August 30, 2017
A friend of mine recently visited me here in NYC from Washington D.C. He slept on my couch. The next morning, I got up and tiptoed around him, and did my usual thing. Just as I was finishing up putting on my shoes, he said “wait, stop! Are your mornings always this way? So calm? So peaceful? My mornings are hectic! I barely have time for anything and then have to race out the door. How do you do that?” he asked.
The secret to my peaceful mornings is something in Ayurveda called Dinacharya. Dinacharya means “daily routine”. It is basically a schedule that I follow. At work, people use calendars and schedules to make sure that their day goes smoothly. Why not do this at home too? You might say “I don’t want such a structured life”. But by adding a few structured Ayurveda practices to your morning routine, you will see the difference between a good day and a GREAT day. Here is my morning Dinacharya. As I deepen my studies into Ayurveda (on my journey to becoming a practitioner), I’m sure it will change. But these practices are a good way for anyone to start. If you adopt these practices you will definitely notice a difference, especially as the weather gets cooler and cooler.
I try to get up before the sun rises, or just as the sun is rising. This isn’t an easy one (I still struggle with it) especially as the season changes. As it gets colder, my bed just seems to be such a nice warm nest. Almost all animals (in nature) rise with the sun and go to bed as the sun sets. Only humans “artificially” extend their day into the late hours of the night by using “artificial sunlight”-- otherwise known as the Electricity. As a result, our Circadian Rhythms are off, leading our hormonal levels of serotonin, melatonin, and cortisol to be extremely off. Serotonin makes us happy, melatonin helps us sleep (which tells our bodies to release hormones we need for growth and repair), and cortisol is the flight or fight hormone that sometimes causes excess body weight around our mid sections. Cortisol is normally high when you wake up, it helps you get out of bed, and as your day goes on it starts to come down so that by bed time, you are ready to sleep. But with artificial light throwing our cycle off, cortisol is being released at the wrong times, making you tired in the morning, restless at night, and fat! (Wiley & Formby, 2000). Getting up early insures that I go to bed earlier. This insures that I am getting ADEQUATE AMOUNTS OF SLEEP!! After I get up, I use the bathroom quickly and quickly wash my face. Then head over to the kitchen.
In the kitchen I put 16 ounces of water on the stove to boil. After a long night of rest (which is really a fast—that’s why our first meal is called BREAK-FAST), your body is actually dehydrated. The best way to hydrate is with warm water. I drink 16 ounces of warm water first thing in the morning. Why warm water? Your body has to use extra energy to warm up cold water as it enters your system. Warm water first thing in the morning dissolves and flushes your digestive track of “ama” or toxins. The extra warmth aids in opening circulation, and dissolving toxins that might have accumulated in your deeper tissues (Ayurveda-Ayurveda.net, n.d.). If your Dosha (your Ayurvedic elements) is in balance, you can add the juice of ½ a lemon to the water to give you a boost of vitamins. If you don’t know what your Dosha is, or whether you are in balance or not, you’ll have to contact me for an assessment (email@example.com). Right now I am experiencing a severe Pitta (fire) imbalance, and lemon is aggravating it, so no lemon for me. Hot water works just fine. (Try this instead of coffee which DEHYDRATES you first thing in the morning). 10 minutes after I finish my hot water—I’m headed to the bathroom to use the Squatty Potty!
While heating the water and drinking the water, I sometimes check email, Facebook, the weather– nothing deep or too engaging, I want to keep my morning “chilled and relaxed”. If you have pets, this would be a good time to feed them.
