I got the blues… the Kapha blues that is. The ones where staying in bed as long as possible sounds equivalent to winning a noble peace prize. Where catching up on Mad Men is pretty much like completing a triathlon (I really am proud.) And food, well food and thinking about food hasn’t tasted this good in a while.
The grey skies in the mornings and the June chill that’s hit San Francisco may have to do with it. Or perhaps it’s knowing that the endless Summer feel has swarmed the East Coast. Either way, the Kapha Blues were in full swing and I was not letting it sneak by me.
Here are my top 5-ways for beating the blues.
1. Gratitude. I’m pretty darn lucky that I never have to set an alarm clock. Even though I don’t have to be at work till 10:30, I slowly wake up around 6:30. In-between doses of extra sleep, I sneak in a few gratitude sentences to get me moving. I know when I get into a Kapha state, I want to clear the slate on just about everything, change my job, my house, my wardrobe etc. So instead of thinking I need everything to be new, I simply smothered it with gratitude till it felt new.
2. Walking Meditation. While I wake up early, it takes a while to get my day going. But every time I get my surge of city nature, I feel back in balance. I’ve been digging walking meditation during this Kapha stage. I usually fit it in after I run my mile. I change the tempo of the music, connect to my breath, take time to notice the tree’s, mini flowers, house colors, nearby restaurants….. Before I know it I’m out of my head and into the meditation clearing.
3. Plan friend dates. It’s easy to think about just going home and climbing into bed, but it helps to hit the town with friends. I compromised with my doshas and went to the movies to see Before Midnight (10 stars!) I also went to House of Air, a trampoline gym and decided to fly my way out of the blues.
4. Add in plant life. Buy some flowers, or a fresh new plant and place it somewhere that you will see it a lot. On your desk, coffee table, next to your pillow…
5. Avoid snacking and drink green juice! Slower digestion can join in on the jam session really taking a stab at the whole Blues things you’ve got going on. Avoiding snacks between meals helps to allow the previous meal to digest, which is important during Kapha time. I also make sure to make green juice at least 5 days a week and tend to drink it in the afternoon to keep my energy up, not to mention the surge of nutrients hitting the blood stream nourishing the digestive system!
For more info on the best Kapha routine’s & diet click here.
For those of you who aren’t aware about Ayurveda’s view on leftovers, I may be about to break your heart. Ayurveda believes that leftovers lose their nutritional benefit within 24 – 48 hours and can accumulate toxins. Over consumption of leftovers can weaken the digestive system due to the lack of prana (life force) in the food. Back in the day I would hop up on my soapbox and tell strangers and best friends alike just how wonderful leftovers were. So you can imagine my disappoint when I found out this shocking news.
I like to look at this as a double edge sword. While I can’t make one giant meal for the whole week, I have more reason to make healthy fresh meals that keep me full of vibrant energy. But I hear ya when you say time is money and money is time. Making your own meals can can seem like a mini second job. But if you take time to plan (Pitta) I swear it can be fun. Turn on some good tunes and take deep breaths. Here are my top three methods of tackling food prep.
1. Pick your meals for the week in advance. I usually spend a little time on Saturday or Sunday. I grab a coffee or tea and browse some of my favorite cook books, blogs and Facebook posts. Then I put all of the recipes into a google doc. Next I decide what days work best to eat what. From there I take a look at what I have in the house and what I need to buy, and put my list together. This way I’m prepared if a farmers market appears of I have to make a quick grocery run.
2. When I have all of my ingredients, I spend the time washing them so that during the week the veggies are already one step ahead of me. I also put my juice ingredients into individual containers so that I can juice them when I’m ready.
3. When it comes to meal prep, I decide what things I can do beforehand to make the cooking process easier. For example, if a recipe involves veggies, I will steam them the night before so that I can just throw into the mix the next morning. Or, if it calls for quinoa/rice, I cook it ahead of time.
I’m not going to pretend there is no temptation when I return home from work to say forget it and just watch Mad Men, but taking the time to make sure my food receives the love it needs to create a healthy digestive system helps me enjoy life that much more.
