Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spring has Sprung

and it's time to start shifting the diet from the happy, warm, moist, rich, grounding winter foods to the light foods of spring.  It's time to start eating leafy greens and those other early fresh spring treats!  Asparagus should be popping up soon and is a great food for cleansing the body of the winter excess!

Yay for spring.  So, as the days warm up, think about the shift in your diet toward a more spring-like diet and getting away from those dense heavy winter foods.  Again, when in doubt about what's the right thing to be eating: think about what would be growing and what you would be eating if the grocery store didn't exist and that should lead you in the right direction.  Pretty soon, the farmer's markets will be really gearing up and we can plant our spring peas!

And, sorry folks, but it's time to start moving and get all that accumulated clutter from the winter out of the system; spring cleaning isn't just about the house (though that's an option too).  Time to think abut going for regular walks or runs.  The sun is just waiting for you to greet it in the morning with a slow and steady yoga Sun Salutation.  Whatever you want to do, get that body moving.

And for those of you prone to spring allergies and congestion, it's time to really start regularly using that neti pot and keep the sinuses clean.  Remember that the nose is the portal to the brain and we don't want that to get dusty, so keep that piping clean.  For those of you who might have extra problems with congestion you might want to think about an Ayurvedic treatment to jumpstart the sinuses before the spring pollen really gets going!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Consultations

I have had several questions and concerns regarding consultations recently.  I'm beginning to think people are worried I am trying to get them to join some sort of cult or perform some devilry on them.  So, to ease everyone's mind, I am going to go over some of the things that we'll go over in the initial consultation.

For those of you who already have an intake form, you've seen that it's quite lengthy.  The intake asks a lot of questions similar to what you'll hear from me in the consultation.  It goes over some health history, your daily routines, your eating habits, and your digestion.

At the end of the intake is a 'doshic' quiz which some of you may have already filled out before on-line or in a class with me (or someone else).  As you fill this part out, try to think of your general history over the course of your life.  It sometimes helps to think of how you were as a child.  And sometimes it helps to go over it with someone who knows you well, sometimes we see ourselves as we'd like to be and not as we are and a little extra input helps.  Mostly, try to look at who you are over your life, who you  naturally are.

Take your time with the intake.  Make it an excuse to sit down, have a cup of tea, and think about you.

As for the consult, that too will be lengthy for the initial visit (especially so as I am quite new to this--thank you everyone who is willing to help me out).  It should take less than two hours.  I'll be sure to provide us with some tea.

The first thing I'll do is give an introduction to Ayurveda to make sure you understand the basics and that we are using the same terminology.  And a little history is always fun.  Some may have no clue what Ayurveda is and that's okay.  We'll bring you up to speed with as much as you need to know.  So don't worry.

I am going to focus a lot on diet and lifestyle, because let's face it, if we don't work out the issues with our diet and lifestyle, nothing else works.  Even allopathically, we can't expect a drug to work on a problem if we don't fix the thing we are doing that's causing the problem in the first place.  So, our first focus is going to be diet and lifestyle.  If needed, I might suggest an herbal supplement for temporary use to help bring things back into balance.

We will certainly address your main concerns and see what we can come up with the help bring you back into balance.  If you don't have any problems, that's Great for you, and perfectly fine for the consult; we can always tweak things and see if there are any weak spots that can be addressed now before they manifest into problems.

And then we'll talk.  I'll guide you through some questions, many of which you will be familiar from the intake, but I might want more details or clarification.  We'll talk about your daily routine and quite a bit about your diet.  Diet is so often overlooked (or often made out to be quite confusing what with this diet and that diet, this food-of-the-moment and that vitamin-of-the-moment) and yet simple changes can have profound impacts on your well being.  We will discuss your digestion and elimination.  Yes, I won't deny it, I am going to ask you about your poop and pee.  Please, no pictures or samples.  Please.  I may ask some other questions that pertain to you individually.

I will also want to look at your tongue and take your pulse and perhaps look at your eyes.  I wish I could say that when I read your pulse I can tell you your cholesterol numbers and the state of the health of your heart, but honestly, I am really learning and this is more for me than for you!  Thanks!!!!  But if I do read anything awesome and profound, I'll be sure to share.

