A place of Harmony Balance and Health

This blog has grown from its base in Ayurveda into a more expansive view of health, wellbeing and spirituality. Mind, body and spirit are explored using Ayurveda, Yoga and Energetic Healing. I hope that you find my posts helpful on your journey.
More information can be found on my new website Harmony Balance Health

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Post cleanse update

It's been a few weeks now since I did my gallbladder/liver cleanse and I have to say I feel fantastic! I have really felt a lot better, clearer and lighter since. My tongue is noticeably clearer  and there are also no teeth marks on the side.  This tells me that what I am feeling is true - I am happy on the inside!

I was a little naughty last week and had some cake and chocolate. Once that genie is out of the bottle it sure does enjoy it's freedom! But I managed to get it back in quite quickly and easily compared to the past. I indulged and then moved on. However not quick enough and I also broke out as a result. You would think at 38 I really would be past spots! It just goes to show that my body and my taste buds do not really agree on what "good" really is. But I can see my mind starting to play a more vocal role in it all and it is no longer being completely controlled by the sweet taste that has lead it astray so many times before. I no longer want or think about chocolate and cakes like I used to. The cleanse is not solely responsible for this change as it has been occurring slowly over time, but it has definitely pushed me into a completely different place. A place that I have been working towards for some time and one of the reasons for doing the cleanse to begin with.

I also felt some emotional releases and within a week of finishing the cleanse I had some strong dreams related to past people and experiences and feel that through the dreams I was able to let go of things that were stuck in my subconscious.

I am also less hungry. Once I got my appetite back I was starving and I couldn't stop eating.  A great sign that my agni or digestive fire had been rekindled and was also strong and well. But now that things have settled down I have noticed that I just don't want to eat as much, especially at night. It may have something to do with spring but I think it is mainly a case that I am more aware of my body and am listening to it. I stop when I am getting full, don't eat unless I am hungry and it really is changing my approach to eating.

I have also lost a little weight but that was never the plan or the reason for embarking on this journey. I just wanted to "spring clean" me and I feel I have been successful. Overall I do not think it was an overly difficult thing to do but I'm sure other may disagree. If you wish to do a cleanse and would like some advice please don't hesitate to ask.

Monday, September 27, 2010

PMS therapies

I have had a few women recently complain about a variety of symptoms associated with PMS and it has prompted me to write this entry. It might seem that this is another post for the girls but not necessarily as I know a lot of guys are effected by their partners when they are suffering from uncontrollable hormones, pain, discomfort and a general lack of peacefulness within themselves.  So this is for all the girls and guys out there who suffer in one way or another.

There is a lot that can be done to help women to have a more comfortable monthly experience. Here are some things that you can try:

  • Yoga. This is a wonderful way to help your body deal with the hardships of PMS. Firstly, it helps to calm the mind and the nervous system, especially if done on a regular basis. It is also great for the reproductive system too. 
  • Meditation. It goes without saying that calming the mind and quieting yourself is going to help relieve stress and tension in your mind and body. Done regularly it will greatly improve your mental balance and help you deal with situations in a more calming and rational manner.
  • Parsley. This herb is great as it relieves cramping and headaches, reduces water retention from not only the belly but also the legs and the breasts. Also if you are having problems regulating your cycle it will help to promote menstruation too. 
  • Dandelion is a great herb for helping relieve breast pains, lumps, swelling and general discomfort around this time. You can read about it and it's other therapeutic uses in my earlier post about dandelion.
  • Saffron is good for menstrual pain and irregularity.
  • Cherries. Apparently if you eat these delicious little stone fruits for the week leading up to the start of menstruation they will relieve PMS and also help with menstrual flow.
  • Lavender is very relaxing and it is no surprise that it is used in the treatment of PMS. It  clams the emotions and nervous system and is also good for headaches. You can use the oil in a burner, in the bath or on your pillow, let the scent do it's job and just lay back and relax. Better still mix it with some massage oil and hand it to your partner for some TLC. If that is not an option then rub your feet, head, shoulders and enjoys some self pampering. Or go have a massage from a qualified therapist you deserve it after all.

When we look at the symptoms women experience during and leading up to menstruation we can see a very clear relationship to the doshas. Each dosha has it's own symptoms and therefore can be treated as any other doshic imbalance - reduce the qualities of that dosha and increase the other elements to bring balance and wellbeing.
    Vata symptoms include the anxiety, depression and rapid mood swings that PMS is famous for. The airy quality of vata will also contribute to dizziness, cramping, constipation, spacieness and even dry skin. 

