The Ayurveda Guide: Spring Season

 

The Ayurveda Guide: Spring Season
The shift to springtime weather and energy has begun. Fickle, changing hot-and-cold days send mixed signals to the body. This natural weather flux demands more flexibility in the body, because the body senses the shift of seasons on a cellular level and begins a natural detox. Many of us experience that, during the cold weather, we tend to eat more. Eating more then is natural, as it is Vata-pacifying (Vata is the mind-body operating principle that governs movement and is associated with fall and winter). The extra weight naturally keeps us warmer and feeling more comfortable in the cold winter months.

Ayurveda honors that change within ...

We have all had the experience of feeling cold when we have missed our main meal. Food is the fuel that allows our metabolism to keep us at normal body temperature. This increase of winter food can also lead to the build-up of ama, or toxins. Animals living in nature slim down in the spring, losing their winter fat, and we humans, by design, naturally move in the same direction. Ayurveda has long recognized that different things are happening inside of us during each season. Ayurveda honors that "change within" and recognizes – and supports – that the body wants to do something different as the seasons come and go.

Spring is invigorating. It's a time of renewal and rejuvenation. The sunlight and warmth return. Life leaves behind the chilly winter silence and starts to stir again. Cleansing is natural in spring – we often feel a deep urge to rid ourselves of old unwanted items and create a new space. Ayurveda understands this deeply-seated tendency as something very significant: a powerful natural movement within; a physiological trend to clean out. Ayurveda offers a great number of tools for just such deep cleansing.

The Winter Ama Build-up

Over winter, toxins can build up in the body. They find their way into us through foods, the air, water, chemicals, GMOs, pollution and preservatives. Our own digestive fire, called agni in Ayurveda, also plays a role. Overeating during the holidays, and overall poor eating habits, can dampen agni and lead to a build-up of ama – which results in sluggishness, extra pounds, poor sleep or worse. Pressure from work, family and financial concerns may also build up and bog you down physically and mentally.

The build-up of ama, or undigested material, ends up stored in our cells, circulatory and microcirculatory channels, slowing everything down and gumming everything up, including the digestion and elimination processes. The Ayurvedic solution is this: given an opportunity, the body will detox naturally – it's built to do that.

The build-up of ama, or undigested material, ends up stored in our cells, circulatory and microcirculatory channels, slowing everything down and gumming everything up, including the digestion and elimination processes. The Ayurvedic solution is this: given an opportunity, the body will detox naturally – it's built to do that.

The build-up of ama, or undigested material, ends up stored in our cells, circulatory and microcirculatory channels, slowing everything down and gumming everything up, including the digestion and elimination processes. The Ayurvedic solution is this: given an opportunity, the body will detox naturally – it's built to do that.

At-Home Ayurvedic Detoxification

Ancient Herbal Formulations – Ayurvedic formulas carefully crafted by Maharishi Ayurveda can help the detoxifying process any time of the year. There are two formulas in particular that can gently and efficiently jump-start a refreshing, springtime cleanse.

Using 18 traditional Ayurvedic herbs, Elim-Tox works to detoxify the colon and digestive tract. It continues on to cleanse the liver, sweat glands, blood, nutritive fluids and fat tissue. Each pore is purified as the micro-channels of the body release waste, and cellular pathways for vital nutrients are renewed.

Elim-Tox-O is a similar but gentler formula for those who experience heartburn, acne and excess stomach acid (tendency toward Pitta imbalance). Absorption of nutrients is promoted as the liver gently detoxes. At the same time the blood, fatty tissues and muscles are purified.

Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus) contains three revered Ayurvedic fruits — Amla, Chebulic myrobalan and Belleric myrobalan. It accomplishes two important tasks overnight: creating ojas, the finest by-product of balanced digestion, and strengthening and balancing agni, the digestive fire. Each of the herbs in this traditional formulation rejuvenates and supports wellness. It is an Ayurvedic Rasayana, acknowledged for its ability to nourish at the deepest levels of the body and mind. For this, it is considered one of the most valuable Ayurvedic herbal preparations in the world. In addition, a fourth ingredient, Cabbage Rose, is added to support the synergy of the other ingredients and promote their effectiveness.

Supporting Spring Immunity

Beej-bhumi: Immunity is traditionally explained in Ayurveda using the beej-bhumi illustration. It means "seed and land." The body is the land, and pathogens are seeds. If the body is filled with ama and lacking in ojas (the finest product of good digestion), the pathogens find fertile ground for growing. If digestion is strong, and ojas rather than ama predominates in the body, then the seeds don't take root.

