Category Archives: Other

An Opportunity to Serve the One who Serves So Many

By Smita Kumar

Sant Kabir wrote this verse to sing the glory of guru and wonders: “If both guru and God were to appear at the door, whose feet will I worship first?” He then adds, “The guru’s feet because without the guru how would I have recognized (known) God?”

Two years ago when I started practicing Dharma Yoga, I thought it was going to help me deal with the challenges of my graduate study. When I graduated from 500 hour LOAY teacher training in May, it was clear that I came to the U.S. to learn from Sri Dharma Mittra. If I had not undertaken the 500 hour training last year, I would have been participating in the graduation ceremony at my school. However, instead of graduating from school, I graduated from teacher training on the very same day!

A desire to spend time with Sri Dharma took me to training, and during the last several months I often found myself speechless when someone asked me about the training. I still do not know what happened and I am not sure if I will know. All I know is — I lived several lifetimes and became aware of a certain silence deep inside me. There were days when the training felt challenging, but interestingly, everything fell by the wayside and all I did was to carry out my daily practices.

I also encountered a challenging life experience that questioned my faith in God, guru and my practice. I felt let down and forsaken, as though I was suffering despite my practice. In those dark moments, I received messages from Sri Dharma to go beyond fear and doubt, but I did not know how. To my surprise, I found the answer in one of the daily meditation practices– have faith! I learned I could not have survived the test without God’s grace and the guru’s support.

It is interesting to learn that nothing moves without God’s grace and the guru’s guidance. The following incident taught me that Sri Dharma is ever so perceptive and gives us way more than we desire. I do not recall when, but somewhere over the last two years I had a desire to serve Sri Dharma like he served his guru; cooking, cleaning, taking care of all his needs and just doing everything. I had dreams of cooking for him and sometimes I made vegan sweets, which I took to New York, and Sri Dharma lovingly accepted them.

With Sri Dharma’s Washington DC visit, my dream came true — I was blessed to have the opportunity to cook for him. I even planned to submit my dissertation before his arrival to ensure there was no distraction. Just as I was busy deciding the menu and preparing for his visit I received a call from the organizers to inquire if I would be available to take care of Sri Dharma during his visit — such as receiving him from the train station and dropping him back. I just froze. I was amazed at God’s lila and the guru’s blessings.

Lastly, my mother had planned to visit from India to participate in my dissertation defense, but somewhere deep down I hoped she would come for my 500-hour graduation. However, I was shy to ask, as it meant showing my deep love and faith for my guru, it meant opening myself for any judgment, and most importantly, it meant making myself vulnerable—what if she declined?

Nonetheless, I faced my fears and asked. She was interested, but was unsure if it was logistically feasible. A day was left for the graduation and I still did not know if Ma (mother) was coming, so amidst my anxiousness I offered it all to God and Sri Dharma — “You will bring Ma if she is meant to come.”

An hour later I received a call from my mother confirming that she was going to be there! My mother came and all I did was cry. I was overwhelmed with her presence, and more importantly, I realized there was nothing more to complain about. Slowly, it was becoming clear that I was receiving all that I desired and more — not just with my mother’s visit, but by coming to this country to learn yoga, finding my guru, getting an opportunity to serve my guru (for a day), and simply everything.

 

Smita KumarGrowing up in India in a family of Karma Yogis, Smita was exposed to the teachings of Bhagavad Gita and started practicing asana nearly a decade ago to find peace (and something more). However, it was only after coming to the U.S. that she found her yoga home with Dharma Yoga and since then her life has not been the same. She continues to be surprised and humbled with all that she has received and continues to receive from Sri Dharma and his teachings.

Kick your Asana Vegan Kale Blueberry Smoothie

By Sarah Eve Cardell

Kale, blueberries, maca, chia and hemp seeds, and more! This smoothie is filled with energizing nutrients and is vegan, soy and gluten-free.

Most traditional yogis suggest not to eat at least two-three hours before practicing yoga. For those of us with busy schedules and limited time for meals and body nourishment, this golden rule may be difficult to follow perfectly. I have created this smoothie recipe with no belly-bloating banana and sufficient protein to keep you charged and able to build those sexy yogi muscles. Maca is added for natural energy without the coffee caffeine jitters and gojis berries for their antioxidant value. Did you know that the goji berry (i.e. wolfberry) is revered in Chinese medicine as an elixir of long life? I suppose if you practice yoga and eat these berries daily, you might just live happily and healthily forever.

I soak small quantities of gojis in water and keep handy in the refrigerator for up to a week. The berries are great for smoothies, oatmeal, quinoa, and salads. You can also use the soaking liquid for a fragrant and healing herbal tea.

Enjoy the smoothie before class (I usually drink 30-45 minutes before) and experience a kick your asana (physical yoga) practice.

Kick your Asana Vegan Kale Blueberry Smoothie
Gluten-free • Vegan • Soy-free
Makes 1 serving

Ingredients
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
½ tsp. organic vanilla extract
1 tsp. chia seeds, ground
1 tsp. hemp seeds
½ tsp. maca powder
½ cup organic blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 small handful kale leaves, stems removed*
1 tsp. soaked gojis (optional)
1-2 drops liquid stevia (or sweetener of your choice)
Ice (1-2 pieces, less if using frozen blueberries)

Directions
1. Mix all in a blender.
2. Sip. Om. Repeat.

