SEASONAL SELF-CARE BLOG
cooling herbal teas
Posted on July 9th, 2019
Usually in the Summer I love a good iced black tea. But all the ice teas in the store are now in plastic bottles. Since I’ve been really trying to be as plastic free as possible, I just can’t buy them anymore. It’s really frustrating! You might ask “Why don’t you just make it?” But it just never tastes the same….so thanks to the inspiration of Plastic Free July and the intense humidity, I’m compelled to make an herbal cooling tea that I will love. Oh and according to Ayurveda, caffeine is heating and aggravates pitta dosha, the fire element, which is definitely true for me….(see above)!
Last week I asked my Facebook friends for suggestions of their favorite Summer refreshing cooling drinks. Wow! so many people had great suggestions! Some I know and others like, “watermelon, beet, lemon, and mint”, I had never tried before. It’s been fun experimenting with the plethora of cooling herbs that help us make it through this sweltering heat: mint, lavender, lemongrass, lemon verbena, hibiscus, rose petals, roasted barley, chamomile, nettles, comfrey, dandelion, fennel, jasmine, kukicha, lemon balm, passion flower & other Summer favs – lemon, lime, and cucumber.
According to Ayurveda, Summer is the season when Pitta Dosha , the fire element can become agitated. You might be noticing some of the signs of Pitta out of balance as the heat kicks up. Are you irritable, cranky, or impatient? Is your skin itchy? Do you have hives, heat rash or acne? Are you stressed out, feeling obsessive, or judgemental? We can effectively cool our system and stay hydrated with refreshing herbal teas so that we can fully enjoy the joyous expression of the Summer’s radiance!
I’ve been experimenting and love the pitta cooling mixture of lemongrass, lemon verbena, and fresh mint tea with a touch of lemon and honey. It’s incredibly refreshing, and makes me feel very relaxed. In fact, I’m sipping on some right now! Lemon verbena soothes inflammation, aids digestion, and offers calming qualities which also makes it a great sleep aid for those suffering from insomnia. Lemongrass detoxifies the body, reduces inflammation, fevers, infections, and swelling, and offers the bitter flavor and mint, our favorite Summer cooling herb, offers the sweet flavor both which calm pitta dosha. Lemons detoxify pitta in balance, though due to their sour flavor may stimulate aggravated pitta. Honey is heating to pitta, so use it sparingly. Enjoy!
Today I went to pick up some hibiscus and rose petals at Flower Power in the East Village. I’ve been trying my best to be plastic free and they have an incredible selection of loose, organic herbs and spices. I brought my own refillable cotton bags with me, but they also have small paper bags. It’s #plasticfreejuly and small daily plastic free choices make a big difference in the landfill & the sea. AND small daily dosha balancing choices have a huge impact on our well being. So today I made the choice to purchase herbs for tea that would cool my system instead of agitate it and I chose to support a business that offers herbs without any plastic footprint. Every little bit helps us find balance within ourselves and the planet.
dog days of summer cooling tips
Posted on August 17th, 2018
Given the speed and intensity with which climate change is moving, I’ve been getting increasingly involved in climate action and ways to create a more sustainable lifestyle. Those of you who are on Facebook, may have seen my recent posts about my plastic free journey which has intensified in the past month. Challenging and eye opening, this plastic free journey has awakened my mind to innovation, visioning, and community in ways that I had not anticipated. I feel very inspired and hopeful that we can shift this! The ocean & the Earth needs our help now!
One of the environmental organizations that I have been working with is 350 Brrooklyn. At our last monthly meeting, we were asked to share with each other ways that we were keeping cool this Summer without relying air conditioning which uses an excess of energy. As I turned to the people sitting next to me, I first I felt like I didn’t have anything to offer, but then I realized that I have a plethora of cooling techniques from my Ayurveda and yoga knowledge. I proceeded to show them Sitali pranayama, a simple breathing practice that cools your body and mind. It is incredible for the Summer when our Pitta Dosha, the fire element, goes out of balance. In our increasingly heated world, Sitali Pranayama is a great practice to know, as you can do it anywhere, at anytime, and it works immediately. My new friends at the 350 Brooklyn meeting loved it! We were then asked to share our tips with the whole group. So I taught the whole group Sitali Pranayama and they loved it to! By the looks on their faces, I’m sure it was the first time they had ever tried something like this at their meetings, and there was alot of laughter as everyone tried curling their tongues and sipping in the air. But they were amazed at how cool their tongues felt after just a few breaths and how that cool feeling spread through their bodies. Try Sitali Pranayama in these dog days of Summer when the heat and humidity feel overwhelming.
