Spend Your Health Dollars On Health, Not Illness

You may not think about how or where you spend health dollars on a daily basis, but each day you are making that choice whether you realize it or not.

For the first time, my husband and I had the opportunity this past year to choose an insurance plan that has a Health Savings Account or HSA as part of it.  We have a high deductible, but in exchange the company and we put money in each month.  Then we spend health dollars on health services, including what I call “real health care” – those that support my being healthy versus treating an illness which is what our main health system covers today.

Because I practice a lot of self-care, I am very healthy and don’t have a need to seek traditional medical care.  On one hand, that’s great.  On the other had, I spend health dollars on insurance without much payback in terms of usable services I need. 

Which is why, despite the HSA being largely funded by our own money, I’m excited to have this pot that to finally spend health dollars on services that I really want and value.  

So far I have invested in my health with monthly massages, essential oils, and my fall cleanse products.  And I feel great!  My body and mind are well nourished and my heart is doing a little dance of joy because of how I am getting to spend my health dollars.  Now if only I reimbursed for the daily health promoting practices! 

I compare how I am getting to spend my dollars to others in my orbit who are spending their health dollars on expensive assessment testing, visits to doctors and specialists whose main remedies are pharmaceutical drugs, surgery or if you’re lucky, a round of physical therapy.

Sometimes these tools create real and long lasting results.  

More often the medicines provide temporary relief while causing additional issues.  For example, I just read an article today about a study that has shown that the medicines used extensively for acid reflux, proton pump inhibitors, causes a 2.4 times higher chance of getting stomach cancer.

Sometimes the surgeries or injections for pain resolve the issue.  Other times, pain remains and there can be a loss of range of motion, subsequent muscle spasms, and secondary scar tissue problems.  As for the expensive tests, you might get a diagnosis but knowing what something is called doesn’t necessarily fix it.  

The same people in my orbit who are experiencing some of these issues also tell me that they don’t have time to spend on self-care.  They are caught in a cycle of pressure from the outer demands of life as well as feeling internally that they don’t have a choice.  A choice to spend more time with what I think of as the health promoting activities: cooking nourishing food, getting regular exercise, stretching and yoga, meditating or having a mindful quieting practice.  A choice to say no to unrealistic expectations on a job or slowing down the busyness so there is energy rather than exhaustion.

From my perspective there is always choice.

True, those choices can have costs and consequences, but that is true of making a choice to stay in a pattern of imbalance or doing nothing.

So the question becomes, what choices do you want to make and where do you want to spend your health dollars?

Copyright © 2017 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

Posted in How to articles | Leave a comment

Finding Your Health Hook To Unlock The Motivation To Greater Vitality

Are you unhappy with the state of your health but can’t seem to motivate to make the changes or get into action?  It could be because you haven’t tapped into your health hook.

My most successful clients typically have three things in common, including using their health hook: 

  1. Recognize that they have reached a point where the status quo is too painful or problematic and move into action
  2. Make a commitment to make true changes, even if they initially feel an uncomfortable stretching
  3. Find their inner hook – and stay connected to it to keep them moving forward

health hookThe inner health hook is that energy of importance inside of you that motivates the change at the deepest level.

The health hook may be about someone in your life, connected to a personal transition stage, or may be a natural drive that simply propels you to keep striving to be your best. Sometimes the health hook is a wake up call that follows a health crisis or scare. Ideally you don’t wait until the health crisis to make a change, but for some, it is this wake up call that motivates action.

Examples of health hooks might be:

  • Giving up smoking to have the lung capacity to do the big family hiking adventure
  • Wanting to be healthier for your child’s wedding
  • Simply wanting to be alive to watch your grandkids grow up
  • Turning 50 (or whatever age) and realizing that you don’t want to carry a pattern or issue any longer
  • The end of a relationship opening you up to new possibilities
  • Having a heart attack or getting diagnosed with a scary health condition

I call it a hook because it not only brings you in the door of change but also keeps you connected as you naturally go through the stages of change. Having the health hook or your inner why is what carries you through feelings of discomfort, sensory temptations, peer pressure and the lure of the old pattern.

What is strong enough and of value inside to provide the nudge, inspiration and momentum to take you to the better place you want to be?

Copyright © 2017 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

Posted in Food for Thought, How to articles | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Finding Your Health Hook To Unlock The Motivation To Greater Vitality

Positive Side Benefits With Natural Health

A Story of Positive Side Benefits

I know you are all familiar with side effects from a health perspective.  Every time you pick up a pharmaceutical medication, the pharmacist will go over the side effects.  These are negative side effects that you are NOT wanting to experience.  However, in using natural health approaches, like with Ayurveda medicine, you can swap the negative side effects for positive side benefits.

A much better choice, in my opinion!

As a piece of inspiration, I want to share a story a client of mine send last month.

This story illustrates the positive side benefits that are common with Ayurveda medicine, which focuses on addressing the root imbalances rather than individual symptoms.  Treating the roots means many symptoms shift.  

Results arise from having more of your habits promoting health than demoting health. Natural healthy systems like Ayurveda aim to decrease your symptoms by making long-term healthy changes to the diet and lifestyle.  This client had done just that – a few simple changes that produces many positive results she was seeking as well as some unexpected positive side benefits. 
 

“Hi Jamie,
My total cholesterol has hovered around 200 for the past 10 years. I think it is genetic, given my lifestyle and food choices. Two years ago it was 217. My HDL (good cholesterol) has always been high and LDL (bad cholesterol) has always been low, so I’m not at a significant risk for cardiovascular disease.

Fast forward to last Friday when I had a physical exam. My total cholesterol had dropped by 35 points to 182! My HDL was higher, my LDL was lower, and my triglycerides were negligible at 8.

I attribute these dramatic changes to Ayurveda and to you! I have not lost or gained weight, I have not changed my exercise routine. The main change has been to my diet at midday as even breakfast and dinner hasn’t really changed since I started working with you. Lime juice first thing in the morning, yogaraj guggulu, meditation, Vitamin B, and essential oils are other possibilities.

Thank you! I thought of you right away when I saw the results!”

Three cheers for a job well done!

Copyright © 2017 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

Posted in Food for Thought | Comments Off on Positive Side Benefits With Natural Health

Using Pandora Music As A Balance Tool

I listen to Pandora (free version) while I work at my computer.

Specifically I listen primarily to yoga music, which is basically made up of sacred mantras but set in a variety of fun melodies.  I find that the vibration of the music uplifts my work and keeps me centered in the heart place I want to be.

It is literally one of my favorite daily self-care tools and is so easy to use because it requires me to DO nothing!  I just bask in the sounds and let them wash away tension and any tech angst or gremlins that might arise while at my laptop.

I have several different music channels and by pressing the thumbs up “like” button, I tailor it to give me more of what I like.  My default  channel that I’ve been customizing is the Miten and Deva Primal Radio, which also pulls in other yoga artists.

One of my favorite songs, which is just now on, is “Peace” from the At The Temple album by Ajeet Kaur.  Every time the song comes on, I perk up and my heart sings.

Today I was inspired to share her with you.

Check it out!


Jamie Durner, Holistic Wellness-Life-Business Coach
I help working moms Finally Go From Burned Out ➡︎ Leading A Balanced Life.

If as a Professional Working Mom you had more ● Peace ● Energy ● Ease ● Free Time, Then Your life would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

That’s the power of having a work-life balance that is working FOR you!
▬ ▬ ▬
► WHAT I DO FOR MY CLIENTS
▬ ▬ ▬
I know that as the central hub in the family, if your wellbeing suffers due to the negative impact of stress, everything suffers.

Which is why I teach my uber-busy moms how to get positive work-life balance results with less effort to:

➔ REVITALIZE their energy and decrease draining symptoms with natural tools
➔ RE-ENGAGE with a joy-full life
➔ RELAX more in ways you value
➔ RESPOND to stress with ease

…to enjoy life with your family!
▬ ▬ ▬
► MY UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE:
▬ ▬ ▬
Too many working moms end up at the end of their to-do lists – leaving them tired, anxious and overwhelmed.

You deserve say NO to imbalance so that you actually have enough energy at the end of the workday to enjoy your family and the activities your love!

I refuse to let working moms be buried under the unrealistic burden that they have to be able to do it all.

Get ready to get MORE of what you want you really want – it’s time!

Copyright © 2017 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

Posted in Ayurveda, How to self care | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Using Pandora Music As A Balance Tool

5 Secrets To Handling Tumultuous Transitions With Ease

vataicon3From an Ayurveda perspective, all transitions or times of change are connected to the vata dosha.  Vata is like the wind and part of its nature is every changing, fluctuating, and unstable.  It is also light and full of air and movement.  These qualities are not necessarily bad.  But when there is an excess amount in your bodymind, it increases a sense of instability and lack of grounding that can invoke feelings of anxiety, restlessness and fear.

If it were just vata rising, Ayurveda would recommend using qualities of an opposite nature to restore balance.  You would bring more warmth, heaviness, stability and regularity into your life and diet.

However, the tumultuous transitions that Mother Earth and the world are experiencing are not just full of vata instability.  There is also a high level of pitta heat – literally in our warmer than normal temperatures but also in the heated quality of emotions.  These heated emotions of frustration, anger, and range are often the outward reaction to an inner fear.

To balance these two vata and pitta energies, you need tools that are both grounding and neutral or cooling, especially in the heart area.  You need to connect the stability of the first chakra to the heart chakra.

5 Transition Tips To Connect Root & Heart

Make a conscious choice of what you connect to and spread in your heart

In Sanskrit, the word for the heart area is hridayam which means that which receives, gives and circulates.

It is understandable that you are likely feeling a wide variety of emotions connected to what is happening in the world as well as possible challenges in your own life.  And while suppressing emotions is not something I recommend, you can choose to check in daily and decide what you’re going to come back to in your heart space.  Do you want to receive, give and circulate fear, hate and anger…or peace, love and compassion?

I find that just visualizing the flow of the heart – seeing the energy that I choose coming in to me from the outer world, circulating it through my body to nourish me, and sending back out a positive flow of energy – helps remind me that despite the normal fluctuating surface emotions, I choose deep down to stay connected to a place of positive heart energy.

Stay Hydrated

This make not look, at first glance, like a tool to ground you.  But kapha, the dosha that represents stability, is made up of both the earth and water elements and both are heavy in their nature and help counter the lightness of vata.

glass waterFluids also help counter the drying, depleting qualities that come from both vata and ongoing pitta heat.  Think of that moisture as part of your juicy inner sap that not only keeps your body supple but also your emotions soft and resilient.

If you are feeling hot in body and mind, keep your water room temperature.  As it gets colder, you can switch to warm water or herbal teas.  Stay consistent by setting a reminder on your phone or computer to make sure that you’re drinking every 2 hours at a minimum.

Take A Nourishing Afternoon Tea Break

Vata governs the afternoon time block from 2-6pm and it is during this time that your nervous system may get frayed from all the activity of the early day.  It may be hard to take a deeper break – to meditate, do yoga, take a walk in nature or even a 15-minute cat rest. But one thing you can do is to make yourself a cup of vata-pitta balancing tea that connects the mind and heart.

My favorite tea for this is India Organics Tulsi Rose tea.  They call it “stress relieving and magical” and I have to agree!  It has several types of tulsi or holy basil (which connects the head and heart and supports the adrenal cortex) as well as rose, chamomile and lemon myrtle.  I get many of my teas from Lucky Vitamin and it is on sale right now for $3.49.

Tr Day TeaAnother favorite vata-pitta tea that pacifies the nervous system is Tranquil Day Tea.  Ingredients include licorice, bacopa moniera, gingko, chamomile and tulsi.  Send me an email to order your 2 oz bag today.

Use Your Essential Essences

If you have a set of essences that support you, pull them out and use them daily! Using your plant allies on a daily basis can make a big difference in keeping your emotional and mental space clean, clear and healthy.

There are many essences that support emotional exhaustion, help with stress and shock, enhance your ability to stay in a place of love and gratitude, or stay connected without being numbed out by the constant onslaught of negative news.

WOTE Ho WoodOne of my daily allies for the past several months is Ho Wood, which is similar to Rosewood.  She is a heart tonic, anchors vata and is a protector.  When I use her, I feel my back is protected which allows me to show up as my best self and do what needs to be done from a place of high vibration.

Send me an email to order your favorite Wisdom Of The Earth essence or, if you don’t know what you need, to schedule a holistic coaching session to assess your herbal partners.

Give Yourself A Permission Slip To Feel

I am reading Brene Brown’s book “Rising Strong”, which speaks to owning our inner stories and emotions and being vulnerable to rise out of our falling down moments.  In one section, she talks about a pattern of shutting down emotion. 

The problem is that when you shut out the bad you also shut out the good.  Learning to feel emotion without being overwhelmed or derailed by it can be a learning process. By feeling your emotions, you are also less likely to spew them onto others as a reactionary outlet! 

A tool that she offers is to write on a sticky note permission to feel – and be specific of what you emotions you want to open to.  I think of it a bit like an emotional intention or anchor.  Writing it down and putting it in your pocket gives the intention more substance.


Jamie Durner, Holistic Wellness-Life-Business Coach
I help working moms Finally Go From Burned Out ➡︎ Leading A Balanced Life.

If as a Professional Working Moms you had more ● Peace ● Energy ● Ease ● Free Time, Then Your life would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

That’s the power of having a work-life balance that is working FOR you!
▬ ▬ ▬
► WHAT I DO FOR MY CLIENTS
▬ ▬ ▬
I know that as the central hub in the family, if your wellbeing suffers due to the negative impact of stress, everything suffers.

Which is why I teach my uber-busy moms how to get positive work-life balance results with less effort to:

➔ REVITALIZE their energy and decrease draining symptoms with natural tools
➔ RE-ENGAGE with a joy-full life
➔ RELAX more in ways you value
➔ RESPOND to stress with ease

…to enjoy life with your family!
▬ ▬ ▬
► MY UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE:
▬ ▬ ▬
Too many working moms end up at the end of their to-do lists – leaving them tired, anxious and overwhelmed.

You deserve say NO to imbalance so that you actually have enough energy at the end of the workday to enjoy your family and the activities your love!

I refuse to let working moms be buried under the unrealistic burden that they have to be able to do it all.

Get ready to get MORE of what you want you really want – it’s time!

Copyright © 2017 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

Posted in How to articles | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on 5 Secrets To Handling Tumultuous Transitions With Ease

The Softer Version of “Just Do It”

It was somewhere in the 1990’s that I came across this article called “9 Points For Change”. Once again I don’t know the source but I like the emphasis on using your inner wisdom as a point of reference, paying attention to YOUR feelings, and being kind and compassionate with yourself.

problem-solution buttonsWhen something is not right in life, it often requires some type of change.  

The process can feel scary, as growth and stretching does, pulling you out of your comfort zone and into the limbo of a nebulous unknown.  

Support yourself with the right thoughts and positive people in your life to hold your hand and have your back.

Then take the step off and trust in the process.  JUST DO IT, BABY but with this soft, feminine twist!

9 Points For Change

One: Dare to love yourself in a world that gives no guarantees.

Two: Pay attention to what you feel. If you don’t like the way you feel, it’s usually a sign that you’re not getting what you need.

Three: Nobody can really tell you the answer to life’s problems so you might as well try what feels right to you.

Four: If you’re going to risk a change, try something likely to satisfy your needs while increasing your self-respect.

Five: When you are considering a specific change, make a list of all the worst possible things that could happen. (From my perspective doing this can diffuse the fear we sometimes hold.  Facing our worst case scenarios often helps to see that either it’s not so bad or evaluate if we need to make any corrections.)

Six: Before you change, take a few moments to praise yourself honestly, complimenting yourself for some specific attribute.

Seven: If what you are doing isn’t getting you what you want, try something different.

Eight: If you decide to take a chance, don’t just think about it, DO IT!

Nine: After you try a change, no matter what happens, congratulate yourself for your courage to try.


Jamie Durner, Holistic Wellness-Life-Business Coach
I help working moms Finally Go From Burned Out ➡︎ Leading A Balanced Life.

If as a Professional Working Mom you had more ● Peace ● Energy ● Ease ● Free Time, Then Your life would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

That’s the power of having a work-life balance that is working FOR you!
▬ ▬ ▬
► WHAT I DO FOR MY CLIENTS
▬ ▬ ▬
I know that as the central hub in the family, if your wellbeing suffers due to the negative impact of stress, everything suffers.

Which is why I teach my uber-busy moms how to get positive work-life balance results with less effort to:

➔ REVITALIZE their energy and decrease draining symptoms with natural tools
➔ RE-ENGAGE with a joy-full life
➔ RELAX more in ways you value
➔ RESPOND to stress with ease

…to enjoy life with your family!
▬ ▬ ▬
► MY UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE:
▬ ▬ ▬
Too many working moms end up at the end of their to-do lists – leaving them tired, anxious and overwhelmed.

You deserve say NO to imbalance so that you actually have enough energy at the end of the workday to enjoy your family and the activities your love!

I refuse to let working moms be buried under the unrealistic burden that they have to be able to do it all.

Get ready to get MORE of what you want you really want – it’s time!

Copyright © 2017 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

Posted in How to self care | Comments Off on The Softer Version of “Just Do It”

How To Get More Of Today’s Hottest Commodity – Time

There is a saying that time is money.  The idea being that time is a scarce resource that costs money so tasks should be done quickly to not lose money.
 
Though Benjamin Franklin offered that advice in the early 1800’s, time continues to be a prized commodity today.  In addition to using time effectively to have more of it, there is a trend to use money to buy time to do less.  And this might be part of the answer to helping women work less and play more.
 
The number one challenge felt by all the women interviewed was a constant pressure of not having enough time – to do all the daily tasks, to spend time with family, to even think about wants versus needs. 

Most of the women weren’t sure how to change the pattern because they feel trapped in needing to work for financial support and not having flexibility in their jobs. 

The impact of the time crunch?

With the pressures of today’s “time famine” (Ashley Willans), women are feeling:

  • Increasing levels of fatigue and low energy
  • Anxiety, stress, overload, overwhelm, worry and fear
  • Distance, strain and disconnect in relationships
  • Feeling guilty or inadequate for not being able to do it all
  • Feeling resentful at having to do it all
  • Decreased passion in their careers and a decrease in joy overall

But as to what they want, the pleasurable desires were consistent:

  • More “guilt free” time – with family, for self, unstructured without needing to do anything, for fun and leisure
  • Greater flexibility with work (to have more time to do the things above)
  • Serenity, peace, joy, calm, balance, relaxed (which is associated with having less work/tasks)

The good news is that there are things you can do to start increasing your time abundance and it starts with spending not your time to get money but your money to get time.

So discovered Ashley Whillans, of the Harvard Business School and her team who asked more than 6,000 people from the U.S., Canada, Denmark, and the Netherlands to rate their overall satisfaction with life and how it is related to spending money on hiring out less desirable daily tasks.
 
What the researches found was that those who paid for more free time by outsourcing household tasks like mowing the lawn, grocery shopping, cooking or house cleaning —regardless of their income level or the amount of hours worked per week – felt more content, decreased anxiety and uplifted in mood.
 
I’m not advocating breaking the bank, but changing where you want to invest your money in day-to-day living can create the spaciousness you might be craving.  Instead of treating yourself to fancy coffees, what would your life feel like if you spent that money on a 2 x month house cleaning?
 
In addition to giving yourself the go ahead to budget for more free time, consider the following support solutions.

5 Ways to Work Less & Play More

  1. Give yourself permission to find healthy outsources for some of your food.  This is already happening in the form of more money spent eating out, buying more prepped and packaged foods, and in grocery and meal subscriptions like Blue Apron and Green Chef. The key here is to balance convenience with health and there are more and more options to do this.
  2. Time-saving tools in the kitchen like rice cookers, crock pots and the modern variation of the Instant Pot are outsourcing in a tool form.  For a great breakfast option, try my Rice Cooker Steel Cut Oats and get your morning off to a nutritious start!
  3. Exchanging or swapping services is a great option if you are uncomfortable or unable to pay for your outsourcing. Though this process requires upfront time and some trial and error, it can provide huge long-term rewards. You can explore both exchanging house or child tasks or even using a professional or technical skill to get other jobs like oil changes or simple plumbing fixes done like I have. Good places to find exchange partners can be:
    • Neighbors
    • Your church or spiritual community
    • Your kids’ schools
    • Work colleagues
    • A local working mom’s FB, Meet Up or online group (don’t have one, consider starting one yourself)
  4. Condense clean up to once a day instead of doing it after each task.  This will completely go against the grain for some of you (an my mom just plain cannot do it) but it is more effective to batch tasks and this includes household ones like dishes and picking up the daily clutter.
  5. Explore companies that have greater job flexibility This won’t work for everyone, but more and more companies are offering telecommuting or flexible job options. Fortune’s “Best Workplaces for Parents” article highlights 50 companies offering flexible job opportunities

 


Jamie Durner, Holistic Wellness-Life-Business Coach
I help working moms Finally Go From Burned Out ➡︎ Leading A Balanced Life.

If as a Professional Working Mom you had more ● Peace ● Energy ● Ease ● Free Time, Then Your life would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

That’s the power of having a work-life balance that is working FOR you!
▬ ▬ ▬
► WHAT I DO FOR MY CLIENTS
▬ ▬ ▬
I know that as the central hub in the family, if your wellbeing suffers due to the negative impact of stress, everything suffers.

Which is why I teach my uber-busy moms how to get positive work-life balance results with less effort to:

➔ REVITALIZE their energy and decrease draining symptoms with natural tools
➔ RE-ENGAGE with a joy-full life
➔ RELAX more in ways you value
➔ RESPOND to stress with ease

…to enjoy life with your family!
▬ ▬ ▬
► MY UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE:
▬ ▬ ▬
Too many working moms end up at the end of their to-do lists – leaving them tired, anxious and overwhelmed.

You deserve say NO to imbalance so that you actually have enough energy at the end of the workday to enjoy your family and the activities your love!

I refuse to let working moms be buried under the unrealistic burden that they have to be able to do it all.

Get ready to get MORE of what you want you really want – it’s time!

Copyright © 2017 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

Posted in Coaching, How to articles, How to self care | Comments Off on How To Get More Of Today’s Hottest Commodity – Time

Are You Missing The Work-Life Balance You Already Have?

If you are exploring what work-life balance is right for, this story might share perspective on what it could look like.

Years ago I encountered the story I’m sharing below.  I don’t know who originally wrote it or even the source of where I found it.

But it feels even more important in today’s busy world that seems to tell us that what we have is not good enough and that we need to be going for the bigger and better.

Now, I’m not against growth and striving to be the best we can be.

However, there is a big difference to me in being my best version of my self and spending energy to meet someone else’s expectation of success or working my tailend off just to get more things.  Things are nice, sure.  But when I talk to my clients and working moms, what is really wanted is time, space, guilt-free relaxation, more “me” and down time.

This story represents a vision of success that seems to have the balance of having ENOUGH of the things we want to really enjoy BEING in our lives.

Don’t wait until retirement to enjoy the good things in life you crave!  

The Fishing Boat – A Story of Life Balance

An American businessman was visiting a seaside Mexican village.  As he strolled along the dock he saw a Mexican fisherman bring his small fishing boat into the dock returning from a fishing trip.  The businessman was impressed by the quality of the fisherman’s catch.

He said to the man, “You have some fine fish there.  How long did it take you to catch those?”

“Not long, Señor.”

“But it’s only ten o’clock in the morning.  Why did you return from fishing so early?”
“Because, Señor, I have caught as many fish as are necessary to support my family for today.”

“Then how will you spend the rest of the day?”

“I will go home, play with my kids for awhile, take a siesta with my wife, and then have a good dinner.  Afterward I will go down to the cantina where I will pick my guitar and then play cards with my friends.”

The business man said, “Well you are in luck, because I have a business degree from Harvard and I can tell you how to make a success of your life.  You should fish until four or five in the afternoon.”

“Why would I do that, Señor?”

“Because, by doing so you can catch enough fish to sell to make extra money which you can save until you get enough to buy a larger fishing boat and hire a helper.  With the larger fishing boat and helper you can catch even more fish enabling you, one day, to own a fleet of fishing boats.  With the fleet you will be able to make enough money in a few years to buy the fishing cannery, cutting out the middle man and increasing your profits.  With the extra profits your enterprise will grow large enough in several years that you can set up a company headquarters in New York and soon you will be able to offer stock in your company on the stock exchange.  Once you are listed on the stock exchange you can find a buyer and sell out for a very larger fortune.”

“But, Senor, how long would this take?”

“Oh, about 15-20 years.”

“What would I do then, Señor?”

“Why, then you would have enough money to retire to a little seaside village, perhaps here in Mexico.  You could get up each morning without a care in the world.  You could do a little fishing and have time to play with your kids for awhile, take a siesta with your wife, eat a good dinner, and then go down to the cantina, play your guitar, and spend time with your friends. Life would be wonderful.”


Jamie Durner, Holistic Wellness-Life-Business Coach
I help working moms Finally Go From Burned Out ➡︎ Leading A Balanced Life.

If as a Professional Working Mom you had more ● Peace ● Energy ● Ease ● Free Time, Then Your life would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

That’s the power of having a work-life balance that is working FOR you!
▬ ▬ ▬
► WHAT I DO FOR MY CLIENTS
▬ ▬ ▬
I know that as the central hub in the family, if your wellbeing suffers due to the negative impact of stress, everything suffers.

Which is why I teach my uber-busy moms how to get positive work-life balance results with less effort to:

➔ REVITALIZE their energy and decrease draining symptoms with natural tools
➔ RE-ENGAGE with a joy-full life
➔ RELAX more in ways you value
➔ RESPOND to stress with ease

…to enjoy life with your family!
▬ ▬ ▬
► MY UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE:
▬ ▬ ▬
Too many working moms end up at the end of their to-do lists – leaving them tired, anxious and overwhelmed.

You deserve say NO to imbalance so that you actually have enough energy at the end of the workday to enjoy your family and the activities your love!

I refuse to let working moms be buried under the unrealistic burden that they have to be able to do it all.

Get ready to get MORE of what you want you really want – it’s time!

Copyright © 2017 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

Posted in Coaching, How to articles, How to self care | Comments Off on Are You Missing The Work-Life Balance You Already Have?

Stop Paying The Costs of Being Too Busy

One of the biggest changes in the average lifestyle over the past several decades in developed countries, like the U.S., is the amount of activities that we try to squeeze into the day.

Not only are there more activities that call for our attention, but also there is more pressure in many jobs to work harder and longer.  There is the sheer increase in activities for our kids – scheduled at times that often cut into family meals and evening wind down.

No question about it, we are a busy society.

And while there might be some positive gains from all that busy activity, there are numerous costs to the busyness.  If you’re questioning whether how you’re filling your time is really giving you the happiness, success and results you want, read on.

Potential costs of excess busyness include:

Decreased health

Being busy is connected to feeling stressed.  Stress is a factor in over 80% of all chronic health conditions as well as a trigger for many acute crises.  The article, More Proof Work-Life Balance Can Be A Life-Or-Death Issue,’ highlights the serious health nature of stress.  In a recently published study, it showed that the cost of working long hours – defined as over 55 per week – the risk of atrial fibrillation doubles.  Atrial fib complications include stroke and heart failure.

Less engagement in life and relationships.

The constant busyness is fatiguing and over the long haul saps your core energy.  The constant drain on your energy reserves leaves you less energy and motivation to participate in the other areas of life – even the areas you love and may want to spend time in.  Stress and strain negatively impact your relationships with your children and spouse/partner.  For the high-powered execs, visionaries and entrepreneurs, work-life balance is often worse.  Randi Zuckerberg, sister to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, claims that business founders can only pick three from these activities to do: work, sleep, family, health or friends.  Yikes.  That is a cost few are willing to pay.

 Decreased productivity.

People often squeeze more into the day to get more done.  But the reality is that the constant activity creates brain fog and decreased mental functioning, which makes you less productive and can even create more errors and accidents.  Many companies, aware of this pattern, are trying to create more balance in the work place.  The article,’Successful Business Leaders Focus on Preventing Employee Burnout, shares some truly innovative ways some companies are trying to enhance better work-life balance such as steel cables literally raising desks to the ceiling at 6 pm, silencing their company email servers once the workday ends, or enforcing a vacation no-communication policy.

Greater disconnection.

Low energy means you don’t feel like going out with friends. If you are like the average working mom with kids under twelve that the article ‘When You Factor in Family Duties, the Average Working Mom Works 98 Hours a Week’ mentions, you are working 14 hour days with only have 1 hour and 7 minutes for yourself.  That’s not a lot of time for being with yourself or anyone else.  Add in our tech-connected world that is affecting real time communication and it is no surprise that more people feel cut off from meaningful connections with people.  And disconnection plays a role in the lack of contentment and joy many are experiencing today.

Less creativity. 

A constantly active mind leaves no open space.  Open space is when the mind can wander and that’s actually important.  The thinking mind and the intuitive mind are two different aspects.  In a world inundated with the facts and information, creativity and inspiration can get buried under the noise.  Yes, meditation is a great way to provide space for the mind and is a source for my own creativity.  But lying in the hammock and daydreaming or taking a walk in nature (without your phone please) are also a viable options for creating more mental space!

Financial costs. 

This is a byproduct to many of the earlier costs.  Decreased productivity at work can lead to losing a job or not getting a promotion.  Stress on your wellbeing ties into potentially sizable health care fees.  Strain in a marriage may lead to divorce which, in addition to the emotional costs, often comes with a big initial price tag and possibly a longer term impact in future income and quality of life.

Now that you are seeing the full impact of the busyness addiction, it’s time to make positive shifts to be able to have the energy and health to enjoy the activities you really want in life.

4 Starter Actions To Break Through Busyness

  1. Remember the costs and value your choices every day.  Use your visuals – positive or negative – to keep on track as you cement your new habits.  Put up a picture of the family vacation you want to take this year or a picture of your clogged arteries from your latest heart surgery.  Use the image that motivates you the most to start each day with a conscious commitment to how you want to BE in your day.
  2. Get clear on your priorities and put your money and time behind them.  Take the time to figure out what’s really important to you and either hire out other tasks or relax your expectations.  Part of this will be saying no to certain commitments and activities so you can say yes to others.  Flex the ‘no muscle’ appropriately!
  3. Use a sticky note for your to-do list and only put 3 items on it.  The goal is to trim to expectations of what you need to get done. The items on the list are steps that can be actually accomplished in the day, not a big goal.  Of the items, play with having at least one be something that you WANT and feels fun or you look forward to doing versus being a should or need.
  4. Each day take a break from device prodding.  Turn off the cell phone.  Get away from your computer with the pop up reminders.  Whether it be 30 minutes or an hour, shut off the outside clamoring and be present in your life, your family and your friends.

Jamie Durner, Holistic Wellness-Life-Business Coach
I help working moms Finally Go From Burned Out ➡︎ Leading A Balanced Life.

If as a Professional Working Mom you had more ● Peace ● Energy ● Ease ● Free Time, Then Your life would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

That’s the power of having a work-life balance that is working FOR you!
▬ ▬ ▬
► WHAT I DO FOR MY CLIENTS
▬ ▬ ▬
I know that as the central hub in the family, if your wellbeing suffers due to the negative impact of stress, everything suffers.

Which is why I teach my uber-busy moms how to get positive work-life balance results with less effort to:

➔ REVITALIZE their energy and decrease draining symptoms with natural tools
➔ RE-ENGAGE with a joy-full life
➔ RELAX more in ways you value
➔ RESPOND to stress with ease

…to enjoy life with your family!
▬ ▬ ▬
► MY UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE:
▬ ▬ ▬
Too many working moms end up at the end of their to-do lists – leaving them tired, anxious and overwhelmed.

You deserve say NO to imbalance so that you actually have enough energy at the end of the workday to enjoy your family and the activities your love!

I refuse to let working moms be buried under the unrealistic burden that they have to be able to do it all.

Get ready to get MORE of what you want – it’s time!

Copyright © 2017 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

Posted in Coaching, How to self care | Comments Off on Stop Paying The Costs of Being Too Busy

THE Surprising Secret To Successful Life Shifts

To make way for the new in life, you often need to let go of old, no-longer-needed things.

This is true on the physical level – such as clearing out space in the closet for new outfits – as well as on the mental and pattern levels.

In between the outgoing and incoming there is a gap.  This gap can feel like a void, emptiness, or nothingness. You might also relate to it as a space of limbo or being in transition.

It is not familiar. And it is definitely not comfortable!

Being that it feels strange and uncomfortable, your tendency will be to want to excape from it. That’s natural. Part of our human survival mechanism is to avoid pain and discomfort.

But in order to make way for the new, there needs to be that space. If you fill it up with the old, familiar activities, you are essentially saying NO to the new you want to create or grow instead. To allow for your new YES, you have to say NO to something else. And in the process of change, the NO is usually an old habit or pattern.

What might this ”gap avoidance;” look like?

Perhaps you’ve been planning for and looking forward to retirement. Then you’re there and that much-desired free time feels stifling in its quantity. Not to mention you may be home all day with a spouse and find that’s too much together time! In the gap of not knowing what’s next, you may go back to what you know – a job. Maybe it’s not the same job, but you get a different job. Now that’s not necessarily bad. But if you wanted something different than a job, you’ve then blocked the opportunity to explore other activities.

Another example is in making a habit change. Let’s say you want to shed those extra 5-10 pounds that have built on the belly or hips in the last few years. And maybe you’re trying to accomplish this by shifting to a lighter dinner and stopping eating earlier in the evening. Sounds pretty easy. Except for that darn mental habit that has you used to eating certain types of food for dinner or enjoying that little treat while you’re relaxing in front of the TV. There’s this void in your activity and your first instinct is to fill it – fill it with what you know. And suddenly you find yourself reaching for your food favorites again and those pounds are not budging.

A last example comes from my current reality. Many of you know that I recently moved to a new state due to a job switch for my husband. In doing so, I used the opportunity to move forward with my long-term plan of transitioning my business practice to a fully virtual format. This meant when I moved that I no longer have my massage clients and was truly retiring from bodywork which my body was ready for – gap one. Many of my life and Ayurveda clients were also finishing up their foundational packages and feeling steady with their current tools (yea!) – gap number two. And I just finished my last business class in a series for a group of Ayurveda students – gap number three.

In theory, all of these changes are positives from my perspective. I have wanted a mini sabbatical for several years. One where I had more time to “catch up” on a variety of things and do more business development work that I also seem challenged to do with my full client load. I am moving in a new direction with my business and this is where I want to go. But I absolutely feel these gaps and I can honestly say that although this is what I want, it is uncomfortable. I don’t have trouble filling my time. Between settling into my new house and beginning my catch up and development, that part is very easy.

But I do notice that I feel out of sync without my normal work rhythm to anchor some of my daily flow. And it does feel strange to have less client time right now.

It would be very easy for me to go back to a comfortable known. In fact, I’ve already been solicited by two companies in the Kansas City area to do massage for them. I could slip right back into work I know well with an easy and immediate income source. But if I do that, I will be saying no to doing the new programming I want and to having the time to connect with other places and people in my new area to build professional relationships.

To say YES to how I want to now be in my business and life, I need to stay in this discomfort and avoid the urge to fall back to something that feels easier in the moment.

The good news is there are some tips you can use to stay in this gap and the discomfort that usually accompanies it.

Keep Your Long-Term Goals Present

Remember why you are making the change. Keep visualizing positive end result you’re moving towards. This can help anchor you in the transition gap.

Remember That The Discomfort Will Pass

As you shift into new habits and patterns, you will find a new place of comfort and familiarity. It simply takes a little time. Give yourself the gift of this time.

Use Healthy Substitutes As Necessary

With some changes, using a substitution makes the letting go easier. If you’re letting go of coffee, going cold turkey may not work. Maybe you do half decaf initially or switch to green tea or Yerba Mate (another plan stimulant) or an herbal coffee tasting substitute that doesn’t have the caffeine (Cafix or Teeccino).

Plan Ahead

If you are making lifestyle or diet shifts, making sure you have alternative options stocked in or new tools available goes a long way to implementing the new habit. Think of it similar to menu planning. You can’t cook a meal without the ingredients. What are the ingredients you need to make your lifestyle change? Order them ahead of the change so you will be ready to go. Likewise, if you are making a job shift where your income will be affected in the short-term, you will have less stress if you have financially prepared by having a cushion to cover the first couple months of transition.

Tap Into Your Support Network

Whether you’re connecting through the buddy system, finding an accountability partner, or hiring a professional coach or support person, having the human resources to keep you up and on track through your change process significantly boosts your success rate.

