Give that “Goa” trip a new spiritual twist

Chakra dancingChakra dancing and singing for inner peace at a healing retreat in Goa.

Youngsters are flocking to hippy-chic, soul nourishing wellness festivals to find inner peace. The quest to de-stress at physical, emotional and spiritual levels is high for this generation that’s overworked, stressed and anxiety-ridden. Such is the demand for soul nourishment that these open-air festivals are giving rock fests a run for their money. From acroyoga, acrobatics, Thai massages to divine singing and chakra dancing, tai chi, cuddle therapy, ecstatic dancing, glitter shows- healing the mind retreats are also getting creative to attract youngsters from across the globe.

There is a focus on bonding, relaxation and healing. You meditate and relax with complete strangers, pick smiles and make eye contact. People experience a variety of things and go back rejuvenated.

Gong Shower: There’s a 5 minute relaxation session where the recipient sits upright, the gong (ancient healing instrument)is held by hand and played all around the body; followed by a 10 minute relaxation session where the gong is on a stand but travels vertically up and down the spine of the recipient.

Cuddle Therapy/ Llama hugging: Cuddle sessions highlight the power of the hug. The llamas are a pet for therapy, hugging them relieves you of the emotional fear and keeps those blues away.

Llama therapy

Glitter full moon meditation and shower: You feel powered by the energy of the full moon, bathe in the moon’s glitter and sparkle at this fest.

Lantern meditation: Revellers armed with lanterns symbolically light the sky with their highest hopes, deepest regrets and fondest dreams. Lanterns symbolize good fortune and celebrate the life of a loved one. Music and dancing follows.

Lantern festival at Lanna meditation centre.

Spiritual massage: This massage isn’t just about physically revealing pain, but self- healing and empowerment. Chakra massaging removes blockages and barriers stored within the body’s energy system and auric field.

Chakra dancing: This is a creative meditation in the form of dancing. It balances the natural flow of energy or chi. This dance involves slow motion body work and follows free body movements. Indian rhythms, chants, Latin jazz beats etc. are used.

Are you up for the dong shower? 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!!

‘Pickle’ your taste buds…

Fermented Foods  Kimchi Salad

You probably have fond childhood memories of relishing your granny’s homemade achaar and chutneys. Remember the lengths you’d go to, to steal a palmful of murabba? Food, as they say, is the best nostalgia. A winning dish is one through which people relive their memories. Today, fermented products go high up on a chef’s list.

Fermented ingredients has played a major role in its entry into restaurant menus, describes these foods as the flavorful space between fresh and rotten.

Fermentation Festivals around the world

Every year, to celebrate the benefits of fermented foods, world-class fermenting artisans and enthusiasts come together to set up festivals. Boston Ferments in New England, Santa Barbara Fermentation festival in California, Fermentation Fest in Wisconsin, Ganggyeong Fermented Seafood festival in Korea, are among the dozen festivals that were held in 2014. From holding workshops on how to master fermentation to having a market that sells homemade samples of cultured food and drinks, these festivals give you a low-down on everything fermented.

The Indian picture

Fine dining establishments across India have opened their kitchens to traditional fermented recipes like kanji (a drink prepared from the juice of black carrots), curries made from kachampuli ( a fruit vinegar from Kerala), jau ki ghaat (a ragi drink from Rajasthan), iromba (a spicy Manipuri chutney made from fresh vegetables and fish). The distinct flavor that fermentation imparts to a dish is one of the major reasons why chefs are using this technique.

A good kick in your gut

Eating healthy fermented foods increases the good bacteria and helps digestion. It also improves the immunity and purifies blood, as the bacteria flushes out all the toxins. If you lead a stressful life and have a diet high in sugary and processed food, the beneficial microbiome in your gut becomes unbalanced- which cause unclear thinking and excessive worrying. This can be corrected by consuming foods like buttermilk, unpasteurized sauerkraut, kimchi etc.

Eat cultured foods, And above all, you can go back to your childhood memories by just ‘pickling’ your tongue. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!!

Where there’s tea, there’s hope…

Hot piping cup of chaiChai with friends

Holding onto a hot cup is a great way to recharge you. 🙂

Indians have a soul connection with piping hot chai. Are you the one for whom a cup of tea is an excuse to share great thoughts with great minds. From the little tea stall behind your office to the tea vendors on railway platforms; from your neighborhood tea stall sessions and that playful eye contact with your hot neighbor, to friends chilling with hot chai over an upcoming match… “Chai pe charcha” has always been and still is a steaming part of India’s fabric.

