yoga

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.

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.

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!

Meditation Techniques

Meditation is an essential tool for bringing a person’s mind back into balance and should be incorporated into everyone’s health regimen. There are varying types of meditation available depending on a person’s prakruti and depending on if a person’s mind is in a state of rajas, tamas, or sattva. For example, a kapha mind should be kept busy. Conversely, a vata mind should be quieted and kept still. A pitta mind should be calmed. So an appropriate meditation technique should be chosen based on a person’s manasa prakruti and what state it is in.

Vata energy and rajas are similar because both have the qualities of irregularity and movement. Any mediation that aids in stillness will benefit vata minds and minds in the rajas state. Pranayama is an excellent exercise to balance vatas minds and rajasika states. A pranayama practice should be built up gradually, adding a round of breathing each day for about one month. Like any meditation practice, it is ideal to practice daily. Astanga yoga helps to focus the mind and is also beneficial for a vata mind or a mind in rajas. Any mediation practice that helps to ground the airy vata mind will be beneficial, sitting meditations are encouraged.

Kapha minds tend to have the opposite problem from vata minds. Kapha minds are slow and need a kick start. Meditation practices for kapha minds should keep the mind engaged. Guided visualization, contemplative questions, tai chi, or walking meditation would be a great meditative tool for kaphas, or minds that are in a tamasika state. All four methods focus the mind while tai chi, chi kung and walking meditation engage the body while keeping the mind focused.

Pitta minds often need to be calmed. Pranayama is excellent for calming a mind. Alternate nostril breathing and shitali pranayama (breathing through a curled tongue) are cooling and can calm a heated or agitated pitta mind.

A mind that is in the sattva state is a balanced mind. A daily meditation, a diet suited to your prakruti, a healthy lifestyle, balanced elimination and senses will keep a mind in balance.

Many meditations are good for balancing all states of mind and can be adapted to suit the manasa prakruti of a specific individual (for example, walking vs. sitting meditations). Mantra meditation is also an excellent example on how different mantras can bring different doshas back into balance. There are mantras that are good for pacifying pitta, and mantras that increase a person’s purity and goodness (sattva). In summary, there are various meditation techniques and adaptations to suit each individual person and their current state of mind. The best way to keep a mind in balance is to practice meditation daily and have a healthy lifestyle.

by Laurel Hricik,
Student: San Diego College of Ayurveda

Meditation Suggestions from an Ayurvedic Perspective

Meditation for your Mind
Dr. Nandini Daljit

Vata Meditation Recommendations:

The Vata mind would benefit from Transcendental meditation with 20 minute sessions that concentrate on the mindful/silent repetition of a mantra - allowing thoughts to be acknowledged and the mind to release thoughts freeing up space by focusing on the mantra thus enhancing relaxation and increased silencing. TM would be particularly beneficial for a vata mind in Sattva and Rajas.

A spiritual meditation would also be beneficial for the vata mind as it is a quiet and communicative type of meditation with God or the universe (or the higher being of choice) which is aligned with the vata strengths of reflection and communication.

As well, this time of meditation also allows the vata mind to dialogue about a personal issues or concern as a silent witness. A spiritual meditation would offer much peace and enlightenment to a vata mind in Sattva

Yoga as meditation is also a very positivie for the vata mind as it combines physical movement with mental focus allowing prana to move to flow and move througout the body and nourish the mind. In this regard, tai chi and dance could also serve as a meditative vata practice as well as the playing of music.

For visualization, Vata people would benefit from warm images and colors. Mantras such as RAM and HRIM AND SHRIM are warm and calming for vata. Yoga would benefit a vata mind in Tamas by increasing prana to combat dullness.

Pitta Meditation Recommendations:

For visualization, the pitta mind would benefit from cool images and colors. Transcendental meditation would be very beneficial for a pitta mind in order to keep the fire in pitta in check. TM would be very beneficial for a pitta mind that is Sattvic.

Movement meditation would be very appropriate for the pitta dosha type who may find sitting still more agitating than relaxing. In movement meditation the individual can focus on the movement of their breath or engage in a gentle swaying or circular movement.

This gentle movement would be very beneficial for a pitta mind in Tamas by disrupting inertia.

Pitta pacifying mantras are SHAM, SHRIM and OM. These mantras should be repeated silently. If highly agitated - pittas may even find the repetition of their mantra relaxing when they are engaged in more active physical activity. Ensuring their safety, a mindful repetition of the mantra during stationary cycling, rowing, and stairclimbing. This may be very helpful if a pitta mind is highly Rajasic.

Kapha Meditation Recommendations:

The kapha mind would benefit from meditation that includes loud chanting where the vibration of the mantra can flow through the body and mind. Beyond vocal mantra repitition Kaphas would also benefit from Kirtan meditation.

Kirtan is the chanting of mantras and hymns and in that way not only has a vocal connection to the meditation
but a spiritual connection when hymns are chosen. This vocalization is highly recommended for a kapha mind in Tamas.

