The Holidays and Wellness

Gift Certificates available to purchase for yourself or a loved one!

photo89Home-Made Paneer

Paneer is a fresh cheese common in  Indian cuisine. It is an un-aged, acid-set, non-melting cheese. Unlike most cheeses in the world, the making of paneer does not involve rennet as the coagulation agent. It is generally unsalted but it can be made with different spices like ginger, carom, jalapeno peppers, black pepper or a mixture and used by itself  as a snack either served warmed on a griddle or raw. The plain paneer can be made into many varieties of dishes or served dry with a blend of special spices called Tandoori masaala and then broiled in an oven with green bell peppers and onions.


Biryani is a special blend of basmati rice, chicken, lamb, fish, vegetables or lentils. The rice and the other items are cooked separately with exotic spices like saffron, cardamom, mace, cloves, etc. and then put in layers. The mixture is then simmered over low heat allowing for the perfect marriage of flavors, creating a fragrant dish which is sure to awaken the taste buds. It is served with a side of Raita (savory yogurt made with different vegetables and mint).

Persian Stuffed Cornish HensDSC02370
and many more varieties of meat dishes

Cornish hens that gave been stuffed with rice, nuts, dates, vegetables, spices, and cheese and then cooked with well-flavored broth. A meal by itself.

Cranberry Chutney

A special twist to your usual cranberry sauce which will leave your taste buds tingling with satisfaction.  All kinds of other chutneys also available.


Special clarified butter which can be used for cooking or given away as gifts. Plain ghee, spiced ghee, and medicated ghee available.

Ayurveda  Face Treatments, Shirodharas,  Back Marma and Cleanses

All treatments offered in the comfort of your home.

Yoga as the Union of Shiva and Shakti

The source of all life is ananda.
The world and all its raga is the product of two opposites:
shiva (the static principle) and
shakti (the dynamic principle)

In this class we will try to reach an expanded state of consciousness where we will aim to _DSC6168draw all experiences of the physical body together through rhythmic asana, music, mantra, and meditation, learning that the essence of the highest union is honoring our own sacred sexuality.

Mondays, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Cost: $50 for five classes or $11 drop-in
Beginning on November 4, 2013
at StudioNia Santa Fe
851 W. San Mateo • 505-989-1299

Yoga and Food: A Divine Union

38.jpgJoin Ayurveda Practitioner and Chef, Shibana Singh, for a delightful class combining yoga & food! Learn about the universal factors in life that can influence both.  Not to be missed! Hands-on, includes lunch. Vegetarian-friendly.

Class price: $85

Location: Santa Fe Culinary Academy

Click here for more information and to register for the class!

A Matter of Perspective

I was walking down the aisle of Trader Joe’s in Santa Fe in a salwar kameez, bindi, jutis… my regular attire when I am not working out or torturing my beloved clients. I am lost in thoughts of spicy fish vindaloo and steamed rice for dinner, salivating at the aroma of crispy cinnamon toast with creamy brie sprinkled with rosemary and honey for breakfast, when I am startled from my deep food samadhi by an accented “Namaste.” A white man in a saffron kurta and white pajamas, with disheveled hair and a rudraksha mala around his neck has obviously figured out I am Indian. I fold my hands in Namaste and smile. This leads to a conversation, with him trying to speak all the Hindi words in his vocabulary. He tells me that he lives in India the majority of his year, spends his time in prayer and meditation, and works for the betterment of poor, downtrodden Indian women.

I tell him that I am grateful for the work he is doing in the land of my birth, fold my hands again, saying Namaste, while the gorgeous, peachy butternut squashes are calling to me so I can morph them into a soup. Ass I begin to walk away, saying, “It was nice to meet you…” Anandaji (the spiritual name he has taken) tells me how lucky I am to be living here in the states, which is so much safer for me.

