I hope that you are all well and wonderful and that the seeds you planted this spring are growing into beautiful realities:) Today is New Moon in Cancer, as well as a solar eclipse, so a wonderful time to water and nurture the seeds in your heart, as well as to plant new ones.
Summer is here, and with comes the hot sunny days that we all love~ Ayurvedically this is Pitta Season. Hot, damp, energetic, filled with lots of fun, but a time when it is also easy to overdo, and overheat. Its important to take care to nurture yourself, and to allow yourself to enjoy this time of year. Slow down, get outside and have fun. I know here on the West Coast of British Columbia, it still feels cool and Kapha like, but I trust that it will shift soon, to help manifest this, I am focusing this newsletter on bringing balance to the being in Pitta season!
Things are wonderful here at The Hawthorn, the garden is growing, the flowers are blooming, the bees are buzzing in abundance, and there is joy and laughter everywhere.
I am excited to announce the next Ayurvedic Cooking Class, which will be held on Sunday, July 17, and well as another Yoga Nidra night on Tuesday, July 14. I am offering a wonderful special this month~ Buy two 90 minute Abyhanga’s (Ayurvedic Massage) for $150 (a 30 dollar savings), truly a treat to oneself. I am also offering a 1/2 day retreat during the summer~ Visit me at The Hawthorn, and receive an Ayurvedic Consultation, a 90 minute Abyhanga, and then enjoy an Organic Garden Fresh Ayurvedic Lunch, and take your time relaxing and enjoying the magical gardens, or sit in the meditation room~ only $225.
For those of you who like to stay in Duncan, I am offering Tarot Readings from 11-2 on Thursdays at The Healing Arts Station at 164 Station Street in downtown Duncan, pop in to say hi, or to get a reading. I would love to see you:) I am always available by appointment at home or by the phone:)
Some tips for keeping Pitta in balance at this time of year.
Pitta energy when in balance is nurturing, fun, energetic and playful. When it gets out of balance it can show itself mentally with frustration, anger, overdoing things at work, or on a physical level manifesting itself in headaches, rashes, and hot flashes. It is important to check in with yourself, to see how you are feeling~ Are you overdoing it? Are you taking the time to rest and enjoy? Notice where you are at and what you are doing, that is perhaps the most important step towards keeping yourself in balance at any time of year.
Enjoy Nature and Play
When the summer sun is shining, and the air is warm its a perfect time to be outside and to be in nature. Nature is very balancing to Pitta. Its a wonderful time of year to enjoy your garden~ working with the earth is extremely grounding and cooling, and sitting in the shade, smelling the beautiful flowers is an energetic air conditioner. Take nice long walks in the morning or the evening~ even better if they are gentle hikes in a park or woodland by you. The power of mother earth settles us on so many levels~ and is such good medicine at this time of year. Another great way to cool off at this time of year is by embracing any water sources near you. Jump in your favorite lake, river or ocean~ let the currents carry your stresses away. If you don’t have a nice natural water source close by, take a bath, throw in a few scoops of epsom salts, your favorite essential oil and relax~ keep the water temperature a bit cooler, warm is ok:)
Pitta is very playful in its energy. If you notice yourself spending a lot of time working inside or are stressed because you are feeling overwhelmed by everything that you “need” to get done, STOP. Overdoing and overworking, can energetically take our physical and emotional beings to an unhealthy place very quickly. Give yourself permission to play and enjoy life. Make time for your friends and your family~ go on a picnic, or a camping trip, or maybe just have a nice dinner together once a week. Life is too short to rush around “doing” all of the time. When the days are long and sunny, when there is more chance for connection and holiday, take advantage and jump in. Embrace your innerchild, and then embrace those that you love around you~ great medicine for the soul, and a wonderful way to balance to much Pitta energy.
Diet is also very important at this time of year. Pitta can be aggravated by lots of spicy, pungent and sour foods. Not that you can’t enjoy your hot pepper salsa, but notice if you are finding imbalance in your meals~ bring in some cooling energy to even it out. There are so many fresh garden vegetables available to us at this time of year, fill your dishes with them. Add some cooling herbs, or fresh coconut to your dishes~ cucumbers are great.
