May 23, 2020

Heart Calming Avocado Pudding

Balance your heart, mind and body with this anxiety soothing, immune boosting, avocado pudding. It just might be the thickest, creamiest and tastiest way fuel your cells this Spring!

From an ayurvedic perspective anxiety is an imbalance of vata energy. The rich avocado, almonds, and coconut milk in this recipe work to nourish and soothe the nervous system by grounding overactive vata.

Because much of the stress being experienced right now in the time of covid-19 is health related, the spices and sweetener were chosen specifically to support the immune response (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, honey). And finally, to pack an even more powerful wellness punch, our star ingredient is the adaptogen, ashwaganda. This powdered root provides a normalizing effect on our physiology, further lowering the stress response.

Savor this nutrient dense pudding as I have been enjoying it lately, with the brilliant green color of the avocado on display, or add cocoa (and possibly more sweetener) to transform it into a chocolate pudding that the kids might be more likely to try. However my 12 year old did give this green version two thumbs up!


1 medium size avocado
1/2 cup coconut milk
10 almonds (plus a few to crush on top)
1/4 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg, & ashwaganda
2 tbsp honey (or your sweetener of choice to taste)

To make combine all ingredients in blender until creamy. Pour into dish, top with cinnamon, crushed almonds, and candied ginger bits.

This recipe made two small jam jar servings (see top photo). I probably could have easily served them into three.

*Ashwaganda powder can be found in St. John’s at the Health Food Shop on Stavanger Drive, and probably most of the other health food shops in your area. Just call ahead and ask. Support your local wellness shops. We want to ensure they will be waiting for us after things go back to normal!


May 22, 2020

Shakti Reads: Ikigai

The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

The residents of the small southern Japanese island of Okinawa seem to have found the fountain of youth. It is not that they do not age. They do. In fact more people live to be centenarians here than anywhere else on earth. However, it is the quality as well as the quantity of the years lived that stand out on this idyllic island paradise. Study of the health, happiness, and meaning that these people experience in their lives promises to shed insight on how we could all be living longer, and more joyfully.

The key to living as well as Okinawans revolves around a concept called ikigai (or life purpose). It is finding your ikigai and living under it’s direction that is the focus of Hector Garcia & Francesc Miralles’ book entitled Ikigai.

The core concept of ikigai is outlined in this leisurely read, along with the food, activity, and lifestyle approaches that flow from this basic philosophy of living a meaningful life. Okinawans believe that to thrive one must first uncover their life purpose, or ikigai. To determine your personal ikigai you assess what skills you possess, what the world needs, what you love to do, and what you can be paid for. Somewhere in the overlap of these four things lies your personal ikigai.

Ikigai is an attractive little book that holds much wisdom, ranging from such practical advice as hara hachbu (only fill your stomach 80% when you eat), and never retire, to more subtle lifestyle tips for giving thanks and living in the moment.

There is a Japanese saying that it is only by being active that one would want to live to be 100. Maybe so, but our exhausted, stressed-out western culture is evidence that not all activity is equal. Maybe by bringing some ikigai into our lives we can all learn to live as well as the Okinawans.

April 30, 2020

Top TWO Yogic Ways to Thrive in Self Isolation

A Yoga Pathway for Keeping it Real

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When asked yesterday to write a post on yoga for self isolation I immediately began to compile a list of common yoga wellness techniques. I contemplated the use of breathing practices, asana, journaling, meditation, laughter, music, nature walks, and creative pursuits appropriate for this purpose. As I was organizing my thoughts and ranking activities by relevance, I realized that this was an impossible task. How could I possibly know what any one person in isolation needs right now? Of course, I could not. I remembered however that I do know someone who does know. So instead of creating a list of things to do (or not do) in isolation, I thought I would instead introduce you to the person with all the answers, and help you listen to them. Hint: It is you!

Yogi Tip #1: Tune In

What is needed to thrive in any situation varies from person to person (and moment to moment). Adding to this complexity is the fact that most of the time we don’t actually know what we need! The three-breath practice below is designed to help you find out.

First close your eyes, inhale a wave of breath, exhale and imagine that wave releasing your body and mind. And now begin.

