Ignite Fort Collins and Yoga

Almost a month ago now, I spoke at Ignite Fort Collins on a subject that I think is very important, Anorexia.  Anorexia is sweeping across the nation in a tragic silent war taking the lives of children, teens and adults.  Anorexia is not something to be glorified, but to be stopped in its tracks, through health, empowerment and living your life’s passion.  In my talk, I dispel some myths of Anorexia while sharing my own story.  Please watch and share with someone that this could help.

On a lighter note here is the second Asana of the month:

Reverse Sitting at Your Desk Pose/ Legs up a Wall Variation

*Increases Circulation *Prevents and Reduces Varicose Veins

*Rejuvenating and Energizing *Heart and Lung Opening

This is a perfect rejuvenating pose for after work, or as a pick me up in the morning or before lunch.IMG_2747

  • Start by getting a yoga blanket or bolster and a block or pillow. (For the blanket fold 2x and then roll it up like a burrito.)
  • While sitting sideways bring your tailbone as close to the wall as possible, lay back and lift legs up. If this doesn’t feel comfortable, scoot back 4-5 inches, alow a gentle bend in the knees.
  • Place the blanket beneath the shoulder blades, allowing the heart and chest to lift up as arms drape open above the blanket with shoulders relaxed. (You can allow the head to rest on the floor or support the neck, by placing a block under the back of the head.)

 

 

 

 

 

Upcoming Events

Heal your Heart, Calm your Vata

MP900440916Every day seems like the perfect day to focus on our hearts and the healing process.  But there is one day a year that there is a holiday to celebrate the heart and love, what perfect timing.  We are in the middle of the Vata time of year.  Vata’s tend to have traits of fear and self blame.  Do you know what the opposite of those traits are?  Love and self compassion, everything that Valentines day stands for (at least to me.)

3 Simple ways to Promote Love and Compassion for yourself:

1.  Bring your attention to your heart, imagine the energy expanding with joy.  Closing your eyes imagine a bright white, pink or gold light emanating out.MC900436241

2.  Take time to gently massage your heart with a clockwise motion.  The traditional number is 108 times, but any amount is better than none.

3.  Diffuse or use these essential oils rose, geranium, rose geranium, neroli, and lemon.

Self care over all is good for healing your heart.  Here is a short gentle Heart Opening Yoga Vinyasa Flow I made for you.  Happy Valentines:)

Click here to watch Gentle Heart Opening Vinyasa Flow.

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Find out about upcoming events click here.

5 Natural Tips for Avoiding and Getting Rid of the Flu

Woman with tissue and hot drinkI recently happened to watch a little of the news, which is rare for me and I saw a map showing the worst to least affected by the flu in North America.  It was pretty obvious to me after seeing it that the places worst affected had recently had a lot of trauma, such as the fires in Colorado and New Mexico, as well as the states that had the smoke drift into them and the North East with the Hurricane.  Trauma/stress can lower the immune system which then opens people up for a more likely chance of getting sick if they don’t take time to recuperate.  Stress lowers the digestive fire and dehydration causes the body to dry out.  Ayurveda always looks at the digestive system and what the digestive fire is doing, when someone is out of balance.  When your digestive fire is low it increases your chance of becoming sick because you are not able to burn up the infection and if you are not digesting and breaking your food down properly, it weakens your body’s ability to fight back as it is not getting the proper nutrients.

Keep the Flue at Bay by:

1.  Spicing your food with spices good for your dosha increases the digestive fire– coriander (Pitta), black pepper(Kapha), cinnamon(Vata).  More spice choices by dosha click here.

2.  Keep your bowls evacuating properly by drinking warm water with lemon in the morning before your first meal.

3.  Stay hydrated- even though it is cold out it is also dry.  Think warm teas especially ones that increase the digestive fire.  Honey is a natural germ killer and can be added to tea , sandwiches with nut spread and in oatmeal.MP900309578

4.  Diffusing essential oils with anti microbial properties -Thyme VK- P+, OreganoVK-P+, LavenderPK-V=, CinnamonVK- P+, Eucalyptus KV-P+, Clove KV-P+, GeraniumPK-V+.  Caution don’t put these directly on your skin without diluting as most are heating.

Lucky you! Here is a little peek at the 5 Week Sensory Cleanse Click here to see Video 2 which talks about the importance of smell, how to heal your stuffy, runny nose and using your nose to keep your digestive fire strong.  Video 2 the Sense of Smell.

Stay healthy this Flu Season!

How do you avoid or fight off the flu?  Let me know in the comments below.

Want some more Ayurveda right now?  Check out my guest post on Jessica Drummond.com Learn to calm your Vata and stress less this winter click here.

My New Years Resolution Breakdown

MP900309664This year is going to be the year I _________.  What did you fill in?  Loose weight, find a significant other,make it big?  What ever you put in the blank, I dare you to answer the question, why?  I hope it was for you, and if it’s not, make one that is solely for you.

