ayurveda, Learning, nutrition, wellness

My Stay at the Raj (Part 4): Food/Yoga/Lectures

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If you know me in the real world, you know I don’t enjoy cooking. That statement is actually an oversimplification. I do enjoy cooking, sometimes. I think part of the turn-off for me is that it needs to happen so frequently and consistently. I prefer my creative outlets to be more spontaneous-as-the-mood-hits-me, than this-is-required-for-your-and-your-family’s-survival. So another thing I was greatly looking forward to with this trip was not having to meal-plan, shop, prepare, or clean-up for five days!

The food at the Raj is amazing. It’s aryuvedic and vegetarian. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day, as that is when your agni (digestive fire) is at it’s peak. Meals begin with a shot of ginger or fennel juice as dictated by your aryuvedic consultation. Followed by chutney–often a pairing of a cilantro and an apple–and tea, again according to your dosha. Next we are served a cup of dahl (soup) often prepared with mung beans or lentils, always yummy. The main dish varied, but included: dark green leafy vegetables, other types of vegetables, rice or quinoa, crepe or chapata all seasoned with Indian spices. For dessert there were puddings, crisps, and even pie–made with fruit and coconut sugar. At the end of the meal we were given lassi (a yogurt drink) to aid in digestion. Lunch and dinner are served in a room with a long group table that all of the guests at the Raj are welcome at. There is also private seating around the perimeter, if you prefer to eat alone or in a smaller group. There were so many interesting, friendly guests we mostly chose to eat with the group. Breakfast was served in a different area, buffet style with hot drinks, hot cereal, and stewed fruit. We also were able to attend two cooking classes with the head chef. The first was a discussion format about the importance of food. The second was a demo of a chutney and a crepe. Both were extremely helpful in showing me some ways to implement ayurvedic cooking at home.

Yoga is offered twice a day, making it possible for us to find a class that was outside of our treatment and meditation times each day. The class was quite gentle as the instructor understood we were detoxing and didn’t want to tax our systems. It consisted of sun salutations, self-massage, and asanas. I enjoyed them very much.

In the evening different lecturers come in to talk about a variety of topics. Our first night the topic was “Panchakarma”. This is the name of the detox we were undergoing. (Well, my mom and I opted for the PK Lite, but very similar.) The second night the topic was “The Importance of Silence in Sports”, though we opted out. The third night the topic was “Your Physical and Emotional Heart”. A compelling lecture by Helen Toomey. And the fourth night the topic was “Vedic Architecture”. Like our bodies, Maharishi felt it was important for buildings to be designed in harmony with nature.

The flow of our days felt very balanced, and I greatly appreciated the attention to detail from the fresh flowers and Indian music radio station in our suite, to the opportunities for physical/mental and social/solitary outlets outside of treatment times. The Raj staff were warm and accommodating throughout our stay. It was the perfect setting to learn transcendental meditation and aryuvedic practices.

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Learning, magic, nature, wellness

Awakened, Playful, Kind Woman

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Just listened to one of my favorite podcasts (www.awakenedwomanselfcare.com ) as I weeded my garden. Their guest, Asia Suler (www.onewillowapothecaries.com ), was talking about the capability we all have of connecting to plants on a healing level. I have not explored this intimate level of relationship with my plants, but I am open to the idea.  They are, after all, living things. And I certainly feel a consistent sense of calm and peace when I am among them that is hard to replicate in less natural settings.

Asia also highlighted the importance of playfulness. A sense of fun, doing silly things, thinking funny thoughts, smiling, laughing all are an important part of who I am, and how I need to relate with the world to feel happy and balanced. I live with two teenage daughters. If you don’t have teen girls, they’re a pretty serious group, at least ours are. My epic jokes and clever witticisms are usually met with groans and eye rolls. I remember being their age. I was not very playful (at least with adults), but I am grateful I am now.

Another important idea Asia discussed was the concept of “nice girl” vs. “kind woman”. This was intriguing to me. A perennial “nice girl” myself, I know the trap of people-pleasing and dis-empowerment enveloped in that characterization. Asia offered an alternative of being a “kind woman”. It’s a subtle shift, maintaining the integrity of the essence of “niceness” (kindness) without allowing others to take advantage of you. And of course, the acknowledgement that a person is an adult is respectful and empowering.

Thank you Christine, Emma, & Asia for sharing your conversation with us. If you have not checked out this podcast yet… I invite you to do so. No need to listen in chronological order. They vary greatly, so if one guest is not holding your attention, I urge you to try another. Here is a list of my favorite episodes to date:

Living in Alignment With the Magic of Earth

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Creative Boundaries and Balance

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Nurturing Kindred Spirits as Self Care

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The Magic in Creative Self Care

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Mastering the Art of Dreamboarding

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How Pain and Grief are a Portal to Purpose

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How to Work in a Holistic Vibration

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Sacred Exploration of Female Sexuality

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Tapping into Self Care
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