What Does Ayurveda Have to Do with Pizza?

Two Boots:WebI was watching a segment on CBS This Morning where the subject of childhood obesity and pizza was being discussed.

Because of pizza’s prevalence in the American diet, especially with kids, a recent study was published in the journal Pediatrics which compared caloric intake, fat and sodium, when the pizza was consumed, the age of the child, etc.

Dr. Tara Narula speculated on CBS This Morning that it was perhaps the type of unhealthy pizza that kids were eating that contributed to their weight gain (processed grains, stuffed crust, extra cheese, etc.) No doubt there is truth in this.

And then Charlie Rose commented “There was also a recent study that suggested when you eat is as important as what you eat.” Bingo! Here’s where Ayurveda comes in (I’ll get to that in a moment.)

Dr. Narula responded with another study that was done with mice (always the poor mice) that showed a variance in weight gain depending on the time frame in which they were allowed to eat. Some mice could eat whenever they wanted (they gained the most) and others were restricted to a specific time frame.

She could only speculate, however, at the reason why this happened. “We think it may have something to do with genes being turned on during the time when you’re not eating.” Huh???

I wanted to call them up and say “Ayurveda has the answer!”

We’ve all heard the old adage “Eat breakfast like a queen, lunch (called dinner in many cultures) like a king, and supper (we say dinner!) like a pauper.” This is ancient and important wisdom.

In the morning when we wake up, our digestive fire is still weak – hence, eat breakfast like a queen (not too much, but enough to get you through until lunch). We “break-fast because we haven’t eaten anything all night, but not with a lot of food, which will overload the body.

10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. is the Pitta (fire) time of day. It is when our digestive fire is strongest and therefore we stand the best chance of digesting and metabolizing our meal. Lunch/dinner like a king! Noon – 1:00 p.m. is optimal.

Eating supper like a pauper means a light evening meal (preferably between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Just enough to get us through until morning. A large supper will overtax the body, forcing it to digest a heavy meal and hinder its ability to heal, rejuvenate and burn excess fat.

The moral of this story is that pizza (or any other unhealthy food vice) eaten at a noon meal will stand a much better chance of being properly digested than one that’s eaten in the evening. Keep this in mind and your body will thank you.

I know all about pizza. I love it! Years ago on my way to work I would stop at Raimo’s Pizza down the block from my NYC apartment. I’m guessing this happened four or five times a week (I’m not kidding). I would get the first slice out of their brick oven at 10:00 a.m. when they opened. I was devastated when their landlord raised their rent and they had to close. The space stood empty for years, taunting me. I felt like my dealer had left town.

Pizza:WebDo I eat pizza four or five times a week now? Hell, no! But because I needed a picture of some pizza for this article, I went to get a slice for my lunch, which I ate at noon. :) With a healthy salad. :) Jersey City is a dangerous place for pizza-lovers. There’s pie on nearly every corner. Yum.

Much love,
Barbara

 

 

 

Posted in Ayurveda, Pitta | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Ayurvedic Tip of the Week: Be Mindful as the Season Shifts

Trees:WebThere are three seasons, according to Ayurveda, which revolve around the different harvests. They are:

  • Vata – fall/early winter
  • Pitta – late spring/summer
  • Kapha – late winter/early spring)

Here in the Northeast where I live, and in many other parts of the world, we are transitioning from Vata Season to Kapha Season.

Vata and Kapha have very different qualities. Vata is light, dry, mobile, cold while Kapha is heavy, wet, cold, stable. You can see that they only share the cold quality.

If we think about this and how we are comprised of the five elements (air, ether, fire, water, earth) we can only imagine how hard our organism must work to stay balanced when the seasons shift.

I often speak about how tenuous our health is during this transition. The more I learn about Ayurveda and consciously apply it in my daily life the more I experience how true this really is.

So, wherever you are in the world (my friends in the Southern Hemisphere are getting ready to transition from Pitta Season to Vata Season), this is a time to take special care to nurture yourself – in body and mind.