    Turmeric, saffron, fennel are specifically recommended if you suffer from any of the above conditions. It is also recommended that you follow a vata pacifying diet, so reduce light, dry and cold foods leading up to and during menstruation.  As always if you want to reduce a doshic imbalance have the opposite, so heavy, warming, moist foods are great at this time. It is also advised to avoid alcohol, tea, coffee and other drugs or stimulants as this will only further increase the dosha and therefore the symptoms.

    Pitta being made of fire and water result in symptoms of anger, irritability, fever, rashes, acne, diarrhea, sweating, as well as a heavy flow and clots. 

    Specific herbs for pitta symptoms are turmeric, saffron and aloe vera.  Follow a pitta pacifying diet so avoid all things hot, spicy, acidic, sour, pungent and alcohol. Also doing things that are relaxing and cooling is highly recommended.

    Kapha is made of earth and water and that creates the heaviness and fatigue that often accompanies menstruation. Mucus, colds, swollen breasts, clots and edema are all kapaha symptoms. The earth element also is responsible for feelings of sadness, crying and sentimentality. Give her a big hug and tell her you love her and it will work wonders. 

    Herbal remedies specific to kapha at this time include aloe vera, turmeric, cinnamon and ginger. Avoiding kapha increasing foods such as dairy, and anything heavy or fried. Stick to light, dry foods as see how it helps. 

    Follow this link to a full list of foods that reduce and aggravate each dosha

    I hope this is useful and helps you to find some relief from the symptoms that many women suffer though month after month. There are healthy, natural ways to deal with all problems. With knowledge and awareness we can start to take care of ourselves in ways that are better for our bodies. We also take the healing and prevention of our conditions into our own hands and that is a truely powerful thing. Nature provides we just have to know how to use it.



    Monday, September 20, 2010

    Indigestion

    I had the worst indigestion this afternoon. I don't know why, maybe my body is still adjusting after the cleanse. Well I'm pretty sure that has a lot to do with it. I was thinking about what I ate and trying to figure out what was going on and I'm thinking it could have been the pear I had at lunch. It was pretty crunchy but I just thought it was because it had been in the fridge but now I'm starting to suspect it wasn't ripe enough. Pears are aggravating for vatas so I figure they are probably even more so when they are crunchy. Vatas have the weakest digestion and as I have very recently been on a cleanse/fast my digestive system/agni is even weaker and needs to be treated carefully. Up till today I had been very good at treading carefully with my eating, but even so my digestion was still not in top form. However, I had noticed a real increase in my hunger and desire to eat. Not that I hadn't been hungry before, but ever since the cleanse I have had moments of being REALLY HUNGRY! I am taking that as a very good sign. Hunger means that your digestion is strong and we should always try to wait until we are hungry and never eat just for the sake of it or because it is "eating time" so to speak. Anyway, I'm getting a bit off track.

    So what did I do? How did I approach my indigestion you may be asking? Well I went off to my Monday night yoga class and hoped that there were some forward bends to give me some relief. And do you know what? The whole class was focused on forward bends, side bends and backbends! It was like the teacher had designed that class just for me and my digestive issues! It was fantastic and it didn't take long for my stomach to start rumbling and things to start moving. Exactly what I had been hoping for, I needed movement to shift the feeling of stagnation in my stomach and chest.

    On the way home I decided that I probably didn't need dinner as I wasn't hungry and I didn't think my digestion would be improved by giving it more food to digest. When I got home I opened up my Ayurvedic books to see what kind of tea I could make and came across a digestive tea recipe. Really the universe does provide if you just let it. So I boiled some water in a pot and while that was heating ground some cumin, fennel and coriander seeds up then added them to the water. Simple! I'm just finishing the remainder as I type and have to say my digestion is so much better.

    Ah yoga and ayurveda , you have to love them! The sister sciences of India. Gifts from the rishis to help us live happier healthier lives.  Who needs over the counter science experiments to cure our ills when you have Ayurveda the science of life!

    Saturday, September 18, 2010

    Lactation


    Another post for the new mothers. I have come to realise over time as more and more people I know have babies that although breastfeeding is natural it is not always easy. This post is for all breast feeding mothers  having trouble meeting the needs of their growing babies.

    • Fennel seeds: They can be taken in a variety of ways. Added to food, made into a tea or chewed as is or roasted.
    • 2 drops of fennel oil in honey water every 2 hours.
    • Fennel and fenugreek tea
    • Chrysanthemum tea
    • Mangos
    • Quality fats
    • Warm cooked foods 
    • Reduction of dry foods
    • Stewed fruits
    • Milk (organic of course)
    • Incorporating sweet, sour and salty tastes into the diet.
    • Stress, fear, anger are best avoided if possible.
    • Hot baths

    Words of wisdom from Dr P.H. Kulkarni

    I went to an Ayurvedic conference about 2 weekends ago and I was very lucky to experience  some truely amazingly informative lectures by 2 of India's most highly respected Ayurvedic practitioners and educators.

