Ayurvedic Winter Foods

Dry/rough skin, back/joint pain, constipation, wind and bloating, and cold hands and feet are caused by Vata season. Because of this dryness we produce more mucus, a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.

5 food groups to counteract this drying effect:

Root and Ground veg – squashes, beets, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes – heavy, dense, moisturising and grounding, rich in fibre, minerals, and antioxidants. Make soups, stews, and bake some for extra sweetness.

Fat – needed for insulation, along with the nutrients you need to repair, rebuild, and rejuvenate before the next spring. Add more olive oil, coconut oil, butter, and ghee to your cooking, nuts, seeds, oily fish.

More protein – nuts, seeds, Spirulina, eggs and a little yogurt. If you eat meat, eat a little bit more of it at this time of year (up to 10% of diet). Proteins are the building blocks for the body, and essential for structural strength, skin health, immunity, and more.

Fermented foods – support gut microbial immunity and warm the body. Try sauerkraut, miso soup, or some home-made yogurt sauce.

More fibre – root veg, seeds, and grains, stewed apples. Fibre supports better intestinal health, and helps you go to the loo. Ayurveda views good elimination as the key to good health.

(PS. We’re supposed to gain a pound or two in winter as part of our insulation.)

Do you want to find out more?

Why Autumn Is the Perfect Time for an Ayurvedic Detox

Autumn is a season of transition, perfect for a gentle detox to reset body and mind and prime your system for winter wellness.

Instead of automatic ‘buckle up and get back to work’ mode, switch into acknowledging that we are overly busy, slowing down and restoring the body – before the schedule takes over completely.

The view in Ayurveda is that all of nature – including us – is subject to the relationships among the three doshas, the three primal energies.

Vata dosha is associated with the elements air and ether; it governs creativity and change, and tends to wax and wane. 

Pitta dosha is governed by fire and water, it’s the energy of transformation, achievement, and metabolism. 

Kapha dosha is comprised of earth and water elements; it provides groundedness, stability, and growth.

Each of us contains a unique mix of the three doshas, although we tend to be dominated by one at any given time. 

The seasons are also governed by doshic activity. 

According to Ayurveda, by the time autumn rolls around, we have accumulated plenty of heat in our tissues from the summer season – that’s a fiery pitta dosha. 

As the leaves begin to dry up and the wind begins to blow, vata dosha begins to take over – that’s the one governed by air and marked by change, instability, and anxiety. Metaphorically speaking, what happens when you add random blasts of air to a fire? It burns even brighter. 

Ayurveda teaches us that when the accumulated heat of pitta is fanned by vata, it can lead to mental and physical burnout, stressing our adrenals and nervous system, putting some of the body’s natural detoxification processes on hold, and stressing our immune system.

Liver is the body’s natural detoxifier and one of the primary organs in which excess pitta can accumulate and cause problems. According to Claudia Welch, an Ayurvedic practitioner and the author of Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life, the liver processes not only the foods and drinks we ingest but also many of the chemicals we encounter on a daily basis – from prescription and over-the-counter medications, hand soaps, face creams, shampoos and other personal products, to minute organic and inorganic particles of dust, pollen, soot, smoke, car exhaust fumes and other liquid droplets in the air. And in summer when the liver gets overloaded with excess pitta (which puts stress on the liver), so do we. 

An overtaxed liver can result in migraines, irritability, rashes, anger, and more. “We get tired, we get sick, we gain or lose too much weight”, she says. 

As the two systems in the body designed to “transform” toxins – the liver and the digestive tract – become overwhelmed, we start to collect a kind of toxic residue made up of all the waste products that the body has not been able to properly break down, digest, or otherwise expel. 

The toxins our body cannot process have a name in Ayurveda: ama (Sanskrit for “that which harms or weakens”). Ayurvedic physician Robert Svoboda characterizes ama not only as a kind of physical sludge, but also as a psychosomatic sludge that pollutes the mind. Accumulated ama is the basis for much disease and emotional malaise—and from a physical standpoint, it creates an appealing host environment for cold and flu viruses that blow in on autumn’s winds.

Do You Really Need to Detox?

