Monthly Archives: October 2008

The Five Senses | 2 | See

Hey, this is part 3 ofThe Five Senses. If you haven’t already, you may want to check out the senses and part 1 first.

We see. Our eyes are the observers of the world around us. We see colors, movement, pretty things and ugly things. The eyes are governed by light which relates to fire and therefore our eyes are governed by Pitta. When our eyes are red, sticky, itchy or agitated it is usually because there is too much light and too much heat – like a computer screen! I know my eyes get sticky and a little blood shot (blood also is governed by pitta!) by the end of the my work day when I’m done computering. When we’re out in the sun all day our eyes can get itchy and red too.

While we realize how important our eyes are, we might not be aware of how we feel based on what we see. Example: If your living room window looked over the neighbors backyard and it was full of junk (old row boat, rusty tools, a litter box, a trashy broken bike, strewn garbage, a blow up swimming pool with moldy water in it…) would it bug you? Would you want to look out that window? Maybe you would cover up the window so you wouldn’t have to look at it? Now in contrast, what if you had a living room that looked over the San Francisco Bay with sparkley water, a bridge, mountains, and twinkly lights at night from boats passing by. Would you want to look out that window? MMMhm! You might leave the window open to the view all the time!

Did you notice any tension change in your body when you read these two scenarios? That’s what I’m talkin about. When we live in a place that is pretty, set out a favorite photograph, or buy flowers, we feel good. Because it looks nice! If we live in clutter, darkness or disorganization we might feel stressed, uneasy or depressed. Because it looks like crud. So we feel like crud.

Our eyes absorb so much and it really affects our mind our bodies and our spirits. There are a few things that we can do to keep our eyes happy:

• Focus our gaze on a candle or fireplace (great for pitta eyes!!)
• Rub ghee on bottoms of feet (feet are the action organ for the eyes). Very soothing.
• Take short breaks during the day to look at the sky or nature
• Eye exercises in the a.m. (clockwise, Repeat 10x. counterclockwise, Repeat 10x)
• Take out contact lenses at night!
• Wear an eye mask if there are bright lights at night (and get your mate to turn off the tv at bedtime. bad.)
• Keep yourself beautifully organized. Free of clutter.

When we keep our eyes filled with beauty and organization, our mind will follow suit. It will remain organized and focused on the tasks at hand. There is nothing worse than to have wandering eyes, which triggers the mind, which then creates additional tasks for us. I’m telling you, too many times during my yoga practice I’ve stopped to sweep up dust bunnies. That might also have to do with my vata vikruti (imbalance)…but that’s another post.

May your eyes get good rest tonight. Namasté.

Bits of Wisdom {2}

Anatomically the heart takes care of itself before it gives to the rest of the body. Just as we have to make sure we take care of ourselves first. When we choose to give, may it be from unconditional love, not out of the expectation of others.

What are the true wishes of our heart? Are they true? What if they came true?

Live from the true wishes in your heart. That is health.

Thyroid!

Dude. This weekend I found out that thyroid problems are caused by suppressed emotions! Arrrrgg! I’ve had hypothyroidism since I was 14ish and I know a ton of other woman who have it too. I always wondered what caused it and why it was so common. Now I know.

The thyroid is the 5th chakra which is our expression of self. Any amount of stifling our expression or emotions could cause a thyroid imbalance. Same with TMG. It’s lockjaw and it happens when we cannot speak the truth. I have that too. I thought it was just from gritting my teeth when I was playing soccer. Rats. Totally internal and emotional stuff.

Reminds me of a story too. Last December, a dear friend of mine had a large growth under her chin on the side of her neck. It had manifested in only three months. After she had the surgery, she found out the thing weighed 2 lbs!! I noticed it was in her 5th chakra and I asked if there was something she wasn’t talking about or expressing. She said, “Actually yeah, I’m really upset with my mom and haven’t talked to her in 3 months.” Wow!! I was so sad for my friend not only for the surgery, but because of what she hadn’t spoken about…it just lived inside her until it was too big for her to ignore.

THE BODY IS THE SILENT COMMUNICATOR OF THE SPIRIT
If we learn to listen to it when it whispers, we won’t ever have to hear it shout.

Bits of Wisdom {1}

One of my favorite sayings in Ayurveda.

“AS WITHIN, SO WITHOUT”

We tend to concentrate on how we look rather than how we feel. But that’s a bit backwards. We cannot make ourselves look good on the outside if our insides are unhappy (mentally, physically or spiritually). Our inner health radiates to our outsides. So if we feel good, we look good!

NAMA NAMA!

Hey hey! I’m at the NAMA (National Ayurvedic Medicine Association) conference in Chicago. There are so many faces here that I normally only see on my text books (cause they’ve written them). What a trip! When I saw Dr. Lad in the hallway, I tried to tell my friend Rose but I couldn’t get out any words…not even a whisper. I feel so priviledged and fortunate that I am able to listen and learn from these grand teachers of Ayurveda. I can’t even really express my gratitude. I am so so lucky.

The coolest thing is that I hope to meet a ton of great practitioners nationwide and then I will put them on HeyMonicaB so YOU can see them all. And then you can recommend them to your friends, family and maybe you will even see one someday. Then hopefully you will realize Ayurveda is spreading everywhere and perhaps you might even go see one of these practitioners or counselors someday. Then when your life balance is improved ten-fold you will be a fan of Ayurveda and maybe you’ll tell some friends…

And there ya go…Ayurveda spreads! That’s my goal anyway.

For now I’m going to just enjoy learning and meeting cool people. I’ll fill you in on what I learn. I’m sure there will be plenty of goodies to share!

Soy.

Hey. Did you know soy is 99% genetically modified? I know it’s being touted as a substitute for milk, protein, and grains but in most cases it doesn’t go through the detoxification process, so in a sense we are eating…toxins. I just wanted to bring this to your attention. If you have soy as part of your diet, you may want to read this article from SF Gate a couple years back.

From the article

On the contrary, in Ayurveda we DO say, “food is our medicine.” I love this saying which came from one of my teachers, “If we are eating the right foods, why would we need medicine? And if we are not eating the right foods, what good with the medicine do?”

Dancing for Garlic

I had NO idea the effects of garlic on a kapha until I witnessed it with my own tiny eyes tonight. They dance!! The kaphas, they dance for garlic!

My boyfriend (kapha-pitta) and I were making veggies stir-fry-like on the stove and I threw in some roasted garlic. His eyes opened up wide. Then he quickly grabbed the container out of my hand, dumped some garlic in his palm, threw it in his mouth and immediately started dancing. All around the kitchen. I don’t think I’ve ever seen his feet leave the ground while standing before! Below is the picture of the beloved garlic, taken by noneother than the belover, George Szakall.

THAT is a perfect example as to how tastes and spices can immediately change the energy of a person. What the garlic did was add immediate heat, spice and yummy flavor to an otherwise heavy, dense palate. It boosted the heavy energy of kapha and it physically got him moving. Another example is if you give a vata person warm, creamy soup with a piece of french bread and butter. The will feel so comforted, grounded and satisfied. An example of happy pitta food is a nice bowl of fresh fruit or a sweet treat at the end of their meal. The sweets help cool down the pitta and balance out their “spicy” nature.

Importance of The Mind: Part 1

If you want to change your body, you must first change your mind. Mistaken intellect is the first stage of disease! Whoa. Yep. Read it again. Mistaken intellect is the first stage of disease.

Think about it. Our health is based on every decision we make. Our bodies don’t act on their own. So, we may have cravings or desires, but these urges come from our mind. The key is to use our buddhi – our deep inner wisdom – to govern our bodies.

Our minds make our decisions whether helpful or counterintuitive for our bodies. We choose to have alcohol even though it may give a hangover. Nobody forces us to drink it. We might be prone to heart burn but choose to eat chips and salsa, anyway. Then when we get the heart burn, we take a pepcid to fix the symptom because we are uncomfortable. The kicker is that it’s our own fault!! We KNEW chips and salsa would have that effect and we chose to do it anyway. Just as we KNEW alcohol would give a hangover.

This is what I’m talking about. These are simple examples, but how many times have you heard people say, “I have to exercise more.” “I need to eat better.” “I need to quit smoking.” “I wish I didn’t spend so much money.” ALL of these things are because we choose them. That might be hard to read, but it’s true.

The BEST news of all of this is that…YOU choose. It’s up to you! You have the power to choose wisely and healthfully or to choose substances and lifestyles that are imbalancing. USE YOUR BUDDHI! Never forget that phrase. I use it a lot when I am making decisions. I wanted a beer tonight and I said, “No, you have to study and write in your blog. Beer will make you sleepy, so skip it.” I skipped the beer and I’m glad I did.

This is the first part of The Mind. Coming up are the three qualities of the mind (sattvic, rajas, tamas) which determine how willing you are to use your wisdom. I have tips to move you up the totem pole of willingness (if you are unwilling, you would not be reading this blog. see how that works?). So we’ll go through some stages of the mind together and see if we can tap into that BUDDHI (that’s fun to write and even more fun to say) that is waiting to blossom.

The Five Senses | 1 | Hear

This is the 2nd part of The Five Senses. If you haven’t already, you may want to check out part 1 first.

We hear. Our delicate ears. Our ears are just one of the 5 senses that brings us information and if used as intended, keeps us balanced and healthy. The elements that govern our ears are space and air. By now you should know which dosha is the energy of air and space…Vata! Yep! Anything in excess aggravates vata, so we have to be gentle with our ears.

Have you ever lived or worked where there was construction going on upstairs or across the street? Madness! Makes me absolutely mental. How about a police siren that blows by or a garbage truck that interrupts your sleep. Or what about loud office chatter when you are trying to concentrate? It affects your mind, right? You can feel it in your physical body – maybe you tighten up or are unable to concentrate or maybe you get angry.

Now!! Good sounds! How do you feel when you hear a gospel or children’s choir. Do you get goosebumps or teary-eyed? What about hearing the jingle your dog’s collar when they are walking through the house? A child’s giggle? Ah, big love. (If I touch a string cheese wrapper my dog appears in no time!)

Think about the voices of Carol Burnett and…John Madden…or your mom. We immediately know it’s them and we don’t even have to see their face. We paint a detailed picture in our minds simply based on the sound of their voice!

So! Our ears give us a TON of information and we have to be mindful of what we fill them with. Obviously the more pleasant the better, but sometimes we are not conscious of it. A good rule of thumb to follow is whatever “rubs you the wrong way” – either don’t listen or, find some quiet and peace as soon as you can. Do Nadi Shodhanam if necessary to calm you down. There is an entire veda (Ayurvedic ancient script) written on sound and mantras. The information is written in verse so that it is easier and more beautiful to remember. Cool, hey?

Some good sounds:
• chanting/mantras
• crickets
• classical music or “chill music” (I should make a playlist for you! noted. will do)
• wind chimes
• a fountain
• tree leaves and branches blowing in the wind

Other things for the ears:
• Use 3-5 drops of sesame oil in the ears if you wake up in the night (vata insomnia. needs oleation and warmth for grounding. vata is in the ears…get how this works?)
• Don’t stick anything into your ear canal!
• Rub essential oils on the ear lobes
• Keep them covered in the wind and cold, especially wind! (vata will easily aggravate which could cause ear infections and a slew of other vata-related problems)
• Wear ear plugs at concerts to keep vata pacified
• Don’t listen to any music that is not pleasing to you. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to listen to it!!

So, that’s ears. In part 3 we will talk about how we use our eyes and what we see for our healing.