Ayurveda Spring Clean! Tips for a Healthy Spring

spring-clean
Spring is upon us and as the seasons change so should our diet and activities. Whilst the winter months ask for more settling and hibernation, Spring is the time to cleanse ourselves of that, making ourselves feel lighter in energy before summer hits.

Ayurveda is all about bringing ourselves in to balance, balancing out the effect of the seasons as well as internal and external influences.

Here are some great tips to help you get started:

1) Add more bitter vegetables, herbs and spices to your diet. In spring we start to strengthen and clean out the liver and Bitter foods are said to help a struggling liver. “Bitter herbs cause a reflexive secretion of gastric juices and tone the muscles of the digestive tract. They also support detoxification by helping the liver process incoming nutrients and filter impurities from circulation.” Nadya Andreeva

Examples of bitter foods are: Turmeric,  Bitter Gould, Spinach, Kale, Chard, Broccolli and Watercress

2) Flush Your System with Liquids In Winter our bodies tend to retain liquids – making us feel heavier, and a bit lazier, so in Spring we want to flush that out. Starting your day with plenty of warm water will help that. Try drinking 750ml of water with the juice of half a lemon or lime each morning before you consume anything else. Your body builds up toxins throughout the night so in the morning, before we add to them we want to cleanse them from the body.

How: Warm water with lemon each morning, and a glass of water one hour before each meal. Sip on Ginger tea to stimulate movement of energy and digestion.

3) Add spice to your Meals Add some spice to meals to help stimulate energy within the body. Spices detoxify your lymph, blood, kidneys and bowels.

Examples are chilli powder, cayenne pepper, mustard seeds etc.

4) Get Moving As toxins are stored in the body, within our muscles, in our fat cells, in our joints we want to exercise all of these things to allow the toxins to be eliminated. The key is to get moving every single day. If all you do is sit – even for just one day, it gives the toxins a chance to manifest and settle within the body.

Allow the energy to move through your body - Come to yoga! If you can’t make it then do 10 rounds of sun salutes at home.

Go for a walk outside at lunchtime and breath in the fresh air.  Walk to work instead of taking the train. There are so many ways to incorporate movement in to your life.

If you don’t think you can do it then join the One Month Transformation happening at Yoga Village in September. You will receive recipes, cooking tips and yoga practice tips to help you stay on track and keep motivation high. For more details click here.

5) Body Brush & Oil Massage Before your shower each day use a natural body brush in circles over your skin to stimulate detoxification within the skin cells. Before bed give yourselves an oil massage using coconut oil or almond oil, again using large circular movements all over the body.

6) Introduce a little more raw food to your diet. Whilst winter is a time for warm food (stews soups etc) in Spring we need to combine those cooked foods with something raw. With each meal add either a small raw salad, or a piece of juicy sweet fruit to create that balance between winter and summer.

7) Get outside and breath! Whilst we don’t want to expose ourselves to too much sun we do need vitamin D to help the energy levels. Try to get 10 minutes of sun each day to help build up after a season of being inside. Breath the fresh air deeply in to your lungs!

Tags:

The Practice of Being Alone

Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope you all enjoyed a break and feel rested after the holiday period. Many people have written telling me how they have had a chance to reassess their situations and are looking forward to big changes in 2014. Whether you are looking for change or content with the way things are I hope that 2014 is a year of growth for you all.

I am having quite an eye-opening experience in India this year. On previous trips to India I have been overly social when I wasn’t practicing yoga; always making new friends, and running off to explore the city and its surrounds, eating at different restaurants each day and chatting and laughing all day long. Whilst I value those times so much, this year I have made a conscious effort not to be overly social. I would fall in to bed each evening in a heap, so tired from the conversation and electric energy between myself and my new friends.

Spending too much time socialising and talking to others is extremely exhausting and I can see now that in the past, it was detracting from my practice and my sole purpose of being in India. This year, before leaving Sydney, my teacher suggested I shouldn’t fall in to the trap of being too social. I have followed her advice and found it a deeply enriching practice in itself.

