Ayurvedic Lifestyle

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.

Dinacharya, Daily Self Care

DInacharya

Dinacharya is the Ayurvedic daily ritual of self-care. According to Ayurveda, routine plays a significant role in health. A healthy life can best be maintained by creating daily regimen according to each constitution.  Governing all daily actions such as the time you wake up in the morning, the time you eat,  time you begin daily body purification, to the time one goes to sleep is all a part of Dinacharya.

Ayurvedic Dinacharya has been a practice used for thousands of years and has many benefits. It cleanses the body and prevent the buildup of toxins, it helps to keep the senses and mind clear, and is very nourishing. Repeating a routine every morning sets your day and gives you a feeling of stability and steadiness. It promotes a healthy organization of the energy channels and the seating of prana in the body, creating calmness in mind, limiting stress, and cuts down on decision fatigue.

The new science of Circadian Medicine is suggesting that our genes have lost their ability to hear the natural circadian cycles of nature.  In our modern high-tech world, this is becoming a more and more of a challenge, and some people are starting to have symptoms of a “nature deficit disorder.” Modern scientists are only now beginning to understand exactly how important it is for the body to stay in rhythm with nature, while Ayurveda has been rooted in the importance of a connection with nature for millennia. This current research may revolutionize modern medicine as we know it, and Ayurvedic practices can be a foundation for this research to grow.

It is the goal of this article to help you understand the meaning of Dinacharya or Ayurvedic daily routine and support you to designed and maintain a program that reconnects you to your natural rhythms. At first, it may seem overwhelming, but you can take things gradually and ease your way into the routine.

Starting the day right is the most important aspect of Dinacharya. It is said, you will have the best health if you wake up before sunrise and excrete waste shortly after.  During the hours of sleep and in the morning the body is in it’s natural purification time. Dinacharya practices work in harmony to support this rhythm. First thing in the morning Ayurveda suggest tongue scrapping, oil pulling , nasya applications and to drink a warm glass of water with a fresh squeezed lemon or lime to support this process.

Next, to provide a sense of alertness and freshness, one should then rub the body with oils and take a bath. After your shower put on comfortable clothes, exercise and practice yoga for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Light exercise is necessary each day to keep the digestives system high by creating internal heat. It’s best to exercise according to what is correct for your constitution and to be aware not to over exercise. Afterward, rest comfortably on your back with arms and legs outstretched and breath from the lower abdomen, calming the central nervous system.

Self- enhancing practice daily are considered crucial in Ayurveda. The do not have to be difficult but taking 10-20 minutes for meditation, pranayama, yoga, journaling, prayer or other activities that bring well-being to your spirit and mind supports health immensely The more time you allow for these types of practices, the greater you will benefit.

Eat regular meals daily! Irregular meals and excessive snacking can weaken the digestive fire. The natural course of the day sets our digestive system. Having scheduled eating times is essential, with lunch being the largest meal of the day between 12-2pm. When the sun is at its highest, our digestive system is also at its highest, so naturally, this is when the largest meal should be eaten, it is also the best time to eat raw foods and animal proteins.  If possible have dinner before sunset, as the digestion system is set to go to sleep as the sun sets. Breakfast should be before 9 am and something simple and easy to digest. Remember to favor warm, cooked, light meals based on the seasons and on the doshas you want to balance.

It is best to go to bed by ten o’ clock. Keep this regular bedtime as it lets the body know that it is time to wind-down and recuperate. To promote healthy sleep, drink a warm glass of warm cow’s milk or almond milk with cardamom or nutmeg shortly before bed. You can enjoy this while listening to relaxing music, stay away from stimulating conversations, music and television at least one hour before sleep. This suggested regimen follows the flow of energy within the body and its relation to the external environment. It is necessary at all times to remain aware of the flow in natural order to get the maximum benefit from your daily routine.

Check out our video 10 things to do before 10 am for Dinacharya tips!

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.

 

8 Ayurvedic Uses for Honey

8 Ayurvedic Uses of Honey.png

The uses of honey in healthcare are traced back thousands of years. In Vedic times honey was seen as a gift, it’s remarkable health properties were valued more than it's taste. Now as honey is being studied, it has been rediscovered beyond its value of a sweetener. Modern research indicates honey has unique medicinal and nutritional properties, something Ayurveda has known for thousands of years. Discover the gifts of honey through these 8 Ayurvedic uses.

1. The skin is the largest organ of the body and benefits greatly by the application of honey. Ayurvedic texts have described how honey is beneficial in the healing process of wounds and sores. The texts say that it acts as an antiseptic, it soothes pain, cools burns and hastens the healing process.  

2. Honey has tissue building properties; it provides energy and heat to the body, all three things are good for old age. One or two teaspoons of honey in a cup of warm water is a refreshing and strengthening drink. Take daily.

3. Because iron, manganese, and copper are in honey, it is excellent for building hemoglobin. In cases of anemia, Ayurvedic studies suggest using honey to maintain the right balance of hemoglobin and red blood corpuscles.

4. Honey is easily digested and assimilated, it is the best sweet food, as it does not require bodily organs to work hard when digesting it. It goes beyond this and is useful in maintaining the health of the stomach. Ayurvedic experts find honey helps proper digestion and prevents stomach disease. It also decreases the overproduction of hydrochloric acid, thereby preventing symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and heartburn. Honey also supports in clearing the digestive canal of putrefied fecal matter and undigested foods.

5. When it comes to keeping your mouth healthy, honey is applied to the teeth and gums daily. According to Ayurveda, it cleanses and gives a sparkle to the teeth, prevents the deposit of tartar, prevents decay and early falling of the teeth. Since honey is a mild antiseptic, it also prevents the growth of microorganisms. Gargling with honey and water is very useful in gingivitis due to inflammation of the gums.

