Search Results for: breath

Did we miss the best part of Thanksgiving?!

If you’re like most people, your Thanksgiving involved gross overfeeding, family (the good, the bad, and the ugly), lots of work, and manic Black Friday shopping, perhaps all sprinkled with a tiny bit of stress. Although it’s written right into the name, we’re too busy washing dishes and buying stuff to focus on the “thanks” part of Thanksgiving. But if we really knew just how life changing giving thanks is, we would jump on that bandwagon with more vigor than we jumped on the treadmill today!

Like exercise, gratitude practice makes us feel happier, more energetic, healthier, more attractive, and so much more. You’d think it would be our default state, but the human tendency to focus on what could go wrong (or kill us) is probably one of the reasons we survived as a species. But in modern life, that mindset isn’t protecting us as much as it is detracting from our quality of life.

The good news is – we can change it! Through gratitude practice, we rewire our brains, the way we look at life, what we feel capable and deserving of, the way we react to others, and consequently how they react to us. Feeling grateful gives us more energy, clarity, and joy. When we have those things, we aren’t as prone to engage in unhealthy habits like too much food or drink. We just feel better and more at ease all the time, and everything ripples out from that.


You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.

– Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance


There are many variations, but one of the simplest ways to practice gratitude is – upon waking and before going to sleep, just think of a few things that you’re grateful for. Do this consistently, every day, and watch how all the good things in your life magically expand.

We’d love to hear about your gratitude experience, how you do it, and what happened… Share below!

Photo credit: iStockPhoto

Happy, Healthy Father’s Day!

Wishing a very happy, healthy Father’s Day to all the dads in the crowd, and to everyone celebrating the wonderful dads in their lives! Keeping dads healthy is a special mission of ours, since we both lost our dads to preventable chronic disease way too early.

One thing we really admire about the men who have cleansed with us, is that once they decide to feel better, they don’t procrastinate or dwell on what they must forego (with the one possible exception of beer). They jump right in with both feet and usually have fast, impressive results! Even the guys who are just eating the cleansing meals their wives prepare lose 15 lbs, stop snoring, and feel fantastic! It makes us so happy… and also a little jealous.

The Preventable Silent Epidemic Affecting Dads Everywhere

You guys carry a lot of weight on your shoulders, and as a result, are often under pretty significant stress. Stress isn’t some benign, slightly unpleasant feeling that wakes you up sometimes or gives you acid reflux. It is a biochemical dynamic that can impact everything about your health – your blood pressure, blood lipids, blood sugar, hormone levels, digestion, nervous system, etc – and can predispose you to a cornucopia of chronic disease. According to WebMD, 75 to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints. It is a significant factor in five out of the six most common chronic diseases, including top killers cancer and cardiovascular disease.

This is HUGE! Imagine if we got on top of that? How much suffering we could avoid, how much happier we could be, and how much money we could save? Turns out, the US could save an estimated $1 trillion in medical related expenses if we simply reduced our stress.

Many years ago, when my stressed dad’s blood pressure started going up, he said he’d make dietary changes, but drew a hard line at meditating. Back then, meditation was a little too “out there”. Thankfully, now it has widespread societal and medical acceptance as a very effective strategy for stress reduction.

But the current problem is that most people aren’t prioritizing it even though they know it could help. They’re just too busy. As the saying goes, “You should meditate for 20 minutes every day. If you’re too busy, you should meditate for an hour each day.” And as any experienced meditator can tell you, meditation practice actually saves you time because your brain is more organized, focused, and creative.

Think of it as strength training for you brain – it helps you to quiet all those stressful thoughts that end up wreaking havoc on your body. If you traded one hour of your physical workouts for a few meditation “workouts” each week, you’d benefit more.

