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December 2005

Make every day a holiday, and every holiday a holy day!

It's often the simple things that give us the sweetest, most profound pleasures: being in silence or uplifting company, pottering around at home, being in a pleasant and natural environment, stretching your body, singing, eating wholesome food or just breathing, slowly and deeply. Spending some time every day to focus on your Self makes your day a holy day.

Holidays can be a disruptive time with travel, last minute shopping and entertaining. Repercussions such as weight gain, loss of energy and lowered immunity can persist for months afterwards. Minimise the disturbance with these healthy holiday habits:

  • A meal cooked and served in a joyous atmosphere with positive attention, and eaten in the pleasant company of friends and family converts quickly to ojas. This is the substance that sustains life and promotes good health, radiance and bliss.
  • Giving thanks before and after eating also add to your bodies' ability to assimilate the food.
  • Make sure to enjoy a variety of flavours, tastes and textures in your meals, you will have fewer cravings.
  • Drink lots of water through the day, but limit beverage intake with meals.
  • Enhance your drinking water with herbs and spices for added benefit. Make your own blends or buy our ready made heating or cooling teas.
  • Organize festive gatherings at lunch whenever you can, because the digestive fire can handle heavier foods better if they are eaten around noon rather than late in the evening.
  • Cook with spices, masalas and churnas --they enhance both flavor and digestion. We have beautiful gift packs with them for a Christmas present that's really good for you. See below for more.
  • Don't skip breakfast--a warm, nourishing stewed apple or pear is a wonderful way to start a hectic day. Add a tahina sauce and some cooked prunes, figs or raisins  for extra energy.
  • No matter how hectic your schedule, take 5-10 minutes to sit quietly after a meal. It's a good way to kick-start your digestion.
  • Avoid eating out too often, and when you do, choose light meals which are easier to digest.
For us, it is time for a new beginning. We will be moving at the end of January 2006 from our current premises. We will offer a full day Ayurveda Wellness Retreat worth R1080 as a gift to the person who leads us to our future location. We are looking for a space where we can continue to support you in your health and well being.
Do you know a property with a moderate rent for our new Centre in or near Cape Town  with a lush garden in a tranquil environment? We need a minimum of 5 rooms and we would love to have extra accommodation on the premises.

Fire therapy
Masalas add spice to your life
Recipe: Masala mung dal
Retreat into timelessness - Half day special for 2

Fire therapy

Fire is one of the five elements which make up this universe, according to most traditional health systems, including Ayurveda. When fire element is strong and well balanced in an individual, there will be personal warmth and beauty and a loving personality. Physical and mental digestion will be good and the person is able to move forward with determination and sustain activity over a long period of time without strain. When fire is in excess this may manifest in passion and aggression.  When the fire element is weak, a person will be emotionally cold and indifferent, with a rather dark and uninspired mental outlook. You can help to balance your own inner fire by acknowledging and giving thanks to the outer fire, the sun every morning. Celebrate this year's summer solstice on 21 December by watching the sunrise (5.31 am in Hout Bay).
Here is a beautiful verse with which to greet the sun :
I recognize the sun within me; it is the cause, the dweller of my life. On that basis it functions. This energy flows through me.
om namo suryaya
Its sustenance is sparkling into every cell of my body, vital energy spreading throughout, new rays incessantly beaming into me. om namo bhaskraya
This is my source of nourishment; it creates new life in me. om namo divaya
This promotes brightness and vitality in me. om namo tevaya
It enlightens me, fills me with knowledge, dissolves darkness. I invoke the sun, source of my life, and I place you, sun, in my body ... so that it may function fully ... to the last cell. om namo prkashaya

Homa therapy, which is part of Ayurveda, is a body of ancient knowledge which makes use of purifying fires to heal the atmosphere by removing toxic conditions and replenishing nutrients via the ash. When we are appreciated and acknowledged, we tend to give more generously, Nature is the same. Similarly, according to Homa therapy: when we contribute to healing the atmosphere, this healed atmosphere heals us.

The most basic Homa is called Agnihotra and is tuned to the biorhythm of sunrise/sunset. The process involves preparing a small fire of dried cow dung in a copper pyramid of fixed size and putting some grains of rice and ghee (clarified butter) into the fire exactly at sunrise and sunset accompanied by the chant of two simple mantras. You can practice Agnihotra in your apartment, garden or office. It takes only a few minutes of your time daily. Please contact us for more details.