Think you don’t have to worry about ama? Not so fast. We all do, Svoboda says, as a result of poor diet choices, unhealthy lifestyle habits—even just living and breathing in a polluted world. “Pretty much no matter who you are, you’ll end up with ama,” he says. “The question you have to ask yourself is, ‘What do I do about it?

click on image to hear Catherine’s short and sweet Detox story on YouTube

21 Day Autumn Ayurvedic Detox Online at home with my full support will provide you with all the tools you need!

You will design your own detox from clearly defined options in your in-depth guide ebooks and with my full guidance and support through twice-weekly live coaching calls and 24/7 online forum access. 

All the calls are recorded, so you can always access them in the HUB if you happen to miss some.

We start on the 6th September with a prep week.

Moving into the deep on the weekend of 13th September, and tapering out into the ‘real world’ from the 20th.

You can go as gentle or as deep – depending upon your work/life demands in this period – don’t worry – there are many who did this detox while going through the busiest period of their life – myself included!

There are detailed How-to videos for each step of the way, in-depth guide literature to dive into for any and all minute detail, and answers to many of your questions – all in the HUB too.

And you’ll also find a fabulous Recipe book with great and easy-to-prepare recipes to suit everyone.

Oh, and you’ll learn more about your own Dosha, and how to support yourself better too.

The community is fabulous too – there are some seasoned detoxers among us, and some who are here for the first time – so there’s much support coming from here too – not to mention all of the welcomed support if you should struggle.

And the best thing is – you can do it in the comfort of your own home!! 

Book now for your access.

The Price is £100 per person.

Or bring a friend for a total of £150 for both of you!

Are You Struggling With Tiredness? If So You Are Not Alone – MP3 download

Are you struggling with tiredness?

Are you waking up tired each day, hitting the snooze button, wishing for just a few more minutes in bed?

Are you constantly having to resort to stimulants such as tea, coffee, coke,  sugary snacks – just to get you through the day?

Are you having trouble falling asleep, or sleeping through the night, or even waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep?

Is your sleep not refreshing enough?

How is your digestion and elimination?

Are you struggling with concentration, decision making? Or even with doing activities that you love to do with your loved ones?

Are you struggling with unwanted weight that doesn’t seem to stay off, in spite of eating healthily?

Do you feel stressed a lot of the time?

Are your hormones out of keel? Your thyroid,  your menstrual cycle, or perhaps your menopause has been really trying?

Have you been diagnosed as pre-diabetic, or diabetic?

Are you a subject to some immune issues – like frequent colds, coughs, infections, allergies and intolerances

I bet you know five people with one of the following diseases of broken down immune system:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Diabetes
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Grave’s disease
  • Lupus
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Psoriasis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBS)

As a culture we are out of sync with energy integrity, which disrupts our immune function.

When you develop abnormal circadian rhythms, you risk obesity, diabetes, depression, anxiety, and seasonal affective disorder to name a few proven problems. 

Ojas in Ayurveda is likened to the gel of our immune system. It is our refined energy. Ojas is an end product of excellent digestion and superior tissue formation. Ojas creates and protects the functional communication between all the cells and systems in our body. Our cells perform many duties, including absorption of nutrients, detoxification, communication with other cells and organs, and performing their own particular duties within any given organ system (eg brain cells, specific organ cells, muscle cells, blood cells etc).

Common factors that contribute to destruction of Ojas are:

  • Being sleep deficient
  • Not honouring our tiredness
  • Overscheduling and overwhelm
  • Using caffeine, sugar and chocolate to get us through the day
  • Habitual stress and worry
  • Perpetuating unhealthy relationships
  • Disordered eating patterns
  • Lacking self-confidence and indulging in negative self-talk
  • Stagnation of bodily fluids due to the lack of enough daily movement
  • Shallow breathing

Listen in to this talk on Ayurvedic perspective on Sleep that will provide you with a deeper insight and easy tools to use now and start making a change that you need.

And feel free to share with anyone that may benefit.

Download your MP3 file now

ps get in touch if you wish to chat more.

Intermittent Movement

I came across the term ‘sedentary disease’ around mid 80’s.

There was a lot of talk about it then.

There is even more talk, and more thorough research about it now – and the situation is worsening with each passing year.

Most of us work at a desk job, that is an 8 hour work day spent on our seat.

