Emotional Wellbeing

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The healing science of Ayurveda recognizes that seasonal rhythms have important influences on our biological cycles and health. Each season expresses characteristics of a specific dosha, or mind-bodyAyurveda spices principle.  Learn more about the doshas here. In the Northern Hemisphere, we are in the midst of what is known as Kapha season – the period of late winter and spring, which brings the cold, wet weather that characterizes the Kapha dosha.

When our Kapha dosha is out of balance, it can manifest as colds, sinus congestion, weight gain, allergies, sluggishness, depression, and a lack of motivation.  These common conditions tend to be aggravated during Kapha season, so now is a good time to correct any imbalances in your mind-body health.

You can find out what your current imbalances are by taking part 2 of our Dosha quiz here.

Here are some suggestions for balancing Kapha:

  • —Make choices that are warm, light, energizing, and purifying.
  • —Follow a regular daily routine; avoid taking naps during the day.
  • —Favor lighter, drier foods with pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes .
  • —Exercise every day: running, bicycling, swimming, aerobics.
  • —Stick to warm and bright colors, such as yellow, orange, and red.

Interested in more mind-body wellness tips?

Subscribe to the Chopra Center’s free online newsletter, combining timeless wisdom with the newest discoveries in mind-body medicine. Click here to sign up for the newsletter and visit our rich archive of past issues.

There’s still time to register for the Journey into Healing workshop this February 16-20 in beautiful Vancouver!

Learn more here >>

If your New Year’s goals include physical health, emotional well-being, and spiritual awakening, the Chopra Center’s Journey into Healing workshop in Vancouver is a rare opportunity to learn with the masters.

For the first time, Cesar Millan will be a featured speaker at this signature event, where he will teach the practical steps for reconnecting to the body’s natural state of health and balance. Along with mind-body healing pioneer Deepak Chopra, the Vancouver premiere of this signature workshop include the Chopra Center’s medical director, Valencia Porter, M.D.; co-founder of the San Diego Cancer Research Institute, Daniel Vicario, M.D.; and Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar, an internationally renowned ayurvedic physician and teacher.

It is 2011 and a new year lies before us. This is an opportunity filled with richness and boundlessness to start fresh in new jobs and new relationships, create never-before-imagined dreams, forgive and release old memories, and break out of old habits and patterns.

No matter what has happened in your life up until now, you are always capable of new choices that will allow you to experience more happiness, love, and genuine fulfillment.

It all begins with intention.

When we set an intention, commit to action, then let go of our attachment to the outcome, we tap into the universe’s infinite organizing power. New opportunities and possibilities open up to us, and we begin to experience more moments of SynchroDestiny – the unfolding of synchronicities or meaningful coincidences.

Begin right now by writing down your intention and sharing it here on the Chopra Center blog. Declare to yourself and our community of supportive, like-minded individuals that you are committed to your dreams and sharing your unique gifts and talents with the world.

Also, write down one small step that you will take today towards the fulfillment of your intention. The action can be as small as doing an internet search for a relevant class, finding out the location of a business networking event, or doing ten minutes of yoga. Then tomorrow, take one more step. By committing to regular, consistent action, you will tap into an unexpected momentum and discover the universe conspiring in your favor.

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Tips for a Relaxing Holiday Season

During the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in frantic activity that leaves you exhausted, out of balance, and susceptible to winter colds and flu. If you want to truly enjoy this special time of year, the best gift you can give yourself and your family is nurturing self-care.

1.  Do one thing at a time. Give yourself the joy of focused attention. When you’re cooking, turn off your phone, Blackberry, and TV.  Let yourself fully experience the sensory pleasures of preparing and eating your special holiday meals. If you’ve decided to send out Christmas cards (remembering that you can ignore the voice telling you “should” do so), make it a pleasurable ritual. Turn on some beautiful music and focus on the gratitude you have for each person to whom you’re writing a card.