Do you have any tips for prepping meals in advance?
My mom is the one largely responsible for all my yoga. I remember when I was a kid waiting
impatiently patiently on her bed as she finished her ritual morning yoga practice, occasionally jumping in for a headstand. Although I resisted yoga for a while in my teens because “mom did it,” eventually I came around. I caught up with my mom Lees Yunits, the lady who always told me to drink water when I wasn’t feeling good, to take deep breaths when life got hectic, and has shown by example to always keep growing.
LM: How long have you been doing yoga?
L: I’m embarrassed to say, 38 years.
LM:What inspired you to start?
L: A couple of things. I was in music school at Berkeley College of Music and I felt like there was more to life than just music and I needed something more in life, something physical I guess. I found an ashram in Boston and they taught me how to do yoga. No one I knew was doing it and I was just learning on my own. It gave me what I needed to balance all the music I was doing.
LM:You were doing yoga long before it was popular, how did you stay motivated to do your home practice everyday?
L: Oh my gosh yes. I bought a book. Richard Hittleman’s Yoga 28 day exercise plan. I began teaching myself yoga through that. It gave me things to do every single day and to learn it slowly and surely. It’s still, probably my favorite yoga book.
LM:Did you find it hard to get to your mat everyday?
L: Not really, although there was sometimes that I was busy with kids that I was not doing it everyday, but it was always something I looked forward to early morning or late evening. I just made myself do it because it made me feel good.
LM:Do you have any advice for maintaining a home practice?
L: Always keep your mat where you can reach it easily. Always keep a space where you can easily put your legs up the wall. Just keep coming back, even just sitting there will lead to the next step.
LM:Have you seen your style change over the years?
L: Yes, but I never went for power yoga. That just never made sense to me. I remember when power and yoga came together I thought “what? That is not yoga.” There is no power in yoga, its inner, this is your own personal thing. I guess I always took yoga so personally, it’s what you use to live your own personal life not to do yoga. Yoga has always been a way for me to live the real life, feeling better. So for me it was music, kids, politics, but yoga always helped me get through everything.
LM: What’s your favorite yoga book?
L: Insight Yoga by Sarah Powers. The 8 human talents by Gurmukh. I love The Yoga Bible by Christina Brown, Yoga For Wellness & Yoga For Transformation by Gary Kraftsow. Yin Yoga Outline of A Quiet Practice by Paul Grilley.
LM:What are your views on how yoga is in the modern-day?
L: It’s wonderful all aspects of it . I think there is something for everybody from young to old. Meditation is so helpful to so many of us including children.
LM: Looking back, how do you see that yoga has changed your life?
L: It’s given me something I love to do for many years. It was interesting because I was always torn between yoga and music and it turns out yoga has won. It’s enhanced my life so much because of the vastness of the information and the wealth of information out there, the books, CDS, DVDS, websites. Everything has grown and evolved so much it wonderful to see. It’s yoga and it has affected people in such a positive way.
LM:If you could live this life again, would you fill it with just as much yoga?
LM:If money were no object what would you do?
L: I would take my daughters with me to all the yoga retreat centers of the world.
LM:Do you have any advice for someone just starting to practice?
L: I would say, take it slowly and steadily. Don’t be too quick to rush into making it a physical practice. Always remember that it’s a mental and spiritual practice too.
LM:Any last words about yoga?
L: Just keep coming back to the mat there is something for everybody. Even the smallest amount of yoga, 5-10 minutes can be so helpful.
Thanks Mom for opening me up to the yoga world and continuing to inspire me and all those around you!
Life hasn’t brought me the faulty lemons, it’s brought me the healthy life enhancing type of lemons. But it’s also brought a serious schedule adjustment. While I love to keep writing and sharing Ayurveda, I also need to stick to Ayurveda’s main purpose – balance.
