The alarm goes off at 6am. No matter how peaceful the ringtone may be, it sounds like a jack hammer to me. My mind instantly turns on full speed to make its case that the best thing I can do for myself is to turn off that alarm clock and go back to bed. "It's dark outside. It's freezing cold. You work so hard, you deserve to have just one morning off." Luckily, I don't take my mind too seriously these days. Sure it's going to try to convince me to stay in bed. It doesn't want me to suffer. It wants to protect my poor little sleepy feet from the shock of the cold hardwood floor, and my delicate face from the chill of the morning air as I walk to my car to head to the fitness studio in the dark. The fact of the matter is, the cold air and the hardwood floor are temporary discomforts. But the feeling of the Self over riding the mind because it knows better…that's where the juice resides.
One month ago I made a commitment to myself to place more focus on my physical body and build strength and stamina. Check out my blog post, "The Before" to read about my Ayurvedic approach to achieving this goal. I am proud to report that I have stuck to my plan pretty firm, and am definitely seeing results. Sure my muscles have started to tone up and I may have shed a few pounds of fat, but more importantly… I feel so much stronger. My grocery bags feel lighter. I have more energy throughout the day. My appetite has increased, in Ayurveda-ville this means that my Agni (digestive fire) has improved.
This is all pretty sweet, but the coolest part of it all…an unexpected result... I am finally starting to really understand the nature of the monkey mind. These work outs are not easy. Sometimes I feel like walking out in the middle of the class because "I just can't do it anymore". But then my deeper wisdom self whispers to my mind. "You can do it Britt. Just 3 more. You signed up for this. This is good for you." Through discovering this wild animal of a mind, I slowly but surely discovering that soft wise voice that has always been there. It's a deeper knowing. And as that wise woman voice is growing louder, the Monkey Mind is beginning to know who is boss. And this growing sense of my deeper wisdom has infiltrated into all other aspects of my life as well. I have noticed it speak up more often with my career, how I navigate my relationships, my diet, and more. I never knew that focusing on the body would give me such a keen insight into my deeper self, and for this… I am deeply grateful.
Sending warmth this winter,
For the next 2 months I will be participating in an incredibly vulnerable self imposed experiment. I have always been an active person. Dancing, hiking, yoga and walking are how I have gotten my exercise for most of my adult life. Although I am in relatively good shape for a 30 year old female, I have always had a deep desire to see what it would be like to really focus on my body for a few months and commit to an intense training regimen that focuses on increasing strength and stamina in a safe and healthy manner. Let me be very clear about one thing. I am not dissatisfied with my body the way it looks now. I have been following a pretty strict Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle program for the past 4 years, and have watched my body transform from the inside out. I used to have a chronic digestive disease called ulcerative colitis and poor diet and lifestyle choices that weakened my immune system. I can remember I would fall sick 4-6 times per year with tonsillitis, fevers, colds and other illnesses. Since I began studying Ayurveda I have cured myself from all of these diseases, hardly ever get sick, and have more energy and vitality now more than ever before. The most important thing to me is that I feel good. I would also love to be able to do a full push-up and a pull-up, I must admit I haven't been able to do this since I can't remember when. (holy vulnerability)
That being said, now that I have achieved this optimum state of internal health and well being, I am ready to take a step deeper and dive into building my physical strength and stamina. I looked into quite a few options including: Cross Fit, hiring a personal trainer, I even thought about doing the P90 X videos! Finally I found the perfect solution. There is an awesome new gym called Relictree Fitness that recently opened up in my neighborhood. They focus on Natural Training which uses your body's own weight as resistance instead of lifting external weights. I also chose this gym because they have a lot of Yoga classes, Nia classes and Cardio Dance classes too. I decided that I would commit to 3 classes at Relictree every week. 2 of these classes would be intense high cardio, muscle building Natural Strength Training or Boot Camp classes, and the third would be something more mellow like dance or yoga. I am also still committing to my regular dance classes that I attend twice per week, so in total I will be working out a minimum of 5 days per week.
I chose to start this intense training in the late fall on purpose. In the Ayurvedic tradition, it is best to build muscle during the colder winter months as opposed to the hot summer months because our bodies are deeply connected to nature, and the hot summer sun can be very depleting to our bodily tissues. In the winter time, our bodies become very strong, our digestive capacity increases and we can endure more strenuous workouts. I will also be following a strict Ayurvedic diet, making sure I am eating plenty of ghee and other healthy fats, rice and quinoa protein rich dahls, cooked vegetables, soups and stews, fresh fruits and some organic freerange chicken and fish when I feel the desire to eat meat. I will also be oiling my body and head a few times a week to make sure I keep Vata dosha under control and joints well lubricated.
I just finished my first official week, and boy am I sore! There are some muscles that I am beginning to feel that I didn't even know I had. They did a bunch of tests on me when I first started to keep track of my progress.
