What do I need to become an Ayurvedic Doctor?

By Vishakha Moghe

Ayurveda is a Vedic Science which has a distinctive approach towards life. Have ancient Indian scriptures always fascinated you? Have you been awestruck as to how medicine evolved over the years, though the practice and application of basic principles of this age-old science ever remained constant?
The internet is full of articles that explain what Ayurveda is all about. The knowledge is often manipulated to make it all look rosy and promising. Promising, yes! Rosy, not at all times. Very often, people with no background of or exposure to Ayurveda, take the science into their own hands. The problem is that genuine people are the ones full of doubt and the ones with half knowledge fearlessly propagate whatever it is that they know.

What does it take to be a learner of Ayurveda?

1. Patience and Compassion for every being are the obvious ingredients for becoming a good “Vaidya”.

2. One must be ready to set aside the theories of modern science that were previously learnt. A fresh approach and a different perspective are both necessary.

3. Be ready to question every fact. Not everything that is mentioned in the texts is to be assumed as true in the first go. Questioning facts gives you an in-depth clarity about the basics and makes you ready to get in deeper into complex facts.

4. A basic knowledge of the Indian culture and traditions that have an intimate connection with Ayurveda almost always makes you a better (effortless) practitioner because picking up basics becomes easier.

5. Being closely connected with the natural elements that make up the universe will help you unveil the magic of this science.

6. Set your goals. Find a good school. The best place to pursue a career in Ayurveda is undoubtedly India. There are different branches of Ayurveda. The universities and colleges offer various courses ranging from short-term to full-term.

7. Find your “Guru”. You might have all that it takes to be a good vaidya but not finding a Guru to teach you the essence by guiding you makes this journey meaningless. The ancient Indian teaching was based on “Guru-Shishya Parampara” which was the ideal form of learning due to innumerable reasons.

 

Want to be a full-time learner of Ayurveda?

Source: www.jssamch.org

If you want to pursue a full-time career as an Ayurvedic practitioner, an in-depth study of all the branches is necessary. Various schools and universities in India offer full-time courses in Ayurveda.

Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) is an integrated Indian Degree in the medical field. This degree programme is conferred to those students who study the modern medicine and traditional Ayurveda. BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery) is the opening degree in Ayurvedic medicine and Surgery.

Course duration: It is a 5 years and 6 months degree program containing a 41/2 year academic session and 1 year compulsory internship training program in the urban hospitals and rural health centers.

Course syllabus: The entire course contains the modern anatomy, principles of medicines, physiology, social and preventive medicines, forensic medicine, principles of surgery, toxicology, ENT, botany and pharmacology.

 

Looking for short-term courses in Ayurveda?

Source: www.educrib.com

If you’re not looking for full-time courses, there are various institutes that offer short courses on the basics in this field. What’s even more important is, these short courses “do not make you eligible to practice the ayurvedic medical system full-time”. Ayurveda is a vast science and even after pursuing a 51/2 year graduate degree and a 3 year post-graduate degree one feels the need to learn more. Short-term courses therefore do not make you eligible to be full-time Ayurvedic practitioners. Some of the courses are as mentioned below:

1. Ayurvedic Cosmetology (1 week course) – Introduction to Ayurveda, Fundamentals of Ayurveda, Tridosha and Panchamahabhoota concept. Practicals include Udwartana (powder massage), Mukhalep (face massage and face pack application), Shirobhyang (head massage), Padabhyang (foot massage)

2. Traditional Ayurvedic Massage and Panchakarma Therapy (1 month) – Introduction to basic concepts of Ayurveda including concepts of Panchakarma, concepts of body, mind and soul, Dinacharya, Ratricharya and Rtucharya. Practicals include the knowledge and practice of various ayurvedic massages.

3. Traditional Ayurvedic Massage, Panchakarma Therapy, Identification of Herbs and Preparation of Simple Ayurvedic Medicines.

You may refer to the page to get the necessary details by clicking on the link below.

http://www.ayurvedaacharya.com/course-details/

An Ayurveda graduate undergoes rigorous training before he gets out of school. An additional 3-year training after graduation (M.D. Medicine) gives him an added advantage to enter the clinical world and handle acute and chronic cases. It is not possible to gain this expertise upon learning ayurveda through short-term courses. So in the end it is essential that one understands one’s strengths and limitations while practicing medicine to avoid ethical issues in the future.

We, at Ayurvedafinder recommend you to visit India to learn more about the various courses offered here.

 

About the Author

Processed with VSCOVishakha is an Ayurvedic practitioner, yoga counselor and a passionate traveler. She lays emphasis on living a healthy life by nourishing the body and mind with wholesome and natural food, meditation and yogic techniques. An Indian at heart, she aims at propagating the goodness of the Indian culture across the seven seas and stimulating thoughts by creating a hunger for knowledge.

 

Know Your Dosha The Ayurvedic Way

By Vishakha Moghe

The 6000-year old science of Ayurveda began when the rishis and sages while wandering in the hills and valleys, observed how much in tune with nature their bodies were. They sought to reveal the deepest truths of human physiology and health. This ancient system of life (ayur) knowledge (veda) evolved from a deep understanding of creation (utpatti).

Source: www.upliftconnect.com
Source: www.upliftconnect.com

Why is Ayurveda unlike the other medical sciences?

  • 1) Ayurveda sees the body as a whole and does not categorize diseases under just one particular system.
  • 2) Prevention is the key. Diseases can be prevented by knowing the body constitution and by having a diet and activity regimen that goes hand-in-hand with the body constitution (prakruti).
  • 3) In Ayurveda, every individual is unique and no two people can be prescribed the same diet and activity plan.

