Breakfast in a jam jar

Breakfast in a jam jar

Like most people, our summer holidays come with lot’s of road travel.  We spent a few days camping in Northern Victoria.  It was a drive of 2.5 hours and that meant we needed road food.  Also known as chia puddings, here is a simple snack, a nourishing treat that is great for breakfast or any time of the day.  There are no particular rules, just layer up any combination of your favourite flavours; then lid it and pop in the fridge or if you’re on the go, pack into a cool bag with a spoon to enjoy when you’re good and ready.

30ml or 1.5  Tablespoons chia seeds

1/2 Cup of your favourite milk – try a combination of coconut and almond milk

1 Tablespoon sunflower or pumpkin seeds – or chopped nuts

1 Teaspoon goji berries or freeze dried pomegranite seeds – or something else to please your palate

1/2 Teaspoon of your favourite warming spices – single or a combination cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, nutmeg

1 or 2 Dollops of full fat vanilla yogurt – dairy or coconut

A couple of generous spoonfuls of stewed fruit or frozen berries

Extras:  toasted coconut flakes, cacoa or cocoa sprinkles

Combine chia, milk, dried fruit and spice into in a jam jar or spill-proof container to hold 1 cup of breakfast.  Shake or stir vigorously to combine. Let rest for 10 minutes, then stir again.  To this dollop on seeds, fruit and then yogurt and any other delicious and nourishing addition.

Tip #1:  I enjoy this most at room temperature.

Tip #2:  This recipe can be prepared the night before – splendid!

Tip 3#:  Prepare chia this way and add to your smoothies 

celebrate Spring’s bounty with creamy golden custard

celebrate Spring’s bounty with creamy golden custard

As well as a great way to use up the bounty of eggs our hens gift us with this time of the year, this custard recipe is a nourishing, heart warming and tangible link to my rural Italian ancestry.

It was introduced to me when I was ten years old as the “recipe of threes”.  To make a batch of custard, you need to stay present, stir in smooth motions, be patient and honour the process.  The reward is a golden, sweet and oh so velvety custard to serve on it’s own or with just about anything else!

Each time I make this custard, I feel deep gratitude for knowing Maria.  Maria came to Australia from Sicily and I was blessed to be one of her many God children.  She lived in inner suburban Sydney, where every possible surface around her house was devoted to growing produce.  When I stepped out her back door, the heady aroma of basil, oregano, tomatoes and fennel made me feel giddy on my little girly legs. I would search out the fresh peas, nest in the shade of her fruit trees and generally while away the time marvelling in the splendour of her piece of paradise.  These are the  impressions upon which, I built my own imaginings for creating my future home.

Maria was loving, generous, magnificently big bosomed and had a wonderful laugh and I dearly wish I had more time to get to know her.

Maria’s Custard

600ml full fat best quality dairy milk

3 egg yolks {free range per favore}

3 rounded desert spoons of cornflour

3 rounded desert spoons of sugar {use the kind you like most}

To flavour either:  vanilla essence or cocoa to taste; or Maria’s favourite 3 wide peelings of lemon rind, preferably picked from your own tree

Combine egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a medium saucepan.  Blend till smooth and then whisk in the milk.  Place saucepan on your hotplate, moderate heat {6 or 7 on your stovetop}.  Whisk gently to ensure the ingredients have integrated, all the while observing the heat as we don’t want it to cook too fast. Continue whisking until your milky liquid has been magically transformed to a creamy golden custard.  Pour into beautiful serving bowls.  The custard will continue to set as it cools making it perfect as a layer in cake or filling for other sweets such as the finest Sicilian desert ever – cannoli!  Share warm or cool and most importantly share with those whom you love the most.

Cara Maria ti volglio bene  xx Nina

what’s the difference between Prenatal Yoga and Yoga for Pregnancy and Birth?

I’m often asked to describe the difference between Prenatal Yoga and Yoga for Pregnancy and Birth?

mamashanti :: Goddess in my garden

Perhaps it’s two titles to describe the same thing.  Perhaps it’s a way of defining two very different experiences.  Both kinds of classes have so much to offer you in your pregnancy.  Today I’d like to share why I call what I’m teaching Yoga for Pregnancy and Birth.

For the past decade, I have been exclusively teaching yoga to women during their birthing years. In this time, I’ve attended dozens of births and sat with hundreds of women listening to their stories and feeling into their experiences of birth. I found that in this time, so much of my early understanding of what is considered to be appropriate to share with women in the context of a pregnancy friendly yoga class was being stripped and dissolved.

