Category Archives: The Best Of

What IS Ayurveda?

I’ve been writing about Ayurveda for 8.5 years now and have watched it grow rapidly. I’d like to take a step back for a second and answer the question, “What is Ayurveda?”

When I started heymonicab.com in 2008, I would say, “I study and teach Ayurveda” and nobody had a clue what I was talking about. But now I say, “I teach Ayurveda! Have you heard of it?” They say, “Yes! I’ve heard of it.” I respond with, “Do you know what it is?” And they usually say something like, “Mehhh, kinda? No, not really…” This funny looking word has gone from something nobody knew about to something that people now recognize. It’s not quite so foreign anymore!

This is where I come in. If people are able to recognize it now, they’re ready for more information. I created this video to answer the question, “What is Ayurveda?” to give the newbies a broad idea of what it’s all about. Enjoy!

3 Ayurvedic Tips to Help Overcome Emotional Eating

Answering a fantastic question from one of you who wants to know if I have any advice on how to overcome emotional eating. It’s a complex question with complex answers that will be different for each of us! But I do have 3 great tips on how to uncover what the emotional eating might be all about AND how to bring more “higher food” into your life. I hope this inspires, moves some obstacles and inspires new way of thinking about food and your life. You got this!

 

Vata Empathy

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Empathy.
How does a vata express empathy? Vatas are a total split on the spectrum — either insensitive or hyper-sensitive. Other people’s feelings might not register on their radar at all (me, me, me). Or, vatas can be rocked to the core by another person’s pain because they feel SO much empathy.

Practice healthy empathy by listening, offering help and following through with it (if you are not going to follow through, don’t offer). But don’t letting someone else’s struggle consume your thoughts and emotions. Instead, send a blessing like this, “I send you blessings that all will be well soon and you learn the lessons needed to evolve.” Then let it go like a sparkly mylar balloon in the blue sky. Their struggle is not yours to keep.

This little insight couldn’t fit in the 14-page seasonal guide, Vata Seasonal Bloom. Let’s use our empathy in this world, just not so much that it takes us down. 

Vata Freebies

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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!)

 

 

Ayurvedic lunch ideas for kids

lunch_for_kidsRaise your hands, who has kids? 1, 2, 3…good! At least 3 of you do so this is good to share and even if you don’t have le kiddos, you can use this for yourself!

Anyone struggle coming up with new and healthy ideas for the kids lunches? *me raising my own hand!* I did! My 5-year old just started kindergarten and so it’s a new game making her lunches every day. Without a plan, I knew I’d be harried and absent-minded when trying to cobble together a good lunch. So I said to myself, “Girl! Get it together and just write it all down.”

So I did! I wrote down a bunch of lunch and snack ideas on a piece of paper and stuck it to the inside of my cupboard. Then I thought, “Hey I would make this pretty and my Ayurvedic peeps might love this too!”

A gift from me to you, please enjoy this list of lunch ideas for kids.
NOTE: They are not pure Ayurvedic…they are kind of “Ayurved-ish.” (see below for why)

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Why are these not Ayurvedic?
#1 lunch should be the biggest meal
#2 eat happy and calmly
#3 meals should be warm
#4 fruit should be eaten alone 
#5 eating for the doshas will vary per kid

Let’s first talk about #1: Lunch is the biggest meal of the day. I mean, if the kid eats, you can pack a big enough meal. Or like most, they will be totally distracted by their friends that they will skip most of it and smoosh the rest back into the lunch pack. And they will come home starving (*shakes fist* anyone see how our eating habits can become backwards at a very early age?).

#2: Eat happy and calmly. She’s happy for sure. But some only get 15 minutes for lunch (*shakes fist again*). No way can a child fit in a “big lunch” in 15 minutes.

#3: Meals should be warm. Little thermoses help this! Most of her lunch is room temp (which is better than from the fridge)

#4: Fruit should be eaten alone. Yes, yes it should. My daughter knows the rule, but will chow fruit however she pleases when I’m not around. We can’t control how they combine their food.