The Doshas and Goal setting:

Vatta’s tend to set big goals and get overwhelmed. (Try small tangible goals)

Pitta’s tend to force themselves to reach their big goals, even if that means they are not enjoying it and can tend to express anger towards others because of it. (Try the 50% rule, allowing yourself a little break.)

Kapha’s can become stuck in their habits and not realize what  negative habits are doing to them. (Try supported change, gym, one on one training, exercise group, or do a challenge with your family) 

The two biggest reasons I find that New Years resolutions don not work are.  People set a big goal and expect fast results or they haven’t dealt with physical or emotional pain which can hold them back.  Here are ways to overcome theses issues and make this the year you stick to your new years resolution.

1.  When you set your  goal, break it down into smaller goals.  Lets just stick with the weight loss example, your big goal might be to lose 15lbs. but your small goal might be to lose 1lbs. a week.  That means that in 3 months you will have lost 12lbs.  Every time you reach one of your smaller goal you feel succesful and you have accomplished something, which allows you to be succesful see results and stay motivated to keep going.  On this gradual plan you are able to make progress without overwhelming yourself.

Once you have broken down the steps and made smaller goals, put it in your calender, make your plan just as important as your work schedule.  (Exmp. walk 2:30-3:00p.m. Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat.- Sun 10-10:45)

Eating healthier-try the 50% rule.  Half the time you eat what you want and half the time you eat healthy.

Exercisise-Try cardio every other day, depending on how much you currently do (haven’t been working out 10 min. already workout 30 min) and 10-30 min of walking every day .  A walking partner or music(one ear bud only for safety) can make it easier and keep you motivated.

 

2.  Physical and emotional pain can be big factors in being successful in your resolution.  Haven’t been exercising?  Is it because your knee, back is hurting?  Are you unable to stop overeating? Is it because you are constantly hearing your mother in your head telling you, you are not good enough or stressed because of work?

Take a moment to do a quick body scan.  First do this standing and then sitting.  Close your eyes, take a couple deep breaths and start at the top of your head all the way down to your toes look for any pain, soreness, tightness or discomfort, if you notice anything write this down.  Depending you may want to see a Chiropractor, Massage therapist, Ayurveda Practitioner or Doctor.

Sitting down, take a moment to think about your resolution, notice what doubts, or blocks pop into your head.  Maybe there is another stressor that has nothing to do with your resolution that keeps showing up.  Write these down.  These types of issues can be worked with through meditation, eating a Vata calming diet, talking to a good friend, psychiatrist, or regaining empowerment through physical activity.

Have a Great New Year!

What is your new years resolution?  Let me know if this post helped in the comments below. 

Have you signed up for the Free 5 Week Sensory Cleanse?  Starts Wednesday January 2nd.  Click here to sign up.

(How to) Easy Essential Oil Gift Ideas

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As the season of gifting approaches why not give a fast acting gift of happiness with a yummy salt scrub that will make your shower feel like a spa.  Or a room spray that can disinfect as well as smell great, or an uplifting blend, that can be used in your office or home.  Smell is one of the fastest ways to affect the mind.  Lavender calming stress, Lemon to enliven and brighten a gloomy disposition.  Smell can also affect your digestion, Peppermint helps calm a full stomach or fennel to stoke the digestive fire.  Overall pleasant smells make us feel happy and can greatly affect the mood of the environment you are in.

Essential oils for the Doshas

*Means ok for salt scrub, the others may be to harsh for the skin and should only be used in a spray.

Vata- *Chamomile (Grounding), *Lavender (Calming), *Jasmine

Pitta-*Rose (Heart opening), *Peppermint (Cooling), *Lemon (Uplifting)

Kapha- Eucalyptus (Decongestant), *Orange (Uplifting), Sage (Drying)MP900387904

Salt Scrub Ingredients:

1 cup of salt (small grains, not rock salt)

3/4 cup of Olive, Almond or Jojoba oil

Preferred Essential Oils

Plastic or Tin container

Directions:

Combine salt and oil into bowl, mix with spoon or clean hands.  (You want to have the salt soaked but not liquidy so if you need to add a little oil go for it.)

Add essential oil a couple of drops at a time and stir to avoid making too potent.  Watch video for blending tips.

Scoop salt scrub into container.  (Preferably not glass as the person using will be in shower and you don’t want them to drop it with oily hands.)

The more you decorate the container, the more posh it gets.  That means think ribbons, tags, charms, anything you want, be creative.

**My favorite essential oils for salt scrub are geranium and lemon blend.**

Room Spray Ingredients:

Distilled water (amount depends on size of bottle)

If you are doing a floral spray you can start with a pre-made rose water base instead.

Preferred Essential Oils

Empty spritzer bottle (can be in found in natural food or craft store.)

Directions:MP900177858

Pour water into spritzer bottle. Leave room at the top for essential oils and the tube that goes into the bottle for the spritzer.

Slowly add essential oils and check the smell as you go.  Watch video for blending tips.

Decorate with ribbon, tag or card, or decorate your own labels. (Blank sticky  labels can be found in the office sections of the store.)

**Lavender spritzer is an antibacterial and smells wonderful, you can even spray a little near your pillow to help you sleep at night.**

Essential Oil Safety Tips:

*If you haven’t done much blending you can stick to one essential oil, or try not to go over three.

*Not quite sure what oils, Lavender and Vanilla on their own are very accepted and enjoyed smells.

*Don’t apply essential oils to skin with out diluting with carrier oil.

*Keep essential oils away from eyes.

*Do not ingest essential oils.

*Pregnant women should ask their doctor before using essential oils.

Do you have a sweet tooth? Read this.

This cooler, windier time of year is considered Vata and can increase flightiness, constipation, anxiety and overwhelm.  Combined with all of the Holiday parties and festivities it may also aggravate your sweet tooth.  Out of the six tastes sweet is best for calming Vata and Pitta.  No, this is not your free ticket to candy town.  In Ayurveda the sweet taste comes from fruit, grains (rice, wheat ext.), dairy, natural sugars (maple syrup and honey), some vegetables ( sugary tubers like sweet potatoes and carrots) and even some sweet herbs like licorice.   The sweet taste has a cooling and grounding affect, which make it one of the tastes that Kapha’s should have the least of.

When you crave processed sugars and carbs. there are three main things to look at: hydration, protein and sleep.

Are you hydrated?  A lot of times when you are craving sweets, you are really craving the cooling quality and energy.   Dehydration can cause your brain to feel foggy, and tired, just like when you don’t have enough glucose so your body tells you to eat something, because you have already over rode the feeling of being thirsty.  Try keeping a water bottle or thermos of herbal tea with you.

How much protein is in your diet?   Protein is a good source of energy and it helps slow down how quickly sugar is absorbed into the blood stream, allowing for less up and downs in your blood sugar.  One of my favorite forms of protein is raw sunflower seeds with sea salt. 

*Digestive tip #1 Having all six tastes on your plate can help prevent cravings.

*Digestive tip #2 Eat sweet things first (especially fruit), for better digestion.

Are you getting enough sleep?  The afternoon lull  can be caused by lack of protein and healthy fats or the fact that you’re actually tired.  Your morning coffee has warn off and you may have skipped lunch.  Food = energy, your body has learned to crave sugar and caffeine when it is tired, to refuel quickly.  The fact is if you are doing this frequently it is affecting your adrenals and can have longer lasting unwanted affects.  Getting 7-8 hrs of sleep a day is recommended.  Some people think that by having the lighter coffee or sugar this will help them loose weight or avoid feeling heavy or gassy.  In reality the lighter foods will aggravate Vata and cause flabbiness, because there is no nutrition.  Spicing healthy foods with neutral herbs like fennel will help alleviate heaviness, where as coffee is dehydrating your body and can be habit forming, to induce elimination.

 What step are you going to take to take your sweet tooth out of the drivers seat?  Tell me in the comments below.

I’m Turning into my Mother! (Is it in your DNA?)

I often hear this from my patients, “I’m turning into my mother” and blaming things on heredity and DNA.  Are these excuses always true or is there something else going on?  Some imbalances are hereditary, but there are a lot of things that are caused by diet and learned behavior.

Are you angry (Pitta) because your dad was angry and that’s just how it is?   Or did your dad love spicy food and a beer at dinner, and you love spicy food too?  Alcohol and spicy food are heating which cause heating in the liver and lead to anger.

Take action:

* Start incorporating neutral and cooling/detoxifying foods into your diet like Kale and Green Beans.

*Gently massage the heart area daily, in India it is recommended that you rub the heart clockwise for 108 strokes.

*Being out in nature is calming to the entire body but especially the eyes which are associated with Pitta.

Does melancholy (Kapha) run in your family?  Or is it really caused by the fact that your family ate a lot of heavy foods like meats and potatoes  and lived in an area that didn’t get much sun?  And your mom loved to read books inside all day instead of going for a walk.

Take action: 

*Eat more fresh vegetables.

*Try reducing dairy and heavy foods from your diet.

*Add more physical movement into your day to day life (walking, yoga, hiking all count).  *You get bonus points if it’s in the sun:)

Now of days anxiety and stress (Vata) seem almost normal, but it is a learned behavior that can also be exacerbated by poor food choices.  It is said that parents who are calm when dealing with stressful situations, teach their children to be calm, but it doesn’t work if they look calm on the outside and are actually freaking out on the inside.  Just because you didn’t learn how to be calm in childhood doesn’t mean you can’t learn now.

Take action:

*Eat healthy grounding foods like potatoes and squash.

*Use abdominal breath or negative tension release daily.

*Reading spiritual literature (of your faith or belief system).

It is time to stop blaming others for your symptoms and emotions and take the proper actions to heal yourself.  But remember it may take time, especially if this is something you have been dealing with your entire life.  Make today the day you take your first step into health and healing.

Do you want to be a part of a group of people also focusing on healing themselves?  I am offering a Fun Free Challenge on Facebook (30 minutes of healing for the 30 days of November) Join me!