Ayurveda

Yoga and Meditation Techniques for Balance

Meditations are most effective when consistently performed. For this reason I believe, one minute meditations for all individuals is best. Everyone can meditate for one minute! Early morning upon awakening is best. If unable to meditate upon awakening, choosing the same time each day to meditate is best. After the habit is established I would increase the meditation and possibly change the time to suit proper doshic dinacharya. (Daily Routine based on doshas)

Vata in Satva is creativity and Joy. Meditation to deepen the expression of joy – Mantra – I am Ananda

Vata in Rajas is anxious and fearful. Meditation with mantra – Om Tara tu tare ture soha -to promote idea of speech, body and mind free of fear.

Vata in Tamas is Sadness and Grief.

Meditation with mantra –

Lokah samasta sukhino bhavantu.

May all beings everywhere be happy. To keep mind centered on others. Ultimately happiness for all will include person with Vata in Tamas. Can use Vanilla aromatherapy during meditation to dispel grief.

Pitta in Satva is spiritual and logical. Meditation, that includes alternate nostril breathing to keep balance of Ida and Pingala and maintain Pitta in Satva.
Pitta in Rajas is aggressive and competitive.

Meditation with mantra – I am Samtosha – I am content. In order to dispel rajas and induce feeling in mind of non-competitiveness because all is ok as is. Can use lavender aromatherapy during meditation to dispel aggression.

Pitta in Tamas is anger and Jealousy. Meditation with pranayama focused on Ida nadi to reduce pitta and Tamas. Cooling energy that flows through Ida will help dispel anger of Pitta.

Kapha in Satva is Love and compassion. Meditation with Kapalbhati to help promote drying and lightness in kapha and maintain Satva.

Kapha in Rajas is Greedy and sentimental. Meditation emphasizing practice of releasing greed. Mantra - I am Aparigraha (greedlessness).

Kapha in Tamas is depressed and lethargic. Moving meditation (Hatha Yoga) emphasizing practice of releasing the physical body. You are not the physical body. The physical body is merely a vehicle for the meditation. Can use Ylang Ylang, aromatherapy during meditation to dispel depression.

Ultimately, meditations for each dosha can be simple as long as:

Satu dirgha kala nairantarya satkara asevitah dridha bhumih

The practice is attained to for a long time with great effort, no interuption and with consistency and devotion. (rough translation)

To learn Meditation and Yoga, you can contact Susan at Haven Yoga in San Diego.

Please note that these are the personal views of the student, and, does not necessarily reflect the view of the college.

By Susan Connor, RYT, AWP(Haven Yoga)
Teacher- Yoga Therapy, Ayurvedic Nutrition, Meditation

The Three Doshas in Ayurveda

By Dr. Nandini Daljit,

Student- San Diego College of Ayurveda

At the cosmically determined time when Parusha meets the destined Atman our Prakruti is determined. Our individual Prakruti is our unique combination of the Pancha Mahabutas within our constitution - that is to say each of us as our own unique combination of the five elements of the Pancha Mahabhutas - those being ether, air, fire, water and earth. "Doshas are bio-energies composed of two of the great Five Elements (Pancha Mahabhutas) that govern our mind, body and spirit" (San Diego College of Ayurveda, Block 1 Module - Ayurveda 101, p.5/56). The three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

There are seven combinations of the doshas i.e., Vata-Pitta, Vatta-Kapha, Pitta-Kapha etc. The three Doshas can be considered as the three 'models' of body structure. In class we learned that dosha means fault and that our prakruti is our 'fault-line'. From a strengths-based perspective I would said our dosha or Prakruti is our state of natural balance and any deviation from that natural balance will result in dis-ease.

The Vata dosha (Vaya & Akasha) offers energy through movement and thus holds the Pancha Mahabhatus of Ether and Air. From the elements of ether and air the body is empowered with the energetic force of movement. Vata moves blood through the body (circulation), movement of the limbs and organs (mobility, respiration, pulse) and the movement of communication (nervous system, thought, perception). In terms of communication Vata informs the Tanmatra speech.

The Pitta dosha (Teja & Apa) brings transformative energy to the body through the Pancha Mahabhatus of fire and water. Pitta assists the body in converting raw energy and is tied to metabolism. Pitta brings fuel to the digestive fire through this conversion. Pitta informs the tanmatra of taste through the saliva and conversion of food to digestive enzymes.

