Why you’re feeling so frisky this winter.
This time of year, we are a bit more extreme, with less impulse control, and, let’s face it, a bit more desperate for loving. For some of us, this means that whole phenomenon of getting wasted and going home with someone from the club can be very real. Why? Well, let’s talk about Vata.
Vata season, along with being a time of creativity, travel, and social engagements, is one of extremes and irrational decision-making. While the consumer industry takes full advantage of impulsive behavior during Vata season (hello, clearance sales!), that certain someone eyeing you across the bar may be pouncing on your Vata as well.
Because winter is a season of depletion and hypersensitive emotions, and keenly feeling any emotional voids, we naturally crave being nurtured, connected and loved. We just want to snuggle and feel connected and cherished in order to balance the Vata energy.
In Ayurveda, we approach balance by bringing in the opposite qualities of whichever energy is in excess. To balance Vata, for example, we would bring into our lives warm, moist, nourishing, grounding, still, heavy, constant, regular and rhythmic qualities in every way we could. A one-night-stand may feel like the right remedy to fill the void temporarily, but in truth, it’s not grounding, constant, or deeply nourishing, so it does little to balance Vata.
So what should all of the single folks out there do this season? Well, to have a balanced approach this time of year, you either 1.) Make love to yourself and/or 2.) Wait until you are in a grounded romantic situation before getting sexual.
Self-love is a good way to practice feeling connected and in touch with what your sexual proclivities and needs are. This helps to ground your sexuality and self-confidence while expressing your sexuality, and is inherently Vata balancing.
For those of us with a partner, creating the time and space to make love is really important during the winter months. Increased connectedness, nurturing, touch, softness, and suppleness are all qualities of experience that help to balance Vata. When the busy holiday season is over, try to shift your focus to scheduling and planning romantic moments.
For Vata-balancing love making (with self or partner), simply bring in the qualities that balance Vata. Bust out that bear skin rug in front of the fireplace and you’ve brought grounding, softness, and warmth into your experience. Make love in the bathtub and there is warmth and moistness to balance Vata. Take it slow, be present, and double the amount of foreplay to counteract the quick, dry, ADHD, fleeting nature of Vata.
Warming aphrodisiac essential oils are a great fit this time of year (in your oil burner, not your body, as essential oils applied directly on skin may burn or irritate). Examples include frankincense, cardamom, patchouli, clary sage, nutmeg, and sandalwood. Sweet aphrodisiac essential oils such as rose, jasmine, neroli, and ylang ylang, also balance Vata. Many of these oils also calm the nervous system, which tends to be overactive during times of high Vata.
Lastly, find moderation. Vata is extreme, so even making love with too much frequency can be depleting and increase a Vata imbalance. One to two times a week is Ayurveda’s idea of moderate. And that will likely feel like plenty when you have a deeper intimate experience.
Of course, we can all bring in more touch, nurturing, and intimacy in our non-romantic relationships as well. Just giving more hugs and smiling warms Vata as well.
For any operating system, regular maintenance is key to optimal performance and longevity. The same is true for our physical bodies as well as our emotional operating systems. A healthy state of mind requires self-care.
How do we monitor, maintain and prevent issues in our emotional mainframe? The Ayurvedic concept of dinacharya refers to the daily rhythms of self-care. One whole day could be spent in self-care, but that doesn’t work for most modern urban lives. Instead, I recommend having a morning ritual that attends to your body and your mind/emotions, and feeds your soul. There are ample recommendations for traditional Ayurvedic morning practices; however, not everyone feels nurtured using a neti pot nor is everyone comfortable with meditation.
In fact, these practices can often be geared to the physical body, like dry brushing your skin or tongue scraping. You have to find practices that make you feel like you are taking care of your body. What a morning ritual looks like can be as varied and individual as we are. Mine, for example, includes a hot cup of chai, watching the sunrise, herbs, intention-setting at the altar, chanting, meditation and sometimes a morning stretch. That’s a lot for some, but as long as your self-care ritual cultivates pleasant feelings and includes an opportunity to examine your thoughts, decisions and feelings, you’re golden.
