Raw Carrot Cake Recipe

It feels so good to be back to blogging again! It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve blogged -here. I’d like to start off my return with this delicious raw-vegan-paleo-glutenfree-guiltfree Carrot Cake I made over the weekend for a scrumptious delightful Easter Celebration I thoroughly enjoyed with my friends in Toronto.

I tend to be detailed so that you get the most out of my posts and have options for recipes to consider and experiment with for later. Please feel free to follow me, share my posts, comment and leave your feedback. I want you to feel apart of my journey and I want to be apart of yours.  I trust you’ll love this recipe and I can’t wait to hear from those of you who make this recipe and/or others I’ve posted in the past and will post more often again now.

With love, gratitude and bliss,

Chef Doris Fin (aka Miss Bliss)

Raw Carrot Cake Recipe

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 3 cups peeled and shredded carrot (approx 2 large carrots) (see note below) or carrot pulp from fresh carrot juice
  • 1 cup ground golden flax seeds (see note below)
  • 1 cup almond pulp (made from homemade almond milk)(see recipe below)
  • 1 ½ cups ground almond meal
  • 1 cup pitted dates, soaked in ½ cup water 2 hours
  • ½ cup dried pineapple, chopped
  • 4 tbsp melted cold pressed coconut oil
  • 5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp Celylon cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp Celtic/Himalayan salt

Optional:

  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice

 

Ingredients for the icing:

  • 1 ½ cups raw sunflower seeds or cashews, soaked in 4 cups water 4 hours
  • ¾ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla pod scraped out)
  • 3 tbsp melted cold pressed coconut oil
  • 1/8 tsp Celtic/Himalayan salt

 

Loving Preparation:

  1. Prepare your pan first: Cover the base of an 8” or 9” spring form pan with parchment paper and close the pan on top.
  2. In a food processor process the dates, pineapple, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt until you get a chunky jam like consistency (like chutney)
  3. Transfer mixture and remaining ingredients into a big bowl and mix well with your hands. (Note: As you massage this delectable mixture, infuse it with loving intention and be playful)
  4. Allow to sit and absorb moisture while you prepare your icing.

 

To make your icing:

  1. Rinse and strain your sunflower seeds/cashews then transfer to a high speed blender along with remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Taste and add more maple syrup if you desire more sweet. If you want thinner cream add a touch of water until desired consistency is achieved.

 

To prepare your cake:

  1. Press half the cake mixture with lightly damp hands in the base of your cake. (See note below about making a no layer cake)
  2. Pour 2 cups of your cream over the cake layer. Freeze for 10minutes.
  3. Flatten the remaining cake mixture in the bowl a little (so it’s easier to place on top of your cake, without the cream spilling out).
  4. Press the remaining cake mixture gently on top of the cream. Use your fingers to seal in the edges and prevent cream from escaping.
  5. Pour the remaining cream on top and leave a little for decoration swirls. If you prefer to cover your whole cake rather than just the top add the cream last minute before serving. Pour remaining cream into a piping bag or ziplock bag and refrigerate.
  6. Keep your cake refrigerated for 2 hours or overnight before removing it from the pan and parchment paper.

 

Note: When removing the parchment paper, place the cake on a plate, tilt it slightly and peel away the paper slowly.

 

Decoration: Cut the tip of your ziplock bag or piping bag and squeeze out swirls, spirals, and/or any kind of decoration you like.

Add parsley/mint/basil leaves on top for decoration. If you can find mini carrots decorate your cake with 6-8 of them splayed out in a flower design.

 

No layer cake option: If you prefer a faster, no layer cake variation press the whole cake mixture into your pan and decorate the entire cake with the cream once ready to come out of the pan.

 

Note: If you have remaining cream leftover, it will keep for 2 weeks in an airtight bag or glass container and you can add cacao powder to it to make a chocolate spread or add to your future desserts/spread on cake/muffins/bread/crackers/freeze into ice cream.

 

Note: Shredded carrots doesn’t release juice like grated carrots. I use a food processor with the shredding circle blade.

 

Note:  Golden flax seeds don’t have that flax seed taste like brown flax seeds and they happen to be a little more nutritious too and leave no brown colour. Perfect for this recipe.

