What is Vata Season?

Doshas

Lately you have seen me bringing our attention to the change of weather and referring to it as Vata season.

A lot of you may be wondering what Vata season is and why it is so important for us to make the subtle changes in our diet and lifestyle in order to make the transition from summer to winter smooth.

According to Ayurveda, the science of life, there are three doshas:

  • Vata
  • Pitta
  • Kapha

Each of these doshas are predominant in each of our seasons. Pitta is the season of Summer where it is hot and we are driven. Kapha is the season of Spring, ruled by water and the earth, where everything seems to feel wet and heavy. Vata rules Fall and Winter where the winds change and everything becomes cool, dry, clear and moving.

In Ayurveda, we aim to keep our inward nature in balance with what is happening on the outside. In some cases we do this naturally like when the temperatures start to drop and we start to crave warmer foods.

But we are also sometimes drawn to the things that create Vata derangement or imbalance such as sugar and alcohol.

All body types are susceptible to Vata derangement during this time of year. Vata derangement symptoms include dry skin, restlessness, forgetfulness, constipation, arthritis, popping joints, anxiety, hight blood presure and depression. We often feel like we are running from here to there, losing the amount of time in the day and feeling the rise of unsteadiness.

To help soothe these symptoms and to decrease the Vata in our systems we should make the necessary diet and lifestyle changes.

Vata Pacifying Diet:

  • Eat plenty of cooked root vegetables and stews to help keep you grounded and your insides lubricated.
  • Eat less raw and uncooked foods. If you are eating a salad use plenty of healthy oils (Olive, sesame, hemp) and warming spices (garlic, tumeric, cayenne) instead of salad dressing.
  • Drink a lot of warming liquids such as tea (no caffeine) or simply sip on some warm water with lemon.
  • Enjoy foods that are sweet, sour and salty in taste and less of those which are bitter, astringent and pungent.

Although the Vata diet is an extremely important part, there are also several lifestyle changes you can incorporate to bring Vata back into balance.

Vata Lifestyle Recommendations:

  • Stay warm. Wear plenty of layers to keep your body temperature comfortable throughout the day. Also avoid drafts since we tend to be very sensitive to them at this time of year.
  • Invest in a humidifier to keep the air moist for your nasal passages. You may also purchase Nasya oil to apply daily.
  • Practice Abyanga self massage. This can be done using a cup of warm sesame oil (found in the health food stores beauty department) and massaging from your head down. It usually takes about 20 minutes. Then shower and climb into bed. If you cannot commit to a 20 minute massage alternatively you can massage your feet with warm sesame oil and cover them with socks then go to sleep. This is an extremely grounding ritual.
  • Practice grounding yoga practices such as malasana, childs pose and downward facing dog.
  • Meditate daily. Even if it is only taking a moment out of your day to focus on your breathing.
  • Get plenty of sleep. During Vata season we tend to push ourselves to the limit. Go to bed between 10 and 11–sleep at least 8 hours a night.
  • Create a schedule and routine for yourself–then stick to it! Everyday.

If you are interested in discovering your individual dosha John Douillard was my Ayurveda teacher at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and on his website you can take a Body Type Quiz plus many other great resources.

With Much Warming Love,

Your Maven

And We’re Back! (+ a yummy recipe)

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Hello again!

It feels like it has been forever, when in reality it has only been a short couple of weeks. It’s amazing how much you can learn and accomplish in such a short amount of time.

Throughout this break I have graduated college (finally!), did my very first juice cleanse (1 full day, with visions of 3 for the future), and found the studio where I will complete my 200 hour yoga training in the fall. And these are just the bigger events that are standing out! I have also been trying new products, reading new books, listening to new lectures (and some old), trying new recipes, and new styles of yoga and meditation.

All the while, ideas for articles kept popping up in my head. But don’t you worry, I wrote them all down.

As you can tell I have a lot to share! But this time I am pacing myself.

From now on you will see one post per week and one recipe from me. Although I love the Daily Inspiration, it gets tough to give it my whole heart and soul on a daily basis. But I think the one post per week will be a great match! 

Each post will allow me to post some inspiration, share tips on how to live well, and give you a great recipe to try!

Not a bad deal right?

*If you still need a little wellness inspiration on a daily basis, check me out on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram*

I hope you’re looking forward to this comeback as much as I am.

Now, as promised..The Recipe!

