Category Archives: Seasonal Balance

Vata Freebies

vsb_spreads_kajabi

Download Blue Button

I’m EXCITED for you to have these Vata Freebies!
You get Vata Season Webinar + Vata Seasonal Bloom (14-page health guide)!

Let’s talk about vata + the weekend for a sec.
Computers make us feel anxious, so why don’t you print Seasonal Bloom and read it by the fireplace or in your favorite chair. Print is more balancing than the screen, plus it is so lovely you will want it in your hands.
*inhale* *exhale*

We live in a HIGHLY imbalanced vata world with things like computers, smart phones, traffic, and social media. We get anxiety over what we think we should be doing and who we think we should be. *breathe* You are perfectly aligned on your path. You are already doin’ it. The world is just moving faster than ever (hyper-vata) and you can feel that zippy energy, which can create an internal panic.

Let’s slow it down and use this weekend to disconnect from all that stuff.

Find a pumpkin. Cook a meal. Sink into a long bath. Free flow on a bike ride. Catch views from your favorite hike (even if it’s urban). Bust out your paints. Go to the high school football game. Say hello to the yarn basket. Savor a magazine. Power walk with your favorite person. {insert your ideas here}

Let’s bring it down. You are perfectly as you should be, perfectly on your path.
You don’t need to move faster, just trust and slow it down.
*inhale* *exhale*

BIG LOVE! (it’s not you, it’s just vata!)

 

 

Pitta Seasonal Bloom 2016

pitta_seasonal_bloom_blog

Pitta season is in full swing — it’s SUMMER time! Summer means sun, summer rain, sweat, swimming pools, popsicles, watermelon, bare feet, vacation, sun hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, and…go find shade! There is so much to look forward to and I’m excited to share my Pitta Seasonal Bloom download with you!

Why is seasonal balance important in Ayurveda? Remember our Ayurvedic foundation, “like increases like.” Which means when the elements/doshas are dominant in us AND in nature, they can overflow and create imbalance in us. When we are imbalanced we start to feel like crud and if we feel like crud for too long, eventually we will notice physical ailments in our bodies or minds. SO! The goal in Ayurveda is to avoid feeling like crud and live optimally by staying in harmony with nature instead of working against it.

Pitta seasonal bloom has loads of diet & lifestyle tips for your mind, body and spirit. Here’s to a happy and healthy summer! *clink!*

dload_dk_pink_button

pitta_seasonal_bloom_promo

Dosha Snapshots

Ever want all the information about doshas in one place? You can have the dosha snapshots that I use in my in-person training classes!

dosha_snapshots

Each one of the doshas are summarized and easily accessible in this handy 4-page download. Bonus: Also included is a seasonal dosha chart and the daily routine!

dload_lt_orange_button

If you or someone you love does not know what a dosha is, the download is perfect. If you are a yoga teacher trying to explain doshas to your students, this would be awesome for them.  Or, if you just want a refresher on the doshas with all information in one place, this is for you too.

If you like these downloads, you might also like these:
Ayurvedic daily routine video
5 things to get started with Ayurveda right away
My workbook for Ayurvedic beginners: In Your Elements

dosha snapshots

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!

Seasonal Bloom – Kapha 2016

HEYO! Ayurveda promotes living according to the season. Here is a freebie 2016 Kapha Seasonal Bloom, just for you. mmmwah!

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 9.20.52 PM

 

 

 

 

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

 

Super Itchy Skin Season

oil_drop

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.

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 9.38.56 PM

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 9.39.07 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-16 at 9.38.52 PM

 

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.

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 9.36.15 PM

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

 

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

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 10.59.37 PM

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_busy

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.

Cover

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? ;)

Ayurvedic Summer Guide

Please enjoy my ayurvedic summer guide or as I like to call it, Pitta Seasonal Bloom! :) Wondering how to stay balanced for summer? An oldie but GOODIE…a super-mega charged GOODIE, in fact! :) It’s not new. But it’s a GREAT refresher for you. And a good introduction to Ayurveda for your friends and family. Especially the ones who have no idea what that Aaaayyyyurrr stuff you talk about really is :) Share among the people! Let’s keep improving how people LIVE! Thanks and love you! xo! (And yes, still working on the book)

Click on le photo to download this lovely little ayurvedic summer guide, Pitta Seasonal Bloom.

