Ayurveda 101: 5 Morning Rituals to Create Balance

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Ayurveda is the science of life. It’s often referred to as yoga’s sister science, as they both originated with Vedic scholars some 5,000 years ago. Ayurveda strives to create balance in our natural constitution, or dosha, taking into account external factors such as the time of year or the climate where we live. While modern yogis often associate Ayurveda with diet, there are many ways to incorporate the practice into your lifestyle.

5 Morning Rituals 

1. Lemon water

Ayurvedic science states that drinking a warm glass of lemon water in the morning helps to purify the blood. There are many articles floating around debating this theory, but all agree that lemon is a good source of vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from free radicals – vital for every cellular process from improving the look of your skin to helping prevent cancer. The citric acid in your morning tonic will also enhance your body’s ability to flush out toxins1. And the citrus flavonoids work to suppress appetite and calm mild stomach upset.

Of course, this simple ritual will also jump-start your water drinking for the day, which is always a huge plus! Use the juice of at least half a lemon, and add spoonful of raw organic honey for a little sweetness (and natural anti-inflammatory powers).

2. Oil pulling

A teaspoon a day keeps the dentist away! Place a spoonful or two of organic coconut or sesame oil in your mouth. Hold it there for about three minutes, then swish vigorously for another minute (be sure not to swallow). Repeat at least one more time. Spit the oil into the trash, and rinse your mouth well before brushing your teeth. Studies show that this process helps prevent plaque buildup and gingivitis2, and it will make your teeth feel cleaner and brighter right away.

3. Tongue scraping

After brushing, run a u-shaped metal tongue scraper (available at any health store) along the top of your tongue from back to front. Repeat 5-10 times, rinsing the scraper after each pass. When you’re finished, rinse your mouth and gargle gently. This will remove bacteria and stimulate saliva production, both important for maintaining a healthy mouth and fresh breath. In a pinch, you could use the edge of a metal spoon instead.

4. Dry brushing

Dry brushing is one of the best ways to improve circulation and exfoliate skin. Use a brush with medium-stiff bristles made from natural materials. Stand or sit in a dry tub and start brushing in a circular motion on the soles of your feet. Then move to the tops, the ankles, then up the legs using longer strokes to match the shape of your bones. Continue along your torso and arms, all the way up to your neck, avoiding the delicate skin of your face. Always brush in the direction of your heart.

Stimulating the skin in this way helps to circulate lymph, which carries away cellular waste to be eliminated. It removes dead skin, and the Huffington Post even reported that it helps diminish cellulite3! Plus, it’ll help you feel invigorated even before you step into the shower.

5. Oil massage

I’ve saved my favorite for last. Abhyanga is the practice of self-massage with oils. In colder months or for drier, more brittle bodies, sesame oil is grounding. For the summer or naturally oily, warm bodies, coconut oil is cooling.

Take a little oil and rub it between your hands to warm, then begin to massage the crown of your head with your fingertips. Spread your hands and continue rubbing your scalp in a circular motion, then the face, then move from the extremities up the limbs toward the torso. Use long strokes toward the heart as you would for dry brushing. Pay extra attention to joints like knees and hips, rubbing in a circular motion. Massage the abdomen and chest clockwise, following the shape of the large intestine. Then spend a little extra time on the feet, rubbing the soles with your palms to create friction, then kneading with your knuckles, spreading the toes, and any other motions that feel good.

Allow the oil to soak in for at least 20 minutes before taking a gentle shower or bath. You could also use a lighter coat of oil after a shower in place of lotion (skip the hair).

Abhyanga lubricates the joints, moisturizes the skin and stimulates circulation of lymph and blood. It’s also incredibly soothing for the nervous system, and a beautiful way to show yourself a little love.

 

To go deeper into your Ayurvedic practice and bring balance to your body and spirit, check out our six-week Herbal Apothecary workshop with Eleni Tsikrikas beginning Wednesday, February 25.

 

ayurveda herbal apothecary workshop

 

Discover Ayurveda, the planet’s oldest, nature-based medical system. 

