Monthly Archives: November 2015
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:
- Kapalbhati, a yoga breathing exercise, can instantly help move and clear your energy.
- Drink a few glasses of water (on an empty stomach). You might just be dehydrated!
- Make a large batch of kitchari and have it for lunch and dinner for a couple of days.
- Write a gratitude list with at least 25 gratitudeez on it.
- Get IN water, like a bath, pool, or hot tub. Water is a natural soother.
- Yoga practice, along with those in-and-exhales.
- Aromatherapy with your favorite essential oils or candle.
- Get into nature. Turn off the computer, go outside.
- Smile. A smile actually tells our brain that we are happy. Fake it ‘til you make it.
- 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.
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)
Happy Thanksgiving! *NOM-nom-nom*
Wait a minute! That’s not how we eat in Ayurveda.
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. When we are mindful to fully taste the food, we digest it better.
Another digestive bonus of 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. We don’t always have time for that on a daily basis, but on THIS day, WE DO and WE CAN! What a treasure.
Enjoy these Ayurvedic Thanksgiving tips.
Emphasis on the THANKS!
- Open your eyes *blink blink* and write a list of 25 things you are grateful for. Counting your blessings is sure to bring a smile in your face and in your heart first thing in the morning. 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 gives agni a big boost so we can digest our food better.
- 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. Notice, leeeeeeiisurely. 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.
- Bring a copy of the Ayurvedic Coloring book as a hostess gift :) It’s beautiful and print-it-yourself. You can have it ready-to-go in 5 minutes.
Wishing all of you a MOST happy, gratitude-filled Thanksgiving.
XO! Monica B.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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).
Good girl, Blossom, good girl. We love you.