Interview with Andrea Classen about using ayurvedic knowledge to create a more holistic lifestyle influenced by cyclical alignment with the seasons.
Andrea Classen is an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor, RYT 500 hour yoga teacher, and Wild Woman Circle leader who has been in the wellness space since 2007. Her mission is to help you start to live a cyclical life by living in alignment with the seasons using Ayurveda as your guide.
She does this by teaching her Peaceful Power Practices centered around movement, mindfulness & mother nature through an Ayurvedic lens. You can hear more from Andrea on her Peaceful Power Podcast where she aims to deliver actionable takeaways for you to live a more holistic lifestyle.
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Podcast- Peaceful Power Podcast
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Ep 112 - Cyclical Living According to Ayurveda with Andrea Classen
[00:00:00] Cynthia: You are listening to the Well Connected Twin Cities podcast. I'm your host, Cynthia Shockley, and I'm here to learn alongside you through meaningful conversations with health and wellness practitioners. This is your time to experience some mindset shifts, learn practical tips, and get excited about what is possible.
[00:00:22] We want you to own the power of choice in your personal well being journey. Let's discover what's possible right here in our Twin Cities community.
[00:00:33] Hello and welcome to the Well Connected Twin Cities podcast. I'm your host, Cynthia Shockley, and today we are speaking with Andrea Claussen. Andrea is an Ayurvedic wellness counselor. She's an RYT 500 hour yoga teacher and Wild Woman Circle Leader who has been in the wellness space since 2007.
[00:00:54] Her mission is to help you start to live a cyclical life by living in alignment with the seasons using Ayurveda as your guide. She does this by teaching her peaceful power practices centered around movement, mindfulness, and mother nature through an Ayurvedic lens. You can hear more from Andrea on her peaceful power podcast, where she aims to deliver actionable takeaways for you to live a more holistic lifestyle.
[00:01:17] Here we are with Andrea Claussen. I'm so happy to have you on this podcast so we can talk all things yoga, Ayurveda, like this is good. I'm excited.
[00:01:30] Andrea: I'm excited to be here. I love chatting about both of those things.
[00:01:35] Cynthia: Yeah, and it's so interesting because everyone, I feel like at this point, everyone knows yoga.
[00:01:41] And then there's this like quiet sister science of Ayurvedic healing that is just starting. I feel like more and more people are like, Oh yeah, I know that. I know that. But it's definitely something that we haven't explored as deeply. I don't believe on this podcast. I'll have to do some digging, but I'm really excited to hear about that.
[00:02:01] And so I would love if you can give just maybe a brief. Like understanding of what those like constitutions might be around Ayurveda. And then I'm curious about yours. What's your constitution, Andrea?
[00:02:16] Andrea: All right. Okay. So ayurveda in case people don't know it originated in India, over 5, 000 years ago and those constitutions that you'd speak of, they're they're called like the doshas.
[00:02:26] Maybe people have heard that term before. And so there's the Vata, Pitta and Kapha. And so one of the ways that I really like to work with the Doshas and with Ayurveda is really tapping into the seasonal wisdom. So what's going on outside of your window is happening within your body?
[00:02:42] And so if we're thinking like right now, it's summer, it's hot. We have that fire energy that's the Pitta season. And so often we see people maybe at the end of the summer feeling that burnt out, that overwhelmed. They might've went on vacations and packed their schedule a little too full.
[00:03:00] And that's often that Pitta energy that I see happening a lot during the summer months. And then we slide into that kind of fall season, which is the Vata season. Vata season is that air and ether elements. And so they're the spaced out, it can be scattered when out of balance, it can feel frantic.
[00:03:19] And so how I really work with that summer to fall energy. It's a tricky one because if people have pushed themselves to the limit in the summer, come fall Vata, it can be the dosha that we always treat for scenario if there's an imbalance. And so if we suddenly tip into that Vata, we get a lot of things going on.
[00:03:37] We might have a lot of wind, a lot of movement within our body and within our minds. And we have really trouble settling down. Plus routines are a little off because kids are going back to school and, even if you don't have kids or you're not going back to school yourself, we still feel that energy.
[00:03:53] That's that fall energy that we were trained with for many years. And so that's what's going on around that summer to fall shift, which I think is one of the trickier ones. And then we have that last social, which is the kapha energy. And that's that late winter or spring energy.
[00:04:09] And that is a heavier, a denser the quality I always see in people. They're like the mama earth energy. They're super grounded. They're givers. They're warm. You just want to give them a hug. Like I've given a yoga teacher a hug and I was like, I don't know why I'm hugging you right now. Cause she was such a grounding kapha energy.
