True Nature Travels Blog

5 benefits of hiking

When it comes to staying fit and healthy, there are few activities that can compete with hiking in the great outdoors. After a long week of work, there’s nothing better than strapping on a pair of hiking boots and heading out on the trail. Being surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature, along with the physical exertion involved, combine to provide a nourishing experience for mind, body, and soul. It’s easy to see how this type of exercise can do wonders for mental health, but what about the physical benefits? In recent months, many of us have been doing what we can to maintain an active lifestyle. Hiking is a great option, which can be both affordable and incredibly rewarding. In this article, we’ll be taking you through 5 ways it can help you to feel fitter and stronger.

1. Core Stability & Balance

Hiking usually involves walking on uneven ground, on an inclined slope, with a bag on your back. If climbing a peak, you have to repeat all of this hard work on the downward trail (once you’ve savored the beautiful view of course). All of this involves a lot of balance to keep your body stable as you move along the path. Each step you take engages your core muscles, keeping you upright and moving in the right direction. This is perfect for anybody looking to build up core strength, and can also be a great way to regain balance after an injury or break from exercise.

2. Stronger Bones

Similar to your muscles, bones can become stronger after certain types of exercise. Regular activity can help increase your peak bone mass, which helps to improve balance, reduce falls, and prevent fractures from occurring. One of the best ways to strengthen your bones is to do weight-bearing exercises. These are things like running, tennis, and (you guessed it) hiking! The movement of hiking works against gravity, providing hard work for the living tissue inside your bones as they keep you moving.

5 benefits of hiking

3. Decreased Risk Of Health Issues

Any form of regular exercise can have amazing benefits for your physical health, reducing the amount of trips to the doctor. Hiking is no different, providing both a cardiovascular and strength-building workout in one. Heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes are just some of the conditions where exercise has been proven to reduce risk.

4. Maintaining A Healthy Weight

No matter your fitness level, there is a hiking trail out there for you. Whether you’re a pro training for an event, or just starting out, you can gain huge benefits from getting outdoors. As we’ve already mentioned, hiking provides an effective aerobic workout, whilst burning serious amounts of calories. This contributes to better cardiovascular health and can go a long way to ensuring you maintain a healthy weight.

5. Increased Energy Levels

This may seem counter-intuitive, but hiking can actually raise your energy levels post-trail. There is plenty of research showing that exercise reduces fatigue and energizes your body and brain. You may not feel like going for a trek if you’re feeling exhausted, but regular hikes will help you feel all the better for it.

5 benefits of hiking

In Summary

Hiking may not be the first thing people associate with ‘working out’, but the physical benefits it can provide really pack a punch. You’ll start to build stronger muscles and healthier bones, gain more energy, and have less health issues. You don’t have to be climbing a mountain each week to reap these rewards either. Even just a moderate hike on a weekly basis will be enough to help you feel in better health.

True Nature Travels Blog

self care

Current circumstances have only compounded our usual stressors from work, family, and our personal lives. Every day, we hear bad news, deal with the negative economic repercussions of the pandemic (such as pay cuts and price hikes), and walk through the streets in constant fear. Even worse, stress research listed on The Conversation confirms that just six weeks of chronic stress is enough to cause depressive symptoms. We’re well past the six-week mark, so if you haven’t done anything to repel the negativity, then it’s only going to make things worse. Fortunately, trapped as we may be, you’ll find that comfort is never really too far from home. From stepping out of the house to doing yoga before you sleep, here are a couple of self-care tips that can help you cope during these stressful times.

Breathe between tasks

Workplace stress is bad enough, but working remotely is even worse. A recent study by Gallup says as much. After all, with thin boundaries between work and personal hours, people have the tendency to get buried in the former. Eventually, this leads to burnout.

One self-care tip in this circumstance is to practice a couple of breathing exercises during working hours. After all, a workplace stress guide on Pain Free Working highlights that breathing is the easiest way to release tension in both your head and body. The extra oxygen procured by deep breathing, for example, forces your body and mind to calm down. The 4-7-8 (second) breathing technique works well if you need to shift your focus onto something else. It’s useful when you start fretting over small details, giving you the reprieve that you need to look at things with a fresher eye later on. When you find yourself overwhelmed, even if it’s not because of work, simply remember to breathe.

Go outside

There are several things in the great outdoors that help improve your mood when you’re feeling particularly stressed. For example, Cornell University’s interdisciplinary team found that spending as little as ten minutes surrounded by plants makes us feel a lot calmer. Exposure to sunlight also increases your serotonin levels, which is the hormone responsible for stabilizing your mood. Then again, the simple act of stepping out of the house and leaving your worries behind is a powerful mood lifter, too.

