Tag Archives: resiliency

Are You Ready for the Wisdom of Ayurveda ?

Woman having Ayurvedic spa treatment.

My first exposure to Ayurveda was about ten years ago when I attended many workshops on the Teachers Path at the Chopra Center. It resonated with me. The  idea of holistic wellness and  incorporating mind-body-spirit into my personal health equation, which, by the way, was far from the allopathic medicine philosophy I grew up with, struck a melodic chord. Moreover, I understood how  we must strive for our own independent path toward wellness based upon our unique body type, rather than following the masses on trending diet fads, crazy exercise routines and pharm pills or newfangled supplements touting health magic tricks.  Ayurveda made scientific sense, plus it was backed by over 5,000 years of ancient wisdom. I had so much to learn….

Over the past nine  years I devoured every book, post, lecture and lesson I could to understand more about Ayurveda and how this very ancient “science of life” could profoundly affect not only my own health and wellbeing, but those of others as well. I am particularly attracted to the biological and physiological effects emotions and stress play out on the body, and how (depending upon your genetic code, lifestyle and dosha type) each individual body will respond. I love the notion that each body strives for homeostasis and wholeness. Your body is working extremely hard to heal itself, but we, as intelligent humans, must learn to “listen to” and nourish the mind, body and SPIRIT. They all work closely in tandem to harmonize. Thats part of the beauty of Ayurveda.

So, I present to you a short synopsis of of Ayurveda and some of the core of its philosophies, by Dr. Arya Krisha, with whom I recently had the pleasure of meeting.  Dr Arya Krishna graduated with a Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery from the prestigious Amrita School of Ayurveda ,Kerala, India.  She brings more than 2 years of experience in the field of Ayurveda. Currently she’s pursuing her Fellowship in Orthopedics Rehabilitation from the prestigious Appolo group of hospitals.

 Dr. Arya Krishna shares her knowledge about the wisdom and healing powers of Ayurveda:

The Indian system of Medicine, Ayurveda is ancient and rich. Its earliest concepts are set out in the sacred writings called the Vedas, especially in the metrical passages of the Atharvaveda, which may possibly date as far back as the 2nd millennium BC. This system of Medicine has been practiced in the Country from time immemorial and has stood the test of time.

Ayurveda is a holistic system of healing which evolved among the Brahmin sages of ancient India some 3000-5000 years ago. There are several aspects of this system of medicine which distinguishes it from other approaches to health care.

  1. It focuses on establishing and maintaining balance of life energies within us, rather than focusing on symptoms.
  2. It recognizes the unique constitutional differences of all individuals and therefore recommends different regimens for different types of people. Although 2 people may appear to have the same outward symptoms, their energetic constitutions may be very different and therefore call for very different remedies.
  3. Ayurveda is a complete medical system which recognizes that ultimately all intelligence and wisdom flows from one absolute source (Paramatman). Health manifests by the grace of the Absolute acting through the laws of Nature (Prakriti). Ayurveda assists Nature by living a life of balance according to her law.
  • Ayurveda describes 3 fundamental universal energies which regulate all natural processes on both the macroscopic and microscopic levels. They are VaataPittha and Kapha.
  • Ayurveda seeks to heal the fragmentation and disorders of the mind-body complex and restore wholeness and harmony to all people.
  • Panchakarma

    Ayurveda is the rich store house of time tested and effective recipes for the treatment of several obstinate and otherwise incurable diseases. More important than these recipes are the specialized therapies which, while curing such diseases, strengthen the immune system in the body and thus help in the prevention of diseases and preservation and promotion of positive health. These specialized therapies in Ayurvedic Science are called PANCHAKARMA. It is no wonder therefore, that scientists and physicians in India and abroad are showing deep interest in this classical form of Ayurvedic treatment.

