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Making Ayurveda Digestible (Pun Intended)


https://barbarasinclair.com/making-ayurveda-digestible-pun-intended/

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Pretty much everyone that knows me or has visited my website is aware that Ayurveda changed my life by helping me heal from fibromyalgia. It seemed to be the final piece of the puzzle that brought me to the finish line where I could raise my arms in victory and say

“The pain is gone!”

In typical fashion for me, I devoured everything I could get my hands on to read about this 5,000+-year-old mind/body/spirit system of health and longevity. Out of everything I had studied in my quest to heal, Ayurveda seemed to make the most sense. Living in harmony with Nature, the elements, the seasons. It seemed simple, yet profound.

But at the same time, it could get very heady. This is an ancient practice, after all. My head would spin from all of the strange words like abhyanga, doshas, gunas, kitchari, prakriti, chyawanprash (I still have to look up the spelling on that one), just to name a few.

I’d never cooked lentils, let alone eaten Indian food.

I grew up in a mashed potatoes, meatloaf, lasagna and green bean casserole kind of home.

The spices in my cupboard were common ones like cinnamon and oregano, and most of them were tired and probably expired.

In the beginning, I fully embraced everything my Ayurvedic practitioner recommended and later on, did the same with my studies. One of my favorite courses with Wise Earth Ayurveda was called “Food, Breath, and Sound”. It opened up a whole new world for me.

Like everything else in my life, I seem to fall head over heels learning something new, only to move on to the next interesting subject. The way of the Sagittarian/Vata-type. We tend to get bored easily.

Well, this hasn’t seemed to happen with Ayurveda (although I am presently and voraciously studying Western herbalism). Ayurveda crosses my mind dozens of times a day as I consciously strive to live a more balanced life.

You see, I finally figured out that Ayurveda can be simple or it can be complex.

It’s your choice. If you want to dive deep into it like I did (and still do), go for it. But you don’t have to know all the terminology. And guess what You don’t even have to like Indian food!

So many people say to me “I just don’t get Ayurveda”. They’re curious, but think that all of the dosha-specific food lists are intimidating (they are) and that they have to know without a shadow of a doubt what their constitution is in order to understand the concepts (they don’t).

When I started to see clients and to write about Ayurveda, I decided that I was going to try to keep it easy and digestible.

So, here are a dozen simple but important Ayurvedic teachings that can revolutionize your health like they have mine.

  1. Good health starts with good digestion. I don’t care what is ailing you – be it poor eyesight or cancer – an Ayurvedic practitioner will always ask first about your digestion. Roughly 80% of our immunity resides in our gut, and undigested food turns to sticky toxins (called ama) which wreak havoc on the body. So it makes perfect sense to fix poor digestion asap.
  2. The body loves routine. It wants to eat and sleep and eliminate and exercise and work at roughly the same time each day. So, as much as is humanly possible, try to stick to a daily routine. Especially with meals and sleep.
  3. Begin each day with a big glass of warm water with fresh lemon juice. You can change it up with lime or ginger. Or just drink it plain. This will help to rehydrate you from the night, flush toxins from the body, and stimulate elimination (which should happen for everyone, every morning upon awakening).
  4. Hydrate more efficiently by sipping hot or warm water every 15 minutes throughout the day, rather than gulping huge glasses of cold water. I keep a thermos of hot water on my desk. If this is too hard to stick to, at least do it for a two-week period. This is a great detoxification tip. Check out Staying Hydrated the Ayurvedic Way
  5. Stoke your digestive fire. We actually have a digestive fire, called agni which prepares our body for digestion. You should be hungry and literally have a warm belly before mealtime. Eating without an appetite (weak agni) can impair our ability to digest food. And cold water puts out this fire! Drinking a glass of warm water ½ hr. before meals will hydrate the stomach lining, allowing for necessary stomach acid to form. To rev up a sluggish appetite, chew a little slice of fresh ginger with lemon juice and sea salt fifteen minutes before a meal. Read this article about re-setting your digestive fire. 
  6. Eat your biggest meal between noon-1:00 p.m. when our digestive fire is strongest. If you’re going to eat hard-to-digest foods, this is the time to do it – not late in the evening.
  7. Get to bed before 10:00 p.m. Yep. I see all of you Pitta-types rolling your eyes. You night owls you. Ayurveda breaks the day down into six four-hour periods. 10:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. is Pitta time. Pitta dosha rules metabolism, the production of energy, digestion. Our body “wakes up” (especially the liver) and wants to get to work cleansing, repairing and doing all kinds of work that takes a lot of energy. If we’re awake – eating, reading, working, watching TV – that’s where our energy is going to go and we will miss out on the most restorative hours of the night. Plus, when 10:00 pm hits, we get our second wind and have a harder time falling asleep. Ayurveda’s Tough Love Recipe For A Good Night’s Sleep
  8. Exercise to only 50% of your capacity. Now doesn’t that sound nice?  All Exercise is Not Created Equal
  9. Eat seasonally local foods. The way Mother Nature intended. Need protection from the summer sun? Berries are full of sun-protecting antioxidants. You have excess heat in your body from the summer months? Mother Nature provides apples in the fall which draw excess heat out of the body. And on and on. She is wise. Eat accordingly.
  10. Add meditation and yoga to your daily routine. Remember, Ayurveda is a mind/body/spirit practice and there is also such a thing as mental ama (toxins). Meditation was a huge component in my own healing. And yoga is the sister science of Ayurveda. One should not be without the other.
  11. Like increases like. This is a famous Ayurvedic saying and is nothing more than common sense. You run hot (Pitta)? Stay away from hot spicy foods, the hot sun, saunas, etc. Run cold (Vata & Kapha)? Eat gently cooked foods, avoid cold beverages/food, always dress warmly – especially around the head/neck. Think in terms of opposites.
  12. Tune into your body. Ayurveda teaches us awareness at a very deep level. Once you start to pay attention to the messages your body is giving you, you will intuitively know where to place your focus. Don’t panic. Just take note and then explore what healing options are out there.

I may no longer have fibromyalgia, but I still experience stress both from my inner and outer world. This is inevitable. And, as we know, stress leads to all kinds of physical and emotional challenges. Having the wisdom of Ayurveda in my back pocket has made my life so much easier.

Of course, each day I fall short of following a good number of my own tips. Hey, I’m only human. But I never stop trying. I hope these simple tips will help you, as well.

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 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.




Puzzling Out Fibromyalgia and the Epstein-Barr Virus


Puzzling Out Fibromyalgia and the Epstein-Barr Virus, Barbara Sinclair Holistic Health & Healing

Detail from “Ache” by Barbara Sinclair

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Two years ago I finally sat down and wrote a lengthy article about my healing journey from fibromyalgia. It had been over a decade since that morning when I woke up with “pain all over” and about four years since the pain had subsided. I guess I needed time to ruminate about it. It seems that puzzling out fibromyalgia is something millions of people are doing these days and I hope that I can help put some of the pieces together.

If you or someone you love is suffering from this painful condition, please take a moment  to read my former article. I’m not going to repeat what’s in it here – I just wanted to add a few important thoughts.

The main reason I wanted to check in again on this subject is an article that was passed along to me recently.

This article is perhaps the single most enlightening article I’ve read concerning fibromyalgia.

The Medical Medium—and What’s Potentially at the Root of Medical Mysteries, is on the website Goop and is about the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) and the role it plays in not only fibromyalgia but a host of other conditions.

The article contains a chapter from the book Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal (Hay House; November 10, 2015) by Anthony William.

“It’s the mystery illness of mystery illnesses.” — Anthony William

As I mentioned in my previous article, the way fibromyalgia appeared in my own life was waking up one morning with pain throughout my body. I thought I had the flu, but all flu-like symptoms (except for the pain) had subsided after 24 hours.

When I finally visited my doctor, his only guess was that perhaps a virus had settled in my muscles and I would just have to wait it out.

After multiple visits to Western MDs, I finally, in frustration, typed in the words “pain all over” on the computer, where hundreds of articles about fibromyalgia appeared. Back then, some of the doctors I visited had never heard the word fibromyalgia. I remember one doctor looking it up in a book as I sat in her office.

