Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

Acceptance

In both Yogic philosophy and practice, developing equanimity of mind is central to the practice of meditation. Through our practice we can observe that the mind is either constantly attracted towards the objects of the senses, or it has aversion to them. Everything is being weighed on the scales of pleasure and pain, lose and gain, good or bad and so on, and a great deal of energy is spent seeking pleasurable experiences, while avoiding others that are painful. If we become too attached to something, we may no longer even enjoy that which we have obtained because we start to fear of losing it. This clouds the joy of experiencing life as it is. One of my teachers puts it like this, “we eat the banana of pleasure, only to slip on the peel of pain.” The slip isn’t in the experiencing something, but the attachment to it in the mind. In our constant search for comfort, or a sense of safety, it is easy to mistake the temporary satisfaction felt by having certain experiences for the true lasting contentment that is our very nature. My guru uses the analogy here or a thirsty man mistaking a mirage in the dessert for water.

When we seek the view of a mountain vista, or to stand on the shores of the sea and look out into the vast expanse of water, we are in a very real sense, seeking that infinite peace within. Humanity is constantly in search for

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

Life undoubtedly will present us with many challenges, but it seems that over time, we learn to accept things. The resiliency of spirit somehow gives us the ability to accept almost anything, in time. When we make an effort to show up everyday to practice meditation, we are training ourselves in a deeper way, to accept things as they are, in that moment, no matter how we feel. Meditation is an act of deep surrender that spreads out into all aspects of our life. Conversely, what arises during practice, often relates to our dealings in day-to-day life, one reflecting the others.

At times we may feel enthusiastic about sitting for meditation, and at other times we may feel like it is the last thing we want to do with ourselves. In my practice, when I’m distracted and preoccupied with the daily list of things to do, I make a note of what it is that needs attending to afterwards, and then resolve myself to the practice as earnestly as I can by saying to myself, “There is plenty of time for all of “that,” after “this.”

Often the mind will make every excuse in the book to not take the precious time out to sit. This is precisely where our practice of meditation can really start bearing fruit. When the river of emotion is swollen and ready to breach its banks, if we can bring ourselves to the meditation cushion, withdrawing the mind away from the pulls of the world,

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

Medhya Rasayana – Mental Rejuvenation

In Ayurveda, herbs that rejuvenate the mind and nervous system are known as medhya rasayanas. In Western herbalism, many of these herbs are classified as nervines. Medhya rasayana herbs help to calm the mind, relax the body, and even replenish and regenerate the nervous system. These herbs are great allies against the oxidizing effects of stress and the depletion of our vital energy and immunity. Some are heavy, grounding and sedating like valerian, hops, poppy or kava kava. Others are still calming, yet have lighter energy such as passion flower, gotu kola or skullcap. Nourishing tonic herbs, most notably ashwagandha, also have calming qualities, but can also provide strength and energy where and when needed.

Herbs are Broad Spectrum

It can often be hard to make a clear distinction between one category of herbs and another, since a single herb can possess several actions. For instance, I have frequently given laxative herbs to promote intestinal cleansing, and the person will report back that they are sleeping better and thinking clearer. This shows the connection between our digestive function, the mind, immune system and so on, because all our bodily systems work as a whole.

For example, herbs that clear excess heat and toxins from the liver like bhringraj (eclipta alba), brahmi (gotu kola and bacopa monnieri) also have properties that are seen to improve mental function. Others like dandelion leaf of punarnava help to clear heat from the liver as well as through

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

Seasonal Effects on Immunity

In Ayurveda, the fall season is related to vata dosha, the bodily humor comprised of air and ether element.  During this time, vata becomes increasingly unstable as the cold, dry, and erratic qualities increased in the environment. This can be observed in cold, windy, and shifting whether, as well as in the drying up of leaves and plants. From the winter until early spring, kapha dosha, the earth and water humor, increases and can causes damp, heavy, and stagnating qualities to accumulate in the body. One of the most immunologically vulnerable times is during the change of season, especially from warm to cold whether. Here, it is important to follow healthy habits to protect your immune system.

