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pitta-winter

Wellness, Naturally: Balancing Pitta in Winter

By AOLRC
February 8, 2018

pitta-winter

 

In Ayurveda, there are three types of energy, including pitta. Pitta is a building block of the world, and can be found in everything and everyone. It’s closely related to digestion and intelligence, and is regarded as “fire energy.” Pitta individuals are typically athletic and tend to gain weight evenly. The pitta individual is typically success-oriented, energetic, quick witted and has a great capacity for achieving balance. However, an excess of pitta can overheat the body and mind.

 

Signs of pitta imbalance

There are typical manifestations of pitta imbalance that can signal as an imbalance of the mind and body. These manifestations include anger, irritability, overall discontent, acid indigestion, heartburn, inflammation and heartburn. Pitta can become imbalanced when one doesn’t get enough rest or eats spicy foods.

 

Here are three easy ways to bring pitta back into balance.
1. Drink a cool glass of milk. Milk cools the fiery energy of pitta.
2. Stay hydrated. Make sure to drink lots of water throughout the day.
3. Take regular breaks. When pitta is high, there is a tendency to focus and dive in. This can be useful, but it must be balanced with occasional breaks. This will help refresh your spirits and keep you cool and relaxed. This way you can work without letting the work overwhelm you.

 

Understanding how to feed your fire

If you have a pitta constitution, it’s wise to avoid pungent, salty and sour foods. Reduce sour fruits like grapefruits, and stick to sweeter fruits like mangoes, pineapples, grapes and melons. Avoid veggies like tomatoes, onions, and hot peppers. Instead, favor veggies like cucumbers, green beans, potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli.

 

Pitta individuals should use seasonings that are cooling and soothing. These include clove, cilantro, cardamom and fennel. Hot seasonings, such as cumin and mustard seed, should be used sparingly. And if you’re a non-vegetarian, chicken and turkey are better than beef and seafood. Dairy can help balance the heat of pitta and should include things like butter and milk.

 

Keep your cool

Balancing Pitta also includes lifestyle. Allow for some free time every day, so you can balance rest and activity. Don’t skip meals and wait till you’re famished. Spend time in nature. Take a stroll in the woods and keep plants and fresh flowers at home. Most of all, make sure to laugh a lot every day. You may even want to consider performing a daily massage with cooler oils like coconut. Take in some aromatherapy with mint, lavender or sandalwood.

 

At the Art of Living Retreat Center, we provide guidance on how to keep your pitta in balance. We offer a sense of connection, inner peace and rejuvenation. Nestled on scenic mountaintop in the Blue Ridge Mountains, our center is the ideal location for Ayurveda and personal transformation. Everyone is cared for like family.

 

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , Ayurveda , Ayurveda 101 , ayurveda cleanse , ayurveda detox , Ayurvedic diet , cleanse , Detox , healthy lifestyle , pitta , winter
kapha-winter

Wellness, Naturally: Balancing Kapha in Winter

By AOLRC
February 1, 2018

kapha-winter

When you learn to look at the world from an Ayurvedic perspective, it won’t be long before your view on achieving and maintaining your own personal sense of wellness will become not only clearer, but also attainable in ways that you may not have thought possible. In this post, we’ll be focusing on the various techniques for balancing Kapha through the cold months of winter.

 

Know your dosha

One of the first steps toward gaining clarity and control over your own health is understanding the three dynamic energies known in Ayurveda as doshas. These are Vata, Pitta, and the one we’ll be focusing on specifically in this post, Kapha. Doshas are, put very simply, the biological energies that make us who we are as individuals. They are not one size fits all! Your dosha is not only as unique as you are – it is what makes you so unique.

What does it mean to be kapha?

Each of the three doshas project both mental and physical attributes that will reflect the elements related to them. The elements related to the kapha dosha are earth and water. This manifests in people who are thought to have a dosha balance dominated by Kapha as both a solid physical frame, as well as a strong, calming presence and grounded personality.

 

Kapha in winter – losing your balance

When you fail to take care of yourself properly, your doshas can become imbalanced. This will be noticeable both in the way you feel physically and mentally, but also in the way that you interact with others and even how they respond to you. If you find yourself feeling “off” or “unsteady”, chances are good that your doshas have gotten out of proportion.
Kaphas who allow themselves to be too sedentary in the winter months will suffer the consequences, and often find themselves experiencing some of the following negative effects:
● Weight gain
● Depression and lethargy
● Poor circulation
● Respiratory issues
● Oily skin

 

Balancing kapha: 3 easy ways to feel lighter in winter

Ayurveda is all about keeping your doshas balanced. Fortunately, when you become aware of an imbalance, there are a lot of ways to make balancing Kapha again a cinch.

