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Chocolate Chia Shake

Chocolate Chia Shake

Good Nutrition is one of the most important steps for recovery after a race or training session. In LA YOGA’s MarchYogi Food feature, we asked some noted athletes and food experts to share their favorite smoothie and shake recipes. Blythe Metz […]

Raw Chocolate Ice Cream

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Raw Chocolate Ice Cream  (Easiest recipe ever, best chocolate ice cream ever!) Prep time: 3 min Yield: 2 servings Ingredients: 4 bananas peeled, broken up, and frozen ¼ cup rice milk or freshly made almond milk 2 Tbsp raw cacao […]

Chocolate Honey Salt Scrub ~ Bath Recipe

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Chocolate Honey Salt Scrub ~ bath recipe Raw chocolate is a nourishing ingredient for beauty treatments. Use this Chocolate Honey Salt Scrub once or twice a week for glowing skin. The chocolate scrub allows the powerful Vitamin C and skin-building […]

Raspberry Ganache Chocolate Fudge Cake

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Hello to “home-style” frosting—fresh and not from a plastic tub. Goodness without guilt. I use carob in my cake to cut down on the caffeine, and because I love carob for its malty richflavor. This cake is to live for, […]

It?s A Sweet Note

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Creative Artist Liz Marx Makes Her Mark With Artistic Raw Vegan Chocolate Love inspires many artistic creations. This is certainly true for glassblower, sculptor and raw chocolate artist Liz Marx. Her own love of chocolate initiated her quest for a […]

Chocolate

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In the weeks and hours leading up to the romantic benchmark of Valentine’s Day, chocolate buying and consumption skyrockets. Chocolate can be either a form of junk food or an ambrosia worthy of our divine nature, depending on what is […]

Try Your Lunch In A Thermos On The Go

According to Ayurveda, lunch is the most important meal of the day. The pitta dosha (fire element), which governs the transformation of food into the tissues of the body, is at its highest level in the daytime from 10:00 A.M. […]

Chocolate

Chocolate

Chocolate has become the quintessential Valentine’s Day gift, representing love, sweetness, devotion and sensuality. Its origins as the go-to gift for romantic holidays are fairly recent and involve the magic of marketing and the ‘60s, specifically the 1860s. This was […]

