The Yoga of Chocolate

As I shared in a recent post (“What Kind of Yoga do You Practice?”), there are many ways to practice yoga beyond just the physical poses. In today’s post I’ll be sharing how to practice the yoga of chocolate!

Do you love chocolate? Or do you know anyone who loves chocolate? I’m guessing you are answering yes to at least one of these questions!

Chocolate is made from cacao beans which grow inside pods on small trees, and besides being high in antioxidants, and helpful to heart health, it can greatly improve your mood. Chocolate creates excitement and sends a signal to your brain that something fun is about to happen!

The word yoga means “union” and so the goal of the yogic practices done by a yogi (male) or yogini (female) is to achieve a state of union with divine consciousness. Depending on your beliefs, you may call that consciousness God, Goddess, Divine Love, Nature, the Universe, or many other names. In the yoga tradition it is believed that your deepest self is connected with that divine consciousness, so when you do yogic practices you feel that union inside yourself.

Eating chocolate in a conscious way can enhance your feelings of union with your deepest self. Some ways to practice the yoga of chocolate include ~

~ Offer the chocolate to the Divine, or to your deepest self. Bless the chocolate with your highest gratitude vibrations.

~ Imagine the tree on which the cacao beans grew… under sunlight by day, and under starlight by night. Cultivate fascination for the miracle that this superfood grows naturally on this sacred Earth.

~ Take small bites, close your eyes, and eat the chocolate as slowly as you possibly can. Savor the taste and be fully aware of all sensations in the present moment. Allow your heart and mind to open to all the love in the universe!

~ If you have time, do some spiritual practices after eating your chocolate. In Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of love and devotion, chanting (singing sacred mantras) is one of the primary practices, and it goes especially well with chocolate. Both singing and chocolate open the mind and heart to deep feelings of love, so combining the two is like giving yourself a superblast of big love energies!

Like coffee (see my post “Coffee Is Good Medicine”), it is important to buy organic, fair-trade chocolate… And, dark chocolate is best for many reasons, including health (dairy nullifies cacao’s benefits), and compassion (the cows suffer greatly when their milk is stolen from them)…

For many years my absolute favorite chocolate bar has been this salted almond 70% dark chocolate bar by Theo, pictured here on top of my Grandma Hazel’s floral tin, in which I store my chocolate stash…

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I have been enjoying chocolate as medicine for decades, but sometimes I take a break from it, just to make sure that I’m not addicted to it, and to make sure that I still enjoy life without it! So, I did not eat any chocolate for the month of July, and I had so many seriously happy days, which proved that I am not dependent on chocolate… But, some days I do enjoy it as one of my many happy-ing up tools!

I hope you enjoyed this post on the yoga of chocolate… This is day 3 of my Virtual Book Launch Week! You will learn much more about yogic practices beyond the physical poses in my new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life, available now on Lulu! ~ Thank you so much to Andrea, of The Hummingbird’s Journal, for ordering a copy! 🙂

May All Beings Be Happy!

 

Photo* of cacao beans by allybally4b on Pixabay.

* If you are viewing this post in an email, simply click on the title of the article and you will be taken to the StarFire Teja blog where you can see the photo of cacao beans.

 

Soaked Oats: A Super Easy Breakfast Recipe

Are you looking for a healthy breakfast recipe? Did you know that oats have many health benefits?

High in antioxidants, nutrients, and fiber, oats are very good for your heart’s health, and can lower cholesterol as well as improve blood sugar control. And, if you eat a gluten-free diet, you can buy gluten-free oats.

Have you ever heard of eating soaked oats?

Yes, it is true. You do not have to spend any time cooking oats. Instead, you can soak your oats overnight. This saves a lot of time in the mornings! When my sons were little, I made them each a jar of soaked oats the night before, and in the morning when they were ready to eat, they simply opened their jars, stirred, and began eating.

