The Ayurveda Guide: Kapha Dosha

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The Ayurveda Guide ~ Kapha Dosha

Ayurveda recognizes that each human being is born with a unique balance and that this natural balance is responsible for physical, mental, and emotional well-being. By recognizing and maintaining this unique balance, Ayurveda provides simple guidelines to help each person create his or her own state of ideal health. For now, we will discuss kapha dosha.

When we think of kapha types we often think of loyal and compassionate individuals with a stable quality about them. This unique stability of kapha arises from the predominant elements of both water and earth which can also make kapha types vulnerable to cold, moist, slow and heavy characteristics. The primary site of kapha dosha is the lungs and stomach.

The Disease Process …

The ancient writings of Ayurveda describe “Samprapti” as the disease process which, if understood properly, can actually detect and address certain health conditions at each and every stage; i.e. addressing the root cause. According to this philosophy [i.e. samprapti/pathogenesis], there are six stages for the disease process.

The Six Stages Of Disease:
1. Accumulation Of Doshas – Sanchaya
2. Aggravation/Provocation Of Doshas – Prakopa
3. Spread Of Doshas – Prasara
4. Deposition/Localization Of Doshas – Sthana Samshraya
5. Manifestation Of Qualitative Changes – Vyakti
6. Differentiation & Destruction Of Tissue – Bheda

Stage One – Accumulation [Sanchaya]

During the initial stage of kapha imbalance the 'heavy' and 'cold' qualities begins to accumulate in the lungs and stomach which creates congestion within the lungs and a sense of fullness and heaviness. The heavy and cold qualities of kapha diminishes the digestive fire ["agni"] which is experienced as lethargy and a low appetite.

Qualities – Heavy & Cold 

The “heavy” quality of kapha can be balanced by the opposing “light” quality. Therefore, kapha types will naturally find benefit by eating smaller “lighter” meals and should even consider fasting at times.  Interestingly, kapha types will also benefit from honey [in moderation] in room temperature water as this helps to oppose the heavy quality of kapha and can even help to loose excess “heaviness” or weight from the body.

The cold quality of kapha comes from the predominating element of water. This can cause excess congestion, cough and colds for kapha types. Therefore, kapha types would benefit by introducing heating elements such as cumin, black pepper and ginger into their diet. Likewise, kapha types will do best by having more hot and spicy foods while avoiding food and drinks which are cold.

Stage Two – Aggravation [Prakopa]

As kapha dosha continues to accumulate with heavy and cold qualities, kapha soon becomes aggravated within the lungs and stomach with 'liquid', 'slow', and 'dull' qualities of kapha dosha. The aggravation of kapha dosha creates symptoms of excess mucus production, congestion and nausea ... in addition to the above-mentioned symptoms of lethargy, sense of fullness, and low appetite.

Qualities: Heavy - Cold - Liquid - Slow - Dull

I think we all have, at some time, experienced the dull and slow nature of the body. This dull quality can make one’s thinking sluggish and can even make the body feel like a ton of bricks. This dull nature of kapha combined with the heavy quality [described above] can makes one’s metabolism slow and dull often making kapha types vulnerable to weight gain. This “dull’ quality of kapha is often best managed with the opposing “sharp” quality. An easy example would include stimulants such as caffeine, however, more preferable considerations would include herbs such as kutki, chitrak, brahmī, and even guggulu.

We can already begin to appreciate the management goals of kapha dosha which are centered around:

  • Warming
  • Drying
  • Lightening

Tastes To Pacify Kapha
Ayurveda describes an interesting relationship of taste and its influence upon the body. According to this philosophy, kapha types are most balanced by pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes as these tastes are drying and lightening in nature with catabolic actions.

Kapha’s Secondary Sites:
As kapha dosha increases and begins to become further aggravated in the lungs and stomach [primary site], kapha also begins to increase in the secondary sites which may begin creating certain signs and symptoms associated with kapha dosha.

Stage Three – Spread [Prasara]

As kapha dosha continues to become further imbalanced the 'oily' quality now allows kapha to spread from the lungs and gastrointestinal tract into the general circulation. The aggravated qualities of kapha [i.e. heavy, cold, liquid, slow, dull, and oily qualities] which have entered the general circulation can affect blood tissue [i.e. rasa/rakta dhatu] creating signs and symptoms of lymphatic congestion, water retention, edema and generalized heaviness.

Qualities: Heavy - Cold - Liquid - Slow - Dull - Oily 

Kapha, inherently, is considered oily and because of this oily quality it can lead to oily skin, high triglycerides, increased cholesterol, increased adipose tissue, and even fatty changes within the liver. It is best to balance this excessive oily quality with the opposing dry quality, for example, by eating raw vegetables. In the same manner, kapha types should naturally avoid fatty and fried foods. Lastly, kapha types benefit greatly by having warm water mixed with small amounts of honey.

