The Breath, Poop & Weight Test


The Breath, Poop & Weight Test
It’s hard to be sexy when you’re sick. Though our noses are not nearly as sensitive as those of many animals, humans are still wired to sniff out when people are not well… and to avoid them. But the reverse is also true: radiant health is very attractive, to both men and women, and it make sense to cultivate it if for nothing else but to attract a quality partner. There is an aphorism that says:

“The root of dharma, prosperity, enjoyment, and freedom is good health.
Diseases take this away, as well as goodness and life itself.”

This reminder of how important health is not only to love and romance, but practically every area of life comes from the āyurvedic author Charaka. Health stands as an asset and disease is a liability to achieving our goals, which is why even in a book on sex, love and dharma, we must consider health one of the greatest aphrodisiacs. Lucky for you, the most important step to achieving it is summed up in two words: eliminate āma.

If humans are wired to find health attractive, then āma is the destroyer of attraction. There is no equivalent for this Sanskrit term in English, but it amounts to “toxic sludge,” or “morbid mucoid plaque.” Āma can be gross, like the whitish mucus you see if you stick out your tongue in the morning, or it can be subtle, circulating systemically, causing inflammation, cell toxicity and congestion. You can bet that if you have it on your tongue, it’s also in your body spawning all kinds of mischief! In fact, according to Āyurveda, āma is the root cause of all disease. Modern research is catching up to Āyurveda’s wisdom in recognizing the deadly effects of āma, though it is still a long ways from knowing what to do about it. Āma creates tolerable problems like bad breath and flatulence, but also serious issues like heart disease, auto –immune disorders, alzheimers, and even cancer. Needless to say, romance is dampened when your body is full of sludge, and real delectable lovemaking becomes impossible. So how do you know if you have it?

Great Video - What Your Poop Says About You - Mama Natural 

The Breath, Poop & Weight Test
If you wake up in the morning with foul-smelling breath, it is a sign of putrefication, which means you have āma in your system. More than likely, you will also have a whitish coating on part or all of your tongue, which you should scrape off immediately using a tongue scraper. Āma on the tongue means there is āma in the body. But if you wake up with fresh smelling breath and no āma on your tongue, then you are nirāma– without excessive toxic sludge, and your body is better prepared to respond to stress. Āma is the reason some people get sick when exposed to a stimulus like stress or a cold virus, while others do not. Āma is inflammatory, compromising your immunity and the body’s ability to resist external and internal threats. And, as we shall learn later, it is a key factor in aging.

The Breath Test
If when you wake up you can burp and taste last night’s dinner, then your digestion is sluggish, and āma is probably present. If this is the case, skip breakfast and allow the body to finish digesting your last meal before giving it a new challenge. In fact, this is a simple way to know if you are ready to eat- if you can still taste and burp your last meal, then wait a little while, or try some of the herbal remedies outlined below.

Ayurdent Toothpaste
All-natural ayurvedic formula with neem (azadirachta indica) extract helps cleanse deep toxins from the teeth and mouth. Works effectively to promote tooth and gum health and helps protect against tooth decay.

Silver Tongue Cleaner
If you wake up with "morning mouth," check your tongue. That white film is loaded with bacteria and impurities. Our traditional Sterling Silver Tongue Cleaner is designed to easily and efficiently remove the film, leaving your mouth feeling fresh and clean.

The Poop Test
The poop test is simple: if your bowel movement floats, it is a sign that you are relatively āma free and getting enough fiber. Because āma is sticky, cold, and heavy, it makes fecal matter sink. On the other hand, healthy digestion will promote the float. Other signs of low āma are: almost no smell to the feces, they come out easily shaped like bananas, and very little toilet paper is needed afterwards. All of these indicate good flora in the gut and adequate fiber intake. Research now tells us that our prehistoric ancestors ate up to 100 grams of fiber per day. We are lucky to get twenty grams in our Standard American Diet. Get your fiber and promote the float!

Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus)
Supports digestive system and elimination; assists body in absorbing nutrients; high-quality antioxidant; wide range of benefits.

