Recipe: Sivananda Cookies

If you are looking for a delicious, healthy post yoga snack then look no further! This recipe comes from the Sivananda centre in London, where they have cookies freshly baked for students to tuck in to after class. They make multiple batches of these cookies in a day for all of the hungry mouths awaiting them!

This recipe is refined sugar, dairy, and egg free – so perfect for those working towards a sattvic diet.

I have tried a few alterations in the past (adding desiccated coconut to your cookies is a particularly good one!) so feel free to let your imagination run with any additional ingredients. Enjoy!

 

Sivananda Cookies

 

3 cups of oats/oatmeal

2 cups of whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ a cup of raisins

½ a cup of almonds

½ a cup of walnuts or hazelnuts

¾ a cup of coconut oil

1 cup honey

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ a cup of almond or soy milk

 

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  • Add all dry ingredients (oats, flour, spices, raisins, baking powder) to a large bowl and mix gently together
  • In a food processor, grind walnuts/hazelnuts and almonds until they are in small pieces and add to the dry mix
  • In another bowl, combine honey, milk, oil (all non dry ingredients) and mix together.
  • Combine the wet and dry mixes and use your hands to ensure thoroughly mixed. Take a spoonful of the mixture and roll into a ball. Place on an oiled baking sheet and flatten it so it is about 10 centimetres in diameter. Repeat with the rest of the mix.
  • Bake for 20 minutes until golden! Leave to cool slightly on a wire rack, and then dig in!
  • Not suitable for those with nut allergies.

Yoga for Runners: Lesson Plan

Yoga for Runners: Lesson Plan

As someone that has used (and enjoyed) running as their main area of cardiovascular exercise for several years, I am aware of the benefits and disadvantages it can bring. I definitely found this out the hard way when embarking on my YTT200! My hamstrings are super tight, as are my hips. I still struggle to get my heels down in Adho Mukha Svanasana but am working towards better flexibility!

I’ve created a simple lesson plan aimed at runners, or those looking to stretch hamstrings and open hips. This can be combined with running to help improve posture, flexibility and to prevent injury.

Enjoy!

LP AIM = to work on hip and hamstring flexibility/opening 

  1. INTRODUCTION 
  2. ADMIN Injuries?
  3. PRANAYAMA

ANULOM VILOM INHALE 4 EXHALE 8 X 5

  1. WARM UP 

Sit – cross legged – twist torso to each side 1- arms at 90’, 2 – overhead 3 – reaching round back 4 – interlace fingers

Stand – open hips circles, quadriceps stretch to torso, circle hips each way

  1. ASANA

SURYA NAMASKARA 1 – 12 STEP X 6

Hold in each posture for first round, hold 5 breaths in AMS and stretch through heels and hamstrings

Samasthiti E palms together at the heart centre

Ardha Chakrasana I, raise both arms up, bend backwards

Uttansana E lengthen the spine, fold forward

Ashwa Sanchalansana I, step the right leg back into a lunge position, hips 2

Santolasana Holding the breath, step the left leg back into a plank position.

Ashtanga Namaskar E lower the knees, chest and chin to the ground.

Bhujangasana slide the upper body forward and up,

Adho Mukha Swanasana E, lift chest and hips off the floor, bend at the hip and point sit bones to the ceiling. Legs are separated hip-width apart.

Adjustment here – direct class to bend each knee, pushing heel down. Hold for 5 breaths.

Ashwa Sanchalansana I, step the right leg forward

Uttansana E, step the left leg forward to meet with the right, fold

Ardha Chakrasana I, lengthen the spine, raise both arms up

Samasthiti E

STANDING 

WARM UP – 

STANDING HIP OPENER KNEE RAISES AND CIRCLES X 10 

LEGS WIDE FEET FACE FORWARD, FOLD FORWARD PALMS ON FLOOR, LENGTHEN BACK AND STRETCH THROUGH HAMSTRINGS

VIRHABDHADRASANA 2 – WARRIOR 2

TRIKONASANA – TRIANGLE

Use a block if very tight hamstrings in Trikonasana

SITTING 

WARM UP – x 10 both 

KNEES TOGETHER LOWER EACH SIDE TOUCH FLOOR (INTERNAL ROTATE) 

CRADLE KNEE, FOOT TO TORSO ROCK SIDE TO SIDE (EXTERNAL ROTATE) 

BADDHA KONASANA – BOUND ANGLE POSE

(use blocks under each knee or sit on block if tight)

PASCHIMOTTANASANA – SITTING FORWARD BEND

(use yoga strap around feet to stretch tight hamstrings)

PRONE

WARM UP – CAT AND COW STRETCHING, DOWNWARD DOG 

EKA PADA RAJKAPATONASANA – SINGLE LEG PIDGEON POSE

(block under hip in this pose to support)

BALASANA – CHILD’S POSE (COUNTER)

SUPINE

WARM UP – SIT CROSS LEGGED ROUND AND CURVE BACK 

SETHU BANDHASANA – BRIDGE

Heels close to buttocks. Lift chest, inhale. Externally rotate arms and interlace under back or grab ankles.

