Our bodies are our temples. We practice with them to access the breath, our minds and beyond.
Within our bodies is the hearth upon which we build the fire of transformation.
Tending our bodies tenderly and thoroughly everyday supports our inner fire.
Here is a recommended daily routine (dinacharya):
Wake up before the sun
Go to the bathroom
Scrape your tongue, notice what is on it
Oil pull to detox: use 1 tbsp of organic sesame oil or coconut oil, swish for 15-20 min and spit into trash
Drink a cup or two of warm water with a squeeze of lemon
Dry brush your body with a loofah or body brush, stroking toward the heart
Follow with a loving oil massage (abyhanga), applying organic sesame, coconut or sunflower oil to your whole body, massaging toward the heart
Let the oil stay on for 10-20 min or more, then enjoy a hot shower to create a deep moisturizing effect with the oil
Now for your practice: asana, pranayama and meditation
Other daily routines to consider:
Neti: this is the practice of washing the nostrils and sinuses with warm salt water
Nasya: lubricate the nostrils with oil or ghee to keep them moist, esp important if you are doing neti
Drink only room temp beverages: preferably warm or hot water throughout the day: it is cleansing and hydrating
Consider adding cumin, coriander and fennel seeds to your hot water: a small pinch each per cup, or better yet, make a thermos up to tote with you
Eat your biggest meal when your digestive fire is strongest between noon and 2 pm
If at all possible, practice Yoga Nidra between 3 and 6pm for a pick-me-up/unwind combo
Eat lightly in the evening: fall in love with soup!
To bed before 10pm after winding down, using low lighting, turning off screens, how about 30 min of silence before bed?
If you are going to read choose something soothing and spiritual
While this may sound like a lot, with persistence you will create your own daily routine that supports your practice, and contains the fire.
Use our website for more information, contact us for a consultation
For more information click http://www.yogahealer.com/oil-pull-as-if-your-health-depends-on-it/
Yesterday I was looking at $100 swimsuits in one of my favorite catalogs, wondering if I could bring myself to spend that much on less than a yard of fabric. But, wow, those women in those suits sure looked like that were having fun…they looked light on their feet and in their bodies…
I still haven’t decided how much to spend on a swimsuit, but I do know I am moving toward being lighter through cleansing and detoxing my body, gently and thoroughly. I am a working girl with lots of responsibilities, so I cleanse sensibly, shiftily gently: sprucing up my kitchen, shopping for lots of fresh foods, getting more rest, eating mindfully, hydrating steadily, saying yes to more fresh food and no to the foods that weigh me down.
I like to cleanse with friends: sharing recipes, challenges and joys. So Deb and Demi and I have designed a cleanse we love to share with you. So we can all become lighter in our bodies and minds. Drop a few pounds, sleep better, strengthen immunity, be happier…
Our Spring Cleanse is designed for you to become healthier and happier. We’ll guide you through it. Invest in yourself, live your fullest life!
Look for details and registration coming soon.
Everyone loves a tasty meal. But there’s more to taste than meets the tongue. The six tastes –sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent, and astringent not only guide the inspired cook to create flavorful foods, they guide us toward eating a healthy, balanced meal. You know this. At times, you already avoid food that’s too hot or too salty, too sour or even too sweet. What you might not know is that the other three tastes –bitter, pungent, and astringent are just as important for your health. These tastes are not as prominent in typical processed food or even restaurant food. We can get these tastes from spices. Each taste is important in feeling satisfied after a meal and also in keeping our systems balanced and healthy. Begin to experiment with spice in your meals. If you haven’t experimented yet and you’re ready to begin, try turmeric. Turmeric is good for everyone and it falls into three categories of the 6 tastes–bitter, pungent, and astringent. Among other things, it’s good for your heart and circulatory system, your brain, and it reduces inflammation. You can always take it in pill form to reap the health benefits, but why not experiment with it in your food? It’s yummy and so good for you! Check out this Savory Rice recipe to get you started.
