A Vedic Morning

This Vedic routine is a beautiful way to start each morning, adding to the benefits of meditation and making you feel fresh, connected and full of creativity for the day. Do what you can fit into your current schedule, starting piece by piece till it becomes a habit. Radical change can cause more stress then good, so integrate this routine part by part. It might look like a lot but trust me, it doesn’t take long. And damn do you feel good when you do it.

RISE WITH THE SUN (Vata time is 2am - 6am)

Waking just before the sun rises allows you to take the light, fresh and creative energy of the VATA dosha with you throughout the day. It is an hour of stillness and purity. Rest a few moments before you arise thinking positive and happy thoughts for the day.

CLEAN YOUR TONGUE

Scraping your tongue each morning removes toxins that have accumulated in the body over night from undigested food or experiences. Try it out and see what you scrape off… you’ll never not scrape again. Tongue scrapers can be bought here.

CLEANSE WITH A DRINK

Drink a full glass of warm water with lemon (ginger optional), wait 5-10mins then go to the bathroom to cleanse the insides of your body. The more you do this routine, the easier a morning evacuation will become.

SELF MASSAGE

Daily Abhyanga massage is a powerful self-healing Ayurvedic modality. It connects you to your body, facilitates in the removal of toxins, enlivens your senses and creates flow and movement. If you don’t have time for a whole body massage (usually takes about 10-20min) simply focus on your belly for 5 minutes. Massage is such a great way to become aware of your own body and how you’re feeling so that during the day you make more self-aware decisions that are really going to be of benefit rather than living solely from your mind. Belly massage video here and more videos on the incredible Damian Hagglund’s website here.

SHOWER

Water purification is a daily ritual in India, and although you might not be able to dip into the Holy Ganges each day, having a morning shower will do the trick. Feeling cleansed and purified you are fresh and ready to start your morning meditation program.

YOGA ASANA (10-30min)

Starting the day with some simple yoga asanas is highly beneficial. You don’t have to attend a yoga class, or push out a 90min hot yoga session to be ‘doing yoga’ and gaining its benefits. It’s actually more beneficial if you are calm, relaxed and doing yoga as if you were ‘swimming in a warm ocean watching the sun rise with a smile on your face.’ Start with a few repetitions of the Sun Salutation (facing the sun), or any other gentle yoga asana sequence you have been taught. It’s the morning and the body may be slightly stiff, so take it easy, be kind and caring to yourself and allow the energy in your body to flow.

PRANAYAMA BREATHING (2-5min)

Pranayama breathing techniques help in purifying the subtle bodies and bring coherence to your brain. There are a wide variety of breathing techniques; ask your yoga or meditation teacher to suggest a technique that will benefit you in calming the body and mind before you dive into meditation.

MEDITATION 

Doing yoga asana and pranayama prepares your body and mind to transcend in meditation. When we meditate we have no expectations, no preferences for a certain experience and no preconceived ideas of what is going to happen. We let go, surrender to the moment and go with the flow of natures intelligence. It’s all about easy and effortless repetition of the mantra and a nonchalant attitude to thoughts. If you need any help with your practice get in contact with your teacher or email me here.

BREAKFAST

Nourish your cleansed body with a beautiful meal. Eat a medium sized breakfast (lunch should be your biggest meal) or if you’re not that hungry have a blended drink. Eat with the seasons, with your body type and with what FEELS good. Trust your intuition and listen to what your body wants - that’s why we do this morning routine and why we meditate! It’s all about connecting to your innate sense of wisdom. Eat something that tastes amazing, that pleases all your senses and will give you energy for the day.

WASH HANDS AND BRUSH TEETH

Hygiene is important. You’ve cleansed your body in the shower, mind in meditation, and now we clean our hands and teeth after a delicious breakfast.

DRESS WITH CARE

Dress yourself and allow your style to be an expression of your truest self. Colour is a powerful tool in reflecting and altering your mood so pay attention to how you clothe yourself. Be comfortable and confident and allow fashion to be a tool of self expression.

DIGESTIVE WALK (20min)

Walk briskly for about 20 minutes or so after you’ve had breakfast to aid in digestion and stimulate the release of good endorphins throughout the body. In Ayurveda, when you are exercising your heart rate should increase but not to the point that you wouldn’t be able to have a conversation with the person next to you. Be easy, be calm and allow your senses to absorb the incredible world around you as you briskly walk around your suburb, to the train station or wherever you need to be next.

ENJOY YOUR DAY!

Read on for A VEDIC DAY // PART 2 // MIDDAY

Ayurvedic principles for restoring and maintaining mind-body balance

1) Take time each day to quiet your mind (meditate).
2) Eat a colorful, flavorful diet.
3) Engage in daily exercise that enhances flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular fitness.
4) Sleep soundly at night.
5) Eliminate what is not serving you.
6) Cultivate loving, nurturing relationships.
7) Perform work that awakens your passion.

