Browsing Category

values + intention

relationship + connection values + intention wellness + healing wisdom + love

Summer Solstice Blessings

December 22, 2018

This year of 2018 has been intense!  An ’11’ year (2+0+1+8) – it has been a year of shaking things up, deep transformation and bringing us back to what is truly important in this life.  Many of us have been deeply challenged this year, broken apart and reconstructed in a very different form.   For me, and many others I know, this has been a year of navigating deep challenges, honouring the lessons learned and valuing the moments of peace in between.  We are all changed from the events of 2018 – personally and globally.

Tomorrow’s Summer Solstice (in the Southern Hemisphere) signifies the longest day and the shortest night of the year.  It is mid-summer.  Summer is a time of high energy & activity – there is a buzz around us as we delight in the long & warm summer nights.  It is the yang expression of the seasons when we tend to being social, open & active.   We celebrate, we dance, we laugh!

To be in tune with the summer months we open our hearts, minds and bodies to the warmth and freedom that surrounds us.  Showing & feeling gratitude for the lessons we’ve learned in this cycle and letting go of anything that no longer serves us.  Burning the remnance to nourish & unburden us. 

Align your schedule with the Sun
The days are much longer in summer giving us an opportunity to either stay up later or wake up earlier. Ayurveda advocates going to sleep later in the evening (around 10 or 11pm) to take advantage of the extended daylight and to allow the temperature to cool off for more comfortable sleeping conditions. On the other hand, if you decide to rise with the sun, you may choose to go to sleep earlier (around 9 or so) so you can wake up earlier and start your yoga practice.

Take an afternoon rest 
The idea of the “Spanish siesta” – a midday rest or nap that’s typically taken during the heat of the day – makes plenty of sense in our warmer months. As the heat continues to build up past the noon hour, the hottest time of the day usually hits around 3pm which a perfect time to give our bodies a rest.  By squeezing in an afternoon nap, you are recognising and honouring the power of the sun at its daily peak.

Practice simple sun salutations at dawn (or dusk)
If you choose to rise with the sun, this is the perfect opportunity for you to start your day with several yoga sun salutations since they are best done in the early morning hours on an empty stomach. The sequence of poses that make up the sun salutation are meant to be practiced in the direction of the sun while cultivating gratitude, awe, and respect for it. Start your practice with 8 to 12 sun salutations in the morning at sunrise (or even at dusk during the sunset)

Dance, sing & celebrate
In the warmth of summer we often find postivity and hope flow more easily.  Finding ways to move our body & to share with others helps to nourish our souls and celebrate our triumphs and achievements throughout the year.  If the year has been tough and taken all your inner resources – lay out in the sun and let it restore and heal you.   Ask yourself what are you grateful for?  What have you learned?  How have you grown?  


I hope you allow yourself the freedom to dance and be free this Summer Solstice – let go of control, celebrate, release.

With love & blessings,

Sharna 
xo.

SUMMER PATTERNS

With Summer comes the season for action & energy …

Element:  Fire Organs: Heart/Small Intestine/Pericardium/Triple Heater (metabolism)
Emotion:  Joy
Colour:  Red
Sense-organ: Mouth 
Taste:  Bitter
Sound:  Laughing
Cultivation:  Growth

Common problems: fever, profuse sweating, vomiting, weakness, shortness of breath, wheezing, diarrhea, bloating, irritability, inflammation, headaches

Recommended: watermelon, lemon, apple, pineapple, summer squash, zucchini, alfalfa, spinach & cucumber

Avoid hot, spicy, greasy or overly oily foods, also avoid over consumption of stimulants like coffee, alcohol or sugars (not that easy at Christmas: time!)

nutrition + nourishment relationship + connection values + intention wisdom + love

Winter Solstice Blessings

June 21, 2018

 

Winter is the end of the season cycle – the pause before the birth of a whole new cycle.  It is the time of metaphoric death and renewal – the stillness (yin) just before expression (yang).  Everything in nature appears to be lifeless & to have stopped growing.  Today’s Winter Solstice (in the Southern Hemisphere), signifies the shortest day and the longest, darkest night.  This day and this season are a time to turn inward to the stillness and darkness as a path to find the spark of light that leads us on the path back to the light and warmth as the sun’s warmth starts to grow again.  Surrendering to the stillness on the winter months allows for the potent gestation of the seeds of renewal & to new beginnings. 

