Re-Play! Ayurvedic Tune Up

Who needs a tune up in the new year!? Just about ev’rybody. Over the course of a year (or more!) we accumulate build up in our physical bodies, emotions and minds, so now is a good time to release, remove, and correct any imbalance. Please enjoy this Ayurvedic tune up where we say goodbye to 2015 and ring in 2016 with a clean slate, ready to create our very best in health and life! xo

A Life For Creating

 

12_Creating

On the 12th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me

A LIFE FOR CREATING!

What a GIFT! We have a LIFE! And we can do anything we want with it! We can customize it to our liking. We can use our body and mind as they work together to keep us healthy and happy. We have the opportunity to make the very MOST of what we are given, every single day.

So. Did you go through Day 11 and make a list of what you were thankful for and what you need to let go from 2015? Yay! Then you are ready to move forward into 2016 and start CREATING.

Yay but…where to start? In Ayurveda, we start with the most simple yet consistent changes — those make the biggest difference. The foundation of my book, In Your Elements, makes Ayurveda relatable and easy to apply. When we add digestible, bite-sized changes, they are easy to fold into our life because they become part of us.

Here are some ideas to jumpstart your new year:
• Download the Vata Seasonal Boom
• Remedies for cabin fever
Ayurvedic New Year’s Cleanse
• Work on a Dosha-lution
• Write up a New Year’s Wish List
• Create your own Ayurvedic path with my book, In Your ElementsGet your copy here.
• Join me for a FREE webinar for an “Ayurvedic Tune Up” on Wednesday, January 13 at 9PM EST/6PM PSTReplay here.

Alrighty…if you sing the whole thing, it goes a little something like this (if you send me requests, I might just make a video of myself singing it. But only if you ask)…

On the 12th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me…

12 A life for creating
11 A moment for reflecting
10 Appreciating simple things

9 Phew, I found my grounding
8 Time and space for breathing
I might be over-spending
6 E-gads I’m overeating
5 Oops, too many cocktails!
4 Wisdom for right choices

3 Staying in the present
2 A path for evolving
AND

1 Permission for my authenticity

A Moment for Reflecting

11_Reflecting

 

On the 11th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me

A MOMENT FOR REFLECTING

Psst…the holidays are over. Happy New Year! Phew, we made it. Today might be the first day in a while that you’ve had nothing “to do.” It’s a great day for relaxing — you know like fuzzy jammies, the parade of roses, new slippers on thine feet — and appreciating what was awesome in 2015. It’s also a good day for reflecting on things that were not awesome in 2015 — things we might want to leave behind that no longer serve us.

I am a firm believer that before we can move onto something new and fresh, we have to give thanks and release the past. That way we can move forward cleansed, refreshed, with lessons learned and build upon something new for this year.

So! In celebration of the new year, first I have some questions for you from 2015. It’s good to write these down in a little journal or wherever makes you happy. You can save them or put them ablaze in the fireplace — whatever inspires you.

RELFECTING ON 2015

Make a list, as long as you want, of what you were most grateful for in 2015.
What were your 3 most favorite moments or accomplishments?
What were some of your biggest challenges?
What were the most impactful lessons learned (take these with you)?
What can you absolutely leave behind (don’t need it, leave them)?
Do you have a rant for 2015? Write it all out…get it out of your system…go ahead.

This will essentially “cleanse” your 2015 energy to start 2016 anew.

And the rest of em…

10 Appreciating simple things
9 Phew, I found my grounding
8 Time and space for breathing
I might be over-spending
6 E-gads I’m overeating
5 Oops, too many cocktails!
4 Wisdom for right choices

3 Staying in the present
2 A path for evolving
AND
1 Permission for my authenticity

Appreciating Simple Things

On the 10th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me

APPRECIATING SIMPLE THINGS.

 

10_simple_things

Oh boy! It’s been busy, hey? Travel, family, friends, food, drinks, gifts — there are so many things happening at once that we blink and Christmas is over. By now we might be calming down from the flurry of all we had been getting ready for for weeks.

When it’s all over there is pause, quiet. After our recent busy-ness, we might find ourselves gravitating to a space of finally appreciating the small things. We might spend an entire day lounging around to enjoy our new gifts or watching mindless movies. Or, maybe we reflect on an impromptu conversation that turned out awesome, a new discovery about a loved one to help deepen our connection, or maybe simple foods as a contrast to abundant rich food over the past couple days.

Personally, I am enjoying these simple things: sinking in to my new feng shui book, having nothing I “must” to do, no time constraints, and looking forward to watching a Packer game today with my dear friend.

Your turn! What simple things are you enjoying now that Christmas is over?

Sing it back down….

