The Ayurveda Dosha Clock - A Healthy Daily Routine [Dinacharya]

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THE DOSHA CLOCK
According to Ayurveda, the rhythm of life is governed by cycles and in order to maintain health and balance we need to learn how to live in accordance to nature’s daily cycle. Ayurveda speaks about biological time as a function of three doshas [vata–pitta–kapha] in relation to chronological time with each dosha being more active at a particular time of day and night. To help bring us in tune with nature, and rather our own intelligence, following a dinacharya [daily routine] is essential for establishing great health and regularizing our own biological clock.

Not only is timing of importance but how we approach life is essential. For example, waking up to a jolting alarm clock is enough to set off a cascade of alarming stress responses which is obviously not the ideal way of starting off the day.

Similarly, waking up during the late and lazy time of the morning can create a slow/sluggish feeling throughout the day. Let us now take a closer look at the "Dosha Clock" and see how we can use it to our best advantage in order to harness the natural influences of nature.

VATA TIME ...
Early morning before sunrise is the time of vata. The qualities of vata are expressed with brisk coolness in the air and the beginning of increased activity of nature as birds begin to sing and people begin a new day.


“Brahmamuhurtha – “Time Of Brahma”
Brahmamuhurtha is considered 1 hr 36 minutes before sunrise and thought to be an auspicious time for meditation. This period of time is a junction point between night and early morning and is considered a time of heightened awareness. Therefore, Brahmamuhurtha is considered an auspicious time of day best suited for praying, meditating, and contemplation.

THE MORNING ROUTINE

Whilst this is not an easy task for some, arising early is beneficial in starting the day. The pure and subtle qualities of nature that is present at this time of the day will bring peace and freshness to the mind and senses. People who have more of the earth and water qualities should arise between 5-5.30AM. Those who have more of the fire element should arise between 5.30-6AM and those who have more light, air and space constitutions should arise between 6-6.30AM. After arising it is beneficial to say a little prayer or mantra before getting out of bed.

Elimination
Elimination is one of the three pillars of health according to Ayurveda. If there is proper daily elimination, good health is simpler to attain. When food is not properly digested toxins can build up, creating sluggish digestion. It is important to train the body to have a daily elimination. According to Ayurveda if one misses a daily bowel movement, then the person is said to be constipated. In today’s medical world, constipation is classified as having fewer than three bowel movements a week. To ensure that daily elimination is taking place, one must follow a proper diet and lifestyle for their constitution. Keeping hydrated and the use of herbs, such as triphala, can also help with regulation of bowels.

Washing the face with cold water will bring alertness to the mind. It is a good idea to also wash the eyes and rinse the mouth with cool water. There are a few ayurvedic eye washes that are recommended based upon ones constitution. Triphala tea, rose water and even diluted pomegranate juice are effective eye wash solutions.

Tongue Scraping
An important part of the dinacharya is scraping the tongue. Scraping the tongue can aid in digestion, absorption and assimilation as it stimulates the internal organs. It also removes bacteria. There are a variety of tongue scrapers available on the market today – gold, copper and silver ones. However, stainless steel tongue scrapers are generally suitable for all.

Oral Care
There are many health benefits of oil pulling. This is a technique where a tablespoon of oil (usually sesame or coconut) is swished in the mouth for 10-20 minutes. From promoting dental hygiene to detoxifying the body and increasing energy, oil pulling is an ancient yet current health benefit. However if time is a factor, even a few minutes of oil swishing is advantageous. After spitting out the oil be sure to massage the gums and brush thoroughly. In Ayurveda this practice is referred to as ‘Gandusha’.


Nasya
Administering ghee or oils in the nasal passages can help with lubrication, cleansing and enhancing mental clarity and improving vision. Making sure that one is lying down with their nostrils parallel to the ceiling, add 3-5 nasal drops into each nostril and sniff deeply but gently. It is advisable to lie for a few minutes to allow the nasal drops to nourish prana. There are a variety of nasal drops recommended, such as brahmi ghee, calamus oil (medicated, not the essential oil) and regular ghee or sesame oil. It is important to note that nasya should not be done an hour before or after showering, or after exercising. It is also recommended to do nasya on an empty stomach. The health benefits of nasya are extensive.

Oil Massage (Abhyanga)
Massaging oil on the body is a great way to keep the skin soft, supple and wrinkle free. It is a rejuvenating technique that improves circulation and, when done at night, induces sleep. Massaging the scalp can prevent hair loss and graying. In the evenings, massaging the scalp and soles of the feet with bhringraj oil can help in achieving a calm, restorative sleep.

It is advisable to start with the outer extremities and work towards the heart. One should massage in a linear fashion along the limbs and with circular motions on the joints. Some popular oils used are coconut, sesame, sunflower and almond. According to one’s natural constitution, one should pick an oil that is appropriate to their state of balance.

Bathing should follow abhyanga to remove any excess oil left on the skin. Bathing is not only cleansing and refreshing, but also an activity that improves mental clarity and revitalizes the body. Using natural and chemical free soaps are recommended. During the summer months it is advisable to shower with cooler water than the winter months. This helps the body to keep in tune with nature and the surrounding environment.

Practicing yoga daily is recommended for all body types. There are various postures and poses that can help to alleviate many conditions and diseases. Yoga is a vital and important daily activity that brings balance and serenity into life.

There are many types of breathing techniques that have various uses for the body. From lowering blood pressure to reducing weight and cooling the body, it is important to know which pranayama would be indicated for personal use. Pranayama increases the vital energy force in the body and therefore is recommended for health and longevity.

Exercise is an important part of life. Walking daily, particularly in the early mornings, maintains good health and balance. Although many people practice vigorous exercise, this is not always recommended. Ayurveda advises stretching and breathing whereas straining is to be avoided.The profound health benefits of meditation are staggering. A simple technique, it allows one to connect with the divinity within oneself and should be a daily practice. There are a few methods that one can choose from simple breathing to mantra based meditation. Amongst many benefits, meditation brings peace, harmony and clarity into one’s life.

Breakfast
When kapha is high, digestion is often slow or diminished. Therefore, it is wise to avoid heavy meals first thing in the morning. Instead, we should consider light and warm meals which can be more easily digested.

Activity
Mid-day is when the day heats up as the sun becomes stronger and reaches its peak. It’s the fire element of the sun which brings about light, warmth, and dryness to the day. It’s during this period when the internal and external heat is at its height and therefore is not the most ideal time to exercise or become overly active. Pitta types who predominantly have a fiery element should especially make sure not to overly exert themselves at this time.

Lunch
During mid-day, kapha decreases while pitta increases. As pitta continues to increase you will notice an increase in appetite reflecting when the power of digestion is at its peak. Generally, the largest meal of the day should be eaten at this time when the metabolic digestive fire [“agni”] digests and assimilates food optimally.

During this time of day the air element of vata increases as we notice the day soon becomes cooler and more windy. Vata energy brings about lightness to the mind which makes it more challenging to focus. Instead of struggling with focus, this may be a good time to reorganize your desk, revisit your 'Things-To-Do' list and consider brainstorming new ideas. Also, due to the lack of focus - instead of refilling on coffee it may be more worthwhile to meditate in order to regain focus during this vata time.

Time For Reflection
Sunset is a junction of day into night and is when the daily cycle repeats itself for the latter half of the day – meaning from 6 pm -10 pm kapha predominates as it did during the morning hours of 6 am- 10 am. Just as the early morning kapha times was a time of meditation, so true – kapha time during the evening is an ideal time for reflection. According to vedic philosophy, spiritual activities are amplified when performed at junction points. Therefore, this is a opportune time to meditate, chant, or do a calming yoga practice. Finally, as the suns energy begins to fade, and the cold and heavy energy of kapha dominates we soon begin to feel tired after a long and lengthy day. Relaxation is essential before bed – but first, dinner.

Dinner
Generally, dinner should be eaten early [between 6-7pm]. Eating too late in the evening may lead to undigested food remaining in the digestive tract and thus resulting in the accumulation of undigested food material – toxins [“ama”] in the colon. Similarly, a heavy meal during kapha time of the night can result in excess kapha qualities of heaviness and therefore result in weight gain and/or other kapha-related conditions. That said, pitta types may be able to eat slightly later due to their stronger digestive ability.