Eat healthy snacks

Our bodies crave for comfort food when we stress out. Experts from the True Health Initiative explain that stress causes our body to release cortisol or the stress hormone. This chemical is what makes us crave for sugary, greasy, and other “comfort foods.” Cortisol convinces our brains that we need them, since it thinks your body needs it to fight stress. And while this is true (after all, who stays sad after two scoops of ice cream?), it’s not good for your body. In our article ‘Self-Care Habits to Live as your Best Self’, we emphasized how while you think food is a comfort factor to our emotional state, it’s not. Food is just fuel. And if your fuel is as unhealthy as a bucket of fries, then it’s only going to cause you a lot of grief in the long run.

The secret to a stress-free life is not just a happy mind, but a happy body as well. If you’re really craving, then know that there’s a healthy option for everything, such as fruits for sweets and some homemade sweet potato cuts for fries. 

Do yoga before bed

When active, cortisol makes use go into “fight or flight” mode, making it harder to sleep when you’re stressed. The lack of sleep can only cause more stress, potentially causing insomnia in the long run. To get some proper shut-eye, perform a couple of yoga moves before you go to bed. While it’s best known for improving one’s core strength and flexibility, Verywell Mind’s post highlights yoga’s other benefits, like lowering cortisol levels. Moreover, the focus needed to hold harder poses like the Lizard Pose or Before-Bed Bridge helps empty the mind, helping you calm your thoughts. Without the stimuli keeping you up, you’ll get a good night’s rest.

Times may be stressful, but don’t let that get to you. Stress is all in the hormones. If you learn to assert control over them, then you’re on your path to leading a healthier and happier life.

True Nature Travels Blog

Benefits of tumeric

Throughout history, our ancestors have relied on numerous herbs and spices, not only for cooking but for their powerful healing properties. Few have survived the test of time quite like turmeric, arguably the most well-studied dietary supplement in modern natural medicine.

Turmeric root powder originates from the Curcuma longa plant, a species of ginger native to Southeast Asia. The curcuminoids within it have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity with a wide variety of uses and benefits and very few side effects.

The best turmeric supplements have a combination of curcumin and black pepper (piperine) to enhance absorption and maximize efficacy. But what are the health benefits of turmeric and curcumin pills?

 

Helps Arthritis & Joint Pain

One of the most common uses for turmeric extract is combating the discomfort from joint pain and arthritis. Severe arthritic symptoms include limited range of motion, joint stiffness, excessive swelling, and lack of mobility. These symptoms can get worse over time, causing permanent damage if left untreated.

Research shows that curcumin inhibits many of the mediators of inflammation linked to rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and osteoarthritis development. Turmeric consistently reduces arthritis symptomology and may serve as an excellent complementary treatment for joint pain.

Read the studies on turmeric for arthritis.

Reduces Chronic Inflammation

Inflammation is the body’s immune system responding to irritants or threats. Inflamed areas often swell up, turn red, or become painful. While this is a healthy and normal bodily reaction, sometimes the immune system goes awry. If inflammation becomes chronic, it can lead to significant health problems.

Many trials have demonstrated curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties through its inhibition of key inflammatory markers in the body. Turmeric’s antioxidant activity also helps reduce oxidative stress, a process linked to low-grade inflammation.

Aids Weight Loss

Obesity can lead to several different health issues, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and others. If you’re an otherwise healthy individual, weight loss can be pretty straight forward. However, if you have a pre-existing metabolic disorder, things can be a bit more complicated.

Several trials have shown that curcumin benefits metabolic disorders by helping stabilize metabolism and managing weight. Turmeric increases insulin sensitivity, regulates lipid metabolism, and targets fat by suppressing multiple processes responsible for the growth of adipose tissue.

Benefits of tumeric

Improves Skin Health

Our skin is the all-important, outermost protective layer of our body. Skin keeps us safe from harmful microbes and regulates our internal body temperature. At times, unwanted skin conditions may arise that require treatment such as chronic acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

Many DIYers use turmeric powder to create face masks, pastes, and other topical solutions to heal the skin. Researchers have confirmed that curcumin reduces oxidative stress associated with inflammatory skin conditions. Turmeric also enhances collagen synthesis and significantly speeds up tissue repair.

Natural Blood Thinner

Blood clots occur when blood cells called platelets, move to a damage site to plug the wounded area. This occurrence is a normal bodily function. Without clotting, small papercuts would become catastrophic. At times, certain health conditions arise that require blood thinning to prevent blockages.

Curcumin supplements have shown potential as an anticoagulant (blood thinner) under certain conditions. Turmeric extract impacts several stages of the coagulation process, including thrombosis (local blood clotting), and hemostasis (stopping blood flow). However, more human trials should be done to confirm efficacy.

