Hello treasured readers!
Over the last few weeks, my blog series has focused on simple ways to incorporate Ayurveda into your life. Here’s a brief overview of what we covered along with the links, in case you missed them:
(Finding out what your “energetic personality” is or “dosha”—this was the introductory blog in my last newsletter email.)
(The Ayurvedic clock and how living in sync with nature’s rhythms enhances your health)
(What to eat for your dosha, season and age)
(Daily activities to enhance health and calm stress)
This newsletter blog will give you some suggestions on how to use your intuition to invite magic into your life—in honor of the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day celebration—you know, the wee folk and all!
I’ve always said if I weren’t Polish, I’d want to be Irish! My regular readers know this is one of my favorite topics as I’ve touched upon magic many times, in particular during the March timeframe in honor of St. Patrick’s Day! (Peruse my archived newsletters. Some photos and links may no longer be active as time has passed and is also short! Thanks for your patience! One of favorite ones on this topic is from 2011.)
Let me open with some positive affirmation quotes:
There’s a concept in Eastern philosophy (one of the modules in my current Ayurveda training) referred to as Dharma. This refers to “what you are compelled to do” and invites you to step into your courage and do it.
Dharma suggests we ask ourselves “Am I simply following the wishes of my ego or actually what I’ve been called to do?” We’ve all wondered what we want to be when we grow up, right? That is if you’ve decided to grow up! Frankly I think growing up is way over-rated! I like the quote: “Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional”, as well as “We don’t stop having fun because we’re growing old, we grow old because we stop having fun.”
The idea of having fun as we grow in life is part of your Dharma, isn’t it? If you aren’t compelled to do something, you aren’t passionate about it. So you’re probably not really enjoying yourself! Maybe you chose what you considered a “stable” path. I think many of us did, including myself—early on. That may have been ego talking—“I need stability. This is a respectable career.” Yes I know, I know. I can hear you already! As George Bailey famously says on “It’s a Wonderful Life” when his guardian angel Clarence chastises him about his desperate need for money: “It comes in pretty handy down here, bub!” I get it.
But what about your passion? There’s nothing wrong with pursuing that too; and if you’re lucky enough, the two will meet and you’ll have a career that you’re passionate about. I may be over quoting here but “Do what you love and the money will follow.” Or at least what you need will follow.
Do you trust that you are where you’re meant to be? Do you have faith that the Universe is on your side? I sometimes fall down the rabbit hole too. It’s usually when I haven’t been meditating regularly!
Well wherever you are, you’re probably meant to be —unless you’re really not connected to nature. Did you get that? –Connected to nature! (Okay I just wrote about that in my last blog series!)
So do you trust the Universe? Because stress can stop that trust. When we’re stressed, we aren’t listening to our inner guidance. We’re on fight/flight mode, right? So that is step one to inviting magical moments in:
I wrote about simple rituals to invite Spirit back into your life in my previous blog series. As a trauma-informed yoga teacher, stress is my wheelhouse! Finding time for gentle movement with breath should be your go-to whenever you find yourself going down. And ritual is the way to make it a habit!
Want to know one of the benefits of practicing mindful yoga, meditation or any other mind/body practice? As you hone in on what’s going on in your mind and body you are developing your intuition—your gut instincts. You are connected to nature! That’s step two!
Pay attention to your gut. It’s always communicating with the brain and it’s always telling us the right thing to do. (See my trauma-informed brochure for a bit more on the Vagus Nerve which has been in the news quite a bit. It’s the longest cranial nerve stretching from the brainstem all the way into the belly, carrying incoming information from the nervous system to the brain. Literally the mind-body connection!)
Consider this—if you kept giving your best friend much needed advice over and over (and over); and they never listened to you or took your advice, wouldn’t you stop giving the advice? If you consistently don’t listen to your intuition, it will quit talking to you. Maybe you’re drowning it out with worrisome thoughts or a never-ending to-do list, or lack of sleep. Back to stress management techniques!
So there’s step three! Show the Universe you’re listening!
Yes, sometimes those actions can be big, bold and out of your comfort zone—quitting your job, accepting a job offer, or starting a new career all together like I did! My comfort zone was definitely beyond that decision at the time! So I started it as a side-thing. You might try something you love as a hobby or part-time. Maybe that’s enough. No one said that doing what you love always meant doing it as your full time job! Start incrementally. THAT let’s your intuition know you’re listening and it will send you more!
Maybe you’re not sure how to listen to your intuition, or even sure it’s talking to you. That’s step four!
That’s Theta waves at work! Theta wave brain states occur most often in sleep but meditation and exercising “in the flow state zone” can also create theta waves. Working with this state improves our intuition as well as our creativity (remember Einstein formed the theory of relativity from a dream). For a bit more on using this technique, read my past blog on how I chose my business name, Better Day Yoga (also written for a March blog). So have you been half asleep, and have you heard voices? Insert Kermit the Frog here!
