Ayurveda

DIY, at-home spa day for you!

Happy Friday to you!

Check out my video about how to create a simple, rebalancing spa day/break at home. On the day of the solar eclipse, I read a post that recommended “extreme self-care” through the end of the year. This spa treatment is agreat way to refresh, rebalance, and lover your body.

Take a free quiz here to learn your Ayurvedic dosha.

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Kamelien loves you!

“Self-esteem is at the core of healing. Because of the connectedness of mind and body, our sense of self-esteem is our cells’ sense of self-esteem. This is because, according to Ayurveda, every cell is a center of intelligence and awareness. Every cell carries the sense of self for its own survival. It is the sense of self in the cell that maintains the size and shape of the cell. Self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-respect promote cellular intelligence, which is necessary for proper cell function and immunity.”

~Dr. Vasant Lad, from The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies

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To balance? To fall?

Whoa! Did you see that?!!

That was the fall equinox that just went whizzing by.

I must warn you that I am a great lover of solstices and equinoxes, and I get pretty worked up for each one. To me, each is like a mindfulness alert from the universe- a reminder that things are changing and evolving and a push to align with the times. How does ‘change’ manifest in my life at the moment? What can I do to address it? I find that this quarterly practice of ‘checking in’ truly elevates my actions and choices. It brings them into resonance with a bigger picture and gives greater meaning to everything I do.

So, here we are again. It’s fall. And I’m a few days into my fall check-in. So, what’s coming up?

My son is at a stage of learning and understanding that I’m rather enjoying. He will ask questions that make the needle in my brain skip sideways. He asks ‘why?’ about nearly everything. And he also asks questions that force me to stop and think about things in a way that I’ve not done for a very long time. Like, “What does ‘about’ mean? What does ‘an’ mean?” I’ve realized how much I take for granted in my words and the ideas, thoughts, and concepts that generate them. The more words and complicated explanations I throw at him, the more lost we get.

Instead, I must get to the heart of the thing, even approach it symbolically. What is the underlying essence of this thing, beyond the words I know about it? Repeating this exercise day in and day out has made my mind much more limber than it was a few years ago- more ready for the next curveball little man throws my way. My mind is more open to setting aside preconceived ideas about things and connecting with the sweetness that makes them what they are.

I was practicing this yoga for the mind (of moms. Of 3-year-olds.) while meditating on ‘fall.’ I get so excited at the beginning of every season- excited to experience the unique sweetness that makes fall fall. As it usually happens, I was drawn to the outdoors, to see how Mother Nature is doing it (because she does it best).

The leaves are falling. The winds are picking up. The time for the harvest has arrived. This is the ‘reaping’ time in the cycle. The seeds that we planted in the spring and tended in the bright, summer sun are now ready to be plucked from the vine and enjoyed.

Also in nature, I see the transition from the hot summer sun to cool fall winds beginning. From a pitta (fire) season to a vata (air) season, according to Ayurveda.

I am vata. Very, very vata. Moving into fall can throw me off balance if I am not mindful that Mother Nature is piling on extra vata. The equinoxes are a time of balance. The hours of dark and light are equal. So, I like to go with the flow and work with a vata-pacifying diet and focus on grounding postures in my yoga practice. I also bring my mindful awareness to any other habits or situations that may be throwing me off further and focus on letting them go.

To aid me in my efforts, I have been relying on an affirmation that I would like to share with you. It is from Doreen Virtue’s Chakra Clearing: A Morning and Evening Meditation to Awaken Your Spiritual Power (available on iTunes).

“I am harmoniously aligned with the ceaseless flow of supply and love that springs from the golden fountain of light from within my center. All of my desires are perfectly balanced right now.”

Happy Autumn, everyone! Here’s a free dosha quiz if you would like to learn more about your Ayurvedic dosha.

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Daily reminder

“We live in a magical universe filled with great forces of life and death, creation and destruction. Divine powers can be found everywhere to lift us into a greater peace and understanding. But ‘undivine’ forces are also ever present, working to lure us into confusion and attachment. Truth and falsehood, ignorance and enlightenment form the light and dark, the illumination and shadow of the world. In this basic duality of creation, we struggle not merely to survive but also to find meaning in our lives. We must learn to navigate through these contrary currents so that we can benefit by the ascending spiritual force and avoid the descending spiritual inertia.”

