Deep Sleep Tonic

deep sleep tonicThis is one of my basic staples ~ great for calming Vata, or any space-y, scattered, restless, anxious, busy, can’t settle down sort of energy. It is such a basic staple that for years I’ve had it on the Basics page. But people were always asking me for the recipe and not finding it there, so I’m posting it here for all to see, share and enjoy.

Rod Stryker of Para Yoga described it to us many years ago, tossing it out casually as something Pandit Rajmani Tigunait gave him after too much work, too much travel, and too much of an overwhelming need for the land of nod.

In translation and over time the recipe may have been modified, so I can’t promise you it is exact according to Ayurvedic tradition (which likes its exactitudes). What I do know is that it is resoundingly, deliciously potent, and seems to work for everyone.

Try taking it an hour before bed for a night of sweet dreams and deep slumber.

As this extraordinary, whole food, medicinal drink came without a name, we nicknamed it Ojas Rasayana. Here’s why:

Ojas is the Ayurveda word for deep nourishment, our underlying reserves of energy. Ojas gives patience, contentment, longevity,  stamina, endurance, strength, stability. In the Autumn, when Vata dominates, Ojas is available to us through seasonal foods like root vegetables, grains, ghee, nuts and seeds, dates, raisins and sweet Autumn fruits.

Rasayana is a grand word used in many contexts, including an entire branch of Ayurveda. Generally it means rejuvenative, and more modernly, anti-aging, stress-reducing. According to Ayurvedic Dr. Vaidya Mishra, “Rasayana is the designation given to special herbs, fruits and spices, or combinations of them, that are particularly renowned for the positive influence they have on overall health, vitality and longevity.”


The ultimate nourishment, of course, is love, and a delicious tonic like this is a rich reminder that food is a nourishing love story.


If you do not know what ghee is, where to find it or how to make it, check out this post with a video demonstrating how easy it is to make.


Gentle Yoga is wonderful in the evening to prepare you for a deep sleep, or any time you want to unwind and come home to yourself. I offer you this gift of a 10 minute, simple practice that can be done any time, any where, and hope it brings you peace.



Photos and Illustrations: Getty Images

Please note:  If this tonic does not seem to work for you, it may be a sign of a deeper imbalance, which you might want to take to your health practitioner.

I invite you to celebrate Urban Food & Gourmet’s Grand Opening with Ayurvedic Herbal Treats and Freedom Pies

Amanda DeWitt @ the newly opened Urban Food & Gourmet

Have you heard of Urban Food & Gourmet?

It is a new South Park Shop & Deli for California Creatives, Modern Peace Warriors, Radiant Lighthouses like you. Dedicated to tickling your palate, feeding your fires, sweetly singing your body electric and levitating your heart, it is run by the amazingly talented Amanda DeWitt who has poured her heart into this sumptuous place.

Offering unique, healthy, often artisanal and organic, delightful food, Amanda is devoted to Gluten-free “Grab and Go” items to keep life effortless for Urban Angels with appetites.

Last May Amanda invited me to contribute to this creative venture, so I’ve spent the summer concocting nourishing delights from my own kitchen. We call the collection Dancing Plums, because, yes, sugar plum fairies come to life and dance their dreams into being in the form of sweet, herbal, I-Love-You edibles.

Maha Shakti Detox Protein Shake Powder is a whole meal in a glass

Expanding on Amanda’s Circle of foodly Compassion, Dancing Plums’ creations are, or offer alternatives that are, gluten, dairy and sugar free, but which are mostly devoted to the Ayurvedic traditions.

There is the Maha Shakti Detox Protein Powder in Chocolate or Vanilla, with Grass-fed, Organic Whey or Organic Vegan Protein and loads of good-for-you herbs, Omega’s, greens, vitamins and minerals; my Rejuve Jam, based on recipes for the All-Star Ayurvedic Health Tonic Chyavanprash and inspired by my 97 year old grandmother who taught me to make jam from the berries we’d pick in the morning; the maha-comforting, mega-healing Kichari in an easy-to-make, take-home “Kit” of Organic Split Mung Beans and Organic Brown Basmati Rice; Seasonal Masalas to give you the essential spices medical authorities now list as Super Foods; and Brahmi Bark, a chocolate “Smart Bar” for mind-enhancing restoration in one sweet bite.

