Ayurveda - From An Allopath's Perspective

 

Ayurveda - From An Allopath's Perspective
By Dr Wasuki Upadhyaya MBBS MD(Ay-BHU)


“Ayurveda” - this word brings in two types of thought-responses in the minds of allopathic doctors. One is, “a bunch of sub-standard people practicing outdated crude folk medicine” and the second thought-response being, “a mysterious esoteric science whose intellectual genius is far ahead of allopathic medicine despite being nature based”. Not only is the second thought-response much more true, but is being realized by many open-minded allopaths as well as scientists from around the world.

But then the question arises, how is it that Ayurveda survives when it’s wielded by mediocre minds in the Indian society? Well, the answer is - despite the vast majority whose professionalism, emotional intelligence, intellectual curiosity and critical thinking skills being inferior to that of the doctors of western medicine and scientists - there are a few highly capable ones who are intellectually robust, with personal and moral integrity equal to that of most allopathic doctors, surpassing even a few.

In the above video, Sadhguru explains the difference between the three systems of ayurveda, siddha and allopathy. While allopathy is essentially chemical-based, ayurveda is a herbal-based medical system. Though many ayurvedic practitioners are receiving ayurveda training certificates in a month's time nowadays, the classical Indian systems of medicine need enormous dedication

This tiny group of effective and efficient individuals are the torch bearers of the glorious science of Ayurveda. It is to these handful of Ayurvedic Physicians [“Vaidyas”] and scientists, that the current existing Ayurveda owes immense gratitude for, for without such “Vaidyas” we may have very well witnessed the destruction of Ayurveda ... which may have been destroyed not solely by the hands of the modern pharmaceutical industry but also by a shared responsibility of the Ayurvedic fraternity themselves.

Ayurveda is the science of correct living.

The science of Ayurveda is no doubt a super science that surpasses the allopathic sciences in its holistic thinking. Unlike the various specialties of allopathic sciences which are overly obsessed in treating illnesses with endless drugs, sophisticated technology, and fancy gadgets - Ayurveda, on the other hand, is not just a medical science but it is the ‘science of correct living’. And to extol the various gems of intellectual and conceptual supremacy it contains, not just papers but even books wouldn’t suffice. Yet to state a few, Ayurveda has a thorough protocol on not just how to lead a physically healthy life but it contains techniques and methods on how to lead an emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually - happy life. And, if one were to dig deep into oneself, one can appreciate nuggets of human genetics too in the ancient texts of Ayurveda. It even has a fully developed speciality of ‘anti-aging’ medicine and ‘human performance enhancement’ (Rasayana) medicine for which allopathy is still just scratching the surface.  


Such is the greatness of Ayurveda. And the principles of Ayurveda aren’t just useful for understanding how health and illnesses occur, but also provides an understanding of certain social and historical events of the world.

To enumerate few:

Older generations in India knew that before any love making scene occurred in Indian films, they would first show the rain. People assumed that rain was just romantic. However, Ayurvedic text provides an insight that rain is an aphrodisiac. This rain wasn’t just a psychological association but rather a biologically acting stimulant.

In Japanese traditional cooking, people consume boiled spinach with sesame oil or soya sauce. But why? Since spinach increases Vata and Kapha, the sour taste of soya sauce or the nature of sesame oil pacifies both Vata and Kapha.

Swedish people consume quite a bit of coffee and lard in their diet. But why? Because Sweden being near the Tundra region, has Kapha and Vata increasing effects on its residents. Coffee, through its heating energy as well as its drying effect helps to balance Kapha while the lard helps to pacify the excess of Vata - thereby maintaining a very sensitive balance.

The ancient Mesoamerican civilization – the Mayans, practiced bloodletting frequently. Especially the royalty. Wonder why? Being a tropical country, the risk of vitiation of blood by Pitta was very high. Thus, the frequent bloodletting maintained health. And, if I am to go out on a limb and guess, I’d say temper (a result of imbalanced Pitta) happens to be a censurable trait for royalty; especially if governance has to be wise and just. Thus, the royalty in its best interests would try to balance their Pitta. And for this intention, bloodletting came in handy.

Thus, Ayurveda, an ocean of magnificent intellectual treasure, unparalleled by any complementary and alternative medicine, is one man’s privilege should he get the opportunity to study and work in it. And the opportunities for anyone to progress using the science is truly limitless when one finds the right suitable conditions to do so.      


Mustard Seeds ~ Not Just For Hot Dogs & Burgers + Mustard Seed Cauliflower Recipe

Health Benefits Of Mustard Seed
When mentioning mustard, most of the western world will think of the delicious accompaniment to hot dogs and burgers. However the origins of the mustard seed are well documented with vast health benefits – when used correctly. There are over 40 varieties of mustard plants yet there are three main types that are used to make mustard seeds – black, brown and white. The black mustard seeds are the most pungent and the brown mustard seeds are usually used to make Dijon mustard. The white ones, which are actually yellow in color, are the most commonly used to make American yellow mustard as they are the mildest of the three.

