Archive for December, 2013

Tridosha Concept in Ayurveda

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Concept of Tri-Dosha
In Ayurvedic philosophy, the five elements combine in pairs to form three dynamic forces or interactions called doshas. Dosha means “that which changes.” It is a word derived from the root dus, which is equivalent to the English prefix ‘dys’, such as in dysfunction, dystrophy, etc. In this sense, dosha can be regarded as a fault, mistake, error, or a transgression against the cosmic rhythm. The doshas are constantly moving in dynamic balance, one with the others. Doshas are required for the life to happen. In Ayurveda, dosha is also known as the governing principles as every living thing in nature is characterized by the dosha.
The three active doshas are called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Dosha Related Elements
Vata
Air and Ether
Pitta
Fire and Water
Kapha
Water and Earth

Vata is a force conceptually made up of elements ether and air. The proportions of ether and air determine how active Vata is. The amount of ether (space) affects the ability of the air to gain momentum. If unrestricted, as in ocean, air can gain momentum and become forceful such as a hurricane.
Vata means “wind, to move, flow, direct the processes of, or command.” Vata enables the other two doshas to be expressive. The actions of Vata are drying, cooling, light, agitating, and moving.
Vata governs breathing, blinking of the eyelids, movements in the muscles and tissues, pulsations in the heart, all expansion and contraction, the movements of cytoplasm and the cell membranes, and the movement of the single impulses in nerve cells. Vata also governs such feelings and emotions as freshness, nervousness, fear, anxiety, pain, tremors, and spasms. The primary seat or location of the Vata in the body is the colon. It also resides in the hips, thighs, ears, bones, large intestine, pelvic cavity, and skin. It is related to the touch sensation. If the body develops an excess of vata, it will accumulate in these areas.
Here are some of the common characteristics of people who have a predominantly Vata constitution.
Creativity, mental quickness
Highly imaginative
Quick to learn and grasp new knowledge, but also quick to forget
Sexually easily excitable but quickly satiated
Slenderness; lightest of the three body types
Talk and walk quickly
Tendency toward cold hands and feet, discomfort in cold climates
Excitable, lively, fun personality
Changeable moods
Irregular daily routine
Variable appetite and digestive efficiency
High energy in short bursts; tendency to tire easily and to overexert
Full of joy and enthusiasm when in balance
Respond to stress with fear, worry, and anxiety, especially when out of balance
Tendency to act on impulse
Often have racing, disjointed thoughts
Generally have dry skin and dry hair and don’t perspire much
Typical health problems include headaches, hypertension, dry coughs, sore throats, earaches, anxiety, irregular heart rhythms, muscle spasms, lower back pain, constipation, abdominal gas, diarrhea, nervous stomach, menstrual cramps, premature ejaculation and other sexual dys-functions, arthritis. Most neurological disorders are related to Vata imbalance.
Physical Features
People of vata constitution are generally physically underdeveloped. Their chests are flat and their veins and muscle tendons are visible. The complexion is brown, the skin is cold, rough, dry and cracked.
Vata people generally are either too tall or too short, with thin frames which reveal prominent joints and bone-ends because of poor muscle development. The hair is curly and scanty, the eyelashes are thin and the eyes lusterless. The eyes may be sunken, small, dry, and active. The nails are rough and brittle. The shape of the nose is bent and turned-up.
Physiologically, the appetite and digestion are variable. Vata people loves sweet, sour and salty tastes and like hot drinks. The production of urine is scanty and the feces are dry, hard and small in quantity. They have a tendency to perspire less than other constitutional types. Their sleep may be disturbed and they will sleep less than the other types. Their hands and feet are often cold.
Psychologically, they are characterized by short memory but quick mental understanding. They will understand something immediately, but will soon forget it. They have little willpower, tend toward mental instability and possess little tolerance, confidence or boldness. Their reasoning power is weak and these people are nervous, fearful and afflicted by much anxiety.
Signs of Vata Dosha Imbalance:
There are a number of tell tale signs of dosha imbalance. Some persons will get very angry. Some get depressed, etc. Here is a summary of the signs of vata imbalance:

