The Will to Power
- Location: Located around the navel in the area of the solar plexus and up to the breastbone.
- Colour: Yellow
- Season: Summer
- Sense: Sight
- Element: Fire
- Body parts: Adrenal glands, stomach, pancreas, liver and skin.
The Solar Plexus (Manipura), which means ‘lustrous gem’ is our home of energy and power. It is a source of personal ambition and governs self-esteem, warrior energy, and the power of transformation. Simply put it is your energy chakra. Your powerhouse where drive, ambition and willpower come from. It’s where you can make your dreams come true and every step you take towards these intentions helps to strengthen your third chakra.
The Manipura chakra also controls metabolism and digestion and gives us the energy we need to go out into the world and strive for the goals and dreams we have for ourselves.
You can recognize the people with an overactive solar plexus as the kind of people who are always complaining about being too busy. They are the over-achievers who are never content with their daily productivity. They write exhaustive lists of daily tasks and beat themselves up for not achieving every item on their list. They always have a huge goals they are working towards and would feel lost if they didn’t have such a goal to strive for. They are prone to burnout and often run on caffeine or other stimulants to keep their energy high.
The Seed of Creation
- Location: Above the pubic bone and below the navel.
- Colour: Orange
- Season: Winter
- Sense: Taste
- Element: Water
- Body parts: reproductive organs, small intestine, immune system and kidneys.
Svadhisthana, also known as the creativity and sexual chakra is deeply connected to the relationship we have with ourselves as well as others. The word svadhisthana can be translated as ‘the dwelling place of the self’. The element of the second chakra is water, which equals cohesiveness and an ability to go with the flow. When change occurs in our lives we can find our sacral chakra either resisting or accepting this flow based on how healthy our sacral chakra is.
The Root of Security
- Location: Base of the spine
- Colour: Red
- Season: Late summer
- Sense: Smell
- Element: Earth
- Body parts: Bone and muscle structure, circulatory system and large intestine.
The root chakra (Muladhara) is responsible for your sense of safety and security on this earthly journey. The word Muladhara breaks down into two Sanskrit words: Mula meaning ‘root’ and Adhara, which means ‘support’ or ‘base.’ Balancing the root chakra creates the solid foundation for opening the chakras above. Imagine that you’re laying the foundation for a house in which you’re going to live for a long time. A solid foundation embedded in firm soil will provide the stability you need to create a home filled with joy for years to come.
Most people associate yoga with an asana practice, but yoga isn't just about flowing through a series of poses, twisting yourself up like a pretzel, going upside down and sweating your butt off (although that part can be super fun and highly beneficial both physically and mentally in its own right). What I have come to learn is yoga is most importantly about how you live your life in all contexts.
The word ‘yoga’ signifies any form of connection and that when applied to the human experience, can be used to celebrate the union between the mind, body & spirit. At its most practical level, yoga is a process of becoming more aware of who we really are. As such, yoga is a process of self-discovery. Through its practices, we can still the mind and merge into oneness with the divine; to act with truth and authenticity. We are able to discern who we really are and what our purpose is. Hooked yet?
In the Bathroom
Bathrooms are generally small spaces that are filled with heat and humidity which can promote the growth of mould, human body soil and waste, and chemicals from personal care and cleaning products. Health hazards may lurk on nearly every surface and in the air.
The biggest health dangers come from:
- Improper cleaning and hand washing that leaves bacteria like E.coli and viruses on surfaces.
- Cross-contamination from shared use of towels and bathmats that can spread bacteria and fungi like Athlete's Foot.
- The use of harsh cleaning chemicals, spray air fresheners, and limiting fresh air.
- Poor water quality
Winter is when all life force burrows deep in the bosom of the earth and it can certainly be a trying time both mentally and physically. The days are darker, shorter and not to mention colder. Your body naturally wants to hibernate, you feel the need to sleep and eat more. Inevitably, finding balance can be a little more trying during this time (it’s so temping to stay inside and hide from those grey skies) but being proactive about your health and wellbeing is an important goal during this time. Ensure you take time to replenish, so that when spring comes, the gathering energy will burst forth with new growth and you and your body can enjoy those active, sunshine filled months of spring and summer.
I am going to show you how to find balance during the winter months by tuning into this dormant season, aligning yourself with the magic of Mother Nature and the chakra energy system. My recipe book titled ‘The Yoga Kitchen’ follows the 7 energy centres within your energetic body known as the chakras. This invisible energy is vital life force, which keeps you vibrant, healthy, and alive. Each of the seven chakras, has an important part to play in your overall balance and have long been the traditional method for yogis to understand the anatomy of the subtle body.
