By Nicole Matthiesen
I lived for many years with a lot of uncertainty about food. I didn’t know what the outcome of any given meal would be. Would I experience constipation? Diarrhea? Severe abdominal pain that would leave me unable to eat for a week? Or would this time be fine, as it sometimes inexplicably was?
As a student in Hale Pule’s 600-hour Ayurvedic health counselor program, I know now that the issues I was experiencing (what the doctors called Irritable Bowel Syndrome) were a direct result of my highly stressful career as a litigation consultant and my choice to push my health aside to meet demands and deadlines.
By Myra Lewin
I recently worked with a woman who had experienced great health all through her life. Yet she had recently begun to experience symptoms associated with menopause -- hot flashes, weight gain and a scattered mind. After talking through her relatively balanced diet and lifestyle, we centered upon one small, but significant factor that was getting in the way of a balanced transition to maturity: an insulated bottle that she always kept filled with ice cold water.
From a distance, drinking out of an insulated bottle seems far too insignificant a factor to cause menopausal symptoms. But cold beverages restrict and weaken agni, digestive fire. Over a few years of using this bottle daily, the ice cold water had reduced her ability to digest food and life experiences. This created dosha imbalance and her health issues.
It’s a Hale Pule routine to take photos of guests and students when they arrive. We do it again before they leave. Whether they stay for four months, four weeks, or four days, the changes are striking.
People experience physical changes (some look so different that it’s difficult to believe it’s the same person), but more often the shift is in the energy they carry in the after picture. These are people who are more connected to who they really are. That’s what makes Ayurveda more than just a diet -- it is a roadmap to self-realization.
Take a look at our gallery of before and after photos to see what it looks like when the spirit shines through.
By Myra Lewin
I recently found an old box filled with photographs of my life. I found headshots from my time as a corporate executive, pictures of me at holiday parties and a few childhood photos from the black-and-white days. I also found this photo below, taken just after I had left the corporate world and set out to build my life upon healing.
Your Yoga asana practice doesn’t have to be complex to have an impact. Some of the most powerful poses are the ones that challenge your body and mind in the simplest ways.
Utkatasana, or chair pose, is one of these. It may look easy, but the simplicity of this pose is its true power. This pose engages muscles from your feet through your arms, all the while allowing you to practice mastering your mind. As you hold still for 15 to 20 breaths, you calm the mind’s desire to move, the urge to walk away from the challenge, or the chatter that tells you that you should be doing a pose that is more flamboyant. Who knew that the process of sitting down could make you so strong?
If you want to feel better all day, eat a breakfast that brings balance.
When you wake up in the morning, agni, digestive fire is low. Just like a fire that has burned down to embers, you must stoke agni gently to ensure its steady strength all day long. When the flames are stable, you will be better able to digest what you eat and experience with ease.
Breakfast means to break the fast, and it’s important to do so with care. The traditional Western fare of bacon, toast and eggs are heavy and hard to digest, weakening agni by expending too much of its limited energy first thing in the morning. This affects your digestion for the rest of the day, and, over time, causes imbalance that will lead to disease. Opt for a simple and nourishing meal at the beginning of your day instead. One of our favorite is steamed bananas.