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A Delicious Chopped Salad Recipe That’s Detoxifying, Fat-Busting, and Gets Sluggish Lymph Moving in the Body

This is probably my favorite salad of all time. Although I don’t eat many salads when the weather is cold, I make an exception with this one – especially after I’ve indulged in heavy foods.

Spring is just around the corner and it’s Kapha Season for those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, according to the ancient system of healing called Ayurveda.

It’s the perfect time for cleansing and detoxifying the body, after a winter of heavier foods and often a more sedentary lifestyle.

Our bodies naturally try to detoxify at this time. You might feel like you have a lot of mucus trying to discharge. We can feel sluggish, heavy, lethargic, or damp (all characteristic of Kapha dosha).

The lymphatic system especially needs a boost at this time of year (or at any time of year if your body is overburdened, sedentary, or toxic).

This colorful salad is full of immune-boosting, detoxifying, lymph-moving foods like beets, pomegranates, apples, cabbage, kale, etc.

Sometimes I add just about everything but the kitchen sink.

Ingredients (Mix it up and use some or all of the following)

  • Shredded raw or cooked beets
  • Chopped cabbage
  • Finely chopped kale (or any other greens – dandelion is a great choice)
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • Shredded carrots
  • Shredded radishes (any kind)
  • Chopped celery
  • Chopped apple
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Sunflower or other seeds or nuts (optional)
  • Goat cheese (optional) if you want to make this your main meal
  • Olive Oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Sea salt

Toss all ingredients and enjoy!

You can use this as your main meal or as a side salad to another cleansing-type meal such as kitchari. Let me know what you think if you try it!

Much love,
Barbara

P.S. A great blood-purifying, detoxifying, and lymph-moving herb is Manjistha. I often add this Ayurvedic herb to my diet while cleansing or when traveling (great for circulation). Note: I am not a medical doctor and am not dispensing medical advice. Always check with your healthcare practitioner before adding unfamiliar herbs to your diet.

About the Author

Barbara Sinclair is a weekly Writer for CLN. She is an artist and holistic health practitioner with a passion for Ayurveda, the ancient mind/body system of health and longevity. Barbara was able to heal herself from years of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, by adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle. You can learn more about her by visiting her website barbarasinclair.com. Barbara posts a new article every Wednesday morning on CLN. To read her former articles, click here.

This article (A Delicious Chopped Salad Recipe That’s Detoxifying, Fat-Busting, and Gets Sluggish Lymph Moving in the Body) was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Barbara Sinclair and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.

 

 




Late Winter Is a Time for Rest and Rejuvenation


Barbara Sinclair, Late Winter Is a Time for Rest and Rejuvenation, Ayurveda, Kapha Season

Late winter is a time for rest and rejuvenation, according to Ayurveda, the 5,000-year-old system of health and longevity. So even though Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow this year, and an early spring is predicted here in the Northern Hemisphere, we still have a few weeks to take advantage of this seasonal downtime.

Many of us living in colder climates are making the shift from Vata Season (fall/early winter) to Kapha Season (late winter/spring). You can feel the cold, dry, lightness of Vata shifting to the cold, damp, heaviness of Kapha.

This is a very tenuous time for the body (and the mind, as well). Ayurveda cautions us to give extra TLC to ourselves as we make the transition.

We’re more susceptible to illness, both physical, mental, and emotional.

Common Kapha-type imbalances include lung conditions, depression, lethargy, and a heaviness of body, mind and spirit.

Of course these days with the crazy climate fluctuations, it seems like we’re sometimes changing seasons on a day-to-day basis. One day we’re experiencing a Nor’easter, and a week later, temperatures climb to 60 degrees.

This is not good. We’re made of the same elements as everything on this Earth (air, space, fire, water and earth) and the health of our planet is reflected in our own health, and vice-versa.

“We hold the memory of the five elements in our physical body. The memory of Earth is kept in the heart: the memory of Water is stored in the kidneys; the memory of Fire is kept in the intestines; the memory of Air is held by the lungs; the memory of Space is stored in the brain.” — Maya Tiwari, “A Life of Balance”

The best we can do is practice awareness and use common sense to keep the body healthy while the seasons transition or the climate shifts unpredictably.

Ayurveda teaches that to live a balanced life we must be in rhythm with Nature.

So, just like the plants lie dormant in late winter, and many animals are still hibernating, so should we.

In the past, I would dream of a Caribbean vacation when the weather turned cold, but now I happen to love this time of year. Strangely, I don’t even jump for joy on a 60-degree day in early February like most people do.

With each year that I live a more Ayurvedic lifestyle, the quiet months of January, February, and sometimes March give me permission to get quiet, go within, and let creative ideas germinate.

Of course, I’m not knocking those of you flocking to Florida, the Caribbean, or any other beautiful, warm tropical location. By all means, enjoy the blissful sunshine, because what can be more restorative than that?

But if you find yourself unable to escape the cold, know that there can be blessings by staying put, as well.

Spring will be here soon enough and a little bit of hibernating never hurt anyone. Get lots of extra rest, don’t overdo it while exercising and nurture your body with warm, nourishing foods and drinks.

It’s a great time to read, write and reflect. And of course, meditate! Your body, mind and spirit will thank you for the respite you took to replenish your well. And when spring arrives you will have the necessary energy to birth new ideas and blossom right along with the rest of Mother Nature.

Much love,
Barbara

Barbara Sinclair is an artist and holistic health practitioner with a passion for Ayurveda, the ancient mind/body system of healing and longevity. Barbara was able to heal herself from years of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, by adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle. She is now pain-free and joyfully shares these methods with her readers and clients. Barbara received her Ayurveda training from Wise Earth Ayurveda, the first school of Ayurveda teachings in the US. She is also a certified holistic health counselor and energy healer.You can contact Barbara HERE for an Ayurvedic consultation or energy healing session. To receive her monthly newsletters as well as weekly practical Ayurvedic tips click HERE.

Barbara’s Website: https://www.barbarasinclair.com
Barbara on  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraSinclairHolisticHealth
Barbara on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BSinclairNYC
B
arbara on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/BSinclairNYC/

Barbara posts a new article on CLN every Wednesday.  To view her articles, click HERE.

 

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Is Optimism a Choice?

Is Optimism a Choice, Barbara Sinclair Holistic Health & Healing

Optimism cards by Reed Seifer at Grace Heaven Organic Salon

barbarasinclair.com

Many years ago someone said to me “You’re always so pessimistic.” Frankly, it took me by surprise. After all, I’m a Sagittarian, and by nature, we’re pretty darn optimistic.

To make matters worse, this was a Virgo (notoriously one of the most pessimistic signs in the Zodiac) saying this to me.

For some reason I never forgot that statement and the other day, while looking at the above photo that I took (cards by Reed Seifer at Grace Heaven Organic Salon), I had a lightbulb moment.

I remember my response to being called a pessimist. It was something like “Well, if I’m too optimistic, I’ll be devastated when bad things happen. If I think the worst, then I won’t be so disappointed.” Wow. It must have been almost thirty years ago that I said that.

Pessimism: A tendency to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen; a lack of hope or confidence in the future.

I realize now that what was going on was less about pessimism and negativity and more about FEAR. Or, perhaps that’s the root of all pessimism.

According to Ayurveda, anxiety and fear are the curse of the Vata-type person. They can take over our lives. I knew zip about Ayurveda back then and for most of my life I battled to keep the anxiety and fear demons at bay.

I worried about everything – losing people I loved, losing things, getting sick, dying, change, the weather. You name it – I worried about it.

Eventually, I found yoga, energy healing, and meditation and everything changed. I’ve talked about the melting away of my anxiety and fear after starting a meditation practice many times before. It was a profound shift for me.

Whatever your constitution, it’s not difficult to fall into a pessimism trap in the world we live in today. Things look pretty bleak, right? But pessimism, fear, anxiety, negativity, and lack of hope all seem so heavy and dark, and an unfulfilling way to go through life.

So, I wonder – is optimism a choice?

I don’t think anyone today would call me a pessimist. I live my life very much in the moment. There is nothing that could be taken away from me anymore that I don’t feel I could handle. I have experienced grief in many different forms and have survived the sorrow to come out on the side of optimism. Hope, light, a joyful way of living.

I’m not even sure if this has been a choice or if it’s just been my own life’s journey and I’m lucky to have arrived at this state of being. I attribute a great deal to the fact that I no longer suffer from crippling fear and anxiety.

It could also be age-related. I’m in my wisdom years and perhaps it’s easier for me to let go of expectations and live my life more simply.

But I know lots of pessimistic 60+-year-olds. Bitter, fearful, and unable to let go of the past.

And I know lots of optimistic young people who, despite the state of our planet, are able to live from a bright place of optimism.

You could be homeless but filled with peace or you could be wealthy and so miserable you want to take your own life.

Go figure.

I don’t judge others for where they are on the optimism/pessimism scale. We all came into this life with a different set of circumstances, different personalities, and a unique reason for being here.

But wouldn’t it be the loveliest world if Optimism could tip the scale and drive pessimism away. Our world would be so much lighter and brighter.

For me, on days when I feel pessimism creep in, I get out in Nature, listen to music, ride my bike, and meditate. It’s amazing how things can shift.

I’d love to know if you think Optimism is a choice.

Much love,
Barbara

Barbara Sinclair is an artist and holistic health practitioner with a passion for Ayurveda, the ancient mind/body system of healing and longevity. Barbara was able to heal herself from years of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, by adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle. She is now pain-free and joyfully shares these methods with her readers and clients. Barbara received her Ayurveda training from Wise Earth Ayurveda, the first school of Ayurveda teachings in the US. She is also a certified holistic health counselor and energy healer.

You can contact Barbara HERE for an Ayurvedic consultation or energy healing session. To receive her monthly newsletters as well as weekly practical Ayurvedic tips click HERE.

Barbara’s Website: https://www.barbarasinclair.com
Barbara on  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraSinclairHolisticHealth
Barbara on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BSinclairNYC
Barbara on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/BSinclairNYC/

Barbara posts a new article on CLN every Wednesday.  To view her articles, clickHERE.




Pain All Over: My Healing Journey From Fibromyalgia

Note: This is a repost of an article I wrote a couple of years ago. With so many people hurting from the mysterious condition called fibromyalgia, I thought it was time to share it again.

It’s interesting that most of the people who reach out to me after reading this article seem to focus on the part of my story with Dr. Yeshi Dhonden. Like most of us, they seem to be searching for the magic pill (or herb) that will stop the pain. But taking Tibetan herbs was only a part of my healing journey and I had already done a great deal of deep personal work. Please bear that in mind if you are also searching for relief from your pain.

