Springpickmeups

Today I slowly slip my coffee as the rain taps on all the windows that surround me. I think about going to that barre class that I loved last week. Last week when it was a sunny and bright spring day. But today when we’ve fluctuated back to the heaviness that intertwines around this fresh season, I find too much comfort in extra coffee, charming music and serious lounging. 

I’m no newcomer to Kapha Blues. And while the method of healing the blues with the pace of nature is darling to think about, I also believe in the power of throwing in some sunny pick me ups.

I’m not advocating buying stuff. In fact it’s real important to declutter this season. But investing in a few high quality items to help you embrace the flow of the season is just what the Ayurveda practitioner ordered. 

1/ A new candle. I know this is a given, but this combination of bergamot and cedarwood is a magical blend of the sides of spring. Let the rich soil ground you (cedarwood) so that you can really bloom (bergamot). (Sorry for that weird essential oil metaphor.)

2/ New shoes. Because even on the rainiest days in spring, you know that a pair of new spring shoes could grace your feet any moment. Go for comfort when it comes to shoes. All day our energy drains down to our toes, it’s nice to give them some reward.

3/ Darling Magazine. Here is one way to appreciate the rain, sit down with a cup of dandelion tea and curl up with this “art of being a women” magazine. While health is fascinating to read about, sometimes when you’ve got the blues, it will do the opposite of pick you up. This magazine talks about all things from the joy of decorating your house to the questions that help you determine if it’s time to change your path. It’s filled with rich words, un-touched photos and zero ads.

4/ Wild Unknown tarot cards. When I found these cards I knew I had found “my deck” as you’ll so often overhear in the jumble of chit-chat before a yoga class. I pull these out each morning or if I’m looking for clarity, I’ll do a full reading. I’m a skeptic believer and these cards know it. They constantly bring me back.

5/ A fresh coat of paint. If you live in America and not the west coast, then you must have experienced this harsh, harsh winter. It’s time to let those toes out with a new coat of polish. This will encourage you to shed those socks so that your feet can connect to the ground beneath you. Go for a fresh stimulating color to balance this Kapha season. 

What pick me ups do you have on hand for these wet spring days?

AyurvedaSpringgrocery

How’s spring treating you? I’ve been bouncing around a lot, but I’m excited to have a proper spring grocery trip tomorrow and I thought why not make it easy for everyone to have a proper grocery trip. Here is a quick run down of the best foods for spring. Of course knowing your dosha helps to know what choices to make, but just buying seasonally will do wonders. 

Print the image above, open on your phone and save to your photos, or e-mail it to yourself so you will have it with you for your next grocery run. Happy shopping all!

Chocolate-Bark-copy1
Truth be told, I fell off the sugar-free wagon. It happened a few weeks after this. People came to visit, vacations took place, and before I knew it, I was eating Toll House chocolate chips out of the bag. (Terribly classy, I know.)

The first few weeks everything was good, I didn’t feel any negative effects from sugar. Until the other day it hit me all at once. My skin became inflamed and I felt like I wanted to crawl out of it. Dramatic? Of course, but it was a clear sign to me. So, after a few more malted milk balls, I hit the kitchen.

I knew going cold turkey wasn’t the time right now. I’m home visiting family who will be celebrating Easter with ALL the candy. The solution – make something that would be just as good, if not better.

This does the trick and bonus, it was approved by my m&m loving family. If that’s not a sign of deliciousness, tell me what is.

Ingredients
1/2 cup of coconut oil (melted)
1/2 cup of cacao
1 1/2 tablespoons of brown rice syrup
2 cups of brown rice crisps (these are my favorite)
A Pinch of sea salt
Optional: unsweetened shredded Coconut flakes
Wax paper

1. Mix coconut oil & cacao in a bowl. Add in brown rice syrup and blend till even consistency.

2. Slowly pour in brown rice crisps, stirring along the way. You want the crisps to soak up most of the chocolate. You don’t need the chocolate to be liquid.

3. Place wax paper on a baking sheet and then pour mixture evenly in a thin layer.

4. Sprinkle with sea salt and coconut flakes.

5. Place in freezer for 20 minutes & Enjoy! Bark will melt if left out.


Essentialoils1

Oil lovers unite. It’s Spring and it’s about time we discuss essential oils. I always feel like some stealth superhero when I use oils. They seem to last forever if stored properly, so I tend to forget I have them. When I’m looking for an extra Ayurveda boost I pull them out and BAM, I’m climbing up vertical buildings. It also amazes me that you can do as little as inhale an oil and it will be directly carried into the brain to influence emotions, memories, or creativity. Ayurveda is wild.

