Summer Solstice and Anais's Birthday

My daughter Anais’s due date was Summer Solstice five years ago. We were living in Mexico at our first Sagrada Wellness Yoga Retreat center at the time and the weather was very hot and dry and the days were long. My parents flew down from Los Angeles a few days before her due date to welcome and celebrate the arrival of Anais. The long days around the Solstice were filled with activity, love, joy and exciting anticipation for her birth. They consisted of planting rows and rows of heirloom corn, painting our new home, afternoon picnics and late night dinners out. I will always remember that time as being filled with such exuberance and bliss, so fitting for the Summer Solstice.

The Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, is the sun’s most yang expression. It represents the peak, the zenith of light and summer fun. We know that the few months that follow will be the hottest, but the Solstice is a turning point. The days gradually get shorter as we begin to anticipate the winter. So capture it while it’s ripe and here now! It’s the summertime. An interesting duality exists before us, another example of Yang turning into Yin and the continuum of change proceeds.

So Anais waited to introduce herself. She watched the Solstice come and go in my womb. We all waited another 8 days! She milked all the pleasures of being in Mama’s belly enjoying all that exuberance and bliss through me. After her celebratory birth 8 days later, we shifted gears, and all retreated into that cozy and nurturing cocoon of babyhood.


The Fast/Detox Experience

Sagrada Wellness Yoga Retreats

Walking the Middle Path with Traditional Chinese Medicine

The Traditional Chinese Medicine formula Calm, or otherwise known as Free and Easy Wanderer is one of my favorite formulas that bring so many of my patient’s peace, happiness and presence. A recent client of mine was revealing in how grounded and intuitive she feels while taking Calm, almost as if she is so in tuned with her life that she can predict certain events throughout her day. She also embarked on my three day health fast of oats, millet, veggies and mung beans. We had a lovely discussion on what cleansing and detoxing is all about.

Fasting is truly an uplifting experience as it makes us look at our lives in new ways. For some of us we have to cool that stomach fire that causes the relentless hunger and cravings. For others it’s moving through that sluggishness while the liver gradually detoxifies stagnant residues that keep us from living naturally buoyant. The herbal teas of burdock root, milk thistle and dandelion are speedy ways to clear out the old, getting rid of the detox headaches, skin break outs or irritability.  Fasting makes us aware of our attachment to food. What does it mean for us to indulge in an afternoon frappe, the frozen yogurt covered with corn syrup in many shapes and textures, the evening bounty of the over consumption of food and beverages? The sense of comfort we get while popping food out of a bag or box into our mouths while we watch TV or driving. Let’s eliminate it all and see what we’re left with. Happily fasting usually leaves us a few pounds lighter too! But what comes up for you as the fat in your body melts away? Your arteries are cleaner and your belly a little flatter. However we conveniently store unpleasant or challenging issues/emotions in those fat cells. Acknowledge what comes up for you while fasting. Work towards accepting it, let the tears flow if needed and talk about them with a loved one. Release all that old stuff that just weighs us down physically and emotionally.

And by the last night of my fast I am enjoying going to sleep with a slight hunger in my belly. I knew I am healthy, walking the middle path. I will wake up fresh tomorrow hungry for life!

I would love to hear your comments on the fast and your personal experience cleansings!

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Eva's Three Day Detox Menu

Steam Vegetable, Whole Grain, Herbal Tea - Detox Fast

Plan about five days to a week before the fast starts to lighten up your normal diet. This will help your body to gradually start cleansing, make the fast more effective and less of a shock on your body. For me this will consist of vegan and gluten-free meals and no more wine or coffee for the next few weeks. Ahh, I feel my body thanking me already.

The Fast: Three Day Jump-start Health Fast

Morning Elixir Hydration Beverage

Breakfast – Oatmeal infused with Astragalus + one seasonal fruit on top

Lunch – Brown Rice or Millet with in season organic steamed veggie

Fresh Detox Herbal Tea

Dinner: Mung Bean Soup with Seaweed

Morning Elixir – Are you sluggish and have a foggy mind first thing in the morning? That is a sign that your liver is overburdened and has not completed it’ job of blood purification through the night. A person with a healthy liver should wake up fresh, with good energy and a clear mind. A morning elixir is a hydrating beverage that helps bring your energy up and out. Flower teas are the most cleansing so choose a tea of chamomile, red clover blossoms or orange blossoms. Drink warm or at room temperature. Flower teas should not be simmered more than 1 minute as they are tender and will lose their healing benefits.