*Kale leaves can be tough and make a smoothie a bit chewy if you don’t have a high quality blender such as a Blendtec or Vitamix. If a simple blender is all that is at hand, no worries! Chop up the kale leaves a bit first and then blend solo with the almond milk. Then add the remaining ingredients. Make sure to use small(ish) size ice cubes to protect the motor and voila! You will produce a deliciously creamy drink.

 

Sarah Eve Cardell 2-9Sarah Eve Cardell is the culinary shaman, making magic in the kitchen and healing from the heart. She completed her 200 and 500-hour yoga teacher trainings with Sri Dharma Mittra, who deeply inspired her path to become a vegan chef. Combined with her shamanic studies, a student of the late Ipupiara a Makunaiman of the Ure-e-wau-wau Amazonian tribe, she uses the traditional wisdom from the yogic and shamanic paths to share modern day wellness. Sarah offers vegan and gluten-free cooking classes and catering up to 150 people. Whether in yoga classes, healing workshops and private sessions, or in the kitchen, she assists in creating a safe space in which you can heal you!  www.sarahevecardell.com

The Fan Behind the Flame of Dharma Yoga

By Jerome Burdi   Sri Dharma Mittra isn’t looking for fame and fortune. He teaches out of goodwill and compassion. “If you have a little spiritual knowledge, you should share it,” Sri Dharma often says. “This is the greatest form of charity.” For 50 years, he has done just that. Though Sri Dharma is the flame of knowledge, he needs those around him to spread it. Otherwise, it could be quite easy in today’s oversaturated yoga world for the jewel of Dharma Yoga to be lost. The work of Sri Dharma’s wife and longtime disciple, Eva Grubler, aka Ismrittee Devi Om, is to fan the flame Dharmaji has ignited in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of students throughout the years. “The popularity of yoga hasn’t affected him, but it has affected his classes because there are so many other places to go,” she said. “He lights up when there’s a full house.” EvadancerEva, the daughter of holocaust survivors, grew up in Queens. Before discovering yoga she was a modern dancer, training at Alvin Ailey’s school while he was still alive. She danced with several companies, was a principal dancer in the film Fame, and choreographed her own work in New York City. Eventually she grew weary of the competitive dance world. “I was ready not to be yelled at, and compared to others.” In the 1980s, Eva was in a health food store on the corner of 13th Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan where Sri Dharma’s Master Yoga Chart of 908 Postures hung on the wall. “I was asking about the person in the poster and the clerk said, ‘That person is the yogi around the corner at 100 West 14th street. He comes in all the time; I can introduce you.’” Eva found her way up the tall stairs into Sri Dharma’s Yoga Asana Center and fell deep into the practice ever since her first class. “It was amazing,” she said. “He had a beautiful red soft plush carpet. There were no yoga mats at the time. You needed to bring a towel, or a shawl in my case, to spread over your spot. It felt like you were in a loving womb in the lush temple space he created.” Yoga was not popular and certainly not as physically challenging as it is today. Most of Sri Dharma’s students were middle-aged people and dancers who came to practice daily with him. Sri Dharma charged as little as $2 a class. Teachers from other yoga schools came daily to study with him and many of his students went on to teach and open their own schools. “He was known as the only one who gave the advanced postures,” Eva said. “The sensibility is still similar to how he teaches today but it was even kinder and gentler. Everything felt like you were just contained in yourself.” Sri Dharma was quiet and humble, as he is today, but had yet to share the sense of humor his current students also love him for. As yoga grew in popularity in the late 90s and 2000s, many of Sri Dharma’s students rose to fame but Dharmaji wasn’t getting recognition for his hard work, Eva said. Mainly because he is so humble and would never think of going after it. When yoga teacher trainings became popular, students who studied with him for years asked him to run a program to certify them. So, Eva worked to establish a teacher training program for Sri Dharma so his students did EVA WHEEL copynot have to go elsewhere. In 1999, the Dharma Yoga Life of a Yogi Certification program was finally established. “Krishna Das used to chant at the center often and said, ‘I’ll be at Dharma’s.’” Eva said. “So I said it’s time to have the Dharma name on it. I was amazed when Dharma agreed.” “Whatever notoriety Sri Dharma has, we worked hard to make sure he’s out there. He’s ashamed to even charge today’s prices for class. I said, ‘But how can you be any less than what new teachers are charging?’ That’s why he always makes the class longer.” Eva recalled visiting Sri Dharma’s guru, Swami Kailashananda, for meditation classes and lectures and sometimes bringing her and Sri Dharma’s two children. “It was always wonderful to sit under the vibrant rays of the guru,” she said. “Sri Dharma is the energizer battery that continues the work of his guru, day in and day out, for a half century now. “You can still sit in his classes today and hear a man filled with wisdom trying to inspire each person in the room to become better human beings and understand Ahimsa – non-cruelty, especially to all animals, through becoming a vegan.” Eva would like to see the lineage continue. “Our trained teachers sprouting out of the Dharma Yoga Life of a Yogi Certification become a conduit for their teacher, Dharma Mittra, and will pass on his work and legacy to generations of people in times to come.”     Jerome Burdi is a Brooklyn native who discovered yoga during a shamanic retreat in Brazil in 2010. Since then, he’s been enveloped by the path of the yogi. He left his job as a newspaper journalist to go to Rishikesh, India, and become a yoga teacher. Upon returning to NYC, he discovered Dharma Yoga and has been hooked. Though Jerome grew up in NY, he had to go to India to come back and see Sri Dharma with clear eyes and to hear the truth that is Dharma Yoga. Jerome is also a Middle Eastern style percussionist and holistic nutritionist

