It's International Yoga Day and Summer Solstice! Stay Cool with Coconut Oil

Happy 1st International Yoga Day!  It happens to fall on Summer Solstice.

The celebration of Yoga Day usually includes some sun salutations or Surya Namaskar, 108 of them to be exact. With the sun being at its highest arc in the sky, even one Surya Namaskar can set the heart racing.  To make this International Yoga Day truly a celebration not a "heatabration". Take the usual measures to stay cool and hydrated. Make sure you get plenty of electrolytes. Coconut Water is a good way to get hydrated and get some electrolytes while you are taking a break from today's festivities. Using Coconut Oil internally and externally is also a great way to get the benefits of Coconut's cooling powers. Here's a little article we wrote that explains the Ayurvedic perspective of the Coconut's Super Powers.

Light on Coconut Oil  [Reprinted by Permission.]
Here's our take on Coconut oil ... IT"S GREAT!  We've heard of people using it for all sorts of things, some unmentionable! It is clearly one of the best "kitchen home remedies" available.  This is our take on Coconut Oil from an ayurvedic perspective.

Many people are suffering from being too dry, which is evident in the skin, even more evident in chronic constipation. Many people are suffering from inflammation and acidity.  Too many people suffer from both, coconut oil helps. To someone just learning about Ayurveda this seems like two opposing conditions.

Let's illuminate coconut oil.
From an energetic perspective coconuts are Rajasic to Sattvic in nature.  On their own they are considered to moderately pacify both Vata and Pitta and may aggravate Kapha if used in excess.

- Taste: - Sweet
- Virya: (effect on digestion) - overall cooling.
- Vipak:  (long term or post digestive effect) - overall sweet.

There are many other qualities (gunas) to consider when evaluating the nature of a food from an Ayurvedic perspective.  We consider texture, taste, drying, heating qualities, how the food is cooked as well as what it is cooked with. Environment and growth patterns tell us that the flesh of the coconut is hard, heavy and oily with a watery center.  It is the fruit of a tropical tree.  Native plants and fruits will always provide an antidote to the environment they exist in.  Meaning the fruit's cooling qualities provides an antidote to hot summer and hot environment.  The qualities of hard heavy and oily can contribute to the aggravation of kapha, and are essential for vata stabilization. Pitta people just need the excellent cooling quality.   The color white suggests that it is connected with the 7th or Crown Chakra.  It is used on the top of the head as a hair tonic/oil as well as to cool down someone who is hot headed.

Coconut oil is excellent for external use.  Use on skin for burns and sunburn for relief.  If hair is thinning and/or falling out apply coconut oil to the scalp.  Try using coconut oil for fungal infections of the nails.  Coconut water, meat and shell have many uses as well but we are focusing on the oil itself.

Coconut oils is one of the healthiest oils we can use for eating and cooking.  Unfortunately, it has been given a bad reputation in the past and over hype in the present.  In the past, as Mary Enig points out, "The problem for coconut oils started when researchers fed animals hydrogenated coconut oil, which is completely devoid of any essential fatty acids.  Coconut oil is classed as a medium-chain saturated fatty acid (MCFA) The body does not store it as fat, it metabolizes MCFA in the same way it metabolizes short-chain saturated fatty acids (SCFA) to produce energy.

Research has determined that MCFAs are easily broken down by saliva and gastric juices and are therefore readily absorbed from small intestine into the liver without calling for more digestive enzymes. Easy digestibility creates many health benefits providing a quick source of energy to promote healing. It is sited as helpful in conditions of excess wight, heart disease, high cholesterol, bowel conditions, candida and giardia, diabetes, chronic fatigue, thyroid and skin properties.

This is one of our favorite ways to use coconut oil with organic rainbow carrots.

Wash, cut off ends. Slice organic rainbow carrots

  1. Steam Carrots - about 5-10 minutes -
  2. Top with coconut oil - that's it!  or
  3. Make Sauce - Stir, organic powdered ginger and organic lemon juice into coconut oil then stir into steamed carrots.  This sauce would add pungent and sour to the sweet tastes of coconut and carrots which balances out the sweet flavors for Kapha and the cooling effects for Vata.

Namaste everyone.  Everyday is Yoga Day.

What's Your Mind?

