ODDbeats by Mandee Miller
We pride ourselves on being amazingly well playlisted and so when we asked Mandee to make her ODDbeats playlist it was no surprise that this firecracker came back with about 17 hours of GLORY. Need some new music? Some jams to pump you up?
Make sure to follow our Spotify for everyone’s playlist!
Discovering Your True Dosha
Hey ODD fam,
Have you heard of Ayurveda? It’s the sister medicinal science of yoga. It is rooted in the idea of creating balance and harmony between the body and the environment through diet, herbal treatments, and breath. Now that you’re clear on that, you should probably learn more about your dosha, or the energies that govern our physiological activity. Keep reading to learn more about ayurvedic doshas from our resident ayurveda expert, Eleni Tsikrikas!
Kapha (Earth and Water)
Pitta (Fire and Water)
Vata (Air and Ether)
Recently, I had the opportunity to interview over 30 students concerning their individual struggles in implementing Ayurveda into their lives. Again and again, the students revealed that they felt confused and unsure about their constitutions. This was in spite of the fact that many had previously studied Ayurveda and/or taken online ‘guess your dosha’ tests.
It reminded me that I, too, had taken many online tests and struggled for years to determine who I was according to Ayurveda. There were some questions whose answers jumped right out, things that I was certain about. Other areas, such as my digestion, elimination, weight and certain aspects of my personality, remained a mystery. When I finally had a personal ayurvedic assessment with my teacher, I vehemently disagreed when she informed me that I had more Pitta and less Kapha than my self diagnosis. Looking back, the intensity with which I disagreed with her assessment only validated the predominance of Pitta she spoke of.
Here are 5 problems with online dosha quizzes:
- Quizzes are reductionist. All three doshas exist in varying degrees in each individual.
- They conflate symptoms ( vikruti) with your long term healthy patterns (Prakruti)
- They provide a snapshot of whats going on for you right now, rather than your long term patterns.
- They don’t take into account how your current diet, lifestyle, age and environment affect your dosha.
- They play to our tendency to answer based on an idealized versions of ourselves, i.e., who we want to be rather than who we are.
Truth be told, online tests rarely reveal who we really are. I equate dosha tests with a daily online horoscope. There are 12 zodiac signs and 9 billion people. Your zodiac sun sign is a general way of describing you. Its not accurate, it cant be, as it simply doesn’t take into account your unique personality based on all the planetary alignments at the exact time you were born. If you’ve ever had your complete natal chart done, you provided the astrologer with all the information needed to precisely determine who you are. The same professional assessment, based on the necessary information, offers a deeper understanding of your dosha.
Online tests don’t provide a context that outlines the specific role the doshas perform.
Vata manages Air and Ether and is responsible for all our physiological functions, like thinking, moving, speaking, breathing, digesting, eliminating and more. Pitta manages the elements of Fire and Water and is responsible for converting and metabolizing food, sunlight, visual impressions, thoughts, etc into a form our body can use. Kapha manages the elements of Earth and Water and is responsible for our physical structure, such as skin, muscles, bones, organs and all fluids in the body.
Your constitution ( prakruti) defines your unique Psycho-physical makeup and functional habits. In other words, it describes your healthy long-term patterns. The doshas, however have unlimited ways of expressing themselves, hence why we call Ayurveda an individualized system of classification. What works for one person may not work for someone else.
To truly get a sense of who you are requires an analysis of your physical, functional, mental, emotional and spiritual layers. Far more than just your appearance, your regular long-term patterns of diet, lifestyle, relationships and the many ways you interact with your environment are assessed.
The goal of an Ayurvedic practitioner is to identify and treat the presenting pathology( vikruti) as well as the root cause of disease. Once the pathology has been balanced, your constitution will reveal itself. For example, if you frequently experience digestive symptoms of bloating and gas, this is an imbalanced aspect of Vata dosha. These symptoms,( vikruti) mask your deeper, more permanent constitution( prakruti). The root cause of your symptom may be what you are eating, or it may be driven by other factors such as your emotions.
What we currently present, is what we mistakenly associate as our constitution, when in actual fact its the imbalances that are masking our constitution. Simply put, what we currently present may not be who we truly are.
Think about it. How well do you truly know yourself? Its taken me ages to get a better understanding of who I am…and truth be told, even now, my husband, friends and mother see aspects of my personality that I am still unaware of. I have concluded (reluctantly) that I may not always be the best qualified person to assess who I am. This fact, combined with my deep respect for this modality, is why I have an ongoing relationship with a professional Ayurvedic practitioner.
Your dosha describes everything about you. I liken it to a road map to wellness and disease. It can reveal everything about you, including physical and psychological functions, psycho spiritual aspects, personality, health challenges, exercise preferences, choice of friends and partners as well as how you dress, spend money, furnish your home, optimal career choices, preferred climate, physical environment and more.