Jerome Burdi is a Brooklyn native who discovered yoga during a shamanic retreat in Brazil in 2010. Since then, he’s been enveloped by the path of the yogi. He left his job as a newspaper journalist to go to Rishikesh, India, and become a yoga teacher. Upon returning to NYC, he discovered Dharma Yoga and has been hooked. Though Jerome grew up in NY, he had to go to India to come back and see Sri Dharma with clear eyes and to hear the truth that is Dharma Yoga.
Jerome is also a Middle Eastern style percussionist and holistic nutritionist
 

Have Your Sweetness Without the Guilt: Vegan Hot Chocolate Chai

By Sarah Eve Cardell

Do you sense the amazing energy of the New Year? I know I am. Creative juices flowing, rejuvenated desires to deepen my yoga practice, reconnecting with old friends…this year is already feeling magical.

The beginning of the year is a perfect time to renew, recharge, and evaluate all that you are and aspire to be.

As the holidays have come to an end, perhaps it is time to evaluate your physical health and diet. Are you getting sufficient exercise, sleep, and nourishing food?

The best way to stay balanced and well is to start with a healthy diet. It is nearly impossible to feel good without fueling your body well.

In the words of Sri Dharma Mittra, “If you eat dead, toasted, fried, or frozen food, you will feel dead, toasted, fried, and frozen.”

Instead of waiting until the spring (or even bikini season) to take the time to treat your body with love and respect, why not start now?

I have created a delicious hot chocolate chai recipe to keep you feeling warm inside and out. This hot chocolate chai is deliciously creamy, low in sugar and calories.

Traditional hot chocolate generally has 300-500 calories per cup and is loaded with sugar and fat. A comparable 16 ounces (grande) cup of hot chocolate at Starbucks has 400 calories and 19 grams of fat. Eeek!

This hot chocolate chai is low in fat and has only 100 calories. And no refined sugar.

Hot Chocolate Chai
Gluten-free • Vegan • Soy-free
Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1⁄4 tsp. organic vanilla extract
1⁄4 tsp. ground cardamom
1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. raw cacao powder
2 tsp. coconut sugar (or to taste)
A pinch of Himalayan salt & black pepper (optional for spicier chai)

Directions:
1. Place all ingredients in a small saucepan.
2. Stir continuously on medium heat until bubbles begin to form and all ingredients are blended uniformly.
3. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!

 

Sarah Eve Cardell 2-9Sarah Eve Cardell is the culinary shaman, making magic in the kitchen and healing from the heart. She completed her 200 and 500-hour yoga teacher trainings with Sri Dharma Mittra, who deeply inspired her path to become a vegan chef. Combined with her shamanic studies, a student of the late Ipupiara a Makunaiman of the Ure-e-wau-wau Amazonian tribe, she uses the traditional wisdom from the yogic and shamanic paths to share modern day wellness. Sarah offers vegan and gluten-free cooking classes and catering up to 150 people. Whether in yoga classes, healing workshops and private sessions, or in the kitchen, she assists in creating a safe space in which you can heal you!  www.sarahevecardell.com

 

10 SuperStar Superfoods as featured in LA Yoga Magazine

By Rainbeau Mars

Want to feel younger, healthier and bring your gifts to the world?  The answer is: begin within. Aside from bulking up with herbal and protein supplements, salads, fresh juice and smoothies, we can “Let thy medicine be thy food” by utilizing superfoods to get more nutrient bang for our caloric buck. Though there is an abundant variety around the world, some superfoods can be easily grown in our own backyards. Notice the SuperStar effects on your health when you stock up with these powerhouse favorites in my family’s kitchen.

1.     Cacao – raw chocolate
2.     Chia
3.     Avocados
4.     Kale (and the other dark leafy greens)
5.     Seaweed
6.     Sea Salt
7.     Raw Organic Honey
8.     Lemons
9.     Olive Oil
10.  Garlic

1. Cacao – raw chocolate

Edible, beautifying bliss, cacao is the bean that chocolate is made from. In its raw state, it contains more antioxidant flavonoids than red wine, green tea, or blueberries, making cacao a delicious way to support the immune system, brain and a healthy heart. Have fun incorporating this superfood into your smoothies, desserts, and other compatible recipes.

LIVE CHOCOLATE PUDDING

INGREDIENTS

fresh meat of 1 Thai coconut
1 avocado
3 to 4 dates (soaked and pits removed)
2 to 3 tablespoons cacao powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
pinch of Celtic sea salt
1 teaspoon chia seeds

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients and blend until creamy smooth.

2. Chiachia

Chia seeds are an ancient miracle food that was a staple for the Aztecs. A small serving goes a long way, and the plant grows very quickly (just think of those ch-ch-chia pets) making it a sustainable resource. Chia is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, extraordinarily high in antioxidants, and it is a demulcent (referring to the way it gels up) which helps to strengthen body tissue, reduce inflammation, and aid in healing. One of my favorite ways to eat them is by soaking chia seeds with cinnamon, a little nutmeg, vanilla, fresh almond milk, and a touch of salt and raw honey for breakfast or as a delicious afternoon dessert snack. My daughter likes this too and has her own, simpler version. Often times, both she and my husband, Michael, grab a Mama Chia and go.

