SEASONAL SELF-CARE BLOG


dog days of summer cooling tips

Posted on August 17th, 2018


Share

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!

Leigh


2 Fall warm drinks for vata dosha!

Posted on October 6th, 2017


Share

Happy Fall! Its windy and cold out there & vata dosha, the air element, is on the rise.

Often when the wind picks up in the Fall, Vata dosha, the air element, goes out of balance. Our mind gets very active with ideas spinning a mile a minute. We feel like we want to do everything and be everywhere–We’re the wind after all! So we try to do it all, over plan our schedules and get totally overwhelmed, fragmented, and can’t get anything accomplished. Often as vata dosha goes out of balance, we have trouble falling asleep or wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. Sound familiar? This week as the leaves start turned turning glorious colors and the wind is picking up & blowing them off the trees, I’ve really been feeling my vata go out the roof . So what to do????

It’s time to curl up with a yummy warm drink & get all cozy!!! This will really help you stay grounded and calm the anxious vata mind so that your creativity and visionary brilliance can shine this Fall. I have two favorite warm drinks this Fall.  India’s Ayuvedic gem, “Golden Milk” to help you get a good nights sleep and from the heights of Peruvian Andes, “Vegan Hot Maca Chocolate”, to wake you up in healthy style!

To help me prepare for sleep, I’ve been drinking Ayurveda’s “Golden Milk” every night before going to bed. My friend, Jen Kuipers, gave me her favorite recipe and it is totally rocking my world! The gem of Indian medicine and cooking, Tumeric has incredible digestive, anti-inflammatory as well as antioxidant properties. Coupled with ginger and the spices, it becomes a digestive powerhouse and immune booster, as well as a magical sleepytime elixir! I’ve been drinking it every night. I love the ritual of grating the fresh tumeric & ginger and grinding the spices. The pepper unpacks and increases the benefits of the tumeric. Cardamom helps cleanse the body during the night with it’s detoxification properties. Cloves are a digestive stimulant as well as a great boost for the immune boost system helping release sinus & bronchial congestion. Cinnamon is also a digestive tonic. Nutmeg is an amazing sleep aid. The coconut cools all the heating spices down creating balance.

I find it the ritual of making Golden milk comforting and helps me start to relax. Then I light some candles, and put some essential oils in my diffuser (lavendar, clary sage, geranium, and bergamot are my favs these days) and curl up on my couch and sip my “Golden milk”. It makes me deliciously relaxed and sleepy!  Try it – You’ll love it!

Golden Milk

Serves 1

1 mug of milk (almond or other nut milk, or coconut milk )
1 tsp fresh tumeric
¼ tsp fresh ginger
4 black peppercorns
2 cloves
2 pods green cardamon
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
½ tsp coconut mana
honey to taste

Heat up the milk and simmer. Grate the fresh tumeric & ginger and add to the milk. Grind the peppercorns, cloves and cardamon and add with coconut mana, cinnamon, nutmeg to the milk. Whisk until it becomes a gorgeous golden color. Strain & add honey. It’s deeeeelicious!

coco & pumpkin CU lighter

In the morning or afternoon, if you want a healthy picker upper which is a great alternative to coffee, try my other Fall favorite drink a yummy hot chocolate made with Maca, the Peruvian superfood. I’m drinking it right now to wake me up and let the words flow!

Originating high in the Andes, maca root grows at 7,000 to 11,000 feet, making it the highest altitude growing plant in the world. Perhaps it is this ability to live in such an extreme environment, that creates the beautiful adaptogenic quality of maca which helps keep you balanced in times of internal or external stress. Esteemed for centuries for it’s healing properties, maca is a complete protein and packed with vitamins & minerals. Maca increases your energy by balancing the endocrine system so that it helps regulate your hormones. It is a gift for women’s health, helping to smooth the hormonal roller coaster the menstrual cycle and menopause. Maca increases libido and fertility, making this Superfood an exquisite elixir!

Vegan Hot Maca Chocolate
by Pauline Hanuise

Serves 1

1 mug almond milk (or your favorite substitute)
1 heaping teaspoon maca powder
1 heaping teaspoon cacao powder
1 pinch cinnamon
Cacao nibs
Cinnamon
honey to taste

Carefully heat your almond milk to a simmer. Then blend it for a few seconds with your maca and cacao powders.

Pour the liquid into your favorite mug and sprinkle some cacao nibs and cinnamon on top.

Enjoy!

joyous heart!

Leigh

Leigh in light_opt

 


COOLING ELIXIRS!

Posted on August 10th, 2017


Share

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

2 rosebuds

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.

 

Joyous heart!

Leigh