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Worried
Tired, yet can’t relax, Fatigue, poor stamina
Nervous, Can’t concentrate
Anxious, fearful
Agitated mind
Impatient, Antsy or hyperactive
Spaced out
Self-defeating
Shy, insecure, Restless
Cannot make decisions
Weight loss, under weight
Insomnia; wake up at night and can’t go back to sleep
Generalized aches, sharp pains, Arthritis, stiff and painful joints
Agitated movement
Very sensitive to cold
Nail biting
Rough, flaky skin, Chapped lips
Fainting spells
Heart palpitations
Constipation, Intestinal bloating, gas, Belching, hiccups
Dry, sore throat, Dry eyes

General Tips on Health and Wellness For Vata Types
The Vatas find it very difficult to maintain regular habits, that is, to eat and sleep at regular times. But this is the most important thing for them to do. When Vata is out of balance this may feel almost impossible, but an effort to establish a regular routine is very important for all people with a Vata body type. Rest sufficiently, and choose foods, behaviors, personal relationships, and environmental circumstances which can be instrumental in balancing vata characteristics. It is also important to regulate mental and physical impulses and to modify mental attitudes, emotional states, and behaviors in supportive ways.
Sweet, sour, and salty tastes decrease vata influences, so include these tastes if vata influences need to be diminished. Milk, wheat, rice, and some fruits and berries can provide sweet and sour tastes.
Regular exercise should be relaxed and moderate. Hatha yoga practice in a meditative mood is good, as are t’ai chi, walking, and swimming. Avoid strenuous, competitive, frantic activities.
A Food Plan to Balance Vata Dosha
These guidelines can be used for vata mind-body constitutions, to maintain dosha balance, and to restore balance if necessary, regardless of the basic constitution. Vata influences the movement of thoughts, feelings, prana flows, nerve impulses, and fluids in the body.
Favor:
Warm food, moderately heavy textures, added butter and fat.
Salt, sour, and sweet tastes; Soothing and satisfying foods.
All soothing foods are good for settling disturbed Vata. Use foods such as: warm milk, cream, butter, warm soups, stews, hot cereals, fresh baked bread. Since vata is a cold dry dosha, warm, nourishing foods such as these are good for stabilizing vata. On the other hand cold foods such as cold salads, iced drinks, raw vegetables and greens are not very good for persons with vata imbalance.
Breakfast is highly recommended. Use hot cereals such as cream of rice or wheat or any other breakfast that is warm, milky, and sweet.
Take a hot or herbal tea with snacks in the late afternoon. Avoid drinks with high caffeine as vata gets disturbed by it.
Use spicy foods such as spicy Mexican or Indian foods that are cooked in oil.
Use warm moist foods such as cooked grains and cereals, bowl of hot oatmeal or cup of steaming vegetable soup.
Warm milk is good. You can add a little sugar or honey to it if you prefer. Avoid eating candies as it disturbs vata.
Prefer salted nuts that are heavy and oily as opposed to dry salty snacks.
All sweet fruits are Ok for vata. Avoid unripe fruits as they are astringent
Take warm or hot water instead of ice water and drinks.
Summary: Breakfast is usually desirable. Hot foods and sweet and sour tastes. Reduce dry foods and bitter tastes. Warm or hot water and drinks. Raw nuts and nut butters. Spices: cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, ginger, cloves in moderation.
Food Classified By Group
Vegetables | Fruits | Grains | Dairy | Meat | Beans | Oils | Sweeteners | Nuts and Seeds | Herbs and Spices
Vegetables
Favor Reduce or Avoid
cooked vegetables
asparagus
beets
carrots
cucumber
garlic
green beans
onions, cooked
onions, cooked
sweet potato
radishes
turnips
leafy greens in moderation broccoli
Brussels sprouts
cabbage
cauliflower
celery
eggplant
leafy green vegetables
mushrooms
peas
peppers
potatoes
sprouts
tomatoes
zucchini
Note: The above vegetables are OK if cooked with oil except cabbage and sprouts
Avoid raw vegetables, in general

Fruits
Favor Reduce or Avoid
sweet fruits
apricots
avocados
bananas
berries
cherries
coconut
fresh figs
grapefruit
lemons
grapes
mangos
sweet melons
sour oranges
papaya
pineapple
peaches
plums
sour fruits
Stewed fruits
Sweet, well-ripened fruit in general apples
cranberries
pears
pomegranates
The above fruits are OK cooked
Avoid dried fruits, in general and unripe fruit (especially bananas)

Grains
Favor Reduce or Avoid
oats(as cooked oatmeal cereal, not dry)
cooked rice
wheat barley
buckwheat
corn
dry oats
millet
rye

Dairy
Favor Reduce or Avoid
All Dairy is acceptable

Meat
Favor Reduce or Avoid
chicken
seafood, in general
turkey
All in small quantity Avoid red meat

Beans
Favor Reduce or Avoid
chickpeas
mung beans
pink lentils
tofu (small amounts) All, except as noted.

