The Story Of Disease: An Ayurvedic Understanding

The Story Of Disease
There's a fascinating story I've heard that describes the "Summary of The Process of Disease Formation," according to Ayurvedic Medicine. First, disease begins when we forget our true nature. This is known as the "Primordial Cause" of disease. We forget how we as spirit are spiritualizing through the human experience. According to Marisa Laursen, a professor at the California College of Ayurveda, "the mind is a place of purity and clarity. The thought comes along and disturbs the mind."

the "Primordial Cause" of disease.

"Thought is part of ego and the chatter becomes the smoke screen that disturbs us from the true self." The ego creates stories and draws upon attachments to the past and projections of the future, constantly shape-shifting and vacillating between the two; preventing us from being absolutely absorbed in the present moment because it fears its cessation. There is a sacred text called the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the first line of the yoga sutras states "yoga chitta vritti nirodha", which means that "Yoga (union/merging) involves the cessation of the disturbances of the mind." There are 195 sutras or verses and of the 195 versus the 194 verses show us how to accomplish verse number one.

"Ayurvedic Living" By Dr. Marc Halpern

The process and movement of time, which is known as "Parinama" or that which relates to things that change, is the next cause and contributing factor. There are two aspects to time. One relates to Linear time, which is out of our control because this involves the cycles of the earth revolving around the sun and the changes of season. The second form of time consists of Biological time, which, though is in our control, it is dynamic. This is because the pacing of biological time changes with response to our motion and as motion increases, the rate of biological time increases. With this, the body either ages faster when we are moving faster and more slowly when we slow down. A busy mind causes us to perceive time as moving quickly and a mind that is still and more anchored in the present moment, time slows down. When the mind moves quickly, the body will reflect this and as the mind moves slower, the body will reflect this too.

“and a mind that is still and more anchored in the present moment" ... 

Once we experience a busy and chaotic/distracted mind, we come to the next step where disease develops. This experience is called "Prajnaparadha" or "crimes against wisdom/failure of intelligence". What happens here is that on some deep level we know what is right for us but we allow our minds to convince us otherwise and we make opposite choices. Our intellect is constantly being used to make decisions and it prefers to choose between pleasure and harmony. This is where the ego feeds off the senses and uses the senses to support its own happiness somehow as it pursues outer pleasures to satisfy itself and perpetuate its own existence through separation/division. Dr. Marc Halpern, President and Founder of the California College of Ayurveda, says "While the ego and the senses speak loudly within the great hall of the mind, the soul speaks in whispers." When we allow our inner wisdom to be ignored, it's because we have given our power away to our senses and this leads to the next place where the five senses, the eyes, ears, mouth, the skin, and smell dictate our interaction with the world.

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This is called "Asatmendryartha Samyoga" or "unwholesome conjunction of the senses with their objects of their affection." Dr. Marc Halpern further explains: "When people take into their body that which does not match their constitution, they are considered misusing their senses. In addition to taking in what is not harmonious, a person may also take in too much or too little of what is energetically harmonious for that person. This too will cause disease."

... only Ayurveda has a full definition of what is health.

What is amazing is that of all the healthcare systems in the world, only Ayurveda has come up with an adequate and full definition of what is health. Other systems, like Allopathy, define health as the "absence of disease" but Ayurveda says this "Sama Dosha Sama Agnis ca Sama Dhatu Mala kriya Prasannatmendriya Manah Svasta itiabhidyate" which means "balanced constitution(Vata/Pitta/Kapha), balanced digestion, balanced tissues, balanced waste products (urine, feces, sweat), balanced senses (eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin), balanced mind (sattva, rajas,tamas), and alignment with spirit is what healthy is." Any disturbance or abnormality in any of these is an indication of disease.

Stages Of Disease ... 
Additionally, Ayurveda has broken down disease pathology into six stages, known as "Samprapti." Each of the stages can be understood as such: Accumulation, Aggravation, Overflow, Relocation, Manifestation and Diversification. There is an image that helps to grasp these concepts more easily. Let's say we have a tree and the roots are the doshas (tendencies towards imbalances based on constitutional determinants, of Vata, Pitta and Kapha) and these roots are below the surface. What is above the surface is the trunk of the tree and this represents Overflow, where the blood and plasma exist as part of the circulatory system. As the tree progresses upward, the branches form and this is known as the Relocation Phase. From the branch, we have a bud and this budding is the Manifestation of the disease. After it starts to bloom and this blooming is the full-fledged experience of the disease, known as Diversification. According to Ayurvedic prevention and management of disease there is a natural cycle that happens throughout the year and with each season. As one season is present, that is the Aggravated Phase and the season that just left has now been Alleviated but while we are in the Aggravated Phase the next season is already Accumulating.

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A Closer Look
As each Dosha (biological constitution, that is prone to decay) undergoes this experience of time/season change, the natural Alleviation of particular symptoms occurs. IF or WHEN, for some reason or another, this cycle is interrupted and Alleviation is prevented, we enter into Overflow and this is when a disease is really progressing. In other words, it is during the Accumulation and Aggravation phases that this is the beginning of a disturbance that begins in the digestive system. Commonly ignored, may appear subtle or overt, disturbances would be: sluggish digestion (weak/low digestive fire = Manda Agni), gas/dry stools (variable digestion = Vishama Agni), and/or burning indigestion (sharp digestion = Tikshna Agni). Low digestion relates to Kapha. Variable digestion relates to Vata and sharp digestion relates to Pitta. Balanced digestion is called Sama Agni where there are no digestive disturbances. It is during the Accumulation and Aggravation phases that we can catch a disease from further progressing but we are usually too busy and less sensitive to notice and we keep pushing ahead until other symptoms develop and scream for out attention. It is at these stages that, according to Ayurveda, that we can simply balance our diet and lifestyle, making better choices that we can prevent diseases from increasing. When the symptoms have progressed and they enter into the circulatory system then we have to intervene with herbs/medications and other therapies. Regardless of what stage a disease is at, diet and lifestyle must be adjusted in order to secure the optimization of health. Herbs/medications alone are not meant to do the job completely as we are whole beings and not just treating parts of a body/mind. This is the holistic approach and effort. Even when herbs are administered, diet and lifestyle provisions are made to ensure success or at least make some improvements.

Disease starts out as "dis-ease".

Prognosis is about the likelihood of improvement and/or correction of a condition. Disease, depending on what stage of development it is at can always be managed. There are diseases that are Easy to cure, Difficult to cure, Incurable but not terminal and Terminal.  Disease starts out as "dis-ease" and picks up momentum until it has completely manifested itself as disease and by returning ease through our diet and lifestyles we can encourage disease to return back to ease. Importantly, this ease also involves supporting the well-being of a person through their state of mind. I've said for many years now, that it's about the little things that build up to the big things.