Ayurvedic Cooking Essentials  - Stimulate Your Digestive Fire

A common cooking spice, mustard seeds can be found in kitchens all over the world. These beautiful little seeds are a wonderful addition to savory dishes especially during the spring months. They have a pungent flavor and a heating quality that makes them particularly useful in home remedies to aid in colds and congestion. In addition to its stimulating effect on the lungs and digestion, it also contains important phytonutrients that have been studied for their anti-carcinogenic effects. Mustard seeds are also excellent sources of magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, copper, vitamin B1 and not to mention, omega-3 fatty acids! These nutrients have been shown to, amongst many health benefits, alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, decrease asthma severity and even to help prevent cancer.

Pickled Mustard Seed 

Mustard seeds work particularly well in cases of krumi (worm, parasites) and have carminative, analgesic and expectorant effects as well as rheumatic properties. This makes them very beneficial in cases of joint pain and breathing difficulties.

Kitchari Spice Kit Online
This kit provides all the basic supplies you need to make Kitchari for 7 days.

Properties

Mustard seeds are light, dry and penetrating with a pungent and bitter taste. They have a heating effect in the body and their post digestive effect is also pungent. They have a strong affinity for the digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems. 

Some indications, amongst others, include:

  • Low or weak/sluggish digestion
  • Intestinal worms
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Pain and swelling
  • Constitutional kapha conditions
  • And many more!

 

It is important to be aware of some of the contraindications of using mustard seeds. It is advised against usage in inflammation and other high pitta conditions.  Always seek a physician’s advice before undertaking herbal supplementation.

Usage

There are many combination compounds that involve Mustard seeds to address certain conditions. Some being:

  • Mustard seeds with ginger, guduchi, pippali and black pepper for low digestive fire
  • Mustard seeds with guggulu myrrh and frankincense for arthritis – particularly rheumatoid
  • Mustard seeds with pippali, pushkaramoola, anthrapachaka for lung congestion

 

There are numerous recipes which use Mustard seeds and it is used abundantly in many savory dishes. A delicious way to experience the benefits of mustard seeds is in a cauliflower dish! This is a flavorful meal that can bring digestive ease in a soothing and delicious way!

~Mustard Seed Cauliflower Recipe~

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower washed, stripped and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion chopped
  • 1 tsp of  chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp of chopped ginger
  • ½ cup of chopped cilantro
  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes chopped
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 tsp coriander powdered
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp hing
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds (brown preferably)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp of salt (more or less can be adjusted according to taste/need)

 

Steps

  1. Sauté the onions, ginger, garlic and cilantro in the ghee in a large saucepan until they are soft and slightly browned
  2. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and continue sautéing for a further 5 mins.
  3. Add the rest of the spices (turmeric, salt, coriander, hing and garam masala) and cook for a further 5-7 mins.
  4. Add the potatoes and stir well so that the mixture (tharka) covers all the chopped pieces. Cook for about 5-7 mins.
  5. Add the cauliflower and again stir well. Cook on medium-low heat until the potatoes and cauliflower are soft and can break apart with ease.
  6. Finally add the kale and stir into the vegetable dish. Let cook on low heat for a further 10 mins.
  7. Serve hot with a little ghee and a garnish of parsley. Enjoy with Paranthas!

 

  • Other vegetables and herbs can also be added or replaced as desired.

 

References

  • Lad, V. (1999). The complete book of Ayurvedic home remedies. New York: Three Rivers Press.
  • Sharma, H. (2011). Ayurvedic Healing. Singing Dragon
  • Lad, V. (2002). Textbook of Ayurveda. Albuquerque, N.M.: Ayurvedic Press.
  • Lad, V., & Frawley, D. (1986). The yoga of herbs: An Ayurvedic guide to herbal medicine. Santa Fe, N.M.: Lotus Press.
  • Pole, S. (2013). Ayurvedic medicine the principles of traditional practice. London: Singing Dragon.
  • Green, J. (2000). The herbal medicine-makers' handbook a home manual. Berkeley, Calif.: The Crossing Press.

The Complete Guide For Making Homemade Ghee

Making Homemade Ghee

As a wife and mother, I am always on the lookout for wholesome and healthy food for my family. Having studied Ayurveda – a holistic science dating back thousands of years – I have been able to help bring some of that knowledge to the dinner table. However it is hard work! Finding the right types of foods and organic local products is a constant work in progress!