We hope we’re not stressing you out about stressing! Our intention is to inspire you to take it seriously and motivate you to take action. Some tools we recommend include:

  • The life changing Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program.
  • Online 21 Day Meditation Experiences by Oprah and Deepak Chopra. These are offered free a few times a year (get on their list!) and you can purchase them as well. We especially liked “Hope in Uncertain Times” and “Making Every Moment Matter”.
  • Headspace
  • Yoga classes near you (a meditative practice with many benefits for body and mind).
  • Taking breath breaks – a few times each day, taking a break to breathe deeply. Our YouTube channel has several breath videos. Full yogic breath is the basic one you can do anywhere, while the Alternate Nostril Breath is especially stress relieving. It’s like a horse tranquilizer!
Take that “jump in with both feet” attitude and just do it! Your kids, grandkids, and even great grandkids will be so happy you did!


Image credit: Ben Minor

Three Ayurvedic Beauty Tips for Summer

Ready to glow this summer? These simple tips from the time-tested wisdom of Ayurveda (literally “the knowledge of life”) will help you look and feel your best!

#1 Body Skin Care

Abhyanga, or self oil massage, will restore youthfulness and radiance to your skin. Like all Ayurvedic beauty practices, the benefits are never purely superficial, and the application of oil over the entire body is renowned for its healing effects on the body and mind. From boosting the immune system and balancing the nervous system to promoting flexibility in the muscles and lubrication of joints, Abhyanga is like giving yourself the gift of beauty from the inside-out.

The ideal oil to choose depends on your constitution, but in the summertime it’s safe to say that organic virgin coconut oil is an excellent option. If it’s a cool day and the oil has solidified (as coconut oil will if it’s under 76 degrees), warm it up first to liquefy it. Massage your entire body slowly, with loving care (this increases oxytocin levels), before you shower. The water in the shower will help the oil penetrate more deeply.

Bonus tip: Apply ground chickpea flour to your skin in the shower to soak up residual oil and leave your skin extra soft.

#2 Facial Skin Care

Here are the steps to doing an Ayurvedic facial.


Pour boiling hot water into a large bowl. Cover your head with a towel and lean over the bowl, breathing in the steam for 5-10 minutes. This will open your pores, release toxins and prepare your skin for a mask.

Bonus tip: Add 5 drops of nasya oil or a combination of eucalyptus and rose essential oils to the steam to improve respiratory health and promote mental clarity.

Mask recipe

  • ½ tsp organic neem leaf powder
  • ½ tsp organic triphala powder
  • 1/8 tsp organic turmeric powder
  • 1 Tbsp organic chickpea flour
  • Organic rose hydrosol (rose water spray)

Mix ingredients to form a paste and apply to face, avoiding contact with the eyes. Leave it on for 5 minutes and rinse several times with warm water. If you need to replenish some oil to your face afterward, apply a thin layer of coconut oil. Finish by spritzing with rose hydrosol

#3 Hair Care

Massage coconut oil into your scalp and comb it through your hair. I hate to be redundant with coconut oil tips, but it truly is our ally in beauty! Leave the oil on for a minimum of 30 minutes before shampooing, but if you can leave it overnight, even better. Put an old towel over your pillow to prevent staining, or wrap one gently around your head. Coconut oil is full of fatty acids that will repair split ends, penetrate the scalp and thereby soothe the nervous system, preserve color, resolve dandruff, detangle, and hasten hair growth. This treatment will also leave your hair looking lustrously healthy. Wow!

Bonus tip: To get the oil out of your hair more easily, do a “dry shampoo” which means don’t get your head too wet before shampooing.

I heard a quote that recently that really resonated (source unknown): “Haste and superficiality are diseases of the 20th century.” While I’m sure hastiness and superficiality have existed to some degree historically, they are prevalent features of our modern day culture and are root causes of psychological and physiological illness. None of these ancient Ayurvedic beauty tips are hasty in the same way that putting foundation on your face to cover blemishes is, and they’re not superficial either because they have far reaching health benefits. That said, nothing can make our skin shine and our hair lustrous like taking the time to do a well crafted cleanse, like the Ultimate Rejuvenation Cleanse, at least twice a year. After all, 80% of the skin’s appearance on the outside is determined by the health of our organs, blood, lymphatic and circulatory systems. So enjoy the immediate benefits of the practices I’ve described here, and do the work of radiance from the inside-out by following Michael Pollan’s sage slogan, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.”