Here are my "before" stats:
Body Fat %- 22.8
Lean Mass- 109.7 lbs
Fat Mass- 32.3 lbs
Resting Metabolic Rate- 1,448 calories/day
Thanks so much for reading. It helps me stay on track and accountable to make this experiment open to the public eye. I feel pretty naked sharing all of this information, but my hope is that it will inspire other people to build strength in a healthy way, coming from a place of wholeness and love rather than restriction and punishment.
I plan on blogging about this journey every 2 weeks to track my progress. Please subscribe to my blog if you want to be notified of updates.
There's nothing worse than finishing a meal and feeling like you are going to bust the button off your pants because you are so bloated and uncomfortable.
Here are 3 Simple Tips that can you can use to help to improve your digestion and prevent discomfort.
1. Avoid eating fruit with your meal. Fruit digests more quickly than other foods. When we mix it with other foods we create a fermentation tank in our belly, and this causes gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort., especially if we have a weak digestive fire (agni). It is best to eat fruit on an empty stomach by itself as a snack or at least 30 minutes before eating a meal.
2. Stop eating before you get full. We've all done it. The food just tastes so good, we "can't stop eating it". When we eat more than our little tummies can handle, we douse out our (agni) digestive fire and this means that our food doesn't get digested properly and is likely to turn into aam (toxicity). Imagine you are baking cookies in your kitchen. Your oven breaks when they are half way cooked, so you have take the cookies out of the oven before the they are ready. They are sticky and gooey in the middle and although they might taste good, they are not fully cooked. . When our digestive fire is not strong, it's like the the oven isn't working properly and we end up with aam (toxicity in the form of half baked cookies) floating around in our bodies. These half baked cookies block the natural flow in our system and this blockage can cause a plethora of problems with digestion and can also weaken the immune system and make it easier for us to fall sick.
How much should I eat? The basic rule of thumb is to hold out your hands together as if you were collecting water from a faucet. Imagine they are filled with food. That's how much you should be eating at one time.
3. Skip the ice water and drink warm water instead. Imagine pouring cold water down a metal pipe, the pipe will contract. The same thing will happen to the pipes (channels) in your body. Now, imagine pouring ice water over a piece of pizza, the cheese will congeal and it will become much more difficult to digest. This is why we use warm water to wash our dishes!
If you pour warm water down the metal pipe, it will expand. If we want our food to move easefully through our systems, we need to keep our pipes opened up so the food we eat can be properly digested. In the summer months it is okay to have room temperature water instead of warm, but definitely stay away from the ice!
With love and Kindness,
If you are interested in learning more about how to eat and live according to your unique body type, click HERE to sign up for a free 20 minute consultation with me!
Many of us are on a budget these days, but that doesn't mean we have to sacrifice taking care of our skin. Using simple ingredients found in your kitchen and/or local grocery store, this inexpensive mask only takes minutes to whip up. Since I started using this mask once per week over the past year, I have noticed that the redness in my skin has reduced, and I have a more noticeable glow. I created this recipe using my knowledge of Ayurvedic principles based off of a recipe handed down to me from my teachers ancient lineage.
Ingredients- (Will make enough for 2 people)
2 Tablespoons Chick Pea Flour
1/4 Tablespoon Turmeric Powder
1/4 Tablespoon Sandalwood Powder
1 Tablespoon Rose Water
Purified water as needed.
Directions- Mix all dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add rose water. Mix well. Then add purified water slowly mixing it in until you have the consistency of a thick smooth mustard.
Apply to freshly cleansed skin and leave on for 10-15 minutes.
Rinse off with warm water and pat dry with a fresh towel.
Notice the difference in your skin tone and texture after applying this mask! Please share this with your friends who might be interested in making their own skincare products!
Shared with love from Britt, just your local Ayurveda nerd.
My Niece- Sydney Boyd
This Sunday I attended a very sweet and inspiring lecture at my Alma Mater, Vedika Global. The topic was on Children's Health and Ayurveda. I left feeling the strong desire to share this invaluable information with the world, and thanks to the internet and your help in spreading the word, I feel very grateful to be able to manifest that desire and make this ancient knowledge more accessible.
According to Ayurveda, children have a natural predominancy of Kapha Dosha until they are at least 20 years old (some ancient texts say up to 30 years old). Healthy Kapha is necessary for healthy growth and development, however if the Kapha is poor in quality, or too much in quantity, disease can occur. Excess Kapha can lead to the formation of toxins in the body and this creates a swampy environment that acts as a lovely host for unwanted bacteria and virus's and can also lead to digestive issues such as poor appetite, indigestion, obesity and skin issues such as eczema.
