Ayurveda Consultations: Know Yourself to Heal Yourself

Ayurveda differs from conventional western medicine in that it acknowledges each individual as a unique being in nature and takes into consideration the ongoing imbalances that accumulate from day to day, season to season, year to year. It does this by starting from a unique point of reference.

Pulse diagnostic closeup

Ayurveda Pulse Assessment

According to Ayurveda, the material level of our body, including the cells, tissues and organs, is organized and directed from a deeper, more fundamental level of biological intelligence. Ayurveda pulse assessment is the tool that allows a trained expert to evaluate the state of balance and activity at this fundamental level. The focus is not on the structural state of our cells, tissues and organs, because that level is only symptomatic, controlled by an underlying level of intelligence.

Ayurveda identifies the three main agencies of biological intelligence as the three “Doshas”: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These doshas govern, respectively, movement, metabolism and structure. These three organizing principles control all bodily functions and are responsible for maintaining health.

Disease and disorders occur when the free flow of these three principles is blocked or become imbalanced in some way. The body’s natural healing mechanisms are most effective when Vata, Pitta and Kapha are functioning normally and the channels of communication and circulation in the body are unobstructed.

How Knowing Your Body Type Affects You

Ayurvedic pulse assessment evaluates the inherent balance of Vata, Pitta, Kapha that we have by nature, and also identifies any imbalance present in their functioning.

Body Type

Each Individual has unique qualities of digestion, metabolism, elimination, body mass, bone structure, temperament, etc. This is because the levels of activity of Vata, Pitta and Kapha vary from individual to individual. The relative level of activity of the doshas in an individual creates his or her body type.

Body type is important because it determines the proper diet, exercise, and daily routine for an individual. Body type also helps predict what health disorders a person is prone to and is a powerful aid in structuring a health prevention program.

Imbalances

Health disorders are ultimately due to imbalances on the level of biological intelligence, which are disruptions in the proper functioning of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. On the basis of a person’s pulse assessment, an Ayurveda expert can determine whether there is an imbalance in Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and can recommend the proper approach, using Ayurvedic modalities. Ayurvedic modalities recommended at The Raj include diet, herbs, lifestyle changes, Panchakarma, the Transcendental Meditation technique, yoga, and Vedic technologies such as Maharishi Light Therapy with Gems, Maharishi Vedic Vibration — all designed to restore balance to the body and mind.

For more information on Ayurveda consultations at The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa visit:

 www.theraj.com

Ayurveda Tips for Exercising in the Fall and Winter

nordic-skiingDuring the fall and early winter vata increases in our environment and within our own physiologies. Pacifying vata during this time is important for all body types because vata dosha can significantly affect both kapha and pitta doshas. Because one of the qualities of vata is movement, vata can move out of position, or out of balance, very quickly. Vata is usually the first dosha to become imbalanced. Vata imbalances are the most common causes of chronic disorders. If you are vata by nature or are prone to vata disturbances such insomnia, constipation, dry skin, and excess worry or anxiety, this is the season to be extra alert to activities, foods and other influences that increase vata.

Exercise is important and so is a winter exercise plan. Exercise affects bone density, muscle mass, aerobic capacity, strength and other key biomarkers of aging. According to the Charaka Samhita, the oldest, most complete and authoritative writing on Ayurveda, “From physical exercise, one gets lightness, a capacity for work, firmness, tolerance of difficulties, elimination of impurities, and stimulation of digestion.” It is important for all of us to stay active during the winter months.

Strenuous exercise, however, can increase the principle of vata in the body. While exercise such as jogging is generally fine for pitta and kapha types, vata types may suffer from the impact of such rigorous sports. A brisk walk is a better option. Cycling, cross-country or elliptical machines probably provide the best inside exercise. They give a good aerobic workout without harmful impact, and they work both the upper and lower body.

Combine cardio exercises with stretching exercises such as Yoga and Pilates, which are grounding and help develop strength and balance. Remember, qualities of vata include the words “irregular”, “moving”, “quick”, and “changeable”. Jumpy and erratic exercises, such as aerobic workouts, will increase these qualities in your physiology.

