Seed Sound of Your Sprit

This weekend in Banner Elk, with snow on the deck and a fire crackling in the fireplace, we chanted bija mantras- the seed sounds of each of the Chakras. It occurs to me that in searching for balance, we are actually seeking to tune the seed sound of our beings.

You have an Essential nature, a True self, a Unique vibrational signature that you bring to the world. Without effort, simply by existing in your own Nature, you contribute something to the world that no other being can duplicate. This phenomenon is what indigenous peoples call your Original Medicine. Many external factors can bring us out of alignment from our True self/Original Medicine. Finding our balance by bringing that which we need more of into our lives, we restore the potency of our Essence and in doing so, we restore that which we contribute to the world simply by Being.

Using the Universe as your pharmacy, find the medicine and magic that keep you thriving!

Maybe you need more softness in your life, more playfulness? (More Kapha)

…Try sitting down with a cat or a dog and petting them for 20 minutes a day.

…try the mantra “with ease”

…play with a child, not a one-dimensional pre established board game with rules and logic, but a game the child invents or you and the child invent together. Stay present for 20 minutes- no phone or past/future interruptions.

Maybe you need more grounding? (Kapha)

…Walk barefoot on the earth.

…Get your feet in the mud or soil.

…Breathe fully into your belly and retain the breath for 3-5 seconds before exhaling slowly with constricted throat. Notice the prana that enters your Root Chakra with the breath, and stays there with the retention.

…place a sandbag or lightly weighted object on your belly as you lay down on your back. Or rest in child’s pose with a sandbag or weighted item on your lower back.

Maybe you need to cool down, slow down?(more Kapha)

…meditate

…Spend a couple of hours in the woods. Look up! Look down! Let yourself feel the enormity of what you see.

…curl your tongue in a roll or just stick your tongue out and pull in breaths through your mouth. Feel the cool air coming in over your tongue. Long, slow inhalations. Even longer, slower exhalations.

Maybe you need more energy and fire (Pitta) in your life?

…meditate

…Try kapalabhati pranayama breaths https://m.yogaoutlet.com/guides/how-to-practice-kapalabhati-pranayama-in-yoga/

…use the rattle to awaken your inner warrior and the bells to awaken your inner visionary: find what fuels you

…Eat more inflammatory foods such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, peppers

Maybe you need more inspiration (Vata) in your life?

…meditate

…daydream

…eat raw foods and drink raw juice

…use the sticks to break your attachment to things being a certain way

…pick more dandelions and blow their seeds- make a wish!

Sculpt the life that brings you balance, health and true happiness. Everyday is a reset button, everyday a fresh new start.

Snowy, snowy day.

Snowy, snowy day.

2018 feels as clear and crisp as the white blanket of snow covering the landscape outside my window this morning. The focus and determination I feel has a quality of softness- different than the intense, sharp focus I felt last summer.

Such is Ayurveda!!!

The energy of frenetic, excited, anxiety-wrought Vata is subsiding and making way for Kapha- a subtle, playful, peaceful lackadaisical energy which governs this part of winter, and will reach gently into the beginning of Spring.
These days you may find that you’re dozing more easily, slipping into naps when available and that rising from the warm snuggles of bed in the morning creates rancor. This simply means you’re in tune with Nature! Welcome to Kapha season. Embrace the inertia when you can, and enjoy the cool stillness…preferably wrapped in warm blankets and sipping some Ginger or Licorice tea.
Staying balanced during this time calls for some warming activities, so as not to let your pendulum swing into full-on lethargy territory. Establish a simple daily practice that utilizes breath and balance to build strength in your legs, core and arms and promotes flexibility in your hips and shoulders. Can you spare 5-10 minutes before your daily routine to add these warming practices to the cold Kapha energy which is currently pervading everything? If you can add just a little Pitta heat to your routine, you’ll save yourself from slothy winter blahs that may otherwise settle-in come February.