So I decided to start simple. And I stuck with the basics. Oil! The basics of cooking usually start with some sort of oil or butter that the main dish is created in. This particular type of fat can affect the whole chemistry of the dish. It can bring health, a conglomeration of the foods together and not to mention taste to a whole other level. Since I have been personally raised on ghee and have been aware of its wonderful healing properties, I knew that my family would benefit from consuming this wonderful tasting yet healthy fat.

In the past, due to time constraints, I have purchased my ghee from organic sources. However, the more I studied, the more I realized that each of the many stores and businesses I would purchase ghee from, were lacking in some of the important steps in its creation. Some would consider being organic enough. Others cooking on the full moon or having some mantras and prayers imbibed into them enough. Some have made their ghee’s from salted, unsalted, sweet cream or sweet butter. Is this really the truest form of ghee? I knew that as my schedule lightened, I would have to create my own authentic traditional ghee to help my family and myself reap its truest benefits.

Ghee

But what actually is ghee? Simply put, ghee is a clarified butter, however is that all it is? Ghee is one of the most revered of fats and is sometimes referred to as a ‘clean butter’ meaning that it is butter with all the water and impurities boiled off. Nevertheless it is still much more than that. True authentic and traditional ghee was made with a few points to consider:

  1. Real ghee should be made from 100% raw grass-fed milk. The process is quite lengthy but if done correctly, yields a delicious golden nectar from the Gods themselves! Considering the time constraints in this modern age, the next best thing is to make ghee from organic cultured butter preferably from grass-fed cows.
  2. Ghee cooked during the waxing and full moon is most beneficial as it imbibes some of the soma (essence of bliss) qualities of the moon itself. This phase of the moon is a most auspicious time and imparts the vitality and expanding properties of itself into the consciousness of the food thereby nourishing our bodies.
  3. Using prayers or mantras, in particular the mritunjaya mantra is especially valuable as the healing energies and positive vibes are ingrained into the ghee and renders it far more advantageous to health.
  4. The consciousness of the cook is vital in creating any dish, however more so with ghee. Since ghee is used so widely and as a wonderful base for cooking, it is particularly important to have the person making it, remain in a calm meditative and happy state.

 

Health Benefits Of Ghee

The health benefits of ghee are numerous! Amongst improving digestion, memory and a healthy immune system it is also chockful of nutrients and can improve mood and support a healthy weight loss regime.

  • Ghee is full of vitamins A and E – thereby promoting good vision, a healthy immune system and proper organ function as well as antioxidant properties
  • Ghee also contains Conjugated linoleic acid – if it is made from grassfed cows – another important note to consider using grassfed milk! Consequently it can help to reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Ghee is full of short chain butyric acid – which is useful in intestinal support and production of T cells thereby supporting a healthy immune system
  • The energy from the short chain fatty acids helps to burn fats promoting a healthy weight
  • Ghee is rich in vitamin K2 – an important nutrient for facial and dental health. Therefore ghee can literally make you beautiful! Pregnant mothers would particularly benefit from a regular ghee intake
  • The list can go on for eternity!

 

The Process - From Scratch!

Milk
In order to create ghee, I searched for a reputable source for raw milk. I wanted the process to be as authentic as possible and searched many stores. Luckily I came across a local dairy farm that prided themselves on their well cared for and happy cows. They were also 100% grassfed! Happily I purchased several gallons – having researched that the yield of butter from this much milk was not a large amount!

It is important to note here that some companies which sell organic cultured butter are labelled as pasture fed. On further enquiry I realized that these organizations have cows that are grass-fed 90% of the time, but during winter months are fed grain understandably so. The grains are hormone and antibiotic free and keep in line with the organic diet and regulations. Therefore these butters cannot be labelled grass-fed even though the cows have a predominantly grass-fed diet, and are supplemented with only organic grains. I have had great success using cultured butter made from these cows and I continue to use them even today. I would also recommend making ghee from these types of butters as they are as close to the traditional authentic ghees without having to make your own butter!

The Churn
Churning is essential to the butter making process. I looked at various churns and came across some lovely traditional wooden ones. However I rather preferred the heavy duty glass jar and stainless steel Dazey churns and stuck with that, although the novelty wore off after a few hours of churning! Another important detail to look into is the material of the items that are worked with. Some churns are made from plastics, aluminum and rubber. Not wanting these materials leeching into my butter, I chose to stick to glass and stainless steel. It is also rather simple to create your own butter churn using wood and a large stainless steel pot. Attaching the wooden stick to a stable post and using rope to churn the curd in the pot is a simple yet delightfully traditional method to creating the butter.

Curd

Curd is the wonderful thick mixture used to create butter. But what is curd? Curd is sometimes (wrongly) classified as yogurt. However there is a simple yet important difference between yogurt and curd. Curd is simply the milk solids that have separated when a natural sour source has been added to the milk. Some of these natural sources include lemon, vinegar, tamarind pods and even chili peppers. Yogurt on the other hand is created by bacterial fermentation using a bacterial inoculation of cultures such as Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Lactobacillus acidophilus amongst others. Whilst both curd and yogurt are great for gut health, I wanted to stick to the traditional use of curd or ‘dahi’ (as it is known in India) in the creation of ghee.

