• Yoga, Journaling, and the Healing Power of Self-Discovery

    The human experience on this Earth is one that often comes with discomfort, pain, confusion and suffering. Our job, as human beings, is to navigate our way through the challenges presented to us in life so that we can find healing. This is what it takes to make our way back to our own essential natures, which are peace, love, beauty, and bliss.

    Yoga, Journaling and the Healing Power of Self-Discovery

    My belief is that the key to healing is self-discovery. As we begin to know ourselves more and more, the truth of our own essential nature becomes more apparent – like sifting through mud to find natural treasures buried beneath. Unfortunately, we cannot simply decide to know ourselves, snap our fingers and make it so. Self-discovery is a process that we must be fully dedicated to for it to unfold.

    Up to this point in my life, yoga is one of the most powerful tools for self-discovery that I’ve come across yet; and journaling, I’ve found, can be a pivotal piece in our ability to process that which we discover. We can think of yoga as the lens we use to see and capture the most beautiful pieces of ourselves, and journaling as the mechanism for focusing and zooming in so that the image becomes clear.

    As we do the work of capturing the most beautiful parts of ourselves, often times, we have to sift through our own muck first. Remember the discomfort, pain, confusion and suffering I mentioned earlier? These things often build themselves onto our being like a thick muck that keeps us from tapping into our essential nature. Both yoga and journaling can also help us with chipping away at our muck.

    If you’re already a yoga practitioner, it’s possible that you’ve been able to encounter the beautiful pieces of yourself on more than one occasion. When you’re ready to begin the work of processing and further developing your understanding of those things, so that you can integrate them into your life effectively, journaling could be the next step.

    Develop a Journaling Practice

    One of the best things about journaling is that there are no rules and you can choose to develop your practice in whatever way suits you. Whether you’re the kind of person who likes to make lists, build out thoughtful essays, write through stream of consciousness or just sketch and doodle, you can develop a journal practice.

    One of my favorite ways to journal is through stream of consciousness. A good yoga practice can help us tap into that essential nature I was talking about – the part of each of us that is peace, beauty, love and bliss. So, whenever I practice yoga at home, I like to lay out my mat and keep my journal close by. Then, after I move through my practice and/or meditation, I’ll grab my journal and just write down whatever thoughts pop into my head. Trusting that the words I come up with are either helping me work through the muck that blocks me from my essential nature, or helping me to focus in on that essential nature is key.

    Stream of consciousness journaling isn’t always easy for everyone, however; especially those who are newer to the practice of journaling. That’s where journal prompts come in. Using prompts to guide your journaling practice can help you focus on certain aspects of your life and yourself. You can choose to pair these prompts and your journal time with your yoga practice or keep them separate. Ultimately, working with prompts will help you let the process of self-discovery unfold in specific ways.

    When you’re ready to deepen your connection with the truth of who you really are, Omstars will be here to support you with yoga practices, meditations AND journal prompts. A membership with Omstars will give you access to regular practices and meditations; following @omstarsofficial on Instagram will give you access to weekly journal prompts.

    Every Friday, Omstars will share a new journal prompt that will help you develop a deeper understanding of yourself, your yoga practice and the world around you. Each month’s journal prompts will focus on a different overarching theme and each individual prompt within that theme will build upon the other. Ultimately, these prompts are designed to help create an organic unfolding of self-discovery and movement towards healing that can be supported through the practice of yoga. Plus, there will even be downloadable worksheets that you can print out and use to put together your own journal as you go.

    The human experience always comes with discomfort, pain, confusion and suffering in some form or another. Begin the work that will help you transcend these elements of humanity when you join us in this journey of healing and self-discovery through yoga and journaling. Let this be the beginning of a path that leads you back to your own essential nature of peace, love, beauty, and bliss. Sign up for your Omstars membership to practice with us every day and follow us on Instagram to journal with us every week!

    Download the Free Flow Friday Journal Template

    By Alex Wilson

    Alex C. Wilson is a SWFL based Writer, Certified Yoga Instructor and Ayurveda Yoga Specialist who is dedicated to helping others establish a strong sense of mental and emotional well-being. After spending much of her life in a state of depletion as a result of being fully dedicated to others, Yoga taught Alex how to first, be dedicated to herself. Now she spends her time helping others create more space for their own healing and self-discovery without ever letting her own cup become empty in the process. See more from Alex by following her on Instagram or visiting her website at www.alexcwilson.com.

     

     

  • Cozy Potato Leek Soup

    When it gets cold outside as winter finally makes its way down to Florida, all I want to do is eat soup. Largely, this is because eating soup is a great way to warm back up after spending time in the season, but that’s not the only reason. If you look at this desire based on Ayurveda, being that my primary Dosha is Vata, this actually makes a lot of sense!

    Vata people thrive in a warm and moist climate (that’s why I love living in Florida so much), but when it starts to get cold outside, it can throw us off balance and have all sorts of negative effects on us physically, mentally and emotionally. So, if you naturally start to crave warm, cooked, moist foods around this time of year, it’s a pretty good sign that your Vata Dosha is well balanced.

