Fall Back to Standard Time - A unique opportunity awaits

This weekend, a unique opportunity awaits if you’ve been trying to create a habit of rising earlier. It’s time to “Fall Back” when Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday November 6 at 2am ET.  For many people, this means enjoying that elusive extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning. It gets darker earlier starting Sunday evening, as we “gain” the extra hour of light in the morning. Days continue to shorten until the winter Solstice on December 21st.

Returning to standard time can be a huge opportunity if you’re trying to arise earlier in the morning. What will you do with that extra hour? It can be an ideal time for health promoting practices like meditation, yoga, and breathing.


Instead of using the extra hour to catch up on your sleep, get up at your typical time on Sunday. If you usually awaken at 7:30am, it will actually be 6:30am "new time". Stick with that time and receive the gift of an entire extra hour every single day. What will you do with an extraordinary 7 hours a week, and 30 hours in a month! If we look at it as “found” time, it means you can rush less, take more time to do things that are important to you, and more taking care of yourself.

If you continue to go to sleep at the same time as before "Fall Back", this strategy won’t be effective, because you’ll be trying to get by on an hour less sleep. Instead, start your evening routine on the earlier side as well. This will be easier over the next few days around the time change, because you’ll be tired earlier. The earlier sunset will be a cue to your body that it’s time to start winding down. Stay in tune, and listen to your body’s messages.

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and just do your best, Instead of resisting your body’s messages, honor them, and go to sleep at what was your “old” bedtime (before the time change) as best you can. And instead of sleeping the hour away Sunday morning, use the hour for something you really enjoy!

Here are some interesting facts about the time change. 

Simple Ways to Eat Better (Without Changing What you Eat): Part Three

Number 3: Just like WHEN and HOW you eat, WHERE you eat affects digestion, and overall health and well being. Sit down while eating.

HOW you eat makes a difference, and within that, you’ll notice WHERE you eat is important. Without making time to sit down and eat, you’re liable to gobble the food wherever you are; standing, driving, or on the subway. Although I now live in San Diego, I still use my half century as a New Yorker for reference. If we’re not sitting and eating, we’re in fight or flight mode, period, and healthy digestion is impossible. Creating an optimal space WHERE you eat may require planning, but it’s a simple, (albeitnot easy), habit to improve your overall health and well being.

For most of us, eating while at the computer or TV, reading, or scrolling through social media is the norm, just like the woman pictured below. As I wrote in the HOW of eating, if we're not focused on the food, our body doesn't receive the message it's being nourished, and cannot digest, absorb and assimilate optimally. We'll often feel hungry soon after eating.



Do you give yourself permission to take the time to eat or is the rushing self imposed?

By prioritizing meals and slowing down, we feel better, which ultimately CREATES more time. But


you eat will often dictate


you eat. 

It's best to avoid eating in the same spot you're usually doing something else,

because we're reminded we need to get back to the task at hand. This bad habit is one I've struggled with since moving into my new apartment in La Jolla. I prefer working at the table in my main living space, because of the light. Since it's also near the kitchen, I began to eat there too, and found myself rushing. It's an ongoing process, but I now enjoy more of my meals at a table outside, which I'm lucky enough to be able to do most of the time!

Be creative and make small, simple shifts:

  • Swivel your chair around so you're facing away from the desk and computer.
  • Make a plan with a friend or colleague for a meal away from the office.
  • Eat outside, weather permitting, or inside at a community space or cafeteria.
  • Eat while seated, at a table. You'll naturally slow down and be more present to the HOW of eating.
  • Avoid eating while driving. If you're pressed for time, at least stop the car. 
  • Give yourself the time to eat and focus on the food. Chewing and swallowing is essential to create the environment the body needs to absorb and assimilate food.

Remember, it’s NOT what we do occasionally that matters as much as what we do most of the time that affects our health and well being.  

Simple Ways to Eat Better Without Changing What you Eat: Part Two

Part TWO: The HOW of Eating

Eating a meal is not something to “get over with”. Instead, choose to savor your food.

Are you a slow, fast, or moderate eater? For many of us, (myself included!) eating quickly can be one of the hardest habits to change. Food is a part of the environment OUTSIDE our body. When we take food into our body (ie, EAT) it goes through the process of digestion, absorption and assimilation, and becomes our skin, muscles, our brain and organs! Eating isn't something to get over with in order to move onto the next thing! It IS the thing.

The process of eating, digestion, absorption and assimilation is incredible. Plants, or animals that ate plants, transform to become our body, an amazingly intimate process. This understanding has helped me to consciously choose to eat “real” food, and skip “food-like” substances which ask the body to digest what doesn't exist in nature. Recently, this perspective turned on a light bulb with one of my clients, and helped him slow down the rushed eating patterns in his life.

There are two states in which we live, number one, in stress response (sympathetic dominance), and number two, in the relaxation response (parasympathetic dominance). It's not possible to exist in both states simultaneously. When driving, walking, scrolling online, or even thinking about a stressful situation, our body is not relaxed, and cannot optimally digest, absorb and assimilate the food we’re eating. We can improve HOW we eat by mindfully establishing the relaxation response when eating.

Recently, a friend and I were reviewing the proofs of her new book at an outdoor cafe. When the soup arrived, pages were spread around, so we moved the bowls to the side. For the next five minutes, without eating, we enjoyed the beautiful orange tomato soup drizzled with green basil oil and the aroma. It was a wonderful practice of savoring the food and moving into relaxation response, which prepares the body to optimally digest, absorb and assimilate a meal.

Digestion starts in the brain. Our digestive juices and enzymes begin to flow before anything ever enters our mouth, so preparing a meal ourselves actually helps with digestion. If you ever feel hungry not long after eating, it could be because your awareness wasn’t on the food, and your body literally didn't get the message that it had eaten.

If feeling extremely hungry causes you to eat quickly, first drink a glass of room temperature (not cold or iced) water. Drinking 10-15 minutes before you eat is optimal. Hunger is often disguised as thirst, and drinking water is one strategy to help you slow down.


  1. Take at least three deep breaths before eating.
  2. Commit to sitting down and focusing on eating without any distractions.
  3. Look at the food and smell the aroma.
  4. Recognize, with gratitude, all the steps involved for the food to arrive on your plate, especially if you did not prepare it yourself.
  5. Set a timer. Whether for 15 minutes or up to 30, extend the period of the meal. It’s a process, and taking more time to eat will yield benefits including better digestion, which can improve your overall health and well being.

Remember, it's NOT what we do occasionally that matters as much as what we do most of the time that affects our health and well being.  The Reset and Renew online program is Three Weeks of Nourishing Self Care to Learn to Live Better in Your Body. 


How to Eat Better (Without Changing What You Eat): Part One

Maybe you think you generally eat well. Perhaps you make it a priority to eat really healthy food. Wonderful! But optimal health is not only about WHAT foods you’re eating, but WHEN and HOW.

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How To Keep Your Cool This Summer Part Two

Last month, we covered what to eat and drink to help you stay cool. As we draw closer to the peak of summer heat, we'll dive into additional practices to manage this month's temperatures.

Take a footbath in the evening. After showering to cool off at the end of a hot day, soak your feet in the bathtub or a basin of cool water with a few drops of essential oil such as lavender, peppermint, spearmint, or rose. Soak for 10 to ­15 minutes, and as your feet cool off, so will your entire body.

Put your legs up the wall. Sit on the floor with your hips touching the wall and knees bent. As you lift your legs up the wall, lie down, and swing your back so it's perpendicular to the wall. Legs can be straight, or knees bent with the soles of your feet touching. This restorative yoga posture is almost magical with its profoundly relaxing effects. Legs up the wall is a perfect pose at the end a hot summer day, or right before bed, to cool off and promote a good night's sleep.  

Avoid midday sun and exercising in the heat of the late afternoon and evening. If you're a driven, fiery individual you might be inclined to exercise at the same time you regularly do. I'm always surprised when I see runners in the blazing afternoon sun, sweating buckets. The body cannot effectively cool itself under these stressful conditions, which can lead to major systemic imbalances. Instead, consider a swim, a (non-heated) yoga class if you know the studio has fans, or switching your outdoor exercise to the cooler, early morning hours.    

