Lauren O’Connell loves to make things with her hands and be close to the earth and the ocean. An experienced Natural Builder and born creative, Lauren embraced a life of Ayurveda after bravely facing addiction and self-harm. Today Lauren is a NAMA certified Ayurvedic Health Counselor and Yoga Therapist.
Lauren’s a self-declared ‘open book’ on her experience.
I see the alcoholism and anorexia/bulimia now as a gift to learn and elevate my soul. Without these challenges it would have taken me a lot longer to initiate the healing journey.
Studying Ayurveda and yoga was the crux in that journey, a process of healing and remembering how to live sensibly and wisely, something she wants to pass on to those also on the path of Recovery. Ayurveda helped Lauren remember her true nature, take back her power and grow a deep, nourishing and sustainable self-love.
Lauren is the owner of Elemental Equilibrium in Rhode Island, a business that began as a successful summertime SUP (Stand-Up Paddleboard) yoga outlet. A 2014 graduate of SAMA in Newport, RI, Lauren now also offers Ayurvedic consultations, one on one yoga classes and Ayurvedic therapies. She works with Eating Disorder/Disordered Eating clients and teaches yoga at Raffa Yoga: Active Relaxation Center in Cranston, RI.
We asked Lauren the 5 Ayurveda practices she does every day without fail.
Here’s her list.
Arising With Consciousness
For Lauren, starting the day consciously is important. That means not jumping out of bed but taking a moment to feel into her physical body and do a gentle scalp and marma massage. Lauren then says a morning prayer, honors her loved ones that have passed and performs a personal ‘ritual’ of grounding and intention setting.
Warm Water Throughout The Day
For Lauren, hot water throughout the day was life changing. A former coffee drinker, Lauren finds she no longer wants nervous stimulants and prefers the digestive power and sattvic clarity of warm water. In the morning, warm water stimulates agni, scrapes the intestinal walls (lehana) and initiates a bowel movement. Lauren fills a thermos with hot water, adds some spices (ginger, coriander, cumin, fennel, lemon) and she’s ready for the day.
In the morning Lauren loves Banyan Botanicals Ashwagandha/Bala Oil for self-massage. The oil is calming to the nerves, strengthens the muscles and reduces vata dosha.
In the evening Lauren uses castor oil on the belly to assist and heal the digestive process. She also puts it on the soles of the feet to promote sound sleep.
Sun salutations (surya namaskar) help connect one to the natural rhythms of the sun and moon. According to Ayurveda, living a life in harmony with nature creates good health.
Every morning Lauren recites the Gayatri Mantra and does 3 sun salutations, very slowly. Slow sun salutations calm vata dosha and establish a connection with the energy body.
For Lauren, sun salutations offer another important purpose. Giving reverence to the sun honors agni and the fire that generates all energy on the planet.
Lauren was initiated into TM or Transcendental Meditation, a practice she learned locally from an experienced siddha. She does the practice morning and evening, loves the mantra she was given and receives amazing benefits from it. She’s more efficient throughout the day, more present and calm.
Lauren also mentioned that in the late afternoon she’d experience what she calls ‘vata drop’, a loss of energy due to the changing nature of the day and the movement of the sun.
During ‘vata drop’, Lauren would adjust her activities to move in harmony with the day and not against it. She takes a gentle walk, does gentle restorative yoga or relaxes with yoga nidra in savasana.
Photos: Lauren O’Connell
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