The sourness of Summer Love

Valentines Day is hot. I mean in Australia it's probably going to be a scorcher. Traditionally, some legends refer to St Valentine as being the patron of Spring, as bulbs start to appear pending the new season, pending new begininngs. But around these parts, the chocolates will melt and it's too hot to touch each other. Keep to your side of the bed please.

We have hit our stride in the Summer season. It has arrived and I can feel the heavy water energy has finally dispersed from Spring. Circulation is flowing and there are moments of being testy, feeling frustrated. My personal gauge is the off ramp at the local roundabout. C'mon people, let's go!

And the heat between lovers? Well , depending on your make up, it could finally invigorate Kapha to get going in the bedroom, calm Vata down enough to show some passion and connectivity from being in the clouds, and the passion of Pitta? Well it can be wild times ahead or tempers flaring (I'm right!). Here's how to prevent Summer from souring the passion between you two.

pwmb0fpuyyq-jacob-culp.jpg

Pitta represents the heat in the body, digestive enzymes, the breaking down of logic, the breaking down of food into chyle, the ability to see, usually with precision, straight (being the operative word). to. the. point. Summer is here and Pitta needs something to chew on and if the water element has been burnt out from too much fire stuff going on, they will chew at you, dear lover friend, because it's something to do. Without water, those words come out like a fireball you can't stop. And it hurts.

The sour, salty and pungent tastes are the ones to limit.  The pungent taste is fairly known - eat a Thai hot curry and welcome to sulphorous grafitti landscape the next morning. Salty has the water and fire element which increases digestion and leaves the water post digestive effect. Sour is not so known. We know lemons are sour although of all the common sour tastes this is the more benign in effect. Avoid sour fruit. Just because it's fruit doesn't mean it's a get out of jail free pass. The increase in popularity of Kombucha and sour dough bread does not come without it's consequences, for the Pitta individual. The traditional Indian way of eating has a small amount of pickle on the side to stimulate the digestion, to be able to have a lot of rice, which is sweet (earth and water).

Which brings me to the healing taste which is prediminantly sweet (earth and water), with a small amount of bitter (air and ether) and astringent (air and earth). For those that don't eat whole grains you are missing out on a taste which can ground the nerves, cool the system, and nourish the water element in the body. In Ayurveda we consider the first tissue layer after digestion as rasa, or fluids. We need water to taste food, move prana, lubricate organs against the internal fires, provide lustre to the skin and protect it, allow the flow of breast milk and menstrual fluid and urination. Water creates a barrier for the enzymatic/hormonal actions to take place. In the brain, per Ayurveda, it protects from too much thinking. Don't burn yourself out. Be cool, man.

To cool Pitta on a moonlit summer evening, apply sandalwood oil to the body and go for walk dressed in white clothes with white flowers in your hair or a white flower garland around your neck. A wonderful drink is cool (not refrigerated) milk. First, boil the milk, then cool it down and add rock candy, rosewater, and a few blanched almonds chopped into small pieces. Drinking this milk at bedtime pacifies pitta, increases ojas, and induces sound sleep. It is wonderful to drink this under the moonlight near a beach or stream, while listening to beautiful flute music. Do not discuss serious topics in the evening. Instead, talk about something like the moon, the ocean or flowers, and tell romantic bedtime stories.
— Dr Vasant Lad "Textbook of Ayurveda" Vol III

The Pitta individual is such a great lover, so full of passion and heat to stimulate that chemical reaction. They are exciting. So this Valentines and this summer take the time to be playful and sweet. Adding that sweetness will make the adventure a sustainable one, adding playfulness will take the sharp edge off without the ups and downs of burning love.

Here's some ideas on how to get the best out of your hot lover -

  • Avoid the midday sun, keep the light subtle and filtered. Pitta folks are sensitive to bright light. Create your adventure early morning (they rise easily) or late afternoon, evening. Golden light is warming and soft without being brutal. Create a mood with light.
  • Do something clever. Pitta folks are thinkers and like the complicated to break down. So create a treasure hunt of sorts that makes them work a little but in a playful way.  Alice in Wonderland your way through the evening.
  • Have some interesting things to talk about, some quirky facts. Oooh they love facts of stuff. They like to think they are bright and brilliant so that's where they are shiniest, at their head. It's good for Pitta to check in with their heart but a little head-play before heading south is a good way in.
  • Make it a visual display. Pitta, of all the doshas, eats with their eyes. The act of sight is a Pitta function. So make it beautiful, visually, but not intensely so. They might want to watch fireworks but in essence this would literally set off the fireworks in their brain.
  • Be totally, sickengingly amorous. They think they are tough, those Pitta ones, but with some sugar, they melt. Ignore them, just cuddle them anyway, they will secretly like it. Call them honey and sweetbuns and stuff like that. Go on. Just moderate it with some clever (see point 2).
1 Comment

Sandra Radja

Established in 2012 The She Oak aims to provide healing through diet and lifestyle counselling as well as educational programs. I believe in teaching others to not only know their inherent constitutions that will best serve them but also how to help themselves should they mis-align with their true nature. Ayurveda treats the individual not the disease.