Loosen up! Heat expands, and tight shoes and clothing begin to feel tighter and constricting later on, generating even more discomfort. Wear looser, lighter colors and breathable fabrics. There's a practical reason why white clothing is popular in the summer: it reflects the heat instead of absorbing it.   


Slow down. When summer is blazing hot, be less rigid about your schedule and make more space. Leave additional time for what you need to do and getting where you need to be. Being rushed, and getting upset or frustrated ignites more heat; that's why an angry person is called hot­headed. Simply take a few deep inhales and exhales to keep your cool, and to respond rather than react.


It's easy to discover your dosha, or Ayurvedic constitution via this online quiz. But it's also possible to think about what season you prefer, and if you'd rather be snow skiing or swimming at the beach. Do you love to stay at home, or to travel? These are all clues to what elements are predominant in our life, and how we can stay in balance.

Ready to take your health and wellness to the next level? Simple steps can make a big difference in your energy, sleep and healthy eating. Schedule a complimentary Skype or phone consultation with me and learn more. Email marjorienass@gmail.com. 

It's Heating Up. How to Keep Your Cool This Summer

In June, the sun in the Northern hemisphere sits high in the sky as the solstice approaches, along with the official arrival of summer. The early sunrise rapidly warms the atmosphere, and the sun is still shining brightly in early evening at which time it's often the highest temperature of the day.
Consider the teachings of Ayurveda, yoga's wellness branch, as summer approaches. Ayurveda utilizes the five elements (Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth) to help manage summer's heat so we don't burn out. Fire is transformational and life supporting, but too much throws us off balance, which can lead to irritability, sunburn, hot headedness, and digestive upset. In order to feel cool as a cucumber rather than hot, sweaty and annoyed, follow these simple tips.
Fire is hot, penetrating, and transforming, and ignites powerful change. Think about this change in terms of food; with a bit of heat, something raw and inedible can become a nutritious and enjoyable meal. (I highly recommend Michael Pollan's food documentary Cooked, on Netflix. The titles of each of the four episodes are Fire, Water Air, and Earth) Adding too much heat, however, will make that same food burned. To balance summer's fire, add water, air and space, elements that are cool, mobile and expansive.
1. Drink plenty of cool, not cold water. Instead of placing ice cubes in water, add sprigs of fresh mint and cool, sliced cucumbers. This tasty combo will cool you from inside out. You can also add a squeeze of lime, another cooling fruit.
2. Rethink ice entirely. According to Ayurveda, cold, iced drinks, especially with meals, quell the body's digestion, which depends on heat to transform food so it can be optimally absorbed and assimilated. This may seem counter intuitive, but cold temperatures shock the digestive system; without enough fire, the body must work harder to optimize this essential process. When one of my students learned this, she stopped drinking iced drinks with meals and her frequent GI issues lessened considerably.

3. Skip the hot spices and peppers, which create too much heat in the digestive tract. In summer, stick with cooling raw vegetables and fruits which naturally have a high water content, especially cucumbers and melons.

4. Eat three meals a day, rather than frequently snacking. Consider that every time you eat, the digestive system must go to work. This requires the body to generate more heat. Before I began following the Ayurvedic tradition of eating three real meals a day with little or no snacking, I would feel overheated, and not just in the summer. Once I stopped grazing all day, there was a surprising benefit: I began to feel less hot. It's also important to make more space between eating dinner and going to sleep; you'll be able to digest on a deeper level, and feel cooler overall.

5. Bring on the greens. Focus on eating and juicing plenty of leafy greens including spinach, kale, Swiss Chard, parsley, cilantro, bok choy and wild greens like dandelion, nettles, lambs quarters and purslane. Leafy greens have cooling properties, which help the body stay balanced. When in doubt, stick with what's available at the local farmer's market. Nature always provides what's needed for the seasonal weather to help our body prepare for what's ahead.
It's easy to discover your dosha, or Ayurvedic constitution via this online quiz. But it's also possible to think about what season you prefer, and if you'd rather be skiing in the snow or swimming at the beach. Do you love to stay at home, or to travel? These are all clues to what elements are predominant in our life, and how we can stay in balance.
A version of this post originally appeared on Yoga Smoga's Rangoli platform.