To truly honour the needs of these generous women, who continue to share their insights and heart-felt desires with me, I came to the realisation that I needed to do two things. Firstly I needed to reach deeply inward to consider the application of the fundamental tenants of Yogic philosophy – reframe my relationship with my own practice and what I was offering to women. Secondly, create a new approach to yoga that was based on cultivating a suite of rich and luscious womanly practices, rather than the process of stripping out and modification of standard asanas.

In heeding the humbling lessons of birth, I feel liberated from the binds of offering women “continuity in their known practice”. A kind of prenatal yoga that relies upon a heavily modified classic hatha yoga class. So liberated, mamashanti’s Yoga for Pregnancy and Birth will immerse you in a way of yoga that is:

  • Entirely devoted to honouring your unique transition from maiden to mother.
  • Seamlessly integrated with contemporary independent childbirth education.
  • Made abundant with exquisitely feminine practices.
  • A flowing and potent practice created by intricately entwining breath and movement.
  • Simply, a new paradigm in birth preparation.

In each class we explore the significant role specialised Yoga for Pregnancy and Birth can play to help you to actively and consciously engage with the birth your child. Specialised Yoga for Pregnancy and Birth taught by a qualified and experienced yoga teacher is all about consciously integrating ways of moving and breathing to help you “lean into” the intensity of labour. These practices are augmented with deep-guided relaxation, enriched with reassuring imagery to build confidence in yourself, your child and your birth process. Regular attendance will help you:

  • Take this suite of contemporary active birth practices from learned technique into the realm of instinct and intuition.
  • Create profound body-felt confidence in your own boundless birthing potential.
  • Habituate your capacity to positively work with the intensity of birthing your child.
  • Contribute to a positive experience of childbirth.

It’s going to be slower, softer and there will be a whole lot of time spent in practices that will intentionally encourage you to feel inward. Birth is, after all an entirely sensory experience. Where better to explore your inner realms than the safe and supportive environment of a room full of beautiful, pregnant women?

Would you like to experience mamashanti’s Yoga for Pregnancy and Birth Classes.  Perhaps you’d like to learn a whole new way of teaching yoga to pregnant women? Visit my page for 2015 training opportunities.


My Chai Journey

I was introduced to chai many years ago. I was so enchanted by the whole spicy, sweet and aromatic tea experience that I immediately dropped my plans for an extreme detox that year! Being the kind of Nina that I am, I immediately took over chai making and with that started to experiment with combinations of spices and brewing methods.

Taking great pleasure in gathering supplies from local spice sellers, I have been steadily revising and refining my chai recipe. My partner, son and lady friends have sampled countless variations and have been very, very supportive of my personal spice journey!

A couple of years ago, I settled on my high mistress recipe. We all agreed that this was the one.  And because this recipe was the one and our consumption of chai was so great and my black market distribution was increasing, I then ventured into unknown territory… placing my next order of spices with a wholesale organic supplier.

I picked up the box from the post office. Feeling quite trepidacious, surely this was a ridiculous extravagance, how could we ever get through so much spice?

I unsealed the bags, blended to my recipe, left the room for a few moments and when I returned, oh my goodness! The new certified chai ingredients gave my chai an intensity that I could not have imagined! Our kitchen was filled with the dreamy, intoxicating plume of chai. We were all overwhelmed with joy, the vitality and freshness of the chai was truly extraordinary.

Being the kind of Nina that I am, I feel so enchanted by these beautiful spices. Grown organically in exotic lands – India, Egypt, Vietnam, Italy, Nepal, Sri Lanka. Cultivated and used for centuries for culinary, therapeutic and medicinal purposes; these precious spices were the backbone of international trade for centuries. The wealth of nations have been built and crashed on the trade of this highly sought after, precious bounty. When I feel into the context of the product I’m crafting, I truly feel it’s a bit outrageous to use these spices to brew once and once only. So with my chai I’m offering a product that can be:

  • brewed up to 4 times without loosing potency;
  • brewed your way, with or without any variety of tea, sweetening or milk;
  • integrated into recipes by using as a culinary spice blend.


We play with the recipe to compliment company and to suit the seasons. Some of our favourites, and you’ll find more in my Chai Rituals Blog Series:


The method we use to brew our chai leaves us with something I like to call Chai Mother – the activated spices and leftover brewing liquor. This precious Chai Mother can be used again and again to re-brew your chai, or can be used in your cooking adventures:

  • Poaching fruit
  • Flavouring second ferment kombucha
  • Augmenting curries and stocks


Finally as a dry spice blend, you can use this in your baking, some of our favourite recipes:


Over the past few years, many of you who have attended my retreats and workshops have kindly requested that I make my chai available for sale. I am so pleased I can offer you my chai spice so you can immerse yourself in the sensory pleasure of brewing chai in your own home.

