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If there is one thing I tell young people, it is to first find your passion and then make that your profession. Unfortunately they really don’t teach you this in school. If someone can meld their passion into their life’s work they have achieved the holy grail of happiness and well-being. I know this to be true because I have experienced both sides of this story. I had been in a sales position that was lucrative, but soulless and now I am in hot pursuit of becoming an industry leader in the world of scuba diving. I am the President and Founder of ScubaNation, the only TV show dedicated to the sport of recreational scuba diving. We made something from nothing, just a passion and a drive, and now we are closing out our 4th season on TV. We are a multi-platform media company with not only TV holdings, but radio, and social media as well.

 

This story starts back when I was 6 years old.

As a kid growing up in Boston, my Dad took me whale watching off the coast of New England. Humpback Whales are 45 feet long and weigh 60 tons, and they were the subjects we were after on this trip. We travelled well offshore to find these goliaths of the sea. It’s almost like stalking a predator, or like a long road trip to a far away destination. You simply don’t get on a boat and see whales; it’s an adventure! The air was cold, damp, and a heavy fog set in as we traversed the waves to Stellwagan Bank, the summer home for Humpback Whales. Here is where they feed and grow strong before they head south to Caribbean waters for the winter months. Anticipation to see the whales builds, but like fishing, patience is in order. I went out with high emotions and had my rain jacket on and binoculars in my hand the whole time. I wanted this! I needed this! Most people stayed inside the whale watching vessel but my Dad and I sat out on the bow of the ship, in the nasty elements, for that rare chance to see an animal that puts your significance in this universe in question.

 

And when the moment finally happened, a behemoth of the sea rose out of the ocean in a spectacular breach, then came crashing back to the sea creating massive waves. It left me speechless. My eyes popped out of my head, my jaw hit the ground. And I thought to myself, nothing will ever be the same, and that is a good thing. I was just 6 years old.

 

Fast forward to 1995 and fresh out of college from Florida State University, and real life is breathing down my neck.

I was in love, engaged to be married, and looking for work with a recruiter who was my fraternity brother. I was moving to Miami with a degree in Marine Biology, but realized I wanted money, and to start a family. I wasn’t sure how to make money and be what I was truly here to be. I was always pre-determined to film the underwater world and tell stories, like my hero, Jacques Cousteau. But life was going to put that on hold…for now.

 

So I did what every other working stiff does. I got a job I hated and sold payroll services to small businesses. I have a pretty good personality, so selling came naturally. I was good at it, made several President’s Club trips and was being compensated nicely. You would think that would be enough, but it wasn’t. I was miserable. I was dying inside. I self-medicated and was pretty hell-bent on self-destruction. Life as salesmen felt like a bottomless pit to hell. And it was a one-way ticket.

 

Life is miraculous and beautiful, and life can be defined by exact moments.

Like the exact moment I said, “That’s it. I’m going for it.” Sometimes that’s all it takes, the simple act of saying “screw it,” life is too short for regret, for not having the courage, or not trying for the fear of failing, sometimes you just have to commit to something. So with the blessing of my beautiful wife, the most important person in my life, I decided to go for it. I gave up the corporate world, gave up on 9-to-5 and jumped off the cliff to pursue my dream to tell the tales of the ocean like my hero did so long ago.

It’s funny…the minute you jump off that cliff…the minute you make a decision to pursue a new path in life, clues present themselves, doors open and opportunities arise. These little indicators represent signals that you are on the right path and that the decision of a lifetime that you made in an instant was SPOT ON, and nothing will hold you back!

 

Pursuing your passion is epic and glorious. It is messy and difficult too, but damn it, it’s your beautiful mess and you have complete control on making it right and making it work. Dreams are endless, boundless and they can be as big as your willingness to make them big.  Did I ever think I would win an Emmy? Probably not. But when you mix passion with your life’s work, these things kind of just happen. So the night we won an Emmy was just another indicator that I was on the right path and making that decision to “go for it” was the right one.

 

So, no matter where you are in your life, I’d ask you to consider if you are living your passion, or beginning to walk toward it. Each moment we have is precious, and each moment offers us the opportunity to live more deeply in our passion and live a life with an abundance of well-being.

 

Take your epic journey. It just takes one bold step.

 

Quotes that I live by

“INSPIRATION MOVES ME BRIGHTLY” –Jerry Garcia

 

“When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.” –Jacques Cousteau

 


Billy Catoggio — Summer of Wellbeing

President and Founder of ScubaNation

Billy C. is the President, Founder, and Co-Host of ScubaNation, the only TV Show dedicated to the sport of recreational scuba diving. It airs on Fox’s Sun Sports every April to October and is currently in its 4th season. ScubaNation is fast-pace, fun and covers all things scuba. Together with ScubaNation Radio and social media channels, ScubaNation has become the voice for scuba divers worldwide.

