Category Archives: 5 Senses

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 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

 

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!

Music to My Eyes

It’s a GOOD day! I don’t often share the successes of my clients, but maybe it’s time I do. I got this email today and it totally made my week. To give the Reader’s Digest version, she had been suffering from extreme digestive issues for years, bouncing between constipation and diarrhea. She is a vata/pitta combo. I recommended she try a tablespoon of chavanprash (a jam made of amalaki and other Ayurvedic herbs and spices) daily and here’s what she said:

“Yes, I am much better. I guess the key is to take the chavanprash every single day without fail. I bought some at my Indian grocery for about $8. I’ve taken it every day since we were in touch last. I am stable! I think people should really know that these kinds of things are meant to be a way of life, not just a “fix” when you are feeling unwell. I now see chavanprash as my vitamin and not a medicine.

How COOL is that?! Seeing results like this is music to my eyes! If you’re not feeling good, life isn’t good. Often just a small dietary or lifestyle change is enough to create an entire shift in someone’s health and therefore, their life. Gosh, isn’t it worth it?! Just a small change can make that big of a difference?

I write HeyMonicaB because a) it’s fun to write things I know will make you giggle and b) I can help people improve their lives! Fuels my fire, baby! Start injecting some of the small suggestions from my site into your life. This stuff works, you guys and it’s so easy! One little step, one little change, can amount to huge differences. My heart feels extra large and squishy tonight, enough to cover the globe and do a booty dance for each one of you. mmwwaah!

 

 

I Screen, You Screen…

…we ALL screen, to rely on screens! Jeez, those screens! Tv screen, computer screen, ipad/nook/kindle screen, phone screen, so many many screens. Even writing the word “screen” that many times on a screen makes my brain crossed into thinking I spelled it wrong. *uncross*

Most of us work on those screens all day only to come home and spend more time on screens at night. Email, online shopping, blogging, gaming, tv-ing, and of course Facebooking, are just a few examples of how these screens can sneak into our worlds and suck up our time!

The thing about screens is that they are not alive. They don’t have prana. They make us feel tired rather than energized. We might even feel like we have “no time” because time seems to vanish into the abyss of the screen and before we know it, it’s way past bedtime. Friends, screens are vata increasing. They can cause sleep problems, depression, anxiety, evoke a sense of loneliness and low self worth. And, of course, cause eye problems (pitta). We need a break from these things, so unplug each night at least 1 hour before bedtime.

Screens have their purpose, for sure! But they don’t need to trump exercise, healthy eating, healthy sleep, fun hobbies, the outdoors, and time with family. Those are LIFE! Screens are not. So, while we rely on them to get our work done and sometimes it’s fun to watch a good tv show, I encourage you to put down the screen often. It will make time go by slower. You’ll be more present. You’ll have far less FOMO so you can just appreciate what is in front of you and/or who is in the room with you. Just like the good ol’ days! ;) I challenge you to try three evenings in a row with no screens. And I want your feedback!

Most times we are just zoning out–it’s not like we really care what’s on the screen anyway. So, think of all the other things you can do. Some ideas: play music, watch a fireplace, practice yoga, write in your journal about the day, read a magazine or a book, take a bath, go for a walk, swap massages with your mate, search for new recipes, make dinner, prepare lunch for tomorrow, send a card to your grandma, call a friend, snuggle with your dog or cat, massage your tootsies. Look at that! Once the screens are out of the way, there are so many other things you can do to fuel your soul and your LIFE. Let me know when you’re all fueled up, prana-filled, and feeling fresh as the morning dew. Promise! xoxo

Enjoy the Silence

Please read The Joy of Quiet New York Times article, then turn off your screens for the night. Enjoy quiet tranquility for the eyes, ears, heart and mind. Shhhhhhhh… (whispering) it’s good for us.

Dosha Sense

Hola! For the past two weeks on the HeyMonicaB radio show, we we’ve been talking about the 5 senses (episode 24 & 25): sound, touch, sight, taste and smell (Don’t ask what’s up with the bunnies in these old posts. I am meaning to fix them –  I created them when I was a wee young blogger ;) Also, I don’t think I wrote one on smell…um, yeah).