After using the Squatty Potty, I get ready to do 10 minutes of meditation. ” Studies show that meditation is associated with improvement in a variety of psychological areas, including stress, anxiety, addiction, depression, eating disorders and cognitive function, among others. There’s also research to suggest that meditation can reduce blood pressure, pain response, stress hormone levels and even cellular health (Melnick, 2013). What exactly do I do? I get a cushion and I sit on the floor in my living room. I choose to sit upright because lying down and meditating always makes me fall asleep. Meditation is not sleeping. It is a way of relaxing and focusing the mind. You are still conscious throughout meditation. I sit on the floor in lotus position close my eyes, and focus on Pranayama (my breath). Sometimes I do a specific breathing related to my dosha. Often times, I put my headphones on and listen to a mantra (today I meditated to the Gayatri Mantra). Just let your mind wander, acknowledge thoughts, and then let them go.
When I am done meditating, I am ready for my shower. Each day before my morning shower I practice Abhyanga (self-oil massage). I use oils specific to what my dosha needs– (currently I have a Pitta imbalance so I’m using coconut oil which is cooling). I have my oils in small pump bottles and when I heat up my morning water, I put some hot water in another cup and drop the pump bottle into the hot water to warm it up. I sit on a stool in my bathroom and oil my body. It’s not a lot of oil, just a thin coating. The warm oil feels so good! My body is really thanking me for this especially as we are heading into the DRY colder months. After Abhyanga, I take a shower as I normally do. When I get out of the shower, I feel so refreshed. My skin feels like butter!
After the shower, I brush my teeth as I normally do and this includes brushing my tongue with my toothbrush. After rinsing, I use a stainless steel tongue scraper. I use to think my toothbrush was doing a good job on my tongue, but after I got a stainless steel tongue scraper I saw that my toothbrush was really only pushing around ama on my tongue. My first scraping is usually brown or yellow! The scraper is shaped like a “U”. You put the round part of the “U” on the back of your tongue, then use gentle downward pressure, pull the scraper forward. I look at it, rinse it, and then do it another 3-4 times until my saliva on the scraper is clear. Then I rinse my mouth out again. Why is tongue scraping so good for you? 1. You’ll have better breath- cleaning the tongue has been proven to significantly reduce bad breath. 2. You will remove toxins on the tongue leaving you a clean palate for your next meal. 3. You’ll taste things better (because your mouth is fresh- there are no leftovers from the meal (or digestion process) before. 4. it’s doing for your tongue what you do for your teeth- cleaning it. And 5. In Ayurveda, your tongue is a diagnostic tool letting you know what is wrong with your body (Alexandra, 2012). I bought my Tongue Scraper from Whole Foods Whole Body for about 5 dollars- If can't get a scraper, use a spoon.
Then I get dressed and ready for work.
Exercise before Breakfast
A nice walk before breakfast will prime your digestive system for breakfast (this is also a good time to do yoga if you have the time). When I house sit dogs for friends, I take them for a walk at this time. When I do not have the dogs, I head to work. I get my short walk in from the subway to my office. I generally eat my breakfast at the office.
That is pretty much my Dinacharya. My mornings are quiet and relaxing. They used to be hectic, waking up with time only for a 7 minute shower rushing to catch the train, heart racing, out of breath—worried that I was going to be late…… but now they are calm and relaxed. I give my body hot water for nourishment; oil for my skin, meditation for my mind, and scrape my tongue for good digestion. How long does it take me? It takes an hour. It was hard at first, but now I love my extra hour in the morning that is spent completely on pampering ME!
*Next time we will discuss what kinds of things you should add to your routine specifically for the Fall.
What kind of things are in your Dinacharya? Let me know if you need help
Alexandra. (2012). Five Reasons you may want to try a Tongue Scraper. Retrieved from http://nomoredirtylooks.com/2012/10/five-reasons-you-may-want-to-try-a-tongue-scraper/
Ayurveda-Ayurveda.net (n.d.). Hot Water Recommendation. Retrieved from http://ayurveda-ayurvedic.net/recs/HOT_WATER.pdf
Melnick, M. (2013). Meditation Health Benefits: What the Practice Does to Your Body. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/30/meditation-health-benefits_n_3178731.html
Wiley, T.S. & Formby, B. (2000). Lights Out Sleep Sugar and Survival. New York, NY: Pocket Books.