Christmas is upon us! As well as being a joyous time of eating, drinking and being merry, for many the festive season can also be one of the most stressful and unhealthy times of year. So what can you do to survive the season and come out the other end actually feeling you have had a break, rather than feeling in desperate need of one?
I have compiled my top 7 tips to ensure you get the most out of the festive season and make it through relatively unscathed…
Open a magazine or turn on the television and you’re bound to see advertisements for lipstick, anti-ageing creams and other magic elixirs that promise youthfulness, beauty and radiance. But if you’re here, reading this article then chances are you’ve discovered that these ‘quick fixes’ don’t build the long-term beauty that you are seeking in a natural and holistic way. What does build beauty is a balance of daily diet and lifestyle choices and attentiveness to mind-set, outlook and self-perception. Real, beautiful results come from ordinary, everyday actions that have the power to affect a dramatic overall change in the way you look and feel.
I continually hear from women just how important there skin is to them and the concepts around beauty nutrition, that is, the foods and nutrients that directly support and enhance our beauty by defending, repairing and strengthening it – and healthy vanity or our innate desire to look and feel beautiful are so relevant in our lives today. Our skin can literally ‘sell’ us, as a first impression is often everything!
Keeping up with a modern, fast-paced lifestyle can leave little time for tuning into your needs. You’re constantly moving from one thing to the next, not paying attention to what your mind or body is truly craving. Practicing mindfulness can help you become aware of those needs. When mindfulness is applied to eating, it can help you recognise your patterns and behaviours, while bringing attention to bodily cues associated with hunger and fullness.
The body carries a lot of knowledge and information, so when you apply mindfulness to the eating experience, you can start to make conscious choices, instead of falling into automatic—and oftentimes emotion-driven—behaviours. Once you become aware of these habits, you’re better equipped to change your actions.
With some basic guidelines in place, try putting mindful eating into practice. Here are some tips to get you started.
There’s nothing more satisfying than a burger... especially when it is a hashtag juicepulp burger! Pulp from juicing can be used for all sorts of food and beauty recipes. Try using cucumber pulp for cleansing the skin, carrot pulp for carrot cake and beetroot (beet) pulp for these delicious burger patties. Whatever your everyday life throws at you these beetroot burgers are designed to restore your depleted energy levels.
Makes 4 burgers
Pretending that food doesn't matter to health is at best denial, at worst a serious delusion. But we have all been there when we have reached for a sugary snack when stressed out or feeling grouchy. We had that fleeting moment of satisfaction followed by the inevitable blood-sugar crash, with added irritability to boot. Not nice! Well, I am here to help and I am going to help you improve your mood with these 7 tips.
1. REPLACE PROCESSED FOODS WITH FRESH ORGANIC WHOLE FOODS
Our bodies are extremely clever: when we try to feed them something that is processed, they recognise that they're eating something but cant quite figure out what it is, because its missing so many nutrients and its molecular structure has been altered. So, to make up for the missing nutrients, our bodies have to tap into our own reserves and they end up taking minerals from our blood and bones. This is obviously not a sustainable way to eat because our nutrient reserves need to be replenished and if all we do is eat processed foods then pretty soon we mill find ourselves malnourished and on a slippery slope to irritability and illness.
2. EAT MORE SOLUBLE FIBRE
Fibre helps to slow down the absorption of sugar in your blood stream into your body and therefore lessens those dreaded mood swings. Oats, brown rice, barley, apples, pears, carrots, beans and sweet potatoes are good sources. Avoid processed grains like white rice, white pasta or white bread, which have been stripped of their fibre.
3. REPLACE COFFEE, SOFT DRINKS & BOTTLED JUICES
... with water, herbal tea & fresh juices
I get this question a lot! Mostly, when discussing cooking oils. So here are my thoughts on coconut oil. Yes, it is a saturated fat, it is actually one of the few found in the plant-kingdom, and a significant percentage of that saturated fat is composed of Lauric acid, which is (comparatively speaking) quickly and easily metabolised as a very good energy source.
This means you are likely to burn the kind of saturated fat found in coconut oil for fuel rather than pack it away as fat, provided you are sufficiently active and it isn’t digested along with something high in sugar to supersede & hijack your metabolism first. An example of this would be vegan treats such as cheesecake where coconut oil is mixed with lots of maple or date syrup and nuts to create the dairy-free cheesecake filling.