Avoid strain. Exercise should be joyful and make you feel energized. If you are feeling grumpy or tired after exercise, you need to ease up on the intensity.

The ideal time to exercise is after sunrise in the morning, when kapha dosha is lively.

If you do decide to exercise outside during the colder months, be sure to cover your head and ears and to stay protected from the wind and cold.

When you hydrate while exercising, always opt for warm or hot water. Carry a small thermos with you so that you do not have to drink cold water.

During this time of the year, healthy oils are your friends. Ghee, butter and olive oil help counter the drying effects of vata. Nuts are wonderful vata-pacifiers. Enjoy warm, heavy soups and stews. Avoid dry foods such as rice-cakes and cold cereals. Cooking oatmeal with apples and raisins is a wonderful and nourishing way to start the day.

The transitions from season to season put an extra strain on the body. This is the ideal time to visit an Ayurveda expert and get input regarding what your body needs to maintain balance and how best to address symptoms of imbalance.

The quality of vata which allows it to move easily out of position also allows it to move easily back into position. For this reason it is much better to address vata imbalances in their infancy, before they have gone on to influence pitta and kapha doshas—doshas whose imbalances are more difficult to correct.

For more information on consultations with Ayurveda experts, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa:

www.theraj.com

 

 

 

( Picture of a woman skiing. Source: Google Advance Image Search.
Creative Commons. The image is used under the terms of Googles Creative Commons rules:http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en. This photograph and credit do not constitute an endorsement of this blog or products mentioned.)

Choosing the Ideal Ayurveda Diet for Weight Loss

1342968_12234562_picGiven all the information on doshas and imbalances, on the six tastes, and on various food qualities, how do we ultimately decide what food is best for us? While it is true that a person with a particular mind/body balance is most likely to over-accumulate the dosha that predominates, this is not always the case.

Due to our modern lifestyle, filled with so much sensory stimulation, computers, travel, stress, multi-tasking and irregular sleep habits, a large percentage of people end up with some kind of Vata imbalance. So while it is true that a Vata dominated type will most likely develop Vata imbalances, Pitta and Kapha types can also  find themselves with Vata imbalances.

Those trying to lose weight often assume that they should avoid Kapha-type foods. But in fact it could easily be that an underlying Vata or Pitta imbalance is causing poor digestion, triggering food cravings and comfort eating, thus leading to weight gain. Eating light salads, raw vegetables and other light, cold foods (and in some cases spicy foods) would only serve to aggravate these imbalances and work against weight loss. In creating an Ayurveda weight loss program or any other kind of targeted health regime, it is recommended to see an expert in Ayurveda pulse assessment before committing to a particular diet.

It is important to defer, initially, to an intellectual understanding of recommended foods. Suppose you are craving chocolate. The taste of chocolate is both bitter and sweet. When we get cravings it usually means our body requires the nutrients naturally provided by foods with those tastes (especially the bitter taste which tends to go missing in our western diet). Rice and spinach provide sweet and bitter tastes and are probably the kinds of foods that what the body is actually looking for. But the mind turns that craving for sweet and bitter into a craving for chocolate. Bad habits can create “false” desires. Sometimes retraining the mind/body is necessary before we can trust our instincts to lead us to the proper diet. Once we develop truly natural eating habits, the body itself becomes the best Ayurvedic authority.

There are two different approaches to diet: balancing and purifying.  A balancing diet includes all six tastes but favors more of those that will help pacify the one or two doshas that are out of balance. A purifying diet targets the build-up of ama in the system. Ama is the end product of poorly digested food. It is said to be at the basis of the vast majority of illnesses and disorders. Because ama contributes to the early stages of so many diseases, reducing ama and enhancing digestion is a critical part of the Ayurvedic understanding of balanced health. Next week we’ll look at an ama-reducing diet and how we can promote ideal digestion.

To find information about Ayurveda Consultations, visit the website for The Raj, Ayurveda Health Spa and Treatment Center:

http://theraj.com/ayurveda/ayurvedic-diet.php

 

 

( Picture of Ayurveda food. Source: Google Advance Image Search.
Creative Commons. The image is used under the terms of Googles Creative Commons rules:http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en. This photograph and credit do not constitute an endorsement of this blog or products mentioned.)