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Monday, February 28, 2011

Oils to Reduce Anxiety and Worry

Anxiety and worry are a natural part of life. We live in the world and life goes up and down. Some people bounce back while for others it is a lot harder. If your doash is vata or if you have a vata imbalance then you could well be one of the ones that find it harder to bounce back.

According to Ayurveda the body is divided into three parts and each part is dominated by one of the three doshas, vata, pitta and kapha. Vata is in the upper part of the body and is related to the brain, lungs, stomach, circulation  and the nervous system. Worry and anxiety are therefore vata conditions. When you think about it, it all makes sense. We hold our thoughts in our mind, but we also hold our worry in our stomach. We churn our emotions round and round, tense and hold our stomach until we are "worried sick".  We also breath faster and higher in our chest or we may even hold our breath. Any one of these can lead to other vata disorders such as sleeplessness, headaches, poor memory, asthma or a dry cough. These are all signs that our vata and more specifically out prana, our vital life force, needs attention.

There are many ways to bring balance to vata. Diet, meditation, stability, relaxation and moisture are all beneficial. Aromatheraphy is also highly beneficial. Vata is air so when we inhale and exhale we are directly influencing our vata. The essential oils listed below are specifically for balancing vata if you are feeling anxious, worried or have any of the side effects mentioned above.

The easiest method is by having a bath. Water is one of the best therapies for vata so lying in a warm bath of aromatic essential oils is a sure way to bring stability to your mind and nervous system. Play around with different combinations until you find a few that you like, but remember each day is different so what was right for you yesterday might not be the same for today. Go with your instincts.

  • sandalwood
  • hyssop (do not use if pregnant or if you have epilepsy)
  • cardamon (do not use if you have ulcers or high pitta)
  • orange

Another great practice that all doshas should be doing is self massage. The skin is the biggest organ of the body so a massage is a fantastic way for the healing properties of the oils to be absorbed into the body. Chose from the oils listed below and add them to some sesame oil. Heat them until they are warm and massage them in. Use long strokes along your limbs and circular movements on your joints. It can be a bit messy and dangerous so be careful not to slip. It's best to but a towel down and socks on once you have finished. You can leave the oil on overnight or sit quietly for 20-30 minutes and wash it off. The longer you sit the more relaxed you will become. Put on some relaxing music and just lay down and enjoy the experience. 

  • rosemary (do not use if pregnant or if you have epilepsy)
  • myrtle
  • brahmi (be careful if you have very sensitive skin)
  • orange
  • cardamon

Another simple way to use oils is in an oil burner. Add  a few drops of one or more of the oils to some water and do something that brings you peace and happiness. Do yoga, meditate,  read, write, sing, draw, paint, knit. Whatever it is, it should be something that takes you away from your thoughts and quietens the mind. Do something that brings more sattva to your life.

Try these simple techniques and see how you feel. Do them regularly and you should see a reduction in your stress levels. Take time out to look after yourself and you will feel better for it.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pranayama - Cooling Breath Exercises

Summer as we all know is a time to pay careful attention to the fire element present in a ll of us. We may not have a predominant pitta constitution but that does not mean these hot days will not throw our pitta out of balance. Here is a very simple paranayama (yogic breathing) exercise to cool you down.

The first cooling pranayama exercise is called Shitali.
Sit up straight in a chair or on the floor, whichever is best for you, just make sure you spine is straight. Place you hands on your thighs palms up, or use a mudra you are familiar with.  Roll you tongue as seen in the picture and breath in and out with the tongue rolled. You will notice the air passing over the tongue is cool. Continue for a few minutes and you too will feel cooler. Once you have finished sit quietly and relax.

Anoher practice is breathing in and out the left nostril. The main channel of the left side of the body is know as Ida and it has a cooling quality.
Again sit up straight on a cushion or a chair and place your hands on your thighs as above. Bock your right nostril and breath in slowly and without force and out again through the left nostril. Make each inhalation and exhalation the same length maybe using the count of five, or any low number to help you. Do this for a few minutes and then sit.

Weekly Gratitude

Ok it's been more than a week since my last and second gratitude post but I have a great excuse, I just moved house! Yeah! Near the Beach! yeah yeah yeah! So that is my first point of gratitude.
  • I am thankful for my beautiful new apartment.
  • I am thankful for my beautiful flatmate who I can talk to about Ayurveda, spirituality, meditation, health and all the thongs that I am interested in.
  • I am thankful for my beautiful friend Amber and her lovely son Indi for helping me to move.
  • I thank my boyfriend, well now ex boyfriend, for making our separation so easy and for the fact that we are still friends and will love eachother forever.
  • Thank you to the beach, the ocean, sand and sunrises and for all this being a 5 minute walk from my new house.
  • I am thankful for summer, for fans and for a beach in very close walking distance. Did I say that already?
  • I am thankful for the Harmony Centre for all the wonderful teachings, meditations, clearings and healings I have had there.
  • I am thankful to the ladies at work who let me teach them yoga and meditation.
  • I am thankful for hot cross buns being available, even though my digestion will probably disagree if I make them a regular dietary habit
  • I am thankful to my new yoga school, the lovely people and teacher

Friday, February 18, 2011

March Sangha _ Autumn

Well sadly all good things must come to an end and the beautiful summer days will soon be leaving us. To help us prepare for the change of season we are dedicating our next Sangha to Autumn and how to make sure your vata does not go out of balance. But I'm not a vata I hear you say. Well that does not matter. We are all made up of all the five elements, ether, air, fire, water and earth so each dosha is present in all of us, it's just the percentages will differ from person to person. That means we all can have a vata imbalance even if we have a  kapha or pitta constitution. So we all need to know how changing from the heat of summer into the coolness of Autumn can increase the ether and air elements and more importantly what we can do to counter them.