I will share a list of some foods to minimize, and some to increase, but again everybody is different, find what works for you. And remember minimizing doesn’t mean don’t eat, it just means to find a balance for your body. If you notice heat increasing in your body, then increase the recommended vegetables and decrease the heating ones and see how you feel:)
1. Liquids: Avoid iced drinks, as Ayurveda teaches that extremely cold or iced drinks extinguish the digestive fire. Instead, during the summer it is best to take all drinks cool, warm or at room temperature.
2. Fruit: Enjoy sweet fruits like apples and berries rather than sour or citrus fruits.
3. Vegetables: Eat plenty of sweet and bitter vegetables like cucumbers, spinach, celery and zucchini rather than pungent veggies like raw onions, hot peppers and tomatoes.
4. Grain: Choose white, wild or basmati rice rather than brown rice and go for quinoa, barley and bran rather than rye, corn and millet.
5. Dairy: If you can digest dairy products, use ghee, cow’s milk, goat’s milk, unsalted butter and unsalted cheese. Ice cream is ok, on occasion. If you are prone to congestion or weight gain it is better to avoid it. Sour cream, buttermilk, and salted dairy products are not recommended, especially during the summer, as they are more heating.
6. Meat: If you eat animal products, do so moderately, and try to limit it to the white meat of chicken or turkey, freshwater fish or egg whites.
7. Spices: Use an abundance of cooling spices like cilantro, dill, coriander and fennel. Avoid heating spices like cayenne, chili peppers and mustard seeds. Fresh ginger is ok, but do not use dried ginger. Sprinkling coconut on foods is also a cooling treat.
8. Legumes: Beans in general are astringent, and balancing for pitta. If you eat nuts, choose almonds (as they are less heating than other nuts). Soak and peel them for healthiest results. Sunflower seeds are lighter and less heating than nuts.
9. Alcohol: If you drink alcohol, choose beer and dry white wine, in moderation. Avoid hard liquor and red wine which are heating.
10.Tea or Coffee: Chamomile, dandelion, fennel, licorice and mint teas are best. You can also make a cumin-coriander-fennel tea. Coffee is not recommended. If you drink coffee, add cardamom as an antidote.
~ This list was created by Banyan Botanicals, and I think its a great explanation of recommendations for diet during Pitta season:0)
Treat yourself to the gift of a nurturing massage. Its great at any time of the year~ always balancing. Ayurvedic Massage is wonderfully nurturing and balancing. Choose an essential oil to help cool the senses down, Lavendar, Rose or Ylang Ylang are great choices:) Shirodhara is also extremely cooling, and relaxing to the nervous system and the busy mind. If you haven’t experienced it yet… maybe now is a good time:) This month I am offering a special on Abyhanga (Ayurvedic Massage)~ Buy two massages for the price of $150 (a 30 dollar savings). They must be used within 3 months from purchase. If you haven’t tried it yet, it is a truly amazing experience:)
Yoga Asana Of The Month
Hot Yoga is the rage right now, whether it be Bikram, Moksha, or Vinyasa Flows~ they are fun, energetic, and very strengthening. At this time of the year, when the heat is all around us, its important to balance the “Hot” Yoga with some slower, gentler, more cooling practices, especially for those of us who may have a Pitta imbalance. Now is a wonderful time to create a calmer, more relaxed attitude towards your practice, letting go of any inner compitition or need to be perfect. Try to schedule your yoga practice in the morning, or in the evening, in the cooler time of day, taking time to relax and melt into each posture. Inverted asana’s can be very cooling, when not held too long, and chest opening and hip opening postures are also very balancing, letting go of any excess heat in the body~ Standing and seated forward bends are both extremely cooling. This month I thought we would play with pigeon~ A Hip Opening Forward Bend that asks you to open your heart and surrender to the moment.
Pigeon is a wonderful asana to release excess heat and stress, and allow your self to melt into the space that is Now. It opens the heart chakra, as well as the 2nd chakra, using a combination of strength and surrender.
As always before you begin to practice take a few minutes to sit or lie down, allowing yourself to breathe, and relax, to slowly come into this space of quiet practice.
1. Come into a table position on your mat. Take a few breaths here, maybe even making some movement~ arching and curling your back on the inhale and the exhale, release any stored stress in your spine.