    Panchakarma therapy primarily aims at cleaning the body of its accumulated impurities, and nourishing the tissues. Once this is achieved, it becomes very easy to rejuvenate these tissues and slow the process of aging. The term ‘panchakarma’ literally means five specialized therapies. The therapies that are included under this collective term are:

    • Vamana Karma : Emetic therapy
    • Virechana Karma : Purgation therapy
    • Vasthi : Enema containing decoction of herbs
    • Raktha Mokshanam : Blood-letting therapy
    • Nasya karma : Nasal therapy
    • Prior to the administration of these therapies, the body of the patient is to be suitably prepared and the therapeutic measures used for this purpose are called Preparatory Therapies. These are:
    • Snehana karma : Oleation therapy (external and internal oleation)
    • Swedana karma : Fomentation therapy
  • In short, Ayurveda aims at the maintenance  of health or prevention of disease in a healthy individual, cure the diseased and help in Rejuvenation. 
  • Ayurveda also advises proper diet and regimen for a healthy living. It is described in detail the daily regimen and seasonal regimen in classical Ayurveda.

For more detailed information about your particular dosha and maintaing your health or HEALING your body/mind/spirit, contact Dr. Arya directly at dr.aryakris@gmail.com

While we must all decide which types of alternative or integrative therapies may work or not work for us, I can only hope that you open your perspective to learn and understand how Ayurveda can help transform your wellness equation. There are many benefits to utilizing scientific technology to improve our wellbeing, but sometimes it just makes sense to return to our roots–the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda!

Wishing you happiness and the flexiblity in mind, body and spirit.

~Pam~

Live Life Passionately ! 

What Cravings Teach Us

Young woman looking for some snack in fridge late at night

Ahhhh….You know what I am talking about here. That insatiable desire for something: food, carbs, salt, sugar, sex, love, or whatever. Its called a craving. And we all have them, but some of us are better at giving into them than others.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I craved meat and potatoes. WHAT?  I rarely ate meat and potatoes were a treat. But I craved them. My physiology spoke to me through that hormonal change that said, “I want a great steak. And  I want carbs!”. Huh? Let it be said, cravings are certainly NOT just a prego hormonal response…

So why exactly do we crave something? Why is it desirous? Is it biochemical? Is it emotional? Is it physiological? What the heck is happening when we feel that “I need this NOW!” Is it an addiction-response? Yes…and ….no.

Your biochemical body (hormones) signals you to tell you what we are missing. If you keep feeding your body sugar, your body begins to learn to want it–not being able to truly discern or regulate how much is actually “good” for you. It can become addicting.

But what if you are not getting enough of a certain (good) substance (ie. good fat, protein, vitamin  or mineral)? What if you are not receiving the human touch, or affection? How does that deprivation affect your body?

So some cravings can be a signal to your body to tell you what you may be missing ie.. something your body really needs such as nourishing  hormones/emotions/biochemicals which your body desires and needs. You may need to feed these cravings. Your body is calling you out on them. When you don’t give into these needs, your body seeks (unhealthy) substitutes or ways to fulfill the desires which are not always in our best interest (drugs, illicit sex, unhealthy eating and more)…

So how do you distinguish a real (healthy) craving from one which can cause havoc and unhealthy lifestyle practices?

I believe the first and most important step is to get your body into balance, into a state of equilibrium as much as possible.To do this may mean you need to rid yourself of  (or at least minimize) everything artificial or that which your body truly does not need, such as sugars, processed foods, fried foods, salty foods, nicotine, alcohol,  drugs and more..Strive to feel your optimal best–your healthiest.

Observe your body and how you feel for any signs of lack.  What is  your body  (telling your mind) it’s missing (ie. craving) ? Pay attention.

This will be challenging. Your mind-body will cry out to you because there will be various forces that are at work in and around you. Emotional and physiological forces. These forces can be so compelling that they will steer you to make poor choices about food, sex, or other substances which really won’t nourish your body…in fact..it may simply destroy it. These drives for substances/emotions your mind FEELS you are missing may lead you astray. They are powerful. They are determined.