Homemade Almond Milk

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw almonds, soaked in 4cups water 6-8 hours (or overnight)
  • 7-8 cups water

 

Loving Preparation:

  1. Rinse and strain almonds
  2. Blend with water in a high speed blender for 20 seconds (until almonds completely pulverized. If you don’t have an 8 cup blender, make in 2 batches.
  3. Strain through nutmilk bag/cheesecloth.
  4. Reblend almond milk with 4 dates or 2 tsp maple syrup/honey and 1 tsp cinnamon. Store in a glass jar for up to 4 days in the fridge.
  5. For a chocolate variation add 2-4 tbsp cacao/coco powder (depending how chocolatey you like it.
  6. For spicy variation add 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  7. For a flavourful variation add 1-2 drops of edible mint/orange/coffee/rose essential oils. I like the one from my favourite local essential oils company http://www.livinglibations.com/?a_aid=58a6246d0be97 they also have for oral health care, deodorant, perfume, for diffusing, culinary creations, hands, feet, other body parts, etc. J

 

Note: Use leftover pulp for adding to above carrot cake recipe or into your muffins, breads, smoothies, cookies, banana bread, salads, etc. For regular cake recipes replace ½ the flour with pulp and enjoy the moistness, fiber and taste that almond pulp adds to your recipes.

 

Writing a memoir is challenging, but fun, healing and so worth it!

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The whole world was on my shoulders, now it's different.

The whole world was on my shoulders, now it’s different.

This is the first time I haven’t felt the urge to leave Toronto after 3months. And it feels amazing!

Writing my book in 3 months, has been very inspiring, motivating and encouraging to keep me put in one place. It’s one of three books, as my life, as many know is quite extensive, complex and many have said in this life time I’ve lived like 50 lives. I can handle it and it’s no surprise.

I cover topics like my childhood, my relationships with myself, my dad, my lovers, the many people I’ve connected with in school, travels, different communities all over the world and my relationship with food!

When I write, I’m uncensored and totally raw, and that’s how my book is expressed. I’m so excited to publish it in 3 weeks! I can’t wait to share it with the world. My recipes are easy, fun and colourful too and the pictures of my travels and recipes are a story in themselves.

I want to thank all those who have been super supportive on facebook, in person and via email. I love you all and without you this book couldn’t blossom so smoothly.

Talk about surrendering, trusting, letting go and going with the flow. Oh ya! Writing a book was the answer for me to heal my past.

Want to release some past ties? Write a book! You don’t have to publish it, it can be for yourself and/or family and there are free ways online to make that happen. 🙂
Blessings and Light,
Doris

Growing up Part 1: I admit, I’m maturing and I’m ok with it!

I remember when I was a little girl and I desired more than anything to “save the world”! I thought about being the next Mother Theresa figure, but in 21st century style with a little disobedience mixed in.

I just thought “how can there be so much suffering in the world and so little love?” But I was blinded by my illusions. Little did I realize at the time, the suffering was minute compared to the abundance of love that was and always has been present. Like many, my perception was my projection and therefore my story became my reality. And I chose to believe the lies and illusions projected onto me and be manipulated by those around me who allowed themselves to be manipulated too.

With some years of experience I came to realize that I had the choice to tune out of FEAR station and turn up the volume on LOVE station. My perception of love in the world around me, conquered my doubt and illusions and I was unaffected directly, by the suffering. I was even unaware of most of the stories happening, unless someone had mentioned them. No news is good news so I stopped watching and listening to the news for the past decade. I was both naive and nonchalant. I thought, “Why are people focusing on that which doesn’t serve them? On that which they aren’t even physically present to (like that in a place of war or hunger)? On that which only dis-eases their own mind, body and spirit? Why aren’t they focusing on that which they can control (like what they put on and in their bodies, what comes out of their mouths, who they associate with) rather than what they cannot (like the suffering of another)? Why are they mentioning it constantly and not doing anything but feeding the obvious of turmoil? No wonder I thought about “saving” the world. But that which I perceive externally from myself is that which is inside me. So I was learning about myself through my external reflection. And as the years continued, so did my judgement.

