Angie Parris-Raney is Chopra Center Certified in meditation and ayurvedic lifestyle. She joins the podcast to give us a brief introduction to ayurveda and the science of conscious-based living. Angie discusses the value of a daily meditation practice, gives tips for surviving in the digital age, offers suggestions for daily self-massage, and provides ideas for eating to support a healthy immune system. Most importantly, Angie encourages us to laugh each day, saying that a sense of humor is good medicine.
This episode sponsored by Anatomy Trains.
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00:52 Darren Buford: Hello, this is Darren Buford, and thanks for joining us for the ABMP podcast. Before we begin, I just wanna say that you're in for a special treat this week. It's ABMP's 2020 CE summit. And for this week, we've recorded three podcasts, one with Anne Williams, Angie Parris-Raney and Massage Business Blueprint, each of which will roll out on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. You could also catch the full video version of these podcasts by registering online and attending the summit at abmp.com/summit. We hope you enjoy.
01:33 DB: Welcome to The ABMP podcast. My name is Darren Buford, I'm the editor-in-chief of Massage and Bodywork magazine and senior director of communications for ABMP. I'm joined by my co-host, Kristin Coverly, licensed massage therapist and director of professional education for ABMP. Her goal is to connect with luminaries and experts in and around the massage, bodywork and wellness profession in order to talk about the topics, trends and techniques that affect our listeners' practices. Our guest today is Angie Parris-Raney. Angie is a licensed massage therapist and is the advertising director for ABMP. Angie is Chopra Center certified in meditation and Ayurvedic lifestyle. Her training explores physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. You can also see Angie in ABMP's Meditate and Move series that runs every Wednesday on Facebook. Angie is also the founder of the non-profit Project Inti, an organization that provides aid to low-income Peruvian families and communities. Hello, Angie. Hello, Kristin.
02:27 Angie Parris-Raney: Hi.
02:28 Kristin Coverly: Angie, welcome. We're so excited to have you here, what a great exciting topic, too, healing through the senses. I'm already fascinated, but let's... Before we dive into those specifics, let's start by setting the foundation. Talk to us about, simple introduction to Ayurveda.
02:43 AP: Sure, so the word Ayurveda, ayus means life and veda is wisdom or science of. And so Ayurveda is really the science of life or science of conscious living. It's 5,000 to 6,000 years old, and it's an extremely in-depth body of wisdom and the Vedic texts that are used in Ayurveda actually contain some of the earliest recorded medical texts in human history. Even some of the surgical procedures that we still use today are referenced in some of these ancient texts. Ayurveda essentially looks to the laws of nature to help us live in harmony and balance. And so if we think about our body as an extension of the environment, we need air, water and food from the Earth to survive. According to Ayurveda, each of us has our own unique constitution of nature elements, and these are space, air, fire, water, and earth. And we call these unique constitutions, these mind-body make-ups with these elements, a dosha type. And so simply put, it's just a language of nature, so when we look at... When one element is out of balance, we can look to the opposite element to help bring it back into balance. The idea is that like increases like and opposites balance each other. For example, fire would increase fire and water would help to balance fire.
04:06 DB: You mentioned conscious-based living. How is meditation tied to Ayurveda?
04:11 AP: Yeah, so meditation is really the cornerstone of an Ayurvedic lifestyle, it helps us to tap into our consciousness with self-reflection and self-inquiry, like, "Who am I? What do I truly want? What am I aware of? What is my purpose?" If we think about that, every experience that we're taking in is based in consciousness. Our biology shifts and changes with every experience that we take in through our five senses. And in Ayurveda, these are the five sacred gateways of our experience. If you think about your body, is a verb, not a noun, and if you think about the fact that in the span of one year, we're going to have replaced nearly every single cell in our body. So it's really important to think about every single choice that we make through all of our senses as our body builds and repairs itself.
05:03 AP: And as massage therapists, we're very well aware of what that stress response cycle is. And so that's why it's really important to think about every sensory experience that we're taking in, and how it affects our nervous system. For example, when you're watching a dramatic or a scary movie, the sensory input that's going to the mind, it doesn't really know the difference that you're watching an experience as opposed to being in the experience. Either way, your biology is shifting and responding to that sensory input. Meditation is a very powerful tool to help us tap into that consciousness and to make mindful choices in our daily lives.
