Yoga from the Third Eye Chakra: Or Trusting My Intuition

third-eye-chakraAs you have probably noticed, things have been pretty quiet around here. Over the last year, I was enmeshed in several projects on the work and home fronts that slowed down my blogging and refocused my attention. In the month of June, I spent a lot of time packing and preparing to end a job at a place I had worked for 18 years. And then on July 1, I started a new position that involves working away from home for much of the week. This has cut down on my cooking and, when I do cook (I batch cook on the weekends), I’m in a hurry to get it all done and don’t take pretty pictures. Eventually, I’ll probably post my batch cooking plans, but for now it’s been a bit of a drought of blogging.

To be honest, I don’t anticipate the blogging rate picking up much while I’m getting into the swing of a new job, but I thought I would share a little bit about where I am with my yoga practice at the moment.

With several health issues, including a major surgery, a severe infection (related to the major surgery), a fall down a flight of stairs resulting in a broken tailbone, and a plethora of RA flares, my practice really waned in the last two years. It never completely left, but it wasn’t very present either. As I relocated, and had a little space with no one in it but me and a cat, the possibility of leaving a yoga mat front and center at all times seemed to make it more possible to get in a regular practice.

Five plus weeks later, I find myself practicing at least 5 days a week, sometimes more, for at least 40 minutes a day. Whee! I started out doing a very traditional vinyasa/ashtanga surya namaskara a & b pattern, followed by a planned set of poses that I had often used in my vinyasa classes or been led through in classes I attended. After a week or so of this, I gradually let go more of that pattern and began to really tune in to what my body needed in any particular moment.

At this point, I’m calling this “intuition yoga” when I think about it. If I get on the mat and I need sun salutations to warm up the muscles and get the joints lubricated, that’s what I do. But, if my joints are very painful, I’ll opt for an easier flow followed by more static poses. If the front of my body feels really tight, I focus on opening it up. If I’ve accidentally slept on my back and wake up with horrible tailbone pain, I do very gradual standing forward folds that take the muscles surrounding that area to the edge and stretch them gently, but never move beyond. Because of the sacral pain, I’m rarely doing seated folds, even the ones I enjoy (like janu sirsasana) because I know my body will pay me back for that momentary pleasure with hours of spasms.

Doing yoga this way is working well for me right now. I have seen my practice change so much in the last 8+ years of serious yoga focus that I know it will likely shift again, but if feels good to know where I am and what is working for me and notice the positive impacts on my body and mind as I move through my day.

Do you follow your intuition in your practice, or are you more of a “by the book” kind of yogi right now?

 

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry

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This is a two part recipe. The first part is making the curry paste (you can also buy curry paste). This curry paste recipe, adapted slightly from Pinch of Yum, is easy to do and will make double (or more) the amount you need for the curry, so freeze the other half for use later.

Yellow Curry Paste

  • 4 large shallots
  • 4 large heads of garlic
  • 1 6-inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
  • 1½ tablespoons salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons turmeric
  • 2-3 tablespoons mild curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons roasted ground coriander
  • 3 tablespoons lemongrass paste (I use Gourmet Garden which they sell at my regular grocery store)
  • ¼ cup packed cilantro leaves and stems
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel the shallots – then drizzle with oil and wrap in foil.
  3. Peel the ginger and cut into thin slices. Arrange in a single layer, drizzle with oil, and wrap in foil.
  4. Pull the outer paper off the garlic. Cut the pointy tops off the heads of garlic so the cloves are partially exposed. Drizzle with oil, and wrap in foil.
  5. Place all the foil packets on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Remove the ginger (it should be soft).
  7. Increase the temperature to 400, and roast the shallots and garlic for another 20 minutes until golden brown and very fragrant.
  8. Put the softened ginger, the shallots, the garlic (after you get it all over you trying to get it out of the bulb), and the remaining ingredients in a food processor or very strong blender. Pulse until the paste reaches desired consistency.

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 6 cups of cooked chickpeas (drain and rinse if canned)
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 large handful of kale, chopped
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • ⅔ cup yellow curry paste
  • 1 can coconut milk
  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, sweet potato, and onions over a medium-low heat until the sweet potatoes are tender and the onions soften and begin to caramelize.
  2. Add the chickpeas and the curry paste, stir (the potatoes will break apart mostly, which is ok). Allow to simmer until heated through.
  3. Add the kale and coconut milk and again simmer to hot, checking for spice level here. Add more red pepper flakes if needed.

I found this to be very very delicious. The paste was also a success for the omnivores in a chicken curry.

Serve over rice, noodles, or alone. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Patties

IMG_4246Yummy! These have a little kick, and you can up that with more peppers if you wish. We had them with diced tomato, shredded lettuce, and vegan mayo. I had one the next day tossed into a salad with salsa and vegan sour cream.

Ingredients

1/2 cup oats
2 1/2 cups baked and mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 onion diced
3 cups cooked black beans
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups panko crumbs
1 jalapeno finely diced
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

IMG_4268Process

Mix all ingredients. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes. Coat a baking pan or stone with a small amount of oil. Form into balls and lightly press down to make patties on baking pan/stone. Place in oven at 375*  Cook 15-20 minutes until first side browns. Do not flip until one side is browned. Flip carefully and cook for another 15 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!