In this 6 week course, we will look at health and wellness through the Ayurvedic lens, discovering the natural principles underlying this ancient science of life.
Together we will explore:
• Week 1 (February 25th): Intro to the Ayurvedic lens
• Week 2 (March 4th): Culinary Spices: Ginger, Turmeric, Cadamom, Cumin, Fennel, Cinnamon, Black pepper
•Week 3 (March 11th): The Leaves: Peppermint, Spearmint, Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary, Parsley
•Week 4 (March 25th): Tea Herbs: Astragalus, Alfalfa, Hibiscus, Lemon Balm, Licorice, Nettle, Red Clover, Spearmint
•Week 5 (April 1st): The Rejuvenate Fruits: Amalaki, Bibhitaki, Haritaki
•Week 6 (April 8th): The Nervinces: Ashwaganda, Brahmi (Gotu Kola/Bacopa), Shankapushipi, Skullcap, Tulsi

 

References

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2637791/
  2. http://www.jaypeejournals.com/eJournals/ShowText.aspx?ID=5204&Type=FREE&TYP=TOP&IN=_eJournals/images/JPLOGO.gif&IID=400&isPDF=YES
  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/21/dry-skin-brushing-benefits-cellulite_n_1811708.html

 

Yoga Tune Up Teacher Training: Learn How to Improve Your Yoga Practice & Prevent Injuries

holli rabishaw yoga tune up yoga teacher training
Hey, One Down Dog community! Holli Rabishaw here. A little bit about me. I am an E-RYT 500, Integrated Yoga Tune Up® teacher/trainer and yoga practitioner. I, along with Alexandra Ellis, will be leading the upcoming Yoga Tune Up® teacher training at the One Down Dog yoga studio in Silverlake. I want to tell you why I became a self-proclaimed “Ball-erina” and why you should incorporate therapeutic self massage into your professional offerings and personal practice.

First of all, it feels “amazeBALLS!” But the science is also important. I’ll use the shoulder as an example. As a vinyasa flow yoga teacher, I could demonstrate the positioning of the shoulders, and provide detailed cues for downdog and chaturanga, and still see students struggling to position and stabilize their shoulders.

My real “ah-ha” happened when I explored my own rotator cuff using Yoga Tune Up® therapy balls and corrective exercise. The grippy, pliable balls unstuck the muscle tissues and freed my upper back and shoulders immediately for a strong and high-endurance practice! I couldn’t believe the impact of using therapy balls. I transitioned from this: “Yes, I feel my trapezius muscle is tight, but oh, well…” to the empowering: “I am relieving the stiffness in my trapezius muscle that is limiting my shoulder movement, leaving me unable to effectively respond to alignment cues, and I feel stronger.”

This transition can happen for you as well. It must occur in the teacher and/or the student to reap the rewards of any kind of physical practice or movement modality. Want to prevent injury and find more WOW in your asana? Get on the balls!

I could go on and on about the benefits, but come experience them for yourself. You’ll thank me later.

 

More info about Yoga Tune Up® Teacher Training

March 1, 2015
10am-6pm
One Down Dog
4343 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90029

In this 8 hour course “The Science of Rolling: Therapy Ball Practitioner’s Training” we will educate on the science of fascia, how rolling affects the nervous system and muscle tissue, and body-mapping of key locations that hold tension and stress.  And, we will teach you to unwind pain and discomfort using 6 proven therapy ball sequences.  This class will up-level your teaching in a classroom setting and provide a full toolkit of ways to relate to your students in private sessions.  Self-care massage work with Yoga Tune Up® therapy balls has provided a referral source that has grown my student base and ear-marked me as a confident teacher able to relate to students and draw them into classes for long term and personal impact.  Plus, the ball jokes are fantastic fun!

To sign up click here or email us at hello@onedowndog.com.

 

Yoga Tune Up Therapy Ball Practitioner Training with Alexandra Allis & Holli Rabishaw

YOGA PLAYLIST – NOVEMBER v. 2.0

novembertunes

Here come the holidays! Fill your month with tunes of gratitude and celebration!

1. Grateful – The Bangles

2. Gratitude – Earth, Wind & Fire

3. Thank You – Alanis Morissette

4. Thank You – Mozella

5. Be Thankful for What You Got – William DeVaughn

6. Count Your Blessings – Nas & Damian Marley

7. One Day – Matisyahu

8. Lovely Day – Bill Withers

9. By Your Side – Sade

10. Secrets – Mary Lambert

YOGA PLAYLIST – OCTOBER

rocktobertunes

Rock out this month and enjoy these fantastic tunes!

Here’s what’s on our yoga playlist in October…

1. Tragic Kingdom – No Doubt

2. Divinity (feat. Amy Millan) – Porter Robinson

3. People Are Strange – The Doors

4. When We’re Fire – Lo-Fang

5. Wait for a Minute – Tune Yards

6. From Eden – Hozier

7. Figure It Out – Royal Blood

8. Time of the Season – The Zombies

9. Not In Love (feat. Robert Smith) – Crystal Castles

10. Zombie – Stars – The Cranberries

LOVE YOURSELF

Confessions of a hypocritical yogi

Your body is beautiful, love yourself, let go of what is no longer serving you. These are all things I have definitely said on multiple occasions to both friends and yoga students.

