Hey! Do you have anybody in your life that drives you crazy? I mean, CArrraaazy? Rather than thinking bad thoughts and getting frustrated, try blessing them. Are you looking at me funny?
Here’s a little story. When I was freelancing as a designer a couple years ago, one of my my managers was consistently rude and quick tempered with me. She was always kinda rude to everyone, but this was the “last straw” and I got very angry with her. She kept pickin’ on me! Anyway, I had Ayurveda class that weekend and I said my classmate Rose, “My manager is SO rude and unprofessional and I can’t stand working for her. I need to find something else.” Rose said, “Bless her.” “WHA!?” She cupped my face with her hands and said, “Just bless her.” Ugghhh, are you kidding me!? I have to bless her!? She’s the one being crummy and I have to bless her? I didn’t say anything else. But I decided to try it, figuring it couldn’t hurt.
Monday I sat at my computer with lingering feelings of anger from the Friday before, I clenched my eyes, gritted my teeth and thought, “I bless you, I just bless you, I friggin bless you…” and after doing that a couple times, it actually began to feel genuine. I blessed her for working too hard and for being lonely and seemingly sad. I blessed her because I know that she is not mean-spirited, she’s just lost. I sent good wishes her way in hopes that things would lighten up for her. I also blessed myself and went through a gratitude list.
HERE’s where the magic comes in!! Within 20 minutes she called and asked me to come into her office. Now get this, SHE APOLOGIZED about being short with me on Friday! Unreal!
I share this story with you so the next time you have someone driving you batty and you think you can’t handle any more, send them a blessing. Bless the crud out of them and be sincere. Find a place in your heart where you can shift from frustration to love. It’s not easy, but it’s also not as hard as it sounds.
When your energy shifts, you shift the energy of the world around you. Health comes from the inside out, not the outside in. We cannot control other people, but we can control ourselves. It’s within our power to choose the path of love and forgiveness rather than anger and frustration. Next time you’re at your wits end, send a blessing. I bet things will change for you. xo
YAY! I love The Joyful Belly! They have great Ayurvedic recipes and you can create an entire menu just for YOU! All their recipes break out according to your constitution (vata, pitta, kapha), so their meal plans are totally individual. Just like Ayurveda! AND it’s free to sign up. How ’bout them apples!?
Their recipe of the month is Cinnamon Oatmeal with Almonds & Milk. MM! Oatmeal is perfect to balance the vata energy of winter. It’s warm, grounding, heavy and sweet. It’s also sattvic which helps fight droopy winter feelings of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Remember to enjoy a small breakfast* because we want to stoke our agni (digestive fire) for the day. If we put too much food on agni, it will get put out. And if we ignore our hunger, agni will get smaller because it has nothing to burn.
Enjoy the oatmeal and be sure to check The Joyful Belly often for new recipes. They are great folks there and will also answer any questions you may have. Happy Oateys!
*If you at a large dinner and you are not hungry in the morning, don’t eat. You may not have digested dinner from the night before! Let your body catch up and drink ginger tea instead.
Happy New Year! And Happy NEW Decade! So, have you come up with a resolution yet? I always go back and forth on whether or not I like resolutions. I feel like we should be mindful of our health every day all year long, so why only focus only at the beginning of each year? Then again we have to start somewhere, right? We are constantly evolving and if the resolution is simple enough to adopt as a life-long habit, then I say do it!
As we know Ayurveda has an individualized focus, recognizing each one of us as a special combination of space, air, fire, water, and earth. However, there are some basic rules that apply to everyone too. In my lectures and in my healing practice, it is usually the most simple things that I tell people to hold on to.
Below I have listed my top 10, most helpful and most easy changes. Choose ONE (just one, only one, no matter how badly you want to do three) and try it for a week or a month. See how you feel. The reason why I say choose one is because often my clients want to change five or six different things and they end up failing because they can’t stick to them. Pick ONE and do it well. If you get ONE down pat and it becomes a habit, add another. This is how we slowly make changes and adopt new healthy habits. Perfect health does not come overnight (nor does ill-health, fyi!), but if we work at it slowly, we will make HUGE strides. I promise!
