Time-honored techniques to thaw winter’s chill Winter brings the festive sparkle of the holidays; fresh, snowy vistas; exhilarating outdoor sports … and, for many people, lethargy, dry skin, and runny noses. How can we keep up our spirits—and our health—when it’s so easy to let Old Man Winter bring us down? Ayurveda, the holistic-health system [...]
OK, so I know it’s the new year and I imagine the blogosphere is filled with conversations about habits to break, how to make this year the best year of our lives, and the perfect diet to melt off the holiday pounds. And my guess is that a certain word, which I have vowed to [...]
Tal Ben-Shahar, guest blogger If we wanted to assess the worth of a business, we would use money as our means of measurement. We would calculate the dollar value of its assets and liabilities, profits and losses. Anything that could not be translated into monetary terms would not increase or decrease the value of the [...]
So you put on a pound or five over the holidays… Do you feel a like a sausage squeezed into your clothes? Most of us indulge in the delectable offerings of the season, usually laden with saturated fats, dairy, sugar, and white flour. In excess, these foods create congestion or metabolic waste that leaves us feeling sluggish, heavy, bloated, tired, achy, irritable, and/or depressed. Just as our automobile perks up after a tune-up, we can revitalize with a detox.
Whether you call it cleansing, detox, purification, or fasting, eliminating metabolic waste from the body is an ancient practice. All of the major religions include some form of fasting as a vehicle for well-being and spiritual awakening.
Fasting has a profound effect on all levels: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Increased vitality, mental clarity, and weight loss are typical detox results. Fasters often experience lasting relief from allergies, arthritis, fibromyalgia, headaches, and addictions to sugar, caffeine, and nicotine as well as gaining deeper insight and a sense of joy. Fasting is considered by many to be the single most effective method of healing chronic disease.
Ayurveda originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and is the oldest continuously practiced health-care system in the world. Drawn from an understanding of nature’s rhythms and laws, Ayurveda is built around the five elements of ether, air, fire, water, and earth.
It is understood in Ayurveda that humans, as natural beings, are governed by the same rules and laws as all other natural beings. If we choose to ignore these laws, then imbalances will begin to appear. These imbalances are the precursor to disharmony and disease in the mind and body. This system of medicine understands our deepest connections with the whole universe and the influences of the energies that make up this universe. We are considered a microcosm of the macrocosm.
Meditation Lets Us Look Inside Ourselves to See the Whole World
Jack Kornfield, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, author, and one of the most well-known teachers of Buddhism in the West. He’s a founding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and Spirit Rock Center in California. Here, he talks about meditation, his signature loving-kindness practice, an upcoming Kripalu retreat, and why he loves to teach.
What’s at the core of the trainings you teach? The trainings are centered in equanimity and balance—it’s the training of the heart and mind to stay balanced. I teach a series of steps for equanimity, beginning with reflections on the vastness of time and changing circumstances, ever-changing winds of gain and loss, praise and loss, pleasure and pain. Training has to do with reflecting on the value of keeping a peaceful heart and envisioning others with compassion. We realize that people can love enormously, and that you can’t love on behalf of someone else; we try to understand the limits of love. It’s also using a series of deep intentions: May I live with peace in the joys and sorrows of the world. May you find peace.
Grains have a wealth of benefits to offer, from fiber to plant proteins to phytonutrients and B vitamins. There is a caveat, however. You can only reap these benefits if you’re eating whole grains.
When grains are refined (a process in which the outer bran and inner germ are removed), they can be made into a wide variety of cheap foods that will last almost indefinitely, but deliver few nutrients. Refined grains act more like sugar in the body, which may make them easy to overeat. But as you make the switch to whole grains—and become more attuned to what real foods taste like—you can savor the fullness of a whole grain right down to the flavor of its germ. Your body, and your taste buds, will thank you.
You may have heard a lot about gluten lately, the protein responsible for the wonderful chewy texture of breads and other baked goods. It’s true that many people are sensitive to gluten, which has helped spark a deep exploration of gluten-free grains like millet and amaranth, and alternative sources for flour, like coconuts and garbanzo beans. But for the majority of us who digest gluten well, wheat, rye, and other whole grains with gluten remain a wonderfully healthful choice.
With a bit of inspiration and a willingness to get creative, it’s easy to tune into the allure of whole and gluten-free grains, and discover the ones you love best.
There are times when a radical change of course is necessary in life. The old way just isn’t working anymore; a new approach is required. We don’t know where we’re headed, but we know it’s time to forge a new path. Transformation is imminent.
I was at such a juncture a couple of years ago. Newly divorced and living 10 minutes from my ex-husband, I felt stuck in my past. Surrounded by reminder after reminder of my former life, I felt the need to alter my geography to jumpstart a transformation. With a hearty dose of trepidation and anticipation, I left Boston and moved to Los Angeles.