Category Archives: Body

Oops, Too Many Cocktails!

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On the 5th day of Ayurveda, my spirit gave to me…

OOPS, TOO MANY COCKTAILS!

Well so much for using your wisdom to make right choices, hey? Hehe. Just kidding. During the holidays it’s easy to throw caution to the wind as we enjoy an abundance of food and drink with people we love. Because we are so busy socializing and having fun, our mind is likely not in our food and also not paying attention to how many “spirits” we’ve had. We usually don’t know we’ve over done it until it’s too late and then we feel like junk.

To avoid too many cocktails: Start the evening off with one or two mocktails (see below) or sparkling waters before your first glass of wine or cocktail. This way, your mind stays clear in the beginning of the night. The main reason why we over-drink is because alcohol causes our mind to get lax and then we lose adherence to make right choices and follow through with right action. We totally lose our wisdom. Ever do anything dumb while drunk? Right. See? No wisdom. But, if we allow ourselves 1 or 2 drinks over the course of a night, we are more likely to take is slow, savor and enjoy. Space it out with water or a mocktail in between. You will feel SO good about honoring your modern Ayurvedic self without feeling like you’re missing out. And! The next day you’ll feel awesome.

Mocktail ideas: Experiment! It’s part of the fun and for maximum festivity, serve mocktails in a fancy glass. Note: These mocktails are not Ayurvedic necessarily, they are just alternatives to alcohol with ingredients likely found at parties or a bar. In Ayurveda, we don’t strive for perfection, we strive for “better.”
Warm apple cider. Heat in a pot with cinnamon sticks & a few cloves. Strain & enjoy. You can also add honey if needed. Garnish w/one cinnamon stick.
Cranberry w/splash of orange juice and top with seltzer. Have with or without ice. Garnish with an orange slice or float 3 little crannies in the glass.
Pomegranate juice, dash of orange juice. For optional fizz: Top with seltzer
Pomegranate or cranberry juice mixed w/ginger ale
Grapefruit juice, splash of cran, & seltzer. Dip a lemon wedge in sugar for garnish :)
MY FAVORITE: Cranberry juice with seltzer and a lime. mm!!

Ginger ale will give fizz and sweetness. Seltzer just adds fizz. Orange juice ads sweetness, pineapple juice is also good for that, very sweet. Pomegranate and cranberries are astringent, soaks up and cools down heat.

And counting it back down…
Wisdom for right choices
Staying in the present
A path for evolving
AND
Permission for my authenticity

 

The 12 Days of Ayurveda

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Ayurveda encompasses mind, body and spirit, right? Yep! We probably spend the most of our time trying to nurture, improve, or heal our body as we focus on, “What should I eat?” and “What is the best exercise for me?” Our mind usually comes in second place like, “How can I relieve stress?” or, “I should probably meditate sometimes…” But how often do we focus on truly living through the spirit? Not as often. And spirit is important. Spirit is our pure essence, our infinite being, our light. It is the answer to, “Who am I?” I am spirit (so hum).

So in thinking about the holiday season (since we are totally in the throes now), I noticed a thread of commonality weaving through us. During this time of year more-so than any other, we actually talk about spirit! The word “spirit” is used all the time as we feel “spirited” and “get in the spirit.” We have a “spirit of believing” and the “spirit of giving.” We are even prone to drinking too many “spirits“! With the flip of a switch during the holiday season, our spirit begins to soar through kindness, love, celebration, compassion and generosity as all of these awesome positive emotions become the focus. Whether we are religious or not religious, spirit transcends as we want to join in the spirit with everyone else — because it feels awesome. Our spirit tells us so.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the holidays can bring physical and emotional challenges that affect our spirit too. The holidays can add a laundry list of extra things to do, might include stressful travel schedules, and bring out a rollercoaster of emotions. Gah! And then you shake your fist and say, “Arg, the Holidays!” So, it’s not all roses and we know that. But if we asked our spirits, I think they would love to believe in magic that brings us all closer.

In light (yes, pun!) of Hanukkah starting and Christmas around the corner, I would love to honor our spirits during the holidays this year with a little somethin’ special.

Tomorrow will start The 12 days of Ayurveda. And it goes a little somethin like this, “On the first day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me…” Whee! So for 12 days there will be a little something special for you to use in your life and, especially during the holidays.