Take a Breath: Everyone is more susceptible to respiratory problems when the seasons are changing, such as in the fall and early spring. This is because the body functions differently in each season, and in the transition between the hot and cold seasons the agni, or digestive fire, can start to fluctuate dramatically. If you do not adjust your diet and routine and follow the Ayurvedic guidelines for the seasonal transitions, you can build up ama. The soil is then primed to grow a seed.

That is why respiratory issues and allergen reactions abound for some in the fall and early spring. In the early spring, there is an added factor, because ama accumulated during the winter starts to dissolve in our system, flooding the micro-channels and overloading the immune system. The body's immune system is weakened, and becomes a fertile ground for bacteria. In the case of allergens, the body misidentifies and attacks itself, resulting in the allergen symptoms that make us feel so uncomfortable.

Bio-Immune combines traditional purifying herbs with Ayurvedic minerals, including mica. Because it is made traditionally, it takes over six months to prepare! The herbs and minerals together help the immune system without side effects. This herbal combination also helps eliminate digestive impurities and toxins that can affect natural immunity. Bio-Immune tablets, Sniffle Free tablets, and Cold Weather Defense tablets are all immune-promoting herbal supplements that you can take during the winter and spring season to support respiratory health. The herbs in Bio-Immune promote neuro-immune responses, purify the liver and blood, and dissolve ama and amavisha (a more reactive form of ama that has settled in one part of the body). Take one or two tablets of Bio-Immune each morning and evening to support overall immunity.

Premium Amla Berry (formerly ReGen Vitality) – a potent Rasayana (nourishing blend of herbs) for overall rejuvenation. Good nutrition requires a balance of the six Ayurvedic tastes — sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Amla is one of just a handful of herbs that contain five of the six taste categories — all except lavan, or salty. Such balanced nutrition means that Amla helps balance all three of the basic operating principles of mind and body — Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Taken in combination with Bio-Immune and Organic Digest Tone, it is a powerhouse for supporting immunity.

Cold Weather Defense promotes the body's natural defenses by offering nutritional support.

The herbs have a variety of functions:

  • Promote well-being and comfort
  • Help balance the moisture level and mucus in the lungs and sinuses
  • Aid digestion for decreased production of toxic food residues
  • Help remove toxins that can weaken resistance
  • Nourish the body's natural defense mechanism

 

Sniffle Free – Cold weather can compromise your body's ability to handle cold temperatures that can dampen the digestive fire (agni) and weaken the body. Sniffle Free supports natural agni, which is often compromised by colder weather. This formula also aids your resistance to the cold, helps lubricate the lungs and helps restore your body's balance of moisture and mucus.

Organic Genitrac – The traditional Ayurvedic herbs in this formulation help cleanse and purify the urinary tract. When the urinary tract isn’t functioning properly, toxins accumulate, breeding bacteria, which leads to more toxins, further impeding urination. One out of five women will be affected by a urinary tract issue. While it’s much rarer for men to experience urinary tract issues, it can be much more serious when they do. The best approach is to maintain the health of the genitourinary tract in the first place.

There a number of Ayurvedic herbals supporting immunity. The complete list can be found here.

Best Ama-Burning Diet Tips

Spring is an ideal time to do gentle purification treatments called Panchakarma. The transition periods between the seasons, in fall and the early spring, are when the body is primed to purify itself of accumulated toxins. Panchakarma includes a full program of Ayurvedic massage, steam baths and intestinal cleansing treatments, to rid your body of ama accumulated during the previous season. Panchakarma also strengthens your agni, or digestive fire, so more ama won't be accumulated.

If you can't go to a clinic for panchakarma, you can still follow an Ayurvedic regimen at home to cleanse the body of ama during the transition between the seasons. Diet is key. Eating warm, light, nourishing foods such as soups, or light meals of mildly-spiced vegetables with grains such as quinoa, couscous and millet, helps the body cleanse. Enjoying a lighter diet for a few weeks while the weather is changing helps burn away ama rather than accumulate it. Lots of rest at the optimal times is a powerful, age-old secret of Ayurveda. So is drinking plenty of warm fluids, daily walks and other exercise suitable for your body type.

