On Yoga

YOGA The Secret Life by Francesco Mastalia, Cloth Hardcover, 224 Pages, Published by powerHouse Books, Worldwide release October 2017.

YOGA The Secret of Life is a photo-documentary about the spiritual and physical journey of yoga. Through photographs and text this fine art book explores the personal experiences of 108 of today’s leading practitioners and how this ancient practice has transformed their mind, body, and spirit.

The photographs for the project are taken on glass plates using the wet collodion process, a photographic technique dating back to the 1850’s. With the use of a large format wooden camera and antique brass lens, glass plates are hand-coated to produce one-of-a-kind ‘ambrotype’ images. The collodion process transports us to another place and time. When the light-sensitive chemicals absorb the sun’s ultraviolet rays, we enter a mysterious world where art and alchemy embrace. The photographs take on another dimension with the words that accompany them. The text provides an intimate and enlightening account of each yogi’s personal journey.

Elena Brower from YOGA The Secret Life by Francesco Mastalia.

Beyond the physical postures, YOGA The Secret of Life delves deep into the purpose of our existence and how to live a happy and fulfilled life. It explores understanding who we truly are, why we are here, and what our ultimate purpose is on this planet. Included are world-renowned yogis Radhanath Swami, Sharon Gannon, Davide Life, Gurmukh Kaur Khasla, Sri Dharma Mittra, Yogi Amrit Desai, Yogiraj Alan Finger, Shiva Rea, Rod Stryker, Seane Corn, Rodney Yee, Colleen Saidman Yee, Dana Flynn, Elena Brower, Krishna Das, Jai Uttal and more.

About

Italian-born Hudson Valley New York-based Francesco Mastalia is a documentary photographer and author that has traveled the world photographing tribal, religious, spiritual, and indigenous people. His first book Dreads, published by Workman Artisan is a photo documentary on the history of dreadlocks, which includes an introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker. His recent book Organic: Farmers & Chefs of the Hudson Valley published by powerHouse Books is a photo-documentary of the Hudson Valley’s organic sustainable food movement. The portraits of the farmers and chefs therein were also photographed using the wet plate collodion photographic process resulting in a beautifully evocative narrative with a nostalgic feel.

Making Good

Making Good: An Inspirational Guide To Being An Artist Craftsman by Jacklyn Scott (Author), Kristin Müller (Author), Tommy Simpson (Author), Stuart Kestenbaum (Foreword), 2017.

Forty-one craftspeople answer the questions of who, what, when, where, and how he or she started and maintains a career in the arts. Accompanied by more than 260 photos showing the artists, their work spaces, and their creations, each interview gives experience-based answers to anyone interested in the lives of artists. For students and career changers to makers at all levels, this resource captures insight into the entrepreneurial nature of living a life in the arts and the choices, bits of luck, joys, and tenacity one needs to overcome hurdles in useful and surprising ways. The 41 artists from across the United States work in many types of media; they include, for example, woodturner Dixie Biggs, fiber artist Carol Eckert, metalsmith Pat Flynn, glass artist Judith Schaecter and ceramist Mara Superior. As their answers unfold, what develops is a collection of independent voices that follow unique, creative journeys in the arts, despite the twists and turns life takes. This distillation of expertise is a valuable resource to all who are considering a creative career. Great gift for artist hopeful grad!

One of The Artful Blog’s favorite New England independent bookstores,  The Hickory Stick Bookshop Washington Depot CT, will host a book signing with authors Kristin Muller & Jacklyn Scott and local artist Tommy Simpson June 17th 2017.

Beyond Words

Tilt your head slightly to one side and lift your eyebrows expectantly. Ask questions. Delve into the subject at hand or let things come randomly. Don’t expect answers. Forget everything you’ve ever done. Make no comparisons. Simply listen. Listen with your eyes, as if the story you are hearing is happening right now. Listen without blinking, as if a move might frighten the truth away forever. Don’t attempt to copy anything down. Don’t bring a camera or a recorder. This is your chance to listen carefully. Your whole life might depend on what you hear.

~Joyce Sutphen

Sangha Cinema

2017 Lion’s Roar BuddhaFest Online Film Festival June 12th-July 23rd. Curated Sangha Cinema: A cinematic experience that skillfully joins the wisdom, diversity, and art of Buddhism in six carefully selected films & six dharma talks by leading contemporary teachers of buddhist wisdom of our time. Films: A Thousand Mothers; Don’t Know; Tzu Chi: Doing Good In The World; One Mind; Wandering; Drokpa. Teachers: Sharon Salzberg; Noah Levine; Ani Choying Drolma & Dawa Tarchin Phillips; Mushim Patricia Ikeda; Christiane Wolf; Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche. Festival access, discounts and privileges for current and new subscribers to Lion’s Roar Magazine. Festival Pass + Film & Teacher Details here.

