Ambika Yoga

Sivananda yoga classes in Brussels


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Yoga session during moon cycle

My moon cycle (or monsoon as I like to call it) is very painful and long. I tend to avoid doing inverted asanas, such as headstand and shoulderstand. But there are other asanas to do in order to decrease the discomfort & cramps.

In my experience, it’s helpful to prepare for the arrival of your monsoon by doing daily Pranayama and Asana practice.
During your moon cycle (especially the first days), practice Kapalabathi breathing exercises, followed by a series of slower Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutations) (at least 2 on each side) and adding a sequence of the following asanas:

  1. Paschimotanasana (sitting forward bend): during this painful time of the month, you might want to add a bolster on your legs to allow your body to rest on the bolster so you can surrender more easily to the asana. Do try to keep your back as straight as possible and your chest open (don’t allow it to collapse).
  2. AmbikaYoga_66Bhujangasana (cobra): come into the pose, but don’t force coming up too high, find your edge of the day and then allow your belly to remain on the mat, focus on your back muscles.
  3. Salabhasana (locust).
  4. Dhanurasana (bow): come up in the pose and stay for a couple of breaths before you perform the ‘rocking boat’: moving back and forth on your belly whilst keeping your back muscles engaged, hence massaging the front side of your  upper body and your abdominal organs.
  5. Ardha Matsyendrasana (half spinal twist): by bringing your leg closer to your body you’ll give a nice massage to your abdominal organs.

 

These asanas all have a way of massaging and toning the abdominal organs helping to relief cramps.End with a nice long Savasana (relaxation) where you put your hands on your lower belly and breathe deeply and slowly, abdominal breathing through the nose. Allow your whole body to relax, to sink into the mat, you might want to put a bolster under your knees if your cramps are particularly painful (in your upper legs, lower back and belly).

>>> TIP: Make your Surya Namaskara during the actual moon cycle a lot slower than usual, you’ll feel probably more heavy so it’s good to be  a bit easier on yourself but you can still perform then and get the benefits for your body and mind.

Yin yoga poses also offer tremendous benefits, I’ll write more on that in a later post 🙂


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Vegan thai vegetable and tempeh curry

I love Thai food and especially everything with coconut and curry. I’ve made a vegan, gluten free curry with seasonable vegetables. Curries can be made with just about any vegetable or plant-based protein source (tofu, tempeh, seitan, pulses). It’s important to cut the vegetables in more or less the same size and to first add the ‘harder’ vegetables so they have more time to get tender. This is not a sattvic recipe as I’ve added some onion and garlic, but you can obviously leave that out. This recipe was inspired by the book Coco by Marie Laforet vegan cook, blogger, photographer and writer of cookbooks.

Ingredients (2 people)

  • 20140711_194810Soba noodles (example: brown rice noodles)
  • 1 can of coconut cream (400 ml)
  • 200 g tempeh (I used smoked tempeh for added flavour)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 0,5 zucchini
  • 1 small broccoli
  • 0,5 a red onion (optional, not sattvic)
  • 2 cm of fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove (optional, not sattvic)
  • 3 tbsp of tamari sauce
  • 2 tbsp of vegan thai red curry paste (I love the GEO organic vegan brand)
  • 1 tbsp of peanut butter
  • 2 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1 tsp of asafoetida
  • Pinch of Cayenne pepper
  • Salt & pepper
  • Some unsalted, raw cashew nuts
  • Coconut oil (for frying)

Preparation

  1. Thai curryClean and wash the vegetables and cut in similar sized pieces.
  2. Boil water and poor over the broccoli florets and allow to soak for 5 minutes.
  3. Peal and slice the ginger in small bits.
  4. Cut the tempeh in 1 cm squares.
  5. Heat up the coconut oil in a frying pan (wok) and add the onion, stir fry for 2 minutes and add the ginger and the garlic , fry for 1 more minute before adding the tempeh. Fry for 3 minutes, or until the tempeh is golden.
  6. Add the red bell pepper, stir fry for 2 minutes.
  7. Add the broccoli, stir fry for 2 minutes.
  8. Add the zucchini, stir fry for 2 minutes.
  9. Add the turmeric, cumin and asafoetida and mix with the vegetables.
  10. Add the tamari sauce, the curry paste and the peanut butter and allow the vegetables and tempeh to be coated with the mixture.
  11. Finally add the coconut milk, bring to boil and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes or until the broccoli is done but not too cooked.
  12. In the meantime bring enough water to boil for the soba noodles, add the noodles, bring to boil and lower to medium heat for about 5 minutes (see package instructions).
  13. Check the flavour of the sauce and season with salt, pepper and Cayenne to your taste.
  14. Once the noodles are done, rinse them under cold running water for a moment and directly serve with the curry sauce and garnish with some cashew nuts.

Amaizin coconut milk (organic and without any additives)amaizinthai red curry paste

&

Thai Red Curry Paste (certified organic & vegan)  


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Vegan spicy mango cake

As I found myself with a lot of left-over spicy ginger-mango sauce after a vegan BBQ, I decided to make it to good use and do some baking with it. Browsing for recipes on the internet, I found one on the website of Vegetarian Times and adapted it to my liking.

Dry ingredients

  • 2 cups of whole wheat flower
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 0,5 tsp of baking powder
  • 0,5 tsp of salt (Himalaya)
  • Optional: 2 tbsp of grated coconut 

Liquid ingredients

  • 1,5 cups of mango sauce (1,5 large, ripe mangoes pealed & diced)
  • 0,5 cup of agave syrup (or more if you want it sweeter)
  • 0,5 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp of freshly grated ginger root
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Utensils

  • 2 bowls
  • Sieve
  • Wooden spoon
  • Baking dish
  • Blender

vegan spicy mango cakePreparation

  1. Start the oven at 180°C and grease a baking dish with some coconut oil.
  2. Sieve all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. Peal & dice the mangoes and puree with the grated ginger in a blender.
  4. Stir all the liquid ingredients together in another recipient, add the mango sauce using a wooden spoon.
  5. Transfer the liquid ingredients into the mixed dry ingredients, using a wooden spoon to stir it into a batter. Poor the batter in the baking dish and bake in the middle of the oven for about 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.

Serving suggestion: Nice with coconut whipped cream.