Book recommendations! I'm always being asked what I'm reading or what I'd recommend on particular topics, so I plucked three well-loved books off my shelves on Ayurveda, Yoga and Anatomy and tell you what's great about them, including some of my favourite passages and information.
The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook by Kate O'Donnell
While it may seem unusual to recommend a cookbook for reading, Kate's book is a cookbook not a recipe book. She fronts the recipes with a wonderful and thorough section on some of the theories and concepts behind Ayurveda cooking and digestion.
21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics and Practice, edited by Carol Horton & Roseanne Harvey
This collection of essays is essential reading to the socially minded yogi. I always recommend it to yoga teacher training grads who are looking for some of the cultural issues pertinent to the evolution of yoga. Published in 2012, it's still a relevant read even if some things have happily evolved with the conversation, and many things have not. A great way to get into the minds of some smart yogis you may not have heard of yet, and original writing from those you have.
The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health and Disease, by Daniel E. Lieberman
A history of how humans arrived at being human from being apes, which we learn was not a foregone conclusion! A fascinating journey through how and why we evolved into what we are, what we lost as we gained a long the way, and the impact that culture (not just modern culture!) has had on us. This book has been so useful in my teaching and understanding of anatomy.
Making Ghee / Clarified Butter
Ghee is considered by Ayurveda to be the most beneficial cooking medium, and is considered appropriate for all constitutions. This has the highest heat tolerance of cooking oils and from an Ayurvedic lens, is most able to penetrate the body’s tissues.
As I talked about in the vegetarian episode of the ieyoga podcast, making something lovingly elevates its prana and nourishes your body and soul.
· Place two sticks of butter in a medium sauce pan
· When all the butter has melted, reduce the heat to low
· Commit to observing the ghee! Many a ghee batch has been ruined by multi-tasking
· After approximately 5 minutes, the butter will begin to form a white froth on its surface and start popping – the popping sounds are good!
· After about 10 minutes, the popping sounds will slow down as moisture leaves the butter and the foam will begin to sink to the bottom of the pan.
· The foam will turn golden brown, and when popping sounds are very few, there’s a nutty smell to the ghee, and the bottom of the pan is a bit brown, you’re done!
· Strain your ghee through a mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a clean, sterilized jar and allow to cool
· Secure with a lid and store in the cupboard – yes, the cupboard! Ghee does not require refrigeration and will develop healthful bacteria. Always use a clean utensil when serving ghee, because you don’t want to introduce other material for bacteria to form on.
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