Ayurveda College Online

Narayana Ayurveda and Yoga Academy is a registered school with Yoga Alliance, and our professional Ayurveda programs have been reviewed by National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA)and meet their requirements for professional membership. Our professional Ayurveda Programs are approved and regulated by Texas Workforce Comission-Career School and Colleges.

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Ayurveda Counselor
Fall Session-November 2018
*Winter Session-January 2019
*Spring Session-March 2019
Ayurveda Practitioner
*Fall Session October 2018
*Winter Session-January 2019
*Yoga STUDIES
*Yoga Teacher Training- OCT 2018

Note: Our Yoga studies are not regulated by Texas Workforce Commission.
PHONE: 512-692-9162

We offer recognized certificate and diplomas in Ayurvedic Medicine, Yoga Therapy and Yoga Teacher Training.
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Community Events

Earth's Day, April 22 at 1 PM- Free Nadi (Pulse) and Free Jyotish Vedic Astrology consultation at our booth at Radha Madhav Dham, Austin
July 1 thru 3 Ayurveda Camp Series at Radha Madhav Dham
July 28 at 2 PM- Free Nadi (Pulse) and Free Ayurveda Wellness consultation as part of Student Internship at St Edwards University, South Congress Avenue. Pre-Registration required.
July 29 at 1 PM- Free Nadi (Pulse) and Free Ayurveda Wellness consultation as part of Student Internship at St Edwards University. Pre-Registration required.
Having Fun with Ayurveda Make your own Ayurvedic skin salves & face cleanser for acne, Ayurvedic soap with turmeric and manjistha for troubled skin, and/or Kajal (Ayurvedic eyeliner).We will also make an ayurvedic candle- a Ghee Lamp with camphor. We will also have fun with Ayurvedic food colors. 4 Hour Workshop - $60. Open to the Public and young adults. July 2018 (Dates TBD)

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Our programs are a mix of online, distance learning, and onsite internships. We also have plenty of community and public workshops that we encourage students to attend.

Please use the CONTACT FORM for quicker response time.

Our admin office location for yoga programs in Austin, Texas.
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National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA) exam

Students may decide to follow the NAMA (National Ayurvedic Medical Association) Ayurveda Counselor curriculum for 600 Hours and Ayurveda Practitioner for 1000-1500 hours in order to qualify for a board examination. This enables the student to take a qualifying exam offered by NAMA, enabling them for a CERTIFIED AYURVEDA COUNSELOR label, or, CERTIFIED AYURVEDA PRACTITIONER LABEL. https://www.namacb.org/

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Who are Ayurvedic Herbalists?

By Sarah Moore

While Western Herbalists are predominantly concerned with extracting the active minerals and vitamins of an herb for its chemically medicinal usages, Ayurvedic Herbalists recognize herbs as a product of Mother Nature who has infused specific energetics going beyond the scope of chemical composition.


(Image: Curry Leaves)

Although Western Naturopathic Doctors receive special training in clinical herbalism, Western Physicians educated in Allopathic Medicine are generally not trained in the medicinal use of herbs. It is required of Ayurvedic Herbalists to be Ayurvedic Practitioners.

Ayurvedic herbalists and practitioners residing in the West don’t typically grow Ayurvedic herbs, because it’s not a tropical or temperate climate. It is not the appropriate environment for the herb to grow in a way that will offer its entire efficacy: its chemical and non-chemical energetics, Mother Nature’s essence. These practitioners may use powdered herbs rather than fresh for this reason. It is understood that Western herbalists should be able to cultivate herbs, be a gardener, have knowledge of anatomy and holistic pathology, and be able to create formulations and suggest herbs for clients’ ailments.

Ayurvedic Herbalists are also required to be gardeners, knowledgeable of anatomy and create formulations and recommendations, but unlike Ayurvedic Herbalists Western Herbalists plant and garden desired herbs in man-made, climate-controlled environments needed for these herbs to grow, irrespective of geographical location.