Add to that some more sitting:

  • on our commute, 
  • time spent relaxing on our sofa/armchair, 
  • sitting down for meals (not that I’m suggesting otherwise in respect of meal times!), 
  • time in front of TV/Netflix,
  • time browsing the net and FB/IG/Twitter…

Some people try to fit in an hour of exercise perhaps 3-4 times weekly, maybe even daily.

But apart from that one single hour spent exercising – we are sat down for most of our day.

The contemporary research has come up with a very conclusive result about the extent of damage our inactivity costs us.

  • Cancers.
  • diabetes
  • anxiety and depression.
  • cardiovascular diseases.
  • cerebrovascular disease (strokes etc).
  • obesity.
  • decrease in muscle mass.
  • decrease in bone mass.
  • high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels.
  • all-cause mortality.

For more info follow this link to the research in Annals of Clinical and Laboratory SciencesPhysical Inactivity: Associated Diseases and Disorders’ by Joseph A. Knight M.D.; Department of Pathology, University of Utah School of Medicine, © 2012

Some interesting facts for you too:

1.  35- 49% of UK population is inactive (depending on the region – North of England tops the stats)

2.  On average, most Westerners sit 11 hours/day.

3. Inactivity kills more than poor dietary habits – A lack of exercise could be killing twice as many people as obesity in Europe, a 12-year study of more than 300,000 people suggests. University of Cambridge researchers said about 676,000 deaths each year were down to inactivity, compared with 337,000 from carrying too much weight

4. 20% of all deaths of people 35 and older are attributed to a lack of physical activity.

5. 65% of UK residents watch 3.5 or more hours of TV/streaming channels every day. (totalling a whooping 25+ hours a week!!)

6. Only 2.5% of UK population meet the minimal physical guideline requirements for exercise..

7. Sedentary lifestyle is implicated as the cause of almost 70,000 deaths and cost the NHS at least £700m a year, new research has revealed.

8. Women are more likely to lead sedentary lives than men.

Scary stuff, right?!

So what can we do about it?

Ayurveda suggests that the optimum amount of movement for each person starts with a  minimum of 20 minutes daily morning practice, which can vary in intensity over the week, depending on your natural constitution (dosha).

Ayurveda also goes a step further. It suggests that we should move more frequently throughout the day, interrupting our long stretches of sitting with a quick 60 seconds breaks.

The simple act of standing up from a seated position has been found effective at counteracting the detrimental health effects of sitting.

Various research confirms that a reasonable goal is to get up four times every hour, or every 15 minutes, while you are sitting. Based on double-blind research, the minimum number of times you need to interrupt your sitting in order to counteract its cardiovascular health risks is around 35 times per day. 

(And – should you wish to know-  I have just got up again, and pranced around my office for a short minute, while continuing to meditate on this thread of thought…) 

Once you are engaged in a project, it is really difficult to remember to do this regularly, so setting an alarm might be helpful – you can program this alarm to sound regularly through each day from Monday to Friday. 

You can download a free XNote Timer – once you download the program you can go to the “More” section at the bottom of the program and click “Always On Top” so the application doesn’t get buried on your computer. 

Once the alarm goes off, just get up and take a long deep breath in, and exhale fully, and then move the body in a way that breaks the pattern of hardening that has occurred through sitting.

I often put on some music and dance and jump around freely. Stretch my hamstrings, loosen my shoulders, ease my neck and upper back, open through the front of my torso through some lounges and such…. Options are limitless really!

In an effort to bring some measure of “cool factor” to at-work workouts, Atlantic editor James Hamblin offers up an array of suggestions in this humor-filled video. As he says, while stationary jogging in an elevator may raise some eyebrows, taking the stairs is always an option.

I love these mini interruptions, and I’m very pleased that I’m consciously giving my body a real break from the abuse of constant sitting – and I really love it when I move and feel my joints crack, and circulation curse through the muscles, and even my brain – making me feel instantly refreshed and renewed! 

And on top of this, I know that this very habit of doing intermittent movement will support my body to function smoothly and pain free for decades ahead of me.

How to Heal Your Mind with Health Habits of Ayurveda & Yoga

There is a great pain and anguish when you suffer in anxiety; a rollercoaster of mood swings, all-pervasive fears, and deep shadowy heavy depression. Maybe that’s you, or you may recognise someone else who suffers this pain.

