‘Ayurveda’ Ayurveda Lessons
Walk into a birthing class, prenatal yoga class or anywhere two pregnant woman are talking –chances are besides the general discomforts like sleep issues, nausea, acidity they will be complaining of pain in groin area. There is a rubber band (Read round ligament) that gets stretched cuasing this pain.
The function of the round ligament is maintenance of the of the uterus during pregnancy. As the uterus grows in size to support the baby, it causes pressure and tightening the structure of the round ligament, mak- ing this usual vertical position ligament to move backwards. This may cause pain in lower back or groin or side –depending on whether the mama is carrying the baby up, down, their body constitution, weight and so on.
This is why yoga is so wonderful for lower back pain, pelvis pain and/or round ligament pain during pregnancy.
The round ligament by its nature gets stretched and relaxed slowly. Gentle re- storative Asanas combined with breathing can help support this pain. Usually the pain occurs when there are sudden movements, causing sudden tightening of this area. However, by doing very conscious, gentle yoga poses like side lying savasana, gentle cat cow, pelvic tilts this can be supported.
10 basic poses for Round Ligament pain
Tadasana with feet slightly wider apart (weight equally distributed)- Prayers, In- tention, Breathing awareness in the Belly and chest, Intention to relax lower back.
Note: While in Tadasana, breathing awareness, and, attention to the stiff areas can be given via meditation and intention.
Vedic Mantra for pregnancy
Prayers to Mahavishnu for protection of mother and baby.
Santakaram Bhujagasayanam padmanabham suresam Viswakaram gagandrusm meghavarnam subhamgam Lakshmikantam kamalanayanam yoogihrudwasa gamyam Vande Vishnam bhavabhavaharam Sarwalokaika natham
Namaste Garudda-Aaruuddhe Kola-Aasura- Bhayamkari |
Sarva-Paapa-Hare Devi Mahaalakssmi Namostute ||2||
Sarvajnye Sarva- Varade Sarva-Dusstta-Bhayamkari | Sarva-Duhkha-Hare Devi Mahaalakssmi Namostute ||3||
Gentle or Half Bandhaanguli-asana -Arms in bandha overhead – taking care to stretch slowly
and breathing so as not to tighten the belly or the back
If the pain is not so bad, one can very slowly raise the arms on the side, moving to a gentle sidebend. Come to the center really slowly, one breath at a time taking care not to stretch but relax the lower back and belly, and, then to the other side.
Now Gently move the waist to a left twist, arms still up. Hold it for one breath. Now, return to center, breathing normally and conscioulsy and then center. Again slowly move to the right. . Breathing awareness continued
3.Ardha Utthanasana with arms on the waist or gently stretched out against the wall or support.
Alternatives- Gently raise one arm upto shoulders for a half twist. Return, Repeat on the other side.
4. Return, open legs wide and Ardha Utthita Trikonasana with support on chair or wall- Arms raised upto shoul- ders only, or little higher without straining the pelvis, back or core. Both sides.
Using the chair or wall, gently get down on the knees. Now very slow cat cows, without straining the back or the belly.
6. Wide Balasana
5. Return to cat cow position for bird dog. Once the back and belly are warmed up, a Gentle Bird Dog without arms can be tried on both sides.
7.Virasana.(Alternative to Supta Virasana, Supported back)
8. Ustrasana with microbend, or, support
9.Pelvic Tilts if the back allows it. Followed by supported bridge.
Supta Bandha Konasana with pillows Side Shavasana
Ayurveda is a systematic study of life based on one’s consciousness, mind, and physical balance. When we live in harmony to our Nature and with respect to the Nature around us, then we are attuned to our Higher Self — the larger order of things which has a plan that evolves perfectly. The key is to attune our individuality to this state of “hitayu” — living with regard to what is true, right and evolutionary. When we live in truth, there is no resistance because we are part of the flow. We see the future in the making as we play our roles, relevant and necessary, we gain the full support of Nature. This requires that we act from a higher state of Consciousness, an expanded view.