If you feel less hungry at mealtimes than usual, or if you feel heavy and dull in the two hours immediately after a meal, these are indications that your digestive fire is burning low. To help enhance your agni, make a delicious Pomegranate Chutney to accompany your meal.

Cooking your food with immune-supporting spices such as cumin, fennel, coriander, turmeric, ginger and black pepper is also an important way to enhance agni and reduce ama.

You can also take one tablet of the Maharishi Ayurveda herbal supplement Herbal Di-Gest with each meal to promote digestion or, if Organic Digest Tone does not stimulate elimination, take two to three capsules of Herbal Cleanse at night if you are feeling constipated from time to time.

Consider adding the traditional Ayurvedic herbs that support respiratory health. Protection Plus Respiratory System contains 26 herbs that act synergistically to protect the lungs from respiratory problems. This formula separates ama from the Shleshaka Kapha, the subdosha related to joint lubrication and body fluids, making it easier to cleanse the lungs. It also cleanses the channels of ama and nurtures, lubricates, and restores balance to the lungs as the impurities are dissolved, supporting the body's natural immunity.

You can also drink a warm, immune-supporting tea such as Sniffle Free Tea twice a day, with your meal or after it. The herbs in this thermogenic tea will help balance Kapha immediately. If your head is feeling heavy or congested, you can also use Sniffle Free Aroma oil to help create balance and clear the sinuses.

Tips for a Deep Spring Detox

  • Take advantage of the abundance of fresh organic spring greens and organic grains.
  • Enjoy organic fruit, juices and whole milk rather than more-processed options.
  • Drink plenty of purified water.
  • Consuming at least 2 quarts a day will help flush out toxins.
  • Enjoy exercise outdoors on a regular basis.
  • Favor foods that are warm, light and easy to digest.
  • Reduce or avoid red meat, refined and canned foods, salt.
  • Limit or avoid coffee, dairy products and alcohol intake. 

 

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. 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.


Ladies - Here Are 6 Ways To Have It All.

6 Ways To Have It All
For many women today, it’s hard to find a moment to breathe, let alone take care of your health. Whether you’re working in the office or in the home, raising your children or caring for elderly parents — it’s a balancing act just to get through the day. Yet taking care of yourself and staying in balance mentally and physically is central to meeting all the demands of your family and career.

“Women today have so many areas of life to attend to, it’s important that they set aside time to maintain their own health and happiness,” says Sankari Wegman, an Ayurvedic expert at The Raj Maharishi Ayurveda Health Spa in Fairfield, Iowa. A wife and mother of two young children, she herself juggles work, teaching and home life.

Here she offers six simple suggestions from Maharishi Ayurveda to create more balance today.

1. Vata - The Key to Balance
“The key for women to stay in balance is to take care of Vata dosha,” Sankari says. “When Vata dosha goes out of balance, it can manifest as worry, stress and tension. And because it is fast-moving by nature, it goes out of balance easily and then leads the other doshas. So Vata dosha is the key to staying calm and healthy.” Vata dosha, which is the mind-body operator that governs movement in the body, is quick, rough, dry, and irregular by nature.

“To balance Vata, it’s important to maintain a regular daily routine, starting with a consistent, early bedtime and waking time,” Sankari says. “Regular exercise, regular sleep, regular meditation, daily yoga, daily Ayurvedic Oil Massage (abhyanga), regular mealtimes — all of these things help keep Vata dosha in balance.”

2. Enlist the Help of Family
Where do you find the time to add these extra items to your daily routine? For Sankari, the solution is to involve the entire family. “It can be hard to fit anything new into your already-busy life,” Sankari says. “But the good thing is that your family can do it with you. Then you don’t feel separate from your family while taking care of your health.”

For example, when she’s doing her daily yoga asanas, her children follow along. “They don’t have to do it perfectly, but they are learning healthy habits that will stay with them for life,” notes Sankari. “When you have a regular daily routine, the whole family is on that routine and benefits from it.”

3. Plan Time for Yourself
Once or twice a week, arrange for your husband or friend to take care of the kids so you can take a break from your chores and responsibilities. "Taking dancing classes once or twice a week in the evening, or meeting a friend for a walk early in the morning — these are things I do just for me,” Sankari says. “I get to exercise and share time with friends. I think it’s really healthy for women to take a break, to do something that brings joy, whether it’s taking a painting class, meeting friends for breakfast, or going to the gym.” Sankari likes exercising with her friends, because they help motivate her. “The key to balancing Vata dosha is to be regular, so combining exercise with meeting friends is a great way to bring more encouragement and support to staying on a healthy daily routine.”

