Yoga in Practice – Yoga Training Off the Mat

Giving to Charity

Written by: Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

With all the news about the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean, the world has reached into its pockets to help. News about goodwill, good deeds, and acts of kindness should be regularly broadcasted, but maybe bad news is more profitable to broadcast.

However, let me stick to the point of this article, which is the application of your Yoga training to daily life. In order for nature, and the universe to flow in harmony, we should all regularly give to charities, whenever it is possible to help someone in need.

“Saving for a rainy day” is one thing, and hoarding money, is quite another matter. By all means, save some money, but always remember to give to those in need, without expecting something in return.

To put it simply, selfishness creates a dead end or stagnation within the universal flow of all things. The universal law of cause and effect (karma) will always override.

Just as stagnation within your body is unhealthy, the same law applies to the universe and all things within in it, including money. Stagnation will cause infection of body, mind, or spirit.

Lastly, remember Nishkamya Bhakti and take the time to research the meaning of the word again. As a Yoga teacher or Yoga practitioner, one should give to charity unconditionally without pursuing a reward. We can easily be content with what we have by appreciating our families, friends, and achievements.

I will leave you with something to think about. This past Christmas season, a man, who was dressed as Santa Claus, worked outside a local store with a legitimate charity’s sign and donations bucket. Many people, including me, gave to him.

Within a few days, local police had chased this man through the parking lot and arrested him. It had been discovered that this man was allegedly an imposter and did not represent a charity.

Is this man a criminal? I think not – he was a beggar who practiced deception. In some countries and cultures, like mine, begging is not tolerated, at all. This man resorted to deception in order to beg. He did not rob people of their money.

This is not an endorsement of deception or begging, but I want to make you aware of the fact, that when you give to a beggar, that is charity too.

Don’t worry about which charity to give to – just give something. There are good forces at work that will distribute your donations evenly.

Yoga Teacher Training Question of the Month

Q: Do you know of a recipe that will make Veggie Burgers exciting? I want to introduce some vegetarian cuisine to my friends, but most of them are meat eaters and none of them participate in any form of Yoga training. I’m not recruiting or anything, I’m a Yoga teacher and wanted to introduce them to conversation piece that is different, vegetarian and healthy. I’ve been reading your Yoga teacher training newsletters for the past two years and appreciate what you are doing for us.

A: Yes, the following recipe is something I cooked up for Marie, my wife, as a topping for meatless burgers, but you could use this as a topping for a variety of dishes like vegetarian cutlets, pasta, rice, or a combination of pasta and beans. During the holidays, it is a great time to expose friends and family to new and exciting forms of food. Sauces and spices make introducing new forms of food a big success. The aroma will pull them in. Who knows – they may ask you to teach Yoga to them.

Cabernet Portabella Gravy

Oil an iron skillet using ¼ cup virgin olive oil and heat at medium.

Once the skillet is hot, add 1 ¼ pounds of sliced baby portabella mushrooms. Let your mushrooms cook down a little, on medium, heat, and cover. Turn mushrooms over frequently to prevent burning. Add more virgin olive oil and turn the heat down a little, if it starts to burn.

After 10 to 15 minutes add:

2 cups of Cabernet wine

1 tablespoon of Basil

1 tablespoon of finely minced Garlic

1 tablespoon of Celery salt

1 finely minced Shallot

1/8 cup Maple sugar syrup

Stir and cover, but frequently stir to prevent burning.

While you are waiting create this mixture:

In a separate bowl mix the following ingredients,

1 cup hot tap water

1 tablespoon flour or cornstarch

Stir thoroughly and strain any lumps out.

When your mushrooms are cooked to your particular taste, add the flour / water mixture. This will start to thicken immediately, so pull your skillet off the heat right away.

You are finished and anyone present will love it. Feel free to experiment with ingredients.


You can use Marsala, or your favorite red wine, instead of Cabernet, for a slightly different taste. Do not use cooking wine.

Instead of pure Maple syrup, you can use corn syrup, honey, or barley malt syrup.

You can use more or less salt than I use.

You can use minced onion instead of a shallot, but not more that 2 tablespoons.

There is no limit as to what you can come up with – and think of all the goodwill you can spread with great food.

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