The Kapha dosha (Prithivi & Apa) brings cohesion to the body and is resonsible for the buliding of muscle, connective tissue and fat. Kapha brings the Pancha Mahabhuta elements of earth and water to the body which contributes to form and mass. The Tanmatra of Kapha in terms of action is excretion which allows the body to elmininate those solids that no longer solve the body.

All bodies are in fact Tridoshic. We all hold elements of all of the Panch Mahabutas in our natural constitution of our Prackruti. The Vedas teach us that there are three potential sources of disease and suffering: Klesas (mind/body), Adhyatmakika (suffering caused by other living things) and, Adihidaivika (seasonal changesa and natural disasters). In maintaining balance of our Tridosha it is advantageous to consider all of these sources of imbalance collectively.

Often the quest for Tridoshic balance involves identification of obvious stressors that are external. As Vata is the primanry dosha of life - often it is through deep internal self-reflection that our doshas can acheive balance. In this regard

Yoga is an important part of Ayurvedic practice. "Yoga views of anatomy, physiology and psychology were originally formed by doshas (Frawley, 1999, p. 39). As we understand our doshas we also come to understand the specific practices of nutrition, sleep, physical activity, climate, nature, interaction and spirituality that connects our dosha and prakruti as a microcosm to the the universal macrocosm.

What is Ayurveda and the best lifestyle?

By Monica Bhatia, PhD
Students of San Diego College of Ayurveda

We asked our students to give their interpretation on the four types of lifestyles described in Ayurveda, as well as the three types of sufferings described in Vedas. These four 'lives' are:

Ayurveda is the knowledge of 'life'. There are four life paths that we may choose to live -- Hitayu, Sukha-ayu, dukhha-ayu, and, Ahita-ayu. I will mention them later in this article.

1) hit-ayu: A Life with righteous living, truthfulness, living in harmony with nature
a-hit-ayu: A Self absorbed life, conservative , not living in harmony with nature, other entities and environment
3) sukh-ayu: Good Health with sound body and mind, life with comforts. Partial consideration to the nature.
4) dukh-ayu: Disturbed mental and physical state. Negative Karma Accumulation. Harming the Balance of Nature, environment and other entities.

Vedas, as well as the Bhagavat Gita describe three sufferings -- for all living entities -- caused by environment, caused by other entities, caused by physical and mental suffering.

So, if we look at the above four kind of lives, we can actually say that Ayurveda is the systematic knowledge of life.

A student answered, "We have learned that Ayurveda literally translated means life knowledge. This is fascinating to me as the word Ayurveda brings together two words or concepts that independently each hold definitions that are both quantitative and absolute and qualitative and interpretive. In this way the term Ayurveda can represent both the finite and the infinite depending on the balance of the elements and knowledge being considered at any given moment. In this way Ayurveda encapsulates our level of being by interpreting our level of consciousness with what we understand to be our live environment and the knowledge we access to construct that understanding at any given time.

With this in mind, my understanding of Ayurveda is that it is a way of engaging life that embraces a constructivist approach to engaging our presence through a dynamic interplay with the universe - not through an adherence to structure laws of nature but rather through our adaptive capacity to our metaphysical environments. In this regard I was drawn to Ayurveda for it's dichotomous connections with both systems theory and chaos theory two elements that assist me in understanding disease through Ayurveda.

What is most compelling about an Ayurvedic approach to health is it's acknowledgement of the body beyond it's mechanics and form. Emotion, stress, over attachment, lack of attachment, resistance and even persistence all impact our health. Sun, rain, snow, wind all inform our cell structures. Most strikingly - balance in ourselves lies beyond ourselves in our appreciation of that part of ourselves that we see in others (positive or negative). This initiates the connection between the internal cosmos of humans and collectively amongst human beings and the universal cosmos. More concretely - in order to heal ourselves we can support that in those around us that we have nurtured within ourselves.

Response # 2. Ayurveda, defined as the science or the study of life carries with it a description of 4 different types of Life. These types of life are based on the lifestyle of the individual, and takes into account our existence as mulit-dimentional beings.
I have interpreted the text in the passage as a way of describing causes of illness and disease based on these four types of Life's or "Ayu".

According to Ayurvedic Science, our karmic balance of our exsistance (on all levels), determines our likelyhood to develop disease, as well as the type of disease we will likley develop.

