Monthly Archives: May 2009

Right Action

Woman in running shoes ready for a jog outside at sunset

question_masthead

One of you asked me for advice on making right choices and following through with right action. She knows how to eat/live the proper way, but is having a problem with actually doing it. She is certainly not alone – I think many of us can relate to that.

 

The conflict lies between mind that is ego-driven and attached to the senses (manas) vs. wisdom (buddhi). I recommend reading The Mind part 1 if you have not, for a little background on buddhi.

When something is of pleasure to our senses, we will chase it because our ego (manas) wants more. “I want, I want, I want.” These can be simple things like, “I know I shouldn’t have one more slice of pizza because I am full, but it’s so tasty, so what the heck?!” This is not right action. Our buddhi just told us we were full, but we didn’t listen. Buddhi comes in when we can say, “I may want that, but I know eating too much will make me feel awful in about 10 minutes, so I will pass.” Makes good sense, yes?

So the question is, “How do I learn to listen more to my buddhi to ensure I make right choices and right actions?”

It starts with nutrition. If we eat fresh, natural foods and follow the nutritional guidelines, our bodies will be filled and fully nourished with prana. If you take anything away from my blah-blah-blah’s on here, please never forget that food directly affects the mind! For example, crappy food creates a crappy mind and crappy decision making…which then in turn makes us feel bad emotionally because we’ve let ourselves down. Then to comfort ourselves, we might grab some other crappy food to make ourselves feel better…and…repeat. You can see how this becomes a difficult trap to get out of.

BUT BUT! Let me share the LIGHT! If you start with fresh foods, prepared by yourself or someone who cooks with love, your mind will become more clear, your body nourished and you will feel like you did something great for yourself. That will only help you to make that great decision again. And again. And you will be succeeding and you will be LOVING yourself for it and you will only want to do it more.

Complete small tasks. Make a list and follow it to a tee. Even if it’s just 3 things you need to get done. Start small and make them doable to set yourself up for success. Watch yourself complete those things and you will feel awesome. You will feel your buddhi start to glimmer.

Surround yourself by positive, supportive, loving, funny (laughing is good medicine!) people. Forget the ones that drain you or leave you feeling any negative emotions. Focus on high quality people and nothing less.

Get creative! What else can you do to increase your buddhi? Creativity lives among the highest vibrations and is great for buddhi. Also maybe volunteer, take music lessons, sing, paint, write, bathe shelter animals, garden, or build something with your hands. When you spend time truly nourishing yourself or others, our ego gets quieter. When our ego is quiet, our wisdom and true essence is allowed to shine through.

Whatever leaves you feeling really GOOD is when you know you’ve tapped into the buddhi level and you will start living according to RIGHT action. You will want to do right by yourself over and over again, hence slowly creating a lifetime of awesome habits that help you evolve!

XO!

Why we need fresh pickin’s

raspberry

Hey! Everything we ingest is converted to give our bodies nourishment and energy. If we eat well, our bodies will be well. It’s really that simple, no magic, nothing overnight, but it’s true and it will keep us healthy.

I love this saying which came from one of the great Ayurvedic teachers, “If we are eating the right foods, why would we need medicine? And if we are not eating the right foods, what good would the medicine do?”

As we enter summer, we have the opportunity to buy all kinds of “right foods” at farmer’s markets! Dude, if we want to eat well, this is the best way to do it! And not just because “fruits and vegetables are healthy,” but because these items come straight from the source of nature. Right from the ground, or off the tree, or from the vine, these foods have had no interruption between us and nature. THAT is eating well my friends! Nothing tastes as good as those fruit samples on a toothpick – so GOOD!

Ok now think about the opposite, like spaghetti o’s with meatballs (yes, with the “meat” balls). Who knows what’s even in that. We can’t pick it off a branch and eat it. It smells kinda funny and the colors are a little weird, hey? We  might even feel like it’s “unhealthy.” Nobody even has to tell us, we intuitively know that stuff is not “good” for us. It helps to know why. And it’s because those kinds of “non perishable” foods are very far from the source, have been created in a lab-kitchen, and therefore have no prana, no nourishment. The lack of nutritional value in these foods has a direct affect on our physical health, and of equal importance, our mental health.

Mistaken intellect is the first stage of disease so we must properly nourish our bodies to create a healthy mind! Notice I am not saying “eat sad” by giving up your favorite things. Even pizza can be made by using ingredients close to the source with loads of prana! Well made organic dark chocolate can have prana too. See, not bad! Have your guilty pleasure foods once in a while, like 5% of the time and savor the heck out of them! The rest of our eating should be dang close to nature.

