It’s ok to say “No” to your yoga teacher

by: Naomi Bourassa

YOGA STUDENTS: It is ok to say “No” to your yoga teacher. Saying no can be verbal or non-verbal. You can say no by choosing not to do a particular pose or finding a modification that suits your needs. Saying no can be verbal when the teacher comes over and asks if you would like to try a pose. Teach your teacher how to adjust to your needs. That’s why they’re there. You do not have to fit anyone else’s perception of what a “yoga student” looks like or acts like.

As a people pleaser, I have often held my tongue during yoga classes or done things that weren’t appropriate for my body for fear of offending the teacher or hurting their feelings. YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR TEACHER’S FEELINGS. If they get offended, they have their own work to do. Take care of yourself. The teacher will (hopefully) come over and check on you. Communicate what’s going on and the teacher will (hopefully) offer a modification. If you just need to rest, let them know that you just need to rest. The teacher will (hopefully) accept you where you’re at and you can jump back in whenever you’re ready. You are there for you, not for the teacher. The teacher is a guide to help you on your journey.

If you’re in a class where the teacher does hands-on adjustments, you can tell them you do not want hands-on adjustments if you prefer not to be touched. If you are new to a class, you might ask the teacher before class if they do hands-on adjustments. I usually ask new students if they have anything they want to tell me before we get started, but you can approach the teacher and tell them about any injuries or limitations you have. I really appreciate it when students tell me that there are certain poses they can’t do or have a hard time with or if they have a recent injury that they’re nursing.

If you’re brand new to yoga, let the teacher know that you’ve never done yoga before. Let them know if there’s anything that you feel nervous about. The teacher is there to make you as comfortable as possible. Starting anything new is always intimidating and a little scary. Yoga teachers should understand this and should be ready to cater to their student’s needs.

If a teacher has a negative reaction to you stating your needs, you may try talking to the teacher after class or at a time when you feel ready to approach them about it. It can be a great learning opportunity for you and them. Again, you are not responsible for your teacher’s feelings when it comes to taking care of your body.

Lastly, saying no empowers us. There is nothing wrong with saying no. It only becomes a problem when the person receiving the “no” makes it a problem. Many of us are scared to say no because of the reactions we’ve received in the past. We’re scared that the other person will get angry, defensive, or hurt. Yoga teachers are expected to be professional and to be able to handle whatever is thrown at them. Yoga teachers are expected to empower their students. A yoga teacher should welcome a student who is empowered enough to say no. If your teacher is unable to handle an empowered student, they have no business teaching and you are welcome to find a new teacher. You are not the problem. The yoga class is meant to be a safe space where you can feel empowered to practice setting boundaries.

YOGA TEACHERS: You are an authority figure. Whether you see it that way or not, as a teacher, your students see you as an authority figure. It is imperative that we as teachers, accept that fact and act as authority figures.

What makes a good authority figure? We all have had examples of bad authority figures. To start, we must set the tone for our classes. We set the boundaries. We act as an example of self-care. A huge part of self-care is setting boundaries. We must empower our students to set their own boundaries. We as teachers must respect those boundaries without taking them personally. We must start by practicing self-care and boundary setting with ourselves to become familiar and comfortable with boundaries.

I often use myself as an example when I am teaching a class. I disclose to my clients that I too have my own injuries that I need to care for. I inform them that there are certain movements and poses that I will not do in order to respect my limits and take care of myself. In this way, I am humanizing myself as an authority figure. I give them permission to say no to a pose. I have done a pretty good job at creating a safe space because I have many clients who often tell me no.

As a budding teacher 10 years ago, I would get offended if a client told me no. “They’re being stubborn, defiant, difficult” I would say to myself. I would question my ability as a teacher. I would become insecure and then internally lash out at the student that it was their problem, not mine. Essentially, my ego was hurt. I have learned over the years, that it is a gift when a student tells me no.

First, they know their body and they are taking care of it. Second, they trust me enough to be honest with me. Third, this is a wonderful learning opportunity for me to find something that works for my student. Here, we practice mental flexibility. In my class, students get to know each other and offer suggestions to each other for modifications. We all learn from each other when we take care of ourselves. Students have taught me modifications that I never even thought of. When one student feels empowered to say no, it empowers the other students to say no.

We teach by example that we still have our autonomy within a group. This can be challenging in group settings. You can say, “Please feel free to modify your pose at any time” but then, when you’re deep into the class and everyone’s doing the same thing, people are scared to be the “oddball” and do something different. They see themselves as being “stubborn, defiant, difficult”. We need to help our students understand that taking care of themselves is not selfish, it is necessary for their health. And that’s the whole reason why we teach yoga and practice yoga, is for our health.