If you have strategies that work for you in supporting your gap transitions, I’d love to hear them! Share in the comment section and we can all be part of each other’s support network.


Jamie Durner, Holistic Wellness-Life-Business Coach
I help working moms Finally Go From Burned Out ➡︎ Leading A Balanced Life.

If as a Professional Working Mom you had more ● Peace ● Energy ● Ease ● Free Time, Then Your life would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

That’s the power of having a work-life balance that is working FOR you!
▬ ▬ ▬
► WHAT I DO FOR MY CLIENTS
▬ ▬ ▬
I know that as the central hub in the family, if your wellbeing suffers due to the negative impact of stress, everything suffers.

Which is why I teach my uber-busy moms how to get positive work-life balance results with less effort to:

➔ REVITALIZE their energy and decrease draining symptoms with natural tools
➔ RE-ENGAGE with a joy-full life
➔ RELAX more in ways you value
➔ RESPOND to stress with ease

…to enjoy life with your family!
▬ ▬ ▬
► MY UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE:
▬ ▬ ▬
Too many working moms end up at the end of their to-do lists – leaving them tired, anxious and overwhelmed.

You deserve say NO to imbalance so that you actually have enough energy at the end of the workday to enjoy your family and the activities your love!

I refuse to let working moms be buried under the unrealistic burden that they have to be able to do it all.

Get ready to get MORE of what you want you really want – it’s time!

Copyright © 2017 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

Posted in How to articles | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on THE Surprising Secret To Successful Life Shifts

Which Of The 3 Types of Procrastination Is Holding You Back?

© Can Stock Photo / mybaitshop

© Can Stock Photo / mybaitshop

pro·cras·ti·na·tion: to defer action, delay; to be slow or late about doing something that should be done : to delay doing something until a later time because you do not want to do it

Procrastination is a topic that many of my clients bring up.  To know how to best navigate the procrastination tendencies that may be holding you back, it is important to see which doshas may be playing a role in your behaviors.  For there are actually three types of procrastination, according to each dosha, and how to move through it will differ accordingly

Ayurveda views life through the lens of the three doshas, or life energies, of vata, pitta and kapha. These doshas make up your core constitution which can help you better see the nature of your own behaviors and tendencies as well as offer more effective, tailored solutions.

Kapha Procrastination

kaphaicon3When one thinks of the typical definition of procrastination as it relates to putting things off, feeling a lack of motivation, or being stuck in lethargy, kapha immediately comes to mind. These behaviors can be linked to the kapha qualities of heavy (lethargy and lack of motivation), stable (overly stuck in this case), and slow (in terms of response and action times).

Kapha heaviness can also lead to a space of complacency and “chill attitude” that translates as not feeling any inner pressure or sense of urgency to get something done – much to the possible frustration of their spouse, friend or boss!

Tools to Balance Kapha Procrastination

  • Get into action. To counter the heaviness, stimulation and movement is great. In terms of projects, the goal is to seize the energy when it comes up. If you have an idea, follow it immediately in the moment and just do it. Act quickly before the kapha mind starts to talk you out of it. A great nudge can be to invite kaphas to use the two minute rule – if something takes less than 2 minutes, do it now.
  • Let the sun wake and move you. Kapha folks do not describe themselves as morning people. They are often slow to wake and like to sleep. However, these tendencies, especially sleeping past 7 in the morning, will add to the lethargy load. Have you ever noticed that the less you do, the less you want to do? This is because kapha sluggishness creates more of the same. To counter this, it is ideal to get up with the rising sun and actually walk outside. Exercise helps moves the blockages in emotions, hormones and energy. It improves processing power and elevates the mood and thoughts. If you can get under the morning sun, it can also help fire you up. While this is a great habit for everyone, people with kapha natures will benefit greatly.
  • Mix things up. Kapha nature is steady with strong endurance. This can be great once you get into a project to provide the ability to continue to plow through and stick with it. If that’s working, keep going. However, sometimes kapha can become too stuck in routine and that alone can create procrastination in other areas – especially those that are new, unknown, and uncomfortable. The kapha urge here will be to avoid the change and stick to what is known, even if it is harder. Try something new, switch up your routine, and change tasks. Start with simple shifts, as this process will push you slightly out of your comfort zone in the short term. But long term, this is exactly what the kapha needs for balance. Typically an outer force – a person, deadline, or external pressure – is what will push the kapha into this needed space. If you’re ready to tackle the issue, find the right motivational partner to provide the push.
  • Lighten up your lunch. Because kapha tends to have a slower digestion, be careful not to eat too large or heavy of a lunch. If you take in more food that your body can process, you will feel sleepy and sluggish after eating. Don’t skip lunch, but be careful not to have too many heavy foods such as meat, dairy, processed wheat products and sugar. Enjoy a cooked meal with whole grains, vegetables, spices with a small to moderate amount of lighter protein (fish, chicken, legumes).  And use digestive herbal aids or a lassi to help process the heavier foods when you have them.
  • Find your hook. Kapha can be very laid back, sometimes to a point of inaction. Look inside yourself to see what really matters to you. Find the deep level hook to pull the motivation out of you. You might discover in the process that your procrastination about a project is because it isn’t yours – maybe someone else wants you to do it, or it is a should you’ve taken on. But if it isn’t something you really want, you may be avoiding it because it isn’t right for you. If that’s the case, find the space that is right for you to take action with.

Vata Procrastination

vataicon3Vata is the opposite of kapha in most ways.  Its qualities are light, mobile, and quick – the opposite of the heavy, stable, slow of kapha.  As such, vata procrastination is not the heavy type of vata but rather their hesitancy stems from worry, anxiety, and overload.   Being ungrounded increases vata lightness and this often come from lack of structure, stress and excess movement from trying to do too much with lots of running around. Procrastination for the vata is often a result of feeling overwhelmed by the barrage of expectations or tasks. This leads to the struggle of bringing the chaos into a cohesive plan and find the first step forward – a process that is difficult for the ungrounded vata who spins in stories, worry and distractions.

The vata nature is also one is shorter attention span with a tendency to be pulled off task by other projects, people, or the next shiny object.  Not getting things done in a timely manner is often due to the challenge of vatas to be organized and stay on track. 

Tools to Balance Vata Procrastination

  • Rest more. This means not only getting a nice 7-8 hours of sleep at night, but also building in a couple short periods of mini rejuvenation during the day. Taking the time to fill your energy cup back up will give the vata dosha grounded stability and energy to move forward.
  • Do tasks and projects in small doses. Knowing vata likes diversity and change, take advantage of this tendency by breaking things up. I have found reward systems to be nice structures for vata people. Set a time of 10-30 minutes for tasks that feel more cumbersome or hard to start. After doing that, give yourself the reward of a fun task or break.
  • Create a soothing atmosphere. Though vata people will gravitate to public places with lots of sensory and social stimulation, they will actually serve themselves best by creating an atmosphere that is more soothing or quiet. Have music that has a slower beat to calm the nervous system. Add in pieces of beauty like an inspiring picture or fresh flowers. Make sure the space is on the warmer side as vata tends to be cold.
  • Get the jitters out of the way. One of the main qualities of vata is movement. While this is the natural tendency of vata and needs to be acknowledged, too much can lead to issues like overwhelm, fatigue, and distraction. Before settling in to focused tasks, it can be helpful to get the jittery bugs out of the way by doing some gentle exercise or even having a bit of dedicated “putsying time” when you allow yourself to flit a bit between tasks. The key here is to keep it contained by doing 30-60 minutes but not going overboard or getting stuck in the movement mode.
  • Find a partner or professional to hold the structure. Vata qualities tends toward great creativity, ideas, and innovation.  Tangible actions, plans and structured progress are not their talent.  Recognizing what you are capable of or not can be the first step to finding the outside structure you need.  Working in a group can help hold more structure.  Or hiring a person like an organizer, trainer or coach may be more effective.

Pitta Procrastination

pittaicon3Pitta and procrastination is not something that typically goes together.  The pitta dosha is primarily made up of fire that often translates to strong drive, strong activity and uber-motivation. Pitta energy tends to be focused, sharp, competitive and capable. Pitta people are usually the ones who not only get projects done on time, they usually get them done ahead of time while juggling multiple additional projects!

However, even with the typical pitta work energy, I have seen two types of delay and pitta type procrastination.

The first stems from burnout. Pitta people are used to being able to accomplish a huge amount of tasks and doing less can feel like a weakness. This is distorted pitta energy which often led to the burn out to begin with. Instead of realizing their limit and fatigue, the pitta person may judge their slowing down as a form of procrastination.

Pitta people can also have an expectation of themselves to be perfect. If there is a sense that something can’t be done completely well or right within the time or structure available, a pitta person may put it off. The perfectionism may be sabotaging the start or completion.

Tools to Balance Pitta Procrastination

  • Soften. Soften the sharp edges of the critical mind, the perfectionism and excessive expectations. Be gentle with yourself rather than judgmental. In doing so, you can uncover the deeper issue to address and find a way through the perceived procrastination.
  • Slow down. This is not something a pitta will “choose” to do willingly unless things get forced to a point of illness. But doing so proactively will actually create greater efficiency and efficacy by decreasing burnout and its effects. When this can be phrased as a way to be more effective in their actions with a hint of challenge, the pitta may be inspired to do it.
  • Use a success chart. People with the pitta nature are organized and love accomplishment. Using some sort of a tracking system with a chart or app takes advantage of this natural tendency. The key here is to use the tool without it becoming hyper-competitive or tapping into an imbalanced perfectionism pattern. Keep it fun, light and playful.

In addition to these dosha elements, there is another piece that can affect anyone and everyone – too much to do with too little time creating overwhelm.

Our cultural and work-place expectations have created a reality where most people simply have too much on their to-do lists. The truth is that there isn’t enough time to necessarily do everything you want or need and still keep a healthy work-life balance. But the pressure and expectations are there so you might push yourself by trying to keep up on the hamster wheel running yourself ragged, leading to an increase in stress and fatigue.

In this case, I often see that a perceived procrastination may actually be your inner wisdom asking you to slow down and REST and find a new balancing act. Procrastination is often judged as something negative but I would also argue that it can be a cue from your system to look at what is not quite in balance that needs adjusting.

As you can see, there are different roots of delayed behavior. Understanding what energies and needs are behind the delay can help you better find a workable solution.


Jamie Durner, Holistic Wellness-Life-Business Coach
I help working moms Finally Go From Burned Out ➡︎ Leading A Balanced Life.

If as a Professional Working Mom you had more ● Peace ● Energy ● Ease ● Free Time, Then Your life would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

That’s the power of having a work-life balance that is working FOR you!
▬ ▬ ▬
► WHAT I DO FOR MY CLIENTS
▬ ▬ ▬
I know that as the central hub in the family, if your wellbeing suffers due to the negative impact of stress, everything suffers.

Which is why I teach my uber-busy moms how to get positive work-life balance results with less effort to:

➔ REVITALIZE their energy and decrease draining symptoms with natural tools
➔ RE-ENGAGE with a joy-full life
➔ RELAX more in ways you value
➔ RESPOND to stress with ease

…to enjoy life with your family!
▬ ▬ ▬
► MY UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE:
▬ ▬ ▬
Too many working moms end up at the end of their to-do lists – leaving them tired, anxious and overwhelmed.

You deserve say NO to imbalance so that you actually have enough energy at the end of the workday to enjoy your family and the activities your love!

I refuse to let working moms be buried under the unrealistic burden that they have to be able to do it all.

Get ready to get MORE of what you want you really want – it’s time!

Copyright © 2017 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

Posted in How to articles | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Which Of The 3 Types of Procrastination Is Holding You Back?

6 Tips To Make Your Communication Harmoniously Effective

Communication is key in any healthy relationship and plays a large role in getting more of what you want in life.  Unfortunately, this is a vital skill that is often rough around the edges or in need of refining.

Too often I hear my clients say that their conversations – with spouses, children, family or co-workers – can trigger defense mechanisms and close doors rather than create understanding and positive discussion.

To support greater harmony and more effective dialogue, I invite you to integrate more of these fundamental talking tips into your life.

1. Speak in “I” statements rather then “you” statements.

By speaking in I statements you claim ownership for your own feelings and experiences.  Speaking in the “I” allows you to release yourself from telling others what they should do next, how to act or what to feel.

Especially when added with an open invitation for support rather than a demand, I believe this is the number one communication tool.

When the “you” is added to the equation, it turns the responsibility and energy outward.  This can often feel like an accusation or attack, whether intended or not.  Even if what you are saying is true, being on the other end of a “you” statement will usually trigger an instinctual defensive position that can lead to a verbal counter attack or emotional shut down rather than productive dialogue.

For example, if you are unhappy with the chore division in your household, a common occurrence in many households, look at the two statements below and think about how you would instinctively respond.

I Statement “I am feeling frustrated by the amount of time I’m spending doing chores around the house.  I’m wondering if we could brainstorm to explore solutions that feel comfortable and balanced for all of us.”

YOU Statement “You don’t help enough around the house and it’s making me feel overloaded.” 

While this latter statement could be 100% true, what is your body’s response if someone were to say it to you?  Often as soon as the “you don’t” starts, the body contracts inward which kicks off the stress response and can shut not only the conversation but a person down.

2. Before jumping to conclusions, neutrally ask for more information.

The react and jump to penalties was a response I found myself drawn into repeatedly with my kids during their teenage years.  Some of this was due to the brevity of teen texting.  Some of my own entrenched pattern of reaction when feeling like my boundaries weren’t being honored.

So when my son would text, “I’m going to be late for my curfew” instead of asking for more details, I would whip out the consequence.

After having to retract my own actions several times after finding out there were extenuating circumstances, I finally got with the program and learned to get more information BEFORE acting with a simple question…

“Tell me more” or “I’d love to hear more about what’s happening”.


This simple question not only gave me the additional details so I could make a thoughtful decision before reacting in haste, but it also gave me an emotional pause to take a breath inside of myself and corral my own instinctual responses.

Sounds logical and simple – and with practice it can help to break the cycles of habitual relationship conversation pitfalls.

3. Artfully use yes…and/but statements to help honor your boundaries while supporting another.

I had a client who was struggling to say no to requests by others – to coworkers, to her son, to her husband – even if they came at a time that was problematic for her.

Many requests come with a sense of time urgency from the other person.  While sometimes there truly is something that needs to be taken care of immediately – a broken water pipe perhaps – more often than not the urgency is self created by the other person’s desires.

While my client wanted to be caring and supportive to others, she was also growing into her own self respect and value and that meant honoring her boundaries.

Over the coaching session, my client discovered by using two words YES… BUT or AND together in her answer, she could honor both herself and the other person.

Spouse: Can you help me deal with _______________________?
Client: YES, I’d love to help BUT/AND I’m right in the middle of finishing my self care exercises.  I’d be happy to help anytime after the next 30 minutes.

Saying YES let’s the person asking know you are open to support and responsive to them.  The BUT/AND put in place the timing that will work for you to honor your needs.

4. Use questions in place of directing comments or old actions that lead to resentment.

Another common communication pattern I see involves feeling stuck in a situation where someone has done something (usually a chronic behavior that sets you off) that has you feeling that a) you either have fix it or b) you want to tell the person to fix it.

In this pattern, fixing it yourself often leads people to feeling resentful for having to “yet once again” take care of the situation.

The other choice is to have a conversation pointing out the problem and telling/directing the other person to fix or deal with it.  This falls into the category of “you” directive statements.

But there is a third choice which involves an I statement followed by a question inviting collaboration.

I had a client in just such a situation involving a household project of sanding.  The client was delighted that the project was underway.  And the husband left the bedroom doors open. Yup, sawdust all over both rooms.  Rutrow!

Her old pattern was to feel like she had to clean it up, creating more work for her and leaving her resentful.  In her communication explorations, she was considering having a conversation “addressing the problem” which involved asking him to clean it up.  But this seemed like a conversation minefield sure to set off a reaction from her husband.

Instead, my client put into affect option three by changing the statement into a question: “I noticed that during the sanding it looks like the doors unintentionally got left open leaving saw dust all over.  How do you want to handle this?”

She took it further and recognized that the tone she used in asking the question was also a factor.  She wanted to be neutral and inviting rather than bringing judgment into the tone.  Lastly she made one more small but significant word shift.  In the question, she changed it from “what do you want to do about it?” to “what should we do about it?”

5. Focus on the positive.

In the Fulfillment Model of coaching I practice, this is the foundation of much of my client interaction based on the idea that what you focus on expands.  By putting attention on the positive results or action, you encourage and expand more of that.  By focusing on the positive, you acknowledge what is already going right – which often gets overlooked by the small amount that isn’t working. 

By keeping a positive focus, you continue to move in the direction of success, abundance and where you want to be.

While most people see the benefit of this idea, when it comes to relationships I often get the “yeah but” to it.

“Yes, I can focus on the positive with my son but how does that help me when he’s still not doing his chores?  If I don’t point out what he’s missing or nag him, it just doesn’t happen.”

“I get what you’re saying but as a manager it’s my job to correct mistakes and give constructive feedback.”

The book “The Carrot Principle” talks more about the power of this approach but the reality is that by continuing to acknowledge the positive actions you want – whether in your kids or your employees – you are stressing the behavior and actions that you want while helping the person feel good about what they are doing.

On the flip side, just like above when I spoke about “you” statements, all forms of criticism whether constructive or nor, make a person contract and brace inside and truly don’t yield the positive results you’re looking for.

This approach takes patience, but try it with one person for a month and see what happens.

6. Listen more, talk less.

I recently heard a neighbor say to their daughter in a discussion, “God gave me two ears and one mouth so I could listen more and speak better.”  Not my neighbor’s original saying but so spot on.

To truly converse and engage in productive dialogue means to understand the other person and that requires listening.  Too often people are planning out their next response while another is talking.  Instead, practice letting go of your expectations, opinions, and agendas to HEAR the person speaking.

Be fully present and active in your listening.

Many times people come to a conversation not wanting answers but simply the space to be heard.  Allowing the other to share without interspersing your thoughts, opinions, and solutions can be a great gift of support and open the door to deeper sharing and engagement.


Jamie Durner, Holistic Wellness-Life-Business Coach
I help working moms Finally Go From Burned Out ➡︎ Leading A Balanced Life.

If as a Professional Working Mom you had more ● Peace ● Energy ● Ease ● Free Time, Then Your life would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

That’s the power of having a work-life balance that is working FOR you!
▬ ▬ ▬
► WHAT I DO FOR MY CLIENTS
▬ ▬ ▬
I know that as the central hub in the family, if your wellbeing suffers due to the negative impact of stress, everything suffers.

Which is why I teach my uber-busy moms how to get positive work-life balance results with less effort to:

➔ REVITALIZE their energy and decrease draining symptoms with natural tools
➔ RE-ENGAGE with a joy-full life
➔ RELAX more in ways you value
➔ RESPOND to stress with ease

…to enjoy life with your family!
▬ ▬ ▬
► MY UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE:
▬ ▬ ▬
Too many working moms end up at the end of their to-do lists – leaving them tired, anxious and overwhelmed.

You deserve say NO to imbalance so that you actually have enough energy at the end of the workday to enjoy your family and the activities your love!

I refuse to let working moms be buried under the unrealistic burden that they have to be able to do it all.

Get ready to get MORE of what you want you really want – it’s time!

Copyright © 2017 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

Posted in How to articles | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on 6 Tips To Make Your Communication Harmoniously Effective

Transforming Your Mindset To Shift Habits & Take Action TODAY!

Many years ago I studied Katie Byron’s “The Work” with a friend.  It recently popped up in my life again in a marketing program and I was reminded how powerful her simple process can be in transforming the mindset and the behaviors attached with them.

Her process is based on asking yourself a series of questions to help you increase your clarity and open to new possibilities.  I’ve adapted her process slightly here to include some anchor points at the end to help you move into action.

Where are you stuck?  Describe in a simple and clear way what constrictive thought, mindset, belief or judgment about a situation is limiting or triggering you?  This is something you want or wish for but don’t have and that you are stuck, struggling with, or blaming someone (or yourself) for.

Is it true?
Can you absolutely know it’s true?

How do you react, behave, or treat others or yourself when you believe this is true? The key to question three is to look and simply report on all the ways you react when you have the mindset or believe that thought.  Write down any thoughts, feelings and actions that are reactions to that mindset or belief.  There is no analysis here, just reporting on what happens.

Who would you be, or how would things be without this thought? Here you want to write down how things would be different if it was impossible to be attached to that mindset or thought. If you sat down to write and you no longer had that mindset, or couldn’t even think that thought, who would you be? How would you feel? What might you think and what actions might you take?

What’s a new Turn Around Mindset or Belief Flip that would empower you to move forward in your Abundant You Alignment shifts? (make it a clear, concise statement)

You may want to start out with what is opposite to your mindset or belief.  They are alternate realities based around a completely new belief, not affirmations. The key is to imagine what things would be like without that mindset or belief.

Tips:

  • Often the best gateway to your mindsets is through your feelings. Sometimes it’s hard to identify a mindset but is easier to identify how you are feeling about something. For instance, if you are trying to do some self care and you feel resentful, frustrated, impatient or stressed you may conclude that, “This self care is a chore and not worth it.” Instead, try asking the question: “What would I have to believe to feel that way?” This question can help guide you to the underlying beliefs.
  • You may find several turnarounds. Sometimes one turnaround may be more powerful for you.  You may need to try a few out and see what clicks or gives you the best results.
  • The more you do this process, the easier it gets.  The process helps you cultivate healthy thoughts, let go of unproductive thoughts and moves you forward to living a more fulfilling and happy life.

What else would support this new mindset?
Being
Mental Anchors (thoughts, affirmations, mantras, power statements):

Feelings (how you want to be in your doing):

Doing
Starter Step Self Commitments:


Jamie Durner, Holistic Wellness-Life-Business Coach
I help working moms Finally Go From Burned Out ➡︎ Leading A Balanced Life.

If as a Professional Working Mom you had more ● Peace ● Energy ● Ease ● Free Time, Then Your life would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

That’s the power of having a work-life balance that is working FOR you!
▬ ▬ ▬
► WHAT I DO FOR MY CLIENTS
▬ ▬ ▬
I know that as the central hub in the family, if your wellbeing suffers due to the negative impact of stress, everything suffers.

Which is why I teach my uber-busy moms how to get positive work-life balance results with less effort to:

➔ REVITALIZE their energy and decrease draining symptoms with natural tools
➔ RE-ENGAGE with a joy-full life
➔ RELAX more in ways you value
➔ RESPOND to stress with ease

…to enjoy life with your family!
▬ ▬ ▬
► MY UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE:
▬ ▬ ▬
Too many working moms end up at the end of their to-do lists – leaving them tired, anxious and overwhelmed.

You deserve say NO to imbalance so that you actually have enough energy at the end of the workday to enjoy your family and the activities your love!

I refuse to let working moms be buried under the unrealistic burden that they have to be able to do it all.

Get ready to get MORE of what you want you really want – it’s time!

Copyright © 2017 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

Posted in How to articles | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Transforming Your Mindset To Shift Habits & Take Action TODAY!

Keystone Habits – Creating A Smoother Flow of Health And Happiness

A big part of my work as a coach is to help people align their habits so that they get the results from their actions in their life, health, work and relationships.

keyAlong my own personal journey as well as in watching other clients, I’ve realized that there are often two to five habits that lay the foundation for all the other healthy habits. I call these foundational habits Keystone or Cornerstone Habits.

These are the ones that when you focus on and do them, everything else seems to fall into place more easily.

For myself, my morning meditation and yoga practice are my top keystones. I get myself aligned with my highest self and it’s amazing how my actions, voice and energy flow smoothly and powerfully.

I have shared this concept with other clients and the same results happen. One client expressed it beautifully when she said, “If I’m doing my thing in my groove, it creates less effort elsewhere and I don’t have to manage the other things as much.

spring_treeYou might think of the process like a tree.

The roots of the tree are the foundation of the branches, the flowers, the fruit. If you care for the roots with good soil and water, they become healthy and strong and feed the rest of the tree. The top of the tree is further fed by the rain and sun, just like other habits nurture you. But no amount of topical ran and sun will support a tree whose roots are unhealthy.

As such, tend to your roots and the rest of the tree will grow naturally.

The question then becomes, what is the most important habit(s) you need to tend to your roots?

For me, my roots are my soul, my higher spirit, my connection with the greater universal energies. When I am nurtured through my meditation and Kundalini yoga practices, my spirit connection is engaged and supports me with ease and balance. I make better choices to keep my body healthy and my mind calm.  My actions are less ego-oriented and more aligned with universal “right” that benefit not only me, but the world and people around me.

Here’s some other Keystone Habits that clients have shared that might sparked your own explorations:

  • Taking time to acknowledge on a deep level how people have positively made a difference in my life. I do this by writing a little note and thanking them for what they’ve given me. In this way, I spread the energy that I love of kindness, gratitude and a positive attitude… and it naturally grows in my life.
  • Everyday I get up and take a shower…then get back in bed. The shower wakes me up but before I dive into all the busy activities of the day, I take time in the comfort and relaxed space of my bed to anchor myself. I may read emails, make a flow list for the day’s activities, set an intention, or just let my mind dream.
  • As a cradle Catholic, my faith is the center of my life. I honor that through morning prayer and readings from the scripture. I then take one scripture passage and see how I can bring its energy out in the world that day.
  • Having time to putter every morning is what grounds me. It is having the unstructured space and time to wake up slowly, doing household nesting activities, and do with less intensity.
  • My spiritual practices around Thich Nhat Hahn breathe activities, journaling, and specifically bringing in the color yellow are my roots.

Take some time to observe your habits.  See what pop up time and time again as being “key” for making you happier and healthier?  What are those to-do’s that give the most results for the effort?  Likely these are you keystone habits.


Jamie Durner, Holistic Wellness-Life-Business Coach
I help working moms Finally Go From Burned Out ➡︎ Leading A Balanced Life.

If as a Professional Working Mom you had more ● Peace ● Energy ● Ease ● Free Time, Then Your life would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

That’s the power of having a work-life balance that is working FOR you!
▬ ▬ ▬
► WHAT I DO FOR MY CLIENTS
▬ ▬ ▬
I know that as the central hub in the family, if your wellbeing suffers due to the negative impact of stress, everything suffers.

Which is why I teach my uber-busy moms how to get positive work-life balance results with less effort to:

➔ REVITALIZE their energy and decrease draining symptoms with natural tools
➔ RE-ENGAGE with a joy-full life
➔ RELAX more in ways you value
➔ RESPOND to stress with ease

…to enjoy life with your family!
▬ ▬ ▬
► MY UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE:
▬ ▬ ▬
Too many working moms end up at the end of their to-do lists – leaving them tired, anxious and overwhelmed.

You deserve say NO to imbalance so that you actually have enough energy at the end of the workday to enjoy your family and the activities your love!

I refuse to let working moms be buried under the unrealistic burden that they have to be able to do it all.

Get ready to get MORE of what you want you really want – it’s time!

Copyright © 2017 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

Posted in How to articles | Comments Off on Keystone Habits – Creating A Smoother Flow of Health And Happiness

Managing Seasonal Allergies

There are several factors which influence allergies.

Yes, the levels of the external triggers – such as pollen, dust, or tree residue – is a piece of the puzzle. But the good news is that it is your internal environment, which you have control over, that plays the biggest role.

The Role of The Immune System

From the Ayurvedic perspective, allergies involve a misguided response of the immune system in which the body mistakenly believes an antigen (allergen) is harmful and begins making antibodies as a defense mechanism. While there might be genetic predisposition to allergies, they become worse when the immune system is low.

Recognizing that the immune system health is an important piece of the puzzle, consider these holistic steps to keep your immune system strong:

  • Digestive support: your digestive system plays a key role in feeding all the tissues, cells, and organs in the body. Eating less processed foods and sugar and focusing on more whole foods is always a goal. But there are also other simple things that boost your digestive health such as making sure you’re cooking with spices which act as a fuel to your digestive fire. Eating at regular times and not skipping meals keeps your digestive fire well calibrated. And not taking in too much liquids, especially iced drinks, with meals prevents you from inadvertently putting out your digestive fire.
  • Proper hydration plays a role not only in whole health but also in preventing the body’s membranes from getting dry. Excess dryness can trigger a response in the body to create more protective fluids such as sinus mucus to counter the dryness. When thinking hydration, aim for roughly 56-60 ounces of NET hydration which is the amount of water/herbal tea minus your coffee, caffeinated tea, soda or alcohol.
  • Healthy exercise promotes not only your immunity but also enhances digestion and strengthens tissue metabolism. However, to make your exercise work for you and not against you, it needs to be done, according to Ayurveda, at 50% of your capacity. If you feel exhausted or drained after exercising, you’ve gone beyond your capacity and are now depleting your core reserves which then weakens your system.
  • Proper sleep: research has consistently shown that people do best with at least 6 hours of good sleep and the average person needs 6.5-8 hours of sleep. Not enough sleep or poor quality sleep also negatively affects the immune system. Having a healthy bedtime routine can mean turning off stimulating electronics at least thirty minutes before bed, doing some gentle body stretches and taking five minutes to do relaxation breathing – all of which set the stage to help you slip into a nice slumber.
  • Stress support: stress has been shown to be one of the biggest factors is depleting the immune system. The ideal goal is to minimize the stress triggers while using tools to strengthen your system’s ability to respond to the triggers in life you can’t control. Breath exercises that engage the parasympathetic relaxation response, positive affirmations to counter negative mental chatter, and essential oils diffused in your environment are great starter tools.
  • Expressing your emotions (verbally or through writing) improves immune function. One study (Kiecolt-Glaser et al 1984 & 1987) done on college students found that a healthy emotional state and expression results in less sick leave, improved liver function, reduced asthma, and reduced arthritic pain.
  • Massage: not only does it help you relax, feel energized and clear stagnant lymph and toxins, but it is also good for immunity. Go ahead, book a regular monthly session for yourself!
  • Have fun! There is a great Hindi adage that goes ‘There is medicine for 100 diseases, but laughter is my healing brother!’ Watch comedies instead of so many dark dramas. Get together with friends and really yuck it up. Try laughter yoga.

The Role Of The Sinuses

Aside from supporting your immune system in general, proper care of the sinuses also plays a role in managing allergies. Spring and early summer allergies often come from the excess of moisture in the environment in the current season combined with a natural counter response to excess dryness from the winter. There is a direct relationship – the extent to which you get dry in the winter is the extent to which you will produce reactive mucus in the spring and early summer seasons.

Therefore, part of the spring/summer allergy strategy is to make sure that you are not drying out excessively in the winter. To do this, use a humidifier, oil your membranes in the eyes, ears and nose, eat more soups and stews, and stay hydrated with warm teas.

When spring does hit, avoid congestive foods such as refined wheat products, excess dairy (especially drinking milk cold) and white sugar. Sip hot water or herbal teas with ginger, cinnamon, and coriander and honey throughout the day during allergy season as well as do steams with eucalyptus or tulsi essential oil (2-3 drops in large pot). Lastly, don’t forget to practice good nasal hygiene.

Nasal hygiene is so important that we need to talk more about it.

The nose helps filter impurities from the environment and warms the air for easier processing. Saline rinses, done with a tool called the Neti Pot, prevent stagnation and congestion, clear out impurities, and support healthy mucus levels. Learn more about the Neti Pot and how to use it in this Neti Pot article.

Healthy mucous levels are key. If it is thick and congested, the mucous acts a breeding ground for pathogens. If the mucus is too dry or thin and runny, it is easier for the viruses to penetrate as there is not enough protection. Dryness can also lead to cracks in the membrane which can get irritated and inflamed.

Decongestant nasal sprays and medicines many take for allergies actually make the underlying dry condition worse, causing a rebound effect as the body makes more reactive mucus to counter the dryness caused by the decongestants to dry up the fluids.

Armed with these tools for both your immune system and your sinus support you should be able to more effectively manage your seasonal allergies!


Jamie Durner, Holistic Wellness-Life-Business Coach
I help working moms Finally Go From Burned Out ➡︎ Leading A Balanced Life.

If as a Professional Working Mom you had more ● Peace ● Energy ● Ease ● Free Time, Then Your life would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

That’s the power of having a work-life balance that is working FOR you!
▬ ▬ ▬
► WHAT I DO FOR MY CLIENTS
▬ ▬ ▬
I know that as the central hub in the family, if your wellbeing suffers due to the negative impact of stress, everything suffers.

Which is why I teach my uber-busy moms how to get positive work-life balance results with less effort to:

➔ REVITALIZE their energy and decrease draining symptoms with natural tools
➔ RE-ENGAGE with a joy-full life
➔ RELAX more in ways you value
➔ RESPOND to stress with ease

…to enjoy life with your family!
▬ ▬ ▬
► MY UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE:
▬ ▬ ▬
Too many working moms end up at the end of their to-do lists – leaving them tired, anxious and overwhelmed.

You deserve say NO to imbalance so that you actually have enough energy at the end of the workday to enjoy your family and the activities your love!

I refuse to let working moms be buried under the unrealistic burden that they have to be able to do it all.

Get ready to get MORE of what you want you really want – it’s time!

Copyright © 2017 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

Posted in How to articles, How to self care | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Managing Seasonal Allergies

How To Effectively Use A Neti Pot

Neti is a process of cleansing and irrigating the nasal passages and sinuses. To do this, a small pot called a Neti Pot is used. The Neti Pot has a spout that fits into the nostril and allows you to irrigate the sinuses and maintain the health of the nostrils.

This technique comes from the yoga tradition and is also used in Ayurveda as part of a healthy lifestyle routine.

netipotThere are many different types of pots on the market today. The shapes and material vary, but the principles of using the pots is the same.

To do Neti for saline rinsing, there are three aspects to consider.

The Saline Solution: Though you can purchase pre-made solution marketed for the Neti Pot, this is unnecessary and quite expensive with regular use. Instead, simply make up your own solution with warm water with a pure, non-iodized salt. For those in areas of questionable water source, using filtered or bottled water is an option. To make the solution, use a slightly rounded ½ tsp. for coarse varieties like kosher salt and a heaping ¼ tsp. for a more finely ground salt. Mix into 8 ounces of warm water until the salt is completely dissolved. You can mix this right in the Neti Pot itself which is designed to hold 8 ounces typically.

Head Position: Once you have the saline solution ready in the pot, you need to get the water into the sinuses. The key to the nasal flush is holding your head in the correct position. Lean over the sink so you are directly facing the basin. Then turn your head to the side so that one nostril is directly above the other. The forehead should remain level with the chin or slightly higher so that the solution flushes from one nostril to the other rather than going down the throat. When in the correct position, you will be able to breathe comfortably through your mouth while the solution drains through the lower nostril.

The Procedure: In the correct head position, gently insert the spout of the pot just slightly into the upper nostril. You do not need to go deep into the nostril with the spout, just enough so the water goes in. Keep your mouth open and raise the handle with your arm/elbow holding the pot to begin the flow of water into the nostril. Remember to breathe through the mouth, relax and have patience as the water slowly flows into one nostril, up and over the septum and down and out the other nostril. When finished, turn your head so you are looking into the sink again and exhale through both nostrils to clear out any excess water and mucus. You can also use a tissue to gently blow a second time. Repeat on the other side. You can either use half the contents per nostril or a full pot per nostril depending on your needs. If you feel like there is still water to be cleared, you can also bend forward from the waist to the top of the head is pointing toward the floor, hold for a few seconds, then return to standing and blow gently with a tissue.

After The Neti Pot

Rinsing the sinuses with saline helps clear out congestion. It is a cleansing process. However, there is a second step that many people today miss which is that after cleansing, the sinus tissues need to be oiled or the cleansing can create excess dryness.

Oiling can be as simple as using sesame oil and applying it into the nasal passages with your finger. Make sure all the water is out by following the above Neti directions then waiting 10-15 minutes before oiling.

There is also a treatment in Ayurveda called Nasya which is the therapeutic administration of medications or herbs through the nasal passageways. It is used on its own to treat conditions of the mind and nervous system as well as all “diseases above the neck” so anything involving the eyes, ears, sinuses, mouth, head (headaches and migraines) and brain.

In terms of allergies, the herbalized oil creates a protective barrier so that allergens, pollutants and viruses do not enter the nasal mucosa directly. Regular use also protects the sinuses from the dryness of indoor heat and pacifies Vata Dosha which often creates dryness. When the epithelial tissues in the nostrils are moist, they are less susceptible to dryness, pollen, environmental allergens/pollutants, and nose bleeds due to dry air.