As we enter summer, let’s become mindful of the abundance of foods that are close to the source – and choose them! We all get happy in summer because we get “fresh” foods. Let’s remember that feeling so that we choose wisely and eat well throughout life.

#1 Ayurvedic Tip for Gas Pains

 

ginger for gas

Yo! I’m excited to share my #1 ayurvedic tip for gas pains. Seriously, in 10 minutes or less the pain will go away and you’ll feel like yourself again.

*bloat!* *pain* *ouch* *wah!* Many of our vata friends know what it’s like to have pinching or stabbling pain from gas or distention from bloating. It’s one of vata’s main health complaints and no wonder because vata’s main seat is in the colon. When vata energy is increased, we will likely feel it in our bodies there first. It’s a good warning sign to let us know, “Hey! Calm that vata down…”

My #1 Ayurvedic tip for gas pains is: Raw ginger!

What to do: Chop off a piece of raw ginger, about the size of your baby finger nail, sprinkle a little salt on it, chew it up and eat it. It will taste sharp and a little like Windex, but just do it. Your pains will be gone in 10 minutes or less, I promise! Works for me every time.

Also use raw ginger for:
• an upset, icky, sludgy tummy
• to stoke digestive fire. Bonus if you take Indian Lemonade before meals
• adding a few bits to tea with lemon helps aid digestion and reduces mucus

We love our ginger! Hope your gas pains go away! Oh and if you get them a lot, stop eating raw veggies or brown rice or other things that will make digestion difficult. Following these vata-balancing nutrition guidelines will help. XO!

 

Lovely Holism

Despite my experience of creepy holism on Saturday, I do want to call out my great experience in the realm of holistic products and services on Sunday!  I was hoping something could be redeemed from my first experience, because I honestly didn’t believe that’s all the holistic community had to offer. So! The day after the not-so-great holistic fair, Erewhon (a natural foods store close to my house) had an expo for their 30 year celebration. HALLELEUJAH (sp?) was that refreshing!! It was exactly what I was looking for. Yummy treats, chocolate, coffees, skin care, antioxidants, teas, etc., AND the people were friendly and just happy to be in the sun. Good job Erewhon!

Here are a few of my favorites:
Olivia Care: Bath and Beauty www.oliviacare.com
Righteously Raw: A Gourmet Raw Chocolate Experience www.earthsourceorganics.com
Sacred Chocolate www.sacredchocolate.com

I believe in ending things on a positive note, so I wanted to toot the horn of the very cool holistic community I found on Sunday. And I’d like to thank Erewhon and its vendors for restoring my belief that alternative viewpoints/sciences are approachable, useful, healthy, genuine and totally not creepy.

Creepy Holism

Creepy Holism

Dude! No wonder people can be averse to holistic viewpoints. Doooode (with more force)! I went to a “holistic” fair this weekend. As alternative and hippie dippie I can be sometimes, THIS was definitely along the lines of creepy. There was an overabundance of “get slim,” “extend your life,” new age products, which came complete with an infomercial-like delivery.

Some dude blasted pine smoke up my nose and I nearly died. Another dude was trying to get me to buy maxi pads (with demo!) that had 16,000 negative ions…to soak up liquid AND reduce infections. Yum! A different dude grabbed my arm, put chakra oil on it and said that it would “clear my face up” because apparently I have, “all these dark spots and blotches.” Well guess what. My face might be slightly blotchy but your logo sucks! So there.

(that was not very Ayurvedic of me)

The kicker was the guy who felt my chakras and told me that I was, “a f-ing mess.” Really? Really did you drop an f-bomb, dude, to describe any part of me!? Unreal. I walked away, held back tears and left.

What kept running through my mind was, “Oh my gosh. Is this is what people see!? Is what people think ‘alternative’ science really is?” I was so sad because for a second, I thought Ayurveda would get lost in the creepy jumble of other things. But then I knew better. And I also know that there are GREAT holistic practitioners and products out there (Thank you! And why weren’t you at the fair?! I was looking for you guys).

Anyway, I was quickly confirmed that this is exactly why I created HeyMonicaB. Granted the neti pot, ghee, kitchari, and nadi shodhanam might be foreign to some, but please trust that the advice comes from my heart. I am gathering knowledge daily and believe that it is my job to promote the heck out of it – because nobody ever told us these things! Ayurvedic information is simple, easy, logical and frankly, cheap to practice!

So my friends, thank you for reading and please continue to do so. Heck, pass on to your friends! Together we will create a mini community that is healthy, helpful, authentic to YOU, created with the right intention.

