Archives for April 2015

Measure your progress in yoga not by the yoga positions you can do, but by the person you become.

Modern society thrives on progress. It seems like we are always being pressurised to achieve more, earn more and buy more. This rarely leads to lasting happiness because there is always more you can have and do. With social media images of bendy yogis bombarding your newsfeed, and with pressures to achieve coming from all directions, it’s easy to bring this mindset to your yoga practice. This is such a shame because if you are always striving to achieve more, you will never surrender and accept this moment, just as it is, enjoying the real fruit of yoga.

People practice yoga for all sorts of reasons and I understand that you may want to become more flexible. You may be really tight and need to get more flexible in order to enjoy normal healthy movement and posture. If you practice regularly this will happen, whether you strive for it or not. If you have been practicing yoga for many years, as I have, you may be very capable of doing all sorts of positions that you never dreamed were possible, and yet you still may seek progress in what you can do. I do. I love to challenge myself to do more, but the main benefit of this is what it brings to my life. It helps me to stay calm in challenging and new situations. It helps me to be more present for my friends and family, it helps me to believe that anything is possible, and hopefully it helps me to be a better person. Very few people really care, or even know, what yoga positions 18 years of yoga has made it possible for me to do. But they do care about what kind of person I am.

If you practice yoga regularly you will become more flexible. There is no need to worry about that. Practice, surrender, and use your practice to become more present. Sometimes it will be wonderful. Sometimes it will be challenging to really be here. Practice, practice and practice some more. Then bring your practice into your life.

Sometimes as a teacher, I notice that the people that seem to understand it the most, are actually the tightest. They have had to tune into their breath. They have realised that it is going to take a while. And they have surrendered. I am not saying this to be harsh to the bendy people. I happen to be one myself, but I think sometimes within the yoga community, we forget this and we think the bendy people are the great yogis. This is not always the case. They may not have even done that much yoga. They might be a gymnast or a dancer. They might really struggle with other aspects of the practice too. We are all different, but the real journey is an inward one, and that’s where the real peace lies.

Do you ever put pressure on yourself to be better at yoga? How has yoga had an impact on your life and or who you are?

Marc’s Vegan Samosa and Bhaji Recipes from my Yoga Workshops

As some of you know my fiancé Marc has been making some amazing food for my workshops.  Here he shares his Samosa and Bhaji recipe which have been a real hit at the workshops. The Samosa recipe is a little different from a traditional recipe as they are baked in the oven rather than deep fat fried, healthy and delicious! All recipes are vegan, enjoy.

Samosas

Vegan samosa

I tried to take a picture of these but by the time I got there there was only one left. I think that says it all!

potatoes – 2 large sized ones (about 600g)
onions – 2 (about 250g)
peas – 1 cup (about 60g)
ginger – 1 thumb
garlic – 4 cloves
finger chillies – 2
lemon – juiced
mango chutney / dried mango powder – 1-2 tbsp
cumin seeds – 1 tbsp
cumin 1 tsp
ground coriander – 1 tsp
chopped coriander – small bunch
garam masala – 2 tsp
chaat masala – 2 tsp
vegan spread
pastry brush

Either 1 pack of Filo pastry (like jus-roll) or make your own!

Method

filling:

Some peel the potatoes but I don’t.
Wash and boil potatoes until cooked, remove from heat, change to cold water to cool them down.
In a large pan warm up some coconut oil, sauté the onion for a minute, then add the chillies, garlic for another minute.
chop up potatoes and add
Add everything else except the mango and lemon and quietly simmer for a few minutes until everything is evenly covered with the spices
add lemon juice and mango and gently relax into the mixture

preparation:

warm up some vegan spread in a small pan
Take one sheet of fill and place flat on work surface, with the length going left to right
thinly brush with spread
fold bottom third upwards to middle and brush. then do the same with the top third, so it it only a third as deep as before. brush again
add a dessertspoonful of the mixture to one end
fold the corner down to the bottom edge, to form a triangle
keep folding along the length of the pastry until you reach the end.
brush the end again and seal the samosa and place seam-down on a baking tray
do the same until you run out of ingredients
bake gas mark 5 for 20-25 mins, until golden brown, turning once

Top hints: If you make the filling the day before and leave in the fridge overnight the flavours mix deeper. For an alternative texture, try just cooking the potatoes but not the rest and it will cook in the over anyway but it will be a bit more crunchy and ‘drier’. You can deep fry these but I prefer to bake them, as its more healthy.

 

Bhajees

yoga-workshop-eating

Yoga students enjoying Marc’s snack at a recent workshop.

gram lour 4oz / 120 g
potatoes – 2 large sized ones (about 600g)
onions – 2 (about 300g)
ground coriander – 1 tsp
chopped coriander – small bunch
turmeric 1/2 tsp
finger chillies – 2
ginger – 1 thumb
garam masala 1/2 tsp
chaat masala – 1/2 tsp
cumin 1 tsp
seaweed/nori flakes – pinch
1/2 pint water

Method:

Some peel the potatoes but I don’t.
Wash and boil potatoes until cooked, remove from heat, change to cold water to cool them down.
In a large mixing bowl, put everything but the potatoes and water onto the bowl and combine thoroughly
add potatoes and stir well in
slowly add water until the mixture is slack, not runny (if you overdo the water you can rescue it with a bit more gram flour
heat up oil in pan to very hot (the oil needs to be about 5-6 cm deep), or use deep fat fryer set high
carefully pull together a bhajee using two desert spoons to fashion a ball and place into oil
cook for around 8 minutes until it turns a deep golden brown and start to float
cook in batches, depending on the size of the pan being used and lay aside on kitchen paper

Top hints: I like using red onions for a slightly less aggressive hit. This is definitely better with organic onions and potatoes. Serves well with mango chutney, hummus, vegan mayo or vegan cucumber dip (I suppose I’ll have to mention that now too)

Vegan cucumber dip

plain soy yogurt – 2 cups
cucumber – 2, sliced small
garlic – 3 cloves chopped finely and crushed beneath knife blade
lemon juice – 3 tbsp
paprika – 1/4 tsp
pepper – dash
fresh chopped mint leaves – 1tbsp (a bit more if not fresh)
seaweed/nori flakes – pinch