Billy C. is Boston born and raised and has loved the ocean since childhood. He was inspired by Jacques Cousteau’s “Silent World” television program and decided at an early age that he too wanted to be an underwater explorer. Billy C. attended Florida State University to study Marine Biology and has earned an Emmy Award for his underwater cinematography. His goal is to bring the scuba diving , marine inhabitants, and the ocean’s unique stories to the masses so they can see the beauty and need for conservation of our underwater world.

Mindful in Montana

August 12, 2015

This is my last Summer of Wellbeing blog, and I decided to just share a quick recap of my vacation in Montana, and some easy ways I practiced mindfulness with my family. Enjoy! And stay tuned for my husband’s wellbeing blog tomorrow!


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Chronic fatigue effects over 1 million Americans according to the CDC, and there is not one specific treatment available for chronic fatigue. While the medical field is quick to diagnose chronic fatigue, discovering the root cause of ongoing fatigue is still a mystery to most medical doctors. Nowadays terms like chronic fatigue get thrown around a lot. But what does it really mean? Is it a real disease? Are we born with chronic fatigue syndrome (or CFS)? How do we get it and is it contagious? These are all questions I have heard from my patients. So first let’s talk about what CFS is and how many people it effects. Then we can get into how we can treat chronic fatigue; you may be surprised at how this is done.

Diagnosing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue Diagnostic Criteria
As you can see above, diagnosing chronic fatigue syndrome requires at least 6 months of fatigue as well as a minimum of 4 of the listed criteria. There is not a specific blood test or biomarker that your doctor may use to diagnose you with chronic fatigue syndrome. This means that your diagnosis is solely up to your subjective complaints and your doctor’s intuition. If you are seeing a medical doctor and get this diagnosis, you may be left wondering “why is this happening to me?”. While most doctor’s will be satisfied by simply diagnosing chronic fatigue, the follow through of treatment is lacking. The same way there is no specific test to diagnose this condition, there is also not a medication for the treatment of CFS, as it’s cause usually differs from patient to patient. This may be one of the reasons that a medicine has not been developed for chronic fatigue: Although over one million Americans are suffering from CFS, many of them suffer for different reasons! Let’s talk about why.

What are the causes of Chronic Fatigue?

As mentioned, chronic fatigue syndrome can have many causes. In fact, there are usually multiple factors that manifest to become chronic fatigue syndrome.

In the world of holistic primary care, we try to identify each one of these factors and return the body to homeostasis or balance in the three realms of stresses. As a chiropractor in Miami, most of the patient’s I see for chronic pain, also tend to have issues with chronic fatigue. The same goes for many of the patient’s with autoimmune disorders and hormonal issues. So why are these patients all so different, but have chronic fatigue in common? Get ready, because this part can get tough to put together- but once you understand it, it makes perfect sense.

Patients with chronic fatigue have physical, chemical, and emotional stresses that contribute to an overall imbalance. This imbalance ends up draining their bodies of vital nutrients and minerals that maintain their state of health and wellness. There are multiple predisposing, as well as environmental, factors that play a role in chronic fatigue, making it so difficult to treat. Let’s start with the predispositions.

Our DNA is coded to perform certain processes on a regular basis that run all of the systems in our body. These processes are then carried out by enzymes that use vitamins and minerals as essential parts of the process. Some people have what are known as genetic mutations, polymorphisms, or SNP’s. SNP’s create a variation in our body’s natural process and can speed up and slow down different processes making each individual completely different. There is one SNP, in general, that plays a large role in chronic fatigue syndrome. As a holistic chiropractor in Miami, I have found that the majority of my patients have the MTHFR gene variant. So what does MTHFR do for us?

The MTHFR gene is vital for making B vitamins readily usable by the body. This is huge for patients with chronic fatigue because B vitamins play an essential role in energy production and also in new cell proliferation. The MTHFR SNP makes the water soluble B vitamin viable to enter a cell, where it’s action occurs, by undergoing the methylation process. It is a simple chemical reaction that happens over 80 billion times a second in the body, however it can occur up to 60% less efficiently for those with the MTHFR mutation.

Understanding the role of how the body uses these vitamins is of the utmost importance because people with the MTHFR mutation are already behind when it comes to energy production. Now let’s look at how else chronic fatigue can become a reality for this population of people.

