30 October 2010

Miele Vanilla Poached Pears

I was invited to watch a cookery demonstration at the Miele showroom in London by the lovely TV chef, Silvana Franco. Silvana was using the steam oven and prepared a number of dishes that were suitable for children (and weaning babies).

The beauty of the steam oven is that more of the food’s nutrients are retained during cooking. In addition to this – and rather surprisingly – is the fact that there seems to be no transference of tastes in the foods cooked together in the steamer. This means that you can cook your main meal and dessert at the same time, thus reducing time spent in the kitchen; something that is always a winner for me!

One of the dishes that Silvana prepared was vanilla poached pears; a dish that is incredibly easy to prepare and delicious served warm or chilled. Below, I have included a recipe.

Vanilla poached pears

Ingredients (serves 4 young children):
  • 2 ripe pears, cored and cut into quarters or smaller pieces
  • 5 tablespoons of pressed apple juice
  • Half a vanilla pod, split
  • Greek yogurt or fromage frais to taste
  • Cut the pear pieces into suitable sizes (for children, these will need to be smaller). If making this for young babies, puree the pears once cooked.
  • Place the pears, apple juice and vanilla pod in a heatproof dish. Cover with clingfilm and steam at 100ºC for 4 to 6 minutes (depending on size and ripeness), until very tender.
  • If pureeing, do so while the pears are hot (remember to remove the vanilla pod). Otherwise, leave to cool for a short time and serve warm or chilled with a spoonful of Greek yoghurt or fromage frais.

Quote of the day ...

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Pose of the day

Tittibhasana A, originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk.

Tittibhasana A (Flying Insect )

29 October 2010

Laughter is medicine

Laughter is medicine, originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk.

I am sharing a family photo in which my daughter and I are are doing two of my favourite things: laughing and dancing.

Sharing fun times with family and friends can really lift the spirits. Your chemistry changes and you can sometimes find lightness on your dark days. Laughter really is fantastic medicine. Take it when you need it and give it when you can.


A drishti is a focal point or gaze point. Using a drishti in your yoga practice helps to deepen your concentration and they bring a steadiness to your yoga. They are cultivated over time, alongside all other aspects of a yoga practice.

The nine drishtis are:
  • Nasagrai (Nāsāgrai) - at the tip of the nose
  • Angusta ma dyai (Aṅguṣṭha madhyai) – to the thumb
  • Nabi chakra (Nābhicakra) – to the navel
  • Padhayoragrai (Pādayoragrai) – to the toes
  • Hastagrai (Hastagrai) – to the palm/ extended hand
  • Parsva (Pārśva) – to the side/s
  • Urdhva (Ūrdhva) – to the sky/ upwards
  • Naitrayohmadya or Ajna chakra (Bhrūmadhya) - to the third eye/ between the eyebrows
  • Parsva drishti - far right or far left

Ubhaya padangusthasana - example of a Nasagrai (nose) drishti

Quote of the day ...

Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.

27 October 2010

Book Review: Guruji - A Portrait of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

Guruji - A Portrait of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois by Guy Donahaye and Eddie Stern

I have so enjoyed reading this book about Pattabhi Jois as witnessed through the eyes of his students, of many years. It is a great insight into the life and personality of the man known as Guruji.

Thirty of Guruji’s students offer their own experience of practising Ashtanga yoga under his guidance. The passion that was shared from guru to student is one of the wonderful themes throughout the book; as is the family man or householder that Pattabhi Jois was.

It is clear from this book that family played a big role in this man’s life. There is plenty of humour; I found the David Swenson and Guruji “Hari Krishna” story really funny.

I loved reading about the experiences of the women who practiced with Guruji, especially in the early days, when western women were not the norm in the Shala.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who practices Ashtanga yoga.

Quote of the day ...

Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.
Mother Teresa

Pose of the day

Bakasana (Crow Pose), originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk.

Bakasana or Crow Pose

26 October 2010

Quote of the day ...

If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values - that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

25 October 2010

David Swenson at triyoga soho

The internationally-recognised Ashtanga yoga teacher David Swenson will be teaching at triyoga Soho from the 26th November until the 5th of December 2010. This is a great opportunity to practice with one of the “old school” Ashtanga yoga teachers.

David was my first yoga teacher way back in 1994. Since then, I have not had the chance to attend any of his classes or workshops. However, I have booked a place on the “hands on” adjustment workshop that he will be holding. There are a number of workshops on offer, from led primary series classes to a yoga teacher training intensive. So there is something for everyone!

