How Ayurveda Changed My Life
by Nicole Becker
25 Years ago I was suffering from chronic sinus infections, chronic digestive problems and systemic candida overgrowth. Western medicine overdosed me on antibiotics and didn't have any answers for me so I started learning everything I could about natural alternatives to heal myself. I dove deep into Western herbology, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Ayurveda (traditional Indian Medicine) for solutions. Long story short I was able to heal myself completely from all my ailments, and one of the most powerfully healing practices that I first incorporated into my life and gave me the best results, was a simple morning ritual from Ayurveda: Hot lemon water first thing in the morning.
You may have come across this health tip out there in the interwebs... first thing in the morning, before any other food or drink, squeeze half a lemon into a cup of piping hot water and drink up! This practice is great to stimulate the digestive fire or "agni" which improves digestion and, most importantly... elimination (if you catch my drift).
Many popular health trends out there these days are actually time-tested Ayurvedic secrets. The whole turmeric craze for anti-inflammation? Ayurveda. The whole coconut oil scene? Ayurveda (restrictions apply!).
Ayurveda means "the science of life". It is the companion science of Yoga, and looks at each person as a unique make up of 3 basic doshas (constitutions) that each have their specific tendencies, strengths, weaknesses, proclivities, etc.
You know how your body might run hot - you love to have the windows open at night but your partner runs cold and can never have enough blankets or wants the heater on all night? This boils down to a difference of doshas. The person who runs hot is going to also have different dietary, lifestyle and personality needs/preferences than the colder person.
Understanding Ayurveda, so many things finally make sense about my body, my mind, my tendencies, what I gravitate to in my life, what I avoid. I feel so much more compassionate towards myself and others. I also feel empowered with simple strategies to know how to balance any imbalances as they inevitably arise. It helps me to avoid getting pulled into the trap of the latest health trends and instead know what would be beneficial to my personal constitution.
You can learn the basics of Ayurveda and find immediate empowerment in our upcoming: Ayurveda Basics Workshop with Eugenia Park on Saturday, October 7, 2017 from 2-5 p.m. Sign up by Oct. 1st and receive a $15 early bird discount! ($45 by Oct. 1, $60 thereafter)
A Surprising way to release tension... the way (other) animals do!
by Nicole Becker
Stress, tension, and even trauma are nothing new to living a life in an mortal body. Scientific researchers of all stripes have long been interested in the mechanisms involved in how creatures respond to, process and recover from stressful experiences.
As we all know, even though a particular stressor and/or stressful situation is over, our body can cling to the associated tension and fear, even mild over-alertness, long after the event. Our body tends to remember and store tension and trauma in order to be able to better predict and prevent threats to it's survival.
Animal researchers have observed (and you may have too in your pets) that shortly after experiencing a threatening situation, like being chased by a predator, that the prey animal will shiver/shudder for a few seconds/minutes. You may have experienced this yourself if you've ever been in shock and found yourself shivering even if you weren't cold. What's happening here is a very interesting primal version of "shake it off". The nervous system produces a "tremor" or "shiver" which is a rapid tense/release of large muscle groups. This is not just a symptom of shock, but a way for the body to release the muscle tension that was evoked during the stress and to reset back to neutral.
This natural recovery process from "fight or flight" mode has been harnessed and is being taught all over the world to everyone from survivors of war to everyday folks with normal everyday stresses. TRE: Tension/Trauma Relieving Exercises take you through a simple series of 6 standing poses similar to yoga postures that engage the large leg muscles. Afterwards, you rest on the floor in a comfortable but specific position that evokes this gentle "tremor" or "shiver" response in the legs (and sometimes other parts of the body). The first time I did it I was so surprised by the feeling - which was pleasant - of this sort of involuntary tremble of my limbs. It feels in a way like a percussive massage but it's happening from the inside out. At one point I was laughing because it was such an odd sensation. Resting afterward, I felt a little teary for no apparent reason other than I could feel the sweet catharsis of having moved some unknown tension out of my body and the subsequent lightness and freedom was poignant.
Join our upcoming 4-WEEK TRE Series on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:00 p.m.
from January 9-30, 2019 with certified TRE provider, Ashley Brown.
Click here for details
Author, Nicole Becker
Yoga Therapist, Retreat Leader, and Heart of Yoga Teacher, Nicole Becker offers yoga and self-care insights and tips.