As previously mentioned the MTHFR SNP decreases the body’s ability to make new cells. This includes both white blood cells and red blood cells. White blood cells make up our immune system meaning people with the MTHFR variant are more susceptible to having immune deficiencies. In addition, our tissues are nourished by our red blood cells. Most people with the MTHFR variant (and a lack of usable B vitamins) have a sort of functional anemia that does not deliver adequate oxygen and nutrients to the body. This means that in the event of a stressful environment, someone with the MTHFR variant has more of a chance of catching a cold from a virus or bacteria as opposed to someone who may be more genetically efficient and more importantly, less deficient in vitamins and minerals.

Sometimes these immune system offenders like viruses, bacteria, fungus, and mold, stick around longer than intended and start to drain the body of its nutrients even more! Some of the biggest culprits here are viruses. Almost all my patients with chronic fatigue have elevated antibodies to Epstein Barr Virus, Cytomegalovirus, Hepatitis, Herpes 1 or 2, and even Varicella. Once we contract a virus we always have it. Our immune system is designed to suppress these viruses but in times of stress or nutrient deficiency, they can run rampant throughout the body and severely drain the body of its B vitamins and anti-oxidants.

This becomes a vicious cycle in which the body is trying to defend itself but is running low on gas. Our body though, amazing as it is, will pull gas from other areas of the body and as a result we start to see fatigue and other symptoms develop. The B vitamins that we need to make new cells, make energy, make anti-oxidants, and detoxify our blood are being used up way to fast by the immune system and therefor lacking in other areas. This is why a comprehensive blood panel from a holistic chiropractor will tell you more about how to heal from chronic fatigue than anything else.

Many times the MTHFR SNP plays a role, but it is also possible that the stomach can be involved in malabsorption of the same B vitamins. This is why sometimes chronic fatigue syndrome can also come from your gut. As a holistic chiropractor in Miami, I send many of my patients home with a stool testing kit. This test is an essential part of discovering the patient’s nutrient absorption and also their immune activity (70% of the immune system is in the stomach). Most people with the MTHFR variant have lowered immunity, meaning they have probably visited their MD and taken a round of antibiotics. These antibiotics wipe out the “good” flora or bacteria in our stomach and create even more of an immune system problem. (This is why it is so important for you to see a holistic chiropractor when you’re sick, as we can use a multi-factorial approach to aiding your immune system rather than wiping out a large part of it with antibiotics.)

So now we have a person with:
• Lowered immune function due to the MTHFR variant,
• Opportunistic infections due to unbalanced stomach bacteria (dysbiosis) which up regulate the immune system and drain it’s nutrients,
• And a genetic inefficiency to make energy.

This is one of the reasons that swollen palpable lymph nodes are part of the diagnostic criteria for chronic fatigue. A chronic low grade infection is usually present along with dysbiosis and nutrient deficiency. This is one of the ways that many chronic fatigue syndrome patients are similar but also so different. While they may have similar case presentations, they may also have different infections which makes finding the cause of the fatigue an individualized diagnosis and therefore requiring individualized treatment.

 

Treatment of Chronic Fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Treatment of chronic fatigue consists of specific treatments to help balance the patient physically, chemically, and emotionally. As a holistic chiropractor in Miami I have found that starting with the stomach is extremely important. Chemical treatment includes removing harmful substances and any unwanted guests like bad bacteria, fungus, yeast, or parasites is essential. Resolving inflammatory conditions of the lining of the stomach are also important as this inflammation plays a role in proper nutrient absorption. Reinoculating the stomach with the proper flora or bacteria aids in proper digestion, removal of toxins, immune modulation, and also nutrient absorption.

Balancing blood chemistry, which can reveal other nutrient deficiencies, also plays a pivotal role in healing from chronic fatigue. This may include adrenal support, liver detoxification, hormonal rejuvenation, and even neurotransmitter balancing. Additionally, looking for gene variants such as the MTHFR can aid in specifying treatment even more for each individual. For example one type of B vitamin may be useless for a certain genetic make up and it may be too potent for someone with a different genetic make up. Again, this is one of the reasons there is not one specific treatment for chronic fatigue.

Physically, chiropractic treatment has been vital in helping to remove pain from the muscles and joints which prohibit the patient from exercising and moving properly. Depending on the presentation of the patient, relief care may first be necessary which consists of intensive physical therapy and chiropractic adjustments. Moving into wellness care aids to maintain balance of the nervous system which controls everything involuntary in our body. Chiropractic ensures that the patient is adapting to treatment, and also daily stress, as best as possible.