For example, if an individual has a life of Hit-Ayu they are less likely to develop disease of any kind. While a person who has a life of A-Hit-Ayu may be more likley than most to develop mind and body illnesses (Adhyatamika). A person who is more Sikh-Ayu may be at risk to develop diesases caused by other living things (Adibhautika). While a person more on the Dukh-Ayu side may be more likely to experience seasonal or environmental diseases (Adhidaivaka).

This is my understanding of the quoted text. I Believe that it describes very well the connection of our exsistance (Physical, Soul, Energetic, Mind and Intellect) and how it comes into play with our lifestyle and finally the diseases we are likley to encounter throughout that exsistance.

Based on the above statements, Ayurveda, as a holistic philosophy, teaches us quite simply that every thing that we do affects our health. From our life styles to the food we ingest, to the good or ill works we do towards others and the planet.

Response #3. These separate parts of our being; physical, spiritual, intellectual, as well as our behaviors, are often seen by western society as statically separate from one another. Ayurveda, like TCM and other Asian philosophies teaches us that these components of self are deeply interconnected and interdependent on one another.

You cannot possibly be physically well if the mind is out of balance. You cannot be emotionally well if the body is unbalanced and so on.

There is much to be said in this earthly life for the laws of attraction. It can be associated with the Vedic viewpoint on karmic balance. If one is consistently thinking negative thoughts and doing negative deeds, they will in fact create and be more susceptible to disease and negative consequences, whether immediate or in the distant future.

Conversely, if one focuses on balance of body, mind, and spirit, strives to do good works and stay positive, the majority of the time good health and wealth is bestowed upon this person. This is not necessarily because we are being rewarded by some cosmic power but rather because our entire universe responds to this energetic law.

That being said, we still suffer, obviously from things that are outside of our control. No one chooses to be affected by earthquakes or to be accidentally hit by a car. No one wants to be infested by a parasite or even to have allergic reactions to their household pet. Most of these things are outside of our power and have little to do with karmic balance. We can, however, influence the healing process with Ayurveda and return once more to homeostasis to the best of our abilities.

All of our being, physical, mental, emotional wants to work toward homeostasis. When we eat foods that are “anti-doshic”(yes I just made up that term), when we are too sedentary or too stressed, when we think ill thoughts of ourselves and harbor hate, grief, and pain, when we do not forgive, when we are unkind to others, when we do not breath and allow in new experiences and love, when we use drugs or become dependant on mood altering substances, when we ignore divinity; these are all contributors to disease.

Regular Bowel Movements (Mala) are the secret to Health

Regular Bowel Movements are the secret to Health

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

Ahara Mala:

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:

Purisha (Faeces) – 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.

11 Mutra - Urine – Ayurvedic texts talk about balanced elimination of water element. Drinking regular herbal teas like tulsi tea, vata, pitta or kapha tea, rose tea, or simply drinking warm to hot water is suggested to have a balanced mutra.

111 Sveda – Sweat- If a person is not sweating, or, their sweat is toxic or smells – then this may be a sign of Ama. Sveda or Sweat is induced through regular exercise, walking in the Sun (shade), as well as Steam therapy.

Now, let's move to Dhatu Malas.

There are seven Dhatus and seven Dhatu Malas.

Rasa Dhatu (Plasma)
Rakta Dhatu (Blood)
Mamsa Dhatu (Muscles)
Meda Dhatu (Fat)
Asthi Dhatu(Bones, Teeth, Cartilage)
Majja Dhatu (Bone Marrow)
Shukra Dhatu (Reproductive Tissue)

Each of these seven dhatus have elimination or Mala as well.

Secretions of the nose including nasal crust, tears in the eyes, was in the ears are Mala or waste.

When we exercise and produce lactic acid, or, exhale carbon dioxide, – that is considered a mala as well. Hence, breathing deep and pranayama is suggested in the morning time.

Hair and nails are considered Mala or waste of Asthi Dhatu. Sweat is a waste of Meda or Mamsa dhatu.

Elimination through regular bowel movements, as well as sweating, is key to good health according to Ayurvedic principles.

To be considered healthy – Ayurvedic practitioners check the quantity (pramana), qualities (gunas), and function (karma) of all the above waste products.

When body does not produce enough Mala – it causes imbalance, and Ama. Ama are fat soluble and water soluble Ahara Mala that have not been digested or eliminated by the body.

