Category Archives: Body

Post-cleanse eating

post-cleanse

Spring is a popular time to do cleanses. Whatever the garden variety of cleanse (there are tons), everybody is talkin’ about cleansing. Here’s what nobody tells you: We should not eat normally right after the cleanse!

Below is an excerpt from my book In Your Elements on ensuring digestive benefits from your cleanse.

After the cleanse is just as important as the cleanse itself.

It is important to slowly rebuild agni to be good and strong. 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 (toxins) right away. Counterproductive!

Instead build the digestive system back up slowly.
The day after the cleanse, have liquid soup with veggies. The next day, have soup with veggies and rice or noodles, maybe a slice of bread. You could even make a batch of kitchari. Next day you can start eating normally.

See that? A little step-by-step process to eating normal again. Note: You must do this with ANY cleanse or you will reverse the benefits and actually make your digestion worse. It’s really important!

Has anybody experienced a good or bad end to a cleanse based on what you ate immediately after? Inquiring (yet judge-free) minds want to know! XO!

6 Ayurvedic Tips to Balance the Time Change

Time_change

Oh man, our clocks changed! Just as we got used to the glow of the sun waking us, it’s pitch black again when the alarm goes off. The reward is a longer day, which, “Hooray for daylight!” but the time change can still throw us off. Time change in Ayurveda affects vata because, well, we’ve made a fast change. *Poof* just like that, we gained an “extra hour.” It can take some of us weeks to adjust but hopefully the tips below will help you slide back nicely into nature’s rhythm quickly.

6 Ayurvedic tips to balance the time change

1. Wake up before sunrise. Ha! Easy enough to do now, ’cause you kind of have no choice. My point is, just because it’s dark at 6:00 a.m., don’t go hittin’ the snooze until the sun comes up. We already know waking up during vata time (before sunrise) gives us a daily boost because as we rise in the energy of movement. So keep doing that! Yes it’s dark, but you’ll have more energy than if you pull the covers over your head until sunrise. Not only is sunrise kapha time and therefore slow time, but you’ll be late for work (pssst, ’cause work still starts at the same time).

2. Cook at home, with fresh ingredients. As always in Ayurveda we strive to put the best foods in our bodies, always. During the time change, it’s especially important. Best is to make sure foods are made at home with fresh ingredients including plenty of fruits and veg. Not too much dairy!

food ideas!
• Instead of Chinese take out, make fried rice at home, use extra veggies and less soy sauce (salt).
• Instead of delivery pizza, pick up some pre-made pizza dough (Trader Joe’s has it), brush some olive oil onto the crust (bonus if you want to infuse the oil with garlic) or a little sauce. Add a wee, thin layer of cheese. Then load up the crust with all your favorite vegetables like kale, zucchini, peppers, whatever you love.
• Do I even need to tell you a nice batch of kitchari will help set you straight?
• Instead of sit-down Mexican, grab all the supplies including beans, meat (if you choose), avocado (yes please!), peppers, corn tortillas (bonus if you make them yourself), rice, fresh cilantro and all the fixin’s. You will have far less salt and sugar in what you make at home. I advise skipping the taco seasoning and make your own mix with cumin, chili powder, and other spices.Or, a little salt & pepper is all you might need. Choose the fresh-made salsa in the produce isle instead of the room-temp stuff in the chip isle. Below is a pic of my dinner last night: homemade spanish rice, homemade tortillas, avocado, bell peppers, cilantro and hot sauce. mm!

Time_change_meal

3. Limit salts & processed sugars. Tons of excess salts and sugars lurk in foods especially from chain-restaurants, pre-packaged foods or frozen foods. Eating those foods at any time can make it extremely challenging to wake up in the morning (cue the, “I’ve feel like I’ve been hit with a baseball bat” wake-up). Salt holds water and creates heat so it’s great for vata-types in winter, but no bueno for kapha season. So again, keep foods as veggied and fruitied and grainy-ed as you can! Fresh fresh!