Bath Bouquet

This Spring fill your space with the refreshing scent of Eucalyptus harvested from the forest, or found at a local florist or farmer’s market. Freshly cut fragrant branches of Blue-Gray Eucalyptus are scentsational and striking in a vase on their own, and country chic mixed with other botanicals displayed as a garland. Hang a cluster as a door decoration to create a scented welcome for guests. Or turn your bathroom into a do-it-yourself personal spa by hanging an aromatic bundle from the shower head!

To make the bundle, gather the stems together and simply wrap them with natural twine, then hang the bunch upside down in a spot where it won’t get directly sprayed with water. The steam from the shower will help release the aromatherapy essential oil power of the plants, and carry the scent through the entire room. It’s that easy! A powerful medicinal pick-me-up with its rejuvenating and antiseptic attributes, good for the mind, body and spirit. You can also create Bath Bouquets with Lavender, Rosemary, Mint & Lemongrass stems to improve the room’s air quality, while adding a pretty touch of bohemian Green. #savourthescent

Naturally Nourished

Sensational Spring Salad Ingredients.

Nothing tastes better than the first few springtime meals. With the amazing produce Spring brings, one of the best ways to enjoy it is in a fresh, colorful and flavorful salad. Copenhagen-based holistic nutrition blogger extraordinaire Sarah Britton of My New Roots and her gorgeous cookbooks Naturally Nourished and the eponymously titled My New Roots, immediately come to mind as great resources for inspired plant-based healthy recipes that come together quickly. Using everyday nutritious plus delicious ingredients, these two Artful Blog favorites deserve a spot on your cookbook shelf, and will no doubt become your go-to food bibles for Spring and Summer.

Coconut-Quinoa Coleslaw With Minty Tahini Dressing From My New Roots New Cookbook: Naturally Nourished. A creative culinary recipe that spins coleslaw into a praise-worthy direction with synergistic ingredients like quinoa and coconut, and mint and tahini, for fresh & fabulous fare results.

Ingredients

Quinoa

  • ½ cup quinoa, soaked if possible
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt

Minty Tahini Dressing

  • ½ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • ¾ cup water
  • Pinch of sea salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 packed cup fresh mint leaves

Vegetables

  • 2 packed cups shredded red cabbage
  • 2 packed cups shredded green cabbage
  • 2 packed cups shredded kale
  • 3 medium carrots, julienned
  • 1 red bell pepper (stem, seeds, and ribs removed), julienned
  • ¼ cup  freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp cold-pressed olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut

Directions

1. Make the quinoa: Rinse the quinoa well. In a small saucepan, combine the quinoa, water, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook, covered, until all the water has been absorbed and the quinoa grains are tender, about 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

2. Meanwhile, make the dressing: In a blender, combine the tahini, lime juice, olive oil, maple syrup, water, salt, and mint leaves; blend on high until smooth and creamy. Season with more salt as needed. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine the cabbages, kale, carrots, and bell pepper.

4. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt together and pour over the vegetables. Toss well and lightly massage the liquid into the kale and cabbage , then let marinate for 5 to 10 minutes.

5. Preheat a dry skillet over medium heat. When hot, toast the coconut, stirring often, until golden brown and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.

6. Finish the salad: Add the quinoa and coconut to the vegetable bowl. Toss well to combine. When ready to serve, dish out portions and allow guests to pour the dressing on their salads.

My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes For Every Season by Sarah Britton, 2015.

Sarah Britton, called the “queen bee of the health blogs” by Bon Appétit, reveals 100 gorgeous, plant-based recipes in her debut cookbook, inspired by her wildly popular blog. Every month, half a million readers -vegetarians, vegans, paleo followers, and gluten-free gourmets alike, flock to Sarah’s adaptable and accessible recipes that make powerfully healthy ingredients simply irresistible. My New Roots is the ultimate guide to revitalizing one’s health and palate, one delicious recipe at a time: no fad diets or gimmicks here. Whether readers are newcomers to natural foods or are already devotees, they will discover how easy it is to eat healthfully and happily when whole foods and plants are at the center of every plate.

Naturally Nourished: Healthy, Delicious Meals Made With Everyday Ingredients by Sarah Britton, 2017.

Simplify whole foods cooking for weeknights with 100 inspired vegetarian recipes made with supermarket ingredients. Sarah Britton streamlines vegetarian cooking by bringing her signature bright photography and fantastic flavors to an accessible cookbook fit for any budget, any day of the week. Her mains, sides, soups, salads, and snacks all call for easy cooking techniques and ingredients found in any grocery store. With callouts to vegan and gluten-free options and ideas for substitutions, this beautiful cookbook shows readers how to cook smart, not hard.