Now, if you want, you can sing to the tune of “The 12 days of Christmas.” It works (and yes, I sang them all out loud. If you are good maybe I’ll do a video). Or, you don’t have to. This is spirit, people! No rules and anything goes as long as it’s full purity of heart. LOVE YOU! I hope you have fun with this! *blowing kisses*

10% off my book, In Your Elements, thru 12/13 (Sunday)! Use the code: MC8RC2WV

 

In Your Elements Launch Party

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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)

Buy_book_here

Ayurvedic Thanksgiving Tips

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Happy Thanksgiving! *NOM-nom-nom*

Wait a minute! That’s not how we eat in Ayurveda.

In Ayurveda, we eat like this *Taste <pause> Chew 32 times. Taste <pause> Chew 32 times*

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.
  • 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.

 

Super Itchy Skin Season

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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).

It’s important to choose oils that benefit your dosha the best. Our friends at Banyan Botanicals have a nice variety of oils to choose from.

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.

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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.

 

 

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Made in small batches with care by Adam at Boditonic.com

 

A warm welcome to In Your Elements

IN YOUR ELEMENTS is here!

IN YOUR ELEMENTS IS HERE! 

 

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EEEYAAAH!!!!! THE BOOK IS DONE!

Who’s going to hold hands and jump up and down with me?! Who’s coming over to my house? Where are you people when I NEED you!? ;) You guys, after 1 1/2 years, my Ayurvedic book is COMPLETE! READY FOR THE WORLD! *high kick* *clap hands* *shake booty*

BUY IT HERE.

In Your Elements: A Blooming Ayurvedic Guide to Creating Your Best Life is a vibrant mix of Ayurvedic wisdom, humor and practicality all rolled into one book. In Your Elements was created for those of us who believe in the power of the individual and that true health stems from within.

My lovely book walks you through fundamental Ayurvedic foundations and includes over 70 questions, exercises and oodles of tips to help you along the journey. The whole book is a customized look at your life including, your daily routine, dosha quiz, menus, recipes, home therapies, exercise recommendations and more! As a bonus, Yoga teachers and Ayurvedic practitioners will LOVE this book for their classes and clients, respectively.

Launch_samples

So Monica B, what’s next?
We are going to have a proper launch party webinar in October with yours truly as the host. I’ll do a little chat, we will have book give-aways, I’ll answer any questions and we will have a PAR-TAY together online. That is coming SOON so keep your peepers out and be ready to “woohoo!” Oh! And if you have not signed up for my newsletter yet, definitely do that.

For now, go buy the book! Love it up. Share with friends. There will be SO MUCH MORE very soon! XOXOX! Monica B

 

Lotus Turkey

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Gobble Gobble! Lotus Turkey is here to remind you how to have a simply divine Ayurvedic Thanksgiving!

1. Morning exercise. Start the day with a little sweat to release toxins and stoke agni.

2. Write gratitude list. Super important! Write a list of 10 things you are grateful for. Then write 10 more.

3. Put on good music. Cause, yes!

4. Prepare a dish to share. Contribute to the feast, enjoy making it and put love in the food!

5. Have a glass of wine. Wine stokes agni and prepares for digestion. Yes in Ayurveda wine is actually used as medicine in some cases!

6. Bless the turkey. With sincerity say a little blessing (even if it’s to yourself), “Thank you turkey, for giving your life to me so that I can be nourished.”

7. Have potatoes with ghee. Potatoes (sweet ones are best!) are grounding ghee is awesomely nourishing.

8. Don’t over-stuff yourself. You know you’ll feel like crap so don’t do it. Eat to 1/3 capacity and leave room for the food and liquid to mix.

9. Help clean up. Don’t let the hostess do it by herself. Lend a hand to give back for all he/she has done for you.

10. Take a post-meal walk. Grab the crew and go for a leisurely walk around the block for fresh air.

11. Snuggle and cuddle. That’s what the end of Thanksgiving is all about. Cuddle with those you love (even if it’s your animals) and tell them why you love them so much.

