naya's blog

Yoga and Meditation Techniques for Balance

Meditations are most effective when consistently performed. For this reason I believe, one minute meditations for all individuals is best. Everyone can meditate for one minute! Early morning upon awakening is best. If unable to meditate upon awakening, choosing the same time each day to meditate is best. After the habit is established I would increase the meditation and possibly change the time to suit proper doshic dinacharya. (Daily Routine based on doshas)

Vata in Satva is creativity and Joy. Meditation to deepen the expression of joy – Mantra – I am Ananda

Vata in Rajas is anxious and fearful. Meditation with mantra – Om Tara tu tare ture soha -to promote idea of speech, body and mind free of fear.

Vata in Tamas is Sadness and Grief.

Meditation with mantra –

Lokah samasta sukhino bhavantu.

May all beings everywhere be happy. To keep mind centered on others. Ultimately happiness for all will include person with Vata in Tamas. Can use Vanilla aromatherapy during meditation to dispel grief.

Pitta in Satva is spiritual and logical. Meditation, that includes alternate nostril breathing to keep balance of Ida and Pingala and maintain Pitta in Satva.
Pitta in Rajas is aggressive and competitive.

Meditation with mantra – I am Samtosha – I am content. In order to dispel rajas and induce feeling in mind of non-competitiveness because all is ok as is. Can use lavender aromatherapy during meditation to dispel aggression.

Pitta in Tamas is anger and Jealousy. Meditation with pranayama focused on Ida nadi to reduce pitta and Tamas. Cooling energy that flows through Ida will help dispel anger of Pitta.

Kapha in Satva is Love and compassion. Meditation with Kapalbhati to help promote drying and lightness in kapha and maintain Satva.

Kapha in Rajas is Greedy and sentimental. Meditation emphasizing practice of releasing greed. Mantra - I am Aparigraha (greedlessness).

Kapha in Tamas is depressed and lethargic. Moving meditation (Hatha Yoga) emphasizing practice of releasing the physical body. You are not the physical body. The physical body is merely a vehicle for the meditation. Can use Ylang Ylang, aromatherapy during meditation to dispel depression.

Ultimately, meditations for each dosha can be simple as long as:

Satu dirgha kala nairantarya satkara asevitah dridha bhumih

The practice is attained to for a long time with great effort, no interuption and with consistency and devotion. (rough translation)

To learn Meditation and Yoga, you can contact Susan at Haven Yoga in San Diego.

Please note that these are the personal views of the student, and, does not necessarily reflect the view of the college.

By Susan Connor, RYT, AWP(Haven Yoga)
Teacher- Yoga Therapy, Ayurvedic Nutrition, Meditation

Ayurveda and the Mind

By Dr. Nandini Daljit

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

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

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

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

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

Analysis of Ayurvedic Herbs

By Jennifer Salvo,


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

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

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

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

The Three Doshas in Ayurveda

By Dr. Nandini Daljit,

Student- San Diego College of Ayurveda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Vedic Zodiac Signs

In order to understand the Zodiac signs, we need to know what ecliptic is. It is the earth that circles the Sun. However, it seems to us from our perspective that the Sun is orbiting around the Earth. This imaginary path is called “ecliptic”.

The term "ecliptic" refers to the apparent path that the Sun appears to follow through the sky as it orbits around the Earth.

The ecliptic is an imaginary line or great circle in the sky that marks the Sun's apparent path during the year. It forms a complete circle around the celestial sphere, taking about one year to complete. This path is inclined at an angle of approximately 23.5 degrees to the celestial equator.

It plays a crucial role in calculating the positions of the Sun, Moon, and planets in the sky and is used to determine the dates of solstices and equinoxes, among other astronomical phenomena.
The zodiac is a belt or band of constellations that appears to encircle the Earth along the path that the Sun, Moon, and planets follow as they move through the sky. This imaginary belt is divided into 12 equal segments, each associated with a specific constellation or zodiac sign.

These signs serve as a fundamental framework in astrology for understanding the positions and movements of celestial objects and their influence on human affairs.

It's important to note that the zodiac signs are not based on the actual positions of the constellations in the sky but rather on an arbitrary division of the ecliptic (the Sun's apparent path across the sky). Over the centuries, due to a phenomenon called precession, the constellations have shifted in relation to the zodiac signs.