Little did I realize at the time, by focusing on trying to “save” others, I didn’t do much for myself in that department. Like most, I grew up believing that pity, worry, obligation, feeling bad and all those FEAR based stations, were considered not just normal but the way one “should” express themselves when they see or hear of suffering. I later realized that was and is, all part of the illusion. There’s always been another option, which still leaves room for compassion but doesn’t dis-ease the unaffected (who therefore doesn’t become the affected or dis-eased in turn). One becomes that which they absorb and project whether directly or indirectly.

I remember being loved so much by my parents and friends that I got so used to the positive attention. I considered it to be normal and it would bother me when someone didn’t like me or something I did. I had to know what was wrong so that I could fix it and save the poor soul’s energy from lacking in love. I took it personally, rather than realizing it wasn’t me directly they were affected by, but by the trigger of their story. Even though it came naturally, I still found ways to drain myself. I, like many, gave energy from myself rather than through myself and caused much dis-ease for my own energy storages. I cared what others thought, I sought approval and I went out of my way to be accepted whether it was for the authentic me or the “insincere” me. I loved to act, so playing different roles came easy to me. As long as everyone was appearing happy and smiling I believed that I was too. I didn’t know what was true or false anymore. I lived in my fairytale world and it worked for me at the time, so I thought.

I couldn’t tell when I was being authentic. Smiling and being constantly in the state of happy and joyful came so naturally to me. I was afraid of disappointing others at the expense of my own TRUE happiness. I didn’t know any better. I made it my duty to trigger people’s temporary happiness. I allowed others to become dependent on my presence to lift their spirits. I was dishonest with myself because I didn’t put myself first. It was like magic. Someone could be in the worst mood possible and as soon as they’d hear my name or my voice or see me, it was as if they got knocked out of their trancelike state and became happy. I thought it was I who made them happy. I didn’t realize it was the qualities I exuded that brought it out in them and of course this was my story that made it appear so. How can one be of assistance to others unless they assist themselves first? I believe the way one is, is the way one delivers themselves and the delivery of their energy to another.

As time went by, I realized I cannot make anyone anything. I can only trigger a feeling or emotion in someone else, but I essentially cannot do it for them. Thus I learnt the art of perception and projection. As my father used to say to me “If you think so, then it is so”. I didn’t understand that until much later of course. It is only so to the one who thinks and perceives it as so and that’s all that matters to that person and so it so.

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Super Creamy Smoothies (and lots of FYI for fun)

Everyday after the gym in Quito, I’ve been whipping up a super creamy, nourishing, tasty smoothie. Before I get into these scrumptious nourishing recipes (located at the end of this blog), I’d like to share a few health facts and FYI that I’ve learnt about and experimented with over the past few years.

The oils I find here in Ecuador, are not the highest quality so I’d rather use local, fresh and very high quality fat: Avocado! Bonus: avocados are cheap and filling! They replenish my fats, proteins, other nutrients I require, while adding incredible texture and flavour to all my smoothies.

I do my best not to mix fruits with fats, so I use avocado, which is a fruit with natural fats. I try to have one or the other, although sometimes I will use both fats and fruits together, out of habit, seeking for taste and texture, but I suffer later from the food combination (gas, bloating). I don’t do this too often anymore, as I remember eating nuts and raisins, sweets after a heavy meal (which always had some sort of fat present, whether oil, butter, nuts, seeds, meat, etc.), and overloading on raw desserts (recently in the past 2 years), daily for years, and I couldn’t understand why I didn’t feel so energized afterwards. Now I replace dressings, sauces and oils with avocado when I want to add flavour, texture, volume and fat to my meals and because it’s light, I can wait 20-30min before having my dessert and not suffering the food combining consequences. Yay compromising balance!

Did you know that young coconut water used to be injected intravenously into human veins, instead of whatever saline solution that is being used now in hospitals? Coconut water is almost equivalent to the human plasma and we are made up of 70-90% water. Doesn’t it make sense to ingest that which is like our blood and thus will nourish our blood? Water is drawn up from the depths of the Earth, into the roots, trunk, branches and ultimately into a shell that contains this healing liquid. Now that’s what I call nourishment from Mother Nature!
The water of the young coconuts, when they are less sweet, more mineral dense and have more water in them are ready for consumption as long as they having been growing on the tree for at least 1 year. The harder, dark brown coconuts are the older, more sweet, more coconut meat (which we cannot digest properly) and less water, and are often more readily available in stores than the young coconuts.

