Join us on Sunday October 14th 1-3pm in Temescal, Oakland 

I was walking along the Bay this morning enjoying the company of the grey sky, mud flat birds, and one of my favorite podcasts. The Allusionist episode in my que related to the very thing we are focused on in the October Salon: Recuperation & Renewal. The episode is on how certain literature can assist with convalescence and recovery; listen here! 
Recuperation & Renewal
When we go through anything that knocks us off balance, from a bout of illness to childbirth to a debaucherous vacation, we need to get back into the swing of things. Ayurveda helps us do this with re-mediating practices that reset our body by nourishing and balancing our systems. Learn to fast-forward recovery from any challenge!

I will be focusing on how to care for digestion after an illness (or binge!), and our special presenter, Amber Loo Pearson, will be sharing her Ayurvedic postpartum protocol. This is information that all women should have and share-- so many lifelong problems for women have their roots in lack of postpartum care! The good news is that phases of recovery give us the opportunity to reset ourselves in a new and different and better way if we take the opportunity!

Wear clothes you are comfortable sitting on the floor in and bring a notebook, a friend, and your questions or ideas about Ayurvedic living.

We have 2 upcoming dates at Square One Yoga in Temescal, Oakland:

  • October 14th 1-3pm -- We will be focusing on how to Recover from physical and energetic challenges including anything from pregnancy to the common cold. Amber Loo Pearson will be our special guest and will enlighten us on Ayurvedic postpartum care! Adriene Crimson Coen will also be present to share her wisdom!

  • November 11th 1-3pm -- TBD but with our special guest Tia Ukpe-Wallace we will certainly be focused on women's reproductive health. Stay tuned for details!

MODERN AYURVEDA SALON FOR WOMEN a monthly gathering of women learning, sharing, and supporting each other to live an Ayurvedic lifestyle. We will talk about the big picture principles of Ayurveda and discover ways to incorporate them into everyday life. 
Suggested donation of $10. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.


My favorite radio show with a discussion about how 3/4 of the food we eat globally comes from 12 species of plants and 5 animals. Why is this dangerous? Lack of genetic diversity is a problem, and it is hidden to most of us. Any one of these crops could be wiped out by one disease! 

This is without even considering the effect on our health of eating these foods that have been most convenient for giant agricultural business. These foods have been hybridized for shelf stability and easy shipping. Not for health and nutrition. Or even flavor. 

Eat widely! Get away from the main-stream foods, eat from your local farmers market and eat stuff that doesn't find it's way onto Safeway shelves!


Please join us on Sunday July 8th 1-3pm in Oakland for the second ever....

a monthly gathering of women learning, sharing, and supporting each other to live an Ayurvedic lifestyle. We will talk about the big picture principles of Ayurveda and discover ways to incorporate them into everyday life. 

This month we will explore the concept of Regularity from various angles: the theoretical, historical, experiential, and practical. We will talk about why Ayurveda emphasizes the idea of daily practice and seasonal routines and the importance of providing your body with familiar and regular input in terms of food and exercise and sleep schedules. Creating regularity in your life will help you tune your body to the patterns of nature and decrease the stress of modern life on your body.

Bring your challenges to creating regular schedules in your life and we will brainstorm how to incorporate patterns into your life so that your body doesn't need to work so hard to keep you healthy!

Riquelle Small: energy healer & coach will be joining us to explore the concept of regularity of practice for self care and share some tools & tips.

Adrienne Coen: CMT with a specialization in ayurvedic styles (among other things) will be on hand to keep us playful and inspired. 

We have 2 upcoming dates at Square One Yoga in Temescal, Oakland:

  • July 8th 1-3pm 
  • August 12th 1-3pm

Suggested donation of $10. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.


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How, after all, can you be healthy if the people around you are not?

Have you been frustrated by nobody understanding your Ayurvedic diet or practices?
Are your friends Palio, or Vegan or doing  a low FODMAP diet and find it easy(er) to get recipes, tips and support.
But you just really feel drawn to Ayurveda?

Have you been frustrated when you pick up a book or article on Ayurveda and find its suggestions opaque and impracticable?

Ayurveda, with all it's quirks and ancient practices, doesn't come with much of a community of online followers and guides. And it is hard to learn a new way of relating to the world on your own! 

What better way to deepen your understanding and practice of Ayurveda than to come together with other women (sorry guys-- just us for now) to share experiences and learn from one another? 

Please join me and some esteemed friends for a...

a monthly gathering of women learning, sharing, and supporting each other to live an Ayurvedic lifestyle. We will talk about the big picture principles of Ayurveda and discover ways to incorporate them into everyday life. 

