2 Fall warm drinks for vata dosha!

Posted on October 24th, 2016


Happy Fall! Its windy and cold out there & vata dosha, the air element, is on the rise.

golden milk 3 lighter

Often when the wind picks up in the Fall, Vata dosha, the air element, goes out of balance. Our mind gets very active with ideas spinning a mile a minute. We feel like we want to do everything and be everywhere–We’re the wind after all! So we try to do it all, over plan our schedules and get totally overwhelmed, fragmented, and can’t get anything accomplished. Often as vata dosha goes out of balance, we have trouble falling asleep or wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. Sound familiar? This week as the leaves start turned turning glorious colors and the wind is picking up & blowing them off the trees, I’ve really been feeling my vata go out the roof . So what to do????

It’s time to curl up with a yummy warm drink & get all cozy!!! This will really help you stay grounded and calm the anxious vata mind so that your creativity and visionary brilliance can shine this Fall. I have two favorite warm drinks this Fall.  India’s Ayuvedic gem, “Golden Milk” to help you get a good nights sleep and from the heights of Peruvian Andes, “Vegan Hot Maca Chocolate”, to wake you up in healthy style!

To help me prepare for sleep, I’ve been drinking Ayurveda’s “Golden Milk” every night before going to bed. My friend, Jen Kuipers, gave me her favorite recipe and it is totally rocking my world! The gem of Indian medicine and cooking, Tumeric has incredible digestive, anti-inflammatory as well as antioxidant properties. Coupled with ginger and the spices, it becomes a digestive powerhouse and immune booster, as well as a magical sleepytime elixir! I’ve been drinking it every night. I love the ritual of grating the fresh tumeric & ginger and grinding the spices. The pepper unpacks and increases the benefits of the tumeric. Cardamom helps cleanse the body during the night with it’s detoxification properties. Cloves are a digestive stimulant as well as a great boost for the immune boost system helping release sinus & bronchial congestion. Cinnamon is also a digestive tonic. Nutmeg is an amazing sleep aid. The coconut cools all the heating spices down creating balance.

I find it the ritual of making Golden milk comforting and helps me start to relax. Then I light some candles, and put some essential oils in my diffuser (lavendar, clary sage, geranium, and bergamot are my favs these days) and curl up on my couch and sip my “Golden milk”. It makes me deliciously relaxed and sleepy!  Try it – You’ll love it!

Golden Milk

Serves 1

1 mug of milk (almond or other nut milk, or coconut milk )
1 tsp fresh tumeric
¼ tsp fresh ginger
4 black peppercorns
2 cloves
2 pods green cardamon
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
½ tsp coconut mana
honey to taste

Heat up the milk and simmer. Grate the fresh tumeric & ginger and add to the milk. Grind the peppercorns, cloves and cardamon and add with coconut mana, cinnamon, nutmeg to the milk. Whisk until it becomes a gorgeous golden color. Strain & add honey. It’s deeeeelicious!

coco & pumpkin CU lighter

In the morning or afternoon, if you want a healthy picker upper which is a great alternative to coffee, try my other Fall favorite drink a yummy hot chocolate made with Maca, the Peruvian superfood. I’m drinking it right now to wake me up and let the words flow!

Originating high in the Andes, maca root grows at 7,000 to 11,000 feet, making it the highest altitude growing plant in the world. Perhaps it is this ability to live in such an extreme environment, that creates the beautiful adaptogenic quality of maca which helps keep you balanced in times of internal or external stress. Esteemed for centuries for it’s healing properties, maca is a complete protein and packed with vitamins & minerals. Maca increases your energy by balancing the endocrine system so that it helps regulate your hormones. It is a gift for women’s health, helping to smooth the hormonal roller coaster the menstrual cycle and menopause. Maca increases libido and fertility, making this Superfood an exquisite elixir!

Vegan Hot Maca Chocolate
by Pauline Hanuise

Serves 1

1 mug almond milk (or your favorite substitute)
1 heaping teaspoon maca powder
1 heaping teaspoon cacao powder
1 pinch cinnamon
Cacao nibs
honey to taste

Carefully heat your almond milk to a simmer. Then blend it for a few seconds with your maca and cacao powders.

Pour the liquid into your favorite mug and sprinkle some cacao nibs and cinnamon on top.


joyous heart!


Leigh in light_opt



3 Fall tips to balance vata dosha

Posted on October 11th, 2016



For the sensitive, delicate, creative vata types, the increase in the air element in the Fall often brings anxiety, nervousness, and hyperactivity to a high pitch. Are you feeling a bit scattered, overwhelmed, and fragmented this Fall. Is it difficult to focus and complete projects?  Do you have insomnia? Do you suffer from arthritis or creaky joints? Is your digestion off?  If you are experiencing any of these things, your vata dosha may be out of balance.

Here are 3 tips to help bring Vata Dosha into balance this Fall!

Cherish yourself this Fall. Bask in a luxurious daily self oil massage to nurture your dry, rough, chapped skin and ground your anxious mind. This is one of the most effective ways to calm your mind and soothe your nervous system. Abhyanga, self oil massage, is a deeply nourishing Ayurvedic practice of anointing yourself with warm oil before showering. Loving yourself with this warm, nurturing, touch will calm the fragmented, anxious, nervous vata. Sesame oil is best for vata dosha because of it’s warming quality. Abhyanga is an essential practice to ground Vata Dosha. I just love doing this. When I do Abhyanga, I truly feel so much more relaxed and calm. Give it a try.