Sleep
In order to ensure restful sleep, relaxation is essential before bed. The aim is to be asleep before 10pm. Normally, the qualities of kapha accumulate throughout the evening and the body will naturally be tired. If we are in tune with these natural rhythms of life the body will naturally seek to experience deep and restorative sleep by this time.

Mid-night [10pm – 2am]
There is often great emphasis regarding falling asleep by 10pm because if one stays awake after 10 pm the active nature of pitta can prevent sleep. Pitta continues to increase during these late hours and its primary function is for repair and transformation of bodily tissue. However, if one remains awake during these late hours you will notice an increase in appetite i.e. “mid-night cravings” due to the fiery nature of pitta. Eating during these late hours is not conducive to health because pitta at night is not intended for digestion but rather repair and transformation of bodily tissue. Lastly, sleeping on a full stomach can result in the buildup of partially digested food [toxins] in the gastrointestinal tract and also thought to cause disturbing dreams; preventing restful sleep.

Individual – Unique Needs
The above mentioned influences of vata-pitta-kapha are basic guidelines to help align the individual with the natural rhythms of life. Depending on geographical and individual variations there will naturally be differences throughout the year in regards to dosha influences, the time of sunrise and sunset and seasonal-related influences. Therefore, as we become more in-tune with these rhythms of life we will also be able to develop a knowing on how to adjust our daily life accordingly.

Disclaimer:
All content included on this website (including, but not limited to,  images, photos, graphics and text) is the property of ‘Healthy Ayurveda’ and ‘Vedic Sage’ and as such is protected by US and international copyright and other intellectual property laws.


Absolute Health With Yoga

Absolute Health With Yoga
By Priya Singh

From the moment we begin to exist, our mind and body is absorbing sights, sounds, touch impressions, and emotions. Every single stimulus is recorded in our brain, cells and tissues on a cellular level. This concept of mind and body is widely discussed, but do we actually fully understand it? Do we understand the enormity of the emotional and physical toll life takes on us? Our environment, every stress and every positive/negative emotion essentially affects us to a level that changes our very being, body and inherent spirit.

the body is not separate from the mind & spirit

In times past, Asian cultures made esoteric practices a part of their daily life, wherein these practices included prayer, and means to strengthen and cleanse physically and mentally. At the crux of these practices, it was always understood that the body is not separate from the mind and spirit, and the neglect of one leads to the deterioration of the other two facets. Though we regard our lives as solely physical, emotions breach into each of our moments, and how we deal with it on a day-to-day level is what keeps us healthy and well – both emotionally and physically. Building up a level of awareness to your mental and physical health brings you to a place where you are conscious of the smallest change that takes place in your body. 

The Origin Of Yoga By Sadhguru

You will notice that there are people who ‘process’ their emotions faster than others, and are a lot more evolved in their thinking about life in general. Usually these are people who have developed some sort of a practice in yoga, tai chi, meditation, martial arts etc. All these disciplines instill an emotional and physical resilience that helps ‘digest’ life better and prevent disease from making a home in your body simply by burning away the toxins (Ama).

Often, for people not entrenched in yogic practices, the beginning of disease is a single small symptom that remains unnoticed; say for example feeling uncomfortable after a meal, then feeling bloated, maybe pain, constipation/diarrhea - till one day you are sitting at the doctor’s and being diagnosed with colitis. The point is that it took you possibly years to get to this stage, where sheer lack of awareness and neglect debilitated you.

one of the most effective methods to instill awareness

From my 30 years of experience as a Yogi, I can profoundly suggest that one of the most effective methods to instill awareness, cleanse your toxins and stay healthy in mind/body/spirit is the traditional practice of Hatha yoga. There are many styles of yoga being taught out there, but the traditional method that encompasses Asana (postures), Pranayama (breathing techniques) and Dhayana (concentration – which leads to a spontaneous state of meditation) is the style that keeps your Agni balanced, Nadis (channels) opened, muscles supple and joints healthy. 

Yoga is one discipline, that even 5000 years ago recognized the importance of the health of the gut. One can participate in the cleansing of the gut – from esophagus to rectum by engaging in supervised cleansing practices  (shatkarmas); this allows the gut to release unwanted physical and emotional toxins, and as the flora of the gut recalibrates and calms down, your health improves by leaps and bounds.

One of the biggest benefits however, is the balancing of the digestive fire (Agni) in the gut. The digestive system in our body plays a huge role in our overall health, with the  “little brain” hidden in the walls of the digestive system called the enteric nervous system (ENS). The ENS is two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells lining the gastrointestinal tract from esophagus to rectum; and the ENS, while not capable of thought, communicates back and forth with our big brain. Once the body is cleansed of toxins and the digestive fire is balanced, you will see your skin clear up, eyes brighten, and experience vitality of mind and body.

That being said, it requires discipline and intent to incorporate a daily practice into your life. It usually takes 40 days to establish a habit, so choose a time that works best, set out the yoga mat, and begin your practice. If Yoga is completely new to you, then start by attending a few ‘beginner’ yoga workshops, pick-up what works best and makes most sense, and gently establish a routine. Assuming that you have a 45 min/one hour time slot - divide the time equally between postures, breathing and concentration.

You will begin to see the benefits within a week, as physically your circulation improves, posture changes, stiffness, aches and pains lessen, sleep comes easier, fatigue reduces and energy level increases. On an emotional level, moodiness dissipates, depression lifts, anxiety attacks calm down, you feel joyful, and things that stressed you out earlier, don’t seem as insurmountable. To experience the vast benefits of traditional Yoga, you must embark on a journey of self-exploration and create a practice that works towards optimizing you – body and mind.

About The Author

 Priya Singh
Born and bought up in India, Priya has been entrenched in the practice, study, and teaching of classical Hatha and Kriya yoga for the past 30 years. Her passion and interest in Yoga encompasses the allied study of Ayurveda, Yoga therapy, Applied anatomy and Homeopathy. Priya is also a trained Integrative Health Coach from Duke University, NC, where she had the privilege of teaching yoga at some seminars. In addition, she has been teaching yoga fundamentals and anatomy at Yoga Teacher training programs in the Bay Area. Priya owes her love for yoga and healing to the blessings of all her teachers, mentors and Guru.  
 

With an interesting blend of Eastern roots and Western sensibilities, Priya is uniquely qualified to engage her students in a style which empowers them to take steps towards achieving personal goals. She practices a synergetic approach to healing, taking into consideration the complete history, current health and long-term health targets of her clients. 

The individual sessions begin with an assessment, and are personalized to the client’s preference; and can include a combination of Health Coaching, Asana, Pranayama, meditation, lifestyle conversation and nutritional guidance. The group classes are taught in an easy, non–competitive environment, keeping individual needs and constitutions in mind.

To contact Priya Singh please visit: 
www.PriyaSinghYoga.com
Facebook: Yoga and Health with Priya

 


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 


How To Improve Your Digestion Naturally

 

Improve Your Digestion Naturally
( Agni Tea. Photo by Emma Eckert www.radiantmoonchild.com )

In Ayurveda digestion is referred to as agni. Agni is your digestive fire and it is the first line of defense against illness. So tending to it properly is crucial to overall health. When you first light a fire, you don't smother it with large logs, but slowly add kindling until it starts going. Then when it comes time to put it out, you let it burn out on its own. Digestion works in this same way.

Ayurvedic Supplements For Digestion
Good health depends on strong and efficient digestion.

When you first wake up, you should begin your day with a lighter meal, slowly building up your agni. Then around noon, it should be working at its hottest. This is when you should eat your largest, heaviest meal. For dinner, eat something of moderate substance. If you were getting ready for bed, and putting out the fire, would you place another large log on it? No. That log would not burn completely and wouldn't be consumed until the following day when a new fire is started. That being said, late night snacks and large dinners work in the same way. Your digestion is slowing down for the night, so any foods consumed too late wont be digested properly.

