A Big Fat Update and the joy & grief of the season

leaflantern.jpg

Wow, I am so happy to be finally sitting down to WRITE. It's not that I haven't wanted to, not that I haven't been inspired to. As happens to so many of us, I've simply had only so many hours in a day, so many hours to do, and so many hours to be quality company with my family and with those that are dear to me. Writing to you all is dear to me too, so here I sit.

A note about this time of year... 

We are in a time called Yama Damstra in the Vedic calendar. In Ayurveda, the junctions between seasons are very important to take care of our health and clear accumulating doshas and āma (toxins). This particular junction between fall and winter is especially important. It’s a time to really take care and to turn inward, to see the inner light. Yama is the lord of death, and it is said that in this junction, the souls of all those who will not be strong enough to make it through the winter are collected. So it’s a time of re-affirming self-care and strengthening of resolve and practices - toward those which affirm life and health, and away from unconscious tendencies, ill health and ultimately death.  This is a great time to strengthen our own inward practices of breathwork and meditation, of various sorts. As this is also a time of celebrating winter holidays, usually with rich food and drink, it will be a time to ask oneself "is this wise action right now?" If you ask me, moderation would be wise. Do enjoy though, being light of heart is good medicine.
I see this also as a time of tending to our loved ones and those in need. Maybe they need us to help them get strong as this is not their time to go, and maybe some need our support to help them make that ultimate transition. Pull your community close, lend your support and ask for help for yourself if it's you that needs it.
Last year at this time, a dear co-madre left this world during this very time. She was pregnant, her death a complication of her pregnancy. I think of her so often, as she was also an Ayurvedist, midwife and a force of compassion and light in our community. She continues to inspire me, whispering in my ear "isn't life just beautiful? Don't take it for granted for one single moment!"

lordyama.jpg

A couple weeks ago, on the dark moon, I went to my daughter's school in the evening to watch the children carry paper maché lanterns they'd made themselves (these are pre-schoolers, so sweet) and sing songs about their lanterns reflecting the light of the stars above. It was so beautiful and such a perfect meditation for this time of year.

So can I share with you what's happened since I last wrote? Well, at least what seems most pertinent here, because I mean, lots has happened that probably won't interest you.

Co-founder Kerry Meath had a new baby and moved on to new work. I'm flying solo over here, other than my excellent collaborators that jump in from time to time, such as Karina Mirsky who contributed some beautiful content for the Ayurveda for Women course. I love being on my own in many ways, but will continue to bring in dynamic people who have beauty to share with us.

I'm pregnant! when Mama Ayurveda co-founder Kerry Meath was pregnant, we blogged weekly about what she was experiencing. I had hoped to share about my experiences more, but time gets away and now I'm 28 weeks pregnant, entering the 3rd trimester. This is my second pregnancy and I experienced a lot more discomfort in the first trimester than I did with my first. I have a whole new level of compassion for women who are very sick in pregnancy. I had several weeks there, where I could do almost nothing, and where I had to be on top of calories, protein, remedies constantly in order to ride the wave of illness and not let it overtake me. I totally get it. And that experience is really informing my support of pregnant women.
Finally, at about 16 weeks, I really started to feel like myself again. Phew! I'm once again planning a home birth and really looking forward to being more empowered than ever to enjoy the process of this birth. Because, I mean, what an amazing opportunity to birth a baby?! As a student midwife, I have seen more than 20 babies come into this world since I had my own last birth experience. And I've studied much about all things birth. I can't imagine not being able to take my new perspective and try it out on another birth. Mainly, I plan to welcome what comes, breathe a lot, try the birth tub this time, stay vertical as much as possible, and enjoy the experience of bringing forth life - because again, what an amazing opportunity it is!

As far as taking care, there's a lot to remember to do in terms of self care - but it's so worth it. Now that I'm into the 3rd trimester, staying off my feet more, getting gentle exercise, taking time at home to rest and rejuvenate often, staying on top of hydration & protein needs, and regular oil massage are just a few of the things I'm working on. For postpartum, I'm looking forward to trying a simpler menu and care plan, having learned from making things a bit too complicated the last time.

The Ayurveda for Women course was launched. This is the pilot year of this 8 module 16-week course. I was gifted with an exceptional group of women and am forever grateful to them for taking this journey with me. We are into our last month of the course and I've learned so much, as I always do from teaching. I teach, in large part, to learn more and this course has been no exception. This was a tall order: solid overview of Ayurvedic Foundation, plus women's health, pre-conception, pregnancy, and post partum. And creating the curriculum for it has been much like growing and birthing a child - and it's been a marathon birth. But I have enjoyed every bit of it, and continue to.

What's next? 

  1. Ayurveda for Women graduates are being offered a mentorship option to take their studies to the next level while prioritizing the areas of study most interesting to them. 
  2. In the next few months, I'll be releasing a series of mini courses on pre-conception, pregnancy and post-partum. These will be directed at moms-to-be and will be very affordable. If you know someone that would love to have a guide for the childbearing year, based on Ayurvedic principles, please let them know about this. 
  3. Ayurveda for Women 2016! Early registration will open in May and will include a discount, with the main registration opening in June at the regular tuition rate. I will be limiting the number of participants, so it's a good time to begin pondering whether this is the course for you. This course will take place over 4.5 months, with two 1-week breaks for digestion and holiday time. This course is designed for beginning to intermediate students of Ayurveda and women's health. In terms of Ayurveda, we start at the very beginning and go deep into Ayurvedic theory, the art & the science of this ancient system of medicine. And in terms of women's health, we work every week on practices to enrich our own health, and learn, what for most, is an entirely new way of looking at our health. Seasoned Ayurvedic students may be offered the option of taking the women's health portion of the course on its own. 
  4. Down the road, I'll be offering online birthing classes and a baby's first year class for parents, with Rebeka Rose, LM, CPM (midwife). Though we share a last name we aren't sisters by blood (though we are sisters to be sure!)

Do let me know if there's anything in this list you're just itching to see happen right away. While I can't just snap my fingers and have it be done, I'd love to hear what you're looking forward to.

In health and LOVE, Sunny