The basis of all the life processes as explained by Ayurveda are these three entities called doshas.

 “Dushayanti Iti Doshah”

That which causes vitiation is called dosha. What is even more important is that dosha causes vitiation when it is in a disturbed form. It clearly means that, doshas, in their normal states, are responsible for health, vigour and longevity. The three doshas that form the basis of Ayurveda are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The doshas derive from the Five Elements and their related properties. Vata is composed of Space and Air, Pitta of Fire and Water, and Kapha of Earth and Water.

Source: www.halcyonbotanicals.com

The doshas change in accordance to our actions, lifestyle, diet, seasons, emotions and thoughts but the actual “prakruti” that is present since birth never changes. The dosha remains balanced when we make diet and lifestyle choices according to their state in our body. Imbalance, on the other hand arises when we constantly support unhealthy patterns by eating and living in a way that is unhealthy to our doshic state. Vikruti is the term used to describe this imbalanced deviation away from prakruti.

To briefly explain the condition of doshas, there are primarily three states:

Balance: It means equilibrium; all three doshas are present in their normal proportions.

Increase: It means aggravation or excess; one or two doshas are in their more-than-normal proportions.

Decrease: It means depletion or reduction; one or two doshas are in their less-than-normal proportions.

Majorly, diseases are caused when there is an imbalance in our predominant dosha . Further said, the increased or aggravated state leads to the greatest number of imbalances. The causes could be a seasonal variation, a dosha-aggravating diet and/or mental stress. A balance can then be restored by understanding your unique constitutional make-up and knowing how to harmonize your internal environment.

Vata Dosha

Vata is the entity that is responsible for “movement” of all sorts, like circulation, transportation and body movements. Just as in nature, the wind in balance provides movement and expression to the natural world, the balanced Vata individual is active, creative, and gifted with a natural ability to express and communicate. When the wind in a Vata type rages like a hurricane, negative qualities quickly overshadow these positive attributes. Common signs of Vata imbalance include anxiety and bodily disorders related to dryness, such as dry skin and constipation.

Causes of Imbalance:

  • 1. Eating dry, cold and stale foods.
  • 2. Drinking alcohol, coffee in excess.
  • 3. Going to bed late at night.
  • 4. Irregular meal timings on a regular basis.
  • 5. Excessive physical exertion.

Pitta Dosha

Pitta is very closely related to fire so all processes like digestion and metabolism are carried out by Pitta dosha. Pitta provides the body with heat and energy through the breakdown of complex food molecules. It governs all processes related to conversion and transformation throughout the mind and body. Psychologically, Pitta governs joy, courage, willpower, anger, jealousy, and mental perception. It also provides the radiant light of the intellect.

The balanced Pitta individual is blessed with a joyful disposition, a sharp intellect, and tremendous courage and drive.

Causes of Imbalance:

  • 1. Eating hot, spicy and pungent foods.
  • 2. Sleeping late at night.
  • 3. Excessive exposure to the sun.
  • 4. Over-working.
  • 5. Excessive consumption of alcohol, hot beverages like tea and coffee and smoking cigarettes.

Kapha Dosha

Kapha dosha is the entity that builds up the body and lubricates it. It provides the body with physical structure, form and smooth functioning of all its parts. Physiologically, Kapha moistens food, gives bulk to our tissues, lubricates joints, stores energy, and relates to cool bodily fluids such as water, mucous, and lymph. Psychologically, Kapha governs love, patience and forgiveness.

Causes of Imbalance:

  • 1. Over-eating especially sweet foods.
  • 2. Lack of exercise or no physical activity.
  • 3. Spending too much time in cold environment.
  • 4. Avoiding mental activity or intellectual challenges.

The key to remember is that like increases like, while opposites create balance.

For a healthy, disease-free life, it is important that every individual understands their constitution and indulges in diet that has properties opposite to that of their body-type.

 

About the Author

Processed with VSCOVishakha is an Ayurvedic practitioner, yoga counselor and a passionate traveler. She lays emphasis on living a healthy life by nourishing the body and mind with wholesome and natural food, meditation and yogic techniques. An Indian at heart, she aims at propagating the goodness of the Indian culture across the seven seas and stimulating thoughts by creating a hunger for knowledge.

 

A Beautiful Mind: The Essence of Life

By  Vishakha Moghe

„Every morning she woke up wondering if there was any point in getting out of bed and starting the day that was ahead of her. She had turned into a fearful, under-confident woman who didn’t even see a point in living life anymore.“

www.theodysseyonline.com
www.theodysseyonline.com

Stress, depression and anxiety are increasingly becoming a part of life for many of us. Being constantly under the pressure of proving yourself amidst tough competition and fighting the endless struggles of life, does it end here? In fact, it only gets worse. Our brain cells create ideas and stress does exactly the opposite, it kills them! It’s like running on a treadmill, you run for hours without getting anywhere. If it’s known to not get us anywhere, why do we let stress take over us, why do we give it the liberty to rule our lives?

The Bhagavad Gita has beautifully explained the human mind in one Sutra.

| | mana eva manushyanam
karanam bandha-mokshayoh
bandhaya visayasango
muktyai nirvisayam manah
 || Bhagavad Gita 6.5

Meaning:- “For man, mind is the cause of bondage and mind is the cause of liberation. Mind absorbed in sense objects is the cause of bondage, and mind detached from the sense objects is the cause of liberation.”

The human mind (manas) has been a subject of research for years. The secret to success in life is when one has won their battle against their own mind, because it distracts you, it distances you from your goals by indulging in objects that give you temporary pleasure as much as it helps you achieve the impossible when gained complete control over!