6. Insomnia affects many of us in our modern age. Honey has been used for centuries for the treatment of insomnia. Its properties have a hypnotic action in bringing on sound sleep. Two teaspoons can be taken with a warm cup of water or with warm almond milk before bed. Adding a dash of cardamon and cinnamon makes it more delicious. It’s an excellent remedy for sleepless babies and children.

7. Honey has a natural tendency to clear channels of the body. It has been very beneficial in supporting the body to eliminate an irritating cough. As a demulcent or soothing agent, it produces a soothing effect on the inflamed mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract, relieving cough and symptoms. You can take it internally or use honey with water as a gargle to support this.

8. Honey supplies the body with energy. It can be easily added to the five meals a day. The texts of Ayurveda recommended it in cases of arteriosclerosis and weak hearts. Like-wise it can be taken before bed in a glass of water with lemon juice to provide the heart with energy throughout the night, support cardiac pain and palpitations of the heart.

When using honey, Ayurveda also has recommended precautions. Charaka, the ancient sage of Ayurveda, wrote over 500 years ago that “nothing is so troublesome as ama caused by the improper intake of honey.” Indeed ‘ama‘, or undigested matter in the body, is considered to be the root cause of most ill health by Ayurveda. Many incompatible food combinations produce toxins, but heated honey is one of the most complicated forms to cleanse. Heating honey destroys the enzymes that support the digestion of the body.

Precautions when using honey:

  • Honey should never be heated to above 40°C (104°F)
  • Honey should not be mixed with hot foods.
  • Honey should not be consumed when you are working in a hot environment where you are exposed to more heat.
  • Honey should never be mixed with rain water, hot, spicy foods, fermented beverages (whiskey, rum, brandy) ghee, mustard.
  • Honey includes nectar of various flowers of which some may be poisonous.
  • Honey should never be equally combined with ghee.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

Spice things up with Ayurvedic herbs for Valentines day!


There are many Ayurvedic herbs and spices known for their rejuvenation and aphrodisiac effects that can kick things up a notch for Valentine's day. Outside of proprietary blends, Ayurveda has simple spice suggestions that are easy to find and taste delicious. Nutmeg, clove, cardamom, and ginger are common in most pantries and mixed together as a “chai” is an easy and enjoyable way to enhance libido.  

Nutmeg is known in Ayurveda as “Women’s Viagra”. This almost overpowering aromatic spice is warming and pacifies Vata and Kapha and increases Pitta. It supports blood flow and circulation. Clove enhances attraction and boosts overall libido. It has been used in India and in many other parts of Asia for many centuries. Cardamon is a Tridoshic spice and balances energy and blood flow. It has a very sweet taste, providing energy and vigor. Ginger has an overall warming effect on the body, it boost circulation, helps to pacify Vata and Kapha and increases Pitta.

Two renowned Ayurvedic herbs known for their rejuvenation and aphrodisiac effects are Ashwaganda and Shatavari. Ashwagandha, a plant in the nightshade family, is one of Ayurveda’s most highly acclaimed adaptogens, increasing or decreasing stress hormones such as cortisol, depending on the body’s needs. It has the ability to energize the body when it needs it during the day, and calm overactive nerves for restful sleep at night. Ayurveda suggests this herb is very effective in men. Shatavari or asparagus racemosus, is derived from the roots of “wild asparagus” and is used in dried root or powder form as a tonic for the female reproductive system and can be used throughout a woman’s life.

These two herbs combined with the suggested Ayurvedic spices are a natural way to build vitality, energy and vigor for both sexes. Enjoy this aromatic and delicious recipe to spice things up a bit. Or use it regularly to maintain overall health and vitality in everyday life.

Mix & Store

1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon clove
2 teaspoons of cardamom
2 teaspoons of ginger
1 tablespoon Ashwaganda
1 tablespoon Shatavari

Use 1/2 teaspoon boiled for 5 minutes in 1 cup of milk. Use the milk of your choice, fresh cow, almond or coconut.

 

 

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 First Step of Health, Forgiveness

You can heal yourself

" When you look deeply you begin to understand, the moment when you understand, compassion is born in your heart. And then it is possible for you to forgive." Thich Nat Han

Charaka, the ancient sage, was perhaps the first to codify the world's oldest continually practiced medical system, Ayurveda. For over 5000 years, Ayurveda has been the holistic medical system practiced by millions in India and through out the globe, and now this ancient wisdom is coming to the West, as a result of the popularity of Ayurveda's sister-science, Yoga.

Ayurveda, Yoga, and Tantra are a sacred trinity of systems the ancient Rishis (seers) practiced to develop the individual towards liberation. Ayurveda develops the individual's body, Tantra the mind, and Yoga the spirit. Practiced together, the individual achieves an ideal, integrated balance of physical health, mental focus, and spiritual enlightenment.

In our rapid modern time, we find it hard to do the things necessary to reach the harmony that Ayurvedic sages have taught us, although we know what it is we need to do, we often find excuses for our behaviors and we procrastinate actions that would lead us towards better health. Many of us get bogged down from all our the modern demands and we fall into the pattern of negative thought. In general 80% of most humans thoughts are negative. Daily we struggle with self -judgment and criticism, thus feeding the cycle of limited self development and overall wellness and health.

So what do we do to change this? Most start by setting unrealistic goals of yoga, tantra and Ayurvedic health practices, saying they will practice yoga 5 days a week, only eat healthy home cooked Ayurvedic food, and practice meditation and tantric breathing exercises every day for an hour. This is an unrealistic! I would like to suggest to you to take the step of finding forgiveness for yourself and those who have impacted us negatively as the first step..... So how do we do this? Its simple, its with love. More love, more compassion, form ourselves, for ourselves and to others. Start by making friends with yourself. Be willing to truly know who you are, what you're doing or not doing, and why. And then team up with yourself to do whatever is necessary to bring yourself back into love, and the health and balance you seek will follow quite easily.

