I am so excited to share with you not only the beauty of yoga and Ayurveda/wellness in upcoming blogs, but to share with you how to use these principals to create a healthier physical, mental and emotional foundation in which to live your best life in. Now who could use that to sustain our passion and excitement in the nonprofit world?
When I was 25 years old, I co-founded a fabulous non-profit in the field of arts and individuals with developmental and physical challenges (with none other than the even more fabulous Grace-Anne Alfiero). Filled with youth, optimism and energy, I ran full speed ahead for over a decade, keeping a pace that was much like a marathon runner…GO! GO! GO!. Well I WENT! WENT! WENT! and then I crashed, crashed, crashed, HARD! I ended up having Adrenal Fatigue and on the verge of Adrenal Failure at 35 years old.
It has been my personal quest ever since to find a way to bring harmony back into my own life and into the lives of others. First, finding the power of yoga and meditation led me to studying with some of the most brilliant minds in what is called the “Sister Science” of yoga, Ayurveda. Together, the principles have helped millions of people to bring more peace, health, and even happiness to many who live an extremely face-paced, high-stress life. Sound familiar?
So let me explain a bit more about Ayurveda, and how, in the last dog days of summer,, we can use such principles to keep balanced. I do realize that there are many BRI members who live in Florida, so that my friends, as you know, will have even more dog days of summer in which to keep well balanced.
“Ayur” means life, vital power and “veda” means knowledge. So simply stated, Ayurveda is the knowledge of one’s life. It is an ancient healing system based on holistic medicine that seeks to identify individual imbalances. With the use of the body’s own natural healing system, we can begin to understand and treat these imbalances by harmonizing sleep, digestion, elimination, herbs and lifestyle. In Ayurvedic medicine, optimal health begins with prevention. When we can begin to look at the root of disease as opposed to the symptom, we can become more empowered and active in our own healing process. WE can help prevent or slow down disease.
Ayurveda also places great emphasis on the 5 elements, Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether (Space). During the summer/fiery season, which also known as Pitta season, we enjoy the long, hot days of summer. With all this outside time basking or frolicking in the sun, the fire element can become in excess, (especially if you are already fiery in nature). Indications that we are becoming “overheated” can be in our emotions (anger or irritability), our body (sweaty, ruddy or sensitive skin), and our behaviors (perfectionistic or critical/judgemental tendencies).
So, how do we stay balanced if we have a great deal of fire in ourselves or in our seasons?
Here are 4 easy helpful hints to stay cool ayurvedically in the summer:
- Avoid foods that heat you up. Curries, chilies, hot peppers, and sour foods like yogurt, cheese, and sour cream can heat up an already warm body. Favor foods that cool you down — like avocados, cherries, plums, peaches, mangoes, coconut oils, mint, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes.
- Work out at a time of day that won’t provoke more heat. Early morning is best, or early evening. Incorporate more yoga, tai chi, or swimming into your regimen to balance body, mind, and spirit.
- Make time to play.
When there is too much fire in our minds, we can become intense and overly focused and driven. So make time for fun!!! Laugh and play.
- Essential oils also pacify pitta. Jasmine, Rose, and Ylang Ylang (all floral oils) are cooling. Citrus Oils, especially neroli (orange blossom), sharpens concentration. Some anti-inflammatory and healing oils for the skin are: lavender, frankincense, rose geranium, and helichrysum. Use some in a diffuser at work or at home, or use a blend (with a base oil of sunflower or coconut).