February 18-19, 2017. India Day 10-12. Kimarakom - Alappuzha. Morning Yoga, a tour of Vaikom Temple, and the Kerala houseboat to see what life is like along the backwaters. (Click photo to Scroll through pictures).
February 17, 2017. India Day 9: Kovalam- Estuary Island Resort and Sunset Dinner Cruise. (Click photo to scroll through pictures).
February 16, 2017. India Day 8: Estuary Island Resort and the City of Trivandrum (click photo to scroll through pictures)
February 15, 2017. India Day 7 Periyar to Poovar (click photo to scroll through pictures)
February 14, 2017 Day 6 in India: Periyar (Click photo to scroll through pictures)
February 13, 2017- India Day 5: Tekkady (Click photo to scroll through pictures)
February 12, 2017 -India Day 4: Echo Point (Click photo to scroll through pictures)
February 11, 2017: India Day 3 (Click photo below for slide show)
K.D.H.P. Tea plantation, Kathakali, and Kalarippayattu Martial Arts.
February 10, 2017
India Day 2: Munnar (click photo for slide show)
February 9, 2017 – NYC to India
For the next couple of weeks, I will be blogging from Kerala, India where I am studying Ayurvedic Cooking. Some friends asked me to document my time here, so while not everything will be totally Ayurvedic, it will definitely be interesting.
Day 1: Munnar- Tea Country (Click photo for slide show)
January 26, 2017 Guest Contributor Virgil Anderson
The Benefits of Reiki for Mesothelioma Patients
Reiki is a form of therapy that is often used to help lower the levels of stress in the body. The therapy is focused on helping the patient to reach his or her special energy balance in mind, body and spirit. In addition, the body's natural healing abilities can be enhanced by this therapy. For this reason, many alternative health care providers recommend this therapy for those suffering from chronic illnesses, such as cancer or mesothelioma.
The therapy, based on principles dating all the way back to the origins of Eastern medicine, helps to lower heart rate, levels of stress and blood pressure in the body. Scientists are still unclear on exactly how the therapy helps to heal patients, but the multi-level, rapid healing response of the human body to therapy suggests that it works on a sub physical level, healing spiritual, physical, emotional and mental elements at the same time. Due to these abilities, it is likely that the therapy works in the biofield.
The biofield, a term recently coined by scientists, refers to the vibrating, multi-layered field of energy surrounding every person. The existence of the biofield is still a theory, as its very subtlety makes it impossible to study it in depth, but belief in "the Force" has existed for centuries. For example, there are many cultures around the world that make use of vibration as part of their traditional ceremonies, such as drumming, use of the tamboura, chanting, overtoning or humming. A disruption in the energy field surrounding a person is often viewed as the onset of sickness.
It is traditionally believed that the hands of the therapist hold the energy vibration that the patient's body requires for wellness. The therapy is often viewed as tapping into the well of energy deep within the patient and bringing it to the surface wherever it is needed most. Many people, when describing the therapy to others, compare entrainment to grandfather clocks that will synchronize with the rhythm of the most dominant clock in the room automatically. This form of therapy differs from other therapies such as Yoga or Thai Chi in that it involves more meditation than movement.
Persons who have chronic diseases such as mesothelioma or other forms of cancer have found that this therapy helps to relieve the pain and other symptoms caused by their illness. In addition, it helps to put them into a more relaxed state, which indirectly helps to promote healing and regeneration of tissues.
Many people, including doctors, question the validity and effectiveness of Reiki therapy. After all, no one has actually been able to prove the existence of the biofield, right? Well, actually conventional medicine does have a similar, proven concept known as homeostasis. This is a state where all the elements of the body are balanced and in harmony with each other. And while this therapy may not be able to be validated scientifically, the health benefits and healing that many individuals have experienced is undeniable.
