• The Discipline of Becoming Happy

    Happiness is in the right now, in the here. Happiness is a state of mind that needs to be cultivated from within.

    Happiness is a state of mind that requires discipline and the awareness that it is an internal process. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, says that we can achieve happiness by training the mind. We all know from experience that training our mind is one of the most challenging things to do. Our mind likes to play peekaboo with us.

    Think about that time that you were confident about something and you were on your way to get it, maybe a job interview, a date, signing for your first yoga class, or meeting your guru and suddenly your mind starts peekabooing you into insecurities and fears. You start feeling a rush of thoughts, witnessing them as a herd of wild horses destroying any positive thought you had about the situation.

    “What if she or he doesn’t like me?”

    “What if I am not flexible enough (impression of yoga in the west, based only in the physical body not as a spiritual practice)?

    “What if…?”

    All the what ifs come at once.

    Most of those thoughts are manipulated by our ego that hates to be outside of its comfort zone. Disciplining the mind is one of the best investments for your happiness.

    Here are 5 practices that you can incorporate into your life to contribute to your happiness:

    Create daily routines

    Ayurveda teaches us how to live in harmony with nature and honor the place where we live by adapting our diet and practices to the weather, resources, and opportunities of our environment.

    Ayurveda calls daily practices “dinacharya” and in my next blog, I will explain in detail the practice of dinacharya. For right now, as a daily practice, maintain a sense of gratitude before you start your day; before you even get out of bed say a prayer of gratitude.

    Here is an example that one of my teachers Dr. Vassant Lad uses:

    “Dear [insert name of your spiritual connection], you are inside of me, within my very breath, within each bird, each mighty mountain. Your sweet touch reaches everything, and I am well protected. Thank you, [insert name of your spiritual connection], for this beautiful day before me. May joy, love, peace, and compassion be part of my life and all those around me on this day. I am healing and I am healed.”

    Practice emotional hygiene

    The same way that we practice physical and environmental hygiene, we must cultivate emotional hygiene to help us to get rid of anger, fear, anxiety and other low vibrational thoughts and emotions. The secret here is making sure that as we are cleansing our emotional system from those toxic emotions, we cultivate high vibrational ones; you’ve probably heard that wherever your attention and energy goes that is what you will create in your life. This part of the journey toward happiness is linked to the step below.

    Practice awareness

    Being aware of who you want to become creates a path to who you are.

    Find yourself a quiet corner, your car also works, and ask yourself the question, “Who am I?” Take a deep breath and allow the answers to come.

    Happiness requires trust, discipline, and most importantly self-awareness. So don’t expect to get the answer right away, keep focusing your attention on your breath and ask again and again. Trust that the answer will come to you. Perhaps the answer comes in a form of “who I am not” and that is ok; keep focusing your attention on the breath and shift the attention to “who am I” rather than “who I am not”.

    Self-awareness cultivates the gift of observation and non-attachment. In this journey of self-awareness, you’ll learn how to be observant of your own emotions and the reactions and attachments toward those emotions. Your breath is the vehicle that will transport you towards awareness.

    Detach yourself from expectations

    Expecting something from others is always a guaranteed source of unhappiness. We can’t control other people’s thoughts or reactions, neither do we have any control of situations that are happening outside of ourselves. We are conditioned to find happiness through outside sources and not through our inner being. It is normal to expect something from others, the same as others expect certain things from us. I am not saying that having expectations is a bad thing, but when we condition our happiness and wellbeing to other people’s responses then we can easily get hurt.

    Stay present

    Eckhart Tolle in his bestseller “The Power of Now” said “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” It is ok to remember the past to learn from it or to feel happiness from a past experience, nevertheless living in the past can be a source of pain.

    When you find your mind spending too much time in the past, use your breath to bring you back to the present; slowly inhale, retain for a few seconds, and slowly exhale.

    The other side of the coin is spending most of your present daydreaming about your future. In reality, the future is an absolute fantasy most of the time created by our ego, our desires, and our conditioning.

    Being absorbed by the past or the future could also create fear. Living in fear is based in our imagination. Fear isn’t based on facts. We allow our mind to go wild and create scenarios about situations that we think could happen. We infuse those thoughts with our insecurities, belief systems, and past personal experiences to create a story in our head that most of the time never sees the light. In the meanwhile, we live in fear, anxiety, isolation, and anger about something that is only in our minds.

    Happiness is in the right now, in the here. Happiness is a state of mind that needs to be cultivated from within. There is nothing waiting on the other side of a new car, a new home, a new job, or a new partner. Everything that we need to be happy is already built within but looking inside for the pursuit of happiness can be painful as we must climb tall mountains of conditioning, belief systems, disappointments, although in that case, there is something on the other side of that inner work, the gift of happiness.