There were no Lyrica commercials to bombard us with this strange term.

When you have debilitating pain, chronic insomnia, extreme sensitivity to stimuli, overwhelming fatigue, etc. etc., it comes as a blow when all doctors offer are anti-depressants, sleep drugs and anti-seizure medication (Lyrica).

When I visited an infectious disease specialist and tested positive for EBV, I distinctly remember thinking that it was a huge piece of the puzzle.

But the doctor immediately burst my bubble by saying it was meaningless – that many people test positive for EBV. No kidding.

“The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has created a secret epidemic. Out of the roughly 320 million people in the U.S., over 225 million Americans have some form of EBV.” — Anthony Williams

Fortunately for me, this is when I made the decision to seek more natural, holistic methods.

It took me almost eight years before the pain completely left my body. All during this period, the thought of EBV would come to mind.

My intuition kept telling me that it was a part of the mystery.

I admit to feeling somewhat vindicated reading Anthony William’s article. Of course, some people will say, “He’s not an MD or a scientist.” But very little has been figured out by Western medicine about fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, etc. and I have learned time and time again over the years how powerful mind/body/spirit medicine is.

My body recovered with help from some gifted healers, by following an Ayurvedic lifestyle, eating clean whole foods, and nurturing myself as much as possible. My immune system slowly repaired itself.

After reading the EBV article, I can look back and puzzle some more things out. I don’t remember having mono but I constantly had sore throats and ear infections as a young child.

I remember crying for want of sleep. Raising young children was very depleting for me but I just chalked it up to motherhood.

Fibromyalgia struck at age 48 when I was perimenopausal and on the heels of the end of my 30-year marriage, in a state of extreme anxiety and stress.

Years later when I finally found my way to an Ayurvedic practitioner and he took my pulse, he said, “Your Vata is off-the-chart deranged” (an Ayurvedic way of saying “seriously unbalanced”).

In my own experience and in consultation with clients who have fibromyalgia, I see a propensity for Vata-type people (especially women) to be afflicted with this condition.

Because Vata is the dosha of depletion, any kind of physical, mental or emotional trauma can easily do harm to the immune system and lay open the door for a virus like EB to do harm.

Even if Vata is not the predominant dosha in your constitution, it is the dosha which becomes unbalanced the easiest, and we live in a very Vata-deranged world. Therefore, anyone who wears down their immune system and becomes depleted can unleash the EBV to wreak havoc.

“For example, if you physically exhaust yourself for weeks and give yourself no chance to fully recover, or allow your body to become deprived of essential nutrients such as zinc or vitamin B12, or undergo a traumatic emotional experience such as a breakup or the death of a loved one, the virus will detect your stress-related hormones and choose that time to take advantage.” — Anthony William

I feel no need to run and have a blood test to find out if the EBV is still present in my body. I’m guessing it might still be lurking somewhere like many viruses do. My personal approach is to try my best to follow a healthy daily routine that will keep my immune system thriving.

Ayurveda was a big part of my healing journey. And one of its principles is maintaining a healthy gut, where 80%+ of our immunity lies.

I’m healthier now than I was a great deal of my life. I haven’t taken a prescription or over-the-counter drug in years – and I used to eat Motrin like candy.

I’m not perfect, and I fall off the healthy lifestyle wagon just as much as anyone else. But when you experience a debilitating condition like I did and live to see the body repair itself holistically, well, you never forget it.

I’m actually grateful that it happened because it changed my life in so many wonderful ways.

I hope that by sharing Anthony William’s article, it will shed some light for you. I receive many letters from people who are trying to puzzle out fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, etc. that has plagued them for sometimes decades.

Never give up hope. It often takes years for these conditions to manifest in the body and sometimes years for it to come back into balance.

Be patient. Stay positive. Watch funny movies. Eat healthy whole foods. Sleep. Receive.

“Now things are different for you. If you have EBV, you now have a mind-body understanding of what’s causing your health problems. From this alone, your immune system will strengthen and the virus will naturally weaken. So when it comes to fighting EBV, in a very real sense, knowledge is power.” — Anthony William

Much love,
Barbara

P.S. Feel free to contact me if I can help support you on your healing journey.

A good resource from herbalist Rosalee de la Foret: https://www.herbalremediesadvice.org/fibromyalgia-natural-treatment.html

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.




Staying Hydrated the Ayurvedic Way


Staying Hydrated the Ayurvedic Way by Barbara Sinclair Holistic Health & Healing

barbarasinclair.com

A friend recently posted on Facebook about her intention to drink more water going forward because it has such simple yet profound healing properties. I couldn’t agree more and quickly jumped on her bandwagon, determined to put more attention on my own tendency to be dehydrated. And, as I usually do these days, I look to Ayurveda for answers, so I’ll share some tips on staying hydrated the Ayurvedic way.

I spent a lot of time in the Sonoran Desert the past three years and always marveled at how plants could thrive in the blistering dry heat. Cactus would be blooming in spite of the sporadic appearance of water.

How clever Mother Nature is to design plants in the hot desert climate to be able to store water instead of needing it constantly.

Well, we’re not a cactus, but we do need to be able to absorb water and get it to where it needs to go. The problem with a blanket statement of drinking x number of glasses of water per day is that our bodies are all different and handle water in various ways.

The Vata-type individual generally has the hardest time staying hydrated because, by nature, they’re dry.

Especially during Vata Season (right now for many of us in the Northern Hemisphere) dry conditions exacerbate the dehydration.

Many people with a lot of Vata dosha in their constitution are chronically dehydrated, inside and out, and it becomes a contributing factor in many Vata-type disorders.

They often suffer from something known as “kidney flushing” and, just like an overly-dry plant, they drink water and almost immediately urinate. This is obviously not good because the water is not getting to where it needs to go. 

Adding a little fresh lime juice and a pinch of sea salt can help a Vata-type retain water.

Conversely, the Kapha-type individual, by nature, tends to retain water and drinking too much water can be more of a problem than drinking too little.

Pitta-types tend to be hot and often lose greater amounts of water through their bodily fluids. They generally can follow the standard Western guidelines of drinking half their body weight in lbs switched to oz. For example: 120 lbs ÷ 2 = 60 oz = suggested daily intake of water. And of course, more water and added electrolytes are advised when losing excessive amounts of fluids.

No matter what your Ayurvedic constitution is, here are a few basic tips for staying hydrated

  • Start your day with a tall glass of warm water (with or without lemon). This will not only help re-hydrate you from the night, but will help open the channels and flush toxins (ama) out of the body.
  • Avoid ice cold drinks. Hot or warm water is much kinder to the body, is more easily absorbed and helps digestion, elimination and a host of other bodily functions. Ice water puts out the digestive fire. Overly hot Pitta-types can drink cool liquids but Vata and Kapha doshas both have cold properties and do best with warm liquids.
  • Drink a glass of water 1/2 an hour before meals to hydrate the stomach lining and aid digestion. This will also help eliminate heartburn and acid reflux problems.
  • Avoid drinking water during meals (a few sips of warm water or herbal tea is ok). Again, cold water puts out the digestive fire. This is where American restaurants really get it wrong.
  • Sipping hot water every 15 minutes throughout the day is an Ayurvedic tip for cleansing and hydrating the body. Sounds a little daunting, but if you keep a thermos or two around the house or office and set a timer on your phone, it becomes second-nature. Give it a try!
  • Sip another glass of warm water an hour after eating. This will also help with digestion.
  • Drink a glass of water before bed. A nice relaxing herbal tea can substitute.

Just these few Ayurvedic tips can truly revolutionize your health. I plan to get back on the bandwagon right now as I am feeling seriously dehydrated from traveling and straying from my normal routine.

Good luck!

Much love,
Barbara

Some good resources:

https://www.joyfulbelly.com/Ayurveda/ingredient/Water/17
https://www.watercure.com/wondersofwater.html

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.




Are You Afraid of the Dark?


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From my 12-21-15 post on barbarasinclair.com

Tonight here on the East Coast where I live, the Winter Solstice arrives at 11:48 p.m. This is the longest night of the year. Darkness prevails and winter is officially here. Are you afraid of the dark?

When I was a child I always needed a nightlight on. I was uncomfortable in tunnels and caves and being outside at night. As I grew into adulthood, I craved sunshine, and even a cloudy gloomy day would unnerve me. I loved the long summer days and short nights.

Not anymore. Something has shifted these past few years. Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s my meditation practice. Maybe I’m just more aware.

I relish all the seasons and still love a bright sunny day (I’m not a vampire!), but I feel completely content this time of year and crave the silence that I feel when cocooned in the dark.

Away from the big city lights of NYC, I drift off to sleep in complete darkness. And when I meditate, I put on an eye mask to block out any light. It’s in total darkness that I turn inward and hope to connect with All That Is.

Sometimes being in the dark does nothing more than calm my racing thoughts and fears. But the more I go into the darkness the more I get answers, messages, and experience a feeling of pure Peace.

It seems we’re always seeking the Light – the one at the end of the tunnel where our misery will end, or the one that can dispel all evil.

But until we learn how to embrace the darkness that visits us individually,  I don’t think we can ever fully experience the Light.

When I look back on my life, it’s mostly the dark, painful times that brought me to a place of illumination. They were unwelcome gifts that I didn’t want but somehow survived and moved through without looking back – stronger and brighter than before.

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” –Rumi

I like to think of the dark as necessary incubation – like the seed that’s  lying dormant underground for a while before seeking the light and growing again.

This is the gift of the Winter Solstice and the months that follow.

A time to pause, rest and reflect, before moving into action. For everything, there is a season. This is a time for deeply restoring and rejuvenating ourselves.

Don’t be afraid to embrace the lengthy darkness during this time. Instead of fighting Nature with electric lights, try using candles at night once the sun goes down. Turn off your electronics as much as possible. It really is a peaceful time which naturally allows us to slow down and go within if we choose.

Never fear, the days will again grow longer and the nights shorter. Mother Nature will lead us once more into the Light, inviting us to shed our darkness and leave it behind.

Happy Winter Solstice, my friends!

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 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.




Staying Calm in a Sea of Chaos


Barbara Sinclair Holistic Health and Healing, Staying Calm in a Sea of Chaos

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I don’t know how or when it happened. Having lived a life mostly in a state of high anxiety, I now find myself staying calm in a sea of chaos.

Actually, I do know how and when it happened. When I began meditating several years ago. Everything changed.

I used to be terrified of flying, being in elevators, riding on the subway, speed (the fast kind, not the drug kind), and on and on. How I lived in NYC for almost fifteen years, I’ll never know.

Like increases like according to Ayurveda, and the Vata-type individual is used to high energy and often seeks it out, rather than looking for ways to calm down. So living in that frenetic city was like a high I didn’t really need.

The holidays absolutely unhinged me. Along with fear and anxiety, the Vata individual is not very organized. So all of the hustle and bustle, shopping, entertaining, etc. made me want to retreat into a cave.

Everything changed for me when fibromyalgia stopped me in my tracks and I eventually found my way to Ayurveda, energy healing, and meditation. I had done yoga for years, but yoga alone wasn’t enough.

I learned more about the mind/body/spirit connection, and meditation allowed me to safely retreat into that cave twice a day.

The only expectation I had was that it might calm me down. I never expected it to rid me of most of my phobias and lead me to a place of calm that is downright delicious.

I crave my meditation time now. Missing it is like skipping a meal. And even though it’s easy to let it slide during busy days, I know that that’s when I need it the most and so I try my best to find a way into the cave for at least twenty minutes, twice a day.

I don’t sit on a meditation cushion or have a special little room. I either sit in my favorite worn leather chair or propped up with pillows on my bed. Even though my new apartment building is very quiet, I’ve continued my NYC habit of using earplugs AND noise-cancelling headphones, along with an eye mask. This is definitely not necessary and I have the ability now to close my eyes on the subway and meditate, but that extreme silence and darkness is a bonus.

This time of year, as we approach the Winter Solstice on December 22nd, is ripe with opportunity for deep meditation.

The veil between our world and the spirit world is thin at this time and you might be surprised who “shows up” in your meditation. Or not. I enter my meditation time every day without expectations. If I’m lucky, the record of thoughts playing over and over in my mind will cease for a blissful while. And that’s enough.

But on some special days, I’ll receive a message or guidance. I might see a flash of someone’s face or have a “knowing” about something. Often I’ll “hear” and “see” something that weeks down the road reveal their significance.

The beauty of meditation is that even when you think it’s doing nothing, it’s doing something.

Meditation is a vital state of consciousness – just like sleeping, waking, and dreaming. It helps rejuvenate the body and mind. It helps us sleep better. It clears us of old trauma. It is deeply calming to the central nervous system.

It’s nine days before Christmas and one day before my birthday. I’ve always avoided doing anything more than lunch with a dear friend on my birthday, because who wanted more activity during the holidays?

But this year, for some unknown reason, I kept getting a message to throw myself a party to celebrate the amazing year that I’ve had. I launched this new website, which in and of itself is enough to celebrate.

I don’t like parties! I’m not organized. I’m not ready. But I’m cool as a cucumber. Will wonders never cease?

And for this, I thank my meditation practice.

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 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.

 

 

 




Ginger and Turmeric – Super Roots to the Rescue!

barbara-sinclair-holistic-health-ginger-and-turmeric-super-roots-to-the-rescue

Super Roots Ginger and Turmeric

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I still can’t believe that the first time I bought fresh ginger and turmeric was well into my 50’s. My mother was Polish and well, ginger and turmeric weren’t high on her list of ingredients. In fact, I can’t ever remember seeing either of them in our kitchen. Ditto kale, pomegranates, collards, etc. I mostly remember green beans, mashed potatoes and iceberg lettuce. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’d give anything for some of my mom’s golumpki (stuffed cabbage) right now. 🙂

Fast forward many years later through a chronic illness to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where I finally started paying attention to REAL whole foods.

Enter ginger and turmeric – super roots to the rescue!

Ginger and turmeric have become two of my favorites and so when I discovered that one of my beloved farmers (Lani’s Farm) from my old farmer’s market across the river had FRESH ginger and turmeric root, well, I just about did a happy dance and headed back to the old neighborhood.

Some people get excited about chocolate or wine, I get giddy when I see whole, fresh, pesticide-free produce!

I thought this would be a good time to talk about these two super roots because some folks will be feeling stuffed and bloated tomorrow. With a little help from your friends ginger and turmeric, you might feel a whole lot better.

Ginger

Ginger is one of the famous “trinity roots” in Ayurveda (along with onions and garlic). In fact, many Ayurvedic practitioners say that ginger is one of the most important spices we can consume and should consume – every day. They literally consider it a medicine chest in itself.

This super root can help

  • Improve digestion
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Thin the blood, help blood circulation
  • Eliminate toxins from the body
  • Stop nausea in its tracks – great for morning/sea sickness
  • Prevent colds and flu, or shorten duration
  • Keep joints healthy
  • Immunity

But not all ginger is created equal. Fresh and dry ginger have very different properties and assimilate accordingly.

Fresh ginger will surprisingly help reduce a fever, eliminate heartburn and ease migraines.

Dried ginger is very pungent and helps clear congestion. It’s most often used to eliminate cold and damp in the body and to help with respiratory ailments. Because of its heating/drying properties, it should be used sparingly if Pitta (heat) or Vata (dry) is in excess.

A great way to kindle your digestive fire (especially before lunch and dinner) is to either

  • Slice an ⅛” of fresh ginger and put a little sea salt on it. Chew before your meals
  • Grate a little fresh ginger, add a pinch of sea salt, few drops of lemon juice, ¼ tsp. of raw honey and eat before meals. You can add a pinch of ajwain seeds for an extra digestive aid

You can find really fresh dry ginger here.

Turmeric

If you don’t know about the healing properties of this super root, well you might just be living under a rock!