4. Melt Away Stress with Deep Rest
The importance of good sleep and daily meditation cannot be overestimated. “There is a tendency for women to do so much for others, to get tired, so you need to make sure you schedule time to rest and rejuvenate with your daily meditation,” Sankari says. “Even though time is tight, you can juggle your schedule to make time. Alternate with your spouse, or meditate before the children come home. Just having that focus, the rest you gain in meditation goes a long way.”

Sankari and her husband, Keith, follow a set morning routine, where one practices the Transcendental Meditation® technique and the other starts the children on their Ayurvedic Oil Massage, bathing and breakfast. Then they switch roles, so they both get to meditate. “They see us meditating, and they see it as Daddy’s turn, Mommy’s turn,” Sankari says. “And now that my son is 5, he is doing the children’s meditation, so he takes his turn too.” Sankari says she doesn’t feel guilty about the time she spends away from her children, because her children like it when she meditates. “When you’re rested, you dive within yourself and replenish, and you come out with more love, more to give.”

5. Eat Wholesome, Non-GMO, Organic Foods 
Eating regularly (at approximately the same time each day) and eating well-cooked meals helps balance Vata dosha and leads to strong immunity for the whole family. “Learn to eat those foods that are healthy for your body type, and avoid those things that are hard to digest,” advises Sankari. “If you are tense or worried, for instance, it’s not a good idea to eat salads for lunch every day. Rather, you’ll want to soothe Vata dosha and eat warm, fresh, cooked foods and consume warm drinks.” Preparing home-cooked meals is healthier and draws the family together. For example, for winter breakfasts, Sankari prepares hot rice cereal or cream of wheat, with cooked apples and raisins that she soaks overnight.

“This is something the kids love and is good for my husband and me too,” she says. “It’s so important for women not to skip breakfast, to sit down for a warm meal rather than eating on the go. It helps start the day right and balances Vata dosha.” If the family has to eat outside the home at lunch, one Ayurvedic option is to prepare kichari (a full protein made of rice and split mung-bean dhal that can be carried inside a small thermos), along with steamed vegetables.

“It doesn’t have to be complicated — you can provide a simple home-cooked meal that is much healthier than what you or your children would purchase,” Sankari says. For the evening meal, it helps to have part of the meal prepared before you come home from work, so you don’t feel pressured and hungry while you cook. You could prep the veggies in the morning, or prepare soup or veggies with grains in a crock pot.

“Even making fresh flatbreads (chapatti) is an easy thing to do, once you get the hang of it,” Sankari says. “Kids love forming the dough into balls and rolling it out.” Sankari finds that her children have become accustomed to warm foods and drinks, and even request them. “I’ve been giving my older son warm water or warm Organic Calming Vata Tea, and now he doesn’t crave cold drinks. The warm foods and warm drinks support good digestion and won’t throw Vata out of balance, thus contributing to better immunity.”

6. Support Your Mind and Body with Herbal Food Supplements
Taking herbal food supplements can help reduce stress and boost immunity. Vital Lady is ideal for increasing energy levels and clarity of mind, and helps a woman balance so many tasks at work and at home,” Sankari says. “For women over 40, Rejuvenation for Ladies helps restore that youthful glow. It promotes cellular regeneration, which slows both biological and psychological aging.” Sankari keeps Bio-Immune in her medicine chest to help purify toxins and to support the body’s natural immune response. She also recommends taking Maharishi Amrit Kalash regularly to rejuvenate the mind and body and improve immunity.

“I highly recommend Stress Free Mind and Stress Free Emotions,” she says. “These are wonderful, powerful supplements to help us manage the stresses we encounter every day.” Worry Free is also a powerful Vata-balancing formula. It addresses Apana Vata and is useful not just for worry, but also for general balancing of Vata. Stress Free Mind is ideal for anyone who is under mental pressure at work, or who is prone to worry and mental tension. Stress Free Emotions helps us handle emotional stressors that are causing irritability or sadness in our lives, whether from the family, money pressures, or work relationships. Sankari cautions that because they are potent, it isn’t necessary to take a lot to get results — just follow the directions on the bottle.

