Allergies and Ayurveda

Up to 50 million people in America struggle with allergies every year and it’s considered one of the leading causes for chronic illness.

The immune system is a complex and dynamic system that protects us from disease by identifying harmful substances in our environment that it doesn’t recognize as safe, then triggering an allergic reaction to get rid of these foreign substances. An allergy occurs when the body’s natural defense turns on and against itself!

Allergies can cause a wide range of symptoms, from mild to life-threatening. They’re often caused by plant pollens or animal dander which we are allergic too without even knowing it because our bodies consider those substances harmful! Allergies and stress can also give people asthma, hives, itchiness, runny nose and watery eyes, when they’ve never had any before in their lives!

The practice of Ayurveda recognizes that there are many causes for allergies, one of the main reasons being the accumulation due to ama (toxic buildup from improperly digested foods). This combined together in our body with low Ojas (immunity) ~ leads to allergic reactions when it becomes too much.  There can be several reasons why this happens: typically because someone has a genetic predisposition combined by unhealthy diet habits or chronic illness; sometimes mental stress will trigger an emotional trauma leading them down another path towards having more trouble breathing during seasonal changes. This is why following a seasonal diet and routine is so important, to build Ojas (immunity) and protect against seasonal and everyday allergens.

When the power of digestion (Agni) becomes weak due to an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, overtime this will cause an imbalance in our doshas. This causes ama – or undigested food particles-to accumulate within us which acts as allergies that trigger an auto immune response from tissue cells anywhere in the body, especially the respiratory system, digestive system, skin or any combination.

Ayurveda gives us the tools to live a healthy lifestyle through daily dinacharya, ritucharya (seasonal rituals), and our evening rituals, help strengthen our digestion, enhance our immune system, and clear out unwanted toxins. 

Seasonal Practices to Keep You Healthy and Allergies at Bay:

  • Do some spring cleaning
    • For your body: Practice a spring cleanse
    • For your environment: Deep clean your house
    • Get rid of cosmetics with fragrances and chemicals
    • Get rid of chemical cleaning supplies
  • Wake Early
  • Dry Brush
  • Daily Nasya
  • Exercise first thing in the morning: Sun Salutations, a brisk walk, a short jog, jumping jacks, anything that makes you feel good and revitalized.
  • Meditate
  • Pranayama
  • Keep warm during these cold, damp days
  • Get an invigorating massage or Abhyanga
  • Eat light, warm and cooked food
  • Add some stimulating music to your playlist
  • Dance
  • Laugh and spend time with loved ones

Ideas for Eating this Season to Create Balance:

  • Add foods that are pungent, astringent, and bitter to your diet:
    • Aloe, nettle, dandelion, quinoa, barley, mung beans, fiddleheads, arugula, mustard greens, chard, spinach, asparagus, spring onions, lemon, spiced broths, green tea, local honey
  • Add apple cider vinegar to your foods
  • Consume less meat
  • Avoid dairy
  • Drink CCF (Cumin, Coriander and Fennel) Tea
  • Take triphala, tulsi, guduchi
  • Add activating spices like cayenne, ginger, turmeric, black pepper and mustard
  • Drink water

In conclusion, allergies are very common and can be caused by a variety of factors. Allergies can often be difficult to detect. With knowing your constitution and understanding your daily habits and lifestyle an Ayurvedic Consultation can help you to find the root cause and ultimately help alleviate symptoms!

Looking forward to connecting with you soon!

Many Blessings,

Michelle

A Time To Rest & Pause

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Yoga and Flexibility

I am on day 15 now of my personal yoga challenge and for some reason when I think of yoga, I naturally envision a beautiful healthy person, bending their body into amazing poses or maybe I just assume that everyone is able to touch their toes without bending their legs. Well, my friends, this is certainly not me. Everyday I can feel my body stretch a little more as I practice but resistance is futile.

What is this resistance? Will I ever be able to release this resistance? Is it structural or functional resistance due to my life patterns? So I have really been trying to take the time to breath through this and listen to my body as I ease into a posture. Or sometimes when I don’t want to physically participate in a posture, I imagine myself doing the posture. When I do this it actually empowers me to keep going & keep breathing.

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With every yoga pose (asana) I experience I have the opportunity to explore my body by applying more or less effort, cultivating balance and flexibility. Involving parts of my body that may other wise be dormant consciously moves energy and wakes up my body, opening myself up to a more subtle awareness. Even though I am not flexible and can’t even straighten my legs when I try to touch my toes, I continue on, movement by subtle movement.

During this process I have also started to read the powerful book, A Course In Miracles: Foundation For Inner Peace. So far I am really enjoying reading about the meaning of miracles and doing the daily lessons.

Here are some quotes from Chapter 1:

  • Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle.
  • Miracles are everyone’s right, but purification is necessary first.
  • Miracles are a kind of exchange. Like expressions of love, which are always miraculous in the true sense, the exchange reverses the physical laws. They bring more love both to the giver and the receiver.
  • Prayer is the medium of miracles. It is a means to communication of the created with the Creator. Through prayer love is received, and through miracles loves is expressed.
  • Miracles are both beginnings and endings, and so they alter the temporal order. They are always affirmations of rebirth, which seem to go back but really go forward. They undo the past in the present, and thus release the future.

So onward with my yoga adventure, with increasing purpose, process and practice!!!

Love,

Michelle

Real life is not always going to be perfect or go our way, but the recurring acknowledgment of what is working in our lives can help us not only survive but surmount our difficulties. ~Sarah Ban Breathnach