monica's blog

Ayurveda Ahara and Dosha Diet versus Western Diet

By Sara Jane
Block 2 Student - SDCOA

AYURVEDIC NUTRITION VS WESTERN NUTRITION

Today we have so many different diets or we can call them “lifestyles” that we are given to try in order to feel better with ourselves and lose weight. For example, we have the raw food diet, whose fundamental principle is to eat

foods in their most natural state - uncooked and unprocessed. Then there is the vegan diet, which is free of any animal products, macrobiotic diet eat mostly grains but can also eat fish, the vegetarian diet is free of meat, poultry or fish. Along with many more.

Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest systems of traditional medicine and looks at nutrition in a different perspective than we do in the western world. Ayurveda looks at eating as a ritual, that not only nourishes the body, but nourishes the mind and soul too.

In Ayurveda food is our medicine and our healer. It provides the building blocks to nourish and replenish the dhatus (tissues) which make up our entire physical foundation.

The aim of the Ayurveda nutrition is to achieve balance of doshas, dhatus, agni (digestion fire) and mala (elimination). Therefore, Ayurveda Nutrition takes in
consideration the food that is best for us according to our type of dosha.

One of the main differences between Western nutrition and Ayurveda nutrition are the calories. Western nutrition is almost obsessed with it, instead of focusing on what it is right and good for our body. Calories don’t even exist in Ayurveda!

This is because there are some elements present in the foods we eat and so we ask ourselves: are they balancing or imbalancing to our prakruti?

According to western nutrition “we are what we eat” .

According to Ayurveda “we are what we digest”. It is so important what goes into the body because it can be beneficial or harmful. With the word digest we mean: what we eat, but also what we think and what we breathe in.

Western doctors may give you a diet low in carbohydrate and really high on protein, or giving you processed food full of additives and sugars but low calorie! Just to lose weight without knowing what type body and its characteristics and what it needs.

Another difference it is that Ayurveda achieves the balance through the six rasas or tastes, which are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, astringent and bitter; when Western nutrition divides food into five groups: carbohydrate, protein.

The six tastes are composed, like all organic matter including food, by the five mahabutas and some of them will be good for a dosha and some for another. This is really important for Ayurveda because giving spicy food to a Pitta person for example, who is already hot and fiery, can be harmful and aggravates the imbalance on all levels (body, mind and consciousness). If we give the wrong food for that type of person it will affect the digestive fire and it will make the digestion process less efficient.

In Western nutrition this is not taken in consideration and what really matters, like we said above, are calories and what we burn during the day. They tell you to eat beans and peas and vegetables and most people buy and eat this food out of a can, not aware of the additives, MSG, sugar, loads of sodium, and that’s just a few.

I believe it is possible to develop Ayurveda nutrition in America. Ways to accomplish this would be, to write articles about it in the most popular magazines, let people know how this science of life approaches the person on several different levels. As well as starting introduction classes in schools about Ayurveda nutrition and make the

students reflect on what they are eating, their unique body constitution and its needs.

I personally haven’t used any principles of Ayurveda before but since I have been introduced to them I discovered a new way of looking at my body and now I am getting more in touch with myself as well as my mind and spirit.

Now that I have acquired this knowledge there is no going back, I am on my path and willing to spread the message that there is another way to look at life.

Ayurveda and Junk Food

By Cheryl Keller,
Student - San Diego College of Ayurveda

We live in a culture that is saturated with food. Many of our social functions and celebrations involve food as a central theme. Planning a Super Bowl party? Better get lots of junk food! Thanksgiving, Easter, Fourth of July, almost all our national holidays have become one more reason to over eat. We eat on the run in our cars, we eat frozen foods, processed foods, take out, and instant. Where has all this lead us? To an overwhelming, confusing amount of information about “diets” Everywhere we turn we are being told which is the correct diet that will lead to a healthier, happier you.

The diets are wildly different, but most tell us what to eat and how much to eat. They are a one size fits all approach to food, that neglect to take into consideration the spiritual and energetic needs that we have. They do little to nourish the soul.

Ayurveda teaches us a conscious way of living in harmony with nature, and according to our own inherent nature. Food doesn’t just affect our waist size, it affects our life force. Food should be prepared and eaten with intention, mindfully, and with gratitude and enjoyment.

