Ayurvedic Cleansing versus the Fad of Cleansing

I wanted to take a few moments this week to address the “fad of cleansing” that is popular in our culture, and to differentiate the Ayurvedic approach from what feels to me like a ubiquitous modern cleanse obsession.

Ayurveda like many preventive health systems uses periodic cleansing as a form of health management, specifically to boost our immunity. We accumulate toxins from our environment, from poor dietary and lifestyle choices, from chronically over-eating (regardless of whether we gain weight) and from the excesses of a particular season. Cleansing between seasons supports our body in releasing that excess, leaving us better prepared to deal with external pathogens in our environment. Constitution-tailored cleansing is an effective way to support our body’s natural self-healing and immunity..

And that’s the thing: constitution-tailored. Ayurveda is the opposite of one size fits all. Dietary fads are just that because they popularize something that worked very well for one type of person, but don’t work well across the board. Not only that, but Ayurveda recognizes how the seasons affect us, and makes shifts in what we’re doing based on those seasonal and environmental differences both externally, and internally (inner season = “life stage”). The same cleanse we might undertake […]

Preparing to Cleanse–a Gentle but Powerful Reset

Prajna paradha is a sanskrit term which is translates as, “crimes against wisdom.” It refers to the ways we willingly go against our body’s intelligence–like when we go to bed too late even though we’re tired; drink too much alcohol even though it makes us feel headachy in the morning; overeat even though we feel sick afterwards, etc. etc.
Don’t waste your time feeling guilty about your prajna paradha– we all do this from time to time. The questions to ask might be: “Why do I do this?” and “How do I get back on track with myself?”
Perhaps the chosen behavior didn’t always affect you adversely, or maybe you didn’t notice the consequences like you do now.  It’s possible everyone around you does it and so you go along with the program even though it doesn’t work for you anymore. Perhaps there is an initial thrill before the “fall” and you keep chasing that thrill even though the fall always follows. Maybe you’re stressed out, and the instant gratification you get from staying up too late, or eating the whole bag of chips makes you feel better for a moment. But not for long. And there’s the rub.
‘We can limit ourselves […]

Fall Cleanse

Ayurvedic Physician Dr. Robert Svoboda says, 

“We can either limit ourselves a little bit willingly, or Nature will do that for us in the form of illness.”  

Ayurveda teaches that seasonal transitions are the perfect time to cleanse. Fall and Spring are especially good junctures.  Our bodies are designed to filter out toxicity and keep us healthy. An ayurvedic cleanse is a protocol of supporting our system to do that with more ease and efficiency.  The result of fully eliminating the excesses of summer are a stronger immune system which translates as less fall allergy symptoms and fewer colds and flus.  This process lightens and brightens our bodies and minds and strengthens our digestive/eliminative capacities which are really at the heart of good health. 
Enjoy these benefits:

Glowing Skin

Less Gas, Bloating and Constipation

More Energy throughout the Day

Better Sleep

More Connection with your Body

More Clarity, Less Brain Fog

Stronger Immunity including Ease of Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

Sound Good?

Ayurvedic cleansing is unique in several ways:

An ayurvedic cleanse differs in that it is designed to detoxify all the bodily tissues, not just the digestive tract. During the cleanse we use internal oleation to support the movement of toxicity out of the deeper tissues and into the digestive tract where […]

By |August 20th, 2019|ayurvedic cleanse, digestion, disease prevention, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Ayurveda for Summer

Did you know that in the summer our digestive power is at a yearly low? That’s because the extra heat outside causes heat within our bodies to disperse towards the periphery to keep us cool. Less heat in the center, means less heat to digest our food and a corresponding lower appetite. We can support balance this season by going with the natural desire to eat lighter foods and less quantity. Here are some other simple tips and easy recipes for summer.

Eating Tips for Summer:

Substitute lime for lemon: lemon is too acidic and will increase heat in the body.
Enjoy cool but not iced cold drinks: iced cold beverages constrict the digestive organs and take energy to heat up–energy that’s already less available this time of year.
Eliminate garlic: too heating. Enjoy it again in the fall.
Reduce fermented foods (kombucha, yogurt, sourkraut): The sour taste increases heat in the body, so decrease amounts and frequency while it’s hot out or eliminate it all together this season.
Eat heartily from the local farmer’s markets.

Summer Breakfast–Fresh Fruit and Nuts:

Berries
Cherries
Apricots
Peaches
Handful of soaked nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans…soaked overnight, rinsed and added)
A sprinkle of grated coconut

Wash fruit and slice or pit. Add all ingredients to a bowl and dig in!
Summer Cooler–Pomegranate Spritzer:

3 oz Pomegranate […]

By |July 9th, 2019|Ayurveda, digestion, disease prevention, healthy eating|0 Comments

Nadi Shodhana

Of the 72,000 nadis (subtle channels, like meridians) that yoga describe, 3 are considered of prime importance: Sushumna, the central channel, residing within or just in front of the spine; and Ida and Pingala, the channels to the left and right of the spine respectively. These nadis control and regulate our physical and subtle nervous system. Our physical body and subtle body link up through the breath. Left nostril breathing gives access to Ida, corresponding to your parasympathetic nervous system, that part that cools, calms, and downshifts. Right nostril breathing is a way to access pingala, corresponding to your sympathetic nervous system which heats, activates and stimulates.Take a moment now to notice which of your nostrils is more open. In a balanced body, nostril dominance would shift every few hours. If you pay attention, though, you are likely to find that one side stays dominant longer than the other. This  imbalance, over time, creates bigger imbalances that manifest as body/mind symptoms such as: being too hot or too cold; excessive or deficient digestive fire;  difficulty falling or staying asleep, anxiety and depression, excess/low sex drive, menstrual irregularities and a deranged mind.To support a balanced cycle of alternating nostril dominance, you can practice 5 rounds of nadi shodhana once or twice a day. You can […]

By |June 12th, 2019|Ayurveda, disease prevention, meditation, Uncategorized, yoga|0 Comments

What to do when you are going in too many directions at once.

