Online Ayurveda School with onsite internship

Narayana Ayurveda and Yoga Academy (N.A.Y.A) is a well-respected and premier Ayurveda college in the state of Texas. Our professional Ayurveda Seminars are approved and regulated by Texas Workforce Commission-Career School and Colleges.

Narayana Ayurveda and Yoga Academy has been reviewed and recognized as providing training at the professional membership level of Ayurvedic Health Counselors by the National Ayurvedic Medical Association.vNarayana is also a member of T.A.P.A.S -Texas Ayurveda Professionals Association.

We offer affordable tuition, flexible payment plans, hybrid training online with some in-person portion, rigorous traditional Ayurveda content from ancient texts, highly qualified teachers, and are women and nutrition centered.

Text or call us at: ‪(512) 761-7563‬


AYURVEDA COUNSELOR-NEW COHORT starts January 15, 2023. CLICK HERE TO APPLY

-EBOOK-Essential Guide to Ayurveda-Part 1
Ayurveda Textbook for Counselors and Students is available in all countries. Hardcover copy available at amazon.com.

Buy Ayurveda book by our Director Monica Groover-Ayurveda and the Feminine

Ayurveda Counselor is offered in two tracks. Online Track which is online classes only, and, has a discounted price. Hybrid Track is non-discounted and includes in-person sessions.
Read More

March Group Schedule

CLASS SCHEDULE

Saturday-8 AM - 12 Noon Central (4 hrs per week)
OR
Sunday-8 AM - 12 Noon Central (4 hrs per week)
Thursday-7 PM Central (90 min per week apx.)
Mondays- Noon (once a month. Time TBD-1-4 hrs per month)
In-person sessions (16-18 hours for the weekend apx.)

(We have 5 terms. Each term either has a Saturday OR a sunday. we change the schedule every two terms. Most classes are recorded and are available for viewing.)

Jan-June 2023- In-person Internship Schedule

Community Day 1- Dec 4- Community Workshop/Lab
Weekend 1- Sat/Sun  Jan 28, 29 2023 St Edwards University
Community Day 2-Community workshop/lab-Feb 25, 2023 Location TBD
Weekend 2- Sat/Sun March 25, March 26 2023 St Edwards University
Weekend 3- Sat/Sun April 29-30 2023 St Edwards University
Community Day-Community workshop/lab-Earth Day-April 21, 2023
Weekend 4- Sat/Sun May 27-28, 29 2023 St Edwards University
Weekend 5- Sat/Sun June 24-25 2023 St Edwards University
JUNE 28 thru July 29 CLOSED for Summer Break
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Online Internship Dates
Thursdays 7-8.30 PM.
On internship weekends

*DATES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE
*We require a minimum of 6 persons to sign up to do this in a classroom at St Edwards University If there are less than 6 persons, we may switch to online only. And/Or, we will have a few onsite students come in for a private mentorship.

*Please note that the dates may be subject to change if Austin reaches Stage 4 again, or, similar circumstances. Our schedule is summer to summer-so from August 1st 2021 to July 31st, 2022.
INTERNSHIP will be offered both Online and In-person starting Jan 1st, 2022.

NOTICE

“As per NAMA requirement, Counselor cohort beginning on or after January 1, 2022 (Fall of 2021), live in-person internships will be mandatory and will begin per state and local public health guidelines, for students wishing to take the Ayurveda Counselor NAMA Board Exam. If a student enrolled before January 2022--this does not apply to them.”

Text or call us at: ‪(512) 761-7563‬

Graduates in good standing are eligible to sit for the National Ayurvedic Medical Association Certification Board exam at the Ayurvedic Health Counselor level and upon passage may apply for NAMA professional membership*.
*Provided the students pass the NAMA CB exam.

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You can also book an Ayurveda consultation with an Ayurvedic Vaidya or an Ayurvedic practitioner. (Student consults are only available once a month and posted separately)

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Ayurvedic view of menstrual cycle

By Jen Dexter (Ayurveda Counselor Student)

The Ayurvedic view of the menstrual cycle is far more holistic and encompassing, and also personal/individualized than the conventional view.

For example. Ayurveda recognizes the correlation and connections of the lunar cycle with the female menstrual cycle. The lunar cycle is 28 days, as is (roughly) a woman’s internal cycle.

The moon affects our estrogen levels energetically, and it is recommended to sync our menstruation with the full moon. The full moon is the time of letting go of the old energies, just as menstruation is a time of shedding not only the uterine lining but also our emotions and energies that are ready to be released. The moon balances our feminine energy, and being in harmony with her cycles creates inner balance in our lives.

Ayurveda also considers the unique dosha of women, and how each of the doshas affects the menstrual cycles differently. A vata, pitta, and kapha woman will each have a different type of period, with other pms states, and therefore need different ahara and herbs to support their cycles. For example, a vata woman may just have light bleeding for around 3 days, irregular periods, and experience back pain, aches, cramping, dry skin, constipation, and dehydration. She may feel light-headed, anxious, and flighty.

Whereas a pitta woman may have excessive bleeding for 7 days or more, and experience a lot of heat, sharp cramps, headaches, and diarrhea. She may be prone to anger, irritation, and impatience. And a kapha woman may bleed for around 5 days, have a slow metabolism, experience skin breakouts, and have heaviness in her breasts. She may feel sentimental, sad, and clingy, and want to sleep and/or cry a lot.