As a result, the zodiac signs are more closely associated with the signs of the ecliptic than with the constellations themselves
Zodiac Signs: The zodiac signs are associated with the ecliptic. The 12 zodiac signs, such as Aries, Taurus, Gemini, and so on, are based on the positions of the Sun along the ecliptic at different times of the year. Astrology uses these signs as a framework for character analysis and predictions.

Planetary and Lunar Motion: The planets in our solar system, as well as the Moon, generally move along or close to the ecliptic plane. This is why most celestial events, such as eclipses and planetary conjunctions, occur near the ecliptic.

Precession: Over long periods of time, the orientation of Earth's axis changes due to a phenomenon known as precession. This causes the position of the ecliptic relative to the fixed stars and constellations to slowly shift.

The zodiac is a key component of astrology and is used as a fundamental framework for understanding and interpreting celestial influences on human life and events. The zodiac consists of 12 signs, each associated with a specific period of the year and a set of personality traits and characteristics. These signs are as follows:

Aries (March 21 - April 19)
Taurus (April 20 - May 20)
Gemini (May 21 - June 20)
Cancer (June 21 - July 22)
Leo (July 23 - August 22)
Virgo (August 23 - September 22)
Libra (September 23 - October 22)
Scorpio (October 23 - November 21)
Sagittarius (November 22 - December 21)
Capricorn (December 22 - January 19)
Aquarius (January 20 - February 18)
Pisces (February 19 - March 20)

Western astrologers use the information of the zodiac to calculate Sun signs and a lot more. However, the Vedic astrology is a little different.

In Vedic astrology, the zodiac is also divided into 12 signs just like its western counterpart-however, the signs have different names and slightly different degrees. We call them "Rashis" or "Moon signs." When a person is born, the zodiac position of the moon is called “rashi” or the moon sign. The Vedic Zodiac rashies are:

Aries (Mesha)
Taurus (Vrishabha)
Gemini (Mithuna)
Cancer (Karka)
Leo (Simha)
Virgo (Kanya)
Libra (Tula)
Scorpio (Vrischika)
Sagittarius (Dhanu)
Capricorn (Makara)
Aquarius (Kumbha)
Pisces (Meena)

Planetary Positions: In Vedic astrology, the positions of the planets are calculated with reference to the Vedic zodiac. The primary planets considered in Jyotish are the Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn, but the system also incorporates other celestial bodies and points, such as Rahu and Ketu (the North and South lunar nodes).

Chants for the great mother

Chants for the great mother

You can also hear the audio of the following chants at my podcast.

In my book, Ayurveda and the Feminine I have devoted an entire chapter to the actual invocation and the invocation mantras. My students and Ayurveda clients ask me all the time, hence it was time to talk about it. So, what are invocation chants? They are called mangalacaranam- literally translated as auspicious steps or beginnings.

Our world is not just physical. It has another dimension. A dimension we cannot see or feel unless we are psychically attuned.

Whether we are establishing an altar to bring abundance to our life, starting a relationship, a business, getting married, moving to a new house, or beginning our education-invocation to a higher power, angels (devas) to help us is required.

When we start studying Ayurveda or any other Vedic knowledge--music, Vedic architecture (Vastu), Vedic mathematics, Jyotish or Vedic astrology, the Vedas itself or Ayurveda we must accept a lineage and teachers.

Studying Ayurveda is not like going to school for a regular subject it is all about notes, and slideshows, and, regurgitating all that information you crammed in an exam-and voila you are a Practitioner. No sir, it is more complicated than that.

Ayurvedic knowledge has to be heard. You must sit with a vaidya or a teacher in person and observe them. You must open your heart to this knowledge. This knowledge has to be digested.

To start with, we must invoke Sarasvati-the goddess of learning to help us begin our journey of Ayurveda.

We invoke Ganesha to remove obstacles-be it monetary, or other before we begin our journey.

Last, but, not least we must invoke Lord Dhanavantari-the deity of Ayurveda.