9 Phew, I found my grounding
8 Time and space for breathing
I might be over-spending
6 E-gads I’m overeating
5 Oops, too many cocktails!
4 Wisdom for right choices

3 Staying in the present
2 A path for evolving
AND
1 Permission for my authenticity

Phew, I found my grounding

9_Grounding

On the 9th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me,

PHEW, I FOUND MY GROUNDING.
Phew! Breathing actually works, hey? The power of staying still and breathing is super underrated. I mean, we live in a a world that keeps us addicted to busy-ness. We try to move as fast as possible to accomplish as much as we can with the least amount of effort. This speed and lack of adherence creates increased vata for everyone as we become totally ungrounded. By the way, putting in effort is also underrated. Books do not get written without effort…just sayin.
Here’s something to remember: When we stop, the world actually doesn’t! The world will keep spinning even if we slow down or stop. Slowing down is necessary. If we keep grounded and consistent our daily practices of good breath, quality food, heartfelt love, sound sleep, and putting in good effort work, that’s enough in a day.
My favorite quote is “There is more strength in surrender than there is in forging ahead.”  So this holiday and in the new year ahead, let’s sloooow down and ground.

Time and Space for Breathing

8_Breathe

On the 8th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me…

TIME AND SPACE FOR BREATHING

In the midst of holiday busy-ness, party-ness, giving-ness, cooking-ness, mailing-ness, spending-ness, decorating-ness, traffic-ness, etc., many of us feel overwhelmed and exhausted before the holiday celebrations even get here!

One of the fastest ways to calm, ground, and nourish ourselves is by (wait for it…) breathing. Yep, that’s it. Our two lovely little nostrils are the fastest passageways to the mind, so breathing slowly tells our mind, “It’s all good. We got this.” And the mind relays that message to the rest of the body so we can fully relax. Let’s make some time to breathe today.

Today, please find 5-10 minutes (use a timer if you want) to sit down in a chair, feet flat on the floor, back straight, eyes closed, palms facing upward on your lap. Just breathe slowly through the nose (mouth closed) until the timer goes off.

Let me know how you feel afterwards :) xo!

And let’s take it back down…

I might be over-spending
6 E-gads I’m overeating
5 Oops, too many cocktails!
4 Wisdom for right choices

3 Staying in the present
2 A path for evolving
1 Permission for my authenticity

I Might Be Overspending

7_Overspend

On the 7th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me…

I MIGHT BE OVERSPENDING.

Here’s the truth. Nobody wants you to go broke buying presents — they just don’t. More than anything they want time with you. Consider presents that offer an experience instead of a physical object. An experience could be something focus on one or more of the five senses: hear, see, touch, taste, smell. For example, treat your sister to a yoga class together (touch/hear) and enjoy warm tea (taste) afterwards. Or, do at-home mani’s (touch) while watching Love Actually (see) with yummy snacks (taste). Or, take the dude in your life on a hike (see) or out for pizza (taste) at his favorite place. Possibilities are endless — they are kind of like little dates with the people you love most! And who doesn’t like a date?

That said, sometimes handing them a heartfelt gift to open is so much fun! If you would rather get gifts, set a “below-your-means” (or you can easily overspend. keep it low.) budget, divide the monetary love, and stop when you reach budget. You will feel awesome about how thoughtful/creative you can be with a small budget.

My favorite story about saving money at Christmas was when I had just moved to San Francisco in 2003. There was no way I could afford presents for everyone. So, I bought 1 case (12 bottles) of 2 Buck Chuck ($2 per bottle) wine, which cost $24. Then, I bought several cookie cutters in the shape of a boat, a bridge, a tower, a trolley, a bus, victorian house, seal, a fairy (oh yes I did!), etc., — all little pieces out of a scene from San Francisco.

I made an extra-sturdy, wrap-around duct tape handle and brought the case of wine on plane as my free carry on. When I got to Wisconsin, I made the cookies. Each person got a mix of fancily decorated San Francisco sugar cookies and a bottle of 2 Buck. My family had never heard of 2 Buck and thought $2 for a bottle of wine was pretty funny. They loved their gifts and the cookies turned out to be a conversation piece as I walked through what each of them meant to me. *everyone cheers* The end.

My advice is to keep it simple! Straight from the heart. We really don’t need more “stuff” and you don’t need to go broke. Release expectations and just give a little something that says, “Hey! I love you!” xo!

And let’s take it back down…

6 E-gads I’m overeating
5 Oops, too many cocktails!
4 Wisdom for right choices

3 Staying in the present
2 A path for evolving
1 Permission for my authenticity

E-gads I’m Overeating!

6_Overeat

On the 6th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me,

E-GADS I’M OVEREATING!

…Eeep despite our awesome knowledge and best intentions about mindfully eat healthy for our dosha, SOMEtimes during the holidays, we just over eat. Or, we just eat a lot of sweets. Or, maybe a lot of cheese. Or maybe the olive and pickle platter (salt) is our downfall. Each person will have some kind of tantalizing vice they can’t wait to get their mits on during holiday.

Um, I’m not going to take that away from you, nor am I going to make you feel bad about it.

