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Managing Emotions

During times of change it can be extremely challenging to maintain an even keel when it comes to emotions.  Sometimes the change of season can bring up some hidden sorrows or internal commotion. There are thousands of suggestions for managing the changes and the subsequent onslaught of emotions that can come.  Here is a list of my tried and true remedies for those times:

1. Write down your feelings.  Buy yourself a small journal or notebook and spend some time each day writing down what you are feeling.  Often I hear people say that they want to journal but do not know what to put down on paper.  Start with some self-guided questions–what am I resisting in my life today, what are my fears, what brings me joy, or what am I thankful for today? After a few days or weeks it is useful to go back and read what you were feeling and see that even feelings change. That is a good thing.

2. Take a walk. Just get up and move.  A brisk 20-minute walk can do wonders for feelings of sluggishness and sadness.  Getting the blood moving and the fresh air can invigorate your body while clearing out any cobwebs in the mind.  As you walk, take the time to notice the beginnings of nature’s changes and all her glory.  Notice how she easily opens up to the new season through the buddings of leaves and flowers.  Learn from this wise teacher.

3. More than just a good smell. Of our five primary senses, the olfactory is the only one that transmits information directly from the nose into the limbic center of the brain, the seat of emotions and memory. Recent brain scan research has shown that different scents affect brainwave production; for example, with some increasing alpha (relaxation) waves and others affecting beta (alertness) waves. Lavender and lemon both effect serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23524167http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16780969. Depending on my current mood, I choose essential oils as a quick way to alter either sluggishness (peppermint or any citrus oil) or anxiety and restlessness (lavender or any tree/root oil). Shop for oils or open a wholesale account here: http://mydoterra.com/staciewyatt

4. Unroll your mat.  If you do not own a yoga mat, no biggie.  Just find a space and bend your body.  Stretch your limbs and BREATHE.  No need to worry about the “right” poses, your body knows exactly what it needs and when you listen, you will know how to bend and how to stretch.  Learning to trust your intuition and offer your body what it needs is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

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Inner Strength

Following some emotionally grueling days, I debated about going to a Yoga class.  My mind made up stories as to why I was “too busy” to go.  Instead of listening to those false thoughts, I went to Yoga and it was one of the best decisions I have made in a long time.  Not only did I overcome the all too common beliefs that I should not make time for myself, but I had a much needed–and not anticipated–release of emotions.

The tears came following my second set of the posture known as bird of paradise. I was at first taken back by the instant stinging of tears.  As I made my way out the pose and the teacher began to guide us into the next posture, I gathered up my breath and allowed myself to feel whatever I was feeling.  The sobs erupted when I easily moved into the arm balance flying crow. It is not often that I practice arm balances especially ones that I am less familiar with.  Rather than stay within my usual conservative practice, I went where the teacher led me.  My heart rounded inward as the strength in my arms prepared my flight. As I steadied my breathe in the pose, I heard a booming voice of “yeah, that is right……you ARE strength…..you ARE empowered…..you ARE capable”.  The tears kept coming.  Months and months of stifled pain pouring out through sweet droplets of tears.

The crying did not cease.  Following the pose, I laid there allowing anything and everything to swell up in me.  The tears kept coming.  I cannot say that I had sadness.  Instead I had a deep knowing of my inner strength that has recently been questioned by fear.  An inner reserve of empowered knowing.  Worthiness that has been stifled.

It was all there for me to bask in. And the best part, I totally embraced it.

Yea, Yoga heals.

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