Sitting in silence (aka meditation) is a powerful practice. This practice is not based in any one religion; rather its a tool employed by all traditions, in one form or another, to gain control over our monkey mind, and enhance self-awareness.
However, a sitting practice can be elusive for many people. Sometimes the mind is too active, or else the body is restless, or we are just in a pattern of distracting ourselves. Also, the benefits of meditation are subtle, so it's hard to actually feel them, which makes it demotivating (and even frustrating) to stay with the practice. This is all very normal, and we can work with it.
So let's talk about how we can gently prepare ourselves for cultivating a sitting practice. Small steps towards breaking the incessant pattern of "doing" and pausing the mental busy-ness can go a long way in avoiding the frustration a beginner can encounter when first trying to meditate. I call this creating spaciousness. Spaciousness of mind is an excellent pre-cursor to meditation. Hear me out.
Each of the three Ayurvedic doshas come with with their own predominant mental qualities. Vata, made of air and space, brings creativity and intuition. Pitta, that is predominantly the fire element, comes with intensity and passion. Kapha which is earth and water, carries a predisposition towards love and peacefulness.
When in balance, these qualities can serve us well, and support our dharma, or purpose and chosen work. When they are pulled out of their natural state of balance, these same qualities can manifest in a negative way and harm our inner well-being.
Vata, when out of balance, creates scattered-ness, overwhelm, and anxiety. Vata people get pulled into future possibilities and lose touch with the present. Kapha imbalance manifests as attachment, mental heaviness and being stuck in the past. Pitta, when heightened, leads to fiery qualities like anger, an over-critical mind and explosive emotions.
As a family, we have been recently enjoying this very simple Ayurvedic version of a milk shake. My two daughters who usually love all things cold and sweet (ice cream, milk shakes, smoothies...!) are now hooked to this filling and invigorating milk drink.
First of all, let's talk about milk.
Ayurveda is a big fan of cow's milk for its ojas increasing properties. The word ojas in Ayurveda refers to the overall glow or vitality of a person. It includes a person's strength, immunity, energy and contentment. If you digest cow's milk well, then it is an incredible medicine for your system. Milk also helps cultivate the quality of sattva in the mind - that of calm, wholesomeness and bliss.
Be Radiant, my health coaching program, is based on the wisdom of a traditional naturopathic philosophy called Ayurveda. If you are new to Ayurveda, read on to learn a bit more about Ayurveda and how I use it in my work
Ayurveda is an ancient health science from the east. It dates back to over 4000 years, and is possibly the oldest traditional system known to us today. It is more than a medicine, really, it's a way of life. Ayurveda is also recognized as the sister science to yoga, and traditionally is used in tandem with it for enhancing the vitality of the body, mind and spirit.
There are foods and drinks in every traditional culture that are good for maintaining beneficial bacteria in the gut. In Ayurveda we use buttermilk. The ancient texts say "The one who drinks buttermilk regularly will never suffer from disease". Now, do we need any more incentive than that??
Buttermilk is an excellent tonic for anytime of the year, and for every body type. It promotes appetite, calms the digestive system, and helps with assimilation of nutrients.
I am excited to share this guest post from one of my favourite Vancouver yogis, Maitreyi. Its a recipe that every Ayurvedic practitioner knows and loves; and a drink that adults and children can both enjoy equally. Its is a great alternative to tea and coffee, with the same pick-me-up quality, and unlike regular chai, no cost to your life-force levels. Enjoy!
Chai chai recipe...And the Tantra of Tea
Chai means tea in Hindi and masala chai means spiced tea. My grandmother never let the kids have chai because tea and coffee according to ayurveda are habit forming. Plus both are said to increase pitha and acidity , which increases grey hairs. No woman wants that!
Khichari or khichadi is a simple one-pot dish that is used in Ayurveda for healing, cleansing and rebuilding. It is very nutritious, easy to digest and balances all the ‘doshas’ or constitutions. Ayurvedically speaking, its good for anyone to use, anytime! Khichari is a complete food. It has a unique combination of rice and dal (protein and carbs) that contain all 20 amino acids for maintaining and building your body. It has the essential fats you need for everyday health and if you add vegetables, it officially has all the daily food groups.
Khichari is one of those dishes that, once you try it, you can’t help but make part of your weekly meal plan. It’s just so satisfying, and also ridiculously easy to make. I often put a pot on while I eat breakfast and then pack into thermoses for our family’s lunches 20 minutes later. Here is the recipe I use.
I am about to share with you a little trick that will help your body recover after you eat a decadent dessert and have a surge of sugar flooding your system. This trick will leave you the talk of your holiday gathering.
But first, lets talk about Turmeric, that vividly yellow powder you can buy at the grocery store and put in your curries. Turmeric is currently trendy in the West and has been for some time now. You have probably seen “Turmeric latte” listed at your local café, or tried a fresh turmeric shot at the organic juicer.
Flu season is around the corner, and viruses are getting more vicious by the year. It is time to pay attention to the health of your immune system. Ayurveda provides incredible insights on how to use food and good eating habits to keep the immune system resilient.
The first thing to understand about the Ayurvedic approach, is that it sees each person as unique - an individual product of genetics, lifestyles and age. If you find yourself generally susceptible to colds, you may need to take more care than others who are graced with a more robust system.
Fall is upon us! If you are anything like me and love the freedom that summer brings, then the fall may bring sadness, and perhaps panic. Something like: “Holy crap! It’s back to routine. Lunches and dinners and schedules! Help!!!”
As a health coach, the first thing I recommend to my students (after a deep breath, of course) is a meal planner. Take a moment on the weekend to plan what you will eat in the week. Design your week of eating, make your grocery list, and put it up in your kitchen for easy reference.
The meal planning strategy is especially helpful for those who want to eat healthy, keep off the "emergency" junk food, and avoid late dinners and expensive take-out.