Ayurveda

Challenges and Best Practices of Ayurveda in USA

Stacy Gonzales

Ayurveda is a 5000-year-old science and throughout the course of time there has been little or no change in the practiced form.

While it can be said the overall principles of Ayurveda is timeless; the reality is that today’s society demands modern treatments which combine both science and technology to not only assess and understand the body, but to treat diseases as well. As scientists continue to discover and analyze diseases, modern technology allows them to determine the root cause down to the DNA level.

In turn, this allows the research and development of modern drugs to also be done at the molecular level. This allows for a very comprehensive and dynamic understanding of cause and effect of pharmaceuticals on the body as well as the disease. Unfortunately, while this may be beneficial in the treatment and cure of some diseases, from an Ayurvedic perspective, it does not take into consideration the concept of the fundamental principles.

If the fundamental principles were proactively considered as function for optimal health and maintaining the balance and harmony of the tridoshas, disease may be prevented altogether. While technology does offer some benefits, it is not without its faults.

Just as technology creates opportunity for cures, it also fabricates new disorders. A primary example would be diseases resulting from GMOs. Food that has been genetically altered at the gene level is not compatible with the body at the genetic and cellular level thus resulting in new disorders.

It can then be argued that Ayurveda, while “old-fashioned” in nature is based on clean, organic foods that the body can naturally metabolize as intended via the fundamental principles.

Without dramatic lifestyle changes, a few Ayurvedic best practices -example DAILY ROUTINE PRACTICES can help improve overall health. In fact, while at the root of Ayurvedia, many of these are well known best practices that are suggested time and time again.

These are some of the DAILY ROUTINE RULES:

 Eat your largest meal midday. This is when Agni is at its peak.
 Choose whole foods and make sure your meals have a rainbow of colors. This variety of colors will help ensure you use the six tastes in every meal and lead to overall satisfaction.
 Don’t eat while overly emotional. This can lead to poor diet choices as well as poor digestion.
 Take the time to enjoy your meal. As you chew, digestive enzymes are produced by your salivary glands that assist in breaking down your food
 Practice mindful meditation. This includes anything from breath awareness to yoga as it helps to reduce cortisol levels which relates to a reduction in stress and weight gain both which if not kept at bay results in illness. A little you time never hurt anyone.
 Get enough sleep. This is when the body repairs and heals itself and the mind and emotions become balanced.
Simple practices that yield a lifetime of benefits.

Organic, or, local-GMo or NON GMO--Ayurvedic Perspective



By Monica B Groover

Today we will talk about organic, local foods.

Ayurveda propogates fresh, local and Organic, plus, it should be compatible with the dosha, the season, the country and terrain we live in and our age and strength. Whew!

Its a long list. How can we hope to remember this.

Lets just focus on Prana in the Food.

Prana is the vitality of the food.

One of my students asked me recently, "My question pertains to fruit that is organic, from a local farm, picked at the height of ripeness, but then frozen (but without any additives or preservatives).

In the West, I have often heard that frozen fruits and vegetables can be more nutritious than fresh, because they are picked when they are ripe, and then flash frozen which retains most of the nutrients."


Image: Wikipedia. Creative Commons by Erdbeere_Senga_Sengana

My student asked this question after our class, in which we talk about frozen food being depleted of prana.

So, I answered leading with the Ayurvedic concept of Rasa. There are shad rasa or six tastes mentioned in Ayurvedic Texts. (Naturally sweet, sour, naturally salty, bitter, astringent and pungent--a topic for later study!)

How does a fresh fresh picked organic strawberry from a field--taste? It has the following rasas--sweet, astringent, a little sour--and it is juicy and full of PRANA and vitality.

Try to taste the same organic strawberry after freezing it for one month. You will notice that all the beautiful rasas or tastes have disappeared and there is practically no prana. (You can taste it!!)

How can a frozen strawberry have the same energetics as a frozen one? (Even if organic). Answer is no--it cant. If it is not how nature intended, and, it tastes different--how can prana be intact.

Take an example of a squirrel that died in winter--and it snowed.

The squirrel's body was perfectly preserved along with nutrients, proteins in the very cold snow for the entire winter. When the snow melted--squirrel was PRESERVED--but it was a DEAD BODY!!!!

Frozen, canned, tinned---is food that has died. It is dead. It has no prana from an Ayurvedic perpsective...yes, it has nutrients-some of it.