ABHYANGA- daily self-massage with warm sesame oil

  1. Heat up a pot of water.
  2. Take it off the stove, place the container of organic sesame oil in the pot to warm the oil
  3. Slowly and lovingly massage the warm oil into your skin from head to toe.
  4. Use long strokes on your limbs and circular strokes on your joints
  5. Let the oil soak into your skin for 20 minutes

Rinse off in the shower.

Warm up and ground yourself this Autumn with yummy soups using carrots, parsnips, beets and other root veggies as well as the gorgeous assortment of squash available in plenty at the farmers markets now. Soup is the best thing for the delicate vata digestion, which tends to run dry and cold. Nourish and ground yourself with root veggie soups – perfect to help ground and nourish those experiencing constipation, gas, bloating and other vata digestive issues!

Embrace rooting yoga practices this Fall, to help ground the windy air element. Invite steadiness and clarity into your mind by choosing poses that will deepen your connection with the Earth. Calm down the wind, by doing less vinyasa’s. Establish stability by staying in your standing poses for longer periods of time. Deepen your roots by waking up your feet, legs, and pelvis. Add more seated poses and forward bends in your practice to literally sit on the ground and anchor your windy distracted, fragmented mind.

Join me this weekend for my SACRED ROOTS RETREAT Oct 14-16, in the glorious Catskills. Celebrate Fall with joyous and nurturing practices for seasonal well being. Relax in nourishing yoga and Ayurveda remedies which ground vata dosha, the air element, and restore focus and balance to your being.

joyous heart!


Leigh in light_opt





Posted on October 2nd, 2016


“Let the Earth live”, this is what I heard. The voice came quickly, clearly, without drama or excess. I was sitting in front of my yoga class one Thursday at noon, inviting my students and myself to listen inside and let an intention arise from the wisdom of the heart. I suggested not to let the mind tell you what to do, but to take the time, sit patiently, focus on the heart center and ask the great guidance from the wisdom of the heart to speak. I did the same and like a bolt of clarity from the very heart of Earth itself the words “Let the Earth Live” sprung forward leaving all the tendrils of my mind’s agenda dangling in the wind. I was actually a little stunned. Often when I really take the time to listen to the heart, words like “kindness”, “patience”, “deep love”, “listen”, “soften” come forward. That morning my mind had not been spinning on the impending disaster of climate change. My worries were far more personal and petty in nature. So when the words “Let the Earth Live” came forward with such a quiet force and with such clarity, I really listened and I’m still listening. And I’m trying to do what I can to follow this request. The class that followed was I’d say the best class I have taught in a long time. Though I had come in with a completely different plan, I shifted it to focus on connecting to the Earth. I mean, when the Earth speaks you have to listen!  Right? So we slowed waaaay down, so that we could feel, so we could touch, so we could listen, so we could connect to the Earth. At first I could see the minds chomping at the bit, wanting to move the bodies into distraction, to fly through the air with a sweaty, windy, gymnastic adventure. But I knew from Ayurveda that would only create more air element and disconnection and that we desperately needed to find earth. We needed to slow down, to touch ground, to make contact, to feel our connection with our bodies so we could nourish the earth element in our bodies and connect with the presence of Earth itself. So I Invited our minds to ground their fragmented, distracted, disconnected wires of inattention, and connect through the temple of our bodies through simplicity through slowing down and connecting to the stability, the groundedness, the ever generous abundance and loving embrace of the Earth. We touched the Earth with presence of awareness awakening our own roots of our toes, our feet, our legs, and pelvis and strengthen muladhara chakra our root chakra. And it worked. People were glowing at the end and full of gratitude in our bow to the Earth.

sacred roots vietnam banyan 1

The request “Let the Earth Live” continues and deepens daily. I have been strongly feeling that in order to survive, we need to awakening the wisdom of our voices as women. We must dust off, pry open, and reverse the conditioning of silencing the intelligence that is uniquely feminine. I am trying in my own path as a yoga teacher and artist to share the women’s Lunar Yoga practices through my teacher trainings, workshops, and gatherings. The Full Moon Elixirs that I’ve been offering have been very empowering. These circles of women gathering together to honor the lunar cycle feel like magical, mystical experiences, tapping into ancient roots of women’s circles over the centuries. As I offer more ways to gather, I am nourished by discovering other allies. Just yesterday after teaching a Lunar Yoga workshop in Boston, I stumbled through my e-mail into Tree Sisters, an amazing organization of women taking direct action to gather together and help re-forest the Tropics in 10 years. “Feminine consciousness is the vital ingredient in humanity’s evolution into a protector species on behalf of all life. This month we are calling forth women as a force of nature, on behalf of nature by inviting 2500 women to become tree sisters, collectively planting 1 Million Trees per year.”

Powerful action is needed, sisters. It’s time to wake up and plant some trees! The Earth is calling us. I encourage you to listen, follow the call, and do what you can to “Let the Earth Live”.

I invite you to join me on one of my upcoming retreats and embrace the journey to renew, rejoice, reconnect with yourself and the beauty of the natural world.

Sacred Roots Retreat: Catskills, Oct 14-16
Flourish this Fall with practices connecting you with your rooted, grounded, most vibrant self! Relax in nourishing yoga and Ayurveda remedies which ground vata dosha, the air element, and restore focus and balance to your being. 

Nicaragua Yoga & Surf Retreat, Feb 18-25, 2017
Embraced by our beautiful yoga sanctuary at Costa Dulce, nourish your being with a week of yoga, meditation, and thai massage practices to awaken seeing and listening from the heart. Invite the spirit of wisdom, open hearted connection, and the abundance of nature into your life.

joyous heart!

Leigh in light_opt