Knowing what type of menstrual cycle a woman has can determine the support she needs for pms and during her moon cycle.
Ayurveda also characterizes the menstrual cycle (for all women) into vata, pitta, and kapha time periods. The first 15 days after a woman’s last period is the kapha phase, or build-up phase, where the uterine lining is re-forming and building up.
The Pitta phase is day 14/15 – day 28, where the elements of fire and water are more dominant, and progesterone is high. The vata phase is where apana-vayu is strong, causing the uterine lining to break down and shed, resulting in bleeding (excretion of menstrual blood).

Ayurveda considers women’s emotional and mental (and physical) health much greater than conventional views. During menstruation, it is advised from an Ayurvedic perspective to slow down, to avoid heavy physical activity, to rest, self-care, and retreat inwards. To love, honor and respect this sacred time.

Some Herbs that support Menstrual Imbalances.

Vata – Shatavari
Pitta – Rose, shatavari, Ashoka, pomegranate
Kapha – Ashoka, ashwagandha, kumari

Ashoka

Pacifies doshas: Pitta, Kapha
Aggravates: Vata
Imbalance: Heavy Uterine Bleeding, PCOS, Uterine tonic
Shatavari
Supports fertility, lactation, helps sleep, calms mind, balances hormones, good nerve tonic, nourishing, good nerve tonic.
Pacifies : vata and pitta
Aggravates: kapha (can do)

Punarnava

Supports amenorrhea, leucorrhoea, acts as an anti-inflammatory, supports bladder and UTI’s, and conjunctivitis. Helps liver and kidneys
Pacifies: kapha and vata and pitta
Musta (‘nut grass’)
Supports breast milk purification, lactation, post -partum. Also gastritis, treats ama and diarrhea, IBS.
Pacifies: kapha and pitta
Aggravates: Vata

Ashwagandha

For female (and male) libido and fertility (vajikara), adaptogen, rasayana, balya,
Pacifies: Tridoshic, though may aggravate pitta in excess.

Tumeric

Regulates menstruation, balya (adds strength), beneficial for rasa and rakta dhatus, kindles agni (dipana), pachana (removes ama)
Pacifies: Tridoshic, though may aggravate vata and pitta in excess

Fenugreek

Increases milk production in breast-feeding (galactagogue), increases sexual desire (vajikara), helps with painful menstruation and uterine issues, improves estrogen production, reduces ovary cysts, improves blood flow during menstruation, controls blood sugar, weight-reducer
Pacifies: vata and kapha
Aggravates: pitta

Ajwain

Regulates periods, cleansing for uterus and stomach. Helps with indigestion in pregnant women. Enhances digestive enzymes and gut health. Strengthen uterus wall. Helps constipation
Pacifies: vata and kapha
Aggravates: pitta

Rose
Divine feminine herb, inner beauty and radiance, balances the heart (sadhaka pitta), enhances connection between sadhaka pitta and prana vayu. Enhances agni, helps all 7 dhatus.
Pacifies: Trodoshic. Esp beneficial for pitta.

Pomegranate

Rich in antioxidants, increase blood flow of uterus/promotes healthy uterine lining. Vitamin C, E and folic acid are good for trying to get pregnant/conceive, and for healthy pregnancy.
Sweet pomegranate – natural aphrodisiac. Digestion. Good for heart, intelligence, immunity, strength.
Sweet/sour pomegranate - digestion

Sweet pomegranate – Tridoshic
Sour pomegranate – pacifies vata and kapha, aggravates pitta.

Three doshas walk into a bar.....

Three doshas walk into a bar....

An Ayurveda blog entry about doshas and the mind connexion by Nina Elliot.

Vata, Pitta and Kapha decide to try out a new restaurant downtown, called Triguna, which promises to be a unique visit, as it is a multisensory fine-dining experience. Patrons have been marveling at how great the food is, as well as how such sophisticated technology has been able to access the mind so deeply.

Prana, the host, greets them at the door, and explains the evening’s events. The doshas will visit three rooms, each representing a Universal quality of the Mind. Together, accompanied by key Subdoshas at their service, they will be transported into spaces which will reflect their inner selves, much like a mirror.

Prana continues:

Should you need help in articulating your emotions, Udana will be there.

If you need to get motivated to move along, Vyana’s got you.

Apana will be laying low, but will spring into action if needed.

Need help in making a decision or supporting you emotional intelligence? Sadhaka Pitta’s your guy.

Perhaps you need support returning to calmness…Tarpaka Kapha will be there.

Should you just need a hug, reach for Avalambaka Kapha.

Prana adds that it will not be joining the doshas personally, but will be back in the control room - ensuring a smooth journey for them all. Buzzing with excitement, they hop onto a conveyor belt and follow the sounds of drum beats getting louder… They have reached the first room, Rajas. A blazing fireplace in one corner illuminates the room’s red walls. Movement is everywhere one looks, and although very interesting, a chaotic current runs throughout. One side of the room showcases a window into an ocean, with waves constantly rising and falling, the other side has an interactive wall, filled with activities, rides, puzzles, etc…

After they have explored the room, they sit down to eat.

Rajas’s menu consists of chicken with chili-garlic tapenade, dark chocolate bites, and wine or coffee.

Vata’s mind is racing, between the overload of the senses and their nervous energy, anxiety is building. Pitta, onto a second glass of red wine….looks over at Vata and muses “it looks like I will come out of this a whole lot saner than you, my friend’. Kapha is too busy popping chocolates in their mouth and into their coat pocket to say anything.

When it is time to leave, Tarpaka Kapha provides them with a warm towel for the face and hands, and sprays them with a soothing cleansing mist to clear the energy.

The group is then blindfolded, and led into the Tamas room. Though they can’t see, soft, luxurious fabrics pad the walls and the floor to soften any unsure footing. Elevator music lulls in the background, and a heaviness in the air permeates throughout.

They make their way to the table and are told the menu:

Assorted sweet pastries, potato au gratin, animal-based (dead foods).

Wilted spinach & arugula salad with balsamic vinaigrette

Miso soup

Vata is suffering, as they are unable to choose between the salad or the pastries. This indecisiveness starts to escalate into grief and shame, until Sadhaka Pitta whispers a recommendation for the soup, to which Vata gratefully agrees. Pitta, despite not being able to see, suddenly becomes enraged as they believe Vata and Kapha were seated in more desirable seats and shouts in protest. Kapha doesn't notice Vata fretting or Pitta fuming…but does get enticed by how comfortable a couch feels before them and sinks into it, falling into a deep sleep.

After a while Vyana wakes up Kapha, and nudges the others to prepare for the next room.

Avalambaka Kapha gives them each a flower and forgives Pitta for their outburst.

‘How is your night so far?’ Udana asks.

‘Well, ahem, it is, it’s been, um….’ Vata starts…

‘A powerful and practical experience which will help you understand and navigate life?’, Udana offers...

‘Exactly!’ exclaims the group in unison, taking off their blindfolds.

They continue on together and they find themselves in an outdoor garden pathway, which they walk through with bare feet. Following a trail of sweet incense and pure light with increasing radiance, they come upon a serene lake before them, and they know they have reached the Sattva room. It is perfect.

As they snack on an ornate spread of fresh fruits, seeds, dates, honey and ghee, the group is able to see things as they really are, and they revel in this clarity. Vata finally feels joy and wonder, Pitta already longs to come back, and Kapha affectionately praises his friends, even offering to pay the night’s bill.

Prana returns and gives the group a gift. It is the parking validation, as well as a voucher for free, unlimited visits to the Sattva room at Triguna, providing that the doshas take care of each other and keep their own Rajas and Tamas rooms well kept. So pleased with their night, they make reservations to visit the sister restaurants Atma and Sarira, also equally popular.

Ayurveda and emotions

Ayurveda and Emotions

By Nina Elliot (Ayurveda Counselor Student)

In one of our first classes we were introduced to the Shad Darshan (6 philosophies of Life) as the foundation for Ayurveda. The Sankhya philosophy detailed the journey of Consciousness into Matter. Simply put, Purusha (pure consciousness) just IS, and when Prakruti (latent matter) and its three gunas (Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas) are added, we have our existence as we know it.

The human being is made of three components: Manas-the Mind, Atma-the Soul and Sharira-the physical body, and according to Ayurveda, wellness depends on the balance of these three. We covered our Sharira in the first months, and we are now expanding our knowledge to include the Mind. Just like the Sankhya concept that everything in creation is in movement, the mind is the same thing, in this case it is thoughts moving through consciousness.

The mind is a layer of energy, which, when combined with Ahamkara and Intelligence, form the seat of Consciousness, and makes us knowledgeable. The basic components of the Mind are Atman (soul), Ahamkara (ego), Buddhi (intellect), and Manas (mind). If the mind is disturbed, all the aspects of the mind will not thrive, and functioning normally is not possible.

Manas is our unique door to reality, as well as a unique door in structure. It swings both ways, as it is an organ of both reception and expression, making it an Atindriya, or the 11th Indruya (the others are the 5 knowledge-acquiring senses and 5 working senses). On either side of this Atindrya, we have two more ‘panels’ which make up the door; one side is the subtle Anutva, which makes the mind unmeasurable, yet inferred, while the other is the Ekatva, describing One, but made up of many Ones. All of our perceptions are taking place in the mind and all the actions originate in the mind. This doorway’s location is in the heart, yet its power can permeate throughout our subtle and physical body. Another interesting metaphor for the mind brought up in class, is to think of the mind as the Central Processing Unit, as it connects our external world to our inside through the senses.

Basic functions of the mind are as follows:

To think

To judge

To decide

To keep control of self

To keep control of organs

To set goals

Similar to the concept of the 5 elements creating the doshas, which are the groundwork for our physical bodies, the three gunas (Sattva, Raja and Tama) are the essential components of the mind. And just like we are made up of combinations of Vata, Pitta and Kapha, all three Gunas are needed to provide the mind’s structure. Sattva represents intelligence and light of knowledge, Rajas represents activity and turbulence and Tamas represents darkness and inertia.

The gunas can show up as predominance in the mind; ie much like a person can be Vata dominant, a person can also be considered Sattvik, yet still having Rajas and Tamastic qualities. A person who has cultivated Sattva guna has intelligence, compassion, full awareness and speak with non-offensive truth. People with Rajas tend to overpower others, and show dynamic energy. They can be hot tempered, creative, ambitious. Lastly, one who is considered Tamastic may be lazy, ignorant, excessively indulge in food, sleep and sex, health or hygiene may not be top-priority. Though we should strive to be more Sattvik, we should also honor and witness the Rajas and Tamas part of ourselves. A hopeful aspect is that unlike our physical Prakruti, which tends to be more fixed, is that our Manas prakruti can change and evolve over time.