Stage Four – Deposition [Sthana Samshraya]

This stage in the progression of kapha dosha is particularly significant because the 'slimy' and 'sticky' qualities of kapha allows for the adherence of kapha into weakened tissue [i.e. impaired dhatu agni]. If the integrity of each tissue is intact with optimal function [i.e. dhatu agni] – then kapha dosha will not be able to enter into tissue and will therefore return back to the stomach and gastrointestinal tract – where it belongs.

Stressing The Importance Of:

  • preventing the progression of doshic imbalance
  • maintaining healthy tissue integrity [agni]

Qualities: Heavy - Cold - Liquid - Slow - Dull - Oily - Slimy - Sticky 

The slimy & sticky qualities of kapha dosha worsens the metabolic functions at the cellular level and therefore may lead to weight gain/obesity and swelling in joints. Rough is the opposing quality of sliminess of kapha dosha. Therefore, "lekhana" [scraping effect] with herbs such as kutki, chitrak, vacha, turmeric, rock salt, and honey which all have rough/drying qualities to help balance excess sliminess of kapha dosha.

Very Briefly …
Dhatus are similar to tissue. Dhatu comes from the word “dha” which means ‘to hold’. Therefore, dhatus are “that” – which hold certain functions; which is similar to our modern understanding of bodily tissue. We can think of dhatu agni as being the tissue’s protective barrier to disease. If this tissue barrier [dhatu agni] becomes impaired, this allows the qualities of kapha dosha to enter the tissue and begin to create clinical signs and symptoms of disease.

Stage Five – Manifestation [Vyakti]

During this stage of the disease process [i.e. vyakti] the qualities of kapha predominates, overcomes the qualities of the tissue/dhatu and now the full manifestation of disease occurs.

Qualities: Heavy - Cold - Liquid - Slow - Dull - Oily - Slimy - Sticky - Soft - Cloudy 

As Kapha Dosha spreads throughout the body and enters various bodily tissue [i.e. dhatu] it manifests as characteristic signs and symptoms such as … 

  • Impaired Rasa Dhatu allows for the qualities of kapha to enter into rasa dhatu [plasma] creating symptoms of lymphatic congestion, edema/swelling, and excess mucus production.
  • Impaired Rakta Dhatu allows kapha to enter rakta [blood] dhatu [rakta gata kapha] which may lead to stagnation of blood, thrombosis [i.e. DVT], and worsening edema.
  • Impaired Mamsa Dhatu allows kapha to enter mamsa [muscle] dhatu [mamsa gata kapha] and create symptoms of muscle hypertrophy, myomas, increased production of ear wax and nasal crust which are by-products of mamsa dhatu.
  • Impaired Meda Dhatu allows for kapha to enter meda [adipose] dhatu [meda gata kapha] which can slow metabolism, increased weight gain/obesity, high cholesterol and the formation of lipomas.
  • Impaired Asthi Dhatu allows for kapha to enter into asthi [bone] dhatu [asthi gata kapha] which can create symptoms of joint swelling, formation of bone spurs, osteoma, and excess hair [hair being a by-product of asthi dhatu].
  • Impaired Majja Dhatu allows for kapha to enter into majja [nerve/bone marrow] tissue [majja gata kapha] and may create neurological symptoms of depression, lethargy/melancholy, and even space-occupying lesions.
  • Impaired Shukra/Artava Dhatu allows for kapha to enter into shukra/arthava [male & female reproductive] dhatu and create symptoms of various male and female health concerns.

IMPORTANT!!

The above-mentioned signs and symptoms is ONLY for educational purpose, not exhaustive and only listed to give brief examples to understand the doshic influences upon bodily tissue/dhatu.

Stage Six – Complications [Bheda]

In this final stage of the disease process, the 'hard', 'dense', 'gross' qualities of kapha leads to further complications creating significant structural changes of the already weakened tissue. Here, the individual should seek immediate care of a qualified professional.

Qualities: Heavy - Cold - Liquid - Slow - Dull - Oily - Slimy - Sticky - Soft - Cloudy - Hard - Dense - Gross

Panchakarma
Once the doshas have begun to significantly cause an imbalance or disease, it soon becomes necessary to consider certain purification techniques to cleanse the body of excess doshas. This purification process is called “panchakarma” which involves five cleansing actions.

Panchakarma is an Ayurvedic purification system which helps to remove impurities and toxins from the physiological channels of the body. With proper purification of the body springs forth greater cellular intelligence allowing for optimal functioning of the body as a whole.