2.  Commit to less. Don’t succumb to the collective hallucination that would plunge you into a mad scramble to find thoughtful gifts for everyone from your mother to your child’s teacher, create reindeer topiary for the lawn, and make platefuls of cookies, candies, and pies from scratch. Choose to participate only in those holiday activities that hold meaning and joy for you and your loved ones.

3.  Communicate consciously. A helpful tool to prevent emotional strain at family gatherings is the Buddhist practice of “right speech.” Before you speak, ask yourself these three questions: Is what I am about to say true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? Find more conscious communication tips here.

4. Maintain a restful sleep routine. While it’s easy to fall into an erratic schedule with parties, travel, preparation, and other seasonal events, you will feel better and actually be able to accomplish more if you cultivate a restful sleep routine. When you find yourself pushing too hard or overdoing any activity, rest.

5. Meditate. Besides sleep, the best rest is the deep relaxation provided by meditation. When you meditate, your breathing slows, blood pressure decreases, and stress hormone levels fall. You go beyond Meditating with incentsthe mind’s noisy internal dialogue and experience an oasis of inner silence and stillness. Click here to access free guided meditation audios from the Chopra Center’s lead meditation teacher, davidji.

6.  Eat warm, soothing foods.
When the weather is cold, limit your intake of dry and raw items such as nuts, chips, and uncooked vegetable, which all tend to aggravate the body’s nervous system and digestion. Try delicious soups, cooked whole grains, and nourishing stews.

7. Don’t skip lunch to do holiday shopping. Skipping meals aggravates both the Vata and Pitta doshas, so stick with regular mealtimes. Learn more about the doshas here.

8.  Exhale your stress. In stressful situations we have an unconscious tendency to breathe shallowly, which only increases anxiety in our mind and body. Kapalabhati is a yogic breathing technique that releases stress and toxins from the body. Find Kapalabhati instructions in our library.

9.  Nurture your senses with aromatherapy and essential oils. In your home or office, use soothing scents such as orange, lavender, neroli, sandalwood, vanilla, orange, basil, or clove. Performing a self-massage with sesame or other natural oils is a deeply healing practice that you can treat yourself to every day. Find complete massage instructions at the Chopra Center’s online library here.

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Interested in more mind-body wellness tips?

Subscribe to the Chopra  Center’s free online newsletter, Agni, combining timeless wisdom with cutting-edge information that will help you get into the best mind-body shape of your life. Click here to sign up for Agni and visit our rich archive of past issues.

multicolored leaves XSmallIn Ayurveda the fall season corresponds to two major doshas: Pitta and Vata. Autumn is considered Pitta as long as hot weather prevails, and Vata as it becomes cold. Late fall and winter are known as “Vata season” because they are marked by some of the same qualities that characterize Vata: cold, dry, light, clear, and moving.

As long as these qualities are in balance, a person whose dosha is predominantly Vata will be healthy, creative, and exuberant. But when too much Vata accumulates in the body and mind, the imbalance may manifest as physical or emotional disorders, including insomnia, dry skin, arthritis, constipation, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression.

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All body types are vulnerable to Vata derangement during autumn and winter, but those who are predominantly Vata types need to be particularly vigilant about staying in balance. Here are some practical ideas to keep you grounded and vibrant during the cold months ahead.

Follow a Vata-pacifying Diet

  • Ayurvedic spicesEat foods that are warming, fresh, and well cooked; avoid dry or uncooked foods (especially salads and raw fruits and vegetables).
  • Drink lots of warming liquids such as hot water and herbal teas to prevent dehydration. You can prepare a fresh ginger tea by placing a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger into a pint  thermos  bottle and filling it with hot water.
  • Eat more of the sweet, sour, and salty tastes and less of the bitter, astringent, and pungent ones. Avocados, bananas, mangoes, peaches, lemons, pumpkins, carrots, beets, asparagus, quinoa, rice, mung beans, almonds, sesame seeds, and ghee are a few excellent Vata-pacifying foods.
  • Don’t worry if your appetite seems stronger than usual as this is a natural tendency in winter and helps pacify Vata. At the same time, of course, don’t eat to the point of discomfort.

