Butternut Squash Soup

Makes four to six servings.
Use organic ingredients whenever possible.


  • One large butternut squash (or two small)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee, butter or oil
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon
  • 2-3 cups vegetable or chicken broth 
  • one can organic coconut milk.  Make your own coconut milk by blending two cups water with one tablespoon organic coconut butter!
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Roast a butternut squash. Treat it like two separate vegetables when preparing to roast. Cut off the bulb of the vegetable, and scoop out the flesh and seeds. Halve the other, oblong part of the squash. Roast flesh facing down in a half inch of water, for one hour at 375 degrees, or until you can easily pierce the squash. Let cool, scoop out the flesh from the skin and set aside.
    Heat butter or ghee and sautee the leeks for 5-7 minutes in a soup pot.
    Add nutmeg, then butternut squash and broth. Cook for 10 more minutes.
    Either use an immersion blender to puree or transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
    Add the coconut milk and salt and pepper to taste, and blend again.

Winter Solstice 2016

The darkest, longest nights of the year occur just prior to the Winter Solstice, when, upon its arrival December 21st, the light begins to return. Since the Summer Solstice back in June, days have shortened, and nights have lengthened. Although the winter season still lies ahead, this portion of the year and ever shortening daylight is likened to the earth’s exhale. The Solstice itself represents the gap between the bottom of the earth's exhale and the beginning of the inhale. After the Winter Solstice, each subsequent day in the Northern Hemisphere lengthens until the Summer Solstice on June 20th, 2017.

On the days just prior to the Winter solstice, there is a gap, a space, where the sun no longer appears to be getting lower in the southern sky as it moves from East to West. It seems that the sun remains at its southernmost, lowest point, and that there's no movement from day to day at all. This where we get the word solstice (sun, still). After the Solstice, In the Northern Hemisphere each day is a bit lighter, and for the next six months, the sun appears higher and higher in the sky,. Being sensitive to nature’s rhythms, by mid-January I notice the subtle shifts of more light each day, as we heaimages-2d closer to spring and the Vernal Equinox March 20th.

I was neither attuned to the rhythms of nature, nor the Solstices and Equinoxes before I began practicing yoga. I experienced November and December as the most difficult months of the year, as my mood reflected the darkness of the season. Aligning with nature's seasonal, daily and monthly rhythms has helped to ceate more balance and ease in all areas of my life. This essential part of yoga lives within the wisdom of Ayurveda. Translated as knowledge of life, the healing science of yoga is essential for anyone who lives in a body. When we observe and acknowledge that at this time of year there is a limited amount of daylight, we can take simple steps to help access the inner light, the tejas, the flame that’s always present within us.

 

Six Steps to Find Balance During the Darkest Time of the Year:

  1. Light candles as soon as it becomes dark in the evening
  2. Upon arising in the darkness in the morning, light a candle, and begin few minutes of meditation, breath practices, or gentle yoga postures.
  3. Eat during the hours of daylight, as the strength of digestion is correlated with the times the sun is highest in the sky. Eat your largest meal in the middle of the day.
  4. Take a walk in the daylight hours, headed south, towards the sun whenever possible, in order to attune with the rhythms of nature.
  5. Head to bed earlier. Turn off electronics an hour before you plan to go to sleep, to promote deep rest and relaxation.
  6. Before bed, give yourself a foot massage using organic oil (sesame oil is a good choice in the winter months as it is warming), to help draw energy down from your mind and into your body. This relaxing ritual will help you to sleep more soundly. Put on socks so the oil stays on your feet and off your sheets.

The darkness during December is a time of moving inwards, of contemplation, and planning for the upcoming year. How do you want to feel in 2017? (Use this time  to create an intention for the New Year). I wish you a happy Winter Solstice! Please share your practices for this time of year in the comments, below.

Five Things I Learned from My Fifth Metatarsal Fracture

My relocation to the West Coast did not begin as planned. Instead, literally starting off on the wrong foot, less than ten minutes after getting off the plane and while still in the airport, I fractured the fifth metatarsal of my right foot. It’s been a long, two months plus of recovery, but I’m happy to say I’m walking on both feet once again, free of a cast, boot and crutches!

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