Making curd is simply adding a sour product to warm milk – which then turns to (yes you guessed it!) curd. Sounds simple right? Not so! I had a great learning experience by creating an ineffective curd starter! A curd starter is simply the initial curd used to create a larger batch of curd. My first batch of curd did not set correctly as I didn’t add an adequate amount of starter curd to it. When I tried my second batch, it came out wonderfully and I realized that the curd starter was an interesting aspect to the curd making process. The temperature of the milk is an essential point to note here; when it is too cool it will not set properly and will not turn into an efficient curd.

I wanted to experiment using tamarind pods and chili peppers to see which was the most effective curd starter.

Results
I used three different curd starters – one with just tamarind pods, another with just chilies and the third with both. They all turned out wonderfully! The chili pepper curd yielded a spicier buttermilk and butter that was simply delicious! Although probably not the greatest butter to use for making ghee! I found that even the curd created using the tamarind and chili was still too spicy. However the curd created using tamarind only was perfect! The butter was thick, delicious. Despite it coming from a smaller batch of curd, it yielded twice as much butter in comparison to the chili curds. The buttermilk produced was milder yet creamier and had a tangy delicious taste.

The steps to making curd starter

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of raw grassfed milk
  • Whole tamarind pods
  • 3 chili pepper stems and 1 chili pepper

 

  1. Bring the milk to a boil and let it gently simmer for 5 minutes. This effectively kills any unwanted pathogens that may have gotten into the milk.
  2. Let the milk cool to body temperature or 110 degrees
  3. Pour into a glass jar and add the tamarind pods snapped in half and/or chilli peppers
  4. Half cover with the lid, allowing it to be exposed to some air to provide live cultures
  5. Leave for 12 hours or overnight
  6. Curd starter is created! There should be a curdled milk solid which can now be used to create a larger batch of curd
  • Note: ideally use a stainless steel pot when cooking and/or boiling milk. This is not an easy thing to find since there are many on the market with tri ply – meaning a core of aluminum. So it is wise to be watchful of the material that your food is placed or cooked in.

 

The steps to making curd

Ingredients

  • 2 gallons of raw grassfed milk
  • 6 -10 tablespoons of curd starter

 

  1. Bring the raw milk to a boil and continue slow boiling for 10 minutes. Experimentation taught me that raw milk needs a slightly longer boil time to yield good curd.
  2. Once the milk has cooled to body temperature or 110 degrees, place into a large glass container or stainless steel or clay pot.
  3. Add the curd starter and gently stir, then cover and wrap in cloth and keep in a warm place overnight.
  4. Once the curd has set, it should be quite firm and have a slightly sour smell but not putrid. It should taste quite like a mild yogurt.
  5. Place in the refrigerator for a few hours
  6. Now we are ready to churn!

 

Burning butter by making butter!

Once the curd is cool, we can place it in the butter churn and start churning! This can be a lengthy process and it is important to be patient and churn in a clockwise and anticlockwise direction to really churn and not mix. I used the lever of the dazey churn to go back and forth, thereby creating this clockwise and anticlockwise process. It took an hour for the tamarind curd to separate into butter and buttermilk and it took almost two hours for the chilli pepper curd to separate.

Once you see the yellow clumps of butter floating on the buttermilk you are done! Sometimes adding a little ice water to the mixture can help to clump the butter further and you can take it out quite easily. Washing the butter is important since any buttermilk left in the butter can make it go rancid quite quickly. Simply use ice water to scrape the butter in a bowl and rinse until the water runs clear. Now we have collected enough butter to make ghee! But what about the leftover buttermilk?

Buttermilk
Buttermilk has tremendous health benefits. The buttermilk that is left once the butter is taken out is considered true lassi or takra. The health benefits are vast! It is a delicious and refreshing drink for the entire family! Takra is considered beneficial for many G.I. conditions such as IBD and Crohn’s disease as well as poor digestion, hemorrhoids, tumors, edema, diarrhea, anemia, urinary diseases and many other health-related conditions. Adding a pinch of roasted cumin powder and/or black pepper can greatly help with its digestive effects – not to mention making it even more delicious!

“He who uses takra daily does not suffer from diseases, and diseases cured by takra do not recur; just as amrita [divine nectar] is for the gods, takra is to humans.” Bhavaprakasha Chpt 6.7

Steps for making ghee – finally!

The Butter

And so we reach the ghee process at last! As I mentioned earlier, this long procedure to arrive at butter is time consuming and can be a little exhausting (think churning!). So in order to cut some time and create your own batch of divine ghee I would recommend looking into the butters available on the market. Ideally organic grassfed cultured butter is your best bet for making ghee as authentic and pure as possible. However the more I looked into the butters I realized that even cultured organic butter raises questions. For example, what is the difference between European and American cultured butter?

European butter is simply butter obtained using cultures from Europe! However it is also defined as a cultured butter that is churned longer in order to achieve at minimum 82% butterfat. Compared to American cultured butter which is churned to obtain at least 80% butterfat, the European butters usually have a richer flavor and a softer texture.

~Ghee Recipe~

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of cultured organic butter (preferably homemade!)

Utensils

  • Stainless steel pot
  • Cheesecloth and/or fine sieve
  • Airtight glass jars

 

  1. Place the butter in a stainless steel pan and melt gently on a medium flame. Gas burners are a more preferable method of cooking ghee.
  2. Once the butter has melted, lower the heat until the butter is gently boiling
  3. Foam will start to gather and rise to the top – if you want to remove it, do so gently using a wooden spoon – being careful not to stir the ghee. Some sources advise against removing this foam – arguing that it contains medicinal properties. The milk solids will start to gather at the bottom of the pan and it is important to not dislodge this into the ghee.
  4. Ghee can easily burn so care must be taken to watch over it and prevent too much vigorous boiling- if it has become too brown and gives a nutty aroma it has burned.
  5. Once the ghee starts to become clear – and you can see the milk solids at the bottom of the pan – it is almost done! The golden liquid will give off a most delightful buttery popcorn aroma – making your kitchen an aromatic heaven!
  6. Adding a drop of water to the ghee is a good test to see if it is done. If it produces a crackling sound, your ghee is ready! Once the ghee stops sputtering and popping you can switch the gas off. Let it cool down a little – once it is warm it can be filtered into glass jars. It is important to not let it cool too much or else it will conglomerate with the milk solids and all your hard work will be ruined!
  7. Filter using cheesecloths or fine sieves into dry glass jars or stainless steel containers. It should be kept airtight and in a dark place away from light. Ghee does not need to be refrigerated. Using dry jars are important as even a drop of water can ruin the ghee!

 

  • Ideally ghee should be made during the waxing or full moon – it is useful to consider that the true full moon will only last a minute! So any time after the exact full moon is considered a waning moon. Therefore cooking a few hours before the exact time of the full moon is most beneficial. Be wary of companies who market their ghees using the full moon – it may be helpful to enquire further of the exact time and date that these ghees are created.
  • Using mantras or prayers can imbibe the ghee with additional protective healing energies. It is also helpful to keep the cook mindful while he/she is chanting these prayers.
  • Placing the ghee on a sri yantra once it is cooked is another consideration. The sri yantra is a sacred geometrical shape which is particularly effective in energizing foods and drinks when used correctly. 

 


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.


Āma - An Ayurvedic Perspective Of Indigestion

 

Āma - An Ayurvedic Perspective Of Indigestion
Ayurveda sees good digestion and its opposite, indigestion, as the foundation of wellness. When we're digesting well, we're keeping our internal environment balanced, well nourished, and relatively free from toxicity. When we're not digesting well, and experiencing indigestion marked by symptoms like gas, acidity, bloating, constipation, or loose stools, it's a signal that the body is not reacting well to the nourishment you're providing it.

Ayurvedic Digestive Supplements 
Good health depends on strong, efficient digestion.

Agni & Āma:
From the Ayurvedic perspective on digestion there are two primary concepts to be familiar with: agni and āma. Agni in a general sense is the principle of transformation in the body. There are many types of agni, that fulfill many duties of transformation in the body, but for our purposes lets understand Agni as our digestive fire or capacity. When agni struggles to completely and fully digest and assimilate the food you eat, the undigested food particles begin to putrefy creating a morbid, mucoid plaque that Ayurveda calls āma.

Āma coats and congests the channels of the body, from the main channel of the digestive tract, to the more subtle channels of the circulatory system and lymphatic system. Āma can disrupt flow, block nutrient absorption, and cause cellular immune system confusion. You may feel the results of internal coating and congestion as fatigue, heaviness, cloudiness, confusion, stiffness, or general body ache. Want a quick āma check? Upon rising, look at your tongue in the mirror. See a whitish, yellowish, greenish, or dark coating on the tongue? That's āma that the body is working to expel.

Health Benefits Of Lemon Water

Ready to clear that toxicity?
So what to do to begin to clear out that toxic plaque from the body? Luckily there are many things we can to help the body balance clear this plaque. The first thing to do it to support your digestive fire. I think of this like tending a campfire. You have to develop a relationship to the fire you're tending. If you don't give the fire any fuel, it goes out, and then takes considerable time to rebuild. If you dump a bunch of wet wood and soggy leaves on the fire, it smothers, and leaves you with a bunch of unburned (undigested) coals. However if you regularly feed that fire with the type of fuel that's appropriate for where it is in its burn cycle, it will burn brightly and efficiently for you.

Ayurvedic Detox Products

What fire-tending looks like in the body:

Establish a regular rhythm of meal times (3 is typically recommended)

  • Start your morning off with foods that will kindle your fire, a lighter breakfast with warm, easy to digest foods.
  • Your digestive fire is strongest at mid-day, make this your biggest meal.
  • Make your evening meal one that is nourishing but lighter, again so you don't have too much undigested food in the GI tract when you go to bed. (That's a sure recipe for ama.)
  • Make meals a meal. Sit down, breathe, un-plug and focus on the nourishment you are about to receive. We know that when the stress-response in active we are physiologically incapable of digestion - so take a moment to de-stress before you eat.
  • Have ~16oz of room temperature or warm water ~30 minutes before your meal. This helps to prepare the protective bicarbonate layer of the stomach for the acid production that will happen with digestion.
  • You can have a little warm water to sip on during a meal, but no chugging large amounts. You don't want to dilute the hydrochloric acid and digestive enzyme balance your body has worked to hard to create in the stomach for proper digestion. This would be like throwing water on a fire when you want it to burn it's brightest.
  • Eliminate or minimize the snacking. Snacking doesn't allow the body to move through a full digestive cycle without interruption. This creates undigested food-stuff in the GI tract, which leads to ama.

 

What toxicity clearing looks like in the body:

So you've begun to tend to your internal digestive fire, but what about the āma that's already in the system?

  • Drink a warm cup of water, or lemon-water first thing, upon rising.
  • Drink room-temp or warmer water away from meals. Cold and iced water are Ayurvedic no-nos.
  • Drink enough water. The calculation is pretty simple. Take you ideal body weight in pounds, and divide it by two to get the number of ounces. So a 140 lbs person would drink 70 ounces, and a 180 lbs person would drink 90 ounces. Use a container you can measure so you can track it daily.
  • Lighten the load. The body can digest ama if given the opportunity. This could look like single day of fasting each week, a short mono-diet, or a seasonal cleanse. Consult an Ayurvedic Practitioner to find out what option would be appropriate for you.
  • Get moving. Gentle movement will help the body naturally detoxify. Go for a walk, do some yoga asana, have a dance party in your living room - whatever it takes to get some movement in.
  • Align your diet, your food-combing, and your schedule with your unique constitution. An Ayurvedic Practitioner can help you create a diet, lifestyle, and herbal practice that will be a customized approach for your digestive fire (agni) and digestive plaque (ama).

 

About The Author 

Kara Aubin
Kara Aubin was called to the path of yoga in 1998, and has been a dedicated student and practitioner since. A lifelong lover of movement, she was drawn in by the intention and pranic wisdom of yogic movement, and the profound and challenging nature of yogic stillness. As a ParaYoga Certified teacher and NAMA Certified Ayurvedic Health Counselor based in Kalamazoo, MI and Albuquerque, NM she weaves the teachings of yoga and Ayurveda into group classes, private sessions, workshops, and retreats. Her mission is to guide students toward their bright inherent potential, as well as their right to radical wellness and balance.

Want an Ayurvedic consultation with Kara Aubin? 
Contact her at Kara Aubin


You Are Only As Healthy As Your "Agni"

 

You Are Only As Healthy As Your Agni
Agni is the fire of transformation. It is responsible for the digestion, absorption, assimilation, and transformation of what we take in (food and experiences) into energy. The well-known ayurved Dr. Lad, defines "Agni" as:

Awareness Governing Nutritional Intelligence.
Your agni can be balanced, too low, too high, or irregular.

Ayurvedic Digestive Supplements
You are only as healthy as your digestion!!

What we feed the agni, and as David Frawley says, "Everything in the universe is food", determines how our agni burns. Imbalanced agni can mean weakness, poor digestion, poor elimination, internal coldness, compromised immunity, fatigue, or generally a lack of bright, shiny, vitality. Balanced agni looks like strength, vitality, immunity, clarity of perception and mind, proper digestion and elimination, normal body temperature, and a healthy glow that permeates all parts of your being.

The Ayurvedic Connection Between Agni & Ama

So, what are the things that balance and imbalance Agni?

What balances agni:

  • meal times according to the ayurvedic clock
  • dosha appropriate foods
  • warm, well cooked, well seasoned foods
  • fresh, whole, seasonal foods
  • warm beverages, digestive teas
  • adequate rest
  • healthy energetic/emotional expression
  • spinal twist asana
  • agni sara

 

What imbalances agni:

  • over or undereating
  • eating at the wrong time of day
  • snacking
  • inappropriate food for your dosha
  • incompatible food combining
  • cold beverages
  • toxins, intentional or unintentional (drink, smoke, other)
  • seasonal shifts
  • sleep not aligned with the ayurvedic clock
  • energetic/emotional imbalance

 

Ayurveda is clear, if you're experiencing the symptoms of imbalanced agni, there are many practices available to you to rekindle and balance your fire. Someone versed in ayurveda can help you determine how to best bring your agni back into balance. Make your choices an offering to your fire, swaha!