Beath 1: Body Awareness Inhale and tune in to your body. Visualize your body filling with your breath and become aware of all the sensations in your body. This is a non-judgemental curious sweep. Exhale and imagine your body settling into ease.

Breath 2: Mind Awareness Inhale your breath into your mind. Imagine your brain filling with this breath. Exhale to release your brain into ease.

Breath 3: Heart Awareness Inhale to bring awareness to your heart center. Exhale to visualize this space relaxing and opening up. Ask yourself what you need right now? Maybe you want to pause and breath here for a while longer to wait for an answer or possibly you know immediately what you need. To move? To lie down? To breath fresh air? To connect with someone?

Social media is full of wrestling indignant opinions on whether we should be active or inactive right now. Don’t get caught up in the extremes. There is no right or wrong way to proceed. You are now, and will forever be, the only person who knows exactly what you need.

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Yogi Tip #2: Give Permission

This tip is every bit as important as the first. Without it, your tune-in is not going to be of much use. There are a lot of different emotions being felt right now. Be kind to yourself. Does your tune-in inform you that you need to cry? Take a nap?  Move?  Do you need a break from your kids/partner? If so, feel it and do it (even if you just lock yourself in the bathroom to sit on your vanity counter for a few breaths). The most important thing to do when you learn exactly what you are feeling is to greet it with unconditional compassion, interest, and acceptance.

Jung wrote that the modern man lives in endless transgressions against his instincts. While we may resist certain feelings, the reality is that it is natural to feel angry, sad, lonely, happy, etc. It is also ok to notice it and to feel it. Before doing the three-breath tune-in above commit yourself to non-judgmental acceptance of whatever you discover. If you feel like napping for example, resist the urge to think, “but really I should go for a run”. In this unusual time when we are unable to welcome physical guests into our home I suggest we follow the sage words of Jellaludin Rumi, and instead practice welcoming all of our internal guests. I provide his beautiful poem, The Guest House, below to further inspire. Enjoy

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The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jellaludin Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks


March 26, 2020

Eight Reasons to do Yoga Online

Triangle Crop

The recent need to stay inside due to Covid-19 means that many yoga enthusiasts have had to move from studio to online classes.  While it is true that online classes are not the same as the in-studio experience, they do come with some special perks of their own. If you are wondering whether an online class may be right for you, read on for some of the unexpected joys that my students have shared with me since I transferred to a live streaming option.

  1. PJs welcome! Tired from all day at work and wish you could change into your pajamas but it is yoga night? No problem. Yoga at home has no dress code. If you are working from home you may have been in them all day anyhow!
  2. Relieve stress. Something we need to do more than ever right now. The onslaught of news coverage, and worries about loved ones mean that our usual anxiety load is higher than usual. Yoga breathing and meditation studies repeatedly show a powerful impact on the nervous system.
  3. No sitter? Want to introduce yoga to a family member? Online yoga is your solution. Bringing yoga into your home provides a little window into what yoga is all about for hesitant partners or friends. Kids can be put to bed before class, or join in as you move through your practice.
  4. Stay active at home. My students are telling me that even if they are doing the same job at home, they are not moving to and from work, up and down stairs, etc. This means they may be doing significantly less moving than before. The fitbit does not lie!
  5. Savasana followed by proximity to your bed! For my students, this is the most commonly swooned about aspect of doing yoga at home. Especially in a Canadian Winter when going home after class frequently requires one to first scrape frozen rain or snow off the windshield.
  6. Maintain your regular schedule. For some, this alone can ease the anxiety of a sudden upheaval like many of us are experiencing right now. Another perk is that it may help you remember what day of the week it is!
  7. Missed a class? No Problem. Each studio or teacher will have their own policies on this. If you miss a class ask your teacher if there is a link available to a recording. You may be able to do it at a more convenient time for you.
  8. Support a local studio or teacher. Small businesses are struggling right now. While some are fortunate to be able to work from home others are not. If you are in St. John’s and find yourself in a position to support a local business check out the  Guide to the Good website for an easy and efficient way to find local services via  this keyword searchable platform.


Ardha pasch w student HandFoot crop

March 3, 2020

Calming Adapotgenic Tea

An Elixor to Melt Stress and Help You Sleep Better

Adaptogenic Ashwagandha Tea

Whether you need a daytime calm infusion, or a nighttime sleep-ease this warm soothing drink is for you.


