A Sikh's blog on how nature can nurture us and how we can nurture nature, and on how that can be done in a respectful interplay from which both we and Mother Earth benefit.
With information on natural health care, recipes for making your own cleaning and care products, tips for pregnancy and childbirth, information on how to reduce your environmental impact and carbon footprint, and much more.
The next full moon on Saturday 4 November is in Taurus, the bull. Taurus governs the large intestine meridian and also rules the neck and throat. The large intestines are responsible for elimination. Autumn and nature are showing us what a great time it is to let go of what is old, to shed what has served its purpose and is not needed any more, and how much beauty and colour that can actually bring into your life!
The breath, especially deep breathing, supports the large intestines.
In Chinese Medicine, the colon is the part of the first meridian which begins with the lung and ends with the colon. The two are interlinked as the lungs are what one brings into their selves and the colon is what one releases. Issues in the colon can manifest in the lungs and vice versa. It's said that is why people who never smoked can get lung cancer or people who lived healthy lives can get colon cancer.
From an emotional viewpoint, problems with the colon point to problems with letting go. These issues aren’t typically about current life events, but usually stem from the past. It is in human nature to hold on to events because there is a belief that by never forgetting, we will not let it happen again. While it is helpful to learn from the past, there is a point where what we hold onto will hold us back from moving on. Resentment is an example of holding onto the past and the emotion can literally jam up the entire body.
The full moon influence challenges us to let go of what is old, without resentment, and to be steady without being stubborn and consistent but not rigid.
Physical / Mental Symptoms:
skin disorders, pimples, acne, ...
living in the past & holding on
lack of generosity
Things that are good to eat:
All white foods - e.g. rice, cauliflower (gobi), white horseradish (mooli), parsnip, the white of leeks and spring onions, and of course the three roots: onion, garlic & ginger. Organic, home-made yogurt and lassi
All hot vegetables
Whole fresh fruits and vegetables. Bananas can help the colon greatly, as can baked apples.
Grains, especially (think white again) rice.
Things that are not good to eat around this full moon:
This is an excellent time to cut down or eliminate eating refined sugar and products made from white flour, like bread, rotis, chapattis and pasta.
Also avoid any other foods that you know don't agree with you well or that inflame your body.
Avoid dairy, gluten, soy, corn, ... if you (think you might) have leaky gut.
Hold and massage the index fingers of each hand for 2 minutes throughout the day.
Remember you are connected to a higher consciousness.
Use the mantra: “Let Go & Let God.”
Archer pose is an excellent posture for balancing the large intestine meridian. Try 5 minutes on each side with breath of fire - if you want you can work up to 11 minutes.
A mantra like the Guru Gaitri mantra Gobinday Mukanday ... can greatly help to support you in keeping up, as can any other Bir Ras (warrior) mantra or shabad.
Work on both the large intestines and the neck/throat: Lying on your back, use your arms to pull your knees to your chest. Then lift your head with the nose between your knees. Hold the posture with breath of fire 3-5 minutes, then relax.
Alternatively you can exhale as you lift the head up and pull the knees down with the arms, then inhale dropping the head down and relaxing the pull of the arms. Repeat this 25-100 times, then relax in corpse pose.
Some wonderful Kundalini Yoga kriyas for this full moon:
I have widened the range of Neal's Yard Remedies products that are available at my home - whereas on orders you will have to pay parcelling costs, on these products you don't (I have done that for you!).
Here is a visual for them - I'll post a list below of products and prices too.
White Tea Range
Tea Facial Mask £26.50
Tea Facial Mist £11.50
Tea Toning Eye Gel £24
Essential Oil Lavender £6.70
Sleep Body Lotion £21
& Oat Lotion £21.50
& Mandarin Body Lotion £21.50
Mint & Bergamot Hand Cream £10
& Orange Hand Cream £10
Defence Spray £6.50
Facial Wash 50ml £9
Flower Facial Wash 50 ml £9
Bath & Shower
Body Wash £9
Foaming Bath £8.50
Shower Gel OFFER£14£7
& Arnica Shower Gel OFFER£14£7
& Elderflower Shower Gel £11
Bath Salts £14.50
Rose Shampoo £11.50
Orange Flower Shampoo £11.50
& Cedarwood Hair Treatment £6.50
& Coriander Deodorant £8.50
& Geranium Deodorant £8
& Aloe Vera Deodorant £8.50
Lovely Bath & Shower Gel £14
Lovely Hand Wash £12.50
Lovely Hand Cream £10
Aloe Vera Juice £5
Joint Supplement £15
Cream Box of 3 £24
& Orange Organic Body Collection £27
As some people might be looking for gifts for the holiday period, here are some more gift box ideas apart from the one I have at home (see list):
Early September I managed to pick quite a big amount of elderberries which I washed, dried and stored in my freezer with the plan of making my own elderberry syrup later on this Autumn. Unfortunately I got a cold before I managed to make my elderberry syrup, and the first few days I just felt too ill to get started on it. But luckily I found this wonderful immune-boosting elderberry tea recipe which is super quick to make and where the sweetener is optional!
You can also use dried elderberries - you'll need slightly less of them than when using frozen ones.
Ingredients for 1 mug of elderberry tea
450ml filtered water (I use a Berkey water filter)
3 tablespoons of frozen/fresh elderberries or 2 tablespoons of dried elderberries
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp turmeric paste (turmeric and black pepper boiled together for min. 7mins to activate the curcumin - you can make a batch and keep it in the fridge)
1 tsp pf raw honey (optional)
Put the water and elderberries into a small saucepan.
Add the turmeric paste and cinnamon.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. This helps bring out the beneficial properties of the elderberries.
Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.
Finally, strain through a fine mesh strainer and pour into your mug
Stir in raw honey (if using).
You can also drink this tea cold: just pour your strained liquid into a mason jar and allow it to cool, then refrigerate until cold.
The lovely Sadhan Kaur has created a logo for Sikhs(') Nurturing Nature, that I can hopefully start using for this blog soon (when I figure out how to get it on here!) and on my products and banners for when I have a stall with the products at events...
As we've been given the opportunity to work through our frustrations and anger in the past 2 full moons, working on the 3rd chakra, October's full moon takes us up one chakra to the 4th, the heart chakra, giving us a chance to work on releasing grief that is stored in the lungs. Feelings of sorrow, grief and sadness are quite common to accompany this full moon Aries (ram). You may also experience an urge to make up for 'lost time'. It's a perfect time to let go of old limiting beliefs, patterns and pain that is stopping you from growing.
The lung meridian also rules the skin and hair on the body (except on the head). All pranayamas are wonderful to work on the lung meridian and release grief and sadness. Our breath connects our inner and outer worlds, and is hence the first step in becoming conscious and aware of ourselves and the world around us. Physical Symptoms: • Low energy • Tightness in diaphragm or middle back • Mental confusion • Dry skin • Coughing • Weak immune system • Nose congestion or sinusitis • Snoring
Things to eat: • All white food, especially cauliflower. • Garlic, ginger and raw onions clean the blood and strengthen your nerves and immune system. • Chlorophyll and freshly ground psyllium husk (seeds), (1 tablespoon each with juice) before breakfast and dinner. • Dark green vegetables (contain lots of chlorophyll).
Tips: • Hold and massage the ring finger of each hand for 2 minutes. Repeat during the day. This energizes and balances the lung meridian and neutralizes sorrow. • Place rose quartz over your heart center to protect against sadness. • Keep skin and lungs moist. • Walking, biking, dancing or any aerobic exercise that gets you sweating. • Play or listen to the gong or singing bowls to stimulate the lung meridian. • Repeat this affirmation often. “I am __________” (fill in the blank). It can be ‘I am beautiful.’ ‘I am loved.’ ‘I am grateful.’ You decide and vary the ending as much as you like as long as it is a positive statement. A wonderful practice is the Celestial Communication 'I am the light of the soul. I am bountiful, I am beautiful, I am bliss, I am, I am'. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQ8TelEjYcM for a live version at the Yoga Festival in France in 2007.
• Standing twist. Inhale, twist left with the left arm stretched out and back, right hand comes onto the heart center. Then exhale twisting right with the left hand on the heart. Keep the hips facing forward.
After August's full moon affecting the gallbladder, September's full moon will affect the gallbladder's twin organ and meridian: the liver meridian. The full moon will occur on Wednesday the 6th of September but symptoms might arise much earlier and linger longer, intensifying around the exact period of the full moon.
The liver is the organ in which anger is stored - the gallbladder being the storage house for the related emotion of frustration. By harnessing the full moon's influence on the liver meridian you can deeply work on shedding old patterns of reacting, and clear and heal the energy circuit constituted by the liver meridian.
Follow the below recommendations to reduce possible symptoms and balance the meridian for a whole body healing effect.
Possible symptoms (see the meridian graph to understand these):
tightness in the chest or between the shoulders
nausea or indigestion
irritability or short temper
eat sour foods and homemade yogurt
drink grapefruit juice, warm lemon water, or water with apple cider vinegar (ideally on an empty stomach to help flush out toxins from the night)
Recipe for liver: Blend 1 grapefruit, 2 oranges, 1 lime (or lemon), a handful of shelled raw sunflower seeds, add honey to taste.