So much has been written lately about turmeric and its healing properties, especially in terms of brain health. India, where this beautiful golden yellow spice comes from and is a daily staple, has one of the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s Disease – in fact, it’s practically nonexistent.

Dr. John Douillard says “Because the brain is predominantly fatty tissue, fat-soluble toxins may accumulate in the brain and cause damage. As a fat-soluble substance, turmeric may have an affinity for chelating (removing) fat-soluble toxins out of the deep tissues.”

In addition to supporting cognition, turmeric boasts these healing properties

  • Supports our moods, helps sleep, fights depression
  • Supports our gut and the flow of bile – a healthy gut is vital for our overall health
  • Amazing anti-inflammatory – inflammation is known to be at the root of many diseases
  • Boosts antioxidant levels
  • Anti-aging
  • Supports heart health
  • Nourishes the skin
  • Supports the nervous system
  • Helps with liver function
  • Supports healthy blood sugar levels
  • Promotes digestion

If you can find fresh turmeric, great, but often the powdered is much more readily available. Try to find the freshest you can. It should be a deep orange/yellow color. I like to buy my powdered turmeric here.

If you can add these spices starting tomorrow when digestion issues are rampant, great! If not, start adding turmeric and ginger to your daily routine and see how you feel.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Much love,
Barbara

Resources:
https://lifespa.com/power-packed-research-behind-ginger/
https://lifespa.com/turmeric-a-most-amazing-spice/
https://organicindia.mercola.com/herbal-supplements/turmeric.aspx

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.

 




Who Went and Put the Holidays Smack Dab in the Middle of Vata Season?


barbara-sinclair-holidays-and-vata-season

www.barbarasinclair.com

This year, armed with my ever-growing knowledge of Ayurveda, I am facing the holidays with a new sense of understanding, freedom, peace and CALM. Usually, as soon as Halloween is over, I’m filled with panic and dread.

Who went and put the holidays smack dab in the middle of Vata Season?

The holidays seem to be all about staying organized, time management, scheduling, and upsetting your regular routine. Learning about Ayurveda finally made me understand why the holiday months have always derailed me.

All of those qualities that help to make this time enjoyable and minimally stressful are, unfortunately, not characteristics of Vata dosha.

Vata-types often tend to be disorganized, creative, fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants types, and extremely prone to depletion.

Of course, there are exceptions, and most of us have constitutions that are dual-doshic or tri-doshic. But for someone with a lot of Vata in their constitution, this time of year can seem impossible to endure. Vata-types can feel chaotic and unhinged even on days when there’s no holiday in sight.

So, how do Pitta-types handle the holidays? Well, they are generally the most organized of the doshas. Although Pitta-types can be overworked and overstressed (many Type A’s are Pitta), and we live in a very Vata-paced world, they at least have the skills to get through.

They might have their shopping done months ago, cookies are baked and in the freezer and the tree is bought and decorated. They attack their to-do list with a vengeance.

And what about the beloved Kapha-type? Well, they might not be as motivated as the Pitta-type or disorganized as the Vata-type, but what is most important to them is family.

So the holidays can either fill them with joy or depress them, depending on the state of affairs in their family. A Kapha-type can easily slip into depression if they find themselves alone at the holidays.

If we can take a moment to understand each other better based on our constitutions, the holidays just might be a little less stressful and more enjoyable for all of us.

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

Thanks to Ayurveda, once I recognized these differences for what they are (our constitutions never change) I was able to let go of unrealistic expectations I had put on myself. I now do just a fraction of what I used to.

I don’t bake cookies or send cards or even buy many gifts anymore. This seemed criminal at first, when one by one I dropped these to-do’s from my list. I’ll put some lights and ornaments on my nine foot cactus and maybe go into the city to see the decorations.

I already feel myself slipping into hibernation in spite of the unseasonably warm weather. I love to burrow in, read and watch movies.

It’s no coincidence that this time of year is ripe with spiritual gifts. The veil between our world and the spiritual world is very thin now and it’s a time for deep meditation, reflection and dreaming.

Vata-types are generally very spiritual. They often live more comfortably “in the clouds” rather than grounded in this world. This is even more pronounced during Vata Season.

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

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

And Pitta-types, this quote is for you (Vatas too!):

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

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

Much love,
Barbara

P.S. Don’t know your Ayurvedic constitution? Click HERE to take a simple quiz.

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.

 




What’s All This Hype About Cleansing?

March

https://barbarasinclair.com/whats-all-this-hype-about-cleansing/

This is where I want to be on a cold, damp blustery March day. Sitting in the Poet’s House in Battery Park City, NY – warm and dry and surrounded by books.

March is not exactly a favorite month for most people. At least not for those of us living where wind, rain, sleet, snow, and damp cold weather are typical of late winter. Anything goes. I can feel it in my bones just writing about it. March roars in like a lion, they say, and out like a lamb. It’s such a transitory month.

I may have been lucky enough to have a respite in Hawaii, but I’m already tucked right back in my cocoon in Jersey City.

I happen to like cocooning and so I’m feeling a little anxious knowing that my hibernating time is coming to a close. If all goes according to Mother Nature’s plan, however, soon I will feel ready to burst forth with stored energy and fresh ideas from the winter.

One good thing about gloomy March is that it gives us a few weeks to tackle (or at least think about tackling) some things that have been crying for attention. Think inner and outer world. Mind/body/spirit AND your clothes closet and relationships. Spring cleaning…or cleansing.

So, what is all this hype about cleansing?

Until I entered this sometimes mysterious world of holistic health I had never heard of the concept of cleansing. For most of us, cleansing meant soaping up our bodies during our daily shower or bath.

Over the past several years, the topic of dietary cleansing has become absolutely front and center. Juice cleanses, liver flushing and the Master Cleanse have all become household words.

But probably the most ancient and effective method of cleansing and rejuvenation began thousands of years ago with the Ayurvedic practice from India known as panchakarma.

Originally intended for royalty to promote longevity, panchakarma (means five actions) is still widely practiced in India and has gained popularity in the West.

Panchakarma is usually done over a two to three week period and should be done under the supervision of an Ayurvedic doctor to insure that the cleanse is safe and effective for your particular constitution.

People who have undergone panchakarma will attest that the healing effects are profound.

March/April and September/October are the months generally chosen for this type of deep cleansing, but it can be done at other times during the year, as well. I highly recommend looking into panchakarma treatment if you are dealing with serious health issues, especially those of a chronic nature.

But because cleansing for most of us is something we need to ease ourselves into, I want to focus today on sharing some easy tips that you can do yourself to help clean your system of toxins, give your digestion a rest, and reset your digestive fire.

Mother Nature knows that Kapha Season (late winter-early spring) is the best time for cleansing. She wisely provides us with the foods/herbs that naturally work to detoxify the body after a long winter of eating heavier, fattier and often sugar-laden foods.

If we don’t rid the body of excess fat and mucus at this time, it will rebel. Spring colds, stomach upset and lung congestion are all signs of excess mucus.

Ama, an Ayurvedic term for a toxic gunk formed from undigested food, travels in the body and its presence can lead to all kinds of disease. This substance needs to be eliminated if we hope to stay healthy, and spring is one of the best seasons to do this.

There is even mental amathose destructive undigested thoughts and emotions that wreak havoc on our mind and body.  That’s why an Ayurvedic type of cleanse will always address both mental and physical imbalances by recommending journaling, meditation, pranayama (deep breathing), spending time in nature, and eating foods that will support a healthy state of body/mind.

Begin by eliminating troublesome foods and other substances.

  • Take a week to wean yourself off of foods and other substances you know are your weaknesses, aka addictions – coffee, caffeinated tea, chocolate, soda, junk food, alcohol, recreational drugs/tobacco, etc. A friendly tip – get them out of your house and go slowly – especially with coffee.  
  • Eliminate foods that are mucus-forming such as sugar, meat, dairy, wheat and eggs.

Add more cleansing foods to your diet.

Certain foods are excellent at helping to move congested, sluggish lymph and support the vital organs, especially the liver and gallbladder. The right foods will also help to cleanse our circulatory system which is often limping along after a winter of indulging in sweets and fatty food.