1. Get Moving! – Regular physical activity is key for balancing Kapha . Bundle up and take an invigorating winter walk around your favorite park or better yet, use the chilly months to give hot yoga a try!

2. Keep Your Diet Light – It’s easy to fall into a routine of eating more in cold months, no matter what your dosha is, but Kaphas often tend to have a slow metabolism anyway. Be mindful of your portions and don’t let yourself go overboard, especially on rich, heavy foods. Which brings us to…..

3. Avoid Kapha-Rich Foods – Foods that increase Kapha will tip your balance, so you’ll want to take a pass on that big slice of gooey pecan pie, and anything else that is overly salty or sweet. Heavy foods will only weigh you down, but try taking inspiration from the pitta dosha until spring comes, with lots of warm, light veggies (think green beans, yellow squash, or zucchini) and oats, quinoa or basmati rice. And be sure to have lots of ginger and lemon hot tea!

 

If you’re new to Ayurveda, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by information – but don’t forget that intuition and self-awareness about how you feel mentally and physically play a big part in living an Ayurvedic lifestyle. It will soon become second nature and the benefits to your overall health are worth it!

 

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , Ayurveda , Ayurveda 101 , ayurveda cleanse , ayurveda detox , Ayurvedic diet , cleanse , Detox , healthy lifestyle , kapha , winter
Vata-Winter

Wellness, Naturally: Balancing Vata in Winter

By AOLRC
January 25, 2018

Vata-Winter

 

Seasonal changes affect our lives in many ways. They play a role in a person’s very nature, something known as a dosha in Ayurveda. The winter season can affect and imbalance a vata dosha, or constitution, so balancing vata is important during this season.

Vata is one of the three constitutions in Ayurveda. Associated with the air element, it expresses itself in attributes like cold and dry skin, feeling restless, having a thin body, talking a lot, and gravitating toward a warm climate.

 

It’s important to be mindful of how a dosha imbalance happens. Once you understand this, you can focus on preventing it or bringing yourself back into a state of balance. Some factors that imbalance vata include sleep problems, high-pressure work situations, a lot of worry and stress, and an abundance of talking or traveling. During the winter season, cold and windy climates can throw off a vata constitution. Winter is generally hard on a vata type, because of their cold and dry skin, cold hands and feet, and overall difficulty handling cold weather.

 

These problems are particularly pronounced when a person’s vata is unbalanced. Some things that indicate an imbalanced vata include problems with the joints, body pains, restlessness, and trouble sleeping.

 

Balancing vata

A vata constitution will feel much better when in balance. You’ll feel healthier and happier, with a more calm state of mind. You’ll sleep better, feel less pain, and have a more stable and focused mental state. And throughout the winter, you’ll feel warmer and experience healthier skin and circulation. While there are numerous steps you can take to balance vata, try these three methods this winter:

 

Follow a daily schedule

Create a better routine that provides balance. Your schedule should help manage your workload and personal responsibilities by breaking them down into smaller steps and allocating enough time. This way, you can reduce stress and still remain productive. Plan ahead of time for personal care and meditation. Make an effort to get to sleep earlier by making your nighttime routine more calming. Try to find motivation in getting more sleep, such as noticing the difference in how you feel, both mentally and physically, when you go to sleep earlier.

 

Reduce Stimulants

Help yourself achieve a better state of calm by cutting down on stimulants. This includes caffeinated beverages like coffee, as well as processed sugar that creates a quick sugar high and then an energy crash. Instead, find more stable sources of energy through complex carbohydrates and healthy fats and proteins. Meditate and use other methods to calm and rejuvenate yourself, rather than reaching for stimulants.

   

Follow a vata diet

Rejoice in winter comfort foods. Foods that are cooked, warm and soft will be good for you, so enjoy stews, macaroni and cheese, and similar comfort foods. Take in healthy oils and a lot of moisture through foods and beverages. Some ideal vata-balancing foods include olives, dairy products, avocado, nuts, seeds and wheat. Also, choose salty, sweet and sour tastes like fruit, yogurt and kimchi instead of bitter, pungent and astringent ones like radishes, kale and legumes. Fried dishes and overeating can cause problems to vata, while rich yet nourishing meals help balance this constitution’s lightness.