On the other hand, When we are ignorant of our role in Nature, when we act selfishly and fail to see that we are interconnected, when we identify with only our physicality and with the material world, we end up only with our little self. Little self is bewildered by the hardship and dis-ease that springs forth again and again because he/she have lost that internal connection to the higher Self/Mother Nature. A disconnected life suffers because there is always a feeling of lack where there should be a feeling of love and abundance. This lack springs up as fear and doubt and greed. It answers with a deep spiritual rift that struggles through mis-deeds (negative actions) that furthers the cycle. Little self suffers from a narrow consciousness and will carry the chip on the shoulder of never having enough. This is a prime candidate of Dukh-ayu.
You can see in this example how a “disease” can have roots on the spiritual level and or on the consciousness level and the symptoms found in the body may only be symptoms of something much larger. It’s important to address the health of the whole person when looking at an imbalance. It’s possible that a person has weight issues because she feels out of control and depressed and the only way they can feel better is through eating. Do we only put them on a dieting regimen or do we address the cause of her anxiety?
Since there are five distinct levels to each individual — their physical body, their Soul, their energetic level, their mind, and intellect, a person can live a life fully distracted within the boundaries of individuality, living by the whims of a selfish ego without acknowledging their greater counterparts — Soul and Consciousness. Its true disease can be found in the body, but more often than not, its cause can stem from places/planes much higher.
True happiness (inner contentedness) can only be found and sustained when one experiences the union to spirit. When there is that, the body will attune to what is right and self-correct. It will release stress and all that is no longer relevant. The role of Ayurveda is to help that course, to mid-wife the release of imbalance. When the focus is placed too much in the realm of little self, the intellect takes over and busies itself with “fixing,” hoarding, seeking in short, anxious and tired, or depressed, it suffers and overtime manifests as disease. Disease = dis-ease.
By Nancy, Block 1 Batch 15 Student SDCOA
I believe that Ayurveda is a health system that is based on many different aspects of life. It does not just look at the physical health of a persons body, but the things in that persons life that could be causing a negative influence on their overall wellbeing.
Disease and unhappiness can stem from five different aspects of a persons life; their mind, body, spirit, energy and knowledge. Ayurveda believes that if any one of these are out of balance, it can cause disease in itself as well as affect one of the other aspects of a persons life. For example, if a person is stressed mentally, it can have a huge affect on their body causing a multitude of physical ailments such as headaches, muscle tension, and in some cases, heart attacks. It can also have an adverse effect on their energy such that their approach to everyday life is negative, causing them to feel overworked, tired and lethargic.
Ayuurveda believes that karmic balance greatly determines a persons overall wellbeing. The more positive influence and energy you radiate into the world, the more positive energy will come back to you. The same is true for the opposite, the more negative actions and thoughts you give, your life and therefore your health will be affected in the same respect.
We are spiritual beings, and the state of our health is greatly determined not only by how we treat our physical bodies but in a large part the health of our consciousness.
By monique, Block 1 Batch 15 Student
Based on the passage above, Ayurveda takes into consideration all three capacities of a human being: body, mind, and the spirit. It takes into consideration one’s own actions and one’s reactions. All non-material or material negative actions produce serious consequences to the physical body, as well as to the spiritual self. Negativity can stay impressed in the body (in the bones, muscle tissues) stagnating the flow of energy, giving rise to diseases. Ayurveda shows how to prevent and to maintain a balanced life, through the practice of physical exercises, nutrition, and prayers; through the cultivation of the harmony of the mind and the body. Ayurveda aims to educate man to live in harmony with the universe.
By Sueli, Block 1 Student
WESTERN VERSUS AYURVEDIC NUTRITION
Dietary management in western nutrition follows the US food guidelines, set forth by the FDA. Nutritionists help clients these guidelines to maintain healthy eating. The diet consists of various portions from different food groups. The good groups include “protein, grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy.
Modifications are made to the guideline as needed to help patients manage several diseases. For example, for patients with diabetes, modification may include changes in rations of carbohydrates to proteins, with an overall daily intake of decreased carbohydrates and increased proteins. Based on the western concepts of nutrition, calorie intake is seen as significant and as a culture facing diseases like obesity and other “food related” disorders (metabolic syndromes), lower calorie intake is usually recommended.
