Dosha Snapshots

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I’m sharing something very special. Ever want all the information about doshas in one place? You can have the dosha snapshots that I use in my in-person training classes! Each one of the doshas are summarized and easily accessible in this handy 4-page download. Bonus: Also included is a seasonal dosha chart and the daily routine!

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If you or someone you love does not know what a dosha is, this is perfect. If you are a yoga teacher trying to explain doshas to your students, this would be awesome for them.  Or, if you just want a refresher on the doshas with all information in one place, this is for you too.

Hit me with questions any time and ENJOY!

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Pitta Seasonal Bloom 2016

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Pitta season is in full swing — it’s SUMMER time! Summer means sun, summer rain, sweat, swimming pools, popsicles, watermelon, bare feet, vacation, sun hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, and…go find shade! There is so much to look forward to and I’m excited to share my Pitta Seasonal Bloom download with you!

Why is seasonal balance important in Ayurveda? Remember our Ayurvedic foundation, “like increases like.” Which means when the elements/doshas are dominant in us AND in nature, they can overflow and create imbalance in us. When we are imbalanced we start to feel like crud and if we feel like crud for too long, eventually we will notice physical ailments in our bodies or minds. SO! The goal in Ayurveda is to avoid feeling like crud and live optimally by staying in harmony with nature instead of working against it.

Pitta seasonal bloom has loads of diet & lifestyle tips for your mind, body and spirit. Here’s to a happy and healthy summer! *clink!*

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Monica B | Facebook Live 3!

 

Energetic Hangover

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I’m intuitive and also like a sponge in that I absorb energy from others. I have real empathy for what other people experience and get overwhelmed very quickly. Is this a typical vata quality or is it more complicated than that?

Empathy…vatas don’t “carry” other people’s emotions like a kapha will, but vatas are super receptive (subtle quality) and can pick up on subtle energies. And they are easily bothered by it. Therefore, they are easily affected by other people because they are easily influenced. Yeah? So maybe not so much empathy (that is kapha) but influenced and affected by others’ emotions which can make a vata feel powerless (weak) and anxious (worry about future).

The key is to maintain your own energy.

Idea 1: I like to visualize a BRIGHT pink light over the top of my head,  almost like an umbrella or jelly fish or shower cap. And it dumps/glows pink light on me – and as it goes down, it severs ALL ties and strings to anyone who is holding my energy. Then I visualize an opening in the top of my head where I let light in. Light pours in the opening and it builds my energy/glow back up from my toes all the way up through the top of my head until I am full of my own energy. You can practice this every evening or whenever you feel you need it. Dang, I wish I could draw that! Maybe that’s a painting waiting to happen, hey?

Idea 2: You can also visualize a GIANT rose (pick your favorite color! maybe it even sparkles) in front of you. Giant! Like big enough to cover your whole bod. And as people complain to you, let their complaints fall into the rose petals so it doesn’t get to you. Listen while they talk of course, but use the rose as a barrier.

Overall, their energy is not yours to take care of. Let them go through whatever they are going through, but it does not have to turn into your energy. Give them a silent blessing that they make it through their struggle, lessons learned and a bright outcome. Something like so, “This is part of their path, not mine. I don’t have to absorb it. Blessings and love to them, I know they will figure it out and be better for it.”

Let me know if this helps! Or share this with someone else you think who might need it. xo!

 

Bit o’ Wisdom {57}

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Tip: Strong Agni

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A Game! Find 8 Ayurvedic Things Wrong

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Inspired by my daughter’s Highlights Magazine, when we “find all the things that are wrong in this picture,” I thought it would be fun to play an Ayurvedic game. Wanna play!? Life and learning is more fun with games! Come on let’s go!

THE GAME: Our friend Lenny does not know anything about Ayurveda. There are 8 ayurvedic things wrong with how or what he is eating. Hint: the answers have nothing to do with his dosha.

THE SCENARIO:
When Lenny gets to work at 9:00 am, he happily eats a whole bagel with cream cheese for breakfast that his thoughtful coworker brought in for the team. Lenny is not hungry for lunch until 1:30 pm at which time, he dashes out to grab a small salad and eats at his desk before his 2:00 meeting. Lenny leaves work at 5:00 and heads straight to the gym before coming home at 7:00. He’s starving! He prepares a nice big bowl of pasta drizzled with olive oil and adds steamed broccoli, zucchini and salt & pepper. The pasta bowl is accompanied with two soft garlic-butter breadsticks and lots of water to rehydrate after that workout. Smiling *rubbing his hands together*, he turns on some lovely music and sits down to eat at 7:45, enjoying and finishing every bite.