Benefits of Tumeric

Helps Fight Disease & Chronic Conditions

The potent antioxidant properties may be one of the most significant turmeric benefits. Curcumin has shown an innate ability to boost immune system function and protect against disease by directly inhibiting free radical cell damage and reducing oxidative stress. Turmeric can help with the following:

Cancer

Researchers have performed numerous trials on turmeric’s potential to serve as a complementary treatment in cancer patients. They’ve found that curcumin can selectively target cancer cells and inhibit tumor initiation and growth. Turmeric also helps reduce inflammation and pain from chemotherapy.

Diabetes

If you’re attempting to lower your blood sugar or prevent diabetes, turmeric may be able to help. Several trials have demonstrated curcumin’s potential in patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Curcumin appears to have both an insulin-sensitizing and glucose-lowering benefit while improving glycemic regulation.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Stabilizing blood pressure and preventing hypertension is one of the most common uses of turmeric. It won’t be able to overcome poor lifestyle choices that lead to high blood pressure. However, curcumin has shown an ability to improve vascular endothelial function, a modulator of blood pressure that declines with age.

Alzheimer’s & Dementia

Research shows that an oral turmeric supplement may be one of the best ways to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Curcuminoids can help reduce beta-amyloid plaque buildup on the brain and reduce neuroinflammation, two of the key biomarkers linked to Alzheimer’s development.

Regulates Cholesterol

Under certain conditions, clinical trials have concluded that turmeric can help lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels. Current evidence suggests curcumin may be beneficial if you are obese, have metabolic syndrome, diabetes, or another chronic condition affecting your blood lipid profile.

Candida Overgrowth

We know the primary turmeric health benefits include its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant activity. Current evidence suggests curcumin also contains antifungal properties. Multiple tests concluded that turmeric could reduce candida overgrowth and target fungal infections with moderate success.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

With new research emerging indicating that IBS patients frequently see an increase in the body’s inflammatory response, we now have a new treatment target. Curcumin powder has shown potential in reducing IBS severity and limiting symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and constipation.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease may develop due to continuing inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Curcumin has shown significant potential in treating IBDby inhibiting the upregulation of pro-inflammatory markers linked to chronic and relapsing GI tract problems.

benefits of tumeric

Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

At this time, there is no identified cure for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, but there are ample ways to control symptoms and flare-ups. Researchers have evidence to suggest that turmeric supplements may help reduce widespread musculoskeletal pain by inhibiting inflammatory pathways and reducing oxidative stress.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative condition in elderly populations characterized by motor symptoms, including tremors, muscle rigidity, and postural instability. Curcumin shows significant neuroprotective benefits, helping reduce neurotoxicity and oxidative stress linked to disease progression.

Thyroid Disease

Thyroid disease is highly pervasive in many populations around the world. Curcumin’s unique ability to combat inflammation, reduce bacterial overgrowth, and fight free radicals helps support a healthy thyroid environment. Turmeric capsules can also help relieve uncomfortable symptoms that accompany thyroid disorders.

Enhances Brain Function

Improving overall mental health and cognitive function is one of the most popular turmeric uses. Research shows curcumin enhances DHA synthesis which is critical for brain health. Antioxidants can also improve cognition and increase neuroplasticity, the brain’s capacity to create new synaptic connections.

Reduces Anxiety & Depression

Several clinical trials have shown that turmeric extract can influence neurotransmitter balance in the brain. Curcumin appears to have an antidepressant and anxiolytic effect through its ability to modulate levels of serotonin and dopamine. Thus, it may be a good complementary treatment for depression.

Final Thoughts on Health Benefits of Turmeric Curcumin

If you’re wondering “what is turmeric good for,” the answer is almost everything. It’s important to note; turmeric supplements are not a cure for diseases or chronic conditions. But, the unique medicinal properties of curcumin have shown significant health benefits and uses in modern natural medicine.

Benefits of Tumeric

Original article

True Nature Travels Blog

yoga tips
Yoga soothes and rejuvenates, and it helps us practice mindfulness as we grow stronger.
To tap into the kind of positive energy that yoga brings, we need to think about more than just how we move. We have to pay attention to the rhythm of our breathing, the atmosphere, and our emotions. We need to bring them in balance. But how exactly can we do that? By using music. Music brings harmony to life. It gives us those three key ingredients that we need: rhythm, atmosphere, and emotional connection that can elevate yoga from a mere workout to a truly profound experience. Here’s how to create your own perfect yoga playlist.

Consider the time of day


morning yoga
Morning yoga is usually meant to energize you and get you going, while a nighttime routine might be aimed at relaxation. Upbeat music might not be a great idea if you’re trying to let tension go and soothe your mind enough to help you sleep after a workout. Tailor your playlist to the time of day and the goal you’re trying to accomplish with your workout. Allow the playlist to create the right environment – either that of fast-paced, energetic joy, or that of a
safe, soothing relaxation


Think about your audience 


Are you working out alone? Then all you need to consider are your own needs. However, if you’re a
yoga instructor or a YouTube influencer with a large following, then you have to put your audience first. Think about what they need and how you can help them focus on the workout session, how to make them get through the tough parts and motivate them to keep going. 

