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Spring is a time for blossoms, birth, renewal, and sunshine. It’s also when many of us suffer from allergies or begin to feel sluggish from the heavy eating habits of winter. Spring is kapha season where we see damp, muddy, cool, sometimes wet weather. As we enter this season we physically and mentally take on these qualities, which can cause allergies, poor digestion, and lack of enthusiasm for life. This spring Ayurveda cleanse helps rekindle the digestive fire to begin moving toxins through the body for elimination to help reduce the effects of allergies and put some spring in your step!
Daily Livestream Classes via Zoom with with asana, meditation, yoga nidra, relaxation, and daily exercises.
Recordings of each class. These will be uploaded daily to a website where you are invited to view them at your convenience and for 1 month after the cleanse end date.
Facebook community where participants can connect, share ideas and recipes, successes and support.
Group kick off Zoom meeting to meet and build community.
Kitchari cooking tutorial video.
Sample grocery list and recipes for the cleanse.
Tips for success!
Option to purchase the lentils and spices to support you during the cleanse.
Eating well over the holidays can be tricky. This holiday season is going to be different for most of us in our current state of affairs, but we can still be mindful in the food choices we make to keep us healthy.
What is eating well anyway?
In Ayurveda, it depends. Each person is different, made up of a different balance of the five elements, different life experience, different family history, and so all foods can either be a poison or medicine depending on the individual. Some people may be able to tolerate chili peppers without any digestive upset, whereas others may break out in hives, or have acid indigestion, etc. Eating well in Ayurveda is all about maintaining good digestion to support our immune system and body functions.
Healthy eating is more than just giving up cookies. In fact, having cookies can be part of a healthy diet. The foods we choose to consume are just as much about our mental state as our physical state. Sometimes we may feel bored and decide we need a cookie. Or we may feel sad so we reach for some cake. Being aware of your emotions and mental wellbeing is critical for creating and maintaining healthy eating habits. Perhaps if you are bored, you may do well with a glass of water. If you feel sad, perhaps a hug from a loved one or watching your favorite movie will satiate your need.
Optimal health and eating well in Ayurveda are all about maintaining a healthy digestive system: urination is not foul smelling and is a light yellow color, and occurs regularly about every 3-4 hours; bowel movements occur at least once per day and first thing in the morning, ideally 1-3 times per day, are the consistency and size of a ripe banana, are a good brown color, and are not oily or dry. It’s not pretty taking about our body’s elimination, but we can learn a lot about how well or GI system is working be examining our excretions. If your urine is bright yellow and occurs 2-3 times per day, you may not be consuming enough liquids. If your bowel movements are hard, painful, or do not occur at least once per day, you may not be getting enough vitamins and minerals or other necessary nutrients.
How do we know if a food is poison or medicine?
It is all an experiment with foods and a deep awareness in how they affect your physiology. Does eating yogurt with fruit on it give you gas? When you eat eggs do you feel lethargic or energized? When you eat raw vegetables do you feel bloated or unbothered? Once it is determined if the body digests something well or not, it becomes a mental practice. Is it worth it to me to feel this particular to continue eating the thing(s) that make me feel like this? This is where discipline and practice come in with a dash of compassion and forgiveness.
It isn’t “healthy” to restrict things because we “think”we should. If know something is bad for us, and it is not just limited to food, and we continue to consume it or participate in that activity, this is more about the strength of our mind. If I know when I eat cream cheese I will wake up the next morning with nasal congestion and mucus in my throat, I have to decide if I want to eat the cream cheese and feel that way the next day. Or, do I want to skip the cream cheese and wake up the next day with clear sinuses and throat? Sometimes it is worth it, like if we are celebrating a loved one with a lovingly made cake with cream cheese frosting. Sometimes it’s not, like if I plan to go for a swim the next day and need to be able to breathe clearly.
Tips To Eat Well This Holiday Season
Here are some easy ways you can ensure you eat well over the upcoming holidays, and year round, to help keep your immunity and energy up, and your digestion moving smoothly.
Make lunch your largest meal.
Our digestion is the strongest in the middle of the day, so it can help with better sleep, better digestion, and overall mood if you eat your largest meal at lunch time. If you know you are going to a dinner party later in the evening, keep lunch light.
Skip a meal if you aren’t hungry or plan to eat a larger meal than normal.
