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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pacifies: Vata, Pitta
Aggravates: Pitta
Imbalance: SupportsDysmenorrhea

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

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

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.

What are Marma Points in Ayurveda?

By Franciska Farkas and Shubha Karnik

Marmas are a part of greater sacred physiology that maps out the body according to subtle energy currents and power points. Mama point is a location on the body where two or more types of tissue meet, such as muscles, veins, ligaments, bones or joints. Marmas are vital locations on the body where various types of tissue unite. These locations are viewed as important because they are vulnerable points where pain or fatal injury may occur. Due to the various tissues present, an increase in prana is also present due to the subtle energies in the areas, and thus marma points may be manipulated not only to harm and incapacitate but also to aid in the healing of body, mind, and spirit. Organs fall along the channels on which the marma points lie and if those points are affected the associated organs may be damaged or starved of prana.

Marmas were first thought to be utilized as far back as 4000 BC for use in self-defense and martial arts in India and then spreading to surrounding countries and territories. It was well-known to be used in the Indian martial art of Kalari for offensive and defensive purposes, as well as to restore function and heal the martial artists after injury and strain. It is still used today in this way, and of course in Ayurveda as therapy.

Marmas are centers for the vital force or prana. Mamas connect to the Nadis [subtle nerves] and chakras [energy centers] of the subtle body and the mind. They govern the interface between the physical and the subtle pranic bodies and the interchange of energy and information. Mamas, most of them are situated on the surface of the body but some are situated deeper and are related to internal organs like the heart bladder, etc. The sizes of Marma's are variable, some are just one anguli in size, others larger about the size of the palm. Since Marmas are centers for prana, through manipulation of Marmas, prana can be directed to move blockages, improve energy flow or tap hidden energy reserves and make connections with a greater part of life and nature. Marmas are key locations for Ayurvedic bodywork and massage.

Marma therapy can be used to release blocked energy, cure some diseases, increase strength, and decrease stress. As a practitioner, using non-invasive manipulation of marmas and guiding clients to utilize marma points on their own will be helpful as sometimes the effects can be felt immediately. Also, if clients have had damage to locations where the marma lie it can give great insight into nidan and cikitsa.

Classification of Marmas

I. The distribution of marma points according to the location:
The lower extremities – 22
The upper extremities – 22
The chest and stomach – 12
The back – 14
The head and neck – 37
Total = 107
Since the mind​ is also considered as a marma, it will be 108 marma

II. Classification according to the physical structure:

Mamsa marma – muscle – 11
Sira marma - vessels conveying body fluids and impulses – 41
Sanyu – tendons – 27
Asthi – bones – 8
Sandhi - articulate points especially bone joints – 20
Total = 107

III. Classification according to the vulnerability:

Sadhya Pranhara Marma – 19
“Sadhya” means immediate.
“Pranhara” means loss of life.
Marmas are vulnerable to injury and may lead to loss of life immediately following insult.
Kalantara Pranhara – 33
“Kalantara” means after the lapse of some time
“Pranhara” means loss of life. After infliction of these marma, loss of life results gradually after
some time but within one month.
Vishalyaghana – 3
“ Vishalya” means the foreign body being removed.
Vishalyaghana means death occurring due to the removal of a foreign body.
Vaikalyakara – 44
“Vilkala” means deformity or cripple.
Rujakara – 8
“Ruja” means excess pain

Injury at this point causes excess pain.

Marma therapy or Marma chikitsa is an important method of Ayurvedic treatment for the entire spectrum of health complaints major and minor. Mamas when manipulated can alter both the organic function and structural condition of the body. Through the right use of marmas our entire physical and mental energy can be consciously increased, decreased or redirected in a transformative manner.
1. Marma massage therapy can be useful to relieve blockage of energy.
2. Marma massage can help to cure some diseases.
3. Marma massage can help improve physical strength & stability.
4. Marma massage can help reduce vata vyadhi
5. Marma massage can improve the energy flow in the body resulting in healing which in turn can help reduce stress

Marmas are classified by their location, structure/tissue type, and vulnerability. Below is a chart representing these classifications.

