Pranayama, Pressed Flowers & Mushroom Risotto

April.

April was a beautiful month. Spring finally came into fruition and Hamburg suddenly turned into this beautiful blooming city. I hadn’t experienced Spring in Germany before and I can honestly say that it was stunning. We also had really great weather here and we even discovered a beautiful park and a river bank beach, not so far away from our flat, with the surroundings looking more like in the middle of the country side rather than within Germany’s second largest city of Hamburg (with 1.8 million people living here).

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What’s also funny about discovering that park and beach was that the day before we found it, I was sat on my kitchen windowsill longing for a big luscious park near our flat to relax in (as there were so many by our old flat in Dusseldorf). I mean, there are plenty of stunning parks in Hamburg, but all of which you either have to get the train to or cycle for at least 30-40 minutes (minimum). Well the Universe was obviously listening close, because as soon as I put out that intention of desire for a park (without attachment to receiving it), we discovered this new park the very next day. Maybe you’ll call that a coincidence, I call it the magic of manifestation. When you can set an intention and let go of any attachment to the outcome, then more often than not, you will receive.

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Workshops-

Connecting to the Divine Feminine (Hamburg)

In April I finally hosted my Connecting to the Divine Feminine Workshop in Hamburg (after already having run it in Dusseldorf and Cardiff). As usual it was soo much fun! I love nothing more than holding the space for women to come and gather together and support each other. During the workshop we practiced a Shakti (Divine Feminine) yoga flow, and even had a little ecstatic dancing in there too. A huge part of the Divine Feminine represents this fluid, creative nature which has no structure or rules. When we dance or move freely, we can tap into this state of being, which embodies that of the Divine Feminine essence, allowing us to tune into her frequency of freedom, liberation and sensuality. Below are some awesome photos of the workshop, took by the talented Anudari (@LiveDelicioussly on Instagram).

Such an amazing group of women!

Such an amazing group of women!

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I also had an amazing photographer, Anudari, at the workshop who took some lovely snaps of the day. If you’re in Hamburg and looking for a professional shoot of any kind, you can check out her work at:

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Women’s Full Moon Circle-

In April I hosted a Women’s Full Moon Circle, under the Flower Full Moon in Libra. This Full Moon was a time to draw within the internal realms, and begin to make peace with the shadow. So this whole circle was dedicated to exploring our shadow side, and beginning to reach out to make communication with it. Carl Jung believed that in order to be a complete and whole person, we must learn to accept and integrate our shadow self. As the more we suppress the aspects of ourselves we don’t like, the more that these aspects will unconsciously slip through the cracks into everyday life in forms of self destructive behaviours. So although this topic isn’t necessarily a pretty one, it’s definitely a topic which holds immense value for the development of any human being. The ladies of the group also seemed to enjoy this topic and found value in the guided visualisations, writing exercises, meditation and breathwork. Below are some photos of our Full Moon Circle set up, with flower petals to represent the flower Full Moon.

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Favourite recipe of the month: Mushroom Risotto

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So I must admit that this recipe is not one of my own, yet it is a huge favourite. I learnt this recipe from my cousin Steff in Australia. Steff was a huge catalyst on my vegan journey, and it especially helped when she would cook such delicious vegan food (such as this mushroom risotto). I often make this when I have guests around, as it tastes so good and everyone is usually left very impressed and very satisfied.

I always enjoy this dish the most when I add in some vegan cheese (coconut based)

I always enjoy this dish the most when I add in some vegan cheese (coconut based)

Just a little pre-warning, this dish can take a little while to cook (45-60 minutes) as the risotto rice needs to fully soak up the stock water (which you need to continuously add and stir in). So I always like to listen to a good podcast when I make this, as by the time the podcast is over, your food is ready to enjoy (and trust me, it’s totally worth it!).

