Bits & Tips
Enjoy this series of less than 5-minute video clips featuring various introductory topics of Ayurveda.
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Long Hauler Recovery Program
Many of you have requested Ayurveda information on the Covid 19 Long-Hauler Recovery, as the pandemic continues around the world. You may like to connect with my latest Bits & Tips FB posting about how long haulers can benefit from the unique and effective science of Rasayana or re-building according to Ayurveda.
The Dina Charya or daily routines of Ayurveda are still today the best investment of one’s time and effort for recovery from now-deep-seated symptoms such as breathlessness, exhaustion, inflammation, weight changes, skin outbreaks, cardiac symptoms, depression and neurological debility. A unique program must be tailored for best-targeted results.
Practitioners are welcome to join the Covid Long Haul Management online course on how to best tailor your individual client recovery program to their unique symptom picture, through the lens of Ayurveda, the world’s oldest holistic health science.
Vata disturbance can bring headaches characterized by migrating, changeable pain at the occiput and auditory sensitivity. These may be stress-related, perhaps with a history of trauma or concussion. Pitta disturbance can bring headaches characterized by pounding, squeezing, and pressurized pain at the crown, temples and eyes. Photosensitivity, nausea and irregular meals are common with Pitta type cranial pain. Kapha disturbance can bring headaches associated with sinus congestion and spring allergies, manifesting as dull, heavy pain along the brow. There may be a combination of doshic factors, but always the cause must be removed. Ayurveda is most capable to help remove the individual causes, whereas painkillers such as aspirin may gradually deplete the digestion, liver and nervous systems, the very structures needing healing.
Every culture commemorates the day of our advent to this world each year as the sun returns to this it’s natal position. Celebrating the empowerment of the solar return is known for gift giving and empowerments or intentions (wishes). Each birthday is a time to evaluate our spiritual journey, give our God-given gifts to others and engage in ‘sankalpa' or intentions for making the most of each year and each day, along our spiritual journey of life. Giving thanks by donation is one way to celebrate our mother’s great work of giving birth and sacrificing for our eventual benefit. Each unique soul and each unique birthday brings maturing experiences to help protect and value each breath and each opportunity of life. “Please know it for sure and certain that whatever comes to your account is definitely in your best spiritual interest”, K.Singh.
Is Triphala for Everyone?
Triphala is usually not needed by someone with optimum health of body, mind and consciousness. It is classified as Rasayana or rejuvenating substance, and acts on all Dhatu’s (tissue systems) in due course, with consistent use. Each ingredient has affinity for different channel systems in the body, so together in equal proportions, this combination renders any taste that is absent or insufficient in the blood profile. Fruits are generally not mixed with any other food, so triphala is taken by itself at bedtime (9pm) on empty stomach with warm water. This short presentation on triphala is not at all the entire store of this widely used combination, but gives some hints for now.
Hair loss can be from Vata, Pitta or Kapha (ama) dosha. To heal the condition, the cause must be removed, so first know which dosha or combination of factors is causing the condition. Some triggers may be a shock, hormonal disturbance, overuse of chemical products, genetics, malabsorption, malnutrition, habitually intense thinking, habitual pulling of hair, etc. Hair loss is associated with Ashti Dhatu agni or bone metabolism, as teeth, hair and nails all are considered by-products or waste products. Therefore the cause is found in the history and the asthi dhatu pulse at the fifth level out of 7. Once a bald man came to see Dr. Lad for consultation. After stating his concern, Dr. Lad bowed his shiny head to the gentleman. It was a very funny moment!
Happy New Year
’New’ is an interesting term referring to freshness, re-starts and revised intentions. ‘Sankalpa' means intentions or what we might call wishes. However, an intention has more power because of drawing from our life philosophy and governing core beliefs. Now is the time to be aware of how our mind and emotions transmit our core identity to the world. What is the change you would like to see in 2021? Do you intend to dispel any arising darkness with your own inner LIGHT? You are indeed whole and complete, dear reader!
Staying Warm in Winter
For staying warm in winter, wear warm colours, exercise to light sweating before 10am, be active outdoors and sip hot beverages. Breathing from the right nostril warms the body. Enjoy this conversation to discuss a Bit about maintaining good cardiac circulation as the dampness and cold of winter deepen.
