5 Natural Remedies to Support Digestive Health

5 Natural Remedies to Support Digestive Health

Our digestive health typically needs some extra care in the winter. According to Ayurveda — yoga’s sister science of holistic medicine — the digestive fire is at its strongest during this time, due to the cold.

We may feel that our bodies are burning more calories to help keep us warm, thus driving us to seek more nutrient-dense food. Our immune systems are also connected to our digestive systems, and we all know how easy it is to get sick during the winter months if our bodies are out of balance.

Eating a healthy diet complete with fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies, plus remembering to hydrate with enough water is really just the starting point for balancing our digestive systems now and any time of year. This winter, however, you can turn to the following natural remedies to help you restore balance and stoke your digestive fire.

Ginger Tea

Ginger may help with relieving indigestion, nausea, painful menstrual cramps, and more. To make your own ginger tea, just slice two inches of fresh ginger root (peeled or not peeled) into thin slices, boil 3 to 4 cups of water, pour it into a teapot, add the ginger and allow it to simmer for about 15 minutes. If you like the warm, spicy flavour of ginger, you can certainly add more of it next time — just be sure to start out with less and add as more as desired.

Peppermint Tea

If the flavor of ginger doesn’t exactly fly with you, maybe peppermint will. Like ginger, it may help ease symptoms of indigestion and also menstruation. You can make your own tea with it by adding half a cup of dry peppermint leaves to 3 to 4 cups of boiled water and leaving it to steep for about five minutes. For a little extra sweetness, optionally add a couple drops of honey.

Turmeric Anti-Inflammatory Tea

Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and there have been claims that it helps with stomach upset, stomach ulcers, and even irritable bowel syndrome — although there isn’t enough scientific proof to say that it will. Nevertheless, you can use turmeric in your cooking or even make your own turmeric tea. Primal Palate has a lovely turmeric anti-inflammatory tea recipe using turmeric powder, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, raw honey, and fresh lemon juice.

Coriander, Cumin, and Fennel Tea

Known to help support good digestion, coriander is a nice little herb that may help with stomach discomfort and even nausea. While it’s best used it as a garnish for certain meals, you can also make tea with it. Joyful Belly has an Ayurveda tea recipe that uses coriander seed, cumin, and fennel seed to detoxify the body and help with digestion.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar — the dark, unfiltered kind with the chunks of stuff floating at the bottom of it (called “the mother”) — is a popular health tonic for killing bacteria throughout digestive system to soothe an upset stomach and other digestive troubles. Bragg’s is one of the best known brands out there, and many grocery stores carry it. You can add 1 to 2 tablespoons to 8 ounces of water to sip on, or optionally add some fresh lemon juice or honey if you can’t stand the vinegary flavour. Unfortunately, you can’t make tea with apple cider vinegar because adding it to boiling water will kill all the beneficial active cultures that it contains.

Having a happy digestion system throughout the winter can help you ward off that sluggish feeling, sleep better at night, feel more energized throughout the day, and help you make the most of your yoga practice. So drink up these recipes, and enjoy the digestive benefits!


Win a 7 Day, 6 Night Relaxation and Renewal Yoga Retreat in Mexico

While tourists have long been flocking to popular Mexican travel destinations like Cancun and Acapulco, the Central Pacific region offers some of the most pristine coastlines and beautiful forested mountains in the country. The resort town of Puerto Vallarta and surrounding area is one of the absolute best tropical destinations for any yogi looking to take their practice (and adventurous side) to one of the most awe-inspiring natural playgrounds Mexico has to offer.

One lucky Yogi Surprise member will win a 6-night yoga retreat this January to relax, renew, and revive themselves at the Tailwind Jungle Lodge located north of Puerto Vallarta, near San Francisco in the state of Nayarit. Founded by an American family back in 2007, the lodge offers yogis a creative and peaceful nature-inspired environment with bungalows, palapas, and casitas designed to look like treehouses, surrounded by five acres of lush tropical jungle.

