Spring Cleaning – On The Inside

Cleanses are especially recommended in Ayurveda as a means of staying balanced and vibrant during seasonal shifts. Ayurveda promotes cleansing as an effective way of removing ama (toxic buildup), reestablishing the strength of the digestive fire, and balancing any imbalanced doshas. As with other Ayurvedic modalities, Ayurvedic cleansing works from the premise that the body, mind, and spirit are inseparable parts of the being, and each contributes to your health and well-being. So a good cleanse addresses each of these aspects.

Read on at Banyan Botanicals.

Making Summer A Cool & Blissful Pitta Season

Making Summer A Cool & Blissful Pitta Season

Sedona Retreats at NAMTI Spa - Transform Your Mind:Body:Life!Light. Fire. Heat. Intensity. It’s summertime! Do you worship long days of bright sunlight? Do you welcome a renewed feeling of lightness and expansive consciousness? Maybe you just can’t get enough of the hot summer temperatures. Or, do you dread the heat and go out of your way to avoid the summer sun? Perhaps a dark, air-conditioned movie theater is more your speed on a hot, summer day.

Summer, like each of the seasons, arrives with its own distinct personality. Depending on your constitution, summer may increase your internal sense of harmony, or it may aggravate one of your innate tendencies. For example, a hot-natured individual who prefers a cool climate may love the winter, but will feel hotter than most – to the point of discomfort – as the heat of summer intensifies. On the other hand, someone with chronically cold hands and feet, who never seems to be able to stay warm in the winter months, will experience exactly the opposite: long, cold winters will be a challenge and s/he will relish the heat of summer. But the seasons need not be an intrinsic source of fluctuating dread and euphoria.

One of the fundamental principles of Ayurveda is that our habits, routines, and dietary choices should ebb and flow with the seasons. We can support an improved state of balance throughout the year by making a conscious effort to live in harmony with the cycles of nature and by regularly adjusting our lifestyle and habits to accommodate the arrival of each new season. While this idea may at first seem daunting, many people find that the recommended seasonal adjustments come quite naturally and that a few simple changes can dramatically increase health and vitality. In Ayurveda, it is said that like increases like and that opposites balance; this helps to explain why summertime stirs something different in each of us.

If you know your constitution, you can actually take even more personalized steps to harmonize your internal landscape with the changing nature of the seasons. We offer Ayurvedic Consultations at NAMTI Spa so you may balance your dosha during the heat of summer and throughout all seasons of the year!

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Food As Medicine – from an Ayurvedic Perspective

Throughout time, and in the more recent past, there have been many approaches to how, what, when and where to eat the best food to nurture ourselves with. Profound leaps of understanding nutrition have been achieved through research, our healthcare and educational system, and the expanse of media. In spite of it all, our ancient ancestors have known all along how to take care of themselves.

Is it a blessing or a digression that we have so much knowledge today in this modern era? Is it our ego, fear or faith that we base our decisions of food, medicine, beauty and “appropriate” living habits on? Ultimately, taking conscious responsibility for your body and emotional state rewards us balance and harmony in your life. As is the individual, so is the universe. Let’s take a moment to get a better understanding of the world around us, from an Ayurvedic perspective.

Ayurveda originated in India more than 5000 years ago. The sages of ancient India created this holistic method of healing imbalances in the body, mind and spirit based on “Vedic” texts, possibly the world’s oldest record of spiritual and medical knowledge. Ayurveda is considered the “mother of all healing” and is said to originate from Prana, the life force itself, which is the original power of creation. This timeless system for living and being able to access the inner pharmacy is revered in India and more recently, throughout the world.

Sanskrit for the “science” or “wisdom of life”, Ayurveda is an ancient philosophy based on a deep understanding of the eternal truths about the mind, body and spirit. Unlike western medicine, an Ayurvedic lifestyle is based on permanent, wise, and eternal principles of living. According to the timeless healing traditions of Ayurveda, the field of pure consciousness expresses itself through the five elements of nature. These five codes of intelligence – space, air, fire, water and earth – exist everywhere and are the building blocks of nature’s diverse expressions. The meaning of Ayurveda then, is truly embracing the teachings that are the wisdom of life and therefore can offer a life of balance and beauty.

Exploring the field of consciousness and expression within us is the basis of healing. Through changes in our perceptions and interpretations we can improve our health and well-being. A consciousness-based approach to health views symptoms as a sign for us to pay attention to the choices we are making in our lives.

The root belief of Ayurveda is that each human being is unique, having a distinct individual constitution, genetic inheritance and predisposition to certain tendencies, and that the body and mind should never be treated in isolation from one another.

In Ayurveda, FOOD IS MEDICINE. Nutrition (or anything for that matter) is energy and information where nothing is generalized. You are an individual. Your food and lifestyle choices will help you access your inner pharmacy and ultimately lead to a dis-ease free, worry free, healthy and long life.

We are currently in the midst of a turbulent time on this planet. I invite you to be nice to yourself. Love yourself. It costs your body an enormous amount of energy to digest one meal, tapping into your reserves of vital life force. Taking into account what you need and what the qualities of the season offer, you can greatly increase your energy levels or ability to deal with life in a balanced way.

It is natural during the fall and winter season to desire more sweet foods for energy, more proteins to nurture your body, more restful experiences to regenerate your body and more oils to increase brain function A good source during our winter months is avocado. . Avocados consist of 25% fruit oil, the highest in any fruit. They are sweet, warm and heavy. Originally they provided nutrition during the tropic winters. Here in the not so tropic environments, they still remain one of the best fruits to eat in the winter. Research has found that there are three compounds in avocados that kill cancer cells. They are also high in copper and iron. 7.1 grams of protein; 55.8 grams of good fat; and 21.4 grams of good carbs.

Herb-ally speaking, a great supplement this time of year and for all types is Ashwaganda. AKA Winter Cherry, Ashwaganda is a primary “rasayana” for masculine energy, offers profound immune protection, neutralizes stress, may inhibit cancer cell growth, improves learning and memory, reduces anxiety and depression and can stabilize blood sugar. The “rasa”-taste- is bitter and sweet and the “virya”-function- is mildly heating. In Ayurvedic terms, Ashwaganda decreases Vata and Kapha.

Wrapping the subject of food as medicine up for now, you can experience a sense of peace, vitality, beauty and rejuvenation with nurturing treatments and an Ayurvedic diet. Blessings on your journey.

Lorrie has over twenty years experience in the field of health, wellness and integrative medicine modalities. Ayurvedic Practitioner, Licensed Massage Therapist and Chopra Center Educator and continued education provider.

Wellness Into The New Year

For human beings, eating was never a simple matter. For animals in nature, food is fuel. In our new consciousness, we understand that food is energy and information. To a human, the ritual of eating is one of the most primal of shared activities. We eat together when we celebrate, and we eat together when we grieve; we eat together to send someone on their way and we eat together when a loved one returns. Sometimes we solve our family problems, or conduct business and even entertain. Human nature has had plenty of time to develop patterns and rituals around the sacred act of eating.

In her book, “The Healing Secrets of Food”, Deborah Kesten explores deeper, “what does it mean to unite with others through food”? Simply put, it means putting interaction with others back into your dining experience. In this regard, the healing secret of socializing begins with being aware that our current food perspectives are imbalanced and incomplete. The sole function of food is not just to provide fuel for the body to work, and eating isn’t another mindless, functional chore to follow mealtimes. Eating is a health enhancing, empowering, unifying creative adventure when you share food and camaraderie as you dine”.

A little story: Once upon a time, my son and I went to the local theatre to watch “Where the Wild Things are”. About halfway into the movie, I sensed myself getting uncomfortable. Why? I got it: This boy hasn’t eaten in at least two days! Even the very large wild things had not had a bite. We realize that the main tenet of this film is a world through the mind of a child. Children live in the present moment and are far too busy playing to be bothered by the trivialities of eating! They eat when they finally remember they are hungry, or when they are reminded, at which point eating becomes (hopefully) a social event and they sit down at the table with the family. For Max in the book and movie, reality begins again when “after a brief boat trip he runs back home, and his mother greets him with open arms, and feeds him”

The new year is here. What does that mean for most of us? For some of us it means “Dash Board Dining”, another phrase coined in Ms. Kersten’s book. As we rush to prepare for the awesome moment when we get to share, feast and give love, we forget to be present in the moment. We forget to be present in the journey getting there. The Buddha says; “when you walk, just walk. When you breathe, just breathe. When you eat, just eat”. Forgive me for adding some of my own wisdom to that. In the Ayurvedic tradition we understand that “yoga” means “union”. Most of the Yogis I know love to eat really good food made with attention and intention. There are only a few things I can think of that are more bliss-filled than taking some time to cook and eat with each other. After all, it says somewhere in the Vedanta, “never pass up a moment to experience bliss”. An American Indian tradition says “always accept a glass of water offered”. Here are a few tips to assist you in staying present on your healthy journey:

Take time to breathe. Practice my favorite technique to stay present, Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing):

  1. In a sitting position, use your right hand to control the flow of breath through your nostrils.
  2. Position your thumb over the right nostril, while your third and fourth fingers are over the left.
  3. Inhale deeply, and then close off the right nostril with your thumb, exhaling through the left.
  4. Staying in position, slowly inhale through the left nostril and at the peak of your inhale, close off your
  5. left nostril with the third and fourth fingers, exhaling through the right nostril.
  6. After full exhalation, inhale again through the right nostril, closing it off with your thumb.
  7. Follow this pattern; inhaling through the left nostril, exhaling through the right, inhaling through the
  8. right nostril and then exhaling through the left.

As a beginner, try a round of five with the pattern beginning on the right and then repeat the round on the left.

Pranayama exercises reduce mental turbulence and are significantly helpful to prepare for meditation or even a family dinner!

Meditate.  Meditation allows us to access our true potential and become aware of our silent witness.

Cook healthy food. Cooking good healthy food takes time, planning and preparation. In my practice, teaching Food as Medicine, I often hear how difficult that is to do with a busy schedule. My best advice is to commit to some healthy planning. Eating well is not rocket science, and it exceeds the expectations of modern day medical science. Start by taking the time to love yourself through the good food, the complete energy and information, that you give it and your loved ones. As we find ourselves in a changing season, and we begin to experience the qualities of Vata and Kapha in our bodies, minds and the nature around us, start planning and cooking a Kapha-balancing balancing menu.

Share your fabulous creation with someone you love and experience bliss. During this new season, let’s all practice the gift of union, actually experiencing the journey in getting there (where ever that may be) and be present in the moment.

Blessings on your journey, Namaste.

Lorrie Lawrence