Nasya oils are made with differing herbs depending on what conditions are being treated. Some formulas are made specifically for allergy relief and for breathing clearly and would be good choices to accompany Neti Pot use for allergies. Consult an Ayurveda Practitioner in your area for instructions on Nasya and what type would be suit your needs.


Jamie Durner, Holistic Wellness-Life-Business Coach
I help working moms Finally Go From Burned Out ➡︎ Leading A Balanced Life.

If as a Professional Working Mom you had more ● Peace ● Energy ● Ease ● Free Time, Then Your life would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

That’s the power of having a work-life balance that is working FOR you!
▬ ▬ ▬
► WHAT I DO FOR MY CLIENTS
▬ ▬ ▬
I know that as the central hub in the family, if your wellbeing suffers due to the negative impact of stress, everything suffers.

Which is why I teach my uber-busy moms how to get positive work-life balance results with less effort to:

➔ REVITALIZE their energy and decrease draining symptoms with natural tools
➔ RE-ENGAGE with a joy-full life
➔ RELAX more in ways you value
➔ RESPOND to stress with ease

…to enjoy life with your family!
▬ ▬ ▬
► MY UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE:
▬ ▬ ▬
Too many working moms end up at the end of their to-do lists – leaving them tired, anxious and overwhelmed.

You deserve say NO to imbalance so that you actually have enough energy at the end of the workday to enjoy your family and the activities your love!

I refuse to let working moms be buried under the unrealistic burden that they have to be able to do it all.

Get ready to get MORE of what you want you really want – it’s time!

Copyright © 2017 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

Posted in How to articles, How to self care | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Enhance Your Love Life With Ayurveda

I know, kind of hokey, but I’m going to talk about relationships for Valentine’s Day.

I work with many clients using Ayurveda, the ancient holistic healing system, to better understand their unique selves and how to live in a manner that creates health and harmony based upon the unique person they are.

But did you know that understanding your partner through the lens of the doshas – or three life forces inherent in all of us in different ratios – can also enhance your love life and create better relationship harmony and happiness?

Ayurveda is a practical system – not only for your health, but also for the health of your relationships.

First Ayurveda helps you know yourself. This helps you see what your inherent tendencies are, what you need to know to stay happy and healthy, and how to live to bring out the positive aspects of who you are. Each of the constitutional types has positive characteristics as well as challenges that, if not managed, can create dis-ease – in your bodymind, in your life, in your relationships.

To have the healthiest relationship with another person, you want to start with yourself.

  • When you are living your truth and embracing and loving yourself, you are going to naturally attract people.
  • You will radiate a strength and self-confidence that is magnetic.
  • You will attract healthier people who value your sense of self.
  • If you are more balanced, you will also react less to another person and external triggers and instead with calm and clarity.
  • In understanding yourself and living your truth, you also become a role model of self-love and self-value and a source of inspiration for those in your life.

As such, practicing Ayurveda and being your best self is a great foundation for building good relationships with others.

Beyond supporting your partner through your very being, you can positively affect your relationship consciously through receiving their balancing energies and by supporting them through your doshic strengths. The real relationship treasure trove is being able to understand those around you, accept who they are, nurture their strengths, and recognize how their dosha strengths support you.

You have likely heard the saying in regards to relationships that opposites attract.

In Ayurveda, we consciously recognize that a spouse or partner of a different constitution can help create better balance.   Not only do you tend to balance each other out, but you also prevent your kids from being too extreme in any one dosha. For example, two people with high vata constitutions will produce a child who is doubly vata.

In Ayurveda, we use two simple principles:

  1. Like creates like – when you bring in qualities that are similar to a dosha, it is going to increase that dosha.
  2. Opposites lower or restore balance – if a dosha is aggravated by having too much of it, you introduce the opposite of that dosha’s qualities to help bring balance.

Let’s look at how the doshas can support each other in love relationships.

Kapha and vata doshas are almost completely opposite each other. Kapha is characterized by the qualities of heavy, moist, stable, and cool. In a relationship this often translates as solid, calm, stable, cool-headed, not as bothered by stress, supportive and consistent. They are strongly anchored around family and community and committed in relationship.

Vata, on the other hand, is made up of the qualities of light, dry, mobile or fluctuating. As people in a positive balance this shows up as enthusiastic with a high zest for life, creative, talkative and enjoys variety, change and new activity. These light vata qualities can help to lift up the heavy kapha who can get stuck in one’s ways. Kapha needs stimulation for balance, but tends to not seek it out on their own. A vata spouse can bring in more social activity as well as more energy and stimulation in general.

On the other side, the heavy and stable qualities of kapha hold and support the more flighty, erratic energy of a vata person. Vata moves very quickly – sometimes without enough thought or preparation. Kapha can help slow the overly zealous vata down slightly while vata will help speed up the overly pedantic and slow kapha. Vata creativity can help bring new input and perspective to the sometimes tunnel vision and status quo a kapha might have. Kapha can create a stable point for a vata that is spinning in too many directions without being able to land or commit.

The Pitta dosha tends to mediate between the other two doshas. Pitta is made up primarily of fire and heat whereas the other two doshas are cold or cool. Pitta benefits by marrying or partnering with either a vata or a kapha person.

The heat from pitta can manifest as a take charge, get it done type of person. Kapha, being slower and more of a support person, can benefit from the guidance and leadership of a pitta. Likewise, the unpredictability and challenge in making decisions of a vata person, can benefit from a pitta able to make the tough decisions and move into action. Of course, ideally the pitta person is balanced otherwise they can become overly dominant and dictatorial on a relationship – furthering the vata insecurity and creating a simmering resentment in a kapha.

Pitta’s heat also translates into passion and vision. The steady and strong endurance of a kapha is a great support to pitta’s passion. While vata’s creativity can fuel the pitta vision to even greater depths.

Pitta can have a sharp edge, especially when out of balance and when overheated. Vata and kapha can help cool and soften the edge of pitta. The kapha can help the very active and intense pitta slow down and “chill out” in relaxing more. Vata’s lightness and spontaneity can help the pitta to not take themselves too seriously and increase the fun factor.

There will often be points where the very factors that help balance you within your spouse can also irritate you. Some of this depends on the imbalance of the doshas in each person themselves. But some of it is that you are not recognizing the positive that their difference is providing you.

The key to using Ayurveda to enhance your love life with is to two-fold:

  1. Step back and focus on the positive that your partner is offering you instead of reacting to the differences. Basically recognize the differences and value them. Consciously use them and nurture them in the other person.
  2. Find the point of moderation in your differences. While vata needs the stability of kapha, too much of the same without any diversity or spontaneity will create restlessness and unhappiness. While kapha benefits from the pitta fire to get moving and into action, too much pushing will cause the kapha person to dig in their heels and become entrenched and stubborn, even when it is ultimately helping them. Pitta intensity can be lightened by vata but too much lightness can feel flighty and unfocused and will irritate pitta. As with all things in life, find the amount that is positive in encouraging your partner instead of the excess that smothers and takes over.

Like creates more of the same. So if you and your partner are similar or imbalanced in similar ways, you can inadvertently feed off of each other in negative ways.

You will want to identify where you clash in your similarities and focus on what actions are needed that bring in the opposite qualities to balance both of you.

For example, if two people with more pitta are together, being aware of the potential overload with intensity and passion is important to not burn each other out. Pitta is hot so you will need to bring in more cooling and softness. Both of you will need to be careful not to let workaholic patterns interfere with the family. You may need to find softer ways to communicate (pittas tend to be more argumentative and focused on being right), have cooling off periods, and keep the focus on listening to the other versus winning the fight.

Ideally you will know your own constitutional nature and being able to pick out the more dosha coming through from your spouse. If not, read some about the doshas or constitutions in a book on Ayurveda or consider gifting yourself a Valentine’s Gift of an Ayurveda Assessment for you to learn more about you and your partner.


Jamie Durner, Holistic Wellness-Life-Business Coach
I help working moms Finally Go From Burned Out ➡︎ Leading A Balanced Life.

If as a Professional Working Mom you had more ● Peace ● Energy ● Ease ● Free Time, Then Your life would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

That’s the power of having a work-life balance that is working FOR you!
▬ ▬ ▬
► WHAT I DO FOR MY CLIENTS
▬ ▬ ▬
I know that as the central hub in the family, if your wellbeing suffers due to the negative impact of stress, everything suffers.

Which is why I teach my uber-busy moms how to get positive work-life balance results with less effort to:

➔ REVITALIZE their energy and decrease draining symptoms with natural tools
➔ RE-ENGAGE with a joy-full life
➔ RELAX more in ways you value
➔ RESPOND to stress with ease

…to enjoy life with your family!
▬ ▬ ▬
► MY UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE:
▬ ▬ ▬
Too many working moms end up at the end of their to-do lists – leaving them tired, anxious and overwhelmed.

You deserve say NO to imbalance so that you actually have enough energy at the end of the workday to enjoy your family and the activities your love!

I refuse to let working moms be buried under the unrealistic burden that they have to be able to do it all.

Get ready to get MORE of what you want you really want – it’s time!

Copyright © 2017 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

Posted in How to articles | Comments Off on Enhance Your Love Life With Ayurveda

Making Paneer

Paneer is a soft cheese used in Ayurveda as an easy-to-digest protein.

Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet eating her curds and whey…

Until I learned how to make paneer as part of my study of Ayurveda, I never really understood that rhyme.  Now you will be able to understand it as well as enjoy a new easy to make food!

For those who are vegetarian or wanting to use lighter forms of protein than meat, paneer can be a nice addition to your diet.  When compressed, it can have a texture similar to tofu and will often take on the flavors of the dish it is cooked with. Paneer is also one of the food options for the Be Your Best Cleanse.

While you can buy paneer at most Indian grocery stores, it is very simple to make.  I call it one of my “cooking in the background” foods because I often make it while I’m doing other cooking.

You will simply be bringing some organic whole milk to a slow boil, adding an acid agent to curdle the milk, strain the whey, press, and voila – you have paneer!

To support you in seeing just how easy it is, watch this short video I put together.  No, the video isn’t going to win any cinematography awards!  But I find it useful to have a visual and I hope that it will help you get started as well.

There are lots of recipes you can find that use paneer.  Get started with this Ayurvedic version of Matar Paneer.

Posted in How to articles, Proteins, Recipes | Comments Off on Making Paneer

Ayurvedic Matar Paneer

Mater Paneer is a popular dish in Indian cuisine using paneer (fresh cheese) along with peas in a tomato based sauce and a garam masala spice mix.

As an Ayurveda Practitioner, I am always looking for ways to modify recipes to make them more balancing on the three life forces or doshas.  Paneer is a nice vegetarian source of protein and is relatively easy to digest.  Because it is a fresh cheese versus an aged cheese, it is less aggravating for pitta dosha.  Learn how to make paneer in this video.

Traditional recipes use garlic and onions, both of which Ayurveda considers to be rajasic, or stimulating, as well as heavy cream and tomatoes.  This recipe version replaces the garlic with fennel bulb and reduces the onion and uses one of my favorite spice mixes.  Mixing the vegetable broth with the cream, lightens up the dish so it is not as rich.  The use of fennel additionally helps to mediate the pitta-increasing affect of the tomatoes as well as aids in digestion overall.

Though traditionally this is only made with peas, I like to add zucchini to mine as well.

The Soma salt and Mum’s Masala can be found at the company Chandika.

Enjoy!

Ayurvedic Matar Paneer

Ingredients

  • ½ c. chopped onion
  • 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes
  • ¼ c. cashew pieces
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 ½ tsp. soma or sea salt
  • 2 ½ c. or 8 oz. paneer
  • 1 c. veggies of your choice
  • ½ c. chopped fennel bulb
  • 3 ½ c. frozen peas
  • 1/3 c. ghee plus 2 Tbsp.
  • 2 tsp. turmeric
  • ½ pint half and half
  • 1 c. vegetable stock
  • 2 Tbsp. Mum’s Masala

Instructions

  1. Make the paneer and cut into cubes.
  2. Fry in a pan with 1 Tbsp. ghee or oil. Set aside.
  3. Sauté onions and fennel in 1 Tbsp. ghee until soft and tender.
  4. Cook the peas in a pot of boiling water until tender.
  5. Transfer onion and fennel to blender, add tomatoes and blend.
  6. Heat ghee in a pan and sauté any veggies you're using; add cashews.
  7. Add onion and tomato mixture and cook 5-6 minutes until thickens.
  8. Lower heat and add spices and green peas. Then add half and half and broth and mix well. Sprinkle fried paneer cubes on top and fold in lightly.
  9. Serve warm over rice.
https://abundantyoucoaching.com/ayurvedic-matar-paneer/

 

Posted in Pitta, Proteins, Recipes, Vata | Comments Off on Ayurvedic Matar Paneer

7 Effective Strategies to Transform Your Bad Habits

January is the time for many to reflect on the past year and plan for what you want for the upcoming time. Whether for business or personal, use these seven strategies to get your best results.

ONE: Quit multi-tasking your habit change and do just one at a time.

You likely have a list of the things that aren’t working for you. And in the zeal of the New Year resolution energy, it is tempting to want to sweep them all magically away.

This “tackle it all at once” tendency is a result of our cultural focus on excessive expectations that you should be able to do it all.

The reality is that habit change is a process that, like it or not, takes a bit of time. Yogic science says it takes 40 days to change a habit and 90 days to create a new one. That means you can truly change and create a new habit just 4 times in a year.

You may be thinking, “Wow that sucks. I have so much more I want to change.” Or you may be celebrating the permission to take things off your to-do list.

Any way you slice it, if you want to make a lasting change effective, slow down and focus on just one habit at a time.

And if you’re an uber doing kind of a person and just one makes you feel like a light-weight? Don’t worry, as you’ll see below, even changing one habit has many steps to put your focus and energy on.

Keep in mind the goal is to make effective, lasting change. Trying to do too much at once is by its very nature destabilizing. In Ayurveda, excess movement increases the vata dosha – yep that one that creates those fun feelings of anxiety, fear, overwhelm, and panic. Certainly don’t want more of those qualities!

Vata governs all transitions and its nature is light. To let go, you need to shift the heavy entrenched pattern and that lightness is needed to move and shift. But too much lightness leaves you floating up in the air – totally ungrounded. Being ungrounded will kick in your primal need for stability and the reptilian sense of survival instincts along with those overlapping vata emotions of fear, anxiety, and stress

By sequencing your habit change and really giving your focused attention to one thing, you create enough lightness without tipping the stability boat over.

TWO: Keep it real.

You decide to tackle your eating habits to shift those extra 10 pounds that are hanging around your belly and hips in a not so flattering way.

But that tendency to go big or go home is still driving you.

Instead of thinking, “Hey, if I’m going to keep this up for 40 days I need to be reasonable,” you shoot for the whole kit and caboodle and say “I’m not going to have any treats or snacks – just 3 solid meals – and cut processed sugar completely from my diet.”

Sounds good in theory. Three healthy meals with the right balance of foods and tastes is ideal.

However, the ideal and reality are two very different things.

Suddenly your meeting has stretched over the lunch hour. Now you don’t have time to eat that lunch and your hunger levels are rising as fast as a tidal wave, threatening to wash over all your will power. Your mind thinks, “I’ll just have a healthy snack – a handful of almonds – to tide me over this next meeting until I can get to my lunch.” Not a bad strategy for the situation.

But then your absolute expectation pops its stern face back up. “Your commitment is no snacks!” And suddenly your real physical need is in conflict with your mental expectation and the tower starts to crumble. Since you’ve “given in” with the almonds, the old trigger of “if I can’t do it perfectly, I failed and might as well just have that brownie, too” kicks in. And the downward slide rapidly accelerates.

Save yourself the struggle.

Keep your expectations flexible enough to ride the waves of daily unpredictability.

THREE: Before you act, create structure and consistency.

You’ve got your goal for habit change set in your mind and you’re ready to rock and roll.

Wait – don’t start yet.

Before diving in with an actual action step, start by simply noticing.

Say you’re goal is use Facebook less to help your time management. Before starting to use it less, start by counting how many times you are doing it. Basically, pay attention to where your current pattern is. By bringing the habit from the subconscious to the conscious level you begin to shift things.

I also like to claim, without judgment, the emotion or feeling behind why I’m doing the habit. Ask yourself as you go to use Facebook, “What am I looking for? What emotion or need is driving it?” It could be you’re using it as a procrastination device. Or that you get a surge of excitement in seeing how people respond to you. Or maybe it fuels feeling connected.

Then keep doing the habit but try to make the times consistent each day. Creating structure not only continues the process of bringing a level of conscious to the habit, but also takes the power back into your hands.

This application of conscious self-control empowers you. And you begin to build success.

Behavioral economist Howard Rachlin found that just by decreasing the variability of the behavior, it actually began to shift the behavior without focusing on the behavior change itself.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, this makes sense. Variability increases the vata dosha which creates feelings of instability, making changes more difficult. Consistency and regularity are the most important ways to balance vata. Since many negative habits are connected to stress triggers, when you create more stability, you respond better to stress and need the pacifying tool less.

FOUR: Change your environment.

The field of behavioral economics highlights two channels of change – “changing minds” or working with consciousness and “changing context” by making changes in the physical environment.

For example, when there became a goal to recycle more plastic bags, grocery stores put out bins to make collecting them easier. To encourage recycling in communities, households were supplied recycling bins that were picked up with the trash. Reducing the need to separate items by types within the bins boosted the rate of recycling even higher.

Changing the environment to either make it easier or harder to take action can be applied to all types of behavioral shifts.

If you want to discourage a habit at home or work, you shift something in your environment that makes that habitual action a little harder. In doing so, you interrupt the pattern and set the stage to create a new behavior. Examples of this would be:

  • Moving your smart phone from the nightstand to another room so that you don’t wake up first thing in the morning and check emails, Facebook or online news and go straight into work mode.
  • Keeping certain foods out of the house so that if you want it, you have to go out to get it.
  • Even choosing to spend less time with certain friends or places that influence the behavior you’re trying to shift. If you want to quit smoking and you continue to hang out with friends in bars who smoke, the temptation to keep smoking is going to have a strong pull.

Author Shwan Achor has a “20 second rule” to create a slight delay that interrupts the automated pattern. Do anything that makes the unwanted habit 20 seconds harder to begin. His example is taking out the batteries of a remote control to decrease watching too much television. Sometimes you’ll do the extra work. Sometimes it allows you to make a different choice.

FIVE: Release the inner pressure.

While you might think that you need a drill sergeant to get you motivated or an intense taskmaster to whip you into shape, neuroscience shows the opposite.

Stress and pressure increase the bad habits.

Stress short circuits the prefrontal cortex which is where most thought and planning occurs and plays a major role as to which habits are switched on at any given moment.

There is enough stress in the outer world without you adding to it with internal pressure. Which is why it’s important to keep expectations real and not try to do too much at once which creates overwhelm.

Another way to keep your internal stress barometer down is to remember to be gentle and compassionate with yourself when you stumble.

With any process, there are blips and bumps along the way. It is normal that you will revert to your old habits from time to time, especially during times of high stress.

If you hit a blip in your change road, the key is to treat it like a mini speed bump, not a sinkhole.

Think, “It’s a temporary slow down, a minor course correction or adjustment. No big deal.”

Because if you fall into the “all or nothing” mindset sinkhole and start going all self critical, you will quickly find yourself on a binge of guilt and chastisement that not only fuels the worst excess of your old habit, but also puts the motivation brakes on your positive change.

Many experts will argue that learning and shifts only come through the “failures”.

Let yourself stumble and know that its part of the process. Anyone who says they made a change perfectly in one straight line is lying.

SIX: Think replace instead of eliminate.

The bodymind doesn’t like a void.

Trying to cold turkey stop a habit without having something in place to meet the legitimate need the habit was serving will take you right back to that habit.

This is because habits are connected to true needs. The way you’re trying to meet that need may not be helpful, but the need is real.

Habit success then comes down to getting clear on what the underlying need is and finding better substitutes.

Let’s go back to the first New Year goal of losing weight. It is obvious that eating refined sugar treats – donuts, cakes, cookies – may be contributing to excess weight. So you may make a logical conclusion that by reducing or getting rid of those sugar-carb bombs is great. And it’s true – if you can do it.

But because the sweet taste is linked to nourishment and love on an emotional and psychological layer, you are gaining something other than taste with those treats. If you take them away without something else that meets your emotional need, it is a set up for not being able to follow through.

A better solution is to reduce your processed sugar treats with a healthier treat.

In Ayurveda, the sweet taste actually makes up 80% of our food – grains, meats, vegetables, fruits, milk. The problem is that you’ve gotten addicted to added, excess sweeteners which have distorted feeling satisfied with the natural sweetness in foods.

Shifting straight from a donut to a piece of sweet fruit likely isn’t going to do the trick, at least all of the time. A better bet is switching from white and refined sweeteners to baked goods made with more natural sweeteners – dates, maple syrup, honey.

For even better results, combine this with strategy number three by having your treat at the same time every day. Or find additional ways to meet your emotional need for love than food.

SEVEN: Reframe your pattern mindset with two simple words.

This last one is going to sound ridiculously easy.

I just learned about this technique and am loving the simple but powerful way changing your mental plan around behavior in advance changes the actions.

According to the book “9 Things Successful People Do Differently”, two specific words – If and Then – help restructure not only the sentence but also your expectation and behavior.

You start by identifying the connection of why you always do certain things. For instance, “Whenever I watch TV, I always snack.”

Add the two magical If and Then words and change the part B part of that sentence to what you want to do instead that is healthier. “If I watch TV, then I will drink a cup of herbal tea,” becomes the new statement and plan.

According to the book “Well over a hundred studies, on everything from diet and exercise to negotiation and time management, have shown that deciding in advance when and where you will take specific actions to reach your goal (e.g., “If it is 4 p.m., then I will return any phone calls I should return today”) can double or triple your chances for success. The results were dramatic: weeks later, 91 percent of if-then planners were still exercising regularly, compared to only 39 percent of nonplanners!”

This process can be used to support any goal.   Try it and see how it works for you!


Jamie Durner, Holistic Wellness-Life-Business Coach
I help working moms Finally Go From Burned Out ➡︎ Leading A Balanced Life.

If as a Professional Working Mom you had more ● Peace ● Energy ● Ease ● Free Time, Then Your life would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

That’s the power of having a work-life balance that is working FOR you!
▬ ▬ ▬
► WHAT I DO FOR MY CLIENTS
▬ ▬ ▬
I know that as the central hub in the family, if your wellbeing suffers due to the negative impact of stress, everything suffers.

Which is why I teach my uber-busy moms how to get positive work-life balance results with less effort to:

➔ REVITALIZE their energy and decrease draining symptoms with natural tools
➔ RE-ENGAGE with a joy-full life
➔ RELAX more in ways you value
➔ RESPOND to stress with ease

…to enjoy life with your family!
▬ ▬ ▬
► MY UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE:
▬ ▬ ▬
Too many working moms end up at the end of their to-do lists – leaving them tired, anxious and overwhelmed.

You deserve say NO to imbalance so that you actually have enough energy at the end of the workday to enjoy your family and the activities your love!

I refuse to let working moms be buried under the unrealistic burden that they have to be able to do it all.

Get ready to get MORE of what you want you really want – it’s time!

Copyright © 2017 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

Posted in Coaching | Comments Off on 7 Effective Strategies to Transform Your Bad Habits

The Role of Selfless Service in Abundance, Happiness and Harmony

Seva is a Sanskrit word meaning selfless service.

The idea here being to perform a service without any expectation of result or award for performing it.   The idea of giving back, of volunteering, or serving with a free heart exists in many spiritual traditions and is often seen as a part of spiritual evolvement.

I recently went to participate for a couple days of service at my Vipassana meditation center in Illinois. The worldwide organization is run by “old student” volunteers who, after receiving the initial instruction, come back to serve in one form or another to support the center and the spiritual growth of others.

Being about two hours from the center, offering service is a little challenging. But I carved out time of my schedule because I had an impulse to give back. I have so appreciated the teachings I learned last year and want to be a part of making these teachings available to other.

It was simply about supporting the organization and stepping out of my life to give to others.

There was nothing awe inspiring about the mundane but necessary tasks of kitchen support work, laundry and organization I supported. And that was perfect because it wasn’t the actual tasks that was important.

And it was great. I had lovely conversations, participated in group sits (1 hour meditations) three times a day, and had evening entertainment watching uplifting videos such as Dhamma Brothers (a documentary of how the meditation instruction was taken into a maximum prison in the south in the early 2000 period).

If I lived closer, I would participate more often because it felt great!

While there, I met folks doing long-term service. A couple in their sixties who were finishing a year long period of acting as center caretakers. A man in his 20’s who was doing some online education while spending 6-12 months doing service at a couple centers. Another woman in her sixties who is the primary caretaker for her eighty-year old mother who was doing Seva at the center as part of her own refueling and respite care.

While everyone was no doubt there to serve and not expecting payment or accommodation, each one had a personal gain of some sort.

The Dalai Lama’s perspective on anxiety today is that is stems from being disconnected from purpose.

I was reflecting on service at this time of year when the giving seems mostly centered on material goods when I happened upon an article in which the Dalai Lama spoke about lack of purpose being the root of the rising anxiety in people today.  Despite the high level of material success and riches in developed countries have, many people report a sense of unhappiness, dis-satisfaction and anxiousness.

The Dalai Lama said this growing angst in modern society has to do with the disconnection we have with each other that runs counter to the natural human desire to serve our fellow beings. A study even found that Americans who give back and do good for others are twice as happy in their lives. Why? It is about feeling connected with others and being of value or needed.

The ancient philosophy of India talks about each person have a Dharma or life purpose.

The idea is that each of us is here on this earth to serve through our own inner gifts and purpose. And when we take actions aligned with this soul purpose, we not only stand in our space of our own natural abundance, we are best able to serve humanity.

I have had several clients recently that were searching for this inner sense of purpose, for activities and ways to feel more connected and of value to others. A couple clients are in their post retirement years where I think there is a natural inclination to ask “what now?” But I also have clients in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s asking this question of “how can I live in a way that has deeper meaning?”

I have seen that when I don’t or my clients don’t live in a way that lines up with this higher purpose, there is more restlessness and anxiety. These feelings sometimes then drive people to try to fill those emotions with actions like emotional eating, shopping, or superficial sexual relationships. All of which miss the deeper mark and often create guilt snowballing the “feeling bad” effect.

The Dalai Lama talked about solving these issues by recognizing that we all have something vital to share.

  1. Each day start by setting an intention to serve through your natural gifts.  How can you be of vital service?
  2. But secondly ask how you can receive the gifts that others have to share. Because while you’re out there sharing your best ideally, others are doing the same.  Look for the compassion and gifts others are offering you each day.

Wow, what a world we would have if our focus was on giving our best through our inner purpose and receiving the beautiful gifts others were showering me with!  It is this give and take of our inner purpose offerings that I think will build a stronger sense of connection, compassion and harmony that we need on a deep level in our world today.

How does Seva fit into all of this?

In addition to trying to taking actions that are harmony with your own soul purpose, giving back in general service to me adds another level of connecting, of setting aside superficial gains to go deeper and release attachment to the worldly goods that give us momentary spikes of happiness but no real contentment.

  • I invite you during this holiday season to see what other ways can you give besides the presents.  What gifts naturally spring out of you?
  • How might your serving remind you of the interconnection of all humanity despite the post-election turmoil and differences?
  • How can your actions support your natural inner purpose that allows your spirit to soar and uplift others?

Jamie Durner, Holistic Wellness-Life-Business Coach
I help working moms Finally Go From Burned Out ➡︎ Leading A Balanced Life.

If as a Professional Working Mom you had more ● Peace ● Energy ● Ease ● Free Time, Then Your life would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

That’s the power of having a work-life balance that is working FOR you!
▬ ▬ ▬
► WHAT I DO FOR MY CLIENTS
▬ ▬ ▬
I know that as the central hub in the family, if your wellbeing suffers due to the negative impact of stress, everything suffers.

Which is why I teach my uber-busy moms how to get positive work-life balance results with less effort to:

➔ REVITALIZE their energy and decrease draining symptoms with natural tools
➔ RE-ENGAGE with a joy-full life
➔ RELAX more in ways you value
➔ RESPOND to stress with ease

…to enjoy life with your family!
▬ ▬ ▬
► MY UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE:
▬ ▬ ▬
Too many working moms end up at the end of their to-do lists – leaving them tired, anxious and overwhelmed.

You deserve say NO to imbalance so that you actually have enough energy at the end of the workday to enjoy your family and the activities your love!

I refuse to let working moms be buried under the unrealistic burden that they have to be able to do it all.

Get ready to get MORE of what you want you really want – it’s time!

Copyright © 2016 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

Posted in Food for Thought, How to articles | Comments Off on The Role of Selfless Service in Abundance, Happiness and Harmony

7 Best Habits To Adopt For A Healthier 2017

change

Ayurveda, the ancient holistic healing system, is full of how-to’s for you to adjust your lifestyle to support a long and healthy life.

But because Ayurveda’s healthy habits are all-encompassing, they can feel overwhelming initially.

Don’t try to change your life 180 degrees all at once.

You might have read a book or article on Ayurveda and be thinking to yourself, “There is no way I can do all that!”

And that’s true – in the beginning.

Chaos, instability, rebellion, and defensive reactions are guaranteed if you try to do too much, too fast. Instead, start with a few foundational habit changes and build from there.

These foundational habits center around two main systems – the digestive system and the nervous system.

These core habits are often where I start all of my clients – no matter what their larger goals or imbalances – precisely because they are a so important for overall health.

The digestive system is seen in Ayurveda to be the most important system on the physical level. This is because your digestion processes your food to supply all the rest of your body – the tissues, organs, cells and subtle elements – the nutrition and intelligence to function at a healthy level. If you digestive system isn’t functioning well, the rest of you gets deprived.

The nervous system is directly impacted by stress of all kinds –physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. And stress plays a major role in every disease. Unfortunately, excessive stress seems to be the new normal in our modern society – so much so that you may not even recognize the impact it is having on health. Long-term stress can overwhelm the nervous system, deplete your inner vitality, and create early aging in the body and mind.

The nervous system also affects your very ability to make changes. If you are depleted and worn out, you will lack the will and stamina to get started or maintain new changes. Having a balanced nervous system supports your mind to take the first step.

In addition to the importance of health in these two separate systems, they are also interrelated through the gut-brain connection. In Ayurveda, the vata dosha governs the nervous system and vata’s seat is in the large intestine. The large intestine houses trillions of beneficial bacterial which makes up what modern science calls the microbiome. When stressed, the gut feels the threat and is responsible for sending message to the brain to alert the nervous system of the emergency. This triggers the fight-or-flight response in the sympathetic nervous system. While this is a healthy response on a short-term basis, in the long-term the stress chemicals released cause damage and depletion to the body.

Understanding the connection between your nervous system and the digestive system can help you apply more effective strategies to calming the body, boosting vitality in the immune system, and promoting better digestion to support your overall health.

Start Your New Year Off With These Digestive and Nervous System Shifts

#1. Change Your Eating Rhythm

When we lived agriculturally oriented lives, we followed a more natural rhythm both in terms of our wake and sleep schedules as well as in our eating patterns. This rhythm correlates to the circadian medicine that is emerging in today.  Ayurveda has been teaching for thousands of years the importance of the natural cycles. In terms of food,when your food is taken and in what amounts plays a key role in proper digestion and avoiding the build up of toxic undigested food.

Not only is the sun at its zenith mid-day, but your energy needs are always the strongest to support your daily activities. Therefore, making lunch your main meal will not only give you the energy you need to get the work done, but also curb cravings and energy slumps later. Combine this with a lighter cooked breakfast and a light cooked dinner and you will be in sync with a healthy strategy used for thousands of years.

This adjustment takes a little planning. You might start by still cooking your big meal at dinner but eating a smaller portion and taking the larger balance for lunch the next day. Using crockpots for overnight cooking can also be helpful. You can also prep on the weekend and evenings for a quick morning cook for your freshest food.

#2: Create A Relaxed Eating Space and Time

What you eat is important in terms of nutrition, no doubt. However, according to Ayurveda, how you eat is more important. Remember the gut-mind connection. If your nervous system is feeling stressed because you are eating in a rushed, distracted or irritated manner, your gut is going to be reacting with stress hormones. You can feel it through a clenching or tightening in the belly and even a decrease in the appetite.

On the other hand, if you eat in a relaxed manner, it supports the calming presence of the parasympathetic nervous system and allows for better digestion of your food. To further keep your mind and emotions out of the loop, it is best to eat without distractions such as TV, electronic devices, reading or driving. All of these can trigger the fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous system and also tune you out from your food. Not being aware of your eating means you’re not getting the benefit of tasting and enjoying your meal. Suddenly you might find your plate empty but wanting more because you didn’t connect into the satisfaction. This leads to overeating.

Simple in theory, this is often a challenge due to your habitual patterns. Start by blocking out at least 15-20 minutes for your meal. If you’re used to doing something else, take at least the first five minutes to focus just on your food before allowing yourself to go back to the activity. Each week, increase the food focus time by two minutes until you can eat your meal focused 100%. Then enjoy those last 5-10 minutes after eating reading or scrolling through your texts.

#3. Start Meditating

There are numerous styles, apps, and ways to make this happen. I’m sure you’ve seen all the research on the positive effect of meditation. It is truly the number one tool revitalize, support, and strengthen the nervous system. It also helps you become less reactive which is helpful in shifting the habit loop triggers tied in to so many of your negative response tools like smoking, drinking, emotional eating or other self-destructive behaviors.

I find the best way to stick with meditation is to get involved in a tradition like Vipassana, Transcendental or Mindfulness. This is because there is ongoing support. I have personally done all three and favor Vipassana but it is a rigorous practice that may not be the right starting point for you. The apps help you keep up, but find a good teacher to get started. Then commit to a daily practice. Start with 10 minutes and build from there but keep it consistent.

Make the investment in time and money – it’s worth it!

#4. Consciously Breathe Slowly

The stress response in the nervous system is countered by the relaxation response which is connected to the parasympathetic nervous system. I often talk to my clients about “down shifting” their stress by simply taking five minutes to slow the breath down and breathing through the nose. Simply slowing the breath down to a rate of about 3.5 seconds per inhale and exhale will shift you into a space of relaxation.

Though there are many types of breath exercises or pranayama, it doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated to be effective. In fact, I find this basic breath pattern to be one of the most effective for calming the nervous system.

  • Sit in a comfortable position with the spine and head straight.
  • Close the eyes and begin to breath through the nostrils, counting to a rate of about 4 seconds for the inhale and exhale.
  • Try to make each part the same count but don’t strain. If you need to start with 3 seconds, honor that then build as the body is ready.
  • Follow the breath with your mind, with the inhale beginning in the belly and floating up to the chest. Then release the breath in reverse, feeling it moving from the upper chest, down through the ribs and out the belly (you can even pull in the belly slightly at the end of the exhale).
  • Continue this for at least five minutes every day.
  • Then when you are in a stressful situation, begin to take a couple of these deep breaths and it will remind your body to flow back into the space of relaxation.

#5. Shift Time From Electronics To More Time in Nature

In Ayurveda, there is a term called ojas which is directly connected to your immune system and vitality on both a physical and mental level. While there are also certain foods and herbs that promote ojas, getting yourself outside and spending time in nature is a fabulous way to increase ojas and counter some of the excess running around and busyness of life.

I mentioned earlier that vata governs the nervous system. Vata is negatively affected by too much physical and mental activity and this includes the fast moving electronic stimuli that accompanies so much of people’s work and recreation today. Electronics aren’t going to go away, but make a conscious choice to swap 30-60 minutes a day into being in nature with a walk in the woods, skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or whatever else excites you. Pair these with evening breaks with meditation and conscious breathing and you will be well on your way to a more peaceful mind and calm system.

#6. Give Yourself A Daily Massage

Giving yourself a daily massage with oil, usually before bathing but it can also be done afterwards, soothes not only the nervous system but also promotes the flow of lymph and supports the skin microbiome (microbes that live on your skin) through the herbs in the recommended oils. Through the nerve endings in the skin, the massage creates a positive sensory and emotional experience, transmitting messages of calm and love. This massage, called abhyanga in Sanskrit, literally translates as “loving hands”.

A good basic oil for most bodytypes is refined sesame or almond oil if the sesame feels too warming. Consult with your practitioner for what oil best serves your core nature as well as your current wellness needs.

See this article for further instructions on how do to a self massage.