For someone who suffered from fibromyalgia for seven years, it’s odd that I’ve never really written a post about it. It was such a defining moment in my life, and yet, thankfully, I never let it define me. So I’ve been hesitant to write about it. It happened, it changed the course of my life, and I moved on.

But if I never had fibromyalgia, I might not be writing this blog about holistic health and healing. I might not be part of an amazing community of energy healers from all over the world. And I might not have discovered the ancient “science of life” known as Ayurveda.

AcheMy art had become heavy from the pain of what was happening in my life, and although it was a good outlet for that pain, I became tired of looking at the darkness of it, the heaviness, the negativity. So I set it aside and took a turn down another path.

Inevitably, I discovered that the final destination was the same–whether it’s my art or my penchant for holistic health and healing–they’re all just ways of expressing myself, sharing my gifts, figuring out why I am here on this earth, and how I can help others. And that was my impetus for writing this post. Maybe, just maybe, someone out there who’s hurting will be helped by my story.

So, here’s a little history of that seven year period in my life. Remember, this is my story, not a definitive article on fibromyalgia. My apologies for the lengthiness.

In the spring of 2002 at the age of 48, I came down with what seemed like some type of virus. I had a fever, aches and chills. Just for one day. The next day when I woke up, my fever was gone and I felt fine except for extreme pain throughout my body, especially in my neck and upper back. I remember thinking it was odd that the pain was bilateral and located in the oddest of places–the base of my neck, near my elbows, outer knees, hips, feet, etc.)

Over the course of the next several years my symptoms–in addition to the pain–were:

  •  Extreme sensitivity to wind (or any air movement–i.e. air conditioner, fans, drafts, even a strong summer breeze)
  • Sensitivity to loud noises, lights, crowds
  • Painful and interrupted sleep
  • Difficulty swallowing to the point of being afraid of choking while eating
  • Numbness and pain in hands and feet
  • Walking was painful, but I could ride a bike so I did that, constantly. (I was very physically fit before but became unable to do many things, even yoga.)
  • Digestive problems

I saw many Western medical doctors in the beginning, but with the exception of testing positive for Epstein Barr and parvovirus, I was told that they could find nothing wrong with me. They prescribed drugs (for depression, insomnia, pain, etc.), but I quickly discovered that the drugs only created more symptoms, which was the last thing I needed.

The only drug I succumbed to for more than a few months was Ambien CR, out of sheer desperation for a full night’s sleep. That didn’t end well. Believe the stories you hear about late-night roaming around and daytime craziness, because they’re true.

Diet was never discussed. I ate a pretty typical American diet, thinking I was fairly healthy in that regard.

I eventually began seeking alternative forms of treatment, and one day I sat down at a computer (back then I rarely used one) and typed in the words “pain all over”. Up popped hundreds of articles about fibromyalgia. It was the first time I had heard that word because this was long before the days of Lyrica commercials on television.

This mysterious word fibromyalgia seemed to describe everything I was experiencing. I took the information to my doctor who, while compassionate and curious, had never heard the term and still could offer very little help. She wrote me a prescription for physical therapy.

Back then I had really good health insurance which covered a ridiculous amount of PT and so I started going frequently. Three times a week. They would give me wonderful massages, do chiropractic adjustments and inject myofascial trigger points to numb the pain. They were my new best friends. I remember feeling really good while I was there, but the minute I walked out the door (especially if it was windy or cold), my pain would return.

One day I decided to make an appointment with an acupuncturist at the PT center. She was not an MD who had done a crash-course in acupuncture (insurance, of course, would have covered that), but was the real deal. Carrie Cegelis was the first angel in my recovery from fibromyalgia. In addition to being an acupuncturist, she was a gifted healer with many healing tools in her toolbox.

Carrie would do acupuncture and craniosacral therapy, along with giving me tips about healing foods and herbs. She suggested I try a tincture of St. John’s Wort to help me sleep. I weaned myself off of Ambien and started taking the herbal tincture. It took a couple of weeks, but all of a sudden I miraculously started sleeping! I also noticed a significant decrease in my pain, especially at night. And I had a brighter outlook on life.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, St. John’s Wort also helps with nerve pain and depression. Of course, “the experts” will say that there is no scientific proof of this, but it helped me tremendously.

I started to have some pain-free weeks, but then the pain would flare up again for no obvious reason and I would seem to be back at square one.

I tried colonics, a raw food diet, vegetarianism, veganism. Each of these seemed to help at first, but in the end, my pain persisted.

One day an employee at a restaurant where I was working asked me if I knew about Ayurveda. I can remember that moment as if it was yesterday. I replied “no” but in my bones I felt as though I had known it all my life. I was curious, but I tucked it away and it wasn’t until months later that I found myself in a consultation with an Ayurvedic practitioner.

His words to me were “Your Vata is off the charts deranged.” I didn’t know at the time what that meant. Basically, I was seriously out of balance. Vata – the air/space dosha was unhinged and my mind/body were reeling from it. When I mentioned to the practitioner my curious symptom of not being able to tolerate any strong air movement, he wasn’t surprised. It was directly related to my severe Vata imbalance. I remember thinking “Why don’t Western medicine doctors know about this?”

That day was a real turning point for me. I began devouring information about Ayurveda. Still, my healing was slow and I was getting frustrated. I remember the Ayurvedic practitioner saying “It takes the body a long time to get like this (out of balance) and it can take an equal amount of time to come back into balance.”

By this time, my problems were far from strictly physical. They never are. I had finally started taking a good look at my life and making the mind/body connection which is so necessary for healing.

It was about two years into my painful journey that my 30 year marriage ended. I never made any connections back then with my pain and what I was going through emotionally. Now I look at my paintings from that period and see the pain and sadness etched into the work.

It wasn’t until years later when I had healed from the physical pain that I truly dug deep into the serious emotional stuff. Trauma and grief that went back decades, long before my marriage. The body stores what we can’t handle at the moment trauma occurs. But sooner or later, it rises to the surface, be it in your dreams or in the form of an illness. I believe that that spring day in 2002 was my tipping point.

I was really good at hiding my pain. I didn’t want to be a complainer. A hypochondriac. A pity party. I was really good at keeping it under wraps, even from my family. Until I just couldn’t anymore.

I remember sitting in a coffee shop in NYC with my daughter and bursting into tears because it hurt so much. She had no idea how bad it was. What mother wants to burden her children with her pain? Years later I realized that I didn’t know how to receive from others or how to prioritize my own needs. That was a big red flag.

For several years I volunteered for a group called Free Arts NYC. I would meet weekly with a group of under-served children and make art. Many evenings I would drag my sore body uptown, and for a couple of hours try to forget the pain. I was going in and out of it at this point, but it was still hanging around.

One of the volunteers who knew what was going on approached me one night and said that there was a Tibetan Buddhist doctor who came to NYC every year, and that she could get me an appointment to see him. She kindly kept badgering me until I made the arrangements. I figured I would try anything at this point. The Ayurvedic practitioner I had seen had left town and I had kind of drifted away from his recommendations.

I made my way down the stairs of the West Village apartment where this doctor was seeing patients. I entered a room and saw an altar with many candles and photos of deities. Not your typical doctor’s office decor. It was peaceful, with the scent of incense wafting in the air.

An elderly man in a monk’s robe was seated next to a young woman, his interpreter. He motioned for me to come over, set a cushion on my lap, and reached for my wrists to check my pulse. I had filled out a form stating why I was there.

The translator began to speak, but the doctor raised his hand to silence her. Without being told the reason for my visit, this is what he said (via the translator). “She has pain all throughout her body. It is worse in the heat of the summer and the cold of winter. She has numbness in her limbs and cannot sleep.” And on and on he went, listing almost every one of my symptoms. I kid you not. I was in awe.

He told me to avoid coffee, soda, alcohol, smoking, pork, mustard (all kinds), bell peppers, sweet potatoes, yams, winter squash, fermented foods, syrups, large sweet fruits like watermelon, other melons, pineapple, mangos. This was my list, so don’t assume it would be yours. Our bodies are all different and have different needs when it comes to food.

He wrote me out a prescription for Tibetan herbs and instructed me to send a check to his clinic in India. For months I would do this and I would get a notice from the post office to come and pick up a package. The herbs would arrive in a brown envelope that was lined with a different beautiful silk fabric each month. I would carefully peal the fabric off and use it in my artwork.

If I had a question for the doctor, I had to wait until 11:00 p.m. to call the clinic because of the time difference. I only did that once and the woman answering the phone said “Let me ask the doctor–he’s right here.” The call only took five minutes!

After I left the East Village apartment that day, I went home and looked up the doctor online. His name was Dr. Yeshi Dhonden. I discovered that he is a highly respected doctor in India and had been the Dalai Lama’s personal physician for twenty years. Wow. This humble man without any fanfare was a healer in the truest sense of the word. I later learned that Tibetan medicine originated from Ayurveda, and in retrospect recognize all of the similarities in treatment.

For several months I faithfully followed Dr. Dhonden’s recommendations and slowly but surely my symptoms disappeared, one by one, never to return. The end was not nearly as dramatic as the beginning.

This, of course, is just my story. If you are one of the millions of people with pain all overyour story might be totally different. But I want to offer a few suggestions that might help you.

