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 Wednesday 24 October 2018 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:
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, September'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
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 July's full moon affecting the gallbladder meridian, August's full moon will affect the gallbladder's twin organ and meridian: the liver. The full moon will occur on Sunday 26th of August but symptoms might arise much earlier and linger longer, intensifying around the exact time of the full moon.
The liver is the organ in which anger is stored - the gallbladder being the storehouse 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.
Alternatively, here is a link to a Kriya to Relieve Inner Anger:
The next full moon on Friday 27 July 2018will activate the gallbladder meridian. This is the longest meridian in the body and is a yang meridian. The gallbladder is the organ where, according to yogic anatomy, our frustrations are stored – twin organ is the liver, where anger gets stored. The gallbladder's functions include secreting and storing bile, and it affects spleen and stomach functions.
In below illustrations you can see the path of the gallbladder meridian through the body, with details over the foot.
Frustrations might arise in the days leading up to the full moon and just after, and our tolerance may be (severely) challenged. The test is to stay mindful and present throughout, take a breath, and look for any opportunities to expand your patience and exercise your abilities to accept and surrender.
When prana (life force) is stuck in the gallbladder meridian, one can have difficulties making decisions, or on the contrary make very rash decisions. The indecisiveness can lead to emotional frustration in yourself and those around you (family members, colleagues, …). The gallbladder works closely with its twin organ the liver in taking plans and bringing them to realisation. This is an excellent time to visualise the ideal lifesituation, partner, workplace, travelor whatever.
Physical symptoms of a blocked gallbladder meridian:
Headache on one side of the head
Hip & lower back pain
Nausea & indigestion
Pain in the shoulder blade
Outside leg pain, sciatica
Visualisethe colour green
All physical activity is beneficial in this time, especially if it causes you to sweat
Lose extra weight
Things that are good to eat:
Green & sour foods
Drink warm lemon water or apple cider vinegar water
All postures tostrengthen thenavel point/3rdchakra.
Stretch pose 1-5minutes with breath of fire
All pranayama/breathing exercises
Meditation 1: Sitting ineasy pose, left handonthe heart centre, right hand rests on the right knee in gyan mudra. Focus on the third eye.Start breathing in a 4-part breath: Inhalethroughthe nose, exhale through the nose. Inhalethrough the mouth, exhale through themouth.Inhale through thenose, exhale through themouth. Inhale through the mouth,exhalethrough the nose.Continuefor 11minutes.
Meditation2:Sitting in easy pose, again with the lefthand on the heart centre and the right hand resting onthe rightknee in gyan mudra, focus onthe thirdeye. Long deep breathing through arounded mouth, whistling onboth the inhale and exhale.Continue for 11minutes or more.
Thursday 28 June 2018 will see a full moon in Capricorn, affecting the triple warmer/burner meridian. This yang meridian begins on the backside of the ring finger and runs along the arm, before terminating at the outer corner of the eye. The triple burner meridian controls our prana (lifeforce -- what in Chinese medicine is called Chi) as well as the distribution of energy in three main areas: 1) the chest, which is responsible for breathing; 2) the abdominal cavity which controls digestion; and 3) the pelvic area which is in charge of elimination as well as reproduction. Its partner meridian is the pericardium meridian.
The triple warmer is a fire element (agni). Fire energy goes up, against gravity. The fire tattva is concerned with moving from the material realm to the spiritual realm through purification (alchemy through fire). But guidance is needed to succeed, which is why we need a guru. The triple burner also controls appetite, thirst and body temperature.
Importantly, Capricorn and the triple burner meridian rule the glandular system, the guardians of health and emotional well-being, and of stability in infinite consciousness. Our glandular secretions determine the blood chemistry, which in turn determines traits of our personality, our moods and our emotions, including surges of pleasure and displeasure. If, e.g. your thyroid is not functioning well, you will likely find yourself lacking in patience and tolerance.
Ear problems such as pain, eczema and waxy ears
Pain in the corner of the eye
Pain and stiffness along the arm and wrist
Arthritis and nails with ridges or white spots on the third finger, as well as the fourth finger
Glandular imbalances playing up
Problems with the adrenal glands and thyroid in particular
Ishnaan (cold shower) daily keeps your glands healthy and functioning properly -- see here for a blog post on how to take yogic cold showers correctly.
