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Sacred Pathways | Rituals and Recipes

Sacred Pathways | Rituals and Recipes

When the Roses Speak, I Pay Attention
“As long as we are able to
be extravagant we will be
hugely and damply
extravagant. Then we will drop
foil by foil to the ground. This
is our unalterable task, and we do it
joyfully.”
And they went on, “Listen,
the heart-shackles are not, as you think,
death, illness, pain,
unrequited hope, not loneliness, but
lassitude, rue, vainglory, fear, anxiety,
selfishness.”
Their fragrance all the while rising
from their blind bodies, making me
spin with joy.
Mary Oliver

Dear Reader,

I just returned from a transformative retreat in Scotland (see some pics at the end of this email) with the enigmatic Kavitha Chinnaiyan. The rugged and stunning landscapes, with their vast open spaces, reminded my heart what it feels like to truly coexist with nature. Our intimate group of 15 women delved deep into transformative practices, unraveling old patterns based on vasanas, karmas, and samskaras. We confronted and released deeply rooted beliefs and behaviors. Vasanas are our habitual tendencies, karmas are the actions and their results that shape our lives, and samskaras are the mental impressions and conditioning we carry. By addressing these elements, we were able to achieve profound healing and clarity, making space for new, positive patterns to emerge.

A friend shared Mary Oliver’s poem “When the Roses Speak, I Pay Attention” and it resonates so deeply with me. Her words beautifully capture the essence of living the practice, joyfully embracing every moment, and shedding what no longer serves us. Just as the roses drop their petals, we too must let go of our own burdens and constraints – the heart-shackles of of our core lack stories. This retreat allowed me to do just that, to drop layers of old patterns and embrace a more authentic and joyful way of being.

Being in the homeland of my ancestors, with its potent fae energies, was a deeply enriching experience. Exploring Orgasmic Alchemy with such a brilliant teacher of Tantra was both enlightening and grounding. Tantra, a sacred path of devotion to life, teaches us to find the sacred in the mundane and to immerse ourselves in the present moment fully.

I’m thrilled to share some of the healing practices that have been most beneficial to me with you, dear Reader. In this edition, you’ll find a luxurious Rose Coconut Milk Bath recipe, a refreshing Saffron Lemonade, and a guide to Sheetali Pranayama along with my newest blog post on slow wave sleep!

Upcoming Events

Alchemy of Trauma – virtual asynchronous learning. Discover how to transmute and transform through embodied awareness and evidence based practice.

Yoga at The Boathouse – Sundays at 9am live online and in person in Red Bank, NJ

Thai Massage Gathering – June 26th at 6:30pm live online and in person at The Holding Space in Avon, NJ or via Zoom!

Personalized Sessions – and as always you can schedule Thai, Ayurvedic or medical massage and spa treatments, Ayurvedic consults and individualized Yoga Therapy sessions in your home or mine.

I hope to see you soon!

Invitation to Join My Mentorship and Retreat

If you’re a Yoga teacher who is ready to expand your knowledge and practice, I invite you to join my mentorship program in Yoga Therapy, Tantra, and Ayurveda. This program is your gateway to turning your passion for Yoga into a thriving business, with personalized guidance, community support and an incredible curriculum designed to awaken awareness on a whole new level. Additionally, this September, I will be hosting a special retreat for healing practitioners at the Jersey Shore. This is an opportunity to immerse yourself in transformative practices, connect with like-minded individuals, and find deeper clarity and peace within. If you’re interested, reply to this email, and we’ll schedule a call to discuss the details.

Looking forward to connecting with you and sharing this beautiful journey.

With Great Love and Appreciation,

Practice | Sheetali Pranayama

Instructions:

Sit in a comfortable position with a straight spine.Roll your tongue into a tube and inhale slowly through the mouth.Hold the breath for a few seconds.Exhale slowly through the nose.Repeat this cycle for 5-10 minutes.

Benefits:
Cools the Body: Helps reduce body temperature, making it ideal for hot climates or after intense physical activity.

Calms the Mind: Promotes mental tranquility and reduces stress and anxiety.

Detoxifies: Aids in detoxification by improving digestion and cleansing the blood.

Improves Focus: Enhances concentration and mental clarity.