HAPPY BABY POSE

6.RELAXATION

SAVASANA

7.CLOSING

5 swaps I’ve made in a quest to achieve a Yogic diet

In yoga, energy can classify itself in three Gunas – Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic. These three qualities are within ourselves and and motivate/demotivate different actions and attitudes that we take. When it comes to food and drink, the three Gunas can translate as follows:
Sattvic – foods that are pure, fresh, natural, unprocessed and will nourish the body in a balanced way. Whole grains, proteins like nuts, and pulses. Foods low in salt, sugar, spice.
Rajasic – stimulating or altering foods with excessive flavour – spicy, sweet, saline. Alert the senses and thus over stimulate the mind.
Tamasic – food that intoxicates a person or make them feel dull, lazy. Alcohol is included in this category, as is food that has been burned, fried, preserved.
The yogic diet encourages a sattvic approach to food and drink – which in modern society can be a challenge! Not only because we are surrounded by rajasic, tamasic eateries and products that are well marketed, but also because we use food as a social bonding activity.
Here are some simple swaps I have made in the past three weeks to (slowly) help shift myself to a more sattvic approach to food and drink.
1. Processed Sugar < Fruit Sugar 
I have a real ‘sweet tooth’. I often use sugar as a reward/treat, or an energy boost if I’m physically or mentally tired/stressed. It tends to help initially but I always slump a few hours afterwards and hunt out more sugar! Over the past few weeks I have swapped biscuits, sweets, for fresh fruit.
2. Sweet Drinks < Herbal Tea 
Historically I am not someone that has been hooked on sweet drinks/fruit juices/fizzy drinks, however as soon as I moved to Singapore I found myself drawn to the array of choices on offer when it comes to drinks! We are told through advertising that these are the most ‘thirst quenching, energising’ drinks but in actual fact they offer empty calories, damage teeth and make us produce more gas!!
I have swapped these drinks for herbal teas (with ice) or cold water. I have found this to be an easy switch and it has actually helped my energy levels and appetite to become more stable!
3. Plain Carbohydrates < Whole Grains
Back in the UK we LOVE to bake!! This means that many people consume a lot of bread, cakes, rolls, biscuits, pizza. Carbohydrates are important for a balanced diet but in aiming to move to a sattvic frame we should avoid foods that are over processed or too much food that will make us feel sluggish and have a tamasic effect.
I have reduced my bread intake (I’ve found there to be less temptation which is good!) and lean towards whole grain rice, pasta, carbs when possible. It makes such a difference to energy levels!
4. Dairy < Alternatives 
Traditionally dairy would be incorporated as part of a sattvic diet. However in recent years with mass production of milk, butter, cheese, yoghurt we have been exposed to the mass methods of production and treatments of animals which do not align with a sattvic existence.
I have reduced my dairy intake and have found some great alternatives – coconut yoghurt, almond milk, adding bananas and chia seeds when baking rather than butter. I will consciously aim to make these swaps in future!
5. Eating ‘on the go’ < Mindful Eating
This swap has been a big one for me! Working in a busy job in London, despite my healthy approach I often find that I cram time to eat in. Most days I would eat at my desk or en route to a meeting, and meal times were never planned! I have learned that even pure, sattvic foods become rajasic when eaten on the go as the action promotes a restless state of mind.
I am now taking time to appreciate my food in all stages: buying – preparing – serving – chewing – swallowing – digesting.
I have found this super helpful and has solved a problem I often face which is that I over eat and bloat (probably from shovelling food rather than appreciating it!).
I still have a way to go but am happy with the difference I have noticed thus far when incorporating some of these simple swaps.
Give them a try!
Abby

ACCIDENTS HAPPEN…dealing with the unpredictable in yoga

Having spent 8 consecutive days rising at 6.30am, sweating bucket loads and learning bucket loads, I took the decision to have a Sunday ‘rest’ day and explore beyond the city. As a newbie to Singapore I had been itching to see some green land and nature in place of the skyscrapers and busy humans that make up Singapore.
My partner and I took a boat to Pulau Ubin – an oasis of calm, wildlife, jungles, and secluded mountain bike trails.
We immediately hired bikes and spent a beautiful (still sweaty of course!) day exploring the island, finding trails, monkeys, turtles, and paddling in the lakes and sea.
On our way back to the ferry we set off down a fairly steep hill. It felt so nice to have the wind in my face and hair (having just climbed this hill on the bike) and to release my tired quads! Until…from what seemed like nowhere, another cyclist came crashing into my bike from behind – knocking me flying to the side of the road.
Luckily no bones were broken for either of us, but my entire right hand side was scraped and blood was flowing from my knee and elbow. People were pointing and mouthing ‘ouch’ at me as we walked back to the ferry. As it got later into the evening my whole side was burning.
My pain beyond the physical evolved to frustration, anger, self blame. Frustration at the way I was feeling and the effect it was going to have on my practice (which I had already found challenging, I didn’t need further challenge!). Anger at the person who crashed into me, blame and negativity towards them. Self blame – why had I gone to Pulau Ubin in the first place? I should have stayed at home.
However, I found that my attitude and feelings altered significantly when I applied YAMA (the practice of managing oneself due to external stimuli) to the situation I found myself in. I felt calmer, less emotionally fraught, and in some ways have used the situation to further my experience of yoga and what it it like to adjust practice.
YAMA is the first limb of the Ashtanga Yoga and simply means ‘the disappearance of all suppressions’. The elements of Yama are categorised as below:
1. Ahimsa – non violence, being non injurious and abandoning aggression towards others. Love arises from the abandonment of violence and soothes.
2. Satya – living the truth. When one becomes firmly grounded in truth their actions will reverberate their whole being.
3. Asteya – non stealing, freeing oneself of jealous instincts. A person controlled by the conditioned mind will covet and crave for things and attitudes that they do not possess. Asteya is releasing oneself from this.
4. Brahmacharya – transformation of the sexual energy and and establishing oneself in non duality, choosing how you feel in relation to situations. Being aware that you are in control of your emotions.
5. Aparigraha – non possession of anything that gives suffering for someone else. When you are aware that nothing can be possessed, suddenly your whole energy moves inwards towards you. You comply to the present.
I aim to apply this practice to situations in future to (hopefully) move towards releasing the mind and manage myself well, despite hurdles that arise in life!
Abby