When there is an excess of kapha and/or toxins in the body, there will naturally be less hunger. If your child is not hungry, their natural internal regulation system may be taking over. All children are different, some need more food and some need less. If you have a picky eater, I would suggest allowing your child to let your child get slightly hungry before chasing them around with a spoonful of their food favorite food just so they eat something. Also, when they are hungry they are more likely to enjoy new foods that they might not try otherwise. It's perfectly okay for your child to get a little bit hungry. If we keep feeding our children snack after snack without allowing the previous meal to digest, we are not letting their digestive fire complete it's job. It's like adding wet logs on a dying flame. I would recommend having your child eat 3 square meals a day. If they are hungry in between, try offering them a healthy light snack such as seasonal fruit or a rice cake.
Another wonderful thing you can do to help boost your child's health is to oil them up! Warmed unrefined sesame oil is wonderful for improving digestion, circulation, metabolism and immunity, and decreasing stress. It is recommended to oil them all over their entire body before bath time at least once a week. This is a wonderful way for you to connect to your children and spend some extra time loving them up!
Here are some common ailments that children suffer from, and home remedies you can give them to help.
1. Tummy ache- Bishops weed (ajwain seed) and Cumin with warm water or mixed with honey.
2. Constipation- 1 teaspoon of Ghee at night or 10-15 raisins or dates.
3. Gas/Bloating- Mix 1 pinch of Asafetida (also known as hing) with a spoonfull of ghee and rub around the belly area in circular motions. Try a small test patch on the arm first to make sure the skin does not react. (If your child has extremely sensitive skin there is a possibility of redness or rash occurring)
4. Cold/Allergies - 1 teaspoon of Raw Honey with Turmeric and Black pepper mixed in.
Thank you to the speakers at Sunday's event, Shunya Pratichi Mathur, Dr. Abhijit Jinde, and Dr. Sanjay Kadlimatti. Most of this post has been inspired by their lecture.
It is my true pleasure and deepest joy to share this knowledge. If you haven't yet done so, please become a fan of my facebook page, and feel free to share this blog with friends and family that might benefit. If you want to know what foods would be best for your child, and what they should avoid, please click HERE to schedule a free consultation.
Love and Light,
Jon Schreiber, D. C.
Last night I attended my very first Breema class at the Breema center in Oakland California. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I must admit I was pleasantly surprised at how deeply enriching the experience turned out to be.
What is Breema?
"Breema bodywork and Self-Breema exercises use nurturing touch, tension-relieving stretches, and rhythmic movements to create physical, mental, and emotional balance. Breema’s commonsense wisdom guides the practitioner to support the body’s instinctive healing energy, nurturing vitality instead of focusing on symptoms of illness or imbalance."-www.breema.com
What does it look like to take a Breema class in Oakland?
When you walk into the center, you are met with a very calm and clean energy. There are beautiful carpets lining the floors and the walls of the center and it creates a very warm and safe atmosphere. The class began with a short guided meditation followed by instruction on how to perform series of gentle movements and "self breema". I was amazed at how these gentle movements were able to ground me, and bring me back into my body. Next we were taught some simple methods on how to practice gentle effortless Breema bodywork sequences with a partner, and learned about the 9 principles of Breema. We were told to touch our partner without any agenda of trying to "do" anything to them. We weren't trying to heal them, or fix them in any way. We were simply asked to interact with each others bodies in a safe comfortable and neutral way. This was a very new concept for me, and I could feel the difference in staying connected to myself and my level of comfort in my body as opposed to feeling anxious that I wasn't "doing it right". The instructors were calm, centered, and answered questions with ease and grace.
We concluded the class with a short meditation, and silently thanked our partners for allowing us to practice with them. They even have an adorable station set up with complimentary herbal tea and healthy snacks for you to enjoy when the class is over. Such a sweet way to end a delightful evening.
I'll definitely be back for more next week!
*Next week the Breema center is offering a week of free classes in honor of National Dance Week. Click HERE to check out the schedule.
Last week I posted an article by Sarah from the Heathy Home Economist entitled, "How Green Smoothies can Devastate your Health". It is about how raw green leafy vegetables consumed in excess can create oxalate stones which can cause a number of diseases. There is also a counter response to this article written by Kimberly Snyder that is quite interesting as well, arguing that the danger of oxalates is debatable, and the harmful effects can potentially be avoided if consumed in a proper manner. I enjoy learning about oxalates and fiber and soluble fats and how they interact in our bodies, but when we focus too much on these tiny particles we can miss the most important question of all, how does it make us feel?
According to Ayurveda, every food can be both a medicine or a poison depending on how and when it is consumed and who is consuming it. The basic rule of thumb in most ancient healing traditions is that like increases like, and opposites balance. Green smoothies are not inherently bad or good. They do however have certain qualities that can be helpful or harmful depending on each person. In general, green smoothies are heavy, cold, sweet, sticky, smooth, and liquid in nature. If a person has a weak digestive capacity, then a green smoothie might not be the best choice for them. Also, we must take into consideration the season, time of day the smoothie is consumed, and the overall current state of health of the person consuming the smoothie. For example, if a person who is Kapha dominant drinks a smoothie in Spring Time when Kapha is naturally higher than usual it has a potential to create further disturbance in the body. However if a person with a strong digestive capacity consumes the same smoothie in the proper season, it can be beneficial.
