Hello, hello everyone! I feel like I haven’t been around here for a while, even though I just posted last Tuesday. But this past week I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about life and general, and not being my usual “nose to the grindstone” self. And yes, while I’m still on leave from work work, I have to be doing something at breakneck speed or else I don’t know what to do with myself. But lately I’ve been starting to be okay with the slower days, allowing myself to lounge a bit, not always being hyper-focused on my next project or idea. I’ve allowed myself to try new things and to just have FUN with some hobbies from my childhood.
For example, tonight I made candles. Candles!! I’m extremely sensitive to sounds and smells, so I spend a small fortune on candles and other scents to make my apartment smell nice. But then I started thinking about how much I used to enjoy making stuff when I was a little one – I was always making crafts and terrorizing my poor mother with messes around the house. Unfortunately, I really stopped being as crafty as I got older. But that was to my detriment, because making and creating things is how I express myself. Not just with food, but with any sort of creatable thing. For example, all of the artworks in my apartment are paintings I made myself. There’s a portrait of Ivy (don’t judge!), a few canvases of my favorite constellations, and a handful of abstract floral designs. And now, I’m dabbling in candles. Who would have thought?!
But I feel a very noticeable change in my mood and overall health since I’ve started (or restarted) my creative projects. I guess that as I grew up, I dismissed my craftiness as a childish trait that was best left behind. I also didn’t want to spend my hard-earned money on craft supplies, seeing it as an unnecessary extravagance. If only it were possible to go back in time and hit myself on the head ! I’m coming to realize now that while it is important to save money and be frugal when you can, it is equally important to allow yourself creative outlets, if that’s what you need.
So that’s where I am in my life right now – I’m relearning the art of having fun, creating things.
Now on to this smoothie. I’ve decided to start a new weekly segment on my blog, called “Sunday Sutra”. This will be an opportunity for me to impart some of the yogic teachings I’ve learned as a part of my yoga teacher training. Today I decided to start with the chakras.
As a member of the yoga community, it’s almost impossible to avoid hearing about the chakras. But as to what they are, it’s rather hard to describe. Essentially, the chakras are energy centers within the body, located from the base of the spine, extending beyond the crown of the head. They are seen in Hindu and Buddhist traditions, and taught as part of the yogic conceptualization of the mind-body.
Unfortunately, many of the ancient Eastern medicines (such as the chakras or the Ayurveda) are denounced by Westerners as being too “New Age-y” (whatever that means). But consider – why does a psychological identification system such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs earn more scientific clout than the ancient order of chakras? Both “theories” are just that – theories. Neither can be empirically proven by the quantitative sciences (as of yet). But historically, Western medicine practitioners systematically devote more time and energy to Western-derived theories. Go figure.
However, the chakras should be looked at more as a manner of viewing something, rather than some sort of metaphysical entity. Like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the chakras define “levels” that, when out of balance or unfulfilled, can cause psychological or physical discord. The chakras define needs on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level. Described as “energy centers”, each chakra coordinates with a specific area in the body wherein those needs are housed. In connection with yoga, each energy center can be liberated (or opened) by various asanas.
Essentially, the chakras are a different way we can look at our bodies – by addressing any problems or imbalances by going to its physical origin. However, the similarities between the chakras and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs are too uncanny not to share –
1 // Physiological Needs and Safety Needs / Root Chakra (Muladhara) and Sacral Chakra (Svadisthana) – basic requirements for survival, the base upon which the “self” is built.
2 // Love and Belonging / Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura) and Heart Chakra (Anahata) – perception of “self” through the reflections of others; relationships and human need for social contact.
3 // Self-Esteem / Throat Chakra (Visshuda) – manifestation of “self” through communication and self-expression.
4 // Self-Actualization / Third Eye Chakra (Ajna) – intuition and full realization of self-potential.
5 // Self-Transcendence / Crown Chakra (Sahasrara) – connection with the divine; spirituality, conceptualization of a Greater Being than “self”. Maslow added this last “need” after critiquing his own model.
Uncanny, right? Ultimately, I look at the chakras / Ayurveda this way – It’s stuff that people figured out way before us (Westerners), and we’re only beginning to catch up with these ideas now.
So in this spirit of open-mindedness and self-meditation, I created this beautiful red smoothie to help myself align with my root chakra. Its main flavor component is red beets, which grow rooted in the earth and thus very grounding.
For a corresponding asana, or yoga pose, try Sukhasana. Sit cross-legged, comfortably, on your mat, hands resting on knees with palms facing outward. Open your heart by lifting your chest slightly, bringing shoulders down and back. Allow the natural curve of your back to hold up your upper body. Concentrate on the feeling of groundedness on your sitz bones, feeling the sensation of body meeting earth. Think about what grounds you in life – friends, family, your faith. Feel your body resting into the ground as the earth rises up to meet you, supporting you. Namaste.
Sunday Sutra: Root Chakra Smoothie
- 1 Beet peeled and chopped
- 3/4 Cup Fresh Raspberries
- 1 Cup Frozen Strawberries
- Juice of 2 Blood Oranges
- Splash of water
- Combine all ingredients in a blender; mix until smooth.
Rebecca @ Strength and SunshineNovember 23, 2015 at 10:10 am
Yes for blood oranges!!! One of my favorite winter fruits!
Making candles sounds so fun and relaxing!