Source: www.themindunleashed.org
Source: www.themindunleashed.org

Ayurvedically speaking, there are three qualities of mind that govern the entire cosmos, the entire universe. These qualities are termed as guna: Sattva, Rajas, Tamas. These guna that govern the entire universe are the three aspects of the human mind. Sattva, to be specific, can be termed as a guna of the mind; Raja and Tama, on the other hand are actually termed as mano-doshas.

Sattva, stands for purity and clarity. A sattva dominant person comes off as a calm, honest, balanced and grounded person.

Rajas and Tamas are doshas which are required in small quantities by the human mind, though an increase in these doshas means an “imbalance”. Rajas means extreme activity and a Rajasic person comes off as a violent, greedy, competitive person. Tamas on the other hand means extreme lethargy, laziness and heaviness. Both Rajas and Tamas are extremes of human mind and an excess of both leads to a lot of negativity in life which can be called as “mental disorders”. Hence, it is important that we nurture the quality (Sattva) and progress on the path of a healthy life.

In the modern-day life, everything in our life is Rajasic- stimulating and competitive. There’s competition, fight for something, temptation and materialistic obsession. All these bring the Rajasic nature out. Self-contentment, purity in thoughts and devotion, on the other hand, bring out the Sattvik nature in us and that leads to a lot of peace in life. Ayurveda believes that we should strive towards Sattva and that it is not impossible to train our mind to move from Rajasic and Tamasic state to Sattvik state. Thus, it declares that health is a result of the union of a healthy body, selfless mind and a content soul.

The approach of Ayurveda to eliminate the doshas of the mind is unique and aims at using psychological, spiritual and pharmacological methods to root out the disease. It is termed as “SattvÁvajaya CikitsÁ”. The traditional mental health promoting practices focused on improving the activity regimen (Dinacharya) of the subject, correcting their behavior (Sadvritta) and advising yoga. Control over the mind can be exercised only through spiritual knowledge, fortitude, philosophy, remembrance and concentration.

The two important factors that are taken care of while treating the patient are as mentioned:

1. Assuring the patient of the return of happiness after the loss of an object or a dear one.

2. Inducement of emotions opposite to those associated with patient’s distress.

The uniqueness of Ayurveda in the management of mental illnesses lies in the fact that instead of suppressing the subjects emotions and and bombarding them with medicines, more emphasis is laid upon gradual withdrawal from bad habits, addictions and negative emotions. Replacement of emotions like malice by love, ignorance by knowledge, fear by courage, anger by composure, jealousy by affection etc by keeping mental equanimity by enlightenment, imparting knowledge, patience and confidence. This is what makes the Ayurvedic approach to psychiatric disorders a unique one in the world.

 

You’re beautiful, love yourself

1. If there’s an object or a person that disturbs you frequently, withdraw from it/them. The golden rule is to keep away from anything and everything that comes in your way of achieving your ultimate goal that is going to give you the ultimate happiness. Avoid over-burdening your intellect and senses with something if you feel it is beyond your understanding or if it is not your forte.

2. Learn to say a“No” when really needed, because it’s more important than knowing how to say a “Yes”. If you don’t say it when it is the right time, you feel the burden of doing something which is beyond your capabilities then, this in turn leads to unnecessary stress in life.

3. Avoid the habit of postponing things because of laziness and poor time management. Your mind has an incredible potential to multi-task, but this is possible only with wise time management skills and discipline. When tasks are finished in time, there’s no question of your work getting piled up. No pending work means no stress! Life begins to get so much better.

4. Create a shield against stress. “Abhyanga” or oil massage after selecting the oil according to Prakruti of the subject gives the desired results and nourishes the body and mind. This includes sessions of Shirodhara and Shirobasti with serene raga-based music in the background that works like magic. There are specialized massages based on marma (vital points) that can put the person to sleep immediately by relaxing their mind and body completely. “Karnapooran” or the act of filling up the ear cavities with medicated oil also leads to the mitigation of increased Vata in the head and ears. This rids the mind of restlessness, worry and tension.

 

Source: www.ayurway.com
Source: www.ayurway.com

5. Reward yourself from time to time. It is important for each one of us to recognize our own achievements by taking a break from the constant hard work for a while. Reward yourself with something that pleases your senses and winds you down. Find creative ways of doing the same work. This will free up some of your time and energy for more productive work.

6. Ayurveda gives immense importance to “Nidra” (Sleep) apart from Aahar (Diet) and Brahmacharya (Celibacy). You cannot be productive and creative if your brain cells don’t get rest at the right time. Constantly working, reading or studying can lead to a poor sleep pattern and hamper your appetite and digestion.

7. A regular practice of Yogasanas and Suryanamaskaras (sun salutations) can reduce the stress and anxiety largely. Meditating under the supervision of a well-trained yogi can help you cut down on your stress before it’s too late.

8. Offering a hug to someone is the best form of healing. Hugs don’t cost anything and can be given to anyone in distress. There’s no deed as noble as the one where we express our love and warmth for a fellow human through a warm hug. A hug has all the power to lower your stress hormone (cortisol) and stimulates our brains to release dopamine (pleasure hormone)

 

Source: www.grayline.com
Source: www.grayline.com

9. Due to the advancement of technology and industrialization, we as humans have long forgotten the miracles of nature and how it heals us when we go in sync with it. We must plan our life in a way where we can spend a short span of our life away from the chaos and artificialness of the city and subject ourselves to the miracles of nature. Nature is a medicine less hospital and gives you only how much your body and mind needs. Simply walking through a rainforest and staying inside a hut or a mud house gives you all the access to nature’s healing vibes and rejuvenates you. Eating fruits after picking them up straight from the tree happens to be one of the best activities in life and one of the few favors that you would be doing on your body. Nature is constantly giving us in many forms. We fail to recognize our own blessings and end up poisoning our bodies with things that are far from required for us.