I have mentioned to a number of my yoga students that they should take the rare chance to go and practice yoga with David. Some of them, however, feel slightly intimidated at the prospect.

When I meet him on a Greek island 16 years ago, I had no idea who he was and had never practised yoga before. David has a passion for yoga which he clearly loves to share. It is true that he can get into the most amazing poses, but he does not expect students to come along and be him. From what I remember, he was a funny, laid-back teacher who inspired me on my yogic journey and to whom I will always be grateful.

triyoga soho
2nd Floor, Kingly Court
Tel: 020 7483 3344
Web: www.triyoga.co.uk

Quote of the day ...

If you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work.
Khalil Gibran

23 October 2010

Ashtanga yoga moon days 2010

Here are the remaining moon days for 2010:

October 23 (full moon)
November 6 (new moon)
November 21 (full moon)
December 5 (new moon)
December 21 (full moon)

Quote of the day ...

Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.
Mother Teresa

22 October 2010

Quote of the day ...

If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

20 October 2010

Quote of the day ...

If the grandfather of the grandfather of Jesus had known what was hidden within him, he would have stood humble and awe-struck before his soul.
Khalil Gibran

19 October 2010

Quote of the day ...

Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace. Money will come if we seek first the Kingdom of God - the rest will be given.
Mother Teresa

18 October 2010

All Is Well

My husband will read this beautiful reading for a beautiful man who is going to be laid to rest today.
Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household world that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It it the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.
All is well.
Henry Scott Holland

Quote of the day ...

If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

17 October 2010

Quote of the day ...

It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.

16 October 2010

Quote of the day ...

If my survival caused another to perish, then death would be sweeter and more beloved.
Khalil Gibran

15 October 2010

14 October 2010

Quote of the day ...

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

13 October 2010

Quote of the day ...

It is a man's own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.

Mum and baby yoga

Mum and baby yoga is a great way to spend time with your baby in a relaxed environment. You can gain confidence in handling your baby, learn how to soothe colic, aid sleep, etc... Women can come back into their bodies, and start to stretch out areas that may have become tight during pregnancy or when feeding your baby.

Learn how to soothe yourself and your baby by using rhythm and breathing techniques. Mum and baby yoga classes are also a great place to connect with other women who are going through the same experiences as you.

For more information about mum and baby yoga class times, please consult the yoga mama timetable. For more information or to sign up for a mum and baby yoga course, call 07939 58 90 83 or send an email to info@yogamama.co.uk.

12 October 2010

Quote of the day ...

I wash my hands of those who imagine chattering to be knowledge, silence to be ignorance, and affection to be art.
Khalil Gibran

10 October 2010

Quote of the day ...

I am not interested in power for power's sake, but I'm interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

09 October 2010

Quote of the day ...

In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.

08 October 2010

Quote of the day ...

I prefer to be a dreamer among the humblest, with visions to be realized, than lord among those without dreams and desires.
Khalil Gibran

06 October 2010

05 October 2010

Quote of the day ...

In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.

04 October 2010

Quote of the day ...

I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit.
Khalil Gibran

02 October 2010

Quote of the day ...

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

01 October 2010

Quote of the day ...

Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion.
Dalai Lama

Ashtanga yoga

Ashtanga yoga is a flowing dynamic form of yoga, where each pose is linked and synchronised using a breathing system called ujjayi pranayama.

Ashtanga yoga practices postures (asana), breath (ujjayi pranayama), focal/gazing point (driste). The discipline of this system allows us to develop a deeper understanding and awareness of ourselves. It is both empowering, and liberating and allows us to move through life with a calmness and steadiness of mind and body.

The linking of breathing and movement creates an internal, purifying heat which detoxifies and purifies the muscles and internal organs. Internal locks (bandhas) are used throughout the yoga practice. The breath is the heart Ashtanga yoga.

Ashtanga translates as “eight limbs”. Below are the eight limbs as described by the sage Pattanjali:
  • Yama (abstinences)
  • Niyama (observances)
  • Asana (postures)
  • Pranayama (breath control)
  • Pratyahara (sense withdrawal)
  • Dharana (concentration)
  • Dhyana (meditation)
  • Samadhi (contemplation)
By practising the first four external limbs, the second four internal limbs begin to unfold, leading to self awareness and knowledge.
“If the mind folds itself to a point of concentration or becomes standstill, as it were, it can keep the body and the sesnses under its control, so that there will not be a possibility of their getting disease. If the mind becomes weak, it will be the cause of of many diseases, hallucinations and other mental distortions which give rise to physical diseases. The process of disaplining and purifying the mind is called yoga.”
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois