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Vata Season: An Ayurvedic Perspective of Autumn and Early Winter

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I often experience a spike in bookings and requests at this time of year: Autumn and early Winter.  We are currently immersed in a season governed by Vata.  Vata, in Ayurveda, is a term used to define one of the three doshas – Vata, Pitta, Kapha.  Each of these doshas are a combination of elements that are the foundations and building blocks of our forms, natures or constitutions.  Vata is the combination of air and ether, and the qualities of this particular dosha are: dryness, lightness, mobility, subtlety, roughness and coldness.  You can feel it in the air, and see it all around you.  The leaves falling off the trees, the changeable weather, and drops in temperature.  We often experience heightened levels of anxiety, uncertainty, sensitivity, insecurity and a sense of being overwhelmed.  Physically we may be experiencing a dryness of the skin, aching and cracking joints, cramps and restless and disturbed sleep.  These are just some of the symptoms of a Vata imbalance.

Ayurveda is an ancient holistic system known as the sister science of yoga.  Its original texts date back 5,000 years, and has been passed down the generations in India and Sri Lanka ever since.  In recent years there has been an awakened fascination and exploration into this science from a western perspective.  Its approach is to determine one’s true unchanging nature (Prakruti) and to manage the ever-changing environment and conditions of our existence that create fluctuations and imbalances (Vikruti) within us.  These imbalances, if unchecked, eventually lead to illness and disorder.  It is an incredibly empowering approach that emphasises the maintenance of optimal health – physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.  Ayurveda literally means “life-knowledge”.

Each individual’s prakruti (nature) will be a unique combination of the three doshas.  Put into context, a person who has, by nature, a high proportion of Vata in their constitutional make-up will be more likely to experience an agitation of Vata at this time of year.  Equally, if someone were to have a high level of Pitta (fire and water) in their constitution, then the cooler climate may actually be a welcome and balancing change.  The subtleties and nuances of Ayurveda can take a life-time of study but even the most basic understandings of the qualities of each dosha and the seasonal shifts and changes, can be incredibly supportive and balancing for every person.  Taking into consideration the qualities of Vata, as defined above, there are some very simple day-to-day things that we can do to counterbalance the environmental increase of Vata, such as:

  • Avoid dry, cold and rough foods such as raw salad, crackers, iced drinks, and favour warm, nourishing grounding meals such as stews, and sautéed vegetables with spices such as ginger and cumin. Carry a flask of hot water with you and sip throughout the day.
  • keeping warm, particularly the hands, feet and head. Wear a hat that covers your ears, particularly if it’s windy outside.
  • Slow things down and ensure that you’re factoring in some downtime for yourself. This time of year is certainly prone to perpetuating stress and high demands.  Be vigilant and ensure that personal space and rest is being given as much emphasis and importance, if not more so, than completing the extensive to-do lists.
  • Be tactile. Vata needs touch and warmth.  Hug your loved ones, and take a hot water bottle to bed.
  • Abhyanga (warm oil self-massage) is one of the most effective ways of balancing Vata. Use warm organic sesame oil and massage your feet and hands before bed.  It is a wonderful self-practice that is nurturing, grounding and encourages deep sleep.
  • Go to a yin-based yoga class. The gentle, more intuitive practices encourage an increased awareness of the body, and can help to quieten and still the mind.

So often we can feel off-centre, depleted, or just not quite ourselves.  When this happens, see if you can pause for a moment and just acknowledge the qualities of your environment.  Today, as I write this article, it is cold, grey, with blustering winds (typical Vata day). I ask myself what I can do to create warmth, vibrancy and stillness and these considerations will influence many of my day-to-day choices.  It’s a dance between the outside world and our inner-selves, through which we can discover great peace and harmony.

Laura is an Ayurvedic Massage Therapist and yoga teacher.  Please check out her website for more information: www.ayurvedacorner.co.uk

The Common Ground of the Heart – restorative Autumnal retreat with Ally Stott

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To know myself beloved, to call myself beloved on this earth – Scilla Elworthy

Saturday 28th October 10.00 am – 5.00pm

Our humanity joins us together.  We breathe the same air, are nourished by the same earth, are warmed by the same sun and share the common ground of the heart in this matter of being human. This restorative meditation retreat offers an engaged, contemplative space to explore this matter of being human in our uniqueness and our commonality, as part of this great body of earth.

To really meet ourselves as we are requires curiosity, kindness and some discipline.  Through meditation we are not trying to change who we are, we’re entering the garden of ourselves, so that we can know who we are.  From this ground of being we then engage in the world with greater wisdom, clarity and compassion.