Had a bad day at work? Cool it with a bitching session at the chai corner. At any point of time, if you feel you need a companion when everyone around fails to understand you, there is always a cup of chai for comfort. It never lets you down. In fact, it will perk you up in an instant.

Indians connection with tea begins at home, with the first aroma in the morning. It is your humble companion during those intense political discussions, train journeys, highways breaks and rainy day romantic getaways; also it comes to the rescue to eliminate the hitch to strike a conversation with other person.

Interesting Fact- How Afternoon tea became a trend

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” 🙂

While drinking tea as a fashionable event is credited to Catharine of Braganza, known as the tea drinking queen, the actual idea of having tea in the afternoon was developed into a social event in the late 1830s by Anne, Duchess of Bedford. She enjoyed having light sandwiches and tea in the late afternoon to prevent the sinking feeling she experienced during the long gap between meals. She began inviting others too and it became a trend.

The unifying force

Since the British popularized tea in India, it has become an integral part of the rhythm of life here. It has a constant, unifying presence in a profoundly diverse country like ours. From the lush green forests of Jharkhand to the white desert of Kutch, I have noticed that tea is the one connecting factor that energizes and heals one and all. The chaiwallahs in India brew their tea fresh using ginger root, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and many other spices depending on the region.

The Tea Tour

In Jammu, the preparation of tea is different. A lot of milk and cream is added to the tea along with cardamom and cinnamon. This tea is called ‘desi chai’. Kahwa, made out of saffron and almonds is very popular.

Rich, milky and spicy, south Indian tea is known for its distinctive dark color and intense aroma.

Authentic Darjeeling tea is blackish-green in color.

The popular brew of Assam is known as Ronga Saah (Red tea without milk). It is the main component of English breakfast tea and often had with a slice of lemon.

A typical north Indian tea is served in Kulhad (earthen pot). Since day soaks up all the moisture, the tea often has a very strong flavor. The next time you are in Punjab and craving for tea, simply order, ‘Ek kadak chai, malai maar ke’.

The term synonymous with tea in Mumbai is Cutting Chai, which is based on the concept of ‘aadhe se zyada and poore se kam’. Afterall, we Indians love sharing, don’t we?

Thanks for Stopping by!!


Friendship: The first place where you can knock….

Young adult friends hugging on a sunset at the sea

In 1935, the U.S. Congress declared the first Sunday in August a holiday to honor friendship. To celebrate this occasion I want to honor all my friends —when I count the friends who grace my life, I am in awe.

I consider my friends to be ‘family of choice’. I am a rich woman whose friends are among her treasures.

A few weeks ago, when I was thinking of her, her phone ‘called me’ inadvertently. We laughed about that. Don’t you love when that happens? (Shivani…:))

Friendship—It is one of the most beautiful & amazing relationship. Where you may be miles apart, where you may not talk for months, but when you talk, when you meet, It seems like you were never away (Aru, Prerna…:)) Friendship, where there are no formalities, No excuses, No complaints, No explanations.

We all have those friends who has textured the fabric of years together that has fashioned a solid friendship through the weaving of loving, grieving, dinners, parties, long drives, ideas, failures, setbacks, and endless conversations about jobs, marriage, food, books, the news, and music. Vacationed and raced the bikes together, swapped jokes, struggled with learning the latest technology, lamented your aches and pains, discussed heart breaks and what not, you have done it all with them.

But, no matter the topic or occasion you can bet on one thing: They will be there to listen — about your endless talks on trials, successes, dreams, and careers. We all have that one friend when during those overwhelming moments, we shake our heads, wonder how this all could be, and after a mindful silence move to something easier to chat about, easier to weave into the fabric.

This beautiful bond helps make the world a little safer. The need for friendship is woven into our genes. The key, say the experts, is reciprocity and nurturance. The golden rule is to be the friend you would like to have. To make this happen, carve out time for each other. Make it a priority.

Your schedules, commitments and duties might make for a long stretch between getting together, maybe three or four weeks or longer. But it should always be on the mutual agendas. Friendship is a living organism that needs to be nurtured.

Email, text, send a card, go for lunch, instant message, take a walk together, or give a call. How you do it doesn’t really matter, but doing it is important.

Which reminds me — Richa, are you free on the 13th?

Thanks for Stopping By!!