As mentioned during the show, Ayurveda uses therapies on specific senses to balance specific doshas. I thought you might enjoy a little recap on that because visual (pitta!) aids help us make sense of the information (also pitta!). See there? Perfect example. When we see something we remember it far better than when we just hear something. Why? Because seeing (sight) is connected to pitta dosha, which is the link to our intelligence and retaining of information. We don’t remember quite as much when we are simply listening (sound). Why? Because sound is connected to vata dosha, which captures information quickly, but doesn’t retain it for long.

Don’t forget that these doshas have personalities and qualities, as well as functions. This is how we reach the mind-body. Let’s get to it.

In Ayurveda, we balance vata through touch and sound. That’s why we use massage so often in Ayurveda. Vata is a dosha that quickly goes out of balance (and quickly back into balance) but a good hug from a loved one or friend can bring the ourt-of-sorts vata person back to center. A warm oil massage will balance and calm vata almost instantly, whether you do it yourself or go to a massage therapist.

Vatas are also very sensitive to sound afterall, there’s not much in the ears except air and space, which is what vata is made of! Lots of vata lives in the ears, so if the wrong radio station or tv program is on, vatas will feel very uncomfortable and distracted quite easily. Construction noises and garbage trucks will also drive them crazy. Also because of the connection with the ears, when vatas travel by plane, they should take special precautions prior to their journey to make sure they stay balanced.

Some vata imbalances related to touch and sound include: constipation, insomnia, joint pain, anxiety, depression, worry, mood swings, lack of concentration, ringing in the ears, headaches, general aches and pains.

We balance pitta through sight therapy. Whether that’s cleaning up a cluttered house, a messy desk or a disorganized closet, pittas love to organize. They will feel sort of “out of control” if what they see is a mess and they will quickly look to start cleaning it up. This organization and cleanliness is because pittas are very sensitive (and critical!) to what they see. Pitta folks often have corrective vision wear too because those eyes are usually on overdrive. To soothe tired, red or irritated eyes, we can light a candle or look at a blue sky (anything in nature). We can walk barefoot in the cool grass in the evening (cool and dewey grass soothe the eyes!) and one of the biggest therapies is to lay off the computer for a while! :) One of the major therapies in Ayurveda is netra basti, which is where we build a dough dam around the eyes and fill it with melted ghee. The client then opens their eyes and the ghee penetrates and soothes the eyes (you say “eu” or think it’s a wack-a-doo therapy, but if done routinely and corretly, it can return most people to 20/20 vision!!).

Some pitta imbalances related to sight include: red or itchy eyes, tension headaches, insomnia, pink eye, dizziness or lightheadedness, irritability

Kapha is balanced through the senses of taste and smell. Taste is a really important sense (and it’s a HUGE topic, so I will do my best to sum up) because not only is it a sense, but it’s closely related to the building blocks of our entire physical beings (food!). Kaphas love to eat! They love to taste foods and make foods and serve foods. The combination of a kitchen that smells divine and food that tastes even better is irresistible for kapha.

In Ayurveda, we have to make sure a kapha person’s diet is not too salty, sweet, or heavy (fatty). This is a really tough challenge for kaphas who a) love foods of all kinds and b) tend toward weight gain. The best thing kaphas can do is fill their plate with tasty, spicy vegetables and have small portions of the other foods. That way they can still taste, savor, and enjoy their food without ending up with a kapha imbalance. This is not an easy task for kapha but if they stick to it, they will notice immense changes in their body-minds.

We can balance kapha through smells as well as taste through aromatherapy. All doshas can be balanced through aromatherapy but kaphas have a special affinity for it because we can instantly (and kaphas are typically slow) invigorate a kapha simply through scents.

Some kapha imbalances related to taste and smell include: weight gain, lethargy, cloudiness of mind, greed, excess attachment, low self worth, depression, high cholesterol,  and ama.

Music to My Ears

Thunder-shows

Ahh, who doesn’t love a great thunderstorm!? Like, a really good, healthy (not dangerous) one. You know, when the sky turns totally black (or green) and opens up while rain pours down to water the grass and plants. It delights our 5 senses as thunder booms in our ears and lightning puts on a show for our eyes. Then there’s the cooling, wet touch of rain on our skin or maybe our tongues. Our feet are vehicles that cool our entire being by walking in grass and dancing in puddles. And when it’s over, nothing beats the smell of a recent thunderstorm.