If you’re in distress, reach out. Mental health matters, you matter. Don’t fight your battle alone ‘coz  all you need is some love!

Ayurvedafinder says, “ A Beautiful Mind is the Essence of Life”.

 

 

About the author

Processed with VSCOVishakha is an Ayurveda practitioner, Yoga counselor and a passionate traveler​. She lays emphasis on living a healthy life by nourishing the body and mind with wholesome and natural food, meditation and yogic techniques. An Indian at heart, she aims at propagating the goodness of the Indian culture across the seven seas and stimulating thoughts by creating a hunger for knowledge.

Be your own kind of beautiful with Ayurveda

By Vishakha Moghe

“ Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.”

Although all these quotes on beauty hold true, one cannot deny the fact that beauty, even now and since times immortal, has been assessed on the basis of the flawlessness of the skin, the glow on the face, and the twinkle in the eye.

natuerliche-schoenheit2
Source: www.ayurveda-products.eu

The secrets to a well-nourished body, a stable mind and a peaceful spirit lie hidden in the scriptures of the  5,000-year old holistic healing system of India, Ayurveda. To look beautiful one does not necessarily have to follow a complex beauty and diet regimen. Beauty simply begins with common sense. It can be as simple as eating at the right time, in the right quantity, sleeping well and managing stress wisely.

Our body is constantly undergoing transformation. These transformations are so subtle; it is hard to believe we are a completely different individual almost every seven years. The outer layer of the skin consists of dead cells which are constantly shedding. Same applies to our hair and nails. So what we see on the outside is actually a result of the body’s inner transformation on a fundamental level. Ayurvedic beauty is more than skin deep; it is a fundamental reflection of the state of our mind and body — the balance between mind, body and spirit.

The Three Secrets: The Ultimate Goals

Ayurveda unveils three secrets to a beautiful body and mind: Roopam, Gunam and Vayastyag.

Roopam refers to the outer beauty. It lies in the skin by the name Bhrajak Pitta. Bhrajak means “to shine”, and this can be observed in healthy people with a beautiful outer radiance. When the Bhrajak Pitta in the skin is in its healthy state, there’s no way it won’t reflect on the person’s face.

Gunam or inner beauty are the characteristics that make an individual kind, giving, patient and happy, can be observed in saints and masters practicing compassion, bhakti (devotion) and prem (love). It is hard to not be smitten by the inner light or beauty which radiates around people who are compassionate, giving, loving and kind.

Vayastyag refers to lasting beauty. As we grow, we ought to give up on certain practices and adopt new ones. In Ayurveda this is done through diet, routine, proper and timely use of herbal formulations and the regular experience of transcendence, which connects one to the non-changing level of existence. This kind of beauty and radiance can be observed in healthy, older people, young beyond their age and still getting better with it.

What maintains these three is a proper transformation which depends on our food, our activity, our consciousness, our digestion and our thoughts.

Each morning across India, people offer prayers to the radiant, resplendent and glorious Shri Surya Bhagwaan. The epitome of energy and radiance, Lord Sun is the remover of negative thoughts and anger from the minds of the worshipper, both of which hamper the inner and outer beauty. Indians have been effortlessly practicing sun-worshipping for centuries. The first ray of sun inspires for early success daily. Worshipping sun everyday and especially on Sundays by chanting mantra leads to all pleasures, good health and wealth in life.

blissfullydomesticSource: www.blissfullydomestic.com

 

Surya Pooja (Sun Worship)

Wear clean clothes after the morning shower. Fill fresh water in a copper container. Add Ashtagandha (Paste of Chandan and other fragrant herbs), red flowers and Akshat (raw unbroken rice) in the water and chant this mantra.

 || ऊँ सूर्याय नम: ||

 While chanting the mantra, offer the holy water to the sun.

The practice of performing Suryanamaskar (Sun-Salutations) too, has been an integral part of the daily regimen of Indians.  The radiance of the sun is absorbed by the body through the skin, thereby resulting in a glowing skin and a clear complexion. This practice also enables the skin to eliminate toxins through sweat thus preventing boils and pimples. We haven’t even begun talking about the other physical benefits of this practice like improved digestion, effective reduction of tummy fat and better kidney and lung functions.

Here_are_the_Benefits_of_Self_MassagingSource: www.keralaayurveda.biz

Amongst the factors that make up a beautiful mind and body, discipline is a powerful beauty ingredient. Ayurveda has a very intelligent approach to cultivating beauteous habits. It asks you to weave little acts of discipline in the routines of life. If you spend 15 minutes of your pre-bath time giving yourself a warm oil massage, you are doing a huge favor on yourself. A whole body oil massage tightens the skin and strengthens the muscles, both in turn, leading to a youthful you! When you spend 5 minutes of your pre-bed time splashing cold water or a decoction of Triphala over your weary eyes, you are helping them wash away cloudy vision and burning, thus relaxing the under-eye muscles.

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Source: Yoganonymous

For centuries, Indian women have kept their tresses healthy with natural oils, herbs, flowers and simple spices. Not only do these oils promote thick, healthy and lustrous hair, they also ward off cold, flu and headache, keeping you cool in hot weather and relaxing your mind by having a calming effect on it.  Our face, they say is the mirror of our digestive system and the mind. The skin keeps us in constant connection with the textures and energies of our world, so it’s no wonder our faces reveal so much about our mental, emotional and physical status. Giving your face a herbal facial that could be prepared from fruits, herbal powders and milk or yoghurt; all based on your Prakruti will help you have a glowing, youthful skin.