Just like a compost bin filled with organic waste when not cleaned may start smelling and start producing germs, undigested food particles or Ama gives rise to toxins.

Signs of Ama may include, but, are not limited to waking up tired even with a full nights sleep, low energy, lethargy, fatigue, bloating, flatulence, constipation, or diarrhea, pain while urinating, strong odor in stool, urine and sweat; dark yellow urine, skin breakouts, abnormal discharges, white coating on tongue, colored mucous, congestion.

If you would like to reprint or use this article, please email us at info@ayurveda-california.org. Please give the entire hyperlink, as well as school name – San Diego College of Ayurveda the credit.

Food Processing and Prana

By Veero Kanda (Student Post)

When I think about Western nutrition, what first comes to mind are nutrition labels, which break down the food into scientific parts, including the percentage of fat, carbohydrate, and caloric content, which are heavily underlined in our society. What I’ve come to notice, growing up in the Western world, is that traditional scientists and doctors alike, tend to focus their energies on breaking things down and isolating them from the rest of the unit in attempts to understanding the whole.

Allopathic doctors want to isolate and treat a specific organ vs. looking at an individual’s whole body and health. Traditional scientists, like a nutritional scientist for example, will break down foods to their vitamin, mineral, fat, and caloric content. They then use a combination of these parts to determine the nutritional value of the food, rather than looking at it from a holistic perspective.

A famous quote by Aristotle once said “the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts”, and I believe this wholeheartedly to be true. I believe that traditional Western doctors and scientists have inadvertently done humanity a disservice by not acknowledging this to be true through the work that they do. Western nutrition approaches food as being equal to the sum of it’s parts, similar to the way that many Western practitioners approach the human body to be equal to the sum of it’s parts.

The truth is, that everything in the universe is energetically and spiritually more than the sum of it’s parts. Ayurvedic medicine emphasizes the importance of holism, looking at the entire picture, whether it be the human body or the food that we eat.

Ayurvedic nutrition seeks to achieve balance and heal your body, mind, soul, and karma. Those who study, and practice Ayurvedic medicine, whether familiar with Aristotle or not, recognize that the whole is more than the combination of it’s parts. The more, in Ayurveda refers to prana, which is life force energy, known also as chi or qi in Chinese Medicine.

In the human body, “the seat of prana is in the head and prana governs all higher cerebral activities. The functions of the mind, memory, thought and emotions are all under the control of prana. The physiological functioning of the heart is also governed by prana, and from the heart prana enters the blood and thus controls oxygenation in all the dhatus and vital organs” (Lad, 1984, p. 109).

It is not just us as human beings that have this life force energy, but all living organisms have prana. In Ayurveda, the nutritional value, quality, and health benefits of foods are based first and foremost on the prana they contain.

“Prana in food is a concept of life, vitality and qi in plant based foods” (San Diego College of Ayurveda, Ahara 101, p. 8). Foods vary on the amount of prana that they contain, so we seek to eat those that have the most prana, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, especially ons that are grown locally and organically, without the use of chemicals. Food that is freshly cooked, as well as whole grains and fresh dairy products and foods that are not highly processed have more prana.

The second major consideration in Ayurvedic nutrition is on how foods are processed, both during the preparation of the food, and once they enter our bodies. How foods are processed and prepares can greatly affect the prana of a food.

Some examples of food processing are cooking, drying, freezing, canning, pickling, refining, fortifying, pasteurizing, and adding preservatives or chemicals.

Foods that are highly processed, especially those that are frozen, canned or microwaved foods, foods that have been refrigerated for a long time, foods that are not grown in our area, and foods that are grown using pesticides, chemicals or that are genetically modified do not contain much if any prana after these processes take place. We should avoid foods that are processed in this way, in favor of higher prana options.

Ayurveda seeks to process and preserve foods in ways that simultaneously preserve the prana of the food. This is often done by preserving the food with sugar, salt, or ghee, or pickling and sun drying foods, as opposed to preserving them while chemicals or by freezing. Additionally, those seeking to maintain the prana of their foods should cook them over a woodstove or in a natural oven, as opposed to less natural cooking methods such as the use of microwaves and other electric appliances.

Ayurveda seeks to view the foods we are eating, as well as our bodies, in their entirety, in order to determine what will most benefit our health and well being. Western nutrition may say, for example that microwaved conventionally grown vegetables are healthy for us, based on it’s vitamins, minerals, and low fat and calorie content. Ayurvedic nutrition, however recognizes that that those vegetables were grown using pesticides and chemicals as well as prepared in a manor that greatly reduce it’s prana and thereby it’s health benefits. I think that it is definitely worth taking a closer look at some of our dietary and nutritional choices, to view the foods we’re eating more holistically, and discern how much prana remains in the foods we are choosing to nourish ourselves with.

References:

Lad, V. (1984). Ayurveda : the science of self-healing : a practical guide. Santa Fe, N.M: Lotus Press.

San Diego College of Ayurveda. Ahara 101: workbook.

Ayurvedic Perspective-Food Allergies

By Veero Kanda (Student Post)

An allergy is a hypersensitive reaction of the body when it comes into contact with a substance. An individual may experience a slightly uncomfortable feeling to a fatal anaphylaxis in an allergic reaction.

The most common allergens causing allergies are dust, pollen, foods, certain medications, cosmetics etc. every individuals’ immune system reacts differently to the allergens causing these sensitivities. Therefore, for example an allergy causing allergen for one person, maybe completely normal for another individual.

Ayurveda considers allergic reactions as the imbalance of the doshas, with in particular the Vata dosha. A weakened Vata leads to a number of systemic and local hypersensitivities. Vata and Pitta weakened can cause for example rashes, hives, burning, and fever.

An imbalanced Vata and Kapha causes blockages in the bronchi, excessive secretions and asthma attacks.

From an Ayurvedic perspective each person has a unique constitution. Ayurveda describes how certain diets that are not compatible with our Ayurvedic constitution are more likely to result in reacting with out body, thus resulting in an allergy.

This is primarily due to poor digestion and elimination lead to the buildup of ama- undigested food particles. The accumulation of ama (undigested food particles) further leads to toxin buildup and impurities in tissues, which predisposes them to an excessive allergic response.

Moreover, Ayurveda also gives an emphasis regarding the seasonal and daily regimen and lifestyle. For example, an Ayurvedic practitioner will not only take into consideration the individuals Ayurvedic constitution, but also seasonal environment, lifestyle, and person’s emotional, mental and spiritual well being. Moreover an Agni assessment would determine the Digestive Fire imbalances that may possibly lead to ama formation. By following these recommendations one can avoid allergies and learn to prevent them. Therefore, following this holistic approach and eating a diet compatible with your Ayurvedic constitution that is natural, organic and full of prana is ideal and important to avoid and prevent sensitivities.

Eating fresh, organic, full of prana, seasonal fruits that are appropriate for the season is preventative for allergies. A lot of the foods that are processed, canned, not natural, consisting of preservatives, dyes or other chemical additives are a cause of allergic sensitivities.

Thus they should be avoided. According to Ayurveda, Yoga and Pranayama strengthen the natural defense system, thus being an excellent way to prevent allergies. Mothers who breastfeed, should avoid foods with chemicals, preservatives, and additives to avoid the transmission of such chemicals to the child.

Children breastfed from mothers who eat a diet primarily consisting of chemicals, additives and preservatives are more likely to pass on these harmful substances through their breast milk, thus leading to the development of sensitivities in the child.

In conclusion, following a diet that is compatible with our ayurvedic constitution, seasonally compatible, full of prana, natural, organic is the ideal way to prevent food sensitivities.

Agni should also be strengthened to aid in optimum digestion and avoid the accumulation of ama (undigested food particles) that can lead to buildup of toxins.

References

http://www.ayurvedainstituut.com/en/allergie-basis-ayurveda

http://www.muditainstitute.com/articles/ayurvedicnutrition/dairyfree.html

Note: These statements are for informational purposes only. These statements have not been reviewed by FDA. Ayurveda is a complimentary medicine system and not meant to treat, assess or diagnose any disease.

Ayurvedic Food Rules

Food Rules by Laurel Byrne (Student)

Here in the United States, we’re inundated with a wide variety of dietary protocols and food rules. These diets and rules often contradict each other, and it seems like almost every time you turn around there’s a new “best diet” fad taking the place of the last. From 3 meals a day to 6 meals a day, from low fat to low carb, It can get confusing. If you’re anything like me, you may have found yourself wondering, how should I actually be eating to optimize my health and wellbeing?

