Category Archives: Authenticity

Shifts in Perspective


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Ya’ll know I have a day job and a very long commute, for the past 3 years. On Tuesday, my train was delayed. Arg! Irritated! It happens a lot! Then found out someone had jumped in front of it (again). My soul sunk and my edge softened.

Shift in perspective. While I felt a sting in my heart, I also took immediate action. I bolted from the train station to catch the bus instead – because I needed to get home. I was literally sprinting across San Francisco (heart burning, legs like noodles, sweat dripping between boobs, shoulder cramping from my purse with laptop) and I made it on time! As I saw the bus pulling out, I waved my arms for the bus to wait, but the bus driver waved a finger at me – the bus was too full. And it left. By now I knew it would take me 2.5-3 hours to get home. Sweaty, out of breath, defeated. F. 2-3 hours…

So many were stranded and heading to the bus and I said to the woman behind me, “Well, it sucks, but someone jumped…so I think there are other people having a much worse night than we are.” And she said, “Yeah, perspective.” With tears in my eyes (out of sadness for them and heart-rocking gratitude for what I have), I ran a list of gratitude for everything in my life and sent a big blessing to all those in pain.

Another shift in perspective. At the same time, a co-worker was complaining on FB about the train and commute. I let her know it was because someone had jumped…to try and help her perspective too. She said I was a better person than she was and that she was not sympathetic to someone who jumps during rush hour and makes her miss time with her kids. Hm. Different perspective and clearly she was pissed. I was no longer upset. I wondered how my shift in perspective actually benefited my mind and body by reducing the stress I felt. And wondered if and for how long her stress levels stayed escalated. Perspective shift: I remain peaceful and therefore more healthy.

So yesterday, the train was delayed AGAIN due to police activity (omg, what is the lesson?!). As my head filled with all the reasons why I hate the commute and all the things it takes away from me, I crammed like a sardine into the train. My gray Target t-shirt showed my sweat rings under my pits and sweat soaking in the front of my shirt. F this. I was so mad. But I was glad I was wearing sneakers.

At the train station transfer, there was a super long line again, my saving grace mantra often is, “20 more minutes, only 20 more minutes..I can do this. It’s a blip on the radar.” When I crammed on the 2nd train, I saw a woman I used to ride with years ago. She is in a wheelchair and doesn’t have any arms or legs. Perspective shift: I am awashed with gratitude, peace and admiration. I’ve always admired her style as she looks so put together all the time wearing beautiful blouses and skirts. She carries a slight smile and her hair is a sassy-red color. Her comment yesterday to someone was, “It’s definitely more crowded than usual.” and then she shrugged and smiled. I smiled. She had a lightness I did not have, but she rubbed off on me. I wear a gray Target t-shirt (to work! And no I don’t work at a gym) while this woman dresses like she cares. Perspective shift: Make the most of what I have and SHOW it.

At that moment, a nice guy offered me a seat. I asked if he was sure and he said he had been sitting all day. I thanked him. Perspective shift: People give gifts just at the right time, I always have a net. Always. I sat down and got tears in my eyes. Tears because I was so tired. Tears because I hate my commute. Tears because if I had my commuting time back, I could do more with Ayurveda — I feel blocked in so many ways. Tears because I was disappointed in my bad attitude while this woman just presses on with grace, successfully. Tears out of admiration for her — she clearly faces many more obstacles each day than I do — yet she rocks it. I wondered if she ever complained. I wondered what the hell I had to complain about. I felt icky and ashamed about my trivial irritations. Yet, I have a right to feel how I’m going to feel. And sometimes two bad commutes in a week puts us over the edge.

I got home and cried while hugging my husband. So many things running through my head and the biggest is: GET YOUR BOOK DONE, MONICA. YOU HAVE A BIG JOB TO DO IN AYURVEDA. THE WORLD NEEDS THIS GIFT. SHOW IT. We are finessing final details now…and yes it’s taking a little longer. But I want it to shine like that woman on the train and not settle for a gray t-shirt. If it takes me a few minutes longer to do it, I will. Love you, Monica B.

In the Birth Canal *ouch* *squish*

Gah! Sooooo…you know babies? Like when they go through the birth canal? *squish* *ouch* That’s me. Today, this week, all week. I’ve been working so dang hard — and the end is close. Which means the BEGINNING is close! I’ve been staying up until midnight and sometimes 2am for the past few weeks after work to get this thing done. My head feels squished, I’m fuzzy eye-d and my shoulders hurt. My head and face hurts. Then I got sick. HA! Wonder why that happened? Der. *squish* *ouch*

Add to that (many of you will appreciate this), I am in transition at my job-job and have a new manager starting with my team. Her first day was Monday and on Monday two of my staff members resigned. HA! Really? Not only did I feel bad for her but I felt side-swiped with the plan I had worked so hard to create *squish* *ouch*

But you know what comes AFTER the canal? FRICKIN’ BIRTH!!!!!! And THAT is AMAZING! A TRUE MIRACLE! A pure beginning, a fresh start. AND I AM SO READY!!!

