Monthly Archives: December 2008

Analyze Your Stress – From Dr. Lad

I was doing some studies tonight and this is a great little excerpt from Dr. Vasant Lad’s book, The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies.

Tip: Give eyes a break – look outside

Computer eyes get really strained during the day. Try to take a break every couple hours, just for like 2 minutes, and focus on the blue sky or trees outside (even snow on trees!) The natural surroundings will bring eyes back to their natural focus and help them relax a bit. Eyes need a break too!!

Agni and Ama

(In case you’ve missed them: Nutrition1 and Nutrition 2)

Let’s talk about the importance of agni and ama. The body’s internal digestive fire is called our agni. When agni funtions properly, whatever we have eaten gets digested and absorbed by the body. Then the body eliminates waste. Pretty simple. However, when doshas are imbalanced due to lifestyle, diet, negative emotions, etc., agni becomes weakened or disturbed and therefore cannot digest food properly. In Ayurveda, “You are what you digest.” If you can’t digest it, you’ll get imbalanced!

This undigested food (and emotions) turns into ama, which is a toxic, sticky, cloudy, smelly substance that can spread from the gastrointestinal tract to other parts of the body. From there it can lodge itself into crevices (sometimes large crevices) causing clogs in channels, blood vessels and cell membranes. Yeah, eu. It’s gross.

It sounds complicated and difficult to get ama, but it’s kind of easy if you’re not paying attention. How many times have you eaten on the go, while working, during an intense conversation or while nervous? How many times have you gone back for seconds even though you were full? Even ending a nice warm meal with a cold beverage can cause ama. Let’s start learning to use the great elements and knowledge of our own dosha(s) to our healthy advantage. Keep these in your buddhi (wisdom)! As we learn and practice, we will find ourselves evolving into new and healthier habits. If our mind is not in our eating, we won’t digest much of anything.

For tips on avoiding ama, see Nutritional Guidelines.

Some signs of ama.
Check your tongue – if it’s got a white coating, that’s ama. If it’s pink, you’re doing great.
• If your energy level is low, sluggish, sleepy, or weak
• If you feel “cloudy” in the mind
• If you feel blockage in the body (constipation, congestion, breathing)
• Indigestion
• Not hungry or no taste for food

What do I do if I have ama?
• Fasting – skip a meal or eat fruit until you are hungry and your tongue is pink
• Drink warm water
• Have ginger tea (ginger is a digestive spice)
• Eat light, warm, liquid foods like soups
• Use digesting spices like garlic, cumin seeds, ginger, black pepper
• Say a mini prayer of thanks before your meal, so your intention is on your food
• The best way to rid chronic ama is to do an extensive cleanse called panchakarma, which means “five actions.” It’s a cleansing and rejeuvenating process which gathers all vitiated doshas (and ama) and purges them from the body. It’s a total renewal of the system!

In rough times, Be Grateful.

I talk to many people each day who are full of worry (I am a recruiter for creatives/designers) about their recent lay off and/or finding a new job. Due to the economic climate (I REFUSE to say recession. We create our own recession just by letting that neggy energy creep in and I refuse to contribute!!), there is a little panic and a lot of concern…I do my best to shed light on things they can do to keep moving forward so that they don’t stay static and panic. Mostly, I listen, then I advise just a little. It’s amazing how just listening helps shift them to a new place.

The biggest advice I give is to be GRATEFUL for what is in the now. We can run down an endless road of “what-if’s” until we are physically exhausted from our thoughts. Our thoughts will create our reality, so why not make it positive? Tapping into positive energy and positive thinking will not only lift your spirits for the day, but it will allow creativity and resourcefullness to enter. I would say that a time like this is PRIME to start using our creativity, imagination, inventiveness, and inner strength to create something new.

Think different. Meet new people. And MOST of all be grateful for what is. Make a list! Make it every morning or every night. Keep it by your bed, on your desk or next to your morning tea. Sometimes we can be grateful for the sun or the snow…that might be all we need to have a great day. It doesn’t have to be complicated. But I bet once you start a list, you won’t be able to stop.

If that’s really hard for you, read funk busters and maybe that will help shift your energy.
If you don’t believe me, maybe you will listen to Mr. Deepak Chopra. He says the very same thing:

Importance of the Mind: Part 2

Hey! So, after reading part 1, you already know that mistaken intellect is the first stage in the disease process. Mistaken intellect (making wrong choices) can be anything; not doing your daily exercise, drinking lots of alcohol, eating too much, eating the wrong foods., smoking, etc., So now you might be wondering, “Ok great. So how to I help myself make the right decisions?” The goal is to move to a more sattvic state of mind…”Ok great. What’s sattvic!?” I will tell you…

There are three primal qualities in our consciousness: Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. I will sum each of these up so that you have a quick idea of each. In a nutshell, Sattva is your purity of thought and right action. It is your intelligence, the way you create harmony and balance within yourself and the world around you. Rajas is responsible for creating turbulence, stimulation and transformation. It’s the goal-setting, out-reaching, ego-satisfying traits, where the desires of our egos is top priority (too much of it creates an unhappy ego maniac). Tamas is darkness, heaviness, ignorance, lack of awareness, depression and nervousness. It is the energy of disintegration, death and decay (Don’t worry, if you were tamasic you would not be open-minded enough to read a blog about Ayurveda).

Among the three, imbalanced rajas and tamas may lead to disease (Sattva never causes disease because it is pure). So the goal is to bring more sattvic qualities into our lives. Why? Because the healthier our mind, the healthier our body and spirit. If there is too much rajas, you might strive and strive and strive until you get what your ego thinks is “top-notch,” but still may never be satisfied, so you strive some more and then end up with stress-related health problems. Too much tamas would be having addictions, severe psychological problems, suicidal tendencies, hatefulness, vindictiveness, and intense attachment to pleasure and material things.

SO! To raise sattvic levels in our mind, body and spirits, I offer the following tips:

• Start with nutrition!
Sattvic foods:
milk, rice, fresh and seasonal veggies and fruits, ghee
Rajasic foods: coffee, meat, eggs, garlic, onion, spicy foods, cheese
Tamasic foods: anything fried, stale or processed foods, refined sugars, tomatoes (don’t ask me why, it’s
what the authorities say), alcohol, frozen foods, fast food
• Surround yourself with positive and loving people
• Be at the level of your Buddhi (pure wisdom) and really focus inward toward truth.
For example, you know you are full, so why have a second helping? You know you should get up early to do your exercise, but you choose to sleep in. Use your BUDDHI (love saying that) to keep yourself on track!
• Do Pranayama and meditation. These directly channels and nourishes the mind to increase sattva.

Bits of Wisdom {5}

Desire can result in suffering. It is ego-driven, a disconnect from the whole, true self.

Desiring something means we always want something more. For example if we want to travel more (work less), we need more money, so then we have to work more…see that? Because we always want more. That’s a mini example of an endless cycle we might put ourselves through. Detach and be grateful for what your life is NOW. Life is a journey, not a race to the finish…cause at the end, you’re dead. And you take nothing with you.