I always thank a student who tells me no. I show them that I can handle being told no and that I appreciate it. I tell them that I appreciate them for taking care of themselves. We teach our students to advocate for consent. We do not pressure our students to do what we say. We encourage our students to try something outside of their comfort zone and they get to explore whatever that means for them. I teach my students to explore their boundaries and learn when to back off. They are learning how to set boundaries for themselves in order to set boundaries with others. As their teacher, I am on the front line with my students practicing boundary setting without being shamed or bulldozed into submission.

As authority figures, we as yoga teachers are in a delicate and privileged position to be stewards on our students’ journey to themselves. We must handle their journey with care, respect, and love without imposing our own expectations. We must be mindful of how we care for, respect, and love ourselves to act as examples for our students. We ourselves must learn to say no so that we can handle it when someone else tells us no. This way, when we hear no, we don’t take it personally. When a student tells us no, it does not mean that you have failed as a teacher. On the contrary, it means that you have succeeded in creating a safe enough space for a student to empower themselves to say no.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/naomibodywork/

Dosha Balancing Sun Salutations

Ayurveda and Yoga

Ayurveda is a ten thousand year old sister science of yoga. While yoga focuses on bringing together the body and spirit ayurveda works on maintaining the health and balance of both. The basis of ayurveda is the five-element theory which states that everything and everyone is the world is made up of a ration of the five elements: Space, air, fire, water and earth. These elements come together in pairs to form the Doshas which refers to our individual constitutions. That is when the true magic begins! Once you learn your constitution which can be easily acquired by consulting with an ayurvedic practitioner or in our fast paced modern age you can just google “ayurveda dosha quiz” and find an immediate response by answering a few questions about your personality, body type and health. It is important to note that during a consultation a lot more happens than just a quiz, physical examination, pulse taking and a number of other assessments are done prior to a definitive answer which is more accurate than a 5 minute quiz. Regardless of how your acquire your answers, knowing is the important part. Once you know your ratio of vata, pitta and kapha doshas you can create an individualized lifestyle that guarantees health,happiness and overall wellbeing.


Yoga is not left behind, ayurveda includes yoga in its daily routine regardless of your individual dosha. While an entire practice can be constructed based solely on your dosha, most of us have only a few minutes to spare in our daily routine. Because 10 minutes of daily yoga is always better than 2 hours of yoga once a week here is a quick guide to doshic sun salutations.

Vata Salutations

Vata is a mixture of Space and Air. Vata represents a constantly moving flow of energy. Represented by light, cold, clear qualities. A vata pacifying practice would provide grounding energy as well as heat.

Mantra- Grounding, earth, stable, heavy, I am fearless, I am at peace, I have faith.

When to use- Before during or after traveling. Use this sun salutation guide before any trips specially plane travels do a couple of rounds before getting on a place and after getting off. If you are going on a road trip or will be in a car for an extended period of time you can do a few rounds in a pit stop.

When to practice- Vata is change and movement. Weather good or bad change it is all vata increasing, which also increases dryness and coolness. Anytime vata qualities increase, in flight, long drives, winter, etc that is when a vata pacifying practice comes in handy.

How to practice- While these guides are beneficial to pacify vata, as with any yoga practice each individual can and should make adjustments to better suit their personal practice. Modify the movements as you connect into your breath and listen to your body. The practice should be done in room temperature and non-drafty space. Use comfortable clothes and have socks, blankets and bolsters available to modify and during savasana.

Drishti- Floor

Practice Guides-

  1. We start Vata Salutations in a thunderbolt variation grounding vata from the start, then go into a child’s pose where the student is instructed to find their breath and set an intention for the rest of the practice.

  2. In thunderbolt inhale lifting the arms up, exhale step the right foot forward and press the palms to the floor framing the right foot to lunge.

  3. Inhale tilt the hips back and straighten the right knee into a forward fold. (Use blocks if needed and pad the knees for joint support) Inhale back to lunge and repeat for 5 breaths slowly focusing on the knee joint during the flow.

  4. Exhale step the right foot back and take a childs pose.

  5. Inhale to thunderbolt arms up overhead, exhale step the left foot forward and repeat lunge to forward fold sequence for 5 breaths.