Agni: your digestive fire Agni in Sanskrit means fire. In Ayurveda, Agni is the digestive and metabolic "fire" that grabs the essence of nourishment from food, feelings, and thoughts and transforms it into a form your body can use. Agni helps various tissues of the body produce secretions, metabolic reactions, and other processes needed to create energy and maintain and repair the body. Agni is also part of the immune system since its heat destroys harmful organisms and toxins. The activity of agni varies throughout the day and maintaining the strength and natural ebb and flow of your digestive fires is needed for good digestion, good immune function, and resistance to disease. Agni is enhanced by all of the above suggestions.

You can support agni by eating in accordance with the seasons. Bitter, sweet, and astringent tastes will help to keep you cool this summer, so eat more foods like apples, grapes, zucchini, lettuce, cucumbers, coriander and fresh organic dairy. Eliminate or reduce your intake of alcohol, heavy meats, and fried, oily, salty, spicy, and sour foods. Instead of salt, use fennel seeds, coriander, fenugreek, and fresh lime juice for seasoning.

Masalas add spice to your life! 

What is a masala?
A masala is a combination of spices which have been ground and mixed together. Often the spices are dry roasted before being ground. Heating, by roasting or sautéing the whole spice, unlocks its true flavour and renews the energy and memory of the seed.
Why use masalas?
 Spices add variety, interest and excitement to your life. Most spices enhance digestion and metabolism. They also help remove accumulated toxins and prevent gas and bloating, so they are valuable additions to your daily diet.
Turmeric, cumin, coriander, fennel, mint, asafetida (hing), black pepper, dried powdered ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne all have this beneficial effect.
Including all six tastes at every main meal is a basic tenet of ayurvedic dietary wisdom, and spices are a convenient, flavorful way of accomplishing this.
Spices are like herbs: they work gently and gradually, with the benefits adding up over time and no dangerous side effects. Ayurvedic physicians recommend taking them as nature intended, rather than in the form of a pill or capsule. 
Masalas have rejuvenative properties.

How to use masalasThere are a number of possibilities:
You can heat the masala at the beginning of your cooking in some kind of oil or ghee. Then add your other ingredients. Ghee or clarified butter helps transport the therapeutic value of spices to the different parts of the body, so Ayurveda generally recommends including a ghee-spice mixture in at least one meal of the day.
Or you can add the masala in during the cooking process, as in the recipe below.
Or you can sprinkle it into your dish towards the end of the cooking. 
Masalas can be used with any cooked food except desserts.
What is a churna? Churnas are made from fresh herbs that have been dried and ground to very fine powders so as to make them easily assimilable. A wide variety of medicinal and culinary herbs can be made into churnas, and they may be used singly or in combinations. Churnas can be considered as highly specialized curry powders, blended so as to impart particular medicinal properties to the food.
How to use churnas? It can be sprinkled over food that is already cooked to add your taste experience while at the same time improving your health.

Try our cumin & black pepper rasam, mild garam masala, mint masala, moghul masala, madras curry masala masalas and Bengali vegetable rub. We also have Vata, Pitta and Kapha balancing churnas in our shop. We can make up beautiful gift packs with masalas, teas, soaps, incense, date balls. Give us a ring so we can prepare one especially for you or your loved one.

Recipe: Masala mung dal


1 cup split mung dal

Simmer until soft in

2 cups water


2 t your favourite Nalanda masala


2 t jaggery or raw sugar


4 T desiccated coconut

Simmer together for a minute and remove from heat. In a separate small pan, heat

1 T ghee or oil


1 t mustard seeds

When they start to pop, add

1 t cumin seeds


Pinch of asafoetida


A handful of dried curry leaves or 12 fresh curry leaves

Stir once and pour over the lentils. Mix well and serve sprinkled with

Fresh coriander




Serve as an accompaniment to boiled rice and a vegetable dish.

Retreat into timelessness - Ayurveda Wellness Retreat 1/2 day Special for 2, only R810:

deeply relaxing foot massage
herbal teas, fruit snack
full body oil massage
head neck and shoulder massage
light vegetarian meal

Valid for January 2006. Extra charge on Sat, Sun & Public hols. Gift vouchers available


Look to this day
For it is Life
The very Life of Life
In its brief course lie all
The realities and truths of existence
The joy of growth
The splendour of action
The glory of power.
For yesterday is but a memory
And tomorrow is only a vision
But today well lived
Makes every yesterday a memory of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope
Look well therefore to this day
Sanskrit Poem

Our wish for all of you is a healthy and happy holiday season. We would like to thank you for your support and encouragement during this past year and are looking forward to welcoming you in 2006.

Best wishes,

The Nalanda team



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