Ayurvedic summer guide

 

 

Favorite Summer Foods

favorite_summer_foods

 

Something totally mind-blowing occurred on accident (don’t you love it when that happens?!). On facebook yesterday I asked, “What is your favorite in-season summer food? The one that shouts, ‘YAY! Summer!’ when you eat it?” I got a bunch of great responses and then had a teeny epiphany.

Examples of what you said were your very favorites: Mangoes, watermelon, cucumbers, all sorts of home-grown tomatoes (<–lots of people said that one!), cantaloupe, peaches, fresh basil (w/fresh mozzarella), corn on the cob, cherries, berries, asparagus, nectarines and ice cream!

**Monica’s MIND BLOWN here**

Um. Kay. Notice anything about these foods? Like, what they have in common?

ALL these foods are fruits and vegetables!! Almost ALL these foods are pitta-balancing! It’s pitta season and isn’t it amazing (in the true sense of the word) that nature perfectly makes available the VERY best foods for the season! On top of it, we actually CRAVE and APPRECIATE those foods! **is your MIND BLOWN yet?** Perfect by design, these foods are all wonderfully light and cooling, which keeps our pitta levels down (in all of us) and balanced so we don’t overheat and get cranky.

One food that is not pitta-balancing are tomatoes. But vatas and kaphas can have them, and love them! Pittas can have tomatoes in small amounts, but they should be small and sweet like cherry tomatoes. Overall, tomatoes are heating and can be a bit too acidic for pittas and in the hot weather (like, don’t inflame your eye like my ma did once). Tis why it’s good to balance hottie tomatoes with cooling cilantro (like in fresh mild salsa) or cooling fresh mozarella (like a caprese salad). See how nice they go together?

I also couldn’t help but notice what didn’t make the list: bread, rice, mac n’cheese, grilled cheese, meats, potatoes, root vegetables, pumpkin, chili, stews, pasta. Those foods make us feel heavy and hot this time of year and are therefore more balancing in the winter to keep us grounded and warm :)

Tip: The more red in color the tomato is, the more of the fire element it has in it. So if you are a pitta, you might want to pick the cute yellow or orange ones for a sweeter taste.

For those of you who weren’t on the facebook party, you’re not left out! What are YOUR favorite summer foods?? Tell us! It would be quite a most awesome party if we all showed up with our fruits and veggies together! Under a sun umbrella of course. And with good music. And the vatas would dance. Party on! XOXO!

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!

Cabin Fever

cabin_fever

For many of you, it’s winter and it’s not going away any time soon. A former midwesterner myself, I understand winters can be very very very long. Once holiday celebration and football season is over, winter can be a drag. Worse, it feels like it should be almost spring (Target doesn’t help by displaying the bathing suits immediately inside the front doors), but in reality, spring is at least four months away. Until at least April. And sometimes even in April you can’t wear short sleeves…which sucks. I’m not trying to be a downer, I’m empathizing and anyone in the midwest or east coast knows I speak the truth. Sledding is really only appealing until January and then…we want to wear shorts. I get it. Cabin Fever.

So let’s talk about something that might catch us while we are in the “cabin,” a little thing called S.A.D. (Seasonal Affected Disorder). Do you know what it is? It basically means that because of the cold, dry air, lack of light, too much time spent indoors, and nature that isn’t exactly “alive” and…we get depressed. This is the reason so many snowbirds get out of dodge by leaving for a couple months and so many others take a good vacation between January and March. We are governed by the nature around us and when that nature is lifeless, we often feel the same.

Now, there is nothing we can do about the weather, but there are some things we can do to make ourselves feel a bit better in the interim. Afterall, nothing lasts forever, even an ultra crappy winter. Chin up, that’s the good news! Other good news is, you have a bright light inside, so don’t forget to use that as your utmost power while in the cabin.