Make sure that the playlist transitions from song to song smoothly and that your audience gets to hear relaxing tunes when they need to slow down and hold a pose, and picks up the pace when it’s time to move. 


Create visuals

 

creating a yoga playlist

If you’re creating a rockin’ playlist to go with your yoga, why not include some visuals to ensure you enjoy a more complete experience? If you’ve got an ear for good music, then you could put your skills to use and create the perfect mix that will inspire you to become fully immersed in your yoga workout. You can use a simple online video maker and browse through music visualizer templates to easily create a video to go with your playlist. Once you’re done, just download your video in full HD and you’ll have the perfect thing to accompany your yoga sessions.   

Match the music with the pace

 

If your yoga sessions tend to be more than 20 minutes long, then you likely have different sections in your workout. This is especially true of Vinyasa or Ashtanga types of yoga, which incorporate a lot of fast-paced movements. You want to find the songs to match these parts, and then have your playlist change as the workout winds down and your breathing slows. If you get it right, music will guide your movements and help you achieve perfect fluidity. This is especially important for beginners, who often feel like they’re stumbling through their asanas. If you want to learn how to be more graceful, then a good playlist is a way to go. 


Figure out the length of your yoga playlist

 

A playlist that lasts exactly as long as your workout does can be a great way to motivate yourself. After a while, you’ll learn the playlist by heart and your body will get used to moving to the rhythm. You’ll also have a pretty good idea of how much time is left before it’s over. 

If you are preparing this playlist for your class, make sure to adapt it to their pace and adjust things as you go. If you see that most of the attendees struggle with certain sections, make sure there’s an upbeat song playing to motivate them to break through their limits.  


Consider incorporating silent sections into your yoga playlist

 

lotus
Depending on the kind of yoga you practice, silent sections in your playlist can be very useful. Do you want the workout to be a meditative experience that encourages mindfulness? Then don’t be afraid to introduce silent sections into the playlist. This will give you some time to focus on your breathing and let tension go before you are gently eased back into the workout. 

Creating your perfect playlist will take a while. You might not get things right the first time, but this only means you get to play around with music until you get things right. When you’re done making a playlist, test it with your workout and see how you feel about it – did the music energize you? Did it help you get through difficult asanas? If the answer is yes, then you’ve done your job right.  

True Nature Travels Blog

Begin the Week

Enjoy a simple and gentle yoga practice with True Nature Leader, Farah Nazarali. This routine targets all the major joints and muscles and is simple and accessible for those new to yoga and those who enjoy moving at a slow, relaxed pace.


 

Join Farah’s monthly subscription and get yoga videos, meditations, and inspirational talks.

VIDEOGRAPHY: Dustin Anderson Filmed at Inveremere Beach, Nanaimo Canada April 2020.

 

FARAH NAZARALI

Farah is an inspirational yoga teacher, podcast host, and advocate of yogic practices that support health, happiness, and harmony. She is the founder of Drishti Point Yoga Podcasts and is currently the podcast host of In Conversation: The Podcast of Banyen Books and Sound. She has interviewed hundreds of spiritual teachers, Masters, and renowned authors and seamlessly integrates this wisdom into her teaching.

Farah specializes in teaching Workshops, Retreats, and Training locally and worldwide. She has a deep love for all things yoga and is profoundly inspired by the sacred texts of yoga, the teachings of Buddhism, and wisdom traditions that lead us to love, truth, and being of service.

True Nature Travels Blog

Steady & Steadfast: Finding Resilience with the 3 iRest Yoga Nidra Resolutions

Our teachers want to continue sharing with the TN community despite the distance, so many are sending in Meditations, Yoga sessions, and Talks. Today, we have this wonderful talk and meditation by the lovely Lisa Feder, owner of Being Well Yoga in Austin, TX. The first 10 min of this audio recording is about Sankalpa in iRest Yoga Nidra followed by a 15 minute meditation called Steady and Steadfast: Finding Resilience with the 3 iRest Yoga Nidra Resolutions.

You can support Lisa & Be Well Yoga during the pandemic by following them on Facebook and Instagram for updates and online classes.

Lisa’s Facebook
A Year of Mindful Wellness Facebook
Being Well Yoga Facebook
Being Well Yoga Instagram

Be well and enjoy!


Published author and Yoga Instructor Lisa Feder is owner of Being Well Yoga in Austin, TX. After a 25 year career in marketing and strategic planning, she found Yoga while seeking to balance the stress and challenges in her day to day. In her words, “I love watching what happens when a workplace implements a regular Yoga class program. The employees come in visibly wearing the stress of the day, and leave with a new perspective, recharged and reconnected. It’s awesome.”