So, for this recipe you will need an empty jar, oats, optional ingredients such as raisins and dates, and some pure filtered water. Sometime in the evening, as part of your bedtime routine, add ½ cup oats to the jar and top with any dried fruits you like (I prefer raisins and medjool dates), then add water until it covers the top of the dried fruits. Secure the lid tightly and sit on the counter. Then enjoy some sweet restorative sleep, with happy dreams…

In the morning, you can simply stir and eat out of the jar if you are like my sons… Or, you can pour your soaked oats into your favorite bowl. I prefer my bright red bowl! Next, sprinkle on cinnamon (I use a heaping ½ teaspoon), and any other spices you like, such as ginger powder, turmeric, or cardamom. Then add any nuts, seeds, or nut butters. I love walnuts and almond butter stirred into mine. And finally, if you have any fresh fruit or berries, you can add them also. I really love the soaked oats with strawberries and red grapes.

Before taking that first yummy bite, take a relaxing breath, cultivate gratitude for the blessing of having healthy food, and then eat mindfully. You might also consider doing a practice of offering the food to the Divine… to your concept of Something Greater, such as God, Nature, Source of All Love, or the Universe. I offer my food to Hanuman, who is an aspect of God in Hinduism. He represents Love, Devotion, Strength, and Positive Energy, so I invite those qualities to come into me through the food.

I hope you enjoy this super easy breakfast recipe! Please let me know how it goes… Who knows, it might just change your life!

Please buy organic food whenever possible, as it is best for your health and best for the environment.

Thank you for reading the StarFire Teja Blog!
I hope that these posts help you to happy up your life.

May All People Have Healthy Food and Pure Water.

 

Half-Way Through 2019: Goals Review Time!

Hello Dear Readers!

Can you even believe that we are already half-way through this year? And how is it going with the goals you set for 2019?

On January 1st, I set these goals for the New Year:

To be Happy, Healthy, Holy, Hopeful, and Helpful.

I actually did not try to make them all begin with the letter “H”… Those goals just came to me spontaneously, in that order, and they all just happened to begin with H… So here is my check-in about how my goals are going:

Happy: As the image with this post says, “I ❤ Happiness.” Years ago I bought a bunch of organic bananas that had a little oval sticker with that quote. I still have that tiny sticker, but it is too small to photograph, so I made this image… I recently suggested to WordPress that they include the featured photo in the emails, but since that isn’t happening yet, I’m attaching the image here again for those who are viewing this post by email…

IHeartHappiness_StarFireTeja

Anyhow, I would say that overall I am feeling much happier in 2019. It is a choice to be happy, and I definitely choose happiness… AND I do practices to keep happy-ing up, and when those practices are effective I write about them in blog posts and books to help you happy up also!

Healthy: Well, physically I look very healthy, and I do eat an organic, whole foods plant-based, gluten-free diet, as well as exercise and take care of my health on all levels… AND, for decades I have dealt with many strange ailments and aches and pains that come and go and move around. My symptoms lately seem like perhaps a Fibromyalgia flare-up, so soon I will be finding a new doctor to get evaluated… Thankfully, all of the practices that I do to happy up also help me to manage my emotional reactions to not feeling well physically. And, fortunately I have good days as well as bad days, so I am very grateful for the good days!

Holy: For many years on my spiritual journey, I straddled two worlds… In one world I wanted to be a nun, and in the other world I wanted to find prince charming. (Please read my favorite blog post ever about how I no longer have that desire for a partner: “Into the Fire.”) Now that I am just living in the one world as a nun, married to God and the Spiritual Life, I am relieved to no longer be searching for an earthly guy… AND, I’m still learning a lot about desires and attachments in the earthly realm! Just because I freed myself of one desire, did not mean that I freed myself of all desires! So even though I am doing many daily spiritual practices, I would not describe myself as being entirely pure and holy. I am doing my best and I am always challenging myself to grow more!