Emotions can be tasted determined by the mind; these Rasas are associated with mood, personality, or motivation of an individual. Just like the Shad (6) Rasa in our Ahara, there are 9 rasas associated in the mind: Shringara (love/beauty), Hasya (laughter), Karuna (sorrow), Raudra (anger), Veera (courage), Bhayanaka (fear), Bibhatsya (disgust), Adbutha (wonder, awe) and Shantha (peace). When we ‘eat’ our emotions, our mind acts like a digestive enzyme, and can offer either nutrition in good mental health, or destruction if unbalanced.

Ayurveda, in its holistic approach to health, can help with maintaining balance in the soul and body; the mind is no exception.

Ayurveda and the Mind

A Definition of the Mind or Manas according to Ayurveda-

By Liberty Elliot (Ayurveda Counselor Student)

According to Ayurveda, Humans are beings who are layered and multidimensional, comprised of a Triad of Existence which consists of the Body, Mind, and Soul. These parts are inseparable and coexist together in order to maintain our life and consciousness.

Beginning with the Soul, or Atma, there is a spark of Divine Consciousness. The Atma is like the God particle, an inseparable part of us that resides in and is the Universe. This indestructible energy animates our body with Prana (subtle and vital life-force energy) and it also interacts with the external world via our mind and senses. Soul resides in the Heart. This essence can transmigrate from one physical being, carried with the subtle mind and ego, to the next in a progression of reincarnated existence. Bliss is the natural state of the Atma.

Mind is an integral part of humans that interacts with both the soul and physical body and could be likened to the Conductor in a Symphony of Life. Mind, or Manas as it is known in Ayurvedic terms, is our consciousness and becomes both Ego (Ahamkara) and Intellect (Bhuddi) as it evolves. Our Ego is the first layer after the Atma, providing our sense of identity and purpose, it is the doer. Buddhi or Intellect is responsible for our powers of logic, reasoning, and memory, it resides mostly in the head.

The mind is very powerful and permeates both subtle and physical bodies via the circulation of Prana, our vital life force. Residing in the heart and brain, it circulates throughout the body in the Pranavaha and Manovaha Srotas. The mind creates consciousness in connection with the body and senses. It is the command center of the Sensory and Motor Functions, sometimes referred to as our 6th Sense. It also is responsible for thinking, feeling, and being willing. The mind is an organ of both perception and action and it greatly determines our perception of reality. Mind is comprised of the three energies (Gunas) of Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas.

Rajas-a mode of passion or desire, characterized by activity and turbulence, it can relate to ambitious and dynamic action, but if imbalanced also greed and heated temper

Tamas-a mode of darkness, ignorance, and inertia, characterized by inactivity and a depressed state, is responsible for important functions, like sleep, but it can also relate to laziness and indulgence.

Sattva-a state of peace, intelligence, and enlightenment, characterized by traits of compassion, courage, and good intellect. Sattva is a state of pure existence, a balanced and peaceful state of mind where the Gunas are all in a state of balance and harmony.

Mind oversees how we think, feel, and our actions and decisions. It is said that the mind is a powerful servant but a dangerous master.

In Ayurveda, most imbalances arise first in the mind due to its most powerful effect on our behaviors. Suffering and diseases may be caused by Rogas or improper behaviors which arise from our egotistical desires. They are likened to the seven cardinal sins. Actions like lust, gluttony, greed, violence, and anger will lead to inevitable suffering and heavier karmic debt. This is why it is important to make an effort to practice restraints and willpower in such cases to overcome our most basic desires and evolve in a more spiritual way. Practices like Meditation, Mantra Yoga, and Chanting can strengthen our minds. Charitable actions too are very helpful in raising our awareness and can help to achieve great peace and balance in our mind which can flow from consciousness into our life for the benefit of all existence.

Difference between Western Astrology and Jyotisha?

By Liberty Elliot

Having first understood the Western Astrology system, I admit that I too considered it to be somewhat of pseudoscience, but that misconception is due to the fact that it is greatly simplified, sometimes just boiled down to a convenient pickup line "What's your sign?" which refers to the Sun Sign in a person's Natal Chart. The first great differentiation which I have learned from Vedic Astrology is that there is a much more complex system of sub-classifications, Planets, Constellations, and Houses, commonly called the Grahas, Rasis, and Bhavas in a person Chart, all of them interact to paint a combined picture of the result of a person's past Karma, and what I understand to be the lessons which we are most seeking in this incarnation in order to better align with our true Soul and purpose.

One major difference between to two systems is the adjustment of the Planetary positions relative to the Constellations or Backdrop of Stars, as we have come to know, this backdrop is not fixed and moves counterclockwise in the Zodiac belt approximately 1 degree every Seventy-two years. At one time the two Systems coincided in their positions but this precession of the Zodiac causes a current discrepancy of around 23 degrees and 51 minutes, called the Ayanamsha.

For me, this was a stark discrepancy because my Natal Sun Sign actually does differ in the two systems. Having always identified as an Aries since my birthday is on March 25th, it was a mind-blowing moment when I discovered that according to my Vedic Chart, my Sun sign is actually in Pisces.

Western Astrology utilizes a more fixed placement of the Constellations which begins always with Aries at the Spring Equinox and therefore the Signs are based on the Sun's position and the Seasons. I appreciate the Vedic system which accounts for the actual position of the Planets in Relation to the Stars and Constellations.

Secondly, what is striking to me is something I mentioned at the beginning. There are complex systems of the different Planets, Constellations (or Signs), and Houses that all interact to paint a full picture.

I never even knew of the Planets in Astrology other than knowledge of the Sun Sign, so it was a great expansion of my understanding to know that we're all these Planets-Seven plus two Shadow-like Nodes of the Moon which are located in both the Houses and the Constellations. Where they are in relation to each other casts great meaning for each individual.