Dryness and your immune system

When we do a cleanse therapy in Ayurveda we oil up the insides and the outsides. The idea being that the process helps to move the toxins to the digestive system for it to then be eliminated. Once the purge has been done, we then use extensive oil treatments to build up the system again. Sesame oil is wonderful in that it has cleansing and building properties. Daily oiling assists the skin in detoxing, especially if a sweat is slightly induced. The skin is a digestive organ and a channel for elimination via sweat. It is important that our skin be allowed to breath. It is also important that our skin feel protected, that we feel protected against the elements.

A dry stick breaks, but if you soak the stick in oil, it becomes flexible. The same thing happens to the body. Vata makes the body dry and stiff, as dry muscles and fascia become achy. However if you do frequent oil therapy your body will become like a juicy stick that doesn’t break.
— Dr Vasant Lad -Shodhana Chikitsa - Ayurveda Volume III

Ayurveda is a big proponent of protecting your immunity. We consider that you should live a life that considers a form of daily self protection.  We are not only impacted by the elements in terms of the weather but also the energy of others in our interactions with them. I'm observing that intimacy is lessening due to the fact that we are all becoming hyper sensitive - to food, to whom we interact with, to silly Facebook posts. We seem to create more laws around what we can/can't say, what we should eat, how far to the edge of the cliff we can stand. Our knack for protecting ourselves is being handed over, since the art of context is not a viable premise in our society.

So. Oil your body daily. Choose an oil that works for your body type. The classic is that sesame oil works for Vata, coconut/sunflowe for Pitta, Mustard for Kapha. However, should you be able to get medicated oils, they are just so much nicer. You have an opportunity to feed your body herbs via the skin and it just doubles the impact you are looking for - to calm Vatas nerves before she starts the day, to cool Pitta's hotness before intensity and inflammation hit, to invigorate Kapha's lethargy and cold wetness to feel productive.

Central Victoria is a harsh environment that feels like it ravages you. Over here I do not know what I would do without daily oiling. For more lush environments it may not be as important for a general maintenance, depending on your situation of course. And if you don't oil, please don't soap! removing the natural oils in your skin is counter productive to building immunity. If you smell, then you have an issue with your digestion and that should be attended to. There should be no need for deoderant, which masks an underlying issue.  High essential oils notwithstanding as they add a therapeutic element to the sense of smell.

Honour your water element in as many forms as you can. As we age this naturally depletes and can cause Vata to promote more problems. The time of menopause is one of them, where the intensity of work and excessive movement in our lives can cause Vata to push Pitta resulting in hot flashes. Calming the system down, ensuring elimination and digestion are in working order and protecting yourself via oiling are simple measure to ease the transition. Menopause is not a disease, it's a transition and transitions are Vata inducing.

Stay oily. It will fare you well as you age and how you attend to your day. Your skin will look better, and your mindset will naturally calm at feeling like it's not always on the defense.

Comment

Sandra Radja

Established in 2012 The She Oak aims to provide healing through diet and lifestyle counselling as well as educational programs. I believe in teaching others to not only know their inherent constitutions that will best serve them but also how to help themselves should they mis-align with their true nature. Ayurveda treats the individual not the disease.

Protect your mind

It breaks my heart the amount of people diagnosed with a mental illness. It's truly astonishing that the maintenance of mind health can take such an inordinate amount of your life span - the feeling that you're "not right". Old memories resurfacing to create obstacles to opportunities, the inability to see the truth or essence of a thing, the rollercoaster HIGH then LOW making it difficult to trust your state and for others to do the same, the potential slide into the big space of elderly years where diseases like dementia are becoming more common - the total disconnect of your mind space to holding onto the earth.

When they sent man beyond our atmosphere, it may have been just an extension of a movement occurring right here on earth, within ourselves.