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Enjoy two daily yoga classes under the palm trees as you listen to sounds of ocean waves in the background and the warm jungle breeze calms your spirit. Connect even closer to your body and the environment around you by treating yourself to a relaxing massage, a reflexology therapy session, a therapeutic mud spa, or even an appointment/workshop with holistic nutritionist “Jungle Girl” Tamara Jacobi right at the lodge!

In addition to practicing yoga right in the middle of a tropical jungle environment, you can explore this spectacular coastline even further by enjoying other activities like sea kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, hiking, surfing, deep sea fishing, zip-lining, horseback riding, sailing, and so much more. And with healthy, locally-sourced foods the lodge provides for you to feast on, you'll be able to refuel and energize yourself so you can play and practice all day long.

You can expect to enjoy all of the following during this stunning retreat:

  • Three daily meals including breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Two daily 75-minute yoga sessions including a Sun Salutation/Hatha yoga class plus a Yin and Restorative class
  • Transportation to and from Puerto Vallarta International Airport
  • Stand up paddle boarding
  • Optional activities (kayaking, hiking, holistic nutrition workshops, etc.)

Our retreat winner will join 500-hour yoga teacher, yoga therapist, and registered counsellor Nora Benian at the Tailwind Jungle Lodge March 3rd to March 9th, 2017 for a relaxing and renewing practice and stay at this gorgeous destination. Whether you’re looking to connect deeper with yourself or go on an incredible jungle adventure, this retreat is one you won’t want to miss out on!

To find out more about how you can enter to win this retreat, click the link below.

Learn How to Win This Retreat >


4 Energy Balancing Tips to Avoid Winter Burnout

4 Energy Balancing Tips to Avoid Winter Burnout

Feeling those winter blues? Having trouble sticking to your New Year’s resolutions? Winter is the time that Mother Nature conserves and restores her energy by drawing it back into herself, and since we are all a part of nature, this may be why the season sometimes feels more difficult than the others to get through — especially when we want to expend as much of our energy as possible toward our goals.

According to Ayurveda (the ancient Indian system of holistic medicine), excess kapha dosha in the winter can make us feel sluggish and lethargic. It can also disrupt our emotional well-being by making us feel more negative, and may even worsen congestive symptoms from illnesses like the common cold or flu by increasing mucus production.

Trying to work toward to our goals as intensely in the winter as we might in the summer could lead to burnout quicker and more easily than we might think. While we may be feeling ambitious at the start of January to move toward our resolutions in full force in hopes of making great progress by the arrival of spring, a better plan would be to tone it down a bit to promote balance and harmonize ourselves with the current season.

Sleep a little more and a little later.

Keeping a healthy and regular sleep schedule is especially critical in winter to help combat drowsiness that might seem worse thanks to the colder weather and shorter days. While many people can typically do great on just 7 or 7.5 hours of sleep, you may need to increase that amount to 8 or 9 hours during the winter months to align yourself more with this extra restful season. Allow yourself to sleep in until 7 a.m. if it suits your schedule.

Simplify your yoga practice.

Simplifying your practices doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get a vigorous workout. Sticking to 10 rounds of simple sun salutations shortly after waking can help stimulate your metabolism and digestive system while building heat to help you shake off some of that lingering slumber. Follow your sun salutations with savasana, a seated meditation, or a final favorite restorative pose.

Nourish yourself with warming foods and herbs.

A diet designed to keep kapha dosha balanced without aggravating vatta dosha is best in winter. Feed your digestive fire with foods like oatmeal, rice, barley, wheat, and healthy oils. Warming spices to use include cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamon. It’s a good idea to avoid dairy products in the winter since they can contribute to mucus production. Honey can help with having the opposite effect on mucus, and it can even aid in soothing a sore throat thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Say “no” to more things that keep you busy and “yes” to more self-care.

