Updated: Aug 25, 2019
From the extreme heat of Mallorca we finally arrived to the cooler valley of Freiburg on a sunny day in July. The moment that we landed and saw the soothing green trees and meadows we melted into exploring what forests surround the city. As Sundari and I caught up and talked about the workshop Igor and the children wandered around the wet places and met the frogs and ducks. Whilst we focused in on making the workshop digestible in format and form - we listened to the whistle of the wind in the trees and felt our connection to unified field of intelligence. The idea that the body has an intelligence of its own enlivened by the devatas which reside there and cultivated by right food and actions was an underlying theme.
The Ayurvedic Kitchen workshop was over a year in planning and relating between us and Igor as we all felt the need to relate to the community further about the importance of ‘Kitchen sadhana.’ We had found an amazing cooking space to make delicious food in and made a second day for talking about the seasonal and local herbal remedies we could apply to balance out the dosha in summertime, Pitta. There was a great deal of spontaneity when it came down to what needed to be related as the day went on. The act of conscious cooking and conscious eating is a powerful place for learning because it is something we can all connect to, be excited about, and apply into our lives. The workshop involved hands on work in the kitchen with a tasty five-dish lunch - needless to say, we all had a wonderful nourishing time together.
"Food is important during the very early stages of spiritual practice. Food is important for someone who undergoes a transformative process. And it is important for someone who has awakened, transformed the physiology, and reposes to integrate all these experiences in a physiology charged with new energy... Food is important in all stages. There is no stage where food becomes redundant, or what we eat becomes redundant..."
– Igor Kufayev –
Day one - The Ayurvedic Kitchen was an all hands on deck in the kitchen day. We related the importance of digestive fire and its role in creating Ojas, the finest process of digestion. Ojas which is the crystalline substance which fuels any spiritual practices, gives a glow and radiance to your skin and hair; Ojas also connects us to source by vibration. Poor digestion or agni is the source of all diseases in the mind and body, and this is created by our thoughts, wrong lifestyle choices, and a buildup of toxic waste by undigested food and thoughts in the body. The sutras define the scope of Ayurveda as being a study of various factors which can promote and preserve, or can be destructive to life. Ayurveda is the science of the causes and effects of life processes.
"Our ability to produce wholesome thoughts is, in turn, dependent and sustained by our diet, so is the saying "You are what you eat' simply because of the quality of our cells to digest, assimilate and store any information."
~ Igor Kufayev
Agni can be increased before eating by preparing a pungent, salty, and sour tasting 'ginger pizza’; this was made and tasted by the group before we got ready to prepare the meal together. The food we eat contains information for the body which will either sustain the physiology or will cause an imbalance. Over time, if you are unconsciously eating the foods which create imbalance in your individual body constitution, you will create problems which can be only bought back into harmony by reducing and eliminating certain foods and adjusting lifestyle choices. Essentially, our nature is more than just the body - we are consciousness - yet the food and thoughts are having an impact on our wellbeing.
Day two - The Kitchen Pharmacy day in Soma yoga studio was spent talking about herbs and spices which balance the Pitta dosha, and making them into tonic teas. This is the time of year when we harvest herbs to be used in the coming Autumn - plants that are rejuvenating, cleanse the Pitta dosha from the body, and have a cooling quality.
Plant medicine is our birthright as the Upanishads points out,
“From that Self (Brahman) sprang ether âkâsa, that through which we hear;
from ether air that through which we hear and feel;
from air fire that through which we hear, feel, and see;
from fire water that through which we hear, feel, see, and taste;
from water earth that through which we hear, feel, see, taste, and smell.
From earth herbs, from herbs food, from food seed, from seed man.
Man thus consists of the essence of food. This is his head, this his right arm, this his left arm, this his trunk Âtman, the seat, the support.”
We had foraged for the herbs the evening before the workshop on the beautiful hills of the black forest, which is naturally abundant in indigenous herbs and plants. At dusk, or early in the morning, is the right time to harvest plants as they are oozing with prana - lifeforce - and are the most powerful. The walk through the meadow was magical; As I reach down to pick the wild flowering marjoram, in my heart I asked, may I pick you? Thank you dear plant for your blessing and for blessing our workshop and those who ingested you.
We are connected to, all informed from plants as well as the elements earth, water, fire, air and space in our body from a subtle dimension beyond physical time and space. This quantum relation between the elements around us organises the patterns of energy which inform everything and so interconnected as we are, we will always be bonded together with the natural world around us and affected in a positive & nourishing way when consciously we correlate.
I want to thank Sundari for inviting me to share space with her at Soma Yoga studio again and helping to manifest greater peace, love and wisdom in the world. With love and bliss Amrita Ma Devi.