8 THINGS ARE WRONG: What are they? Go!

And, let’s be kind. There’s really no “wrong” in life, we’re just trying stuff to see what works. So, no judging Lenny. Through your teachings, he’s about to learn a whole new way of eating. Yay Lenny!
SOME THINGS ARE RIGHT: Lenny has also done some things right, hasn’t he? Feel free to call those out as well.

ANSWERS BELOW!!
1. 9:00 am breakfast, a bit late & too heavy
2. Lunch at 1:30 is late
3. A light salad is not enough for lunch: lunch should be biggest meal
4. Eating at desk: don’t eat & multitask
5. Too much bread/sweet taste (heavy) especially at dinner & all day
6. Too much water with dinner, will douse agni
7. Dinner is too late
8. Dinner is too big in quantity

When Change Happens

*inhale* Last night I found out that another dear friend of mine is moving cross country. I was IM’ing a coworker this morning and these little words came out of me. Hoping this reaches anyone riding that line of embracing change as it kicks their ass. *exhale*

 

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Cooking Ayurvedically for a Family

Answering your question, “How can I make an Ayurvedic meal for a family when everyone has different doshas?”

GET THE HANDY LIL’ DOWNLOAD

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In Your Elements e-Book

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Bit o’ Wisdom {56}

Life Is

Ayurvedic Pizza Party

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Ayurvedic pizza party!? Pizza is not really Ayurvedic, but the world we know it has plenty o’ pizza. For us, pizza is definitely part of life — and if it’s part of life, it’s part of our Ayurveda. When you find yourself in the midst of a party, learn how to balance your plate for your dosha by checking out my pizza party tips on Banyan Botanicals blog.

A big shout out to my friends at Banyan Botanicals for promoting this playful excerpt from my book, In Your Elements. They are doing a FREE book give away! Wanna free copy of my book? Just enter here (scroll to the bottom). I hope you win! It’s a fabulous book and full of fun things like…pizza parties :)

ENJOY! And hit me with pizza party (or any other) questions any time. xo!

 

 

 

 

Your mark in the world will disappear

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This is for all of you who overachieve, bust your ass on a daily basis, or feel pulled in several directions. If days/weeks/months fly by without even realizing how you’ve spent your time, life is too short for that!! Recent perspective shifts have changed my life — I hope this inspires. Love, Monica B.

Backstory: Since I was 20 years old, I’ve been trying to figure out how much stuff I can cram into a day. Because you know, I was supposed work my ass off in order to climb the corporate ladder. And then I would make good money (forget about being an artist! You’ll starve.) to buy a house and save for 401k and my children’s college funds. And frankly, I also wanted to make a mark in the world! Cause we’re supposed to, or something!! Well jeez, that’s a lot of stuff to think about, so I figured I better get crackin’ early. Because of those early beliefs, I’ve never had just one job. For 20 years I have consistently had a full time day job and a part time job, always. At one point I was working from 4:50am until 8:00pm. And yes, I had terrible vata aggravation — for years I never stopped moving. It’s felt like a constant chase.

2012 until recently: I had a 2.5 hour daily commute and a stressful, what felt like round-the-clock job managing a team of eight. I didn’t even like that job, yet all my time was spent doing it because I believed I had to in order to be “successful.” I consistently came home crabby and sad. My reprieve was my family and my book.

Ten days after I launched my beautiful book as part of my personal mission to “make millions of people healthy and happy,” (<–there’s that whole ‘mark in the world’ thing) my dog Blossom died. My heart broke. Everything stopped. My first thought was, “She left too soon. I should have taken her to the park more.”

Instant perspective change: Spend time doing what I love as much as possible. 

A few months later, we went to L.A. and saw a dinosaur exhibit at the museum. Dinosaur bones are 65 million years old. Do you know how flippin’ old that is?! Crazy old! Then I started thinking that dinosaurs probably were competing for territory. Some were probably squabbling over shelter or food. Some wanted to be the best dinosaur, ever! Maybe they had names or addresses. Maybe they built stuff. Maybe one was a saint. I bet some dinosaurs busted their ass to climb the corporate dinosaur ladder, only to arrive there disappointed. I’m sure T-Rex thought he was making his mark in the world. And then, *WHAM!* Meteors hit the earth and they all died. And that’s it. WTFruit?! Millions of years and they are wiped out just like that. They can be summed up in one sentence, “Dinosaurs once roamed the earth.” My stomach pitted when I realized that. What the heck have I been doing all these years and for whom? Cause…I just wanna laugh and paint!