*SMOOCH* Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Oil Massage for Busy People

 

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Oil Massage for Busy People?! Yessssss. In Ayurveda we love the benefits of a good daily oil massage. Great. Now, raise your hands if you are thinking, “Yeah awesome for the people who who have time for luxury but pssshhht, there’s no WAY I can do that daily! I’m so busy — I can’t even remember to bring my lunch much less do a massage before work. Monica B, you are crazycakes with this suggestion!” Um. Perfect! That’s why we are talking about oil massage, or abyhanga, for busy people! Because that’s you—and that’s me! In my busy world with my job-job and hideous 3 hour commute, I still do it and I’ll tell you how.

YOU’LL NEED

Sesame oil (for vata)
Coconut or Almond oil (for pitta)
Sunflower oil (for kapha)
{Psssst…if not from Banyan, you can get these oils from any grocery store in the oil section! Get the organic cold/expeller pressed kind.}
1 small plastic squeezy bottle. Like a travel size shampoo bottle or a mini ketchup bottle with a tiny cap
1 towel you don’t care about

HERE WE GO

1. Put your oil in the squeezy bottle
2. Keep the oil in the bathroom near your shower
3. Stand on the towel you don’t care about.
4. Apply the oil from toe to head. We want absorption, not an oil slick, but also no tugging on the skin. Should take 3-5 minutes. Start with your feet and legs. Use long strokes on the bones with some pressure up toward the heart, then go back down with less pressure, then back UP toward the heart. Clockwise circles around the joints. Clockwise circles around the belly and belly button with some pressure. Don’t forget your booty. Get your back the best you can, upward toward the shoulders. Long strokes on arms up and toward the heart/shoulders. Get hands starting from the base and Clockwise again around joints. Upwards on the neck. And don’t forget your face.
5. Get in a nice warm (not scalding*) shower.
Wash your hair (optional), pits, bits, and feet. Don’t scrub anything!

6. Get out and DAB yourself off. The oil will be absorbed into your skin, leaving it super soft!
7. Finish getting ready with your busy self :)

Your bod will feel really smooth, warm, and you’ll be calm in the mind! It will set the tone for your whole day, I promise! Even if you are super busy, you will really benefit from this simple practice as it tells our entire being that we CARE enough to nourish it, daily. Try it for a week and I bet you’ll LOVE it! Let me know how it goes. XOXO!

*Scalding water is very drying to the skin.

If you want MORE about Ayurveda for a busy life, I wrote an awesome book! Check it out In Your Elements: A Blooming Ayurvedic Guide to Creating Your Best Life.

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Benefits of Massage (Abhyanga)

“The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to injury or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.” Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89

It’s winter, vata time. Vata time is windy, cold, light and dry. Brr. Don’t forget your oil massages in the morning! Before your shower, warm some sesame oil and give yourself a head-to-toe massage for about 15 minutes. Daily in winter time is ideal, but at least do it once a week.

Benefits of applying warm oil to the whole body
• Brings strength, tone, and suppleness to the body and all tissues
• Makes our skin more elastic so we look younger (anti-aging!)
• Strengthens and improves vision
• Gives the body nourishment inside and out
• Increases longevity
• Helps us have sound sleep!
• Strengthens our ojas
• Tones our tissues, bringing vigor and vitality to the body
• Improves circulation to extremities and internal organs
• Calms vata and pitta while helping kapha flow

Benefits of applying oil to the scalp
• Helps hear become soft and glossy, sometimes thickens it
• Works directly on the sense organs to soothe and stimulate
• Lessens (even removes!) facial wrinkles

I mean, why would you not do it? ;)

Grouch-o-rama?

GROUCH-o-RAMA!! Why for? Are you unnecessarily grouchy or tired? Ask yourself if you had too many “spirits” this weekend. Too many spirits can quickly dampen our own spirit. If that’s the case, drink lots of extra water, have lots of fresh fruit and veggies (no meat!), do some pranayam (alternate nostril breathing, or long and deep ‘so hum‘) and write a gratitude list to set your energy on higher ground. XO!

(yes I’m still writing my book)

What causes 90% of all disease?

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On the HeyMonicaB facebook page, sometimes I like to do Ayurvedic quizzes! Last week I asked, “What causes 90% of all disease?” and I got great participation with varying answers. Some of the most common guesses were stress, inflammation, bad diet, ama/toxins, mal-functioning agni/digestion, and our thoughts.