Remember, that “every emotion you FEEL will have a thought and physical sensation” as described by Dr. Deepak Chopra, in Perfect Digestion. The key is to realize that what you are actually feeling (the emotion) will coincidentally be producing a physical response. For example, if you are feeling very nervous, your stomach may begin to rumble or ache, your mouth may feel dry or you may feel jittery. With cravings, the desire for what we BELIEVE we are missing/wanting may show up as a very physical sensation (anxiousness, sweet tooth, strong hunger pangs).

Get to know your own body’s homeostasis . This is your body’s baseline..where it feels perfectly wonderful. (consistently good weight, healthy appetite, minimal aches/pains/inflammation, strong immunity). When you truly get tuned into your body, you will soon become your own savant about knowing which craving is healthy versus unfounded (misdirected).

Cravings come in all shapes, forms and sizes. They are super good at fooling you sometimes too. If you truly crave a particular substance (which you know isn’t good for you), ask  yourself, “What do I really want? What am I really hungry for? ” Which taste (sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, or astringent) am I missing from my diet currently? How am I feeling within? Secure? Loved? Valued? Purposeful? These questions will help you to identify the root of your craving.

And remember, when you  minimize the “excess” of most anything, the craving for it will diminish and eventually disappear. But also know that some cravings act as warning signs signaling to you that you may not be getting enough of a needed substance or feeling  (vitamin, mineral, taste, love, affection, validation). Be careful not to fill your need for love, affection or human touch with food. This will only create another unwanted (substitution) pattern and craving!

Cravings (for food/tastes) will come and go. Dont beat yourself up if you crater to them once in awhile. No one is perfect. We are not meant to be. Give yourself a pat on the back and a lot of love for learning more about your body, your desires and for working hard to make good, healthy choices.

Now excuse me please while I make some fresh popcorn. I’ve got a craving…   ;)

Wishing you healthy cravings in all of their goodness! xoxoxxo

~Pam~

 

The Guitar Gal in Me: A Prelude to Well Being!

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It all started when my 4th grade teacher,  Mrs. Darby, would bring her acoustic guitar to class (usually on Friday afternoons) to play for us. As students, we were encouraged to sing along, and it became a really a fun way to end the school week.

Thats when I fll in love with the guitar. I wanted to learn to play this instrument. The melodic sounds were magical to me. So I begged my parents to grant me guitar lessons with a guitar we rented for about a year. The rental wasn’t the best; the strings were hard and made new calluses and indentations on my virgin fingertips.  But I didn’t care. I was learning to pick and strum and train my ear to detect the notes of the scale. I was learning to hold chords across the fretboard that I thought my young fingers could never reach. I was in guitar heaven!

And about a year later, my parents surprised me with a new Martin acoustic guitar of my own. I still own her. She is absolutely beautiful!  (see picture below).  Lets just say, “I adore her!”

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Thats how it began. I took lessons for about 6 years until the diversions of sports, academics and boys got in the way during high school. LOL…yep…guess that what happens when you are in your late teens. But aaahhh…

The “guitar gal in me”  never ceases to move me. To this day, it has taught me amazing lessons of tuning into my soul, expressing myself through music, understanding the benefits of hard core practice (yep…you just got to practice) and just letting go and allowing music to move me. I am a Motown gal…grew up with soulful sounds which still resonate with me today.

Research has shown that playing an instrument or moving to music has wonderful mindful and medicinal and healing effects.   For me, the guitar is all that. I can feel melancholy with it. or super joyful. It reflects me. It can be soothing or hard a**s rocking. I get to choose.

So if you are new to playing a guitar, (or desire to play one) here are a few things I can share with you to help you on your guitar journey:

1. Practice your musical passion. Play your instrument as if it were an extension of your physical body. Yep. An additional appendage for your soulful enjoyment.

