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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

Ayurveda and the Mind

By Dr. Nandini Daljit

In the Bhagvad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna “Surrender to me your mind and understanding(Bhagvad Gita, 8:7)”. It is here we see the Ayurvedic distinction of the mind as “that aspect of consciousness which receives impressions. For ease of example, the mind could be thought of as the equivalent of the central processing unit (CPU) of our computer which not only takes external energy (electricity) to sustain itself as the mind takes in prana and nutrients to sustain itself. but has the dual The experiences we encounter are processed (as though a software program sifts and sorts the experience) and this new input is now compared against and organized according to previous impressions (previous data) to so we can achieve and understanding of the experience. Once the experience is recognized as similar to a previous experience we achieve understanding. Our previously imprinted feelings and emotions of experiences of the experience are then attached to further elaborate our perception of the experience to our senses and our perceptions. “Understanding is that which defines impressions and gives them meaning (Kriyananda, p. 348)”.

Whereas in the Western view the mind is often determined to be located in the brain. According to Ayurveda the mind is a conscious flow of energy that originates in the heart and flows to the brain which creates thought and pervades the body which facilitates sensation, perception and experience. When the mind receives the impression the energetic experience of the event evolves from the heart where “the heart’ is used in a Western context to mean evolving from one’s feelings, true being or soul. The next logical question would then be what is the soul?

It is our identification with the encasement of our body which gives us our sense of self or ego. “The jiva, or soul , is individualized consciousiness: the infinite limited to, and identified with, a body (Kriyananda, p.305)”. Swami Yogananda explains that in the Bhagvad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna “Such is My lower nature (Aparaprakriti). Understand now, O Mighty-armed (Arjuna)! that My other and higher nature (Paraprakriti) sustains the soul (jiva), which is individual consciousness, and sustsans also the life-principle of the universe.” (Kriyananda, p. 305). If we accept that the soul, which is the true heart of the being, is the essence of the true being then we understand that the mind of the being emanates from the heart.

Continuing with the analogy of the computer, once the experience comes to the attention of the mind in the CPU it must now be deciphered through software. The mechanism for the software is Sadhaka Pitta. Sadhaka pitta gives momentum to the Manovaha srotas which are the channels of consciousness of the mind. When an experience is recognized in our mind, it has touched our heart and gained momentum from our Sadhaka pitta to move the energy of the experience through the Manovaha srotas. Mano vaha srota--the channels which carry thoughts, ideas, emotions, and impressions. In the analogy of the computer this could be considered data. Our mind then asseses the data for familiarity, determines level of understanding and then releases an emotional, perceptual or cognitive reaction.

When the Manohava srotas are insufficient, the affect of an individual can be reduced with lack or absence of emotion, energy and motivation that could result in depression. When the Manohava srotas are in excess, the mind and affect of the individual can become more animated, agitated or even anxious with thoughts and emotions ceasing to rest to the point where insomnia may be provoked. With the Manohava srotas being located in the heart and circulating in the heart, imbalances could affect heart fuctioning and cause imbalances in circulation of both blood and oxygen.

Analysis of Ayurvedic Herbs

By Jennifer Salvo,

Student

Using plants as medicine has been a mainstay of traditional societies around the world for dealing with health problems for thousands of years.

The Ayurvedic approach to harmony- using diet, lifestyle, and drugs (plants, minerals, and animal origins) was first written in the Caraka Samhita roughly 3000 years ago. It details preventative health and therapeutic measures to treat disease. Ayurvedic drugs were first chosen by experiment, intuition, and discussion among scholars and the therapeutic findings can be read in sutras. It is very important to take into account the dosage of the Ayurvedic drugs given. These herbs, minerals and animal products can be safe and very effective when taken correctly.

The patient must also understand that these drugs are not a “quick fix” and must be taken correctly over a period of time for the desired effects to be achieved. Also, they are most effective when combined with proper diet and lifestyle as well. Some drugs may be taken alone, but most will be given in formulations which promote and harmonize their respective actions. This results in a greater therapeutic effect then taking herbs alone.

Even though there are modern equivalent medicines for many Ayurvedic diseases and symptoms, the popularity of alternative medicine is growing in the west. Most are seeking different strategies for health care driven by the inadequacies of modern medicines to treat disease and chronic conditions.

Understanding Samkhya in Ayurveda


By Monica Bhatia, PhD, PK

One of the most difficult and esoteric topics to grasp in Ayurveda is the Samkhya Philosophy. Our co founder and teacher prepared this 3d video to illustrate the Samkhya, in order to explain the creation of universe, mind, ego, the senses. Our co founder and teacher prepared this 3d video to illustrate the Samkhya, in order to explain the creation of universe, mind, ego, the senses.