January 9, 2016
Winter Ritucharya (Winter Daily Routines)
The news is reporting that as of this morning, there is snow on the ground in 49 of the 50 states! Only Florida is snow free (yes, even Hawaii has snow on top of Mauna Kea). It reminds me that it is time to discuss our Winter Ritucharya (winter daily routines).
In the winter the Heaviness of Kapha (earth-water) increases; as well as the cool dryness of Vata (air-space). In winter, people are more prone to digestive problems, sinus problems (I have been having a sinus headache for a couple days now), colds, flu, aches and pains (especially in the joints), anxiety, sleep difficulty, and low enthusiasm.
It is recommended to eat warm easy to digest foods. Make sure foods are cooked well so that they are soft and digested easily. Minimize the consumption of uncooked and raw foods this season; and if you must eat raw foods, have them chopped very well, or blended in smoothies. It is a good idea in the winter to combine leafy vegetables with stem vegetables (such as asparagus and squash) to help balance Kapha and Vata. Cook flowery vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower) with root vegetables (such as carrots and beets).
As a Reiki practitioner, I am now very aware of the energy that surrounds everything around us. Try to cook your meals with your own loving hands, with the intention of infusing your foods with love and energy. Share this meal with someone to energize them with your love and energy– peace, patience, and light. It will energize those things within you as well.
Avoid cold drinks. Hot water or HERBAL teas should be sipped throughout the day.
To help with sleep, try 8 ounces of tart cherry juice (2 ounces concentrated diluted) about an hour before bedtime or golden milk. Do Abhyanga (self-oil massage before your evening bath) using sesame oil infused with rosemary essential oil (100 ml sesame oil with 20 drops rosemary essential oil). Sesame and rosemary are heating. Shower or bathe as usual AFTER your massage. Your skin will take what it needs, and the water will wash the excess away.
Alternate nostril breathing can also be helpful.
If you would like more details on Abhyanga, alternate nostril breathing, an Ayurveda Nutritional Consultation, Reiki, Chakra balancing, or stress reduction, email me here at firstname.lastname@example.org (for an appointment).
References: Marballi, N. (2015). Winter Season Ayurvdic Suggestions from Dr. Naina. Retrieved from http://www.ayurvedasworld.com/winter-season-ayurvedic-suggestions-from-dr-naina/
Fuel for your Yoga Workout
Many of you (on your exploration of Yoga), have come across Ayurveda (or vice versa)— and the two are very inter-connected. Yoga is the Vedic System for spiritual practice or Sadhana. All Vedic Sadhana or spiritual practice involves some sort of Yoga (BanyanBotanicals, 2016).
Ayurveda is the Vedic Healing System that encompasses mind, body, and spirit—and spiritual practice always involves some sort of Yoga. You see how they are connected?
If you are using Yoga for healing, then it should definitely follow Ayurvedic guidelines of diagnosis, treatment, and health maintenance. Yoga in essence, is the exercise portion of Ayurveda, either for healing or spiritual practice (BanyanBotanicals, 2016).
During the holiday season, we often put our diet and fitness goals on hold so that we can enjoy the season without guilt. But it is precisely during this time that we should be more conscious of our diet and fitness regimens to prevent overindulging and weight gain.
If you opt to skip the gym for now, perhaps a simple Yoga session might do you some good. It does not have to be strenuous, and can be even more meditative and spiritual. Yoga has been shown to have positive effects on your health and well-being including stress reduction, increased self confidence, increased strength and flexibility, increased discipline, and personal satisfaction and fulfillment (Seelig-Brown, 2016).
If you choose to attend a Yoga session or class, it is important to fuel your body properly before the session. Following are a few healthy options you can use to “Fuel your Yoga practice.”
Remember to fuel up at least 1 hour before your Yoga session (to avoid bloating and feeling heavy during the session), and to follow up with a post class snack or meal that is protein rich, which will help to alleviate soreness and help repair muscles (Seelig-Brown, 2016).