Once you commit to re-establishing self- love, now focus on the necessary attribute for self-change. This Ayurvedic or yogic concept is known as"Tapas," . Tapas is Sanskrit for "inner fire." Tapas refers to austerity, determination, and the willingness to do whatever is necessary to bring yourself back into balance and health. In order to be successful in this we must identify and acknowledge your crimes against wisdom or your contributions to your own ill health. Then, instead of beating yourself up about it, realize your inner empowerment. Accept the reality that you've helped cause your illnessor imbalances. In this, it provides the power of Tapas and can stop causing your illness. This realization can now bring you back onto the path of Dharma and renewed health.

Now with this self love and self realization you have the force behind you to do something about your health. Draw upon your inner resources, your courage and resolve, your patience and perseverance. Reach out to your family and friends, Ayurvedic books, therapists, practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine, the internet, get all the information and assistance you can. Be willing to let go of the past to move forward into a future of wellness. Change your diet, change your job, change your life – Reach down inside yourself and find the Tapas to heal yourself. In the end No one can heal you, they can only assist you, you are the one that needs to do the work to heal yourself. You got this!

Contact us to schedule an online Ayurvedic Wellness Session here.

 

 

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.

 

Healing Music for Your Ayurvedic Type

HealingMusicDosha

Each of us has a unique connection to music. Most of us experience the affects music has on our mind and body daily. Its a joy to think that we are all inherently musicians who can play the rhythms of life and spirit through music, we must only find the rhythm that we most connect with. Ayurveda teaches that using music according to our"type" gives us a deeper ability to impact our balance state of health and wellness. The Ayurvedic types, or doshas govern all the physiological and psychological functions of an individual. Determining your inherent dosha is important in finding the right music for you to play, create or simply enjoy. Once you have determined your particular dosha, you can follow these guidelines to select the kind of music that is best suited for you in healing.

Music for a Vata Type: In general a Vata person or someone who is experiencing a Vata imbalance is good to listen or play instruments with soft, low and mellow tones, such as music with the guitar, mandolin, bass, violin and wind instruments such as chimes and didgeridoo. Learning to play Himalayan singing bowels and the harmonium can be very healing and meditative to a Vata type.

Music for Pitta Type: Focus on rhythmic soft music with a middle tone. This includes instruments such as flute, clarinet, saxophone and mouth organ. String instruments that are balancing for Pitta are the violin, dulcimer and mandolin. All types of percussion that are gentle are also very balancing

Music for Kapha Type: Kapha wants to focus on energizing music with a solid bass and higher tones. All types of drums such as the Indian dholak and tabla, African Congo and water drum. Bells, chimes, Incan panpipes, accordion, electric keyboard and piano are all great instruments for a Kapha person to learn to play.

 

 

 

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.

 

Two easy Ayurvedic Tips to Increase Oral Health

increase-oral-health

Ayurveda has many natural practice that focus on oral health. Some of us just think that oral health has only to do with brushing your teeth, flossing and a regular dental cleaning. But oral health goes further then that. Oral health receives less attention then it deserves. Medical and dental professionals say how important oral health is to overall health because it affects the deeper organs and tissues of the body. Many people find that when they introduce Ayurvedic oral health practices to their daily routine, their over all health improves. We suggest adding two simple Ayurvedic oral practices to your life and see how it works for you.

First, Ayurveda recommends using a tongue cleaner at the start of each day, upon waking on an empty stomach. According to Ayurveda, the tongue is connected to our health and mirrors many of our vital organs. These include the stomach, small intestine, colon, liver, spleen, kidneys, heart and lungs. Scraping the tongue with a tongue cleaner is said to directly impact each of these organs. Most people use a tooth brush to clean the tongue, but because the tongue is soft and spongy, a firm and inflexible object cleanses it more efficiently. It clears accumulations in the folds and grooves of the tongue so they can be properly eliminated from the mouth.

Using a tongue cleaner every day can improve overall oral hygiene, enriches digestive fire, removes unwanted coating from the tongue, cleans ama (toxins), cleans bacteria from the tongue, improves taste, and stimulates the internal organs. It's very easy to use a tongue cleaner at the start of each day. Just hold the ends of the tongue cleaner in both hands, open mouth and extend the tongue. Place the curved edge of the cleaner at the rear of the tongue, as far back as you can, then press gently on the tongue pulling the cleaner to the front of the tongue.

Another easy Ayurvedic practice is oil pulling. Oil pulling is the practice of swishing oil in the mouth anywhere from 5-20 minutes. This is best done with organic sesame or coconut oil. All oils are lipid-based and so is the exterior cell membranes, including single-celled microorganisms that inhabit the mouth. When these microbes come in contact with the oil, their cell membranes adhere to the oil, which helps to detach them from the teeth and gums. This includes supporting the removal of plaque and odor causing-bacteria. Decreasing the bad bacteria in the mouth help maintain a good balance of microbes in the mouth.

Oil by nature is heavy and warm. These qualities soothe and nourish the tissues. By swishing the oil all around in the mouth, in and out of the teeth, it contacts all the tissues through out the oral cavity, introducing them to it's nourishing qualities, thus providing nutrition and strength to the tissues of the mouth. 

In addition, the action of swishing for up to twenty minutes engages a wide array of muscles in and around the mouth. These are muscles that do not often get used or exercised. This activity tones the muscles while increasing circulation to the entire mouth, thereby supporting both the nourishment and detoxification of the oral tissues and encourages strong healthy gums.

In the morning on an empty stomach, place about 1 tablespoon of coconut, sesame or a combination of both and swish for up to 20 minutes. Swish the oil side to side, all around the gums, teeth and cheeks and also pull in and out between the teeth. Once finished spit it out and rinse with water.