[00:04:27] And so out of balance, that energy can look like stuck, stagnant. Netflix and chill might be their mode for a week or two and they're having trouble getting out of it. And so they all have their own unique energy and there isn't one that's better than the other. Cause I think sometimes, now when we see these, I often get asked, are these like a personality quiz?
[00:04:47] And it's not, we have your property, what you were actually born and we can take your pulse to determine that. And then your vicarate, which could be an imbalance. And we're constantly battling that imbalance just because. We're humans, like it's, we're always going to have an imbalance of some sort.
[00:05:03] And so in ayurveda, we look at how can we find our balance that is unique to us.
[00:05:09] Cynthia: So it's very individualized. And I love how intuitive it can be when you think about the elements, right? Fire, water, wind, ether, like when you just think logically about it and you understand the seasons and then your own dosha, constitution, it's just.
[00:05:31] Some of the protocols that you might get from an Ayurvedic healer or counselor would make sense because you're like, oh because this soothes that, this aggravates that. So I know I'm very much a vata, very like air, ether, wind, and, So in summer season, which is fire Pitta, I have to be very careful and I'm still working on it.
[00:05:56] This is a lifelong journey for me. I'm working on not getting overwhelmed by that fire because what happens when there's wind and fire? Forest fires happen chaos ensues, and totally. Yup, so I need to try and settle that pit to maybe say no to more things. Try and just recognize how I can maybe not feed into that fire so much.
[00:06:21] So it's so individualized. So for you, Andrea, what is your dosha?
[00:06:24] Andrea: So I am a Pitta Prakriti, but I just had a baby now about four months ago, and when this airs, and so that first year postpartum, we always treat Vata Dosha, and so for me, I am more focused on calming the Vata, how can I keep Vata calm for that whole first year.
[00:06:42] So often people think, because I am a Pitta, I'm a go type personality, but again, I am really focused on my Vata because anyone who's had a baby, you can see you're like, Oh yeah, you get that frantic energy that movement. And then when you think about the baby coming out of the womb, there's a lot of air and ether and space left inside that is now empty.
[00:07:02] And so it's a Vata feeling if it will fill up with something and we don't want it to be the excess Vata. And so that's where I'm focusing on for this next year, but usually Pitta. Pitta is one that I pretty much can keep in balance because I don't like to feel out of balance in my pitta because I have felt the burnt out overwhelm and it's been horrible in my body and so I know where that threshold is for myself.
[00:07:25] Vata always tends to be the one that I have to be. On top of more than others and kapha. I just have a little bit of so kapha. I usually don't have to do much with because when we were talking about these, you might be like, Oh, I have a little bit of every than you do. We all have all three within us.
[00:07:41] They're just in varying amounts. And we usually have that one dosha that might be, whatever one it is for you. I'm not sure which one for you, Cynthia, which one you're like, Oh yeah, I can, my kapha is pretty good. I don't have to play with that too much.
[00:07:53] Cynthia: Yeah, I I would say I like almost need more kapha energy in my life.
[00:07:59] And it's so funny because I married a kapha. If it were up to him, he would just, chill on the couch and watch Netflix with his free time. And so then It brings a really good balance. Cause then I'm like, nope, we're doing this. Let's get up, let's go. And then for me, it's he'll remind me like, you can rest, you can chill and I'm like, Oh, okay.
[00:08:18] Andrea: Totally. Totally. Yes. That's a great, that's a great example. And yeah, spouses can definitely bring that balance to you. And as well as kiddos, like you might have kiddos who are like, one is more airy and ether. One is more kapha and you're like, wow, I can learn lessons from all of these things.
[00:08:35] Cynthia: Yeah. And it's so interesting because it baffles me the concept that, when you're born influences your constitution. Cause yeah, I was born in January, which is like definitely like Vata season. And then my husband was born in April, which is very Kapha season.
[00:08:53] Andrea: So you actually are at conception is when your dosha is.
[00:08:57] Oh, so there's if there's a book, if anyone really wants to geek out on it I think it's called dosha. Dosha baby, and you can really go deep into like hearings and how it all happens. For your property and your victory. Interesting. But yes, so this season can influence more so probably on the mom because that's going to be like winter.
[00:09:18] It tends to be an easier time in Minnesota to rest and to go in because you're not going to want to go outside in the cold, especially with a little baby. Whereas summer, a lot of the moms have trouble resting for that full six weeks postpartum, which then can in turn affect the baby. And the baby might have a little bit more Vata going on because the mom brought baby around a lot and there's no good or bad or no judgment.
[00:09:40] It's just, that's how we, especially in Minnesota, it's so hard to on nice days. Stay in those first six weeks when you might feel really good. And, that's how that Vata energy can creep in.
[00:09:50] Cynthia: Yeah. And Ayurveda, it, I like was introduced to it while I was living in California and it didn't hit until I moved to Minnesota.