Exercise is also a must. This is case dependent and must be done to tolerance. Exercise however is essential in stimulating the body at the proper time to restore adrenal and hormonal function that has been unbalanced for so long once someone has fatigue for that length of time.

Emotionally, the patient must find time to de-stress. Picking up a new hobby, working with their hands, stimulating creativity are all ways that I recommend we “distract” the body from it’s ongoing stress response and allow the body to “catch up”.  Taking a break from technology and focusing on breathing properly is where most patients start. Progressing to mediation and yoga is recommended and adapting these to their lifestyle will only improve quality of life for each patient in the future.

In closing, I would like you to remember that chronic fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome are multi-factorial manifestations of lifestyle choices, sometimes genetic make-up, immune status, gastrointestinal function, and history of antibiotic use. If you or a loved one are suffering from chronic fatigue and your doctors are running out of answers or ideas, you may consider seeing a functional medicine doctor or holistic primary care chiropractor such as myself. I am dedicated to helping people realize that there is an alternative to “living with disease and symptoms” and that is to truly heal from our ailments. The process can be a long and difficult one, however if diagnosed and treated properly, the results can be outstanding and the change in quality of life of patients that heal from chronic fatigue is monumental.


Dr. Raymond Tolmos is a graduate of the Florida State University with a B.S. in Exercise Physiology from the college of Human Sciences. He then attained his Doctorate of Chiropractic from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Florida.
Along the way to his education Dr. Tolmos was a personal trainer at the Florida State gym, L.A. Fitness, and Gold’s Gym as well. Besides one on one training and nutritional advice Dr. Tolmos also taught group exercise classes. He feels that all of these experiences to this point have helped him become a better Doctor of Chiropractic.

I Thought He Was Crazy

August 4, 2015

Mindfulness has been a big topic for us during this Summer of Wellbeing, and as I take some much needed mindful moments in Montana, I’d like to share one of my favorite posts from 2011 about just that. Perhaps you have a similar experience where your perception shifted? If so, please do share. 
 
Enjoy!


hand-5032_640My mom’s former neighbor had a strange habit. When we observed him we really thought he was crazy. He would sit for what seemed like hours on his front lawn picking his grass. He would never look up at passing traffic, just picked away, like a monkey picking bugs off his companion’s fur. What was he doing? Was he crazy? He must be, or so I thought, until I took to the green! Maybe there was something to this picking at grass after all?

It was one of those moments when relativity strikes you harder than usual, when your range of emotions is as wild as a roller coaster…it climbs, then drops, then quiets, and the cycle begins again. My soul was tired in that moment. I looked outside to the bright beautiful day and the grass called me. All I could think about was taking my shoes off, stepping on the thick warmness and spilling my soul out onto the green grass. All of a sudden I became that crazy neighbor, picking and picking the diverse grass, pulling it apart, and noticing the deep life contained within it. This big jungle under our feet is just as intricate as our lives, I thought, yet more simple.

My next thought was, “Wow! What an amazing activity of mindfulness this is!” This neighbor was onto something! It’s not like my empty feeling subsided, but all of a sudden I was observing my emptiness and it was ok. I was ok. I didn’t need to be anyone or anywhere in that moment, but deep in the grass that was much larger than anything I was dealing with in the moment.

For me, now, Green Peace has a new meaning. And that crazy man, well, he doesn’t seem so crazy to me anymore, simply a bit wiser.

May you find your own moments of wise craziness and peace within the green.

Namaste,

Monique


Alexia Gonzalez — Summer of WellbeingDaughter. Sister. Fiancee. Alexia believes in developing strong women by disrupting the stodgy status quo of women in respect to their financial planning. She is the founder of “My Man is Not My Plan” community and blog. Alexia describes herself as an equality advocate with more than 10 years of international management, life insurance, estate planning, and wealth creation experience. She has helped hundreds of clients, their families and businesses avoid financial pitfalls, but she specializes in working with business owners, doctors, widows and divorced people. Being a woman, her mission is to give back and help her sisters.

www.MyManIsNotMyPlan.com

While I’m on vacation, please enjoy this post from June 2009. As my children are just coming back from a few weeks in Boston (with my husband’s family), creating lots of amazing memories, and as we get ready to travel to Montana (with my family) to create even more, I thought you’d also like to think about those memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime and want to go back “home” to.
Enjoy!


