My Spring Cleanse Weekend is just around the corner, and soon it will be time for pre-cleanse prep. One of these steps is beginning to slow down and take stock of where we have frenetically ended up. Journaling and keeping a daily-log is a great way to begin to do this. For a tech-geek like me, I love having my daily log with me all the time so I can record thoughts, inspirations, meals, practices, etc as I go. I've found Day One to be my favorite way to keep track. This little app is on all my devices, and keeps itself synced. The interface is super clean, and easy to use. It even makes a date, time, and weather note in your entry, which is great for looking at your recordings in an ayurvedic light. If you're planning to cleanse this spring, and don't already journal, why not use this time as the perfect opportunity to start. If you're already keeping a daily log, share your journaling tips with us below.
This time of year it feels like I'm doing a lot of talking about the struggles of kapha season. These last weeks it's been a herculean feat to get out of bed in the am. Some days it feels like my digestion has ground to a halt. I can feel the moist-cold settling in, in many ways. But kapha season has its place in this natural cycle - because kapha is good at growing. A few weeks ago I got my new seeds in the mail, and they've been in the cool basement, seated in heavy, moist soil, under lights, getting their kapha on. And voilá! So in honor of these seedlings, I'm trying to recognize the positive attributes of kapha in balance - the solid foundation it lends, its stability, its ability to nuture. Here's to new growth!
It's only Tuesday, and it's already been a long week. I think I'm still catching up from India, and the lure of spring has me feeling ambitious to take on lots of new. So tonight I'm settling in for some stress medicine, a nice cup of tea and a yoga nidra. I'll come out the other side a slower, more centered me. What's your favorite healing medicine for stress? Share your secret weapons against stress below in the comments.
I had a conversation with a student last week about his meditation practice. This student recently had a promotion at work, and is struggling to find the balance of new/more responsibility with home life and his practice. The meditation practice he worked to build over the last year has evaporated, and the busyness bug is nagging from the moment he gets up in the morning. I've been thinking a lot about that conversation, and that situation that we all inevitably find ourselves in. When we get really busy, when the pressure is on, do we cut out the practices that support us most? Unfortunately, often the answer is, yes. The truth is that we don't have time not to meditate.
Let me say that again, We don't have the time not to meditate. These times when the heat is turned up, when the stress is high, and the to-do list endless we need the support, the center, the steady foundation more than ever. So my challenge to myself, to my student, to you is - What about 5 minutes?
It could be as simple as sitting up in bed upon waking and taking 5 minutes to breathe and set the tone or intention for the day. 5 minutes to feel the breath ascend and descend in the nostrils. 5 minutes to feel your connection to something greater than your self. 5 minutes to remember your mantra. 5 minutes to (fill in the blank because this is your 5 minutes to get empty or refuel in the way that's best for you).
Maybe your 5 minutes is at home in the morning. Maybe your 5 is in-between clients at work. Maybe you take the first 5 minutes of your lunch time to regroup. Maybe you find 5 minutes before your flight to "check-in" (and if you're lucky enough to be at AVP like I am today, you can even use their meditation room). Perhaps your 5 is right before you go to bed.
Try it this week. Whatever or wherever works for you, give yourself that gift of 5 minutes to re-center, to re-connect, to re-fuel. I'd love to hear about your 5 minute experiences here. Leave me a comment about your 5. Namaste. ~k
I'm at the Himalayan Institute this weekend for an Ayurveda & Allergies workshop with Dr. Rosy Mann. It's a quick weekend, I flew in Friday and will fly out today, Sunday. Anytime we travel, especially air travel, we are increasing the air and ether element (vata dosha) in our bodies. We experience this increase in the air element (a vata imbalance) through many symptoms including: restlessness, and spaciness in the mind; dryness, chapped lips, gas, and constipation in the physical body. None of these make arriving at a new destination particularly fun. I've learned as I have traveled more over the past few years, that there are many things I can do to keep myself in better balance as I travel. This keeps me happier, and makes the trip, whatever the destination, more enjoyable.
A few years ago while traveling, a friend introduced me to triphala, and it's now a staple of my travel-wellness as well as daily-wellness arsenal. Triphala is an ayurvedic herbal remedy, that consists of three (tri) fruits (phala): amalaki, bibhitaki, and haritaki. These three fruits each balance one of the three constitutions (doshas), making this formulation universal or tri-doshic. Triphala can be used daily for rejuvenation and detoxification, and proves particularly useful for travel induced vata imbalance as it supports healthy digestion and elimination. In plain speak, no more travel induced constipation!
I find triphala most effective when taken as a tea (ayurveda teaches that the taste of a substance contains vital information and instructions for the body, and that taste is missed when you take a capsule). The usual recommended dose of triphala is 1/4 tsp per 8 oz of water. I put my 1/4 tsp in hot water, and give it a stir and then let the sediment somewhat settle out. This weekend, I was rooming with a friend I affectionately call the Ghee Goddess, who makes amazing medicated ghee, and always has it on her. So to this cup I added ~ 1 tsp of her Shatavari-Brahmi Ghee. Shatavari is a rejuvenative that is particularly nourishing for women, and Brahmi is an herb that is used to provide mental support and rejuvenation. The ghee lends a moisturizing heaviness that also pacifies vata. If you didn't have a medicated ghee, just a plain ghee would do. I drank this warm cup right before bed, and woke up this morning feeling grounded, present, and with elimination working. Next time you hit the road, pack some triphala powder, maybe some ghee, and find some hot water...it will make you a happy traveler.
kara aubin teaches yoga & ayurveda, drinks hot lemon water, and is part of the ayurvedic oily revolution in Kalamazoo, MI and Pune, India.
What clients have to say...
I just wanted to let you know how life-changing [the Spring Cleanse] was for me. I think I've ignored most of my life how my body responds to what I put into it. I can't remember when I felt this good. Energy good, anxiety low, fogginess gone.
I am writing to let you know of what a wonderful experience I had taking class with Kara these last few months. She was so in tune to what everyone seemed to need in the class. The way Kara ran class was informational, comforting, nurturing and challenging.