It is important to be hungry when you eat a meal. If you are hungry your body releases gastric fluids to help you digest your food. If you aren’t hungry and you eat food, your body will have a difficult time breaking down what you eat because the appropriate fluids and enzymes are not available to break the food down. If you know you are going to have a larger than normal dinner, your digestion may benefit from skipping lunch before or breakfast the next day, or making those meals very light.
Eat and drink enough during your meal to feel satiated and not full.
It is a good idea not to eat so much you feel full. In general, see if you are able to consume food and drink during your meal to fill you 3/4 of the way full. Generally we want each meal to fill our stomach half full with food and one quarter full with liquid or drink.
Have dessert as part of your meal.
If you are planning to have dessert, which you are because the holidays offer some of the most delicious desserts, do your best to leave room for it as part of your meal and don’t eat so much that you feel full and have dessert a few hours later
Eat a plant-based diet.
Ayurveda promotes a plant-based diet of whole foods. With an Ayurvedic diet, meat is used only when needed to support bones or muscles, or if a person’s particular constitution requires it for optimal health and safety. Most people can get all the essential vitamins and minerals they need from fruits, vegetables, and legumes when consumed as part of a balanced diet.
Don’t eat a minimum of 2 hours before bed time.
It takes most foods 2-6 hours to fully digest. If we eat right before bed or in the middle of the night, our body is busy working to digest the food instead of resting and may cause restless sleep.
Because it takes most foods 2-6 hours to digest, snacking can lead to indigestion, stomach upset, gas, bloating, or other GI discomfort. The reason for this is because when we eat hydrochloric acid is released in our stomach to break down the foods we eat to be absorbed through our small intestine as vitamins and minerals. Hydrochloric acid, along with other digestive enzymes, is considered our digestive fire, or agni in Ayurveda. This is like a real fire, if we put logs on it, it will burn evenly. If we then put four more logs on before the first logs have caught and are becoming embers, we may put out the fire. If we constantly put food in our stomach without allowing it to be fully digested, it may cause gas, bloating, and or GI distress. If you are hungry, you should eat, and some people benefit from frequent small meals. If you need to snack, consider foods that digest quickly and easily like fruit.
Reduce or eliminate cold drinks with meals.
Similar to snacking, if we put something cold in our stomach with the rest of our meal, it will dampen the ability of the stomach to fully digest what is consumed. Room temperature or warm drinks are best with meals. If you love iced beverages, keep them for in between meals as best you can.
It’s important to keep in mind everyone’s digestion is different. These are basic tips to help you keep on track with healthy eating this holiday season and year round. Remember, healthy eating means you easily digest the foods you consume. In Ayurveda we like to encourage the 80/20 rule. If 80% of the time you have good digestion and 20% of the time you eat your favorite snack and have a little gas, then you’re doing great! Being perfect is boring, and we want to enjoy the life we live. So get out there and enjoy your pumpkin pie! (But as part of your meal.)
Transitioning from summer to fall can be difficult on our system and our mindset. There are many things we can do to help make the transition a little smoother and easier to cope with.
Fall is one of the most magical times of year. When the leaves begin to change from shades of green into purples, golds, pinks, and reds, there is a sense of ease and warmth. Fall is considered the start to vata season, which takes full swing through the winter. Fall still has some traces of summer with some warm sunny days, late summer vegetables, and sleeping with the windows open. As the light begin the fade and days become shorter, that feeling of warmth the leaves gives us is a reminder that cold days are coming and we would do well to make some diet and lifestyle preparations to be ready for the oncoming winter months. Ayurveda has some helpful tips for making that transition easier.
The qualities of vata are cool, dry, rough, hard, mobile, and spacious. Ayurveda offers us simple tools to make the transition from warm to cold by cultivating a feeling of warmth, heaviness, and stability. The fall helps ease us from the heat of the summer to the cold of the winter. We will still see some summer vegetables in the fall, depending on the climate you live in, like broccoli, peas, peppers, and others. The flavors of summer, sweet, bitter, and astringent, will come through in some of these later vegetables and fruits. This is important because winter is all about incorporating foods that are sweet, sour, and salty and the sweet flavor is the bridge between the two. Remember, sweet taste is more than just eating chocolate and and candy. Although those fall in the sweet category, sweet taste shows up in foods like dairy, grains, meats, etc.