#7. Adjust Your Sleep-Wake Cycles Earlier

Before the advent of electricity, sleeping and waking happened naturally around the light cycles of day and night. People woke early and retired early and this fits Ayurveda’s perspective as well. It is best to go to sleep during the kapha part of evening which is 6-10 pm. 10 pm is the critical number here. Once you cross over, you shift into the pitta time of the evening cycle which starts your inner fire up. If you are in bed, this fire supports the healthy processing of the day in the liver and emotional heart. If you are still up, you often get a second burst of energy. You may get great things done, but you do so at a cost to your own rejuvenation and can often have a harder time going to sleep or sleeping well.

Likewise, waking around the time the sun comes up (6-7 am depending on the time of year) is ideal. This is during the morning vata time when the light energies naturally help you rise easily. If you sleep later, you go into the kapha morning time which has a heavier energy that can leave you feeling comatose-like and sluggish.

Getting enough sleep is vital – at good 7-8 hour each night is important for cleansing and rejuvenation – but when you sleep is also key.


Jamie Durner, Holistic Wellness-Life-Business Coach
I help working moms Finally Go From Burned Out ➡︎ Leading A Balanced Life.

If as a Professional Working Mom you had more ● Peace ● Energy ● Ease ● Free Time, Then Your life would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

That’s the power of having a work-life balance that is working FOR you!
▬ ▬ ▬
► WHAT I DO FOR MY CLIENTS
▬ ▬ ▬
I know that as the central hub in the family, if your wellbeing suffers due to the negative impact of stress, everything suffers.

Which is why I teach my uber-busy moms how to get positive work-life balance results with less effort to:

➔ REVITALIZE their energy and decrease draining symptoms with natural tools
➔ RE-ENGAGE with a joy-full life
➔ RELAX more in ways you value
➔ RESPOND to stress with ease

…to enjoy life with your family!
▬ ▬ ▬
► MY UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE:
▬ ▬ ▬
Too many working moms end up at the end of their to-do lists – leaving them tired, anxious and overwhelmed.

You deserve say NO to imbalance so that you actually have enough energy at the end of the workday to enjoy your family and the activities your love!

I refuse to let working moms be buried under the unrealistic burden that they have to be able to do it all.

Get ready to get MORE of what you want you really want – it’s time!

Copyright © 2016 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 7 Best Habits To Adopt For A Healthier 2017

Turkish Lentil Bulgur Soup

turkish-bulgur-lentil-soupWhen the fall season comes, your body’s natural intelligence will likely start to cue you towards warmer meals.  This lentil soup makes an excellent option to answer that need.

This fall recipe provides a springboard to customize it by varying your greens or lentil choices.  I have also used a leek instead of the traditional onion to decrease the rajasic nature but still add nice flavor.

I used a Turkish spice mix from Penzy’s but listed the individual ingredients in case you need to create from your own spice stock.

This recipe – being warm, fairly light, and with warming spices – is balancing to both vata and kapha but can also be enjoyed by pitta in moderation by decreasing the cayenne and garlic spices.  For those with more vata gas or trouble digesting legumes, pre-soak the lentils overnight and add a pinch of hing or asoefodida (found in Indian groceries) to the soup.

Enjoy!

Turkish Lentil Bulgur Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. ghee, olive oil or combination
  • 1 leek, washed, quartered and sliced
  • 1 carrot, thick diced
  • 1 zucchini, thick diced
  • 4 leaves Swiss Chard, trimmed, washed and cut into small ribbons
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • ½ tsp. chili paste
  • 1 ½ tsp. dried mint
  • 1-2 tsp. Turkish seasoning (salt, garlic, cumin, black pepper, oregano, sweet paprika, sumac, cayenne, cilantro)
  • ½ c. lentils (green, brown or red)
  • ½ c. bulgur
  • 6-7 c. water
  • Lemon, fresh mint or cilantro for garnish
  • Sour cream (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prep vegetables. Put oil in a medium large stock pan. When warm, add leek and carrot and cook for 2 minutes on medium heat.
  2. Add zucchini, tomato paste, chili paste and all spices and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add lentils and bulgur and stir to mix. Add water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to medium-low, cover and cook for twenty minutes until the lentils and bulgur are soft.
  4. Add the Swiss Chard and cook for another 2-3 minutes until done.
  5. Serve warm with a squeeze of lemon wedge, a sprig of fresh mint or cilantro and an optional dollop of sour cream.
https://abundantyoucoaching.com/turkish-lentil-bulgur-soup/

©2016, Jamie Durner, Holistic Wellness, Life, and Business Coach at Abundant You Coaching

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Connect The Head & The Heart With The Samadhi Set

This is part of a 12-part series on using Ayurveda lifestyle and dietary habits to support your New Year intentions and overall health and well-being. Make one change a month to embrace a healthier you!

Ayurveda is a science that supports optimal health for a long, happy life.

Most people come initially to Ayurveda to support their physical health.  Along the way, they discover that health also extends to the mind for if the mind isn’t balanced, it is hard to make good choices to promote a healthy lifestyle which leads to optimal physical health!

What is lesser known is that the ultimate goal of Ayurveda (and yoga, it’s sister science) is to enjoy health on the spiritual level.  Having the body and mind balanced is a necessary step to then step into the conscious journey of spiritual enlightenment.

While the path of spiritual evolvement is just that – a path and ongoing journey – there are things you can do each day to connect the highest aspect of your mind with the heart, which is where the soul is said to live.  When you connect your pure soul energy with the most discerning wisdom of the mind, life is indeed sweet.  Sweet because you are living from a place of high integrity for yourself and others and good things are the natural result.  At least this is my experience!

First, know that in Ayurveda, the mind is seen to have four aspects:

  1. Manas – receives the external sensory sensations and stimulus as a passive  receptacle.  It is this aspect of the mind that is easily drawn to sensory gratification and pleasures.
  2. Ahamkara – the ego or I-separation which is what is allowing our spiritual, all connected being to be living this separate, human experience.  This is the aspect of the mind that holds the conditioning of life.
  3. Chitta – the larger consciousness of all which acts as kind of a subtext for larger knowing.
  4. Buddhi – this is considered the inner wisdom or higher intellect and is also connected with a neutral mind.

All meditation techniques help develop and strengthen the neutral mind and buddhi and connect this wisdom to the essence of the soul.  We connect in to this higher wisdom to support our conscious response to life rather than reacting to sensory influences or ego-based conditioning.

And as great as meditation is, for some people it is hard to hold consistently.

cloud_heartAn alternative tool that I find very effective and easy to connect head and heart is a practice called the Samadhi Set using herbalized transdermal creams on different marma or energy points.  This specific technique with the transdermals comes from an Ayurveda doctor, Vaidya Mishra, who’s lineage practices a form of vibrational Ayurveda.

Samadhi means bliss but can also be translated as the “balanced coordination between the mind and the soul.”

Samadhi Set Instructions

  1. Apply a small amount of Ashoka or Arjuna cream on the center of your palms and soles of the feet. With the ring finger, lightly massage the cream 7-21 times in a clockwise circle about the size of a quarter on one hand. Then use your left thumb to press and lightly hold the point for 10-15 seconds. Repeat on the opposite hand and feet.
  2. Apply Brahmi cream just below the left wrist bone on the pulse area. Lightly go back and forth with your ring finger covering the area of 2” for 15-20 seconds then hold for 10-15 seconds. Repeat on the right wrist.
  3. Apply Tulsi cream to Sthapani marma (the point between the eyebrows) with very light circles with no pressure. Do 7, 14 or 21 times then hold gently for 10-15 seconds.
  4. Apply Tulsi to the center of throat notch at the base of the throat (Kanth marma). Circle 7-21 times very lightly then hold very lightly for 10-15 seconds.
  5. Apply a small amount of Ashoka or Arjuna on the center of the chest, the heart chakra, and with the ring finger lightly massage the cream 7-21 times in a clockwise circle about the size of a quarter.

It is great to do this practice before meditation or bed.  However, I also like to apply as part of my morning ritual as part of setting my day.

The creams are available at Ayurveda Wellness and at Vaidya Mishra’s website.


Jamie Durner, Holistic Wellness-Life-Business Coach
I help working moms Finally Go From Burned Out ➡︎ Leading A Balanced Life.

If as a Professional Working Mom you had more ● Peace ● Energy ● Ease ● Free Time, Then Your life would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

That’s the power of having a work-life balance that is working FOR you!
▬ ▬ ▬
► WHAT I DO FOR MY CLIENTS
▬ ▬ ▬
I know that as the central hub in the family, if your wellbeing suffers due to the negative impact of stress, everything suffers.

Which is why I teach my uber-busy moms how to get positive work-life balance results with less effort to:

➔ REVITALIZE their energy and decrease draining symptoms with natural tools
➔ RE-ENGAGE with a joy-full life
➔ RELAX more in ways you value
➔ RESPOND to stress with ease

…to enjoy life with your family!
▬ ▬ ▬
► MY UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE:
▬ ▬ ▬
Too many working moms end up at the end of their to-do lists – leaving them tired, anxious and overwhelmed.

You deserve say NO to imbalance so that you actually have enough energy at the end of the workday to enjoy your family and the activities your love!

I refuse to let working moms be buried under the unrealistic burden that they have to be able to do it all.

Get ready to get MORE of what you want you really want – it’s time!

Copyright © 2015 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

Posted in Ayurveda | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Connect The Head & The Heart With The Samadhi Set

7 Simple Tools To Tap Into Your Gratitude

a simple act of gratitudeI recently read a book called “A Simple Act of Gratitude.”  It was on a book club consideration list that a client had given me since I’m always looking for more good reads.

I have always appreciated the power of gratitude as a tool for living in positive alignment with myself and others.  And this book provided yet another great tool to express and be in gratitude.  A tool that is missing so often in this day and age of emails and texts.

The tool – a simple thank you note.

You can read more about how this tool changed this one man’s life in the short, easy read.

For this month, I’d like to celebrate the tool of gratitude by sharing some of my favorites ways to tap into my gratitude.  They not only fill my heart and keep me focused on all the magnificence in my life, but also often bring a smile or love to others.  And how great is that!?

Jamie’s Seven Favorite Gratitude Tools

  1. Send thank you notes.  Since reading the book, I’ve picked up this practice again, not just for birthday and holiday gifts, but for all the ways people’s acts and connection support my life.  This past month I wrote notes for a friend being my walking buddy, for a staff member’s support, for bringing me food twice a week for over a year, for enjoying a game night hosted by a friend, for a new business buddy, for my husband being our tech guru and electronic researcher…and more.  Most of the time, the people I’ve given the cards to have been so touched, they’ve sent me something back!
  2. Bedtime gratitude stories.  I no longer have young kids to read to at bedtime.  Instead, as a lie with my light out and prepare for sleep, I silently go through my list of what I give thanks for on this day.  Much better than thinking about my to-do list for tomorrow!
  3. Transform unpleasant energy towards others with the Metta Meditation.  This isn’t totally how this tool of sending loving kindness is fully about since traditionally one repeats it to oneself, a teacher, someone you feel favorably about, someone you feel challenged by, and someone who is neutral (like a store clerk).  However, I like to use it when I am feeling challenged by a person – whether the random driver who doesn’t let me in when I signal or someone closer to me.  When I notice my frustration surfacing, I simply repeat in my mind to that person, “May you be filled with loving kindness, may you be well, may you be peaceful and at ease, may you be happy”.  Repeat 5-7 times and  watch the energy shift.
  4. Develop an attitude of gratitude.  This is a tool used regularly in my coaching practice.  By focusing on all the magnificence in your life and what is working, it allows you to be in the ongoing space of positivity and gratitude.  And from there, I find more of the same flows right in.
  5. Journal to flip a negative.  Part of my morning meditation practice is often to do a bit of journaling.  When I am connected to my highest source, I open my notebook and explore.  Sometimes my creativity pours out with business ideas.  Other times I’m processing something I feel challenged by.  I don’t repress the challenge, rather I let its voice and energy be heard and seen and then allow myself to create a new response or outcome I’d rather have.  Writing is a magical thing in which my mind starts with some awareness but as I write all sorts of pieces flow out onto the paper that I didn’t know I was even thinking about.
  6. Affirmations to do a quick tape change.  We all have patterns which are tied to mental beliefs and thoughts.  In changing patterns, I find it most effective to change the mental tapes and I love affirmations to do this.  I have a plethora of positive affirmations that I use in varying situations but one of my favorites is “I am the light of my soul – I am bountiful, I am beautiful, I am bliss – I am, I am.
  7. Breathing into my heart.  In the Vedic sciences of Ayurveda and yoga, the heart is seen to be the seat of the soul, our highest, purest self.  When I breath into this space, I connect to the light and love there to lift me up and bring me back into alignment with my greatest gratitude.

I hope that one of these tools might inspire you into a place of expanded gratitude that serves you.  And, if you have some favorite ways of being in gratitude, I’d love to hear yours!

©2015, Jamie Durner, Ayurvedic Practitioner and Abundant You Coach

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Seasonal Shifts – Ayurveda Habits to Support your New Year Intentions

This is part of a 12-part series on using Ayurveda lifestyle and dietary habits to support your New Year intentions and overall health and well-being. Make one change a month to embrace a healthier you!

Ayurveda is a system of wellness that works with nature – the nature of who you are as a unique individual and the nature of the world including the seasons of life.

As such, staying balanced and enjoying optimal health means being aware of how the changing external environment is affecting you and making appropriate adjustments.  An important aspect of this is knowing how and when to make lifestyle and diet modifications during the different seasons on the year.

When To Do Seasonal Shifts

First, just because the season is changing, doesn’t mean you need to adopt a dosha reducing lifestyle to accommodate that specific season.  There are two important factors to consider in terms of the season – your vikruti or state of imbalance and your prakruti or core constitution.

We have all three of the doshas or life forces that make up our core nature or what is referred to in Ayurveda as prakruti.  When balanced, your constitutional nature is what you are care taking on an ongoing basis.

However, in addition to your constitution, we look at the doshas in relation to your current state of imbalance (if the doshas are not currently in sync with your constitutional dosha ratio you are seen to be out of balance in some form.).  This imbalance trumps your constitution in care in general though we are always striving to reduce the imbalance without disrupting the other doshas in an imbalancing way and we do this by keeping your constitution in mind.

Essentially, you pay more attention in regards to the seasons to your state of imbalance first and constitution second unless you are healthy and balanced.  See the two examples below.

  1. Whether you have an imbalance or vikruti that corresponds to the dosha(s) involved in the season.  For example, if you have a vata imbalance with symptoms of drier skin, regular gas, bloating and mild constipation, and an increase in anxiety and memory issues, you are going to want to make seasonal adjustments in the fall vata season here is WI.   However, with a vata imbalance, you would not necessarily follow a pitta reducing plan during the pitta summer season.
  2. If you are fairly balanced with not strong vikruti but one of your constitutional doshas corresponds with the season, you will make seasonal adjustments.  Sticking with our fall analogy, if you are a vata primary constitution or vata is part of a dual dosha or tri-doshic constitution, you would make appropriate shifts for fall by care taking vata.  On the other hand, if you are a primary kapha constitution coming into the fall vata season, you would not make vata adjustments unless you have a vata imbalance.

A Closer Look At The Doshas & The Seasons

The doshic aspects of seasons are reflected by the qualities that correspond to the doshas.

  • Vata has the qualities of COLD (biting and bitter and the coldest), dry, windy or lots of movement, variable or in flux, and light.  The variability aspect means that the seasonal transition itself, no matter the season, has some vata aspect to it.  In terms of the season itself, the season that is cold, windy and dry is classified as vata.  In the midwest, the vata season is late fall and most of winter.
  • Pitta has the qualities of HOT, slightly moist, light and sharp.  Warm/hot seasons with a little humidity are pitta seasons.  In the midwest, the pitta season is summer.
  • Kapha has the qualities of MOIST, heavy, cool, cloudy, and dull.  When the clouds roll in with lots of rain, gray and cool with humidity, this is the kapha season.  In the midwest, the kapha season is late spring usually.

The seasonal qualities can also mix creating dual dosha seasons such as a pitta-kapha season – hot with more humidity and heaviness of air like in the tropics.

Now that you have a glimpse of the seasons and whether you need to pay attention to a particular season based on your dosha imbalances or constitution, let’s talk about how to balance yourself in the seasons!

How To Balance Yourself In Each Season

  • In Ayurveda, things with similar qualities of the doshas will increase that dosha – LIKE = LIKE.  Vata is cold and dry so if you have ice cream and iced drinks and eat dry crackers and chips and go out in the cold wind with your head uncovered you will increase the vata within you.
  • Things of an opposite nature will lower or balance an excess dosha state – OPPOSITE = BALANCE.  To balance vata in the fall you would increase the qualities of warm and moist to counter the cold and dry qualities.

If the season you are going into corresponds to the imbalanced or constitutional dosha, you would then use the charts below to take actions to prevent the imbalance from worsening and/or staying in balance.

VATA PITTA KAPHA
Emphasize the opposing vata qualities of warm, moist, stable, heavy Emphasize the opposing pitta qualities of cool, heavy (nourishing), soft and slightly dry Emphasize the opposing kapha qualities of light, dry, stimulating, warm
  • Eat more oily/moist, cooked and moderately spiced foods
  • Have regular meal and sleep times
  • Drink plenty of warm liquids
  • Incorporate healthy fats such as ghee, olive, sesame and almond oil, avocados, and nuts
  • Minimize stimulants like caffeine, chocolate, and even over stimulating activities
  • Focus on gentle exercise done in a slower way
  • Enjoy grounding yoga, quiet meditation and gentle breathing exercises, ideally as part of the morning routine
  • Do a daily self oil massage with sesame oil
  • Surround yourself with warm colors such as red, yellow, orange, brown
  • Stay warm in general with proper clothing, warm baths and avoiding cold drafts and winds
  • Make time daily to rest and relax with nurturing activities
  • Slow down in general
    • Minimize overly salty and pickled foods, vinegars, yeasted foods, hard cheeses, cream, fried and hot spicy foods, and alcohol
    • Use moderate spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom and fennel
    • Avoid exercising in the heat of the day
    • Walk away from conflict
    • Drink cooler or room temperature water
    • Do heart opening, cooling, quieting yoga postures, meditation, and breath exercises
    • Engage in more non-competitive activities
    • Use cooling colors – light greens, blues and white
    • Enjoy water-based activities and walking after sunset
    • Create a good balance between work and play
    • Quench your thirst with cooling drinks made with rose, peppermint, hibiscus and coriander as well as adding aloe vera juice to your water (1 Tbsp/8 oz)

;

  • Favor foods that are light, dry, and warm including corn, buckwheat, millet and less fatty animal products
  • Reduce heavy, oily, and cold foods including sugar products, heavy dairy, red meat, and wheat
  • Enjoy all spices except for salt, especially hot spices such as ginger, pepper and turmeric, to aid in digestion
  • Increase hot, spicy teas
  • Get moving with vigorous exercise daily
  • Mentally, challenge yourself with new activities
  • Use dry heat such as saunas and use at-home steam therapy
  • Do more warming, fast moving yoga styles
  • Go to bed early and wake before sunrise
  • Avoid daytime snoozes.
  • Avoid overeating, especially at night, and don’t eat when you are not hungry or between meals.
  • Increase giving, sharing, and letting go
  • Enjoy deep massage with drying powders and mustard oil

©2015, Jamie Durner, Ayurvedic Practitioner and Abundant You Coach

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Why Professional Coaching Works So Well

Over the past two months I’ve shared the first four of the seven primary pillars that make up the coaching structure.  This month, I will talk about the last three pillars that describe why coaching is so successful.

Per the International Coaching Federation, professional coaching is an ongoing relationship in which the coach partners “with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole. The coach is responsible to support what the client wants to achieve, to encourage self-discovery, to elicit client-generated solutions and strategies, and to hold the client responsible and accountable. This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.”

To understand more fully what coaching is, how it works and why it is effective, I like to break down coaching in what I refer to as the seven primary pillars that make up the coaching structure. Read about the other four pillars in the first and second articles in this series.

PILLAR #5: Professional coaching is based on increasing awareness and responsibility.

All your outer results stemming from outer actions stem from internal mindsets.

Claiming the MORE of what you want in your life starts with seeing things from new perspectives and increasing your conscious awareness to make more effective choices. And behind these concepts lies one of the most important beliefs in coaching – that you as the individual are responsible for your life.

Holding this belief of self-responsibility gives the individual the power to BE the creator, to have the ability to makes changes, to take control. Though being responsible can feel a bit scary for many, it is an empowering place. In claiming this ownership of their life, individuals increase their ability to respond.

This is a very different place than, for example, working with a consultant. In that relationship, it is expected that the consultant gives advice, is responsible for the solution, and often times creates the end result product or plan implementation. But in coaching, it is the client that is asked to own the captain’s chair for guiding their ship. This tenant is so important, that having the ability to be self-responsible is a pre-requisite for being a coaching client.

PILLAR #6: Professional coaching supports forward movement and taking action.

Part of this expanded client role of responsibility is to take action. The coach guides this process by holding the focus on increased awareness in order to move towards what the clients wants. At the end of each session, the coach will ask the client to make self-requests or invite requests based on what they have heard the client say. These request often take the form of action steps or inquiries if an action step remains unclear. It is then up to the client to choose to accept the request, modify it, or choose one of their own to take as their self-commitment. The coach holds this commitment and supports the action through accountability by following up at the next session.

Moving forward is also a key part of coaching. The coach’s role for holding accountability with commitments is part of what distinguishes it from other support relationships like friends and family. While you might discuss plans and possibilities with those close to you, it is unlikely that the friend will stay connected, follow up, and help hold the space of accountability in the way that a professional coach does.

PILLAR #7: Professional coaching focuses on the present and supporting where you want to go.

Every supportive relationship has its own benefits and purposes and do not necessarily replace any of the others. The focus on the service in coaching is an important thing to consider compared to using another therapy or counseling option.

In therapy or counseling, much of the focus is on past experiences that are examined and seen as the cause of one’s behaviors. Healing the past experiences is seen to be a part of creating a different space for current life patterns. In coaching, while the past and its impacts are acknowledged and addressed briefly as needed, the focus is on meeting the client where they are at today. In raising the awareness and energy of what you want based on who you are now and where you to be, you are empowered to consciously be in the present moment to make new choices and create new patterns and results.

Focusing on the past can often keep one stuck on the energy of that story line, essentially re-living emotions and increasing the intensity of the cellular memory. Because what you focus on expands, keeping a focus on old storylines that don’t serve you adds to expanding that very energy you don’t want anymore.

By focusing on where you want to be and be going, you change the energy into a positive desire and creation energy.

If you have identified a need for any of these seven primary pillars of coaching, you can benefit from such service! In my coaching model we have a saying or tool called “you spot it, you got it.” This means when you are attracted to something you see, feel, hear or read, you have that piece inside of you and want more of it.

To explore more about Abundant You Coaching options, contact Jamie Durner at 262-389-5835 or explore on the website link above.


Jamie Durner, Holistic Wellness-Life-Business Coach
I help working moms Finally Go From Burned Out ➡︎ Leading A Balanced Life.

If as a Professional Working Mom you had more ● Peace ● Energy ● Ease ● Free Time, Then Your life would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

That’s the power of having a work-life balance that is working FOR you!
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► WHAT I DO FOR MY CLIENTS
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I know that as the central hub in the family, if your wellbeing suffers due to the negative impact of stress, everything suffers.

Which is why I teach my uber-busy moms how to get positive work-life balance results with less effort to:

➔ REVITALIZE their energy and decrease draining symptoms with natural tools
➔ RE-ENGAGE with a joy-full life
➔ RELAX more in ways you value
➔ RESPOND to stress with ease

…to enjoy life with your family!
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► MY UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE:
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Too many working moms end up at the end of their to-do lists – leaving them tired, anxious and overwhelmed.

You deserve say NO to imbalance so that you actually have enough energy at the end of the workday to enjoy your family and the activities your love!

I refuse to let working moms be buried under the unrealistic burden that they have to be able to do it all.

Get ready to get MORE of what you want you really want – it’s time!

Copyright © 2015 Abundant You Coaching, All rights reserved

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Bedtime Basics – Ayurveda Habits to Support your New Year Intentions

This is part of a 12-part series on using Ayurveda lifestyle and dietary habits to support your New Year intentions and overall health and well-being. Make one change a month to embrace a healthier you!

Part of the Ayurveda daily lifestyle centers around how to best make use of the different times of the day.  I talk about the different cycles of the day in the Leveraging the Cycles of the Day post.

One of the most important time cycles of the day connects with your bedtime.  The time of evening from 6-10 pm is governed by the kapha dosha which has the natural energies of heavy, slow, and stable.  You may not appreciate these qualities during your work day, but at night they support you in winding down and preparing to go to sleep.  And it is during sleep that your body does its daily processing, cleansing, and rejuvenating to have you feeling your best the next morning.

To not only make sure you enjoy a good night’s sleep but wake up feeling rested, keep these different tools and factors in mind.

  • Minimize stimulating activities later in the evening. The closer you get towards the 10 pm time period, the more quieting and relaxing you want your activities to be. This is not the time to be on the treadmill, watching intense and stimulating television, or getting your mind revved up by working on the computer.
  • Relax your body.  Many people have trouble sleeping because of tension and pain in the muscles.  Doing gentle stretching or movement like Qi Gong helps to release the built up tension in the body.  Another great tool is to lie on a foam roller or a set of tennis balls to give yourself a compression massage.
  • Relax your mind by practicing some long deep breathing or another breath exercise to down shift your stress response and enhance the relaxation response in the nervous system.  Just by breathing through the nose with a elongated inhale and exhale, you will create a relaxation response.  Doing 3-5 minutes is enough to shift gears but you could certainly enjoy up to 15 minutes as part of a bedtime routine.
  • Relax your body and mind with a warm bath with relaxing essential oils like lavender or rose.
  • Eating a lighter supper early will prevent your digestive system from having to work hard at a time it should be resting, too.  It is best to avoid animal proteins or wheat products past 6:30 pm as these are heavier and take longer and more effort to digest.
  • Have a cup of relaxing tea or warm milk.  Warm milk with a dash of cardamom and/or nutmeg helps sedate your nervous system.  Yes, the old tales are true!  If milk doesn’t work for your body, try Relaxed Mind by Yogi Tea, chamomile tea, or a blend like Sleepy Time by Celestial Seasonings.
  • Going to bed between 10-10:30 is the ideal time.  This is because as you move away from 10 pm, the more you move into the active, fiery energy of pitta.  Some people call this their “second wind” time but in Ayurveda it would be more accurate to say that your fire and energy are stoked and ready to go.  The problem is that this is the time your pitta energies naturally digest your experiences of the day and your liver does the behind the scenes cleansing.  If you are active during this time, you interrupt this natural cycle which creates toxins in the body and mind.

I recognize that there may be times when you will be up later due to social engagements, sick children, or special events.  But the more you can honor your body’s natural rhythms at night, the more natural energy you will have and the less you will need artificial stimulants like caffeine and sugar to wake you up.

©2015, Jamie Durner, Ayurvedic Practitioner and Abundance Coach

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Clients’ Creative Self Care Tools

One of the many aspects I love about working with clients is the brilliance I get to witness in their ideas and creativity.  As each of you has your own best answers, my job is to paint a picture of what I see and offer possibilities from the wellness model of Ayurveda, and then let your inner wisdom guide you to the best actual way of implanting your action.

And, we are often sparked by each other’s learnings and great ideas so I wanted to share a couple great ideas that some of my clients came up with.

All of these shared ideas tie in to last month’s post on integration and staying on track with self care.  You can have the best know how and information, but if you don’t use, you simply won’t get the result you’re looking for.

Pluck the Pleasure of the Day

Ayurveda has many wonderful tools to support you on a daily basis.  And sometimes the sheer quantity can feel overwhelming.

One client of mine recently came up with an idea to make a bouquet of her tools that gave her the most pleasure and then treating herself with her care by plucking one of the “flowers” from her bouquet.  Each day she would choose a flower of self care to gift herself.  One idea we discussed was to make a physical bouquet with different colored circle pieces of cardboard attached to a wooden dowel or popsicle stick and then put them in a vase.  Each cardboard circle had a self care tool on it that brought pleasurable result.

This idea serves as both a visual reminder of the self care tools as well as a tangible way to connect into a daily choice that creates pleasure.

Honor the Positive Feedback

Most of us pay attention to the body cues when they are giving us nudges of pain or discomfort.  I refer to this as the bodymind’s way of using a negative feedback pattern to make its voice heard and to get your attention.

This works well when you:

  1. Understand what the negative cue means
  2. Know how to respond to the cue to bring you back into balance, health, and comfort

However, what so often happens is once we take action and get the negative cue to go away, we stop doing the positive habit that keeps us feeling good and then end up back in pain and discomfort!

Client’s intention: to create more focus on the POSITIVE message of feeling good in her body to motivate her to stay aware and keep taking care of herself.

The solution: she got a dry erase board to set on her kitchen table which she would see every day.  She then put a phrase that started with MY BODY FEELS HAPPIEST WHEN… and would change every couple days or week what habit she was doing that brought her body health and goodness.

A few examples might be my body feels happiest when…

  •  I walk in the morning.
  • I drink enough water throughout the day.
  • I sit up straight and feel strong and able bodies.
  • I eat slowly and savor my food.

Creative solutions that help bring the fun, joy and pleasure into the good habits and care you offer yourself create another layer to stay consistent.  And as you know, using your tools is what makes things happen!

 ©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Abundance Coach at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Coaching’s Effective Model for Success Part 2

Last month in talking about how professional coaching works, I shared the first two of the seven primary pillars that make up the coaching structure.  This month, I will talk about another two pillars.

PILLAR #3: Professional coaching provides an ongoing relationship of support.

Results and change do not happen all at once. Coaching recognizes this fact and supports your need for accountability, breaking down your goal into manageable steps, and creating the space to make real-time adjustments to your plan as life happens.

Having a committed coaching relationship provides the structure, space and support to keep you on track, stay motivated, and move you forward in awareness and success.

The actual time period for coaching is determined between the client and coach. Some people find that an initial commitment of three to six months is effective. Others discover that the process is so powerful and supportive that they choose to work with coaches for extended time periods.  The results and differences in their business and lives are found to be well worth their self-investment. In fact, my master coaching teacher works with his clients on an annual contract basis with the expectation to continue for the entirety of the client’s working life and charges big bucks for the results he achieves with world changing visionaries!

The time period you need is part of what you co-design with your coach. It is common to start with a minimum time period of two to three months to lay a solid foundation and establish new habits and create success.  But each coach and client will have different expectations and needs around timing and this is part of what will help you decide if you fit with a particular coach.

PILLAR #4: Professional coaching provides holistic support.

At least this is the case in the style of coaching I practice.  Some coaching models focus on specific areas of one’s business or life. The reality, however, is that life is interconnected.  And a challenge in one compartment is often linked to and affected by another area of your life. As such, coaching can and often does, address multiple areas of your life, relationships, and business. It is a freeing space to know that you can talk about what is going on in any area of your life no matter what it relates to.

Clients learn to shift their challenges by expanding from another area in their life where they are finding success. You might come to address one topic only to enjoy greater fulfillment in many areas of your life!

To explore more about Abundant You Coaching options, contact Jamie Durner at 262-389-5835 or explore on the website link above.

 ©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Integrating Self Care – Ayurveda Habits to Support your New Year Intentions

This is part of a 12-part series on using Ayurveda lifestyle and dietary habits to support your New Year intentions and overall health and well-being. Make one change a month to embrace a healthier you!

It is by conscious design that instead of sharing another habit to play with this month, that I am taking a pause.  A pause from something new and instead inviting you to have more space to absorb what I’ve already given in past months.

As a Certified Ayurveda Practitioner one of the challenges I’m faced with is how to effectively be able to share the wisdom of a healthy lifestyle and have it not be overwhelming.  To support you in achieving your wellness and life fulfillment goals, I have found two aspects to be most successful – chunking down the learning and creating space and structure for integration.

Integration is especially important with Ayurveda because it is like learning a new language and view of the world.  Several factors play a role in successfully integrating new materials.  These include the repetition of the material, space and time to absorb and try out tools, ongoing support and feedback, and material to refer back to.

Those of you who have worked with me know that I am a big believer in handouts and written information!  Whether in a class or individually in my office, I give my clients information notebooks.  This is for referring back to as part of the ongoing integration.

Repetition happens not only through the actual process of doing a new habit over and over, but also through hearing the information in perhaps new ways or with a new ear several times.  The doing part comes from your own practice and is easiest is you pick just 1-2 things to really focus on at a time.  Making sure not to add in too many new pieces has proven to be most effective in turning a tool into a true habit.  Having a buddy or partner to support your new tools is another way to stay consistent.

Repetition might also be having ongoing individual sessions with a practitioner or being a part of a group class which meets weekly or monthly.  These ongoing structures  provide the space to try out your new learning and tools and then come back for further clarification feedback.  It also allows you to cycle back to the new information and take it in deeper or, in hearing it again, connect with it in a new way.  I sometimes have clients repeat a class program precisely for this reason.

Chunking it down is a term I first heard about in my coaching training.  It means breaking down a large goal into small steps that feel manageable and allow you to get started.  This idea applies to many aspects of life, not just coaching.

Most of you likely already have an overloaded scheduled and life.  Though you might feel passionate about your goals of wellness and life balance, getting there can seem overwhelming.  This entire series has been a form of chunking down the extensive repertoire of Ayurveda’s lifestyle and dietary recommendations.  All of them are effective.  But to ask you to do all of them at once?  You’d be backing right out the door!

With this month’s pause, it is a further opportunity to think back to the prior Ayurveda habits I’ve written about and see if you want to pick one and chunk it down even more.

In case you’ve forgotten, here’s a repetition reminder of what has come before…

  • The power of the little burp – stopping eating at the first cue
  • Slowing down
  • The power of water
  • Tongue scraping
  • Flipping your main meal from dinner to lunch
  • Abhyanga self oil massage
  • Using the power of sound

If you’ve been keeping up with the monthly invitation to try these habits, give yourself a pat on the back.  You deserve it!  And now go back and try one again that maybe didn’t fully solidify.  Look at it with a beginner’s mind to see what else you might gain.  And enjoy the integrative pause for a month until another new habit gets offered up.

©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Professional Coach at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

 

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Professional Coaching’s Effective Model for Success

As a professional life, business and wellness coach at Abundant You Coaching, I adhere to the standards of coaching as designated by the International Coaching Federation.

Per the International Coaching Federation, professional coaching is an ongoing relationship in which the coach partners “with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole. The coach is responsible to support what the client wants to achieve, to encourage self-discovery, to elicit client-generated solutions and strategies, and to hold the client responsible and accountable. This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.”

To understand more fully what coaching is, how it works and why it provides powerful and effective results, I like to break down coaching in what I refer to as the seven primary pillars.  These pillars make up the coaching structure and I will cover them in a series the next couple months.

PILLAR #1: Professional coaching provides a space to stop, interrupt your default patterns, and assess with a fresh perspective.

Coaching uses a unique and powerful mechanism for supporting you in achieving your goals and dreams. It is a place where you consistently make time in your busy life to…

  • Stop and slow down.
  • Pay attention and really listen to your inner cues and wisdom.
  • Speak out loud what you want more of and explore how to get it.
  • Agree to be responsible for your life and, in doing, assume the power to to make changes, create what you want today, and commit to supporting yourself.

All of these pull you out of your current patterns, many of which are likely not supporting you otherwise you would already have everything you want!

In pausing in the neutral, reflective and supportive space of coaching, you have the ability to consciously re-examine what’s happening and make choices to move you forward to your YES! Coaching provides the sustained focus to shift the old patterns and continues to support you in creating healthier behaviors until they become new, established habits.

PILLAR #2: Professional coaching is based on the idea that the individual is the best source of their own answers.

As mentioned above, the coaching space is used to help the individual re-connect with their inner wisdom. In the Fulfillment Coaching Model, in which I am trained and utilize, the inner resourceful place is linked up with the client’s individualized connection to Spirit, God, Divine Presence or however one chooses to call their larger connection.

While outside support can help the individual clarify their thoughts and add useful information on which to base decisions, ultimately it is the individual who knows themselves, their needs and their solutions. Within coaching, the individual is recognized and supported as the “source” for his/her own solution. This is self-affirming and empowering and leads to deeper self-trust and self-confidence. The process also yields more effective tangible results as follow through and commitments are higher when the solution comes from within and is aligned with your highest needs and values.