[00:10:03] Cause you know, in California, especially like SoCal, it's just, the weather's pretty consistent usually throughout the year. And But then in Minnesota, it's just so felt the change in seasons and a big takeaway for me moving here and what kind of made me want to stay a part of it was how validating it felt to be in a place.
[00:10:26] where the changing seasons gave me permission to also embrace the changing seasons that I have within me because surprise, I'm also a part of nature. And so I wonder for you, Andrea, in the work that you do in your Ayurvedic counseling, what are some ways that, people might take care of their balances in these changing seasons, especially in Minnesota where those season changes are literally felt so drastically?
[00:10:56] Andrea: Yeah. One of the things I always like to look at is, we usually have kind of a 20 page questionnaire that we go through and then I kind of mark. What dosha do I see based on some of the answers that are going on? So that's the first thing that we do is we look at any imbalances. Then I'm looking, okay, what season are we in?
[00:11:13] So maybe if I'm noticing, oh, you have a Pitta imbalance and we're in Pitta season, we are really going to pacify that Pitta dosha. So in ayurveda, we say like increases, like an opposites heel. So if it's already hot and intense and fiery, we don't want to add more, warmth to the body per se, that's going to really inflame and burn out that Pitta energy.
[00:11:34] So we wouldn't add more cooling practices. The moon is a big one. So practicing, moon bathing, so going out at night and sitting underneath the moon salutations. And, if you practice yoga rather than maybe a sun salutation, just to have that cooling effect. When you're looking at different pranayamas, you're thinking about chittali and all of the practices.
[00:11:52] Alternate nostril breathing would be another good one. Making your exhale twice as long as your inhale. Anything where it's a little bit more cooling in nature, maybe not kapalabhati, which can be more heating. So you're looking at how can I just tweak. Little things that you might already be doing just more in alignment with the seasons, more in alignment with what I'm seeing going on with your body.
[00:12:12] And we can do that. I usually personally, every season take an inventory. How am I feeling? What do I need to adjust? And then make those little tweaks to my routine. Staying in a routine is the best thing that you can do for that Vata dosha. And usually Vata's are the ones who fight routines the hardest.
[00:12:30] When I'm like, you got to get on that routine, get on that schedule, doctors are like no, please. I do not like it.
[00:12:35] Cynthia: Guilty as charged.
[00:12:38] Andrea: Yes. Yes. The ones who usually are like, oh, but I want to do this at two. And then tomorrow I want to do this at two and then the next day and just, you can't get on that schedule.
[00:12:47] I've. I felt that from just having years of, appointments with, clients and that can be very wind driven and make that Vata dosha a little bit more sporadic. And rather than having, let's say a coffee at two o'clock in the summer, that's really going to inflame that pizza in terms of, you're probably gonna have a little bit more acid.
[00:13:07] They tend to be. Ones who that sour taste might not do great with a pitta dosha and same with the heat and the spiciness that's going to inflame the pitta. A vata, a two o'clock coffee is going to really increase that air ether element. And so now they're buzzing up here and they're not being grounded.
[00:13:23] The ones who maybe could get away with it would be if you're a kapha and you're maybe in that kapha season, you might need that pick me up and you might be able to take that coffee and not really have the effects of the other two doshas who instantly can feel it. Also why people in your family, like my grandma, who is 97, she will pour me a cup of coffee, like two or three in the afternoon.
[00:13:43] I'm like, grandma, I can't coffee. I can't sleep if I have it. Whereas she is oh, I can sleep just fine. That's just her innate nature. Like her body can process it differently than I can, even though we come from those same genetic genes, like she just could process it. She's a different dosha balance than.
[00:13:59] Cynthia: And I just love the genetic factor in the biology involved because realistically, this is a 5000 plus year old way of knowing ourselves before we understood genetics before we understood biology the way that we do now with like cells and microscopes and all of that. So this is the precursor to everything we know in biology and how humans work, and there's just different labels, right?
[00:14:28] So that's something that's been really eye opening to me as I dig into some of the research around Ayurveda and the philosophy and recognizing, Like this is actually biology, but broken down into the elements that we know that our ancestors knew.
[00:14:47] Andrea: Yes. Same with gut health. So a lot of the gut health that is now being discovered now, Ayurveda had talked about for years with food combinations that might not be great.
[00:14:57] Eating seasonally and why you don't want to be having. Why raw salads might not actually be that healthy for people if they can't digest it. So I always, that's actually one that I really, especially in the summer months, if you're a Vata dosha, really pay attention to how you digest those raw salads because myself, even though I'm a Pitta Prakriti, I align more with a Vata digestion.