More perspective: I will eventually become unknown or forgotten, so I can ease up on the over-achieving thing. 

Today: Since “more parks” and “dinosaur bones,” (my new mantras) I have chosen a different route. I no longer manage people. I work from home more often. I moved into a design & creative director role where I design all day long! My boss (she’s awesome) and teammates know that my life’s work is Ayurveda and in the near future, it will become my full time job. I started taking violin lessons again. I began cooking more. I hang with friends more. I spend more time outside. I started painting old trucks (I’m obsessed with old trucks but didn’t think they exactly “go” with Ayurveda. But since dinosaur bones, who cares! I’ll paint trucks if I want to). I am now centering my focus into delighting and inspiring people (you!) with whomever wants to join me. As a result of my new route, I AM HAVING SO MUCH FUUUUUN! I LOVE MY DAYS!!

So. If you knew that someday you will be completely forgotten, how would you live differently? If the only reason you are ‘busting your ass’ is to ‘make a mark in the world’, you are missing the point. Life is to be enjoyed. Marks in the world are not permanent. Dinosaurs die.

Whatever it is you do, enjoy your every day. You will find that marks or waves you desire to create will only come when you extract your best, most authentic self and have fun sharing your gifts. Life is short and marks in the world are not permanent anyway — just make your every day awesome. LOVE YOU with my BIG FUZZY HEART!!

If you want to support what I’m doing with Ayurveda and bringing MORE life goodies out there, grab a copy (and hold on tight, life is a wonderful ride!) of my book and spread the word on Amazon with a review! Xoxo!Buy_book_here

Bit o’ Wisdom {55}

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Post-cleanse eating

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Spring is a popular time to do cleanses. Whatever the garden variety of cleanse (there are tons), everybody is talkin’ about cleansing. Here’s what nobody tells you: We should not eat normally right after the cleanse!

Below is an excerpt from my book In Your Elements on ensuring digestive benefits from your cleanse.

After the cleanse is just as important as the cleanse itself.

It is important to slowly rebuild agni to be good and strong. Don’t say, “Yay! My cleanse is over! I’m going out for steak and wine and chocolate cake!”

No, no, no, don’t do that. If you eat normally right after the cleanse, agni won’t be strong enough, and you will start building up ama (toxins) right away. Counterproductive!

Instead build the digestive system back up slowly.
The day after the cleanse, have liquid soup with veggies. The next day, have soup with veggies and rice or noodles, maybe a slice of bread. You could even make a batch of kitchari. Next day you can start eating normally.

See that? A little step-by-step process to eating normal again. Note: You must do this with ANY cleanse or you will reverse the benefits and actually make your digestion worse. It’s really important!

Has anybody experienced a good or bad end to a cleanse based on what you ate immediately after? Inquiring (yet judge-free) minds want to know! XO!

Take an every day vacation

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You just got back from a wonderful vacation and after 2 days back in daily life, you’ve already lost your bliss and relaxation. What the Fruit?! Well truth is, life is long and vacation is not. So, let’s learn how to bring joyful aspects of vacation to our every day — daily enjoyment is what life is all about. While taking time to luxuriate might seem impossible (or makes you roll your eyes), it’s not. It just requires a little prioritization and focus. We work hard — we all deserve to take an every day vacation.

What do we do on vacation that we don’t do daily?
{we don’t work • we spend more time outdoors  • we have the luxury of time • we see beautiful things • we eat yummy, fresh food • we listen to different music • we get extra sleep}

So let’s bring these to life.

7  enjoyments to take an every day vacation:

1) Work. In general, I believe most of us like to work as long we are doing something we enjoy. We like to produce, create, think, and watch things grow based on our efforts. Remember we are getting paid – holy flip! – to do what we love to do, daily. Now, for those who really hate the ol’ jobby job, switch jobs if you can. If that’s not possible, then realize the job now serves a purpose and will pay for necessities and things you enjoy, while you seek/create the job you love.

2) Time outdoors. On vacation we spend time outdoors and even exercise outdoors. At home, we might hit the gym, workout class, or jump on the treadmill in the basement. Notice those are all indoors? As beings of nature, nature revitalizes us. We feel amazing in nature because it’s our home. Get outside, daily! Even 20 minutes will do wonders.