 

 

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 Ensure a Healthy Transition with the Change of Season

ayurveda spring food

Spring is almost here, but we are still feeling the cold and dark attributes of the winter. Ayurveda defines rutu sandhi as the transition between two seasons, which is generally taken to be the final 15 days of one season and the first 15 days of the next season. As we are coming out of winter and into spring, this ‘door’ or pathway between seasons is a great time to change our clothes, lifestyle and attitudes from the old season and have a fresh new start for spring. This seasonal juncture is an excellent opportunity for a cleanse like panchakarma. Chances are we have accumulated kapha in our system during the winter, which can be aggravated by the entering of the spring, also a kapha season. Ayurveda recommends incorporating certain foods, practices and herbs in our daily routine to keep kapha in balance.

Spring is the king of the seasons. During this time, Mother Earth awakens to bring new life after the winter dormant months. Spring is mild, moist, and full of color. It is a great time to test new skills, for growth and starting a new lifestyle. Since it starts getting warmer during spring, any accumulated or stagnated kapha will start to liquify and run out of the body, which is the cause of spring colds.

Spring is also a blooming season, where flowers shed their pollen and fragrance making it gorgeous for some people, while others, specially kapha individuals or people who have an accumulated kapha, suffer from allergies and hay fever. To alleviate kapha in the throat area you can gargle honey and hot water or a cup of hot water with a teaspoon of each tumeric and saltTrikatu is a combination of ginger, black pepper, and pippali (piper longum) and great for pacifying kapha, increasing digestive fire and eliminate toxins during this changing season. Eliminating any excess kapha during the pre-spring period can lower the incidence of allergies, hay fever and colds. Diet is an important part of this process.

Regimen for Spring

  • Eat a kapha pacifying diet primarily bitter, pungent and astringent foods
  • Eat light, easily to do digest foods. Favor soups and cooked vegetables
  • Use small amounts of raw honey as a sweetener
  • Fast for one day a week, preferably on Monday or Thursday for astrological reasons
  • Drink warming, cleansing herbal teas, such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, clove tea
  • Practice yoga, meditation, and pranayama
  • Keep warm and dry
  • A warm saltwater and herbal rinse of the nasal passages takes just a few seconds but it can save days for misery from sick sinuses

Things to Avoid

  • kapha aggravating foods like fatty and fried foods
  • Excessive amounts of sweet, sour and salty foods
  • Heavy, large breakfasts
  • Snacking between meals, except for dried fruit
  • Cold or iced beverages
  • Daytime sleep
  • Exposure to dust, dirt and pollen
  • Cold drafts and air conditioning

Foods for the season

  • Legumes, slit peas, red lentils, chickpeas, pinto beans and fresh soybean products
  • Amaranth, barely, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, radish, spinach, artichoke, asparagus, beets, broccoli, carrots, lettuces, okra, radish.
  • Apricots, berries, cherries, dark grapes, mangos, peaches, pears, pomegranates and raisins

 

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.

 

Why and How to Perform Daily Self Oil Massage (Abhyanga)

Ayurveda is a natural approach to health and wellness that originated in India. It is a traditional form of medicine that utilizes herbs, nutrition, yoga, lifestyle routines and body treatments to provide balanced health. Ayurvedic massage is an ancient practice that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine and can provide you with a multitude of benefits. Understanding these advantages will allow you another choice when it comes to your long-term approach to health and wellness.

Abhyanga (warm oil application) serves to calm the nervous system, strengthen the joints and connective tissue, and stimulate the internal organs. One of the best things about Abhyanga is that by doing this healing practice several times a week, you are paying close attention to your physical body lovingly and attentively.  We all could benefit from more self-love, and this self-massage is an excellent way to practice this and reap some serious health benefits as well.

Daily self Massage helps increase the flow of blood and vital nutrients to joints, restoring fluids to areas requiring motion, such as the ankles, knees, hips, and wrists. It relaxes your muscles and relieves stress and tension at the same time, help improve range of motion and flexibility in joints, and helps increase the flow of blood and vital nutrients to joints.

Ayurvedic massage improves blood circulation to all areas of the body, and increases the number of red blood cells and helps injured tissues to heal. Increased blood circulation also contributes to lower blood pressure and increase the effectiveness of heart function. Ayurvedic massage may also help increase metabolism by eliminating waste products from the body and increases the flow of lymph fluids through the body; it is also known to help relieve symptoms of hypertension in some.

Abhyanga helps you relax and offers the pampering that many of us enjoy after a hard week at work, or during stressful situations. In addition to providing relief of tension, it gives you a sense of calm as blood and lymph fluids flood through the body, strengthening your mind and immune systems. Helping you over come fatigue Abhyanga nourishes and soothes the nervous system and promotes undisturbed sleep curing insomnia, leading to increasing vigor and vitality in your everyday life.

Ayurvedic oils massage loosens the deep seated toxins from joints and tissues and releases them into the system where they are eliminated. Besides this, accumulated toxins from the skin are also released to give you healthy and clearer skin. In Ayurveda, application of oil through massage can be looked at as an equivalent to injecting "medicines" into the body. The massage helps the blood to absorb most of the oil content directly to the blood stream and support overcoming illness.

It's best to choose the type of medicated oil that is appropriate for your Ayurvedic constitution or imbalance. An Ayurvedic Practitioner can suggest this, or you could only use raw sesame oil. Apply the warm oil all over your body 15-30 minutes before a hot bath or shower, allowing the oil to penetrate into the deeper tissues and joints quickly.

  • First begin by running hot water over the bottle or set the bottle in a bowl full of hot water, gently warming the oil.

  • Squeeze about a tablespoon of the warm oil into your hand and apply to the scalp, vigorously working the oil in the scalp. Use your fingertips in small circular motions to massage the head and scalp.

  • With the same oil on your head, move to your face and ears, massaging with a lighter touch.

  • Move to the neck and with an open hand, massage both the front and the back of the neck, more rapidly, creating friction.

