Category Archives: Ayurveda

Ayurvedic bedtime drink

Today I would love to share one of my favouritest (is that a word?) drinks with you. It is the version I have adapted from Dr Johan Douillard’s website. If you would like to learn more about ayurveda from an ayurvedic physician, I recommend exploring his site for some great information.

Milk is really good for helping us go to sleep and this drink is a wonder when it comes to pacifying vata dosha.

In ayurveda, food is considered in terms of it’s qualities, instead of it’s calorie count or vitamin or mineral content. In ayurveda, the quality of milk is cold, sweet and heavy. When we heat it and add warming spices, we make it easier to digest. It is really good for vata and pitta types. Kapha types may like to spice it up with ginger or nutmeg and use soy or almond milk. Milk is really nourishing for the tissues.

You can use organic, unhomoginised cow’s milk, rice, almond, hemp, good quality soy or any other milk you like.

The addition of the ayurvedic herbs makes it more potent. Please check with your health care provider if you are not sure about using the herbs. Ayurvedic herbs are very powerful.

  • Shatavari is the wonder herb for all women. It translates as “strength of 100 husbands”. It contains unusually high amounts of plant derived oestrogen used to balance the female hormonal system and strengthen virility. It is good for PMS, menopause, help with lactation and to balance the menstrual cycle. Please check with your health care provider about it’s safety during pregnancy.
  • Ashwagandha has a calming effect on the mind and nerves. It translates as “strength of 10 horses.” It strengthens the  bones and muscles and is particularly beneficial for reducing anxiety as well as reversing sexual debility in men.

Here is my recipe:

Bring half a cup of milk and half a cup of water to a boil on the stove.

While the milk is coming to a boil, add:

  • One chopped date
  • One tablespoon of almond meal
  • One tablespoon of coconut meal
  • One teaspoon of ghee
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cardamom powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of shatavari powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ashwagandha powder

Once milk has come to a boil, remove from heat and blend. You can use a stick blender in the pot or pop into into a big blender.

Strain any sediment through a fine sieve and enjoy with one teaspoon of raw honey.

Drinking this for three months will build up your ojas (strength and immunity) and help you to have a beautiful sleep.

I hope you enjoy and don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works for you. John Douillard adds saffron, but my body doesn’t seem to like it, so I don’t add it. My body is craving cardamom, so I am quite liberal in my addition of it.

Ayurveda is all about connecting with your own body and it’s needs. Use this as a base and feel into what your body needs.

I would love to hear from you once you have tried it. Let me know if it makes a difference to your state of mind and if you feel better after drinking it.

I also make it for my children without the addition of the ayurvedic herbs and they love it too.

Blessings to you.

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Mastering self love

{Photo of me at my most recent yoga training. Photo sent to my family at the time :).}

Hi gorgeous! I hope that you are taking care of yourself. I know it can be challenging sometimes. Modern life demands so much of us, doesn’t it? It can really feel like we are being pulled in a hundred directions.

Often, when we make a decision to slow down and start doing more for ourselves, we end up causing ourselves more anxiety. Living in a way that is more attuned to the cycles of nature and in alignment with our true nature is not an over night achievement. Often, we are up against years and years of unhealthy habits. Years of putting ourselves last that may have built up as resentment, anger, tiredness, pain in the body and even depression.

If you are wanting to heal your life, my advice to you is to take is slow. Make one change at a time.

Ayurveda does not advise making lots of changes at once. Yoga is taught in stages. We don’t just walk into a yoga class and stand on our heads in the first lesson!

We learn about our bodies, start building a relationship with our breath and each time we step on to the mat, we peel away another layer. I like to think of it as an artichoke. There are many layers that need to be peeled away to reveal that delicious heart.

And how many of us do not want to cook artichokes because it is so damn hard to get to that heart?

We are so accustomed to living in an instant society that when we decide to make changes for ourselves, we are surprised when things don’t work out  immediately. We get discouraged when we take a perceived step backwards.

Today, I would like to encourage you to reflect on your life up until this time. Sometimes, when we look at how far we have come, we can relax into our journey.

Ask yourself: What do I know now that I did not know 10 years ago? How am I living more in alignment with my true nature than I have ever been? What am I really proud of?

Marvel at the progress you have made in your own self development. Perhaps you eat healthier than you have ever eaten. Perhaps you value your sleep now and you didn’t before. Perhaps you are more patient and kind with your children and your family.

Remember, we are not looking for perfection here. We are looking for perspective. We are always, always growing. Nothing is ever complete. Just embrace where you are in your journey right now.

Now, think of one thing, just one thing that you would like to focus on improving for a while.

Perhaps you would like to start going to a yoga class. Did you know that the cost of a yoga class is less than the cost of a movie? Yoga teachers have so much wisdom to impart. We don’t think twice about going to watch a movie, but we have to budget for our own self care in the form of a yoga class.

Really think about how much you value yourself. Don’t your children deserve to receive the best of you?

Perhaps you can make a commitment to be in bed by 10pm. Did you know that Pitta dosha is active between the hours of 10 and 2? If we are still awake after 10pm, we have entered the element of fire, which is why we have a renewed burst of energy at 10 o’clock. Lots of fun at 10, but not so fun in the morning when our family needs our attention.

I would love to know about your journey. Have you made positive changes in your life that deserve to be celebrated?

Mastering self love is a daily practice. There is no destination. There is only the journey.

What can you do today, that can bring you more peace and joy?

Blessings to you.

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In praise of the afternoon nap

Hi gorgeous!

How are you doing? If you are reading this and it also Autumn for you, I hope that you are managing to slow down. When I wrote about Ayurveda’s take on Autumn in this post, I mentioned how Vata time (the quality that is most prominent in this season) makes us a bit heady and spacey. This is because the qualities of air and space are prevalent, so we naturally amplify those qualities within ourselves.

One thing I haven’t mentioned is how different times of the day are also more prominent. These are rough guides and they can vary based on the time of year and your latitude, but, generally, Vata is most active between the hours of two and six. This is applicable in the afternoon and in the evening.

Do you ever wake at two in the morning? Ha, ha, that is Vata time! Meditation is recommended before six a.m. because Vata is the most “airy” time of the day, so we are very receptive.

But, this is a post about afternoon naps, I digress.

Basically, if you have Vata in your constitution, a Vata imbalance or it is Vata season (windy, cold, dry) outside, you need to take extra precautions at Vata time to stay balanced.

Vata needs warmth, grounding, sweetness and routine.

An afternoon nap (20 minutes or so) is a perfect way to ground Vata, since it slows down the movement that is inherent in Vata. If we don’t consciously slow down at this time of the day, we can get a bit frazzled and feel really worn out by the end of the day. Do this for a couple of years and you start waking at 2 a.m. (I know because I have done it!)

When I first started working on balancing my constitution (My Vata was out of balance), I would nap every day if I could. On the days that I couldn’t, I made a point of sitting and having a cup of tea.

Now that I feel much more grounded, I still have a nap if I feel like it.

Or else, I make myself a cup of chai with a cookie (remember I said Vata needs sweet – I have just given you permission to have some cake in the afternoon!). I also read or watch something inspiring, sit outside, or just lie in bed. I do this between two and three p.m. before I pick up my children from school. When they come home, we have some more afternoon tea, all together. (You can’t have too much afternoon tea, I say!)

My husband has a job in the city and does not have the luxury of lying down for an afternoon nap, so I have encouraged him to go for afternoon tea with his colleagues and to eat something sweet (fruit is really good to have at this time) between the hours of two and six. He says that it really makes a difference to his day and he also doesn’t come home ravenous.

I hope that is helpful to you. Give it a try and let me know if it makes a difference to your day.

Blessings to you.

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What is Ayurveda?

At more than 5 000 years old, Ayurveda is the oldest healing modality in the world. As the sister science of yoga, following an Ayurvedic lifestyle is a natural progression for me.

I have been interested in it for a while, but I started taking it really seriously last year when my daughter, Annie, was complaining of a sore tummy. It was so sore, in fact, that we rushed her to the emergency centre after hours. This coincided with me finding out that my hormones were out of balance. Annie and I decided to start eating ayurvedically as an experiment. If we felt better, we would continue.

Annie has not had a sore tummy since, I am pleased to report! I feel better within myself than I ever have, this is definitely something that makes sense to me.

I feel so much more awareness of my body and how I feel after each meal. People are commenting that I am losing weight, this has not been my goal, but I think that my body is just naturally finding it’s own balance.

So what makes eating Ayurvedically different to other ways of eating?

Instead of looking at calories, micro and macronutrients, protein count and carbohydrates, Ayurveda looks at the element of nature. Ayurveda looks at everything, from our bodies to the food we eat in terms of the elements and how they relate to each other.

The elements that are considered in Ayurveda are earth, water, fire, air and space. Each individual person has these elements within themselves. The way that they are combined at birth determines the person’s constitution (Prakruti). These elements combine as physical, mental and emotional characteristics.

Within the body, there is a constant interaction between order and disorder. Ayurveda is focused on bringing the body into a state of balance. When our body is in a state of balance, we experience vibrant health, inspiring relationships and a peaceful life. Sounds good? I think so!

In Ayurveda, you will hear people speaking about their dosha. The dosha (which actually means fault) is basically the person’s constitution. Our constitution can be in balance, or out of balance. When it is out of balance, we experience ill health, so Ayurveda always works at bringing the dosha into balance.

  • The elements of earth and water are represented by the Kapha dosha. When Kapha is in balance, it promotes love, calmness and forgiveness. Out of balance it produces attachment, greed and envy. *
  • The elements of water and fire are represented by the Pitta dosha. When in balance it promotes understanding and intelligence. When out of balance it produces anger, hate and jealousy. *
  • The elements of air and space (ether) are represented by the Vata dosha. When in balance it promotes flexibility and creativity. When out of balance it produces fear and anxiety. *

What I love about Ayurveda is that it is unique for each person. There is no one size fits all solution to bring anyone into balance. And it really makes sense.