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Vanilla Chia Pudding

What you need:

-1 cup non-dairy milk (almond, hemp, cashew, coconut)

-2-3 Tablespoons chia seeds (you’ll get a sense for how much you need as it thickens)

-1 Teaspoon all natural maple syrup

-1/2 Teaspoon all natural vanilla extract

-Sprinkle of cinnamon

-Additional toppings (berries, bananas, walnuts, almond slivers, etc.)

What you do:

Pour the cup of non-dairy milk into a bowl. Mix in the chia seeds and additional ingredients. Stir until all is well incorporated in the milk. Place it in the fridge to thicken. What happens during this time is that the chia seeds absorb the liquid and start to turn into a gelatin consistency.  The longer it sits the more dense it will be. After about 15 minutes stir it again. Sometimes you can eat it at this point, but I would leave it for another 15-20. Keep stirring it at intervals though because sometimes the chia seeds get stuck at the bottom, and although that’s OK it’s not ideal.

Once it is at the thickness you like, top it with some blueberries, strawberries, or walnuts. Or you can eat it plain.

I usually make mine the night before so that it is super thick by the time I eat it for breakfast.

This snack is perfect for when you need to be satisfied and energized. Chia seeds are great for creating lasting energy as well as holding onto water (in a good way that keeps you hydrated. Chia seeds are also known for giving people leaner physiques. Did you know summer is right around the corner? This would be the perfect snack to sneak in the cooler during a beach or pool day. Cool, refreshing, and satisfying!

Daily Inspiration-Affirmations

Aim True Affirmation

What a powerful affirmation.

This one was made by my favorite yoga teacher, Kathryn Budig. She is the wonderful mind behind a Vinyasa flow called Aim True. Besides the amazing archery based sun salutations, the idea is that everyday you make an intention or affirmation to help you reach your goals. These intentions and affirmations help you keep your eye on the target and can help you stay true to what your heart and soul actually wants out of life.

I feel as though this affirmation can be used daily. To see things with loving eyes helps you to become less hurt when people cast judgment upon you or are rude to you. When you see things with loving eyes you are seeing the story behind the actions. This may be difficult at first but it is all a part of acting mindfully.

Acting to not react.

For example, when someone casts judgement upon you or says something purposely to hurt you. Simply remind yourself that this person is projecting onto you. It is them that feels this way about themselves. It is no secret that misery loves company. Don’t join them, don’t react. Somewhere in this persons life they are feeling a lack of love and usually that lack of love is coming from themselves.

Look inside,

breathe,

remind yourself why it isn’t true,

and send them the light and love that they are missing. 

Coconut Oil Changed My Life

coconut oil

I love Coconut Oil.

You are probably thinking I love coconut oil for one reason, to cook. But that is not true.

I recently discovered the other amazing ways that you can use coconut oil and it has changed my life, beauty routine, hair and skin.

Here are the many ways that I use coconut oil on a daily basis:

Shaving Cream:

Yup, that’s right. I use coconut oil to shave my legs. I have never been a fan of shaving cream, it has always made my skin so dry. So I usually would just use conditioner. But then I was using so much conditioner. And sometimes that wasn’t as effective either. Since our skin is our largest organ I knew it would benefit from having coconut oil slathered all over it, so when I read that this was possible I immediately gave it a try. The results were amazing. The blade went over my skin smoother and I no longer needed to use lotion post-shower because my legs were already moisturized. So, not only did it make shaving easier but it also saved me time! Simply take a teaspoon of slightly soft coconut oil, rub on the desired area, and shave.

Face Wash and Make Up Remover:

Many of you may be thinking “But won’t that clog my pores and cause me to breakout?” I kind of thought it would too but it actually made my skin even clearer! Coconut oil is a natural anti-inflammatory, so it actually helps those flare ups of acne.It also works better than any make up remover I have ever tried. All you do is take a little bit onto your fingertips, tissue paper, or onto a cotton round (what I use) and wipe the oil all over your face. Take as much as you need, but don’t over do it. You just want enough to very thinly cover your face. Then wet a wash cloth with warm water and wipe the oil off. Your skin should feel moisturized and clean.

Deep Conditioning Hair Mask:

I only get a hair cut twice a year. They’re expensive and I have been loving my long hair. But I also have thick and curly hair that tends to get dry and frizzy. I have tried putting coconut oil in my hair before but it always came out greasy. I obviously didn’t know the correct way to use it. I now use it once a week as a deep conditioning mask. To do this just scoop about a tablespoon of solid oil into your fingers. Put the oil between your palms and rub in between your hands to warm and liquify it. With your hair dry and parted into 3 inch sections start to rub the oil into the hair, focusing more on the ends. Continue around your head, adding more oil as needed, until all of the sections are saturated with oil. I usually do this in the bathtub so that the oil and my hair stays warm. But if you are not in a bath, just wrap your hair in a towel to keep the heat in. Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes then wash it out in the shower with shampoo. I wash my hair twice to make sure I have gotten it all out. Style as usual. By the end your hair will be silky, smooth, and smell delicious.