How To Naturally Heal Low Stomach Acid - Dr. Josh Axe 

Top five natural remedies to follow to naturally improve your stomach acid are:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar (Take one tbsp before meals & with digestive bitters for optimal results)
2. Digestive Enzymes (1-2 capsules before meals)
3. HCL with pepsin (only consume with protein in a meal, please advise your physician)
4. Manuka Honey
5. Lifestyle change: chew your food, eat smaller meals, and try intermittent fasting
- Source: Dr. Josh Axe 

 

Four Main Types Of Agni 
There are four types of agni:

  • Tikshna Agni [sharp/strong digestion]
  • Vishama Agni [variable digestion]
  • Manda Agni [slow digestion]
  • Sama Agni [balanced digestion]

 

Tikshna Agni
Tikshna agni is strong digestion. Someone with this type of agni experiences a very strong appetite. Even though it is strong, it isn't beneficial. This type of digestion over processes foods, stripping it of it's nutrients. Due to over processing, people with this type of agni usually suffer from malnutrition. If they skip meals they become irritable and lightheaded. Oily and spicy foods upset their systems and can lead to loose stools. In order to help balance this type of digestion, stick too cooling foods. You can garnish your meals with lime, cilantro and coconut flakes. Usually in Ayurveda snacks are frowned upon, but for this type of agni, snacking is good. Just make sure you're not eating oily nuts. Try cooling cucumbers or other vegetables.

Organic Cooling Pitta Spice Mix
Organic Cooling Pitta Spice Mix features coriander, cardamom and turmeric.

Vishama Agni
Vishama agni is variable digestion. People with this type of digestive fire can skip meals. They'll get wrapped up in an activity and simply forget to eat. When they do eat, they tend towards gas and bloating. The best way to help balance this type of digestion is through a regular eating routine. Don't skip meals. Make sure the food you're eating is well cooked and not raw. Warm foods are best, such as soups. For those of you who really struggle with gas, hingvastak is a great remedy. It's a powder that you can sprinkle on everything you eat, and because it's a carminative, it helps alleviate gas.

Organic Vata Churna Calming Spice Mix
Organic Vata Churna Calming Spice Mix is a blend of seven ingredients, including cumin, ginger and fenugreek.

Manda Agni
Manda agni is slow digestion. This can show up as a slow starting appetite, where true hunger doesn't appear until later in the day. People with manda agni tend to emotionally eat, and may never experience true hunger. After eating they feel tired and sluggish. First and foremost, if you have this type of digestion, only eat when you're hungry, even if that's not until noon. To help kickstart your hunger, try drinking a warm glass of lemon water first thing in the morning. Once you do feel the need to eat, stick to well spiced foods. Avoid sweets, dairy and other cooling foods.

Organic Kapha Churna Stimulating Spice Mix
Includes ginger, coriander and turmeric.

Sama Agni
Sama agni is balanced digestion. These people wake hungry, but don't have an overbearing appetite. They have no issues digesting any kind of food. This is the type of agni we all strive to achieve, and once we get there, we need to keep it in balance.

 

10 Tips To Help Improve Your Digestion:
No matter what type of digestion you have, the following list is important to follow in order to keep your agni healthy.

1. Begin your morning with a glass of room temperature water.
This helps clean out your digestive tract from the day before. Overtime, this will encourage a morning bowel movement. This helps ready your digestion further. If you aren't defecating first thing in the morning just yet, sit on the toilette after drinking your water. This will help train your body to poop before breakfast.

Copper Cup
A real ayurveda classic. Fill the cup with water in the evening, leave it to stand overnight and drink the water the next morning. In ayurveda this water is particularly highly regarded because it is said to have a purifying as well as a balancing influence on Pitta dosha. From a scientific point of view, the water has absorbed pure copper, which in this form is an essential mineral for the body.

2. Only eat when hungry. 
This is crucial. Don't eat until you experience true hunger, even if that isn't until noon. If you dump food onto your digestive fire which isn't burning hot yet, this food wont be digested properly. This undigested food becomes toxic sludge which leads to sickness.

3. Eat slowly and chew your food.
In today’s fast paced world we are prone to rushing threw everything, our meals included. Eating too quickly leads to overeating. Sit down and eat your meals without any distractions. It's also important to fully chew your food. Attempt to chew at least twenty times before swallowing. This allows for easier digestions.

4. Eat without distractions.
No facebook, twitter, instagram or even magazines. If your energy is focused on reading, it wont be focused on digesting.

5. Don't drink too many liquids during your meal.
Drinking too much during a meal dilutes your digestive fire, leading to indigestion. Take small sips while you eat and resume normal liquid intake thirty minutes after you've finished your meal.

6. Avoid iced drinks.
While we're on the topics of drinks, don't drink anything with ice in it! This dulls your agni and makes digestion harder. Stick to room temperature or hot drinks. This includes any liquids throughout the day, not just during meals.

7. Practice proper food combining. 
The list of proper food combinations is long, so we will stick to the most common. For example, don't drink milk with fruit. It's very common to eat fruit with yogurt, don't do it. Fruit should be eaten by itself. Stick to one type of protein at a time. This includes beans as well. So don't go mixing beans with eggs. In fact, beans and eggs shouldn't be eaten with cheese either (sorry all you Mexican food lovers).Nightshades (ie. tomatoes, eggplants and potatoes) shouldn't be eaten with dairy products. And lastly, don't cook with honey. Heating honey makes it toxic. So if you're going to add it to a meal, do it last, and make sure your food is out of the oven and off the stove.

8. Eat melons alone or not at all.
This one is so important it deserves a space of its own. Don't eat melons with anything! So no fruit salads unless it's all melons or no melons.

9. Eat your heaviest meal at lunchtime
As stated above, this is the time of day when your digestive fire is at its strongest. So instead of eating your biggest meal for dinner, as we Americans tend to do, eat it for lunch. Also, lunch is best consumed between eleven and one o'clock.

10. Eat your last meal, or snack, at least four hours before going to bed. 
We talked about this earlier. You don't want to fill your belly up with a lot of food and then go to bed. Your body wont digest it. So try to eat dinner at least four hours before going to bed. Believe it or not, waking up feeling sluggish can be caused by late night eating. If you're like me and tend to get "hungry" right before bedtime, opt for a warm glass of milk. You can spice it if you'd like. Just be sure to avoid nutmeg if you're prone to constipation, as it is a binding agent.

About The Author
Lizzy Straba
Lizzy Straba is based out of Albuquerque New Mexico, and offers Lifestyle Consultations and private Ayuryoga®  instruction. One of Lizzy's main goals is to provide Ayurveda to everyone. Lizzy succinctly explains, "It's super easy to feel like we're not good enough or that we don't fit into a certain mold and in turn deny ourselves something life changing. I want you to know that you don't need to be a yogi or a vegetarian or even a spiritual human being to benefit from the knowledge of Ayurveda. All you need is a willingness to improve your health."

To contact Lizzy Straba please visit her home page: Rogue Ayurveda  


Endocrine Disruptors - A Reason For Weight Gain?

 

Endocrine Disruptors - A Reason For Weight Gain? 
Whether you’re trying to lose a lot weight or just shed a few extra stubborn pounds, do you ever wonder why getting the scale to go down often feels like an uphill battle? “We’re finding that weight management is much more complex than just energy-in versus energy-out,” says professor Jennifer Kuk who is a professor of health science at York University in Toronto. According to a study published in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, the researchers hypothesize that environmental factors, such as our food, chemical-filled personal care products, and increased stress, may play a major role in why we’re heavier now [compared to the 1970’s] when all other factors are the same.

“Maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health
and can help you prevent and control many diseases and conditions.”
- National Institute Of Health; NIH

"Endocrine Disruptors" 
Despite eating healthy and attempting to minimize our exposure to chemicals, it’s still a challenge to avoid them completely. The reason why it’s difficult to avoid them is because they seem to be everywhere. For example, many chemicals such as pesticides, flame-retardants, and preservatives all have an affect on hormones and can often be a cause for the additional weight we seem to put on. Another study, published in the Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, found that exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) or ethinyl estradiol (EE) - two common “endocrine disruptors” in the mother’s womb results in a slower metabolism and lower activity in their offspring.