Some of the mantras that we use are: (used from my book Ayurveda & the Feminine)

praṇamya śirasā devaṁ gaurī-putraṁ vināyakam

bhaktāvāsaṁ smaren nityam āyuṣkāmārtha-siddhaye

Oh Gaṇeśa, son of Gaurī, please accept my salutations. You are the protector of the devotees, and help them with long life, health, and fulfillment of desires. Please help us in removing obstacles.

nārāyaṇaṁ namaskṛtya naraṁ caiva narottamam

devīṁ sarasvatīṁ vyasaṁ tato jayam udīrayet

I offer respectful obeisances unto the Divine, Nārāyaṇa, unto Nara- Nārāyaṇa Ṛṣi, the supermost human being, unto Mother Sarasvatī, the goddess of learning, and unto Śrīla Vyāsadeva.

namāmi dhanvantarim ādi-devaṁ

surāsurair vandita-pada-padmam

lokair jarā-rug-bhaya-mṛtyu-nāśaṁ

dhātāram īśaṁ vividhauṣadhīnām

Oh Krishna, Oh Vishnu, Oh Nārāyaṇa, you manifest Lord Dhanvantari - the presiding deity of Āyurveda, healing, and of all healing herbs. I salute you. Please give me your blessing and medicine to help me become a medium to the community. You are the vaidya. I am a humble servant. Please provide your grace to the world just like you even give your blessing to devas (angels) and asuras.

sarva-maṅgala-māṅgalye śive sarvārtha-sādhike

śaraṇye tryambake gauri nārāyaṇi namo 'stu te

Oh, Goddess Nārāyaṇī, one who is mother nature herself, also called Ambikā and Gaurī — you are all-auspicious and fulfill the desires of devotees.

Oh, Mother - You preside over the running of the material world as Krishna's shakti (potency), as Mahāmāyā, the illusory power. You are the greatest illusionist. You are known as Yogamāyā, the goddess of Mysticism and Illusion, the giver of devotion. Please bestow shakti, bhakti, and devotion for Krishna to me. Dearest Yogamāyā, You manifest as Annapurṇā, the presiding deity of grains. As Śītalā Devī, you demonstrate yourself as the destroyer of disease and protector of small children, holding a pot of herbs in one hand and a broom in another.

Monica Groover is the author of Ayurveda and the Feminine and Essential Guide to Ayurveda part1: Ayurveda textbook for Students and Counselors.

Menstrual Cycle and Emotions

Have you seen ads for for sanitary pads and tampons showing women jumping, running, and a heavy and a happy day at work or home? In real life, during the first or second day of our period, when we are bloated, moody and in pain--do we feel like going cycling or traveling. We may put a fake happy face at work, but, the truth is the bleeding, the pain, the PMS, the tender breasts, and, moodiness affects us at a deeper level.

These ads like to think they are empowering us by saying that our monthly cycle should not stop us from living our full lives. The truth is far from true.

Emotionally, unresolved emotions come upto surface during this time while nature is bloodletting our yoni.(uterus). We also shed karma along with the uterine lining.

There are three types of women--Vata, Pitta and Kapha. (We can also be a combination of these categories).

Our PMS and periods are manifested differently in different body mind types.

This is not a good time to pick a fight, argue and decide to give your kid a lecture. Take it easy. You can still have important talks after your period.

Remember, while we have our period--we are bloodletting our emotions energetically. We want to do some rituals that let us ground to the earth. Walking barefoot in the garden, some yoga poses are good.

This is a blessing, an opportunity to be a couch potato, hydrate yourself and meditate on letting go of emotional stuff we hold on to. Time to feel grateful we have this opportunity to let go energetically every single month.

Like what you read, ---buy the book "Ayurveda and the Feminine" from amazon.

Monica Grooveris the author of Ayurveda and the Feminine, and, Essential Guide to Ayurveda, A textbook for students and Counselors. Ms Groover is the director of Narayana Ayurveda in Austin, Texas

Has Ayurveda finally arrived in the USA?

By Monica B Groover,

After years of being treated like a religious cult, spa therapist, or some nonsensical psycho fufu—finally, Ayurveda Practitioners like me are being recognized and respected in the USA.

India- I know you take your Ayurveda doctors for granted; however, here in the west, we have struggled, worked hard to make Ayurvedic Medicine a known quantity in the United States. Yours truly included.

Allow me to clarify. I am the director of an Ayurveda college here in Texas, USA.

I started my practice in San Diego, California, around 13 years ago. People would tell me they thought that Ayurveda was a shampoo. Or a massage. Or, some weird smelling oil.

We have come a long way in the last 13 years, though. Things have changed.

Organizations like NAMA (National Ayurvedic Medical Association) have led the charge by creating standards, creating board exams, and now helping out with an accreditation council that accredits Ayurveda Schools.

Teachers like Deepak Chopra have made Ayurveda very accessible. Mind you; it's still not mainstream as Yoga. There are 50,000 yoga teachers in America. Did you know that Americans spent around $16 billion on yoga classes, equipment, clothing, and accessories in 2019 alone? Whew!

