Ground Vata While Traveling

Ground Vata While Traveling

Traveling is a mix of wonderful and exhausting. The joy of exploring new places, relationships, and foods we have never tasted is a beautiful thing to experience. Amidst the expansive nature of travel, it can be hard to stay grounded and stable, especially for someone who is Vata in nature or has a Vata imbalance. The nature of travel is Vata, and it embodies movement and expansiveness. When we travel, we incorporate the principle of movement into our lives and increase the level of Vata. Since Vata is the subtlest of the doshas, it is quickly thrown out of balance, which means we must take extra care to keep grounded and stable. But don't worry, Ayurveda offers excellent tips to help better navigate your energy and keep your body, mind, and spirit in balance while traveling.

1. Carry your daily routines with you.

Just as Ayurveda suggests to incorporate daily routines to maintain balance in ordinary life, you would try to keep many of those routines while traveling. Try eating your meals at the same time each day to help your digestive process acclimate to the change. Regulate your bedtime and morning wake up. Our routines stabilize us and support our circadian rhythms.

2. Pack some Triphala.

Have you ever had a long flight and noticed you do not poop for a day, or two, or three? It is likely because the Vata elements of air and ether permeate the airplane: cold, dry, and moving hundreds of miles a minute. These qualities will naturally increase the Vata in your body and affect your bowel movements. Start taking Triphala a couple of days before you travel, and continue to take it during your trip. This will not only help offset the effect of the flight, but it will be helpful in digesting new the delightful new foods you will be trying.

3. Eat foods that are grounding.

Raw foods, salads, dried fruit, and smoothies are all drying foods that will further aggravate Vata dosha. Skip the chips and grab a meal that is warm, moist, and perhaps heavier. Root vegetables, soups, fish, chicken, and oatmeal with cooked apples are a few ways to eat grounding foods. Bring herbal teas or digestive teas on the airplane with you and ask for hot water instead of the beverages they serve. Also, pack a bag of healthy, non-salted raw nuts to eat on the plane instead of the snacks they provide.

4. Stay hydrated.

To appease the dry qualities of Vata, staying hydrated is key! Hydration is not only through water but through oil too. Pack a small amount of ghee or good quality olive oil and use one teaspoon each morning while you travel. This will help nourish and lubricated the dry and depleted channels traveling can bring. The practice of abhyanga, or self-massage, is also great for providing hydration and its nourishing touch and helping us feel calm. Bring an oil blend of sesame and almond oil with a few drops of lavender essential oil with you and apply it daily before or after your shower.

Sip warm water or room temperature water throughout the day. If you sip your drinks instead, your body will absorb and assimilate the liquids better. Stay away from cold water as it dampens our Agni (digestive fire) and it can add to the Vata imbalance.

5. Rest & reflect.

Often in the effort to maximize our vacations, we overlook the need to rest and rejuvenate. With new sights and experiences, our senses are already heightened with stimulation, which can be overwhelming for Vata. Find the time with in your trip to withdraw your senses. Go inward, though mediation, or pranayama. Allow yourself to be present with your experience, and journal daily gratitudes, expereinces or contemplations throughout your travels.

6. Have a day of rejuvenation upon your return home.

Instead of heading straight into the office after a long trip, have one day to reground at home. Let your body rest; drop back into your daily routines. Allow this day to be a ritual of self-love and re-connection to yourself and the life you have at home.

6 Tips for Holiday Eating, Keep Your Agni in Balance

6 Tips for Holiday Eating, Keep Your Agni in Balance

Happy Holidays! Is it even possible to eat healthy during the holidays? Yes! And you can do it without FOMO or a lot of effort. This month we wanted to share with you 6 tips to keeping your Ayurvedic lifestyle in-check amidst the holiday festivities, balancing your agni and keeping your doshas at ease in the months to come.

Include lots of seasonal fruits and vegetables

Do you decorate for the holidays with a lot of colors? Treat your plate the same way. Seasonal fruits and vegetables will add flavor, color, and nutrients to holiday favorites. Eating seasonal will help keep your doshas in balance during the holidays and they help you feel fuller longer so you can avoid the temptation to overeat.  

Give Your Agni a Boost

Sipping on warm ginger tea with a fresh squeeze of lemon and a pinch of black pepper will spike the Agni throughout the day. You can also try using the traditional Ayurvedic formula of trikatu 15 minutes before each meal. Trikatu is a classic Ayurvedic herbal blend of pippali, ginger, and black pepper. These herbs work in synergy to stimulate the digestive fire, or Agni, allowing for more efficient digestion in the stomach while promoting proper bile flow, healthy detoxification, and fat metabolism. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of formula with 1/4 teaspoon of raw honey and enjoy.

Keep Your Routine

Timing matters especially if you are hosting. Plan events that support eating earlier (closer to 12 - 2 pm) rather than later is ideal, as digestive fire (Agni) is most active at this time. Otherwise, aim for a dinner meal between 5-7 pm if possible.

From the obligatory workplace parties to family get-togethers, you will not always have control, and your calendar may be bursting with opportunities to eat and drink outside of your routine. Make a plan that will help you resist plowing through the buffet table, like having a healthy snack beforehand.

Be Mindful of Portions

We all tend to overindulge during the holiday season, and this is ok to do once in a while. In Ayurveda, it's all about finding balance - enjoying good food with family and friends and being mindful the body's needs. Remember our stomach is only the size of both hands cupped together. Be aware of your portions; it is better to enjoy a reasonable portion then suffer from indigestion.

Find Opportunities to be Active

Keep the inevitable indulgences in check by staying active. Enjoy some winter sports for a change of pace, or schedule in a quick walk or workout before you head to the next party. This will increase your Angi considerably and help reduce the build-up of Kapha from the traditional holiday meals.

Practice a Bit of Yoga

After a bustling day of holiday affairs, take a moment to practice yoga. Supta Matsyendrasana is a gentle twist that will support your digestion and is delightful and relaxing stretch for the whole body, Make sure you practice the pose 2-3 hours after eating. The next day, wake up and practice cat/cow pose (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana) in the morning for 5 mins- this abdominal stretch will help stimulate your Agni and prepare you for another round of holiday bliss.

Creating Ayurvedic Ritual Through Tea

Creating Ayurvedic Ritual Through Tea

Each day I wake up looking forward to practicing dinacharya, the simple practice of building routines each day provides the natural rhythms of our body to work as they should. In doing this, we support over-all health and well-being. An Ayurvedic tea ceremony is one of my daily dinacharya practices.  All though this may seem like an outward ceremony or ritual, to me, a tea ceremony represents harmony, respect, purity, and tranquillity. It is a meditation, time and space to learn about the inner self while showing respect for the material world with positive values applied to the whole process of the ceremony, not only focusing on the tea.

There is, believe it or not, much science behind the practice of ritualized tea service. Modern experts on the topic point out that the tea ceremony stimulates both sides of the brain. This balanced activity helps to bring a deep calm and even a spiritual consciousness to those who take part in the activity. How is this possible? Well, consider that the tea ceremony works directly on all five senses. This is by design. Buddhist monks in ancient times structured tea rituals so that it would wake people up, both physically and spiritually. At the same time, tea ceremonies work to bring deep inner peace and tranquility to those involved by bringing mind and body together.

Smell, touch, taste, hearing and sight are, respectively, met with the aroma of the tea and the straw in the floor matting, the feel of the pottery’s glaze, the tea itself, the sound of the water as it boils in the teapot, and the visual images of nature around you. With all five senses awakened and in tune, the left brain hemisphere has plenty of material for thought, including the ritual itself, the implements, the process and “facts” of the ceremony. These are standard types of topics that the left hemisphere of the brain enjoys analyzing. On the other side of the brain, the right hemisphere is attending to the beauty of the flowers, artwork and the atmosphere of the entire space. 

