Monthly Archives: March 2013

Following my heart, healing my voice…

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So, Portsmouth Yoga studio is now open & classes are running, some quiet, some busy & bustling, all I hope leaving my students with a warm glow, a stretched-out-lighter-than-air-two-feet-taller feeling, or simply with their shoulders released away from their ears…

It was a hectic first week, full of trepidation, full of hope…and it went brilliantly…as did my voice…which also went…

Two days in, and I had a sore throat, by Friday evening I had full blown tonsilitis – viral apparently, so no antibiotics to heal it, but Wendy of Budd’s Herbal Apothecary on Albert Road mixed up her magic & gave me a soothing, healing gargle with Myrhh, Echinacea & a few other miraculous herbs.  It helped, it soothed, but I confess I still reverted to some ibuprofen to help with the inflammation…ever a modern girl, the old ways are the best but I find it hard to leave behind my cultural conditioning that “conventional” medicine is necessary…and ironically, the NSAIDs made no difference to my pain levels!   Coupled with the gorgeous gargle from Wendy, I used an Echinacea & Sage throat spray, which was by turns hellishly painful on application & then blissfully soothing for a couple of hours…

So, with some rest, and being taken care of by my amazing husband, and with some cherished snuggles from my sons, I healed…

Now, to take care of my throat & heal my voice so that this doesn’t happen all over again…

Bhramari Pranayama has been my breath of choice this last few weeks, and it seems to be no coincidence, since it is famed among those yogis in the know for its power to heal throat ailments (see Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha), it also soothes the nerves, calming the heart & quieting the mind…

Bhramari uses a soft humming exhalation that produces soothing sound vibrations…they have many benefits, not least tapping into the autonomous nervous system to release anxiety & anxious depression…not least, the droning hum fades out all that incessant emotional chatter that can plague the anxious mind…(Bhramari acts on the parasympathetic branch of our ANS – this is the calming branch, involved in the calm & connection so vital to our health & explored in Kristen Uvnas Moberg’s incredible book “The Oxytocin Factor“) 

Bhramari Pranayama or the Humming Bee Breath is also a boon for those of us whose minds are just too “busy” for silent meditation…I am one of those, but Nada, working with sound I can tap into, I get it…you can find out more about Nada here

And so over the last week, I have also taken to making my own ginger & turmeric syrup for it’s invigorating & anti-inflammatory properties…I had this in the back of my mind, but wanted to back up my instinct with some research…so here is a link on Ayurveda & Yoga for the throat…and here is a ginger & turmeric tea link if you fancy getting creative in the kitchen…

Homemade Ginger & Turmeric Syrup by Portsmouth Yoga

A little home based herbal alchemy…                    ginger & turmeric syrup

If you want to make my syrup…

Give yourself an hour, & you’ll need:

Ginger root

Turmeric root 

(you may think these are hard to come by fresh, but I get mine in Morrisons!!!)

Brown sugar

Water

Quantities depend on how much you want to make, so start small, you can always make more another day!  

Peel your ginger & turmeric (you might like to wear gloves, the turmeric will turn your fingers yellow) & chop or grate – if you chop it into chunks or slices, you can save them & make candied/crystallised ginger with your left overs.

Place the ginger & turmeric in a saucepan with plenty of brown sugar & enough water to cover them all, you might want to add more water, depends how thick you want your syrup.  

Heat until the sugar is melted, ok if you bring to the boil, & then turn down to simmer until the water reduces & you have a syrup…wait for it to cool, strain it, and then keep it in an airtight container, I’m storing mine in the fridge & expect it to last a good couple of weeks.

It is great straight off the spoon for a sweet soothing balm on the throat, and delicious as a hot drink, just add a tablespoon to hot water, stir & drink for a warming, soul soothing, healthful cuppa…yum!

Ginger & turmeric feature heavily in my home this week, and went along to make a very tasty soup with garam masala in my sweet potato & lentil soup – I don’t do quantities, but if you want to try it:

Sweat red onion & garlic in a saucepan until soft, add a hefty spoonful of garam masala, some fresh chopped ginger & turmeric, peeled chopped sweet potatoes & bring to the boil.  Rinse some red lentils in cool water, then add to the soup mix, boil for a minute or two then leave to simmer until the veg is soft & the lentils cooked.  Blend it for a smooth soup – you could add coconut cream, cream or sour cream for a more luxurious taste & season with black pepper, chilli flakes & fresh coriander…

Happy cooking, may your heart be in your cooking & your love be in your food, heal yourself, nurture your family & friends…

OMx