The Positive Traits of the Doshas

When it comes to talking about the Doshas I  think the positive traits are often overlooked.  Often when talking about someone’s Dosha we are talking about their imbalance, but there are two ways to look at the traits people have. One is their imbalance and the other is their balanced state.  Both are important in finding health.

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The road to health can feel like hard work sometimes, so it’s good to also spend time enjoying yourself, to make the process worth it.

Positive Vata Traits :

Enthusiastic, Artistic, Creative, Tend to be good Dancers, Great at starting projects

Positive Kapha Traits:

Strong Endurance, Good at finishing up tasks, Jovial, Deeply care for family and friends

Positive Pitta Traits:

Good at task management, Good at completing tasks, Driven, Logical ideas, Show up on time

Fun things to keep the Doshas Balanced

Vata: Art is grounding and focusing.

Pitta: Being in nature especially wood and water areas.

Kapha: Any movement, walking, hiking, even reading about activities help create momentum to take action.

The thing to remember is that everyone has all three Doshas but in different percentages.  So you may have qualities from any of these lists.  It’s important to understand that the way the Doshas go out of balance affect how we act, more than you realize, but that also means that you have the power to change them. Ayurveda helps pinpoint what to work on and incorporate into your diet and lifestyle to make life seem smoother and you can be the person you want to be.

What topics would you like me to write more about?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

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.

How to Read Your Tongue

Traditional Medicine has known for some time that the tongue is a tiny map of the body’s organs.  By knowing a couple of things to look for you can get a rough idea of what you need to focus on to get healthy.  Here is a simplified version of how to read your tongue.IMG_3240The tongue is one of the only places on the body you can physically see ama/toxins.

1.  Ama on the tongue shows up as a sludgy type of mucous that will coat an area of the tongue.  Ama will show up as 3 different colors:

Yellow is Pitta.

Grey is Vata.

White is Kapha.

(Ama is usually a sign that there is stagnation in the area of the tongue it is covering.)

Tongue scraping is a great method whenever there is ama on the tongue to help remove toxins from reentering the digestive system, it also helps remove bacteria that causes bad breath.

2.  Cracks in the tongue are a sign of dehydration.  Deep cracks are a sign that someone is severely dehydrated in the tissues for a long period of time.  (Cracks are considered overall as a sign of Vata imbalance.)

Make sure to stay hydrated properly which I talk about in my post Is Water Drying you Out?

3.  Scalloping (which looks like your teeth indented your tongue) is a sign of malabsorption.  Malabsorption can come from:

Not eating enough nutrient rich food.

Fecal matter staying in your digestion for too long (Vata).

Fecal matter eliminating too quickly (Pitta)

Low digestive fire.

The one tip that can help the last three is eating and cooking with neutral spices such as fennel that help bring the digestive fire back into balance.

The best time to check your tongue is before brushing your teeth in the morning.

Do want more information on reading your tongue?  Check out Dr. Lad’s Book, Ayurveda: The Science of Self Healing: A Practical Guide.

 

Don’t forcet to check out the Upcoming Events!

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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

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).

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.