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So far Shannon has created 55 blog entries.

Caring for Our Senses Tip Sheet

After many posts on caring for our senses, I made you a tip sheet to print out with all the information in one place.  Enjoy!
Caring for our senses tip sheet 
If you have any questions, please be in touch: Shannon@livingintobalance.com.

By |June 9th, 2017|Ayurveda, Care for your Senses, disease prevention, health|0 Comments

Stay Cool this Late Spring and Summer

In the northern hemisphere, late Spring and Summer are pitta season, bringing us more fire and heat outside which elevate those qualities within us both physically and mentally.
For those with more fire or heat in their constitution, these inner shifts can become uncomfortable bringing an increase in impatience, irritation and anger as well as excess stomach acid, loose stools, skin eruptions, throbbing headaches and a desire to escape the heat.
If you have a predominance of pitta or fire in your constitution, you probably recognize these signs of imbalance, especially prominent in the warmer weather. If you have more pitta in your nature you’re probably sensitive to light, fair skinned with a medium build, have bright blue or hazel eyes, an intense gaze and a tendency towards short or far sightedness. Additionally, you probably have a strong appetite and don’t like to miss meals. Mentally you are bright with a tendency towards being overly-focused, perfectionistic, judgmental of self and others and have strong leadership capacities. Other ways pitta expresses physically are in good muscle development, early graying or a receding hairline and a tendency towards excess acidity, loose stools and skin eruptions. Out of balance pittas will drag their bodies around […]

By |May 24th, 2017|Ayurveda, digestion, disease prevention, health, healthy eating, yoga|0 Comments

Caring for Our Senses: The Nose

Our minds are deeply affected by the impressions we take in. What we see, hear, feel, taste and smell all register on our mental body in pretty profound ways. When our senses are over-stimulated, under-stimulated or wrongly stimulated, we get thrown off balance. In yoga, the mental body, Manas, receives input from the world through our senses, categorizes this information and sends out impulses to act in the world. Our sense organs are the gateways that allow information in and the clearer and cleaner our sense organs, the clearer our perceptions will be.
Our sense of smell is perhaps our most primitive sense, linking directly into the limbic system, or emotional, “primitive” brain and memory. The nose is the gateway through which we take in the world’s aroma, and are drawn towards the people, foods and plants that are good for us, and led away from those things which will cause us harm, like rotten food, or situations. Harsh and offensive odors cause strong aversion just as delicious odors can whet our appetite. Familiar scents can trigger strong memory, and transport us to another time altogether.  
Our nostrils are covered with fine hairs which help filter the air that we breathe. […]

By |May 10th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Building Better Habits

Today I want to talk to you about habit change.  Habit change is the opposite of all-or-none behavior where we are either doing everything all at once or we are doing nothing at all. Effective habit change is about taking small steps in the direction that we truly want to go–one baby step at a time. This is doable; it is sustainable and it works. This is important, because research shows that it takes 21 days to change a habit–if we are already burnt out by the end of the first week, we won’t be successful at changing.
If you’re a more perfectionistic type, you might not want to waste time. You’re on top of things and you just want to take care of business: “Just give me all 50 steps at once, and let me get on with it.” Problem is, when we try to make change like that is rarely works because life happens–and we can’t sustain that level of change for long. And even if we could, we know that too much change, even if it is good change, is stressful on our organism. Too much of a good thing is still too much. In a state of stress, […]

By |April 21st, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to Take Care of Your Digestive Fire

Ayurveda teaches that all imbalance in the body starts in the digestive tract. Those low-level, chronic gut issues undermine our good health and over time, send imbalance into the deep tissues (organs) creating disease. Basically, everything we take into our organism we need to digest
Agni, the sanskrit word for “fire,” refers to all of the digestive juices in our stomach as well as the digestive enzymes from the liver and pancreas and the rest of the digestive tract. According to Ayurveda, there is agni in every cell in our body (think cellular metabolism) and in 40 main sites in the body. But the primary Agni, called “Jatara Agni” is in the stomach. If agni is strong we are physically radiant, with lustrous skin and eyes, good immunity, balanced temperature regulation, a clear mind and  self-confidence. When agni is weak, there is indigestion: gas, bloating, excess acidity, poor assimilation, weak immunity, dull complexion and eyes, foggy thinking, fatigue—you get the drift.
We feel agni when we feel real hunger in the belly. Its important to be able to distinguish real hunger from emotional hunger. Real hunger is a sign of health and a signal that the body is ready to […]

