monica's blog

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 Rules for Meals

By Veero Kanda

Eating habits in Western countries have deviated away from nature with the changes in lifestyle. A typical Western diet is high in saturated fats, refined sugar, meat, and commercially processed foods. The foods typically deviate away from “Nature”-fresh fruits and vegetables and lead to nutritional deficiencies because of the preservatives and processing they go through. Such foods and diets are hazardous to the health. These nutritional deficiencies further lead the Typical American to substitute with a Multivitamin. These days there are Multivitamin formulations for everything “Eye Health”, “Kidney Health”, “Liver Health”, “Prostate Health”, “Breast/Women’s Health”, etc. However, the natural aspects within fresh naturally grown foods that not only provide the optimum nutrients/minerals cannot be compensated through Vitamin pills.

In the USDA food guidelines, the ratios of portions from food groups are in the the same ratio e.g. a female requires less calories than a male, so the quantity is lower, however, the ratio of portions for each food group is the same as it declares it a “Balanced diet”. Basically a 2 year old, a 12-year old, or a pregnant woman- are all getting the same proportions just different quantity. Moreover, it is encouraged to eat 7-8 small meals throughout the day especially for those attempting to lose weight. However, Ayurveda emphasizes on following the natural rhythms of the body and eating when hungry with our biggest meal during sunrise and not at sunset.

Ayurvedic approach is essential to take into consideration the different constitutions that require a specifically tailored plan based upon the individual’s body’s requirements as opposed to just sticking to one Ratio/proportion for every individual regardless of age/gender. One of the most shocking facts is that regardless of the abundance of food supply in the West, we still have Vitamin deficiency and become dependant on Vitamin supplements.

That within itself, is a red flag as to because the abundant food we are receiving is processed, artificially grown, enriched with chemicals, additives and toxins that are not providing us with the essential nutrients that naturally, natural grown foods would give us. This is also because we are not taking the foods that are most compatible with our individual constitution and Agni type, thus minimizing the absorption of nutrients leading to deficiencies. We have also deviated away from the proper eating habits and rules that are most compatible with our individual constitutions- not overeating, not starving oneself, and not mixing raw and cooked foods. By deviating away from our specific constitution requirements, we are accumulating Ama, diminishing nutrient absorption, and giving rise to disease formation.

By knowing which particular foods or meals are not compatible for a particular constitution, one can optimize the absorption of nutrients from food and thus avoiding accumulations of “Ama” and lead an optimum lifestyle and longevity. Aside from the individually tailored Ayurvedic plan tailored to each constitution, Ayurveda gives consideration to cooking preparation, storage, times, seasons, prakrīti, vikruti, stage environment, lifestyle, food habits as well. In addition to this, Ayurveda looks at health as the whole body in terms connecting the Mind, Body and Spirit for a harmonious lifestyle.

Food Processing and Prana

By Veero Kanda (Student Post)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References:

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

San Diego College of Ayurveda. Ahara 101: workbook.

Ayurvedic Perspective-Food Allergies

By Veero Kanda (Student Post)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

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

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

Ayurvedic Food Rules

Food Rules by Laurel Byrne (Student)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References:

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

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

Spring festivities in Russion and Vietnam

By Tatiana Burke and Sarah Patterson, AC students

Spring celebrations in Russia, and Ayurveda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solving the mystery of Gods of Hinduism

Solving the mystery of Gods of Hinduism

By Aparna Dandekar, D.O, AP

There is much confusion about so many gods in Hinduism and Vedic Culture. Lets try to demystify it a little.

Lets begin with who Devatas are. Devatas are demigods, or, angels in Hinduism and are also called Adityas. Aditya means "son of Aditi". Aditi is the mother of the Sun and the other devas, while her sister Diti was the mother of the asuras, or the demons. Diti's sons are also called Daityas.

The other clarification I wanted to make through this blog was about the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh (Shiva).

There is a general confusion for many people about the terms Brahma versus Brahmin versus Brahman. And this is but natural because they are spelled so similarly!

Brahma is the creator of the material universe, he is born of Vishnu, and operates as per Vishnu's command. He is often depicted as an elderly bearded man with three heads, sitting on a lotus flower whose long stalk emerges from Vishnu's navel, almost like an umbilical cord. There is deep symbology behind all of this, beyond the scope of this discussion. This Brahma, the creator, occupies a post or "office", and his job is to create. He is not worshipped as the Ultimate Truth or The One; he is considered a "demi-god".

Vishnu and Shiva are the ones who get to enjoy the title of "God" spelled with a capital "G", while other deities are "gods". These gods could be considered angels or divine officers, or divine beings who are highly evolved and have much power, yet they are not God.

The title of God goes to Vishnu, Shiva and Shakti. Of course, staunch worshippers Vishnu (Vaishnavas) may disagree, and say that only Vishnu get the big "G". Shaivites (those who worship Shiva) may argue that only Shiva is God and Vishnu is a demigod. Those who exclusively worship the Divine Mother Shakti (Shaktas) will say, nope; there's only one God and She is Kali/Durga/Laxmi. But for most people in India, God means Vishnu/Shiva/Shakti when God takes on a PERSONAL (saguna) form.

When God is IMPERSONAL (nirguna), He/She/It is incomprehensible, limitless, formless, genderless, ageless, beginingless, endless, boundless energy. Lord Krishna (God) talks about this in the Bhagavad Gita, particularly in chapters 10 and 11. He also states that those who worship the ancestors, the demigods, and other "lower" celestial beings will enjoy the planes of these divine beings and return to earth when their karma is exhausted, but those who worship GOD (Krishna) will attain Him alone and never have to re-enter the cycle of birth and death. Lord Krishna also says that whomever you choose to worship, your prayers ultimately reach Krishna.

The demi-gods are personifications of the planets, the elements, rivers, mountains, forces of nature, etc. They are revered as very highly evolved beings far superior to man. They hold boons and blessings and they have the power to influence human destiny. They have their own stories, their own glories, their own mantras, special days of the week, rituals of worship, magnificent temples, magical vehicles, weapons, and other divine opulences. They are worshipped as manifestations of the endless wondrous powers of God. However, there is a clear understanding in the mind of each Hindu that God is One, Many are the Manifestations. This is a central tenet of the religion.

I imagine that this is similar to the concept of Patron Saints in Catholicism. These are powerful and revered beings to whom prayers are made, but ultimately God is One. In fact, doubting His singularity in Christianity would be blasphemy. Similarly, Hinduism is very much a monotheistic philosophy; but seemingly polytheistic, with millions of deities who preside over the forces of nature, like stationed officers, under the command of The One.

You could also look at them as expansions of God. In the beginning there was One. In the Vedas, the sentence "Eko'ham, bahu syam", when translated means, "I am one; let Me be many". Thus God became everything and everyone--all of creation. This is why we look upon everyone as divine; as carrying a spark of God, which is the soul or atman. When God resides in us, how can we be doomed sinners?

When God/Atman resides in all other creatures around us, how can we kill and eat them? This is why vegetarianism is such a cultural concept in all Dharma religions. This is why cows and other animals are "worshipped" in India, much to the amusement and laughter of the rest of the world, who is exposed to such practices on documentaries which do not explain this cultural context. Without understanding this backstory, India is misunderstood as a backward country, and Hinduism as a religion of simpletons.

Now, lets move on to Brahmin and Brahman.

Brahmin is simply a man or woman whose occupation is scholarly or priestly.

Brahman is synonymous the The One, or the Supreme, or God.

Brahma, Brahmin and Brahman are the usual romanized spellings of these three words. But if I were to write them out in IAST format with diacritical marks, they would look like this : (1) ब्रह्मा brahmā ,the creator god (2) ब्राह्मण brāhmaṇa , the priest, and , (3) ब्रह्मन् brahman, The Supreme. The diacritical marks help us with the proper pronunciation.

What is Junk Food according to Ayurveda?

Manjulali

When it comes to carrying the burden of junk food- fast food joints and their plethora of calorie laden, nutrition free offerings like Burgers, pizzas, doughnuts and sodas usually come to mind. And, no doubt they are definitely the major culprits and villains in making our diet stripped of any nutrients.

However, Ayurveda assumes the following will harm the person, hence is 'junk' to their dhatus (bodily tissues), doshas (natural constitution) and agni (digestive fire) that we tend to overlook.

And, lets remember not all organic foods are created equal. Once processed for shelf life, they are being given the same treatment as conventionally grown food.

Dont get me wrong, we all do this. I have bought frozen organic dinners for my son many times. However, doesnt mean it is a great, and, top healthy choice. It is better than non organic frozen dinner, but, still has no prana. Here is why:

1. Organic, or, non organic foods that has been tinned in a BPA lining can is toxic. Yes, even if it is organic may be considered contaminated from Ayurvedic sense. Body will spend more time detoxifying you, then, absorbing nutrients.

2. Organic or non organic foods that have been over processed, and, many chemical additives have been added. Ayurveda does not believe that allergies just manifest out of thin air. Eating over-processed foods eventually weakens our Annavaha srotas, Purishavaha srotas. (Upper and lower GI Tract), reduces the gut bacteria, and, sensitizes us to the point of allergy.

3. Cooked food that has been frozen for a long time. (Including organic). Yes, there are nutrients present in this. However, no prana. Prana is the key ingredient.

4. Most conventionally grown vegetables and fruits that have been sprayed with heavy duty pesticides, or, grown in soil with heavy duty pesticides are carrying that poison of pesticide in their very being. Yes, we cant afford organic all the time. But, its good to understand that conventionally grown food maybe carrying a lot of harmful substances, that may lead to AMA (toxins).

There was a study being quoted on the Internet a while ago, how actually conventionally grown food is BETTER than organic-because the pesticides allow it to reach full peak. And, study said no difference in nutrition was found, except pesticides. I have had people arguing with me at dinner parties quoting this study over and over again.

Conventionally grown food may be nutrition, but, it is also rich in trace amounts of pesticides that may be linked to cancer, and, may lead to many diseases. Such food has no Prana, or, Chi in the food. Only nutrition.

Even from the perspective of taste or Rasa, conventionally grown food may have nutrition, but has less taste, and, definitely is lacking prana.

I have given this example of a dead squirrel that got buried in snow entire winter. When summer came around, its body was preserved. So, were the nutrients. However, there was no prana or life in this squirrel. This was a dead body of the poor creature.

Conventionally grown food that has been frozen, canned, tinned---is food that has died. It is dead. It has no prana from an Ayurvedic perspective.

Now, if you have ever bought an organic bread, or food--you will see that they decompose FASTER. That's the whole point. This is why the whole food industry adds a million additives--to preserve shelf life.

Yes, if my clients have no choice but to eat such foods due to lifestyle, price, and convenience factors--I ask them to at least eat ONE fresh local organic food item a day. I ask them to mix fresh spices, and, herbs in their frozen dinner.

Syndicate content