  • Apply more oil and use this same technique and vigorously massage your arms straight up and down.

  • At the shoulders, elbows and wrists use a circular motion and then continue with the whole arm straight up and down to tie it together.

  • Then move to your chest and stomach, apply more oil if needed and use gentle circular motions, when covering the breastbone use straight up and down motions.

  • After applying a bit more oil to your hands gently reach around to the back and spin and massage them without straining.

  • Move to your legs and buttocks and repeat the same as your arms, long rapid up and down strokes over the whole leg and small circular motions at the hips, buttocks, knees, and ankles.

  • After massaging your legs, it is important to spend more time on your feet. Using the open part of your hand massage vigorously band and forth over the soles and the top of your feet. Then use your finger tips and create small circular motions all over the foot.

  • Let the medicated oil at least sit for 15 minutes, but no longer than 45 minutes. Rinse off in warm bath or shower.

  • Remember to practice self-love through out the massage, allowing the body to absorb nurture and care.

 

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 Bath, Sacred and Healing.

For as long as our civilization can recall, bathing has been a sacred activity. In ancient Greece, water was regarded as a gift of health from the gods themselves. In Rome, ruins of hot and cold sunken baths can still be seen. Napoleon’s wife, Josephine Bonaparte’s bathtub is said to retain its musk perfume, more than 150 years after it was built.

In India, bathing has always been accorded the status of a sacred activity, used for healing. Ancient Ayurvedic texts speak of therapeutic baths with rose petals, honey, milk and turmeric, preceded by a luxurious warm oil, full-body massage and followed by the application of rich herbal paste and floral waters on the skin. These Ayurvedic baths were designed to restore balance in body, mind and spirit.

Ayurveda sees bathing as a therapeutic activity. A daily bath, especially in the morning is an important part of an Ayurvedic daily routine. A bath relaxes tense muscles, opens clogged pores, moisturizes the tissues and clears bad moods. It adds a tremendous healing dimension to your day, and life. Ayurvedic medical texts report many benefits from the healing bath, some of these are; it helps relax the mind and balances the emotions, it helps remove sweat, dirt and environmental toxins from the skin, it enhances physical energy levels and improves metal clarity.

Enjoy these benefits daily, by simply adding an Ayurvedic bath to your daily routine.

Herbal bath recipe:

3 tablespoons of green gram powder
1/2 tablespoon of turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon of ginger powder
2 tablespoon of rose petals
1 tablespoon of raw organic honey
1/2 cup of almond milk or 1 tablespoon of almond oil
5-7 drops of rose, lavender or geranium pure essential oils

Tips for enhancing the bathing healing experience:

Do not bathe in a hurry, take your time.
Practice deep breathing in your bath.
Try to relax, so that both mind and body benefit.
Use natural gentle aromatherapy in the room, not artificial and harsh fragrances, as it adds to the toxic overload in the body.
Make sure your bath water is pure and clean.
After you towel off, spritz your body with rose water and apply dosha specific warm oils.

 

 

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.

 

Sex and Your Dosha

Sex is a very individual experience, and each person has unique thoughts, emotions, desires and opinions regarding sex. These things can be influenced by our up bringing, culture or experiences, but most of it depends on the dosha. Understanding your dosha and how it is in regards to sex will help one understand themselves in life and relationships. It is also wise to know and understand your partners dosha, as it will help you meet their needs, know how to stimulate and seduce them and also give you the patience and understanding when things do not go exactly as you hoped. 

The Vata person is creative, responsive, sensual and wary. They naturally have a low interest in sex. Physically this serves them well, as sex can be very unbalancing for them. Don’t miss-understand this, sex is very important for a Vata person, but only as an expression of love. It is a part of their natural need to express themselves. A Vata person may take time to commit in a relationship first, but once they do they are very faithful lovers. Because of this, at first they may be considered cold sexually, but when they meet the right person who can hold them safely, they will be a surprisingly satisfying lover.

A Vata person really appreciates romance, beauty and art, and their partners would be wise to indulge them here, as it will help allay their anxiety and warm their desire for sex. They may not know it, but traditional values and routines are actually very valuable to them. It can be helpful to plan to have sex ahead of time and enjoy all the courtship and foreplay that precedes. 

Vata is the most likely to have problems conceiving due to stress, dryness, low body weight and disturbed Apana Vata. Traveling, too much work and general instability will not help a Vata persons sex drive. So as a Vata partner, one can really help by appealing to their romantic side, cooking them regular meals (the best thing anyone can do for Vata) and encourage them to slow down, rest and nourish themselves. Worry is their greatest enemy, and their sex drive can be switched off all too easily. 

Pitta is fiery, attention seeking, ambitious, and passionate. Pitta people love to think of themselves as fantastic lovers, but their lack of reliability and patience may be frustrating for their partners. Their competitive nature may impede on their sex life by preventing them form ever feeling satisfied. They tend to prefer spontaneity and power. But in the matters of sex, Pitta should take care to channel their enormous energy through the heart, rather than their sex organs or brilliant intellect. This will lead to virility, mobility and compassion in sexual relationships. 

Pitta may want to indulge is sex more often than a Vata person, this is fine for them as they have the natural body reserves to rebuild themselves after the act of sex, but they should go more gently in the summer. Pitta types my suffer from impotency, due to excess heat burning up reproductive tissues or from the upward movement in the body, instead of movement downwards (like a fire). It is important for them to balance the act of sex with cooling, calming and compassionate actions afterwards. 

A person of Kapha dosha is enduring, nurturing, hard working, balanced and determined. Kapha is naturally very sensual and considered a very good prospect in marriage and in sex. Their partners need only to watch out for the feeling of being trapped by a Kapha person, as they become very attached and greedy. For Kapha, it may take time to stimulate them or spark their interest in the activity of sex, as their nature is to reserve their resources, but once they are interested they enjoy greatly. Kapha can really benefit from exercise and can be easily persuaded to partake in sex as exercise. It is a balancing act for them and also satisfies their natural nature to be nurtured and loved. 

