ayurveda arroyo grande

The Lowdown on Ayurvedic Cleansing

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The Lowdown on Ayurvedic Cleansing

“Cleanse” may have taken on the tinge of a trendy buzzword but, in reality, it is a function that our bodies, when in balance, perform naturally and regularly.

The detox channels of the body – or the channels through which the body cleanses damaging toxins – are the same as the digestive channels. There is an intimate link between these two processes.

According to Ayurveda, the goal is always to optimize the body’s natural propensity for cleansing, which is the safest and surest way to know you are not storing dangerous toxins in your fat cells and brain.

A couple times a year, Ayurveda recommends an intensive cleansing regimen to reset the digestive function – which can get boggy and congested over time – and provide rejuvenation for all of the organs that work so hard to keep us functioning.

In America, poor digestion is incredibly common. Modern-day exposure to preservatives, pesticides, plastics, and environmental pollutants has put us in a vulnerable position. Digestive strength can also be weakened from over-eating and eating foods that are inappropriate to the season.

A more intensive cleansing regimen can kick your natural detox function into a higher gear, encouraging the body to do a better job of cleansing on its own.

3 Keys to an Intelligent Cleanse

  1. An intelligent cleanse will always seek to open up the detox channels first.

This will ensure that once toxins are released, they are quickly eliminated through the excretory or eliminatory system, lest they be pushed from one fat cell to another or default back to the liver, which often sends them back into the bloodstream.

You want to make sure that the cleanse you are doing has a clear plan for where the toxins will end up – and you want that to be outside

 of your body.

  1. An effective and carefully-designed cleanse will have the goal of balancing the blood sugar.

Unstable blood sugar is the root cause of many common imbalances in the west. It wreaks havoc on the brain, skin, adrenals, cells, heart, gut, joints and more.

If the cleanse is extremely restrictive, low in calories, lack fiber, nutrition and/or are mainly liquid, you are going to run into blood sugar spikes and crashes.

  1. A thorough and complete cleanse will include the resetting of digestion. Resetting the digestion after a cleanse is key, as healthy and well-functioning digestive pathways equal healthy detoxification pathways.

Doing so allows for the balancing of digestive fluids, such as the stomach acids, pancreatic enzymes, and bile. A good balance of these fluids allows for efficient flow, and for them to do their job of breaking down food in the stomach and small intestine.

Resetting the digestion is also a critical factor in the proliferation of diverse strains of healthy microbes. They are responsible for immunity, detox, mood, evolutionary changes to DNA, and just about every other human function. The goal is to create the perfect environment for the good microbes to thrive.

Do Your Research & Cleanse Smart

Make sure that any cleanse you do can outline in detail the process it sets in motion to accomplish these steps, that its ultimate goal is to restore rather than deplete, and that the benefits are logical and long-lasting.

Want To Learn More?

> Learn more and register for a 14-Day Ayurvedic Digestive Detox and Lymph Cleanse here
>>> Join us! A Group Cleanse is taking place October 17-30th, 2017!

OR, Come to a Cleanse Workshop on Saturday, September 30 at Yoga Village in Arroyo grande.

Welcoming 2017 With A Clearer State of Mind – Clutter No Longer Serves Me!

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Welcoming 2017 With A Clearer State of Mind – Clutter No Longer Serves Me!

So, I started out the New Years with a single-minded focus on cleaning my bathroom drawers. Sounds boring, but it gave me such a sense of accomplishment!  As I began developing some of my intentions for 2017 (which are still in process), I realized that I really value a clear, settled mind. When my mind is steady I have more room for intuitive thoughts to come through and for my creativity to flow.

I’ve been taking herbal formulas with herbs like Bacopa and Brahmi (Gotu Kola) for a few months now, and I can’t overstate how much they have helped me to go from overwhelm and lack of focus to more clarity, sharpness in thought and get up and go.

So back to the bathroom, when I opened those drawers it felt chaotic, clumps of hair and all, and no longer aligned with who I am. I got to thinking, my home reflects the state of my mind, and even if the counters look clean, it’s somewhat a façade if it’s just on the surface.

With that in mind I felt juiced up to attack those drawers, throwing away items like half used bottles of who-knows-what, and using my Pitta (sharp fire) energy to organize and wipe down the shelves.

Funny I suddenly felt lighter and clearer within myself as well, like I just cleaned my inner spaces too. I’m so proud of my bathroom drawers. Still have the cabinets to go, but now I am motivated! Who knows what inner resources will be available once I do!