The Five Purifying Actions Of Panchakarma:

  • vamana: therapeutic vomiting
  • virechana: purgative or laxative therapy
  • basti: medicated enema therapy
  • nasya: nasal administration of medicated oils
  • rakta moksha: blood-letting; purifying blood

Click Here – To Learn More About Panchakarma

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. 

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.

Resources:

Ayurvedic Perspective On Selected Pathologies, Vasant Lad, BAMS – 2nd Edition Revised
Textbook Of Ayurveda Vol. 3, Vasant Lad, BAMS


What The Heck Are Doshas & How Do We Keep Them Balanced?

 

What The Heck Are Doshas? 
Disease doesn’t just suddenly appear. After all, having good health for the most part is the result of developing a healthy lifestyle. Similarly, disease can be likened to a seed. If the seed is cultivated by unhealthy habits then the seed will soon manifest into a full-blown disease. According to Ayurveda, illness is often the result of a long process which can actually be detected during early stages and therefore can often be prevented. Also, from a holistic perspective, it’s important to determine the causative factors and resolve them rather than just suppressing the symptoms through medications. In order to do so, we must first investigate into possible causes from which diseases originate from and finally help to establish balance using basic principles using the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda.

“Health results from the natural, balanced state of the doshas. 
Therefore, the wise try to keep them in their balanced state.”
– Charaka Samhita

Ayurvedic Body Types - Vata, Pitta & Kapha. 

 

The Doshas

Each of the three doshas are present throughout the body. They govern our physiology and all activities of the body, mind, and emotions. An important principle to consider regarding the cause of disease from an Ayurvedic perspective is “like increases like”.

“Like Increases Like”
This principle of ‘like increases like’ clearly explains that if one of your doshas [vata, pitta, or kapha] becomes imbalanced then it’s likely that you will experience symptoms which directly reflect a particular quality belonging to the imbalanced dosha.

Vata Dosha
Movement, motion and flow are always occurring in all parts of our body at every moment. This movement is thought to be under the guidance of vata dosha. Vata dosha is characterized by qualities such as:

  • Dry
  • Light
  • Cold
  • Rough
  • Mobile

 

Like Increases Like ...
Vata dosha may become aggravated by similar qualities. For example, eating large quantities of dry food, dry nuts, cold food, or even certain prolonged activities with excess movements such as jogging, running, and rushing about may lead to vata imbalances within the body. Vata imbalances can manifest as irregular digestion, anxiety and worry, insomnia, and various other conditions.

Vata-Balancing Supplements 
Tips, products, recipes, spices, aromatherapy, massage oils & more!!

Balancing Vata Dosha:
Therefore, in order to balance vata dosha, you may want to consider the following:

  • eat more warm, brothy and easily digestible foods
  • eat at regular times to help promote balance in life
  • avoid stimulating foods [i.e. coffee, tea, tobacco and spicy foods]
  • avoid foods which are dry, cold, and light
  • consider eating more ‘healthy oils’ [ghee, flax, hemp, sesame]

 

Pitta Dosha
Pitta dosha is involved with metabolism at every level of the body. For example, all transformations at the organ, tissue, and cellular level are all governed by the principle of pitta dosha. Pitta dosha is characterized by qualities such as:

  • Hot
  • Sharp
  • Light
  • Liquid
  • Oily

 

Like Increases Like ...
Pitta dosha may become aggravated by similar qualities as well. For example, eating hot and spicy food, fermented food, citrus fruit, and working in hot humid conditions can all increase and provoke pitta dosha. Pitta imbalances in the body may manifest as acidity, irritability, inflammation, fever, nausea and various other conditions.

Pitta-Pacifying Herbal Supplements
Tips, products, recipes, spices, aromatherapy, massage oils & more!! 

Balancing Pitta Dosha:
Therefore, in order to balance pitta dosha, you may want to consider the following:
– Eat foods which are cool and refreshing
– Avoid foods which are sour, salty, pungent and spicy
– Dairy milk, butter, and ghee are often beneficial for pacifying pitta
– Drink more water and consider aloe vera to help cool down pitta

Kapha Dosha
Every cell, tissue, and organ system are involved with providing structure to the body. The process of creating structure involves building, maintenance, and repair – which are all under the principle of kapha dosha. Kapha dosha is characterized by qualities such as:

  • heavy
  • dull
  • cool
  • oily

 

Like Increases Like ...
Kapha dosha may become aggravated by similar qualities as well. For example, kapha types are vulnerable to cold, moist, slow and heavy characteristics which may manifest as a slow and sluggish digestion, weight gain, congestion, edema, and poor circulation.

Kapha-Balancing Supplements
Tips, products, recipes, spices, aromatherapy, massage oils & more!!

