Behold the Lemon Balm & Wild Rose Tea and Chocolate Rose & Dandelion Root Energy Bites I’ll be serving for Restorative Herbal Yoga For Spring -the very first session of The Yoga Apothecary. Because I’m sooo grateful that this very first class is full (and that so many others of you have wanted to attend) I’ve decided to share the recipes for the treats that we’ll be sampling in class, so you can also enjoy their healing and revitalizing gifts at home!
In these classes we’ll be marrying the benefits of cleansing, calming and rejuvenative herbs, with restorative yoga postures and breath. Our focus is on releasing the stagnant tension and toxins that get “stuck” in our bodies over winter – allowing the fresh life giving energy of spring to flow IN. And to help us to do that, we’ll be calling in plant allies like Lemon Balm, Wild Rose and Dandelion Root! So before our practice we’ll sip a fragrant and uplifting lemon balm and wild rose petal tea – spiked with a grounding dandelion root tincture.
Lemon balm is a delicious lemony herb in the mint family that helps soothe anxiety and calm the nervous system, this will help us relax and release tension in our bodies as we practice. The loving energy of rose and her heavenly volatile oils also help us to enter a deeply relaxed state. Her anti-depressant qualities and ability to uplift the heart and spirits are also well known. These benefits in yoga therapy, and especially in restorative yoga, are important physiologically to healing – because without first feeling safe and relaxed, we cannot fully restore.
Stress and chronic tension can often get held in the body, from our jaw, neck, shoulders, bellies, hips and most critically our psoas muscle (which connects our legs to our torso). This can keep our flight/fight/freeze sympathetic nervous system activated, and “turn off” the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). Sadly, this can bring a host of negative effects from hampering digestion, dampening our immune system, compromising cellular repair and exhausting our adrenals etc. So we’ll be calling on the power of our lemon balm and wild rose petal tea to help us release tension, deeply relax and switch our healing parasympathetic nervous system back on. (see more detail on this and on lemon balm here)
In yoga, the First or Root chakra is related to issues of survival, security and feelings of being safe and stable. Located at the base of the spine, it governs our feet, legs, hips and psoas muscle, and is the source of our life-giving connection to the earth. And if we take a lesson from mother nature, she teaches us there is no standing strong without first rooting down. Feelings of being ungrounded, anxious or depressed, of never feeling truly safe in the world, can signal a first chakra imbalance.
And so the perfect 1st chakra remedy is dandelion! Because if you’ve ever tried digging up dandelion’s roots you know the true meaning of being deeply, firmly and stubbornly rooted in the earth. And there’s no doubt about why dandelion is a premiere root chakra plant, she’s truly a sunny survivor and prolific thriver!
Her roots have been used for thousands of years to cleanse and revitalize organ systems of the lower body, from bladder, to kidneys, to liver. Dandelion also improves digestive system function and encourages the release of toxins from our blood. (This is especially helpful when chronic constriction in our lower bodies, impedes the fresh of nutrients, lymph and waste.)
Filled with vitamins A, C, D and B complex, minerals such as zinc, silicon, iron, calcium and potassium, dandelion root contains more betacarotene than carrots! And because it’s so packed with healing nutrients (which helps restore the optimal function of our cells and organs) we’ll end our class with a Chocolate Rose & Dandelion Root Energy Bites- to help nourish and fortify of course!
Yes they’re pretty yummy! And don’t worry, you won’t even notice the dandelion. Gluten free and packed with almonds, sunflower seeds, chopped fresh dandelion root, cocoa powder, organic chocolate chips and all ever so slightly perfumed with rose water, they’re ready to root, cleanse and restore you anytime – not just after yoga!
Finding dandelion root is pretty easy, while digging her roots out may take some effort. Cut in deep around the centre of the plant with a sharp tool or trowel, then pull up the roots from the dirt. You’ll need to wash these thoroughly and then chop for use in the recipe. And if you can’t find any (how can that be?!) dried dandelion root can be bought at the store and whirred up in a coffee grinder to make a fine powder. You’ll just add this powder to your recipe.
You can find fresh lemon balm peeking up in most gardens right now. I prefer them used fresh (I find them much more aromatic) plus right now their tender first leaves are just filled with the revitalizing energy of spring! I’ve used dried wild rose petals from my own pantry, but they can be purchased at most herbal stores, as can the dandelion root tincture. But if you can’t find all of ingredients, don’t worry, just use what you have, lemon balm or rose on their own will still do the trick.
So if you’re looking to enjoy these herbal spring treats with yoga, remember before you practice to take some quiet mindful time with your tea. Close your eyes, and inhale the tea’s fragrance, then take a sip and taste. Note any feelings or emotions that rise. Now see if you can bring these sensations together to form a sense memory you can reimagine and call on in practice.
Restorative yoga should be slow, movements should be gentle. Any sudden or quick moves can cause the body to tighten – which is what we don’t want! You might want to begin lying on the floor, taking time to settle down and feel all parts of the body supported by the earth. Using belly breath (place both hands over the navel area and slowly breathe in feeling the belly rise up and then on exhale falling under your fingers) allowing yourself to deeply sink into the earth’s supportive energy…
Using postures like knee to chest (apanasana) and happy baby (ananda balasana) use the exhale of the breath to soften your hips, gently releasing the tops of the thighs and psoas muscle. (see illustrations below) Don’t wrench your knees up close to your chest all at once, take your time, allowing the fragrance memory of the rose and lemon balm, and allow this calming energy to move through you. Remember also to soften your mouth, neck, shoulders, chest and belly.
And if you’d like to go a little deeper, try Garland Pose (malasana). You might want to sit on a block or high firm pillow if your heels come up off the floor, you want your feet on the ground for this posture. Concentrate on feeling the rooting through the toes, heels feet, legs, and breathe, allowing the pelvic floor to open, bringing in fresh blood flow to the lower body. Call on Dandelion root’s cleansing and nourishing powers to help revitalize your root chakra area.
But remember – you can enjoy Lemon Balm & Wild Rose Tea anytime you feel stressed or overwhelmed. And following your tea up with one (or two) Chocolate Rose & Dandelion Root Energy Bites will help ground you after. And remember, just taking some quiet time for self care, even if it is gifting your senses with aromatic tea and a tasty nourishing tea, is pretty rejuvenating! So relax, release and restore, and invite in the revitalizing energy of spring!
Lemon Balm & Wild Rose Tea w/ Dandelion Tincture
(makes enough for two cups)
- Couple of generous handfuls of fresh lemon balm leaves.
- One generous handful dried rose petals
- Add two cups of boiling water and let steep (covered!) for about 10 -15 minutes.
- Strain and serve.
- Add 2 droppers full of Dandelion tincture to each cup (about 10 ml total)
Chocolate Rose & Dandelion Root Energy Bites
Makes about 1 dozen
- 2 heaping tablespoons of chopped fresh dandelion root
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 egg
- 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons coconut butter or oil
- 1 tablespoons rose water
- Preheat oven to 350
- Mix all ingredients well into a wet dough (it will be very sticky)
- Form into little balls best you can and place in mini-cupcake tins
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes
- Cool and serve!