And if you try one, let me know how it goes. I would love to hear your success stories. Go get em!! Rah!
Monica’s Top 10 for 2010
1. Do not resist your urges | Resisting urges reverses our natural flow. Don’t hold your pee, a sneeze or your hurt feelings. Let it out!
2. Eat a light dinner | Lose weight, wake up energized, reduce toxins, think clearer
3. Bed by 10:00pm | Don’t wait for your 2nd wind, it’s against nature’s clock
4. Write a gratitude list once a day
5. Omit ice water | hampers digestion, counterintuitive for good circulation, shocks the body
6. Wait to feel real hunger before eating | Sip herbal or ginger tea if you are not sure
7. Stoke your agni! | malfunctioning agni is responsible for 90% of all disease
8. Walk 20-30 minutes a day | Without fail, just put on your shoes and do it
9. So Hum meditation for 5 minutes a day
10. Do Kapalbhati 5-10 minutes in the morning before breakfast | good for weight loss, energizing start to your day, mental clarity, spirit clarity, creativity, and it’s a cardio work out!
DUDE! I’m on my fourth week of jury duty and its taking its toll on me. It is absolutely emotionally draining. Despite eating proper foods and following nature’s clock, my tongue is coated white in the back. I’ve had two migraines since Thursday and my eyes feel like they are being pulled back into my head when I look around. I feel an overall sense of heaviness, cloudiness, and I don’t want to do a darn thing. There is also constant pressure on the sides of my head.
My friends, this is a perfect example of how I have collected some emotional ama. Ayurveda says that our mind governs our bodies. Even when we eat the right things, if our minds are full of worry or stress we will not be able to digest our food properly. Our mind is the control center and when it says, “Hey, stop! We have emotional issues!,” our agni (digestive fire) will obey and slow down. And remember, without a strong agni (digestive fire), ama rears its ugly head.
In a nutshell, when we’re all wigged out we can’t digest food because our body/mind has changed focus. It’s no longer concerned about food, instead it’s concerned about our crumbling emotional/mental state. The best example I can think of is, going through a rough break-up. We might feel a little sick and it might be hard to feel like eating. That is the signal from the mind that the body cannot tolerate food.
Ok, show of hands: Who loses their appetite when they are emotionally stressed? Who overeats when emotionally stressed? It can go either way. We might stop eating because we don’t have an appetite (our body’s way of telling us don’t eat). Or, we may overeat in seek of comfort and grounding. Bottom line, let’s listen to what our bodies are saying. If we are not hungry, don’t eat. The sign of healthy digestion is hunger. Waiting for true hunger is a KEY factor in staying healthy.
So what to do in times of emotional stress?
• Eat light and easy to digest foods like soups
• Limit sugars, caffeine and alcohol – these may seem like a help at the time, but they are only a hinder
• Get energies out through exercise or a good sweat
• Breathe! Big and slow, from the lower belly.
• Meditation. Either so hum or alternate nostril breathing
• MOST of all, release your emotions! Do not resist your urges to speak your mind! If you release the junk in your mind, it will stay in there and pollute your entire being.
I had a major release today during deliberation with tons of tears and a candid spewing of my viewpoints. I cried for another 30 minutes while others handed me kleenex and continued discussion. I still feel heavy in my head, but at least I spoke my mind. I don’t know how long this will weigh on my mind, but I am continuing meditation and hoping I can let it all go soon. xo!
Health is not something we achieve, rather it’s to be maintained mindfully and consistently. If choosing a health-focused resolution for 2010, make sure it’s simple enough to stick to for the long haul :)
Cool story. Two Christmases ago, I was a brand new Ayurvedic student and reading my studies on the plane ride to Milwaukee. My friendly neighbor inquired and I told him all about Ayurveda. He was really intrigued and I wish I’d known more at the time because I would have been able to help him with some of his problems. But! To my great surprise, he found me on LinkedIn the other day and asked if I remembered him. How cool! He also mentioned that he’s having trouble sleeping. Not so cool. But at least I can help him now!