Balancing Kapha Dosha:
Therefore, in order to balance kapha dosha, you may want to consider the following:

  • Wake up early, be active and consider exercise daily
  • Avoid sedentary lifestyle and daytime sleeping
  • Avoid cold drinks and instead consider warm and spicy food and hot drinks
  • Eat fresh raw vegetables to help balance the oily nature of kapha
  • Consider drinking hot water mixed with small amounts of honey

 

Want More?
The saints of Ayurveda observed how the elements are involved in the different seasons and times of day. They brought to light the importance of understanding this in order for us to prevent imbalance and disease. Therefore, click below to learn how to become more in-tune with nature throughout the various seasons of the year.

Seasons In The Light Of Ayurveda
Learn how to keep your doshas balanced throughout the seasons!!

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 Suppressing Natural Urges Cause Disease?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Namaste! 

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 
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.


Amalaki - The Most Nourishing & Rejuvenating Herb

Amalaki - The Most Nourishing & Rejuvenating Herb
According to Ayurveda, Amalaki is considered one of the most nourishing and rejuvenating herbs. In fact, Charak - the ancient scholar of Ayurveda states “of all the Rasayanas, Amalaki is revered as one of the most potent and nourishing; Amalaki is the best among rejuvenative 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. Amalaki is commonly known as Indian gooseberry or amla, and the Sanskrit name “Amalika” means ‘sour juice of the fruit’. Interestingly, despite all the health benefits, Amalaki is also commonly known as the “poor man’s apple”.

"Amalaki is the best among the sour fruits."
- Sushruta Samhita, Sutrasthana, 46:334.

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Not Only Is Amakaki Sour In Taste ... 
From an Ayurvedic perspective, tastes are medicinal. Amalaki contains all five of the six tastes - the only taste missing is salty. Therefore, Amalaki is sweet, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent. It is the combination of these five tastes which explains Amalaki’s versatile therapeutic effects. Amalaki is tridoshic, which means it’s helpful in balancing all three doshas [vata, pitta, kapha]. The sour taste helps to pacify vata, the sweet taste, sweet post-digestive taste [vipak] and cooling effects [virya] helps to pacify pitta, and finally the astringent taste and drying quality helps to pacify kapha.

Delicious & Healthy Recipe: Amla [Indian Gooseberry] Pickle Recipe

Alternative Recipe Option:

Ingredients:
- Gooseberry 5-10
- Mustard seeds ½ tsp
- Cumin seeds ½ tsp
- Ginger 1 piece
- Garlic 2-3
- Red chilly powder ½ cup
- Mustard powder ½ tsp
- Fenugreek powder ¼ tsp
- Turmeric powder ¼ tsp
- Salt To taste
- Lime juice ½ cup

METHOD:
1. Heat oil in a pan and add gooseberry and deep fry and transfer into a bowl.
2. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, crushed ginger and garlic and saute it and keep aside.
3. To the fried gooseberry bowl add red chilly powder, mustard powder, fenugreek powder, turmeric powder, salt, above oil tempering, lime juice and mix nicely.
4. Now gooseberry pickle is ready.

Amalaki is beneficial year round and has a wide range of many health benefits. Amalaki helps to enkindle the digestive fire [“agni”], improves digestion [dipan], and helps to regulate metabolism. The sour juice of Amlaki is considered very beneficial in helping to reduce certain pitta conditions [i.e. burning sensation, nausea, vomiting, headache, acidity, etc.]; when used correctly under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic professional. Amlaki is a rejuvenative, nervine brain tonic, strengthens the senses, and brings about freshness to the body. Perhaps most fascinating, Amalaki has been considered to be the herb of choice for diabetes mellitus as it helps to reduce kleda kapha - the underlying cause of diabetes from an Ayurvedic perspective.

  • Tastes [rasa]: predominantly sour, then sweet, astringent, pungent, bitter
  • Energetics [virya]: cooling
  • Post-digestive effect [vipak]: sweet

 

Some Actions Of Amalaki:
·        rejuvenative
·        aphrodisiac
·        increases energy
·        heart tonic
·        cleanses the blood
·        hair tonic
·        beneficial to the eyes
·        assists in cleansing the urinary tract

 

Amalaki Dietary Intake
Amalaki may also be taken in powder form. Simply mix about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of Amalaki into warm water and consider taking it once or twice daily as directed by your healthcare provider.

Another way to consume Amalaki is by taking Chyawanprash. Chyawanprash is an herbal jam made from a base of Amalaki and also contains sugar, honey, ghee, sesame oil, berries, and a variety of spices. Chyawanprash can be taken a variety of ways. For example, Chyawanprash can be taken alone, stirred into milk, or even spread onto toast. Generally, 1 to 2 teaspoons of Chyawanprash is taken once or twice daily; under the direction of a qualified professional. Another great product to consider which also contains Amalaki is  Amrit Kalash.