Most of the ingredients in this mixture of ayurvedic remedies can probaby be found in your kitchen already. Dates, almonds, and healthy oils are easy to find and great options to ease stress and anxiety year-round. However, in the winter months when cold temperatures and dry air bring vata energy even more out of balance, the impact of this beverge is needed even more. For added calming impact I have also added the herb Ashwagandha to this recipe.

This is where you may need to leave your house and pop out to your closest health food store. Ashwaganda is also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry. It’s botanical name is withania somnifera. It has been used medicinally in Ayurveda for centuries. Recent studies indicate it can play a role in decreasing anxiety, stress, and sleep disorders. Much research is also currently being done on its’ antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, immune-enhancing, thyroid balancing, and many other effects (Braun & Cohen, Herbs & Natural Supplements, 2015).

This herb is known as an adaptogen, meaning that it supports our immune and neuroendocrine processes by adapting to the current needs of the body to promote balance! This ability to create a non-specific response depending on our unique requirements is one reason why it helps us decrease anxiety and cope with stress so effectively. It brings us “back to the middle” and at some point we all need little of that.


Adaptogenic Tea Ingredients:
1 tsp ashwagandha powder
1 date (or your favourite sweetener, honey, agave, etc to taste)
2-3 almonds (can skip if you are using nut milk)
1 c hot water (or warm almond/nut milk)
1 tbs of coconut oil/ghee or combination of both (optional, but adds creaminess and brain feeding oils)
¼ tsp vanilla
Pinch of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and sea salt (all optional)
*If I feel like a chocolate version I add 1 tbs of cocoa powder. You may need more sweetener.

Combine all ingredients at high speed in your vitamix or smaller blender.

September 4, 2019

Matcha Brain Booster!

omegas antioxidants matcha shakti yoga ayurveda Bobby Bessey

A frothy cup of matcha with a healthy oil boost!

Whip up this antioxidant rich tea that boasts a healthy dose of brain-fueling oils in less than five minutes to kick start your September. One sip at a time, this super-food combination will help to clear brain fog, get rid of food cravings, and your enhance overall well-being.

For some time now I have been wishing that I drank coffee so that I could check out all the bulletproof coffee hype. It only recently occurred to me that I could simply add some of the same healthy oils to my daily matcha to create my own brain blasting drink!

japan green tea love

Forever grateful for the many beautiful green tea sipping memories and conversations that I have had with this beautiful woman!

I was introduced to matcha while I was living in Japan, however during most of my years there I only drank steeped green tea. It was not until I was leaving Japan to backpack around India that my best friend’s momma discretely tucked a bag into my back pack during our final good-byes. She thought it would be easier to make on the road, and would allow me to keep drinking the green tea that we had spent so many wonderful hours sipping as we chatted. Many times over the past decade I have sent thanks from afar to Okasan for introducing me to my now favorite daily drink. I suspect her kind and generous spirit is rivaled only by her Olympic level tolerance for my bad Japanese grammar! Arigato Okasan!

smallMatcha (or powdered green tea) is not steeped so the whole leaf is consumed. Given its recent popularity in coffee shops, you would be forgiven for considering it to be a fad food, however this powdered tea dates back more than 1000 years in Japan. Around this time Buddhist monks began growing the tea leaves in the shade, resulting in a large increase in antioxidant levels. If you have ever wondered why the oldest person in the world is so frequently Japanese maybe this is why. They do drink loads of the stuff!

Traditionally matcha and oil would never be combined as they are in this recipe, however there is a method to the madness. We now know that healthy fats (in moderation) are integral to the brains health and ability to perform; in fact our brain is almost 60 percent fat! Despite this, low fat food continues to be heavily promoted in our society, often without regard for nutritional content. Adding healthy oils to our diet is one way to ensure that we give our bodies the essential nutrition that it needs.

20190903_164004One of the oils in this recipe is MCT or medium chain triglycerides. I will leave it to you to look up all the hype and studies on MCT. They have become such a health food buzz word because MCTs are processed in a different way by the body than other fats. They go directly from the gut to the liver and are made available as an immediate source of energy. This makes them less likely to be stored as fat (the basis for the recently popular ketogenic diet). MCTs are also turned into ketones. These substances are created when the liver breaks down fat. They can be used by the brain for energy instead of sugars. A common source of MCTs is coconut oil, however if you are not a fan of that flavor you can buy the flavorless MCT oil in any health food shop.

