Vibrant Soulful Blog
Healthy Boundaries are True Self-Care
Boundaries are the limits you place on relationships and work that determine the physical and emotional space between yourself and others, or yourself and your work. Healthy boundaries lead to healthy self-respect and they are the most important pillar of true self-care according to Pooja Lakshmin, author of Real Self-Care.
Boost Your Wellbeing with a Growth Mindset
To improve your wellbeing, you have to believe you can make a change.Psychologists have found that the beliefs we have about our abilities and our potential are predictive of future outcomes, including our wellbeing.
12 Ways to Make Your Salads More Exciting
At the end of summer, when I don’t want to cook with heat, I make salads. Salads are an excellent way to eat more vegetables and fruits. According to the CDC, only 10% of American adults eat enough fruits and vegetables. Making your salad more exciting is a good strategy for building more fruits and vegetables into your diet.
More Fun, Less Phone: 5 Tips for a Better Relationship with your Digital Devices
More fun and less phone! 5 tips to help you cultivate a better relationship with your smartphone and other digital devices.
Yogis' Best Travel Tips
Over the years, I have cultivated an effective tool kit of strategies to keep me healthy when I travel. Now, no matter where I am on the planet, I keep my daily routine, and I incorporate strategies, foods and remedies that keeps my body-mind healthy and happy.
Savoring the Good
Savoring the good is a practice that builds positive neuroplasticity, counteracting our brain’s natural negativity bias and makes us happier, more curious, more open, and more skillful.
Boost your Mood and Wellbeing with an Awe Walk
The experience of awe lowers stress and inflammation. It makes you more compassionate, curious, and creative. It improves your sense of wellbeing and leads you to feel more connected with the greater world and with your inner world. One of the ways I’ve been consciously eliciting the emotion of awe on a regular basis is by taking “awe walks.”
Yoga is as healthy as people say it is.
There is a long list of health benefits that come with practicing yoga. If you haven't done yoga before, I invite you to give it a try! Truly yoga is for every body.There are many ways to adapt yoga for different bodies.
Resources to Support Mental Health in the Workplace
Mental health and wellbeing at work declined during the pandemic and continues to decline according to recent studies. This post lists the key findings of a recent survey on employee mental health and offers a variety of resources to support mental health in the workplace.
Build a Self-Care Tool Box
Let's talk about self-care. Self-care is the art of paying attention to you and your needs.Self-care ≠ self indulgence or being selfish. Self-care means taking care of yourself so you can be healthy, experience wellbeing, be able to do your job effectively, take care of others, and accomplish what you need to do in a day.
Strategies for Better Sleep
If we're honest, many of us aren't as well rested as we should be. The costs of not sleeping well may well be the motivator to make changes in your life so you can sleep better. But, what’s even more important are the big prizes that sleep can give you. Learn strategies you can use right away to start getting better rest.
Experiencing Awe and Wonder and Why It's Good For You
Scientists who study emotions define awe as a response to encountering something vast and mind-blowing. Such an experience may feel like goosebumps or "little earthquakes in the mind." As it turns out, experiencing awe and wonder lowers stress and inflammation. It makes you more compassionate, curious, and creative. The feeling of awe improves your sense of wellbeing and leads you to feel more connected and with the greater world and with your inner world.
Caring for Your Mental Health in Winter
It’s February and the days are getting longer, but for many of us, especially in the Pacific Northwest, the days are still quite short. If the cold, gray, rainy weather makes you feel down, you are not alone! It’s not uncommon to experience fatigue, sadness, difficulty concentrating, and changes in your sleep schedule in the winter. The good news? There are several easy things you can do to beat the winter blues and these can also help ease SAD.
Eating Well In Winter
A healthy, nutrient-rich diet is essential for everyone, especially during the winter months when we are all more susceptible to catching a cold or virus. In the winter months, our bodies experience changes in energy levels, metabolism and even food preferences. Let’s look at some questions and answers related to winter eating.
Tips for Staying Active, No Matter the Weather!
Winter may be the easiest time of year to blow off a workout. It’s too cold, it’s too dark, I just don’t feel like it! The list of excuses goes on and on. Ignore them! Your body needs the boost exercise brings to your immune system, especially the winter months. Let’s look at some tips for staying active!
Want To Be Healthier and Happier? Focus on Social Fitness.