Interesting Video - Endocrine Disruptors Overview 

 

Our First Defense - “Agni”
As per Ayurveda, “Agni” is the cosmic fire - the principle of transformation of all substances and Ayurveda describes the underlying function of digestion and metabolism in our body as Agni [“Fire”]. Regarding the importance of Agni, the father of Ayurveda – Charak stated that when Agni of the individual is balanced then that person would be absolutely healthy and would lead a long, happy and healthy life. The first and foremost level of Agni is the digestive fire, which digests the food we consume. Even further, Agni represents all that we ‘take in’ - from the food we eat, to all sensory impressions we perceive, and all thoughts, feelings, and emotions we “digest”. In essence, our resilience depends upon the state of our Agni.

Improve Your Digestive Fire
Special Digestive Formulas To Help Improve Your Digestive Fire.

 

“The Fix”
The practical solution is to avoid exposure. We should take all reasonable steps to limit our exposure to chemicals which may be endocrine disruptors. For example, consider replacing vinyl shower curtains for a BPA-free replacement or consider storing food in glass containers rather than plastic containers.

"Major loopholes in federal law allow the… cosmetics industry to put unlimited amounts of phthalates into many personal care products with no required testing, no required monitoring of health effects, and no required labeling."
- Study by Environmental Working Group; 2002

Common Sources Of Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals
Epoch Times recently compiled 10 common sources of endocrine disruptors, as well as what you can do about them.

Here are just a few ...

 

Personal Care Products. Shampoo, hair conditioners, moisturizers, and other personal care products often contain endocrine disruptors.
Drinking Water. Atrazine, arsenic, and perchlorate are three endocrine disruptors that pervade many communities’ drinking water supplies.
Canned Foods. Many cans are lined with BPA which are considered a common endocrine disruptor.
Cleaning Products. Common cleaning products often have a large amount of industrial chemicals which may act as endocrine disruptors. Instead, consider greener alternatives or even create your own cleaning products using non-toxic ingredients such as lemon, vinegar, and good old-fashioned soap.
Kitchen Products. Common kitchen appliances such as nonstick cookware, plastic wrap, and plastic containers may all contain endocrine disruptors; especially when heated.

An Ayurvedic Detox Program
For people who want a whole-body cleanse

Three Powerful Detox Ingredients:

  1. Black pepper. Modern research suggests that black pepper enhances the uptake and utilization of oxygen by brain cells. Likewise, black pepper helps to improve the quality of digestion – therefore, preventing formation of by-products of poor digestion [ama].
  2. Ginger. Ayurveda describes fresh ginger root as one of the best enhancers of digestion – helping to better assimilate food and prevent the formation of toxic by-products of digestion [ama].
  3. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibacterial and has long been used in the Indian system of medicine to treat a variety of conditions.

 

Panchakarma - An Ayurvedic Purification Process
Ayurveda is a life science which teaches an appropriate art of living in order to achieve longevity. Ayurveda explains unique methods to help guide each and every individual on how to maintain a healthy balance by considering simple changes in lifestyle, eating habits, and exercise. Ayurveda gives priority not only to preventive and therapeutic procedures but also to purification and rejuvenation therapies.

Nature’s Greatest Antioxidant!!
According to Ayurveda, Amalaki is considered one of the most nourishing and rejuvenating herbs. Amalaki is a strong natural antioxidant containing high levels of vitamin C and acts as a powerful immune strengthener. Amalaki is one of the best sources of natural vitamin C and contains 20 times more vitamin C than an orange.

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

A Few Stubborn Pounds?
From an Ayurvedic standpoint, weight gain occurs as a result of excess earth and water elements in the body. This creates sluggish/weak digestion which leads to low metabolism. Signs and symptoms associated with obesity include lethargy, breathlessness on exertion, excess sweating, excess thirst as well as weight gain. Usually the etiological factors of obesity are due to poor diet and lifestyle choices. The typical American diet is extremely counterproductive in the maintenance of good health. Fried foods, excess salty and sweet foods as well as sodas have become a part of the ‘norm’ in today’s society. The use of ice in drinks and the popular usage of frozen foods has also contributed to the rising levels of obesity.

There are some simple ayurvedic recommendations to target weight gain. However, it is important to note that each case is different and will require a more individualized approach to best suit ones needs. It is vital to establish the cause of obesity in each person as many different etiological factors can come into play. An individualized health plan created with ones own physician and practitioner is advised.

 

Easy & Healthy Considerations ...

 

Diet:

  • Drinking a cup of hot water with 1 tsp of honey and 10 drops of apple cider vinegar is a wonderful way to start the day. Honey and apple cider vinegar have scraping effects and can help with reducing excess adipose tissue.
  • Eliminating alcohol, caffeine and smoking. There is abundant information on how many negative effects these substances induce in the body. They can alter the digestive fire and create cravings for unhealthy foods.
  • Reducing dairy and meats from the diet. These foods are heavy, gross and can lead to slow, sluggish digestion which will increase the same qualities in the body. Therefore one will have excess heaviness, lethargy and poor metabolism with overconsumption of these foods.
  • Consume the largest meal at lunch – when digestion is strongest and keep dinner a simple and light meal.
  • Incorporate ginger pickles and teas in the diet. Ginger is an effective herb for stimulating digestion and removing toxins from the body. It will also help to increase metabolism.
  • Reducing the cold element in the diet and incorporating more hot meals will also bring changes to health.
  • Fresh vegetables such as beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, leafy greens, onions, garlic, peppers and sprouts will help increase the light element in the body. Fruits to favor include; berries, apples, pears, pomegranate, raisins, lemons, prunes and apricots. Generally heavier and sweet fruit and vegetables such as potatoes, cucumber, zucchini, bananas, coconuts, avocados, oranges, grapes and pineapples are best avoided.
  • In some cases, a 24 hour kichadi or water fast can be beneficial. Fasting in an appropriate manner and under the care of a physician/practitioner, can bring tremendous health benefits. It can reset the body and help one get onto the right track.

 

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

Rejuvenation For Ladies
Supports emotional and hormonal balance; helpful during the years before menopause; promotes overall health.

 

Lifestyle:

  • Exercise is an important part of life. It increases metabolism and burns fat and also brings balance as well as mental clarity. The health benefits of yoga are vast. Taking up a daily yoga practice along with breathing exercises (pranayama) is an effective way for maintaining a healthy body weight.
  • At the very least, a 20 minute brisk walk should be incorporated into a morning daily routine. This will move lymph and reduce adipose tissue.
  • Napping during the day will increase the qualities that lead to weight gain; heavy, slow, dull, oily, gross and soft. It is best to obtain a good night’s sleep and to establish regular arising and sleeping times to set the body into a healthy routine.
  • Meditation and self – love. It is important to nurture one-self and to develop love and acceptance, as negative emotions can offset emotional hunger and depression. Meditation brings peace and harmony into life, therefore a daily 20 minute practice is recommended to bring overall awareness and balance. The many health benefits of meditation and positive affirmations are extensive. It is recommended to be forgiving of one-self and to eliminate the aspect of emotional guilt leading to acceptance, love and peace.

 

Herbs:

  • Herbs such as kutki, chitrak, trikatu and shilajit are extremely efficient in targeting fatty tissues and increasing the digestive capacity of the bodily tissues amongst many other benefits. Taking these herbs under a practitioners guidance will increase metabolism, scrape excess fat, control hunger and improve liver function.
  • Drinking triphala at night will also promote healthy bowel movements and cleansing of the colon as well as bringing balance to all the elemental properties in the body.

 

Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus) 
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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.


