Pantanjali’s second limb of yoga, niyama, or personal observances, teaches us to take responsibility for ourselves by striving for self-awareness, self-discipline and self-care. The first niyama, sauca, specifically teaches us to strive for purity of mind and body. As B.K.S. Iyengar taught, I believe that through the body, we can experience our own divinity. Below you will find the self-care rituals that I engage in regularly to maintain a balance of mind/body/spirit. This life, this body, is a blessing and through these practices I am able to navigate my own self-healing! I invite you to explore these practices in your own life so that you too can feel balanced and ultimately go deeper into your spirit!
In-Home Demos! The following is a list of the self-care practices I engage in regularly. At first glance, they may seem strange or high maintenance, but as it goes with anything new, the first step is always the hardest. With practice, you will not only experience greater ease in the process, but you will likely develop the desire to make this a regular part of your yogic life style due to how great you will feel. Please contact me directly to set up an in home demonstration or information session if you would like to learn more!
Daily Meditation – A regular meditation practice is a gateway to inner-peace. This may be the single most important self-care ritual for humanity, as it clears away illusions of the ego and connects you to the collective consciousness of all beings. It shatters the idea that you are somehow separate from all things by synergizing your rhythm to the universal vibration. This synergy teaches you that your are no more or less important than any part of whole, thus creating an attitude of oneness which results in compassion. Meditation is a sacred space in which you can gain clarity, acceptance and balance. Meditation slows down the various systems of the body allowing for unblocked energetic movement. Meditation aids the practitioner in the release of stress, anxiety, inner chatter, confusion, self-doubt, and more. Meditation supports inner-peace, contentment, acceptance, stillness, awareness, vitality, truth and divinity! Suggested 20 minutes per day. (((heal)))
Whole-Food, Plant Based Diet – Ahimsa teaches us to live a life of compassion, non-harming and non-violence towards all living things. For this reason, I have chosen to adopt a vegetarian diet. The current factory farming system through which animals are bred, raised and tortured goes far beyond harming. It is a system that has shed the blood of billions of innocent animals and is the single greatest contributing factor to the rape and destruction of our natural world. Beyond ahimsa, a whole-foods, plant based diet nourishes the mind, body and spirit towards wellness. Go a step further by eating organic, eating local, eating from family farms and avoiding GMO’s when possible. Minimize your footprint and go veggie! (((heal)))
Juice for Life!Juicing is the process of extracting the juice from fresh fruits and vegetables. Drinking the juice of fruits and vegetables means consuming their water and much of their vitamin and mineral content; however, the pulp, or fiber, is removed. Including juice in your regular plant-based diet will energize, vitalize and nourish you!
Nasal Cleansing – Through the use of a Neti-Pot, the sinus system can be cleared of mucus and other debris. Nasal cleansing can be used to clear irritations such as allergies and sickness such as colds or sinus infections. Nasal classing should be performed regularly, about 4-7 times per week for prevention of such conditions. By clearing and purifying the nasal passages and sinus system, you will breathe with greater ease, improve your respiratory function and prepare the body optimally for your pranayama practice. (((heal)))
Oral Hygiene – Oil Pulling – Eating a whole-food, plant based diet which is free of refined sugars and processed foods is the most direct way to improve your oral hygiene. Aside from diet, there are several other measures you can take to keep your amazing mouth healthy, not the least of which is oil pulling! Simply swish organic, food grade oil around in your mouth for 10-20 minutes, spit, rinse and then brush your teeth. My favorite is coconut oil, but other favorites include sesame, avocado or apricot. Be sure to avoid spitting oil into the sink as it can clog drains. Alternatively, discard the oil in the garbage or outdoors returning it to the earth! Oil pulling cleans, whitens and detoxifies. (((heal)))
Skincare – Dry Skin Brushing – Skin brushing is a way to exfoliate the skin, stimulate the lymphatic and circulatory systems, reduce cellulite, unclog pores and decongest the skin. This is a detoxifying process for the largest organ in your body which will improve the overall health of your skin. With a dry brush, stand in the bathtub and rub it in circles over the surface of the skin. Begin at the feet and work your way up towards the heart, Then from the top of the body back down to the heart. Shower after dry brushing. (((heal)))