As fall begins to incorporate these new tases in the diet through the produce that is available naturally, we also want to consider the qualities of the foods we are eating. In the summer, our foods are light, crisp, and cool. We see these qualities in melons, berries, cucumbers, etc. As we transition to colder months, incorporating heavier, warmer, and dense foods will help us stay warm and help us feel cozy inside. Thinking of the foods we see available in the fall and winter, this makes sense. Typically, these foods are best in the fall:
In terms of diet, think all the warm, comforting, sticky, heavy foods like chili, mac and cheese, pastas, casseroles, etc. Although in the fall season
A daily routine incorporating abhyanga, the self oil massage, is perfect for creating warmth and nourishment for your skin. This is the perfect time to incorporate slower practices like yin or restorative yoga, meditation, journaling, and other forms of self-reflection and introspection. Take the time to think about what you have done over the last few days, weeks, or months and determine whether your choices are helping you move in the direction you want to be going or if they are derailing you. What can you learn from your experiences to help move you along your path with a little more ease.
In Ayurveda there is an adage that like increases like and opposites balance. Remember the qualities becoming fo fall, cool, dry, rough, hard, mobile, and spacious. See how much warmth, moisture, smoothness, softness, stillness, and stability you can incorporate into your life in all possible ways.
You may enjoy this video from the October Self-Care Sunday discussing the transition from summer to fall.
Ayurveda and yoga follow Samkhya Philosophy which divides the world of existence into two polarities of being: Purusha and Prakriti. This article won’t go into Samkhya Philosophy, as that is a whole other ball of wax. But, it is helpful to know that both Ayurveda and yoga follow the basic philosophical structure.
Purusha is ultimate reality, all things that are unchanging in the world. What does that even mean? Doesn’t everything constantly change moment to moment? Well, again, that is an article for another time, but the basic idea is that the physical world we experience does in fact change moment to moment, but that which is beyond us, ultimate consciousness, God, soul, true Self, is constant and never changes. That is purusha.
Prakriti is the changing state, often referred to as the illusion of reality, or maya. Prakriti is the way we experience the world through our senses, perceptions, stories, experiences, and feelings. These are things that change and are effected by the colorings of our mind from life experience. Now, experience of life is not bad. That’s what we are meant to do here. It’s how we experience life and how our mind reacts, perceives, or feels about the experience.
Everything that exists within the tangible world we experience, prakriti, consists if the three maha gunas, or the great qualities; sattva (purity), rajas (activity), and tamas (inertia).
Three Maha Gunas (Great Qualities)
Sattva is balance or harmony. It is neutral and moves with ease and calm. Sattva is a clear mind free of anger, fear, distressing thoughts, and full of love and compassion for all beings. This is quality of pure goodness, peace, forgiveness that allows us to deal effectively with the world. Physically is it clear skin, healthy weight, vibrant hair, clear eyes, etc. This isn’t to mean we should all look like super models, because let’s be real, that would be a huge imbalance in of itself for so many reason we aren’t going to go into here. What this means is we are our most healthy version of us with the genetic cards we were dealt. Sattvic foods are most vegetables, dates, almonds, legumes, but most of all what your body can easily digest.
Rajas is pure energy, motion, and heat. It is the yang and masculine energy of the gunas. In balance, rajas is the zest for life, ability to set goals and work toward them, and a sharp, resolute mind. Out of balance, rajas appears as anger, hate, frustration, manipulation, rashes, heat flashes, moving excessively fast. Rajasic foods are heating and sharp like garlic, onions, chilies, cinnamon, alcohol, fermented foods and drinks, caffeine, and sour foods like citrus.
Often viewed as ignorance, tamas is inertia, or stillness. It is the yin and feminine energy of the gunas. In balance, it is the ability to go with the flow, rest with ease, and be stable and dependable. Out of balance tamas appears as depression, sadness, a dull mind, lethargy, over eating, laziness, and lack of desire to be or do in the world. Tamasic foods are heavy and dull like leftovers, microwaved foods, fried foods, meat, cheese, milk, potatoes, carrots, and other root vegetables.
