My book compliments the one year course and begins below at Week One
To access the yoga and meditation for Week One click on Strong Body and Mind
Bird Song is being published and has just returned from the editor. 20/10/2022
Often I wonder why I am spending so much time writing. I wonder if it is a waste of time but now I know it isn't. If I can inspire others, if I can help change the way we see and feel things by sharing the Ancient knowledge it is life lived well and I love writing.
"Thank you for entrusting me to proof read your book. It was an absolute privilage to work on. It was beautiful, gentle, inspiring. Thank you for taking the time to write such lovely words."
Kind regards, Jo Barlow. Pegasus Proof Reader.
What you say can change your life and the life of others. Be kind, loving and supportive.
Bird Song began on this website. I slowly added more weeks. Julie my sister-in-law encouraged me to keep writing. Checking the website and reminding me if I'd lost momentum, looking forward to the next week. When she talked about my poem Wish Well and used the word beautiful and made me cry, it gave me confidence. Below is the unedited original version of Bird Song.
*It is part of my Free Online Yoga & Ayurveda Course but I hope you buy a copy when it is in print❤
I will organise some complimentary yoga & meditation sessions at the Hall and a book signing.
A Women's Path to Health & Happiness
An Ancient Path for
The knowledge within the health system of yoga & ayurveda has been passed down through time.
Ancient wisdom for modern women.
Learn something new each week for a year.
The book gradually
draws you deeper into the heart of Ayurveda
I recommend you start with Week 1 and keep going throughout the year, slowly, slowly, changing what you eat, meditating and living more in nature.
Create a better life
for yourself and those around you.
Follow your heart.
Start small but dream big!
You have the rest of your life after all.
Keep on learning and enriching your life.
Week 1. A simple, 3 minute meditation
"Stop. take a deep, cleansing breath.
In fact, treat yourself, take a few more." Maya Fiennes
Close your eyes and smile. Breathe through your nose.
Place your left hand on your chest and your right hand on your belly.
For a few breaths feel your chest rising and falling through your left hand.
For a few breaths feel your belly rising as you breath in and fall as you breath out - very
Now you are going to take 3 deep breaths.
Breathe into your belly then feel your breath move into your chest, feel yourself relaxing as your exhale.
Breath normally and then repeat 2 more times.
Open your eyes and slowly
move back into your day.
Week 2. Cooking Vegetarian & Vegan Food.
THE ALL TIME FAVOURITE !
Veggie chilli with corn chips and guacamole.
I used butter beans instead of kidney beans this week. They are creamier and I like them better. Also there was no organic beetroot in the shops. Big disappointment!
We all love beetroot in this and it is fantastic for vegetarians and vegans, it is known as a blood builder in Herbal Medicine.
Beetroot are rich in calcium, iron and vitamins A and C. They are an excellent source of folic acid and a very good
source of fibre, manganese and potassium.
I try to buy seasonal veggies and summer is not so good for growing beetroot. I added zucchini instead.
Zucchini are a good source of Protein, Vitamin A, Thiamine, Niacin, Phosphorus and Copper, and a
very good source of dietary fibre, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese.
I am trying to inspire you to eat your veggies and I am hoping this meal will make it easy for you to add more veggies
to your diet.
One of the most important things I learnt from some Italian students many years ago was to always caramelise onions. It makes food so much tastier.
In a large pan add extra virgin olive oil. Add 1 large diced
onion and cook until they start to brown - this makes them sweeter and tastier.
Then add 1 tin of organic diced tomatoes.
1 tin of organic beans (mixed, kidney, butter it doesn't matter) RINSE VERY WELL
IN THE COOLER MONTHS I USE
ADZUKI BEANS WHICH I BUY DRIED, SOAK OVERNIGHT, RINSE AND COOK BEFORE HAND FOR 1 HOUR. IN SUMMER IT HEATS MY KITCHEN UP TOO MUCH BUT IT IS MUCH BETTER FOR YOU AND CHEAPER TO USE FRESHLY SOAKED AND COOKED BEANS. You will need to add some water with soaked beans
but do so gradually checking regularly.
A lot of veggies of choice, experiment with what ever is in season.
I usually have kale and silver beet in my garden that goes in as well.
Put the lid on and cook for a while, you want the sauce
to thicken a little. It depends on beans and veggies used but if it is quite watery take the lid off and keep an eye on it.
Add salt and chilli to taste. Recently Chinese 5 spice has been going in as well.
Veggie Chilli essential extras.
I cook rice or quinoa as well.
