Archive | Self Care

Exquisite Self Care, according to Ayurvedic Medicine, & Darci Frankel

Contents:
* About Ayurveda a brief description
* Some of Ayurveda’s healing modalities.
* Seasonal effects.
* Daily routine, Dina Charia
* How to give Abhyanga, self oil massage.

Ayurvedic medicine teaches us about self care, how the create and sustain a healthy body and mind. Pronounced (eye-your-veda) – Ayurveda is the ancient science of life from India. “Ayur” means “life” and “veda” translates to “science, knowledge or wisdom.” Ayurveda is a 7,000-year old science of life. It is ancient, yet its principles are as applicable today as they were in so many years ago.

The 3 goals of Ayurveda are:

  1. To prevent disease.
  2. Preserve health.
  3. Promote longevity.

These goals are achieved by applying these
four healing modalities

  1. Mindful eating: Your diet is one of the most common ways to implement Ayurvedic principles for self-healing, an easy way to introduce the beneficial qualities of healing foods into your system, since we all tend to eat two to three times per day. * Click here to view or print out Food guidelines for the three constitutional types.
  2. Pancha Karma.  This is a very quick way to eliminate toxins and create balance in the body and mind.
  3. Ayurveda body treatments. Treatments help to balance the bodily humors/doshas, open the body, and they eliminate pain and energetic blockages.
  4. Yoga: Yoga practice is an important aspect of Ayurveda.  In ancient times, people were taught yoga on a one-to-one basis in order to address their individual needs.  Group classes are beneficial, and it’s always a good idea to get an Ayurvedic assessment of both your current yoga practice and your needs according to Ayurveda. When you have a practice that serves your precise needs (which tend to change over time), you will feel your best.  Classes cater to all skill levels as they feature a Hatha flow style with an Ayurvedic overview. Private customized yoga classes at Hanalei Day Spa are available by appointment, year round.

Understanding Ayurveda’s the qualities of the elements, how they affect you and body/mind types helps you determine the best path for your self-care. Ayurveda recognizes that there are 5 basic elements that comprise everything we know. They are, in order from subtle to gross: space, air, fire, water, and earth. Each one of us is a combination of these 5 elements.

There are 3 general body/mind types. They are Vata (wind), which governs movement, Pitta (bile), which governs transformation, and Kapha (phlegm/mucous), which governs structure. Like a grand cosmic recipe, we are all a combination of each general body/mind type. Traditionally Pancha Karma, a cleansing and rejuvenation program, is very effective in eliminating excesses of Vata, Pitta and Kapha

Our basic, original body/mind type remains unaltered throughout our life and is called “prakruti.” Pronounced  “pra-krooti,” it is determined the moment the father’s sperm meets the mother’s egg. After that point, we acquire “vikruti” — disorder or departure from order. Vikruti frequently occurs in the junction between seasons or during stressful times. Each season we can grow in health and Ayurveda teaches us how. For instance:

Winter: During the winter months, Kapha (phlegm) accumulates as a result of the cold, damp, cloudy and heavy qualities of the weather. As we move into spring and the temperature rises, Kapha begins to liquefy and becomes increased at the main Kapha sites, which are; the stomach, chest, sinuses and nose. This explains the predictable yearly spring allergies, colds and flu that many people are afflicted with during the season. Click here for more seasonal tips.

Spring: As a result of the excess Kapha, the digestive fire “agni” is reduced. This is why during the spring (and if you know that your kapha is prone to increase) it is important to make Kapha pacifying food and lifestyle choices. This would include foods that are lighter in both quality and quantity, drier, warmer and rougher. Click here for more seasonal tips.

Summer: In the heat of the summer, Pitta (bile) is increased so you may see common symptoms such as inflammation, diarrhea and skin rashes. People with Pitta constitution should follow a Pitta pacifying food routine during the summertime. Click here for more seasonal tips.

Fall: Fall is the season that Vata (wind) increases which means dryness and movement in the body also increase. The seat or home of Vata is the pelvis. If you experience tightness here, it is an indication that the qualities of Vata have lodged there. Click here for more seasonal tips.

Your lifestyle choices may change based on these seasonal routines. Therefore, you may want to make food choices appropriate for the climate, season and body/ mind type; change the times you choose to eat and sleep; there are even seasons where it is advised that sex be practiced more or less. Other suggestions involve herbs, color and yoga. Ask us about it during your retreat at The Ayurvedic Center of Hawaii.

Daily Routine

Keeping a daily routine is a discipline, yet it creates such stability in an ever-changing world, enhances a healthy body/mind, balancing your rhythms along with nature’s rhythms, and prevents disease.