Oils
Favor Reduce or Avoid
All oils are acceptable
Sesame oil and olive oil are especially good.

Sweeteners
Favor Reduce or Avoid
All sweeteners are acceptable

Nuts and Seeds
Favor Reduce or Avoid
All are acceptable in small amounts. Almonds are best.

Herbs and Spices
Favor Reduce or Avoid
Almost all, in moderation, with emphasis on sweet and/or heating herbs and spices, such as:
allspice
anise
asafoetida
basil
bay leaf
black pepper (use sparingly)
caraway
cardamom
cilantro (green coriander)
cinnamon
clove
cumin
fennel
ginger
juniper berries
licorice root
mace
marjoram
mustard
nutmeg
oregano
sage
tarragon
thyme Avoid using spices in large quantities. Minimize or avoid all bitter and astringent herbs and spices such as:
coriander seed
fenugreek
parsley
saffron
turmeric

Pitta is a force created by the dynamic interplay of water and fire. These forces represent transformation. They cannot change into each other, but they modulate or control each other and are vitally required for the life processes to occur. (For example, too much fire and too little water will result in the boiling away of the water. Too much water will result in the fire being put out.)
Pitta governs digestion, absorption, assimilation, nutrition, metabolism, body temperature, skin coloration, the luster of the eyes, intelligence, and understanding. Psychologically, pitta arouses anger, hate, and jealousy. The small intestine, stomach, sweat glands, blood, fat, eyes, and skin are the seats of Pitta.
CHARACTERISTICS OF PITTA TYPE
Here are some of the common characteristics of people who have a predominantly Pitta body type.
Medium physique, strong, well-built
Sharp mind, good concentration powers
Orderly, focused
Assertive, self-confident, and entrepreneurial at their best; aggressive, demanding, pushy when out of balance
Competitive, enjoy challenges
Passionate and romantic; sexually have more vigor and endurance than Vatas, but less than Kaphas
Strong digestion, strong appetite; get irritated if they have to miss or wait for a meal
Like to be in command
When under stress, Pittas become irritated and angry
Skin fair or reddish, often with freckles; sunburns easily
Hair usually fine and straight, tending toward blond or red, typically turns gray early; tendency toward baldness or thinning hair
Uncomfortable in sun or hot weather; heat makes them very tired
Perspire a lot
Others may find them stubborn, pushy, opinionated
Good public speakers; also capable of sharp, sarcastic, cutting speech
Generally good management and leadership ability, but can become authoritarian
Like to spend money, surround themselves with beautiful objects
Subject to temper tantrums, impatience, and anger
Typical physical problems include rashes or inflammations of the skin, acne, boils, skin cancer, ulcers, heartburn, acid stomach, hot sensations in the stomach or intestines, insomnia, bloodshot or burning eyes and other vision problems, anemia, jaundice.
Physical Features
These people are of medium height, are slender and body frame may be delicate. Their chests are not as flat as those of vata people and they show a medium prominence of veins and muscle tendons. The bones are not as prominent as in the vata individual. Muscle development is moderate.
The pitta complexion may be coppery, yellowish, reddish or fair. The skin is soft, warm and less wrinkled than vata skin. The hair is thin, silky, red or brownish and there is a tendency toward premature graying of hair and hair loss. The eyes may be gray, green or cooper-brown and sharp: the eyeballs will be of medium prominence. The nails are soft. The shape of the nose is sharp and the tip tends to be reddish.
Physiologically, these people have a strong metabolism, good digestion and resulting strong appetites. The person of pitta constitution usually takes large quantities of food and liquid. Pitta types have a natural craving for sweet, bitter and astringent tastes and enjoy cold drinks. Their sleep is of medium duration but uninterrupted. They produce a large volume of urine and the feces are yellowish, liquid, soft and plentiful. There is a tendency toward excessive perspiring. The body temperature may run slightly high and hands and feet will tend to be warm. Pitta people do not tolerate sunlight, heat or hard work well.
Psychologically, pitta people have a good power of comprehension; they are very intelligent and sharp and tend to be good orators. They have emotional tendencies toward hate, anger and jealousy.
They are ambitious people who generally like to be leaders. Pitta people appreciate material prosperity and they tend to be moderately well-off financially. They enjoy exhibiting their wealth and luxurious possessions.