For help clearing your mind, check out one of my favorite herbal formulas from Banyan Botanicals: Mental Clarity.  Here’s a description of this formula:

The herbs in Mental Clarity have traditionally been used to support all aspects of mental performance, including memory, concentration, and learning capacity. This effective blend helps sharpen the mind and is useful for those prone to forgetfulness, confusion or indecisiveness. Mental Clarity is an ideal supplement for students, seniors and anyone with a mentally demanding workload.*

Some other activities that have helped me to move from overwhelm to a clear, calm state include meditation, good sleep and naps when needed, Yoga Nidra, QiGong, essential oils and a good diet.

This particular post was supposed to be about my bathroom drawers, but it was a confluence of ongoing, positive lifestyle choices that led me to the state where clutter no longer serves me!


I meditate every morning (almost) for 20 minutes or more. Currently I am using the TM technique, although I believe that any kind of meditation helps to both ground and inspire the spirit. When I occasionally skip my meditation practice, I feel like something is missing from the start of my day, and I tend to get pulled off center easier.  I’ll go more into the topic of meditation in a future blog.


How could I have addressed those bathroom drawers with such vigor if I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep? In Ayurveda, sleep is considered one of the essential pillars of life. Your mind just can’t function at its optimal if most of us don’t get 7 to 8 hours on a regular basis. Best times to sleep: 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. More on this topic later as well!

I will add one of my favorite resting activities – Yoga Nidra – in a January post, along with Qi Gong, general diet for balance and my love of essential oils.

Meanwhile, I’ve got to go, as I’ve got a bathroom cabinet now that is calling me!  Remember to check out Mental Clarity to help clear your head. Who knows what inspiration will come knocking once the cobwebs are cleared!

Clean Eating for Your Daily Detox!

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Clean Eating for Your Daily Detox!

I was just reading an article in Natural Foods Merchandiser about the decline of Detox Products as consumers realize that a clean daily diet negates the need for extreme detoxes.

This truly supports the principles behind Ayurveda, which emphasizes eating whole, unprocessed, fresh foods for each meal. While it can be difficult to take the time to from scratch, there are many steps that you can regularly take to keep your diet clean and eliminate or decrease the need for extreme detoxes or fasts. It’s really your daily habits that will determine your overall health and energy levels. Below are some Ayurvedic principles that I have incorporated in my life for a “daily cleanse’ that pay off big time!

Drink a large glass or room temperate or warm water, preferably with a squeeze of lemon or lime, first thing in the morning, before tea or coffee.
• Make sure to drink ½ your ideal body weight in ounces of water each day. If you weigh 150 pounds, that would be 75 ounces.
Take one day a week to plan meals for the next week. I typically like to do this on Sunday, before the weekly pressures start. (Or at the least, plan one day ahead) Shop for your ingredients beforehand so it’s easy to cook up fresh foods. I like to cook warm basics during the winter weekdays like split pea and lentil soups, chicken (baked breasts) with veggies, baked sweet potatoes, veggie stir fry with wild rice or quinoa (high in protein), fresh fish with veggies…you get the idea. Invest in a cookbook with simple, healthy recipes if you are not sure where to start. (One of my all-time favorites is Ayurvedic Cooking for Westerners by Amadea Morningstar)
Many of these dishes can be eaten for multiple meals. For example, cook enough split pea soup for both dinner and lunch the following day, just make sure to eat it within 24 hours of cooking it so it is fresh and full of nutrients. Embellish with sliced avocado, pumpkin seeds and an apple and you have a delicious meal!

Invest in a good pressure cooker and slow cooker (Crockpot). These are life savers in my world. My grandma used a pressure cooker and I have to admit, it scared me. Now I’m a convert – this is a huge time saver, and modern pressure cookers are easy and safe to use. Picture this: Get home from work and take 10 minutes or LESS to chop a few veggies, quarter some potatoes and throw them in the pressure cooker with some chicken breasts, spices and perhaps a can of coconut milk. Set the pressure cooker to 6 minutes and walk away. Decompress while dinner cooks! You’ll be eating within an hour of arriving home. (Pressure cooker takes a few minutes to come to pressure)

• With the slow cooker, start your lentil soup before you leave the house for the day, and you’ll literally salivate when you walk in the door to the savory scent of a fresh cooked meal! Prepare your ingredients the night prior for quicker prep the next morning.