Pay attention to how your own body reacts to temperature, moisture, etc. and take care to dress accordingly and eat the proper seasonal foods for your constitution.

Pay attention to how your mind reacts to this shift, as well. People with more of the water/earth elements in their constitution might be feeling waves of depression or lethargy as Kapha season approaches. Keep the mind clear with meditation and other practices like pranayama, yoga, and qigong.

On the other hand, those of us with a lot of air/ether in our constitution may start to feel more centered and less anxious as we begin to leave Vata season behind.

Stay tuned for a complete article on Kapha Season in my February Newsletter. You can sign up here if you’re not already on the list. You’ll get some easy, free Ayurveda tips if you do!

And if you think a private consultation could help you with the transition, you can contact me here.

Much love,
Barbara

 

Posted in Ayurveda, Ayurvedic Tip of the Week, Change of Seasons, Kapha, Vata | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

What I Learned Last Year

White treesI cringed a little starting this newsletter because one thing I’ve been doing over the past few days is clearing out my own inbox, ruthlessly unsubscribing and attempting to back away from the computer. So, the thought of my email landing in your likely-crowded inbox gave me pause.

But I decided to go ahead with it because it actually relates to one of the lessons I learned this year. Here are a few of them – maybe you will relate and have an ah-ha moment – or maybe they will inspire you to reflect on your own. Or maybe you’ll hit “Delete” before even reading. That’s okay, too. :)

Don’t assume to know what others want or need.

I fret so much thinking that I’m bothering people by writing and generally blabbing with enthusiasm about all that I’ve learned. I didn’t set out to be a teacher but all of a sudden I’ve found myself in that role. I seem to have an insatiable appetite for learning about holistic health and it would be just stupid and selfish not to share.

Last year I realized that those who need and/or want the information will benefit from it and perhaps something I write about might initiate a positive change. There are also many people with a totally different mindset and I never forget that I was there myself not too long ago.

There’s a spectrum for all things.

This past year I began to realize that it’s okay to fluctuate from one end to the other, as long as I don’t stay stuck at either end too long. This relates especially to my introversion as I struggle with being out in the public eye more and more. I learned that I can open up and be fully out in the World, or I can retreat to calm and restore myself in my World.

I practiced this a lot – especially during the holidays – staying centered and inward as much as possible. Peace and calm was my reward. No doubt my continued devotion to a meditation practice allowed this to happen.

Ayurveda really is the knowledge of life!

Most Ayurvedic practitioners will tell you that you need to go through all of the Ayurvedic seasons (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) for one year with awareness to truly understand what Ayurveda is all about.

Although I’ve sort of been doing this for several years, last year I did it in a more conscious way and was amazed at what a difference it made in my mind, body and spirit. Yes, I fell off the wagon many times but the awareness and desire to feel good got me right back on.

You’re never too old to flourish, change, become inspired, get healthy, let go of the past.

There’s not much to say about this other than it’s 100% true and I experienced it in a major way last year. 

Find your tribe.

Be they family, friends, or both, finding a tribe of like-minded individuals can be a lifeline. Outside of my family, I have little tribes of precious friends and I am a member of a huge global tribe of energy healers who radiate light and love from afar. My tribe(s) helped me navigate some rough waters this past year.

As solitary as I sometimes like to be, I am grateful for the support. Pick your tribe carefully. You will know if it’s right for you.

Listen to the messages!

Most of the time I don’t have a clue who’s guiding me, sending me messages. But this past year I learned, without an iota of doubt, that we are indeed guided by forces most of us can’t see. I learned that by meditating daily and staying open to receiving, messages and synchronicities come with greater frequency, clarity and urgency. LOL, it’s how I ended up in Jersey City! :)

JOY can be found in the dark, and the pain, as well as in the happiest of times.

I wanted to end with this one because I so deeply believe in its truth. There were many months last year when I felt like I could have just folded myself up. But at the same time there was a peaceful knowing that there was a reason for what was happening and if I just had faith and went with the flow, I would come out feeling lighter than before.