Often, One Guna is Predominant
The states of sattva, rajas, and tamas are inter-related and cannot exist without each other. In the same sense, one is not better than the other and it’s important to remember we need a healthy balance of all three so we have passion for life (rajas), the ability to stop and smell the roses (tamas), and can love in the place of the Self or the soul of our being (sattva). Additionally, the gunas are not just confined to people, and exist in some way in everything we come into contact with. Think of yogurt. It is dense, cold, wet, heavy, slippery, slow. All qualities of tamas, so we could infer eating yogurt will increase tamas. What about watching Game of Thrones? Well, lots of gratuitous killing, dark imagery, anger, hatred, and competition at the expense of others. These are all qualities of rajas, so we could infer watching Game of Thrones will increase rajas. Qualities of listening to a babbling brook are peaceful, calm, beautiful, serene, and relaxing. These are all qualities of sattva, so we could infer listening to a babbling brook with increase sattva.
Some of this is open to interpretation based on personal experience, likes and dislikes. Because we are limited to experiencing the world through our senses, all things are colored in our mind based on individual experience, inference, and preference. We are living in the world of prakriti, illusion, so we appear separate from others.
This also doesn’t mean you can’t watch things like Game of Thrones or eat yogurt. What is important is to balance those out with sattva boosting activities or foods to return to a balanced state.
It’s important to remember we need a healthy balance of all three gunas so we have passion for life (rajas), the ability to stop and smell the roses (tamas), and can love in the place of the Self or the soul of our being (sattva). Noticing when one of the three gunas is predominant or out of balance can help us make decisions to create better balance in our diet, mind, and overall way of being. Typically, rajas or tamas are the culprits of imbalance since sattva itself its a state of balance.
In Ayurveda, opposites balance and like increases like. If there is a predominance of rajas, we may see things like excessive activity, anger, heat, mobility, energy, aggression, shame, physically or mentally moving too quickly. Imbalance can show up as digesting food to quickly which creates loose stools, indigestion, heart burn, sour burps, or perhaps as skin flushing, red eyes, getting hot when trying to sleep. Here are some things to consider to boost sattva and reduce rajas.
Incorporate slow, fluid movement or statice practices like restorative yoga or Thai Chi
Start a gratitude jar where you write thing you are grateful for and can read them in times of need
Focused meditation like yoga nidra or loving kindness
Take a cool bath or shower
Eat foods that are less heating and more grounding
Use cooling spices such as cilantro, mint, coriander
If there is a predominance of tamas; lethargy, slowness, heaviness, dullness, darkness, fear. Imbalance can show up as slow digestion with constipation or hard stools, depression, hoarding, couch potatoism (this is now a word), lack of desire to do day to day activities and things normally enjoyed. here are some things to consider to boost sattva and reduce tamas.
Incorporating movement such as vinyasa yoga, jogging, swimming
Meet a close friend of family member for coffee/tea or a peaceful walk
Consider you’re physical surroundings and use warmer colors for paint and clothing choices
Snuggle in your warmest blanket or sweater with a warm cup of chai
Eat foods that are less cooling and are lighter
Use warming spices such as cayenne, black pepper, cinnamon
Not Sure What’s Out of Balance?
If things aren’t quite right and you aren’t sure what’s up, the best thing is to boost sattva which is the qualities of purity, knowledge, hope, and harmony. This will ensure excess rajas or tamas won’t be increased and still work to bring harmony into life. Here are some simple ways to boost sattva.
Listen to a babbling brook 🙂
Take in a lovely sunrise or sunset
Read an inspiring book
Journal about goals, hopes, dreams
Hug someone you love
Eat sattvic foods like ghee, seasonal fruits and vegetables, broths
Eat something sweet and brings joy (Don’t eat an entire chocolate cake)
Walk barefoot in the grass
Use of essential oils or herbs that are pleasant and calming
You get the idea – all the warm and gushy stuff
When we can find balance of the maha gunas, we can begin to connect more deeply to the purusha, the soul and deep inner knowing of truth to live a life of joy.
Next Self Care Sunday is October 18, live on Facebook, and we’ll discuss the transition from summer to fall and ways to change routine to support better wellbeing. You can get even more information and sign up for my online classes, blog, or newsletter at www.yogawithangelina.com
In the hot months of summer our digestion begins to slow down as the body spends its energy keeping the body from over heating. This is important to remember as we move into the season of BBQs, frozen treats, and lots of time in the sun.