From my cozy bed, propped with pillows and surrounded by blankets, hot tea on my night stand and electric fire place at my feet- I am creating my 5-10min plan to bring some hot Pitta energy to my Kapha desires of chillin 24/7.

Winter Plan:
Ask Alexa to play Beats Antique.
50-100 squats
Mountain pose: engage quads. Engage muladhara bandha and uddiana bandha.
Prayer Hands to heart Center. Set intention to be a source of Love and Light in the world. Send intention into my hands and reach to the ceiling/sky, releasing intention to the Universe. Root into a balance pose: Tree, Dancer, Warrior 3. Alternate sides.
Fold forward, letting head hang down in dangle pose. Hold the stretchy edge for 2 minutes. Lower all the way to the floor or mat passing through Malasana Goddess pose. Extend legs and arms into Navasana and hold for 1-2 minutes. Release into brief savasana. Boom

Later this year I will travel to Asheville 4 times, Pilot Mountain 3 times, and once each to Banner Elk, Kentucky, Arizona, California, New York, Maine and Kure Beach! At least for now, I’m grateful for this cold, sweet season to rest, restore and nurture my stillness, warming myself up just enough to stay excited by the magic of everyday life.

 

Building a Frame for Bliss

One could watch a spider build a web and dismiss her frenetic movements as chaotic. Or one could squat down and watch her for an hour to see that every movement is meticulous and provides the framework for the next layer of webbing.

Such is my life as a dreamer; as a builder; as a mother; as a growing being of light and love on this planet.

I recently had a phone call with my amazing mother. I was excited to tell her that I’m returning full time to college to complete my undergrad degree and pursue my Doctorate in Chinese Medicine.  She’s generally supportive of me and her response of a long sigh rattled me a bit…

“Sally,” she said in an exhausted tone,” aren’t you enrolled in Asheville to complete your 500 hour yoga training?”

“Of course I am,” was my reply. “I can do both.”

“What about that Ayurvedic thing you do on Sunday nights? Did you finish that?”she queried.

“It’s Spirtual Counseling Training, and yes I’m still doing that course, but I’m 17 weeks into the 20 week course so it’s nearly done. And I can still take traditional classes while I do that.” I was steadfast, but deflating a little.

My mom went on “Honey, it’s too much. You’ve completed all these trainings- Massage therapy and Ayurveda and Yoga and now this. Why not just focus on what you already know instead of spending more time and money??”

I assured her that she’d soon see how it will all come together and not seem like different paths, but rather, many pieces to the same puzzle of Blissful Health. It’s the path of the Healer. 

Of course there’s a voice in my head that doubts the path and asks exactly the questions my mom was giving voice to.  But in my HEART lives a voice that reassures me: All of the trainings, all of the education, all of the workshops, all of the experiementing and experiencing I do- it’s all building the framework for Bliss.

Much like the frame drums that my boyfriend and I built, I’m pulling together seemingly unconnected strings of leather; Im cutting holes in the fabric of my life in order to sew, tighten and tune this instrument which gives resonance to my life’s purpose. 

Like the spider, assuredly tasking her life’s work, I weave together all my trainings and readings and experiences to strengthen my ongoing masterpiece of the Healer’s medicine kit. And there is Bliss in every step of the framework. 

Iodine for breast health

Christiane Northrup has long been a favorite author on my bookshelf. Check out her latest wisdom nuggets for women’s health on her website http://www.drnorthrup.com/.

I was alarmed last year when I mentioned to my doctor during a routine physical that I take iodine as a daily supplement to maintain breast health, and her reaction was “iodine has nothing to do with hormonal health”. I stated that my midwife had recommended iodine when I was having painful cysts and that the pain went away within weeks of starting iodine. She was perplexed and in disbelief. Doctors are smart. But I’m certain that people know more about their bodies than doctors do, and it’s important to approach your health from many different angles. Trace mineral and vitamin supplements, herbs, essential oils, nutrients, exercise, proper sleep and daily meditation provide a map to blissful health. 

Here’s Dr Northrup’s take on Iodine for breast health:

http://www.drnorthrup.com/unlikely-source-relieves-breast-pain/

Summertime Mindfulness Challenge

My daughter Violet and I just discovered a beautiful summer mindfulness practice! If you find yourself with a relaxing, laid back Saturday or Sunday- try this mindfulness challenge:

Spread a towel on a lawn in the sun in the late afternoon (after 4pm you won’t get sunburned, but it’s still hot enough to get really uncomfortable- the constant in this experiment.) Dress in shorts and a tank top or your bathing suit and lay on your back on the towel for 10-15 minutes. Leave your hands palms facing-up, spread slightly from the midline. I put a towel over my face to fight the glare.) Feel the heat without struggling against it. Feel the sweat beads rolling down your skin without drying them or scratching the ticklish sensation. Feel the sugar ants biting your skin without knee jerk reaction to smack them or at the very least brush them off. Can you do it? Can you stay with your breath and the sensations of what you feel WITHOUT needing the experience to be different? I invite you to try this mantra: “This is what this feels like,” when ants bite, heat builds and sweat rolls. Is the grass touching you anywhere and itching? Let it be what it is. 

If you can accept the heat, accept the itchy, tickley drops of sweat rolling on your skin, accept the biting sugar ants: it will give you a solid base for the next time you’re truly uncomfortable and want to run from what you feel. In this way we can use our everyday mindfulness to prepare us as warriors for any tumult, confrontation, accusation, sadness or frustration that comes our way. We are constantly evolving, and every moment is a moment that shapes us. 

Pema Chödrön says:

“Most of us do not take these situations as teachings. We automatically hate them. We run like crazy. We use all kinds of ways to escape — all addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can’t stand it. We feel we have to soften it, pad it with something, and we become addicted to whatever it is that seems to ease the pain.” 

Find true happiness by awakening to the essence of life.

In recent years, pop culture has tuned in to Ayurveda as a way to create dietary guidelines for ourselves based on our unique bodytype, or “Dosha.” This is wonderful press for Ayurveda, which can absolutely provide specific guidelines for healthy eating– but this ancient Vedic science goes far beyond which foods to select or avoid. Ayurveda is consciousness-based medicine. It is about coming back to your True Nature and back to Nature itself. 

Viewing the body as a sacred temple, we understand that keeping the body properly nourished is of utmost importance to physical health- Ayurveda gives us tools not only to nourish our physical bodies, but to unlock deeper meaning in our lives through coming to know ourselves and the world around us. Understanding that meditation is clinically proven to be the best tool for coping with stress, we become aware that cultivating a daily meditation practice is essential to keeping the body free of disease and the mind full of ease. By acknowledging the value of keeping stress levels low and optimizing health for the body, we can simplify the goal of Ayurveda into two vital concepts: Improving Digestion and Meditating. 
What is “consciousness-based medicine”? Consciousness means, simply: The State of Being Awake. Medicine means: The science and practice of the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. Given those definitions I say consciousness based medicine is diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease through the state of awareness. Cultivating this “awareness” or “state of being awake” through developing a meditation practice is absolutely essential in Ayurveda. Far more important than what to eat and what not to eat, Ayurveda teaches us how to heighten our consciousness to improve our physical and mental health and improve the health of the planet as well.
What does “Coming back to your True Nature” mean?

It means going deep within and discovering or re-discovering that essential being that is YOU. The person you used to be before becoming a parent, before paying bills, before sickness and death in the family, before you built up necessary walls around your heart to live and fully participate responsibly in this AMAZING, challenging, beautiful, difficult, Wondrous Life that you lead. Through a series of meditations, journaling, sound healing experiences and a walk in the labirynth, you’ll have an opportunity to fully explore that space of your True Nature and learn ways to nourish yourself while honoring and embracing the multi-faceted responsibilities you have accrued.

Join me the first weekend in Spring and we Will Create Bliss with Ayurveda.