An ideal daily routine might look like this:
·         Arise before or at sunrise.
·         Move your bowels and bladder — fluid intake helps this via the gastro-colic reflex.
·         Use abyanga oil massage, nasal administration (optional).
·         Exercise (some will consider this more appropriate after meditation, but still  before breakfast).
·         Shower and personal hygiene like cleaning tongue, clipping nails, brushing teeth.
·         Practice yoga asanas, yogic breathing, and meditation.
·         Eat a light breakfast (optional).
·         Main activity of day — giving emphasis to the most physical aspects when possible.
·         Eat your main meal at noon.
·         Take a short walk.
·         Continue day’s activity with emphasis on mental rather than physical aspects.
·         Eat a lighter and smaller evening meal.
·         Take a short walk.
·         Wind down, choose an activity, which is soothing and calming such as reading and family discussions or other bonding activities.  Generally, watching TV is sometimes too dynamic and stimulating for evening viewing.
·         in bed before 10PM.

Abhyanga, Self Oil Massage, Exquisite Self Care

click here to view and print out Abhyanga, self oil massage handout

How can a ritual so luxuriously relaxing, so blissfully comforting as a full-body warm oil massage rev up your body and mind, gearing them up for peak performance? There is an explanation for the seeming contradiction. Accumulated stress and toxins in the mind and body dissolve during the daily massage. A daily full-body warm oil massage therefore acts as a powerful recharger and rejuvenator of mind and body.

“Abhyanga” — the ayurvedic oil massage — is an integral part of the daily routine recommended by this healing system for overall health and well-being. Traditional ayurvedic texts wax eloquent on the benefits. Here’s what one says — “Give yourself a full body oil massage on a daily basis. It is nourishing, pacifies the doshas, relieves fatigue, provides stamina, pleasure and perfect sleep, enhances the complexion and the luster of the skin, promotes longevity and nourishes all parts of the body”.

Here are some of the benefits traditionally associated with regular performance of this pleasant daily ritual:

  • Increased circulation, especially to nerve endings
  • Toning of the muscles and the whole physiology
  • Calming for the nerves
  • Lubrication of the joints
  • Increased mental alertness
  • Improved elimination of impurities from the body
  • Softer, smoother skin
  • Increased levels of stamina through the day
  • Better, deeper sleep at night

Abhyanga provides the means for trans-dermal absorption of the healing qualities of the material used in the massage, and it helps the skin, which is the largest organ in the body, perform its diverse functions efficiently, whether it is allowing toxins to be released from the body or nourishment to be absorbed by the tissues. It is like oiling the engine of your car — if you do it regularly, your engine will be in peak condition, and give you years and years of trouble-free performance.

The ayurvedic massage is traditionally performed in the morning, before your bath or shower, to facilitate the release of toxins that may have accumulated during the previous night. You can use cured sesame oil, an herbalized massage oil, or an aroma massage oil.

So how is the ayurvedic abhyanga done? Use comfortably warm massage oil. (Store your massage oil in a plastic flip-top and warm it by holding the container under running hot water for a few minutes) Dip your fingertips into the warm oil and apply it lightly to the entire body. Wait for 4-5 minutes to let some of the oil be absorbed by your skin. Then massage the entire body, applying even pressure with the whole hand — palm and fingers.

Apply light pressure on sensitive areas such as the abdomen or the heart. Use more oil and spend more time where nerve endings are concentrated, such as the soles of the feet, palms of the hands and along the base of the fingernails. Circular motions over rounded areas such as your head or joints, and straight strokes on straight areas such as your arms and legs, work best.

After you’re done, relax for 10-15 minutes, letting the oil and the massage do their magic. The longer the oil is on, the deeper it penetrates. During this time you can read something relaxing or uplifting, rest, or shave, cut nails, and get ready for the day. Dab excess oil off with paper towels if you like, then follow with a relaxing warm bath or shower. If your schedule doesn’t allow for a daily massage, try and squeeze it in at least three or four times a week. You’ll find it’s worth it!

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Hacking Travel, self care during travel

not all who wander are lost-2

It is possible to maintain, and even ‘up level’ our self-care while we travel!

With a little planning you can have your vacation propel you towards greater wellness!
Most people do not understand that the problem is that air travel is extremely dehydrating, the dry air wicks important liquid from our bodies, this is why our main goal inflight is hydration. Our body and brain do not function well when dehydrated. A lot of people I know who have traveled frequently through their lives develop more negative effects of travel the older they get. Here, I outline some simple steps, to minimize the negative impact of travel.

      

Prepare in advance:

  1. Hydrate well for several days before you fly. 1 gallon of pure (filtered water) daily.
  2. Give yourself an oil massage the day of or the day before you fly.
    Self massage Instructions here
  3. To prevent travel constipation, stabilize your bowel movement cycle by drinking 1 cup of warm water or tea immediately upon rising to stimulate peristaltic movement (the wavelike movement of the intestines and colon which moves waste out). Avoid colon weakening laxatives and cascara sagrada. Do ‘pose of the child’ AKA balasana, for several minutes upon arising.
  4. The best food choices at this time are warm, cooked, easy to digest, soupy foods that are easy to digest and in simple combinations with some extra grass fed butter, coconut oil or ghee, adding the oils supports hydration.

