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PASTA IN A CREAMY CHICKPEA SAUCE

Summer is slowly turning into autumn. Days are clearly getting shorter, the summer heat is turning into autumn crispiness, and the body is starting to crave heavier and warmer foods. When the outside temperatures drop I feel like changing most of the raw foods into cooked ones and adding lots of legumes into my diet.

One of our family’s all-time favorite autumn & winter dish is “pasta e ceci”, pasta and chickpeas. It’s perfect comfort food in a healthy, fast-food style. This recipe is by my southern Italian mother-in-law who used to cook this often during my daughter’s ‘picky eater’ years. This dish was one of the few things she loved and this is still one of our go-to recipes when we need to cook something easy, fast, yet healthy that pleases the taste buds of the whole family.

INGREDIENTS

for 4 servings

Cooked chickpeas 250g

Garlic clove 1

Parsley handful

Small pasta 300g

Water 800ml

Olive oil 2 tbsp

Salt 1tsp

Parmesan cheese

Black pepper

HOW TO PREPARE:

  • Soak the chickpeas overnight and boil them according to the instructions on the package OR use ready made ones.
  • Pour olive oil in the pan, peel the garlic, and fry it for a few minutes. Watch out that the it doesn’t burn.
  • Add the chickpeas into the pan and fry them for a few minutes
  • Add the water and parsley into the pan and bring it to a boil.
  • Mix with a dimmer until the sauce is smooth. 
  • Add the pasta and cook until ready . This may take a little longer than what’s written on the pasta package.
  • Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese OR a pinch of black pepper on top.

Personally, I like this pasta without parmesan cheese. Instead, I put a pinch of black pepper in my own portion and mix it well. Kids on the other hand prefer this pasta with parmesan cheese but it’s not necessary.

Make it gluten free by using gluten free pasta.

Make it vegan by leaving the parmesan cheese out.

BUON APPETITO!

THE MAGIC OF PURNA YOGA ASANA PRACTICE

A few weeks ago I was working on Pincha Mayurasana during my personal practice and today, it was taken into a whole new level in my teacher’s, Aadil Palkhivala, advanced asana class. We did some very powerful shoulder and chest strengthening actions in Pincha Mayurasana and I was, once again, blown away by how many aspects one asana can have. When I thought of knowing this pose already inside out, my teacher brought a whole new meaning to it. 


These classes I get to take with my teacher prove, class after class, how important it is to study and practice with an experienced teacher. My own, personal practice is of course the most important thing but I would never grow this much as a student and a teacher of yoga if I didn’t regularly practice with someone who has that sacred & profound knowledge and understanding of yoga in all of its aspects.

 
This whole online yoga thing has been such a blessing to me. All my Purna Yoga teacher colleagues live in a different country which is why I haven’t had regular access to my teachers. I was really feeling the negative effects of that in my practice and teaching but now I feel so incredibly inspired! And that is an amazing feeling!


Learning new things on a daily basis and diving deeper into asana, meditation, and pranayama is truly magical. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned and how much there’s still to learn. 


What I really love and appreciate in the asana part of Purna Yoga is that it’s all about bringing your mind, your intelligence into the body through subtle movements. It’s never about performing a perfect pose or doing a sweaty workout. There is sweat, of course, and that’s all great, but it’s far from the main purpose. The asana is done with great respect towards the body and the gentle soul that lives in it. Doing the asana practice by being fully present and feeling every single action is a way of showing gratitude to all the amazing things that the body is able to do. Without our bodies, we would not be here on this planet and without taking good care of it it’s not able to serve us. To me, moving my body is an expression of joy and a way of feeling fully alive!


Everything that is done in a Purna Yoga class has a reason and there’s a reason why some things are left out of the practice. 
Safety, integrity, growth, inner & outer power are some of the keywords of the asana practice of Purna Yoga.