Image credit: Susanne Ollmann

Emmie Stamell is an Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga and meditation teacher. She offers private Ayurvedic consultations, mindfulness coaching and personalized yoga. She loves connecting with folks and is happy to answer questions. Feel free to reach out via email: or phone: 781.608.9369. Learn more about Emmie at

Game Plan for a Healthy Party Season

With the feast season in full force, opportunities for free-range, free-form, free-for-all face stuffing are endless. Although it’s fun and festive, there is a dark underbelly that no one is talking about. Well okay, everyone is talking about it, and it IS the underbelly. Our pants don’t like it, our dresses don’t like it, and neither do we. The only one that makes out in this situation is Spanx. So, if you are among those who are fearful of the dark underbelly taking over, we have some tips for enjoying the party season while keeping things within acceptable dimensions.

Before the party

  • Exercise at some point during the day.
  • Hydrate all day long – a mouthful of water every half hour (Bonus side effects: your skin will glow and you’ll be so energetic).
  • Eat a protein-rich meal or snack an hour before the party. A great option would be lentil soup because it’s high in protein, fiber, and fills you up.

At the party

  • Most importantly, your primary goal should be to fully enjoy the party!
  • But don’t make food the focal point.
  • Position yourself away from the buffet, so you don’t mindlessly munch all night long. Hand to mouth syndrome is real.
  • Hydrate throughout night with water between drinks (your future unhungover self will thank you).
  • Enjoy a few raw carrot sticks that are usually available with some dip or hummus. It might sound boring, but you’ll feel so much more satisfied, less bloated, and refreshed!
  • Taking a page out of Tim Ferris’ “The 4-Hour Body”, when you go to the restroom, do 10 squats and 10 wall pushups! It’ll keep your muscles consuming fuel (instead the fat cells). It is also energizing, increases circulation, and helps to reduce appetite.

Après le soiree

  • Do an “intermittent fast” the next day, possibly by skipping breakfast, and not eating until you actually feel hungry. Do we even remember what that feels like?
  • Drink warm vegetable broth at any time during the day, even during the fast.
  • A green juice will revitalize you. Choose the one with the lowest grams of sugar. You can get these at Target and Starbucks even.
  • When you do eat a meal, let it be a healthy one. Eat mindfully and chew well.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Sweat profusely.

In fact, you can repeat the après le soiree section several days a week during party season with fantastic results! You may not even need our New Year Cleanse in 2018! Although it will take you to the next level!

What are your favorite healthy party tips? Share below!

Party well, my friends.

Our Ultimate Gift Guide!

Hats off to any of you who are DONE with your gift shopping already! What a wonderful way to avoid all that stressful last minute scrambling, stay relaxed, and actually enjoy the season. You are an inspiration to the rest of us procrastinators! And for the rest of us – here are our best ideas for gifts and holiday shopping. In general, we gravitate towards experiences over material possessions. Memories can fill you with warm feelings for a lifetime and don’t take up any space. If you are going to gift a material possession, let it be one with good karma and something that can be used instead of stored.

