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February 2012 - Page 2 of 3 - Shivaya Naturals — Page 2

February 2012

Mindfulness in Children

February 22, 2012

Mindfulness and children is a subject that has been on my mind quite a bit lately.

A few weeks back I was teaching a yoga and storytelling class to a group of 6-10 year old kiddos. As I was leaving the studio, one of the moms approached me and asked if I knew anything about mindfulness in childhood. She was genuinely concerned about her daughter’s   ability to be mindful of what was going on around her, and it was a trait she wanted to cultivate deeply in her child. We talked for a long time, we talked about journaling with her daughter, about having her be involved in community service projects that would broaden her idea of helping others, and we talked about the importance of quiet time for children to reflect on their days, and the ability for them to share space in their own minds.

When I went home that night I felt pretty good about what had been said. Mindfulness is tricky I rationalized, and I would think that it would be even more so for an 8 year old. For my own children, they had been exposed to my yoga and meditation practice for the past 8 years, so I knew that they knew how to be mindful, even if they didn’t always choose to do so.

When we got home I began preparing dinner, the conversation still fresh in my mind. I began watching my oldest son as he moved through his play, his reading, his time helping me in my kitchen.

I watched my babe, crawling around on the floor so focused on every crumb, every new treasure (onion skins, a produce sticker, etc) that he found. So intent on putting one foot in front of the other, or reaching for a new object.

I watched as Elwood magically created his own little world of magicians and wizards, capes and wands. And it hit me.

It hit me so hard that I wanted to just stop what I was doing and write for as long as I could. I wanted to document this moment and this inspiration before it faded away, but they are  8 and 6 year old boys so hunger was the priority.

I realized through watching them that mindfulness in children is not something that we can or perhaps even should teach, in the normal sense of the word at least. When I was watching my boys I realized that they are in fact, by their very nature, purely mindful. They are always in the present moment, they are always authentic in their speech, they are always mindful of their surroundings. They are not caught up in the future, they are not caught up in the past, they are here. Right here, all the time.

That is what makes childhood so incredibly unique, and what as adults, we strive to go back and remember.

There are so many examples of in-authenticity in our world. We live with it, hear it, and feel it every day. Reminding children through our own example of the values that we hold dear is important, and cultivating the space for them to learn how to keep the mindfulness of childhood alive is imperative, for one day they will begin to see that mindfulness fade as life gets in the way.

We are always told that children hold the key to life’s happiness, and it is moments like these that lesson hits home hard. We could attempt to try and teach our children how to be mindful, but I am betting that our time would be better served letting them teach us.


Last Minute Valentines

February 14, 2012

Any holiday that is all about chocolate seems like a good idea to me. My husband and I are chocolate lovers, and every Valentine’s Day I try and find one new home made goodie to surprise him with.

This year I have to admit that the holiday snuck up on me, and Sunday night found me in my kitchen with a bag of bittersweet chocolate, some cream, and the strawberries I was saving for the boy’s breakfast the next morning. The result was a chocolate strawberry truffle that  is so decadent I almost couldn’t share.

I am not a truffle person under most circumstances, but when you want a strong chocolate punch they really do the trick. Most recipes call for around 8 oz of chocolate and 1/2 cup cream. I chose to up both a bit to see if I could get an equally intense but creamier consistency. I really wanted the strawberries to be incorporated into the chocolate, and I decided to test the idea of a puree directly into the ganache. The flavor is subtle, but just enough to remind me that this pairing was made for each other.

Of course it is also the outer layer of a truffle that makes it worth it’s weight, and  two that stuck out (ok, the only two that I had in my pantry, but still that stuck out) were white chocolate and sweet ground chocolate. I have to say that all three of my boys voted the white chocolate as their favorite, and I was right there with them, but the ground chocolate was a close second. All in all the truffles took 10 minutes to prepare, 2 hours to firm up, and 20 minutes to roll. Not bad for a last minute Valentine’s treat.

Bittersweet Chocolate and Strawberry Truffles

12 large truffles 

10 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
5-6 strawberries, chopped and pureed

Outer layer
White chocolate, chopped
Chocolate Cocoa

Place the bittersweet chocolate into a glass/heat proof bowl. Heat the cream almost to just a simmer. Remove from heat and slowly pour over the chocolate, whisking as you go. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Add the pureed strawberry and fold until just combined. Pour into an 8×8 glass pan, cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

With a melon baller or table spoon, scrape chocolate into desired size. Roll with hands just until smooth and roll in desired topping. Refrigerate for another 20 minutes or store in an airtight container between sheets of waxed paper.

While eating chocolate is always my favorite way to enjoy it, bathing with it is a very close second. I love cocoa butter. Love it. I use it whenever and wherever possible, and besides smelling good it is a savior for my dry Colorado skin this time of year. My family’s preference has always been our chocolate lavender oil, but this year my skin was in serious need of some exfoliation.

Salt scrubs are a great way to soften and refresh dry skin, and while I normally keep a jar on the side on the bath, this batch was my first adding in cocoa butter to our recipe. Though I love the benefits of cocoa butter, I often wonder about it’s propensity to harden up. I tested this recipe a few weeks back, and I am excited that so far I have seen nothing but a smooth and clear consistency. Avocado and olive oil top the recipe off for a scrub that hydrates skin for hours.

My favorite way to enjoy a salt scrub is in the bath, where I can let the oils soak in and take their full effect. A chocolate salt scrub, a strawberry chocolate truffle, and a glass of champagne is a simple way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, or any day for that matter.

Chocolate Salt Scrub

1.5- 2 cups dead sea or epsom salts
7 oz avocado oil
3 oz olive oil
2 oz cocoa butter
2 oz coconut oil
15 drops of lavender essential oil (optional)

In a heat proof glass bowl set over simmering water (the double boiler method), combine the oils and allow to melt.  Remove from heat and add the lavender essential oil. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Pour over salt, mix, and store.

*I make this recipe in a small enough batch to use within 1 month.