Finding Home-

It’s always fun to spend time in the Boston, MA area, where my husband grew up. More specifically, he was raised in Malden, where his parents still reside. Even though Boston is not my home, it “feels like home” if you know what I mean. In fact, when I travelled there with my husband (my boyfriend at the time) for the first time in 1994 it was meeting his parents and extended family that sealed the deal for me. Family was everything for them. We still joke that one of the similarities between our families (mine: Cuban; his: Irish/Italian) is that we all are so family oriented (and love to dance!). We both love spending time with our family members.

It wasn’t until our trip this June 2009 that I really got to thinking how going home was a way of “plugging in” for my husband—recharging his battery, especially since we don’t visit as often as we used to. The things we do when we are in Boston are things that for him are essential to charging his spiritual energy. It goes something like this…

  1. Arrive at Logan and be greeted by Mom and Dad.
  2. Tune into the local stations for “the best music ever”.
  3. Come home to homemade chicken wings, meatballs and sausage in “gravy”, and homemade pizza (among many other delicious goodies).
  4. Sit out on the deck with the lighted palm tree decoration and drink a few cold ones (usually Sam Adams) and talk about “the days” while taking in the cool air.
  5. NEXT DAY…the itch begins…we must go to Nahant (40 Steps) to see, hear and touch the ocean. This is the place where my husband’s dreams were born—his love for the ocean, what’s underneath the ocean, and scuba diving.
  6. Having a Maine lobster or “lobsta” roll.

You get the idea. The list continues for us…a check-off of sorts of things to do (whale watching, seeing old friends, a Sox or Pats game, etc.) before we head back home. This time, however, I noticed how truly important these activities are to my husband, as small as they may seem.  It’s almost like he’s on a mission—quiet, yet excited; eager, yet meditative, until he’s filled his cup. These are things “of the soul” that keep him charged so he can go back to his “adult life home” in Miami and get back to living. During our trips, I know not to say “no” or ask “why”—it’s clear that it is something he truly needs, an hourglass that continually empties and needs to be filled again.

And isn’t it the same for us all? I compared my husband’s experience to my own and I do believe that there are times in our lives that we all must reconnect and fill our souls so that we can continue on our journeys. For me, since I live in my home town, it’s more about connecting with those things about my life’s experiences that were meaningful to me and helped to make me who I am today, like spending quality time at least once a year with my middle school girlfriends, eating my favorite childhood meal or dessert  when I feel I need “soul food” (arroz con pollo and arroz con leche—yum!), listening to music that reminds me of the “old times” especially the music my mom played, driving through my grandparent’s old neighborhood (Little Havana), etc.

So why not plug in when we need it? We all need to recharge at different times, perhaps when we are feeling a bit disconnected, unfulfilled, or when things just seem a bit mundane. What is it about these experiences that recharge us? It seems to me that the feelings we are trying to reconnect with are those of love, belonging, familiarity, comfort and excitement. So when you need a dose of these feelings, here are at least 10 ways you can recharge your soul:

  1.  Take a trip! If it’s been a while since you’ve visited your home town, why not take a few days and make that trip. Or, if taking a trip is not a possibility, how about picking up the phone and having a nice conversation with a loved one? If you live in your home town, why don’t you take the time to visit with a relative you hardly ever speak with or see? Web cams provide another great way to connect with those you love and/or miss.
  2. Girls/Boys Night Out! Same concept here, but with your childhood or close friends. Even if it’s for a few hours, schedule a dinner or cocktail with one or more of your close friends you don’t get to see too often. Reminisce and catch up. Have a few laughs!
  3. Have some soul food! Gosh… there is nothing like some good soul food! If you can’t actually make it out to that favorite restaurant or to your mom’s house where she can whip up your favorite dish, how about making it yourself or ordering out? It’s the feeling of eating the special dish that you’re after, so eat up and leave the guilt at the door.
  4. Visit that favorite place. For my husband that place was Nahant. What is it for you? Can’t visit? How about find a photo, frame it and hang it up in your home or office?
  5. Rent a movie. We all have that favorite flick that get’s us going. For me, it’s either Grease or Footloose. I have very distinct memories of reenacting these movies in front of my living room wall-to-floor mirror! What movie makes your energy soar?
  6. Turn up the dial! Does music lift your spirits like it does for me? What songs from your childhood/youth do the same for you? Find them and play them.
  7. Scrap. Photos have a way of instantly creating that connection once again. If you’re anything like me, you probably have many boxes stored and filled with photos from childhood and up. Why not sort through them, pick a few favorites that recreate those feelings you crave and create a scrap book? It also feels good to create photo albums or scrap books for others.
  8. Blog. There’s no better way to reconnect these days than through the internet. If you have not yet connected with those dear friends or relatives on Facebook, you can always use a blogging tool, like Blogger or WordPress to create a personal blog to keep you connected with your family and friends. You can share photos and keep everyone up-to-date on your life’s happenings.
  9. Take up a hobby. This doesn’t have to be too time consuming; a simple game can do the trick. What board game did you play with your relatives or friends that made you smile? How long has it been since you played it? Dust it off and get going. Or, was there something you truly enjoyed doing that you wouldn’t mind doing again, like playing an instrument, or taking a dance class. I’m all for finding some time to do those activities that create excitement and purpose for me. What are they for you?
  10. Journal or write a letter. Writing can be a soothing and healing process for many. When our lives are too hectic and we long to create or connect with something more meaningful, jotting down our thoughts, remembering experiences that put smiles on our faces, listing those things we are grateful for today, or writing a letter to someone who we miss dearly or appreciate can send our energy right back up again. Purchase a simple, beautiful journal—one that calls out to you—and give it a try.