In the summer it is no surprise that we begin to crave things to keep us cool like iced drinks, frozen treats, and shade. This is a natural response from our body to help maintain homeostasis. Summer is the Pitta season, according to Ayurveda, and contains the qualities of fire and water like oily, pungent, hot, spreading, sharp, and light. Our physical form and mental state are affected by these qualities and take them on. This is why it is important to bring the opposite quantities to maintain balance.
Check out my live videowith some tips to stay cool this summer.
One easy way to balance the heat is to incorporate bitter, astringent, and sweet flavors into the diet. Bitter tastes come from leafy greens, astringent from many fruits and spices, and sweet from the fruits of the season (sweet doesn’t mean sweets or chocolate, in this case.) These tastes offer a cooling sensation to the body and are easier to digest when our digestion is not its strongest. It is good to reduce the tastes of salty, pungent (spicy), and sour. Foods dominant in these tastes create more heat and are harder for us to digest in the heat of summer. If you can’t give up those spicy tacos, make sure to load them up with lots of cilantro and avocado to balance them out.
It is also important to make lunch your largest meal and to eat between 12 and 2 pm because this is when our digestion is the strongest. Below is a list of foods to incorporate into the diet over the summer. Some of these will have multiple tastes, but are listed in their dominant taste.
Pomegranate (tastes sour on the tongue but is both astringent and bitter)
All the Berries
Dairy (in small amounts)
Rice (basmati, white, wild)
Sprouted Wheat Bread
Basil (Bitter and Astringent)
Bay Leaf (Astringent)
Cilantro – Did you know coriander grows into cilantro?
Coconut Oil (Sweet and Astringent)
Ginger (Bitter) – In moderation
Vanilla (Sweet and Astringent)
Enjoying a ice cold lemonade on a hot day sounds pretty refreshing. However, this can kill our digestive fire and cause gas, bloating, and discomfort if we consume iced beverages with our food. Enjoy your cold drinks throughout the day, but try to have room temperature drinks with and up to two hours after meals to help aid in digestion.
Take Time to Chill
Another great way to keep cool is through reducing very strenuous exercise and doing your hardest physical efforts early in the morning before it is too hot and when the body is the most stable. Consider changing out your hot yoga classes for a slow flow and keep your exercise non-competitive. Offer yourself lots of space to relax. Relax in a hammock with a good book. Sit in the shade with loved ones and spot cloud animals.
Always stay hydrated. Make sure to consume at least half your body weight in oz of water which will include liquid in your foods. Keep your skin protected with sunscreen and appropriate summer gear like a sun shirt or hat.
Check out my live videowith some tips to get your meditation practice started.
Starting a meditation practice can be daunting. We have these images in our mind that meditation is sitting quietly on a mountain top, in lotus legs, hands turned up on the knees, eyes closed in rapture, and exuding the bliss of enlightenment. Um, I don’t know about you, but that aint practical for me.
Before diving in, it is helpful to define what a meditation practice is and isn’t.
What meditationÂ isn’t is making the thoughts in our head stop. We are human and we are living in the real world. Our thoughts will never cease. We need thoughts to get us through every day. To help us make sense of the world we are a part of.
What meditation is, is the process of seeing these thoughts as the thinking mind separate from how we actually are. We are not our thoughts. Who we truly are and our thinking mind are two separate parts inextricably connected.
A meditation practice can be what we imagine above, or it could be washing the dishes. The key is the way in which you do the practice, that you do it in earnest, you practice regularly, and do it with purpose.
You will have setbacks. There will be days when you come out more frustrated than you went in. You will have days where it is impossible to concentrate. Remember, that isn’t you, that is your thinking mind. Let it be upset you didn’t “succeed at meditation” and then look at that desire to succeed with discernment rather than judgement that you couldn’t do it.
There will also be days where you are completely tapped in. When you have a set back, remember these connected days. See if you can bring that Â deep sense of connection and see if you are able to refocus your efforts.
Here are some tips I have for starting a meditation practice.
Find a spot where you will always meditate. Let it be a place that is free from interruption and distraction.
Pick a time, morning is ideal to help set our day up to be amazing.Â
Choose the type of meditation you will do before you sit down to meditate and stick with it for at least 30 days before trying a new one.
Have a test amount of time. Can be as little as five minutes.