Ayurveda also stresses on the importance of diet and adequate sleep because these factors are responsible for building and repair of the cells and tissues of the body. Eating for the spirit and spending time on the preparation of your food is essentially important. Consuming a diet rich in all the six tastes, tempered with spices, homemade ghee (clarified butter) and diet that includes whole fruits, grains and vegetables according to one’s Prakruti, is the key to a sound health. Regarding sleep, “Early to bed and early to rise” isn’t an overstatement and by that we mean, getting our much-needed sleep at the right time during the night. Making up for the lost night sleep by sleeping during the day can be less than healthy, not to mention other problems that come along, like weight gain, indigestion and decreased alertness.  Sleep time is the only time when the body has an opportunity to repair, heal and rejuvenate itself and is thus very essential for both inner and outer beauty.

Sleep_woman_post-11Source: Art of Living

It is also equally essential for the mind to rest from time-to-time. This can be achieved by filtering the noise out of your life. Once in a while, each one of us deserves to be alone, away from the noise. Just for a couple of hours during the day and at bed time, see nothing, hear nothing and do nothing. Stay away from cell phones, television sets and other electronic gadgets, even books for that matter. Meditate to enhance the inner peace because every act that you do to achieve inner peace in turn contributes to your goal of looking and feeling truly beautiful!

While diet and sleep are cornerstones, other factors like stress management hold equal importance. Practice meditation, listen to uplifting music more often and do anything and everything that balances your mind by uplifting the emotions. Have a positive attitude, serenity, purity of thought, word and action. Cut down the “I” (ego), get rid of the anger, jealousy and negative emotions. Ayurveda also recommends you to seek company of people who are jolly, happy and young at heart. Stop talking about those lines you’re seeing on your face because all this will make you feel older.

face-masks_01-1024x768Source: www.watchfit.in

In today’s world where there’s no dearth of men and women spending loads of money on enhancing their features by going under the knife and applying layers of cosmetics on the face; be a natural! Be the naturally gorgeous, radiant and beautiful you! Let the radiance arise from a dynamic relationship between the inner and outer divine. Go beyond the color of the skin or the height of the cheekbones and find beauty in everyone around you.

Ayurvedafinder says “BE YOUR OWN KIND OF BEAUTIFUL WITH AYURVEDA”!

 

 

About the author

Processed with VSCO

Vishakha is an Ayurveda practitioner, Yoga counselor and a passionate traveler​. She lays emphasis on living a healthy life by nourishing the body and mind with wholesome and natural food, meditation and yogic techniques. An Indian at heart, she aims at propagating the goodness of the Indian culture across the seven seas and stimulating thoughts by creating a hunger for knowledge.

 

 

Eat Wise, Eat Wholesome; Embrace Health

By Vishakha Moghe

We are in a modern era. Modern technology, modern farming techniques, modern lifestyle, modern everything! How could the food aspect remain untouched then? Human beings are constantly evolving and this evolution has led to an alteration in the food-eating habits. Evolution of human beings also means evolution of everything that revolves around us. The nature of soil, the quality of the produce that grows in there and the characteristic of the end product that is served on our platters is a topic of concern for every food expert who has a traditional and holistic approach.

Fad weight loss schemes, modern eating tips and those 31-day diet plans are based on the erroneous notion that eating an abundance of a specific type of foods can lead to better health. On the contrary, the age-old Science of Ayurveda has quoted about a 5000 years ago that it is only a wholesome diet plan that includes the widest possible range of foods that can lay a strong foundation for a healthy body. The very important aspect that needs to be taken care of before choosing to eat a particular type of food in abundance is the Prakruti (body constitution) of the person consuming it. Every subject is unique; the food habits should thus vary from person-to-person according to the Prakruti.

Fresh-Food-1 jpg
Picture Courtesy: www.motherearthnews.com

Ayurveda defines wholesome food as the kind of food that balances the seven dhatus (tissues) and the three doshas (humors). The one that causes disarray in any of these is considered unwholesome. This is a very simplistic approach. During ancient times, the different categories of food including their origin were based on the occupation of the people consuming it. Vedic culture was predominately vegetarian in higher levels of society; nevertheless the ruling and warrior classes would generally eat meat. However, Ayurveda also understood the great nutritive value of animals and animal products. Normally, they used milk, butter, and ghee as the main source of animal proteins, but when the situation demanded, they prescribed animal products to quickly build back the strength of a person. The larger focus should be on eating the food that the body really needs, not on eating what merely satisfies the taste buds.

pinterestTraditional Indian Thali (Platter); Picture Courtesy: Pinterest

Food rasas(tastes) are classified into six categories by Ayurveda namely, Madhura(Sweet), Amla(Sour), Lavana(Salty), Katu(Pungent), Tikta(Bitter), Kashaya(Astringent). It isn’t just one of the meals that should consist of all the six tastes; every meal that we consume should have a blend of food items that possess the above tastes. Each taste has an intimate relationship with the doshas and the body constitution. Sweet or madhura taste is a builder of tissues that are formed from Prithvi(Earth) and Jala(Water). Hence, sweet substances strengthen Kapha. An overload of sweets, on the other hand, can create a Kapha imbalance, which needs to be corrected with pungent, bitter and astringent tastes and warming foods. Salty, Sour and Pungent tastes in the right quantity strengthen Pitta thus boosting its functions of carrying out the metabolic processes. An excess of these tastes, however, aggravates Pitta and needs balancing out with sweet, cooling foods. Pungent, bitter and astringent tastes in excess increase Vata and other functions related to movement, penetration and cleansing of channels. If you need to pacify Vata, therefore, you need to focus on the sweet, sour and salty tastes and eat more warm foods.