To be in tune with the winter months we must become more introspective and storage-oriented; one cools the surface of the body and warms the inner core.  It is time to rest, to meditate deeply, refine our spiritual essence, and store physical energy – in the form of a little added weight for the cold season.  But we must also remember to stay active enough to keep the spine and joints flexible….

Gentle stretching

Our energy tends to become stagnant in the colder weather. Gentle stretching can help to keep the energy moving through our bodies and is a key element of staying balanced and boosting our immunity during the winter months.  Perhaps join a yoga or pilates class or indulge in a few gentle stretches before bed and first thing in the morning.

Energy conservation

Snuggle under the quilt (even if it is on the couch) and indulge in some fabulous guilt-free rest!  Like the bears in their caves, take a tip from nature and take some time out to hibernate.  Conserving our energy when it’s cold outside helps our body to rest & repair and build energy for the warmer months.

Warm, nourishing foods

During winter it is important to keep the chest and lungs warm and relatively dry.  Vegetables that resemble the shape of the lungs are particularly nourishing for them – such as cauliflower, broccoli & broccolini.  Warm hearty soups, whole grains, roasted nuts and steamed wintergreens are also great for boosting your immune system.

Listening to inner wisdom

Flowing on from the slowing of Autumn, the stillness of the coldest months gives us a chance to turn inward and reflect on our wants and needs.  Take regular moments to embrace the silence and listen to your inner wisdom.  Ask yourself where are you heading?  does your course need correction?  what do you need?  what can you give?  

 

WINTER PATTERNS

With Winter comes the season for rest & deep meditation….

Element:  Water
Organs: Bladder/Kidney
Emotion:  Fear
Colour:  Blue
Sense-organ:  Ears
Taste:  Salty
Sound:  Groaning
Cultivation:  Store

Common problems

lumbar pain, hearing difficulties, fluid retention, urinary infections, exhaustion, joint ache/pain

Recommended

warming spices (cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, ginger, mustard seed), vegetables that resemble the structure of the lungs – cauliflower, broccoli, broccolini.  Grounding vegetables like carrot, radish, fennel and beetroot.

Avoid

ice cream, yoghurt, cream, potatoes, bananas, chicken

 

I invite you to turn inward this Winter Solstice – to surrender to deep contemplation and travel deep within,

 

nutrition + nourishment values + intention wellness + healing

A Time For Reflection

April 6, 2018

Taking stock of our lives may not be a practice we often explore, but the emotional benefits of doing just this can be a truly enlightening experience.  The transition from summer into autumn is the perfect time for slowing down a little, and reflecting on where we are at.

Spend time in nature – breathing beautiful, clean air draws us back to the simple things.  Spend some time walking or sitting in the natural environment and listen to the birds and the stillness.  Why not try the botanic gardens, somewhere in the country or a beautiful national park.

Write a journal – start keeping a diary of your everyday thoughts and feelings.  Bringing our attention to how we feel about areas of our life is a powerful way to reshape our lives for the better.  It can also help to remind us how much we already enjoy about our lives.

Notice your breath – it’s innate in us, and thank goodness it is – but how often do you actually notice your breath throughout the day?  As our stress levels increase so too does our rate of our breathing.  Just by consciously observing our breath in moments throughout the day, we can become more centred and gain greater control in our day.

Meditate – sounds tricky, but it doesn’t have to be.  Meditation is really all about being completely present in our bodies.  In a quiet place, close your eyes and focus on your heart – feel the rhythm as it beats.  Now move through your body from head to toe (or whichever sequence you like) and really feel every part of your body.  It’s a subtle and peaceful feeling.