According to Ayurveda, spring is the Kapha season. Kapha is a blend of water and earth elements which give it qualities like heavy, dense, wet, cool, slimy, dark, smooth, liquid, stable. These are not to been seen as negative qualities, but qualities in of themselves. We need these qualities in our life to function. Without the heavy and dark qualities it would be difficult to sleep. Without stability, we would fall apart. Without liquid or slimy qualities, our joints would dry out.
View my video with more information and follow me on Facebook for monthly Self-Care Sunday tips.
In spring time these qualities are more abundant and directly affect us so it is important to take care to not let ourselves be overwhelmed by them. Like increases like and opposites balance is an adage closely followed in Ayurveda.Â By adding light, dry, warm qualities throughÂ lifestyle practices and diet choices it is possible to bring balance to the qualities of Kapha and prevent them from taking over and creating that sluggish, don’t want to get off the couch feeling and add spring to your step!
Think of the “spring cleaning” ritual many of us follow with our homes. It is the same thing with our body. We need to shake out the cobwebs we accumulate over winter to make space for the fun of summer and begin to feel light on or feet.
If we are wise, we begin to incorporate the practices just when the weather is starting to turn from winter to spring to reduce things like allergies and colds as much as possible. But it’s never too late!
Start to move your body more! Exercise is critical to keeping the heavy and sluggish qualities at bay. Every day move your body for at least 30 minutes. This does not have to be high intensity or all in one take, simply walking, or dancing in your living room counts!
Kapalabhati Breathing is also a great way to bust up excess Kapha. Kapha tends to collect in the lungs and airway, which is why it is important to breathe deeply. To do this, sit tall, have a tissue on hand, forcefully heal air through your nose. Your inhale will happen on it’s own. If you feel light headed, take a break or stop. Always be safe and listen to your body.
Doing a saline rinse with a Neti Pot helps keep the cilia in the nostrils functioning at full capacity to help filter allergens, dust, and other pathogens keeping galleries and colds at bay.
Drink your beverages warm or room temperature (At least no ice!). Because Kapha has the cold quality already, we don’t want to aggravate it and further reduce our body’s ability to digest the food we eat.
Incorporate more foods with bitter, astringent and pungent tastes and try to reduce sweet, sour, and salty tastes. In Ayurveda, sweet is more than sugar and candy. Sweet is anything that has a sweet taste like dairy, heavy meats like red meat or pork, wheat, etc. Replace flour with amaranth, millet, oat, barley, or buckwheat.
Have your meals warm to make them easily digestible. During the spring, our digestion is not as strong, so eating fully cooked foods that are warm make it easier to digest to the food. Make dinner your lightest meal or if you’re digestion is particularly sluggish, you may consider skipping dinner all together for a short period of time.
Begin to reduce oily, cold, dense, and sweet foods like fried foods, avocados (I know, it’s a bummer. Don’t have to give them up entirely, just reduce to like once per week and you can bring them back in full force over the summer!), soy, sweet potatoes, olive oil, cucumbers, bananas, oranges, dairy, etc.
All Stuffed Up this Spring? Clear Up with Neti Pot
Spring is beginning bloom with blossoms beginning to open, leaves growing on trees, birds chirping, and with it, possibly allergies and congestion. If seasonal allergies are something that create discomfort and prevent you from stopping to smell the roses, the Neti pot (or nasal rinse) is here to help!
What Is It?
A Neti pot (pronounced naytee) is a small, usually, porcelain vessel resembling a small watering can. The pot is filled with a saline solution which is poured in one nostril and flows out the other using gravity. Rinsing the nasal passages has become a widely used practice and it is now possible to buy saline rinses at your local drug or grocery store if using a Neti pot is cumbersome.
What Does It Do?
A saline rinse for the nose helps clear mucous from the nasal passage and keeps the cilia (the little hairs in your nose) flexible to keep catching allergens and other irritants from entering the respiratory tract. When mucous builds up in the nose and nasal cavity, the cilia get bogged down and stuck to the skin in the nose preventing them from moving freely and collecting irritants. The Neti pot gives theses little hairs in the nose a bath so they stay flexible and free to catch all the pesky stuff floating around that create allergies, colds, and congestion.