Sun charged food is extremely beneficial and essential for our health and optimal functioning of our body, mind, spirit and therefore our overall life in general. Without the sun, that which grows, could not grow and would be in darkness.
Studies have shown the phenomenal differences between areas in the world that have an abundance, a lack of and an absence of sunlight. It’s quite astonishing the differences in health, happiness and overall lifestyle function of all these beings. As well as the lack of vitamin D2, which we get for free from exposure to the sun’s rays, can cause incredible health problems as well. So soak up in the sun whenever possible, obviously when the UV rays are not too strong.

Studies have also shown that sun gazing (sunrise and sunset are the best and easiest to stare at for long periods of time), aids the functioning and helps heal the pineal gland, vision, health and many parts of the whole eye mechanism. I sun gaze when I remember to and when the sun is not too high up. I used to do it daily for 2 years so I can attest to the proof. My eye site got better sun gazing, combined with more raw food eating, more bare foot walking on Earth, eye exercises and less time staring at electronics. But now of course I spend a lot of time on the computer and it depends where in the world I am and the time of day, when I remember to look up. I do my best to expose myself, my skin and my food daily to the sun, wherever I am, as often as I remember, choosing to walk or cycle rather than take a taxi or bus, if the distance is under 30min, just to soak up the incredible healing medicine freely available, daily! Check out this article with videos about safe sungazing, earthing and sun charging. http://yogikanna.com/sungazing/

Aloe vera comes from a cactus plant and is usually drunk like a juice. The quality of aloe vera on the market is very variable – If it’s purchased in a bottle and tastes like water it probably is. Nothing is better than fresh Aloe which is a truly amazing plant. Do your best to get fresh whole aloe vera leaves, often found at Asian super markets or China Town, South American stores, or you can purchase the plants and have them in your garden or inside your home. Youtube “how to obtain the gel of an aloe vera leaf” (there’s a very efficient practical way to getting inside the leaf without hurting yourself on the side spikes).

The best and most potent, medicinal and nutrient dense aloe gel for ingesting is that of the really big, older leaves. Aloe Vera is opposite to coconuts, since coconut water is best when they are younger. Aloe Vera is very popular in Asia and South America, where it grows abundantly outside of the crowded material dense cities. Usually in mountainous or jungle areas. Since it is a cactus it doesn’t need a constant supply of water, but definitely can shrivel and die if it’s exposed only to the sun and no water. It helps aid in soothing inflammation of anything, digestion problems, constipation, ulcers, stomach and colon problems, skin and scalp problems, genital itchiness and irritation and of course there are so many other healing properties. Research more if you’re curious. Make sure to consume only the gel part of the leaf, not the green part (which is very bitter and not used for ingestion). Rub your skin and face with the inside of the skin when you are done getting all the gel. Make use of it to its fullest!

So all the recipes shown here contain ingredients that relate to the above information. Remember we absorb the energy not just the nutrients of the food. If I am in a rush, my body may not actually absorb, assimilate or even process any of the food. My energy would be focused in my mind of where I have to go or what I have to do, rather than focusing in the present moment of obtaining, enjoying and being with the whole experience of my meal, thus making the nutrients more easily transportable to my cells and entire being. I am what I eat after all! So I do my best not only to consume the best quality products, but to remain in the moment with them and benefit from the whole experience. “Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” (Hippocrates) This also pertains to the way we consume and ingest the medicine, not just put it into us.

If you cannot find a fresh young coconut, replace the coconut water with the best quality water you can find, put it in a glass jar and leave it in the sun light outside for minimum 20min and add a little more lime juice to the recipe.

Did you know that fresh citrus fruit juices like lemon and lime are acidic before they enter the stomach? Once they enter the stomach they transform into an alkaline substance. This is why it is recommended to have lemon/lime juice with lukewarm water when you wake up in the morning or before meals (especially acidic meals). It helps aid the functioning of the alkalization of our bodies, which we need after all the repairing of our acidic bodies in the night time. Hence why it is recommended not to eat at least 2 hrs before bed and definitely nothing heavy like meat or cake. All the energy will be focused on digesting (which is minimal during sleep anyway) instead of repairing the body as required for optimal functioning. And the result will be waking up with undigested food, and the toxins from the lack of digestion going into the blood stream. AH!