  6. Exhale step the left foot back take a puppy stretch hold for 5 breaths.

  7. Inhale lift onto a plank, exhale lower down, inhale to cobra.

  8. Exhale downward facing dog for 5 breaths letting intuition guide weather you pedal the feet, or sway the neck or move the hips.

  9. Inhale slowly walk the feet up to meet the hands one step at a time. Exhale soften the knees and breathe in your standing forward fold.

Pitta Salutations

Pitta is the combination of fire and water elements. Pitta is represented in transformation, heat and digestion. A pitta pacifying practice will be cooling and soothing.

Mantra- Moon, stars, forgiveness, compassion, surrender, I love myself, I surrender to the flow of the universe.

When to practice- A Pitta pacifying practice will decrease heat. It can be beneficial to practice in the hotter months or hotter times of day. Practice Pitta salutations when feelings of frustration, anger and jealousy arise, or to maintain these emotions at bay before high pressure situations.

How to practice- Practice this pitta salutation in a well ventilated non heated room. Use cooling light layers that breathe easily. The goal of a Pitta practice is less physical and more mental. The series of postures remains very similar if not equal to the one we’ve been trained with, the focus is instead on keeping the ego calm and the mind steady. To release the feelings of ‘crossing the finish line’ of crossing barriers and achieving new personal bests and moving towards a compassionate self loving practice. To pacify pitta allow the practice to guide you instead of guiding the movements, feel each pose and allow the breath to flow in each pose while savoring the sensations. Move from one pose to the other without an agenda, enjoying the space in between the poses and focusing primarily on the breath.

Drishti- Forward with a soft gaze, maintain an inward focus avoid looking at other students for comparison or judgement.

Practice Guide:

  1. Start in mountain pose. Actively engage the feet, legs, core and focus on establishing a calm pace of breath.

  2. Inhale lift the arms up overhead, exhale fold forward and surrender the upper body over the legs in standing forward bend.

  3. Inhale lengthen into flat back, engaging the soles of the feet and calves.

  4. Exhale step the right foot back and drop the knee for lunge.

  5. Inhale lift the chest, drop the hips forward and downward, keeping the drishti straight ahead.

  6. Exhale step the left foot back, come into downward facing dog. Breathe for 5 deep breaths establishing a calm sense of peace and surrender.

  7. Inhale, step the right foot forward drop the left knee down for lunge.

  8. Exhale drop the hips find your gaze forward. Inhale open the chest and drop the shoulders away from the ears.

  9. Exhale, step the left foot forward into standing forward bend. Focus back on keeping the breath steady.

  10. Repeat the series 3-5 times maintaining the breath steady and the concentration on pitta pacifying mantras.

Kapha Salutations

Kapha is the union of water and earth. Kapha is the ruler of structure and grounding. A kapha pacifying practice will increase heat and energy.

Mantra-Detachment, Creativity, flow, I am energy

When to practice- Kapha salutations are great mood lifters. Beneficial for slow morning starters to harness the energy of the sun and wake up the spirits. Can also be implemented to ease feelings of lethargy, depression, attachment, sluggishness.

How to practice- A kapha practice awakes all sensations and ignites the agnis. The practice should continuously flow from one movement to the next generating heat and energy.

Drishti- Upward or forward

Practice Guide:

  1. Start in mountain pose. Inhale arms up overhead, exhale forward fold.

  2. Inhale flat back, exhale step or jump both feet back, inhale to plank.

  3. Exhale lower down, engaging the elbows in towards the rib cage.

  4. Inhale cobra or updog. Exhale downward facing dog.

  5. Inhale right foot lifts up and back into three legged dog. Exhale step the right foot up in between the hands to lunge.

  6. Inhale press into the right foot and the ball of the left foot and rise to crescent lunge arms up overhead.

  7. Exhale lower the palms to the floor, step the right foot back.

  8. Inhale take your vinyasa (plank, lower down, cobra/updog, downward dog).

  9. Inhale, left foot rises up and back into three legged dog repeat crescent lunge on opposite side.

  10. Repeat the series 5-10 times alternating sides.

As with any other practice, it is important to maintain awareness, being mindful of past injuries, your practice should always feel safe and you should never feel pain or discomfort. Modify these practices to fit your lifestyle and your needs. For more detailed suggestions or to schedule a consult with an ayurvedic practitioner email natsmaste@gmail.com.


Pregnancy and Ayurveda

Pregnancy and Ayurveda

Ancient wisdom for modern women.