Come and live anywhere from Melbourne north where you don't know what you will get, weather wise,  from one day to the next, from one year to the next. It is a common feeling amongst most of us that this kind of haphazard weather can feel disruptive to our mind state. It is topical and you know you're from the region when it becomes part of your daily conversation. Up and down in any sense creates a constant unknown and this unknown, in an Ayurvedic sense, leads to fear if you don't have a sense of faith in some other part of your life. And to us, the idea of fear in the mind is most likely the root cause of everything you feel, every pain in the body, every distortion of your mind. We are fed daily, intravenously, with small enough drops of fear via the biggest drug in the world, the daily news, and to make it regional, health and safety legislature....from my experience of living in the US, it seems to have become our 9/11 - an excuse for everything. Add to that the fear of losing money via real estate in the overblown economy and Australia is in an interesting state of affairs. The house built on sand is becoming a high rise.

Anxiety, bipolar, ADHD, dementia, and so on. The mind is a space cavity and the possibilities are endless. So how does Ayurveda see the maintenance of mind via it's practises? How can we create faith outside of religion to build strong personal foundations not reliant on society, politics, or the economy?

You cannot have a mind disorder and think you’re free. It is an oxymoron. The desire to act outside of a rhythm keeps you imprisoned in your own self destructive thoughts.

Vata dosha is comprised of air and ether/space. Air likes to roam free. Observe the gypsy characters in your life, observe those folks whose legs need to twitch when they are seated, observe the arms waving from the enigmatic speaker at a work meeting. Vata incites, propels, moves along. And the more space it has, the wider the arms expand out. Air will look to fill every corner, nook and cranny if you let it. It's eyes will scan the horizon for future space. Routine and borders feel like sour pussies in an otherwise expansive state that only looks for possibilities.

So where is the mind? Is it in the brain or everywhere around us? Is it possible to place the idea of awareness? How do you know you have anxiety? What does it feel like? What about depression? Who told you you have depression? Why do they think so? Did they ask you about any other part of your body system or is the general feeling out there that the mind (which no one can pinpoint exactly) is a separate entity from the body. In that case, that is one hard nut to crack. It's like catching a cloud.

As for philosophies, even Jnana yoga, or the yoga of the intellect that questions it's primordial existence by acknowledging what isn't reality, knows it has a limit - at some point the mind cannot take you beyond the world of qualities because it is a reflective part of it. In other words, the state of meditation cannot be described, we can only observe it's side effects in calm composure, an objective perspective, and the understanding that all you need is here and now. Meditation is one of the most effective practises you can do to control the mind, however sometimes the act of sitting with your thoughts hurts, especially if you don't feel well, have body pain and have such a state of tension that meditation almost seems to make it worse.

Enter Ayurveda. They call it the sister science for this reason - Ayurveda works on settling the mind and body so it can do more etheric practises like meditation. Our body is comprised of a rhythm and when that goes out of whack because of excess working, travelling, too much dryness, too much eating to calm the nerves, too much talking and facebooking, haphazard sleep and eating patterns, the result is the body doesn't know when to kick off hormones or what I call the triggers. It loses it's trigger for appetite, for sleep and ultimately a sensitivity in relationships and therefore we sit and wait for a study to tell us what to do and what to eat- enter the world of politics.

The space element can be seen as the bigger picture or a black hole. I recommend the former. Create boundaries for your physiological functions - wake up and go to sleep at the same time each day. Wake just before sunrise. Eat meals according to appetite and eat at the same time each day. Don't snack. Rest periodically during the day - use park benches and take it easy. Stare out the window after a meal. Sit under a tree. 

She'll be right mate.

There is no doubt that after a life of disorder there are serious chemical imbalances that take place in a persons physiology, but this isn't the end, it's not a life sentence. I do not believe someone is doomed to a lifetime of chemical infusion if there is work to do with daily habits. Western medicine and it's current approach to mind care is like everything else, it's a band aid. It was never meant to be for chronic care. But sadly it has become so.

In my opinion, I see great benefits working together with Ayurveda and Western medicine in a collaborative care model. I see how Ayurveda can help build the immunity and fortitude of a person to be able to deal with past trauma, I can see how it can regulate hormones via it's philosophy of daily habits.  It's so simple and effective but it asks you to evaluate how you're living. This part can be hard because it's this part we're trying to keep up with and compare ourselves to others with. I don't believe eating the "right" food is enough anymore. Eating sugar free snacks on the run or in a nervous state won't translate as stable tissue, the bloating and digestive disorders will still be there. You are what you eat but you're also how you eat. 