There are of course extenuating circumstances that are to be factored into all this, circumstances such as external factors like accidents and other outside variations of trauma that can influence health and disease pathology. Karma falls into this and it is important to remember that karma is not about blame or judgment but about balance. Karma is not about punishment or reward, it is about balance. In Ayurveda and Yoga, we know that karma is a result of selfish acts and by being selfless we can release ourselves from the cumulative effects and experiences of karma. This is a discussion that requires further exploration at another time and escapes the main purpose of this present article which is meant to give a general understanding and summary of the cause of disease. This current article is meant to share a perspective and expand our lens on the possibilities that surround dis-ease leading to disease. Simply, we can always either prevent or manage.

In summary, take note of what your senses are doing. Take control of them. They are like the five horses without a charioteer and once the charioteer takes hold, the horses can be guided. Similarly, our innermost and highest version of ourselves is the charioteer and when we take hold of the five senses we can get a better handle on our lives. Ayurveda has in place a five sense therapy protocol designed to support this process and journey. With regard to other stressors, by reducing the stress we experience as the mind stresses because of past and future projections and attachments, we can feel more in touch with what is happening to day and embrace the grace of the moment that invites us to be intimate with it. Practices such as, yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, Tai Chi, and other holistic modalities are meant to support us in remembering who we are and what we have come here for. When we remember who we are by escaping the illusions and story-telling of the mind rooted in the attachment to past and future events, we will find our interactions with the world coming from a more wholesome place and the choices we make will be more in alignment with what is true in our hearts and not what we think is true in our minds.

About The Author
Vishnu Om

Vishnu M.Ayu, BA Psy., LMT, CSP, E-RYT, CS2, is a licensed massage therapist with more than 15 years of experience and Master’s of Ayurveda/Yoga from Hindu University of America. Vishnu is currently enrolled in California College of Ayurveda with the intention of obtaining his doctoral degree in Ayurveda. He is the owner of ‘Still Point Ayurveda’ Center and offers Ayurveda out of a few locations. To learn more about Vishnu and his practice you can contact him at Still Point Ayurveda.

An Integrated Approach To Inflammation & Immunity - From An Ayurvedic Perspective + Epigenetics & More!!

An Integrated Approach To Inflammation & Immunity 
From An Ayurvedic Perspective 

There has been a rising buzz in medical science around the learning of inflammation and epigenetic factors that contribute towards disease. In over a decade of practicing Ayurvedic Medicine and Advanced Yoga Therapy, I have noticed a trend where patients and students presenting (even sitting around randomly in public and observing the populace) with certain ailments such as bacterial infections, virus’, candida and cancers and other related imbalances seems to come down to the lowest common denominator being inflammation. Inflammation produces an acidic environment and an acidic environment creates inflammation in the body. In an acidic biosphere we create a foundation in which diseases are rooted in. Modern medicine has become more recently aware that inflammation seems to be the underlying cause for numerous, if not all, conditions. To Ayurveda, a system of medicine over 5,000 years old, this isn't new.

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1. Water
2. Turmeric Powder
3. Honey
4. Mint leaves

Take the 500 ml water in bowl and boil the water for 5 minutes. Now add the 5 tbsp of honey, 1/2 tbsp of turmeric powder and 10- 15 mint leaves. Boil it for another 5 minutes. Strain the water and drink it to boost the immune system.

Ayurveda is known as the “Science of Life” and is the oldest most complete system of integrated health and medicine. Ayurveda has its roots in nature and the five elements, Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. When we combine Space and Air elements we get the principle of Vata. Vata is the term that refers to the nervous system and catabolism. Pitta, is the term that encompasses the fire and water elements and governs hormones, digestion and metabolism. Kapha, is the final principle that involves the water and earth elements, governing immunity and anabolism. When we look at inflammation in Ayurveda, we understand that many systems can be effected because eventually all the elements are effected. Health is considered ideal when we are balanced in these five elements and when we start to affect one, the others will surely follow.

Everything Is Connected
Everything is connected. In Ayurveda, 80% of diseases are considered a result of Vata imbalance because Vata oversees, per say, the mind/brain and nervous system. What stresses the mind will eventually stress the body. Examples of symptomology that are common in Vata predominant individuals (Ectomorphic) include insomnia, constipation, anxiety, fear, breathlessness, ADD/ADHD, Multiple Sclerosis, involuntary tremors, alzheimers.

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Next, Ayurveda says that 40% of diseases are a result of Pitta imbalances, which shows up as inflammation. For Pitta predominant individuals (Mesomorphic) examples of such ailments includes anything and all the symptoms ending in “itis” such as gastritis, conjunctivitis, iritis, diverticulitis, types of cancers and viral infections.  Finally, Kapha governs 20% of imbalances, relating to accumulation of sorts  With Kapha predominant individuals (Endomorphic) we have examples including edema, diabetes, depression, sluggishness, fibroids, candida and certain types of tumors. As mentioned previously, that when one of the elements are out of balance so too shall the others be somehow affected.

The ancient texts of Ayurveda, written in the Arthava Veda (one of four Ancient Vedic Texts) and Charak Samhita, discuss this concept of inflammation extensively through its content. Where does this inflammation come from? What are the common categories of ailments associated with this, forming pathologies? How can it be prevented? How can it be treated?

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to when something is out of balance and/or has been invaded by an external pathogen of sorts. One of the first actions that the body takes, when something has invaded or gone out of balance internally, is the body temperature increasing. Heat is a biochemical chemical reaction designed to flush it out and support the body in returning to homeostasis. During this time, a battalion of cells in the form of at least white blood cells are sent in defense and an effort to contain the potential cascade of health issues that can ensue if not managed. It’s like when a forest fire happens and the fireman rush to the scene to contain the fire and extinguish it before it spreads and destroys neighboring homes and lives. If or when the body has recovered from this form of trauma, the body eventually recovers its health and can move forward. The body is constantly working on maintaining our immunity from things we see and don’t see. From what we drink to what we eat, how and where we breathe to exercise.

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There are so many aspects to how the body works that it would be exhausting and impossible to follow all the processes in any one moment. Suffice it to say that the body is always “working” on something. Sometimes some issues develop, say from tick bites that produce Lyme Disease, or viral infections like HIV that challenge the body on an ongoing basis. Some virus’ the body can handle on its own. Other virus’ are more complex (like Lymes and HIV) and challenge the body’s capacity to maintain balance consistently over time and as we age, which require certain medications to support the immunity so that the body can at least hold the virus at bay. In such instances, inflammation on a subtle level is prevalent.

The virus of HIV itself produces inflammation and then being on the anti-retrovirals (HIV medications) produces inflammation because the liver and kidneys filter all medications, putting stress on the liver; which also is a contributing organ for the filtration and synthesis of healthy blood cells.  The blood is the vehicle in which everything is delivered throughout the body. Picture it like molten lava flowing through the veins, just not as hot, thankfully. The body keeps a certain temperature (98.6 average) for a reason. This is the perfect condition the body feels that everything in the body can optimally function. Too cold and things start to become stagnant and break down. Too hot and things start to burn up.

