Tag Archives: self care

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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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My manifesto

Self abhyanga – Ayurvedic self massage

Hi gorgeous!

Today I would like to share something very special with you. It is something that I have discovered is crucial for mothers, especially us mothers in the West. It is called Self Abhyanga, or Ayurvedic self massage. It is the most incredible thing that you can do for yourself.

In India, this is part of the culture. Unfortunately, most of us have not been taught how to really, really nurture ourselves. Especially as mothers. We give so much to our children and if we do not replenish ourselves, we end up functioning from a depleted space. Not good for our wellbeing in many ways. Our health suffers and our spirit suffers, we end up with a depleted life force.

The reason this is so special is because it pacifies Vata Dosha. In Ayurveda, Vata is the element of air and space. Think of the wind blowing on a cold day. Vata is cold, dry and changeable. Most people in the West are dealing with too much Vata. Do you ever get cold? Have creaky joints? Live too much in your head – with the fairies? Can’t make up your mind, go from one idea to the next, all the time?

This is Vata being overactive.

The way to balance any element is to give it its opposite. So, if we are feeling like we have too much Vata, we do not help ourselves by eating raw salads and not wearing warm enough clothes. We need to give Vata warmth, stability and mostly LOVE.

Lots and lots of love and nourishment.

We can perform the self massage with warm sesame oil.  This is particularly beneficial for Vata imbalance as sesame oil is very warming and nourishing.

(You can use other oils like coconut, but coconut is very cooling, not what you want for Vata imbalance)

It is a practice that you can perform before you have a bath or shower. You start with your feet and move all the way up towards your head. It is a really, really nourishing practice and I really, really, really recommend it! My children LOVE doing it before bed, they are so peaceful afterwards and sleep beautifully.

It is good to use black sesame oil if you can get it at the supermarket.

I personally love the Vata body oil from Rasasara. You can get it here.

The reason oil is so good is because Vata is dry. And that is why we need to increase our essential fatty acid intake and not be afraid of fat (the good kind, of course). 

Here is a beautiful video from the Mudita institute where you can watch someone perform a self abhyanga. My children get me to put it on for them.They do their own self massage and I clean up the kitchen after their dinner.

I highly recommend watching the video to get a real sense of how to perform it and to understand how profoundly simple it is.

I would love to hear if you do this practice and whether it has benefitted you? I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE it! It is exactly what this mama needs to soothe her soul and to send her off to dreamland.

I normally run a bath, put on my oil and climb into the bath while I listen to a guided meditation for about 20 minutes.

Bliss, I tell you!

Wishing you a beautiful day, wherever you are and here is to more and more mothers modelling how to nurture and honour ourselves. It is how we change the world, one oil massage at a time!

Blessings to you.

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Cooking with the ancestors

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I am writing to you from a place that is very dear to my heart right now. The seven year anniversary of my mom’s death is coming up this month and I will be honest when I tell you that I am feeling slight tenderness because of it.

This time of year has become an interesting one for me. Spring is around the corner, so my mood always lifts and at the same time, I feel my mom’s presence much more intensely than I do at other times of the year. My birthday is literally one week after the anniversary of her death. I will be 35 this year. It seems like a big one to me.

My mom and I share a love of nature and beautiful gardens, so I always plant something in her honour. This year I am creating a Polish meadow in my front garden. The country where I was born. I did not grow up there, but my mom always spoke so fondly of it.

Which brings me to the reason I am writing today.

Cooking.

Maya Tiwari talks about cooking the food of our ancestry as a way to heal ourselves in her book The Path of Practice. She teaches that we hold the memories of our ancestors in our bodies. They are carried through our cells. Any unresolved wounds of our ancestors are carried in our mother’s wombs and passed down to us. We can start to heal ourselves and in turn, our ancestors, by reconnecting with them.

Sometimes this can be painful, particularly if our childhoods were not happy and our family situations are less than ideal.

A really beautiful way of connecting and healing ourselves is to start cooking the food of our ancestors.

I have been cooking the food of my childhood in the last week. I have been doing this to connect to my mom. What I am finding is that it is giving me an incredible peace and stability. I have literally cried upon taking the first bite of a particular childhood favourite.

When we cook the food of our ancestry, we literally ground ourselves. Our bodies literally remember our mothers, our grandmothers and all the women and men that have come before us. We find that the smells of the herbs and spices of the land of our origins starts waking something up within us. Our hands know exactly how to knead the particular bread that our people would eat to sustain them. We intuitively know when to stir the pot, how much of a particular spice to add and when to take the cake out of the oven. The smells of the foods enter our spirits and give us a lightness of being.

We not only start to remember our childhoods, but we start to remember things much older than these physical bodies.

We find that our bodies easily digest this food, because they have been programmed to. Our children love to eat the food too, because it wakes up their ancestral memories.

When we make this a sacred act and involve our families, we heal on so many layers. We bring laughter, love and peace into our homes. Life becomes easy.

We are not constantly trying the latest food fad and destabilising ourselves because of it. We are not scattered because we are trying to follow a recipe we don’t know. This new recipe may sustain us on a physical level, but it does not touch our souls the way our ancestral food does.

Cooking the food of our ancestors will do more for our health than any amount of green smoothies can. We are more than our physical bodies. If we believe that the way to health and happiness is only through the macro and micro nutrient composition of the food we ingest, we are missing a much, much bigger picture of who we really are. Yes, of course those things are important, but they are not the only thing.

I could share a recipe from my ancestry with you. But, that would defeat the purpose of this post. I encourage you to research the food of the land of your ancestors and to start cooking. Involve your children. Make it something you do when you need comfort in your life, like in the week before your menstrual cycle begins. The healing effects of this practice will ground and sustain your spirit.

I would love to hear about your favourite recipes from your ancestry and if they have been a source of comfort to you.

Blessings to you.

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When was the last time you gifted yourself?

When was the last time you gifted yourself?

My moon time arrived, I decided that it would be the perfect time to treat myself as the goddess that I am.
 
Our monthly time of bleeding is such a potent time of release.
A beautiful time to release what no longer serves us.
It is a sacred time.
We are at our most powerful at that time.
 
Did you know that a carnivorous, wild animal that would normally attack humans, will not attack a woman during her bleeding time?
 
So potent is our blood.
 
Think about how amazing and powerful you are, when next you have your moon time.
 
I decided it was time to buy myself a new candle.
I went to my favourite shop and picked out the perfect candle.
I was paying at the counter and the conversation went like this:
 
Shop keeper: “Is this a gift, or is it just for you?”
Me: “…Um, well, it’s a gift… for me.”
Shop keeper: “Oh, uh, ok. So you don’t want it wrapped then, do you?”
Me: “Actually, yes, I do.”
 
The shop keeper gave me a huge smile. Wrapped my candle up and handed it over to me with the reverence that any gift deserves.
 
I received it with great gratitude.
I took it home and lit it at my altar.
My sacred spot, just for me.
I pulled out a card.
 
Pele, the volcano goddess.
 
Asking me to follow my heart.
 
A validation.
Yes, it feels good to follow our hearts.
And so good to treat ourselves as well as we treat everyone else.
 
What have you gifted yourself today?
 
Blessings to you.
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