Helps clear congestion due to allergies and oncoming colds
Improves speed and coordination of the cilia
Thins mucous to flush nasal passage
Keeps the head clear, when we can breathe it allows for movement of energy
Balances nervous system
Supports upper respiratory health
When to Use It
Daily/weekly for prevention and maintenance
Seasonal shifts, especially winter to spring and summer to fall
When allergy or cold symptoms begin to present
Before and after traveling, during if you’re able to bring it with you
What You Need
1/4 tsp non-iodized salt (sea salt or prepared nasal rinse salt)
1 cup water (distilled or boiled and cooled to room temperature
Dissolve the salt in the Neti pot. If using boiling water, make sure it has cooled to a comfortable temperature. Never use hot water.
Place the opening of the Neti pot against one nostril to form a seal.
Begin to breathe out of your mouth, do not breathe through your nose.
Over a sink or water basin, tilt your head to the direction of the open nostril and slightly forward
Water will begin to drain through the nasal passage and out of the open nostril. Do not tilt your head back to prevent the saline solution from draining down your throat.
If the water gets stuck, you may need to adjust the tilt of the head slightly forward or more to the side to help the water flow more easily.
Use half of the mixture on on side and repeat the process on the other side.
When the Neti pot is empty, tilt your head forward over the sink or basin to let the remaining water drain from the nostrils. Do not blow your nose.
Using a tissue, gently wipe your nose and exhale through the nostrils into the tissue. You may need to do this more than once. Do not blow your nose.
Clean your Neti pot. Wash after each use with mild soap and dry well. It is is critical to keep your Neti pot clean and dry. If you have a plastic one, it may be dishwasher safe.
Use the Neti pot 2 to 4 times each week for maintenance throughout the year. This is different for everyone and you may choose to use it every day or once a week. Ideally, use the Neti pot in the morning before you start your day. However, it can be done any time during the day on and empty stomach. When pollen or allergens are high, as when seasons change, it is a good practice to use the Neti pot once per day. If you feel allergies or a cold coming on, use the Neti pot once per day to help ease symptoms or possibly prevent a cold, and for at least two weeks after symptoms have subsided. Return to maintenance schedule once major triggers and symptoms have subsided. Do not use the Neti pot while you are experiencing a cold.
You may discover one side is more congested than the other, and this may also change day to day. Experiment with which nostril it is most beneficial for you to start with. You may find the water flows more freely if you start with the Neti pot on the nostril that is more open. If you are experiencing severe allergy symptoms, you may want to use a full Neti pot in each nostril.
There are lots of Neti pots out there. I recommend porcelein, especially if you plan to use boiled water. You can allow the water to cool in the Neti pot or in whatever you used to boil the water. I donâ€™t recommend microwaving the water, or putting the water in a plastic Neti pot and then micrwaving. A tea kettle is a quick way to boil water. Always use clean water suitable for drinking.
It is also possible to buy salt specifically for nasal rinsing. These usually come with a measuring spoon. Generally, 1/4 tsp in 1 cup water is a good ratio. Experiment with the ratio that works best for you and your nose.
Use the Neti pot on an empty stomach. We all know what it is like to drink salt water, so you donâ€™t want food in your stomach if you accidentally get some saline down your throat and start to gag.
Always pay attention to the way practices effect your body. If you get nose bleeds regularly, donâ€™t use the Neti pot every day and always be aware of the way it effects your nose. For some people it may help to use Nasya Oil for the nostrils after using the Neti pot to help with the dryness.
Use clean water suitable for drinking. The water must be boiled or distilled. Boiled water must be cooled before using. If you forget about the Neti pot and it sits for too long, make a new one. Distilled water should not be used for more than one day. Once a water bottle has been opened, use what you need for the Neti pot and drink the rest.
DO NOT use the Neti pot if you are already sick or have a cold. It may aid with mild congestion and allergies, but has potential to make colds worse.
If sleep eludes you, you have trouble falling asleep, or you feel restless in bed, massaging your feet before shutting the lights may help you get better sleep.
In Ayurveda, Vata is a dosha, or biological humor, made up of the two elements ether and air which make it mobile, cold, dry, rough, hard, light, clear, and subtle. You may notice some of these words describing your sleep pattern and/or your feet. By massaging the feet before bed, it is possible to mitigate or lesson these qualities to allow you to fall asleep sooner, stay asleep, get better quality sleep, and help your liver detoxify your body.