True Nature Travels Blog


Playlist

 

True Nature Founder, Joshua Canter, and his talented wife, Luna Ray, have compiled a playlist to bring you back to your breath during this time of high-stress. Enjoy Luna’s powerful kirtan songs and Joshua’s calming guided meditations to help bring you back to center as you adjust to your new normal. We are wishing you and your loved ones health and safety. Happy Listening!

You can also find the playlist here.

True Nature Travels Blog

Do you have 4 minutes today?

“One of my students is struggling with trying to fit meditation into her work day. I asked her if she has four minutes. She said yes, I said let’s meditate together for 4 minutes. After our meditation, I asked her if it would be helpful if she had a 4 minute meditation. She said, yes please!  This track is my love note to all students who struggle with meditation. Start small and build on every success.” – Farah

*Footage from Playa Uvita, Costa Rica 2020

Find more about Farah and her upcoming retreat here.

 

 

FARAH NAZARALI

Farah NazaraliFarah is an inspirational yoga teacher, podcast host, and advocate of yogic practices that support health, happiness, and harmony. She is the founder of Drishti Point Yoga Podcasts and is currently the podcast host of In Conversation: The Podcast of Banyen Books and Sound. She has interviewed hundreds of spiritual teachers, Masters, and renowned authors and seamlessly integrates this wisdom into her teaching.

Farah specializes in teaching Workshops, Retreats, and Training locally and worldwide. She has a deep love for all things yoga and is profoundly inspired by the sacred texts of yoga, the teachings of Buddhism, and wisdom traditions that lead us to love, truth, and being of service.

True Nature Travels Blog


From my own healing journey as well as knowledge from my studies, I have learned that disease stems from disharmony in the body. If you dissect the word itself you’ll notice that it is “dis- ease,” in other words, there is a lack of ease somewhere and it could be stemming from the mental or the physical body which could be stemming from the mental or the physical. I bring this up because of the current state of affairs, which I want to say respectfully now, I am sending my love and ultimate respect to anyone who reads this that has lost a loved one or is suffering themselves currently from the virus. Below are my personal rituals for health that keep my immune system strong and my mind clear during times of increased stress.

Currently, I am an Ayurvedic practitioner in training past studies/certifications on primal methods of healthy & holistic living for the past 7 years: YTT, CMT,  western herbalism, aromatherapy, culinary, the subtle and energy body (chakra system) and a dedication to my own health journey with nutrition and various gut health methods dealing with immune triggers and parasitic infections. I am here to share with you my personal rituals and suggestions during these chaotic times that I have found to be a major help with our current realities. Health has become more than a passion, it is now a lifestyle that I hold my own power with. In the times of losing my focus, I choose to return to my empowerment and re-making my health my mission, my focus, and my life path. I hold my own hand right back into vitality with full compassion and least resistance, and find that love is more supportive in this journey than being driven by fear. 

A virus can be terrifying when it threatens to take our precious lives, especially since we have steered so far away from ritual with death in our culture. This thought itself can cause tension and stress in the body and without notice, we carry it every day, lowering our chance to fight disease because we stay in that state of a lack of ease. Anxiety and fear are branches from basic stress and are things that people deal with on a daily basis. When we stay in our stress, our body experiences the “fight or flight” effect, leaving us in our sympathetic nervous system. Our body is literally trying to fight what it thinks is life threatening which then releases hormones called adrenaline and cortisol throughout our body. Those hormones can cause an excess in our heart rate, shortness of breath, tightness in our bowels, etc. This is meant to only truly operate when there is an emergency situation and is not meant to feel (even a softly) every single day. Once this sensation is over, we re-enter our parasympathetic nervous system which has the opposing effect from SNS. Too much of this back and forth has a powerful hold on our immune system which over time will drain our bodies. If you are a person that is very sensitive to the effects of caffeine or stimulants, then you can think of this as the crashing effect. 

Fear and stress start to steal moments of our precious lives, becoming all we breath, eat, sleep, and talk about. Can you feel the current fluttering of energy around in the world? The desire to fight it is there, the awareness is there. We have the power to change the focus from fear based decisions to decisions made from hope and love. I believe that now is all we have we and we can use this as an opportunity to make changes, not just for the world but really for ourselves as individuals. If we start with ourselves and truly become our own master and teacher, the way that we can positively impact one another will become limitless. The habits we can start to introduce will slowly become who we are, connecting us back to ritual, the old ways of life that our ancestors lived. Just as the earth knows how to heal itself, our bodies can do the same. With the proper dedication and tools, we can fight back and make a change.