CHIA PUDDING

INGREDIENTS

3 cups chia seeds
6 cups pure water
3 to 4 tablespoons maple syrup
cinnamon to taste (optional)
clove to taste (optional)
nutmeg to taste (optional)
½ chopped apple
½ cup chopped strawberries
½ cup blueberries

DIRECTIONS

1.     Put the chia seeds in a bowl and soak. It takes about 10 minutes for the chia to absorb all the water, but leaving the water and chia to soak overnight is okay. Soaked chia alone is good for up to 2 weeks

2.     When the chia is gelatinous, add the chopped fruit and any desired flavorings (sweetener, spices, fruit, etc.). Mix well and serve!

Note: In general, soak chia seeds in 9 to 12 times their volume of water. You can also make chia as a savory, salty, or spicy type of porridge. But the best taste is sweet. You can also try it with cinnamon extract, chai spices, or cacao nibs.

3. Avocadosavocado

Avocados are a great source of digestible protein and balanced fats. Eating avocados can actually help to shed unwanted weight because they feed your body with the healthy fats it craves for optimal metabolism and brain function. Avocados nourish the skin by helping to maintain and rebuild collagen, and are also great for satisfying PMS-related cravings. Eating avocados targets the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female—it even looks just like these organs. Research shows that eating one avocado a week can balance hormones, shed unwanted weight, and prevent cervical cancers. How profound is this fact: It takes exactly nine months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit.

MEXICALI SOUP

INGREDIENTS

2 to 3 celery stalks
1 to 2 avocados
1 ripe tomato
corn from one cob
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 dash of cayenne, chili powder and/or paprika
Celtic sea salt to taste
handful of chopped cilantro leaves (optional)
2 cups of pure water, slightly warmed

DIRECTIONS

1.     Place all these ingredients in the food processor and pulse until blended but still with texture and chunks.

2.     Spice to your liking and enjoy!

4. Kale (and other dark leafy greens)

Kale is a mainstay for my family, and it’s always a hit with my daughter and her friends! This alkaline and slightly bitter green leafy vegetable is nutrient dense and a versatile food in the kitchen, lending itself well to salads, soups, smoothies, green juice, stir-fries, or steamed vegetable entries. Kale is 45 percent protein based on the total calorie content, and contains folate, which supports healthy cell growth and nourishes hair, skin, and nails.

When using greens like kale, you will want to break down the plant fibers by massaging the greens with lemon, olive oil, and salt to make them more digestible. Kale is listed as one of “the dirty dozen,” according to reports published by the Environmental Working Group, meaning that it is more likely to be sprayed with chemicals and pesticides by growers and should always be bought organic.

EASY KALE SALAD

INGREDIENTS

1 avocado
1 bunch kale
½ lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch Celtic sea salt

DIRECTIONS

1.     Chop the avocado and kale into bite-sized pieces and place in mixing bowl.

2.     Drizzle with lemon juice, olive oil, and sea salt, then massage until thoroughly marinated. Bon appétit!

Option: Add tomatoes and your favorite herbs. Toss in some hemp seeds for added protein.

KALE CHIPS

INGREDIENTS

2 cups kale, de-stemmed
¼ cup raw cashews
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

DIRECTIONS

1.     In a food processor, mix all ingredients except the kale.

2.     Rub the mix into kale and lay out to dehydrate in the dehydrator at 105° F.

5. Seaweed

Seaweeds, such as kelp, nori, arame, irish moss, or dulse are a nutrient-packed addition to soups and salads.  Naturally enriched with all 98 essential minerals from the sea, including silica and magnesium, seaweed nourishes the kidneys, hair, skin and nails, and like avocados and olives, is a healthy source of the fatty acids that maintain and rebuild collagen. Seaweed is also 5 to 30 percent protein based on the total calorie content (depending on type). So next time you’re craving salt, instead of reaching for a bag of potato chips, eat more high-mineral foods such as seaweeds.

I’d like to mention that there has been some controversy lately about consuming seaweeds and other foods from the ocean due to such modern ecological disasters as Fukushima and the Gulf Oil Spill. While these concerns have their merits, it’s also valid that seaweeds are revered for their ability to assist the thyroid in detoxing from radiation and other poisons, due to its high levels of iodine. However, as a precaution you may prefer to purchase seaweed from more protected sources, such as products from Maine.

MAGICAL MERMAID SOUP

INGREDIENTS

3 cups coconut water or pure water
2 tablespoons coconut oil
¼ cup dulse or kelp seaweed
¼ cup nori, shredded
¼ daikon, shredded
pinch of Celtic sea salt (optional)
1 teaspoon miso (recommended brand:
Shaman Shack Herbs Sea Clear, with fermented kelp and chlorella)

DIRECTIONS

1.     In blender, combine coconut water, coconut oil, miso, and dulse or kelp. Blend until smooth.

2.     Stir in shredded nori and daikon and a pinch of salt and serve.

6. Sea Salt

When cooking, and especially sautéing, I always use dried herbs with a pinch of Celtic sea salt or Himalayan pink salt to season the food. It is a pure source of the 98 essential minerals that is easily assimilated into fuel for your body in the form of electrolytes. For hydration, put a pinch of Celtic sea salt into your water, perhaps even with some lemon juice and raw organic honey as a nourishing replacement for artificially colored and sweetened sports drinks. Something to consider is that when a patient is first admitted to a hospital, they are almost always first given an IV, which is essentially salt water. If used as a first response in the case of illness or injury, why not utilize sea salt as a daily dose of preventative medicine.