I’d recommend setting aside 30 minutes at minimum to not feel rushed. In addition to solidifying a circadian rhythm and benefitting the physical body, daily self-care has deeper benefits for your emotional and subtle bodies, otherwise understood as your energy fields. Here are the four major benefits of incorporating dinacharya into your day.
Regular time and space with yourself
Many times clients ask me if working out at the gym or attending a yoga class can “count” as their self-care time. While the answer is different for all of us, a silent run in nature or a deep restorative class could be opportunities for a good emotional check-in. A weight-training circuit, workout with a friend, or fast-paced Vinyasa flow probably do not allow you to be really present with yourself. Being present with yourself lets you explore what you are feeling and why. This is the time when you can consider how you want to approach things and how congruent you are with your decisions.
Energy to nurture your best self
You have to nurture yourself to be able to be the person you want to be. In Ayurveda, we honor that we are dynamic, changing beings. For example, I understand that I am more likely to be reactive, short-tempered or closed-minded when I’m short on sleep, not feeling well and/or starving. When I feel well taken care of and well supported, I’m able to receive and respond to life in a way that is more aligned with my ideal version of me.
I can aspire to be calm, empathetic, helpful, nurturing, flowing and growing when I am in a state of wellness, so it doesn’t make sense to expect that I can be any of those qualities from a place of deep depletion. If I force myself to, then I’m either getting further depleted and losing sustainability, or I’m building resentment and bitterness towards the things that take my energy, time and resources away from healing myself.
Greater sense of integrity
An important facet of health from an Ayurvedic perspective is having clarity and flow in all of the physical and subtle bodies, or energy fields. When channels are obstructed, accumulation, decay and loss of functionality follow. Our sense of integrity could be viewed as a clear channel of flow from intention to words to actions to manifestation. When our words and actions do not echo the sentiment of our intentions, we block our ability to manifest our desired experience of life.
This comes up often in the topic of self-care. Many of us have the intention to feel well and be healthy, but don’t match our words and actions with that intention. Instead, we feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the intention and choose easier old patterns but then judge ourselves for that. When I put off my dental cleanings, skip the gym, binge on chocolate and keep forgetting to make that eye doctor appointment, my actions are all saying my health is not important to me, though I may speak otherwise. My integrity is obstructed, and I will have trouble manifesting and sustaining my desired level of health.
When I have a daily time to attend to myself, I know that I’m showing up for my intention in a regular way, and this allows me to respect myself more and cultivate a greater sense of integrity and trust in myself: I show up. Of course, this also leads to reduction in internal conflict, removing the obstruction from your flow.
Attracting what you are embodying
During my morning ritual, I’m feeling cared for, even if it’s by me. I’m feeling more nurtured. I’m feeling more heard. It doesn’t matter that I’m nurturing and hearing myself because I still am embodying those states more with my daily ritual. Through self-care, we attract more experiences, situations and people that allow us to feel well cared for, valued and supported. I’m able to allow my feelings to guide me in decisions, and I’m making more decisions that are in alignment. This means I’m embodying and attracting the state of being guided, clear, decisive, and having my feelings attended to.
When you’ve attended to your feelings, shown up with your best self more regularly, prioritized your mind-body practices, and embodied being well, you will love yourself and your life experience more. It’s just that simple.
A lot of abundance manifesting programs and coaches use an-attitude-of-gratitude as a tool. It makes sense. Gratitude is an emotion that is very similar to that of feeling abundant.
When you don’t know how to feel abundant, gratitude is a great gateway feeling to learn how. Let’s face it, it’s only when we don’t feel abundant that we are seeking to.
However, no approach is going to allow you to feel abundant more so than actually practicing feeling abundant, and there are many ways to practice.
In this video, I share a perspective that is one of my most powerful ways of feeling, and thus attracting, people-experiences-situations that allow me to feel abundant:
“I am free and able to give myself what I need.”
A kind of abundance we don’t think of .
We get to choose our perspectives.