GheeThe second oil on this ingredient list is ghee, or clarified butter. Ghee is a source of important omega 3 fats as well as a number of different vitamins. It is also an ancient Indian Ayurvedic health food. Many dairy intolerant drinkers like that the lactose is removed in the clarifying process that converts butter into ghee. This oil has a high smoke point for cooking, and is used in a myriad of traditional Indian remedies such as  digestive and elimination aids, joint lubricants, skin and eye vitalizers, and much more. Click this link for my post on how to make your own ghee. It is so easy! If possible, choose grass-fed butter to make your ghee as it has increased levels of healthy oils.

Matcha, MCT and ghee are the three key ingredients of this boosting matcha recipe. I have added optional variations, but I personally just stick with the big three when I make my own. Use as a breakfast energizer, a fasting aid, or a grounding way to clear mind fog. If you have an interest in ayurveda (traditional Indian remedies), adding a moderate amount of healthy oil to your day may help you balance the over abundance of vata energy that comes with autumn. I find that a cup of this wipes out the crazy food cravings that I tend to get in late afternoons, also a high vata time of day.

Matcha Brain Booster Ingredients
1 teaspoon of matcha (or more if you like)
1 tablespoon of coconut oil (or MCT oil)
1 tablespoon of ghee (ideally made from grass fed butter)
1 cup hot water (or more)
*This basic recipe is my fave!

Optional ingredients
½ tsp vanilla
½ cup of coconut milk, almond milk, etc., or favorite dairy (You can replace the hot water with your choice of heated milk or dairy replacement)
Honey, agave, or  liquid sweetener of choice to taste.

An upright blender or a hand mixer results in the best texture. Throw in the ingredients and mix until creamy and frothy. If no mixer/blender is available, add hot water to the matcha in a wide mug (or matcha bowl) and whisk in the other ingredients. It won’t be as frothy and creamy but will still be tasty!




October 24, 2018

Kabucha & Zucchini Spaghetti

Japanese Pumpkin to Calm the Moving Vata Energy of Autumn

20181016_164025My lifelong obsession with pumpkins spans back to my single digit years. I fantasized about growing one as tall as I was, like the pumpkin pictured next to the kid on the seed packet. I never did. I also never even thought about eating one. Maybe the shorter growing season in northern Newfoundland was to blame, but I never saw anyone actually grow a pumpkin. Most families in my little community had a garden to grow potatoes, carrots, cabbage, even some lettuce in the later years, but never pumpkin. In my early 20’s I moved to the west coast and found out that pumpkins, in addition to being carved on Halloween, were also food!

I never looked back. Life brought me to Japan for a few years where the autumn pumpkin dishes made me even more in love with pumpkin (or kabucha in Japanese), and then to India where pumpkin is not only beautifully incorporated into meals but used in Ayurveda as a healing food. The markets in both these countries sold only a green pumpkin variety that I eventually realized is a lot more like what we call butternut squash here. The flesh is not as wet as our orange pumpkins and seems to work better in my pumpkin recipes.

The recipe below was inspired by my most recent squash/pumpkin epiphany, that pasta doesn’t need to always be topped with tomato sauce. Indeed “pasta” doesn’t even necessarily need to be pasta with all the zucchini available to be spiralized at the market these days. Zucchini is probably my second favourite vegetable…or maybe third behind beets, argh…so hard to choose!

Adding squash/pumpkin to your diet will help create physical and mental balance as the seasons change. Fall brings an increase in vata energy, which ayurveda teaches can leave you feeling scattered and overwhelmed. Pumpkin soothes this by bringing a calming kapha element to your foods.  A tasty way to enhance your ability to navigate the high energy schedule of the season.

This recipe is especially easy to make if you have pumpkin pureed and frozen in your freezer already. The recipe portion is for one person because often I pull this together when I am home alone for a fast lunch. You can easily multiply it by however many people you are serving.