Each month we will focus on one principal and explore it from various angles: the theoretical, historical, experiential, and practical. We will talk and share recipes, learn new breathing techniques and cooking tips, and even do 'homework' to explore concepts and solidify our understanding.
Let's play with Ayurveda together as we learn how to practice in a suitable Modern Way!

We have 2 upcoming dates at Square One Yoga in Temescal, Oakland:

  • June 10th 1-3pm
  • July 8th 1-3pm 

Suggested donation of $10. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.


There is no doubt that the modern women (and increasingly the modern man!) is pressured by media, advertising and society to fit an idealized beauty that is achievable only with products, products and more products! Those products are crammed full of un- and under- regulated chemicals. The average American woman puts 168 chemicals on her skin every day

Even if you are a 'health nut' about your skin care regime too you may want to do a little research. One of my favorite allies in guarding against the perils of beauty products (and champions of a chemical-free life) is Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database of products. See how your beauty products score:

If you are still looking for great presents for your favorite adherent to Ayurveda (or perhaps want to tilt a friend in the direction of following ayurveda) here is my pick for the season.
Ayurveda requires dedication and conscientiousness; but it shouldn't be grueling. Here are a.few suggestions that make Ayurvedic living easier via technology and in one instance lovely fragrances.


Programmable, Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker / Slow Cooker

I got one of these a few weeks ago and I have barely used the stove-top since then. It makes nearly immediate breakfast cereals, delicious meat and veggie stocks, beans in a flash ... I even cooked a whole spaghetti squash in it in under 10 minutes. It is stainless so easy to clean and can be set to start times cooking cycles while you are at work. I truly believe everyone should have one!


Magical Milk Frother

A daily cup of milk is so important in Ayurveda: make it easy w
ith this milk frother. It is quick (brings milk to scalding point with 3 frothing cycles) and easy to clean. Perfect for Spiced Milk on a chilly night!


Give the gift of a Quiet Mind

The App-sphere is certainly full of all sorts of nonsense and fluff. But there are also some gems out there thatactually help make us better people rather than just more distracted and distractable. One of the most fuss-free ways to incorporate more mental clarity into your day is HeadSpace the app that is actually a meditation training program with hours of high quality meditation guidance and even specific programs for things like working on your health or your relationships.

Make everything Smell Sweeter

Mat Mist is a delightful way to bring Pitta-balancing fragrance into your life and your exercise routine. These mists are designed for yoga mats and workout gear-- but are so nice you will want to use them in your car and home too! Order a subscription and have a seasonal scent sent to your door every 4 months!

Have a friend who is on the precipice of new vision for their life?

Perhaps what she (or he) needs is a Journeying Workshop with Shaman and healer Heather O'Connor. I work with Heather myself and find her support to be invaluable.
Heather's grounded guidance is an elegant introduction to developing your own vision.

Heather has 2 workshops coming up on Oakland in Late January.


Find more info here...

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Ayurveda is a plan for self-cultivation. It is a set of guidelines about how to live well and in the end how to die well too. 

Recently my mom succumbed to a sudden illness. For years she had been saying that if she got sick she would refuse the poisons and machinery of modern medicine, refuse the prolonging of the inevitable. She was preparing my sister and I for the choice that she made -- to allow the natural course of things. 

My mother was an expert knitter, spinner, water-colorist, dressage rider, cook. She dabbled in cello and sarcasm and half a dozen other arts.  Mostly she was a master gardener. She loved the fertility she found in the Central Coast after a life in the cultural brutality of the Midwest. When she first moved to California her gardens were dense and lush; like they had been in the moist Midwest. With time her attitude towards gardening morphed;  if it thrives encourage it, if it does not let it go. Her garden was a mix of the carefully cultivated and upstart volunteer plants growing where they chose. She had become more a facilitator than an imperialist. There are tomatoes growing with the impatiens, onions in all the flower pots, roses and herbs together. Especially in these years of drought the garden took on a sort of zen cacophony.

This is how she lived and how she died. With an ear to the rhythms of nature and what that implies for us. 

The pomegranate tree in the front yard was fruiting in early fall as my mother passed. Persephone descends to the underworld for the dark months of the year with only 6 pomegranate seeds to eat. In Persephone's absence fall comes, all the land goes barren, humans starve. Persephone is divided between her love for her mother and her love for the King of the Underworld. A deal is struck and in the end she cycles between Hades and her mother Demeter. Summer and winter mirror her movements. 
This has always been a favorite myth of mine. There is death, love, mystery, longing and reunion, the promise of rebirth and the inevitability of natural cycles. It is a core myth of western civilization and it teaches that these things are the stuff of life; not just the fun easy bits. It is the knowledge of nature and it's patterns and the ability to live well within them that civilizes us. 