Keeping too busy in the winter season by tending to other people’s requests while trying to check everything off of your own to-do list could not only lead to physical exhaustion, but possibly also to negative mental states like attachment, envy, greed, frustration, anxiety, and depression. It’s more than okay to scrap several things from your own to-do list that aren’t urgent and say “no” once in a while to others so that you can have some extra time to focus on soothing and reenergizing yourself.

Remember that winter is a time to turn inward, so make sure to listen to your body. If your body is saying “take it easy,” then make sure you do exactly that.

You may have big goals for the New Year, but it’s better to take it slower if need be rather than making too much progress too fast and then being unable to maintain your momentum. Keep in mind you can still make good progress while focusing on balance.


Future Self

Future Self

Upon the arrival of the New Year, it’s only natural to find our minds racing with thoughts about what happened over the past 12 months and what might happen over the next 12 months. After all, we’re the narrators of our own story, and without a past or a future, we don’t have much of a narrative to create the type of self we want to be in this life.

So how do we reflect on the past without living too much in a time that’s long gone? And how do we project our future goals without getting swept away by a fantasy that’s not yet real? Being present is one thing, but maintaining that state while reflecting on the past and planning for the future is another.

As you do this very personal inward work this New Year’s, use the following steps to keep you grounded in the moment, even as you allow your mind to run wild with thoughts.

Reflecting on the Past

Practice the following when you look back on the past year.

Breathe

Whether you plan to meditate, journal, or even talk to yourself out loud, remember to breathe deeply and continuously with no breaks between inhaling and exhaling through your nose. This will keep you present and aware of your thoughts and emotions, which will prevent you from being pulled into so much that you end up reliving them as if they were happening right now. You want to be aware of them without reliving them.

Surrender

While you’re breathing and remaining present as an observer of your own mind, unwanted thoughts and strong emotions may arise as well. As you continue to breathe, allow those thoughts to reveal themselves to you and let any emotions be released from your body. Emotional reactions that occur during reflection work suggest that something that may have gone unfelt, suppressed, and left incomplete in the past. To grow and become more whole, surrendering to emotions is necessary.

Accept

It’s easy to accept those events and experiences that led to great outcomes, but not so much the ones that were painful, embarrassing, frustrating, shameful, and overall just plain undesirable. By surrendering to all thoughts and emotions that arise — even the ugly ones — you automatically open yourself up to accepting the effect they had on you, so you can let them go and move forward.

Planning for the Future

Practice the following when you look ahead to the New Year.

Visualize

When it comes to goal setting, it's typical to fantasize about a new and improved self that will eventually exist in some distant future dimension — a self that we’re disconnected from because of the gap we create between present dissatisfaction and future desired achievement. Instead, visualize yourself living your goals as if you’ve already achieved them. Though it might feel ridiculous at first, it’s a clever psychological trick that can motivate you to start acting the way you need to act in order to realize your goals.

Open Yourself

Setting goals always feels great in the beginning, but everyone knows that life makes the journey kind of messy. Even as you work toward a goal, you end up learning things along the way that may require changing it. So instead of attaching yourself to achieving a very specific goal in a fixed amount of time, open yourself up to continuous learning and the reality of uncertainty. Your journey toward any long-term goal will almost never be linear, no matter how much you plan, so if you can embrace the need to adapt to change and respond to unexpected events, you’ll have a greater chance of succeeding.

Embody

Using your visualization and open-minded state, you can start taking action and adapting to the unexpected right now in this very moment. Rather than maintaining the gap between the present version of yourself that you want to improve and the future version of yourself that you want to be, bring the two together by making your future self your identity right now — not a year from now. Embody who you want to be in the present rather than fantasizing about who you want to become “someday.”

Remember to practice self-compassion as you do this work. If you get sucked back into the past or find yourself feeling a little delusional about a future goal, don’t demonize yourself for it — just breathe, bring yourself back to now, and go back to practicing these steps.