Additionally, there is the Dasa or Planetary period that is determined by when an individual is born. It is super interesting to me how the Current positions affect each individual differently, depending on their particular Dasa as represented in the Vimshottari. Essentially a planet that is ruling over a specific Dasa may gain more power over an individual, influencing them to act per the nature of that Planet.

A planetary effect is also amplified when the current Planetary position crosses over a Constellation in someone's Birth chart, for example, Saturn in Capricorn (current position) for someone with Saturn in Capricorn on their Natal Chart, or is presiding over a current Planetary period that is the same as a person's Dasa, example a current Venus Dasa for someone who is also experiencing their Venus Dasa at this time.

The final difference I will note is the importance of the Moon in Vedic Astrology versus the Sun in Western Astrology. Moon is representative of our Mind and sub-conscious Mind. Tropical Astrology emphasizes the Sun Sign or our outer personality, a sort of "Business Card we present to the World." Vedic Astrology is paying more attention to the Journey and evolution of the Soul, often the transformation of Consciousness occurs when inward work is done and we unplug from the expectations of outer reality.
Moon representing our mind influences our emotions, peace of mind, and general well-being. It casts a shade through which we perceive our external reality and circumstances as they occur. A weak position or an afflicted Moon often means the individual's Peace of Mind may be disturbed.

The Moon also has a separate divisional System in Vedic Astrology called Nakshatras, 27 Lunar Mansions which occupy the Zodiac and are identified by the brightest star in each one. They also occupy the Rasis, each Nakshatra equals 13 degrees, 20 minutes of the Zodiac, and each Constellation 30 degrees, so there is a little more than two Nakshatras per Constellation and one that is split between Constellations.

The Moon travels through all 27 each Lunar Cycle and each Nakshatra adds further meaning to the current placement of the Moon and Planets.

There are so many layers and aspects to this Beautiful Science or "Study of Light", and it is based on a premise that what is happening in the Universe also occurs on a micro level within a person's body, mind, and consciousness, their entire being. Utilizing this subtle information can help us to identify a person's strengths and potential challenges or places where growth is required.

We can then prescribe balancing or remedial measures including the wearing of Gemstones, Mantras performed to a specific Deity or Planet, and Pujas or Ritualistic Practices and Sacrifices which can strengthen or appease the Planets and their energies in order to achieve the desired outcome or to soften the challenges presented by their placements.

Ordering Ayurveda compatible meals in Restaurants

By Anand Gopal Krishnan

You went out with your friends to a fancy restaurant for lunch two days ago. Beyond the ambiance, fancy décor, comfortable seating and fun time with your friends, one of the main reasons which would make you come back to the same restaurant some other day would definitely be the taste of the food you had.

Taste plays an important part in the meal we eat day in and day out. It is one of those unsung heroes which is often not taken into account when talking about mainstream nutrition. We humans have up to 4000 taste buds spread across our tongue, mouth, and throat. Modern science shows that when we chew food, the enzymes in our saliva already begin the digestion process.

Ayurveda has known this for a long time and hence the ancient Ayurvedic scriptures have placed a huge emphasis on taste when it comes to nutrition.

If you want to find an Ayurvedic item that suits your dosha, look for the right rasa. The pho and bittermelon soup in Vietnamese cuisine, the mung dal and buttermilk in Indian restaurants, the Thai soup or curry with rice are some examples.

The Sanskrit term used for taste is "Rasa". Rasa is the taste associated with secretions in our mouth. Ayurvedic nutrition has documented six tastes/rasas. These six rasas are formed by various permutations of the five elements (known as Pancha Mahabhutas): Space, Air, Fire, Water, Earth. In accordance with the concept put forth by Ayurveda that everything in the Universe is made up of the five elements and our body is also made up of the same five elements, rasas are also made up of the five elements. The particular permutation of these elements determines the nature of the taste.

The six rasas documented by Ayurvedic nutrition are:

• Sweet (Madhura)--Mango with cooked rice, or coconut rice pudding can be ordered in a restaurant
• Sour (Amla)- Tamarind drink, lemonade or tomato soup
• Salty (Lavana)- sea vegetables, nuts-cashewnut or almond based recipe
• Pungent (Katu)--ginger based recipe-thai curry
• Bitter (Tikta)--bittermelon
• Astringent (Kashaya)--Most beans, plantains

Ayurvedic nutrition suggests a balanced meal to contain all the six rasas. Any Tamil Indian reading this blog post would have been able to automatically connect the six rasas balanced meal concept to the concept of "Arusuvai Virundhu" (Six taste feast) which is prepared for the Tamil New Year celebration connoting philosophically that we should be ready to face different phases of life with the coming year ahead (sweet - happiness, sour - anger, bitter - hatred, salty - sad, pungent - disgust, astringent - active). Also according to Ayurveda, each of these six tastes also have psychological influence on us (either positive or negative).

Let us now look in to these rasas in detail from the perspective of Ayurvedic nutrition and how they are related to the five elements as well as their importance with respect to our body constitution
Sweet (Madhura): The sweet rasa has earth and water as its predominant elements. The taste buds on the tip of the tongue is activated with sweet rasa. The associated organs of our body according to Ayurveda which is related to this rasa is the thyroid and upper lungs. When used mindfully, sweet taste helps in promoting the growth of body tissues, improves complexion and promotes healthy skin, air and melodious voice. On the other hand excessive usage of sweet will lead to cold, cough, congestion, heaviness, loss of appetite and laziness. I am sure many of us would have experienced the heaviness and laziness taking over our body when we have had that large piece of desert. Psychologically, sweet in moderation enhances the feeling of love and compassion. No wonder, we celebrate birthday by cutting cakes and not cutting an eggplant.