If you are in any way a progressive thinker, you’ve tried your utmost to make an improvement to ‘those days’. You are familiar with practices of mindfulness. You’ve tried recommended natural products.  You’ve talked to lots of people – heck you talked to the professionals too! You might have even taken big-boy pharmaceuticals promised to make a huge difference to your mental wellbeing. 

Little has changed over the years. Most likely ‘those days’ are still a common feature of your life and you just cope, not allowing yourself to consider the possibility of genuinely enjoying this day.  The day seeps into your week, month, year, and the heart silently weeps, in spite of the smile on your face.

You wonder if this can EVER really change… if this mind of yours can ever become a true buddy on this journey of life, and not continue to trip you up, often when you least expect it.

Ayurveda and Mental Health

Western medicine considers mental health as separate from our overall physical health. Yogic and Ayurvedic traditions see the two as inseparable.

For the last 4000 years, through self-enquiry and practice, yogis (yoga masters) and vaidyas (the ayurvedic healers), came to realise one simple but powerful fact: there can be no peace and clarity of mind, or stability of our moods, in a body experiencing disharmony, discomfort, pain or stress.

More recently even Greeks come to the same realisation – their now famous motto was:

“A healthy mind in a healthy body.”

Ancients knew that incorporating self-nurturing habits of yoga and Ayurveda into our daily routine would help heal the sick, and make those that are healthy stronger and at ease, more resilient, full of energy, and vitality.

In yoga we talk of ‘bliss’ often. It is a bliss of the mind, for sure! But it is a result of deeper levels of innate comfort emanating from the depths of our physical being. The yogis and vaidyas realised that there can be no true happiness & contentment if the body is suffering. The way we feel in our body will determine our mood.

The Power of an Ache

For instance, remember the time when you had a headache or a toothache. If one suffers in acute pain, you quickly realise how much your mood, and emotional mental wellbeing are affected.

We feel cranky, irritable, and uncomfortable – and not just in that affected body part.

Our whole being will be ‘squirming’ with discomfort, suffering greatly. And so will our mind. We’ll have difficulty concentrating or focusing our mind on little else but our pain. We’ll feel tired,  exhausted in fact. We will want to avoid all unnecessary contact with others, or we may feel particularly needy and unsupported.

Isn’t it strange how a ‘small thing’ like a headache or toothache can affect our wellbeing on such a deep level?

Although, it’s quite simple and logical, when you look deeper within our body.

Everything in our body is connected via the huge web of neural pathways. Whenever one nerve fires, this whole web lights up, firing the signals of discomfort through the whole body-mind system.

Funnily enough, those instances of sudden or short-lasting pain, such as toothache or headache, are much more remarkable and memorable much more felt than the seemingly small niggling pains, aches, and discomfort. We become tolerant to low level chronic inflammatory processes, digestive imbalances, immune & hormonal disorders, circulatory issues that go on over a long period of time which seem to become a part of our backdrop.

Surviving by Dampening the Pain

Why? Well, the body-mind system just learns to settle into, and to dampen down signals of distress that are coming from affected parts and systems. The body-mind system always looks for homeostasis, that innate balance, and this is geared by our own survival mechanism. 

If we learn to ignore our discomfort on the conscious level, we may be able to function – and in this case, simply plod on, for a little bit longer, hopefully.

But the pains and discomfort are still there, even when we’ve learned to dampen their signals from our immediate consciousness.

And we begin to feel low in our moods, we begin to accept this low as ‘normal’. As we continue to spiral down, we forget how it actually feels to feel great!

Or maybe we step up, and decide we will try to redress these ever-present low moods, so we try the talking therapy, or mindfulness, or pills, or supplements.

But it doesn’t work. After all these years, it still leaves us feeling down, defeated again.

Until we begin to re-balance our body and attune to our circadian rhythms all else will be an uphill struggle. Allow your body to heal the layers of discomfort – in your joints, gut, lungs, belly, skin, and all of your more subtle systems by simply adjusting the rhythm of your day.

The mind will be low, our moods betraying us: feeling stressed, grumpy, moody, tired – as our thoughts endlessly ‘catch’ onto the signals of discomfort emanating from the central channel of our nervous system. Continually creating stories & patterns that will keep us mentally spiralling down in spite of our best efforts.