Ally Stott is a Craniosacral Therapist & Transpersonal Psychotherapist. For many years she has accompanied people as they have journeyed and inquired into this matter of being human.  She co-correlates Discovering Unity courses in Oxford, and can often be found on her allotment. www.allystott.co.uk.

The cost of the retreat is £55. To make a booking contact- Allysoilandsoul@gmail.com.
Our explorations will happen both inside the hall and outside in our broader nature.

 

Silvie’s back at Healthy Oxford :)

silvieSilvie is now back in UK offering four treatment modalities: Cranio-Sacral Therapy, Zen Shiatsu, Reiki and Intuitive Healing.

Silvie is an intuitive healer who specialises in helping people to:

  • Relax deeply and let go of tension or stress;
  • Release old physical and/or emotional ‘holding patterns’ from their system;
  • Rebalance their flow of vital energy (a pre-requisite for good health);
  • Gain valuable insights to help them understand themselves better and utilise their own inner resources for healing;
  • Connect with the inner peace and stillness that is always available underneath the ‘mind chatter’;
  • Gain more energy, vitality and a greater sense of wellbeing.

How Silvie works: Silvie’s style is gentle, sensitive and intuitive. Her deep sensitivity enables her to ‘tune into’ the client’s body and energy field, to see blockages on a physical, emotional or energetic level, and clarify where healing and rebalancing is needed. All the treatments help to stimulate / work alongside the body’s own natural healing processes, and support the client with whatever they are ready to release physically, emotionally and/or energetically. Silvie herself is not the ‘healer’, rather she supports the client and their body to connect with their own healing ability.

Who can benefit from treatments?: People come to see Silvie with a variety of conditions, including back / neck / shoulder pain, headaches / migraines, digestive disorders, unresolved emotional issues, hormonal issues, chronic fatigue, stress-related symptoms, TMJ (jaw) issues, injury, whiplash and for general wellbeing.

Please see Silvie’s page or the indvidual treatment listings for more information. For bookings or enquiries, please contact Silvie on silviehp@email.com or 07584 621085.

Discovering Unity Course with Ally Stott

Healthy Oxford’s Ally Stott is running a seven week course into self-enquiry and the relationship with the self and the world.  Please see below for all the information about the course and contact details to book a place.  What a wonderful opportunity.

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Dear Friends

We have just traversed the threshold of Imbolc, the mid point in the wheel of the year between Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.  In Chinese medicine we have just entered the season of Winter-spring.  Not only are we at a point of transition, we are transition, can you feel this in your body as you read this message?  Your cells breathe – receiving and releasing, the warmth of winter fire softens a cold body, stepping out under
crescent moon and diamond sky expands our sense of who we are, or reminds us that we too are specks of light incarnate as these glorious human bodies.

Our ancestors have sat in circle together around the fire for as long as there have been humans; listening, sharing, opening to the mystery that we are.  In many ways these are not easy times to be alive.  Fear, confusion and ignorance fill the media, our cities and streets. And in many ways these are incredible times to be alive. So many movements of simple love, kindness and creativity are sprouting in every direction.  These are demanding, rigorous times, we are being called, from every direction, to know ourselves.  To meet the fullness of our experience and to really know ourselves.

So if you are hearing this call in the song of your heart, perhaps you would like to join us for the next 7 week Discovering Unity course in Oxford starting in April.
With love
Ally

Ally Stott’s Upcoming Retreats: Wild Mindfulness Retreat

Healthy Oxford’s Ally Stott is involved in two retreats this Summer!

2nd – 3rd July: a therapeutic weekend retreat for women after cancer treatment.  Held in a meditation centre nestled in the beautiful landscape of the Yorkshire Dales, Ally Stott and Dr Helen Palmer will be exploring pathways to healing and renewal.

Cost is £90 – £140 on a sliding scale depending on income, and booking is essential.  Please contact Helen Palmer – hppsychology@gmail.com to reserve a place.

Ally Retreat 1

Moon Sequence Workshop – June 4th

 

June Flyer 2016The moon sequence (Chandra Krama) is a beautiful, restorative yoga practice that allows the student to really connect with the body and encourages a subtle awareness through movement and breath.  A deeply grounding and relaxing experience.  Laura will be teaching a workshop on the 4th June (2 – 6 pm) at St Alban’s Church Hall, on Charles Street, East Oxford.  There are about 4 spaces left – so please contact her directly if you want to book a space: laura@ayurvedacorner.co.uk