Yoga Summer Maintenance

One of the countless things I love about summer is how the added heat and humidity makes my yoga practice feel even more cleansing, relaxing, and opening than usual. With the additional warmth and sun, however, also comes added precaution to take on the yoga mat as we’re at a greater risk of dehydration and overheating.

We hope the tips outlined in this blog can help you maintain a full and healthy practice all summer long.

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Dandelion Greens Pesto

As someone who recently relocated to the woods of Easton, CT from New York City, it’s challenging to accurately describe the feelings of gratitude and contentment I feel every time I visit Sport Hill Farm. I am continually inspired by the tireless work of Patti and Al Popp, who founded this neighborhood farm in 2001. From late spring until the autumn harvest, their rustic market shelves are overflowing with fresh, sustainably grown produce.

Last month, I noticed bundles of dandelion greens for sale at the farm. Admittedly, the few times I had tried cooking this humble weed in the past, I found myself recoiling from its bitter bite.  Patti Popp completely renewed my interest in dandelion one day when she told me that she transforms the greens into flavorful pesto. The idea was enticing and I had to try it myself.  The result was a delicious and versatile spread that tastes quite different than traditional pesto.  I chose to add some toasted walnuts and blanch the greens, which significantly cuts back on their bitterness.

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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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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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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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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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Our Liji Red Pu’er

We recently enjoyed a tasting of one of our most unique teas – a 2012 red pu’er made by the head tea master of Liji Gu Zhuang in Yunnan Province, China.  In fact, we’re the only tea specialists in America to have an artisan red pu’er.
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Ramps Pesto

Last spring, I fell in love with a ramps pesto thin crust pizza being served up at Fat Cat Pie Co. in Norwalk, CT.  Fat Cat’s owner Mark Ancona kindly shared the pesto recipe with me: simply blend together ramps, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Eagerly, I went home and made some with my favorite Himalayan pink salt and organic olive oil.  It was so simple and delicious!

I was reminded of it the other day when Sophie, who edits this blog, told me about wild ramps she’s been sustainably harvesting near her home.  Ramps, also referred to as wild leeks, wood leeks, and spring onions, are perennial wild onions native to North America.  Ramps truly are a delicacy

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