Help! My Root Chakra is blocked!

I’ve recently been learning more about the chakras which, according to some Indian religions, are seven energy centers located along the body. When one is ‘blocked’ it can impede or stagnate your growth or functioning in that area.

I don’t tend to take these things too literally, but I certainly believe that these energy centers, or vortexes (they spin!) are a useful metaphor for considering how certain ‘blocks’ in our lives might manifest as a physical ailment or powerful emotion.

According to a short quiz I took, my most blocked chakra right now is my ‘root chakra,’ which is kind of unfortunate because if that one isn’t functioning well, all the other chakras are going to be out of whack as well. The root chakra is located at the base of your spine, and is associated with the color red.

How do you know if your root chakra is blocked? Well, you feel “ungrounded.” This could be due to physical or environmental stressors, but also just feelings of spaciness or forgetfulness. A good example: the other day I left my lunch sitting out on the counter at work instead of putting it in the fridge. Doh!

It makes sense that I’d feel this way and be kind of scattered right now, because my job involves using unstructured time wisely and trying to deal with a ton of different things at once, including facilitating lots of conflicting perspectives. Being pulled in so many different directions can make you feel untethered, even at the best of times when you’re feeling stable in your own sense of self. (For  me, I think that’s when I’m with close family, which is certainly when I feel most grounded).

Another thing I’ve noticed about my job is that, unlike when I was teaching, there are few immediate rewards. Sometimes “helping” means disciplining a student, or having a really tough conversation with a parent. These are not fun things to do. AT ALL. I’m the first to admit, it’s a blow to the ego.

And I think that’s a big part of why my root chakra is in need of some TLC. I’m renegotiating my relationship with my ego, and realizing that a lot of things are no longer about me. It’s about doing what’s right, for the long term. But that definitely takes a toll.

I’m getting there. In the meantime, I’m trying to rebalance myself by doing lots of oil massages and pranayama breathing techniques. I especially love alternate nostril breathing.

One of my green beauty lifesavers for helping me feel more grounded has been Nubian Heritage “Indian Hemp and Haitian Vetiver With Neem Oil Hand and Body Scrub.” ($12.99) It is thick and luscious with an earthy grounding scent that helps relax me before bed. I also really enjoy drinking Yogi Tea Soothing Caramel Bedtime Tea.

Any other tips are always appreciated!

 

 

 

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My Fail-Safe Dry Skin Beauty Routine!

Hello!

Even though I live in L.A and even though it’s a very pleasant indeed 80 degrees most days, for some reason the air conditioning at work dries my skin out like no one’s business. I have naturally dry skin, and since switching to a green beauty routine and using oils, it’s drastically improved, but I still have bouts of extreme parched-ness. When my skin is feeling uber dry I turn to two main products, both by the wonderful Brooklyn-based brand SW Basics, and I have a little routine down for using them that works a treat. There’s something Ayurvedic about these products too…I’m a ‘vata’ type (dry skin, flighty/nervous energy, on the thin-side: these are the vata clichés which I am happy to fulfill). When I was doing my PhD, many moons ago, I read somewhere that vatas should eat more oily and sweet/heavy foods when stressed to combat fatigue and anxiety. It worked! And I think this translates to skincare as well.

Let’s start with exfoliation. Peeps with dry skin should really avoid extreme exfoliants, especially that microdermabrasion malarkey. Just say no, my friends. Dry skin = sensitive skin, and you don’t want to mess with your epidermis too much. However, a little exfoliation helps skin stay smooth and preps it for absorbing oils and such like. My favorite exfoliator right now is the calming and soothing SW Basics product “Exfoliant,” which is made with organic oat flour, almond flour and sea salt. You can buy this online for about $24.00 at places like Pharmaca, and also at some Targets. It’s a pretty accessible brand, and one of my favorites because of its emphasis on pure and organic ingredients – of which there are always five or less…

 

 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. $24.00?! For that price I could just make this shit myself! Aha! That’s what I thought, but it turns out that SW Basics know what they’re doing when it comes to the perfect balance of ingredients. I’ve tried ‘mixing’ SW Basics products up  before, but somehow it’s never the same. Unfortunately.

I apply this in the shower. It’s just really soothing. I can’t say it smells good – sorry. If you like scented products, this isn’t for you. SW Basics stuff just isn’t about smell, it’s about purity.