Transcendental meditation, with its mantra focused meditation would serve the kapha mind in sattva very well by providing kapha with a focused time for re-energizing of the mind which would also be appropriate for a kapha mind in Rajas or Sattva.

Kapha pacifying mantras are OM, HUM and AIM. Visualization of nature based colors and images of earth, sky and sun would benefit the Kapha mind that flourishes in warmth.

Doshas and the Three Gunas in Ayurvedic Psychological Principles

By Lisa Bailer, Student: San Diego College of Ayurveda
(Ayurveda Wellness Practitioner Program)

An overview of the three gunas in Ayurvedic Psychological Principles

1. First Guna - Sattva Guna (Mode of Purity) is good, nourishing, harmonious, this is the ultimate goal of our mind. When moving out of sattva mode you can exhibit fear, anxiety and restlessness and worry- similar to vata imbalance.

2. Second Guna - Rajas (Mode of Passion or activity) is active , creative, initiates change. In the negative it is angry, aggressive, jealous, hatred.

3. Third Guna - Tamas (Mode of lethargy) is slow going, lethargic, passive. In the negative it can be destruction, selfish, attachment.

In a sense pitta dosha can be equated to Rajaguna and Kapha can be like tamagun, especially when out of balance. Pitta Imbalance may lead to emotions like anger, jealousy, being competitive and aggressive while kapha in an imbalanced state may get sentimental, greedy and attached so that is turns to destruction of whatever it is attached to.

Since vata governs all, it can display any of the above qualities of the gunas.
To balance a rajastic mind Pitta types should use mantra meditation, left nostril breathing and visualize cool and calming things. Daily affirmations of forgiveness and acceptance with compassion can decrease rajastic mind. Asanas with moon salutations and yoga nidra are calming and cooling.

Kapha types need to let go and move away from tamasic mind and move to rajistic mind so walking meditation to keep them moving and increased pranayama to stimulate opening and space in the mind. Affirmations on detachment and independence. Bhakti yoga which focuses on love and usually involves groups to keep them motivated may help.

Vata types need to calm their minds so doing mantra or visual meditation will help keep their minds focused. Asanas with slow sun salutations, Affirmations of peace, security and supported by t he universe are to help alleviate their tendency toward worry and doubt.

Meditation for Vata, Pitta and Kapha in Ayurveda

Juliana Adhikari

Student: Ayurveda Wellness Practitioner Program, San Diego College of Ayurveda

Meditation helps decrease stress, promote focus as well as help individuals be more conscious and aware of their mind and itʼs behavior.

When determining what meditation is best for an individual a practitioner should consider

i The individuals dominant dosha - Vata, Pitta and Kapha
ii The 3 gunas (Sattva, Tamas, Rajas), and,
iii Consider the theory of similar and dissimilar to help bring the mind back in balance.

A vata mind is dominated by the air quality and is all about movement so they tend to get mentally ungrounded, scattered, anxious or spacey when out of balance.

They should practice meditations that help keep them grounded, enhance stability, and help them release stress and stay focused. All meditations
help vata in some beneficial way but some in particular like TM, Zen, and Yoga Nidra are more calming and can help ease a vata mind.

Trees and mountains are solid, rooted, earthy, grounded so meditating in nature and near or around them
can have a grounding effect on vatas in tamas.

Sitting in peaceful contemplation near water can be good for both vata and pitta minds in tamas.

Water is very soothing to all the senses so sitting in deep contemplation with their feet in the water, taking in the peaceful sounds of the surroundings, the smells, and the energetics of the flowing water can instantly sooth and ease any disturbed mind.

Rajasic vatas tends to be hyperactive and nervous so a sitting meditation will not be a good choice for them.

They should instead do a walking meditation on a
beach or take a peaceful hike in a woodsy area.

When in tamas their focus should be on feeling grounded on the earth with each step they take.

Consciously sensing and feeling the ground beneath them.

If possible they should walk slowly and also pay attention to all the sounds, smells, and sights of their surroundings.

Walking meditation is also great for lazy kaphas in tamas to get them up and moving.

Since kaphas can be heavy and lethargic they can benefit more by doing stimulating pranayama techniques before any meditation.

Because of their lazy and unmotivated tendency, kaphas will do better when encouraged in group meditation or when participating in kirtana.

Mantra mediation can help an emotional kappa in rajas.

Practicing loving kindness and doing a meditation that opens their heart chakra is great for promoting sattva in Kapha individuals.

Pitta individuals would benefit greatly from meditation that stimulates and promotes peace of mind.

Japa and mantra meditation is great to mentally stimulate and sharpen the mind.

Soothing meditations in nature or by water as
mentioned above help cool and ease a pitta in tamas.

Pitta should also do pranayama techniques - while practicing meditation to help promote sensory control for a mind in rajas.

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