If something organic is frozen--yes the nutrients are preserved--but PRANA is not! However, when it is sun dried

Some of the prana is preserved--because seeds retain prana when dried. (Strawberry has seeds on the outside that will be preserve prana when sundried--but when frozen may not)

There are some seeds that will retain prana when frozen--but they are few and far in between.

It is always better to eat something local--even if not organic--then organic, frozen that has travelled from a long time.

However, we are bound by time, convenience, cost and availability depending on where we live.

1. Best foods that retain prana and therepeutic and healing to body and mind are

LOCAL, ORGANIC, NON GMO

2. Second best--foods that can be stored--in winter in very cold places.

Sundried organic foods, organic seeds, organic nuts, legumes. Whole grains (not ground into a flour) can stay for a longer time and will retain maximum prana.

3. Third best.

Better to eat fresh food, plants, veggies and fruits that are not organic, but LOCAL--compared to fresh food that is frozen and organic. Or, local dried fruits and vegetables--can be used in soups--if fresh vegetables not available.

4. Best choice

Mix and match--depending on your budget and availability.

More to come on...GMO FOODS and Ayurveda.

If you have any questions feel free to post it on our Facebook Page SDCOA

https://www.facebook.com/AyurvedaYogaTraining

Yoga and Ayurveda Compared

Yoga and Ayurveda Compared

Julie Neiman

(Track B- Level 1 Student)

Ayurveda is a holistic health modality which originated in Indian and has been practiced for thousands of years. The goal of Ayurveda is to maintain an optimal healthy balance in the mind and body, according to each individual’s unique constitution, or inherent nature. The word Ayurveda is made up of two Sanskrit words: “Ayu” meaning “life” and “Veda” meaning “knowledge”.

I had my first experience with Ayurveda when I was in the middle of my 200 hour Yoga teacher training. It was October, and my studio was organizing a fall Ayurveda cleanse, which lasted for one week. It was at this time that my yoga practice changed dramatically. Yoga and Ayurveda are often referred to as “sister sciences” as their teachings go hand in hand, complementing one another. From my personal experience I will say that yoga introduced me to Ayurveda, and Ayurveda took my yoga practice to a completely new level.

Not surprisingly, there are many similarities between Ayurveda and Yoga, as the two are deeply rooted in various ancient Indian philosophies and texts, and are created from many of the same, or similar, concepts.

Yoga, like Ayurveda, is a way of life; both philosophies have the potential to become integrated into many aspects of the practitioner’s daily routine, as they focus on caring for the whole, multi-dimensional person. They both acknowledge the five sheaths of being, or the five koshas. It is understood that each of the five koshas (physical body, energetic body, mental body, intellectual body, and spiritual body) must be in balance for a person to be considered truly healthy. Caring for all sheaths of being means that instead of just focusing on the body, as we commonly do in Western culture, the mind and spirit must also be nurtured equally in order to achieve this optimal health and wellbeing.

Additionally, Ayurveda uses many concepts from the Yogic eight-limbed path (the guideline for Ashtanga Yoga, outlined in the Yoga Sutras) in order to balance the body and the mind. These concepts include: asana (physical practice), pranayama (breath work), pratyahara (sensory control), dharana (concentration), and dhyana (meditation). The Yogic yamas (external ethical disciplines) and niyamas (internal ethical observances) relate to the Ayurvedic concepts of Hit-ayu (righteous living), and karma, respectively. Furthermore, the ultimate goal of both philosophies is spiritual liberation, which is Moksa in Ayurveda, and Samadhi in Yoga.

Both Yoga and Ayurveda work to prevent disease and injury by creating an optimal, harmonious balance within the body. There are specific Yoga asanas, or poses, that help to balance the three Ayurvedic doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha). Meanwhile, when the doshas are balanced, the practitioner is able to delve even deeper into their personal Yogic journey, as a body free of disease and imbalance is more receptive to a deeper spiritual experience.

The focus on achieving individual balance, rather than striving toward a specific, pre-defined outcome, means that both Yoga and Ayurveda are relevant to all people, and not just those with a certain body type or particular condition. Each practice encourages individuals to connect in with their own deeper self to identify what they truly need to heal and improve their own personal situation.

In summary, Yoga and Ayurveda are both ancient Indian philosophies of self-care, which focus on optimizing and maintaining total health on an individual level. Each philosophy is incredibly effective when practiced on its own, and even more astonishing when practiced together.

What is Panchakarma?

What really is Panchakarma?

