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How to Maintain Mental Focus in May

Lifestyle Hacks by Certified Ayurveda Movement Coach & Ayurvedancer

Nandini Natasha Austin

Dear Reader

Namaste and Welcome to May's edition of Poise your monthly Ayurvedic Living Magazine. Using Ayurvedic wisdom, we believe that everyone can maximize their health and vibrancy at any age and regardless of their health history. With a balanced diet, effective exercise, embracing the outdoors, and a positive outlook, you can stay younger for longer, inside and out, and live life to your highest potential.

Poise Pronounced 'puaz' translates to the word 'balance' in French. Let's face it we all struggle with balance, and it may come harder this month because May is moving like a fast-track train. The woods are alive, flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and nasty ticks are rife upstate.

Photos Credit Nandini Austin

Whilst May often is seen as a month of renewal, perhaps all this momentum and heat has left your body struggling to manage the increased heat and humidity. Or perhaps you are feeling a little overwhelmed and over-scheduled? If the answer is a resounding yes, then read on we share some simple Ayurveda rituals to incorporate into your routine, and a simple tomato chutney recipe, geared to keep you balanced and to reconnect with your inner self.

And with it being "Mental Health Awareness month, there is no better time to ensure your mental, physical, and spiritual health are all in check so that you are able to maneuver when stress inevitably comes your way.

1. # Slumber early and rise to Manifesting Mornings

Many of my Ayurveda clients seek more vitality and energy in their day, so I tell them this simple hack. ''Get up earlier and go to bed earlier." By observing the circadian rhythm of life, 10 pm is when the body starts the process of regeneration so whenever possible get to bed by then. If you are a night owl, try moving your alarm to 15-minute increments earlier each night so you do it gradually.

Rising at 5.55 am is a good time to get up. Why? Because in numerology this represents manifestation and the power of change. Instead of automatically reaching for your phone, take a breath mindfully drawing in anything that you want more of. For example, you can say things like, my day will be stress-free, filled with abundance, love, and gratitude. Or, I am creating opportunities everywhere I go. This positive self-talk in the morning can help set the tone for your day.

#2. Salute those Sun Salutations

Ok, next let's get stretching and moving. This month I was lucky to attend the 19th Annual NAMA Ayurveda conference in Boone North Carolina. A big thank you to Kottakal- a distributor of Classical Ayurveda products of Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala who invited me along to immerse myself in everything Ayurveda. Every morning as a group we met at dawn to meditate. We were led through a series of repeated Sun Salutations for 5 - 7 min mins. Doing the poses in sequence and to music certainly helped to create a state of flow.

Nandini Austin on her sun deck

A devotional song was used to quiet the mind and open the heart to the divine. But you can use any song- In Ayurveda, Sun Salutations warm, strengthen, and align the entire body. When practiced daily, they bring greater flexibility to your spine, joints and help keep your waist trim. If you can't do all the poses, start with half sun solution.

How to Perform a Traditional Sun Salutation Sequence

  1. Start in mountain pose (Tadasana). ...

  2. Move into prayer pose (Pranamasana). ...

  3. Enter raised arms pose (Hasta Uttanasana). ...

  4. Lower into a standing forward bend (Uttanasana). ...

  5. Come into the equestrian pose (Ashwa Sanchalanasana). ...

  6. Move into a low plank pose (Chaturanga Dandasana).

#3. Get Down with a Devotional Dance

This month I was honored to perform Dance at Duzeen Elementary School as a way to introduce dance to young children together with the nonprofit "the Vanaver Caravan Dance'. who perform several original, world-infused choreography and music, both locally and internationally. It felt so good to express myself and perform after many years.

For centuries manifestation and healing through dance were ancient rituals that our bodies enjoyed. Today many of us have been 'conditioned by life, social media, schooling, and other people to hold back our feelings and our dance moves, restricting ourselves and making us tense up. Our bodies can tell our greatest truths if only we learn to listen and trust, then our potential for growth is unlimited. When we begin to move and connect to our bodies we also unlock "stuck" parts of our lives, heal old wounds and feel more healthy as dance is a great way to express ourselves.

Photo credit above: Nandini Austin in traditional Kathak Outift about to perform.

So pop on your favorite track and move. I also weave Ayurveda positive affirmations through my dance classes to remind us to give thanks to our beautiful bodies.

Ps The next full moon is The Strawberry Moon occurs on Saturday, June 4th so why not have a devotional dance party to take advantage of the potent energy of the moon?

#4 Cool off with Cilantro

If you are susceptible to overheating this season like a Kapha or Pitta Dosha, then the way to beat the heat is to freshen up your plate with cooling foods like cucumber, avocado, lime, and cilantro and favor spices on the cooling side like fennel seeds, lime zest, and cardamom. Ayurveda nutrition tells us that spices promote digestion. I have jars of the stuff in my kitchen.

Cilantro has so many benefits, and coriander seeds are more potent. The cooling effect of coriander seeds has also been known to help reduce stress, improve mood, and even help with insomnia. It can also be used for rashes like poison Ivy - yes see my blog on cilantro and its benefits here

Cilantro is a firm staple in the Austin residence and in Ayurveda, I serve it as a garnish and my kids love it. I now proudly have a box of it growing on my deck. Most digestives (like cayenne) tend to overheat but cilantro is unique as it's a cooling digestible.. my tomato chutney recipe here. I was kindly given a cilantro plant by the Soil to Soul team, a division non-profit of the Holistic Healthcare family, with whom I hosted an Ayurvedic Nutrition cooking class' Get Curried Away last month.

So now you have a few easy tips and create a sense of calm amidst the crazy chaos. Even adding just one of these into your life is a win. An Ayurveda lifestyle means living in alignment with the seasons. Its one of the best ways to your support health, and well-being and to balance your immune system and digestive pathways.

Many of us forgo self-nurturing, believing we can rest, sleep and exercise later but it's important to remember that what we do in our 40s and 50' directly correlates to our future health in our 60,70 and 80s! So finding even a few moments this month to reset, recharge and refresh your body, mind, and spirit is key.

As always, we will continue to inspire healthy, mindful living and empower you to make informed decisions about yourself and your future health.

So, above all......Live a life in balance!

If you want to learn more about Ayurveda and how it can help you, schedule a free 30-minute Ayurvedic consultation here

Ps Im is excited to perform two dances for the nonprofit Cafe De La Culture this weekend. The event is with the Musical Ambassadors of Peace to support trauma relief for refugee women and girls who have been victims of war and genocide. It is co-sponsored by Seasoned Gives another non-profit that assists Women and BIPOC entrepreneurs with everything from Financial Literacy to business mentoring.

Come support and see tickets here

Love and Abundance

Nandini Austin

Live Life in Balance

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1 Comment

May 19, 2023

Ever since you have been writing about early to bed early to rise, I’ve slowly moved my times around and what a huge difference!

Now to add my day will be stress-free, filled with abundance, love, and gratitude. Or, I am creating opportunities everywhere I go!

The easy to incorporate tips have allowed me to take longer more intentional moments.

Thank you 🌿

Gratefully Yours ~H

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