Examples of sweet rasa: honey, dates

Sour (Amla): The sour rasa has earth and fire as its predominant elements (probably one of the reasons why sour candies always have a bright logo or packet cover - sour patch for instance. Our mind automatically relates sour with the brightness of fire. This is purely my speculation and has nothing to do with Ayurveda). The taste buds on the upper left and right corner of the tip of our tongue are activated with sour rasa. The associated organs of our body according to Ayurveda which is related to this rasa is the Lungs.

Sour taste used in moderation will energize the body, improves elimination of waste from the body. On the other hand, excessive usage of sour will lead to dryness of membrane leading to congestion. Excessive usage will also have bad effect on liver and can cause inflammatory conditions. Psychologically, sour taste brings ability to comprehend and discriminate.

Examples of sour rasa: yogurt, vinegar

Salty (Lavana): The salty rasa has water and fire as its predominant elements. The taste buds on the lower left and right corner of our tongue is activated with salty rasa. The associated organs of our body according to Ayurveda which is related to this rasa is the Kidneys. Salt taste used in moderation provides hydration, lubricates tissues and stimulates digestion.

On the other hand excessive usage of salt can lead to hypertension and hair loss. Psychologically salt taste enhances spirit and interest. Possibly that's the reason why salt is considered the symbol of loyalty in East and the West. Loyalty can be earned only with the right spirit.
Examples of salty rasa: rock salt, seaweed

Pungent (Katu): The pungent rasa has air and fire as its predominant elements. The taste buds on the upper center of the tongue is activated with pungent rasa. The associated organs of our body according to Ayurveda which is related to this rasa is Stomach and heart. When used in moderation pungent taste cleans the mouth, stimulates digestion and clears sinuses. Over usage can have negative effect on sexual health, can lead to fatigue with thirst. Psychologically, pungent taste brings enthusiasm and vigor.

Examples of pungent rasa: black pepper, chili pepper

Bitter (Tikta): The bitter rasa has air and space as its predominant elements. The taste buds on the lower center of the tongue is activated with bitter rasa. The associated organs of our body according to Ayurveda which is related to this rasa is Pancreas, Liver and Spleen. When used in moderation it kills germs, is anti-inflammatory, reduces excess fat and water. Over consumption can deplete the energy in the tissues, can induce dizziness. Psychologically, bitter taste makes the mind more introvert.

Examples of bitter rasa: bitter melon, turmeric root

Astringent (Kashaya): The astringent rasa has air and earth as its predominant elements. The taste buds on the lower back of the tongue is activated with astringent rasa. The associated organs of our body according to Ayurveda which is related to this rasa is Colon. When used in moderation it cleanses blood and maintains healthy blood sugar level. In excess consumption it can cause spasms and have negative effects on intestines. Psychologically, astringent taste makes us more grounding.

Examples of astringent rasa: chickpeas, green beans

Hope this blog post was informative. We will see the relationship between the tastes and doshas in our next post. Until then, have a balanced and fulfilled life!

Snacking and Ayurveda

By NINA ELLIOT

Let’s have a healthy snack while we talk. We’ll have a sweet red apple, add a little fresh squeezed lemon to it, and finally, let’s sprinkle a bit of cinnamon over it all.

While we snack, let’s take those beautiful tastes: the sourness of the lemon, the heat of the cinnamon and the sweetness of the apple and find out what’s happening from an Ayurvedic perspective.

If you are a kapha person, try a dried apple slice with cinnamon and without the lemon. If you are a pitta, take the apple sauce.

In Ayurveda, its not just healthy snacks, but, how they are eaten and prepared that is as important.

In general, the ‘official’ tastes are sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savory/(unami). Taste provides us with messages that drives what we put into our mouths, in order to survive. We know that apple snacks taste pleasant, provides nutrition, and won’t make us ill. Ayurveda will tell us a deeper backstory.

Rasa, the Sanskrit word for Taste, has many meanings, which can include essence, enthusiasm, experience, etc. Taste is not only in food, but it's also one’s reaction to the food. The Vedic belief that everything physical emerges from a subtle source, that each substance is made up of the 5 elements, thus having different qualities, embodies the concept of Rasa. These tastes have physical, metabolic, spiritual, and emotional effects on the body, to name a few. There are 6 tastes, and their predominant elements are as follows:

Rasa
Sweet (Madura) Earth + Water
Sour (Amla) Earth + Fire
Salty (Lavana) Water + Earth
Pungent (Katu) Fire + Air
Bitter (Tikta) Air + Space
Astringent (Kashaya) Air + Earth

Some SNACKING examples:

Sweet (Madura) fresh farmers cheese, mangoes, pineapple, raisins, dried fruits, dates
Sour (Ama) dried citrus fruits, tamarind drink, lemonade, Citrus fruits, fermented foods
Salty (Lavana) Seaweed, nuts
Pungent (Katu) Ginger candy
Bitter (Tikta) Kale chips, dark chocolate-with monk fruit or low sugar.
Astringent (Kashaya) Pomegranates, plantain chips

As we are munching along our snack, the rasas would be: Sweet, Pungent, Astringent (Cinnamon) / Sour (Lemon) and Astringent, Sour, Sweet (Apple)