Ayurveda has a lot of “rules”. It is not a ” take the frozen package out of the freezer and microwave it” kind of diet. Foods are chosen according to the six tastes, the qualities of the food, the effect on the doshas, and post digestive effect on the tissues. And these choices change with the season, and with our prakruti.

Ayurveda reminds us that we are not only what we eat, but how, when, why, and where we eat. It reminds us that the most important ingredient is love and respect. And we extend that love and respect to ourselves and others, and to Mother Earth with the food choices we make.

Achieve Balance through Ayurveda

By Kei Kurimoto, Student SDCOA

OUR CURRENT STATE OF IMBaLANCE:

We have become a society obsessed with weight, our appearance and material objects. In the midst of this technology age, where we are all constantly “connected”, it has left us with a societal expectation of immediate results. Whether this be that customer service for your bank is available 24 hrs a day, expecting an immediate response from an email, taking a pill to immediately rid you of a cold or finding a weight-loss diet that will deliver immediate results, many of us have become a very empty, completely lacking true connection to others, to nature and to what our unique individual soul-purpose is. And the reality is that…we are too tired or too stressed to even care.

But something is changing…

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE:

Ayurveda, which translates to “the science of life”, is the sister science of yoga. The growth of yoga into mainstream society over the last 10 years has been incredible! This has laid the foundation for Ayurveda to now step into the mainstream light of the western world and present itself as a full holistic paradigm on how to live life in tune with, not just nature, but our own natural constitution. When we live “ayurvedically”, we have energy, clarity, feel bonded and connected to others, feel genuinely happy, are aware of and connected to our “dharma” (life purpose), are connected to our own soul, and are doing work that not just benefits our own pockets, but betters the world.

Seems a bit optimistic right?

WHAT IS CHANGE?:

Change is an option. Change is a desire. The secret however, is that to truly change…you have to TRULY CHANGE.

WHERE DO WE START?:

Let’s start with some “healthy diet messages” that may be more familiar to you. “Eat low fat because fat is unhealthy and only makes you fat.” “Eat low calorie because calories make you gain weight.” “Eat Raw to extract the most nutrients from foods such as fruits & vegetables.” “Eat Paleo because this is what man ate when he was hunting and gathering: animal protein and plants.”

Do you feel full now? I have personally felt like 'something was missing' when trying different 'diets' in the past. I felt like I was blindly following a regiment and denying that our bodies have a lot more wisdom than we give them credit for.

OK, now focus…

Ayurveda, in contrast, is maintaining balance of your own individual constitution, maintaining stable digestive fire, achieving proper functioning of your tissues, proper elimination, and maintaining a pleasing state of the soul, senses and mind. Yes…all this through FOOD (and lifestyle).

WANT TO GO DEEPER?

The ultimate goal of eating food in ayurveda is the creation of “ojas”. Ojas is a sanskrit word which Wikipedia translates as “the sap of one's life energy which, when sufficient, is equated with immunity and, when deficient, results in weakness, fatigue and ultimately disease.”

Let that sink in…

Ojas is created through another sanskrit word, “prana” which we know as “chi” in chinese medicine or “life force”. Prana is in everything from the sun, the moon, water, trees, to all the food that comes from the earth.

As Ayurevdic Practitioner, Dr. Marrianne Teitelbaum states, “When you put intelligent food in your body, your cells act intelligently. When you put ‘dumb’ food in your body…” well, you get the picture.

And apart from the quality of the food you are putting into your body, if you are not properly digesting your food, you are creating what is called “ama”. Ama are “toxins” that eventually lead to imbalance, such as a cold, to a fully blossomed disease like cancer.

So what are the key points to walk away with?

1) Learn how to eat quality food (full of prana)

2) Learn best practices to properly digest food in tune with your personal constitution, the season & your lifestyle.

There are many other factors that play into each of these. If you feel drawn to learn more, there are wonderful resources for you to start your own journey into wellness and understanding that you have to tools to listen to your own body and the knowledge to achieve balance physically, mentally & emotionally. And don't forget to acknowledge any desires for immediate health results and then let them go. Ayurveda is a slow process of healing over time, and a life-long journey of learning!

Ayurveda, TCM and Homeopathy

By Dilek Koksal Student SDCOA

Comparison of Ayurveda to any Holistic Health Modality such as TCM, Homeopathy, Naturopathy

The process of treatment of these alternative medicine includes ancient types of procedure, have there unique features, unique ways of treatment of different diseases, unique principles & laws which they follow & also unique medicine, those totally different from allopathic medicine.

IN INDIA• There are some pathies of alternative medicine which are widely used for treatment now a days• include

1. Ayurveda
2. Homoeopathy
3. Unani
4. Yoga
5. Siddha
6. Naturopathy

I started my comparison with TCM since it is a more full life concept than Homeopathy or Naturopathy.

These Eastern philosophies can be summed up with a brief comparison of the two from Tao and Dharma: Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, by Robert Svoboda and Arnie Lade. Both Ayurveda and Chinese medicine are ancient living systems of medicine, in fact, they are the oldest continually practiced and recorded in the world. Both Indian and Chinese cultures recognize that living in harmony with nature and human society is a prerequisite for health.

Both traditions agree that human beings have inherently unique physical and psychological characteristics, which arise from predisposed heredity and karmic factors, developing according to the conditioning received from one's social milieu.

In Ayurveda, people are differentiated by the Three Doshas, while in Chinese medicine the theories of Yin-Yang and the Five Elements provide the basis for understanding a person's constitution and susceptibility to illness. One common feature of both systems is the belief in the essential life force, called Prana by the Indians and Qi by the Chinese.

Both have similar ideas on the nature, transportation, origin and importance of this vital energy. Both systems use the natural sensory skills of the physician to interpret the patient's symptoms, with striking similarities in diagnostic techniques, such as palpation of the pulse, tongue diagnosis, visual inspection, listening and questioning.

Awareness is at the center of Ayurveda and TCM. It is central in choosing to balance and critical in choosing health no matter where one is in the process of health or disease. Ayurveda’s foundation in spiritual awareness puts humans in harmony with the creation, and puts the creation within humans; TCM does the same through Chinese philosophy. Also, both systems see the world (and the self) through a macrocosmic – microcosmic relationship. In the subtlest sense, both of these traditions can define the whole self as the whole world. Ayurveda and TCM both have five element theories central to their practice.

Yet, the role these theories play and the way they are described are very different. The primary difference is Ayurveda’s five elements (ether, air, fire, water, and earth) are very static compared to interrelatedness of TCM’s five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water). Constitutions in both systems have a genetic component. Thus differences in gene pools could explain variation between the constitutional types. Ayurveda identifies six tastes and TCM identifies five, however cold, and hot (Yin, and Yang) are the most important.

The two systems are in agreement of the effects of the tastes, with the exception of salt. Ayurveda gives it a heating quality, while TCM identifies it as cooling. The reason for the divergence can be attributed to salts ability to increase digestive fire, but also increase water retention, and can purge the intestines in larger amounts In both systems, diet either stimulates or pacifies a dosha or element to create balance within the body. Unique to TCM is the idea that certain tastes strengthen particular meridians and organs. This occurs because every organ has an element in resonance.

HOMEOPATHY SYSTEM OF MEDICINE is a system of medicine that treats diseased individuals on the basis of using medicinal substances capable of producing similar changes in the health of a person as that of the diseased person. What's common between homeopathy, ayurveda and Chinese medicine is the law of similars. Homeopathy is relatively a recent system of medicine.

The word “Homeopathy” is derived from two Greek words, Homois meaning similar and pathos meaning suffering. Homeopathy simply means treating diseases with remedies, prescribed in minute doses, which are capable of producing symptoms similar to the disease when they taken by the healthy people. It is based on the natural law of healing. “Similia Similibus Curantur” which means “Likes are cured by likes”

Ayurveda and the Four Lifestyle Choices

By Rita Shylesh Nair (Student - SDCOA)

Ayurveda translates as the Science of Life. As a codified system of medicine, Ayurveda considers a human being as a whole being encompassing all aspects of mind, body and spirit functioning as one in coherence. It recognizes that a human being is a finite container of consciousness established with boundaries of their ego, mind, intellect, emotions and sensory filters. Any experience of life come through these filters and layers creating an impact on the individual’s emotional, physiological, mental and spiritual aspects.

Ayurveda as a social and spiritual system provides a set of rules for right and natural living. It promotes the idea
that one should live a life of balance, wholeness and truth for the betterment of not only oneself, but also one’s
family, society and the world. It also stipulates that one should live from the heart, live a life of truth and
principles of right living without causing harm to oneself or others.

The 4 types of Ayurs as described provide us with a methodical way on how to live life and provides insights on what causes an imbalance or for life to go out of balance thereby causing suffering and misery. It also enables us to evaluate and assess whether the individual is living a life in concordance with the principles of right living and determine root causes of suffering and unhappiness. One’s actions, thoughts and words (karma) all have a direct bearing on one’s state of suffering or health. Karmic factors extend and span across time and space boundaries as perceived by us. It also takes into account ancestral and familial factors towards health.

When one lives a life of comfort, free from physical and mental ailments and lives in concordance with nature and its principles, one is said to live a Sukh- ayu. When one lives a live contradictory to nature and its principles, one is bound to experience mental, emotional and physical suffering. This includes poor lifestyle factors, stressors, poor diet etc. This is said to be a life of Dukh-ayu.

When one lives his life in accordance with Dharmic principles of life, a life of truth, right effort, right balance, for the benefit of himself, his family and society, one is said to live a life of Hit-Ayu.

When one lives life in a state of lack of awareness or mindfulness in contradiction of truth and engages in negative thinking, attitudes and mental states that adversely impact one’s life, and others and society, one is said to live a life of Ahit-Ayu.

This system also recognizes that our actions if unconscious and without mindfulness also has a direct impact on those around us and our environment. If we do not perceive the cyclical nature of life and the phases of life that follows nature’s cycles, and live accordingly, then we are bound to experience its effects adversely upon our
physiological, mental and emotional being.
Our excessive demand for fuel has depleted earth’s resources
thereby destroying earth’s natural riches without replenishment.

The impacts of climate change are self-evident.

Many countries see increases in temperature and pollution. This has created a toxic environment and spawned
respiratory illnesses that impact millions. We continue to reach for western drugs which also create its own set
of effects. We are no longer connected to the earth by growing our own food and most food supplied in the world unfortunately has been tainted by toxic chemicals or Gentically Modified Food.

Chemicals introduced in farming practices destroy soil and has created a new slew of GI related illnesses. Our reliance on conveniently packaged and processed food has increased a hundred fold which in turn has created a whole set of diseases as well.

Our fast-paced stress filled lifestyles no longer permit us to have downtime to engage in spiritual practices or rituals
that allow one to connect back to our sense of Higher Self. This intrinsic sense of lack of connection to
ourselves and others create a sense of alienation and we live increasingly separate lives. While we live in a more
technologically advanced society, we also live lives of increased stress and stress related illnesses and
depression and other psychological issues.

The examples of disease and imbalance abound in society and
present day culture. All of these can be traced back to how the principles of life and living as laid out in ancient
Ayurvedic texts have been overlooked and ignored.

Living the Ayurveda Life-- by Block 1 Batch 16 Students

Submitted as assignments by Block 1 Batch 16 Students

Submission 1 - Ayurveda is a symphony orchestra that has a well developed and directed musical score. Purusha is the concert hall, it houses the orchestra pit, chairs, musicians, audience and empty space which fills with sound as the music begins. Prakruti is the conductor who has vast knowledge, creativity and potential. As the orchestra warms and tunes, the first chair or principle violinist acts as Mahad. The first notes we hear the ones that guide the orchestra into creation. The Ahamkara begins as the conductor, the “I Am” of the orchestra. We hear the strings, horns and percussion all melodious, the beautiful harmony manifesting from segments (gunas; Sattva, Raja, Tamas). Each musician, (the five senses and faculties) following their own heart, leading with their passion (their own instrument), guided by the conductor in the great hall of Purusha. The health of the performance depends on this balance.

When one performer acts inharmoniously, the health of the whole is compromised. A self absorbed act of an individual creates negative, individual karma and if this continues to happen or happens by more than one individual, the health of the orchestra suffers. Illness, out of tune, will happen and the harmony of the whole begins to deteriorate. Sour notes (Kleshas), throwing other parts of the orchestra off key or out of rhythm (Adibhautika) distresses the natural harmony present in performers and audience (Adhidaivika). The karma created here will inhibit the life prana of the orchestra and future performances are compromised. Ayurveda, as a holistic balanced entity, creates it’s music, from the health of the physical, emotional, spiritual and mental selfless actions of the individual. Selfish actions of the ego will cause imbalance, create unnecessary negative karmic accumulation and disease from this place is deeper and more difficult to overcome.

