I love making raw vegan cakes and vegan cheesecake is definitely my favourite. I often make ginger lemon cheesecake I already shared, it's perfect for summer, but since berries are in season now, I experimented with this raspberry / blueberry three layer version and it turned out really good. Here's what you'll need:
70 g roasted almonds
70 g roasted hazelnuts
4 pitted dates
200 g soaked cashews (I left them overnight)
sweetener (I used date syrup…)
50 g blueberries and raspberries
To make a crust simply mix almonds, hazelnuts, pitted dates and a spoonful of coconut oil in a blender or food processor until you get a smooth but still a bit chunky paste. Spread it over a smaller cake pan and leave it in a fridge until you make the cream.
Mix soaked cashews with sweeter (to your taste), a tea spoon of ginger powder and a spoonfull of coconut oil. Cream has to be much smoother so mix it well and use either water or more coconut oil if you see it needs to be more creamy.
I used about a 1/4 of the cream for the first layer on the crust. I than added raspberries to the rest of the cream and used half for the second layer and added blueberries to the rest for the third layer. If you don't want to complicate it, you can mix it all up and it will still taste great;).
Leave it in the fridge or, if you're very inpatient in the freezer for a while and ... enjoy it!
It's healthy and guilt free in every way;)
Thank you Roko for the blueberries.
A powerful new moon is upon is, calling us to look within and explore from where our intentions and actions come from. Do we act out of joy or desire? Compassion or self-gratification? Do we follow our hearts or our egos? Are our actions aligned with our Soul or are they just a play we put up for ourselves and others? Do we act out of love, freedom, humility, and gratefulness or from conformity, need to prove something or a desire to be seen in a certain way?
This is something I have been pondering on for weeks now. Observing myself and people close to me, trying to understand or just feel where thoughts, words and actions come from. So, when I read about this new moon it was an aha moment for me. Now I know why I questioned so much this past few weeks.
Try and pause for a moment today and look at your life right now, observe where you are, take a close look at your plans, hopes and dreams for this year or the future. See what foundations you have built these hopes and dreams on, look deep within and ask yourself with what intentions. Are your plans and dreams serving your growth or are they serving some other purpose? Are you ready to let go of all of those which do not serve your path? Is your life a quest for meaning or a quest for gratification? And are you ready to walk alone, yet not judging those walking in a different direction?
Much to meditate on in the next few days...
About this new moon in the wise words of Sarah Vargas from astro-awakenings.com:
"At this new moon we are consumed by a lack of influence over the world around us and the course of our own lives. We may feel compelled to act and yet powerless to bring about the changes we desire. Until, that is, we bring ourselves into alignment with the deeper current of sacred becoming in our life, adopting its rhythm as our own. This process may necessitate relinquishing a long cherished dream as we recognize the unconscious forces within that have mischievously propelled it to the fore. What we thought was a desire to do good is revealed as simply a need for recognition. What we believed should be our destiny becomes the biggest distraction from all we could become. What we assumed was the truth of our lives is exposed as a confusing lie that we, ourselves, have perpetuated. We can see all this at a new supermoon if we dare peer into its darkness and acknowledge what we find. Or we can allow the forces of ego to whip us up into their special kind of frenzy and pursue (unsuccessfully) the satisfaction of all they demand… To make the best of this moon we must commit to an inner journey that may be scary."
With big things as well as small, when something runs its course, there is a moment of stillness and pause before we figure what comes next. After the trees shed leaves in the fall, winter brings a pause before a new cycle which comes in the spring. A perfect and needed moment of stillness, like a moment between breaths, words, thoughts. So is in life. When we come to an end of a road and find ourselves at a crossroads, there is a moment of stillness too. We look back and see what this road has taught us, we pause and reflect and take a moment to decide in which direction we shall take that next step. But, sometimes this isn't an easy decision to make. So we stand there, and stand there... Just as the moment in between breaths this is too a normal pause, but if we hold teh breath for too long we feel like suffocating. Waiting too long on that crossroads can make us feel like we're suffocating. We get stuck and hold on to the end for more reasons, one being fear. New brings change and change brings uncertainty.
Not long ago I too felt a bit stuck and I knew that, I need to forward. I needed to make a decision on which road to take and with which intentions, but I got stuck at figuring out where forward is. In these moments, when I need more clarity, I often turn to the wisdom of people I am blessed to have in my life; my friends, family or teachers.
About this particular issue I sought guidance from one of my teachers, a wise man with a deep understanding of human mind and a gentleness which I guess comes with age and much life experience. Ones I shared my thoughts and doubts, this is what he said: “You are about to climb a mountain to reach a peak. The peak is your goal, a place where life is much easier, more peaceful and abundant. There are two ways to reach this peak, two ways up the mountain. The one you are on now, a more familiar, quicker but steeper and on a less sunny side of the mountain. The other side is a bit out of hand, it will take planning as it is not familiar and longer to reach the top, but it’s easier to climb, it has more sunshine and nicer views you can stop to enjoy. Which way do you see yourself taking? Will you stick to the familiar or embrace the change?”