Western Herbalists are concerned mainly with the amount of inherent compound within an herb and how much can be yielded from it—there is more focus on quantity than quality. In other words, there is less focus on the preparation of the herb and using the whole herb (as much as possible and appropriate), such as with Ayurvedic Herbalism, and more focus on removing contaminants and extracting only the desired active compounds as much as possible. There is so much focus on the extraction (or harvest) of the herbs that they are sometimes plucked immaturely, at a wrong time of day, or by someone null of intent, love, compassion and respect for the medicinal essence of the herb.

While Western Herbalists are restricted to plants, Ayurvedic Herbalists are not. In Ayurveda, there is a word for all organic and inorganic substances: dravya. Dravya includes plants, herbs, leaves, spices, rocks, crystals, gems, resins, minerals, and animal-based products such as feathers, shells, coral, honey and milk. All dravya is therapeutic. Even water has different essences and therapeutic qualities—lake water has different qualities than mountain water.

Ayurvedic Herbalists even use herbs and metals—such as mercury—that are restricted by the FDA. Ayurveda uses different purification methods called sodhana in order to extract the therapeutic qualities from a poisonous or toxic dravya; such practices include burning or cooking. All dravya has qualities (gunas), actions (karma) and a psycho-physiological constitution (dosha), while Mother Nature gives its healing quality and essence. Each level of seeding, growing and harvesting affects the prana (life force), taste (rasa), gunas, karma, and dosha of the dravya. In Ayurveda, the herb should be full of prana and rasa.

Ayurvedic Herbalism also takes into regard the quality (guna) of the liquid component being used to process an herbal concoction, while Western Herbalists typically do not consider this. For instance, in Ayurveda vinegar has a heating quality, because of this we do not want to offer a formulation with vinegar to a client with current similar qualities, that is someone with a Pitta vikruti (current constitution), such as a woman in pre-menopause or a balanced person with a Pitta prakruti (original constitution) because it will increase their Pitta, and possibly ignite Pitta disease.

In terms of medicinal aim, Ayurvedic herbalism treats the disease, while Western herbalism is mostly focused on treating the symptoms. Ayurvedic Herbalism aims to work on the entire body, rather than focusing mainly on pathogenic organisms, as is the focus in Western Herbalism.

Ayurvedic herbs are also given to healthy, balanced individuals, whereas in Western Herbalism, aside from vitamins and mineral supplements, all other herbs are used for treating symptoms and diseases. Lastly, while most Western herbal combinations or formulations contain at most two or three herbs limiting their scope of treatment, an Ayurvedic Herbal formulation can contain a combination of up to 40 to 50 herbs allowing for a wider range of combined herbal action, bringing the individual to a more total body balance. In Ayurveda an individual is a universe made of a body, mind and soul, where all parts are involved in its fine balance; if one part is imbalanced eventually other parts become imbalanced. Ayurvedic Herbalism offers an all-encompassing approach to the treatment of the body, mind and soul.

Turkish Lentil Balls with an Ayurvedic Twist

Turkish Lentil Balls with Bulgur with an Ayurvedic Twist – Mercimek Köftesi

This vegetarian ball is one of the most popular appetizers of Turkish cuisine. This well loved Turkish dish is healthy and delicious especially for Vata and Pitta people. As a very easy vegetarian recipe, you just combine cooked red lentils and bulgur with special spices and seasoning and shape into balls. Perfect for entertaining a crowd.

Ayurvedic Chart
• Dosha Effect : VP – K+
• Rasa: Sweet, Astringent
• Virya: Cooling
• Vipaka: Sweet
• Qualities: Heavy, Soft
• Actions on the Doshas: Tridoshic (if cooked with a little oil and bitter spices good for Kapha too)
• Action on the mind: Sattvic

Ingredients

• 1 cup red lentils- washed and drained
• 1.5 cups dinkel bulgur- cracked wheat washed and drained
• 3 cups hot water
• 1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
• 6-7 green pepper, finely chopped
• 2 tbsp tomato paste
• 1 tbsp pepper paste (not hot)
• 1 tsp freshly grounded black pepper
• 1 tsp cumin
• 1 tsp fenugreek powder
• 1 tsp turmeric powder
• 1 tsp ginger powder
• 1 tsp hingu powder
• 1 tsp coriander seed
• 1 tsp black mustard seed
• 2 tsp Vata churna -including fennel seed, anise seed, cumin seed, turmeric powder, ginger powder
• 1 tbsp cow ghee oil
• 1 tbsp pure olive oil – cold press
• 1 cos lettuce leaves separated


Cook's notes
• Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C.
• As a traditional touch you can add fresh scallion and onion, finely diced and fried in olive oil, but I do not use it in my any traditional and Ayurvedic recipes because they are Tamasic and not appropriate for a Yogic diet.

Instructions
1. Put cow ghee into the pan and heat. Add Vata churna helping digestion and gas especially for Vata people. Mustard seed, coriander seed, turmeric powder and ginger powder. Stir them for 20 seconds to uncover their specialties. Add washed red lentil and dinkel bulgur into the pan and stir them for a few seconds.

2. Boil the red lentils and dinkel bulgur in the water for about 20 minutes or until soft because dinkel bulgur is harder than conventional bulgur and needs to be boiled longer.

3. If you use conventional bulgur, it does not need to be boiled long and you can add the bulgur to the boiled red lentils in the last 2 minutes. Then cover with a kitchen paper allowing it to absorb the remaining water and to let the bulgur expand.

4. Heat olive oil in a pan and add tomato and pepper pastes into another pan and add fresh green peppers chopped, black pepper, cumin, fenugreek powder. Stir and cook until soft adding half cup of hot water. Put this sauce into the dough balls. Let it cool off. Add fresh parsley chopped and mix through well.

5. Form into thick cigar-shaped patties and roll as balls, -Take walnut size pieces and give them ball or cigar shape in your hands. Keep a little bowl of water close by to wet

4 your hand frequently during this process since the balls mixture will get stuck on your hands.

6. You can either place cos lettuce leaves on a serving plate and put balls on top as in the last picture, or serve balls and lettuce leaves separately as garnish, or skip lettuce leaves completely; however, they really go well together.

By Çağan Cinmoyii Gün Işıklı
Turkish Ayurvedic Counselor & Yoga Instructor

The Three Doshas and the Mind in Ayurveda

By Sarah Moore May 7, 2018

We are able to draw parallels of the metaphorical illustration from the Bhagavad Gita with Krishna and Arjuna riding in a chariot to the ways in which the subdoshas relate to the mind.

In the illustration, Atma is the owner of the chariot, the chariot is the Body, the driver is Buddhi, the reins Mind, and horses Indriyas.

To an effect, all the Vata subdoshas associated with mind (Prana Vayu, Udana Vayu, Vyana Vayu and Apana Vayu) are linked with all these layers of existence: Atma, Mind, Buddhi, Body and Indriyas. Prana Vayu located in the head, where the Sahasrira Chakra resides, is all pervading. It is the life force, (Atma), it governs all movements (body), the link between body and mind (Buddhi), makes decisions and actions happen (Mind), and controls senses, indriyas (horses).

Udana Vayu resides in the throat, with the Vishuddha Chakra. It governs expression of emotions (Mind and Buddhi). Vyana Vayu lives in the heart, it holds the Mind (Reins) and keeps the Body (Chariot) moving at an even pace, connecting the Mind and Body. If a wheel is broken, the chariot cannot roll forward; likewise if there is no connection of mind to body the horses will cease, they will have no direction. Apana Vayu is seated in the pelvic region, with Svadhisthana Chakra, it is related mainly in a physical way as it is responsible for shedding waste product, it keeps the Body (Chariot) clean of waste so it can continue functioning properly, so our body (the chariot) is not weighed down by waste product—physical or emotional. If the chariot is weighed down, or Apana vayu is blocked—physically or emotionally—it affects emotions, that is, the mind.

Subdoshas affected by the Mind and vice versa

Vata: Prana, Udana, Vyana and Apana (Atma, Mind, Body)
Pitta: Sadhaka (Buddhi)
Kapha: Avalambaka, Tarpaka (Body)

The Pitta subdosha associated to the mind is Sadhaka Pitta. This subdosha of Pitta resides in the heart with Anahata Chakra, which is the home of the mind in Ayurveda; it also resides in the head or brain as grey matter with Sahasrira Chakra. It is responsible for turning sensations, actuality, truth and reality into feelings and memory, it realizes the I am in Ego. Prana Vayu is closely related to Sadhaka Pitta, together they record emotions that create the intellect, which is then stored in the brain by Tarpaka Kapha (subdosha of Kapha that resides in the head as white matter and in the myelin sheath). Prana Vayu carries the emotions to Sadhaka Pitta and writes or imprints it on Sadhaka Pitta’s grey matter, then Tarpaka Kapha holds that information in white matter. Sadhaka Pitta develops information or intellect (buddhi and driver) from the indriyas (the horses). Sadhaka pitta is the Intellect. It metabolizes information from the Indriyas (horses) to make knowledge, which is the Intellect, Buddhi (driver).