The answer? Mal-functioning agni (digestive fire)

Let me point out that all those other answers are not wrong!! Everything is connected, right? Aaaalll those other things actually contribute to mal-functioning digestion. Even in modern medicine stress is the number one cause for disease and death. The reason is because stress causes so many other problems! When we are stressed, we are not digesting our food properly because the body is busy trying to keep your mind calm. For example, when something traumatic happens, like, let’s say you break up in a relationship or learn that someone you love just passed away. Don’t you feel sick to your stomach, like, punched in the gut? That’s a signal. It’s like we instantly feel so sick we can’t eat. Our mind tells the body, “Everything on pause. I have to tend to these emotions because we are under high stress and sadness. I cannot process food right now.” Now, those are extreme examples but if we are under even a fraction of that kind of stress daily…our body responds the SAME way. Our agni doesn’t work right, foods don’t get digested, and we accumulate ama, which causes even more mal-digestion. And so it goes like that for…years sometimes.

The best thing you can do for your health is keep that mighty agni STRONG, eat the right foods for who you are (menus here) and follow the nutritional guidelines. Don’t forget to eat HAPPY. If we are rushed, angry, upset, sad, worried, etc., we are not going to digest our food well. Emotions matter in everything we do! Do it with love and you will not go wrong. XO!

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Ayurvedic Cleanse

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Heyo! I’ve been getting a string of questions from several of you around a common theme: An Ayurvedic Cleanse.

Let me ask, do you know why a cleanse is important? {have a think}

It’s important because we use our bodies every single day and without taking time to clean it and nourish it, it will start to break down in places. It’s kind of like a car. If we don’t give our cars oil changes, tune-ups, and repair small problems as they come up, the damages later would be very costly (and much worse). Same with our bods! We breathe things, see things, smell things, our skin absorbs things, we eat things, we get emotionally affected by things…and over time all those “things” stick on us and clog our bods and minds. As a daily habit, sleeping is good to restore the body and so is eating the right foods. But even with those two things in place, we still need to take time to cleanse at least once a year and/or as the seasons change because our body is in constant use!

The biggest reason for cleansing is to get rid of any ama that has built up over time AND to rebuild our agni (digestive fire) to a powerful state. Remember, mal-functiong agni is reponsible for 90% of all disease! That’s a mighty statement and GOSH is it true! Ama is – sticky, thick, white goo – a blockage which hinders our bodies, minds, and emotional well being. It’s basically a collection of old food-stuffs (old emotional-stuffs too!). We want to make sure our energy is running smooth and clear from head to toe so we can be our very best and brightest selves.

Time to clean it out. Alright, let’s do this. Below are instructions for a light kitchari cleanse and then a deeper kitchari cleanse with herbs, detox tea, and warm oils for massage.

Cleanse 1) A kitchari cleanse. This simple kitchari cleanse can be done any time you need it! Simply commit to 3-7 days of eating a monodiet of kitchari. How do you know if you “need” it? Are you feeling any ickiness in your mind, body, guts, joints, mood, etc.,? Eat some kichari for a few days and you should start to feel better. Any anger, irritability, anxiety, worry, sadness, should start to lighten and dissipate. Any feelings of heaviness, bloating, indigestion, or constipation will go away. Any cloudiness of mind, confusion, uncertainty, or indecisiveness will start to gain clarity. Hooray!

How to do it?
• Make a nice batch of kitchari <—recipe! If you want one-stop shopping, you can buy the Ayurvedic Cleanse Kit from Banyan Botanicals
• Sip ginger tea in the morning. If you are hungry, have some kichari. If not, sip ginger tea and/or hot water (can add lemon) until you feel hungry.
• Have kitchari for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
• If your tongue is pink, add ghee to the top (vatas and pittas can have a nice amount of ghee, kaphas have less). If your tongue is not pink (yet, it will be soon), wait to add extra ghee until your tongue is pink.
• You can sip herbal (caffeine free) teas during the day and have as much water as you like
• If you are very hungry between meals, have a piece of fruit (banana, peeled apple or pear, berries) and some tea
• Be sure to fill up during meals and have as much kitchari as you like.
• Do this for 3-7 days. You can journal how you feel along the way!