When planning a daily tea ritual, I first start with the ceramics. I focus on finding handmade artwork from local artisans, by doing this I am not only supporting my community, but it creates a culture of respect for artistry in the ceremony while stimulates my senses from the touch and feel of each container used. 

Secondly, I source fair trade, organic herbs, and spices from reputable sources. I do not only buy organic because organic agriculture reduces the overall exposure to toxic chemicals from synthetic pesticides that can end up in the ground, air, water, and food supply, and that are associated with health consequences, from asthma to cancer, but I choose to buy organic because I believe that one person can make a difference. When I buy organic, I increase the demand for sustainable farming methods, and over time, if there’s enough demand, the industry will have to change to meet the needs of consumers. 

The third is creating the right environment for the ceremony. The quality of energy in the environment affects our mind states a lot. Hence it is not always something tangible that might be causing difficulty to focus when you sit for tea. You should learn to be able to differentiate between the positive and negative vibrations in different areas of your house, and it is not a very difficult thing to do. All you have to do is to observe your emotions. Places where you find it easy to think good thoughts are energetically appropriate for meditation and there would surely be more than enough corners in your house where you could feel these higher vibrations.

Setting up a dedicated space can make or break your ceremonial tea habit. Imagine you have to put away your current project, clean up counter space, pull out a teapot, tea cups and tea. By now you’ve exhausted most of your willpower just by thinking about getting to the point of making tea. Choose a place in your house that has the positive vibrations that we talked about and leave this space dedicated to your ceremony. Decorate it will minimal decor that reflects nature. Spaciousness in your decoration is essential to allow for the mind to relax and reflect. 

Now let’s talk tea! One of my favorites is herbs to use in my daily tea ritual is Tulsi, It is aromatic, delicious, beautiful, and sattvic, tulsi is one of those magical Ayurvedic herbs that can benefit just about everyone.

When preparing the tea gently stay present with each step; while heating the water, steeping the tea, and pouring the warm water over the loose-leaf tea leaves. Inhale the aroma of the tea. Notice the smell, is it gentle or pungent? Is the aroma is cooling or warming? Let your eyes take in the colors as the tea is infusing, notice the texture of the tea leaves. Allow your gaze to take in the colors of your ceramics while your hands are holding the cup. Let your gaze be gentle, passively taking in all there is to see.

Before drinking the tea, offer up appreciation. Take time to remember and give gratitude for each being that went into the making of this tea, the sacred water, the cherished plant, and the many hands that tended to the tea that is now in front of you. By setting this tone you are allowing for your senses to embrace the experience entirely, and you will watch stress start to melt away as you sip, and joy fill your heart, starting the day off in a deep sense of self, gratitude, and awareness.

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How the Doshas Rule Your Day

How the Doshas Rule Our Day

What are biologic rhythms? In essence, they're the rhythms of life. All forms of life on earth, including our bodies, respond rhythmically to the regular cycles of the sun, moon, and seasons.

Have you ever found how sluggish you reel if you sleep in, or if you stay up late you get the midnight munchies? Do you sometimes wake up at 4 am spinning and worrying about life and have a hard time falling back to sleep? Well, Ayurveda has a detailed and simple explanation for all of this.

There is a natural ebb and flow within nature, within our body, and within our mind. The doshas are the energetic forces that govern the tides of life and nature, internally and externally, and if you understand these forces and the qualities they hold, you can tune into the natural rhythms of nature and of your body based on the time of day. Knowing this will help you make an informed choice to help you steer your life in a healthy and harmonious direction, allowing for optimal health to blossom.

Our body is in a continuous state of searching for homeostasis. It is designed to find balance from what is happening in the eternal world, from processing experiences to the foods we eat. Learning to work with the bodies internal rhythms will allow us to go with its natural flow, instead of against it, ultimately reducing the stress on our tissues and overall degeneration process. Understanding the doshas and their influences upon us at different times of days is the key to unlocking the wisdom of sustainable health and vitality.

Vata, Pitta, and Kapha have a respected time of day in four-hour increments through the 24 hour day. Every four hours is dominated by one dosha, and thus this time frame is influenced by the qualities of that dosha. Understanding this allows you to choose activities, food choices, etc. that will support the dominant energy inside and around you at that time.

Let's begin with the Vata time of day in the morning. Understanding the nature of Vata between 2:00 am to 6:00 am, will help you develop a strong practice that will bring balance for the entire day. When we think about the qualities of Vata, we see that it is clear and mobile, at this time in the morning, it is a time for receptivity. Yogis discovered long ago that when air and ether dominate, is the best time of day for meditation, prayer, chanting and other spiritual practices. By arising prior to 6:00 am, you are able to maximize this experience, spending this peaceful time for spiritual pursuits.

Devote some time in the early hours for yoga or meditation. Practice sun salutations or any meditation technique which nourishes the mind. If you are still in bed, you may find that your sleep is light and disturbed, or that you awaken and have a hard time shutting off your mind. Meditation at this time can be a challenge for some, especially if you have a lot of Vata in your nature or have a Vata imbalance. Utilizing mantra or affirmations can be very helpful for quieting the mind.

Upon waking, it is best to begin the day by taking care of your personal hygiene. See General Daily Routines Guidelines to find a supportive routine based upon the times of the day. Remember a successful daily routine is all about consistency and finding what is feasible for you. Vata is powerful and an active dosha. You can perform your activities with more energy throughout your whole day if you wake up in the Vata period. But if you are waking up late, the next dosha cycle of the day is Kapha. Kapha is generally in slow pace, and you will have a feeling of heaviness and drowsiness if you wake up in the Kapha period of the day.

Next is the Kapha time of day, Ayurveda teaches that it’s best to get up in the morning in the Vata time of day around 5 am, this is not only for the energy and clarity Vata brings but because at 6:00 am, Kapha becomes dominant. Kapha is the energy of water and earth, and this is heavy and sluggish. If you awaken during Kapha time, which is between 6:00 am and 10:00 am, these qualities will increase within you - and you get that “I overslept and am having a hard time waking up” feeling.

At this time of day, you want to eat a light breakfast that is well spiced. Despite prevailing wisdom, breakfast is NOT the time for a big meal, as this will only increase heaviness and sluggishness. Lunch is actually the most important meal of the day when the warmth of the natural world and Pitta supports digestive fire. Eating a warming, light and easily digestible meal for breakfast creates a tremendous amount of value in starting your metabolic functions in a way that provides sustainable Agni (digestive fire) all throughout the day. If you think of your Agni as a campfire, you will understand that your "campfire" fire has been burning all night. Waking up and eating cold or hard, heavy and a large amount of food, doesn't only go against the balancing qualities of Kapha, but it is like putting heavy logs on the coals of your fire. By doing this, you are putting the campfire out. What you want to do is give this campfire kindling, help the coals spark, and start the fire for the day in a way that will bring sustainable heat in the metabolic system.

Exercise every day, as part of your regular daily routine in the morning Kapha time. Kapha gives strength and stamina for exercising, helping you build healthy tissues without depletion. Exercising at this time also energizes you, preparing you for the day ahead. Exercising in the late evening or towards bedtime is not recommended, as it can elevate body temperatures and disrupt sleep rhythms. A light walk in the evening is fine. Also avoid exercise from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the Pitta time of day when the digestive fire is burning high and it is time to eat the main meal of the day.