And if you see a logo that looks similar to the image above, run! Just kidding. No I’m not. Yes, yes I am. No, I’m really not…

Tip: Heartburn relief

Milk relieves heartburn

Cool! When feelin’ the burn, have a small glass of milk. It will cool you down instantly! Try it and let me know if it works for you.

Human Connection

**this post is from 2009 and social networks have only grown like crazeballs since then. Here was my take from a few years back. The post is still relevant AND has been close to my heart lately**

Every time I turn around, there is another article or story on social media/networking’s fantastic explosion into our little worlds.

I was thinking about why these networks are such a huge success and one main thing came to mind. Loneliess. A starvation for human connection. We all crave it and we truly need it to keep us balanced. We are zipping here and there to enhance our careers and chase our dreams, but in the process many of us leave loved ones and friends behind. Thanks to social networking we can take our friends with us, or can we?

I agree that it feels really good to see all of them there on the screen. They feel close because I know exactly what they are up to. But what about hearing their voice, receiving their hug, kissing their child on the head, or shopping with them on a Saturday? What about seeing the expression on their face about your funny story, rather than a “comment” an hour later on a screen? Honestly, I miss my friends’ physical presence – I miss their energy and their laughter. And that’s not something a computer can deliver.

My teacher, Dr. Apte, said that one of the main causes of imbalance in America is loneliness. It is a vata imbalance where there is a lack of nourishment, grounding, and touch. The TRIPPY thing is that the computer is also vata imbalancing…so it’s a circle. Lonely – go to computer. Computer – makes you feel more lonely. Because the computer is not alive and breathing, we don’t get any energy from it, there is no prana, no life. It can cause feelings of loneliness, emptiness, anxiety, depression, or even a sense of desperation.

My point is that the internets does not replace human beings. Person to person connection is what we crave. I am not poo-pooing the internets because hello, I’m able to share Ayurveda with the world this way. However, am also one of those people running, chasing, and leaving people behind. The internets is just not a substitute for people. So let’s get out, see them, hug them, laugh with them. There is no better medicine than spending quality time with people you really love. <3

Lavender Salt Scrub

My new favorite: Lavender Salt Scrub

Hooray! I have a new favorite product! I found this Lavender Salt Scrub at Trader Joe’s today. It was like $3.50 or something cheap like that. Quite the economical luxury if you ask me. It’s great for exfoliating and then it leaves a nice thin layer of oil on the skin which will soak in even after the shower. The icing on the cake is that the smell is amazing!

From what I can tell based on the label, it seems to be tri-doshic (good for vata, pitta & kapha). The lavender aromatherapy is soothing and calming for all doshas. The oils used are safflower, sunflower, and sweet almond which are not too heavy for kapha or too warming for pitta. Kaphas will love the invigorating texture of the salt on the skin. Pitta will love the calming smell. And while sesame oil is ideal for vata, vata skin will gladly absorb any oil it is given. Happiness for all.

A lovely spa treat, it would make a nice gift for someone (too bad I didn’t know about this before Mother’s Day) or even for yourself. It was an unexpected mega-happy purchase – and did I mention it was cheap?

Tip: Cilantro for Skin

So! It works because the leaves of the cilantro (corriander) are cooling. That sounds way simple, but let me explain the rest of the story. Skin is ruled by pitta and when we get a rash or skin irritation (even acne) its because of pitta and too much heat in the body, or a reaction to heating elements in the environment. As we know, pitta is made of the elements fire and water and when those elements increase we use the opposite qualities to balance. So in this case, cilantro works because it has cooling and astringent qualities which cools and calms the fire.

*For those of you who think cilantro tastes like soap or tin foil, don’t worry it’s going on your skin, not in your mouth ;)

Bit of Wisdom {13} Mind & Heart

Mind resides in the heart

Do Not Top Off

You know how it says, “do not top off” on the gas pump? I would say the same is true for our stomachs. We really should only fill our stomachs 3/4 of the way full with food and liquid. The remaining 1/4 should be left as space for the food and liquid to move around – like a washing machine! With proper amount of suds and water, clothes get properly cleaned and nothing gets stuck or off kilter. On the flip side if it’s too full, nothing can move, the suds don’t properly form, water doesn’t get in where it needs to and…the clothes stay in a lump. SAME with food. We all know that if we put too much in our bellies and we get what we call a “food coma.” Really, that means our bodies are so stuffed with food that our physical body and mental bodies cannot function well. And that could create (dun-dun duuuun), ama! And that’s not the goal of eating.

The goal of eating is to provide the right amount and the right type of nourishment for our bodies so that we can use the energy and function at our best! Let’s be mindful of the amount of food we take in, while chewing it well, and remember the overall nutritional guidelines. These things will help us avoid “topping off” and will keep our digestion running like a well fueled machine!