What’s Your Mantra?

First, what is a mantra? 

The word mantra, which literally means “instrument of thought” in Sanskrit, originally described sacred and vibrational sounds or Sanskrit words or phonemes repeated as an offering or to deepen one’s meditative state.  As the world has grown smaller and more interconnected, the definition of mantra has expanded to mean a phrase, in any language, repeated with regularity.

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Welcoming Summer

Summer is around the corner. The other day I was speaking with Laura Wittmer, who is a teacher at a Waldorf School, an educational system that aims to inspire creative thinking and a holistic passion for learning. We were discussing the importance of not over scheduling children’s summer vacations.

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Coconut Black Rice Pudding

This coconut black rice pudding makes a delightful and healthy breakfast, snack, or dessert.  It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, and processed sugar-free, too.

Black rice is indigenous to Southern Asia and an excellent source of iron, vitamin E, fiber, and flavonoid antioxidants called anthocyanins.  In Chinese medicine, it’s considered a good blood tonifier.  Black rice has been consumed for centuries in China.  In fact, because of its rich nutritional value, legend has it that it was reserved solely for the emperors’ consumption.  As a result, it was granted the names “emperor’s rice” and “forbidden rice.”

Enjoy this simple pudding warm or cold.  As always, feel free to be creative in the kitchen!

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Soothing Tea Eye Compresses

Looking to get even more healing benefits from your organic Arogya tea?

Try using our green or chamomile teas to make soothing tea eye compresses.  Resting with chilled tea bags over the eyes for 10 to 20 minutes can help reduce and prevent puffiness and nourish your skin.  It’s also a wonderful way to unwind anytime of day.

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Tea for May: Jade Oolong

Greet the spring with a cup of our organic Jade oolong tea.  This highly prized tea, made of large, hand-rolled and lightly oxidized tea leaves, comes from Nantou County, Taiwan.  Once infused, the leaves unfurl and release delicate and slightly sweet notes, exquisite flavor and an enchanting yet subtle fragrance.  The flowery aroma is reminiscent of lilacs, which are now in bloom.

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Blueberry Barley Muffins

I first fell in love with barley flour in 2005 when my mother and I visited Ladakh, a north Indian state nestled between the Kunlun mountain range and the main Great Himalayas.  During our week-long stay, we were fortunate to meet a very kind taxi driver named Dorje.  On our final day, Dorje brought us to the small village where he and his family lived.  It was late September, which meant it was time to prepare for the long, harsh winter ahead.  Dorje’s family was busy harvesting the region’s staple crop – an ancient form of domesticated barley which is used to make tsampa, or roasted barley flour. 

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Verses that Nourish the Soul: Gathas

A couple years ago, my beloved brother-in-law Tim and I discovered that we had a mutual interest in the teachings of Zen Buddhist master.  Soon after, Tim gave me a book by this great teacher called Peace is Every Breath, which presents inspiring and accessible ways to cultivate greater mindfulness in everyday life.  One practice in this book that really spoke to me is the expression of gathas.

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Chinese Tea Eggs

A few months ago, our shiatsu therapist Suzy made some Chinese tea eggs for us to try.  We immediately fell in love with this savory dish and wanted to share the recipe with you.

Tea eggs are a traditional snack in many parts of China.  The ingredients are very simple: tea leaves, soy sauce or tamari, star anise, salt, and a touch of sugar.  In cities like Shanghai or Beijing, you can find delicious tea eggs being served up by street vendors.  It’s also common for parents to boil some up as a nourishing after school snack.  Whenever Wei makes tea eggs, the unique and wonderful aroma of the tea leaves and spices simmering on the stove top transports her back to her childhood in Shanghai.

Enjoy these eggs anytime of day!  Plus, if you’re looking for a unique appetizer, this dish might be your answer.

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Comfortable Postures for Meditating

Occasionally, yoga students will ask what are the best ways to sit during meditation.  Today, let’s examine 4 basic meditative seats that can help your practice and your posture.  Each of these poses encourage an upright spine, which helps the breath flow deeply and the mind remain alert.  They’re also excellent seats for practicing pranayama, or breath control exercises.

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