Tips for Grounding and Balancing During Autumn/Wildfire Season

fall leaves

This blog was a recent newsletter to my email list. Due to the great response I got from my list, I thought I’d post here as well so that more of you might benefit. Feel free to share this post and if you’d like to be included on my email list for more tips on wellness, self-care, Ayurveda and habit-change, sign up at the pop up window or feel free to email me and let me know. 

Wildfires have shrouded the entire bay area in smoke for days [update: over a week now!]. We’re advised to stay inside and continue to receive “Red Flag” warnings that weather conditions may ignite even more wildfires. It’s dry, windy, depressing and scary. Whether you’re here in the bay area or any of the several other places experiencing wildfires, or just experiencing the dryness of the fall season, I wanted to share a few self-care tips to help you feel more grounded and balanced.

This is the time of year when the weather tends to cause Vata dosha to go out of whackThis imbalance may cause some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Dry skin, eyes, everything!
  • Having a hard time focusing
  • Feeling scattered and ungrounded
  • Fearful, anxious and expecting the worst
  • Excessive thinking
  • Slow or weak digestion; constipation
  • Feeling colder than usual
  • Interrupted sleep (waking between 2am and 4am)
  • Sensitivity especially to lighting and loud noises

Here are some ways to bring Vata back into balance:

  • Stick to routines as much as possible. Eat and sleep at the same times every day. This gives vata the structure it needs to be “contained.”
  • Eat warm foods; avoid raw and cold foods. Soups, stews and one-pot meals are great for calming vata
  • Eat root vegetables and winter squashes for grounding
  • Stay hydrated with warm water and herbal teas (avoid cold or iced beverages)
  • Avoid caffeine
  • Stay warm and protected from the wind
  • Do some grounding yoga poses (like Child’s Pose & all sitting poses and long stretches)
  • Meditate to bring more focus and calm the mind
  • Lubricate the skin with warm oil (avoid lotions with chemicals and instead use some organic unrefined oil like sesame or almond oil)

Nature speaks to us in many ways. And my personal interpretation of these wildfires is that Nature is asking us to go inside. Stop running around, be still and go inside yourself. Is there something in you that needs attention? Acknowledgement? Is there something in your life you’ve been ignoring? That needs healing?

When we heal the imbalances inside us, it is a an act of love towards Nature. And Nature needs as much as love as we can give right now. So I invite you is to take this time to slow down, be silent and listen.

How to Enjoy Thanksgiving Without the (Over) Stuffing

cornucopiaThe big day is coming! How will you feast this Thanksgiving? Did you know you it’s possible to enjoy this meal without overstuffing yourself?

Sure it’s fine to take one day out of the year and indulge. But we all know Thanksgiving is the gateway feast, and once we start, we don’t stop feasting until 2019 rolls around. Leading to a sluggish and guilt-ridden start to a new year.

So why not pace yourself to enjoy the entire holiday season rather than gobbling your way through it?

Here are some of my favorite feasting tips for enjoying food, family and friends without overdoing it.

1.  Days before the feast, make sure you are eating healthy, satisfying, warm and well-balanced meals, sticking to mostly (if not completely) vegetarian, whole foods and healthy fats.

This will help to: 

–Strengthen your digestion. Heavy foods like meat, cold foods (like ice cream and yogurt) and deep fried foods will weaken agni, your digestive fire. We want to keep that fire stoked so it can more easily digest the feast you eat later.

–Prevent you from overeating at the feast. Starving ourselves before a feast is a big mistake. We’ll come to the meal feeling deprived and compensate by eating everything in sight. Your digestive system can only handle so much at one time. And if you give it more than it can handle, that food won’t get properly digested, which is what leads to digestive disorders, feeling sluggish and mental fog in the following hours or days.

2.  Days before the feast, make sure you are hydrating with warm water. Drinking warm or hot water also helps our digestive fire to stay strong. Cold or iced water puts out that fire in our bellies. Make sure you’re drinking warm water throughout the day and don’t drink a lot of water just before you eat. Water in the stomach makes digestion tough.

3.  Eliminate snacking and space your daily meals at least 4-6 hours apart, taking at least 12.5 hours (preferably more) between dinner and breakfast.

This goes back to the idea that our digestive system can only handle so much food at a time. If we are constantly bombarding the belly with food, it’s not able to completely and effectively digest anything. Agni needs time to properly digest AND it also needs time to rest and restore. Without that rest period, agni weakens and does not properly digest all food.