You may still be wondering if this intuition thing really works. You might feel awkward about it or maybe you’re normally left-brained and analytical; and this just seems a bit woo-woo. Well I’ll end with step five!
Start to keep a diary of all the coincidences, synchronicities and kismet moments that happen in your life. When you start to write them down, this action dovetails with step number 3 above! The Universe takes note and starts to become very prolific! Reread your diary regularly to remind yourself just how much the Universe is listening to you. I promise you you’ll be amazed and humbled!
Natural, spontaneous synchronicities and intuitive insights happen when you’re connected to the harmony of the Universe—to Nature. And just remember…
I’ve been consulting with a social media guru who desperately recommends I start doing Facebook live videos. Another friend who’s savvy in that area recommends only a couple minute’s worth to keep your attention. I am dwelling on this option. What do you think? PLEASE let me know!
If I move forward on this and you’re interested in being kept in the loop, please like my Better Day Yoga Facebook page! I promise to be brief, informative and hopefully entertaining! So that’s part of my dwelling process! Any suggestions?
I’m holding off on a blog series for March because my schedule this month is quite erratic and overbooked! So I can’t commit to four blogs this month, but will do my best to write when I can! As is my norm, the rest of March’s blogs will be posted on my blog page here —the same page you go to for the current newsletter which IS sent via email once a month or so. They will also be found on my Better Day Yoga Facebook page here , as well as on my Instagram page here and my LinkedIn account here.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Hope to see you on one of my social media sites!
Please feel free to share this blog with your friends! I’d really appreciate it!
Sandy Krzyzanowski, E-RYT200, RYT500, C-IAYT
Better Day Yoga, LLC
Mail to: 5024 Oxborough Gardens
Brooklyn Park, MN 55443-3990
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This is my fourth installment in a series of blogs I’m dedicating to the ancient sister science of Yoga—Ayurveda. Here are links to the first three in case you missed them:
A very important aspect of an Ayurvedic lifestyle includes a daily routine (dinacharya). Do you notice when your routine is disrupted, you are more easily thrown off balance and more easily prone to stress? Then convincing you of the importance of a daily routine should be easy!
A daily routine is of utmost importance not just to maintain balance but also if you are looking to create change in your body, mind and soul. Kind of like meditating one day isn’t going to have a long-term effect, right?
Out of all the doshas, Vata is the one who is most resistant to change due to Vata’s “mobile” quality. (See the first blog in this series to determine your predominant dosha as well as which dosha might need some extra balance). Remember similarities aggravate and opposites sooth. So routine is especially important for Vata!
I should mention here that this mobile quality is involved in most, if not all, disease processes because it’s moving into various areas of the body. But that’s a huge topic on the stages of disease. It’s enough to say that if your dosha is predominantly Vata, it will be easier for you to be thrown off balance and thus invite various disorders into your system. So, again, routine is uber-important!
We talked a bit about the Ayurvedic clock two weeks ago. Following the clock helps with your daily rhythm, which aids digestion, quality sleep, regular bowel movements, and stress levels. Need I go on? We covered waking up early before the sun rises as well as best times to eat to aid digestion, suggested meditation times, best times and activities to go to sleep and have good sleep, etc. using the Ayurvedic clock. This is all part of your daily routine.
You probably already include at least a couple other of the most essential parts of a daily routine, like brushing your teeth, having a regular bowel movement, bathing, exercising, and wearing clean clothes. Notice that what you do habitually is easy to remember. So for the topics I cover here that aren’t part of your habitual routine, fit them in around those that are to get a rhythm while incorporating them into your life. Habits are great places to place new activities you want to include.
If you’re reading this, you may also have a regular meditation/mindfulness practice and/or yoga practice. See the blog series prior to this one on simple rituals to bring Spirit into your life if you’d like some suggestions on fitting mindfulness in. And, of course, I’m here to help if you’d like suggestions for creating your own daily home practice.
Scrape your tongue
So what’s left, you might ask? The first one I’ll cover may take a bit of getting used to; but trust me, once you’ve started doing it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner! It’s like flossing my teeth now. I don’t feel right if I don’t. Have problems with bad breath? All gone when you start scraping your tongue! Scraping the tongue also stimulates internal organs, aids your digestion, and—very functionally—removes dead bacteria (bad breath be gone!). Do this first thing in the morning before consuming anything else.
There is a whole system of tongue diagnosis in Ayurveda which is way too deep to cover here and I’m definitely still in the learning stages there! I’ll just mention that the tongue is a like a hologram for the bodily organs, similar to your ears, hands, and feet. You’re probably familiar with reflexology maps for these. Well the tongue is a “map” for the organs, the doshas (see the first blog in the series for more on doshas) as well as your digestive fire. Without getting too complicated, there’s even areas on your tongue that experience the six tastes we talked about last week.