A Kapha person is unlikely to suffer from reproductive tissues imbalances and will usually bear many children very easily. They have the body structure and endurance to give birth and recover afterwards. On the other hand with the large amount of earth element in their bodies, they may experience enlarged prostate, endometriosis or ovarian cysts. If Kapha has any trouble conceiving they need only to loose a little weight and lighten the body. 

For the best possible sex life with you partner, take in consideration their dosha (natural state). Understand that their body’s natural needs and desires for sex, physically, mentally and emotional may be different from yours. Have patience and compassion to adapt to their desires and provide them with care as you understand each dosha’s biorhythms, and then find the balance that works for you both. 

 

 

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.

3 Ayurvedic Practices for Longevity

Longevity is something most humans wish for. Its a constant battle. From the time of birth to until the time of death, the body is in a struggle with the aging process. Each day the body breaks down tissues and organs at a cellular level causing deterioration and degeneration. It is also at the cellular level that longevity can be support and rejuvenation must take place.

Each dosha plays a very important role in our health and longevity. The functions of all our billions of cells that constitutes our body are governed by the doshas. For example Vata is closely related to pranic life energy and governs all the bodies functions and movement. Pitta governs digestion, nutrition and transformation to a cellular level and Kapha maintains longevity and the structure in the cells. 

On a deeper level, to combat aging it is necessary to also balance the three subtle essences within the body. In Ayurveda, Prana is the first subtle essence is the life. It is the energy that governs respiration, oxygenation and circulation. Prana is closely related to the Vata dosha. It also governs all the motor and sensory function, natural intelligence of the body, functions of mind, memory, thoughts and emotions. The physiological functions of the heart is governed by prana, and from the heart the blood enters the body and oxygenates all the dhatus and vital organs. Prana governs the biological functions of the two other subtle essences, ojas and tejas. 

Ojas is the essence of the seven dhatus or bodily tissues. It is the related to Kapha and is the vital energy that controls the life-functions with the help of prana. It contains all five basic elements and all the vital substances of the bodily tissue. On a psychological level, ojas is respnosible for compassion, love, peace and creativity. Because ojas is related to Kapha, aggravation of Kapha displaces ojas and vice-versa. This pertains to all the doshas and its related subtle essence. Decrease ojas will create Vata-related reactions such as fear, general weakness, inability of the senses to perceive, loss of consciousness and death. Balanced ojas is necessary for biological strength and immunity. 

Tejas is the subtle essence of the fire that governs the metabolism through the enzyme system. It is related to Pitta dosha and angi, the central fire in the body that promotes, digestion, absorption and assimilation of food. Tejas is the further transformation of the ingredients of nutrition and is necessary for the nourishing and transformation of each dhatu. When tejas is aggravated, it burns away ojas and reduces immunity and overstimulates pranic activity

Just as it essential for health to ensure balance among the doshas it is just as important for longevity that prana, ojas, and tejas remain in balance. To create such balance, the Panchakarma rejuvenation process of Ayurveda is most effective. Rejuvenation must take place on a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual level to be most effective. A yearly Panchakarma can create astonishing effects and is suggested to those who want to maintain health and longevity.

Ayurveda also provides simple techniques that can be used daily to support prana, ojas and tejas that can be incorporated into your lifestyle. When creating longevity it is importantto first avoid smoking, overexertion, cold drinks, most dairy products and hydrophilic substances, excess sexual activity, fried foods, red meats, excess alcohol staying up late or sleeping in. Its best to eat a nutrient rich plant based diet, primarily cooked foods with the balance of sweet, sour, pungent, salty, astringent and bitty tastes in each meal. 3-4 small meals a day with lunch being your biggest meal and daily light exercise is important. 

Supporting Ojas can be simply done with Ghee. Ghee is a product made form unsalted cultured butter and is an excellent appetizer en-kindling agni and enhances the flavors of foods. It helps digestion because it stimulates the secretions of digestive juices. It enhances intelligent, understanding and memory. It does not increase cholesterol as do many other oils and it has anit-Vata, anti pitta and anti- Kapha properties. Thus it aids in the balance of the Tridosha. It is a rejuvenate for all the tissues.

Incorporating ghee into your diet is easy, you can start with replace your cooking oils with pure ghee. If you would like a more direct effect take a teaspoon of ghee each morning followed by a cup of warm water on empty stomach.  Another way to support ojas, is to eat daily a date that has been soaked in ghee. Please make sure you are using organic grass-fed cultured ghee.  A lot of the ghee you find in Indian markets is not the medicinal ghee and will not be effective. 

Prana is best managed with pranyama and by eating an organic nutrient rich freshly cooked plant based meals. Pranyama is a yogic breathing exercise that brings healing and balance. As with yoga, there are different types of Pranyama. Ayurveda indicates which is suitable for a person based on their constitution. A pitta constitution should perform left nostril breathing. For this exercise, inhale through the left nostril and exhale through the right using thumb and middle finger to close and open alternate nostrils. A person of Kapha constitution should do right nostril breathing, inhaling through the right nostril and exhaling through the left. For a vata person, they should perform alternate nostril breathing, start by exhaling out of one nostril and then inhaling with the same nostril, then switch and exhale and inhale with the alternate nostril. Practice for 10-20 mins a day.

Tejas is the root of our digestive fire, it is believed in Ayurveda that the digestive system is the root of all imbalances. Improper diet, bad living habits and overuse of drugs will cause an imbalance in tejas. Substances that are hot, sharp and penetrating directly enhance tejas. Any tejas disorder can affect either prana or ojas. A great practice to enhance your tejas daily is to drink a warm glass of turmeric tea first thing in the morning. Ayurvedic turmeric paste with honey is an easy way to make tea.  