Well no wonder we love thunderstorms!! They touch every one of our senses! In Ayurveda, we use those 5 senses are the vehicles to all healing. We perform massage (touch), aromatherapy (smell), give nutrition guidance (taste), play mantras or soothing music (hear), and provide nice surroundings (sight). That’s why you feel so nice when you go to a spa or Ayurvedic center – because they pay delicate attention to our five senses, which heals you.

So next time a thunderstorm blows by, take time to enjoy it. My grandpa and I used to sit on the swing on the front porch while nature put on its little show. We just took it all in. While summer is still here, I invite you to do the same and if anyone asks you why you’re dancing in the puddles just say, “it’s good for my doshas!” and they will leave you alone :D

Challenge: Mindful Munching

HOHkay, I think this challenge will make a huge impact for you. I

For 1 week, do not eat while standing, walking, or sitting at your desk

My friends, I’ll tell you why it’s important to put your mind in your food.
Numero Uno! We will actually pay attention to taste. Digestion starts in our mouth with saliva and teeth. When we taste, it stokes our agni and preps us to digest food. Healthy agni is key to heath!
Numero Dos! We will be able to feel when we are full and therefore will less likely overeat (overeating is a huge factor in causing disease). When we calm down the other senses, our mind stays with our food
Numero Tres! You deserve time to eat for crying out loud! Sheez. Who said that we have to work through lunch? Last I checked (and I am a recruiter by day), the law says that you must take a 30-60 minute lunch break for every 8 hours worked. Take that break because it’s yours and you deserve it.

 

And if you want a piece of candy, take it from the dish, walk with it, sit down in a chair (if you are at your desk, face away from the computer), unwrap it and TASTE the darn thing. You might love it and be satisfied with just one. Or, you might decide that Hershey’s kisses taste like wax and they aren’t worth it ;) Whatever the outcome, at least you are fully aware of what you’ve eaten. And THAT is mindful munching :) xo. Tell me your results!!!

 

Customize Your Cup O’Joe

Woohoo! An Ayurvedic posting on coffee! Yesssss. Who knew such a happy thing existed?! When advising my clients, I don’t usually make them rid their coffee. Why? Because depending on the person’s dosha, coffee might not be that terrible of a thing for them.

Authentic Ayurveda says that we should not have coffee, not because of the coffee but because of the caffeine. Caffeine constricts flow, it makes you pee (diuretic to be fancy), it can make you manic/anxious, and it’s addicting. Yes, we all know that. And there is a Starbucks on every corner! THIS is why I write a little post about coffee. I know you. I know you’re going to have your coffee regardless of what myself or Ayurveda say. So! I’ll work with ya a little bit and give you the best coffee -making combinations for each dosha, to keep you balanced and happy.

Coffee’s Ayurvedic Qualities
Coffee has a bitter (cold, dry, & light qualities) taste, which is imbalancing for vata, but balancing for pitta and kapha. The bitter taste is a blood purifier (blood ruled by pitta), detoxifies the body, liver tonic (liver ruled by pitta), depletes tissues (kaphas tend to have excess tissues), especially reproductive tissues. In simple terms, bitter increases vata because it will increase the cold, dry & light qualities. Vatas need to stay warm, unctuous, and heavy, so too much coffee will be their worst enemy. The manic, scattered, jittery folks that drink coffee are most likely high vata. On the flip side coffee will cool pitta, while it dries and uplifts kapha! See the beauty of how this works?

Customize Your Cup O’ Joe!
VATA COFFEE: Vatas need lots of warm milk in your coffee to balance the bitter qualities. Start with at least 1/2 mug of warm milk and add brown sugar, stir, then add the coffee. If the coffee is strong, add warm water (use the office water cooler/heater!) to your milk and then a splash of coffee. Coffee should amount to no more than 1/2 mug. This way you get a taste of the coffee, but overall this is a nourishing, calming drink for vata without sending anxieties through the roof. As a MEGA-BONUS, vatas can add ghee to their coffee. Their coffee should always be hot.