If you are one of those people who is addicted to your green smoothie, I would like to offer a few tips on how to make it more digestible and balanced.
1. Adding ginger, honey, turmeric and cinnamon will help by adding a bit of heat to the smoothie and making it more digestible.
2. Never use frozen fruits and vegetables. Try switching to fresh fruits and vegetables instead.
3. Don't make it too thick. If it is on the thinner side, it is easier for your body to digest.
I hope you enjoyed my perspective on this topic. Please feel free to comment and share :)
If you are interested in learning more about your constitution and what foods are best for your unique body type, please click HERE to set up an appointment.
Have you ever wondered why flying in an airplane can cause symptoms such as anxiety, increased thirst, dry skin, diarrhea and/or constipation? Whenever we travel by plane, the fast speed of the airplane combined with the high altitude cause a VATA (air and space) imbalance in our bodies. When our body is out of balance, physical and psychological symptoms can easily manifest. Click HERE to read more about the qualities of Vata and how it works in our bodies. If we listen to the subtle clues that our body gives us when it cries out for attention, we can often correct the imbalance before symptoms arise.
Here are some simple things you can do to help counter balance the increase in Vata dosha that can occur when traveling.
1. When the beverage cart rolls down the isle, skip on the ice cold bubbly soda and opt for hot water or tea instead. This will help to open up your channels and also improve your digestion.
2. Instead of eating dry and crunchy Vata increasing foods such as crackers or pretzels, bring your own snacks. I recently travelled to New York and brought a hard boiled egg and some organic vegetables cooked in ghee and spices for a mid flight snack. It was delicious and very grounding!
3. Bring some raisins with you in case you do get constipated on your trip. You can soak 15 raisins in a cup of warm water for 10 minutes and eat them before going to bed to help ensure a bowel movement in the morning.
4. Some people get anxious before traveling and this can cause excessive movement in the bowels. If you have diarrhea, you can bring some dry ginger powder with you and take a quarter of a teaspoon at night with warm water before bed and in the morning. This will simultaneously balance Vata and stop the diarrhea.
5. Bring layers and keep that little fan off! Help to bring Vata down by dressing appropriately and keeping your body at a comfortable warm temperature.
6. Get plenty of rest before and after you travel. When we don't have a proper grounding nights sleep, this can cause our Vata to increase even more.
7. Sit in the isle seat! During long flights it is good to get up and stretch every once in a while. When we sit in one place for too long, our muscles get stiff and sore which can further aggravate Vata.
Thanks so much for reading! If you enjoyed this post please "like it" on Facebook and or share it with your friends. I write these posts because I have benefitted so much from the teachings I have received, and have a deep desire to share them with the world, and you can help me do this by sharing within your community.
Best of wishes to you, and safe travels! :)
One of my clients has been suffering from debilitating digestive issues for the past few years. After our first appointment it became clear that he felt a deep sense of hopelessness and a disconnection from his body. I am sharing this story with his full permission because it touched me so deeply, and I felt others would benefit from hearing about it.
During our first appointment, I went over the fundamental principles of Ayurveda. When I explained the concept of the 3 Dosha's and Agni, something clicked for him. He started to to see how the internal environment of his body was affecting his digestive process, and he began to understand the connection between the elements in the outside world and how they also existed in his body. Sensing his enthusiasm and delight in this concept, I asked him to do some homework. I told him to close his eyes and check in with his body to feel what the internal landscape of his body looked like, and how it felt to exist in that environment. I also asked him to write about how he would like his body to feel and what it would look like inside if he were healthy.
This is what he wrote...
Having suffered from Ulcerative Colitis for 6 years, I know from personal experience what it feels like to be in "Gollum's Swampy Hole". Luckily, I also know what it takes to go through the process of turning the swamp into a peaceful valley of love and abundance. It doesn't happen overnight, but if we let the sun shine on the swamp, and pour water over the latent flowers, the landscape will inevitably start to change form.
Question of the day:
"What does your internal landscape look like at this moment, and how would you like to see it improve?"
Why should we incorporate more of this yellow wonder root into our diets?
For over 5,000 years, turmeric root has been used in Ayurvedic medicine as a wonder herb to help prevent and cure numerous diseases and correct subtle imbalances that can occur in the body. Here is a list of some of the benefits of turmeric. Click on each benefit to read more.
You can add turmeric to most dishes... try adding it to soups, stews, and stir-frys. Click HERE to watch my video on how to make a Spring Time soup using turmeric as one of the main spices.