In summary, stabilise your routines, slow down, and when you feel strong take up a rejuvenative yoga class and start meditating.

Keep it simple, keep it short and keep it consistent. 

 

 

3 Comments

Sandra Radja

Established in 2012 The She Oak aims to provide healing through diet and lifestyle counselling as well as educational programs. I believe in teaching others to not only know their inherent constitutions that will best serve them but also how to help themselves should they mis-align with their true nature. Ayurveda treats the individual not the disease.

Le petit déjeuner

When I lived in the US the big breakfast was such a theme, especially on weekends. There was a restaurant in Portland people would line up outside. A friend staying with me brought home 1/2 a chicken in a  doggie bag. That's a doggie bags folks, and this guy had a pretty good appetite. If there was a way to stump your weekend morning, this was it. A gluttonous feast fit for King Henry VIII.

And it's common enough here now too. I've heard time and again the experts shout out the adage 'breakfast for a king, lunch for a prince and dinner for a pauper'. I'd like to twist that a little with a different view on how Ayurveda views the role of digestion in reference to your natural tendencies.

I'm teaching myself French and came across the term for breakfast, le petit déjeuner, which actually translates to the small lunch, and alongside the apperitif and digestiv, the French seem to have a strong connection to honouring the digestive system when they eat. 

The morning hours are the most sluggish. After sunrise, it is Kapha time and naturally more heavy, moist (slimy/mucousy), dense, strong, stable than the rest of the day. Our adrenals are the strongest at this time and generally weaken as the day unfolds. If we awaken during this time we take on the qualities mentioned and assume a natural sluggishness. This is an easy experiment - try waking up before sunrise and after. I guarantee you will have more energy before sunrise, EVEN if you haven't slept that well the night before. Guarantee.

So if you wake up feeling heavy and you put a lot of food on this kind of sluggishness, it will take HOURS for it to break down because the Kapha dosha is slow. You did not increase your body's ability to break down fat by eating like a king at this time, you actually increased it. To eat without a strong appetite, in Ayurveda, creates toxins. There must be a match between your fire and the amount and type of food your consume.

You might be a strong Pitta that needs three meals a day. These folks have a bowel movement on arising and they feel ready to break things down from their increase in energy. But if you have Kapha tendencies and perhaps have a bowel movement later in the day, it's really unwise to eat more heavy foods. You just slow yourself down and only really pick up late in the afternoon. Work will feel hard, especially if you have a regular hours kind of job, kids will suffer at school and not be able to learn in the morning.  

I'm going to suggest you stop thinking like this one formula fits all and follow your personal appetite. The sign of a healthy digestion is feeling light and without any discomfort after eating - no gas, bloating, heaviness, heartburn. If not, it is really important to get the system working right. The general medical practise out there of advising clients to avoid food without the understanding of what an appetite is for, or the necessary food habits that MUST work alongside eating, is a mismatch that will continue to produce more fads, more disatisfaction and more disconect and mistrust of the health industry as a whole.

 

Comment

Sandra Radja

Established in 2012 The She Oak aims to provide healing through diet and lifestyle counselling as well as educational programs. I believe in teaching others to not only know their inherent constitutions that will best serve them but also how to help themselves should they mis-align with their true nature. Ayurveda treats the individual not the disease.

If you're going to eat treats, go top shelf

You are going to do it anyway and if you hold back so tight on yourself because you've bought into being healthy in terms of what fun you can't have, then this site is definitely not for you.

Because as far as I can determine, and I thankfully have the back up of some outstanding teachers,  the point of life is about enjoyment. The point of healthcare is about being able to enjoy life without too much fallout AND having the intelligence and education and self-awareness not to veer TOO FAR one way or another.

Which is why we do NOT focus on the ingredients of food as much as we focus on increasing the digestive fire in an individual. A strong digestive fire can eat all life has to offer and spit out what it doesn't need. 

So it's coming up to the holidays and you most probably will take in a few sweets and such in various forms, so here are some ideas to make sure you "middle road" it - 

www.johnnybakers.com.au

www.johnnybakers.com.au

this plus a chai makes me happy and MY FIRE IS STILL STRONG FOR LUNCH.

this plus a chai makes me happy and MY FIRE IS STILL STRONG FOR LUNCH.

GO TOP SHELF

Right here, I'm going to do a shout out to my most favourite morning treat which is the croissants at Johnny Baker's here in Castlemaine. I asked Johnny what makes then so good and he said it was the top shelf Belgian butter they use. You can tell! I came from a family of pastry cooks (continental style from Europe) and it is on par. I have not had any digestive discomfort or any repercussions from the occasional croissants.