Our Best Ideas

  • Massage. Massages not only feel amazing, but have numerous health benefits, including improving muscle tone, circulation, and reducing stress. Who doesn’t need some of that? Just be sure that the recipient actually likes massages. There are actually some puzzling people out there who don’t.
  • Facial. I am now a convert since I got some rejuvenating facials at the Whole Body Spa! Cheryl uses all natural products that smooth and nourish your skin. Sun spots actually got lighter! She also has a microcurrent instrument like they use in PT that stimulates facial muscle tone, resulting in an uplifted look. Check out her platinum facial here. Friends help friends look younger!
  • The Ultimate Rejuvenation Cleanse. If you’ve got a friend or family member in need of support and inspiration to start eating in a more healthful way, our cleanse covers all the bases and has been life changing for many people. We’ve never offered this before, but graduate cleansers can apply their discount for up to 3 New Year cleanse gifts. If you’re a grad and want to do this, contact us for the special link. Friends who cleanse together have exponential success!
  • Meditation. We’ve been doing the Oprah and Deepak meditation series for years now, and they are wonderful. In each 21-day series, both Oprah and Deepak share some wisdom, and then you meditate with a mantra and soothing music for about 15 minutes. After every single meditation, I feel more at peace and centered. These two are our favorite: Hope in Uncertain Times and Making Every Moment Matter. There are CD and streaming (through their free app) options. Friends who meditate together have really excellent conversations! Seriously though… we often text each other something along the lines of, “Day 5! OMG!” And then we discuss.
  • Yoga/Pilates/Fitness gift certificate. Regular exercise and diversity of movement are one of the pillars of excellent health, feeling great in your body, staying young, and a positive mental outlook. There are so many styles and classes available to suit every need and preference. If you need help choosing a location or class, comment below for suggestions. We can recommend many wonderful studios, teachers, and class types.
  • Comedy show tickets. In terms of importance, laughter is right up there with healthy food, mindfulness, and movement! Many of us could use a few more belly laughs. Find a comedy show and go with your friend or loved one.
  • Danielle LaPorte candle. If you are partial to candles, these are probably the best I’ve ever tried! I really can’t believe how wonderful they smell. They have no toxic synthetic fragrances or lead in their wicks. Instead, they scent the candle with essential oils, which have beneficial effects on your health and emotional state. Get one for yourself too!
  • Gift baskets with goodies from health food store. Instead of one of those premade baskets filled with sugar, rancid fats, and chemicals, why not fill a basket with your favorite healthy goodies? You could do a theme or just an assortment of your favorites. Some ideas that everyone should have in their cupboard: Super healthy teas (we love Throat Coat, Oolong, and Matcha), Dulse flakes, Organic, free trade, dark chocolate (what’s a food basket with no good quality chocolate?), vitamin D drops, Vega smoothie mix with some smoothie recipes, hemp seeds, ground flax seeds, Brazil nuts, almond butter, pure maple syrup, local honey, organic, cold pressed olive, coconut, or sesame oil in a glass bottle, probiotics, nontoxic personal care products, nontoxic candle…). We talk about the benefits of these products (and more) in our cleanse. But if you need some background info, comment below!
  • Nourishing body oil. Ayurveda teaches us that daily self massage with high quality oil is one of the keys to staying healthy, balanced, and young! We love this oil from Sarada. You can even use organic cold pressed olive, coconut, sesame, or jojoba oil.
  • Juice Plus. Most people find it difficult to get the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day, including my family. So I was thrilled about 10 years ago when I found out about Juice Plus, which is concentrated fruits and vegetables in capsule or a chewie – kind of like “Jetson” food! Juice Plus is made with the juice powders from 17 fruits and vegetables. What stood out to me about Juice Plus compared with other supplements are the 30+ published medical studies that demonstrate the many ways it improves the markers for cardiovascular health, immune system, skin, and more. It’s also guaranteed to be free of pesticides and other contaminants, which is a major concern in the supplement world. Check here for more information and contact Lisa if you’d like to learn how to get a free supply for a child (aged 4-college age).
  • For anyone struggling with eating healthy meals, how about healthy food delivery or personal chef services? We love the food from our very own Charlotte Ott, TB12, and Purple Carrot.

Bonus Tips for Shopping

As we say in yoga, “It’s not what you’re doing, but how you’re being.” Let’s transform the usual hectic shopping trip to moments of generosity and peace.

  • Smile and thank the person who helped you in the store. In an interview I recently heard, customers tend to unload all of their stress and frustration on the people ringing them up! Let’s truly embody the spirit of the season, even as we shop. Every moment and interaction we have is an opportunity to practice being more authentic, compassionate, and joyful.
  • Let go of attachment to a close parking spot. Go to the outer edges of the lot, and take the first spot you find. With this approach, you get a few more “steps” in, feel more peaceful, get some more fresh air, and save gas.
  • Breathe and relax. Take many pauses throughout the day to center, take a few deep breaths, and let go of accumulated tension, in your face, jaw, neck, belly, and mind.
  • Shopping while dehydrated and low blood sugar is no fun and you definitely increase your chances of being unpleasant to the staff and other shoppers. Be sure you have water with you and eat a healthy meal or snack before you go.