Ayurveda recognizes that the first line of defense is the skin.  The skin, epithelial tissue, extends from external surfaces such as the outer skin, to lining of sinus passages, ear canal esophageal tissue and ending in the rectal cavity. It covers the body through and through. Inside and out. Inside being the entire digestive tract beginning from the oral cavity and ending in the rectal cavity. This is how we can visualize that the body contains a tube within a tube.  The inner tube being that which I mentioned, from mouth to rectum, to the outer tube being the rest of the body that surrounds this. Even cells themselves possess a layer of tissue that is membranous. The skin alone weighs approximately 12 pounds of the body weight. That's a lot of protection! Essentially, the first line of immunological defense is the digestive tract and equally important is the surface of the skin wrapping the entire body.

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Ayurveda speaks extensively about this regarding self-care, which includes the necessity to eliminate ice and cold foods and beverages from the diet. According to Eastern Medicine (Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine) ice or cold should only be topically applied to some condition such as a burn or fever, or even stop one from bleeding, because the quality of cold is astringent and this supports wound repair by causing the blood to clot fairly quickly for most individuals. Furthermore, ice and cold are considered poison to the body once it enters into the digestive system.

This act compromises the functionality of immunity, digestion and the nervous system contributing to a large volume, onslaught and cascade of numerous health conditions. Digestion supports immunity.  We may wonder why this is, but if we remember that I mentioned that the body is balanced at 98.6 degrees and extreme variations of this can cause of domino effect of health issues. We know that metabolism and immunity decrease with aging. It’s just part of our human design. When we factor on these two components it becomes an opportunity for us to be more mindful of our health and how delicate it is.

There are generally five categories which account for how inflammation occurs. Bacterial, fungal and virus' are three of them. Parasites and Somatic Trauma are two. Bacterial, fungi, parasite and virus’ have two pathological patterns and roots in common: 1) They thrive in acidic environments, which is primarily indicated through inflammation. We know that an acidic environment fosters inflammation and that inflammation breeds an acidic environment. 2) They feed off sugar as a means of reproduction.  Implicitly, sugar, especially and in excess, feeds inflammation and therefore increases it. There is a process called “Glycation”, which is the combination of glucose (a type of sugar) combining with protein and creates a host of issues including inflammation.  Let’s look at an example from each category. For bacterial infection, we can use “Strep” (Streptocous). It produces inflammation and accumulates fluids which tend to be related to the grouping of immune cells attempting to ward off the infection. Feeding it sugar will only increase its existence. If the body has pre-existing inflammation it easily finds its home in the body. If we look at the fungal category, we can see how “Candida” (Candidiasis) is like every fungus that grows from sugar and acidic environments. Virus’ like Lymes and HIV, feed off sugar and pre-existing inflammation, producing more inflammation.

Parasites contribute towards inflammation because parasites can invade the digestive system and outer surface of the skin if immunity of these tissues is compromised. Parasites have also been known to mask themselves beneath other symptoms and therefore individuals are diagnosed with conditions that look like conditions that would normally appear from other causes, but become misdiagnosed commonly because parasites aren’t always sought after unless someone has generally stated they were traveling to third world countries. We don’t really even have to travel to places like Peru or Guatemala or even India to return with parasites. Simply eating at a local diner or having sex with someone who has parasites can spread such things. Parasites exist in everyone to a small degree but the introduction of more can wreak havoc and mask as countless conditions. In Ayurveda, we can determine from pulse and tongue assessment whether parasites are prevalent. In allopathic medicine (western), tests can be performed, that are generally accurate, not always because the instruments aren't all that subtle, and can determine whether there are parasites. If parasites are the root cause, then resolution must start from here.  Diet and other lifestyle factors have to be re-evaluated and circumvented in the direction of change. Parasites feed on sugar and love inflammation.

Interestingly, when a trauma occurs, though anything off-setting the equilibrium of the body is considered a sort of “trauma,” the body exhibits a natural response via histamines and other biological features that address wherever a sort of wound may have entered. Say for instance we were in an accident, we obtain whip lash, our neck becomes tense, sensitive, cold, hot, throbbing, sharp etc. These are all rooted in a form of inflammation. Surgeries can also be included here because to some degree surgery alters the body and can generally be a hit or miss procedure that can either cause balance or perpetuate imbalance. Getting hit with an object or getting tossed about causes the body to respond in defense in order to protect itself. The fascial system (connective tissue) of the body distorts and eventually/inevitably effects associated organs and other systems. I sprain my ankle, which pulls my knee, disrupts my hips and later the opposite side of my neck causing a whole domino effect of issues. This pathway is slightly inflamed, stemming from the origin of the imbalance. The body’s systems come into play and attempt to re-regulate, causing stress. Stress causes inflammation and there you have it, again. What’s amazing about the body is that if we suffer an internal trauma related to a condition like a virus, which affects tissues, cells and organs, then the body will align itself accordingly. This is the “inside out effect.” If I injure the body from the outside, then the internal organs related to the location and origin will be disrupted, thereby affecting other systems along the way. This is the “outside in effect.”

The topic of diet is a touchy subject for a lot of reasons, one being the direct connection with food and emotions/memories.  Ayurveda says “We are what we digest” which is different from what we learned being “we are what we eat.” If there is not food, there is no body. If we aren’t eating the best food, then we will not have the best body which includes health and immunity. Digestion is two-fold. The first relates to the actual physical digestion of food substances in the GI Tract and the second pertains to the effect of how the mind processes/metabolizes information.  With regard to physical digestion, diet plays a vast role in the reduction of diseases, the production of diseases and the prevention of diseases.  General examples of foods that increase inflammation and contribute to all three of the above categories are as such: sugar, processed sugar, excess salt, skipping meals, minimal intake of water, eggs, alcohol, fermented foods (breads, cheeses, pastas, yogurt, cheese, alcohol), night shades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplants), soy/tofu/tempeh, coffee (in excess), beef and especially pork, processed sugar (I.e. candy and soda), and all fast/processed/packaged foods. Highly processed food and even lack of adequate hydration, lend themselves as factors in inflammation. When any of the above conditions are present, they all feed off this previously mentioned list. Let's add to this, Ayurveda's wisdom of “Incompatible Foods” (such as cheese, sauce and bread combined, potatoes and eggs, bread and yogurt (depending on when and who/constitutionally). Lack of vegetables, green leafy vegetables and fiber overall can contribute to inflammation. The chlorophyll, which is the blood of the plant is alkalizing and it alkalizing the hotness of our own blood and reduces inflammation. The cellulose fibers, from vegetable and legumes, also help to clear toxins and transport them from the digestive system releasing them through our bowel movements. They also encourage bowel movements which is an essential daily function highly required for management of our health. When we have a healthy colon, we have a happy mind and healthier body.