To explore more about Abundant You Coaching options, contact Jamie Durner at 262-389-5835 or explore on the website link above.

 ©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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The Not-To-Do List

Several years ago I came across the concept the “not-to-do list” and it recently resurfaced again in a conversation with a client.  I love when I’m given the opportunity to pull out something I haven’t thought about and bring it back into my light of awareness!

And I want to share this great tool with you.

So what is it?

Basically, it is a time management strategy to help prioritize your activities.  You take items on your usually over-flowing “to-do” list and consciously say “not today” to some of them.  And to carry the conscious thought process into concrete action, you literally write  them on a “not-to-do list”.  You might have a permanent “not-to-do” list or a temporary or short-term version.  

To me this is powerful on many levels.

First, it acknowledges to yourself that you cannot do everything right now.  This seems obvious, yet many are pulled by the expectation, desire, or sense of internal/external pressure to do so.  And those energies can distract you.  By making the list, you “surrender” into the reality that we don’t all have those magical Harry Potter clocks to allow us to be multiple places at once doing all sorts of things or have the clone of ourself to effectively be multi-tasking.  Yeah you for recognizing your limits!

Secondly, it gives you space to really decide what is important in any given moment.  By saying no to one task, activity or event, you open up the space to say YES to what is of higher priority.  Note here that higher priority can be on a tangible work level as well on an emotional, inner wisdom level.  For example, you might have an article due in two days but if you are mentally and physically exhausted, the priority right now might be the nap in the hammock.  However, by the next day, the article might have top billing!  To mean these inner and outer priorities need a balance.  Sometimes there are actual deadlines that need to be met and orienting the day to get those done first is most effective.  But knowing that there are usually more tasks waiting to take the place as soon as I cross off one to-do item, also means prioritizing recharge time.

Thirdly, the list allows you to set aside of things without fear of them being forgotten or lost.  I see many clients overwhelmed by life and lists and part of that overwhelm is an idea that if you don’t do something or act on some idea RIGHT NOW, you will miss out.  I used to have some of this energy and discovered a different attitude that serves me better – what feels right now is perfect and if something is meant to be, it will show up again.  That thought change helps with my overall approach, and the not-to-do list gives me a space or container to put my creatives ideas and not-as-important tasks somewhere that I cam come back to.

Lastly, I believe this No Thanks List gives us permission to let go of something that is a legitimate need but that we don’t have to take care of in this moment.  To recognize that we are bothered by things like a sink full of dirty dishes or the weeds sprouting up (again) but that it’s ok not to do them right now.  My recent client was pulled by a similar situation.  Working and in a new training program she was finding it hard to get her self-care in and generally feeling tired.  In trying to find a creative solution to taking care of herself, this list came up as way to let the household tasks go, for one night when she had class, and instead take those 30 minutes to meditate and recharge.

I’m sure there are many other powerful ways to use this list and I would love to hear some of your thoughts on this if you’re inspired to share!  For me, a habitual list maker and do-aholic, this tool has been a great way to shift my tasks in a way that effectively gets things done while lightening my heart and mind.

And for those who love lists, consider this one as possible priorities which might shift some other tasks or activities onto your “not-to-do” list.

today's to do list

 ©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Roasted Corn & Black Bean Salad

Roasted Corn & Black Bean SaladOne of my favorite summer salads for myself and for taking to potlucks.

When balanced, all the body types can enjoy this salad.  However, the garlic, raw onion, tomatoes, spinach and corn are all potential aggravators for pitta, especially on a hot summer day.  Omiting the garlic and onion, which I often do, and using baby spring greens instead of the spinach will decrease the pitta aggravating affect.

The larger black beans can be a little aggravating for vata as beans are astringent or drying in nature.  Making your own beans with extra soaking and cooking time and using a piece of kombu seaweed of pinch or asafetida while cooking the beans will help decrease the impact of the beans on vata.

Roasted Corn & Black Bean Salad

Ingredients

  • 1# frozen or fresh corn
  • 1 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/3 c. red onion, chopped
  • 2 – 15 oz cans black beans or cooked equivalent
  • 3 Tbsp. sunflower oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 avocados, cut into ½” pieces
  • Baby spinach or mixed baby greens

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a bowl or on a sided 15 x 10 baking sheet, combine the oil and corn. Spread on the pan into a single layer and bake 18-22 minutes until the corn is a light golden brown. Stir every 5-10 minutes to prevent burning. Cool 10 minutes.
  3. While the corn is cooking, make the dressing and set aside. Combine the other salad ingredients in a bowl, adding the avocados last. When corn is cooled, add to the salad mix and toss with the dressing. Serve immediately on a bed of greens.
  4. If not serving immediately, refrigerate for up to 6 hours but don’t add cilantro, avocados or dressing until right before serving.
https://abundantyoucoaching.com/roasted-corn-black-bean-salad/

©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Coach at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Use the Power of Sound – Ayurveda Habits to Support your New Year Intentions

This is part of a 12-part series on using Ayurveda lifestyle and dietary habits to support your New Year intentions and overall health and well-being. Make one change a month to embrace a healthier you!

celebrationOur entire universe is in a constant state of vibration that manifest as sound, light, and energy. Among these manifestations, sound is considered the original form of all energy. As such, you could say that we live in a world of energy and that energy vibrates.

Your basic sensory system only picks up a small amount of these vibrations. Some vibrations create sounds audible to your ears while others, like thoughts, are silent sounds but which still act as an electro-magnetic vibration. The higher or less dense a vibration, the closer it is to the highest vibration – God or universal creation. Therefore, when you raise the vibration of your thoughts, words and expressions, the closer you become to experiencing and merging with your Infinite or Divine nature.

I often talk about connecting to and living from our highest selves. This relates to our Infinite or Divine nature in which we are fully in alignment with our very essence and truth and stand in a place of confident balance and inner rightness.

In fact, all of the tools in Ayurveda and yoga are really designed to help us be in this highest inner space.

And being in that space – which for me is freeing, empowering, makes life flow easily – can be tough to hang on to in this distracting, imbalancing, chaotic place we call modern life on earth.

Our mind wanders as is its nature, our ego clouds our perception, our senses entice us with all sorts of seemingly good treasures to partake in. And not all of that is bad. But over time, it can pull us of our centered core and create imbalance which leads to unhappiness in our body, mind and life.

A great tool to support a balanced mind and higher energetic vibration is mantra.

Mantras are combinations of syllables consciously received by the Rishis, or ancient spiritual people of India, through divinely inspired wisdom. By vibrating particular combination of sounds, you essentially tune in to different parts of the universal intelligence or consciousness. The words themselves also serve to focus the mind and the repetition of the sound restructures the patterns in the mind.

How Mantras Work

Every time you speak, you stimulate a combination of the 84 meridian points in the roof of your mouth with the tongue. Similar to a keyboard on your computer, these points tap in a message to your body’s computer or brain that is located within the area of the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus receives the information from the sound and translates it into instructions that create a chemical response going to the body and mind. The hypothalamus is connected to the pituitary gland, which is considered to be the body’s master gland. The pituitary gland regulates your autonomic nervous system including functions such as hunger, thirst, body temperature, sleep cycles, moods, emotional behavior and libido. The changes in the brain also adjust and affect the endocrine system and metabolism which serve to develop the neutral balanced mind, strengthen the immune function, enhance intelligence and intuition, deepen compassion, and even conquer depression.

By stimulating these pressure points in a particular sequence through sound, you increase the secretion of the hypothalamus gland and bring about a change in your brain cells and response.   In other words, you affect the chemistry of the brain and you shift your state of mind, personality and ability to project your highest self.

Simply put, think of mantras as channels that change the vibratory channel or your energy and focus the mind.

Repetition is Key

Mantras are most often used as part of what is called Mantra Japa. Japa means repetition and it is through the repetition of the mantra, ideally on a daily basis, that you shift your vibration, clear the old cellular memory, change your story tapes. Our patterns, beliefs, and mindsets are there because we’ve been using them for a long time. To change the patterns, you will get best results by implementing a substitute pattern on a daily basis – or sometimes on an hourly or minute-by-minute basis depending on how often those old tapes are rotating!

Rosewood_malasMantra Japa is ideally done with mala beads which usually contain 108 beads – 108 being the number connected to the Infinite. The simple tool is used by moving over the meridian point in the thumb as it crosses each bead. A mantra or prayer is said with each bead movement. Different fingers can be used with the mala to relate to different parts of the brain. The act of turning the beads while reciting the mantra is extremely effective in keeping you in the present.   Equally important is that it keeps you grounded as you advance in meditation and helps you continually gain from the material properties of the beads.

Different materials of beads will give you different energetic effects. To give just two examples:

  • Sandalwood promotes promote tranquility, a sense of calmness, a positive frame of mind, and the ability to awaken
  • Jade supports health, longevity and prosperity by encouraging tranquility, wisdom and clarity; keeps worries at bay, has a positive effect on illnesses of organs around the heart such as lungs, liver and even kidneys; and is associated with the heart chakra.

If one doesn’t have a mala set, a timer used for about 3 minutes for short mantras are an option.

Mantras can be chanted out loud, in a whisper or silently in the mind – each way having a different effect. Depending on your needs, one way may feel better to you. Or, depending on the situation, using a silent Japa will be required so as not stand out in the crowd!

There are many different mantras one can use and for best results you might consider an individual sound meditation session with myself or a trained practitioner. This allows the practitioner to understand what your goals are and find effective possibilities for your change. You can also explore through books or online resources and simply see what “sounds good”!

For myself, I use mantra as part of my daily morning meditation practice as well as throughout the day to tune into energies I might need in any given more or to switch a tape I don’t need to have on. The mind needs a tool to harness it; otherwise it can run you ragged with trauma and drama that interferes with you being fully present with your best self.

To get you started, here are a couple of my favorite mantras:

  • Sat Nam: The most widely used mantra in the Kundalini yoga tradition is translated as truth is your identity; it awakens the soul and gives you your destiny; it also balances the give elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether.
  • Shrim: A mantra of love connected to the Goddess of beauty, Lakshmi; takes you into the heart, giving you faith and steadiness in your emotional self; promotes health and aids in fertility and rejuvenation as well as prosperity. It is one of the softest and safest mantras to use.
  • Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha: to remove obstacles, to support new beginning, to bless the start of any journey.
  • Aham Prema: I am love, connect to the energy of unconditional love for yourself and others.

Words have power.

Contrary to the old saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me,” words absolutely have power. In his book, “The Hidden Messages in Water” the renowned Japanese scientist Masaru Emoto shows just how influential thoughts, words and feelings on to the earth and one’s personal health through his experiments with sound and water.

All words have power and create effects. As such, you are creating with every word you speak, and even with every word you think. Emotions such as happiness, sorry, joy, depression – which you may call attitudes – are fundamentally vibratory frequencies or thought waves.   And these waves create the show or story your mind is playing. AND you have the ability in any moment to change that story by changing your vibration. By chanting, whether you understand the actual words or not, you set in motion the vibrations to change the story, to effect your state of being.

In addition to using mantra as a re-programming, vibratory channel changing tool, be mindful of how your talk – to others and to yourself. Those thoughts and words are connected to energy which create action and results.

If you don’t like what’s happening in your body and life, take a look at your thoughts and words and flip the negative, dislikes to the positives wants! Positive affirmations are a great way to do this with Louise Hay, in my mind, being the queen of affirmations.

So have fun with an expanded view of sound – vocalized or silent – and let me know what you discover!

©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Beets & Greens

A yummy natural pairing of beets with their greens – a part that is often left off but so full of nutrients and the astringent and bitter tastes which are needed in our diet.

Beets are considered to have a sweet taste and a slightly warm virya or energetic relating to neutral, hot/warming, or cold/cooling.  They help build the blood, cleanse the bile, and support a healthy menstruation.  From a doshic perspective, beets decrease the vata dosha and increase in excess kapha dosha (due to the sweet taste) and pitta dosha (due to the warming nature). 

The beet greens energetically are similar to spinach which has a primary astringent taste with a secondary bitter taste.  The greens decrease kapha dosa and pitta dosha as long as not in excess and increase vata dosha.

In moderation, beets and their greens are a lovely addition to the diet for all the doshas.

Beets & Greens

Beets & Greens

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 pound beets with greens

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Scrub beets and remove greens. Either wrap whole beets in foil or cube and place in a pan. Roast in the oven until soft, approximately 45 minutes for whole or 25 minutes for chopped. When done, cool and if whole, peel. While beets are roasting, go on to the next two steps.
  2. To prepare the dressing, whisk tougher vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Then add 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a slow stream as you continue to whisk until well combined. Set aside.
  3. Wash and chop the beet greens and sauté in a heavy bottomed large skillet and cook until soft but not mushy or a dull color. When beets are down, mix in the dressing and serve on top of the cooked greens.
https://abundantyoucoaching.com/beets-greens/

©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Basil Sautéed Zucchini

A great summer recipe when the zucchini plant is bursting with abundance.  Last summer during this time I literally ate a zucchini a day for a couple weeks!

Although zucchini are found on the Kapha avoid or minimize list in food guidelines due to their higher water content, in moderation the vegetable can be enjoyed by all doshas.

Basil Sautéed Zucchini

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini, ¼” slices
  • 1 tsp. ghee
  • ½ tsp. dried basil
  • 1/8 tsp. soma salt

Instructions

  1. Melt ghee in a sauté pan with the basil and salt and sauté for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the cut zucchini and mix to coat.
  3. Cook on medium-low heat, flipping the zucchini every 3-4 minutes so both sides are evenly cooked. Cook until soft but not mushy.
  4. Can add additional vegetables but I recommend keeping the vegetable selection to no more than three to allow for the pure taste of the individual vegetables.
  5. One combination I enjoy is the zucchini with baby spinach. I cook the zucchini until almost done then add in the spinach for the last two minutes.
https://abundantyoucoaching.com/basil-sauteed-zucchini/

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Abhyanga Self Oil Massage – Ayurveda Habits to Support your New Year Intentions

This is part of a 12-part series on using Ayurveda lifestyle and dietary habits to support your New Year intentions and overall health and well-being. Make one change a month to embrace a healthier you!

“Oleation therapy is the best remedy for alleviating vata – the most important among all the doshas.” Caraka Samhita

One of my client’s favorite recommendations is the self oil massage called Abhyanga, which means means loving hands. This application of nourishing oils to support the skin, doshas, and lymph and nervous systems is a cornerstone of the daily Ayurvedic practices.

One of the first results my clients notice is how great their skin feels.  In our culture, we are used to putting on lotions and potions which often have many chemicals and products that don’t truly nourish the tissues.  Switching to oil truly protects and rejuvenates the skin from dryness, cracking and roughness, giving your skin a new level of softness and health.  Oil massage additionally supports the removal of excess fat from the skin, creates firmness to the limbs, and gives tone and vigor to the tissues.

But the benefits of this simple practice are more than skin deep.

Pitta_oilSpecific oils are recommended to individuals at different times based on their core constitution, the season, and any current imbalances they might be experiencing.  This daily practice balances or harmonizes all three doshas, especially the vata dosha, the internal energy which is the root behind many imbalances and symptoms in the body and mind.

Each oil – sesame, almond, sunflower, coconut – has different energetic properties that balance the different doshas.  Using such a simple base oil is effective for skin care, to caretake your core energetics, and to support the nervous system.  For deeper results, herbalized oils are utilized.  The herbs are cooked into the oil before being strained, feeding the benefits of herbs to your entire body via the skin, your largest organ.

The vata dosha governs the nervous system and its movement.  Vata by nature is cold, dry, light and constantly fluctuating or moving.  Oils by nature are heavy and oily which counter the light and dry nature of vata and support grounding the nervous system.  In your busy world, the nervous system is overtaxed and the oil self massages provide an excellent remedy for today’s modern stresses, decrease the effects of aging, and support the regulation of sleep.  Who couldn’t use a little more of those benefits!

Like any massage, abhyanga also works with the circulatory and lymph system.  Regular self massage helps to flush toxins and wastes out, circulates vital nutrients to the tissues and cells to promote overall health and longevity, and stimulates the internal organs.  Just like you exercise your muscles, you want to manually exercise your organs and tissues.

How to do Abhyanga

  1. Warm the oil recommended by your practitioner in its container in the bathroom sink or in a pot/cup of hot water. This takes just about 3-5 minutes if the bottle is small.  If you have a copper warming bowl, you can also use this to warm your oil which adds a lovely spa-like beauty to the process.  Do not microwave the oil. The oil should be pleasantly warm to the touch.
  1. You will be applying a small amount (about 2-4 Tbsp depending on the body size) of warm oil to your entire body. Massage the oil into your entire body, beginning with the extremities of the arms and legs and working toward the middle of the body. Use long strokes on the long bones and circular movements around your joints – which will be your tendency as it follows the natural contours of the body.   Massage the abdomen and chest in broad, clockwise circular motions. Ideally give yourself this loving massage for 5-20 minutes.  Once a week give a little extra attention to your scalp and feet. After massaging the feet, be sure to wash them before getting in the shower so you don’t slip.
  1. Let the oil feed your skin and tissues.  Leave the oil on for at least 5 minutes and ideally 20-60 minutes.  The longer you can leave it on, the better.  I like to put my oil on in the morning then go do my daily yoga and meditation, but you could do your morning cooking, clean up the kitchen, or any other activity while the oil sits.  If you are going to do other activities, have a set of “oil clothes” that you wear and wash a couple times a week.  These clothes will retain some of the oil feel and smell even with regular washing so you want to use older clothes.  I am on my second set of oil clothes, having thrown out my first ones after about 2 years.
  1. Take a warm, leisurely bath or shower after the allotted time.  The shower after the oil often initially confuses my clients who are used to applying lotion or product after showering.  In this case, the warm water opens the skin pores to draw in more of the oil and gently washes off the excess oil.  Use gentle soap under the arms and in the groin area and simply rinse off the rest of the body.  If you do body brushing before the oil massage, you will have removed superficial dirt and dead skin cells and do not need to use soap, which is drying, every day. It is good if a little oil remains. If you feel too oily, dry chickpea flour can be rubbed on the body in the shower to help remove the excess oil.
  1. Towel dry with a dedicated abhyanga towel. I say “dedicated” as this towel may accumulate oil and retain some oil odor, similar to the oil clothes but not as much.  As such, you do not want your towel to be your favorite, expensive one unless you’re choosing to add that gift to your self-nurturing!

When not to do abhyanga – there are times when you should not do this massage:

  • Over swollen, painful areas or masses without first talking to your practitioner
  • Over infected or broken skin
  • When you have acute fever, chills or flu
  • When you have acute indigestion or directly after taking purgatives or emetics, usually as part of a cleanse
  • During the menstrual cycle (can do very lightly and only for about 5 minutes) or pregnancy

Tips to Deal with Oil Accumulation

  • Have 2 abhyanga towels: one to sit on while doing your massage and the other to use when first getting out of the shower. I personally do not sit while doing my massage so I only use one towel coming out of the shower. If you are more comfortable sitting for the massage, a second towel is nice.
  • Adding a few tablespoons each of baking soda and vinegar to your oil towel and clothing load after the water is in will help remove the excess oil. You want to make sure to do this with water otherwise the volatile mix could eat damage the inside of your washer and/or your plumbing.
  • Keep a bottle of dish detergent in your shower or tub. When you’re done washing off, squirt a little on the floor and rub it around then let the shower water wash it down the drain. Doing this each time helps prevent accumulation of oil.
  • Though the traditional abhyanga recommends using 4-8 oz. of oil, modern plumbing has a hard time processing that quantity. I have my clients use a smaller amount like 2-4 Tbsp.

Short and Sweet Options

  • Though it is ideal to massage the body for 5 minutes and leave the oil on for at least 20 minutes, even a short massage with less soaking time will help. In a pinch, oiling and massaging just the feet will ground the nervous system.
  • Though doing abhyanga is the morning is ideal, if that doesn’t fit your schedule, the evening is another option which can be part of a soothing bedtime routine that supports issues such as restless sleep or insomnia.
  • Though this isn’t applicable for sesame or herbalized oils, you can use coconut (for pitta needs) or almond oil after the shower while the skin is still slightly damp and leave the oil on. These oils are lighter and have a gentle odor that won’t penetrate into your clothes.

 ©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Tongue Scraping – Ayurveda Habits to Support your New Year Intentions

This is part of a 12-part series on using Ayurveda lifestyle and dietary habits to support your New Year intentions and overall health and well-being. Make one change a month to embrace a healthier you!

Part of the daily routine in Ayurveda includes tongue scraping. This is an important part of daily hygiene, just like brushing your teeth.  In addition to clearing toxins and freshening the mouth, the practice can provide information about your health and your habits. The oral cavity is also a main gateway between the body/mind and the environment and care of its health is important to general well-being.

The tongue should only be scraped in the morning on an empty stomach. Scraping at other times unduly stimulates the internal organs. 

Observe the Tongue

Each morning upon awakening, the tongue should be inspected for a coating. This coating is an indication of ama or toxicity in the system. 

First, note the quantity on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the heaviest amount of coating; the heavier the coating, the greater amount of ama or toxicity from undigested food. Also, note whether the entire tongue is coated which indicates systemic ama or whether just one part is coated. It is common for most today to have at least a slight coating at the back of the tongue, which is the area of the colon. This indicates a mild build up of undigested food in the stomach and small intestine that has gone into the colon. This level of ama is easier to remedy than systemic toxins. 

 If you wake up and smell last night’s meal, it means that the food is not yet thoroughly digested.  If there is a lot of coating on the tongue, it means there is much ama in the system, perhaps because you ate too late or dinner was hard to digest.  In either of these cases, don’t eat breakfast. Rather wait a couple hours for the food to finish being digested, supporting the process by starting the day with a glass of warm water with lime.  This process increases your awareness and puts you in contact with your body and the functioning of your system. By knowing what is happening, you have the power to create better health by altering your behavior.

Second, note the color of the coating which will tell you which dosha is connected to the toxins:

  • yellowish-green indicates Pitta
  • brownish-black indicates Vata
  • white indicates Kapha

How to Scrape the Tongue

Once you have completed your observations, it’s time to scrape the tongue.

copper tongue scraper

copper tongue scraper

Traditionally gold was used for vata, silver for pitta and copper for kapha. Due to the expense of gold and silver, these obviously aren’t practical options but copper is a great option for all bodytypes. Copper was traditionally believed to support lymphatic flow. Since the lymphatic system acts as the gatekeeper to the immune system, the copper scraper was seen to boost a healthy immune response. Copper also has antiseptic properties which neutralize the bad bacteria while providing enzymes needed for the good mouth microbes. Lastly, copper resists bacterial accumulation while not being used. A second good choice today, though it doesn’t have the antiseptic aspects, is stainless steel which doesn’t corrode. In a pinch if you’ve forgotten your handy tongue scraper, the back of a spoon can be used. 

Now that you have your scraper, first thing in the morning you want to gently scrape from the back or base of the tongue to the front in a forwards direction 7-14 times until the whole surface is scraped. You may not remove all of the coating if it is severe but that is okay. You do not want to excessively scrape in one sitting which can damage the taste buds so do no more than 14 times with gentle strokes.  I like to do 3 rounds of about 4 scrapes from front to back, rinsing off the coating in-between while looking at the color.

Follow the scraping with brushing and flossing the teeth and a large glass of water.

Benefits of Tongue Scraping

  • Removes toxins from the tongue. If this is not done, the toxins are swallowed back in to the system and adds to further clogging of the body’s channels. One word – yuck!  To me, this is one of the primary reasons to scrape – you don’t want more toxins stored in the body.
  • Wakes up the digestive fire and enzymes and aids digestion. Even though you have finished eating, digestion continues through the night. Scraping the tongue early in the morning massages the organs of the stomach, pancreas, liver, kidneys and intestines which helps to finish the digestive process and get the organs ready for a new day of digestion. As proper digestion is seen to be the foundation of physical health in Ayurveda, this simple practice can be a powerful tool to promoting vital health.
  • Eliminate better. Stimulating the taste buds activates the colon which promotes complete bowel elimination in the morning.
  • Freshens the breath. The mouth bacteria produces by-products called volatile sulfur compounds. These are linked to bad breath or halitosis. Scraping helps remove the bacteria and associated foul tastes and smells.
  • Enhances taste perception. When the coating is removed, you are able to taste your food better, increasing meal satisfaction and potentially eliminating the need for excessive taste stimulants from sugar, salt or excessive spices or condiments.
  • Allows for better communication between the food intelligence and the body/mind. A vital relationship with the outer environment is through food. Your food contains intelligence that is communicated and interpreted first in the mouth via the tongue receptors. If the tongue is coated, it can block the taste buds and this communication can be distorted. The intelligence of herbs, which are essentially subtle forms of foods, can also be negatively impacted by clogged taste buds. A clear, clean tongue promotes effective communication and allows the body/mind to receive healthy information.
  • Supports overall oral health. When the toxic coating remains on the tongue, it can act as a breeding ground for bacteria which can be a factor in periodontal problems, plaque build-up, tooth and gum decay.
  • Allows you to assess your health and monitor the results of your habits. By scraping the tongue daily, you stay in contact with your digestive system and overall health and can take proper action to maintain balance.

After reading the benefits, what’s not to like about tongue scraping?!  

It’s so easy – taking less than a minute – but yields numerous great results.

 ©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Barley Kitchari for Spring

In most areas of the United States, spring is considered the kapha season with a higher amount of moisture in the air, spring showers and gray clouds.  It can be a nice time for anyone to integrate some kapha reducing recipes but it is especially important to do so if you have a kapha dominant or dual constitution or have a kapha imbalance.

Using the treatment principle of opposite qualities lowering an excess in a dosha or life force, one would use qualities of dry, light and stimulating to combat the kapha nature or wet/oily, heavy and stable.  Barley is a drier and lighter grain and the spices used in the recipe are warm and stimulating to move the stable kapha.  

Barley Kitchari for Spring

Ingredients

  • 1 cup barley
  • 1/3 cup split yellow mung dal (beans)
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil or ghee
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ginger powder ( or substitute 1teaspoon fennel seeds to decrease pitta)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Soak the mung dal for 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Thoroughly rinse the barley and mung dal twice.
  3. Put the barley, dal, sunflower oil, and water in a medium saucepan.
  4. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar.
  6. Add the spices after 15 minutes of cooking.
  7. Cook until tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  8. Alternatively, use a rice cooker and put in the oil then the spices and sauté for a couple minutes before adding rice, dal and water to cook.
https://abundantyoucoaching.com/barley-kitchari-for-spring/

 ©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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The Benefits of the Ayurvedic Application of Herbs Through The Sinuses

The nasal passages are the doorways to the mind and senses, and are the first site where Prana, or life force energy, is absorbed through breathing. The nostrils also serve to purify the air so that it is better able to extract the life-energy from the air. If the nose is blocked or a person breathes through the mouth, this important cleansing does not happen. Any stagnant or congested space in the nose or sinuses provides a breeding ground for pathogens and further weakens the immune system.

The location of the nostrils is directly below the brain and, as such, they provide a direct entrance to and impact on the brain, the nervous system, and the senses. When the head is congested, the brain becomes dull, thinking becomes confused or muddled, memory is weakened and perception declines. The brain itself becomes stagnant. For the health of the brain and the whole nervous system, the right absorption of Prana in the head is important. And this depends upon the right functioning of the nostrils. This location also allows for a direct input of herbs through the sinuses through application of nasya.

Nasya is the administration of medications or herbs through the nasal passageways.

nasya applicationIn Ayurveda, this practice us used as a healing therapy to address conditions of the mind, the nervous system including the glands in the upper body, headaches, and sinuses issues. It is one of the easiest and quickest ways to directly receive effective results from herbs for a quick input into the blood stream and nervous system.  

Applying Nasya oil into your nostrils has many benefits.

  •  Creates a protective barrier so that allergens, pollutants and viruses do not enter the nasal mucosa directly.
  • Protects from the dryness of indoor heat and pacifies Vata Dosha which often creates dryness. When the epithelial tissues in the nostrils are moist, they are less susceptible to dryness, pollen, environmental allergens / pollutants, and nose bleeds due to dry air.
  • Depending on the specific herbs in the formula, it can positively benefit the head, nervous system, mental / emotional states, allergies, hormones, neck pain, headaches, post nasal drip, memory, insomnia, depression, tinnitus and more.

At Ayurveda Wellness, a wide variety of nasya oils are available.

shaktiveda logoA new line  oils from the Shaktiveda company have recently been introduced at Ayurveda Wellness.  These specialty Nasya oils are personally designed by Dr. Mary Jo Cravatta and made in small batches.  The tailored variety of oils provide wonderful options of therapy for vata, pitta and kapha imbalances in the mind.  They also offer safe and effective ways to treat hormonal and glandular imbalances without needing to go through the digestive system or liver, two key system which today are often overloaded and not functioning at their highest capacity.

All ingredients used are organic, come in a 1 oz bottle and have a self-investments of $.18.95. For best results, oils should be used in conjunction with an appropriate Ayurveda diet and lifestyle and as directed by a trained Ayurveda professional.

  • Allergy Relief Nasya: You will find this nasya oil to be soothing to dry or inflamed nasal passages and reduces the symptoms of allergy or hay fever. May be used all year round, but is especially beneficial whenever allergies are a concern. Ingredients: Bala, Ajwan, Boswellia, Haritaki, Licorice, Bibhitaki, Anantmoola, Amalaki in Organic Sunflower Oil, Vit E
  • Balance Within Nasya: This nasya oil is the companion to the herbal formula Healing Within. Applying several drops in each nostril several times per day will bring a sense of peace and emotional wellness. It is soothing to Pitta emotions and brings calmness to the heart. Ingredients: Jasmine, Rose, Helicrysum, Lotus in Almond Oil. Vit E.
  • Breathe Clear Nasya: This is a natural decongestant that addresses sinus, nasal, cold/flu symptoms. Great to use in the morning before Pranayama. Or use at bedtime to clear your nasal passages for better sleep. It loosens mucous without having a “stimulant” effect – therefore, it is not Vata disturbing. Ingredients: Ajwan, Bala, Vacha, Ginger, Licorice Propriety Blend of Essential Oils in Organic Sesame Oil, Vit E.
  • Depth of Being Nasya: This nasya oil is the companion to the herbal formula Lightness of Being. Applying several drops in each nostril in the morning or afternoon will increase focus, clarity, energy level, and improve expansion of awareness. It is great applied before meditation or yoga. Ingredients: Brahmi, Tulsi, Vacha in Organic Sesame Oil. Vit E.
  • Divine Intervention Nasya: Ideal to take before meditation, pranayama, or yoga – or any time. This Tri-Doshic Nasya Oil brings a sense of connection to the Divine – facilitates the release of old behaviors / patterns (Pragyaparad) that are keeping you from being your best. Assists in releasing addictions. Ingredients: Ashwagandha, Vacha, Shatavari, Tulsi, Guduchi, Bilva, Agnimantha, Shyonaka, Patala, Kashmari, Bruhati, Kantakari, Shalaparni, Prushniparni, Gokshura in Almond Oil, Vit E.
  • Luna Rejuv Nasya: To ease the physical & emotional symptoms of Post Menopausal Women. These phyto-hormonal herbs work synergistically together to assist the body / mind to bring greater balance. Many Menopausal women find that taking this formula before bed facilitates a better nights sleep.  Ingredients: Sesame oil, Maca, Kapi Kachu, Shatavari, Bringaraj, Vidari Kanda, Red Clover, Black Cohosh, Ashwagandha, Valerian, Skullcap.
  • Neuro-Pattern Release Nasya: Balancing to the brain wave patterns – releasing old thoughts / behaviors and allowing unwinding of cellular memory. After a period of use, you may experience a release of negativity and thoughts that no longer serve you. Ingredients: Tulsi, Rose, Arjuna, Vacha, Ashwagandha in Almond Oil, Vitamin E
  • Serenity Within Nasya: This nasya oil is the companion to the herbal formula Calm Within. Applying several drops in each nostril several times per day and in the evening will facilitate releasing stress, quiet the mind, and assist in relaxing the neck and shoulder area. Effective for relieving headache pain. When used before bed, it encourages a deeper nights sleep. Ingredients: Jatamamsi, Skullcap, Tagar, Ashwagandha, Valerian in Organic Sesame Oil. Vitamin E. 
  • Shanti Luna Nasya: Balancing to hormones of Menstruating women. It is especially effective during the 2 weeks before the period to assist with PMS. May also be used as a transdermal oil on inner wrists, breasts, abdomen, or inner thighs. Ingredients: Vitex, Guduchi, Wild Yam, Rose, Jasmine, Chamomile, Tulsi, Helichrysum, Lotus, Licorice, Turmeric, Barberry, Vacha, Ajwan in Almond Oil, Vit E.
  • Thyroid Relief Nasya: To assist the thyroid in becoming balanced May be used for either hypo or hyper thyroid. Best if combined with Thyroid Assist herbal formula. Ingredients: Kanchnar, Tulsi, Myrrh, Helichrysum, Vidari Kanda, Shilajit, Kelp in organic Sesame and Sunflower oil.

 ©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Flip Lunch & Dinner – Ayurveda Habits to Support your New Year Intentions

This is part of a 12-part series on using Ayurveda lifestyle and dietary habits to support your New Year intentions and overall health and well-being. Make one change a month to embrace a healthier you!

In addition to eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are no longer hungry, this month’s habit is one of the most balancing shifts you can make for your health and your weight.

In many traditional cultures and before the industrial age, the main meal of the day was mid-day and was referred to as dinner.  This was the time when the body needed to be refueled from the morning’s busy labors and provide the next dose of energy to get through the second half of the work day.  

This has always made logical sense to me.  We use most of our energy during the day, but right now many Americans eat the largest quantity and calories at night.  The result – extra weight the body can’t burn off, poor sleep from having too much in the belly before bad, sluggish energy from poor sleep, and the building of toxins which are the foundation of disease.

The timing of meals becomes even more compelling when you understand time periods from an Ayurvedic perspective and how it affects your body and mind.

In Ayurveda, the pitta dosha governs the time period from 10 am to 2 pm when the sun is highest and is when the digestive fire is strongest.  It is also the time when you actually taste food most fully. During this time, your body has the greatest capacity to digest heavier, more substantial foods – as long as the digestion is working correctly.  

No, this doesn’t mean you gorge yourself at noon. What it does mean is that you eat a substantial meal at noon to fortify your body and the right amount of your animal proteins, heavier grains like wheat, and dessert are best eaten at mid-day.  

Some fear that eating heavy at noon creates sluggish.  This can be due to what is being eaten – processed foods, excessively rich sauces, or simply too much quantity.  But it can also be the result of your digestive fire not being strong enough to process the heavy food as well as simply not eating in leisurely fashion and allowing the time and rest to process the food.

Eating in a slow, leisurely fashion was also a historic staple of the traditional “dinner” meal.  I recognize that this can be a bit of a challenge today when lunch hours are shorter and there is external or internal pressure to work through lunch.  The first step is to realize how important this meal is – both in terms of timing, content and manner – and commit to at least 20 minutes to eat quietly, away from work, in an ideally restful place.  Restful is important because your nervous system plays an important role in digestion.  If your mind is not focused on your food and you are rushing or stressed or skipping meals or eating on the fly, your stress response kicks in and releases cortisol hormones which produce free radicals.  These contribute to disease and interfere with the digestive process.

In addition to eating in a relaxed manner, literally resting  on your left  side briefly after the main meal followed by a short walk, will also alleviate  afternoon sleepiness.  You don’t want to take a long nap, just 5-10 minutes.  And if you don’t have the space to lie down, even leaning towards the left as you drive home from the restaurant or in your desk chair will help.

Brain Longevity Workshop with Jamie Durner, Ayurvedic Natural Health PractitionerThe second important time frame with this habit is the vata afternoon time period from 2 – 6 pm.  Vata governs the nervous system and during this time it is activated and the brain is seeking fuel.  In fact, 80% of blood sugar is used to feed the brain.  So imagine that you have skipped lunch because of work or you’ve following the misguided principle of eating just a salad at lunch to stay lean.  Suddenly the afternoon rolls around and your brain is looking for fuel and there is not enough there.

Crisis!  This is literally seen as an emergency and your body sends the message to get quick energy.  And, as you might guess, quick energy comes in the form of fast, easy sugars that give that short burst of energy, spiking blood sugar but then dropping in a short while later.  

The result – afternoon sugar and energy cravings (usually caffeine in the form of coffee, sodas, or teas), fluctuating blood sugars, increasing addictions to false sources of energy via sugars and caffeine, sluggish afternoon mental functioning, and long term weight gain as the body stores fat to counter the next emergency.