The Kapha subdoshas associated with the mind are Avalambaka Kapha and Tarpaka Kapha. Avalambaka Kapha resides in the heart. It nourishes the cardiovascular organs (body or chariot) and holdw emotions (Buddhi or Driver). It hugs the heart and lunges with nourishment, support, love and compassion, so the mind, intellect, body and atma has courage to move forward. Without Avalambaka Kapha our emotions cannot be carried by Vata to Sadhaka Pitta for metabolization. The lungs can become a seat for negative tamasik emotions of sadness, grief and depression, which can affect the mind, body, intellect and atma. Without Avalambaka Kapha we dry up in the cardiovascular area, we cannot feel compassion or love, only tamasik tendencies—this can be shown in diseases such as bronchitis or asthma.

Tarpaka Kapha is seated in the brain as white matter and seated in the myelin sheath, which is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system. It is responsible for subconscious thinking, emotions and memory—as mentioned above, it stores and records emotions, experiences, etc. metabolized by Sadhaka Pitta, provided by Vata. It stores protective memories that control our reactive impulses—it nourishes and provides information to Buddhi (the driver) that helps direct oneself in a safe way, such as learning from one’s mistakes or other’s mistakes through the indriyas (horses), so the Buddhi or Driver can control and steer its chariot and owner (Body and Atma) in a safe way along its physical life journey.

--Sarah Moore is studying Ayurveda Counselor from Narayana Ayurveda and Yoga Academy.--

Creation of Dhatus in Ayurveda

By Cagan Cinmoyii Gun Isikli -

We need to eat food everyday to grow, to be strong, to be healthy and to live a long life. Whatever we eat, it can be helpful for the creation of our dhatus in a positive or negative way in the body. Dhatu means construction elements as tissues for the structure, and growth of the body. There are 7 types of dhatus (Sapta Dhatus) in the body ; rasa, rakta, mamsa, meda, ashti majja, and sukra . All these need time to be formed respectively. Each of them takes 5 days. For instance, the food that we eat becomes ahara rasa and it can transform as the last dhatu, i.e. reproductive tissue after 35 days.

Digestion process starts in Bodhaka kapha in oral cavity. Then Udana Vata helps to masticate and Prana Vata sustains to swallow the food. Kledeka kapha provides moisture in Amasaya (stomach). Pachaka pitta also helps and Samana vata press and sustain agni to function properly. They work together to continue breaking ahara rasa down with digestive enzymes. Now, jatharagni on duty to break down the Ahara rasa into Chyle for digestion which is a milky white fluid including lymph and fats.

In the meantime, to clarify the object in a better way, I should cite that there is 3 stages of Gross Digestion. Briefly,

1-Madhur Avasthapak (Sweet Stage) with the symptoms of reduction in activity, having earth and jala mahabhuta, started in mouth and stomach and related with the Kledak Kapha Dosha.

2-Amla Avasthapak (Sour Stage) with the symptoms of thirst and perspiration, having fire mahabhuta, located in small intestine and related with Pachak Pitta Dosha.

3- Katu Avasthapak (Pungent Stage) with the symptoms of desire for movement, having Air and Ether mahabhutas, placed in large intestine and directed by Saman Vayu.

After processed through gross digested, food is divided into 2 parts; one is Sara (essense), which will form different dhatu elements later and other is Kitta (refuse) which will be divided as urine and stool as mala, waste product of the body.

The nourishment of dhatus occurs with Sara in stages. Sara is pure essence and the pure stabilized mature tissue. Each of the tissue functions properly. Every dhatu is precursor of the next dhatu working with their own Dhatu Agni. In other words, unstable dhatu is always digested by the next dhatu agni. As a result of this, each dhatu has a potency to receive its nutrients properly. At this point Acaryas have put to subject into the light to understand thoroughly with the help of 3 different laws.

1- Kshir -Dadhi Nyaya -Law of Transformation –Milk curd theory

Kshir means milk and dadhi means yogurt. Milk has a great potency to transform step by step from inside to out. In this example first milk could be transformed as yogurt, then buttermilk, butter and ghee. To succeed this, physical and chemical changes take place when turning milk into yogurt, cheese, butter, ice cream, whip cream and other dairy products. The processes for making many dairy products can only start with milk “curdling”. Although there are different ways to start milk curdling, the simple technics are to add some previous yogurt or specific acid or to heating as well as by letting the milk age long enough, with specific enzymes (which are proteins that perform a specific chemical reaction).

With the help of this perspective we can imagine that how ahara rasa and chyle transform as different dhatus in the body. At first Ahara rasa completely changes to Rasa Dhatu, following this is the changing of Rasa Dhatu to Rakta Dhatu and so on. This is one of the ways of nutrition of different Dhatus.

2- Kedar -Kulya Nyaya - Law of Irrigation / Transmisson

Kedar means parts of lands and kulya means drain. Crops in the field get irrigated by creating Kulya (drain) and Kedar (small pieces of land). The Kedar get irrigated one by one through Kuliya in sequence. Like wise different Dhatus of the body get nutrition one by one in sequence through vessels.

3- Khale – Kapot Nyaya - Law of Selectivity- Pigeon Picking Theory

Based on requirement each dhatu get nourished through Chyle. They pick from Chyle according to their need. Chyle, milky alkaline product is the precursor of all dhatu formation. It is carried from the intestine through the lympatic system and in the blood stream.

Weight Gain and Mamsa Dhatu (Muscle gain) in Ayurveda

by Cagan Cinmoyii Gun Isikli

Mamsa Dhatu in Ayurveda is the muscle tissue. The muscular system has nearly half of the body weight. If a person weighs 120 pounds, we could assume that nearly 60 pounds belong to mamsa dhatu. Muscles have special bhoutic (There are five bhutas are basic elements air, space, fire, water and earth) composition derived from Earth and Water elements. These two elements are both heavy and exist ninety percent of muscular tissue. There is also fire element in mamsa dhatu to move muscles and to give them mobility, which is amount of about 10 percent of mamsa dhatu.

Producing well mamsa body needs to enough ahara rasa. The transformation from ahara rasa to sthayi mamsa (Theory of creation of dhatus) takes about 15 days. Well-developed muscle, mamsa sara, creates a handsome body which Dr. Vasant Lad describes as like a Roman statue. It is also responsible the appearance of the body. Besides, it provides covering, maintaining body posture, gives strength. It is also functioning as lepana, plastering or holding.

When we asess out how mamsa dhatu and meda dhatu(fat tissue) are vitiated we could easily differ that causes are nearly same.

· Intake of heavy gross food such as cheese, yogurt, milk, meat, food with deliquescent properties, heavy meals

· Excessive sleeping especially day time and after meals,

· Lack of exercise

· Potato coach life style habits

At the same time these are Kapha provoking hetus. In weighting gain Kapha dosha vitiation is on chart because bhoutica composition are same with meda dhatu and mamsa dhatu governed by Kapha itself. That is why when weight gain is on consideration, an Ayurvedic Counselor also needs to take into account mamsa dhatu for analysis. If one wanting to gain weight, eating four meals a day, sleeping and resting too much, and not even washing the dishes helps too much. This absolutely increases mamsa and meda dhatus.

As a yoga teacher, I would like to underline the subject here about movement like exercise and sport and the relation with mamsa dhatu vitiation and gaining weight.

Every tissue is created with the purpose of being beneficially used in the body. But if they are not used, then remains idle. These gives rise to Dosha imbalances, malfunctions, irregularities, diseases, and vitiations.