Many of us grew up hearing mainstream statements telling us things like “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and that in order to be healthy and lose weight, that you should opt for low-fat and non-fat options whenever possible, and that your main energy source should be through carbohydrates. However, over the years, we’ve been introduced to various diets that have conflicted with what we were originally taught about healthy food choices.

Some of us may have recently be introduced to some of the latest popular dietary protocols, the Ketogenic and Paleo diets. Both of these diets emphasize the restriction of carbohydrates, and but the Ketogenic diet emphasizes the consumption of more high quality fats while Paleo emphasizes the consumption of more high quality protein.
Another popular dietary protocol touts the benefits of utilizing intermittent fasting to promote health, as well as weightloss. Many promoters of dietary protocol recommend skipping breakfast in order to put your body into a fat-burning state. This was a stark contrast to everything that I was originally taught about what and how I should be eating.

So, should we be eating high carb, high fat, or high protein diet, or something else entirely? Should we be eating a square 3 meals a day, 6 smaller meals, or implementing intermittent fasting and skipping some meals altogether? Lets get back to the core question, what food rules best promote optimal health and wellbeing?

To answer this, let’s take a step back from the diet centered approach of the Western world, and venture East, to uncover the wisdom of Ayurveda. For anyone who is unfamiliar, Ayurveda originated in India, and is the multi-modality approach to health and wellness which holistically seeks to balance the mind, body, and spirit of the individual through understanding their unique constitution.

The food rules of Ayurveda have two specific considerations. First, what I will be discussing here, are specific rules and guidelines for meals that are recommended to be followed by everyone, as they take the basic science of our human bodies into consideration. Secondly, there are a great number of additional food rules recommended for your specific constitution and body type, so the full scope and emphasis of your dietary recommendations based on Ayurveda are not a one size fits all approach.

The basic Ayurvedic Rules for meals are in alignment with the natural rhythm of our bodies. There is just as much consideration into how we are eating as there is into what we are eating. Eating should be considered a ritual that you bring your mindfulness and attention to your meal and nourishing your body. It is recommended that you do not eat while you may be distracted by conversations or by watching tv. (Svoboda, 2003, p. 55) It is recommended to chew each morsel slowly and many times as this “allows the digestive enzymes in the mouth to their work properly and, in addition, it gives the stomach time to prepare for the arrival of the masticated food” (Lad, 1984, p. 85)

Rather than following a rule for eating a certain number of times per day, Ayurveda recommends that we should eat when we are hungry. We have different rates of digestion and metabolism, so it is important to be in touch with our bodies and nourish it when we are hungry. If we eat when we are not hungry, our previous meal may not have had time to digest yet. Subsequently, not eating if we are hungry can cause imbalances in our doshas. It is recommended that we eat until we fill satiated but not overly full. It is also recommended to not drink a lot of water, especially cold water during a meal, as it can decrease the body’s agni, or digestive fire.

Ayurveda recommends that lunch be our heaviest meal, around noon, as our energy is higher at this time of day, and that we have a lighter dinner, as our energy for digestion is lower as we approach nighttime. Ayurveda does not recommend that raw and cooked foods be eaten together in one meal, as they require different digestion processes. For example, Ayurveda recommends that most melons should be eaten alone. This is because “in combination with other foods, they create clogging and may prevent absorption by the intestines” (Lad, 1984, p. 81) This can create imbalances within the doshas, and therefore within the body.

I hope that these Ayurvedic food rules help you to be begin to understand how the way you eat affects all levels of the self. However, this is just a starting point, and I would strongly encourage you to learn more about your own unique Ayurvedic constitution, as that understanding can help you truly optimize your health and wellbeing through your food and dietary choices.

References:

Lad, V. (1984). Ayurveda : the science of self-healing : a practical guide. Santa Fe, N.M: Lotus Press.

Svoboda, R. (2003). Prakriti : your ayurvedic costitution. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus

Spring festivities in Russion and Vietnam

By Tatiana Burke and Sarah Patterson, AC students

Spring celebrations in Russia, and Ayurveda

The spring celebrations in Russia can be divided into three distinct parts: The Passing of Winter (Maslenitsa), Lent and Easter. Maslenitsa has been around hundreds of years before Christianity but Lent and Easter are relatively new traditions that were introduced together with the religion. Eventually it too became adapted to suit the Christian religion. Food is a key element in all three events.