Kapha time flows into Pitta Time, beginning at 10:00 am and continues until 2:00 pm. Pitta governs the time of productivity, the time that the sun is highest in the sky, and there is more heat in the natural world. Pitta is the dosha of heat, as it is made of fire and water. During this time of day, heat will naturally predominate in our bodies and minds.

By harnessing this midday heat, we are propelled to be productive and accomplish our goals. However, it’s best to avoid spending time in the direct sun at this time of day, especially engaging in vigorous activity in the sunshine if you are predominantly pitta, since those with a pitta nature are likely to experience an increase of heat symptoms within the body at this time, including burning indigestion, skin rashes, or even flares of temper.

Ayurveda also encourages us to eat our primary meal in the middle of the day, when the fire of pitta dominates. Pitta supports our ability to digest all things—food, thoughts, and feelings. The metabolic aspect of digestion, our agni, does its best work midday. And as mentioned before, lunch is when you can most indulge in a big meal, as you are best able to digest it at this time, since digestion is a fiery process and will be supported by the heat in the natural world.

As the cycle continues, our day fades back into the Vata time of day, just as it is in the morning it is reflected at the same time in the afternoon, from 2:00pm-6:00pm. Vata, which is made of the elements air and space (ether), governs the time of transition. The naturally light, etheric qualities of this time of day allows creativity and expansive thinking to peak, making it a great time to engage in creative pursuits and problem-solving. However, it can also be a time when those of a Vata nature may feel agitation, exhausted and depleted, so it is important to take rest and choose a calm environment in which you can work while minimizing excess sensory input such as bright lights and loud noises.

At this time ground yourself in a peaceful environment, and grab a cup of herbal tea and a warm blanket or take a 15-minute nap. Restore your senses and calm the centeral nervous system. Vata is the most delicate of the doshas, and the most likely to become imbalanced, as it is the dosha of movement. By keeping it pacified at this time of day, it’s creative gifts can manifest and imbalances avoided.

Kapha comes once again, but this time we use its heavy qualities to wind down for the day, leading us into a deep and restful sleep. Eat a light, early dinner (don’t overeat at dinner - avoid heavy food), and settle in for the night. Eating later in the evening, and your body will have more difficulty processing your meal. The same holds true for eating a big meal in the evening. Ayurveda recommends a light supper instead so your body can finish digesting your food long before bedtime, and you’ll be able to transition from being awake to a more restful state.

As you move towards 10:00 pm, begin your soothing preparations for sleep. During the last hour or two before bed (from about 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm), only engage in calming activities that nourish and soothe you. Stay away from stressful conversations, violent tv shows, or activities that are stimulating. Instead, have a cup of warm nut milk with a pinch of cardamom and nutmeg, engage in gentle yoga, inhale soothing essential oils and listen to soothing music or enjoy a light conversation with loved ones. Allow the natural Kapha time of day ease you to sleep.

As 9:30-10:00 pm rolls around, please try to be snug in bed, sound asleep. At 10:00 pm Pitta becomes dominate, being asleep before this time of day is incredibly important as Pitta rules the act of resetting, cleansing and restoring the body at night through its metabolic functions. In fact, if you are still awake, you may find that the munchies kick in, since the digestive force will go looking for something to digest.

The internal cleansing process at night is critical for maintaining good health and balance. If you remain awake during this time, your body utilizes its energy to stay awake, and you miss out on the benefits of this cleansing and restoring time of day. Staying awake can lead to a build-up of ama (undigested matter), this build up with eventually will lead to multiple health imbalances.

By following the biologic rhythms of the doshas, your body will thank you! There have been many time-related medical observations that prove we are genetically "hard-wired" in the functioning of our cells, tissues, and organs. In modern medicine, medical chronobiologists have found that biologic rhythms can affect the severity of disease symptoms, diagnostic test results, and even the body's response to drug therapy. An improper lifestyle is a major cause most of the diseases in life, such as diabetes, obesity, insomnia etc. Therefore a proper biological rhythm ensures health to the body and mind. Ayurveda has been teaching this for years. Let this time-proven medical science support you in creating balance, harmony and good health by incorporating its understandings of the doshas and how they "rule" your day in your every day life.

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How to Create an Ayurvedic Daily Routine

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease

How to Create an Ayurvedic Daily Routine

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In Ayurveda, we stress the importance of a consistent daily routine. For everything, from the time you wake up, at what time you eat, and the time you go to bed. A method sets healthy biorhythms, giving the mind, body, and spirit a chance to ground, cleanse, and provides deeper nourishment. Follow the below routine suggestions.

Morning Cleansing Routine

  • Wake up at a routine time: Keeping to this allow your body and mind to begin your daily activities gracefully.

  • Drink warm water with lemon: Drinking a glass of warm water with lemon cleanses and awakens the digestive tract, hydrates the tissues, and encourages a bowel movement.

  • Rinse face, mouth, and eyes: A splash of cool water is soothing and rejuvenating to the face, mouth, and eyes. It brings a sense of freshness.

  • Scrape tongue: Use a tongue cleaner to remove the bacteria-filled coating on the tongue and to stimulate the digestive system.

  • Oil pull: Swishing and rinsing with warm sesame oil lends strength to the teeth, gums, jaw, and voice while improving the sense of taste. Swish it in your mouth for 5 minutes for as long as 15 minutes.

  • Brush teeth: Traditional Ayurvedic toothpaste are bitter, astringent and soothing like neem and licorice.

  • Self- Enhancing Practice: Take 15-30 minutes for meditation, pranayama, yoga, journaling, prayer or other activities that bring well-being to your spirit and mind. The more you allow for these types of practices, the greater you will benefit.

  • Eliminate: A healthy digestive system has a bowel movement each morning before taking food. If you are not eliminating daily, be sure your diet includes plenty of fluids, fiber from whole grains and vegetables and take Triphala before bed nightly.

  • Self-oil massage: This is a profound practice of rejuvenation and loving self-care. Perform a self-massage with warm oil dosha specific oil or medicated oil suggested by your Ayurvedic practitioner 15-30 minutes before bath. Use long rapid movements heating the skin and increasing circulation in the body. Place a few drops of dosha specific warm oil in each ear. Learn How

  • Bathe: Showering will purify the body and bring energy and alertness to the being. Rinsing the skin with warm water will generally suffice to remove excess oil.

  • Nasal Lubrication: Place few drops of medicated Nasya oil in the nose right after taking a warm shower.

  • Exercise: 30 mins to 1 hour light exercise are essential each day to keep the digestives system high by creating an internal heat. But keep in mind too much exercise can also be detrimental. It is best to exercise according to what is correct for your dosha. Ask your Ayurvedic Practitioner what type of exercise is right for your constitution.

  • Eat Regular Meals: Irregular meals and excessive snacking can weaken the digestive fire. Having scheduled eating times is essential. With lunch being the most substantial meal of the day between 12-2pm. This is when your digestive fire is at its strongest, and you will be able to derive the most nutrition from your meal. Favor warm, cooked, light meals in accordance with the doshas you want to balance and in the seasons.

Evening Routine

  • Take Triphala with Warm Water: 1 hour before sleep. Triphala is a traditional Ayurvedic formulation and is revered for its unique ability to gently cleanse and detoxify the digestive tract while replenishing, nourishing and rejuvenating the issues. It supports healthy elimination upon waking in the AM.

  • Keep a Regular Bedtime: Having a scheduled bedtime lets the body know that it is time to wind-down and recuperate.