Optional to add spinach to the dish (if you do, I recommend adding it after it’s cooked)

Optional to add spinach to the dish (if you do, I recommend adding it after it’s cooked)

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Favourite read of the month:
Becoming Genevieve: An Extraordinary True Story of Believing in Magic

If you’re familiar with the Law of Attraction (LOA) of the concept of Manifestation, then this book may just be for you. I came across this book as it was a suggestion on my kindle. I checked out the reviews which were super positive and I thought I’d give it a shot, and I didn’t regret it.

Photo taken from Amazon.uk

Photo taken from Amazon.uk

It goes way beyond any typical LOA book, in an authentic and easy to read manner. I really liked the down to Earth vibes from the author, who shares her story in a relatable, yet empowering way. She teaches how you can truly manifest, which most of the books don’t usually touch upon. I can highly recommend this read for anyone looking for being uplifted to taking control of their lives. This book was also the final part of a small series of her other ‘Becoming’ books ‘Becoming Magic’, ‘Becoming Rich’ etc. However, you don’t have to read these before for this book to make sense, as I hadn’t read the others until afterwards I read ‘Becoming Rich’, which was equally amazing

Favourite DIY of the month: Pressed Flowers

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I remember that when I was a little girl, I used to pick and press flowers all of the time. I absolutely loved that you could capture the beauty of a flower, even when it was no longer living. I would press them in books of mine and forget about them for many months, only to be filled with joy when I found the flowers I had pressed and forgotten about.

I’ve recently gotten back into pressing flowers and I have been incorporating them into my art work. They are also nice to have as decoration on your altar at home. I tend to usually press the flowers I have in my home just before they are on their last legs.

I’ve been using pressed flowers in my collage art work.

I’ve been using pressed flowers in my collage art work.

All you need to press flowers is:

  • An A4 piece of paper (it doesn’t matter which kind)

  • A heavy book

  • Flowers of your choice 

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How to:

  1. Fold an A4 size piece of paper in half and place within your heavy book

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2. Place the flowers/petals/leaves you want to be pressed on the inside of the folded piece of paper

3. Make sure they are well spread out, as when pressing they can stick together easily and then they may tear afterwards if you try to take them apart

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4. Once the flowers are spread out, fold the paper back in half and close the book (ideally keeping it stacked among other heavy books to keep pressure on the flowers)

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5. Leave for 3-4 weeks until the flowers are completely dried and flat

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6. You can get creative when your flowers are pressed, maybe making some art or pretty flower decoration

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Favourite Yoga technique of the month: Nadhi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

Usually in this section I share a yoga pose or a yoga flow, however this month I am sharing a Pranayama (breathwork/life force energy) technique. Sometimes in the West we can forget that yoga is not just the physical asana practice. There are in fact eight elements (known as the 8 limbs-ashtanga), which make up yoga as a whole. So in this blog we will be exploring one of the many techniques of Pranayama, in order to draw more prana (lifeforce) energy within.

Prana in Sanskrit represents life force energy, however is commonly mistaken to mean the breath. Although the breath does sustain us and keep us alive, the meaning in the Indian tradition goes much deeper than this, to represent prana as an energy form which is in everything keeping us alive and full of vitality.

Yama in Sanskrit means restriction/control.

Therefore Pranayama is the restriction and control of life force energy, which has said to bring many wonderful benefits to the practitioner.

Check out my video below for the instructions, and we will do a guided practice together:

Benefits of Nadhi Shodhana:

  • Balancing out left and right hemispheres of the brain

  • Balancing the masculine and feminine energies

  • Increases the flow of oxygen into the blood cells

  • Calms stress and anxiety

  • Helps to release toxins from the body

  • Brings balance into respiratory channels

  • Helps to bring hormones into balance

  • Fosters the ability to concentrate

  • Brings mental clarity and an alert mind

Favourite Quote of the month:

“Miracles honor you because you are lovable. They dispel illusions about yourself and perceive the light in you. They thus atone for your errors by freeing you from the night-mares. By releasing your mind from the imprisonment of your illusions, they restore your sanity”

-Helen Schucman (A Course in Miracles)

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I really love this quote because it suggests that you don’t have to do anything to receive or deserve miracles, in life because you are already enough. You are perfect and whole as you are and when we break free of these self-limiting illusions we begin to acknowledge all of the miracles within our life. This quote is taken from a channeled text ‘A course in Miracles. It’s very heavy and a little hard to decode but there are some beautiful messages in there.