I’m almost out of this canal – and hey, it’s the shortest part of birth, so that’ good news.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?! For any of you going through a transition, take note: are you in the canal? If you are, YAY! It’s *squish* *ouch* but that means you are about to be BORN with something NEW!

HOORAY for birth canals! Push on through. You can’t turn around…going back “in there” is too small and you have to GET OUT to grow!!! I would love to hear your canal stories so that others can be inspired to keep going. A funny story, I was on a call with my manager yesterday and my earring popped out on the table. I was like, “Whoa stuff is starting to fall out of me! It’s cause I’m in the canal and stuff falls out of the canal! And then we cracked up.

BOOK IS BELOW!!! It is written, edited, Ayurvedically edited, proofed, and designed. All backend stuff to complete now: upload to Amazon, set up my e-store, figure out a shopping cart on my page (I have no clue), and set up an online LAUNCH PARTY!!!

Almost done! *squish* *ouch* But it’s about to get REAL AWE-some!!!

insides

 

“I Don’t Need You…”

“I don’t need you.” Like, where did that ever come from? How did I learn that or why is that my default? Is anyone else like that? Sheez, I used to pride myself on not “needing” anyone except myself. I would take on the world and “you watch!” cause “I’m gonna live in San Francisco on my own and run away from it all.” Yes! I can do it! And, that is true. I can survive on my own, sure. So, congratulations, Bloom.

But as I approach 40 this year, I realize, that’s bullshit. I need people. I need my husband. I need my kid and my family. I need my close friends and far friends. I need my network of supporters and readers that have been reading since 2008 when I didn’t know much about Ayurveda except, a recipe for ghee.

Why is this top of mind? Because a few days ago, I reached out on Facebook to get help on technical aspects of this book design (I’m doing it, on my own…so to speak…but I’m not…I have help). Out of nowhere, a friend from high school responded. He said he knew a reputable editor who could help me. Like, out of the blue and a shimmer of hope and a message of “Dude, Monica B. It’s there for the asking. You need help, so take it.” Without pause, I humbly thanked my friend and said, “YES PLEASE! I would love help!”

Since Sunday, Kristen and Denise, who are experts in PR have offered help also. On top of it, every single Ayurvedic school/clinic/resource I have reached out to have said, “YES!” and offer full support of my book.

For almost 40 years I have been thinking, “I’m on my own. I gotta crush it myself cause if I don’t, then I suck.” And you know what? Forget that. Life is better with friends. Life is better with support. Life is better with people you LOVE hanging out with. You don’t have to be on your own and you’re not. You have life and love around you. You just might need need to speak up a bit, hey? Pittas, I’m especially talkin’ to you.

So great, now that it’s in the open, work on it. And I will too. We all want to see each other succeed. We all love to be part of fun projects while helping one another. I challenge you, do it. Who can you help, tomorrow? And who can you ask for help, tomorrow.

Go run! Go find! Tell us what you did. GO SHINE! XOXO!

 

My Gopher Hole

Book progress. Words are done, I am making changes to the edits in digital form. I get anxious about it all (it’s due in May, MAY I say!)…and my husband says, “You have people that love you. You just need to keep pushing out content and interest and they will share with their friends and it will just keep going! And it only takes a second.” With that thought, my heart and brain freeze with overwhelming anxiety. I can’t even think about creating more or sharing more right now. I am in my gopher hole, focused, writing, editing, illustrating and designing. By myself, no distractions. I am a one woman show with too many plates spinning. I am anxious but SO excited. I LOVE the journey and progress. It feels amazing yet scary.

So, I told the huz that I LOVE the idea of pushing out more of my content on social media channels…but the thought of me sticking my head out of my gopher hole makes me sick and anxious. I can’t.

So, back in my gopher hole I go. If I’m not writing blog posts and pushing content, it’s because I’m writing. And preserving energy and time for this beloved book which is much larger to reach even MORE people.

I love each of you, I know you’re out there. I know you’ll be there when I’m done. But I’m a little scared, overwhelmed yet having fun, and have to get this done so I can share my gift with the world. It won’t be long and I’ll come out shining (with glitter!) with all kinds of good stuff for you to learn and share.

xoxo and back in my hole…

Ayurvedic Shopping

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Ayurveda touches every part of our lives, right? So it would make sense that Ayurveda even touches on shopping! Is that the best news you’ve heard all day? Ayurvedic shopping! Permission to shop. Healthy, personalized shopping?! Yep, you betcha.

As you are learning more about the doshas, it’s super fun to watch them in action. People-watching is one of the most fascinating things in life, so toss in some Ayurvedic knowledge and you’ve got entertainment for years.

You remember our doshas right? Vata, pitta, and kapha are the three doshas that govern our personalities, physical builds, emotional tendencies, and the nature around us. Let’s take a peek into the shopping world of the doshas.