It’s been one of those weeks where I’ve felt pulled in so many directions that by late afternoon, I was a bit overwhelmed and out of body.

I’ve had a lot of experience in this state of overdrive, and I’ve learned that as much as the momentum I’ve accumulated in those moments wants to keep going, the best thing I can do is stop, get back in my body and reconnect to the earth underneath me. Somatic meditation brings me back to myself in a big way. It’s what I used this week to slow down and cut through that ego-illusion of ‘one more thing, then i’ll stop…’If you found going a bit too fast this week too, try this 30-minute somatic meditation I made for you. it will support your reconnection with your body and the earth (many of you who take regular classes with me will recognize this practice and enjoy this longer session). This is a perfect late afternoon, or just-home-from-work practice, but truly good anytime you can get to it–including first thing in the morning or before bed.

The good news is, you don’t have to wait until you’re feeling fragmented or de-vitalized […]

Space to Be

Every morning of my life begins with practice. The practices I have been engaging for the past three decades have helped me slow down, release stress and heal my body and my mind. They have made me a better mother, a better friend, a better teacher and a happier woman. These practices come from the wisdom traditions of yoga and ayurveda and have been passed along to me by wonderful teachers, tapping into a lineage that is thousands of years old.

When I didn’t prioritize the time to attune to myself deeply, I was more stressed out and edgy, anxious and exhausted. The care I had to offer from that space was less than optimal. 

Nothing is more important than you being connected deeply with you. For the truth is YOU are connected deeply with all of creation, and when you remember that deeper source, and let go of all that obscures your knowing you are that, life flows more easily and effortlessly. 

And all that needs doing, gets done. 

Forget that, and life becomes an endless and exhausting to do list.  It’s no wonder we want to check out with food and substance and media, which never really satisfy for long.  

Yogic self-care is a […]

A Good Night’s Rest

Sleep—such a healing balm and one of the three pillars of health in ayurveda. When sleep is off, everything is off.  And when sleep is good—well, we all know the amazing feeling of a good night’s rest.
Ayurvedic tips to support good sleep start with lifestyle.

Good sleep hygiene begins with everything we do after the sun goes down. Ideally evening is all about unwinding and connecting with loved ones and preparing for sleep. If you must bring your work home, finish it as early in the evening as you can. 
Good evening activities include:

a stroll outdoors
household chores with other family members
sharing with loved ones or journaling
cuddling
taking a warm bath
restorative yoga or meditation
relaxing and inspiring music/media/books

Low lighting in the evenings is best. Melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland that regulates our circadian rhythm is triggered to release as it gets dark. Too much artificial light, including light from screens, keeps melatonin from secreting, which may keep us from sleeping well.  Unplug from computers and other screens an hour before bed, and dim the lights or light a candle in the evening (ideally keep all electronics out of your bedroom, or at least put them in airplane mode for sleep).

Our capacity to sleep and to rest in intimately tied in with our level of calm. If […]

By |May 10th, 2019|Ayurveda, Care for your Senses, sleep|0 Comments

Ayurveda for Mid-Spring

For us in the Northern Hemisphere, May Day signals the half-way point between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. In the Northwest U.S. the weather is vacillating between warm-hot days and cooler, cloudy nights. Now is a good time to shift your routine to support your adaptation to the longer, warmer days.

DIET: Make it a little lighter overall ( enjoy heavy foods like nuts, dairy, wheat and meat less often, and in less quantity). Add fresh salads, ideally at room temperature at your mid-day meal, when your digestion is stronger. and with a dressing of cold-pressed olive oil, lemon and fresh pressed garlic, black pepper and salt to taste. Enjoy local organic berries as they become available, and eat more bitter greens (artichokes, kale, collards, mustard) to support your liver. Bitter herbs like turmeric, burdock and those found in teas such as yogi tea detox are also good now. A happy liver means clearer skin, less heat in the body and more emotional balance.

ASANA: Twists, prone back-bends, abdominal work like agni sara and nauli with attention to clearing the eyes will help release stagnation, keep you cool and support your digestion.

MEDITATION: 5 – 15 […]

Why Cleanse?

Ayurvedic Physician Dr. Robert Svoboda says, 

We can either limit ourselves a little bit willingly, or Nature will do that for us in the form of illness.  Cleansing is an opportunity to slow down, reset your digestive system and release any toxic accumulation in your body or mind. Good digestion is at the heart of good health. When we habitually over-eat, eat when we’re not hungry, or eat unhealthy foods, or foods that we can’t digest well, we weaken our digestive capacity and our overall health. When we don’t take time to slow down and digest our lives, our minds get agitated and negative.

Ayurveda teaches that spring is a great time to gently detoxify, helping to release the excesses of winter to help ward off allergies, colds and congestion and let go of excess weight. This process lightens and brightens our minds as well as our bodies.

Ayurvedic cleansing is unique in several ways. For one, we don’t only eliminate the bad stuff, we also increase our self-care and intake of nourishing foods/drinks throughout the process. We also make changes gradually so as not to shock our system (even a positive change is disruptive to the body’s […]

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