Submission 2 - Ayurveda is translated as life knowledge. To me, the most important concept to promote health and well being is all about being aware of your body and what is going on internally and externally. The different Ayus relate to living in harmony with nature and with yourself and are classified according to how in tune you are with your body, soul, mind, and feelings. If you are able to live in peace, feeling good, you will naturally cultivate a better sense of being and feel better all around. If you live the purest life you can, with honesty, with good deeds, with happiness, you will naturally live well. When you begin to feel heavy, weighted down, negative and sad, the body physically picks up on these emotions and becomes out of balance with it’s true nature. By being able to cultivate peace within and peace with the self you are able to naturally stay content and with peace in the body and the mind. Disease begins to form once the body becomes too out of balance and those other emotions get too stuck or strong. The vedas refer to types of disease that can manifest and lead to more illness. It’s important to stay connected to how you feel since we are all spiritual beings. When we are able to uplift ourselves in the way we act, eat, and treat our body, we are able to find more harmony within and feel good. The more connection and awareness you are able to harness the more in tune with your health you are able to become. Disease happens when we loose touch with one of the levels of our being. We need to cultivate more of a lifestyle with good spiritual deeds and karma, and continue to check in with how our body and our mind together are processing life.

Submission 3 - When we live outside of harmony with nature and our constitutional makeup, Ayurveda teaches us that we are susceptible to disease. If we abuse our senses in any way, the body may weaken, opening the door to illness and and dysfunction. Because we are multidimensional, each aspect of our being affects the other. We can create the state of our health by the ways we choose to live our lives.

For example, eating a diet of inert, junk food will dull the mind, affect the senses and shift one into a tamasic state. This can affect the mood, possibly causing lethargy and depression and further physical health repercussions.
By being too intellectual or self-absorbed, one can get cut off from their physical and emotion aspects and not fully develop the soul, which can affect the mind-body connection.
A high-pressure job or intense relationship can cause an overload of chronic stress that is very dangerous for every aspect of being and is an invitation for poor health and vitality.

Finally, our deeds directly contribute to health. The ways we treat others and how we treat the earth can either create good or bad karmic repercussions. Following the Law of Cause and Effect is crucial for total health.

If disharmony is what causes disease according to Ayurveda, then reestablishing harmony within our elemental makeup and cultivating ojas is our medicine. Generally speaking, we are not victims of poor health, but instead are creators of the state of our health. When we realize that we can actively participate in both prevention and cure, then we are empowered to make the wisest choices for our overall being.

Submission 4 -Based on the description above, Ayurveda has a perspective on disease that encompasses all aspects of a person’s life. This does not only include the physical, but also the soul, mind, energy, and intellect.

Ayurveda believes that leading a harmonious, virtuous life is necessary for freedom from disease. Living selfishly or ignorantly leads to negative accumulation in one’s life and body, and eventually leads to disease. However, a balanced life, which lives harmoniously with the nature and others, will keep the individual free from disease accumulation. Therefore, disease treatment and prevention calls for not only physical intervention, but continual evolution of one’s mind, soul, energy, and intellect.

Disease can also be inflicted on someone due to the imbalance of the world itself, from seasons or natural events, other animals or humans, for instance. Disease will be affected by the cycles of nature, and so treatment will change during different seasons. This is another example of how disease results from an interplay of nature and the individual. One must recognize and respect her connection to nature in order to maintain health.

Submission 5 The passage in assignment two outlines the four types of Ayus as written in the Ayurvedic texts. Each Ayu describes a type of relationship that an individual may have with their surrounding environment. For example, someone who is hit-ayu lives their life “in harmony with nature”, whereas someone who is dukh-ayu lives their life “harming the balance of nature, environment and other entities”.

In Ayurveda, it is believed that a “good” balance between an individual and their environment is necessary for good health. This passage describes the remote contribution of karma towards a person’s health on five distinct levels – physical body, the soul, energetic level, the mind, and the intellect.

A person who practices good karmic deeds will be rewarded with good health. Thus someone who is hit-ayu will accumulate good karma and be physically, energetically, intellectually, and mentally healthy with a good soul. On the opposite side of the equation, a dukh-ayu person who lives their life accumulating negative karma will experience disease and suffering.