Nourish Your Senses

  • Wear clothing made with soft fabrics in earth tones and mild pastel shades, which calm Vata.
  • Stay warm. Vata is a cold, dry dosha, so it’s important to make sure that your home and work place are well heated and that the air has enough humidity. Since Vata is extremely sensitive to moving air, it’s wise to avoid drafts or sitting near fans or ventilators.
  • Give yourself slow, gentle self-massage in the morning or before bed. Use a nourishing, warming oil such as sesame or almond. You may also want to gently rub a drop of sesame oil inside your nasal passages, which tend to become dry during winter. Find  instructions for performing an ayurvedic self-massage here.

Sleep and Restful Awareness

• Get enough sleep! This is vital for Vatas, who tend to push themselves to the point of physical or mental exhaustion. Read more about creating a restful sleep routine here.

• Learn to meditate. For the overactive Vata mind, meditation is one of the best ways to find calm and stillness. The Chopra Center recommends and offers instruction in a powerful practice called Primordial Sound Meditation, a mantra-based meditation rooted in the traditions of ancient India.

Interested in more mind-body wellness tips?

Subscribe to the Chopra Center’s free online newsletter, Agni, combining timeless wisdom with cutting-edge information that will help you get into the best mind-body shape of your life. Click here to sign up for Agni and visit our rich archive of past issues.

“Making your doshas happy will make you happy. This is the secret to balancing the whole mind-body system.”AgniSignup-Banner
– Deepak Chopra

Your mind-body type (known as your dosha in the ancient healing science of Ayurveda) plays a great role in how stress affects you. In Ayurveda, the three main doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

  • Those with predominantly Vata constitutions have the greatest tendency toward anxiety and worry. Normally creative and lively, in the face of stress, Vatas tend to blame themselves for their problems and become extremely nervous and scattered.
  • Pitta types are usually warm and loving, but if they’re out of balance, typically react to stress by finding fault with other people and becoming angry.
  • The most even-tempered dosha is Kapha. Kapha types are usually easygoing and gentle, but when faced with overwhelming conflict or stress, they may withdraw and refuse to deal with the situation.

Knowing your mind-body constitution will help you understand your own response to stress. Ayurveda offers specific recommendations for each mind-body type, including the most effective ways to cope with stress. To learn more ayurvedic tips for stress relief and mind-body healing, sign up for our free online Agni Newsletter.

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Get into the Best Mind-Body
Shape of Your Life!

Go to the Newsletter home page here.

The Answer is Inside!WayneDyer_Video_Ad_July2010

In this month’s Agni Light, we invite you to:

Share a special meditation with David Simon

Meet the Masters! Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra and David Simon

Listen to a guided meditation led by davidji

Enjoy a replay of this month’s teleseminar featuring David Simon and davidji

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Dharma is much more than one’s career or focus of activity in life. Dharma is the unstoppable force of evolution in the cosmos that impels everything forward
toward self-awareness. Everyone has a purpose or dharma. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t exist at all. You don’t need to search the world to find your purpose. The clues lay hidden deep in your heart. Your purpose boils down to what it is that you have to give back to the world, and for that you need to know who you really are, for that is what you have to give. The impact of your life’s gift is not dependent upon your particular personality or specific skills. Who and what you fundamentally are, constitutes your gift to others. In truth, when you find your true Self, you find your love and joy, and you will express that in every thought and action in your life.

Love,
Deepak

Learn more about dharma and the seven  spiritual laws for success  here.

Learn more timeless teachings for creating greater health, balance, and joy in your life

Subscribe to the Chopra  Center’s free online newsletter, Agni and receive new monthly columns from Deepak Chopra, M.D. and David Simon, M.D., guided meditation podcasts, ayurvedic recipes, and other tools and techniques for getting into the best mind-body shape of your life. Click here to sign up for Agni and browse our rich archive of past issues.

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