[00:15:18] I just have. And so I have to be careful with too much raw salads because then I get constipated. And stuff gets just doesn't move. And so if you think about it, you're like, Oh, it makes sense because it's roughage. And Vata tends to be the ones that be constipated. A Pitta might have more loose stools and a Kapha usually, their stools are banana shaped and, perfectly formed if they're in balance.
[00:15:40] And so you're thinking, okay, if I am more constipated and the rabbit pellets and the dry stools. Okay. Whatever I'm eating is probably drying in nature and it's drying out my colon. It's drying me out. And so you have to think those salads, if you're not putting a ton of dressing on, if it's you're not, I always like to cook slightly cook my salad.
[00:15:58] So it doesn't mean you don't have to have it. Like I just slightly cook them. In an avocado oil, and then I'll eat it and then maybe put a little light dressing on top. That's very oily. And so it's easier to digest and it will go through the systems, your small intestines and out the colon a little easier than, that raw roughage, which can get stuck and then start to build up.
[00:16:16] And then that's when stuff, bowel movements start to stink, which they're not supposed to. And all of that means it was probably sitting in the colon longer
[00:16:23] than it should have.
[00:16:24] Cynthia: Okay. If there's one takeaway for me, I already know that's my takeaway. Like slightly cook my salads in oil. Okay. Okay.
[00:16:33] Mind blown.
[00:16:35] Andrea: Yes. That's one of my favorites to tell people and they're like, Oh man. Cause again, in the West salads, a lot of this diet stuff, cause I came from a personal training background, it's not very Ayurvedic at all. And it makes sense. Cause when I think about people that used to bring.
[00:16:52] They would, this is very gross, but this is what trainers used to do, but I worked with, they would bring a plastic bag with their chicken breast cooked. So they wouldn't necessarily reheat it. They'd have a bag of plain broccoli and then maybe a can of tuna. And that was what they ate. And so if you think about it, like a lot of them had very, from going into the trainer bathrooms.
[00:17:12] It's smelled a lot. And you think about that, you're like, Oh yeah, because that stuff just sits, it sits in the body. They can't digest it. A lot of times they're eating it, like not reheating it. Cause you don't have time. So they're eating this cold chicken breast or in the car. You're not sitting down and mindfully eating.
[00:17:27] It's just what can I do to fuel the body? And it's not necessarily feeling the body in the way that we think it is.
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[00:18:33] Cynthia: We are currently at the release of this podcast in summer, in pitta Season. What would be some recommendations you might have for pitta Season maybe depending on like the constitutions and where you're at?
[00:18:50] Andrea: Yeah. So in general, a great thing to do. I like to have rose water on hand and kind of you can keep it in the fridge, especially if you're a Pitta by nature. And then in the, heat of the afternoon, just do a couple of squirts on your face of your rose water. And so that's a great tip. If you're a Vata and a Kapha, you'd probably just keep it on the shelf rather than in the fridge.
[00:19:10] Another idea for, food is to really pay attention to iced beverages. So in Ayurveda, we're not a big fan of having ice in our beverages because it depletes that digestive fire. And so we call it the Agni. And so what ends up happening if we think about a fire, if you pour water on a fire, it goes out and that's the same thing with that ice principle.
[00:19:30] Maybe your digestion is strong, but then we keep dumping that ice cold water on it. We're, we're putting out that fire. And so that's another tip that I know can be a little difficult for people who really love the ice. But I will say I, when I made that transition, I was like, this is.
[00:19:45] Mind blowing. And I now cannot stand having ice in my beverages because I'm like, Ooh, this is too cold, too much. And I can just feel that happening in the body because I've, I know what happens when I don't have it. So that would be one other ones again, as we talked about with that coffee or that afternoon beverage, really being mindful of what that is.
[00:20:04] So I like to have coconut water, instead in that afternoon and same thing with the sparkling waters. If. You're getting a lot of belching and you feel bloated after them, which are common complaints that I hear, maybe having that coconut water, it might be a little better option or putting fresh fruit in your water versus, having the sparkling water in those cams.
[00:20:25] Another thing in ayurveda is having fruit as a standalone meal, not with your lunch, which is all, especially here in Minnesota, we'll have salads and all this stuff for. Potlucks, but just being mindful of what fruits you're eating melons and are you beta are always to be eaten alone for digestive purposes.
[00:20:43] Same thing your body is gonna, digest if it's watermelon is a little bit easier to digest. But if you're thinking about your honeydew and your cantaloupe, that's a thick melon, and it's really hard for the body to digest. So that would also again be standalone so it can digest just that your body has to focus on breaking down those melons.
[00:21:02] So those would be some, quick ways that I often see that people maybe struggle with or how can I adapt these? Because I really love my fruit, cooking some fruit in an oatmeal bake that might, that's a little bit easier to digest like having a raw fruit right with your breakfast.