For example, the physical body can deteriorate, the energetic level may deplete, the mind may become misguided, the soul is lost and the intellect is unfocused.
Thus, Ayurveda believes that the cause of disease and suffering in people is a result of living in opposition or out of balance to your environment.

Fibroids in Ayurveda

By Aparna Dandekar, D.O.

When the three doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) begin to travel or leave their respective sthanams-- they can travel down to the dhatus. If they travel to mamsa(muscle) tissue and vitiate Mamsa Dhatu, each dosha display its own properties within Mamsa.

Vata is dry in nature, mobile, and rough. When it vitiates Mamsa, it shows its properties in Mamsa. Similarly, when Mamsa is vitiated by Pitta, someone will have muscle inflammation, redness, and hot, hyperemic, shiny (and acutely painful) joints.

When Mamsa is vitiated by Kapha Dosha, the patient will have growths such as fibromas and fibroids. Kapha, which is heavy and cohesive due to the presence of the earth element, causes increased thickness and density of muscle.

Increased vata in mamsa causes decreased Mamsa Dhatu. Symptoms of this vitiation includes emaciation of the pelvic, hip, and abdominal regions of the body. Joints and bony structures that would otherwise be covered with layers of muscle will appear large and may seem to protrude. The patient may have knobby knees or prominent iliac crests. He will also have joint pain, dryness of eyes, weakness, joint dislocation, muscle weakness, and overall fatigue. The increase of vata will affect his mind by giving him a lack of confidence and courage. An increase in vata in Mamsa can be attributed to factors such as a vata aggravating diet, advanced age, or even excessively strenuous exercise done without proper nutritional support.

The primary mahabhutas of Mamsa are Earth followed by water. Earth has the quality of heaviness and cohesivesness. Therefore when Mamsa dhatu is vitiated by kapha, the patient will suffer from the symptoms of excess Mamsa dhatu. He will have abnormal weight-gain as his muscle mass increases. He may have heaviness in the pelvic region. His muscles may be heavy BUT flaccid. This is because the water element of kapha causes flaccidity and poor tone. He may have increased muscle mass in the cheeks or pelvic area. The quantity of the muscle may be high, but the quality will be low. Despite more muscle mass, the patient will be fatigued. Kapha aggravating food and excessive sleeping are common causes of excess Mamsa Dhatu.

There are some basic protocols in Ayurveda for these problems:

For excess mamsa dhatu: Kapha pacifying diet and herbs (trikatu-- ginger, maricha and pippali). These herbs are pungent and hot in nature. They will reduce kapha dosha in mamsa dhatu. These herbs help stimulate and improve the quality of mamsa dhatu agni. Aerobic exercise can also be prescribed. It generates heat and burns kapha. Yoga therapy is also helpful.

For diminished mamsa dhatu: Vata pacifying diet (or Kapha aggravating diet) becomes a primary focus. Herbs such as Bala (banned for internal use in the US due to carcinogenicity) can be prescribed as an oil to be applied externally. Bala is sweet and unctuous in nature. Other herbs include Ashwagandha and Shatavari. Ashwagandha is pungent, bitter and astringent. It pacifying for vata and kapha. It should be given with caution in a pitta prakruti person. Shatavari is sweet, bitter and cold, and helps build muscle mass. Milk and wheat are heavy and can also build mamsa dhatu. Weight lifting exercises with light weights is recommended to increase bulk and length of muscle fibers. Yoga therapy is also very balancing. Chyavanprash is easy to incorporate into the diet and is widely available.

Mamsa Dhatu by Leah Jones

Mamsa Dhatu is the third dhatu. It is formed from asthayi rakta dhatu by mamsa dhatu agni. Sthayi Mamsa dhatu goes on to produce two upadhatus, skin and ligaments, and the kha mala of mamsa dhatu are the excretory secretions like nasal crust and ear wax. Mamsa dhatu is muscle and flesh that covers and gives strength to our bodies.

It is predominantly made of the earth element which is the kapha in our body. The functions of mamsa dhatu include covering and protecting our internal organs, and our marma points, our body posture, the relaxation and contraction needed for movement, and strength to our bones.