PITTA COFFEE: Pittas can also make vata coffee because pittas will benefit from the sweet taste from milk and sugar. Pittas can handle a slightly darker coffee with a little less milk. They won’t get as anxious as vata with stronger coffee because pittas are more sturdy. Pittas are sort of in the middle. The people who are angry or crabby before their morning coffee are likely pitta people, because they need the bitter taste in coffee to “cool” them down. Pittas can also have an iced coffee during summer. Also…as a MEGA-BONUS, pittas can add ghee to their coffee too!

KAPHA COFFEE (how fun is that to say): Kaphas will actually feel uplifted from drinking coffee, rather than manic like vata. Kaphas need a little kick in the pants because they don’t like to move. They can enjoy a stronger coffee, but it should be pretty dark with less milk. Milk and sugar are NOT friends for kapha. The heaviness and sweet taste will have them craving sweets all day long. If kaphas need a sweetner, they can use honey (drying, scraping, heating)! Mind you, kaphas would love to tip the sugar shaker and hold for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5+ seconds until their drink tastes like candy. But if kaphas use the bitter taste in coffee to their advantage, they can get the energy they need without the sugar crash.

SPICE COUNTER!
Pinch of cardamom – reduces the effects of caffeine, warming, digestive. Good for vata & kapha
Cinnamon – super spice! Tri-doshic (heating, no for pitta in summer)
Brown Sugar – saweeeeet. Good for vata & pitta
Honey – sweet, but qualities are drying, heating, and scraping. Good for kapha.
Nutmeg – aphrodisiac, heating. Good for vata & kapha

 

Aromatherapy!

I got a great question about how much Ayurveda uses aromatherapy. Thanks for the question!!

So, our nose is responsible for conducting one of the 5 senses, smell. In Ayurveda, we use the 5 senses as the sole vehicles for healing. Specifically, the nostrils consist of two channels (ida and pingala) which send messages directly to the brain. When we inhale deeply and exhale deep and long, it tells the mind that it can relax. Along similar lines, we can deliver messages to the brain through specific smells. Gingerbread, apple cider with cinnamon, burning fireplace wood, might tell our mind that it’s winter or holiday time. The sense of smell is the sense that connects directly to our brain and therefore smell is the closest sense to memory! (that was not Ayurvedic, just a fun fact)

In Ayurveda, we often incorporate aromatherapy into our massages, facial cleansers and oils, candles, diffusers, etc.,! It’s NICE to smell something good, but more than it being nice, it’s also an important method of healing because of the direct link to the brain. Aromatherapy is used in Ayurveda for calming and grounding vata, cooling and soothing pitta, and invigorating and lifting kapha.

You can use aromatherapy in your shower by just dropping a few drops on the floor of the shower. You can also mix them with oils to suit your dosha (sesame for vata, almond for pitta, sunflower for kapha) and apply to the skin as an overall massage, or simply on your temples and behind your ears. You can also steam a pot of water on the stove and drop a few drops in the water to permeate the room! mm!! Or, just carry them with you to work when you need an energetic or stress reducing break, and sniff away!

Below are some scents that balance each dosha

VATAS NEED: grounding, calm, peace of mind because of anxiety, worry, scattered mind, or depression. With a tendency to bite off more than they can chew, they often have feelings of being overworked.
SCENTS FOR VATA:
Lavender, Orange Blossom, Geranium, Bergamot, Chamomile, Camphor, Patchouli,

PITTAS NEED:
stress relief, surrender, release in keeping control, soothing, cooling for their quick temper. Diligent, timely and organized workers, pittas often feel angry that others don’t do the same. And they think it’s unfair. And they get mad.
SCENTS FOR PITTA: Geranium, Sandalwood, Rose, Lemongrass, Ylang Ylang, Lavender

KAPHAS NEED: invigoration, energy, movement, mental clarity, a sense of lightness. Kaphas tend to fall into a “rut” and it’s often hard to get out.
SCENTS FOR KAPHA: Eucalyptus, Camphor, Black Pepper, Citrus; Grapefruit & Lemon, Neroli, Ylang Ylang, Ginger

Neti Pot

Neti Pot

A new-comer to HeyMonicaB had a great question about a neti pot and allergies and I thought, “Really? Did I ‘blah blah’ about allergy tips and forgot to mention the infamous neti pot!?” Yep, I totally forgot. Well, let me fill you IN! Really important for colds, hay fever, seasonal allergies, along with other kapha imbalance in the sinuses, is the Neti Pot! (I just googled “neti pot” images and some of the pics are soooo funny...)