Rose Coconut Milk Divine Bath

Ingredients:

2 cups coconut milk

1 cup rose petals (fresh or dried)

1 cup Epsom salts

10 drops rose essential oil

Instructions:

Fill your bathtub with warm water.

Add the coconut milk, rose petals, Epsom salts, and rose essential oil to the bath.

Stir the water to disperse the ingredients.

Soak in the bath for at least 20 minutes, allowing the soothing properties to nourish your skin and spirit.

Saffron Lemonade

A summer favorite!

Benefits

Gently Detoxifies

Cools Your Mind

 Nourishes all three doshas, Vata, Pitta, Kapha

New Blog! The Power Of Slow Wave Sleep

While I was at the airport waiting for my layover, I had an incredible conversation with a sleep neuroscientist. It was absolutely fascinating! She delved deep into the intricacies of slow wave sleep, which made me reflect on how beneficial Ayurvedic lifestyle practices and Yoga Nidra are for enhancing our sleep quality. Check out my new blog post on this.

A little bit of Scotland

The Power Of Slow Wave Sleep

The Power Of Slow Wave Sleep

The Power of Slow Wave Sleep: Enhancing Memory and Well-being

 

Slow Wave Sleep (SWS), often referred to as deep sleep, plays a crucial role in memory consolidation and overall brain health. Recent studies have provided valuable insights into how this phase of sleep contributes to our cognitive functions and emotional well-being. Let’s dive into the latest findings and explore a relaxing Yoga Nidra practice to support your sleep.

What is Slow Wave Sleep (SWS)?

Slow Wave Sleep (SWS), also known as deep sleep, is a critical phase of the sleep cycle characterized by slow brain waves called delta waves. This stage is essential for physical and mental rejuvenation and plays a crucial role in memory consolidation, cognitive function, and overall health.

Benefits of Slow Wave Sleep

Memory Consolidation: During SWS, the brain processes and consolidates memories. A study published in PLOS Biology demonstrated that targeted memory reactivation (TMR) during SWS can enhance memory retention. Auditory cues played during this stage can reinforce memory traces through thalamocortical spindles, which are bursts of brain activity that help solidify memories​ (PLOS).

Cognitive Function: Slow Wave Sleep is vital for cognitive functions, including learning and problem-solving. Acoustic stimulation timed with the brain’s slow oscillations during SWS has been shown to improve memory retention, particularly in younger adults, according to a meta-analysis in Frontiers in Neuroscience​ (Frontiers).

Physical Restoration: SWS is the body’s most restorative sleep stage. During this time, the body repairs tissues, builds bone and muscle, and strengthens the immune system. The pituitary gland releases growth hormone during SWS, which stimulates growth and cell reproduction.

Glymphatic Clearance: Research published in the journal Sleep suggests that maintaining healthy levels of SWS aids in the glymphatic system’s clearance of proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease. This clearance helps protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases​ (Oxford Academic).

Enhancing Slow Wave Sleep

To enhance the quality and duration of your SWS, consider the following tips:

  • Maintain a Regular Sleep Schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to regulate your body’s internal clock.
  • Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine: Engage in calming activities before bed, such as reading or taking a warm bath.
  • Limit Stimulants: Avoid caffeine and heavy meals close to bedtime.
  • Create a Sleep-Conducive Environment: Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool.
  • Practice Yoga Nidra: This guided meditation practice promotes deep relaxation and can enhance the quality of your sleep.

Yoga Nidra Practice for Better Sleep

Yoga Nidra, also known as yogic sleep, is a powerful practice to enhance your sleep quality and promote deep relaxation. Here’s a simple Yoga Nidra practice you can try:

  1. Find a Comfortable Position: Lie down on your back in a comfortable, quiet place. Use a blanket or pillow to support your body if needed.
  2. Set an Intention: Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Set a positive intention for your practice, such as “I am calm and relaxed.”
  3. Body Scan: Slowly bring your awareness to different parts of your body, starting from your toes and moving up to your head. Notice any sensations or areas of tension and consciously relax them.
  4. Breath Awareness: Focus on your breath. Observe the natural rhythm of your breathing without trying to change it. Feel the rise and fall of your abdomen with each breath.
  5. Visualizations: Imagine a peaceful place, such as a beach or forest. Visualize yourself there, experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells. Allow yourself to fully immerse in this tranquil environment.
  6. Affirmations: Repeat calming affirmations to yourself, such as “I am at peace” or “I am in harmony with myself and the world.”
  7. Return to Wakefulness: Slowly bring your awareness back to the present moment. Wiggle your fingers and toes, and when you’re ready, gently open your eyes.