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A Practical Pearl Of Wisdom ... 
Let’s quickly add here that water/hydration daily
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Mental provision also has a major role in adding to or preventing disease formation. In and of itself, the word disease is simple "dis-ease", which pertains to mental unrest and physical imbalance.  As previously mentioned,  Ayurveda states that “we are what we digest” and that  the digestion of what traverses the canvas of the mind includes the information that passes through “five gateways” being the doors of the senses; eyes, ears, nose, mouth and touch.  What are we seeing regularly? What are we putting in our mouth? What are we hearing/listening to normally? What do we smell/take in such as the quality of air? What do we touch or what touches us? These five doorways deliver information for the mind, which it then metabolizes/transforms/digests/interprets. The subtlety of such things has a profound influence upon our overall wellbeing. What we are exposed to on a daily basis has a sometimes immediate impact.  We can experience this in simple instances of fragrances or how people to speak to us. Unkind words cause emotional duress, usually. Loving words creates a soothing experience like salve for our mind and heart. When the mind is afflicted, we have a form of irritation, agitation and inflammation of the mind. This affects the heart. When the heart is unhappy, neuropeptides deliver messages to the brain from the heart and from the heart to the brain indicating “dis-ease.” It’s interesting to note this because just up until approximately 30 years ago, modern medicine simply looked at the body as a system of parts. Then a shift occurred and the introduction of Mind-Body connection was understood to be another key concept in healthcare/sick-care management.

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The mind dictates much of the body, like a king ruling of the kingdom being the body, but similarly and when the body is afflicted by some "thing" the body affects that balance of the mind.  For instance, if the mind is aware of or creates an anger filled thought it will not only disrupt the digestive system but also add to inflammation in the body.  Conversely, unresolved anger, frustration, resentment, hatred and jealousy can contribute towards inflammation in the body.  This is the psychophysical relationship we possess within.  Many of the emotions that cause uneasiness will influence the body in such a way that the body will become a forum and breeding ground for virus, bacteria and fungus related conditions. In the past two years some research was put out showing how depression may be rooted or at least somehow related to inflammation. I would also say that inflammation can add to and or produce depression. I’ve come across many clients dealing with Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia and commonly they speak of being depressed.

Addiction, which is a sensitive and complex area for discussion, is primarily an imbalance of mind (and brain chemistry to a certain degree) that translates to actions which purposely seek to find balance within by externalized (on various levels) superficial and repetitive methods. This pattern also predisposes us to all types of infections and health compromised situations. The mind can also play a vital function in healthcare because a stronger mind creates a stronger resistance to disease thereby functioning as pivotal point within and as immunity. Stress overall enhances the inflammatory response and contributes to its formation.  Stress is inflammatory by nature due to its action of "friction". Anxiety and fear provoke a cold response and therefore increase nervous system hypersensitivity.  This weakens the natural lubricating aspects of the body and mind and from this "dryness" (because fear and anxiety are cooling, drying in qualities) the probability of inflammation increases.

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Sleep is necessary to counteract stress. More importantly, deep sleep is where we are engaged in a parasympathetic process that cools and restores the body. We know that constantly being hyper vigilant and active within the sympathetic nervous response increases friction and yeah in the body. Meditation is also a vital and viable tool to reduce and prevent stress through which we invite the body to be engaged more parasympathetically. Both sleep and meditation are crucial to re-establishing the integrity of the nervous system. Not only just sleep but sleep at night is the best quality sleep.  When we sleep, we let go of ourselves and our outer involvement in the world so that we can let go of this weight and explore the inner dimensions of our consciousness. Meditation can be done anytime, if someone wants to do it.  Sleep does not operate the same way.  Sleep is a natural anti-inflammatory.

Pranayam (breathing exercises that cultivate our life energy and vitality) are tools that the ancient system of yoga offers us in order to support our life. Breathing properly, regularly/consciously and with intention becomes a natural anti-inflammatory for both mind and body. It is a tool to be used with all forms of exercises that will not only maximize efficiency of the body and mind but also promote longevity.  Pranayam is also a tool used in yoga to cross the bridge from the outer experiences of the world and enter into the inner terrain of the body and mind. The respiratory mechanism is both involuntary and voluntary. We can’t really hold our breath long enough where we can cease our own life because the body protects itself from extinction per say. Yet it is voluntary because we can manipulate the breath in many ways. The breath serves us physiologically and psychologically. The yogi’s also know that spiritually the breath is a vital tool. Improper breathing decreases the quality of life. The yogi’s knew that longer, deeper and fuller breaths add on to life and that short, shallow breathing increases degeneration. Dr. Vasant Lad, an internationally known and master yogi and physician, gave an example of life span to breathing. He taught us to observe how a dog breathes. Short, quick bursts of breath; the dog doesn’t have a long lifespan. Yet when we observe the turtle, deep full and slow breaths; the turtle can live approximately 100 years. Amazing! Breath is life. No breath, not life. If we breathe more deeply, slowly and consciously we can support the respiration of not only the body, organs but go as far as the cells and DNA themselves.  This is the difference between sympathetic nervous system response (flight or fight) and parasympathetic nervous system response that involves the vagus nerve and allows us to feel a deep sense of peace and love. When we feel peace, there is no war. When there is no war, there is no inflammation. Eastern medicine says that even cancer tends to be an example of where we are at war with ourselves because love and peace are somehow hiding. The more we breathe, the more we create a space for peace and love to show up.

Pranayam (ones that are soothing and calming, mainly) is also a precursor to meditation. Both pranayama and meditation are natural anti-inflammatories. The more we focus on breathing techniques and inviting meditation into our daily lives, the more we can notice shifts inwardly and outwardly. Pain management techniques are showing that the usage of meditation and breathing exercises helps to reduce pain and other symptoms. Pain is an indication of inflammation.

This is an important area worth discussing. Exercise is what moves the body on all levels. Improper exercise can build up lactic acid (remember acid is acidity and a great place for inflammation to grow, along with many other ailments.) Improper breathing effects CO2 in the body and lactic acid. The lymphatic system is a system of drainage of toxins and also an important component of our immunity. If we aren’t sweating enough/regularly then already we can have a sort of “sewage” back up. Exercise supports metabolism and with the biochemical marriage of insulin and glucose. When we exercise the muscles use glucose as energy molecules and when we don’t exercise enough this sugar accumulates and can cause the typical Type 2 diabetes. When we exercise we support insulin and the sugars are metabolized accordingly. If we have an excess of glucose and proteins then this becomes a breeding ground for inflammation and is a host to many other disease pathologies.  Exercise practices can be both stimulating and anti-inflammatory.