4. Oil Massage! “Yeah yeah, Monica B. You and your oil massages.” Dude, but since time change is a vata change and we calm vata directly through the skin, now is a perfect time not to slack on oil massages. Plus your skin will feel like a baby! Trust me.

5. Water. Drink plenty of it — not too cold and no ice (vata-imbalancing). You might be drawn to choosing extra coffee or stimulants to keep your peeky eyes awake since you got up early, but try not to have any more (if any) than you normally would. Choose extra water since water flows…it will help you go with the flow

6. Normal bed time. It’s only been one day since the time change, so you might still look at the clock at 10:00 p.m. and think, “Pah, it’s really only 9:00…I can stay up for another hour.” No, it’s really 10:00 p.m. ;) So get your lil’ booty to sleep on time so you can wake up in the dark easier (hehe).

7. So Hum. As you prepare for sleep, lay in your right side and do “so hum” mantra and meditation for a minimum of 10 minutes. If you fall asleep before you’re done with the 10 minutes, bonus!

If you adhere to these things for 3-5 days in a row, you won’t even notice the time change, I promise.
Hint: You can use these same tips for air travel!
Double Hint: You can do these things daily and change your entire life! <—10% off with code 6ZE83B8R thru 3-31-16.

XOXO!

A Life For Creating

 

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On the 12th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me

A LIFE FOR CREATING!

What a GIFT! We have a LIFE! And we can do anything we want with it! We can customize it to our liking. We can use our body and mind as they work together to keep us healthy and happy. We have the opportunity to make the very MOST of what we are given, every single day.

So. Did you go through Day 11 and make a list of what you were thankful for and what you need to let go from 2015? Yay! Then you are ready to move forward into 2016 and start CREATING.

Yay but…where to start? In Ayurveda, we start with the most simple yet consistent changes — those make the biggest difference. The foundation of my book, In Your Elements, makes Ayurveda relatable and easy to apply. When we add digestible, bite-sized changes, they are easy to fold into our life because they become part of us.

Here are some ideas to jumpstart your new year:
• Download the Vata Seasonal Boom
• Remedies for cabin fever
Ayurvedic New Year’s Cleanse
• Work on a Dosha-lution
• Write up a New Year’s Wish List
• Create your own Ayurvedic path with my book, In Your ElementsGet your copy here.
• Join me for a FREE webinar for an “Ayurvedic Tune Up” on Wednesday, January 13 at 9PM EST/6PM PSTReplay here.

Alrighty…if you sing the whole thing, it goes a little something like this (if you send me requests, I might just make a video of myself singing it. But only if you ask)…

On the 12th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me…

12 A life for creating
11 A moment for reflecting
10 Appreciating simple things

9 Phew, I found my grounding
8 Time and space for breathing
I might be over-spending
6 E-gads I’m overeating
5 Oops, too many cocktails!
4 Wisdom for right choices

3 Staying in the present
2 A path for evolving
AND

1 Permission for my authenticity

Phew, I found my grounding

9_Grounding

On the 9th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me,

PHEW, I FOUND MY GROUNDING.
Phew! Breathing actually works, hey? The power of staying still and breathing is super underrated. I mean, we live in a a world that keeps us addicted to busy-ness. We try to move as fast as possible to accomplish as much as we can with the least amount of effort. This speed and lack of adherence creates increased vata for everyone as we become totally ungrounded. By the way, putting in effort is also underrated. Books do not get written without effort…just sayin.
Here’s something to remember: When we stop, the world actually doesn’t! The world will keep spinning even if we slow down or stop. Slowing down is necessary. If we keep grounded and consistent our daily practices of good breath, quality food, heartfelt love, sound sleep, and putting in good effort work, that’s enough in a day.
My favorite quote is “There is more strength in surrender than there is in forging ahead.”  So this holiday and in the new year ahead, let’s sloooow down and ground.

Time and Space for Breathing

8_Breathe

On the 8th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me…

TIME AND SPACE FOR BREATHING

In the midst of holiday busy-ness, party-ness, giving-ness, cooking-ness, mailing-ness, spending-ness, decorating-ness, traffic-ness, etc., many of us feel overwhelmed and exhausted before the holiday celebrations even get here!