Breakfast: I like steel cut oats the best. They have a fantastic chewy, nutty quality about them. Oats restore the nervous system. They strengthen the digestive system and build Qi. They remove cholesterol and are beneficial to the heart. Steel cut oats need to be cooked for ½ hour. Add one sticks of astragalus root or 2 tsp of astragalus power. Astragalus is one of my favorite herbs. It is know as a “superior herb” in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is a tonic herb that stimulates the immune system, builds Qi and gives you uplifting positive energy. Adding it to your oatmeal is a great way to start your day! Top your oats with one seasonal fruit of your choice.

Fresh Herbal Detox Tea: Make homemade tea of one bunch fresh dandelion greens and one bunch of fresh organic beet greens in large pot of water. Simmer for 3-5 minutes. Drink throughout the day. Dandelion and beet greens are great blood purifiers. This tea will make your skin glow! Both herbs help regenerate healthy liver cells.

Lunch: Chose ½ cup brown rice or millet with fresh steamed vegetables of your choice. Add a pinch of sea salt for taste. Brown rice is soothing to the stomach, increases qi energy, expels toxins and is concentrated in B vitamins benefiting the nervous system. Millet is the most alkalizing grain. It is high in protein and sweetens the breath by neutralizing acidity in the mouth.

Dinner: A simple mung bean soup with seaweed. Mung beans and brown rice are a classic yogi diet known as “the food of the gods.” Mung beans are the easiest bean to digest and detox the body and benefit the liver and heart. They produce yin fluids to moisten, cleanse and regenerate the body. Mung bean soup treats skin breakouts, cools summer heat, thirst, and restlessness. Make 2 cups of mung beans and 10 cups of water. Add one piece of kombu seaweed. Cook for 45 minutes. Add a pinch of salt to taste. Pot of soup should last for the three dinners of your detox fast.

Enjoy and remember that these are all therapeutic, healing and detoxifying foods.


Summer Detox Fast: Health Today at Sagrada Yoga Retreats

Part 2: Summer Detox

This cleansing fast is based on principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is designed as a healthy seasonal cleansing. This Spring fast will help detox the body from all the heavy, fatty and salty foods of the Winter. It helps us naturally shed unwanted weight, feel lighter and more active for the Summer. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi in our body and mind. When the liver is healthy we feel calm, never stressed and are effective decision makers often natural leaders. But when the liver is stagnant and out of balance there are endless physical and emotional imbalances. This fast will gently yet quickly cleanse our liver.

This fast is an uplifting experience that will enhance out health, improve our outlook on life and rejuvenate our liver. I'm excited to feel lighter, fresher and more present with the joy in my life.

Detox Menu coming soon.

Eva's Detox to Jump-Start Your Summer Health

Acupuncturist and Yoga Retreat Center Owner, Eva, designs an Effective Detox to Jump-Start Your Summer Health

It's early June, the perfect time to cleanse as we Spring into Summertime. I want to buy a new bathing suit and feel good in it. I want to be light and buoyant and have joyful energy for my spunky kids.

As an acupuncturist and herbalist I try and live harmoniously in synch with the seasons. But sometimes we all need a little reminder to pay attention to our bodies and the natural cycles of nature. What comes to mind when you think about summer? I think of beach days, water play, and afternoon BBQ's with new friends in Santa Margarita California and our Sagrada yoga retreat guests. Summer is the most yang season. It is about expansion, growth, lightness, outward activity and creativity. Our lifestyles and eating habits should relfect these natural yang principles. As it is the most yang seaon we should feel the most yang too. Wake up early with the bright sun, play, work, and be full of joy. Recieve the sun's strong energy and then radiate your sunshine back into the world. Crawl out of your cozy winter turtle shell and be social.