Let’s rewind a bit to 5000 years ago when essential oils were refereed to as aromatic essences. (Poetic I know.) So it goes, in Vedic texts these essences were fragrant herbs, flowers and barks that were burnt to enhance healing and meditation. The Charaka Samhita states is used aromatic oils for massage and marma therapy. It also discusses how oils were used as garlands and fragrances as aphrodisiacs and to promote well-being.

These days, we use them to unclog pores after a night of drinking. (Again, poetic.)

Essential oils, past and present, are derived from plants, flowers, fruits, leaves, wood, resin, bark, root or seeds. Here is a breakdown of what each do for you.

Flowers – relaxing & sedative
Wood, Bark & Resin – heating & increases circulation
Leaves – cooling & clearing
Roots – grounding
Fruits – stimulating & expanding
Seeds – tonic

I spoke here about which oils benefit what dosha and talked here about Ayurveda Skin types.  I also broke down using essential oils to make a perfume here. But what else can you use oils for?

Abhyanga Massage: In a 1 ounce bottle add about 15 drops of oil to a carrier oil (Sesame vata Coconut pitta Sunflower kapha.)

Bathing: 5 – 10 Drops of oil in water immediately before entering bath.

Compresses: 3-6 Drops of essential oil in 4oz of hot water. Soak washcloth in mix and apply to skin.

Foot Bath: 15-20 drops of oil in 2 quarts of warm watch.

Oil Diffusers: There are many different types of diffusers including, candle, electric heat or cool air nebulizing diffuser. They tend to break down how much essential oil is used for each.

Also check out how and what essential oils I incorporate in my Ayurveda Toolbox and how I use them when I travel.

Spreading little drops of oil goodness over your week!

Some things to note: Ayurveda does not advise using essential oils internally, avoid contact to eyes and mucous membranes, do not use citrus oils before being exposed to UV light, and do not use oils on infants, children, pregnant women, elderly or those with serious health issues without speaking with a doctor. As always if you are unsure, contact an Ayurveda Practitioner. 

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Guys. I have not forgotten about you, this blog, pizza. (What?)

I’m finishing up my one year design portfolio school program and have a 1,000,000.01 things to finish. It’s exciting to finish up something you’ve worked on for a whole year but it’s also completely terrifying. So I did the only reasonable thing and decided to take a few days off to go to Michigan with some friends.

We spent our days hiking, watching Happy Endings and discussing all things vulnerable. (I sure know how to market a vacation.) Mornings were spent slowly sipping coffee with the crisp 40 degree wind sinking into my pores, the sun there to keep ears from frostbite. We read and journaled and discussed the latest turn of events over wine.

And while all these conversations were happening I was finding out things we so easily shy away from. One being a conversation where my friend brought up how she constantly feels bombarded by information, especially when it comes to health. She has no idea what to believe, what to give up, what to keep and more. She loves the idea of Ayurveda, but doesn’t feel like it’s suitable for her life. There are so many parts and so much that goes into it, that she doesn’t think she can keep up.

And the truth is, I used to feel that too. I would dive head first into a health kick, only to be left puzzled and less knowledgable than when I began. I believed that I would forever live this way. That there would always be a new craze that I would have to keep up with. I thought being complete and whole in health was a lie we told ourselves as a country. America.

First things first, I don’t have the body my sixteen year old self was really pushing for, but I have health, good digestion and a full heart. When I found Ayurveda, it is was what I was searching for the whole time. The art of living, jam-packed with information, enough for every situation and catered to you. Hell yes it’s totally overwhelming. And you will never know it all or live the ideal schedule everyday. But you will live your ideal schedule. You make it come to life. You pick what will make you happiest, what your body needs more or less of and what’s real to you.

Does this scare the shit out of you? Having to be in control of your health. Not being able to follow a plan that maps out every single meal, workout and sleeping times. Then we have something in common.

But like a good Chicken Soup for the soul classic would say – Everything you want is on the other side of fear. 

Because once you commit, you’ll realize your body tells you what to do. It’s not going to happen overnight. But it will happen. Every action helps and you never have to do it all. Know that everything you are doing is helping, and if you do as little as dry brushing, know that you are practicing Ayurveda. Know, that is enough.

To all my halfers out there. You are killing it. Start wherever you are and celebrate that. The more you incorporate Ayurveda into your life, the more it will meet you half way. You’ll know the next step for yourself. Trust that and trust yourself.

Okay enough weird soapbox moments. It’s Sunday. I wish you all the lying around with the windows open, or long runs if that’s your thing. Maybe even some homemade chocolate, a long self-care session or a cool glass of rose.