Chemicals, polution, dust, pollen, and other junk from the environment gets stuck in our noses from all the breathing we do…so we should clean it out! We clean out our eyes, mouth, and ears – our nose needs some TLC too. The salt is warming, while the water is also warming and liquid. The excess kapha (snot) is then loosened and can escape through the opposite nostril. 

It’s not the most attractive excercise (for a little laugh, google images), but it works like magic! And it’s easy! And when you get hang of it, you will feel SO GREAT! Here’s how to do it:

1. Get a neti pot (any pharmacy or drug store – they are cheap)
2. Fill the pot with warm tap water (not hot, not cold)
3. Add 1/2-1 tsp salt water to the pot and dissolve completely
4. Put the spout in one nostril, tilt your head to the side and slightly forward
5. Relax
6. Breathe through your mouth (relax!), and then the water will flow from one nostril thru the other
7. Water should not come out your mouth. If it does, tilt your forehead down
8. When you’re done, blow your nose

That’s it! I tried it and gagged a little bit at first, but then I got the hang of it – totally relieved my cold. I will do it again for the rest of my life. It’s MUCH better than over-the-counter drugs riddled with side effects AND it’s much better than suffering. A lovely alternative, give it a try! And, let me know what you think.

The Five Senses | 4 | Taste

Tasty!! Taste is the 4th sense. For some background before delving into the 4th sense, see the overview. You may also want to check out hear, see, and touch.

Ah, so taste! Why is it important? Digestion starts in the mouth with the saliva and teeth, so what we taste has a direct effect on our digestion. When we taste something sweet more moisture is brought to the mouth whereas if we taste something astringent it may make us pucker. And so? Proper digestion is of A #1 importance in Ayurveda – because if it’s off it creates ama, which is responsible for 90% of all disease.

When we can’t taste, we are likely to eat less, right? But just because we eat less, doesn’t mean we are digesting it properly…cause our mind is like “yuck, bleh.” On the flip side, when food is overly flavorful or too salty we may go back for seconds even if we are not hungry- because it’s soooo tasty. Over eating causes ama and weak agni and we know it’s just not a good thing.

The goal is to find a middle ground. Enhancing meals with spices (without salt) will add flavors that work with the body and help us feel satiated with a smaller amount. The taste will satisfy us without over enhancing our ego (like salt does), which increases the desire for more more more. However, when taste is too bland, our body is not “inspired” and then our mouth doesn’t water. And then digestion is stunted from the get go! That’s no good either.

Best is to spice foods without using too much salt and we will stay on track for the most part. If we bring our attention to the sense of taste, we will begin to understand how important it really is. It drives our digestion and is responsible for making sure the entire body has been nourished. More details to come on the 6 tastes in Ayurveda and how they balance (or throw off balance) the doshas…

Tip: Give eyes a break – look outside

Computer eyes get really strained during the day. Try to take a break every couple hours, just for like 2 minutes, and focus on the blue sky or trees outside (even snow on trees!) The natural surroundings will bring eyes back to their natural focus and help them relax a bit. Eyes need a break too!!


The Five Senses | 3 | Touch

The 3rd of the five senses is the sense of touch. If you haven’t read the first or the second senses, you may want to check those out first.

Our skin is our largest organ. It is both our buffer, our receptor and our absorber of the outside world. Whatever touches it, touches our heart, our mind and signals (good or bad) are sent to our entire being. It is no wonder then that we spend plenty of money for an hour or even better, a 90 minute massage. It’s a luxury for us because we are rarely touched or pampered like that. Touch is connected to vayu (vata, air and space) and the heart chakra, so it makes complete sense that this massage is the most nourishing therapy in Ayurveda. The warm oil brings grounding to the chilly air and space of vata and since vata is connected to the skin, this therapy makes sense.

When babies cry, we pick them up, hold them, rock them so that they feel safe and comforted. Well, I suppose it’s no new news (maybe just forgotten) that adults need the same thing! Have you ever hugged someone and they say, “oh, I needed that!” or you hug someone who’s having a rough time and they begin to cry? It’s because we’ve touched their hearts through the sense of touch. We may not notice how needed touch is until we get an unexpected hug or massage and remember how good it feels.