Super Nourishing Creamy Smoothies:

1. Super Good For Me In Every Way Smoothie

Ingredients:
-2 cups of coconut water
-2-4 Tbsp of fresh aloe vera gel
-the juice of one lime (or a little more if not using coconut water)
-1 heaping tbsp of your favourite green powder (I used alfalfa and chlorella tablets)
-1/2 of a medium avocado or 1 whole small avocado

Loving Preparation:
-In a blender combine all of the ingredients until smooth and creamy. Do not over blend and do not let it heat up!
-Serve immediately in the nicest glass you have. You deserve the best.
-Decorate with a slice of lime, avocado or a flower of your choice

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Giddy Yoyo is my favourite High Quality Superfood Company based out of Canada!

2. Super Good For Me In Every Way Smoothie with Goji Berries
This is the exact same recipe as #1 but with 1-2 tbsp of goji berries (presoak for 20min in 1/2 cup of the coconut water being used and include the water in the recipe)
-Decorate with goji berries, a mint leaf, flower, or whatever you like!

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No surprise, these are Giddy Yoyo’s raw wildcrafted Goji Berries! Yummy! and no chlorella, so the red shows more!

 

3. So Good For My Body Creamy Mango Smoothie
(you can replace the mango with any other sweet juicy fruit, but use organic whenever possible and only use one fruit, try not to mix fruits and use local and seasonal whenever possible)

Ingredients:
-1 cup coconut water
-1 mango
-1 tbsp of your favourite green powder (I used Alfalfa powder)
-1/4 tsp fresh vanilla bean powder (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
-2-4 Tbsp of fresh aloe vera gel (gel of about 1/4-1/3 of a medium sized aloe vera
leaf) (Put more in if you suffer from stomach problems: see note above for info)
-fresh juice of 1 small lime or a little more if you are not using coconut water.
Optional:1/2-1 tsp freshly minced ginger or 1/4 tsp ginger powder (depending on how gingery you like it) For a little spice, add a dash of chilli or cayenne pepper.

Loving Preparation:
-In a blender combine all of the ingredients, until smooth and creamy. Do not over blend and definitely do not let it heat up.
-Serve in the nicest glass you have. You deserve the best afterall!
-Decorate with a mint leaf, lime wedge, flower, or whatever you like

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Depending on how much Green Powder you add will depend on the colour of the final result

4. So Good For My Body Creamy Mango Green Smoothie
This is the exact same recipe as #3 but add a handful of parsley and/or spinach leaves

 

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Concrete Jungle part 2: My yoga practice, what happened?

I loved this quote, which was actually the catalyst for this blog post today. It helped me understand where I was misguided and where I misunderstood my own reality of my yoga practice. ” As a result of yoga or sustained, focused attention, the Self or Seer is firmly established in its own form, and we act from a place from our own true, authentic Self. (Yoga Sutra 1.3 Patanjali) No wonder I was “lost”, I wasn’t being authentic Doris.

The author of the article elaborated on this, “In other words, by focusing and refining the mind through yoga, you gain clearer perception and learn to distinguish the mind, body and emotions from your true essence or Self. You come to know that Self and act from that place of the Self, thus reducing your experience of suffering. How is it that yoga can be such a powerful support, even when the body is not able to do asana practice or even to sit to do certain breathing practices? First and foremost, yoga is for the mind, not the body. (Though asana and other practices involving the body can be a useful way to influence and refine the mind, and the body can certainly benefit).

That’s it! I was doing it solely for my body, missing the whole point. No wonder I lost myself in what I thought came so naturally to me!

“Patanjali lists nine potential obstacles in the next sutra, beginning with illness or disease, but tells us that they need be obstacles for us only if the mind is disturbed. If we connect with the Self, we are less likely to be disturbed and will therefore suffer less.”

I created my own obstacles with my mind and used my yoga practice as a distraction from my mind, but it was with me the whole time and I often found myself thinking during my practice, the opposite of my goal. I was hoping each practice to get out of my head and remain present. Of course I sent out the wrong message so my perception became my projection. Ha! Silly Doris, “Tricks are for kids!”

