SEASONAL SELF-CARE BLOG


HARVEST ABUNDANCE

Posted on October 18th, 2017


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A few weekends ago I went apple picking and pumpkin hugging upstate with my friend Melanie and her absolutely adorable 2 year old daughter, Annabella. It was incredible to be walking in the midst of the fields, picking our way through apples, squashes & veggies galore, feasting on the colors and abundant offerings of the Fall Harvest. I loved seeing it all through the eyes of Annabella, who loved tasting each apple from every tree which had low enough branches that she could pick from. Her exuberance and curiosity about life was overflowing! It was an experience of enjoying the fullness of life, the fullness of the pumpkins in all of their glory as they lay right next to their stalks that had nourished them until this moment. The birthing vines were now starting to dry up and decompose back into the earth, leaving the pumpkin as an offering, a gift from the Earth.

Ahhh Harvest time-the abundance of the last fruits and vegetables offered before nature takes it’s yearly winter’s slumber. The bounty sitting alongside the simultaneous decay of matter as it contracts, pulling inwards and downwards returning to the earth to fertilize the seeds of Spring’s rebirth. The Fall Harvest is simultaneously a celebration and a letting go. It is the time to distinguish between what is nutritional and should be kept and what can be released and left for compost. In Chinese Medicine, Fall is the season of the Metal element. It offers us the opportunity to lighten up and let go, open the door to clarity, and distill and refine our beings to their essence. This environmental distillation is mirrored in our bodies, minds, and lives. The Autumn harvest offers the opportunity to celebrate and focus our energies on that which we want to birth and let go of that which no longer nourishes our lives and dreams. It is the time to invite abundance and vitality into our lives as we shed the non-essential, resolve and release unhelpful habitual thoughts and emotions, and let go of unhealthy relationships and patterns. By releasing the non-beneficial, we create space for recognizing the essence of who we are and clarity for our intentions,

In the Fall we often need supportive practices to help us as we  undergo these elemental processes of letting go, releasing, and surrender. Seasonal yoga, food, and lifestyle practices can help us attune our internal rhythm more with the natural cycles and deepen our connection to ourselves and our environment.

HOME HARVEST

Use the metal element to help you harvest your home. Cut through the disorder with the metal element’s ability to discern and systematize. Fall is the time to organize the clutter in your home, release the agitation in your mind, and clear out the chaos in your life. By releasing the excess and organizing our living space and minds, we acknowledge what we want, recognize who we are, and invite space into our homes and lives.

ORGANIZE the chaos in your home

SYSTEMATIZE areas of congestion. Pick one of these areas in your home to clear out and organize this week – filing cabinet, closet, computer, desk, bookshelves, kitchen

JOURNAL to let go of what is swirling around in your mind

FOCUS on what you want to bring to full manifestation

CELEBRATE and enjoy the fruits of your life!

Join me in Sweden this November for Seasonal Self-Care workshops at the Stockholm Yoga and Dance Festival, Nov. 3-5 and and for my Inward Journey: Seasonal Alignment workshops at AWS Studio in Uppsala, Nov. 11-12.

 

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2 Fall warm drinks for vata dosha!

Posted on October 6th, 2017


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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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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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