According to Location 108

107 on the body + 1 mind=108
Lower extremities 22
Upper extremities 22
Chest and Stomach 12
Back 14
Head and neck 37

According to Physical Structure= 107
Mamsa marma 11 (muscle junction)
Sira marma 41 (crossing of vessels, veins)
Bodily fluids and impulses Snayu 27 (junction of tendons)
Asthi 8 (bones)
Sandhi 20 (joints)

Joints/articulating points

According to vulnerability 107
Sadhya Pranhara Marma 19

Immediate loss of life Kalantara 33
Loss of life after a lapse
Vishalyaghana 3
Foreign body being removed
Vaikalyakara 44 Deformity
Rujakara 8
Causing excess pain, death does not occur.

Rasa Dhatu or Waters in Ayurveda

By Anuradha Rao, Zobeida and Arjun Luthra (Ayurveda Counselor Student)

Our annamaya kosha (physical bodily sheath that covers our energetic self) is very intelligent, to convert what we consume as ahara, air and thoughts into us to sustain the life in us. The ahara becomes us and the heterogeneous separation between the annamaya kosha and the ahara, becomes homogeneous. This inclusiveness with everything has been the ultimate goal of any spiritual path (aka the liberation or moksha) and our annamaya kosha takes the first steps in this path through the act of digestion. To bring about this inclusivity, a lot goes in the body and various systems come together in order to achieve this.

Our physical bodies are made up of sapta dhatus or 7 kinds of tissues as per Ayurveda. These dhatus could be created sequentially, parallely or selectively; this again depends on the body's needs. To create these dhatus, the primary fuel or source of creation is the essence of the food or saara. Saara is nothing but the superior food that has been filtered out by the digestive agni from the complete ahara that has been consumed. And out of the sapta dhaatus, Rasa dhatu is the first dhatu that’s created out of the essence or sara.

‘Rasa’ literally translates to juice or taste in Sanskrit. This rasa could mean the taste of food (shad rasas) experienced by the physical body or taste of emotions (nava/dvadasha rasas) by the manasa/mental body/manomaya kosha. Thus, rasa dhatu is naturally the first dhatu to be born out of the saara, as digesting the first taste of food or first emotions of thoughts is the first step for any human being. Rasa dhatu in western pathology translates to lymph, plasma, and white blood cells; and is responsible for the immunity and protection of the body as well as nourishment and growth.

The word Rasa can be found in Ayurveda in more than one situation. When used in conjunction with food, it refers to taste. When used with emotions, implies taste for life, contentment. In Ayurveda Kriya Sarira, Rasa is one, and the first, of the seven dhatus (tissues) of the body.

The dhatus, are the foundation of the physical body. They provide the body with support, structure, and growth.

Rasa dhatu is the first dhatu formed post-digestion and the primary juice of life that gives the foundation for the creation of the rest of the dhatus. Rasa dhatu refers to the fluids of the body, the plasma, the lymph, and interstitial fluids. It is related to Kapha dosha and to Apa –water- mahabhuta, the gunas are cold, heavy, dull, moist, smooth, fluid, stable, liquid, cloudy.

Rasavaha srotas is the channel related to Rasa, it originates in the heart, travels throughout the body, and carries lymph.

The main functions of Rasa dhatu are:

Providing nutrition to all the cells in the body
Providing gratifying effect
Maintaining life
Giving satisfaction
Formation of asthayi Rasa –unstable Rasa dhatu-
Formation of upadhatus (Menstrual fluid, breast milk, and Tvak)
Formation of Kapha
Transport waste from the cells to the kidneys
Avoiding initiation of the disease process
The Upadhatus are constructing elements that do not give nourishment to the body. The upadhatus of Rasa dhatu are:

Stanya –breast milk: It provides nourishment and immunity to the baby. It travels through Stanyavaha srotas.
Artava/Raja –menstrual fluid: It is present only in women and flows through Artavavaha srotas.