• During the winter months, eat warming foods such as STEEL CUT oatmeal (not processed instant), amaranth (a grain like seed full of nutrients) or quinoa. Since they aren’t processed and may take 30 minutes to cook, simply start them, turn the oven to low, then go take your shower, etc. (I meditate) until ready. Add apple while cooking and sweeten with maple syrup, honey or stevia and add chopped nuts for a delicious, healthy breakfast.

• Many of us constantly snack, having been taught that eating every couple of hours is good for us – not so for most of us. Your body doesn’t have the chance to digest the prior meal if you are constantly eating. See if you can teach yourself to go at least three hours between meals.
• In an ideal world, lunch is your largest meal, when your digestive fire is burning the best.
Finish dinner early! Dinner should be more like “supper,” a lighter meal. Ideally you will give your body a mini cleanse every day between dinner and break – fast. That means finishing dinner by 6:30pm if you eat breakfast at 6:30 am. This is optimal for brain health, digestion and sleep. Eating late allows toxins to accumulate and sit in your body.
I’d love to share more tips with you on how you can keep your body clean so you don’t go through the ups and downs of detoxing then alternating with eating or living off balance. Come in for a consultation or ask me about my next workshop or Ayurvedic series!

5 Tips to Kick Start your Digestion this Holiday Season

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5 Tips to Kick Start your Digestion for the Holidaysholiday meal

It always seems like this time of year rolls around so quickly, and while I am excited to share meals with good friends and partake in holiday cheer, I also know that my digestion easily gets overwhelmed with too much of well, everything. For much of my life until I discovered Ayurveda, I had crappy digestion. Following the simple tips below has made a tremendous difference for me and hopefully will for you too!

  1. Stay away from cold, icy drinks! Your digestion is like a fire, and ice cold drinks dampen the flame. Once that happens, it doesn’t “cook” your food, which may just sit in your belly like a rock.  Simply request “no ice” when at a restaurant, and at home, get used to drinking room temperature water.  It’ll become a habit before you know it!
  1. A strong digestive fire (AGNI) will help you to digest your food better, moving it through your system efficiently so it doesn’t turn into fat, or create a belly ache. So, you ask, how do you fuel the flames?  Drink about 8-12 ounces of water about 15-20 minutes BEFORE you eat, preferably with a squeeze of lemon or lime. This prepares your digestive track for food, stimulating all the necessary digestive enzymes. It is ESSENTIAL to drink your water before and not during or immediately after your meal. When you drink during your meal it dampens your agni, creating bloat, gas and general discomfort. You can sip on a little water during your meal only to wet your whistle. Wait at least a half hour after your meal before drinking a beverage, although you can sip on hot tea such as ginger tea.
  1. Most people really like this suggestion: according to Ayurveda we should eat desert first! The body digests the sweet taste first. If you fill your belly with lots of turkey and stuffing, then add a piece of pecan pie, your body will naturally digest the sweet pie first, leaving everything else to sit. You’ll know when that happens by the reaction of your tummy.  So, start a new tradition this Thanksgiving and serve those pies as appetizers. J
  1. Finish your final meal of the day around sunset. Our bodies mirror the rhythm of nature, so our agni is actually highest at noon (when the sun is peaking), meaning we can eat more and digest i better at that time. If you schedule allows, even if it’s just on the weekends, eat your largest meal of the day at lunch, followed by a lighter “supper” around sunset. I suggest a nice, savory soup during the cold, dark winter to help keep you warm and enkindle your agni. (See link to pumpkin soup recipe below.)  If you finish eating for the day around sunset or shortly after, and just say no to the holiday cookies calling your name (at least a few days a week), it will be really be helpful in maintaining your weight.  You’ll probably sleep better and feel lighter and more energetic in the morning.
  1. Now here’s a biggie. We’ve been told to eat often to quell hunger, but that isn’t Ayurvedic. According to Ayurveda, most of us should stick to three meals a day, giving our bodies several hours to digest the prior meal and start to rely on our bodies’ fat stores for additional energy.  In order to do this, eat a decent size lunch and be sure to have some fat and protein with each meal.  If you must, have a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts for a snack.

Here are some herbal formulas that I recommend for digestion:

Click here and order these herbs asap!

Triphala – Gently cleanses and detoxifies the system

Pitta Digest – for digestion that is too quick

Vata Digestion – for those who suffer from constipation, gas and bloat

Kapha Digest – for Sluggish Direction

Liver Support –Promotes proper digestion of fat and a healthy metabolism.

Make Your Own Ghee!