That feeling of Bliss that yogis always speak of is not a concept of the mind. Bliss is the physical sensation of the calm and quiet nervous web, which then spills into the wellbeing of our mind. We feel refreshed, relaxed, at ease. Our mind becomes joyful & light. Our thoughts are filled with generosity, patience, tolerance, gentleness & peace. And our heart is steady, brave and determined, opened with the wonder that the world holds for us all.

How to HEAL YOUR MIND with the 10 Habits of Yogis

These seemingly simple practices will revolutionise the way you feel within and without! Rooted in ancient Ayurvedic wisdom, they have the power to transform your life in ways that you can’t possibly even dream of now!

Imagine sleeping well & waking up early each day, with a smile on your face, even before your alarm goes off. Having plenty of time for self-nourishment, exercise, enjoyment of nourishing foods. Plenty of time for reflection and play with your loved ones. Feeling energized, happy and joyful, no niggling aches or pains, at your optimum body weight.

As we automate our daily practice of 10 Habits, we allow our body, and particularly our nervous and hormonal systems to re-boot and heal, and by default our mood and our mind-set will change drastically.

Start Here

Begin on this journey by taking little steps each day – start by simply going to bed a bit earlier. 

Trust me – this was a BIGGIE for me – I always identified with being a Night Owl type – for many many years, going to bed at 2am was considered an early night here! Now I am regularly fast asleep by 10pm – catching that first and most important part of the night when our bodies detox and rebuild. 

During the hours of 10pm until 2am we use the power of our internal Agni/Digestive Power to do do some serious housekeeping. When we wake up in the morning, our mind feels fresh and clear. 

A TIP for better Sleep and more effective overnight detox: commit to eating a bit less and a bit earlier each evening. 

On The Road to Bliss

You will soon notice that your mind feels rather chirpy and optimistic each morning. There is this lovely feeling bubbling up from the depths of your heart, making you feel very positive about the day ahead, and even the week ahead of you, without any particular cause… Just a sense of joy starting to surface and integrate itself into your daily perception.

As you deepen and automate your practices of the 10 Habits, you will soon be coasting in Bliss, your mind at ease, joyful & light, and feeling refreshed, relaxed, and brimming with deep vitality and zest for life. 

Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

~ ~ PRANAYAMA ~ ~  

~ ~ The intentional control/regulation of our life force energy ~~

‘ The word Prāṇāyāma derives from the Sanskrit words prāṇa and ayāma, translating as “life force” and “expansion”, respectively. It is a common term for various techniques for accumulating, expanding and working with prana. Pranayama is one of the eight limbs of yoga and is a practice of specific and often intricate breath control techniques. The dynamics and laws of Prana were understood through systematic practice of Pranayama to gain mastery over Prana’ (Wiki)

Breath is life. It is the link to our most vital source of energy. Nothing can change the state of our being- mentally, emotionally, or physically, faster than the quality of our breath. Just think- when you get nervous, stressed, or drop into a state of fear, the breath gets rapid, shallow and incomplete. When you feel relaxed, the breath is deeper, fuller and more sustaining. Without breathing, the body can only survive for about 10 minutes.

Pranayama is the practice of breath control. Or more accurately, it is the control of life force, prana, through breath-work.

Pranayama has the unique ability to access the conjunction of our main sensory organs—the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth, at the back of the nasal cavities. Here, there is also a supreme access to the nervous and endocrine system.  It directly affects the pineal gland, known by Rene Descartes as the point of connection between the intellect and the body. The pineal gland plays a primary role in our ability to relax and fall asleep, increases the production and release of the feel-good hormone serotonin, and helps increase appetite.

Pranayama richly oxygenates the blood, cleanses and purifies the lymph, improves digestion, circulation, and can be energizing or relaxing, depending on the type practiced. As an added bonus—it’s absolutely free and can be done virtually anywhere.

There are multiple forms of pranayama, each one having an array of benefits. Nadi Shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing, is an excellent choice for most people. It works to balance the right and left brain/ Ida and Pingala/ yin and yang / male and female energies of the body. It releases stress and tension, helps to clarify your mind, creates vitality and brings you into the present moment. It assists with hormonal balance, PMS, menopause, anxiety, insomnia, respiratory issues, circulation, indigestion, skin issues, low energy or fatigue, and so much more.