A popular Ayurvedic saying is “Bitter is better”. Bitter foods help to stimulate digestion and healthy bile flow. 

Some good food choices for spring cleansing are:

  • Beets and carrots–cooked or juiced
  • Apples–stewed, raw or juiced
  • Leafy greens (bitter) like dandelion, kale, arugula, collard greens, spinach, etc.
  • Lemons, limes and grapefruits
  • Healthy fats (in small amounts) like ghee, virgin coconut oil and cold pressed olive oil
  • Gluten-free whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat and millet
  • Spices/herbs like turmeric, cumin, fennel, coriander, ginger, manjistha
  • Kitchari – an Ayurvedic dish consisting of yellow split mung dal (lentils) and basmati rice along with spices is an excellent food to eat during a cleanse or anytime you’ve overindulged. It’s a complete protein meal which is easily digestible. There are a myriad of ways to cook kitchari. I don’t find it necessary to soak the lentils for a long time like whole lentils. If I have time, I will for a bit. You can also add a small piece of kombu which will help eliminate gas if that’s a problem. You can purchase an all-in-one kit of ingredients HERE.

Beets:Web

The mighty beet is a major cleansing food in Ayurveda

Properly hydrate. One of the main reasons we cleanse is to reset our digestive fire which can become sluggish and weak due to ama buildup. Truly good health is impossible without a well-functioning digestive system and dehydration is a big reason many of us have weak digestion.

Some tips for proper hydration are:

  • Avoid cold liquids. They literally put out the digestive fire.
  • Sip warm/hot water and non-caffeinated herbal teas consistently throughout the day rather than chugging down glassfuls of water. It is a much more efficient way to hydrate and also helps clear toxins from our system. Ideally, sip a bit of hot water each half hour. (I set my phone timer to remind me.)
  • Vata types generally have the most problem staying hydrated, no matter how much water they drink. A pinch of sea salt in warm water with or without fresh lime can help with this.
  • Read this great article on hydration.
  • Kapha types tend to retain too much water and should be careful not to drink voluminous amounts of water.
  • Drink a glass of warm water with lemon, lime and/or fresh ginger a half hour before your meals to hydrate the stomach and produce enough hydrochloric acid to digest your food.
  • Avoid drinking liquids with meals, except for sipping a bit of herbal tea. And drinking liquids directly after a meal will make digestion even more difficult. Best to wait about an hour.

Follow a regular meal routine. Our bodies like routine and our digestive fire depends on regularity.

  • Eat a light breakfast between 7-8 a.m. Vata types need a little more protein. Kaphas can get away with no breakfast or just a little fruit if they’re not hungry.
  • Eat your biggest meal between noon and 1:00 p.m. Our digestive fire is strongest at this time of day.
  • Eat a light dinner around 5:30-6:00 p.m.
  • Avoid snacking after dinner. You will be completing a mini fast each night if you follow this simple suggestion.

Remember, cleansing is not just about what we eat or don’t eat. Here are a few tips for clearing out mind clutter, emotional baggage and our environment:

  • Focus on eliminating negative thoughts and actions.
  • Journal, journal, journal those thoughts! It’s an effective way of moving them out of the body/mind.
  • Get bodywork. This is an excellent time for massage, acupuncture, energy healing, craniosacralchi nei tsang, etc. Stuck energy needs to get worked out of the body before disease sets in. I love Ayurvedic abhyanga massage which is both detoxifying, calming, and centered around your particular dosha.
  • Check out The Emotion Code.
  • Clear your surrounding of unnecessary clutter. We all know how good that makes us feel and how much clarity it gives us.
  • Clear your life of unnecessary toxic relationships. There’s no time like spring for this uncomfortable task.
  • Let there be light! If you’re living in a cold gloomy climate right now and can’t hop a plane to Florida, invest in a light box and optimize your Vitamin D3 levels. Oral supplementation is not always effective if your liver is particularly toxic. I love this Vata Abhyanga Oil with Magnesium and Vitamin D. I’ve been using it all winter. Smells great!

A word about the doshas:

Vata is the most sensitive of the doshas and care should be taken not to attempt too intense of a cleanse. Rather than balancing the dosha, a harsh cleanse can easily drive Vata even more out of balance.

Vata is the dosha of depletion and so Vata-types should primarily focus on calming, nurturing and rejuvenating the dosha, rather than cleansing. Juice fasts are generally not the best type of cleanse for Vata types because they are cold, light and dry – all unbalancing.

Pitta types usually have the easiest time cleansing, especially in the spring when the weather is still cool. They have lots of internal heat and generally very strong digestive fires. Pitta types are also the ones who do best with green juices because of their cooling nature.

Kapha types are the least likely to even consider a cleanse, although they are the ones who benefit the most because of their often sluggish metabolism.

March is a very difficult month for Kapha types (please read my article on Kapha Season) and depression is a real problem at this time. They would much rather bury themselves under the covers for a couple of months than get up and get moving. Kapha types generally have both internal and external sluggishness which is especially prevalent at this time.

Remember that most of us are dual-dosha types and should put our emphasis on whichever dosha is dominant during a particular season (or any given moment, for that matter!)

Hang in there!

First and foremost, when doing any type of a cleanse, listen to your own body. Start with baby steps, perhaps just by assessing whether you’re chronically dehydrated or not, or by eliminating the habit of snacking in the evening.

If you overdue it, especially your first time around, you may do more harm than good. An over-rigorous cleanse can have the opposite effect and drive toxins deeper into the tissues or overtax the organs.

Consulting with an Ayurvedic practitioner is always a good idea to help you figure out your particular needs based on your constitution.

Unfortunately, we live in a toxic world now with a food system that does little to help us stay healthy. It’s up to us as individuals to make smart choices for ourselves and our children.

Soon the weather will change and tempt us outdoors to play. We can take advantage of this last bit of winter down time to clear out that which is weighing us down – both literally and figuratively.

Ayurveda is all about common sense and feeling into the wisdom of your own body. This is how our ancestors lived and thrived for generations. Ayurveda is not some complicated restrictive system of medicine only for academics. It is our birthright and the knowledge that it brings is part of our ancestral memory. Tap into it and you will be amazed!

Much love,
Barbara

Here are some great resources to help motivate and support you.

Spring Colorado Cleanse: 14 Day Guided Ayurvedic Detox and Digestion Rejuvenation
Banyan Botanicals Spring Cleanse Guide
How to do Panchakarma at Home
How to Choose a Panchakarma Retreat Center
The Easy Way to Stop Smoking By Allen Carr (It really works!)

Are you unsure of your Ayurvedic constitution? Click HERE to take a simple quiz.

Need a little help getting back in balance? Sign up for a consultation via phone or Skype (or come see me in person in NYC!).

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.




Ayurveda and Flip-Flopping Weather


barbara-sinclair-ayurveda-and-the-flip-flopping-weather

It seems like these days anything goes with the weather. One day we’re getting down the boxes of scarves, hats and gloves, and the next day we’re back in tank tops and flip flops.

A brave soul whispered to me (on a near 80 degree sunny day last month) “I don’t like this.” This sounds almost blasphemous to most of us – after all, who doesn’t love a warm sunny day?

Well, from an Ayurvedic perspective, that person is probably really tuned into his body. It wasn’t the hot day, per se that was challenging him, but the way the weather was flip-flopping (pun intended).

Our bodies have a difficult time adjusting to the change of seasons, especially as we age. I write about this a lot because it’s really really important.  

Many of us (I live in the Northeastern US) are in Vata Season now. So those of us who have a lot of Vata in our constitution, or those who have a Vata imbalance (which is very common in our fast-paced world) can really feel anxiety, nervousness, fear or an overall sensation of ungroundedness amp up in the fall when Vata Season begins.

Because Vata dosha is in charge of temperature regulation, this back-and-forth weather can be especially unsettling for Vata-types.

As much as I don’t like cold weather, I notice that I feel much calmer once the weather has settled into a pattern. In our world today, however, this seems like it could be a thing of the past.