Well, that’s our list! What are your favorite gifts to give or receive?

Image credit: Honey and thread on

How to Optimize Digestion in the Winter

Guest Post by Ayurvedic Consultant, Emmie Stamell

Ayurveda, India’s traditional medical system and a sister science to Yoga, has taught for thousands of years that food is medicine for the body, mind and spirit. What we eat gets absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract, is assimilated and provides nourishment to the bodily tissues, mind, and emotions. While what we eat is important, Ayurveda highlights that how we eat is even more important.

Here are some simple tips to help you digest what you’re eating well:

  • Bless or express gratitude for your food before eating
  • Sit down to eat in a calm environment
  • Chew thoroughly, paying attention to the taste of each bite
  • Eat until you are 75% full
  • Stay seated restfully after you’re done eating for 5-20 minutes
  • Take a gentle walk to encourage good digestion after meals

In terms of what to eat in the colder months, Ayurveda understands that our internal metabolic fire, or agni in Sanskrit, increases in the colder months to allow us to digest heavier foods. When agni is strong we are able to digest fats, complex carbohydrates and protein which are more prevalent in winter foods (like root vegetables, nuts, meat, grains, dairy products). These foods help us sleep longer, move more slowly and gain a few pounds for a bit more insulation, which are all natural wintertime occurrences.

That said, be careful to avoid too many sweets or too much dairy, which tend to dampen agni, thus weakening our digestion and causing imbalances such as lethargy, indigestion, poor circulation, congestion, low energy or depression, even achy joints. Any of these symptoms are an indication that digestion is impaired to some extent.

One easy (and tasty!) way to keep agni robust during the cold months is to use warming spices. Many spices from the mint family like thyme, rosemary, oregano and basil are wonderful for stoking the digestive fire. Other great choices include mustard seeds, pepper, and all of the “chai” spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and clove.  Turmeric is also warming internally has myriad health benefits including boosting immunity!

Charlotte and I are looking forward to our upcoming workshop December 16th 2-4pm at The Arlington Center when we will be talking in depth about right diet, lifestyle practices, yoga and breathing techniques for strong digestion and immunity during the cold season.

For further reading, here are some recommended books on Ayurvedic diet, recipes and more digestion info:

May your agni be strong this season, and grace you with all the benefits of a healthy metabolism: mental clarity, physical stamina, and strong immunity!

Image credit: Hans Pama on

Oil Pulling for Oral Health

Oil pulling is a method of daily detoxification (and very beneficial for oral hygiene) that is easy to incorporate into your morning routine. Toxins are usually fat soluble and when you swish the oil in your mouth, toxins are pulled through the mucous membranes into the oil, so you can then spit them out. In addition to the detox benefits, teeth become whiter, breath becomes fresher, and overall dental health improves. This is probably why my dentist so highly recommends it!

Every morning, before eating anything, put 1 tablespoon of cold-pressed coconut oil in your mouth. (If it is solid, it will melt in less than a minute.) Slowly swish the oil in your mouth for 5 minutes. You can walk around and do your morning clean up routine while oil pulling. DO NOT actually swallow the oil because it is loaded with bacteria, toxins, pus and mucous! When done, spit the oil into the trash (NOT your sink or toilet where it will accumulate and eventually clog the drain. To maximize detoxification, you can repeat this a couple more times. When done, rinse out your mouth thoroughly, scrape your tongue, and brush your teeth.

Image credit: Amirul Mukminin

The Master Resolution

This New Year, are you looking to transform some aspect of yourself? Most of us are! Did you have the same intention in years past? Most of us did! With all this fresh motivation, “New Year, New You” effort, why do we find ourselves climbing the same mountain year after year?

There are endless theories that have shed light on our predicament, but they haven’t necessarily helped us overcome our challenges. We’ve still got these same 10 lbs, the afternoon Venti double shot high octane sugar bomb addiction, binge watching, couch potato habits.