Since Vata dosha also governs the cycles of a woman’s life, such as menstruation, it’s important for the busy woman to give her body extra support, Sankari says. “Smooth Cycle helps us to maintain monthly cycles that are balanced and even blissful. And for the menopause years, Midlife for Women I and Midlife for Women II help balance Vata disturbance and help keep the menopause years smooth and comfortable,” she says.

For your best energy, emotional balance and immune strength, Ayurvedic experts emphasize the importance of maintaining a balanced state of digestion (agni). Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus), taken nightly before sleep, supports regular elimination and detoxification. It also helps the body assimilate food and other herbal formulations. It is considered the one Ayurvedic herbal to take daily.

Sankari also recommends consulting an expert in Maharishi Ayurveda to learn which herbal supplements and dietary and lifestyle recommendations are most effective for your mind-body type. And whenever you’re taking herbal supplements, she advises following a regular routine and eating the right foods for best results. While creating balance in your life can take some effort, it’s an investment well worth making.

“Every stage gives a flavor of the next stage,” Sankari says. “You may not feel you have the time, but if you take care of yourself now, it helps you feel healthier in the future — so you can support and enjoy your family in a blissful way for many years to come. Sometimes it’s hard to see the big picture, but taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do for your family.”

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. 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.


Stress Free Holiday Travel Tips

 

Stress Free Holiday Travel Tips
Long delays and canceled flights - traffic jams - inclement weather - crowds - wrangling little ones…. all these factors and more can make traveling during the holiday season stressful. Yet, getting together with friends and family is a big part of what makes the season so special. Is it possible to travel stress-free? Once we understand what imbalances are caused by travel, we can take steps to protect ourselves and prevent them from developing.

Imbalances Caused by Travel

Vata dosha in general tends to get disturbed during travel. In particular, continuous sitting disturbs Apana Vata, which controls the downward movements of elimination and purification. Traveling in fast-moving vehicles and an unpredictable routine aggravate Prana Vata, which controls mental and emotional balance. Pachaka Pitta, responsible for digestion, can also get disrupted by an irregular schedule of meals and sleep.

Steps to Stay Balanced

Maintain physical, mental and emotional equilibrium through travel and hectic times with these ayurvedic tips:

 

The Week Before Travel

Be meticulous about adhering to a regular routine. Taking pains to keep Vata in balance before travel can help us withstand stress, time pressure, multiple demands and unpredictability.

  1. Consume Vata and Pitta-pacifying meals

    Steer clear of extremely sour foods such as pickles and vinegar, and very spicy foods such as cayenne or hot chili peppers, which can aggravate both Vata and Pitta. Consume plenty of sweet juicy fruits, warm milk blended with Organic Rose Petal Spread, and light proteins such as mung beans. Our body loves a routine. Eat meals at about the same time each day, with lunch being around noon and dinner about three hours before bed.

    Stay hydrated. Travel, especially on planes, can tend to dehydrate us. When our body is dehydrated, it works much less efficiently. So drink lots of warm or room-temperature water.

    Learn more about specific food guidelines for each dosha: VataPitta, and Kapha.

  2. Daily Abhyanga with Moisturizing Herbal Massage Oil

    Abhyanga, warm oil self-massage, can go a long way toward soothing the entire nervous system and emotions. This powerful tool, before or after a shower, has healing qualities: increased circulation, stimulation of nerve endings, and removal of toxins from the body. After the oil is applied, it's best to wait 10-15 minutes for it to penetrate. If you don’t have this much time, it’s OK to jump into the shower. We can keep our bodies flexible and supple, and maintain our energy levels to prepare for travel, with this daily practice.

    A scalp-and-head massage during the week can be very helpful for stress relief. If easy, try to get one in a few times each week. Choose from our variety of vpk® massage oils formulated for dosha balancing. Gently warm a couple of teaspoons of the oil. Those with longer hair may need more, to cover all the hair as well as the scalp. The oil should be warm enough to be soothing, but not uncomfortably hot. Pour the oil on your palm and apply it evenly all over the scalp and the back of the neck close to the hairline. Using your fingertips, gently massage the oil into the scalp, working the oil in for about 4-5 minutes. If possible, the oil should be left on overnight (use a shower cap to protect your bed-linens) and shampooed off the next morning. If leaving it on overnight is impractical for you, leave it on for 2-3 hours, then shampoo your hair well to rinse it off.*

  3. Enhance Vitality with Rasayanas

    What, exactly, is a Rasayana? Rasayanas are specifically prescribed ayurvedic formulations for health. Ayurveda tells us that a Rasayana is “that which negates old age and disease.”