Signs of Pitta Aggravation
Angry, Irritable
Hostile, Enraged, Destructive
Impatient
Critical of self and others
Argumentative, Aggressive
Bossy, controlling
Frustrated, Willful, Reckless
Acidity, heartburn, Stomach ulcer
Fitful sleep, Disturbing dreams
Diarrhea, Food allergies
Bad breath, Sour body odor
Very sensitive to heat, Hot flashes
Skin rashes
Boils
Bloodshot eyes
Acne
Weakness due to low blood sugar
Fevers, Night sweats

General Tips on Health and Wellness For Pitta Persons
Pitta constitutions will be upset by alcohol and cigarettes, as well as by overwork, overexertion, and overheating. When out of balance, they are susceptible to feeling such negative emotions as hostility, hatred, intolerance, and jealousy. Therefore it is very important for Pittas to keep cool (literally and figuratively) and to lead a pure and moderate lifestyle. Choose foods, attitudes, behaviors, personal relationships, and environmental circumstances which can be instrumental in balancing pitta characteristics.
Because sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes decrease pitta influences, include these in your food plan if pitta characteristics are too pronounced. Complex carbohydrates, milk, and some fruits are sweet; some green, leafy vegetables are bitter; beans and some green vegetables are astringent.
Do things that cool the mind, emotions, and body. Avoid conflicts. Cultivate the virtues of honesty, morality, kindness, generosity, and self-control.
A Food Plan to Balance Pitta Dosha
These guidelines can be used for pitta mind-body constitutions, to maintain dosha balance and to restore balance if necessary regardless of the basic constitution. Pitta influences digestion and metabolism, body temperature, and biological transformations.
Favor
Cool or warm but not steaming hot foods
Bitter, sweet, and astringent tastes
As far as practical use less butter and added fat. Consume food with moderately heavy textures.
Since Pittas have strong efficient digestion, they can generally eat just about everything. Most Pittas get into trouble by continued use of too much salt, overuse of sour and spicy food and overeating.
Take cool, refreshing food in summer. Reduce the consumption of salt, oil, and spices, all of which are “heating” to the body. Salads are good, so is milk and ice cream.
Avoid pickles, yogurt, sour cream, and cheese. Avoid vinegar in salad dressing; use lemon juice instead. Alcoholic and fermented foods should be avoided. Their sour Rasa aggravates Pitta. Coffee is also pitta aggravating due to the acid in coffee. Herb tea is good. Prefer mint, licorice root or other pitta pacifying tea.
Breakfast: Cold cereals, cinnamon toast, and apple tea is a good breakfast for Pitta. Avoid coffee, orange juice and doughnuts – they aggravate pitta.
The vegetarian foods are the best for pitta. Consuming red meat tend to heat the body from the fat. Consume abundant amounts of milk, grains and vegetables.
Avoid oily, hot, salty, and heavy foods such as fried food. Instead consume starchy foods such as vegetables, grains and beans. Avoid the tendency to overeat under stress.
Avoid processed and fast foods as they tend to be heavy on salt and sour tastes. Japanese and Chinese food are good choices. Avoid highly spicy food such as is found in Mexican restaurants.
To bring down aggravated Pitta, take two teaspoons of ghee (clarified butter) in a glass of warm milk. (Avoid taking the ghee if you have problem with high cholesterol).
Summary
Avoid egg yolks, nuts, hot spices, honey, and hot drinks. Cool foods and drinks are better. Add sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes. Reduce use of sour tastes. Spices: black pepper, coriander, and cardamom.
Food Classified By Group
Vegetables | Fruits | Grains | Dairy | Meat | Beans | Oils | Sweeteners | Nuts and Seeds | Herbs and Spices

