Interpreting Nature to Allow Healing (Summer Prediction)

MH900438097Snow on May 1st in the high elevation desert here in Fort Collins, CO was not something I would have guessed, but mother nature knows how to take care of herself, and you.  Wet snow is one of the most affective ways of hydrating the desert without causing a flash flood. 

“Our bodies mirror the changing seasons.” -Shiva Rhea

Just like in our bodies we need hydration, but not chugging a bottle of water.  Drinking smaller amounts of fluid through out the day is much more affective and making sure you are getting plenty of healthy oils and fats to keep the hydration in your cells.

The snow also gets rid of weak trees and branches, to help reduce kindling, for possible upcoming fires.  The random snow also causes the trees to have to rebud allowing them to be stronger, work harder, and produce more resilience. 

Two things can be taken away from this for us: 

1.  The snow is allowing us to be more resilient at fighting off viruses, and allowing us to calm down, take a break and regenerate  from all the effects of the fires that increased  respiratory issues, before spring allergies truly start.Bean Sprout

2.  The animals are eating a lot of extra sprouts and roots, which we should copy.  *Sprouts are common for the spring but the continued snow and then regrowth has caused even more.  The cold has caused the tubers/potatoes and winter vegetables to be sweeter and knocked out the beginning of fruit season.  (Spring is usually marked as a Kapha season, but the overall  crazy change in weather is considered Vata.)  The sweet root vegetables allow Vata to ground and the dense sprouts help counteract the Kapha and increase prana.

Fresh Gourmet Salad

*You can buy sprouted pumpkin and sunflower seeds  and dahl at the store, or try sprouting on your own.

Let me know in the comments below how you are dealing with the weather?

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.

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.

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.

Give your Immune System a Boost

The leaves are turning beautiful shades of Red, Orange and Yellow.  On the color wheel these are considered warming.  Mother nature is using our visual senses to warm us up for the cold winter weather to come.  Out here in Colorado the leaves are mostly a beautiful yellow/gold color.  The color gold in Ayurveda is considered one of the most nourishing, rejuvenating, and Ojas building.  Ojas is our life force and is the container for our energy.  Watch Ojas Video.

Gold is one of the most common colors to see in the fall, mother nature always provides and she is giving us lots of nourishment and abundance before Vata really sets in.  Here are some ways to build ojas with the color gold:

-Watch the sun set or spend time watching the golden leaves on a tree dance

-Eating Squash or adding Ghee to your food

-Sprinkle some Turmeric in your food or warm milk.