So what are some things that are going to bring us radiant health in the summertime? Summer fruits and veggies are varied, abundant and colorful. Your diet should reflect the same. Cook with lots of bright fresh goodies. Steam foods quickly and use less salt. Eat some raw if your digestive system can tolerate it. Cooling foods are refreshing such as salads, watermelons, cucumbers, lemons and sun teas of mint, chrysanthemum and chamomile. Have picnics and be outside.

A touch of spice and hot drinks can be beneficial to induce a sweat and cool the body down. Avoid ice beverages and ice cream as cold constricts and causes digestive sluggishness. Eat light and less and avoid heavy foods such as meat, dairy and nuts throughout the summer.

Who would like to join me as I facilitate a three day detox fast as we spring into summer? Lets feel light, radiant and full of joy!

More to come tomorrow!!!

A Lively Delight of a Yoga Retreat

This Yoga and Hiking Retreat has been a lively delight. With only a few yoga retreat guests, peace and gratitude grace our ranch as new insights are made. One guest marveled in the undivided attention she received from us creating the authentic Sagrada experience. I see she's bonded with Aaron, enjoyed the new private accommodation in the retreat center, connected to nature and her yoga. The small group explored the Rinconada Trail down the road from us and then this morning they journeyed to the coast to breath the sea salt air on the Harmony Trail. They came back with windblown hair, sun on their skin, radiant smiles and ready for a Sagrada lunch. The meals seems to have been spot on too. Another cookbook request from a happy and nourished yoga retreat guest. Scott and the kids work on his new vegan and gluten free version of Sagrada's scrumptious banana bread. It's in the oven now, smells divine, can't wait to try it.

California sun, hiking and yoga.

California sun, hiking and yoga.

What Could be Better than a Yoga Retreat in California with Wine and Chocolate?

Our recent Yoga Retreat was a blast! We had two couples from Sagrada’s PBS auction donation. They were both from Sonoma California and were excited to experience Central Coast Wine region on this yoga retreat. We sipped on Ancient Peaks wines and toured the beautiful historic Santa Margarita ranch. California wildflowers grace the rolling hills right now and remind us of the mystical. Kyle from Sculpterra Winery introduced us to Primitivo and rich dessert wines that paired with luscious local chocolates. Nicole taught dynamic yoga, Pilates and restorative classes during this yoga retreat. A few retreaters were brand new to yoga and left feeling inspired and ready to pursue their yoga practices. All and all it was another fantastic yoga retreat here at Sagrada Wellness.

Yoga Retreat Guests in California wine country.

Yoga Retreat Guests in California wine country.

Brings Tears to the Eyes

We've been showing off Sagrada's new yoga studio during yoga retreats, to friends and to family. My sister in law Nicole walked in, admired the space and as her eyes welled up with tears said "this is the most beautiful yoga space I've ever seen." My friend Beth, who knew our journey to get to this place, absorbed the mighty energy of the yoga room's cathedral ceilings and with watery eyes reflected on the healing energy of the yoga room embodies.

Yoga is about moving your Qi gently. It's about feeling your Prana (Qi) and about getting to a place of enthusiasm, enjoyment or simply acceptance right here, right now.

Crying, whether it's from tears of joy, tears of sadness or tears reflecting on the beauty of life, unblocks a bit of stagnant energy, allowing us to be free and be present.

So the next time you're compelled to cry, whether it's while on a yoga retreat at Sagrada, practicing your asanas at home, or taking a stroll in your neighborhood, just let your water flow.

Springtime Fun at Sagrada

We just hosted our second yoga retreat, a Yoga, Pilates, Detox Retreat with Nicole Currie in our beautiful new yoga retreat home! Everyone is enjoying walking bare feet on our shiny freshly polished cement floors, doing evening restorative yoga on natural bamboo wood and soaking in the hot tub with spectacular mountain and vineyard views. I had the pleasure of working one on one with a few yoga retreaters doing acupuncture and herbal consultations. They took their spiritual and physical wellness to a whole new level. Sharing evening stories around our fire pit, enjoying refreshing papaya and mango smoothies with maca, spirulina and rieshi, and then ending the retreat with a crafting party made us all feel like family. And let’s not forget we had all this fun while doing a gentle cleanse, Spring detox of vegan, gluten free, organic cuisine. We all feel lighter, closer to each other, ourselves and nature and ready for a wonderful spring!