Draw a mind map – brainstorm all the key areas of your life and how they are working (or not ) for you.  Draw a circle in the centre of the page and label it “My Life”.  Then branch out from the centre with circles containing the major elements of your life (eg. work, family, health, relaxation/hobbies, etc.) and day-dream about how you would ideally like these areas to be.  It’s a great way to get focused on what we really want out of life.

AUTUMN

With Autumn comes the season for harvesting and reflection….

Element:  Metal

Organs: Lungs/Large Intestine/Skin

Emotion:  Grief/Letting go

Colour:  White

Sense-organ:  Nose

Taste:  Pungent

Sound:  Weeping

Cultivation:  Harvest

Common problems:  Colds, allergies, sinus problems, bronchitis, asthma, hair & skin problems, unresolved sadness, tension, exhaustion

Recommended:  cabbage, chives, cinnamon, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, leek, nutmeg, parsley, pepper, radish, rosemary, thyme, turmeric, turnip, spearmint star anise, root vegetables

Avoid: salads & raw foods

 

Seasonal Foods

If we look at food in a holistic way, we can see that the foods we eat can have a profound effect on our wellbeing.  Choosing to eat foods that are in season is one way to provide our bodies with the nourishment that they need to ensure we stay in optimal health.  Autumn is the time to start cooking foods for longer on lower heat, as opposed to the quick and light cooking methods of Summer.  It’s time for less salads and more soups.

Foods to eat in Autumn are those that strengthen the Lungs and Intestines and are said to have pungent flavours.  Foods and herbs with a pungent flavour are important for the lungs, so it is particularly relevant to eat these in Autumn, when the lungs are most sensitive.

Eating seasonally is about following natural cycles, as energy moves down in Autumn, its also a time to eat more foods that also have downward moving energy, such as root vegetables.

values + intention

The cornerstone of effective leadership is self mastery

January 8, 2018

“The cornerstone of effective leadership is self mastery…
And the surest route to self mastery is spiritual practice.
Time spent in peaceful reflection or mindful meditation
clarifies thought, sharpens intuition, and curbs unhealthy instincts.”
–  Patricia Aburdene

values + intention

Innate admiration

June 8, 2017

You’ve probably noticed our innate admiration of any physical body in it’s peak state.  We know instinctively the signs of a happy body that’s in good health:  relaxed nature, lean muscles, rosy cheeks, glowing skin, pink nails, hair with body and shine, luscious ruby lips.  

But have you also noticed that we have invented ways to mimic these body states in order to give the impression we too are sporting a happy body in good health?  Let’s think about this.  We women wear make up to enhance our lips, our cheeks, even pastes to smooth out our skin, paint nails, and find all sorts of ways to put gloss and bounce into our flowing locks.  And often times, all this effort to hide the truth that our bodies are less than prospering on the inside.

Our admiration seems to also extend to moods and acceptable behaviours –  anger and frustration in ourselves and others are uncomfortable for us at best.  We crave a relaxed tone, a less reactive state and one that shows we have a handle on any outbursts of emotion.  So we judge ourselves for our strong feelings, repress any rush of emotion and shelve away any hint of irrational display.  We know in our bones that a calm and relaxed spirit reflects a healthy and functioning self in body and mind.

Our desire to create this picture of ourselves is well founded.  We know, deep down, that our bodies in a state of good health and flow will bring less illness (by definition), healthy babies, more active and happier lives, clear thought, stronger relationships and a sustained and prosperous future for humanity.  

The mimicry does not appear to be serving us well.  Our mental and physical health is worse than it has been – (insert researched information here) chronic illness is on the rise in all ages – in children as much as in adults, homelessness, violence, depression, disconnection, …..

In contrast it is important to note, that there is a rising number of individuals seeking out the life choices that bring us back to achieving an authentic reflection of the healthy and flowing state of their bodies and society.  Mindfulness, organic foods, greening our cities, getting into nature, work-life balance, volunteering and connecting with our communities, vintage clothing and upcycling, …My belief is that this is the way of the future, absolutely!  Is that your belief too?