Posts tagged ayurveda
Ayurvedic Lifestyle Podcast

Hey everyone! Just wanted to give you a heads up that I was on Love Rising podcast this week chatting with Clara from Revolutionary Lifestyle about all things Ayurveda! As you guys may already know, I am a Certified Ayurvedic Lifestyle Counselor and often integrate Ayurvedic wellness practices and diagnostic tools in my holistic nutrition practice. On the podcast, I explain what Ayurveda is (hint: it's India's 5000 year old medical system, translated as the "science of life") and talk about the primary doshas (vata, pitta and kapha) and how to juggle all three to maintain health and balance. A big part of this is having a solid daily routine which I go through in detail, i.e. sleep-wake cycles, meal timing, etc. And finally Clara and I catch up about our respective experiences at Vaidyagrama which is an Ayurvedic detox retreat center in India. I was there about four years ago and my time there was instrumental in my personal healing process. You can read more about my time at Vaidyagrama here and here. So, if Ayurveda is at all interesting to you, head on over to iTunes and have a listen to the new Love Rising podcast! You can click the photo above or here is the link! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or want to learn more! 

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Start Sleeping Better Tonight!

Ancient Ayurvedic wisdom teaches us that living in accordance with the natural rhythms of nature will lead to flow and ease. Living out of sync with these rhythms can cause disruptions in our bodies, such as indigestion, bowel irregularities, hormonal fluctuations and difficulty sleeping. The 24-hour day is broken down into six 4-hour cycles, each with its own optimal activities. The cycle I'm honing in on in today's post is our natural sleep-wake cycle, which is ideally 10pm - 6am. I've explained this in more detail in the post, along with discussing five of the most common sleep issues either I've experienced personally or hear from my clients. I've given you the action steps for how to fix these issues, plus a handful of deep sleep tips, to help you start getting more restorative sleep tonight!

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5 Common Sleep Issues and How to Fix Them

In life, we can choose to move with or against the current of nature’s natural rhythms. Our daily rhythms and hormonal fluctuations are tied to the cycles of nature and, when these are all in sync with each other, life seems a lot easier because you'll be 'going with the flow.' 

According to Ayurveda, the stress of living against these natural cycles is a fundamental violation of healthy living. Living in sync with nature’s cycles is a powerful lifestyle tool to de-stress the body and mind and feel like you're in the flow of things.

Ayurveda suggests that, in nature, there are two 12-hour cycles that are each divided into three smaller cycles. 

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Ayurvedic Green Gram

I haven’t eaten any animal protein (meaning: chicken, fish, pork, red meat, etc.) since I left Australia last Christmas to travel in Asia. I began my meat-free life in India at the Ayurvedic detox center, as animal products (except for milk) were not an option. The wellness retreat in Thailand where I stayed for yoga teacher training served only vegetarian meals. In the Himalayas in Nepal, we learned that no animal is allowed to be slaughtered in the Everest region (the Sherpas who live there are Buddhists) and therefore meat for the trekkers comes to the region either by plane or by road. It is then transported up the mountain to the teahouses on the back of a yak or Sherpa, in a straw basket “protected” from the sun and flies by a tarp over the top. After walking past a few of these yak trains or over-loaded Sherpas, my vegetarianism while trekking was confirmed. From there, we headed to Ubud (Bali) which is like a healthy hippie vegetarian heaven. There are at least a dozen restaurants right in the main part of town serving up incredible and unique plant-based cuisine so I thought choosing the meat option seemed like a waste. By the time I got back to the U.S. in April, I figured I would want to tuck right in to a nice piece of wild-caught Alaskan salmon or a beautiful organic and pasture-raised chicken breast, but I didn’t. There was nothing in my body or mind telling me I wanted meat again. I didn’t feel malnourished, weak, or tired; in fact, I felt light, energetic and wayyy less bloated! The latter being the most exciting for me as I have struggled with my digestion for quite some time. While I’m not saying my digestion is 100% healed with perfect elimination and zero bloating, I am confident that it is much better than it was six months ago. No longer eating animal products may be a large factor or a small factor in that equation, but one thing is for certain - you need a strong digestive fire to digest animal protein and, at the moment, mine is still a little flicker.