3) Luxury of time. How can we get more time into the day? We can’t. Time is time. But we can use the time we have, better. Instead of noodling online, put on sneakers and power walk for 30 minutes. Instead of complaining to a coworker, go outside, find a bench, sit n’ breathe. Wake up early, enjoying the twilight into sunrise while you light a candle and journal intentions for the day (no complaining in your journal — rainbows and sunshine).

4) Beautiful things. How can we bring in more beauty to the daily-daily? Flowers on the table. Beautiful, transportive photos at home or work. New dangle earrings, a mala bracelet or sparkly crystal. Can you work by a window? Can you get a natural light lamp? Himalayan salt lamps are awesome. What do you see on vacation that you could bring to your every day?

5) Eat fresh, yummy foods.  You are the one choosin’ your groceries so…choose ones that make you feel amazing! Does mango make you feel like life is easy? Get it. Avocado make you feel spoiled? Do it. An afternoon chai latte? Have it and savor. Hand-made pasta? Take some extra time on a Saturday and make it. Thai food your fav? Get a Thai cookbook and commit 1 recipe to memory.

6) Happy music we normally don’t listen to. Pandora, Spotify, Google Music (formerly Songza). All of these give us world music at our fingertips. Some of my favorite transportive music stations on Pandora are: “Wes Anderson” (makes me feel like I’m pedaling around Paris with flowers and bread), “Tycho” and “Washed Out” (makes me feel like I’m on a hazy beach in SoCal), “Nightmares on Wax” is another easy chill mix, “1901” makes me want to dance. Google Music is also super fun where you choose songs based on your mood or how you want to feel.

7) Getting extra sleep. No you can’t sleep in daily like you can on vacation, but there’s an easy fix. Go to bed earlier. Spend 1 week going to bed at 8pm or 9pm and see how fantastic you feel. Use this when needed. When I was writing my book, I would stay up mega-late 2-3 nights in a row and then balance with 2 nights of going to bed at 8pm.

Whattaya think? Are you inspired? What other ideas do you have – do share!

If we spent more time enjoying each day and less of a focus trying to escape it, we would feel nourished and enriched, every single day. That is the good life, my friends. Finally, please enjoy my favorite little story about the Mexican Fisherman and The Investment Banker. Love!

6 Ayurvedic Tips to Balance the Time Change

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Oh man, our clocks changed! Just as we got used to the glow of the sun waking us, it’s pitch black again when the alarm goes off. The reward is a longer day, which, “Hooray for daylight!” but the time change can still throw us off. Time change in Ayurveda affects vata because, well, we’ve made a fast change. *Poof* just like that, we gained an “extra hour.” It can take some of us weeks to adjust but hopefully the tips below will help you slide back nicely into nature’s rhythm quickly.

6 Ayurvedic tips to balance the time change

1. Wake up before sunrise. Ha! Easy enough to do now, ’cause you kind of have no choice. My point is, just because it’s dark at 6:00 a.m., don’t go hittin’ the snooze until the sun comes up. We already know waking up during vata time (before sunrise) gives us a daily boost because as we rise in the energy of movement. So keep doing that! Yes it’s dark, but you’ll have more energy than if you pull the covers over your head until sunrise. Not only is sunrise kapha time and therefore slow time, but you’ll be late for work (pssst, ’cause work still starts at the same time).

2. Cook at home, with fresh ingredients. As always in Ayurveda we strive to put the best foods in our bodies, always. During the time change, it’s especially important. Best is to make sure foods are made at home with fresh ingredients including plenty of fruits and veg. Not too much dairy!

food ideas!
• Instead of Chinese take out, make fried rice at home, use extra veggies and less soy sauce (salt).
• Instead of delivery pizza, pick up some pre-made pizza dough (Trader Joe’s has it), brush some olive oil onto the crust (bonus if you want to infuse the oil with garlic) or a little sauce. Add a wee, thin layer of cheese. Then load up the crust with all your favorite vegetables like kale, zucchini, peppers, whatever you love.
• Do I even need to tell you a nice batch of kitchari will help set you straight?
• Instead of sit-down Mexican, grab all the supplies including beans, meat (if you choose), avocado (yes please!), peppers, corn tortillas (bonus if you make them yourself), rice, fresh cilantro and all the fixin’s. You will have far less salt and sugar in what you make at home. I advise skipping the taco seasoning and make your own mix with cumin, chili powder, and other spices.Or, a little salt & pepper is all you might need. Choose the fresh-made salsa in the produce isle instead of the room-temp stuff in the chip isle. Below is a pic of my dinner last night: homemade spanish rice, homemade tortillas, avocado, bell peppers, cilantro and hot sauce. mm!