So here's my point - if you're going to do it, really enjoy it and get the best of whatever it is you crave. I honestly think bad quality ingredients have bad quality feelings associated with them. As part of our idea in Ayurveda about food sadhana (spiritual practise of food), we consider the good vibes that go into the growing and preparation of the food add to the good vibes you naturally receive from it's end product, which is about making your mind and body functioning well. This has become my most important test on a restaurant or any kind of interaction - the post digestive effect of the experience.

Sincerely, I would rather eat an excellent croissant cooked with love using the best ingredients than a salad pulled out of the ground by folks that at were having a bad day (as an example). Of course, I am suggesting this is a TREAT to illustrate a different perspective and to consider the total experience of eating as opposed to the Vitamin Alphabet.

MISS DINNER

There is this idea that if we indulge, say in the afternoon, that we should eat dinner so we get some nutrients in us. I would say absolutely not. If you have no appetite, it doesn't matter if the food you ate was the best sourced organic super food item, it just turned to a metabolic toxic mess. If you did happen to indulge, leave it at that. Have a cup of tea, allow the item the best possible chance to move through your system. Miss dinner and therefore create a mini fast. This is having your cake and eating it too.

LEARN HOW TO COUNTERACT THE QUALITIES

Sugar is made up from earth and water. So counter that will pungent and bitter items. If I do have a drink I might take aloe vera before bed. If I do have ice cream I will counter with sipping hot water to scrape the coldness away. If I have a dense cake I might take some digestive pills to help boost my digestive fire to help break it down. If you do play up, try and make it as early as possible too. When you give your system time before going to bed to break it down, you will feel much better in the morning. Also taking some Triphala or Amla (depending on body type) will help give your colon a cleanse at night. This is something we do regularly anyways, as practitioners, because it is one of the best formulas to tone the bowels we believe is out there. And we're big fans of keep the good stuff and getting rid of the bad as quickly as possible. Alongside a strong digestion is a healthy elimination. We knew this WAY before the bowel cancer tests coming out these days. I'm so pleased it's becoming topical because it's really important to eliminate well.

Enjoy your holidays. Try and moderate daily rather than at the end of the good time. Be the last one standing. As far as I'm concerned, I intend to have a good time for a really long time. I hope you will too. :)

I am open to the public Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10-12 if you need to supplement your festive time with any of the protocol mentioned above. 

 

 

Comment

Sandra Radja

Established in 2012 The She Oak aims to provide healing through diet and lifestyle counselling as well as educational programs. I believe in teaching others to not only know their inherent constitutions that will best serve them but also how to help themselves should they mis-align with their true nature. Ayurveda treats the individual not the disease.

The constipation of dark chocolate

And anxiety and dryness and nervousness. 

You cannot find fault with the myriad benefits of dark chocolate these days. Just go online and look it up. My raw cacao powder that I bought awhile ago is actually labelled a superfood (clearly for super elimination and digestive heroes) and tells me it is a source of potassium and magnesium. It's an antioxidant. I mean, who wouldn't want to include this in their repertoire. It also tastes awesome. Like some kind of mystical Mayan voodoo naked moon howling midnight stomp around a fire. Oh not for you?

Ahem.

Dark chocolate is bitter, which comprises the elements of air and ether, meaning PURE VATA. I tried to moderate or counteract the qualities myself. I bought this raw cacao and thought I would add it to hot milk, which is cold wet and damp, at night. I noticed I was constipated the next day. Took a couple of days and then a second separate incidence to deduce it was the chocolate.

Ok then, game on. I thought I could counteract the qualities of light, dry, constricting with adding ghee to my hot chocolate, nope. Then 2 tspns. Not really.

So that was the end of our relationship, like deciding those bad boys from high school would end up in jail anyways. It was a good time, but not sustainable.

I had the pleasure of observing this in a couple of clients recently too. They had experienced either the body issues as mentioned or extreme anxiety. One client was miffed that they had bought the best quality sourced from some Amazonian netherlands and yet, it was the culprit of her raised heartbeat and inability to function.

I'm slowly collecting evidence to showcase how ridiculous the idea of superfoods are. It continues to create the idea that you, as an observer in life, are separate from the thing you connect with.  For some, that do not exhibit Vata tendencies OR live in a Vata inducing climate like our dear old Castlemaine, would not react to this story. And rightly so. 

We are different. The foods you react to will be in accordance with the unique qualities you inhabit.