  • Promote Healthy Sleep: If you want to support healthy deep sleep, consider a warm bath, a warm glass of milk with nutmeg and cardamom, or a cup of relaxing herbal tea, apply relaxing essential oils. It is best to stay away from stimulating conversations, TV or music an hr before sleep.

  • Daily Use of Essential Oils to Balance Doshas: The regular use of essential oils topically, internally, or as a diffusion can significantly impact the balance of the doshas. Below are suggestions for oils for each dosha. Learn More

    • Vata: Basil, Cardamon, Rosemary, Frankincense, Lemon, Wild Orange, Neroli and Rose

    • Pitta: Coriander, Chamomile, Lavender, Fennel, Ylang Ylang, Yarrow, Peppermint and Jasmine.

    • Kapha: Bergamont, Lemongrass, Clary Sage, Grapefruit, Melissa, Rosewood, Ginger, and Black Pepper

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The Ayurvedic Pharmacy

The Ayurvedic Pharmacy

Ayurveda has a substantial pharmacology and is a time-proven system full of beautiful herbs and medicines. Being around for thousands of years, Ayurveda pharmacology, is an evidentially proven system of herbal medicine that is still effective to this day. According to Ayurveda, the animal and plant kingdom have similar constituent factors as the human body. The five elements that are found in people and foods are also found in herbs and herbal formulation.

In Ayurveda, the action of the herb is first considered by using the sensory organs. The sense experience the qualities of the shape, color, aroma, flavor, and fracture of the plant. These classifications relate to specific pharmacological actions that the herbs may have on the body. The qualities provide the basis for the theory behind the energetics of the herbs. The best way to learn about herbs is to become intimately acquainted with them; a herbalist must know a plant’s natural habitat, growing tendencies, climatic preferences and dislikes, shape, color, taste, smell and harvest times, and more importantly the herbs must be experienced personally.

“There is nothing in the world which does not have therapeutic utility when applied in appropriate conditions and situations. Drugs act by virtue of their nature and qualities at the proper time, in a given place, in the appropriate conditions and situations; the effect produced is considered to be their action (karma); the factor responsible for the effect is their energy (virya); where they at is the place (adhisthana); when they act is the time (kala); how they act is the mode of action (upaya); what they accomplish is the achievement (phala)." -Caraka Samhita Sutrasthana 26.12,13

The Ayurvedic pharmacy has developed many excellent herbal preparations. As not all herbs are not readily assimilable in their ‘raw’ state, these herbs are usually processed to enhance absorption. The form in which the herb is taken can significantly affect its potency and effect. Much medicinal substance requires a different mode of preparation according to the specific causes and symptoms of the disease being treated. There are also particular preparations that are indicated for certain illness or particular plants. Along with their therapeutic effects the medicated ghees, medicated wines, guggul's and pills retain their potency longer than fresh herbs or powders. An Ayurvedic practitioner can also develop specific custom formulas based upon any imbalances of the doshas. It is best to advise an Ayurvedic practitioner when using these traditional Ayurvedic herbs or formulas.

According to Ayurveda, our bodies are woven from food. The nutrients we ingest are metabolized into the energy and information that form our cells, tissues, and organs. Every day our bodies need essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to maintain our body’s delicate balance. Taking Ayurvedic herbs as supplements can be a highly efficient way to create that balance.

Every herb in Ayurvedic herbology has a multitude of benefits, for the mind, body, and spirit. Herbs can be used internally or externally (through the skin) - or even used as aromatherapy. These herbs can be useful for weight loss to beautifying skin to overall vitality; Ayurvedic herbs can transform your health in so many ways. Plants and herbs carry in their cells the wisdom of cosmic intelligence and the healing vibrations of nature.

Since ancient times, humans and plants have had a profound spiritual connection - we have grown with plants and have adapted and learned from them. Also, plants capture solar energy and convert it into nutrients that humans can digest. Plants do this by transforming sunlight into chlorophyll, which can then be assimilated by the human body, along with many other attributes creates a  beautiful relationship that when used correctly holds the key to our bodies homeostasis.

On a daily basis, some Ayurvedic herbs and formulas are safe to use and can be our allies. Using herbs to manage your constitution compliments the changes you make in your diet and lifestyle. For example, Shatavari, Ashwagandha, and Vidari Kanda are some of the main herbs to help support moving excess Vata from the body and maintain balance. Brahmi, Bhringaraja, Neem, and Guduchi are the principal herbs used to remove excess pitta from the body and maintain balance. Bibhitaki, Chitrak, and Punarnava are three of the fundamental herbs used to remove excess Kapha from the body and keep balance.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

What are the Signs of Ama?

Signs of Ama

Ama comes from many sources: your body, food, bacteria, and the environment. Cells in your body continuously produce waste that must be filtered and drained. When your lymphatic system is congested or your circulation poor, the natural processes of elimination may be compromised. Similarly, if you are constipated, have trouble sweating, are dehydrated, or your kidneys don’t produce enough urine, toxins may accumulate. Certain foods contain toxins, just like the air we breathe.

Ama irritates your gut, and when it is absorbed into the bloodstream, it irritates your nervous system and makes you feel emotional. When bacteria digest your food instead of your body, they get the nutrients, and you don’t. This can leave you feeling depleted and fatigued and leads to imbalances in the body. Below is a detailed list of how you can tell if you have excess ama in the body.

  • Heavy feeling
  • Muzzy-headed
  •  Unclear thinking
  • Dull eyes
  • Aches and pains
  • Poor circulations
  • Joint pain and inflammation
  • Bloating and or gas
  • Skin blemishes
  • Fever
  • Lack of energy
  • Stickiness of stools
  • Phlegm and urine
  • Foul smells in breath
  • Sweat
  • Sinking stools and or mucus in stool
  •  Turbid urine
  • Lack of appetite or taste
  • Indigestion, tied after eating
  • Sticky or sweet taste in the mouth.
  • Pulse as deep, dull, and slippery
  • Tongue with thick, dirty and greasy coating along with a swollen body.
  • High triglycerides
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Late-onset diabetes
  • High blood sugar levels
  • Some forms of depression
  • Rheumatoid
  • Presence of helicopylori bacteria,
  • Leukocytosis or leukocytopenia (deficient and excess white blood cells)
  • Excess antibodies in the system
  • Candida in the gut and uterus, blood urea, gout
  • Excess platelet count
  • High IgE levels from allergic reactions
  •  Excess red blood cells
  • Gallstones as a sign of excess bile
  •  Kidney stones as a sign of undigested calcium and oxalates
  • High liver enzymes
  • Serum aspartate aminotransferase, intraocular pressure (glaucoma)
  • Bacterial infection
  • Tumors

Panchakarma techniques reduce the amount of ama in the body substantially. It is suggested in Ayurveda to undergo Panchakarma on a regular basis, to keep the body from building up ama.

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

Our Favorite Daily Dhal

Ayurvedic Dhal

Because of their high nutrient density, mung beans are considered useful in defending against several chronic, age-related diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Clinical evidence continues to show that plant-derived foods have various potential health benefits. Health experts recommend that plant-based foods make up a significant portion of every person’s diet, and many worldwide health organizations have supported an increase in the intake of plant-derived foods to improve health status and to prevent chronic diseases.

As you’ll come to learn, mung beans are one of the healthiest sources of plant protein there is when you consider how many other nutrients they contain in addition to amino acids (the building blocks of proteins).