Twelve hours on the bus to Allahabad from Delhi yields lovely new friends as we move quickly beyond superficial conversation. Bonded by our mutual dedication to yoga and meditation we are a varied crew on a grand adventure. The countryside flows by: fields of mustard and rice, people on foot, bicycles, motorbikes, sitting in yards and on roofs. We are, of course, driving on the “wrong” side of the road, which is unnerving enough. The only vehicle approximating the size of the buses are lorries: brightly painted trucks hauling cargo and blaring their musical horns. I’m sitting in the back with my new friends from South Africa, Germany and the U.K. We simply decline looking forward. Toilets that day: clean, hosed down squats and, the bushes. Like I said, we moved quickly beyond superficial conversation.
Tomorrow we leave Allahabad for the HI campus at Khajaraho where our focus will be retreat and meditation. We will be the first group on this new campus and our hosts are deeply excited. After visiting the Naga Sadhu (naked sadhus) Ashram today, I’m ready for some grounding and integration time.
Today some of us ventured into Allahabad proper and visited a Western style mall for some needed items. Saw how the middle class shops and dresses. We remain a distinct curiosity to the locals, drawing shy stares, especially from the children who with permission from their parents like to practice their English with us. I am grateful to be fluid in childspeak, I always have someone to communicate with.
My asana and meditation practice like it here by the Ganga. Perhaps they will like the hills and ancient temples as well.
I am sitting at an Internet Cafe in Khajaraho, 30 min for 20 rupees. Two friends, one from Italy, the other from the UK are next door ordering lunch.
Down the street is the temple complex, with tiers of sandstone ornately carved in Indian mythology and story. The temple of the 64 Yoginis, a big part of the story we follow at HI, is just down the street. Touring those temples is lovely, and powerful for me.
Our time here is peaceful and designed for meditation practice. The HI Campus is deep in the countryside, accessible by 10 miles of molar loosening roads. We are embraced by hills, clad in dry jungle. Monkeys, jackals and blue deer the size of elk roam the jungle. We are adjacent to the Panna Tiger Preserve. This morning some of my mates took a tour and heard the big cats.
There is a brand new shrine on campus, built in the past 11 months of local marble and sandstone. It’s circular design embraces two meditation rooms and a cave on the lower level. A meditative state is bestowed on anyone entering the shrine, It’s a temple in the tradition of this place, built according to sacred geography, on sacred geometry principles. Simple, feminine, divine. We practice asana on the roof, overlooking the campus and hills.
Our acommodations are the same as in Allahabad, grass and bamboo ecohuts, common bathrooms with flush toilets, bucket showers. Our little community is quite cohesive by now, we are all sharing everything from chocolate to herbs, laundry soap to bandaids.
I am crazy about the life I am finding here. The pace and the priorities suit me fine. Easy to say from the luxury of the HI experience.
I am sitting at the Raja Cafe in Khajaraho stealing a moment on a friend’s iPad. We just attended a Puja at the Shiva Temple, a special. Full on chanting, marigolds, saffron, smells and bells here in India. Amazeballs!
Yesterday we journeyed on yet another epic bus ride to a remote temple dedicated to Matangi, one of the goddesses who represents truth and beauty and no bullshit. This was my favorite temple by far! On a hilltop, a small puja with a priest chanting the mantra I am currently working with. We had a chance to meditate there, it wasn’t hard!
So the stream of fabulous continues, and I am finding my experience continues to deepen.
I’m off to Varanasi, the oldest city on the planet, in a few days, then back here for more practice.
Things I miss:
All of you, my dear cats, decaf chai, my laptop
Things I don’t miss:
my laptop, the pace and expectations of life in the US (and yes, I live in Mesa!), my car
The point is, the third world pace is rejuvenating. The daily cycle is dictated by natural light, and on the waning moon, we sleep more.