Before you decide what is good food and what isn't, test it. Simplify your diet and create a relationship with the ingredients. I know for a fact that when I'm in a lush environment and not working and lazing about drinking pina coladas, I can totally have a piece of dark chocolate and have minimal effect.

But here, in this dry and dusty snake skin wrinkled town, it's off the menu card.

The integrating factor of a home yoga practise

The group class is a good thing. It's a place of motivation and ideas and (hopefully) good intention. It helps start the journey but it can also hinder the journey depending on the nature of the class. Classes can sometimes hold up to 20 even 40 people so there is no individual attention. So again, it's a great place of motivation and new ideas.

As long as you know what you're doing.

The one thing I notice with some clients is the inability to breathe well. Sometimes I think, if only we could all exhale, the ability to let go of memories and poop and bad habits would just be so much easier. A lot of us breathe in the upper chest/clavicle area and therefore little prana goes to our belly, where our gut feelings and food churnings take place. Without prana, the vital force that helps move the digestive fire to break down food and ideas, things feel stuck and undigested. 

A lot of group classes are offering breathwork, which is wonderful, however it can seem an intimidating place to learn and practise. Creating your own sacred space, where you feel comfortable and calm, lends the right qualities to go deep within this practise. Yoga is not traditionally part of the Ayurvedic protocol but it has been termed a "sister science" meaning that where Ayurveda leaves, Yoga can take over. When I started my journey in Yoga, became qualified as a teacher, there were 250 of us in class in southern India all acting like little sheep, doing the same thing from 4am to 10am at night. It was exhausting and intense and honestly way too much for my Vata ridden body at that time. I was severely constipated. Interestingly they had an Ayurvedic practitioner on site that gave me some castor oil. It helped move things but the constipation came back. It wasn't until I left the ashram that I went regularly and from there my yoga practise improved, because I got to do it alone, at my pace and in my time and NOT WHEN I WAS MENSTRUATING.

I happened to pick up Dr Frawleys Ayurveda and Yoga book at the time and the perfect union was born. I got to be an individual yoga practitioner.

Here is one factor you will read in Frawley's book. Prana heals all, when you can tap into it. Here's the other side - if you're straining your breath at any point, you just created Vata (also known as nervous disorders, constipation, dry skin and hair, brittle bones, reproductive issues). One thing you can't see on Instagram poses is how their breathing was like to get into that pose.

You might sometimes be lucky enough to experience a teacher that encourages you to smile in pose. This is an excellent practise because you need to be calm to truly smile and being calm is one factor for calming Vata down and allowing prana to move through the channels. When you hear someone say "breath into...." what they are trying to say to you is focus on the area and see if you can feel it drop (if you're Vata inclined and Pitta too), but if you're more Kapha inclined, see if you can create an intensity to move heat lest the Kapha body revert back to an naturally inert state.

Yama, niyama, asana, pramayama. This is part of Patankali's ashtanga yoga (8 limbs people). So a traditional yoga class will always have some pranayama at the end as a way to refine the mind after refining the body. However, living in the West and not in a sweet Indian village, should you find yourself all jacked up immediately upon arising in the morning, try it the other way around. Vishnu Devananda (Sivananda lineage) when he was teaching in NYC did just that and also cleverly created mini savasanas between asana because he noticed people would leave at the end of the class when it was time for Savasana.

We do a morning practise in Ayurveda to set the "tone" for the day. Some of us have decided that yoga should be included in that morning practise. I highly encourage the same of you, even if it's 5 minutes, to make it your own and have the space to "feel" the breath, to go inside without having to listen to too many instructions. You might then find you get more out of your group class. I encourage my clients to be a 1/2 step behind instructions in a group class so they have time to check in before moving rather than feeling like they need to keep up. Remember your teacher can only give a GUIDELINE. It's up to you to make it your own.

And you know you are unique right?

 

1 Comment

Sandra Radja

Established in 2012 The She Oak aims to provide healing through diet and lifestyle counselling as well as educational programs. I believe in teaching others to not only know their inherent constitutions that will best serve them but also how to help themselves should they mis-align with their true nature. Ayurveda treats the individual not the disease.

Saying 'yes' is imperative to your well being journey

There is this little secret that I want to share with you, it's the difference between being successful in your well being journey and a life of being stuck and it's as simple as saying yes.

I was sitting with an associate who was lamenting on feeling stuck. I had made the suggestion of asking for what you want, putting the desire out there, and there was a motion of scorn and disbelief at the proposal. So be it. It's a shame that folks take that idea so literally, that there is actually a God person out there in the skies opening up mail saying "pssh, is he for real? does he really think i'm going to give him that?! Next!". Hmmm. What do you think?