That goes for you too. If you overate or ate the “wrong” things, please do not judge or scold yourself. You were probably having fun. You were probably momentarily swept away by celebrating love, generosity, laughter, spirit and joy — which is not a bad thing! Heck, even if you snuck some extra chocolates at the “snack area” (by the printer?) at work, I only hope that you SAVOR-ed every single one of them as they melted in your mouth. And I hope you said to yourself, “DANG that was good.” Because THAT is mindful eating.

I am not going to list “10 Ayurvedic Tips to Losing Holiday Pounds” Nope. That’s not how we roll here. What if, you just sit and notice how you feel instead of super-fast trying to fix it? That is, being in our body and experiencing it. What if we told ourselves, “Well, these are not the results I wanted obviously, but man that was fun. And! I know myself and the tools I have to get back to balance. On we go…” Our knee jerk reaction often is, “Gah! Get these pounds off and fast! Like, in 2 days!” But that’s such a rough message to send ourselves and makes us just feel…BAD. No sense in that. Be kinder. If we feel extra heaviness, of course we want to get back to feeling lighter, but let us do so in loving kindness to ourselves.

Here are MonicaB’s gentle loving tips about overeating during holiday:
• I hope you payed enough attention to savor it all
• No judging
• You can eat light or fast until you are hungry again
• You can move your body a little extra
• If you indulge one day, have much less the next day (keeps the balance!)
• If you indulge for an entire week, put a special focus on mindful eating and moving your body for the next week or two

And a Monica B full on confession: I plan on eating those green Cornflake wreaths made with marshmallows and decorated with red hots. Like so…

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 8.28.01 PM

They might be the most Un-Ayurvedic thing I could put in my body. Green food coloring, people! My mom makes them with love. I look forward to them. I eat them once a year and I love the sh*t out of every bite. I’ll stay balanced because 90% of what I eat is high quality and balancing for my dosha, so these sugary little do-dads won’t have a long term effect. But I will freak out (every time) when my poop is green.

 

And sing it back down…

5 Oops, too many cocktails!
4 Wisdom for right choices
3 Staying in the present
2 A path for evolving
1 Permission for my authenticity

Oops, Too Many Cocktails!

5_Cocktails

On the 5th day of Ayurveda, my spirit gave to me…

OOPS, TOO MANY COCKTAILS!

Well so much for using your wisdom to make right choices, hey? Hehe. Just kidding. During the holidays it’s easy to throw caution to the wind as we enjoy an abundance of food and drink with people we love. Because we are so busy socializing and having fun, our mind is likely not in our food and also not paying attention to how many “spirits” we’ve had. We usually don’t know we’ve over done it until it’s too late and then we feel like junk.

To avoid too many cocktails: Start the evening off with one or two mocktails (see below) or sparkling waters before your first glass of wine or cocktail. This way, your mind stays clear in the beginning of the night. The main reason why we over-drink is because alcohol causes our mind to get lax and then we lose adherence to make right choices and follow through with right action. We totally lose our wisdom. Ever do anything dumb while drunk? Right. See? No wisdom. But, if we allow ourselves 1 or 2 drinks over the course of a night, we are more likely to take is slow, savor and enjoy. Space it out with water or a mocktail in between. You will feel SO good about honoring your modern Ayurvedic self without feeling like you’re missing out. And! The next day you’ll feel awesome.

Mocktail ideas: Experiment! It’s part of the fun and for maximum festivity, serve mocktails in a fancy glass. Note: These mocktails are not Ayurvedic necessarily, they are just alternatives to alcohol with ingredients likely found at parties or a bar. In Ayurveda, we don’t strive for perfection, we strive for “better.”
Warm apple cider. Heat in a pot with cinnamon sticks & a few cloves. Strain & enjoy. You can also add honey if needed. Garnish w/one cinnamon stick.
Cranberry w/splash of orange juice and top with seltzer. Have with or without ice. Garnish with an orange slice or float 3 little crannies in the glass.
Pomegranate juice, dash of orange juice. For optional fizz: Top with seltzer
Pomegranate or cranberry juice mixed w/ginger ale
Grapefruit juice, splash of cran, & seltzer. Dip a lemon wedge in sugar for garnish :)
MY FAVORITE: Cranberry juice with seltzer and a lime. mm!!

Ginger ale will give fizz and sweetness. Seltzer just adds fizz. Orange juice ads sweetness, pineapple juice is also good for that, very sweet. Pomegranate and cranberries are astringent, soaks up and cools down heat.

And counting it back down…
Wisdom for right choices
Staying in the present
A path for evolving
AND
Permission for my authenticity

 

Wisdom for Right Choices

4_Wisdom

On the 4th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me,

4) WISDOM FOR RIGHT CHOICES
3) Staying in the present
2) A path for evolving
and
1) Permission for my authenticity

As some of you know from readying my book, In Your Elements (Ooooo…TODAY 12/13 is the LAST DAY FOR 10% off! use code MC8RC2WV), one of the most powerful tools we have as an intelligent being is full ownership over our own choices. Our choices our so powerful, in fact, that making the wrong choices is actually one, out of only three, causes for disease.