The Three Doshas in Ayurveda

By Dr. Nandini Daljit,

Student- San Diego College of Ayurveda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is Ayurveda and the best lifestyle?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ayurvedic Herbs for Self Healing

By Midori Hatakayama- Ayurveda Wellness Practitioner

I believe that herbal medicines are important to us because they connect us with the very source of our life that is the nature, which is full of vitality and pure energies. Further more, herbal medicines are the time tested holistic and preventive medicines that have least side effects if at all.

It is said that the many of the herbs on the market are wild grown and the destruction of the natural habitats and the growing needs for herbs are inviting the phenomenon of over harvesting which are risking the extinction of potent and popular herbs grown in wild.

By choosing herbal medicine, one must recognize the value of the nature and the five elements within. Herbalists must become aware of the environment that surrounds not only themselves but also the environment that surrounds the very plants that save us from suffering. It is crucial for herbalists to learn about the local cultures and the lives of local people and how the plants are harvested.

It is important that we become aware of the circumstances of the plants and that any suffering of the source we use for the medicine will directly affect the effect of our medicine not to mention the extinction of the source. It is also important that herbalists
and the practitioners of traditional medicines unite themselves in the protection and conservation of the nature.

To protect the future of the herbal medicine, cultivation and certification of herbs must be encouraged and the practitioners of Traditional Medicine and herbalists should make a conscientious choice of correcting cultivated and certified herbs instead of wild grown endangered herbs for their practices.

By choosing the way of herbal medicine, not only we have chosen the holistic health for ourselves but also chosen the holistic way of life in which we must stand aside with the nature and wildlife and participate in a conscientious and ethical practice of collecting herbs.

DOSAGES

In general, low dose restores, stimulates, or cleanses the target system by balancing related dosha; medium dose directory affects the target dosha and counteracts to the symptoms of its imbalance; and high dose dramatically increases or decreases the target dosha whereby causing aggravation of non-target dosha.

If you'd like to use this article, please reprint and give the link to this page, and, give the following credit to Midori Hatekayama, seasonalyoga.net and San Diego College of Ayurveda.

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Regular Bowel Movements (Mala) are the secret to Health

Regular Bowel Movements are the secret to Health

By Monica B Groover, PhD, PK

A chiropractor friend recently told me, that he recently did muscle testing for a patient, and, found out that constipation and irregular elimination increased their symptoms. When his patients have regular bowel movements, their back pain seems diminished.

Ayurveda believes that balanced elimination is KEY to good health.

The definition of Health according to Ayurveda is 'Sama Dhatu (Balanced Tissues), Sama Dosha (Balanced Doshas), Sama Agni (Balanced Digestive Fire) - hence, Balanced Elimination or Mala.

Ayurvedic text books talk about two kinds of Eliminate or Waste Materials.

i Ahara mala or wastes from food
ii Dhatu mala or wastes from the tissues

Ahara Mala:

Ayurveda believes we are not just what we eat – we are also what we digest! Digesting and eliminating whatever we put in our bodies is referred to as Ahara Mala

Ahara Mala is further divided into three types in Ayurvedic Medicine:

Purisha (Faeces) – According to Ayurveda, Purisha or faeces are the elimination of Earth, and, Water element. For a healthy BM(Bowel Movement), we need to eat the earth element(Fibre from whole grains), as well as drink warm or hot water. Cold water is not suggested. Appearance of the stools differ according to the imbalance of dosha, and, dhatus. For example, if the stool is hard, it may suggest a vata imbalance. It may suggest a variable Agni or digestive fire. Constipation or less than 1 BM a day is also suggestive of Vata imbalance. 3-5 Bowel movements that are loose along with acidity and acid reflux may suggest a pitta imbalance. For vata imbalance, and, constipation -- Triphala Ghee for Vata imbalance. For Acidity, Ayurveda suggest avoiding sour foods including fermented foods and drinks, salt, and, as going very easy on hot spices like cayenne pepper, ginger, pungent foods like onions or garlic. Cumin, Coriander and Fennel tea, whey probiotic lassi drink or eating pomegranates is excellent for pitta imbalances with more than 3 or 4 bowel movements, and, acidity.

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

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

Now, let's move to Dhatu Malas.

There are seven Dhatus and seven Dhatu Malas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Importance of a Daily Routine in Ayurveda

By Donah, Ayurveda Counselor Student

It is important to have a daily routine or Dinacarya, because we are the microcosm of the macrocosm. Which means that all part of our being is connected to the bigger picture of the universe. We are connected to nature and all things that make up the planet, therefore everything affects us. We are affected by the water on the planet that is connected to our blood and plasma. We are connected to the earth that is connected to our bones. I was taught that our teeth and bones hold the memories of the earth just like the rocks and stones. We are connected to all phases of the moon as well as the rise and setting of the sun. Our energy wanes and waxes with the moon. When the moon is dark it is a time to be quiet and plant the seeds for creation. When the moon is full everything comes to fruition. A woman's cycle is in sync with the moon.

By maintaining a Dinacarya we are essentially establishing a base line in our bodies. so that when we bring in something different, like staying up to late, too much of one food or person, we notice the different. Being balanced in Ayurveda for me is about noticing all the qualities, elements that we take in. If we take in too much of one, then we can balance it daily, because we have a 'dosha dance' that changes if we do not stick to the "plan", that is why dinacarya is so important

Some imbalances are taking in too much of one quality or element. We can also miss if something subtle comes up. If we stay up one night too long, the next morning we could be sleepy, then our eating schedule is off, then it continues like this.. like a domino effect. At the end it could be very chaotic.

A daily routine or Dinacarya keeps us in sync with nature and the universe. If we are in sync our at our best health, and our minds, heart and spirit are clear, because we are connected to all there is. When we do not follo a Dinacarya we are more likely to feel disturbances in the body and mind. Having a Dinacarya also helps the body be more disciplined and scheduled. When this happens the body is prepared for what comes next and more capable of bouncing back from what is unexpected because it is stronger. It supports digestion, absorption, agni and the balancing of the doshas.

When we do not have a daily or seasonal routine, Ritucarya, we are more susceptible to disturbances, including disease and illness. Some of the things that can be disturbed are sleep. If we go to bed at different times each night, the body will not know when to be prepared for sleep, and the natural circadian rhythm may be disturbed. This can cause hetus, which is a disturbance.

Not enough sleep prevents the body from resting and healing which can cause insomnia, mental and emotional disturbances as well as obesity and diabetes. Not eating at the same time every day can lead to indigestion, heartburn, cravings for foods that can upset the dosha and balances in the body.

Ritucarya or seasonal routines are important because they prepare the body for the next season, i.e, moving from winter to spring. If we are connected to mother earth then it makes sense that we would feel the change or the seasons and the change of the seasons would affect us. There are two weeks between seasons that are a great time to prepare the body for the change. One might do a cleanse moving into the warmer seasons. This is a good time to shed the extra kapha that has kept us static for winter. We move into a lighter season that has more vata or pitta energy. We begin to eat lighter foods so that our bodies can feel lighter. A pitta season such as summer would be a time to plant seeds. This would also be a good time for any type of transformation for us even if it has to do with our thoughts and lives.

Dinacarya and Ritucarya are disciplined and schedules of which to live by that create balance and harmony within the body and mind, and keep us intuned with nature, the planet and spirit.

Ayurveda-and-Menstrual Cycle

Ayurveda and Menstrual Cycle

By Ayurveda Counselor Group 9.20

Western medicine views menstruation as more of a physical process where the body removes unneeded tissue and prepares for the next ovulation cycle. The process is thought to be governed primarily by hormones. Ayurveda sees women as the embodiment of creative cosmic energy. Women are meant to create and nurture life. Women are seen as closer to the natural cycles of the earth, moon and planets and this is reflected through their menstruation cycle which roughly corresponds the cycle of the Moon as it moves from new to full to new again. Ayurveda believes that the menstruation period is on of cleansing and that women should slow down, moderate exercise, eat lightly and honor this period to reflect on their divine connections.

The Western view of the menstrual cycle is very clinical and scientific in nature. It relies completely on the objective role of the hormones finding a mean of the general population of women and presenting that as the norm.

The Western view, as a whole, does not attempt to offer pacifying remedies outside the scope of their medicinal treatments, eg. NSAIDs for all types of pain associated with the cycle(no deferential between headache remedy, cramping, low back), uses hormones to explain PMS symptoms, specifically manasic symptoms, but does not attempt to educate about these imbalances to women nor offer education to their partners about how to support during this time, yet will gladly prescribe antidepressants to 'fix' the women. In contrast, Ayurveda offers the perspective that this is a time of cleansing: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

As such, it is advised to rest and meditate and lean in to family to allow this space for themselves. Ayurveda also differs in its view of a women's cycle, not only recognizing that each woman is unique but that she will need specific balancing remedies per her dosha, agni, and cycle agni. These remedies include the use of blood tonifying herbs, diet, meditation, mantra, marma activation, abyhanga, pulling back from unnecessary activity, among others. Ayurveda offers these remedies when a woman has a period that falls outside what is considered a healthy flow. A healthy period will be moderate in flow and duration, it will have no clots, and little to no discomfort.

