Graceful Yoga and Haute Vegan Cuisine

Yoga thought for the day: “I trust that if I do my yoga practice, I’m going to get stronger and more flexible. If I stay in alignment, if I don’t push, if I don’t force, then my body will organically open in time. I know that if I breathe deeply, I’ll oxygenate my body. It has an influence on my nervous system. These things are fixed and I know to be true.  But I also recognize that it’s a mystical practice, and you can use your body as an expression of your devotion. So the way that you place your hands, the ways that you step a foot forward or back, everything is done as an offering. I offer the movements to someone I love or to the healing of the planet. And so if I’m moving from a state of love and my heart is open to that connection between myself and another person or myself and the universe, it becomes an active form of prayer, of meditation, of grace.” – Seane Corn, “Yoga. Meditation in Action,” www.onbeing.org  with Krista Tippett (March 3, 2011).

I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “grace” lately.  Not grace as it appears in the first four or so definitions listed in the dictionary, but grace as a spiritual and theological term. To me, grace is the ability to give with no expectation of reward and to receive without questioning our worthiness – and to do both with gratitude. Grace is the embodiment of the attitude that to give and to receive are essentially the same act. Grace is compassion freely given to all beings, regardless of conditions, with wisdom and equanimity. Grace is a deep sense of not just our connection to but our oneness with all beings and our environment.

While researching “grace” on the Internet, I came across what looks to be a very special yoga studio in North Kingstown, Rhode Island called Grace Yoga. This studio’s epigraph is “Be Receptive to the Grace of God,” and its website explicitly conveys its commitment to the teachings of yoga beyond the physical practice. A remarkable and lovely website:  http://www.graceyoga.org/home.html.

I also came across a magical and inspirational website dedicated to the exploration of grace as a healing power and the means to creating  “spiritual freedom.”  I have not finished exploring this rich site: http://www.artofgrace.org/index.html, but have already found much to reflect on, including this statement: “Grace is the experience of unconditional love when you are in harmony with yourself, with others and with the cosmos.”

Even as I’ve been thinking about “grace,” I’ve also been working at creating vegan recipes that would be suitable for a special occasion. Elegant dishes that would bring together meticulous preparation and careful presentation with refined and precise flavors that demand to be savored rather than devoured. Pictured here are my Roasted Vegetable Weave and Spanish Roasted Portobello Mushroom.

I plan to continue experimenting in the direction of elegant and delicious dishes, and to continue also to explore and abide in grace.

May all beings have enough to eat. Namaste.