Maybe it’s high time to stop looking for the newest trend in self help, and instead embrace the oldest trend in self help… meditation.

Meditation isn’t just for hippies anymore. It’s gone mainstream, big time. And for good reason… it works! Meditation is the foundation of all self help. Looking through hundreds of books in the self help section, the common denominator is self awareness, creating mindful space between trigger-reaction, reducing stress, cultivating self control, simplifying… Meditation addresses all of these. One practice, so many benefits! Plus it’s free, you can do it anywhere, it’s simple, and anyone can do it.

This time of year (and again in a few months) everyone is hyper focused on weight loss. Can meditation help you lose weight? Yes, because extra weight is a symptom of a thought pattern. Meditation sheds light on the thoughts and transforms them into more empowering versions. The cause of overeating dissolves, and eating more moderately becomes natural. Of course, the benefits extend way beyond anything about weight or appearance. By products of mediation include becoming more patient, understanding, insightful, creative, happy, peaceful, and more.

Let’s do this! Here’s the resolution underlying all resolution… Every day, make the commitment to yourself to sit down and meditate. Make your starting point so small, that your subconscious won’t derail you. On the first day, just sit down for a minute with a straight back and closed eyes. The second day, increase the time a bit, if that feels right. Just get into the habit of sitting, let the time frame build slowly up to around 20 minutes. During meditation, you can simply watch your thoughts, find the space between thoughts, observe your breath or ambient sounds, or maybe silently repeat a mantra. There is a meditation technique for everyone.

For more guidance, check out these excellent resources:

Wishing you all the peace and happiness in the new year!









Benefits of Yoga: Digest and Repair

Woman doing stretching exercise on yoga mat. Fitness female performing yoga on exercise mat at gym. Child Pose Balasana.

In our stressed out society, many of us are in a constant “fight or flight” mode, due to psychological stress and habitual shallow breathing. This causes our sympathetic nervous system to direct the blood where it’s needed to quickly escape or fight an imminent physical threat– our muscles, brain, and eyes. Therefore, blood flow is directed away from digestion, immunity, skin, and repair. Is it any wonder that stress causes digestive problems, rapid aging, and predisposes us to disease?

Yoga to the rescue! The physical yoga postures, breathing exercises, and psychological approach stimulate the parasympathetic response, which is rest, digest, and repair mode. And you thought you were just getting more flexible! Yoga practice can help us to feel better in every way, live better, and even age better.

There are numerous styles of yoga, from relaxing and restorative to vigorous and athletic. Explore the classes in your area – you can definitely find one that meets your needs (which of course may change over time).





Are We Having Fun Yet?

Despite initial complaints about the exorbitant price, the best money I spent in the recent past were tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld and then Steve Martin/Martin Short with a group of friends. Tears streaming down our faces, we laughed hysterically for the entire length of both shows. Walking out of the show, we all felt lighter, more radiant, connected, and enjoyed a dramatically improved sense of well being. Even though months have passed since the last show, I can call up that feeling any time I reminisce about the show.

I regularly turn to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Success poem when I need to remind myself of what’s important. Although the entire poem is full of timeless wisdom and guidance, the first line is perhaps the easiest and most accessible on a daily basis; To laugh often and much.


Ralph Waldo Emerson

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

Despite engendering that delicious sense of joy, laughter not surprisingly has excellent effects on your overall health! It is considered a mild workout which oxygenates your entire body, burns a few calories, and tones your abdominals. It might not give you buns of steel, but laughter provides many of the benefits of regular exercise.

As you continue to laugh, your heart rate increases (perhaps more effectively than regular exercise), your circulation improves, inflammation goes down, pain decreases, immunity improves via increased killer T cell activity, and blood sugar improves. Your mind even benefits through better memory, increased endorphins, and less stress.

Unless you’re paying for expensive comedian tickets, laughter is free and all around you. Kids are especially helpful for finding hysterical clips on the internet. Here’s a few links to get you started:

Put laughter on your to do list. It might just be the most important, life giving thing you do!