At the end, we'll work out a treatment plan together that works for you.  As I said, it will focus mostly on diet and lifestyle and will incorporate things that you are willing to and want to do.  I might strongly suggest something in particular, but if you're not gonna do it, then it's not going to help, so we'll work out a plan together.  We're in this together, but you're the one who has to do the work, so make sure we come up with something you think you can do.  And remember, that simple changes can have profound effects.

I will probably send you home and tweak things over the next few days and get in touch with you again with a new and improved plan--I think this is probably the hazard of being new, but might end up being a standard procedure for me in the future too.

I'll want to follow up in a month to see how things are improving for you.  That consult won't take a lot of time at all (at least, we hope not).  And there we can tweak the plan if needed or continue on course.

And if you have any questions after the consult, feel free to e-mail me!

And that's it.  Again, I want to thank everyone who is willing to be my client guinea pigs, and special thanks go to the very brave souls who are letting me use them as case studies for class.

At some point, I am hoping to have a limited supply of some Ayurvedic herbs and oils and goodies, but in the meantime, if there is anything you need, I can point you in the right direction or add your goodies to any order I make.

If you made it this far in this long post, I hope this clears some things up and makes it seem less scary.  At this point, I'm probably more nervous than you are :)

Namaste.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Kapha

Here is the long overdue kapha, but perfectly timed as we head into the kapha season of spring.

Kapha is the dosha of water and earth.  It is the most substantial dosha having earth as one of its predominating elements.  The qualities of kapha are slow, heavy, cool, dense, unctuous, sticky, cloudy, liquid, and sweet.

Kapha is responsible for all of the structure in the body, the muscle and mass. And kapha people have strong muscles and bones.  The kapha element of water is responsible for lubrication in the body.  Because of its sticky quality, kapha holds the body together but this sticky quality can also cause sticky issues such as high cholesterol and the build-up of mass.

Kapha people usually have larger body frames and thick bones.  It is the strongest of the constitutions and they have a lot of strength, stamina, and endurance.  This allows them to ignore physical issues, or not even feel them, so sometimes kapha people can begin to address issues when they have taken a strong hold in the body.  This can make kapha issues more challenging to treat.

Kapha people have thick, wavy hair.  They have slower digestion and metabolism, but tend to love food.  Kapha people are the lovers, they love home and love their environment.  They are the sensuous people.  When you walk into a happy, beautiful, warm, comfortable home, it is often the influence of a kapha person.  And kaphas love to sit in their happy comfortable home.  They like to eat in their comfortable home.  They love to do...nothing in their comfortable homes.   Not surprisingly, kaphas are prone to weight gain.

Kaphas have a deep faith and love generously.  They are slow to anger, but hold grudges...forever.  They do not forget.  They save money well and spend a little, usually on things that make their environment more comfortable.  But when out of balance, this love of home and stuff can turn into attachment and greed.

As I said, the season of kapha is spring.  With spring's like qualities of dampness and coolness, spring can aggravate kapha, causing congestion, mucus, and spring colds.  It is a good time to start eating those astringent leafy greens and get out that netti pot!!!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

For the Pittas


Friday, March 1, 2013

Pitta

Pitta constitutes the Fire and Water element.  You're thinking "fire and water, how is that working?"  Think oil.  It's both hot and liquid.  Or think lava.  You've got pitta.

Pitta is the dosha of digestion.  It is not only the digestion of the food that we take in, but also the digestion of the skin taking in touch, sensation, and even physically ingesting what we put on our skin. The skin absorbs quite efficiently and that is why the idea that you should never put on your skin what you wouldn't eat.  Pitta also includes the digestion of thoughts and emotions.  And the digestion of the sense organs, particularly what we see with the eyes.

There are digestive fires in the body, enzymes and acids, this is pitta.

Pitta people are usually hot.  They are of medium build.  These are the action people.  The leaders.  They are people who get things done.  They are hyper-organized (often attached to organizers and colored highlighters).  But as the vatas are those with the ideas, the pitta people are the ones who actually get the idea done after the vatas have moved on to the next cool idea.

Pitta people often burn themselves up.  They go, go, go and then crash and burn.  They tend to have the burning issues: ulcers, hyperacidity, skin conditions, the '-itis'es.  Anything that is heat and inflammation is pitta.

Pitta people in balance get stuff done.  Pitta people out of balance are super competitive.  They can become angry, judgmental, critical, and frustrated.

Pitta people need time out.  Time out in nature.  Time out in quiet.  They balance in cool watery places.