Daily Dal Recipes
1 cup dal
6 cups water
2 teaspoon cumin seed
3/4 teaspoon mustard seed
2 tablespoons ghee
Pinch of Hing
3/4 teaspoons turmeric
Salt to taste
3/4 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro

Clean the dal. Place in pot with the water and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the dal is tender, 2-4 hrs depending on the dal. Melt the ghee in a small skillet over low heat. Add the hing, ginger, cumin seeds, and mustard seeds Saute, frequently stirring, until the spices become fragrant and the mustard seeds pop for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the simmering dal. Stir in the turmeric, sugar, and salt to taste. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes for the flavors to blend. Just before serving, add the cilantro.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

Vindari Kanda, the Grandmother of Indian Ginseng

Vindari Kanda

Vidari Kanda is known as the Indian Ginseng’s Grandmother, is revealed for its powerful nutritive properties that provide vitality and energy to the body. Vidari is patient, wise and is always willing to look after her ‘grandchildren,’ especially those hormones running wild in the body. It is properties are similar to Ashwagandha, Ashwagandha presenting more masculine qualities and Vidari feminine.

Vidari is a relative of Wild Yam, and it grows as a large tuber in the hotter regions of India. Similar to its Western sister ginseng, Vidari has strong nutritive properties with a particular affinity for the endocrine system. One example of this is how the biochemical glycoside, saponin, and diosgenin contained in Vidari are used by the body to produce cortisol. It is heavy, unctuous, sweet and cool, used to balance Vata and decrease Pitta. In excess, it increases Kapha and Ama. Vida means ‘to destroy, ‘ and adi means ‘enemy,’ and this refers to all to all Vata disorders, Vata being the ‘enemy’.

Depending on the unique needs of the individual, Vidari Kanda can be used in muscle weakness and wasting, Multiple sclerosis, sexual debility, it strengthens breast tissue and the female and male reproductive system. Also,  like a grandmother, it is there to look after you when you have a cough or a sore throat and offer you relief. It is commonly taken with fat such as butter, milk or ghee to enhance its nourishing properties.

12 Properties of Vindari Kanda

  •  Aphrodisiac
  •  In males supports healthy male organs
  •  In females promotes healthy cycle and lactation health
  • Immunity enhancer
  • Supports a robust aging process
  • Useful for the respiratory system and tuberculosis
  • Muscles wasting and weakness
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Pregnancy
  • Hoarse voice
  • Cardiac tonic
  • Nourishes the tissues

Ayurvedic Hibiscus Cooler

Ayurvedic Hibiscus Cooler

Hibiscus flower has many health benefits. It is used in Ayurveda to support the loss of appetite, colds, heart and nerve diseases, upper respiratory tract pain and swelling (inflammation), fluid retention, stomach irritation, and disorders of circulation; for dissolving phlegm; as a gentle laxative; and as a diuretic to increase urine output.

Living in Mexico, I find hibiscus tea served almost everywhere. In homes, in restaurants, on the street. You can find it almost anywhere. Hibiscus tea is a ubiquitous drink in Mexico, people in very hot climates often lose their appetite in the extreme heat. We have come up with an excellent twist to the traditional hibiscus drink. Our Ayurvedic hibiscus tea is naturally cooling and restoring our appetite during the heat. It also promotes urination when treating heat exhaustion and the fluid retention that can come with it. I think another reason hibiscus is so widespread in Mexico is that are chemicals in hibiscus that work like antibiotics to kill bacteria and worms.

Dried hibiscus flowers can be found almost anywhere these days so no matter where you are you can enjoy this drink throughout the spring and summer.

Ingredients:
2 quarts water
3 tbsp Dried Hibiscus Flowers (Jamaica in Spanish)
2 tsp Dried Tulsi Leaf
1 tsp Licorice Root
3 large slices Fresh Ginger Root
1/4 inch Cinnamon stick
1 tsp Cardamon seed
1 tsp Golden Raisins
1-2 tsp Coconut Sugar or Raw Honey

Directions:
Place Licorice, Cinnamon, Ginger, and Raisens in 2 cups of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add all the other ingredients except the honey, and simmer for 30 minutes. Pour liquid out through a strainer into a 2-quart vessel. Now add the rest of the water. Drink at room temperature, or slightly cooled.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

The Art of Panchakarma

Panchakarma is the Ayurvedic art of detoxification, purification, and rejuvenation. A multiple day in-depth cleansing program that involves herbal advises diet, medicated health spa techniques, and elimination procedure.

These ancient rejuvenation therapies are designed to nourish the physical body and access the subtle body where stored toxins, emotions and thoughts form to create blockages in our body. It is a powerful way to address and eliminate the cause of disease and has been a method for thousands of years to stay healthy, young and vital.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

Herb Allies: Lemon and Black Pepper

Ayurvedic Herbs

In Ayurveda, we have a lot of "herb allies." Many of these are common fruits, culinary herbs, and plants that we use in our everyday cooking in the west. Sometimes we forget that we have a medicine cabinet in our kitchens. Two of my favorite daily kitchen ingredients is lemon and black pepper. Not only are they a delicious combination when used in cooking, but they are packed with health benefits. Using them more in your food can be a great way to implement Ayurvedic practices in your daily life.

Most of us know lemons as an excellent, flavorful fruit. Lemon along with its peel is used extensively in Ayurveda in food, medicine and also in purification procedure of metalling Ayurvedic ingredients. Using lemon as a whole has many health benefits due to its many nourishing elements like vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin E, folate, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, and protein. It is a fruit that contains flavonoids, which are composites that provide antioxidant and cancer-fighting properties. It is known to help prevent diabetes, constipation, high blood pressure, fever, indigestion, as well as improves the skin, hair, and teeth. Studies conducted at the American Urological Association highlight the fact that lemon juice can eliminate the occurrence of kidney stones by forming urinary citrate, which prevents the formation of crystals.

The connection between cancer and lemons isn’t something new, for decades, scientists have developed numerous studies to determine its validity. High-dose vitamin C has been studied as a treatment for cancer patients since the 1970s. Lemon extract can successfully destroy malignant cells in a wide range of cancers, including breast cancer, colon cancer, and lung cancer. Several research studies also claim that lemons can destroy cancer much more effectively than chemotherapy.

Black pepper is also a kitchen favorite that is more than just a spice, and it certainly pairs well with lemon! An exciting aspect of Perpertin is that it increases the rate of bioavailability of other herbs or medicinal compounds acting as a "driver" making the properties of an herb more accessible to the body. Black peppercorns have demonstrated itself to have impressive antioxidant and antibacterial effects — which is excellent as well as promoting the health of the digestive tract. These beneficial antioxidants may also help stabilize blood sugar.  Regulation of hyperglycemia is one activity offered by peppercorns and their extracts, ultimately helping reduce free radical damage. Researchers found piperine to aid in the up-regulation of the metabolic rate of resting muscle, which in turn can mitigate obesity and diabetes, making it useful in combating obesity and making it excellent for any diabetic diet plan.

It energizes the taste buds to signal the stomach to create more hydrochloric acid. This particular acid is essential to digest proteins along with other foods within the stomach, which when left undigested result in flatulence, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation as well as acidity. The extra hydrochloric acid released help with avoiding these conditions. To assist in digestion, include a tablespoon (concerning the number of servings being prepared) of freshly ground pepper powder in your meal while cooking. It’ll increase the flavor of the dish while keeping your stomach healthy.

One of my favorite aspects of black pepper is that it can keep your brain active and healthy, longer. It is known to help with cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's, depression, Parkinson’s, and Epilepsy. Also, just as lemon, it has anti-cancerous properties its anti-inflammatory effect that can reduce and prevent the creation of cancerous cells. By helping with natural detox, black pepper consequently inhibits the growth of cancerous cells. It might also have the ability to prevent specific chemicals that cause cell mutations, resulting in harmful growth. Black pepper and cardamom together can boost the strength of natural killer cells, thus showing anti-cancer ability. The two foods also increase your immune system and have an anti-tumor effect.