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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®)

 

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Disclaimer:
This is considered general and basic guidelines for overall health and wellbeing. Always first discuss with your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen. This is strictly for educational use and not to be considered medical advice.


Ayurveda Oil Massage [Snehana & Abhyanga]

 

 

Ayurveda Oil Massage
The ancient Sanskrit word “Sneha” means compassion and the word “Snehi” refers to a loving friend. Daily oil massage [snehan] implies making a person loving by unfolding the healing qualities innate to the human body. In fact, Charaka - the ancient scholar of Ayurveda states that if you really want to bring happiness and joy to a client, don’t try to discuss their problems but do an oil massage and all the problems will simply dissolve.

“Love is oily, soft, and gentle.”
- Dr. Vasant Lad

The skin provides the ability to heal through touch. The healing touch may include various modalities of healing such as massage. Ayurveda describes in great detail the benefits of daily oil massage. Not only is massage comforting to the body but essential for overall health and well-being. A dry stick easily breaks but if you soak the same stick in oil it soon becomes flexible. The same happens to the human body. The influence of vata makes the body dry, brittle, and achy via the aging process. Therefore, daily oil massage helps maintain proper functions of the body and ultimately helps to reduce the effects of aging.

Interesting Video: Shirodhara - Gently Pouring Oil Over The Forehead

Shirodhara is a form of Ayurveda therapy that involves gently pouring liquids over the forehead and can be one of the steps involved in Panchakarma. The name comes from the Sanskrit words shiro (head) and dhara (flow).

Ayurveda Soothing & Moisturizing Massage Oils
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Benefits of snehan [oil massage] include:

  • Pacifies vata and pitta
  • Strengthens the body’s tolerance
  • Nourishes the body
  • Helps reduce the effects of aging
  • Increases longevity
  • Promotes good vision
  • Supports regular sleep patterns
  • Benefits the skin
  • Imparts firmness to the limbs
  • Imparts tone and vigor to the dhatus (bodily tissues)
  • Stimulates the internal organs of the body

 

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.

“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

Ayurvedic Qualities Of Snehan [Oil Massage]
Oily quality provides lubrication to tissues
Liquid quality allows for liquefaction of toxins
Heavy quality grounds the body and nourish tissues
Subtle quality allows the oils to enter into the cells
Mobile quality helps direct toxins from deep tissue to the G.I. tract
Soft quality helps to soften tissue and induce tranquility
Slow quality stabilizes the mind and promote sound sleep
Sticky quality brings support and cohesiveness to the body

 

Which Oils For Who:

Vata Dosha
Vata predominant types can use Sesame oil.
For the body, ears, oil pulling and enema.
Nasya could be sesame, ghee or almond.

Pitta Dosha
Pitta predominant types can use Sunflower oil.
For the body, ears, oil pulling and enema.
Nasya could be coconut, sunflower or ghee.

Kapha Dosha
Kapha predominant types can use Mustard seed oil.
For the body, ears, oil pulling and enema.
Nasya could be sesame or ghee.

Click Here - To Learn More About Oleation & Abhyanga

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.

Snehan For Panchakarma
Modern living is filled with impurities. These impurities are typically stored in adipose/fat tissue and in order to remove these toxins the cleansing process of panchakarma makes use of oleation therapy called “snehana”. Sneha is the application of medicated oils to the entire body with gentle massage and allows the toxins to move into the gastrointestinal tract for easy elimination. It is also administered internally for 3 – 5 days depending on the disease and patient’s tolerance.

Some Indications Of Snehan [Oil Massage]:
- most vata disorders
- dry skin
- constipation
- worry, anxiety, stress
- excessive physical activity
- muscle weakness, tremors, twitching
- sciatica, arthritis
- emaciation or debility
- general health benefits

Few Contraindications Of Snehan [Oil Massage]:
- severe levels of toxins
- very low agni [digestive ability]
- obesity, edema, ascites
- food poisoning, nausea or vomiting
- acute infection

Disclaimer:
These are considered general and basic guidelines for overall health and wellbeing. Always first discuss with your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen. This is strictly for educational use and not to be considered medical advice.


The Ayurvedic Consultation

 

The Ayurvedic Consultation
Health is not simply the absence of disease, but is a state of balance that provides for wellbeing, clarity, and joy. Ayurveda - “The Science Of Life” is considered to be the longest continuously practiced system of traditional medicine and emphasizes on creating balance in all areas of life. Not only does Ayurveda examine the body but inquires further about daily diet, lifestyle, relationships, stress, and overall sense of well-being.

THE INITIAL CONSULTATION
The initial consultation involves a thorough examination allowing the consultant to identify key symptoms and potential causes of imbalance and to eventually determine suitable food and lifestyle recommendations.