The other important aspects to be kept in mind before you chalk out your diet plan are:

1) Effects of combining 2 different food items ex. Milk and Fruits; Hot and Cold Foods;   Curds and Raw foods like Cucumber, Tomato are unhealthy combinations.
2) The places and climatic conditions for consuming a particular type of food.
3) The effects of consuming a particular food in a particular season.
4)Use of artificial flavors, preservatives, chemicals and colors.

Good nutrition according to Caraka Samhita (treatise on Ayurveda) is eating the right kind of food, with the right beverage, at the right time of the day, with the right company, in the right frame of mind and at the right place. The sages during ancient times also inferred that people who eat less quantities of food or the quantity of food that is enough to create energy and nourish all the bodily tissues and organs, lived longer than their counterparts. The method to determine whether you are eating the right quantity is to eat until your first burp; that’s your body’s signal to stop. If you keep eating past this point on a regular basis, you’re reducing your life span by over-burdening your system. The stomach also requires space to perform its functions by mixing the food with digestive secretions. The golden rule is to stop at the first sign of a burp and avoid the heaviness in the body that might follow later.

We’ve also lost track of a lot of important facts that need to be reminded to us time and again. Animal foods undoubtedly contain high quantities of proteins and minerals, but are we sure if we really need the protein? Thanks to the sedentary lifestyle devoid of physical activity and hard work, where is the need of “a lot of protein” arising from?

 

shutterstock_126744206_@721Picture Courtesy: Shutterstock

Traditional and local foods have long lost their importance too. The traditional food habits have been established over a period of long research and experience by our ancestors and the genetic makeup of our body has been altered by the region wise climatic changes and eating habits. So there are fair chances of a person in the Northern part of a country falling ill quite often, if he consistently follows a diet pattern other than the one followed in his region. Locally grown foods are higher in “Prana” (vital energy present in foods) because they don’t have to be shipped or stored for longer periods and can be bought-tree ripened. It’s also important to chop vegetables and cook them fresh at every meal. Buying pre-chopped vegetables means that you have already lost some prana.

Avoid eating processed, canned, frozen, bottled and fermented food. This kind of food is considered to be “dead” according to the traditional medicine. To add further, it has been heavily treated with chemicals and preservatives and is too old to be healthy.

shutterstock_230510470Picture Courtesy: Shutterstock

Raw foods are heavier to assimilate; Agni Sanskar (cooking/roasting/frying) renders food easy to digest and process. Our kitchen also consists of a variety of spices that again differ region-wise. We must make use of all these traditional spices while cooking our meals as this makes the foods more palatable, digestible and also creates energy.

Vegetarians can get their daily protein requirement from fresh cow/buffalo milk, tofu, paneer, lassi (yoghurt drink) and nuts like dates, almonds, walnuts and cashews provided they are soaked first or cooked with grains to make them more digestible. Vegetarian food is healthier and easier to digest as compared to animal-based foods and hence it is considered superior in many ways. But for non-vegetarians, if they follow all the dietary rules while feasting upon a non-vegetarian meal, they too can lead a healthy life!

Apart from all the dietary rules, it’s essential to be in a healthy atmosphere amidst favorable company while eating your food. The frame of mind that one is in, overpowers all the other factors that have been mentioned above. Restaurant food comes from unknown sources, we are rarely aware of how the food was cooked, who cooked the food and in what frame of mind the whole process occurred. It goes without saying that eating restaurant food frequently does more harm than we can imagine! Also, eat food in a settled atmosphere, avoid using the phone while munching on the food, avoid watching the TV or listening to music as you eat your meal. All these activities lead to sluggish digestion in turn leading to the production of an undigested food product (Ama), which is nothing less than a toxin and damages your body in the long run. Leave your responsibilities at the door — and instead revel in the beautiful colors, tastes, smells and textures of the food. All of this amounts to respecting your food and your digestion, and will help create the kind of light, clear, vital feeling that good food is meant to do.

Ayurvedafinder says, Eat Wise; Eat Wholesome: Embrace Health!

 

 

About the author

Processed with VSCOVishakha is an Ayurveda practitioner, Yoga counselor and a passionate traveler​. She lays emphasis on living a healthy life by nourishing the body and mind with wholesome and natural food, meditation and yogic techniques. An Indian at heart, she aims at propagating the goodness of the Indian culture across the seven seas and stimulating thoughts by creating a hunger for knowledge.

 

Holi & Ayurveda – The Art of Healing Through Colors

By Vishakha Moghe

“Holi is a time to reach out with the colors of joy. It is the time to love and forgive. It is the time that expresses the happiness of being loved and to be loved through colors.” 

Photographer: Poras Chaudhary
Photographer: Poras Chaudhary

It’s that time of the year yet again! It’s in the air; it’s all over the streets.  India is awash with colors today. Holi falls on the full moon of the Vedic month of Falgun (mostly in March). The festival is celebrated joyously all across India with great pomp and vigor. The festival of colors also announces the rejuvenation in the form of spring; the end of colder days and the beginning of warmer days.