Mash 1 ripe avocado and mix with 1 clove of garlic, 1 tablespoon of Greek full fat yoghurt (vegans leave out) and a good squeeze
of fresh lemon.
Put corn chips in the oven with lots of cheese (no cheese for vegans)
In the photo above I accidently used parmesan it didn't melt well but it was delicious
Week 3. Bird Song - Meditation
ARTIST Rose aged 16
We should be living outside in nature, but unfortunately our modern lives and new technologies distance us more and more from the natural world.
This is said to be one of the main causes of unhappiness.
Spend as much time
as you can outside.
Begin this meditation by closing your eyes. Become aware of your breathing.
Feel your chest rising and falling.
Think of a bird that you hear in your neighbourhood or work, that you like.
Find out as much as
you can about your chosen bird and start to listen out for its song.
Over time you will train your mind.
You may be busy, distracted, unhappy but your mind will say. "Listen isn't that beautiful?"
Imagine the bird is singing to you. The
sound is unique to your ears.
If you can, go outside.
Inside or outside, take at least 3 lovely deep breaths
Feel your connection with the bird and with all of nature. We are part of it.
You may be surprised at how often your
bird will sing to you when you need it.
My bird is the butcher bird and they got me through my intensive yoga teacher training!
They sing often in my garden and I smile and listen.
You can practice Bird Song where ever you are in the world.
You can have as many special birds as you want.
Learn about the birds around you and feel connected to nature.
Week 4. Growing Your Own Medicine
One plant at a time !
Your plant doesn't have to be a medicinal plant, growing something, looking after and enjoying having it around is good for you.
Close your eyes and picture a plant that you feel connected too. Maybe because of the
smell or the beautiful flowers or because of a memory.
Spend some time imaging where you could grow your special plant. A pot on the window sill or your garden.
Now make it happen, bring it into your life.
If nothing comes
to mind, easy...walk into your local nursery and pick up the first plant that you like and bring it home.
We have so many resourses' now if your local nursery doesn't stock your plant. You may be able to find it online. I can recommend
If it dies...buy another...maybe try something easy ask at your local nursery.
If it thrives....buy another.
My Dad always had red geraniums at the
front of his house. When he visited my garden he used to say I needed more flowers. He died a couple of years ago and the geraniums remind me of him and he was right they look beautiful. They are still in the pot from the nursery but inside a beautiful ceramic
pot and if they start to look dodgy I put them near my water bin where they will get some TLC and go out and buy another!
Worm juice, seaweed extract, sunshine and regular watering keep them healthy and I have gradually increased my collection
including the lovely blue pots.
- I prefer the high fibre...everyone moans if I give them wholemeal.
*SEEDS. PUMPKIN, SUNFLOWER, CHIA,
LINSEED. Teaspoon of each
- highly nutritious and cheaper than nuts. A few seeds go a long way. I blend them in my nutribullet and call it a crumble. Keep blended seeds in the fridge for no more than 4 days. These
can be added to salads including fruit salad, porridge etc.
CHEESE - VEGANS USE NUTRITIONAL YEAST FLAKES INSTEAD
If I have yeast flakes in the fridge I add about a dessertspoon as well as cheese these contain a wealth of protein, vitamins and minerals. The cheese I add for
the taste. I love parmesan, but will add cheddar if I have none. I am slap dash with measurements, a hunk of cheese cut into small squares. I try not to eat too much cheese but I want my pasta to be delicious so experiment with the amount you add.
* BASIL OR ANY HERB YOU LOVE - I grow bush basil and it is always available if a little scrawny in the winter - if you have no herbs or don't like herbs leave them out
a clove or 2 depending on taste.
All the above ingredients except yeast flakes are put in my nutribullet and blended. This is now called cheesy crumble and ready to put over your pasta, roasted veggies or fresh
Quick, easy, nutritious and most importantly delicious.
* VEGGIES ARE OPTIONAL. The photo is organic roast pumpkin with the skin on.
Zucchini is lovely roasted and I get plenty of these in summer. Experiment with left over veggies.
Cook your spaghetti....or quinoa...
Blend your seeds, with a clove of garlic, a hunk of cheese and herbs to taste in a nutribullet
I call this cheesy crumble...if you are using nutritional yeast flakes add these after and maybe a drizzle of EXTRA VIRGIN olive oil so it is not too dry. This is great on pasta without extras and is full of nutrition.