I don’t have to tell you about the body/mind/spirit connection. YOU KNOW THIS.  You know that when your body is not feeling well, your mind is focused on the suffering of the body and your spirit is praying for relief.

When your body feels great and your mind is focused on good thoughts, your spirit soars.  When your body feels good and the mind is taking in bad images, your spirit has difficulty soaring and eventually the body won’t feel good.  There are many combinations in mind body spirit equation.  You get the picture, you’ve been there, done that, bought the T-Shirt.

Ayurveda is the complete study and practice of maintaining, restoring and rejuvenating the body/mind complex so that the spirit can soar and uplift you and society as a whole.” 

Ayurveda is HUGE!
There is nothing in this world that Ayurveda does not examine. Basic elements, disease, herbs, medicine, chakras, energy fields, birth, death and reincarnation are all within Ayurveda.  The Mind is the axis to which the spirit and body are connected.
When focused inwardly the mind focuses on spirit. Focused outwardly the mind focuses on the body and the rest of the physical world. 

See if this is true for you.
Sit in a quiet room with no disturbances, close your eyes and focus on your breath.  Do this for only a moment. The quiet space is the mind kissing your spirit. Open your eyes, go to a mirror look into it. What happens?  The mind starts judging and comparing what is seen in the mirror. It sees the body with what is wrong and what is right, what needs to be done and on and on.

Ayurveda describes the mind as having three states or qualities. There is no judgement here just a description.  Please keep this in mind as you go through through the definitions.

Sattwa           Rajas           Tamas

  • Sattwa is the state of mind that is peaceful, calm, alert, gently focused, unconditionally loving and light. Sattwa is the state of consciousness that is awake.
  • Rajas is the state of mind that is active, emotive, movement, changeable and excitable. Rajas is the state of consciousness that is semi awake. 
  • Tamas is the state of mind that is lethargic, attached, depressed, dark, dense and confused.  Tamas is the state of consciousness that is asleep.

The Tamasic Mind
The tamasic mind sleeps too much, eats heavy dull comfort foods, thinks of self comfort. It tends to be lazy and sedentary. This mind is prone to depression, fear and anger born of inability to change its life.  It is difficult for a tamasic mind to take in new ideas, keep an open mind or be objective.  Many things are taken personally in relationship.  

The body attached to a tamasic mind is overweight, with dull hair, skin and eyes and prone to diseases that come from overgrowth and obesity. The tamasic mind is attracted to activities that are passive and dark, it may be prone to depressing forms of entertainment and news. 

The Rajasic Mind
The rajasic is always active, eats quickly, tries new foods, thinks of changing its situation and always tends to be planning and endlessly moving. This mind is prone to stress, fear and anger born of the need to change their life.  Excitement, competition and achievement is its game. It is difficult for a rajasic mind to stay still and be content with "what is". The mind may be open to new ideas and be objective just as easily as being closed to new ideas and closed-minded. Changeability is key when it comes to rajas.  Relationships come and go in the world of the Rajasic mind.

The body attached to a rajasic mind is ever changing. Weight, fitness levels, brightness or dullness of hair, skin and eyes are ever fluctuating. The body is prone to diseases that come from excitability and stress. The rajasic mind is attracted to activities that are sportive, creative and intense. It may be prone to sex, violent and activist forms of entertainment and news. 

The Sattwic Mind
The sattwic mind is meditative, eats light, digestible, healthy whole foods and thinks of service to self and others. It tends to be calm, aware and attentive. A sattwic mind is prone to loving, wisdom and truthfulness born of the ability to be present and focused. 

This mind takes to new ideas, keeps an open mind and is objective. The sattwic mind understands that there is an appropriate place and time for everything. Nothing is taken personally in relationship.  

The body attached to a sattwic mind is well cared for, has a unique glow, and is not prone to chronic diseases. The sattwic mind understands the role of time on the body and adjusts accordingly. Activities that are, in nature, light and still are attractive to the sattwic Mind. It is prone to the study of self, others and spirituality as forms of entertainment.  

Although the sattwic mind seems like it is the most advantageous “spiritual” mind to have, it is not the most well suited for worldly life. Sattwa, rajas and tamas are in every aspect of life. Balanced contemplation, activity and sleep are key for a healthy life.  Ayurveda has the tools you need to balance sattwa, rajas and tamas. Tune in next time as we delve into the instruments of the mind. Namaste