For example, when a person eats too much, excessive amount of ahara rasa is produced. Metabolic wisdom interprets this as thinking that manas knows best and decrees this person needs more meda dhatu because of busy lifestyle and heavy body works. Otherwise s/he doesn’t take such much amount of foods. So, with the help of bhuta agni it transforms ashtayi rasa into rakta and then excess mamsa dhatu produced, body keeps it as reserve.

But if person carries on a life style between the kitchen, television and bed and does not have enough physical activity like intensive sporting activities, workouts, weight lifting, athletics, or a busy life style including bodily activities in the extent of s/he has eaten, the excess meda dhatu will automatically be idle. The body puts it in fat storage and turns it into excess adipose and meda dhatu. This not also results with weight gaining, enlarged and degenerated physical appearance, but also important diseases and disorders like cysts, myomas, fibromas, fibrocystic changes in breast, uterine, congestions, breathing difficulties, cholesterol, blood pressure problems etc.

This is just as much of our houses with full of unused furniture, materials and clothes in wardrobes. We have liked them once, bought many, but use very less. The result is chaos at home, cluttered, excess dust, too much cleaning work, more ironing and so on.

This also indicates the violation of the famous Yama rule, Aparigraha. Everything that is more than we need leads to deterioration, less prana and spiritual development difficulties. For Chikitsa, a reducing Kapha Dosha protocol is quite needed, but more spiritual practices, yoga therapy, meditation, fasting, moderate and humble lifestyle and eating habits are necessary and beneficial in the long term.

Image:By Victovoi [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Kitchari and Spice Mix- by Henri Parviainen

A kitchari and Spice Mix for Pitta Kapha

1/2 cup basmati rice
1 cup mung dal (split yellow)
6 cups (approx.) water
1/2 to 1 inch ginger root, chopped or grated
A bit of mineral salt (1/4 tsp. or so)

2 tsp. homemade ghee (Video attached below)

1/2 tsp. coriander seeds

1tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp. whole cumin seeds

1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 cup of sweet potatoes

Henri Parvianen is a Yoga enthusiast, and, is studying Ayurveda Counselor program from Narayana Ayurveda.

The myth of too much protein in the American diet

A protein shake. Ever had one? If you’re like most Americans, you’ve probably had one, once a day, every day during that one summer where you were trying to get in shape. Or maybe you have a friend who shakes his up every day at 3pm to get thru that midday slump- so he can tide himself over before hitting the gym after work.

What does a typical protein shake contain? Well, depending on the source, you’re generally looking at a processed, chemically ridden, gmo infused powder that you blend with some milk to get past the taste. For some, it’s like a milkshake- loaded with sugar or chemical sweeteners that can wreak havoc on your gut health. For others, they just get it down so they can gain some muscle and lose some fat- or so they think.

But why would anyone need a protein shake? In America, there is the perception that protein means fat loss, muscle gain. Any vegetarian has dealt with the never ending question of…”but where do you get your protein?” Is protein this big of a deal?

The truth is- protein deficiency in America is extremely rare. Aside from a few raw vegans and others with generally poor diets for a long period of time (I know this because that was me), protein deficiency just isn’t a concern with our population. There is no need to focus on supplementing with enormous amounts of protein via large portions of red meat or shakes, mainly because most diets already contain enough of this vital macronutrient. Protein is accessible in the abundance of beans, lentils, vegetables, and dairy products that the typical ayurvedic diet (as well as others!) supplies.

In today’s world, it is likely you are getting TOO much protein, rather than not enough. It is healthful to have a balanced diet with a variation of fresh foods- including beans, seeds, nuts, vegetables, fruits, fats- in order to make sure our body’s needs are being met. Above all else- listen to your own body and what it responds well to! You will likely notice that a protein shake isn’t enjoyable, and doesn’t leave you feeling satisfied like a regular meal would. Take note of your body’s own responses and next time someone asks you- how do you know you’re getting enough protein, you can ask them- but how do you know you’re not getting too much?

By Michelle Gbur

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

What is Ayurveda Yoga Therapy

By Monica B Groover

What is a Yoga Therapist

Most Yoga Teacher Training have only 200 Hours of basic training. This means the objective of the training is to do a generic yoga class for generic public irrespective of who is attending the class.

Yoga Therapy is a different ball game.

First of all the training required to be a Yoga Therapist may exceed 500 Hours.