4.  Start with smaller amounts. The temptation with Thanksgiving is to pile it all on to a large plate. And if it’s in front of us, there’s not much stopping us from trying to eat it all. Instead, start with smaller amounts of everything. Make sure you can still see lots of space on your plate. Ignore comments from everyone else. Once you’ve eaten all that’s on your plate, take a few breaths and ask yourself, do I really want or need more? What will eating more feel like tomorrow? This allows you to make a more conscious decision. Even if that decision is to eat more, at least you’ve made it consciously rather than devouring mindlessly.

5.  Slow down and chew your food. Twenty percent of digestion happens in the mouth. If we don’t take the time to slow down and allow the enzymes in our mouth to break down the food, we make agni’s job harder and consequently, dampen its mighty fire.

6.  Make sure the mind is calm. If we’re agitated, distracted or upset, agni (digestive fire) weakens. Give yourself the space to come into a relaxed and more present state of mind before eating. This may mean excusing yourself and enjoying a few quiet minutes outside in nature. Or simply taking some deep breaths, presencing your body and giving thanks for this amazing food you’re about to eat.

7.  Stop eating by 6pm. I know, this is a tough one that may be harder to work on during the holidays. But agni is naturally slowing down around 6pm, so if we’re eating much later than that, there’s a good chance our food isn’t get properly digested. If you can’t stop by 6pm, choose another cut-off time that is more doable and stick with it. This will be more helpful than nibbling all night long.

And if you’re hungry later or tempted to eat something beyond your cut-off time, choose to have some warm water or herbal tea instead. A recent study claimed that 80% of the time we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty.

Try these out and let me know how they work for you! And have a fantastic holiday!

Why I LOVE Ayurveda: Reason #5

REASON #5: Ayurveda’s ancient wisdom stands the test of time.

Has Ayurveda caught your eye yet? It has certainly been getting a lot of attention from modern science. And Ayurveda-lovers like me are thrilled to see that researchers are now recognizing how the principles and practices of this ancient tradition are incredibly relevant and healing to the imbalances and diseases of modern living.

For example, just last year the Nobel Prize in Medicine went to three doctors for their studies on the effects of the circadian clock on our health and wellness. But Ayurveda has known this for thousands of years!

Dinacharya, or daily rituals, have been an essential part of Ayurveda’s prescription for health on all levels. These rituals emphasize the significance of aligning our activities, such as eating, sleeping, meditating and exercising, with what is referred to as the dosha clock in Ayurveda. This clock demonstrates that different times of the day are governed by the different doshas or bio-energies. And a fundamental teaching of Ayurveda is that if we align our activities with these energies, we support our bodies’ ability to heal and thrive. This is effectively the same conclusion these Nobel Prize-winning doctors found regarding the influence of the circadian clock on the body.

Modern research has also found several other Ayurvedic practices to be of great benefit to modern ailments, including the use of turmeric and other plants and foods for healing, abhyanga or self-oiling, and neti pots and nasya oil to increase immunity, not to mention the well-known benefits of yoga and meditation, which are part and parcel to the Ayurvedic lifestyle.

And it seems every month I’m hearing about another study that validates what the Ayurvedic sages learned centuries ago. Follow me on my Facebook page for postings on these subjects including links to articles and podcasts.


Ready to learn how these ancient practices can heal your modern woes?

Sign up TODAY!! Early  Bird Pricing Ends This Week!

workshop1

RECLAIM YOUR HEALTH + THRIVE WITH AYURVEDA

Saturday, March 24th, 2018:

2pm – 4pm

Square One Yoga, San Leandro

 

Ayurveda is the world’s oldest holistic healing system and is considered Yoga’s “sister science.” Though shunned for many years, modern science now recognizes the incredible efficacy of Ayurvedic practices in healing disease and imbalances of the modern world.

In this workshop, we’ll explore the nature of this life-transforming tradition, and discover how the principles of Ayurveda teach us to awaken our natural ability to self-heal and bring benefit to our communities, all living creatures and the planet.

All workshop participants will be offered a free 15 minute Ayurvedic phone consultation by appointment after workshop.

Cost: $30 for members of Square One, $35 for non-members.

$5 off if you register by 3/17/18.

Be sure to save your spot and register here.