    Rasayanas have the ability to boost natural immunity and increase resilience from day-to-day stress. So, before traveling through busy airports and public spaces, we can prepare our bodies by boosting our natural immunity.

    Travel essentials kits:

    No need for an aroma diffuser — just place a drop of the aroma that smells the best on a Kleenex and place it next to your bed or keep it in your pocket.

  4. Avoid Ama

    The build-up of toxic matter (ama) in the physiology is what leads to imbalance. Flushing the system with regularity can help remove ama. Experience occasional constipation, especially when traveling? Try Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus) or Herbal Di-Gest if digestion is off balance. Promote regular elimination by eating boiled or baked apples or pears for breakfast.

     

    During Travel

    1. Have a Cup of Tea

      Organic Vata Tea and Worry Free Tea are warm soothers for Vata-related imbalances, especially while traveling. Drink individually before or during a flight, or grab a travel cup to take on the road. Or combine a tea bag of each into one cup of warm water for a powerful pre-flight beverage! Warm drinks can aid the digestive system and are Vata balancing. It’s best to avoid carbonated or ice-cold beverages, as they increase Vata and can, depending on your system, disrupt digestion.

    2. Eat Clean

      Eat well-cooked, freshly-prepared foods. Ayurveda advises that bioavailability of cooked foods is greater than that of harder-to-digest raw foods. One exception to this is fresh fruit. Avoid "junk" foods or heavy, hard-to-digest foods when possible. Often the food we find while on the road or in busy airports is anything but healthy. So, eating clean while traveling may take some planning ahead. Roast nuts with one of our Churnas (ayurvedic spice mixtures), or better yet, pack a churna and take it with you to sprinkle on veggies or even popcorn. Pack fresh fruits such as figs, oranges, cherries, or raisins for a quick, healthy travel snack.

    3. Aromatherapy

      While traveling, carry a handkerchief, cotton ball, or tissue soaked with a drop or two of our dosha-balancing essential oil formulas and enjoy the aroma throughout the day.

       


      After Travel

      1. Hydrate

        After the time spent in the air or on the road, drink lots of warm water throughout the day to replenish moisture levels and assist in cleansing the channels of the body. Eat light yet nourishing foods such as mung beans to allow digestion to regulate. Continue to enjoy Organic Vata Tea or Worry Free Tea.

      2. Abhyanga

        When we travel, we’re often sitting for long periods of time and sometimes in cramped spaces. If easy, soothe and relax, and enhance circulation, with abhyanga.

      3. Finally, Catch Up on Rest

        Traveling can be a delightful break from the day-to-day routine, and a wonderful way to catch up with loved ones during the holidays. However, we know that it can also be exhausting! If we listen to our bodies, and give ourselves the time and space to rest and recoup, we’ll bounce back from all of the travel… just in time for the New Year!

 

*Please note that, because oil on towels or clothing can stain, these items should be washed alone. Important: Oily towels, if allowed to sit for long periods, can spontaneously combust and start a fire. It is recommended that these towels be washed alone and quickly.


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. 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.

 


Ayurveda - Deep Rest & Blissful Sleep

by 

Ayurveda - Deep Rest & Blissful Sleep 
There was no siren nor light nor gentle nudge that woke me up. Nothing external interrupted me and yet, suddenly, in the middle of the night, I was awake and my brain was racing. I wanted sleep; I needed sleep; and none was coming. All I could do was lie there, frantically making mental lists and composing what seemed to be brilliant and urgent plans that I would no doubt forget in the morning. I didn’t even need to look at the clock. I knew what it would say. It had said the same thing every night for a week: 2:30 a.m.

"because your mind is going too fast..."

“If you wake up between 2:00 and 3:00 and can’t go back to sleep because your mind is going too fast, that’s the hallmark of a Vata imbalance,” said Dr. Jim Davis, who runs the Integrative Wellness Center at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. As soon as he said it, I knew he was right. After a long slog through the American medical landscape, I had found an ayurvedic doctor who determined that I’m equal parts Vata and Kapha, but when I’m out of balance, it’s my Vata that goes haywire. And this time of year, the dry months of late fall, can send anyone’s Vata spiraling. And when that happens, say hello to 2:00 a.m.

