Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How To Do A Fall Ayurvedic Cleanse

 Photos via Vidya Cleanse and Pinterest.

Note: this post is excerpted from a post on Organic India's blog by Ayurvedic Wellness Educator and Herbalist Hopi Darnell.

An essential part of Ayurveda is following cues of nature, and that means eating what nature provides for the season. 

Interestingly, fall and spring are the two times per year that the seasonal harvest foods have an especially cleansing effect on the body, helping us transition into the extreme weather cycles of winter and summer (both of which have great impact on our body’s inflammatory response, stress levels, and digestive health).

In the early fall months we have a great opportunity for deeper cleansing, signaled by the arrival of apples, beets and green beans. This harvest of lymph-cleansing foods expels heat we've accumulated in our bodies all summer, resetting the body’s inflammatory response before the colder, harsher months of winter (when the available foods are naturally heavier, richer, and more difficult to digest). Should we miss this opportunity for fall cleansing, we can likely expect to catch more seasonal illnesses in the winter, experience digestive imbalances, and have difficulty maintaining a healthy weight.

The Equinoxes – when day and night hang in equal balance – are considered in Ayurveda to be the best times to cleanse. The traditional Panchakarma is a simple, 4-day detox that can be easily performed at home using herbs, skincare and an important therapy called oleation. In Sanskrit, pancha means 5 and karma means action – these are the 5 actions that can be used for a fall cleanse.

1. Daily Oleation, where melted Ghee is consumed first thing in the morning in increasing amounts (flax, hemp, or coconut oil can be used as a vegan alternative). Note: Organic India has an awesome buy-one-get-one free deal for ghee going on right now!

2. Eating a mono-diet of a split mung bean and rice soup called 'Kitchari', 3 meals per day. Kitchari is a traditional mung bean and rice porridge with a nourishing yet detoxifying effect for the body.

3. Skin brushing with a cotton washcloth or raw silk gloves designed for this purpose, prior to evening bath or shower

4. 20-minute evening bath or shower

4. Self massage with organic food grade raw sesame oil or coconut oil during or after evening bath or shower

Photo via Organic India.

5. Herbal supplements are used to aid digestion, and on day 4 laxative therapy on Day 4 helps expel toxins from the body. Herbs include Turmeric (with meals), Amalaki (before meals, if you have agitated digestion), Trikatu (before meals, if you have sluggish digestion), and Liver Kidney formula (between meals).

If you're going to participate in this cleanse, I highly recommend using products by Organic India. They are a conscious brand who you can trust for high-quality, exceptional organic foods. In working with Organic India's PR team, I was incredibly impressed by their generosity, professionalism, and compassion. Seriously leaps and bounds above so many brands I've worked with!

Would you do an Ayurvedic cleanse? Have you done one? What was your experience?

Finding the Courage to Sing

Photo by Justin Kral.
For a while now, I’ve been practicing kirtan, which is a form of devotional yoga where you sing. Chanting divine mantras in community with our fellow yogis is a powerful practice, as we invoke something greater than ourselves.

Krishna Das, a famous kirtan singer and well-known musician in the yoga community, says this:

"The words of these chants are called the divine names and they come from a place that's deeper than our hearts and our thoughts, deeper than the mind. And so as we sing them they turn us towards ourselves, into ourselves. They bring us in, and as we offer ourselves into the experience, the experience changes us. These chants have no meaning other than the experience that we have by doing them. They come from the Hindu tradition, but it's not about being a Hindu, or believing anything in advance. It's just about doing it, and experiencing. Nothing to join, you just sit down and sing."

If I sing like I'm in the car, I'm good to go!

I have been hesitating for a long time to sing in front of the class when I teach. I often join other teachers at my studio and play the drum and sing with them, at the beginning and end of their classes, but I have not had the courage to lead a kirtan myself.

My goal during this fall season is to invite courage into my heart, and to just get up there and SING! Just like I do in my car every day! :)

When I offer the practice of kirtan as devotion, it does not matter how perfect my pitch is, or if I’m nervous in front of the class. The power lies in the intention behind the chants; at their core, the songs are really about love.

Beneath my fear and hesitation is my inner knowing, my love for Yoga and for my students.

Will you encourage me to sing? I invite you to hold space for me as I incorporate kirtan into my teaching. Thank you. Namaste.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Happy Friday!

Photos via Maddie on Things.

Wherever this weekend takes you…

I hope there’s whimsy and joy waiting around the corner…

May you embrace the unexpected…

 And may each day be surprisingly great!

Namaste, friends.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Photos by Julia Robbs. Found via A Cup of Jo.

If you’re hurting, slow down. Take a breath. Give yourself permission to move closer toward what you’re feeling, rather than covering it up.

Maybe instead of turning on the TV or drinking another glass of wine tonight, take a few minutes to write in your journal about what’s going on.

