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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 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.

relationship + connection wellness + healing

Stress Less

January 8, 2018

Just take a moment right now and tune in to the level of tension in your body – are you gripping your muscles in places you’d never even noticed before?  Stress in our modern lives has become a chronic and reliable presence in our lives.  Did you know that our stress response – increased heart rate, a rush of blood to our muscles, less blood to the brain and digestive organs – is an automatic response to getting us out of physical danger.  In a short, intense period, we run from the lion that is chasing us until we clamber up a tree to safety and then we rest, for long periods, until the next short and intense incident.  Our bodies had time to recover, our digestion once again became top priority and life returned to normal pace.

In modern times, however, we have a continuous flow of stress hormones in our system – work stress, home stress, relationship stress, parenting stress – with little muscle movement (exercise) to diffuse the stress and no time to rest and repair. 

Stress profoundly impacts the way we function physical, mentally and emotionally and frequently prevents us from functioning at our optimum.   With less stress onboard the body is able to heal itself.

Practical ways to stress a little less

Taking stock of our lives may not be a practice we engage in often, but experiencing the benefits of doing just that can be a truly enlightening experience. The transition into the slower months of autumn and winter is the perfect time for reflecting on where we are at, and whether it is perhaps time to stress a little less.

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.

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 to other circles containing the major elements of your life (eg. work, family, health, relaxation/hobbies, etc.) and daydream about how you would ideally like these areas to be. It’s a great way to get focussed on what we really want out of life.

Embrace the stillness…