And hey, anyone else have sleeping problemos? There can be a number of reasons for insomnia in Ayurveda but mainly there are two types:
a) Not being able to fall asleep. A pitta problem largely because of stress and too much thinking/strategy
b) Waking up in the middle of the night. A vata problem largely because of anxiety and racing mind
I have some ideas to help keep your sleep on track!
LIFESTYLE TIPS | Overall management
• Check the clock. If we go to bed after 10:30/11, the energy of pitta can keep us awake. Pitta’s job is to transform (thoughts, emotions, food) information from the day. If we stay awake into pitta time, we often get a “second wind” and feel like cleaning the garage. This means that we’ve stayed up too long. Thoughts, emotions, and ideas from the day flood our minds and it’s tough to make it stop. Pitta will do its job whether we are awake or sleeping, so best to zonk out before then.
• Stick to the daily routine. Definitely review the daily routine and times of the doshas. Your day ends with sleep so if everything else is in line, your sleep will fall in line as well.
• Don’t eat too much too late. Not good for many reasons, but heart burn or indigestion is uncomfortable and can keep us awake.
• Practice daily pranayama. Do So Hum or Nadi Shodhanam daily! You don’t have to do this for crazy amounts of time. Start with 5 min. It’s so easy and SO effective! Great for calming the nerves (vata) and the mind (pitta).
• No caffeine after Noon. Limiting caffeine in general is best, but if you have coffee, keep it to the morning hours only.
• Exercise regularly. A 30 minute (minimum) walk daily is perfect for exercise. Or yoga! Or any activity that makes you sweat a little and gives you energy afterwards.
IN A PINCH | If you find yourself tossing and turning
• Drink a small amount of warm milk. Bonus to add a sprinkle of cardamom. Warm milk will soothe pitta and vata. Good for heart burn too!
• Massage your adhipati marma. Ugh, Adhi-what? The adhipati marma is an energy point (marma) on the top of our head – it’s the soft spot on babies. Find it by placing four fingers across the forehead. Take your other hand and stack another four fingers on top of those. The point is “8 fingers” away from the eyebrows, on top of the head. Massage clockwise with the middle finger 1-5 minutes.
• Massage your kirkatika marma. Easier this time. It’s the point where your neck meets your spine at the back of the head. There is like a hole there – sort of an indentation. Massage clockwise with middle finger 1-5 minutes.
• Lay on your right side and so hum. On the inhale, “soooooo,” and exhale, “hummmmm.” Say this to yourself.
Happy Sleepings my friends. Enjoy your new ZZZZZZZZs.
For cold hands and feet, apply sesame oil before heading out into the cold. The oil has a “warming” action on the body and will keep blood circulating to those tiny fingies and toes. Cold-pressed Sesame oil – not toasted – in your grocery store! Stay warm!
As we already know, Ayurveda is not based on quick fixes. Sure there are herbs to assist the healing process, but long term changes have everything to do with diet and lifestyle management. To some of us, that may sound like a lot of work, but if we take it in small doses it’s totally doable.
They key is to embrace the small changes. Ayurveda is extremely logical. The most difficult part is teaching our minds to make those small changes. Often, we figure if it’s not a monumental change (grapefruit cayenne pepper cleanse or 1 hour in the gym a day) that it won’t make a difference. That’s a total misconception. If we pay attention to even just one thing and stick with it, we will notice improvements. It’s the consistency that is key.
Surprisingly I find it the biggest challenge to counsel clients on the simple things. I wonder if they think it’s so simple that it can’t possibly work? For example, I always stress the importance of a pranayama and meditation. Rarely do folks incorporate that change. I mean after all, we’re just sitting there or breathing there. It’s not like any major changes will happen unless we do something drastic, right? Wrong-o.
Some of the most dynamic progress is made by the smallest changes! Let’s learn to embrace the subtleties of life (I also need a lesson in this!). Ayurveda does not take away our pleasures. Although if we “treat” ourselves to a couple glasses of wine or ice cream on a daily basis, we will notice problems. Wine and ice cream are not foods, they are “treats” and we should use them as such (jumping off the soapbox). My point is that we can keep the foods we like, but reduce the amount. We will be satisfied with less and not have to give up our favorite foods.
