Ayurveda

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.


Don’t Skip A beat! – Find Your Rhythm During Daylight Savings Time

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Don’t Skip A beat! – Find Your Rhythm During Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time Takes Place this Year on Sunday, March 12

Some version of Daylight Savings time (DST) has been in use since early times when ancient civilizations would adjust their daily schedules to the sun’s schedule. In current times, DST is now in use in over 70 countries worldwide. [1]

Shifting your clock forward by an hour, this year on March 12, brings to mind longer, beautiful spring and summer days and the chance to spend more time basking in the sunshine. Unfortunately, the transition is not always as easy as it sounds. Even an hour time change can mess with your body’s 24-hour natural cycle. Cued by light, it is called the circadian rhythm.

According to Ayurveda, the body’s natural state mirrors that of nature, which accounts for our circadian rhythm. Ideally, we rise with the sun, and slow down as the sun sets in anticipation of darkness and sleep. We see just how much our internal clock is set to the rising and falling of the sun when we all of the sudden jump forward an hour.

It can take about a week for the body to adjust to the time change, not just for sleeping, but for meal times and other activities as well. Until we have adjusted, we can have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up at the right time. This can lead to sleep deprivation and reduction in performance, increasing the risk for mistakes including vehicle crashes. This is especially true when you skip forward in the spring, essentially losing an hour out of your day.[2]

Daylight Savings Time occurs during the Kapha season (spring), when cool, heavy and moist qualities are most prominent both in our environment (think thick, gooey mud…) and in many people’s bodies, because humans mirror the qualities found in nature. As a result, you may feel more lethargy, heaviness and dullness, especially so if your dosha is kapha. Experiencing DST and the Kapha season simultaneously is enough to even drive true Vatas and Pittas out of balance. Because opposites create balance according to Ayurveda, chose lighter foods and more “yang” or stimulating activities.

Committed to tackling Daylight Savings Time before the clock strikes midnight? Here are seven steps to set your body’s clock forward and get back in rhythm following simple ayurvedic principles:

  1. Go to Bed Early… If you normally get to sleep at 10 (ideal time according to Ayurveda) on March 12 10pm will feel like 9 pm – I know, it’s confusing! As a result, you may be tempted to burn the midnight oil, which may leave you feeling foggy the next day or longer. Instead, about three days prior to DST, gradually adjust to an earlier bed time in 20 minute increments. Using 10pm as an example, go to bed at 9:40, then 9:20, then 9 the days leading up to DST.  Herbal formulas to help you relax and sleep include Banyan’s I Sleep Soundly”.  Other sleep suggestions include turning the lights and computer screens off at least a half hour prior to bedtime, finishing a light dinner three hours before hitting the sack, taking a warm bath and diffusing relaxing essential oils such as lavender, jasmine or rose geranium (some sort of floral scent.) in your bedroom. I keep a diffuser on my nightstand, and find the gentle, fragrant scents extremely relaxing year-round. If you are naturally prone to an “early to bed and early to rise” pattern, you will adjust easier because the time shift follows your usual tendencies. Conversely, if you typically keep to a “late to bed and late to rise” routine it will be more difficult for you. If so, you may want to adjust to an earlier bedtime starting about a week prior to DST, at 10 minute increments each day.
  1. Wake up early – The same goes for three days prior, gradually move up your waking time by 20 minutes as well. Ideally, according to Ayurveda, this would be at 6am, before you start to feel the weighty pull of kapha, from 6-10am. If you get yourself out of bed as close to 6am as possible, you will feel more energized, light and lively throughout your day. One of Ayurveda’s best known herbs to help you adapt to the time change is Ashwagandha. One of my favorite formulas to engage my brain in the morning is Mental Clarity.
  2. Shift your Meal times as well following the same format. This means eating a bit earlier each day by 10-20 minutes until you have shifted your meal times to an hour earlier by DST.
  3. Eat Lighter Foods. Since this is also the Kapha time of year, heavier foods will feed into feeling lethargic regardless. The time shift can amplify that imbalance if you don’t pay attention to your food choices. Choose seasonal foods that are lighter and dryer in nature.
  4. Eat Clean, especially the few days before and after the time change. Eliminate or at least reduce caffeine, and do away with alcohol and processed sugar, which tax your system. Following tip #4 will also naturally help you to eat a cleaner, seasonal diet.
  5. Spend Time Outdoors, especially in the morning, as close to sunrise as possible. Even a brisk walk around your neighborhood will benefit you. The morning sun will reset your circadian rhythm and the exercise will increase your circulation and help you to be more alert.
  6. Practice Breath of fire, also known as Kapalabhati. This is a rapid rhythmic breath with equal emphasis on the inhale and exhale. The technique will energize you and increase alertness among other benefits. Add this to your morning routine shortly after waking up.