In Sanskrit, pada means”foot” and abhyanga means â€œmassaging the limbs.â€ Abhyanga is made up of two words, abhi meaning into, towards, to and anga meaning limb. So, padabhyanga means massaging the foot. The Sanskrit word for oil is “sneha,” which is also the same word for love. It’s time to show your feet some love for all they allow you to do in life!
Oiling and massaging the feet each night before bed, can be a tremendous boon for better sleep and stress management. This doesn’t have to be a major operation and can take as little as 3-5 minutes. If you have the time, it’s good to give each foot a solid 10-20 minute massage each.
In addition to showing the feet some love, you will also be loving up on all your internal organs. Reflexology uses pressure points in the feet to stimulate certain parts of the body. When you give each foot a good massage, youâ€™re also massaging the organ associated with the pressure points you apply pressure to.
Here’s your reflexology “light” lesson. You aren’t literally massaging your internal organs. The pressure points in your feet are energetically connected to your organs through energy channels in the body called nadis. When proper pressure is applied to a specific area of the foot, the energy travels up that channel to the correlating organ to help clear energy blocks. If this sounds awesome, read up on reflexology or get a treatment from your favorite spa.
Because we have these pressure points connected to our organs in our feet, massaging the feet has many benefits, including reducing the qualities of Vata, which can be leading causes for trouble falling asleep, light sleep, anxiety, worry, and stress. The energy is brought from the head to feet giving the restless mind a break.
Reduces stress and anxiety
Better night sleep
Releases stress and tension
Improves blood circulation
Lessens foot pain
What You Need
Socks you don’t mind getting oily
Oil warmer (optional)
What Oil to Use*
You don’t have to spend a ton of money of a fancy massage oil, although you can, if that’s your thing. There are many companies you can buy oils from, including your natural foods grocer. Your skin is your largest organ and anything you put on your skin is digested in to your blood stream, similar to food. You can obtain a simple oil like coconut, sesame, castor, ghee, or sunflower from your local grocery store. Organic is ideal, but get what you can.
If you tend to run hot at night (or in general), coconut is a good choice unless, you have an allergy or it irritates your skin. If you tend to have cold feet, sunflower or sesame are a good choice. If you’re not sure which oil to use, sesame or castor oil generally work for most people.* If you don’t love the smell, you can mix in a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
If you’re using an oil warmer, add 1TBS of oil and let warm up for about 5-10 min. You can do this while doing your other bedtime rituals like brushing your teeth, flossing, etc. If you don’t have an oil warmer, you can put your bottle of oil in a bath of hot water to warm the oil. In either case, make sure the oil is a cool enough temperature to put on your skin comfortably. Use an amount of pressure that is comfortable for you in each area of the foot. Note: joints are massaged in a circular motion and long bones are massaged in a linear motion.
Option 1 – I have 3-15 minutes for this
Wash your feet with a washcloth or in the tub or shower.
Follow these steps with both feet simultaneously or one at a time. Rub a small amount of oil to coat both ankles and feet.
With a little more oil, begin to massage your ankles in circular motions all the way around each ankle.
Dip back in for more oil and begin to massage the top of the feet moving to and from the toes to the ankle.
Pinch and massage each toe.
Massage the sole of the foot and heel.
Interlace your fingers between the toes and role your feet around in the ankles both directions. It’s easiest to do opposite hand and foot.
Make sure to put on some socks before moving about so you don’t slip. (You can keep the socks on while sleeping or remove them once in bed.
Option 2 – I am making a relaxing evening out of this
Fill a small tub with warm water, 1/8 tsp crushed ginger and 1/4 tsp Epsom or sea salt. Stir until dissolved.
Soak your feet in the tub and relax.
After soaking your feet for about 20 to 30 minutes take them out and pat dry.
Follow the steps above massaging each foot individually.
*Educate yourself on what oils work for you and when. Not everyone can use the same oils. Don’t use an oil that irritates your skin or you are allergic to the source product of the oil.
Yoga and Wellness With Angelina Fox · Angelina Fox, ERYT500, YACEP, SUP Yoga, Ayurveda Health Counselor, Certified, Insured, and CPR/First Aid/AED Trained Yoga Teacher – Washington DC and Northern Virginia, Alexandria and Lake Anna