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Forget Modesty - My First Ayurvedic Oil Massage

To remove toxins from the system and balance the body’s three fundamental energies (called doshas), Ayurveda employs many internal cleansing programs, one of which is panchakarma.  There are a vast array of treatments used in panchakarma, so it is up to the doctor to decide which of the body’s doshas are aggravated and prescribe a course of treatments to flush the accumulated toxins and restore balance.  At Vaidyagrama, the Ayurvedic retreat I visited in India, some people have very intense treatments and others have quite an easy go of it. For example, my friend Netti had to drink increasing amounts of ghee (up to 200 ml) over the course of 7 days while having no other food except for a little bit of rice water. This week of ghee was followed by a series of purgatives to expel the accumulated toxins from the body. She was basically chained to the bathroom during those days. Meanwhile, I was chilling out eating all the food I wanted and receiving warm oil massages and other luxurious treatments. One of the things I love about Ayurveda is how personalised it is. (Easy for me to say considering I wasn’t the one drinking butter!) But it is true. Not one person at Vaidyagrama (there were about 30+ patients) was doing the same course of treatments, taking the same medicines or eating the same food. Everything that is prescribed for each person is completely tailored to his/her individual nature and to the root of what is causing his/her own bodily imbalance. 

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A day at Vaidyagrama, an Ayurvedic Detox Retreat

As you may know, I was studying Ayurveda in Sydney over the past 9 or so months before I left on my traveling adventure.  Ayurveda is the wisdom of life and longevity and perhaps the oldest existing body of knowledge on the healing process. It is not just a medical knowledge system, but an art of living in harmony with the laws of nature. When Ayurveda talks about wellness, it includes physical, mental/emotional, spiritual, social and environmental wellbeing - as holistic as it gets! It encompasses diet and nutrition, lifestyle, exercise, rest, relaxation, meditation, breathing exercises, medicinal herbs, and cleansing and rejuvenation programs for healing body, mind and spirit. 

As I had been studying the principles of Ayurveda, as well as learning the various treatments to bring the health of a person back into balance, I wanted to see Ayurveda is action in India, where it originated.  My teacher in Sydney suggested that, if I wanted to experience the real deal panchakarma process (body, mind, spirit cleansing/detox treatment), I should go to a place called Vaidyagrama near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, southern India.  Vaidyagrama is an experimental green Ayurveda healing community born out of the desire to “live simple, live well, live healthy and live happy!” How cute is that? It is a small, but lovely, eco-retreat in the middle of nowhere….which helps with pacifying temptations to sneak out and get myself some chocolate and a cappuccino! I stayed at Vaidyagrama for the month of January.  Sounds like a really long time, but it went by so quickly - I could have easily stayed another few weeks! 

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Operation: Rest the Gut

There is an old Indian Proverb that goes something like this: One who eats once a day is a great Yogi (Divine Man). One who eats twice is a great Bhogi (sensual gratifier). One who eats thrice is a great Rogi (plagued by ill-health). One who eats 4 times is a great Drohi (one who torments all).

Ayurveda, which translates to ‘life science’ or ‘life knowledge’, is a system of health which is designed to purify the body in order to enhance self awareness and bring about deep and profound transformational changes in one’s life.  Ayurveda makes use of many different treatments and techniques which work together toward this common goal.  Yogic practices, such as yoga, breathing, and meditation, as well as what, when, and how we eat, play a very important role in purifying the body and integrating the mind, body, and soul. 

One of the ingredients on the path to enlightenment, or at least to a balanced life free of dis-ease, is our food choices and eating habits. 

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Living and Eating Seasonally + Winter Veggie Soup Recipe

Do you feel cold and dried out in winter?  Puffy and congested in spring?  Overheated and lethargic in summer? If so, listen up!

As I have mentioned before, Ayurveda is all about living in harmony with nature.  When we live our lives attuned to nature's rhythms and cycles, there are profound benefits for our health and sense of well being.

Why?

Because our internal landscape mirrors Mother Nature's.  This is where paying attention to seasonality becomes important.

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Rise. Sip. Shit. Move.

....in that order!

I've had to do some fine tuning, but I think I have come up with a winning formula for achieving the above.  Rise, Sip, Shit, Move.

A bit vulgar, yes. But that's kinda how I roll.

As you may know, I am studying Ayurveda which is the traditional system of healing in India and is concerned with how to live your life in harmony with nature.  When you have a daily routine that supports nature's rhythms and cycles, you feel good, and you build up your resistance to disease.  How you start your day is crucial to a healthy daily routine.

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Winter Remedies + Quinoa Breakfast Bake

Whether you're a snow bunny or a sun worshiper, we all feel the effects of the cold, heavy, damp, cloudy weather during winter in our bodies and minds.  We spend less time outside getting sun on our skin and more time curled up under blankets in hibernation mode.  This is completely natural considering the days are shorter and everything in winter slows down, including our bodies.  As a particularly cold and dry person myself, I have to take extra care in winter to avoid further aggravation of these qualities and maintain my health.  Even if you find that your body responds well to the colder temps outside, everyone can benefit from keeping an eye on these qualities to prevent colds, flu, sore throats, congestion, and other respiratory problems.  The key to health in winter is ensuring the body’s lymphatic and circulatory systems are working efficiently.  If you’re feeling a little less-than-awesome, try one or some of these winter remedies:

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