That idea right there is the problem, that we wait for permission to be given something. 

Think of it this way - how about you ask, you say yes, and then you notice that there are more opportunities because the 'act' of asking or saying 'yes' kept you open and receptive. And your measly little mind didn't come up with excuses as to why not. Well being requires exercising the mind before you even begin the task of adding certain food and practises to your diet - it requires a kind of limbering up to expand your periphery.

An example could be like this -

  • Blocked Literal - I can't do the morning routine, it takes too much time, going down the list one by one.
  • Yes Idea - How about mixing two tasks in one, like swishing oil in the mouth and doing the dishes or oiling up the body and prepping lunch.

The purpose of seeing an Ayurvedic practitioner, depending on how they are trained, is to open yourself up to creative lifestyle ideas. But it's just not possible to move ahead without first coming to the party with the yes hat on. 

It should not be the purpose of the practitioner to constantly have to pep the client up and provide motivation, like trying to get a teenager out of bed for school.

Here's what I know. When someone really wants help and physically doesn't have the energy to motivate or the mind state, that's an easy fix. But when someone can't be bothered, and you want to pay someone to complain to, there is no regime in the world that can create that for you. You may find a practitioner that wants to take your money and keep you on the books for an eternity, but I don't consider the length of time will create well being without the desire of the participant.

People ask me what disease I focus on, and my answer is anything, as long as the client is willing. When the client is not willing to participate, I suggest perhaps a more traditional route, which is more intense and requires little involvement. And here's what I know - when you say yes, the most interesting words come out of my mouth. I have noticed time and again what I say if for you. There have been times when I would say something I don't recall knowing. So I know for a fact I am in reaction to your desire to be well. The more excited you are about it, the more you get from my service to you.

So it's up to you. One day you may be sick of being sick. And from that point, you can do anything.

Comment

Sandra Radja

Established in 2012 The She Oak aims to provide healing through diet and lifestyle counselling as well as educational programs. I believe in teaching others to not only know their inherent constitutions that will best serve them but also how to help themselves should they mis-align with their true nature. Ayurveda treats the individual not the disease.

Do you believe in God?

I was asked. Yes, I said. (then silence)

And I mused on the interaction that they didn't follow up with - so what does that mean for you? I can only imagine the images they had presented on their minds screen. 

My teacher uses God as an acronym - Good Orderly Direction - and I adopt that as my own. The natural world is a microcosm of multi-layers that interact in order to keep the rhythm. Birds migrate, bees rearrange and bush and will need a clearing out now and then. And the more out of sorts we are, the more it has to work in extremes to bring itself to balance.

We talk about global warming and the devastation of our planet and yet the general premise is to wait until a disease is at such a deranged stage it warrants severe acute care.  We define health as a separation from spirit - or how I like to interpret it, we now need to wait for someone else to tell us something feels wrong.

 

Digestion issues. I have observed this often -  people know that they have a digestive disorder but when asked how their digestion is feeling the usual answer is "What do you mean by that?" Where is that connection gone? Where is the relationship in your microcosm? Another comment I hear often and why clients come to be is to seek "balance" and yet when questioned as to what that looks like, it gives them a moment of pause to consider. Ask yourself right now what it feels like to be balanced - in practical terms not the current vogue of talking in etherics -

  1. When was the last time you thought you were balanced?
  2. What was happening to you at the time
  3. What was your state of mind then? 
  4. Who and what kind of activity was in your life?
  5. Where did it all go awry?

Good. Orderly. Direction.

There are 7ish billion people in the world and rising. There are 7ish billion unique expressions in this world. Some say we are over populated, perhaps, but another way to look at it, is that the universe has an immense desire to play and for us to get along. There is a sad irony that there are more people in the world and less human interaction. People disclose more on Facebook to the world at large than meeting someone for the first time. The art of connection is taking a nose dive and we are separating further from our core at the same time. 

Ayurveda is a practical science. It is not a religion. It is a science of observation of the outside to the inside. It prepares you for greater meditation (if you so choose) and helps you to become independent in your own assessment - you decide your own Good Orderly Direction and not have to be at the mercy of a distant opinion. You attend to the smallest of concerns as part of your daily rhythm and dance and not wait until your screaming body and mind has to collapse you.

To me, God is ease. God is relaxation and being able to smile at a stranger. God is being part of the whole dance, looking to nature and it's qualities to guide you, looking within to check on how you feel, always ALWAYS looking to the state of your breath and whether it is calm.

