Holistic Health Care For Women – San Francisco, CA
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CC image courtesy of chriswaits on Flickr

CC image courtesy of chriswaits on Flickr

Your body naturally goes through a cleansing cycle in the springtime. Similar to the process of snow melting in nature, any stagnation that has accumulated during the colder months begins to thaw and circulate throughout the body, looking for a way out.

Since we all have unique constitutions and life circumstances, the cleansing process should look a bit different for each person. Some people need a big burst of lightness and activity to shake off the heaviness of winter while others need continued attention to grounding and nourishing as they cleanse.

Kate Schwabacher’s explanation of how different types of cleanses work best for different mind-body constitutions is one of the most helpful articles I’ve seen on the topic. A week of seasonal, home-cooked, whole food meals and lots of rest will give good results for most people without the side effects of a more austere regimen. As popular as juice cleanses are these days, I agree with Kate that they are often too depleting.

To gently support the body’s natural detoxification process this spring, follow these lifestyle tips: (more…)

As I mentioned in my previous post, the sweet taste enhances feelings of contentment. It’s easy to forget that the sense of taste is just one of the ways we invite nourishment and satisfaction into our lives. In Ayurveda, we understand that well-being is impacted by everything we take in through our five senses. Therefore, what we eat, touch, smell, hear and see affects our physical health and state of mind. Have you ever found yourself craving junky sweets when you’re not getting enough nourishment from other aspects of life like your relationships, career or self-care practices? I know I have. Here are some ways to increase sweetness in your daily life through the other four senses:

Ayurvedic warm oil massage

Ayurvedic warm oil massage

Touch: Soaking in the tub, any form of loving touch like holding hands, long hugs, cuddling and gentle massage with warm oil. The word sneha in Sanksrit means both “oil” and “love.” Ayurveda recommends daily warm oil self-massage through a practice called abhyanga.

Smell: Flowers, essential oils like cardamom, cinnamon, jasmine, neroli, sweet orange, rose, vanilla, or ylang ylang. Use a diffuser or purchase a small spritzer bottle and add 10-15 drops of essential oil. Keep it by your desk or in your bag for whenever you need a little boost.

Sound: Kind words (especially self-talk), any soothing, calming or uplifting music.

Sight: Earthy colors, pastel colors, spending time in nature, bringing nature into your surroundings at home or work.

Some of my other favorites include smiling, laughing, getting more sleep and taking deep belly breaths.

Right now, jot down a few simple and pleasurable activities that help you to feel more nourished. The next time you find yourself craving a cookie or some other treat, take out your list and pause for a moment to reflect. Do you actually want to eat that specific food or is your craving indicating that another area of life may need some TLC? When is the last time you did something on your “pleasure” list? Perhaps there’s a way to satisfy the craving with a more nutritious form of the sweet taste. Or maybe you decide that what you really, really want right now is the treat. If so, honor that craving by giving the experience your complete attention and savoring each bite with the fullest pleasure.

This summer brought a lot of big changes into my life. My husband and I moved into a new home in July, and I also opened my own full-time office near Mission and 21st Street in August. It has all been very exciting and, to be honest, quite exhausting.

Now that the boxes are unpacked and the dust is settling, I’m ready to share a new offering with you. In addition to my one-on-one patient care, I am thrilled to be launching Find Your Flow: a six-week small group coaching program for women that begins on Tuesday, October 9th.

You may be laughing at the image above, but I chose it very intentionally. For me it represents a time when relationships with other women were more straightforward. Many women I know (myself included) have painful stories to tell about jealousy, betrayal and friends tearing each other down. It can be profoundly healing to spend time in the company of other women and simply offer each other the gifts of friendship and mutual support. (more…)

I’m back at The Women’s Building this month to talk about food and digestion. It’s something that so many people struggle with, but often feel embarrassed to discuss with friends or even their healthcare practitioner. This topic is near and dear to my heart because of my own journey to heal my digestive system and develop a healthier relationship with food. By becoming more mindful of what I was eating and how I was eating it, I also learned how to be so much kinder to myself. If this topic strikes a chord with you, come join me on the 22nd!

Do you struggle with digestive challenges, PMS or fatigue? Would you like to have a more peaceful relationship with your body and your food?