Casserole: Combine in a baking pan 1 bunch of beets (3-5), 1 lb. (400g) carrots, 2 bunches of scallions, 3 cloves of freshly chopped garlic, 1 cube butter/ghee/coconut oil, tamari, black pepper and cook in the oven. For the non-vegans, at the end you could add 1 lb. of grated goat cheese (only add it at the end to avoid burning)
All green foods, beetroot and carrot are good for the liver. Especially artichokes, wheatgrass, barleygrass, spirulina, chlorella. Tinctures of dandelion and artichoke are also very helpful.
Avoid or moderate sweets
A juice blend of beet/carrot/celery juice. Ginger great to add too.
All exercises for the abdominal area, like stretch pose (see last month's full moon post).
Specific Kundaliniyogaset for the liver:
KRIYA: LET THE LIVER LIVE AS TAUGHT BY YOGI BHAJANJanuary 30, 19851. Lie on your left side and put your hand under your head. Lift the right leg up straight and hold the toes with your right hand, keeping both legs straight. Breath of Fire. 4 minutes
2. Wheel Pose. (Hands and feet flat on the floor, body arched up.) Breathe in and out through the nose, then in and out through the mouth. Continue alternating from nose to mouth, taking one complete breath with each. 4 minutes. 3. Lie on your left side. Lift the right leg straight up, hold toe. (i.e., repeat exercise 1). Breath of Fire through the mouth. 2 minutes. 4. Stand up with the legs apart 18 to 24 inches. Bend forward and stretch the hands back through the legs to touch the floor. Head down. Reach back as far as possible. Hold this position for 1 minute. Then, in this position, roll the tongue and do Breath of Fire through the rolled tongue. 3 minutes.5. Repeat exercise 1. Do “Cannon Breath” through the mouth. (Extremely powerful, explosive breath). 30 seconds.6. Stand up and sit down back in easy pose without using the hands for support. 52 times. Try to keep your balance! 7. Stand with your hands on your hips. Roll the upper torso in large circles. 2 minutes. (Anyone who shall do exercise #7 for 11 minutes morning and night will have no problem with Mr. Liver.)8. Relax in Corpse Pose 7-11 minutes.
In February 2016 I already blogged about ecological laundry solutions. Today, I want to revisit that post. I talked about soap nuts or soap berries (reethay) as a great alternative to store-bought laundry detergents. Unfortunately, just this week I read how the popularity of soap nuts (which grow mainly in Asia) in the West has had a profound effect on Asian communities that were still using the soap nuts themselves. As prices have gone up because of the rising demand in the West, locals themselves can no longer afford them and have started resorting to chemical laundry detergents instead as they are often cheaper -- so what we're trying to avoid using here has now for economical reasons become the preferred option in countries where we source our soap nuts from. (Plus it has to be imported here, which adds to our ecological footprint.)
As that profoundly goes against what I want to achieve with a more natural, balanced, sustainable and nurturing way of living, I had to look for an alternative. A home-grown alternative.
And I have found one. Right on my patio.
Ivy. Good-old common or English ivy. Growing in abundance, difficult to tame even.
(And yes, that's a Sikh Khanda, overgrown by the ivy -- we have two of them decorating our patio).
Absolutely free of cost.
And just as effective as soap nuts! Just like soap nuts, ivy contains a high amount of saponin, a natural soap-like substance with great cleaning power.
Ivy is poisonous in nature, but it is perfectly safe for cleaning uses as it's not ingested. Just make sure you use English or common ivy, and not poison ivy.
There are 2 ways of using the ivy to do your laundry:
1. Shred a handful of leaves and put them either in a sock (which you tie up at the end), or in a cloth bag or wash bag (I simply re-use the cloth bags I also used for my soap nuts). I add some vinegar in the detergent compartment too, to decalcify my washing machine, and it also adds a boost of cleaning power.
2. Take about 60 grams (2 ounces) of common or English ivy leaves. Shred them and put them in a big pot with 0.6 litres (3 cups) of water, and add half a tablespoon of washing soda to improve the cleaning effect and kill any germs. Bring to a boil and let this mixture simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. After 5 minutes remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Let the mixture sit until it foams when stirred vigorously. Then strain the mixture through a cheese cloth or sieve, and pour into a mason jar or other glass container.
This mixture should be used fresh, within a few days; you can store it in the fridge or a dark cupboard to make it last longer. You'll need to add about one cup (200ml) of the liquid to the detergent compartment of your washing machine.
Feel free to come and get some ivy leaves or vines from my patio if you don't have access to any - but the plant grows so abundantly everywhere that you'll probably won't have to look for too long...
This is plant number four from the 'weeds' on my patio that is now being put to great use! (the abundantly growing dandelions, mint and sticky weed are all used for cooking and herbal teas...) No actual gardening being done, yet so much abundance from Mother Nature...