I added this category because my understanding is that there will be plenty of data to support this connection, if it has already been shown. I attended an Ayurvedic Medical Conference recently and I was introduced to a doctor of pharmacology, practitioner of Ayurveda, who was trained in Epigenetics.  Epigenetics is the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. Dr. Martha Harkey discussed with us the science of how DNA works and that Epigeneticists are learning about how some genes are turned on and off. From what she shared, methylation occurs and that seems to be a major factor in what happens when certain genes are activated. From my understanding of DNA and genes, being that they are proteins, if I were to increase the heat around any protein it would react in a certain way. Too much heat applied to protein can break it down or cause it to denature, like frying an egg. It is possible, in my humble opinion, that if the body is inflamed and proteins as far as DNA are affected, then I would postulate that maybe one of the reasons why certain genes turn on and someone develops cancer, or diabetes or some neurological disorder that “Aunt Sally” had, is because inflammation was the precursor for it. It is definitely understood in Ayurveda that we can change our genetic predispositions simply by changing our lifestyle, which includes regular meditation, yoga, diet and breathing techniques. Consciousness exists in each cell, however big or small. When we access this consciousness, anything becomes possible. We are not just a bag of parts. Just because we have a genetic predisposition towards any one thing does not mean that one health issue will come to fruition. If we create a new program, by making different choices, we can make great leaps in our own little bodies and minds. If we believe that we can develop that one issue that someone in our family has/had, then we increase the probability of it. Yet if we believe it is true that we can change that course and that is possible too. Therefore, inflammation may need further research to determine its influence in genes turning on and off.

The List
Here is a list of many factors that can create and/or add to inflammation, according to Ayurveda/Integrated Medicine. Before you look, I would like for you to remember this which is that it’s a list designed to create awareness. It is the hope that we can make better choices and to see how health is primarily a result of “cause and effect” as Ayurveda shows us. Some items on the list are simple and others are more complex. Some are easy to digest and others more difficult to process mentally. There is a significant reason for each on that could get explored later on and/or researched accordingly. This list is about increasing mindfulness and educates us on how to make some adjustments, over time. Some items on the list are simply requiring that they be utilized in moderation BUT also remember that “a little of this and a little of that” quickly adds up to a lot of what isn’t ideal.

Ready? Here goes…

1. Fried foods, grease
2. Fermented foods (breads, cheeses, pastas and anything else yeasted)
3. Alcohol consumption (especially in excess)
4. Sweet foods (too sugary and unnatural sweetening... agents) ex. soda, pastries
5. Dairy (based on quality, source, digestion)
6. Lack of sleep. Lack of adequate sleep. Lack of sleeping at the appropriate time.
7. Staying up late (past 11:00)
8. Processed foods containing preservatives (including soy based derivatives)/Fast Foods. Food cultivated in fields of GMO’s and Pesticides.
9. Wheat/gluten (especially overly processed and unclean sources) ex. white flour
10. Caffeine
11. Smoking
12. Drugs
13. Addictions
14. Excess sexual activity
15. Hot and spicy foods
16. Acid provoking foods, things that are sour
17. Meats, red and especially pork (including bacon)
18. Anger (can cause inflammation and be the cause of toxins causing inflammation)
19. Night shades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplants)
20. Exposure, excess exposure to technologies (ie. Cell phones, computers, electronics)
21. Traveling/traveling excessively and/or traveling during the winter.
22. Intense workouts/excessive workouts
23. Excess salt in diet
24. Parasites
25. Repressed/unexpressed emotions
26. Lack of vegetables and legumes.
27. Exposure to dryness
28. Pharmaceuticals/medications
29. Inadequate amount of water intake
30. Excess sun exposure, especially for Type A personality types.
31.  Lack of exercise or improper application of exercise.
32. Intense yoga practices or yoga practices that are excessively heating. (This especially effects pre-existing inflammation and Type A personality types)
33. Exposure/over-exposure to digital technologies. For instance, being on the computer a lot or texting or surrounded by numerous cables/wires, etc.

34. Minimize exposure to political environments. (This was fascinating. This morning I worked on a client that had bronchiole inflammation. I asked him a few questions as I was examining the tissue around his heart area and asked him what has him irritated. He said following the recent political presenters and all that surrounds it. After we had this awareness and I suggested he take a break from such things. Even eliminate it, the irritation in the tissues became cooler and he even stated that his bronchioles bothered him less.) Amazing!

35. Lack of social interactions/activities. Meaning not having a community of people who are uplifting and encouraging can increase inflammation because the mind and heart are connected. If we aren’t surrounded by love, loving kindness and connection then we are missing an aspect of or life that is vital.

36. Disconnection from nature and all that is natural. The body and mind can become restored and heal deeply with exposure to nature. Hiking, camping, listening to the sound of the live ocean and reflecting on the stars with our own eyes can be profound for our soul.

37. Exposure to radiation and radioactive sites.
38. Exposure to power lines, power boxes and power stations.
40. Contaminated water, air and soil.

The list was/is not meant to alarm you or frighten you but offer insight as to taking a look at your life and see what could be contributing towards ill-health. Slowly reducing and eliminating any and some of these will already start to shift things in a better direction.

We have spent the time looking at several of the potential causes and categories of inflammation with a few simple antidotes for it. Here’s a recapitulation of what is anti-inflammatory:

  1. Water/hydration is a natural anti-inflammatory.
  2. Good exercise, appropriate for our constitution.
  3. Meditation.
  4. Sleep.
  5. Breathing practices.
  6. Diet according to our constitution.
  7. Environmental considerations and what to avoid.
  8. Maintaining peace in the mind and a loving heart.

So much more could be written and expanded upon regarding the above headings. What was written was enough to wet the palate and get the mind going in considering another approach based on an integrated perspective of medicine and philosophy of health. There’s a lot to consider. So many subtle nuances that can affect us all in different ways based on various degrees. It is safe to say that in today’s day and age we are exposed to so much and that overall there an aspect of life that we are experiencing much agitation and inflammation. In Ayurveda, we say that modern culture is afflicted, because of lifestyle and diet and a lack of peace, resulting from a Vata/Pitta imbalance.  So many of the Ayurvedic doctors and research shared at the NAMA Conference (National Ayurveda Medical Association) indicated that the main cause of disease comes from inappropriate diet and lifestyle; not to mention a mind that has run amuck.

We can say that factors from the external can affect the internal, like those mentioned, but we can also say, according to Ayurveda, that if we strengthen out immunity from the inside out we will be less likely pre-disposed to invasions. In the yogic texts, they refer to Lord Shiva being able to drink poison and process it completely. Ayurveda says that if our digestion is strong we can digest poison and eat rocks without incurring any illness. It’s amazing to consider the possibilities of how we can optimize our health and what we have access to when we turn East and see what the ancient traditions such as Ayurveda and even Traditional Chinese Medicine have been masters of for millennia.