Ready in 10 minutes
If you want fresh tomato sauce, chop and cook as many
as you like or have. Be generous with the EXTRA VIRGIN olive oil and heat it up before adding the tomatoes, put the lid on the pan until soft. This takes about 20 minutes. Serve with pasta and sprinkle cheesy crumble on top...too much can be a bit claggy,
maybe a dessertspoon and keep the rest for salad.
Ready in 20 minutes
If you want some roast veggies, roast in pan with a drizzle of oil.
Serve on top of the pasta and sprinkle on a dessertspoon of cheesy crumble.
Ready in 20 minutes
Enjoy and experiment!
Week 6. Meditation - Smile
It is not what you look like on the outside but what you feel like on the inside that is important.
For a moment look at this lovely photo taken at Attagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple known as the Temple of Healing. It is most famous for
its collection of 1200 Rakan statues that represent the disciples of the historical Buddha. Each have different expressions, body shapes and amounts of lichen and moss! The healing comes from making you smile.
Close you eyes, feel your breath rising
SMILE.....everyone of us has a beautiful smile.
Breathe in contentment, breathe out tension.
I took this photo because of all the 1200 statues. I like him best because of his lovely smile.
Be liked and loved and smile
more often. Smile at yourself, smile at others, smile because you can.
Practice this meditation as often as possible
Week 7 - A poem for you
I don't remember a lot of my childhood in England,
But I do remember the trip to Mother Shipton's Cave,
A small cave,
A small wishing well,
I was perhaps 10,
I wished for a horse.
Looking back I can now see that my wish was for a different life,
Countryside and horses,
Instead of school and the 6 o clock news.
I went searching,
I left home to study at 18,
I had fun,
I forgot about my golden palomino.
Time moved forward,
Two years hard work and loneliness in Durham,
A job with no joy,
A year on Crete
Two years in London.
I had everything now.
The profession and money,
A flat in cool Camden,
But still I went searching, this time to Australia,
A Kombi in Perth,
A flat in Balmain,
A friend who rode
He died yesterday my lovely horse.
He was 29,
He was well and then he died,
Just as I had hoped.
A horse is not a house, car or mobile phone,
A horse is a different life,
countryside, Akubra, Bush Aussies
Camp fires, Billabong swims.
He was not a Golden Palomino,
He was a bush horse, a stock horse,
He was free to a good home,
He was 4 years old,
He was weekends in the
countryside with my husband and horse riding friends,
He was a wonderful escape, just the two of us gone bush,
He was family walks,
A child on a horse, 2 dogs and a picnic,
A special lunch spot among the trees, a fire,
summer a billabong swim,
He was a camping holiday like no other.
He loved crisps, dates and cheese sandwiches,
He was a gentle horse,
A special horse,
He led me to a different lifestyle,
A better life,
His name was Banjo.
Now you make your wish, you don't need a cave, a wishing well.
Wish well my friend,
Make it happen...
*A wish is not a childish thing, set an intension, a resolve
with Yoga Nidra
This is a very nourishing and delicious meal. In Ayurveda it balances the energy in your body. Of all the meals I cook at the retreat Kitchari is the biggest hit. I serve it for lunch and if there is any left after
a second helping, it is sure to be gone as extras with dinner.
My daughter eats it for breakfast, the dogs love it too !
It is very easy to make and cooks in about 20 - 30 minutes.
This recipe contains red lentils.
are a very important food for vegetarians and vegans.
High in Protein. Lentils contain more protein than most other types of beans and legumes, including black, white and pinto beans.
Dense With B Vitamins. ...
Source of Iron.
2 cups red lentils
2 cups basmati rice (wholegrain preferably)
Left over veggies. I use a rainbow of colours in my kitchari I add
1 dessertspoon of turmeric
Sea Salt to taste
1 to 2 teaspoons
Heat a little ghee, butter or coconut oil in a large pan.
Add well rinsed lentils and rice
Add filtered water to cover the lentils.
Put lid on and simmer for 10 minutes
add more water if needed, turmeric and salt, give it a stir.
I make it to a thick soupy consistency, check it and add more water if needed every 5 minutes until everything is well cooked.
This is the part that makes it sooo delicious.
*In a frying pan add a generous amount of ghee or butter (vegans use virgin coconut oil)
Fat is good for us it helps us absorb vitamins and mineral and is needed for hormone production and
much more. Avoid toxic margarine and refined oils.
*1 - 3 cloves of crushed garlic
*3 special cooling Ayurvedic spices for digestion. Cumin, coriander and fennel.
I prefer to use whole seeds but powder works too (if you don't like them
miss them out)
Pour this into the kitchari when it is cooked and ready to serve.