*Here’s an interesting fact: the opposite of what we need is what we are served on an airplane. Inflight food is usually; cold, processed foods; pretzels (dry, light, rough) and soda.

*Warm foods are grounding and calming and counteract the dryness. According to Ayurvedic Medicine we heal using the influence of opposites. For instance, if someone has dry skin, we recommend oil massage.

Bring a home cooked meal on the plane:

Right before your trip, make some cooked foods, basmati rice, fish, with your favorite veggies and add 2 tbs of ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil.

* you can use the container as you travel and for a meal when you return.

During the flight:

  1. These days, they allow you to bring a quart sized zip lock baggie with your liquids in it. I bring 2 ounces of coconut oil (for food) and another container of some herbal massage oil, essential oils and some tinctures that I might need during my trip, such as rescue remedy etc.
  2. Sip warm or hot water so you can stay hydrated.
  3. Self-massage, to hydrate/lubricate skin, and rejuvenation. I go to the bathroom after people have already used it. This way, I can take a few extra minutes in there without feeling the pressure of knowing that people are waiting. If it is cold, I cover the air vent, wipe off the basin, then fill it with hot water, then I put my oil bottle in there to warm up. While that is heating, I take a few drops of essential oils in my palms and breathe deep. I like to start off with thieves, which kills airborne pathogens, or other simple essential oils such as Lavender, lemon, orange etc. Then, I use the warmed oil and give myself a modified ‘Abhyanga’. I rub some oil on my arms, chest, back and legs. If it is a long flight, this will be completely absorbed by the time I arrive, and I will have deeply hydrated tissues!
  4. Take several stretch brakes to increase circulation.

 

When you arrive:

* When going anywhere, I leave some spring water in the car for my return. There is nothing like spring water from where I live!

  1. Drink a lot of water, from a stainless steel or glass bottle, not plastic. I am sure by now you have heard about the DNA altering plastics and chemicals.
  2. Take a hot shower as soon as you can.
  3. On Kauai, we like to go in the ocean to wash off the plane and the mainland.
  4. Get a nice warm meal and add, avocado, grass fed butter or coconut oil.
  5. If you watch the sunset and sunrise, this helps your body regulate to the current time zone. Enjoy!

 

If you would like to learn more, please see
PanchaKarma.net
in person and Skype Ayurveda Consultations are available by invitation

Travel according to Ayurvedic Medicine:

Ayurveda is the ancient “Science of Life’ from India dating back 7,000 years.

The three goals of Ayurveda are to prevent disease, preserve health and promote longevity. From the outside, it may appear that Ayurveda is simply a diet, using herbs, massage and body typing, however it truly is a lifestyle. Ayurveda is a health giving, longevity creating, increasing quality of life, daily practice. Yoga and meditation are part of Ayurveda and common ‘prescriptions’.

According to the Ancient science of healing, Ayurveda, there are 3 specific energies that must be balanced in order for optimal health to prevail. When one of the three becomes depleted or excessive, the ending result is disease. What is not common knowledge is that people who travel frequently for work or, for pleasure can easily increase the energy of movement. Then, this imbalance or excess of Vata, if not counteracted will begin to take root in the body, then continue to grow through the stages of disease. The root cause of disease is excess doshas, also Known as Vata/movement, Pitta/transformation and Kapha/structure.

Traveling increases ‘movement’ and is called Vata in Sanskrit. The qualities of Vata are cold, dry, light and rough. When these qualities are increased in the environment, or diet they affect our organism. If we want to remain calm and balanced we will counteract these with warm, oily, smooth and heavier substances.
Symptoms of high Vata:

Dry; skin, nails, hair, mouth and eyes, constipation, insomnia, forgetfulness, anxiety, nervousness, weight loss, shooting pain, traveling pain etc.

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Take some time during your vacation to Cleanse & Rejuvenate

Take some time during your vacation to cleanse and rejuvenate.
We all have busy lives these days, juggling our family, children and our job, sometimes we neglect our self.

Cleanse and rejuv

There is so much we can accomplish when we turn our attention inward.  Many of us are not taught self care, so we neglect our body, we neglect our emotional selves. It is important to take time periodically catch up with our inner lives.  Take advantage of this new package as a step toward your own self care. Perhaps carve out some time for a beach walk or journaling either before or after.

Announcing our Cleanse & Rejuvenate package!

Receive a 50 minute Lomi Lomi massage, I am Glowing body polish full body exfoliation, and a Body Wrap with a deep conditioning treatment for the hair & scalp. 135 minutes of bliss.
For one $285

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Keep yer cool in summer.

This short video offers some quick tips how to eliminate heat in the body. Not an exhaustive list by any means, but it is a good start and I include special cooling yogic breathing techniques. If you post comments or questions, I will answer as my time allows. If it is an in depth question, you may want to enroll for an ayurveda consultation. I offer a limited number of these per month. Take care and enjoy!

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