[00:21:20] Cynthia: So I'm hearing just that theme of working with our digestive system that intuitively.
[00:21:28] Andrea: Yes.
[00:21:28] Number one tip for Ayurveda, what can you digest? And if you can't digest it, what I can digest is going to be different from you. I've had clients who grew up in Mexico and what they can digest.
[00:21:39] I cannot touch because it's way too hot and spicy, but they don't, and they might be a pitta as well, but because they grew up with that, they can handle that spice and that flavor much better than I can. And the same thing I grew up on casseroles. You could throw some weird food combinations at me and I could somehow digest them better than someone who's I did not grow up in the Midwest with this tater tot hot dish, so all of those are going to be little things that are going to play a factor as well in your digestion.
[00:22:05] And if you're thinking like, oh my gosh, I can never have fruit again with a meal. So don't take that away. And same thing with coffee. I personally have a coffee in the morning. I figure out how can I balance it my day? So if you are going to have, XYZ, okay, it might be increasing of this dosha.
[00:22:21] How can I make sure I balance that dosha out the rest of my day? And so those are ways that you can look at ayurveda. It's not about I should never eat this again. It's okay. If I'm going to, I just got to find that balance later in the day.
[00:22:35] Cynthia: Yeah it's like learning I don't know I guess a language of sorts, like being able to make everything work together, balance out.
[00:22:43] And I know you mentioned, and this is also something that I'm walking away with, I just know, is the concept that the first year after giving birth is a Vata time for mothers. I know you've actually written books on women's cycles, menstrual cycles, and how Ayurveda plays a role in that. Do you mind kind of sharing maybe just like an overview of some of the things that you've written about and explored?
[00:23:13] Andrea: Yeah.
[00:23:14] So Ayurveda, has the seasons. It has a time of life. Kids, adults retirement age, they all have a phase as well. So does the menstrual cycle. They all are associated with the dosha type as well. And so within that you can really get as granular as you want with it.
[00:23:30] You're like, Oh, I'm in the summer. I am a Pitta. I'm in the Pitta stage of life. And I'm in my Pitta phase of my menstrual cycle. I really. You have to be mindful of that. And so for those if we just break down just a quick cycle cap, the bleeding phase of your cycle is actually the Vata time.
[00:23:47] And then if we think about the next phase, that follicular phase that's associated with the Kapha, ovulation is going to be Pitta. And then the first half of that luteal is again Pitta. And then right before you bleed you're coming back into that Vata. And so if we're thinking about those for okay I'm ovulating and it's summer and the mid cycle of people's lifespan is that Pitta season.
[00:24:09] And you're a Pitta, you're really thinking about how can I bring in cooling elements so I'm not overheating. And what ends up happening then is if you're pushing it too far, that's when we have those PMS. That's when we have, the menstrual cramps, that's when we complain a lot about all of the little things that happened in that late luteal phase, because we.
[00:24:28] Burned out that Pitta during that, obligatory phase. And so those are little practices I have. I written my first book that is out currently it's, I broke it down into the seasons. And then within the seasons, I give you five practices under each menstrual phase that you can do to find that balance.
[00:24:45] And so if people are like, Oh, I don't have a menstrual cycle anymore. You could still use it under the seasons. And so I did that on purpose, cause I have plenty of clients who are menopause who like to do these practices. And so there's that seasonal component, or if you want to, again, geek out and go into each phase of your menstrual cycle, you can pull a practice from there.
[00:25:03] And so that's, those are some of my favorite practices in there that I personally have done. And there, Some of them are just as simple as logging off of social media during your late luteal phase. I call it the crunchy day. So when you start to compare and judge okay, hop off for a few days until you're done bleeding.
[00:25:19] Cause again, if we're in that Vata phase and what happens when we're bleeding, I also have to calm my pitas down to not work out as hard. So we also don't recommend working out, especially those first couple of days when you're bleeding, which can be so hard. I get it. Especially for my Pitas.
[00:25:36] And so what happens if you work out, I often hear people being like, I am, had the worst cramps the next month. I had the worst time with grounding myself, later in the month, all because we pushed ourselves when we were in that Vata cycle or Vata phase of our cycle and. That is one of the main reasons why we shouldn't, and I know it's hard, but doing some light stretches that is going to be best.
[00:26:00] And usually actually the people who fight me the worst online, when I say to rest are male trainers, which is fascinating in that regard. I'm like, The cycles, you don't even know what this feels like. And you're fighting me that you need to see your clients on day one of their cycle.
[00:26:14] Cynthia: Like where does your expertise on this lie?
[00:26:17] Please enlighten me.