Think about that. That’s huge.
We don’t have to carry on the perspectives of our parents, our culture, our generation, our media, our experts, or anyone. Even though we often do. (Here’s your reminder to maybe not today )
Being able to choose what perspective I have in a situation allows me to choose one in which I frame the situation. It defines which lens I look at my life experience through. This determines whether I feel empowered, or victimized.
There is a rhythm I really don’t hear anyone talking about, that has become one of the most important rhythms of my life: the slow steady baseline of fulfilling intentions.
How is your rhythm? What is the feel of the pattern that ensues after you set an intention?
Mine used to feel like: intention born–>great enthusiasm and motivation and action–>start to manifest many options–>become overwhelmed and indecisive; start to burn out; feel irritable (vata and pitta imbalance)–>abandon ship–>intention left unfulfilled; I judge myself for it. I experience regret (secondary kapha joins the imbalance party in my mind).
If I described the above pattern as a rhythm, it had a quick crescendo, staccato and asymmetric decrescendo, followed by a quick intense shift in the beat, and then a low heaviness. Hopefully, you get the idea.
That rhythm did not feel good. We make poor, impulsive and often self destructive choices when we are vata imbalanced and overwhelmed. I would speak and act in ways that did not match my original intention. That would then slow the momentum of me manifesting that intention.
With the intention unfulfilled, I built the equivalent of ama (toxic buildup from partially digested food) in my emotional body (toxic buildup from partially digested intentions), aka emotional baggage.
Now, my rhythm is still not steady, I continue to have periods of indecision and overwhelm. However, it’s a lot more steady than before, and I really don’t have self judgement and regret anymore (yes, guilt is gone folks!). I fulfil a greater percentage of my intentions, and feel less burdened. I’ve learned what it feels like to show up solidly for an intention and manifest quickly, which I can contrast to my previous pattern.
It feels so much better to show up for my intentions than it does to put it off, that I prioritize the intentions more and more. I’m not doing it because I think I should.
Simply taking the time to build awareness of what your rhythm of fulfilling intention looks like is a powerful first step. The awareness may organically blossom into a shift in decision making.
A second step is to make a list of all of your current unfulfilled intentions. Pick the 3 that will make you feel the best if they were accomplished and focus on those 3 for the next 3 moon cycles (start after the next new moon).
“I remember the women gathering their forces in the hallowed communal events for the villagers. The only medicine they used were castor oil, rubbing oils for bodily pains, neem, black sage for brushing teeth, herbal cough syrup, clove oil, red lavender oil, and several homemade ointments. Poultices, plaster, rubs, and compresses were the general treatment and application for a host of conditions. Life was simple. We have the power to make it simple again by reclaiming the commonsensical way of the native people, many of whom had no formal education but excelled in the sweet ways and magical vocabulary of the Inner Medicine healing.” –Maya Tiwari, excerpted from Women’s Power to Heal
What are the natural health tools of your family or cultural heritage? Try them out, reclaim them, or modify them for modern urban life.
Every way we reclaim simple and natural in our healing supports the Earth, and our empowerment in using our tools.
Kitchardi & head massages,
When I ask my clients, “Which of your elders experiences these feelings you feel in relationship?” They know instantly, and reply with certainty, “My mother. My grandmother. My dad.”
We all imprint how to be in relationship from someone; likely the adult you spent the most time around as a youth.
I picked men as different from my father as I could, hoping to avoid my mother’s experience of relationship. My dad is an aloof, conservative accountant, super-pitta kinda guy. So, I picked men who were conversational, artsy, and who worshipped me. Yet, I still found myself feeling disappointed, betrayed, unheard, and/ or taken advantage of.
Darn! That’s how my mom felt. I don’t know much of my grandmothers’ stories, but from what I’m learning about ancestral patterns, I’d bet they also shared this experience.
Your ancestors experience is coded in your DNA expression mechanism. Your cells share the same cytoplasm and mitochondria from your mother’s mother’s mother’s mother (and on). Your experience is imprinting on your children, and coding in their DNA.