The goal is to increase alkalinity in mind and body. Avoid the major offenders as much as possible. Process emotions slowly, but surely. Follow a healthy diet and lifestyle that is in accordance with not only daily, seasonal, annual but also constitutional understanding according to Ayurveda. Breathe more deeply. Meditate more. Notice where, how and the quality/quantity of your sleep. Eat more whole clean and home cooked meals. Drink filtered water. Get plenty of fresh air. Connect with nature more often. Detox from the digital world on a regular basis. Surround yourself with caring loving individuals.  Align ourselves with the elements more. It is the body's right and desire to be healthy and will continue with relentless and countless efforts, until it can no longer. Is our health worth the sacrifice to lifestyle? If so, then life will be either short lived or just the quality of it will be diminished. We get to decide and affirm life or ill health in every moment. It's up to us to thrive or dive. Inside out and outside in. The ultimate healing of inflammation can only occur through a system of medicine that supports and is well versed in body-mind-spirit. Ayurveda is this system of medicine. Dr. David Frawley stated “there is no other medical system in the world that is as complete and integrated as Ayurveda.” Until we are each taken into consideration as a whole being, we will continue to falter in our capacity to create an atmosphere of optimal health and well-being.

About The Author
Vishnu Om
Vishnu M.Ayu, BA Psy., LMT, CSP, E-RYT, CS2, is a licensed massage therapist with more than 15 years of experience and Master’s of Ayurveda/Yoga from Hindu University of America. He is the owner of ‘Still Point Ayurveda’ Center and offers Ayurveda out of a few locations. To learn more about Vishnu and his practice you can find him at Still Point Ayurveda

This information is meant for educational purposes only and not considered medical advice. Any changes in lifestyle should be reviewed with a qualified practitioner and primary care physician if you are currently under their care for specific conditions.

Sacred Rituals - The Daily Routine ["Dinacharya"]


Sacred Rituals - The Daily Routine
Within time and space we humans exist here on a planet surrounded by unspoken graceful poetic moments like when we witness the rise and setting sun, the moon waxing and waning on a crisp lucid night and a baby's first steps.  We are part of this eternal poetry where planets cycle around each other dancing in the sky and stars are birthed and reduced to ash after thousands of years. We are part of an infinite cosmos and within is exists a timeless inherent cosmic consciousness. Ayurveda takes all this into account as we traverse this terrain as spiritual beings in a human body.  Ayurveda, known as the "Science of Life, Art of Living and Science of Longevity" invites us all to really look at ourselves as a configuration of the five elements manifest in each and every one of us. The dance of the five elements creates unity and harmony.

The Five Elements & Doshas 
The universe contains all these five elements to various degrees. These five elements are Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space/Ether. In order to further understand Ayurveda we come to learn its language as being a beautiful way to relate to the elements as part of the elements. Ayurvedic medical terminology suggests that when we look at the qualities of the elements they fall into what we practitioners call Vata, Pitta and Kapha.  Vata involves the combination of space and air elements, which primary qualities are dry, cold and light. Pitta involves the fire and water elements, that are primarily hot, light and moist. Though, Pitta can share drying as heat can be drying. Kapha is the overlap of water but also earth elements. Kapha primary qualities are heavy, cold and moist. Vata, Pitta and Kapha are what we call Doshas, or biological humors. Dosha is defined as that which is prone to decay and deterioration. Vata is the principle that governs the nervous system and the word Vata translates to basically "that which moves."  Pitta governs the digestive system and the word Pitta refers to "that which transforms and digests, governing the endocrine/digestive system. Kapha governs the immune system and translates as "that which molds or creates form."

The Rhythm Of Life - Cycles
These elements/doshas, fluctuate through time and space as part of their own ritualistic cosmic practices. We add to this, the biological rhythm/circadian rhythm, the biological clock; the clock being that which tends to proceed as part of the phases of our lives such as the Kapha phase that starts from birth until the onset of Pitta which is puberty and adulthood, to Vata phase which is when the hormones change and we are seniors. We have the cycles of the moon, solar cycle, seasonal cycle, daily cycle and the rise and fall of the ocean tides. All of this being the play of elements to some degree. As we are aligned with the daily cycle we are essentially aligned with the rhythm and ritual of the day. With this, Ayurveda calls daily practices "Dinacharya."  As far as seasonal practices, Ayurveda defines it as "Ritucharya", which we will talk about in part two of the article. Dinacharya, is when we follow the flow of the day, per say.  I'm doing so, we set up ourselves for optimal health which is our divine right. With dinacharya we can observe the phases in which Vata, Pitta and Kapha govern the day.

  • Kapha Time From 6am-10am
  • Pitta Time From 10am-2pm
  • Vata Time From 2pm-6pm


We then progress from 6pm - 10pm with Kapha, 10pm - 2am Pitta and 2am - 6am being Vata.  Each aspect of the day correlates to different physiological functions and activities which the dinacharya practices support. Primarily, this is how the day unfolds. We rise during the earlier time of Kapha in the morning, having a light breakfast. We make our way to lunch which is the peak time of day when the sun is prominently in the sky and we are productive, also having the main meal of lunch. Then, winding down the day with productivity as we end the day with Vata and then having a supplemental supper a few hours before bed, during Kapha time. Pitta thereby takes over and reorganizes the body while organs such as the liver clean up. We enter into a deep pristine rest (usually) during Vata time and then come back full circle to Kapha time of morning.

It also important to note to significant auspicious times of day which are the periods of transition known as Brahma muhurta, which occurs around sunrise and sunset. Generally, the timing is approximately 45 minutes before and after, but this window overall. During this time, vedantic/yogic/Ayurvedic practices emphasize at least acknowledging this time with either some natural tendency as in walking mindfully in nature or simply focusing on the breath and meditating.

With Ayurveda, it is important to create a foundation of our health with how we follow this daily cycle. Vamadeva Shastra (Dr.David Frawley, internationally known Vedic Scholar and practitioner) says "To create a healthy tree, one must first nourish the root. The root of our lives is our lifestyle." By following the below routine we can begin to invite in good health. These are recommendations that I've suggested to my patients and have found much transformation in their lives by simply implementing these practices. There are various reasons that justify the why of these practices and that there is an overall alchemy that is sparked. You'll see for yourself as you start taking these steps. You'll feel better, more balanced and more connected to the bigger picture of life. How great is that?!


The Daily Routine ... 

Morning Rituals
I consider this one of the most important times of the day because we set the tone for how the rest of the day will unfold. It is the spring step forward. The cleansing time of day is the morning Kapha time. The body is generally ready to defecate and urinate. We have some mucus accumulated and the body releases it as we spit it up and release it from the oral cavity. We rinse/brush We bathe ourselves to cleanse the body from when the night caused us to become stagnant. Showering stimulates us because of the rapid force of water hitting the body. Though, showers can also deplete us due to its cleansing nature and nutrients are washed down the drain. Ideally, it's best to shower after we do our workout so we can wash the sweat that has internally caused a detoxification. It is also best to work out in the morning because we move lymphatic and energize the body. After showering we can then have breakfast and continue to work.