F I B R O M Y A L G I A:

  •  is for FEAR. Louise Hay, one of the founders of the self-help movement, believes that “Fibromyalgia is fear showing up as extreme tension due to stress.” Fear can have a devastating effect on the body. Investigate any fear in your life (keeping in mind it might be buried so deeply you don’t even know it’s there) and how it might be contributing to your condition.
  • is for your IMMUNE SYSTEM. The immune system is most certainly compromised with anyone suffering from fibromyalgia. Louise Hay remarks about someone with Epstein Barr – “Pushing beyond one’s limits. Fear of not being good enough. Draining all inner support. Stress virus. This was certainly the case with me. Proper diet, sleep and supplements/herbs are needed to help shore up the immune system.
  •  is for BREATHE. There really is a right way and a wrong way to breathe. I held my breath or took shallow breaths in my upper chest most of my life. When I learned proper breathing in yoga class, everything changed.  Going a step further and practicing pranayama will further enhance the healing potential of the breath.
  • is for RELEASE. Stress, anger, fear, grief, anxiety, shame, blame. Your body is crying for emotional release. Old stuck emotions are lodged in our tissues, sometimes for a lifetime, if we never get around to addressing them. This happens for a reason–it’s the psyche’s way of protecting us from something we can’t handle at the moment. But if you have chronic pain, it is probably time to go there. So dig deep. Journal, scream, laugh, cry, sing. Let it out. Explore the possible correlation between fibromyalgia and trauma. PTSD. Possible sexual abuse. And get help in the way of energy healing, therapy, massage, craniosacral, acupuncture. Anything that resonates with you and will help you release what needs releasing.
  • is for OWNING YOUR LIFE. Past, present and future. This is your journey. If you believe in reincarnation and past lives, then you likely chose this path to help you grow on a spiritual level. So, explore your past and investigate your present life. Imagine your future free from pain. At all costs, avoid saying “MY fibromyalgia”. Do not let it define you. Don’t use it as a crutch. Use it as an opportunity to grow and evolve.
  • is for MEDITATION and MOVEMENT. Learning to meditate is one of the greatest gifts I ever gave to myself. I wasn’t meditating during my painful journey and I often wonder how differently things might have progressed if I had been. But all things happen when they’re ready to happen. It enriches my life and my health now in more ways than I can count. And moving your body, though painful it may be, is imperative. Avoid excessive exercise, however–instead opt for walking, gentle yoga, tai chi, qigong, rebounding. Get that lymph flowing. Something that you enjoy doing is key.
  • is for YES! Above all else, work hard at remaining positive. If you have to fake it at first, that’s okay. Look hard for the little silver linings.
  • is for AYURVEDA and ACUPUNCTURE. Investigate these ancient mind/body systems. They were both key to my healing. Ayurveda mentions in texts that are over 5,000 years old conditions that have the same symptoms as fibromyalgia. This syndrome is nothing new. If I could give only one piece of advice to someone suffering from it, it would be to seek out an Ayurvedic practitioner.
  • is for LOVING YOURSELF...first, then others. Avoid becoming a martyr. Avoid feeling like focusing on yourself is selfish. Care for your body, your mind and your spirit. With all of your heart.
  • is for GUIDANCE. Ask for help. From loved ones, professionals, your guides and angels (yes, they’re really there for you). Don’t try to do it alone.
  • is for INSPIRATION. There are two meanings to this word. 1. The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative. 2. The drawing in of breath; inhalation. Both meanings apply here and can help you on your healing journey. Be inspired. It feeds your soul and will help heal you on all levels. Do something that gives you JOY. Dance, sing, play with your inner child. Breathe in healing energy, breathe out old pain and grief. Dr. Vasant Lad once told me that old grief stays trapped in the lungs and that there is a pranayama breathing exercise to expel the old stale air/grief. I wrote about it HERE.
  • is for ACCEPTANCE and ACTION. By this, I do not mean accepting that you have this condition but rather acceptance of the path you are on and that you may have chosen it for yourself in this lifetime. If I hadn’t lived through my experience with fibromyalgia, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. And act on making the changes necessary to move forward. This may, of course require looking backwards for some answers.

This is just an abbreviated version of my story. But one thing’s for sure–fibromyalgia was my wake-up call. It was my dark night of the soul (one of them, at least). It was my gift from The Universe. I went through the fire and came out a new person. Just like after any natural disaster–a fire, volcanic eruption, a hurricane–life begins anew, and so it did for me. And it can for you, too.

Much love,
Barbara

Resources to check out:

Truth Heals: What You Hide Can Hurt You, by Deborah King. Learn about the chakras and their effect on our emotional and physical well being.

Healing Trauma: A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of the Body, by Peter Levine

Barbara Sinclair is a visual artist and holistic health practitioner with a passion for Ayurveda, the ancient mind/body system of healing and longevity. Barbara was able to heal herself from years of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, by adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle. She is now pain-free and joyfully shares these methods with her readers and clients. Barbara received her Ayurveda training from Wise Earth Ayurveda, the first school of Ayurveda teachings in the US. She is also a certified holistic health coach(Institute for Integrative Nutrition) and certified energy healer (Deborah King Center).You can contact Barbara HERE for an Ayurvedic consultation or energy healing session. To receive her monthly newsletters as well as weekly practical Ayurvedic tips click HERE.

Barbara’s Website: https://www.barbarasinclair.com

Barbara on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraSinclairHolisticHealth
                        Twitter: https://twitter.com/BSinclairJC
                     Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/BSinclairNYC/ 

To view Barbara’s articles on CLN, click HERE.




Staying Connected to Mother Nature and Following These Simple Ayurvedic Principles Can Revolutionize Your Life


Staying Connected to Mother Nature and Following These Simple Ayurvedic Principles Can Revolutionize Our Life, Barbara Sinclair CLN writer

Ayurveda, the 5,000-year-old system of health and longevity is deeply rooted in Mother Nature and her elements. Many people are intimidated by the complexities of this ancient science, but you can benefit greatly from its common sense wisdom without becoming an Ayurvedic scholar.

We are all a unique combination of the elements – air, space (ether), fire, water, and earth.

Think about the “fire” in our belly that drives digestion. The blood (water) in our veins. The air element that moves everything in the body. Without it, nothing would happen and our life would cease. There is space inside of us and our bones are of the earth. Air, space, fire, water, earth.

In Ayurveda, this combination determines our innate constitution (Prakriti) with which we were born. This never changes. Our present state of health (Vikriti), however, is constantly in flux.

The more we recognize both our own unique constitution and our present state of health, the more easily we can work to bring back balance to our body, mind and spirit.

Because we are all so unique, following a one-size-fits-all approach to health and healing (certain diets and lifestyle activities) makes little sense.

If this intrigues you, take this quiz to help you determine both your Prakriti and your Vikriti.  

No matter what your constitution is, Ayurveda believes strongly in a daily routine.

The body craves routine.

Think about how Nature follows a natural daily and seasonal routine. We are really no different, but the modern world has led us so far away from these natural rhythms that we are becoming detached from Nature, our very essence, and becoming sicker and sicker.

Staying connected to Mother Nature and following these simple Ayurvedic principles can revolutionize our life and almost miraculously restore us to good health – far more than any medication or herb.

 I’m not going to include the entire daily routine that Ayurveda recommends, but you can click here for a complete list.  

Try these age-old Ayurvedic practices and see what a difference they make

  1. Rise before (or with) the sun. We are wired this way. And here’s why
  2. Add oil pulling and tongue scraping to your oral health care
  3. Drink a large glass of warm lemon water to flush toxins that have accumulated overnight and to help get your bowels moving. Our body wants to eliminate waste early every morning. If this isn’t happening, it’s a goal you should work towards. Triphala is a great herb to help you along
  4. Exercise during the morning hours after elimination and before breakfast. And remember, exercise should rejuvenate, not deplete
  5. Sip warm/hot water throughout the day. This is a much better way to stay hydrated than gulping glasses of cold water. Cold water shocks the system and puts out our digestive fire, making it harder for our food to be assimilated. Warm/hot water bathes and helps the body detoxify. Add ginger or lemon, or drink it plain
  6. Eat your largest meal of the day around noon. This is when our digestive fire is strongest. Make it a healthy one to avoid crashing in the afternoon. But if you are going to cheat and eat something not-so-healthy, do it at this meal, rather than at dinnertime, when the digestive fire is low
  7. 10:00 am – 2:00 pm are productive times of the day, according to our body clock. It’s a great time for working on projects, creative endeavors, holding meetings.
  8. Eat an early, light dinner (5:00 – 6:00 pm)
  9. Avoid heavy snacking in the evening. It will only stress the digestive system.
  10. Get to bed by 9:30 – 10:00 pm. I can hear the laughter. But seriously, there’s a reason people get their second wind around 10:00. 10:00 pm – 2:00 am are Pitta hours, according to Ayurveda. This is when the body “wakes up” and begins to work hard at repairing and rejuvenating. If we’re up, reading, working, watching TV, our energy is going to be spent on these activities rather than healing that broken bone or detoxing the liver.

I guarantee that if you make these suggestions part of your daily routine, it will have a  life-changing effect on your health.

It the list seems daunting, start with one practice a week and go from there.

Pretty soon you’ll be living an Ayurvedic lifestyle more in harmony with Mother Nature and I think you’ll like how it feels!

Much love,
Barbara

About the Author

Barbara Sinclair is a weekly Writer for CLN. She is an artist and holistic health practitioner with a passion for Ayurveda, the ancient mind/body system of health and longevity. Barbara was able to heal herself from years of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, by adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle. You can learn more about her by visiting her website barbarasinclair.com. Barbara posts a new article every Wednesday morning on CLN. To read her former articles, click here.

This article (Staying Connected to Mother Nature and Following These Simple Ayurvedic Principles Can Revolutionize Our Life) was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Barbara Sinclair and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.

Please note: Any content written by Barbara Sinclair for Conscious Life News is provided for informational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your professional healthcare providers before beginning any new treatment. It is your responsibility to research the accuracy, completeness, and usefulness of all opinions, services, and other information found on this site. Barbara Sinclair or Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility or liability for any consequence resulting directly or indirectly from any action or inaction you take based on the information found on or material linked to on this site. Everyone’s body chemistry is different and what works for one, may not work for another. Please take care whenever making changes regarding your health. Though all information is reviewed carefully, Barbara Sinclair or Conscious Life News cannot guarantee, or take responsibility for, the effectiveness of the ideas discussed on this site.

 




A Baker’s Dozen of Self-Love Tips For the Holidays


barbara-sinclair-holistic-health-naptime

Wouldn’t you rather be doing this when the December holiday frenzy rolls around?  Recently, during a conversation with a friend, I gently suggested that she might feel better if she focused a little more on herself and her own needs rather than on everyone else’s. She looked at me and said “But I think that’s being selfish.” This is such a common reaction and in my opinion downright dangerous. So, here are a baker’s dozen of self-love tips for the holidays.

First of all, it’s always easier to work on others rather than ourselves, isn’t it? It takes a lot of soul-searching and honesty to get to know ourselves–the good and the bad. And secondly, what’s wrong with loving ME? It’s not about being selfish or uncaring towards others. In fact, I guarantee that when we invest the time in loving up ourselves, it will naturally spill out and affect those around us. It’s absolutely contagious!

I wrote this self-care list a few years ago and still find it relevant. I hope some of the suggestions help you breeze through this month with less stress and anxiety.