2. Feel your instrument. Don’t just touch it, but FEEL the music you are able to create from it. How special is that?

3. Know that the music you make may seem methodical at first, but after you become comfortable with it, your body will magically adapt and the music you create will flow with ease. It will soon become medicinal…magic melodic medicine for your soul and for others who will enjoy hearing you play.

4. Play genres of music which “speak to you”…whether its rock, pop, country, latino or everything in between.  Experiment with other types of music as you improve your ability to play.

5. At a certain point, you will naturally just begin to create your own sounds and melodies. Happy dance here ! You will create chord progressions which sound just perfect for your very own song. Dont worry about lyrics..just get the basic melody down…hum along as you play with chords that might fit with your own song.

6. Give your guitar some real love. Keep it tuned, restring it as necessary and keep it away from damp or cold/dry places/storage.

7. Play when you feel you want to be expressive ..during both sad/melancholy AND joyful times. You will be amazed at the different types of music you can create depending upon your moods when you play. Your guitar will become your bff !

My love for many genres of music was certainly heightened by learning to play my guitar. The “guitar gal” in me will always be there. The guitar not only echos the music in me, but the harmonies of my soul. (A sweet Tweetable!)

Wishing you the melodies of music in your heart to keep you happy and optimizing your Well Being !

 

~Pam~

Keep Living Life Passionately !

Unclogging Your Emotional Toilet! Eww…

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Okay. This sounds super gross. Unclogging a toilet? Really? But its actually a beautiful analogy. When the toilet (the loo) gets plugged, its usually because it physically can’t move the waste it contains, right? Well, same goes for you and your emotions.

Think for a moment about how you feel when you are heavy with emotions which you are holding onto and no longer serve you? You probably either feel angry, frustrated, stressed or completely weighed down (plugged up) and depressed, right? The bad news is a clogged toilet can overspill onto everything, creating a super mess you don’t really want to clean up! Its smelly and disgusting! The great news is your emotional toilet doesn’t need to stay clogged! So here’s the way to plunge through some of the gunk you are holding onto emotionally. Continue reading

More Putter, Less Flutter. Rx:Rest!

frog relaxing in pondPush yourself. Go Harder. Don’t waste time. Accomplish more! Hurry up!

 

These are excellent mantras for motivation if you find yourself in a lull. But most often, you probably find yourself overdoing it on many levels—work, family and even fun. Unfortunately, this all-consuming, overtaxing, over accomplishing determination mindset to do MORE can harm your body.

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Respect Your Injury and Get Healthier!

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It happens to the best of us: professional athletes, marathoners, novice competitors, weekend warriors and even healthy people who incorporate exercise into their daily life: We Get Injured! …Or in some cases, our body slowly breaks down so that surgery to mend it is eventually required. In either case, it takes time to heal. I have experienced this very circumstance this past summer when I accidentally slipped and tore both my MCL and lateral meniscus (cartilage) of my right knee. Ouch!

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Divorce, Single Dads and Making It All Healthier!

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Divorce takes its toll on everyone: moms, dads and kids (especially). Emotions tend to fly high and kids, particularly, feel uncertainty and lack of control. Divorcing parents are caught in the bubble of emotions of hurt, anger, confusion, fear and sometimes despair.
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Health is the New Wealth: Living the New Wellness Paradigm

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As I was growing up, my mom always told me wealth means NOTHING without good health. Truly enjoying your financial and personal successes count for less when you are not in the best of health.

These days we all seem to be trying to be healthier. We strive to eat healthy, exercise more, and balance our lifestyle between career/work, family and independent time. This idea is everywhere in our pop-culture, and Americans, alone, spend upwards of $40 Billion on this idea every year.

So if we’re all trying to achieve that healthy life that our mothers wished for us, why do we feel like something is still missing? Are we just like hamsters on the wheel, constantly running nowhere? How do we acquire that “joie de vie”? How do we create a lifestyle that promotes a healthy life and longevity?

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