Tag Archives: Yoga

Prasad… Blessed food from God

15 Apr

I just came back from my 4th trip to India…

Those of you who are my friends on Facebook got a little glimpse of my trip thru the pics I posted as I went along – We started in Allahabad to attend the Maha Kumbha Mela. Then on to Varanasi, the most ancient city in the world. Both of these cities are located in the banks of the River Ganges. Then, went for the first time to the South of India and to finish off, upwards onto Rishikesh, the city of ashrams and yoga education.

Viaje India Collage

It was a very significant and magnificent trip in so many ways I can’t express into words. To be in the presence of so many saints who have achieved spiritual enlightenment, is a blessed experience to say the least. I have a spiritual guru… so we visit India not in search of anything, really… but more to witness how so many people dedicate themselves to a spiritual path and to give a little bit of ourselves to Mother India.

I practice yoga… not Hinduism. I want to make that clear. And something I always identified with Yoga is that it’s a non-denominational philosophy. You do not need to believe in anything specific to practice yoga conscientiously. Spirituality comes from God. Religion comes from Men. But Yoga and Hinduism stem from the same origin, so when you visit India as a yogi, we indeed spend a great deal of time visiting Hindu temples.

??????????

In India, people offer their respect to God, the Supreme Being, in the form of fruits, flowers and other edible goods. People have this idea that in India people revere many gods. Which is a way, it’s true, because these deities all have different names and are represented by different images. But as I’ve come to learn is that these are just manifestations and representations of THE one and only energy that is our very essence. In our limited relative world vision is difficult for people to imagine an all-mighty, all-powerful, all-encompassing being that has no form or image. So to facilitate devotional needs, people gave mortal qualities to these deities so people can “wrap their head” around the power of that what we can’t see but can certainly feel.

43 - DSCN7132

People treat the deities as if they were people too!! Very important and powerful beings at that… but deities in temples they get washed, cleansed, dressed, adorned and even fed on a daily basis. When a temple is erected, priests perform certain ceremonies and sing sacred mantras where images of the different deities acquire the qualities and characteristics of that deity. And from then on, that image is no longer a piece of stone; it now becomes a sacred physical representation of the Supreme Being on Earth.

It is once said that the more fruit a tree bears, it vows lower to the Earth… I hope I am making that phrase justice with my translation. Basically meaning that the more we have, the more we need to be appreciative and of service to others. So we in Yoga show our respect and appreciation at temples and at the presence of saints by offering fruits and flowers. After these offerings are received by the priests in the temples or the saints themselves, these goods are blessed and immediately they become PRASAD. Prasad is something – fruit, vegetable, flower, candy, anything… – that has been blessed by a priest or saint.

We received lots of Prasad on his trip… Prasad is sacred. Prasad should never be rejected and should always be eaten if it’s edible. Here are a few examples of the Prasad we were given:

My mom eating some sweet Prasad at Kalyani Mata camp in Kumbha Mela

MataJi Prasad Collage

Chai Masala and Rice with Lentils served to us by Devraha Hans Baba

Prasad Collage 1

Bananas, Water and other candies and crackers at an ashram in Allahabad

Allahabad Ashram Prasad

Gulab Jamun in a sweet syrup at Satwa Baba’s Ashram in Varanasi

Satwa Baba Prasad Collage

Bananas and Flowers from various temples in the south of India

??????????

At the Yoga Center I attend, we also have Prasad… Every time we cook any food at the center, before anyone gets a taste of it, we offer a serving of it to the Supreme Being. It’s like we’re serving the first plate to God. This way, the food we prepared is blessed and carries a very special positive energy. That special first serving we then try to divide it among all the guests that day so they can have a little morsel from “the God’s special serving”.

You can too adopt this same practice in your own home… you can either offer a little sampler plate of food to God before serving the rest of the family, or when eating out you can mentally offer your plate to God. Kinda like saying grace in your own head. Doing this will add a positive blessed energy to your food.

I’ve shared pics from my second and third trips already, just in case you’re interested.

Advertisements
Image

Mantra Yoga Meditation benefits your heart

14 Feb

Mantra Yoga Meditation benefits your heart

Article in El Nuevo Día newspaper – 14 Feb 2012

If you want to learn more about the benefits of Mantra Yoga Meditation, the Centro Cultural Yoga Devanand will be holding a workshop this coming weekend February 17-19.  At this workshop you’ll get a “crash course” on the benefits of meditating, not only in your own life, but also how it will benefit those around you and the world in general.

For more information on this interesting workshop, call Centro Cultural Yoga Devanand at 787-273-0236.

Vegetarian Festival – Centro Yoga Devanand

17 Jan

Last Sunday we organized a Vegetarian Festival at the Yoga Center. It is the first Vegetarian festival of 2011 and the first one celebrated on a Sunday.

My friend Tania had a dream… she dreamt we did this kind of Festival on a Sunday, more people would come and try more of all the foods we offer. We usually celebrate these Festivals on Saturday nights, but people sometimes are not too fond of eating so much food at 9PM at night.

We have been doing these Festivals for a long, long time. It’s a way for the Yoga Center to demonstrate:

  • how varied and delicious Vegetarian food can be
  • the cooking talents of our Yoga Cooking Team

Usually people just bring in any dish they want to share along with the whole crowd. It’s our own vegetarian version of a pot luck dinner. It’s just a HUGE pot luck dinner featuring usually 15+ dishes, plus salads, natural juices and desserts.

Here is a round-up of all the dishes featured in this latest version of our Vegetarian Festival:

Onion Rice made by my Mom

 

Baked Rice with Spinach, Mushrooms, Pecans and Cheese aka Arroz Kristina made by me

 

Rice Pasta Lasagna with Spinach and Dairy-free Cheeses by Rosani

Chipa Guazú made by our friend from Paraguay, Ester

Vegetable Lo-Mein made by Manolo and Jesús

 

Roasted Potatoes with Spices by Mili

 

Sun-dried tomatoes Stuffed Mushrooms made by me

 

 

Breaded Eggplants made by Tania

 

BacalaFREEtos – made with some leftover batter from the fried eggplants inside the Lo-Mein

 

Pizza Pastelillitos made by Yazmín

Soy Albóndigas with a zesty Tomato Sauce made by Angie

 

We featured 2 different soups…

Roasted Plantain Soup made by Tania

Rice and Bean Soup with Smoked Veggie “Ham” made by Carmen G.

 

We had a green salad served with 2 different dressings and a natural Juice made with passion fruit, kiwi and other citric fruits.

 

And 3 desserts…

Candied Coconut (Dulce de Coco) made by Cony

Carrot Dessert with Raisins made by María Rosa

Walnut Cake with Candied Walnuts on top made by Rosani, our resident Master Baker…

Well… the Sunday plan was a complete hit. Dreams actually DO COME TRUE, right Tania?? We had 50+ people visit our center, some of them for the first time. It’s so gratifying to cook for a crowd and to see how the food would fly away and the trays be completely empty is a real joy.

The Staff - Medelicia, Carmen G, Angie, Katy and Tania, the mastermind of this Festival on Sunday.

I include some links to several recipes I have already shared with you. Click on them so you can enjoy them right away. And over the next few weeks I will be sharing some new the recipes I have learned from the star chefs in this Vegetarian Festival.

If you live in Puerto Rico, or close to our Yoga Centers in NYC/Queens or Miami Beach, I hope this display of photos make you hunger and come over to our next Vegetarian Festival. OK?? Just stay tuned to the Centro Cultural Yoga Devanand FaceBook Page were we usually post all our activities… It’s in Spanish, but you’ll enjoy it all the same. 

Hari Om.

%d bloggers like this: