Monthly Archives: April 2009

Hair Retention Plan

Ah, unfortunately (or fortunately – many people look better with no hair!) one of the obvious places excess pitta shows up is on the head, resulting in hair loss or prematurely gray hair. Pitta type people are constantly thinking, planning, organizing, stressing, competing, strategizing, gettin’ angry (haha), all these things that require lots of brain power, heat and transformation. No wonder their hair can start to thin, what with so much going on in that brain o’ theirs!

If you have a receding hairline or notice that hair is thinning and are not thrilled, I offer some suggestions.

First to reduce hair loss, chill out! Pitta, you must chill. Calm your mind and try some nadi shodhanam or alternate nostril breathing for 5 minutes daily. Bring stress levels down through breathing. Ahhhh…

Second! Massage the scalp at bedtime with either brahmi oil or coconut oil. This will help prevent further hair loss. You could also massage your feet because it will be very calming and help the eyes (another site of pitta). The massage will stimulate and strengthen the hair follicles as well as improve circulation at the roots. Place a towel or something on your pillow so it doesn’t get greeezy.

You can buy brahmi oil on Banyan Botanicals and coconut oil can be found at a decent grocery or Indian grocery store. You could get that on Banyan also, but it might be pricier than other places.

Third!! Let’s not forget about diet. Dairy products (calcium!), specifically ghee, are great nourishment for the hair. Milk and ghee are pitta’s best friends. Remember to follow a pitta balancing diet, staying cool and sweet. For a nice treat float cucumber or piece of mint in your water – you can always do this.

Fourth. Aromatherapy helps too. Calming and soothing scents like lavender or sandalwood are instant calm for pitta. Sniff with mouth closed. If you like, you can mix a couple drops of the aromatherapy into your oil treatment at night for the ultimate in relaxation.

There are other things to try also with herbs and aloe vera juice, but those will vary by person so I offer these suggestions first. Really honestly, the bottom line is to chill your mind. Calm the mind and the hair will stay put. There is no magic cure to grow hair back (at least not that I know of yet), but these will help keep the hair you have.

Tip: Fruit & Dairy

Fruit + Dairy. Wrong food combinations

Hey! Who likes a fruit parfait with yogurt and granola? A lot of us do. We also put berries or bananas on our cereal. While I love bananas in my cereal as much as the next guy, Ayurveda has taught me that fruit and dairy is considered a “wrong food combination.” So sad, I know! But I have to share the information because nobody tells us these things!

Fruits curdle the milk which turns digestion a little sour and rancid. The result could bring heart burn and/or an acidic or sour taste in the mouth. The combo is also a channel clogger and potential ama creator. If you have digestive problems and are currently eating fruit and dairy as a combo on a regular basis, try omitting the combo for the time being to see if you feel any better.

If you are wondering if I combine fruit and dairy, I will tell you honestly that I don’t anymore. I have my fruit as a snack in between meals and sometimes I have a mixed fruit for lunch. Just a little fyi, fruit is a nice “fast” for vata/pitta types (vata should never fast, pittas can do fruit juice fast) when digestion is sluggish or when we had a heavy meal the night before.

If you have the fruit & dairy combo often, mybe try the fruit minus the yogurt/milk for a week and see how you feel. You might notice subtlties in your emotions, digestion, or clarity of mind that you didn’t realize you’d lost! And if you’re mad at me, you can let me know ;)

Tri-Doshic Easy Pesto!

Ok right off the bat, I am not a cook. However somehow, lately I am coming up with some really tasty recipes that I just hack together. One of my clients says she loves my “hack recipes.” Cool! A most recent hack recipe I am hooked on is making pesto from scratch. Hooked I say! I keep it in a jar in the fridge and then using for all sorts of stuff. Hooray for cheap, healthy, and fresh eats!

Tridoshic easy pesto!

Fresh Basil is tri-doshic which means it balances vata, pitta and kapha.
Depending on the ingredients you add, you can gear the mixture toward your own dosha(s) to enhance optimal digestion and overall balance. It’s super easy. There are no rules or recipe so you can be creative, but here’s what I do:

  • Get a bunch of fresh basil. Trader Joe’s has it for like 2 bucks a carton. We always use 2 cartons.
  • 3 Cloves of garlic. Vata and kapha can have more garlic, pitta should have less
  • Olive oil. Vata should have a fairly oily based pesto, pitta can have some oil, kapha should have less so that their pesto is more paste-ey.
  • Salt. Vata yes, pitta and kapha less salt
  • Black pepper. Yes for all, pitta be mindful of too much
  • Optional: Pine Nuts, Almonds, Fresh Parmesean.

Now for the fun part! Put the basil and oil into a food processor and grind it up. If it’s too sticky, add more oil. Add minced garlic, grind again. Then add salt and pepper…try it on a little piece of bread! Add more oil or salt and pepper…try it again! Get it til you like it and then you can store it in a little jar in the fridge. If adding the nuts and/or parmesean, add it only when you are going to eat it right away – don’t store it.

You can use it on plain pasta or with veggies, fresh bread, toasted cheese sandwiches, chicken & rice, mozarella & tomato sandwiches, add to homemade pizza, and basically anything that could use a spread! It’s sooo yummy and so simple. You can always add more oil depending on the dish. If you come up with something clever, do share! I would love to hear what you’re doing with tri-doshic pesto!

Kapalbhati Pranayam

Kapawhat?! Kapal-bah tee. It’s a breathing exercise (pranayam) that is literally translated to “glowing” or “shining” skull. Dude, it’s the BEST because it purifies the mind by forcefully ridding all toxins. The breathing itself is a series of forceful exhalations one after the other while never intentionally inhaling. The body will automatically inhale for us – we don’t need to worry about it.

We have all heard of laughter being the best medicine. Kapalbhati works the same way. Think about laughing, “ha-ha-ha.” The whole time it’s exhale-exhale-exhale. During laughter and kapalbhati we are exhaling and ridding the body of toxins, while bringing in a lot of fresh oxygen. Ok lemme tell ya more, it gets better!

Benefits of kapalbhati:

Totally purifying.
Good for weight loss. It’s a cardio work out.
10 minutes of kapalbhati is equal to 1 hour of cardio workout, like running. No kidding! But you have to work up to it just like regular cardio.
Strengthens Respiratory System. Strengthening lungs, lung capacity, purifies nasal passage, and removes blockages in the chest.
Strengthens & stimulates Digestive System. Remember, “We are what we digest” so we need to digest food properly. This will help!
Stimulates Circulatory System.Gets the blood to all parts of the body by opening channels and promoting circulation.
Purges us of all negativity. Mind, body, spirit
Helps to overcome stress, depression and negative emotions.
Gives mental clarity.
Helps bring higher awareness as it removes blockages and focuses our mind on pure and right intention

Ready to try it?! Ok, I have included a video so that you can see how it’s done.

Kapalbhati Demo

You can also follow instructions below:
1. Do this daily in the morning if you can, before breakfast (2 hours if after meal. You will get a cramp otherwise. Trust me.)
2. Start with a count of 20-30, then rest. See how you feel. This is very individual depending on your cardiovascular condition, so take it easy if you haven’t done exercise in a while. Or if that was a piece of cake, then try for 45 seconds or one minute.
3. Sit with legs crossed in a lotus-like position or if in a chair, both feet on the ground
4. Spine straight, chest open, like a string is going from your butt up through the top of your head and holding you straight
5. Using on the the diaphragm, inhale while ballooning the belly
6. Start! Forcefully exhale, using the diaphragm and count, 1-2-3-4-5 (you will automatically inhale, but focus on the exhale)
7. Take a rest when you are tired and repeat 3x. Even with just 2 minutes of this a day, you will notice the benefits.

If you try this and notice a difference, please share! I know I benefit greatly from it – just mental clarity, less crabbiness, I get a LOT more done during the day, and I take things more in stride. I hope this helps you discover more clarity and brings a nice sheen to your brilliant skull :)

Bit of Wisdom {12} Change

Quote on changing perceptions

Stress. Open for Interpretation?

Stress. Real or just our interpretation?

Are you stressed? How much do you have? Where does it live in your body? Stress factors can be physical, psychological, or spiritual according to Ayurveda, but the question is, “Is stress real?” Or do we create it through our interpretation and perception of the events around us? Think about it.