External use of cosmetics and medicinal substances depends on assimilation of their properties from the skin to the general circulation, a process called 'rasa agni’ in Ayurveda. Petroleum products are disturbing to the tri-dosha and are therefore not considered medicinal or food grade. Sustainability guides us to the use of annual plant oils over the consumption of deep-seated carbon stores. Unrefined status is generally considered more assimilable than if the substance is affected by a refining processes. Fresh status is generally preferred over preserved status, though each oil is unique in properties, actions and timelines.
Herbs: is there such a thing as too much?
The term ’too much’ is relative to one’s agni (metabolism), satva (mental status), exertion (energy spent from storehouse), age, availability of substances, seasonal change and personal preferences. 'Just right' for each person is the middle path of Ayurveda. Suitability of foods, herbs, job activities and lifestyle choices is to optimize life functions of digestion and contentment to integrate one’s purpose of Self-realization. Ayurveda talks about ‘ama’ or toxins at the physical, emotional and mental levels, resulting from weakened digestion due to excess herbs or supplements, combining fruits with other foods, unresolved emotions or eating late, among other causes.
How to know one's Prakruti?
To know one’s Prakruti or constitutional nature from conception means that we can understand our elemental tendencies to express our unique combination and permutation of Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. This knowledge of one’s own Prakruti tendencies is a fundamental key to unlocking the blueprint of your body/mind uniqueness and how to manage your life for happiness and contentment. Prakruti is formed from the union of egg and sperm of mother and father, and remains for life for most people. If we are born an artist and work in a factory, diseases may result from emotional suppression. If we are born to contribute in academics, we are more likely dominant in pitta constituents right from childhood.
Onions are beloved throughout the world, but are they suitable for you at any given time and circumstance? Please join our discussion of the suitability of onions in various situations. Onions may be indigestible to a person with high pitta factors such as rashes, ulcers, boils or infections. Onions may causes gasses to ‘repeat’ or burp up after the meal. The sulfanic acid within onions may increase pungency causing reflux.
Fall in Love with Fall
Welcome back to Ayurveda Bits & Tips! We’ve been sharing some questions and answers on various aspects of the world’s oldest holistic health science. Today the enquiry is about the change of season from summer’s build-up of Pitta dosha and fall’s onset of Vata dosha. It’s the perfect time to flush excess pitta from the small intestine with a home-based cleanse, and plan to be home for earlier sunsets. Extroversions of summer are now beginning their inward pull.
It’s also the time to adjust the footwear to warming and non-slip, layer the clothes for rapid temperature changes from am to pm, and protect the ears from cold winds. Plan ahead, OK?
Now is the rainy day to consider about Kapha’s psychological tendencies to lethargy, slowness and shyness. We can set our positive intention to activate the soft, compassionate and long-suffering nature of Kapha, and develop more patience and tolerance. Kapha is dominant during winter season and can be balanced by steady exercise, early rising and intermittent fasting.
Onward with the Ayurveda Bits & Tips! Now we'll turn our attention to the psychological influences from the doshic qualities energies and actions. For the next 3 posts, we'll explore some humorous ways to recognize our behaviours throughout the lens of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Ayurveda somehow helps us to accept and love ourselves as we are, while making self-improvements, and to accept others as they are, while allowing them space to be themselves.
Psoriatic change of the outer skin represents the same phenomena occurring within the inner skin or membranes, especially the inner jejunum of the small intestine. Psoriasis is commonly associated with the asthma of a sibling. It’s an auto-immune condition due to its origin in ‘ama’, or undigested food particles, causing emotional suppression and chronic stagnation of the channel systems. Much improvement can be seen by shifting the diet and lifestyle of the parents’ environment by applying Ayurveda principles of food and lifestyle choices. Chronic skin disorders can in turn affect the bones, marrow, nervous and hormonal systems in due course. These are effects and not causes. To remove the causes, the guidance of an experienced Ayurvedist can help to resolve the catch-22 of symptoms and their original digestive reasons, which are influenced by culture and emotions.
Abhyanga or self-massage is perhaps one of the most valuable techniques from Ayurveda for Westerners. It is grounding, and nourishing, and promotes longevity, calmness and endurance throughout the day. Take an hour in the morning to apply a suitable oil for your Prakruti and Vikruti to help protect the body’s largest organ, which is continuous with the inner skins or linings such as the digestive tract. Leave the oil on for about 45 mins for best absorption - your skin will have good immunity, lustre and youthfulness. Meanwhile, you can do gentle stretching and pranayama to prepare for a meditative and centred day. Abhyanga is not done during the menstrual flow days, if infection is present or if oiliness is excessive.