Source: Deepak Chopra

Watch on lokalife.com

Cooling Ayurvedic Drinks // Aloe Vera Elixir

Aloe Vera has been used for its health giving benefits for over 5000 years (just like our meditation practice) and the benefits or ‘why you would want to drink it’ are numerous and diverse. Sacred Source Nutrition gives a great detailed list of the benefits of Aloe and if you want to know more I’d check out her article. 

Basically, Aloe Vera is rich in vitamins and minerals and is one of the few plants that contains vitamin B12. It aids in digestion, detoxification and alkalizes the body. Aloe is also great for your skin, is an antimicrobial (like turmeric) and reduces inflammation. The thing I love most about Aloe is that it’s an ADAPTOGEN. “An adaptogen is something that boosts the body’s natural ability to adapt to external changes and resist illness.” The Aloe plant is here in service to humanity. Meditate and drink this little beauty and get the benefits of an increased ability to cope with stress, and stay cool, calm and super adaptable.

What you will need // In a jar or glass mix aloe vera juice, water, lemon, fresh mint, chia seeds and raw honey. Add pre-soaked chia seeds if you want to drink right away or if you’re adding dry chia seeds, leave the drink for a few hours to allow the seeds to soak and expand.

For a 500ml bottle //
100ml inner leaf aloe juice (bought from health food stores)
350ml room temp water
2 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs fresh chopped mint
1 tsp chia seeds
Optional for sweetness:
1 tbs raw honey

Shake and drink throughout the day to stay cool and nourish your entire being.

For more nourishing recipes visit lokameditation.tumblr.com/nourish

To learn how to meditate visit lokameditation.com

A special thanks to Katie and Damian for the recipe inspiration - for more about Ayurveda and Marma therapy visit Damian’s website damianhagglund.com

The knowledge we have acquired at school is useful only in consumption society. With the help of math we can calculate how much we have earned and we can pay our bills, but our knowledge is useless in counting emotions. - - It is time to forsake our rectangular classrooms and our cramped corridors and go out to see the light of nature, the light that is soon to be reflected in our hearts. It is time to quit trusting capitalist values and instead look up at the infinity of the sky.
—  Janesh Vaidya, Ayurveda for your mind
5
Ayurvedic Winter Cleanse: Part II, Weekend Integration Plan

Good Morning! I hope you all had a chance to take a look at Part I, which highlighted the 5 day cleanse. The first couple of days I felt a bit tired & headachy, but that soon subsided. After about day 3 I started to feel wonderful. I began to feel more rested, with more mental clarity, more vibrant energy, & my digestion issues had calmed.

As we entered into the weekend, an “Integration Plan” was introduced. Where as for most of the week, we consumed a “mono diet,” the weekend was about gently adding some variety back in, while still avoiding common allergens, stimulants, etc. 

~ Breakfast choices were: "Sweet & Spicy Quinoa Porridge" (see similar recipe), "Paleo Pancakes," "Bliss Breakfast Drink" all of which I loved & will make a part of my regular breakfast rotation. 

~ Lunch choices were: roasted root vegetables, quinoa, Tuscan Kale Salad,” or "Morrocan Beans".Saturday, I made steamed beets, baked sweet potato stuffed with Laura’s detox tabbouleh, & kale salad topped with my "raw pepita parm." Sunday was similar, but I was missing my daily kitchari, so I put that on the side. It was one of the most delicious & satisfying lunches I’ve ever had! 

~ Dinner options: "Tofu Miso Soup", "Curried Ragout," or "Soba, Tofu & Veggie Stir Fry." For Saturday night, I chose the optional "Liver Flush" which included drinking this powerful "Intestinal Apple Cleanse" drink, followed by a soothing mineral salt bath to further draw out toxins. On Sunday night, I took inspiration from the Stir Fry with Soba recipe & made a variation with what I had on hand. The result was a lovely "Garlicky Ginger Soba Salad with Broccolini & Cabbage." I promise to share that recipe soon! 

And with that, our cleanse was complete. To reward my efforts, I celebrated with a bowl of "Coconut-Cacao Chia Pudding,” a favorite recipe from Katie’s Healing Kitchen. This recipe seemed to fit the cleanse guidelines as it is dairy free, gluten free & refined sugar free. And it’s full of super foods!  I really enjoyed getting back in the kitchen, preparing mindful meals, & taking care of myself with the daily practices of yoga, meditation, dry brushing, mineral salt soaks, & more. My hope was to continue to integrate many of these recipes & practices into a regular routine, moving forward. Patience & persistence shall prevail! 