What’s really happening inside our bodies are subtle transformations, leaving our bodies feeling vulnerable. Winters are about strength, good health and harmony; Spring being the exact opposite. Sudden rise in the temperature along with the increasing humidity; such drastic changes in temperature are seen at no other time of the year. The previously accumulated Kapha (phlegm) starts melting with the heat, leading to many Kapha-related diseases in the body. It’s a relief to shed those winter clothes, hats and boots though it’s not always easy to shed those extra pounds that we may have put on during the winter.

In India, the Hindus follow the seasons according to the Hindu calendar. The Indian festivals aren’t just about unity and togetherness, a closer look and a little thought will reveal the significance of every festival and the rituals that come along with them. Holi is largely a North-Indian festival announcing the arrival of spring and more or less falls in the month of March every year. Come spring and we have an array of infections and ailments affecting the body and mind, the reason being a sudden increase in the bacteria that eagerly await wet conditions. The rising heat saps the body of its fluids, leaving it in peril and low on immunity. Amazingly, the ancient societies had their own ways of combating these adverse conditions.

On the day of Holi, as part of the rituals, people get together in large numbers and light fire. They perform “Parikrama” or move around the fire. The heat of the fire helps the body to get rid of the accumulated Kapha, thus preventing diseases that could be caused by the liquefied Kapha. People indulge in heavy activities like shouting slogans and walking briskly around the fire, all of which lead to the digestion of the increased phlegm; thereby rejuvenating the body and mind. Offerings of grains like wheat and barley are made to the Holi bonfire.

Photographer: Bernat Armangué
Photographer: Bernat Armangué

The most interesting aspect of this festival is the playful throwing of natural colored medicinal powders all over the streets and over each other. The powders are traditionally prepared from Ayurvedic herbs like Neem (Azadirachta indica) and Henna (Lawsonia inermis) for Green, Kumkum and Raktachandan (Pterocarpus santalinus) for Red, Haldi for Yellow(Curcuma longa), Jacaranda flowers for Blue and a lot of other wonderful herbs like Bilva (Aegle marmelos), Amaltas (Cassia fistula), Marigold (Tagetus erecta) and Yellow Chrysanthemums. All these powders have a Kapha-reducing property and the power to detox the skin or to help the skin get rid of its toxins.

A liquid solution is also prepared by mixing the fine powders with water loaded in water guns and sprayed over each other. Biologists believe the spraying of Abeer (liquid dye) helps the medicinal components to enter the pores of the skin and has a strengthening effect on the ions in the body, thus adding to the beauty and health. It is a proven fact that colors have a huge impact on our body and mind (emotions). The deficiency of a particular color in the body causes ailments which can be cured only after supplementing the body with that particular color. What better way of celebrating a festival which not only brings communities together, but also has healing effects on the bodies and minds of the people celebrating it!

Colors also have a deep association with the seven chakras (plexus) of the body. Each chakra possesses a color. As a result of this, colors have an impact on our body’s energies. They can help clear negative emotions and restore positive energy and balance. This restoration ultimately leads to the restoration of the three doshas Vata, Pitta, Kapha.

Source: Pinterest
Source: Pinterest

Ayurveda also links the five elements with certain colors:

  • Prithvi (Earth) with yellow color.
  • Jala (Water) with deep blue color.
  • Aakash (Ether) with light blue color.
  • Vayu (Air) with green color.
  • Agni (Fire) with red color.

It is said that any disturbance within these five elements in the body can lead to an imbalance in the body, mind and soul. That is the reason why it is believed that any imbalance can be fixed by boosting the color associated with the element.

Ayurveda recommends annual “Spring Cleansing” by performing “Vamanam”- Therapeutic Emesis. These cleansing techniques help rid your body of its toxins and “Ama” and leave you feeling healthier, happier and lighter in the coming months. Springtime has some unique qualities that no other season possesses: renewal, growth and awakening. This should urge us to start afresh by getting rid of the past by following the seasonal regimen (Rutucharya) for Vasant Rutu. We say, come to India and embrace all the love!

Wishing all our readers a HAPPY HOLI!

About the author

Processed with VSCOVishakha is an Ayurveda practitioner, Yoga counselor and a passionate traveler​. She lays emphasis on living a healthy life by nourishing the body and mind with wholesome and natural food, meditation and yogic techniques. An Indian at heart, she aims at propagating the goodness of the Indian culture across the seven seas and stimulating thoughts by creating a hunger for knowledge.

Ayurveda and Yoga in Delhi

Delhi is home to several expert wellness retreats. According to the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH), “The healthcare industry has been focusing on a curative approach to medicine, rather than preventive” – but this is now set to change. When accrediting wellness centers, they define wellness as “A state of optimal health covering the physical, mental and social aspects of an individual.”

Enter Ayurveda – the latest type of therapy on everyone’s lips (although it has allegedly been practiced in India since prehistoric times). There’s a big focus on the idea that the mind is our most powerful tool when it comes to healing the body.

Read the full article on The Virgin Atlantic Blog

Anjali mudra ; Image by Coni Hörler for Zu den Quellen des Yoga
Anjali mudra ; Image by Coni Hörler for Zu den Quellen des Yoga

Photography by Coni Hörler for „Zu den Quellen des Yoga“ 

You are a Gem(stone)!

Rekha of magentamood.de
Magenta Mood founder Rekha

In the last few years India has become somewhat of a second home to me. What began as a trip to satisfy my initial curiosity about the culture and an interest in the birthplace of the yoga I had been practicing for most of my life, turned into journey of immense richness, which has transformed many aspects of my personal and professional life.

On one of my first visits to India, I stayed in Pondycherry – a city in the south that has left a lasting impression on me. I vividly recollect the intense volume of a wild cacophony of sounds, the sweltering 45° heat in an overall chaos in the streets and on sidewalks, rendering a vibrant collage of impressions that was strange and overwhelming. This was a totally different world that was to be discovered in all its wonder only with a wide open heart and mind.