I challenge you to pick one of the items below and do them for a week. They are not drastic or painful. Just give ONE a try. I don’t want you to do them all because that is setting you up to fail. Do one, do it consistently and see how you feel.
Slowly we make the changes. We are not in a rush, we have our whole lives to practice.
• Make lunch the largest meal of the day
• Do So Hum meditation before bed for 10 minutes (lay on your right side)
• Eat a small breakfast (vata & pitta = one serving oatmeal, kapha= toast with cinnamon & a little ghee)
• Go to bed by 10pm
• Take a brisk walk every day for 30 minutes
• Wake up 15 min before sunrise (ok that might be a little painful for some)
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
Hey! We’re in it! In the thick of the holiday season with plenty of socializing, shopping, baking, traveling, rushing, maybe even stressing. While you’re in the mood to give to others, let’s not forget to give to ourselves too! We are only as good for others as we are for ourselves. Nourishing ourselves first will give us the energy, positivity and that hostess-of-the-mostess “holiday glow.” Your self-love will shine through to your guests and family members and in turn, they will feel more love too. It all starts with ourselves :)
Since it’s vata season, a warm oil massage is about the best gift we can receive for our bodies and minds. Maybe try to set aside some time and cash to give yourself a worthwhile break. Spas may have special holiday deals now or you could check with a massage school if your budget is tight. OR! Better yet, put massage on your holiday wish list! Suggest that a few family members to go in together to purchase a nice massage gift certificate for you. There is no better feeling than knowing you have a massage gift certificate waiting for you!
Obviously a massage feels good, but there are great health benefits too:
- Tones and strengthens all tissues in the body
- Improves digestion
- Improves circulation, therefore increasing longevity
- Reduces stress
- Eases anxiety (the sense of touch soothes vata)
- Eases tension headaches
- Nourishes, softens and moisturizes the skin
- Releases toxins
- Relives muscle tension and stiffness, improving flexibility
- Strengthens the immune system
And if this list isn’t enough, then just go because it feels good!! You will be happier to give to others once you have given yourself some nourishment and peace of mind first. I promise!
LOVE this! From my friend Vincent at Kindle Café in New Jersey, quoting Abraham Hicks:
A belief is nothing more than a chronic pattern of thought, and you have the ability—if you try even a little bit—to begin a new pattern, to tell a new story, to achieve a different vibration, to change your point of attraction.
Now that it’s vata season, I have been craving chai like crazy! There is a tiny store (I guess it’s called a store) downstairs at work, but the “chai latte” is made with some kind of chai sugar-powder. Bleh. So I bought some chai tea bags but I couldn’t really add milk to it because it wasn’t strong enough, plus it tasted a little…lifeless. There is a café way down the street, but they also switched from leaf chai to powder. Dude! For the love of chai, isn’t there anyone who holds this drink sacred?! (echo, echo, echo)
What is the saying, something about, not needing to look any further than your back yard (if you know that saying, send it to me and you get 10 points)? Well before my wee eyes, I saw on facebook that friend and fellow entrepreneur, Naja, had created an authentic masala “sassafrass” chai tea! I got excited. I bought it right away and it’s PERFECT! It’s SO full of life and spice and smell AND adding steamed milk won’t dilute the flavor and spiciness.
Naja is founder and creator of Naja Tea and if you have not tried these teas, they are a must. First of all, you can feel the good energy in the tea – these teas are made from love, there’s no doubt about it. Second, Naja is uber picky and travels the world to find only the best teas. Guess where she was a few weeks ago? India! Buyin’ spices for chai and answering my prayers.
Naja Tea would be great for holiday gifts or for selfishly stuffing your own stocking. What. A girl needs her sanity and a mighty stash of good chai certainly helps.
Naja Tea website: www.najatea.com
Apparently Naja is also good at reading people’s minds, so if you have a favorite tea, look for it on her site because it might already be there.