Remembering the past doesn’t always mean living in it. It’s important to make that distinction as I’m a believer in living in the moment. This brings to mind Daughtry’s song “Home” where he says… “I’m going home, to a place where I belong, where your love has always been enough for me.” Going home means different things to different people. For some it is literal and for others, a cup of coffee, a song, or a conversation can create that feeling that will put us back in balance and provide us with some needed energy to keep moving forward in our lives with a sense of meaning and with a smile on our faces.

What creates that feeling of home for you? Add to my list! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

All my love to our family and friends in Boston who always make us feel at home!

With gratitude,

Monique

chillout

Ayurveda teaches us how to live a longer, healthier, more fulfilled life by living according to the seasons. One of the primary methods for staying in optimal health is to cleanse ourselves on a regular basis so that we may have greater joy and vitality. Using the natural energy available during each changing season is a huge key for how to cleanse properly and regularly.

You may think of a detox as an intense self-depriving protocol, but in actuality, a gentle cleanse that aligns with your body’s innate forces, done at the right time and in the right way, can be just as effective, if not more effective, than a hard-core rigid cleanse that requires you to stop everything and fast for three days. This gentle and natural approach also requires us to be flexible with our definition of what detoxification actually means.

It is important that we routinely cleanse the mind, not just the body. I will share five easy ways to cleanse ourselves from head to toe during these hot and transformative summer months, using simple self-healing principles passed down for thousands of years through the life-giving science of Ayurveda.

Before we get to the good stuff, it’s important to understand a little about the energetic science of Ayurveda and how it works.

According to Ayurveda, one should follow the cyles of nature in order to live healthy lives. By living in accordance with 3 predominant forces of nature (or doshas) that occur naturally in our environment we have the ability to correct energetic imbalances in the body before they turn into disorders. The 3 doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha), are comprised of 5 basic elements that can be found in all of life:
•  Ether
•  Air
•  Fire
•  Water
•  Earth

These 5 elements are found everywhere in varying proportions: our bodies, the foods we eat, our minds, our enviroments, and in the changing seasons. Vata is the energy of movement, which is made of ETHER and AIR. Pitta is the energy of transformation, which is made of FIRE and WATER. Kapha is the energy of structure and strength, which is comrpised of EARTH and WATER.

Understanding the interplay of these 3 doshas is crucial for creating harmony or disharmony. Through Ayurveda, one learns how to prevent dis-ease by bringing the body back into a state of balance by working with the doshas.

Summer is naturally hot and sunny (Fire), and therefore the Pitta energy in everyone increases. Pitta provides an abundance of heat, necessary for metabolism, digestion and making physical and mental changes. But too much heat can cause imbalances in the body. This is why we focus on cooling and soothing activities during the Summer to counteract the intensity of Fire experienced through Pitta.

Here are some ways we can take advantage of this excess fire available everywhere during this time to renew and purify ourselves, plus gentle ways to cool ourselves off to experience greater bliss and harmony throughout the summer:

#1 – Be Outdoors for Vitality & Greater Enthusiasm

Feet in a green grassSummer is the natural time to enjoy the outdoor weather and spend more time outside. When we arephysically surrounded by nature, our body is able to rejuvenate naturally at a much faster rate. Relax under a shady tree, feel the strength of a giant tree, bike to the beach, swim in the ocean or cool off with water activities. You can even walk barefoot on green grass to absorb green energy, good for fertility and prosperity.

Avoid hot Bikram yoga during the summer, especially if you are a natural-born Pitta-type. Plan outdoor exercise in the early morning or evening to avoid direct intense sun.