Avoid Allergies While Transitioning Into Spring Season

 

Transitioning Into Spring Season
The transition between seasons welcomes a new change and this new change invites a different way of life from the old season by entering afresh into the next season. Spring is a season of growth and new potential. In fact, spring is considered the king of all seasons. Of relevance, in the Bhagavad Gita - 11th chapter, Krishna while stating his strength says, “among all the trees I am the sacred pippala [Bodhi tree] and of the season - I am Spring.” This is because spring is the season in which all of nature wakes up as the birds sing, flowers bloom, and people generally feel energized as we emerge from winter. In essence, spring is a time of growth and a time to begin a new lifestyle. However, before adapting to a new way of life, we must first appreciate the qualities of spring and adapt in accordance.

Qualities Of Spring - "Moisture"

Spring can be likened to the freshness of water from the recently melted snow of winter. Because of this, there is still much moisture in the atmosphere and kapha [which is primarily water and earth] tends to be aggravated during spring season. As a result of all this moisture, excess accumulation of kapha within the body begins to liquefy and run out of the body as many people experience “spring fever” and allergies this time of year.

Ayurvedic Remedies For Spring Allergies - Madhuri Melanie Phillips

 

It is a known fact that spring is the time of year for seasonal allergies. As the trees start to bloom and the pollen is released into the atmosphere, allergy sufferers begin their annual ritual of sniffling and sneezing. Each year, 58 million Americans fall prey to seasonal allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as “hay fever”. Furthermore, during spring the climate gets warmer and the heat reduces the digestive power of body. As a result, kapha increases which leads to various conditions like cough, cold, allergies, sinusitis, and indigestion to name a few. Ayurveda, the ancient science of life, has the solution. Ayurveda explains the concept of Ritucharya. In Sanskrit, the word “Ritu” means “seasons” and the word charya means “to follow a routine”. Hence, Ritucharya is the Seasonal Routine and by following a seasonal lifestyle & diet routine, people can prevent certain seasonal ailments and can ultimately have a  healthy life . As per Ayurveda, the duration from mid-March to mid-May constitutes the Vasant Ritu or Spring season.

Lifestyle Recommendations

Do’s
The goal during spring season is to pacify kapha with foods that are light and easily digestible. Foods that are particularly bitter, pungent, and astringent as these tastes are considered kapha pacifying - or that which helps to reduce kapha.

Organic Kapha Churna Stimulating Spice Mix
Ready-to-use spice mixtures satisfy the six ayurvedic tastes considered essential for balance. Organic Stimulating Kapha Churna includes ginger, coriander and turmeric.

Don’ts
Avoid food which are heavy and oily while minimizing tastes which are sweet, sour and salty - as these flavors increase kapha. Instead, we should consider foods which are pungent, bitter, astringent - since these tastes naturally help to reduce kapha.

Examples Springtime foods - which help pacify kapha

  • Legumes: split pea, red lentils, chickpeas, pinto beans
  • Grains: amaranth, barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, rye
  • Fruits: apples, apricots, berries, cherries, mangoes, peaches, pomegranates, pears
  • Veggies: artichoke, asparagus, beets, broccoli, carrots, okra, spinach  

 

Diet
It is advised to have easily digestible food which are low in calories during the spring season since the digestion power of “Agni” is diminished. Ayurveda believes that all diseases are primarily due to a faulty digestion. It is also now well understood that the gastrointestinal system is a major organ of immunity.

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

Herbal Di-Gest
Supports improved digestion and balanced appetite; helps with gas, bloating, and discomfort.

 

TRIKATU - Digestive herbal formula ...
Trikatu is a formula combination of equal parts ginger, black pepper and pippali. The name trikatu means three peppers or the three pungents. It is a wonderful herb with strong digestive properties.

Hot water. Drinking sips of hot water also helps improve digestion. Kapha is predominant during the daytime especially from 6 am to 10 am so it’s best to avoid eating a heavy breakfast at this time. Instead, consider eating a healthy and light breakfast during spring; particularly is suffering from allergies. It is best if one avoids cold, oily foods & excessive sweet or sour foods.

Honey. Honey is thought to have a “scrapping effect” and small amounts of raw honey is considered beneficial to help reduce kapha. Therefore, a good consideration for sweeteners during spring season is honey.

Herbal Teas. Since coolness and moisture are still within the atmosphere and before we fully experience the heat of summer, it’s of benefit to consider having warming teas such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and clove tea during spring.

Organic Stimulating Kapha Tea
The perfect answer when you’re feeling sluggish or heavy — spicy tea!!

 

Herbs & Spices
A few herbs which could be used to reduce kapha and fight the allergies during spring season are spices, which can be added to your food such as turmeric, fresh ginger, garlic, onions, and horseradish.

Turmeric is a common spice found in almost every kitchen in many Asian countries like India. Amongst its countless roles, turmeric is commonly used for cosmetic and coloring purposes. Turmeric is widely utilized in Ayurvedic Medicine in treating allergies, immune conditions, liver diseases and neurological disorders. It is considered a holy, auspicious and natural healer. Helps purify the blood and acts as an antioxidant; supports healthy heart, liver, lungs, circulation and nervous system. Turmeric is one of the oldest, most important spices known to humankind.

Fresh ginger. Fresh ginger tea is prepared by boiling fresh ginger in water also reduces the kapha, honey could be added to this tea. Ginger has properties which help in reducing fevers, soothes sore throats, and encourages coughing to remove mucus from the chest. The chemicals shagaols and gingerols in ginger give it that spicy kick that stimulates blood circulation and opens your sinuses. Improved circulation means that more oxygen is getting to your tissues to help remove toxins and viruses. Research from the Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University in Japan indicated ginger has the ability to help prevent and treat flu infections.

Garlic.  Garlic is well known throughout history as a food that fights infections from bacteria and viruses. The BBC reported in 2007 that garlic can help prevent and fight the common cold. Allicin is one of the immune stimulating nutrients in garlic that is released when you cut, chop or crush the cloves. Garlic stimulates the activity of immune system cells that destroy cold and flu viruses.

Onions. They contain quercetin, a nutrient that breaks up mucus in your head and chest while boosting your immune system.When the smell of raw onions makes your nose run and your eyes tear up, this stimulates your immune system to fight infection. Onions also contain allicin which slows down and kills a variety of viruses and bacteria. The pungency of onions increases your blood circulation and makes you sweat. This effect is helpful during cold weather to prevent infections and to sweat out a cold or flu.

Horseradish. Horseradish strengthens your immune system and increases blood flow to parts of your body irritated by cold and flu infections to remove wastes. This pungent food encourages you to flush out infected fluids through sweat and increased urination.

 

5 More Simple Health Tips 
1. Exercise regularly and avoid sleeping in daytime can help to prevent kapha accumulation. Exercise appears to have the advantage of being able to jump-start the immune system, and that can help reduce the number of colds one gets. With exercise, the number and aggressiveness of certain immune cells, such as the ones called natural killer cells, increase by as much as 50% to 300.

2. Avoid exposure to direct air as this will help to reduce kapha and will also reduce the chance of being exposed to pollen and other allergen’s.

3. Massage. Oil massage and dry massage should be done regularly. Herbal bath will also help. Herbs like sandal wood which have a cooling effect also help in strengthening the body and improving the Immunity.

Ayurvedic Massage Oils
Personalize your daily massage with herbal massage oils. Formulated to balance specific skin and dosha types, our herbal massage oils not only lubricate but also purify the skin. They have a balancing effect on the mind and body; they promote the appearance of smooth, youthful skin; and they support vitality and healthy circulation.

4. Nasya
‘Nasya’ is an Ayurvedic practice that involves administering herbal oils to the nasal passage. Commonly such treatments are known to clear sinus congestion, help clear accumulated toxins from the head and neck region. In Ayurveda, nasya is one of the important self-care methods which brings about internal detoxification. It is a part of an ‘Ayurvedic Daily Routine’ by putting 3-5 drops of warm ghee or sesame seed oil into each nostril in the morning.

5. Panchakarma - The Ultimate Detox
Finally, it is generally considered beneficial to do panchakarma during pre-spring period under the guidance of a qualified professional. Panchakarma or five therapeutic treatments.

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.


Can A "Raw Food" Diet Eventually Become Depleting?

 

Can A "Raw Food" Diet Become Depleting?
It’s no surprise that many people feel more energetic and more healthy when they initially shift from a diet consisting of heavily processed food to a raw diet. However, many raw food enthusiast have attested that over a period of time there is often a sense of ungroundedness that develops along with symptoms such as gas, bloating, constipation, insomnia, and eventually decreased vitality and even low libido. According to Ayurveda, digestion is the cornerstone of health and our health is determined not only by the foods we eat but more importantly our health is primarily determined by how well we digest, absorb, and assimilate our food. Even further, Ayurveda states that “ama” which is the by-products of poor digestion is considered the root cause of most diseases and the whole aim of Ayurveda is to balance this digestive fire so that we can digest our meals efficiently and smoothly. However, foods which are raw and uncooked often adds additional strain upon the digestive fire which explains the symptoms of indigestion common to raw food enthusiast.

Raw Food Enzymes - The Truth

 

The Digestive Fire - “Agni”
The process of eating, according to Ayurveda, is metaphorically similar to a burning fire. In Ayurveda, this digestive fire [“agni”] illustrates the body’s ability to digest food; almost equivalent to digestive enzymes. In fact, when managing most health concerns, correcting digestion is often the very first line of management. Digestion is said to be the work of the fire element in the body and it is this fire element which produces the glow of good health and vitality. Our digestive fire may not have any problems digesting a few veggies. However, the dense, rough, and heavy qualities of raw food [in large amounts] is generally considered difficult to digest and as a result can lead to symptoms of indigestion.

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

Herbal Di-Gest
Supports improved digestion and balanced appetite; helps with gas, bloating, and discomfort.

Raw Food & Indigestion
According to the wisdom of Ayurveda “vata” is made primarily of the air element and has the qualities of cold, dry, and rough. When vata is aggravated it can cause certain qualitative changes within the body such as increased dryness, roughness, coldness, mobility and variability within the body/mind. Very simply – this can be experienced as variable appetite; gas or pain after eating; dry constipation or loose motions (increased mobility); and dry/rough skin and hair.

DRY:
Due to the dry quality, vata often leads to dry skin, dehydration and even that annoying cracking and popping of the joints.

LIGHT:
The light quality, if increased, can result in the feeling of being ungrounded, light-headed and even lead to insomnia if this quality persists.

COLD:
If you ever shake the hands of a vata type, you will take notice of cold hands. Vata makes one sensitive to cold weather and will often experience pain and stiffness in muscles and joints, specifically in cold weather.

ROUGH:
Vata creates vulnerability to developing dry, rough, and scaly skin. Likewise, the inner lining of the body [i.e. mucosal lining] can also become dry and rough and according to these principles is the underlying cause of fissures along the mucosal lining.

MOBILE:
As mentioned above, the air element of vata types is always moving, resembling the wind. If this mobile quality is increased, this can lead to abnormal movements of the body such as tics, spasms, tremors and even agitation within the mind giving rise to uncertainty and anxiety.

Organic Vata Churna Calming Spice Mix
Ready-to-use spice mixtures satisfy the six ayurvedic tastes considered essential for balance. Organic Calming Vata Churna is a blend of seven ingredients, including cumin, ginger and fenugreek.

 

Can Raw Foods Eventually Become Depleting?
Many raw food enthusiasts would argue that cooking food destroys vital nutrients and enzymes. However, research reveals that plant enzymes obtained by consuming raw foods are mostly digested and broken down by our own digestive enzymes and therefore do not significantly contribute to the actual process of digestion. Furthermore, consuming a large amount of raw food can actually strain our digestive fire and decrease our ability to properly digest the meal - thereby creating symptoms of indigestion. Instead, Ayurveda recommends lightly steaming, sautéing, and/or simmering our food at a low temperature which will make food easier to digest. Ayurveda talks a great deal about “Ojas” as being the end result of healthy digestion and balance of all bodily tissues. In fact, it is ojas which gives vitality to the body and clarity to the mind. As mentioned above – raw uncooked vegetables tends to increase vata. Vata can be likened to the modern understanding of catabolism or the breaking down of tissues. This may be great for shedding off a few extra pounds initially. However, in the long term this is considered to be depleting and as a result may prevent the formation of ojas – the quintessence vitality of life.

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

Rejuvenation For Ladies
Supports emotional and hormonal balance; helpful during the years before menopause; promotes overall health.

Healthy Tips For Improving Digestion
- Avoid cold food and cold drinks.
- Sip warm water throughout the day.
- enjoy fresh ginger root, lime or lemon juice prior to your meal
- Eat mindfully and take your time to fully enjoy your food.
- Eat according to your primary constitution: Vata, Pitta, or Kapha.
- Eat mostly warm, cooked foods
- Incorporate healthy fats
- Include spices that enhance digestion [i.e. coriander, cumin, and fennel]

 

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

Full-spectrum antioxidant: targets mind & nervous system

  1. 1000x more effective in eliminating free radicals (the root cause of aging) than vitamins C or E1
  2. powerful food for the brain
  3. significantly boosts immunity & vitality
  4. best taken with Amrit Nectar
  5. vata, pitta, kapha balancing (vpk®)

 

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 Ayurveda Guide For Winter Season

The Ayurveda Guide For Winter Season
Winter is a time when nature’s energy withdraws back unto herself as nature’s many expressions begin to slow down. According to Ayurveda, a person is a miniature reflection of nature and winter represents a time for much needed restoration. Every season has certain attributes which may cause aggravation and imbalances of doshas. For example, winter is generally considered a “kapha season”. Therefore, colds and other kapha conditions [i.e. congestion] are more common as the heavy, cold, and cohesive qualities of kapha are predominant. However, a balanced lifestyle in accordance to seasonal changes helps to create the needed elements in order to maintain health and well-being for the body and mind.

Winter Tips - How To Stay Balanced & Healthy During The Winter Season

The Winter Routine

Waking Up
Generally, Ayurveda recommends waking up early before sunrise when pure [“Sattvic”] qualities of nature bring about a sense of peace and freshness to the mind. However, sleeping in later [i.e. 7am] during winter is also considered acceptable.

Evacuation
Paraphrasing a famous Ayurvedic Physician [Dr. Vasant Lad], “there is nothing more healthy than waking up to the call of duty”. Although it is common to sit on the toilet while having a bowel movement, it is more ideal to squat. If you are unable to evacuate your bowels you may want to consider sipping a glass of warm water as this helps to stimulate mass peristalsis and also helps to flush the kidneys.

Copper Cup
A real ayurveda classic. Fill the cup with water in the evening, leave it to stand overnight and drink the water the next morning. In ayurveda this water is particularly highly regarded because it is said to have a purifying as well as a balancing influence on Pitta dosha. From a scientific point of view, the water has absorbed pure copper, which in this form is an essential mineral for the body.

Scrape Your Tongue
By gently scraping the tongue, from back to front, this helps to remove dead bacteria from the tongue, stimulate the visceral organs, and further helps to aid digestion. This is especially helpful if there was improper digestion of the previous night’s meal.

Silver Tongue Cleaner 
A traditional Sterling Silver Tongue Cleaner will help whisk away bacteria and impurities found on your tongue in the morning. Rinse, and your mouth and tongue will feel fresh and clean.

Brush Your Teeth
Using a soft toothbrush, brush your teeth using toothpaste made from heating herbs such as cinnamon or cloves. These heating herbs help to protect the teeth from sensitivity to cold.

Ayurdent Toothpaste
For healthy teeth and gums. Natural, holistic Ayurdent Toothpaste cleanses deeply to rid your teeth and mouth of toxins. Supports and nourishes teeth and gums. Does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate.

Swishing Oil In The Mouth
Next, consider holding some warm sesame oil in the mouth for two or three minutes. This helps to strengthen your teeth and gums, and also thought to be beneficial for improving the clarity of the voice. After holding the oil in the mouth, swish the oil around the mouth and finally before spitting out the oil, gently massage your gums with the oil using your index finger. Also, make sure not to swallow any of this oil.

Oil Massage - Abhyanga
Massage yourself with warm organic sesame oil. Sesame is warming and is generally considered beneficial to every body type for this time of year. Massaging oil on the body is a great way to keep the skin soft, supple and wrinkle free. It is a rejuvenating technique that improves circulation and, when done at night, induces sleep.

Organic Sesame Oil
Enhance immunity and experience a sense of well-being. Our pure golden Sesame Oil is organic, extra-light, chemical-free and cold-pressed, allowing its chemical composition to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin.

“Give yourself a full-body oil massage on a daily basis. It is nourishing; pacifies the doshas; relieves fatigue; provides stamina, pleasure and perfect sleep; enhances the complexion and the luster of skin; promotes longevity; and nourishes all parts of the body.”
– Ancient Wisdom Of Ayurveda

Warm Shower
Have a nice warm shower and rub off the oil from your skin. Showering will naturally brings about freshness to the body, clarity to the mind, and holiness to your life.

Citronella Herbal SoapKapha Balancing Soap
This light and fresh bar cleanses deeply while balancing soft and smooth Kapha skin. The special blend of ayurvedic herbs — flame-of-the-forest, mesua, turmeric and lemony citronella — will refresh your skin. For normal to oily skin.

Dressing & Perfumes
Wearing clean clothes after bathing brings about beauty and virtue. Likewise, using natural scents or perfumes [i.e. essential oils] helps to enhance the refreshing sense of joy and charm to life.

Stimulating Kapha Aroma Oil
Therapeutic aroma oils are precise blends of 100% pure essential oils — diffuse them through lockets or diffusers, combine 5-10 drops per 2 oz. of your base massage oil, or add a few drops to your bathwater for a fragrant healing experience you’ll cherish long after you've left the bath.

Yoga & Pranayama
Yoga or other forms of light exercise will help to invigorate the body with life-energy [i.e. “prana”] and help to clear excess mucous, lethargy, and sluggishness common to both kapha conditions and winter season.

Pranayama
Classical yogic texts describe prana as the energy of the universe and because it permeates everything in the universe it is considered the breath of life. Therefore, pranayama is ‘yogic breathing’ and consists of breathing exercises specifically designed to meet the needs of our body and to keep our body in perfect health.

Nasya
After completing pranayama, it is of benefit to apply nasya oil in the nose. The herbs in nasya can help to dissolve excess kapha [i.e. mucous] from the chest and head, especially beneficial during winter season.

Organic Clear & Soothe Nasal Spray
Natural Nasal Spray — soothes dry, irritated sinuses; shields nasal passages from airborne irritants and germs

Traditional ayurvedic herbal oil

  • balances & lubricates dry or irritated sinuses
  • protects against environmental pollutants & other airborne irritants
  • vata, pitta, kapha balancing (vpk®)

Winter Foods To Consider
Generally, the food we eat during winter season should be warming, nourishing, and mildly spicy. Likewise, we should avoid cold food and flavors which are excessively sweet, sour, or salty as these are all considered “kapha provoking” and will therefore further increase congestion.

Breakfast
Warm and nourishing breakfast many consist of a small bowl of porridge, oatmeal, cornmeal, barley soup, or kitchari.

Amrit Kalash Ambrosia
Amrit Kalash in the morning is great to help keep your energy and immunity intact and is especially beneficial during winter season. Amrit Kalash is a traditional ayurvedic formula of 13 herbs that supports the health of mind, brain, and nerves; increases vitality and inner strength; powerful antioxidant — research shows it to be up to 1,000 times more effective than vitamins C and E

Full-spectrum antioxidant: targets mind & nervous system

  • 1000x more effective in eliminating free radicals (the root cause of aging) than vitamins C or E1
  • powerful food for the brain
  • significantly boosts immunity & vitality
  • best taken with Amrit Nectar
  • vata, pitta, kapha balancing (vpk®)

Amrit Kalash

Tea
About an hour after breakfast, consider sipping on kapha tea which contains ginger, cloves, cardamom, turmeric, saffron, and black pepper - all help to improve digestion and help to eliminate mucus from the body.

Organic Stimulating Tea
The perfect answer when you’re feeling sluggish or heavy — spicy tea

Lunch
Lunch is to be eaten around noon as hunger will naturally occur. Lunch should be nourishing and wholesome such as steamed vegetables, warm soups, bread and delicious ghee. It’s best to avoid meals which are cold as this will impair the digestive fire “agni”. To improve digestion, we can add certain spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper.

Stimulating Spice Mix
Our ready-to-use spice mixtures satisfy the six ayurvedic tastes considered essential for balance. Organic Stimulating Kapha Churna includes ginger, coriander and turmeric.

Dinner
It’s best to avoid having dinner too late and 5-7pm is often ideal. Again, dinner should be warm and nourishing while avoiding excessive sweet, sour or salty tastes; as these flavors increase kapha dosha.

Dinner Drink
Ayurveda suggest that it may be beneficial to occasionally have a glass of dry and warming wine during the winter season as this will encourage circulation and help to stimulate digestion.

Bedtime
As the winter nights get darker earlier, it’s wise to go to bed earlier. Before heading off to bed you may want to consider a delicious cup of hot spicy milk. Spices such as nutmeg are calming and help to promote sound sleep.

Blissful Sleep
Natural sleep aid for falling asleep faster and enjoying deeper, more refreshing sleep; balances, and nourishes.

Deep Rest
To support sleeping through the night; helps in falling asleep more easily, and in returning to sleep when awakened.

 

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.


Simple Tips For Healthy Digestion

Simple Tips For Healthy Digestion
In Ayurveda, the oldest system of holistic medicine, perfect health begins with perfect digestion. Ayurveda speaks of Jatharagni (digestive fire), located in the stomach, as being the primary location where either health begins or disease. According to Ayurveda mostly all diseases start in the digestive system; this includes mind since the mind is transforming information by nature. The digestive fire is like the furnace in a house. If it’s not properly working then the house will suffer its consequences. Linked to digestion, according to Ayurveda, are all the other organs that are part of a sequential process that digests food and takes in the essence of food that nurtures every cell on every level, not just physical.

11 Simple Tips:

1. Eat 2-3 meals a day.
Breakfast (I’m sorry to say) is meant to be the lightest meal of the day. We are “breaking fast” from having had our last meal at least 12 hours prior. Digestive enzymes aren’t yet fully available as the morning time is when the body is starting to typically awaken (those of us that have normal schedules) and the body hasn’t enough momentum until we are fully up and about, getting our juices flowing. If we aren’t hungry for breakfast, this is the meal would could skip and have a cup of tea in its place. Lunch is meant to be the main meal of the day since the stomach enzymes are at its’ peek as is the Sun. If we skip this meal, this is when we are more likely to have hormonal imbalances, digestive imbalances such as cravings and/or sugar crashing, along with affected sleep. From my experience with my clients and from the stand point of Ayurveda, simply adjusting the meal situation of the day corrects numerous health conditions. Dinner is “supper time”, also known as the supplemental meal. I say that this meal should be around half the volume of lunch.

2. Eating schedule.
Breakfast should be no later than 8/8:30. Lunch, between 10 and 2. Preferably around 12 and at least 3-4 hours after breakfast. Dinner no later than 7:30/8:00. The later the meal, the lighter it should be.

3. Cold and Ice.
According to Ayurveda there’s a saying “hot water is the nectar of life and cold water is the poison.” Avoid cold beverages and ice. Cold compromises our immunity, depresses digestion and affects our nervous system. Ice is even worse and in Ayurveda, along with Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ice was only meant to be applied topically for wounds, burns and fevers. It was never meant to be taken internally.

4. Sipping hot water.
Sipping hot water throughout the day supports a) hydration b) digestion and 3) lymphatic drainage. Sipping hot water with meals is ideal. When I say sip, I mean simple. Sipping is different than gulping. Taking in too much of liquid with meals can dilute the digestive enzymes. Whereas, sipping supports digestive enzymes. Your last bite and last sip should be coupled together. Wait at least one hour after a meal to drink anything.