The excerpt below is from my book on how lucky we have to have our wisdom and why we should listen to it.

From In Your Elements: “There is a wise, little part of our mind called buddhi (boo-DEE). Buddhi is our inner wisdom, kind of like the “good angel” sitting on our shoulder whispering the right things to do in your ear. Our buddhi always helps us adhere to choices that would be best for us, whether big or small. When we listen to our buddhi we feel accomplished, are highly productive and are more likely to make the right choices by following through with right action.

If we do not listen to our budhhi, we will not make the right choices, which is the root cause of all kinds of problems. There’s a waterfall effect for bad- choice-making as one thing leads to another. Let’s walk through two examples together 1) when we do not listen to our buddi and 2) when we do.

You did not listen to your buddhi
Let me be dramatic for a sec. After a wonderfully tantalizing meal, you are full, but the food was so good you want a second helping. Buddhi says, “One helping is enough or you will feel overfull.” You know you don’t need a second helping, but it was just so tasty! Against buddhi’s advice, you have more food anyway. That second serving pushed you into a food coma and now you are too lethargic to take your 30-minute evening walk. Instead, you veg in front of the TV watching House Hunters. You feel a bit disappointed in yourself and are irritated by small closets being a deal breaker, so you watch more TV (Shark Tank, anyone?) and you still feel very full. Since the TV is an addicting little bugger, you might stay up past your 10 p.m. Ayurvedic bedtime. As the night goes on, you get snacky. Buddhi says, “Don’t do it! Just go to bed!” But you reach for the chocolates anyway because your sweet tooth is calling for it. Besides, you already screwed up the night so who cares. You get a sugar surge, so you stay up even later and have restless sleep because of the caffeine in the chocolates. You have a hard time waking up the next morning because your belly is still full from the night before. And then you wake up feeling like physical junk from too much food, guilt from watching too much TV and staying up too late. And all because you made the wrong choices ­­­­­— this was nobody else’s fault.

You listened to your buddhi
Now let’s say, you listened to your buddhi and only had one delicious helping at dinner. You felt physically nourished and had enough energy to clean up the kitchen and reward yourself by enjoying a leisurely evening walk outside at sunset. The walk refreshed you because you were out in nature able to enjoy some down time after a long day. Perhaps you even experienced something interesting on your walk, which may have sparked a nice conversation with a loved one when you got home. When there is downtime, our mind relaxes and we have pause. When we have pause, new ideas have a window to enter. Maybe you still watch House Hunters but limit to one episode because you know you can get sucked into TV for hours. After one episode, you have had your fill of small closets being a deal breaker and turn to a favorite book, knitting project, phone call to a friend or journal before bed.

Notice the difference of this scenario vs. the first one!?
Like night and day! Each of your awesome choices influenced the next awesome choice. Once we start choosing and doing the right things, we will feel increasingly fabulous and we will want to do it more and more! However, the same happens if you make the wrong choices. It can easily end up in a domino effect of bad choices and then we feel like junk. We will not be perfect in our decision-making but at any time we derail, we can stop and make a better choice.”

Staying in the Present

3_Present_site

 

On the 3rd day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me,

STAYING IN THE PRESENT,
A path for evoloving,
and
Permission for my authenticity

The best way to slow down time is to stay 100% present in whatever we are doing at the time (Anyone ever play Scrabble for 3 hours? I did that once and will never play that game again). Conversely, the fastest way to speed up time is to spend a ton of time online or on smart phones. *zip!* Time gone. Our spirit loves it when we fully experience the present and take the time to *INHALE* and absorb our surroundings. *exhale*

One of my favorite pieces of advice to couples on their wedding day is to take several moments to pause, be completely present, and take it all in. Taking a breath to look around at their friends and family having fun in their honor is an experience they will never forget. But if they move too quickly, they will miss it. Taking conscious pauses sloooooows time doooooown so we can fully immerse ourselves and remember the moment.

Holidays are similar. Some of us are really good at slowing down to decorate, spend time picking out the perfect gifts, and carefully craft recipes for the dinner menu. Others of us race until we are so tired that we fall on our face in bed with our contacts in and shoes on. Too much speed, noise and aggitation overtime can leave our spirit starving (and our body-minds exhausted). The spirit likes to savor life, sometimes through experience and sometimes simply as observer.

So, keep it simple. During meals (or appetizers!) take time to chew well, letting the yummy food and drinks dance on your tastebuds. Look into the eyes of the person you are talking to and instead of jumping to what you want to say next, listen and respond. Take a minute to enjoy the fire in the fireplace (good therapy for the eyes too). Slow down on streets with holiday lights and enjoy the sparkles.

Slowing down to experience simple joys is what being in the spirit and of the spirit, is all about. xo!

A Path for Evolving

 

2_Path

On the 2nd day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me...
A PATH FOR EVOLVING
and
Permission for my authenticity.