After a scrub-a-dub-dub with this I slather on SW Basics “Cream” (about $32.00, but worth it and often cheaper online). The key is to do this whilst still in the shower so your skin is damp.

 

I really can’t say enough good things about this cream – which really feels more like a thick scoop of solid coconut oil than a cream, texture-wise. It’s made with just shea butter, coconut oil and olive oil, and it’s perfect. Immediately after it’s sunk in my skin just feels super supple, looks smooth, and feels soft. Applying it to damp skin allows it to really penetrate, so that’s how I always apply it. Again, it’s not great in the smell department. But it really doesn’t matter because it’s THAT GOOD. Also, olive oil is a much underrated skin product in my opinion, so it’s nice to see it championed in this product.

After about half an hour or so, after it’s absorbed, I slather on an oil – usually prickly pear seed oil. I actually buy this cheaply from my local TJ Maxx store. I love it – it’s thicker than, say, argan oil, although that would work just fine too. I have a bunch of other oils I will talk about in a future post.

That’s it! My dry skin routine – super simple, right? Like I said, the key thing is to apply everything in the shower. The steam helps soften the skin and allows the ingredients to really absorb and do their job.

Try it, and let me know if you have any great dry skin remedies!

 

 

Discover The Best Oil For Your Skintype!

I know that I have no right to complain about the weather being as I live in L.A. and all, but I’m originally from Britain and complaining is what we do best. And, even in L.A, where people get excited if they see a CLOUD, there’s a chill in the air and a nip at my nose.

The side effect of colder weather is drier skin, so I’ve been researching more about oils recently. And if you’re looking for the perfect oil to experiment with over the bleaker months, I hope this proves a handy guide!

So…which is the best oil for your skin? I’ve done my own research, plus consulted a great book called “The Idiot’s Guide To Making Natural Beauty Products,” to bring you a great list to choose from:

ALMOND OIL – Sweet almond oil is great for dry, itchy skin – especially if you suffer from eczema, psoriasis, or inflammation. This makes it a great ‘winter weather’ oil. (Also a great carrier oil for essential oils)

APRICOT KERNEL OIL – Like almond oil, apricot kernel oil is great for dry skin, and also used in lots of products for mature skin.

ARGAN OIL – Every green beauty bloggers’ favorite, and for good reason. Argan oil is a great all-rounder, helping with hydration, anti-aging, dry skin and increasing skin elasticity. Another benefit is it doesn’t clog pores.

CHERRY KERNEL OIL – This unusual oil has many of the benefits of almond and apricot kernel oil, but is more nongreasy in feel.

COCONUT OIL – Another beauty blogger favorite (and mine) coconut oil is fantastic! It hydrates, absorbs easily, and leaves skin with a dewy glow that can’t be beat. This is why I love it as an ingredient in lipbalms and beauty products as well; it makes the consistency and finish just lovely. I have an article about the top 10 uses of coconut oil here.

CRANBERRY SEED OIL – Good for anti-aging, it protects skin from damage caused by free radicals. Great for under the eyes too.

EVENING PRIMROSE OIL – Great for dry, itchy skin, acne, and dermatitis.

GRAPESEED OIL – Grapeseed oil is very healing, as it contains vitamin E, antioxidants and fatty acids. Another oil that is used for acne.

HEMP SEED OIL – Good for dry, irritated skin. I love the company “The Wonderseed,” all of whose products contain hemp seed oil.

JOJOBA OIL – One of my favorite oils. And guess what? It’s actually a liquid wax! Jojoba oil is great for dry skin, wrinkles, acne, and a few drops on your hair will help moisturize. The biggest difference I’ve noticed in my skin since using jojoba oil is a lessening of redness around my nose. You can also use it as a make-up remover. BONUS – has an infinite shelf-life, so crack out that four year old bottle you’ve got lying around!

KUKUI OIL – This is exotic sounding, but is really good for sun and wind burns, so if you’re going skiing or snowboarding this winter, get yourself some kukui oil! It’s also a good hair product, especially for dandruff. And despite the exotic sounding name, this is readily available to buy online!

MACADAMIA OIL – I’d love to try this; I have a feeling my skin would love it, because it’s very rich, being high in fatty acids. It’s especially good for regeneration of skin, scars, irritated skin, fine lines, and softening the skin.

