The key to a healthy and happy lifestyle is awareness, to be present with ourselves and our environment.
We are all unique beings, we must tune in and tune up to who we are and where we are in our lives. Meditation and nature are my main pillars to staying healthy and happy. I invite you to explore, incorporate or bring that back into your life. Through meditation your mind will become clear, strong and you will be able to take action from a place of intelligence and wisdom. Ultimately meditation will give you the greatest gift of true happiness, health and healing from within. There are many forms of meditation, explore and discover what works best for you. Staying in touch with nature will help you to remember the beauty and magic of creation. Find your way to be in nature, enjoy going for a hike or a gentle walk. Become aware of the changes in the trees and plants. Tune in with the season, the time of the day, and your own self. Notice the resemblance of what’s happening outside and inside of you.
The following recommendations are based on the diet and lifestyle principles of Ayurveda: an ancient holistic system for healing and self discovery.
In a nutshell, Ayurveda is a science and an art of living in harmony with the five elements of creation: earth, water, fire, air and ether. Our environment (macrocosmo) is made up of these five elements and so are we (microcosmo). These elements combine in a unique way to make up our constitution “dosha”. Some of us have more earthy or water qualities “kapha”, some of us more fiery “pitta” or airy “vata”.
Our response to each season will be related to our unique constitution and lifestyle. Basically, when it gets cold, damp or windy outside, we get like that inside too, which when out of balance can translate in to feeling depressed, and anxious, having more allergies or colds and flus, among other stuff.
The recommendations below are generally beneficial during winter, early spring and late fall. The weather in the SF Bay Area and some other parts of the world constantly change, and sometimes it feels like we get all the seasons in one day. Use your intuition and logic to apply these practices. Notice how you feel and how much you need them, whether if daily or a few times a week. If you have a pre-existing health condition, it’s best to consult your health care provider.
Improve your digestion with a cup of ginger tea.
Begin your day with a cup of warm fresh ginger tea. Bring a cup of water to boil, add about a teaspoon of fresh, grated ginger. Gently boil for 5-10min. Strain and sip. For colds and flus, add a fresh squeeze of lemon and honey.
Release inflammation by adding turmeric.
Drink fresh ginger turmeric tea throughout the day to promote circulation. Bring 2 cups of water to boil, add about two teaspoons of fresh grated ginger and 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric root or powder. Gently boil for 5-15min. Strain and sip.
Incorporate spices into your cooking.
Get creative with new flavors and recipes. Specially favor warming spices: ginger, turmeric, cardamon, cinnamon, clove, black pepper and mustard seeds. This will help you to get everything moving —> digestion-circulation-elimination.
Eat a light, early dinner.
Eat an early dinner; warm, light, cooked, preferably vegetarian and dairy free. This will help detoxify the liver and soothe the nervous system. You will have a better sleep and wake up feeling refreshed, clear, energized, and happy. Try incorporating root vegetables (ex: carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, yams, turnips) squash, greens and whole grains (if that’s suitable for you). Soups are really great. And if you feel hungry later in the evening, try having the next recommendation: nightly tonic for better sleep.
Sleep better by drinking a nightly tonic
Get really cozy before going to bed with a warm cup of organic vegan milk ( I prefer coconut or almond) with a pinch of nutmeg. Add honey or dates for sweetener. You can also add a teaspoon of shredded coconut, and ghee (optional). This soothing beverage will help you to get a better sleep and restore your vitality. Best to drink at least 30 minutes before bed to allow digestion.
Relax and renew with a morning self oil massage
This practice is especially beneficial for when you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed. It’s very relaxing yet invorating and detoxifying. Best to practice in the morning on an empty stomach or after digesting a light meal.
Gently warm up the oil in a pot with hot water.
Massage your whole body from head to feet. Use long, circular, loving and thoughtful strokes.
Adjust as you need. For example it’s not practical for me to put oil in my hair on a daily basis, so I just massage my head without using the oil.
Give great attention to each part of the body. Stay aware and present with your breath as you massage the body.
Once you are done, sit or lie for at least 5 minutes focusing on the breath. This is a really good time to practice meditation.
Rinse with hot water and use very little soap
Pad dry to allow keeping a thin layer of oil in your body, which will act as a soothing protective cover to the nervous system.
Please visit the following links to learn more about Abhyanga:
Hope you enjoy the suggestions. Please let me know if you have any questions or any request for future topics.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Maria - Shakti D.