I felt at times like I was hovering above myself, observing the physical me who was hurting, but being able to detach from it. I think I have all of the major traumas from my life to thank for that. For some reason I have, for the most part, chosen hope over bitterness and despair.

We all have our stories and mine isn’t any more special than yours. And while we don’t grow from staying stuck and wallowing in them, it’s good to know our story, learn from it, and move forward.

I don’t have any lofty goals or resolutions this year. Maybe I’ll miraculously become better with deadlines and keeping a regular schedule. Or maybe I’ll embrace the free spirit in me and have a creative breakthrough. I plan to let 2015 unfold mysteriously and without an agenda. How about you?

It’s truly been a blessing for me to share with you this past year. Your encouragement and support means the world to me and it gives me a greater purpose outside of myself. Thank you for that.

Happy New Year!

With love,
Barbara

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

My Birthday Wish for Clean Water

Barbara ChristmasThis is my quintessential birthday/Christmas photo from a very long time ago. I still shudder at the red dress and the wild upholstered chair and say “What was my mother thinking?” It was the fifties…

My plan for today’s post was just to drop in and say hello on my birthday, and let you know that I’ll be taking a break until the first of the year. But yesterday I opened an email from Marie Forleo and this video tugged at my heart – “How Water Changes Everything“.

I was so inspired by Scott Harrison’s story of going from Manhattan club promoter to leading a more heart-centered life and birthing the organization charity: water that I couldn’t turn away.

I learned that almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean drinking water. Every day, 1,400 kids die from water-related illnesses before they reach their fifth birthday. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are simple solutions like drilled wells, spring protections and BioSand filters that help provide clean water to communities around the world.

In my sixth decade of life I’ve never been without clean drinking water and I’m guessing that most of you haven’t either. Just think about how lucky we are!

We all have our favorite charities and causes and I don’t like to pester people about my own. But when I watched the video and saw that people were using their birthdays to help raise funds, well, I thought I would give it a go in hopes that it will resonate with many of you.

What impressed me so much about charity: water is that 100% of the money we donate goes directly to fund the water projects! You can even view photos and GPS coordinates that show how your money is being spent.

So, if you are so inclined, here is my birthday campaign to raise money for clean water. You can give $61.00 in honor of my 61 years :) or you can give $1.00. I know we are all weary of spending money right now. But I can’t think of a better birthday gift than to truly make a difference in the lives of people who are without the basic human right for clean water.

Thank you for letting me share this campaign with you.

And thank you from the bottom of my heart for inspiring me to write this year – by sharing my thoughts, feelings and what I have learned about holistic health with you. It is my greatest joy to pass on my love of Ayurveda, which has so profoundly changed my life.

I am signing off until the new year to give myself time to be quiet, reflect, and re-energize so that I can return with a rested spirit along with new ideas to bring to fruition.

Wishing you all a peaceful holiday season!

With love and gratitude,
Barbara

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 9 Comments

Ayurvedic Tip of the Week: Use Your Senses to Stay Balanced

Vata qualities:websizedEach dosha is connected to one of more of the five senses:

Vata (air/space elements) = hearing and touch
Pitta (fire/water) = sight
Kapha (water/earth) = taste and smell

We obviously use all five senses, no matter what our constitution is, but a particular sense (or senses) will be stronger depending on which doshas are more prevalent.

Vata-types are very auditory and sensitive to loud noises. Music can be very soothing, or very unnerving, depending on the type of music. And no one loves a massage better (and perhaps benefits more from one) than someone with a lot of Vata in their constitution. They generally love to touch and be touched.

Pitta-types have very sensitive eyes and are also very visual – especially where beauty is concerned. Poor vision and irritated or bloodshot eyes often plague people with high Pitta and they need to strongly nurture and protect them. Moonlight is very soothing for Pitta eyes.