    Eating these kinds of foods helps to create that warm moist climate that Vatas love so much, internally. So, when the air becomes cold and dry, embrace your desire to eat more soup, it’s a great way to stay balanced through the fall and winter months. And even if you don’t like to eat soups and stews, if you know you have a lot of Vata in your prakriti or vikriti, then you should probably start.

    So, in light of this beautiful Ayurvedic knowledge, today I’d like to share my recipe for Potato Leek soup. It’s super simple and it really hits the spot! So, gather these ingredients and give it a try!

     

    INGREDIENTS

    5 Russet Potatoes

    1 Leek

    1 Small Sweet Onion

    4 cups of Vegetable Broth

    ½ Cup of Nutritional Yeast Flakes

    Juice of ½ a Lemon

    2 Table Spoons of Coconut Cream (optional)

     

    METHOD

    Set a pot of water to boil, then start peeling your potatoes and cutting them into large chunks.

    Once the water is boiling, add in the potatoes and let them cook until soft.

    Next, cut up your onion and your leek and sauté them together in vegan butter or olive oil.

    Once the potatoes are cooked, drain the water. Then add the leeks and onions to the pot with the potatoes and cover with vegetable broth. Set the burner to low.

    Next, use a handheld immersion blender and blend till smooth.

    Add the yeast flakes and the lemon juice and continue blending until well incorporated.

    You can use the coconut cream if you prefer a creamier soup but be aware that this will sweeten the soup slightly.

    Add salt and pepper to taste, then serve and enjoy

    Feel free to add more or less of each ingredient to make this soup to your liking.

     

    By Alex Wilson

    Alex Wilson is a writer, yoga teacher, Ayurveda Yoga Specialist, and the content manager here at Omstars.com

    Alex Wilson, Anxious yogi

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  • Yoga Poses for Balancing the Pitta Dosha

    How much do you know about Ayurveda – Yoga’s sister science? Did you know that it can help you find balance, optimal health, and even help you become your highest self? And did you know that when combined with Yoga, this powerful system for healing becomes even stronger? That’s why Kino and Sahara Rose decided to team up for the #EatLikeAYogi Challenge – to teach us how to bring yoga and Ayurveda back together, as they were meant to be practiced.

    Yoga and Ayurveda are great tools for helping us find balance, optimal health and wellbeing, and not to mention, accessing our highest selves; but only if we incorporate practices that cater to our needs as individuals – more specifically, our imbalances. That’s where the Doshas come in.

    If you already know your primary dosha and where your imbalances are coming from, then you’re in a good place to start working back toward balance. If not, the #EatLikeAYogi Challenge is designed to help you learn. Throughout the challenge, Sahara Rose teaches us how to identify our primary doshas, and which doshas may be out of balance. She offers practices that we can use to come back to a place of equanimity, including specifications based on which dosha needs to be addressed.

    Ayurveda is only one piece of the equation, however. Our yoga practices can also help us find balance, and for this challenge, Kino has chosen 14 yoga poses to compliment the practices from Ayurveda. Today, we’re taking an in depth look at the Pitta balancing poses featured in the challenge.

    Pitta imbalance tends to be associated with the following signs and symptoms:

    • Sensitive skin that burns easy in the sun
    • Heartburn
    • Diarrhea
    • Quick to anger / Strong anger
    • Agitation as a stress response
    • Excess sweat
    • Acne and or skin rashes
    • Nose bleeds or excessive bleeding with cuts
    • Self-critical thoughts/feelings
    • Obsessive or compulsive thinking
    • Hatred
    • Revenge seeking tendencies
    • Inflammation
    • Burnout
    • And more

    Does this sound like you? Participating in the October Challenge with Kino and Sahara Rose is a great place to start for finding your way back to a more balanced state. Plus, be sure to put more emphasis on the following Pitta balancing yoga poses that Kino has recommended for the challenge:

    Prasarita Padottanasana A – This deep forward fold helps to cool the fires of pitta imbalance. Mid-day – the pitta time of day – is a good time to take a brake and give this pose a try. But remember, in order to balance pitta, we need to be soft in our efforts, so try not to over-stretch or push yourself too much. Just allow your body to fold forward softly, and let gravity do the work.

    Baddha Konasana – Those of us who are pitta dominant or who may be struggling with a pitta imbalance tend to be overactive and on-the-go, all the time. We find it difficult to sit down for rest or to do anything we feel is not productive. That’s one of the reasons why yoga is great for balancing pitta aggravation. But we have to approach our practices gently, with an intention to slow down. Seated postures like Baddha Konasana are great for giving us the opportunity to do just that. Give this pose a try with Kino on The Encyclopedia of Yoga to learn how to practice this pose properly and in a way that will help you balance your pitta dosha.