Vegetables
Favor Reduce or Avoid
Sweet and bitter vegetables:
Asparagus
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Celery
Cucumber
Green beans
Green (sweet) peppers
Leafy green vegetables
Lettuce
Mushrooms
Okra
Parsley
Peas
Potatoes
Sprouts
Squash
Sweet potatoes
Zucchini Beets
Carrots
Eggplant
Garlic
Hot peppers
Onions
Radishes
Spinach
Tomatoes

Fruits
Favor Reduce or Avoid
Sweet Fruits:
Apples
Avocados
Cherries
Coconut
Figs
Dark grapes
Mangoes
Melons
Oranges
Pears
Pineapples
Plums
Prunes
Raisins
Note: Fruits should be sweet and ripe. Apricots
Bananas
Berries
Cherries (sour)
Cranberries
Grapefruit
Papayas
Peaches
Persimmons
Avoid fruits that come to market sour or unripe. Also avoid fruits such as green grapes, oranges, pineapple and plum unless they are sweet and ripe.

Grains
Favor Reduce or Avoid
Barley
Oats
Wheat
White rice (prefer basmati rice) Brown rice
Corn
Millet
Rye

Dairy
Favor Reduce or Avoid
Butter
Egg whites
Ghee (clarified butter )- unless you are watching cholesterol
Ice cream
Milk Buttermilk
Cheese
Egg yolks
Sour cream
Yogurt

Meat
Favor Reduce or Avoid
Chicken
Shrimp
Turkey
(All in small amounts) Red meat and sea food in general

Beans
Favor Reduce or Avoid
Chickpeas
Mung beans
Tofu and other soybean products Lentils

Oils
Favor Reduce or Avoid
Coconut
Olive
Soy
Sunflower Almond
Corn
Safflower
Sesame

Nuts and Seeds
Favor Reduce or Avoid
Coconut
Pumpkin seeds
Sunflower seeds All, except as noted

Sweeteners
Favor Reduce or Avoid
All are acceptable except honey and molasses Honey and
Molasses

Herbs and Spices
Favor Reduce or Avoid
Spices are generally avoided as too heating. In small amounts, the following sweet and astringent spices are OK
Cardamom
Cilantro(green coriander)
Cinnamon
Coriander seed
Dill
Fennel
Mint
Saffron
Turmeric
Plus small amounts of cumin and black pepper All pungent herbs and spices, except as noted. Take only the minimal amounts of the following:
Barbecue sauce
Catsup
Mustard
Pickles
Salt
Sour salad dressings
Spicy condiments
Vinegar