Not only does your body need the fuel from a larger and balanced noon meal, but so does your brain!

The last time period in this interconnected pattern is the kapha time from 6 -10 pm.  Kapha by nature is heavy and during this evening period the body and mind are slowing down to prepare for sleep and the processing and digesting of the day’s experiences.  Not only is your energy winding down, but as the sun goes down, so does the flame and power of the digestive fire.  This is when you want to take a lighter meal.  What we now consider our dinner was once referred to as supper.  This meal at the end of the day was meant to be a small, supplemental meal.  The body doesn’t require the same energy at this time because the work load is less – unless of course you work a second or third shift job. In this case,  you will need to adjust according to your work schedule and make your light supper the meal at the end of your day.

This month, I invite you to play with the timing of your food and notice the difference.  What I know is that when you shift your main meal to the traditional “dinner” noontime hour and use a lighter supper at the end of the day, you can expect to enjoy these benefits…

  1. Your body has the ability to better digest heavy foods during this pitta time.
  2. Your body is appropriately fueled to carry you through the rest of your work day.
  3. You have fewer cravings in the later afternoon and, as such, take in less of the imbalances substances of caffeine and sugar.
  4. You are less likely to need to ground yourself with food in the evening which often happens when your “dinner” is too light and the body is wanting to counter the lightness with the heavy, solid nature of food.
  5. You body, through your afternoon activities can burn off or use the main meal food and leave less sitting in your system…and on your hips.  
  6. You sustain a more balanced weight.
  7. You sleep better with less food in the belly going to bed.
  8. You are less sluggish in the morning because the body has digested the food properly and you have slept better.
  9. Because your body is processing the food, you have less digestive issues and build fewer toxins – if you stop eating when you are no longer hungry and you make whole foods choices to support your hunger. 
  10. Because your food is processed better and you have less toxins, you have fewer symptoms and feel better overall.

©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Expand Your Health Through Food

40D celebration foodFood is something you all need and that you use every day. And how you use it – both in terms of the content and how you are eating – is considered the most important tool in Ayurveda in supporting your physical health.  When food is used with conscious attention and tailored to your unique needs, you enjoy a robust digestion and vitality, balanced emotions, a healthy and sustainable weight, and overall better health.  

Sounds great, right?!  It is AND it is easier to obtain than you may realize.  

Today there are many conflicting messages when it comes to food, health, diets…so many that change frequently that it is no wonder you might feel confused and frustrated.

You can transform this frustration and lack of optimal health with the guided support using 5,000 year old, time-tested techniques.

The upcoming program “Healthy Weight, Healthy You” which begins in May, combines the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda with coaching and practical ways to fit into modern life.  In this six week program you will discover the lost secrets of food and how to eat the way you were originally intended – according to your design and with natural joy. The benefits? A healthier body and more balanced relationships with yourself and food!

Each week Jamie will highlight a theme, provide clarification, offer coaching support, and provide quick, easy cooking tips and tasty new foods to sample. You also use a book with daily readings and activities to guide the process. Not only will you be able to rediscover yourself as you travel towards your ideal self, but also you will reinvigorate your metabolism, optimize your weight, awaken your energy and enliven your spirit.

The group is the place where you will celebrate successes and gain support with challenges, connect, get inspired, and re-energize your KEEP UP spirit! Past participants state that is the group that makes the program doable and keeps them engaged.

  • When: May 6th – June 10th, Wednesday from 11 am -12:30 pm
  • Self Investment: $199 includes simple kitchari lunch with snacks or virtual option $170 without food
  • Required Text: “40 Days to Enlightened Eating” $21.99, available through Ayurveda Wellness
  • Location: Center for Well-Being, 301 Cottonwood Avenue, Hartland, WI OR Virtual Option – if the timing or geography do not work for you schedule or location, you know have the option to access audio and video recordings along with a group forum to participate in the class. You simply register with Jamie like normal then receive the recordings after each class to use and stay connected. The forum serves as the place to post your questions, share your experiences, and stay connected.
  • Register: contact Jamie at 262-389-5835 or jamiedurner@icloud.com

Topic examples include:

  • What is your eating style?
  • It’s not how much you eat as much as what you’re eating
  • Samskaras – self-sabotaging eating patterns
  • Diet by Dosha
  • Eating and emotions, emotions and eating
  • Irrational fear of sweet, salt, fat, carbohydrates and dairy
  • Spiritual nutrition
  • Eating with love
  • The role of detoxification and the digestive pause
  • How your constitutional nature affects your weight and relationship with food
  • Gentle exercises, lifestyle and routine changes to support your body
  • New meal options and recipes
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Quinoa Flour Blondies

Unlike many gluten free recipes, this one uses quinoa flour instead of some of the starchier flours like rice.  Quinoa has more protein and along with the almond butter, it makes for a nourishing, grounding treat that suits vata and pitta doshas.

Quinoa Flour Blondies

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup smooth or crunchy natural almond butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sucanat or coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup quinoa flour (in natural-foods markets or make your own by grinding raw quinoa into a powder in a clean coffee grinder)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Enjoy Life dark mini chocolate chips (sweetened with evaporated cane juice)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray or sunflower oil.
  3. Beat butter and almond butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in eggs, sucanat or coconut sugar and vanilla.
  4. In a small bowl, blend together the quinoa flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Cool for 45 minutes before cutting into pieces. Let cool completely before storing. Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
https://abundantyoucoaching.com/quinoa-flour-blondies/

©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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The Power of Water – Ayurveda Habits to Support your New Year Intentions

This is part of a 12-part series on using Ayurveda lifestyle and dietary habits to support your New Year intentions and overall health and well-being. Make one change a month to embrace a healthier you!

glass waterBelieve it or not, one of your most powerful tools for health is the basic substance made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom – better know as H2O or water.

The proper hydration of your body, primarily through the intake of pure water (versus the water content in foods and other liquids), is a vital factor for a long and healthy life. When you drink more water and less of the dehydrating liquids of coffee, caffeinated tea, sodas and alcohol, it supports your immune system, promotes healthy lubrication and ease of movement in all aspects of the bodymind, improves physical health and performance, and simply makes you feel better!

Yes, just being properly hydrated is a powerful medicine.

The body is largely made up of water. In fact, when a baby is born they are at the optimal level of 78% water which gives them the beautiful elasticity and flexibility we note in their movements as well as the soft and supple skin. Contrast this to the average person between the age of 50-60 whose body is less elastic, the skin is drier, the bones and tissues more brittle – who are measured as having only 50% water. This water loss is not something that happens overnight but rather is the result of long-term habits leading to chronic dehydration.

In Ayurveda, water relates to two interconnected concepts.

The first has to do with the tissue layer called Rasa. Rasa actually has many different meanings but one of them refers to the tissue connected to the body’s fluids. In western terminology, these body fluids are most closely connected with plasma and the lymph system. The rasa tissue or dhatu is the foundational building block for the other tissue layers including the blood, muscle, fat, bones, nerves, and reproductive tissues. When you have a fluid or lymphatic imbalance, it directly affects the health and quality of all the other tissue layers in the body. Not only that, the lymphatic system is intimately connected to your immunity via its role in collecting and removing waste from the tissues and organs. When lymphatic vessels become dry, constricted and stagnate, you are more susceptible to illness.

kapha water doshasThe second Ayurvedic water concept is around the dosha Kapha. Kapha is the life force made up of the elements of water and earth. Its earth aspect provides stability and structure. The water aspect promotes ease, lubrication and protection. Protection is this sense refers to how the lubrication protects against the dryness of the vata dosha and the heat of the pitta dosha. When our membranes do not have the right levels of lubrication they become susceptible to dryness from vata leading to dry skin, dry eyes, allergic reactions, constipation, muscles cramps and tightness, bone deterioration and more. Likewise, lack of healthy mucous and lubrication means there is no buffer against the acids and heat of pitta leading to burning sensations in membranes, acid intestinal conditions, and inflammation. The kapha water element also supports the digestive process, helping to break down sugars and proteins as well as move the food more smoothly through the process.

As you can see, lack of proper fluids not only leave you feeling thirsty, they affect the entire system.

Though there are several external factors that contribute to excess dryness such as forced air heating, air conditioning, dry climates, and a diet heavy in dry, processed foods, one of the primary aspects today is lack of simple hydration.

The good news is that you have control over you hydration! This article will help you frame the importance of hydration as well as ways to begin to consciously incorporate more into your life.

To understand how hydration in the body works, you need to know a bit of science – a small amount, I promise!

Due to its chemical make-up, water has a slight electrical charge to it making it a polar molecule. This polarity attracts things to it, specifically other polar substances like salts, sugars, vinegar, alcohol and many of the flavorings in food – all of which dissolve in water. This sticky nature is what makes water good for solutions and to act as a solvent in the body. However, the sticky quality that attracts other substances can also make it not able to be absorbed in the body as well.

Point to consider: not all beverages are hydrating.

Water passes in and out of the cells throughout the body via special hydration channels in the cell membrane called aquaporins. These channels are small. When the water is bogged down with sticky hitchhikers like sugars in sodas (17 tsp. in a 20-oz can of cola!) or juice, the molecules become too big to go through the small channels, which are designed to absorb just H2O. What happens is that the water passes over the cells rather than being able to go into them. This means the cells are not receiving the hydration they need. It also means you are drinking a lot and it goes right out the other end. You can be drinking fluids but still feel thirsty. 

Certain substances make this problem even worse. Sodas and their sugars, flavors and preservatives are too clumpy to smoothly fit through the small aquaporins. So while in theory there is a certain amount of water in all beverages, the other ingredients can prevent the body’s ability to pull out and use that pure water aspect. In addition, caffeine is also a diuretic which means it increases urine output so even more water is lost out the urinary channel. Most soft drinks also have an astringent taste which in Ayurveda is drying or contracting and amplifies the dehydrating affect. Any caffeinated beverage – tea, coffee, colas – will have this dehydrating effect because of the diuretic action and astringent taste. Though not astringent in taste, alcohol is also a strong diuretic.

With the vast array of beverages now loaded on the store shelves, you need to make conscious choices of whether your liquids are serving your hydration needs – or not. And it’s not just choosing between loaded liquids versus pure water, you need to consider your source of water as well.

Just as sugars and additives can add to the load of water preventing absorption, so too can chemicals in water create issues. The quality of water does make a difference. Though there is not space here to go into detail about water filtration and the different effects of water, these books can provide additional resources:

  • Water, The Ultimate Cure by Steve Meyerowitz
  • Your Water and Your Health by Allen Bank

A simple way to support better absorption is to use an inexpensive carbon filter (like the Brita water pitchers) and boil your water for 10-15 minutes. In Ayurveda, the boiling is seen to help make the water lighter and more refined to be effectively assimilated by the body. It has the added benefits of removing undesirable hitchhikers like excess chemicals, bacteria, heavy metals and minerals.

My clients are often pleasantly surprised with the results they get when they do my hydration recommendations – reducing alcohol, sodas and other caffeine substances, particularly at night. There is less disrupted sleep from trips to the bathroom, less leg cramping and restless leg issues because the muscles and nerves are not constricting from the dryness, and fewer hot flashes. With better sleep, they feel so good in the morning that they do not need coffee to jump start their day. Instead a cup of warm water with lime or lemon hydrates the body while gently waking up the digestive fire. Suddenly their bowels are flowing better, energy is higher, muscles are looser (remember babies and elasticity), and they feel much better overall.

It’s no wonder you feel better when you consider these basic functions of water:

  • Hydrates the cells
  • Keeps mucous membranes moist
  • Lubricates the joints and cushions bones and joints
  • Acts as a medium for transporting nutrients, including oxygen, to the cells
  • Is the medium for the removal of waste products and free radicals
  • Regulates body temperature and maintains the basal metabolic rate
  • Supports the immune system
  • Is a key ingredient in digestive juices
  • It even supports the DNA and the body’s ability to manufacture proteins for tissue growth and repair

Yes, it’s true – water has a magical, miraculous effect on many of your uncomfortable symptoms!

On the other hand, hen you are dehydrated, not only are you affecting the core functioning and well-being of the body, but you get to experience the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety, irritability, and depression
  • Cravings
  • Muscle cramps
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Constipation, heartburn, and colitis
  • Joint and muscle pain as well as fibromyalgia

If you continue this pattern over the long-term, you will end up with chronic emergency dehydration which shows up as diabetes, autoimmune diseases, psoriasis, lupus, and eczema as well as asthma and allergies. Asthma and allergies are triggered by dry tissues and the resulting histamine response which creates reactive mucous in an attempt to counter the dryness. Similarly, there are mucous layers in the stomach that protect against the acids. Lack of hydration can create basic stomachaches from the histamine response of excess mucous as well as more serious acid conditions like the heartburn and colitis listed above if the dryness persists.

So how do you know if you are getting enough hydration?

In addition to the absence of the above symptoms, you should be urinating at least six times a day and the color of the urine will be a pale or light yellow. If the urine is dark-colored or less frequent, it is a sign of mild hydration. Note that your first urination of the morning will be a little darker as you have been asleep for 6-9 hours or more. Feeling thirsty is also a sign of early dehydration.

There is not exact amount of water you should be drinking as there are many factors that come in to play – body size, types of food you’re eating, activity level, season and heat – but a general rule has been to divide your body weight in pounds by 2 and that is the amount of ounces of pure water to drink.  If you are exercising or exposed to heat, you will need to drink more to replace fluids lost.  In terms of constitutions in Ayurveda, typically vata needs a bit more water, pitta a moderate amount, and kapha a little less than average.  Because there are many variable, it is ideal to pay attention to how you feel and use your body cues.   In addition, pay attention not just to the incoming hydrating liquids but also dehydrating beverages, which you can read about in my earlier post on the hydration equation balance.  

Tips to stay hydrated:

  • Drink a full cup of water, ideally warm, first thing in the morning and about an hour before bed. Your body loses water at night during its normal detoxification processes and you are not taking anything in, so fill up before and after.
  • Keep water bottles, insulated tea cups or thermos bottles by your work area throughout the day to remind you to drink. It is better to sip throughout the day than to consume large amounts at once. These tools not only act as visual reminders but can help you assess the quantity you are drinking.
  • Don’t wait until you are thirsty. Get in the habit of drinking regularly. If you are just starting out, it may help to set reminders on electronic devices in addition to using the visual cues above.
  • Choose water or herbal tea most often instead of other beverage choices. Use caffeinated beverages and alcohol as treats rather than daily habits. Also keep in mind that while most herbal teas are hydrating like pure water, any tea that refers to cleansing or detoxifying will typically have a diuretic element and should not be used for regular hydration.
  • When drinking alcohol, alternate with a cup of water. This helps counter the dehydrating effect.
  • Drink room-temperature or warm water rather than iced water. Because cold creates constriction, your body is not able to absorb as the iced drink as well.
  • Drink a half hour before a meal or a couple hours after a meal but sip sparingly during the meal. If you drink too much at mealtime, it puts out your digestive fire and interferes with digestion.

 I hope that this inspires you to think of water as your friend and bring more of it into your life!

©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Easy Rotating Whole Grain Pilafs

One of the things I see over and over in my practice is the dependency in the modern diet on processed grains without a lot of  comfort in using and familiarity with whole grains.  This is why I have so many whole grain recipes on my site – to help you incorporate more of them into your diet, develop your palate, and increase your ease in using grains that you may never have even heard of!

This basic formula allows you to use rice as a base mixed with different whole grains to come up with an endless variety of easy whole grain pilafs.  I use these on a weekly basis and eat them for lunch, dinner, and even breakfast.

Although in Ayurveda we use specific foods to balance the doshas, the ongoing best Ayurveda diet is simply based on whole foods – rotating grains, legumes, vegetables and such with the seasons or on a regular basis.  Rotating means that you don’t build an excess in any one food that can lead to an imbalance.

Know that while I’m supplying some ideas with these recipes, you can get creative and change spices, dried fruits and nuts/seeds in any way that appeals to you inner wisdom and tastebuds!

Whole Grain Pilafs

Combinations I enjoy are:

Basmati rice and quinoa with dried cranberries, cashews, 2 cardamom pods, and a pinch of saffron;

Basmati rice and millet with apricots, pumpkin seeds, 2 whole cloves, 1/4 inch cinnamon stick;

Basmati rice and buckwheat with cranberries, sunflower seeds or almonds, 1/2 tsp. dill, 1/4 tsp. chili powder, 1/4 tsp. coriander, and a pinch of turmeric;

Basmati rice and amaranth with chopped dates and/or figs, pecans, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, pinch nutmeg and 2 cardamom pods. Due the sweetness and the texture that amaranth makes which is stickier, I use this as a breakfast porridge.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 c. white basmati rice (you can use brown basmati rice if your digestive system is strong enough but you will need to increase the water by another 1/2 - 3/4 cup)
  • 1/3 c. whole grain (quinoa, millet, buckwheat groats, amaranth)
  • 1 1/2 c. water or vegetable broth (can use more if you like the pilaf a little moister)
  • 1 Tbsp. dried fruit (cranberries, chopped apricots, figs or dates, cherries, unsweetened coconut)
  • 1 Tbsp. seeds or nuts (pumpkin seeds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pecans)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, ideally Soma salt
  • Pinch pepper
  • Additional spices to taste

Instructions

  1. Rinse the grains and put in a pot or rice cooker with the water or broth.
  2. Add dried fruits, seeds or nuts, and spices and stir.
  3. If using a rice cooker you simply press cook or start and then it will automatically turn off to the warm cycle when it is done. This is my favorite method as I can take the 3 minutes in the morning to get everything together, press the button, and head off to get ready for the rest of my day.
  4. Is cooking on the stove top, bring to a boil, then turn down to low, cover and cook for about 20 minutes.
https://abundantyoucoaching.com/easy-rotating-whole-grain-pilafs/

©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Millet Corn Cakes

Once a week I make some type of sweet breakfast like pancakes, oat waffles, or sprouted grain French toast.  As spring rolls around, I instinctively start to crave lighter options.  Instead of my hearty winter pancakes, this recipe comes back out for me.

Both millet and corn are considered lighter and drier grains in Ayurveda.  Since the spring season here in the midwest is related to the kapha dosha which is characterized by heavy, moist, and cool qualities, using light and dry grains helps to balance kapha.  This is most important if you have more kapha in your constitution or you are experiencing a kapha imbalance right now.

While this recipe is kapha pacifying or decreasing, it also doesn’t aggravate pitta and due to the oils and milk and warm, cooked nature, it isn’t very imbalancing to vata when eaten occasionally.   So no matter your dosha, this is a lovely recipe to add in to your breakfast rotation!

Millet Corn Cakes

Ingredients

  • ¼ c. maple syrup
  • 1 c. almond or cow’s milk (almond best to decrease kapha)
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. sunflower oil
  • 1+ c. cooked millet
  • 1 ¼ c. cornmeal
  • ½ c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ c. ground flaxseed*
  • 1 tsp. non-aluminum baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt

Instructions

  1. Mix dry ingredients together. Mix wet ingredients together and add to the dry ingredients. The batter thickens as it sits so continue to add more milk or water as needed.
  2. Cook as you normally would a pancake on a griddle but spread out the batter a bit more with a spoon due to the thicker batter consistency. These also take a little longer to cook than traditional pancakes.
  3. *If you don’t have flaxseed, you can increase the cornmeal to 1½ c.
  4. To make gluten-free, decrease the cornmeal to 1 cup and instead of the whole wheat pastry flour use ¼ c. arrowroot, ½ c. oat flour and 1/3 c. rice flour.
  5. My favorite way to have these is topped with ghee and homemade, warm, chunky applesauce.
  6. Though in Ayurveda it is ideal to eat food fresh for the highest amount of life force energy and to prevent the build up on toxins, you can freeze extras and pop them in the toaster for a quick breakfast.
https://abundantyoucoaching.com/millet-corn-cakes/

Check out more Kapha balancing recipes here to support your spring dietary needs today!

©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Coach at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Slowing Down – Ayurveda Habits to Support your New Year Intentions

This is part of a 12-part series on using Ayurveda lifestyle and dietary habits to support your New Year intentions and overall health and well-being. Make one change a month to embrace a healthier you!

Originally I was going to write about a completely different habit this month (which you will see next month instead). However, my time in India in participating in a Panchakarma healing retreat followed by teaching this past weekend on women’s reproductive health made me prioritize this month’s habit – slowing down – as the number two “need to have“.

This is actually something that I’ve written about several times before in different ways and not a new concept for me. But my trip to India and subsequent return showed me more about my own pattern and how deeply it continues to affect me.

In India, I had the incredible opportunity for the first real time to step outside of my life and focus 100% of healing, rejuvenating and being.  And I got to do this for two entire weeks! You can read all about my experience in this post.

Being in this nourishing, low activity environment was very powerful. I have long known that our overly busy lives that are out of sync with the natural rhythms are a big part of what creates imbalance. Going away to such a drastically different pace of life and coming back to two weeks of the super-busy-from-being-gone schedule forced me to see the pattern all too clearly – and really want to make a deeper change.

What happened that gave me the new wake-up call? 

Two things. First, I noticed towards the end of the second week back that my mental rejuvenation was starting to wear a bit thin around the edges. The thoughts and words that flowed so easily after Panchakarma were feeling more sluggish and slow to flow. This despite the fact that I had consistently been holding a nourishing morning practice of yoga, pranayama and meditation and going to bed early and getting plenty of sleep.

Second, two days ago I got wake up cue number two about a long time pattern I’ve been explore. This happened when instead of easily popping out of bed at around 5 am like I had been, I felt resistance – resistance to get up in general and resistance to get up and do my self- care routine. This was quite interesting to me as holding a consistent morning routine has been an ongoing challenge for the past many years. My morning Ayurveda-yoga routine is something I know serves me well and that I fully believe in, yet I hit these periods of resistance and fall out of sync.

So I really paid attention. Where was this sudden resistance coming from when I’d been feeling so good and content with the routine?

And then it hit me.

The first weekend back I was at home but busy catching up on household things. Then a non-stop week of clients, starting a new group Ayurveda program, and finishing up prepping for weekend of teacher. Then teaching the entire weekend and starting all over on Monday. By yesterday, when my resistance hit, I had been going full tilt for fourteen days with very little down time.

Seems pretty obvious as I write it and I’m sure as you read it!

My “resistance” is my inner wisdom saying, this is WAY TOO MUCH. Even though I was well rested from getting enough sleep, my underlying vitality was fatigued from doing so much. And at this point, even the activity of my nourishing self-care routine becomes yet another doing activity. And worse yet, by getting up early and doing my self-care, this also means that I often start my regular day of busyness on the early side.

Ok, Self. I really get it. You’ve told me before and I kind of saw it but this time the message is crystal clear.

To stay in balance and be able to hold the morning routine that is valuable to maintaining my health, I have to slow down. I have to stop doing so much during the day so that I am not wiped and wanting to nourish myself with too much food at night. I need more daytime down time so that in the morning I don’t have Activity Hangover.

So on Thursday I meditated bed, – skipping my daily Ayurveda sense routine, yoga, breath and chanting – then rolled back over to snuggle with my husband and went back to sleep. Then I stayed in bed another hour and read (good thing I didn’t start work until 10 am that day!). And today, I did my morning routine but choose to start an hour later, knowing that I had no clients, and didn’t start my office work until 10:15 am. And instead of trying to get to any more of my to-do items (and yes, the list is long!), as soon as I finish this post in hopefully five minutes, I’m stopping to have lunch and read the next couple hours. And Sunday I’m taking the day completely off to play and be. And going forward, I’m going to try to build in more daytime breaks and put a post-it at my desk with the big SLOW DOWN reminder to keep me inline as future temptations arise.

And, and, and…

It will still be an ongoing process for sure and I am honest enough to know that with my personality I will still be drawn to busy activity! But this time it does feel different. I feel not only do I get it at a deeper level and that I’m going to be able to hold it better this time.

Why? Because I know the true cost of this excessive activity in the long term.

I mentioned that I taught on the topic of the Female Reproductive System this past weekend, as part of my job on staff at Kanyakumari Ayurveda and Yoga in Glendale. The number one aspect to help balance the reproductive system and the hormones from the Ayurvedic perspective is to adjust one’s lifestyle and have less stress. There are specific stress reducing or remedying techniques but the underlying issue is that our lives are simply too busy. One can meditate and that helps. One can eat a more nourishing diet, exercise, do yoga, use aromatherapy – all of it helps with stress and imbalance. But they are all counter measures to a life that at its core is simply too busy. And until we really look at the busyness itself, the other measures will take the edge off, but not really give us the results we really want and need.

One of the resources that I talked about last weekend is a DVD called “Breast Cancer: The Path of Wellness & Healing”.   There are so many lovely holistic techniques discussed that many of the women refer to as being powerful tools in their healing. But the biggest thing these women talk about is that it took them getting breast cancer – brushing up against the possibility of death – to motivate them to make changes such as doing more tai chi, yoga, guided meditations, and SLOWING DOWN.

Look at any book or story about someone reaching the burnout stage or collapse and behind it you will most often see the long-term pattern of simply doing too much. Of burning the candle at both ends and supporting this imbalance with crutches like coffee, sugar, processed food, alcohol and drugs. At some point, that pattern of living on vitality credit comes down and things fall apart.

Slowing down is more than a single habit, I know. It is a change in perspective and a process of re-prioritizing one’s life. It will not happen overnight or all at once, yet for true health, happen it must.

And I invite you not to wait for the crisis before you make a start. Start somewhere small and keep building and shifting as your able. But start!

And support each other with reminders of why this is important and helping each other make our tasks lighter in any way we can. Share you story here of how you’re making changes in slowing down. Share your successes. Share your challenges.

And, with each of this year’s habit, focus and practice on it over the next month and see what happens.

©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Chapati: the everyday flatbread

Several years ago I took a cooking class and learned how to make this simple Indian flatbread.  I bought a special pan from the Indian grocery store, which I later discovered I really didn’t have to have.  And promptly proceeded to not make the chapatis a single time.

Then on my recent trip to India, this lovely unleavened bread again showed up in a cooking class.  They were so simple and so delicious.  And I had just been told by my doctors at the panchakarma clinic, where I had spent two weeks, to avoid yeasted bread for the next three months.

So it was with new inspiration that I came home and dove right in to making these lovely breads.  As with most new things, once you do it a couple times, it is easy to get in the groove.  I am happy to say that I am now incorporating this yummy, balancing, versatile bread into my life regularly!

I share this with you because many of the processed breads that are eaten today are both taken too frequently and can be imbalancing for all three of the doshas.

  • Wheat, which most bread is made of, is the moistest and heaviest grain and in bread becomes even stickier – all qualities which increase kapha.
  • Pitta is increased by things that are sour or fermented – and yeast is a fermenting process.
  • And vata is increased by things that have air and lightness in them, which yeast also creates.

This isn’t to say that in moderation that yeasted bread cannot be a part of a healthy diet, especially if someone is in good health.  However, moderation is the key word and here is where the lovely, unyeasted Indian flatbread, called Chapati or Roti, comes in.  It can be made with a variety of different flours to suit one’s doshic needs, is simple, yummy, and can take the place of yeasted breads on a more regular basis.

The classic Chapati recipe calls for wheat flour.  India is one of the few places today that actually still grows and has access to heritage wheat which is lighter than the current hybrid wheat that fills today modern wheat products and creates greater digestive issues.  You might find this Indian wheat in Indian grocery stores.  Otherwise my motto is simply to rotate flours so as not to create imbalance by eating too much of any one thing.

Possibilities for variations of flours include spelt, whole wheat, whole wheat pastry, oat, millet, corn, buckwheat, and barley.  The latter five flours are drier by nature, thus better for kapha and not as good for vata, and may require some adjustment in oil and water in the traditional recipe.  I like to combine flours using half spelt as it is moister then add 1-2 of the others to make up the other cup.  I invite you to start with the basic then get creative and see what works for you!

Chapati: the everyday flatbread

Chapati: the everyday flatbread

Ingredients

  • 2 c. whole wheat flour - I use half spelt and half other flours including whole wheat pastry
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. lukewarm water, filtered ideally
  • 2 tsp. sunflower oil

Instructions

  1. This recipe makes 12 chapatis.
  2. Mix the flour, salt and water together well to form a dough with your hands or a kneading tool in a food processor.
  3. Add the oil and knead until the dough becomes soft. The dough should not be sticky so add more flour as needed to create the right texture.
  4. Divide the dough into 12 large golf-sized balls.
  5. On a board or rolling mat, sprinkle a little flour and roll the sought lightly in the flour Press the ball down once so it is slightly flattened.
  6. With a rolling pin, roll the flattened ball a couple times in the middle then flip and rotate and repeat. Continue this flip, rotate and roll a couple times in the middle until all sides are evenly thin. Using this process helps achieve an even circle shape.
  7. The dough should be quite thin but not so that it tears or isn't able to be picked up easily. The thin quality allows for bubbles to form and add lightness to the bread.
  8. On a hot pan, ideally cast iron or another pan that provides an even heating, non-stick surface, warmed at medium high heat, place the first rolled chapati and allow to sit for 30-60 seconds to warm. Then flip the chapati.
  9. As bubbles arise, press them down with a spatula.
  10. Continue to flip and press until both sides are a light brown.
  11. Remove and brush with ghee.
  12. You can store the chapatis in foil or a tortilla or chapati warming dish until later, but they are best eaten warm!
  13. You can also keep part of the dough in the refrigerator for a couple days and make breads fresh for your meals which is ideal.
https://abundantyoucoaching.com/chapati-the-everyday-flatbread/

©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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One Ayurvedic Habit a Month to Support Your New Year Intentions

For better or worse, this is the time of year when many commit to New Year Resolutions or set intentions for what they would like to be different.  Intentions to make your life better are great!  And even better are structures to help you hold those intentions.

To support this new year energy, I will be highlighting 12 of what I think are the most powerful lifestyle practices to support your life – one a month over the course of 2015.

In many ways, Ayurveda is nothing more than deeply understanding yourself and knowing how to live to support your highest self.  To do this, Ayurveda offers a entire compilation of lifestyle and dietary practices.  And these practices can be great cornerstones to support your New Year intentions.  Better yet, as Ayurveda is a holistic healing science in which body, mind and spirit are inseparable, no matter what your intentions, there is an aspect of Ayurveda that can likely support your process.

Because looking at the full list of daily health practices and food guidelines can be overwhelming – and rightfully so if you are expecting to add them in all at once – my goal is to slow and simplify the process.  

Just as I introduce only a few changes at a time with my individual clients for greatest success in integrating the habit and seeing the results, I invite you to try this approach of one habit change a month.   Doing so gives you a solid amount of time to explore, refine, create consistency and evaluate the benefits of that individual habit.  It also prevents feeling overloaded, which makes it more realistic that you will actually make the change!

Not only will I break things down in terms of timing but I also want to share tips I’ve personally learned to help you be even more successful.  Many of these habits I’ll be discussing you can find in lists in an Ayurvedic book or on a website.  What’s missing sometimes is the understanding of why the habit is important as well as how to make the transition easier.  Because I’ve been doing all these habits and teach them professionally to clients in my private practice as well as in my role as teacher in the Ayurveda school, I can give you first hand knowledge of what’s behind the science and key strategies for ease as well as pitfalls to avoid.

No matter where you are with your lifestyle practice and self-care, this monthly process can be effective.  As a professional Ayurveda Practitioner, many think I must live a perfect Ayurveda life.  Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but I’m just like you – striving but still shifting and growing!  Though I have successfully integrated numerous Ayurveda habits into my life, I am still working on greater consistency with some and going deeper with others.  In fact, the habit I am offering this month is one that I’ve used for a long time.  Yet added a stronger awareness of a physical cue has helped me hold the action in a different way and I’ve been able to see many new pieces of my old pattern.  It’s literally been a powerful awakening!   Read about that habit and my personal experience tips here….

Whether you choose to play with all 12 habits provided this year or just a few, keep these pointers in mind:

Perfection is not required to experience the many benefits.  In fact, I would argue that perfection is an extreme that actually adds to imbalance.  Instead of trying to “perfect” the habit, aim for greater consistency.

Success is not defined by doing the practice.  In any pattern there is belief, emotion, and action.  Many of the practices center around the outer physical action.  Yet in order to take the action, sometimes you need to become aware of the threats of beliefs and emotions connected to your current action.  And as your awareness shifts, you have the opportunity to expand or release the existing beliefs and choose different ones.  The mental and emotional shifts then allow you to hold the outer action with greater ease.  As such, there are additional success markers along the way to the actual doing of the habit.

Consistently means in the majority of health.  Though many of the lifestyle habits are considered daily practices for their optimal benefit, as long as you are doing them at least 4 days a week, you are reaping good benefits.  Consider that with habits there are ones that serve your health and ones that do not.  To have a healthy, happy, harmonious life, you want more of your habits serving you.  This is the idea of the majority – that more of what you are doing is helpful than hurtful.

Every day is a new day.  Learn from yesterday but don’t let it derail you or keep you stuck.  If you weren’t happy with how things went with your habit practice, simply start again today.

Ayurveda is a path of practice. There are always things to refine or improve in terms of consistency or layers with our habits. Taking the long-term view will help take off the pressure of having to do the habits in any specific way or time. Each of you is on your own journey of self-knowing and that journey has its own timing. Be committed but blend it with naturally allowing things to unfold. Witness and experience and take action without trying to force it.

©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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The Power of the Little Burp – Ayurveda Habits to Support your New Year Intentions

This is part of a 12-part series on using Ayurveda lifestyle and dietary habits to support your New Year intentions and overall health and well-being.  Make one change a month to embrace a healthier you!

To start your healthy year off, the first Ayurveda lifestyle habit I’d like to introduce centers around how you eat.  To understand why how you eat is important, you need to first understand the Ayurveda view of health and disease or imbalance and the role of the digestive system.

Ayurveda considers health to be not only the absence of symptoms but also the proper balance of the life-body energies (the doshas – Vata, Pitta, Kapha), the tissues, digestion and the mind.  In the physical body, your digestive system is seen as crucial because it takes in the nutrients from the outer world and ideally turns it into energy and nourishment which feeds the rest of your body and mind.  I say ideally because even if you are eating the healthiest diet for your needs, if your body cannot digest, absorb and assimilate it correctly, then your body will still be deficient.  That’s the first problem.

The second interconnected issue is connected to the idea of toxins which Ayurveda refers to as ama.  You build ama in a variety of ways but primarily ama is the result of poor digestion.  Problems in digestion subsequently affect the proper elimination of wastes and those wastes end up stored in the body, adding to the toxicity.  Poor digestion is as much a result of how you are eating as what you are eating.

And what is the result of these toxins?  Ama is a heavy, oily, sticky substance that coats and clogs the cells, organs and channels in the body and interferes with the normal functioning of both your body and your mind. These toxins not only create disease but also block the assimilation of nutrients from your food, which affects the health of all the other tissues and systems in the body. Ama weakens the immune system, causes the body to attack itself, and imbalances the metabolism.   

Now that I’ve given you the why background, let me introduce you to what I think of as the most powerful healthy eating habit and the habit for this month of January 2015:

EAT ONLY TO THE POINT THAT YOU EXPERIENCE YOUR FIRST LITTLE BURP

This habit ties into a related idea that when you eat there should be 1/3 food, 1/3 liquid and 1/3 air for optimal digestion.  These are rough amounts and will vary slightly based on what type of food you may be eating.  If you are having drier food – such as a sandwich with meat – you will need a little more liquid to digest the food.  If you are eating soup which has more liquid, you will need less additional liquid.  The amount of air is what is needed for the body to move, breakdown and digest the food.  When you eat and you begin to fill up the empty space, which has triggered your hunger cue, you slowly fill it with food and/or liquid.  As you fill the space, the air that is there rises to the top and eventually bubbles up creating a small burp when that area is 2/3 full.  By small, this is often not an outward burp and more of an internal hiccup, if you will.  It can be a vocalized burp but it is typically not loud nor strong in what might be called more of a belch.  

Bottom line: this little burp acts as a tangible physical cue to tell you that no more food/liquid is needed.

My Story and Tips You Can Learn From It

For several years I had been practicing this idea of stopping when I was 2/3 full.  The problem is that I wasn’t integrating the physical cue of the burp.  In fact, I cavalierly thought that my body simply didn’t do the burp.  Wrong.