The Good Life: Lessons from the World's Longest Scientific Study of Happiness came out this month by Harvard psychiatrist, Robert Waldinger. This book focuses on the question of what makes a life fulfilling and meaningful. The resounding answer is our relationships.
Let's All Move More During the Workday!
Even though I'm a health coach and a yoga teacher, a lot of my work involves sitting at a computer. I'm well aware that a sedentary lifestyle is hazardous to my health, even if I exercise outside of my workday. I was happy to learn about a recent study published by the American College of Sports Medicine found that the risks of a sedentary job can be reduced significantly by getting up moving during the workday. Here are some ways to do this.
New Year, New You! New Year's Reflection and Dharma Exercise
As a kid, I always enjoyed the ritual of writing New Year’s resolutions. As a yogi, this ritual has morphed into what I call a New Year's Reflection and dharma exercise.
7 Tips for Caring for Your Mental Health During the Holidays
December is touted as “the most wonderful time of the year”, yet it’s not wonderful for everyone.Bright lights and happy faces are what we see on the outside, but on the inside, December can be extremely difficult. While depression may occur at any time of the year, stress and anxiety during November and December may cause even those who are usually in good spirits to experience loneliness and a lack of fulfillment.
Take a Pause: Ideas for Honoring the Winter Solstice
As we move toward the Winter Solstice, the natural cycle of the season and the diminished daylight is an invitation to turn inward toward rest, stillness and silence. In the midst of this month’s festivities and fun, may you also cultivate the quiet spaces to pause and go inward and deeply nourish your body and soul.
Honor Your Ancestors and Commit to Your Self-Care
Fall is an auspicious season for remembering our ancestors and clarifying and healing our relationships with them. In this blog post, I offer you an inquiry and ideas on how you might honor your caregivers and step into the role of becoming your own best caregiver.
Five Mindful Self-Compassion Practices You Can Do Anywhere and Anytime
Mindful self-compassion is a skill combining mindfulness, or present moment awareness, with the emotional aptitude of self-compassion. Studies link mindful self-compassion to many health and wellbeing benefits including lower stress levels, lower levels of anxiety and depression, protection against burnout and compassion fatigue, improved relationships, and positive health habits.
3 S's: A Formula for Wellbeing
One of my mentors, Dr. Suzie Carmack, taught me a wonderful formula for wellbeing that she calls the 3 S’s. This is a formula that I use to prioritize my own wellbeing and it’s something I have shared with hundreds of clients.
Deep Breathing to Counteract Stress
One of the best ways to counteract stress is deep breathing. Learn a simple breathing practice that can help you get out of stress mode and connect to the present moment.
Why Do a Fall Detox?
A seasonal detox is a reset for your body and mind. When you take the time to reset your diet for healthier nourishment and recommit to a better self-care regime, life gets better. Ayurveda, the health tradition from India and the sister science of Yoga, recommends doing a gentle detox each fall and spring.
Back to School Wellbeing: 3 R’s for Teachers, Students and Parents
Late August is here and it’s back to school time for teachers, students and parents. I hope you’ve made the time to fill up your cup this summer and rejuvenate yourself. The trick now is to keep your cup filled! With this in mind, I offer you the following formula to help you prioritize your wellbeing: 3 R’s for Wellbeing: Reflect. Release. Recharge.
How to Use a Wellness Wheel
A Wellness Wheel is a visual guide and tool for self-exploration that can help you assess different aspects of your wellbeing. Wellness is an active process in which an individual becomes aware of and makes choices towards a more a healthy life. Using a Wellness Wheel is a tool for helping you engage in this process for yourself.
Enjoy the Juicy Fruits of August
According to Ayurveda, our bodies heat up at the end of the summer. The effects of this heat can show up as skin irritations, rashes, hay fever, and disrupted digestion. If you suffer from any of these, it is likely that your body has accumulated excess heat. If you can cool and release the hot, sharp qualities of summer from your body, you will transition more smoothly to the dry season of fall and you will strengthen your immune system and prevent full colds and flus.
Summer Ayurveda Food Tips
While there is plenty to enjoy in summer including warmer weather, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. To help create balance, consider one of the classic Ayurvedic sutras that says, “like increases like and opposites balance.” This wisdom can be extremely helpful when considering your diet and activities in every season.
Moon Journaling for Creativity and Self-Care
Moon journaling is an easy and effective way to deepen your self-care and connect to your creativity. Just like the moon, you go through phases. Learn how you can use your journal to align to the moon's energy and deepen your awareness of your own cycles.