To practice is simple:

  1. Begin seated in a cross-leg position, or at the edge of your seat with both feet placed evenly on the ground. Sit tall, with a straight spine, shoulders rolled loosely back and eyes closed.
  2. Gently pinch the right nostril closed with your right thumb.
  3. Exhale fully from your left nostril. Pause
  4. Inhale through your left nostril. Pause
  5. Gently pinch your left nostril with your right ring finger.
  6. Exhale through your right nostril. Pause
  7. Inhale through your right nostril. Pause
  8. Gently pinch your right nostril with your right thumb.
  9. Exhale through your left nostril. Pause
  10. Inhale through your left nostril. Pause

Continue in this simple, rhythmic pattern. Take steady, long, slow, deep breaths from the deep in the belly, all the way up your spine to the crown of your head. Feel the complete fullness with each breath. Allow the exhale to be longer than the inhale.

Start with one or two minutes of pranayama practice in one sitting, and slowly build up to 10 or more minutes. It is more beneficial to practice a small amount every day than to do a longer practice sporadically. Try adding it in to your daily routine, such as after your morning shower before having breakfast, and feel the benefits unfold.

Cultivating Prana – our Vital Force

“Prana is the Vital Force which causes the inert assemblage of tissues known as the body to live, and causes body, mind and spirit to be strung together like pearls on the string.” ~ Dr Robert Svoboda

What is Prana

Prana permeates all reality on all levels including inanimate objects. Prana is a Universal Consciousness, and this unifying Awareness that is at the ground of our being.

More specifically discussed here, it is the life force that is present in all living things

Prana is the flow of intelligence and the pulse of consciousness.

It connects all systems within the body, as a bridge that brings together two points. Prana is the movement and pulsation that happens. It is your beating heart, your inhale and exhale, swallowing your food and moving your waste out. It is also the energy movement through the nadis (energy channels) and the movement of your chakras and aura. Prana is the connecting link between the material, consciousness and the mind.

In the trinity of Prana, Tejas and Ojas, tejas creates ojas and ojas protects prana. An increase or decrease in one will have an effect on the others. Building awareness of the subtle energies will help you listen to your body better, and to make the best choices for better health and harmony.

When prana is in optimal flow, we experience great health and harmony with an abundance of energy and vitality. If prana becomes blocked, deficient or excessive health issues will arise.

Notice the pattern that is predominant for you:

High Prana:

  • anxiety
  • busy energy
  • disconnected movement
  • feeling spacey or ‘spaced out’
  • airy-fairy
  • ungrounded
  • disconnected
  • always pressed for time

Low Prana:

  • exhaustion
  • general low energy
  • adrenal burn-out
  • overwhelm
  • fatigue
  • lack of inspiration

Balanced Prana:

  • in your rhythm and in your flow
  • synchronization
  • time can shift with your perception
  • openness
  • inspiration, joy, excitement

Improve the flow and balance of Prana

  1. Create Clarity:
  • Honor your emotions by allowing yourself to feel them, and integrate your emotions. Each time when you are triggered, allow 5 minutes to feel these emotions fully. Trace those emotions back to the first situation when they originally appeared, and guide yourself to digest, assimilate and integrate those emotions from that past experience. Never suppress emotions or feelings. (saying this, there is no need to express our emotions/feeling in the way that hurts another through simply venting without care for others)
  • Practice full honesty, openness and transparency in relationships. Holding back blocks the flow of prana.
  • Don’t be attached to an outcome. allow the prana to flow.

2. Increase Prana

  • Eat a plant based diet and high-prana foods.
  • Do a breath-body practice every morning before eating food. Have prana + deep breathing as your first meal of the day.
  • Practice pranayama, the art of breath control.
  • Strengthen or balance the movement of apana vayu to support prana vayu to flow in. Keep all 5 vayus in an open state, with a strong and balanced flow.

If you would like some insight on why your prana might be out of harmony and what steps would be most beneficial, reach out and schedule a short 20 minute coaching session with me. I would love to help! More free and flowing consciousness in you creates more free and flowing consciousness for the universe.


Benefits of Tongue Scraping

Our tongue is a map of our internal body. If reflects what is happening inside with your main organs and digestive tract. When you look at your tongue everyday, you can make better decisions to support an evolution and maintenance of your healthier digestive system, and the entire body.

Cleaning your tongue with a tongue scraper dates back to ancient times in Ayurveda, and this practice is now gaining more and more interest here in the West too.

Also – the sensory ability to taste is an incredibly important part of eating and staying healthy. The tongue wants to communicate to the body information about what’s being eaten, so your mind can then make an intelligent decision as to whether or not that is the best food for you.  Also, after scraping all the coating (ama) from the surface of your tongue, you’ll discover that you can suddenly feel all sorts of nuances in the taste you couldn’t even dream of! It’s great to be able to really taste your food! 

A tongue with a film or coating (which can range in color from clear to white, yellow, or green), has blocked taste buds. It can’t function to its fullest and decipher exactly what you’re putting into your mouth, leading to bad or unintelligent decisions.

How to Scrape Your Tongue:

Buy a metal tongue scrapper, like this one, from Amazon or at a local health food shop. It can be either copper or a stainless steel one, it’s entirely up to you.

Each morning as you get up, and just before you brush your teeth, look at your tongue. Notice the areas covered with coating. What’s going on?  You can refer to the tongue chart below. Start noticing that what, when, and how you eat affects your digestion and is reflected on your tongue.

Then, holding the scrapper, place the scraper as far back on the tongue as comfortable. Relaxing the tongue so that your scraper contacts maximum surface area, gently yet firmly, scrape the entire surface from back to front.

Rinse the scraper well with hot water after each use.

Repeat this process 7 times, until your tongue looks clean, and pinkish or red in color. We tend to scrape minimum of seven times to ignite the agni (digestive fire) in each of our seven tissues.

And enjoy your next meal!

screen-shot-2014-12-10-at-12-02-48-pm

 Chart from “Ayurveda, The Science of Healing” by Dr. Vasant Lad


Agni – our inner Fire

Agni is a Sanskrit word for “fire.”

“When your emotional agni is strong, you are able extract whatever is nourishing and eliminate the rest. The inability to metabolize emotions, however, produces just as much toxic residue as undigested food. In fact, pent-up anger, long-held sadness, and lingering guilt are more debilitating for most people than problems with physical digestion.” ~ Deepak Chopra

Agni, our inner fire, is responsible for digestion, absorption, assimilation and transformation of food and experiences into energy. Ayurveda classifies 40 different agnis, or fires, within the body. The largest, and most significant fire is jāthara agni – the main digestive fire where the stomach meets the small intestine. 

A strong, balanced agni is fundamental to good health.

When digestion is working well you feel clear, focused, light, radiant, confident and energized.

When digestion becomes unbalanced, it creates ama. Ama is any undigested food, thoughts or emotions held within the body and the number one cause of disease!

It can’t be overemphasized that a healthy digestion is KEY to being healthy.

When our digestive fire is strong and balanced, we digest our food well. Properly digested food is able to be absorbed and assimilated into the body as nutrients, creating the cells and tissues of our physical form.

The age-old Ayurvedic saying holds the light to this truth: “You are what you eat” – or more specifically “You are what you digest.”

Well digested food becomes readily available nutrients, creating healthy cells and tissues, thus creating a healthy, strong, well formed body. Someone with a healthy fire on all levels emanates a healthy glow. They have ample energy, enthusiasm, vision and motivation.

“Neither food nor environment upsets those people with the gift of sama agni. The have a calm, quiet, loving mind and great clarity of awareness and bliss.” Dr. Vasant Lad

In opposition, improper digestion can become one of the first and foremost ways to create health issues and disease.

Four Types of Agni

SAMA AGNI = BALANCED DIGESTIVE FIRE

  • digestion, absorption, and elimination are all normal and healthy
  • you digest food easily, without any symptoms or even noticing
  • regular weight
  • clear, sharp, alert senses
  • feces or stool is similar to a brown, ripe banana and floats
  • tongue is pink, soft, smooth and moist with little to no white coating in the morning
  • good energy, a bright mood and pleasant demeanor

VISHAMA AGNI = IRREGULAR DIGESTIVE FIRE

  • Vata type digestion
  • fluctuates between nonexistent or weak to a strong hunger. variable
  • erratic and shows up at random times
  • irregular eating patterns
  • can cause gas, bloating, gurgling, distention, or constipation
  • underweight or overweight
  • stool tends to be small, dry, or hard
  • tongue has brownish-black coating, is dry, or has scalloped edges
  • low energy, get tired easily
  • tends towards feeling ungrounded, fearful, anxious, insecure, etc

TEEKSHNA AGNI = SHARP DIGESTIVE FIRE

  • Pitta type digestion
  • hunger is sharp, fierce, intense or strong
  • person can get “h-angry” or irritable without food
  • hypoglycemic or blood sugar issues
  • can cause: acid reflux, heart burn, hot flashes, acid indigestion
  • stool is more often soft, loose, or tends towards diarrhea. Can be rusty / orange in color, falls apart, or has undigested pieces of food in it.
  • yellow coating on tongue, red patches or red spots, or a bright red tongue
  • gets tired when hungry
  • leads to judgmental or critical attitude, anger, etc

 MANDA AGNI = SLOW DIGESTIVE FIRE

  • Kapha type digestion
  • slow, weak, dull, sluggish digestion
  • hunger is low. feel full easily
  • can skip meals, but may eat when bored, depressed, or for pleasure
  • gains weight easily
  • has mucous, cough or congestion often
  • can create edema, water retention, nausea, loss of appetite, allergies or obesity
  • stool tends to be soft, dense and heavy. dark brown or black, possibly with mucous and tends to sink
  • white coating on tongue, more moisture, excess saliva or slimy coating
  • gets tired after eating
  • leads to depression, attachment, greed, lethargy and dullness in mind

Agni is not just the physical digestifier. Agni impacts our emotional and subtle bodies, too. It allows us to digest ideas, feelings, and experiences. It influences our ability to process, discern, vision and actualize. When the cellular connectivity is clear and open, we are clear and open. We have less blockage, disconnection, fogginess and therefore have the natural impulse to make better choices for our overall health. Our Energy flows easier, allowing us to flow easier with life. 

This space and clarity within the minute and subtle channels of our being allows consciousness, love, and bliss to emanate.

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If you need help to balance your digestive fire, I would be happy to help.

Ama – a build up of toxic waste

In Ayurveda, anything undigested in the body is known as ama.

Ama can be anything we take in – from the food we eat, the thoughts we think, our unprocessed emotions or experiences.

Undigested food, or food that isn’t properly digested, assimilated and absorbed well, and cellular waste that isn’t removed efficiently, builds up as ama in the body.

The digestive tract is one of the first places where ama accumulates. Over the time, if too much ama builds up, it will move to or overflow to other body tissues and organs. This is one of the main underlying reasons we have weakened immunity, get sick, create dis-ease, or experience seasonal allergies and other recurring health problems.

Common signs or symptoms that ama is present:

  • a white coating on the tongue
  • bad breath
  • tired or sluggish feeling, especially first thing in the morning
  • persistent headaches
  • cloudy eyes (in the white region)
  • constipation or diarrhea
  • dull aches and pains
  • itchy ears
  • skin rashes
  • allergies
  • the sniffles
  • recurring colds
  • pms
  • unhealthy food cravings
  • and more 

So what can be done to rid the body of ama and regain stronger, more vibrant health?

Depending on which tissue the ama has accumulated in, and how or when the ama built up, and the prakruti or natural tendencies of the individual, there are many ways to burn, unblock, loosen, or flush ama from the body.

Some of the most basic ways to prevent or reduce ama include:

  • increase your agni (digestive fire)
  • do a seasonal cleanse or detox
  • make dinner your lightest meal of the day, and eat it early in the evening (or skip dinner altogether until ama subsides)
  • use more spices in your diet based on your vikruti (nature of disease) and prakriti (inherent nature) such as ginger, black pepper, cumin, fennel, ajwain, hing, etc
  • avoid vityahara (improper food combining) such as bananas and milk, fish and dairy, citrus fruits and dairy, multiple protein sources, very cold with very hot foods, etc.
  • never overeat
  • never eat without hunger
  • never eat with indigestion
  • only sip room-temperature or hot water with your meal (never with ice, or large quantities after your meal)
  • sip hot lemon water throughout the day
  • fast on water between meals

These are just a few suggestions to help reduce or prevent ama from forming in your body. More specific, personalized and relevant suggestions can be made through working with me closely. To book your personal free strategy session, click here.