About The Author
Kara Aubin

Kara Aubin was called to the path of yoga in 1998, and has been a dedicated student and practitioner since. A lifelong lover of movement, she was drawn in by the intention and pranic wisdom of yogic movement, and the profound and challenging nature of yogic stillness. As a ParaYoga Certified teacher and NAMA Certified Ayurvedic Health Counselor based in Kalamazoo, MI and Albuquerque, NM she weaves the teachings of yoga and Ayurveda into group classes, private sessions, workshops, and retreats. Her mission is to guide students toward their bright inherent potential, as well as their right to radical wellness and balance.

Want an Ayurvedic consultation with Kara Aubin? 
Contact her at Kara Aubin 


“Who Are You? “ Understanding the Prakruti / Vikruti Paradigm Of Ayurveda

 

“Who are you? “ 
Understanding The Prakruti/Vikruti Paradigm Of Ayurveda
By Sarah Devi Otto-­Combs

Many of us have begun our forays into Ayurveda by reading various books and articles on the subject. This mode of learning can yield moments of great clarity and insight into who we each are as individuals, followed by confusion as we wade through the symptomatology attributed to various doshic imbalances. These "aha!" moments followed by "what?" are related to the foundational understanding of prakruti and vikruti that is necessary to fully understand the paradigm of Ayurvedic medicine and diagnosis.

Are you new to Ayurveda? 
Click Here To Learn More About Ayurveda & The Wisdom Of The Doshas

To understand our unique constitution, we must first determine what our “prakruti” is, or rather, our constitution at birth. While many say that you can’t truly know a person’s prakruti without reading their pulse (which I am in agreement with), we can get an idea of our constitutional makeup through self quizzes found in many books on the subject. This means we look at things like bone structure, how your body holds weight (thin to chubby), color of hair, and your general nature (competitive vs. anxious vs. passive, etc.) over your whole life, i.e. more permanent aspects of your way of being.

Vikruti - Your Currrent State 
This is in contrast to determining your “vikruti”, which is your current state or ratio of doshas, literally defined as “imbalance”. Here we look at fluctuations in weight, quality of skin and hair, energy levels, and our emotional status, to name just a few examples. 99% of us are imbalanced in some way or another, with the 1% who are categorized most often as saints and enlightened beings. In my lineage of Ayurveda, we compare these two using numbers. For example, if someone has a birth constitution, or prakruti, of Vata 1, Pitta 3, Kapha 2, but a vikruti of Vata 2, Pitta 3, Kapha 2, we would see that this person has elevated vata, or a vata vikruti, though we consider them to be a Pitta dominant individual.

Seems straightforward, right?
Well, not always. What may be confusing is that we can often have doshic imbalances that are not related to the dominant dosha of our prakruti. This may be unclear from much of the literature people use at home to determine their Ayurvedic constitutions. For example, I had a friend who was quite clearly a pitta­-kapha type constitution, who clearly also had a vata type imbalance. I told her that she was vata, something she didn’t relate to because she was only identifying herself with her prakruti, instead of her current state, or vikruti.

"Oh, You Are So Vata!"

Confusing Point Number Two ~­ Semantics!
When referring to the doshic state of others, we are often guilty of saying things like,”Oh, you are so vata”, without referencing whether or not we are referring to a person’s prakrti or vikrti. This can leave the average person who has little to no formal Ayurvedic education feeling very confused, and with good reason! No wonder my friend didn’t relate to my declaration that she was vata, because every book she had read described her prakruti as Pitta and Kapha, and rightly so. I wasn’t clear that it was her vikruti that was being referenced.

What does this mean for the average person who wants to understand their Ayurvedic constitution? It means that we need to take a look at our current physical and mental makeup as compared to our historic physical and mental status to understand our foundational state vs. “imbalances”. This is best done with the guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner, and here is an example of why ...

A Practical Example ... 
A client may come to us wanting to balance pitta or kapha dosha, when in fact it is vata that is wreaking havoc within the body, . This is a very important point of differentiation and without this understanding, we may manage the underlying cause improperly, only aggravating the underlying imbalance. What happens if someone identifies themselves as kapha through self diagnosis and starts to follow a kapha pacifying diet and lifestyle when in fact they have a vata vikruti or vata imbalance?

This would serve only to exacerbate rather than remedy the feelings of ill health they may be experiencing, as pacifying kapha would cause them to follow a vata aggravating diet and lifestyle. As with any journey, a knowledgeable guide can save us from many wrong twists and turns, which is why it is so important to consult with a professional so we don’t get lost in the maze of wrong diagnosis. Ayurveda is a profound art that can yield great healing and understanding of self, but only if properly understood.