I stop, there are a hundred answers, a million defenses going through my head, the nationalist Shibana saying silently, “What are you doing living in my country…taking an Indian name and Indian garb if its so unsafe?” This is where the teaching of patanjali comes in: I tell myself, vrittayah pancatayah klishta aklishta, (the afflictions of the mind, the coloring of thoughts cause a fluctuation which become the breeding ground of samskaras). I say a silent Om and turn to him with a smile, saying that he, trying to live the life of sadhu, should know that safety is just a construct of the mind. I felt and feel safe in India as much as I do here as I walk towards the pungent, warm ginger which will balance the sweetness of the squash in the soup.

I am driving to my client’s home today afternoon on Old Santa Fe Trail. The golden autumn sun is shining through my windows, the breeze caressing my skin has the crispiness of fall, the yellow leaves on the trees are offering themselves to the earth, and autumn is the season that teaches about the impermanence of everything. My head and face are covered in a pink scarf, protecting my skin from the sun, a habit from years so long back that it seems as natural as putting on my sunglasses when to protect from the glare of the brilliant sun. The melody of a Bollywood song sings “subhan Allah”(glory to Allah) loudly. I slow down as I come to a turn, and  a group  of middle aged white  tourists look at me oddly, perhaps because my scarf could be mistaken for a hijab, perhaps it is the continuous rendition of subhan allah from the car, perhaps it is the small  Indian flag sticker I put on my car in a moment of nostalgia towards my homeland… perhaps it is my imagination, but my heart begins to thump loudly, I remember  the incident of a Sikh  professor  being assaulted  just the day before  because he was  mistaken for a Muslim. I could easily be shot or assaulted in a hate crime, I think, lowering the volume of the song, and gratefully parking in my client’s driveway. I take  a look  in the  mirror with my scarf still on, see the fear that  had momentarily made home in my eyes and say softly that safety is indeed a construct of the  mind, not  forgetting that this how my many dear Muslim brothers and sisters feel everyday in this safe land, as the whiff of  the sweet, comforting ginger date  pie  I made that  morning wraps itself around me!


There is something about running a fever, as the body writhes and groans in physical pain, that makes the mind become still and quiet. It is possible that as one lies alone agonizing over the physical discomfort, that the sensory stimulation we inhale every moment in our culture is greatly reduced. Tada drastuh svarupe vasthanam. (Then the seer abides in its own nature)

Having lived 13 years in this country and considering myself to be a true citizen of the world, it is shocking how a dose of physical discomfort can make me long for the familiarity of what I grew up with. It just goes to show that it is truly egotistical to call ourselves yogis just because we go through some physical postures on a regular basis, or even sit doing japa and dhayana everyday. After all, the yogis are known to go through conscious suffering to reach a state of awakening where there is no difference between pain and comfort, and there is continuous sense of upeksha (equanimity). They do not long for their mothers loving touch or a friend’s hearty soup the moment the temperature of this physical body rises above a 101.

It amazes me that how things that seem culturally normal on a regular day become a cultural shock on days when the body is not at its optimum, reinforcing the teaching of the yoga sutras that the physical practice of yoga is important because a  healthy body harbors a healthy mind. If the body is restless and inflexible the mind is bound to become agitated and rigid. On most days, a text message from a friend saying hope all is well is the norm and a lovely way to be in touch in the busy lives we lead in the west. It seems to become a detached formality when you have  told your friends you are sick, even if that means your mind has succumbed to the sensations of the body and perhaps exaggerated the heat of the skin and the fog in the head to “really sick”.

I crave for the intrusion of my friends and family, coming to visit and bringing with them bowls of hot khicari, soothing stews, homemade remedies and comforting tales. I want the laughter of friends who are not afraid of being infected by my terrible disease, the stories of the flu running in their households and the constant irritant of my father’s voice telling me to eat.

Once I am over missing mommy and feeling sorry for myself, I try to witness these thoughts, I try not to make them more than they are, I try to enjoy the home delivery of Chinese food. I express gratitude for all  the loving thoughts being sent my way and at the risk  of  sounding like a broken record, take this as moment of  expansion, knowing that everything is teaching us and this time has been gifted to me for svadhyaya (self inquiry).