On Christmas Eve, my mom would make this cheesy egg casserole that we would have for dinner. I loved it and this time of year, I start thinking about it and have been wanting to re-create it.
On Thanksgiving morning, every year at Urban Yoga Chicago, we have a community event where we chant mantra together and then have a potluck breakfast. Several weeks ago I got an idea for creating a more potato forward version of my mom's egg dish for our potluck.
Miyokos butter (which I have been loving lately) adds a depth of rich flavor and the store bought hash browns make this a pretty easy dish to put together. You can make the cheeze sauce in advance or use a store bought vegan cheese instead. This Cheezy Hash Brown Casserole was a hit at our potluck, the cheeze sauce definitely added a nice creamy consistency. I will definitely make this again, likely halving the recipe to serve a smaller group. Serving this with toast and vegan bacon or breakfast sausage makes for a super satisfying meal and one that you can prep the night before to bake off in the morning.
We all experience challenges and chaos in life. It's part of the human experience and provides us with an opportunity for growth and understanding. Meditation helps us through this process by giving us calm, breath and perspective. It offers an opportunity to Be, to quiet the mind, be still and to listen. I find that I'm able to explore my subconscious mind during my meditation practice. I can receive answers to my questions, process emotions and experiences deeply and safely, explore within myself, my mind, my desires. Sure, sometimes if feels like a chore, but it's something I practice daily because it has healed me, helped me grow and understand myself and softened my edges. I choose to continue moving forward on this path. For this, I Keep Up.
Taking time today to reflect in appreciation for those in my life. From my life partner to my business partner to my animals, my closest friends and dear community. I feel blessed and grateful.
Yoga practice includes savasana, a period of rest following the yoga. This allows the body to integrate the work of the yoga on a cellular level. We need rest in our lives as well. We need time to play and recharge our batteries. My work is my passion which means it doesn't feel like work, but it still is. I'm taking a few days off to have a personal savasana, to play and to restore. Be sure to schedule in your own savasana, especially during this busy season that is just beginning.
Kundalini Yoga has changed my life in so many ways, and one of my most cherished lessons through this practice is the celebration of the Divine Feminine. This is a powerful, strong and devotional energy. Through the Divine Feminine we have the power to elevate, nourish and serve ourselves and others, to inspire, to heal, to commune and to be alone. We have the power to be graceful, tender, loving, challenging and assertive. Through this energy, what can't we do?
But, I have not always felt connected to this feminine energy. The name Jodh means undaunted and brave warrior for truth and righteousness. Through this name, I felt empowered by my masculine side. Over time, I felt there was another part of me that needed attention and nourishment. Last year, I spent a good deal of my practice and reflection cultivating my feminine energy. I was encouraged by my teacher to work with and use the name Jodh Kaur. Adding Kaur brings in the energy of the Princess of God. That was a tough one! It wasn't resonating for me, at all. For many weeks I struggled with this in my practice and finally, came to a space of acceptance.
In celebration of the Divine Feminine within me, I revisited the practice of the So Purkh meditation. Yogi Bhajan gave us this mantra to chant to heal our karmas around and relationships with the men in our lives (past, present, future). It was a profoundly healing experience and inspired me to offer a special workshop celebrating the Divine Feminine and sharing and practicing this meditation together.
The workshop on December 7 will include:
I began my 40 day practice around the same time last year and it brought me into 2019 a more loving, humble, graceful and compassionate person. I am grateful to be able to share this practice with you.
Don Miguel Ruiz said, "Happiness is a choice, and so is suffering. Maybe we cannot escape from the destiny of the human, but we have a choice: to suffer our destiny or to enjoy our destiny. To suffer, or to love and be happy. To live in hell, or to live in heaven."
When I feel upset or anxious and can remember that this is my path. It allows me to surrender to it, to feel some comfort in knowing that this is a lesson for me to learn and to find a way to enjoy the process. This allows me to move through the pain, suffering and resistance and into a space of understanding.
One of the things I love about Chicago is how much we appreciate the weather. We have already had cold weather and 2 snows, but today it's 51 which means getting outdoors, taking a walk or bike ride and shedding a few layers of clothing/outerwear. We all know it's temporary and it helps us to be present and live in the moment. We recently had a guest in from out of town who kept commenting how cold it was and asking how can we live here? But the snow was melting and it was in the upper 30s so for us, it felt warmer, tolerable and we were grateful. As we move forward into the colder weather, look for those moments where you can be grateful for what you have and for the moment. Having that appreciation goes a long way.
I recently wrote about my experience with tracking my food to find out where I may be lacking in my diet. In addition to Selenium, I found out that I wasn't regularly getting enough Lysine in my diet. Lysine is an essential amino acid that our body needs to build proteins. Our body does not make essential amino acids so we need to get them from foods. Lysine may help with athletic performance and it supports immune function.
The great news is that Lysine is available in a variety of plant foods! Legumes are an excellent source of Lysine as is tofu, tempeh and soy milk. Grains like quinoa and amaranth and nuts like pistachios and cashews. Consider making sure you have 2-3 servings of these foods every day to make sure you are getting an adequate amount of Lysine daily.
As you prepare for the holidays, don't forget about you. Sure the days are busy and there is lots to do, but I have found that when I carve out time for myself, it actually creates more time in my day. By taking time to meditate and practice yoga in the morning, I'm nurturing myself and creating space for myself. This allows me to connect with my breath and to slow down. Otherwise, I find myself frantically moving from one thing to the next, trying to "get it all done." I get sloppy, I'm rushed, I'm stressed and often I have to redo things because I was hurrying which creates more pressure and stress! It's no fun. Just try it. Carve out 3-11 minutes for yourself every morning to sit by yourself. Breathe long and deep or listen to some mantra music and chant along or breathe. Bless yourself and feel gratitude for your life and then begin your day. See how that feels and what you are able to accomplish.
Worry has occupied too much of my energy. When I feel it creep in, I take a deep breath and remind myself that my soul is on a journey and this experience is part of it. Nothing to worry about, just allow myself to have the experience. It takes conscious effort and practice to let go of habits that no longer serve us, but it can be done.
I am an animal loving-Vegan runner, I practice and teach Kundalini Yoga and I love to cook and eat flavorful plant-based food.