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3. Limit salts & processed sugars. Tons of excess salts and sugars lurk in foods especially from chain-restaurants, pre-packaged foods or frozen foods. Eating those foods at any time can make it extremely challenging to wake up in the morning (cue the, “I’ve feel like I’ve been hit with a baseball bat” wake-up). Salt holds water and creates heat so it’s great for vata-types in winter, but no bueno for kapha season. So again, keep foods as veggied and fruitied and grainy-ed as you can! Fresh fresh!

4. Oil Massage! “Yeah yeah, Monica B. You and your oil massages.” Dude, but since time change is a vata change and we calm vata directly through the skin, now is a perfect time not to slack on oil massages. Plus your skin will feel like a baby! Trust me.

5. Water. Drink plenty of it — not too cold and no ice (vata-imbalancing). You might be drawn to choosing extra coffee or stimulants to keep your peeky eyes awake since you got up early, but try not to have any more (if any) than you normally would. Choose extra water since water flows…it will help you go with the flow

6. Normal bed time. It’s only been one day since the time change, so you might still look at the clock at 10:00 p.m. and think, “Pah, it’s really only 9:00…I can stay up for another hour.” No, it’s really 10:00 p.m. ;) So get your lil’ booty to sleep on time so you can wake up in the dark easier (hehe).

7. So Hum. As you prepare for sleep, lay in your right side and do “so hum” mantra and meditation for a minimum of 10 minutes. If you fall asleep before you’re done with the 10 minutes, bonus!

If you adhere to these things for 3-5 days in a row, you won’t even notice the time change, I promise.
Hint: You can use these same tips for air travel!
Double Hint: You can do these things daily and change your entire life! <—10% off with code 6ZE83B8R thru 3-31-16.

XOXO!

Ayurvedic Lunch at Work

LunchTips

 

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I’m a school teacher and trying to have a freshly cooked hearty lunch at school is proving a little difficult. We have limited kitchen area and limited time at lunchtime (theres a microwave but I don’t like to use a microwave). How do you feel about Thermoses? – Michelle.

Thermoses are awesome! I have some lunchie tips to share when your kitchen set up is limited. And I mean, who has a full range in their kitchen at work!? Not many people…unless you are a start up in San Francisco. No wait, they have every meal catered so not even them (*snark*).

I usually never use the fridge at work a) because nothing is going to mold/rot in a matter of hours b) because I don’t want it to be so cold that I have to heat it in the microwave. So, while I have a fridge at work, I never use it and I don’t use the micro either.

Below are some of the things I do to keep work lunch as healthy and warm as possible.

Ayurvedic lunch tips with a limited kitchen

• Put any kind of one-pot meal in a thermos or some other “keeps things warm” container. Foods you could put in it are soup, rice/veggies, pasta, barley/veggie, veggie curries, fried rice, lots of things you could make!

• I’ve also been known to make a “kitchari burrito” – it is room temp, but they are tasty and don’t get soggy by lunch!

• Make roasted veggies or steamed veggies the night before and bring in a container with pasta and a drizzle of olive oil, salt & pepper.

• Bring pieces to assemble a good lunch, like tomatoes, avocado, fresh mozzarella cheese slice, and basil. I’ll bring an extra tortilla and make a wrap at work!

• Pesto and hummus are fun accessories. Basil can be used with pasta (sprinkle some pine nuts & sundried tomatoes – mm!) or spread on a wrap. Hummus can be used to dip steamed/cooled veggies or used as a spread on some naan.

• Make a dish in a crock pot or rice cooker at night so it’s ready in the morning.  Bring some of that for lunch in your thermos or other insulated container.

• Use a little hot water from the water-cooler and add to warm up soup or soften and warm up a rice dish.

And you know what?! You are smart. I bet you have workplace lunch ideas to share with us too. Send them in the comments below so we can all see and have better lunchies. XO!

Seasonal Bloom – Kapha 2016

HEYO! Ayurveda promotes living according to the season. Here is a freebie 2016 Kapha Seasonal Bloom, just for you. mmmwah!

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Bit o’ Wisdom {54}

Sacred Mind