About The Author
Sarah Devi Otto-Combs
Sarah Devi Otto-Combs uses the Ayurvedic paradigm of constitutional analysis to help her clients achieve the foundation of good health that we all deserve and desire. Using Ayurvedic principles, she helps her clients to rectify both recent and long lingering imbalances, that they may live life to its fullest and with joy.

"There is so much to be gained through understanding ourselves through the lens of Ayurveda, and I am here to guide my clients through that process. My hope is that the aforementioned may serve as a guide to deeper understanding of this paradigm, as this is also the foundation of how we treat clients as Ayurvedic practitioners." In addition to practicing and studying Ayurveda, Sarah Devi is a student of Odissi classical Indian dance.  She is also the co-proprietor of Keeper of the Ink, an all natural tattoo aftecare product made in the Pacific Northwest.  Feel free to contact her with any questions or comments.


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

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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
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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.


The Making Of "Dr. Vasant Lad Documentary"

Dr. Vasant Lad Documentary
The term ‘Upanishad’ literally means, “sitting down near” or “sitting close to”, and it implies listening closely to the mystic doctrines of a guru or a spiritual teacher, who has realized the fundamental truth of life. It has been said that the best teachers teach from the heart and not from the book. To many, Dr. Vasant Lad is just that, a guru and a spiritual teacher. Dr. Lad is both a physician and professor who is considered one of the foremost expects on the subject of Ayurveda. Each year, Dr. Lad travels throughout the world, consulting privately and giving lectures. Coming to the United States in 1979 and lecturing for over 30 years, Dr. Lad has influenced and touched the hearts of his students. Rare are the teachers who affect eternity, never knowing where their influence stops. Alexander the great once wrote, “I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well”. For those who have been fortunate enough to spend time and learn from Dr. Lad know that feeling. Many students are familiar with the silence that occurs as Dr. Lad enters a room. Not only is that silence a form of respect but even deeper, in that silence, love exists. Quite often, Dr. Lad’s lectures will transition into a philosophical inquiry bringing attention and awareness to the inner universe within oneself; i.e. “reality”. Dr. Lad has said that Ayurveda is a science of moment-to-moment living, observing every moment in an unbroken flow of attention.

“Dr. Vasant Lad is a true Vaidya - a knower of reality.”
- Deepak Chopra, M.D.

Dr. Lad Documentary Trailer - Directory Jeremy Frindel

Coming Early 2017
When Dr. Vasant Lad was eight years old, his guru predicted that he would one day spread the teachings and practices of Ayurveda in the United States. For a small boy in rural India who couldn't speak English, this seemed impossible, but that is exactly what came to be. This feature length documentary follows the journey of a simple man who has devoted his life to one of the oldest known medical systems in the world: Ayurveda. In 1979, Len Blank sponsored Dr. Lad on a his first visit to the US to travel and share Ayurveda with the general population. Since that time, Dr. Lad has spent 35 years traveling all over the world sharing the ancient science of Ayurveda, created the first and largest institute for Ayurvedic studies in the west, and spearheaded an awakening of this ancient medical system in the modern world.

The film follows the journey from Dr. Lad's childhood to his medical training and the Ayurveda movement in the West that his work has sparked. Filming began on this project in 2013 with travel to India and New Mexico to film Dr. Lad. This film has the enthusiastic support of Vasant Lad and the Ayurvedic Institute, and is being independently funded by individuals donating or investing privately.

Want To Support The Making Of This Documentary? 
Please help by making a tax-deductible contribution. Help create a documentary film exploring the life of a pioneer in the field of Ayurveda: teacher, author, spokesperson, and Ayurvedic physician, Vasant Lad. Production began on this documentary last year, and we are currently fundraising the needed finances to complete the film. With your support, this inspiring film can come to life!
Click Here - To Support This Documentary!! 

The Director
Jeremy Frindel
Jeremy Frindel is a Brooklyn based filmmaker whose directorial debut ONE TRACK HEART: THE STORY OF KRISHNA DAS was released theatrically in the US in 2013 by Zeitgeist Films. ONE TRACK HEART was awarded Best Documentary at five film festivals, and has screened at dozens of other film festivals around the world, as well as theatrically in over 100 US cities. He earned a BA in Film Scoring from the Berklee College of Music in 2001, and has been engaged in the many aspects of filmmaking ever since. He has worked as an editor and sound editor on such films as Some Kind of Monster, Bernard & Doris, The Baxter and the Oscar nominated, Junebug.


The Mystifying Symbolism Of Ganesha & Santa Claus

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

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

Great Video - The Mystifying Symbolism Of Ganesha

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ho Ho Ho … Om Om Om

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