A Season For Giving (to Yourself)

The holiday season is all about giving, but we often forget to give to ourselves. Self-care is critical for our own health and well-being and also a critical component of our ability to care for others. So in the spirit of giving, here are some well-deserved gifts from you to you. Try a new one every day, until they become a habit.

  1. Forgive yourself. Guilt, shame, remorse – these are some of the most toxic emotions to our health. Negative memories may never disappear, but we often try to bury them. Chronically ignoring what scares or pains us will eventually make us sick and tired. Journaling is a great way to process emotions and work towards self-forgiveness. Just writing down the painful thoughts and memories as they come up (even in the middle of the night) is sometimes enough to shed some of the pain. Shredding what you’ve written can be liberating.
  2. Feed your body whole foods. This time of year makes people cranky and many are anxious about gaining weight from all of the holiday extras. Maintaining your ideal weight is actually fairly simplistic. The human body was designed to eat whole foods. That means food that has not been processed. Counter-intuitive as it sounds, many over eaters are chronically malnourished. Even if you eat a lot, if the food is not nutritionally sound, you will still be hungry because your body cannot get the energy it needs from the poor quality, over-processed “food” that is so common in our culture. No matter what your weight, it is important to eat plenty of real, whole foods rich in nutrients to remain healthy and satisfied.
  3.  Love yourself. Receiving affection from others feels good, but it is vitally important that we can also get the love we need from within. Learning to love yourself is one of the most important gifts you can ever give yourself. Spend some time with yourself, get to know yourself and give yourself a hug. And when you do this, you will find that a person who can find love within is often more able to give and receive support from those around them.
  4.  Be quiet. As a former resident of New York City, this is one of my personal favorites. A side effect of modern living, especially in cities, is that we are often bombarded by noise. Find a quiet place outside or stay in your home, turning off all electronics, phones etc. You may even try earplugs or noise canceling headphones. Meditate or just rest, taking in the sound of silence.
  5.  Laugh! It really is the best medicine. No matter how bad things are, laughter is one of the most important ingredients for emotional health. Studies have shown that laughter actually boosts the immune system and triggers the release of endorphins which are the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. They can even help to relieve pain. Treat yourself to a funny movie or sitcom and feel your stress melt away.
  6.  Give freely to others. Yes, this really is a gift to yourself. Giving freely of our time, love and compassion brings out our humanity and makes us feel good. Pay attention to your body the next time you hold the door open for someone or have a conversation with the l
  7.  Get physical. Think Olivia Newton-John. Whether it is the physical activity she sang about (great for the immune system, by the way!), or any other, movement will always make you feel good. Exercise doesn’t have to be a scheduled workout, and it should never feel like punishment. Adjust your routine to include taking the stairs, doing housework, walking instead of riding, and your body will thank you in so many ways.
  8.  Sleep. You would have to be living under a rock these days not to know how important this is to your health. The truth is, unless you are getting 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night, your body is not able to repair and rejuvenate like it needs to. My friend, Mary, is blessed with unrivaled sleeping skills, and the only person I know who always gets enough sleep and the good health to show for it. Some people have to work a little harder than others to achieve optimal rest – it’s just their constitution. For better rest try sleeping in a dark room, wearing an eye mask and ear plugs, not eating past 7 pm and getting sufficient exercise during the day. Also, remember to shut down all electronics early in the evening and give yourself plenty of down time before bed. Which leads me to #9…
  9.  Disconnect! Cell phones, land phones, computers, televisions, video games, iPods, etc., etc., sometimes it feels like we are becoming androids. For all the convenience technology provides, this constant stimulation can have very negative effects on our health. [Adrenal fatigue](https://www.theherbanalchemist.com/blog/2011/03/effects-of-stress-on-our-health-and-adrenal-glands/) can result from over-stimulation and the dangers of talking/texting while driving and walking are now well known. Leave the multitasking in the office and practice focusing on one thing at a time.
  10. Spend time in nature. Kick your shoes off (if the weather is right), hug a tree (just embrace it), sit by the water, feel the snow on your face, revel in the wonders of the sun and the moon and the ebb and flow of nature and life. If you can do this for even 5-10 minutes during your busy day, it will recharge your battery better than any prescription drug can.
  11.  Breathe. This is no joke, it is easy to forget to breathe well. I think I lived an entire period of my life practically holding my breath. Breathing in we take in life-sustaining oxygen and breathing out we rid the body of toxins. Remember, a proper, deep breath is when the belly goes out on the in breath and retracts on the exhale. Place your hand on your abdomen to see whether you are breathing properly. Even better is a big fat audible sigh (ahhhhh, or whoooosh) on the breath out. It’s a great stress reliever.
  12.  Spend time doing something you love each day. For one person, it’s reading a book; for another it’s watching an old movie. Relax your body and mind and nourish your soul by spending quality time with yourself – even if only for half an hour. If this is something that always gets pushed to the back burner for you, put a post-it on your bathroom mirror or schedule it into your daily calendar. Sounds silly, but until it becomes a habit, a gentle reminder never hurts.
  13. Give yourself a break! Nothing on this list is earth-shattering or anything that you haven’t heard before. If you fail to give yourself one of these gifts, don’t stress–just give yourself a break and start anew. That’s the beauty of life – each moment, each day affords us the opportunity to start from scratch.

And now, I’m off to re-read this list and take action myself.

Much love,
Barbara

P.S. Please come on over and check out my brand spanking new website!

Barbara Sinclair is a visual artist and holistic health practitioner with a passion for Ayurveda, the ancient mind/body system of healing and longevity. Barbara was able to heal herself from years of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, by adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle. She is now pain-free and joyfully shares these methods with her readers and clients. Barbara received her Ayurveda training from Wise Earth Ayurveda, the first school of Ayurveda teachings in the US. She is also a certified holistic health counselor (Institute for Integrative Nutrition) and certified energy healer (Deborah King Center).You can contact Barbara HERE for an Ayurvedic consultation or energy healing session. To receive her monthly newsletters as well as weekly practical Ayurvedic tips click HERE.

Barbara’s Website: https://www.barbarasinclair.com

Barbara on  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraSinclairHolisticHealth

Barbara posts a new article on CLN every Wednesday.  To view her articles, click HERE.

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These Five Seemingly Ordinary Foods Are Incredibly Healing


These Five Seemingly Ordinary Foods Are Incredibly Healing, Barbara Sinclair for Conscious Life News

When I was growing up I was deemed the picky eater in the family. “You ate like a bird”, my sister tells me. When it came to fruits and vegetables, I mainly remember apples, bananas, watermelon, iceberg lettuce, potatoes, and green beans.

Kale? Collard greens? Never heard of them. Dandelion? I just liked to play with the little yellow weeds.

I don’t remember any exotic fruits like mangoes or papayas. And the only coconut I ever saw was flaked and in a bag.

I’ve since learned to love all of the above and am happy to report that I’m no longer a picky eater. There are so many different greens at the farmer’s market that the choices seem endless.

Variety is the spice of life.

But, I’ve also come to realize that some of the common foods that most of us grew up with are just as important.

Here are five seemingly ordinary foods that are incredibly healing, along with an Ayurvedic perspective

Parsley

Who knew that that sprig of parsley sitting on your plate was chock full of healing properties?

“Parsley was revered for its medicinal potency long before it was eaten as a food. Native to the central Mediterranean region, the herb was sacred to the ancient Greeks. They used it to adorn victorious athletes and decorate the tombs of the dead.” Joyful Belly Ayurveda

This humble herb is so much more than a garnishment. Parsley is one of the most effective diuretics around from a natural food source. Many of us are in Kapha Season right now and might be feeling heavy, bloated, sluggish, and in need of some gentle detoxification.

Not only does parsley act as a diuretic, but it is a great detoxifier – especially at pulling heavy metals out of the body.

My own experience with this was years ago when a routine blood test revealed that I had lead poisoning (I was living in NYC at the time). My Ayurvedic practitioner recommended juicing parsley along with cilantro and grapes (also great detoxifiers). When I returned a few months later, the lead levels had significantly reduced.

Parsley helps to cleanse the kidneys, aid digestion, is high in antioxidants, and pulls excess water out of the body. The list goes on and on.

You can juice parsley, or add it to just about anything. I like to chop it and add it to salads.

Don’t underestimate the power of this humble herb. A little bit of parsley goes a long way and daily use of it can be beneficial.

Apples

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” The original saying is purported to be ‘‘Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” Either way, we get the message. Apples are good for us.

Apples are high in soluble fiber and can help remove fats and regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels. They’re heart healthy, high in Vitamin C and have an alkalizing effect in the body.

Ayurveda has a unique perspective of apples. It’s more inclined towards cooked apples (better in the morning, than before bedtime) as a healing food, rather than raw, especially for people with high Vata. Apples are particularly good for Kapha-type individuals.

I break this “rule” time and time again in the fall when my high Vata just can’t resist freshly picked, slightly tart raw apples. My mouth is watering now just thinking of them.

Pitta-types can best handle raw apples, especially the red kind, which is sweeter. Apples help to draw heat out of the body which is very beneficial for Pitta folks.

Here’s a good explanation of the difference between eating apples raw or cooked.

While Ayurveda recommends varying food choices, an apple is one fruit that truly is beneficial to eat each day. Ayurvedic practitioners suggest eating a stewed apple first thing each morning to reset digestion and encourage elimination.

Celery

What’s the big deal about celery? Just ask Anthony William, the Medical Medium, and he’ll tell you. Anthony is a big proponent of starting each day with a glass of celery juice.

Like parsley, celery is an amazing diuretic and is also a great detoxifier. Used along with parsley and/or cilantro, it can help pull heavy metals out of the body – something we should all be doing because of the toxic world we live in.

Celery helps to purify the blood, alkalize the body, keep blood pressure in check and a host of other health benefits. Read more here.

“Fresh celery juice is one of the most powerful and healing juices one can drink. Just 16 oz of fresh celery juice a day can transform your health and digestion in as little as one week.” — Anthony William

From an Ayurvedic point of view, celery is pacifying for Pitta and especially Kapha types, due to its diuretic properties. Both Pitta and Kapha contain the water element.

Too much celery can be unbalancing for Vata types due to the dosha’s dry nature.

Celery is a great food to eat during Kapha Season as it helps draw out excess fluid and mucus from the body.

Lemons

Chances are if you’re on this site that you already know how beneficial lemons are to your health. The ancient Ayurvedic ritual of drinking warm/hot lemon water first thing each morning seems to have taken the West by storm.

This simple practice helps to cleanse the digestive system of toxins that have built up overnight. Drinking lemon water helps stimulate digestion and elimination.