In western nutrition, there is less emphasis on tastes, uses of spices and flavors. Generally, diet tends to be “bland and tasteless”. There is also no distinction on ‘food quality” and individual differences (how food affects the individual). It is a “one size fits all” principle. No distinction is made on animal versus plant proteins, and the western diet generally promotes animal protein as the more important source of protein. People who choose to eliminate animal protein are called “vegetarians’ or “vegans”. The newer disorders (like food allergies and gluten intolerance) are forging a new discussion on how what we eat affects us.
Ayurveda nutrition places importance on “how food is used by each individual” for promoting health benefits. To this end, ayurveda promotes food choices based on an individual’s constitution (dosha). They also play close attention to different “rasas” (tastes) and how these can affect an individual based on their dosha. For example, sweet foods may be beneficial and healing for vata dosha persons but may have a detrimental effect on kapha dosha person.
The principle of “gunas” is an important one when looking at ayurveda nutrition. Guna refers to food texture and quality, for example, light and dry versus heavy and moist. Persons who are considered vata dominant will not benefit from light and dry foods because “it will add vata elements (like air) to the vata person, thereby increasing the vata in that person. Increasing vata properties in a vata person will “cause imbalance and diseases”. Prana is important in ayurveda nutrition and generally present in foods that are plant-based, fresh, cooked and preferably locally grown. Foods that are frozen, process, refrigerated, microwaved and canned and generally considered to be low in prana.
Ayurveda also incorporates time of day and season as affecting how we benefit from the foods we eat.
I believe that helping a patient consider a change from western to ayurveda nutrition may prove to be challenging for the following reasons: Most important point is “time management” and an overall sentiment that there is not enough time to engage in buying and making fresh foods daily. Most people may find the ayurveda nutrition concepts more complex and difficult to incorporate on a daily basis. Overall, western nutrition appears more simple with choosing from different food groups and counting calories. I find it difficult to understand “calorie intake” in ayurveda nutrition and many people are very conscious about weight gain may not “buy into it”. I believe the best way to help patients adjust their nutrition is by starting slowly and keeping track of how the change is affecting their overall functioning. According to ayurveda, “food is the best medicine” and people will know “when they feel better”.
Gaitree Debiprashad, RN
Senior Student, AWP 500 Hr Course – San Diego College of Ayurveda
SDCOA 500 HR Course
As I meditate on the many differences between Western Nutrition and Ayurvedic nutrition, I am overwhelmed at the numbers. The difference that is impacting me the most right now is the difference in living and lifeless food. In western nutrition the focus on calories and nutrients relies on over processed over packaged “food” that contains no familiarity to the food this product used to be. If you go to the grocery stores you can see “whole grain” cereals or breads.
Where is the whole grain after it has been genetically modified, harvested months or years in advance, bleached, processed, enriched, colored, molded and made into “low calorie”? The same can be said of fruits and legumes canned, of homogenized, pasteurized milks and juices, dessert yogurt! The list obviously goes on and on. Parents are routinely feeding their children breakfast cereals and chicken fingers. The point is the food is dead. Western nutrition may have ways of adding nutrients back into a box of chocolate cereal for your kids, but at the end of the day it is still empty calories, where is the Rasa? The nourishment? How can we expect to receive satiation from lifeless food?
Ayurvedic nutrition is the most beautiful practice we can incorporate into our daily lives and the lives of our children. Living food. Rasa that is nourishing to our dhatus, satiating to our minds, bodies and spirits. The focus is on fresh living food that brings a sattvic mind. Ayurveda knows that every living being has a consciousness. Ayurveda understands the value of living and eating in HARMONY with nature and the environment, being reverent and aware of what we are putting in our bodies to attain balance and harmony within. We understand from an Ayurvedic perspective that everything we consume has a karma and a prana, so we must be mindful and respect the cycle of life that we are a part of. When we eat a box of over processed cheeze-its we are disrespecting nature, ourselves, the universe. When we strive to be mindful of ourselves and our needs we eat only fresh living food, prepared with deep gratitude and love. This allows us to be satiated physically as well as mind and spirit and gives us healthy, balanced dhatus, and dosas, with strong agni. Living foods naturally have the nutrients and vitamins that must be enriched into processed foods, and our bodies are naturally able to absorb these living nutrients, unlike the additives found in a package of frozen pizza pockets.