How they spend

Vata shopping: Vatas will spend money as fast as they make it. Like the windy beings they are—*whoosh*—cash goes flying out of their fingers as soon as they walk out the door. Vatas are most prone to impulse buys, which may result in buyers remorse, because they didn’t think through their purchases first. Or, maybe they just changed their mind. They will promptly return the item to get the cash back, and then buy something else just as quick. A vata wardrobe has a lot of variety so they can look like a different person any time they wish. Vatas have the hardest time deciding what to wear in the morning and will try on several outfits (often making a mess) before they settle and head out the door in the nick of time, or even a teensy-bit late.

Pitta shopping: Pittas don’t love to shop. They only shop out of necessity and they usually know what they want to buy ahead of time. So, a pitta person will show up at the store, have someone help them find what they need (if they don’t call ahead and put it on hold first), pick it out, and go home. They do not lurk, browse, or window-shop. Nada. They just want to get what they need and move on with their day. Pitta wardrobes tend to be the least creative and they might wear the same thing often. They like to rely on simplicity in their wardrobes so they don’t have to have to think about it too much—their time is better spent on other things. Plus, reliable clothes keeps them punctual—a pitta’s favorite thing.

Kapha shopping: Kaphas love to shop. They love to saunter, browse, touch, linger, and enjoy. They also really like stuff (kaphas are the sticky dosha, and like to collect things). Kaphas are inspired by the creativity and loveliness of items in stores–it brings them lightness and happiness. Once a kapha finds something they love, they will buy the same thing in navy, khaki, red, and black. Even if multiple colors are not available, they might buy an extra piece just in case. They have elegant tastes and will spend on high-quality items. Just the same, if there’s a sale, it’s a kapha-extravaganza and they will buy all the multiples of things at the sale to keep them in a closet (for a rainy day that never comes) or give them away as gifts.

Now, you might be curious to know what kinds of clothes these specific doshas will buy? Just as different as their spending and shopping habits, their clothes will be different, too.

What to buy

Vata: Vatas are almost always cold, so they like anything fuzzy, puffy, fleecy, sweatery, hooded, and thumb-holed (it keeps their little wrists covered). Vata’s clothes will likely have a baggy fit, which makes them look bigger than they are (for them that’s good because vatas tend to be small-framed) and more importantly, allows for movement, so they can continue to wiggle around in true vata fashion. Vatas like to wear layers because they tend to get cold and change their mind. Colors that are best for vatas include warming colors that absorb heat like black, charcoal gray, chocolate brown, reds, oranges, purples, corals, and hot pink. These colors also compliment their olive skin and are “autumn” colors, which is also vata season.

Pittas: Pittas will look for clothes that compliment their muscular build, are well made, a good fit, and of good value. Because pittas run hot and sweat easily, they do best in soft, breathable, natural fabrics with a proper fit. In the heat, pittas will opt for loose, flowing clothes. However if clothes are too loose, pittas will feel “sloppy,” and if clothes are too tight, pittas will get hot and crabby. Colors that are best for pittas are cool spectrum colors found in nature like teal, sky blue, cobalt, pale blue, emerald green, sea foam green, white, and yellows. These colors also compliment their naturally pink skin and are “summery” colors, which is pitta season.

Kaphas: Kaphas always look put together. They accessorize with jewelry, shoes, purses, and head ensembles (as if their awesome looking hair isn’t enough). Kaphas will wear clothes that usually hug the lower body and are blousy on top. This shows off their rockin’ curves and gives their upper body room to breathe (for their big chests—to hold their big hearts). If anything around the chest or stomach is too tight, they will not feel good. Kaphas feel best in dark and warm colors but the fabrics should be lightweight, so they don’t weigh down kapha. Colors that are best are oranges, purples, reds, pinks, blues, and greens. Any colors that evoke vibrancy are great for kapha, since these colors are “spring” colors, which is also kapha season.

What are doshas, exactly?

Hello Lovelies!

For those of you NEW to Ayurveda this might help answer your question, “What are doshas, exactly?” :)

For more, grab a copy of the dosha snapshots!

Ayurveda Life Series

namaste

To those of you who have found your way here through prAna or Banyan Botanicals, WELCOME! Namasté! *high kick!* And for those oldie moldies who have been reading for years, Heyo! Glad to see your shining face! *smooch!*

You guys I’m kinda beside myself. A couple months ago, totally out of the blue, I was invited to be a contributing author as part of a project prAna and Banyan Botanicals were working on together. UmlemmethinkYES! It’s been a hard secret to hold in! So now that I can flap my gums (pun intented) about it, let me tell you what’s going on. Banyan and prAna partnered to create a blog series called “Ayurveda Life” where they will be sharing loads of articles with their audience on Ayurveda. I believe it will be for a full year and they’ve selected a handful of fresh, new articles I wrote to share as content. I am humbled to the core to be part of this elite group.

