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Acts of self care when times are tough

Acts of self-care for people with chronic illness When you have fibromyalgia, or any kind of chronic illness, one of the most important things to do is self-care. This is Google dictionary’s definition of it: the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.…
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When it’s time to stop the endless search for a cure

I’ve given up. Well, given up trying to find the ‘cure’. It occurred to me last night, before bed, that perhaps I was burning myself out trying everything under the sun to help myself. I had planned to get a hot stone massage or two, book another few floatation sessions, another few sauna appointments, and…
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How (and why) to start a daily yoga practice

Twelve years ago, I never thought I’d be where I am today. I was tired ALL THE TIME. Despite the fatigue, I couldn’t sleep through the night. During the day, my brain felt like mush. I was at University, studying two subjects that I love (classics and psychology), but I couldn’t pay attention in class.…
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Where to Find Legit Work From Home Jobs

The online freelancing movement is a rewarding global phenomenon that lets you trounce physical or geographical limitations and build a wildly successful career. The gig economy opens a whole new world of work from home opportunities from across the globe. That makes freelancing perfect for people looking to travel the world or suffering from a…
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Amritapuri Ashram

I’m sitting on a balcony overlooking a sea of palm trees and a wide, winding canal at the amritapuri ashram. I’m second in a row of chairs outside the doctor’s office. There’s a middle-aged American lady on my left telling us she’s been feeling exhausted lately and wants to know what’s wrong. To my right is a quiet Dutchman who says very little but nods a lot.

Where is amritapuri Ashram?

The amritapuri ashram is in the south of India in the province of Kerala, also known as the Venice of India (though I don’t think I’ve seen so much rubbish in the canals in Venice). I was a resident in this ashram during my visit to India in 2012.

What can you do at amritapuri ashram?

At the Ashram, there’s an Ayurvedic practitioner at the ashram that we are waiting to see. The American lady gets called in, and I move up to being “on deck”. The Dutchman and I sit in silence now. I’ve been reading about Ayurveda at the Amritpuri ashram (there’s an excellent library), and I'm intrigued by a lot of what I am learning. My visit to the ashram took place about two years after I completed my first mindful yoga course and the mindfulness-based stress reduction course. I was grateful for those courses in bringing yoga and mindfulness to a western, research-based practice, but I wanted to learn more about the roots of the practices that had brought me so much relief from my symptoms.

The ashram is open to both short term and long term visitors from around the world. For a small fee, you'll get a bed in a dorm room, three meals a day, and access to yoga and meditation classes. You're also expected to participate in karma yoga for a couple of hours a day by volunteering around the ashram (can include anything from cleaning to teaching yoga or helping in the kitchen).

On-site, there is a cafe, ayurvedic pharmacy, and ayurvedic practitioner. I want to find out what my Dosha is to see if it provides any insight into my chronic fatigue syndrome, thus, my waiting in line to see the practitioner.

My experience at amritapuri ashram

After another 20 minutes, I’m called into the office. An old Indian lady is sitting there with a notebook. She tells me to sit down but then doesn’t say anything as she takes my pulse and feels my skin. In the 40-degree heat, I’ve somehow managed to acquire a cold, and she asks me if my nose is always stuffy. It is. She scribbles a few things down on a paper to bring to the pharmacy and tells me to avoid showering (or at least avoid getting my hair wet). She also tells me to try not to eat more than one meal a day (an instruction at which I fail).

Views from Amritpuri Ashram

It's hard not to feel peaceful when you wake up to these views every morning.

I’m a Kapha-Vata which means I’m prone to phlegm and fluid build-up. I’m not sure what concoctions the pharmacy gives me, but they all taste terrible. However, within a day, my sinuses have cleared. I still have a scratchy throat and feel a bit off, but I’m amazed at the clearing of my sinuses. Usually, when I get a cold, my nose will continue running for weeks after the rest of my symptoms are gone. I didn’t gain as much insight as I had hoped into my chronic fatigue syndrome, but I’m starting to think there’s something to this Ayurvedic medicine.

During my time at the ashram, I meet a French lady who is there receiving cancer treatments, a Canadian who is ashram hopping around India, and an Indian woman who has studied with the guru from a young age.

Amritapuri ashram is the ashram of Amma, also known as the hugging saint. The ashram is described as "The living example of the ancient Indian ideal “the whole world is one family” (vasudhaiva kutumbakam). Here you will find people from all parts of the world — speaking different languages and having different customs and religions — all living under one roof. In their quest for the meaning of life, each has forgotten their differences and become a child of Amma." – read more about Amma here.

After my two weeks stay at the ashram, participating in chatting, yoga, and meditation, and talking to the students of Amma who are staying at the ashram with me, I can't help but feel a loving-kindness for all of them. I feel like during my time here I deepened my yoga and meditation practice, learnt the basics of Ayurveda which would later help me form my yogic teaching methods, and met beautiful souls from around the world.

Amritapuri Ashram

5 Calming Yoga Poses to Help You Fall Asleep

You don’t have to suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia to be concerned about the quality of your sleep. Many of us struggle to fall asleep on a fairly regular basis or suffer from disturbed sleep because of our hyperactive lifestyles. We’re constantly bombarded with information and exposed to digital screens through much of our…
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What I learnt from mindfulness in 2019

Happy New Year! I can't wait to share what I learnt from mindfulness in 2019 It feels like just a few months ago that I was sitting on a deserted beach in Ecuador writing this post for 2018, yet here we are again! 2019 has been a transformational year for me in many ways, and…
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The problem with the “magic bullet” cure

You and I both know there’s no magic pill for chronic pain or chronic fatigue. Yet, even when we’re ready to try complementary or alternative therapies, it can be hard to move away from how we expect medication to work.  When I got strep throat as a kid, I went to the doctor, got an…
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Last-minute Chronic Illness Holiday Gift Guide (2019 update)

Some people throw up their Christmas lights and start listening to holiday playlists as soon as Halloween is over. Others…barely remember the holidays are coming just a week before. When you only have a few days left and still haven’t found the perfect gift for your loved one with a chronic illness, look no further…
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