Observation [Darshan]:
An Ayurvedic practitioner is able to evaluate the state of health simply by looking at the patient and observing his/her movements, body contour, color of the skin and eyes, facial lines and ridges, shape of the nose, and various other features of the lips, hair, and nails.

Touch [Sparsha]:
The practitioner then employs touch, including palpation called sparshanam in Ayurveda, auscultation, which implies listening for sounds of the internal organs (shrvanaa), and percussion or tapping (akotana). There is also special attention on evaluating the patient's pulse, tongue, nails, and speech. Laboratory testing may also be included under this category.

Questions [Prashna]:
The practitioner will then ask the patient about presenting signs and symptoms, as well as the duration of discomfort as well as any other associations related to the disease progression. The practitioner will also inquire further into the overall lifestyle of the patient.

Great Video: The Ayurvedic Consultation

Pulse.
Taking the pulse is a way to determine one’s constitution and current state of real-time imbalances. The Ayurvedic consultant feels for the strength of vata, pitta, and kapha in the pulse. The practitioner looks for the overall qualities of the pulse.

- vata is felt under the index finger with dry, light, and cold qualities
- pitta in the middle finger with hot, sharp, and bounding qualities
- kapha under the ring finger with slow, soft, and steady qualities

Tongue.
When examining the tongue, the consultant looks at the color and shape of the tongue while checking the presence of scallops on the sides of the tongue, any excessive movement, the presence of coating and/or cracking of the tongue, etc.

Coating on the tongue often indicates the presence of “ama”, or poorly digested food, still present in the digestive system. The location [i.e. anterior 1/3, middle 1/3, posterior 1/3] and color of the coating on the tongue provides information on the type and location of ama within the digestive system; i.e. stomach, small intestine, colon.

Click Here: For Simple Tips To Improve Digestion
Click Here: Ayurvedic Remedies To Improve Digestion

Size, Shape, & Color
Generally, a thin, pointed tongue is more prevalent in vata dosha. Pitta often has more redness to the tongue and kapha generally has a large, round-tipped tongue. Scalloped edges on the sides of the tongue (teeth impressions) may indicate possible malabsorption or malnutrition.

Tongue Self-Assessment
First thing in the morning stick out your tongue and consider performing an Ayurvedic self-assessment. Question whether there is coating on the tongue and, if so - what color is the coating? Generally, white is an indication of kapha imbalance in the digestive system, yellow or green implies pitta imbalance, and brown being a vata imbalance. It‘s important to remove this coating every morning by gently scraping from the back to the front of the tongue, three to five times. By gently scraping the tongue this helps to stimulate the digestive system and help to remove digestive waste.

Feces.
Although uncomfortable to discuss, discussing characteristics of stool and one’s bowel movements reveals important information about digestive health. Generally, we should eliminate every morning often upon waking or even within one hour of waking. Ideally, the bowel movement should have no strain nor discomfort and be the consistency of a banana.

- constipation likely indicates the dry qualities of vata.
- loose stools likely indicates the oily nature of pitta
- sticky and sludgy stools may indicate the heavy qualities of kapha.

Simple Recommendation
To help stimulate and cleanse the digestive system, begin the day by sipping warm water with lemon.
Click Here - To Learn The Benefits Of Sipping Hot Water & Preventing 'Metabolic Syndrome'

Urine.
The color, volume, and frequency of urine can also indicate whether one is properly hydrated.

- scanty urine may reveal the presence of dry qualities of vata dosha
- hot and increased odor of urine may reveal the presence of pitta dosha
- cloudy urine may indicate excess kapha dosha
- pain or discomfort could indicate a more complicated concern

Ayurvedic management may include, but is not limited to: dietary changes, exercise program [i.e. yoga], lifestyle changes, herbs, and stress prevention [i.e. meditation]. The personalized strategy aims to help simplify, harmonize and energize one’s life in order to regain balance - in essence, reduce stress, balance weight, support moods, crave healthier foods, promote immunity, calm the mind, and enjoy more vitality.

DISCLAIMER:
This is strictly for educational purpose only. Always first discuss with your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen.


Coffee - An Ayurvedic Perspective + Bulletproof Coffee Recipe

Coffee - An Ayurvedic Perspective
For many of us, our mornings are just not complete without a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Whether you’re a local at Starbucks or scoff at Starbucks Venti Caramel Macchiato as not being a real macchiato - the fact remains, we love coffee. According to some research, 54% of Americans over the age of 18 years drink coffee everyday. Let us therefore, explore some of the health concerns centered around American’s favorite drink - coffee!

The Ayurvedic Perspective:
According to Ayurveda, “every type of food can be a poison or a medicine” - depending on what your individual constitution is and how and when you consume it. Ayurveda, is a comprehensive science which takes into consideration one’s unique dosha type - vata, pitta, and kapha.