Our spirit is on a path to evolve. There are lessons to learn in our time here on earth as we face obstacles, heartbreaks, disappointments, and major struggles — it’s all part of the path. In the moment, we might not understand why the difficulties arise as we work through our emotions and tears, but once we look backwards, the lessons become clear.

The path is definitely not always smooth (sometimes it seems to disappear — I’m lost!) and we can’t see the end of it either, but we can be confident that if we keep walking, we will evolve as we are meant to. It’s also important to remember that the goal is not to chase the destination, it is simply to “be” and experience all the nuances of the path.

So, “Thank you, path for evolving me! Thank you for the challenges, blessings, and all the lumpy things. Because I am spirit, I am paying attention, ready to grow and I know the not-so-good things happen so that I can learn. I look forward to all you have to show me.”

Permission for my Authenticity

1_Permission_site

 

In the SPIRIT of the holidays, welcome to day 1 of the 12 days of Ayurveda.

On the 1st day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me…
PERMISSION FOR MY AUTHENTICITY

Ayurveda is the only healing method that recognizes and honors us as completely unique individuals.

Now, there are many guidelines in Ayurveda including an Ayurvedic daily routine, eating for our dosha and proper food combinations. There are massage and therapy techniques that are to be performed in a methodical way. And, of course, there are the cleanses that take expert knowledge to bring customized healing to each person.

So, sure. All those things are true. On the other hand, Ayurveda also arrives in the space where we don’t have to “know” much at all, except ourselves. The biggest healing often comes from paying attention and looking inside because that will give us more information than anyone else. Only you know, “When I eat this food, I get heartburn” or “When I go for 20-minute morning jogs, I feel awesome afterwards!” Or, “When I have coffee every day, I can’t poop.” or “When I eat a lot of vegetables, I feel light and clear-minded.” These experiences that run through our heads are the signposts to our unique health. No book, no class, no method, nothing external will tell us how we feel. It lives in US.

How many times have you gone to a friend for advice and when they give you their words of wisdom your response is, “Yeah, deep down, I know that.” They might not even tell us something new, they just validate what we already feel. When we say, “deep down” that is spirit. It talks to us all the time and delivers information through our mind and body, we just have to relax and listen.

So. You are more powerful than you think. Your spirit is always talking to you, unique you. Listen to it. XO!

The 12 Days of Ayurveda

12_days_ayur

Ayurveda encompasses mind, body and spirit, right? Yep! We probably spend the most of our time trying to nurture, improve, or heal our body as we focus on, “What should I eat?” and “What is the best exercise for me?” Our mind usually comes in second place like, “How can I relieve stress?” or, “I should probably meditate sometimes…” But how often do we focus on truly living through the spirit? Not as often. And spirit is important. Spirit is our pure essence, our infinite being, our light. It is the answer to, “Who am I?” I am spirit (so hum).

So in thinking about the holiday season (since we are totally in the throes now), I noticed a thread of commonality weaving through us. During this time of year more-so than any other, we actually talk about spirit! The word “spirit” is used all the time as we feel “spirited” and “get in the spirit.” We have a “spirit of believing” and the “spirit of giving.” We are even prone to drinking too many “spirits“! With the flip of a switch during the holiday season, our spirit begins to soar through kindness, love, celebration, compassion and generosity as all of these awesome positive emotions become the focus. Whether we are religious or not religious, spirit transcends as we want to join in the spirit with everyone else — because it feels awesome. Our spirit tells us so.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the holidays can bring physical and emotional challenges that affect our spirit too. The holidays can add a laundry list of extra things to do, might include stressful travel schedules, and bring out a rollercoaster of emotions. Gah! And then you shake your fist and say, “Arg, the Holidays!” So, it’s not all roses and we know that. But if we asked our spirits, I think they would love to believe in magic that brings us all closer.

In light (yes, pun!) of Hanukkah starting and Christmas around the corner, I would love to honor our spirits during the holidays this year with a little somethin’ special.

Tomorrow will start The 12 days of Ayurveda. And it goes a little somethin like this, “On the first day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me…” Whee! So for 12 days there will be a little something special for you to use in your life and, especially during the holidays.

Now, if you want, you can sing to the tune of “The 12 days of Christmas.” It works (and yes, I sang them all out loud. If you are good maybe I’ll do a video). Or, you don’t have to. This is spirit, people! No rules and anything goes as long as it’s full purity of heart. LOVE YOU! I hope you have fun with this! *blowing kisses*

10% off my book, In Your Elements, thru 12/13 (Sunday)! Use the code: MC8RC2WV

 

Scoop yourself out of an emotional rut

Emotional_Rut

Ever feel kinda “off?” Like, maybe your life is quite awesome but without reason you feel dragged down, in the pits, disengaged, or checked-out? My friend Erin recently had this problem and emailed me about it. She asked if I ever felt that way, too…um, schhhhyeah…pretty sure we all have. I gave my friend some insights worth sharing for anyone else out there who needs to be scooped out of their rut.