June 13, 2015

Monica B Groover, Ph.D., AWP, CMT, RPYT

There is detox. Then, there is Ayurvedic detox. As you see in this post--a regular detox may involve some fruits, smoothies or pills. And, it is generally aimed at clearing in a general way. It is not specific to an area of the body. For example, detox for kidneys. (TCM has a lot more specific detox --however, I am not talking about TCM)

Ayurvedic Detoxfication is very specific, customized to the individual, very powerful, and, must be done under a qualified professional with years of training and experience. Ayurvedic Detoxifcation may be aimed at balancing agni, doshas, tissues and eliminating Ama (food molecules decomposing and creating toxins).

Ayurvedic detoxification procedure is called Panchakarma.

So, I will specify it here for my future students, and, anyone reading this.

PANCHAKARMA IS NOT A MASSAGE.

So, what is it, if not a massage. Massage with Ayurvedic Tailams (medicated and herbal oils prepared in a traditional way) may be used for Vata or Kapha individuals before Panchakarma. Yes, Before--as part of snehana in preparatory stage. (See snehana below).

Panchakarma is a THREE STAGED bio purification program. Each stage has many steps. And, practitioner chooses the steps.

If a person is weak, post partum, menopausal and does not have the strength, we follow the palliative or the first portion of this process called Purvakarma. (Preparing the body and mind for Panchakarma). We also call this stage Shamana stage. (A lot more about shamana later!)

In Purvakarma, we prepare the body and mind by herbs, diet, meditation, agni dipana (increasing digestive fire), snehana (Oils, and fats--externally and internally) and svedana (sweat therapies).

When the person is ready, we move to stage two. This is panchakarma.

Lets break down the word panchakarma--

1. PANCHA- FIVE

2. KARMA- ACTIONS

These five actions are cleansing therapies. If I say, I am going to start Panchakarma tomorrow--it is not going to happen unless I have prepared myself --my doshas, dhatus and mental self. Plus, there is a large list of contraindications.

There is a period of preparation for the mind and body. (In the west, people just leave certain foods and habits cold turkey--which is not suggested in Ayurveda).

The preparation period is called PURVAKARMA. (yes, a lot of sanskrit words--bear with me)

Panchakarma is a deep cleanse of the mind, and, body and very specific areas of the physical body, organs, dhatus that requires bringing AMA (undigested and unmetabolized food molecules that may be lipophilic or hydrophilic) back into the the GI tract, and, then eliminating them. That can take weeks, if not more just to get to the point of starting pachakarma.

What these people are looking for is SHAMANA. That is a sanskrit word for pacification. Not a hose me down with therapies, herbs, kitchari and self enema with decoctions and sesame oil. PK is rather a SHODHANA or deep cleanse and purification of either middle area- (Liver, spleen cleanse for pitta) with Purgatives like Kalamegha, Kutki, Panchatikta ghritum (Very very bitter herbs cooked in ghee), OR, ENT, chest and stomach area (Kapha area) with Kaphatic (my friend Sudevis phrase for kapha issues) herbs like Trikatu, Triphala with raw honey (Although these herbs are pretty standard Ama busters). Kaphas tend to recieve dry massages with herbs like Triphala.

And, last, but not the least a special lubrication and oleation called SNEHANA for the Vatas.

The SNEHANA means lubricating the inside and outside of the physical, mental and spiritual body with oil baths, oil massages, drinking soups made with ghee and pouring herbal oil onto the hair, and, sneha pana--eating ghee for a few days. Finally, there is also oil bastis

So, I will write more about Shamana, Shodhana and Brihmana(Tonification), as well as Rasayana (Rejuvenation) and PK for Vata, Pitt and Kapha issues in the days to come.

Karma and kleshas in Ayurveda

Four Types of Ayus (Life) and Three Karmik Kleshas (Three fold miseries)
By Nandita Gaur, Block 1 Student

Om Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya |
Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya |
Mrtyor-Maa Amrtam Gamaya |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

A Sanskrit shloka which means

Om, Lead us from Unreality (of Transitory Existence) to the Reality (of the Eternal Self),
Lead us from the Darkness (of Ignorance) to the Light (of Spiritual Knowledge),
Lead us from the Fear of Death to the Knowledge of Immortality.
Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

This shloka sums it all. Each and every word points to the life that we, as humans should lead. All these words have much deeper meaning than it appears at the surface.

As of now, let’s not talk about the big words or words with deeper meaning but even smaller words like “us” “from” “to” “the”. For example in this prayer they use the word “us”, “lead us” therefore it is not for one individual but it is directed towards the whole mankind, whole society we live in and that is what “Hit-ayu” is; a life with righteous living, truthfulness, living in harmony with nature.

As a result of partial darkness or insufficient spiritual knowledge we are digressing from our real path. Instead to living and aiming to live hit-ayu we are leaning more towards Sukh-ayu; a life with good health, sound body and mind, life with comforts and partial consideration towards nature. There is no harm in living such life but it is slightly self-centered. One just considers self and “I” becomes important aspect of life.

I feel sorry for some unfortunate human forms that are in complete darkness. They might be literate but not educated. What Mark Twain said holds true here, “Never let school interfere your education” There are people who forget their real goal in life. They lead a life of Ahit-ayu; life that is completely selfish, there is no consideration for other life forms or environment. The sad part is that these people don’t even realize that there is something missing.

People who live Sukh-ayu or sometimes ahit-ayu have the choice to change and indulge in hit-ayu but there are some people who are forced to live Dukh-ayu. Opposite of Sukh-ayu is dukh-ayu. It is a life in which people are disturbed on mental and physical levels. It is the result of negative karma that has collected on them over lives. They don’t have a choice but to lead that miserable life without having slightest hint of what action resulted in such loss or pain.

This leads me to think about actions. Our actions decide our course life, so if we live hit-ayu we accumulate good karma and vice versa.

Karma is ones action, which produces good or bad results as per their actions. According to Ayurveda karmic balance is important for ones health and wellness. There are three-fold miseries or sufferings that we as humans have to go through.

1. Adhibhuatika;

These are the result of our material life like money, relations etc.

2. Adhidaivika;

These are the result of the things that are out of our control like floods, earth quakes, Tsunami etc.
3. Adhyatamika;

These are the result of lack of our spiritual enlightenment, absence of self-realization and our ignorance. Sage Patanjali enumerates some miseries in his yoga sutra that are adhyatamika in nature;
Ignorance (avidya) Ego (asmita) Attachment to Pleasure (raga) Aversion to Pain (dvesa) and Fear of Death (abhinivesah)
The miseries that are not in my control I am not going to think about them but ones that are adhyatamika in nature, I plan to take them up one at a time. Having this knowledge about four types of life and our karmic kleshas enforces me to be more vigilant about my actions and that will result in leading more wholesome life

History of Ayurveda

The History and Mythology of Ayurveda
By:Alexis A. Arredondo, Block 1 Student

The origins of Ayurveda are rich in mythology. As a practitioner of the spiritual path, I feel that the word mythology may carry some skeptical connotations. For the purposes of this blog I would like to refer to “mythology” as spiritual origins. What drew me most to this subject was its rather quick overview and its minimal attention to detail in most texts.

We are aware of the Briha Trayi, the big three ancient texts of Ayurveda: Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita & Ashtanga Hridaya. However, we are not truly aware of exactly how and when they were written The third text,Ashtanga Hridaya, has no clear origin story as well. Where did these sacred texts come from and what is their source?

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Brahma is the Hindu God of creation. Brahma has four faces, each one representing the four Vedas. The Vedas are written works of ancient india that date around 1500-1200BCE. The Atharva Veda, the book of spells and herbs, was the first text to mention Ayurvedic origins. This is where the source of Ayurveda begins but let us continue from the path of Brahma. Bramha created Ayurveda and passed this knowledge down to his son Daksha, a Prajapati or deity that presides over procreation. Daksha then taught this knowledge to the Ashvins (Ashwini Kumaras), two vedic twin brother Gods that would become the celestial physicians. Not only did this make them doctors to the Gods, but this made them Devas of Ayurveda. The Ashvins are mentioned in the Rig Veda and other sacred texts such as the Mahabharata and the Puranas. Indra, leader of Devas, was then taught Ayurveda by the divine twins.

It is from this point that we begin to see the knowledge of Ayurveda being passed down from the Gods to the living sages, however, this part of Ayurvedic history is also riddled in spiritual origin. The Mahabharata tells the story of an Avatar of Vishnu named Dhanvantari who “emerged from the Milky Ocean while it was being churned for Amrita (nectar).” After his emergence, Vishnu appeared before him and told him that he would have two incarnations. In his second emergence, Dhanvantari would “help the living beings on earth” because “uncommon disease is going to become a common feature” and he must “segregate Ayurveda, the health science, into eight broad categories for an easy applicability.” Vishnu then said that “Brahma thought of all these things beforehand” and facilitated Dhanvantari’s emergence, which could explain the earlier progression of Ayurveda down the path of the Gods. The story continues with a barren king of Kashi, who meditated upon the the God Dhanvantari so that he may bring him a son.