After the cleanse (just as important as the cleanse itself!)
It is important to slowly rebuild agni to be good and strong. So 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 right away. I suggest to have liquid soup with veggies the next day. Next day have soup with rice or noodles. Next day have rice and veggies. Next day you can start eating normally. See that? A little step-by-step process to eating normal again. HINT: Do this with ANY cleanse, even if it’s not this one. It’s really important!!

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Cleanse 2) The deeper cleanse is not quite panchakarma (more on that soon, too much for this post), but it’s about as good as you can get by doing it from home. For this one the Deluxe Ayurvedic Cleanse Kit has everything you need. You can even download their little booklet on Ayurvedic Cleansing too. Or, you can compile your own items for the cleanse. This cleanse includes detox tea, herbs, and daily head to toe self massage with sesame oil.
• Follow the same instructions as above (they also have instructions) but you’ll be including massage, herbs, and the tea

When you are doing cleanses (even just a short one for 3 days), remember to RELAX. Make time and space for it. This is a cleanse for the mind and spirit and emotions just as it is for the body. If you cannot take off a day or two from work, be sure to unplug, unwind, and spend some time relaxing. Walks are good. Yoga is good. Intense exercise is not good. No tv or computer, books instead. Nice music, candles, warm socks, incense, sunsets, windows open…are all good things. NOURISH.

Yeah? What questions can I answer for you about cleansing? HAPPY AYURVEDIC SPRING CLEANING! XOXO!

Karnapoorna

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Karnapoorna! Or Karna Purana. And there might be a 3rd or 4th spelling or 5th spelling, but no matter, it’s important to know that it exists. Do you know what it is? For the seven of you raising your hands, awesome! For the rest of you, let me happily share.

Karnapoorna is one of the many therapies in Ayurveda that is done with oil. It means, putting oil in your ears! Now, not only is it a therapy, but it’s also used as swastha vritta (mmwaahahaa..I love throwing in sanskrit sometimes just to keep you on your toes), which means preventative medicine :) You can do karnapoorna as needed or once a week as part of your routine to stay healthy.Karnapoorna is best for vata imbalances including:
• Insomnia
Ringing in the ears
• Headaches
• TMJ
• Anxiety or worry
Jet-lag and ears popping/crackling in airplanes

Other benefits are:
• Improves hearing
• Loosens ear wax (who doesn’t want that?!)
• Strengthens the bones in the ear
• Prevents neck stiffness

Intrigued yet? Give it a try. It might tickle at first, but stick with it for about 30 seconds, then you should feel calm and happy. ***Do not do karnapoorna after a shower or swimming. Oil and water do not mix and it could do bad things. Mmkay?!***

Here’s what to do:
Warm some sesame oil or ghee and put in shallow bowl
Use a cotton ball to soak up the oil
Lay on one side and squeeze the oil out of the cotton ball into your ear (it will tickle)
Massage your ear lobe and bones gently for a couple minutes
Lay for 20 minutes (even 10 minutes does some good), bonus points if you so hum
Put a towel over your ear, tilt your head so the oil drizzles out
Repeat other side
Aaaannnnd, goodnight ;) You will probably want to sleep.

Oil-Pulling, You Ask?

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WHOA boy…it’s my job to promote and protect Ayurveda so here I go.

Oil-pulling is getting all kinds of attention. This particular post has been all over facebook and several folks ping’ed me to find out what the dealio is on the pullage of oilage. Now, this gal has a lovely blog but she’s not a trusted Ayurvedic source so it can be hard to know what to believe.

Ok, I’ll make it simple and trusted.

There are two daily practices in Ayurveda to help nourish and purify the mouth, called gandusa (filling the mouth with oil and holding it) and kavalagraha (swishing oil slowly between the teeth and gargling = oil-pulling). The ancient texts call for sesame oil, but you can also use ghee or coconut oil for high pitta types. I searched online and ALL I see is to use coconut oil (from non-Ayurvedic sites)…and that worries me because it might not be the best for everyone. And if everyone tries it and it doesn’t work, they are going to blame our lovely Ayurveda, when it was just incorrect instructions.

Since I was concerned about wrong messaging and also certain that sesame is the oil of choice (I like to worry and be right=vata-pitta), I emailed my dear trusted teacher to be sure. My dear trusted teacher (I can’t share his name cause last time ya’ll started emailing him. Nice going.) said this: The best oil or ghee treatment is arimedas. It is a formula specific for this. You cannot get it in the States :( Sesame: very rich and heating…good for vata and kapha and okay for pitta except high pitta imbalance then use coconut which is also good but may not be that good for vata except in mid-summer. You can also use olive or sunflower for most people. And yes, sesame is traditionally the oil of choice unless you can get “arimedas” — Monica’s Teacher Ji

Mwaahahaha, I was mostly, kinda right. So, please: Vatas use sesame oil. Kapha use sesame oil too. Pittas can also use sesame unless their pitta is very high, then they should use coconut oil or ghee.

Got that? Easy? Ok good, carrying on.

How do you oil-pull as a daily practice?
• Wake up
• Scrape your tongue with a tongue scraper seven times to get off any night crud, check for ama. If there is ama, do not put oil in your mouth. Head straight for warm water and ginger tea. Drink up and do not eat until your tongue turns pink, try again tomorrow.
• Brush teeth
• 1 Tblsp sesame oil in your mouth.
• Slowly swish between the teeth 10 minutes and do not swallow any of it. Note: It’s not vigorous mouthwash swishing. Think of it like sucking and spitting between your teeth.
• When done spit in sandwich baggie or toilet
• You might use your finger as a fingerbrush to get any remaining out, wash hands well afterwards
• Quick rinse/one swish with water

Benefits include:
• Really white teeth
• Strong, healthy gums and teeth
• Strengthens bones of the face and jaw (may help TMJ)
• Better breath
• Prevents dryness of the mouth and lips
• Purification of the mouth, if sesame is used
• Gives richness to the voice
• May help to relieve sinus pressure/aches
• May help relieve neck tension and headaches (cause it’s all related: tight face, tight neck, tight head. see?)

All this said, there are many, specific herbal mixes practitioners cook up with the different oils and use it as medicine! But that’s unique to each person and each condition just like everything else in Ayurveda. One size does not fit all. At all, at all. Ok? There is lots of magic in Ayurveda, but there are no blanket statements. And not really magic either, it’s really logical actually. But it’s so logical that it smacks you in the face with magic. I digress…

Other reliable resources
1) If you are the sciencey type and curious about text-book info about oil-pulling, check out this post from Todd Caldecott. He just posted this so he’s probably trying to clear up misconceptions too.
2) Dr. John Douillard has a great video and article about it.
3) The most trusted and ancient text of Ayurveda, Charaka Samhita, says (from Dr. Douillard’s article): Keeping of oil gargle provides strength in jaws and voice, development of the face, maximum taste and relish of food. One does not suffer from dryness of throat, lip cracking and teeth become firmly rooted. The teeth do not ache or become sensitive and can chew the hardest food items.

See? Traditional oil-pulling does not claim to do anything crazy. It’s just a part of Ayurveda’s daily health practice for prevention – which is AWEsome! **waving pom-pons for prevention** But maybe not newsworthy. Or maybe that is newsworthy?* I don’t really know. I will say that your teeth get SUPER white. And heck, if you are going to either oil-pull or buy whitening strips, save your dough and your poor sensitive teef and go with the sesame pull! :)

HOHkay. Who has all kinds of questions? What do you want to know? Btw, I’m totally not answering any questions about cancer or chronic illnesses, mmmkay? LOVE YOU and your swishy teef.

*If you have a suggestion that would be newsworthy, do let me know and I’ll write about it. I want Ayurveda to be in the news! Ok thanks.

Seasonal Bloom: Kapha

kapha_2013_iconHAPPY Kapha Season! Kapha season goes from late winter through spring, and the time is now! If you have already read the seasonal bloom in the past, maybe take another look! And then pass it along to a friend :)

NEW inside this one, I created a kapha playlist! That’s right, music to shake your booty to while spring cleaning. Nothing better to get a kapha moving than some great tunes! *shake it!*

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE KAPHA SEASONAL BLOOM HERE

I also ask that in return for reading, absorbing and hopefully loving the information, that you share this with at least three of your friends or family. We ALL need more Ayurveda in our lives. It’s my passion, it’s my life’s work and I am grateful I can share this with you. Please share with more people so my reach gets larger!