Below are some helpful tips to help prevent getting in the weeks leading up to fall or winter.

Tips for prevention:

  • Dress warm and cover your chest and neck in cold weather.
  • Drink a glass of warm lemon water first thing in the morning.
  • Drink sufficient of water throughout the day.
  • Avoid damp forming foods, such as excess dairy products, sweets, baked goodies, cold foods and drinks.
  • Avoid eating cane sugar when possible.
  • Get plenty of rest, and avoid staying up late.
  • Get daily exercise, everyday.
  • Taking 1000-2000 mg. of high quality Vitamin C daily
  • Adding herbs and spices like turmeric, fresh ginger and raw garlic to your food.
  • Infuse citrus essential oils in you living space.

Tips for Treating the Common Colds and flu.

  • Stay hydrated by

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

There is no doubt that low libido is a serious concern nowadays, as it is made obvious by the increasing amount of erectile dysfunction drugs surfacing on the market. Yet the conventional approach of these drugs tends to focus on providing a quick fix without looking at the bigger picture and finding the root cause of the problem. Another concern related to male reproductive health is sterility. Ayurveda can certainly help us get a deeper understanding of these complex issues and deal with them in a holistic manner with the use of herbs along with diet and lifestyle guidelines. A unique aspect of this approach is that it aims to resolve the underlying factors that caused the imbalance in the first place.

Low libido can manifest as a lack of sexual energy or desire, as sexual debility or as the inability to perform properly. Symptoms of sexual debility may include lack of interest, erectile weakness, premature ejaculation, nocturnal emission and spermatorrhea, or the involuntary discharge of semen. Male sterility is a condition where the quality or quantity of the semen is low or altogether absent. This problem can easily go undetected, as it doesn’t necessarily affect the sexual desire.

All these symptoms are clearly expressing that one of the most powerful energies in the body is depleted, and this can be basically related to factors including lifestyle and dietary choices, habits, level of daily stress, family history, parents’ habits, and genetics. To understand how Ayurveda and Ayurvedic herbs can help

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

Panchakarma ~ Detoxification & Rejuvenation

by Vishnu Dass

Ayurveda, the ancient “Science of Life,” is one of the oldest forms of health care in the world. It is a holistic science that places great emphasis on prevention and aims at bringing about and maintaining harmony of body, mind, and consciousness. It encompasses diet and lifestyle guidelines, herbal formulas and preparations, yoga and meditation practices, as well as various therapies that support and enhance individual Ayurvedic programs.

Panchakarma~Dexoxification & Rejuvenation Ayurveda Medicine

Ayurveda defines health as the state where every aspect of our being is working properly and in harmony with all its other aspects. That is, the digestive fire (agni) is in a balanced condition; the three doshasvata, pitta and kapha— are in equilibrium according to the individual constitution; waste products (malas) are produced and eliminated normally; and the mind, senses, and consciousness are working harmoniously together. When the balance of any of these systems is disturbed, the disease process begins.

Basically, any aggravation of the doshas affects agni (the digestive fire) and produces toxins or ama. Other factors play a role in the formation of ama, as well. Some of these factors are poor digestion of food, improper food combinations and choices, poor drinking water, pollution, pesticides in food, emotional and physical stress or trauma, and so on. These toxins accumulate and spread throughout the body and eventually deposit themselves into the deeper tissues, organs or channels, creating dysfunction and disease.

One of the most

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

 

AgniFire element, digestive fire.
Agni dipanaIncreases digestive fire.
AhamkaraSense of separate self or ego. Literally, “I former.”
Alochaka PittaSub-type of pitta which governs visual perception.
AlterativeBlood purifying substances that gradually restores healthy bodily functions.
AmaToxic residue of improperly digested food that can become the source of disease.
Ama pachanaPromotes digestion and the destruction of toxins
AmenorrheaAbsence or suppression of menstruation.
AnabolicConstructive or building phase of metabolism.
AnalgesicA substance that relieves pain.
AnthelminticDestroying and dispelling parasites (including bacteria, yeasts and fungus).
AntibacterialInhibits or destroys bacteria.
AntibioticInhibits or destroys bacteria and other microorganisms.
AntiemeticA substance that prevents or relieves nausea and vomiting.
AntifungalA substance that prevents and inhibits the growth of fungi.
AntipyreticDispels heat and reduces fever.
AntispasmodicRelieves muscle spasms and cramping.
AntiviralA substance that inhibits viruses.
AnupanaA Substance that serves as a medium of intake for herbs, such as honey, aloe vera juice, etc.
Apana VayuDownward moving sub-type of vata, responsible for elimination of waste products, gas, menstruation and child birth.
AphrodisiacSubstances that stimulate and/or revitalize the reproductive system.
Arishta/AsavaTraditional medicated herbal wines used in Ayurveda.
AromaticHerbs containing volatile, essential oils that aid digestion and relieve gas.
Artava Female reproductive tissue.
Asthi dhatuBone tissue.
AstringentSubstances that firm tissues and reduce discharges and secretions.
Avalambaka KaphaA sub-type of kapha located in the chest region, mainly in the lungs.
Ayurveda“Science of

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

Elderberry Sambucus nigra

Part used: berries, flowers
Effect on Dosha: VPK=
Taste: berry-sweet, sour, bitter/flower-slightly bitter, pungent
Energy: berry-neutral to cooling/ flower-cooling
Post Digestive Effect: berries-sweet/flowers-pungent

Tissues: plasma, blood, muscle, fat
Systems: respiratory, immune, digestive, circulatory, urinary
Properties: antioxidant, immune tonic, astringent, expectorant, diaphoretic, digestive, carminative, relaxant.
Indications: coughs, colds, sore throat, tonsillitis, congestion, respiratory infections, asthma, fever, flu, gas, allergies, abdominal discomfort, inflammation, high cholesterol, poor eyesight.
Preparations: infusion, tincture, syrup, winter cordials, medicated wine, food preparation.
Precautions: None for flowers. According to the Botanical Safety Handbook* the unripe and raw fruit contains sambunigrin, which may cause nausea, vomiting or severe diarrhea. Avoid elderberries that are red in color. The fruit is commonly cooked to avoid digestive upset and possible toxicity or the fresh fruit. Sambucus nigra is the variety most commonly used in herbal medicine and is considered to be relatively safe, especially when cooked.

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The most common variety of Elderberry used is the purplish-black berries of Sumbucus nigra. They are sweet, sour and slightly bitter to the taste. The ripened fruit is purple/black in color and the sweetest berries are the best to harvest for medicine making.

Elderberries have long been used in in folk herbal traditions of North America and Europe. In recent years, Elderberry has regained popularity and this increased interest has spurn research that seems to confirm much of its common folk uses. They have antiviral and antibacterial properties and are used to bolster the immune system in the treatment of common colds,

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

One of the most powerful and simple pranayama methods (breathing practices) is Nadi Shodhana. It is designed to balance the right and left sides of the brain, thus bringing balance to the solar and lunar pathways of the metaphysical body. It also helps to purify all nadis or subtle pathways of the body, so vital life force can freely move throughout the body.

There are three major nadis, or pathways in the body, two running on either side of the spine in a spiraling motion, and the third in the center that follows the same pathway as the spinal cord. The left side represents the Ida Nadi is lunar, female, and cooling, while the right side is named Pingala Nadi and represents the solar, male and heating energy. When these two forces of the sun and moon within the body are harmonized it allows the prana, or life force energy to more easily enter the central channel know as Sushumna Nadi. The Kundalini Shakti, the serpant like spiritual force, moves along this pathway form the Muladhara chakra at the base of the spine, to the crown of the head, Sahasrara chakra.

Practicing this technique is easy, but it should be done with enthusiasm and concentration. If the mind wanders while performing it, gently redirect your attention back to the practice. Below is a simple hand gesture called Vishnu Mudra that can be used to help block the nostrils while preforming this practice.

Benefits of Nadi Shodhana - Alternate Nostril Breathing Ayurveda Medicine

Instructions of Nadi Shodhana

Gently exhale all