2. Exhale and bring your right knee up towards your hands. Turning the knee allow it to float towards the right side of your mat, as the right ankle rests on the left side of the mat. Allow the left leg to slide back so that it is extended, the hips lowering towards the floor. The toes of the left foot can be curled under or flat.
3. Press down into your fingertips, grounding into the earth. Inhaling lift the crown of the head up towards the sky, not straining your neck, but lengthening the spine~ opening the heart~ Breathe deeply. Exhaling allow the hips to sink down to the earth. Allow your shoulders to roll back down your spine, so that the heart can open more fully.
4. Breathe and enjoy the opening:) Feel free to stay here, or allow yourself to fold forward over your right leg, onto your forearms, letting go, and feeling the release in the hips.
5. To come out of this asana, allow your hands to support you as you take the right leg back to table, maybe taking a downward dog, lifting the right leg to the sky, or even childs pose, before embracing the other side.
When teaching this asana in my yoga class, I always remind my students to breathe and be here, as it can be uncomfortable, our minds may try to take us away… Come back to the breathe, surrender and enjoy.
I thought this month I would share a chutney and Lassi drink.
Lassi’s are a yogurt drink that are wonderful for digestion. Yogurt on its own can be quite sour and heating, but when mixed with cooling spices and herbs, it is transformed into a sweet and cooling nectar.
Mint Lassi~ Mmm So good
1 cup yogurt (organic or homemade is best)
2 cups water
¼ tsp crushed cardamom
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves~ try spearmint or peppermint..
Pinch of salt
1. Mix yogurt, water, maple syrup, cardamom, mint leaves and salt in a blender.Blend until smooth.
2. Blend until smooth
Feel free to play around with this ~ toss in a few rose petals from your garden, roses are so cooling and nourish the heart:0), cinnamon tastes good too… is there another spice you would like to try? saffron is nice~ add a handful of soaked almonds, or some cashews… Maybe a date? Add more water for a thinner drink, Less to make it creamier. Embrace the playful pitta energy and see what you can create:)
Cilantro Mint Chutney
Chutney’s are an amazing way to bring some spice to your meal with out overdoing it. Usually they are taken with the meal to help digestion, as well as adding a complexity of flavor. This is a chuteny we shared in our last cooking class. Cooling, but with a little bit of spice at the same time. Delicious!
2 cups loosely packed coarsely chopped fresh mint
2 cups loosely packed coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2 roma tomatoes
1 Tbs minced fresh ginger
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
Put all ingredients in a food processor and mix.
This month at Ananda Ayurveda, I am pleased to offer another cooking class, as well as the monthly Yoga Nidra Meditation.
Ayurvedic Cooking Class~ July Menu
Sunday, July 17 ~ from 10:00-1:30 at The Hawthorn
The cooking classes are a wonderful way to learn a little bit about Ayurveda, see the beautiful space that is The Hawthorn, and to enjoy a wonderful meal, as well as make new friends. This months menu is filled with lots of garden fresh vegetables, and flavorful dishes that are really quite easy to prepare on your own.
Fresh Garden Pea and Zucchini Soup
Brown Rice Salad with Fresh Dill, Currants and Pumpkin Seeds
Swiss Chard Pecan Dolma’s with Lemon Mint Sauce
Bengali Apple Chutney
Quinoa, Amaranth, & Rice Flour Crepes with Fresh Seasonal Fruit
Cinnamon Mint Lassi
Ayurvedic Digestive Tea
Curry Powder Spice Mix
The class is limited to 6 students~ please call 250 597 3973 to register.
Yoga Nidra ~ At The Hawthorn
Tuesday, July 14~ 7:30-9:00
Yoga Nidra is a body-centered form of meditation that can help us discover a greater sense of wholeness and balance that is naturally ours. This method of self-inquiry is practiced in a comfortable lying down position, in which participants are guided into the deepest levels of relaxation and mediation. This practice burns away negative patterns of conditioning, creating the space for transformations on the physical, emotional, and energetic levels.
Join Me For 30 minute Yoga Nidra (a recorded session by Swami Niramjamananda) followed by 30 minute silent sit
I hope you all have a wonderful July~ Thank you again so much for reading, enjoying and sharing your energy with me!
Much Much Love and Peace