Yoga is NOT for the Weak!

Our Glosse Girl, Elise, follows an Ayurvedic lifestyle and as curious creatures, we asked her about it. With it’s similarities to the Dukan Diet, it’s ritual yoga and natural lifestyle goals, we saw a lot of “Kate” in these ideas. We asked her to share her rules, rituals and reviews of the Ayurvedic lifestyle just for you!

During the second part of my first pregnancy, like Kate, I decided it was time to get back on track health-wise after a miserable first trimester and signed up for pregnancy yoga.   My idea of yoga, at that time, was stretching and poses and such things (you know, a bit of exercise).    The first night I arrived, the women were gathering in a circle around a candle starting to omm and ahhhm like monks and my teacher was an elderly lady in a wheelchair!  Not being the most esoteric person in the world, I thought I had stepped into the wrong film.  Singing or chanting was not something I did and for sure not out-loud with strangers.  But I caved into peer-pressure, gave it a try, and that day began a journey with one of the most amazing women I have ever met.  Yoga, she declared, is not gymnastics but a discipline.  It is more than contortionist exhibitions; it is a way of breathing, of thinking, of being. The purpose of the chanting was to learn to breath and extend exhalation.  This became the single most important thing I learned that helped me concentrate through the animalistic experience that is birth.  (During birth you lose most inhibitions anyway and ahhhing loudly might be more productive than screaming).

Now let us fast forward to nearly two years post-second baby and here I am STILL fighting off those last 8 pounds which had seemed so effortless for my European colleagues.   None of them look now pregnant with their third, whereas I have been politely asked on more than one occasion . . .anyway.  My original plan (one year ago) was the paleo-primal, low-carb thing. It was a natural step after having gestational diabetes and not far off track from the Dukan diet that Kate and the WWKD team tried. It worked well, initially.  Then I became fatigued, with constant headaches.   This was more than could be blamed on the not-sleeping baby.  A fruitless medical hunt began and I was declared healthy (but honestly I felt a bit crazy and still very bad).

During all this time, I had remained training yoga with the very same teacher who had become a role-model, mentor and friend.  She advised me to read “Perfect Health” by Deepak Chopra, a very well-written book about ayurveda by a doctor trained in both western and traditional medicine.  Aryuveda is Sanskrit for “life-knowledge”.  If you Google Ayurveda you will see it defined as traditional Indian medicine but rather than treating symptoms of a disease, aryuveda is an aspiration towards ultimate health.   In short, everyone should practice it and ideally long before physical symptoms occur.  After reading the book, I decided to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner.  Using pulse diagnosis and a very thorough history, she decided that I had burned out my fire, so to speak.  The diet change was radically different from my primal one.  The saturated fat got replaced by wholesome carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables tailored specifically to my condition.  Less than one week later my headaches were gone.  My conclusion: the high saturated fat had overworked my liver (the liver has to work hard to convert fat into usable energy) and the by-products of this metabolism were linked to my headaches.  Now not only do I feel tremendous, I am losing weight again.

In conclusion, I’d like to summarize a few things I have learned, that I think Kate would also take to heart as she adjusts to becoming a mother:

  1. Eat according to your natural genetic constitution.  The ancients called this vata, pitta and kapha.  We are all a unique combination of these three.  If you are curious about yours, take this quiz.
  2. Prepare your meals with fresh, locally grown products.  Avoid freezing and microwaving as this destroys the food’s natural energy.
  3. Try to incorporate all six tastes into every meal: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Not only does this make the meal more interesting, it also widens the perspectives of the little ones.
  4. While preparing the food, avoid tasting it.  (I find this one really tough!)
  5. If possible, eat your main meal at midday. Ideally this meal should be the one to contain animal protein and the evening meal should be lighter.
  6. Eat sitting down, without reading or television.  Eat slowly.  Savour the food and sit at least five minutes after finishing.
  7. Eat your last meal three to four hours before sleeping.
  8. Eat so that your stomach is 1/3 full with solids, 1/3 full with liquids and 1/3 empty.  Ideally drink warm water with your meal, although red wine occasionally is not a deal breaker.
  9. Pamper and worship yourself in the morning.  Deepak Chopra gives a detailed routine in his book but in essence (and if you don’t have young children because this is simply impossible in its entirety) you should wake up, meditate, practice yoga, massage yourself, savour breakfast and enjoy a walk as part of your morning routine.
  10. Most importantly, trust your body!  It is an amazing instrument and inherently knows exactly what it needs.  If you widen the variety of tastes that you are exposed to, the easier it becomes to know and eat exactly what you need.

My ideal everyday diet looks something like this:

Breakfast:  Homemade berry smoothie with ½ banana, mixed berries, cranberry juice and soy protein powder – OR – oatmeal (cooked raw oats with milk, raisins, sunflower seeds and maple syrup)

Lunch:  Couscous with vegetable bouillon, olive oil, fresh thyme, feta cheese and olives; cooked vegetables from the night before

Dinner:  Red lentils with coconut milk and veggies – OR – Quinoa soup with vegetables

Snacks:  Raisins, nuts, mango, green tea and a treat

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Creative Director at Effervescence Media Group
Christine is the editor of What Would Kate Do? and The Refined Side. When she isn’t writing, she can be found reading with a cup of tea. Her interests lie in history, etiquette, and consumer culture. She resides in Washington, D.C.
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