Why I LOVE Ayurveda: Reason #4

ayu4

REASON #4: Ayurveda reminds us of our deep connection to our eco-system and community.

When Ayurveda was developed over 5,000 years ago in India, the concepts of “going green,” being “eco-friendly” or “socially conscious” were unknown. The Ayurvedic sages lived in attunement with nature and thus were already all of these things.

In our consumerist culture, however, we are out of sync with the natural world, and thus out of sync with our own true nature.This has led to disease in our bodies, minds, spirits and environment. Just take a look at the increasing numbers of auto-immune diseases, heart disease, diabetes, and digestive disorders, to name a few.

Is there a correlation between these rising numbers of disease and disorders and the declining health of our planet?

Some would say yes, and I would agree with them. What I’ve learned and experienced from Ayurveda, is that when we align with the principles and rhythms of nature, we learn how to take care of ourselves, take care of each other and the planet. We begin to understand that our relationships to each other and to earth are interdependent and must be nurtured so that we can all enjoy good health.

Because Ayurveda is based in nature, its practices inherently honor and revere the eco-system that keeps us alive. And its principles recognize and appreciate the fundamental abundance and interconnectedness in all life.

By adopting Ayurveda’s natural practices and principles into our daily lives, we find a more balanced way of living in our bodies, with each other and on this beautiful planet. And I believe if we, both humans and the planet, are to thrive for many more centuries, this ancient tradition, must be the wave of the future.


Ready to learn how you can change your health and the planet’s? Join me for my upcoming workshop on Ayurveda.

workshop1

RECLAIM YOUR HEALTH + THRIVE WITH AYURVEDA

Saturday, March 24th, 2018:

2pm – 4pm

Square One Yoga, San Leandro

 

Ayurveda is the world’s oldest holistic healing system and is considered Yoga’s “sister science.” Though shunned for many years, modern science now recognizes the incredible efficacy of Ayurvedic practices in healing disease and imbalances of the modern world.

In this workshop, we’ll explore the nature of this life-transforming tradition, and discover how the principles of Ayurveda teach us to awaken our natural ability to self-heal and bring benefit to our communities, all living creatures and the planet.

All workshop participants will be offered a free 15 minute Ayurvedic phone consultation by appointment after workshop.

Cost: $30 for members of Square One, $35 for non-members.

$5 off if you register by 3/17/18.

Be sure to save your spot and register here.

Why I LOVE Ayurveda: Reason #3

ayu3.png

REASON #3: Ayurveda teaches the power of self-healing.

When we get sick, most of us are trained to seek answers or healing from somewhere outside of ourselves – usually from doctors who hardly know anything about us! Or some of us look to the internet for solutions to our symptoms.

Ayurveda asks us to instead develop a deeper connection and level of communication with our own bodies, so that we can listen to its messages and learn what it needs.

As I mentioned last week, Ayurveda tells us that we experience symptoms because of an imbalance in our constitution, which is composed of the three doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. And the key to restoring health is to correct that imbalance.

Ayurveda teaches us the qualities of the doshas so that we can become familiar with the characteristics of our unique constitution. Such knowledge enables us to recognize 1) when we go out of balance, and 2) how to take action to bring ourselves back into balance.

In other words, Ayurveda provides the language in which our bodies are speaking to us. It helps us understand our bodies’ messages so that we can understand how to restore that balance.

That is not to say you should abandon your ties to Western medicine. Instead, it’s an invitation to notice where that model has gaps in its approach to healing, and to open yourself to the possibility that you have much more self-healing power than you have been led to believe.

Stay tuned for next week when I share REASON #4 for loving Ayurveda.


Want to learn how you can bring Ayurvedic self-healing practices into your life? Join me in my upcoming workshop: 

workshop1

RECLAIM YOUR HEALTH + THRIVE WITH AYURVEDA

Saturday, March 24th, 2018:

2pm – 4pm

Square One Yoga, San Leandro

 

Ayurveda is the world’s oldest holistic healing system and is considered Yoga’s “sister science.” Though shunned for many years, modern science now recognizes the incredible efficacy of Ayurvedic practices in healing disease and imbalances of the modern world.

In this workshop, we’ll explore the nature of this life-transforming tradition, and discover how the principles of Ayurveda teach us to awaken our natural ability to self-heal and bring benefit to our communities, all living creatures and the planet.

All workshop participants will be offered a free 15 minute Ayurvedic phone consultation by appointment after workshop.