It sounded like an easy choice, so why am I just standing still? Why do I feel like I can't move? I love roads less travelled and the fresh smell of new beginnings. I never thought I feared change, I flourish in change, but something about this and about now had made me doubtful and fearful. Many times in life when faced with a choice, my adventurous, bonvivant side would always take an adventurous, scenic route. So what is so different now? Is this what they call older and wiser? And if so, I don't like it one bit. I had to do some soul searching to find out why I felt so stuck.
In my quest for understanding I realised there is an inherited pattern I am still holding on to, regardless of all I’ve learned and experienced, regardless of how much I’ve already changed and what my life so far looks from the outside. My inherited belief is that change is not to be embraced, especially if your life is normal according to socially accepted standards. And while change a constant part of life and teaches us to embrace the unknown, I was taught to fear the unknown and stay ‘safe’ on the road more familiar. Hold to the familiar, abide by rules. Rules somebody else had made. I was also taught that everything worth having has to be earned the hard way. It has to involve a bit of a struggle, rolling up the sleeves and doing the work. And while, in order to reach a goal, sometimes there is work to be done, hard decisions to be made, things to be let go off and it may not be all butterflies and flowers, I know it doesn’t have to be hard either. When you are in the flow of life, there isn’t much struggle. Struggle comes from swimming against the tide, not with it.
Looking back I now see that decisions to turn my life upside down as many times as I did in my life never came easy. Quite the opposite; I would always struggle and change would often happen out of wrong intentions - out of spite, to show my will and strength, or to prove something. It had to be hard, otherwise it had no value, or I was not worthy of it. It was a fight, or sometimes even a game, not so much ‘’following my heart’’ as I liked to believe. This isn't a bad or a good thing, it is what it is. I used the tools I had to move and to change, to live by my own rules. But what happens when you no longer want to use the same tools? Having spent many years letting go of the fight, I now feel as if I have lost the ability to hold the sword I used to cut through life’s fears and challenges. I feel as though now, instead of a sword, I am holding a flower in my hand, trying to make do with it.
I know that my sword has helped me cut the chains of my past and break free, but that was just a physical escape. When we are truly free, it is an inner state and not the outer, and no prison cells can take that away. Breaking free of the past, of the inherited beliefs, traditions we don't resonate with, of norms and rules and regulations, the dos and don'ts and the boogie man fears IS the true freedom. From that point of view I wonder if it's even possible to be do truly free or do we stay forever bound, one way or the other, to all these energies, to the inherited belief systems, to collective karma. I know I have surprised myself with this realisation that the road ahead is still very long. In fact, regardless of everything, I may still be at the beginning.
Letting go of inherited belief systems, changing, and finding your own way takes waking up, questioning and evaluating just about everything you have ever been told is ‘normal’, socially accepted, or good for you. Everything you have been told by family, society, school, teachers of any kind. Questioning without judgment. It takes fearlessly digging deep and stripping down until you are left naked to face of the world, standing there as long as you need to until you realize there is nothing to be ashamed of, we are all naked underneath it all. It takes getting lost because all of the sudden the map you were given no longer serves the path you’re on, so now you have to find your own path. It sometimes takes walking alone as you watch everyone else going in the different direction. It takes taking responsibility of every little choice you make in every day life. No manuals, no scripts, no shortcuts. Wow. No wonder we are still here, closing our eyes to suffering, finding excuses in 'norms' and rules of someone else, following blindly regardless of the potential of the human heart and mind.
“Doubt everything. Find your own light.” It isn’t easy, but it is necessary for all of us to embrace our own truth and find our own way using our hearts and not our minds, holding a flower and not a sword.
Photo credit: Bojan Haron Markicevic
I am sitting on a balcony in front of my room, and even though it’s midday on a hot day, it’s windy and pleasant. The view from here is amazing; the ocean, blue sky, palm trees, Ben Howard playing on my laptop buffered by the sound of ocean. Swell is picking up today and the sound of waves braking on shore is pretty loud. Noise to some, but music to me.
As the last days of my Sri Lanka trip are coming to an end, different feelings arise from moment to moment and there is no time like the present to observe what comes up. Right at this moment it’s a mix of feelings really, but I guess it is normal for ends to feel bittersweet. However, bitterness is eased by an understanding that ends are also beginnings.
Thanks to a few friends with summer houses with gardens and lemon trees, I wasn't in short supply of organic, juicy lemons this winter. And as I had more time than usual around Xmas and New Year, I had spend much time at home doing what I love. And one of those things is creating yummie vegan deserts. So, organic lemons + time on my hands = this yummie raw vegan lemon cheesecake recipe.