What Are The Best Practices For Oral Health?
The tongue is considered by some to be the most important organ of the body. One of my great teachers of Ayurveda, Dr. Thricovil Sukumaran from Kottakal, my first panchakarma teacher, explained to me that the tongue can make or break our life depending on our food choices and our word choices. This short discussion of Mouth Care covers a few important steps in the morning routine for oral health, and can be used as needed after food and before bedtime.
Keen observation is developed as part of Ayurveda study. This very brief intro. shares a Bit about reading the shapes, colours, lines and markings of the head and face, as part of ‘darshana’ or seeing, an important tool for understanding the person’s unique expression of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Attention on one fragment at a time leads to a whole understanding of Life. Let us know if you would like to go deeper into this topic with a Zoom class?
Yogurt and Fruits
Yogurt is useful, but for whom, when, how much and with what? Yogurt is preserved milk and as such is considered stale, except on the morning after setting it for coagulation. As a dairy product, it is not compatible with fruits, which are to be taken separately from other foods, especially if one’s digestion is variable. Stale foods fall under the classification of ’slow poisons’ in Ayurveda, so it may not aggravate digestion right away, but continuing the practice of taking stale or wrongly combined foods can lead to digestive depletion. Avoid yogurt if the tongue is coated and choose it in summer if lactobacillus is needed.
Christmas this year is for inner contemplation of the Christ Consciousness and for giving the best of ourselves to others in selfless service, and all without meeting together! This year, we have time and opportunity for inner communion, self-reform and re-evaluation before beginning a new time cycle. Each person worldwide has experienced a challenge this year from a small virus - now we all can draw on more inner compassion, strength and faith. Now we know for sure and certain that we can rise up and change our lives and our world. In celebration of the inner peace and goodness within each one.
Ojas and Amas
OJAS and AMA are short Sanskrit words that are pregnant with meaning. So let’s understand these terms in relation to digestion as the foundation of immunity and wellness in Ayurveda. Is anyone interested to take a deeper dive into these important concepts together?
Tips for SAD
Hello friends! Here are a few tips for understanding and dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder, as the daylight is less until the solstice. Make a point of exposure to sunlight each day, even if hazy or rainy, and looking upward. Practice anuloma viloma or alternate nostril breathing. Practice Trataka or ghee lamp gazing for increasing photons reaching the pupil and optic nerve. Meditate on Light at the third eye, and feelings of darkness reduce. Soon light returns.
Happy Ayurveda Day!
Dhanvantari Jayanti is celebrated on the festival of Dhanteras, an important celebration of Divali, the famous Festival of Lights. Today commemorates the advent of Sri Dhanvantari to the worlds, as the agent of healing. Attunement with the divine essence of healing, wholeness, goodness, order and harmony bring empowerments for health and wellness at all levels.
How to Heal from a Broken Heart
How to heal a broken heart is a big question which most of us have to figure out how to answer. Thankfully Vedanta has given detailed guidance on the concepts of expectation, attachment, ego and disappointments. These emotional traumas come into better balance with the main medicine of Ayurveda, meditation on Self. Enjoy this discussion!
People love garlic because of its pungent flavour, making it popular all over the world. But is garlic right for you at any given time? These insights from Ayurveda will help you choose when and how much garlic may suit your constitutional and current needs.
If you are a meditator dedicated to calm, quiet mind, you may choose to reduce or eliminate garlic because of it’s ‘rajasic’ or stimulating effects. Are you familiar with some common contraindications for garlic?
Do animals have doshas?
All of nature is governed by the PanchaMahaBhutas, or five great constructing elements of the creation. These five elements assume differing combinations and permutations. For example, air element is more in birds while water element is more in whales and earth more predominant in elephants. The other elements are also represented, though less dominant. Observing the interplay of these elements and their relationships is a fun doorway into the macrocosmic experience of divine communion.
Today’s post takes us more deeply into the psychology of a pitta-dominant individual, to where we can set intentions to channel our frustrations into constructive action. Balanced pitta is all about being as compared to doing. Pitta’s value system can become associated with outer accomplishments, whereas spiritual accomplishment is inward. Hope you enjoy - your comments help us to understand your interests.
Here’s my first mini-video on the topic of the importance of sipping hot water according to Ayurveda. We consider the properties and actions of water as a substance and its important influence in supporting effective digestion and assimilation of nutrients for body/mind health.