Laying the Foundation for your health…
I have focused this newsletter on vibrational energy and health. Prana (life-force) is the common thread between Ayurveda and Yoga. It includes some suggestions that we can apply to increase our “vibration” and why slow Yoga works. Also, a recipe that is yummy and healthy – good for this time of year – plus a quote that resonates with me. Here’s to 2017 – may we be peaceful, loving and courageous.
Ways to raise your vibration –
We all know what it is like to be happy. We literally feel lighter and more expansive. The happier we are the more we will invite happier experiences as we are operating at a different frequency. When we are unhappy we feel heavy and denser. Sometimes just checking in as to how we are feeling will alter our vibration. Perception always starts with awareness.
Some suggestions to raise your vibration
- Find something of beauty every day and honor it.
It may be a flower, a child’s smile or a beautiful painting.
- Be grateful. Make a list and cultivate the attitude of gratitude.
- Do something for someone else. Takes the attention of yourself and creates an aspect of abundance
- Stop complaining and gossiping
- Exercise- walk, yoga, get active.
It has been proven that exercise releases endorphins that make us feel happier
- Listen to music – ancient chants are designed to alter your frequency.
- Breathe – slow the breath down. This has a direct effect on the nervous system.
A calm vibration is a higher vibration.
- Meditate daily
- Hug someone or smile.
Removing Density from your body – why slow yoga
Because of stress, poor diet, lack of movement, aging and emotions, the body can become very dense. When the body becomes dense, it becomes very stiff and rigid. The body’s life force or prana, which moves through every cell of the body, cannot do so fluidly in the presence of a dense physical body. One of the purposes of yoga asana (poses) is to help break up the density of the physical body, thus allowing the prana to flow more freely. For this to happen, the posture needs to be held for an extended period. This is where restorative and Yin yoga comes in. Long holds allow the muscles to begin to relax.
If you hold a posture for just 15-30 seconds, the tendons – the attachments where the muscles connect to the bone – tighten in resistance to the stretch. If the posture is held for 2 minutes or more, the belly of the muscle where all the blood – and with it the potential elasticity – are found will begin to release and lengthen. Lengthening the belly of the muscle is like putting elastic links in a chain – the result is more permanent elasticity and flexibility.
With greater muscle flexibility and elasticity, the prana can begin to mod help break up the subtle mental, emotional and energetic blocks in the body. Per the Ayurveda philosophy there are 72,000 nadis or subtle energy channels in the body. Once the Prana begins to move, through slow yoga, breathe, meditation and a balanced lifestyle, the nadis become activated and our bodies do feel less dense. Don’t get me wrong, I love and support all types of Yoga, but more and more see the benefit or a restorative practise.
If you would like to experience a mix of restorative, Yin and meditation … there is a course starting at:
The Yoga Tree in Takapuna on Wednesdays 6.45pm to 8.00pm from the 1st March up to and including the 12th April.
Click here to book now
Why have an Ayurveda Consultation?
The beginning of the year is a good time to review your health and be inspired to make change for the better. Ayurveda is a fantastic preventative medicine. Once the basic principles are understood you can take responsibility for your own well-being by increased awareness as to what makes you feel better and what makes you happy.
If you have not already considered an Ayurveda consultation as a good launching pad to improve your health. (There is a 20% discount this month if you book by the end of February).
Make a booking – click here
Recipe for the summer months…
The recipe I am enjoying is… Persian Cucumber Salad
It makes for a complete meal in itself, and once your potatoes are cooked, it comes together rather quickly. Recipe below…
Newsletter – November/December 2016
Living according to the season – the summer months
How I love summer. The sun is out, the days are longer, we can spend more time outside, and most of us feel generally happier and healthier.
In Ayurveda we see it as a time when the fire element is increased, there is more warmth, lightness and dryness. These are qualities that increase Pitta and can also increase Vata.
If we are of dominant Pitta constitution it is even more important to adjust your routine to cater for the change in weather. Pitta can build up in the digestive system, liver, eyes, skin, and heart at this time of year. This can result in conditions such as diarrhea, inflamed and red skin, sensitive eyes, hypertension, anger and frustration.
Here are some Ayurveda suggestions for your summer routine
- A light massage with room temperature coconut oil* (or Pitta reducing oil) nourish the skin and clear any heat. Wash this off with cool water.
- Your diet in the summer should consist of sweet, bitter, astringent flavors and be light and easy to digest.
- In the summer it is best to avoid all dark meats such as beef, lamb and pork as well as citrus fruits, tomato, garlic, onion, salt and sour dairy products as these all increase pitta.
- Coffee and alcohol should be avoided (or at less limited)
- Utilise the cooling herbs – cumin, coriander, fennel, peppermint leaves and mint as digestive herbs (pitta digest) – link
- When you are thirsty try drinking cool herbal teas of peppermint, licorice, fennel and rose. Limes are also very cooling.
- Before you go to bed, especially if it has been a hot day, rub the soles of your feet with *Bramhi oil to bring all the heat down to your feet
- Spray your face with *organic rose water “during the day or before going to bed– very cooling Suggested Yoga Practise to reduce Pita
- Start your yoga practice with some cooling and calming Sheetali pranayama- this is an especially calming and soothing practice where you roll your tongue into a tube and then draw the air in through this tube and out through your nostrils. You can just feel the cool air chilling you out!