Hey! This Thursday is Thanksgiving. Ok show of hands and answer honestly: Who already knows that they will end up overeating? Next question: If you already know you are going to overeat, why do we do it? It might be partially because of the social aspect eating with family, partially because it’s tradition to end up over-full on Thanksgiving, and partially because we want to try all of the super yummy foods.
It’s very much in our culture to embrace it as a holiday of over-abundance and over-indulgence in food. And we celebrate with gratitude, love, and appreciation in all the great things we are lucky to have.
But, what we might not understand is that this one day of overeating can set our digestion back significantly if we don’t pay attention. It’s not so much that the day is “bad.” But what’s kinda “bad” is that we don’t usually give our agni (digestive fire) a chance to catch up and digest the food it’s been given before adding more. If there is an overload of food sitting in our stomachs from Thanksgiving, it’s going to take our agni extra time to digest it. Maybe even until the next day! The problem comes when we eat normally on Friday, piling in more food on top of the old food from Thursday that hasn’t gone through digestion yet. This literally turns into a pile-up of food (similar to a traffic jam) which easily can turn into ama. We don’t want that!
Here are some tips to keep digestion strong during Holiday eating. And remember that in addition to good food, let love be what fills you up because that’s where the real nourishment is.
- Before the meal, have an Indian lemonade appetizer to ignite agni
- Cold beverages will slow digestion, stick with warm drinks
- Favor the foods that are best for YOU and have less of the others.
- Be mindful of your hunger, remembering to eat and drink until you are 3/4 full, then stop
- Most likely, you don’t need seconds. Weigh it against how you will feel if you are too full
- Chew well!
- Lay on your left side for 20 minutes after the meal to assist agni (no longer than 20)
- Take a leisurely walk with your family after the meal to help digestion and to avoid sluggishness
- Wait until you are totally hungry (stomach rumblings) before eating again
- If you are unsure about the state of your digestion, check your tongue. If your tongue is white, fast and drink ginger tea until it is pink (that way you know the food has been digested)
- If you are not hungry on Friday, fast with herbal teas or fruits until you feel hungry.
Still on the kick with my favorite book, Absolute Beauty by Pratima Raichur. Our skin is a direct reflection about what’s happening on our insides. She talks about how we cannot hope to have nice skin if we don’t change our eating habits because on a cellular level, our bodies are composed of the food we eat. So, eating processed, stale, and life-less foods, will create aged and lifeless skin.
For example, what does your skin look like after having too much to drink the night before…NOT pretty!! Oh come on, you’ve seen it. Puffy eyes, extra dry skin…Now imagine what that does over time. And since the skin is a reflection of our insides, IMAGINE what it does to our internal bods! I will be blunt. If your diet consists of regular consumption of coffees, sodas, alcohol, fast foods, fried foods, refined sugars, you are not on the right track (I don’t mean to be rude), because these things are not “food!” These won’t affect you too terribly when taken on a very occasional basis, but there are many people who have these as staples in their diet. And I’m here to say that…it’s not really ok.
(if you are mad, you can write and yell at me…but I’m trying to heal people here)
On the other hand, foods that are high in prana (life energy) like veggies, fruits, grains, milk, ghee, and healthy fats will give your skin a glow! You will notice that fine lines go away, the nice fats keep your skin supple, and there will be a radiance about your skin. I bet a million dollars that you will FEEL better too – and your mind will be more clear.
When skin is happy, we know our insides are happy. Our skin is one of the BEST tools we have to use to see what’s happening inside. That and, poop.
Hooray!! I have more goodies from my favorite book, Absolute Beauty, by Dr. Pratima Raichur. This little ritual is super fun and I think all the ladies will especially enjoy it. The book discusses some simple techniques for a natural face-lift to raise droops and erase any lines. “Sign me UP,” you say? Right on, keep reading!
Let me fill you in about why it works first. We have marma points (mini energy centers) throughout our bodies. These marma points are found along srotas, or channels, that run from head to toe. Really similar to acupuncture! Stimulating these points release stored energy and stimulate flow. One reason why we get wrinkles is because we are making the same expression over and over – and our faces “get stuck that way” (your mom ever tell you that when you made a goofy face?). Ok not really stuck, but you know what I mean.