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Oven-made Ghee

Ingredients: 1 pound organic, unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 215 degrees F. Put the butter in a 1½ to 2 quart casserole or oven-proof pot. Place the butter in the oven without a lid and allow it to clarify, undisturbed, for 2 hours. The ghee is ready when it:

  • Changes from a cloudy yellow to clear golden color
    • • Stops foaming and making crackling noises
    • Milk solids form on the bottom of the pot

Pour the ghee through several layers of cheesecloth into a clean, dry glass storage jar, straining out and then discarding the milk solids. To make it easier, I like to initially pour it into a large, 4 cup glass measuring container with a spout. I can then easily pour it into a smaller glass jar from there. When the ghee is completely cool, cover tightly and store in a dry place away from direct sun light. It doesn’t require refrigeration.  Makes about 2 cups.

Experience the Healing Power of Ayurveda with 5-Week Hands-On Series

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Experience the Healing Power of Ayurveda with 5-Week Hands-On Series

Learn how to incorporate Ayurveda’s guidelines for healthy living into your daily life for less stress & more energy. During this 5-week series, you will:

  • Learn about your dosha (constitution) and what makes you tick
  • Cook and eat a delicious and balancing Ayurvedic meal, “kitchadi,” to detoxify your body
  • Make your own digestive herbal formula to keep your tummy happy as Turkey day approaches
  • Breath in balancing aromatherapy scents and discover which ones are right for you to keep anxiety from creeping up
  • Stretch into balancing yoga and Chi Gong to keep you in the flow during the upcoming holiday season
  • Relax deeply with special breathing techniques, try your hand at anti-aging self-massage, and more

WHEN: Five sessions – Mondays 6:30– 8:00 pm; October 19- November 16

WHERE:  Om on the Range, Old Oak Park Road, Arroyo Grande

COST$108 for pre-registration by October 8; $118

REGISTER:  Holly Padove, holly@balancedlivingayurveda.com; 805-440-4561

Introduction to Ayurveda Series 3/30 – 4/27 2015

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Understand Yourself and How to Create Balance!

Introduction to Ayurveda Series 3/30 – 4/27

 VATA, PITTA or KAPHA, which “constitution” or “dosha” are you?  Why does it matter? Do you wonder why one person is inspired to run 10 pre-dawn miles, while another can’t wake up without two shots of espresso?

The “Introduction to  Ayurveda” workshop explains these differences and shows you how to understand your dosha so you can keep yourself in balance, and have the tools and know-how to do so. Considered the healing side of yoga, Ayurveda, a 5,000 –year-old healing science from India, offers a natural, balanced approach to optimal health.

 Taught by Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist Holly Padove, the inspiring five-week workshop will reveal easy-to-implement Ayurvedic choices that balance body, mind and spirit, and will be especially tailored for the spring months, the ideal time to hit the “reset” button.

WHEN: Five sessions – Mondays 6:30– 8:00 pm; March 30-April 27

WHERE:  Om on the Range, Old Oak Park Road, Arroyo Grande

COST:  $89 for pre-registration by March 21; $99

REGISTER OR MORE INFO:  Holly Padove, holly@balancedlivingayurveda.com; 805-440-4561

The five sessions will cover Ayurvedic topics such as:

  • Ayurvedic philosophy, the five elements and discovering your dosha (constitution)
  • Balancing your dosha with food choices, food combining and cooking techniques
  • Cooking and eating an Ayurvedic meal together!
  • Common herbs and spices for balance and health
  • Harmonious daily routines
  • Yoga, meditation and exercise best for your dosha and the spring season
  • Meditation, colors and aromatherapy for the doshas

This is a must for any student of yoga, as yoga and Ayurveda are intricately intertwined!

About the Instructor:  Holly Padove is a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist.  She has a private Ayurvedic practice, Balanced Living Ayurveda, located in Arroyo Grande where she offers private consultations to clients.  Holly is also a Registered Yoga and Teacher and certified Qi Gong instructor.

Ayurveda’s Take on Exercise

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Ayurveda’s Take on Exercise

I’ve always been a big fan of exercise, and can be found hiking, riding my horse Bella, doing yoga or chi gong, or something almost every day of the week!  I think exercise is important not only for a healthy body, but for a balanced mind as well – I know it helps to keep me sane.  That said, Ayurveda offers some basic principles to follow in order to optimize the benefits that we get from moving the bod.

WHEN to Exercise:

According to Ayurveda, between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. is the “Kapha” time of day, and when our bio rhythms are best suited for exercise.  Kapha’s qualities are heavy and grounding, so by exercising and moving during this time, we are creating balance in the body (opposite qualities create balance).   The second best time is EARLY in the evening, around 5 or 6, but not too close to bed time, otherwise, it may affect your sleep.

