By Sonja Semion
I used to be the type of person who was offended at any notion that I should rise before 10:00 a.m. From ages 11 to 25, I stayed in bed most days until about 10:00 a.m., then stumbled around in my pajamas until I decided it was finally time to do something with the day. Often, by the time I made it out the door, I found that the day had long since passed.
This woman who used to shuffle through life has long since been transformed. When I traded my late nights for early days, I found something quite fascinating: I actually enjoy the silence of the mornings. When I began setting my alarm to make it to 6:00 a.m. yoga asana classes, I knew that something had shifted in me that would never go back.
Good thing, because when I had a baby, I learned how important it was to make friends with early mornings. Having a baby means I wake up very, very early. But I don’t wake up because she’s crying or because she wakes me up. I actually set my alarm to wake up several hours before her, and it is my secret to finding my grounding as a mother.
It’s time to rethink your smoothie habit. You know that cold, blended fruit and veggie drink that you’ve been told is a healthful meal. Be honest: How do you really feel after you have one?
On the surface, smoothies appear healthful. Fruit is filled with vitamins and fiber. Protein powders have a long list of nutrients. Nut butters are filled with good oils. Yogurt, coconut oil, cacao, maca -- what else do you toss in your blender? Taken individually, the ingredients in a smoothie seem to have all that your body needs to function.
But Ayurveda asks you to look holistically. From this view, the results are different.
Combining fruit with other foods wreaks havoc on digestion, resulting in gas and bloating. Adding ice or frozen fruit dampens agni, digestive fire. Topping everything off with a heaping scoop of protein powder fills the void with something that is unrecognizable as food to your body. All this leads to uncomfortable digestive problems that are the first step on the path to illness and disease.
If you’ve got a smoothie habit, leave them out for two weeks and replace them with our recipe of the month: a date shake.
By Sonja Semion
When my daughter was just a few days old, I was startled awake by her cries in the dark of night. I picked up her tiny body and nestled her kicking legs against my chest. Whispering soothing words, I changed her diaper and tucked her next to my breast. She quickly fell back asleep. The next morning, I thought of how many painful stories I had heard about sleep deprivation in early motherhood. Yet I felt no deprivation. In fact, I was surprised at how little I minded being awakened. I felt that something greater was supporting me.
When she was six weeks old, her father left for a weekend trip that had been planned long before she arrived. On the last day of being alone with her, I found myself gasping for air, searching for any space where I could set her down without the incessant wail that followed me from every bassinet and spread of blankets.
Everywhere I looked was a disaster that I had left behind. Dishes were piled next to the sink. Laundry was wet and growing moldy in the washer. I had imagined it would be hard to keep things together, but I didn’t realize that it would be impossible. The weight of my expectations was heavy on my spine.
By Noriko Morimoto
I had always heard that a woman’s menstrual cycle goes for about 28 to 30 days. But since I first started my period, I have never enjoyed that kind of regularity. There were times when I would have my period just once a year. When it did come, it was preceded by extreme PMS. Sometimes I would experience depression so heavy that I would have suicidal thoughts. These intense emotions would go away as soon as my period came, leaving me confused and scared for the next time. This was no way to live.
When people think of strength, they often think of the big muscles: biceps, quadriceps and trapezius. It’s true that these large muscles play a big role, but they’re often not the key players. There is something more subtle at play in the true source of your strength, and it comes from deep inside. This is the power of the pelvic floor.
The pelvic floor is two bands of muscle located just above the pubic bone. They span the base of the pelvis and hold the organs in place, somewhat like a hammock. They provide support for your torso and connect your upper and lower body. Even though the pelvic floor is neither large nor visible, these two small bands of tissue are one of your greatest sources of strength.
By Myra Lewin
Love is simple, yet it has become a bit of a riddle: We seek it, but we already are it. And as soon as we see how much we have, we easily attract more.
Of course I am talking about real love, which is an expression of the divine within. Every relationship you have with another person is a representation of your relationship with the God of your heart, so it’s important to cultivate that connection with tender commitment. We are love. Once you recognize that, you will be able to share your love unselfishly with another.
By Dhokela Yzeiraj
I learned about Hale Pule through a friend who had spent a month on Durga Farms and came back completely different. She talked about bringing consciousness and sacredness to our food consumption – an idea that was quite foreign to me. I was in college at the time, and the dining halls at our school were a place where my mind was more caught up on the social scene and wanting to fit in, rather than taking the time to consider how my food affected me. She shared the knowledge of light from Hale Pule and inspired me to want to know more. I considered applying to become a farmer on Durga Farms, but my insecurity of not being good enough and my pride of being too good got in the way.
The Ayurvedic texts tell us that when women are in balance, society as a whole can also be in balance. That is what is at the heart of Hale Pule’s autumn intensive, Embracing Shakti: Ayurvedic certification in women’s health and healing.
In Embracing Shakti, a small group of students will embark on a deep spiritual journey to find balance in the feminine and masculine energies so that they can guide more women to reclaim health, mental well-being and spiritual connection. Together, we’ll rediscover the divinity women hold and release modern ideas about what women should be.
Watch this video to learn more about Embracing Shakti:
Pregnancy is a time for going within, a time to build a soft nest in your body to nurture a new life. A Yoga practice of meditation, pranayama and asana can be a great ally along this path. As you deepen your connection to Self through your practice, you’ll also grow closer to the spirit that is growing within you.
Building time in your dinacharya, daily routine, for Yoga practice can help you stay balanced, flexible and pain-free in the mind and body. It’s important to create a practice that will promote a safe environment for your baby and evolve with you as you change. We’ve put together a sequence below that is wonderful during all phases of a healthy pregnancy.
If you decided that you wanted a garden, you would take several steps before planting the seeds. You would select the right spot where the sun will best nourish the plants. You would amend the soil so it is rich with life-giving nutrients. You would draw up a plan for planting so that your zucchini doesn’t overtake your oregano. With this beautiful foundation laid, you would plant your seeds and soon relish in abundant growth.
Ayurveda asks us to see our bodies as one with nature. So when it comes to bringing a baby into life, give your body, mind and spirit the same attention you would your garden.