~Dr. David Frawley, Ayurveda and the Mind

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Ayurvedic spring cleaning

Now that spring is here, you may be considering undertaking some good ol’ spring cleaning. As I’ve said, this is a great time of year to make changes- out with the old and in with the new. Powerful forces are present to support any little seedling intentions that we wish to manifest. Working consciously with them is like a power-boost to our manifestation.

If your spring cleaning includes ditching any old habits or patterns that affect the body, the equinoxes are a great time for an Ayurvedic cleanse.

In Ayurveda, the seasons have a predominant dosha just as human beings do. Spring is a kapha season- with the wetness of spring rains and the heaviness of the saturated earth as comes back to life.

Following an Ayuvedic ‘spring cleaning’ program can help balance kapha in the body. Less kapha means less heaviness and more energy. Less inertia and more action.

Working with Mother Nature in this way is a great way to jumpstart any goals you have concerning your health and wellbeing. I don’t know about you… but I can use all the help I can get ♥

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Welcome to ‘the village pharmacy’

Whoa there, tiger… welcome to the world of holistic/ayurvedic healing.

Neem has been on my mind for the past few days. Over and over, it has come up- from Paramahansa Yogananda & his sister sitting under a neem tree during his childhood to rejuvenating the hair and scalp to curing sore throats.

Neem is a remedy of many uses, hence its designation as ‘the village pharmacy’. Learn more about neem today to introduce its healing power into your life!!!

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Drop that hibernation weight

I felt a deep and overwhelming need to hibernate for several weeks during the holidays. I had a calling for it. And just like any other wild animal, I packed on a couple hibernation pounds.

This article by Katie Silcox (via Yoga Journal) plots a return to balance from an Ayurvedic perspective. She points out that this season is a Kaphic time of year and that the prevailing conditions are lethargy- and heaviness-inducing (glad it’s not just my powerful, powerful hunger for cereal).

I love that her suggestions include eating fresh ginger, going outside, and sipping hot water/tea throughout the day. Those are 3 of my favorite things! This is going to be a snap!

[Sidenote: I recommend Banyan Botanicals for your Ayurvedic herbal needs if you are wondering about that. Their (very awesome) catalog is an education in Ayurveda in itself. Also, click here for a free dosha quiz.]

Bonne chance, mes amis!!

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Note to self: Keep it movin’

The coming and going from point A to point B and back again is observed from the atomic level to the galactic level and beyond. It’s universal. In the face of constant movement between polarities, yoga and ayurveda point the way to achieving balance while also embracing the flow. The flow is the way of earthly life, after all. Change can be beautiful and it can be scary, but above all, it is inevitable.

When we lose touch with natural rhythms for whatever reason, imbalance occurs. Stagnation. Ayurveda notes that in this place where the flow is excluded, disease can take hold. In the time that I’ve studied ayurveda, I’ve maintained an awareness of this principle with regard to my diet and the care of my body. It was only recently, however, that I began to comprehend its role in my emotional health.

It is important to experience emotions. They are a gift that makes the colors of my human experience more vivid and gives me insight that would not be available otherwise. But, like everything else, it is essential to let them keep moving or stagnation will occur. Stagnation creates the foothold for what, my dears? Dis-ease. The old must be released to make space for the new to enter.

So, I began paying particular attention to my emotions- observing them, acknowledging them, and letting them go on their merry way. Great lessons, all in all. Yet, I couldn’t shake this feeling. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until… I allowed that it was time to face the monster- FEAR.

I couldn’t wrap my arms around it, or my mind. I just felt blank and numb. But this is FEAR we’re talking about! I should feel terrified, right? Then… BAM!! It hit me square in the face: Could it be that I’ve held on to so much fear and stuffed it in every fiber of my being for so long that it had become my new normal? Had I allowed myself to become so filled with fear that it pops up everywhere, all the time until it seems like the way it is?

