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Panchakarma: Deep Transformation

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Panchakarma: Deep Transformation

I had the great pleasure and honor of facilitating a three day Panchakarma last week. It was for a woman who was looking for a deeper spiritual connection, some clarity of vision for the future, weight loss, and relief from anxiety.

Panchakarma is a transformative process that has been practiced in the Ayurvedic tradition for over a thousand years. The word translates to five actions. These are five cleansing actions to remove toxins, known as ama, from the body. In Ayurveda, anything that enters into the body through the five senses is considered food and needs to be digested. We all know that some foods are easier to digest than others. Likewise, some things that we may experience by watching or listening or feeling may also be easier or harder to digest. A Panchakarma is recommended yearly to help facilitate the cleansing actions of the body and mind. This opens up the channels of the body for greater energy flow and communication within the body/mind.

There were a few steps for my client to take at home before the Panchakarma even began. Once she arrived on the first day, we began with yoga and meditation. This was followed by several treatments including a steam sauna, body brushing, four handed massage, and shirodhara (a warm stream of oil continuously pouring onto the forehead). Each day was similar. I prepared her food and beverages. The conversation was light on the first day but by the last day we were discussing the big stuff. The stuff that matters and needs to be released. She left at the end of the third day feeling lighter, clearer, and more connected to her body and Source.

I gave this client recommendations to continue the process at home and I am happy to know that she is following through on them with great success. I give her a lot of credit. On one hand this seems like a luxurious experience, which it is in many ways, but on the other hand, there is a lot of deep work happening. This process isn’t for the timid or superficial. This is for those of us wanting to dig deep, let go, and move forward with purpose. A Panchakarma is a container which holds the possibility of transformation. I am so grateful to be a witness to such feats of bravery.

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Hello 2014

perfectHappy New Year! I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions but I like to acknowledge the idea of a fresh start. There is something really freeing and exciting when I think of new beginnings. It feels like once again, anything can happen. In honor of this, I am practicing Sankalpa. Sankalpa is an ancient Ayurvedic practice in which we honor the deeper meaning of our life. So even though I have intentions of losing the 8 pounds that I have gained since Halloween, the practice of Sankalpa asks us to dive deeper with our intentions.

The process is simple but certainly not easy. We need to come from the knowledge that we already are who we need to be to fulfill our life’s purpose or dharma. We only need to peel back layers of resistance and old patterns that are no longer serving us. Like I said, simple but not easy. Ideally we can bring forth a statement or vow that we can call upon to remind us of our true nature and guide our choices.

The first stage is to listen in meditation to your heart’s desire. What is it you truly want? This desire is already present within you. You don’t need to create anything. Next, welcome the desire. Feel it with your whole being. The final stage takes courage. The final step is to take the action required. Think about actions that you can commit to that are consistent with this heartfelt desire. Some of the actions will require a strong warrior spirit mixed with loving compassion. This is already a part of you. Let it out.

Balancing tip-So what about that 8 pounds? This is a perfect time to do a mini home detox. When we cleanse in the winter, we want it to be gentle (especially for those of you who are living in colder regions). My plan is to incorporate some self-care practices into my day for the next few days. This will include skin brushing, oil massages, neti, and daily yoga and meditation. I will be drinking at least 1 green juice and/or smoothie each day. I will be drinking herbal teas and limiting caffeine. I will be taking some cleansing herbs and I will be eating plenty of vegetables, mostly leafy greens. My protein and carbohydrate requirements will come from a classic Indian comfort food called Khichadi. It consists of white Basmati rice and yellow mung dahl beans mixed with Indian spices. It is delicious and I will eat it twice a day. This dish is very easy to digest which will give my digestive system a much-needed break from the holiday chaos. The mung dahl beans are soaking as I write.  I (or my husband) will be making the Khichadi tomorrow. If you are local and would like to try a serving, let me know. The recipe makes a lot and I am happy to share.

Feel free to contact me if you would like try something like this for yourself and have some questions.

