Ambika Yoga

Sivananda yoga classes in Brussels


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Yogi recipe: vegan pumpkin carrot soup

I love making soup, it’s very easy & satisfying as you can make lots with little effort. You can combine it with quinoa, rice, bread, …  to have a very filling main meal. Every season has its distinct vegetables to enjoy different types of soup all year round. I often just use one or two different veggies in a recipe and don’t even bother to use broth. I prefer to use spices, such as turmeric, cumin, paprika and Herbamare salt & black pepper as well as fresh herbs to bring out the taste of the veggies.

If like me, you always make way too much soup, then surely don’t hesitate to freeze the left-overs in portion sizes to have some nice food readily available to take to your work or for some other good reason.

This recipe is for approximately 10 servings & ready in ~35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 kg chopped pumpkin
  • 1 kg carrots
  • 1 piece of fresh ginger
  • 250ml Provamel Bio Soya Cuisine cream or coconut milk
  • 3 l (filtered) water
  • 70 g vegetable stock powder (to taste/ optional)
  • Fresh coriander
  • Black pepper & Herbamare/ Sea or Himalaya salt

Pumpkin carrot soup

Preparation
Cut the pumpkin and carrots into cubes. Peel the ginger and cut it into pieces or grate it.
Place all vegetables in a large pot. Add the water and bring to the boil.
Add the stock powder. Let it simmer on low heat until the vegetables are tender.
Remove the pan from the heat source and mix the soup with a blender.
Season with pepper & salt. Add the Soya Cuisine cream or coconut milk and stir well & let it simmer a little longer. Finish with a few coriander leaves.

TIP
If you buy organic produce, you can leave the skin of the pumpkin & carrots on (less work!), just make sure to wash them well (optional: use a vegetable brush).


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Yogi recipe: vegan dahl

As a first yogi recipe, I’d like to share the most common Indian dish: rice and dahl. A typical dahl is composed of some type of lentils, water, mustard seeds, lots of spices and often carrots, ginger and coriander. It’s a very easy dish to prepare and very filling as well. I never cook dahl just for one meal or person, mostly I cook enough for several meals or people.

Ingredients (serves 2/3)

1 cup of lentils (red or yellow)
2 or 3 carrots sliced
A piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp of mustard seeds
1 tsp of coriander seeds (optional)
1 bay leave
2 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of cumin powder
1/2 tsp of garam masala powder
Salt & pepper to taste
Water
Some wedges of lemon or lime
Fresh coriander leaves
Vegetable oil or choice (I always use coconut oil)
Optional: garlic/ onion to your taste, chili powder/ crushed chili

Preparation

Dahl recipeWash the lentils thoroughly, until the water runs clear. Peel & grate the ginger. Cut the garlic/ onions if using. Peel & slide the carrots.Heat the oil in a wok. Add the mustard seeds and wait until they ‘pop’.  Add the freshly grated ginger (and garlic/ onion if using), stir until golden. Add the turmeric and cumin powder. Stir everything until the spices become very fragrant.

Add the carrots, stir fry to coat the carrots with the spices for 2 minutes.
Add the washed lentils, mix everything well.
Add 3 cups of filtered water, the bay leave and bring to boil. When the water boils, lower the heat, let the mixture simmer for about 15 minutes, make sure to keep on adding water if the mixture becomes dry. The dahl needs to ‘swim’.
Taste the mixture when the lentils become soft, then add salt & pepper to taste.
You can add half of the dahl mixture in a blender, blend it for a short while & add it back to the pan to have a more firm dahl.

Serve with quinoa or rice and add some freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice and coriander leaves.

This is a very hearty meal for cold winter nights but I admit I can eat it any day of the year. Try to experiment with different types of lentils, mung beans, etc. It’s also nice to add some coconut milk to your dahl for a softer flavour.

You can find all the ingredients in your local Indian or oriental shop. I prefer to buy mostly organic, most of the ingredients can also be found in your organic foodstore (except for garam masala I haven’t yet found an organic version in Brussels).