I’ve learned that in times of adjustment it’s best to take a step back and slow down. Since moving to San Francisco in November, I’ve changed schedules more times than I can count on one hand. It’s been thrilling, exciting and something to be oh so grateful for, but I’ve also learned taking care of my health comes first. No, I haven’t been sick a lot, in fact, I’ve been laughing a bit more, drinking a bit more green juice and doing a whole lot a yoga. But that’s the thing, in the midst of change, health & enjoyment has become my priority.
It’s important to slow down before little Vata get’s to much of an energy zap and begins to channel anxiety, scatterbrain and fear, oh my. So if you find yourself adjusting to a new schedule make health your priority (even if you are perfectly healthy.) Let go of the little things in between that can withstand the absence of attention and be okay with it. Take time to read a book, lay horizontal, or listen to a good playlist.
I’ve got a few exciting things happening in the next few months. I’ll be hosting a Yoga and Ayurveda workshop with my friend and fellow yoga teacher Khristine Jones at Union Yoga in San Francisco. We will break down different yoga philosophy’s and share how Ayurveda fits into it all. There will be tea and a tri-doshic yoga practice! Sign up HERE. I’ve also got a fun new project that will be coming to a screen near you very soon.
Kale Chips are one of those delicious snacks that have been on my note to self: make at home list (for uhhh… a good two years?) If you remember my trip to the farmers market last week, I failed to mention that three beautiful organic bunches of kale were only $5. There was no more running from making these at home.
1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
2. Cut kale chips into palm size pieces. Remove the stems (save them for juicing)
3. Wash and dry kale throughly (Salad spinners do the job.)
4. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper & nutritional yeast to get a cheezy effect. (A little salt can go a long way.)
5. Place in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, turning chips half way through.
6. Let cool, and snack away!
One of the things I tell my clients when beginning an Ayurveda lifestyle, is to pick the things that sound doable. Don’t fret about trying to tackle the whole list. I let oil pulling marinate in my routine lineup before taking action. Something about swishing oil in my mouth for 15 minutes didn’t fit into my life. But being the amazing consumer that I am, within seconds of seeing it on the shelf in Whole Foods, it was in my cart.
Besides the obvious super charged mouth refresher that it is, the other benefits are what sold me. It improves whiteness of your teeth (yes, you no longer have to sit in the irritating pain that white strips bring.) It can also help prevent disease. What, how? Many diseases sneak in through your mouth, so by releasing the bacteria and eliminating toxins as soon as they enter, you set yourself up for success. How lucky we are to have all these tools to help us feel our best.
So are you in? I use Dale Audrey Ayurveda Oral Pulling Rinse, which I love. Begin by swishing one teaspoon around in your mouth, pulling through your teeth for about 15 minutes. The organic ingredients in the product will leave you feeling refreshed with a natural taste. After you release the oil, rinse your mouth with warm water and then brush those pearly whites.
Have you ever tried oil pulling? What do you think?
Wait.. Before you click out of the page because running makes you want to throw a temper tantrum, know that past Mairi would be doing the same thing. Six months ago the thought of running made me instantly hate anyone that ran. I constantly thought no way they really enjoy it. How could you possibly not be miserable the whole time?
But something inside of me kept saying you will live a more balanced life if you start running (I’ve got some Kapha in me). The same voice that told me veggies and fruit would bring me more happiness then chicken fingers.
When I finally accepted this, I put running on my radar. I printed a run sheet that was left untouched, I asked runners for advice and I woke up every morning telling myself I would run three miles. This went on for a good four months. Then it started. Slowly & surely I would lace up the ole sneaks to hit the pavement. Some days I would enjoy it other times anger would engulf my body.
When I made the New Years resolution to run a mile everyday I had no expectations, nor did I put pressure on myself to run more. Now I find myself sitting on top of San Francisco hills, basking between rays of warm sun and a runners high and wonder how I thought for so long runners never actually liked to run.
It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you try something new, shift your beliefs and run into the unknown.
For a recap on Ayurveda methods for tackling cardio and what exercises are good for your dosha click here.