So what on this earth have I been reading? I just tore through the Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards, and while I had some mixed feelings on the book, I found it truly compelling, a must-read for anyone who spends time on the mat. The book discusses some of the myths and misconceptions of yoga, citing various studies, and left me thinking about yoga in a different way. People are always telling us how wonderful that yoga is for us (myself included) that it is refreshing to hear the not so beautiful parts. I am hopeful that now that yoga is beyond mainstream, there will be even stronger research from which we can continue to learn. But read it! And let me know what you think.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Yoga Body Diet. Looking back now, this is the kind of book that the author of Science of Yoga warns about. Whatever your thoughts are on ayurveda as medicine, however, I have found many solutions in these pages.
This book makes the practice of ayurveda simple. You determine your dosha if you do not already know it, and find tips, recipes, an ingredient list of the best foods for your dosha, as well as suitable yoga poses. It includes tailored yoga practices for those who practice at home. It's straightforward, simple, and from what I've noticed, works. I feel a million times better if I follow the guidelines for Vata, especially in the winter or as seasons change.
And honestly? Ayurveda is a lot more reliable than those magazine quizzes you take to find out your skin type.
One of my favorite London breakfasts was this creamy, green-tinted Matcha Oatmeal made with matcha blended oats that I found at Selfridges, with soy milk, cinnamon and honey (if strict vegan, try maple syrup, also good for Vata). Here in the states I use organic rolled oats and mix in cinnamon and matcha. Matcha can be expensive but you only need 1 tsp for this recipe so it will last. I buy a small tin of Republic of Tea matcha for $6, which is fine for this use. I also use it for Green Tea Cupcakes.
Cinnamon, oats, honey, coconut, almonds, and soy milk are all on the Vata list, and they all make their way into this recipe. And you don't have to be a Vata dosha to enjoy it, since Winter is a Vata season and all doshas can adjust this to be beneficial. See below for recommendations.
Ayurvedic Matcha Porridge
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp matcha powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsp honey
2 tsp coconut butter
small handful of crushed almonds, for topping
Heat the soy milk and then add oats, matcha, cinnamon, and honey. Stir the matcha in thoroughly until your porridge is a pale green. Simmer until oats are cooked, stirring often. Then fold in coconut butter (makes it super creamy and adds healthy fat for Vata) and top with crushed almonds for texture.
Makes 1 serving.
This porridge is incredibly creamy, has a slight green tea flavor that I love, and is probably one of my all time favorite oatmeal bowls.
For Pitta: Top with blueberries. Soy milk, cinnamon, and oats are wonderful for Pitta, but use maple syrup or raw sugar instead of honey.
For Kapha: All berries, honey gets superfood status for Kapha, cinnamon, oats, and soy milk are great.
This book has simply made me more conscious of knowing what will serve my body versus what will aggravate it. There's science, there's "alternative medicine", and then there's delicious. Can't we be inspired by all 3?
[book images: williamjbroad.com, athleta.com]