February 4, 2016

The Teachings of Ghee.


On a rainy spring weekend in April, I immersed myself in a beautiful yoga workshop.

Evenings brought me home to integrate the teachings and find rest for the following morning. But not before I took the time to make homemade ghee, preparing for the sweet aroma to envelop our home like a soft meditative shawl.

My daughter and I carefully unwrapped four sticks of butter, dropping them in to a large pot on a slow flame. We took turns gently stirring the sticks as they melted toward liquid. Our heads bent together as we watched small bubbles begin to pop.

I had been told to listen for the quiet moment when the curds would settle, golden in color—soon to be released into cheesecloth, clarified butter pouring into the jar below.

As the butter cooled, my practice solidified within.

Like the dance of meditation and yoga, making ghee offers transformation—“clarifying” our life’s purpose as we attempt to purify our mind, body, and soul. Ghee too promotes a healthy heart physically and spiritually. We remove the curds like dark demons of our past, to purify the beauty of our liquid and ever changing present.

My patterns in life were reflected back in the butter’s shine as they do on the mat.

I saw how careful I was not to let it burn, but not risking quite enough for a golden brown and nutty flavor—reaching for perfection instead of purity. I wanted it to be just like the homemade gift from a dear friend, until I remembered the individuality of creation.

I cherished bumping hips with my daughter who reminded me of the importance of indulgence and sensuality as she encouraged us to dip bread into sweet butter as soon as we could. The quiet voice from the stove, letting us know it was ready to pour was the sweet peace of shavasana.

Our butter remains for days as the after glow of a practice reminding us to spread the pure, sweet, abundance in our daily lives.

Instructions clarified:

1 pound unsalted organic butter

On slow heat bring butter to boiling point and reduce heat stirring constantly. After approximately 8 to 10 minutes, the butter will turn slightly golden and golden milk solids will cover the bottom of the pan. Stretch cheese cloth over small jar and carefully pour butter into container; the cloth will catch the dark solids. Refrigerate to solidify butter, but best eaten softened at room temperature.

Cherish and spread on anything calling for the beauty of butter. A warm cinnamon roll with ghee melting down its cinnamon sides is true pleasure. But it also adds delight to morning toast.


Author: Priscilla Dann-Courtney

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Larry Jacobsen/Flickr


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Liz Feb 6, 2016 1:20am

Thank you Priscilla! I have been eating and cooking with Ghee for years, thanks to you I now know how to make it! What better time is there than the present to experience inner transformation, clarity of one's highest purpose and purification of health and spirit. I'm off to my kitchen…

Genevieve Rohan Feb 4, 2016 9:46am

Have been making homemade Ghee for years. It is fantastic and it feels sacred:the making, the using, the eating. I too find it ties me to the roots of my yoga practice and the culture that birth yoga. Thank you.

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Priscilla Dann-Courtney

Priscilla Dann-Courtney is a writer and clinical psychologist living in Boulder, Colorado. Her columns have appeared in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Miami Herald, Om Magazine, Fit Yoga, Boulder Camera and Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her book, Room to Grow, Stories of Life and Family (Norlights Press, 2009) was her way to navigate the beauty and wonder of raising their three children. Yoga, meditation, running, baking, writing, her work, family, and friendships light her world.