I realized that YES! that was most likely true, and in so doing, I began to let go of it. I can’t say that I’m feeling all light and free these days, but I am aware. And awareness is the wormhole back to the present moment- the moment in which I can choose to go with the flow. I can observe the rhythm and the motion and be a part of it.

In my years of asana practice, I’ve heard over and over that hip-opening poses aid in the release of emotions (the hips are one place in the body where we hold our emotions). So, I’ve been following the yoga doctor’s orders and taking regular doses of hip openers. While I haven’t experienced a powerful emotional release like Julia Cohn describes in her recent article, the practice reaffirms my faith that yoga is a gateway back to balance.

Learn more about hip-opening poses here. What’s your favorite?

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Daily reminder

“Self-esteem is at the core of healing. Because of the connectedness of mind and body, our sense of self-esteem is our cells’ sense of self-esteem. This is because, according to Ayurveda, every cell is a center of intelligence and awareness. Every cell carries the sense of self for its own survival. It is the sense of self in the cell that maintains the size and shape of the cell. Self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-respect promote cellular intelligence, which is necessary for proper cell function and immunity.”

~Dr. Vasant Lad, from The Complete Book of Ayurveda Home Remedies

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You are how you eat

I wake up in the morning and affirm, “Today, I practice Ahimsa.” That’s a great start, but it loses its power if I don’t continue to affirm my commitment in every moment of the day (ie, be committed!). One of my most consistent detours from Ahimsa is poor eating habits. I wake, I vow to practice non-violence and allow myself to grow to my fullest potential… and then I head for the nearest drive-thru. Detour!

Thankfully, being aware of this is the first step in changing it. Every time I eat, I receive a gift of nourishment that the earth has offered. I have the opportunity to accept it and treat myself well. Wow! That is no small thing, yet I sometimes eat an entire meal plus seconds without realizing what I am doing.

Many factors contribute to the quality of nourishment I receive- not just whether or not it came from a drive-thru. Were the ingredients responsibly obtained? Was my food prepared with love? What is my state of being as I eat it? From an Ayurvedic point of view, how we eat is just as important as what we eat. Stress, sadness, distractedness, gratitude, joy- these emotions all produce changes in our bodies that impact their ability to assimilate food.

I mentioned the other day that I had a wonderful lesson in mindfulness when I was unable to use my dominant right hand. Generally, I can shovel an entire meal into my mouth while watching a movie, checking my Blackberry, and having a conversation… and I miss the whole experience of eating. When I had to use my left hand, each bite became a blessing when it made it to my mouth.

This new experience of mindful eating sent ripples into every aspect of sitting down to a meal. I only chose foods that were worth the effort it would take to eat them. I prepared them with love and attention. I sat down to a table that honored the experience (no TV, no BB). I blessed the food and everyone who had had a hand it getting it to my table. And then I ate… very, very slowly.

As I’m bringing my full attention to what I take in again, I aim to create that same sacred space around mealtimes. When the meal becomes a ceremony, it is difficult to “eat anything that you can’t bless” (as one of my teachers puts it). Try it out for a day and see how different it can feel to do something as basic as eating. If you want a real eye-opener, try doing it with the other hand. 😉

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Upcoming Events

Mar
25
Sat
12:00 pm Yoga @ VeraVia
Yoga @ VeraVia
Mar 25 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
VeraVia is an all-inclusive, luxury health and wellness retreat, located within the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad, CA. Please visit VeraViaFit.com to learn more.
Mar
26
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9:30 am Prenatal Yoga Flow @ Cap Wellness Center
Prenatal Yoga Flow @ Cap Wellness Center
Mar 26 @ 9:30 am – 10:45 am
A 75-minute yoga flow, appropriate for all stages of pregnancy.
Mar
27
Mon
9:30 am Baby & Me Yoga @ Babies in Bloom
Baby & Me Yoga @ Babies in Bloom
Mar 27 @ 9:30 am – 10:30 am
This class combines a gentle, postnatal appropriate yoga flow with yoga for baby and postures mama and baby do together. Appropriate for 6 weeks to crawling.
11:00 am Toddler & Me Yoga @ Babies in Bloom
Toddler & Me Yoga @ Babies in Bloom
Mar 27 @ 11:00 am – 11:30 am
 

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