Neti Pot & Nasya Oil: I usually am asked “what is that?” or “I’m scared to use it”. They have become much more common place though and can be found even in less urban stores across the US.
This is an example of Self Care as encouraged in the Ayurvedic Science. The belief is to take care of the senses to promote good health. Tongue scraping, rosewater for eyes, Neti and Nasya oils, Abhyanga (Self Oil Massage). Keep these areas clean, open and moist and you will promote health.
For the Neti:
Simply make a saline; I use regular Sea Salt however you can purchase neti salts if you prefer. Using warm purified water, add a pinch of sea salt. The water is not too hot or too cold. Press the pot up to one side of the nose tight, lean a bit forward, tilt the head to the side. Open the mouth slightly so you breathe. The saline flows from one nostril to the other and will empty out so hover over a sink or bowl. Fill up with more saline and repeat on the other side. Simply blow after and watch and see how you feel. Amazing how our body actually needs the salt and it helps to flush it out – not just push it up as you do with saline sprays. Finish off with Nasaya oil (see blogroll list to the direct site for Banyan) – take in way up into the back of the throat.
There are many neti pot shapes and there are ceramic and plastic neti’s. I have the classic shaped “Lotus design” that has a long neck vs the tea pot shape that is another option. There are also some for travel that are more like squirt bottles. The difference is how fast it pours out. I also prefer ceramic for the home as well it is easier to keep clean – just put in dishwasher. Some like to Neti every day and some just do it depending on the season or when they feel they need it more. If given a choice to Neti or do Nasya Oil each day – it is recommended to at least oil.
Contraindications for Neti and Nasya:
*Active sinus infection or viral/bacterial head cold
*Recent ear surgery
Check with your doctor to find out if you should do any of these practices.
Many of us in the West need more of it and we know it but finding natural help with it is not something many seek out. Instead we have tried to fit in more activity in the 24 hour day and think that we can go on 4 to 5 hours of sleep. We push past our biological clocks and exhaust ourselves with hard exercise because we think we will sleep better from this. Then we start down the long term trail of being irritated, angry and unhealthy. Many report having problems remaining asleep as well.
On the flip side if you are sleeping you become nicer to be around, will be calmer, nicer and others like it. So please if you won’t listen to your body – please listen to others who would like you to take a nap! In the Ayurvedic science they encourage a 10 to 15 minute nap after your meal – lay on the left side and it will help your digestive system and internal organs.
Other suggestions to sleeping well would be examining your diet and lifestyle choices. Limit alcohol, caffeine and sodas. About an hour before you want to be asleep (ideal time is 10pm), turn off the computer, phones, and TV. The blue-light coming from the electronics is sending signals to your brain to stay up. Start to turn lights down and even having things like oils or candles with certain scents will help the body to relax. Making a cup of warm milk with turmeric and ginger will help your body get ready for sleep.
Other suggestions are to spend the one hour before you plan to go to sleep either with a calming bath or read a book. Make sure the book is not one that will be too stimulating to the mind/body.
Once you are ready to go to sleep, if your mind is worried or concerned you will lay there anxious and let your thoughts keep you up. So start first by examining your thoughts- being aware of it. You have to notice something before you can change it. There are many techniques of body scan, imagery, and watching the breath. Yoga Nidra for example will help.
Simply doing alternate nostril breath without holding the nose may help as well. Watch and examine the breath inhaling into the left side and exhale out the right. Switch. Keep bringing your awareness there. Can you start to notice when the mind floats off again and bring the focus back to the technique you are using. i.e. Gently bring yourself back to the breath. In a short time you’ll be off sleeping.
Ayurvedic science suggest getting to bed at 10pm. Western science supports the idea that the most restorative time of sleep is between 10pm and 2am to cleanse the body and feel complete.
May you sleep Unlike A Baby! (all night long!).
What Dosha are you? This is from the Ayurveda practice that believes that within each of us we have dosha types – currents – that drive our bodies. We have inherited each of them just like DNA yet one is stronger than the other two. When a dosha is too strong it is considered to be off balance.
By understanding the Dosha types you can understand how to live, move, eat and balance for better health.
The three doshas are vata, pitta and kapha. These three dosha’s are powers and determine our conditions, our growth and aging, health and our disease. Dosha means a fault or a blemish and indicates the factors that bring about disease or decay.
