Archive | March, 2016

The Blissful Way To Jumpstart Your Day

20 Mar

 

This is the Vata season

As the season changes, what’s going on around us? The temperature is dropping, leaves are changing colors and falling, and we feel change within. Vata — light, airy, dry and governing movement — has great qualities. In our bodies, when Vata is in balance it is expressed as mental alertness, ability to fall asleep easily, good circulation, calm demeanor, balanced digestion and elimination, and balanced body temperature. But oh boy! When Vata is out of balance, we may notice that we are tired and forgetful, spaced out; we may experience difficulty falling asleep, occasional constipation, poor circulation (cold feet & hands), or occasional feelings of anxiousness and worry. So, how do we find that balance during the winter when Vata is in full effect? To counteract its uneven, variable nature, one of the best antidotes to balance Vata is regular routine! If you know you are a Vata dosha then you are a head of the game and if you don’t know your Dosha keep reading to find out how you can learn what your dosha is.  (Those with Vata disorders often find themselves in a rush, always in a hurry. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to structure a more relaxed daily routine. Take it easy and slow down; enjoy abhyanga, warm baths and turning off electronics — disengage. This is important for mental, emotional and physical health!) However if you are not a vata the information in this article is still very important to you no matter what dosha you may be.

Start the morning with the intention to cultivate balance. When we take the time to invest in our Ayurvedic daily routine, we are jump-starting our day in the most powerful way — balanced and ready for anything!

Here are the goodies…

 Make a Plan

To be successful, routine needs a plan. So map out the morning according to your own personal schedule. For example, if you have to be at work at 8:30 a.m., it’s easy to fit this routine in if you wake up by 6:00 a.m. An early wake-up call, with the rising sun, is smooth when accompanied by an early bedtime. Ayurveda recommends going to bed by 10:00 p.m. during the drowsy Kapha time of night (6:00 – 10:00 p.m.).

Ayurvedic Daily Routine

  1. Wake up in the morning before 6:00 a.m.
  2. If easy and natural… eliminate: empty bowel and bladder. Don’t strain. Ayurveda never wants us to resist healthy natural urges, or strain by trying to force them.
  3. Wash your face.
  4. Brush your teeth and scrape your tongue (Tongue scraping, really… don’t roll your eyes! See instructions below).
  5. Afterward, this is a good time to drink a cup of water.
  6. Perform Abhyanga — warm Ayurvedic oil self-massage.
  7. It’s best to wait 10-15 minutes for the oil to soak in between your massage and bath. If you don’t have time, immediately jumping in the shower is OK. The waiting time while letting the oil soak in could also be spent swishing oil in your mouth, known as oil pulling.
  8. Bathe or shower. Use warm rather than hot water.
  9. Perform Yoga Asanas and breathing, called Pranayama.
  10. Meditate for twenty minutes.
  11. Eat a light breakfast — a stewed apple or pear and/or warm cereal are ideal.
  12. Then… work or school — you are ready to do this!

Take these recommendations one-step at a time, and don’t feel overwhelmed. And remember to cultivate a habit of taking it easy and slowing down. Balance that Vata!

Here are the specifics on these Ayurvedic morning routines:

Elimination

According to Ayurvedic principles, it is preferred to evacuate the bowels in the morning. Our body’s clock leans toward following the cycles of nature. During the nighttime, lunar energy is more predominant, so our body focuses on calming and cooling. In the morning, when the sun rises, our body goes into absorption phase when Agni — the active, burning and transforming solar energy — dominates. If, during the day, we carry around the waste material we created at night, we may absorb some of that waste material (toxins) back into our system, weakening immunity and leaving us feeling fatigued, drowsy and irritable during the day. Feeling energetic and relaxed are signs of proper evacuation. Twice a day is normal, but at least once a day is essential. Bowel movements affect our entire physiology, so don’t ignore urges and don’t wait! Through routine and a balanced diet, we can tune into our body’s internal clock and make regular elimination a part of our daily routine.

The use of nature’s intelligence, Ayurvedic herbs, can help smooth the elimination process into regularity.  To assist with this process try drinking a cup of warm water with a little lemon juice or a drop or two of lemon essential oil.

Tongue Scraping

“Ok, ok…. scrape my tongue?” We guarantee you, do it for one week and you will never quit. It is like brushing your teeth. Once you start, your mouth just doesn’t feel clean without doing it. It is also a great “meter” for ama, or digestive impurities (the result of incomplete or inefficient digestion). If you have a lot of residue, then think about your diet and routine and make changes. Tongue scraping has long been an important part of the recommended Ayurvedic daily routine. If you have ever noticed a film or coating (which can range in color from clear to white, yellow, or green) on your tongue in the morning, your body may have a build-up of ama that can compromise your digestive and immune systems. This simple, yet important, method of cleaning the tongue removes ama, the toxic coating or film, before the body reabsorbs it.