There is so much to share about Ayurveda, but I thought it would be good to have a basic, introductory post for you. I am planning to share a lot more information with you about it. I really think that it can make a difference to you and your family’s wellbeing.

I wish you good health and I would love to know if you have had any experience with Ayurveda.

Blessings to you.

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*Source: Ajit.

How ayurveda can be supportive in the changing times of Autumn

Hi gorgeous ones!

I am working on a post to update you on the progress I am making on Monet’s garden, but I feel an urgency to get this information out to you first, so here goes. Today we went to the Diggers Club Harvest Festival. It was a lovely day out for me, celebrating the end of summer and embracing the harvest that comes at this time of year. I noticed that the weather was very typical of autumn – cold and windy. And I noticed that because of this weather, some of my family members did not enjoy it as much.

From an ayurvedic perspective, autumn is the time of heightened vata. Vata is the quality of air and space. If we think of the qualities of Vata, they are dry, rough, light, cold, subtle and mobile. We see these qualities in the weather and we can also see them mirrored within ourselves.

If we look at individuals who have a predominantly vata constitution, we will notice things like:

  • Thin and bony build.
  • Either very tall or very short.
  • Skin and hair is dry.
  • A variable appetite, one moment feeling ravenously hungry, the next, forgetting to eat.
  • Poor digestion, prone to constipation.
  • Very fast and erratic speech and quick moving movements.
  • Very light sleepers that are prone to insomnia.

If we look at celebrities, someone like Kate Moss comes to mind. She is very thin and light. You almost get a sense that she will float away. That is vata. Like the air – light and mobile.

From an ayurvedic perspective, the best way to support any element is to give it the opposite. Like attracts like. Imagine a glass of cold water, if we put it in the freezer, it will freeze. The quality of cold will be even colder. But, if we put that water in the kettle and bring it to a boil, it will warm up.

I find ayurveda so empowering, because I am learning that I can stop an imbalance from taking a deeper hold within me, by understanding which dosha is imbalanced and taking steps to overcome the imbalance.

If you find that you struggle with weather that is cold and windy, you may have strong vata in your constitution. It is my secondary constitution, so I have to make a real effort to keep it balanced. It is also the first dosha to go out, so even if it is not your primary constitution, it is most likely affecting you.

A few ways to know whether your vata is out of balance: *

  • Overly active thinking.
  • Restless, cannot sit still.
  • Inclined toward fear, anxiety and depression.
  • Feeling spacey and ungrounded.
  • Feeling emotionally delicate.
  • Quick to judge or make decisions.
  • Disorganised.
  • Tend to procrastinate.
  • Moody and emotionally volatile.
  • Interrupt or zone out in conversation.
  • Impatient.
  • Arthritis.
  • High or low blood pressure.
  • Cracking or popping joints.
  • Muscle stiffness.
  • Headaches.
  • Insomnia.
  • Constipation.
  • Gas and bloating.
  • Low energy, depleted life force.

So, what can we do to support ourselves when our vata is out of balance:

  • Vata is dry: This means that we need to give it moisture. Foods that are dry are very agitating to vata. Think of things like crackers, salads and packet chips.
  • Vata is light: This means that it needs lots of grounding. Think of things like connecting to the earth and being in the body. Since vata governs the mind, we tend to become very “heady” when vata is too active. We need to take active steps to come back into the body. My most favourite way is through ayurvedic self massage, which I wrote about here. It is the number one thing that has helped my vata.
  • Vata is cold: This means that it needs warmth. We need to make an effort to eat warm foods. Lots of soups, afternoon tea and hugs, lots and lots of hugs. Vata needs LOVE. My recipe for chai tea for PMS, is not only for PMS. If you haven’t seen it, you can get it here. Have a cup every night before bed, it will make a world of difference, I promise.
  • Vata is mobile: This means that it needs stability and routine. Vata really settles down when we follow a regular daily routine. When we rise with the sun, eat our meals at the same time each day and live in a peaceful environment, vata is able to express itself in a healthy way through creativity, flexibility and healthy communication.

I think that a really quick and simple (but not always easy) way to pacify vata is to come back into the body through the breath. Just taking a few deep breaths brings us right back into the body.

Try it now. Sit upright, place your hands on your belly. Feel into your belly and take ten deep, conscious breaths into there.

Do you feel better? More grounded? Simple, yes. Like I said, not always the easiest thing to remember to do when our mind is all over the place :).

Perhaps you can start a ritual and have a cup of warm chai before bed? Or some morning ama buster?

Whatever you do, just be kind to yourself. Like I said, vata needs love and I am sending lots and lots of it your way. You are doing extremely well and should be so proud of yourself. Making any effort to nourish yourself and take care of you can only benefit you and the world around you. We can only change ourselves, we do not need to carry any responsibility to save the world. Just loving ourselves is enough, the rest just naturally ripples out.

I hope that something has inspired you here.

I would love to know if you have any things that you do to support you when it is autumn or when you are feeling ungrounded? Please share, I am sure that it can inspire many people.

Blessings to you.

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*Yarema, Rhoda and Brannigan