Kapha is the conceptual equilibrium of water and earth. Kapha is structure and lubrication. One can visualize the Kapha force as the stirring force to keep the water and earth from separating. For example, if we take a pot, fill it to the half with water and then add sand to it, the sand will gradually sink to the bottom of the pot. (It separates from the water). The only way to keep the sand in equilibrium with the water is by stirring the mixture continuously. The Kapha force can be visualized as this stirring force in our body.
Kapha cements the elements in the body, providing the material for physical structure. This dosha maintains body resistance. Water is the main constituent of kapha, and this bodily water is responsible physiologically for biological strength and natural tissue resistance in the body. Kapha lubricates the joints; provides moisture to the skin; helps to heal wounds; fills the spaces in the body; gives biological strength, vigor and stability; supports memory retention; gives energy to the heart and lungs, and maintains immunity. Kapha is present in the chest, throat, head, sinuses, nose, mouth, stomach, joints, cytoplasm, plasma, and in the liquid secretions of the body such as mucus. Psychologically, kapha is responsible for the emotions of attachment, greed, and long-standing envy. It is also expressed in tendencies toward calmness, forgiveness, and love. The chest is the seat of kapha.
CHARACTERISTICS OF KAPHA TYPES
Here are some of the common characteristics of people who have a predominantly Kapha constitution.
Easygoing, relaxed, slow-paced
Affectionate and loving
Forgiving, compassionate, nonjudgmental nature Stable and reliable; faithful
Physically strong and with a sturdy, heavier build
Have the most energy of all constitutions, but it is steady and enduring, not explosive
Slow moving and graceful
Slow speech, reflecting a deliberate thought process
Slower to learn, but never forgets; outstanding long-term memory
Soft hair and skin; tendency to have large “soft” eyes and a low, soft voice
Tend toward being overweight; may also suffer from sluggish digestion
Prone to heavy, oppressive depressions
More self-sufficient, need less outward stimulation than do the other types A mild, gentle, and essentially undemanding approach to life
Sexually Kaphas are the slowest to be aroused, but they also have the most endurance
Excellent health, strong resistance to disease
Slow to anger; strive to maintain harmony and peace in their surroundings
Not easily upset and can be a point of stability for others
Tend to be possessive and hold on to things, people, money; good savers. Don’t like cold, damp weather
Physical problems include colds and congestion, sinus headaches, respiratory problems including asthma and wheezing, hay fever, allergies, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Physical Features
People of kapha constitution have well-developed bodies. There is, however, a strong tendency for these individuals to carry excess weight. Their chests are expanded and broad. The veins and tendons of kapha people are not obvious because of their thick skin and their muscle development is good. The bones are not prominent.
Their complexions are fair and bright. The skin is soft, lustrous and oily, it is also cold and pale. The hair is thick, dark, soft and wavy. The eyes are dense and black or blue: the white of the eye is generally very white, large and attractive.
Physiologically, kapha people have regular appetites. Due to slow digestion, they tend to consume less food. They crave pungent, bitter and astringent foods. Stools are soft and may be pale in color: evacuation is slow. Their perspiration is moderate. Sleep is sound and prolonged. There is a strong vital capacity evidenced by good stamina, and kapha people are generally healthy, happy and peaceful.
Psychologically, they tend to be tolerant, calm, forgiving and loving: however, they also exhibit traits of greed, attachment, envy and possessiveness. Their comprehension is slow but definite: once they understand something, that knowledge is retained.
Signs of Kapha Aggravation
Sluggish thinking, Dull thinking
Groggy all day
Apathetic, no desire
Depressed, Sad, Sentimental
Slow to comprehend, Slow to react
Procrastinating, Lethargy
Clingy, hanging on to people and ideas
Greedy, Possessive, Materialistic
Sleeping too much
Very tired in the morning, hard to get out of bed
Drowsy or groggy during the day
Weight gain, obesity
Mucus and congestion in the chest or throat
Mucus and congestion in the nose or sinuses
Nausea
Diabetes
Hay fever
Pale, cool, clammy skin
Edema, water retention, Bloated feeling
Sluggish digestion, food “just sits” in the stomach
High cholesterol
Aching joints or heavy limbs

General Tips for Health and Wellness for Kapha Types
Kapha’s are prone to lethargy, sluggishness, depression, and overweight, Kaphas need activity and stimulation. Daily exercise is more important for them than for any other type. Getting out of the house and actively seeking new experiences is also valuable. Be receptive to useful change, renounce impediments to progress, be intentional in implementing life-enhancing actions, and choose foods, mental attitudes, behaviors, exercise routines, and relationships and environmental circumstances which can be instrumental in balancing kapha characteristics.
Pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes decrease kapha influences. Black pepper, ginger, cumin, chili, and some other spices provide the pungent taste; bitter is provided by some green leafy vegetables; and some green vegetables and beans provide the astringent taste. Note that the taste that decreases a dosha usually increases one or both of the other two. For general purposes, mildly increase the proportion of foods which are helpful while somewhat decreasing the proportions of others-having a sampling of all six tastes at your major meal.
A Food Plan to Balance Kapha Dosha
These guidelines can be used for kapha mind-body constitutions, to maintain dosha balance, and to restore balance if necessary, regardless of the basic constitution. Kapha influences the heavy, moist aspects of the body.
What kind of Food to Eat to Balance Kapha
Warm, light food
Dry food, cooked without much water, minimum of butter, oil and sugar
Stimulating foods with pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes
Kaphas need to watch the consumption of too much sweet foods or fatty foods. Keep an eye on the salt consumption also, which tend to result in fluid retention in Kaphas.
Light meals are to be favored such as light breakfast and dinner.
Avoid deep fried foods. Eat lightly cooked foods or raw fruits and vegetables. Eat spicy, bitter and astringent foods. Watch out for eating too much food, a typical kapha tendency.
Select hot food over cold food whenever feasible. Dry cooking methods (baking, broiling, grilling, sautéing) are preferable for kaphas over moist cooking such as steaming, boiling or poaching.
As an appetizer eat bitter or pungent foods instead of salty or sour. Foods such as romaine lettuce, endive, or tonic water are good to stimulate your appetite.
Take ginger tea or a pinch or ginger to stimulate appetite. Other preferred spices are cumin, fenugreek, sesame seed and turmeric.
Any food that is spicy is good for kaphas such as very hot Mexican or Indian food, especially in winter.
Foods that are good for kapha breakfast are hot spiced cider, buckwheat pancakes with apple butter, corn muffins, and bitter cocoa made with skim milk and a touch of honey. Avoid cold cereals, cold juice or milk, and sugary pastries. Bacon and sausage aggravates kapha due to their salt and oil. For kapha types, breakfast is optional. (You may skip it if you like).
To pep you up in the morning, take honey, hot water, lemon juice and ginger. Try hot ginger tea. Try skipping a meal or two and take a spoonful of honey in hot water to keep you going.
Kaphas have a sweet tooth. So, cutting down on sugar is difficult for many of them. Cutting sugar is recommended. Take honey instead. Avoid taking more than a spoonful of honey a day.
Don’t overindulge on dairy foods. Butter, ice cream, and cheese are among the worst foods you can take as it aggravates the kapha. Take warm low fat milk. Avoid hamburgers and milk shakes.
Eat raw fruits, vegetables and salads.
Watch out the restaurant foods, especially oily, salty, sweet or deep fried foods – these are all kapha aggravating. Eat salad with minimum salad dressing. Take a glass of hot water instead of ice water. Eat salad instead of soup especially in hot weather.
Summary
Breakfast is usually not necessary. Avoid sugar, fats, dairy products, and salt. Ghee and oils only in small amounts. Choose light, dry foods. The main meal should be at the middle of the day, and only a light, dry meal in the evening. Avoid cold foods and drinks. Reduce use of sweet, sour, and salty tastes. Pungent, astringent, and bitter tastes are all right. All spices.
Food Classified By Group
Vegetables | Fruits | Grains | Dairy | Meat | Beans | Oils | Sweeteners | Nuts and Seeds | Herbs and Spices