Here are some ideas to stay HAPPY instead of S.A.D.:
Go to the sun. Plan one good vacation and at least one long weekend between January and April so that you have little things to look forward to. It’s imperative to get to the sun and relax. This is life, use your vacation time.
Light it up! Fireplaces and candles bring heat and light.
Eat foods for your mood.
Oil massage. Warm oil and touch keeps our vata calm, giving us a sense of peace. Not to mention, oils are completely nourishing for winter skin. Best if used before a shower so the water doesn’t dry the skin out even more. You’ll feel like a bebe! Use almond (pitta), sesame (vata) or sunflower (kapha) oils from our good friends at Banyan Botanicals!
Keep your hands and feet warm! If they are cold it will make the rest of you cold, ankles too! Tip: put your socks over the end of a blowdryer, warm them up, and quick put on feet!
Head, shoulders, knees, and toes. Knees and toes. Literally! Breaking up the day with short bursts of exercise or just some good deep breaths will increase prana (life breath) and that’s what you need!
Aromatherapy. It can be any scent that makes you happy but some ideas are: lavender, sandalwood, jasmine, gardenia, grapefruit, ylang ylang. Put on your wrists, drop on the floor of your shower, add to baths, add in a diffuser.
Vitamin D supplements. Those can be helpful.
Sit in a warm bath, hot tub, steam room, or sauna. Baths are good for all doshas. Hot tub and steam rooms are best for vata. Sauna is good for kapha. Pitta…feel these out, they all might be too hot for you.
Buy fresh cut flowers or plant bulbs in a colorful pot indoors. Paperwhites, hyacinths, or tulips bring nature indoors.
Play great music. Harry Belafonte is fun music for dreary days.
Take classes in something you love. You have the time! It will give you something to look forward to each week for a certain amount of time, making the dregs move by faster and get you out of the cabin.
Be with friends, family and loved ones. Your heart will light up and stay warm when you have love in your life.

A Chance of Flurries

flurries2013
Who’s feeling a bit flurried during the holidays, raise your hands! Wow, too many to count! Let’s talk about why you feel the way you do. The season is vata, but you already knew that. On top of it we are in the thick of the holidays AND it’s dark and cold. The dark makes it hard for us to wake up and we get tired earlier at night too. Then there’s all this extra stuff to do like parties, shopping, time with family/friends, and cooking. So! There’s 4x more stuff going on than normal and we have about 1/2 the energy. Awesome. It’s also cold outside in many places. So! There’s a lot to do in a short amount of time, with less energy, shorter days, and we are house-bound due to the weather. Frick. Not only that but the dark, the cold, and the busy-ness leaves little gusto or time to exercise. No outlet for stress. Bummer! Oh and then there’s all this extra food/candy at work, parties, and cocktails in a 4-week time span too, and since we don’t have time to exercise, it’s nearly impossible to escape without holiday poundage! With all these things adding up, no wonder we are stressballs a flurry during the holidays! Wah.

Don’t cry. I’m not telling you these things to bum you out. No way. My intent is to SHOW you exactly what’s going on during this time of year. You are not crazy or lazy, so that’s the good news. Hurrah! These natural forces (dark, cold, shorter days) flow against our desired rapid pace of Christmas completion. During the flurry, I have some quick Ayurvedic tips to keep the holidays happy and I will trickle them in over the next couple weeks.

Ready? Here’s the first one:
Keep your sleep. The stuff will get done (and if it doesn’t, it wasn’t that important). You need sleep to keep your immunity strong, your emotions in tact, your mind sharp, and your skin looking perky as possible. If you keep your “bed by 10” Ayurvedic rule, you will have more energy and gusto the next day to get everything done. Trust me! You need sleep or you’ll get sick!

Vata Season, Baby!

Okay Okay. A few of you were asking me for my Vata Seasonal Bloom. A secret? I don’t love the design of it anymore – BUT the info is good. So I’ll pour my new design ideas into my book and just share this old thang. If you like it, SHARE!

vata_2013

Yeeeehaw! I’m so excited it’s vata season! Personally, this is my most favorite time of year. Raise your hands if this is your favorite time of year too! Wow. One, two, three, four…SO many of you. Why do you love it? Do share!