The time change reminds us that if we do live in harmony with the rhythms of Mother Nature, she will be kind to us. It’s also a great opportunity to transition into balancing routines for the spring season. Essentially, incorporate Kapha balancing guidelines, and shift your daily routines forward a few days before March 12 to help you to stay in stride!

[1] https://www.timeanddate.com/time/dst/history.html

 

[2] https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2016/03/09/daylight-savings/

 


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


Hit Your “Reset” Button as We Bloom Into Spring

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Hit  Your “Reset” Button as We Bloom Into Spring

Luckily for those of us that live in California, we haven’t experienced the frigid winter condition that most of the country has been hit with. As the fragrant jasmine starts to bloom, those of us who live in a warmer client can start thinking about a strategy to change up our diet for spring, sort of like a spring clean for our body, which influences our mind and spirit as well – remember – everything is connected!  (If you live in true winter conditions, wait another 4-6 weeks, until the evidence of spring starts appearing.)

As I come across enormous amounts of fur in my house and one-acre mini ranch from my shedding pets, horse included, it reminds me that as the days grow longer, it’s almost time for us humans to start shedding our winter layer as well!  By doing so, we prepare are systems to stay in tune with the change of season, spring chickenand as a consequence, are much less likely to deal with allergies, a seasonal cold or digestive disturbances. Plus, you’ll feel more energetic.

The qualities that are most present in the spring time are “Kapha” in nature (heavy, cold and moist) and in order to balance these qualities we choose the opposite, not only in our food, but other lifestyle choices as well.

In Ayurveda, the traditional way to shed that winter layer is through eating a lighter, simpler diet, choosing the bountiful produce that is available in the spring.  Instead of fasting, or going on the latest fad diet, Ayurvedic practitioners recommend eating a kichadi diet for anywhere from three days to a week, then go on a lighter, detox diet for a couple more weeks. Kichadi consists of split mung beans, rice and spices (recipe here).

I’m giving an afternoon workshop at Smiling Dog Yoga in San Luis Obispo on Sunday, March 22 called “Spring Cleaning Your Body, Mind and Spirit,” and will go into detail on how to shift with the season. It will be Spring Equinox, and the ideal time to push the reset button!  I will also be offering a 5-week Intro to Ayurveda Series (On Mondays from March 30 – April 27) where I will go into these details and much more.

Meanwhile, here are a few tips to consider as we approach a new season:

  • Choose produce that is in season – look no further than your local Farmer’s Market
  • Eat more cooked veggies, including leafy greens, Brussel sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. Choose cooked vegies over salads this time of year.  (Don’t worry, you can enjoy lots of salads in the summer!)
  • Choose grains such as quinoa, barley, amaranth and millet, while decreasing or even eliminating wheat as it is considered heavy in nature.
  • Avoid cold foods and drinks as they dampen the digestion and can create toxins in the body.
  • Always favor fresh, organic foods over processed, canned, frozen or packaged items.
  • Sleep during the hours between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., the time when your body can best go to work to burn away “ama” or toxins.
  • Get moving! Best time to exercise is between 6-10 a.m. and late afternoon.

 

Please come to my workshop, or attend my 5-week series to really get the lowdown on resetting for spring.

 

 


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!