Lifestyle

DISCOVERING MY DOSHA AND HOW TO BALANCE IT

|| DISCOVERING MY DOSHA AND HOW TO BALANCE IT ||

Tea India reached out to me to try their new teas and to discover more about my dosha in the Ayurvedic system. One I am obsessed with herbal teas so was interested to try their new range and two I wanted to learn more about my body through the Ayurvedic practice. I’ll be honest I am a bit of a novice when it comes to the Ayurvedic practice but I firmly believe through a better understanding of our system we can find greater balance for our bodies. 

For a overview about Ayurveda, click here

I am Pitta-Vata type so have 2 doshas predominant. Tea India are working with, Geeta Vara, a British Born Practitioner and she suggests in her book ‘Ayurveda - A Practice Guide To Optimal Health, Healing and Vitality’, that if you have a dual dosha it is best to manage it according to the season. So in the winter I’d follow a vata-pacifying regimen and in the summer a pitta-pacifying regime. So what does this mean for me right now?

 

  1. Food

Pitta dominant people are advised to avoid hot foods during the summer. Pitta individuals are hot in nature so we’re to eat cooling foods such as leafy greens, fruit and veggies. 

I suppose I automatically eat cooling foods in the summer and wouldn’t opt in for a hot veggie soup, especially with the weather we’ve been having! I’m not sure where that sits with having herbal teas? 

 

2. Cool exercises

Exercising in a way that is too intense, sharp, and heating can aggravate pitta. 

I am lucky enough to live near a park so am able to do my yoga practice in the shade. I would never choose to practice in the sun and I do struggle to practice abroad when it’s super hot. I usually end with some cooling yin poses and a long savasana for practice anyway, but definitely in winter I consciously want to create more heat to warm up my cold hands and feet. However, I have had days this summer when I really crave greater intensity so will decide to run, or do a boxing class.

I guess you have to listen to what your body wants and then give it what it craves. I guess if you’re a Pitta type you can always balance out a HIIT class with cooling foods.

 

3. Relax your lifestyle

If your lifestyle is very intense and on-the-go, with lots of stress and multiple responsibilities and not a lot of time for rest, this can also stoke the fire of pitta. 

Who’s lives are not on the go? Especially if you live in a busy city. I will however gladly take this on board! I do consciously try to slow down and have managed this by not filling up my diary with tonnes of social engagements. I have also learnt to say no to classes that don’t fit with my schedule, as running round London can burn me out. 

I have been trying Tea India’s new range of herbal tea’s inspired by the dosha’s and I am really impressed! The ‘Peace & Calm’ is designed for the pitta dosha with its blend of fennel, camomile, peppermint, coriander and rose petal, but the whole range is blended to perfection. 

I am looking forward to finishing Geeta Vara’s book and to learn more about Ayurveda! If you want to find out which dosha you are click here

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SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICTION OR NOT?

 

SOCAIL MEDIA ADDICTION OR NOT? 

Have you ever found yourself sitting down with your phone and your thumb automatically hovers over Facebook? If so, maybe a digital detox is the right thing for you?

We are more reliant on our phones than ever! It’s understandable why people are glued to their screens when there are so many temptations and distractions on our phone.

Recently I did a digital detox. A detox from all social media and from mindless scrolling on google. It was the best mental break and relaxation for the mind. Suddenly you find yourself with all this extra time. Time to do all the things that never seem to get done, something creative, or something for yourself. It’s surprising how easy it is to kick the habit of checking your phone each time it buzzes and it’s a breath of fresh air to realise that you don’t need to be on call and responding to every like and comment. 

“There's an assumption that people use Facebook because it somehow enhances their lives, but research suggests the opposite. Studies show Facebook use is associated with lower life satisfaction.” Chicago tribute 

It’s important to be aware of when you’re using social media. If you can begin to use social media purposefully rather than habitually, you become more aware of when social activity is harming your emotional well-being. 

"It's like sugar. It's brain sugar and I think if people tried to quit cold turkey they would see that it's an addiction.” quote by Motherboard 

It’s our choice whether we feed our brains with goodness. Sitting in front of a screen all day does not feel good. Mindless scrolling and comparing yourself to people does not leave us feeling uplifted and stands in the way of our productivity. 

HOW TO OVERCOME THE INFINITE SCROLL

  • Be more conscious when using social media. Before using it pause and take a moment and ask yourself whether it’s for a purpose. 
  • Each time you catch yourself going for a scroll try and stop yourself. Take a moment to yourself and do nothing. The habit will begin to subside. 
  • When you go on holiday give yourself a week off the phone or at least all apps. Maybe restrict yourself to checking the phone once or twice a day. 
  • Write a productive to do list and choose to do something on the list rather than scroll. 