Where do moments that cause SNS and PNS present themselves to you? Is it overworking, social media, over-socializing with non-nourishing interactions? Are you eating the right whole and nourishing foods, taking herbs when needed, giving your body proper somatic exercises, limiting stimulants and caffeine intake, etc.? Life is all about balance and at first, a change in the lifestyle can feel like a complete shock but in the end, it will become so effective that it’ll become who you are. Trust me, I still fall back into old patterns of excess with my vices, especially with coffee and chocolate which almost immediately trigger an immune response in my body when I over consume. However, as irritating it can be having to deal with health issues, I am committed and determined to stay happy and healthy. So, what do I do? I continue to push on forward with my breath and focus my mind on the goals, the sensations I feel when I feel good and then I just continue to let go and enjoy my life. I’m riding this train with you and truly believe this is an amazing opportunity for a lot of us to regain the motivation to make changes in our lives and come back together in our truth.

skullcap - rituals for healthI don’t want to lie and say that this is the easiest of processes, but I can say the ultimate result of being more present within ourselves becomes the most rewarding gift. There is something special and mysteriously juicy about being in love with life again, even with destruction around. In Ayurvedic medicine and its sister science, yoga, I’ve learned a number of beautiful stories of archetypes which each hold shadows and light within themselves, yet there is always a solution and intertwining on the struggles becoming the greatest teachers. Everything results back to loving ourselves and life again, looking at all the new-found treasures. Both Ayurveda and yoga teach us devotion to something beyond our self but always remembering that it starts with self. We must fall in love with our own self, spiritually and physically.

I find when I start to give myself these times of solitude where I engage in the presence of my day with focus on happiness and feeling good, I get to truly be myself and be happy. I feel connected to spirit, hope and a love for what is still beautiful in this world. I live again like no one is watching. I almost feel like I was swept into a tornado of paranoia in the last year or two (longer than I expected), feeling I must document everything, know everything, and be everything and if I wanted to rest and do nothing with one of my days, I’d be punished for it. I’m finding that it is much more enjoyable when I give myself this discipline to just be with myself, understanding my body and how I can have a tremendous impact on the way it functions internally and externally. It definitely takes consistent self-motivation, and the deepest amount of trust and compassion to continue coming back to being with your body and its rhythm, but at the end of the day, there is no other motivation than that which keeps you coming to the practices these sister sciences have to offer. 

 Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating whole organic foods? Do you keep your main extremities warm during this time of year? Are you washing your hands and keeping up with basic hygiene principles? Are you washing your vegetables especially if they come from anywhere but your own garden? These are basic questions that help me personally come back to why. With all this being said, here are some rituals I include in my life daily that I have found to be most effective in strengthening the immune and happy muscles.


Rituals for Health

With all this being said, here are some rituals for health I include in my life daily that I have found to be most effective in strengthening the immune and happy muscles:

• Yoga, picking a kind that you resonate with and let yourself evolve with it.  If you’re inspired to try a few different kinds, go for it. Just try and really pay attention to which ones you can be the most present in.
• Dancing of any kind, especially in an energized, respectful space (like ecstatic dance for instance), is an amazing way to raise overall positive vibration in the body. Finding different archetypes of ourselves that we can play with that start to lead to the mysteries of our muscles and skin. Unraveling stories that were stuck and bringing our energy body back into balance
• Gardening
• Hiking (nature walks)
• Cutting down social media time!… I can’t stress this one enough. Social media can do a lot to our basic psychology that we are not even aware of. How can living in a world of feeling we always need to share what we are doing to everyone else make us feel calm? It comes back to that feeling of someone always watching, anxiety at its fullest. I do believe it can be a great tool to share and be inspired, so limiting to a small amount a day can help show the positives in all ways.
• Walking
• Journaling
• Alone time (more important than we think. How else are we going to be able to really see where we are stressing ourselves out if we keep filling our days to the point of not even knowing who we are anymore?)
• Cooking
• Singing
• Self-care rituals like baths, self-body massage, etc.
• Cranial Sacral! I’ve completely fallen in love with this
• Exercise
• Good sleep
• Reading
• Music lessons
• Time with animals

To keep the immune system healthy, another important thing to remember is to take time and clear your bowels. Yes, pooping is a very important thing that for some reason has become “shameful” or “embarrassing” to talk about with one another. An herb to help with this is: 2 tsp of licorice powder daily if you are having trouble with consistent moments 2-3 times a day. Enemas 1 week on and 1 week off is another method if you are in need to cleanse or just got through with being sick. Enemas at least twice a month is suggested for optimal health. 

________________________________________

Spring is what we in Ayurveda call Kapha season, with Kapha as the ruler of the immune system and vitality within us. Wet, damp, heavy, and sluggish. Very similar to the sensations we feel when sick. 

Eating foods that mimic the dosha will cause an imbalance in our immune system’s response to fight off invaders and can keep us sick if we are already sick.

