This past weekend we taught the first of three Intensives in our long-awaited ~ at least long-awaited by us ~ 100-hour Vedic Yoga Therapy Training. I say “long-awaited” because Yoga-as-therapy is what we do. Both my husband and I enjoy a deeply passionate life thanks to Yoga. But more than that, we survived because of Yoga. So you’d think a “Yoga Survivors” training of sorts is where we’d begin.
We have had the intention of doing this from the very start. Ten years on, we are just getting to it now. But that’s okay. Because along the way, healing continues to occur. So much so that by this weekend, teaching was natural and spontaneous. It flowed. Amazing people showed up. Amazing things happened. There were flashes of insight, deep connections, rippling waves of relief and release. We laughed. We cried. We touched, moved, breathed, and we were touched, moved and inspired by our students and their courage.
Something happens that could never have been planned and it becomes a whole lot larger than the sum of its parts. We feel ourselves more as witness than teacher, aware of the unfolding of a perfection we cannot name, willing players in service to a healing force invisible but, at times like these, immensely tangible.
It is quiet work, and very deeply rewarding.
So what do you eat on a weekend devoted to the Healing Arts when you work from 7 am to 5pm and have a house full of students?
Why, Kichari, of course.
Kichari is the most healing of foods, not to mention whole-body delicious. It is warm, rich, hearty and grounding: delightfully balancing in Fall. It is so healing, in fact, that it becomes Ayurveda’s Autumn Fast for those wanting a seasonal Detox.
I simply cannot say enough about it: Kichari is cleansing. Kichari is tonifying. Kichari is nurturing. Kichari is gentle to sensitive tummies. Kichari is loving, warm assurance on cold, rainy days like today. Kichari is a family favorite. Kichari is so important to Ayurveda that it is featured all over this Blog. Kichari might even be called the star of Food: A Love Story.
This past Sunday, I made it first by melting ghee and sautéing a spoonful of Autumn Masala, a spice mixture from my “Dancing Plums” collection which is basically ginger, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, ajwan, and sesame seed. Towards the end, I grated one carrot and half a zucchini, tossing them into the pot for the last ten minutes of cooking. Just before serving, I went to the garden and cut a few stalks of oregano, placing them, flowers and all, on top of the kichari once ladled into bowls.
I put it all together in ten minutes before everyone arrived, and kept it warm in our slow cooker. But it can be made any morning before work and kept until lunchtime in a thermos. You can even cook it in a thermos. Just toss in the ingredients, add boiling water, stir and seal. Let it stew at least four hours and by lunchtime you will have a home-cooked, healthy, hot meal.
Again, there are a number of recipes for Kichari here on this Blog. You will find two on the Basics page, another one here and a great video demonstration, by the totally adorable Kate Lumsden making Kichari in her kitchen.
In Ayurveda there is a saying, “Food is sensory. Digestion is Divine.” Both a sumptuous symphony of sensory delights and divinely digestible, this healing dish is a sacred blessing.
To all healers everywhere and all who are healing, I send Love and a great, big Thank You!