•Melons- Great for hydration, and when cut up, easy to take on the go
•Bananas- High in potassium and can help prevent cramping
•Oatmeal & Yogurt- Are perfect together, and Greek yogurt has added protein
•Veggie Sticks & Hummus- Healthy and Flavorful
•Apples or Rice Cakes- With nut butter or a handful of nuts is an excellent snack
•Avocados- Contain antioxidants and healthy fats. Paired with whole wheat bread of other veggies can provide hours of energy
Banyan Botanicals. (2016). Yoga and Ayurveda, A Complete System of Well-Being. Retrieved from https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/ayurvedic-living/living-ayurveda/yoga/yoga-and-ayurveda/
Seelig-Brown, B. (2016). Fuel for Your Yoga Practice. Diabetes Forecast, 16(7), pp.42-43.
Part 4: Kapha (November 23, 2016)
I know it’s been a while but today we complete the series with the final installment of this series by discussing the Kapha Dosha (earth and water).
Kapha presides over structure, cohesion of cells that form muscle, fat, bone, sinew, as well as governs lubrication in the body (mucus).
Qualities of Kapha are cold, wet, heavy, gross, dense, static, dull, soft, smooth, and cloudy.
Physical characteristics of Kapha include strong builds and excellent stamina. They have large, soft eyes, smooth and radiant skin, and thick hair. They sleep soundly and have regular digestion.
Emotional characteristics of Kapha is being naturally calm, thoughtful, and loving. Kaphas enjoy life and are very comfortable with routine. They are strong, loyal, patient, steady, and supportive.
When Kapha goes out of balance, they are prone to weight gain, fluid retention, excessive sleep, asthma, diabetes, and depression (lifestyle acquired diseases).
When something goes wrong, Kapha’s attitude is generally “I don’t want to deal with it.”
To conclude the series on Dosha, you can be any one of the following
Tri-doshic (all three)
Most people are a combination of two. I myself am a Kapha-Pitta (which is different from Pitta-Kapha). My earth is stronger than my fire, though my earth and fire are stronger than my air. My elemental make-up is Earth, Fire, Water, Air, and Space in that order. If any of my elements go out of balance I am prone to experience illness. For instance, my Kapha has been higher than usual so I am gaining weight.
If you would like to know what your Dosha and elemental make-up is, feel free to reach out to me for an Ayurvedic assessment.
Part 3: Pitta (November 1, 2016)
Today we continue our exploration of the Doshas with Pitta: Fire and Water.
Pitta presides over digestion (food by the body and information in the mind), metabolism, enzymes, and energy production.
Its qualities are hot, slightly oily, light, flowing, mobile, sharp, soft, smooth and clear.
Physically, Pittas are medium in size and weight. They are prone to baldness and thinning or graying of the hair. They have excellent digestion and can eat anything. Pittas usually have a warmer body temperature, sleep soundly for short periods of time, and have strong sex drives. They have lustrous complexions, perfect digestion, and strong appetites for food and information.
Emotionally they are powerful intellects with strong abilities to concentrate. They are good decision makers, good teachers, and good speakers. Pittas are precise, sharp-witted, direct, and outspoken.
Pittas are prone to suffer from skin rashes, burning sensations, ulcers, excessive body heat, heartburn, indigestion, can become short-tempered and argumentative.
When something goes wrong, Pitta individuals often ask “what did YOU do wrong?” (very opposite of Vatas who ask “what did I do wrong?”)
Part 2: Vata (October 25, 2016) This week we continue with the next part in our series about the Doshas, starting with Vata.
Vata is made up of the elements Air and Space. It presides over all movements in the mind and body— blood flow, elimination, breathing, and the flow of thoughts across your mind.
Vata qualities are cold, dry, light, subtle, mobile, sharp, hard, rough, and clear.