Right now, we are sniffing the cool fall wind as the leaves whisper a bit louder while they dry out. Pumpkin lattes are popping up at coffee shops. Maybe you are tossing in some cinnamon or nutmeg in your favorite teas or in your oatmeal. Soups are starting to sound tantalizing again. Need a jacket? Yep, that too. Well, at least a hoodie. You are probably getting ants in your pants (sooo typical vata, btw) because you can’t wait to wear your new sweaters and boots. Am I right? I know you. Peeps! Summer is leaving us as we move on to autumn, which in Ayurveda, begins vata season. Many of you smarties already know this, but vata season runs from fall until mid-winter. It’s the cold, crispy, windy, dry season that makes us want to curl up on the couch with a fuzzy blanket, toss some logs into the fireplace and enjoy a steaming cup of tea. To help explain a bit more, please enjoy my vata seasonal bloom and share with your friends and family. Oh, and don’t forget your slippers for max cozy factor ;)

Ayurvedic Rules

question_masthead

All right, Monica! Two questions for you. First, I was thinking of trying to practice this Ayurveda way of life you’ve been talking about. My dad has had a lot of health problems lately and I’ve been thinking it might be time for me to try to fight these things before they start with me. Could you point me in the right direction on where to start…a book, recipes, how to take small steps at first? And second, if I’m a Kapha, do I need to follow those Ayurvedic “rules” all year long or do they change with the season. I’ve been reading your posts for a while and I’m a little confused. If it’s vata season, do I follow vata “rules” or do I follow Kapha all year long? 

All right, Jen! :) Thank you for your questions. First of all, check out this article on where to get started. That should help guide you in the right direction! To sum it up briefly:
1) know your dosha(s), or at least somewhat close. You will discover more about yourself as you go! That is to be expected.
2) read the seasonal bloom that sounds most like you a) vata b) pitta c) kapha
3) eat good foods that come from a good place.
4) follow the daily routine

Second, super awesome question. Seasonal rules do apply to everyone to some extent, but you will mostly follow the kapha rules all year long. Your “go to” Ayurvedic rules will be to use the kapha-balancing lifestyle and nutrition guidelines (in the seasonal bloom) because YOU are a kapha person. Yeah? Make sense? The reason why seasons are important is because of the “like increases like” rule in Ayurveda. In spring (kapha season), the likelihood that your kapha will increase (allergies, sniffles, congestion, weight gain, etc.,) is much higher because the surrounding nature is very kapha-like too. So, kapha nature + kapha Jen = too much kapha. See what I mean?

That said, during summer (pitta season), you won’t have to worry about your kapha increasing, but your pitta will increase (which warms and balances your kapha) because it’s pitta nature time. Everybody’s pitta increases in summer which is why we crave ice cream, fresh fruits, cool water, etc., Same as, everybody wears warm coats in the winter to add another layer of warmth. Now, you might be thinking, “Okay but what if my pitta goes really high in the summer!? How would I know?” If you are naturally one dosha, it’s not likely that another dosha will overtake your entire being based on seasons alone. If you follow the diet and lifestyle guidelines according to your dosha(s), you will be mostly on track. Adjust to the seasons by eating seasonal foods and that’s all you really need to worry about…at least for a beginner :)

Does this help? Anybody have more questions on this? Happy to clarify if I’ve left something out. Miss you too, Jen!! Love you! xoxox

Spring Kapha has Sprung

Raise your hand if over the past weekend or two, you just had get in a good deep clean around the house. Raise your other hand if you felt a strong desire to start a new fitness regime. Raiser your…big toe if you are also in the mood to toss, recycle, or donate items that make you feel heavy or cluttered. Look at all those hands and toes!

Know why? It’s kapha season! Kapha is the energy of lubrication and structure. It’s a builder for our body-minds, which is heavy and sticky in nature. As we know, to balance the doshas we use the opposite qualities of that dosha. So it’s no wonder why in heavy, sticky, wet spring we feel the need to move our bodies, clean our homes, eat lighter foods, lighten our cluttered load, and possibly take a little vacation to a warm, sunny climate! Lots of folks do spring cleanses around this time too. It’s not really because we’re worried about bikini season, it’s because nature is telling us to! Don’t forget, we are a part of nature and we flow with it in perfect rhythm.

I invite you to read Seasonal Bloom: Kapha, from last year. It has a ton of information about kapha-types, kapha season and has lots of tips to stay healthy during spring. You can download (free!) and share. Bring it to brunch as a little gift to your girlfriends, leave on your coworkers desk (it will make their day!), email it to your mom or auntie – there’s lots of things you can do to help get the good word out about Ayurveda! Please enjoy. If you read it last year, give it another read because information you were not ready to receive last year will pop out at you this year :) xoxo!

DOWNLOAD SEASONAL BLOOM: KAPHA