Lessons From the Slow Cooker
By Laura Mills
In addition to holiday decorating, one of my favorite rituals at this time of year is making chili in my slow cooker. The day before, I chop and prepare the ingredients; the morning of, I empty everything into the cooker, add the appropriate spices, and turn the switch to “Low.” Every time I lift the lid to stir throughout the day, a wave of smells spreads across my kitchen, and by dinnertime the chili has transformed from a cold mass into a simmering stew. The whole process—from preparation, through cooking and dinnertime, and even through packing leftovers—proves itself quite the event. It is, I believe, an occasion that sets the mood for a cozy, happy, and festive transition from fall to winter.
Isn’t that the best thing about comfort food, the fact that we not only enjoy the flavor itself but also the total experience of it? Eating our favorite comfort foods seems to reset our ability to notice things that enhance our existence, like warmth, heartiness, the coziness of settling in, and the closeness we experience with others and ourselves. Comfort food, in a way, is like salt we add to the moments in which we anticipate it, prepare it, eat it, and clean up after it. It doesn’t change life’s flavor, just heightens our awareness of its tastiness.
Is It Time to Remodel?
By Laura Mills
With the approach of spring it’s usual, I think, for us to establish a new course for ourselves. Almost like re-opening our lives after a renovation, we set an intention to change our outlook or update our approach. Then, we seal that intention with rituals that refresh: cleaning out closets and garages, rearranging desks and living rooms, scrubbing kitchens and floors, and, of course, shopping.
As yogis, why not include among our projects a renewal of commitment to our practices? Recommitting honors the distances we’ve traveled towards this moment in our yoga journeys; it also blesses the courses that stretch ahead. And though the prospect of recommitting—whatever it might entail for each of us—might seem daunting, no yogi practices alone. After all, while our individual experiences on and off the mat vary, we all share the openness of heart and mind that brought us to yoga in the first place.
So whatever your yoga practice is and has been in the past, celebrate it this spring. Be renewed and refreshed as you recommit, buoyed by the knowledge that an entire community of yogis stands behind you.
Congratulations to us all for arriving here, and best wishes as we move forward together!
THE IMPORTANCE OF RITUALS
SEPTEMBER 27, 2010 Yoga is one of my most important Rituals. Actually the first time I understood what the word "practice" really meant the lightbulb went off and I realized oh yeah, "something I practice repeatedly over a long period of time". Well that is a ritual too.
Within my yoga life the ritual I have especially on Monday's is to do a balancing of my energies related to the elements. Before I believed in Chakras, I did believe in Earth, Water, Air, Fire. Then eventually I started to understand that all of the elements are within and outside us. And even beyond that the concept of Doshas and Chakras. And all of it got less intimidating. Two easy ways for me to stay connected to the elements and through that discover where I am excessive or deficient and do something about it are:
1. Each finger represents an element so I pray, meditate, focus on bringing my thumb to each finger.
2. I sing a song to the elements (I know lots of them but this one was the focus tonight). And in Spanish to my Latin roots (my Mom's side as my Dad's side is the Italian part)
Tierra mi Cuerpo
Agua mi Sangre
Aire mi Viento
Y Fuego mi Espiritu.
Hey even if you don't understand Spanish you might pick up a word here or there. So this is translated as: Earth my Body, Water my Blood, Air my Breath, and Fire my Spirit.
What does this have to do with Rituals? Well when we disconnect from our rituals we lose touch with what Louise Hay calls our "inner ding" or intuition or good old fashion gut feel. So this practice was meant to bring our awareness to the four elements and feel that connection of each to ourselves, the micro experience, and to the world at large, our macro experience. All of this reminds us that we are in Yoga at every moment of our lives. There is this primordial power or universal intelligence that draws us together in balance, in union. And this goes beyond us to our ancestors and to the legacy we leave beyond this earthly body. Perhaps this inspires you to create your own Ritual around the elements, or even a single element, and I hope so. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PS For the full blog, part of which I shared in class, of Dr. Enrique Saguil, TBY Teacher Trainee, click here: http://herbal411.blogspot.com/2010/09/lack-of-disease-doesnt-equal-good.html
BOOK RECOMMENDATION FOR YOU
I hope this list of 10 Daily Rituals changes your life!
1. Ritual of Solitude (mandatory period of peace)
2. Ritual of Physicality (as you care for your body so you care for your mind)
3. Ritual of Live Nourishment (as you nourish your body, so you nourish your mind)
4. Ritual of Abundant Knowledge (life long learning)
5. Ritual of Personal Reflection (inner contemplation to get to know yourself)
6. Ritual of Early Awakening
7. Ritual of Music (never forget the power of music)
8. Ritual of the Spoken Word (daily mantras)
9. Ritual of Congruent Character (building character)
10. Ritual of Simplicity (requires you live a simple life)
As you can see this is yoga, yoga, yoga! To meet these rituals for a harmonious life brings us into yoga. So why not make it easier for ourselves by making more time for the mat as the vibrant heart of our rituals? Sending you Big Love, Silvia