#5: Eating for their doshas will vary. Depending on their dosha, some foods will benefit them more than others. Don’t over think that at this point, just do the best you can. Here’s what goes through my head for my pitta-vata kid, “She needs grounding/carb foods, a little protein, fruit, veggies, healthy fats and water.” You can reference the dosha menus to see what foods in general work best for your kiddo, depending on their dosha.

Whattaya say is this helpful for you? If I confused the dickens out of you please let me know. AND! OR! If you have ideas to add, we’d all love a sharing of more great lunch ideas and recipes so feel free to share in the comments.

XO!

 

Ayurveda Class

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Ready for beginner’s Ayurveda class? Watch the video for my story on how Ayurveda changed my life and let’s start bringing Ayurveda to YOUR life! 

I just launched an online Ayurveda class steered toward the beginner. In this 6-week course, you will begin to understand and APPLY Ayurveda to YOUR life! The class is a self-paced 6-week course which will never expire. We will use my book, In Your Elements, as a guide through the course as we dive into Ayurvedic foundations and craft your own personal Ayurvedic plan. YOU are the creator of your own well being. Ayurveda at its best works because of participation of the client (that’s you!), so my friends, you’re the driver. *vroooomm*

Here’s what you’ll learn:

• An Ayurvedic foundation which you can use forever!
• Dosha discovery (who are you and what makes you tick?)
• Create your own customized nutrition plan
• How to use the daily routine so you feel awesome each day
• Preventative habits to avoid getting sick
• Personalized guidance and unlimited questions throughout the course
• Tips on how to use Ayurveda easily in our busy-busy world
• How to build an Ayurvedic plan any time you need it
• You’ll get weekly worksheets, planners, and some of my art too!

Remember, this class never expires, so you can review it again and again. Life is long, we need constant balancing and reminders. And besides health is not a finish line, it’s a never-ending journey of daily practice.

YEAH! Come on with me and I’ll teach you how to CREATE YOUR BEST LIFE!

BIG LOVIE LOVE, Monica B.

Ayurvedic Daily Routine Video

You will learn how to live vibrantly, productively, energetically once you watch this Ayurvedic Daily Routine video! Watch it now to begin changing your life, right away.

The Ayurvedic daily routine is the foundation in living according to nature’s flow. Only by following these guidelines can we begin to achieve optimal health – without it, we are missing a HUGE and simple component to becoming as healthy as we can be.

You will never look at your day the same way. And yes you might watch this and be like, “Duh, that makes sense.” A lightbulb might pop on as you begin to pair the simplicity of Ayurveda with it’s power. And that’s the beauty. Simple power. You can improve your health and life quickly just by knowing how nature rules time.

In this video you’ll learn WHY certain times of day are best for:

Eating
Working/Productivity
Exercise
Sleeping
Relaxing
Strategizing
Meditating

What you’ll find in the video is very practical, just looking at our schedule coming from a different philosophy. So get ready to commit to 1-2 changes (If you are inspired to share, I would love to know what they are) as you practice creating a whole new vibrant way of shaping your day.

Enjoy if you love it, share it with those you love. Let’s share Ayurveda among our families in friends like they did in villages 5,000 years ago — it’s meant to be shared so everyone can benefit!

 Grab the download so you can have the routine at your fingertips.

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Where do I start with Ayurveda?

One of the questions I get the most is, “Where do I start with Ayurveda?! Ayurveda is so big and complicated and I get overwhelmed. Where do I start?”

If that’s what you’re thinking, you’re not alone by any stretch! There are so many people just beginning to learn about the power of Ayurveda so it’s ok! We all have to start somewhere.

In this video I give my top 5 recommendations to started with Ayurveda right away. You don’t need to know anything about Ayurveda in order for them to work. Keep an open mind and don’t be surprised if they sound simple. They ARE simple! Like I said you don’t need to know squat about Ayurveda in order to start practicing them. But fair warning, just because they are simple, don’t dismiss them as too simple to work.