How you feel matters. It matters so much, you pass on the info of how to feel. This is a survival mechanism. If we survived, then something about how our ancestors felt in relationship to what surrounded them (others, nature) was successful, so it’s meant to be passed on.
So look at how you feel in your major relationships. Identify common feelings. Those are part of your ancestral story.
I’m learning to identify feeling disappointed, and unheard as part of my matrilineal gift. The imprint I received from my mother is the vehicle through which the Universe created the perfect “classroom” for me to learn my karmic lessons: to hear myself, and to accept myself.
When I am fully accepting of myself, I embody contentment, and I am more content and accepting of others, which means less disappointment. When I really listen to my inner voice, and show her that with my words and actions lining up with her guidance, I embody being heard. If I embody it, if I give it to myself, I will attract it in people, situations, and experiences. It’s a natural law.
When I find myself feeling the ancestral story in my relationships, I:
– reach for other perspectives on the same situation–there are always perspectives that feel better
– communicate my stories and transparently work with them in my relationships
– identify the unmet emotional needs beneath my feelings of disappointment, etc.
– consider whether the person I feel the story with is capable of meeting my needs at that time
– brainstorm other ways to meet my emotional needs, and begin implementing them
– ask how I could benefit from this feeling, or situation: clarity, greater understanding of what I need, a shift in my decision-making, knowing how to apply this awareness to feel better
You are responsible for attracting your experience in relationship. However, if we want to use relationships as a tool for emotional and spiritual growth, we have to honor our ancestral stories in relationship.
shift your DNA expression,
Have you ever had anyone adjust your internal organs?
(I mean during a therapeutic massage, not with surgical procedures.) I didn’t even know this was possible.
I just had a woman bring up my prolapsed bladder, removed adhesions from my colon, release tension in the hip ligaments, clear congestion from inflammation in my upper GI, and I wasn’t even fully aware I had these issues.I went to her to recenter my womb. What I was reminded, was that all that stuff in there is interconnected, and in constant relation to each other.
Most doctors don’t palpate the abdomen routinely, massage therapists avoid it, and frankly, it’s an intimate experience to have someone caressing your internal organs from your tummy. We hide from being in touch with our deepest emotions like we do our deepest organs.
I didn’t know how to massage and support my organs. I wonder, of the millions of doctors on this planet, how many can adjust their own organs and diagnose with noninvasive touch?
How powerful would it be if you could understand what your body was telling you? Imagine knowing how to massage yourself to support the integrity and function of your organs?
This is what I’ve been absolutely fascinated by lately. So, I took the first step by seeing an amazing Mesoamerican Traditional Medicine (MTM) “womb whisperer.”
My whole family has bulging disc, lower body muscle tension, and sciatica issues. Rather than write it off as “genetic,” I’d rather get to the psychospiritual roots of the physical issues.
I’ve utilized chiropractors, doctors, meds, yoga, PT, massage, and acupuncture all to varying degrees of success in the past. Yet, the issues continue to surface, and I’m starting to identify patterns.
This time around, I want a more complete healing experience. I want to learn how to pre-empt the flares, attend to the emotional needs, and heal my familial patterns.
Honor your ancestors by picking up some tools that deepen your healing of hereditary health issues, and pass that wisdom on to the younger generations. Ayurveda, MTM, and all holistic systems have so many tools for you.
The right tools will come, as soon as you set the intention,
There was a chant that I heard with some regularity for about 4 years of my childhood. I’ve never seen it written, or translated, and for some reason, it came into my head recently.
It started out in fragments, two words, a rhythm, a feel. I remembered that I loved the sound of it, and slowly, after about a week, I pieced together the whole thing.
This chant is in my blood. It almost feels like certain genes are lighting up when I recite it.
And most importantly, it came to me at the time I needed it most (which I only realized after I looked it up, read it’s meaning, and recognized it as a powerful tool for what my present intention is.)
Certain instruments, or sounds, speak to us beyond our minds. Drumming, chanting, rhythms and melodies that touch your soul, are great examples of sounds we recognize with our ancestral DNA.
So I was not surprised when at a sound healing, the circle leader announced that healing journey work affects the 7 generations past, and the 7 generations forward. Though this belief was coming from the Shamanic tradition, it resonates so well with Vedic thought, and karma, and the laws of cause and effect.
In short, ancient traditions seem to acknowledge that when you do your healing work, it helps to heal those around you.
If you look back a few generations, and see a lot of pain, it’s clear that there is healing to be done.
This week’s lesson learned: When you show up for your own healing, in any way that feels like self care, you are reducing the imprint of pain and suffering on those you spend time with. When you are well, those around you get to feel what well feels like, they get to witness it, and it becomes part of their possible realities.
Cheers to drums, crystal bowls and didgeridoos, Siva
Today I resolve to teach my children that space is one of the elements they need to thrive, just like food.
It’s amazing how in our attempt to strain spirituality out of education, we somehow also filtered out emotions.
(WTF? and how did this go down? was this with the fall of matriarchy? if anyone knows of more resources on this, please share. )
In addition to sunlight, and oxygen, and food, we need love, and connection, and the ability to be aware of, and communicate our feelings. And, I’ve recently learned, we need space. Space meaning literally space in between us and our families, jobs, communities, perspectives, environments.
When you are surrounded by the same, you become it.
When you keep yourself tucked into all the kids and the friends and the things to do, you lose the ability to grow.
Yes, growth requires space. A healthy level of disconnectedness allows you to observe and connect with yourself in a more ‘real-time,’ authentic way.
For those of us without yogic superpowers, space requires time, so personal growth requires time.
So today, I honor myself with the fertile ground to grow and blossom: space. I resolve to create time/space for myself to just be away from it all, every week, for 5 hours.
Wow, that was really powerful to write out (Try it. I dare you).
Why you can’t teach your partner anything that you want from them…
Okay, this isn’t really true all the time. I’ve myself experienced relationships with men who not only enjoyed learning what I had to share, but it caused them to dive deeper and even surpass my skill level at times. This requires a lovely and healthy openness, which many people lack these days.
We’ve been hurt. We’re defensive. There are times we are like impetuous children that would rather do things the hard way on their own, than being shown an easier path.
Hopefully, we mature out of that.
One of the most beautiful ways, for me, is to stop trying to teach my partner anything. To just say how I feel, maybe point out some resources, and then simply exemplify what behavior/response/perspectives I’m hoping him to pick up.
I don’t want to have to teach my partner how to love me, or how to make me feel safe because, for me, and I may not be alone here, that feels like work. It feels like nagging. It feels like a restating of what is, which attracts more of the same. It activates my triggers of not being worthy or appreciated.
I don’t want to embody a state where my needs aren’t met. But that’s a state that is inevitable in relationship.
So, I’ve got to meet my own needs ruthlessly, and this is how I will keep coming back to embodying “needs met/supported/safe.”
I honor my self that needs to know she is safe, and heard, and loved, by making decisions that show her that.
So, why you can’t teach your partner anything that you want from them? Because, if he/she is able to give it to you, he/she will know or learn it. And, more importantly, because you are the one responsible to give yourself what you want.
How can you honor your self that is safe heard and loved in your decisions today?
a WEALTH of RESOURCES
AYURVEDA made ACCESSIBLE for ANYONE…
CHECK OUT MY LECTURE!
WE’RE EXCITED ABOUT…
FEB 5 Ayurvedic Living Workshop
10-3p Lunch & Ayurvedic Starter Kit
a WEALTH of RESOURCES
Svastha Health Ayurvedic Wellness
1815 Petaluma Ave
Long Beach, CA 90815
MAY 2014 ISSUE
BHAKTI FEST MIDWEST 2014
MOKSHA FESTIVAL 2013
FIRST FOR WOMEN, MARCH 2014
LA YOGA MAGAZINE
HEALTH AND WELLNESS GUIDE
at NATURAL PRODUCTS EXPO WEST
MAY ISSUE 2014
BHAKTI FEST WEST 2014