Further, there are qualities assigned to each Rasa, all of which affect Doshas:
• Sweet tastes are heavy, moist and cooling, whose nourishing and soothing pacify Vata and Pitta, yet increase Kapha.
• Sour taste is hot light and moist, is most beneficial to Vata, yet its heat will increase Pitta and Kapha (to a lesser degree).
• Salty is hot heavy and moist, whose grounding effects can balance Vata, but increase both Pitta and Kapha.
• Bitter is light, cooling and dry, which balances Kapha and Pitta, but aggravates Vata.
• Pungent is hot dry and light, whose stimulating and doing effects help Kapha, but throw Pitta out of balance because of its heat, as well as Vata because of the air qualities.
• Astringent is cooling and heavy by nature, and when taken in moderation, can balance Pitta and Kapha, yet will aggravate Vata.
All of this is just the beginning of what Rasas means, a deeper dive into the mosaic of Ayurveda would show how all these Rasas affect the mind, body and spirit. For now, just enjoy the snack. Maybe notice how you feel eating, do you feel cold? Warm? Does it give you energy? Maybe you are a Kapha, in which case this is a perfect snack for!
In the end, just remember that Ayurveda wants you to enjoy your food, that it taste delicious, and that it satiates the senses, nourishes from within and stimulates the digestive system. Whenever possible, try to incorporates all 6 tastes in one’s meal, in specific order according to taste (driven by one’s dosha), as this will be a perfect meal.

Are you familiar with Rasa (Six Tastes) in Ayurveda?

By Laura Loma and Liberty Elliot

Are you familiar with Rasa (Six Tastes) in Ayurveda?

In Ayurveda, Rasa is translated as tastes. Each rasa is made of two of the five elements known as Mahabhutas. These consist of Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth.

The six Rasas and their elements are:

● Sweet made up of Earth and Water
● Sour made up of Earth and Fire
● Salty made up of Water and Fire
● Pungent made up of Fire and Air
● Astringent made up of Air and Earth
● Bitter is made up of Air and water

Why is this Important to Know?

Ayurveda recommends a nourishing whole food diet such as fruits and vegetables that are full of Prana (life force energy) however, not all foods may be benefiting you, and perhaps they may be slowing down your Agni (digestive fire).

Your digestion is the best indicator in knowing what foods and their rasas are healing you or harming you. So ask yourself, do you find your digestion sluggish and dull? Or perhaps it’s sharp and explosive? Or is your digestion irregular and you tend towards constipation? Consuming the Rasa rich Foods best suited for you is key to a balanced digestion and overall health. Ayurveda recommends meals to offer the six tastes, this is called Shad Rasa which is most important to balance the digestive system. Considering any present digestive imbalance, you would consume more of some rasas than others.

Are You Aware of Rasa’s Additional Beneficial Properties?

Each taste offers impressive health benefits listed below:

Sweet Rasa consists of natural sweets offerings from Mother Earth. Such foods like whole wheat grains and rice. Fruit such as mango, banana, dates. Dairy such as buttermilk, yogurt and cream. Grounding root vegetables such as carrots, yams and sweet potatoes are known to build tissues, calms nerves, improves semen and nourishes sense of organs.

Hello my healthy minded friends! This is Liberty, sharing ways that we can create healthy habits in our diet and lifestyles that can bring balance into our lives and encourage a state of optimum health.

We have learned about the 5 great Elements- Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth and how everything we touch taste and see, including the foods we eat are made up of a unique composition and combination of these 5 Elements.

Today we dive deeper into this concept by exploring the 6 tastes, or Rasas as they are known in Ayurvedic vocabulary. They are- Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Bitter and Astringent. The six tastes relate to the Elements and they have specific effects on the bodily functions and tissues.

Sweet- this Rasa is made up of Earth and Water Elements. Sweet is calming for Vata and Pitta types, but may aggravate Kapha. Foods like natural sugars, Fruits such as mango6, ripe banana, dates and grains and carbohydrates as well as some dairy, milk and butter are sweet. Sweet foods have the ability to build and restore tissues in th body and they tend to have a calming effect.

Sour- this Rasa is made up of Earth and Fire Elements. It is balancing for Vata and may imbalance Kapha and Pitta types. Fruits like Citrus, fermented foods like yogurt and pickles and vinegar are sour. Sour flavored foods are have a cleansing effect on the body's tissue and enhance the ability to absorb minerals.

Salty- this flavor is made up of Fire and Water elements. Foods like Salt, minerals, Seaweed and salted snacks like nuts and chips are salty. Salty foods improve the taste of other foods and act as a natural lubricant bringing water element into the body's tissues.

Pungent- this Rasa is made up of Fire and Air elements. It is balancing for Kapha and may imbalance Vata and Pitta types. Spicy foods like Chili Peppers, Garlic, Cayenne and Black Pepper are pungent. Pungent foods stimulate digestive and metabolic functions in the body.

Bitter- this flavor or Rasa is made up of Space and Air elements. Bitter has a balancing effect for Kapha and Pitta but imbalances Vata type. Foods like dark leafy greens, Kale and Dandelion and some spices like Turmeric are bitter. Bitter flavored foods have a detoxifying effect and tend to lighten the body's tissues.

Astringent- this Rasa is a combination of Air and Earth elements. It is balancing for Pitta and Kapha and may aggravate Vata type. Vegetables such as legumes and some fruits like Pomegranate and Cranberries are astringent flavor. Astringent foods have natural diuretic properties, removing water from the body's tissues and drying out fats in the body.