Bottom-line? Scraping your tongue affects all of the above! So what are you waiting for? A stainless steel scraper is suitable for any dosha but love my copper scraper. I like the fact that copper “disinfects itself” because it’s bacteria-resistant. Copper also provides important enzymes needed for healthy microbes in the mouth to survive.
The scrapers are U-shaped. You take the “U” and gently place it on the back of the tongue and then scrape from back to front 5-10 times. I’ve read various numbers. And if you have a real problem with bad breath, you might want to scrape after every meal. I personally do this practice in the AM only.
An easy one you don’t need an introduction to would be to drink a glass (or two) of room temperature water upon rising. And if you’re all in, letting the water sit in a pure copper cup the night before helps flush the system out (GI tract, kidneys etc.). Ayurveda doesn’t recommend addictive drinks like coffee or tea, but if you must have those, it’s suggested to wait an hour or more after the water. Full disclosure, I love my coffee.
Holding oil in your mouth, or swishing the oil strengthens our teeth, gums and jaw. Vasant Lad, MASc says this practice also “improves the voice and removes wrinkles from the cheeks”. Warm sesame oil is commonly used but you can also get various combinations of oils. Banyan Botanicals has a combo of sesame, coconut and herbs.
Use 2-3 teaspoons of oil, gently swishing around, pulling the oil through the teeth for a few minutes (some say up to 20 minutes!). The longer you do the swish, the more benefits you experience. Remember my suggestion to do it around a habit? I’m reading that swishing as you shower might be a good time. Some texts suggest spitting the oil out in the trash vs. the sink to avoid drain clog—word to the wise. Vasant Lad, MASc also suggests doing this practice twice daily. I have yet to be consistent with this practice but I’m trying!
Nasal drops (Nasya)
A Nasya oil lubricates the nostrils. Doing this especially when you’re in a dry hotel room really helps! So if you have trouble doing this daily, try packing Nasya oil in your travel bag. You won’t regret it! I do a simpler version of using just a couple of drops of Nasya oil in my palm, dipping my little pinky in the oil and lubricating the inside tip of my nostrils.
In addition to lubricating our nostrils, which is enough for me, this practice cleans the sinuses, enhances the voice, and improves vision and mental clarity. “Our nose is the doorway to the brain, so nose drops nourish prana (life force energy) and unfold intelligence.” Source: The Textbook of Ayurveda, Volume 3, by Vasant Lad, MASc
The full description, again if you’re all in, would involve lying on your back cushioning your shoulders so your head tilts back (perhaps hanging the head off the bed) and dropping 3-5 drops of warmed Nasya oil (Vasant Lad, MASc suggests warm ghee will also work) into each nostril.
There are some contraindications for this practice: It’s not meant for young children (although Cate Stillman’s Living Ayurveda 9-month training suggested doing the pinky dip I described above and even doing the same for the ear opening tip.) Pregnancy, menstruation, immediately after exercise, while intoxicated, on a full stomach, digestive issue like diarrhea or vomiting, fever, hypoglycemia and dehydration are also contraindicated. (Source: The Textbook of Ayurveda, Volume 3, by Vasant Lad, MASc)
More oil to the head and body (Abhyanga)
This practice is one of my absolute favorites but remember, I’m a Vata dominant dosha so I have that “dry” quality. So “oily” is an opposite and very soothing. And I practice this after I shower vs. before as often recommended. I suspect many would prefer not dressing with oil on them to keep their clothes from getting oil. Oiling your body just before bed is also supposed to help you sleep soundly.
I have been leaving bhringaraj oil on my hair for several hours the day I’m going to wash my hair to help reverse hair fall out I was experiencing due to hypothyroidism as well as menopause. Mahanarayan oil is my oil of choice for after shower since it helps with muscles and joints. It balances all the doshas but especially Vata. Vasant Lad, MASc recommends warming the oil and using sesame or almond for Vata, sunflower or coconut oil for Pitta and mustard or corn oil for Kapha. If there’s a favorite oil of yours, don’t let the recommendations stop you from using your oil of choice, in my opinion. I have a jasmine infused Vitamin E oil I also use.
Applying oil to your body is a practice of self-love. It will improve your circulation, moisten and condition the skin and is a great de-stressor in this day of go, go. The Sanskrit word for oil means love. Enough said.
There are other practices we could go into for your daily routine but let’s start here and pick something that resonates with you. Be good to yourself. The more you take the time for self-care, the more your body will respond positively. The more you are able to relax with these practices, the more tools you are providing your body to rejuvenate and heal from within. That’s the Ayurveda way—heal from within. Please let me know if I can help you in any way on your journey.