Another main difference between the Western perspective and Ayurveda is that Ayurveda honors the cycle throughout the month and offers pacifying suggestions through all three phases of the cycle Kapha, Pitta, and Vata. Lastly, Ayurveda honors that there are times that Western medicine may be needed but advises against long term use.

Ayurveda also sees a woman’s development from birth to menopause as representative of the 3 doshas. From birth to puberty is largely Kapha, Puberty to 40 years is mostly Pitta, 40 to 50 a combination of vata and pitta and 50 years, menopausal and post-menopausal as Vata. Menstrual periods are often experienced differently by different dosha types.

The modern view of the menstrual cycle is something that is considered to be due to hormonal changes in a women’s body. They do not look deeper into the meaning; they see it from a very scientific point of view.

Versus in Ayurveda, the scientific part is considered. Ayurveda does know the hormones are changing and the lining of the uterus is shedding, but it takes into account the esoteric part as well. Ayurveda sees this time as a time to be honored; a time that a woman is literally changing. She is letting go of all accumulated toxins in the body, emotional as well. Ayurveda also takes into account how we are very connected to the moon.

According to Ayurveda, the menstrual cycle is viewed as a period of cleansing for the mind and the body; and is controlled by rasa dhatu agni, artava dhatu agni, apana vayu and poshaka kapha. It’s an opportunity to rest the mind, and it’s advised to reduce chores at home, doing physical activities, invite others in our space, so we can release what need to be released and reset our personal energy. Ahara and vihara is also very important because it can smooth the feminine cycle or worsen it, which is why it’s crucial to point out if what we experience is an imbalance if PMS is present, and not normalize it. Learning the ayurvedic approach of the feminine cycle helps to learn more about our own mind and body and adjust ahara and vihara according to them. The feminine energy is ruled by the moon and the phases of the moon are directly linked to the women cycle, which is another aspect not taken in consideration in western society.

For the western society, menstrual cycle is controlled by female hormones and this moment of the month is not very honored. Women doesn’t really rest, synch with their mind and body because of the “duties of multitasked women” are considered and taught as proprietary compared to their original and vital need of releasing energy. They have to take care of everything all year long, no matter if there is this vital recurrent need to release emotions, ama and not only physical blood.

Herbs

Ashoka
Pacifies: Pitta, Kapha
Aggravates: Vata
Imbalance: Supports Excess bleeding, dysmenorrhea, prolapse, irregular cycles, PCOS.

Dashamula:
Pacifies: Vata, Kapha
Aggravates: Pitta
Imbalance: Supports Premenstrual anxiety, insomnia, cold extremities

Shatavari
Pacifies: Vata, Pitta
Aggravates: Kapha
Imbalance: Supports Dysmenorrhea, stagnant blood, constipation, heavy menstruation.

Punarnava
Pacifies: Vata, Pitta, Kapha
Aggravates: Vata in excess
Imbalance: Supports Blood clots, menorrhagia, fibroids.

Musta
Pacifies: Pitta, Kapha
Aggravates: Vata
Imbalance: Supports Cramping, heavy flow, bloating, depression, delayed onset of period.

Ashwagandha
Pacifies: Vata, Pitta (in small amounts), Kapha
Aggravates: May aggravate Pitta
Imbalance: Supports Slow onset of menses, spasms, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, weakness.

Turmeric
Pacifies: Vata, Pitta, Kapha
Aggravates:Pitta and Kapha in excess
Imbalance: Supports Fibroids, cysts, endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, kapha accumulation.

Anantamula
Pacifies: Pitta
Aggravates: Vata, kapha
Imbalance: Supports Menorrhagia, leukorrhea, dysmenorrhea, anemia, hot flashes

Fenugreek
Pacifies: Vata, Pitta
Aggravates: Pitta
Imbalance: SupportsDysmenorrhea

Ajwain
Pacifies: Vata, Kapha
Aggravates: Pitta
Imbalance: Supports Cramping, anxiety, depression, lethargy.

Rose
Pacifies: Pitta, Vata, Kapha
Aggravates: na
Imbalance: Anxiety, stress, depression, acne.

Pomegranate
Pacifies: Vata, Pitta, Kapha
Aggravates: na
Imbalance: Supports Endometriosis, fibroids, low and high estrogen.

Disclaimer: Ayurveda is a complementary medicine modality and is not allowed to treat, cure or prevent any disease. All the information above is for knowledge/information purpose only. Ayurveda is not recognized by FDA.

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