Here's an overall outline of how the morning is structured:
1) Awaken by 6:30/7am.
2) Tongue scrap
3) Brush your teeth
4) Rinse the face with cool water
5) Neti pot and/or Nasya oil administration
6) Take hot water (various forms)
7) Take some constitutional based herbs/vitamins
8) Exercise/yoga
9) Breathing techniques as per constitution
10) Meditation
11) Bathe
12) Breakfast (light meal)
13) Work

Ayurvedic Oral Care Products
All-natural ayurvedic formula with neem extract helps cleanse deep toxins from the teeth and mouth. 

Ayurvedic Herbal Cleansing Soaps 

Note: This may seem like a lot at first but when it becomes routine you'll see how second nature and fluid it becomes. Take your time implementing and over time it all comes together efficiently and easily. It may seem like a while in the morning at first but it gets quicker. I promise.

Afternoon Rituals
The next time of day that is most important, in its own way, is lunch time. Which is to be had between 10 and 2. Ideally around noon when the sun is at its peak and when digestive enzymes are the strongest. If we miss lunch, skip lunch or have lunch later, we eventually will notice mood issues and blood sugar imbalances, along with usual cravings. Cravings can also be an indicator of poor hydration. This is the one meal that we absolutely can not sacrifice. This is also the heaviest and main meal of the day. Bulk of proteins, especially meats, are especially digested this time of day. More so than dinner since digestion is stronger at lunch than at night. Proteins/carbohydrates/fats are consumed first. Followed by veggies. Approximately 30% of the food is protein and 10% is carbs. 60% are veggies. There is a not of variation from winter to summer where we increase proteins some due to climate demands. Cooked or raw based on seasonal considerations and constitutional. It is also important to sip hot water/tea. NO guzzling as this suppresses enzymatic activities. Sipping acts as a buffer and encourages the digestive juices to function better. Sipping feeds the fire but guzzling puts it out.

Ayurveda Spice Selections 
Ready-to-use spice mixtures satisfy the six ayurvedic tastes considered essential for balance.

Snacking is generally avoided throughout the day because it can offset metabolic functions. Hot water or tea is recommended instead. Though, there are considerations to be made as per constitutional needs and based on how balanced digestion is. Sipping hot water or teas throughout the day encourages metabolism. Additionally, napping after a meal is contraindicated because it disrupts metabolism and slowly causes heaviness in digestion to increase. This begins to form Ama, which is toxin built up from undigested food. A good walk post lunch is good for supporting metabolism. Liquids or snacks, if this happens to be the case, shouldn't happen for at least an hour after lunch. Last sip and last bite is the last until an hour or so after. (This goes for dinner too!)

Here's the general outline for lunch:
1) Sit down to eat.
2) Take around 15-20 minutes to actually eat.
3) Largest meal preferably around noon.
4) Sipping tea/hot water with meal
5) Short walk
6) Eat the meal with minimal distraction. This includes not being on the phone or computer or even eating on the go. (No mindless eating.)
7) Return to duties.

Dinner Rituals
Dinner time is a supplemental meal, hence, called "supper time." The meal should be light. Proteins, Like eat, should be less this time of day. Grains and simpler proteins are fine. Heavy meals should be avoided.  I usually say half of what lunch is in portion and generally eaten around 6/7pm. This is because we are in Kapha time again and the digestive activities are generally less than lunch, significantly. This is because the body is preparing for rest. Cortisol is strongly surging earlier in the day gives rise to melatonin, around 2pm, that peaks around 10pm and this is the sleep chemical that helps us to fall asleep more gracefully and naturally. Therefore, going to bed with a full stomach only causes the meal not to be fully digested and allows for toxicity/Ama to build up and lymphatic issues which contributes to overall accumulation of symptoms like weight gain, to say the least. We feel heavy at night which isn't the desired heaviness we are seeking that aids us with sleep. Again, sipping hot water with the meal us recommended. Sipping hot water aids in the flushing of our lymphatic drainage system that is also responsible for our overall immunity. We sip hot water or tea with meals unless it consists of a soup or broth and then we have enough liquid at this time.

Ayurveda Herbal Digestion Products 
Good health depends on strong, efficient digestion.

Outline for dinner is as follows:
1) Sit to eat.
2) Eat with minimal distraction.
3) Light meal around 6/7.
4) Sip tea/hot water with meal.
5) Do the dishes and/or walk about for 10 - 15 minutes.

Note: Generally, on the rare occasion that a heavy meal can't be avoided, Ayurveda suggests fasting for breakfast and maybe just having tea or broth.

Sleep Time
Naturally and before the introduction of technologies that has not permitted us to be night owls, we would fall asleep not long after sunset. The body's innate tendency is to feel drowsy around 8/9pm. Anything outside of this is typically viewed as an imbalance in natures perfect design. We see in current research that staying up late adds to inflammation in the body. I've recently written another article on how sleep adds to inflammation. Inflammation adds to disease formation in the body and mind. Sleep time is outwardly passive time but inwardly active in the sense that the body is reorganizing itself and the mind can be less involved in worldly affairs. It is important to our overall health to ensure that sleep is regular and minimally imbalanced. Therefore, Ayurveda suggests being in bed around 10, ideally so we don't miss the window which then causes to get our "second wind", which really involves tapping into our liver energy that is meant to be inwardly metabolizing the entire days foods and activities so it can wrap everything up and send everything out through urine, feces and sweat. Known as the three Malas, or waste products. What isn't sent out is used by the body to rebuild and replenish itself. Sleep is vital. The bedroom should be a temple and silence, free of electronics is highly recommended as electromagnetic currents from such devices can negatively affect our nervous system and disrupt our quality of sleep.

Blissful Sleep
Blissful Sleep formula produce a calming, balancing effect on the body, mind and emotions. You’ll find sleep becoming deeper and more restful.

Post-dinner outline:
1) Unwind after dinner.
2) Prepare to go to bed by brushing the teeth and removing yourself from any engaging activities such as TV watching or stimulating conversations.
3) Maybe take a bath.
4) Maybe do some soothing breathing technique.
5 Lights out.

Note that if you are under the supervision of an Ayurvedic Practitioner, that if you are recommended to take herbs, take them accordingly. If there are herbs for lunch, take them as suggested. If there are herbs at night, take them as recommended. You'll be told where they fit into the above outlines.

Finally, Ayurveda has this template designed to help us realign with the subtle ritualistic experiences of the day.  Each day is a ritual in being alive and the day offers itself as part of it. As we integrate these suggestions we will notice great changes over time and on so many levels. Please know that this is a general guideline according to Ayurveda and of course adaptations are to be made because of our own individual lifestyles. For more information or support around tailoring a program that best fits your need it is recommended to schedule a consultation by a trained practitioner. The best protocol for you is available. Start incorporating some of these considerations and watch the changes in your health. You're worth it. Vamadeva Shastri shares this: "Sometimes clients tell me that they do not have the time for the Yoga or Ayurveda practices that I recommend to make them healthy. My answer is this: Does this mean that you have time to be sick?"  He further says "If we don't create a long-term wellness sustaining lifestyle for ourselves, nothing else that we do can be successful."