Do you live in a body? The Five Elements can help you to live better.

The Sanskrit word Ayurveda is translated as knowledge of life. Despite its foreign name, Ayurveda can serve as a simple map to live a balanced life. Anyone who lives in a body can benefit from the practices of Ayurveda.

Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth are the five elements as defined in Ayurveda. Everything in the universe is comprised of a combination of these five elements and the qualities they possess.

Space is expansive and vast.


Air is light and mobile.


Fire is transformative and hot.


Water is changeable and fluid.


Earth is heavy and dense.

Within the English language, the elements are used colorfully, especially when describing individuals and their habits. We call reliable, stable people grounded and rooted (earth element). A "stick in the mud" (earth and water) is someone stubborn and set in their ways. When moving (air) away from home, we're uprooted (from earth). Frantic, busy individuals are "all over the place" (air) and when forgetful, we become "spaced out". Some people arehot­ headed, and possess a fiery temper. And there are times we can't make a decision and are  wishy­ washy, or a drip (water).

According to Ayurveda, each individual possesses a unique makeup of the five elements in both body and mind. However, attachment to our personal Ayurvedic constitutions can cause us to over identify with our differences and traits. Therefore, it's also valuable to look at the elements and how they pertain to nature's seasonal changes, as this affects all of us, regardless of our individual Ayurvedic constitution.

Unlike the Western calendar where four seasons begin on precise dates governed by the earth's revolution around the sun, there are no definitive starting times for the three Ayurvedic seasons. Rather, it's the overall quality of the weather, including the temperature, wind and precipitation. Therefore, these seasonal transitions can be highly variable.

Governed by the fire element, summer is filled with long days of hot, penetrating sun high in the sky. When early Fall arrives, it brings cooler temperatures and dry winds, qualities of air and space. The late winter season into early spring remains cool, but moisture rises in the atmosphere as snow and ice melt and water and earth elements dominate.

We cultivate balance in our bodies and minds with knowledge of the elements that dominate the current season, and then integrate the elements with opposite qualities. For example, most of us instinctively honor this principle by shifting wardrobes as winter turns to spring. While dark colors and heavy, tight clothing retain heat, lighter colors and fabrics help us stay cool, so we shift from wool sweaters and coats into cotton t-shirts and light pants or shorts.

What we eat and drink will greatly help us align with nature's seasonal rhythms. By focusing primarily on what's locally grown, we receive the earth's energy, naturally helping us find balance. Local farmer's markets sell produce grown less than a few hundred miles away. In the northeast in springtime, bitter greens, young garlic and asparagus make their first appearances. These foods help lighten our bodies after the cold winter as they have astringent, even naturally diuretic qualities.

Spring greens are followed by berries, melons, cucumbers and tomatoes which are high in water content, and naturally cooling. Heavy vegetables like winter squash and root vegetables, which need to be cooked, appear in the late summer and early fall, a time to begin preparing for the winter climate.

Understanding seasonal rhythms in the natural world can help us live more skillfully. Knowing what elements are predominant in our bodies and minds helps develop our individual gifts so we can thrive. Noticing when we fall out of balance and keeping the five elements in mind, gives us information to which we can respond to find steadiness in our lives.

Even as an infant, I was always super sensitive to sound. In fact, the faint noise made by a light switch turned off downstairs would awaken me as I slept up in my bedroom. I possess a lot of air element, which predisposes me to notice movement and noises. This has always made it difficult for me to sleep through the night.

And yet this sensitivity is also one of my strengths, particularly in my work as a wellness and yoga teacher. I am able to see (and hear) details in my student's practices to help them find ease and balance in their lives, and to learn to live in their body better.

It's easy to discover your dosha, or Ayurvedic constitution via this online quiz. But it's also possible to think about what season you prefer, and if you'd rather be skiing in the snow or swimming at the beach. Do you love to stay at home, or to travel? These are all clues to what elements are predominant in our life, and how we can stay in balance.