    By Esther Rodriguez Brown

    Esther Rodriguez Brown was born and raised in Barcelona, Spain. Since a very young age, she showed her passion for helping others and got involved in several social justice organizations.
    She arrived in the United States in 2001 and in 2007 she founded The Embracing Project (TEP), a grass-roots non-profit organization that services children survivors of sex trafficking and gang violence. Until she opened TEP drop-in center, the first in Nevada for children survivors of trafficking, she served youth in the streets of Las Vegas using her car as her main office and many times opening the doors of her home for those youth who needed it. Esther traveled around the world to continue her service to humanity and in particular, children and women survivors of trauma, expanding services in several countries. In 2019, Esther merged TEP with a national organization to focus on her other passion, holistic healing, Yoga, Ayurveda, and Jyotish.

    Esther founded Ego Friendly Living in 2016, a company based on the principle of compassion, self-healing, and self-empowerment, focusing on body, mind, and soul, through the practices of self-care and self-love. Her experience working with vulnerable populations and survivors of complex trauma gives her a unique perspective to facilitate healing practices and to teach how trauma can affect our emotional and physiological bodies.
    Esther has a master’s degree in Psychology. She is an Ayurvedic Health Counselor, Vedic Astrologer, and a 200 YTT with studies in Yoga Nidra. Esther travels yearly to India to continue her studies related to body, mind, and soul to share that wisdom with others.

    She is the author of The Power of Your Hands. Mudras for your everyday life. Available in Amazon. She is a recognized national and international speaker and has been recognized in national and international media, documentaries, books, and film and has received many awards for her humanitarian work with children affected by violence.

    Find her on Instagram @Esther_Brown_Inspire
    and on her website, https://www.egofriendlyliving.com.

    Image by Адель Шарипова from Pixabay

  • Ayurvedic Potion: Adaptogenic Golden Mylk

    This is my favorite tea to drink. I drink this multiple times a day, especially when I’m writing, and it’s adaptogenic golden mylk.

    So, what are adaptogens? Adaptogens are a type of herb that adapt to whatever your nervous system needs. So, let’s say you wake up, first thing in the morning, and you’re really tired, and you take an adaptogen.  That will actually bring up your energy, so, it’s a really good replacement for coffee, matcha, any other kind of stimulant, and there is no caffeine.

    Now, let’s say, you take that same adaptogen, at night. It will actually help cool you down, chill you out, and prepare you for sleep. So, they really adapt to whatever the nervous system needs at that time. Either, more energy, or bringing it down. So, it’s really good if you have a stressful job, adrenal fatigue, or anything like that. So, the adaptogen that I am using today is called, Ashwaghanda, and Ashwaghanda literally means, strength of a stallion. It’s a very commonly used adaptogen in Ayurveda, and formally was used more for men, to give them strength, but now a lot of women, we need that extra strength, too. So, Ashwaghanda is good for everyone, and the feminine version of it is called, Shatavari. And you can make this recipe with Shatavari, as well.

    So, golden mylk, a lot of people call this yogi tea, is a turmeric-based potion. The reason why turmeric is the base, is because turmeric is really anti-inflammatory. So, we spoke about how it’s really anti-inflammatory for the brain, and that helps it work as an anti-depressant. Clinical research has now found it as effective as Prozac, but it also works in the body. So, if you’re doing a lot of yoga, you’re doing a lot of exercise, physical activity, inflammation can be created over-time.  So, the turmeric is going to help just alleviate that so you feel much more agile, much more comfortable in your body.  So, it’s really good for everyone. Turmeric also helps burn belly fat, which is another really cool thing about it. It’s been found that it specifically works on fat in the mid-section, again, because it’s stress-related, cortisol-related.  So, turmeric really helps with that. So, I love turmeric for so many reasons, which is why it’s the base of golden mylk.

    Golden Mylk Powder Mixture

    • Turmeric
    • Ginger
    • Black Pepper
    • Ashwaghanda

    Golden Mylk Potion

    • Unsweetened non-dairy milk
    • Hot water
    • 1 teaspoon Golden Mylk Powder Mixture

    I like to make this ahead of time, I actually travel with it because I can just take a spoon and add it anywhere. It’s like a tea that requires really no steeping. So, again, turmeric, ginger, black pepper, and the ashwaghanda. Just mix up the powders. You can put it in a little glass jar, travel with it, keep it with you at home. You can actually kind of customize it to what you want. So, let’s say you want it a little bit more spicy, a little bit more gingery, you can crank that up. You can add more black pepper, less black pepper, again, there’s really no rules, just make sure you have the ingredients in there somewhere.

    Learn more with Sahara’s Ayurveda course on Omstars

    By Sahara Rose Ketabi

    Sahara Rose is the best-selling author of the Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda, which is the #1 best-selling Ayurveda book globally and Eat Feel Fresh: A Plant-Based Ayurvedic Cookbook. She has been called “a leading voice for the millennial generation into the new paradigm shift” by Deepak Chopra, who wrote the foreword of both her titles. Sahara hosts the Highest Self Podcast, ranked as the #1 top podcast in the spirituality category on iTunes. Sahara’s mission is to awaken people to their innate potential so they can share their gifts and fulfill their purpose on this planet. “This is Ayurveda’s next evolutionary step. Sahara Rose has successfully refreshed and revitalized the ancient knowledge without watering down its significance and depth. She blends reverence for the tradition with an awareness of present-day needs. Find more wisdom on Sahara’s website or Instagram.

  • 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