Say Yes

A few years back I dabbled in improv. I took classes, was in a troupe and even taught improv for a corporate sales meeting in Vegas (gawd that was fun). One of the foundations of improv is, “Yes, and…” So, when one of your fellow improvisers gives you an idea or a thought, you confirm and build on it by starting your next sentence with, “Yes, and…” For example, “Hey, that’s a nice hat.” “Yes, and my mom made one for you too.” See? From there the story can unfold. Whereas if the person said, “Hey, that’s a nice hat.” And then, “I’m not wearing a hat.” DOH! The scene is ruined and everyone feels uncomfortable.

Improv is all about going with the flow. If you flow against it, you’ll ruin the story (and make the audience uncomfortable). Now, what about applying that principal to life? We get thrown things ALL the time that we don’t plan for or even like all that much. We usually end up complaining how life is so unfair and we get the short end of the stick…blahdeeblah. But what if we took those things that aren’t quite so great, turned them positive and then ADDED something better to them!? Holy moly that is rockstar!!

Lets practice saying, “YES!” “Yes, and…” could be anything really.
• Your manager wants you to try a new task at work, “Yes and if it works I can teach others.”
• Someone tells you they are sorry and asks if you’ll accept their apology – how powerful is THAT one? “Yes and, I’m sorry too…” LOVE it.
• Or how about, “Babe, I’d like it if we could keep the house cleaner.” “Yes, me too, I’ll do a better job of helping with dishes.”
• “Can you please help me move the table?” “Yes and when we’re done would you mind helping me grab the chairs.” “Sure!” Seeeee…harmony!

When you say yes, you give others the chance to do the same. If you shut them down by saying no or negating their ideas, the relationship will have some strain. It might feel like you are Yes-Anding a lot in the beginning, but I also think you might be surprised at how well received it is. As you become more positive, watch the world around you change for the better. I promise. xoxo

*disclaimer! There are boundaries. If you are a “yes” person and bust up your own life for the needs of others, that is not what I’m talking about here. In Ayurveda (and on airplanes!) you always have to make sure that YOU are taken care of first, before you take care of others. Cool? Understood? Right. Love yourself first and love for others will follow with ease. xoxo (again)

Thyroid Challenge | Update!

Some of you have contacted me wondering about my personal thyroid challenge, and thank you for asking!! I started breaking out after a few weeks, which was kinda yucky but maybe kinda necessary.

Now, it’s been two months since I started and my skin has almost completely cleared up (I also went for a facial from my new favorite lady, Narine!). I got a reduction in medication two weeks ago from my doctor and I have to wait another 4 weeks to get my TSH levels checked. If the levels are normal, we’re in business!! That will mean that my thyroid has started working on it’s own again.

The good news is I got my period normally (tmi? whatever.) which NEVER happened when I was hypothyroid…so I’m hoping that’s a good sign.

In addition, a friend of mine found this cool site that has free yoga, pranayama and meditation classes. This yoga class is specifically for the endocrine system! I haven’t tried it just yet, but I will soon enough. An fyi, in case it seems weird, the “hummmm” sound she makes in the beginning is the vibrational sound of the 5th chakra (throat).

Anywho. Come on little thyroid…you can do it…go go go!! :)

Wrinkle-Guard

Ah, wrinkles. We try so hard to avoid them, don’t we. In Ayurveda we can read the entire body on the face! Depending on where the wrinkles are, we can see where imbalances lie in the body. A face that has lived a life of laughter, love, and nourishment is quite different from a face that is stressed, worries, and angry. Right? You’ve seen them – think of faces. Some are bright, some are dull. Some you want to stare at and some scare the bejeezes out of you. Emotions manifest in our body and our face reflects our body. Therefore it is true that our faces reflect our emotions.

Vata skin will be the first to wrinkle because their skin is dry and thin. Think about the earth when it’s dry…it cracks. Same with our skin. Vatas have are like an emotional rollercoaster and they tend to race ahead and worry a LOT. They will get the lines across their forehead first and next in line would be crows feet.

Pitta skin will not wrinkle as fast because they have oilier skin. They will likely have crows feet first because they are constantly thinking and squinting. Pitta rules the eyes and if the eyes get “burnt out” (from pitta fire) this person will need glasses or contacts. So, they squint, analyze, criticize and disect what’s in front of them. Pittas are the folks who see sun damage first.

Kapha skin has sort of everlasting youth and doesn’t wrinkle very easily. Their skin is thick, oily, and resistant to most crud in the atmosphere. Kaphas are very mentally sound and they don’t get stressed or shaken by negative emotions as often as vata and pitta. Because their mind stays steady, so does their body, and therefore so does their skin. Lucky are the kaphas!

I have some light crows feet although I think they were worse like two years ago. I don’t know if they are from squinting at a computer screen or from laughing a lot. Probably both. I also have light horizontal lines on my forehead from worry (I like to worry. It’s annoying). Other signals are the two vertical lines between the eyebrows, which reflect deep seated anger or frustration. For more information on goodies like this, Absolute Beauty by Pratima Raichur has all you could ever want to know about skin care. I am completely in love with that book.

Here are some tips to help avoid wrinkles, hooray!
• Yoga inversions. Plough pose, shoulder stand, handstand, headstand, feet up the wall. All great for blood circulation and reducing wrinkles. It works! I’ve seen it on my own face!
Eat well. What you eat turns into your physical body. Garbage in, garbage out.
• Put good stuff on your skin. Your skin eats too so spend some money on it. I love these products from Simply Divine Botanicals – my skincare line of choice!
• Almond oil for crows feet. I do this nightly when it’s really dry outside. Apply a little bit with your ring finger and stroke from the outside of the eye and trace right along the cheek bone. Do these strokes (one direction only) for about 30 seconds and then hit the sack.
• Almond oil over the eyebrows. Start from the inner eyebrows, trace the brow bone (press firm & go slow) to the corner. Releases tension!
Give yourself a natural face-lift. It’s a really simple technique but works wonders to liven skin!
• Breathe. For goodness sakes, please breathe away that tension.
• Stop smoking and drinking too much booze. Enuf said.
• Call me and let me practice facial massage on you :D

Let us also remember that while we can do everything in our power to avoid it, we will eventually get wrinkles. It’s just gonna happen at some point, but it’s kind of a beautiful think because in a way, it’s a map of your life. Make sure to fill it with laughter, enjoyment, serenity, good rest, healthy breath, a career you love, good food, and most of all GREAT LOVE because everyone will see it on your face. mmwwaaaah! xo

Bit of Wisdom {27}

An all too common theme lately: emails & words that hurt. If you have been a recent recipient, please remember their dagger may have hit you, but it’s not about you. It’s about them. Send silent blessings and compassion. Feel free to cry your eyes out to let it go. But don’t hold onto it – it’s not yours to hold. Namaste sweet friends.

Customize Your Cup O’Joe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

40 Ways Yoga Heals

Hey! For those of you practicing or those who have been wanting to try yoga, I found this great list of 40 ways yoga heals! I got it from a super yummy book, Yoga As Medicine by Timothy McCall, MD.

Yoga and Ayurveda are ancient sisters and they work hand in hand. To put it simply, yoga is the practice that gets our minds ready for meditation. You might say, “But hey, yoga is physical, not really mental.” Well, in a nutshell (a very tiny nutshell) the physical poses in yoga work to calm the mind, so the spirit can open.

And, Ayurveda is the lifestyle that compliments yoga practice. Vice versa one could say that yoga practice completes an Ayurvedic lifestyle. Ideally in life, you would do both of them together because they sort of rely on each other. Ayurveda will encompass diet, lifestyle management, cleansing (panchakarma) therapies, herbal recommendations, pranayama (breathing techniques), and massage therapies. Yoga is the asanas (poses) that touch on the subtle channels of the body, to promote flow and help the mind calm down. Hopefully this wee nugget of info can help you understand the difference between these two lovely sisters.

Tip: Soothing Eyes

For tired or irritated eyes, soak cosmetic pads in rose water and rest on closed eye lids. Cucumber slices also work. Both will reduce redness, soothe the eyes, and add sparkle!

Fruitful Skin

Every month I get a really wonderful fruit box in the mail, but this month I got papayas that were past their ripened stage and a little funky lookin’. I called the company and because they are awesome, they are sending me new fruit. But it left me thinking, “What should I do with these papayas?” My first instinct with over ripe fruit is to put it on my face. Hah! I love taking ingredients from the fridge or over ripe fruit and mixing some sort of facial goo.

So, I ran and grabbed a newly favorite natural skin care book, Return To Beauty written by Narine Nikogosian. AND, I’m super excited because I’m going to get a facial from her this week for the first time! *squeal!*

Anywho, her book has over 200 recipes ALL with foods, oils, fruits and things you can eat. Our skin is our largest organ and anything you put on it, gets absorbed into the body. A good rule of thumb is, if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.

The handy part about the book is that you can look up the fruit in the back and it takes you to the recipes in the book. The one I used for papaya is a moisturizer and it’s SO pretty! It looks like orange sherbet and it made my skin super smooth.

I HIGHLY recommend getting your hands on the book! Now I just need a tiny refrigerator for my bathroom so I can keep my sour cream facial cleaner and papaya-nut-yogurt moisturizer in there without having to run up and down the stairs to the kitchen ;) xo

Bit of Wisdom {26}

Every day new cells are created. Every day we have the option to renew our bodies and minds. Bad habits & wrong choices become our cells & our physical bodies. One new choice, one deep breath, one kind gesture, one big hug will begin to change our cells, slowly creating a whole new you. You are WAY more powerful than you give yourself credit for. Believe in yourself, MAKE it happen!!

Water Rules

“You should drink 8 glasses of water a day”

“Drink a glass of water before your meal for weight loss because you won’t eat as much”

“Divide your body weight by half, change that to ounces, and that’s how much water you should drink a day”

Any of these sound familiar? These are just three examples of information we are given about drinking water. AND, I’m going to say, don’t listen to them. Listen to YOU. We are all different bodied, minded, beautiful people and we all have different needs. Ayurveda has a totally different take on drinking water and as always, it has to do with who YOU are. It also has to do with nature’s clock and how strong one’s agni (digestive fire) is.

Think about it. A kapha person is made of water & earth. Kaphas don’t like to move, so they rarely sweat (thus keeping water inside). Kapha people also have low digestive fire and tend toward weight gain. And what does water do to fire? Yep, puts it out. SO! If a kapha person followed the second statement above in a quest to reduce their weight and drank a glass of water before each meal, their agni is instantly squelched and so is their ability to digests the meal properly. They just put out their metabolic fire. And they probably created ama. SEE how these blanket statement water rules can go wrong!?

Another example, pitta people are hotter (sweat, metabolism, stress) than a vata or kapha. Therefore, pittas are more thirsty because their fire is constantly burning and they need water to cool down and replenish. For them, more water helps them balance. SO! I’ll help set the record straight and I’m sorry if I confuse you. Please read with an open heart and an open mind. I want you to be healthy and I’m here to make life easy and happy!! xoxo.

RULES FOR DRINKING WATER
• No ice!
Ice shocks the system, hampers digestion, and closes channels. Pittas can have cool water, but no ice.
• Sip small amount of warm water or tea with a meal. Have water 1 hour after the meal. Sipping a little warm water will help the food soften and prepare for digestion. But, if you drink cold water before, during or after a meal, your digestive fire will get put out. It’s the fastest way to weight gain, lethargy, indigestion, and ama (toxins). In Ayurveda, drinking water right after a meal is considered a poison.
• Drink when you are thirsty. Not because you are trying to match a magic number or because you think you have to keep your water bottle full. If you are a sweaty athlete, you will require more. If you work behind a desk (ahem!) you won’t need as much because you are not exerting heat or water.
• Have a glass of room temp water first thing in the morning. Awesome to flush the system from it’s night time processing. Good for the bowels, liver, kidneys.
• Know your agni. If you have strong metabolism, you will burn up water in your body faster, which will require more water. If your digestion is sluggish and you are prone to weight gain (kapha) or bloating (vata), sip warm water and don’t guzzle agua with your meals.
• Vatas need the most water (dry dry dry), pittas need moderate water and will likely slug water all day, kaphas need less water.

Little Liver Tips

Sure! I’ve got some thoughts (and apparently the desire to draw a little liver). There are some simple spices you can use and even some fun concoctions if you want to get a little fancy.

1. Tumeric is a good one – they come in capsules or you can use in cooking.

2. CCF Tea (Cumin, Corriander, Fennel – all seeds). Take 1 tsp of each and boil in a pot of water for 5 min. Strain the seeds and drink. You can drink warm or room temp. Sip all day! It’s way tastier than it sounds ;)

3. You can make a hot infusion of Corriander seeds (1 tsp) and Cumin seeds (1/2 tsp). Boil water. Crush the seeds. Dump the seeds into the water and let it sit over night. In the morning, strain the seeds and drink the water first thing in the morning. This will cleanse the kidneys, urinary tract and liver.

The liver and blood is governed by pitta. If pitta has run amuck and it’s affecting the liver, that means it will also affect the blood, the skin, and possibly the eyes (all pitta parts). This is how Ayurveda encompasses the entire being because the problem is not just in one area. And therefore, we don’t fix just the area, we treat the person. Three cheers!!

Using spices to heal is a great start, but you will need to include lifestyle changes also. Reducing stress, regular exercise, getting good sleep (bed by 10!), eating fresh foods, reducing salty, spicy, fermented foods, all will help lower pitta and will therefore keep your little liver healthy! Oh, and don’t forget to breathe. So hummmm. xo!

Cholesterol Reducing Spice Mix

Hey! One of you inquired about a spice mix to help reduce cholesterol. Indeed I have one! I got this one from Maharishi Ayurveda and there is a ton of great information on cholesterol on their site. If you want the short version, I’ll sum it up.

Basically cholesterol is a kapha imbalance. Remembering that kapha is lubrication and structure (it sticks and holds things together), in the case of cholesterol, kapha has created an increased “collection” of cholesterol. Cholesterol is NOT bad, in fact we need a certain amount of it. But when we have too much, it’s a cloggy problem.

Cholesterol reflects too much meda dhatu (fat tissue), which is also caused by a kapha increase. Why does kapha increase in the first place? Could be several reasons (mental, emotional, stress factors), but the main reason is likely low agni (digestive fire). Malfunctioning agni is responsible for 90% of all disease, which means if we don’t digest our food properly, we’ll eventually get some kind of imbalance. The key is to digest, assimilate, and eliminate foods properly (golden rule!) and you won’t get sick.

It’s also important to follow a kapha balancing diet and lifestyle if you have high cholesterol. Split lentils, mung dahl, garbanzo beans (hummus!) are good. All veggies are a big YES! Greens like kale, spinach, collard greens. All would be great sauteéd in a little ghee and add the spice mix below. Fruits like apples, pears, prunes and figs are also helpful for cholesterol because they help clean the bowels. Proper pooping is very important because it is directly connected to healthy agni. So pay attention :)

Avoid salts, cheeses, red meats, heavy breads, potatoes, goopy oil foods, fried foods, and yogurt. And as always, the fresher the food, the better.

Also, don’t forget about exercise! Kaphas don’t like to move much, but it’s exactly what they need. They need to get their sweat on at least 20-30 minutes daily. For kaphas who are lazy, try kapalbhati pranayam :)

Below is a recipe of spices that all have kapha reducing qualities. Together they will heat, dry and move the cholesterol out. Sprinkle on toast in the morning with a tiny bit of ghee. You can sauteé with cooked veggies and stir frys or sprinkle on rice or pasta (rice and pastas should be the smallest portion on the plate for kapha, veggies should be more).

Cholesterol Reducing Spice Mixture
You can make a nice sized batch and keep in a lidded jar. Enjoy and share with loved ones!!

3 parts ground turmeric
6 parts ground cumin
6 parts ground coriander
6 parts ground fennel
2 parts ground fenugreek
1 part dried powdered ginger
1 part ground black pepper

Take a Breather

Show of hands, who is stressed? Yep, many of us are. Women especially, tend to tackle a lot at once and then wonder how they are going to get it all done. Instead of invigoration, this can result in negative emotions like stress, anxiety, panic, and a sense of ungroundedness. Sort of defeats the purpose of living the good life and loving the work, right?!

We learn tools to manage our time and finances, but what about our psyche? The mind is what rules our entire being, so shouldn’t we have a tool to help us bring peace and clarity when stressed?

My friends, there is a simple tool to use that we often overlook. It is, breath. Good old fashioned lips-closed, nose-open, breath. Ayurveda says there are two channels in the nose (one in each nostril) which are the quickest pathways to the mind. Just ten deep, slow breaths through the nose will instantly calm you. The negative emotions will vanish and you are able focus on the task at hand.

It works flawlessly because the two channels have alternate energies. The left side is male energy, which is hot and it relates to the sun. The right side is female energy, which is cool and it relates to the moon. Focused breathing equalizes the opposite qualities and when practiced, the entire body balances out physically, emotionally, and mentally. Slow breaths tell the mind we are okay and at peace. When we breathe like a bunny (fast and irregular), our mind thinks there is a crisis, which sends panic signals to the rest of the body. This is how physical imbalances can happen over time and why stress has become the number one killer. No bueno.

So let’s keep the peace and remember to breathe You will stay focused, happy, and most importantly, healthy!!

Taking a Breather
Here are some different pranayama you can try:
• My favorite is So Hum!! You can practice in the morning or at bedtime for 5-10 minutes. You can also keep this in your toolbox of health tips and use as needed i.e., long commute, standing in the coffee line, when you get a stressful email.
Nadi Shodhanam
Kapalbhati

Cooling Pranayama (for pitta types or anger, when you feel like you could breathe fire…do these)

• Sheetkali: Clench teeth and inhale through the teeth. Feel the cool! Exhale through the nose.
• Sheetali (this one is fun!): Roll your tongue and inhale through the tongue. Also very cooling! Exhale through the nose.

Give Yourself Permission to Shine

Sometimes I find myself not really doing all I want to be doing or know that I am capable of doing. Then come in the echoing comments from school teachers, “She doesn’t work to her full potential…” Beh. Do you find the same thing? Ok maybe not the school teacher thing, but maybe you are bursting at the seams with great ideas. Then when you look around, you change your mind and give yourself a million reasons why you can’t possibly go through with it.
Ok. This is fear talking!! And believe it or not, some of us have a fear of success (A good book that addresses this is The Artists Way by Julia Cameron). But I guess we can sit in our safe (yet totally uninspiring) jobs/cities/houses/relationships, where it’s easy OR we can actually make a move. And in that, do something great for the world and for ourselves. It’s not always easy, but sometimes you need a little sparkle of light and love to keep you going. The poem below does that for me. I only know of it because Kimberly Wilson (Isn’t she a doll!? Ah, my favorite little yogini) shared it with us at her book signing. If it resonates, print it and put it next to your uninspiring thing in life.
Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

Thyroid Challenge | Breakin out

Hey! Since starting my thyroid challenge, I’ve notice a change. There are a ton of zits near my throat! I’m totally breaking out! Rats. I’ve never gotten zits there in my life. I wonder if it’s the thyroid toxins oozing out? Seems kinda odd that it’s all around that area doesn’t it? Look! And it’s sooo gross and I’m kinda sad :(

But it’s also kind of interesting. My body seems like it’s doin’ it’s thang with the help of the yoga poses. I’ve actually received suggestions about herbs and other things to try for the hypothyroidism, but I really want to try JUST yoga to see if it works. To me, that would just be so awesome. So I’m goin’ bare bones with this. Plus! The yoga teacher in India said that if you do the poses for one month, your thyroid will be fixed. I’m testing the theory to a tee.

Ok, that’s all for now! Next step will be reducing the meds in a few more weeks…keep you posted! xo

5 Spices for the Brain

Check it out! Someone has their finger on the pulse of Ayurvedic spices. Eeeeven if they don’t call them “Ayurvedic.” Those of you who are my clients, know that I recommend these often. xo!

New scientific research backs up Ayurveda: 5 spices that are good for the brain! http://bit.ly/bVHjP6

MonicaB featured on Tranquility du Jour podcast

Hey! Anyone out there know who Kimberly Wilson is? If not, you will really dig all the great things she does. She is an entrepreneur, yogini, author (Hip Tranquil Chick and Tranqulista), non-profit owner, AND eco-designer! Whew! She has a beautiful yoga studio (studio. 3 floors!) in Washington DC that she has nourished and watched flourish for the past 10 years.

I stumbled upon her and was so inspired that I immediately signed up for her yoga studio’s newsletter, even though I lived in San Francisco. Five years later, after the Uni (that’s my nickname for the Universe) aligned our paths a few times, I was a guest on her Tranquility du Jour Podcast today. I love how life works! Kimberly continues to be such a source of inspiration for me. She’s an absolute delight and is as much fun as she is wise. If you ever have the opportunity to go to one of her workshops, yoga classes, or retreats, your mind and heart will be instantly rejuvenated! You can enjoy more of her podcasts too – she makes it easy to listen to the archives. yay!

Podcast link:
Tranquility Du Jour Podcast on Ayurveda | Kimberly Wilson & Monica Bloom

More about Kimberly
{read} tranquilitydujour.com
{facebook} facebook.com/kimberlywilson
{twitter} twitter.com/tranquilista
{do-good} tranquilspacefoundation.org

Keep Calm & Carry On

I would never call myself “zen.” In fact, I’m pretty far from it (ask anyone who knows me). BUT! I do have a tool of sanity that I use quite often. I practice a lot and I’m getting better at it. It saves me from filling with anxiety or hanging onto stabbing pains of grief. It lifts me from sorrow and relieves me from being a complete stress ball (I have loosely tied stress, but it’s not a ball).