 

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , Ayurveda , Ayurveda 101 , ayurveda cleanse , ayurveda detox , Ayurvedic diet , cleanse , Detox , healthy lifestyle , vata , winter

Art of Living Journeys: Elizabeth’s Panchakarma Experience

By AOLRC
November 14, 2017

 

Elizabeth recently joined us for our Panchakarma Retreat to deepen her understanding and experience of Ayurveda. What she found was peace, rejuvenation, and a new and integrated way of life. We sat down with Elizabeth to chat about her experiences.

 

A Spiritual, Physical, and Emotional Cleanse

The Panchakarma Retreat was much more than I expected. I didn’t realize that it would touch me as deeply as it did, that it would be such an amazing cleanse on all different levels – spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

 

Experience the Whole Package with Panchakarma

My experience with the Ayurvedic aspect of the retreat has been wonderful. We explored concepts that have made sense logically to me in the past, but I’ve never actually experienced how effective these principles are until the immersion of the retreat. You begin to understand in real time what this way of life can do, how your diet affects your mood and your mind. You get a sense of it in a very concentrated amount of time.

 

I’ve been doing yoga for so long, but I never quite understood how well yoga and Ayurveda work together. I now understand that the diet and lifestyle work beautifully as a whole package.

Space to Breathe

The Art of Living Retreat Center is wonderful. I loved the green, the peacefulness, the sense that all is right in the world. The lack of traffic and noise and airplanes and busyness. Everything slows down.

Everyone should have the opportunity to do Panchakarma, and not only once, but every year.  It’s very transformative in ways that will surprise you.

Experience the difference for yourself. The Panchakarma Retreat runs regularly. 

 
 

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: Ayurveda , ayurveda cleanse , cleanse , Detox , healthy lifestyle , Panchakarma , wellness , yoga
Ayurvedic Recipes - Cucumber Cooler

Ayurvedic Recipes: Cucumber Cooler

By Eloise Ducker
June 2, 2017

Ayurvedic Recipes - Cucumber Cooler

 

Keep your cool this summer with this Ayurveda-approved, nutrient-packed, and tastebud-tantalizing drink! Cucumber calms the Pitta dosha and cools the body, all while hydrating, replenishing vitamins, and aiding in digestion. Coconut water is one of Ayurveda’s top ingredients for cooling, as it contains a natural balance of sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, making it a healthy alternative to an electrolyte drink. Mint pacifies all three doshas – it’s nutrient-rich, boosts immunity, calms the stomach, and aids digestion. It’s also a great palate cleanser! Again, this is another ingredient that reduces the body temperature, making it a treat during the summer months. Combine all these ingredients and you’re sure to beat the heat.

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TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , Ayurveda , Ayurveda 101 , Ayurvedic diet , Ayurvedic Recipes , cucumber , Detox , health , healthy lifestyle , recipe , Recipes , summer , wellness
Ayurveda - Broccoli Soup

Ayurvedic Recipes: Vegan ‘Cream of Broccoli’ Soup

By AOLRC
May 1, 2017

Ayurveda - Broccoli Soup

 

Spring is all about those beautiful greens, and the nutty, rich flavor of broccoli makes for the perfect invigorating meal. Broccoli is chock full of beta-carotene, selenium, and zinc, which makes it a powerful immune system booster and helps protect the body against springtime illnesses. This soup is creamy and indulgent, a treat for your taste buds and a gift to your body.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2-3 leaves fresh basil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp cashew butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions

1. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the broccoli and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. Saute for two minutes.

2. Add vegetable broth and boil about ten minutes – until broccoli is completely cooked.

3. Add black pepper, basil, and cashew butter. Transfer to blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Add lemon juice and serve.

 

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

   

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: agni , art of living , art of living retreat center , Ayurveda , Ayurveda 101 , Ayurvedic diet , Ayurvedic Recipes , broccoli , Detox , health , healthy lifestyle , recipe , Recipes , soup , Spring , wellness

Ayurvedic Recipes: Spinach with Sweet Potato and Carrot

By AOLRC
April 13, 2017

Ayurvedic Recipes - Spinach

 

This recipe will make you feel as brightly alive as spring itself. The vibrant orange color of sweet potato and carrot, along with the touch of green spinach, makes this dish a fresh and warm combination for spring.

As the spring arrives, your body starts to warm up and detoxify itself, leaving  you craving healthy and crunchy food. The combination of spinach and sweet potato makes this dish a healthy choice for your spring lunch or dinner, as it helps in digestion, detoxification, and easy bowel movements. It even helps in balancing blood sugar levels!