Dr. Raichur writes, “Massage not only helps skin to look younger, smoother, clearer more radiant, but also helps the body to overcome tension and fatigue, and the mind to feel peaceful and refreshed.” We hold a lot of tension in our face that we probably don’t even realize. Try pinching your eyebrows or pressing your temples – maybe a little tender? Yep, we hold a lot of stress in our face, so let’s remove some! Yeehaw!
Ok. Let’s get to the good stuff.
The Natural Face-Lift Massage by Pratima Raichur (all the words are hers, the drawing is mine)
Using your middle finger, massage each point below in clockwise direction for twenty to thirty seconds.
1. center of chin (relief for head colds)
2. both corners of the mouth
3. center bone between the nose and upper lip
4. outside corners of nose where nostrils flare (corresponds to small intestines and relieves sinuses)
5. center of cheek bones. Push up on underside of bone and massage
6. lower lids just above cheekbone. *Press gently with ring finger, do not massage
7. brows. Use bottom of thumbs to press upward on the inside corner of eyebrows at bridge of nose. Then with thumb and forefinger, pinch each brow across the whole arch from inside to outside corner. Repeat (When done correctly, this may cause mild soreness due to stored tension. Good for headaches and bladder problems)
8. temples. Use flat fingers to massage gently
9. third eye (between eye brows)
10. crown. Place both hands on top of the head and move them rapidly back and forth to vibrate the scalp.
TADAAAA! Do you love it?! You can do this whenever you think of it. Daily is great, but we don’t always have that time. Great to do before bed as it always zonks me out. Happy Lifting!!
Hey! A friend of mine recently asked me how to stay healthy during flu season. The first thing that came to mind was ojas!
What the heck is ojas? Ojas (OH-jus) is the essential energy of our vitality, immunity, strength, luster and health. Ojas is the pure essence of all bodily tissues which means that after all the tissues in the body have gone through their digestive processes, ojas is what is left. It’s our immunity and in addition, it is responsible for reproduction and creation. We only have a tiny bit, a few drops, and it lives in the heart. People with good ojas rarely get sick and people with low or low quality ojas will get sick often.
Hooray! Well, what enhances ojas!?
• Ghee is the best ojas enhancer!! Use it in your food or drink with warm milk.
• Milk is also good for ojas (tip: after sex, have a small glass of milk to replenish ojas)
• Get good quality sleep
• Proper diet according to who YOU are
• Stress management through Pranayama* nadi shodhanam, kapalbhati, and/or so hum.
*Important!! It is said in Ayurvedic texts that if we do 10 minutes of pranayama a day, disease cannot set in Period! Sounds too simple to work, doesn’t it? Well, how many people are sick? Lots. And how many do you think are doing daily pranayama? I would guess…none. Dude, just try it! You can’t say it doesn’t work if you don’t try it. Make time daily and you will not get sick!!! (jumping off my soapbox…)
Ok what depletes ojas!?
• Improper diet including: alcohol, caffeine, carbonated bevy’s, fast food, stale food, super cold or raw foods
• Anything in excess including work, stress, worry/anxiety, sex, and exercise.
• Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep
One more thing to add. Mind over matter. If you THINK you are going to get sick, you probably will. Keep your mind clear and think healthy. When doing pranayama inhale pure life and healing energy. On the exhale release toxins, negative energy and negative thoughts. Let it all go. Pure mind equals a pure body.
Use the tips above to help keep yourself flu free this winter! And as usual, wash your hands a lot, don’t lick shopping carts, and don’t let people cough on you. Stay healthy!!
About a month ago, my boyfriend and I decided to foster a dog. In September she was 8 months old, had a badly broken leg (hit by a car) and was scheduled to be put down at the shelter. I saw an email with her name and photo, freaked out and worked with a rescue group. They pulled her out of the shelter and got funding for her surgery. We were the foster parents…and then…we were in puppyland.
