If gastronomy is our first love, then Ashtanga yoga is a close second.
We first came across this traditional style in sunny Florida while visiting our dear aunt, and it is now as integral a part to our day as our epicurean pursuits. This ancient form synchronises breath with movement, an all-absorbing meditation without which we would never have survived the whirlwind of our café. These afternoon yoga sessions were where we found our relief. But now that our early mornings are again our own, we hop straight out of bed and onto our mats. Moving steadily through the Primary Series, a progressive flow of 75 postures, there is an unmistakable realignment – both of our bodies and of our thoughts – and we emerge calmer, clearer, and ready to tackle the day.
There have been a great many variations on yoga as an exercise form but we somehow always return to Ashtanga and the set sequence of the Primary Series. When we first began we could barely touch our toes and yet we can now bend in two. With enduring efforts, terrifyingly tight hamstrings can indeed be stretched! We find the structured flow very reassuring – a dance of sorts – and its universality is something we have come to love too. Wherever one is in the world, the Ashtanga sequence is unchanging, and one can practice the familiar postures unperturbed (we are irrationally attached to our yoga mats and have taken them across oceans and seas).
After a morning spent saluting the sun, stretching our limbs and twisting this way and that, we need to REFUEL. This green cashew smoothie is our post-yoga go-to. It is full of zest (mango and lime), rehydrating (coconut water), rich in protein (cashew nuts and spinach), and totally delicious (the whizzing up of all of the above).
Pineapple is wonderful in the winter when mangoes are difficult to come by. High in calcium for bone strengthening, it is also an excellent digestive aid. Almond milk, for the creamiest shake, is always our first choice. We often throw in a tablespoon of hemp seeds for a little protein boost.
2 ripe bananas
flesh of 1 mango
2 cups baby spinach
2 cups almond milk or coconut water
½ cup cashew nuts
juice of 1 lime
Combine all the ingredients in your blender and process until creamy and smooth. If you find it too thick you can always add a little more liquid.