The addition of ginger makes this recipe even more appropriate for spring, with its anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties working wonders in our gut.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb spinach, chopped and washed
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 tbsp ghee or olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin, mineral salt to taste

Directions

1. Heat one cup of water in a pan, and add the spinach. Add a pinch of salt and allow it to cook until the spinach leaves are slightly wilted. Drain out the water and set the spinach in a colander.

2. Put the sweet potato in a saucepan with just enough water to cover it. Cook for 5-6 minutes, or until the cubes are tender but not mushy. Drain and set aside.

3. Heat the ghee or oil in a frying pan, and add grated ginger and cumin. Saute for a few seconds, until aromatic, and then add the carrots. Cook for 2 minutes, and then add the spinach and potato. Toss well to coat. Season with salt if needed.

Tip: Pair this delicious dish with fresh ginger tea to speed up the digestion process and aid in detoxification!

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

   

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

Wellness, Naturally: No April Fools Here!

By Diana Bellofatto
April 1, 2017

Ayurveda - Spring
Spring is here, and as the saying goes, “We got this!” Practicing Ayurveda gives us an edge over imbalances that might otherwise sneak up on us, as long as we practice awareness with the right diet and lifestyle.

We surfed through March, riding the wave of fluctuating temperatures and unpredictable weather. The test of our ability to shift on the fly and make appropriate food choices, while on the cusp of spring, really kept us on our toes.

Now, spring weather conditions are consistently here. We can transition from the more acidic, heavy diet that kept us balanced in winter to a diet more high in alkaline, light qualities. This will help ensure smooth sailing into spring.

One of the most beautiful aspects of Ayurveda is that there is no need to memorize a lot of information. Common sense and an organic approach of following the lead of Mother Nature guides us as she serves up spring’s verdant variety of chlorophyll rich (alkaline) foods that aid in transformation from the acid to alkaline state.

Here are my favourite spring seasonal eating lifestyle tips!

 

Honor Your Agni with Ginger

Encourage strong digestion with ginger tea. Ayurveda has a saying – “honor your agni” – because good health or dis-ease is predicated upon the strength of one’s agni, or digestive fire. When agni is weak, we experience imbalances, and when it is strong, we feel well. This is one of the main tenets of Ayurveda.

Ginger is heating in nature, and so, helps kindle agni. Ginger aids in stimulating the appetite, improves digestion and assimilation of nutrients, provides an analgesic effect for joint pain, and facilitates the clearing of wastes from the body. Generally speaking, ginger can be used every day.

Those with hyperacidity should introduce ginger into their diet slowly and with guidance from their health care practitioner. A tablespoon of fresh chopped ginger brought to a boil in 8 to 12 ounces of water, simmered for about 10 minutes, and accompanied by the juice of half a lemon can do wonders! Dried ginger in a tea bag is effective as well.

Protect Yourself with Chlorophyll

The many delicious green vegetables that color our plates in spring contain chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a plant pigment responsible for the many disease-fighting and detoxification properties of fresh greens. Because it slows the rate at which harmful bacteria can reproduce, it is a potent wound healer. It’s anti-viral effects protect the skin from viruses like herpes, that cause cold sores, shingles, etc.

Since cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment, chlorophyll is a boon for cancer prevention. Chlorophyll cleanses and detoxifies the liver by inhibiting the ability for certain chemicals to metabolize and cause cell damage. It also increases the activity of enzymes that protect healthy cells. Chlorophyll is the superhero you want on your side!

 

Snack on Spirulina

This is one of my favorite recipes for a spring snack – chlorophyll-filled, protein-packed Spirulina (blue-green algae) power balls! They’re no-bake and easy to make.

1/2 c. softened coconut oil
1/3 c. raw honey
1/2 tsp. mineral salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. spirulina powder (or, up to 1/4 cup)
3/4 c. white or black sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds, ground
1/2 c. hemp, chia, or sunflower seeds, ground
*Optional – toasted coconut flakes or raw cacao powder in which to roll the balls.

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
2. Refrigerate mixture for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour, so that the balls stay formed when you roll them.
3. Roll into bite-sized balls, and then roll in coconut or cacao.
4. Store in the fridge, eat and room temperature for best flavor and digestion.

Check out one of our spring Ayurveda retreats for a full immersion experience!