Love Yourself Regularly or How to Get the Oxytocin Flowing

Today I want to talk with you about love. Yes, that’s right, LOVE. Not the sappy stuff of teenaged radio songs, but the REAL THING that makes your heart relax and your breath deepen. Take a moment right now to think about someone you really love–some being that when you think of them, you can’t help but smile. As you bring them to mind,  feel the feelings that arise, breathe deeply and let that energy circulate through your entire being….
You know, when we think about someone we love, or when we are in their presence,  a powerful hormone called oxytocin is released into our blood stream. This is the bonding hormone and it makes our body feel relaxed, receptive and open. This is the state we want to generate when we do any practice. When we do self-care in a relaxed and spacious way, even if we only have 5 minutes, the effects will go deep.
Contrast this with bringing to mind a stressful person or situation. Pick one that even the thought of makes you hold your breathe and close down. Notice the feelings that arise when you focus on a stressful situation. What you’re feeling in this case is […]

By |April 12th, 2017|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Ayurveda for our Senses: The Tongue

What we feed our senses, and how we care for them is an important, often overlooked form of self-care and a direct way to cultivate mental calm and peace. Think of the baby whose senses we protect so carefully so as not to overstimulate, and then consider for a moment how many impressions you have taken in so far today. Notice the quality of your mind right now—how dull, stimulated or quiet/peaceful?

Caring for our sense organs is a way of relieving them of excess stress and strain as well as keeping their pathways clear and nourished. Our tongue is an important organ that allows us to taste our food and supports our capacity to make speech. Without a tongue we couldn’t talk or enjoy the taste of food. Imagine that.
The tongue has taste buds for six distinct tastes: sweet, sour salty, bitter pungent and astringent. The moment our brain registers the taste of the food in our mouths, it sends a message to our stomach to secrete the appropriate enzymes to digest that particular food. The tongue is the first part of the digestive tract, and the saliva in our mouth begins the digestive process by breaking down simple carbohydrates. 
Rather than balancing […]

By |March 27th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Ayurveda for Our Senses: The Eyes

This week in my series on caring for our sense organs (ears, skin, eyes, tongue, nose and mind), we focus on the Eyes and Vision.  We take in millions of impressions each day and consciously or unconsciously our organism has to process all of this information. This is going on all the time in the background of our minds. If we make space for meditation, we give room for all of that mind chatter to calm and ultimately to self-liberate.

What we feed our senses, and how we care for them is an important, often overlooked form of self-care and a direct way to cultivate mental calm and peace. Think of the baby whose senses we protect so carefully so as not to overstimulate, and then consider for a moment how many impressions you have taken in so far today. Notice the quality of your mind right now—how dull, stimulated or quiet/peaceful?

Caring for our sense organs is a way of relieving them of excess stress and strain as well as keeping their pathways clear and nourished. We can care for our eyes in the morning with a quick rinse with cool water. You can also use a neutral eye solution like Similasan homeopathic drops or Rose water or, for a stronger […]

By |February 9th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Ayurveda for Winter

Ayurveda is all about the ways our organism adapts, or fails to adapt to the conditions within and around us. In the case of mal-adaption, we practice the balancing actions that reconnect us to health mentally, emotionally and physically. Winter season, comprised of the qualities of earth and water, is cold, heavy, wet and dark. The outer cold sends more blood flow to the core of our bodies to keep our organs warm, so our digestion tends to be stronger this time of year than at any other time. There has been a need since the fall to eat more to insulate us from the cold, and we naturally, and healthfully store a little more fat for this reason. The outer cold and dark sends us indoors and hopefully to bed a little earlier, as adequate rest is one of the prime supports we have for our immunity and overall health. The holiday indulgences, if they continue into the New Year, will weaken our immunity and leave us vulnerable to the colds and flus going around. The heavy, dark days can lead to a feeling of stagnation both physically and emotionally. The excess fat our body stores this time of […]

By |January 12th, 2017|Ayurveda, disease prevention, health, healthy eating, yoga|0 Comments

Year-End Ritual: Creating Space for the New Year

In my last post, I began a series on the topic of mental digestion.  Indigestion at this level is at the root of so much of the malaise, lack of focus and diminished vitality we feel in our lives that I wanted to focus some time on the topic and offer simple ways to work with it.

We all know what it’s like to be overly full at a physical level. In fact, over the holidays we probably experienced more than usual while socializing with friends and family, nibbling throughout the days and evening–not really hungry, but enjoying the abundance of celebratory food and drink. This is as it should be. Life was also made for celebrating, and these times can be wonderful in so many ways. AND these times take their toll on us when they have gone on for too long….All the leftovers and sugary treats around the house begin to bog us down and we start to feel lethargic, achy and ripe for whatever cold or flu is going around. The remedy is to give our bodies time to process the excess by waiting for true hunger to return, sipping hot water with lemon (gently detoxifying) and once our appetite […]

By |December 29th, 2016|digestion, disease prevention, health|0 Comments
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