Benefits of abhyanga include the natural production of ocytocin, the “feel-good” hormone. Try it in the morning and at night to see which feels better for you – it can help you lift your energy for the day ahead or help settle you down for a good night’s sleep. Ayurvedic self-massage can also help release toxins in the soft tissues so your body can naturally detox.
Kira RoarkWhen not writing for Books for Better Living, KIRA ROARK is practicing yoga, meditating, reading, and going on relaxed runs on the creek trail down the street. Or ... watching Real Housewives and lazing by the pool. (Life is all about balance, right?) She lives in "the city house zoo" - a highrise apartment in downtown Denver she shares with her husband, stepdaughter, dog, cat, tortoise + two fish. You can reach her at ClarityBranding.com.
Articles by Kira Roark
Floral essences are infusions that can be ingested or used in an aromatherapy diffuser. They’re said to help align our inner and outer selves. According to some naturopaths, floral essences target the underlying emotional imbalances that cause physical discomfort.
Google “meditation studio” and you’ll likely find one near you – they’re popping up all over the country. Most studios have classes from 15-90 minutes, with some led by teachers and some self-led. Either way – and no matter if you’re a meditation newbie or a seasoned practitioner – you’ll enjoy a quiet break in your busy day.
Remember when coconut water was hard to find? Now you can find it next to Gatorade at your local 7-11. Last summer it was infused water ... all my friends at work started carrying around mason jars of water filled with colorful slices of lemon, blueberries, and strawberries. This year, everybody's talking about two drinks: watermelon water and kava.
HIIT is fun! (I swear I’m not just saying that.) It breaks up the monotony of your usual exercise routine. My favorite variation so far is the simple sprint, and I love to do it outside on the creek path with my dog. We make it a game together, and honestly, I feel like a kid again sprinting as fast as my body will take me (for one minute at a time).
Over the past few years, I've been hearing more about sage smudging from friends who are distinctly not woo-woo. I don’t pretend to understand the ancient rituals that have inspired our mainstream practice of burning sage sticks. But here’s what I do know: there’s a discernable shift in my living space after I smudge. After years of smudging, the smell alone calms me and clears my mood.
Teff is an Ethiopian grain that’s making its way into natural grocery stores across the U.S. It's rich in protein. It’s full of six different amino acids and minerals that we’re often lacking (iron, magnesium, calcium, copper). It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help with menstrual issues. Its high-fiber content can gently speed up the digestive process. Wow, these little seeds are powerful!
I picked up a copy of American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America because I admire Michelle Obama, not because I was interested in gardening (also: it's a gorgeous coffee table book). But I was so inspired while reading it, I created a windowsill garden in our apartment.
You'll need to come up with your own set of measures (beyond how thin is your waistline and how fat is your wallet). How about: how peaceful are your days? How comfortable is your body? How spacious are your thoughts?
To honor those we've lost, we can write down a favorite memory, put it in our stocking, and then read them together during the holidays. Each year, the slips of paper in our stockings will grow, inviting us to celebrate those who have passed. It's a lovely way to bring them with us into this special time of year.