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Easy breathing with Jala Neti

Yoga cleansing exercises are known as ‘kriyas’. They assist our bodily functions to remove waste products.Since we live in a world where the air, water & food are quite polluted, we need ‘kriyas’ as our bodies can’t quite deal with this pollution on its own anymore.

There are 2 ‘kriyas’ which I practice on a daily basis:

  • Neti – nasal cleaning
  • Kapala Bhati – cleanings of lungs and bronchial tubes (a page on this Pranayama will follow soon)

In this post I’d like to explain the benefits & the how-to of the nasal cleaning. Neti is a simple technique for cleaning the nose, nasal passages and sinuses. This cleaning method is especially beneficial for people that suffer from allergies, often have congested sinuses OR common colds. It’ll help to maintain easy breathing and combats pollution. The neti pot is used together with lukewarm water and some (preferably) Himalaya salt. Instead of buying medicine when you do get sick, jala neti is an easy, cheap way to prevent you from getting sick.

jala netiJala  Neti (sanskrit) means water cleaning. You can buy a neti pot online (i.e.: yogashop) or in a yoga studio near you (i.e. Sampoorna in Brussels) and only need salt (i.e. sea salt or Himalaya salt). A neti pot will cost you between 5 & 20 euros (depending on the quality, type (plastic or ceramic).

How to use the neti pot?

  1. Poor lukewarm water in your neti pot,
  2. Add a teaspoon (but less in the beginning, experiment as it may burn) of salt to the water & stir,
  3. Hang over the sink & poor the water into one nostril, keeping the head tilted pot-side up,
  4. Keep your mouth open to breathe through your mouth,
  5. The water will come out of the other nostril, let the entire content of the neti pot run through your nostrils,
  6. Blow out the excess water through both nostrils and repeat the process with the other nostril

In the beginning you might find it scary or some water will come into your mouth, don’t worry nor get scared, take your time, experiment with more or less salt, colder or warmer water until you’ve found which combination of salt/ water works best for you. Do not inhale the water, it’ll simply flow through the nostrils through the tilting of your head.

You’l be amazed of what comes out of your nose and how much lighter your head feels after this cleaning exercise.

Repeat it on a daily basis.

If you feel a cold coming up, or already have one, you can repeat jala neti two to three times a day.

TIP: add the jala neti to your morning ritual, after a little practice you’ll only need 5 minutes for both nostrils and will immediately after feel the difference as it’ll be much easier to breathe & do your Pranayama.


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Join the Pranayama workshop on 3 February 2013

Deepen your yoga practice by connecting with your breath

The Sampoorna Asana Challenge workshops, on the first Sunday of each month, are long hatha yoga classes focusing on a specific theme. In the Asana Challenge classes you can grow in your practice by fine-tuning your poses by through precise instruction and correction and learning poses step-by-step.

On 3 February the theme is PRANAYAMA (proper breathing):

In the yogiAmbikaYoga_23c tradition, the breath is seen as the outward manifestation of prana, or vital energy. Gaining control of the breath by practicing breathing exercises – pranayama – increases the flow of prana through the body, which literally recharges body and mind. Your aim should be to pranayama for up to 30 daily.

In this Asana Challenge we take the time to practice the key breathing exercises (abdominal breathing, full yogic breath, Kapala Bhati, Anuloma Viloma) step-by-step in a correct way, learning how the breath can influence our mood, health and asana practice.

Who? This workshop is open for all levels, including beginners.

When? Sunday 3 February at 10:00-12:00

Price? 20€, or one “tick” in your Sampoorna Yoga pass plus 5€


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Classes resume today

Today it’s the 9th of January, the first Wednesday of 2013 where Ambika Yoga classes resume at 17:45 in La Sagesse Intérieure. The address is 32 Rue Génèral Leman in Etterbeek. There’s no number nor logo on the door yet, but you enter the grey/ black painted porch and push open the door on your right. Try to be there at least 5 minutes in advance in order to start your class as peaceful as possible. 

Looking forward to welcome you tonight for a good start of your year with yoga.

 

 


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“Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.” — Sri Ramana Maharshi