Guess what, I’m horrible at practicing what I preach. Yep, I said it. I am judgmental and cruel to myself about my body. I convince myself that I am not worthy because I have a belly and thighs; that for some reason it makes me less of a teacher, less of a human.

Yesterday, I was at the studio (One Down Dog) with my friend who was working the desk. I was showing her the leftover clothes from our clothing swap and decided to try on a pair of pants I had missed. They didn’t fit my thighs. I took them off, and took a good look at my legs. My first instinct was to think: shit I used to be able to fit into pants way smaller than this just a couple of years ago. Instead, what came out of my mouth shocked me, “My thighs are so solid and muscular it’s crazy! I see myself in the mirror on the rare occasion I wear shorts and there is a lot of definition.” After saying this I immediately thought, did that just come out of my mouth? (And yes, I did say on the rare occasion I wear shorts). Was I… bragging about the size of my thighs? What kind of weird alternate reality did I just enter that I was actually drawing attention to the size of my body?

I went about my business the rest of the evening and the words that I said kept creeping back into my head. I have a lot of insecurities when it comes to my body, I see the imperfections on every inch of me; from my skin to my arms, my back to my feet, my hair to my knees. Nothing is okay as it is. It’s all bad, it’s all ugly. These are the things I waste countless hours dwelling about and thinking about. It’s never good enough.

Fast forward to this morning when I went for a run. I have started to love running. It is hard, really hard, but it gives me a sense of accomplishment even if I only go two miles. It makes me feel strong, empowered, limitless. I would be lying if I said that was the only reason I did it, that the “work out” aspect didn’t matter to me. It does. I exercise for vanity just as much as I do for my mental well-being. I’m human.

After I finished my run I took a quick shower and started getting ready to teach. I put on shorts after getting out of the shower because I always do (putting on yoga pants over wet legs is a work out all on it’s own). I was mostly finished getting ready and coming towards time to leave but I still felt so hot from running. The idea of putting on leggings was the last thing I wanted to do. I put a pair in my bag and headed to the studio. Upon arriving I asked Diane at the desk and a student if they thought it was okay to teach wearing shorts. They gave me the validation I sought but it still made me feel uncomfortable. Exposed. What will these students think about my stretch marks, my scars? Will they not take me seriously?

I turned my focus to the students and began class. After we Namaste-d I talked to that same student from the beginning of class. We talked about the upcoming teacher training, she asked me if I would be teaching. I automatically assured her that I was not in a place to be teaching teachers and that I would be around but not leading it. She responded with, “Well, you could that was a great class” I’m sticking to the thought that I am not in a place to teach teachers. I still have way more to learn…but her response made me think. There I was, worrying that the students would hate my class because my legs were showing and she thought I was a great teacher. How backwards is that?

I left the studio and went to walk my friend’s dog, Max. As I was walking him I was hit with an overwhelming feeling. Standing there, in my black comfy shorts, grey v-neck and flip flops I suddenly felt beautiful. I don’t know where it came from, but it was pure. I saw identity in my imperfections, radiance in my hair, sweetness in my belly and triumph in my skin. I felt whole even though my thighs were exposed. I’m not writing this to say “Hey look at me, look at how enlightened I am and you should do it too!”. In reality, I will probably hate myself again tomorrow, maybe even in an hour. But that moment that I felt limitless is worth sharing. It is a testament that the work I’ve been putting in is worth it. It’s proof that maybe in the future I will be able to love myself. I have been so skinny that my bones jutted out on my shoulders and hips. I have gone through the ridicule and bullying from weighing more than my friends in high school. Every day I read facebook posts, articles and watch videos about how we should be loving ourselves more. All of these articles advocate self love but ignore the darker side that goes along with being human. I want to share that some days will be hard. Some days you will want to cry and think you don’t deserve to live because of the way someone looked at you. Some days you will be afraid to leave your house because you think no one will accept you. These are all things that I still experience, and will most likely continue to experience for a long time. I’m writing this to say it’s okay to feel shitty, it’s okay to be human. The sooner we accept that the sooner we are able to move past it. Hello, my name is Bobbi. I am human, are you?

bobbilegs

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