Loving life with nature, beauty and yoga's wisdom.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Yoga Cover Up Style

Solid colored tanks matched with printed midi skirts and harem pants are my summer yoga cover up style. Underneath I'm wearing skinny capri length leggings for when I'm on the mat. My favorite tank comes from www.zara.com Basic Collection. It is priced under $20 and any seamless bra fits perfectly underneath. As for my skirts and harem pants they are what I call timeless pieces that I bought in boutiques from summer's past and present. Some pieces are a decade old, hand me downs or gifted from family and friends in India.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summer Chakra/Energy Balancing Smoothies

Drinking fruit smoothies during the hottest of days is an excellent way to tame summer's extra high flames of fire in your belly. Ayurveda, a natural medicinal practice from Southern India suggests that if you drink cold and naturally sweet drinks during pitta/summer season not only will you feel physically cooler but you can also help cure heart burn, bloating, skin rashes and temper flare ups. So go ahead and enjoy drinking those frosty sweet drinks up but make sure they are pure fruit based rather than filled with artificial sweeteners.

The best way to get the purest drinks is to make them yourself. It is easy and any blender will do. Personally I use a nutribullet. Since I've been making and taking pictures of the many different drinks I've made since late spring, the variety of fruits I used created a rainbow of colors that inspired this post. Motivated by their beauty, I've been envisioning while drinking my fruit smoothies that each color is internally bathing, cooling and healing a different chakra/energy center within my body. Here are some examples:

1st Chakra Lower Body Smoothie: Strawberries, unsweetened almond milk, a couple of dried figs and a few ice cubes. This rose colored root chakra smoothie will cool, center and ground your foundation. You will feel stable, confident and ready to move forward when you heal and balance your 1st chakra.

2nd Chakra Reproductive Body, Sacral/Lower Back Body Smoothie: Cantaloupe, coconut water, a few ice cubes and a couple of mint leaves blended in and to garnish on top. This smoothie will cool and purify the 2nd chakra's element, water. When this chakra is balanced, buried and new creations from within you will rise to the surface.

3rd Chakra Belly, Side Body and Low Back Smoothie: Mango, unsweetened almond milk and a few ice cubes. This smoothie will balance your inner spark and not allow your digestive fire to go to your head and heighten your ego's need to be right, ahead of everyone else and in control. 
Plus your inner fire will not be too dim and have you sitting on the couch. Instead your 3rd chakra center will have you feeling good in your gut and you will use it to feel your way through everything.

4th Chakra Heart Center/In Between the Shoulder Blades Smoothie: Honeydew melon, spinach, coconut water, a few ice cubes and a couple of mint leaves blended in and garnish on top. This smoothie will energize you to deepen your next inhale and exhale. This new found green energy will broaden your heart space and make it easier for you to balance your personal and professional needs.

5th Chakra Throat and Voice Smoothie: Frozen or raw blueberries, unsweetened almond milk, a handful of dried dates and a few ice cubes. Drinking this blue smoothie, although it photographs looking more purple will encourage you to speak up when needed and be quiet when no words need to be spoken.

6th Chakra Third Eye/In Between the Brow Line and Sinuses Smoothie: Frozen or raw mixed berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, a banana, a handful of almonds, unsweetened almond milk and a few ice cubes. This healing third eye smoothie will help you let go of some old mind patterns and story lines so you can see through new eyes.

7th Chakra Crown/Top of the Head: Two bananas, unsweetened almond milk, unsweetened coconut flakes and a few ice cubes. This milky white crown chakra smoothie will keep you cool, calm and connected to everyone and everything regardless of the heat.