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Hessonite smoky garnet silver Bracelet

One of my most significant experiences early on, was a visit to the Auroville Ashram, the famous human unity township experiment founded by Mirra Alfassa in 1968. It was here that I bought my first comprehensive treatise on Ayurveda. The word Ayurveda is a combination of the two Sanskrit words ayuh (lifespan) and veda (knowledge). It is the science of long life. The most interesting aspect of the book was the realization that Ayurveda, vedic astrology and yoga are actually integral components of a larger holistic system for achieving spiritual and physical health. As someone merely focused on teaching yoga, it meant that I had to broaden my approach, and I started studying these three disciplines in depth with my teachers in India and Berlin, eventually also counseling my students on proper lifestyle, diet and integration of body and mind for more harmonious living.

In the course of this, a deeper area of study became the Bhagavad Gita. A passage in this epic struck me as particularly profound. In typically blunt fashion, and so unlike western new age texts, it states that the struggle for survival is like finding ourselves in the middle of a battlefield where we must constantly defend ourselves against the assaults on our body, mind and psyche. It became clear to me that only a holistic defense which integrates Yoga, Ayurveda and astrology provides the protection we need and allows us to pursue a healthy life of wisdom and contentment.

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Amethyst Bracelet

There is a lesser known, beautiful part of vedic astrology that very much appealed to me as a woman, because it includes something all of us girls can relate to: gemstones.

Vedic astrology holds that many physical and psychological illnesses have their roots in planetary influences. Like yantras and mantras, precious and semi-precious gemstones can be used to therapeutically mitigate these influences. You see where this is going, right? A spiritual girl’s dream come true!

Our main planetary influences are determined by our birthdates. And the planets are associated with stones as follows:

  • Sun – Ruby
  • Moon – Natural Pearl
  • Mars – Red Coral
  • Jupiter – Yellow Sapphire
  • Saturn – Blue Sapphire
  • Venus – Diamond
  • Mercury – Emerald
  • Rahu – Hessonite Garnet
  • Ketu – Chrysoberyl Cat’s Eye

 

This is the classical vedic correspondence between the major gemstones and the planets. Gem therapy follows the same logic as color therapy, but its effects are more pronounced. In order for the therapeutic effects to take hold, the stones must be worn on the body – jewelry is ideal for that, letting us heal while looking fabulous, so to speak. Best of all, It should also be noted that stones which do not have a therapeutic purpose for an individual, will not have a negative effects.

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Hessonite smoky garnet silver Bracelet

At www.magentamood.de we have selected some choice handcrafted pieces from artisans in Delhi, Chennai, Jaipur, Udaipur and Kolkata, which are as beautiful as they are powerful.

Gemstone therapy is also part of my work as a vedic coach (www.rekha.de). If you are curious, I can advise you on which stones are especially suitable for you, your constitution and your particularly planetary influences.

 

rekha-full-smallAbout Rekha
Rekha works as a vedic coach in Berlin. Using the tools of Ayurveda, yoga and vedic teachings, she is dedicated to helping her clients master tough situations in life and achieve sustainable positive change towards leading a fulfilling life. She is a mother of three, and a student of Tripureswari Nanda Tirtha in Kolkata.
http://magentamood.de/

Ayurvedafinder Recommends: Ayurvedic Summer Detox & Osho No Mind Meditation Retreat

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Ulli Allmendinger (MSc. Ayurveda)

Restore, Renew and Regenerate Your Life and Health

May 31-June 6, 2015, Karakaya Wellness Retreat, www.karakayaretreat.com

Join us for this amazing opportunity to start the summer season with an Ayurvedic detox for your body and Osho No Mind Meditative Therapy for your mind. You will give your body & mind a break and explore your potential for dynamic health and healing. Continue reading

Optimal Digestion and Metabolism with Ayurveda

Vegetarian Indian dish
Vegetarian Indian dish

Gas and bloating? Heartburn after a heavy meal? Constipation when traveling? A few extra pounds that just won’t come off? We all know too well when our digestion and elimination is not working properly, but often, instead of reevaluating our dietary habits, we just grab the next anti-acid or laxative medication that temporarily relieves symptoms but does not get to the root cause of our troubles. Ulli Allmendinger explains how the ancient science of Ayurveda can help regain digestive and metabolic health.

According to Ayurveda, food is one of the main pillars of life. Since we all eat at least three times a day, the quality of our food affects us enormously, and is a key factor in either promoting health and wellness or bringing about imbalance and disease. Rather than focusing on macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats, Ayurvedic nutrition emphasizes the taste and energetic quality of food and its effect on each metabolic type or dosha: Vata (ether/air), Pitta (fire/water) and Kapha (earth/water).
The doshas are bio-energies in our body that are responsible for our physiological functioning, such as Vata for movement (beating of the heart, peristalsis), Pitta for transformation (digestion, heat regulation, metabolism) and Kapha for structure and stability (muscle and fat tissue, protective mucous lining of the stomach and sinuses). We all have all three doshas but the unique ratio of them varies from person to person and is determined at conception. This is called constitution or metabolic type. Depending on your metabolic type, certain foods support and balance you or can be counterproductive, causing digestive and metabolic disturbance.
When it comes to digestive health in Ayurveda, eating according to your metabolic type is very important. Secondly, you want to keep the digestive fire strong through healthy heating routines. And lastly, it is also important to pay attention to food combining. If you follow these principles, you will optimize your digestion and your metabolism and weight.

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