We have opened up the exciting presents, played with all the new gadgets and made sure we got last minute holiday purchase, chances are by now you are feeling that you are a little depleted. So give yourself the gift of health for the New Year. The ability to use your senses to reinvigorate your health is the perfect gift from you to you!
The Gift of Smell:
In the winter, we use essential oils to balance the cold, heavy, damp qualities of the season that can affect our body and make us feel sluggish, depressed and congested. Certain essential oils can elevate your spirits, pick up your mood and leave you felling energized - even on the darkest winter days. Use the following oils as a powerful tool for stimulating the immune system and boosting immunity.
Make a stimulating and uplifting mix by adding the following: Put 4oz of distilled water plus 3 drops each of rosemary & bergamot & ylang-ylang. Carry it with you and spray on your face as desired. To balance Pitta, add vetiver or sandalwood. To counter the drying effects of air travel, use a warming, soothing scent like rose, geranium or orange.
The Gift of Taste:
Spices are your 'go-to' in this cold season, and that is because they warm and energize the body. Its time to eliminate heavy dairy foods such as ice-cream, cold milk, yogurt and cheese. These foods are more difficult to digest and tend to slow down our digestive system making us feel sluggish. Winter colds coughs and flu are brought on by sticky, heavy, heavy foods that create phlegm and mucous in the lungs and respiratory system. Instead enjoy a hot and delicious spicy-sweet tea in the mid-afternoon that stimulates and warms the body - and takes care of any sluggishness.
Stimulating Chai Tea (serves 2)
By about mid-afternoon as it starts getting dark, we can start feeling like we are dragging. This energizing tea will stimulate Kapha and stimulate your digestion for dinner. Its a rejuvenating and uplifting tea!
- 3 cups water
- 1 inch fresh chopped ginger
- 2 pinches saffron
- 2 pinches cinnamon
- 6 whole cloves
- 8 cardamom pods, lightly cracked
- 1 teaspoon or teabag roobis tea
- Honey to taste
- Milk or almond milk optional
Add 3 cups water to a small pot. Add ginger, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, saffron, and tea. Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the cinnamon. Stir. Add warmed or steamed milk if desired. Add honey to taste. For more great recipes to keep you balanced, take a look at our recipe subscription program.
The Gift of Touch:
Touch is so fundamental to life that children who are deprived of touch will often fail to thrive. There are studies that show babies who are regularly caressed develop stronger immunity to infection and disease. Yet most of us do not take the time on a regular basis to touch or pamper our own skin. Did you know that your skin is in constant communication with your brain, even when we sleep. Our skin is our second brain. It thinks, it discerns, it communicates and it feels. Is it any wonder then, that the feeling of touch has far-reaching effects on our health and well-being.
First choose an oil for your metabolic type - Sesame oil for Vata's, Coconut oil for PItta's and Mustard oil for Kapha's. Keep your oil in a bottle or jar in your bathroom. You can warm it if you like in some warm water in the sink or just apply it at room temperature. Start your application before a shower or bath. Starting at your feet doing circular motions around the joints and long sweeping motions on the long bones and torso. You can even apply it to your scalp if you intend to wash your hair that day. Once it is applied, let it stay on your skin for a few minutes before you take a shower. Once in the shower, do not soap the oil off. Instead, let the warmth of the shower drive the oil into your skin. Just pat dry with a towel.
The Gift of Sound:
Perhaps the most powerful sound in life is the one we produce by our own speech. What we say, and how we say it not only affects others through our speech; but affects our own body and mind too. Sound is produced by contact of the breath with various parts of the body and that includes, the vocal chords, the throat, windpipe, tongue, teeth and lips. All these subtly vibrate in order to produce sound and these vibrations spread throughout the central nervous system, affecting every cell of the body according to Ayurveda. Nothing makes us feel worse that unpleasant conversations or ugly speech. As the organ of speech, the throat needs special attention. It helps to gargle daily when we wake up and the recipe is an Ayurvedic mouthwash to use for gargling. Be aware that brand name mouthwashes usually contain alcohol, and chemicals and dyes which have a toxic and drying effect on the mouth.
Add 1-2 drops mint, clove or cinnamon essential oil to 1/2 cup cup warm distilled water. Gargle 3 times each morning.
Sound is something we rarely pay attention to. How do you feel when you recall the sound of the wind, the sound of the waves on the ocean, the sound of the birds singing,, and the sound of a warm refreshing rain. These sounds soothe and nourish us - when we listen to these sounds we feel more in harmony and life seems to be in balance. I invite you to tune out of the busy sounds of life around you and tune into the sounds that balance your dosha. To balance Vata, listen to the sounds of a flowing river or the ocean waves. Pitta's do best listening to birds chirping and singing, and Kapha's need to put on some loud rock'n'roll and get up and dance.
The Gift of Sight:
If I were to ask you how many times a week you did something to improve the health of your eyes, you'd probably say "none." Most people pay attention to their eyes only if they have a problem. Yet the hours spent watching TV and working on computers take their toll on eye health. One of the biggest enemies of the eyes is lack of sleep. If you have a tendency to stay up too late, try going to bed just fifteen minutes earlier. Gradually bring your bedtime into alignment with the ayurvedic routine — between 10:00 pm and 10:30 pm.
To balance the stress we inflict upon our eyes, try some yoga. Yogic eye exercises, if done daily, are a gentle and effective way to prevent vision problems from developing. They are especially recommended for children, but adults can help prevent farsightedness from developing in middle age, and even people who wear glasses can prevent their vision from getting worse.
Yogic Eye Exercises (for strengthening eye muscles and releasing stress)
- Sit in an easy pose with your legs comfortably crossed and your spine, neck and head in a straight line. Look directly to the front at eye-level and breathe normally.
- Move your eyes upward to the ceiling and stay for two seconds. Look downwards and stay for two seconds. Close your eyes for two seconds.
- Look toward the right side, as far as your eye will see, for two seconds. Look to the left side for two seconds. Look to the front again.
- Close your eyes for 6-8 seconds.
- This completes one round. Start with 2-3 rounds and increase up to four rounds.
So, give yourself the gift of health for the New Year that will lead into a Healthy and Happier lifestyle. Lets chat if you would like more information on lifestyle changes.