    Meditation/Padmasana – Meditation and breath work are great for bringing balance to an overactive pitta dosha. Simply taking a breath in, can bring cooling energy to the body, while a breath out will release excess heat. When sitting down for meditation as a means of calming your pitta imbalance, choose a simple, easy and comfortable seat that doesn’t cause any unnecessary discomfort in your body. This will give you the best results. If Padmasana is easily accessible for you, then great – if not, Sukasana is a better option. As for the kind of meditation you want to engage in, pittas can benefit greatly by meditating on images of water or the cooling sensation of the breath in.

    Sarvangasana/Viparita Karani – All inversions are cooling in nature, which makes them great postures for managing a pitta imbalance. Kino recommends legs up the wall in particular simply because it allows for the greatest amount of ease. This pose gives you the opportunity to soften and relax the entire body while maintaining enough elevation in the hips to still be considered an inversion. If you’re feeling overheated, irritated, angry, or any other sort of pitta aggravation, give this pose a try.

    Ready to start incorporating these poses into your daily life and practice? Combined with the recipes and self-care routines recommended by Sahara Rose, these poses will help you find your way back to optimal health and balance in no time.

    by Alex Wilson

    Alex Wilson is a writer, yoga teacher, Ayurveda Yoga Specialist, and the content manager here at OMstars.com

    Alex Wilson, Anxious yogi

    Join The Challenge Today

     

  • Use Yoga & Ayurveda to Balance the Vata Dosha

    Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, is an ancient wellness system that can help us find optimal health and balance in life. It’s all about eating a nutritious and balanced diet that’s suited for your individual needs, engaging in self-care practices that nourish your body, mind and soul, plus, practicing yoga in a way that is informed by this ancient science of life. These three components are your Ayurvedic keys to good health and well-being.

    Our October challenge, #EatLikeAYogi, is all about bringing yoga and Ayurveda together as they were meant to be practiced. In doing so, you will have all the tools you need to find your way back to a place of optimal well-being. During this challenge, each day, participants will complete an Ayurvedic practice (based on food and self-care) with Sahara Rose, and an Ayurveda informed yoga pose recommended by Kino.

    Each of the yoga poses in this challenge have been selected based on their ability to help balance the doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha). As a compliment to the challenge, we are going to breakdown which poses are good for balancing which doshas, and why.

    Today we’re talking about Vata imbalance and which yoga poses you should incorporate into your practice if you’re working to find balance.

    A Vata imbalance is typically associated with many of the following signs and symptoms:

    • Constipation
    • Excess bloating and gas
    • Poor mental focus
    • Anxiety or excessive nervousness
    • Cold hands and feet
    • Physical weakness
    • Dry Skin
    • Irregular appetite
    • Restlessness
    • Trouble sleeping
    • Hyperactivity
    • And more

    Does this sound like you? Participating in the October Challenge with Kino and Sahara Rose is a great place to start for finding your way back to a more balanced state. Plus, be sure to put more emphasis on the following Vata balancing yoga poses that Kino has recommended for the challenge:

    Tree Pose – Since vata imbalance is usually associated with scattered thoughts, poor ability to focus, excessive nervousness and anxiety, balancing postures like tree pose can help to bring more stillness to the mind. Tree pose requires a keen mental focus, so try incorporating this pose into your daily practice to see if it helps.

    Paschimottanasana – Forward folds are grounding, calming, and encourage introspection. This is why any forward fold is great for bringing balance to excess Vata. Try this pose in the evening before bed to ease hyperactivity and help you prepare for a more restful sleep.

    Utkatasana – Chair pose is very effective for creating a sense of grounding, which is great for relaxing a Vata mind. Plus, it activates the downward moving force in our bodies (Apana Vayu) which can help when it comes to alleviating constipation.

    Warrior II – This is another grounding pose that can really help with balancing excess Vata. This posture does however pose a challenge for those of us who may be experiencing a Vata imbalance. This is because it’s a little less interesting than some of the other postures on this list. Vatas get bored very easily, but if you try incorporating a little movement with this pose before settling into stillness, you may find more success. Try this simple movement before settling in to hold Warrior II for an extended period of time: from Warrior II, inhale to lift your arms and bring the palms to touch. At the same time lengthen your front leg. On the exhale, bend back into your front knee, and extend the arms back in opposite directions. Repeat for several rounds of breath.

    Ustrasana – The last pose on our list for balancing Vata is Ustrasana, aka camel pose. This pose is recommended because it asks us to still the mind and focus on grounding through the legs before adding in the backbend. That’s what’s really important for getting the full benefit out of this pose. From this place of grounding, move slowly and mindfully into the backbend, being extra careful not to overdo it.

    Remember, a dedicated yoga practice that’s informed by Ayurveda is only part of what we need to do to find balance. Incorporate these poses into your daily practice and be sure to try the recipes and self-care routines recommended by Sahara Rose. This is what will truly help you find optimum health and bring balance to your overall life.

    By Alex Wilson

    Alex Wilson is a writer, yoga teacher, Ayurveda Yoga Specialist, and the content manager here at OMstars.com

    Alex Wilson, Anxious yogi

    Join The Challenge Today