10 tips to scoop you out of a rut quickly:

  1. Kapalbhati, a yoga breathing exercise, can instantly help move and clear your energy.
  2. Drink a few glasses of water (on an empty stomach). You might just be dehydrated!
  3. Make a large batch of kitchari and have it for lunch and dinner for a couple of days.
  4. Write a gratitude list with at least 25 gratitudeez on it.
  5. Get IN water, like a bath, pool, or hot tub. Water is a natural soother.
  6. Yoga practice, along with those in-and-exhales.
  7. Aromatherapy with your favorite essential oils or candle.
  8. Get into nature. Turn off the computer, go outside.
  9. Smile. A smile actually tells our brain that we are happy. Fake it ‘til you make it.
  10. Do something nice for someone else. A compliment or a smile will make someone else feel good and because we are all connected, you will feel good, too. It’s like the best game of ping-pong ever.

Remember too, that a rut isn’t always bad (as long as it doesn’t last too long). It could be some heavy energy sitting on us. Maybe it’s old energy from the past or negative energy we’ve absorbed from other people? Simply put, we might be hanging on to stuff you don’t need or that isn’t ours. The stillness could actually give introspection on an area in our life that needs to be fixed and, that we might not otherwise notice while when we are noisy and busy.

See? Sometimes we need darkness and slowness. Remember our friends sattva, rajas and tamas? Darkness is tamas and it’s needed sometimes so that we can evolve. Even tulip bulbs need to be tossed in the closet for a while before they can bloom again. Just because we feel a little down or heavy doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate your life. It may be as simple as needing to shed some heavy energy and/or take rest. Where there is surrender, you find strength. 

In Your Elements Launch Party

launch_party_jpg

If you missed it, you can catch the recording!

Ideas to par-TAY:

• Gather your yoga peeps and listen online at the studio
• Get together with friends or family, huddle around the computer online together (take turns sharing the chat box!)
• Put on your fanciest dress or comfiest head-to-toe fleece
• Get your fingies ready to type at me to share insights and ask questions
• Put on fuzzy socks, turn on the computer and dance-skate across your hardwood floor (triple bonus: listen, workout, clean the floor. That’s for you, vatas)

Buy_book_here

Ayurvedic Thanksgiving Tips

Thanksgiving_Tips

It’s almost Thanksgiving! *NOM-nom-nom*

Wait a minute! That’s not how we eat in Ayurveda.

In Ayurveda, we eat like this *Taste <pause> Chew 32 times. Taste <pause> Chew 32 times*

Hehe. Only kidding. I do not judge your nom-noms and in fact, enjoying the meal is the best part about eating! You probably already know this but in Ayurveda, how we eat is even more important than what we eat. Enjoying all the flavors and sampling a little bit of everything is a great way to balance the six tastes and stay mindful of how much food we are putting in our bellies.

Another digestive happiness bonus on Thanksgiving is that the food is made fresh that day! It is truly a day of cooking and eating — in Ayurvedic philosophy, this is how every meal should happen, every day. Mmm, yeah I know we don’t always have time for that, but on THIS day, WE DO and WE CAN! What a treasure.

Some of my favorite Ayurvedic Thanksgiving tips are below.
Emphasis on the THANKS!

  • Open your eyes *blink blink* and write a list of 25 things you are grateful for (it’s ok to write the list while cozy in your bed *yawn*). Counting your blessings is sure to bring a smile in your face and in your heart first thing in the morning. Hint: Imagine if you did this every day and not just on Thanksgiving!
  • Drink a glass of water. Water replenishes the bod after its nightly fast.
  • Go for a brisk 30 minute walk or light jog in the crispy fall air. Take 5-10 minutes for stretching, a set of sun salutes or your favorite stretchy yoga poses. Exercise gives agni a nice boost first thing in the morning. Stretching or yoga keeps muscles from getting too stiff and provides a sense of grounding which is good for vata season.
  • If you are hungry for breakfast, keep it small and warm. If you are not hungry, skip breakfast and drink ginger tea (honey optional).
  • Have 1/2 tsp Indian appetizer 30 minutes before dinner. This lil’ appetizer
  • Avoid walking around and eating. Stay mindful of what you eat so you fully taste and chew the food.
  • At dinner, serve others before you serve yourself.
  • Thank and bless your food. Think about where the food came from and all the people involved in getting that food onto your plate — the farms they were picked from and your auntie that made it.
  • Build your plate according to your dosha and choose only your favorite foods. Leave the stuff you don’t love. Do your best to eat until you feel satisfied, instead of eating until you are full. There is a big difference!
  • Go for a leisurely walk after the big meal to aid digestion. Leeeiiisurely. A stroll.
  • Do not go back for more helpings late at night! Eating more food especially late at night will create a back log of old food stuffs, which could cause heartburn, insomnia, ama, and will make it very hard to get up in the morning.
  • Drink ginger tea and fast Friday morning to let your agni digest all the food from the day/evening before. Don’t eat again until you are hungry.