Dhanvantari was so pleased that he granted the king any favor to which the king replied “Oh God, if you are so pleased, then become a reputed son of mine.” Dhanvantari granted his wish and was reborn Divodasa Dhanvantari, future king of Kashi.

According to the Vedas, the Saptarishis were favored and protected by the Gods. Amongst these seven sages were two known Ayurvedic founders; Bharadwaj and Kashyapa. According to the Charaka Samhita, these are the same rishis of the Vedas who went to the Himalayan mountains to attain the knowledge of Ayurveda. The Atharva Veda does mention a council of rishis assembled with Indra as noted in the following verse:

“Let me receive the brilliance
and the wisdom of those seated here together;
and among these people assembled here
may me the most illustrious, Indra!”
-Atharva Veda (7.12.3)

They may indeed have been part of this council, which explains where Kashyapa learned the ways of Ayurveda, however I offer another theory. Kashyapa was a “wish born” son (or in some scriptures, grandson) of Brahma. He was also married to the thirteen daughters of Daksha, the deity of procreation. Scriptures state that Kashyapa had many children, some of them Devas and Avatars. Therefore, Kashyapa has a link to the first two Gods of Ayurvedic knowledge, possibly even the Ashvins as they were the celestial physicians. This is all speculation but Kashyapa would eventually write the Kashyapa Samhita, a collection of Ayurvedic pediatrics, gynecology and obstetrics.

Bharadwaj himself attained the knowledge of Ayurveda from Indra, when he performed rigorous penance to learn the knowledge of the Vedas. Indra told Bharadwaj that he already knew more vedic knowledge than the Devas themselves, and told him to pray to Shiva for blessings. After blessings were bestowed upon him by Shiva, Bharadwaj was approached by two kings to help aid in a battle against the Vaarshika demons. One of those kings was Divodasa Dhanvantari. According to the Mahabharata, Dhanvantari would learn the ways of Ayurveda from Bharadwaj as well as fulfill Brahma and Vishnu’s wishes to segregate Ayurveda into the eight branches we have today.

Dhanvantari is now known as the the Divine Father of Ayurveda while Bharadwaj became known as the human Father of Ayurveda.

Now we can see the parts the Gods had to play in order for the knowledge of Brahma to be passed from the Heavens to the Earth. Let us explore how this knowledge was formed into written word. We have some origins on the three Founders of Ayurveda; Dhanvantari, Bharadwaj and Kashyapa. Kashyapa’s origins seem to end here with the Kashyapa Samhita being written around 6th century BC. Dhanvantari and Bharadwaj’s teachings would eventually be divided into two schools; Dhanvantari School of Surgery (9-6th century BC) and Atreya School of Physicians-“Vaidyas” (8-6th century BC). Atreya was a student of Bharadwaj and founded the school of Vaidyas. According to the Charaka Samhita, Atreya’s six disciples were asked to compose a written work and Agnivesha wrote the best one. These writings and teachings were composed into a text entitled the Agnivesha tantra.

This is where the history becomes obscure as legend states that the Agnivesha Tantra was lost. Acharya Charak is said to have found the tantra in 1st century AD, but other resources say it was simply revised by him. The spiritual origin states that Charak found the Agnivesha Tantra incomplete, with 40 chapters missing.

Charak then went into deep meditation and Lord Shiva appeared to him, revealing the missing chapters so that Charak could complete the work. This spiritual aspect could also be supported by the blessings of Shiva that were received by Bharadwaj himself, however there is no way to no for certain that the chapters were indeed lost. Charak completed the Charaka Samhita in the 1st century AD and it would become one of the Briha Trayi currently referenced in Ayurveda today. Sushrut was a disciple and surgeon of Dhanvantari. Sushrut wrote down the teachings of surgery in Sushruta Samhita, the second of the Briha Trayi, around the 5-4th century BC. Vaghbata was a disciple of Charak and studied the teachings of the Sushruta Samhita (possibly even the Kashyapa Samhita).

In 8th century AD, Vaghbata would write a collection of his works into the Ashtanga Hridaya. In essence, this work borrows from the first classic texts and would eventually find its place amongst them as the third of the Briha Trayi.

