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.
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.
Morning is when I usually spend some time tuning into my body. I do some gentle yoga to warm up my joints and then I sit and scan my body. I am not looking for anything in particular, but rather checking in.
Have you found that symptoms or challenges seem to crop up out the blue? Soreness, rashes, indigestion and the like show up without any obvious reason. It seems like they came out of nowhere.
For example I have been waking up to cramping in my calves lately. It is not painful, just mildly uncomfortable, but it has my attention first thing in the morning. If fills the criteria of being noticeable and new.
1.14 sa tu dirghakala nairantarya satkara asevitah drdhabhumih
This body and mind become part of the earth when the practice is performed for a long time without interruption and with zeal
Have you ever experienced a blissful massage where all your worries and responsibilities melt away? Modern culture inspires lot’s of activity and stimulation which keeps us in constant motion, especially in our minds. This level of high paced activity is a relatively new phenomenon in terms of our time on this planet. The ancient medical science of Ayurveda developed a strategy thousands of years ago to help balance activity with relaxation and ensure longevity. The benefits of this simple practice can have profoundly positive effects on our current lifestyle. The practice is called abhyanga and is often translated as warm oil massage.
In Ayurveda we are constantly going on about customization, personalized medicine, uniqueness and individuality. In the west were we are so self obsessed you would think that Ayurveda would be on every other episode of the Dr. Oz show by now. Unfortunately Ayurveda has not yet matured in the west, but is has a lot of helpful strategies for self awareness and understanding that we can employ in the meantime. One of these is understanding different types of pain patterns.
In order to understand pain profiles through an Ayurvedic lens there must be a simple understanding of the two concepts of dosha and vayu. Dosha’s are bioenergetic principles that underlie our physiological functions through the qualities they contain.
What? Basically dosha’s are a way to categorize separate parts and functions of the body based on their similarities. All of the Doshas are everywhere in the body but certain tissues or systems may have a relative excess of one or more of the dosha’s. For example the nervous system is characterized by movement of nerve impulses and relates to Vata dosha. The digestive system is characterized by heat and it relates to the Pitta dosha. The lubricants of the body like mucus, synovial fluid and cerebral spinal fluid are moist and they relate to the Kapha dosha.
In Ayurveda and Functional Medicine we proclaim that the cornerstone of health is good digestion. Our brains are hardwired to overvalue danger in order to keep us safe. This means that unless your tummy hurts or something is not right you rarely give any thought to good digestion. In behavioral economics it has been shown that we are more likely to make choices that insulate us from loss. This is why it is so hard to give up bad habits, because we perceive it as a loss of something that once belonged to us. In a study on the endowment effect participants were asked to value coffee cups and then they were given the same cups and asked how much they would charge someone else for the cup. Researchers found that once something belongs to someone they place an increasing value on it. We tend to value what belongs to us even if that thing is not working or belonged to someone else two seconds ago. These irrational behaviors can get in the way when it comes to keeping your digestion running strong.
1.2 yogah cittavritti nirodhah
I have some time off from school and I am spending it on a biodynamic farm in Southern Oregon. It is so peaceful and quiet here. In deep contrast to my life in Oakland.
I have noticed that I believe all the hard work and rushing will have the eventual goal of landing me permanently in the environment that I am experiencing this week on the farm. The quiet, the community, the peace. Yet, even with so much unscheduled time I still wake up in the morning with a sense of haste.
Perhaps this will wear as I spend more time here and I will learn how to slow down again and to treat each endeavor with attention and presence. As I am an Ayurvedic practitioner I started to explore the qualities of my mental experience in order to determine what might be happening within me.