A person with mamsa dhatu sara has self confidence and courage, forgiveness, patience and longevity. Mamsa dhatu sara is seen when the bones and joints are well hidden, a plump and beautiful appearance to the face and body. Healthy mamsa dhatu allows one to convey their emotions and show expression through the facial muscle tissues. Mamsa dhatu gives nourishment and helps in the healthy formation of asthi dhatu

Mamsa dhatu vruddhi is an increase in mamsa dhatu but a decrease in the quality of the tissue. This can be caused by low mamsa dhatu agni and kapha travelling through rasa and rakta dhatus and entering mamsa dhatu. The symptoms of Mamsa dhatu vruddhi would include increased muscle mass, myomas, fybroids in uterus, excess kha mala, and muscle hypertrophy and flaccidity. Mamsa dhatu agni is directly effected by jatharagni AND by exercise.

So we must balance mamsa dhatu agni by first balancing jatharagni and adding exercise. To balance mamsa dhatu vruddhi we would also need to look at a kapha pacifying regime as increased mamsa dhatu is directly correlated to kapha and amount of earth element taken into the body versus the amount the dhatu agni is able to digest and use. When we take in too much earth element and have a low mamsa dhatu agni, we have low quality muscle tissue and kapha imbalance.

We may also see a lack of motivation and self confidence. We need to pacify kapha and jatharagni with herbal protocol such as ginger, trikatu, kutaki. We must incorporate aerobic exercise and yoga therapy like navasana or mayurasana to kindle jatharagni and combat obesity due to manda mamsa agni. Of course a kapha pacifying diet protocol must also be followed making sure to reduce the amount of earth element coming in e.g. no meat products, no sweets. Adding bitter and pungent tastes. Maybe even a little sour in the beginning to burn through the excess tissue.

Ayurvedic Approach to Mamsa (Muscles)

by Susan O Connor, ERYT, Ayurveda Wellness Practitioner
Founder of Haven Yoga
Teacher: Yoga Therapy (San Diego College of Ayurveda)

Mamsa dhatu like all things in nature is influenced by the mahabhuts. When muscle tissue is balanced the three elements of earth, fire and water are present. When mamsa is aggravated due to vitiation of the doshas it will reflect the qualities of the dosha causing the aggravation.

Vata in mamsa provides nutrients to the muscles through prana and contraction and relaxation of the muscles and of the heart through vyana. Udana provides expression through the facial muscles and samana vata allows the stomach muscles to contract for digestion.

When vata vitiation takes place in mamsa, pain in the joints along with tremor and dry skin will be present due to vata’s qualities of cold, dry, light and rough.

Pitta, with its qualities of hot, sharp, light and oily will vitiate with diseases like, fibromyalgia, abcess and burning of the skin.

Pachak pitta is considered responsible for the formation of the dhatus through digestion and bhrajak for the skin color while sadhak pitta governs the emotions in relation to storing emotions in mamsa. Vitiation of Pitta in these areas will present according to the dosha qualities of pitta.

Kapha vitiation because of its heavy, soft, slow, cold and oily properties will present with diseases such as fibroids and muscle hypertrophy.

Basic protocols to address the dosha imbalance of mamsa would require balancing the vitiated dosha along with appropriate cleansing, diet and lifestyle recommendations and herbs for the specific vitiation.

Vata would require more earth element once toxicity is removed through cleansing and a stoking of jatharagni and masagni through herbs like raw ginger and sweet, sour and salty tasting foods.

Pitta vitiation would require balancing the fire element with cooling foods and herbs like trikatu, and drying herbs like turmeric.

Kapha vitiation balancing would require, Pungent, bitter and astringent food to increase the agni. Herbs like trikutu, kutaki and ginger.

Blog Entry Number 2 - Nicole Gleave (Kallari Teacher), AWP 500 Student

Emaciation, and Weight loss are a symptom of inbalanced mamsa dhatu, or muscle tissue. It is a case of mamsa kshaya wich is caused by excess vata moving into the digestive kala present in mamsa agni. When mamsa agni is effected by excess vata we will see emaciation, and weight loss because of the mobile and light qualities that are found in vata.

If vata is showing up in mamsa dahtu agni, you will surley want to look at the rakta, and rasa, and treat the rasa. What is this person eating? when are they eating? Have they been exposed to a terrible virus where the digestive fire has become so strong to try to burn out the virus that it just burns all the food leaving no sara for development of dhatus.