Practicing Yoga Nidra regularly can help you achieve a deeper state of relaxation and improve the quality of your slow-wave sleep.

The Science Behind Slow Wave Sleep

A recent study published in PLOS Biology has highlighted the importance of targeted memory reactivation (TMR) during SWS. Researchers found that auditory cues played during slow-wave sleep can enhance memory consolidation. This process involves thalamocortical spindles, which are bursts of brain activity that help reinforce memory traces. The study demonstrated that TMR can significantly improve the retention of specific memories, especially when these cues are synchronized with sleep spindles​ (PLOS).

Another meta-analysis reviewed the effectiveness of acoustic stimulation during SWS to boost memory consolidation. The analysis showed that phase-locked acoustic stimulation, where sounds are timed to the brain’s slow oscillations, can enhance memory retention, particularly in younger adults. This method holds promise for improving cognitive functions across different age groups​ (Frontiers).

Moreover, a study in the journal Sleep explored the relationship between SWS and the reduction of Alzheimer’s disease risk. The research suggested that maintaining healthy levels of slow-wave sleep could aid in the glymphatic clearance of proteins associated with Alzheimer’s, highlighting the protective benefits of deep sleep for the aging brain​ (Oxford Academic).

Yoga Nidra: A Practice for Deep Relaxation and Better Sleep

Yoga Nidra, also known as yogic sleep, is a guided meditation practice that promotes deep relaxation and can improve the quality of your sleep. Here’s a simple Yoga Nidra practice you can try:

  1. Find a Comfortable Position: Lie down on your back in a comfortable, quiet place. Use a blanket or pillow to support your body if needed.
  2. Set an Intention: Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Set a positive intention for your practice, such as “I am calm and relaxed.”
  3. Body Scan: Slowly bring your awareness to different parts of your body, starting from your toes and moving up to your head. Notice any sensations or areas of tension and consciously relax them.
  4. Breath Awareness: Focus on your breath. Observe the natural rhythm of your breathing without trying to change it. Feel the rise and fall of your abdomen with each breath.
  5. Visualizations: Imagine a peaceful place, such as a beach or forest. Visualize yourself there, experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells. Allow yourself to fully immerse in this tranquil environment.
  6. Affirmations: Repeat calming affirmations to yourself, such as “I am at peace” or “I am in harmony with myself and the world.”
  7. Return to Wakefulness: Slowly bring your awareness back to the present moment. Wiggle your fingers and toes, and when you’re ready, gently open your eyes.

Practicing Yoga Nidra regularly can help you achieve a deeper state of relaxation and improve the quality of your slow-wave sleep.

In conclusion, embracing the power of Slow Wave Sleep and incorporating practices like Yoga Nidra can significantly enhance your memory, cognitive function, and overall well-being. Sweet dreams and restful nights await!

 

Saffron Lemonade

Saffron Lemonade

How to Make Saffron Lemonade

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients

  • 2 whole lemons
  • 4 tsp raw sugar
  • 2 pinches saffron
  • 2 cups water

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Saffron: Place the saffron on a plate and hold it over boiling water for a few minutes.
  2. Grind the Saffron: Use a mortar and pestle to grind the saffron.
  3. Soak the Saffron: Add two tablespoons of warm water to the ground saffron and let it soak.
  4. Brew the Saffron: Allow the saffron to brew for at least ten minutes (you can wait for up to 24 hours).
  5. Mix the Ingredients: Add sugar to the saffron water and stir until it dissolves.
  6. Add Lemon and Water: Squeeze the lemon into a glass, add the saffron mixture, and then pour in the water.
  7. Serve: Enjoy your refreshing saffron lemonade.