In Ayurveda, pepper is often included in tonics for the respiratory system including colds and coughs. It has an expectorant property that can help to break up the mucus as well as phlegm depositions within the respiratory tract, and its particular natural irritant quality. This feature allows you to discharge the mucus from the act of sneezing or even coughing, that removes the material from the body and helps you to cure of whatever infection or even illness caused the deposition in the first place.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

 

Finding Peace, 5 Mindful Practices for the New Year

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“He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the world.” ~Marcus Aurelius

Happy new year! To start the new year out right I wanted to share helpful tips for finding peace in the year to come. Finding peace is something we all struggle with, and I see myself daily with many "slip-ups" and re-directions back to this. Below are a few things I have found that help

1. Dinacharya: The tradition of dinacharya (daily routine) is one of the single most potent Ayurvedic tools for improving overall health and wellbeing. Ayurvedic medicine looks at the cycles of nature and bases daily activities around these cycles. Establishing balanced daily routines including waking up at the same time, morning cleansing routines, elimination, exercise, meals, work, relaxation, and sleeping. Having a well-established dinacharya is the framework of finding Peace in your life. More on dinacharya.

2. Practice patience:  Patience is an essential ingredient in attaining the ultimate goal of Ayurveda for your self and others. Understand that health and finding peace takes time. Do not expect things to happen overnight. It is also wise to be aware of how you act towards others when it comes to patience. Other people around you may not be living in the same way that you have chosen to. It doesn’t matter; they will have their conscience to live with at the end of the day, and you will have yours. Choose to respond in a way that will give you peace of mind. Take a deep breath before reacting to people who push your buttons.

3. Know your self: To seek Truth, after all, we have to be able to accept that we don’t always have the right answers, while also trusting that we contain somewhere deep within ourselves all the wisdom we need to navigate our lives with ease and peace. Make a list of all the good qualities you intend to cultivate. Are you going to be kinder, fairer, more tolerant, more magnanimous, more patient, more dignified? What are your responses to difficulties going to be? What principles do you wish to uphold?

4. Let go of perfectionism: Perfectionism is about being perceived as perfect. Since you cannot control other's people perception, perfection then merely is unattainable. Allow yourself to be imperfect, and yet still make progress. Do not make yourself feel worst for mistakes you have made or not attaining the goals that you have. Practice self-love and in stressful situations, look at what you did well. If you’ve been struggling, notice when you make progress. At the end of each day, summarize to yourself how you’ve acted well and kept your integrity.

5. Meditate: Meditation brings the inner peace, the internal stability that is needed for a healthy life. You cannot always control your external environment, but you can control your reaction to your situation. Meditation can be easy and has multiple benefits. Take 5-15 minutes each morning mediate, allowing the day to start off in the direction desired for creating more peace in your life. More on meditation.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

4 Benefits of An Ayurvedic Facial

Ayurvedic Facial

Ayurvedic therapies have a unique way of approaching each client differently for the next. If you have dry, aging, combination or sensitive skin an Ayurvedic facial treatment will be the best thing for you. Unlike other beauty therapies, an Ayurvedic facial is known to be the best for any skin type. It is not only the herbal ingredients that makes sure your skin does not erupt, but it also thoroughly cleanses your skin, making it smooth and soft. There are 4 main reason why everyone should enjoy this Ayurvedic technique.

1. Makes your Skin Glow

Outside of having each facial customized to your skin type, in general Ayurveda make your skin glow. The herbal and natural ingredients ensure your skin is well-nourished and in return radiates. Ayurveda offers many herbal blends that cover all aspects of skin care.  For example a facial using lentils, rose or saffron packs, it will keep your lighten your skin and keep it glowing for a long time.

2. Removes Dryness and Supports Aging Skin

Since herbal packs, steams and moisturizing oils are often used in Ayurvedic facials. Those suffering from dry and aging skin problems will benefit in more ways than one. The Ayurveda approach ensures dryness is balanced and your skin stays hydrated. The continued use of proper Ayurvedic skin care practices and products at home is the best way to see long-term results.


3. Treats Pimples and Acne Scars

Ayurvedic facial massage supports the reduction of acne and acne scars. If you have blemishes that leave a dark patch on your skin, a massage with specific oils and packs that suit your skin type can heal this problem. The facial skin is delicate, using harsh products can make your acne worse. Ayurveda offers gentle and natural ingredients, working with your skin's ph harmoniously,  thus creating the desired healing effect.

4. Enhance Overall Well-Being

Besides the fact that an Ayurvedic facial massage is profoundly relaxing it is essential to start a practicing in pay attention to all the muscles and marma points in the face. Our face has numerous marma points that affect the body as a whole. Marma points, which are similar to  acupoints of Chinese medicine, are the vital energy point located on the surface of the body. We have 11 vital marma points on our face, and the stimulation of these points help with everything from stress management to the release of toxins. A massage activating these points helps enhance overall well-being.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

 

Delicious Ayurvedic Crepes You Will Crave!!!

Ayurvedic Crepes

When sharing with my Panchakarma clients the art of Ayurvedic nutrition and cooking, they tend to feel overwhelmed. They may feel like they are not able to change their lifestyle to manage it and it may be difficult for their family to be on the same page, enjoying the changes for healthier life. I ensure them Ayurvedic cooking does not have to be difficult and it can be tasty and fun for the whole family. This crepe recipe is a perfect example of an easy way to incorporate Ayurvedic food into your life for the whole family to enjoy.

Spiced Pear Ayurvedic Crepes

4- large eggs
1/2 cup Amaranth flour
1/2 cup fresh organic milk
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Beat all the ingredients together thoroughly with an egg beater or in the blender. Pour 1/4 cup of batter into a hot, very lightly oiled skillet, spread by tilting the pain. Cook over medium-high until underside is brown and then turn.

Spiced Pears: 20 mins
5 ripe medium pears (about 4 cups chopped)
1/4 cup of apricot nectar
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon of dry ginger powder
6 cloves
6 cardamom seeds (about 2 pods)
1/8 teaspoon of salt

Wash quarter and core pears. Chop into 1/2 inch pieces. Put all ingredients in medium saucepan and cook uncovered over medium heat for 15 minutes or until soft. Serve hot or warm.

Mango or Blackberry Sauce
This sauce can be made with any fruit. Here at the center when mango is in season, we use mango and when blackberries are in season, we use blackberries.

1 cup of fruit
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
1 tablespoon honey

Mix fruit water and cinnamon and cook on low heat for 10. When cooled, add honey and put in a blender until smooth.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

 

Rest and Restore Yoga for The Holdiay Season

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The holiday season is the time for family, friends, and festivities. With so many activities planned, it can be challenging to maintain a peace of mind and sense of care that keeps us grounded and feeling restored. Proper rest, eating healthy and this rest and restore yoga exercise are three things you should be incorporating into your daily life this season. Just take 15 minutes each night as you are winding down for bed, by practicing these simple poses you will be able to  maintain the vigor needed to get through the holidays!

These poses are designed to relax the nervous system and mind, there are a lot of props involved as they will allow you to sink deeply and deliciously into yourself. In each pose, you can also cover yourself with a blanket for greater comfort. Spend at least three to five minutes in each
pose. As you become more comfortable with them, you can stay longer.

Salamba Viparita Karani - Supported Legs-Up-the-Wall Poses.