Here’s How to Scrape Your Tongue:

  • After brushing your teeth first thing in the morning, grab your tongue cleaner. The Tongue Cleaner is traditional sterling silver and designed for ease and efficiency. In a bind, the front of a silver spoon can be used in place of a tongue cleaner. (Why silver? Silver is known for its antibacterial properties.)
  • Relax your tongue so that the scraper contacts maximum surface area, and place the scraper as far back on your tongue as comfortable. Gently yet firmly, scrape the entire surface from back to front.
  • Rinse the scraper well with hot water after each use.
  • Repeat this process 3-5 times, until your tongue looks clean, and pinkish or red in color.
  • Be careful as not to scrape the tongue too hard, destroying your taste buds. Gentle pressure is all that is needed to scrape the tongue.

Oil Pulling

Sesame and coconut oils are regularly used in Ayurveda to detoxify or “pull” toxins from the skin that they are applied to — so no surprise here that oil pulling can be done with either of these oils. This simple routine involves swishing (not gargling) one tablespoon of oil in your mouth for 2 to 20 minutes – whatever is comfortable. It’s not as bad as it sounds! It feels great, draws out bacteria and has been shown to promote healthy gums and teeth and reduce tartar build-up.

Embrace oil pulling as part of your daily teeth-cleaning routine, and remember these few things:

  • Swish the oil gently. If your jaw or mouth starts aching, slow down. Go easy on yourself!
  • Avoid swallowing the oil while swishing.
  • Once you are done pulling, spit the oil into the trash or outside, not in the sink, because over time the oil may clog pipes.
  • After spitting, rinse your mouth with water before consuming any beverages.

Abhyanga

Self oil massage, Abhyanga; helps calm the mind and nervous system. Daily Abhyanga is especially important for Vata, as it helps alleviate dry skin that is often a result of Vata imbalance. The skin is one of the primary seats of Vata dosha, so massaging your body every morning with warm, Vata-pacifying such as Sesame can go a long way toward soothing the entire nervous system and emotions. It’s just a matter of taking however many minutes you can spare — from 2 to 20 — to give your skin some love! It’s a powerful tool before or after a shower, and has healing qualities: increased circulation, toxin release, and stimulation of nerve endings.

Here’s How to Perform Abhyanga:

  • Place a small amount of warm oil in the palm of your hand for each point listed below (using small amounts will help you avoid feeling too oily).
  • Start with massaging the face and outer part of the ears.
  • Massage both the front and back of the neck and the upper part of the spine.
  • Massage the arms, using a back-and-forth motion over the long bones and a circular motion over the joints.
  • Use a circular motion to massage over the heart and a clockwise motion over the abdomen.
  • Massage the legs, using the same long motion over the leg bones and a circular motion over the joints.
  • Last but not least, massage the feet. Use the open part of your hand to massage vigorously back-and-forth over the soles.
  • After massaging your whole body, you can use a natural-bristle body brush with a vigorous motion upward toward your heart on the front and back of your feet, legs, arms, back and tummy.

Yoga Asanas

Yoga asanas are the preferred Ayurvedic way to exercise, because practiced properly they do not put undue strain on any one part of the physiology. Yoga asanas increase blood flow to vital organs, stimulate marma points (points in our bodies where concentrated prana is located) and activate the relaxation response, which is beneficial to the digestive system and all the systems of the body essential for good health.

Meditation

According to Ayurveda, we metabolize not just food, but with all our five senses. During Meditation all the senses are engaged and we experience a unique, silent state of awareness that becomes part of who we are. While all parts of the daily routine are important, the Meditation aspect is the most effective way to reduce stress. Just 20 minutes twice a day has the potential to regulate cortisol, the stress hormone, and increase serotonin, which is a sign of relaxation — ultimately reducing stress and feelings of anxiety. For a free guided meditation to: gifts4bliss.com

Ayurvedic Breakfast

Regular meals are an essential part of the Ayurvedic routine, with three warm, cooked meals a day. It’s preferred to eat them at the same time every day, as Vata digestion tends to be irregular. Start the day with an energizing meal to build an appetite for lunch, stimulate regular bowel movement, increase vitality and alertness, and provide a light but satisfying breakfast.

Go to gifts4bliss.com to get energizing Ayurvedic recipes that will help you to optimize your day in a positive and energizing way.

As I mentioned earlier knowing your dosha can assist you tremendously in knowing how to jumpstart your day. To find out your dosha click here: www.freegiftsfromrochele.com

Wishing you peace to your mind, wellness to your body and tranquility to your spirit.

