The basics of Ayurveda are well described in many books and online resources. The basics include the gunas, doshas, elements, Prakriti, and cause of disease. In this article we do a deep dive into these basic foundations of Ayurveda.
This underlying field of intelligence and energy that creates life can be separated into three distinct categories called the gunas. The gunas are a subtle layer of nature that has been described by physics and is part of the creation story of many ancient traditions. The gunas seek to explain why things are they way they are. It is an objective look at the inherent truths of life. The three qualities of every life are birth, life, and death. This is similar to the gunas. The guna of Sattva is birth. A new, innocent, clear, pure life comes into existence. There is also a certain amount of helplessness. Although Satva sees things with clarity it has no ability on its own to create and is only able to experience with purity.
Life? What is life? Why are we here?
These are questions that have been passed down through the ages with the wisest minds of every generation trying to make sense of our lives on this planet in the middle of an ever-expanding galaxy. The scientific establishment has used biology, psychics, chemistry and others to explain life in all its complexity. Without years of study in these scientific methods each one of us understands life intuitively.
Long before science became the dominant religion traditional cultures around the world understood life and our natural place in it as humans. This understanding of life and disease was first introduced in the RgVeda (3000BC) and was later elaborated on in the AtharvaVeda (1500BC). These texts became the premise for a traditional system of medicine called “Ayurveda.” The root of this Sanskrit word comes from the word “Veda” meaning science and “ayus” which means: life, age, long life, vitality; vital element mankind, vigor, totality of living beings, health, food, vital power, duration of life, age, active power, buoyancy, efficacy.
2.6 drk darsana saktyohek atma taiva asmita
Egoism is ascribing a unified self to the organs and powers of perception, such as the eye and the power to see.
Today in the global marketplace there are many influential factors to consider in choosing how to eat. With the research of Candace Pert about the molecules of emotion we are beginning to realize the connection of mind and body that saturates our daily lives. In Ayurveda, food is utilized to balance the specific needs of the client. It is a system based on critical thinking and problem solving in the moment to choose the best food from the choices given. In my years of clinical practice I have begun to notice a trend. That the foods that people choose reflects the state of their mind. It began with a client who would only eat baked goods when he was upset. Otherwise he did not have any interest in them. I began to notice similar patterns with other clients. A pattern of eating that went beyond even emotional eating to a direct manifestation of the thoughts and beliefs that were in someone’s mind. Here are some of the patterns that I have noticed.
2.5 anitya asuci dukkha anatma sunitya suci sukha atma khyatih avidya
Ignorance is the field where the other forces of corruption develop, whether dormant, attenuated, intermittent or active.
Avidya is the root of the kleshas. Klesa means poison. The five klesa’s are:
Avidya is present because we are not connected to the eternally free and self sufficient part of ourselves that is part of the absolute. This happens when our consciousness is no longer aware of space and time and is beyond their limiting influence.
When memory is purified, then contemplative poise is free of conjecture, empty of its own identity, with the object alone shining forth
Our personality and our responsiveness to situations are based on our memories of past events.
If you have been learning about Ayurveda then you will know that there is a correlation between excess pitta dosha in the body and inflammation. The pitta dosha is responsible for metabolism, digestion and transformation in the body and when these functions are compromised it often leads to chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been called the “Secret Killer” by TIME magazine but through Ayurvedic diagnostics chronic inflammation can be detected early.
It has always been a conundrum to me that Athletes and people with type A personalities are Pitta types because these are the types of people that are the most susceptible to inflammation which would compromise their athletic performance and cognitive function. Not necessarily from the increased demands that they put on their bodies and minds on a daily basis, but because of their tendency to respond to imbalance through inflammation. This is the cornerstone of imbalanced pitta and let’s look at how this inflammatory response often occurs.
Whether you were born yesterday or 5,000 years ago the elements that make up life are the same. Granted today we have a lot more scientific knowledge about the periodic table of the elements, but before these advances traditional cultures relied on an understanding of five basic elements. It is these elements that are the building blocks of good health. In other words they are elemental, basic or the foundation of everything else. Like all humans before the advent of electricity we can also benefit from living in alignment with the flow of life. This means following the patterns of light and dark and following the seasonal patterns.
