THIS RETREAT HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. STAY WELL!!!
I had the honor of leading last year’s annual Jivamukti Memorial Day Weekend Retreat at Ananda Ashram and I am excited to continue the tradition!
Ananda Ashram in Monroe, New York, is a Yoga retreat and spiritual-educational center just over one hour from New York City, founded in 1964 by Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati. Located in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, the Ashram provides a serene, natural environment with woods and meadows surrounding a lake.
To register: firstname.lastname@example.org
Payment accepted via Venmo, PayPal, Zelle
Early Bird Pricing (sign up by May 1):
Semi-Private Room $595
Apt w/Roomate & private bathroom $695 (sold out)
Sign-up After May 1:
Semi-Private Room $625
Apt w/Roomate & private bathroom $725 (sold out)
Drop-in Day Rate: $135 (includes all meals & activities for the day)
All meals and accommodation
2 Jivamukti classes/day with April including 1 live music class
Meditation with Bharati/Ananda Ashram staff
Evening programs (concerts/Kirtan-to be announced soon)
Access to all grounds including swimming pool, row boat and Appalachian Trail
Some photos from last year’s retreat:
Last year’s schedule (to be updated for this year):
Hey everyone! I’m currently in Maui on vacation, but filmed a special Myths of the Asanas video on location! The intro was filmed at Waimoku Falls on the Pipiwai Trail in Haleakalā National Park, and the story was filmed on the top of the Waihe’e Trail. For right now you’ll have to watch the video via the Jivamukti NYC IGTV channel (link below), until I’m back on the mainland…
The asana (or mudra) associated with this story is Viparita Karani (because it looks like a waterfall, but also see below…) Viparita Karani translates to “reversed attitude”. In the story you will hear how the urge to obtain more and more land and take over the Earth causes King Sagara’s sons to be burnt to ashes. Unless the human race reversed their attitude, we will also all be burnt to a crisp! Global warming is a real threat, but we can do something about it!
This past Sunday, September 21st, 2014, I joined 400,00 others in the People’s Climate March in NYC. It was the largest of it’s kind, and amazing that so many people care about the future of this Earth we live on. Unfortunately, it was covered by only one news network, and only for about 23 seconds.
People’s Climate March 2014
One of the reasons for the lack of coverage is very same reason why I marched: our major “environmental” organizations, like GreenPeace, 350.org, etc., refuse to acknowledge the biggest cause of our environmental decline: the animal agriculture industry. The farming industry in the United States essentially runs our government. This industry has so much power in our country, that even high profile people like former Vice-President Al Gore, are afraid to talk about it. In fact, animal rights and environmental activists are the #1 offenders on the FBI watch list, rather than the actual bad guys.
It is estimated that at the rate our population is growing and the amount our word eats animal based food, we will only be around another 50 years or so. In 50 years I will be 84…I’d like to see the world last a bit longer than that! The farming industry is not only affecting the air and water we need to survive, but also killing off our natural wildlife. If you get excited when you see a fox or bear while on a hike, you better take advantage of it now, because natural wildlife won’t be here much longer.
There are a few things you can do:
The first is to educate yourself: watch the movie Cowspiracy. The movie highlights the fact that the largest cause of environmental decline is being hidden by all major environmental organizations, and our government. You can learn more about it here: http://cowspiracy.com/.
#2: Eat a plant based diet. It is completely possible to live a healthy, happy life on a vegan diet. Even if you are pregnant and/or raising children. Milk produced by cows is for their calfs to grow up into big strong cows! And if you love ice cream and cheese, you can get amazing tasting nut based ice cream or tapioca based cheese – it tastes the same, I swear! And you don’t even have to eat soy if you don’t want to! Sharon Gannon, co-founder of Jivamukti Yoga School, just released a new cook book called Simple Recipes for Joy. There are over 200 vegan recipes in the book, even things like meatballs and spaghetti and manhattan clam chowder! I happened to have helped make the food in pictures in the book and tested recipes before publishing! You can order it here: Simple Recipes for Joy
Please feel free to comment or ask questions. Here are some facts that are posted on the Cowspiracy website, all completely research based. I have a copy of the Cowspiracy movie if you are in the NY area and want to borrow it.
LOVE, PEACE & VEGETABLES!
The science and research done on the true impacts of animal agriculture is always growing. The statistics used in the film were based off the information below.
We will continually update this list with further resources as they become available.
Although there may be fluctuations in numbers from year to year and from researcher to researcher, the fact remains that animal agriculture, as a whole, requires tremendous amounts of resources and is a leader in environmental degradation.
Animal agriculture is responsible for 51 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than all transportation combined. [i]
Fao.org. Spotlight: Livestock impacts on the environment.
Growing feed crops for livestock consumes 56% of water in the US.
Jacobson, Michael F. “More and Cleaner Water.” In Six Arguments for a Greener Diet: How a More Plant-based Diet Could save Your Health and the Environment.
Washington, DC: Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2006.
5% of water in the US is used by private homes.
55% of water in the US is used for animal agriculture.
Jacobson, Michael F. “More and Cleaner Water.” In Six Arguments for a Greener Diet: How a More Plant-based Diet Could save Your Health and the Environment. Washington, DC: Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2006.
Every minute, 7 million pounds of excrement are produced by animals raised for food in the US.
This doesn’t include the animals raised outside of USDA jurisdiction or in backyards, or the billions of fish raised in aquaculture settings in the US. [v]
“What’s the Problem?” United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Join myself and Donnalynn Civello at this amazing workshop! Details below!