This Ayurvedic Recipe:

Cools the Skin

Lemon is known for its ability to cool the body by opening pores and promoting sweating, which releases heat. Saffron is a diaphoretic which complements this cooling effect.

Gently Detoxifies

Saffron Lemonade aids the body’s natural detoxification process. It contains antioxidants and carotenoids. It helps to remove ama (metabolic and emotional buildup of waste and undigested material), making you feel lighter and more refreshed.

Cools Your Mind

Saffron helps to maintain calm, improve mood, restore strength and vitality, and is said to be an aphrodisiac.

Ayurvedic Benefits

Saffron Lemonade is beneficial for balancing all three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

Enjoy!

Source: Joyful Belly Ayurveda

Announcement! A special invitation

Announcement! A special invitation

Dear Reader,

As we move into the bloom of summer I am about to leave for Scotland. i am going on a week long Yoga retreat wiyh my dear teacher, Kavitha Chinnaiyan. I am thrilled to embark on this journey of self-discovery and transformation. The opportunity to immerse myself in the teachings of yoga, surrounded by the serene beauty of nature, in one of my ancestral homelands fills me with excitement and anticipation. As I delve deeper into my practice during this retreat, I eagerly anticipate returning with even more richness and depth of understanding to share with you. I am grateful to have you alongside me in spirit as I embark on this path of exploration and discovery.

🍃 Ayurvedic Living for Summer: Dive into the wisdom of Ayurveda as we explore essential tips for summer wellness. Summer can be a time of depletion. According to Ayurveda, summer is associated with the Pitta dosha, which represents the elements of fire and water. During this season, the intensity of the sun’s heat can aggravate Pitta dosha in our bodies, leading to imbalances such as increased internal heat, inflammation, and digestive issues. As a result, we may experience symptoms of depletion such as fatigue, irritability, and difficulty maintaining balance. I find it essential to take proactive measures to support my well-being during the summer months, including staying hydrated, eating cooling and nourishing foods, practicing self-care rituals, and adjusting my lifestyle habits to align with the rhythms of nature. I’m going to share more below.

By honoring our body’s needs and implementing Ayurvedic principles, we can navigate the challenges of summer with greater ease and vitality. I hope this edition inspires and nourishes your soul with practices that uplift and rejuvenate.

🌿 Recipe Delight: Indulge in the sweetness of summer with a delightful recipe from our website: Ayurvedic Rose Petal Jam. Infused with the essence of roses, this aromatic jam is a true delight for the senses, perfect for spreading on toast or adding to your favorite desserts.

🍹 A Cooling Elixir: Beat the summer heat with a refreshing drink featuring aloe, lime, and sea salt. This cooling elixir not only quenches your thirst but also nourishes and rejuvenates your body, providing a much-needed respite from the sun’s intensity.

Servings: 10 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup Whole Leaf Aloe Juice
1 1/2 cups Organic Lime Juice
1 1/2 cups fresh mint leaves
1 large cucumber, peeled
2-3 inch ginger, chopped and peeled
5-6 cups water*
1/8 tsp Himalayan salt or black salt
1/2 cup raw, local honey or to taste

Instructions:

  • Add cucumber, ginger, and mint into the blender with the aloe juice. Blend until the ginger is completely blended.
  • Add honey, lime juice, and salt to the blender. Blend to mix all ingredients together.
  • Add 5 cups water (or more if you want a less concentrated version).
  • Refrigerate for about 1-2 hours so all the flavors infuse before serving. Note serving over ice or extremely chilled is not recommended from an Ayurveda perspective.


🧘 Practice Guide: Explore the transformative power of Sheetali Pranayama, a cooling breathing technique that calms the mind and soothes the body. Join me live to discover my step-by-step guide to experience deep relaxation and inner tranquility, even in the midst of summer’s heat. Register here. There will be a recording if you can’t attend live.

🌸 Summer Herbal Bath: Treat yourself to a luxurious herbal bath experience, infused with the healing properties of summer herbs. This revitalizing bath ritual cleanses and purifies your body, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Find it here.