There are also nifty little things called srotas, which are subtle channels running through our bodies from head to toe. And through massage, we can help improve flow through the srotas, which affects ALL mind, body and soul. Since our skin is our body covering it is imperative that it gets just as much attention and nourishment as our insides.

When I get stressed out at work my manager sometimes puts her hand on my arm or shoulder. That simple gesture is so calming and helps me remember that I’m not alone in my problem. I recommend that to really connect with people (when appropriate), remember the sense of touch. If someone is telling you a secret, maybe grab their hand across the table so they know you are empathetic. A good “pat on the back” let’s someone know you are proud of them. A little rub on the upper back helps to relieve tension and conveys support for the other.

There are tons of ways you can lightly (not creepily) convey your feelings, thoughts and emotions through touch. So be creative and sincere.

A super simple recommedation is to give more hugs. Hugs don’t cost anything and a hug can change yours or someone else’s entire mood for the day. You directly connect to someone else’s heart energy. So give them freely and often to open your heart, and those around you.

Salty.

Salty! One thing I learned in a seminar at the NAMA conference is that we have way too much salt in our diet. Basically salt’s job is to compel us to take in more nutrients by making food tasty. But we have to be careful because that can easily result in overeating and weight gain.

Here’s what happens…salt increases desire in our sense of taste to such a level, that we just want more. We will go back for extra helpings even if we are no longer hungry, which results in overeating, weight gain and the accumulation of ama (undigested food, toxic).

Salt increases desire and sense of taste to such a level that our egos attach to the senses rather than to our soul. Because we are satisfying our desires rather than our souls, our ego says, “That was so good, give me more.” And then we get stuck in just satisfying our desires, over and over.

However, once excess salt is cut out of the diet, we stop going back for 2nd or 3rds because our bodies will be satisfied rather than our tongues wanting more salt. We become more satisfied with less and therefore weight is more likely to decrease and go back to it’s natural state.

So basically, we want the food to be pleasing, but not so overly tasty that we can’t control ourselves. Rather than salting, seasoning food with spices is the better way to go.

One cool thing about salt is that it reduces fear! For those with high anxiety, a salt lick can help!

(obviously nutrition is a HUGE part of life balancing because what you take in governs the body, mind and spirit. I am nervous and shy in starting to write about nutrition because there is so much. I ask for courage to start…because you all deserve to know about it)

The Five Senses | 2 | See

Hey, this is part 3 ofThe Five Senses. If you haven’t already, you may want to check out the senses and part 1 first.

We see. Our eyes are the observers of the world around us. We see colors, movement, pretty things and ugly things. The eyes are governed by light which relates to fire and therefore our eyes are governed by Pitta. When our eyes are red, sticky, itchy or agitated it is usually because there is too much light and too much heat – like a computer screen! I know my eyes get sticky and a little blood shot (blood also is governed by pitta!) by the end of the my work day when I’m done computering. When we’re out in the sun all day our eyes can get itchy and red too.

While we realize how important our eyes are, we might not be aware of how we feel based on what we see. Example: If your living room window looked over the neighbors backyard and it was full of junk (old row boat, rusty tools, a litter box, a trashy broken bike, strewn garbage, a blow up swimming pool with moldy water in it…) would it bug you? Would you want to look out that window? Maybe you would cover up the window so you wouldn’t have to look at it? Now in contrast, what if you had a living room that looked over the San Francisco Bay with sparkley water, a bridge, mountains, and twinkly lights at night from boats passing by. Would you want to look out that window? MMMhm! You might leave the window open to the view all the time!

Did you notice any tension change in your body when you read these two scenarios? That’s what I’m talkin about. When we live in a place that is pretty, set out a favorite photograph, or buy flowers, we feel good. Because it looks nice! If we live in clutter, darkness or disorganization we might feel stressed, uneasy or depressed. Because it looks like crud. So we feel like crud.

Our eyes absorb so much and it really affects our mind our bodies and our spirits. There are a few things that we can do to keep our eyes happy:

• Focus our gaze on a candle or fireplace (great for pitta eyes!!)
• Rub ghee on bottoms of feet (feet are the action organ for the eyes). Very soothing.
• Take short breaks during the day to look at the sky or nature
• Eye exercises in the a.m. (clockwise, Repeat 10x. counterclockwise, Repeat 10x)
• Take out contact lenses at night!
• Wear an eye mask if there are bright lights at night (and get your mate to turn off the tv at bedtime. bad.)
• Keep yourself beautifully organized. Free of clutter.