A Few Delicious Dressings

Our lunches at Sagrada during yoga retreats are a farmer’s market salad bar. Fresh greens, homemade pickled veggies, sprouted beans, nuts and seeds and a couple of our savory dressings to choose from satiate our guests until the next yoga class.

Our Family Dressing

My dear Papa George was the dressing doctor (he was a brilliant ER doctor as well.) He was the master of his simple, vibrant Italian dressing. Born in Paris France, he had that European flare. I can picture him in his kitchen chopping chunks of fresh tomatoes from his garden and tearing lettuce leaves with his hands. He liked life real and rustic. He would make a jarful to last a few dinners and would get richer and more tasty as the days passed. The dressing is divinely pungent and sour.

            *1 cup olive oil

            *1 cup red wine vinegar

            *3 garlic cloves crushed in a garlic press

            * Juice of one lemon

            * Sea salt to taste

             *1/2 tsp black pepper

Serve over romaine lettuce, tomatoes and thinly sliced red onion.

My Papa always ate his salad after the entrée with a French baguette and a tasty glass of Beaujolais. Enjoy.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Food Energetics

Garlic- pungent, moves stagnant Qi- promotes circulation, inhibits the common cold virus, eliminates toxins from the body

Lemon- cooling in nature, benefits those who have eaten a high fat/high protein diet, benefits the liver, promotes weight loss, cleanses the blood, increases fluid production, great during summer heat for hydration

Lemon Tahini Dressing

1/2 cup tahini

½ cup of water

1 garlic clove crushed

½ cup finely chopped parsley

1 scallion finely chopped

Sea salt to taste

Sweet Sesame Dressing

                        ¼ cup olive oil

                        ¼ cup toasted sesame oil

                        2 Tbs Rice wine vinegar

                        2 Tbs orange juice

                        2 Tbs Lemon juice

                        2 tsp grated ginger

                        2 tsp raw honey

                        Sea salt to taste

                        A dash of nutritional yeast

                        A pinch of turmeric

A Yogi's Thoughts on Non-Attachment to Food

It is 5:30am Monday morning on my 8th day of my cleanse/detox diet. Scott and I, along with my sisters and brother in laws have been joining forces to accomplish a 21 day cleanse. Week 1 consisted of basically a vegan, gluten free and sugar free diet (I will be incorporating these food philosophies into Sagrada’s Yoga Retreat meal plan for our Yoga, Pilates, and Cleanse/Detox Retreat with Nicole Currie). It’s amazing to feel how the body handles the withdrawal from my winter of indulgences in many hearty delights; cheesy lasagnas, artisan salami, local cheeses, cupcake and wine pairings, along with many other delicious Central Coast wines. It’s all good stuff…life’s pleasures right? But sometimes a break, a cleanse, a fast of some sort re-calibrates your body, centers your energetic “mood” swings, purges all those stagnant emotions lodged deep down.

At first for me it was a few headaches, some bloating, and an outpouring of tears…..and then there was the missing…..the longing, the desire for that crusty sourdough bread with my sandwich, the bites of my kid's mac and cheese, and that oh-so-wonderful evening wine ritual with my husband; a nostalgia for the good-old-days. That longing did pass though. Maybe it was some sort of acceptance. Maybe it was some sort of realization that life goes fast. Maybe it was that my body just started to feel better. And lighter. And now I feel joyful, present, as I enter week 2 of my cleanse, bright and early, before my kids are up. And I don’t miss anything….at this moment. Let’s surprise my family with some banana gluten-free- pancakes.

Banana Gluten-Free-Pancakes

Serves 4

1 mashed banana

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

3 tbs flaxmeal

3 tbs coconut oil

1 cup brown rice flour

½ cup orange juice

A dash of cinnamon

A dash of sea salt

Cook pancakes with coconut oil and serve with raw honey! Enjoy.


The Oaks

The mighty California Oaks stand tall and proud in our valley. Some are said to be over 500 years old. They withstand all that mother nature sends. They feed with their acorns, give with their shade and support with their root systems.

Listen for their wisdom at the end of each asana. Yoga gets you closer to the pulse of nature.