Hopeful: Recently I discovered a new hero, Thich Nhat Hanh, and I read his awesome book, Peace is Every Step, which I will be reviewing in a blog post soon. In that book he talks about how hope is necessary when we are having a hard time because it helps us to get through the difficulties… but then once we get through the challenges, hope is not enough for true happiness, because hope is for the future, whereas happiness is to be found in the present moment. That really resonated as truth for me, and I reflected on how I had set “Hopeful” as one of my 2019 goals because I was still living in what I call my decade of hardships (which began in March, 2009)… And so the first few months of 2019 I was struggling to keep hope alive in my mind and heart… But thankfully, in the past few months there has been a shift into feeling hopeful most of the time… So I think I can check this one off, and move on to living in the happy present moment!

Helpful: Due to the health issues mentioned above, I am not able to do all that I would like to do in terms of helping others… But, I am proud to say that this year I trained with a local hospice and I have been going out to visit with dying patients and their families. And I have been posting helpful blog articles… And I am getting ready to publish my new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life. (For more information, please read “Double Coffee Days Ahead.”)… So, I am being helpful in the ways that I can…

Thank you for reading my 2019 Goals Review!

How about you… How is it going with your goals for the year?

 

Happy Half-Way Through 2019 to Everyone!

 

 

Does Coffee Give You Bear Power?

I joke that Coffee is my spirit animal, but actually I think it might be Bear. Do you drink coffee? Did you see my blog article in January about the health benefits of coffee? (“Coffee is Good Medicine”)

And do you love bears? Recently I discovered a fun Facebook page called Bears Make Me Happy, so now I can enjoy seeing photos of bears in my feed, while drinking my hot black Organic, Fair Trade, dark roast coffee!

In their book, Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals, authors Jamie Sams and David Carson write, “The strength of Bear medicine is the power of introspection.” They say that the special energy of Bear has to do with their hibernation in wintertime. Just like Bear, I feel as though I’ve been going deep inside my cave this winter. How about you?

Here’s a short little Bear visualization to bring comfort… imagining you are curled up in a cave with a Mama Bear and her cubs… you feel peaceful and completely at ease… and so do they… the Mama Bear pulls you close and cuddles you, just like one of her own cubs… you feel so much love… you melt in that love… and you send some of that Big Bear Love out to all beings…

May All Beings Feel Loved
May All Beings Be Happy!

 

Bear image by mlorenzphotography/Getty

 

 

Sauerkraut is the New Yogurt… Or the New Apple

Cabbage is your new best friend! It contains many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which help to prevent cancer and other diseases. And once it is fermented into sauerkraut, it becomes the superfood of choice. Packed with probiotics, sauerkraut increases the good bacteria in your gut, boosts your immune system, strengthens your bones, calms your mood, helps your brain and heart to stay healthy, and lowers your cholesterol.

For those who do not eat dairy, due to allergy, intolerance, or compassion for the cows, sauerkraut is far superior to yogurt in terms of probiotics. And for those who do eat dairy, consider that there are many studies showing that dairy products cause the very same diseases which sauerkraut prevents.

A daily dose of sauerkraut is as potent as a daily apple. Remember the old adage “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” and begin adding a daily serving of sauerkraut to your diet. If at first you do not like the taste of kraut, fear not. This high vibration superfood is so good for your body, that you will naturally develop a taste for it. There are many different flavors available now, so keep trying new ones until you find the one for you.

When shopping for sauerkraut, look for organic krauts that are made as locally as possible. Here are a few of my favorite brands:

Pickled Planet ~ my favorite of theirs is called I-Boost (Immune Booster).

Krazy Kraut ~ their Kim Chee is super fresh, and I love the one that has juniper berries!

Hidden Pond Farm ~ their KimChi is very spicy.

Farmhouse Culture ~ my current favorite of all sauerkrauts is this brand’s Smoked Jalapeño. It is a great one for those who like it hot!

If you already eat sauerkraut daily, please share your favorites in the comments below, down where it says “Leave a Reply.” And if you are new to sauerkraut, have fun on your new kraut adventures. Let me know how it goes!

Happy Up your body and brain with sauerkraut!

May All Beings Be Happy!