Originally published on YogaSmoga.com/Rangoli. Ayurveda 101, What You Need to Know About Yoga's Sister Science

Tips To Lighten Up this Spring - Part Three

Since offering the first Reset and Renew online wellness program in September 2012, dozens of students have participated, and many make it a regular practice twice a year. Feedback during and after the programs tout participants' improved sleep, renewed energy, and awareness of the effect of foods on physical and emotional health. Reset and Renew participants cultivate self-care practices and daily routines which improve their health and well being. 

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of cleanses and programs available. I've participated in many of them myself. Some are even free, so why pay to do a program at all? I have tons of personal experiences to share from the past fourteen years of cleansing, but the biggest benefit of participating in a group program is the support of a community. On group forums and tele-classes, you'll connect with others going through the same process. By sharing personal victories as well as slips, being accountable, asking questions, offering guidance and being vulnerable, you're part of a group of like-minded individuals.

Remember why you’re participating in a program in the first place. Do you want to sleep better? Do you want to experience more energy and less lethargy in the mornings? How is your overall digestion? When you get clear about intentions and share them with a community of supportive people interested in the same for themselves, it makes all the difference in the world. Investing your hard-earned money to improve your health and well-being also helps with accountability and commitment.

One of the challenges in participating in a program to improve your health is that friends, family and co-workers aren’t doing the same thing! They’re going about their normal routines, and eating and drinking regularly. It’s common to feel self-conscious when you’re on a program. Without being accountable to a group, it’s easier to stray from guidelines or even drop out. It’s simpler just to follow the masses when you don’t have support from others who are currently in the same boat. Plus, when you’ve made a financial investment, you’re more likely to take a program seriously; to really dive in. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of money, right?

For over fourteen years, I’ve been cleansing. The first few years, I was totally on my own, and didn’t know anyone who’d ever done a cleanse. I was confused about specifics, didn’t feel great, and when a special occasion took place, I’d often go off the program, forgoing the consequences. If I tried to get back on track, it was never with the same precision as before the event. I believe I could have experienced even greater benefits those first few years if I’d had group support.

In contrast, when cleansing within a community, when I’ve shared my slip ups, I received encouragement to return to the program, forgive myself, and continue to do my best. I’ve learned strategies on how to successfully handle special events, and learned a lot about myself through others and their own experiences.

When you’re part of a community you’re interacting with dozens of others and you'll receive encouraging responses and helpful suggestions from not just me, but those of have a variety of experiences. You’re learn you're not alone, and will get wonderful ideas of what to eat and how to take care of yourself throughout a group program.

I warmly invite you to join the Reset and Renew community this Spring! Read moreFAQ at about the upcoming program starting April 27, and email me at marjorienass@gmail if you have additional questions.

Tips to Lighten Up This Spring - Part Two

Add more greens into your glass, plate and bowl.

Preparing healthy food for oneself is an act of self care. Eating more greens, just like moving your body in the morning, is a good year round practice, but especially important in Springtime. By eating nature’s local seasonal bounty, we take in what the earth produces right in our ecosystem, helping us find balance in all areas of our being.

Ensure the color GREEN is a part of your meals.

According to Ayurveda, the taste of greens is bitter, which helps us to clear out the excess waste (and possibly weight) that have accumulated over the winter months. The bitter taste helps to balance earth and water elements, and their heavy, dense and cool qualities that predominate in early Spring. Eating more greens help to retrain our palates away from the sweet and salty tastes so prominent in the western diet. Look for leafy varieties of lettuce, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and bok choy. Wild greens, including lamb’s quarters, dandelion greens and nettle can often be found at farmer’s markets, but if you don’t see them, tell them you're interested as they have an even denser nutrient value than cultivated greens.

Other spring vegetables include artichoke, asparagus, fennel, spring onions, green beans, snap peas and snow peas. Young greens first appear as  sprouts and shoots, which contain a highly concentrated nutrient value. Sprouts can be added atop most any dish or even blended into smoothies. 

