Though we all love the inspiration that comes with working in a group during retreats, there are many wonderful practices you can do on your own to boost immunity—techniques that are simple, safe, and free. Here are a few. Gargling Try gargling with warm salt water twice a day. Gargling cleans out bacteria and germs [...]
By Shannon Sexton, guest blogger Thinking about going vegan? Or already committed? Whether you’re ditching dairy for health reasons, or because you want to practice the yama ahimsa (nonviolence), you may want to consider applying Ayurvedic principles to your diet to stay healthy and balanced. “I love Ayurveda because it looks at each individual and [...]
Erin Casperson, Kripalu School of Ayurveda Intern As August rolls on, pitta aggravation is in full force for many of us. The hot, moist/oily, light, spreading, penetrating, and pungent qualities of the summer season have settled into the body and mind for many of us, creating dis-ease. This is especially true if your constitution is [...]
Every year, we look forward to the ecstatic festival that is Wanderlust. The chance to be in the Vermont hills—soaking up the mountain energy, reveling in yoga immersion, and communing with our peers and community members, is a high time of the year. 1. Community: Wanderlust brings so many different people together, and we love [...]
Spring has arrived, and although the weather might not currently reflect it, change is in the air. Just as the winter must eventually surrender to the spring that will birth the summer sun, so too must we lighten our bodies and spirits in order to prepare for the emergence of new growth. When it comes [...]
Kat Olson, guest blogger Living and practicing yoga in Boston for five years before accepting a yearlong internship with the Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living in November 2012, the two things I heard most often about this yoga haven were “the Berkshires are so beautiful” and “the food at Kripalu is amazing.” Now, three months [...]
Three years ago, I went on vacation and suffered a horrible bout of food poisoning that left me with a relentless and debilitating intestinal problem. I was lethargic, I gained weight, and I had to go to the bathroom constantly. I went from doctor to doctor looking for a solution, to no avail. I tried [...]
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 [...]
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.
Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a morning person, there’s still much to love about those first few moments after you roll out of bed: In their stillness you can get ready to step into the day by organizing your thoughts, assessing your needs, and—when it comes to breakfast—nourishing your whole self.
As we’re all unique individuals and our bodies call for different things, there isn’t a formula for a breakfast that suits everyone. Instead, starting the day off right means understanding your body and digestion, and choosing what works for you. This tuning in is at the heart of what we teach at Kripalu, which can help point the way toward a breakfast that’s balanced with you in mind:
1. Heed your hunger. Not everyone can eat like a lumberjack first thing in the morning, so prepare the right-size meal for your body type. From the Ayurvedic perspective, for instance, those with more delicate constitutions (vata types) should have a warming but light meal, like simple hot cereal, while hardier folks who wake up hungry (pitta types) can handle things like eggs, nuts and seeds, and fruit.
2. Fresh is best. We all know the best breakfast comes from our own kitchens—so look for whole foods (grains, fruits, and vegetables) that you can easily prepare for yourself each morning to optimize their freshness. Meat, eggs, and dairy may also have their place on the breakfast table, but only if they arrive fresh from a trusted local source.
3. Stay on schedule. Get into the habit of having your breakfast at a regular time. The body tends to get attuned to things, and if you eat at 6:00 am one day and 10:00 am the next, that can throw off your digestive rhythms. (But you don’t need to eat the same thing every day. In fact, Ayurveda encourages eating seasonally, which ensures an ever-changing lineup of fruits and vegetables.)
4. Savor every bite. Ayurveda teaches that being in tune with your meal—from selecting and preparing it to quietly sitting with it and appreciating it—feeds far more than just your body. Breakfast is an ideal time to explore this practice, and discover that the more you create consciousness around what you’re putting into your body, the stronger and healthier your whole body-mind-spirit complex becomes.