While Valentines Day is a hallmark holiday, and thus we associate it with candy hearts, greeting cards, and pink everything, it is still an excuse to celebrate love. While everyday is a day to celebrate love, hallmark has done the job for us of dedicating the entire day of February 14th to celebrating love. Now, while Valentines Day traditionally is devoted towards celebrating romantic love, there is so much more to love that can be celebrated.
A yogi or aspiring yogi can truly embrace Valentines Day if they embrace the notion that it is about love in all of its forms. For when we experience love (especially the deepest purest love) - whether it be for our family, lovers, friends, or pets - we experience oneness. Everyone loves the bliss that love brings with it, for it offers us momentary glimpses into what it feels like to be liberated from the ego. Because it is only the ego that creates separation. It is the ego that makes us focus on ourselves, but when you love someone else so very much, you see that beyond your own individual form, beyond your own mind and body, you are the same. Each of you shines the same light. Every being is on the journey of seeking love, liberation, and freedom from suffering. So when we are given the gift of love, we are given the gift of experiencing this oneness.
This oneness is the essence of yoga. “I love you all. I am you, you are me,” Dharma Mittra. Yoga is about separating one’s self from the ego, and seeing the oneness in all beings everywhere in order to achieve liberation, freedom from suffering, contentment, and ultimate bliss.
So on Valentines Day, celebrate love! Take the time to recognize those you cherish most in your life, and do something beautiful for them. Take the time to love yourself, in the most healthy and caring way possible. Here are a few ways for an aspiring yogi / yogi to practice celebrating love this Valentines Day.
-A simple hug
-A simple kiss
-The gift of good food, raw chocolate, tea
-Volunteer in Your Local Community
-Do Your Yoga Practice
-Make a Healthy Meal with Someone You Love
And while chocolate is not necessarily a part of the yogic diet, sometimes you just have to feed the senses. Luckily there are ways to treat yourself and your loved ones while remaining on the healthy side, and keeping it vegan. Raw chocolate desserts are always a fantastic treat, and since chocolate is a tradition on Valentines Day, there is no better time than to try out a few raw chocolate recipes. A few we suggest are
Raw Almond Butter Cups
from Dexoninista - see their full write up and the recipe here: https://detoxinista.com/elvis-butter-cups/
1 Tablespoon coconut oil , in liquid form
1 Tablespoon maple syrup (not technically raw, but the flavor is great-- substitute if desired!)
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
pinch of salt
Nut butter of choice (I prefer salted almond butter)
optional: banana slices (or fruit of choice)
1. Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth, to create the chocolate mixture.
2. Fill 3 mini-cupcake liners with enough chocolate to cover the bottom (about a teaspoon).
3. Optional: Place a slice of banana in the middle, for an "Elvis-style" peanut butter cup.
4. Place the bottom layer in the freezer to harden-- just a few minutes should do the trick.
5. Once the bottom layer is solid, it's time to add a dollop of nut butter! Use enough nut butter for a creamy center, but try to keep it in the middle-- so that the chocolate you pour on top will cover the sides! I used almond butter, but if you really want to keep this Elvis-themed, go for the peanut butter!!
6. Cover the nut butter with the remainder of your raw chocolate, then place in the freezer to set. The chocolate should be solid in just 10 minutes, but for a truly solid center, waiting 4-6 hours is recommended. If you add the banana slice, freeze overnight for an ice-cream like center.
Store any extras in the freezer, and serve chilled!
Raw Brownie Bites
from Dexoninista - see their full write up and the recipe here: https://detoxinista.com/raw-brownie-bites-vegan-paleo/
1 1/2 cups raw walnut halves
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (alcohol free, if you prefer)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup soft dates , pitted (about 10 Medjool dates)
1 tablespoon water
Additional cocoa powder , for coating (optional)
1. In a large food processor fitted with an "S" blade, grind the walnuts into a fine meal. Add in the rest of the ingredients, and process again until a sticky, uniform dough is formed. Scoop the batter by heaping tablespoons onto a plate or baking sheet lined with parchment paper, to prevent sticking. Roll the balls between your hands, and roll them in cocoa powder, if desired.
2. Store the balls in the fridge or freezer, and serve them chilled for the most firm texture. (I prefer them frozen, myself.)
Raw Chocolate Truffles
from Raw Manda - see their full write up and the recipe here: http://rawmanda.com/2-ingredient-raw-chocolate-truffles/
2 cups high quality soft dates, pitted
2-3 tablespoons raw cacao or carob powder, additional for coating
optional ingredients: 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 2 tablespoons chopped nuts, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, sea salt to taste
Berry Coconut Truffles
2 cups high quality soft dates, pitted
2-3 tablespoons organic berry powder
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
1. Blend your high quality soft dates and cacao/carob powder in a high speed blender or food processor until you have a very smooth uniform consistency. Use your tamper or spatula to scrape the dough down until it's well combined as you blend.
2. Scoop out mixture, roll into small balls and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Mixture will be very sticky, wet or lightly coat hands with coconut oil to make it easier to manage.
3. Roll balls into cacao/carob powder.
4. Place truffles in the refrigerator for at least one hour to firm up.
Chocolate Donuts with Chocolate Glaze
grin the recuse book Sweetly Raw Desserts by Heather Pace
1 cup almonds
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
6 large dates, chopped
1/2 cup lightly packed almond pulp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cacao powder
for the glaze
1/3 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon warm water
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
cacao nibs or shredded coconut for garnish
1. Grind the almonds and coconut sugar into flour in a food processor.
2.Add the dates, pulp, vanilla, and cacao. Grind to combine. If the dough is a bit sticky (this can depend on how moist your pulp and dates are), chill it in the fridge for a few hours before shaping.
3. Roll the dough into 10 balls. Flatten slightly then poke a finger through the center creating a hole. Gently shape into a donut ring.
4. Chill while making the glaze.
5. To make the glaze place a bowl in a larger bowl of hot water to warm the bowl.
6. With the glaze ingredients together in the warm bowl. Add extra maple syrup if desired.
7. Dip the chilled doughnuts into the glaze and place on a parchment or plastic wrap lined tray.
8.Sprinkle with cacao nibs or shredded coconut.