From conception to prenatal tips and toddlerhood Ayurveda has something to say about all stages which make up the miracle of life. It should not come as a shock that pregnancy is a time of change, transformation and transition. All of these words are synonyms for the vata dosha. As an Ayurvedic practitioner I came into my first pregnancy knowing full well that I’d have to work hard to stay grounded physically and mentally. While all three of the Ayurvedic doshic constitutions Vata, Pitta, and Kapha are accumulated in a unique ratio in each and every human being, Vata which is made up of ether and air is in charge of regulating our connection to the divine, our reproductive system and our nervous system. As a result, Vata plays a huge roll during conception and pregnancy. For some women it means increased anxiety, joint discomfort, bloating, constipation, loss of sleep. Personally my vata manifested in lots of forgetfulness, restlessness,  back aches and really weird eccentric dreams.


Morning sickness

Since vata is responsible for upward, and downward movement as well as the retention of food in the alimentary tract any disruption in vata subdoshas will create an imbalance in the initial process of digestion. This is manifested as morning sickness for 70% of women. A smaller percentage will experience severe sickness that lasts all day and happens multiple times a day every day. I was one of the chosen that ended up in the hospital due to severe sickness and dehydration a couple of times. According to Ayurvedic texts this type of sickness can be caused when the body creates its own langhana therapy or detoxification process in order to better house the fetus. This can be avoided by doing a guided langhana pre-conception with a certified ayurvedic practitioner. If you are like me and experiencing morning sickness here are a few ayurvedic tips for preventing and easing sickness during pregnancy:

  • Oil pulling- as appetizing as swishing oil in your mouth may sound when you are already feeling sick, oil pulling has been used for thousands of years to balance the hormones.

  • Avoid emptiness- Keep your belly with food at all times. This decreases the abilities of enzimatic juices to increase in the stomach and create the sickness in the first place. Small bites throughout the day. Candy, saltines, ginger, and warm wet oily food (all qualities of the kapha dosha which is almost all opposite of vata thus very grounding) broths, steamed vegetables with butter or ghee on them.

  • Breathing techniques- These calm them mind and relax the nervous system also responsible for nausea. Be mindful of what you practice as some pranayama techniques are contraindicated for pregnancy. Nadhi Soudhi or alternate nostril breath worked great for my sickness and is recommended for pregnancy. 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes before bed are great to relax!

  • Along with breathing techniques meditation is also a life saver, listen to guided meditations, there are plenty catered specifically for pregnancy and a number of apps you can download. More on what I used later.


Oil, oil and more oil

Oileation or lubricating the body with oil is one of the most valuable forms of nourishments available to balance the vata dosha. Oils nurture dry, cracked and inelastic tissues inside and outside of the body. Externally, oiling the belly with butters, oils and creams has become a top staple in the beauty industry to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy, a technique that was long ago put into place through ayurvedic abhyangas and daily massage. Perineal massage is another great example of an ancient practice slowly making its way back into the modern world. Doing oil massage strokes a couple of weeks prior to labor in the perineal area allows the tissues to become more pliable and elastic, making the last part of the delivery more comfortable and with less tearing. Most hospitals are even implementing perineal massage during labor using a lubricant to maintain the area supple while the mom to be pushes and labors, it is significantly related to reduced episiotomies.


The big day

The term ‘scrunchy moms’ identifies mothers who are not hard core enough to be called crunchy granola moms or strict enough to be considered ‘silky’ (who makes these terms up?). Apparently wanting to know more about cloth diapers and baby led weaning but continuing to drink coke and eat french fries occasionally during pregnancy made it possible for me to be in the ‘scrunchy mom’ category. Stressing and dwelling as most moms do about the big day when my child would be born I searched high and low for loopholes around the whole giving birth and experiencing the worst pain anyone can describe fiasco. Through a yogi friend I’d heard about something called hypnobirthing, a technique that involved meditation and redirecting the mind to create a new kind of birth experience. After hours of going down the YouTube rabbit hole of videos, my partner and I decided to find a local doula and register for a private hypnobirthing class. 5 sessions, countless meditation sessions, language alteration by omitting words such as: pain and contraction we found that the method started to make sense. The meditations made me relax when baby was practicing karate at 4am, the breathing techniques helped the sensation of braxton hicks contractions, and even the reprograming made us feel a little more in control over a daunting day we both couldn't truly prepare for.


The 40 day old mom

There are mother-care traditions in many cultures with remnants of memory about postnatal care practices, but much of this important information has been lost to modern thinking.