Ayurvedic Detox Program
For people who want a gentle whole-body cleanse and who may be prone to mild occasional heartburn, stomach acid or acne.

Dr. Lad is fond of saying that the greatest happiness is waking up to the call of number two. If you easily go every morning without need for coffee, food, or laxatives, it generally means your GI tract is functioning well.  If you’re not quite ready for a movement first thing in the morning, make it a point to drink a tall glass of room temperature water (16 oz) after scraping your tongue. That serves two functions. First, it hydrates your body since you’ve been waterless for at least the past eight hours. Second, it encourages peristalsis and the flushing of remaining toxins from your system. This first glass of water in the morning is the most important drink of the day. Even if you forget to drink the rest of the time, at least you’ve started well by hydrating your body and brain to function optimally at work, school, or at play.

The Weight Test
The next test is most interesting. To do it, weigh yourself before eating, then thirty to sixty minutes after food weigh yourself again. You will need a precise scale for this. If your weight goes up after having food then your body is not making the most of its nutrition. If your weight stays the same, then you are metabolizing and burning your meals properly. If your weight goes down, that might be a sign of hyperthyroidism or an overactive metabolism…or it’s time to get a new scale.

Rejuvenation For Men
Helps the body resist the effects of aging, correcting imbalances and repairing damaged cells; supports natural immunity; aids cellular regeneration.

Rejuvenation For Ladies
Rejuvenation for Ladies helps restore that youthful glow. It promotes cellular regeneration, which slows both biological and psychological aging. The benefits continue to grow and accumulate over time.

Amrit Kalash Ambrosia
Traditional ayurvedic formula of 13 herbs that supports the health of mind, brain, and nerves; increases vitality and inner strength; powerful antioxidant — research shows it to be up to 1,000 times more effective than vitamins C and E.

About The Author

Simon Chokoisky, the author of Sex, Love and Dharma is a former teacher of both Sanskrit and Medical Jyotisha at the renowned Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico. He is known for making difficult concepts easy to understand, and simple concepts profound. His Decoding Your Life Map With Vedic Astrology and Sanskrit Without Stress DVDs have been hailed as user-friendly and insightful by students at every level. He is also the author of Transcending the Gunas- a DVD and book on Ayurvedic Psychology. Simon has written for Namarupa, and is a regular contributor to Ayurveda Today, as well as writing the Philosophy section in UK's Yoga Magazine.

Sex, Love, and Dharma

Sex, Love, and Dharma - Ancient Wisdom For Modern Relationships
Sharing ancient Vedic secrets of sex, love, health, and dharma, Simon Chokoisky explains how to prepare your mind, body, and spirit for the right partner and how to determine if a potential mate is a good match for your unique chemistry. He provides self-tests to determine your dharma type and outlines unique ayurvedic diet, exercise, detox, and lifestyle tips for each type to reclaim your health and vitality and, by doing so, your sexiness.

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. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.

The Mystifying Symbolism Of Ganesha & Santa Claus

Ganesha and Santa Claus
In Hinduism and Vedic mythology, Ganesha is the elephant-headed boy with the big belly and (generally) jolly disposition. He has a lot in common with our own Saint Nick, and this time of year it’s fun to look at the similarities:

Long trunk & long white beard – the trunk represents our spinal cord and nervous system, and the awakened kundalini traveling along its channels. It is the connection between our lower, ‘reptilian brain’ and our higher thinking centers, giving us self-control and wisdom. Ganesha lives at the base of the spine, but has access to the brain and higher centers. This means he is a complete being, and like him, we too can aspire to become fully-integrated humans, with control over our survival instincts, sexual impulses, drives, desires, speech and thoughts. The long beard in Āyurveda also associates with the bones and nervous system, and with being ‘long in the tooth’. Our bones are the most permanent parts of our bodies and represent stability, patience, temperance, endurance and wisdom. Wisdom comes from living and learning, and the main lesson experience teaches is self-control.