One of the fastest ways to calm, ground, and nourish ourselves is by (wait for it…) breathing. Yep, that’s it. Our two lovely little nostrils are the fastest passageways to the mind, so breathing slowly tells our mind, “It’s all good. We got this.” And the mind relays that message to the rest of the body so we can fully relax. Let’s make some time to breathe today.

Today, please find 5-10 minutes (use a timer if you want) to sit down in a chair, feet flat on the floor, back straight, eyes closed, palms facing upward on your lap. Just breathe slowly through the nose (mouth closed) until the timer goes off.

Let me know how you feel afterwards :) xo!

And let’s take it back down…

I might be over-spending
6 E-gads I’m overeating
5 Oops, too many cocktails!
4 Wisdom for right choices

3 Staying in the present
2 A path for evolving
1 Permission for my authenticity

E-gads I’m Overeating!

6_Overeat

On the 6th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me,

E-GADS I’M OVEREATING!

…Eeep despite our awesome knowledge and best intentions about mindfully eat healthy for our dosha, SOMEtimes during the holidays, we just over eat. Or, we just eat a lot of sweets. Or, maybe a lot of cheese. Or maybe the olive and pickle platter (salt) is our downfall. Each person will have some kind of tantalizing vice they can’t wait to get their mits on during holiday.

Um, I’m not going to take that away from you, nor am I going to make you feel bad about it.

That goes for you too. If you overate or ate the “wrong” things, please do not judge or scold yourself. You were probably having fun. You were probably momentarily swept away by celebrating love, generosity, laughter, spirit and joy — which is not a bad thing! Heck, even if you snuck some extra chocolates at the “snack area” (by the printer?) at work, I only hope that you SAVOR-ed every single one of them as they melted in your mouth. And I hope you said to yourself, “DANG that was good.” Because THAT is mindful eating.

I am not going to list “10 Ayurvedic Tips to Losing Holiday Pounds” Nope. That’s not how we roll here. What if, you just sit and notice how you feel instead of super-fast trying to fix it? That is, being in our body and experiencing it. What if we told ourselves, “Well, these are not the results I wanted obviously, but man that was fun. And! I know myself and the tools I have to get back to balance. On we go…” Our knee jerk reaction often is, “Gah! Get these pounds off and fast! Like, in 2 days!” But that’s such a rough message to send ourselves and makes us just feel…BAD. No sense in that. Be kinder. If we feel extra heaviness, of course we want to get back to feeling lighter, but let us do so in loving kindness to ourselves.

Here are MonicaB’s gentle loving tips about overeating during holiday:
• I hope you payed enough attention to savor it all
• No judging
• You can eat light or fast until you are hungry again
• You can move your body a little extra
• If you indulge one day, have much less the next day (keeps the balance!)
• If you indulge for an entire week, put a special focus on mindful eating and moving your body for the next week or two

And a Monica B full on confession: I plan on eating those green Cornflake wreaths made with marshmallows and decorated with red hots. Like so…

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They might be the most Un-Ayurvedic thing I could put in my body. Green food coloring, people! My mom makes them with love. I look forward to them. I eat them once a year and I love the sh*t out of every bite. I’ll stay balanced because 90% of what I eat is high quality and balancing for my dosha, so these sugary little do-dads won’t have a long term effect. But I will freak out (every time) when my poop is green.

 

And sing it back down…

5 Oops, too many cocktails!
4 Wisdom for right choices
3 Staying in the present
2 A path for evolving
1 Permission for my authenticity

Oops, Too Many Cocktails!

5_Cocktails

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

12_days_ayur

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

ayurvedic_thanksgiving

 

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! 

 

Cover

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

 

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 super hot*) 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!

*Super hot 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? ;)

Let’s move to the next step where I teach you how to do abyhanga.

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?

90_disease

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!

state_of_mind_eating

Ayurvedic Cleanse

Ayurvedic_cleanse

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

karnapoorna

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.