Squash Spaghetti

  • 1 cup baked and pureed butternut squash/pumpkin* I have never used the can puree but that may work too.
  • ½ onion chopped finely
  • 2 cloves pressed garlic
  • One large zucchini (spiralizeded)
  • Salt/ pepper
  • Your favourite cooking oil


Butternut squash Puree; baked, pureed, and then frozen into handy 1 cup portions.


Saute the chopped onion and garlic in oil in a frying pan. Add the squash puree and salt/pepper to taste. Mix in pan for 2-3 minutes. Put aside. Saute spiralized zucchini in oil/salt/pepper to taste until desired softness. Top zucchini with squash sauce. You could use pasta instead of zucchini. Or you could top pasta with the zucchini and the squash sauce.

*No pureed squash/pumpkin in your freezer? Just cut a whole squash in half, scoop out the seeds & pulp. Brush oil the edge. Place cut side down on parchment paper in tray. Cook on 350 for 1 hour (or until soft and easily punctured through with a fork). Remove from oven, let cool, scoop the meat away from the peel and puree.

I like to freeze the puree into 1/2 or 1 cup portions for smoothies or single portion dishes like this one!


October 16, 2018

Bringing the Bread Poultice Back

A Fusion of Ayurvedic and Traditional Newfoundland Healing Approaches.

Bread Poultice Ayurveda Traditional Newfoundland Remedy

Ingredients for Nana’s bread poultice with the addition of tumeric for an ayurvedic touch.

Imagine a  four year old boy sitting with a laptop. Elmo is teaching him ABCs through an interactive video game. His bare thigh is wrapped in cling wrap to stop a tumeric-milk soaked bread poultice from ruining the sofa below. This is a memory of my son a few years ago, and continues to be a pretty good example of the mixture of modern lifestyle and ancient ayurvedic practice that you might find happening at any given time in our home (in this case there also a definite infusion of NL tradition). Am I grateful to live in a time that has a wide array of medical options when we get sick? Absolutely! However when it is possible to avoid those by seeking out the wisdom of ancient practices and traditions that also work I am all about that too. Just ask my kids. They have been known to refer to the spice rack in our kitchen as Mom’s medicines.

Before continuing I should make it clear that I do take my kids to the doctor when they are sick. I do listen with a great deal of respect to our physician, who is very knowledgeable and amazing. I also always fill the prescription for hydrocortisone or antibiotics, or whatever is prescribed…. just in case. It turns out however that I rarely need to use them. My love of Ayurvedic and traditional approaches means that before medicating I always try a gargle, or a tea, or slap on a poultice, and by the end of the day the ailing kid/adult is often getting better on their own.

My motivation for returning to the old-school poultice approach was triggered by a common viral skin condition in kids called mulluscum contagiosum. For some reason each time one of these tiny skin bumps began the process of leaving my kid’s system he got a giant circular infection all around it (think 3-4 inch round, red & swollen infected areas!). Prescription creams did not help and with the looming threat of having to turn to oral medications I remembered my late Nana’s milk poultice. I am not sure if she did it just as I describe below but this was how I remember it.

Nan Taylor 1

My beautiful Nan Taylor showing off her fancy new washing machine. She ran with the times, utilizing a wealth of traditional wisdom while embracing everything that modern life was able to offer, right up until she left this world.

How to prepare a traditional boiled milk bread poultice

  • Boil a cup or so of whole organic milk. I also add turmeric. Nana didn’t use tumeric, but ayurveda uses it extensively as an anti-inflammatory so I pull it out for almost everything that ails you. Just ask my long suffering boys, who, in addition to wearing it, have also consumed quite a lot of it over the years for lots of different reasons!
  • Soak a slice of bread in the hot milk mixture. I use my dad’s homemade bread.
  • Wrap the bread in a cloth and apply to affected area as hot as you can tolerate it on your skin. I slid the bread into a pantyhose leg so I could then tie it around my son’s leg. Kids are squirmy and don’t sit anywhere for long so I had to keep it in place somehow. This is also why I covered the whole area in cling wrap. Tumeric can stain, and milk does not leave a happy aroma in your furniture. Ayurvedic remedies can be messy but add the energy of a four year old boy and chaos ensues!
  • Leave on affected area until bread is completely cool.
  • Repeat twice a day. After a couple of days a pus filled head usually forms in the middle, and the infected area recedes. I did this for a few days every time one of those little bumps began their red infection cycle for about a year. It always worked. My son began to call the pantyhose leg his medicine pantyhose!