How To Practice Sitali
- Sit in a comfortable position with the head, neck, and spine in alignment.
- Close your eyes, breathe into the low belly (diaphramatic breathing) to relax
- Curl your tongue and put it out of your mouth.
- Inhale through the tongue and into the mouth. It feels a bit like you are sipping through a straw – a stainless steel straw, of course!
- Draw the tongue back into your mouth, close your mouth and exhale through the nostrils.
- Repeat 10 times
Keep it cool!
Waterfall of thoughts
Posted on August 17th, 2015
Rejuvenate your being through mantra, and sonic marma healing. Join us for our second weekend in Yoga Sukhavati, Art of Sound module-HEALING POWER OF SOUND, Oct 3-4.
Our modern lives are filled with excess of every kind. Perhaps central to all of this is our excessive mental chatter. Our minds are constantly spinning with obsessions, worry, fear, anxiety, excessive thoughts and repetitive habitual mind agitations of all sorts. This mind chatter can be so loud, persistent and overwhelming that it is often referred to in meditation as a “waterfall of thoughts”. Not a sweet waterfall, but the roaring, deafening kind! Ekhart Tolle, author of the “The Power of Now” has a wonderful story about this. One day he was walking one day behind this homeless person who was spewing out a non-stop crazy monologue. At first Ekhart was disturbed by the man’s ramblings. Then he had a realization that in some way, he was quite similar to this man-that he too had a constant monologue going on inside his head. He chuckled to himself as he realized that the only difference was that the homeless person was speaking his monologue out loud and Ekhart was just spinning his monologue inside his head.
Scattered, fragmented, obsessive, repetitive thoughts and disjointed rambling speech are signs that our heart-mind is out of balance. I think that would be most of us alot of the time! The wisdom of Chinese Medicine encourages us to nourish our heart and small intestine in the Summer months when these organs & meridians are particularly affected. The heart-mind is said to sprout at the tongue. One of the most powerful ways to nurture and calm the heart-mind is through the power of sound. Mantra practice is a potent sonic healing. The Sanskrit word mantra is derived from “manas”-mind and “tra”- tool. It is a tool for the mind, one of the most powerful means to calm the mind. They are often referred to as mind protection. Mantras power comes not from the meaning of the words but from the energetic effect they have on the physical and subtle body.
“Mantras break-up unhealthy or negative energy patterns stored in the physical and subtle bodies and help create new, positive energy patterns. This “clean” energy animates the body and mind and can act as a magnet for other positive energy to come into your life.”
“Mantra allows the chakras to “switch on” safely and to operate at a higher “wattage.” When we practice Sanskrit mantra, we increase the ability of the chakras to hold a spiritual charge. It is as if a 25-watt bulb becomes able to hold 50 watts, then 100 watts, 500 watts, 1,000 watts. Mantra’s power derives not from any particular meaning that their syllables convey, but from the vibrational effect the create when they are pronounced repeatedly…when we focus the sound vibration of mantra with a consciously held intent, we can even direct its energy (prana) to specific parts of the body.” (Thomas Ashley Farland)
I have worked alot with sound to help me unravel stuck areas in my being that I am not able to reach through asana or other means. The healing power of the sonic vibrations of sound is very potent. This Summer I have been working deeply with a Ganesh mantra. I often open my classes with this chant as well as do it in my personal practice. But this Summer I decided to do the full traditional 40 day practice of 108 recitations per day. My intention was to create groundedness and stability in my life particularly in the financial realm. I am truly amazed at how quickly things started shifting and stabilizing! New opportunities have presented themselves and I’ve been releasing old patterns that create instability in my mind and life.
MAHA GANAPATI MOOL MANTRA
Om srim hrim klim glaum gam ganapataye svaha
“May the abundance-producing, great remover of obstacles, that transcends this apparent reality bring all things that concern me under my control.”
It brings me great joy to share some of these sound practices with you through our second weekend of Yoga Sukhavati: HEALING POWER OF SOUND, Oct 3, 4. Amanda Capobianco will be offering her fabulous workshop-Demystifying Mantra: A Practical Approach to an Ancient Technology. I will be offering workshops on “Awaken the voice of the teacher” and “Sonic Marma Healing.” Join us for for a powerful weekend of sound exploration and healing!