In my perspective the difficulty in addressing those who follow a western approach to nutrition will be in getting them to be aware of the difference in getting your “daily allowance” of nutrition from food that is lifeless and fortified versus going the extra mile to a Farmers market, or more trips to the organic section of your grocery to get living food wherever possible. I know many people do not have access to fresh that day groceries. I know many people are on a budget, I know many stores do not carry very many living options for people. Also many people eat socially and therefore eat at restaurants a lot. This food is definitely without prana, so we are asking people in essence to change their lives and habits. This will be difficult.
Seasons /Annual rings
Author Meinolf Wewel
by Monica B Groover, PhD
San Diego College of Ayurveda
Ayurveda suggests that we are the byproducts of nature. We are made of the same material as the environment that we call the Panchamahabhutas. (Space, Air, Fire, Water, Earth). Ayurvedic practitioners like to say – we are the microcosm of the macrocosm. This is repeated in religious and spiritual texts throughout history.
If we are the microcosm of the macrocosm, a small part of the bigger pictures, minute part of the bigger whole – then, it goes without saying that we have the same purpose, same aim and same journey as the nature and our universe.
Going against the nature, against the natural laws of nature and universe is harmful to us, our planet and our future. In the last fifty years we have become disconnected from our environment and with the greenhouse emissions, we are making sure that future generations suffer.
Whether its raising huge amounts of livestock so we can overeat and become obese and subject ourselves to all the health issues caused by red meat, or using ridiculous amount of resources by raising this livestock; whether, its filling our landfills with trash that cannot be recycled , or filling our space with orbiting space debris, –we, as a species are not in sync with ourselves, our nature. That, my friends – is one cause of disease right there. Ayurveda suggests that living ahitayu – life not in sync with nature will cause havoc, imbalance and trauma.
Lets discuss this disconnectedness more. We communicate to the world and people around us through texting, facebook, twitter and emails. We have created a virtual persona of ourselves – our virtual Doppleganger. You’d be surprised how many clients I get whose physical imbalances stem from spending too much time on the social media websites. Living other people’s lives instead their own.
Nature –being our parent, our macrocosm—has its own way of communicating with us. Nature provides feedback in many forms to us. However, in our virtual Doppleganger form it is hard for us to get the message.
our body, the changing seasons, omens, sights, smells, how we feel – how our body feels. And, the universe lets us know.
How? We get instant feedback via our near environment. To give you an example, if you clutter your refrigerator and do not clean == strange smells will emanate. Instant feedback. If the winter is about to onset, fall will create dryness in your skin, your hair and preparing your body for the winter. This is the season providing feedback to the body to start lubricating your skin with warm organic oils, and start eating soups.
Moving on, lets clarify what we mean by our environment. What surrounds us is our immediate environment – be it social environment, the weather. The Macro environment would be prakruti or mother nature, and earth or the bigger universe – the planets and being part of the greater whole.
Ayurveda suggests we bring this journey of outer environment and what’s happening in and around us in sync.
We can do this by living in sync with the seasons, with the cycle of day and night, with cycle of waxing and waning of moon. (Lunar and Solar cycles).
Lets discuss a small example. Water is regulated on earth through moon. Moon gives rasa or taste to the fruits and fragrance to the flowers. It regulates the oceanic tides. Water in the outer world is signified by the vast bodies of oceans. In fact 2/3rd of earth is water. Inside our body, the moon also influences the water element which is manifest as all fluid secretions, mucosa, lymphatic system, and blood.
In our mind, the moon supports water element that is manifested as feelings of relaxation, love, romance, winding down after a hard days work. It has been proved that listening to sounds of waves or waterfall can induce a feeling of relaxation in our nerve center.
Earth element is manifested as mountains, deserts, rocks, the crust and inner part and center core of our planet. Earth in our physical body is the structure, the muscles, the bones and the organs. In our mind the earth element is manifest as a feeling of groundedness, decisionmaking, sticking to one’s guns so to speak.