Challenge for the week: Replace one toxic product

I recently ran a program that focused on overall wellness. We covered things like our mindset, nutrition, exercise and our environment.  I learned so much during the four-week course. I hope the participants learned half as much as I did. As the facilitator of the process, I had to take a good look at my own life and the choices that I make for myself. As you know, having knowledge of a subject and putting the knowledge to use are two very different things. I realized that I have a lot of room for growth in all areas. This isn’t something to be upset about, in fact, I’m glad to have things to work on and a direction to move in.

Seasonal Local DishI am inspired to take a closer look at the foods I am eating. I encouraged the women in the group to check out seasonal, local foods and find recipes to share with each other. My dish was Wilted Red Swiss Chard, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Quinoa sprinkled with Nutritional Yeast for added punch in taste as well as nutritional value.

I encouraged the group to continually return to their breath and create space in their day to just sit and focus on the breath for a few minutes. Talking about this reminded me to do it in times of stress or frustration.

I found myself looking for more opportunities to move my body and fit some fitness into each day.

One of the coolest things for me is putting more effort into making sure I am doing what I can to prevent using toxic chemicals in my home. Many products boast that they are green but are in fact causing harm to you and your family. My new favorite all-purpose cleaner is

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 20 drops essential oil (I’m using Purification from Young Living Oils but lemon works well too)

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Place in a large spray bottle. This can be used on counter tops, kitchen appliances, toilets, etc.

What are you working on? How are you challenging yourself? In what ways are you taking better care of yourself today than you were a year ago?

Balancing tip-Challenge yourself to replace one unhealthy (aka-chemically laden) product that you use either in your home or on your body with something natural this week. You don’t have to make it yourself, although there are many great recipes available for DIY personal care products as well as cleaning products that are effective and simple to make. Leave a comment about what you are replacing and what you will use instead. I will be posting my switches as well.

What is Ayurveda?

The translation of the word Ayurveda is the science of life. It is the traditional healing system of India. This system is over 5000 years old. Ayurveda is the sister science of Yoga. The two systems often work hand-in-hand. An Ayurvedic consultation will help you to understand your own body type and ways in which you can work with your body to preserve and maintain wellness. Digestion is a big focus in Ayurveda. Proper nutrition and the use of herbs can help us to get our digestive system in order. Because food is our fuel, we need to be able to assimilate it properly in order to get the benefits of our diet. I can help you figure out which foods are most beneficial for you and explain how incorporating healing herbs into your diet may support you in moving towards wellness.

In addition to dietary recommendations, an Ayurvedic consultation will include lifestyle suggestions, stress management strategies, and advice on exercise options for your current fitness level. An Ayurvedic practitioner can give advice and support on many levels because it is a system of healing that gives attention to body, mind and spirit. I am happy to be able to offer this not only to local clients but to anyone interested in learning more about how this ancient art can improve their health and well-being. You don’t have to settle for less than vibrant health!

I am giving away a FREE 45 minute Ayurvedic consultation via Skype or phone in exchange for some feedback about detoxing. In my previous post, Free Ayurvedic Consultation, I stated the steps to take in order to be in the running to win the consultation. I noticed that plenty of people were viewing the post but not many were commenting. I am hoping by explaining in some detail about what an Ayurvedic consultation is, we may get some more comments on the post regarding issues with seasonal cleanses. The winner won’t be drawn until the middle of November 2012, so there is still time to get in on it. I look forward to hearing what you have to say. 

Balancing Tip-Pay attention to the words you choose today. Try to find positive ways to say things even if the situation is less than positive. Our words have tremendous power. Choosing our words carefully can have a big impact on how we perceive the world around us. Namaste.

Free Ayurvedic Consultation

I am in the process of creating an easy 3 day seasonal detox for better health with two of my favorite colleagues, Melina Economos and Andrew Saxon. We are scheduled to launch this initial 3 day detox in January at ReFLEX Arts in Sarasota. My contribution to this cleanse is my knowledge and experience in Ayurvedic practices. This seasonal cleanse something I do myself at least twice a year. As a busy working mom, it needs to be something that I can incorporate into my regular life. Although I try to work it around our schedules in such a way that I am able to take a little downtime each day, it is not something I need to go away for or take time off from work. I make sure that I am stocked with the ingredients I need and that some of the meals are prepared ahead of time.

In preparing to present this simple cleanse, I am curious to know what comes to your mind as the biggest obstacle for you to complete a successful detox. Maybe you have done them before and it was terrible because you were hungry or felt sick during the process. Maybe you have never done one before and wouldn’t know what would be appropriate to eat and aren’t sure who to take nutritional advice from. Maybe you think you wouldn’t be able to follow through with the plan if you have a young family. Whatever the case may be, I would like to hear about it.

My friends and I will take this information and create a plan that has solutions to these problems built right into it. I’m sure that no matter what is stopping you from moving toward wellness with a seasonal detox, we can find a manageable formula that will work for your situation.

In return for your input, we are offering a free Ayurvedic consultation to get you started to a random person who provides a comment on this post. This 45 minute consultation will offer you simple ways to incorporate more wellness into your daily life. These tips and techniques will be suited to your own personal needs and your specific body type or dosha. You will need to subscribe to this blog, like this post, and leave a comment about your personal hurdles when in comes to seasonal cleansing. Your location is not a factor for the consultation. This will be available via Skype, i chat, or telephone. A winner will be selected and notified by the middle of November 2012. I look forward to hearing what you have to say!

We are super excited about this project and look forward to sharing information and tips with you in the future!

Nutritional Tip of the Month

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I just finished watching Hungry For Change. It’s the new film from Food Matters. Please do yourself a favor and watch this free online premiere. The filmmakers are offering this free screening for a limited time. It ends at midnight on March 31st (that’s 8 days from the time of this writing).

I would love to hear your thoughts after you view it!

sending angels

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Last week a new client came into work for a special we were offering. It was a massage with 15 minutes of Reiki. Heaven! During the session, I got the sense that there were angels present. As I tuned into the energy of the angels, I was able to receive a message intended for the client. They wanted her to know that the person she sent them to needed to ask for help before they would be able to do anything. So here I am again, in this odd situation of relaying information that I can’t be sure is for real or not. “Did you pray for angels to be sent to someone?” I asked tentatively.

“How the hell do you know that?” was her reply.

Feeling relieved, I told her the message that was given to me. She was amazed. She told me that she saw something online that morning that allowed the user to send angels to someone in need. Her daughter had been suffering from depression so she thought the angels couldn’t hurt. I advised her to explain to her daughter that if she asked for assistance from the angels, they would be happy to oblige. Both the client and the angels left feeling positive from the exchange and ready to help the daughter.

The client returned today for another session. She couldn’t wait to tell me about her daughter. She said, “You were right! She doesn’t believe in angels and won’t let them help!” She told me about her frustration over the conversation with her daughter. We agreed that she, herself, could ask the angels to help her to deal with her disappointment. The client was interested in learning more information that I might have about her. There wasn’t more. She received what was necessary and that was it.

Sometimes I struggle with not being able to give intuitive information on demand. I recently met with a woman in the intuitive arts to ask for some guidance so that I could be more open to receiving information. Her response was, “This isn’t a circus act. You are a healer. You give people what they need. Not everyone needs an intuitive reading. Sometimes people just need a massage. You are so open that you are able to see the difference.” I am so appreciative of this and have taken refuge in her words more than once.

Nutritional tip #9-cook with herbs. Herbs were intimidating for me at first, but we can take baby steps by incorporating them slowly. Think of herbs as nature’s pharmacy. Add dandelion to your salad for gentle liver detox. Cilantro is a natural metal chelator, meaning it will bind to the metals that have accumulated in our bodies and help to excrete the toxin safely. Fennel is a good choice to saute with vegetables when feeling bloated or gassy. Spices like cinnamon can help regulate blood sugar and nutmeg nourishes the kidneys. Have fun and experiment!

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