Physical characteristics of the Vata individual include light thin body frames, and excellent agility. Energy comes in bursts along with bouts of sudden fatigue. Vatas types typically have dry skin and dry hair, along with cold hands and feet. They sleep lightly, and their designations are sensitive.
Emotionally Vatas love excitement and new experiences. They are quick to anger and quick to forgive. They are energetic, creative, and flexible. They are lively conversationalist.
Vatas are prone to weight loss, constipation, hypertension, arthritis, weakness, restlessness, digestive issues, worrying, anxiousness, and insomnia.
An easy way to look at Vata is that it is irregular or unstable like the movement of air or the wind. The wind does not constantly blow, but when it does, it can blow soft one minute, and strong the next.
Excess air tends to dry things out. Autumn is Vata season. The air gets colder, and dryer. Your skin and hair also tends to get dryer in the autumn.
Vata’s are prone to anxiety, and digestive issues. When your mind is racing at night keeping you from falling asleep (anxiousness) that is Vata. When you have digestive issues, and anxiety about running to the bathroom—that is a Vata issue.
People who live in big cities are more prone to having Vata imbalances because of the constant movement big cities provide. Imagine standing at the top of a tall building in a big city looking down at the moving traffic sped up 4 times the normal speed (a fast motion movie). It looks like blood moving through the veins, and the stop and go of the traffic signals mimics breathing. These are all metaphors for the things that Vata presides over.
When something does not go as planned, Vatas tend to ask “what did I do wrong”
If you answer yes to the following questions, it may mean your primary Dosha is Vata, or your Vata is out of balance (remember we have all the elements in us):
1. Is your skin dry, rough, thin?
2. Are you underweight?
3. Is your mind constantly in a whirl?
4. Do you worry incessantly?
5. Are you constantly restless or agitated?
6. Do you experience constipation regularly?
7. Do you suffer from insomnia?
8. Do you have spells of forgetfulness?
9. Do you experience discomfort in the joints?
10. Are you easily fatigued?
Dosha, Prakriti and Vikriti (Part 1, October 18, 2016)
Today I am going to begin the 1st part of a 4 part series, which serves as the basis of Ayurveda: Dosha, Prakriti and Vikriti.
It is believed that we have all 5 elements in each of us: air, fire, water, earth, and space (space meaning the “space” in which reactions take place, for without space, reactions could not happen. Space is an important concept in Ayurveda. Think about cancer. It could be said that cancer might be the overgrowth of cells trying to fill excesses space in the body). These 5 elements combine in pairs to form dynamic forces or interactions called Doshas. The word Dosha means “that which changes” and every living thing is characterized by a Dosha. The pairs of elements or Doshas are: Vata (air and space); Pitta (fire and water); and Kapha (earth and water) (HolisticOnline, 2007).
Because we each have all 5 elements inside each of us, we are combinations of Doshas with 1 being more prominent than the others. For instance, a person who is Kapha is basically someone with the element of earth being more prominent in his or her body. Only a practitioner can help you determine your Dosha as most tests done online or from books only tell you your most prominent Dosha (HolisticOnline, 2007).
For a very long time, I thought I was Pitta (fire). But after I began studying Ayurveda with Dr. Naina Marballi, she informed me I was actually Kapha-Pitta (having more earth than fire). I disagreed and thought I must be Pitta-Kapha (having more fire than earth based on the way I interacted with my environment). Now that I am a practitioner and understand the Doshas more clearly, I realized that back then, I was (and still am) Kapha-Pitta, but was having a Pitta imbalance!
According to Ayurveda, your constitution (combination of elements or Dosha), is determined at the time of your conception, and is unchangeable and fixed throughout your lifetime. This combination is known as Prakriti. However, interactions with your environment cause subtle changes in your body’s elemental make-up. This change does not change your constitution, but rather causes subtle differences from your original Prakriti. The difference is known as Vikriti (your current state) (HolisticOnline, 2007).