Great Video - The Mystifying Symbolism Of Ganesha

Lord of the Vow - In that spirit, one of the names for Ganesha is “Vrata Pati” or lord of the vow. Ganesha honors those who make vows and keep them. Just like Santa Claus. Whether your vow is to learn Spanish, or to be nicer to your spouse, stick to it, unless you want a lump of coal in your stocking…or in your bed!

Lord of the Elves - Ganesha literally means lord of the host, as does Ganapati. Which host exactly is unclear, though gana often translates into one of Shiva’s attendants. Among these attendants are the elves, quasi-mythic beings with special gifts and talents. Gana also means category, denoting the various categories of animal, plant, and mineral species, as well as the disciplines that study and describe them. It is therefore no surprise that Santa can coax reindeer to fly, or that Ganesha rides a tiny mouse.

Big belly – In subtle anatomy, the belly is our storehouse of praṇa- (cosmic energy), and both Ganesha and Saint Nick have this to spare. A big belly also indicates an inclination towards merriment, benevolence…and cookies…some of the best things in life!

Children love them. Both are beloved of children, as they are easy to please and hard to hate. Ganesha is easily bribed by milk and (vegetarian) cookies, and Saint Nick shares Ganesha’s penchant for sweet dairy treats, whether it be butter or buttermilk.

Knows if you’ve been good or bad. There’s no fooling either of these sage judges of character.

So you can ask for general removal of obstacles, but it is also best to specify what you want, and what you’re willing to do to get it. Ganesha and Santa give gifts according to how “good” you’ve been in keeping certain resolutions. It’s not just a free-for-all, after all.

Ho Ho Ho … Om Om Om

About The Author - Simon Chokoisky
Simon Chokoisky runs a private consulting business based on his trainings in Vedic life mapping and Vedic astrology. The creator of the Decoding Your Life Map with Vedic Astrology DVD series, he travels widely giving seminars. Other book releases from Simon Chokoisky are:
The Five Dharma Types - Vedic Wisdom for Discovering Your Purpose and Destiny
Sex, Love, and Dharma - Ancient Wisdom for Modern Relationships


“Westerners live freely and think in structured ways, 
while Easterners think freely and live in structured ways”
- Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, Seven Systems of Indian Philosophy [1]

The modern Western model of education generally favors compartmentalized knowledge. After all, Spanish 101 is different from History 202, and what does allopathy have to do with homeopathy? While true from a certain viewpoint, this mindset ignores that the person studying them is the same, and that these subjects have to be assimilated into one consciousness.

In many traditions with an unbroken link to the past, the person is the subject, and various disciplines, like ingredients in a stew, are introduced into their consciousness at appropriate times, slowly stirred in to make sure everything is well assimilated. A little Spanish, a little History, and the right digestive agents to allow these to get along and become part of the whole enchilada that is a living, breathing person.

Jyotisha, Vastu and Ayurveda ~ Rays Of The Same Light:
So, what does this have to do with Jyotisha, Vastu and Ayurveda? Take the principle of the brahmasthana - probably the most important concept in Vastu Shastra- which says that one should keep the center of any lot, structure, or room empty in order to invite love, health, prosperity and divine inspiration. Brahma sthana literally means ‘the seat of God’- and is set up to honor the divine by keeping its space clutter free. This also works for paintings and photographs, where the center is reserved for nature, or a particularly important theme. Take this painting by Raphael, in which the artist places Plato and Aristotle in the exact center of his composition, with space and the heavens behind them, to emphasize his veneration for these two philosophical giants.