In such a case it seems important to do some kind of a cleanse. "to wipe the slate clean" Something like panchakarma, or liver cleansing, and ama detoxifying herbs like, trikitu, amalaki, triphhala, compfrey, followed by shatavari, or ashwaganda for building tissue coupled with a kapha diet of heavy cooked warm foods with ghee!

Mamsa Dhatu - Muscle System in Ayurveda

Blog Entry by Rishi Forrester, and, Danae Delaney

Mamsa Dhatu refers to the 3rd tissue in the evolution of the dhatus in Ayurveda. This tissue governs muscles, tendons, skins, and various excretions of the body. Our focus is on the increase and decrease of the mamsa dhatu in relation to emaciation, weight loss, and weight gain. emaciation and weight loss can be closely tied to Mamsa dhatu because it is closely tied with Earth and Fire and its manifestation in the body.

With emaciation and weight loss there is a loss or decrease of Mamsa Dhatu. This is called Mamsa Kshaya and is characterized by thinness, exposed bones, sunken eyes, and wasted muscles. Weight loss in general is a less severe form of emaciation of Mamsa Kshaya. In order to increase Mamsa dhatu, consume heavier nuts, grains, and legumes along with sweet and salty tastes. In addition, creating a stable routine that contains grounding and muscle building practices are appropriate as well, but only if the vitality supports that. Care should be taken to make sure that the Jatharanagi and subsequent agnis are strong and not Manda causing poor formation of the preceding tissues (rasa and rakhta). warming spices that are not drying and reducing are appropriate along with sweet and building herbs such as Bala, Ashwagandha, and Licorice. Focusing on improving strength and density are ideal along with balanced grounding attitudes.

With weight gain, there can be an issue of excessive Mamsa Dhatus calld Mamsa Vruddhi. (Increase)

This will cause excessive and undue growth of the Mamsa Dhatu and reveal itself in fibrotic tissues, enlarged facial muscles, muscle flaccidity, and excessive muscle formation. Herbs that increase agni such as trikatu or any pepper/ginger combination are good as well as aerobic exercise to increase movement and reduce density. Focusing on improving flexibility and movement are key and includes cultivating flexible attitudes as well.

By Rishi Forrester
Ayurveda Wellness Practitioner Student

Entry Number 2- By Danae Daleney
Mamsa Dhatu: Increase, Decrease & Dushti

Mamsa Dhatu vitiation is caused by “the intake of heavy, gross food, food with deliquescent properties, and sleeping after meals.” (“Mamsa Dhatu,” Dr. K.S. Pingle)

The properties of Mamsa sara include: well-covered joints, a plump and beautiful appearance of the forehead, temples, cheeks, jaws and abdomen. The person is stable, heavy, and the forgives easily with much patience. If mamsa dhatu is increased, there will be weight gain, due to the extra thickness of the tissue and the increased amount of asthayi meda dhatu. The face will be round and plump, as will the joints on the body. Additionally, the skin will be thicker and the person will be less flexible. If mamsa dhatu is decreased, the skin will become thin, weight loss and even emaciation can occur. The cheeks and forehead, temples and eyes and even the abdomen will become sunken is due to the loss of mamsa dhatu.

The doshas can also travel into mamsa dhatu and create tissue changes to the quality of mamsa dhatu, called dushti. If Vata dosha travels into the mamsa in excess, there will be acute pain in the muscles, spasms, tremors, fatigue, and a wasting of the muscle with dry skin. If Pitta dosha travels into mamsa, boils or red skin will appear and there will be inflammation, fibromyalgia, fatigue, and tendonitis. Kapha in the mamsa dhatu will show as swelling, flaccidity, excess ear wax and nasal crust with possible uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breasts, heavy and “sticky” muscles, inflexibility.

For increased mamsa dhatu, a basic protocol is a Kapha pacifying diet, including, light foods, Trikatu, Kutaki, Ginger, Yoga with movement that can increase the heart rate and warm the muscles, and aerobic exercise. Decreased mamsa dhatu can be helped by a Vata pacifying diet with the herbs: Bala, Ashwagandha, Shatavari, milk, wheat, meat, weigh lifting, and easy yoga, holding a few poses and relaxation. Kapha imbalance needs increase in agni and heat to the body to melt bodily tissues. Vata imbalance also needs warmth. Vata imbalance needs a nurturing warmth and heavy foods to encourage tissue growth.

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