“If you draw a clock face,” Dr. Davis said, “from 6:00 – 10:00 a.m. or p.m. is Kapha time, 10:00 – 2:00 is Pitta and 2:00 – 6:00 is Vata. And you can prove it to yourself just thinking about the day.” For example: if you wake up at 6:00 a.m., chances are you’re still a little sleepy, maybe moving slowly in the way that Kapha’s earth and water and muddy mixtures move. And by 10:00 a.m., you might feel a little fire in the belly. You’re getting stuff done and you might start thinking about food. By noon, you’re ready for lunch.

“Pitta is all about digestion,” Dr. Davis said. “High Pitta is right at 12:00.” And that is why noon is the best time for the main meal of the day, when our digestive fire (Pitta) is strongest. Vata is all about movement, communication and the nervous system. It starts its reign at 2:00 in the afternoon and gives way to Kapha at 6:00 p.m. According to ayurvedic principles, the best time to go to bed is right around, or just before, 10:00 p.m., when Kapha gives way to Pitta. During the next four hours, Pitta will digest the day and make sense of the emotional and mental events.

“All cell repair mechanisms work around that time, too,” Dr. Davis said.

At 2:00, Pitta gives way to Vata which, theoretically, would deliver the goods Pitta digested all the way to the cells (Vata is all about circulation). If that’s not happening, and you find yourself awake and your mind racing, Dr. Davis has several suggestions:

  • Try to go to bed closer to 10:00 p.m.
  • Avoid stimulation and blinking screens — television, computer and phone — just before bedtime.
  • Develop a steady meditation practice, ideally at sundown or sunrise, the start of Kapha time.
  • Try to exercise during the day.
  • Try not to eat a big meal late in the day.
  • Take one or two Deep Rest tablets about an hour before bedtime to help with sleeping throughout the night. Or try one or two Blissful Sleep tablets at bedtime for help falling asleep faster.

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Alan Marks, CEO of vpk® by Maharishi Ayurveda, has a few more suggestions:

  • Try to eat your main meal between 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.
  • Eat a well-cooked, easy-to-digest dinner at least three hours before bedtime.
  • Consider an abhyanga (ayurvedic self-massage) before bed.
  • Let the sun set in your home (lights out and electronics off) if falling asleep is an issue. This can help reset your biological clock.
  • Take a walk in the early morning light. This is also a good way to reset your biological clock.

Vata loves heavy. If you tend toward Vata imbalance, feeling cold easily, try letting the temp in your home drop at night and weigh yourself down with heavy blankets. Wear socks to bed. Vata loves warm feet.

Pitta loves cool. If you tend toward Pitta imbalance, feeling hot easily, try dropping the temp at night and using fewer covers — if this feels comfortable. Any Pitta-predominant person will tell you that there is nothing worse than waking up hot in the night.

If you wake in the night with a cough, or feeling a discomfort in your throat, but you are not sick, consider that you may be having occasional acid reflux. Following an ayurvedic meal routine will reduce this. Also try taking an Aci-Balance one hour before bed.

Marks goes on to explain that, “When we eat a heavy dinner, we are telling our body to do two opposing things: settle and sleep, and stay active and digest.” The result is that we wake up not completely rested and with inefficient digestion. Have you ever experienced waking up in the morning to your stomach feeling like it is hungry even though you had a big dinner?… You’re probably not actually hungry; rather, your system is starting to pick up digesting dinner again. Thus, the downward cycle of wakeful sleep and incomplete digestion.

When we wake in the night, especially around Vata time, sometimes the character of our thoughts is just a reflection of our body trying to raise the metabolism enough to digest dinner. The mind is a thinking machine and it can’t have a mood, or physical activity in the body, on an abstract basis, so the mind will pick up what is closest to it and “justify” the activity of the body by diving into a train of thoughts. It’s the opposite of “food coma.” It’s food “Vata derangement!” So a lighter, easy-to-digest dinner is one way to set the foundation for a sound night of sleep.

Taking Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus) is a great way to remove the toxins that build up from inefficient digestion (ama) and also to help with regular elimination. Addressing these two aspects of digestion is a great step in keeping Vata in balance and helping with good sleep.



Jody Berger writes about food, sports and wellness for a variety of publications. She is the author of Misdiagnosed: One Woman's Tour of — and Escape From — Healthcareland. Connect with Jody through TwitterFacebook or her website.


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. 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.