A few months ago, health coach Jenny Sansouci published a short e-guide on The 3 Pillars of Optimal Health. I found it fantastic to find a health coach (who is very focused on nutrition none the less) not mention food at all.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about eating healthy and exercising – it’s my sanity. But I’ve always had this inkling that there had to be something a little more than just focusing on ourselves. And there it was, nestled after the importance of water and sleep – human connection.

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I grew up in a social family. My father was mayor during my childhood, which meant homework was done in the car on the way to a function and I usually fell asleep on a cushioned bench in the hallway of a VFW.

When I moved away from home, the functions (ed’s note: there was no shortage of dollar beer nights) began to dwindle. After college, when I continued to move locations and enter into “emerging adulthood” I noticed a slight hint of depression that would sink in when alone that I couldn’t peg.

In turn, I leaned more and more on holistic living. Which helped. But it also brought a strange case of the HAVE to be asleep early, can’t drink, can’t eat gluten, can’t have fun thoughts. Sometimes weeks would go by without something to celebrate. On the upside, I wasn’t drinking as much, I was eating healthy and exercising regularly. Yet, I still didn’t feel the wholeness my intuition kept whispering existed.

Fast forward to this past year, I made some great adult friends. The new friends weren’t as holistic as I had imagined they would be (should i break up with them?) and I certainly wasn’t able to maintain the same level of health I had when I spent more time alone. But I noticed something else. I felt healthier. My digestion was better and I was content/happy/enthusiastic (insert all the feels). It got me thinking about connection, what it entails, and most of all what it brings into your life.

Scientist Matthew Lieberman states “that our need to connect is as fundamental as our need for food and water. It’s a lifeline.” It’s also said to not only make us happier, but it makes way for lower risk of mental health, decreases the odds of stress-related health problems, strengthens our identity and allows for faster recovery from illness or trauma. Human connection can also boost our creativity, keep us balanced, create opportunities and make us feel like we are part of something larger than ourselves.

And to top it off, psychologist James H. Fowler, who has studied the data of 5,000 people for 20 years, states “we found a statistical relationship not just between your happiness and your friends’ happiness, but between your happiness and your friends’ friends’ friends’ happiness.” So not only does human connection uplift our own lives, but through that, we’re uplifting people we don’t even know. Can I get a hell yeah?

It’s important to note, that while social media may help us connect to the world around us and sooth a sense of longing we can’t understand, none of these technologies involve the human touch or the energy of another person exchanged in person. Our eyes, skin, tongue, ears and nostrils are here to receive the nourishment we get from relationships. Things that aren’t fulfilled through the world-wide web.

Ayurveda Expert Monica Bloom states “It is a vata imbalance where there is a lack of nourishment, grounding, and touch. The TRIPPY thing is that the computer is also vata imbalancing…so it’s a circle. Lonely – go to computer. Computer – makes you feel more lonely. Because the computer is not alive and breathing, we don’t get any energy from it, there is no prana, no life.”

One would think I would stop writing there and go outside, and I will shortly, BUT we also need to talk about how recent studies show that the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety, but human connection. And that quite possibly, the disconnection we have as a society is what is driving the rise in addiction, loneliness, and depression.

No biggie.

Looking back on the last year of my life and the human connection i’ve incorporated into it, it makes sense that I experienced some of the biggest shifts yet. I was able to make huge progress in breaking addictions and bad habits such as sugar, lack of discipline and negative chatter. I’ve also been able to go deeper in all my other relationships. I’ve learned the importance of showing up for your friends, making the time, being present and even being vulnerable. I’ve let my personality come out and in turn, theirs have come out too. Belly laugh city.

And because relationships are a form of nourishment – you know there has to be an Ayurvedic twist.

Through understanding the doshas we can better understand those we have connections with. Often times, we try to mold people to how we think they “should be.” Not only will that not work, but it can be detrimental and have the opposite effect of human connection.

Enter the doshic personality types and how we can use them to be able to put up with our friends who are always late.

Vata
Social butterflies. They tend to make friends easily but don’t necessarily keep them. They can easily lose their train of thought and may need you to get them back to the point. And while they are creative they can also be insecure. They change their mind often, but in return are very open-minded.