A Yard to Table Inspired Menu for Summer
Some of the best summer foods can be found in your backyard! Today’s menu will feature greens and herbs that grow easy and often unbidden! Lemon balm Dandelion Fennel Mint Oregano
Eat Your Greens: Wild and Weedy Edibles for Spring Health
Eat from your ecosystem! In the spring, our physiology is primed for lightening up and clearing winter stagnation. Most of what nature has to offer in the spring are greens that are anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and generally detoxifying.
Being On Your Own Side: A Simple Guide to Self-Compassion
Self-compassion is being on your own side and treating yourself the way you would treat a friend. Bringing care to your suffering and pain makes you more resilient and this is good for others too. In this blog post, you'll be introduced to the concept and practice of mindful self-compassion, a skill combining mindfulness, or present moment awareness, with the habitude of self-compassion.
Kitchen Habits 101
In this post, I share with you a lot of habits and ideas about how to make the most out of your time in the kitchen each day, each week and each season. I call this Kitchen Sadhana.
A Year of Resilience
As you prepare to let go of 2021, and step into 2022, I invite you to take a moment to reflect on this year of resilience. As you reflect on 2021, I invite you to remember the challenges you have overcome this year, to pause and honor what you've lost, and to express gratitude for what you have. This is a time to look inward and to consider how to best care for yourself, how to tend to your wellbeing, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. This is a time to look outward and consider how best to connect and reconnect with others, how to build and rebuild your community, how to support what's dear to you, and how to sustain that which supports all of us.
Herbal Chai Masala
Herbs and spices are not only tasty, they also have many health promoting properties. The following chai masala recipe is a perfect beverage for the chilly days of autumn and winter. It has many herbs in it that are warming, immune building, and helpful for digestion.
Becoming Stress Resilient
Stress can be defined as any type of change that causes physical, emotional, or psychological exertion. Stress is your mind and body's response to anything that requires attention or action. Stress resilience is the ability to effectively cope with stressors and return to equilibrium or homeostasis after a stress has passed. The goal isn’t to eliminate all stress, but rather to learn to manage stress more effectively.
For keeping calm and carrying on during the holiday season, the teachings of the Brahma Viharas, from the yoga and Buddhist traditions, offer a list of four virtues for cultivating goodwill and peace. These teachings invite us to focus on the intrinsic web of unity that binds us together so that our common humanity is active in our awareness.
Simple Gratitude Practice
Appreciating and savoring what is going well in our bodies, homes, relationships, and communities counteracts negativity and bestows health onto our bodies and minds. Practicing gratitude supports healing. People who practice gratitude are more positive, compassionate, and generous. They also sleep better, have healthier hearts and less aches and pains. Try this simple gratitude practice.
Discover your Dosha: An Introduction to Ayurvedic Body Awareness
Ayurveda is a time tested health system that excels at guiding individuals toward greater well-being through lifestyle habits, individualized diet recommendations, and mind-body practices.
Autumn Wisdom: Predictability and Boundaries
The days are getting chillier. Apples are falling off the trees. The trees in my back yard are starting to drop their leaves. The natural world is in transition and the Ayurveda tradition offers a wonderful lens from which to understand this season and practical guidance for healthy living.
Self-care versus self-soothe and why we need both!
Self-care is engaging in activities and practices that cultivate your resilience and build your capacity to move forward in a healthy way, while self-soothing activities help you get through the present moment.
Moroccan Inspired Late Summer Tagine
What's cooking in your kitchen this week? Today I made a late summer vegetable tagine, a Moroccan inspired stew that is healthy, fragrant, and totally versatile. Mine has chickpeas, potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and yellow romano beans. The secret is the spice mixture called ras el hanout, a heady mixture of cumin, ginger, coriander, black pepper, cinnamon, cayenne and allspice.
Yoga for Better Balance
Whatever your age, yoga and Ayurveda are meant to enhance your wellbeing and help you live with ease and age gracefully. This winter's yoga series focuses on healthy aging, and one of the areas we focus on is: balance.
Turning 50! Musings on 30 years of practicing yoga
This Saturday I turn 50! I'm excited to step into my 5th decade. I started practicing yoga in college thirty years ago, just after I turned 20. This morning as I sat to meditate and do my asana practice, I was reflecting on my experience of practicing yoga almost daily for three decades. Here are my musings on my thirty years of practicing yoga.
The Health Benefits of 25 Herbs and Spices
We are used to using spices to enhance the flavor or food. Our spice pantry is also a medicine chest! Learning the beneficial health properties of spices and herbs is a fun way to turn your kitchen into a pharmacy.
Plant Based Diet Tips for Fall and Winter
Unlike most diets, a plant-based diet is defined by what it focuses on, not what it excludes. When you eat a plant based diet, you maximize consumption of nutrient-dense plant based foods while minimizing processed foods, oils, and animal foods. Eat veggies, fruits, beans, seeds, and nuts. Include local and sustainably-raised dairy, eggs, poultry, and meat in smaller amounts if you wish.
Foods to Favor in Summer
According to Ayurveda, our bodies heat up over the course of the summer season. The effects of this heat can show up as skin irritations, rashes, hay fever, and disrupted digestion. If you suffer from any of these, it is likely that your body has accumulated excess heat. If you can cool and release the hot, sharp qualities of summer from your body, you will enjoy the summer season more. Thankfully, if you look to what is fresh in your area, you can cool the heat by eating what nature provides best this season.
Ayurveda Tips for the Summer
A fundamental principle of Ayurveda is that our habits, routines, and dietary choices should align with the seasons. Ayurveda views the physical body, along with everything in the Universe, as being made up of the five primary elements; earth, water, fire, air, and ether or empty space. These elements are expressed in the physical body as qualities of stability/support (earth), feeling/fluidity (water), heat and metabolism (fire), respiration and circulation (air), and space and lightness (ether).
Dandelions! Why and How to Eat Them
What is more hip than kale? Dandelions! Dandelions are some of the healthiest greens around, and, they are everywhere... in your yard and garden, along roads and pathways, in fields.
How to Eat an Anti-inflammatory diet
Inflammation is the cause of many serious diseases. Inflammation in the body occurs due to factors such including stress, lack of movement, genetic disposition, and a poor diet. If you are eating a plant-based diet, chances are you are probably eating an anti-inflammatory diet as well.
Build Deep Immunity with Restorative Yoga
According to Ayurveda, ojas is the life sustaining vitality that promotes immunity in the body. I think of it as your energy reserves and deep immunity. Ojas is responsible for sustaining your physical health, mental clarity and emotional well-being.
Be Your Own Best Caregiver
An on-going theme that I teach my clients and emphasize in my wellness courses and explore in my own life is how to step into the role of being your own best care-giver and how to prioritize self-care.
I so appreciate how Ayurveda, the healing tradition from India that I am so found of, offers guidance for living in sync with the seasons of the year and suggests adjustments for diet and daily activities to stay healthy and balanced.
Living Vibrantly in the Fall with Ayurveda
Autumn is a time of transition. In Ayurveda, the autumn is the season is dominated by the elements of air and ether, which Ayurveda calls the Vata dosha.
Detox in the Fall for Better Health
Even though I eat a healthy diet, get lots of exercise, and have good self-care practices, I'm not perfect. and I don’t live in a perfect world. I sometimes cut corners, especially in the summer months when I'm on vacation having fun. I don't want to be a perfect human, but I do want to be healthy. Because this is the case, I’m a great fan of doing a seasonal detox.
A Simple Meditation Practice to Connect to the Earth
In this blog, I'd like to share a lovely practice that I've learned in the Peruvian Andes to connect specifically to the energy of the Mother Earth, called Pachamama in the Andean world.
Learning Earth Sadhana in the Andes
Over the years of spending time in the Andes, I have explored rich and varied ways to engage my sadhana (my spiritual practice) with the intent to experience a deeper connection to nature’s rhythms. I call these Earth Sadhanas.
Cultivate Balance and Harmony: Sattva
In the yoga tradition, there is a beautiful word, sattva, which stands for the qualities of goodness, balance, harmony and serenity. These are the qualities that yogis aim to cultivate through their practices, and indeed the very qualities that most of us can attest to wanting more of in our lives.
Soaking in the Good - Practicing Pleasure
According to the Vedic teachings, pleasure or enjoyment is one of the 4 Aims of Life. Kama refers to the pleasure of the senses. It is both an aesthetic enjoyment and also an enjoyment of emotional connection and affection. In Vedic teachings, taking time for enjoyment is considered a responsibility of householders.