Again, we have a potent detoxifier. Lemons help to purify the blood, increase the flow of bile and flush the liver and gallbladder.

Lemons are loaded with Vitamin C and are a great addition to the diet for immunity boosting. I always up my use of lemons during cold and flu season.

During the summer months, lemons are renowned for cooling us down.

You wouldn’t expect lemons to have an alkalizing effect on the body, but they most certainly do. When eating out (restaurant food can often be highly acidic) asking for some fresh lemon and hot water to drink before your meal can make a big difference in how you digest it.

Click here for some more facts about lemons.

Bananas

This common fruit has become quite controversial, but I decided to go ahead and include it here.

Some people have eliminated bananas from their diet because they think they cause weight gain. You can Google “Will bananas make you gain weight?” and all kinds of articles pop up.

From an Ayurvedic standpoint, bananas can be clogging to the channels of the body, especially in someone with low agni (digestive fire). Kapha-types are the most likely to struggle with a weak digestive fire, and consequently weight gain. So, consuming lots of bananas may not be ideal for Kapha-types.

And yet, bananas are also loaded with nutritional properties and can be incredibly healing. They’re packed with vitamins and minerals and can be a lifesaver when electrolytes are low. They’re soothing to the brain and nervous system, which is why, in Ayurveda, they’re more pacifying for Vata and Pitta types.

Bananas can be very grounding for Vata people and can help pacify excess heat in the digestive tract, which can soothe overheated Pitta types. Read here for more Ayurvedic properties of bananas.

“Bananas contain powerful anti-fungal and antibiotic compounds as well as protease inhibitors which can help stop viruses in their tracks. This makes them highly beneficial for chronic illnesses such as shingles, Epstein-Barr, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and lupus. Bananas are also particularly good for lowering blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, neurological disorders, diarrhea, atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, coronary artery disease, Crohn’s disease, stroke, and kidney, colon, and lung cancers.” — Anthony William

Wow! banana, anyone?

This is the perfect time for me to say that no matter how healing a particular food might be, it all depends on our unique body, sometimes the season we’re in, and our present state of health.

Remember the saying “One man’s food is another man’s poison”?

This is absolutely true and it’s our duty to pay attention to how we digest the foods we eat and whether they balance us or not.

Sometimes, all we need to do is slow down and practice some simple eating habits.  Avoid overeating, eating at the wrong time of day, or combining foods that shouldn’t be combined.

So, if these five common foods that I’ve listed agree with you, enjoy the amazing healing benefits that can be had by eating them frequently.

Much love,
Barbara

About the Author

Barbara Sinclair is a weekly Writer for CLN. She is an artist and holistic health practitioner with a passion for Ayurveda, the ancient mind/body system of health and longevity. Barbara was able to heal herself from years of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, by adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle. You can learn more about her by visiting her website barbarasinclair.com. To read her former articles, click here.

This article (These Five Seemingly Ordinary Foods Are Incredibly Healing) was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Barbara Sinclair and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.

Please note: Any content written by Barbara Sinclair for Conscious Life News is provided for informational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your professional healthcare providers before beginning any new treatment.

 

 

 




Does Our Body Clock Know When Our Most Productive Hours Are?


Does Our Body Clock Know When Our Most Productive Hours Are? Barbara Sinclair for CLN

Ayurveda, the ancient mind/body/spirit system of health and longevity, would say “Yes!”

Like everything else that our body instinctively knows is best for us (sleeping at night, waking with the sun, eating our largest meal around noon, etc.), there is a four-hour block of time in our day when productivity is naturally highest.

10:00 am-2:00 pm. is Pitta time, according to the 24-hour Ayurvedic clock.

Pitta dosha (elements of fire and water) is the energy in our body which rules metabolism, digestion (including the digestion of thoughts), our intelligence, transformation, productivity.

People with a lot of Pitta in their constitution generally know how to “get the job done”. They are highly intelligent, motivated, organized, and generally driven people.

Pitta hours are when productivity can happen less effortlessly. The internal fire is burning brightest at this time – both in the body and in the mind.

I’m speaking here more about productivity in terms of performing jobs where we need to put our thinking caps on. Meetings generally flow better during Pitta hours.

Productivity in terms of a more physical aspect (working construction, for example) is best achieved during the Kapha hours of the day – 6:00 am-10:00 pm. Kapha is the dosha of stamina, stability, and strength.

Of course, not everyone working a job that needs a strong engagement of the mind has the luxury of beginning their work day at 10:00 am. But knowing that this energy is strongest during Pitta hours may help you work towards using those hours to your benefit.

This principle applies to all of us – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha alike – because we all have each of the doshas, in varying degrees, in our constitution.

And it relates as well to our personal time. Those dreaded tasks like doing our taxes are best tackled during Pitta hours, rather than evening Kapha hours when the slow nature of that dosha is getting us ready for sleep.

The second block of Pitta hours is 10:00 pm.-2:00 am. This time is also a productive time, but not an awake type of productivity. It’s the time in our cycle when the liver, a major Pitta organ, begins the process of detoxification.

If we’re awake during these hours (as so many Pitta-type night owls are), the energy needed by the liver will be diluted by energy spent watching TV, reading, working on the computer, etc. etc.

In essence, we are robbing the liver of vital energy needed to do its job, and our body will suffer greatly from our stubborn insistence on staying up during this time period.

10:00 am-2:00 pm. is the time of the “second wind” which most highly Pitta-types can’t seem to resist. This is when they come alive. I generally get eye-rolls when I suggest a 10:00 bedtime.

But if you bear in mind that those are precious sleep hours for the body – when that torn ligament wants to repair itself, or excess fat needs burning, or our brain needs resting – it just might nudge you into the habit of heading to bed by 10:00 p.m.

A much healthier option is to get to bed early and wake up in the wee hours of the morning. 2:00-6:00 am. are Vata hours. Our body would get the necessary repair time and would benefit from the Vata energy which is both highly creative and spiritual (this is why it’s also a great time to meditate).

This is all just food for thought in our busy lives. We get so caught up in our modern ways that we sometimes forget the ancient innate wisdom of our bodies.

I know that when I pay greater attention to the natural cycles of my day, things seem to work out smoother and I’m able to get things accomplished with less effort.

Letting Pitta hours work for us in a positive, productive way can help eliminate a lot of stress in our body and in our mind. Give it a try!

Much love,
Barbara

Additional Resource:

Live With the Natural Cycles – John Douillard’s Life Spa

About the Author

Barbara Sinclair is a weekly Writer for CLN. She is an artist and holistic health practitioner with a passion for Ayurveda, the ancient mind/body system of health and longevity. Barbara was able to heal herself from years of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, by adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle. You can learn more about her by visiting her website barbarasinclair.com.

This article (Does Our Body Clock Know When Our Most Productive Hours Are?) was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Barbara Sinclair and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.

Please note: Any content written by Barbara Sinclair for Conscious Life News is provided for informational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your professional healthcare providers before beginning any new treatment.

 

 




What Does Ayurveda Have to Do with Pizza?


The other day I 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

 

 

 

Barbara Sinclair is a visual artist and holistic health practitioner with a passion for Ayurveda, the ancient mind/body system of healing that originated in India. Barbara was able to heal herself from years of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, by learning and implementing ancient holistic practices. Barbara received her Ayurveda training from Wise Earth Ayurveda, the first school of Ayurveda teachings in the US. She is also a certified holistic health counselor (Institute for Integrative Nutrition) and certified energy healer (Deborah King Center).You can contact Barbara HERE for an Ayurvedic consultation or energy healing session. To receive her monthly newsletters as well as weekly practical Ayurvedic tips click HERE.

Barbara’s Website: https://www.barbarasinclair.com

Barbara on  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraSinclairHolisticHealth

To view Barbara’s articles, click HERE.




Ayurveda’s Tough Love Recipe for a Good Night’s Sleep (Or How to Sleep Like a Baby)

barbara-sinclair-ayurvedas-tough-love-recipe-for-sleep-compressedbarbarasinclair.com

How many articles have you seen lately about getting a good night’s sleep? A lot, I daresay. That’s because it affects us all and any one of us can fall prey to insomnia at any time. Don’t we all wish we could sleep like a baby again?

Lack of sleep can do more than just make us cranky and reach for a cup of coffee. It can make us crazy and it can make us sick. Our body depends on sleep to repair and regenerate. Without it, we’re vulnerable to a host of illnesses too long to list here. And forget looking and feeling our best. It just doesn’t happen without a good night’s sleep.

I know firsthand how horrible chronic insomnia is. When I had fibromyalgia, sleep was practically nonexistent. Pain and an overly sensitive nervous system kept me up most nights. Oh, the irony. I needed the sleep to heal the pain.

I used to joke that I felt like the Princess and the Pea because my bed felt like it was filled with hard pebbles.

I changed the mattress. I made my bedroom a beautiful haven. Desperate for sleep, I succumbed to a pharmaceutical named Ambien. Oh, boy, was that ever a mistake. I went from an insomniac to a sleepwalker doing all kinds of strange things in the night.

I finally found pain relief from herbal remedies and eventually my sleep improved. And only then, did the healing from fibromyalgia begin. But I’ve never forgotten how nearly crazy the lack of sleep made me.

We all know that our natural biorhythms dictate how we should sleep.  And yet still we treat bedtime like a toddler having a temper tantrum. We avoid an early bedtime at all costs. Can’t shut off the computer, tv or telephone. Just one more episode of our favorite show.

Had I known more about Ayurveda back then I feel certain that things would have been much different.

Here are a few basic Ayurvedic principles that are guaranteed to help get your sleep back on track:

1. Respect your biorhythms

Ayurveda divides the 24 hour day into six four-hour cycles.

2:00-6:00 a.m. – Vata Time
6:00-10:00 a.m. – Kapha Time
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Pitta Time
2:00 p.m. -6:00 p.m. – Vata Time
6:00-10:00 p.m. – Kapha Time
10:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. – Pitta Time

In terms of sleep, it’s important to rise towards the end of Vata time (2:00-6:00 a.m.), before Kapha time begins (6:00-10:00 a.m.)

The reason for this is that Kapha is a slow, heavy, often lethargic kind of energy. Sleeping into this time of morning will not result in a rested kind of sleep. It will set you up for feeling groggy throughout the day, even though you may have slept more hours.

Even more important is getting to bed BEFORE Pitta time (10:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.). During the evening Pitta hours, the body wakes up and the organs start doing their work, repairing, regenerating, digesting, etc. The liver is especially active at this time. This energy will wake us up and keep us up (i.e. getting your second wind) and make falling asleep next to impossible.