Compare your Prakriti to the ingredients in chocolate cake. The fixed amount of ingredients forms a delicious dessert—just as the fixed amount of elements (which is specific to you) creates you! If you change the ingredients in the cake—say add twice as many eggs, the resulting dessert is still cake, but now has an imbalance of eggs which makes the cake taste different. Through interactions with your environment, the level of elements in your body subtly changes. Continuing to interact this way with your environment eventually tips the scale and you become imbalanced. When your elements are not balanced as compared to your Prakriti (original make-up), you may experience illness = Prakriti vs. Vikriti.
Using me as an example, I am Kapha-Pitta. My interactions with my environment such as food that I ate caused me to have more Pitta (fire) than I usually have. This imbalance of fire manifested in acne, acidity, and my emotional state was easily triggered.
As an Ayurvedic practitioner, when you come to see me, I determine your Prakriti (your original constitution), and compare it to your Vakriti (current state) and see which element is not in balance. I then heal you by trying to restore your original balance using “healing through the 5 senses” techniques.
Next week we will begin looking at the different Dosha’s to begin exploring which Dosha you may be. Knowing your Dosha can help you to reduce stress, avoid illness, maintain a healthy weight, and bring overall balance to your life.
HolisticOnline. (2007). Basis for Ayurvedic Philosophy. Retrieved from http://www.holisticonline.com/ayurveda/ayv-basis-prakruti-and-vikruti.htm
Tridosha.com. (n.d.). Self-Test. Retrieved from http://tridosha.com/self-test
Demystifying the Ayurvedic Diet (October 9, 2016)
You are what you eat. We have all heard this saying, and though it isn’t literal (eating fat doesn’t make you fat, nor does eating French fries turn you into French fries); “The nutritional content of what we eat determines the composition of our cell membranes, bone marrow, blood, and hormones”. It is why we try to eat clean food vs. junk food—because our bodies are only as clean as the foods we feed them (Katz, 2010).
Think about the last time you ate a nice juicy piece of fruit. How did you feel afterwards? How about the last time you ate junk food?
Ayurveda, like other early systems of medicine, divides all matter into humors and affirms that disease is simply an imbalance of these humors. Imbalances can be corrected through diet. It was not the first system to recognize that food plays a very important part in our well-being. Much of Indian cooking is rooted in Ayurvedic principles, many that we can easily incorporate into our own approaches to eating (Vishal, 2016).
The Doshas and Gunas
What is Ayurveda? Ayurveda is an ancient unified body of philosophies(of medicine and food) from ancient times, that is a comprehensive system that is relevant even today. According to Ayurveda, all matter is made up of humors or Doshas that have specific properties or Gunas that need to be balanced for good health. The primary Doshas are Vata (air and space); Pitta (fire and water); and Kapha (earth and water)(Vishal, 2016). The Gunas are Tamas (the mode of ignorance); Rajas (the mode of passion); and Sattva (the mode of goodness) (Ayurveda.org, n.d.).
Tamasic items include meat, alcohol, tobacco, onions, garlic, fermented foods, such as vinegar, and stale left over food, contaminated or overripe substances. Overeating is also regarded as tamasic. Tamasic is the unhealthiest food of all (The Living Center, n.d.).
Rajasic foods include hot substances, such as sharp spices or strong herbs, stimulants, like coffee and tea, meat of animals and fish, eggs, salt and chocolate. Many of the ground foods are Rajasic. Eating in a hurry is also considered rajasic (The Living Center, n.d.).
Sattvic foods include sprouted whole grains, fresh fruit, land and sea vegetables, pure fruit juices, nut and seed milk and cheese, legumes, nuts, seeds, sprouted seeds, honey, and herb teas. Sattvic foods are those foods that do not agitate your stomach at all (The Living Center, n.d.).
The 6 tastes
The Gunas are associated with 6 tastes: sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent. No food is considered good or bad. Everything needs to be consumed in moderation and balance. Taste is emphasized not just the medicinal properties of food (Vishal, 2016).