That number blows my mind.

Compared to that, Ayurvedic Medicine is still creeping out of the shadows. However, compared to a decade ago, it's not dead and buried. We don't have a deep-pocketed organization like Patanjali, and we don't have a Dabur here. We have small to medium organizations selling supplements.

Another new development is the popularity of Ayurvedic books. Ayurvedic books are now best sellers.

In the last three years alone, I have had at least one person come in each month, clutching an Ayurveda book in their hands—with careful notes.

"How did you come to hear about my Ayurveda Practice?" I ask.

"Well, I read a book about Ayurveda and then googled you. Here I am" is the response.

The scope of an Ayurvedic Physician in India, who is considered a medical professional, is VERY different from that of an Ayurvedic Practitioner in the USA.

We are not allowed to treat, cure, diagnose, or prevent any disease.


We are alternative health practitioners.

Here's an excerpt from my book -Essential Guide to Ayurveda- A Textbook for Students and Counselors.

"An Āyurvedic practitioner wears many different hats. No other holistic modality on the planet requires a practitioner to serve in so many roles: healer, listener, astrologer, teacher, philosopher, herbalist, and expert in Sanskrit texts like the Caraka Saṁhitā. Most practitioners, whether they intend to or not, have worn the hat of a public speaker as they try to educate those around them.

When I tell people, I practice "Āyurvedic medicine," I also explain what an Āyurvedic practitioner is, what an Āyurvedic counselor is, and how these two different types of American Āyurvedic professionals differ from an Indian-educated Āyurvedic physician or a vaidya trained in India.

Different audiences in different countries require different definitions."

Compare this with training in India-where 4-5 years of training equivalent of 4000 hours of education is the foundation.

Ayurvedic Spa therapies have become popular here in the States.

Recently, a leading hotel brand has opened an Ayurvedic Spa just outside Austin, Texas.

The big and most famous spa remains The Raj in Iowa.

Abhyanga (oil massage) and Shirodhara(oil drop) remain the most popular Ayurvedic therapies in the Spa business.

With thousands of Ayurveda Practitioners opening their practice all over North America, this decade will be the decade of Ayurveda. Move over, Yoga.

Here we come.

Monica Groover is the author of Ayurveda and the Feminine, and, Essential Guide to Ayurveda, A textbook for students and Counselors. Ms Groover is the director of Narayana Ayurveda and Yoga Academy in Austin, Texas.

Nārayana Nāḍī and Ayurvedic energetic assessment

By Monica Groover

In over a decade and a half of practice, nothing impresses people who have heard about Ayurveda like the mystic of the famous nāḍī. An Ayurveda practitioner touches your wrist and magically tells you amazing things about you-almost like a psychic reading.

This is not like a pulse assessment--rather it is reading the prana, the qi that flows in the body energetically, and just like reading tea leaves, an experienced practitioner can tell us what will come and has happened.

While this is an exaggerated scenario, the truth is that the nāḍī that I personally practice is a hot pot kitchari of mystical, spiritual energies with mental and physical vibrations mixed in.

I teach the Narayana nāḍī at my school-Narayana Ayurveda and Yoga Academy based out in Texas. This system utilizes meditation, yoga, mantras, and intuition. I invoke deities and use mantras to gather them on the tip of my fingers.

My fingertip feels the energy of the nāḍī just like a violinist or cellist uses the string to vibrate and create music. I just hear that music and translate it. In my years of teaching this system, most students who have been following the process of yoga or meditation do not have a problem "hearing" the nāḍī, or internally "visualizing" it through their third eye.

nāḍī is like checking strings
nāḍī is like checking strings

(Although there are some students that don't feel any vibrations in the fingertips at first--that happens!).

The problem my students who are learning this energy reading system for the first time have trouble translating these subtle energetic vibrations on their fingertips. Personally, I like to hear these vibrations, but they also manifest in my third eye. So, when I teach this system of vibration and energy emanating from nāḍī of a person, my job is not just to help my student "FIND" the vibration, but also hear it, visualize it and eventually translate it to wellness.

The nāḍī has six strings. The top layer we call the superficial nāḍī corresponds with general physiological changes in Vata, Pitta, and Kapha throughout the day. For example, when we are hungry, Pitta nāḍī may come through at this level, and when we are tired-Kapha may come through. And, if we are running ourselves and spread thin -vata nāḍī may come through at this level. This level doesn't mean anything except--what is happening superficially in the mind, body, and spirit.