RAW POPCORNpopcorn-300x210

This easy recipe is proof that living foods are fun! The popcorn does not have to be dehydrated to be enjoyed and often is eaten before the job is done anyway.

INGREDIENTS

1 head cauliflower
½ cup nutritional yeast
¼ cup olive oil
pinch of Celtic sea salt

DIRECTIONS

1.     Chop the cauliflower florets into small popcorn-sized bits and put them in a bowl.

2.     Add the nutritional yeast, salt, and oil to the bowl and cover the cauliflower completely with the mixture.

3.     Option: You can dehydrate the cauliflower for up to 4 hours or longer for a more distinct popcorn texture and taste.

7. Raw Organic Honey

Raw organic honey has a myriad of health benefits. In addition to being a mineral rich substitute for sugar and sweeteners that are highly processed and weakens the immune system, honey in its raw state is also anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal and can either be consumed or used topically. A potent source of antioxidants and enzymes, raw honey actually boosts immunity and helps to stabilize blood sugar levels when used in moderation. It also contains trace amounts of protein, vitamin c, calcium and iron, and fuels us with simple sugars and starches the body can recognize.

The best part of getting your honey organic and raw, is that in addition to preserving all the nutritious goodness, you are also supporting farmers who harvest their honey in the most humane practices possible and actually support the bee population and well-being, as opposed to some conventional farmers whose disregard as led us to our present plight of the disappearing bees.

BANANA SANDWICH

INGREDIENTS

2 slices of gluten-free or sprouted grain bread, or flax cracker
½ banana (sliced)
1-2 tbsp nut butter of your choice, almond, peanut, cashew, or tahini
1-2 tbsp raw organic honey
1-2 tbsp coconut oil (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1.     Toast your bread slices and spread on coconut oil, nut butter, and honey

2.     Thinly slice the banana in rounds and evenly spread between slices.

21DSClemon8. Lemons

Lemons are a useful way to “cook” raw/living foods without adding heat. When you marinate foods in lemon juice, they begin to oxidize and break down, making them easier to assimilate and digest. Foods may be acidic in composition, like lemons, but it is the food’s effect on the body when it is metabolized that determines whether it is labeled acid or alkaline. In the case of lemons and other citrus fruits, these foods are actually quite alkalizing, although when they are pasteurized they have an acidic effect. Fresh lemons being a sour food also lend much needed contrast to the habitual sweet and salty tastes, and when used in juice and smoothies can have a wonderful detox effect. Add lemons to your morning regimen in the form of a Lemon Liver Tonic, by adding lemon juice to pure water, optionally with raw honey and cayenne. A happy liver is one of the great pathways to beauty, so make lemons your best friends and have them stocked, but make sure to brush your teeth after consuming them because lemons are strong.

LEMONADE

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons raw honey
4 cups pure water
6 lemons, limes, orange, or grapefruit

DIRECTIONS

1.     Blend all together in a blender.

2.     Garnish with mint sprigs. (Serves 2)

9. Olive Oil

If you’re feeling hungry as you transition to a healthier nutrition regimen, be sure to eat as many fruits and veggies as you want and get as much liquid fat as possible. Organic extra virgin olive oil is nutritious, hosting beneficial fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins E and K. Being anti-inflammatory, olive oil is also shown to help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and preventing unwanted blood clotting.

Olive oil is one of the most volatile oils and is best stored in a dark glass bottle away from heat, and should never be used as a cooking oil. Instead, olive oil can be used in fresh, raw meals or added to a dish as a final step in its preparation.

OLIVE PESTO

Serve over vegetable pasta or on dehydrated crackers.

INGREDIENTS

½ cup pitted, sun-cured black olives
¼ cup basil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon chili powder

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a blender or a food processor and puree. Makes 2 servings.

10. Garlic

Affectionately called “the stinking rose,” garlic is an amazing nutritional powerhouse that is rich in antioxidants and sulfur-compounds which support the immune system. Garlic could be your first line of defense during cold-weather flu seasons and has many wonderful medicinal properties. According to Ayurveda, it is a bit stimulating (called rajasic in Sanskrit) and can be too strong for everyday use.  A great source of manganese, selenium, vitamins B6 and C, in its raw state, garlic is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory, supporting the respiratory and circulatory systems by helping to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. It is also a very thermogenic herb, cultivating our internal heat and metabolism.

RAW COOLING GAZPACHO

INGREDIENTS

1 whole tomato, chopped
1 whole cucumber, chopped (if organic, keep the skin on; it’s a beauty food!)
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1 bunch of cilantro or basil
1 cup pure water
juice of half a lemon

DIRECTIONS

Put everything in the food processor and pulse until it combines. Go slowly to ensure that your mixture remains somewhat whole and not overly blended.

No matter what a person’s present daily eating habits, start including any or all of these 10 vital foods to experience a myriad of benefits both physically and spiritually. When transitioning, think about thriving and nourishing rather than dieting or withholding. As we are part of the solution and creating actions that are part of the healing of ourselves and the planets, we begin to shine with radiance.