In this class, you’ll learn about Ayurveda, an ancient system of holistic medicine that offers practical guidance for healthier living through attention to our daily habits. Ayurveda teaches that each person’s unique mind-body constitution shapes what creates health for her and what leads to disease. For example, a woman may naturally have a tendency to feel cold, dry and ungrounded. If she eats mostly cold, light foods like salads, crackers, granola bars and dried fruit and she is constantly on the go, she may begin to experience more anxiety, worry, dry skin, constipation and insomnia.

When you are able to identify what qualities are contributing to disharmony for your own unique mind-body constitution, you can begin to incorporate more of the opposing qualities into your diet and lifestyle practices. The woman in the example would be better served by a warm, nourishing diet of soups and stews, cooked vegetables, healthy oils, whole grains and juicy fruits. She would also greatly benefit from slowing down and creating more time for rest and self-care. By restoring balance to a woman’s system in this way, we create the conditions for her body’s natural healing capacity to flourish.

In this class, you will learn how to:

  • choose foods that support your unique mind-body constitution
  • make an easy one pot meal that helps to gently cleanse and heal your digestive system
  • minimize digestive challenges like gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation
  • use your mealtimes to de-stress and ground yourself in the present moment

 

When: Wednesday, February 22 from 6:30-7:30 pm
Where: The Women’s Building, Room A (upstairs) — 3543 18th Street, San Francisco, CA
Cost: $8 advance registration, $10 at the door
To register: scroll down to the form below or visit http://peacewithfood.eventbrite.com/

 

It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by all the conflicting information surrounding healthy eating. Each year, there is a new food fad that promises to solve all your problems. The suggestions we’ll cover in this class have stood the test of time for thousands of years. If you’re tired of struggling with what to eat and you want to develop a more peaceful relationship with your body and your food, this class is for you.

 

After experimenting with the guidelines for healthy eating from part 2 of this series, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed! When I first read these guidelines several years ago, I also felt pretty overwhelmed. My mealtimes were anything but peaceful or mindful. When I began trying to sit down at the table and eat my food without reading a magazine or turning on some music, I found myself getting extremely agitated. I was so used to eating in a distracted environment, or using food to distract me from uncomfortable emotional states, that I felt trapped. However, I kept practicing and the discomfort slowly began to ease. I started to notice the flavors and textures of my food more. I also began to eat smaller portions because I was able to focus on my internal sensation of fullness rather than just finishing what was on my plate. I didn’t snack as much either because when I made myself eat the snack at the table, I realized I was more bored than hungry.

It has been a long journey and I am still not 100% consistent, but my attitude toward food has really been transformed through these daily practices. Instead of using food to reward or punish or distract myself, I now view it from a more neutral perspective as basic nourishment. I know that in order to have energy and feel more emotionally balanced, I need to give my body the building blocks to create those states. I also know that I need to create consistent routines surrounding my meals so that my body knows it can depend on a stable source of fuel.

Ayurveda is all about moderation. There’s no need to adopt a “take no prisoners” approach to changing the way you eat. In fact, that’s only going to lead to you feeling deprived and resentful. Start small by choosing an area where you feel like you could have some success and also enjoy doing it. Maybe for you that’s the food journal, or maybe it’s starting to sit at the table for dinner three times this week. Whatever it is, approach your new project with a sense of curiosity and experimentation. Meals are often very social times, so talk to your family members or coworkers about what you’re doing and let them know how they can support you. When you feel like you’ve been about 75% successful at adopting one of the suggestions, think about which one you’d like to try next.

If challenging emotions start to come up — which they likely will, invite yourself to hold them with compassion, breathing deeply and sensing where you’re feeling them most intensely in your body. See if you can just be present with each physical sensation rather than getting caught up in the story or the drama behind it. Oftentimes, you’ll find that the sensation begins to shift. Above all, be patient with yourself. It took each of us a very long time to develop our current relationship with food, so we need to give ourselves plenty of time and space to build the foundation for a new way of relating to what we eat.

P.S. If this series stirred something in you and you’d like some support to move toward a way of eating that feels right for your own mind, body and spirit, please get in touch! This topic holds a special place in my heart because of my own past challenges with emotional eating, and I’d love to help you navigate your way to a more peaceful relationship with your food.