If you are interested in an ayurvedic perspective on using food and natural remedies to balance your physical and mental health subscribe to the Shakti Yoga blog where you will find ayurvedic/yogic/wellness type posts, albeit at a sedate posting rate  to ensure that my Pitta/Vata personality does not overload.

Happy poultice making all!

March 27, 2018

Creamy Carrot Soup Recipe

20180326_090158Since Easter is just around the corner, and I hear bunnies love carrots, I thought this might be a timely post. I have always loved snacking on carrots. Not so much in the civilized little stick format, but in more of a bugs bunny inspired, whole vegetable nibbling approach. I still do this regularly, but from time to time I deviate from raw, or simple steaming, to yummy carrot soup. I tried a bunch of different approaches before  finally finding the favourite that I am sharing here.

The best thing about this recipe, aside from its deliciousness, is that it is so easy to make. The first few recipes I tried had me messing up most of the dishes in my kitchen as I moved from step to step. This one just uses the soup pot and the blender and will leave you wondering why you haven’t been eating this Ayurvedic super health food more often.

Carrots have been used traditionally in Ayurveda for a whole range of ailments such as cancer, arthritis, high cholesterol, and digestive issues. Of course carrots are not the whole picture but when added to your diet they can play a role in promoting overall health and wellness, particularly in these areas. For those of you who know your doshas, carrots decrease vata and kapha imbalance and promote pitta.


carrot soup boullion

And now for the recipe.


2 tbs ghee (or butter)

1 medium-Large onion,

1-2 stalks celery, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 slices ginger, chopped

1 tbsp chopped parsley

5 cups chopped carrots (About 5 Large carrots)

6 cups water

2 blocks organic veg broth

Himalayan Sea Salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste


Instructions: Heat ghee/butter in soup pot on medium heat until it melts. Add onion and celery and cook 5 min or so until soft. Add garlic and parsley. Stir as you cook for 10-15 seconds. Add carrots and stir. Soften the broth cubes in a cup of hot water and then add this and 5 more cups of water. Simmer on med high till boiling. Reduce heat to to maintain an active simmer and cook for 25 minutes.

Pour into blender and puree until smooth. (Careful here! I ladle the soup into the blender until I get to the very end to avoid boiling hot splashes. Or you could wait till the soup cools a little). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a swirl of cream,or without if you don’t do dairy. I like it fine without the cream. Sprinkle on some parsley and serve.

You can make this in advance, refrigerate and serve the next day. It also freezes well.

If you are inspired to make ghee (clarified butter) check out this link to my blog post on how to make ghee. Once you have a bottle made you can use it for all kinds of cooking projects.



March 19, 2018

Shakti Books: Night Boat


What is the Sound of One Hand Clapping?

Book Night Boat and JizoThis famous paradoxical riddle is one of the many legendary historical zen references in Alan Spence’s biography of the illustrious Zen Master, Hakuin. These riddles, or koans, are used to illustrate the limitation of  logical reasoning, and in turn trigger enlightenment when one meditates on them with sincerity, and intensity. Hakuin taught that every life experience was a koan of some form. This story of his life is inextricably  woven into an exposition of zen art and poetry, portrayed against the backdrop of the enchanting Mount Fuji, and the bustling activity of the Tokaido, the famed walkway between Tokyo and Kyoto.


The book begins with Hakuin as a scared, spiritually thirsty child struggling with a terror of hellfire and brimstone. Encouraged by his devoted mother he chooses a zen path despite his father’s objections.

His journey meanders through the many struggles of his seeking years as an earnest young monk, eventually arriving at his colorful twilight as the world’s most renowned and influencial zen instructor.

Alan Spence skillfully blends the man, the time and the teachings into a breathtaking zen tapestry. For those interested in learning more about the practice of zen this well-researched book provides a multi-faced exposure in the form of Hakuin’s many teachers, experiences, zen poetry and artwork. Lovers of Japanese aesthetic and history will feel as if they have just taken a stroll down the Tokaido.

Miss Fuji,

Cast aside your hazy robe

And show me your snowy skin.