Each 100 gram jar or pack will yield well over 40 cups of chai. An exquisite blend of certified organic spices containing no caffeine, no sweetener, no fillers, this means:

  • It’s great for any one who’s cleansing; caffeine free, or wants to share with kids.
  • Small batch, minimum handling of premium certified organic ingredients, this chai spice has maximum potency and therapeutic benefits {not that we’re claiming to be a medicine or anything}.
  • As the only organic and genuinely reusable chai on the market, our unique product is not only a simple way to brew exquisite chai, but also very economical way to do so.

Thought making supremely flavoursome chai is too complicated to try at home? Visit this blog for my simple instructions.

I’m on the journey to sharing mamashanti’s very pleasing organic chai with you all.  We’re refining my online shop and connecting with like-minded retailers.  Would you like to have our chai available from your favourite yoga studio, health clinic or organic food store?   Ask your local outlet to stock our chai.  Once they become a retailer of mamashanti’s very pleasing chai and nominate you {and only you} as their recommender, I’ll send you a 50 gram bag of chai as a thank you gift for sharing the love.


mamashanti’s Advanced Practitioner Training for 2015

This week, I launched my new website and my Advanced Practitioner Training for 2015. Creating a new website, thinking about how I’d like to present my work to the world been an intense ride. However, this pales in contrast to the journey of crafting a program to share with other practitioners. Whenever I’ve wavered in my resolved; asked myself “who am I to be stepping out like this?”, I sift through the countless emails I have received over the years. Today, I’d like to share this achingly beautiful message from one of my very dear students. I hope it explains why I feel both inspired and utterly compelled to share the way of mamashanti…

“When I first became pregnant I continued my normal hatha classes and then about half way I started to realise this was no longer appropriate practice for me. I asked around some of my Mama friends and was recommended to Mamashanti by a few different sources.
I went along to check it out, thinking I would be getting another modified hatha class with a few bits of birthing wisdom thrown in and got such a lot more.

Nina’s classes are filled with wonderful nurturing postures that are in fact active birthing postures. They were subtle, gentle and so effective in nurturing and preparing my pregnant body for birthing my baby.

I decided to extend my practice with Nina after a diagnosis of ‘unstable pelvis’ and attended the Mamashanti workshops on specific areas of challenge for pregnant women. By practicing Nina’s specific, gentle, quiet and effective postures I was able to manage throughout the rest of my pregnancy with no further damage to me or my baby. Her sensible advice and impressive body of work in this area still inspire me today as I continue to practice many of the postures she introduced me to.

Now, after delivering a healthy baby boy, I can reflect back on my yogic journey during my pregnancy and give thanks for the wonderful wise women who lead me to Mamashanti. It is only now that I can truly appreciate how inappropriate a modified hatha class is for the pregnant woman. And how appropriate the quiet, gentle, subtle practices taught by Nina really are. Also I can now see how much this kind of yoga has to offer Mamas in the incredible task they undertake of carrying, birthing and raising a baby.”
xx Medine February 2014

Does the possibility of enriching your women-centred business inspire you? Visit my website for a taster of what’s on offer in 2015.

launching mamashanti’s new site!

Welcome to mamashanti’s pretty new site!  I out grew my sweet site some time ago.  After much consternation and consideration, trying to figure out the way forward; I took my own advice and I reached out to my friend, Bree from Santiago Sunbird.  Bree is such a talented and intuitive designer and might I say courageous, when I asked for help, she was more than willing to prise this baby out of my hands and help me start from scratch.

Here is the result of weeks of word smithing on my part and great patience and creativity on Bree’s.  I hope you find your way around smoothly and I hope you enjoy exploring the world of mamashanti!

mamashanti HQ

Thinking Big Thinks…

 There’s something about being drawn back to attending births and then having long hours cloistered in our cozy home that has made conditions so very conducive to cooking up some big ideas!

A couple of weeks ago, I had the great honour to support a very dear woman and her husband in birthing their second son. Another beautiful birth and another deeply formative experience for your mamashanti.

After a break of two {swift} years, my return to the birthing room has me feeling even more humbled by the magnificence of birth. Birth and the exquisite intensity that sweeps through birthing women remains my most loving teacher and richest inspiration.

Feeling so very inspired, this month I am pleased to be launching my new venture, my new baby – mamashanti’s active birth clinic. It’s a bold idea – to bring women more options for individualised care, please read on and let me know what you think!

Sending you cozy, warm blessings

xx Nina