Joy of Cooking

Bring Yoga Into the Kitchen to Make Food That Nourishes Body and Soul

Walk through the kitchen doors at The Expanding Light, Ananda Village's yoga and meditation retreat center outside Nevada City, California, and the first thing you might see is a circle of people chanting Om-blessing the room before they begin cooking. Stay awhile and you'll witness the gentle hum of activity as executive chef Premdas Ghirla, with the help of volunteers, assembles golden noodle stir-fry and nine-gem curry for the day's 65 guests here on retreat. On the stovetop behind a pot of lentils, framed photos of gurus rub shoulders with pepper mills and bottles of hot sauce, and around the room, mixers and cutting boards share counter space with burning incense and candles, deity statues, and soothing water fountains. The stove's overhead vent is adorned with affirmations like "Joy is within you" and "God's limit is nowhere." Someone turns on the boom box, and Ghirla and the volunteers happily chant as they chop cauliflower and cabbage.


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Traveling carries with it the curse of being at home everywhere and yet nowhere, for wherever one is some part of oneself remains on another continent.” –Margot Fonteyn