I also want to note an important awakening. Taking a break from alcohol was a welcome retreat! I’ll admit that I often rely on a nightly glass of two (or lets be honest, three) of wine to help me “unwind.” I know that can be a dangerous crutch & its a relationship I often contemplate. For me, it often becomes a “negative habituation” in times of stress, & it’s something I am fully cognizant of, as alcoholism runs in my family. Quite frankly, for a while now I’ve been thinking about giving up alcohol completely - or at least, not keeping it in the house, & reserving it for a special occasion only. After taking a week off, I realized there are so many other more mindful things I can to to take the edge off ~ go for an evening walk with the dog, savor a mug of warm spiced almond milk, take a hot bath, do an evening yoga sequence, read an inspiring book. The best part of “being off alcohol” was being able to sleep through the night & wake up refreshed & ready to begin my morning routine.

As I began to wrap up my cleanse the first thing I thought about, before reintroducing certain foods back into my diet, was alcohol. I was curious about it from an Ayurvedic perspective. What I learned was, in contrast to the widely spread opinion that alcohol consumption is forbidden in Ayurveda, Ayurvedic doctors believe that good red wine in moderate doses can be positive as it "stimulates digestion, increases zest & encourages a good night’s sleep." However, Ayurvedic texts point out that alcohol is a toxin & strict rules apply for when or how it is taken. The Chakara Samhita, an authoritative Ayurvedic text, declares that "a medicine properly used becomes nectar & improperly used becomes poison," & describes a number of important rules that should be observed for taking alcohol ~ if one takes alcohol, it must be in due regard to food, drink, age, disease, strength, season, & nature of the mind & dosha. Without the application of these rules, it is best to avoid alcohol. 

Also from the Ayurvedic perspective, the abuse of alcohol affects the tranquility or the settled state of the mind, which is essential for life & attainment of enlightenment:

“Those who are unwise & ignorant, who are imbalanced, consider the taking of alcohol to be a creator of happiness; these people lose happiness & purity of mind. The wrong use of alcohol will cause illusion, fear, grief, anger, death & disease. If the memory of our true unbounded nature is impaired, then misery will follow. The wise acquainted with these adverse affects avoid alcohol”. *** (source)

Powerful food for thought. I also realized that alcohol is “Vata Aggravating,” & for me, Vata being my primary dosha, it can lead to further imbalance, dis-ease & depression. Note to self….the very nature of this cleanse was to restore balance, so why would I want to reverse all of that work? It became very clear that if I wished to continue to consume moderately & mindfully. 

Well friends, that wraps up my cleanse review. I will be honest, it didn’t take long for me to throw myself back out of balance by succumbing to stress & returning to some of my “unhealthy habitual comforts.” However, I am conscious & aware of my triggers, & now can clearly feel the distinction between my balanced & imbalanced states. When in balance, everything feels so much better. I know this. Why I chose the path back to imbalance? I am not quite sure. But at least I have the blueprint, the foundation has been laid, & the seed has been planted. Today is a new day, & a new opportunity to start fresh. As Bhava’s “I AM” mantra encourages, when you set an “Intention” & give it “Attention,” the universe will rise to support it’s “Manifestation.” My mantra for the cleanse "I AM REJUVENATED," & I was. Time to get it back! 

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For those of you who are interested…VedaWise hosts Ayurvedic Cleanses four times a year. The "21 Day Spring Cleanse" will begin on April 20th.

Why cleanse in Spring? 

This is the time of year when it is most important to clear Ama (toxic build-up) from the system. As Spring begins, the warmer weather melts the winter freeze. The same thing is happening within you. After putting on your winter coat ~ adding warm layers, strengthening immunity, & tonifying to the bone ~ your system is now ready to lighten up. If this is done effectively, you have optimal health for Spring & Summer. If not, the system gets clogged, sluggish, rundown & worn out.That is why Ayurveda places great importance on detoxification in early Spring. And that is why I am offering an easy, do it yourself, in the comfort of your own home, detox program,  to help you release winter’s accumulation & blossom into your best Spring yet.

You need not be local to San Diego to participate as it is guided online & through group conference calls. Click here to learn more & register. I hope you’ll join me for this healing Ayurvedic experience. 

A Ghulum Attending to a Customer

India (Delhi), Mughal, 1825

Gouache

A ghulum, or bath attendant of the Shudra caste, attending to a customer in a Mughal inspired bath- house. The ghulum is providing snehana and svedana, two Ayurvedic procedures, to his customer. Snehana includes external oil massage that nourishes the nervous system, while svedana is the applying of hot steam to flush out the toxins from the body.

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