MARAJUCA OIL – An anti-inflammatory oil, it helps dry, sensitive skin, and helps balance sebum.

OLIVE OIL – Another favorite of mine! Nothing beats the moisturizing properties of olive oil so if it’s a ton of moisture you want, this is the oil for you.

PASSION FRUIT OIL – Used for acne.

PRICKLY-PEAR SEED OIL – This is the new darling of the beauty world! I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s supposed to be good for fine lines, hydrating, and dark under-eye circles.

PUMPKIN SEED OIL – Another ‘healing’ oil used for rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, burns, wounds, and scars.

ROSEHIP SEED OIL – Known for its anti-aging properties, it renews skin cells, and helps fade age spots.

SESAME SEED OIL – In Ayurveda this oil is meant to be very soothing and grounding. Great for self-massage, and very moisturizing.

WALNUT OIL – Walnut oil has great anti-aging properties. Helps smooth wrinkles and fine lines.

WATERMELON OIL – One for the summer! Very lightweight and balancing; great for T-zone type skin. Not greasy, but very moisturizing, this one is on my wishlist once the warmer months roll back around. Actually, like jojoba oil this has an indefinite shelf life, so you can get it now and just save it for summer 🙂

You can also mix oils to create your own custom blends! Jojoba and olive oil is very nourishing!

Any new oils here you’d like to try? Any I’m missing? Let me know below!

Liv:)

Ayurvedic Abhyanga Practice…

Hi Friends!
I’ve been so tired and stressed lately…I’ve literally been coming home from work and napping and then going to bed at 10pm! In an effort to relax and get my focus back on self-care I’ve been practicing Ayurvedic Abhyanga massage at nighttime. It’s definitely helping…I thought I would share with you a bit about this practice, which soothes both body and mind. At this time of year, especially, I think it’s really important that we honor ourselves, our bodies, and our need for rest…Enjoy!
Benefits of Abhyanga
Abhyanga increases circulation, lubricates joints, and moves the lymph (helping detoxify). It also improves sleep and helps you relax. It’s also, obviously, good for your skin!
Choose Your Oil
You can use any oil, or choose an oil that benefits and balances your Ayuvedic dosha. There are numerous dosha quizzes online, but in general…
-If you are an anxious, flighty person tending to dry skin you are probably VATA. Choose sesame or almond oil.
-If you are a fiery type, prone to irritation, anger, or traditionally ‘Type A’ you are probably PITTA. Choose coconut or safflower oil.
-If you are a grounded type, ‘earthy’ with a tendency to need ‘revving up’ for things, you are probably KAPHA. Choose safflower oil.
-If you’re not sure, choose jojoba oil, which is good for all doshas.
Vatas should practice abhyanga more often than other types, as it is profoundly soothing for their flighty, nervous natures! (I’m a vata, I should know!)

Here are the instructions which I’ve been following, taken from the Deepak Chopra website: http://www.chopra.com/ccl/the-benefits-of-ayurveda-self-massage-abhyanga

Steps to Follow for Self-Massage:
  • Warm the oil
  • Sit or stand comfortably in a warm room
  • Apply oil first to the crown of your head (adhipati marma) and work slowly out from there in circular strokes—spend a couple of minutes massaging your entire scalp (home to many other important marma points—points of concentrated vital energy)
  • Face: Massage in circular motion on your forehead, temples, cheeks, and jaws (always moving in a upward movement). Be sure to massage your ears, especially your ear-lobes—home to essential marma points and nerve endings
  • Use long strokes on the limbs (arms and legs) and circular strokes on the joints (elbows and knees). Always massage toward the direction of your heart
  • Massage the abdomen and chest in broad, clockwise, circular motions. On the abdomen, follow the path of the large intestine; moving up on the right side of the abdomen, then across, then down on the left side
  • Finish the massage by spending at least a couple of minutes massaging your feet. Feet are a very important part of the body with the nerve endings of essential organs and vital marma points
  • Sit with the oil for 5-15 minutes if possible so that the oil can absorb and penetrate into the deeper layers of the body
  • Enjoy a warm bath or shower. You can use a mild soap on the “strategic” areas, avoid vigorously soaping and rubbing the body
  • When you get out of the bath, towel dry gently. Blot the towel on your body instead of rubbing vigorously.