VATA DOSHA:
Vata types are generally individuals who are easily over-stimulated. Vata individuals are mostly governed by the air element which reflects the increased baseline metabolic rate.

PITTA DOSHA:
Pitta types are typically your “Type-A Personalities’ who tend to be ambitious and competitive. Pitta individuals are more prone to acidic and inflammatory conditions being mostly governed by the fire element.

KAPHA DOSHA:
Kapha types are often the “easy-going” kind and generally have a slower metabolic rate. These individuals are mostly governed by the water and earth elements and therefore are more vulnerable to weight gain due to a slower metabolism.

The Vitality Of Life - “Ojas”
We live in a modern world of over-stimulation. Yet the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda speaks volumes about the quality of stillness. It’s through these various practices of stillness [i.e. yoga & meditation] that one promotes a sense of vitality represented by the production and preservation of “ojas”. Ojas is also referred to as the source of vitality, immunity and vigor in the body and the quality of ojas is dependent on diet, lifestyle and stress.

Stress Response Diminishes Ojas
Some of the more concerning aspects of coffee is our dependence on it for boosting energy, mental clarity and/or keeping the bowels regular. As we know, all of these benefits are very short-lived. Likewise, coffee is a stimulant and increases the release of stress-fighting hormones, which are usually reserved for ‘fight-or-flight’ situations and therefore oppose the concept of “ojas” as explained above. More importantly, DHEA [dehydroepiandrosterone] is a steroid hormone which is responsible for cellular and tissue repair. Unfortunately, for us coffee lovers - DHEA decreases with stress and coffee consumption.

Grass-Fed Butter - DHEA
DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, has become known as the ‘fountain of youth’ and is made from cholesterol by the adrenal glands. Ayurveda has traditionally considered ghee [clarified butter] to be the healthiest source of edible fat, with many beneficial properties - being an excellent source of cholesterol to form DHEA. According to Ayurveda, not only does ghee improve memory and strengthen the brain and nervous system but it’s thought to improve digestion, promote longevity, and even help to protect the body from various diseases. Finally. Grass-fed butter is high in butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid and studies show that butyrate can both prevent and decrease inflammation.

CLICK HERE - Improving Brain Function With Ayurveda

Craze: Coffee + Grass-Fed Butter = "Bulletproof Coffee"

Directions:
Brew 1 cup (8-12 oz.) of coffee using filtered water, just off the boil, with 2 1/2 heaping tablespoons freshly ground Bulletproof® Coffee Beans. (French Press is easiest.)

  1. Add in 1-2 tablespoons of Brain Octane™ to the hot coffee (It’s STRONG – start with 1 tsp. and work up over several days).
  2. Add 1-2 tablespoons grass-fed, unsalted butter or ghee
  3. Mix it all in a blender for 20-30 seconds until it is frothy like a foamy latte

Click Here - More Info On Bulletproof Coffee

Ayurvedic Considerations

Vata Types:
Remembering that vata types are individuals who are easily over-stimulated and also vulnerable to dehydration, constipation, and insomnia [due to the air element]. Therefore, vata types may want to limit their intake of coffee. Likewise, because the sweet taste balances vata types, these individuals would benefit most by having coffee which is both creamy and sweet - as these are grounding and balancing for vata types.

Pitta Types:
Pitta individuals are more prone to acidic and inflammatory conditions which can become exacerbated by the acidic nature of coffee. Therefore, pitta types will benefit most by adding the grass-fed butter [ghee] and/or coconut oil to their coffee. Similarly, pitta types also become more balanced with the taste of sweetness. Therefore, pitta individuals may want to consider adding high-quality maple syrup or organic cane sugar to their coffee - while skipping the cream.

Kapha Types:
Because kapha individuals are mostly governed by the water and earth elements and are more vulnerable to weight gain due to a slower metabolism, these individuals should consider taking their coffee black - no cream, no sugar. Both milk and cream often increase congestion which is already common to kapha types.

The Secret Ingredient?
“If you take the caffeine out of coffee, the benefits cited [below] remain relatively the same. So, if it isn’t the caffeine that is responsible for these benefits, then what is it? There are about 1000 active constituents in the coffee bean and only a few of them are understood. We do know that the coffee bean, the seed of the fruit, is loaded with antioxidants.”
Source - Dr. John Douillard

Want More?

Some Health Benefits Of Coffee:
1. Men who consumed 6 or more cups of coffee a day had an 18% reduction in prostate cancer risk, and a 40% reduction of aggressive lethal prostate cancer. (1)

2. Four cups of coffee a day could reduce your risk of liver cirrhosis by 84% (2)

3. The equivalent of five cups a day for five weeks began to reverse Alzheimer’s damage in the brains of mice by reducing levels of the abnormal protein amyloid-beta, both in the blood and the brain. (3)

4. One to four cups reduced the risk of Parkinson’s by 47%, and five cups a day reduced it by 60%. (4) In this study, the greater number of cups of coffee per day, the lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

However ...