Over the past two weeks I have encountered several complaints from friends about how they feel and it all relates to not staying present. A friend was afraid of being hurt when dating a new guy, so she decided not to act like herself. Another friend has kept herself so busy with her own business that she hasn’t had a weekend for herself in 5 years! Another friend emailed me today who expressed overall sadness and she’s not sure why.

My guess is this. We are so in our heads about the “what-ifs” in worrying about the future, that we FORGET to live right now. Right here, right now (Jesus Jones. Aw, come on! You know you were thinkin it…) is all that matters because the past is gone and the future hasn’t happened yet. We can create this turmoil by chasing large goals and forgetting about today. Or maybe we worry so much about having a failing relationship, that we don’t let it begin. Maybe we can’t let go of the past and we punish ourselves by reliving old arguments or experiences.

Stay here. Take a breath. Look around. Are you safe? Are you warm? Everything seems ok? Ok. Then you can manage it. One little step at a time and stay here. Enjoy the peace of what is now.

My worklife (day job) has changed so much in the past two days, it’s staggering (or comical). But all I can do is what I can do. I am not going to spend my time and energy in a panic worrying about the future. Nor am I going to spend my time and energy reminiscing about what used to be and how great it was. Why bother? None of those things exist. So, I stay neatly in place and carry on. And I find that amongst all the crazy change, I remain quite happy.

So look at your world. What do you really have to worry about? And what is made up? When you are stressed, anxious, or depressed, ask yourself if it’s because of something happening right NOW or is your mind causing your own stress?

Live in the now. And like the Brits said on the WWII poster below, “Keep Calm and Carry On.” xoxoxo


Ghee-Licious Flavors!!

Yaaaay!! My dream has come true. The ghee man (Sandeep! From Pure Indian Foods. 1.877.LUV.GHEE) has created some knock-your-socks-off ghee flavors! In addition to the original grass-fed ghee, now there are 6 different flavors of the ghee infused with healing herbs and spices. Woooo!!

They are all tasty and an easy addition to make meals extra good. Did I mention that ghee is the numero uno best friend of vata & pitta? Ghee reaches and nourishes all tissues (the best lubricator), it’s sattvic, it’s the only oil that increases agni (digestive fire/metabolsim), and it’s cooling for pitta. Below are the six flavors Sandeep and family have created with the love of cows in mind :)

1. Digestive (MonicaB Favorite!!): Ghee infused with cinnamon, cardamom, & ginger. Great on toast! Tastes like a cinnamon roll. Good for digestion.
2. Garlic (MonicaB Favorite!!): Ghee infused with garlic. Great on pasta, stir fried veggies, bread roll, homemade pizzas (spread on the crust). Good to help remove ama (toxins).
3. Indian Dessert: Ghee infused with fennel, cardamom, & saffron. Good for digestion and peace of mind.
4. Italian Herbs: Ghee infused with oregano, thyme, rosemary. Use on oven baked potato pieces, drizzle on veggies and add sea salt & pepper.
5.  Herbes de Provence: Ghee infused thyme, rosemary, basil, tarragon, lavender flowers. Add to caprese sandwiches, pasta with asparagus.
6. Niter Kebbeh: Ghee infused cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, tumeric, nutmeg. Nice on rice.

Go order some from Sandeep! | www.pureindianfoods.com | His family has been making this for 5 generations and their website has a ton of great information on ghee too. And be sure to tell him MonicaB sent you!

Warm Saffron Cocktail

If you are a vata or pitta type, you might have a tendency to get stressed (who doesn’t, right?) and perhaps worries of the future can creep in to cause some anxiety. When a client of mine was feeling anxious, ungrounded, wound up, and stressed, I told her to “wrap herself in a fuzzy blanket” with this little cocktail below.

Any time you feel like you have nothing to hold on to or that you are about to come unhitched, give it a try. This tiny drink is also great if you have a feeling of “emptiness” in your heart. It soothes both vata/pitta doshas and the ingredients are sattvic, which means that they are pure harmony for your entire being. And, it’s quite yummy!!

Small glass of warm milk
Add one strand of saffron
Can sweeten with brown or rock sugar if desired

Saffron is pricey. If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, you can get a wee tiny (I mean wee tiny, it’s super small. You may have to ask for it) for about $6. But don’t be sad, it will last you a good while. Hopefully by the time the jar is finished, you won’t need to make them any more :)