Your body receives plenty of Vitamin D during this time, and everywhere you look plants and flowers are blossoming. Take your cues from the signs of nature, and get inspired by the world around you. Use this time to make everything in your life shine like the sun, with intense color and vitality.

#2 Wash Your Plate Clean Everyday with Meditation

We must approach each day with a clean slate. Wash your plate daily so that when you wake up in the morning, your plate is clean and you can start anew. An amazing way to purify the mind during the summer is with a cooling breath meditation.

As a breathwork and meditation instructor, I have found Sitale Breath to be completely amazing in many ways. Sitale is cooling, calming and dissipates all anger. It is a tonic for the liver with a dramatic cooling effect, and great for manifesting what you really want in life. During this breath we inhale through the mouth, and exhale through the nose.

Close your eyes to begin.
a) Stick a curled tongue outside your mouth and slowly inhale through the curled tongue (pretend to sip through a straw if you can’t curl your tongue). Count 8 seconds in through one long continuous inhale.
b) Close the mouth and make one long continuous exhale through the nose. Exhale to a count of 8 seconds or more.

Repeat this breath for a minimum of 3 minutes. You can progressively slow down the breath, making each exhalation longer than the one before.

All fire will immediately be cooled. This breath reduces any reactive tendencies in the mind, and creates a neutral space so that your thoughts and internal chatter quiet down. Sitale allows you to find inner calm and realization. Devote yourself to this practice daily. If you are new to meditation, start off with 3 minutes. Gently work your way up to 22 minutes.

Reflect on the positive changes you wish to attract in your life. Know that whatever you have planted by way of thoughts from the past are being harvested now. If you want to change your outcomes, or the fruits of your labor, change the seeds you are planting in your mind right now.

The root of all physical ailments is mental in cause. This is natural law. A disorder cannot manifest in the phsyical plane without first existing in the mind and emotions. To learn how to eradicate the root of disharmonious thought patterns through advanced meditation techniques, contact Naam Yoga South Florida (naamyogasouthflorida.com) to find an array of sacred self-healing tools.

#3 Eat Summer Foods

Fresh tasty fruit saladOne of Ayurveda’s biggest secrets is to eat according to the seasons.

Summer is the time to avoid all hot and spicy foods, tomatoes, excess cheese, yogurt, alcohol, fermented foods and other fiery or red foods. There is enough heat as it is! Focus on cooling and calming foods. Believe it or not, this will also help calm that laser-sharp Pitta mind to make time for relaxation and sweetness in your life, which is what a balanced summer is all about!

Foods recommended for the summer include sweet fruits like coconut, watermelon, berries, mango, pomegranate and peaches; fresh veggies and seaweed; aloe vera juice; grains and ghee (clarified butter). Drink more water, lemonade and iced tea.

Add mint, fennel, cilantro, dill, coriandor, saffron and other cooling herbs to your food.

#4 Remove Toxins with Dry Skin Brushing

Get beach-ready by removing dead skin cells and kick-start an internal detox.
When you dry skin brush, you engage in the transformative forces of nature to get rid of unwanted debris and toxins, including any bad habits you don’t want anymore.

Dry skin brushing increases circulation, encourages the lymph to keep moving through the body and promotes greater immune system function by helping us get rid of the body’s unnecessary toxins.

Find a natural bristle brush at your closest Whole Foods or natural food store. Ask specifically for a “dry skin brush”.

How to Perform Skin Brushing on Yourself:
(1) Before showering, start with your feet and ankles, and brush upwards in long, brisk motions, from your ankles towards your knees and thighs, always in the direction of the heart. By doing this, you are stimulating the fluids to move in the same direction, towards the heart. This is how fluids are properly drained by the lymphatic system.

(2) Brush each arm, from fingertip to shoulder, always in the direction towards the heart.

(3) Brush the chest and abdomen in circular motions towards the heart.

(4) Step in the shower and wash away all dead skin cells.

The Lympatic System does not have a central automatic pump like the heart, which beats automatically on its own. This is why the lymphatic system requires our own movement to function properly.

What else moves the lymph? Walking, regular exercise and massage are all excellent lymphatic movers. Practice dry skin brushing now in the summer, so that you can make this part of your regular routine during the next seasonal cycle of Winter, a time when the body will most need the extra push to avoid sluggishness, exfoliate dry skin and generate a strong and healthy immune system.

#5 Restorative Bodywork for Pacification

The intensity of Pitta is balanced by the opposite qualities of love, compassion, coolness and calmness. With so much heat, we really need to take the time to calm and soothe our own tense and aggravated bodies. What more enjoyable way to relax the Pitta mind and body than with a stress-relieving massage.