About The Author
Vishnu Om
Vishnu M.Ayu, BA Psy., LMT, CSP, E-RYT, CS2, is a licensed massage therapist with more than 15 years of experience and Master’s of Ayurveda/Yoga from Hindu University of America. He is the owner of ‘Hidden Health’ Center and offers Ayurveda out of a few locations. To learn more about Vishnu and his practice you can find him at Still Point Ayurveda

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.

Can Suppressing Natural Urges Cause Disease?

Can Suppressing Natural Urges Cause Disease? 
Ayurveda is one of the oldest, most complete and amazing natural holistic systems of medicine in the world. It's a fascinating science and art of living (Ayu=Life, Veda=Science.)  There are three primary biomedical terms of Ayurveda that are essential components of this system that allows us to navigate through our lives and our health. These three terms are Vata, Pitta and Kapha, which are derived from the composition of the five element theory; the five elements being Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space/Ether. In Ayurveda we categorize Vata, Pitta and Kapha into "biological humors" that are configured uniquely in each one of us and determines our physiological and psychological output.

Vata Dosha
Vata, is a Sanskrit term that means "that which moves" and it primarily governs Space and Air. Pitta, primarily governs Fire and Water. Kapha, governs primarily Water and Earth. To take this further, Vata is considered the Neurological System. Therefore, neurological disorders or tendencies of imbalance are assessed as being a result of underlying Vata imbalances. Ayurveda says that 80% of diseases/disorders are a result of Vata. Vata has a general site that it is associated with, that being the pelvic area.  We not only see Vata in the season pertaining to Fall/early Winter, because of its cold and dry qualities but we can also loosely refer to Vata as the process related to catabolism. What I call the "Air Head", or Personality Type D (Anxious one.) It's period of life in time is post 45-50 years of age until expiration.

Pitta Dosha
Pitta, is a Sanskrit term that means "that which digests/transforms" and relates to the Endocrine/Digestive System. Therefore, it governs the principles of digestion and hormones. Ayurveda says that 40% of diseases are a result of Pitta imbalance, relating to inflammatory tendencies and it's general location in the body is the liver and small intestine. We loosely refer to these types as "Summer Types" because of the hot/dry or wet qualities, and also refers to Type A" personality types (Aggressive and strong). What I sometimes call as the "Hot Head." Pitta is about Metabolism and its period of life in time ranges from the beginning of puberty until the cessation of hormones becoming menopause and/or andropause. Therefore, ranging from around 10/15-45/50 years of age.

Kapha Dosha
Kapha, is a Sanskrit term that means "that which molds/creates form" and relates to the Immunological System.  It governs the principles of immunity, strength and, to some degree, a building of the body overall and its vitality. Ayurveda says that 20% of diseases are a result of Kapha imbalance, relating to accumulation, sluggishness and heaviness. Kaphas general site in the body is the lungs and we refer to Kapha Types as the "Spring Type" because of the cold and wet qualities. Additionally, we consider Kapha Types the "Type B" (depressed/slow) types. I sometimes call them the "Pot Head." Kapha is about anabolism and its period of life in time is while in the mother's womb all through childhood, because this is when we build and lengthen. We can say the age range is from birth until 10/15 years of age.

13 Natural Urges
That being said. Ayurveda directs us to daily (Dinacharya) and seasonal (Ritucharya) practices to help maintain health and support disease prevention.  Additionally, when Ayurveda addresses disease it's not the disease directly that is addressed but the individual because it is understand that it's not what type of disease does a person get but more about what type of person gets a disease. In addressing healthcare, Ayurveda speaks about 13 Natural Urges (Trayodahsa Vega) that shouldn't be suppressed and correspond to maintaining balance in our bodies and mind. These urges include:

1) Sleep
2) Hunger
3) Thirst
4) Burping
5) Flatulence
6) Sexual Expression/Ejaculation (orgasm)
7) Defecating
8) Urinating
9) Vomiting
10) Sneezing
11) Coughing
12) Yawning
13) Crying

The Suppression Of Natural Urges Can Cause Disorders 
The suppression of these urges can cause physical and psychological disorders. When we observe the general origin of where these urges are expressed from we can see how they correlate to the regions where Vata, Pitta and Kapha are situated. In suppressing any one of these urges we can see where dysfunction in that area can cause. For instance, when we feel the urge to defecate and we hold it in we can normally feel a sharp pain, gas or tightening in the general region of the bowels. Over time, this can lead to other imbalances that develop into symptoms such as constipation.  If we prevent ourselves from crying when the natural tendency is to do so, we find that we could suffer from lung, heart and even thyroid related complications. If we skip the urge to eat when we are hungry or drink when we are hungry or eat when we are thirsty or even skip drinking or eating when both the need for hunger and thirst are ignored, we will notice digestive issues will form. If we ignore the need for sleep because somehow we justify staying up at night, inevitably we will incur sleep disturbances that spill over into other aspects of the body thereby creating ill health.

Vata is the governing force behind all these urges because the brain is regulating all the functions of the body. The nervous system is the information pathway of the body and through the afferent and efferent neurons the entire geography of the body is communicated through this highway of neural pathways. Over time, as we disturb Vata we eventually are disturbing the other doshas. Furthermore, with Vata being out of balance we can also see a trend where inflammation in the body is the precursor to disease. In an acidic environment, we have a brewery for virus', fungus and bacterial formation. In an alkaline environment, there is less likelihood for major diseases rooted in Vata(neurological) and Pitta (inflammation) to set up camp. In holding back the urge we disturb Vata and the body will experience inflammation through friction of restriction of urges.

If You Want To Cry ... Cry!
Therefore, to help prevent imbalances from forming, the next time you want to cry ... cry! The next time you have to poop or pee, just use the bathroom. If you're hungry, eat! If you're sleepy, especially at night....sleep! If you're thirsty, drink! If you have to yawn, sneeze, burp or fart, then do it! If you want to express and cultivate sexual energy accordingly, then do so consciously as possible. If you want to vomit, do it! Remember that your vitality and health depend on it. Think about it. If you take a moment to see where you might be having health issues, take a look (inwardly/outwardly) to determine what urge you may be suppressing and take the first step in allowing them again. Sometimes it takes a re-training but the body is willing and able, we just have to support it and it know exactly what to do. Simply, allow yourself to have natural expressions and honor the self. So, the next time you have an urge then have the experience. The urgency of the urge is that your health depends on it!


About The Author: 
Vishnu Om
Vishnu M.Ayu
, BA Psy., LMT, CSP, E-RYT, CS2, is a licensed massage therapist with more than 15 years of experience and Master’s of Ayurveda/Yoga from Hindu University of America. He is the owner of ‘Hidden Health’ Center and offers Ayurveda out of a few locations. To learn more about Vishnu and his practice you can find him at

This information is strictly for educational purpose only and not considered medical advice. Always first discuss with your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen.