Raw Gingerbread Cookies

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Super simple, takes less than 5 minutes, gluten/grain free and SO yummy. Almonds are full of antioxidants, healthy fats and magnesium. If you can soak, sprout and dehydrate the almonds first even better.

3/4 cup dates
1 cup raw almonds
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/16th tsp cloves
tiny pinch salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Blend an a food processor and then form into people, Christmas trees, angels, reindeer...anything!! But try not to eat all the dough first, if you can!

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Dharma Desk Christmas List

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Holiday madness is upon us and Christmas is just 2 weeks away!! Are you still looking for that perfect gift for the yogi on your list? Here are our top 10 suggestions:

1. Inspired jewelry? The Barbar's Daughter is the place! Gorgeous pieces with meaning ~ the hard part will be choosing! $50+
2. Spoonk Acupressure Mat - aches and pains be gone! Did you know 1-3 homes in Scandanavia have one of these? That is how good they are. Goes with me on every trip. $80
3. Joy-a-Toes - these things are amazing. Spread your toes during your practice or on the couch. Great for your feet and posture & fits in a stocking! $40
4. What list would be complete without Chocolate? Chocoveda even has a chakra chocolate box - guaranteed to bring you to nirvana! $30+
5. Jade Yoga Mat ~ this is our official studio mat, made of natural rubber, non-slip, comfy and totally eco-friendly. For every mat purchased, a tree is planted! $70+
6. A gift certificate from your local yoga studio. Support yoga within your own community! Make the gift even better and treat yourself too!
7. Time running short - how about a gift card from iTunes to help put together that super groovin' yoga playlist?
8. On the road and hard to get to the studio, a membership to My Yoga Online keeps you on your mat anyplace, anytime! 100s of classes with amazing teachers from around the world. $10 a month or $90 for the year.
9. Donation to Africa Yoga Project. A most worthy cause, spreading yoga in African communities. Will warm any yogi's heart.
10. And of course, a Dharma Desk! Ergonomic, portable, adjustable and just plain awesome! $45+

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(Healthy) Chocolate Truffles

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It is Christmas time and treats abound everywhere, with most of them filled with refined sugar and other junky things. I made these on the weekend and although they aren't sugar free, they are a great alternative to the chocolates in a box.

1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup cashews or macadamia nuts
1/4 cup raw cocoa
dash salt
raw cocoa for rolling

Boil the maple syrup for about 3 minutes. Meanwhile grind cashews or macadamia nuts well in a food processor. Take maple syrup off the heat and mix in almond flour, nuts, salt and coca powder well. Place in the refrigerator until cool. Form into bite sized balls and roll in cocoa powder. Enjoy!!

 

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The origin of sitting props

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Most of us who practice yoga and meditation know that sitting on a prop, or some kind of support, can make all the difference between feeling good and being totally uncomfortable. Sitting props can be simple everyday items, like blankets, rolled towels or even a stack of books. But in actuality, sitting props have been around for centuries, originating in China where cloth meditation seats were initially filled with the downy fluff from cattails. The word 'zafu' may come from the word 'seifu' which simply means seat. Zabutons, which are the larger square cushions, were developed to provide additional comfort to the knees and ankles. Being comfortable meant that the practitioner could sit for longer periods which in tern allowed meditators to reach higher levels of contemplation and enlightened states.

Today we continue to use sitting props to raise the hips and provide stability in the body. Props help maintain the natural S curve in the spine which promotes good posture and a strong core. We at the Dharma Desk always encourage using a zafu/zabuton combination for working at our desks.  If you sit on the floor and aren't using a sitting prop, try one today - those yogis from olden days definitely had the right idea!

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Fabulous Yoga Power Smoothie

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OK, you might be thinking "an avocado smoothie, are you serious??!!" - but believe me, this is excellent!! Full of great essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and other good stuff that yogis need to keep our bodies happy!!

1 TBS coconut oil
1 ripe avocado
2 TBS hemp hearts
2 TBS chia seeds
1 tsp coconut sugar or raw honey
dash cinnamon
1 cup raw milk or almond milk
anything else that you'd like!!

Add all the ingredients into a blender - blend until smooth and drink promptly!

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The problem with chairs…

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"Short of sitting on a spike, you can't do much worse than a standard office chair." So says Galen Cranz, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley. And you thought the Middle Ages were over! Did you know that we sit for an average of 8.9 hours a day, longer than any other body position. As you read this, take a moment and really check in with how your body feels? Does your lower back hurt, do you feel any numbness, do your neck and shoulders feel tense? While all of these sensations are considered normal, they certainly aren't healthy.

And listen to this, people who sit for long periods have higher rates of hypertension, obesity, high blood triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, and high blood sugar, regardless of weight. Yikes! Coupled with the fact that chair sitting causes the lumbar curve to collapse, turning the spine's natural S-shape into a C (which hampers the abdominal and back musculature that support the body), means that the entire musculature of the body is affected.

So what are the solutions? Well, there are a few - an ergonomically designed chair like a perching chair can help keep that essential S curve intact in the spine. Standing workstations also work for many. And sitting on the floor in either an easy crossed legged posture (Sukasana in Yoga) or kneeling (Vadjrasana) also promotes correct spinal alignment and also opens the hips and strengthens the core. We made the Dharma Desk for exactly this reason!

However regardless of your sitting choice, it is essential to take breaks and move! Every 45 minutes get up and stretch (check out some easy and quick exercises here), talk a short walk or just choose to do any activities that don't require sitting in a standing position (i.e., phone calls). Less chair sitting means happier bodies and happier minds - try it today!

 

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