For paste use 1/3 cup  or 80 ml good, raw honey 2 1/2 teaspoons dried turmeric. Work the turmeric into the honey until it forms a paste. You can store this in a jar. For each cup of tea, place a heaping teaspoon of the turmeric paste in the bottom of a mug. Pour hot (but not boiling water) into the mug, and stir well to dissolve the turmeric paste. Add a big squeeze of juice from a lemon, and a good amount of black pepper. (pepper is invigorating and helps support the digestion of the turmeric).

 

 

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.

 

5 Easy Ayurvedic New Years Resolutions

We all have health goals that we would like to achieve, it is important to be realistic about what we can change that is practical and easy! Ayurveda is full of natural health tips that are actually very easy to integrate into your daily life that don't require massive sacrifice or effort that can totally change your life.  

1.  Start your day with the right breakfast. What you eat first thing in the morning sets the tone of your entire day.  Your digestion can either be boosted or totally extinguished depending on what you eat or don't eat in the morning. Ayurveda teaches that the root cause of all disease starts with improper digestion. A hot, whole grain porridge such as congee is the ideal breakfast to kindle your digestive fire, improve absorption, and balance your metabolism.  It's easy to cook in a crock pot overnight so that when you wake up, it's all ready to go! 

2.  Sip warm water with meals. You've heard how important it is to drink plenty of water.  But maybe you haven't heard that you should avoid iced water and drink warm water instead.  Ayurveda teaches that iced or refrigerated drinks actually inhibit digestion, and that warm water improves it.  It is especially important while you're eating a meal to drink warm water to aid in the digestive process.  Drinking too much water during a meal dilutes the enzymes necessary to fully break down food, so sipping is considered healthier than gulping big glasses during the meal.  Gulping can be done in between meals!  It only takes a little getting used to asking your waiter for water with no ice, or better yet, a mug of hot water with lemon, and you will feel how you are digesting your meals much more efficiently and without any gas or bloating.

3.  Soothe your sinuses daily. Ayurveda teaches that it is extremely important to keep all of your internal cavities well oiled to prevent illness and maintain optimal health for a long life. Many people can relate to having various sinus problems, whether it's seasonal allergies, chronic congestion, sinus infections, or headaches. Considering that the mucus membranes in the sinuses are the first line of defense as air enters our body, we want to make sure that they are doing their job for our immune system.  Dryness and inflammation are actually a huge contributor to congestion and allergies. Neti pots are getting a lot of press these days as a great way to keep our sinuses clean. Less well known is that it is important to insert a few drops of herbal oils into the nose each day to keep the sinus tissues healthy and supple.  If done on a daily basis, even twice a day, you will avoid many of the common colds, coughs, and headaches that keep you from fully enjoying good health during the year.

4.  Give yourself a warm oil massage.Continuing the "oil your body" theme, a great Ayurvedic practice for your mind and body is abhyanga, a self-massage using warm oil.  It's best to apply the warm oil all over your body right before a hot bath or shower so that the oil can easily penetrate into the deeper tissues and joints. Abhyanga serves to calm the nervous system, strengthen the joints and connective tissue, and stimulate the internal organs.  It's best to choose the type of oil that is appropriate for your Ayurvedic constitution, or you can simply use raw sesame oil, which is good for all types.  One of the best things about abhyanga is that by doing this healing practice several times a week, you are paying close attention to your physical body in a loving and attentive way.  We all could benefit from more self-love, and this self-massage is an excellent way to practice this and reap some serious health benefits as well.

5.  Daily Detox. If you never did anything else for your health besides taking Triphala, you'd still be better off than most people. Triphala is one of the most important Ayurvedic herbal formulas because it serves as a powerful detox for the digestive tract while at the same time rejuvenating the entire body. A clean internal environment is necessary for all other bodily systems to function well. Composed of three herbs, it is extremely high in Vitamin C and is balancing for all constitutional types. Triphala is unique in scraping old toxins out of the intestinal tract so that nutrients can be properly absorbed and waste can be regularly eliminated. It cleanses the liver and the blood and benefits the eyes as well. There is a saying in India that goes something like this - "No mother? Do not worry if you have triphala."  Triphala provides such a breadth of nourishment, while cleansing toxins from the body, that it has earned this profound comparison.  It's best to take Triphala one hour before bed so that its cleansing action can occur while there is no new food being eaten.

After sticking with this list of easy Ayurvedic New Year's Resolutions for even just a few weeks, you will notice such incredible improvements in your overall health that you won't have to worry about falling off the wagon.  A new sense of well-being comes from making these small but profoundly effective changes.  Making lasting improvements in our daily routine does require some discipline, but when the benefits become obvious so easily, it requires little effort to make them seem just like normal.

Congee Recipe
How do I prepare congee?
Congee is easily prepared overnight in a crock pot. If you do not have a crock pot, it can be simmered on the stove over very low heat. It is important to use clay, enamel, glass or stainless steel for cooking. Do not use aluminum or iron pots, as chemicals from these pots can leach into your food.

Suggested cooking ingredients for 1 serving:
1 part grain (1/4 cup)
5 parts water (1 ¼ cup)
Combine in crock pot and cook on low overnight (8 hours). You should adjust the proportions of grain to water until you get the consistency of congee that satisfies you the most. Increase serving size as desired. For added flavor, you can add your favorite appropriate spices (see suggestions below). Your health care practitioner may suggest specific flavorings or added nuts, fruits, vegetables or herbs that would be most beneficial to you.

Suggested congee grain combinations:
To reduce excess water weight, try brown rice/barley, cinnamon, and ginger. To strengthen the adrenals and warm digestion, combine millet/buckwheat/rye, allspice, and cinnamon.

