Here are a few tools I have put into place to get me into balance:
Sleep- Have a bedtime, remove cellphone and electronics from bedroom. Melatonin works great and so does magnesium.
Diet- Eat whole foods, watch caloric intake, stop eating at night, avoid salt, oil, and sugar. Aim for 1 gallon of Distilled Water a day.
Exercise- Moderately, rest and digest more.
Herbs- Shitavari, Licorice Root, Evening Primrose, Black Cohosh, Tulsi are just a few herbs that work
wonderful. Oh yeah and don’t forget your Gaba!
Other- Organic Progesterone Cream for breast pain.
GOOD Skin Care practice
Limit use of Caffeine, Alcohol, Tobacco, Processed Food and Toxic Chemicals such as cleaning products, petrochemicals, and even many supplements are loaded with metals, preservatives
and poor quality.
These are a few easy fixes. There are many more.
To put in or take out? Honestly, do we really need a supplement in order to detox, or a vitamin or mineral for what we are lacking? Don’t get me wrong I use them sometimes as well. But why not try this when going on a "get healthy kick." See what you can take out rather than what you can put in.
I have worked with hundreds of people and have personal experience. It really is not good for the body to take in too many herbs, oils, or powders unless the proper lifestyle is in place already. Transformation will only be painful and temporary. Detoxing the blood, the intestines, burning fat is a process that needs a continual healthy environment to support the desired outcome.
Next time you consider purchasing a cleanse or taking a supplement ask yourself first, “What can I give up or fast from in order to be healthier?” Get off coffee for thirty days and notice the transformation when your adrenal glands aren’t being saturated by caffeine. Maybe you go without salt, oil or sugar for a week and enjoy a fresh new palate. Take out processed food and see how your belly gets smaller and your skin gets brighter. Sometimes I wonder if we just want to fill a void. After all we are programmed to be consumers.
Put more water into those areas where you take things out. Every time when faced with putting in or taking out, have a glass of water, take a breath, and put your mind on something else. If that doesn’t work do it again. Stay with it and I promise the effects will be lasting.
Home and Hearth is more than a collection of physical things that provide shelter from the elements. It exists on a spiritual level as a place to rest and regenerate our souls. This is an ancient paradigm that is being transformed by modern technology and First-World entitlements. Our homes are full of devices that afford time efficiency, entertainment and instant global communication. We use cell phones, computers, toilet seat warmers, time sensitive coffee makers and crockpots. We can even raise and lower our garage doors from the other side of the world if we want to. The speed in which our day moves is incredibly fast and directly relates to our frantic chase for money, security, and material possessions. I'm not saying these things are bad. I am saying that the chase doesn't come without a cost.
In all these conveniences the silent sacrifice is real communal interaction, and natural circadium recognition. Lifes daily grind is robotic and forced and leaves no time for seasonal shifts that are natural to Body, Mind and Spirit. This has disempowered us into ignoring our innate reset button and the necessity for rest and digest gets overrun.
Sleep and how it relates to Home and Hearth in our modern day world is described best by John Lennon's song; "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night" where he makes the clear distinction "It's Your Money Or Your Life", and "it's Going To Be All Right, All Right". How we rest and when we rest is just as important as the quality of sleep we are getting. Sleep has become like gold in our modern day world and manufacturers make a ton of money off the consumers' sleep deprived vulnerability.
We are bombarded with many toxins that inhibit good rest. Most of us are out of touch with our natural circadian rhythms. Many suffer insomnia from eating too late, others lack sufficient melatonin for quality sleep. Over stimulation of electronic devices, blue rays or, high frequency sounds and other Electro-Magnetic Frequencies (EMFs) inhibit proper sleep hygiene and have consequences to the endocrine system. All these are factors affect quality sleep and overall health of the individual and the population at large. In order to be in one’s right mind, right mood, and right motivation restfulness must exist. Our day starts the night before. Proper preparation is crucial to how we awaken.
A primal need is to be safe at night in our home and hearth where we surrender our eyelids and traverse our inner landscape. The best strategy for this trek is to be well prepared, properly suited and with the right astral footing. Vitality is ensured with 3 to 4 sleep cycles a night. They may last anywhere from 2 to 4 hours long. Low lighting for two hours before bed will produce melatonin secretion. Have your last meal of the day at least 4 hours before sleep for insulin regulation. Give yourself a bedtime of 10:00 pm and be asleep before midnight. Remove wireless devices and televisions from your room. Meditate or do yoga before bed and rub oil on your feet. I know it sounds weird but it helps. All these will allow for the brain, liver, kidneys, lungs, blood, lymph and skin to detoxify overnight and leave you feeling fresh and alive upon waking.