Delight In The Delicious

Meditation techniques use the senses to go beyond the senses. Mantra Yoga engages the sense of hearing: when we find a mantra we love, we can let it carry us beyond sound into a vibrant silence. Pranayama employs the kinesthetic senses of touch, temperature and motion to follow the rhythm of breath and awaken into the life-force. Yantra uses vision – the capacity to see light, colors and shapes – and invites us to bathe in the luminosity of the inner dimensions through gazing at sacred geometric configurations.  Sound, tactile kinesthetic sensations and vision seem like proper, respectable avenues to meditation. But taste? Can taste really be a means for meditation? Can it really be considered part of Yoga?  Yes, every sense is relevant to Yoga. Each sensory pathway is an opening to the universe. The root of the word Yoga is yuj, to join together. Yoga practices invite us to join together all the senses, and link together body, heart, and mind to contemplate the divine.  The Vijnana Bhairava Tantra is a treasury of 112 classic Yoga practices. The first 48 of these practices given by Shiva include ways of focusing on breath, mantra (sacred sound), the chakra (energy centers), and energy flows in the body.  In this particular technique Shiva says, “Well, now that you are all tuned in, why not go ahead and meditate with your favorite taste and see what happens?”  This is Sutra 49 of The Radiance Sutras, a dharana on rasa:  When sipping some ambrosia,  Raise your glass, close your eyes,  Receive the nectar on your tongue As a kiss.  Toast the universe, For the Sun and Moon,  Earth and rain danced together To bring you this wine.  Tasting chocolate, a ripe apricot, your  favorite treat, Savor the expanding joy in your body. How astonishing, to realize the world can taste so good And please you so deeply.  Rising pleasure, overwhelming jubilation. Be here for this celebration  As nature offers her substance to you.    jagdhip?nak?toll?saras?nandavij?mbha??t |  bh?vayed bharit?vasth?? mah?nandas  tato bhavet ||  Look at that first line of 39 letters. The scribe who long ago joined seven words into one long compound got 118 Scrabble points. Way to conjoin!  We see a lot of juicy, inviting words folded in here: jagdhi – eating; pana – drinking (especially spirituous liquors), drinking the saliva or kissing; kritah-ullasa – the happiness, merriment, joy, light and splendor created by that; rasa – juice, essence, water, drink, elixir, taste, aesthetic delight; ananda – happiness, joy, sensual pleasure, “pure happiness” as an attribute of atman or Brahman; vijrimbhanat – focus on the enjoyment arising; bhavayed – meditate; bharita-avastham – state of fullness; maha ananda – great joy, supreme bliss; tatah – then; bhavet – becomes.  The practice is straightforward: focus on the supreme delight of tasting your favorite treat. As the joy arises in you, the bliss of tasting, rasa-ananda, meditate on the bliss and dissolve into maha-ananda, supreme bliss. The text can also be read as simply enjoy your food and meditate on that enjoyment.  What could be more irresistible?  There are a couple of challenges in this practice. The first is to explore the world and find out what, to you, constitutes a worthy treat. What food or drink evokes the bliss of tasting? It’s different for everyone. Another challenge is to acquire the treat and then arrange for circumstances in which to relish it. For example, to really enjoy cold lemonade you may first have to walk a couple of miles and get hot and thirsty. Or the flavor of a particular wine may only come out when you sip it with people you love. Getting the maximum pleasure out of a bowl of soup may involve waiting for it to be ready, smelling it, feeling really hungry and then finally sitting down to consume it. To enter into rasa ananda, you have to give yourself permission to be in shameless delight, close your eyes and give over to the bliss. Mmmmmmmmm. This often feels more sinful than virtuous – yet the sutra says this is a “high spiritual condition!”  When you bring the full power of your attention to taste, you may be surprised to find out that you don’t actually like what you thought you like. I crave chocolate, and used to find myself walking to the store in the afternoons to get a chocolate chip cookie. One day I was tasting a deluxe cookie while focusing on it, I realized I did not in fact like it. I didn’t know why. Then I found I don’t like chocolate cake either. Neither food was chocolate enough. Exploring further, I found that I only like dark chocolate, and what I really crave is to let it melt on my tongue. When I do this, I am totally satisfied by a small amount, and one bar lasts me several weeks.  Most of taste is actually smell. Physiologists like to say, astoundingly, that about 75% to 90% of taste is smell. I find this hard to believe, but they claim to have done studies. They have people eat perfectly good chocolate, while blocking their noses so they can’t smell and the chocolate tastes like chalk. What a waste!  To fully taste food, therefore, involves subtle breathing awareness, which we could call rasa pranayama. If you have a taste on your tongue and breathe out a little with your mouth closed, the air flows over the tongue, and up into the nose and you can savor a bouquet. Odor molecules are very sensitive to temperature, and the warmth of your mouth releases the fragrance of that apricot or chardonnay. As the senses of smell and taste become more educated, they in turn contribute to a greater appreciation of what it is to breathe, even ordinary air.  In our tantric practice, the simple moments of daily life are sacred and the senses with which we perceive are divine. When we take in the sustaining gift of food and drink, this is an occasion for celebration: the sacred is meeting itself. Life is providing the nourishment and what we can bring to the party is our delight. This is our offering – intense gratitude. In this sense, gourmets are natural yogis of taste, because they know how to take small amounts of things and extract the maximum rasa.  I first experienced the power of rasa while eating a bowl of green beans with sliced almonds and a little bit of butter. I was a teenager and I’d been praciting Yoga and meditating for a few months, just long enough to tune my senses. When I took a bite of the green beans, my tongue, then my mouth, then my whole body lit up with joy. It was as if I had never really tasted anything before in my life. Of course, it was the 1960s, so my friends and I immediately forgot about actually tasting food. That was too simple. We became suspicious of food, and got involved in a multi-year food fight – vegetarianism, fruitarianism, breathairianism , macrobiotics and the yogic principle of the three gunas: tamas (heavy, dull, solid), rajas (active, changeable) and sattva (peaceful, steady, uplifting). It took years to de-hypnotize ourselves from these clashing theories and recover the simple ability to enjoy food again. You don’t necessarily have to search out exotic or expensive delights. If you get hungry enough or thirsty enough, any bite of food or sip of plain water can evoke delight and gratitude.  Enjoy the rasa, Shiva says.  The Vijnana Bhairava Tantra describes 112 Yogas of wonder and delight for touching the divine in the midst of daily life. The teaching is framed as a conversation between lovers, Shakti and Shiva, the Goddess Who is the Creative Power of the Universe, and the God who is the Consciousness That Permeates Everywhere.  Dr. Lorin Roche has been practicing and teaching these methods since 1968. He has a PhD from the University of California at Irvine, where his research focused on the language meditators generate to describe their inner experiences. Email comments and questions to: lorin@lorinroche.com. The Radiance Sutras, a new version of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, is available from Lorin’s website: lorinroche.com.  The next evening celebrating the Radiance Sutras with Dave Stringer and Denise Kaufman through music and spoken word is Sunday, June 14, at Yoga Works San Francisco. Find out more at: davestringer.com.

Sutra 49 From The Radiance Sutras, A New Version Of The Vijnana Bhairava Tantra CHOCOLATE. A PERFECTLY RIPE peach. Wine. A warm cinnamon roll. Cold lemonade on a hot day. Hallelujah, there is a meditation technique for savoring your favorite […]

Life is Sweet

Exploring the tastes of addiction through understanding the doshas In the not-too-distant past, people struggling with addictions would likely be sent to an asylum or subjected to an exorcism, taken to a priest or seen as having a character flaw. […]