[00:26:19] Andrea: I was like, there are, and most studies are done on men and they're not done on females. And then when we think about that, most of them are done when they're ovulating. And not during when we're bleeding. And so a lot of this can be, people are starting to understand the menstrual cycle and workouts and what's actually happening and why we need to adjust our workouts, throughout our month as well.
[00:26:40] Cynthia: Exactly.
[00:26:41] Yeah, I remember I taught some clients around the basic principles of Ayurveda. And one of the women who realized she's very kapha and we were in kapha season, she challenged herself then to do a more fiery vinyasa yoga practice. And she's I, my body I didn't want to, but afterwards I felt so good.
[00:27:02] And so that was, like, a really. I think it's so empowering to have this framework so that you can make intentional choices to seek balance instead of feeling like just tossed around by the seasons and not really knowing why
[00:27:19] Andrea: yes. Yeah. And just as you said, it's like learning a new language.
[00:27:22] That's probably the number one thing. I, when people actually fully grasp ayurveda, they're like, I see the world completely differently, and it's in an empowering way. It's okay, if I know this is happening. Here's a choice that I should make to find a balance. And again, we're not always going to make perfect choices, but it is about finding, okay, if I'm going to make this choice, how can I, offset it in some way?
[00:27:42] And we don't change doshas, every day, we're not like a Vata on Monday and then Friday we're Pitta. Like it doesn't change that fast. It's a slow ramp up to really get that imbalance. And usually that's when people come to see me is when they've ramped up for months. And then they're like, Ooh, I don't feel good anymore.
[00:28:02] And it's not like a quick overnight thing. So that's also something I do want to say, cause I do see people who are like, Oh, that's really confusing. Am I here? Am I here? I'm like, no, it doesn't work quite that fast. It's, it's our bodies. It takes time to build up those habits. And then that's when we start to see it maybe a few months down the line of, Ooh, I've got an imbalance going on.
[00:28:22] Cynthia: Being able to be more proactive and anticipating the changes to come with the seasons with your menstrual cycle is huge so that you can actually, make some plans and set some activities up for yourself or maybe withdraw and intentionally keep your calendar open or.
[00:28:40] Andrea: Yes. And that's why I said about the fall season come September.
[00:28:43] That's not necessarily because it's September that we have imbalances. It's because we got imbalanced all summer long, and then it hits a, the headway in September. And then that's when I usually feel it here. And then also in winter for, I would say, Minnesota, those are the other time where you start to see that imbalance of that winter to spring can be tricky because again, it starts to feel nice.
[00:29:06] And we think. Whoa, let's go. And then we burn out after maybe a month or so into spring, we start to get those health issues because we pushed a little too hard.
[00:29:19] Cynthia: Yeah.
[00:29:19] I know I've been trying to keep space open on my calendar this summer and I'm doing better than, pre pandemic summers. That was back to back, just wild.
[00:29:32] But I think the temptation to quote unquote get back to normal is definitely there and the temptation to just fall back into every weekend is completely booked. But I'm like trying to intentionally, I'm like blocking my calendar and saying rest. Yes. This is a rest day. That's amazing.
[00:29:51] Yeah, which is so hard for me just within my own constitution and personality. I remember I had a teacher who said for me, like her yoga practice for me was to go to a very vigorous vinyasa flow class and choose To rest go there where the teacher is telling you try this pose Try this do this really challenging thing and instead do the most basic version of that And rest and make your way into child's pose more often and let me tell you that has been really hard but Instrumental and how I can also approach my life, you know all these invitations to go harder to do more But then choosing actually i'm gonna i'm gonna hit up child's pose
[00:30:38] Andrea: I love that.
[00:30:38] And I love that you said choosing, because that's really what it's all about is making that intention. Like you went in knowing, okay, I'm going to make this decision. Sometimes I think we mindlessly maybe follow the teachers or do the things and don't realize. Why we're even doing a practice or that can look like a lot of people's meditation in the morning, they're doing it to check it off the list.
[00:30:57] Instead of being like, no, I'm going to go in, like choosing to do this for myself.
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[00:31:46] Andrea: After having my son, I'm like, oh, wow, I stopped doing Abanyanga for those first few weeks, which you shouldn't ideally postpartum. But I didn't have a postpartum doula at the time and what I really wanted to do or add back in the first thing I was like, I need my Abanyanga and I didn't realize how much I missed it until it wasn't there.
[00:32:07] And so sometimes those practices for us like we might have a practice for Oh, I really missed this practice and didn't realize it until. It's taken out of, my routine. And then you're like this, there was benefits to it. And I was getting the benefits and how can I find that again? And it might look different again with each season, Abanyanga ideally is done before your workout in the mornings.
[00:32:28] I personally, I do it in the evenings before bed because that's when it fits in my schedule better. And so this is also the thing about ayurveda is you got to make it work for you. Because the ideal schedule, we just went over in my ayurveda doula postpartum doula class. It would take you two hours to do.