Or go roll out your yoga mat and dedicate the next 20 minutes to sun salutations, and hearing the sound of your Ujjayi breath.

In yoga, our goal is not to feel better; it is to feel more.

It is easy to hide behind fear, instead of addressing what’s going on beneath the surface. The first step is awareness, and that comes from sitting still for long enough to become aware.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

How Was Your Weekend?

This weekend has been filled with so many beautiful moments.

Saturday I loved being at the yoga studio for most of the day... teaching... really soaking in the gratitude I feel when I connect with students, and how powerful it is to see them do the work and be open to the evolution that follows...

... and then I stayed and took class with my friend who teaches an incredible heart-centered Bhakti flow. She sings, too, and there's just something wonderful about hearing Redemption Song at the end of a practice! I was lying there in shavasana with this utterly peaceful, joyful feeling radiating throughout my body.

The weather has been cooling down, which I love. Fall is just around the corner :)

Time to get going on planning a little winter garden...

It feels great to be actively creating balance in my life right now.

Balance between work and play... between time alone and time with loved ones...

Inviting abundance... and accepting it when it arrives.

I have been making powerfully healthy choices for my body, mind, and spirit.

Today, I did a beautiful meditation in nature with my reiki master. She is the most loving and wise Sensei, and I am so grateful for her powerful healing gifts! Afterward she did a full healing session on me... I so needed it! I fell in and out of sleep, letting the powerful divine energy do its work. I emerged feeling a big shift in my physical and emotional bodies. The experience was a reminder of the importance of daily Spiritual practice. Healing really is a journey and we must make time for it often!

Later, my mom and I got pedicures... such a treat! And now I'm relaxing on the porch, enjoying a green juice, finishing up a writing project... what a lovely evening.

Thank you, Universe, for all you provide.

How was your weekend? What have you been up to? XO

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Kombucha Love

 Do you guys like kombucha?

It’s a bubbly fermented tea drink that’s great for your digestion. You can find it in lots of flavors at the grocery store, and more and more I’m hearing about friends who brew at home, and local restaurants and food trucks that offer it on tap.


Recently I had the pleasure of trying Kombucha Wonder Drink, and I have to say I’m impressed with their sparkling varieties! My favorite is the Essence of Mango; it’s just the right amount of sweetness.

I also loved re-using the little bottles for drinking water throughout my work day. (You could even put a few Gerber daisies in one and set it on your desk as a way to brighten up the room!)

It’s great that Kombucha Wonder Drink doesn’t need to be refrigerated until after it’s opened – meaning you could place an order online and have it shipped to you, rather than needing to buy it in the grocery store. This is because the kombucha is pasteurized, so it is absent of live cultures, and therefore shelf stable. The drink still has active organic acids—the stuff in kombucha that helps improve digestion and detoxify. Kombucha Wonder Drink is the only brand to offer this shelf-stable variety, because of founder Stephen Lee's expertise in the tea industry (he also co-founded the Stash and Tazo Tea companies).

What’s your favorite kombucha flavor?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Kathryn Budig on Self Discovery

 Photo via YogaJournal.

This month’s Yoga Journal feature on Kathryn Budig is rad. In the interview, she speaks about self-discovery, and her approach to yoga and to life, which is her mantra “Aim True.”

I love love LOVE Kathryn Budig’s perspective, and the way she invites balance into her life. She talks about how she eats based on what her body needs and what she’s craving, not based on a strict set of ‘rules’ associated with a particular diet. Life is to be enjoyed, she says. That includes chocolate chip cookies and a glass of wine sometimes. And there is no ‘ideal’ yoga body—and nothing wrong with cellulite.

Photo by Robert Sturman via YogaJournal.

She says:

“In our media, we airbrush it out and people think we are supposed to have these super-smooth bodies. My fiancĂ© was like, ‘Who is the person who said that cellulite is not attractive?’ It is so true—why is that not OK? It’s easy to go onto social media and look at a picture of a smiling, pretty person and think they have it all. I think that is when social media gets really, really dangerous. We want to have the lives of other people we don’t even know. But they could be going home and crying every single night. 

Photo by Jeff Nelson via Yoga Journal.

And, on aging gracefully:

“…It has been a challenge to watch my 25-year-old body turn into a 32-year-old body. It is not depressing; it is the evolution of a woman. This body, whether it is 10 pounds skinnier or 10 pounds heavier, can still do those postures because it is strong. I stay focused on what I feel, on the results. I have a lot of love in my life, and I didn’t have that when I was 25. If I get hung up on what my body looks like, I am losing track of my goal, of my aim.

Beautifully said… and thank you. This is a message I certainly can’t hear enough!

PS An awesome documentary about the ‘body image movement,’ which encourages women to love their bodies more, and let go of cultural ideals of what’s considered beautiful.


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