Kaya kapa the ayurvedic practice of rejuvenation is strictly implemented postpartum. The 40 days or 42 depending on the tradition, are almost more emphasized than the pregnancy itself. The main culprit of disease in this postpartum stage is still vata but more specifically the quality of space that occupies vata. Including the space that is being created for this new being created in the life of the parents more specifically the mother, additionally the new empty space created in the uterus with the evacuation of the fetus. Balancing that vata aggravation becomes a full time job. Caring for the physical and emotional needs of the mother as well as the newborn becomes the responsibility of everyone around her. Personally this was one of the hardest aspects of  embracing motherhood. Coming from Colombia both my mother and in law were very strict about our own culture of the ‘40 day diet’ including not leaving the house for 6 weeks, eating chicken broth soup and all chicken related things, wearing a tight uncomfortable ‘faja’ aka body shaper-girdle EVERYDAY to reshape the uterus and being absolutely forbidden from doing pretty much anything at all therefore having to be followed around all day. In allopathic medicine, the six-week follow-up appointment also marks the end of obstetric care for most mothers. Without the proper care during this time of massive transition, vata (the physical manifestation of the mobile, light, and dry qualities) will linger in the body for years, causing all sorts of ailments down the line.


Following your unique constitution

While many pregnancy experiences are shared by a large number of moms, there are also individual cases that need specific attention and care. Finding a local Ayurvedic Dr or certified practitioner to schedule a consult and uncover your dosha will allow you to individualize treatments, therapies and gain the best results. I sought to find someone that would allow to feel some authority over the experience and that would still grant room for medical intervention should it be necessary. My partner and I trained in hypnobirthing and met with a certified doula during the pregnancy, we sought a doctor that would allow us to take the ayurvedic and natural route whenever possible without judgement and although we opted for a hospital delivery we had a birth plan that included me wearing headphones to meditate, a medicine ball, essential oils, delayed cord clamping, and placenta prints among other scrunchy mom decisions. I found it most important to dedicate time to myself during the pregnancy, I was a bit startled to realize that all the doting happening during pregnancy is only related to the health of the child, this becomes very alienating and at times infuriating to the mom to be. During my pregnancy I made sure to dedicate plenty of time to myself and my self care, yoga classes, meditation, massage, sensory deprivation tanks, acupuncture, anything I felt would relax me and easy any discomfort I was open to try during my weekly day of self care. After all the months, little details and innumerable advice the priority is that the mom to be is happy and healthy. A happy mom will be more relaxed, more confident, feel supported and have a more enjoyable pregnancy and easier labor, just follow your gut trust your natural instincts and know that you have all the wisdom you need within you. Remember your child knows how to be born and your body knows how to give birth.

Recommendations

Reproductive tonics- dates, figs, cardamom, pistachio, seeds, pomegranate and asparagus great when mixed together in a smoothie!

Morning sickness- Try ginger, lemon juice and mint. Also drink plenty of coconut water to maintain hydrated and keep your electrolytes high.

Postpartum- Remember to continue with the qualities opposite of vata— heavy, warm, mushy, smooth, dense and oily. Slowly introduce agni building foods starting with light clear broths of root vegetables, and agni building herbs like pipaly and ginger. Don’t forget the ghee!


The Ultimate Ayurvedic Vacation: Panchakarma

by VPK by Maharishi Ayurveda

Planning to hit the road for a getaway this season? If your travel itinerary is packed with sightseeing stops and must-do’s, you might end up feeling more tired than energized.

"Sometimes, people’s vacations are almost as frantic as their lives," says Rogers Badgett, proprietor of The Raj, the nation’s premier Ayurvedic health center in Fairfield, Iowa. "There’s something to be said for taking time away that’s really a vacation for the body, mind, and soul. We have offered treatments since 1992 and we consistently see the results in the eyes and faces of those we treat. They come away looking and feeling younger and healthier."

For some truly restorative downtime, consider the ultimate Ayurvedic vacation: Panchakarma.

What is Panchakarma & Why Do It?

Panchakarma is an integrated series of traditional, in-residence Ayurvedic treatments that, while incredibly relaxing and nurturing, dislodge and flush impurities from your cells and tissues. During a Panchakarma stay at a facility like The Raj, you can spend anywhere from three to 21 days receiving deeply relaxing, purifying treatments likeabhyanga(warm oil massage administered by two technicians),swedena(herbalized steam bath), andshirodhara(in which warm oil is gently poured onto the forehead). The Raj has over twenty-five different types of Ayurveda treatments, which address different areas in the body like joint health, fatigue due to impurities, and many other conditions.