Doshas impact us on two levels; first the physical body and second the mind. Ayurveda speaks of people as vata types, pitta types or kapha types relative to their habits or emotional responses.
Understanding your Dosha type allows us to gauge the effects of yoga practice on our bodies, understand your mind and how you connect the two. It also tells us how our systems works in the yogic perspective of prana. Lastly it helps the individual adapt their yoga practice, the asana, pranayama, meditation, to their dosha type as it may not be the same for another. One energy is not the same as another so it helps you understand your energy and mind-body type.
Vata Dosha: Literraly means wind (Air), is the primary dosha or biological force. It is a motivating power behind the other two doshas.
- Personality Trait: Physically active, busy, hustling
- Effects on appetite: Person often forgets to eat
- Benefits when balanced: Creative, spiritual, abstract thinker
- Problems when out of balance: Weight loss, insomnia, brittle nails, dry skin, gas
- Foods that can balance: Chicken, seafood, rice, oats, sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados, cream, unsalted butter, honey, oranges, lemons, sea salt
- Foods that can imbalance: Potatoes, beans, cabbage, sprouts, cold or carbonated drinks, crackers, barley, pears, apples
Pitta Dosha: means “the power of digestion or cooking” (Fire).
- Personality Trait: Quick thinker with a sharp tongue, ambitious
- Effects on appetite: Never misses a meal
- Benefits when balanced: Intelligent, focused, works tirelessly
- Problems when out of balance: Too hot, ulcers, skin irritations
- Foods that can balance: Turkey, chickpeas, rice, wheat, coconut, okra, broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, mangoes, pears, green leafy vegetables (spinach)
- Foods that can imbalance: Red meat, fried foods, brown rice, tomatoes, vinegar, yogurt, sour cream, garlic, hot peppers, papaya, BBQ sauce
Kapha Dosha: means “what makes things stick together” (Water).
- Personality Trait: Calm and reaely irritated
- Effects on appetite: Easily gains weight, even without overeating
- Benefits when balanced: Strong, trustworthy, loving
- Problems when out of balance: Obesity, lethargy, congestion, avoids exercise
- Foods that can balance: Leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, buckwheat, lentils, apples, papaya, pomegranates, spices (esp ginger and black pepper)
- Foods that can imbalance: Seafood, meat, cheese, wheat, tomatoes, sugar, maple syrup, oranges, coconut, potatoes, bananas ice cream, yogurt
Want oils or other natural items to help with your balance? Check out Banyan Botanicals. You can take a test that can help you determine your type. Using the oils with the season may help. Keep in mind with the summer to check out cooling oils such as Coconut (no matter your Dosha type). Winter sesame seed oils are great for those types that need more grounding and warmth. (I don’t receive anything for mentioning them and of course there are other brands. They are organic and I found them to be effective for me). Lovely hair and nose oils as well. I tend to put on in the morning and let it dry. While waiting, I have my home practice of reading, mediation, yoga movement and Kriyas. Some apply the oil and then immediately shower but I prefer to leave on and dry after my shower. Enjoy your own exploration!
THE THREE VITAL ESSENCES – 3 energies to be aware of:
Prana – Lifeforce, easy to raise prana, is a form of Vata
Tejas – Radiance, glow, luster – form of Pita
Ojas – Nectar – form of Kapha
Need to notice and be aware of all 3 to find balance. Maybe packing Prana down to balance out the Ojas, for example. Not allowing yourself to raise the Prana too high as it may not be healthy for you both mentally & physically. Have to determine your present state which requires awareness of the moment. (Choosing the best style/form of yoga to balance these states of energy). Another example is lack of Tejas; feeling kind of dull. Making wise decisions to get good Tejas. Ojas may be low if high stress, freaking out or sick often. Prana is easy to raise or lower. Best decisions can be raised from your Tejas or Ojas. Not allowing the ego of the mind pick your form of practice.
So when was the last time you really cleaned your mat? How about your shoes, sandals and bags? Thought so.
Here is a simple and quick homemade solution you can make:
1 cup water
1/4 cup white vinegar
15 drops tea tree essential oil
10 drops lavender essential oil
How to make it:
Fill your bottle about 3/4 full with water.
Pour in the vinegar almost to the top of the bottle, leaving a little room for oil.
Add in the essential oils & give the bottle a shake!
Spray yoga mat with cloth and wipe clean!