What do you think, do these tips seem difficult or pretty easy? Not too bad or too limiting, right? You guys all of Ayurveda is like this. Totally doable. If you want to learn more and carry Ayurveda around with you everywhere, go get your copy my book :) And if you love it, share with your loves :) OH and please come to my FREE online book launch party (for reals a big party! giveaways, music, discounts, teachings) on Wednesday December 2. 9pm EST/6pm PST. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

 

Super Itchy Skin Season

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Hoooo. Welcome to “Super itchy skin Season” I mean, well, that’s probably not the official name of the season. Most would call it vata season or, fall. Anywho, if we have not already started practicing daily oil massage by now, our skin is probably letting us know it. We know it’s dry when our skin starts to show it’s texture and we can write the word “Dry” on the back of our hand with our fingernail (who remembers that commercial?). We know it’s dry when lotion buurrrns our skin (Why? Cause alcohol is one of the first ingredients in most skin lotion which dries it out further and makes it sting!). We might also wake up in the middle of the night with itchy-itchy dry scratchy legs like I did couple years ago and almost went nuts!

Most of you guys know by now that it’s time for OILS. Maybe we should rename it “Oil Season.” That sends a better message. Oils soak into our skin (especially warm oil – it’s heavenly) and also create a barrier to the outside cold, dry air. If we use oils daily, we won’t get super-itchy-skin or wake up in the middle of the night with itches. As a bonus, applying warm oil massage promotes sound sleep and can be used as a relaxation technique to unwind before bed.

Here are some ways to sneak in oils each day:
• Daily Oil Massage (yes, even for busy people), ideally in the morning before shower.
• Keep a small bottle of oil at your desk. Use like you would lotion and apply to forehead, cheeks, hands, arms, shins (if you start rubbing oil above your knees at work, people will think it’s just weird). Make sure it’s rubbed in really well.
• If you didn’t do massage in the morning then apply warm oil to your bod in the evening. Dump some oil in a pot on the stove and heat it (careful! It heats very fast and will continue to heat in the pan even when removed). Apply with strokes up and toward the heart.
• Rub warm sesame oil on hands and feet before heading outside in the cold.
• Eat oils too. Our skin is dry because our insides are dry. Favor vata-balancing diet with plenty of healthy oils this time of year.

And below are some of Monica B’s Favorite Oils (Confession…I have a lot of favorite oils, but these guys are tops).

It’s important to choose oils that benefit your dosha the best. Our friends at Banyan Botanicals have a nice variety of oils to choose from.

Vata-balancing oil. Warm, nourish and ground.

Pitta-balancing oil (will nourish but also cool). Calm, sooth and cool.

Kapha-balancing oil. Invigorate, warm, revitalize.

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Another one of my favorite luxurious brand of oils are from Boditonic. These would make awesome gifts or a nice bit of pampering for yourself. The baby scent is my favorite (it’s a calm, very light ylang ylang). The original scent is also good — it’s more lemongrassy. If you order from Boditonic, say hi to Adam and tell him Monica B sent you. It will make him smile.

 

 

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Made in small batches with care by Adam at Boditonic.com

 

Behind the Scenes

What’s in front of the stage? Monica Bloom wrote a book! And the world can see it! Yay!

Behind the scenes? In mid-September just as the book was finalizing, my dog Blossom was diagnosed with liver failure at only 6 years old. Four weeks later, she died on Friday October 16th around 1:15 a.m.

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I’m not sharing this story to make you feel sorry for me or my dog. There were lessons and miracles along the journey that are too precious to keep to myself. It is my hope that for anyone else living between two extremes (great joy! heart breaking sadness.) that we begin to honor our raw sadness without feeling guilty for feeling joy in between (or vice versa).

While working on the book’s final touches, staying up way too late, dealing with some pretty big transitions at the day-job and turning 40, we were told Blossom was in end stage liver failure and they were not sure how long she would live. September 18th, one day before my 40th birthday, we cancelled our trip to the mountains and stayed home where I cried and hugged her the entire day and night. When I woke up on my birthday, I saw her eyes — those sweet sparkle eyes. I thanked her for being around today. My heart was full and grateful — she was still here and that was the best birthday gift ever. Lesson 1: Live now. Every day, every moment is a gift.

Ok but, I’m a healer so… I can heal her, right?! Yes! Because life is full of miracles and she was going to be one of them. Trying to manifest the shit out of some serious healing, I tried some ayurvedic herbs, I fed her “magic” sweet potatoes, I wrote in my journal how she would heal, I did energy work on her at night, I begged her to stay strong. She kept declining. She refused to eat. Her poop turned the color of tar. Lesson 2: Surrender. All beings have their path. I cannot fix everything.

I thought it was unfair and “couldn’t be!” because she was only 6. Lesson 3: Not all creatures live to be old.