In the pagan times the week long Maslenitsa celebrated the passing of winter by honouring the sun god. Pancakes were made to resemble and honour him. In addition a lot of meat, fish, kaviar, butter, honey and other fatty and sweet food was eaten in great amounts. Nowadays almost every household still makes thin pancakes (crepes) often with fillings such as meat, kaviar, curd, eggs etc.

Lent begins when Maslenitsa ends. During the Russian Orthodox lent food is eliminated gradually during the length of the 40days. It starts with the elimination of meat, then fish, butter, cheese, milk, eggs, sweets etc with the diet of the last week consisting of only bread (without yeast) and water. The most religious individuals hold a fast on water on the last day (Saturday).

As the first star appears on Saturday night the fast is broken and the Easter celebrations begin. There are three main ingredients in a Russian Easter celebration which are always blessed in the church before consumption. As all over the world eggs are coloured, boiled, stuffed and so on. Kulich is baked from many eggs, lots of butter, raisins and yeast, topped with a sugar icing. Lastly Pas’ha (a sweet spread) is made from fine curd, boiled egg yolks, butter and raisins. It is traditionally formed into a pyramid but can take any shape today.

Maslenitsia is usually during the rather dry, cold, possibly windy and very snowy part of winter (before spring starts). Thus this is still Vata season and meat and butter should be digested well due to high digestive power during this time. When spring actually starts to emerge a Kapha pacifying diet in the form of lent is observed. It is true that Easter itself is Kapha aggravating but it lasts only two days as opposed to the 40 day lent.

Bitter taste is eaten in the form of buckwheat and pungent taste is eaten in the form of garlic and onion. Astringent taste consumed in the form of different herbal teas and lately black tea. These products are consumed daily and even more so on festive occasions

Spring in Vietnam
Vietnamese food has had a nice time in the culinary spotlight over the last few years, so most people in the US at this point are familiar with the Vietnamese baguette sandwich called "Banh Mi". The word "Banh" really just refers to something baked or cooked or processed to form something that holds something else. "Banh mi" means "bread", while Banh Tet refers to a dish made of glutinous rice that has pork and mung bean in the middle. Banh Tet, aka Banh Chung, is a food that is traditionally sold, given as gifts, and eaten during the lunar new year.

The story of Banh Tet is that King Hung (one of the many), asked his six sons to present to him a dish that represented the sincerity of their ancestors (Vietnamese, like Chinese culture, traditionally worships ancestors as religion and spirituality) and the Lunar New Year. The dishes would be judged, and the best dish would make it's creator the next king. What a way to choose your successor huh. The princes searched for the rarest delicacies available, but one of them, Lang Lieu, was quite poor and could not afford anything very extravagant. So he used the most readily available ingredients to him- Rice, which was a staple of the diet, mung beans, which were also prevalent in the culture's diet, and pork, the most common and inexpensive meat available. He made glutinous rice and formed it around a mixture of pork and mung bean paste, and molded one portion into a perfect square to represent Earth, and one portion into a perfect sphere to represent Sky. He presented these to the king, and though all of the other dishes that were presented were much more rare and extravagant, none of the others held up to the real sincerity that Lang Lieu's dish brought- Ingredients that the ancestors cultivated and ate, true to their culture and history, and representing the physical world in which we live. Since the competition was indeed about sincerity, Lang Lieu won, became king, and the dish became a staple of Lunar New Year.

This is said to be around 1630 BC, so it's definitely a LONG held tradition.

To go a little further with this, rice as a staple has permeated the language used around food too. The phrase that one says when greeting someone near a meal time, after saying hello of course, is the question "an com chua?". They're asking "have you eaten yet?" but it literally translates to "eat rice yet?" the word for "food" and the word for "rice" are virtually interchangeable, but the word for "rice" is always used when talking about eating something, even if that meal doesn't even contain rice. Though it almost always does in some form, whether its rice noodles, rice paper, rice flour, rice gluten, or whole rice grain.

Also Banh Tet is kinda icky. A lot of people really don't like it but they eat it anyway because of tradition

Use of milk (dairy) in Ayurvedic Medicine

Manjulali

In the last decade, especially with studies on casein, and, many people developing sensitivity to Lactose, a sugar found within milk, or, problems digesting milk proteins; milk has developed a bad reputation in United States.

I get asked constantly in my Herb class, if Almond milk, or, soymilk is okay to substitute for dairy when using as an anupana for delivery of herb. The answer is NO. It is not the Ayurvedic way.

When I am talking about using milk as an anupana (a vehicle that increases the efficacy of the herb, and, delivers it deeper into the dhatus, increases kapha, decreases vata and pitta) then only actual dairy will do. This usually means cows milk.

First the amount of milk we are using for delivery of herb is 24 ml, or less than an oz. Perhaps 2 oz. If someone cannot digest dairy, then we suggest ghee instead. (All milk solids which include casein and lactose have been removed!)

By the way, how can a nut milk be milk? By definition, a milk is produced from a mammary gland? And, if god didn't attend humans to drink milk then he/she wouldn't have provided those to the feminine gender, I think!

Ayurvedic texts like Bhavaprakasha mention benefits of milk not just from cows, but, also from sheep, camel, buffalo and goat to name a few.

Another question I get constantly asked is do we like milk raw or boiled?

Answer is boiled. Pasteurized. But--how??? Ayurveda is all natural? How can it not advocate raw milk. Because, my dear, raw milk can give rise to diseases. It can carry DANGEROUS bacteria.

Ayurveda does not like bacteria and krimi. Our ancient seers talked about boiling milk when everyone had a cow in their backyard, everyday and once a day.

In ancient times, we got rid of bacteria, and, all kinds of krimi by constantly boiling our water, milk, and, all fluids.

I grew up in our household boiling our milk every single day, sometimes twice a day (If it was too hot, as we didnt have refrigeration).

First lets understand what is the difference between different types of pasteurizing and boiling?

Batch pasteurization-Milk is heated to 155 degrees Fahrenheit for half an hour. (Stirring constantly is a must. We grew up getting up early in the morning to get to the cowshed and getting milk directly from the cow dairy in Delhi. Then, we would come home and we would boil the milk,and, as soon as it reached boiling point, we would turn the flame down and boil it further for another 10-15 minutes. I had to stir it, and, stir it, and, stir it. Okay in Ayurveda, in my opinion.)

Flash pasteurization- High temperature 162 Fahrenheit for 15 seconds. Okay in Ayurveda, in my humble opinion.

UHT (Ultra Heat) -Milk is heated to 280 degrees-and every good thing about it is pretty much destroyed along with the bacteria
Not okay!

(http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/cellular-microscopic/pasteurizatio...)

Boiling the milk for some seconds is advised in Ayurveda. Just not ultra pasteurized.

We boil herbs like Ashwagandha in milk. We add turmeric or poppy seeds, or nutmeg to this boiled milk. We add saffron.

We drink it with herbs.

We even boil water that is already sterile in Ayurveda. Boiling water causes the agni, or, fire element to be present and changes the energetics of the water to a lighter and easily digestible.

Local, Grass fed organic milk pasteurized milk is the best I found in California, and, now in Austin.

HOMOGENIZED MILK

What Ayurveda doesn't like is when the chemical structure of the milk is changed by homogenizing it. Homogenezing involves playing with the chemical molecular structure of fat particles in milk that rise up. (We called it cream growing up!)

And, these fat particles are broken up so they mix with the rest of the milk - so no cream would be formed.

Ultra pasteurized means it is first pasteruized, then pasteurized again to make it ultra sterile and that kills off the nutrients. Then, Vitamin D (Read Fish oil) are added.

This is why we use this milk from California that is lightly pasteurized, you see the cream floating on the top and it has not been altered by changing chemical structure.

Next, I shall write about goat milk

Cooking for your own Dosha

Ayurvedic Nutrition is easy and simple, yet, quite complicated.

Unless you are well, and, quite healty, it is not possible to just read a book and start using recipes indicated for your dosha-Vata, Pitta or Kapha.

For those who are unwell, suffering from vitiated agni (digestive fire), or other dosha related imbalances, it is advised you visit an Ayurvedic Practitioner.

Ayurvedic Nutrition considers the following items:

Rasa-There are six tastes. Ones food and diet must have all the six tastes when one is well. When unwell, it is suggested to focus on the rasas, or, tastes suggested for your dosha. For example, for pitta and high heat sweet (naturally), bitter and astringent (green beans, plantain) are suggested.

Virya-Heating or Cooling Potency

Protein Source<-Animal based, Plant Based (always preferred)

Sattva, Tamas, or Rajas-Affect on the mind.

Prana- Local, organic and full of Prana

Ojas- If the food item supports ojas or bodys natural immunity.



Image: Michael Puma, Ayurvedic Counselor Student

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