The Yogi’s Nutritional Guide to a Clean Diet
Tips on Eating Well and Cooking Better
Lecture, Cooking DEMO & Chef Tasting Menu
Saturday, April 20, 2013
3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
What is a clean diet? How do you know if you are eating the right foods? Why do certain foods drain you of your energy and negatively impact your emotions? Why is it so difficult to control your weight these days? Join Ayurvedic Nutritionist, Donnalynn Civello CHHC, AADP and April DeChagas, Vegan Chef as we explore and learn how to easily integrate cleansing and high vibrational foods into our diet. In this interactive workshop, we will learn simple ways to prepare some basic clean meals while learning about the role of food & mood (bad mood foods), acidic & alkaline balance (for maintaining healthy ph), the stress cycle & weight gain, natural healing with herbs & amino acids (natural anti-depressants, stimulants, etc..), organic foods, the merits of a vegan diet, principles of cleansing & detoxing, the world of raw & superfoods and the future of nutrition. Chef Tasting is included. Bring your appetite!
Chef April’s Tasting Menu: Raw Kale-Beet-Peach Salad • Watercress Quinoa Tabouli • Thai Tempeh • Devi Vegan Gluten-Free Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies
SPACE IS LIMITED. Registration is required. Please reserve your space by calling Jivamukti directly at 212.353.0214. Registration deadline is April 18th. Cost: $70/person. Early-Bird special – $65/person by April 1st.
For this month’s food swap, we were each supposed to make a traditional holiday dish from the country of our ancestry. My assignment was to cook a protein. Now while my ancestors from Austria were Jewish, I decided to go with a traditional Christmas meal. (To be honest, I’m kind of tired of potato latkes…)
While researching Austrian Christmas, I kept coming across fried carp as their traditional Christmas Eve dinner. I was not too keen on attempting a vegan fish meal, so decided to keep looking. The next most popular Austrian holiday dish: wiener schnitzel. Most people think wiener schnitzel comes from Germany, but it is in fact Austrian. To go along with it, it seemed German potato salad was the best side dish, so to make it a bit more fun, healthy and colorful, I went with something else.
Vegan Schnitzel and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad!
5 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 cups Soy Milk
2 teaspoons Sea Salt
1 teaspoons Pepper
4 Tempeh Patties (4 ounces)
2/3 cup Bread Crumbs unseasoned
1/2 cup Organic Parsley chopped
Lemon slices to squeeze
Combine 2 tablespoons oil with the soy milk and half the salt and pepper. Marinate the tempeh in this mixture for 15 minutes.
Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining salt and pepper and mix well.
Remove the patties and dip in the bread crumbs until evenly coated on both sides.
Heat the remaining oil and sauté the patties 3 minutes per side until brown. Remove from heat, drain on paper towels, and serve.
Preheat oven to 375°F and place coated tempeh on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes on each side.
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2-1/2 tablespoons mango chutney
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 medium garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, cumin, and ginger directly on baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine vinegar, chutney, mustard, honey, garlic, and olive oil in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
Let potatoes cool slightly, then toss them with the cranberries, scallions and chutney dressing. Transfer to serving platter and scatter almonds over top. Serve warm or room temperature.
For the last two years some friends and I have been part of a monthly food swap. Each month we have a different theme, and each of us has a different assignment/category. The categories could be a type of food (i.e. vegetable, greens, proteins, grains or fruit), or sometimes a specific type of meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack – you get the idea). We make 2 portions of our dish for each person in the group to take home, and then we have meals already made for the rest of the week!
Our theme this month was called Monster Mash – we were each given a monster and a food category. My assignment was vampires and vegetables, so I made a roasted red pepper and tomato soup (so all the vampires would have some blood to drink) and decorated it with some MOMA type ghosts and witches and other creepy crawlies using vegan sour cream. (And while everyone’s dish looks amazing, and I can’t wait to eat them, special shout-out to Helen who made Zombie Brain stuffed tomatoes! Picture below!)
AND it was my turn to host, so I got to have some extra special Halloween fun! I did some research on the inter-webs and compiled a few fun and easy recipes, and veganized them where necessary. I had so much fun, I thought I’d share them in time to keep you busy during the “Frankenstorm” in case you get bored 😉
4 large red peppers
6 1/2 cups red tomatoes
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup *creme fraiche (I used vegan sour cream)
4 tablespoons unsalted Earth Balance
1 tablespoon vegetable base
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
Sea salt, to taste
White pepper, to taste
In a medium-sized, heavy-bottom sauce pan, melt 1 teaspoon earth balance over medium heat. Add flour and combine well to create a roux. Reduce heat and cook the mixture until light tan in color and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
Grill the red peppers or expose to an open flame, turning frequently, until blackened all over. (I just stuck mine directly on the gas burners of my stove-top)
Place the warm, roasted peppers in a paper bag, seal and set aside for 3-4 minutes. Peel off the skin, gently wiping away any remaining black skin from the surface. Slice open the peppers and discard the seeds and any white membrane. Do not rinse the pepper.
If using fresh tomatoes, cut a small X shape into the bottom of each whole tomato. Add tomatoes to a pot of boiling water and cook uncovered for 2 minutes. Remove tomatoes from water using tongs. Peel off the skins and discard.
Using a blender, puree the peppers and tomatoes together until smooth. Use a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds and fiber.
Whisk 1/2 cup of the tomato-pepper mixture into the roux over medium heat and combine well. Working in several batches, add the remaining mixture to the saucepan, blending until smooth.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer covered for 5 minutes, then uncovered for 15 minutes.
Add 1/3 cup coconut milk, vegetable base, tomato paste, sugars. Continue to simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes then gently whisk in the remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cool, the soup, transfer to a ceramic bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.
The following day, heat the soup over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Top with vegan sour cream (as I mentioned, I attempted to make some fun designs, that starting out were supposed to be spider webs, but ended up going with a more artistic interpretation.)