5 Ayurvedic Tips to Keep You Hydrated and Healthy

Ayurveda…by now you’ve probably heard the word on multiple occasions. Maybe it’s on the label of your toothpaste or you’ve gotten into a conversation about your ayurvedic dosha, or “type”.  Perhaps a yoga teacher has even mentioned that summertime is ruled by the fiery dosha, pitta.

Ayurveda, meaning science of life, is Indian classical medicine with 6,000 year old roots. Ayurveda, along with yoga, believes that humans share the same characteristics as the earth. Ayurveda looks at the seasons and five elements – ether, air, fire water, earth – and identifies those characteristics within our bodies. These 5 elements combine to create the 3 doshas, or humors, which describe us: vata, pitta, kapha. Some of us are spiritual and airy, but not grounded (vata). Some of us are full of fire and drive (pitta). Others are cooler and grounded, like the earth (kapha).

Ayurveda looks at the whole body and not just symptoms, with the overall goal to balance the elements in our bodies.

The seasons, like our bodies, run hot, cold, wet and dry. Summertime is ruled by pitta – the fire/water element. That means summer is the time when visionary, expansive, creative, wild and passionate energies rule. It also means we can easily overdo and overheat. According to Ayurveda, when it’s hot and dry, we need to eat wet and cooling foods and develop practices to keep us healthy and hydrated!  Summer is the easiest time to become dehydrated.

Common signs of dehydration are:

  • Dry skin, mouth, lips
  • Decreased urination (even when drinking plenty of water)
  • Cracking joints
  • Sore muscles that won’t recover
  • Shiny “oily” looking face
  • Big bags under the eyes (kidney area of the face)
  • Slower brain function (like a hangover)
  • Overeating
  • Irregular bowel movements

This summer, avoid getting too hot and bothered by using some traditional and modern ayurvedic techniques to keep cool and in control!

1. Up your electrolytes!  Electrolytes are a combination of minerals (Magnesium-Calcium, Potassium-Sodium, chloride, hydrogen phosphate, hydrogen bicarbonate) that we need for optimal functioning. The best way to get electrolytes or “trace minerals” are from naturally occurring “good salts.”  These “good salts” include Celtic Sea, Atlantic Grey, or Pink salt.  According to author Dr. Barbara Hendel, co-author of Water & Salt, The Essence of Life : “These mineral salts are identical to the elements of which our bodies have been built and were originally found in the primal ocean from where life originated…. We have salty tears and salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are similar to seawater. “

We are often told to avoid salt– and it’s really table salt (including  kosher and “natural sea salts”) that we need to avoid. These “bad salts” are often bleached, refined and striped of their minerals. Good salt, on the other hand is critical to our health and will not spike blood pressure levels, because it doesn’t contain excessive sodium or refined sodium chloride. Unlike table salt, which causes swelling, bloating, and edema, good salt actually hydrates you.   Switch to a “good salt” and watch your intake of “bad salts,” which are hidden in tons of common foods like crackers, chips, pretzels, olives, cheese, pickles, and take out-food.

In addition to eating good salt, which provides enzymatic support for the pancreas to break down sugars, taking good salt straight in water, called sole,  gives the adrenals and kidneys a boost for the hot sweaty days ahead.

sole recipes
Start your day with Sole

2.  Take more RAW oils- In order to absorb our electrolyte-filled water, we need essential fatty acids (EFAs).  EFAs are oxygen-rich oils that bind with the oxygen in our water and allow for our cells, skin, and organs to be hydrated, healthy and pliable. EFAs also assist healthy brain function, alleviate depression and help synapses in the brain fire more smoothly. Look for cooling oils such as olive, flax or hemp (often RAW oils are labeled “cold-pressed” or “extra virgin”). However, the oxygen molecule in these oils cannot withstand heat, so when you heat them, their molecules shifts to mimic free radicals (pre-cancer cells) in our bodies. Rather than sauteing in oil, begin to steam, grill and poach your food, or saute with water and spices. If you need to use an oil, try coconut oil or ghee, which can be heated to higher temps without going rancid. To get the healthful EFAs, put up to 4 TBS per day of RAW oil on your food. It will bring out the unique favor of the food and retain the healthy, raw quality. Feel free to use these cooling oils in a salad dressing or just drizzle them over salads, veggies, soups and grains.

3. Eat your (wet white) veggies –  Pitta is ruled by the fire of digestion and during the summer you want to eat as many cooling, alkaline veggies as you can. Go for alkaline and potassium rich wet white veggies. Load up on cucumbers, jicama, bok choy, turnips, radishes, daikon, fennel bulb.  If you’re not sure, taste test some at a local farmers’ market. Turnips are great sliced like chips and dipped in hummus.  You can also cool off any foods by garnishing with fresh cilantro, basil, mint, fennel root, and lots of lemon and limes. If you need a summer taco fix—smother them in lime and cilantro, and munch on radishes!