Clearly, there is no way that a dosha test can determine those aspects of you. Its a wonderful fun way to play and get an idea, but its not complete, because you are a wonderful complex unique individual. Online quizzes are simply not the standard for dosha analysis, so don’t be surprised if your practitioner tells you your dosha is different from the results of your self-test.
All my love and gratitude,
All my love and gratitude
If you’d like to dive into your dosha more substantively, check out this week’s ayurveda workshop at ODD Silverlake with Eleni herself! Ask all the questions! Make all the discoveries! Heal all of the bodies!
#ODDlight Mandee Miller
What you know about Mandee? Not enough, you say. Well, you’re in luck! This month’s #ODDLight feature is none other than the fabulous, hilarious, bootylicious Mandee Miller. If you haven’t met Mandee, she’s a beaming ray of light
Name: Amanda Miller
Nick Name: Mandee
Hometown: Byron, IL
Favorite Place: My home.
Favorite color: I’d have to say red 🙂
What’s your sign? Cusp Babe: Capricorn and Aquarius
Most embarrassing moment? There are so many it’s hard to pick! I recently taught a whole class with a hole in my crotch. Thankfully, I was unaware of the fact until the class was over. You’re welcome for the crotch show!
Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? I have an alter ego for my female mudwrestling group, Mud Queens of Chicago: Jane Wayne Gacy
When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)? I am mostly working throughout the city training private clientele, teaching at various Equinox clubs, and hanging at my home with my fiance and our cat, Shorty.
How do you define yoga? Unification in all capacities within oneself and with our world.
Why do you teach? It is a true passion of mine; I feel connected to it in a way I used to feel about acting, singing and improv.
What brought you to become an instructor? An instructor at LA Fitness who’s class I frequented approached me about teaching and I haven’t looked back since! Thanks Elise Cohen!
What is your favorite song to play in class? I’ve been playing a lot of ZHU remixes that match most of the varieties of classes I instruct: Ringos Desert Pt. 1
What is your favorite pose or flow? Why? I love moving from Warrior 2 to Extended Side Angle and back up through Warrior 2 to Reverse Triangle.
What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart? I was paired up with Makeovers That Matter by ODD’s founder, Jessica Rosen, back in 2016 and have been working with their team in support and empowerment of our female veterans. Being able to make a difference in the lives of women who fought for our freedom has truly been a blessing and an honor.
Memorable yoga moment? Getting my very first yoga client in Chicago after graduating TT 🙂
How did you first hear about One Down Dog? Molly O’Neill told me about it when I moved to LA and met her at Wanderlust <3
What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use? I wear a mala bracelet made and gifted to me by Layla Guest of Layla Guest Designs.
Connect with Mandy via the gram! @mandeemillerfitness
If you’re looking to get some more Mandee in your life, be sure to check out her BUTT class on Wednesdays at 9:15AM in SIlverlake!
Would you more likely tell your boss they had food in their teeth or let it slide? Tell them. Always.
If you could have any super power what would it be? To be able to fly
What was the last book you read? Stephen King’s short stories collection, Bazaar of Bad Dreams
Who or What is your spirit animal? Bill Murray
If YOU were a color what color would you be? Leopard Print
ODDbeats with Val Smith – driving, dancing, vibing.
We LOVE getting playlists from new ODDfam members. The spotify is LIT at One Down Dog. Jump into Val’s playlist intended for driving in the car, cleanin the house, dancing your dreams into fruition. GET DOWN
Conscious Eating with Eleni
Welcome to Conscious Eating. What follows will not be a new dietary ideology, super food, or miracle cleanse. Rather, we will explore a life long, lifestyle approach to food based on the Ayurvedic Paradigm of Health.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
The Principle of Conscious Eating is about far more than WHAT we eat. Ultimately, our goal is to choose foods that support and sustain life, longevity and good health. In addition, what we eat should prevent us from experiencing illnesses and alleviate their symptoms, should they occur.
Are your current habits around food, which include not only WHAT, but WHEN and HOW you eat, working well for you. Can you say, without hesitation, that the your food habits are leading to abundant physical mental and emotional health?”
“The first wealth is health.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The word Conscious comes from the Latin word, scīre, meaning, “to know” or “to understand,” Conscious eating requires observation and attentiveness. We take on the role of observers or Ayurvedic detectives. This means paying attention to what, how and when you eat as well as your digestive experience.
According to Ayurveda, it’s not a question of whether any particular food is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Rather, you learn to observe how YOUR body process what you eat. The answer falls, roughly, into two categories, positive and negative digestive experiences. During and after a positive digestive experience, you feel satisfied, grateful and full of energy. The negative kind leads to what is technically referred to as ‘unhappy tummy’. Here, you may experience any or all of the following: bloating, gas, burning feeling, belching, lethargy and sleepiness.
Pretty big difference, huh?
Each patient carries his own doctor inside him.”