It’s pretty simple and essential living here: we are basically camping, so there is all of the daily concentration of getting teeth brushed, laundry done, huts swept. We have electricity but with frequent outages, we don’t live by it, and pretty much get up and go to bed with the light. Our food is prepared for us , it’s simple and delicious Northern Indian, prepared in a simple kitchen, complete with a wood fired tandori oven. We eat lots of aloo (potatoes), spinach, chickpeas, rice and a variety of simple, delicious sauces. Easy on the digestion, yummy in the tummy.
I’m doing my own laundry by hand, in buckets, squatting by the spigot. Here on the HI Campus in rural India there are 4 wells, 150-200 feet deep. They give sweet water, cleansed by a UV light system. My clothes get as clean as the effort I choose to make. I’m so deep in my mantra practice that I squat and knead, swish and pour, rinse and beat, all to the inner thrum of mantra. The delight is that I have the luxury of time.
Mostly we practice meditation, take long walks in the countryside, sit in the sun, read and write. The small shrine we meditate in is an extraordinary place, simple and supercharged. Walking in feels like being enveloped in velvet. I can sit for 2 hours and it feels like minutes. I love it very, very much!
Photos courtesy of Kara Aubin
Sarah’s in India at the Kumbha Mela and Deb and Demi are holding down the fort at Everyday Wellness. We had a great day at the first of our Sun, Moon and Fire Super Saturday series last Saturday. Thanks to all who joined us for a sweet morning of practice and everyday wellness tips to help build the fire of digestion and transformation.
We missed sharing Super Saturday with Sarah but we are so thrilled that she is experiencing the pilgrimage in India and deepening her practice with like-minded yogis from around the world. She really wanted to blog about her experience, but the internet situation there hasn’t been reliable. She has been sending us a few emails and we would like to share some of her words so you can get a feel for what she is experiencing.
This is one from her first email:
The Ganges is at my back, the chanting and thrum of Khumba Mela pilgrims wafts through the air. It’s early morning, before breakfast, on the campus of the Himalayan Institute here in Allahabad India.
I’m swathed in down and wool against the morning chill and fog off the river. By noon we will be stripped down to shirtsleeves in the warm sun. At night, we sleep under sleeping bags and blankets with our wool hats pulled down. I’ve seen skyscrapers, bodies in the Ganges, sleek Indian business people, lepers and beggars. I am insulated by the HI Campus, a lovely, sattvic, garden-like property. Our accommodations are eco-huts made from local grasses and bamboo. Cots and Indian astro turf. Communal flush toilets, bucket showers. Simple, nourishing Indian food for 180 people. Chai in the am and pm. An open air lecture hall, a riverside grove for meditation. Walk the bank of the Ganga to the Khumba Mela.
Know that I am well and deeply immersed. Digestion spot on. Sleep beautific. Meditation dimension unparalleled. Simple living suits me. I have heard one motorized boat on the Ganges, it was a World Wildlife Fund Avon with a small outboard. No planes overhead, lots of birds instead. The Indian people I have encountered thus far are gentle, deferent and smiley. The children are so lovely: they stare at us as if they have never seen a Westerner before, which they probably haven’t. Usually I can get then to high 5 and share a smile.
We’ll post more of Sarah’s experience in upcoming blogs on our website. Stay tuned!
If you want to find out more about the Kumbha Mela experience, check out the Himalayan Institute’s blog: http://www.km2013.com/blog/
Here’s another blog with some great photos by Kara Aubin, including the one above: http://www.karaaubin.com/blog.html
Sending Sarah our love and smiles. We know she will bring back many great teachings to share with all of us. We will all benefit from her experiences in India!
Who doesn’t think about tropical beaches in January? I know I do. Though I love the shifting seasons with all of it’s colors and pulsations between dark and light, when I start wearing my wool beanie in the house I begin to imagine digging my toes in silver sand and the sound of salt water lapping at my ankles as I stroll toward a magnificent sunset clad in nothing but a swimsuit. So it’s in gratitude that I turn toward the abundance and miracle of living in this era. I bring the beach to me with food! Here’s a recipe for my Tropical Dreams Smoothie.