I was actually missing my cue because I was stuck in a different unhealthy habit which was instead of focusing on my food and simply eating, I was often doing other things.  In my case, it was typically reading during my breakfast and lunch.  I was reading during meals because of yet another not ideal pattern of being in full work mode while the sun is up so that when I did stop, I wanted to also try relax and one of my pleasures and ways that I relax is to read.  In reading while eating, I wasn’t paying attention to my body, the food, or even really how much I was eating.  As a result, not only did I miss my burp cue, I often ate beyond my 2/3 point because I ate until the plate was empty.  I also sometimes wasn’t taste-satisfied, even though I was physically over satiated, because I hadn’t been paying attention therefore wasn’t tuned in to the taste and satisfaction.  Therefore, after my meal was over, I was usually still reaching for that something sweet.  

End result: too much food, not enough water and air; creation of ama with symptoms of  heaviness, bloating, gas and post-lunch lethargy with some mental sluggishness, weight gain/holding, and less-than-optimal health.  You can see from my example how many threads can be woven into a pattern with numerous unhealthy results – yikes!

For me, part of being able to adopt this month’s habit was to look at the other pieces of my pattern and makes additional changes.  I realized that when I truly focus on eating, even chewing my food slowly and thoroughly, it only takes me 5-10 minutes to eat my meal.  I honor my need for a break from my work and allow 20-30 minutes, using the first part to eat then the rest of the time to sit and allow my food to digest while reading my book.  I have met my legitimate need for a rest with an enjoyable outlet of reading but in a healthier way that also honors my digestion and the rest of my body.

I’ve also learned several things along the way that continue to help me understand my needs and can be of possible benefit to you:

  • I don’t need as much food/liquid to reach the 2/3 burp as I had been eating.
  • The more I’ve practiced this, the better I’ve been able to gauge the amount of food and I now use smaller plates so that I’m not tempted by my eyes to keep eating.
  • Because I don’t need as much food, I’ve learned to alternate bites among the different foods in my meal along with small sips of liquid so that the burp doesn’t come and I’m left wanting a particular food on my plate that I hadn’t eaten yet.
  • When the burp cue comes, I’m not “full” and I had been used to feeling more full from my past patterns so stopping was a little uncomfortable for me initially.  Behind this discomfort was a hidden belief that I wouldn’t have enough food and would need to eat again when maybe I wouldn’t have time.  So better to eat past my satiation point so the food lasted longer and didn’t interrupt my work day.  I did discover that when I stopped at the cue, the feeling of having enough would settle in after about 10 minutes and by stopping I felt better physically – less of the digestive and mental sluggish symptoms.
  • By eating in line with my body’s needs, I do usually get hungry 3-4 hours after eating and need to make time and a plan for a healthy snack.  At work, this means I need to make sure that I have buffers between my clients so I can eat the snack!
  • The full feeling is also a way that my body grounds my imbalanced vata energy which by nature is light.  Full is a type of heaviness and when I am overly busy my vata increases leaving me feeling overly light – literally sometimes light headed.  Eating more was a way my inner wisdom grounded this light vata, especially at night if I hadn’t eaten enough heavy food at lunch.  Again, I had a legitimate need but the way I was unconsciously meeting it wasn’t ideal.  My solution has been to try to eat enough healthy, heavy food and to nourish my vata needs with other tools so I don’t have to use food to do so.

I’ve been practicing my refined habit since October.  I have been able to make several good adjunct changes and am experiencing fewer symptoms.  However, there are times when, even though I am fully aware, I still eat past that burp cue.  Usually it is not more than a few extra bites.  I simply pay attention to why I am doing it – what is the underlying need – and strive to meet that need in a different way.  

One habit – lots of possibilities of what it may bring for you both in terms of results as well as in terms of awareness to adjunct pattern strands.  

For best results, be gentle with yourself.  See yourself as an explorer as you continue to learn about yourself and make the changes as you can.  And feel free to share your experiences here with the group as well all benefit from each other’s stories!

©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Hearty Vegetable, Barley, Lentil Soup

Soups bring a much desired warmth to the chill and bitter cold of late fall and winter. Soups are not only great for a lighter dinner when the digestive fire is lower, but can also make a great lunch.  But to fill you up at lunch, the soup needs to be hearty, topped with a little grated cheese, and paired with a slice of sprouted grain bread or whole wheat tortilla or you may find yourself hungry again in short order.

In Ayurveda, lunch is ideally the heaviest meal as it is when the digestive fire is strongest as well as when your nutritional needs are greatest to fuel the activities of the day.  I love this soup for lunch because it is not only tasty but because it has whole grains, bean protein and a few of the heavier root vegetables.  Play with your own vegetable variations and enjoy!

Hearty Vegetable, Barley, Lentil Soup

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. lentils or mung beans (split mung beans are easiest to digest, red lentils will fall apart and add a creamier texture, beluga lentils are my favorite)
  • 3 c. pure water
  • 1/2 c. uncooked barley
  • 8-10 c. pure water
  • 2-3 whole bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil or ghee (reduce or omit to decrease Kapha)
  • 2 organic carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks organic celery, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 c. organic turnips, diced
  • 1 1/2 c. organic sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" square dice
  • 1 leek, washed thorouhgly and finely sliced
  • 1 c. fresh parsley, ideally organic, chopped with stems removed
  • 1 small bunch organic baby spinach
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a small pan, put the washed lentils or mung beans with 3 cups of water and a dash of salt. Bring to a boil then turn down to simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the beans are soft.
  2. While the beans are cooking, put the oil or ghee in a large pot and warm. When the oil is ready, add the vegetables - from the carrots to parsley in the ingredient list - and sauté for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are slightly soft.
  3. Add the washed barley, water, bay leaves and salt and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium low.
  4. Simmer the soup covered for 40 minutes, adding in the lentils for the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  5. Stir in the spinach, dried thyme and black pepper and simmer another 5 minutes.
  6. Serve with ghee, grated cheese or a dollop of sour cream, especially for vata. To decrease pitta, use a soft instead of hard cheese and skip the sour cream. To decrease kapha, only add a small amount of ghee and no cheese or sour cream.
https://abundantyoucoaching.com/hearty-vegetable-barley-lentil-soup/

©2015, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Healthier Gingerbread Kids Cookie

This season when you go to make your holiday cookies, enjoy a treat with an extra dose of balancing health with a recipe inspired from Amadea Morningstar.

Using whole grains and natural sugars supports greater health.  The spices support your digestive fire in processing and absorbing the nutrients.

Gingerbread Kids Cookie

Ingredients

  • 1/4 c. organic butter or ghee
  • 1/2 c. sucanat or coconut sugar
  • 1/2 c. blackstrap molasses
  • 1 c. oat bran
  • 2 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry or spelt flour (or a combination)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. dry ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (I use Soma Salt)
  • 1/2 c. + water

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar.
  3. Beat in the molasses.
  4. Mix together the dry ingredients and stir them into the batter, alternating with the water.
  5. Towards the end of the mixing, the dough will become thick and it is easier to knead it the last bit of the dry ingredients with your hands. You can also use additional flour if needed to get the dough manageable.
  6. Pat the dough into a lightly oiled cooke sheet. Use cookie cutters of the shape of your choice to cut out the cookies.
  7. Carefully remove the sought to place on the cookie sheet. Use the excess to make round cookies by rolling a tablespoon into t ball in your hands and pressing gently onto a second oiled cookie sheet.
  8. Place both cookie sheets into the oven and bake 10-12 minutes, until the center is done (test with a toothpick and if it comes out clean it's ready).
https://abundantyoucoaching.com/gingerbread-kids-cookie/

This recipe is balancing to vata and pitta doshas.  To make more kapha balancing, use barley flour instead of the wheat or spelt.

©2014, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Rejuvenating Benefits of the Ayurvedic Body Therapies

As a twenty plus year massage therapist veteran, I have yet to come across a style of bodywork that I don’t enjoy and appreciate when done well!  And today I want to share about some fabulous, health balancing body therapies that is less well known among today’s numerous choices – the wide range of Ayurvedic body therapies.

Some of you may be familiar with these body therapies in their role as part of the ancient, gentle yet powerful detoxification and rejuvenating program called Panchakarma. In Panchakarma, the body therapies are used to release imbalances and toxins from the deeper tissues. Anywhere from 3 days to several weeks of body therapies can accompany a Panchakarma depending on whether you are in an outpatient or residential setting.

What you may not know is that even on own their own as individual therapies, these therapies nourish a depleted nervous system, support tissue cleansing and rejuvenation, replenish the inner vitality through the adrenal glands, and promote optimal health.

The Ayurvedic body therapies are an entire discipline of different specific techniques aimed at particular areas of the body as well as the three life energies that govern the functioning of every aspect of the body and mind. The therapies include the use of interrelated therapeutic modalities such as gem/color/aroma therapy, breathing techniques, touch, sound therapy, and external application of healing herbs into the skin via herbalized oils, creams and pastes. The style and flow of the massage as well as the products used in each therapy is determined by who you are – your body and your skin type as well as what your body needs for balance and wellbeing are at the time.

In all of the body therapies, the aim is three-fold.

The first goal is to achieve a therapeutic action to promote healing. Though the body therapies feel deliciously good and nurture your body and your senses, the ultimate aim is to help balance the entire physiology including the three primary energies (doshas) which govern the BodyMind. In Ayurveda, creating balance according to your core constitution of these life forces equates to optimal health.

Using the skin as a therapeutic organ, we communicate peace, calm and love to the nervous system. Eighty percent of all diseases are connected with stress and the continual stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, triggering the fight or flight response and the excessive release of the hormone cortisol. The body therapies support the parasympathetic nervous system, triggering your relaxation response to shift you out of the stress response. This action is done through nurturing touch as well as by consciously feeding the entire being with herbalized oils, pastes and creams through the skin, the largest organ of the body. In Sanskrit, the word for oil is the same for the word love – sneha. Applying the therapeutic oils that best match your inner intelligence not only lubricates and protects the seven layers of tissues and reduces stress, but also energetically saturates you with love. Additionally, the massage techniques as well as the herbs in the oils allow the oil to penetrate deep into the tissues to loosen toxins and gently move those toxins through the lymphatic fluid back into the digestion to be released.

The second aim is to honor you as individual. Ayurveda as a healing system is centered around individually tailored therapies and recommendations, recognizing that who you are at the core and where your current state is will be unique. Using this personalized approach provides more effective wellness results than simply receiving a standardized massage. These individual needs are addressed through the type of body therapy recommendations as well as in which oils, creams, and herbs are used.

Lastly, recognizing that you are a whole being – body, mind and spirit, the therapies support you in ways that are more than skin deep. Based on this holistic wisdom of your system, techniques simultaneously work with the physical body, your energetics, and the sacred geometry of your body to attune you to your true self, the earth, and to your higher healing.   You system has the natural ability to heal. Unfortunately, blockages in the physical and energetic bodies interrupt the flow of prana or vital life force, creating stagnation and imbalance which over time leads to dis-ease. Through the movement of prana and the appropriate stimulation of your senses (considered to be avenues of consciousness), awareness and consciousness travel to every cell, tissue and system supporting the release of blockages. In this place of heart-centered focus and connection, the body can repair itself and you can experience bliss and balance.

General Benefits of the Ayurveda Body Therapies:

  • Increased circulation of blood and lymph fluid which increases amount of prana that reaches the tissues
  • Removal of waste products thereby refreshing the muscles
  • Improved general level of cellular nutrition through removal of toxins
  • Greater skin luster and muscle tone
  • Improved immune response, stamina, concentration, and energy
  • Increased body awareness
  • Enhanced youthfulness and confidence
  • Decreased stiffness from joints and muscles
  • Improved nerve health
  • Balanced electromagnetic energy throughout the body

Specific Body Therapies offered at Ayurveda Wellness:

  • Marma Energy Therapies: The physical body contains special energetic power points, called marma, which hold concentrated vital life force, prana. Herbal pastes, aroma oils, mantra and gentle touch are applied to the marma points to open the energy channels and remove blockages, improve energy flow, and enhance your innate energy reserves throughout the body and into the muscles, joints, and organs as well as in the mind.
  • Abhyanga warm oil massage: The body is anointed with generous amounts of herbal oils which soothe the nervous system and grounds all dosha but especially the vata dosha. Specific massage strokes over the skin and energy points support lymph system cleansing and bring the body back into balance, promoting healing within. The session is then finished with relaxing hot towels to open the pores and encourage deeper absorption of the oils. Indicated for all vata conditions, dry skin, constipation, cracking of the joints and arthritis, muscles weakness, tremors or twitching; palsy or stroke paralysis, sciatica, low vitality, chronic debilitating illness, ringing in the ears.  A series of consecutive sessions over three (or more) days is recommended especially for those with extreme stress or emotional difficulty, during post-partum, as part of a cleanse to experience even greater benefits with a deeper rejuvenation.
  • Shirodhara warm oil mind treatment: This harmonious service begins with mind-balancing energy work, incorporates aromatherapy and is finished with a relaxing head massage. The main treatment softly pours warmed oil in a steady flow over the forehead. The technique subtly massages the master endocrine glands promoting deep relaxation and quieting of mental chatter to experience inner peace. Indicated for those suffering from overwork, mental burn out, extreme stress, chronic insomnia, sinus headaches and migraines, TMJ disorders, tinnitus, sleep disorders, depression, anxiety and panic attacks, and mental disorders.
  • Sense treatments: The senses are the main portals through which your nervous system interacts with the external world.  In today’s world, these sense organs are exposed to excessive stimulation creating imbalance not only in the ears, eyes, and sinuses, but also affecting overall brain function. In the 60-minute Sensory Rejuvenation Package, your senses will be nourished, opened and cleansed through herbalized oils, gentle massage and a warm facial steam with a head and face massage. Indicated for anyone experiencing eye strain or dry, itchy, red and sore eyes; TMJ, ringing in the ears, build up of wax, mucous and yeast (candida); repeated head colds, allergies, sinusitis, migraine headaches, and decreased sensory function (loss of smell, hearing, or taste). 
  • Hot herbal massage- Pinda Sweda: is a vigorous, heat therapy done by massage the body with linen bolus bags filled with grains, medicinal herbs, and cooked in nourishing coconut milk. The heat of the treatment open the skin pores, awakens and releases stores cellular memory and toxins to make space for the healing qualities of the herbal ingredients. It is highly rejuvenating therapy often done after abhyanga to restore strength and vigor and has many benefits including increasing body suppleness, rejuvenating muscle tissue, removing stiffness and joint swelling, moves toxins out of the muscle and fat tissue, removes old, deeply entrenched pitta dosha, improves skin complexion and helps remove wrinkles, relieves stress, restores the appetite and sleep patterns. Indicated to ease skin disorders, menopause symptoms, joint inflammation including osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis, neuromuscular disorders, and insomnia and sleep disorders. * Coming in 2015!
  • Herbal paste and powder massage – Udvartana: is an invigorating lymphatic massage done using wet pastes and dry powders made of herbs, powdered grains and beans, and doshic specific oils for the pastes. Its primary purpose is to detoxify and cleanse the body by increasing circulation and blood formation, and reducing fat in the tissues.  The rubbing of pastes carries away toxins and helps the interchange of fluid in the tissues leaving your skin radiant, cleansed and tone. Benefits of Udvartana include absorption of inflammatory products and fat in the tissues to aid in weight gain, obesity and cellulite; increased metabolism, decreased congestion in the lymphatic system and veins, healthy muscle tone, decreased acne and dead skin, and healthy elimination of wastes and toxins. Not suitable for those with delicate skin open wounds, in pregnant or nursing women, or if seriously weakened by illness. Indicated to address obesity, diabetes, varicosity, allergies, congestion, the initial stages of neurological conditions like Parkinson’s, muscular dystrophy and hemiplegia and the heavy aspect of the kapha dosha. Enjoy feeling lighter, fresh and invigorated! * Coming in 2015! 

©2014, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Enhance Satisfaction & Nutrition with the Six Tastes

Ayurveda recognizes six tastes which exist in foods and these tastes not only provide for ideal nutrition, they provide for greater satisfaction and balance. From the Ayurvedic perspective, a balanced diet isn’t just about getting the right amounts of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins – it is also about another extremely important quality: taste.

Having all six tastes in every meal not only ensures that all major food groups and nutrients are accounted for, but it also leaves us feeling satisfied after eating.   The six tastes are the codes that inform our nervous systems of a meal’s nutritional content.  The brain sends a message that nutrition is needed and the food tells the brain what is being provided.  

There is an intelligence in natural food that the brain recognizes.  If you are not eating fresh, natural food nor getting all six tastes, the brain continues to look for the intelligence that will let it know that its needs have been met.  This is why sometimes you can be full yet not satisfied.  Thus true satisfaction, and better nutrition, starts by favoring fresh, whole forms of foods including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, natural dairy and meat, good oils and nuts is better than processed forms.  In every category of taste, some foods are highly nutritious and others should be eaten more sparingly.  

Of all the tastes, sweet is the one people most frequently crave, partly because sweetness has the most settling effect on the mind-body physiology as well as nourishes the body tissues. However, sweet today means something entirely different than it used to. When you look at the list of sweet foods you will see that the vast majority of foods including many carbohydrates and proteins have a sweet taste.  However you want this taste in the whole, natural form rather than as a processed or even natural but added sugar.

Only in the last three quarters of a century has the diet come to include more and more added sugar to food.  Because sugar used to be scarcer, even desserts were made with lower amounts of sugar than we see today.  Now sugar is added into many processed foods as well as traditional desserts.  This is a problem and part of what creates the craving for sweets because white sugar is very addictive – more addictive than cocaine (by 8 x), heroin, and morphine.  And regular inundation of sugar causes an overload response that shuts down the nervous system, creating a need for ever increasing amounts to get the same satisfaction. Additionally, emotional binging and overeating are almost always done with manufactured, sugared foods.

So as you look at the below list and I tell you that the sweet taste should make up a good 75-80% of your foods, know that I’m not referring to processed, sugar-added foods!

A CLOSER LOOK AT EACH OF THE TASTES

  1. The sweet taste, containing the earth and water elements, is cool, heavy, soft, and moist. It nourishes, builds tissue, hydrates, and strengthens. In excess, it can damage the pancreas and spleen, lead to diabetes, obesity, and toxic build up. Too little can lead to weakness. In the mind, it provides satisfaction and helps manage stress. A cooling taste, it helps to decrease fiery emotions like criticism and airy emotions like anxiety by lending its heaviness and stability. Too much of the sweet taste may make one complacent. Foods that have the sweet taste are grains, pasta, bread, starchy vegetables, meat, chicken, fish, nuts, sweet dairy like cow’s milk and butter, sweeteners (favor natural sugars), and sweet fruits.  This taste is most beneficial to Vata and Pitta.
  2. The sour taste, containing fire and earth elements plus a little water, is warm, heavy, hot, and moist. It’s also nourishing, feeds the digestive fire, and aids circulation. However, in excess its heat will increase acidity and inflammation. Too little can lead to weakened digestion and circulation. In the mind, it improves discernment; but too much will cause criticism, anger, and a “sour” disposition. Too little can cause passivity. Foods with the sour taste include sour and citrus fruits, tomatoes and tomato products, yogurt, buttermilk and hard cheese (sour dairy), pickled and fermented foods, vinegars, tofu, and tempeh, and alcohol.  Best for Vata; in moderation for Pitta and Kapha.
  3. The salty taste, containing water and fire, is warming and ultimately adds sweetness to foods. It’s also moist and slightly heavy. It nourishes and hydrates the lymph and tones tissues. It also has a softening effect, which aids digestion. It enhances the taste of food, ignites the appetite, and calms the nervous system. In excess, it will weaken the kidneys, raise blood pressure, and increase water retention. It can also cause early gray hairs and wrinkles. In the mind, it can improve confidence. Too much can lead to overconfidence; too little can lead to meekness. Food with the salty taste are basically mineral salts or products that live in the sea: able salt, Bragg’s amino acid, soy sauce, salted meats, seafood, seaweed, kelp and seaweed. This taste is for Vata; in moderation for Pitta and Kapha.
  4. The pungent taste, containing fire and air, is hot, light, and very drying. It strongly increases digestive fire, burns toxins, and dries up excess water. In excess it can also burn tissue and cause one to become overly dry. It’s helpful in weight reduction by increasing metabolism. Conversely, too little can cause weight gain and slow, sluggish digestion. In the mind, it can cause one to be more passionate and social. Too much can cause more fiery emotions like hostility and aggression. Too little causes introversion. Pungent taste foods include hot chili peppers, black pepper, onions, radish, garlic, wasabi, mustard, salsa, cloves, and ginger root. Best for Kapha; in moderation for Vata and Pitta.
  5. The astringent taste, containing earth and air, is cooling and ultimately pungent. It’s dry, cool, and neither heavy nor light. It’s a reducing, purifying taste that tones tissues. It’s good for drying up excess moisture, mucous, and water retention. In excess, it can cause excess dryness, constipation, and gas. Too little causes more sweating and mucous. In the mind, it can slow mental energy and can cause a “dry” personality. Food that have the astringent taste are beans, legumes, broccoli, green apples, grape skins, figs, cauliflower, cabbage, herbs, cranberry, pomegranate, tea. Best for Pitta and Kapha; in moderation for Vata.
  6. The bitter taste, containing air and ether, is the coldest taste as well as light and very dry. It is the main taste missing in the American diet. Because we are missing it in our food is why many crave coffee or chocolate.  It decreases the digestive fire in cases of hyperacidity. However, a small amount can be a helpful digestive whereas large amounts can smother it. It aids detoxification (an excellent blood purifier), reduces blood sugar levels and in great quantities can aid in weight loss and help with water retention. In excess, it can cause dryness, sleeping difficulty, poor circulation, and weakness. Too little and toxins will build up. In the mind, it increases flow of energy (Vata) to the mind, decreases heated emotions; however, it can also be weakening to mental strength and the immune system. Too much leads to poor decision-making or bitterness. Too little leads to a loss of motivation.  If you have strong sugar cravings and/or want to wean off sugar, the bitter taste helps counter the sweet taste. Bitter foods include green leafy vegetables, celery, endive, burdock root, sprouts, beets, kale, tonic water, coffee, and dark chocolate. Better for Pitta and Kapha; not as recommended for Vata.

Incorporating the 6 tastes doesn’t have to be cumbersome.  Squeeze some lime juice onto a well spiced meal and you’ve got salty, sour and pungent covered.  Have a small salad at lunch or some leafy greens or cruciferous vegetables and you have your astringent and bitter tastes.  Notice I didn’t focus on the sweet taste as that takes care of itself!  Try it and see what you notice.

©2014, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Spiced Lentil & Bulgur Soup

This is one of my favorite soups for a cold fall or winter day that combines all of the six tastes.

Spiced Lentil & Bulgur Soup

Spiced Lentil & Bulgur Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 c. dried lentils
  • 6 c. vegetable stock or water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 3 carrots, cleaned and diced
  • 3 stalks celery, washed and diced
  • 1 leek, washed and sliced
  • 1/2 c. washed and chopped kale, stems removed
  • 14/ tsp. cayenne
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. Mum's Masala or another sweet curry spice mix
  • 1/2 c. ray bulgur
  • 1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 c. chopped tomatoes (reduce or omit to decrease pitta)

Instructions

  1. Rinse the lentils and bring them to a boil with the water or stock and salt. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes.
  2. While the lentils are cooking, heat the olive oil in a heavy soup pot. Sauté the carrots, leeks and celery for 4 minutes. Add the bulgur, kale, bay leaf, and cayenne pepper and continue to sauté for another 3-5 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the bulgur is lightly browned.
  3. Mix in the parsley, tomatoes, and and Mum's masala.
  4. Pour the lentils and their liquid into the soup pot with the vegetables, adding more water or broth if needed as the bulgur will absorb the liquid. Simmer the soup for 15 minutes until everything is soft and well cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
  6. Can blend for a smoother texture.
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Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

Autumn is one of my favorite seasons.  I love the change of colors, the cooler temperatures that make outdoor play less heating for me, and the wonderful soups and stews that we all naturally gravitate towards.

In Ayurveda, we treat excess by using substances of opposite nature.  Autumn in Wisconsin is the beginning of the Vata season which is characterized by cold, windy, dry and light.  Changing our diet to add warm, moist foods like soups and stews is our inner wisdom guiding us to keep the Vata energies in balance during this time when they rise around us in the environment.

Eating a soup that is made of grounding root vegetables further adds to balancing Vata so enjoy!

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

Serving Size: 6

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. ghee, melted
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 2 carrots, cut into thick rounds
  • 1 large parsnip, cubes
  • 1 small turnip, cubed
  • 2 leeks, thickly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. each dry thyme and rosemary
  • 1 tsp. sweet curry powder
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • sour cream and parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Put the olive oil and ghee on a 9 x 13 baking dish with edges. Add the root vegetables, thyme and rosemary on the baking sheet and toss to coat with oil. Spread out the vegetables to a single layer. You may need an additional sheet. Tuck the bay leaves among the vegetables.
  3. Roast the vegetables until tender, approximately 50 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure they brown evenly. Remove from the oven and discard the bay leaves.
  4. Transfer the vegetables to a large sauce pan along with the vegetable stock and the curry powder. Bring to a boil, season to taste, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer the soup to a food processor or blended and process until thick and smooth.
  6. Return the soup to the pan to heat through. Season and serve with a swirl of sour cream and sprig of parsley.
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Leveraging the Cycles of the Day

Lifestyle, specifically a balanced daily routine, is the cornerstone of health from the Ayurvedic perspective. Traditionally, we lived in harmony with nature, following not only the rhythms of the day but of the seasons. With modern developments such as electricity and technology, many of these rhythms have been disrupted.

While it is not always possible to orient your activities fully in alignment with these cycles, by slowing down as you can and making adjustments in how you live throughout the day, you can support your natural rhythms and expand your health.

As you read on, you will notice that you can may several interconnected facets to an out of balanced pattern. For instance, going to bed late can lead to not being able to get up at the optimum time which then leads to caffeine substances as an energetic crutch which creates an afternoon crash which may lead to sugar snacks which may wind you up so that you want a glass of wine to bring you down which then makes you sleep poorly…and the cycle perpetuates itself. Of course, not all of these always go together but from my example you can see how various habits can be linked into a larger pattern. Start at a place in the larger pattern that feels doable and build from there.

Each 2 hour period of the day and night has a certain energy and purpose for your body and mind. Understanding these purposes will help you to leverage these cycles for health by doing activities at their optimum times.

4-6 am is the time the body naturally starts stirring as the light and flowing energy of Vata dominates. This is the ideal time to do meditation and yoga to anchor your day and prepare your nervous system. If you adjust your lifestyle to following these natural rhythms, your body will wake up during this time without an alarm refreshed and ready to go.

6-10 am is the time of day when your muscles and structural strength is greatest as this is the Kapha time of day. This is a great time to exercise and do tasks involving physical labor and endurance. If you sleep into this time, your muscles will have have more stiffness. You will also have a harder time waking up and often feel groggy and sleepy throughout the day which may lead you to want coffee or caffeinated teas which habitually can have negative impacts on the body and nervous system.

While you’re switching over your habits you can try Mate teas (a less depleting stimulant from South America) or Ayurvedic Roast (a chicory based coffee substitute that also have naturally rejuvenating and simulating herbs) instead of coffee.

10 am – 2 pm is when your Pitta dosha dominates and your digestive abilities are the strongest. It is the ideal time to do mental tasks which use your Pitta to digest thoughts and ideas as well as eat your largest meal, ideally in a relaxed fashion with a short rest afterwards. 

Eating a heavier but healthy lunch fuels your energies to meet the demands of the day. You are most active during the day so your body is served by having your heaviest meal during this time. It will also support a lighter supper and less nighttime snacking which helps you sleep better. Heavy foods mean cooked grains, whole wheat bread and pastas, small amounts of meat and dairy, legumes, and healthy fats such as ghee, olive and coconut oil, nuts and seeds, avocados. Combine these with fresh cooked vegetables.

2-6 pm is when the nervous system is most active and the brain uses the fuel from the previously digested large lunch. If your lunch was not substantial with the right foods, your blood sugar will fall resulting in the afternoon lull with sweet cravings and mood swings. Avoid this by eating that healthy large lunch.

To further support the nervous system during this time, consider using an afternoon 15 minute break to do some breath exercises, take a stroll around the block, sit back in your chair, close your eyes and rest; or meditate. It is also optimal to do activities that are less mentally taxing and gentler on the nervous system.

Instead of reaching for that cup of coffee or sugary boost, try this natural energy drink (recipe serves 2):

  • 2-3 medjool dates (soaked overnight), 10 almonds (soaked overnight, rinsed well, and peeled),
    1 tsp. ghee, 1 pinch cardamom, 1 pinch saffron, 2 c. milk (or rice milk or unsweetened almond milk)
  • Put the prepared almonds in a blender with ½ c. of the milk of your choice and blend until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend again until smooth.

6-10 pm is when your system begins to wind down. The stress hormones of cortisol and adrenaline naturally begin to decrease and your metabolism also slows to prepare for sleep. As such, a light meal is best to not overtax and stimulate the digsetive system. The word supper, which was traditionally the evening meal, implies this natural purpose of being a more supplmental meal. 

Though you can exercise between 6-7 pm, after this time activities should be more quieting and rejuvenating. If you are overly active during this time period, you re-stimulate the stress response and create excess nervous system stimulation which then makes it hard to go to sleep.

It is ideal to minimize stimulating activities here including electronics – which are fast moving electricity and even though you may be sitting on the couch, continue to stimulate your mind and nervous system. Instead, use this time to develop your quieting bedtime routine. Read, journal, meditate, take a aromatherapy filled bath, do gentle stretching or Qi Gong (one of my favorite sets available on You Tube), take moonlight strolls, snuggle with that special someone, and do 5 minutes of a calming breath exercise – all are possibilities!

Applying warm sesame oil to the feet, top of the head or forehead and/or to the whole body followed by a warm shower before bed helps calm the nervous system and promote sleep.

10 pm – 2 am is when your body does its integration and detoxification of your internal system. Your mind processes the experiences and emotions of your day and your liver detoxifies and cleans the body in preparation for the next day.

If you stay up past 10 pm, you not only interfere with this natural cleansing process but you hijack that energy into a burst of new energy which gets you going on projects again. Occasionally we are all up past 10 pm. However, doing so on a regular basis will deplete your body, create toxins and disrupt the deeper sleep rhythms which happen before midnight.

For many people with kids, finding time to relax and have “me time” in the evening can be challenging which can be a reason you might be staying up late. When my kids were younger, we had family reading time together followed by quiet time so everyone had their separate space even if the kids weren’t asleep. This might be a solution for you to explore as well.

2-4 am is part of the Vata early morning time when your body and mind assimilates the integration of the previous Pitta period and circulates it throughout the body to fuel your day. If you have interferred with the previous cycle, people are more apt to wake between 2-3 am because things (thoughts, intensity and heat of the day, food, experiences) were not properly digested and the system is agitated.

While re-balancing earlier cycles, if you wake during this time consider playing soothing music or guided audio meditations while you remain in bed, trying to rest. You can also do long deep breathing while in bed by breathing through the nose first into the abdomen, then into the chest, then allowing the breath to lift the upper ribs and clavicles. Make every inhale and exhale as long and full and complete as you can without straining.   Slow the breath down to a comfortable, even rhythm so that ideally the inhale and the exhale are the same length of time.

©2014, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Technology Tools for Meditation & Mindfulness

From the Ayurvedic perspective, I would consider many of our technological advances to be part of our ongoing environment of imbalance and overload.  The perception that one needs to be available 24/7, hooked up or stuck in front of a screen can add to sensory overload and excessive busyness.

That said, when I am working with clients who are striving to decrease overwhelm, anxiety, stress and frustration, it can be helpful to use the support of technological tools.

Below are a list of several of tools to help you incorporate mindfulness and meditation into your busy day – even if it is a few minutes at a time.  Some of the meditations are longer ranges such as 15-20 minutes while others can provide that quick hit of calm in under 3 minutes.  While it is certainly ideal to build up to at least 20 minutes of a daily meditation practice, you have to start somewhere and these give you many great starting points!

I invite you to explore the options, find your favorites (and let me know what you love), and share others that you have found and like!

©2014, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Beets & Caramelized Onions

In the summer Healthy Weight, Healthy You wellness program, a participant shared this wonderful recipe.  I love beets in general but this recipe took my beets to a whole new level that the whole family enjoyed.  Pick up some beets from your local farmer’s market and enjoy yourself!

In Ayurveda, beets are a food that decrease Vata through their sweet taste, slightly warm energy, and heavy grounding quality.  In moderation they are also fine for Pitta and Kapha but in excess the warmth can over heat Pitta and the sweet taste can imbalance Kapha.  To further reduce Kapha in this recipe, omit the optional feta cheese.

Beets & Caramelized Onions

Beets & Caramelized Onions

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 3-5 medium scallions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound beets
  • ¼ c. feta cheese, optional
  • pine nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Scrub beets and remove greens if attached. Either wrap whole beets in foil or peel, cube and place in a pan. Roast in the oven until soft, approximately 45 minutes for whole or 25 minutes for chopped. When done, cool and if whole, peel. While beets are roasting, go on to the next two steps.
  2. To prepare the dressing, whisk tougher vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Then add 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a slow stream as you continue to whisk until well combined. Set aside.
  3. Caramelize the onions by putting 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a heavy skillet over moderate heat and adding the scallions and a little salt. Stir occasionally until the onions are golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  4. Add onions to the dressings and the cooled beets. Gently add in feta cheese, if using, and the sprinkle with pine nuts.
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©2014, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Simple Summer Cucumber Salad

My garden runneth over with cucumbers and basil this summer.  One plant really does feed a village!  To make use of the cooling, sweet, and thirst-quenching vegetable, I make this simple salad.

You could choose to put the salad on top of some lovely lettuce greens or simply enjoy it on its on as a side dish.

Simple Summer Cucumber Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2-3

Serving Size: 1/3 cup

Simple Summer Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil
  • 1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. Soma salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper - a grind or two
  • 1 tsp. light agave nectar or other natural sweetener

Instructions

  1. Mix the vinegar, salt, pepper and sweetener in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. Cut the fresh basil with scissors into thin strips by bunching leaves together in a rolled bundle then snipping. Cut further in half so basil leaves are in small strips. Add to the mixing bowl and stir.
  3. Wash and peel cucumber. Cut in half lengthwise then cut into 1/4" slices. Put cucumbers bowl and mix well.
  4. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight for best flavor.
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Freedom in our Food

Several things have been showing up in my life around the past couple months around the idea of freedom.  So despite the fact that the 4th of July was a couple weeks back, I feel inspired to share with you about how much freedom we do have in our country and where we are slowly being robbed of it in other ways.

First to appreciate all that we do have was highlighted in several books or shows which I recommend.

  1. The two part miniseries by Herman Wouk “The Winds of War” and “War and Remembrance” does an excellent job in conveying the horrors and complexities of of World War II.  Though there have been other racial purgings since World  War II and sadly racial prejudice still exists, I’m grateful that we do not live under a tyrannical and hate-filled regime.
  2. “The Invention of  Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd tells the fictionalized story of two sisters from South Carolina who went on to become the first women abolitionists and advocates of women’s rights.  So inspiring to see how deep convictions on individual can truly create societal change.
  3. “Thrive”  by Arianna Huffington challenges us to help expand the definition of success to be more than power and money by adding in a third matrix of wellness and shows how important this change is to individuals, companies and society as a whole.

So how do these stories tie into food?  I shared these stories of inspiration and freedoms won through sometimes high costs, to highlight to a fight that is happening today.  This fight is about having access to healthy, unadulterated food grown in balance with nature.  This is about having the right to know really what’s in our food so we have the freedom to choose what is right for us in terms of health and personal beliefs.

You may walk down the aisles of the grocery store and think you have freedom of choice in all the foods you can choose from.  And to a certain degree this is true.  Today we have more types of food stores to choose from and lots of lots of food choices.  However, for those of us interested in purchasing organic and GMO free foods, our freedom to do so is being hampered and impeded.

The food industry is fighting hard with all their lobbying influence to change the labels or even the right to label so we truly have the freedom to know and choose.  Many people want to know if their foods contain GMO ingredients.  A seemingly simple idea but one the food industry is afraid of due to consumer perception.  How silly and sad that voters are approving this kind of labeling and the food industry is not only talking about suing these states but that it would be conceivable that they could.  What kind of freedom is this when voters make a choice and an industry can shut our voices down.

What kind of freedom do we have when raw milk is illegal supposedly due to health concerns.  Yet meat, which every year is linked to food illnesses, and items known to have negative health impacts like alcohol, cigarettes and now marijuana in some states are legal.  This isn’t about health, it’s about money.