  • Raises homocysteine levels – a major risk factor for heart disease. (5)
  • Raises blood pressure. (6)
  • Raises cholesterol. (7)
  • Is associated with heart irregularities. (8)
  • Increases inflammation. (9)
  • Can damage the nervous system. (10)
  • Interferes with neurotransmitters in the brain. (11)
  • Alters DNA repair. (12)
  • Increases risk of kidney stones. (13)
  • Lowers bone density in women. (14)
  • Interferes with sleep. (15)
  • Is linked to erectile dysfunction. (16)
  • Is linked to increases symptoms of gastric reflux and heartburn. (17)

Interestingly ...
Many of the above-mentioned health concerns “may” be reduced with the introduction of  grass-fed butter, coconut oil, and/or ghee to your coffee. Hence - the “bulletproof coffee” craze!

Disclaimer:
This information is strictly for educational purposes and NOT considered medical advice. Always first seek consultation with your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen.


What's Your Dosha?

 

What's Your Dosha?
If you have spent anytime in the Ayurveda and Yoga community you may have come across the term “Dosha”. The science of Ayurveda explains that the human body is a replica of the vast external universe and - “that” -  which is in the universe is also contained within the body. Although seemingly complex, let us simply discuss the concept of doshas keeping in mind that no single word can translate the exact meaning which the ancient texts have described many thousands of years ago.

 

Ancient Wisdom:
“Vata, pitta and kapha move in the whole body producing good or ill effects upon the entire system according to their normal or provoked states. Their normal state is prakrti and thier abnormal state is vikrti.” - Charaka Samhita Ch. 17 Sutra 62

The word “dosha” can likely best be described as ‘vice' or 'fault’. Interestingly, the word “dosha” comes from the Sanskrit word ‘dus’ which means ‘to err’ similar to the Greek prefix “dys” meaning ‘ill‘ and ‘bad‘ [i.e. dysfunctional, dyspnea, dysmenorrhea, etc.]. In Ayurveda, dosha refers to the three humours of the body namely vata, pitta and kapha which can disturb [“vitiate”] bodily tisssues [i.e. dhatus].

 

Dosha Type - Your Signature
Ayurveda looks at each individual as being unique with a varying combination of qualities. This unique set of qualities can be thought of as your signature “dosha type”. For example, some individuals are always moving about with great excitement and creative enthusiasm eagerly exploring the world around them. That would be a classic “vata-type”. Another example would be the typical “Type A Personality” driven by ambition and wanting to succeed to the top. This particular individual would be considered a “pitta-type”. And we all know the loving and accepting individual who is willing to embrace all that life has to offer in abundance – that is, in a way, a “kapha-type”.

 

Great Video: Introduction To The Ayurvedic Dosha Types! 


VATA DOSHA:
Vata individuals are made primarily of the air element and therefore, just like the wind, are always moving. Due to the ‘air’ element, vata types often experience cold, dry, light, and mobile qualities. Therefore, from a simple perspective, management for vata types is centered around principles of:

  • Warming
  • Moistening and
  • Weight Promoting

 

Managing The Ever Mobile Vata Types:
Ayurveda describes an interesting relationship of taste and its influence upon the body. According to this philosophy, vata types often are most balanced by sweet, sour and salty tastes. Interestingly, these tastes [sweet, sour and salty] are considered to be moistening and nutritive in action; the very management goals for vata types.

PITTA DOSHA:
The very first thing which should come to mind when thinking of pitta is the brilliant blaze of fire. Pitta types are hot, fiery, oily, and intense. Therefore, management for pitta types is centered around:

  • Cooling
  • Calming and
  • Moderation

 

A Healthy Dose Of Loving Compassion For The Fiery Pitta Types:
Since pitta types also have an inflammatory component, which is inherent to the element of fire, make sure to address pitta types with an extra dose of loving compassion. Likewise, pitta types often are most balanced by sweet, bitter and astringent tastes as these are considered to be cooling and pacifying.

KAPHA DOSHA:
When we think of kapha types we often think of loyal and compassionate individuals with a stable quality about them. This unique stability of kapha arises from the predominant elements of both water and earth which can also make kapha types vulnerable to cold, moist, slow and heavy characteristics. Therefore, management for kapha types is centered around:

  • Warming
  • Drying
  • Lightening

 

Management of The Overly Comfortable Kapha Types:
Kapha types often are most balanced by pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes as these tastes are considered to be drying and lightening in nature with catabolic actions.