After another visit to the vet, we had her abdomen drained for the 3rd time (she was about 1/2 full of fluid in body weight while her body was very very skinny from not eating) and I knew it would be the last time. Lesson 4: I gave her permission.

I told her that I would rely on her eyes to tell me everything and when she was ready to go, I would just know. Every morning when she got out of her bed, I locked in on her eyes. I thanked her for being here, “It’s great to see you,” I would say. A day and a half before she died, one of her eyes started to close. Her other eye started to look a bit weak also. Only when I didn’t have her eyes, was I able to fully see how uncomfortable she was in her body. Lesson 5: Be prepared to get what you ask for, but it might be delivered in an unexpected way.

Blossom was trying to sleep standing up because she could not breathe well while lying down. She kept coming to us for pets and sat there with her eyes closed. It was time. We took her to the vet at 12 a.m. on October 16th with our 4-year old (we don’t have family close by). We gave Blossom a big family group hug and we all cried. My husband and daughter waited in the car and I carried Blossom inside. Lesson 6: Little kids can handle tough information if it is delivered delicately in truth and from the heart.

The vet supported our decision. She asked if I wanted to stay with Blossom the whole time and without hesitation I said yes. Lesson 7: The purity of spirit gives strength I didn’t know I had.

We were in a little sanctuary of a room, totally peaceful and in the middle of the night. I held her face to mine and heard her breathing in my ear (so hum so hum so hum). I felt her body relax and it was the most comfortable I had seen her in weeks. I felt her instant gratitude. I felt her last exhale (hummm) on my cheek and felt her last heartbeat. She was grateful for everything and so was I. Lesson 8: One of the things I fear the most (death) became one of the most beautiful and peaceful experiences I’ve ever had.

When we drove away, I saw Blossom in my mind (heart?) running and running, tail wagging like crazy, tongue hanging out, smiling. The message I got was, “I’m happy Mom! I’m having a great time here! Thank you!”

First thing in the morning, my daughter wanted to draw Blossom, so she made this beautiful picture. When I asked her what the yellow was she said, “It’s light, Mama!”

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Another little miracle happened when our other dog, Matty, was lying in his bed. They usually slept right next to each other. And look…two little rainbows.

Rainbows

Between the tears, worry, anxiety, and sadness, there were bursts of excitement about my book, but it all made me realize that this is all about LIFE. Such a precious thing and also so raw. But you know what? In my meditations now, I see Blossom’s smiling face — she is wearing one of those doggie backpacks — I put books in it. And I say, “GO BLOSSOM GO!” I see her RUNNING FAST like the little bullet she was and she takes my books around the world for me (tearing up now as I write).

GoBlossomGo

Good girl, Blossom, good girl. We love you.

Recipe of Life!

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If you make a big pot of tomato sauce from scratch, do you taste test it to make sure it’s good? Sure. And if it’s not good, you adjust right? Add a little more salt, pepper or garlic. Maybe a smidge of sugar or extra basil. Perhaps it needs oregano! And you putz around adding things and testing until you have your pot o’sauce exactly how you like it! You might write it down as a recipe and use it for future.

For those pittas who will write to me because they can’t stand tomatoes —-> What about a guacamole? Maybe a little more lime or salt is needed to make it taste just how you like it. And tomato-free, of course!

My point is before you make a large batch of anything, you will test it. If you absolutely love it and look forward to having it again, you might even craft a little recipe.

The SAME THING relates to our life! You’ve heard of recipes for happiness, so how about a recipe for life! Your recipe for life, that is, because everybody is different ya know. In Ayurveda, we try things — a dash of this, a dabble of that, but the base (like the tomatoes or avocados) should stay the same, which is the daily routine and balancing our dosha(s). Added “ingredients” are various ways to exercise, all kinds of food choices, and ways to manage our stress. When we put together ingredients that work for us, we feel it! So maybe we add our favorite exercise, our go-to meals and daily meditation to our life’s recipe. We know that when we do those things, we will feel awesome.

Conversely we might test some things out that might not work for our happy life recipe. Like, “Do red peppers really give me heartburn? Lemme try and see…Yes, yes they do give me heartburn.” But with every miss, there is a learning behind it.

So don’t be afraid to test things out as you craft your recipe. This is life-long learning! Try some things and if they suit you, write it down so you remember! My book In Your Elements is FULL of stuff you can refer back to. It helps you craft your life and build your recipe for healing and happiness.

Do any of you have a “go-to” life recipe that you use? I’ll share mine – here it is: morning walk/jog before sunrise, meditation on the bus, light yoga in the evening, write gratitude list before bed. If I miss any of those things daily, I feel a bit off. If I miss those things for a week, I feel very off. If I miss those things for a month (it has happened), I feel completely out of my skin, I am easily irritable, I cry a lot and feel overall saddness. The beauty is, I know exactly how to get out of it — the recipe!

Now YOUR TURN! Tell us some stories about what’s in YOUR recipe of life! You go! I’ll hang out while you do compile your list… xoxo!