ayurveda san luis obispo

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!

Meditation

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.

Sleep

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!


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 upspices
  • 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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-Ayurveda-Spring-Cleanse-DietUnderstand 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 15321363-young-health-couple-doing-stretching-exercise-relaxing-and-warm-up-after-jogging-and-running-in-parkWesterners 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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Enjoy!

 

 


A Centering Morning Routine

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I love my morning routine, instead of grabbing a quick cup of coffee and rushing off to work, I take the time to consciously enter into my day.  By waking up a little earlier I have time to do a little qigong or yoga, meditate, and sometimes, even take the dogs (Prana and Chi) for a little hike.  This helps me to feel much more centered and balanced as I enter the workday, or any day.  As a result I can deal with the ups and downs of life much better and have a more positive influence on those that I interact with.  It’s SO worth that extra half hour or hour of proactive consciousness!  I’d love to know what you do to keep yourself centered!

Meditate for a great start to the day.

Mediate for a great start to the day!