This time period is the most critical in terms of sleep. Sleeping from 10:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. will do more for your health than sleeping during any other period. Most people with a lot of Pitta in their constitution are the night owls. They laugh at me when I make this suggestion.

Preceding evening Pitta time is Kapha time (6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.). Just like the slow energy in the morning, we experience it in the early evening hours. How many times have you fallen asleep on the sofa during this time? This is when your body is ready for sleep! Take advantage of its wisdom.

2. Eat your largest meal at noon and keep supper light and early (preferably 5:00-6:00ish).

Pitta dosha rules digestion and metabolism, so eating during the Pitta hours of the day – 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.) will help the body immensely.

When we eat a heavy or late supper, our body will unnecessarily be given the task of digesting a big meal during evening Pitta hours, rather than being able to repair and regenerate. Digestion takes roughly 60% of our daily metabolism!

3. Learn to Meditate

Just like we have a sleep state, a waking state and a dream state, we also have a meditative state. It really is as important as all of the others.

Do yourself a favor and learn to meditate. Just twenty minutes, once or twice a day, will change your life and help your sleep state immensely.

An added bonus is that it’s a wonderful remedy for those who wake during the Vata time of morning (2:00 – 6:00 a.m.) and can’t get back to sleep. Meditating during these hours will often result in falling into the most delicious sleep you can imagine.

4. Turn off the lights and all electronics at least an hour before bedtime

The light really does mess with our melatonin and makes it hard for us to fall asleep. Light some candles, take a bath, listen to calming music or read a book (boring is better).

5. Learn how to do Ayurvedic self-massage (abhyanga)

Even newborn babies in India benefit from this age-old practice. HERE’S how it’s done.

6. Use herbal remedies to help with the transition

While we don’t want to become too dependent on anything to help us sleep, herbal remedies are food and can help us immensely, especially in the beginning.

HERE are some good choices from Banyan Botanicals, a wonderful source for clean, sustainable, organic herbs.

I had particular success using St. John’s Wort Extract when I had fibromyalgia. It had a three-fold effect for me – giving me pain relief, helping me sleep, and elevating my moods during the day. St. John’s Wort extract is widely used in Europe for depression.

Keep in mind that our bodies are all different and will react differently to herbs. What might be calming and sedating for one person, might be stimulating for another.

Also, most herbs take time to show any results. Be patient.

We can do this!!! What’s more important – our health or a TV show or Facebook?

I am right there with you. I have fallen into a pattern of not getting out of bed until 7:00-8:00. I feel groggy and lethargic.

This is not my usual routine. Morning is my best time of the day as it should be for everyone. Getting up before 6:00 is magic time in terms of creativity. I know this, and yet I can’t seem to put down that 1,000 page book that I’ve had my nose in until 11:00 every night.

I haven’t mentioned people who regularly work a night shift. It stands to reason that this fights against the body’s natural rhythms in the worst possible way. Aside from suggesting another job, all I can offer is that you nurture your body as best you can in all other aspects of your life.

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that can be helpful to alleviate some of the stress working a night shift has on the body.

I challenge us both to give these tips a try for two weeks and see if sleep doesn’t once again become something pleasant rather than frustrating.

Sweet dreams!

Much love,
Barbara

Barbara Sinclair is a visual artist, certified Holistic Health Counselor and Energy Healing Practitioner with a passion for Ayurveda.  Barbara was able to heal herself from fibromyalgia by learning and implementing ancient holistic practices, including Ayurveda. She is now pain-free and eager to share these methods with her readers and clients. You can contact her for an Ayurvedic consultation or energy healing session, or to read more articles on her blog, at barbarasinclair.com. Sign up HERE to receive Barbara’s monthly newsletters as well as weekly practical Ayurvedic tips.




We’re an Impatient Species – Especially When It Comes to Our Health

We're An Impatient Species, Especially When It Comes to Our Health, Barbara Sinclair Holistic Health & Healing, CLN

I used to run to the doctor for the least little thing. I faithfully went for all of the diagnostic tests that would  tell me if my body was healthy or not. Bloodwork, mammograms, x-rays, ultrasounds – you name it, I had it done.

Until one morning fourteen years ago I woke up with pain all over, and when Western medicine and a boatload of tests couldn’t explain the pain or make it go away, my exploration of alternative/holistic health began.

I use the term alternative/holistic health for lack of a better one. Maybe I should start saying “original healing”, because the type of healing practices I lean towards now have been around for thousands and thousands of years, not just a couple of hundred, like Western medicine.

I didn’t grow up learning about home remedies and healing herbs. We went to the doctor for antibiotics or the pharmacy for Tylenol, Benadryl, or Pepto Bismol. They seem so harmless because they’re sold over-the-counter, right? Check out this article about the possible link between Tylenol use and childhood asthma.

I’d never heard of Ayurveda, nor had I tried acupuncture.

My diet was pretty typically American. Those were the days of burgers, fries, and a Coke. Lasagna, hot dogs and pizza. I like to remind myself of that when I sense some judgment about to surface regarding someone else’s food choices.

But a door opened for me back then when the strange pain showed up and guess what really started to kick in?

My intuition.

What does intuition have to do with our health? A great deal, in my opinion. Intuition and awareness are both key to self-healing. They’re both connected, of course, and one is pretty useless without the other.

As a species, we’ve become pretty out of touch with our intuition, especially when it comes to our health.

Rather than deeply “listening to our body” and letting our intuition guide us, we often run to the doctor with the hope that a magic pill will cure us – immediately.

I know I did.

I used to panic at the least little symptom I felt. I mean PANIC. And even when there wasn’t a symptom, I could dream it up like any other hypochondriac.

But, thankfully this all started to shift when I had fibromyalgia. I began to ask my body what it needed. And it began to tell me.

Sometimes it was a herb, sometimes it told me I needed quiet, or Nature, or a major change in my life.

Sometimes it guided me to seek help from other healers.

Our intuition doesn’t always tell us what we want to hear.

As the years went by and I developed a daily meditation practice and began living a more Ayurvedic lifestyle (in harmony with Nature), the messages received via my intuition grew stronger and clearer.

Of course, I’ve studied holistic health methods extensively and continue to educate myself. This works perfectly in tandem with my intuition. Especially when an intuitive hit involves a herb, I always refer to reliable sources. Time and time again, I am amazed at how accurate my intuition has been.

A couple of months ago, I kept hearing “Yarrow” – both for things going on in my own body, as well as various health issues that clients were complaining about. No wonder, this miraculous plant runs the gamut from fighting bacteria to stopping bleeding to helping clear up urinary tract infections to aiding digestion. The list goes on and on.

Our bodies are comprised of the elements air, space, fire, water, and earth. It makes perfect sense to me to look to Nature for healing.

“We’re not connected to Nature. We ARE Nature.” Sandra Ingerman

But Nature doesn’t like to rush and we’re an impatient species – especially when it comes to our health.

Someone once said to me at some point along my healing journey

“It takes the body a long time to get out of balance and a long time to restore that balance.”

I try to remember that whenever I start to revert to my old ways of wanting a quick fix.

I believe, like in the case of me waking up one day with “pain all over” that there’s a tipping point in the body and mine had reached it.

So here are a few suggestions for letting your intuition guide you when your body or mind needs healing

  • Don’t panic. Breathe, meditate or go for a walk in Nature to calm your mind so you can think clearly
  • Use quiet awareness to take stock of what’s going on. Bedtime is a good time to do this. Is there pain, digestive distress, mental fatigue, depression? Breathe into it and send energy where needed. Let your intuition guide you. Ask your body what it needs in the way of different foods, lifestyle choices, etc.
  • When getting to know herbs, always reference reliable sources to back up your intuition. One of my favorites is learningherbs.com. Educate yourself
  • And when you ingest herbs, consciously feel the healing taking place – even when sipping simple herbal teas 

Please know that I’m not advising anyone here to stop going to their doctor, Western or otherwise.

Or other healers, for that matter. Often we need guidance from someone else to help us pinpoint what’s going on and the best course of action to resolve it. Especially during a health crisis.

Hopefully, you have a doctor who believes in the self-healing power of the body and in holistic health. That would be the best possible scenario.

Unfortunately, many medical doctors know very little about the healing power of food, herbs, energy healing, etc. They’re good at fixing things that are broken, and handing out prescriptions, but not usually getting to the core issue.

In the past two years, I’ve been to a Western medicine doctor twice. Once for general blood work and once for a strange allergic reaction I was having. Her only advice regarding the allergic reaction was to carry an EpiPen with me at all times. But, having a very Vata constitution, my body is extremely sensitive to stimulants and the thought of using an EpiPen slightly terrified me.

Instead, I opted to visit my Ayurvedic doctor who helped me get to the root of the problem and treat it with herbs for several months. Knock on wood, the problem slowly resolved itself with the use of the herbs and some gentle detoxing.

I can’t remember the last time I took a prescription drug or even an over-the-counter drug. It’s possible for this to be the norm, not something out of the ordinary.

I dream of the time when Western Medicine joins hands with all alternative and holistic healing modalities. And I thank the many doctors and practitioners out there who are already doing this.

But I believe we need to have a more active role in our own healing.

Learn to trust your intuition, your gut, and see what a difference it can make.

Much love,
Barbara

About the Author

Barbara Sinclair is a weekly Writer for CLN. She is an artist and holistic health practitioner with a passion for Ayurveda, the ancient mind/body system of health and longevity. Barbara was able to heal herself from years of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, by adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle. You can learn more about her by visiting her website barbarasinclair.com. Barbara posts a new article every Wednesday morning on CLN. To read her former articles, click here.

This article (We’re an Impatient Species – Especially When It Comes to Our Health) was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Barbara Sinclair and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.

Please note: Any content written by Barbara Sinclair for Conscious Life News is provided for informational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your professional healthcare providers before beginning any new treatment.

 




Nip That Cold or Flu in the Bud


Nip That Cold or Flu in the Bud, Barbara Sinclair Holistic Health & Healing

I can’t remember the last cold or flu that I had (knock on wood). But that doesn’t mean that I’m just lucky, or that I have a perfect immune system. What I do have is a list of to-dos that I implement when I feel a virus coming on that almost never fail to nip that cold or flu in the bud.

The key words here are “when I feel a virus coming on”, because, in order to stop a cold or flu in its tracks, you need to pay attention to your body.