Often we can overlook powerful healing practices in our day-to-day because the action is itty bitty. Or we tell ourselves a story about why it won’t work.

So I ask you: TRY them. Try 1 of these things for 2 weeks and see how you feel. They are simple, but if you feel like crap all the time, my guess is that you are not doing all 5 of these things. They are free, you are empowered, you have new knowledge now so GO GO GO! *whooosh* That was a big gust of wind in your sails. No more feeling like crap, let’s start to change what we practice, especially in the day-to-day.

If you are enjoy this video, here are some other videos to check out:
Ayurvedic eating made simple and customized to YOU
The Ayurvedic Daily Routine
How to fix insomnia and avoid an energetic hangover

Enjoy learning – Ayurveda is all about you so take it slow, open your mind and heart and you will begin to experience the benefits quickly!

Ayurvedic Facial Rejuvenation

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Whee! I just got back from a 3-day Ayurvedic Facial Rejuvenation class at the California College of Ayurveda! As a lifelong teacher and student of Ayurveda, I’ll never stop learning and this class was such a treat that I must share with you.

SKIN CARE HIGHLIGHTS!

Our skin eats. It’s also our largest organ, so anything we put on our skin, we should be able to put in our mouth (if not, reassess your skincare line. No judging! Just awareness) because it gets absorbed and digested by our body.

Vatas have dry, thin skin, so their skin care should be nourishing, moisturizing and fairly oily! They tan easy. When balanced vatas have a delicate radiance. When imbalanced, they might experience dry or flaky skin, rough patches, rough bumps and blackheads (due to small pores).

Pittas have sensitive, hot skin so their skin care should be nourishing as well as cooling, but not too oily. They burn easy. When balanced, pittas simply glow! When imbalanced, they might experience pimples/acne, rashes, rosacea and sunburn.

Kaphas have cool, thick, oily, porcelain skin and they will look young forever (maybe not quite forever)! They should avoid thick, clogging creams and instead use light, oil-free skin care. When balanced, they look like porcelain goddesses. When imbalanced, they might experience congested skin including cysts and acne or excessively oily skin.

FACIALS/MASSAGE HIGHLIGHTS!
When we practiced (and received!) our facials, we used products made of all natural ingredients and Ayurvedic herbs that promote a variety of tri-dosha balancing effects to the skin including, rejuvenation, circulation, cooling, moisture and nourishment. The whole thing took about 1 1/2 hours to do — can you imagine?! We got to practice 3x and receive 3x (yesss!).

OK here’s how it went:

  1. We gently exfoliated the face and neck using upward motions while wearing silk gloves (they were not silky smooth, more like linen), which stimulated circulation.
  2. Then, we did a gentle oil and massage on the neck and face (upward motions!) to bring nourishment after the friction of the gloves.
  3. Next, we zoned in on the marma points, which are the little “activation points” along the body’s channels that run from head to toe (just like acupuncture points). We touched on these points through each stage of the massage to release stagnation, increase circulation and promote emotional balance. During this marma massage stage of the massage we gave them extra special attention.
  4. Then we took hot towels that we had previously soaked in chamomile and lavender tea and steamed the face for 10 minutes (protect eyes with cucumber!).
  5. After that we applied the cleanser and massaged again — it got super sudsy and was quite fun!
  6. Then we did a lymph massage to the face and neck with body butter
  7. We repeated the 10 minute facial steam with chamomile and lavender soaked towels
  8. Then we painted the facial mask on and while it was sitting, gave our client hand and foot massages.
  9. We removed the mask and applied facial moisturizer and dabbed on wrinkle serum.

TA-DAH!!! One and one half HOURS of awesome. And we each got to receive it 3x in 3 days!! My face looks more balanced, toned and nourished — and I look less tired. Score!

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Making the tea of chamomile and lavender flowers. We soaked them in boiled water for 10 minutes, strain. Then we dunked our facial towels in the tea and kept them in a hotcabi til steaming time!