 

21DSCstrawberryEver since her birth in a tepee under a double rainbow, Rainbeau Mars has helped inspire others on their journey to a greener, healthier way of life. The renowned yogi (and former face of Adidas) has sold more than 2 million yoga DVD’s worldwide. Her new book the 21 Day Superstar Cleanse outlines her signature zero-calorie-restriction vegan cleansetaking readers on an adventure of food, fun, fitness, and personal awakening! Featuring more than 75 recipes, positive affirmations, yoga poses, and a foreword by Woody Harrelson, the tome has already been endorsed by celebrities including Josie Maran & James Cameron. Mars has also previously shared her unique health insights on top tier press outlets including Good Morning America, E! News, and more.

 

Photo Credits for all images belong to Jeff Skeirik (aka Rawtographer)

The Bethlehem Star Guiding Us to Sri Dharma

By Gaia Bergamaschi

The 6th of January is celebrated as Epiphany according to the Western Christian tradition and the etymology of the word Epiphany from the ancient greek meaning “manifestation, striking presence reminds me of the importance of experiencing the presence of our spiritual masters who manifest and teach devotion, prayers, and sadhana (spiritual practice).

Although I am far way from our beloved Sri Dharma and the Dharma Temple in New York, geographically speaking, when I returned to Italy from the last module of the teacher training in November, I promised myself I would engage in special spiritual practice to overcome the physical distance. My intention is to turn the illusion of being alone into the real aptitude “bhavana” of a yogini blissfully active in the Dharma community and in the world around it.

Before starting the asana, pranayama, and meditation practices, I close my eyes and focus my inner sight into the shining eyes of Dharmaji. Whenever I can, I connect myself to the starting hours of the weekly and weekend lessons, repeating the purification mantra. It’s a remote distance bhakti yoga tool which I am sure I share with many others!

In the same way the Three Wise Men (Magi) let the Bethlehem star guide them towards Jesus’s feed trough (a symbol of nourishing humanity), I imagine every yoga practitioner joining an inner path towards “satya,” the eternal truth, which can be considered nourishment for our actions.

Sri Dharma, the teaching faculty, and all the people working and studying in the Temple act as the light which diminishes the obscurity represented by the afflictions described by Patanjali as the five kleshah: avidya: spiritual ignorance, asmita: ego pride, raga: attachment, dvesa: hate and abhinivesa: fear of death (Yoga Sutra II.2).

The attachment to a sacred and spiritual place has to translate into the faith to rebuild it into a secret corner of our hearts. The light has always been there because it is eternal — regardless of the contingent life we’ve been assigned. As we’ve learned, if one is endowed with true wisdom as to the fleeting and painful nature of the worldly enjoyments, one can exert oneself in the right direction to do or undo one’s Prarabdha, the portion of Karmas ripened for actual experience in this current birth.

During Sri Dharma’s psychic development lessons, I often dreamed of sitting on a stardust mat. The stardust has the power to transform itself into the original stars it comes from, letting the inner child hidden in every one of us to come out through the coexisting presence of the voice and of the silence of the master. The marvelous and precious Sri Dharma logo immediately appears in my inner landscape as the reincarnation of that child!

Coming out from this dream state, I’d like to symbolically share with you the gifts I offered to Sri Dharma during the Epiphany day:

–       gold as my yama and niyama practices;
–       frankincense as my prayers and mantra chanting;
–       myrrh as my continuous learning experience.

As Sri Dharma said, “The universal principles of spiritual disciplines can elevate the seeker into eternal God communion. This is the true goal of yoga.”

During this special day, I’d like to celebrate with you the manifestation of the divine presence in all of us, committed and generous sadhakas, thanks to the living example of one of the greatest living Hatha yogis.

 

 

GBGaia Bergamaschi started her yogic path about ten years ago. After having been certified by the Vedanta Forest Academy of Swami Sivananda and having studied in India, she discovered Sri Dharma. Since the first step into the temple she knew Dharmaji was the Acharya she had always been connected to, regardless of space and time. She’s currently teaching in Milan according to Dharma style and Dharma ethical principles. After quitting her job in the investment banking sector, she took another degree in clinical psychology. She aims at merging the yama and niyama with the relational psychoanalysis and the humanistic psychology, creating yoga-therapy protocols inspired to Sri Dharma targeted to people who suffer from personality and mood disorders.

 

Embodying Sri Dharma’s Teachings and Letting Her Goodness Shine Through

By Jerome Burdi

 

The yoga class was packed wall to wall with amazing students moving together into poses, following the lead of the beloved master. It was the end of a teacher training so the atmosphere was in high vibration.

That class was more than a decade ago but Dharma Yoga teacher Kim Jeblick remembers it like yesterday. It was her first class with Sri Dharma Mittra. Kim was already a yoga teacher but came out of a fitness background rather than the path of Self-realization that she would soon be steeped in.

Sri Dharma guided the students into extended side angle pose. While they were holding the pose, he walked over to Kim and moved her fingers into jnana mudra. It was the first time Sri Dharma adjusted her. By the end of the class she knew she found true yoga and a guru to guide her to her highest Self.

“After shavasana, I felt like my whole body was vibrating,” Kim said.  “There was a subtle humming and I thought, ‘This must be the real yoga.’”

She discovered Sri Dharma through his famous 908 Asana Poster. She ordered it to put up on the wall at her studio, Maximum Motion Fitness in Jersey City. After ordering the poster, Kim found out about Dharma Yoga Center and decided to take a class with Sri Dharma.

Sri Dharma’s classes were intensely physical when Kim started attending. If you ever heard her laughing in class, it’s because the pose seemed beyond her reach.