One product with so many functions and believe it or not I have heard of more! Coconut oil can also be used as toothpaste, deodorant, and for oil pulling. By using one product for many beauty use you are also saving yourself money. I buy one jar for my kitchen and one for the bathroom.

And of course always choose organic and unrefined coconut oil.

Health. Happiness.Love.

Daily Inspiration

headstand

“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” 
― Rumi

I really liked this quote today.

As a sensitive person I often fall victim to criticism or comparing myself to others. These past couple of months I have been able to get in touch with that on a deeper level and instead of being wounded or hurt by it, I learn from it and rise above it.

In every situation, especially the difficult ones, there is a lesson to be learned. Sometimes it can be really hard to see that lesson. That’s why I usually just straight up ask. I say “God, Universe, Spirit, What are you trying to tell me?” And usually the message comes out clearer. I know this sounds crazy, but I swear it really works.

This week those lessons have been coming out through my lectures at school. Tuesday I was feeling frazzled and stressed, while considering my mental health day Wednesday we discussed Existential Psychology in class and how important it is to have a balance between structure and freedom. My life with school and work revolves around structure, what my mind and soul needed was a little bit of freedom, so I took it.

Yesterday I was in an interesting mood AGAIN. And in my lecture, ran by the same amazing teacher, we discussed how neuroticism is manifested in our early developmental period. Usually I think to myself “Great, I am crazy” but he began to talk about the resilient people who come out of not so stellar situations. From just a few examples that he gave, I put myself in that category. It was a great reminder to appreciate myself, where I have come from, and to give myself some credit for all that I am doing. 

So although criticism and comparisons will come and go it’s important to remember that once they do come to look inside yourself and think about how you can grow from the experience. How can you handle this criticism better? But also better yet, how are you already great? 

The Importance of Personal Days

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After a frazzled and stressful Tuesday I decided to take a personal day on Wednesday. This sounded strange to some and I found myself internally defending why personal days are so important for our psyche.

In Existential psychology one personal need that they look at to be fulfilled is your ability to experience freedom. Do you have a balance between your organized schedule and your freedom? Most of us don’t. It reminds me of the extremes that I spoke about in my last article for Elephant Journal. We don’t know how to live in balanced harmony.

I know that it can be hard to call into work and tell them you need a personal day. You may feel like they will laugh in your face. So think about your situation. If you have something major going on in your life you would be showing yourself tremendous self love to say “you know what, I need a day to gather myself.” If you feel like a personal day can wait then cancel your plans on a Saturday or Sunday and let the day lead you. Do the things that you love. Read, sleep, visit family, exercise, spend time outside, have a delicious lunch. Make the day about you and your happiness. Personal days are meant to help re-charge our batteries.

I understand that this can be hard when you have children. But consider your options before you call it a loss. You could call in a babysitter for the day or make your kids a part of the personal day. Take them to the park with you, watch a movie together, play in the yard, or go out for a fun lunch. No schedule (besides family nap time :), all spontaneous.

A tight, rigorous schedule can cause order amid chaos but it can also become such a habit that whatever you do is scheduled and planned. When we do this we are projecting our need for control which causes the body stress. Our psyche needs some spontaneity, it excites your nervous system, in a good way. Even if its the little things. Saying no just once to the simplest act can be spontaneous enough. By doing this you are showing yourself support.

After my personal day yesterday I feel charged and more alive. And now I am ready to tackle the rest of the week and the rest of my semester.

What would you do on a personal day? How can you create personal moments throughout your day?

Tuesday Inspiration

Aim True Challenge

Unless someone can look into the core of your heart

And see the degree of your passion

Or look into the depths of your soul

And see the extent of your will

Then they have no business telling you what you can or cannot achieve

Because while they may know the odds

They don’t know you

Nor do they know the power of your angels

Aim True Yoga Challenge

Aim True to your dreams and what lies in your heart. Always.

Please ‘Like’ my photo (the one above:) on Pinterest for Kathryn Budig’s Aim True Yoga Challenge!

Love. Happiness. And Health. Always.