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: agni , art of living , art of living retreat center , Ayurveda , Ayurveda 101 , Ayurvedic diet , cleanse , Detox , dosha , food , health , seasonal eating , Spring , wellness naturally
Spring Cleansing

Wellness, Naturally: Spring Cleansing

By Diana Bellofatto
March 20, 2017

Spring Cleansing

 

We hear so much about cleansing these days. There are many ways to cleanse, and it seems like everybody is doing it! It’s all over the internet, and even celebrities are touting the benefits. If done correctly, cleansing has some phenomenal benefits. If done incorrectly, not only will the therapeutic value be lost, but imbalances can be driven more deeply into the body.

 

On a deeper level, be aware that cleansing is not just beneficial for the physical body. I can’t emphasize that enough! While the physical body benefits greatly from a cleanse, there are also amazing mental and spiritual benefits to be experienced. Each time we cleanse, the process goes a bit deeper.

 

Spring is the perfect time to embark on an Ayurvedic cleanse – and here are five reasons why.

 

Acid vs. Alkaline

In winter, we follow nature’s lead and eat seasonally, to benefit from a more acidic diet that helps us stay warm and grounded. In spring, it is important to rid ourselves of that acidity and become more alkaline. This will ensure that we don’t suffer heat imbalances as we move into summer.

 

The Opportunity for Release

We have an opportunity to process molecules of emotion stored in the fat cells during a cleanse. Cleansing allows us to release “old” thoughts and feelings that no longer serve us. As a result, we are more inclined to move away from negative behavior patterns that we repeat. We’re also more likely to open up to trying something new to achieve our desired results.

 

A Return to Emotional Balance

As the acronym SAD (for Seasonal Affective Disorder) suggests, winter is a time where we can suffer from depression and general feelings of malaise. Some people feel a spring in their step as winter thaws, but some of us experience feelings of heaviness in the body, heart, and mind, weighing us down when it rains and the snow melts in spring. The protocol of eating a lighter diet and walking in nature during the cleanse supports our ability to come back to a state of equanimity.

 

Setting up for Success

The strength of our digestion waxes and wanes throughout the year. Many of us can’t wait for the abundant buffet of delicious vegetables that come up through the earth’s floor in spring and summer. Along with that comes the opportunity to eat more salads, and other cold, raw vegetables. This will require a strong digestive fire and one of the benefits of the spring cleanse is that it resets the digestive fire to support our change in eating habits.

 

Strengthened Immunity

With a strengthened digestive fire, comes strengthened immunity that enhances our ability to thwart imbalances, such as severe allergies and sinus infections that often accompany spring. So cleansing in spring will find us out of the doctor’s office and in a place of ease and comfort, enjoying life!

 

Learn more about our Ayurvedic Detox Retreats here! 

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

Healing Journeys of Ayurveda - The Art of Living Retreat Center

Healing Journeys of Ayurveda – Eva’s Story

By Paige Reist
February 9, 2017

Healing Journeys of Ayurveda - The Art of Living Retreat Center
In these tumultuous times, when the world is hurting, sometimes the most radical thing you can do is to take care of yourself. After all, as Eva, a recent participant in our Panchakarma detox program, knows, when you heal yourself, you heal the world. 

 

The Art of Living Retreat Center is such a phenomenal setting to come and explore Panchakarma. There is such a profound silence and beauty here among the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Panchakarma program exceeded my expectations from the very beginning – even after the first day, I knew that I was involved in something very, very authentic and special. I’m so honored and happy to have been here.

Experience the Lightness of Being

Working with Dr. Manisha in this program was a huge privilege. She grew up in India, and was trained there, so her authenticity and knowledge really shine through. You can tell that her knowledge is a lived knowledge. The team here is amazing, too, and there is such a pervasive feeling of collective happiness and clarity. We were taken care of so tenderly, and it was such a nurturing experience.

I came to this retreat for the benefit of my health, but I left with so much more than a sense of physical wellness. Being here in the mountains, with this community, receiving the treatments, and learning what Panchakarma truly means – I just feel so fortunate that I was guided to be here. I lost five pounds, but more importantly, I feel such a lightness of being. There’s such a sense of spaciousness here, of kindness, of happiness. This program and this place nurture far more than your body; you come away with a feeling of spiritual and emotional wellness, too.

 

Heal Yourself, Heal the World

This is a gift that you can give yourself, a gift for your entire being. This experience will enrich your life. I would love to see more and more of us give ourselves this opportunity, because I believe that by healing ourselves, we heal our families, our communities, our countries, and the planet. It’s a responsibility we have to move inward and begin our healing for the benefit of the world. That’s what life is all about.

 

– Eva, Florida

 

To learn more about our Panchakarma Detox Retreat, click here.

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , Ayurveda , cleanse , Detox , health , Panchakarma , wellness , wisdom