So only after reading this article it dawned on me, “I’ve only been doing yoga mostly for my body”. So I’ve been missing the whole point! I already knew this from the beginning of my yoga practice, but somewhere in these past 5 years of practice I forgot all this and focused on yoga for my body, using other tools separately for my mind and spirit. Ha! I’m laughing right now at myself and at this whole story. It’s just a story after all, a self created story. But of course when the student is ready the teacher appears and it came for me through a 2 week experience in the jungle and then a little broadening of that lesson through this article, in the most perfect place possible for me right now! HA! For many this may even be a surprise, but I have come to realize that even cities are part of Mother Nature, and the people in them help create the foundation and the reality and perception is of individuality. I love growing up and realizing things from a different angle. I love that I’m not attached to any one outcome, but there was something missing in this whole journey and I only started doing it again. Setting goals!

This stage of my life is part of my fine tuning, adjusting my way of being, so that i show up authentically to myself, do what i say and practice what i share and advice to others. I haven’t done this in a while and I am now understanding the potency and necessity of setting goals.

I choose to use these12 days in the city to really focus on my goals with intention, purpose, and do it because it feels right and necessary to accomplish for my enhancement and development. Since starting the gym these past couple of days, my perspective on a lot of things has changed. I feel more in my alignment. I’m just letting the day evolve as it does and observe myself, be with changes, at the same time cultivate spaciousness, equanimity, emptiness, awareness, clearness and observe it all as it happens without expectations, attachments and definitely remaining open to the mystery that unfolds.

Some suggestions for meditating, yoga, and life in general

Before I continue my travel journeys, I just wanted to add this here now. This came to me this morning while I was meditating in the park near my cousin’s place in North Israel (where I am currently). Many are asking me for some written guidance and something tangible to use as assistance to their daily journey.

I feel this might assist in people’s “preparations” not just physically but mentally and emotionally and thus follows the “spiritual” aspect of the whole experience that comes with the journey to whatever comes next.

And remember yoga is not just the physical aspect, there’s way more in it than what the Western world has created it to be. Hope this assists you further on your path in life in general.

-Begin to observe your daily life: your breath, heart beat, what you are attracting now in all aspects (relationships, thoughts, feelings, views, jobs, etc.), how your physical body is internally and externally, how you view yourself and the world around you. Observe without labels or judgement, just observe so that you are aware of where you are at.

-If you aren’t already, start a daily meditation practice. This doesn’t have to be the typical meditative position where you sit and close your eyes and breath with a focus on one thing particular. Instead, find any comfortable position whether sitting, standing, or laying down, even try sitting on a swing or floating on a device in a body of water and just be there with your eyes opened at first, observe for 2-5min what is happening in and around you, then close your eyes and repeat. If any thoughts come, allow them to and observe what thoughts are coming up, then let them go by bringing your attention to your breath, observing any sensations that may or may not be present in your body.

-You can be as creative with this as you’d like. Try something new each week or each day by adding any of the following into your practice:
-candles, incense, soft meditative music, flowers, leaves, pictures of people you love/admire/respect/honour, a picture of yourself, crystals, stones, rocks, sand, plants, a gift from someone dear to you or an object that you really feel good being around. If you’d like you could even set up a little alter on the floor/ground/a little table or anywhere that you feel is away from distractions and that will give you the feeling of potency, quality and having your own sacred space you go to for just you.

-Try wearing different colours each day, one that represents the colours of the chakras and because each colour has different properties and relevance, observe how you feel wearing that colour whether it be during your meditation, yoga practice on the mat, or yoga practice in your daily life at work, events, wherever off the mat.

-Start with 5min anytime of the day you choose to create the space for this practice and when you feel it’s comfortable and appropriate for you add a minute or two every now and then and don’t focus on the time so much as the quality. Write your experience down if you’d like in as many or as little words as you’d like, jot notes or full sentences, whatever works best for you in this moment.

-Familiarize yourself with the chakras. Read online, books, ask people you know for some info. Wherever, however, whenever, discover the resources available to you and do a little self familiarization to understand a little more what they are about and how you can incorporate their relevance into your daily life.