- Pitta can accumulate in the digestive system, especially the liver and small intestine. Do some abdominal stretches and abdominal twists for helping to clear pitta from your belly. Try Trikonasna (triangle series), Bhujangasana (cobra), Matsyendrasana (twist), Ushtrasana (camel).
- It is important to not do too many inverted poses (esp headstand) as these bring heat up to your head if you are already a bit of a pitta prone person or are suffering from hypertension.
- After yoga anoint yourself with some sandalwood or rose oil. Place a drop on your third eye, throat and navel to keep these centers cool and calm.
Lets talk about Asparagus
I love Asparagus and have been munching my way through, many stalks, as the season is short lived in NZ Asparagus, in Ayurveda is one of the few vegetables that can be eaten by all doshas with no aggravation. Sweet, astringent and bitter, cool light and moist, it is ideal for Pitta. It stabilises Vata, being easy to digest, and lightens Kapha. Medically it can be used as a slight laxative, nerve sedative, general tonic and demulcent.
That aside it tastes delicious just steamed with a dash of ghee, some grated fresh ginger, black pepper and Himalayan salt to taste. In writing this newsletter I came across this recipe – It is a take on the kitchari recipe given last month utilizing Asparagus as the main vegetable. Have a look – it’s healing and delicious.
I have made two huge batches of this stew in the past 3 months and am not tired of it at all. Enjoy something new!
- 1 teaspoon ghee (I substituted olive oil)
- 1/8 teaspoon saffron
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek seeds
- 1/2 cup finely chopped leeks (wash carefully – white parts only)View recipe – click here
Featured Herb – Amalaki (also known as Amia)
How I love this herb…Being Pitta in nature I have first hand felt the benefit of Amalaki. It is very beneficial for the heart of the body and also the emotional heart promoting longitivtiy. It is the best single herb for controlling Pitta being a front line anti-inflammatory herb. The fruit is very high in Vitamin C and hence a powerful anti oxidant. It is used to treat hemorrhoids, gout, gastritis, colitis, liver or spleen disorders, premature greying, hair loss, and palpitation. Can be bought in caps or powder and is the key ingredient in last months featured product Chyavanprash
Rose the cooling flower
Roses are coming into full bloom…here are a couple of recipes that you can utilize to make the most of the petals… It would be appropriate to mention that 1,400,000 hand picked petals are required to produce 1 liter of rose oil (that equates to 67 blossoms to give one drop). We need to remember these statistics and savor and appreciate each drop of oil as a gift of healing.
Rose Water Toner
You will need:
- 1 cup organic rose petals,
- 2 cups boiling filtered water
- and 1 spray bottle
Place the rose petals in a pot or metal bowl. Cover the petals with boiling water and soak for around 1 hour.
Strain and pour the rose water into a spray bottle. Store in the fridge. Rose water is slightly astringent, cooling and great for sensitive skin.
Ayurveda does not separate Mind and body. We see good health as not just a absence of disease but the ability to be the best that we can possibly be. Emotions have an effect on our health and you will see in the following graphic, emotions traditionally associated with particular organs. Sometimes eating right and exercising is not enough we have to look at our ability to feel and greet our emotions – both good and bad. Carl Jung said “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the dark more conscious. “By facing our emotions we can explore them and develop more resilience This is where mindfulness and meditation have a role – reflection and self-study all play their part in healing.
Isn’t this interesting… Our amazing body is designed to preserve its own health. It is constantly replenishing its cells. Every second, several million red blood cells are removed and replaced from your circulatory system. Every five days, your stomach lining is renewed. Every thirty days, you have a brand new protective skin. Every ninety days, your body turns over all of the molecules that make up your bones.
Why then do we get sick?
Ayurveda puts a lot of emphasis on food, daily routine and honouring the seasons, in other words working with Mother Nature and her offerings. With the abundance and endless varieties of foods available from our supermarkets why is it impossible to feel nourished by what we buy? It is simple… Nature is not in command. Often our foods are sweetened, emulsified, stabilized, salted, irrigated, bleached, blanched, polished, degermed, sprayed, anti-spoiled…I could go on.
By the time some of the food reaches our tables it is loaded with more chemicals than a chemist shop. This is what we put into our precious bodies. We all know about good food choices, good lifestyle choices, exercise, sunlight, positivity and stress-coping techniques, – but it can be hard to remain focused and motivated, when you can’t see the effects of our choices in real-time. It seems that in many cases discomfort has to be severe enough to warrant change; and for many more, even that is not enough.
What we need to do – The Ayurveda perspective is to get away from the idea of quick fixes that are so firmly entrenched in our culture. Most healing takes time and commitment. It has to be truly felt. Once we become more aware we can make new choices, and let go of old habits that no longer serve us.
Having an Ayurveda Consultation is like having a road map – when you are out of balance you know what to do. This can be very empowering. Contact me to discuss various options for you and you’re well being. Click here.