And as for Kapha-types with their strong sense of taste and smell, well, how many Kapha chefs are there out there? A lot! My partner Ralph was a chef and was pure Kapha. I could never understand why someone who was a chef could have such extreme reactions to certain smells and tastes. Now I know why! And it makes perfect sense. Perhaps you have a child with a lot of Kapha in their constitution – it might explain why they react so strongly to some foods. Of course, childhood is the Kapha time of life, so many children have this propensity.

Which senses are strongest in you? Paying attention to our own particular sensory makeup and honoring what’s best for us, can be a great tool to help us stay balanced in our daily lives.

Much love,
Barbara

 

Posted in Ayurveda, Kapha, Pitta, Vata | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

How the Doshas Play a Role During the Holidays

ChristmasTable:WebIt’s that time of year again and I am trying to keep the panic at bay. The holidays seem to be all about staying organized, time management, scheduling, and upsetting your regular routine. Finally, I understand why these holiday months have always derailed me - they went and put the holidays smack dab in the middle of Vata Season!

All of those qualities that help to make this time enjoyable and minimally stressful are, unfortunately, not characteristics of Vata dosha. Vata-types often tend to be disorganized, creative, fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants types, and extremely prone to depletion.

The picture above was taken years ago of an Anthropologie store window at the holidays. While wildly inventive, it reminds me of the chaos that a Vata-type often feels inside.

Of course, there are exceptions, and most of us have constitutions that are dual-doshic or tri-doshic. But for someone with a lot of Vata in their constitution, this time of year can seem impossible to endure.

So, how do Pitta-types handle the holidays? Well, they are generally the most organized of the doshas. I was lucky enough to be invited to Thanksgiving dinner by a predominantly Pitta-type. He ruled the kitchen and whipped out the meal seemingly with ease. And he still had a smile on his face when he was finished. Cleanup was a snap – he had containers filled for everyone to take home – and turkey soup was already simmering on the stove. I was in awe and oh-so-grateful that I wasn’t the one in the kitchen!

Although Pitta-types can be overworked and overstressed (many Type A’s are Pitta) they at least have the skills to get through. They might have their shopping done months ago, cookies are baked and in the freezer and the tree is bought and decorated. They attack their to-do list with a vengeance.

And what about the beloved Kapha-type? Well, they might not be as motivated as the Pitta-type or disorganized as the Vata-type, but what is important to them the most is family. So the holidays can either elate them or depress them, depending on the state of affairs in their family. A Kapha-type can easily slip into depression if they find themselves alone at the holidays.

I wanted to write this article as much for myself and my loved ones as for all of you and yours. If we can understand each other better based on our constitutions, the holidays just might be a little less stressful and more enjoyable for all.

I admit that I feel a certain tenderness for my fellow Vatas during the holiday months. Being creative types we find ourselves in a dilemma – we love the twinkling lights, the music, the sights and smells of the holidays – but we often lack the energy or skills to navigate them successfully.

cactus3:webThanks to Ayurveda, once I recognized these differences for what they are (our constitutions never change) I was able to let go of unrealistic expectations I had put on myself. I now do just a fraction of what I used to. I will light up my beloved cactus again and adorn her with my mother’s precious ornaments and the handmade ones from my children when they were little. She traveled to Jersey City with me (the cactus) and seems to like her new home, as do I.

I will even go to a holiday party this weekend in my building. My new neighbors seem to be kindly and relentlessly nudging me out of my cocoon. I’ll travel uptown to see the Rockefeller Christmas tree and take pictures of the holiday windows.

And my Kapha-Pitta daughter, Amy, is coming to spend Christmas with me. She has thankfully considered these Ayurvedic principles and doesn’t think her mom is nuts (well, maybe just a little). Spoken like a true Kapha, she said “family is everything”. Her Pitta will keep me focused and on task and together we will have a tri-doshic holiday.

Please nurture the Vata-types in your life a little extra during the holidays. Cook for them, hug them, lighten their load, keep them warm and be understanding of their limitations during this challenging time.

If you have a Kapha-type in your life, make an extra effort to spend family time with them and be vigilant for signs of depression.