That’s not to say I have become a complete hermit. I have made friends with many other students and try to get out for a meal around 3 or 4 times a week. The trickiest part at first was to just say ‘no’ to going out, the benefits I have experienced thus far are:

* A more restful mind; as I am not constantly stimulated my mind is clearer and I have been able to reconnect with what is important to me.

* More energy for morning asana practice

* More mindful with my actions throughout the day – when I feel tired, I rest, when I feel hungry, I cook etc; I am conscious of my needs at the time.

* More creativity in the kitchen; because I am expending less energy I am following a Sattvic diet but also avoiding dairy. This has forced me to think more creatively about what I am cooking. See one of my favourite new recipes that you can make in 10 minutes here

* More time to read; I have read 4 books already!

* More quality time with friends; when I am catching up with friends I value the time so much more

I encourage you all to take some time out from social responsibilities and practice being alone. There is so much to learn about yourself from the practice of being alone.

Peace & Love

Nadia x

Tags:

My Confession: Even Yogi's Get the Blues

tears
I have a confession.

 
Despite the fact that I do yoga I am not brilliantly happy 100% of the time.  Another confession, I am completely ok with not being happy ALL of the time.

When I check my Facebook and read blogs by other yoga teachers and people working in the health and wellbeing space I am often shocked by the façade of perfection that so many people are trying to portray. To me it doesn’t seem healthy or human. And most of all, it doesn’t seem yogic.

I think it is important for us to remember that although we do this practice, life can still be hard. Life is great, amazing, wonderful and so many other things – including hard.
 
After returning from another trip to India four months ago, life has been all of those things, especially hard. I will openly admit that I have had a really challenging time settling back in to the swing of things here. And more difficult that settling back in has been the challenge of how I should act when I am going through a hard time. Should I just pretend that it isn’t happening and walk around with a big fake smile on my face and say ‘good’ when people ask how I am going? Or should I be grumpy all the time instead?

Yoga can change your life, but it doesn’t mean that everything in life becomes easy once you start it.

Yoga teaches us to take the good with the good and the bad with the bad and to act with grace and strength through any circumstance. Yoga teaches us to live in the moment and be present in whatever is happening, even when what is happening isn’t good. Yoga teaches us to live a balanced life – and that means balancing the good with the bad.

When we are in a pose that is difficult or confronting and we have to hold it, and we can breathe and just be there, even if holding it is even more difficult and confronting, it is in those moments that we are really practicing yoga. If we apply that principle in life, then when times are tough and we need to cry or laugh, then do it, embrace it, and don’t try to deny that you are feeling what you are feeling. By being present in our own sadness we are more likely to move in to happiness – just like they say (I am not sure who ‘they’ are but I have certainly heard this many times before) ‘you have to see the darkness in order to see the light’.

So I am not ashamed to say that in the last four months there have been a number of days that I have spent in tears, literally lying in bed and just letting them flow down my cheeks. Once I started to let it happen it didn’t seem so bad. I didn’t try to stop it; I didn’t try and tell myself to ‘pull it together’. The truth is that I needed to cry those tears; they were coming up for a reason. After a few of these days, strangely enough, I started to realise that in those really dark moments I was really living and feeling my truth more closely than I ever had before. I mean I was REALLY feeling, not only that, I was giving myself the freedom to feel sad.  By allowing myself to really feel, I started to appreciate the tears as much as the laughs. They are both amazing practices and should be equally embraced and equally accepted.

It is true that being happy is amazing, but being sad can be amazing as well if you change your approach to it. So next time you are sad, why not let yourself be sad and see what it brings up for you. I think if anyone else has a problem with it or finds your honesty uncomfortable, and then simply let it be their problem; maybe it is something they need to address themselves. And surely you have enough to deal with; I mean you are busy embracing your inner sadness! I am not saying we should take our problems out on other people, or walk around being grump, rather I just believe we should be free to express whatever our current truth is; and especially express that to ourselves. What could be more beautiful?

So Accept me as I am, and I accept you as you are.  Aum Shanti Aum

PS- I promise not to cry while I am teaching

Tags: