SEASONAL SELF-CARE BLOG
WINTER RADIANCE 2021
Posted on December 22nd, 2020
Breathe deeply and accept the jewel and the grit of this moment.– Mark Nepo
We’re arriving at the doorstep of 2021 bruised and battle scarred but resilient and adaptable. No one said that evolution was going to be easy. Our entire way of being in the world is shifting and though we are getting more adept at the continually changing landscape, it’s difficult. As Winter started approaching and it became apparent that things would be in various levels of “lockdown”, I started feeling overwhelmed and alone. I leaned in more deeply to my home yoga practice, boosted my self-care, and picked up my accordion and started singing again. I started feeling more balanced, grounded, and connected with my deeper being. I am so grateful that I have these tools to help me reconnect, re-balance myself and access my creativity. My home practices have been my refuge, my oasis for many years.
This Winter, I would love to help you create or deepen your home practice so that you will have this refuge where you can re-connect with your deepest self and renew your being. I also want to help you really rest so that you can truly rejuvenate during these Winter months. I’d like to share with you many profoundly relaxing practices to help you sleep more deeply so that you can receive the nourishment and healing that only deep sleep can offer. In addition, since our yoga studios are closed now and we can’t go on our fabulous Winter Retreat this year, I thought I’d create a way for us to gather together as a community. So I created the Winter Wellness Journey, as an opportunity for you to deepen individually as well as in the support of community so that we can flourish this winter.
This Winter Wellness Journey is offered live through weekly Zoom sessions, a monthly intensive restorative yoga workshop, as well as a facebook group where we will share our process as we deepen in our internal winter practices. All the sessions will be recorded for those who are not able to attend the session.
Winter Wellness Journey Topics:
Winter Meridian Yoga & Yoga Nidra
Developing a Home Yoga Practice
The Art of Sleep & Rest
Join me and nourish the well of your being this Winter and cultivate your full radiance and vitality!
Happy Solstice and Happy Holidays!
Posted on August 10th, 2017
Try these cooling elixirs to help you get through the heat and boost your digestive system!
I’m back in New York. After the past few months of traveling and teaching, I really needed to ground myself when I got back home- my vata dosha, air element, was way out of balance! So I’ve been doing very rooting yoga practices and have been really enjoying getting all cozy and homey in my apartment! These last few days, it’s been hot and muggy and the fire element is in full blaze again and my pitta dosha is going crazy! I’m feeling irritable. I have a rash, and some heartburn. Oh my what is a person who is vata/pitta to do? Well, I’m doing everything I can to keep cool and boost my digestive system. Right now, I’m sipping on CCF + rosebuds, one of the delicious cooling elixirs from our retreat with Narayana Integrative Center! It is a digestive powerhouse as well as cooling for the system. In late Summer it is particularly important to stoke the digestive fire, as the wisdom of Chinese medicine encourages us to tend to our stomach and spleen, to nurture and cleanse our earth element.
CUCUMBER, MINT, LIME ELIXIR
This Summer cooling elixir is so pretty-just looking at all the sweet greens cools my overheated, agitated mind! Sipping on this is like taking a dip in the ocean and luxuriously floating on your back, gazing at the clouds moving through the sky. Time suspended in dreamy late Summer bliss!
Cucumber is a cooling classic. It immediately brings to mind an image of a woman lying down with cucumber slices on her tired, puffy, computer strained eyes. Yes, cooling cucumber to the rescue! Due to it’s high water content (96%) cucumber actually increases hydration in your body as well as reduces inflammation and overheating. Cucumber is very alkalizing so it helps neutralize your overacidic system. AND they’re packed with vitamin C, A, and many B vitamins. Bring the cooling cukes on! Mint is a favorite cooling herb. Perfect for Summer drinks, delicious, sparkly mint helps soothe your digestion as well as relax the body and calm the nervous system. Ahhhhh! Limes, are very cooling and hydrating for you system. They are deeply cleansing and a great digestive aid. Limes are similar to lemons as they both have the sour taste, but limes don’t aggravate pitta dosha as much as lemons. So in Summer…squeeze in the limes and remember to include the peel in your drink to receive all of the health benefits!
Cucumber, mint & lime elixir recipe
4 cups of water
12 cucumber slices
4 lime slices
4 sprigs of mint
You can lightly crush the cucumber, lime, & mint and then put them in the water.
Sip, hydrate, & chill out!