The spices and the ginger are warming spices perfect for bringing a balanced internal heat to your system. And cinnamon has the added benefit of helping to regulate blood sugar. If you can’t find fresh turmeric, you can use a pinch or two of powdered turmeric. There’s so many benefits to turmeric I can’t list ‘em all here. Look for coconut butter and coconut kefir at your local natural foods grocer.
Tropical Dreams Smoothie
½ cup unsweetened plain coconut kefir
1 TBSP or more coconut butter
2 apples or 1 ripe mango or banana and mango
(you get the idea, use what fruit you have on hand)
⅛-1/4 tsp ground cardamom
⅛-1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
⅛-1/4 tsp coriander
1 inch piece of fresh turmeric
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
1 tsp maca powder (optional)
1 cup warm or room temperature filtered water
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender ‘til smooth. If you don’t have a high speed blender, grate the ginger and the turmeric first. Drink and dream!
So I got an owey skiing. It was the sudden, involuntary splits that did it. You see, I was following my 21 and 24 year old sons through a place called Mad Dog Glade at Powderhorn (I know, what is a 58 year old woman to do?) and I was just trying to keep up…Traversing at a safe speed through the trees my uphill ski slid under a concealed log causing me to come to a dramatic halt on the left side, while the right ski just kept going….and there I was, like some kind of demented cheerleader in ski clothes, in the full splits with my skis on, and my sons long gone. It took me awhile but I got down the mountain, feeling like my right inner thigh (adductor) and butt cheek were seriously on fire. Now I just feel like I have been kicked in the butt by a large horse, and the inner thigh has been slashed by a very sharp sword…I tried doing triangle pose yesterday and it was pathetically comical; truly a miracle that I didn’t fall down again. So I get to rest, and call for a massage, get some acupuncture and consider my great good fortune at not being worse off. I mean it, I consider myself lucky, and this near miss (the hamstring attachment and strained adductor are already healing) is just further evidence of my great good fortune. Happy New Year, may you too, know the great good fortune of your precious life!
According to my calendar December 21 is New Year’s Eve. I’m just that kind of nature girl, that the turn of the planet would define the New Year. No offence to the Gregorian Calendar, I appreciate how it keeps us on the same page, just indulge me as I attune to my experience of the season.
I’ve been sick with a nasty chest cold: it jumped in after a long x-c ski where I took on a deep chill. Being a fiery pitta kinda gal, it takes getting sick to slow me down. This one slowed me down to the tune of 3 days being really quiet at home while my family bustled around. The snot in my chest was as thick as rubber cement, my breathing was tight, I was a basket case. Coming up for air yesterday I reached out to Debora Beck, my dear, skillful herbalist friend at Orr’s Trading Company in Grand Junction. She had one word for me: osha. Of course, duh, that powerful bear root known for its ability to heal respiratory maladies. I wild craft it off the Grand Mesa and make tincture, it was under my stuffed up nose the whole time. Two doses and that rubber cement snot began to liquefy; I could breath and turned the corner, climbing out of the basket…
So this morning, the shortest day of the year, I awoke before dawn to a clear, -3 degree moon and star filled sky. A trip to the woodshed through 8” of fresh snow took my breath away: thanks to the cold and the startling beauty of this soon to be day. Back inside I took the time to honor my body: the yogis call it a temple. My morning routine of tongue scraping, oil pulling and oil massage was followed by a bath with a few drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil to open my lungs, I took extra time to breath deeply. A short asana practice and long meditation followed and sure enough, the sun rose! I’m having miso vegetable soup for breakfast as my body eases back from illness I’m sticking with simple, nourishing foods. Luckily I am working from home today.
Does it seem indulgent to be taking so much time for myself when the world appears to be falling down around us and Christmas is a mere 5 days away with all it’s clamor? I used to answer this question yes. Now I understand it differently. It is from my steadiness that my ability to steady my family and world is sourced. So I lean into self care, cultivating inner and outer balance. Then I can serve, and serve I do. With joy and authenticity I do my best in the falling down world. And then I come home and nourish myself deeply, again. Happy New Year, I wish you steadiness and ease.
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