SEASONAL SELF-CARE BLOG


COOLING ELIXIRS!

Posted on August 10th, 2017


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Try these cooling elixirs to help you get through the heat and boost your digestive system!

 

I’m back in New York. After the past few months of traveling and teaching, I really needed to ground myself when I got back home- my vata dosha, air element, was way out of balance! So I’ve been doing very rooting yoga practices and have been really enjoying getting all cozy and homey in my apartment! These last few days, it’s been hot and muggy and the fire element is in full blaze again and my pitta dosha is going crazy! I’m feeling irritable. I have a rash, and some heartburn. Oh my what is a person who is vata/pitta to do?  Well, I’m doing everything I can to keep cool and boost my digestive system. Right now, I’m sipping on CCF + rosebuds, one of the delicious cooling elixirs from our retreat with Narayana Integrative Center! It is a digestive powerhouse as well as cooling for the system. In late Summer it is particularly important to stoke the digestive fire, as the wisdom of Chinese medicine encourages us to tend to our stomach and spleen, to nurture and cleanse our earth element.

CUCUMBER, MINT, LIME ELIXIR

This Summer cooling elixir is so pretty-just looking at all the sweet greens cools my overheated, agitated mind! Sipping on this is like taking a dip in the ocean and luxuriously floating on your back, gazing at the clouds moving through the sky. Time suspended in dreamy late Summer bliss!

Cucumber is a cooling classic. It immediately brings to mind an image of a woman lying down with cucumber slices on her tired, puffy, computer strained eyes. Yes, cooling cucumber to the rescue! Due to it’s high water content (96%) cucumber actually increases hydration in your body as well as reduces inflammation and overheating. Cucumber is very alkalizing so it helps neutralize your overacidic system. AND they’re packed with vitamin C, A, and many B vitamins. Bring the cooling cukes on! Mint is a favorite cooling herb. Perfect for Summer drinks, delicious, sparkly mint helps soothe your digestion as well as relax the body and calm the nervous system. Ahhhhh! Limes, are very cooling and hydrating for you system. They are deeply cleansing and a great digestive aid. Limes are similar to lemons as they both have the sour taste, but limes don’t aggravate pitta dosha as much as lemons. So in Summer…squeeze in the limes and remember to include the peel in your drink to receive all of the health benefits!

Cucumber, mint & lime elixir recipe

4 cups of water

12 cucumber slices

4 lime slices

4 sprigs of mint

You can lightly crush the cucumber, lime, & mint and then put them in the water.

Sip, hydrate, & chill out!

 

CCF + ROSEBUDS TEA

I was first introduced to CCF (cumin, coriander, fennel) tea by Dr. Vasant Lad, my Ayurveda teacher. It is a traditional Ayurveda tea used to boost the digestive fire, referred to in Ayurveda as agni. It is good for digestive health for all of the doshas. Used often in Ayurvedic cooking for it’s delicious taste and medicinal qualities, Cumin stokes the digestive fire, increases mineral absorption in the intestines, and helps relieve gas. Particularly helpful for pitta digestive issues, Coriander soothes an irritated digestive system and cools inflammation in the body particularly in the stomach and urinary tract. It helps prevent gas & bloating as well is a diuretic. Fennel, the third magic medicinal ingredient, is one of the best herbs to use to if you have weak digestion and heating spices, like chilis, would overheat your system. After a meal you can eat 1 tsp of roasted fennel seeds to help your boost your digestion. The three herbs together create a powerful digestive tonic, stoking the metabolism while reducing inflammation and agitation. Try adding some rose buds, as Katia suggests, for an extra cooling twist to help reduce pitta. The rose flowers will help subdue the heat, and relieve congestion in the blood and inflammation.

CCF + rosebud tea recipe

1 cup water

⅓ teaspoon cumin seeds

⅓ teaspoon coriander seeds

⅓ teaspoon fennel seeds

2 rosebuds

Boil the water. Add the spices & rose buds. Turn off the heat, cover & let sit for about 5 minutes. Strain & Enjoy. I add a little honey in it to sweeten.

For more ways to cool Pitta dosha, as well as get a good foundation in the principles of Ayurveda and all of the doshas, join me for my Ayurveda Teacher Training Module at Sacred Sounds Yoga this weekend, Aug. 12, 13 in Manhattan.

 

Joyous heart!

Leigh

 

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2 Fall warm drinks for vata dosha!

Posted on October 24th, 2016


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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
Cinnamon
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.

Enjoy!

joyous heart!

Leigh

Leigh in light_opt

 

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3 Fall tips to balance vata dosha

Posted on October 11th, 2016


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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!

LUXURIATE
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.

NOURISH
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!

GROUND
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

Leigh in light_opt

 

 

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