By Lokesh Rathuri
VATA: THE MOVER AND SHAKER
In the last post we looked briefly at the three main constitutional types in Ayurveda. Here, I’ll go into more depth about vata, the mover and shaker of the three constitutions.
This information will be especially useful for readers who:
1.34 pracchardana vidharana bhyamva pranasva
Or through the measured exhalation and retention of breath.
What is prana?
The etymological root of the word prana comes from pra- pro, forward, proud and an- animal, untethered. Prana is often defined as breathe, but prana is the ultimate source of all activity in the universe. Within the physical body there are five primary forms of prana. The movement of these forms of prana becomes more refined as the tensions of the physical body are unwound through the practice of vinyasas that are in harmony with the flow of prana and in sync with the environment. This happens when we work with these five forms of vayu that flow within. These vital winds and their balanced movement are cultivated through the proper intake of food and the practice of yoga.
Blood is the most pervasive fluid in the body. Like an ocean it bathes the sands of our body in its warm waters and provides every cell and tissue with the oxygen and nutrients that it needs. Blood is the primary carrier of intelligence and nutrition in our body. Thus it is important to have healthy blood. So how do we accomplish this using yoga and Ayurveda?
Dealing with adversity and rejection is an extremely important emotional skill as all of us will be faced with not getting our way at some point in our lives. Many of us were not taught this emotional skill as we were growing up and have been using our default option to be able to deal with the setbacks in our life. In general most of us either have an optimistic outlook on life or a pessimistic outlook on life.
In terms of Ayurveda an optimistic mindset is related to the guna of Sattva and a pessimistic mindset is related to Tamas. Sattva is translated as self-truth. When we understand our true nature as spirit then we are able to be more optimistic. By connecting with source we enrich our ability to tackle any challenge that comes our way. On the other hand when we only look at the material nature of things and measure our lives based on what we have accumulated then we don’t have a lot of resources to deal with adversity. This is the mindset of Tamas where what we see is all there is.
There was a time in a not so distant future where the separation between a temple and a hospital was not so distinct. Many temples, mosques and churches have provided health care throughout the ages. The word temple comes from the Latin templum ‘open or consecrated space.’ Hospital from mid-13c., "shelter for the needy," from Old French hospital, ospital "hostel, shelter, lodging" (Modern French hôpital), from Late Latin hospitale "guest-house, inn," noun use of neuter of Latin adjective hospitalis "of a guest or host." Temples have long hosted the needy and so it appears that health and care of the soul have been linked for many generations.
I recently graduated from a medical program of sorts and received my doctor of chiropractic degree. I learned amazing things about the body and how to restore health and balance to its separate parts. I was hopeful that I would see the body as a temple by the end of the program, but instead I feel as if I have lost my compassion and empathy for humanity. I feel like I know about conditions and not people. I feel that stark separation between what a temple represents and a hospital represents.
Ayurvedic Insight in the Yoga Sutra 1.33 maitrikarunamuditaupeksanamsukhadukhapunyaapunyavisayanambhavanatahcittaprasadanam
Tranquility of thought comes through the cultivation of friendship, compassion, joy and impartiality in spheres of pleasure or pain, virtue or vice.
OJAS CREATES TRANQUILITY
Ojas is the the essence of Kapha and it determines our vitality and immunity. Immunity is dependent on digestion, the liver function and the integrated function of our hormones. Ojas determines the vitality with which we combat foreign pathogens. When our Agni is healthy then we create Ojas. The Ojas that we create protects the prana we cultivate in our yoga practice. Ojas is the essence of the earth in which the divine dance of prana animates all things. Ojas is our ability to say yes to life. To say yes to any and all experiences that come our way because we trust we have the energy and intelligence to make the most of them. When we do this our heart becomes full and we are able to surrender to life. In this experience of radical acceptance we are satisfied with whatever comes and we open our minds to be able to understand our life circumstances and to become awake through them.