I am fortunate to have been cultivated in such a garden.

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I imagine that most of my readers  are liberal in your politics and social concerns. I am lefter than left in most things. But there are some areas of life where conservation is key. One is with our bodies; we hope to conserve our health and our youthfulness. We conserve the essence of the body; Ojas. Much of Ayurvedic learning is related to this conservation. Carefulness prevents the natural erosion that happens with time and use.

If you live in the West we are also conserving water now too. It is a similar idea: preserve what we have (however little that is) so that we don't have to go with out entirely.

But in this how and un-seasonally dry weather how do we preserve our bodies?

The heat and the dryness desiccate our bodies. Luckily there are a few things that we can do to stabilize our bodies even in this tough climate... 

  • Do abhyunga (oil self massage) every time you shower - especially if you have cut back on showers! Make a blend of sesame and coconut oil with a few drops of cooling essential oils like: Vetiver, Rose, Cilantro, Fennel

  • If you are not showering at least put a few drops of oil on the top of your head, soles of your feet, and dip a q-tip in oil and use to clean out ears.

  • To help your skin resist wrinkling with the dryness: soak 1 T of rinsed white rice overnight in a glass of water. In the morning sip the cool rice-infused water. 

  • Stay away from drying foods like chickpeas, papadum, and popcorn. And have plenty of Ghee!

  • Boil the water you drink so your body can use it more efficiently.

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Bedtime Milk

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup water
  • Pinch turmeric
  • few rose petals
  • few threads of saffron
  • 1 cardamom pod, crushed
  • 1/5 tsp maple syrup or another healthy sweetener of your choice

Put saffron, turmeric, cardamom, rose petals, water and milk into a small pan. While it is cool and let the herbs soak in the milk and water for a few minutes. This helps the saffron release it's essence into the milk. Then put the pan onto the stove and bring to a boil quickly. Remove pan from heat to let boiling subside. Return the pan to the heat and bring to a boil again; remove from heat. Do this 3 times. Add sweetener. Drink 30 minutes before bed.


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We are all affected by stress. We may not be running from wild beasts regularly but the pernicious aspects of stress are everywhere. Modern-day stress can be related to the concept of chintta, translated as over-worked mind or worry. Even in the relatively calm environment of India hundreds of years ago the grinding effects of stress, mental-overwork and uncertainty were blamed for weak digestion, convulsions, paralysis, tremors (Parkinson's), anemia, heart problems, skin dryness, sexual and reproductive weakness and, worst of all, the diminished ability to love (and feel love!).

So what can we do to balance it's effects?! One of the easiest (and most delicious) ways is a cup of warm milk daily. Milk's soft, cool, soothing, Sattva (calm centering) inducing, and Ojas (vitality)- supporting qualities directly counter the corrosive effects of stress. Think of the deep calm seen in the eyes of a happy cow!

Read more here about the benefits of milk-- and how to healthily drink it!


Milk is a precious food. But some special guidelines are required for healthy use, to preserve your digestive vigor, and even correct a developing milk intolerance so that you can benefit from it's many gifts:

  • Fresh, organic, unpasteurized, un-homogenized whole milk is best. Organic aw milk is usually the best we can get (unless you have a neighbor with a Jersey). All commercial processes denature milk and make it more difficult to digest. Avoid ultra-pasteurization like the plague it is.
  • Drink milk warm, after simmering. Raw milk is harder to digest and has more lactose (which some people have issues with). You can add water to your milk when boiling to make it lighter to digest.
  • Add a pinch of ginger, clove, cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, nutmeg etc. These spices give your Agni (digestive fire) the extra umph it needs to digest efficiently.
  • Let milk be a meal by itself or a between-meal snack: 
    • A cup of warm spiced milk is a great breakfast for people who are not too hungry in the morning.
    • When it is too late for dinner but you don't want to go to bed  hungry have a cup of hot milk with nutmeg or a few strands of saffron for a restful nights sleep.
  • Milk and food combining:
    • Avoid milk with salt. Ayurveda says this is a very damaging food combination. This means cooking with milk, cheese, yogurt etc should be avoided (see below for exceptions). Don't add salt to your oatmeal if you have it with cream. Cream soups are out, and cream cheese bagels are asking for trouble.
    • Avoid fish and milk as is compromises blood and brain tissues. Alas Cullen Skink & Finnian Haddie are not Ayurvedically appropriate.
    • Avoid milk with anything sour. This is why fruit and milk combinations are problematic for many.
    • Have milk with grains: cream on oatmeal or farina, rice pudding, cocoa thickened with barley flour are delicious, properly food-combined occasional treats.



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