Infinite scrolling is the ultimate memory musher. My attention span, creativity and memory is definitely effected by mindless scrolling. When I have a break I start be more alert and creative in the things I do and care less about irrelevant things. 

 

STAY CURIOUS TO BE PRESENT

 

|| Stay curious to be present ||

One of the main reasons why I loved Burning Man so much (which many of my dear friends know about) is that it brings a child like curiosity out in you. There is so much random, beautiful, amazing, interesting, inspiring, sensational.. you get the point, things going on. It’s mind blowing. You suddenly find yourself being this curious kid cycling round the desert experiencing things for the first time, and it lasts a week!!! It's the first and only time in my life that for a whole week I was really living in the present moment and didn't even think about 'real life' for a second, until we had left.(It helped having no access to the internet or signal). If only we can find a way for every moment in daily life to be this interesting and engaging!

Even though routine can be great and work has it’s up and downs as does all relationships. We can still enter everything with a sense of curiosity. Even in our asana practice…. Even holding Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2) for the umpteenth time you can enter it with a sense of curiosity. Each day is different, the body feels different, moves differently, is experience different things, each day something changes. Developing that sense of curiosity into everything that you do is a skill but also helps you be more focused and engaged. It’s like an ad blocker from boredom, negativity, judgemental thoughts, anxiety, doubt… you name it!

It’s something I’m working on and trying to bring into my everyday. Be curious in the moment and stop worrying or thinking about other things that most likely are irrelevant to that moment.

 

 

BE COURAGEOUS

 

|| BE COURAGEOUS ||

This is a topic that really resonates with me. So many of us our victims of life. It’s so easy to wish that we had this, or was like that person, or if only we had done that and then we could do this… bla bla. My recent motto is ‘stop wishing, start doing’. Each time I find myself wishing or longing for this or that I have firm words with my internal thoughts and realise that a lot of it stems down to having courage. Many moments or maybe every moment of my life that I’m proud of or has given me happiness and pleasure has come from courage – taking a step into the unknown.

I have a life long dream of living abroad by the ocean. I desperately want to make this happen but I’m scarred/fearful of something. And that something stems down to the unknown, what if?, failing, making the wrong decision. But what is worse……

1.     Never knowing and never taking the risk?

2.     Or taking the risk and it not working out how you might have thought?

The chances are reality will never play out exactly how you envision. Each of us are different and each of us have different risks to take but whether it’s a job you want that you don’t feel worthy of, or whether it’s a city you want to move to but you have no friends there, or if you want to start your own career… surely being courageous and going for it is the best answer?

There are sensible decisions and completely stupid ones so I’m not saying do something completely idiotic but follow your dreams, find it in your heart to believe in yourself and be courageous.

I hope this post inspires others and helps you find courage to believe in your ability. If you don’t believe in you no one else will. 

|| FINDING COURAGE ||

All very well to say we need it now we have to find it!

1.     Speak to a friend, a loved one that you trust who knows you and believes in you and write down 4-6 powerful, meaningful, short, snappy words or phrases that you can carry with you that will help you be courageous.

2.     Start looking into the unknown. If you’re someone that needs a bit of planning a bit of prepping, warming up, push yourself and start investigating looking deeper into the possibility of it actually happening.

3.     Believe it’s going to happen at all times! Even if you’re inner thoughts are telling you otherwise.

4.     Do everything in your power to make it happen. Write a list of all the things you can do. People you can email, things you can research, contacts you already have.

5.     Feed yourself with inspiration. Read inspiring books, watch Ted Talks, going to lectures, do things that you know will give you drive. Drive comes from within but we need to find the things that trigger that drive! 

 

 

DAY BY DAY

 

||Day By Day ||

We’re all going at 100 miles an hour…. It’s easy to get swept up in the ‘rat race’ and allow ourselves to become stressed and feel overwhelmed about things that we are totally capable of managing. When our to do list is ever growing and things are expected of us that seem impossible it’s easy for us to allow our minds to spiral out of control and our bodies to stiffen. 

 

Someone once told me that when we have these moments that completely over take us and we feel absolutely helpless, think of the universe and think how small we are and insignificant this moment is in history. When you begin to think of how vast the world is and vast history is you begin to realize that actually this moment in time will pass and it is not the be all and end all.

 

I love change because I feel that a lot of positive can come out of it but change can be hard and you may face challenges. When I’ve experienced change whether that’s a new job, career path, moving house etc, it’s usually pretty overwhelming. When I feel moments of stress I live by the philosophy of taking each day and each moment as it comes. Projecting our stresses into the future, predicting things that haven’t happened and mostly won’t is very unproductive. Additionally re-living past experiences when situations were most likely different is also counterintuitive. When you’re to do list is 3 A4 sides long all we can do is take each moment as it comes and work on the task at hand. By prioritising your time and working as efficiently as you can at that moment you will tick things off your list in a well-ordered and productive manner.

 

Make the commitment to yourself to not allow your mind to go on a tangent and let yourself feel helpless and potentially sorry for yourself. It takes a lot of will power to stand back from your situation and to focus your attention on the task at hand but if you can restrain from projecting your feelings into the future you’ll find that you’ll be able to master the things in the present, no problem.

 

Steps to dealing with a racing mind:

1.     Acknowledge when you’re in a moment of flux and the mind is racing

2.     Go somewhere quiet close the eyes, relax the muscles around the eyes, relax the tongue and jaw and begin to take some deep breaths

3.     Focus on your breath coming in and out of your nose. Visualise the breath filling up the lungs from the bottom of the lung to the top on the inhale and emptying from the top on the exhale

4.     Do this for a couple of minutes

5.     Go back to your tasks and write a detailed list prioritising your time

6.     Work solely at the task at hand until completed 

 

EMPOWERED BY FEAR

EMPOWERED BY FEAR

Society puts so much pressure on us from an early age. We grow up believing we need to tick certain boxes to get to where ‘we’ want to be in life. By 30 we’re ‘supposed’ to own a house, be in our ideal job, be thinking of marriage etc etc…. THERE ARE SOOOO MANY LABELS!

In my early twenties I felt so much pressure and anxiety about finding my dream job and earning X amount of money to feel/be successful. I was desperate to find something I was good at and was going to love. I was afraid of leaving my job to seek new ventures and I didn’t have much confidence in my ability. It felt awful! What I came to realise (through disliking my job so much) is that it was my choice to be there. It didn’t feel like it at the time I felt trapped and that I had to be there to please others and to earn money. I couldn’t get another job during that period so I made a decision to make my role work while I was there and to learn as much as possible – I was so fed up of hearing myself moan and feeling rubbish so I took action. This eventual lead me to getting a new job and my confidence grew and grew. I still didn’t know what I wanted to do until this year. But, it was through facing my fear of failure and fear of not being successful and choosing to make the most of my everyday did I grow and did things start to change. I used to cry at work I hated it SO much so this was a BIG challenge. Fear can be a good thing if we use it to drive us in a positive way. As soon as we let fear get the best of us things start to spiral. Fear is what pushes our boundaries, helps us to understand our limitations and to see our strengthens. I’ve been afraid/nervous of so many things and when I push myself to do these things and tackle them head on (either by breaking the situation down so it’s more digestible or just going full throttle) I feel a sense of achievement and great about myself.

I read an article maybe 5 years ago in the Sunday Times Style about successful women that helped me find the confidence to make changes in my life. I keep the article in my bedside table and I used to go back and read it every time I doubted myself. Below I have shared the ‘6 Things Successful Women Do Differently….’ that featured in the article.

1.     Ask the right questions – Asking the wrong one is like using the wrong key. Successful women learn to ask the questions that open up discussions, ease communication and get the right answer.

2.     They focus on continuous learning – By investing in their own development, the highest-performing women are well prepared for that next rung up the corporate ladder.

3.     They’ve mastered that ‘inner voice’ - The ‘inner voice’ inside our head is sometimes onside, but often the saboteur. Successful women have learnt to master it, and focus on their strengths and accept their limitations.

4.     They’ve learnt that courage comes first – Successful women know to fake self-confidence till they make it. They summon the courage to step up beyond their comfort zone. Courage brings action and action brings confidence.

5.     They value their contribution – If you don’t value your contribution, why would anyone else? Valuing yourself will help others to. What follows is the right respect, the right opportunities and the right rewards.

6.     They take imperfect action – Women suffer from perfectionism, aiming for 100% at all times in everything and putting enormous pressure on themselves. Waiting for the perfect moment slows progress. Being successful is about taking imperfect action. 

DAILY RITUALS FOR INNER PEACE

DAILY RITUALS FOR INNER PEACE

Here are some of my daily rituals that keep me on track and help me find a sense of inner peace. If I have a hectic weekend or a manic week with work and I find my head is in a bit of fluster I come back to my rituals and check in with myself - they help me see more clearly when my judgement is clouded by my thoughts. 

1.     DAILY INTENTION – We're often telling ourselves what we are not and what we can't do or achieve. Choose what you want to be each day! Whether that's strong, courageous, kind, flexible, understanding, patient... Only when we start telling ourselves we are these things do we start to feel and act that way. The brain is a muscle we can train but it takes time and dedication for patterns to shift. In my daily yoga practice I choose a positive word each day and when my mind goes on a tangent I bring myself back to my word for that day.