The first day she went into heat. Awesome. I came home from lunch on the first day and there was poop and blood smeared on the bathroom floor (cause she stepped in it). Looked like a frickin’ crime scene. There were wood pieces and a hole chewed in the baseboard of the bathroom door so she could get out. She leapt over a baby gate on three legs (with a cone on her head). She shredded her doggie bed from inside her crate (the bed was on top of the crate). She chewed a hole in a METAL crate (wires pokin’ out all over the place). She pulled off her muzzle and then tore it apart. And she cried at night. All night.
There was one point when I told my boyfriend, “I don’t even want to go home. She is a total disaster and I don’t want to deal. I don’t want her and we can’t keep her.” My boyfriend (kapha) said, “Well, we won’t keep her, but just think of all the things she’s been through. She’s in pain, scared, and doesn’t know any better.” Eeoooooh…good point.
At only 8 months old she survived getting hit by a car, had a broken leg for at least 3 weeks, escaped euthanasia by 2 days, and went through major leg surgery. Not only that, she was in pain, on meds, in heat for the first time in her life, and had my crabby dog constantly barking at her. Poor thing!!
After I thought about what SHE went through, I was ashamed of myself for my severe lack of compassion. Yes it was a disruption and yes parts were gross, but we took this dog in to help her. And HOW could I have forgotten that? And how could I think such mean things because this was a little life. THIS was LIFE! More important than my yoga practice in the morning, my journal writing, or even my blog, THIS was life! And I was choosing to not only ignore it, but I actually wanted it to go away. I immediately felt my insides get softer. And suddenly I was the one with my tail between my legs.
I followed my heart when I saw her photo, so why was my heart SO quick to shut down when things got difficult? It’s something to think about. Do you tend towards compassion or judgment? My hope is that we start to see beyond the outsides of someone’s situation – we don’t know what they’ve been through. Let’s peek into someone else’s world before we judge or grow impatient. Maybe they are doing the best they can. Maybe they could do better with our help!
The funny thing is, as soon as I found my compassion and surrendered, things turned around. A month later, she is close to perfect now…and we’ve decided to keep her :) Compassion is better than judgment. Love is better than contempt. Let’s work on it. If I can, YOU can!
First! Stress is the number one killer. Did you know that?
Second! I love my violin. LOVE it (first and second don’t relate yet, but gimme a second). But when I play I tend to clench EVerything. My jaw, my shoulders, my wrist, my fingers, my hand – everything is usually tense- and really hurts! Sometimes I cramp up and have to stop.
Then my violin teacher said something brilliant. She said, “You only need to press down on the string so far for it to make a noise. If you press harder than that, it’s just wasted energy.” *GASP!* She was so right. Here I was thinking about pressing down so hard and for what? I would sound the same if I released a little bit and I would be able to play longer AND pain free.
Now. What if we took this principal into account in our own lives? What if, instead of taking on more, skipping lunch to do more work, pressing on when we’re tired, and striving to keep up with jones’, if we just surrendered a bit? I was saying to someone at work yesterday that I always give 110%. And then I thought, “Like, why? 100% is as high as you can go anyway.” What if I only functioned at 100%? The numbers say that I am still at an A+, but the impact that it would have on my stress levels, time gained for MYSELF and my life, would be huge. That’s 10% more for me!
I’m not saying go out there and be a bunch of slackers, but check your life. Is there something that you put gobs of energy into that is neither not serving you or, more importantly, requires a lot less gobs? Is there anything that you make more difficult or stressful than it has to be? Do you create extra “work” for yourself? And, are you giving energy away?
Think about that.
Did you come up with some things? Solutions could be making dinner more simple so you can eat earlier and have more relaxation in the evening. Or maybe you get in a 30 minute work out instead of 45 minutes. Maybe don’t fold your underwear into perfect squares. Color coded.
You get my drift. Let go a little. Surrender a little. You will be able to accomplish ALL the great things you want to and maybe more, because you will be at ease. Things will flow and energy will be preserved for your mental and physical health. It will take time, but try to work on it. I just played my violin and I have a big string dent in my finger. I will keep practicing, trying not to stress the string or myself ;)