And some inspiration for your soul

BEAUTY
BEAUTY is the harvest of presence, the evanescent moment of seeing or hearing on the outside what already lives far inside us; the eyes, the ears or the imagination suddenly become a bridge between the here and the there, between then and now, between the inside and the outside; beauty is the conversation between what we think is happening in the world and what is just about to occur far inside us.
Beauty is an achieved state of both deep attention and self-forgetting; the self forgetting of seeing, hearing, smelling or touching that erases our separation, our distance, our fear of the other. Beauty invites us, through entrancement, to that fearful frontier of intimacy between what we think makes us; and what we think makes the world. Beauty is almost always found in symmetries: the symmetries seen out in creation, the wings of the moth, the airy sky and the solid earth, the restful, focused eyes of a loving face in which we see our own self reflected: the symmetry also, therefore, of bringing together inner and outer recognitions, the far horizon of otherness seen in that face joined to the deep inner horizon of our own being. Beauty is an inner and an outer complexion living in one face.
Beauty especially occurs in the meeting of time with the timeless; the passing moment framed by what has happened and what is about to occur, the scattering of the first spring apple blossom, the turning, spiraling flight of a curled leaf in the falling light; the smoothing of white sun-filled sheets by careful hands setting them to air on a line, the broad expanse of cotton filled by the breeze only for a moment, the sheets sailing on into dryness, billowing toward a future that is always beckoning, always just beyond us. Beauty is the harvest of presence
From CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words. David Whyte

As we immerse ourselves in the beauty of summer, may we find solace and inspiration in these practices. Join me in embracing the serenity of the season and nurturing our souls with love and care.

With love and gratitude,

P.S. Stay tuned for our next edition of Sacred Pathways Weekly Wellness Roundup, and let me know what you want to see!

Ayurvedic Cooling Elixir

Ayurvedic Cooling Elixir

 Ayurvedic Aloe Lime Tonic

ayurvedic aloe tonic and rose petal bath

Servings: 10 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Whole Leaf Aloe Juice
  • 1 1/2 cups Organic Lime Juice
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh mint leaves
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled
  • 2-3 inch ginger, chopped and peeled
  • 5-6 cups water*
  • 1/8 tsp Himalayan salt or black salt
  • 1/2 cup raw, local honey or to taste

Instructions:

  1. Add cucumber, ginger, and mint into the blender with the aloe juice. Blend until the ginger is completely blended.
  2. Add honey, lime juice, and salt to the blender. Blend to mix all ingredients together.
  3. Add 5 cups water (or more if you want a less concentrated version). Refrigerate for about 1-2 hours so all the flavors infuse before serving.

Herbal Bath Recipe

herbal bath

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Coconut Milk Powder
  • 1/4 cup Dried Rose Petals
  • 2 tablespoons Sandalwood Powder
  • 8 cups of filtered water

Instructions:

Prepare the Herbal Blend: In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a gentle boil over medium heat.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and add the dried rose petals and sandalwood powder to the saucepan. Simmer the mixture until the water reduces by half, allowing the herbs to infuse into the water.
After simmering, remove the saucepan from heat and let the mixture cool for a few minutes.
Allow the decoction to cool to a comfortable temperature.
Strain the mixture to remove any remaining herb particles.

Store in an Airtight Container: Transfer the herbal blend to an airtight container to preserve its freshness and aroma until ready for use.

Draw a Warm Bath: Fill your bathtub with warm water to your desired level.

Add the Herbal Decoction: Add the herbal water directly into the warm bathwater. Use your hand to swirl the water gently, allowing the ingredients to dissolve and infuse the water with their aromatic properties.

Soak and Relax: Step into the bath and immerse yourself in the soothing herbal-infused water. Close your eyes, take deep breaths, and allow the fragrant steam to envelop you, promoting relaxation and a sense of well-being.

Optional Enhancements: For an added touch of luxury, consider adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil, such as lavender or chamomile, fresh flowers, candles and soft music to further enhance the sensory experience.

Enjoy Your Herbal Bath: Take your time to unwind and indulge in the rejuvenating effects of your summer herbal bath. Allow the nourishing properties of coconut milk, the delicate fragrance of rose petals, and the grounding essence of sandalwood to soothe your body and calm your mind.

Note: After enjoying your herbal bath, be sure to rinse off any residue from the tub to prevent any staining. Store any leftover herbal blend in a cool, dry place for future use.