Usually I do asana practice in my yoga shala, but the cold is starting to really get to me, so lately I prefer to practice in my small, warm, cosy living room.
Most asana related injuries I ever had were from practicing or demonstrating asana on the class while not warm enough. It’s usually a pulled hamstring or my SI starts to act up when I go to deep without building enough heat in the body.
Feeling more emotional than usual last few days? Today’s full moon in Cancer might be the reason. Moon, Cancer’s ruling planet, represents emotions and the sacred feminine, so when full Moon meets Cancer, emotions, sensitivities and feminine qualities amplify. It’s a beautiful thing if you’re connected with your inner Self and can sit with whatever comes up and observe without judgement. But, if there’s heaviness on the heart, emotions hard to process, you might feel more unstable or emotional than usual.
Judging by the end-of-year social media comments, 2016. was challenging for many. And I am no exception. There were difficulties and obstacles, moments of self-doubt, many unanswered questions and some uncomfortable truths to face. For me, this past year was a lot about soul-searching, understanding and deciphering the hidden and unconscious layers; and this is always a bitter sweet experience.
I am in the middle of a little project I call "conscious, mindful living" I will write about soon. Amongst other things, my project involves plastic free living, or plastic free to the extent of my abilities. This means that, if I have a choice, I will choose not to buy anything packaged in plastic no matter how 'inconvenient' that may be for me at that particular moment. So, when I was shopping for a lip balm and a new deodorant I realised both had plastic packaging and decided to look for the alternative.
Only for a moment before reversing direction, the sun will stand still today. Solstice literally means sun (lat.sol) standing still (lat.sistere), inviting us to do the same; to stand still for a moment, to repose, reflect, reset. Because, only in these moments of stillness and calm we can see our true selves.
Holiday season is probably the worst time (except maybe when travelling) to be vegan. Unless your whole family is vegan or really well informed and open minded, but that, unfortunately is not the case with most families, there will be questions asked and eyebrows raised. Vegetarian is odd enough, but when you say no to everything containing animal produce, that tends to turn you into an full on eccentric.
When I was growing up there was a lesson which repeated itself so many times it became a foundation on which I built my adult life. BE STRONG. When you fall get up as quickly as you can, wipe away your tears and move on. Be ready - because life isn't easy.
The first in yoga’s ten ethical and moral guidelines, yamas and niyamas, is Ahimsa, or non-harming. There are different ways of interpreting this yogic concept; to me this means that we shouldn’t, not just as yogis and spiritual seekers, but as human beings, participate in any action which causes harm; to ourselves, other people, all sentient beings and our mother, planet Earth.
As a yoga teacher I ‘preach’ a lot and trough sharing my thoughts I try to inspire people daily. Not to think like me, but to think - to think for themselves, to think out of the box. I share my thoughts in classes, blogs and on social media, and those of you who know me personally or follow my blogs and social media posts, know that I am more passionate about some topics than others. These include freedom (from fear and control), love (as the cure for all the ills), and compassion for all sentient beings.
People have always looked towards the sky, and celebrated nature’s cycles, this dance of Sun and Moon, understanding that changes in the universe and the nature affect humans as well; we are a part of the whole. Macrocosm and microcosm, an idea that a man is nothing more (or less) than a smaller representation of the universe comes from many traditions, the Eastern thought (Upanishads, Buddhism) as well as the Greek philosophers.
It has been a while since I’ve had time to sit down and write; there is always something going on. Seems that these days, time is a precious commodity for most of us. But between the ‘going on’ I try to have moments of presence through the simple practice of mindfulness which doesn’t really require anything but your awareness. Not even time. But, what is mindfulness?
I remember those times when not everything was on the internet; for more knowledge and inspiration people read books, or were waiting patiently for that first Monday when their favourite monthly magazine filled the newsstands. In those times I really enjoyed flicking through the pages of a crisp new Yoga Journal looking for Julie Gudmestad’s always insightful anatomy article followed by Sally Kempton’s inspiring words of wisdom. I would spend the next few days reading the articles which were, as I recall, both informative and inspiring.
Today and this weekend we are celebrating Earth day (April 22-24). Of course, we should be celebrating the wonder and beauty of our home every day, but this weekend we are reminded to do so even more. We should all make a point of spending a day or a full weekend somewhere in nature, reconnecting to our Mother Earth, teaching our children the importance of being in the nature, of loving and preserving our home.
I’m sitting in a great organic veg café in Kuala Lumpur airport on a long layover. After an amazing trip to Burma and surfing in Sri Lanka, my friend Ana and I are on our way home with a heavy heart. Traveling always inspires me, softens me, gives a taste of freedom, presents new friendships, and opens new perspectives. It isn’t easy to say goodbye to all of that. I spent the last hour sorting out over thousand photos I took (you can find them here) and now I’m trying to recap the past ten days in writing, while the impressions are still fresh in my mind.