“When I can’t do the pose I just laugh,” she said. “It’s the, ‘Oh, that’s the impossible’ laugh. Then I found out, with practice, the poses could be accomplished.”

Kim has remained close to Sri Dharma ever since her first class and became a certified teacher in the 200, 500 and 800-hour levels. She’s now a mentor for others during teacher trainings.

“Dharmaji has no ulterior motives, hidden agendas or anything like that,” Kim said. “He shares all of his knowledge freely and really wishes all of us to become Self-realized in this lifetime.  He is the sweetest, kindest person and I am only here to help him with his work.”

She recalled a time in her early days of teaching Dharma Yoga where she was asked to cover a Maha Sadhana practice for Sri Dharma and she asked him how to teach it.

“He said to me, ‘Oh don’t worry about that. Just let your goodness shine through,’” Kim recalled.

“I think that it is good advice not only for all teachers but also for all people. Sometimes we don’t really see our own goodness, only our shortcomings and if we are worried about being whatever our idea of ‘perfect’ is then it is difficult to be receptive and sensitive to the needs of others.”

The teachings of Sri Dharma shine brightly through Kim. She is full of compassion and knowledge as a teacher.

“Kim has served as a mentor and example for an entire generation of students and teachers, modeling the best of what our teacher expects of all of us consistently in a way that always demonstrates humility and deep understanding,” said Adam Frei, program manager and director of Dharma Yoga’s Life of a Yogi teacher training programs.

“On a personal level, Kim is one of my teachers and has always been a part of what makes the Dharma Yoga New York Center so special.”

Kim has taught regular classes, held workshops, subbed for Sri Dharma, and has assisted him when he travels for workshops and teacher trainings.

“Kim disseminates the teaching of yoga with a selfless, egoless attitude,” said Ivy Mok, who recently completed her 500-hour Dharma Yoga teacher training and had Kim as a mentor.

“Her spiritual presence and calmness is infectious, which instantly shifts her students to a sattvic state. She is a great channel for Dharma’s teaching. If one wants to know how to copy the guru physically, mentally, and spiritually, one should come to learn from Kim.”

Kim is grateful to Sri Dharma for helping her. But the master remains humble.

“I felt like Dharma brought me back to God and one time I said to him, ‘Dharma, thank you so much.’ And he said, ‘That’s not me, that’s your karma.’ So he didn’t even take credit for it.”

She teaches 6:30 p.m. Fridays at Dharma Yoga Center in New York City. Though she teaches Dharma Yoga at her own studio, there’s nowhere quite like the place where the master himself teaches.

“It’s effortless to teach here, it just comes through,” Kim said. “I just sit there and think of Dharma and how he teaches.”

 

 

 

Jerome Burdi is a Brooklyn native who discovered yoga during a shamanic retreat in Brazil in 2010. Since then, he’s been enveloped by the path of the yogi. He left his job as a newspaper journalist to go to Rishikesh, India, and become a yoga teacher. Upon returning to NYC, he discovered Dharma Yoga and has been hooked. Though Jerome grew up in NY, he had to go to India to come back and see Sri Dharma with clear eyes and to hear the truth that is Dharma Yoga. Jerome is also a Middle Eastern style percussionist and holistic nutritionist

Jerome Burdi is a Brooklyn native who discovered yoga during a shamanic retreat in Brazil in 2010. Since then, he’s been enveloped by the path of the yogi. He left his job as a newspaper journalist to go to Rishikesh, India, and become a yoga teacher. Upon returning to NYC, he discovered Dharma Yoga and has been hooked. Though Jerome grew up in NY, he had to go to India to come back and see Sri Dharma with clear eyes and to hear the truth that is Dharma Yoga. Jerome is also a Middle Eastern style percussionist and holistic nutritionist

 

 

There is Only Bliss–the 500 Hour LOAY Teacher Training

By Jerome Burdi

I remember looking around the room of one of the packed master classes during the 500-hour-teacher training and seeing students breaking their practice to help others get into a pose. That’s because they were not just students, but teachers, too.

I felt so happy to be there, seeing the community come together under the guidance of the teachers’ teacher: Sri Dharma Mittra. There are 67 souls in the teacher training that had its first eight-day module Sept. 7, and will have it’s second on Nov. 2. They came from all over the States and world including: China, England, Australia, Germany, France, Turkey, Mexico, Canada, Croatia. And there I was, too, taking the subway from my native Brooklyn.

It’s wonderful to be in the presence of these people with Sri Dharma and the group mentors. To be a student again and soak up so much knowledge just by being in the presence of a true master who shows the mark of one: humility.

Sri Dharma is open hearted and childlike, and that floods the training and his classes. There usually comes a point towards the end of class where he opens it up for students to “Do your own special thing,” including acroyoga. This is when it becomes like a big playground and we’re all children playing at the feet of our father.

The training’s 14-hour days start at 7 a.m. with pranayama. Before coming to the training, I didn’t have a personal pranayama practice. This is one of the things I hoped to receive from the training and receive it I did. Dharmaji and the fellow teachers were so knowledgeable that it became one of my favorite parts of the training.

It’s the perfect way to start the day in the hush of Manhattan mornings before all the madness begins. Incense circles the images of Indian dieties in the dimly lit room as we fill the atmosphere with positive vibrations, moving into higher states of consciousness through pranayama.