Dhatu sara –Tissue excellence

Is a state of well tissues. When Rasa dhatu is excellent –Rasa/Tvak sara- the skin unctuous, soft, smooth and glossy. The hair is tender and the hair follicles are less in number and deep rooted.

Imbalanced Rasa dhatu

Rasa dhatu can increase, decrease or get vitiated. Hetus of imbalanced Rasa dhatu can be cold, heavy, excess of dry food, excess of unctuous food, excess eating, worry, anxiety, too much fasting.

An imbalanced Rasa dhatu leads to anorexia, nausea, lethargic feeling, drowsiness, heaviness, fever, early greying hair, anemia, wrinkles, menstrual imbalance.

When rasa dhatu is vitiated in the body, it results in the following signs:

Dryness of the mouth
Dry skin
Cracked skin
Excess thirst
Intolerance for sound
Scanty menstrual fluid
Decreased menstrual bleeding/scanty bleeding
Decreased lactation
Dryness of mouth
Dryness of vagina
Early greying of hair
Dry skin
Intolerance for sound

When rasa dhatu is increased in the body, it results in the following signs:

Excess salivation
Moist skin
Swelling, edema
Heavy menstrual fluid
Increased menstrual bleeding/excessive bleeding
Oily skin
Water retention
Increased salivation

Rasa dhatu is the first dhatu that is nourished from the ahara rasa(essence of the food which we take). The nourishment and development of all other dhatus is dependent on the quality and quantity of the rasa dhatu. Unstable rasa dhatu is transformed into rakta dhatu. From the western perspective, it is the water portion of the blood that carries proteins and essential nutrients. This is then circulated by the help of vyana vayu. When rasa dhatu is increased, the accessory elements are increased, which are breast milk and the menstrual fluid(aartava). Likewise, when the rasa dhatu is depleted, the accessory elements are also depleted. Thus depletion of rasa dhatu affects the quantity of rasa dhatu that is matured into aartava and is manifested during monthly periods.

This also affects the breastmilk quantity and quality. That is why it is important that a pregnant women has sufficient rasa during her pregnancy because it supports growth and development of her baby as well and it promotes life satisfaction. Having a baby can lead to vata imbalance and excess vata which is dry and mobile can dry out rasa of the body.

Rasa dhatu has the qualities of cold, unctuous, heavy, oily. And thus rasa dhatu is governed by Kapha. Rasa dhatu is created in the following manner:

Rasa dhatvagni

Saara (Essence) -----------------------> Stable Rasa dhatu + Unstable Rasa dhatu + Upadhatu (Breast milk + Menstrual fluid) + Mala (Kapha)

For this rasa dhatu to flow in the body, there are rasa vaha srotas or channels and as per Ayurveda the rasa vaha srotas originate in the heart and are spread throughout the body.

So as it can be easily deduced, the essence of what is being eaten gets converted to Rasa dhatu. Hence, the quality of rasa dhatu relies heavily on the quality of nutrition.

Other signs of decreased rasa dhatu is dry skin, dry mouth, exhaustion, tremors, excess thirst and intolerance to sound. Depleted rasa dhatu could be due to dehydration and physical symptoms could include sunken eyes, dry hair and cracked lips.

The manasa aspect is that there will be less satisfaction with life. Excess rasa dhatu relates to drowsiness, heaviness, swelling, water retention, excess salivation and heavy menstrual flow. Vitiation of rasa dhatu is related to anemia(excess paleness of face is an indicator), anorexia, drowsiness, early greying of hair, anemia and appearance of wrinkles.

Based on the dushti and diagnosis, a proper regimen is then accordingly given in order to balance the rasa dhatu such as a rejuvenation therapy when rasa dhatu is vitiated or cleansing therapy when rasa dhatu is in excess.

Saturn and Jupiter in Jyotish (Vedic Astrology)

In our previous session, We had covered the (grahas) planets. There are some basic things you need to know for the Ayurveda Counselor. We have really covered most of the curriculum. We have covered the bhavas and houses in previous classes. Today, we will talk about Saturn and Jupiter, Rahu, and Ketu.