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We used Dr. John Douillard’s (he’s awesome!) LifeSpa line of skin care products.

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Facial steam with the warm towels that were soaked in the tea. Cucumbers keep the eyes cool.

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The facial mask I “painted” on my client which tones and nourishes after we exfoliated, massaged and steamed the face.

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Time for dessert — A tower of creams and goops we made ourselves! Various ingredients include avocado, greek yogurt, glive oil, mango, aloe vera and red sandalwood. Stack o’ goodness!! And yes, we were eating the mango one like it was candy.

In Your Elements e-Book

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Take an every day vacation

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You just got back from a wonderful vacation and after 2 days back in daily life, you’ve already lost your bliss and relaxation. What the Fruit?! Well truth is, life is long and vacation is not. So, let’s learn how to bring joyful aspects of vacation to our every day — daily enjoyment is what life is all about. While taking time to luxuriate might seem impossible (or makes you roll your eyes), it’s not. It just requires a little prioritization and focus. We work hard — we all deserve to take an every day vacation.

What do we do on vacation that we don’t do daily?
{we don’t work • we spend more time outdoors  • we have the luxury of time • we see beautiful things • we eat yummy, fresh food • we listen to different music • we get extra sleep}

So let’s bring these to life.

7  enjoyments to take an every day vacation:

1) Work. In general, I believe most of us like to work as long we are doing something we enjoy. We like to produce, create, think, and watch things grow based on our efforts. Remember we are getting paid – holy flip! – to do what we love to do, daily. Now, for those who really hate the ol’ jobby job, switch jobs if you can. If that’s not possible, then realize the job now serves a purpose and will pay for necessities and things you enjoy, while you seek/create the job you love.

2) Time outdoors. On vacation we spend time outdoors and even exercise outdoors. At home, we might hit the gym, workout class, or jump on the treadmill in the basement. Notice those are all indoors? As beings of nature, nature revitalizes us. We feel amazing in nature because it’s our home. Get outside, daily! Even 20 minutes will do wonders.

3) Luxury of time. How can we get more time into the day? We can’t. Time is time. But we can use the time we have, better. Instead of noodling online, put on sneakers and power walk for 30 minutes. Instead of complaining to a coworker, go outside, find a bench, sit n’ breathe. Wake up early, enjoying the twilight into sunrise while you light a candle and journal intentions for the day (no complaining in your journal — rainbows and sunshine).

4) Beautiful things. How can we bring in more beauty to the daily-daily? Flowers on the table. Beautiful, transportive photos at home or work. New dangle earrings, a mala bracelet or sparkly crystal. Can you work by a window? Can you get a natural light lamp? Himalayan salt lamps are awesome. What do you see on vacation that you could bring to your every day?

5) Eat fresh, yummy foods.  You are the one choosin’ your groceries so…choose ones that make you feel amazing! Does mango make you feel like life is easy? Get it. Avocado make you feel spoiled? Do it. An afternoon chai latte? Have it and savor. Hand-made pasta? Take some extra time on a Saturday and make it. Thai food your fav? Get a Thai cookbook and commit 1 recipe to memory.

6) Happy music we normally don’t listen to. Pandora, Spotify, Google Music (formerly Songza). All of these give us world music at our fingertips. Some of my favorite transportive music stations on Pandora are: “Wes Anderson” (makes me feel like I’m pedaling around Paris with flowers and bread), “Tycho” and “Washed Out” (makes me feel like I’m on a hazy beach in SoCal), “Nightmares on Wax” is another easy chill mix, “1901” makes me want to dance. Google Music is also super fun where you choose songs based on your mood or how you want to feel.

7) Getting extra sleep. No you can’t sleep in daily like you can on vacation, but there’s an easy fix. Go to bed earlier. Spend 1 week going to bed at 8pm or 9pm and see how fantastic you feel. Use this when needed. When I was writing my book, I would stay up mega-late 2-3 nights in a row and then balance with 2 nights of going to bed at 8pm.

Whattaya think? Are you inspired? What other ideas do you have – do share!