Warming, nourishing, and pungent are ways to evacuate the mucus that Kapha can bring. Spices + cooking herbs like coriander, cilantro, sage, thyme, rosemary, ginger, turmeric, and asafetida. All are brilliant, effective, and delicious ways to add some nourishment into our food’s warming and nourishing modalities. Some are digestic and some are going to help expel any excess mucoid plaque still lingering around. For all my fermenting friends, switching kraut with kimchi is more effective during this time due to kraut being cooling and alkalizing and kimchi is warming. Bring in soups, broths, limit carbs but add in carb-y proteins like legumes, and never forget your leafy greens that present themselves around this time. Limit avocados, cold drinks, chocolate, sugars, bananas, and airy like chips, etc. We want simplicity for our digestive tract. I suggest start to really pay attention to how something starts to make you feel and if it adds mucous or sluggishness, remove it from your diet temporarily. 

Adaptogens/Herbs

Some of my favorite adaptogens, diaphoretics, warming, and nervine herbs I’d like to share with you are:

• Tulsi
• Elderberry syrup
• Echinacea tincture or tea
• Reishi
• Astragalus
• Licorice
• Cinnamon
• Catnip
• Yarrow
• Skullcap
• Orange peel
• Rose
• Motherwort
• California poppy
• Nettle

An important reminder is that to be effective, herbs need to be taken daily and not just once a week. It takes a minute to get into the routine but once you are in it, it becomes as easy as making your morning coffee. I suggest looking at the ones that pop out to you and reach out to me or another herbalist friend who can help you learn how these will affect your body’s current state. With this information, have a ritual drink or tincture daily, and start to feel the magic of our plant allies. 

Essential oils

(If pregnant, please consult with a practitioner near you to make sure they are safe for your pregnancy)  

• Ravansara
• Elemi*
• Grapefruit
• Blood Orange
• Cardamon (on belly for digestive support)
• Tulsi (lung support)
• Frankincense*
• Palo Santo*
• Myrtl*
• Naoli*
• Clary sage
• Marjoram
• Eucalyptus
• Rosemary 

*The essential oils that have a star next to them can be made into a blend and put on a handkerchief in a jar. Take it with you on a plane and breath it in throughout the flight. Feel free to email me for further detail on that one. Also, during this season I use either Ravansara or Elemi daily. I take four drops, rub together and rub over my lymph where my jaw is and also, I rub it on my chest. Tulsi is another to use on the chest for respiration. 

So, what’s the key to health? Health is always evolving, so learning to flow with it is the key.

  • Limit fear
  • Make lifestyle changes that bring in more vitality
  • Incorporate ancient ways of being and living into your daily life to connect us truly back to the mother (our earth)
  • Be with the seasons
  • Trust your plant allies
  • Trust each other,
  • Still try and live life to the fullest even amongst the chaos that’s being presented
  • Spend time with loved ones
  • Do things that bring you joy
  • Meditate
  • Somatic breath
  • and connect deeply back to yourself.

These are our roots and trusted companions which help us through our lives. For some added support, stay hydrated, start taking vitamins C + D, and make sure you get good rest. Another thing, I highly suggest getting outside everyday for even fifteen minutes in nature along with cutting down your caffeine intake.

Please feel free to email me for any support or extra rituals for health that I didn’t list here at primalharmony@gmail.com. If you are nervous about any of these suggestions, please consult your health care provider before trying. 

My information has come from many teachers throughout the years and I am currently studying at the Dhyana Center in Sebastopol California. Blessed be to you all.

________________________________________

Chelsea Shapouri is a Lifestyle Consultant for women and an Elemental Yoga Instructor based in Santa Cruz, CA. In her work, she offers Ayurvedic lifestyle modalities, Yoga, Breath work, Meditations, and Ayurvedic Recipes. Every client and student is rare and special to her. Chelsea’s mission is to find their unique rhythm, their primal-natural state, and from there support them with techniques and recipes that are meant for their bio-individuality. Harmony for the emotional body, physical body, and mental state is the embodiment she lives by and wishes to offer. Bringing people back home to themselves with techniques they can simply do themselves is what she lives for. The art of service is the art of love and she shares what has helped her heal for the hope to help others heal. Stay connected to Chelsea and read her story through social media or her website: Primal Harmony

True Nature Travels Blog


Maybe it’s the joy of eating decedent chocolate truffles while cozying up near a fire on a cool and cozy night or it’s the influence of Valentine’s day around the corner; either way something has me feeling romantic and inspired to get experimental with some chocolate in the kitchen. I love exploring different ways of bringing pleasure through our pallets while at the same time bringing a sense of sensuality throughout the body. Personally, I find life very romantic in more avenues than maybe the social norm.

In the program I’m studying in currently, we are learning about all types of spices and the healing properties they bring to our bodies. Something so small yet so powerful can bring a type of healing or awakening with just a single bite of food, magic in pure form. 