Rejuve Jam trips the inner light fantastic

Tomorrow is the Grand Opening of Urban Food & Gourmet and these are the details ~

Noon to 8pm, Saturday, September 10th, Urban Food & Gourmet at 1947 Fern St, 92102. I will be there from about 1 to 3 pm, but there will be great people and extraordinary food all afternoon and evening.

When I get there I’ll have samples of my various “Dancing Plums Ayurvedic Specialties,”  including a couple of Moksha Pies (Moksha, you will remember, means Freedom and these are gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, bake-free and mind-liberatingly extraordinary pies). So it would be utterly delicious to see you there.

To give folks a taste of the Maha Shakti Detox Protein formula, I’ll be mixing it into a Date Shake, which tastes like Heaven. Or Love. Or Heaven in Love with You.

Here is the recipe ~

Date Shake
2 Servings

4 Dates
1 Banana
1 tablespoon Maha Shakti Powder
1 cup Coconut Milk (Apple Cider is also good)

Blend all the ingredients until smooth. Add more Coconut Milk or dilute with Coconut Water if you like a thinner blend. Drink slowly and savor.

It makes a great breakfast, dessert or after-school snack. Thankfully it has a huge nutritional impact because some days it’s the only thing I fancy.

With Amanda in front of the Dancing Plums shelves at Urban Food & Gourmet ~

I like this article on Amanda and her motivation for opening this store. It really is a gift to our community ~ as are you! Let us know if there are other ways we can help nourish that shiny light of yours. 


On Suzie’s Farm

A week ago, we took our Yoga Teacher Training to Suzie’s Organic Farm. Some 20 of us descended upon their 70 acres in the Tijuana River Valley where we were like bees to honey ~ Yogis abuzz in fields of bliss, busying ourselves in the bountiful, ambrosial bloom.

We began with Surya Namaskar, saluting the Sun as the prime giver of life, from a tiny knoll amidst rows of planted varieties. Breathing with the wind, aligning with nature, grounding into the earth’s aliveness, it was like Yoga inside a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem: Glory Be to God for Dappled Things ~ For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow… Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough.

Our Farm Tour Guide was Britta Turner, who has been working at Suzie’s since it began operations little more than two years ago. Britta began weeding in the troughs, back when she was still in college. Our 7th grader nodded knowingly. “Weeding helps with studies,” he whispered to me. “Reduces the stress.” Another reason for loving school gardens, I thought, with gratitude.


Britta is a bit of a celebrity in our local, urban farm movement. Beautiful, healthy, wonderful and wise, she is an organic Yogi who knows everything about local food ~ from heirloom to harvest, markets to meals. We are lucky to have her in our Yoga Training this year as she often arrives with gifts, and a gift from Britta is a waxy, sturdy box of dirty roots and gangly shoots. Yum.  To know her is to love her, for she is a true child of nature.

Romanescu Cauliflower

Our favorite visit was to the rows of Romanescu Cauliflower, otherwise known as Mandelbrot for its fractals that replicate to infinity. Breath-taking. The kids loved seeing math in nature, and suddenly Brassicas became their favorite food.

A Bouquet of Sugar Peas and Kale

But there was so much more ~ and Britta had us tasting everything! From red carrots to sweet snapping peas, spinach, collards, fennel, so many varieties of kale, all kinds of summer squash and even edible weeds, it was a banquet at nature’s fertile table.

Savoy Greens & Magenta Spreen

There were many delightful discoveries, too. Who knew, for instance, that the mangy-looking Savoy Green was as good as spinach or that the pretty weed with itchy leaves and spikes of dusty magenta is edible ~ tasty even? And everyone had to sample the Mustard Greens ~ the best example of how pungent Spring can make her greens. Hot Holy Detoxifying Mama!