Vegan Eats (Hamburg)

Since last month, I am now including my favourite dishes I’ve eaten out in Hamburg. So even if you don’t live here, if you plan to come and visit one day, you’ll know the best vegan spots to eat out!

Apple & Eve-

Located in Sternschanze and a fully vegan restaurant, Apple & Eve do amazing vegan burgers of all different kinds. They even sell the Beyond Meat Patties (for those who really want the exact same taste as meat-although for me it’s a little too similar it freaks me out). Seeing as I’m very gluten sensitive, I took a Guacamole burger (without the bun), with sweet potato fries which were AMAZING!

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Kumpir Altona-

This is a little vegan & vegetarian cafe/snack Bistro in Altona, offering delicious falafel snacks. I ordered the vegetable plate which came with a lovely variety of side dishes and some tahini, hummus and chili sauce. It was so yummy, I could have eaten about 10 more of these!

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Flohschanze Markt Cafe-

Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of this cafe, and I’m struggling to find it on maps. However, if you go to the Saturday flea market (Flohschanze) at Feldstrasse, you will find this cafe within the market. It’s not entirely vegan, however they have a HUGE vegan menu. So I had to try out this greasy vegan schnitzel, even though this usually isn’t my type of food….it was super yummy though! They even had vegan tzatziki, which I enjoyed dipping my chips in. I came here with my friend Petra, and it was the perfect large meal after a long morning of wandering around the flea market stalls after my yoga class.

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A huge traditional German (vegan) meal after our flea market shopping  

A huge traditional German (vegan) meal after our flea market shopping  

Stadtsalat-

So although Stadtsalat isn’t exclusively a restaurant or vegan, they still offer delicious vegan bowls and salads. You can order online and create your desired bowl or salad, and they’ll have someone on a bicycle deliver it to you!

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Happen Pappen-

I absolutely LOVE this fully vegan cafe/restaurant at Feldstrasse. They have the cutest set up and do amazing meals. I went with my friend Hannah and we had their burger bowls, followed by a delicious slice of carrot cake to share. They only do their burger bowls in the evening though, as lunch is an option for a homemade curry or sandwiches etc

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A delicious date night with Hannah

A delicious date night with Hannah

Loving Hut-

There are two Loving Hut’s in Hamburg, and actually the first time I went to a Loving Hut was in Da Lat in Vietnam. They are a completely vegan chain and operate all around the world, specalising in vegan asian food with a huge range of mock meats. I really, really enjoy their meals and their prices are really decent as well! I came here with Tanya after my yoga class as we enjoyed some food and yummy spring rolls.

Let’s ignore the fact my mock meat looks like a giant turd hahaha

Let’s ignore the fact my mock meat looks like a giant turd hahaha

Yummy Asian food post yoga with Tanya

Yummy Asian food post yoga with Tanya

So that’s it for now. I so hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post and I would love to hear ho you get on in making the risotto, trying out the breath work or what you think about the suggested read.

Sending all of my love,

Maddie

Photo by Jackie (@CreativeNights)

Photo by Jackie (@CreativeNights)

BIO-

Maddie studied Psychology and obtained a first class degree at university in Bristol (UK). She has since travelled the world and lived in four different countries at 23 years old. She is now an International Yoga Teacher (trained in India), and Reiki Master. She is currently living in Hamburg, Germany, and is teaching yoga and running a variety of spiritual workshops, with the aim of helping others to become more in alignment with their higher selves. 

Retreats & Workshops-

Do you fancy joining me for any of my upcoming workshops or retreats? You can join me in Croatia this August for a 7 day Sailing Yoga Retreats, hopping around the beautiful islands of Croatia. Check out my events page for further information!