Magic from spices, magic from moist and rich chocolate truffles; combine them and we have a journey of the senses. To me, that’s what food is all about, an exploration of senses that bring us to a state of euphoria. It is another chance to love everything that is happening to us and find that area of romance in our lives.

 


The community we get to share the food with, the process of making the food, and then the pleasure of tasting the masterpiece that was curated is all a ritual that gets to bring us as people back to life’s richness. I feel what a day like valentine’s day can be a reminder for is all forms of love, intimacy, devotion, and connection. Do they not all have the same meaning in a form? There is definitely an avenue of marketing that gets brought around this time of the year that is fixated on couples, nice dinners, gifts, etc. but underneath that, there is just a gentle sweet reminder to come back to that feeling of mystery and excitement that everyday life can bring and to feed ourselves and others in a way that will enkindle and revive every cell of our being. 

We can be in love with our self without another’s love to justify the amount we feel and we can also make food that brings pleasure into our being for just ourselves and no other reason than that, because we deserve to enjoy the romance of life even if we are quote on quote single and alone. This time, Valentine’s day, it’s a time to take care of ourselves and enjoy a nice time on our own with treats and whatever sparks our fancy, or gather with the ones we love and share these forms of offerings and devotions to one another that is so ancient, it goes beyond modern times.

 


This recipe is simple, a little messy, and something that all ages and sexes will in my opinion truly enjoy. Chocolate will bring energy and pleasure while the spice factors will bring warmth and excitement. 

Nutmeg is a spice that is an aphrodisiac, slight sedative, and helps aid digestion and brain function. Paprika is heating so it can help warm your body temperature as well as start to move any excess mucus that is in your gut lining, causing a nice detox effect and a support to your digestive health. All Spice is known as a slight sedative and even anti-inflammatory aid. Then, we have the sweetness of Orange zest which’s flavor will bring such an unusual taste into your mouth that it’ll bring the, “mmmmmmm.. what is that” question into the mind as you take bite after bite. Why not have a relationship with our food in a way of fascination and charm? Why not have a great relationship with ourselves, others, and everything this beautiful life has to offer? 

These modalities are just other ways to spice up our lives a little bit more and bring in a little more play while exploring edges. Flavoring can be intimidating but so rewarding in the end, so I hope you enjoy the process of sharing this gift of food with yourself, the ones you love and truly enjoy the sense awakening that may just happen when you bite into these decedent little chocolate truffle treats. I hope you enjoy your time of making some of this delicious medicine and blessed be. Xoxox

 



Chocolate Truffle Recipe:

 8 oz of bitter sweet chocolate
¼ cup of butter or coconut oil (they will be softer with oil so make sure you refrigerate at all times unless eating)
1 cup almond butter (creamy)
1 ½ tsp of flakey sea salt
1 tsp of freshly grated orange zest
2 tsp of vanilla
1 fresh nutmeg grated about ¼ of the way or a little more (test first)
3/4 tsp of plain paprika
2/4 tsp of All Spice
Cacao powder for rolling 

Take the chocolate and butter and place it in a heat safe bowl. Then take the bowl and put it on a sauce pan filled with a little bit of water. Bring the water to boil then reduce the heat to low and stir the chocolate and butter until mixed. This is a double broiler type of action. 

Take the bowl off the sauce pan and wipe the bottom down to get all the water off so none of that moisture enters the chocolate. Once done, place the remaining ingredients into the bowl and stir with a spatula until incorporated. This is the fun part now of folk method cooking. YOU get to control the level of spice to your liking. Use mine as an outline then try it and see if you want more spice, add more paprika. If you want a little more sweetness, add a little more of the all spice & nutmeg. Have some fun with it.

Then refrigerate for about two hours. Pull out when done and then take a little cookie scoop or smaller spoon and start to spoon out some balls. Roll the balls in the palm and then place them in a bowl with the Cacao powder. Toss around a little and then place the truffle on a plate. Continue the process. Hands may fill up with some chocolate so I like to place them back into the fridge while I wash my hands and then start once again. 

Refrigerate for a couple more minutes and then serve when you are ready. Can hold up to one week in the fridge.

 


 

Chelsea Shapouri is a Lifestyle Consultant for women and an Elemental Yoga Instructor based in Santa Cruz, CA. In her work, she offers Ayurvedic lifestyle modalities, Yoga, Breath work, Meditations, and Ayurvedic Recipes. Every client and student is rare and special to her. Chelsea’s mission is to find their unique rhythm, their primal-natural state, and from there support them with techniques and recipes that are meant for their bio-individuality. Harmony for the emotional body, physical body, and mental state is the embodiment she lives by and wishes to offer. Bringing people back home to themselves with techniques they can simply do themselves is what she lives for. The art of service is the art of love and she shares what has helped her heal for the hope to help others heal. Stay connected to Chelsea and read her story through social media or her website: https://primal-harmony.com/