In a healthy and balanced diet, all of the 6 flavors will be represented. By understanding the qualities of the 6 Rasa and and elements which they relate to, we can make proper food choices according to our individual Dosha type and current condition that can help us restore balance and maintain a state of optimum health.

Shad Rasa (Six Rasas)

By Anisa Shukla and Tejal Shukla

According to Ayurveda, it is important to taste our foods - Rasa - the Sanskrit word for taste also means experience, enthusiasm, juice, plasma and essence.

Ayurveda recognizes six tastes or rasas, each of which has a vital role to play in our physiology, health, and well-being. Sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes combine in many different ways to create a diversity of flavors that we encounter throughout our lives.

The sweet taste, as a naturally appealing element of our diets. It is the flavor of sugar that could be found in dates, wheat and fruits. Sweet tastes pacify vata and pitta but aggravate kapha doshas.

The sour taste tends to be fairly familiar to us - it is primarily the result of acids in our foods such as citrus fruits. We often “pucker” when we encounter the sour taste and it immediately moistens the mouth and increases the flow of saliva. The sour taste tends to increase pitta dosha in the body.

The salty taste is almost singularly derived from salt and is readily identified in our diets. We find this taste in fish, soy sauce and celery. The salty taste is said to be heating thus aggravates Kapha dosha.

The pungent taste is one of dry, intense heat that can be found in spicy foods and many herbs and spices. It is usually created by the presence of aromatic garlic and chili that stimulate the tissues and nerve endings of the mouth with a sensation of sharp and fiery heat. The pungent taste can increase pitta and vata dosha but pacify kapha dosha.

The bitter taste is a flavor that is not necessarily something enjoyable, although some people truly enjoy it. For some coffee can be a very enjoyable bitter taste for most along with dark chocolate. The bitter taste can pacify pitta dosha but aggravate vata dosha.

The astringent taste is a flavor of dryness that is generally produced by tannins such as the taste of red wine. It causes the mucus membranes in the mouth to contract and results in an immediate dry, chalky, and sometimes puckering sensation in the mouth. The astringent taste is frequently complemented by the sweet or sour tastes. Finally, this taste can increase vata as it is drying.

Ayurveda teaches us to appreciate that, every substance is made up of a combination of the [5] basic elements or Panchamahabhutas- Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. There are 6 tastes according to Ayurveda and these elements in 2 different combinations are present in all of the 6 tastes.

The 6 tastes-sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent, are based on the actual taste in the mouth. Rasa, means to taste or to experience, "Ra"= taste, and "sa" = juice. This applies to food, herbs and minerals. According to Ayurveda, a balanced meal has a little bit of each rasa. When there is an imbalance of doshas or blockages in channels (srotas), Ayurvedic practitioners recommend a nutrition plan that pays special attention to the 6 tastes. Each taste can either increase or decrease the doshas.

1. Sweet Taste: (madhura) made up of earth and water, its qualities are heavy, cooling and oily. it pacifies vata and pitta but increases kapha. Sweet taste can relieve thirst and burning sensations and is nutritive to the body tissues. The sweet taste from foods for example, like rice, milk wheat and dates can enhance the vital essence of life or Ojas. Other examples or sweet foods are, beans, maple syrup, peas, and sweet potatoes. Psychologically, sweet taste in moderation enhances love and compassion.

2. Sour Taste:(amla) made up of earth and fire, it is sour, acidic, and that which ferments easily. The sour taste decreases vata but increases pitta and kapha. Sour taste is found in foods such as yogurt, vinegar, lemons, fermented foods and sour cream. A small amount of sour taste is refreshing and energizes the body and enlivens the mind.

3. Salty Taste: (lavana) made up of water and fire, it is heating , heavy, oily and hydrophilic in nature. The salty taste decreases vata while increasing pitta and kapha. Just a little bit of salt enhances the taste of food. When used in moderation, salt balances the doshas and it stimulates salivation, aids in digestion, absorption and assimilation. salty taste comes from foods such as, himalayan salt, soy sauce, seaweed, celery. Psycologically, salty taste enhances spirit, and interest.

4. Pungent Taste: (katu) made up of fire and air. It is light drying and heating in nature. It pacifies kapha but increases pitta and vata. When used in moderation, it kindles agni (digestive fire), improves digestion and absorption and cleans the mouth. It can also aid in circulation and helps to eliminate waste products from the body. Psycologically, pungent taste brings enthusiasm, and vitality to the mind. Pungent foods include radishes, onions, ginger, black pepper and chili to name a few.

5. Bitter Taste: (tikta) made up of air and ether, it is cool, light and dry in nature. It increases vata but decreases pitta and kapha. We need all 6 tastes in our diet, but this taste is lacking in the western diet. It is important because bitter taste improves all other tastes. Bitter taste is cleansing, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying, it helps to kindle agni due to its light and dry qualities. Psychologically, bitter taste helps you become more self-aware. Bitter taste can be found in coffee, turmeric, olives, cabbage, grapefruits and green leafy vegetables.

6. Astringent: (kashaya) made up of air and earth elements, it is cooling, drying, and heavy in nature. It reduces both pitta and kapha, but increases vata. The astringent taste improves absorption and creates binding in the stool. Psychologically, astringent taste is supportive and grounding due to the earth element. Helps the mind become collected and organized. The astringent taste can be found in most raw vegetables, raw banana, pomegranate, chickpeas, walnuts, lentils, green beans and sprouts.

Taste can tell us a lot about what we are eating but most important, about the physical and energetic qualities from the universe we are taking into our being.