Start by setting your mat vertically against a wall and placing a bolster across it horizontally. Fold a blanket to the size of a bed pillow; then fold it again two-thirds of the way down, so you have a thinner edge (for your neck) and a thicker edge (for your head). Sit on the bolster with your left hip against the wall. Tip back as you turn your legs up the wall, and lower yourself so that your middle and upper back is on the mat, and your head and neck are on the blanket, forehead slightly higher than your chin. Bend your knees and put your feet through a loop in the strap, tightening it gently around your shins, and reset your legs up the wall. Place another blanket across your torso and a sandbag on your pelvis. Put the eye pillow over your eyes and rest your hands by your sides.

Supported Side bend

Sitting with your right hip against the bolster, lean to the right, placing your right hand on the far side of the mat as you lower down. Stretch your right arm straight along the ground and rest your head on your biceps. Then stretch your left arm overhead and place your palms together. With each exhalation, relax your entire body, paying particular attention to your neck. When you're ready to switch sides, you will slowly turn your body face-down, and then gently press your hands into the ground to get up. Repeat on the other side. After this position gently transition into child's pose and take a few deep breaths.


Salamba Mandukasana (Supported Frog Pose)

From child's pose slowly come up on all fours, with knees wide and big toes touching. Place a bolster lengthwise between your knees and sit back on your heels. Walk your hands forward along the mat until your upper body comes down onto the bolster. Turn your head to one side and deeply relax. On each inhalation, follow the breath into your belly and low back. On each exhalation, release your knees, hips, shoulders, and neck. (Turn your head to the other side when you're halfway done with the exhalation.)

Salamba Bharadvajasana (Supported Bharadvaja's Twist)

Now put a folded blanket at the bottom end of the bolster and sit with your left hip against the edge of the blanket. Turn from your belly toward the bolster, placing your hands on either side and lean down slowly until your forehead touches. Turn your head to the right, tucking your chin slightly. Keep the back of the neck long and the front of the throat soft. Finally, place the eye pillow across the nape of your neck and rest your hands and forearms on the floor. Allow your breath to slow down and deepen; observe how your inhalations root your pelvis and gently enhance the turning sensation in the belly and shoulders. When you're ready, change sides.

Salamba Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Angle Pose)

Prepare a pillow as you did for the first pose and place it on the top end of the bolster. Sit with your back to the bolster; bring the soles of your feet together; and let your knees drop open, positioning a rolled blanket under each one. Lay a sandbag across your feet, and, using your hands behind you on the mat, slowly lower down onto the bolster. Adjust the head blanket, so your forehead is higher than your chin, place an eye pillow over your eyes, and rest your hands on the ground. Allow your breath to slow down and deepen. With each exhalation, allow your abdomen to soften as much as possible.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

 

 

An Ayurvedic Perspective on Parasites

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In my practice, I find many people are very concerned about parasites. I wanted to take the time to share an Ayurvedic perspective on parasites from Banyan Botanicals. This article offers tools of what one can do naturally to help decrease the risk of them as well as herbal suggestions to use if one becomes infected.

There are more than 3,000 types of parasites. Though they are most prevelant in populations with poor sanitary conditions, millions of people continue to become infected in developed countries as well. Giardia is still the most common parasite worldwide, it is commonly waterborne, making campers and backpackers most susceptible.  Foreign travelers can also become infected by drinking contaminated water or eating food which was prepared in unsanitary conditions. Parasites, in general, can cause a wide variety of digestive complaints.

According to Ayurveda, parasite growth is encouraged by weak digestive fire or low agni. Weak digestion is a primary causative factor in creating an ideal host body for parasites. Parasites are more likely to affect Vata and Kapha predominant people since they will be more likely to have weak agni. Robust agni, characteristic of pitta dominant individuals, can burn up parasites before they have a chance to make themselves at home in the body. Because of this, it is essential to recognize what is needed to keep a robust digestive system at all times.

Many people have difficulty determining the primary cause of parasitic infection. Even after contact or ingestion of a parasite has occurred, some, like Giardia cysts, can remain dormant yet viable in the body for months until an imbalance occurs, weakening the body's immune system and creating an environment for a parasite to live. Once a parasite takes up residence in the body, it leeches nutrients and creates waste which can become a breeding ground for bacteria, yeasts, and fungi.

In Ayurveda, parasites are classified according to what tissues they inhabit in the body: blood, intestines, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and brain. Most parasites also migrate in the body so the symptoms could change depending on where the parasites are at any given time. This can make diagnosis difficult. The symptoms of parasitic infection are very similar to an overgrowth of yeast, Candida albicans, in the body. The parasites create waste on which the yeast feeds, while the yeast provides a damp ideal environment for the parasites to thrive. So, it is not uncommon to have to rid the body of both parasites and yeast. The Ayurvedic treatment protocol can be used to address both yeast and parasites.
 
Diet
Strengthening digestion and maintaining intestinal flora is most important while cleansing parasites and for avoiding getting parasites. Paying close attention to the digestibility of foods will help you make choices that your body can use while limiting the production of toxic waste. Avoid foods that will create ama or impurities in the body such as frozen, leftover and processed foods. A diet that is little in quantity, light, warm and comfortable to digest will be the most beneficial. Find more infromation on digestion and agni here.

Minimize sweets. Yeast and bacteria flourish with sugars providing more food for the parasites. Choose fresh organic vegetables, fruits, and grains. These will provide the body with vitality and nourishment. Include anti-parasitic foods such as coconut, aloe vera, pumpkin seeds and fresh pineapple naturally. Allow at least three hours between meals to cultivate a healthy appetite. Strengthen the digestive fire by including cayenne, black pepper, dry ginger and asafoetida in your food. Sip ginger tea first thing in the morning and throughout the day to help strengthen the digestive fire and clear toxins.

Many times there is malabsorption in parasitic conditions. Improving the natural flora of the intestines can enhance digestion and absorption of nutrients while making it difficult for parasites to thrive. Include friendly bacteria such as acidophilus, bifidus, and bulgaricus. These are naturally occurring in yogurt and supplemental forms of capsules or liquids.
 
Lifestyle
Strict hygiene is one of the most important preventative measures that should be taken to avoid contracting parasites. Clean bedrooms and bedding. Wash hands with soap for at least 45 seconds, frequently, particularly after using the bathroom and before eating. If you are camping, be sure to boil stream water for at least one minute before ingesting. Wear shoes in areas that may be contaminated with raw sewage. Peel fruits and vegetables if they are possibly from an unclean source. When trying to cleanse parasites from the body by following an herbal and dietary protocol, all family members and pets should be put on a similar regime to minimize the chances of someone becoming re-infected. It is helpful to become familiar with the life cycles of parasites to continue treatment until all parasites have been eliminated.
 
Herbs

Para Cleanse offered by Banyan Botanicals is a synergistic combination of the most effective antiparasitic herbs in the Ayurvedic pharmacopeia. This formula helps rid the gastrointestinal tract of unwanted parasites and eliminates the toxins on which they feed. This highly bitter recipe is based on vidanga and neem leaf. It also contains ginger, black pepper, and pippali to improve the body's digestive capabilities. The three herbs of triphala, amalaki, bibhitaki, and haritaki, are included to help cleanse and tone the colon. Many times there is a worsening of symptoms at the beginning of treatment as the herbs, and healthier digestive environment promotes a mass die-off of parasites and yeast. Persistence is crucial during this phase, as the body will soon be clear of the unwanted parasites.