Coconut oil is the optimal oil to cook with — if you are going to cook with oil — due to the fact that it holds up (meaning it does not oxidize) better than other oils at high temperatures (translation – less free radicals). It is immune boosting, has anti-infection properties and some studies suggest it aids with the absorption of certain vitamins and other nutrients like beta-carotene and some amino acids.
That said I use coconut oil very rarely in my cooking. In fact, I rub more on my skin than I consume in my diet!
You may have noticed since your yoga practice has become more regular that you naturally find yourself gravitating toward a type of diet that gives you nourishment, energy, lightness, and flexibility. A yogi diet is a balanced way of eating that ancient yogis believed had a huge influence not only over your physical wellbeing, but also over your thoughts, and ultimately your emotional and spiritual wellbeing. With continued awareness about the body through yoga you may find that vegetarian foods become a natural choice. This way of eating helps you maintain that same energized, light feeling you achieve through yoga.
Eat ‘life-force’ in abundance
Like all living organisms in the universe the foods we eat possess qualities and energies that affect our mind, body and soul. Yogic food is known as ‘sattvic’, which simply means ‘pure essence’. These foods are considered abundant in ‘prana’, the universal life force that gives energy to all beings in both the plant and animal kingdoms. When you eat a pure diet the food and life-force found in these foods bring you physical strength, a good mind, health, and longevity. They calm, purify and lead to a peaceful mind in control of a fit body, with a balanced flow of energy between them leading to a peaceful state where higher consciousness becomes accessible. Enabling you to keep an open mind to possibilities, think more positively and be far more kind to others and ourselves.
Eating a sattvic diet means you get to enjoy the plant kingdom in its total abundance. Whole, real foods, found in their natural state dance together on your plate, offering their vibrancy to you. Foods, which are pure, light, soothing and easily digested, become your staples. There are whole grains beautifully arranged around lots of olive oil and vegetables. There are fresh fruits and natural sugars scattered through meals offering us the taste of sweet in perfect proportions, handfuls of nuts and seeds to bring texture and healthful benefits, nothing is too stimulating nor is it boring, this way of eating is vegetarian food alchemy in its most beautiful form.
Maintain a consist energy flow
The once-humble avocado has infiltrated almost every meal of the day: we’re spreading it on toast, using it to make chocolate mousse, and chucking it into our smoothies to make it extra thick and creamy. If you’re like most people, you’re probably eating more avocado than ever before. But as your scooping out (or ordering) that buttery, green goodness you may have stopped to ask yourself, how much avocado is too much?
You might think all that healthy fat means it’s always a healthy choice. But is it? Therein lies the conundrum. We're told that avocados are super good for us, with a balanced amount of monounsaturated, saturated, and polyunsaturated fats that help you absorb fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamin K, A, D, and E) from your food and leave you feeling full and satiated. They contain B vitamins (super important for methylation) and vitamin E, which helps with collagen production and retaining moisture in your skin. They help keep your brain healthy and your immune system strong. Gosh, hand me guac!
"But where will I get my protein from?"
If I had a pound for every time I was asked that question from patients toying with the idea of switching to a vegan or vegetarian diet, I would’ve bought my tesla by now! Fear around whether a plant-based diet provides enough protein and where to actually source it from seems to be the number 1 reason people don’t make the switch or do it very poorly.
Indeed, protein is an essential nutrient, absolutely critical not just in building and repairing muscle tissue, but in the maintenance of a wide array of important bodily functions. But does it matter if our protein comes from plants rather than animals?
Don’t be scared off by home-made gnocchi, they are easier than you may think and the process is one worth learning. I feel it is a right of passage everyone should take. To make your own pasta, knowing it has been made with real, whole foods is not only satisfying but the knowledge that you can make delicious easy gluten-free pasta using nutrient dense ingredients is pretty special too!
The dough or uncooked gnocchi can be frozen for easy suppers when you don’t have time. If you don’t have a gnocchi rolling board you can use the end of a fork to give the gnocchi a quick curl to create the same characteristic effect.
The best walnut pesto I ever had the pleasure of making was in Italy when the fresh mid-autumn walnuts were in season. Over time, walnuts become bitter so it is best to source freshly shelled walnuts when possible. It will make all the difference to this pesto.