When not to exercise

  • when you are exhausted
  • when you’re sick
  • When you are overly hungry or thirsty
  • Right before or after meals, except for  taking an easy walk after a meal, which helps your digestion
  • According to Ayurveda, and I have a difficult time with this one, women should exercise only lightly or not at all during menstruation, pregnancy, and for some time after childbirth.

Here’s another principle that Westerners don’t always adhere to:

50% of one’s capacity = maximum benefit
Too much exercise can be just as unhealthy as too little. Yet what is the right amount for you? Most medical experts recommend exercising up to 75-80% of one’s maximum heart rate. But Ayurveda gives a simple rule of thumb: when you begin to sweat profusely, or when breathing begins to be heavy or labored (when you can no longer breathe through your nose but must instead breathe through the mouth) – at that point you should stop or slow down.

Exercise should above all contribute to maintaining the inner balance of the physiology as a whole, strengthening all organs and making the immune system more resistant to disease. Exercise enhances well-being, and should reduce rather than increase stress. Over time, this is more enjoyable, and in the long term is healthier than pushing one’s body to the limit. After exercise you should feel better and more energetic than before. According to Ayurveda exhaustion is a sign of “unhealthy” exercise.

I’ll write more on this later, but at least you’ve got some food or movement for thought!

*Some of this material is sourced from Maharishi Ayurveda

Kichadi – a balancing Ayurvedic Dish for Detoxing and resetting your digestion

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I’m into sharing recipes lately!  I think it is so important to get in the habit of cooking for yourself, and the more you do it, the easier it is!  I may have posted this, but it has been a while, and now that we are experiencing the change of seasons, a good ‘ole bowl of kichadi (Ayurvedic Mung Bean stew) is super balancing for all three doshas!  You can be flexible with the spices and veggies, listed below as well to make this recipe your own.  Enjoy!

KICHADI RECIPE – 3 to 4 servings

  • kichadis1 C white basmati rice (can use less, or substitute with Quinoa if rice sensitive)
  • 1 C split mung beans (available at the Natural Foods Coop in San Luis Obispo also called “Mung Dahl”)
  • 8 C water, or use a veggie stock
  • 1 T fresh grated ginger root, less with high Pitta
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds or 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2  tsp. mustard seeds (can omit if high pitta)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2  tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 1 clove garlic (omit if Pitta)

Heat up spices on the bottom of the pot, stirring constantly for about 1 or 2 minutes, until aromatic. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil for about 5 minutes, and then reduce heat to medium-low.  As rice and beans are cooking, chop and add vegetables such as carrots, zucchini, broccoli or what ever is in season.

After bringing water to a boil, simmer for approximately 30 minutes – until  most of the liquid is absorbed, but the consistency is smooth, not mushy and sticky.  If it’s mushy/sticky, simply add more water while cooking.  These beans absorb a lot of liquid. When done, take the pot off the heat and add ghee and Himalayan Sea Salt (pink salt) to taste.

It is better for your digestion to use split mung beans (and even better if you soak them overnight.  However, you can use whole mung beans; however you will need to adjust the cooking time to about 1 hour.



Delicious Red Lentil Soup Recipe

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I must be in a soup mood these days, and my stepdaughters absolutely love this soup, which is also balancing for fall.

Red Lentil Soup


  • 1 onion chopped finely
  • Carrots – two or tree, chopped small (same amount as onion)
  • Celery – 2 stalks chopped
  • One cup red lentils, rinsed well
  • ½ teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coriander powder

Saute onions in ghee or oil (olive or coconut oil okay) then add the tumeric, cumin and coriander.  Add the carrots and celery next.

Add the lentils and 4 cups of vegetable broth, or 4 cups of water and a vegetable stock cube instead of the veggie broth.

In a pressure cooker, bring to pressure, then simmer for 20 minutes.  (Can you tell, I love to cook with pressure cookers!  More on that later)

If you don’t have a pressure cooker, cook for about 45 minutes (or until the red lentils to become tender.)

Blend until smooth (with blender or hand puree tool) and squeeze in a bit of lemon or lime juice.

Serve with some warm steamed veggies, and a piece of gluten-free non-yeasted bread slathered with ghee and you have a tasty Ayurvedic meal.


Ayurveda recommends soup for fall

Ayurveda recommends soup for fall




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