4. Cool it off -Hydrate your whole body by spending more time in the water! Truly, a good swim or cold shower can really help cool off a hot body and over-active or frustrated mind. Make sure you get your head wet to blow off steam, and take deep slow breathes. After a shower or swim apply coconut oil to wet skin to keep it moist. This traditional practice of “abhyanga”, or skin oilination, is helpful to ground and hydrate the body. Make sure the skin is still wet (apply before toweling off) so it can fully absorb.

5. Do less and put your legs up! The pitta person, often a natural leader, is always overdoing and under pressure. Summer is fun, but also often full of doing, often resulting in burn-out! Whether it’s simple exhaustion or full-blown adrenal fatigue, it’s important slow down and do less. Make a list of all the ideas, projects or trips you want to do this summer and decide on three to really focus on and follow through with. Put the others on hold, or let them go! Find 15 minutes everydaykamekoViparitaKarani to be still. Try Viparita Karani aka “legs up the wall pose.” The relaxing and passive inversion helps calm the nervous system, move the lymph, reduce swelling in the feet and get you on the cool earth. And have a truly sweet, sweaty and cool summer.

Kameko Shibata, ERYT-500, has a love affair with yoga that has spanned ten years and five continents! And her teaching reflects her love, curiosity and dedication to yoga and the exploration of  breath.  Her delicious vinyasa classes invite you to come deeply into your breath and body through safe and challenging sequences combined with sound, breath, and core work.

For more about Kameko visit: www.nadigirlayurveda.com

Email any questions nadigirlayurveda@gmail.com

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Ayurvedic Tips for a Vibrant Spring

by Kameko Shibata

Welcome to Spring! The undeniably most popular season of the year is here.  As winter melts into spring, the birds, bees, flowers, trees and human hearts are all nourished by more and more sunlight. We may bask in that sunlight, but often we find ourselves still sluggish from winter, with too much on our plates and seasonal allergies to boot!  The wisdom of Ayurveda is here to help us balance the shift of seasons and get us glowing, not sneezing all spring.

Spring is also about new beginnings, setting roots that sustain us in summer and fall. This spring, let’s commit to sustaining and thriving- through balance, deep breaths, clean closets and cleansed bodies!

In Ayurveda, the Indian classical Medicine used by yogi’s for thousands years, spring is ruled the elements fire and water, which combine to make pitta dosha or bodily constitution. In spring we work to shed the excess of winter and balance the amount of fire AND water in our systems. Too much water combined with excess earth leaves us feeling heavy, muddy and full of toxins (ama). Too much fire and we’re angry, over heated, over doing, full of allergies and without enough time. Too much fire and water at the same time leaves our bodies taxed, inflamed and pressurized (think sinus headache). Spring is ruled by the organs of liver and gallbladder, our main organs for cleansing and processing toxins. Our liver processes allergens that come from pollen and pollution, but if our liver is taxed, it has a hard time working as smoothly. Using Ayurveda we cool our heat with water, and cleanse with fire. When we are balanced we have healthy fire, creativity, action and ideas, and the coolness of water to stay hydrated and go with the flow. The wisdom of Ayurveda helps us live in balance with the season and the natural world around us, which is ultimate challenge in our modern urban world — however it is so worth it!

Here are 3 basic tips to get you going.

1. Clear out your closet – Clean your house.

It sounds basic but de-cluttering your space will help you de-clutter your mind. They say the body is the temple of the mind, and it’s much easier to clean the temple of the body and mind when the literal temple of the home is clear. Get new plants and increase the amount of fresh green things in your living space.

2. Clean out your body.

Spring is the perfect time for a mild Ayurvedic cleanse to reduce toxins (ama) from winter. Since spring is ruled by the organs liver and gallbladder, it the perfect time to give those organs a break. It’s like an oil change for your body.

Try cutting out sugar, alcohol, dairy, caffeine, cooked oils and red meat for 2 weeks just to give your body a break. The first 3 days are the hardest – it gets easier after that! Getting a friend or partner to join helps a lot too. Increase your intake of water, yoga, rest and alkaline foods (green veggies, fruits, whole grains, raw olive oil, avocados). If you have allergies, increase your intake of bitters, sours and astringent. Bitter veggies (arugula, mustard greens, dandelion greens) support the liver and gallbladder, helping to cleanse the system.  The excess of winter is all about sweet, heavy comfort foods. Now is the time to cleanse those out of the system.

3. Simply breathe!

The simplest is often the hardest. When we simplify our days, our desks, our dreams, we have more space just to be. Too breathe, to rest, to delight in the moment. Find 10 minutes in your day to do pranayama (breathing practices) and then just sit (or put your legs up the wall if you feet feel tired, hot or swollen). If you find pranayama challenging from sinus congestion or allergies you need a neti pot and a steam inhalation (more in class about that).

The simplest pranayama practice is samma vrtti – count to 5 as you inhale and 5 as you exhale. Take a short pause after the inhale and after the exhale, as a reminder to pause and take space! If you feel especially hot, stressed or need to relax, lengthen the exhale (5 in, 8 out). 12 rounds of breath is perfect. Then sit or put your legs up for the remainder of the 10 minutes.

Learn more about Ayurveda and book an appointment with Kameko here.
For healthy recipes, class schedules and cleanse support visit Kameko’s website www.kamekoarts.com

 

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