By Lisa Åkesson Stryker
Sugar has often been linked to strong emotions for me. I have eaten sugar when I felt happy, sad, lonely, disconnected, tired, hungry, thirsty, anxious, out of control, victimized, unsettled or excited. I could always find a reason why I deserved a piece of candy, and rarely enough strength to say “no.” Sugar was a faithful friend, always there when I needed distraction from what was happening to me. It sounds a bit like an addiction, right?
This winter the negative impact of this relationship became painfully obvious to me. After eating a lot of sugar around Christmas, my skin was breaking out, I felt constantly exhausted and my digestion was protesting. Still I couldn’t stop having the sweets that were presented to me. When my sister shared that she was detoxing from sugar this spring, I jumped right on board with the idea.
By Lisa Åkesson Stryker
I have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day. As much as it’s a lovely idea to have day where love and attention to our fellow human beings is in focus, it has also sadly been connected with pressure, consumerism and anxiety for me in the past.
I remember in high school, we could all buy roses for our friends and boyfriends for Valentine's Day and get them delivered to the school. The one strutting home with the most blood red roses at the end of the day was perceived as the most popular person.
It would always leave me with an icky feeling in my stomach, knowing that others were not as privileged as those who could afford to buy roses. It is a clever marketing trick for the flower and gift shops, and a great way to make insecure teenagers even more apprehensive by making them attempt to find their value in a symbolic gesture.
By Myra Lewin
In the face of a problem, it is quite easy to get distracted by thinking that it is possible to heal without bringing about change within.
Last winter, I came to see this in my own life. After a summer of extensive travel and radiation exposure, I had begun to experience signs of pitta imbalance in my skin. I returned home and went back to my regular schedule of teaching and consultations, assuming that since the issue had come from toxins in the environment, things would correct themselves when I got away from the exposure. But the problem got worse.
By Myra Lewin
Many years ago, I left my career as a corporate executive in order to seek a meaningful life through Yoga. I knew this would be a big transition, but I was not prepared for the realities of losing the identity I had previously known.
I was driving on the freeway one day during the height of this life change when I suddenly felt very dizzy. I quickly pulled the car over and sat on the side of the road. As I listened to the traffic buzzing by me, I felt completely empty and lost. I knew this was the direction I wanted to go, but my new life meant I was making one tenth of my previous salary and had none of the perks that come with a powerful job. I had spent most of my life working and going from one vacation to the next, always looking for the next big thing to occupy my thoughts. Wanting was my typical state of mind, but I finally realized that what I wanted was to no longer want.
If you find you are feeling scattered or more anxious during this vata season, it’s time to use some food as medicine to calm and ground. What’s a better way to nourish your body and mind than a batch of freshly baked cookies?
The sweet taste is calming to vata dosha, and these “everyday cookies” can be enjoyed as the augmenting part of a meal (they’re also great to include in a child’s lunchbox).
Cookies can calm vata?
The transition of the year end is ideal for reflection, inward awareness and setting intentions. But few of us (including myself at times) have made this the sacred period of ending and beginning it can be. This year is different for me. As you read this, I’m at the Vaidyagrama Ayurveda Healing Village in Coimbatore, India, where I’ll spend four weeks engaged in personal panchakarma and self-reflection.
The beautiful thing about Ayurveda is how it can so easily be integrated into every aspect of your life, even the holidays. If you have a tradition of sharing cookies with your loved ones, here are three Ayurvedic cookie recipes that will make them feel even more loved. Each one is simple to make, lovely to eat and sweetened without even a dash of refined sugar.
There’s another benefit to these Ayurvedic cookies – they are based on foods that build ojas. Considering the role strong ojas plays in supporting health and immunity, these cookies couldn’t come at a better time as many of us are traveling during the holidays.
By Lisa Akesson
For many of us, the holidays are an excuse to eat whatever we want and how much we want. Rituals, traditions, family agreements all suggest that this is freedom. I was once of that understanding, too. When I moved away from home and was in charge of my life, it felt like freedom to eat what ever I felt like (even foods that didn’t do me good).
I’ve come to realize it is actually not true freedom. Myra Lewin once said something that stayed with me. She said, “This kind of thinking comes from a misunderstanding that what is outside of us brings us happiness and joy.”
By Judith Michales Safford
When I was a child, I often visited a neighborhood playground. There were swings, monkey bars, teeter-totters and a merry-go-round. Holidays and digestion remind me of the teeter-totter and the merry-go-round. Up, down, round and round go emotions and expectations.
On the last day of this beautiful meditation on #30daysofgratitude, we're grateful for the cycles of nature that teach us how to live our lives according to harmony and balance.
Our question today for you is this: What will you be grateful for in the coming year? Join us on Facebook or Instagram (@hale_pule) to share your intention.