Ways to associate better with vata’s is by helping them find stability and listening to their ever-changing ideas. Give them a big hug and create a safe haven for them. Providing stability to a vata will help balance out their flighty way of life (that keeps things interesting mind you.)

Pitta
The pitta friend is the one with the plan. They are organized and know how to make things happen. They can be very well spoken, but also workaholics. They make a lot of friends in their work setting. Let it be noted – they aren’t that sentimental. They also have the drive and energy to execute. Beware, if you end up on their bad side, they make bitter enemies.

It can be a challenge to hang out with Pitta’s because they can have a their way is the best way attitude. But you can trust this person will always have your back. If you know when to nod your head and let them be right in their own way, they will come around to reason. Truthfully, they crave harmony more than anyone else.

Kapha
Your calm, receptive compassionate friends are most likely Kapha. For a Kapha, a few long-lasting friends will do. They are solid and stable, and will listen to all of your ideas, mulling them over to give you the best response. They love to take care of their friends and you can always count on them to help you when in need. They value friendships and appreciate everything you do for them.

A kapha is emotional and sentimental but, when not cared for properly, they become clingy and possessive. They can have a hard time leaving their cave and may need a friend to give them that extra push. While they may dislike you at the time, they will most certainly thank you later. Once they get going, they will gain momentum and have steady energy throughout the day.

Through understanding the importance of human connections and the different characters that come along for the ride, we are one, very big step closer to that wholeness we search for. That happiness that beckons to have a place in our lives. And the connection that allows us to radiate it out.  And let it be known, that after the high of recognizing human connection, and implementing it more in my life I’ve had to re-write many a stories that I told myself for years. I’ve also had to figure out new ways to fit my own personal care in and play with the balance of it all (that we will save for another post). All in a ships time.

Are you a runaway starting an Ayurvedic life? Be prepared to run away no more.


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As a child, I had a strong will and an even stronger temper. The slightest motion could send me into a universal rage. I’m sure it’s no surprise that I was also an all-star in the neighborhood plays. 

From the age of three, I convinced friends to jump ship from our parents. And at the age of six, when my family organized a boys only trip, I packed everything I owned in plastic bags, shoved them on the handle bars of my bike and rode far into the abyss of rebellion. (Editor’s note: I made it one block.)

I switched Elementary schools three times, Junior highs twice, and while I maintained the same High School, I switched my style more times than primary school. College was another battle constantly wondering where I could run off too, escaping out of the country for a short time. It wasn’t until after school when I could only maintain state residency more than one year at a time, that I began to take a strong look at this itch that beckoned for me to sprint. 

I’m sure it was the itch that let me to Ayurveda, but at the time I was blind to it. Yet, the deeper I got into my studies, the louder and clearer it got that it was time to untangle the race map.

The truth (the itch) I came to find out wasn’t the lightest of places to run too. It wasn’t the fun-loving energy that came with moving, but a deep fear, displaying as sunburn, acne and joint pain. It showed up in the middle of the night to take over a deep sleep and it came after a long day at work, begging for a glass of wine. 

Yet, I continued to run. This time to San Francisco, where I was positive that all of the Yoga and Ayurveda would disperse the worries into the ethers. Much to my dismay, it continued for eternity (about 11 months) until I decided to pick up and move again. Next was Chicago, where I would be with family and pursuing a new career I loved. Problems be gone. 

After a few months of life in Chicago, I recognized the same intensity of fear when alone. I knew it wasn’t a location that was going to heal anything but it was (breaking news) within myself.

In Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand faces it says: 

“The hearld or announcer of the adventure…is often dark, loathly, or terrifying, judged evil by the world; yet if one could follow, the way would be opened through the walls of day into the dark where the jewels glow.”

So I entered the dark. I took a hard look at this fear and I began to clear muck out. I geared up in the Tapas department (discipline, not small plates). I joined a gym to burn away old patterns. I let go of the habit of overdoing it by saying “no” and amping up the self-care. I created a morning ritual that worked for me and most of all, I learned to sit better in meditation. I practiced sitting with this darkness and just let it be. I accepted it. 