Eat more healthy foods and in more relaxed and quiet environments. How you prepare your food and how you eat it is just as important as what you eat. Yogi Bhajan used to say: if you cannot eat in a graceful and relaxed environment, then don't eat at all.
Things that are good to eat:
Red & bitter foods: red beets, brussels sprouts, radicchio, rucola, rosemary, oregano, basil, paprika, turmeric, grapefruit, watermelon, quinoa, rye, buckwheat. Cherries, red grapes and strawberries are not included due to their sweet taste.
Drink green tea (washed first) and (dark) chocolate in moderation, and best in a moist environment.
Yoga for Triple Burner:
Back platform with the toes pointed away, fingers facing back and long deep breathing. 3-5 minutes
Long Deep Breathing.
Some Kundalini Yoga kriyas for the Glandular System:
I've been doing a lot of health consultations recently around female health and hormonal health (PCOS, endometriosis,uterine fibroids, fertility problems, ...) and the one thing that seems to shock women each time when they hear me say it, is the detrimental role of coffee on our hormonal system and fertility.
So, dear women (and men, because even men's coffee intake has a detrimental effect, see below): Caffeine is a catastrophe for your hormones! Tons of reputable studies link caffeine with impairedfertility and hormonal discord. Research e.g. shows that drinking 3 cups of coffee a day (consumed by either men or women!!) increases the risk of miscarriage by 74%. Coffee is considered equal to drinking alcohol and smoking in terms of impairing fertility. And coffee depletes the B vitamins that are so necessary for healthy ovulation and hormone balance.
Caffeine also severely affects menopausal symptoms, and takes a very heavy toll on your nervous system, adrenal glands and kidneys (your body needs 5 liters of water to balance the kidneys again after one cup of coffee).
Tuesday 29 May is bringing us a full moon in Sagittarius and will be affecting the Pericardium meridian, also known as the meridian of the 'heart helper' or 'heart protector'. The pericardium is the protective sheath (layer) that surrounds the heart organ. Together with the heart and the blood vessels, the pericardium runs the circulatory system.
The pericardium meridian is a yin meridian and is paired with the Triple Warmer meridian. It is the mediator between the water tattva and the fire (agni) tattva -- between our emotions in the second chakra and our passion in the third chakra. The fire tattva is purifying and transforming - its energy is not bound by gravity but rises up towards the heavens.
A balanced pericardium meridian allows us to be generous, warm, kindhearted, loving and compassionate to those around us, and allows us to be able to receive both criticism and love from others. An imbalanced pericardium meridian makes us feel unprotected in the heart centre and will cause us to look for other ways to protect the heart (e.g. by rounding off the shoulders, keeping our distance from others, building protective walls around us which are meant to keep others out but only end up making us feel separated and isolated within that fortress we have built).
Physical symptoms of a blocked or imbalanced pericardium meridian:
the inability to smile
problems with or pain in the hips
cold extremities (hands and feet) due to poor blood circulation
low sexual joy
rounding off the shoulders to try and protect the heart
many stress-related problems
Things that are good to eat & drink for this meridian:
oatmeal (contains silica which is good for the pericardium)
a drink of boiled oatmeal. Recipe: boil 1 cup of oats in 3 litres of water for 20 minutes. Strain. Drink 4 cups a day.
dark chocolate, green tea (washed first), matcha tea, Yano or another grain coffee.
Yoga postures for the pericardium:
Any hip opening exercises
Sit in butterfly pose.
Do some butterfly stretches first (bouncing the knees up and down for a few minutes) to stretch the hips open. Then bend the torso and head slowly all the way down, leading from the navel, with long deep breathing.
Slowly allow the hips to open up.
Alternate leg stretches.
Archer pose is the best posture for this meridian. It helps to develop a clear and powerful vision. Do 3 to 11 mins on either side with long deep breathing or breath of fire. Chanting can also help to keep up.
Kundalini Yoga meditations for the pericardium (with links):
Meditation for Forgiveness. Do this meditation with a partner or look into a mirror. Sit in easy pose facing your partner and look into your partner's eyes (or your own in the mirror). Breathe (together) long and deep.