Monthly Community Meditation

Our Himalayan Institute of Pittsburgh is a peaceful community
welcome to all. In these turbulent times…let us come together, drop within and meditate…or maybe you have never meditated? You could simply sit in silence. Let’s create a positive energy that will promote peace and carry us throughout our world.

Please join us on the second Friday of each month… next session May 11th!

Time: 7pm – 8pm. Sit for five minutes or stay the whole hour!
Bring: Mat, or props that will comfort. We do offer mats, bolsters, blocks, and blankets for your support.

Please pre-register at the Front Desk

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Chyawanprash Cookies

From the Himalayan Institute

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 jar of Chyawaprash

5 cups white flour
3 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Ginger root powder

Raw Sugar

Directions: Pre-heat oven at 350

1. In mixer, cream together butter & brown sugar then add eggs (one at a time). Blend well then add chyawanprash. Use a knife to get it out of the jar.

2. Combine flour, baking soda, ginger and salt; gradually add to the wet ingredients until blended well. Use a spoon to scoop into a medium size ball. Dip one side in raw sugar and place on a lined cookie sheet, sugar side up. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

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Delicious Date Balls

1/3 cup almonds
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
10 pitted dates
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp Unsweetened cocoa

Put the ingredients in a food processor and run until mixture forms a thick paste. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Form into bite-sized balls. Keep cold until you serve

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Stealing from Myself by Bev Gray

Last night I taught my usual Tuesday night yoga class, the one I’ve been teaching now for a year and a half. It’s typically a small class, with some regulars and some drop-in’s who attend intermittently. The pace is even and the asanas are mildly challenging.

For the past couple weeks, some of the students attending this class have been teacher trainees from another yoga studio; part of their training encourages them to go to different studios and experience different styles (very cool, I must say).

Last night’s visiting attendees were two women: one instructor and one trainee. Both were young and energetic, the instructor thin and lithe, her upper body overlaid with colorful tattoos. Her asanas were nearly perfect and lovely to watch.

Like most instructors, I’m sure, I always feel a little intimidated when an instructor shows up for my class; feeling not so much that I’m being judged, but watched. Very carefully. I do the same when I attend a fellow teacher’s class. I’m not judging, but always searching. Searching for new ways to explain a pose or inspire students (or myself). I recognize that my style is mine, that theirs is theirs, and that instructors can’t be compared. I have tremendous respect for all teachers. What intimidates me, however, is knowledge.

Yoga is so deep and vast that when I meet other teachers (especially if they practice a different style), I am always overwhelmed at how much I DON’T know. I am suddenly reduced to a student, a child seeking approval, feeling inadequate.

“No, I don’t remember what my dosha is.”

“No, I’ve never practiced ashtanga yoga (at least I don’t think I have).”

“Nope, never heard of the hasta or the pada bandhas.”

“No, I haven’t read the Bhagavad Gita from beginning to end.”

“No, I can’t do a handstand or hold a hip balance with straight arms and legs for more than a few breaths.”

“No, I don’t make a habit of adjusting my students.”

Cerebrally, I know that we are never “done” when it comes to yoga; that the depth of this practice is vast and never-ending. So why do I feel so less-than when I discover something I don’t know? And how do I release the self-judgement for not knowing everything about something which is fundamentally unknowable?

As always, I look to the Yamas and Niyamas for guidance. The Yamas and the Niyamas are the first two limbs of the 8-Fold path of yogic philosophy. Taken from the Yoga Sutras, there are five Yamas, or restraints, and five Niyamas, or observances.

For this particular experience, Astaya, the Yama of non-stealing, spoke to me. According to Deborah Adele, in her book, The Yamas and the Niyamas, “Astaya guides our attempts and tendencies to look outwardly for satisfaction.” In looking outward, we are stealing our joy and ability to look inward. Astaya asks us to shift our awareness of others to ourselves.

So in looking inward, I can appreciate how far I’ve come, without the distraction of comparing myself to others; because comparing either leaves you feeling dejected or superior, and neither is a healthy alternative. And often what we reach for is not necessarily what we want, but what may look good at the time. In our culture, we have much to compete with. There are pretty little baubles, bangles and beads in front of us wherever we go. If we keep reaching out for things just because they are there, we aren’t fulfilling our truth.

I don’t see myself as a teacher, really, but a guide. I share what I know and take in what my students teach me. I don’t feel I will ever be one of those instructors that people seek out, revered as a master in my field. I work full-time, have a family, so my ability (and let’s face it, energy) to study and immerse myself are limited. But I love my class and my students and take the moments I do have very seriously.

No, I am not trained in Ayurveda. No, I can’t twist my 49 year-old body into asanas that a tattooed twenty-something can do. And yes, there is an enormous amount of knowledge yet to be discovered. Astaya encourages me to “be where I am,” appreciate the journey and discover where I really want to go.

Oh, and I don’t have any tattoos. Just sayin’.

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Book Discussion Group

Fridays
1 – 2:30 pm

Join us for this special discussion group.  As a group, we decide together on a book to read and discuss.   In each session, we read aloud and discuss how the ideas in the book relate to our own lives.  Rather than just being intellectual, this is an organic way to get heart of the spiritual teachings into your own life.

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Essential Oils – Lemon

by Judie Markley

Of all of the citrus oils, lemon just seems to have the sunniest disposition with its clean, fresh, yet rather sharp citrus scent.It’s the perfect oil to combat the short, dark dreary winter days. If you are feeling a little down in the dumps,reach for the lemon oil.

Lemons, a member of the Rutaceae plant family, grow on somewhat small yet horizontally expansive trees. The lemon tree, native to Asia, has been cultivated in Italy, Australia and the United States. It likes a lot of sunshine, but not a lot of wet soil. The oil is expressed from the peel of the fruit.

True to its sunny disposition, lemon oil is antidepressive in nature. It increases one’s sense of humor and feeling of general well being. It dispels feelings of indecisiveness so one might sense greater emotional clarity and direction. It’s also useful to support the attributes of joy, strength and memory.

lemons
Sunny, bright and happy lemons!

Lemon’s antiseptic properties make it good for disinfecting everything from wooden cutting boards to infected wounds and sore throats. Now I know why my grandfather added lemon to his homemade cough syrup. Add a drop or two to a glass of water and give your liver a lift.

Once you understand how to use essential oils for daily skin care, lemon makes a wonderful addition for softening the skin and helps with oily and irritated skin. It’s a good choice for a cellulite blend as it has diuretic properties and speeds up blood flow.

So when you want a little extra freshness and lightness in your life, reach for that lemon oil.

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