Chilled and it's not chill

This rainy season is really getting the best of me and I can’t seem to keep my body warm enough! Any tips on how to stay warm during the winter months?

Love this question and yes! We have a few life-hacks when it comes to cold weather. The winter months are hard on our bodies and hard on our minds too. (Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing!) Animals gain weight for the Winter, some grow thicker coats, they burrow, their body temperature rises, they sleep and they slow down until it’s time for Spring again. All of these tactics are good for humans too! Yes - I really did say that it’s O-K to gain a couple lbs in the Winter. Dressing warm and raising our internal temperature may seem like no brainers but we can really take that to the next level with these 5 tips.

  • Don’t neglect the feet. Wear heavy wool socks inside and out. Slippers are a good idea when at home and cover those ankles before you leave the house! Save the flats for May.

  • Focus on the trunk. The fastest way to heat up the body is by activating the muscles of your abdominals, back and glutes. Think bridge pose with pulses or strong core work. When these large muscle groups are exercised blood flow increases to the heart and organs. The heat we create in the trunk will spread throughout the body quickly. Of course jumping jacks, push ups and squats don’t hurt either!

  • Warm foods and liquids. There is a reason all you want at the end of a wet day is an English stew and a Guinness. Heart soups and stews warm us from the inside and they are easy to digest. Think of your digestion (metabolism) as a little furnace inside your body. If it is struggling to burn up cold, raw foods, it won’t do much in the way of heating the body either. Warm, cooked foods are easier to digest. Tea and room temp water will help your cause too.

  • Cold rinse. WHAT?! That’s right, a cool/cold rinse at the end of your hot shower will actually help your body adjust to the temperature of the air. The end of the shower might be a bit painful but getting out of it will be a breeze. Cold water also helps our blood circulate!

  • Love your neck! Treat your sweet little neck to a scarf every time you leave the house! Another go-to trick is to fill a long tube sock with rice, tie a knot at the end and pop it in the microwave for 4 minutes. Drape the sock around your neck when you first get home to cozify yourself and relax tension in the shoulders!

We love hearing other ideas so please comment below if you have some more tips on how to get through the gray days! The planet is happy but these California bodies don’t know what’s hit them! Stay cozy friends :)

Wellness Shmellness

How can I be sure incorporating wellness into my company is going to be beneficial?
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It is pretty hard these days to scroll for more than 30 seconds without being bombarded with the most colorful superfood smoothie bowl, most effective diets and latest in wellness research. What’s with the health obsession that seems to be taking over our instagram feeds and billboards around the country? What’s worse, you can’t even escape the wellness pressure at work?! Come on!

The truth is, most other countries have wellness woven into their cultural DNA. The United States is a place where people work hard and work harder. Wellness is cast out as an indulgence and therefore worthy of guilt. One little hiccup in this societal norm is that the United States has some of the highest stress-related illness rates in the world. In fact, US employers spend almost 300 billion in stress-related healthcare and missed work days. So maybe it’s not the worst thing that we start to consider a little bit of a lifestyle shift over the coming decades. To quote Brianna West,  “A world in which self-care has to be such a trendy topic is a world that is sick. Self-care should not be something we resort to because we are so absolutely exhausted that we need some reprieve from our own relentless internal pressure.”

Alas, we are moving in the direction of integration and that is pretty cool news. Many of the most desirable places to work have lead the charge in adopting wellness as a big part of their company culture. Clif Bar CEO, Kevin Cleary set the bar years back by paying employees for 2.5 hours of weekly workout time and shutting down emails after 7pm. Now, as 2018 is upon us, the heavy hitters (Google, LinkedIn, Apple) almost all have onsite gyms, kombucha on tap and even in house massage therapists. Wellness is the wave of the future and if the expectation for the average working American is to continue at breakneck speed, thank goodness this is the case.

As with any trend, as it picks up speed it has the potential to become extremely off-putting and even annoying. The good thing about living WELL is that there are a lot of ways to do it. If Paleo diet and dumbbells aren’t for you, there is always a dance party, a meditation class or simply a long walk in nature. When companies build their identities to include wellness, they will attract like-minded folks that keep each other balanced by encouraging a balance of quality sleep, healthy food, deep breaths and movement. As individuals, most of us still need permission to take care of ourselves guilt-free. What better permission than that of your employer?

Still not sold? Here’s a chance to read up on more reasons to jump on the wellness wagon.

Do Wellness Programs Make Employees More Productive?

Improving Company Culture Starts With Wellness

Yoga and Meditation Can Change Your Genes, Study Says

This Is What Self Care Really Means...

Downside Up

Why do we practice inversions in yoga? When should I practice them and when should I hold off?
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As a yoga teacher, I get a lot of questions about inversions so I’m really happy you asked! Inversions are poses in which your legs and hips are higher than your heart. A few common inversions are headstand, shoulder stand and legs-up-the-wall. Inversions are tricky because while the usual response of “listen to your body” definitely applies here, there are some instances in which inverting is not recommended.