Please enjoy the first article I wrote for the “Ayurveda Life” series on the doshas. You’ll recognize the art :)

I am excited for 18 million reasons, but the biggest reason is between prAna and Banyan and myself, we should be able to reach MANY more people. SHINE that light on Ayurveda!!! It brings tears to my eyes that this came out of the blue—I never could have planned it. I could not have dreamed up something so perfect. Here are two of my most favorite companies with such large hearts and pure intent to make it a better world. And I get to rally with them!? I could not be more lucky. Thank you prAna and Banyan–Squishy warm hugs and tons o’love!

I will share more articles as they post. Meantime, send me good book-writing vibes (115 pages now!). Back to it!

Time Out. Writing an Ayurvedic book!

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It’s time! I’ve had my beloved HeyMonicaB site for almost six years now and it’s time to evolve and grow. I’m writing an Ayurvedic BOOK. Yay! As you know, I still work a full time 40-hour a week job in San Francisco with a 2.5 hour daily commute (that commute is not Ayurvedic in the slightest). I also have a family. So instead of doing new content for my site, I will preserve my time to focus on creating the most beautiful and impactful Ayurvedic book in the world. Ha! ;)

I’m not going to disappear, there is plenty of Ayurveda to share. My site is chock full of Ayurvedic information, so continue to read and learn. Ask me general questions if you have them: monica@heymonicab.com.

So keep visiting here and let’s stay connected:
• I will be posting “The Best Of” on my site!
• Email and ask me general Ayurvedic questions: monica@heymonicab.com
• Find my facebook page. I give weekly quizzes, inspirations, tips and have conversations
• I do newsletters, so sign up for those! (look right! pink box!)
• If you want to be the first to know when the book is done, get on the mailing list (look right! pink box!)

Since I am prone to changing my mind and absolutely love giving you guys good information, I might sneak in a new post here and there. But I’m going to try and stay focused. So much love to all of you!! This is exciting! Thank you for reading. There will be  MUCH MORE SOON! *mmmmwwwaaaahhh*

A Kapha Goes to Costco

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A Kapha Goes to Costco, an Ayurvedic Story.

My kapha husband wanted to disappear last night for an evening of carousing, by himself. Do you know where he went? Costco. Yes, Costco because there are BIG things in multiples there and in BIG discounts (kaphas love shopping, sales, and multiples). Kaphas are all about the accumulation and care-taking for everyone around them (cause they are so sweet). In a nutshell, Costco is kapha’s heaven and vatas want to run screaming.

So check it out. My jolly kapha husband comes home with a 5lb bag of kettle corn. Cause we need that. Popcorn is the snack of choice for kaphas and toss in some sugar (a kapha vice), they are in total bliss. Now we have 5 fluffy pounds of…bliss for the husband. He also got a 6-pack of electric toothbrush heads because we need 6 of them for 2 of us. Yes, yes we do. Six. He also got a 4-pack of sunscreen for just $9 (“At Target, these are $17 for only 2!”). And a big box o’ tupperware.

We live in a 900 sq ft apartment without many closets. Costco was not made for us. BUT my kapha husband was made for me, so I’ll just take this with humor and grace. Don’t think my pitta didn’t try to control the situation. Before his journey, I asked if he could take my car and get me gas (of course he’ll do it, he’s a kapha) in my Mini Cooper. BOOYAH! Mini Cooper + Kapha + Costco = Can’t buy all THAT much stuff ;) Mwwaaahahahaaaa (evil, yet loving laugh).

The end.

No Excuses

 

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In Ayurveda, as we start to discover who we really are, remember that understanding our dosha does not excuse our behavior or “character flaws.” Instead, we learn what we have to work on. The knowledge we have of our virtues and vices is powerful to help us pay extra attention to what does not come naturally to us and, get better at it :)

If you know you are always late, make it a point to be on time. If you know you have a sharp tongue, soften your delivery. If you are eating poorly, consciously make better nutritional choices. There are ga-zillion examples, but you catch my drift. No excuses. Be the very BEST at your strengths (they come easily!) and work on your weaknesses so you can blossom even more into your beautiful, soulful self. XO!

Local Flavor

 

 

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question_mastheadIs Ayurveda applicable for other people who are not geographically in the same area it’s origin is from? Making story shorter :), may a person from Europe, born in Europe for example, have more or less the same constitution as people from Asia? Different climate, different way of life, usage of eating foods available to the country but not others, different cuisine, etc.,?

GREAT question about Ayurveda and different ethnicities/regions. There is truth to that! For example, Germans at first glance might seem more of a hearty build than Asian people. But that doesn’t mean that all Germans are kapha/pitta OR that all Asians are vata. SO we have to take in account the ethnic group they come from, and what the doshas look like within their group. There are vata Germans, just as there are vata Asians, but they will look very different. So the measure is based on the group and from there, the doshas can be determined.

Regarding the region, an example would be people who live in warm climates are not necessarily pitta people, but they have a higher likelihood of a pitta imbalance because of their surrounding nature of heat. If you notice, people in warm climates have LOTS of fruit (coconut!) available to them and lots of water too. People who live in cold climates have more potatoes and meat and “stick to your ribs” foods – fresh fruits are not found there, but then again, fresh fruits would not balance them either. So…in a way, nature is perfect.