When the asana is done by being fully present, by finding the dualities and nuances in each pose you create new neuro-pathways. The grey matter in your brain is actually increasing in size and weight and that means sharper, more focused, and younger You. Now, who wouldn’t want to feel and be young!


This is so amazing that it gives me goosebumps!  In a Purna Yoga class, the mind and the body are connected in such a deep way that you can truly feel that amazing connection between your intelligence and the body.

It’s like the actor and martial arts instructor master Bruce Lee so perfectly said: 

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.

Yoga is not about learning thousands of different postures but the beauty lies in practicing one posture so many times and so profoundly that the pose itself becomes you! Through this kind of practice, you get to own your body and not the other way round. 

Supta Padangusthasana. An asana that we practice almost in every class. It safely and effectively opens the hamstrings and frees the lower back from tension. A pose that each one of us should be practicing daily to help keep our hips and lower back happy and healthy.


Understanding the cause and effect relationship in asana makes the practice so much more powerful, safe, and interesting. Every action you do in an asana has an effect on your whole being and if that action is correct you evolve and if it is incorrect you devolve and might even end up injuring yourself.


I’m so grateful for being able to share all that with my students and beyond excited to pass these insights to all of you who come to my classes. 


If you never been to a Purna Yoga class but are curious to know what is this magical mind-body connection I’m talking about then check out my studio yoga class schedule and online yoga class schedule and come for a trial class. It might just be that what you’ve been looking for all along. To better understand if what I offer can be beneficial to you, check the testimonials to see what some of my students say about me and the classes I teach.

Namaste!

THE JOURNEY TO MY DHARMA

We all want to become something but before we can successfully become anything we need to become ourselves.

Nothing has changed my life so profoundly as studying to become a yoga teacher. Back in 2017 I immersed in a deep journey of finding my Dharma. One of the tasks given to us at the Purna Yoga 200-hour teacher training was to read a book called ‘The Fire of Love” by one of the greatest yoga teacher’s of the world, Aadil Palkhivala.

Before I read it, I never expected that I would be so profoundly impacted by it. Writing a report on the whats and the hows of it sounds very appropriate now.

As you might have guessed, the book has affected me deeply, and I think it truly magnificent. You can usually say that when, at times, a book feels like it was written for you personally. I have identified myself in many chapters, and the thing as a whole felt as wearing a broken-in pair of pants. Just right.

“The Fire of Love” gave me the tools to apply small yet significant changes to my life, towards to goal of making it more balanced, joyful, and purposeful.

Thanks to its exposition of the core elements of dharma, wisdom, truth, integrity, feeling, respect, balance, bliss, peace, and love, “Fire and Love” allowed me to cement my desire to find and express my true self, and live my dharma. This is something I had wanted to do for a very long time, but I was lacking the confidence and strenght.

The most impacting feature, for me, has been a simple realisation: being more self-conscious and present will lead to a better quality of life. In the past, I have wasted opportunities by living my life as “I am supposed to”. That was the result of poor self-confidence and a lack of trust in my inner voice. I have been so wrapped up into living my life as it was expected of me, that I did not spend any time focusing on what I really wanted. I was not self-conscious, and not present.

The book “Fire and Love” solidified my wish to embark into the journey of meeting my dharma. I have known what my dharma is for a long time, since the age of sixteen or so, despite my ignorance of the word itself. I have always been interested in sports and welfare, but being too immature and inexperienced, I chose what turned out to be the
wrong path. Luckily, even mistakes are a coin with two sides, and one can turn them to one’s own advantage, to learn from them and make better choices in the future.

I focused on business studies, as I thought that would me give better chances to a successful and rewarding career. I completed the studies, graduated, and worked in business administration and related fields for many years.

Unfortunately, that quickly spiraled down into unhappiness, as I felt out of place, something amiss. Never truly enjoying what I was doing, I often felt exhausted, angry, and frustrated.