AT THE FIRST SIGN of those subtle warnings – scratchy throat, fatigue, muscle aches, foggy head, sneezing, etc. – we have a short window of time to stop the virus from taking hold, or at least, lessen the severity of it.

While antibiotics are useless against a virus (and dangerous to take when not needed), many herbs have anti-viral properties.

Just the other day this very thing happened to me. I was exhausted from birthing my new website out into the world and had neglected my body a bit. Everyone around me seemed to be coughing or sneezing or looking like you know what. It was like swimming in a sea of germs on the PATH train.

I felt a little off like I was coming down with a cold. “Not happening, I thought”, and so I immediately

  1. Put 3% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in my ears. It’s been hypothesized that cold/flu germs enter via the ear canal. Whether this is true or not, I can say that simply doing this one thing has arrested an oncoming cold for me many times. I use regular strength hydrogen peroxide and fill a glass dropper with it (you don’t need a lot – even just a few drops is effective). I warm it under running water so it’s not cold. Tilt your head to the side and squeeze the dropper. Keep your head tilted for about 5-10 minutes. You may feel a bubbling or itching sensation in one or both ears. I don’t know if this is the hydrogen peroxide killing the germs or not, but while I’m waiting, I like to visualize that it is. Tilt your head to the other side and drain it onto a tissue or cotton ball. Repeat in the other ear. Do not try this if you have severe ear pain (see your doctor). I might do this twice on the first day and again the next day just for good measure. It has the added benefit of helping to remove wax from the ear canal.
  2. Took some elderberry syrup. Elderberries are one of the best healing foods around. They are phenomenal at boosting the immune system and warding off upper respiratory illnesses. I like to make my own (I’ll include the recipe below) which also includes immune-boosters like ginger, cinnamon, cloves and honey. You can also buy it pre-made – just be sure it doesn’t contain lots of unnecessary additives. Mountain Rose Herbs has a good one. I take 1T a day during the winter months and at the first sign of a cold or flu I up the dosage to 1T every ½ hour or hour.
  3. Added echinacea extract to my elderberry syrup. Echinacea is good at the onset of a cold or flu. It is not beneficial once the cold or flu has taken hold.
  4. Took yarrow extract Yarrow is also great for fever and infection, so can be taken if you actually do get sick. This step is probably unnecessary, but it certainly can’t hurt.
  5. Took a swig of Fire Cider (or Fire Tonic). This old-time home remedy tonic is generally made with some combination of garlic, onion, ginger, honey, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, horseradish and sometimes peppers. Yum. It’s enough to make the germs run screaming out of your body!
  6. Made ginger tea with honey and lemon and sipped throughout the day.
  7. Crawled into bed for some REST. Give your body a break when you feel a cold or flu coming on and let it do its job of rallying the immune system and destroying the virus.
  8. Gave my digestive system a rest by eating light – mostly broths and teas.

Continue Reading

Barbara Sinclair is a visual artist and holistic health practitioner with a passion for Ayurveda, the ancient mind/body system of healing and longevity. Barbara was able to heal herself from years of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, by adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle. She is now pain-free and joyfully shares these methods with her readers and clients. Barbara received her Ayurveda training from Wise Earth Ayurveda, the first school of Ayurveda teachings in the US. She is also a certified holistic health counselor (Institute for Integrative Nutrition) and certified energy healer (Deborah King Center).You can contact Barbara HERE for an Ayurvedic consultation or energy healing session. To receive her monthly newsletters as well as weekly practical Ayurvedic tips click HERE.

Barbara’s Website: https://www.barbarasinclair.com
Barbara on  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraSinclairHolisticHealth
Barbara on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BSinclairNYC

Barbara posts a new article on CLN every Wednesday.  To view her articles, click HERE.

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Healing Through Inner Medicine With Ayurveda

Healing Through Inner Medicine With Ayurveda - Food Heals - Barbara Sinclair

Food Heals

“No medicine, no matter how powerful, can replace your own. Life is simple. We’ve made it complex by adding massive amounts of material appendages to it, living in a state of over-stress, exaggerating our needs, believing that ‘more’ is better; but more options and more choices serve only to make an already packed life more weary and complex. The more consciousness you cultivate the fewer choices you need.”
Maya Tiwari

A great deal of what I know about Ayurveda I learned from Maya Tiwari, founder of Wise Earth Ayurveda, the first school of Ayurveda in the USA.

Always at the core of Maya’s teaching is Inner Medicine–the healing power which is innate within every living being on Earth. We need only reconnect to that source within us and live in harmony with Mother Nature to experience a balanced, healthy life.

Ayurveda is such an ancient practice that the date of its origin is unknown. It was an oral tradition first and eventually recorded in the Hindu scriptures, the Vedas, around 7,000 years ago.

Although Ayurveda originated in what is now India, the ancient Rishis, or enlightened sages, who brought forth this earliest-documented medical system, did so for all of mankind. The knowledge (or science) of life which is Ayurveda, is all about balance–knowing our individual constitution and staying in rhythm with nature.

I love Ayurveda because it is a gentle, holistic approach to not only healing but living a full, healthy and balanced life. It always seeks to find the root cause of an imbalance–be it emotional, physical or mental–rather than band-aid it with unnecessary and invasive measures.

Food, breath, and sound are the basic elements of Inner Medicine and the core of Wise Earth Ayurveda teachings. They are simple yet profound tools to balance and help heal the body, mind and spirit.

Food

“Food is the essence of healing. Nature’s foods embody rasa, the taste of life, and contain the universes’s energetic building blocks responsible for the body, mind, and spirit being fed, nourished, and celebrated.” –Maya Tiwari

We seem to be getting further and further away from our intimate connection with food. How did this happen so quickly? We eat out too much, often on the fly, and treat food as just a quick fix for hunger, without much attention to what’s in it or how it was prepared.

Here are a few suggestions to reconnect with the Inner Medicine of food and implement its principles into your everyday life:

  • Know your prakriti (individual Ayurvedic constitution) and eat foods that will keep you balanced.
  • Giving thanks for our food, be it in the form of a prayer, a mantra, or just a loving thought of gratitude before we eat, will keep us connected to Mother Nature–the source of our nourishment. Be mindful of where your food came from.
  • Eat healthy, local, seasonal, whole foods. Organic, if at all possible. Know where and how your food was grown.
  • Cook at home, as much as possible, so you are in control of what you are eating.
  • In Ayurveda, it’s believed that a happy cook produces happy food! While at Maya’s training, we ate three meals a day prepared by Ayurvedic chef Dhira-Michael Rocco, who lovingly chanted over the food as he cooked our meals. I had a very happy belly while studying Wise Earth Ayurveda! Don’t cook or eat when you’re stressed or angry. It’s better to skip a meal or wait until you have calmed down.
  • The old adage “Eat breakfast like a queen, lunch like a king, and dinner like a pauper” is good advice. Eat your biggest meal around noon when the digestive fire is strongest (Pitta rules digestion and 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. is Pitta time.) Dinner should ideally be eaten at 6:00 p.m., no later than 7:00 p.m., to allow enough time for the body to digest the meal before bedtime.
  • Slow down. How we eat has as much to do with our digestion as when and what we eat. We have become a nation of gobblers–standing or even walking while eating–rushing on to our next task. I often see New Yorkers hurrying down the street while shoveling in a piece of pizza or some other form of takeout. The body can’t possibly digest food properly under these circumstances and you will realize it hours later as you reach for something to relieve your indigestion.

Breath

Callligraphy by Thich Nhat Hahn

Callligraphy by Thich Nhat Hahn

“Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is a wonderful moment!”
–Thich Nhat Hanh

From our first breath until our last, our body’s autonomic nervous system sees to it that we are breathing, even while we sleep. Unfortunately, we have become a species of shallow-breathers, stressed-out and not giving the breath the attention it deserves. It wasn’t until I took up yoga and learned the practice of pranayama that I realized I had been breathing improperly for many years. Breathing only into your upper torso creates shallow breathing and prevents the body from properly expelling toxins and bringing in fresh, healing oxygen.

Prana is the Sanskrit word for life force.

“Prana is the breath of the Universe…Prana alone controls the breath of the planetary heart. The sharp rise of heart-related diseases is due wholly to the dysfunction of bodily prana, or the Vata dosha. When breath suffers, sadness prevails.”
–Maya Tiwari

Here are some ways to reconnect with your breath and experience self-healing:

  • Practices such as yoga, pranayama, qigong and t’ai chi all have a strong focus on breath work. They are great modalities for strengthening the breath.
  • A simple way to learn proper deep belly breathing (can be done sitting or lying down) is to place your right hand on your belly and your left hand on your chest. Take a deep inhalation in. If you are breathing properly, your belly will expand on the inhalation and contract on the exhalation. Breathe in and out through your nose. Try this right now!
  • Unresolved grief lies stagnant in our lungs. I wrote about a pranayama practice I learned from Dr. Vasant Lad to expel the old, stale, breath of grief. You can read about it here.
  • My favorite breathing exercise is one that a friend taught me when I had a medical emergency and my heart was racing at warp-speed. It’s perfect for high blood pressure, anxiety, heart palpitations and stress. You can do it anytime and anywhere.

Place your right hand over your heart center and your left hand on top of the right. Bend your head down so you’re gazing at your heart, then close your eyes. Think of something that brings you peace and joy. It could be a loved one, a flower, a song, or a place. Anything will do. Now take deep, slow breaths, in and out as you focus on what you love. Continue until you feel calm and centered.

  • In Roger Jahnke’s book “The Healer Within”, he talks about the “Remembering Breath”. Instead of (or better yet, in addition to) focused breathing exercises, take deep, cleansing breaths throughout your day whenever you remember. In the beginning you can leave little reminder notes around, or tie a string around your finger. The point here is to not hold your breath and to breathe deeply at every possible moment–when you wake and before bedtime, in front of your computer, while exercising, reading, writing, in the shower, etc.

