Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sitali Pranayama

To remain calm and cool, even during the hottest days of summer or the most stressful times of life, Sitali (pronounced Sit uh lee) Pranayama is a breathing practice that is well worth learning and incorporating into your life.

 Sitali (go ahead, say it aloud once -- Sit Uh Lee) is known not only as a cooling breath, but a moistening, rejuvenating, and youth enhancing breath as well.

To begin, sit comfortably on the floor or on a chair with a straight spine.   Make a U with your tongue by sticking the tongue out a bit and curling the tongue creating a cylindrical shape.  

Begin inhaling slowly through the curled and extended tongue and exhaling through the nose.  Long, slow, calm, cooling breaths -- bringing moisture to the body to restore balance.  

Continuing for at least 3 minutes, aim to take 26 long slow Sitali Breaths, even if 26 breaths takes you 11 minutes or so.

Sitali Pranayama is said to reduce fevers, enhance patience and reduce stress levels, bring relief to a sore throat, cool stomach fire and indigestion, and calm and cool an overactive or overheated spleen.

According to Ayurveda, in the Northern Hemisphere from June 1st to September 30th the Pitta Dosha dominates.   Pitta Dosha has the qualities of being fiery, overheated, easily excitable, dynamic, hard working, and tenacious.  

Spicy foods like peppers and foods with an initial acid taste like tomatoes come into season later in the summer and for those whose dominant dosha is the Pitta dosha, these foods are best eaten in moderation and then only if  well tolerated.

Should you find yourself overdoing it this summer -- getting overheated from the sun and forgetting to slow down on these high energy days, remember that you have now stashed Sitali pranayama in your imaginary toolbox and this technique will be there for you anytime, anywhere.

Oh, and if you think you look a little silly breathing in public with your tongue curled out, all the more reason to make Sitali pranayama part of your morning routine before heading out the door.   A few minutes of this calming cooling breathing practice can go a long way in helping you remain composed.  Best part of all -- it's free -- it is said to keep us young -- it soothes the liver -- and it feels fantastic!

Cheers to your breathing,

Susan "Yogi Suzi" Grimes

Increase Energy and Flexibility with an Alkaline Diet

With so much conflicting information about what to eat for maximum energy,  a pain free body, maintaining muscle mass, and enhanced mental clarity, we do always have the option of giving an alkaline diet a try.    Alkaline forming foods are mostly vegan, low in sugars, and high in minerals, and some of the cleanest and greenest foods available. 

When we begin eating foods that are highly alkaline in place of foods that are highly acidic we begin to have more energy, ease of movement, fewer runny noses, and a sense of well being that is so empowering it makes us wonder why we ever ate the highly acidic foods in the first place.

The top foods for increasing the alkalinity of the body are:

Grasses (think Wheat Grass juice, Barley, Oat, and Kamut Grass Powder)
Kelp and other Sea Vegetables

Fresh juices made with some of the above foods, cucumber, kale, parsley, and spinach, can help the body go from tired and achy to vibrant and flexible very quickly.

Foods that are moderately alkaline include:

Green Beans
Mustard Greens


Chia Seeds

Instead of engaging in an intense cleanse, choosing foods listed above may be an easier way to restore balance and vitality to the body.

Foods to round out the above, to make it all very tasty, that are mildly alkaline are:

Brussels Sprouts
Potatoes (new, fresh, baby potatoes)
Squash (both winter and summer varieties)


Buckwheat (soaked and rinsed well)
Lentils  (try sprouting them and eating raw or cooking the lentil sprouts)
Goat and Almond Milk
Many Beans and Legumes

Most Herbs and Spices

Avocado Oil
Olive Oil
Coconut Oil
Flax Oil
Hemp Seed Oil

In reviewing the above list, you may have noticed that there are very few grains, (Quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain) and that there are no animal products.   Also, no sweet fruits are considered alkaline because, even though high in potassium, the sugar content makes most fruit highly acidic once we consume that fruit.

This is not to say one should never have sweet fruit.    Some schools of thought will list fruits as being alkaline, but again, to feel our very best, many people have great success eating primarily from the foods listed at the top of this post.

If 80% of the food eaten each day comes from the above lists, the other 20% of all food eaten can come from the following lists, the lists of foods that are acidic.

Those which are the least acidic, only mildly acidic to the body are:

Black Beans
Chick Peas
Kidney Beans
Seitan  (a wheat gluten often found in meat substitutes in natural foods stores) 

Fresh Dates
Sweet Cherries

Buckwheat Pasta
Cous Cous

Rice Protein Powders
Hemp Protein Powders

Freshwater Wild Fish

Rice and Soy Milk

Brazil Nuts
Pecan Nuts
Hazel Nuts

Sunflower Oil
Grapeseed Oil

The following list is foods that are moderately acidic, best eaten in small amounts:



Goat Cheese
Soy or Rice Cheese

Brown Rice
Rye Bread

Ocean Caught Fish -- even if Wild

The following are the foods that are Highly Acidic to the body, mind, and bloodstream:

Coffee and Black Tea
Sweetened Fruit Juice

Jams and Jelly
Rice Syrup 
Soy Sauce

Dried Fruit

Farmed Fish


Artificial Sweeteners
Syrups and Sugars

Eating this way does not result in lost muscle tissue from the lack of animal foods -- if anything muscle tissue can be gained from the increased chlorophyll in the green foods and it's ability to nourish all the cells of the body.    

Weight loss, depending on the individual, may occur simply because the alkaline diet is so clean, green, and chemical free.   Fat tends to cling to toxins and once we get the toxins flushing out of the system, excess fat tends to slip away too.

The reason for eating an alkaline diet are many.   The increased flexibility means it becomes easier to exercise, enjoy yoga, and movement of any kind.    The body begins to feel more youthful.   

Keeping the sugars in our diet extremely low helps to prevent many chronic diseases, and, in the case or preexisting conditions, a low sugar highly alkaline approach often reduces symptoms.

As we get older, sugar is no longer a fun friend.  Sugar usually accelerates aging, causing many to get thick around the middle and to wrinkle prematurely.   

To age gracefully, a diet high in alkaline minerals that is hydrating due to the high water content, can keep us energized, flexible, and feeling fantastic!

Best of luck to you!

Susan "Yogi Suzi" Grimes

Monday, June 4, 2012

Reuniting the Fawn and the Doe

   Friday morning the main gate near our home was left open for five minutes.   During that time, a doe and her brand new baby, secretly entered.  
    Saturday morning a good deal of spinach and lettuce had been eaten and we were a bit baffled -- could a deer have hopped our high fence -- or did rabbits visit?

    Sunday morning the doe appeared along the fence line above our garage.     One of us walked towards her, the other opened the gate, and her departure was graceful.

       We did not know she had a brand new baby until 20 minutes later.    Out in the garden, all alone, there rested the most precious fawn, so very young, maybe less than a week old, perhaps born just a few hours before.

      The fawn, so smart, hid as motionless as possible in the tall kale plants, tall compared to this new little body.   Silky soft fur, white spots, so precious, so vulnerable, weighing only eight to ten pounds - in an instant we both felt such deep love for this little fawn!

      We walked slowly towards the fawn and in one scoop Tallison picked the fawn up and as we walked the 200 yards to the gate the fawn let out two very loud squeals.   Each time the fawn squealed, the doe, the mommy, pranced around the outside of the fence with an excited yet concerned look on her face.

     We told them both all was well, it would be OK.    When we opened the gate the doe was so relieved -- the look on her face as she saw her baby fawn running towards her.    This reunion of mommy and baby has touched us deeply and will remain in our hearts forever.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Greens and Roots to sow in April

Happy April!   This month in your garden, if you have not already done this, order your seeds!   If you have seeds on hand, then maybe you've already inventoried them and have started a few indoors or in a greenhouse.    If conditions are favorable, this is the month you might actually put some seeds in the ground so here's a list seeds that can be direct sown outdoors soon:

Mizuna (and other easy to grow Gourmet Greens)

These top seven will give you instant satisfaction, flavor, and may increase your energy levels as well as put a little 'spring' in your step if they are added to your daily fare.

Spring energy moves upward, quickly, and thus it's good to eat lots of above ground plants as a way to harmonize the body with spring and summer.   Come Autumn, root vegetables, which coincide with the downward moving energy of the season, might be what you crave -- your body may ask for thick soups with root vegetables to feel balanced in fall.

Now (or very soon)  is the time to plant roots like:


Many more little notes like this one will be coming your way as the Gardening Season blossoms!

Lovely April to you!


Thursday, February 16, 2012

79 cent Garden Tool

   You may or may not be familiar with an Ika Hoe or a Nejiri Weeder yet there is an extremely valuable garden tool that, for about 79 cents, will, quite simply, enhance the success of your garden.   A notebook or journal can become your best friend if you mark it up with details like how many weeks particular seeds need to be started indoors before planting outdoors and with other info like how many days the seeds take to germinate.

     Some plants do need an extended start in a warm spot, and warm often means indoors.   Tomatoes, for example, often require 10 weeks from sowing indoors to transplanting outdoors.   So let's say you were planning on getting those Rose de Summer Tomatoes or Large Red Cherry Tomatoes in the outdoor soil on June 1st.   This means you would plant the seeds around March 15th.  Yikes!

    Perhaps you can't get out there with your Hand Crafted Carbon Steel Blade Kana Weeder today, but you can definitely break out the pen and paper and refine your plan for an organized and productive garden.     We're here cheering you on -- and like you -- with pen and paper designing our 2012 garden.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wish You Had Winter Squash?

This spring, you can choose to plant a few varieties of Winter Squash so that your wish will be granted.   Planted in Spring and harvested in Autumn, most Winter Squash keeps well through the winter.  

From creamy Butternut Squash Soup, toasty oven roasted Acorn Squash, to the exotic flavor of Baked Sweetmeat Squash, you can plant these Heirloom Seeds in Spring, gaze upon the broad green leaves all Summer,and eat these green, orange, and golden treasures from October to February, March, or longer!

For Butternut Squash Seeds consider:

For Heirloom Acorn Squash Seeds that were introduced in 1913:

Exotic Sweet Meat Squash Seeds:

For delicious ways to prepare Winter Squash, this little book at $3.99 will expand your Squash Cuisine Skills:

May your pantry or root cellar and family be blessed this fall with Luscious Winter Squash!

Artichokes in your Garden

Imagine steaming a fresh artichoke that your grew from Heirloom Seed.   The Green Globe Artichoke Seeds at    produce tender, succulent Artichokes from seed in approximately 85 days.  If you are feeling hungry for that unique spring flavor present in Artichokes you might consider growing some.  To go directly to the photo on Heirloom Green Globe Artichoke seeds, click here:

Artichokes are a true superfood because, like Milk Thistle, Artichokes are also a thistle and thus have liver protecting and liver regenerating effects.    Artichokes are also a wonderful digestive tonic, and mostly, even though low in calories, Garden Grown Artichokes taste sensational!

If you wish to dip the leaves in melted butter, consider adding some fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme to the butter.   Another option is to dip the leaves in Omega 3 rich Hemp Oil or Heart Healthy Olive Oil.

The Green Globe Artichoke at  is a perennial in zones 7 - 10 and is planted as an annual elsewhere.    To find your zone:  //