I watched everyone’s yoga practice grow during the course of the first module. We were like one big family helping each other get better. People had breakthroughs in their practice thanks to the energy in the room and the knowledge of Sri Dharma who was helping us all psychically.

That’s why a lot of students can do things in Sri Dharma’s class that they cannot do alone. With the power of the master and the sangha, all is possible, all is bliss.

The long days went so fast and there was not one moment that I did not want to be there with my fellow student/teachers, each sharing our strong points and improving our weaknesses.

The more difficult part of the training comes in the intermodule when you are left with only your inner strength, without the daily help of your fellow trainees or in some cases without the presence of Sri Dharma.

I am fortunate enough to be close to Sri Dharma, but I feel for my friends who are in far reaches of the world, some even without a Dharma yoga studio to practice in.

But as Sri Dharma says, all is perfect and we must be receptive to see this. And that’s why we’ve come to him. I look forward to our reunion in the great yoga temple where we will shine once more under the umbrella of Sri Dharma’s grace.

Jerome

Jerome Burdi is a Brooklyn native who discovered yoga during a shamanic retreat in Brazil in 2010. Since then, he’s been enveloped by the path of the yogi. He left his job as a newspaper journalist to go to Rishikesh, India, and become a yoga teacher. Upon returning to NYC, he discovered Dharma Yoga and has been hooked. Though Jerome grew up in NY, he had to go to India to come back and see Sri Dharma with clear eyes and to hear the truth that is Dharma Yoga.

Jerome is also a Middle Eastern style percussionist and holistic nutritionist.

Yogi Favorites: Carrot Raisin Salad

Recipe:
2 tbs. sun-dried raisins
2 carrots
1 tbs. lemon juice or juice of half a lemon
5 tsp. raw honey, date, or brown rice syrup
2 tbs. cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil

This deceivingly light and simple recipe is an excellent dish for an antioxidant boost. Every single one of the ingredients in the Carrot Raisin Salad contains various forms of phenolic compounds that work to alleviate oxidative stress and cell aging. Phenolic compounds are characterized by a broad spectrum of beneficial antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Besides increasing antioxidant activity, fresh squeezed lemon juice also adds vibrant Vitamin C, while high levels of monounsaturated fat in olive oil reduces inflammation, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Meanwhile, the natural sugar content in dates and honey make them great natural energy boosters. Dates are high in dietary fiber and rich in tannins, a type of flavanoid polyphenolic antioxidant, while honey’s anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties have been used throughout history to treat everything from respiratory problems to open wounds.

With all the superfoods in this dish, it’s hard to pin down one superstar, but among all the sources of Vitamin A, carrots boast the highest levels, making them an essential for benefits such as good eye health and clean skin. They also a great digestive aid, as they help cleanse the intestines, liver, and colon of ulcer and cancer-causing toxins.

Raisins are lower in phenolic content than raw red grapes, but still a great source of quercetin, the type of polyphenols found in this particular fruit. It is recommended to use dark raisins for flavor and also because they are available sun-dried, whereas golden raisins must be treated with sulfur dioxide to prevent oxidation and caramelization.

For an interesting variation of this salad, try steaming the carrots lightly.

Carrot&Raisin_Salad_@Marta_Simonetti2

Text: Lana J. Lee  Picture: Marta Simonetti

Recipe Source: The Dharma Yoga LOAY Teacher Training Manual

Light on BKS Iyengar

by Dharma Yoga staff

B. K. S. Iyengar, yoga master, legend, and Guru to thousands, died last week at the age of 95. Few people have done as much to make yoga as accessible to the masses as Iyengar, and few have shown by example what true yoga is.

Born into an impoverished family, the 11th of 13 children, Iyengar was a sickly child, suffering from malnutrition, malaria and tuberculosis. He found his way back to health through the practice of yoga, and became a tireless advocate of the eight limbs of yoga. Iyengar didn’t see a separation between the physical and spiritual aspects of yoga, according to John Schumacher, a longtime student of Iyengar’s in India and the United States and the director of the Unity Woods Yoga Center in D.C. “The physical body is a manifestation of the divine body,” he said. “How we approach the physical aspects is part of the whole package of yoga: body, mind, spirit, breath, and emotion.”

Sri Dharma Mittra has said that while he only had one yoga teacher, he considers Iyengar his Asana Guru, and Iyengar’s book Light on Yoga to be like a “yoga bible” for anyone serious about the topic. “I have been sneaking into that book and learning from him for years,” said Sri Dharma Mittra, adding that Iyengar was a master when it came to matters of alignment.

When Sri Dharma Mittra was planning the Master Yoga Chart of 908 Asanas, Light on Yoga was one of six books he used as points of reference, and has said many times that when one is doing Pranayama, the student should imagine he or she is an “expert like Iyengar.”

This weekend, the Dharma Yoga Center will honor the memory and contributions of B.K.S. Iyengar with three-and-a-half hours of classes taught by Sri Dharma Mittra dedicated to Iyengar’s memory. On August 30th, Sri Dharma is offering class from 10-1:30 (Maha Shakti, Yoga Nidra, and Psychic Development) all for only $45 if preregistered by 8/29.

“Mr. Iyengar, I see you as an embodiment of Lord Shiva for the way you teach and of Lord Rama for your elegance, love, and the way you dress. We have shared many students over the years in our love of these teachings. When things come from experience, they can truly be trusted.” –Sri Dharma Mittra

Listen to Sri Dharma Mittra’s interview and his thoughts on Iyengar here.