"According to Ayurveda, disorders are primarily the result of imbalances and toxins (ama) that accumulate in the body over time," says Badgett. "Whether caused by poor diet and digestion, stress, or environmental toxins, these imbalances can build up in our cells, joints, and tissues, and they keep our physiology from functioning in an optimal way. With Panchakarma, we’re flushing impurities from the body and enlivening the body’s remarkable capacity for self-repair. The outcome affects every aspect of our lives, as we are not only healthier, but we think clearer and are more relaxed and happier after the treatments."

Research supports the program’s efficacy. A 2002 study published by Robert Herron, Ph.D., in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found that fat-soluble toxicants were reduced in people who did a five-day course of Panchakarma at The Raj. Without treatment, the report also indicates that it can take years for those types of toxins to naturally leave the body.

But if spending your vacation ridding yourself of deep-seated toxins sounds like hard work, think again.

"The fact is that most people would describe the treatments as luxurious," Badgett says. "They’re deeply effective, but they’re also very gentle."

How Does It Work?

Most Panchakarma treatments involve two key components: oil and heat. The massage of the skin and muscles helps with circulation and allows for the otherwise stagnant toxins to move from these tissues through our elimination system. The oil used in the massages penetrates deeply into the body’s tissues, drawing out toxins that then move to the digestive tract for elimination. The heat opens the body’s channels for circulation—the veins, lungs, and so on—to speed the process of purification along. At the outset of your visit, all of the oils and treatments are customized with Ayurvedic herbs that have been specifically recommended for you by an expert in Ayurvedic pulse assessment.

"The program is very tailored to each individual’s needs and doshas [Ayurvedic constitution]," says Badgett. "The kind of oils, herbs, and treatments can be very different according to a person’s particular physiology and needs."

An Average Visit at a Panchakarma Health Center

Before your stay, aVaidya(Ayurvedic Expert) will review your health history to create a "home prep" regimen and gentle cleanse program to prepare your system for the in-residence treatment itself. Upon your arrival at the health center, you’ll have a wellness consultation with an expert in Ayurvedic pulse assessment who will recommend a customized Panchakarma program based on your Ayurvedic constitution and current state of balance.

Throughout the rest of your visit, you can just relax and enjoy your treatments. You’ll also have time to take gentle Yoga Asana classes; stroll in nature; eat light and organic, nourishing fare; learn from lectures and videos on Ayurveda, meditation, and diet; and enjoy discussions with Ayurvedic experts who can answer all your questions.

"It’s a total immersion treatment and learning experience," says Badgett. "You’ll learn about how Ayurveda extends into so many different areas of life and gain a blueprint for living in tune with nature’s rhythm. The word ‘Ayur’ means life, and ‘veda’ knowledge or science, and thus Ayurveda really is the knowledge of life. After your Panchakarma is over, you’ll go home with dietary and lifestyle recommendations to help you lead a healthier life."

"My Panchakarma experience at The Raj was gentle, nurturing, and truly transformative. It set things in motion for me to be able to work through some health issues during a challenging time of my life. The positive effects have lasted for years afterward." - Valerie B.

Benefits for Mind, Body, and Beyond

The goal of Panchakarma is to restore balance by targeting the root cause of imbalances—which is often related to digestion. By balancing the body, Panchakarma acts as the ultimate preventative, helping people to stay well throughout the year.

"It’s through digestion that you fuel your body," says Badgett. "If you can’t digest food properly and you’re not assimilating nutrients, it really doesn’t matter what you’re eating. When your body digests well it creates nutrients that move easily through the body to nourish all cells. Panchakarma isn’t just about removing impurities. It’s about improving digestion and metabolism, which are so foundational to good health."

The results can be extremely transformative and far-reaching.

"People not only feel better, physically, they can also notice an increased sense of well-being and vitality as well," says Badgett. "The mind is connected to the body, and when you have physical blockages, it can be hard on the emotions and the mind."

Beyond these profound benefits, it can also simply be good to unplug and unwind. While on your Panchakarma vacation, you’ll be away from your daily responsibilities and distractions—and perhaps your Netflix account.

"It lets people really unhook," Badgett says. "They can go to bed early, let go of life’s stresses and really just sink into the Ayurvedic experience. A lot of people get back in touch, feeling that it’s okay to take care of themselves. They realize how much more productive they are and how much more they can give when they’re feeling better. That’s the thing: your health is foundational to your success, to your happiness, good relationships, to your achievements, to everything you do."

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.