CCF + ROSEBUDS TEA
I was first introduced to CCF (cumin, coriander, fennel) tea by Dr. Vasant Lad, my Ayurveda teacher. It is a traditional Ayurveda tea used to boost the digestive fire, referred to in Ayurveda as agni. It is good for digestive health for all of the doshas. Used often in Ayurvedic cooking for it’s delicious taste and medicinal qualities, Cumin stokes the digestive fire, increases mineral absorption in the intestines, and helps relieve gas. Particularly helpful for pitta digestive issues, Coriander soothes an irritated digestive system and cools inflammation in the body particularly in the stomach and urinary tract. It helps prevent gas & bloating as well is a diuretic. Fennel, the third magic medicinal ingredient, is one of the best herbs to use to if you have weak digestion and heating spices, like chilis, would overheat your system. After a meal you can eat 1 tsp of roasted fennel seeds to help your boost your digestion. The three herbs together create a powerful digestive tonic, stoking the metabolism while reducing inflammation and agitation. Try adding some rose buds, as Katia suggests, for an extra cooling twist to help reduce pitta. The rose flowers will help subdue the heat, and relieve congestion in the blood and inflammation.
CCF + rosebud tea recipe
1 cup water
⅓ teaspoon cumin seeds
⅓ teaspoon coriander seeds
⅓ teaspoon fennel seeds
Boil the water. Add the spices & rose buds. Turn off the heat, cover & let sit for about 5 minutes. Strain & Enjoy. I add a little honey in it to sweeten.
For more ways to cool Pitta dosha, as well as get a good foundation in the principles of Ayurveda and all of the doshas, join me for my Ayurveda Teacher Training Module at Sacred Sounds Yoga this weekend, Aug. 12, 13 in Manhattan.
Fifth chakra – Visuddha – throat chakra
Posted on February 1st, 2016
Speak your truth and let your creativity flow freely! Enjoy these practices to open Visuddha Chakra, your throat chakra. Join us on instagram @yoga_sukhavati for our #chakraSeries#Thurs and get some tips for opening your chakras every Thursday!
With our fifth chakra, we shift from the physical plane of the lower chakras to the more subtle spiritual realms of upper three chakras. Located in the throat, Visuddha chakra, meaning purification, is associated with the elements ether and controls the principle of sound. It governs speech, communication, and creativity through the vibrational resonance of our voice. Our self-expression is the pathway for our interior world to make itself known in the outside world. The throat is also the internal portal between our mind and body. When our fifth chakra is blocked our creative expression and voice are impaired. We may not speak up for ourselves, be shy, withdrawn,, mutter, stutter, whisper or have a tight voice. If excessive, we may monopolize conversations, speak too loudly or have a shrill voice. When our throat chakra is healthy there is an easy balance in conversation between listening and talking. The voice is resonant, clear, and authentic. We easefully express ourselves and our creativity flows.
The fifth chakra is blue with 16 petals on which are inscribed the 16 Sanskrit vowels. In the center of the lotus is Ham, the bija mantra or seed syllable for Visuddha chakra. Chanting Ham as well as the sanskrit vowels is very healing and opening for the related organs as well as emotional and mental aspects of Visuddha. Singing and mantra practice are wonderful ways to heal imbalances in Visuddha chakra.
This photo was taken on my Retreat in Norway at Tomrefjord. Every evening as we sat down for dinner, an exquisite elemental dance of light arose in the vastness of space of the fjord. We were in awe and I had the distinct feeling of being in the presence of the divine.
The throat chakra, Visuddha chakra, means “Purification”. It is the portal to our spiritual dimension. As we purify the toxins from our physical, mental, and emotional bodies through our yoga, meditation, and chanting practices, we also cleanse our subtle body. The element of the throat chakra is ether, or “Akasha”, derived from the sanskrit root “kāś” meaning “to be visible”. Translated as space, sky, atmosphere, Akasha, or ether, is the element in which visibility occurs. The first element created, akasha is the essence from which the other elements arise in the material world. Ether governs sound. Sonic vibrations create a deep cleansing of the etheric body. As such chanting, mantra practice, and singing are very potent means of purification and spiritual awakening.
MATSYASANA (Fish pose)
Do you find it difficult to express your thoughts and feelings? Are you afraid to speak your truth? Do you find that you silence yourself often, wishing you could speak up, but remain mute? Do you have creative impulses that lie dormant? If yes, your throat chakra may be blocked.
The throat chakra governs the free flow of honest communication and creative self-expression. I have found that shoulderstand (sarvangasana) and fish pose (matsyasana) are the most effective asanas to open up the throat chakra. Consistent practice of these poses will help you clear your voice and open the pathway to easeful communication and creativity. Prep for these poses with a healthy dose of shoulder openers to warm up your neck and shoulders. I always include plenty of shoulder openers in my classes, as my students will attest! This picture was taken awhile ago, when I was living in Oakland, California. I have always loved it.
SHANKH MUDRA (Shell Mudra)
Open your voice, clear the pathway to easeful and honest communication, heal throat issues, and unleash your creative self expression.
- Sit comfortably
- Wrap your left thumb with the fingers of your right hand
- Place your right thumb on the middle finger of your left hand
- Hold the mudra in front of your chest
- Chant “Om” several times
- Listen afterwards, letting the echo of the chant reverberate through your being
- Rest in silence
- Enjoy the peacefulness and sense of calm that Shankh mudra awakens inside
Affirmation: I easily express myself and my creativity flows freely!