A sprinkle of fresh coriander for the top
Chilli especially in winter
This can be eaten for
breakfast, lunch or dinner enjoy it.
Week 9. Growing Your Own Medicine- Basil
A special Ayurvedic Herb
Many of the herbs we use in cooking are amazing medicines. The bees and insects know this and love basil especially.
It is so easy to buy a basil plant and place it on your window sill but remember to share and plant one in your garden for the bees and insects. Basil grows easily from seed too in summer. Basil is always growing somewhere in my garden.
Ayurveda is the Indian System of Medicine. In my opinion it is a wonderful system of medicine because it uses natural medicine. Herbs, spices, food, massage, yoga, meditation and lifestyle advice first but will recommend Western Medicine
as well when these therapies are not sufficient.
I could use Western Science to explain the health benefits of basil but it is lacking because it misses out its effect on the mind. A Diploma in Ayurvedic
Herbology was part of my Medical Herbalist qualification with the special and inspiring Denis Stewart.
The information below is from a wonderful book called Yoga of Herbs by Dr Frawley and Dr Lad.
Basil is one of the most sacred herbs of India. It's quality is sattva.
It opens the heart and mind bestowing the energy of love and strengthens faith, compassion and clarity, clears the
aura and strengthens the immune system...and you thought it just tasted good!
A plant of basil should be kept in every home for, its purifying influence.
a tonic for colds, flus and lung problems and helps clear the sinuses.
It improves absorption and strength of nerve tissue and increases memory.
It is an excellent herb
and combines with Gotu Kola for autism and senility.
It helps treat headaches, arthritis and abdo distension.
Tulsi is the basil used in India and other basil have similar
Use the essential oil in a vaporiser with peppermint and eucalyptus...lovely for winter when it often dies back.
Organic Tulsi tea is available at some organic
shops. It often has other herbs in a blend.
My local is Organic Plus, 1 Bonnal Rd, Erina NSW 2250 which has a huge range of teas.
Make pesto (activated -almond pesto
recipe to follow)
Week 10. Cooking Vegetarian & Vegan Food
Activated almond pesto.
I have Kerren to thank for teaching me about soaking nuts. She is from the Middle East where almonds are grown and traditionally soaked in water before eating.
THEY TASTE SO MUCH SWEETER AND ARE DELICIOUS. I never
used to like nuts but now I do.
Nuts contain enzyme inhibitors to stop them sprouting until conditions are right, after rain. They are a large seed really and soaking them begins germination. The enzyme inhibitors stop us from absorbing the nutrients
and eating non soaked nuts can lead to digestive problems.
Almonds should be soaked for a minimum of 8 hours.
Have you seen activated nuts in Health Food Stores ?
These are nuts that have been soaked
and then dried.
But eating them freshly sprouted is so much better and cheaper.
Make sure you rinse the water and eat them within 4 days. The fats in nuts can become rancid, keep them in the fridge.
Activated Almond Pesto - continued
Once you have soaked your nuts the rest is very, quick, easy and highly nutritious.
The soaked almonds are moister, sweeter and cheaper than pine nuts.
20 Almonds provide 6 grams of protein and
4 grams of fibre, plus vitamin E (35 percent DV [daily value]), magnesium (20 percent DV), riboflavin (20 percent DV), calcium (8 percent DV) and potassium (6 percent DV).
To the nutribullet container add
about 30 nuts
Grab a handful of herbs from the garden, not just basil but any you like.
Chop up some small squares of cheese. Cheddar or parmesan. Vegans use nutritional yeast flakes.
a clove of garlic
Drizzle in extra virgin olive oil and whizz, add more oil as required.
Week 11. 10 Minute Tea Meditation
Photograph taken in my garden.
"Every morning when we wake up, we have 24 brand new hours to live. What a precious gift”
THICH NAHT HANH
Instead of spending most of your day over thinking, worrying,
planning and missing the moment, try to stay more focused in the here and now.
This is mindfulness and it is very important for being happy and healthy.
Start a tea ritual. Choose a time that is easy for you to practice every day.
aware of your breath as you make your tea and focus on everything you are doing. While the kettle boils stand in the mountain and breath deeply as yoga has taught you. While your tea brews take one foot off the floor and then the other. Watch your thoughts
come and go and keep returning to the present moment.
Choose a special place to sit with no distractions and enjoy every mouthful, Carefully wash your cup
This meditation can be even more powerful by choosing a tea for a specific purpose. Chamomile
for relaxing or peppermint which is up lifting for example, if you love a cup of English Breakfast then that’s the tea for you!