Yoga therapists use yoga for a very specific purpose for healing. They may use Yoga as a tool to help a person move, support healing. Example, Prenatal yoga class, post natal yoga class, yoga class for cancer survivors who have had surgery. Yoga therapists may study how pain produced due to a movement, the mechanics of movement both normally and its deviation during pain, or, when suffering from musculoskeletal issues. It includes studying the body’s posture, and, requires a sound knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and bodily planes, especially of the musculoskeletal system.

Ayurveda Yoga Therapists training may exceed even that of a yoga therapist, and, definitely may need to clock more than a 1000 hours.

Should a Yoga Therapist study more anatomy, more physiology or more Kinesiology?

Whether a Yoga Therapist, or, an Ayurveda Yoga therapist- sound knowledge of anatomy and physiology is crucial, and, at least a basic understanding of Kinesiology becomes absolutely essential. This is ignored and an understudied area in some yoga therapy schools.

Kinesiology is the study of the movement of the body-how muscles move the joints.

Kinesiology is used by health professions like Osteopathy, in sports medicine, by orthopedic surgeons, and Physical therapists amongst others.

Mostly these health professions use a structural knowledge of Kinesiology, rather than functional. This means that they are more interested in what can be seen. They are interested in posture, planes of the body, axes of rotation, the muscles, joints, and, apply methods like surgery to help correct dysfunctions. For example, reconstruction of ACL (Anterior cruciate ligament), post injury to restore function. For osteopathic medicine, study of posture is crucial. For example, an osteopathic medicine may examine how someone sleeps-with their mouth open, or, closed, the symmetry of the two sides of the body, body measurement etc to diagnose postural dysfunctions.

Study of Kinesiology does not necessarily prepare one for clinical professions.

AKA (American Kinesiology Association) describes Kinesiology as the academic discipline which involves the study of physical activity and its impact on health, society and quality of life. There are two schools of kinesiology-structural and functional. Clinical applications focus on structure.

Ayurveda Yoga Therapy School

However, Yoga therapy as well as Ayurveda Yoga Therapy focuses on function, and will customize the practice of yoga to the roga and rogi, the person and their dysfunction. Ayurveda Yoga therapy school should prepare the student with full knowledge of Ayurveda Counselor, and, the science of biomechanics, integrated with modified asana practice, and use of one, two or many props to create a customized asana plans for different doshas, age groups etc.

Ayurveda Yoga Therapy standards prepared by NAMA (National Ayurvedic Medical Association) are stipulating that an Ayurveda Yoga Therapist already posess equal knowledge to that of an Ayurveda Counselor, be a yoga teacher to begin with, as a pre requisite.

That's a tall order.

Ayurveda Yoga Therapy

For an Ayurveda Yoga Therapist, study of Kinesiology, anatomy, physiology and musculoskeletel dysfunction in the three body types- Vata, Pitta and Kapha, the seven dhatus, and, all the srotas, issues with mala, and nidan is crucial.

Ayurveda Yoga therapy may support clients to reduce stress, pain, stiffness when suffering with Ghrdasi, Amavata, or Sandhigata, when integrated with Ayurvedic bodywork and practices.

In Alternative medicine, or methods like chiropractice they may use applied kinesiology, which is a controversial method. They may use muscle testing to identify imbalances in the body's structural, chemical, emotional or other energy, to establish the body's priority healing needs.

Assessment techniques for a Yoga therapist will also involve body measurement, biofeedback from nadi, jihva, and the use of dashavidha pariksha- the ten fold assessment.

Dashavidha Pariksha

The dashavidha pariksha includes, but is not limited to:

1 Prakrti (natural constitution)
2 Vikrti(deviation and imbalance of prakrti)
3 Sara (dhatu)
4 Samhanana (build)
5 Pramana (body measurement)
6 Sattva (mind)
7 Satmya (ability to adapt)
8 Ahara sakti (digestive ability)
9 Vyayama sakti (physical strength and fitness)
10 Vaya (Ayu, Age)

References:
Kinesiology for manual therapy, Dail Nancy
American Kinesiology Association
Lecture by Aparna Dandekar, D.O, Narayana Ayurveda & Yoga Academy

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