The Brahmasthana Principle Within:
This is an example of Vastu applied to art and design. Ayurveda extends the brahmasthana principle to the human body, asserting that we must keep our own centers empty in order to invite the divine to sit in us. Human beings also come with a brahmasthana— our GI tracts - and this is marked externally by the depression of the belly button. When our center is clean and uncluttered, the rest of the body obtains “prosperity” in the form of health and longevity. This occurs by allowing at least 4-6 hours between meals without snacking, and by periodic fasting. Yoga philosophy states that “yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind-stuff.” It is impossible to curb these fluctuations when our stomachs are full. Vaghbhata says of samana vayu:

annam gṛhṇati pacati, vivecayati muñcati - Ashtanga Hridayam ch.13 verse 8
“it grabs on to food, cooks it,churns and
separates the essence, and releases the rest”

Our digestive organs, including the villi and microvilli in our intestines, work in a wavelike manner to process and push food through the system. These waves are called vrittis in Sanskrit, and the cessation of all vrittis is the purported goal of yoga. As a result, yogis routinely fast to achieve this goal, and fasting is a staple of practically every religion on the planet. Jesus fasted, Buddha fasted, Mohammed fasted, Moses fasted. Fasting is a core religious ritual because it brings us closer to God—our own brahmasthana, or sacred space. Even the wise Benjamin Franklin said, “The best of all medicines is resting and fasting.” Keep your space uncluttered and its center empty, and you will invite God into your body and home.

But Wait, There’s More…
Another point where Vastu and Ayurveda intersect is their attitude towards water. Vastu says that water should primarily be to the east of a property. The word for east in Sanskrit is purva- which also means before. Ayurveda has a similar attitude, and recommends drinking water before meals rather than after, in order to boost digestion. Studies show that water before meals kindles agni by buffering the stomach (kledaka kapha) which in turn signals the body to produce more HCL (pacaka pitta) and together this results in increased jathara agni. Too much water after meals, however, has the opposite effect. Read more about water tips and tricks and the studies that show how they work here.

Finally, consider Jyotisha and its relationship to the brahmasthana, which in astronomy and astrology is the pole star. Some of our most primal symbols, like the cross, the scepter, and the svastika are astronomical metaphors - representations of cosmic events in objects and symbols. A combined snapshot of the constellation sapta rishi (the seven rishis - Ursa Major) during the vernal equinox, summer solstice, autumnal equinox and winter solstice would show you something that looks very much like a swastika. In ancient Greek, the pole star was called Omphaloessa, from omphalos, “the center of things,” which in later Latin was translated as umbilicus- the navel of the world. Says Bernadette Brady in Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars:

           “The pole was the Earth’s umbilical cord and all power,
all strength,and all divinity came from this point.”

Vedic tradition says we can access this divine force by honoring the navel of our bodies, homes, and outer environment, which we do by keeping them clean and limpid and allowing the divine to work through us. Next time you’re tempted to see Yoga and Ayurveda, or Vastu and Jyotisha as separate, think of this: when you look at a burrito do you see flour, beans, and tomatoes, or do you see lunch? These disciplines are ingredients in a Vedic tradition designed to help us live completely by fulfilling dharma  at every point-  the physical level with Ayurveda, the environmental level with Vastu, the social level with the dharma types, the spiritual level with Yoga, and at the cosmic level with Jyotisha. To master one, is to master all; to master one, is to master yourself.

Hari Om
[1] Seven Systems of Indian Philosophy. Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, Ph.D. Himalayan Institute Press. 1983
[2] Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars,  Bernadette Brady, Samuel Weiser, Inc, 1998

The Real Power of Mantra

Amantram akṣaram nāsti, nāsti mūlam anauṣaḍham
Ayogyaḥ puruṣo nāsti, yojakas tatra durlabhaḥ

There is no syllable that is not a mantra, no root that is not medicine;
There is no person who is not born with a use, but it takes skill to find these things.

In everyone’s horoscope, there are key sounds, or mantras, that reflect various aspects of the personality. They are based on the individual placement of planets at the time of ṭheir birth. Vedic astrology makes use of these (what are sometimes called sacred or ‘primordial sounds’ ) for naming people and businesses, for meditation, and even for finding compatible partners.   

Such short ‘seed syllables’ or bīja mantras are practicable for Westerners because they are not particularly difficult to pronounce. But probing the heart of the Mantric tradition requires a deeper understanding of Sanskrit, because the majority of mantras in that language are lengthier and more complex than the single-syllable we are used to in the West. Want to get in touch with Gaṇeśa? His seed mantra, oṃ gaṃ gaṇapataye is great, but the longer gaṇapati atharva śīrṣam, which takes about ten minutes to recite, may introduce you to a deeper level of this deity.