When we keep our eyes filled with beauty and organization, our mind will follow suit. It will remain organized and focused on the tasks at hand. There is nothing worse than to have wandering eyes, which triggers the mind, which then creates additional tasks for us. I’m telling you, too many times during my yoga practice I’ve stopped to sweep up dust bunnies. That might also have to do with my vata vikruti (imbalance)…but that’s another post.

May your eyes get good rest tonight. Namasté.

Dancing for Garlic

I had NO idea the effects of garlic on a kapha until I witnessed it with my own tiny eyes tonight. They dance!! The kaphas, they dance for garlic!

My boyfriend (kapha-pitta) and I were making veggies stir-fry-like on the stove and I threw in some roasted garlic. His eyes opened up wide. Then he quickly grabbed the container out of my hand, dumped some garlic in his palm, threw it in his mouth and immediately started dancing. All around the kitchen. I don’t think I’ve ever seen his feet leave the ground while standing before! Below is the picture of the beloved garlic, taken by noneother than the belover, George Szakall.

THAT is a perfect example as to how tastes and spices can immediately change the energy of a person. What the garlic did was add immediate heat, spice and yummy flavor to an otherwise heavy, dense palate. It boosted the heavy energy of kapha and it physically got him moving. Another example is if you give a vata person warm, creamy soup with a piece of french bread and butter. The will feel so comforted, grounded and satisfied. An example of happy pitta food is a nice bowl of fresh fruit or a sweet treat at the end of their meal. The sweets help cool down the pitta and balance out their “spicy” nature.

The Five Senses | 1 | Hear

This is the 2nd part of The Five Senses. If you haven’t already, you may want to check out part 1 first.

We hear. Our delicate ears. Our ears are just one of the 5 senses that brings us information and if used as intended, keeps us balanced and healthy. The elements that govern our ears are space and air. By now you should know which dosha is the energy of air and space…Vata! Yep! Anything in excess aggravates vata, so we have to be gentle with our ears.

Have you ever lived or worked where there was construction going on upstairs or across the street? Madness! Makes me absolutely mental. How about a police siren that blows by or a garbage truck that interrupts your sleep. Or what about loud office chatter when you are trying to concentrate? It affects your mind, right? You can feel it in your physical body – maybe you tighten up or are unable to concentrate or maybe you get angry.

Now!! Good sounds! How do you feel when you hear a gospel or children’s choir. Do you get goosebumps or teary-eyed? What about hearing the jingle your dog’s collar when they are walking through the house? A child’s giggle? Ah, big love. (If I touch a string cheese wrapper my dog appears in no time!)

Think about the voices of Carol Burnett and…John Madden…or your mom. We immediately know it’s them and we don’t even have to see their face. We paint a detailed picture in our minds simply based on the sound of their voice!

So! Our ears give us a TON of information and we have to be mindful of what we fill them with. Obviously the more pleasant the better, but sometimes we are not conscious of it. A good rule of thumb to follow is whatever “rubs you the wrong way” – either don’t listen or, find some quiet and peace as soon as you can. Do Nadi Shodhanam if necessary to calm you down. There is an entire veda (Ayurvedic ancient script) written on sound and mantras. The information is written in verse so that it is easier and more beautiful to remember. Cool, hey?

Some good sounds:
• chanting/mantras
• crickets
• classical music or “chill music” (I should make a playlist for you! noted. will do)
• wind chimes
• a fountain
• tree leaves and branches blowing in the wind

Other things for the ears:
• Use 3-5 drops of sesame oil in the ears if you wake up in the night (vata insomnia. needs oleation and warmth for grounding. vata is in the ears…get how this works?)
• Don’t stick anything into your ear canal!
• Rub essential oils on the ear lobes
• Keep them covered in the wind and cold, especially wind! (vata will easily aggravate which could cause ear infections and a slew of other vata-related problems)
• Wear ear plugs at concerts to keep vata pacified
• Don’t listen to any music that is not pleasing to you. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to listen to it!!

So, that’s ears. In part 3 we will talk about how we use our eyes and what we see for our healing.