The easiest way to avoid getting sick, rundown, or plagued with anxiety and fear, is to REALLY tune into your body. It’s a skill that we can all learn.

It may sound simplistic, but really tuning into our bodies the Ayurvedic way – through awareness of the elements (air, ether, fire, water and earth), we can achieve the kind of balance that is found in all of Nature.

Here are some easy ways to help you navigate the challenges of seasonal change and especially Vata Season.

Stay cool/warm while enjoying the beauty of my favorite season – autumn.

Much love,
Barbara

Barbara Sinclair is a visual artist, 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.

 




The Patience to Peel a Pomegranate


https://barbarasinclair.com/the-patience-to-peel-a-pomegranate/

Sometimes you need to put in a little effort to reap the reward. Such is the case with a pomegranate. 

It takes patience to peel a pomegranate.

Lots of folks pass up this powerhouse fruit because it seems like too much work.

Or the seeds have a funny consistency.

Or it’s not sweet enough.

This beautiful red fruit is chock-full of goodness. Some of its many health benefits include:

  • High in antioxidants and potassium
  • Heart healthy
  • Purported to lower cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Immunity booster
  • High in Vitamin C and K
  • Cancer inhibitor
  • Fertility booster
  • Astringent – an important taste many of us are lacking

Pomegranates are in season now and are a primo food for fall detoxing. They help draw excess summer heat out of the body and cleanse the liver – both important steps before cold weather sets in.

You can eat them as is, juice them, throw them in a smoothie or a salad.

My favorite way to eat pomegranates is to combine them with a diced apple, shredded carrots, beets, radishes, cabbage and/or kale or other greens. Toss with apple cider vinegar, olive oil and sea salt. Yum!

There are a couple of easy ways to de-seed a pomegranate.

  1. Cut the crown (protruding blossom end) off the pomegranate, removing with it some of the pale-yellow pith. Take care not to pierce the seeds within.
  2. Lightly score the skin in quarters from stem to crown end. 
  3. Immerse the scored fruit in a large bowl of cool water and soak for 5 minutes. Holding the fruit under water, break sections apart with your fingers, separating the seeds from membrane. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl. 
  4. Discard skin and membranes (you can use the membrane/pith in your juice or smoothie – it also has many health properties). Drain the seeds and dry on paper towels.

Or, here’s another quick and easy method:

I learned to love pomegranates because Ayurveda reveres them as a superfood and, well, it’s the fruit of the gods. In fact, it’s one of the oldest fruits known to man.

After all, we have Persephone and the pomegranate to thank for winter every year.

Much love,
Barbara

Resources:

Secrets Revealed: The Powerful Health Benefits of the Pomegranate
Why Pomegranates Are Fall’s Superfruits

Barbara Sinclair is a visual artist, 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.




Becoming an Earth Keeper


barbara-sinclair-mother-earth

www.barbarasinclair.com

Last weekend I traveled again to the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. I wanted to return after having a wonderful experience there just a few weeks ago. 

Serendipitously, my friend Robin mentioned that she would be there attending The Great Shamanic Initiation. I checked Omega’s website and immediately signed up. I had no idea what to expect, but that little voice I’ve learned to pay attention to was surely guiding me to attend.

I arrived a day early so that I could spend time in Nature – walking the grounds, sitting by the lake, lying in a hammock, hiking in the woods.

I was supposed to go on a group hike but when no one showed up, I took the map and headed into the woods alone. Did I say I have no sense of direction?

barbara-sinclair-becoming-an-earth-keeperYep, I got lost. Blissfully lost.

I will admit to feeling moments of panic as I searched the trees for the faded orange dots that (kind of) mark the way. The trail itself was practically unrecognizable – covered with fallen leaves, and sometimes gurgling water underneath.

I remembered the Omega employee telling me “You really can’t get lost out there. You’re never very far from campus.” Hmm. I felt pretty lost.

They really need to repaint those dots.

I’m sure the fact that I was in picture-taking heaven due to the brilliant changing leaves might have made me lose my way. So, I put my camera away and earnestly tried to get my bearings – using the sun (yes, the sun!) to guide me.

Eventually I found a trail marker that said “shortcut to campus” which I thought wise to take since I’d been gone for 2 ½ hours.

I never saw another soul.

The trees were mostly golden with splashes of red here and there, mixed in with all shades of green. It was crisp and cold, intensifying the fragrance of the pine trees.

barbara-sinclair-fall-forestAcorns were raining down from the oak trees.

This city girl was in a state of bliss. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face if I’d tried.

There couldn’t have been a more perfect preparation for the weekend before me.

Sometimes it’s hard to put into words how deeply an experience affects you. Changes you. I still have goosebumps.

It is rare for indigenous shamans from South America to leave their countries to share their traditions and wisdom. In The Great Shamanic Initiation, we have the unique opportunity to receive teachings for personal transformation and renewal directly from the Q’ero shamans from the high Andes in Peru.
— Omega Institute

Alberto Villoldo and Marcela Lobos of the Four Winds Society had brought four Q’ero shamans to initiate us as Earth Keepers.

Throughout the ages, secret societies of Native American medicine men and women carefully guarded their ancient wisdom teachings and acted as stewards of nature. These “Earth Keepers” existed in many nations and were called by many names; in the Andes and the Amazon, they are known as the Laika or shamans.

Earth Keepers teach us how to rewrite our stories about our lives, to do what the shamans call “dreaming the world into being”.
— Alberto Villoldo

I don’t know how it happened, that in my sixth decade of life I should become so deeply in love with Mother Nature. I don’t think I’m anything special – I know this phenomenon has happened to a lot of my friends.

But I take very seriously what’s happening to our beloved planet. It’s dying because of us. 

in fact, the sad news from the Q’ero shamans as they prophesied in “The Pulse of the Earth” is that it’s too late to reverse the damage we’ve done. Mother Earth (Pachamama) is already set in motion to right what has happened. To heal herself.

According to the shamans, the outcome of events has been cast. 2016 will see a continuation of extreme climate events – especially in wind and water. “What will come, will happen”, they say.

Even if you don’t believe this, surely you can see with your own eyes. 

The oceans are dying, man is decimating areas vital for our survival like the Amazon, all in the name of money and greed. Cataclysmic weather has become the norm. And on and on.

So, what can we do? 

When I began studying energy medicine several years ago, I learned that the most important thing i could do was to work on raising my own vibration so that it would ripple out towards others.

It is our collective positive vibration that will allow us to weather this greatest of storms.

We must open our hearts, heal ourselves, send love, be love, pray and give back to Mother Nature in any way we can.

I, along with about 200 other Earth Keepers, was given The Star Rites, or Mosoq Karpay (The Rites of the Time to Come). 

Following the “despachos” (ritualistic offerings of mesa, or medicine bundles) in a ceremony, the shamans administered the Mosoq Karpay to each of us, one at a time, transmitting the energies originating with the ancestors of their lineage.

“The transmission of the Mosoq Karpay is the ceremony representing the end of one’s relationship to time. It is a process of the heart

This process of Becoming is considered more important than the prophecies themselves. The Karpay (rites) plant the seed of knowledge, the seed of Pachacuti, in the luminous body of the recipient. It is up to each person to water and tend the seed so that it can grow and blossom. The rites are a transmission of potential; one must then make oneself available to destiny. The Karpays connect the person to an ancient lineage of knowledge and power that cannot be accessed by the individual. It can only be summoned by a tribe”.
— Prophecies of the Q’ero Inca Shamans

These shamans could have stayed hidden on their mountain. But their beloved Pachamama is dying, due to our selfish ways, and so they’ve traveled far from their home to share their wisdom.

“The new caretakers of the Earth will come from the West, and those that have made the greatest impact on Mother Earth now have the moral responsibility to remake their relationship with Her, after remaking themselves.”
–Don Antonio Morales, a master Q’ero shaman

So, I’m asking now, “Who’s with me?”

Much love,
Barbara

barbara-sinclair-with-q'ero-shaman

 

Barbara Sinclair is a visual artist, 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.