[00:32:45] And most moms that I know are like, no, I'm not going to get up at 4 a. m. To do these two hours worth of things. They're amazing. They're wonderful, but it's just not realistic. And so that's where we said, I'm like, how can you make it like, which ones cherry pick the ones that are going to make the biggest difference for you.
[00:33:02] And then maybe, someday you might be able to, but maybe not. Maybe you don't need all of those things.
[00:33:07] Cynthia: Yeah. Yeah. What? How would you describe what an abanyanga is?
[00:33:13] Andrea: So a self massage and it's translates to self love. And so it's a great practice to do. You want to warm up some oil, sesame oil is the tridosha oil.
[00:33:23] So using heating it up and it's just. Like your cooking oil. I personally, I do a lavender oil just because it smells better. And that's why I can do it before bed because I'm not using the sesame oil. So I don't smell like sesame oil as I go to bed and stains your sheets. So instead I do a homemade lavender oil and you start at your feet and you just gently massage it in.
[00:33:42] And you just put in a lot of oil. I sit on a towel. I would also recommend if you're going to do this on a rug or couch, so you don't stain. And then you rub up towards your heart and so you do long strokes up towards the heart and you do circular strokes around your joints. And then you do that up the legs, you do it on your belly, your arms, the chest.
[00:34:01] And then if you want, someone could do your back. There's ways you can also, there's some hair oil that you can massage into your scalp. And so it's a really great practice, especially postpartum to do. That's why it's really great to have that postpartum doula who can, massage and just help you ground the Vata.
[00:34:18] Cause that's what it is also doing. It's grounding that Vata and it's good to do every day. This is a practice that everyone can do every single day. You can spend five minutes, you can spend. 20 minutes but heating up a little bit of oil. And there's also some oils you can buy online if people, if you don't want to make your own lavender oil, or you don't want to use the sesame oil, there's some stuff online at Banyan Botanicals that are dosha specific that if you're like, or a tridosha one, if you want to use it for your whole family.
[00:34:45] Cynthia: Yeah. Oh, what a beautiful gift to yourself to be able to just touch your own body with love and tenderness. I actually tell clients sometimes a practice to just send their selves love is to use just as they lotion their body, like really be intentional, slow down, send love through their fingertips or experience it as like a sensual experience.
[00:35:09] Cause I think moms, especially, and especially in that postpartum phase, there's just a lot going on, like you said, with that thought to energy in your mind, maybe, self deprecating thoughts or especially just gosh, body image. And so to be able to send love and to touch yourself with kindness is Just beautiful.
[00:35:31] Andrea: Yes. Yes, a hundred percent.
[00:35:34] Cynthia: Yeah. I know you also Lead wild woman circles, which just based off the title. I'm like I'm in Can you tell us what happens in these wild woman circles?
[00:35:46] Andrea: Yeah. So Wild Woman Project is where I learned or got the training from. And so we meet usually on the new moon or around the new moon time within usually three days.
[00:35:57] And so I used to host them at my home. And in the summer, I like to go outside. Ending mosquitoes this year. And I'm in St. Paul. And so we usually meet 10 to 12 women and we sit in circle and we have, I have some cards there that we do some cards. We do a lot of sharing. We set intentions for the next month.
[00:36:18] So usually around the new moon is a great time to set those intentions and the full moon is a great time to release. And so we set those intentions. We have a theme and so the theme now, they used to have a theme where we had to follow what our teacher gave us. And now we get to do it on our own because she's done this for so many years and she's it's time for you guys to fly.
[00:36:36] And so because of my Ayurvedic background, I'm like, sweet, I'm going to tune into what's going on seasonally. And so I bring in an Ayurvedic concept that I kind of thread in throughout the night. But it really is what I really like about it is the sharing element. And that's what a lot of people have said too, is just like getting in there to honor.
[00:36:55] There's no that's why we sit in circle. There's no, like I am in charge. I'm like, Hey, who knows a ton about astrology? Do you want to share a little bit more about what's going on at this time in the new moon? Just because my background is more with Vedic astrology and with Ayurveda, I'm like, Which isn't as common.
[00:37:10] And so I'm like, Hey, who wants to share? And so it really is that circle dynamic and bringing in that element. We usually, when I had it here, we would have some tea at my house. And sometimes I would make some little new moon cookies or snacks and we just try to make it cozy. And I have made some amazing friendships through the years of doing these and people in circle have connected and, they're.
[00:37:33] Someone's I'm so glad I came. Like I was feeling a little lonely. And then they ended up meeting their now best friend and they go for walks every week. So all of those things are why I love to host circle. And I think it's been a little tough getting going since the pandemic, because I found commitment.