Clarity of mind, better mood, increased stamina, nurturing relationships and resilience to life's pressures, are a result of good sleep habits and cultivate a Healthy Home and Hearth. Weight loss, less body pain, and pure radiance are all byproducts of an attitude and discipline focused on health and gratitude. Training for wellness doesn't happen overnight. It is a journey that requires giving something up and implementing something new.
Training for wellness is a path of discovery and empowerment and well worth the effort for yourself, your family and your community!
Our bodies are naturally designed for health. Training for wellness is a way to empower your whole life in body, mind and spirit. Like any healthy fitness program it requires positive choices, discipline and a zest for life. Following a few common-sense rules can cause you to feel at least 75% better in a short time.
For wellness to exist The Four Pillars of Life need to be harmonized. The pillars are Food, Sleep, Energy Expense, and Breath. When we understand these concepts then appropriate lifestyle modifications can be made.
Food is the first pillar and refers to what we take in through our mouth, our mind and our senses. Are we eating wholesome life-giving or life-taking away foods? We are what we eat, how we eat, where we eat and why we eat. We are the quality of how we digest what we've taken in through our five senses; taste, touch, sight, smell and sound.
"Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are”
-Jean Antheime Brillat-Saravin
The next important Pillar to consider is Sleep. How we rest and when we rest are just as important as the quality of sleep we get. Sleep is like gold in this modern world. We are bombarded with many toxins that inhibit good rest. Human beings are out of touch with natural circadian rhythms and have hormonal imbalances which inhibit sleep. Without the proper sleep cycles, concentration can suffer and behavior can be unstable. Conversely if an individual gets too much sleep they may experience, weight gain, lethargy and stagnation. Apathy is another factor inhibiting human potential and a life of true wellness. A poor diet and lack of exercise can cause feelings of stagnation, depression and heaviness. All these are byproducts of an unnatural relationship to sleep.
Energy is your every thought, action and deed. Someone told me a long time ago that I was holding on to an emotion and thinking about it too much. In fact it was taking up real estate in my mind. Many people are running toward things that do not serve them and then hiding it from the people around them, this takes a lot of energy. Money and Love are two of the most powerful forms of energy. Where do you spend your money? How do you spend your money? Is there a sacred exchange with money or are you angry at where you spend money? How do you feel about Love? Love is a healing energy. How do you relay love to the people around you? What kind of sexual exchanges do you have and are they fulfilling or depleting.
The quality of Breath represents the quality of aliveness. How deeply you breathe and the quality of air you breathe impacts the quality of your life. Did you know that your breathing and your thinking mirror each other. When the brain- respiratory system are in sync, thoughts and emotions are in alignment. Listening to the breath is like hearing a personal lullaby. It is soothing. More oxygen in the bloodstream means a healthier immune system, radiant skin and bright eyes. We can hold our breath and feel a suspension of time. We can feel immense fear when we hold it too long. Just as our breath can speed up with fear; control of the breath can slow it down and create peace.
Waking up to healthy and wholesome habits takes discipline and commitment. In the beginning maintaining balance with the Four Pillars of Life can be challenging but eventually the benefits to feeling good out-way the difficulties and it becomes a way of life, a daily habit like brushing your teeth. Are you ready to flex this muscle of “Being Awake”? Are you ready to strengthen this muscle and train yourself into wellness? Are you ready to live in sync with nature and to become more natural.
Tamas; a word from Ayurveda meaning dark, dead, stuck, stagnant, or a poor attitude. Sattva, its opposite, means light, life giving, clean and conscious with a peaceful attitude. In Ayurveda these concepts pertain to all aspects of life. For a happy, healthy and whole life Sattva must be a stabilizing force. One way to bring the positive attributes of Sattva out in a person is through food.
Some examples of life-giving foods are; fresh fruit and veggies, legumes, nuts and seeds, wholefoods, non GMO and gluten free, Ghee, fermented foods and clean water not to mention beautiful environments, enjoyable music and soft colors. Life-taking away foods would be processed foods and food-like substances as well as meat, dead-food, canned food, condiments and tap water. Hard core music, dull or overstimulating environments as well as complaining are life-taking away food.
By eliminating life-taking foods and adding more life-giving foods the body, mind and spirit will find its way into balance. Our bodies are designed to live with nature, to be filters for natural products. Our modern world is full of synthetic products and people are more removed from nature. The Sattvic path is a journey over time that requires one conscious step, then another, then another and another all while experiencing fulfillment, satisfaction and more peace along the way.
Karen Barbarick-Collins is a Certified Ayurvedic Technician and Registered Yoga Alliance Teacher. She is the founder of Bending Blade Healing Arts.