05:46 KC: I love it, there's so much we could pick up on there. I love body is a verb and not a noun. We could go five minutes just on that, but I'm really intrigued about this idea about healing through the senses. How can we do that?
05:57 AP: Yeah, so when we see the mind is out of balance, we can look to the three Ss: Sight, sound and smell. Sound, again, just because we are of nature, just simply stepping into nature, that's the quickest easiest way for us to align to the biorhythms of nature. If we think about the different sounds of nature, just listening to water, how it can be calming and peaceful... For me, I just need to hear crickets and I'm already producing melatonin to have a peaceful night's sleep, but you can also think about the different styles of music. And again, not getting real complicated into these dosha types, but you can just think about, what are the qualities that you're experiencing and if it feels out of balance, what might you look to to help bring you back into balance. If you're feeling anger and fiery-ness, that's where you'll wanna bring in something that's more watery and flowing. And then if you're feeling lethargic, that's where you might bring in some more invigorating drum beats. Or if you're feeling spacey and unfocused, that's kind of that air space quality. Look to something that's grounding, like maybe slow drum beats or some earthy low tones of a cello.
07:10 AP: And then for sight, again, if you step out into nature and just look at the sunshine and the green of the grass or the trees or whatever, again, those are easy ways for us. But when we're in our natural environment, we can just think about, again, surrounding ourselves with different colors and textures that might help bring us back into balance. Again, according to your dosha type, think about if you are kind of more of that fiery, robust kind of quality, too, you might wanna bring in some of the more calming colors, such as the blues and the greens and some of the whites. If you need a little bit more help grounding, you might look to pastels and earthy tones. And then if you wanna spark that creativity and invigorate, you can bring in some of the more of the warm tones, like the oranges and the yellows, and some of the vivid shapes.
08:00 DB: I'm feeling like I need some of those blues and greens in my life, Angie. Angie, do you have any tips or suggestions in our digital age right now, overuse or straining of our eyes?
08:10 AP: Yeah, so a good tip for at this time in our digital age is think of the 20-20-20 rule. This means look at something that's 20 feet away for 20 seconds and blink 20 times. That'll help lubricate the eyes and help give them a little bit of a rest. And then when you're working at a computer, it's recommended to look away every 20 minutes. And if you can look at something that's green, like maybe a plant in the room or look outside, and that's also soothing and calming. And a good remedy that you can do at home is to take a small mason jar and just fill it up with a half a cup of witch hazel, a couple of tablespoons of vitamin E, and then a few drops of whatever your favorite essential oil is. And then take some eye pads and then soak them into this mason jar, and you can cover it tightly, store it in a cool, dark place, and it'll stay good for up to a month. And then each night, take a couple of pads out and just put them on the eyes, just let them rest for about 5-10 minutes, and it will help to cool and soothe and take out that inflammation. And then even right now with some of the fires that are happening and the poor air quality, that's another way, too, to just take out some of that irritation.
09:25 AP: And then, I'll just insert a couple of other real quick tips here, too, that there's research that's out there finding, that more and more people are suffering from digital apnea, meaning that they're holding their breaths. And you think about some of the headlines that we're reading and the stressful emails and some of these crazy messages, people are holding their breaths, so just remember to breathe. And then also glaring at the screen, this delays the production of melatonin. If you can think about shutting down all of your digital electronics at least a couple of hours before bedtime, that'll help you to start naturally producing that melatonin for a peaceful night's sleep.
10:03 KC: I love it, I love the 20-20-20 rule and the witch hazel mason jar. I'm trying both of those immediately. [chuckle] Thank you. I gotta go... No, I'm just kidding. [chuckle] What about the final S, smell?
10:18 AP: Yes, so aromatherapy is very obvious to massage therapists, but in Ayurvedic terms, again, we can look to what might be out of balance, and what you can use for those essential oils, those smells to bring you back into balance. For that fiery nature again, that kind of angst, you can bring in some of the mint, rose, lavender and jasmine. And then if you've got that lack of focus, again, that kind of scattered mind, you can look to bringing in some basil, some orange, clove or patchouli. And then if you're feeling a bit lethargic or slow-moving, look for some things that are more invigorating, like eucalyptus, camphor, juniper and rosemary. But aromatherapy doesn't have to just be essential oils, you can think about some of the favorite smells that you have. Maybe it's bread or cookies baking, or maybe it's different herbs that you bring into your cooking. We know that there's a neuro-associative conditioning that is tied to smell, and that it evokes very strong memory. That's why it's really important when we're creating these nurturing rituals for us, for ourselves, to bring in a smell that's very calming and relaxing, and it sends that message to the mind that this is the time for me to relax and to heal.
11:37 DB: I'm gonna sign up for that cookie smell. [chuckle] Angie, what do we do when the body is out of balance?
11:44 AP: Okay, so this is when we look to the two Ts, so this is touch and taste. Touch is very obvious to massage therapists, again, and we know that it's important to our client's self-care and hopefully you're taking care of yourself and getting your regular massages as well, but in Ayurveda, there is Abhyanga. It's a self-care, it's a daily massage that you can do for yourself, and it's recommended to just take the time to just do a little bit of massage before you go into the shower, or maybe use this as a ritual before going to bed. Again, sending a message to the mind, this is time for us to relax and to go to sleep. And it's something that you can do for yourself every day. And you don't have to think about doing a full-body self-massage every day. Even if you just take the time to massage the scalp or the ears or even the feet, you're going to affect all of the major meridian points, all the Srotas, that is the term in Ayurveda. It's the meridian channels that all converge in these areas. And you'll hit major pressure points or marma points in Ayurveda. And you'll already affect the whole nervous system just by massaging those areas.
12:56 AP: And again, you can think about selecting certain oils that are good for your unique mind-body type. And so if you've got more of an oily or warm skin, you can look to something that's lighter and cooler like coconut or sunflower or olive. And then for dry or cooler body types, you can look for a warm sesame or an almond oil. Those are usually very nourishing.
13:21 AP: And then as far as taste goes, in Ayurveda, this is a very extensive, very in-depth. We get into nutrition and healing spices and herbs, and getting into the six tastes that satisfy the mind-body constitution, even when to eat and how to eat. But a really quick and easy tip here is to think about just eating as many plant-based foods as possible. This is where you're gonna get the most prana, the most life force energy. You wanna think fresh, you wanna think about eating the rainbow, just put as many colors as you can on your plate. If you just think about that, you're gonna get as many phytonutrients that you need for a healthy immune system. And then if you think about buying local and seasonal, again, your gut microbiome needs these things to support a healthy immune system for whatever your climate or whatever your location or environment is about. Again, do as much as you can to eat locally and seasonally.
14:21 AP: And then warm liquids are better on the stomach than the cold liquids. In Ayurveda, the digestive fire is a real central component. Digestion is really, really important because if we don't digest, we can't absorb all of these nutrients. Drinking a fresh ginger tea and just sipping on that all day can help warm up the body and keep that digestive fire going. And so you can even think about just taking some fresh slices of ginger, putting them in a thermos, pouring some hot water on it and just sipping off of that all day long. And you might even think about taking some fresh slices of ginger and just chewing on them right before you go eat. That'll also help to break down that food. And ginger has universal benefits for all the mind-body types.
15:05 KC: I love it, you've given us so much great information with the three Ss and the two Ts. Any last tips before we have to end our conversation today?
15:14 AP: Yeah, so just like brushing your teeth... And this is gonna sound very motherly here, but you wouldn't leave the house without brushing your teeth. I'm going to say, don't leave the house without doing your meditation, because meditation, if you have this daily practice, don't worry about how much time you're doing, just take the time to be present. And that will help you to stay grounded and centered and less reactive to all the different stressors. And meditation is going to allow you to be more mindful and consciously making choices throughout the day. And lastly, I will just say, laugh. Don't take yourself so seriously. We know that laughter shifts our biology and we've automatically produced the happy hormones, so having a good sense of humor is also good medicine.
16:01 DB: Terrific advice. Thank you so much for joining us today, Angie Parris-Raney.
16:05 AP: Thank you, it's been a pleasure. I enjoyed this.
16:07 KC: Thank you, that was wonderful, thank you so much.
16:13 DB: We hope you enjoyed this special Summit Week version of the ABMP podcast. Remember to join us online at the 2020 ABMP CE Summit to view the video version of this episode. Learn more at abmp.com/summit.
16:28 Speaker 5: This has been a production of Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals, ABMP is the leading association for massage therapists and bodywork professionals in the United States and beyond. From liability insurance to professional advocacy, award-winning publications, to the world's largest continuing education library for massage to this podcast, no organization provides more for its members and the profession than ABMP. ABMP works for you.