2.     MEDITATION/MINDFULNESS: Sitting for 10 minutes a day really does calm the mind and help us see more clearly. However, if meditation isn't for you there are other ways other than sitting still that we can practice to focus the mind. You can find stillness in the mind by being mindful when you eat, walk, brush your teeth, shower, or use colouring in meditation books, which help to ground your thoughts to the very moment. We can then begin to use this skill of grounding the mind when we feel anxious, stressed or negative. As soon as these thoughts arise practice tuning into the body and be as present as you can be. Often we realise that our mind has gone on a tangent and by drawing it back in we can deal with the issue at hand with more clarity. 

3.     TIME OUT: Try and find time to yourself to relax even if it's for a few minutes. In the winter I love to take a bubble bath, light scented candles and chill, maybe watch an episode of my favourite programme. In the summer I tend to sit on the balcony and have a glass of wine or go for a stroll in the park. Treat yourself to time that is not rushed. Time that you consciously choose to unwind. It's so tempting to jam pack our lives but try and slow down, and treat yourself to some chill time that's not necessarily hungover time. 

4.    POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS: Feed yourself daily with goodness. Positive affirmation cards are a great way to start the day on a good foot. Pick one each day, read it in the morning and carry it around with you. Whenever you feel a wobble or need something uplifting or some encouraging words, read your card. It’s so simple but such an uplifting way to start the day. 

5.      LETTING OFF STEAM:  If we feel angry or frustrated and our head is spinning having something to turn to that's physical that will help clear your mind is super helpful. For me exercise always makes me feel better. Whether that's playing sport, jumping on a bike and cycling round the park, going for a run or sweating it out in yoga - flushing it out and moving your body will always make you feel a millions times better. But if you feel absolutely exhausted don't force yourself! 

I hope the above helps at times when the mind begins to spiral, and I completely understand that it can feel impossible at times to slow down the thoughts and calm the mind. But if you keep working at it it will become easier! 

5 TIPS TO HELP WITH SLEEP

5 TIPS TO HELP WITH SLEEP

Not being able to fall asleep is one of the most frustrating and upsetting experiences. When I suffered from sleeping issues I used to envy (I still do at times) my friends whose heads would hit the pillow and they would be out until the morning. I often thought that if I could sleep properly every night then I would be super woman – I’d be able to do everything I could do and more.

 

I suffered badly with sleep for about 5 years. It started during third year at university when I was working hard for my finals and I felt as though I hadn't slept for 6 months. Obviously I did sleep but it was often a very light sleep or not noticeable for me. I still suffer from the odd night or a few days of bad sleep but I have a few go to tips to help me unwind and settle down.

 

1.     My first recommendation is to read ‘Over Coming Insomnia and Sleep Problems’ by Colin Espie. This book changed my life! It’s a 6 week CBT course and you read a chapter a week adding something to your evening routine each week. You have to be fairly disciplined especially for the 6 weeks but as your sleep returns to normal you can gradually stop doing some of the exercises or reduce how often you do them. This course is great to do and the skills you learn are ones you can reference back to on restless nights or periods of bad sleep.

£10.68
By Colin Espie

2.     If I’ve had a very eventful day sometimes I come home and my mind and body are racing. On these days I have learnt that I have to be really selective about what I do in the evening in order to wind down. I won’t watch anything that will get my heart rate up or get me over excited (The Walking Dead has caused many sleepless nights). It’s fine to watch TV but watch something chilled, maybe watch something off the laptop in the bath in dim lighting or with candles. I even find a really gripping book will keep me awake. So make the right decisions when you come home and really enjoy your evening. That might be cooking a lovely meal, watching a comedy, have a chat with a friend. If you can avoid social media for 2 hours before bed then do!

3.     I used to fear going to bed and would either go to bed 2 hours before I needed to or avoid going to bed at all. Try and keep a normal routine even if you’re worried that you’re going to be awake for hours. It’s important that you don’t let the fear of sleep rule your life. Make your room and your bed appealing. Make sure your room is a nice temperature, I like to sprinkle lavender essential oil on my pillow, light a scented candle, and I always have ear plugs and eye masks handy – incase I’m feeling sensitive to sound and light.

4.     Once you’ve gone to bed if you can’t fall asleep after 15-20minutes or if you’re feel fidgety then get out of bed and go read in the living room in low lighting. This is one of the hardest things to do when you’re warm in bed, but almost every time I do this when I can’t sleep I get back into bed and fall straight asleep. It really helps you clear your mind for a few minutes and stops you from allowing yourself to be restless and your thoughts to continue to tick over.

5.     Try your very best not to get frustrated or upset if you can’t sleep. This took me quite a while to get good at but what you have to say to yourself and believe, is that you will sleep at some point, it may not be that night but at some point in the near future. Getting frustrated will only make the situation worse. 

5 of my favourite yoga postures to help with sleep to follow soon!