An Ayurvedic massage therapist who understands the doshas and inherent energy of each oil, may choose to use a blend of cooling coconut oil or sweet almond oil during the Summer months, and go easy on the Sesame Oil for an indvidual who already has a strong Pitta body constitution. Sesame Oil is warming to the body and will have the tendency to create more heat in that person.

The addition of sweet and uplifting essential oils made of flower blossoms, like Jasmine, Ylang Ylang and Rose can have amazing effects on cooling down the entire system during a massage, resulting in total summer bliss.

For authentic Ayurvedic therapies, visit Croydon Rose Spa & Apothecary at croydonrose.com

To understand more about each season, and how the doshas are affected, please continue reading.


Ayurveda vector illustration. Ayurveda doshas. Vata, pitta, kaphSummer is the “Pitta” time of year, spanning from June through September. Pitta (FIRE and WATER) governs all metabolic processes in the body including digestion, assimilation, absorption of nutrients, body temperature, the color of our skin and our mind’s processing center. People who have a Pitta personality tend to be very sharp and process things very quickly. They also anger easily and get more irritated than most. They are decisive and tend to be natural-born leaders. Their face is easily reddened, and a strong Pitta-type may have even been born with red hair.

Pitta’s alchemical fire melts and transforms everything it touches. The Pitta season is a time of transformation, purification, sharpening our tools, and allowing digestion and assimilation of ideas to happen naturally so that new paradigms of thinking can be more easily adopted and accepted.

The cooler Vata Season (ETHER and AIR) follows and naturally pacifies the fire months of Pitta. Vata is the force of movement in nature. It governs our channels of communication in the body, our nerve impulses, the heartbeat, circulation, and all reflexes in the body. Without the space to move, nothing would flow. Through the vast and expansive qualities of the ETHER element, Vata provides the space and environment in which all our bodily processes and communications in the body can occur. It is the channels through which things flow. The subtle and light qualities of AIR provides the force that moves. VATA rules our blood vessels, our lymphatic system, our nerve impulses. Like a hurricane, Vata is a moving force in the body that is necessary to avoid stagnation and toxic build-up.

When there is too much Vata, the body becomes cold and dry from too much space and air. The drying action of Vata removes moisture and lubrication in the body, and eventually the body starts to decompose. In the cycles of nature, we see this start to happen when the air turns cool during the Fall, which sets the stage for Winter. Leaves turn brown and fall from trees, and all green life has been removed and covered by the cold bitter snow.

The arrival of Spring signifies that the forces of Kapha are now dominant. Kapha (EARTH and WATER) brings new life to a decayed and frail winter. Kapha re-energizes and gives new life to the decompising qualities of Vata. Kapha is what provides the foundation for life. Kapha calls upon the energy of all plants and vegetables rooted in the earth, and encourages everything to blossom and grow. Kapha is the energy of newborn babies, and all processes that are giving life and rejuvenation.

Too much Kapha in the body however, and again, stagnation occurs. When the earth hardens and structures become massive, the light and subtle qualities are gone and we have a problem of toxic build-up here as well. Then comes Pitta to melt and dissolve any toxicity with the purifying and transformative qualities of Fire, and so the cycles continue.

As you can see, all three forces are necessary for proper functon of the body and all 3 are necessary to keep the proper flow of energy moving in life. Too much or too little of any of the 3 doshas, and dis-ease starts to set in. Dis-ease is simply a state of energetic disharmony in the body. Bring back the harmony between the 3 doshas, and the body becomes more at ease and balanced again.

Our bodies are continually in a perpetual state of bringing ourselves back to harmony and balance. This is why making a regular practice of cleansing and renewal is so important to maintain overall health.

To learn more about using the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and how to balance your doshas, contact me at: annettefigueredo@gmail.com


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Annette Figueredo owns and operates a small wellness spa in Miami Beach called Croydon Rose Spa & Apothecary, located on the top floor of the Hotel Croydon on Collins Avenue. Croydon Rose offers rejuvenative Ayurvedic services, yoga, meditation classes and wellness workshops.

Annette is also a Massage Therapist, Harmonyum Energy Healer, Reiki Master and Naam Yoga Instructor specializing in Breath and Chanting Meditation. Annette teaches Prenatal Yoga at Corpo Yoga Studio in Downtown Dadeland, and periodically teaches Preconception Yoga and Post Partum Workshops that focus on the sacred 40-day window following birth. Check with Annette at www.annettefigueredo.com orannettefigueredo@gmail.com for her latest classes and updates.