-Get out in nature even if it’s for 5min and stand barefoot on the ground and just stand there and observe whether in the evening or morning. Look up at the sky if it’s evening, look up at the sky if it’s day light in the direction away from the bright sun if it’s before 8am and observe the clouds, stars, moon, etc. if visible in your part of the world.

-Create the space to take a journey somewhere in the nature where the sky is visible clearly without the distractions of the modern amenities.

-Do your best to observe your breath during the time you spend in nature and of course everywhere you are. When you remember your lungs and thus the rest of your entirety will benefit.

-Continue to be gentle and kind to yourself and others no matter where you are, even if you are already doing this, be aware and conscious of this.

-Yoga, being a lifestyle that you can cultivate as much or as little as you create the space for in all aspects, not just the physical, will, is and can be an instrument that you tune into to guide you on your path in all aspects.

-Observe the above suggestions starting now, so that you know, feel and get a sense of where you are right now. Starting now up until the retreat, then during and after the retreat you’ll see where you’ve progressed, what no longer serves you and where your adjustments and adaptations to the lifestyle you want to invite in and continue exist. Being in a sacred space like Vilcabamba may assist you on this journey to really tune into where you are, where you desire to be and where you feel is in your best interest to be.

-The internal physical body is not a space that one sees or senses without an external influence like a machine of some sort. And thus if there are any dis-eases of any sort the signs will come up through feelings that may not feel so pleasant or they may or may not be physically tangible. THis is where the journey to self attunement and connections come in. This is why I highly encourage you to really begin/continue to become aware of yourself and your surroundings, all that you do, say and think. Without judgement or attachment to it, just observe it.

-Start a journal if you have not already, and record your daily activities, feelings, thoughts, what you eat and when, in what mood, with whom, how you observe yourself and whatever comes out through the writing, allow it. It can be as much or as little as you like. As you start to become more aware of the above mentioned, you’ll start to notice how much more mindful and conscious you become of yourself and thus self awareness and adaptation, adjustment, realizations, and intentions become more easily available to create space for. It can become a pattern like brushing your teeth before bed, where it just becomes so easy to be with yourself anywhere you are, anytime.

-Your breath, and even your posture, and your daily yoga in general whether on the mat or off the mat will become more of a pleasure rather than a chore (if you’re in this space currently). Either way the yoga journey heightens and new additions are added and the endless journey continues as the layers are unleashed and shedded, creating space for more of what serves you towards the path that you resonate and feel is best for you.

-Recognize that whatever you do that assists your journey is like an instrument and so you can fine tune it to the tune/note you resonate with most. Rely on your intuition and your final decision in the moment, with space for mystery and spontaneity of course, to guide you, not the opinions or actions of others. Use that of others’ as instruments as well, but empower yourself with your final say and feel good about it, recognizing what is best for you may or may not be in tune with what is observed outside of yourself, or vise versa.

-Daily in the morning or evening before you get out of bed, take 1-2 min to just observe where you are, how you feel and how your body feels. Do your best to observe it without the thoughts of the future. Remain as present as you can just for a minute. Perhaps you’d like to even use this time to recollect your dreams. Try keeping the eyes closed without any movement so that you can really feel and be in the moment and “digest” the night’s energy and bring in the morning’s energy.

-Then take the next minute to set an intention for the day. And observe yourself throughout the day, being mindful, aware and conscious of this intention.

-Sometimes it helps to set your phone (if you have it around you often) to the alarm option that gives off a sound every hr or few hrs that you can use as a reminder to come back into the moment and become aware of yourself, your surroundings, and your breathing, intentions or just to sense consciously where you are in the moment. Eventually one day the phone reminders will not be necessary as your body adapts and adjusts to the daily practice.

-All of these suggestions are part of yoga, a daily lifestyle of union with yourself, others, your surroundings and where you are right now in the world, in the Universe.

-Create the space to make any of these as part of your daily life, and go into the journey with a joyous, loving attitude, as a pleasure and as a way of being of service to yourself and others. See the journey to continued self expansion as an instrument like adding a slice of lemon to a glass of water, it’s enhancing the flavour, but the liquid with an added component is still there as the hydration and maintenance with an elevated flavour and vibration, not an obligation or a necessity.

I wish you all an easeful, joyful, mindful, gentle, loving, and abundant journey.

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