Sound Healing Instruments

Sound Healing Instruments

Sound

Sound heals. It has a way of raising our vibration so that we almost immediately feel the positive effects, both physically and emotionally. I love kirtan and chanting–it has a transformative power to it. But if kirtan is not your thing, don’t worry. There are all kinds of ways to use sound as Inner Medicine in your daily life. Here are just a few:

  • Sing! Sing in the shower, sing in your car, sing whenever you have the opportunity. Singing opens and clears our 5th chakra (throat)–our seat of expression, creativity…our voice. Don’t be shy! If anyone looks at you funny, just tell them you’re practicing Inner Medicine!
  • Sigh! Sighing is really good for us. Just think how you feel when you let out a big “ahhh” or “ohhh”. Try it now. Can’t you feel the stress release from your body? I do this all the time now–alone or in public. Sometimes I get funny looks but most of the time, people ignore me or they smile.
  • Listen to music that soothes rather than provokes or depresses you.
  • Remember when you were in kindergarten and they had all those fun instruments? Well, guess what? You can still play with them! You can play them alone or join in a drumming circle or other group. Tibetan singing bowls are wonderful tools for healing. You don’t need to be a musical genius. I had just about zero music training in my Catholic school education. It doesn’t matter. I’m making up for lost time now and loving it.
  • And last but not least, get outside and listen to the sounds of nature. Or listen to an audio of nature sounds. Both are healing to the soul and reconnect us to our Source.

There are, of course, other important practices which help keep our mind, body, and spirit healthy, such as meditation, journaling, exercise and healthy relationships. Today I wanted to put my focus on food, breath, and sound because of the incredible potential for good health that they hold.

I hope I’ve inspired you to tap into your own Inner Medicine. When I decided to take back some of the power and responsibility for my own healing, a door opened and everything changed for me. I became whole again.

“Healing is simple. It is initiated within yourself through this awareness. Healing is a subtle thing–it is about the character of your ongoing relationship to the earth, sun, moon, sky, water, forest, animals, and children.”
–Maya Tiwari

Much love,
Barbara

P.S. Here are some wonderful resources to help you connect to your own Inner Medicine.

Women’s Power to Heal by Maya Tiwari
Living Ahimsa Diet by Maya Tiwari
A Life of Balance by Maya Tiwari
The Healer Within by Roger Jahnke

Barbara Sinclair is a visual artist, AADP certified Holistic Health Counselor and Energy Healing Practitioner with a passion for Ayurveda.  Barbara was able to heal herself from fibromyalgia by learning and implementing ancient holistic practices, including Ayurveda. She is now pain-free and eager to share these methods with her readers and clients. You can contact her for an Ayurvedic consultation or energy healing session, or to read more articles on her blog, at barbarasinclair.com. Sign up HERE to receive Barbara’s monthly newsletters as well as weekly practical Ayurvedic tips.




A Super Easy Way to Reap the Benefits of the Healing Aloe Plant


"A Super Easy Way to Reap the Benefits of the Aloe Vera Plant, Barbara Sinclair for Conscious Life NewsMost everyone knows the healing benefits of aloe for sunburn. When you go somewhere tropical on vacation, you can be sure to find a tube of aloe gel at the beach hut or in the gift shop. It’s a hot weather staple.

But ancient healing traditions like Ayurveda recognized aloe vera as a powerful plant for many common ailments.

In addition to soothing and healing burns, aloe is a friend to all skin conditions – eczema, bruises, cuts and stings, and rashes, just to name a few. Its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties can help stave off infection.

In the same way that aloe vera helps to heal our outer skin, it also helps heal our inner skin. The lining of our gut, as well as the genital tract and bronchial tubes, are soothed by aloe’s anti-inflammatory properties. It’s often recommended as a digestive aid.

You can easily grow these spiky succulents on a sunny windowsill in your home. Aloe Barbadensis is the species which is known to have the most potent medicinal properties.

If possible, try to find a plant that’s been grown organically,

Cut off a piece and carefully slice it open. It’s the clear gel inside that you want to use either externally or internally. You can use a spoon to scrape the clear gel out or carefully peel it with a knife.

Avoid the yellowish substance closest to the green leaf. This is known as aloe latex. It’s a juice which seeps from the leaf when cut. It’s very bitter and has laxative properties that can be very problematic.

*When taken internally, aloe vera gel aids the digestion and absorption of nutrients, helps control blood sugar, increases energy production, promotes cardiovascular health, improves liver function, and boosts the immune system.

The bitter property of the aloe plant helps the body discharge bile from the liver and gall bladder. It is an excellent addition to any cleansing or detox regimen.

All three doshas can benefit from aloe, but in excess, it can be problematic for Vata dosha.

The cooling properties make it an excellent choice for Pitta-types anytime, because they are hot, by nature. Aloe helps to cool and soothe Pitta’s hot blood, heartburn, hot bowel movements, and other heat-related ailments.

The cleansing properties of aloe vera can greatly benefit Kapha-types. The bitter property of the plant helps keep Kapha balanced.

Vata, Pitta, Kapha? Want to know your Ayurvedic constitution? Click here.

Aloe vera taken internally can help in the expulsion of parasites.

Many of the prepared aloe products available in stores or online contain the laxative-causing juice of the plant, as well as added ingredients. I gave up finding a pure source of the gel and finally settled on buying the large aloe leaf that I find in my local grocery store.

To prepare, simply slice off a two-four inch piece and remove the clear gel. Cover the exposed end of the remaining leaf and refrigerate. However, if you don’t use it up quickly enough, it will begin to discolor and lose its freshness.

I came up with a nifty way to get around this. I buy the leaf, skin the whole thing, and cut the aloe gel into small cubes which I put in an ice cube tray and freeze.

Now it’s ready to pop into a blender or just eat, as it. The weird slimy texture of aloe vera takes a little getting used to (not as noticable when frozen), but the health benefits are worth it!

You can add a touch of raw honey if needed, to sweeten it a bit.

Aloe is great as a quick cool off for Pitta-types or someone with a heat-related Pitta imbalance.

It’s also good for soothing mouth sores (cold sores, canker sores/mouth ulcers). And having the aloe already frozen makes it even better!

Wherever you are in the world, aloe is your ally, especially during the hot months of the year or anytime you need cooling off – inside or out!

Much love,
Barbara

Resources:

*Aloe Vera: The Ayurvedic Miracle Plant
Joyful Belly Ayurveda: Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera: The Ultimate Guide

Note: Pregnant women and children under five should not take aloe vera internally.

About the Author

Barbara Sinclair is a weekly Writer for CLN. She is an artist and holistic health practitioner with a passion for Ayurveda, the ancient mind/body system of health and longevity. Barbara was able to heal herself from years of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, by adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle. You can learn more about her by visiting her website barbarasinclair.com. Barbara posts a new article every Wednesday morning on CLN. To read her former articles, click here.

This article (A Super Easy Way to Reap the Benefits of the Healing Aloe Plant) was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Barbara Sinclair and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.

Please note: Any content written by Barbara Sinclair for Conscious Life News is provided for informational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your professional healthcare providers before beginning any new treatment.





A Warm Belly Is a Happy Belly

A Warm Belly is a Happy Belly, Barbara Sinclair, CLN, digestive fire

Cumin, Coriander, and Fennel Tea

Have you ever been in the middle of exercising and felt that your belly was cold and clammy? The reason is that precious energy has been drawn away from the digestive system, which includes major organs that lie inside our torso, and is being directed to the muscles and other parts of the body involved in exercising.

Roughly 60% of our daily energy goes towards digestion. That’s a lot, wouldn’t you agree?

Unfortunately, so many of us multi-task while eating, we rush through meals, eat at the wrong time, or skip meals altogether. We really make it tough for our digestive system to work properly.

When it come to the process of digestion, a warm belly is a happy belly.

We’ve all heard the term “digestive fire”. The word for this fire in Ayurveda is “Agni”. It rules the digestive and metabolic processes in the body and is an extremely important energy.

The production of hydrochloric acid in our stomach is key. Someone who is adequately producing enough of this acid will feel a slight warmth in their belly at mealtime.

We may take our digestive system for granted, but Ayurveda places an extreme amount of importance on it. In fact, Ayurveda teaches that roughly 80% of all illnesses derive from digestion problems.

Food that isn’t properly digested and assimilated into the body creates a substance called “ama” which is a toxic residue that travels throughout the body wreaking havoc and setting us up for a host of health problems.

No matter what health complaint you bring to an Ayurvedic practitioner, his or her first question will almost always be “How’s your digestion?”.

The intelligence of our body knows that it needs to stoke the fire before a meal so that it can be properly digested.

Hunger is key to this process. We should feel hungry before a meal. If we’re not hungry, then the body hasn’t been able to adequately stoke the fire. Given the lifestyle many of us lead in the modern world, our agni often needs extra help.

Here are a few well-known Ayurvedic tips to help warm your belly before eating

  • Keep a regular mealtime, as much as possible.The body loves routine
  • Our digestive fire is strongest around noon. Eat your biggest meal of the day at this time
  • Avoid drinking cold liquids, especially before, during, and after meals – they literally “put out the fire”
  • ½ hr. before meals, drink a glass of warm water, with or without lemon and/or ginger This will hydrate the stomach lining and aid the body in the production of proper amounts of hydrochloric acid
  • If your appetite is low, or you’re experiencing digestive issues, chew a little slice of ginger with some sea salt, lemon juice (and honey, if desired) before meals. Just thinking about ginger will likely make you salivate, which is a good sign!
  • Add more spices to your meals (unless your Pitta is high). Cumin, Coriander, and Fennel (CCF) tea is a famous Ayurvedic digestive blend. Sip it before, during or after meals. Turmeric and cardamom are also excellent spices for digestion. Add them to food or make a tea
  • Don’t eat another meal before you’ve adequately digested the last one

A low appetite is typical during the spring (Kapha Season). Kapha, by nature, is slow, heavy, damp, and cold. Not exactly qualities that stoke a fire. Kapha-types (or those experiencing a Kapha imbalance) often struggle with not feeling hungry at the right time. They generally need to spice things up quite a bit to heat up their bellies.

Again, the intelligence of our body is letting us know that now is not the time for eating heavy foods (like we need in winter) but rather lighter foods that are more easily digested. Click here for a Kapha-pacifying diet.

Remember, a warm belly is a happy belly!

Much love,
Barbara

A few relevant articles:
The Importance of Agni
A Simplified Three-Day Cleanse
Ama: The Antithesis of Agni

About the Author

Barbara Sinclair is a weekly Writer for CLN. She is an artist and holistic health practitioner with a passion for Ayurveda, the ancient mind/body system of health and longevity. Barbara was able to heal herself from years of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, by adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle. You can learn more about her by visiting her website barbarasinclair.com. Barbara posts a new article every Wednesday morning on CLN. To read her former articles, click here.

This article (A Warm Belly is a Happy Belly) was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Barbara Sinclair and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.

Please note: Any content written by Barbara Sinclair for Conscious Life News is provided for informational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your professional healthcare providers before beginning any new treatment.