If we spent more time enjoying each day and less of a focus trying to escape it, we would feel nourished and enriched, every single day. That is the good life, my friends. Finally, please enjoy my favorite little story about the Mexican Fisherman and The Investment Banker. Love!

Recipe for Life!

We create our recipe for life everyday! A little of this, a little of that and it shapes our day. What are you currently filling your day with? What does your recipe look like? The key is to fill your days and life with the things that make you feel BEST and do it often. Enjoy this little article on a Recipe For Life. xo!

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If you make a big pot of tomato sauce from scratch, do you taste test it to make sure it’s good? Sure. And if it’s not good, you adjust right? Add a little more salt, pepper or garlic. Maybe a smidge of sugar or extra basil. Perhaps it needs oregano! And you putz around adding things and testing until you have your pot o’sauce exactly how you like it! You might write it down as a recipe and use it for future.

For those pittas who will write to me because they can’t stand tomatoes —-> What about a guacamole? Maybe a little more lime or salt is needed to make it taste just how you like it. And tomato-free, of course!

My point is before you make a large batch of anything, you will test it. If you absolutely love it and look forward to having it again, you might even craft a little recipe.

The SAME THING relates to our life! You’ve heard of recipes for happiness, so how about a recipe for life! Your recipe for life, that is, because everybody is different ya know. In Ayurveda, we try things — a dash of this, a dabble of that, but the base (like the tomatoes or avocados) should stay the same, which is the daily routine and balancing our dosha(s). Added “ingredients” are various ways to exercise, all kinds of food choices, and ways to manage our stress. When we put together ingredients that work for us, we feel it! So maybe we add our favorite exercise, our go-to meals and daily meditation to our life’s recipe. We know that when we do those things, we will feel awesome.

Conversely we might test some things out that might not work for our happy life recipe. Like, “Do red peppers really give me heartburn? Lemme try and see…Yes, yes they do give me heartburn.” But with every miss, there is a learning behind it.

So don’t be afraid to test things out as you craft your recipe. This is life-long learning! Try some things and if they suit you, write it down so you remember! My book In Your Elements is FULL of stuff you can refer back to. It helps you craft your life and build your recipe for healing and happiness.

Do any of you have a “go-to” life recipe that you use? I’ll share mine – here it is: morning walk/jog before sunrise, meditation on the bus, light yoga in the evening, write gratitude list before bed. If I miss any of those things daily, I feel a bit off. If I miss those things for a week, I feel very off. If I miss those things for a month (it has happened), I feel completely out of my skin, I am easily irritable, I cry a lot and feel overall saddness. The beauty is, I know exactly how to get out of it — the recipe!

Now YOUR TURN! Tell us some stories about what’s in YOUR recipe of life! You go! I’ll hang out while you do compile your list… xoxo!

Bit o’ Wisdom {52}

YOU bring the fun

 

Oil Massage for Busy People

 

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

YOU’LL NEED

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

HERE WE GO

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

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

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

*Scalding water is very drying to the skin.

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

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Benefits of Massage (Abhyanga)

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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

 

 

What causes 90% of all disease?

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

The answer? Mal-functioning agni (digestive fire)

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

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

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Ayurvedic Cleanse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After the cleanse (just as important as the cleanse itself!)
It is important to slowly rebuild agni to be good and strong. So don’t say, “Yay! My cleanse is over! I’m going out for steak and wine and chocolate cake!” No no no, don’t do that ;) If you eat normally right after the cleanse, agni won’t be strong enough and you will start building up ama right away. I suggest to have liquid soup with veggies the next day. Next day have soup with rice or noodles. Next day have rice and veggies. Next day you can start eating normally. See that? A little step-by-step process to eating normal again. HINT: Do this with ANY cleanse, even if it’s not this one. It’s really important!!

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

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

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

Oil-Pulling, You Ask?

oil-pulling

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

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

Ok, I’ll make it simple and trusted.

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

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

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

Got that? Easy? Ok good, carrying on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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