In conclusion, through further research into the spiritual origins and history of Ayurveda, we are able to see a greater influence of the Gods as well as a closer connection to the rishis of Ayurveda and their influence on the Briha Trayi. There is a basic tree graph showing a simple linear path of the origins and history of Ayurveda. I can’t help feel that this graph could be updated as the influence of the Gods and the influence of the rishi’s teachings are anything but linear. After my research I conclude that the graph should be similar to this:

REFERENCES:

Books/Articles

Panda, H; Handbook On Ayurvedic Medicines With Formulae, Processes And Their Uses,
2004, p10 ISBN 978-81-86623-63-3

Sadashiva Tirtha, S; The Ayurveda Encyclopedia: Natural Secrets to Healing, Prevention, & Longevity, 1996 p3,4,5 ISBN 978-81-319-03094

Dash, R.K.S.B; Caraka Samhita 2002 p17,18,23,24 ISBN 81-7080-012-9

Srikantha Arunachala, Treatise on Ayurveda Vijitha Yapa Publications, p. 3

Meulenbeld, G. Jan (1999–2002). History of Indian Medical Literature IA. Groningen: Egbert Forsten.

Web Sources

Atharva Veda Sri Aurobindo Kapali Shastry Institutue of Vedic Culture
http://libraryofyoga.com/bitstream/123456789/1065/2/Atharva_Veda.pdf

Rahmani, R (2008) Sages of India, Retrieved from:
https://sagesofindia.wordpress.com/about/

Mahabarata http://mahabharata-resources.org/harivamsa/hv_1_29.html

“Brahma” - Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Britannica.com. 2015-04-19.

The Banana Diet

BANANA DIET FAD - Student Blog Perron Shimizu

The asa (Japanese for ‘morning’) banana diet became a fad in Japan in 2008. This fad had a devastating affect on the banana market. The fad essentially caused shortages in bananas throughout the entire country. You literally could not find any bananas anywhere. The diet calls for an individual to consume massive amounts of bananas coupled with room temperature drinking water.

Osaka pharmacist Sumiko Watanabe original created the diet for her husband whom apparently lost 16.8 kg (37lbs). Subsequently, the diet became popular when he wrote about on one of Japan’s largest social networking services called Mixi. Since then 730,000 morning banana books have been sold.

Unequivocally, bananas and water are nutritious to any meal plan. According to the caloric ratio pyramid for raw bananas (nutritiondata.self.com) they contain an estimated 93% of carbohydrates. Research states that bananas are an excellent source of dietary fiber. This includes soluble and insoluble fiber. Furthermore, bananas are very low in cholesterol, sodium and saturated fat.

Essentially, the plan allows for an individual to consume an unlimited amount of bananas with room temperature water or milk. In the morning the dieter can consume an unlimited amount of bananas for breakfast with milk or room temperature water until full. After breakfast the dieter is not allowed to consume anything until lunch.

For lunch the dieter must at least have one banana and a salad plus a normal meal. Surprisingly, these meals have no restriction. Pizza, hamburgers, and French fries are acceptable dietary meals under this plan. In addition to this the dieter is also allowed to consume one sweet snack at 3 o’clock.

Likewise, the individual is allowed to drink room temperature water when needed. As previously mentioned there are no other restrictions for lunch or dinner. The dieter may consume an unlimited amount of bananas in addition to lunch and dinner. Bananas are also to be consumed between lunch and dinner as snacks with the cutoff time for eating at 8 p.m.

How it’s supposed to work?

The diet functions in two ways: fiber bulks up in the stomach making the individual having a longer feeling of fullness. Secondly, one of the fibers found in bananas is called resistant starch. This fiber then begins to ferment in the digestive tract, increasing fat burning by-products.

Problematic issues with the diet?

You will always have problems with any diet that encourages unregulated lunches and dinners. Overindulgence in these areas is where the diet fails. As stated above the dieter is allowed to consume an unlimited amount of bananas in conjunction with an unhealthy meal. The dieter may be prone to overindulge and actually gain weight rather than lose.

As stated above research shows bananas have a high source of beneficiary nutritional value. On the other hand, they also have a relativity high calorie and sugar intake. Clearly bananas are more beneficial if consumed in moderation.

According to the USDA one banana has more than 120 calories. In conjunction with other high caloric meals, if consumed in large quantities as this diet suggest the additional calories could create extra weight.

Asa banana diet? Fail.

A Comparison of Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine in Japan

Student Blog

Perron Shimizu

Currently in Japan the study and research of Ayurveda has been ongoing for about 30 years. In 1969 Prof. Hiroshi Maruyama of Osaka medical school created the Society of Ayurveda. This has led to various programs and seminars organized for the propagation of Ayurveda.

However, in comparison to TCM or Kampo, there was a resurgence of public interest after WWII and today it is practiced extensively.

There are several medical schools that have programs focusing on Kampo offering dual degrees. Additionally, Homoeopathic self-care and education developed rapidly. Torako Yui, the first Japanese homoeopath, started the introduction of homoeopathy in the late 1990s. Thus creating the Japanese Homeopathic Medical Association. The system has begun introducing cultural aspects such as Zen meditation as a method to increase the self-healing of homeopathy. As for Naturopathy there is not so much a presence as compared to the other healing systems.

I believe Ayurveda is still in its infancy here in Japan. The propagation of Ayurveda is not easy in a homogeneous society. However, the want and need for alternative medication and natural ways of healing is on the rise.

As far as comparing Ayurveda with TCM, suffice to say that humanity now lives in a “post-human-genome sequence era”.

Current health care focuses on the challenge of understanding the inheritable differences in the human genome. Ayurveda and TCM have well-defined systems of constitutional types to help distinguish individual qualities. Unequivocally, both systems are about brining out a natural state of equilibrium within an individual. However, the methodology and approach of both systems have similar yet distinct systems.

To determine a person's mind-body classification Ayurveda incorporates a threefold classification system known as tridosha. This consists of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata is classified as being related to motion, Pitta being related to metabolism and Kapha described as the lubrication and structure. With differing degrees of predominance Vata, Pitta and Kapha are present in all people. Together the three doshas make up individuals Prakruti.

Conversely, TCM acknowledges seven constitutions of Yin, Yang, Qi, Phlegm-wetness, Wetness-heat, and Blood stasis. Similar to Ayurveda, TCM classifies individuals based on the five elements of metal, earth, fire, water, and wood. Further stating that the determination of specific element is governed by two opposing qualities of chi energy, the well known Yin and Yang. Therefore the state of equilibrium of an individual’s health is determined by the two energies.

These two traditional medical systems of Asia are considered sacred. They are very closely related. For example, both systems are based on the classification method of constitution. Ayurveda and TCM both identify and classify unique characteristics of each individual, resulting in personalized medicine and treatment. Hence allowing for the optimal response to treatment.

However, modern medicine has yet to be successful in classifying human populations. Current classification systems are based on ethnicity; geographical location, language or self reported ancestry. Which is why researchers around the globe have been investigating Ayurveda. They postulate that the Prakruti types (V, P and K) can be used as phenotypic datasets for analyzing genetic variation. Which brings Ayurveda to the forefront of modern medical science.

Ayurveda and Naturopathy

Rose Bryant, ND

Naturopathy and Ayurveda are both holistic and clinical sciences, which collectively strive to prevent and cure various types of ailments with a holistic approach.

Myself, coming from the field of Naturopathy, I see many similarities between the two sciences and I believe they work very beautifully together to encourage healing of the individual.

The approach of Naturopathy is based in the “healing power of nature” to cure various ailments with a focus on supporting the life-force or “vital force” by strengthening the body through modalities such as botanical medicine, nutrition, hydrotherapy, homeopathy and physical medicine while encouraging the patient to make positive lifestyle changes. Naturopathy aims to harmonize both biochemical and energetic balance. Naturopathy avoids the use of major surgery or synthetic prescription drugs, except in the event of an emergency.

Naturopathy recognizes all aspects of an individuals’ life related to the disease process. Disease is frequently seen as an expression of the body eliminating excess toxins, which have accumulated due to inadequate nutrition and lifestyle, therefore presenting as the body attempting to heal itself.

The approach of Naturopathy is based in the “healing power of nature” to cure various ailments with a focus on supporting the life-force or “vital force” by strengthening the body through modalities such as botanical medicine, nutrition, hydrotherapy, homeopathy and physical medicine while encouraging the patient to make positive lifestyle changes. Naturopathy aims to harmonize both biochemical and energetic balance.

Naturopathy avoids the use of major surgery or synthetic prescription drugs, except in the event of an emergency. Naturopathy recognizes all aspects of an individuals’ life related to the disease process. Disease is frequently seen as an expression of the body eliminating excess toxins, which have accumulated due to inadequate nutrition and lifestyle, therefore presenting as the body attempting to heal itself.