[00:37:48] Sometimes people, we are last minute commitment now. And so I always like to have people commit at least two people come to circle. So there's always going to be at least two people there besides just me. And so we can share and really get the most out of this. But it's a. It's a beautiful thing to do.
[00:38:02] And yeah, I try to lead them monthly here in St. Paul around that new moon time.
[00:38:08] Cynthia: There is such a magical power in women circling together. And that's where I've found my most healing experiences and just been able to be able to facilitate that space is such a gift. Oh my goodness.
[00:38:24] Andrea: That's why I said, I'm like, you can usually really tune into the moon based on some nights.
[00:38:29] We're crying other nights. You're laughing. It really is such an interesting play of this is actually going on. We can really feel it in our bodies and, having that space where we can just, we also don't coach. This is also one of my favorite things about circle as well. And if you're new to this, sometimes people are what do we do?
[00:38:45] So if someone's crying. You're in charge of your own tissue box. So you get your own tissues, we never coach you or give advice. So it's Hey, you might just dump whatever you needed off your chest. And we just raise our hands and say, I witness you. And there is no follow up conversations.
[00:39:02] If you want to, you can, when you leave circle, I'll ask the person and say, Hey, could I. Follow up on what you said. And if they say no, it's a no, if they say yes, then, you can expand that conversation, but that's one of the things that people have really liked as well, as it's a place where you can just be yourself and let these things go.
[00:39:20] And often it's the letting go that you're like, I feel so much better just getting that off my chest. And so I also recommend coming by yourself or without people that you know, because people I have found are really a lot more honest when they're there with just themselves and they don't know anyone.
[00:39:35] When they come with friends than people I found are a little bit more guarded, unless they really have that type of friendship, a lot of the times people hold back just a little bit if they're there with friends. So if you want to come by yourself, please do because that's usually when people have the most profound experiences of just.
[00:39:51] Wow, I can be me.
[00:39:53] Cynthia: Yeah. Yeah. Just the letting go and being vulnerable and then to be witnessed. Like you said, like I witness you that is so healing to be able to be seen and recognized with people who don't have any stock in your life, right? They're not, they don't have their own agenda about your life.
[00:40:12] And so for them to just fully accept you and witness you. It's there's something there that just gets unlocked and it ripples out. So even if you don't bring your friends, I'm sure it just it influences maybe just how you show up and oh, so much there.
[00:40:30] Andrea: Yeah. And then coming back every month, it's a nice little sacred spot where you're like, I might not see you outside of circle.
[00:40:35] I see you once a month here, or you develop that bond with someone at circle based on. Getting real and being your vulnerable self. So I have found it to be just as sweet nourishing events that I love. I love to host.
[00:40:49] Cynthia: Yeah.
[00:40:50] Beautiful. And I know you call it your peaceful power practices, right?
[00:40:55] These teachings that you have are on movement, mindfulness, and just being able to move through this Ayurvedic lens. And you actually have a podcast yourself. It's called the peaceful power podcast, which will also, is. Is on her website. Everything's going to be linked in the show notes. If you want to follow her on Instagram and you have some meditations on insight timer as well.
[00:41:17] Andrea: Yes. Yes. And I have hopefully the course I recorded a course for ayurvedic approach to postpartum care. And so that should be live, at the end of June here. So I'm hoping that will be up and going. If people want to dive into, Hey, how do I do this? How do I set myself up for. That postpartum period.
[00:41:35] Cynthia: Yeah. Ugh. And I feel like we'll have to do another episode on just Ayurvedic postpartum doula. Like what? This can exist .
[00:41:47] Andrea: Yes. I feel like so excited.
[00:41:49] Cynthia: Yeah. So I'm so glad that we were able to sit and have this conversation. I know. I learned. a lot. And I'm like sitting here taking notes just for myself.
[00:41:58] I'm like yes.
[00:42:00] Andrea: I love it. I love it.
[00:42:02] Cynthia: Oh thank you so much for your time and for everything that you're doing, Andrea. And I'm excited for the future of what The postpartum doula training through the Ayurvedic lens can bring to our community. And anyone who wants to work with Andrea too, you can look through her website and there's all the ways you can work with her there.
[00:42:22] Just such a gift to have you on this podcast.
[00:42:26] Andrea: Thank you so much for having me.
[00:42:28] Cynthia: Thank you so much for listening to the Well Connected Twin Cities podcast. Did you learn something new? Did you feel that spark of hope and excitement for what is possible? Because so much is possible. Tell us about it in a review on Apple podcast. Not only would we absolutely love hearing from you, but these reviews help our ratings and help other curious minds like you find this resource.
[00:42:53] We are always better together. Thank you again and see you next time.