5. Snacking.
Ayurveda suggests that we don’t really snack or at least treat the in between times as though it’s an opportunity for another meal. Usually, we misunderstand cravings for snacks for hydration and that the body is trying to tell us to drink more water. The mechanism in the brain for hunger and thirst are the same. If you’re feeling hungry again, drink a glass of hot water and wait 15 minutes. If you’re still hungry, then eat a light snack. If you’re not hungry, then it’s because you were thirsty.

6. Snoozing/Napping.
Avoid napping right after a meal. Actually, take a walk for about 15 minutes to shake off the lethargic feeling that tends to follow after eating. Napping after turns off digestion and keeping it moving after eating stimulates metabolism.

7. Eat Seasonally.
If it’s warm out, eat cooling foods. If it’s cold out, eat warm foods.

8. Greens/Veggies.
Eat salads/vegetables after the meal versus before. This is clean eating and supports cleansing of the digestive tract and increasing healthier bowel movements.

9. Dessert.
Best to eat an hour – hour and a half after meals. Right after causes the digestive  system to shut down.

10. Sitting.
While eating meals, it is best to do it seated. Standing while eating stresses digestion by forcing the food out of the system due to gravitational pull. Humans weren’t meant to eat like horses.

11. Focus.
While eating it is best to be focused on digestion rather than eating while on lap tops, TV watching or cell phone perusing. Digestion and mind are connected. If mind is distracted, so is digestion. This can increase imbalances such as cravings and instability in the nervous system. Put down the cell phone. Turn off the TV. Leave the lap top in the other room. Enjoy eating. One bite at a time.

About The Author: 
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 hiddenhealthcenter.com

Disclaimer:
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.

 


Hypothyroidism + Impaired Gut Health - An Ayurvedic Perspective

 

Hypothyroidism + Impaired Gut Health
Hypothyroidism is one of the most common thyroid disorders and it has been estimated that 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. Although there is no direct mention of the thyroid gland in the ancient teachings of Ayurveda there is, however, a condition by the name galaganda mentioned by certain manuscripts as we shall soon explore.

Clinical Symptoms
Hypothyroidism is often associated with weight gain, mental slowing, depression and dementia, constipation, dry skin, hair loss, cold intolerance, hoarse voice, irregular menstruation, infertility, and a wide range of other not-so-desirable symptoms.

Old School vs. Ancient Wisdom
Long gone are the days of managing hypothyroidism with a synthetic or bio-identical hormone thinking that this will somehow reverse the course of the disease. Some studies reveal that 90% of people with hypothyroidism produces antibodies to thyroid tissue. In fact, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common autoimmune disorder in the U.S. Our goal is to question what might set off and trigger this inflammatory cascade causing the most common autoimmune condition. By doing so, let us first consider some correlations mentioned thousands of years ago according to the science of Ayurveda.

Metabolism - Immune Function - Agni 
Nearly ever single cell within the body has receptors for the thyroid hormone. Similarly, the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda states metaphorically that there is a flame of digestion which permeates all aspects of the body. This alchemical flame is called “Agni” - which means ‘fire’. This flame of digestion is thought to be responsible for all transformations required to sustain life. The ancient wisdom of Ayurveda further explains a much more subtle expression of this digestive flame called “Jatru Agni”. Jatru Agni is thought to represent both the thyroid and thymus gland and therefore assumes the role of both cellular metabolism and immune function.

Hypothyroidism May Not Be A Thyroid Issue
What is even more interesting is that - it is not uncommon for patients who have Hashimoto’s to demonstrate a “polyendocrine autoimmune pattern” which implies having antibodies to other tissue and enzymes other than that which is specific to the thyroid gland. For example, polyendocrine autoimmune pattern includes antibodies directed at transglutaminase [celiac disease], the cerebellum [neurological disorders], intrinsic factor [pernicious anemia], and glutamic acid decarboxylase [type 1 diabetes] just to name a few.

 Is Hypothyroidism Due To Gut Disturbance? 
In ancient times food was considered medicine and people valued food much differently then. However, as the integrity of food increasingly becomes compromised, so too - digestive concerns continue to increase. The ancient wisdom of Ayurveda has always placed great emphasis on the importance of digestion and even explained the detriment of absorbing elemental by-products of improperly digested food. According to Ayurvedic literature, the products of poorly digested food  [“ama”; toxins], if absorbed, is considered to be the root cause of all diseases; especially autoimmune conditions.

The Ancient Wisdom Of Ayurveda  ...
“When food is digested improperly because agni [the digestive flame] is low the undigested food becomes vitiated [disturbed] and collects in the stomach. It is known as ama [toxins]. – Astangahrdaya Samhita 

Great Video - "Natural Remedies For Thyroid Health" by Dr. Josh Axe

The video discusses natural remedies for thyroid health. There are more people than ever before that are struggling with conditions like hypothyroidism, hashimotos disease, hyperthyroidism, and graves disease. If you have a sluggish thyroid or metabolism, this is a big warning sign that you may have a thyroid issue. Top five natural remedies that are safe, healthy, and effective for improving thyroid health are:
1. Ashwagandha
2. Selenium
3. B Vitamins (Thiamine and Vitamin B12)
4. Probiotics
5. Proteolytic Enzymes

What’s The Connection?
Several studies show a strong link between autoimmune thyroid disease and gluten intolerance. As this correlation has become more well-established, researchers are even now suggesting that all people with autoimmune disease to be screened for gluten intolerance. This is just one of many examples which makes a direct correlation of impaired gut health and the origin of disease [i.e. autoimmunity]. Ayurveda goes on to explain that this expression of disease [i.e. autoimmunity] is, in essence, an impairment of body’s cellular intelligence and that this cellular intelligence is orchestrated largely by both the neuroendocrine and immunological systems. These systems of course are controlled by both the thyroid and thymus gland [i.e. “Jathru Agni”] which has been explained comprehensively many thousands of years ago.

One Flame - Many Embers
The ancient wisdom of Ayurveda also talks about the transformative quality of agni as being influenced by its various levels of expression. More simply, the digestive function within the gastrointestinal tract [Jathara Agni] influences the biotransformative actions in the liver [Bhuta Agni] which ultimately correlates with more subtle expressions of metabolism both at the tissue [Dhatu Agni] and cellular level [Pilu-Pithara Agni]. In other words, it's all connected; one and the same.

Modern Understanding + The Antiquity Of Ayurveda
T4 is the inactive form of the thyroid hormone and requires the conversion to T3 via the liver before it can properly function to regulate metabolism at the cellular level. This connection between the thyroid hormone T3 secreted by the thyroid gland [jathru agni] and the conversion of T3 into T4 via the liver [bhuta agni] with T4 being the major hormone to regulate tissue [dhatu agni] and cellular metabolism [pilu-pithara agni] reveals the sophistication and understanding demonstrated by the teachings of Ayurveda.

“The thyroid is a bridge between bhuta agni [liver function] and the seven tissues [peripheral tissue], maintaining the functional integrity of the bhuta agni and dhatu agni [tissue metabolism].” - Dr. Vasant Lad; Ayurvedic Physician

Considerations
Management of hypothyroidism [galaganda] from an Ayurvedic perspective is to increase the digestive fire [agni] at the cellular level and to restore metabolism. Just as an example, Yograj guggulu and Ashwagandha powder have long been recommended in the management of hypothyroidism. Likewise, a study on Liv-52, an Ayurvedic liver tonic, has revealed that it stimulates thyroid hormone secretion, particularly T3. In fact, the action of one of the most recommended Ayurvedic drugs [Kanchnar guggulu] reveals much similarity to the allopathic medication Eltroxin.

The goal of this post was to establish some interesting correlations with gut health and overall well-being. Rather, the goal was to stress the importance of how impaired gut health may be the root cause of many autoimmune conditions. The connection is now well understood that poor gut health can suppress thyroid function and trigger Hashimoto’s disease, and low thyroid function can lead to an inflamed and leaky gut resulting in systemic toxicity which can manifest as “polyendocrine autoimmune pattern”.  Although Ayurveda is a subtle science which deals with energetics of bodily humors there is still much overlap and much to be gained by appreciating  these subtleties.

Disclaimer: 
This is strictly for educational purpose only and not to be considered medical advice.
Always first seek the advice of your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen