How your Dosha can help you Keep your New Years Resolution.

For a lot of people New Years resolutions can be an eye opener as to what they are striving for, and can be a good kick in the pants fMP900309664or Kaphas to get motivated. 

One of the top 3 things people put as a new years resolution is weight loss so I am going to use this as the example for how each Dosha can use the recommendations I have listed below.

Vatas can have a lot of resistance to repetition and making things a habit due to their air and ether qualities.

Make your resolution stick:

1.Make a plan of action and break it down into 30 steps or more.

2.Place one step, directly into each day in your calendar.

3.Give yourself options of ways you can reach your goal exmp. different choices of exercise, an assortment of healthy foods you enjoy eating to choose from.  Or even the option of eating healthy or exercising.

Pittas can tend towards anger, burning themselves out from overworking themselves, and have an all or nothing type of attitude because of their fiery nature.

Make your resolution stick:

1.Make a plan of action. Now lessen the end result a notch or break it up into a plan that may go the entire year.

2.Only strive to reach the goal at the time you have written down to achieve it, you do not need to rush this and accomplish a 3 month goal in 1 month.

3.Remember you are the only one doing this resolution.  There is no need to try to convince anyone else they should be doing this with you, and there should be no blaming of others if something doesn’t go according to plan.

Kaphas can tend towards resistance of the new, sluggishness and lack of motivation due to the water and earth qualities.  But once Kaphas are motivated they can have the longest endurance, physically and mentally.

Make your resolution stick:

1.Find a fitness partner to help you stay motivated and committed.

2.Kaphas tend to stick to plans that help others, especially family and friends.  (Train for an event that supports an organization or issue that you feel strongly about.)

3.Don’t strip yourself of comfort, you can still relax and enjoy your favorite home cooked dinner after working out.

What is your new years resolution?  Did one of these tips stick with you?  Let me know in the comments below.

Ayurveda and Weightloss

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January 3rd 2014    10-11a.m. MST

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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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Is your Digestion a Pain in the ***?

IMG_3104Is your digestion a pain in the leg?  What three-letter word were you thinking?

As we near summer your  digestive fire continues to grow stronger.  You may start to notice a pain in the back of your calf.  A lot of people think it is caused by dehydration or pulling a muscle, but this is actually a Marma Point (Ayurvedic Pressure Point) that correlates with digestion.

The Indrabasti pressure point is found on the center line of the calf almost 2/3rds the way between the ankle and knee.

Three ways to Activate this Point to Relieve Soreness and Improve Digestion:

1.  Gently massage the marma point or arround it.

2. Add  essential oils, diluted with a carrier oil to the point if you have:  Loose stools (Pitta-Fennel, Mint), Constipation (Vata-Chamomile, Lavander, Lemon Grass ) Slow stools (Kapha-Ginger, Black Pepper)

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3.  Yoga poses like  Downward Dog and Warrior one with back heel lifted help gently stretch the point.

Have you noticed this yoga pressure point before?  Let me know in the comments below.

Check out the upcoming Yoga and Ayurveda Events click here.

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?

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.

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.

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!