Ghee in my Coffee?

Ghee-Coffee

 

Mood Food

mood_food

Hey! Did you know that the food you choose directly affects your mood? Maybe you did, cause you are so Ayurvedically smart (if so, permission to *high kick* with pride!). You should know that every morsel we put into our body has energy connected to it. Consider it mood food. Yessiree that energy is what we ingest and therefore what we become. If foods we eat are made from bummer ingredients, we are going to feel like the world is one big bummer. Flip that and instead if we eat lively, fresh foods, we are going to feel lively and fresh. You might be thinking that’s a really literal way of assessing food, but man, it’s totally true.

Do you remember our friends sattva, rajas and tamas? In Ayurveda, these are the trigunas or three qualities, of the mind (download the chart). A quick recap, sattvic foods are pure harmony and help us make right choices. Rajasic foods create turbulence, competition, and are goal-oriented. Tamasic foods create darkness, stagnation, and lifelessness. Download this handy dandy list of sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic foods for reference. Just as important as foods right for your dosha, are the trigunas of the foods. Our food MUST be high quality – it’s essential!! We are built of the stuff!

Foods that are highly sattvic are veggies, fruits, and grains. Notice anything these foods have in common? They all come from plants! Plants are always happy, they have no emotions or stresses. They know that the sun will come out, rain will give them a drink and they grow while they reach for the stars. Pretty great, right? Wouldn’t you like to be like that too? Me too. Happy and reachin’ for the stars, I say!

Now! Let’s look at the other side. Foods that are highly tamasic are red meat, alcohol, canned, stale foods. These foods have no life. They have never seen sun, or if they have, the prana they had originally has been processed-to-death. Literally to death. For a second, let’s look at meat. Are animals always happy? Not necessarily. Do they live in the sun? Mmmm…they might, but not guaranteed. Animals have emotions, fears, stresses, anxiety and panic. Whatever life that animal lived, we eat it. True for us, if we eat those animals that lived under stress, we will become the same. Please make sure your meat comes from happy animals. And if you aren’t sure, don’t eat it.

SO! What foods create good moods? Plants! Veggies! Grains! Fruits! Ghee from happy cows (<– like from my man Sandeep! They’ve been making grass-fed ghee for generations!). AND, dairy if it comes from a good place. Always buy full fat and local organic dairy, if possible. In addition to foods, make sure to drink plenty of water. Plants wither and animals throw their water dish around when there’s not enough! Your body withers too, but your mood will be affected first, as a warning sign. Aren’t our bodies so smart to give us warning signs? Love the bodies. So, be thankful for being an evolved being who gets moody enough to know that you’re not eating the right things :) Incorporate more happy foods, full of sun, nourished by water and nature will give you peace, happiness, and innate knowing that all is well.

Who has questions!?!? xoxoxo!

Trifecta! Tri-Dosha Menus

trifecta_menus

From my hands and heart to yours, here are three dosha menus in ONE post for your downloading and sharing ease. Groovytown!! *high kick!* These menus are not meant to box you in, rather, they are created to expand your mind into the world of foodie concoctions that are awesome for you. Something to keep in mind, if you eat a “wrong-for-your-dosha” food, don’t stress about it! Just do better next time, it will not kill you. In fact, someone once told me, “You cannot kill anyone with Ayurveda.” SCORE! Well, I suppose if you struck the wrong marma point hard enough you could, but that’s beside the point. If your body responds well to the food you are eating, keep doing that! If you are not digesting well, try some of the menu recommendations according to your dosha and see if you begin to feel better. Again, there are a myriad of foods we can choose and frankly we should have a diet balanced in all six tastes, organic when possible, and eat with a happy mind. If you do all those things, you will be in far better shape than you did before you found this crazy lil site :) Enjoy your dosha menus and if you like these, please please share!

Any other questions I can answer or Ayurvedic information you are dying to know about? Email me! monica@heymonicab.com. XOXOX!

 vata_menu

pitta_menu

kapha_menu

 

Tip: Natural SPF

tip_sesame-spf

Tip: Using a bit of sesame oil (not the toasted kind!) on your face in the morning will moisturize, smooth fine lines, and is also a natural SPF!
We love you, Ayurveda!