Self Care is the New Health Care

Every summer after my annual yoga retreat at Breitenbush Hot Springs, I enjoy a 1/2 speed work life through July and August. In my line of work, things slow down. I see fewer folks at yoga class and in my private practice, so it’s an opportunity for me to enjoy the season and have some fun. During “summer vacation,” I spend more time outside, travel to see friends, enjoy some outdoor concerts and other entertainment and “clock out” on the early side more times than not.

This past week I’ve been coming off of a month of celebrations: birthdays, an annual visit to my home town to be with my ladies, a visit from my dad… and while this has all been fun for me, it has also taken it’s toll. For one thing, I have consumed more alcohol than I probably will for the rest of the year and then some. That and being off rhythm through travel, eating out more, and hosting has left me with a general fatigue and sluggishness in my body/mind. Ayurveda teaches that if we follow a healthy daily routine, then when we indulge during festivities, our body can bounce back pretty easily. I translate this teaching in my work as a variation on the 80/20 rule: follow your routine at least 80% of the time and you can afford the indulgence the other 20%. “Afford” meaning, your system can handle it without breaking down too much. This month, I’m way off here, but because of my training in Ayurveda, I know what to do for the next few weeks to support my body in detoxing from the cumulative effects of all the celebrating and travel:

  1. Stay hydrated

  2. Eat easy to digest nourishing food when I am hungry

  3. Skip meals when I’m not (I haven’t been hungry for dinner lately)

  4. Get to bed a little earlier

  5. Wake up a little earlier

  6. Take a short nap or savasana in the afternoons if I’m tired

It’s not rocket science, but, these simple steps, practiced regularly, will get me back in sync soon.

How about you? Have you been indulging just a bit more lately? Are you feeling some of the excess lingering in your system in the form of fatigue, moodiness, indigestion or achy joints? Where are you on the 80/20 scale these days?  Try this recipe for a delicious and easy to digest meal you can make  anytime you’re feeling a little bit off.

Besides reveling in some summertime fun, I have been moving through a transitional space from a year of intensive study in the desert to life back in the PNW, and channeling all I’ve learned and am integrating into my work. It’s been fun to begin to talk about the dhatus (sanskrit for bodily tissues) in yoga classes and to see some friends for marma sessions in my new office space.

But it’s been slow, and I’ve felt both the need to get my work going again and a deep desire not to push myself, to honor the full transition and integration time that is here. it’s a delicate balance, and I am deepening my learning around trusting the wisdom of honoring my inner rhythms.

One thing I AM bringing forward now is my 10 week course in Ayurvedic Self Care which I first introduced a few years ago. I feel so passionate about helping others feel better in their bodies, minds and spirits, because I want us ALL to be able to move ahead in our lives offering our gifts to this world. When we are stressed out, fatigued, indulging in too many comfort foods and substances trying to take the edge off, we suffer little by little until we find we don’t have the energy or clarity to pursue those things which are most meaningful to us.

I really know the kinds of struggles we face as humans, and if we’re honest with ourselves, it’s not easy–and sometimes it’s really hard. I also know the inadequate support offered  by conventional medicine. I mean, I really appreciate allopathic medicine for what it is: a place to go for serious illness and surgery. But I also recognize what it’s not, a form or preventive or mental or spiritual care. It’s NOT designed to do those things, and it doesn’t have much to offer us there.

I went looking early on in my 20’s for the practices and communities that would fill my deep desire to understand myself and my place in the world, and bring the feeling of contentment and belonging I was looking for. I’ve invested many thousands of hours and dollars learning about effective alternative approaches to healthcare and psycho-spiritual care and development, and I have been lucky enough to make my living teaching what I learn to others. 

And what I’ve learned is this: the answers are simple but they are not easy. The habits that enslave us and cause our pain and suffering take time to unravel and change. But we CAN change. We can train ourselves to reach inside, and towards the people, substances and activities that are truly nourishing. We can learn how to feel at home in our bodies and how to care for them/ourselves in ways that leave us feeling really good.  Not only that, but more and more people are feeling drawn to do the work it takes to care for themselves for the good of themselves, their families and the world.

So, this month I am offering you a place to come together  with others of like-mind and learn the practices that make all the difference in feeling really great or feeling crummy. Using an Ayurvedic lens, we will learn about our unique constitution, the ways it goes out of balance, and what we can do to regain our ground. With my support and guidance, and the inspiration of others in the community, you will gain real traction in creating and sustaining new daily habits that will lead to a healthier, happier you this fall and winter. And learning these skills, your life will improve for the better. Find our all about the course I have made HERE.

If you are struggling on your own to stay motivated and make changes in your life, you’ve tried the conventional approaches and you’re ready to invest in learning a wisdom tradition with thousands of years behind it (with modern science proving regularly the truth of it’s basic principles), I invite you to apply for the course.  Apply for Sacred Daily Essentials HERE (no cost, no obligation to join). It is my deepest pleasure to walk along this path with you, supporting the awakening of your own body/mind intelligence and helping you stay accountable to yourself.  You are so worth this time and investment. We all are. We are starting September 24th.  Let’s do this!

Love, Shannon