Want to create understanding and harmony in your life? The Viṣṇu Sahasranāma can help, but you have to invoke the thousand names of Viṣṇu with some degree of intelligibility.  It is true that intention is ultimately most important, but the power of a mantra really shines when it is also properly articulated. For example, ananda means “lack of joy, misery” while ānanda denotes the opposite: “rolling in joy, bliss.” Do you think flipping how you pronounce these could have an effect on your spiritual practice?

In my classes on Sanskrit for Yogis, we joke that the word cakra  (pronounced ‘chuh-kruh’) is only a shaakraah in California. That is, there are variants in Sanskrit pronunciation wherever you go - even in different regions of India (think prakriti vs. prakruti). But attaining a rudimentary understanding of ‘correct’ pronunciation frees us to play and be creative when we like --  to call a cakra a shaakraah with delight --- and with the inside understanding that we know what to call it when the time is right. 

Different Kinds of Mantras
In Āyurveda, there are mantras for healing various organs and systems in the body. For example, hrūm is a bīja mantra for the liver,  while ṛm works for the ears and hrīm for the eyes.  A slightly longer version of these also exists, like Oṃ hrīm sūryāya namaḥ for the eyes, and Oṃ dvam dvāra vāsinābhyām namaḥ for the ears.

There are also longer mantras like the mahā mṛtyunjaya that are recited 108 times per day to help with difficult to treat diseases:

Oṃ tryambakam yajāmahe sugandhim puṣṭi vardhanam
Urvā rukam iva bandhanān mṛtyor mukṣīya māmṛtāt

This famous mantra actually comes from the Ṛg Veda and is embedded in the Śrī Rudram- an ancient paen to Rudra and a powerful healing hymn that takes about thirty minutes to recite in its entirety.

There are also Tantric-based mantras like the cakra bīja sounds:
Laṃ- 1st cakra
Vaṃ- 2nd cakra
Raṃ- 3rd cakra
Yaṃ- 4th cakra
Haṃ 5th cakra
Kṣam or Oṃ- 6th cakra

There are also short, medium, and long mantras for each of the planets.
Having trouble with Saturn? Try the Shani bīja: oṃ śam śanaiścarāya namaḥ. Or his Purānic mantra:

Oṃ nīlāñjana samābhāsam, ravi putram yamāgrajam
Cchāyā mārtaṇḍa sambhūtam, tam namāmi śanāiścaram 

Want to please all nine planets in one swoop?
You can do that too, with long or short mantras like this one:

Brahmā murāris tripurānta kārī, bhānuḥ śaśī bhūmi suto budhaś ca
Guruś ca śukraḥ śanī rāhuḥ ketuḥ, sarve grahāḥ śānti pradāḥ bhavantu

The mantra om namo bhagavate vāsudevāya is a sacred invocation said to cleans all twelve houses of your horoscope with its twelve syllables. A concentrated form of the Viṣṇu Sahasranāma, thousand names of Viṣṇu, it invokes the sustainer of the universe to ensure peace and harmony in the home and in our relationships.

Probably the most popular and most numerous mantras are those dedicated to deities, like the aforementioned Ganesha and Viṣṇu, as well as mantras to the divine mother, avatars like Rāma and Kṛṣṇa, and even natural forces like Vāyu and Agni- Wind and Fire personified.

Literally thousands of mantras exist to honor the various aspects of Nature and the deities that represent them, and to learn these takes dedicated study under a guru and a lineage. The common thread that unites them, however, is Sanskrit. And though few of us will become Sanskrit scholars, a little effort goes a long way towards making the words you speak mantras, and the mantras you say powerful and imbued with meaning.  

**For more on healing, planetary, and other mantras, as well as the Sanskrit know-how behind them, refer to the author’s Sanskrit Without Stress DVD program.To learn about your primordial sound and how to read your life map, refer to Decoding Your Life Map With Vedic Astrology.