And Pitta-types, this quote is for you (Vatas too!). It came in my inbox yesterday from my dear friend and fellow wellness warrior (her term), Jen Bolus:

“The number one reason I hear each day that is causing too many of us stress is feeling like we have too much to do. In some cases, some of these things are necessary. In many cases, we take things on or convince ourselves the task is a must, when in truth no one will die if we don’t do it nor will you be liked any less. AND, as you let go of having to do it all, you create space for others to take on these tasks. Just remember, they may not do it exactly like you; that’s another topic for another day.”

Wishing you all a calm, stress-free and happy holiday season!

Much love,
Barbara

 

 

 

Posted in Ayurveda, Kapha, Pitta, Self-Care, Stress | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Ayurvedic Tip of the Week: How to Manage Vata-Type Insomnia

Sleep2Vata dosha is to blame for the type of insomnia that results from waking up in the wee hours of the morning, specifically from 2:00 a.m. to 6:00. a.m. Makes sense, since these are morning Vata times.

Vata dosha is responsible for all movement in the body, including the nervous system and elimination. It’s called the king of the doshas because without Vata, nothing would move and we would die.

Anxiety and fear are signs of unbalanced Vata. So when 2:00 a.m. hits, it makes perfect sense that some of us bolt awake with hearts racing and fearful dreams.

Here are some tried and true strategies that have worked for me:

Before bed:

  •  Turn off all electronics (phone, TV, computer) by 8:00 p.m. (ideally!) Vata-types are especially sensitive to the energies emitted from these devices.
  • Give yourself a warm oil abhyanga massage before bed with an herbalized Vata oil.  At the very least, oil your feet, belly and ears.
  • A glass of warm milk with spices like cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger (add a little ghee if you’d like) can help you drift into la la land.
  • Aim for a bedtime of 9:30-10:00 p.m. Once Pitta hours hit (10:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m.) and the body begins its repair work, it will become harder to fall asleep, especially if Vata anxiety is high.
  • Adaptogenic Ayurvedic herbs such as tulsi and ashwaganda help to give you energy during the day and promote restful sleep at the same time.

 If you wake during the hours of 2-6:00 a.m.:

  •  Sit up in bed and meditate. This ALWAYS works for me and 99% of the time I end up falling back into a deliciously deep sleep.
  • If you don’t have a meditation practice (you should!) just do some relaxed deep breathing. Focusing on your breath can help you drift back to sleep.
  • Avoid looking at your phone or computer for comfort! This will only make it worse.

 A good night’s sleep requires a lot of energy. There’s a great deal of healing that goes on in the body during the night. We tend to think that we have too much energy and can’t fall asleep because of it (we’re wired) but in fact, it’s because we’re depleted of energy. And Vata is the dosha of depletion so Vata-types tend to suffer more from this type of insomnia.

There is nothing worse than not getting a good night’s sleep. And a chronic cycle of insomnia leads to all kinds of imbalances in the body. When I had fibromyalgia, I was desperate for a good night’s sleep and my lack of sleep only exacerbated the condition. It was only when I got a handle on my insomnia that I began to heal.

Much love,
Barbara

P.S. Here’s a Learn to Meditate bargain that ends today! It’s the method that I have used for several years.

Posted in Ayurveda, Sleep, Vata | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Ayurvedic Tip of the Week: How to Avoid a Digestion Nightmare on Thanksgiving

ginger:mintEven the healthiest among us knows the pain and regret from overindulging on Thanksgiving. We suddenly throw caution to the wind and begin eating all of the comfort foods from our past. And then the reality of what we’ve asked our body to do sets in.

Ayurveda is really big on digestion. Roughly 60% of our daily energy goes towards digestion. And every Ayurvedic practitioner will ask you about your digestion, no matter what your health concern is. It all starts in our gut.

Most of us today have compromised digestive systems. More and more people keep eliminating foods from their menu that they really should be able to digest. Their digestive fire (agni) is just not burning properly.