First things first. Our three fingers, index, middle, and ring are the tools we use to "hear" the nāḍī. First things first, we must cut our nails. Our hands and fingers should be clear of rings, creams, cosmetics, jewelry, etc.

The tip of the index, middle and ring finger correspond to the energies of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Gently, we keep the index, middle, and ring finger perpendicular below the thumb on the artery. (just 1 mm off the artery, actually!)

At first, in order to make contact the Narayana nāḍī system uses this intuitive method to scan Vata, Pitta, and Kapha areas of the body and their sthānams (original place or domicile). We may also scan the marmas as and when necessary.

For the next few days, put your fingertips on the radial artery (see photo) and feel your own energy flowing. Hear it, visualize it and make notes. We will go to next phase of nāḍī in my next blog.

By Monica Groover,

author of Essential Guide to Ayurveda Part 1: Ayurveda Textbook for Students & Counselors

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Period shame and Menstrual education

Period shame and Menstrual education

Recently I saw a Ms. Universe from the Indian region of Punjab in North India, lecturing Trevor Noah on menstrual equality on his show. That was absolutely wonderful to hear this topic so freely being discussed on American mainstream shows. (So, was Trevor's Bollywood dance moves, but that is another matter).

Growing up in the seventies in conservative India, this was a "don't go there" topic, and, period shame is still a taboo topic today in many parts of the world. I was a little shocked when I found out that some immigrants to the US also found this taboo and did not discuss this openly. (I only found out during consultation with menstruating children and their parents in the same room!)

Did you know that half the world's women cannot afford or do not have access to menstrual products? Basically, there are three things that make up menstrual inequality in the world. (And, many of them are not vagina literate.)

Many websites and nonprofits list affordability, accessibility, and safe products as three factors for menstrual equality. So, you would ask what has this got to do with Ayurvedic Counselors or Practitioners? Well, we have all kinds of clients who come to us for help with Ayurveda and use ancient methods for their modern or not-so-modern issues.

I would like to add menstrual education to this also. I recognize how important menstrual products are and the inability to afford them hinders people of color, schoolgirls in rural or semi-rural India, and other minor communities. What can we do to help girls and women, our community, and friends during menstruation?

It would be wonderful if Ayurveda practitioners can work with menstruating persons- whether teenage girls or LGBTQ+ and guide them in menstrual education- tampons, pads, cups--pros vs cons, menstrual hygiene, etc. Cotton natural pads, banana leaf pads, bamboo pads vs conventional pads. Do menstrual cups work for everyone? How to cleanse the area during menstruation?

First things first, the duty of an Ayurveda Practitioner is also to educate their clients. And, statistically more women will visit Ayurveda or holistic practitioners than men. Within that group, many of the women who will seek holistic or complementary medicine will choose to do so related to PMS (Premenstrual syndrome), Menstrual Imbalances ( lack of periods, low bleeding, heavy bleeding, painful periods, etc.), Perimenopause (10 years before menstrual period completely ends) and menopause (12 months after the periods have stopped completely). Women may also seek out alternative health practitioners while they are trying to get pregnant, during pregnancy, or postpartum.

And, talking about bleeding from our uterus once a month is taboo in so many cultures, that I think as Ayurveda Practitioners we should provide a safe space where girls and women can talk about and get some simple counsel. I had thrown this question out some months ago, during a lecture I gave and got some interesting replies.

We should have posters on our office walls talking about women's imbalances. Perhaps a simple brochure about how to wash the private areas.

Trying to give pros vs cons of tampons vs pads, and menstrual cups--keeping information will help.

Some Ayurvedic Therapies for women include vaginal washing. Isn't washing the same as douching? Now, I do not like to use the word douching because it includes washing the vagina area with water and vinegar. That is not the Ayurveda way. Ayurveda practitioners may ask a client who has heavy white discharge or yeast imbalance to use a sitz bath with clean water mixed with herbs, rose water, or turmeric sometimes. Heres a video of how to make own rose water.

Using a rose water spray each time a menstrual pad is changed can refresh the area without irritating it. Obviously, each woman is different, the vagina is different, the uterus is different, the ph balance is different, and the bleeding is different--it is as unique as the woman itself.

Monica B Groover is the author of Ayurveda and the Feminine, and Essential Guide to Ayurveda Part 1- Ayurveda Textbook for Counselors and Students

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