Cost: $30 for members of Square One, $35 for non-members.

$5 off if you register by 3/17/18.

Be sure to save your spot and register here.

Why I LOVE Ayurveda: Reason #2

Ayu-2REASON #2: Ayurveda’s holistic approach heals ALL of you: body, mind and spirit. 

I wrote last week about how I turned to Ayurveda to heal from IBS. And while I healed myself from these digestive issues, I received some unexpected healing bonuses!

Since embracing the practices of Ayurveda, I have said “so long” to seasonal allergies, chronic sinus infections, and a rash (which I was told I had because I was “aging”). I no longer suffer with bouts of depression and my anxiety levels have dropped dramatically.

Why?

Ayurveda tells us that we get sick or experience symptoms because of an imbalance in our constitution. Over time, how that imbalance shows up may change. We may start noticing some digestive issues, then get tendonitis. Later we develop issues with anxiety and our skin is constantly dried out. Seemingly unrelated issues, right? Not with Ayurveda.

While a Western medicine approach might look at all these symptoms separately, and provide different treatments or prescriptions for each one,

Ayurveda would instead look at them holistically, considering all aspects of our lives to determine the root cause of imbalance.  And once that root cause is understood and addressed, we can bring healing to our whole being.

Consequently, not only did I leave behind physical symptoms, I’ve also begun to let go of outdated and unhealthy emotional and behavior patterns. And this deep healing has allowed me to gain more clarity about my life’s purpose, and given me the confidence to pursue that purpose.

Stay tuned for next week when I share REASON #3 for loving Ayurveda.


Want to learn how you can bring Ayurvedic practices into your life? Join me in my upcoming workshop: 

workshop1

RECLAIM YOUR HEALTH + THRIVE WITH AYURVEDA

Saturday, March 25, 2018:

2pm – 4pm

Square One Yoga, San Leandro

 

Ayurveda is the world’s oldest holistic healing system and is considered Yoga’s “sister science.” Though shunned for many years, modern science now recognizes the incredible efficacy of Ayurvedic practices in healing disease and imbalances of the modern world.

In this workshop, we’ll explore the nature of this life-transforming tradition, and discover how the principles of Ayurveda teach us to awaken our natural ability to self-heal and bring benefit to our communities, all living creatures and the planet.

All workshop participants will be offered a free 15 minute Ayurvedic phone consultation by appointment after workshop.

Cost: $30 for members of Square One, $35 for non-members.

$5 off if you register by 3/17/18.

Be sure to save your spot and register here.

 

 

Why I LOVE Ayurveda

If you’ve taken a class from me, you’ve probably heard me talk about this holistic healing system that is considered the sister science to yoga. But why am I so smitten? Well…lots of reasons! There is so much to love about Ayurveda. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to reveal the top 5 ayu1Reasons why Ayurveda has captured my heart for life!

REASON #1

  1. Ayurveda provides answers and healing for “incurable” symptoms.

Years ago I was diagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). If you know anything about it, you know it’s no fun and can be quite debilitating, even humiliating.

Western medicine has had very little success in treating IBS, and I personally did not receive any effective therapies from my doctors. It was a deeply frustrating time. I didn’t understand why this was happening and why no one could tell me how to fix it.

But I knew that there must be answers somewhere. And in my search, I found Ayurveda. Though I initially doubted such an ancient tradition (Ayurveda is over 5,000 years old!) could be relevant to modern ailments, here is where I finally started receiving answers and healing. And today, I am completely IBS-symptom free. And I feel stronger, healthier, happier and more energized now in my 40s than I ever did in my 20s or 30s.

So what answers did I get? Namely, that I had an imbalance in my constitution. In Ayurveda each of us is born with a constitution composed in varying proportions of the 3 doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. This constitution, unique to each of us, is our personal state of health, our balance. When go out of balance, especially for long periods of time, we get sick.

To come back into balance, treatment involves “calming” the aggravated or excessive doshas, mainly through changes to diet and lifestyle, as these are the main causes for imbalance. In some severe or chronic cases, taking herbs and other treatments may be recommended.

To be clear, Ayurvedic healing is not a quick fix, but a process of changing our habits, learning better ways to nourish ourselves, and aligning ourselves with nature’s rhythms so that we can address the root cause of our symptoms and heal from the inside out.

Stay tuned for next week where I share REASON #2 for loving Ayurveda.