 




Did You Know Your Lungs Need Extra TLC in the Fall When Grief Can Arise?

barbara-sinclair-extra-tlc-in-fall

Pears are an excellent food to keep our lungs healthy. Food is medicine!

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What do pears have to do with the lungs and grief? 

I had no idea myself until a three-month bout with whooping cough several years ago gave me a whole new reverence for the lungs, and the pear. 

Ayurveda and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) revere the pear for its lung-healing properties. Its cooling nature helps when there is too much heat in the lungs and a cough producing too much mucus has resulted.

According to both Ayurveda and TCM, the lungs and lower intestine have a connection, and in the fall and late winter lung problems are often accompanied by constipation. 

Enter the mighty pear which is a wonderful digestive aid that helps to normalize bowel function. 

Keeping the lungs healthy has a tremendous influence on all of the major organs that lie below them. Pears not only nourish the lungs and the throat, they help to clear phlegm and are anti-inflammatory as well.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, the lungs are often compromised during the change of seasons, especially summer into fall and winter into spring. The body struggles to adjust to the change in weather and immunity can become weakened. 

I think most of us associate grief and sadness with the heart. But it is actually the lungs which are the repository for these emotions.

Ayurvedic teacher Vasant Lad once told me that old grief which accumulates in the lungs is like stale air and needs to be expelled by deep pranayamic breathing

The breathing technique which is especially effective here is taking a deep breath (from the belly) and completely expelling it while making the sound “ssssssss” (like a snake).

Almost every healer I’ve ever worked with has gravitated to my heart/lungs as an area that needs extra TLC. They tell me that old, deep grief is/was “part of my story”. 

For many of us, this is ancestral grief as well as grief from this present lifetime.

A wise and gifted acupuncturist once told me “My dear, you have so much grief, it’s buried in your bones.”

As I was reeling from this shocking statement (I felt perfectly happy at the time) she inserted a needle in the center of my chest and it was as if a tsunami of tears rose up and out of me. I sobbed uncontrollably (and this was a group acupuncture session!) for twenty minutes.

I will never forget that experience.

Of course, the heart and lungs both reside in the Fourth Chakra (commonly referred to as the Heart Chakra) and are intricately entwined, both from an emotional and physical point of view. So, while we are nurturing our lungs, we are nurturing our heart, and vice-versa. 

It’s officially fall here in the Northeastern US and so it’s probably no coincidence that I was drawn to post a couple of things about grief on my Facebook page last week and that I’ve been feeling that familiar constriction in my chest.

Time for some deep reflection and to amp up the pranayama practice (I always seem to fall off this wagon). 

I’m adding lung-pacifying foods and herbal support, as well. Two great products that I like are Lung Formula and Lung Care Extract

And don’t forget the mighty pear! Pears are abundant in the farmer’s market right now so I’m enjoying them raw, stewed in my oatmeal, quinoa, etc. or as a sweet treat sauteed with cinnamon, cloves, ghee and a little maple syrup or honey. So yummy and soothing for our beloved lungs.

Much love,
Barbara

Additional Resources:

“Grief and the Lungs” By Emma Suttie, D.Ac
Keys to Respiratory Immunity From Maharishi Ayurveda
Breathe: Ayurvedic Tips For Healthy Lungs

Barbara Sinclair is a visual artist, 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.




What Does Cold, Windy Weather Have to Do With Anxiety? It’s Vata Season!


barbara-sinclair-what-does-cold-windy-weather-have-to-do-with-anxiety

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Here we are again, at the juncture of the seasons. Where I live in the Northeastern US, it seemed as though the high heat and humidity would never leave. And then all of a sudden, it was hat and scarf weather. Windy, cold and wet. 

Yesterday I bundled up and went outside only to find it was warm again. Had to march back upstairs and peel away the layers.

But soon the cold will cause the leaves to change color, dry up and blow off the trees with a little help from the wind.

Ayurveda is very cautionary about the change of seasons. Our bodies need extra-special TLC as the climate shifts and different elements take charge.

“The Ayurvedic texts say that a disease can take root in the body only during the junctions between the seasons, when all nature is in flux. Because of the upheaval dominating these junctions, the body’s natural immunity becomes virtually defenseless against impending disease.” —Maya Tiwari

In Vata Season, the elements of air and ether predominate. This is shifting from Pitta Season, where fire and water were abundant.

Note: If you’re still experiencing any heat-related symptoms in the body (rashes, acidity, etc.) you might want to read this article I wrote recently. 

It’s always important to cleanse the body of excesses from the previous season and Mother Nature has just the right foods to help.

The air element in Vata seems easier to comprehend than ether (or space). We recognize the wind blowing and also that the air element inside the body is what moves everything.

But what role does ether play in the body? Here’s a great article by Dr. Marc Halpern from the California College of Ayurveda which explains how this mysterious element behaves in the body.

Vata dosha is dry, mobile, cold, light, rough, clear and subtle.

Whether or not Vata is predominant in your constitution (take this quiz to determine yours), all of these Vata characteristics can bring about an imbalance.

Because Vata by nature is movement, it rules the other two doshas, Pitta and Kapha. Nothing happens without Vata. There would be no breath, no blood coursing through our veins, no elimination, no thought processes.

Vata is the queen (or king) of the doshas.

And it can wreak havoc during fall and early winter. This I know for sure. The more awareness I place on this changeable dosha, the more I am able to keep my anxiety and fear at bay.

Vata dosha, more than anything else, needs to be deeply nurtured and nourished.

In addition to Vata Season, there are also Vata times of the day – 2:00-6:00 am and 2:00-6:00 pm. These are hours when you might find increased Vata. Bear this in mind during your day.

Here are a few signs that your Vata dosha might be increased and needs balancing:

  • Feelings of heightened anxiety, nervousness and fear
  • Bothered by cold and wind
  • Sleep is interrupted and light
  • Excess worrying
  • Excess stimulation is bothersome – i.e. crowds and loud noises
  • Intestinal gas, constipation – the colon is the seat of Vata dosha
  • Dryness – skin, hair, stools, eyes, etc.
  • Feeling disorganized and overwhelmed
  • Can’t sit still
  • Fatigue following bursts of energy. Crash and burn (this is typical of Vata energy)
  • Depletion

Like increases like in Ayurveda, so think opposite to bring your Vata back into balance.

  • Dress warmly and keep a scarf around your neck, especially when windy. The back of the neck is very vulnerable to wind.
  • Eat more warm, gently cooked seasonal foods. Root vegetables are especially grounding for Vatas.
  • Avoid cold drinks. Opt instead for warm beverages like spiced herbal teas, warm spiced milk, or warm lemon water with honey.
  • Eat enough healthy fats and oils (especially ghee)
  • Avoid over-exercising, which can aggravate already high-energy Vata. Gentle yoga, tai chi and qigong are excellent choices.
  • Take quiet walks in Nature – it’s very grounding for airy Vatas.
  • Meditation and pranayama (breathing practice) can help soothe Vata anxiety and fear.
  • Daily self-massage with warm grounding oils like sesame or almond oil is extremely calming to the nervous system. Or, try an herbalized Vata oil.
  • Try to stay away from loud, noisy environments and when you can’t avoid them, take a moment to breathe deeply and find your inner calm.
  • Keep a regular routine with regards to sleeping, eating, working, etc. is imperative for Vatas, who love variety and can easily lose focus. An ideal bedtime is between 9:30–10:00pm.
  • Nurture yourself as much as possible on a daily basis!
  • Determine your Ayurvedic prakriti (click HERE). Follow the food guidelines for your constitution and you’ll be on the right track.

When balanced, Vata-type people are creative, optimistic, joyful, forgiving, flexible, and full of enthusiasm. They thrive on change and love to discover and experience new things. 

While fall has always ushered in feelings of high anxiety for me, so too has it been a time of super-charged creativity.

Each year I learn a little bit more about keeping the energy balanced, deeply nurturing myself and allowing myself to receive help from others. Especially those gifted with organizational skills. 🙂 

Vata Season is also a special time for going within and connecting to our Source. Vata people generally have a very spiritual nature. 

So, take the time to get quiet, meditate, be in Nature, and you might find yourself receiving amazing messages to guide you in your life.

May the winds of Vata be gentle this season for us all.

Much love,
Barbara

Barbara Sinclair is a visual artist, 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.




How to Manage In-The-Wee-Hours-Of-The-Morning Type of Insomnia


How to Manage In-the-Wee-Hours-of-the-Night Insomnia

 

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

Many of us in the Northern Hemisphere are entering Vata Season (fall/early winter) and so this type of sleep disturbance may begin to appear with more frequency.

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

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

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

Before bed:

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

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

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

 A good night’s sleep requires a lot of energy.

There’s a great deal of healing that goes on in the body during the night. We tend to think that we have too much energy and can’t fall asleep because of it (we’re wired), but in fact, it’s because we’re depleted of energy.

Vata is the dosha of depletion so Vata-types tend to suffer more from this type of insomnia.

There is nothing worse than not getting a good night’s sleep. And a chronic cycle of insomnia leads to all kinds of imbalances in the body.

When I had fibromyalgia, I was desperate for a good night’s sleep and my lack of sleep only exacerbated the condition. It was only when I got a handle on my insomnia that I began to heal.

Wishing you blissful sleep – all night long.

Much love,
Barbara

 

Barbara Sinclair is a visual artist, 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.




Here Are My All-Natural Remedies For Depression and Anxiety – What Are Yours?


barbara-sinclair-depression-remedies

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Many many years ago my doctor said to me “You really should be on medication. You have too many highs and lows.”

I stubbornly refused, telling her that the waxing and waning of my moods in many ways reflected my rhythm of making art. Some of my best work was created during the lows, some of it during the highs. And I was not going to mess with that.

I wanted to feel passion and pain and joy and suffering. All of them. They’re an equally important part of life and I didn’t want to feel flatlined.

While perhaps the people in my life might have felt otherwise, I’m grateful that my intuition back then guided me to refuse my doctor’s well-intentioned advice. I know far too many people who have succumbed to prescription meds for depression and anxiety, never to get off of them decades later.

Medication was suggested to me again, when I had fibromyalgia, after my divorce, and then years later, after my partner died. Again, I declined.

Let me just say that this is by no means a condemnation of anti-depressants or the people who take them.

I know many people who would say that medication saved their life. Literally. Especially Kapha-type individuals who often struggle with deep and long term depression.

We are all different and I can’t impose what has worked for me onto others.

But I’ve thought a lot about this lately, as depression has peeped into my life here and there – especially after my partner’s death.

It’s not a lay-around-the-house-unable-to-function kind of depression. Although I’ve experienced that phenomenon as well in the past few years, usually it’s a day or two here and there feeling blue and not wanting to be social.

And it’s not an I-can’t bear-to-be-alone kind of depression. Along with the artist thing, I’m an introvert at heart and so being alone comes naturally.

But I know the signs when I’ve let myself be solitary too long. And then, as if through mental telepathy, the friends who know me so well start to reach out and try to coax me from my cave.

We are, after all, not meant to be solitary creatures.

On my bike ride this morning I started to mentally compile a list of all the things that I’ve learned to turn to to when I feel anxiety or depression knocking on my door.

There are no drugs on this list. Not even any herbs. Nor foods that comfort me. Because, of course, potato chips, ice cream and Scottish shortbread don’t really help lift a depression.

Instead, my list consists of activities I love. Some of them I’ve loved since I was a child and I think that’s a big clue for you to compile your own anti-depression/anxiety list.

Here’s mine:

  1. Riding my bike. I wrote a whole post about my precious pink bike. I can feel like crap, my emotions bouncing up and down, but when I hop on that bike and go to the river, it’s like the emotional storm dissipates and the sun comes out. Even when it really is about to storm (I got caught in a downpour last week), I feel good.
  2. Listening to music. There was a time when I needed silence for a while and stopped listening to music. Now, I need it again. Coming through headphones, it seems to have an even greater ability to lift me up. Singing along, of course, is even more of a depression/anxiety killer. And when I add
  3. Dancing – well, that just lifts me up even more. I didn’t dance for years and years. I was too shy. Now, most mornings you’ll find me with my headphones on, music blaring, dancing alone to my heart’s content. I tell you – it is the BEST depression/anxiety buster out there.
  4. Yoga/Qigong – even just a short 20 minutes, gets me out of my head and into my heart.
  5. Reading a good book. Especially fiction. I’ve always loved disappearing into another world via a good fat book. Even better if a warm blanket and tea and biscuits are involved.
  6. Meditation. My list would not be complete without this state of consciousness which we are all meant to experience daily, right along with sleeping, dreaming and being awake. Meditation did more for my insane anxiety than any little pill ever could. I went from someone who was terrified to get on an airplane to someone who comforts others around her when there’s turbulence. All thanks to meditation.
  7. Movies. Best in a theater, but even at home, a movie can get my stuck emotions moving like nothing else. When I’m feeling blue I intentionally pick a sad or happy or funny movie to get the tears or anger or whatever needs to go out the door.
  8. Nature. I think I saved the best one for last. Sometimes I have to physically force myself out of the comfort of my apartment to get outside and find some green (or even white, in the winter). The clouds, the trees, the water, the animals – they’re the perfect antidote when feeling blue. Standing in a pine forest is sometimes all the prescription I need.

There are two things going on here that are key. One is movement and the other is stillness.

Whenever there is depression there’s stagnation. Our prana, or life force is not flowing. Movement of any kind helps clear out and recharge our chakras and get the prana flowing freely again.

Stillness, on the other hand, is just as important. Running away from uncomfortable feelings without first sitting with them and asking questions is a dangerous habit and will only drive those feelings deeper into our very cells.

And when there’s anxiety, Vata dosha, which rules the nervous system, needs calming.

Years ago when I was terrified of flying, I finally succumbed to anti-anxiety medication. But I was still so wound-up in flight that the drug only heightened my anxiety and when I reached my destination I would be so tired I couldn’t function. Only when I started to meditate did this anxiety finally start to subside.

It is equally important to learn how to be in darkness as it is to be in the light.

The reason I am grateful that I resisted taking antidepressants is that living through those tough times without being drugged forced me to experience that aspect of life.

I learned so much about grief and death and loss and change that I might not have had I just started popping pills.

Coincidentally, my first issue of The Sun magazine arrived with a timely article by Tim McKee titled “The Geography of Sorrow – Francis Weller on Navigating Our Losses”.

“If we have both an adequate level of companionship in our sorrow and periods of solitude that aren’t about distraction or avoidance, then grief will transform itself into tender melancholy. This life we have is incredibly short, but we’ve been blessed with it. When we shut off our grief, we forget that. To let grief work its alchemy on you yields gravitas, by which I mean the ability to be present with the bittersweet reality of life, which always includes loss. There’s no way to be spared sorrow. I wouldn’t even wish that upon someone. But we shouldn’t get stuck in our grief; it’s not a permanent address but a companion that walks beside us….There is indeed such a thing as joyful sorrow.” — Francis Weller

How did this become about grief all of a sudden? Well, because I think that depression almost always bears an element of grief. Grief over the loss of a loved one, a marriage, a home, or a job, just to name a few.

While I didn’t include herbs on my list, they have in the past and still in the present play an important role in my healing.

Herbs are food and food is medicine.There are so many safe and amazing herbs that can calm our nerves and lift our moods. I have studied and learned a great deal about Mother Nature’s remedies.

When I had fibromyalgia, St. John’s Wort was a lifesaver. It helped curb the pain and let me sleep, and it helped me stay positive and out of self-pity.

And even humble chamomile is an incredibly effective nervine.

But I always remember what my Ayurveda teacher, Maya Tiwari taught us. That sticking to a healthy daily routine complete with sadhanas (daily spiritual practices) should always come first before reaching for an herb to bring us back into balance.

And I love the fact that doing something I cherished as a child can often chase away my blues or anxiety.

That’s my short list of truly natural antidepressant/anxiety remedies. Do you know what yours are?

Much love,
Barbara

Barbara Sinclair is a visual artist, 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.