What is ayurveda

Ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional medicine native to the Indian subcontinent and a form of alternative medicine.

History of Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a discipline of the upaveda or auxiliary knowledge. It is treated as a supplement or appendix of the Vedas themselves, usually either the Rigveda or the Atharvaveda.

Ayurveda vs Science

As a traditional medicine, many ayurveda products have not been tested in rigorous scientific studies and clinical trials.

World Health Organization.

Ayurveda is not only a system of medicine, but also a way of living. It is used to both prevent and cure diseases.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Agni: digestive fire

Agni is our digestive fire (metabolism) which is responsible for processing and absorbing the foods we eat. Depending on the strength of our individual agni, each person is capable of digesting certain foods better than others. So rather than, “You are what you eat,” Ayurveda says, “You are what you digest.”
We can eat whatever we want, but if we don’t digest it properly, we will be on the path to getting some sort of disease. Agni is literally a fire in our digestive system and when not fueled properly it can run too hot, or not hot enough. In either case, malfunctioning agni creates ama. Ama is undigested food (it’s toxic!) and is responsible for 90% of all disease. Ama is leftover goo that clogs, sticks, blocks, clouds channels in the body/mind and creates disease. Yucko!
Signs of healthy agni
• tongue is pink
• hungry for next meal
• regular bowel movements
• poop that floats or is very loose
• clarity of mind
• clear, glowing skin
• good energy
Signs of malfunctioning agni
• whitish coating on tongue (sign of ama)
• weak or loss of appetite
• poop that sinks
• clouded thinking
• bloating, gas, constipation, distension
• lethargy or grogginess
Vata people have varied agni. Pitta people tend to have very strong agni because of their natural heat, however pittas need to make sure that their agni doesn’t get too hot. Agni that is too hot can burn the tissues which also results in ama. Kapha have low agni which results in kapha imbalances like lethargy, obesity, heaviness, and dullness of the senses.
Tips on keeping agni strong
 Small breakfast. Our agni is just a tiny fire in the morning…just barely burning from last night’s fasting. We should have a small breakfast to kindle the little fire because if we eat too much, we will squelch it.
• Large lunch. Agni is strongest at noon, so lunch should be the biggest meal of the day. It makes sense because agni relates to the sun. It’s all about nature…when nature is warm, so are we, so let’s use nature to our advantage!
• Small dinner. The sun is going down and agni follows suit, preparing for sleep. If we follow the regimen of eating a large lunch, we shouldn’t be starving at dinner.
• Eat with peace of mind. If our mind is focused elsewhere (eating lunch while working) we are not present or aware of what we are putting in our bodies. That’s 1/2 of digestion right there!
• Ghee. Great for kindling agni.
• Spices. Using spices depending on constitution to increase internal heat.
• Less Water. Don’t drink a lot of water with the meal. Some water is necessary, but too much will put out the fire. Drink water about an hour after the meal.
• Hunger pangs. Wait until there is real hunger and you have clear burps (sounds gross, I know) before eating the next meal.

Kapha: energy of construction


Elements water (aap) + earth (prithvi)
Qualities wet, cold, heavy, oily, static
Season spring
Nature moon
Main Location stomach + chest
Kapha is the dosha responsible for lubrication and structure of the body. Because of their sturdiness, Kapha people tend to be the healthiest of the three doshas, including mental health. Kapha is our lubrication in the brain, around the joints, reproductive fluids, and is responsible for building most of our tissues. Kapha keeps our bodies from turning into raisins.
Since Kapha people are made of water and earth they are very sturdy, grounding and they are difficult to move. They are comfortable and happy in one place and don’t like change. Kaphas are prone to “static & heavy” diseases like obesity, lethargy, dullness of mind, and diabetes.
Kapha personality. Everybody loves a Kapha! They are the peacemakers, the joyous hosts, the listeners, and the nurturers. They are almost always happy. They are extremely tolerant, patient and they are the first one to offer a helping hand. They won’t ever lead, but are very happy to follow. It is not easy to exhaust or upset a kapha, but once you’ve upset a them, they will hold a grudge. Their mind is steady, their attitude is positive and their bodies are very strong. Kaphas need encouragement to get them moving-because they don’t like to. Kaphas also have a tendency to attach to things because remember, they don’t like change. They like to grab a hold of something and stick there forever. Attachment could be anything, like emotions (those grudges I mentioned), the past, people, relationships, and collections of “stuff.” Kaphas looove stuff. Balanced kaphas are gentle, nurturing, and are genuinely happy about everything.
Kapha body. Kaphas have big and strong structure. They have strong joints, thick skin and strong bones. Their skin is usually pale and oily (clammy). Their hair is thick and oily. Kaphas have big beautiful eyes and teeth! Their eyelashes are long, full and curly. Kapha hands are meaty with thick knuckles, thick palms and strong nails. They tend to gain weight easily due to the earth element that is prominent.
Kaphas need to keep dry & light. Kaphas are cold, heavy and static so the best thing they can do is to get moving. Moving will make them feel so much lighter as well as bring up the heat inside the body. If you can get a Kapha to perspire (it takes a while cause they don’t sweat much), they will feel wonderful. Remember, Kapha is water and earth, so they need to soak up the excess water with airy and dry foods (veggies, fruits, salads, legumes). A light diet is best and Kaphas can (should) fast. Fasting doesn’t bother kapha because they hold food for a while. Kaphas would love a daily walk in the morning just before sunrise. And they would be extra happy in a sauna.

Kapha digestion. Kapha appetite and metabolism is slow. Due to their earthy and watery structure, they can easily skip meals (and should) and remain content and happy. Fasting is necessary for Kapha because it will lighten their load and it also increases their agni. Kaphas need to keep dry, warm and spicy! These qualities will help kapha feel lighter and they also strenghten their agni, which is what Kaphas need the most.

Pitta: energy of transformation


Elements fire (tejas) + water (aap)
Qualities sharp, hot, oily, smooth, mobile
Season late spring thru summer
Nature sun
Main Location small intestines
Pitta is responsible for digestion and transformation. Pitta is the heat that transforms food, thoughts and physical exertion into energy. Pitta is the medium and agni (digestive fire) is the content so the state of your pitta dosha determines whether you are digesting food properly. Ama is caused by undigested food and it is toxic. Therefore you have healthy pitta, you have healthy agni, and you won’t get ama.
Since pitta people are made of fire and water, they are more sturdy than vata types and it takes them a moderate amount of time to get out of balance and come back into balance. Pittas tend to be on the warm side and are prone to “heated” imbalances like fevers, hypertension, pink eye, and skin problems (acne, eczema, rash).
Pitta personality. Pittas have firey personalities. They love a good debate or sporting event where they can be competitive. They make great leaders and have very sharp and quick witted intellect. Pittas are quick problem solvers but have a tendency to be opinionated and controlling. They want everything done their way and they want explanations for everything. For example, pittas are the first people to start arguing with the umpire at a recreational softball game. They are the lawyer-types and will argue, using logic until people see things their way. Pittas are also extremely punctual-often times doing a ‘drive-by’ before the appointment so that they are sure to be on time. Pittas are also list-makers and extremely organized. Their socks are probably ironed, folded, in rows, according to color. Balanced pittas have razor sharp minds, glowing skin, a witty sense of humor and have the ability to attract others to follow their direction.
Pitta body. Pittas are medium in size often with an athletic build. Their skin has nice tone and glow and they may have freckles or some moles. The features on their face are sharp – sharp chin, nose, and piercing eyes. Eyes tend to be blue or light in color. The finger nails are pink and strong and their hair is straight and shiny. Pittas have a tendency to have a receding hairline and/or early balding (ask Monica for a nice tonic!). Pittas are sensitive to the sun and can easily burn their skin if not careful.
Pittas need cooling. Since pittas run hot they need to be kept cool, mentally and physically. Nadi shodhanam, sheetalishekali are the best pranayama for cooling. They also respond well to sweetness, so be kind to pittas and give them ice cream! They should be careful of excess salt, cheese, hot spices, sour fruits, yogurt and alcohol. To keep them cool and balanced pittas need sweet fruits, salads, legumes, breads, rice, milk, cucumber water.
Pitta digestion. Pittas have strong digestion and can eat almost anything. They are always hungry and if they don’t get fed (watch out!), they get irritable and angry. If pitta digestion is too sharp, it can result in an acidic stomach, heartburn, and diarrhea. Sweet foods are the best bet for pitta to cool and sweeten their hot and sharp fire.

Vata: energy of movement


Elements air (vayu) + ether (akash)
 dry, light, cold, mobile, rough
Season fall thru mid-winter
Nature wind
Main Location colon
Vata is referred to as the ‘king of the doshas’ because it is responsible for every movement in the body. Without vata, pitta and kapha cannot move. Eyes blinking, heart beating, talking with your hands, jumping, circulation, elimination, are all because of vata.
Since vata people are made of air and ether, they don’t have a lot holding them together. They will quickly go out of balance and quickly come back into balance – think of the wind. Vatas tend to get cold easily and are prone to dry skin due to the dry, cold and rough qualities.
Vata personality. You can pick out who has vata as their dominant dosha because they tend to talk a lot, move a lot, and worry a lot. They are creative worriers and usually have twelve million things going on at one time. Their mind is constantly going and they have a very hard time sitting still. This is due to the movement quality of Vata/wind – mind and body are zipping everywhere often times finding it hard to find peace and grounding within themselves. Because vatas have such creative energy, they make good teachers, artists, actors, and professional speakers. And believe you me, vatas like to talk! And wiggle. And complain. Because something usually hurts, including their brain. They also forget things, tend to be late and change their mind all the time. Balanced vatas are contagiously energetic and are the people you might say, “light up the room.”
Vata body. Vatas tend to be slender and can be tall or short. Bones are prominent, their hair is dry and usually curly. Face is oval in shape and eyes are small with teeny lashes. Fingers are long and nails are brittle with a tendency to split. Dry and thin skinned, vatas are easily browned by the sun.
Vatas need grounding. Vatas like to run around (mentally and physically), so one of the best things they can do for themselves is to slow down – or even stop. Meditation, yoga practice, and pranayama are all wonderful for bringing some grounding and nourishment to vata. Remember, vatas are air and ether so they need grounding to keep them from flying away. Nutritionally, vatas can do this by adding oils (ghee!), fully cooked vegetables, milk, and grains to their diet. Vatas need to keep warm and oiled. In the day-to-day, having a solid reliable schedule is best to ease and ground their fluttery mind. They love the sun and warm, humid weather. Steam rooms are great too.

Vata digestion. Vata appetite is erratic and vata digestion is usually sluggish. Yep, constipation. To help vata digestion, they need oleation (ghee!) and warm foods. Oils & sauces lubricate the body to counterbalance the rough & dry qualities in vata and warm foods will help balance the cold qualities.

The Ancient Ayurvedic Writings


Tongue Analysis

The ancient art of tongue diagnosis also describes quite characteristic patterns that can reveal the functional status of respective internal organs merely by observing the surface of the tongue. The tongue is the mirror of the viscera.

A discoloration and /or sensitivity of a particular area of the tongue indicates a disorder in the organ corresponding to that area. A whitish tongue indicates a kapha derangement and mucus accumulation; a red or yellow-green tongue indicates a pitta derangement; and a black to brown coloration indicates a vata derangement. A dehydrated tongue is symptomatic of a decrease in the rasa dhatu (plasma), while a pale tongue indicates a decrease in the rakta dhatu (red blood cells).

The front one-third of the tongue relates to the lungs, heart, chest, and neck. Froth in the middle of this area is often a sign of low lung energy with damp and cold lungs and may translate as a cold, bronchitis, asthma, or respiratory allergy. If there is a small depression in the heart area, it often relates to intense grief, sadness, or depression.

The central third of the tongue relates to the liver, spleen, stomach, and pancreas. Small ulcers on the tongue in the stomach area may reflect gastritis or peptic ulcer.

The rear one-third area of the tongue relates to the lower abdominal organs, such as the small intestine and colon. If this posterior part of the tongue is covered with coating, that is ama or toxins in the colon, indicating low colon energy.

Cleansing the Tongue
One of the best ways to keep the tongue healthy is by scraping it daily. This removes overnight build-up of bacteria and toxins on the tongue. Rather than brushing the tongue, which will only push bacteria and toxins into the tongue, this is done with a tongue scraper or spoon. To do this, extend the tongue and place the scraper as far back on the tongue as comfortable. Using one long stroke, gently pull the scraper forward so that it removes the unwanted coating on the tongue. Rinse the scraper and begin again if necessary. Ayurveda says that scraping the tongue should only be done in the morning on an empty stomach. Scraping the tongue is a good way to start to observe the tongue and as a result, the health of the internal organs.

Empty Bowl Meditation (Kevala Kumbhak)

Sit comfortably and quietly with palms up and open, placed on knees, like empty bowls. Open the mouth slightly and touch the tongue to the roof of the mouth, behind the front teeth. Pay attention to the breath. Let the lungs breathe with no effort on your part. Breath is object of awareness. Simply watch the movement of breath. As you are watching the movement of your breath, pay attention to the tip of your nose. Just be aware of the touch of air going into the nose. Cool air going in, warm air coming out. Sit this way, quietly, observing breath, for about 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, follow the breath. Go with the air into the nose, throat, heart, diaphragm, deep down into the belly behind the belly button, where you will experience a natural stop. Stay in this stop for a fraction of a second, then follow the breath on exhalation, as it reverses its course up from the belly behind the diaphragm, heart, throat, out through the nose. and out of the body to about 9" in front of the nose to a second stop.
The first stop is behind the belly button, the second stop is outside the body in space. At these two stops, breath stops. At these two stops, time stops. Movement of breath is time. In these two stops, only existence is present. In these two stops you are surrounded by peace and love. In these stops, God is present. In these stops you become like an empty bowl. The moment you become like an empty bowl, the divine lips can touch you. God will seek you and pour benediction into you. Let the lungs breathe and you become the empty bowl. Practice this meditation for 15 minutes in the morning and in the evening. As you practice this meditation, over the days,
weeks, months, you will find your time in the stops naturally prolonging until eventually inner and outer will merge at the 3rd eye and everything will happen within you.
You may also practice this meditation in a prone position.

The Elements and Attributes of the Three Doshas

Elements of the Three Doshas
Air + Ether
Fire + Water
Earth + Water

Attributes of the Three Doshas
Sharp (penetrating)
Slimy (smooth)
Static (stable)
Cloudy (sticky)
(attribute, not a guna)
(attribute, not a guna)
Hard, Gross
(guna but not a classical attribute)
Astringent, Bitter
Sour, Pungent
Sweet, Salty

What are elements and attributes and what do they have to do with the doshas?
The ancient seers asserted that only substance or matter can produce an effect. If you can experience something then this experience occurs because you have come in contact with substance or matter. These seers conceived of substance or matter as having five forms. Today we say these are the continuum between energy and mass. Ultimately everything is a form of energy; conversely, all states of mass have some form of energy. This is some of what is meant by the famous equation E = mC2 --that mass and energy are interchangeable.
The seers felt that there are five states they called Space or Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. These represent the five possible states of matter. We understand them as unique by the way we experience them; we use the terms "attribute" or "quality" to describe these states of matter. We know that fire is hot and that water and earth are cold. These attributes--hot, cold, etc.--describe the way we experience each of the pure types of elements. There is a set of attributes for each element. This is shown in the tables above.
The seers also declared that certain combinations of elements have unique physiological properties and functions in nature. Substances that are predominantly composed of Ether and Air have very dynamic properties and effects. These have come to be called "vata substances." Some substances perform digesting, metabolizing, and transforming functions and are called "pitta substances." Similarly, kapha substances are composed of water and earth elements that have the functions to support, lubricate, secrete, etc. Knowing what elements a substance is made of is important to understanding the kinds of effects it produces. These effects are sometimes described in terms of the attributes. Thus, the elements and their attributes can help you to understand why a certain effect is produced. You can use this same logic to counteract an effect with substances or activities that contain its opposite attributes, bringing balance and health. Using the elements and their attributes in this way, we have clearer understanding of the realm of cause and effect, anatomy and physiology, structure and function.

Ghee Recipe

1 pound unsalted butter

Put the butter in a heavy, medium-sized pan. Turn the heat on to medium until the butter melts.

Turn down the heat until the butter just boils and continue to cook at this heat. Do not cover the pot. The butter will foam and sputter while it cooks. Whitish curds will begin to form on the bottom of the pot. The butter will begin to smell like popcorn after a while and turn a lovely golden color. Keep a close watch on the ghee, as it can easily burn. After a while it will become a clear, golden color. You will have to take a clean, dry spoon to move away some of the foam on top in order to see if the ghee is clear all the way through to the bottom. When it is clear and has stopped sputtering and making noise, then it needs to be taken off the heat. Let it cool until just warm. Pour it through a fine sieve or layers of cheesecloth into a clean, dry glass container with a tight lid. Discard the curds at the bottom of the saucepan. The ghee is burned if it has a nutty smell and is slightly brown.

1 pound of butter takes about 15 minutes of cooking time. The more butter you are using, the more time it will take.

Ghee can be kept on the kitchen shelf, covered. It does not need refrigeration. The medicinal properties are said to improve with age. Don’t ladle out the ghee with a wet spoon or allow any water to get into the container, as this will create conditions for bacteria to grow and spoil the ghee.

Two pounds of butter will fill a quart jar with ghee.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Khichari Recipe


  • 1/2 cup Basmati Rice
  • 1 cup Mung Dal (split yellow)
  • 6 cups (approx.) Water
  • 1/2 to 1 inch Ginger Root, chopped or grated
  • a bit of Mineral Salt (1/4 tsp. or so)
  • 2 tsp. Ghee
  • 1/2 tsp. Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Cumin Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Whole Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. Turmeric Powder
  • 1 pinch Asafoetida (Hing)
  • Handful Fresh Cilantro Leaves
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Assorted Vegetables (optional)

Carefully pick over rice and dal to remove any stones. Wash each separately in at least 2 changes of water. Add the 6 cups of water to the rice and dal and cook covered until it becomes soft, about 20 minutes.

While that is cooking, prepare any vegetables that suit your constitution. Cut them into smallish pieces. Add the vegetables to the cooked rice and dal mixture and cook 10 minutes longer.

In a separate saucepan, sauté the seeds in the ghee until they pop. Then add the other spices. Stir together to release the flavors. Stir the sautéed spices into the cooked dal, rice, and vegetable mixture. Add the mineral salt and chopped fresh cilantro and serve.

Caution: Kitchari mono-diet can lead to constipation if taken exclusively for several days, as it is low in fiber. To ensure proper elimination, the following may prove helpful if taken once a day, away from kitchari meals: psyllium husks or seeds with water OR oat bran OR prune juice.

Teas for each Constitution

Vata Tea — equal parts ground ginger, cumin and coriander
Pitta Tea — equal parts ground cumin, coriander and fennel
Kapha Tea — equal parts ground ginger, cinnamon, and a pinch of clove

Agni Tea Recipe


  • 1 quart Water
  • 1 pinch Cayenne
  • 2 handfuls Minced ginger root
  • 2 Tbs. Sucanat or other sweetener
  • 1 to 2 tsp. Rock salt


  • Bring all of the above ingredients to a boil. Boil for 20 minutes.
  • Take the pot off the burner and cool for a few minutes
  • Add the juice of 1/2 lime. Do not boil the lime juice.
  • Pour into a thermos and enjoy throughout the day!

The Daily Routine

A daily routine is absolutely necessary to bring radical change in body, mind, and consciousness. Routine helps to establish balance in one's constitution. It also regularizes

1. Wake Up Early in the Morning

It is good to wake up before the sun rises, when there are loving (sattvic) qualities in nature that bring peace of mind and freshness to the senses. Sunrise varies according to the seasons, but on average vata people should get up about 6 a.m., pitta people by 5.30 a.m., and kapha by 4.30 a.m. Right after waking, look at your hands for a few moments, then gently move them over your face and chest down to the waist. This cleans the aura.

a person's biological clock, aids digestion, absorption and assimilation, and generates self-esteem, discipline, peace, happiness, and longevity.

2. Say a Prayer before Leaving the Bed

"Dear God, you are inside of me, within my very breath, within each bird, each mighty mountain.
Your sweet touch reaches everything and I am well protected.

Thank you God for this beautiful day before me.
May joy, love, peace and compassion be part of my life and all those around me on this day.
I am healing and I am healed."

After this prayer touch the ground with your right hand, then the same hand to the forehead, with great love and respect to Mother Earth.

3. Clean the Face, Mouth, and Eyes

Splash your face with cold water and rinse out your mouth. Wash your eyes with cool water (or one of the eye washes mentioned below) and massage the eyelids by gently rubbing them. Blink your eyes 7 times and rotate your eyes in all directions. Dry your face with a clean towel.

Tridoshic eyewash: try triphala eyewash -¼ tsp. in 1 cup water, boil for 10 minutes, cool and strain.
Pitta eyewash: use cool water or rose water from organic rose petals - most commercial rose water has chemicals in it that will sting the eyes.
Kapha eyewash: try diluted cranberry juice, 3-5 drops in a teaspoon of distilled water.

4. Drink Water in the Morning

Then drink a glass of room temperature water, preferably from a pure copper cup filled the night before. This washes the GI track, flushes the kidneys, and stimulates peristalsis. It is not a good idea to start the day with tea or coffee, as this drains kidney energy, stresses the adrenals, causes constipation, and is habit-forming.

5. Evacuation

Sit, or better squat, on the toilet and have a bowel movement. Improper digestion of the previous night's meal or lack of sound sleep can prevent this. However the water, followed by sitting on the toilet at a set time each day, helps to regulate bowel movements. Alternate nostril breathing may also help. After evacuation wash the anal orifice with warm water, then the hands with soap.

6. Scrape your Tongue

Gently scrape the tongue from the back forward, until you have scraped the whole surface for 7-14 strokes. This stimulates the internal organs, helps digestion, and removes dead bacteria. Ideally, vata can use a gold scraper, pitta a silver one, and kapha copper. Stainless steel can be used by all people.

7. Clean your Teeth

Always use a soft toothbrush and an astringent, pungent, and bitter toothpaste or powder. The traditional Indian toothbrush is a neem stick, which dislodges fine food particles from between teeth and makes strong, healthy gums. Licorice root sticks are also used. Roasted almond shell powder can be used for vata and kapha, and ground neem for pitta.

8. Gargling

To strengthen teeth, gums, and jaw, improve the voice and remove wrinkles from cheeks, gargle twice a day with warm sesame oil. Hold the oil in your mouth, swish it around vigorously, then spit it out and gently massage the gums with a finger.

9. Chewing

Chewing a handful of sesame seeds helps receding gums and strengthens teeth. Alternatively, chew 3-5 dried dates and an inch of dried coconut meat. Chewing in the morning stimulates the liver and the stomach and improves digestive fire. After chewing, brush the teeth again without using toothpaste or powder.

10. Nasal Drops (Nasya)

Putting 3 to 5 drops of warm ghee or oil into each nostril in the morning helps to lubricate the nose, clean the sinuses, and improve voice, vision, and mental clarity. Our nose is the door to the brain, so nose drops nourish prana and bring intelligence.

For vata: sesame oil, ghee, or vacha (calamus) oil.
For pitta: brahmi ghee, sunflower or coconut oil.
For kapha: vacha (calamus root) oil.
11. Oil Drops in the Ears (Karana purana)

Conditions such as ringing in the ears, excess ear wax, poor hearing, lockjaw, and TMJ, are all due to vata in the ears. Putting 5 drops of warm sesame oil in each ear can help these disorders.

12. Apply Oil to the Head & Body (Abhyanga)

Rub warm oil over the head and body. Gentle, daily oil massage of the scalp can bring happiness, as well as prevent headache, baldness, graying, and receding hairline. Oiling your body before bedtime will help induce sound sleep and keep the skin soft.

For vata use warm sesame oil.
For pitta use warm sunflower or coconut oil.
For kapha use warm sunflower or mustard oil.

13. Bathing

Bathing is cleansing and refreshing. It removes sweat, dirt, and fatigue, brings energy to the body, clarity to the mind, and holiness to your life.

14. Dressing

Wearing clean clothes brings beauty and virtue.

15. Use of Perfumes

Using natural scents, essential oils, or perfumes brings freshness, charm, and joy. It gives vitality to the body and improves self-esteem.

For vata the best scent to use is hina or amber.
For pitta try using khus, sandalwood, or jasmine.
For kapha use either amber or musk

16. Exercise

Regular exercise, especially yoga, improves circulation, strength, and endurance. It helps one relax and have sound sleep, and improves digestion and elimination. Exercise daily to half of your capacity, which is until sweat forms on the forehead, armpits, and spine.

Vata: Sun salutation x 12, done slowly; Leg lifting; Camel; Cobra; Cat; Cow. Slow, gentle exercise.
Pitta: Moon salutation x 16, moderately fast; Fish; Boat; Bow. Calming exercise.
Kapha: Sun salutation x 12, done rapidly; Bridge; Peacock; Palm tree; Lion. Vigorous exercise.
17. Pranayama

After exercise, sit quietly and do some deep breathing exercises as follows:

12 alternate nostril breaths for vata;
16 cooling shitali breaths (curling up your tongue lengthwise and breathing through it) for pitta;
100 bhastrika (short, fast breaths) for kapha.

18. Meditation

It is important to meditate morning and evening for at least 15 minutes. Meditate in the way you are accustomed, or try the "Empty Bowl Meditation". Meditation brings balance and peace into your life.

19. Now it is time for your breakfast!

Your meal should be light in the hot months or if your agni is low, and more substantial in the cold.
Enjoy your day!

Sleep Well - says ayurveda

A Good Night’s Sleep
Millions of Americans of all ages are affected by sleep problems, many with severe, chronic sleep deprivation. A round-the-clock activity-driven society has meant that many individuals habitually defer sleep to get other things done. "I'll catch up later," is, however, easier said than done. Recent research indicates that pervasive sleep deprivation can lead to more serious health problems than just a dull clouded feeling the next morning—including obesity, high blood pressure and diminished resistance to infections. While there is substantial awareness about the need for proper nutrition and exercise, many people tend to shrug off lack of sleep as not being of much consequence, and, as a result, go through life with both mind and body always performing at less than optimal levels.

The Ayurvedic Perspective
According to The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians, sleep is one of the supporting pillars of life. Along with diet, sleep is critical to good health and well-being. Quality sleep acts as a rejuvenator of mind and body, enabling us to function at peak levels during our waking hours. Even powerful medicine is of little use if the fundamental pillars of life are not strong and solid.

Sleep is important because it enhances Ojas — considered in ayurveda to be the master coordinator between mind, body and the inner self. Ojas is the finest product of digestion, the main life-supporting force within the body. It acts like a shock absorber, helping to insulate the mind from day-to-day stress and enhancing the body’s innate immune systems.

Maharishi Ayurveda considers the state of perfect sleep, in terms of quality, to have been achieved when a tired mind is totally disconnected from the senses. When only partial disconnect occurs, the quality of sleep is adversely impacted.

If during the day our diet, daily routine and behavioral patterns create a Vata, Pitta or Kapha imbalance, a corresponding sleep imbalance develops. Vata, Pitta and Kapha are the three ayurvedic operators that govern all the different activities of the mind and body. Accordingly, Maharishi Ayurveda defines three kinds of sleep imbalances – sleep onset imbalance or problem falling asleep, sleep maintenance imbalance or problem sleeping without interruption through the night and “the morning-after heavy feeling” or waking up unrefreshed and tired with an aching body and lethargic mind.

Managing Sleep Imbalances
The Council suggests ways to manage each of these imbalances, with targeted herbal supplements and diet and lifestyle recommendations. "The new Blissful Sleep herbal tablets are a gentle, non-habit-forming, natural sleep aid. They are recommended for all the three types of sleep imbalances. The Blissful Sleep formula includes as primary herbs Indian Valerian and Muskroot, both well-known in ayurveda for centuries as herbal sleep aids, Winter Cherry, which enhances resistance to stress, and Tinospora Cordifolia, which nourishes the mind and helps enhance immunity, (immunity tends to diminish with prolonged sleep deprivation). Eat a light dinner, at least two hours before retiring to bed; these tablets should not be taken on an empty stomach.

Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations
For a Vata sleep imbalance, indicated by difficulty in falling asleep, The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians recommends a Vata pacifying diet. Favor foods that are warm, heavy and oily, and minimize foods that are cold, dry and light. Emphasize the sweet, salty and sour tastes, and cut down on spicy, bitter and astringent foods. (For specific food suggestions, please call a health educator at 800-255-8332.) Include poppy seeds in your diet, either as Poppy Seed Chutney or some Almond Energy drink combined with warm milk. Drinking a cup of Slumber Time Teabefore bed can also be soothing. Apply a little Rejuvenation Massage Oil to your hands and feet before you go to bed. In bed, breathe deeply and easily to help you unwind.

Follow a Pitta pacifying diet if you tend to wake up during the night, which generally indicates a Pitta sleep imbalance. Incorporate foods that are cool and liquid, and reduce hot, spicy foods. Sweet, bitter, astringent foods are good; reduce foods that are spicy, salty or sour. Try the Date Milk Shake, a delicious cooling drink, and include Poppy Seed Chutney in your diet. Combine the Rejuvenation Massage Oil (50%) with a cooling oil such as coconut or olive (50%) and apply to hands and feet before bed. Breathe deeply and easily in bed.

If you wake up feeling dull and lethargic—a Kapha sleep imbalance—favor foods that are light, dry and warm, and minimize or avoid foods that are heavy, oily and cold. Focus on spicy, bitter and astringent tastes, and reduce sweet, salty and sour tasting foods. Massaging hands and feet, especially the nail-beds, with Rejuvenation Massage Oil will help.

The Slumber Time Aroma can help create a relaxing, calming environment in your bedroom and help balance your mind and body even after you fall asleep.

Ten Easy Ways to Get Your Zzzs
Here are ten tips from The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians for blissful sleep:
  1. Eat three meals during the day – breakfast, lunch around noon and an early dinner.
  2. Do regular balanced exercise – modern research also confirms that moderate exercise can help improve sleep.
  3. Try to go to bed by 10 p.m., during the drowsy Kapha time of night, so that your mind can settle down faster.
  4. Eliminate or restrict severely the intake of stimulants such as caffeine or alcohol.
  5. Wear comfortable clothing to bed — organic cotton is highly recommended .
  6. Avoid hot, spicy foods at dinner.
  7. Do not bring work-related material into the bedroom.
  8. Keep your bedroom dark or very dimly lit.
  9. A gentle massage of hands, feet and neck before bed can aid relaxation.
  10. In bed, take long, deep, easy breaths, letting your mind and body relax.

A good night's sleep can not only help you stay alert, bright and focused the next day; it can also keep you healthy in the long run.

Joy and Good relations

Creating Blissful Relationships
"I can't talk now -- I have a terrible headache." "Leave me alone -- I've had a miserable day and I need my space." "What happened to us? Don't you love me any more?"

In some form or another, we have all experienced these statements and what they can do to a relationship. Those who are lucky have encountered them only in books and movies. Others, perhaps the majority, have faced them in their own lives at some point or the other.

Observe these statements again. The first one tells of physical stress, the second, mental fatigue, and the third, emotional breakdown. All three of these -- either individually or collectively -- are potential relationship-wreckers.

Ayurveda has always recognized and respected the intimate connection between the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of our being. More than 5,000 years ago, ancient texts like the Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita, and Ashthanga Hridayam recorded some amazing insights into the body-mind-soul connection.

Ayurveda, therefore, looks at relationships as a function of several complex factors. The prime factor, say ayurvedic vaidyas, in causing not only relationship problems but also physical ills is the inability of a person to feel centered within himself or herself. This can happen due to a variety of causes, ranging from genetics to hormonal or environmental imbalances. These imbalances affect an individual's ability to combat day-to-day stress. As a consequence, they diminish the person's ability to work, love, heal, pray, and live in the true sense of the word.

Ayurvedic Solutions
Because the problem/disorder is complex in nature, its solutions must also be more than material. That is why ayurveda combines several therapies as the solution: sadhana (meditation), aromas, music, massage, herbal treatment, proper diet, exercise and detoxification. Together, these healing therapies provide the balm that heals consciousness and makes a person feel whole again.

The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians says ayurveda always approaches a problem at the root level. "And at the root of all relationships is the human heart," he says.

"To the ayurvedic physician, the heart is not simply a pump. It is also the seat of emotions. It is endowed with immense potential to love, feel and give. It contains the essence of the cosmos within itself; just like a seed contains the whole tree. No wonder, then, that when you subject this sensitive, emotional heart to the stress-laden travails of daily living, it sometimes quails and shrinks within itself. This is an effect of pragya aparadh or "mistake of the intellect;" when the intellect, drawn toward and influenced by material consciousness, loses connection with the wholeness of consciousness. This is when we stop being centered within ourselves."

The way to make this mistake right, says The Council, is to allow the heart to expand. To listen to its quiet voice, and to follow what it is telling us. When we start doing this, slowly, the pragya aparadh will be corrected. The seeds of doubt, despair and disappointment will shrivel up and die. We will be whole again; in ourselves and in our relationships with others.

The Council shares five tips for keeping the emotional heart healthy and strong. Recognize that:

  1. True love is and should be unconditional. It gives without reservations.
  2. Your relationships will flourish if you follow your truest feelings and honor your commitments.
  3. It is important to experience all your thoughts and actions. Don't speak or act in haste.
  4. A positive attitude is a great relationship-strengthener.
  5. Giving is the key to receiving. 

The other principal player in matters of the Self and its relationships with others is the mind. Ayurveda sees the mind as messenger between the Self and the senses. For the mind to be working in peak order, therefore, its hinges should be well-oiled, so to say... Ayurveda believes the mind has three "hinges":
  • Dhi: The power to learn -- acquire knowledge
  • Dhriti: the power to retain what has been learned
  • Smriti: the power to recall what has been learned and retained

When these three components work in perfect coordination, says The Council, the mind is balanced. And a balanced mind is the key to harmony both within the Self and outside it. Ayurveda recommends some powerful mind-empowering herbs like brahmi, which enhance all three aspects of the mind. Maharishi Ayurveda's Blissful Joy health-care system uses the synergy of powerful herbs to smoothen the mind-body connection and restore peace and happiness. A sampling of the herbs used in this formula: Arjuna Myrobalans is especially known to strengthen the heart and emotions. Winter Cherry and Holy Basil, have powerful "adaptogenic" properties. They assist the body's natural resistance to stressful situations. Winter Cherry is also very effective in balancing the mind and improving emotional stability. Ailanthus excelsea and Arjuna Myrobalans help strengthen the body's natural rejuvenative processes, hastening the replacement of dead or weak cells with fresh, vital ones.

Vaidyas also recommend using intellect-friendly herbs and spices in daily cooking. Freshly crushed black pepper, for instance, makes nutrients readily available to the microcirculatory channels of the body -- giving mind power an immediate boost.

Ayurveda also recommends introspection as a powerful relationship-saving tool. "Most relationships go wrong," says The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians, "when the people involved start trading blame. If they were to stop and look within, they would be sure to find that the blame does not always lie with the other person. It can be hard to do, but once you do this introspection, you experience a sense of humbleness and forgiveness, both of which are tremendous relationship-repairers."

Finally, your diet and lifestyle directly also affect the way you think, feel and behave. We know only too well what happens when we miss breakfast or cannot sleep well. "Eat that stewed apple, therefore," says The Council. "You may not only be keeping the doctor but also the therapist away."


Millions of people cringe when they see flowers start blooming in spring each year, because they know they will soon be fighting spring allergies. According to a recent article in the U.S. News & World Report, allergies are assuming epidemic proportions in the United States, with up to 30% of adults and 40% of children now suffering from hay fever symptoms -- nasal congestion and itchy, watering eyes. Allergy now reportedly appears regularly in the top 10 reasons for visits to doctors' offices.

Researchers and doctors are still unclear on exactly why some people are affected by allergens such as dust, pollen and mold while others are not. Faced with data that the developed nations of the West have a higher incidence of allergies, scientists have put forward the "hygiene hypothesis" -- that the "clean"surroundings, immunizations and antibiotics prevalent in these countries may be responsible for many people's reactions to allergens. Other factors that may be contributing include diet, exposure to chemicals and carpeted housing.

Doctors have traditionally asked sufferers to avoid the allergens causing a reaction, but this is often easier said than done. Allergy shots currently available and antihistamines can create harmful side-effects and reactions, worsening the situation. Scientists and researchers appear to be convinced that the ultimate solution will be to figure out ways of teaching the body to be indifferent to innocuous allergens. The irony is that the human body is born knowing how to do just that: the question is, what can be done to prevent the body from "losing" that knowledge.

What Maharishi Ayurveda Says
Gearing up the body's own immune systems to effectively combat allergens is exactly what Maharishi Ayurveda suggests as the long-term, effective solution to allergies. "In the spring, impurities inside the body are melting due to the rising temperature in the environment. The liquefied toxins clog the channels of the body. When the channels are blocked, nutrients are not delivered properly to the cells, and the body's immune systems for resisting allergens become overwhelmed. In the spring, as flowers burst into bloom, they fill the air with pollen. So the allergens in the environment are increasing at the same time that the body's defenses are being challenged. That's the reason for the incidence of allergies suddenly shooting up in the spring.

The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians explains that in respiratory allergies, a particular sub-dosha of Kapha, called Shleshaka Kapha, which is responsible for maintaining moisture in the upper respiratory tract, is involved. "As the Ama (digestive impurities) in the body starts melting, it combines with Shleshaka Kapha to form a thick, sticky toxin called shleshma, which starts to fill the respiratory tract and sinus cavities," says The Council. "The entire respiratory system, as a result, becomes a fertile breeding ground for bacteria and infection. This is the reason many allergies end up as secondary sinus and respiratory infections."

Strengthening the Body’s Defense Systems
So what can one do to help the body combat allergens? "It is not enough just to quell the symptoms. The long-term solution is to delve into the root cause of allergies and build up the body's immune system to effectively withstand allergens. The Aller-Defense herbal formulation from Maharishi Ayurveda can help. Taking Aller Defense twice daily helps remove toxins from the body and strengthens the body's immunity. Aller Defense help block toxic reactions, improve digestion, and decrease sensitivity to allergens by nourishing and purifying the liver. This herbal formulation is designed for all kinds of allergies, because it enhances the body's overall capability to fight allergens.

What about diet? Researchers have found that a diet that includes regular intake of spices with anti-allergy capabilities can reduce vulnerability to plant-induced allergies. These spices contain allergy-fighting chemicals that include flavonoids and phenols -- for example, turmeric is rich in curcumin, a compound that is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric can also help improve digestion and balance the flow of bile. Sage, red pepper, cumin and coriander are some other spices that are known to be allergy fighters. Sauteing a combination of ground turmeric, cumin and coriander in ghee and using the mixture to season vegetables is a way of incorporating some of these allergy fighting spices into your diet.

From the ayurvedic perspective, it is important to follow a Kapha-Pitta pacifying diet. When allergens attack the body, the body’s immune system releases various chemicals. So it is considered essential to pacify Pitta because Pitta regulates chemical functions in the body. Drinking Pitta Tea or using the Cooling Spice Mix (food seasoning) are convenient ways of doing this. It is also important to pacify Kapha to counteract sluggish digestion and congestion. This is especially true in the Kapha season (spring).

Understanding that it is important to strengthen the body’s defense systems to effectively combat allergies is important. Appeasing symptoms provides only temporary relief.

Ayurveda and weight loss

Weight Management - The Ayurvedic View

Maharishi Ayurveda offers a comprehensive weight management program that can not only help you achieve a balanced weight but results in side benefits such as more stamina, better functioning body and youthful appearance. The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians, suggests that people balance their weight by first determining their ayurvedic mind-body constitutions and existing imbalances.

Here, The Council discusses two weight management systems offered by Maharishi Ayurveda:

Kapha-Related Weight Imbalance

"The first type of overweight imbalance is due to a lack of digestive fire (low agni) and lack of metabolism. These individuals, even though they may eat very small amounts of food, tend to gain weight. This type of person seems to gain weight just by being around food. Two things are occurring with this type of imbalance; digestive impurities are being created and fat tissue is accumulating in the body. Also, the formation of bone tissue is slowed down due to increase of fat tissue. This is a very common weight problem and the solution is to follow an ama burning program," says The Council.

You can enhance the elimination of ama by taking Be Trim Tea. Individuals on the ama burning diet should participate in an exercise program for 30 minutes each day: brisk walking or other activities such as dancing, swimming or weight training. Exercise helps to burn ama and increases circulation and metabolism. For the diet, eat foods that reduce kapha, favoring astringent, bitter, and pungent tastes and reducing salty, sweet, and sour foods. The Be Trim Therapeutic Aroma Oil Blend can be used at night to stimulate the metabolism and a morning massage called garshan can be done with silk gloves to help stimulate digestion or agni and increase circulation. Once a week, preferably on the weekends, a gentle laxative therapy is recommended by using Herbal Cleanse. This helps to further eliminate toxins.

Pitta-Related Weight Imbalance

The second type of overweight imbalance occurs when a person has long-term ama build-up and the channels around the stomach area have been clogged, creating too much heat in the body. Here, the appetite may be very high and the individual may experience a lot of thirst. The person may also experience heartburn or other pitta aggravated imbalances, such as irritability and impatience.

Instead of Be Trim Tea, an herbalized water consisting of small amounts of fenugreek, coriander, licorice and fennel should be taken during the day. The herbalized water assists the thermogenic process: fenugreek burns fat and helps absorption, coriander eliminates toxins, licorice is cooling and fennel helps with digestion.

To make the water, boil 1 quart of water and pour into a thermos. Add 2 pinches ground fenugreek, 2 pinches licorice root, 1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seeds, and 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds. Drink throughout the day.

This program calls for moderate exercise, about 30 minutes 3-4 times a week. It is recommended that this type of person choose his or her exercise from the following: brisk walking, yoga, swimming, and light weight training. Eat lots of sweet juicy fruits. These individuals should be on a pitta-pacifying diet, and include squash, warm milk, and homemade buttermilk in their diet. Stewed prunes and figs can be eaten on the weekends to provide a gentle laxative therapy without disturbing pitta. A self-massage called "abhyanga" with Cool Sensation Massage Oil will help to further balance pitta. The Council also recommends using a spice mixture of 1 part turmeric, 2 parts cumin, 3 parts coriander, and four parts fennel to be cooked with vegetables or legumes.

Beating Back Stress

Common to both imbalances is overeating due to emotional stress. This can manifest as eating when you are not hungry or looking for something sweet to pacify a bad mood. If this is the case, The Council recommends taking Blissful Joy to uplift to the emotions or Worry Free Tablets and Worry Free Tea to help avoid overeating due to anxious thoughts. A teaspoon of Organic Rose Petal Spread, Be Trim Tea, one date, or a little lassi will also help if you experience sugar cravings. Practicing stress reducing techniques such as Transcendental Meditation®, or doing yoga asanas is also effective. Receiving massage therapy once a week, regular exercise and surrounding yourself with positive people are other practical tips mentioned by The Council to overcome emotional overeating.

Maharishi Ayurveda also recommends avoiding commercial protein powder drinks. Instead eat live protein filled with the intelligence of nature from almonds (no more than 10 per day), walnuts, legumes, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and milk products.

The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians suggests the following very practical, general recommendations regarding weight management:

  1. Limit fat intake to 2 teaspoons of Ghee or olive oil per day (1 teaspoon at lunch and 1 teaspoon at dinner).
  2. For lunch and dinner, eat 50% vegetables, 20% power grains such as quinoa, whole barley, oats, millet, or amaranth, and 30% protein, such as lentils, paneer, and nuts.
  3. Two (2) cups of hot or warm milk a day are recommended, and a small cup of lassi at lunch to help with vitamin B-12 if you are a vegetarian and to help balance Sadhaka Pitta.
  4. Barley water or kanji water is recommended during the day to help cleanse the system, give energy, and help with hunger.
  5. Avoid cold beverages, aged cheese, potatoes, yeasted breads, butter, cookies, cakes, ice cream, chocolates, deep fried foods, and cream sauces and reduce your intake of rice.
  6. For breakfast, eat stewed apples and/or pears.
  7. Do not skip meals.
  8. Eat your largest meal at lunch and have a smaller dinner eaten before 7 p.m. Do not eat anything after 8 p.m.