Namaste,

 

Rochel Marie Lawson, RN, AHP, CMS

The Queen of Feeling Fabulous and The Wellness Architect

www.rochelelawson.com
www.healthhealingwellness.com
www.blissful-living.net
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Food to Avoid Before You Go to Sleep to Get a Good Night’s Rest

6 Mar

In the last article on sleep [Increase Your Happiness and Productivity with Better Sleep], I mentioned that certain foods can keep you from getting good quality sleep. When you know what these foods are and avoid them, you’ll have a much better chance of falling asleep, staying asleep, and getting a restful seven to eight hours each night.

Keep in mind that some of the foods on this list are healthy foods, and I’m not saying they should be cut completely from your diet. All I’m saying is that they should be avoided before bedtime.

Please always speak with your physician or health care provider before making significant changes to your diet, particularly if you’re suffering from disease.

Why Sleep is Important

The body utilizes sleep time to restore itself completely so it can operate at optimum levels during waking hours. If something needs to be repaired in the body, it will take place while we are asleep.

People who are dealing with a disease process especially need quality sleep time to correct the problems that are occurring in the body, but also to be able to properly absorb the nutrients coming in through food.

Here are things to do, and foods to avoid, prior to going to bed so that you can ensure the best night’s rest possible…

Don’t Eat Anything at Least 2 Hours Before Bed. When you consume foods or beverages other than water less than 2 hours before laying down to sleep, your body will have to work hard to process the food and drink during sleep time. That time is supposed to be reserved for restoration.

Avoid Oats. Oats are great for breakfast, however when they are eaten at night their high fiber content can lead to digestive irritation, so avoid them in the later parts of the day.

Avoid Leafy Green Vegetables. These foods are natural diuretics and detoxifiers and they’re full of nutrients. However, because of this, they can cause us to wake up in the night to use the restroom. This also includes cabbage and beans. It’s simply easier for these foods to move through the body during the day because we’re up and active.

Avoid Ice Cream. This frosty treat is full of sugar and carbohydrates that act as stimulants. Ice cream contains natural energy, and bedtime is not the right time of day to take in energy.

Avoid Curry. The active component in curries can irritate the stomach, act as a stimulant and harm sleep patterns because they raise the body’s temperature. Waking up because you’re too hot is not helpful to sleep, so be sure to stay away from curry for 2-3 hours before bed.

Avoid Fruit. As beneficial as fruit is to our health, it still contains sugar, which acts as a stimulant that can interrupt sleep patterns. If you like smoothies, move them to earlier hours in the day so your body doesn’t have to fight off the sugar stimulation.

Avoid Cakes, Cookies and Other Processed Sweets. The combination of carbs and sugar in these sweet treats makes it hard for the body to relax. People reach for candy bars at 3 pm when their energy starts to dip because the sugar gets into the blood stream and stimulates everything… so an 8 pm candy bar is definitely not on the menu!

Avoid Red Meat. When eaten close to bedtime, red meat will not be digested properly. Some alternatives to the need for protein could be turkey or yogurt.

Avoid Pizza (and Other Greasy Fatty Foods). French fries, onion rings, nachos and similar greasy foods place a lot of stress on the stomach, especially before bedtime. Heartburn and indigestion can occur, particularly if these greasy foods are combined with beer.

Avoid Dark Chocolate. Now this is a food that has many benefits, however, when it comes to the evening hours it’s best to avoid dark chocolate due to its caffeine content. Eat dark chocolate during the day, as far away from bedtime as possible.

Avoid Alcohol. A nightcap may help you fall asleep, but it will not help you stay asleep. When people consume alcohol before bed, not only do they have trouble staying asleep, but they also wake up feeling more tired the next morning.

Avoid Caffeine. Stay away from caffeine before bed! People don’t realize that caffeine is in a lot of the everyday foods they consume: colas, coffee, cocoa, chocolate, energy drinks, candy bars, and even green tea. If you must have a warm drink before bed, try a hot cup of chamomile tea or hot water with lemon.

If you experience insomnia (or even if you don’t), avoid all the foods on this list before bed for a week and watch your quality of sleep improve drastically!

Want more natural health tips, straight from my desk? Click HERE [LINK: Free Gifts from Rochele] to receive more great information on how to improve your health, naturally.

Also, please pick up your free gifts here: http://www.gifts4free.com/

Namaste,
Rochel Marie Lawson, RN, AHP, CMS</strong>
The Queen of Feeling Fabulous and The Wellness Architect

www.rochelelawson.com
www.healthhealingwellness.com
www.blissful-living.net
www.youtube.com/rochelelawson
www.facebook.com/rochelelawson
www.stressassessmentmagic.com
www.freegiftsfromrochele.com
www.linkedin.com/rochelelawson