The fire element in our planet is the summer season, transformation process of how seeds grow into a plant, then tree, the volcanoes. For example, all trees are made up of wood – which has the inherent fire element in it.
In our body the fire element is exhibited by the digestion of food, transformation of thoughts into ideas,
The air manifests as atmosphere and the gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide, in the planet and manifests as the exchange of gases in our lungs. In the mind it manifests itself as creativity.
Space in the nature is important. Most important. All planets exist in space. Space in our body is the space in our stomach, our lungs, nerves. Without space element, our mind would be crowded by thoughts and we wont be able to function.
By Monica B Groover, PhD, PK
A chiropractor friend recently told me, that he recently did muscle testing for a patient, and, found out that constipation and irregular elimination increased their symptoms. When his patients have regular bowel movements, their back pain seems diminished.
Ayurveda believes that balanced elimination is KEY to good health.
The definition of Health according to Ayurveda is ‘Sama Dhatu (Balanced Tissues), Sama Dosha (Balanced Doshas), Sama Agni (Balanced Digestive Fire) – hence, Balanced Elimination or Mala.
Ayurvedic text books talk about two kinds of Eliminate or Waste Materials.
i Ahara mala or wastes from food
ii Dhatu mala or wastes from the tissues
Ayurveda believes we are not just what we eat – we are also what we digest! Digesting and eliminating whatever we put in our bodies is referred to as Ahara Mala
Ahara Mala is further divided into three types in Ayurvedic Medicine:
I Purisha – According to Ayurveda, Purisha or faeces are the elimination of Earth, and, Water element. For a healthy BM(Bowel Movement), we need to eat the earth element(Fibre from whole grains), as well as drink warm or hot water. Cold water is not suggested. Appearance of the stools differ according to the imbalance of dosha, and, dhatus. For example, if the stool is hard, it may suggest a vata imbalance. It may suggest a variable Agni or digestive fire. Constipation or less than 1 BM a day is also suggestive of Vata imbalance. 3-5 Bowel movements that are loose along with acidity and acid reflux may suggest a pitta imbalance. For vata imbalance, and, constipation — Triphala Ghee for Vata imbalance. For Acidity, Ayurveda suggest avoiding sour foods including fermented foods and drinks, salt, and, as going very easy on hot spices like cayenne pepper, ginger, pungent foods like onions or garlic. Cumin, Coriander and Fennel tea, whey probiotic lassi drink or eating pomegranates is excellent for pitta imbalances with more than 3 or 4 bowel movements, and, acidity.
To read more go to:
Sadhaka Pitta is a sub dosha of pitta, generally referred to as our ‘IQ’ – our intellect.
Now, Lets try to understand Sadhaka Pitta in terms of Pitta imbalance.
Hina Pittasya tu Sleshma….Janayatyana – avisthatam (C.Su 17/55)
Weakness of pitta –means decreased digestive activity(manda-analah), Coldness in body as well as ‘MIND’ (SADHAKA pitta), and loss of complexion(prabha-hani – bhrajaka pitta).
How does this weakness of ‘Sadhaka’ pitta, in the ‘mind’ taking place?
First, what is sadhaka and where does it reside.
Lets’ understand that the SADHAKA PITTA connects the hridaya [heart] and Manasa (Mind) and forms a channel of connection through them – energetic.
Some vaidyas say that Manovaha srotas are originating in heart but powered through the engine of ‘SADHAKA’.
So, we concur with them. We are saying if Sadhaka is controlling the srotas of the heart and the mind — it is also connected to prana vata (life force, or, chi) and vyana vata Ccirculation). It is helping ‘regulate’ the energy of vata which includes the nervous system and the senses. It is controlling homeostatsis, helping hypothalamus, energizing the neuro transmitters.
Think of Sadhaka as an inner spiral of energy.(Not only energizing the mind, and, intellect, but, also our emotions)
An article I read recently describes it as movement, which essentially sorts out our external experiences into an internal ‘felt’ experience.