Today all I want to do is give you a few simple tips to help you feel your best on Thursday.

  • Try to plan your celebratory meal between noon and 1:00 p.m. Our digestive fire (ruled by Pitta) is highest between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. So eating your Thanksgiving meal at this time will give your body the best chance at digesting it. By the way, this should always be when your biggest meal takes place. Have a lighter, smaller dinner later, around 6:00 p.m.
  • Avoid eating lots of appetizers. Let your hunger build for the main meal.
  • 1/2 an hour before your meal (NOT during or right before) drink one of the following: a warm cup of ginger tea, a glass of warm freshly squeezed lemon water, a glass of warm water with lime juice and a pinch of salt,  or a  glass of warm water with a pinch of black pepper. These are all simple options and readily available. Doing this will both help activate your digestive juices and hydrate the stomach lining so the body can produce enough hydrochloric acid necessary for digestion.
  • Avoid drinking liquids with your meal, especially cold ones. A small amount of hot tea or water is okay. Remember, you’re trying to keep your agni (fire) stoked so don’t throw cold water on it!
  • Try to relax during the meal, eating consciously - truly. Ayurveda teaches that good digestion is dependent on how we eat just as much as on what we eat.
  • Lying down on your left side for 5-15 minutes after a meal can help quite a bit (unless you have heartburn, in which case you should remain upright). You might have to fight your relatives for the sofa!
  • Go for a leisurely walk around the block to get some fresh air and de-stress.
  • After the meal, ginger tea can help with stomach upset. Peppermint is also a good choice. Fennel can help with gas and bloating. Make a tea with it or simply chew the seeds. There are a myriad of other digestive teas you can buy. For heartburn, drink some coconut water or aloe gel/juice.

I hope some of these tips will make your Thanksgiving a little more comfortable so that you can truly enjoy the day.

I want to tell all of you how grateful I am that you take the time to read my posts, leave your wonderful comments and share the information with others. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Much love,
Barbara

Posted in Ayurvedic Tip of the Week | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

The Myth of the Perfectly Healthy Healer

LiveToShareI don’t know that I’ll ever feel completely comfortable referring to myself as a healer. After all, we’re all healers, aren’t we? We heal others with our love, our touch, our music, our art, our cooking, our mothering and fathering. We have the power to heal ourselves.

But for the sake of this article I’m talking about those healers who at some point in their lives answered the call to help others heal themselves.

Inasmuch as a good part of my day is spent either actively in a healing session with someone or writing about holistic health, I guess I fall into this category. And I seem to have an unquenchable thirst for learning more.

I am surrounded by hundreds of other healers with whom I interact almost daily. When I started studying energy medicine years ago my group of fellow students was small, like a little extended family. Now that family has grown large and we are scattered all over the globe.

We support each other, love each other, help heal each other and often just lend an ear to each other. It’s a powerful loving group that I am blessed to be a part of.

But we are not without pain or illness or conflict in our lives. We are on our own journeys of healing just like everyone else – in our bodies, minds and souls. There is no such thing as perfect health. There are days when we feel in perfect health and those days are precious and we are grateful for them.

In my own case, it was the dark, pain-filled challenging days where I learned (and continue to learn) the biggest lessons. In an intuitive reading given to me a few years ago I was told that my body would be my greatest teacher in this lifetime and truer words were never spoken. As difficult as that truth has been, I am grateful because it led me into this world of healers.

Every day I teach people about Ayurveda and how to live its principles. And every day I struggle myself to practice what I teach. I know the routine I should follow daily to keep me calm and centered. But my Vata always wants to roam and play, flitting from one thing to another! And my Pitta wants to keep my nose in a book or online 24/7, learning more and more and more. Insatiable learning – sounds like it should be a good thing – but it can unbalance you just as surely as any addiction.

But, boy, when I do practice what I teach and see the results – a calmer, clearer me – I want others to know the same feeling.

As I was ruminating about what makes healers want to help others heal I got up to make myself some ginger tea. Lo and behold, the wise little message on my Yogi tea bag read “Live to Share”. :)

I believe that most of us who chose this path of the healer do so not out of wanting a sense of power (although there are surely unscrupulous people like that) or an illusion of perfection, but out of a sense of wanting to share. By sharing our own stories of recovery, whether through words or visuals, or through our healing hands, we hope to effect healing in others.

And when that happens, there is no greater reward for the painful journey it might have taken to get there.

Much love,
Barbara

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Ayurveda, Energy Medicine, Healing | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

A Time to Turn Within

Squirrel HomeI love all the seasons, and following an Ayurvedic lifestyle by living in harmony with Nature has made me even more aware of the importance of each of them. But if I had to pick a favorite, fall would win – hands down.

It’s ironic that I feel this way because Vata Season always challenges me. Nonetheless, the artist in me is seduced by the beauty of the changing leaves every autumn and I spend a lot of time gazing up at the color-drenched trees.

This time of year often seems to be busier, but according to Ayurvedic principles and many ancient cultures, once November rolls around (in the Northern Hemisphere, that is), it’s time to slow down, go within a bit and deeply nurture yourself.

When I looked up the other day to photograph the tree above, I noticed the nest and the busy little resident squirrel scampering around readying him or herself for the cold weather soon to arrive.

With an awareness of the bleak landscape about to appear, I am always grateful for the one last burst of color before the trees become barren.

Autumn LeavesThe month of November also has spiritual significance. It’s said that the veil between our physical world and the spiritual world is thinnest at this time. You may notice that your dreams or meditations are filled with thoughts or memories of loved ones or deceased ancestors.

November 1st is Samhain (pronounced sah-win or sow-in), an ancient Celtic holiday which marks the end of the harvest and the preparation for winter, and also celebrates our connection with the spirit world. Halloween was derived from this ancient pagan tradition which takes place on the eve before Samhain.

We are leaving behind the warm bright light of summer and early fall and headed towards the dark cold days and nights of late autumn and winter. We needn’t be afraid of the dark for there is beauty in the dark, as well. If the seed didn’t rest in the dark cool earth, there would be no blooming flower to greet us in the spring.

Just like Mother Nature, we need to honor our own cycles and rhythms. I have learned to love (or at least appreciate!) the cold dark winter months which are approaching here in the Northeast. I know many of you shudder at this thought and are perhaps frantically making plans to get out of town. But I like to burrow in, read and write, deepen my sleep, and concentrate on nurturing myself – body, mind and spirit. This year I hope to do a silent retreat somewhere deep in Nature.

At the very least, give this some consideration and plant the seed in your mind that there is a reason for man to be in sync with all of the seasons like the rest of Nature. Here are a few tips to remember:

  • Eat seasonal, local foods as much as possible. Mother Nature, in her infinite wisdom, provides us with just the right foods for our body.
  • Limit indoor lighting and computer/TV use at night as it interferes with our natural sleep rhythms. Light more candles and turn in early.
  • Favor gently cooked warm foods over cold and raw foods, especially if you have a lot of Vata in your constitution.
  • Exercise should be of a more gentle, nurturing nature rather than intense and excessive. Think yoga, t’ai chi, qigong, walking, etc.
  • Consider deepening your spiritual connection through a meditation practice.
  • Use a light box and supplement with Vitamin D if you are prone to SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
  • Bundle up and take some solitary walks in Nature. Nothing is more deeply restorative.

The irony here is that so many of us get extra busy and things get chaotic as the holidays approach. I let go of that stress a few years ago and it has made such a difference in my life.

If slowing down and going within seems ridiculously impossible for you at this time, at the very least, set aside a few minutes each day to close your eyes (meditating is ideal), do some deep breathing and try to let go.

Sending you all some calming energy to help you during this seasonal transition.

Much love,
Barbara

Posted in Autumn, Ayurveda, Change of Seasons, Fall, Nature, root vegetables, Self-Care, Vata | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments