Ayurveda

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

The Three Doshas in Ayurveda

By Dr. Nandini Daljit,

Student- San Diego College of Ayurveda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is Ayurveda and the best lifestyle?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Regular Bowel Movements (Mala) are the secret to Health

Regular Bowel Movements are the secret to Health

By Monica B Groover, PhD, PK

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

Ayurveda believes that balanced elimination is KEY to good health.

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

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

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

Ahara Mala:

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

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

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

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

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

Now, let's move to Dhatu Malas.

There are seven Dhatus and seven Dhatu Malas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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.

Importance of Daily Routine

By Nina Elliot (Ayurveda Student)

“We are what we repeatedly do” (Aristotle). Routines are the mindful ways of doing things in a pattern, they form schedules, which anchor us to daily life by creating stability and comfort, and without them, we feel overwhelmed and stressed out. When we are in a flow, life just seems to be a little easier. Ultimately, our many habits are done to accomplish a particular goal, and in Ayurveda, the goal is stay healthy and have a balanced Dosha. ‘We are a microcosm of the macrocosm’…I keep hearing this phrase over and over again in this course, weaving itself in and out of each component of Ayurveda, from philosophy to more pragmatic routines. I am now beginning to understand it is the essence of Ayurveda.

So if we are a microcosm of the macrocosm, this means we are driven by Mother Nature, her cyclical flow of existence, and what affects Her will also affect us (and vice versa).


Photo by Mark Tegethoffon Unsplash

If the power of the lunar and solar cycles deeply affect us
(especially the lunar cycle for women), our goal is stay in sync with this flow.

The routines that help us be synchronous are daily/nightly
(Dinacharya) and seasonal routines (Ritucharya).

Dinahcharya seek to establish balance in an individual’s Dosha,
within the 24 hour time span. Within these 24 hours, our Vata,
Pitta and Kapha energies are present in our bodies at all times,
and mirror the actual structure of the day/night with its own VPK
energies.

Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

For example, 6am-10am/6pm-10pm is the Kapha period, 10am-
2pm/10pm-2am is the Pitta period, and 2pm-6pm/2am-6am is the Vata
period.

These time periods dictate when one should do certain
recommenced activities like diet (Ahara) hygiene (bathing, tongue
scraping, oil pulling, nasya, etc) exercise, meditation, and
spiritual practices.

An example for a Pitta would be to eat their largest meal at
lunch, since Pitta is highest at this time and the chance of
optimal digestion is then. Again using Pitta as an example, a
good daily exercise would be to do calming exercises like Moon
Salutations, and a good oil for self massage would be warm
coconut oil.

Similarly, Ayurveda prescribes a seasonal routine to maintain a Doshic balance that sin equilibrium as seasons change. Each season also needs a unique diet, lifestyle and routine living.
An example would be to eat pitta pacifying foods in the summer (coconut, melons, foods that are sweet, astringent and bitter, and avoiding spicy, oily pungent warm foods, as this will aggravate Pitta. Ritucharya helps us to learn to adjust and build upon our daily routines, which too is a necessary point of growth, as change is a part of life.

If basic recommenced routines are not followed, digestion/Agni may be impaired. For me, every time I travel, particularly via flying - my Agni gets disrupted and I will get constipated. Additionally, a diet guideline would be to eat fresh satvik foods, which can also be difficult to obtain while traveling, creating further gastric disturbances which can affect my mood, my stress level, depleting my energies and my sleep.

As much as I do enjoy traveling, I find that after a trip, even if it’s a vacation, I spend a lot of energy focused on ‘getting back on track’ when I get back. Knowing this, and now with Ayurveda’s help, there are ways I can prepare myself for a trip prior to ensure a smooth journey.

What is Ayurveda and Yoga Connection?

Ayurveda and Yoga

by Anuradha Rao (Counselor student)

Ayurveda and Yoga have been long used as multi-modality spiritual tools in India from ancient times. Though they may appear similar due to their underlying origin in Samkhya philosophy, they have both grown into 2 different philosophies over a period of time, with Yoga being a separate form of philosophy in the Sad darshanas (6 school of philosophies).


Origin

Ayurveda has its roots in Atharva veda, the book of herbs, spells and healing techniques. Whereas Yoga was first mentioned in Rig veda, the book of songs, mantras and rituals. Though they both have been inspired by Samkhya philosophy, Ayurveda applies Samkhya all throughout its teachings and Yoga has slowly evolved into a philosophy of its own with various texts such as Patanjali's Yoga Sutras bringing in the theme of Ashtanga Yoga etc.

Lineage
Legend says that Ayurveda has its mythological roots in Lord Brahma, who is the creator it and spread its teachings to the world as per the request of Lord Vishnu. Yoga is said to have been created and taught by Lord Shiva, who was referred to as Adiyogi - the first ever yogi. Lord Shiva is also known as Dakshineshwar - as he first taught the techniques of yoga to Saptarishis (the seven sages) by facing the South direction (Dakshina) on a Purnima (full moon day) and thus came to be known and worshipped as Adiguru (the first ever Guru) as well. Thus, both Ayurveda and Yoga have their origin in the Holy Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara/Shiva).

Purpose
Ayurveda's main goals are the Purusharthas, namely, Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha. And if we consider Patanjali's yoga sutras, the main goal there is Samadhi, which is the 8th limb of Ashtanga Yoga. But ultimately both of these philosophies aim on attaining Moksha, the liberation from Samsara - the cyclical loop of birth, life, death and rebirth.

Similarities
The philosophies of India are usually divided into 2 types: Tattva chintana (intellectual philosophy) and Tattva darshana (applied philosophy). Both Ayurveda and Yoga can be considered as Tattva darshanas - where more prominence is placed in the application of the principles and techniques of the philosophies than any mind or intellectual thinking upon them.

Both of these ancient philosophies work on inculcating holistic changes in a person and work on removing the root causes of ailments or obstacles (kleshas). They both consider an individual beyond his/her physical body and mind (unlike western medicine which looks at what is immediately apparent - like symptoms appearing from mind or body). They both consider an individual to be a 5-layered Self (Pancha koshas) with an eternal or sanatana atman - which is ever-existing, without birth or death. Both Ayurveda and Yoga place importance to a person's karmashaya, the pool of karmas of current life (prarabhda karma), and karma from previous lives (sanchita karma).

Both Ayurveda and Yoga work on changing a person's lifestyle through techniques such as Yama, Niyama, Pratyahara (in Ashtanga Yoga) and Dinacharya, Ratricharya, Ritucharya (in Ayurveda). All these techniques can even complement each other when used and applied together.
They both place importance on breathing techniques, chanting and meditation as a way of connecting and calming the mind.

Dissimilarities
While looking at an individual's karmashaya, the main goal of Yoga philosophy is to dissolve them and not create any more karma. While doing this, the Yoga guru/teacher or even the individual may not place focus on Samana or pacification of current issues like how exclusively Ayurveda does with the help of herbs, therapies like panchakarma, marma therapy, massage, counselling etc. Without Samana, the individual may not consistently stick to the holistic path of healing which can otherwise be quite challenging.

The sutras of Ayurveda mention extensively on how to diagnose ailments and also has extensive encyclopedic knowledge on the anatomy and physiology of the body. And also places importance on tridoshas of the body - Vata, Pitta and Kapha (along with mind doshas - Rajas, Tamas, Sattva). Whereas sutras of Yoga and related scriptures mention mostly the trigunas of the mind and how to work through them, with little or no knowledge about the physical body.

It is even believed that the path of traditional Yoga speeds up the appearance of karmas, in order to empty the karmashaya quicker. This can sometimes throw imbalance in a person's life due to the faster appearances of Kleshas (Adhyatmika, Adhibhautika and Adhidaivika). It doesn't place significant importance in living in the society, community etc. Whereas Ayurveda takes a slow and steady approach including social aspects of living.

The link between Ayurveda and Yoga
The present Ayurveda and Yoga practices consistently exchange the techniques and tools mentioned in them for their purposes such as herbs and therapies from Ayurveda (incorporated in Yoga) and asana, pranayama and meditation (incorporated into Ayurveda). Yoga blew into being practiced almost throughout the world in the first half of the 20th century, but the main focus was placed on asana, the physical aspect of yoga than all 8 limbs. They are slowly evolving with more and more people working on raising their awareness of incorporating the entire path rather than just a part of it.

In the hundreds or thousands of years in the future, Ayurveda and Yoga may even merge into one whole philosophy with deepest access to the physical self to the deepest access to the spiritual self.

Anuradha is a yoga teacher in Bangalore, India and has a background in Science and Engineering.

The protein myth

By R Mason
G Robinson
(Ayurveda Counselor Students)

My friend, it's time to give up the meat. I know you've heard negative things about red meat in the media, and I also know that you grew up in the same pro-meat culture I did, but let's take a serious look at what these messages mean.

The only pro-red-meat argument is cultural. There's not a scientist or doctor I know of today who is actively advocating the consumption of red meat, so let's first take Western science into consideration. Doctors have officially acknowledged that red meat leads to more health problems than health solutions, especially in modern animal agriculture, so let's make that easy decision to eliminate all the extra fats, cholesterol, and hormones from our diet to get out ahead of diabetes.

But let's also examine meat as a source of protein in general. The only reason meat gets a "pass" socially is that we've conditioned ourselves to believe that meat is the only good source of protein, but that belief is designed to sell you more meat rather than make you healthier. According to nutrition experts, the human body needs .36 grams of protein per pound of mass daily. This comes to 56 grams per day for the average man and 46 grams per day for the average woman, and this requirement is met in a single meal that includes meat. This protein intake should be spread out throughout the day, and too much protein gets stored in the body as excess fat. To ward off diabetes, you need to make protein choices that are more beneficial for the body and reduce meat proteins.

Besides being simply too much protein, let's examine the energetics of meat-based protein. Energy affects us all--we've all been in a room in which the energy changes with the addition of a single person--and food is no different. Plant-based proteins come from positive, "growth" energy in nature and are sattvic to the consumer. Animal-based proteins carry all the negative energy of the process by which they arrive on our plate, from the inhumane treatment of the animals in their agricultural environment to their inhumane slaughter and subsequent dismemberment and delivery. When we consume meat, we consume all that negative energy and deplete our prana, thereby making it harder for our bodies to heal and find balance.

So let's beat this diabetes threat and find a food plan that meets your protein requirements in a way that promotes the natural healing your body is capable of.

In Ayurveda we believe food has the power to heal. Food can be medicine. There is a life giving energy that flows through you and throughout the rest of creation that connects us to the Divine, and that same Supreme Intelligence also manifests through Mother Nature and all her bounty. By living in communion and harmony with your soul and nature, God provides everything you need to live a balanced, satisfying and healthy life. It is your choice to make whether who want to live in sync with the natural flow or in opposition to it, but if you have some faith and determination, a higher power will offer further clarity and also help grace your efforts. I can attest from personal and shared experience, you can live and function and do so quite well without eating meat.

If you do not want to give it up entirely, I assure you that you do not need to eat it everyday and if you do this, you will also feel better overall. It may take some time and experience to fully realize for yourself that the need to eat meat regularly for sustenance is a lie perpetrated collectively, in large unconsciously, by the society in which we live and sustained by a pattern you have followed your entire life, but there is another way, and if it means furthering your life rather than diminishing it, I hope you are willing to try something fresh.

You are what you eat and also how well you are able to digest it. Food that is life giving and full of the nutrients you need comes straight out of the earth. When you consume meat, you are attempting to gather all those nutrients but through a dead animal that already digested and assimilated a plant’s vitality, so your body is really doing a lot of extra work for scraps. Meat also takes a lot longer to digest than plant based food and the longer food sits in your GI tract, the more prone you make yourself to sickness and the more sluggish you’ll be feeling overall, because energy you could be using to live you life is tied up in extracting nutrients from dead flesh. Think about it.

What feeds your craving to eat more meat is that you’re eating too much meat, and now you have become prediabetic. If you can taper the meat, you will not have to crave it in the same way. Give your mind and body something new to expect, it is possible, and with that some of the sentiments you hold onto tightly will dissipate as well.

So if we can start preparing more plant based food that is rich in prana, the life giving energy I’ve been alluding to, we can try to correct the digestive impairments in your body that have surely arisen from over consumption of meat and processed foods causing toxins to accumulate and making you prone to chronic illness. In essence, you are not a meat eater, you are not a sick person, but you are a divine soul in an organic vessel, and nature’s whole ingredients have the power to heal your body.

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