Why and what is happening when sadhaka is down. Many scenarios can happen to our heart, our ability to process emotions, converts thoughts into ideas and so on.
Sometimes, Kaphaja has blocked the Vata causing coolness, heaviness in body and mind? The pitta has decreased –agni that causes digestion of thoughts is low.(In the ‘mind, and intellect)
Let’s look at increase or Vrddhi of pitta
What increases when pitta increases — Snigdha(oily), Ushna(heat), Tikshna(Sharp), ‘Amla(Sour), Sara(fluid) and Katu(Pungent) qualities.
This is ‘increase in pitta’. How does that affect the mind and the sadhaka? Could it be related to Prana Vata? Vyana and harmone regulation –related to depression, stress is being ‘energized’ by sadhaka. A low sadhaka means unable to process sensory input, even, emotional input.
It will cause Krodha(Anger), Impatience, Bhaya(Fear), Daha(burning sensation)
So, when sadhaka is imbalanced due to INCREASE of pitta –hyperactivity –impatience and anger may be seen. When it is LOW, then the energy of transformation –the energy that processes ‘sensory’ data, information, emotions, thoughts and feelings may be low. Manovaha srotas are blocked. so, depression can also be called low sadhaka. (Dr. Marc Halpern)
Does that make more sense??
Of course, I dont have a ‘context’ here, so, this is a hypothetical context.
Dr. Hemant. K. Singh refers to mental imbalance connected to prana, vyana and sadhaka as :
Primary psychological conditions caused purely by mental disorders are kama (lust), krodha (anger), lobh (greed), moha (delusion), irshya (jealousy), mana (pride), mada (euphoria), shoka (sorrow, grief), chinta (anxiety), udvega (neurosis), bhaya (fear), harsha (happiness). The psychiatric conditions caused by a combination of physical and mental (psycho-physical) disorders are unmada (psychosis), apasmara (convulsive disorder), apatantraka (hysteria), atattvabhinvesha (obsession), bhrama (illusion, vertigo), tandra (drowsiness), klama (neurasthenia), mada-murchha-sanyasa (loss of sensory perception leading to coma), madatyaya (alcoholism), gadodvega (hypochondriasis).
Here is an excerpt from Dr. Vasant Lad’s article. According to him sadhaka in mind causes emotions, and, sadhaka in heart PROCESSES the emotions and information:
“sadhaka pitta processes emotions into intelligence and sadhaka pitta in the heart processes emotions into love and compassion. If this functional integrity of sadhaka pitta in the brain and sadhaka pitta in the mind is affected, then the person builds emotion. This unresolved emotion is accumulated into the connective tissue because unresolved emotion becomes crystals and these crystals of unresolved emotions accumulate into the connective tissue and there it becomes psychological trauma. “
How does ayurveda define the soul and spirit? Don’t they both exist at a higher level of consciousness? Also, the textbook mentions that individual souls do not perceive other souls. Spirits perceive other spirits so why can’t souls? Are souls just a witness to the roles the mind plays?
First, there are five elements. They combine to form the doshas. The ‘ahamkara’ or I ‘is’ a material element that covers the soul and carries it everywhere.
Soul and spirit are one and the same thing according to Veda. We are embodied beings. In Ayurveda and the Mind, we do this in detail. We are embodied by FIVE COVERINGS.
First is the ‘Soul’ or Atman. It is a non material entity, and, cannot die. It goes on –takes one body, and, then another. So, how does it travel. It cannot travel alone. It is carried by the ‘covering’ of mind, intelligence and ahamkara or ‘I’.
Soul is ‘happiness’, bliss and YES it does perceive other souls. It feels BLISS (not bodily happiness..!!)
It is those people who are not spiritual, they are covered in thinking that –we are the physical body, and, entangled night and day in ‘I’ am this physical body – that may not perceive other souls.
Healers, spiritual people definitely perceive happiness and bliss.
Here is some information about the FIVE SHEATHS according to Vedas that make us who we are, the fifth sheath or BLISS sheath is SOUL or SPIRIT.
Soul feels bliss. Our ‘food’ or physical body feels hunger, and, pleasure, pain –’NOT’ bliss. Bliss is transcendental…energy!