Overall, doshas are the same whether climate or ethnic group, but the climate will determine which dosha may go out of balance fastest (so we need to pay careful attention to balance those) AND the doshas are measured considering the ethnic group the person originates from.

Raise your hands, who’s confused!? Send questions if you have them! XOXO!

It’s Your LIFE.

your_lifeIt’s your LIFE! Um. Can I get an “AMEN!?” I found this card which induced a flurry of heart backflips while instant hot tears sprung to mine wee eyes. Ah, and that’s when you know it’s good. A real stunner for the soul.

In case you didn’t know what’s been happening, for over the past year I spend 3 hours a day commuting to my day job and then come home to my curly-toddler-spriteypoo only to fall on my face exhausted at 8:30pm…and start again in the morning. The days are long and I’m constantly running. Where is my yoga, my writing, my podcasts, my violin, my potion-making with aromatherapy (mmmwaahaha…evil laugh cause I love the potions)? Where is MY Ayurveda, my LIFE? Sheeeeat, a whole year has gone by…poof. I didn’t even let myself blink. But, I have an Ayurvedic job to do and life to live, so here we go…

It’s a new year, people! NEW YEAR as in clean slate, blank canvas, and ready for all little life buds to start unfurling into bloom. My heart and soul has done some may-hay-hay-jor explorations even over the past 24 hours and I’m DANG excited for 2014.

What about YOU? Any of this resonate? Did you let anything slip past your awareness last year? Do share. We’ve all done it and might have some ideas to get you back on track.

Don’t let a year go by without blinking. Better yet, don’t let a MINUTE go by without blinking. Bring your mind and heart into what you are doing, eating, breathing, sharing, communicating, all of it. Stay present, soak it in, this is YOUR life and it is to be LIVED. Your way. And no less.*BURST!!*

Ayurvedic Football?

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Okay before you think I’ve lost my Ayurvedic marbles, let me explain. A LOT of people love football and when football season begins, they feel like all is right in the world because their team is back on the field. It’s true and it seems so silly, but I am one of them. Don’t judge! I can like football and be Ayurvedic and here’s why :) It’s part of mine and so many others’ lives! So, since Ayurveda is all about LIFE, then maybe football is a little Ayurvedic (I’m totally ready for all the comments of people who think I’ve lost it), hey?

Hear me out. When football season starts, sooooo many people have a renewed sense of community. You feel it when hollering at the TV with your friends or high-fiving strangers in the stands. This “community” feeling (and sometimes you even get goosebumps!) come from our first chakra. The first chakra is our root or “tribe” chakra, which gives us a sense of home and common ground. Our root chakra is the chakra that says “you belong here.” Heck we might even say being a football fan for our favorite team is “part of our roots.” We are rooted in this as a routine or way of living based on those surrounding us. That’s what the first chakra does–it unites us. When we are little kids, we view our family, maybe our church, our graduating class or even yoga class as being our “tribe.”  A great example is when we sing the national anthem! Everybody knows it, everybody puts their hand on their heart, and everybody sings. It’s the space we consider home and includes others who feel the same thing. Make sense?

Sports fans all have the game in common. Often we see people hugging in the stands, clapping, screaming, jumping up and down…they don’t even know each other! The game unites us, giving us an excuse to get together with a common goal in mind. And no matter what differences we have, for that moment while the game is on, we are all one. Together all as one, we sing the chants, clap our hands, boo the referees, cheer with excitement, and share disappointment if our team loses. We are not independent, we are together.

See? I’m not that nutcakes. But you tell me, do you think this connection through sport is Ayurvedic? Maybe not football exactly (although more of those guys are doing yoga and some are even vegan!), but I have to admit, the ever-famous Lambeau Leap is the epitome of using our first chakra :) Packer fan or not, there’s something awesome that happens when we watch good ol’ LeRoy receive hugs and “atta boy” pats from the hometown fans. So good, so home. What are your thoughts?

WOW

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At work we use a little phrase called, “WOWs!” It’s basically a sharing of really cool things we did to “wow” a client, a talent or a teammate. I recently got an email from one of you and all that came to mind was, “WOW!”

You guys send me lots of notes and I do my best to respond to every one of them. While they all touch my heart, this one in particular needed to be shared immediately, and with all of you. When I read her note, instantly my heart swelled, tears came to my eyes and quickly plopped out. It’s a pretty incredible story and proves how fast Ayurveda works. We have all the power within ourselves to change. We innately have all the tools we need to live our best lives. Ayurveda shines a light on that. Please share this with…heck, everyone. This is amazing. Proud of you, J, for your progress and for sharing your story with us. Thank you. Love, Monica B.

Dear Monica,

I hope you don’t mind me contacting you, but I just wanted to write and thank you for the information that you have provided on your site. I read almost every article on your site last weekend and have been following your advice for 5 days. As a result, I have already experienced a dramatic improvement in many aspects of my health and wellness which I have been struggling with for years. Some of what I am about to tell you is maybe a bit personal, or ‘too much information’ for most, but I think you can handle it!

My prakruti is Kapha-Pitta, but I now realise that I have long been battling a seriously aggravated Vata. About 6 years ago I started to suffer with an eating disorder and, whilst I haven’t ever been in any significant medical ‘danger’, I have never really recovered a healthy mindset towards food (my eating behaviour is still very disordered), and was also left with some medical problems as a consequence of the stress I put on my body. In particular, and this is where it gets a bit ‘T.M.I’, I don’t remember the last time I was able to go to the bathroom without taking excessive amounts of stimulant laxatives. As you can imagine, that was pretty horrible, plus my tongue was coated in a thick grey and black coating from all the toxins building up in my colon, my appetite was virtually non-existent, and my stomach was bloated and uncomfortable for 7-10 days at a time until I could do my weekly ‘laxative purge’.

As well as this, my Kapha dosha was also a bit out of balance – whilst I am quite content spending time alone, I had become quite reclusive, and if I was invited out with friends, I would usually find a made-up excuse at the last minute and not go out. I also know that my natural tendency to hoard things had also become worse in recent weeks.  

So, last weekend, when I stumbled across your site, I noticed what I had been doing wrong with regards to my diet and general behaviours: I was living on up to 2lbs of RAW broccoli a day; I ate at irregular times (if I was eating at all); I quelled hunger pains with LITRES of diet cola; after work I would come home, where I would be alone all evening and just watch TV or surf the internet mindlessly; the only real exercise I was taking was my 10 minute walk to and from work; and all that caffeine in my system had led to terrible insomnia. No wonder my Vata was out of whack – I was doing everything in the world to make it worse!

After reading your blog, I made the following changes to my diet and lifestyle:

·  Lemon juice in water on waking in the morning

·  Ginger & lemon tea 30mins – 1hour before each meal

·  Practicing yoga daily – sometimes morning AND evening

·  Eating, sleeping, etc. on a regular schedule

·  Eating soft, well cooked foods – soups, scrambled eggs, fish, cooked foods and NO raw veg (broccoli!!!) – with spices such as cumin, ginger, cinnamon

·  Significantly cut down on intake of caffeine and diet sodas

·  I made a small portion of ghee and cook my eggs and veg in it – eating fats is something that I particularly struggle with, so I have been using teeny amounts and getting used to it. I’m gonna make more this weekend! 

·  Decluttering my wardrobes and cupboards (hello, eBay!), cleaning and tidying my flat

·  Bought jasmine scented incense sticks

As a result I have been able to use the bathroom in the morning when I wake up without laxatives for the first time since I can remember, the coating on my tongue is almost gone, my stomach is less bloated and painful, I have been going out and socialsing with friends, I feel calmer and happier, and I no longer live in a cycle of starving and binging on food.

There is still a long way to go, but I already feel much more like ‘me’ than I have done in the last 6 years, and that is largely down to you sharing your knowledge of Ayurveda. I’m sorry this has turned out so long and so detailed, but I really wanted to extend a heart-felt ‘thank you’, because in less than a week I am starting to feel happy and well again.

Souls Salute

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Ayurveda, Where Do I Start?

“Ayurveda, where do I start?!” Last week I got a question from Holly, a new reader, who just discovered Ayurveda. Her question? She has no idea where to start! Such an awesome question I thought I should answer so everyone else could reap the benefits too. That’s what it’s all about!

So let’s get to it.

1. You must first know who you are (for the most part) by taking the dosha test. Take the test according to who you are naturally, not necessarily as the person you are today! Over time we collect habits, traumas and life experiences that might alter our original doshic balance. Once we understand where we started, we can figure out if/how we are imbalanced today. Make sense? Don’t panic if you are a blend of two. However, if you measure even in all three doshas, take it again because being tri-doshic is super rare!

2. Once you find out your dosha(s), read the Seasonal Blooms so you can find out more in depth about who you are naturally.
Vata Seasonal Bloom
Pitta Seasonal Bloom
Kapha Seasonal Bloom

3. Pick good foods to eat. Sounds like what everybody says, all the time, but it’s just so important because our bodies are made of what we put in them! If you put junk food in them, you will feel and look like junk. Eat fruits and veggies (organic as often as possible!), healthy grains and fats. If you eat meat, make sure the animal lived a happy life (we consume and therefore become any negative emotions in that animal including fear, anxiety, depression, anger, distrust, etc.,). And that’s kind of it! No magic potion, just common sense. Eat good food.

4. Pick 1-3 things to change and start to live according to the daily routine. Stick with these changes for 2 weeks-1 month and then add 1-2 more changes. If you try to change too many things at once, you will fail. Start slowly and add one by one.

Honestly, if you do these three things, you will be SO far ahead. Awareness of who you are is huge! Add to that, knowing what to eat is huger! And hugest is following the rules of nature because we are a small piece of all encompassing nature! :)

Helpful?

A dosha match made in heaven

Match Made in Heaven. Ayurvedic heaven that is.

 A little match made in heaven: I received this email from one of my dear readers who was curious about inter-doshic relationships. Just as food, exercise and nature influence the doshas, people do to! Here is a sweet story about how a vata/pitta person and a kapha person form complete unity and balance each other. I’ve highlighted areas in orange italics to demonstrate why compliments attract :)

I’ve (vata/pitta) recently gained a very special friendship with someone who is pretty much kapha (everyone loves a kapha). She’s down-to-earth, happy, easygoing, curvy physique, etc. She’s all girly and about clothes and has perfect hair (kaphas love to look nice and have nice things). I’m older and a smaller person who prefers sportswear—I feel I’ve got my shoes covered because I have one pair brown and one pair black (pittas like comfy clothes and keep it simple so their mind can focus on more important things). So we walk along, rather quickly (vata/pitta making kapha move quickly – great!), and we talk about everything under the sun (talking and listening is therapy – tridoshic).

Her Kapha-like personality and my Vata/Pitta thing has made for a few interesting observations on my part. One day I was hovering in the ether, all anxious and stressed (vata problems) about something that, “wasn’t quite right” in my world. (vatas are the most intuitive) I was walking along, waving my arms, ranting and fussing (vata, vata, vata). She let it all play out and then just said something like, “People just sometimes don’t cooperate. Good thing we have you around to keep us all on track.” (kapha, always keeping the peace and giving an ego boost at the same time) Then gave me a big hug (kaphas give the best hugs), which, of course she is very good at, and I, of course, crave (vata is pacified by physical touch). I have to admit I chuckled to myself later when I recalled that episode (laughter is some amazing medicine – tridoshic).

This is proving to be a very great friendship for us, as she’s offered love and nurturing to me (kapha qualities), and I’ve been able to offer objective, realistic advice (pitta qualities) as well as keep her moving with regular exercise, and listen to stories of her past that she still grudges about (kaphas hold grudges if pushed far enough).

Thank you for sharing with us, dear reader! Sounds like a match made in Ayurvedic Heaven :) Anybody else have an example of someone who balances you? xoxo.

Embrace Your Messy Closet

 

While on the topic of moving, I couldn’t help but notice…mess. Like when you look in your closet and you think, “Yikes. That’s…a mess.” (pittas have no idea what I’m talking about right now. hehe.) But do you know the best part about a messy closet? The best part is that you SEE the mess! You know it needs to be cleaned and so you clean it!

Now, what if you had a messy closet but only very slightly cracked the door open, just enough to toss a rotten piece of clothing in there–and then you shut the door. In that closet would be dirty clothes and shoes all in a jumble…and you wouldn’t notice until you were completely out of clothes to wear. And as you opened the door, a mega-pile of stank clothes would fall on your head. And then, you would have stanky clothes and shoes laying all over the floor (to your surprise, but not really) and you are forced to clean it up. Plus now you are freezing because you have no clothes (that last sentence was just for dramatic effect).

The difference between these two scenarios is total awareness. In both cases, you will end up having to clean up your closet. In the first scenario, you will notice the messy closet before it gets too bad. And in the second scenario, you’ve not only got a mess on your hands but you have to clean immediately because you waited too long.

Friends, our health is the same as that closet. Ayurveda’s foundation is prevention. So let’s working on our health while we catch some of the warning signs (headache, insomnia, constipation, high blood pressure, anxiety, heart burn, etc.,) before it turns into something worse. Ignoring these “pesky” warning signs doesn’t make them go away, rather they will turn in to something much more serious later and then you’ll be in a pickle! So! Right now, start living, eating, and exercising according to your dosha(s). And if you are completely lost, then begin with the daily routine.

We all have a certain amount of mess in our minds, bodies, spirits, and closets ;). Learn to see it, own it, embrace it and start to clean it up. What are some stories of your physical or metaphorical closets? How did you embrace it and change it? :) xoxo!

Ayurveda is not magical

Hey guys! Often when people think of Ayurveda, they associate it with the image below. Seemingly magical remedies that really don’t make logical sense.

The girl has Shirodhara treatment - indian oil massage.

Am I right? It might seem mysterious, exotic, pretty unattainable, maybe luxurious or elitist, and even a little weird. Like gross, who would put their head under warm oil while it drips all over their HAIR! Eu! And then how do you get it all out?! ;)

Well, shirodhara (SHEE-ro-DAR-uh) is the name of the therapy where the oil flows onto the forehead from one side to the other, almost in an oval pattern. Unlike all the photos you see, there is actually a person (or should be) moving the oil stream from side to side. Anyway, my point is that while this therapy is truly awesome (if you could feel it’s awesomeness, you would BEG for oil to be dripped all over your hair), it’s a teeny weeny part of Ayurveda! Shirodhara is not accessible to most people, it can be expensive for treatments, and it’s not something you can do daily.

I have good news. Ayurveda is so much more than shirodhara, herbs and other “magical” remedies. 90% of all imbalance can be corrected with diet and lifestyle. Do you know what a magical remedy is? Eating really good food that comes fresh from the earth, not from a lab or a GMOed seed. Another magical remedy is getting enough sleep each night and turning off computers early enough so we can unwind. Sleep does magic for the mind to help it rest as the body restores itself. One of the best magical remedies is getting daily exercise (yes daily, discipline!) even if it’s a 20 minute daily walk. Drinking enough water to keep the body supple and flowing is also another magical remedy. It keeps the mind clear and focused, channels flow easily, and our bodies stay buoyant instead of shriveled. My favorite magical remedy is breathing. It’s so magical and easy that we forget it’s even there ;)

Friends, when you think of Ayurveda and talk about it to your comrades and loved ones, remember that Ayurveda is simple. Ayurveda is life. Ayurveda is nutrients, rest, movement, hydration, and taking in enough oxygen. If you don’t have these things, then don’t bother with the fancy shirodhara therapy, the spas, the herbs, or the massages. Start simple. Start with what you already have within your power. And if you aren’t doing those simple things yet, then start practicing :) That is where you will find your results and where you will live your best life. And once you get the hang of that then run, do not walk, to your nearest Ayurvedic spa for an indulgent shirodhara session :) xoxo!! You can DO it!!!

If you want to practice the real deal (it’s accessible, simple and fun!), you might want to check out my book IN YOUR ELEMENTS. It’s a workbook! And I talk like you! Ain’t no mystery or magic, it’s chock full of real life, easy ways to keep you feeling awesome every day.

Ayurvedically Smart

A few days back, I posted that I was excited for Dr. Oz’s show on Ayurveda. Here is one of the recipes given after the show: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/6-flavor-slimming-breakfast-sundae

Since you guys are Ayurvedically smart, what might be wrong with this meal? Tell me in the comments…stop reading now and pick out what’s wrong with this breakfast based on what you know about Ayurveda. See if you can pick out what’s wrong before reading the answers below. It’s like Highlights Magazine (remember those?), a wee puzzle, if you will.

{pause so you can think and post comments}

Okay, got your answers? Compare with the list below and see how you did.

What is wrong with the breakfast:
a) Yogurt + Fruit = wrong food combination
b) Yogurt is not Ayurvedic unless it’s turned into a lassi (and, not a mango or fruit lassi. That may be Indian, but it’s not Ayurvedic)
c) Cold breakfast puts out agni (digestive fire) rather than kindling it, especially during kapha time of day
d) Too many various seeds and nuts for breakfast! They are really heavy and hard to digest for any dosha.

Breakfast should always be warm because our bodies are warm and we want to stoke our digestive fire. Remember, malfunctioning agni is the #1 root cause of most diseases! We need to keep agni happy and strong.

Here are some examples of better breakfast choices:
a) Vatas can have oatmeal with ghee, cream of wheat OR an english muffin with ghee and a sprinkle of caradmom and/or cinnamon. Vatas need warm, grounding and easy-to-digest breakfasts.
b) Pittas can have oatmeal with ghee and almonds OR an english muffin with protein. When it’s hot out, they can have cereal with milk. Pittas need grounding breakfasts that have a bit more girth to them because their digestive fire is typically stronger.
c) Kaphas can have baked apples or pears with cinnamon. Or toast with cinnamon OR black pepper or lemon pepper w/garlic (savory!) with a touch of ghee. Kaphas might not be hungry for breakfast and if so, they should skip it and sip ginger tea to stoke their fire. Kaphas need warm, light, dry breakfasts with yummy spices to keep them satisfied with smaller amounts of food.
d) Fresh fruit is an option for any dosha during pitta season (summer), but have the fruit by itself

All this said, I am not doggin’ on Dr. Oz. Bless, bless, bless him for bringing the attention to Ayurveda on such a mainstream level. YES! That’s what we need. However, because millions of people watch the show, millions of people will make this breakfast thinking that it’s Ayurvedic (cause they don’t know! This stuff is new to them and probably Dr. Oz too!). So let’s say they try it. A breakfast like this might cause constipation (vata), diarrhea (pitta), heart burn (pitta), acid taste in the mouth (pitta), a tummy ache (any dosha), weight gain (kapha), maybe lethargy. And if that happens know what they will say? “I tried Ayurveda once and Ayurveda doesn’t work.” Good gravy, that’s counter intuitive to everything I’m trying to do on HeyMonicaB! Ayurveda DOES work – I promise with all my soul! But we need proper teachers out there.

Know what? You’re already Ayurvedically smart—you know more about Ayurveda than most people. How about THAT!? That’s right, straighten up and hold your head high! And because you are knowledgeable and smart, have the power to make decisions appropriate for yourself. You also have the power to share correct information with those you love. You have the knowledge to be able to tell authentic Ayurveda from marketed Ayurveda (yes? right?). So friends, if you have questions about Ayurvedic advice you see any where else, send it to me. If I don’t know the answer, I will find the answer for you and share on my site. We deserve authentic information so that we can live happier, healthier lives. xoxo!