As a general rule, people are scared of Saturn. Did you know that even countries are ruled by the grahas.

For example, India is ruled by Saturn and there is a delay and more delays in everything. if you have ever been to India, you are very aware of things always take time, and, may be delayed.

America on the other hand is ruled by Mars. Let's fight and throw an army at the problem. This is because America is ruled by Mars.

Listen to the rest of the podcast here.

Learn Jyotish (Vedic Astrology)

Interested in learning about jyotish or vedic astrology. Here is a list of our podcasts:

Previous session links below

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

session 4

Eight Limbs of Yoga

Eight Limbs of Yoga from Shandilya Upanishads.

Where did yoga originate? What is the meaning of yoga? What do the ancient texts of yoga-like Shandilya Upanishad, Hatha Yoga Pradipika say about the eight limbs or classifications of the yoga process?

Listen to actual class audio from Narayana Ayurveda and Yoga Academy where we discuss the eight limbs of yoga as given in different ancient Sanskrit texts.

Sanskrit for Ayurveda practitioners

By Mithun Baliga
Podcast by @Manjulali

Ayurveda is an ancient science believed to have divine origins. The language of the time was Sanskrit. Hence all the original texts are written in that language. Of course, we now have a translation in various languages. So we can ask certainly the question: what is the importance of Sanskrit to Ayurveda practitioners? since everything is now available in English. It is important for many reasons.

1. The arrangement of information is the texts are in poetic form. This was to facilitate memorization which is easier why set to rhyme and meter. This poetic way of delivering information has to be interpreted correctly in the original language it was written(as in all poetry). Otherwise, errors can occur.

2. Sanskrit is an original stand-alone language, meaning it has no borrowed words. So, many times it is not possible to find exact equivalent words in other languages like English. Eg: the word dosha. The closest translation could be "a fault" but we know that "a fault" is not what we mean when we say dosha in Ayurveda. For this reason, Ayurvedic practitioners has to have at least a rudimentary knowledge of the language so that they can use those Sanskrit words correctly and with confidence.

3. Some aspects of Ayurveda involve invoking mantras and or salutations. Although these can also be translated, again their inner meaning is lost. In order to recommend these forms of adjuncts to therapy, the practitioner may find the knowledge of Sanskrit helpful.

4. As a diagnostic tool: Although not used nowadays, in the past the ayurvedic practitioner would ask the patient to read out the syllables of the Sanskrit language. By observing the pronunciation and speech patterns, they would diagnose the patient's issues.

5. At a higher level, the Sanskrit language has divinity in itself. The syllables have a deeper meaning and specific combinations have different effects and strengths. Chanting Vedic and other hymns are known to bring about profound changes in the physical body as well as the mind and for spiritual progress.

Read More

Shakti of the Divine -Sri Radha

The power or energy of the divine is called Shakti. In Ayurveda, we learn an aspect of this in Samkhya.

In Vedic lineage--shaktiman or powerful god has a female aspect--called the Shakti. Shakti and Shaktiman create mahad tattva.

Example of Shaktiman (ALL POWERFUL) with his Shakti(Power in the form of feminine divine)

*Narayana with Lakshmi.
*Shiva with Parvati
*Brahma with Bharati
*Sri Rama with Sita.
*Krishna with Sri Radha

Male Divine with Female Divine. They are never separate--they just exist separately.

Pandit Atul talks about this "shakti" aspect of divine focusing on Sri Radha, on the appearance day-Radhashtami.

Why do bad things happen? A karmic perspective

Today's podcast is on the them why do bad things happen to good people. (Does this mean that good things happen to bad people?)

People say "Why me? I am one of the good people. Why do bad things happen? Why did it have to happen to me? Where is God when that bad thing was happening". Our students and community asks us this.

So, Pandit Atul explains why bad things happen from a karmic and vedic perspective.

The concept of compassion and being human is left on the side in today's day and age. Practicing a yoga lifestyle or Ayurveda-we should have a way of understanding this. This can be explained by Karma and Jyotish.

Click to hear more.