Some options:
GRAINS: rice, millet, barley, rye, oat groats, spelt, quinoa, amaranth, wheat berries
SPICES: cinnamon, bay leaf, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, cloves
NUTS/FRUITS: jujube, lyceum berries, walnuts, dried cherries, almonds, pumpkin seeds
VEGGIES: sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin, spinach, squash
FLAVORINGS: molasses, honey, maple syrup, rice milk

Wisdom in Action

According to Ayurveda, it is not only important to be moderate in your actions, but also to be wise in your actions. In this we do not bring harm to ourselves or to others through anything we think or do. These are known as the lessons of yama or ethics and niyamas or self-restraint. This include:

  • Do not hurt anyone through thought or action. This is the principle of nonviolence.
  • Always be truthful to yourself and others-that is, tell the "sweet" truth: do not attack with truth.
  • Do not steal, this also includes acts of envy. To want what someone else has, even another's charm or grace, is a form of stealing.
  • Do not judge others since you are not in their shoes. We make choices based on our experiences, and not having had the totality of anyone else's experiences, we are not in a position to judge anyone's decisions but our own.
  • Be balance in all activity, including the actions of the five senses. In other words , do not overindulge any sensual appetite. Attune yourself to the body's natural intelligence, and you can easily recognize the signs of imbalance that signal excess.

The lessons of Niyama include the cultivation of purity of mind and body which is the cultivation of balance and health, of contentment and of surrender and devotion to the divine. In short the implicit of this message is to "love thyself". If we do not know how to do this for ourselves, we cannot know hoe to extend love to another. If we are always attacking ourselves with negative thoughts, we are not likely to hesitate to attack someone else. In this sense, all love truly begins and ends with the self. What we do to the Self, by virtue of the fundamental law of action. 

Ayurvedic Daily Routine

According to Ayurveda, routine plays a very important role in health. A natural life is regulated according to the individual constitution. It is best to have daily regimen governing all daily actions such as the time one wakes up in the morning and the time one begins body purification. 

In the morning before sunrise, one should wake up, excrete waste, clean teeth, mouth, eyes, nose and throat. After its good to drink a warm glass of water to help clean the kidneys and large intestine. During sleep and in the morning is the body’s natural time of purification. It is good to hold practice that will help this. 

One should then massage the body with oil and take a bath. This will produce a sense of freshness and alertness. After bath, put on comfortable clothes for exercise and meditation. Breathing exercises are also important in the daily regimen. After exercises, rest comfortably on the back with arms and legs outstretched and breath from the lower abdomen.

Breakfast may follow exercise and meditation. Lunch should be eaten before or around noon, if possible dinner before sunset. Its is best to go to bed by ten o’ clock. This regimen follows the flow of energy within the body and in the external environment. It is necessary at all times to remain aware of the flow in order to get the maximum benefit from your daily routine. 

Daily Routine

  • Awaken Before Sunrise.
  • Evacuate bowels and bladder after waking.
  • Bathe every day creates a sense of bodily freshness.
  • Drink a warm glass of water, can add slice of lemon.
  • Exercise, breathing techniques and meditation.
  • Take breakfast before 8:30.
  • Take a short 15 min walk after breakfast.
  • Eat in silence with awareness to food.
  • Eat slowly.
  • Massage the gums with the finger and sesame oil.
  • Sleep before 10:30pm.

Diet and Digestion

  • One teaspoon of grated fresh ginger with a pinch of salt is a good appetizer.
  • Drinking real buttermilk with a pinch of ginger or cumin help digestion.
  • A teaspoon of ghee with rice helps digestion.
  • A glass of raw, warm milk with ginger taken at bedtime is nourishing to the body and calms the mind.
  • Over eating is unhealthy.
  • Largest meal of the day should be at lunch.
  • Drinking a lot of water immediately before or taking food adversely affects digestions.
  • Prolonged fasting is unhealthy.
  • Excess intake of cold drinks and food reduces resistance and creates excess mucus.
  • Taking a nap after lunch will increase body weight and drowsiness.
  • Eating close to the same time everyday will optimize digestion.

Physical Hygiene

  • Do not repress the natural urges of the body, defecation, urination, coughing, sneezing, yawning, belching and passing gas.
  • During fever do not eat and observe a ginger tea fast.
  • Rubbing the soles of the feet with sesame oil before bedtime produces a calm quite sleep.
  • Application of oil to the head clams the mind and induces sound sleep.
  • Self oil massage promotes good circulation and reduces anxiety and pain.
  • Do not sleep on belly.
  • Bad breath may indicate constipation, poor digestion, and toxins in the colon.
  • Body odor indicates toxins in the system.
  • Laying on the back for 15mins clams the mind and relaxes the body.
  • Dry hair immediately after washing to prevent sinus problems.
  • After sex, milk heated with raw cashes and raw sugar promotes strength and maintains sexual energy.
  • Avoid physical exertion such as yoga or running during menstruation.
  • Avoid over exercise.

Mental Hygiene

  • Fear and nervousness dissipates energy and aggravates Vata.
  • Possessiveness, greed and attachment enhance Kapha.
  • Worry weakens the heart.
  • Hate and anger create toxins in the body and aggravates pitta.
  • Excessive talking dissipates energy and aggravates Vata.
  • Create positive thoughts and affirmations.
  • Practice of meditation and breathing techniques, they balance the mind and body, increases energy and vitality

 Ayurveda comprehensively illuminates the basic laws and principles governing life on earth. To understand Ayurveda is to understand the forces that engender our well-being as well as those that lie at the root of disease. The mind, body and consciousness are harmoniously working as one. When the balance of any of these systems is disturbed all are responsible for physical and psychological pain and misery. It is now time to look into the living book, which is your body, mind and consciousness. True knowledge resides in this temple. In applying your experience in that sanctuary the knowledge is set forth here, you will find the only authentic and trustworthy demonstration of the truth Ayurveda holds. The journey is long, but we will always return to the place whence we began.