This coming Saturday July 26th 4pm at Bamboomoves Yoga in Englewood, NJ I will be leading my "Summer Belly: Finding Ease and Strength Workshop." Here I will thread in more Ayurveda Made Easy Summer Lifestyle Tips while we practice a belly, side and low back body focused yoga practice. Read more about it and register for this Saturday's workshop at www.bamboomovesyoga.com

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Aromatherapy: Peppermint Essential Oil

When the heat is on, the heat within us increases. Drinking iced drinks, wearing breathable light colored clothes, going in the shade, turning on the fans and air conditioning are a few ways to keep cool during summer's hottest and muggiest of days. Yet, there's a way to quickly cool down that often goes overlooked. That is applying peppermint essential oil to your wrists, forehead and back of neck. When you do it feels like instant air conditioning was turned on in your body. Plus it's refreshing smell can invigorate you as well as those around you. 

Peppermint aromatherapy works not only to beat the summer heat but also as a stress buster because it instantly grounds and calms us as we use our inhale to smell. Anytime we smell something we notice our breath thus realize the moment at hand. This presence allows us to think, speak and act from the best place we can, our center.

Please join me Saturday July 26th at 4pm at www.bamboomovesyoga.com in Englewood, NJ for my Summer Belly: Finding Ease and Strength Workshop where I will lead you through a belly, lower back and side body focused yoga physical practice plus introduce you to Ayurveda, a natural medicinal practice from Southern India that includes Aromatherapy as a natural cure to help heal depression, anxiety, stress, lethargy and more.

I keep my peppermint www.youngliving.com essential oil in an empty change purse and put it in my bag of the day for instant cooling relief.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summer Sun Energy Balancing Ritual

Many ancient cultures view the sun in a male form as a God. An energy that can dominate and be feared as well as protect and be loved. When I think of unhealthy masculine energy which can be found in a woman, I imagine a rough, abrasive know it all who likes to take over and boss people around. However both men and women can embody a healthy masculine energy. They can express a variety of positive qualities such as stand up for themselves, initiate change for the good and take care of their family for generations to come. To create an all inclusive and all powerful society, we need to mindfully practice and perhaps even ritualize balancing our male and female energy.

Here is a solitary ritual you can do this summer while the sun is most potent to rebalance the masculine side of yourself. All you need to do is go outside and stand in the sun's glow. If you like you can be in a yoga pose as you feel the sun's rays of light move through you. Notice what you feel. Perhaps strengthened, calm, confident and aware of your next step or where to back off. When you feel done, deepen your next inhale and exhale. Sit down on the ground and rest. Here Mother Earth can absorb any excess masculine energy from you and assist in balancing your male/female energy.

Repeat this ritual as often as you feel necessary to balance your energy.

Natarajasana, King Dancer's pose, tank www.zara.com skirt, vintage from India, sandals www.ninewest.com shades www.forever21.com bangles, gifted from India

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer Ayurveda Made Easy Lifestyle Tips

Summer's light filled days inspires free flowing schedules that propel us to connect with others, transform and grow. However when the heat is on, the heat within us increases. Tempers can flare and our skin can get sun burned, bit, scraped and possibly break out into a heat rash. In the heat exercise routines are likely to pause and appetites can decrease during the day. This can make you extremely hungry later in the evening which of course is not the best for your digestion and managing your weight.

A natural way to cure a variety of seasonal ailments is to practice Ayurveda (eye-your-vay-duhh), yoga's sister science. It is a natural medicinal practice from Southern India that says everything that exists in the universe is made up of nature's elements- space, air, fire, water and earth. Different combinations of these elements create the clouds, rocks, flowers, dogs and us. Some people have more space and air within them, they are called vatas. Vatas are light on their feet, super creative and feel chilly most of the time. Their energy is dominant during late autumn through mid winter. Kapha's are late winter and early spring people. They have plenty of earth and water running through them which makes them congested most of the time, able to go with the flow better than most and they are the friends you can always rely on. Thirdly there's the late spring and summer pitta person. Pitta's have plenty of fire and a little water in them. They run hot, thirsty and are super fast people who are at times hot tempered, not very emotional when it comes to other's needs but are great strategists. If you're wondering if it is possible to be a combination of two types, the answer is yes.

Once you understand what elements or combination of elements you're made of, then you can use nature's elements to stay balanced and healthy. Since the basic principle of Ayurveda is like increases like, a pitta person during summer's high temps will feel their best if they perfectly follow Ayurveda's how to stay balanced and cool tips while a vata type who runs cold or a kapha who is nearly always congested can loosely follow these tips.

Here are a few Ayurveda Made Easy Summer Lifestyle Tips. Pitta, fire people pay close attention:

Food: Avoid excess salty and spicy foods such as soy, onions, garlic, red peppers, red meat, tomatoes, alcohol and fermented foods. All of these foods burn the inner body. It is best to save them for a cooler season. I know that tomatoes in the summer are hard to pass up as they are their ripest. Therefore the best thing to do especially if you are a Pitta is to learn how to make sauce this summer and freeze it for the fall/winter when you can use a tomato's heating quality. This summer opt for sweet tasting foods which are carbs like rice, pasta, potatoes, bread and dry cereal. Having a bowl of dry cereal with milk for breakfast is perfectly cooling as well as drying. Sweet fruits and veggies are in season, so enjoy them. Make smoothies, juice or eat fresh berries, peaches, melons, mangoes, cucumbers, mint leaves and green leafy vegetables. When it cools off at dinnertime you can slice eggplant, corn, zucchini, mushrooms and summer squash. Put your sliced veggies into a wok with a little vegetable oil and stir fry for a short amount of time with high heat. Cool, dry and sweet are the food qualities you should reach for to balance your energy in the heat.

Skin: Summer promotes a whole bunch of skin issues. Sun burn, heat bumps, rashes, scrapes and acne. Buy an aloe vera plant, they're easy to keep and whenever your skin needs a little cooling break open a branch and use the gel straight from the plant. Also drinking aloe vera juice where you cool your skin from the inside out works wonders.

Eyes: Summer's bright light makes us squint and strains our eyes. The result can be dry itchy eyes. During the day wear shades and a straw hat outdoors. This will also ease future wrinkling. In the evening soak two cotton balls in milk and place them over closed eyes for about 5 minutes.

Heartburn and End of the Day Belly Bloat: Heartburn attacks worse in the summer. When you combine salsa, chips, hamburgers, ketchup, a pickle and alcohol with the summer's hot sun, be ready to burp and feel the burn in your chest as well as notice the end of the day belly bloat. Drinking milk will instantly ease heartburn. To avoid a burning chest and bloated belly eat plenty of fruit salad, veggies, pasta and potato salad at your next barbecue. Hydrate with minted teas and fruit smoothies. If you must drink alcohol stick to white wine. Add seltzer and make a spritzer.

Exercise: Taking a dip in water and swimming is ideal. Also a bike ride or walk preferably under leafy shady trails in the morning or sunset are great. Avoid exercising outdoors under the noon time sun. Hot bodied pittas should pass on participating in competitive sports and hot yoga. Yoga in a ventilated room is balancing in the summer heat.

Smell: Smells get worse in the heat. Body odor, garbage sitting on the side of the curb and the New Yorker in me must share the smell of dog's urine on the streets is intensified under the hot blazing sun. Carrying a small bottle of summer perfect essential oils such peppermint, jasmine, rose and sandalwood are instantly satisfying and cooling when applied to your wrists, forehead, back of neck and soles of feet.

Stress: The heat easily makes us angry. When things don't go our way our shoulders creep up into our ears and we're fast to honk our horns. To cool our inner boil practice yoga breath exercises. They will instantly ground and calm your energy.

Using our nostrils and noticing our breath is the fastest way to connect our mind and body. This is why aromatherapy works. Unfortunately learning pranayama/breath work needs to be done in person so... perhaps I'll see you in yoga class this summer where I'll be sure to also teach you summer's most balancing postures. 

Also my upcoming Saturday July 26th at 4pm workshop "Summer Belly: Finding Ease and Strength" is a core body focused physical yoga practice threaded with summer ayurveda wisdom. Read more about the workshop on my site's sidebar and register @ www.bamboomovesyoga.com in Englewood, NJ.