lessons learned in kitchari
Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach. ~Tony Robbins
Recently, a friend of mine went to this Ayurvedic workshop led by a brilliant duo of local yoga teachers who are well-versed in the Ayurvedic lifestyle. A firm believer in eastern medicine, she walked in hoping for deeper knowledge on how to care for her body in a more natural, less pill-popping way. I both identify and love this about her. (side note: To be clear, even as someone who refuses to take ibuprofen for a sprained knee/displaced SI joint/asshole sciatic nerve/shithead hamstring, I believe that Western medicine definitely has its place and does far more good than harm.) She walked out a more knowledgeable, firmer believer in this way of living, but more on point with this story, she walked out a relentless kitchari fan. And though it seems natural to use the word “relentless” to describe her fandom with great effect, I can assure you that it’s an accurate adjective. Two weeks later, she’s still making and eating it.
A small time hop backward to two years ago, when I found myself in an Ayurvedic workshop because, again, it was one of those things that I felt like I should be into as a yogi, I discovered that I had little interest in it. I had this idea that I’d leave with something big, but it didn’t really stick, if you will, and nothing drew me back to reclaim what I left in that room. Maybe I wasn’t in a space to absorb that information or maybe I just didn’t find it appealing at the time. Who knows, really? The one thing I do remember, though, is that kitchari seemed to be the foundational dish of the dietary side, and when I made it, well, let’s just say it wasn’t something that I was terribly excited to make again. So I didn’t. Not until two years later when my friend looked at me as though I grew a literal third eye when I confessed that I thought it was a dull dish. “No way, Adi! This one I’ve got has SO much flavor to it.” “I suppose I need to try this again, then, it seems,” I say. And because she’s the friend that will ask me later if I tried it again, I knew I locked myself in.
I did, and now I’m feeling a bit relentless, myself, as I’ve since made it two and a half times (once, I had to make another batch of veggies to go with the base) within ten days. And with the caveat of it being not kitchari in its traditional form as my plant-based lifestyle prevents that, you can see what I did here.
So, the reality is I pulled out my laptop to write something only because I didn’t want to send out a blog-less email two weeks in a row (confessions of a writer who happens to be human, right?), but when I thought back over the past month and this story popped in my head, it occurred to me that it’s a nice little lesson in how there’s always more than one way to peel a potato (the vegan version of that cat phrase my grandparents loved so much). I touch on this regularly in my teaching, reminding my students that if one approach doesn’t work, there are always other options, and maybe the end result isn’t the most classical version of the pose (or dish, as it were), but it can still be just as good. As one of my great teachers would say, “In life and in yoga, right?” And even in cooking.