Ayurvedic Tips

Two easy Ayurvedic Tips for Improving Oral Health

increase-oral-health

There a number of Ayurvedic  practices that focus on oral health. Some of us think oral health requires nothing more than brushing our teeth, flossing, and having regular dental cleanings and checkups. But oral health deserves  much more attention than that. Medical and dental professionals stress how important oral health is to overall wellness because of its far-reaching impact on the deeper organs and tissues of the body. Many people find that when they introduce Ayurvedic oral health care to their daily routine, their general health improves. We suggest that you adopt two simple Ayurvedic oral hygiene practices and see how they work for you.

Tongue Cleansing

First, Ayurveda recommends using a tongue cleaner at the start of each day, upon waking and while your stomach is still empty. According to Ayurveda, the tongue is connected to our health and mirrors the state of vital organs including the stomach, small intestine, colon, liver, spleen, kidneys, heart, and lungs. Scraping away the impurities that collect on the tongue is said to directly affect each of these organs. Most people use a toothbrush to do this, but because the tongue is soft and spongy, a hard, rigid instrument such as a metal tongue scraper cleanses this tissue more efficiently than pliant bristles. 

By clearing away the coating of debris, microbes, and ama(i.e., toxic residue from undigested food) that builds up in the folds and grooves of the tongue, a scraper optimizes oral hygiene, which in turn helps protect the integrity of our teeth and other oral tissues. The removal of this buildup also helps maintain our general health by preventing oral bacteria from seeping into our bloodstream. This practice further enhances our overall well-being by stoking digestive fire, sharpening our sense of taste, and stimulating 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 your mouth, and extend your tongue. Place the curved edge of the cleaner at the rear of the tongue, as far back as you can, and then, pressing gently on the tongue, pull the cleaner to the front.

Oil Pulling

Another easy Ayurvedic practice is oil pulling. Oil pulling consists of swishing oil in the mouth for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. This is best done with organic sesame or coconut oil. All oils are lipid-based, as are the exterior cell membranes of the microorganisms that inhabit the mouth. When these microbes come in contact with the oil, their cell membranes adhere to the oil, which helps detach them from the teeth and gums. This practice removes harmful mouth bacteria that raise the risk of not only plaque, cavities, gum inflammation, and bad breath, but also blood vessel and heart damage.

Oil by nature is heavy and warm. These qualities soothe and nourish the tissues. The practice of swishing oil throughout the oral cavity and in between the teeth distributes these beneficial qualities to all the tissues of the mouth, boosting their strength and resilience 

In addition, the swishing action activates a wide array of muscles in and around the mouth. Some of these muscles are seldom engaged and typically get very little exercise. By working them for an extended period, swishing tones and strengthens these muscles, while increasing circulation to the entire mouth, thereby supporting both the nourishment and detoxification of the oral tissues. Healthy blood flow is particularly important for encouraging firm, healthy gums. 

To enjoy these health benefits, practice this simple routine every day: In the morning, on an empty stomach, swish a mouthful (about 1 tablespoon) of coconut or sesame oil or a combination of both for up to 20 minutes. Swish the oil side to side, all around the gums, teeth, and cheeks and also pull the oil in and out between the teeth. Once finished spit out the oil, 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. 

 

Digestive Tea

In Ayurveda, teas serve as an important means of delivering the medicinal effects of herbs and spices to the body’s tissues. This easy-to-make tea recipe consists of only three ingredients but gets right to the core of digestive issues. It helps to stimulate circulation and relieve bloating and puffiness caused by water retention. Its flushing action simultaneously cleanses the urinary tract and reduces excess water weight. The combination of potent yet soothing spices it contains stokes digestive fire, restoring vitality; purifies the blood; and brings calm and clarity to the mind.

Digestive Tea Blend

  • ¼ tsp coriander seeds

  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds

  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds

Boil 1 ½ cups of water, add the seed mixture, and steep for at least 5 minutes or until the tea is cool enough to drink comfortably. Strain and serve. Drink throughout the day or with every meal. It’s best to avoid drinking this before bed; otherwise you’ll probably find yourself waking up to urinate.

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.

Bathing has occupied a special place in the cultural landscapes of many civilizations throughout history. In ancient Greece, water itself was regarded as a gift of health from the gods. The ruins of lavish public baths in the farthest reaches of the Roman world testify to the importance of bathing in the health regimes and social life of the empire’s citizens. More than 150 years after the bathtub of Napoleon’s wife, Josephine, was crafted, it’s reputed to retain the scent of the musk oil–infused bathwater that soothed her mind and pampered her skin.

In India, bathing has always been accorded the status of a sacred, healing ritual. Ancient Ayurvedic texts speak of therapeutic baths with rose petals, honey, milk, and turmeric, preceded by a luxurious full-body massage with warm oils and followed by skin treatments with rich herbal pastes and fragrant floral waters. These Ayurvedic baths were designed to restore balance to the body, mind, and spirit.

Ayurveda views bathing as a form of holistic therapy. A daily bath, especially in the morning is an important part of an Ayurvedic daily routine. It adds a profoundly healing dimension to your day and your life. Ayurvedic medical texts report many benefits from the healing bath. The simple act of taking a bath provides a full complement of mind-body rewards without any effort on your part:

  • Relaxes tense muscles 

  •  Opens clogged pores 

  • Moisturizes tissues 

  • Banishes bad moods 

  • Calms the mind and balances the emotions 

  • Removes sweat, dirt, and environmental toxins from the skin 

  •  Enhances physical energy levels and improves metal clarity

To transform an ordinary bath into a healing Ayurvedic self-care ritual follow these tips:

  • Prepare your bath with traditional Ayurvedic herbs.*

  • Do not bathe in a hurry, take your time.

  • Practice deep breathing while soaking in your bath.

  • Try to relax, so that both mind and body benefit.

  • Use gentle natural gentle aromatherapy products, not harsh synthetic fragrances, which add to the toxic burden on your body.

  • Make sure your bathwater is pure and clean.

  • After you towel off, spritz your body with rose water and apply warm dosha-specific oils.

*Herbal Bath Recipe

3 tablespoons of green gram powder
½ tablespoon of turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon of ginger powder
2 tablespoon of rose petals
1 tablespoon of raw organic honey
½ cup of almond milk or 1 tablespoon of almond oil
5–7 drops of rose, lavender, or geranium pure essential oil

As you’re drawing a warm bath, add ingredients to the water in the order listed. Swish your hand in the water to blend after each addition. Enjoy!  

 

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.

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