I finally took out some of my favorite coloring books last night and colored with crayons :)
SarahNovember 23, 2015 at 1:19 pm
That’s so awesome!! Coloring is the BEST! It’s so incredibly calming and relaxing :D
Susannah (Lemon and Coconut)November 23, 2015 at 1:05 pm
Hey Sarah! What a wonderful post, so interesting. I will read Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, thanks for the pointer. So true what you said about the sciences being theories – people take logic in such a linear way, but there are so many strands of logic, and science is, or should be, accepting that we don’t know everything, having an open mind to explore possibilities. I mean quantum physics people! And the connection between mind, emotion and the physical body is undeniable. There is so much to learn and I think you’re right, people in the past, and other cultures, had it sussed so often.
Your and Ivy’s story was so touching, what a beautiful example of intuition and fate.
I’m so pleased you are taking time to relax, it is so important, especially if you are a high-achieving and driven perfectionist, which I suspect you are. Enjoy those candles, and thanks for the lovely, seasonal recipe, a good smoothie is just what I’m craving ) XX
Susannah (Lemon and Coconut)November 23, 2015 at 1:06 pm
… adding to you and Ivy – and an example of human kindness xx
Amy (Lemon and Coconut)November 23, 2015 at 1:09 pm
,,, crap, should say Amy too not Susannah… oh well!
SarahNovember 23, 2015 at 1:20 pm
Haha no worries lady! :D
SarahNovember 23, 2015 at 1:22 pm
Thank you Amy!! There is so much we don’t know about our world, but we just accept Western thinking / medicine as canon. :/
SonjaNovember 25, 2015 at 11:34 am
These photos are STUNNING! Sounds delicious too.
SarahNovember 29, 2015 at 4:44 pm
Thank you Sonja!! :D
Rakhee@boxofspiceNovember 27, 2015 at 9:13 am
What a lovely post and so much to think about. I am Indian and we live with these concepts. However as much as Westerners thinking it new agey, Indian kids are denouncing these ancient ways to be not-cool! So sad when we have a wealth of information in our ancient books on how to understand our own bodies. Yoga or our religion (hinduism) is a way of life, which never tells us who to pray to, when to pray or have any rules really. Yoga too is not just poses, but how we treat our bodies and how we breathe or even meditate while doing mundane tasks. Sorry! I went on a rant! haha but I love having these sort of conversations!
I love this smoothie. I love how deeply red it is. Brilliant Sarah…
SarahNovember 29, 2015 at 10:07 pm
Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Rakhee!! I love learning about the historical and sociopolitical contexts from which these philosophies were founded. Here in the West, we’re (on average) very monotheistic (i.e. Christianity, Judaism, Islam). I think there is so much we could learn from the yogic philosophies and Hinduism, and it’s a shame that it’s kind of relegated to the “New Age” field by many. But one of my favorite parts of Yoga Teacher Training is learning how to take the peace we find through asana and pranayama off the mat with us. You’re absolutely right, it’s not just poses – it’s a way of life. The concept I feel myself aligning with the most closely is that of Ahimsa – nonviolence. When someone says nonviolence, people usually think “anti-war”, but the concept of violence can relate to any aspect of our lives… violence against others by lying, violence against ourselves by treating our bodies poorly or criticizing ourselves, etc. I think it is such a beautiful concept and it’s one of my favorite teachings so far. And I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on the upcoming Sunday Sutra segments!! :)
Maya | Spice + SproutNovember 27, 2015 at 11:14 am
Sarah! I totally feel you with the crafty artsy things being left behind in childhood. I used to spend hours and hours beading necklaces, painting (mostly big globs of glitter glue and sparkles), and making up different crafts to do. I feel lucky that being in art school I still get to do some of that stuff, but it is never as sporadic or as much just for myself as it used to be. You are inspiring me! I am going to make a crafty project this weekend and maybe even do some yoga <3
SarahNovember 29, 2015 at 9:55 pm
Yes!!! I did the globs of glitter glue and sparkles too! That was the best. I’m so glad to hear you’re inspired, it really makes my day!! :D
Jessica | The Joyful HearthNovember 28, 2015 at 10:11 pm
A Sunday Sutra series sounds fantastic – I can’t wait to read what you post next. I love your comparison between Maslow’s hierarchy and the chakras. I’d never thought of it that way, but they do align pretty perfectly. It’s funny how when we work nose-to-the-grindstone on projects that don’t fulfill us, everything important (like the knowledge of how to nurture creativity and foster joy) just flies out the window. Why does that happen?!
Anyway, as far as the recipe: it is so beautiful (stunning photography!) and sounds so delicious, that I might just give beet smoothies another go. Last time I tried beet it was too assertive for me. Blood orange, raspberry and strawberry sounds like it would blend really well with the beet.
SarahNovember 29, 2015 at 4:43 pm
Thanks so much for your thoughtful note, Jessica! I’m glad you like the Sunday Sutra series!! :D I love comparing yogic philosophy with my traditional “Western” education and Catholic upbringing… there’s actually a lot of similarities! And hope you like the smoothie – it’s not too beet-y, I promise! ;)
flavored vodka martini recipeDecember 4, 2015 at 8:33 pm
According to the Karma Sutra, yes the bible of sex, this move rushes blood into the cervix that will enhance sexual satisfaction. If you are a beginner, this pose may seem hard, but with a little practice you will master it and bring more sexual pleasure to your life. This pose is also great for rebalancing the Sacral Chakra.
Sunday Sutra: Throat Chakra Smoothie | Well and FullJanuary 17, 2016 at 11:23 am
[…] in the late 8th century. Since then they have become a central concept in yogic teachings. In my first post of this series, I explained how chakras are energy centers within our bodies, starting from the base of the spine […]
francaSeptember 13, 2021 at 9:39 pm
great recipe but i can’t seem to pin any of your smoothie posts
SarahSeptember 20, 2021 at 8:04 pm
I’m so sorry about the Pinterest issue, Franca – I’m working on it with my developer right now! – Sarah