Ayurveda is very personal. It takes into account individual body types, and the different levels of elements present in each person. Foods with the opposite properties can be eaten to achieve balance. A person with more Kapha (earth and water) who is lethargic and heavy may do better by eating foods that are more pungent and bitter (foods that increase the fire element which counters the earth and water elements) Ayurveda does not say no to any food. Foods that may cause imbalance can be “balanced” by pairing it with certain foods or spices. (Vishal, 2016).
Ayurveda emphasizes seasonality. Foods should be fresh made of seasonal ingredients because these foods contain what our bodies need to counter the disturbing elements of the season. Foods with a hot nature (pungent and sweet) should be consumed during the cold months to promote digestion; whereas foods that are deemed cooling are good for the summers (Vishal, 2016).
· Eat foods that are in season and freshly cooked
· Eat foods in a balanced quantity to suit your own personal constitution and temperament
· Eat foods mindfully and pay attention not only to nutritional value, but taste as well
AyurvedaDosha.org. (n.d.). The 3 grade “Gunas” in the Ayurvedic Diet. Retrieved from http://ayurvedadosha.org/ayurveda-diet/three-gunas#axzz4MbQuwm1z
Katz, D. (2010). Mom was right, You are what you eat. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/35350889/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/t/mom-was-right-you-are-what-you-eat/#.V_pcNpMrJWM
Thelivingcenter.com. (n.d.). Peace Through a Sattvic Diet. Retrieved from http://www.thelivingcentre.com/cms/body/peace-through-a-sattvic-diet
Vishal, A. (2016). The Ayurvedic Diet to Improve Your Health and Well Being. Retrieved from http://food.ndtv.com/health/the-ayurvedic-diet-to-improve-your-health-and-well-being-1434740
Fall Ritucharya (October 5, 2016)
As the sun weakens and the summer comes to a close, so does our digestion and metabolism. The fall brings dry cool air which also aggravates the Vata element (air element) in our bodies. Signs and symptoms of unbalanced Vata include dry skin, sleeplessness, inconsistent digestive function, constipation as well as anxiousness. If you generally feel this way in the fall, it's important to take steps to bring your Vata back into balance. Here are some things you can do to make sure to keep Vata in check during the autumn months:
• Autumnal diet plans should contain comfortable meals which are fairly sweet, slightly hot, bitter, as well as salty-- because they are flavors which improve dampness motivates sensations of nourishment and being grounded.
• Breakfast every day- have a normal sized bowl of porridge associated with oats, grains, or even quinoa --that may be flavored with walnuts, syrup, and cinnamon.
• With regard to lunch and/or dinner -add nourishment to meals with more steamed veggies, soups or even kichadi .
• Avoid excessive amounts of uncooked greens, chilly beverages, Iced coffee, fermented meals as well as food products containing yeast which can all destabilize digestive function.
• Therapeutically massage yourself (abhayanga) with sesame or even mahanarayan essential oils. This could counteract the actual periodic inclination toward dryness of your skin. Take comfortable baths.
• Utilize grounding fragrances --for example vetiver.
• Fall is a typical time to execute a periodic detox to prepare for that winter season forward. A simple house detox program is always easy to adhere to; suggestions include to consider triphala to make sure an entire cleansing takes place each morning. Triphala may be the most well-known ayurvedic treatment and it is a mix of 3 fruits which lightly detoxes your body as well as refreshes the actual digestive tract. Adhere to this particular program for 2 days.
• At the conclusion of a hectic day, end with scrumptious mug of whole milk simmered with a touch of nutmeg as well as cardamom for a happy nights rest.
Ayurvedaland.com (2014). Fall Regimen (Sarat Ritucharya) within Ayurveda. Retrieved from http://ayurvedaland.com/…/fall-regimen-sarat-ritucharya-wi…/