Instructor Spotlight: Ben Vincent
This month, we are checking in with Ben as he spends time in retreat up North.
"It feels auspicious to be writing this teacher spotlight now. March of this year marks 15 years of teaching at One Yoga. What an honor it has been to be part of the transformation and growth of so many lives and our community as a whole.
Our family (myself, Angela, Elijah (4), Anya (18 months)) has spent the last month on a working retreat, from a lodge set on several hundreds acres in the Northwoods. It’s been a dream of ours for years. Angela and I love winter—it's call to stillness, quietude, and reflection, and it's an invitation to play and adventure outdoors. Like many in our world, it has been an intense year for our family. Yoga has blessed us with so many tools and teachings to support the well being of ourselves and our community—and yet, there have been many times this year when we were still just holding it together. This time at the lodge has offered us much needed time and space for unwinding and rejuvenating.
My sankalpa (heartfelt resolve) in taking this working retreat has been to rebuild Ojas—the reservoir of vitality and healing that allows for inspired and illumined living. When I’m Ojas depleted, I often feel uninspired, overly sensitive, easily overwhelmed, and lacking joy and creativity. I feel unable to skillfully process and learn from life. In short, I’m not the person I aspire to be.
My sense is that many of us are Ojas depleted after the intensity of the last year. Many are longing to “go back to life as it was." But life never goes back. In 2021, I’m aspiring to heal: to grieve, process, and integrate the experiences of the last year. This will take time, conscious attention, and lots of Ojas.
To rebuild Ojas, I have been intentional about:
slowing down in every aspect of life
taking more time for rest, sleep, and stress reduction
entering deep stillness through yoga nidra and meditation
conscious consumption of diet, herbs, and sensory information (see moon juice recipe below)
lessening screen time
spending extra quality time in nature and with our family
I’ve attached a recipe and a yoga nidra practice for rebuilding Ojas. We will be returning to the cities in mid-March, though at a more conscious and sustainable pace of life. In addition to ongoing classes, this Spring I’m excited to offer:
Our annual Spring Cleanse for Vitality (April 17- May 1)"
Moon Juice Recipe
In Yoga and Ayurveda, Ojas is understood to be our reservoir of vitality. It is the foundation of our capacity for resiliency and healing. It allows us to cultivate vitality (prana) and illumination (tejas) through our yoga practices and life experience. Diet is one of the most effective ways to replenish Ojas. Here is a recipe for a single serving of an Ojas-rebuilding nut milk that we like to call "moon juice."
At night, fill a pint-sized mason jar 3/4 full of water. Then add,
Small handful of almonds
2 dates (pits removed)
2 black peppercorns
1 cardamom pod
1 tbs pumpkin seed
1 tsp poppy seed
1/2 thumb piece of ginger (optional)
Allow it to soak overnight, preferably in the moon light. In the morning there are two options:
Gently warm all the contents (not to a boil), then put them in a blender and mix them up at a high speed, or
Strain out most of the water (to remove excess heat), boil 1 cup of milk or water with all the contents, then blend at a high speed