Just. Get. On. With. It.

Just. Get. On. With. It.

I have been struggling for such a long time to capture the right words to explain my coaching business. I have been a marketer for 20 years, after all, and how one defines their brand is very important to me. Maybe way too important sometimes.

What I know is this. I am a Registered Yoga Teacher and only a few months away from becoming a Certified Ayurvedic Health Counselor. But, I am afraid that most people have no idea what that actually means. Some people get the yogi part, but may not realize that we are also trained in anatomy, meditation, breathing techniques and yogic philosophy during the certification process. I am also pretty sure that most people have no idea what Ayurveda is or isn't, for that matter.

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Daily self-massage. An intro to abhyanga.

Daily self-massage. An intro to abhyanga.

Based on the principles of Ayurveda, a typical daily routine should include nurturing food, exercise, meditation and, my absolute favourite technique, abhyanga. This is the practice of warm, oil, self-massage which has a number of health and wellness benefits including improved circulation, detoxification and lymphatic drainage. And it also soothes away tension, anxiety and stress. I love it. 

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Ayurveda. The science of life.

Ayurveda. The science of life.

I began studying Ayurveda in 2013 after a friend recommended that I read Deepak Chopra's book, Perfect Health. I started to integrate some of the diet and lifestyle recommedations into my life and, almost immediately, I felt less stressed out. I wanted to know more, so I enrolled in a Foundations of Ayurveda Course at Kripalu, in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. I loved it so much, I quit my job and embarked on the Ayurvedic Health Counselor Program. 

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Sleep is good.

Sleep is good.

I realized the other day that one of the main reasons I have not been writing every day (or exercising) is because I am so tired lately. I have a rotten case of insomnia and have for the past 3-4 weeks. I have been crazy busy and not following my night time routine which really helps me quiet my mind and get to sleep. So, I decided to re-implement my routine AND to re-acquaint myself with some of the great Ayurvedic remedies for insomnia. There are dozens of effective, natural ways to induce restful sleep. Tonight I am just going to list some of them and start doing them again myself. Over the next week or so, I will write how-tos on each technique!

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My love hate relationship with #30daysof content.

My love hate relationship with #30daysof content.

About three weeks ago, on a complete whim, I decided to participate in a blog contest. I was all over it because I really wanted to just get findyourzen.com off the ground and start writing. 30 DAYS. 30 BLOG POSTS. Somehow at 11pm on a Wed. that sounded like a great idea. I could just write a couple of paragraphs each day, right? Well, I am now mid contest and learning pretty fast that this is not even remotely as easy as it sounds. 

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A daily routine of self-care. Dinacharya.

A daily routine of self-care. Dinacharya.

One of the first things I was introduced to in my studies of Ayurveda is called dinacharya or daily self-care. I clearly needed it. I was stressed out, burnt out and a basically exhausted. Someone told me that what I really needed was more self-care. I thought to myself, seriously? I go to the spa, get my nails done, have facials and massages, sit in the sauna and take hot baths. I am all about self care, my dear. Little did I know that this was just scratching the surface. 

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Pranayama. Just breathe.

Pranayama. Just breathe.

We all know that breathing is vital to our basic survival. For most of us, it is just something that happens. We don't really give it much thought. We just know that if we don't breathe, we won't have much to worry about. One of the best tension reduction techniques I have incorporated into my daily routine is something we yoginis call Pranayama or the 'extension of prana or breath'. Pranayama has only recently become popular in the West. This is likely a result of its recognition by allopathic doctors and researchers that controlling the breath has numerous health benefits including reduction of stress, anxiety, hypertension and blood pressure.

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Don't hate. Meditate.

Don't hate. Meditate.

I first learned about meditation when I was a teen in the 80s. Yes, I know. It is very hard to believe that I was a teen in the 80s. True story. 

My dad took a course at work and, all of a sudden, he was ordering self-help books and meditation tapes. He would sit in his chair after work, read and meditate to a guided tape. I couldn't believe my eyes. He was not exactly a yogi or even remotely spiritual. But, he became much harder to rattle and had a more relaxed, calm way about him. I equated this with him getting older. Little did I know that meditation had really changed him.

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Mahanarayan oil. My secret weapon for shoulder pain.

Mahanarayan oil. My secret weapon for shoulder pain.

One of my most common complaints is tension in my neck, shoulders and upper back. Sometimes the inflammation is so bad that I can't sleep because I am preoccupied with the burning in my shoulders. I see an acupuncturist and a chiropractor regularly (who also remind me regularly it is a result of stress), do yoga, take hot baths, use a heating pad, and get massages. I have also tried every over the counter remedy known to man. And, until recently, I couldn't find anything natural that relieved the pain. It seemed like it was pain killers and ointments full of chemicals or nothing.

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The kindness of strangers.

The kindness of strangers.

As my friends in India celebrated the festival of Diwali last week, I was reminded of my trip there and the amazing people who helped me through one of the most difficult times in my life.

I traveled to Kerala in August with the intention of staying for the whole month. I was there to experience an Ayurvedic treatment called Panchakarma, a healing therapy for detoxifying the body and strengthening the immune system. Unfortunately, God had other plans.

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Why find your zen?

Why find your zen?

A few years ago, I took some time off from a stressful job in NYC to travel, get fit, volunteer and reconnect with the world. I spent part of that year volunteering in Kenya, getting fit in Spain, relaxing in the Caribbean and reconnecting with my favourite people at home in Canada, including my sweet father who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It was quite a year.

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