I lost respect for myself, and found myself in a maze, unable to get out. Sleep was a commodity that was hard to come by, at night, as I feared that I had let my formative years go by and it was now too late to start over. That made me claustrophobic, it smothered me, and I was in sever distraught.

Deep inside me I knew I needed to act on these feelings, but desperation seldom leads to good decisions. Like in a classic textbook example of the sunk cost fallacy, I went as far as signing up for a bookkeeping course, thinking it would made me more employable after my maternity leave. I thought it was the mature, reasonable, adult thing to do.
That was a very impulsive decision, and I realized quickly I had made a mistake.

Before my second maternity leave, the company I was working for faced bankruptcy. That released a spring that had been too long forced coiled, and with time to reflect I came to the conclusion that it was time to follow my intuition and take a risk for once.

Taking the Yoga Teacher Training course was the first step in new chosen path towards finding my dharma. For many years, as a student of yoga, I thought that this was something I really wanted to pursue, but as I finally did it, reading “The Fire of Love” mashed the seed of doubt in my mind down to fine powder.

Thanks to “The Fire of Love”, I have found the courage to get out of my comfort zone, take risks, and jump into the unknown.

Get yourself the book ‘The Fire of Love” from Amazon.

Want to become a yoga teacher or to just simply deepen your knowledge in yoga and plunge into an exiting journey of becoming YOU? The next 200-hour Purna Yoga teacher training starting in October in Purna Yoga Helsinki

If you would like to bring more yoga into your life then check out my new schedule! Yoga classes starting on the 17th of August.

MATCHA TEA LOVE

I fell in love with the antioxidant-rich matcha tea about half a year ago and it has been part of my morning routine ever since. Nowadays I add green powder or moringa tea leave powder in it to make it even tastier and nutrient-rich. The latest addition to this drink is cardamom essential oil and I would say now it’s just perfect! 

This drink right here is so much better than the daily cup (or cups) of coffee. I basically quit drinking coffee over three years ago. I used to be very addicted to that one cup of coffee in the morning and if I didn’t get that daily does of caffeine I was not a person you want to be around with. Having two small kids at home, drinking that one cup in total peace became more of a stress than a relaxing me-time moment.

After diving more profoundly in the yoga and Ayurveda world I realized that coffee isn’t actually the healthiest thing you can pour into your body so I decided to accept a 21 day no coffee challenge. It was a good decision and I am so grateful I’m out of that caffeine hook.

Practicing yoga has made me really sensitive to the messages my body sends me and I can now easily feel when some food or drink just wasn’t good for me. I realized that coffee is too strong for my body, and especially my nervous system, to handle. I get easily hyperactive and nervous after one cappucino and if I drink it after midday it will ruin my sleep. This is why I changed the daily dose of coffee into a cup of green tea and was able to avoid palpitations, nervousness, or any other caffeine side effects. Green tea of course also has caffeine but very little and it seems to be absorbed slower which actually makes you more awake for longer. Plus, green tea has so many other health benefits which makes it a fairly healthy addition to your diet. 

Nowadays, matcha latte has become a stable part of my mornings without being addicted to it. If I don’t get my matcha in the morning that’s ok, the world is not gonna come crashing down because of that. And since the kids have grown up a little bit, I can usually enjoy that big cup of matcha in total peace. 

Here is my current favourite matcha latte recipe:

INGREDIENTS FOR 1 SERVING

Oat milk 3 dl

Matcha tea powder 1 tsp

Moringa leave powder 1 tsp

Cardamom essential oil 1 drop (make sure you use 100% pure, food-grade essential oil. I only use Young Living essential oils which are 100% pure, therapeutic grade oils. They have a special +line of essential oils that are actually labeled as food supplements.)

HOW TO PREPARE:

  • Heat the oat milk in a pan util it’s almost boiling.
  • Add the matcha and moringa powders and mix vigorously with a bamboo whisk until the powders are well mixed with the oat milk. You can also pour the hot oat milk, matcha and moringa powders in a blender and blitz until smooth.
  • Put one drop of cardamom essential oil in a cup and pour the oatmilk, matcha, and moringa mix on top.
  • Mix with a spoon and enjoy!