Pancha kosha means five sheaths of the human body.
• Annamaya Kosha or the Food Sheath (Outer covering or Physical Body)
• Pranamaya Kosha or the Energy Sheath (This is the ‘energy’ of the soul that pervades our entire being. No prana – no life. No soul – no prana)
• Manomaya Kosha or the Mental Sheath (Mind, is an entity that is made up of Ahamkara – THE EGO..and it doesnt think I am the soul, it thinks I am the doer, and it ‘covers’ the soul)
• Vijnyanamaya Kosha or the Intellectual Sheath (Intelligence, covers the soul!)
• Anandamaya Kosha or Bliss Sheath (Soul feels ‘Bliss’ that comes from being in tune with the universe, and, the ‘divine’!)
Is soul a witness to the roles the mind plays —hmmmm –the answer is – it depends on the person. If a person is more spiritually elevated, understands that I am not this body, not even the mind, but a soul covered by mind –he or she can ‘overcome’ the role playing of the mind with ‘intelligence’.
However, when we are completed engulfed in the ‘I’ ego — I am American, I am a man, I am Irish, I am good looking, I am a mother, I am attached….and are not ‘conscious’ or aware of soul as the actual entity that is ‘I’ –and not the ego, not the mind–then, souls are dormant…sleeping…just a witness.
Research Cycle of Seasons and Ayurveda
by Zach Bubeck – Ayurveda Wellness Practitioner Student (San Diego College of Ayurveda)
Tuesday, 23 August 2011, 10:19 PM
Within the entire observable universe, the most common reoccurring shape is the circle. This pervasive shape reflects the cyclical nature of all things. Our galaxy along with others, rotates around a common center. Our solar system rotates around the center of our galaxy. Our planet orbits around the sun , our moon orbits around the earth and our earth orbits around its axes. We can even witness this phenomenon on a microcosmic level where we can observe electrons revolving around the nucleus of atoms. We can also derive many other cyclical abstractions through our observations such as a trees lifecycle or the food cycle etc etc.
The human being can be considered a system is embedded within a larger system. Within and without these systems there is a constant exchange of energy that moves in cycles. Ayurveda provides us with a model for understanding the direct effect that the greater cycles within this system have on us as humans. Utilizing this information we are given the opportunity to adjust our lifestyles in a way which will correct any imbalances in our microcosm caused by these external influences.
The first cycle to be considered is the earth’s rotation. During this cycle we experience changes in the amount of direct exposure we receive to various forms of light and other subatomic particles. This creates changes to the doshic quality of the atmosphere around us and directly within us. Although the times of these phases change through the course of the year depending on your location, the following is a general overview of the doshic influence of different times of day:
3AM to 6AM Vata
6AM to 10AM Kapha
10AM to 3PM Pita
3PM to 6PM Vata
6PM to 10PM Kapha
10PM to 12AM Pita
12AM to 3AM Kapha
Those of us who seek balance should consider these cycles and the principal of like increasing like when making decisions on how to conduct our day to day activities. A great global example of this is that most people would be served best by having their largest meal of the day at noon when pitta is highest and feeding the Jathara Agni.
Moving out to slower cycles, we should also consider the seasons which are caused by the earths relation to the sun over the course of its annual orbit. The seasons effect on the body should be offset according to the season itself and the individuals constitution. For example, a kapha during the winter may need to eat a heating diet where a pita would be best served to maintain a balanced diet during the winter with only occasional heating foods. During the summer the pita person may need a mostly cooling diet where the kapha may be able to eat more heating foods.
In addition to the considerations of the current season we must consider the effect of seasons as they change and what they leave behind. During the winter for example, there is frequently buildup of Kapha. Pita can buildup during the winter as well because of the increased storage of internal heat as a response to the external coldness. Considering this potential buildup, the need for spring cleaning takes on new meaning as this is a great time for panchakarma or other cleansing protocols to be implemented. Seasons are different in different places, but generally the following Dosha’s are associated with the following seasons:
Early Winter Vata
Late Winter Kapha/Vata
In addition to these two important cycles, Ayurveda will also take into consideration more subtle influences such as the moon and other celestial bodies. The tides are managed by the moon and our bodies are made mostly of water. It then stands to reason that our bodies will be effected by the moon as well. It is a verifiable fact that more child labors start on full moons than any other day. Ayurveda also teaches us that other celestial bodies have a direct influence on our being as well.
