This Lemon Balm & Wild Rose Tea and Chocolate Rose & Dandelion Root Energy Bites are just a couple of the herbal treats I’ll be serving for Cultivate Your Calm. In this upcoming workshop we’ll be marrying calming and grounding herbs with gentle restorative yoga postures to empower our body to do what it’s been designed to do – heal, rejuvenate and renew! Before our practice we’ll sip fragrant infused tea, sample infused oils, hydrosols and then once our plant allies have helped us mellow into a suitably relaxed state, we’ll move through a series of very easy postures designed to release chronic tension and create an oasis of healing calm in our bodies and mind! Afterwards we’ll restore with nutritive and grounding herbal treats like The Chocolate Rose & Dandelion Root Energy Bites before we return home.
So in this post, I’m going to give you a couple of tips and recipes on how to cultivate your calm at home. Let’s start with the tea….
Lemon balm is a delicious lemony herb in the mint family that helps soothe anxiety and calm the nervous system, this will help us relax and release tension in our bodies as we practice. The loving energy of rose and her heavenly volatile oils also help us to enter a deeply relaxed state. Her anti-depressant qualities and ability to uplift the heart and spirits are also well known. The benefits of these herbs in restorative yoga are important physiologically to healing – because without first feeling safe and relaxed, we cannot fully restore.
Stress and chronic tension can often get held in the body, from our jaw, neck, shoulders, bellies, hips and most especially our psoas muscle (which connects our legs to our torso). This can keep our flight/fight/freeze sympathetic nervous system activated, and turn down the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). Sadly this can bring a host of negative effects from hampering digestion, dampening our immune system, compromising cellular repair and exhausting our adrenals etc. So we’ll be calling on the power of our lemon balm and wild rose petal tea to help us release tension, deeply relax and switch our healing parasympathetic nervous system back on. (more detail on this here)
In yoga, the First or Root chakra is related to issues of survival, security and feelings of being safe and stable. Located at the base of the spine, it governs our feet, legs, hips and psoas muscle, and is the source of our life-giving connection to the earth. And if we take a lesson from mother nature, she teaches us there is no standing strong without first rooting down. Feelings of being ungrounded, anxious or depressed, of never feeling truly safe in the world, can signal a first chakra imbalance.
And so the perfect 1st chakra remedy is dandelion! Because if you’ve ever tried digging up dandelion’s roots you know the true meaning of being deeply, firmly and stubbornly rooted in the earth. And there’s no doubt about why dandelion is a premiere root chakra plant, she’s truly a sunny survivor and prolific thriver!
Her roots have been used for thousands of years to cleanse and revitalize organ systems of the lower body, from bladder, to kidneys, to liver. Dandelion also improves digestive system function and encourages the release of toxins from our blood. (This is especially helpful when chronic constriction in our lower bodies, impedes the fresh of nutrients, lymph and waste.)
Filled with vitamins A, C, D and B complex, minerals such as zinc, silicon, iron, calcium and potassium, dandelion root contains more betacarotene than carrots! And because it’s so packed with healing nutrients (which helps restore the optimal function of our cells and organs) we’ll end our class with a Chocolate Rose & Dandelion Root Energy Bites- to help nourish and fortify of course!
Yes they’re pretty yummy! And don’t worry, you won’t even notice the dandelion. Gluten free and packed with almonds, sunflower seeds, chopped fresh dandelion root, cocoa powder, organic chocolate chips and all ever so slightly perfumed with rose water, they’re ready to root, cleanse and restore you anytime – not just after yoga!
Finding dandelion root is pretty easy, cut in deep around the centre of the plant with a sharp tool or trowel, then pull up the roots. You’ll need to wash these thoroughly and then chop for use in the recipe. And if you can’t find any (how can that be?!) dried dandelion root can be bought at the store and whirred up in a coffee grinder to make a fine powder. You’ll just add this powder to your recipe.
You can find the first leaves of fresh lemon balm peeking up in most gardens right now -otherwise you can use dried. I’ve also used dried wild rose petals from my own pantry but they can also be purchased at most herbal stores, as can the dandelion root tincture. But if you can’t find all of ingredients, don’t worry, just use what you have, lemon balm or rose on their own will still do the trick.
So if you’re looking to enjoy these herbal spring treats with yoga, remember before you practice to take some quiet mindful time with your tea. Close your eyes, and inhale the tea’s fragrance, then take a sip and taste. Note any feelings or emotions that rise. Now see if you can bring these sensations together to form a sense memory you can reimagine and call on in practice.
Restorative yoga should be slow, movements should be gentle. Any sudden or quick moves can cause the body to tighten – which is what we don’t want! Begin lying on the floor, taking time to settle down and feel all parts of the body supported by the earth. Using belly breath (place both hands over the navel area and slowly breathe in feeling the belly rise up and then on exhale feeling the belly fall under your fingers) begin to relax into the floor, allowing yourself to deeply sink into the earth’s supportive energy…
With postures like knee to chest use the exhale of the breath to soften your hips, gently releasing the tops of the thighs. In knee to chest, don’t wrench your knees up close to your chest all at once, take your time breathing here for a few a minutes before moving into a gentle twist. Again allow the lower back and thighs to slowly relax and release – and call in the fragrance memory of the rose and lemon balm, as you breathe. Allow the calming energy of these plant allies to move through you. Remember also to soften your mouth, neck, shoulders, chest and belly.
By spending about 4-5 minutes each in these postures (with the help of your tea) you can calm the nervous system, reduce muscle tension, reduce stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, and turn on our parasympathetic nervous system (heal, digest and rest). Blood flow is redirected to the digestive, reproductive organs, the endocrine and lymphatic system, your cells begin their processes of renewal and repair, levels of the “feel good” neurotransmitter serotonin will rise.
Remember – you can enjoy Lemon Balm & Wild Rose Tea anytime you feel stressed or overwhelmed. And following your tea up with one (or two) Chocolate Rose & Dandelion Root Energy Bites will help ground you after. And remember, just taking some quiet time for self care, even if it is gifting your senses with aromatic tea and a tasty, nourishing treat, is pretty rejuvenating! So relax, release and restore, and invite in the revitalizing energy of spring!
Lemon Balm & Wild Rose Tea w/ Dandelion Tincture
(makes enough for two cups)
- Couple of handfuls of fresh lemon balm leaves.
- One handful dried rose petals
- Add two cups of boiling water and let steep (covered!) for about 10 -15 minutes.
- Strain and serve.
- Add 2 droppers full of Dandelion tincture to each cup (about 10 ml total)
Chocolate Rose & Dandelion Root Energy Bites
Makes about 1 dozen
- 2 heaping tablespoons of chopped fresh dandelion root
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup organic chocolate chips
- 4 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons coconut butter or oil
- 1 tablespoons rose water
- Preheat oven to 350
- Mix all ingredients well into a wet dough (it will be very sticky)
- Form into little balls best you can and place in mini-cupcake tins
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes
- Cool and serve!
NOTE: For more info on Cultivate Your Calm click here.