MAKING YOGA PART OF YOUR DAILY LIFE WITH ARDHA UTTANASANA

The best and most useful asanas for your overall wellbeing are the ones you can easily integrate into your daily life, and into every stage of your life. That’s how you can truly make the physical practice of yoga a part of your day-to-day life and reap the fruits of a daily practice.

Here’s one of those kinds of asanas and my all time favourite:
A R D H A  U T T A N A S A N A

About four years ago I was practicing Ardha Uttanasana / The forward fold at the airport in Münich while waiting our flight to Venice.

One of the greatest benefits of this asana is beautifully explained in my Purna Yoga teacher training manual:”

After doing Ardha Uttanasana you will feel relief from the stresses of day-to-day life that build up in the heart and lungs.” 

I can so feel that every time I practice this in the middle of a busy day. It gives me this AAAAAHHHHHH feeling when after doing the dishes, cooking, lifting and carrying kids or heavy groceries, I place my body in this position and stretch out all the tensions I feel in the body. It’s not only a physical relief but a mental one as well. This is a great position to exhale the business out of your system. Afterwards, you really feel realigned both physically and mentally.


With few small modifications Ardha Uttanasana is accessible to pregnant women and women who have recently given birth as well. This is a pose that every woman should include in her daily self-care repertoire because when done regularly it can prevent menstrual cramps.  And to all the mother’s of small babies out there: this is THE pose to practice between feeding and taking care of your baby because it opens all those parts of the body that easily get tight from all the lifting, carrying, and hustling.

You don’t need any specific props; just a little bit of empty wall space, bench, table, or a big branch at the right hight where to place your hands on.

Going for walks in the nature with my kids is one of my favourite things to do. We often got ho this place in the nearby forest where there are many good places to do stretching and other body workouts. This spot right here is perfect for Ardha Uttanasana.

After doing most of my asana practice either lying down or sitting for three weeks due to my ankle injury, this was the first standing pose that was accessible to me. My ankle doesn’t yet allow putting all my body weight on it or moving it laterally. In ardha Uttanasana the weight of my body is equally supported by both of my legs. In this pose I can ground through the both of my feet, strengthen the quadriceps, and safely stretch the back of my legs.


I still limp when walking which creates a lot of tension in the hips and lower back and negatively affects on my posture. In Ardha Uttanasana I can free the lower back through the traction and stretching of the hamstrings.

Almost not a day go by without me practicing this asana. I do it pretty much every time after spending a lot of time in the kitchen, when traveling, during walks in the nature, at the end of a run or a whenever I feel like my body and mind are in the need of a good stretch & release.

Here are the main actions of the pose:

Ardha Uttanasana is the best thing one can do after spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Cooking and doing the dishes can easily make your upper back, neck, and shoulders achy and create tension in the chest. Ardha Uttanasana brings freedom to all those parts making it an essential part of my daily life.

If your hands are against a wall, then push the hands forward like you would try to make the wall fall down and at the same time move the sitting bones away from the hands.

If you are pregnant, make sure your legs are wide enough so that here is no pressure on the belly. In the postnatal period keep the feet hip width apart.

Ardha uttanasana opens the hamstrings, stretches the sides of your waist and rib cage, opens the armpits, chest, and shoulders, and reduces heart rate. It can prevent stomach pain and cramps during menstruation. I would say that’s a pretty impressive list of benefits for such a simple and accessible yoga asana. Go ahead and try this out. I can guarantee you will love it!

This picture is part of the many beautiful pictures Susanna Iovene
took of me in Sardinia last summer. Exactly seven years ago today she started to take her firsts shots and now she is well known and extremely talented, fully self learned photographer in Italy. I am so proud of my sister-in-law! She is a true living example of what you can accomplish when following your dreams and doing what you love.