Ayurveda is an ancient medicine, which also focuses on balance. It suggests that we should take everything with regulation in order to maintain health according to your constitution. Ayurveda's focus is more on creating energetic balance at the higher energetic or inner level. Ayurveda recognizes that imbalance of the mind and emotions frequently precede, and is often the cause of, physical imbalances.

It sees all life in Nature constantly evolving toward a higher level of consciousness. Ayurveda seeks to connect us with this intelligence inherent in Nature and uses modalities such as yoga asana, pranayama, mantra and meditation to facilitate this as well as herbs and ayurvedic nutrition. It recommends we avoid substances or behaviors, which may aggravate or throw our dosha out of balance.

Ayurvedic or Yogic medicine is about facilitating the process of raising our level of consciousness and supporting prana. This state of consciousness is defined as peace, union with the Divine or realization of our true Self.

About the Author

Rose Byrant works is an Naturopathic Practitioner and works at http://www.zendenholisticwellness.org. She is studying Ayurveda practices as well.

Ayurveda in USA and other Holistic Health Modalities

Impact and Reach of Ayurveda in the USA and comparison with Modern science and other holistic health systems like TCM/Naturopathy

Student Blog-- Dr Monika Singhal

The global alternative medicine sector is expected to reach close to $115 billion by 2015, according to Global Industry Analysts. Market growth is fuelled by a trend toward herbal and nature-based products, based on the presumption these products cause fewer side effects than modern medicines. Alternative medicine disciplines such as acupuncture, homeopathy, massage, ayurveda, and traditional Chinese medicine are being practiced more widely in the western world.

Around 75% of the population in emerging nations receive alternative medical healthcare, compared with over half of the population of developed nations, particularly for lifestyle-related diseases.

The alternative medicine market is also benefiting from changes in the insurance landscape, with more companies covering complementary and alternative medical care. One major obstacle to industry growth involves the comparatively slack condition of its regulations, and less extensive research and developing methods than in modern medicine.

Being a Medically trained physician from India , I have observed that in india today also people have faith and belief in alternative holistic modalities especially ayuveda preventive treatments. Since from last 10years, I am in US have noticed that awareness about ayurevda/yoga have tremendously increased and will continue to grow in coming years.

Modern Western Allopathic medicine is based on a medical model which is basically mechanical, materialistic, inorganic and inert. It considers only the physical body and treats the mind as a physical entity. It emphasises the use of inorganic substances (drugs), mechanical testing, invasive treatments like surgery and a passive approach by the patient.

Naturopathic medicine on the other hand is organic, naturalistic and energetic. It recognises the life-force as the guiding force behind the biochemical changes.It's treatment focuses on harmonising the life-force and strengthening the body through natural substances such as herbs and diet, and action by the client such as lifestyle changes and exercise.

However, most naturopathic systems are deficient is in the way they classify the energetics of substances. The majority of systems - Chinese medicine included - considers substance energetics on an outward or quantitative basis only. For example, meat may be prescribed to a weak person because of it's strong capacity to strengthen and provide energy. In this way it may balance the person at a gross level. But this perspective fails to recognise the negative impact meat has on an inner level because of the dulling effect it has on the mind, emotions and senses.



Ayurveda's focus is more on creating energetic balance at the higher energetic or inner level. It sees all life and Nature constantly evolving toward a higher level of consciousness. All substances have an impact at this higher level of consciousness as well as the more gross body level. Ayurveda seeks to connect us with this intelligence inherent in Nature and uses substances and processes which work positively as this higher level - such as yoga asana, pranayama, mantra and meditation - to facilitate this. It categories substances and activities according to their capacity to achieve this higher level of consciousness. It recommends we avoid substances which stimulate us or dull us. Stimulants and dulling substances act on the body level, distort consciousness and lead to a lack of sensitivity and self awareness. For example, the cup of coffee we have to get us going in the morning may take us to work and get us to do the job but then who is it that is going to work and running our lives - us or the coffee ??.

In the end I will just say Ayurvedic medicine is about facilitating the process of raising our level of consciousness. This state of consciousness is defined as peace, union with the Divine or realisation of our true Self. That’s my input on this topic and I am open for feedback,discussions.
About the Author

Monika Singhal is a trained Physician from India. Ms Singhal completed medical school(MBBS) from All India Institute of Medical science, (AIIMS) New Delhi. She did her post graduate studies from MPH from IIHMR, Jaipur. She has worked with naturopathic physician in Seattle from 2011-2013.

Syndicate content