The big food industry money is also now quietly making in-roads with the FDA in how organic foods get certified, how much and what non-organic ingredients can be in them and still have the organic label.  If this continues to happen, I as a consumer can’t even have faith that what I’m told is organic is really organic.

As a wellness practitioner and coach, I see first hand in my life and with my clients the importance of healthy food.  In Ayurveda food is the foundation of our health and this is partly why I am so passionate about this subject.  But beyond that, the fight for our free food is bigger than just my or your body.  The food industry is affecting the seeds, the bees, the environment in ways that affect all of us not only today but the generations to come.

So I invite you to step into the fight for freedom for food in whatever way you are inspired:

  • Write to your politicians.  Here’s a great article on the best way to make your points known to your politician and here’s a directory to fight out who is Congress represents you and how to contact them.
  • Speak with your pocketbook and buy organic, shop at the farmer’s market, buy from conscious meat farmers
  • Join a consumer’s group like Organic Consumer’s Association to stand up against the big industries
  • Stay educated and engaged with sites like Food Revolution or the Non-GMO Project 

Know other sources to stay informed or get engaged? Please share them here!

©2014, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

 

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Great Granola

IMG_0793This recipe is one of my favorites.  I first learned in when my kids were in the Waldorf School as part of a fundraiser we were doing.  I’ve since made my own adjustments to suit my dietary needs and tastes, as I often do with recipes.

In Ayurveda, it is not just the food itself but the way that it is prepared that affects our body mind and the balance of our inner life forces or doshas.  Oatmeal is a great example of this.  Made as a porridge, it is a hot, nourishing, sticky cereal perfect to balance vata in the cooler seasons.  Made here as a granola, toasted and baked in the oven, it has a drier result which is more beneficial to the kapha energy yet the nuts and oils also make it fine with vata and pitta in moderation.  To lighten this recipe up even more to decrease the heaviness of kapha, you can drop the nuts and just use seeds (seeds are lighter than nuts due to the lower fat content) and use a sunflower butter instead of the almond butter.

I enjoy this  in the summer topped with fresh berries and almond milk when my body isn’t wanting hot cereals.

Great Granola

Ingredients

  • ½ c. each pumpkin seeds, sesame, sunflower seeds
  • ½ c. wheat germ
  • 8 c. oats
  • ½ c. quinoa flakes
  • ½ c. almond butter
  • ½ c. honey
  • 1/8 c. each sunflower and coconut oil
  • 1 ½ Tsp. Vanilla

Instructions

  1. Mix together the dry ingredients. Melt together the almond butter and oils just until flowing then take off the heat and add in the honey (in Ayurveda honey is best not cooked) and vanilla, letting the residual heat melt it all together. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix together well.
  2. Place granola on baking sheets or a large roasting pan so that the layers are not thick and bake at 375 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes for 30 to 45 minutes until slightly browned. Cool completely before storing.
https://abundantyoucoaching.com/great-granola/

©2014, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Whipped Frozen Bananas

This summer I’ve been teaching a wonderful new class called Healthy Weight, Healthy You.  The focus is on developing a healthier diet and lifestyle and a more positive relationship with food, your body and weight.  A big part of the program is sharing new recipes in order to answer a legitimate need in the healthiest way possible.  While I’ve been sharing more of my favorites with my class, I realized that many of these recipes are not yet up on the resource site here and I wanted to add them in for all of you, too!

Summer is one of the few times that frozen foods are seen in Ayurveda due to their very cold nature which can create imbalance for both the Kapha and Vata doshas.  However, summer is most areas in the U.S. is warm if not hot and during this time cool is brought in to balance the heat of Pitta.

Notice that I say cool not ice cold.  Ice cold can be a bit extreme even for Pitta so should be used in moderation.  That said, summer is when cravings for ice cream can come on strong and frozen food desserts can be a nice option to the heavier, processed, and sugar sweetened ice creams.

Freezing the bananas changing the taste, bringing out more of the sweetness.  Even those who don’t like bananas often enjoy this recipe.

Whipped Frozen Bananas

Whipped Frozen Bananas

Ingredients

  • 2 Frozen Bananas

Instructions

  1. Unpeel 2 ripe but not overly ripe bananas and place into a Ziploc bag.
  2. Freeze for at least 6 hours.
  3. Remove from freezer and place the bananas in a food processor. You can break up the bananas into pieces to help with the blending. Then process the bananas on the pulse setting. You will likely need to pause periodically and mash the bananas with a serving spoon until they begin to form a smooth, ice cream like texture. When the consistency is right for your tastes, spoon into bowls and eat right away.
  4. For an added dose of decadence, top with a chocolate chip or syrup made with evaporated cane juice.
https://abundantyoucoaching.com/whipped-frozen-bananas/

©2014, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Baked Tofu

As a vegetarian I am always mindful of protein and having a balanced amount throughout my day.  Tofu is a food that I enjoy in moderation due to the presence of phyto-estrogens in soy.  I only buy organic since soybeans are one of the most common GMO foods in commercial farming.  

This simple way of fixing tofu is one of my favorites with much versatility in how it can be used.  I even eat it simply by itself as a snack sometimes!

Baked Tofu

Baked Tofu

Ingredients

  • 1# extra firm organic tofu, cut into ½” slices
  • 2 Tbsp. Bragg’s Amino Acids, tamari or shoyu (more natural forms of soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Blend all ingredients together, adding a little more liquid as needed. You can also add or substitute spices to your tastes.
  3. Dip each slice of tofu into the marinade, turning to get both sides, then place on a baking tray. When all slices are dipped, pour the remaining liquid over the slices and put the tray in the oven.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes then flip the tofu and bake another 10 minutes.
  5. Enjoy in sandwiches, salads, stir fries or as the main protein within a meal.
https://abundantyoucoaching.com/baked-tofu/

©2014, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Cooling Drinks for Summer Heat

hammock250wIn Ayurveda, part of restoring or maintaining balance is in knowing how to care for the body energies in each season.  Here is the United States, summer means heat which increases the pitta dosha or life force.  To keep this energy in balance, Ayurveda uses cooling substances and properties. 

A great way to apply this knowledge is to take some basic food ingredients and add them to your drinks for a cool and hydrating effect.  Read about the different food sources, their effects on heat and other issues, and enjoy some of the recipes and tips.

And if you really feel inspired, share some of your own great recipes or tell me your favorite here.

Aloe Vera Juice or Gel

Commercial aloe vera juice is the gel diluted down.  Gel is the liquid form of the aloe plant.  In herbal use, Ayurveda uses aloe to help carry herbs into the body specifically to the plasma, blood, and reproductive tissues.  Used as a drink additive, it helps demulsify and moisten the body’s tissues as well as absorbs more of the hydrating liquids like water your drinking.

  • For general effects, add 2 tablespoons into your water bottle two or three times daily. For best results, consult an Ayurvedic practitioner for more personalized advice.

Cilantro Juice

cilantroCilantro is generally balancing for all doshas but due to its cooling nature has a specific effect for remedying the heat of pitta.  In additional so cooling piita overall, cilantro is great for skin issues, hyperacidity, and helps cleanse the blood and bile, both of which pitta controls. 

  • To make the juice: place a handful of washed and chopped cilantro into a blender with about ⅓ cup water and blend. Strain, and drink the liquid (1). The remaining pulp can be applied externally for skin inflammations (2).

Cucumber

cucumberCucumbers with their sweet, astringent and cool properties make them a lovely summer food that relieve thirst as well as cool the body and mind.  They are also great for countering the heavy, sticky qualities of yogurt which is why you see them used in the Indian dish raita.  You can obviously eat more of these in your foods to get their benefits, which is how most people think of using cucumbers.  But additionally try a couple slices in water alone or with lime, mint or cilantro; or try the recipe below.

Lime Juice

Limes have similar qualities to lemons in that they are sour and cooling.  Both help cool the body and relieve thirst.  However, due to the sour taste, in excess they can be aggravating to your pitta energies.  Lime  has the added benefit of not being as aggravating to pitta energies as lemon.  As such, I like to use more lime in the summer by simply squeezing it along with the piece into my water alone or with mint and adding it to other herbal teas like hibiscus.  Another interesting fact to note is that it can help counter the effect of alcohol.  Alcohol strongly aggravate pitta in general as well as dehydrates the body overall so should be consumed in moderation.  But isn’t it interesting that lime juice is added to many cocktails or even used as a wedge like with Corona beer.

Melon Juice Drinks

Melons by nature are sweet and cool and act to counter summer heat and even sunstroke in the case of watermelon.  Melons are best eaten alone or mixed with other fruits but these drinks shouldn’t be taken with or right after meals or where there is diarrhea or loose stools.

Peppermint

This fast growing rather invasive herb can be found in many gardens including my own.  It is great to have on hand as it balances all three doshas overall while providing a refreshing and cool ingredient for summer drinks.  It even helps to open the mind and senses and promotes harmony of the emotions which can tend to get hot and frustrated in the summer heat!  Typically I just add this as a stalk to my water or other iced teas though I also like to chew on it after meals and it helps with digestion, too. (2)

Pomegranate Juice

The Pomegranate energetically is sweet, astringent and sour in taste with a cooling energy.  In general it balances all the doshas but is particularly good for pitta as it helps cleanse and build the blood.  It is best to take as a juice as getting the individual seeds is a slow and laborious process!

Rosewater

Rose flowers are balancing to all doshas but the cooling and sweet properties make it especially lovely for balancing pitta not only in the blood and body but also in the heart and nerves.   On an emotional level, excess pitta shows up as anger, frustration, being critical and judgmental – basically not a lot of fun to have at your summer picnic?  Though rosewater is commonly seen in cooking, the quantity isn’t usually enough to create a therapeutic effect.  In a drink such as the rosewater lemonade, it offers more of a cooling tool.

  1. Lad, Vasant. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1998. Print. 114-115, 119, 246-247, 250-251.
  2. Frawley, David.  American Institute of Vedic Studies Ayurvedic Healing Course Part III.  Santa Fe: Amercian Institute of Vedic Studies, 1988-2006.  50.

©2014, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Sprouted Grain French Toast

This simple recipe using sprouted grain breads makes for a lighter and healthier alternative for a sweet breakfast than pancakes or white bread French toast.  

Sprouted bread has several benefits.  According to the Department of Agriculture, sprouted grains contain about 75 percent of the carbohydrates compared to whole grains and about 40 percent of the fat of whole grains making it higher in protein and less fat than other breads.   While not gluten free, sprouted grains do have less gluten making it easier for slightly gluten-sensitive individuals to eat.  This dense nutrition is the result of the germination process that occurs during the sprouting process.  As the water-soaked grains germinate and grow green shoots, enzymes and natural chemicals begin to break down and digest which not only makes it easier to digest when you eat it but also increases the availability of vitamins and minerals for you body to assimilate and absorb.   

This web resource gives a variety of different articles about sprouting from different perspectives and sources if you’d like to learn more.

To make this yummy version of French toast, simply take your favorite sprouted grain bread and use the following batter to dip in.  I use WI local Angelica Organics cinnamon raisin 7 grain; other national brands are Ezekial and Food for Life.

Sprouted Grain French Toast

Sprouted Grain French Toast

Ingredients

  • Batter dip:
  • 1 c. milk (whole milk VP-, buttermilk V-, or non-dairy options like almond, rice, oat, hemp which are lighter and as such will be better to antidote the heavy quality of kapha)
  • 2 eggs* (to decrease kapha use 1 egg yolk and 2 egg whites or all egg whites), beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flax, sesame seeds or chopped almonds (I like a combination of all of them!)

Instructions

  1. *If you do not eat eggs, using ground flax with the milk will act like an egg substitute, giving you the binding quality to create a crunchy coaching.
  2. Mix the ingredients together well.
  3. Dip the bread in the batter and toast over medium heat on a griddle or cast iron pan on the stove, flipping as each side browns.
  4. Top with ghee and a little pure maple syrup, warmed fruit spread, or cooked apples and pears.
https://abundantyoucoaching.com/sprouted-grain-french-toast/

©2014, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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What is Your Procrastination Telling You?

This is a question that came up recently with a life coaching client.  She was interested in looking more into her pattern of procrastination and the stress and overwhelm that came with it.  The pattern felt like it was blocking her goals and creating discomfort.

My client started out her session feeling like the pattern was the problem.  If she could just figure out how to stop procrastinating, then everything would be good.  (Does this sound familiar to you either with procrastination or another “problem pattern” you’re wanting to solve?)  However, by the end of the session my client had come to the realization that rather than being the problem, procrastination was simply her inner wisdom letting her know that how she was trying to do something wasn’t the right fit for who she is or what she wants.  And she went from feeling overwhelmed about getting ready for a talk to enhance her professional stature to feeling excited and joyful about creating an experience to connect with others interested in transformation and expanding into one’s self.

So often in life, what you think is the problem is actually something very different.  In this case, my client discovered that the things she was procrastinating were not actually things she wanted to do or felt inspired about but rather things she thought she SHOULD be doing.  Despite the fact that she is a successful intuitive practitioner with a wonderful gift in creating an atmosphere for healing and using her love of rituals to take care of her financial needs, she felt like she needed to be organized, know more, and use more traditional business practices to be a better practitioner. 

As a result of this expectation, she was forcing herself to market in certain ways that felt hard and thus created procrastination.  She kept at it feeling like it “would be good for my growth” to “work through” these challenges. 

Can you feel how hard it felt to her and the lack of enthusiasm and excitement?

As you can imagine, all of how she felt inside translated out into energy and, no surprise, this led to her not getting the results she was looking for.  And feeling stressed and overwhelmed in the process.

But an amazing thing happened when she was able to set the SHOULDs aside and look at what she really wanted. 

She discovered that she really didn’t care about the Power Point presentation or how professional it came across.  She didn’t even care about having the room packed with people.  What she wanted was the opportunity to be with other people interested in transformation and to share a glimpse of the experience together.  Instead of feeling like she had to create a dry informational talk, she suddenly was all fired up about how to share an experience.  Instead of feeling like she had to make a flier, she saw herself finding an image of a person diving off into the ocean and rising in a cleansed and rebirthed state to speak for her.  Instead of advertising, she decided to create a Facebook invitation to play in the passion.

Her entire process – and energy – itself transformed when she was to embrace her intuitive creative energies fully without feeling like she needed to be more organized and business-like. 

As we finished the session, my client was so excited to go play with her this different process and ideas.  She acknowledged a new way of seeing and appreciating her procrastination – no longer a problem but a cue that she had gotten off her authentic path.  And instead of feeling stressed and overwhelmed, she feel connected to her passion.

Wow!  How magical to be a part of this mini-transformation.  And what a great reminder that behind what you might think of as a problem, can actually be an answer. 

So whether you’re exploring your own procrastination or another pattern that is holding you back, I invite you to look for the nugget of inner wisdom that is waiting for you.

©2014, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Cilantro Quinoa Zucchini Corn Fritters

This lovely, cooling recipe is wonderful as we move into warmer weather.  

Thank you to Elise Cantrell whose original recipe I have modified here and this is one of the recipes that is used in the 40 Days to Enlightened Eating class.  Enjoy this and many other tasty recipes as your journey to a better you!

For this recipe, use organic ingredients whenever possible.  The recipe comes with a yogurt based dressing but if you prefer a non-dairy option or want to decrease the kapha aspect, I found a simple dressing of olive olive, balsamic vinegar and Italian herbs lovely, too.

Cilantro Quinoa Zucchini Corn Fritters

Cilantro Quinoa Zucchini Corn Fritters

Ingredients

  • Fritter Recipe:
  • 1 unpeeled, washed, grated small zucchini
  • 1 c. organic cooked corn (great fresh off the cob)
  • 1/3 red bell pepper, small dice
  • 1 stalk celergy, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c. fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 c. whole wheat or other flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 c. quinoa cooked in 1 cup water until water evaporated (about 20-25 minutes)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 Tbsp. olive oil, ghee or a combination
  • Fritter Dressing:
  • 1/2 c. fresh cilantro leaves
  • Juice 1 small lemon
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 c. plain yogurt (try the homemade recipe!)
  • extra spices as you desire

Instructions

  1. Fritter Instructions:
  2. Saute the zucchini, bell pepper and celery in 1 Tbsp oil until soft.
  3. Remove from heat and add cooked corn, quinoa, cilantro, flour, eggs, and salt and pepper.
  4. Mix together thoroughly and form into 8 flat patties.
  5. Place the remaining 4 Tbsp oil in a skillet and when warm add the patties and cook on medium heat until both sides are golden brown.
  6. Serve over a bed of greens (I used a spring garden lettuce mix and added baby spinach and arugula). Drizzle with the dressing.
  7. Fritter Dressing Instructions:
  8. This recipe originally called for 2 cloves garlic which I leave out as they don't agree with my body and are more rajasic or overly stimulating in energy; you can use them or add in other spices and herbs if you want more flavor.
  9. Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender and serve.
https://abundantyoucoaching.com/cilantro-quinoa-zucchini-corn-fritters/

©2014, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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Ayurvedic Benefits of Yogurt & How To Make It

yogurt4With all the availability of yogurt in the stores, you might ask “why even bother making yogurt from scratch?”  

My simple answer is…

  1. It is so easy
  2. You can control what goes in it, especially the added sugar
  3. It’s cheaper, especially when making organic
  4. If you have access to it you can use non-homogenized or raw milk, both of which are closer to nature’s design.  Here’s a great article of the real story of homogenized milk.

From the Ayurvedic perspective, yogurt is considered sweet and sour in taste and slightly warm in energy, making it best for the vata dosha.  The more sour it is, the more warm and acidic and imbalancing to pitta.  Despite these sour and acidic aspects, when used in small amounts it is nutritive for all seven tissue layers, aids in the digestion of other foods, replenishes the positive flora in the body and can even decrease diarrhea.

Notice the “use in small amounts” disclaimer.  Because this dairy product is heavy, sour and often eaten cold, in large amounts it is imbalancing for all three doshas or life forces and in excess will cause constipation, clog the body’s channels and increase kapha and mucous.  To get the benefits without the negatives, Ayurveda uses yogurt primarily in condiments or as a digestive drink called a lassi.  Lassis are made by mixing a small amount of yogurt with different amounts of water (the water to yogurt ratio varies per one’s doshic needs) and spices.  Using yogurt this way counters its natural clogging properties.  This use of yogurt is very different than the way it is generally consumed today – larger amounts of heavily sweetened yogurt as meal, snack or dessert.

So now onto the steps of making this probiotic-filled food.  

yogurt1To make 1 quart of yogurt you will need:

  • 2-3 Tbsp yogurt from a previous batch or good quality commercial plain yogurt
  • 1 quart whole milk, ideally non homogenized milk
  • a candy thermometer
  • a towel
  • 1 quart-size glass jar

yogurt2Gently heat the milk in a large pot to 180 degrees then remove from the heat and allow to cool to 110 degrees.  Stir in the 2-3 Tbsp. yogurt to your quart jar and add the cooled milk.  With the lid on, gently shake the jar.  You can also add the yogurt to the milk in the pot and stir thoroughly before pouring into your jar.

yogurt3Put the lid on the jar, wrap the towel around it and set by your stove (or in a warm oven at 150 degrees) overnight.  I make my yogurt in the evening and set it by my stove in its towel wrap.  When I wake up in the morning, the yogurt is ready!

For a thicker, Greek style yogurt you simply pour the now-ready yogurt into a strainer placed over a pot and let it sit for an hour or so.  Excess whey will drain off during this time leaving a thicker consistency.

I make plain yogurt to use with lassis, dressings or condiments.  If you want a fruited or flavored yogurt simply add your natural sweetener, vanilla or fruit after it has cooled to 110 degrees.  Shake and mix thoroughly then let sit overnight.

Let me know how your process goes and what your favorite use or flavor is.

©2014, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

 

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Keep Your Eye On The Ghee

This week was time to make my next batch of ghee.  And this time around I was determined not to almost burn it like I did last month.  In fact, last month was the first time I have ever come close to burning my ghee and this with a double 2# batch!

Ghee is one of those great food items that you can make in the background while you are doing other cooking.  As such, I often make it while I’m doing dinner or even cleaning up the kitchen.  It takes about 20 minutes, simmering away the water and impurities over a medium heat.

And it is because it is in the background that you can sometimes miss those critical last couple minutes when it goes from a light to golden to dark yellow, from white particles on the bottom to a  a burnt bottom, and sometimes even having the whole pot foaming over.  One minute it seems fine, the next moment disaster is happening.

I find that life can be like my ghee sometimes.  Especially when I am in busy pitta caught in the big MULTITASKER mode.

Come on, I know several of you reading this know exactly what I’m talking about.  Trying to do multiple things at once and not any of them at their best.  Because for many in our busy world we feel a scarcity of time with so much to do, this multi-tasking mode is commonplace.

But there are drawbacks.  Making little mistakes because your full attention isn’t on what you are doing.  Running late, minor or major overwhelm, lack of presence with another person.  These are all things I experience when I slip into the big M.  And the older I’ve gotten, the less I want to be in this energy nor am I comfortable with the lack of attention to detail and focus that comes with it.

No surprise that researchers and pundits are now showing that multi-tasking is actually counterproductive.  I really enjoyed the article, “You Say Multitasking Like It’s a Good Thing” by Charles J. Abaté in the National Education Association that talks specifically about where the term comes from and myths that are now being debunked.  But even without reading about the new discoveries, I’ve come to my own personal conclusion that doing less really is more.  Not only do I not burn the ghee but I actually hear and see the people in front of me, get better quality results in my work, and simply feel less stressed.

I may not get as much done, but what I do is better and how I feel doing it is more relaxed.  And this is something I’m enjoying.

©2014, Jamie Durner, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Wellness Educator at Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, WI

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The Real and The Raw of White Tantric Yoga

Saturday I participated in my twelfth day in nine years of White Tantric Yoga (WTY).  Why do I keep going back for a day long meditation experience that is always challenging on some level, not often comfortable, and fairly fatiguing by the end of the day?  Basically, it is one of the most effective tools I’ve experienced to work on myself, clear out the toxic garbage, keep my energy and consciousness healthy, free and working optimally, and see my patterns in a new way.

As the facilitator said on Saturday, Yogi Bhajan brought Kundalini yoga to west and promised happy, healthy and holy – but not necessarily easy.  This happy, healthy, and holy is what I give myself everyday with my sadhana or daily practice. WTY takes it to an exponentially bigger level.  One day of this partner meditation, working with the feminine and masculine energies, is said to be like doing 10 years of daily yoga practice and can clear lifetimes of karma.  Not a bad investment for less than $200 and 12 hours of time (counting my drive to Chicago).

One would think after so many days of this that I would be a pro.  And it has gotten easier.  I am able to anchor in the sometimes challenging positions using different mudras or hand/body positions without needing to adjust, which is the ideal, for the 31 and 62 minute long meditations.  In fact, often the 31 minute meditations fly by.  However, each year I am reminded that I don’t and can’t always be perfect.  I am humbled through some challenge that I am still growing, learning and expanding.  This year my reminder came in the afternoon cycle with a 62 minute meditation.  Yep, it’s usually these biggies that wake me up!  This particular meditation had one hand on my navel chakra, center of personal transformation and will force, and my right hand fingers touching my partner’s third eye or point between the eyes at the base of the nose.  Our eyes were open looking at each other’s eyes and we were chanting a beautiful song to keep us up.  I have held a similar position before but this year, after a morning with several other arm challenging positions, I knew within the first 3 minutes that I would not be able to stick the ideal.  

To get through these 62 minutes I had to release my ego, to let go of my desire for perfection, of being fully solid, strong and steady; the giver of support.  I had to soften my mind and know that modifying the posture is not failure, but rather a way of keeping up no matter what in the face of the challenge.

As I went through my challenge this year, though a part of me said “I don’t want to do this.  I want to leave.”, I knew it wasn’t really what I would do.  For I do have greater strength after 9 years of practicing Kundalini yoga and doing WTY – physical, mental and nerve strength – to tap into.  I had a partner to support me.   At one point, I was physically holding my right arm to keep it up and he put his hand under mine, adding his support.  This gesture of giving was one of the most powerful moments of the day – opening up to receiving that care and support and letting go of needing to be overly self-sufficient.

At the end of the day, the moderator encouraged all of us to make a 40 day commitment (the amount of time it is said to change a habit) of a yoga or meditation practice to anchor in the energies of the day and carry them into changing a habit.  As she said, “it’s a good day to break a habit.” 

What I wanted to let go of in terms of a habit popped up immediately in my mind – my “over” habit – overwork, over-responsible, over-self-sufficient, over-doing.  Take out the “over” and what’s left is the healthy balance of the action that I can hold with ease, lightness of heart, spaciousness and self-honoring.  All those words describe part of my innate nature of my pitta dosha but the “over” aspect takes me into a state of imbalance.  Many people with a high amount of the pitta dosha in their constitution have this “over” habit leading to workaholic patterns and excess competition, intensity and drive – which our modern society rewards.  For me at my current state of awareness, I’m ready to move away from the excess and reclaim my balance.  

And this is why I go to WTY.  To become consciously conscious and take new actions, to create habits that are continually being refined to my state of optimal health, to live to my highest potential so I can be free and serve fully.

Each year WTY comes to Chicago.  Maybe next time you’ll join me on your own journey of transformation!

©2014, Jamie Durner of Ayurveda Wellness

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Curried Yellow Dal Soup with Cilantro Cream

This VPK balancing soup is a tasty bowl of nourishment. Be sure to use real coconut milk, unsweetened, not a “coconut cream” product. Serve over your favorite whole grain or with a nice whole wheat tortilla or chapati.

Curried Yellow Dal Soup with Cilantro Cream

Ingredients

  • For the Soup
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped red bell pepper (about 1 large)
  • 1 cup chopped leeks
  • 1 cup diced carrot (about 1 large)
  • 1 tsp finely chopped, peeled ginger root
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes (leave out to lower pitta)
  • 1 TBL coconut oil or ghee 2 cups split yellow mung beans 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 TBL curry powder - vary from sweet to hot, savory to pungent for different tastes. I like a savory, sweet yellow curry (decrease to lower pitta)
  • 1/2 tsp salt, ideally Soma salt
  • 2 large sweet potatoes cut into 1-inch cubes.
  • 1 can of coconut milk (15 oz)
  • For the Cilantro Cream
  • 1 cup plain whole milk organic yogurt
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp grated lime or lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Cook the bell pepper, onion, carrot, gingerroot, garlic and jalapenos in oil, until the onion is tender.
  2. Stir in the remaining soup ingredients (not the cilantro cream items).
  3. Heat everything to a boil then reduce heat.
  4. Cover and simmer for 25 to 35 minutes, be sure the dal and potatoes are tender.
  5. Top each serving with cilantro cream (decrease amount on top to lower kapha).
https://abundantyoucoaching.com/curried-yellow-dal-soup-with-cilantro-cream/

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The Role of a Cleanse in Disease Prevention and Health

In many traditions, including Ayurveda, cleansing protocols are used to not only support health but to treat conditions of illness and disease.  To take advantage of the benefits of a cleanse within a balanced and safe structure, consider some of these ideas when thinking of a cleanse.

THE PURPOSE OF A CLEANSE

In Ayurveda, the root of all disease is seen as coming from imbalances within the doshas or three life forces as well as the toxins that build up in the body and mind.  Therefore, the purpose of a cleanse is to purify the body of toxins and excess that are the root cause of disease and as such, help promote healing of symptoms, illness and disease.  A cleanse also helps to rejuvenate all your body’s systems and promote optimal wellness.

It is said in Ayurveda that if you have a balanced diet and lifestyle – which keeps the doshas balanced and prevents toxic build-up – you wouldn’t need to cleanse.  However, because few people today can sustain a fully balanced and lifestyle 100% of the time, using a cleanse on a seasonal or annual basis is a great preventative resource for preventing disease and enhancing optimal health. 

WHAT YOU ARE CLEANSING

A cleanse is to remove imbalances and toxins.  In Ayurveda, these toxins are called Ama

Ama is a heavy, oily, sticky substance that coats and clogs the cells, organs and channels in the body and interferes with the normal functioning of both your body and your mind. 

These toxins not only create disease but also block the assimilation of nutrients from your food, which affects the health of all the other tissues and systems in the body. Ama weakens the immune system, causes the body to attack itself, and imbalances the metabolism.  

The connection between disease and Ama is so strong that in Ayurveda the word for disease is Amaya which translates as “that which is born out of Ama.” 

HOW DID YOU GET THESE TOXINS?

Toxins build up when you are not living in balance with your own internal nature as well as in balance with the world or nature around you.  What this basically means is that your diet and lifestyle are not supportive of your health according to your unique body type.  This lack of healthy diet and lifestyle might be because you simply don’t know how to do that, which is what Ayurveda in general teaches you.  Or you might know what you need, but are making other choices due lack of it being a priority, time challenges, or the pull from immediate sensory satisfaction getting in the way of better choices.

Ayurveda states that this unhealthy lifestyle starts due to a disconnection from your core nature which then leads one to make choices more from an ego or sensory-oriented place and less from your inner wisdom or truth.  And this is part of our  human experience on the path to becoming more in-tune with our highest truths.

Along with daily lifestyle choices, having your digestive system or fire not working at optimal levels is the single biggest physical cause of ama or toxins.  When your body can’t process the food you’re eating, leftover food essentially gets stuck sitting in your digestive system.  And like any leftovers that sit out, they rot.

The digestive fire can be weak due to eating at variable times, taking in too much liquid with meals, eating more than your body can process at one time, and even having food in poor combinations.

 SIGNS THAT YOU NEED A CLEANSE (signs of ama and excess)

In Ayurveda there are two things we look at in terms of indications of whether a cleanse is needed: is there ama and does the person have a strong enough vitality to go through the cleansing process.  To answer this first part, you would look at the various signs of ama below.

In general ama creates heaviness and clogs in the system with symptoms such as:

  • Lack of taste and appetite
  • Lack of strength 
  • Fatigue and low energy
  • Sense of heaviness anywhere in the body or mind including excess weight
  • Congestion in the sinuses and lungs
  • Constipation, indigestion, bloating and gas
  • Bad breath and a whitish coating on the tongue
  • Generalized body aches and stiffness
  • Dullness of mind and senses
  • One may also experience restless and excessive movement in the nervous system as the body works to find a way around the ama blocks.  Symptoms include breathlessness, tingling, numbness, ringing in ears, insomnia, tremors, ticks, and spasms.

In addition to general symptoms, these modern conditions are also associated with Ama:

  • High cholesterol, triglycerides, heart disease
  • High blood sugar, late-onset diabetes
  • Rheumatoid conditions, arthritis, gout
  • Chronic infections, excessive candida
  • Gallstones, KI stones
  • High liver enzymes

While many of the toxins cleared in a cleanse are physical, you can also have toxins in the mind which manifest as symptoms of confusion, lack of clarity, poor perception, doubt, delusion, judgment, criticism, and a lack of enthusiasm for life.  Mental ama is created from undigested mental and emotional experiences.  All experiences have energy to be processed or digested.  When you have any unexpressed or unresolved emotion, it accumulates in the mind and begins to fester.  The ability to “digest” sensory experiences depends on the state of your overall vitality and nervous system as well how intense or extreme the experience or trauma is. 

WHEN NOT TO CLEANSE

This section answers the second part of the question above in terms of when to cleanse in terms of having enough vitality.  Though a cleanse has many health benefits, by its very nature it is depleting and lightening – meaning depleting the body of the toxins and lightening up the excessive load of imbalance.  If you are not strong enough physically or mentally, a cleanse can actually further aggravate imbalance and toxins.

Just as there are indications of when someone needs a cleanse, there are also times when it is not appropriate.  One should not do a cleanse during these times:

  • If you are very weak or debilitated
  • During the postpartum period after birth and while breastfeeding
  • If your immune system is compromised or have a weaker immune system in general like the very young and old often do
  • You are experience an acute illness like the influenza

WHAT TYPE OF CLEANSE DO I NEED?

In Ayurveda cleansing protocols to address root disease imbalances and maintain health are so vital that there are specific purification therapies – both mild and strong depending on a person’s needs.

A Home Cleanse:

A month or so ago I had a blog post about a guided group home cleanse I offer.  Though I do this as a group for maximum affordability and fun (yes, it is easier when other people are doing it with you), this first level of a cleanse can also be done on a one-to-one guided basis.  If you missed the official group cleanse, know that if you pull your own group of 5 or more people together, I’ll put together a private group cleanse!

Whether in a group or on your own, this is a great first step if you are new to either cleansing or  Ayurveda.  It has its central focus in a cooked, whole foods diet with a wide variety of grains, vegetables, fruits, some chicken, fish or paneer (Indian soft cheese) and nuts and seeds to choose from. Small amounts of natural sweeteners are also used.  What you are not eating is processed food: things out of a box, jar, bag, can, etc or any artificial flavors or ingredients.

Along with this diet you are adding in self-care components to support the release of the toxins such as body brushing, detox baths, sinus care, skin care, and cleansing teas and spices.  And you are ideally taking some time to slow down your schedule, quiet the chaotic mind with meditation, breath and yoga, and  enjoying some great R&R. 

Deeper Channel Cleanse

The next level of cleanse utilizes many of the same diet and self-care components as above but the diet becomes stricter – no animal products (except ghee) and less fat.  You’re still eating as your hunger dictates so no fasting here and you still have lots of great whole food choices.

Additionally you are internally taking ghee in increasing amounts to loosen the ama stuck in the channels and bring them back to the digestive system to be released.  You also take an oil purgative to provide a stronger toxin elimination and then follow with restoring balance to the colon through a series of oil and herbal enemas.

This cleanse is specifically tailored to an individual’s unique constitution and health needs and cannot be done as a group.  To do this type of cleanse, you work one-to-one with an Ayurvedic Practitioner who does an initial evaluation, sets up the program and monitors your progress.  In addition to home cleanses, I provide the deeper oleation cleanse for my clients.

Pancha Karma

The next cleanse is the most most complete and powerful protocol within the cleansing treatments and literally translates as Five Actions relating to the five specific types of actions that are used to cleanse each of the doshas in appropriate ways.

This process begins with the oleation cleanse above which serves to prepare the body and tissues for the deepest cleanse.   The five actions then eliminate the toxins from the digestion through a variety of different body therapies and professionally administered treatments.  The final phase is re-integration and building back up the digestive fire and moving into rejuvenation.

Pancha Karma can be done in the United Staes both in out-patient and residential settings.  I do offer my clients Pancha Karma on an out-patient basis but prefer the sacred and quite space of residential programs.  The closest residential Pancha Karma program to WI is The Raj in Fairfield, IA.  For those wanting a deep and authentic experience, I also facilitate Pancha Karma Healing retreats to India with the next one schedule 1/15/15-2/1/15.  Details here.

I hope that all of this has given you a good overview to cleansing from the Ayurvedic perspective and that you have a better idea of if, when and how you might choose to use cleansing protocols to support your own wellness needs.

©2014, Jamie Durner of Ayurveda Wellness

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Essential Ayurveda eBook

essential ayurveda ebookEssential Ayurveda eBook $29*

This 95 page eBook is a great way to gain an introduction to the healing science of Ayurveda and use as a guideline to in your life for greater health & harmony.

While Ayurveda can feel like a complex subject, once your learn the basics it can actually be easy to understand with its common sense way of looking at you and the world.

This eBook gives you the Ayurveda basics to understand enough of the big picture to get started.  In addition to background and basic concepts, this unique book also helps you take the theory into action with guided activities and self-reflection.

Start your Ayurveda supported journey TODAY to create greater health and harmony in your body mind and life!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 Background of Ayurveda – page 3

Ayurveda Philosophy – page 5

The Ayurveda Model – page 11

Ayurveda Anatomy – page 14

Ayurveda 101: Doshas and Prakruti – .page 23

Health & Disease – page 32

Treatment Principles – page 35

Symptoms, Signs Imbalance, & Remedies – page 37

Qualities of Life – page 44

Digestion & Agni – page 55

Energetic Nature of Food – page 64

Daily Wellness Routines – page 73

Seasonal Adjustments – page 87

Detoxification – page 89

Moving Forward with Ayurveda – page 95

*Click this book link to purchase the “Essential Ayurveda eBook: student edition” which serves as one option to meet the class prerequisite for the Certified Ayurveda Bodywork & Panchakarma Therapist Training program at Kanyakumari Ayurveda & Yoga Wellness Center in Glendale, WI.  This $49 edition includes a short quiz and grading of the quiz and.

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