Do Your Doshas Change

I often have new clients who move to the area and say, “When I moved, I felt like certain Doshas increased and others decreased.  Is that possible?

The simple answer is yes.

Determining your Dosha is broken down into two categories.

Vikruti (your imbalance) are easily changed by *different life factors, based on symptoms of your mind and digestion.

Prakruti (physical characteristics) are hard to change and would usually involve: illness, injury or plastic surgery which includes braces to change.

* Common Factors that Influence  your Doshas to Change:

The seasons- in the summer you find yourself tending to be more Pitta.IMG_2775

Time of Day- in the evening after the sun goes down, you may feel cold and less hungry, which are signs of Vata imbalance.

Food you eat- the food you eat can increase or decrease a Dosha quite rapidly.  For example if you eat spicy food you may feel more Pitta and if you eat dairy alot you may tend toward Kapha.

Where you live- A person with a lot of  Pitta (fire and water) moving to Colorado (Fire and Air) may see an increase in anger and increased digestive fire. To find out more about how where you live affects your health click here.

Your stage in life- Children have an overall tendency towards Kapha imbalance, 14-40 have a greater tendancy towards Pitta imbalance, and those over the age of 50 have a tendancy towards Vata.MP900216125

While these can increase your dosha, these factors may also bring a dosha into balance, and are taken into consideration when placing an estimate on how long it will take someone to find health.

Which of these factors affects you the most and what do you do about it?  Let me know in the comments below.

Healing With Nature (The Sky’s the Limit)

IMG_4127I recently returned from visiting my family in Wisconsin, it was so fun and beautiful.  Leafy green trees everywhere.  Now I’m back in Fort Collins, which is a high elevation dessert with its golden hues and gorgeous sunsets.  August 10th I will be up in the mountains for the Healing with Nature: Rocky Mountain Meditation Immersion.

An Ayurvedic Look at Healing with the Sky

Did you know that watching the clouds pass across a beautiful blue sky for 10 minutes helps erase hundreds of visual impressions (stressors like blinking lights, tv, computer ext.)?  You don’t even have to go outside to get the effects, you can turn your office chair and look out the window.IMG_4598

Sunset is a very healing time, its golden hue is very nourishing and helps heal the eyes.  Watching the sunset also helps your body’s inner clock relax and start preparing to go to bed.  You can simulate this in your house by slowly lessening the amount of lighting in your house as you get closer and closer to going to bed.  There is even a computer program that runs on a timer and slowly gets dimmer and dimmer.

IMG_3987Want to learn more about the healing properties of nature?  Join me for the Healing with Nature: Rocky Mountain Meditation Immersion August 10th from 9am-2pm.  Explore the healing qualities of Nature, through guided meditation, intuition, and time-honored tools and techniques for working with and interpreting nature for healing.  It is your choice of what you are asking to receive guidance and healing for, whether it is for healing a marriage, a nagging physical pain, stress, exct.  You will be able to use the tools you learn, to continue your healing journey at home.  Click here for full itinerary.

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

Spring into Energy and Good Digestion

MP900227568Spring is almost here (March 20th), there have been tiny glimpses of the warming weather.  Spring is Kapha (Earth and Water) when the ice thaws and causes mud and built up pools of water draining off the streets.  Everyone has at least a little Kapha in them, the more Kapha traits you have the more Spring will affect you, causing mucous (mud), lethargy, melancholy and water retention (excess water).  All of these Kapha symptoms cause a dulling of the digestive fire because of  the excess water and earth quality.

10 days before Spring, March 10th marks daylight savings.  The increased sunlight, allows us to be more active to counteract the spring, but it can also cause a disturbance in your digestive system as well.  As the time change sets into effect, your meal time automatically becomes out of alignment, with no fault of your own, shifting forward an hour.  That means that if you normally eat at 5pm your digestive fire is now strong at 6pm.  But don’t worry your digestive fire will figure this out, but it may take up to a week.  This may feel like a sluggish digestion, or feeling your food after you eat it.

Move into Spring with ease:

Roasted Fennel Seeds– Eating this neutral spice before meals helps stoke digestive fire.  If you have more Kapha symptoms you can use dry ginger instead, to remove ama (toxins) and congestion.

Cooked greens, especially Kale- Greens are a natural source of fiber removing ama (toxins) and keeping bowels moving.