    This post is dedicated to the little words of wisdom that Dr P.H. Kulkarni shared with us over the weekend. I hope you find them as inspiring and interesting as I do.



    • What happens in the Universe happens in our body
    • One who is born will die.
    • Take care one day a week with food and rest. The weekends will be up and down so just let them be but make one day a week a day to bring balance and harmony into your life.
    • If you enjoy everything then there will be no desires and this will bring you peace.
    • Excess is to be avoided otherwise you are inviting imbalances.
    • If you feel light then you are healthy.
    • Hot water is the best food/medicine. 
    • Do something everyday to bring balance.

    Now my most favourite quote of the whole weekend and possibly one of the best of all time:

              There are 2 types of people:
                     1- Good people
                     2. More good people!
     
     



    What an amazing philosophy! We really need to  look at the human race in this truely positive way. No one is bad. All people are good and some are even better!

    Namaste!

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    Gallbladder cleanse part 2


    Once again I have to apologise for my late posting. My plan to stay home, write about my experiences on my blog, cook healthy food, relax and recover from my cleanse took a different route early Saturday evening. Due to unforeseen family issues I had to travel 3 hours back to my parents house and did not return home until early last night totally exhausted. But that's OK some things cannot be helped and you just have to make the best of what life gives you.

    I will start from the beginning.

    At 6 pm Friday night I drank a mixture of Epsom salts and water and then 2 hours later I drank some more. At 10 pm I drank a mixture of olive oil and grapefruit juice. It is hard to say which tasted worse but by the time I had to drink the olive oil I was just happy that I could go to bed and that I didn't have to drink anything else until the next morning. After I drank the Epsom salts I felt really cold and then when I drank the oil mixture I felt cold again. My teacher says it was the effects of my agni (digestive fire) being flushed out. As agni is a fire within us it only makes sense that without it we will experience cold. Also as I said in the last post I started to feel a bit strange quite quickly after drinking the salts and got a headache. I couldn't focus too well so just laid down and rested and the headache went away within about an hour. While I was laying there my stomach started to grumble and I could feel movement too. It was all quite interesting like I was my very own guinea pig. Then it was time for the oil.  I had to drink it standing up and then lay down for 20 minutes, so I just got into bed and tried not to move and then went to sleep. At about half past twelve in the morning I had my first of many visits to the toilet. At 6 and then again at 8 I had to take the final two courses of salt water. I was very pleased indeed having that part all over and would not recommend drinking either unless you were serious about detoxification!

    Surprisingly I didn't feel too bad in the morning and had a bit of energy. I stewed 2 apples and a pear about lunch time and not long after went out with my boyfriend to a cafe and had a fresh juice while I watched him have brunch . I didn't stay out long though as I felt tired and needed to rest. When I got home I went to bed and slept for a couple of hours and felt much better. By the afternoon I had stopped pooping and was just thinking about making some soup for dinner when I spoke to my mum and decided to go and see her. I didn't arrive until after 10 pm so decided to not eat anything as I was not really that hungry and there was nothing appropriate to eat. Plus it was really late and not good for your digestive system at the best of times and would not have been good for my delicate detoxing digestive system.

    I woke early the next morning and went out and bought a load of fresh veggies and fruit and made a big pot of soup. I ate it slowly and carefully. I continued to eat the soup (reheated on the stove not microwave of course) the remainder of the day as I was too tired and preoccupied to cook again. The next day I had stewed apples and pears again and could feel my appetite returning. I wanted to give my mum another massage before I left so had one more bowl of soup for some energy and grabbed a banana and some yoghurt for the trip home. Finding something that I could eat on the train that wouldn't be too hard to digest was difficult. The usual healthy snack of nuts were out of the question. I wasn't really sure if a banana was the best idea or dairy but I needed something. I ate slowly and carefully and anybody watching me would have thought I was crazy chewing a banana as much as I did and I only ate a small amount of the yoghurt. My stomach started to grumble a bit after that so I decided as I wasn't really that hungry not to eat any more of the yoghurt just in case.

    Once I got off the train I went and had my lymphatic drainage massage. The lady asked me about my cleanse and and my current situation and decided to give me a very gentle massage as she did not want to deplete me much more. The massage felt amazing but by the time I got home only 10  minutes away I was exhausted. I just laid on the couch and was glad to be home. I mustered up some energy after resting and steamed some veggies and had a piece of gluten free bread with avocado the heaviest thing I had had in days. I was good and I didn't notice any complaints from my digestive system. It was then time for a bath and bed and a well needed sleep. When I woke up I was HUNGRY I was going to have my yummy gluten free muesli with spiced milk but then remembered about the nuts so decided to have toast with avocado instead. I hadn't had a chance to go shopping so my choices were pretty limited. Not long after I realised I was still really hungry so had some more. By the time I got to work I was pretty tired again and I think the whole weekend, the cleanse and the massage had caught up with me. Luckily Io with some lovely supportive people who helped me ease back into my life again. By the end of the day i was starting to feel good and my hunger is back again. I was going to make a kichadi but my boyfriend has offered to make palak paneer and I'm not going to refuse after the last few days. As I said things don't always go as planned and sometimes you just have to go with what you have been given. I plan  to do the cleanse again, it is advised to do it again to get rid of whatever wasn't removed the first time. So I would like to especially as I wasn't able to give it my full attention. It may be a while before I am willing and able but I will do it again. I will give you a post cleanse update in a few days when I start to feel the effects. 

    * This is a pretty intense cleanse so i would not recommend it to anyone weak, ill or underweight. It is also not recommended  for  women who are menstruating or pregnant. It is best to consult a health professional for advice and guidance.  

    Here is a link to the cleanse that  can be downloaded and printed. 

    Friday, September 10, 2010

    Gallbladder Cleanse


    So today is the big day! After weeks of waiting for a weekend to do my cleanse the time has finally arrived. I am going to do a Gall Bladder cleanse to rid my system of all the accumulated nasties that have lodged themselves in my body over the years. I figure I can do all the best things in the world but if I don't get the rubbish out then all my efforts will only do so much. Ayurveda has been practicing purification practices called panchakama for centuries for the same reason. Panchakama is a major  therapy in Ayurveda and usually people spend days, weeks or months at an Ayurvedic centre purging and rehabilitating in order to cure themselves of all kinds of ailments. I do not have the luxury to be able to pack my self off to India so am doing a mini home panchakama instead. I am using a step by step program given to me by my Ayurvedic teacher and doctor Rama Prasad.

    So in preparation I have brought:

    • lots of fresh veggies to make soups
    • Epsom salts
    • Olive oil
    • grapefruit juice 
    • fruit
    • fruit juice
    • mouthwash
    What I have to do is drink the epson salts, olive oil and grapefruit juice at set times throughout the night and morning.  Once I have started I will stay home close to the bathroom and rest. I had my last meal at lunch and will not eat anything for the remainder of today. Tomorrow I can eat  a light breakfast 2 hours after I have the last of the Epson salts and then light soups and stewed fruits for lunch and dinner. On sunday I will continue to rest and eat lightly. I have also booked myself in to have a 1 hour lymphatic drainage massage to further help the detoxification process.

    I have just drunk the first lot of epson salts in water and it is DISGUSTING!! I'm lucky I didn't vomit. Anyway it's underway and I am not looking forward to drinking any more. I'm sure drinking the olive oil will be equally as disgusting and I don't like grapefruit so am not looking forward to that either. But it will all be worth it in the end.

    I'm starting to feel a bit strange and am getting a slight headache so think I should rest. I will continue this later. Till then goodbye

    Updates - follow the links below and you can see how it all went and how I felt afterwards. I highly recommend doing this cleanse as I feel so much better for it. 

    Follow the links below to see what happened next.



    If you would like a printable handout on the cleanse please click here

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    Meditation at the Harmony Centre


    Hi everyone sorry I haven't posted anything for so long I have been so busy so haven't had the chance or the energy to write.
    I have been doing lots of great things and have so much to share.

    I will start with the amazing meditation I did last week at the Harmony Centre.

    The Harmony Centre has locations all over Australia and runs loads of workshops on meditation, healing, and personal development. The people there are lovely and well trained and the 2 meditations I have done there so far have been fantastic. Very simply both meditations focused on bringing positive energy into the body and releasing negative energy. This was done using the chakras, visulisations and chanting/singing. Both times I went I was feeling tired and walked out singing! The days following were full of positivity but I was also really wiped out. During the mediation last week I think I moved a lot of negativity and literally felt a weight lift from me. It's pretty powerful stuff!

    I think meditating in a group is really beneficial and a great way to work with a collective energy. If you are trying to meditate and finding it difficult then I highly recommend finding a meditation group and teacher to work with.

    If anyone knows of any other great meditation centres near where you live or that you know of or have visited please share with us as some of my readers are not Australian and may like to find somewhere in their area. Also if you have any questions or comments please don't be shy.
    Happy meditations to all.

    *  The above picture is not of the Harmony Centre