If you have any of the following conditions, inversions are contraindicated for you:

  • Detached retina

  • Cervical spine injuries

  • Late term pregnancy (highly debated)

  • Day 1 -3 of your menstrual cycle (also debated)

  • Low blood pressure

  • Frequent migraine headaches  

  • Heart issues

The reason some women don’t invert during menstruation and late pregnancy is due to an internal force called apana vayu. Apana vayu is downward moving life-force energy and we all have it. Apana vayu assists our body in defecation, urination, labor and menstruation, but it also helps us to feel grounded and connected to the earth. When our body is menstruating or preparing for pregnancy there is a lot of energy moving down toward the earth. These are big projects for a female body and in some cases, when we flip everything over, it can interrupt the project.

So why even bother with all this upside down craziness?!? Here are the benefits of inverting:

  • Shoulder strengthening

  • Tones the abdominals

  • Moves lymphatic fluid and stimulates our glands

  • Wonderful for digestion

  • Can be uplifting, good for depression

  • Can also be calming

  • Changes perspective

My favorite reason for inverting is a concept called pratikpaksa bhavana which translates to: cultivating opposites. When we turn upside down we are seeing the world from the opposite angle. With changed perspective we can look at tendencies and thought patterns with new eyes - an AMAZING way to catch ourselves when we suffer from negative thinking, worry or doubt.

Let’s try it right now….

Consider a recurring thought pattern or doubt that you’ve been struggling with:

“I am terrible in social situations and always feel like I say the wrong thing.”

Now consider the precise opposite thought pattern:

“I am a social butterfly and everyone always thinks I’m witty and fun.”

Although you may not completely believe your “new” perspective right off the bat, often the drastic discrepancy between the 2 is so extreme that it will snap you out of the thought. You may even find humor in it! Realistically we all probably fall somewhere in the middle of the two extremes which is why it’s only fair to consider both sides!

Hope that answers your question! If you want to get deeper into the topic just let us know!

Soaking Beans

What is the purpose of soaking your dry beans before you cook them?
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Answer:

First of all, dried beans are a wonderful and economical source of protein, fiber, iron, B vitamins, potassium and magnesium. When we cook them from scratch they maintain their prana (life force energy) as opposed to consuming canned beans which become tamasic (stagnant or dull energy). In addition to softening beans in preparation for cooking and shortening their cooking time, soaking beans may makes them easier to digest and can even enhance their nutritional benefits. 

From the Ayurvedic perspective it is very important to soak your beans before you cook them. That said, all beans and legumes have different qualities and some need more time to soak than others. For example, peas and red lentils only need to soak for about 20 minutes before you cook them. Black beans and garbanzo beans need at least 8 hours to soak. 

In addition to soaking, cooking your beans with ghee (clarified butter) and cumin seeds can help to reduce the gas as well! Try the recipe below to experience it for yourself!

Here's the Science!

"The outer coatings of many varieties of beans have sugars called oligosaccharides. When beans aren’t soaked, these sugars can bypass your stomach and small intestine without being fully digested. When these sugars enter your large intestine, bacteria break them down, producing intestinal gas in the process. Soaking dried legumes dissolves the membranes that cover beans and releases their oligosaccharides. After soaking, discard water and rinse beans to remove sugars." - www.livestrong.com

-Recipe For Traditional Ayurvedic Green Mung Soup-

Green mung bean soup has been used for thousands of years in Grandmothers kitchens all across the Asian continent as a healing medicine. Well renowned  for its nourishing and detoxifying effects, Green Mung soup helps to balance all 3 doshas.  It helps clear away Aam (toxicity) that gets lodged in the body over time due to poor diet, lack of exercise and living a sedentary lifestyle. This soup is ideal for anyone trying to shed a few pounds or wanting to do a gentle cleanse. 

Ingredients:
1 cup whole green mung beans (must soak at least 5 hours)
3 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp Ghee
1 1/2 tsp ginger - chopped
1/2 tsp garlic - chopped
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Turmeric          
1 small pinch of hing (asafoetida- available for purchase at the Indian store- not necessary... you can still make it without the hing)                                                                
1 tsp Himalayan Pink Rock Salt or to taste (available at Trader Joes or Whole Foods)

Directions

1. Soak the mung beans overnight in water. 
2. Finely chop ginger and garlic. 
3. Drain the mung beans, rinse them and put them in pot with 3 1/2 cups of water.
4. Add salt and turmeric and bring to a boil.
5. Cook Mung beans fully stirring occasionally. (they are not fully cooked until they are breaking apart. Will take approx. 45 min unless you use a pressure cooker in which case it will only take about 20 minutes)
6. Heat ghee in a separate pan. Add hing, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Wait until you hear the cumin seeds pop. Then add garlic and ginger and let simmer for a few minutes until garlic becomes golden brown.
7. Add ghee mixture to cooked mung beans and stir.
8. You can add greens like kale or spinach to this for some added texture.
9. Enjoy!