Fish Pose/MatsyasanaThis pose is great decongestant for the lungs, increasing oxygen flow and enhancing your mood.  Start laying on your back.  Place palms under sit bones or next to hips palms down.  Push through the forearms, hands and elbows as you lift your heart towards the sky, as if you were being poked with a broom between the shoulder blades.  Feel the biceps rolling outward allowing the shoulder blades to engage down the back.  (This action also activates Marma Points, (Ayurvedic pressure points) at the crease of the arm, where the shoulder and body meet, increasing lung capacity and oxygen absorption.)  Engage the legs pointing through the balls of the feet.

yoga fish

Modification:  Start Sitting with legs extended.  Place palms on the floor 8-10 inches behind you, fingertips pointing towards toes.  Push down through the palms of the hands, shoulders away from the ears. Lift your heart towards the sky, as if you were being poked with a broom between the shoulder blades. Feel the biceps rolling outward allowing the shoulder blades to engage down the back.  Engage the legs pointing through the balls of the feet.

 

Want more Ayurveda right now check out this post I wrote for the Yoga Connection about Kitchari and Cleansing click here.

Are you a runner?  Check out the 31 miles in 31 day challenge and learn how you could win a FREE Yoga Coaching for Runners session. Click here.

Meditation Practice: 5 Things I’ve Learned in 5 Years (Guest Post By Jill Salahub)

meditation22“Many of us are slaves to our minds. Our own mind is our worst enemy. We try to focus, and our mind wanders off. We try to keep stress at bay, but anxiety keeps us awake at night. We try to be good to the people we love, but then we forget them and put ourselves first. And when we want to change our life, we dive into spiritual practice and expect quick results, only to lose focus after the honeymoon has worn off. We return to our state of bewilderment. We’re left feeling helpless and discouraged. It seems we all agree that training the body through exercise, diet, and relaxation is a good idea, but why don’t we think about training our minds?”  ~Sakyong Mipham

At its most fundamental, meditation is the act of focusing your mind, giving all your attention to one thing. This practice can pull us out of our conditioned ways of thinking, habitual ways of being, the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what is going on, and can ground our experience in reality, the present moment, what’s really happening and who we really are.

In this state, we can allow room for and begin to accept all that is, and in this open space, we are awake and in tune with our fundamental wisdom and compassion, we can remain sane and “keep our seat” no matter what circumstances arise in our environment, no matter what distractions, irritations, thoughts or strong emotions occur.

I’ve regularly practiced meditation for the past five years, have experienced great benefit from it. I could write an entire book about my experience, but for now I’d like to share with you just five of the things I’ve learned as I’ve practiced.
1. There is a style of meditation that is right for you.

Over the past 20 years or so, I have dabbled in meditation, tried many different practices. I have sat alone on the floor of my room with no cushion guided by nothing but a stick of incense and instructions from a book. I have meditated with my eyes open and my eyes closed, on various types of cushions and chairs, in various physical positions and postures, alone and in groups, practiced the styles of many different traditions.

In the end, I determined that Shamatha style meditation, as practiced in the Shambhala tradition, a Tibetan Buddhist lineage, was right for me. This calm awareness, peaceful abiding sitting practice, done with eyes open but gaze soft in order to remain present, to connect with your environment, with reality, is the one that works for me. It is up to each one of us to discover the style that fits us, and no one else should suggest that they know the correct or only way for us to meditate.

2. Meditating for even 5-10 minutes a day can transform your life.

Sometimes when we think of meditating or of starting a practice, we turn it into a big deal. We think we need special gear, chants and mantras, specific kinds of incense, a shrine with all the right elements, a certain kind of attitude before we can even begin. We turn the whole thing into such a big production that we either have a confused experience of it, or we don’t end up practicing at all.

It is good to have genuine intention, to honor the practice, take it seriously, but one must understand that the point is to meditate—to simply be, no big deal, and to do so regularly. Even one minute attempting this state, allowing this open space can have a significant impact.

Think of it this way, if you were a runner, you wouldn’t attempt a marathon your first time out, wouldn’t attempt to go that far during every daily run, but rather you would train, and you would know that if you kept trying you would eventually be stronger, build your endurance and stamina, that your continued effort would add to your health and wellbeing.Woman Placing Palms Together

3. Meditation is not about the cessation of thought.

Some people actually believe that we can somehow force our brain, whose primary function is to think, to be entirely empty, and that this emptiness should be the point of meditation. In the same way we cannot make our eyes stop seeing, we can’t train or bully our mind into stopping what it does. What we can do is place its attention on something and train it to stay there. When thoughts arise, as they will, we can teach it to simply let those thoughts be, to notice them, be aware of them arising and to allow them to dissolve as they will, to soften and relax into the present moment.

4. You will never do it perfectly, that’s not the goal.

As with any other practice, you will have some good days and some bad. Some meditation sessions will feel like the best thing that ever happened to you, and others you will spend the entire time locked in struggle, being hooked by every thought that arises, carried away by every strong emotion. And yet, there is no failure. The fact that you attempt your practice, that you show up and try is what matters.

5. Your practice will follow you off the cushion.

We don’t meditate to become the perfect meditator, “We meditate to wake up and live, to become skilled at the art of living,” (Elizabeth Lesser). We meditate so that we can learn how our mind works, so we can calmly watch how it speeds up and wanders off, and to learn that we don’t need to follow. We practice surrendering to the present moment, letting go of hope and fear, resting with and relaxing into reality. We meditate so that we can become friends with ourselves, accept our full humanity and experience, discover and learn to value our true nature. We practice meditation with the intention of understanding how our mind works, to train it to hold still in sanity, no matter what our external circumstances might be. All of this work and training will follow us off the cushion. Meditation practice can cause a fundamental shift in how we approach and experience our whole life.

Guest Writer: Jill SalahuJillb, you can find out more of her deliciouse writing at http://thousandshadesofgray.com.

In her paid work, Jill Salahub has taught writing at Colorado State University for the past 12 years. As her heart’s work, she’s practiced yoga and meditation for five years, been a writer most of her life, and has been rescued by three dogs. Her superpowers are generosity and gentleness, and she loves to laugh. Jill writes about the tenderness and the terror, the beauty and the brutality of life, and of her efforts to keep her heart open through it all on her blog, A Thousand Shades of Gray (http://thousandshadesofgray.com).

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.

Happy Holidays, Happy Hormones

Candles Sitting on Snow by TreeThe holidays are here again.  For most of us that means more parties, more family time, and more food (and drinks!)  I’m going to share with you today, my 3 best tips for navigating the holidays without wreaking havoc on your hormone health.

For women, once we hit puberty, we have to learn to respect our hormonal cycles or they can be knocked out of balance by our lifestyle.  If they are out of balance, they will let us know (loud and clear!) in the form of PMS, irregular cycles, headaches, fertility challenges, dramatic mood swings, energy crashes, burnout, or stubborn weight gain.  If we don’t respect our hormonal health by the time we reach menopause, we will suffer with more fatigue, hot flashes, night sweats, and weight gain.  (By the way, men must respect their hormonal cycles too… but they are different, so we’ll talk about them another day.)

Your hormonal health has consequences for your general health too.  When your adrenal glands… what I like to call the foundation organs of your endocrine (hormonal) system… are strained by chronic stress or a poor diet, your blood sugar will become unstable, and you will experience anxiety.  Long term this can lead to heart disease, stroke, or mental health illnesses.

So, how can we enjoy the holidays without knocking our hormonal health off kilter?

 1. Enjoy the holidays by saying no!  This is a novel concept given our perfectionist vision of the holiday season, the increased pressure on already strained schedules, and the need to please relatives near and far.  This year, it’s time to make a change.  Open your December calendar, and delete anything that doesn’t bring you holiday joy, wrap you in holiday peace, or fill your soul with overflowing and generous pools of love.  If it’s exhausting for you to fill out hundreds of holiday cards to send to people you haven’t had time to even text or email this year, boycott the holiday cards.  If you hate to travel during the holiday rush, shift your tradition, stay home, and invite some close friends over.  If you still want to visit your far-flung family, do so at a quieter time of year.  This step is one of the hardest, and most important for preserving your long-term health (and your short-term sanity!)

2.  Say yes to holiday adventures that you actually enjoy!  Do you like to go out in the woods with your family and pick out a tree?  Then, turn off your cell phones, delegate the weekend chores to a neighborhood errand service, and walk in the woods… you’ll be able to feel your breath deepen and your heartbeat slow.MP900443878

3.  Go to bed early, and nourish yourself .  Winter is the best time for healing our hormonal systems.  Because of the longer nights, winter is the best time to get more rest.  I give each of my clients a “laptop curfew.”  I recommend that they turn off all of their electronic devices and the TV by 8pm or so, take a warm bath, drink some tea, and crawl into bed with a good book (or read quietly with their kids.)  On a lazy December Sunday, bake yourself some holiday nourishment.  Instead of loading up on processed, overly sweet holiday baked goods, try my hormone healthy (and delicious!) Apple Crisp.

This holiday, plan to give and receive peace and joy.  Your health depends on it!

Jessica DrummondJessica Drummond, MPT, CCN, CHC founder of jessicadrummond.com is a licensed physical therapist with specialized experience in women’s health.  She is the author of The Female Adolescent Health chapter in Women’s Health Physical Therapy, a textbook for professionals.     She is certified as a clinical nutritionist and as a health coach.  She has helped her private clients to ditch their PMS and crazy mood swings, lose stubborn weight, overcome infertility, get their energy and focus back, sleep well, and reclaim their lost sex drive.  She works with teen girls and women of all ages to improve their health, and prevent or recover from burnout.  Her program, Powerful Puberty, is nationally known as the go-to program for educating mothers on healthfully navigating (and surviving!) puberty with their daughters.