Ayurveda sees the digestive tract as the “Master system” of the body. Food builds the physical body, mind and emotions. Just as every person is unique, all foods are not the same. Thus, generic diets, food plans, or cleanses WILL NEVER work for everyone. At best, these can only be effective for SOME of the people SOME of the time. This brings us to a simple truth, the definition of Conscious Eating: Continually Creating and Refining a Sustainable Eating Plan that Works for YOU.
This is a rich and, at times, complex practice. However, I will attempt to provide some basic Ayurvedic Principles and Guidelines in this article and the series of articles to follow. Are you ready?
“There is no magic bullet. You gotta eat healthy and live healthy to be healthy. End of story.” Morgan Spurlock
The Big Picture
Conscious Eating, ultimately, is about our relationship with ourselves, our diet, and our environment. This includes: where we get our food, how it’s grown, the manner in which it is prepared, the amount and timing of our meals, the people with whom we eat as well as our own behavioral and emotional patterns, that is, our beliefs and feelings about ourselves and whatever we eat.
To eat consciously, we need to work from the inside out. We begin by going beneath our habitual relationship with food and getting to know the energetics of food and digestion.
It is our own digestive experience that determines whether what we eat is supporting our body’s metabolic processes or disrupting them. We have both the power and responsibility to create wellness and vitality. First, we must learn to read the subtle signs our body sends us. This includes our emotional states, as our diet directly affects our mood.
“No disease that can be treated by diet should be treated with any other means.”
Conscious eating is when the individuals intake of food is supportive to health, vitality and wellbeing. My goal is that this becomes a lifestyle, a sustainable way of eating and living. Its our day to day habits over a long period of time that becomes our normal. If our habits are conscious, and moderate most of the time, then we steer ourselves on the path of health, because we take responsibility for our actions. With personal responsibility comes empowerment, which in turn leads to better understanding and choices. Its an upward spiral.
1. Your health is your most valuable currency.
Your body mind is your most valuable asset. If your are healthy and happy, then you can pursue your life’s purpose. However, if you are tired, low energy or frequently sick, then most of your time is focused on thinking, identifying with and the treatment of your particular malady. Your good health is your most valuable currency, everything starts with you!!!! Seems to me that investing in my health is the highest priority. Physical health is dependent on what you eat. Start by investing your time and attention on the foods that make your body come alive with vibrancy. Conscious eating is one of the three pillars that support health, the other two being sleep and energy.
2. Your Body/mind has to digest everything that comes in.
Every day you consume food and drink in response to hunger and other external cues with little thought to how, your body converts it. When your metabolic process is working efficiently, your body should utilize 70-80% of all food eaten. However, when digestion is insufficient, the body is not able to break down or use the food properly. Faulty digestion is the beginnings of your body’s dis-ease.
Conscious eating is designed to educate and help you make connections with your digestive process.
3. Take responsibility for your consumption of food.
This means the types and amounts of food consumed and the timing of meals. Im sure you have noticed from observing your family and friends that we all have different relationships and need of food. How much or little we eat, the frequency of meals, the types of foods etc. An important key too good health is to eat the appropriate amount and types of foods that maintain great health for you. Your body uses everything you put into it. Over time symptoms such as fatigue, lethargy and sluggishness become the norm and the immune system suffers.
4. The Burp is a practical exercise to rediscover your individual digestive capacity.
Ayurvedic medicine states, that we should eat until we are not hungry. This is very different to eating until you are full. “The stomach should be 1/2 filled by solid foods,1/4 by water and 1/4 should be kept free for the movement of air.” The stomach naturally gives a burp when its three quarters 3/4 full. Many of us have trained our stomachs to stretch by overeating or eating too frequently and this natural capacity has been overridden.
5. Eat real food.
My greatest contribution to my health is that I love to prepare and cook my food. I enjoy going to the farmers markets, searching for recipes and creating great food made with love…..nothing better. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine said ‘the forces within us are the true healers and food is the true medicine.’ Eat a varied diet and buy the highest quality food you can. Mix it up and try a few vegetarian meals every week. Minimize meat and fish consumption. Try not to eat anything that comes in a box. Avoid or reduce all processed food, white sugar and trans fats. Instead create a diet based on plants, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and fruits. Get to know the foods that grow in your area and whats in season. When you eat seasonal, fresh, locally grown food, you deepen your connection with nature and your environment. As a result your body becomes revitalized.
6. Use spices to enhance digestive and metabolic capacity.
Ayurveda recognizes that the foundation of good health rests on a healthy functioning digestive tract. Herbs and spices are used to enhance and support correct functioning of digestion and metabolism. Here we are using spices as medicine to correct, improve and regulate digestive fire. Spices can be used either before a meal to ignite the fire and increase digestion or after to facilitate the processing or metabolism of food.
“Eating comfort food isn’t a reward — it’s a punishment.”
If you’re intrigued by the ideas discussed in this article, stop into Eleni’s workshop on Wednesday, July 18 at ODD Silverlake to learn more!
Blog post was originally published here.