We are very lucky to have a guest speaker Madhu Arora, an Indian cooking teacher coming to speak about how to use food to balance vata in Autumn. We will also be speaking on the daily routine and other practices that will help you stay grounded, warm and hydrated.

I really hope that you can join us. Our last Sangha was a massive success with everyone who came commenting on how much they enjoyed the night. It's a great way to meet people, connect with others who share an interest in health and learn how to live a more harmonious life.

For more information have a look at the flyer or you can contact me on antheasayurveda@gmail.com

Saturday, February 12, 2011


When the power of love is greater than the love of power only then will the world know peace.

Saw this message today, it was a photo of graffiti on a wall, not sure where. After a quick google search it seems to be a Jimi Hendrix quote. I just had to post it as it's just so simple, honest and true.

Love and peace 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Our first Sangha

We had our first Ayurveda Sangha on Wednesday night and it was a big success! Thank you Anna, Asher and Clair for helping organise the night and thank you everyone who came along and made the night something special.

I am so excited about the future of the night as there was a real feeling of appreciation and interest from everyone that was there. It is not every night that a group of people come together to talk about health and how they can use simple holistic practices to bring balance to their lives.

We started with a lovely meditation then went around the circle and introduced ourselves. Everyone was very excited to be there and all had very positive things to say about the meditation and the idea of the night.  We then went on to talk about how pranayama is used in Ayurveda as way of harmonising the doshas (individual constitutions). This was followed by demonstrations and practices of Nadi Shodana for vata, viloma for pitta and bellows for kapha. Everyone now has the option of practicing the pranayama  they feel is best suited to them and keep a record of their findings which we will discuss at next months Sangha.

We are now plannig next months Sangha and will have a flyer out next week. To make it easier for everyone to remember it will be held on the 2nd Wednesday of every month. So if you are in Sydney on the 9th of March and would like to come along give me a call or send me a text. I would love to see you there.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Weekly Gratitude

Love, Life, Lace

I just came across this cool idea on another blog and decided to join. The idea is to  It's a movement towards self reflection, thankfulness and peace. So at the end of the  week I will write about what added to my life in a positive way. So I guess that means that I will have to double up this week, but I'm sure that won't be too difficult. 
Ok so here I go my first reflection on the great things in my life this week.

  • I could not begin without mentioning my family and friends. I thank then for today, yesterday, this week and everyday
  • My health
  • My new soon to be flatmate for opening her house to me
  • My students who keep me young and make me laugh
  • The end of the heatwave
  • Getting a lift home so I don't have to wait for the bus
  • My 4 year old neighbour who has adopted me as his new best friend
  • My boyfriend for shouting me dinner one night and making me dinner the next
  • The washing machine finally being fixed
  • Nature for giving me such a beautiful place to spend my days

I could go on and on, as i do tend to do when I get writing but I will stop now. I hope you all too have had lots to be thankful for this week.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hair growth

This post is dedicated to all the beautiful people of the world who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy.  Love and blessings to you all.

Here are a list of thing you can do to promote hair growth.

  • Massage.  Coconut, johoba and sesame oil are good base oils for head massages and are great for hair growth or loss, with coconut oil probably being the better choice. Add a bout 10 drops of a few of the following  essential oils -  birch, brahmi, chamomile, coriander, peppermint, rose, rosewood, rosemary, cedar.  Warm the oil by placing the bottle in a container of hot water. Once it is nice and warm but not too hot massage it into your head and stimulate your scalp.  Once you have finished massage your feet. Try doing this every night before you go to bed. 
  • Marmas are pranic/energy centers on the body are also good places to massage. The following relate to hair- the marma on the top of the head where the crown chakra is situated, between the eyes or where the third eye chakra is and on the side of the head at the temples.
  • Brahmi is a great herb for hair growth. The tea has started to appear in some health food shops so have a look around or ask your local store if they can get it in for you. 
  • Sesame seeds. sprinkle them in your salads, on top of noodles, in soups, add them to your cereal or just pour some in you hand and eat them straight. 
  • Fenugreek. Mix it with some water and have it as a gruel. Doesn't sound too appealing but apparently it works. 
  • Sweet food. Yeah! 
  • Hibiscus flower.  See if there are any teas around, not really sure of its availability but you might be lucky. And as with the Brahmi or anything if we start asking for things they will become available. 
  • Sage. Add it to your cooking.
  • Salt. Reduce or avoid it.
  • A healthy diet fully of lots of  fresh vegetables.
  • Love, love, love. I did not find this in any of my books but I do believe in the power of love and positive thoughts. Do things you love. Spend time with people you love and those that love you. Go to beautiful place, listen to beautiful music and sing with a smile on your face and in your heart. These things too are medicine. Very powerful medicine. 
Take care my beautiful friends. Healthy healing to each and everyone of you xx