Rejuvenation is vital after this type of purification to help rebuild and nourish the tissues, and create balance within the digestive organs. Daily self-oil massage, abhyanga, is a nurturing practice that nourishes and protects the skin. Herbs such as Shatavari or Ashwagandha can be taken to help rebuild tissues, especially if there has been significant weight loss. Chyavanprash is very useful to help rejuvenate the mind and body. Triphala should be taken continuously, to rejuvenate and tone the large intestine. Following Ayurveda's ancient wisdom will lead you toward a healthy digestive system while creating an undesirable environment for unwanted parasites.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

Ayurvedic Facial Mask

Turmeric-Mask-Ayurvedas-Best-Skin-Exfoliant

Ayurveda offers many natural skincare solutions. The below recipe is for acne and some types of eczema—use the directions below and make into a thin paste. You can mix the herbal powders with water or use whole milk if skin is oily, and ghee if the skin is dry. Apply this to the face for one-half hour at bedtime and one-half hour upon rising in the morning. If you find no irritations, continue to use until imbalances clear.

4 parts chick pea flour
3 parts Mahasudarshan powder
2 parts Triphala
1 part Turmeric
Make into a paste with rose water or milk or ghee. Apply ½ hour before bedtime and let dry. Rinse with warm water.

Herbal Information

Mahasudarshan is a complex formulation of Ayurvedic herbs that bolsters immunity through detoxification. The main ingredients include chireta, kutki, guduchi and other notably bitter and astringent herbs that help relieve imbalances of pitta and kapha. Traditionally used for fever and disorders of the liver and lymph, this synergistic formula cools and cleanses the system. Mahasudarshan decongests the body and enhances the elimination of toxins, assisting the immune system in times of infection.

  • Bolsters immunity and supports the body's natural defenses against bacteria and viruses
  • Promotes elimination of toxins
  • Removes excess pitta from the body
  • Supports proper function of the liver and lymphatic system

Ayurvedic Energetics:

  • Rasa (taste): bitter, pungent, astringent
  • Virya (action): cooling
  • Vipaka (post-digestive effect): pungent
  • Doshas (constitutions): Balancing for pitta and kapha, may aggravate vata in excess

Triphala is recommended and used more than any other Ayurvedic herbal formulation. Popular for its unique ability to gently cleanse and detoxify the system while simultaneously replenishing and nourishing it, this traditional formula supports the proper functions of the digestive, circulatory, respiratory, and genitourinary systems. Translated as "three fruits," it is composed of the dried fruits of amalaki, bibhitaki, and haritaki. Containing five of the six tastes (all but salty), triphala readily removes excess vata, pitta, and kapha from the body, bringing balance and proper functioning to the system. It is commonly taken as a daily supplement to help maintain balance of the doshas.*

  • Assists natural internal cleansing*
  • Gently maintains regularity*
  • Nourishes and rejuvenates the tissues*
  • Supports healthy digestion and absorption*
  • Supports proper functions of the digestive, circulatory, respiratory, and genitourinary systems*
  • Natural antioxidant*

Ayurvedic Energetics:

  • Rasa (taste): sweet, sour, pungent, bitter, astringent
  • Virya (action): neutral
  • Vipaka (post-digestive effect): sweet
  • Doshas (constitutions): Balancing for vata, pitta, and kapha

Tumeric is known for its broad range of beneficial properties. It bolsters the immune system, purifies the blood, and promotes clear healthy skin. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) strengthens digestion and eliminates toxins from the GI tract. It supports proper function of the pancreas, reduces kapha, and promotes healthy blood glucose levels that are already within the normal range. Turmeric soothes and nourishes the joint tissue and promotes comfortable movement. An excellent herb for those with kapha constitutions or imbalances, turmeric supports proper function of the heart and helps clear the channels of the physical and subtle bodies.

  • Cleanses the blood and promotes healthy skin*
  • Strengthens digestion and promotes healthy intestinal flora*
  • Supports healthy blood glucose levels that are already within the normal range*
  • Supports comfortable movement of the joints*

Ayurvedic Energetics:

  • Rasa (taste): pungent, bitter, astringent
  • Virya (action): heating
  • Vipaka (post-digestive effect): pungent
  • Doshas (constitutions): Balancing for all doshas, may increase Vata and Pitta in excess

 

 

Disclaimer
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

 

 

 

 

Quick and Easy Ayurvedic Cold Remedy

Ayurvedic Cold Remedy Tea

If you ever find yourself or a family member coming down with a cold, this simple easy Ayurvedic formula can help:

One teaspoon ajwain seed
One teaspoon cumin seed
One teaspoon turmeric powder
1/8th teaspoon salt
Cook in two cups of water. Boil down to one cup.

Make and drink this three times a day for 3 days or until symptoms are relieved.

 

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

Shatavari

Shatavari.png

Shatavari is one of my favorite Ayurvedic herbs. It is has excellent hormone balancing properties and is an ojas (immunity) builder. It also has many other great benefits I will be discussing in this article. It is an herb that can be taken every day and is easily available, making it a fantastic option for the modern women.

There are many terms for Shatavari, the Sanskrit word, Shatavari, comes from the word shat (meaning one hundred) and avari (meaning that the person who takes this plant can get married a hundred times). Another synonym of Shatavari is bahusuta, many children, because it helps to support fertility. It is also called virundivari, taking away the fear of getting married if there is a lack of hormonal flow, pivari, helping to continue marital bliss, narayani  or Lakshmi - the goddess who bestows fortune, shatavirya, giving "100 times" more potency than other herbs, especially for strengthening shukra dhatu, or reproductive tissue.

Shatavari is wonderful for pacifying Vata and Pitta. Shatavari is guru (heavy), sheeta (cooling), tikta (bitter) and svadvi (sweet). It also has a pro-alkaline post-digestive effect. Most sweet tastes become acidic after digestion but Shatavari maintains a high pH even after digestion. These physical properties give Shatavari the ability to pacify Pitta and Vata doshas.

Shatavari balances Apana Vata more than the other Vata sub-doshas. This is because Shatavari helps balance the hormones, which affect the lower part of the body the most, this area is governed by apana vata. Shatavari is also said to be atisarajit, this is helpful to reduce high-pitta diarrhea because it's cooling, bitter and heavy qualities balance the heating effects of reactive toxins that cause high-pitta diarrhea.

Shatavari is said to also give long healthy life to the eyes. Because it is cooling and nourishing in nature it, Pitta in the eyes is pacified.  It gives the intelligence-enhancing properties to the eyes so that they can connect to the brain and the inner eye properly.  Shatavari is also described as medhagnipushtida or nourishing the agnis of the brain.

Finally, when we look at the effect of Shatavari on shukra dhatu (reproductive tissue). Traditionally used to maintain the healthy production of female hormones. As a nutritive tonic, it encourages the healthy production of milk in lactating mothers and the healthy production of semen in would be fathers. It is also useful during menopause and for women who have had hysterectomies. Its unctuous quality soothes and nurtures membranes of the lungs, stomach, kidneys, and reproductive organs. Sattvic (pure, harmonious) in nature, Shatavari calms the mind and promotes love and devotion.

Overview

  • Nourishing tonic for women and men*
  • Maintains a healthy female reproductive system*
  • Supports healthy lactation*
  • Supports the healthy production of semen*
  • Promotes fertility and a healthy libido*

Ayurvedic Energetics:

  • Rasa (taste): bitter, sweet
  • Virya (action): cooling
  • Vipaka (post-digestive effect): sweet
  • Doshas (constitutions): Balancing for Vata and Pitta, may aggravate Kapha in excess

Suggested Use:
¼ to ½ teaspoon with warm water, once or twice daily, or as directed by your health practitioner.

Please consult with your health care practitioner prior to the use of this product if you are pregnant or nursing, taking medications, or have a medical condition. Keep out of the reach of children.