God, to me, is sincere and non judgemental listening, and I'm still practising.

Comment

Sandra Radja

Established in 2012 The She Oak aims to provide healing through diet and lifestyle counselling as well as educational programs. I believe in teaching others to not only know their inherent constitutions that will best serve them but also how to help themselves should they mis-align with their true nature. Ayurveda treats the individual not the disease.

The purpose of an Ayurvedic online quiz

You can't know enough in Ayurveda.

The reason for this is that to know yourself is a lifelong journey. And I'm sure you can attest, it took a bunch of experiences to get you here today. Some of that was uncomfortable, some moments of feeling at peace, but there can be no doubt that every single moment is an expression of you as a human being in this lifetime, the sum parts of the whole.

In short, you're an unfoldment of good vs evil stories.

So how can an online quiz capture that? 

A quiz is a point in time.  You see yourself in a point in time with the knowledge you've garnered until that point. So although the concept of Prakruti is static and never changing, your viewpoint of yourself is changing along with seasonal and daily shifts, unless you can access that state of non movement in meditation, and that's a chicken/egg situation.

For the most part, and shit I hate to generalise in Ayurveda, but in this instance I could confidently say that most people have a Vata disorder, to varying degrees of course, but when we break down the essence of Vata as movement then we can see how the movement through life is nothing but constant change.

The whole purpose of a yoga practise is to still the mind - yogas chitta vritti nirodhah (Yoga is the removal of the fluctuations of the mind. (Yoga Sutras: I, 2). Without this stillness it is difficult to see the surface below. To calm the Vata dosha is to assist in this journey. I cannot imagine my Yoga practise with Ayurveda; it's just made it so much easier to be objective. I always found the concept of capacity an interesting one. How far do you know how to go with anything in life? We're always looking to the star signs to tell us what's happening TO us, but there is a way to know ahead of time by listening in.

Have you ever read these full moon, new moon, eclipse astrological reports? I would like to see a film edit of a few of them bunched together. They all say that you need to go within. Spend time meditating. All of them. All of the time. My own little made up analysis of that is because these are junctions, just like the solstices, and equinoxes and dawn and dusk. All junctions are change and to sit quietly as the change moves through is to calm the Vata dosha. Hell for those of us that believe perhaps being alive is a junction of a different state at death.

I do an extensive intake and it's common enough that new clients will express difficulty in having answers to basic functions such as elimination or digestion. We don't look down and we don't look in. And we most definitely don't do this daily - but this is Ayurveda and everything else is but an intellectual discourse. So unless you're being trained to think in a different way - the way of self awareness - then you are most probably using the western med mindset with a bunch of new fancy language and herbs grown in India. 

I don't advise people to read books on Ayurveda when they first begin because they confuse themselves. To know this art is to experience it - to see the doshas play themselves out. It's wearing your devil by your side, making friends with them and seeing the signs before they become issues. It's having rituals in Summer that are different from the Winter. It's taking into account the weather before embarking on your morning exercise. It's observing the qualities of the people around you and how they affect your doshas. It's being aware that the gaps from home to work and work to play are as important as the herbs or oil pulling or whatever else is purportedly Ayurvedic. 

It's a way of being. It's a philosophy that sticks by you but requires a constant curiosity to stay alive. To activate prana requires relaxation and focus, ie to be ALIVE and VITAL requires relaxation and focus. I once heard, somewhere in some book on yoga, that to know the world you only needed to know the leaf of the tree (insert anything).  I get it. It's not about adding more stuff to your day, it's about sinking in deep with what you already have. My newest analogy for Vata is the dragonfly, just skimming the surface, and if you let yourself fall into something you get to see the soft slow calm and hypnotic bottom of the ocean. Just choose one thing. 

So take the quiz. I think they are fun and wonderful but you need to do them daily for at least a month and then each season. And then review them in hindsight to see how you trend. And most of all, be honest with yourself on how you're interpreting them - that last one can be tricky when you first begin because our fear monsters tend to be the boss when we're not aware. But know you have only just begun on a journey that seemingly has no end and since you are going to evolve whether you like it or not, you might as well be the host of the party.

Comment

Sandra Radja

Established in 2012 The She Oak aims to provide healing through diet and lifestyle counselling as well as educational programs. I believe in teaching others to not only know their inherent constitutions that will best serve them but also how to help themselves should they mis-align with their true nature. Ayurveda treats the individual not the disease.