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: www.ewg.org/skindeep


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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If you have been in my office you know of my tendency to scribble notes to myself on colored post-its. Today I went through a stack of these post-its from the last few months and I noticed a theme: tips from my clients about how to eat healthier with less work or stress. 

This is a big struggle for those of us who try to incorporate Classical Ayurvedic principals into our everyday lives without having to sacrifice other activities (and without having to order an Auntie or Maushi from India to do our cooking!). 

Here are a few tips from my post-its (thanks to those of you who came up with these ideas!) and a few I have figured out over the years:

  • www.blueapron.com This company makes cooking at home easy; they deliver to your door ingredients and recipes to make gourmet healthy meals. You can order as many meals a week as you like and indicate veg or non-veg and they try to get as much local and sustainable ingredients as possible. I am told that the recipes are sophisticated (for us costal foodies) and yet not overwhelming for beginners, delicious, and always fresh 'cause you make it yourself! 
  • www.goodeggs.com If you are in the SF Bay or Brooklyn (and soon LA and NO) you can order farm-to-you fresh products online and pick them up the next day all packed and ready to go! This is a brilliant weaving of local sustainable food culture with technology. The selection changes daily so get the shmaltz (chicken fat) when you see it!). I will never run out of half-n-half again!
  • Get a thermos! You can get great ones at Ikea and in the kitchenwares area at Koreana Market in Oakland. Make a pot of Dahl with veggies in the morning as you are getting ready for work and keep it warm till lunch. Just buy a fresh roll and you have a great fresh lunch!
  • Slow cookers; so many choices to cook while you sleep\work\play! Cook a whole meal with this one, take lunch to work and avoid the microwave with this cute food carrier and warmer, and if you spend a lot of time in you vehicle there is this food heater that plugs into the cigarette lighter!
  • Eternally my favorite way to make cooking easier (and still getting a nourishing, fresh, and delicious dinner): rice and beans (no cheese, no sour cream) and 2 buche or lengua tacos at my taqueria: Los Pericos #5 in San Leandro. 

Any other great tips for eating fresh, healthy, and warm while on the run?

Last weekend I spent 2 days at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in Golden Gate Park with the sun,  wind,  smoke blown in from the Napa fire, dust, and 750,000 other crazy people. It was phenomenal. When I got home I blew my nose and blackish cruddy bloody gunk came out. And I still felt like my nose was full of cement.  

 

 artist:  Shawn Feeney

artist: Shawn Feeney

Luckily Ayurveda has just the solution for how to recover from melees; Nasya.

Nasya is a treatment where various things (ghee, oil, milk, herbal powders) are sniffed up the nose. Nasya is a versatile treatment used both as daily maintenance and treatment of specific diseases. Neti Pot might be considered a type of nasya. All diseases of the head can be treated with nasya including: headaches, congestion, eye, ear and nose issues, improve memory and senses. All sorts or potions and special oils are used clinically.

This simple version can safely be done regularly as part of your ayurvedic routine: Warm a dropper bottle filled with ghee. Lie on your back with your head tilted back a little. Drop 8 drops (1/2 a small dropper) into one nostril while holding closed your other nostril. Sniff hard to get the oil deep into your sinuses. Repeat on the other side. LIe on your back for at least 5 minutes. If oil drains into your throat spit; don't swallow. Blow your nose if you need to. Repeat daily after your shower.

 

 

 

 

 

With Eden Tosch and Jenn Meek

Saturday June 15th
1:30-4:30pm

Square One Yoga 1540A 62nd St  Emeryville, CA 94608

$30 early bird sign-up by Thursday June 13th; Register here...

$40 day of the event. 

 • Do you find yourself tired or uncomfortable after meals? 

• Are you gassy or bloated?

• Are you a little ‘irregular’ without your kombucha or Activia®?

Both Classical Ayurveda and Yoga Therapy point to digestive health as essential to a healthy long life!

Learn hands-on skills in preserving, regaining, and maintaining digestive health.

• Learn everyday Ayurvedic techniques to eating better in the modern world.

• Learn Yoga sequences designed to correct digestive imbalances.

• Take home a personal understanding of what you can do to feel better. Come with questions about your personal digestive issues!

Please wear yoga-ish clothes and bring a pillow if you need for sitting on the floor.