Drink your greens: Start your day with an early Spring blended green smoothie for breakfast.

  • Start with one to two cups water
  • Add 2-3 cups leafy greens: parsley, Swiss chard, dandelions, spinach, kale or lettuce, (Keep in mind: the darker the green, the stronger the taste.)
  • Steaming veggies first is optional, and makes them easier to digest.
  • One large citrus fruit like grapefruit or orange.
  • 1/4-1/2 avocado for creamy texture and healthy fat,
  • 2-3 tablespoons of soaked chia or flax seeds or hemp seeds

Enjoy the smoothie at room temperature, as iced or cold temperatures are more difficult to digest.

Eat your greens: Enjoy a large leafy green salad as a base for roasted vegetables at any meal. Make greens the mainstay when adding animal protein.

Simple sautéed leafy greens take just a few minutes to prepare. Use this as a basic blueprint, but add additional veggies or spices for endless variations.

Heat 1 tablespoons of coconut oil, ghee or grass fed butter in a large sauté pan on medium heat.

  • Sautée one cup chopped onions, shallots, or leeks for 5-7 minutes.
  • Add a cup of sliced mushrooms
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Add one to two bunches of greens, washed, de-stemmed, and roughly chopped
  • Continue to sautée the greens in the onion/mushroom mixture.
  • Add a few tablespoons of water, or bone broth, cover and steam several minutes.
  • Taste, and season again.

Drink your greens at lunch or dinner:
Have a simple green soup with dinner, using leafy greens as a base. Add celery, fennel and avocado, and seasonings of your choice. Thai curry paste is an easy way to add more zing to your living green soups. Have fun experimenting in the kitchen as more Spring produce becomes available at the farmer’s market.

Please let me know your favorite recipes using greens. And join us for the upcoming Reset and Renew Online Program starting April 27.


Tips to Lighten Up this Spring - Part One

Over the winter, most of us spend a majority of time indoors in the Northern Hemisphere, simply because darkness is dominant.  As a culture, we are generally sedentary to begin with, and in wintertime this excess results in stagnation in the body. In order to stay balanced, we must cultivate qualities that release what we accumulated over the winter.

Ayurveda, the science of life, presents that everything is some combination of the five elements; Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. In Autumn, Air and Space elements begin to dominate, with the qualities of variability, mobility(wind), dryness, and cold, which continue through winter.

As the days lengthen after Winter Solstice, the sun warms the atmosphere, melting snow and softening the earth. By winter’s end, an excess of water element can also build up within our bodies and throw our health off balance. This can appear as a runny nose from Spring allergies, the flu or a cold, or even a stomach upset. Feeling heavy or lethargic, and experiencing difficulty awakening, are symptoms of an excess of earth element, which appears stagnant, dense and cool.

The key to achieving balance year round is to cultivate the elements which contain opposite qualities of the present season. Especially in Springtime, starting the day with movement (air element) fires up the body’s circulation and brain function as it jump starts metabolism. Regularity and consistency of movement is key, and moving outdoors ideal, as daylight helps optimize our circadian rhythms, which govern hormones regulating sleep.

Here are some suggestions for getting moving early in the day.

  • Get outside for a walk, even for a few minutes.
  • If you like to run, but generally do so for longer periods of time, add short sprints.
  • Run up and down your apartment stairs, or outdoor stadium steps.
  • Sun salutations. Set a specific number. Since we’re in the middle of the month, add the numerals of the date. ie, March 20 = two sun salutations, March 21 = three sun salutations, and so on. On March 29, you’ve built up to eleven sun salutations!

Look for additional tips to Lighten up this Spring in the next couple of weeks. Until then, please comment below and let me know how you’ve added movement to start your day.

Five Things I Learned from My Fifth Metatarsal Fracture

My relocation to the West Coast did not begin as planned. Instead, literally starting off on the wrong foot, less than ten minutes after getting off the plane and while still in the airport, I fractured the fifth metatarsal of my right foot. It’s been a long, two months plus of recovery, but I’m happy to say I’m walking on both feet once again, free of a cast, boot and crutches!

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