There is a woman (maybe 50?) I used to work with who seemed very healthy, she was always pleasant, and generally look to be in great shape. Recently her company had layoffs and her entire team was let go, she stayed. The day after the layoff she had a massive stroke and was in the ICU for a couple weeks. Another very healthy gal I know just had an ovarian cyst that burst. Come ON! These “burstings” are signals to our bodies that they cannot handle any more. Something has to give and when the mind won’t let go of stress, our bodies will find a way to let it go.

Wherever a thought goes, a chemical goes with it,” says Deepak Chopra. Once our mind tells our body that a situation is stressful and that thought signals stress hormones, which prepare us for fight or flight. Imagine how many times we prepare for fight or flight in a day!? OMG I am going to be late! OMG I forgot to reply to that email! OMG my stocks tanked! OMG I lost my job and what if I never get another one!! One after the other, over and over. It’s just not natural! We do not have to fight for our food, for our sleep, or for our survival, yet we tell ourselves these stressful stories constantly and we FREAK our bodies out!! Really, we are choosing to create our own chaos.

I don’t have a magic answer for what to do about a crappy economy and people losing their jobs. I cannot control it. It’s very sad and can be very scary. But in my life, I am learning to worry only about what I can control. So, my advice is to analyze your stress and if there is something out of your control, then let it go. There is nothing you can do about it anyway, so leave it. Concentrate on what is in your hands and make the best of it.

Stress relieving tip! If you want a magic answer to help you, this is my suggestion. I do both of these daily.
Meditate & Pranayama every morning (even just for 5 minutes!)
Either So Hum or Nadi Shodhanam

Bits of Wisdom {11} Cravings

Strong Agni

strong agni

How to maintain strong agni.
It seems that we think we know rules about eating, like “Salads are good. Carbs are bad.” I mean, why wouldn’t we, because that’s what we are exposed to. So I am going to reinforce that there are no “good” or “bad” foods! There are only foods that we can digest better than others and that will vary by our individual make up of dosha(s).

Rules that we think we know, don’t ever mention eating guidelines or on how to keep our agni strong. Remember, weak agni is responsible for 90% of all disease! Holy crud, yes it is!! So, let’s keep our agni strong because it will keep us strong!

In general terms, there are some things that weaken our agni. See below, and…don’t do these:
Eating before previous food is digested (when you have clear burps. if not, don’t eat!)
Eating when we are not hungry
Ignoring indigestion (bloating, constipation, heartburn) and eating anyway
Uncooked or 1/2 cooked food
Canned, stale foods or foods fried in rancid oil
Heavy, dense, or gas producing foods
Excessive sweet, salty or sour foods
Sleeping after meals
Drinking a lot of water during, or right after meals (what does water do to fire?)
Worry, stress, anxiety, fear
Exercising after eating

Some of these are no-brainers, but really, it’s hard to get raw, true, and individualized information about nutrition. Things can get muddied when information is being pushed by a product, a fad or a new recent study. But, dude! Ayurveda is an OLD OLD study! Like 5,000 years! No doubt that it warrants a listen.

Our Body Speaks

My new favorite book is Absolute Beauty by Pratima Raichur. I love it sooho much! Below is an excerpt from the book, about emotional issues linking to physical imbalances. I keep reading over and over because it makes total sense! And now I want to discover all sorts of emotional correlations with physical ailments…totally fascinating. Anyway, here it is:

In the form of messenger molecules, our unspoken feelings inevitably find other outlets in the body, causing any number of ailments that express the feelings for us. Ulcers can announce that something is “eating at” us, coughs and congestion may indicate that there is something we need to “get off our chest,” hypertension reveals that we are “steaming mad,” and…skin disorders often speak of a range of unexpressed sensations, each with its own “voice”: wet eczema weeps for our sorrows; worry lines confess our fears; the burning rash seethes with our bridled rage…I have found that the destructive effects of “undigested” emotions, are often apparent when a person is unable or willing to formulate and communicate feelings directly.

Aw. I love that bit. It’s quite logical (ridiculously logical) and it actually makes me want to cry a little. Our bodies speak so loudly because we do not allow our mouths to speak. So often, unspoken feelings turn into toxic emotions and make us sick. Really makes me sad. One small example is thyroid problems and there are a bizillion more.

So here! I root for all of you to speak!! You can rant in comments if you want – nobody knows who you are anyway, so have at. Why not. Make it your canvas. Express away (que the Madonna “Express Yourself” music) and let them go.