Our environment does not only include the weather. Where we live, the people we are around, the cleanliness of our home and the wind that brought in the very air we breath will all play a role in influencing our constitution at any time. These facts all serve as wonderful reminder of the need for holistic thinking when approaching health from an Ayurvedic perspective.
Ayurveda for the Eyes
By: Dr. Sonica Krishan
The eyes are quite rightly expressed as ‘windows of the soul’. And one among the best boons bestowed upon us by Mother Nature is the sense of sight. Out of the five main senses known to our sense organs, the sense of sight is the most venerable and at the same time highly vulnerable. It is a pity to find so many youngsters, even small children hiding their charm being the thick glasses. Although we can blame the declining vision due to a number of factors like heredity, lack of nutritious diet, improper reading posture, over-viewing of the idiot box, and both physical and mental stress and strain.
Some signs of failing vision:
You could be losing your eyesight in case –
· There is difficulty in seeing especially the far-off objects.
· When the distant objects start appearing rather blurred.
· When you have to intentionally strain your eyes in recognizing familiar faces and objects once they are at a distance.
· Watching television soap or reading continuously for some time tires your eyes and often triggers off a headache.
· Perhaps there is frequent watering, itching, heaviness and burning sensation in the eyes.
· Headaches and sensitivity of the eyes becoming a common feature.
What Ayurveda believes:
According to Ayurveda philosophy, ‘Drishti dosha’ or the failing vision problem is believed to result from nervous debility and also from long lasting ailments of constipation and common cold.
Care of the eyes is mandatory:
Daily eyewash with rose water, cool water, cucumber juice is excellent for sensitive eyes. As daily routine, eyes need to be washed with cold water. It is also suggested that prior to this act, the mouth be filled with water. This would make the eyes protrude out and better cleansing can be accomplished.
Other than this, local applications of medicated Anjanas have been recommended so as to keep the eyes clean and eye vision sharp.
According to Ayurveda, our eyesight is the product of Agni or the fire. Therefore it is particularly important to save the same from phlegm.
Recommended therapy for defective eyesight:
The line of treatment in case of this malady is undertaken in accordance with the cause of failing vision. As mentioned earlier, the root cause in most of the cases lies with habitual improper evacuation of the bowels as well as chronic cold and congestion. Therefore, powder of the three Myrobalans (Aamla, Harad and Baheda) is used both for internal as well as external purpose. Other drugs of choice like Mahatriphla ghrita, Yashtimadhu churana, Saptamrit Lauha etc may be taken after consulting an Ayurveda physician. Particularly in case of chronic cold, there are some beneficial medicated oils that need to be deeply inhaled along with the therapy.
Try some home remedies:
The juice extracted from the fresh fruit of Aamla is to be taken twice a day in a dose of 20 ml for the longevity of eyesight.
Regular intake of pepper powder with honey acts as a boon for recovering the diminished vision.
Rubbing the soles of the feet with mustard oil or ghee regularly may be of good help.
Being rich in vitamin A, mango is a boon for the eyes. A regular intake of mango during the season is recommended for recovery from eyestrain.
Fresh juice extracted from properly cleaned Rose petals is believed to improve the eye vision. This can be used both for external and internal purpose.
Take regularly approximately half to one-teaspoon powder of the herb of Liquorice twice daily along with cow’s milk to improve the failing vision. This is extremely beneficial for the eyes. It can also to be taken mixed with honey or ghee.
Dr. Sonica krishan is a consultant Ayurveda and physician in Chandigarh, India. She is the author of home cures books ‘Herbal Healers’ and ‘Home Remedies’ and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at +(91)92165-15317.
Note: Fresh fruit of Aamla (Indian gooseberry ) can be difficult to find in the USA. In that case dried Aamla can be taken approx. 2 to 3 grams mixed into half a spoonful of honey twice a day for longevity of vision.