Skincare – Oil Cleansing – Using oil to clean the face instead of soap or products saturated with harmful chemicals is an effective and holistic way towards healthy, nourished skin. Simply rub oil over the entire surface of the face, eye lids included, then gently rinse away with a warm washcloth. Re-hydrate with a small amount of oil or your regular, all natural moisturizer. If possible, use a high grade, organic and all natural oil such as coconut, apricot, almond, avocado or olive oil. Be patient with the process, as it may take the skin a couple of weeks to adjust to the change. (((heal)))
All Natural Body Care Products – The products we use on our bodies are just as important as the food that we eat. Just as we should avoid consuming chemicals in our foods, so also should we in our body care products. Be conscious by purchasing products that are free of harmful chemicals and unnatural ingredients. Women, pay particular attention to cosmetics that notoriously contain harmful chemicals. Go a step further by purchasing fair trade products and supporting companies that engage in conscious employment and production practices. The higher cost of these products, will ultimately save you money because you will suffer less illness. (((heal)))
Feminine Care – Menstrual Products – This is a big one! Avoid purchasing disposable feminine products that have used bleach or other chemicals to “purify” the product. Purchase only organic, non-bleached products free of dyes, fragrances and other harmful chemicals. Consider using non-disposal alternative products such as sea sponges, menstrual cups and washable cloth pads (Glad Rags). (((heal)))
Feminine Care – Internal Cleansing – A great practice for restoring or maintaining internal pH balance is an apple cider vinegar flush. Use an internal vaginal flushing bottle or hot water bottle, mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per 8 ounces of luke warm pure water and flush. Another great practice for feminine cleansing is a vaginal steam, a.k.a., a yani steam. Add organic tea, herbs, flowers or other products to steaming water. Covering your body with a blanket or towel so that the steam is contained, squat over a vessel filled with the mixture and allow the essence to rise and stimulate the feminine area. (((heal)))
Essential Oils – Essential oils have a vast array of uses, including but not limited to, skin care, emotional balance, dietary supplementation, muscle relief, prevention of illness, immunity building, illness recovery and simple enjoyment. Therapeutic grade oils should always be used as they are absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Essential oils are not regulated, so it is important that you either consult with someone who is knowledgable about their use or do extensive research prior to consumption. (((heal)))
Body Work – Taking care of yourself is not a selfish act. When we take care of ourselves, we learn how to take care of others. As we step into wellness through self care, we are then more physically, mentally, and emotionally capable of supporting others. Take the time to get body work done and receive the gift of human touch. Get massages, energy healing, acupuncture, natural skin treatment and other services to restore, rejuvenate and heal ailments in the body. Consider visiting spas, saunas, salt caves and other healing environments to be still or meditate. You will not only benefit personally, but you will support the larger holistic health care movement which empowers each of us to take responsibility for our bodies! (((heal)))
Indulge in Nature – Although our current day culture has created a distinction between humans and the natural world, the truth is that we are very much a part of it. The further you remove yourself from nature, the deeper your bio rhythms and connection to things such as instinct and intuition will be disrupted. Nature provides beauty, stillness, movement, vibrational resonance, inspiration and connection. Get out into nature as much as possible. See yourself as a part of the system. Stand beneath the trees and exchange breath. The more you are surrounded by natures abundance the more you will feel responsible to be an eco-warrior in its defense. The natural world is shrinking. It is screaming for us to rise boldly and defend it from destruction. Plant seeds in the earth so it will grow. Walk barefoot in the forest. Swim naked in the ocean. Submerge and evolve. (((heal)))
Volunteer – Seva – I firmly believe it our responsibility to find our gifts and then give them away. The word seva in Sanskrit means selfless service. As yogis, through our practice, we work to find balance, strength, and inner peace. The more we practice these things, the more self-aware we become. Through increased self-awareness, we can identify our gifts. With awareness comes responsibility. Each of us has a unique expression of our own gifts, talents and virtues from which others can benefit. Share your gifts and be a part of uplifting the global human spirit. It has the potential to change the world! (((heal)))