On Poetry

April Is National Poetry MonthNational Poetry Month was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture. The Academy of American Poets is a non-profit organization founded in 1934 to support American poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry. This year Israeli-born American illustrator Maria Kalman was chosen to create the official National Poetry Month Poster.

David Whyte, poet extraordinaire, says poetry is language against which we have no defense. We inhabit a moment in which defended language is practically all we know, and so we are re-learning our basic human need of poetry to flourish. Many of the wise guests of the Peabody Award-winning public radio conversation and podcast On Being, spontaneously bring a poem into their reflections on mystery and meaning in life. Check out the vast compilation of poems On Being has curated for the Poetry Radio Project -Mary Oliver to Wendell Berry, from John O’Donohue to Rumi to Pablo Neruda and many more. Listen. Read. Watch. Enjoy.

On Being and the Poetry Foundation collaborated to launch the Poetry Radio Project. Through features and conversations with poets in a variety of contexts, the project seeks to enrich and deepen listeners’ perspectives on global events and American culture and to expand listeners’ engagement with contemporary and classical poetry.

30 Ways To Celebrate National Poetry Month from the Academy of American Poets & poetry book recommendations from The Artful Blog for enthusiasts and educators:

Out Of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander (Author), Chris Colderley (Author) & Marjory Wentworth (Author), 2017.

A beautiful and inspired book that brings poetry to life with a culturally rich collection of poetic tributes that extends the legacies of poets from around the globe. Out of gratitude for the poet’s art form, Newbery Award-winning author and poet Kwame Alexander, along with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, present original poems that pay homage to twenty famed poets who have made the authors’ hearts sing and their minds wonder. Stunning mixed-media images by Ekua Holmes, winner of a Caldecott Honor and a John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award, complete the celebration and invite the reader to listen, wonder, and perhaps even pick up a pen. Exemplary words and inspired pictures make this a multicultural masterwork.

Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World by Jane Hirshfield, 2015.

A brilliant collection of essays on how the best poems work, from the master poet and essayist. “Poetry,” Jane Hirshfield has said, “is language that foments revolutions of being.” In ten eloquent and highly original explorations, she unfolds and explores some of the ways this is done -by the inclusion of hiddenness, paradox, and surprise; by a perennial awareness of the place of uncertainty in our lives; by language’s own acts of discovery; by the powers of  image, statement, music, and feeling to enlarge in every direction. The lucid understandings presented here are gripping and transformative in themselves. Investigating the power of poetry to move and change us becomes in these pages an equal investigation into the inhabitance and navigation of our human lives.

Closely reading poems by Dickinson, Bashō, Szymborska, Cavafy, Heaney, Bishop, and Komunyakaa, among many others, Hirshfield reveals how poetry’s world-making takes place: word by charged word. By expanding what is imaginable and sayable, Hirshfield proposes, poems expand what is possible. Ten Windows restores us at every turn to a more precise, sensuous, and deepened experience of our shared humanity and of the seemingly limitless means by which that knowledge is both summoned and forged.

Be More Tree

Be More Tree: A Journey Of Wisdom, Symbols, Healing, And Renewal, by Alice Peck (Author), Melissa Launay (Illustrator), Published by CICO Books, September 2016.

Discover how all trees can mirror us, teach us, and heal us. From author Alice Peck who reflected on the Maple tree in her backyard, and began to notice and then study its intricacies and changes, which became her regular meditation and inspiration. In Be More Tree Alice sensitively and eloquently shares what she has learned from that Maple tree, and from the trees all around us. Every tree tells a complete and ongoing story -from its powerful taproots to the birds that alight on its fragile high branches. Trees reflect our lives through their perseverance and seasonal rhythms -always changing yet consistent. They evolve along a much more protracted timetable than humans. Like us, trees feel and react to their environment, and communicate with us in subtle but distinct ways.

Here readers are invited to investigate and cherish trees from four perspectives: their roots -wisdom and understanding; their branches -symbols and rituals; their leaves -healing and science; and their seeds -transformation and spirituality. All of these elements show us how, although they live outside us, trees offer a path to our inner selves. From the Bodhi Tree to the Garden of Eden, the Druids to forest monks, medicines to tire swings -people have always received physical, psychological, and spiritual sustenance from trees. Filled with insights from botany to poetry, ecology to mythology, and herbalism to sacraments, Be More Tree explores the ways these grounded yet soaring entities can steady and move us, teach and transform us, inspire and comfort us. #fortheloveoftrees

A wonderful book for readers interested in the intersections of nature, folklore, and spirituality. Beautifully written and illustrated with an inspiring ecological point of view, that includes fervent prose, meditations, mantras, and prayers to help deepen the reader’s relationship with themselves, nature, and the interconnectedness of all things. This is the book The Artful Blog wanted to write! For more tree magic mystery and lore see previous posts: Art Of The Tree & Book Of Trees.