Ayurvedic insight into selected yoga sutras:
These distractions are accompanied by suffering, frustration, trembling of the body, and irregular breathing
Ayurvedic insight into selected yoga sutra's:
The practice of focusing on the single truth is the means to prevent these distractions.
What does focusing on a single truth have to do with Ayurveda?
Practice is defined differently depending on the lineage with which one is associated. Devotion to god, 8 limbs of yoga, mahamudra are a few of the names. In the context of Ayurveda the ultimate goal is the same as yoga; a connection with source. This is attained by a diet and lifestyle that brings balance to the body, mind and soul. By assessing the state of the kosha’s we can determine where the blockages are.
1.3 tada drastuh svarupe avasthanam
1. Drastuh- direct perception
2. Svarupe- SELF
3. Rupa- the essence of an object. Nama rupa.
4. Swarupa: to live within or remain established within in a deep knowledge of one’s self or essence.
There was a time in Vedic mythology when the world and all its manifestations were created by the mind of Brahman or God. As God thought of the universe the children of his mind, who are considered the gods, were created. This was the first creative process ever experienced by the universe. Stuck in their own process and absorbed in the mind these Gods would spend their time in deep meditation and were not involved in the world in tangible ways.
As God noticed the behavior of these gods he/she realized that their behavior was too thin, to fragmented, to aloof to create the world he/she wished for. Upon this realization he/she knew that creation had to come from the flesh. He knew that in order to facilitate the depth of commitment that would sustain the worlds physical manifestation, not just the manifestation of the mind had to be born.
I love to read and I like to share what I have read. In this post I will list the books that I read last year with links to them on Amazon if you would like to learn more about these books. I usually leave out the textbooks that I am reading, although I am considering including those in the future. I hope you enjoy my list.
The primary way in which Ayurveda and most of the science and medicine that has sprung up in the East differs from the dominant paradigm most Americans are exposed to is that it takes an energetic framework.
Quantum physics and Einstein has long been supporting this understanding of reality and have postulated that energy equals matter and that at the most atomic level we are all electrons spinning around a tiny nucleus and thus we need to pay attention to the subatomic energetic framework in order to maintain health. Energy must be conserved, that is the third law of thermodynamics, it is neither created or destroyed it only changes shape.
I get it. If I hadn’t been practicing yoga since I was 16 years old then I would be in the same position.
You have too much to do and setting aside 20 minutes to do some yoga is, well, impossible.
It doesn’t matter how far reaching the benefits are, it simply does not fit into your hectic schedule. You are not alone. So if you decide to workout you want to make sure it is exactly that, a workout. Not every yoga class will make you feel like you’ve worked out.
I have felt this way as well. I would rather feel the immediate benefits of a high intensity workout or sweat out toxins through a cardio workout.
Yoga with the help of pop culture has long been touted as a way to get healthy. This should come as no surprise as the work of Dean Ornish and others has shown that diet and lifestyle can prevent disease.
Does doing yoga actually prevent disease?
When more and more evidence is accumulating that stress is the number one cause of disease is it possible that a stress fighting remedy like yoga can be the cure?
These are very important questions that will guide consumer dollars in the short term.
There are two primary types of headaches: structural and chemical.
Structural headaches tend to be more common and are often called tension headaches. Tension caused by a structure out of alignment will created inflammation or irritation. Your muscle, bones, ligaments and tendons are all involved. Usually you will have a lot of tension in your neck that will spread into your head over time.
Along the scalp are blood vessels supplying the hair. When these vessels spasm and constrict they put pressure on the nerves on the skull. Because of the nature of the vessels the pain feels more diffuse, as if the whole head is involved.
If you find yourself taking advantage of time off by staying up late and you are wondering where all your willpower went look no further. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep, preferably one quarter to half of those hours are before midnight will help you feel more rested and support your adrenal health so that you don’t end a special day feeling exhausted and moody. A side benefit is that you will have more willpower and be able to resist additional servings and extra treats.
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This website is based on the opinions of Noah Volz and/or Rhythm of Healing, unless otherwise noted. The information is presented for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or prescribe, nor to prevent, treat, mitigate or cure such conditions.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
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