Sometimes I’m still not sure what I accepted or where everything came from. After an EFT reading years ago, it was clear that I had some past life traumas that carried over and I certainly had some present life traumas in the form of surgeries, a childhood in politics, and break-ups (boys and friends) that caused the loneliness to be seen. But I didn’t find that mattered anymore. What mattered was how I would move forward. 

And wouldn’t you know, a few months later, when it was time to move again, I didn’t pick a new place I’d never been – where I didn’t know anyone. I picked my hometown of Boston. I was no longer going to run away from that which plagued me. (Dramatic, remember?) I ran to it. 

Just as in Ayurveda, when you find out your dosha. Sometimes you resist it. You want to be a different dosha. You yearn for Vata’s artistic flair, or a Pitta’s determination, or simply, the compassion a Kapha exudes. But you soon find out you can’t run from who you are. You can’t run from your foundation. All you can do is embrace it, hone in on it and experience the magic of balance that trickles through your life when you surrender to it all. When you return home. 

SummerYogaPlaylist

Guys! Playlist 11 is 1 hour and 11 minutes long! (Queue eye roll.)

It’s that time of the year again! When summer (Read: Summer Tips For the Busy) is just around the corner and we are so excited for just about everything. It’s also the time where I have to cut Franks Red Hot out of my diet for a few months and I slip into a mild depression. It’s cool (pun intended).

Lets agree to make some time for yoga these next few months. I’ve created a playlist to help get you on your mat. You can play in order or on shuffle, as long as you promise to practice at a moderate pace and include a long savasana or legs up the wall. Before we get to flowing, here are a few more tips for your summer practice.

Focus on poses that separate the legs from the center of the body to help cool things off. Triangle, wide legged forward fold, bound angle, happy baby, supported bridge and supported camel. 

Spinal rotations and side twists help to free up space in the rib cage. Cat/cow, revolved chair, cobra, supine twist, and wide-angle seated forward bend to each side. 

Strong standing poses release the inner thighs and groins where we tend to store heat in the warm months. Tree, dancer, mountain, and five-pointed star. 

Do your best to keep things environmentally cool. Practicing in the early morning or early evening is best. Bonus points if you practice in a room with good airflow.

Surrender!! Relax and enjoy this, don’t make it a competition. Soak up the music (my yoga playlist only please), the day, your life, ya know the important things. Pause often to reflect and then go have the best summer!

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Peeps! It’s been a long time since we’ve talked about skin care and the internet has certainly been a  little lackluster on skin care routine updates, so I thought I would take one for the www team. Unfortunately I don’t use a clarisonic so I can’t take a blog photo whilst using that, but I can put up a photo of me sitting in a tree.

It was very urgent that I write this blog post because recently, I’ve found my skin care to include half Ayurveda/half organic products. What! Isn’t this an Ayurveda blog! If we are being honest (which we always are,) the big guy in this routine is the food I eat according to Ayurveda principles. It’s been a long haul to get my skin to where it is today and for now, this is what works so I’m running with it.

(Reminder all skin types are different.)

When I began practicing Ayurveda, my chin was constantly breaking out. Between trying to crack the code to rid of it and not wanting to leave my house because of it, my life seemed over consumed by dots. I had seen a dermatologist and purchased countless products but things didn’t budge.

Eventually when I switched my diet and began eating veggies for the first time at age 21, things very slowly started to shift. Shortly after, I began incorporating Ayurveda into my lifestyle and again I would see that my skin would clear up a few more days a month. Still nothing to blog about.

When I quit sugar, another big shift occurred. Currently, my diet seems to consist of having sugar 10% of the time and I’ve noticed the few times I’ve fallen off and binged, I’ve broken out immediately. Turns out chocolate chips straight out of the bag are not sugar-free. 

Overtime, the more I cured myself on the inside, the more clear skin I would see. Mind blown?

Here is my action plan for taking care of my skin on the outside.

Daily – Wake up and rinse my face with cold water. Heat accumulates to the head overnight so it’s great chance to cool off the body and wake you up. I’ve grown to love this moment. 

Post workout/and or starting my day – I’ll wash my face with Ava Anderson cleanser. About 2-3 times a week I use the exfoliator in lieu of the cleanser. (Side note: the exfoliator is under 3.5oz so when I travel this is what I bring with me.) After my shower, I apply Ava Anderson moisturizer. (I also travel with this.) 