Mustard Greens and Collard Streams

At home, I tossed those greens into a skillet where a bit of Garam Masala, fresh grated nutmeg, ghee and olive oil had already been warmed over a medium high flame. While that sautéed, I popped some fresh pasta into boiling water. Three minutes later I turned off the stove, poured onto the greens just enough coconut milk to coat, stirred to cover, then squeezed the juice of half a lemon all over the greens, and drained the pasta. Into the now empty but still warm pasta pot, I melted a spoonful of ghee and stirred in about a quarter cup of coconut milk, whisking in a handful of Nicolau Farm’s Herbed Goat Cheese and adding a dash of salt and pepper.

The drained pasta was returned to the pot and gently stirred in the sauce. Greens and pasta were then plated together side-by-side, so they would each have their moment of glory, and sprinkled with freshly grated nutmeg.

Suzie's Greens with Goat Cheese Pasta

Dinner was divine. No one said a word, though. We ate in silence, utterly absorbed in the tastes, the energy we could feel from food so fresh, the joy of the day summarized in the beauty on our plates, the miracle of it all.

Deep Yoga Mastery of Life 2011 Yogis at Suzie's Farm

Our day at the farm was Yoga in full bloom ~ Union with Divine Nature. Britta recommended we return for Volunteer Digs at Roots, an educational not-for-profit farm that is their partner and neighbor. We will definitely be back for that! If you are local, we invite you to join us Wednesdays and Saturdays, 2-5pm.

Thank you to Jamie LaMarche for the photographs of the Farm!

Namaste ~

Fennel Flower

An Apple Today

A client recently mentioned that she wants to do another cleanse. Grew up on junk food was the reason she gave. Makes sense, I thought. Every now and then a deep clearing of the digestive tract is good practice, especially since many of us eat more than we need and often not as well as we wish.

For this, I have just the thing: an Intestinal Cleanse adapted from Jeremy Safron’s delightful little book, The Raw Truth. But, first, I am concerned about something. Does our present culture encourage a certain yo-yo approach to eating? Binges, extreme fasts, indulge, detox..?

The best way we take care of ourselves is by sustaining good habits with regularity and consistency. Healthy, whole food not only nourishes us, but also detoxifies and cleanses our bodies. Digestive enzymes, soluble and insoluble fiber, protein, good flora, vitamins and minerals are all in vegetables, fruit, whole grains and legumes. All these bits and pieces that scientists try to pry out of food or synthesize in a lab, and that superstores sell as the next sexy thing, are already in nature’s pure whole food.

Before I commit to a cleanse I like to ask myself ~ Is an Intestinal Cleanse a healthy way to love myself? Is it needed? Is now the time to do it? Or, am I using it as a subtle form of punishment? A quiet act of self-flagellation?

Because women do use food, and diets, to hurt themselves. I certainly have ~ and would not want, in any way whatsoever, to encourage this.

Still, there are times when an intestinal cleanse is a good idea. Ayurveda suggests we do it annually each Spring. For such times, this apple-based drink is sweet and easy.

Click for Print Version

One final warning ~ Psyllium is habit-forming and should not be taken daily. It dries out the colon, increasing your need for it and creating a vicious cycle.  Therefore, use it only when necessary and repeat this kind of intestinal cleanse once every three months at the most.

For safe bowel regularity, try Triphala. It works by strengthening the colon, optimizing its function, and is not drying so can be taken daily. Still, it is always best to seek the advice of an Ayurvedic Practitioner.

The wisdom in your body knows what to do with the intelligence in nature’s food.  Trying to outsmart the body with one cleanse or dietary regime after another doesn’t work. Over-fussing with digestion, elimination and metabolism turns the body-wisdom off.

So eat what appeals to your body-wisdom. Eat when you are hungry. Eat warm foods in the morning and evening. Make lunch your biggest meal when the fire to digest is naturally ablaze. Eat what’s in season and align yourself with the beauty of nature, time, the earth’s spin, the cosmic churn. This will, in turn, create peace, harmony, abundance and ease in your life.

Food is more than just what you put in your mouth. It is the relationship you have with yourself, with life, with the world.

What kind of relationship do you want to have?

I invite you to make it sacred.