During the Day – I use tarte tinted moisturizer (I’ve had mine for over a year, so worth the price), and for nights out/events I’ll use the clay full coverage foundation. I love their products and find they are the first ones to not make my face feel like it’s suffocating. (Not dramatic in the least bit.) I avoid wearing all makeup at least two days a week. This gives my skin a chance to breathe and soak up the natural elements, obv.

At night – All I do is rinse my face really well with water. I don’t use a cleanser and I don’t add moisturizer. Night time has included a lot of trial and error, but I find using just water works really great for me. It also gives my skin a chance to breathe at night.

Some days – If my skin is a bit more dehydrated, I’ll add whatever oil I’m using for my Abhyanga. Currently it’s Avocado oil, but I use coconut and sesame as well. I avoid my chin when I’m putting the oil on because it doesn’t always react well. But massaging it into my cheeks/forehead area allows it to re-hydrate. 

Once a week – I do a face mask. Recently I tried the Tata Harper one and thought it was decent but not sure I loved it. I’ve also tried the Ava Anderson one and I really liked that but it’s a bit messy. I’m currently making just a Sandalwood face mask (also messy) but my favorite. Plus, it helps remove heat from the face. Fyi – if you ever have hangover skin – make a sandalwood face mask. You’ll feel better and your skin will thank you the next day. 

Bonus – I keep a spray bottle of rose-water around and spray it on my face a few times a day. So simple, but effective. I also drink a ton of water. All the restroom trips are totally worth it.  

Reminder, it’s taken me a few years and a lot of trial and error. Don’t get discouraged, you get to learn about your body along the way. Again, every skin is different. Keep trying, you’ll know when it clicks.

What’s your skin care routine these days? Are you all Ayurveda oils based or do you share with other products? Any tips you want to share?

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Last weekend I called time-out on myself and had a serious restorative party (fun)! Between big deadlines and trips I felt like it had been months since I’d done my favorite things. Suddenly I wondered if I even liked to read, or nerd out on podcasts or splash watercolor on paper. Turns out I do. All that was required was space and patience. (Attention spans can dwindle when not tended to.)

This weekend party, brought me back to when I lived in San Francisco and was feeling overwhelmed about it all and decided to create a  DIY retreat. I know what you’re thinking – this girl is cool as shit.

What’s interesting, is that this past weekend was way less of a make sure to block a chunk out of your life and really don’t get tempted with drinks ordeal and more of a this is exactly what I want to do. That’s the wonderful thing about balance – the more you find yours, the easier it is to come back to it when you wander off.

My days were spent reading, writing, and internetting. I attended Wanderlust 108 one morning and did yoga in an old music hall another. I overdosed on Florence and the Machine’s new album and got too excited about the farmers market.   

I also went crazy on some podcasts, articles, you tube videos etc. Since the internet it such a big wide space where everyone knows everything these days – you’ve most likely already seen or read 2/3 of the list. Take some time off now to explore, or bookmark for when you need to dose up on the good vibes! Remember self-care is not just about abhyanga and dry brushing but tending to that creative mind of yours.

Lazy: A Manifesto – I apologize in advance if you decide you want to quit your job and run into the forest. I’ll come with you though.

I’m A Real Women & So Is Every Other Women – Kathryn Budig crushed it this past weekend at the Revitalize 2015 conference. She’s no bullshit about this topic and we should all be too.

How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – I consider Florence a guru of sorts. She has the power to pull up emotions deep down and name them. She also has the chords to do it.

The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered – Human connection guys! Get out there, socialize, party, meditate, love, banter etc.

What To Do After You Have A Breakthrough – D Laporte is the Florence of essays. Here she strikes a chord that’s real important to listen to.

The Universe Uncensored – Because if we don’t make fun of ourselves, life will be real long.

Cooking Made Us Human – Knock ’em dead in the kitchen guys!

This Show – After so much self-help you need to stop for a bit and straight chill. Also the episodes are only 5-15 mins long, perfect if you are trying to re-connect to your attention span.

Okay I’m done! I’m off to Seattle to soak up big trees and hikes! Have a good weekend!