Vegetables
Favor Reduce or Avoid
Pungent and bitter foods such as:
asparagus
beets
broccoli
Brussels sprouts
cabbage
carrots
cauliflower
celery
eggplant
garlic
leafy green vegetables
lettuce
mushrooms
okra
onions
peas
peppers
potatoes
radishes
spinach
sprouts Sweet and juicy vegetables, such as:
cucumbers
sweet potatoes
tomatoes
zucchini

Fruits
Favor Reduce or Avoid
apples
apricots
berries
cherries
cranberries
figs
mangoes
peaches
pears
prunes
pomegranates
Dried fruits in general are good for kapha. (apricots, figs, prunes, raisins) avocados
bananas
coconut
dates
fresh figs
grapefruit
grapes
melons
oranges
papayas
pineapples
plums
Avoid sweet, sour, or very juicy fruits, in general.

Grains
Favor Reduce or Avoid
barley
buckwheat
corn
millet
oats, dry
rye
basmati rice oats
rice
wheat, except in small amounts
Avoid hot cereals and steamed grains, in general, as they are too moist and heavy for kapha.

Dairy
Favor Reduce or Avoid
warm skim milk
small amounts of whole milk and eggs (not fried of cooked with butter) All, except as noted

Meat
Favor Reduce or Avoid
chicken
shrimp
turkey
(All in small amounts) red meat
seafood in general

Beans
Favor Reduce or Avoid
All legumes are acceptable except kidney beans and tofu kidney beans
tofu

Oils
Favor Reduce or Avoid
almond
corn
safflower
sunflower
(All in small quantities) All, except as noted.

Sweeteners
Favor Reduce or Avoid
Raw, unheated honey All, except honey

Nuts and Seeds
Favor Reduce or Avoid
sunflower seeds
pumpkin seeds All, except sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds

Herbs and Spices
Favor Reduce or Avoid
All are good. Ginger is especially good for improving digestion salt

Svedana – Steam Bath

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Svedana ( Steam Bath )
• The Glowing Therapy Spa
According to Ayurveda, each massage should be followed up with heat in order to help the oil penetrate into the deep tissues. Steam is soft because it contains water, and head & neck must be out of the steam box, because they should not be heated.
Lavender steam or other herbs from our valley will help you perspire. The session ends when the person is sweating on the forehead.
This is a sitting steam bath for the whole body (only the head is out). The therapy is done after all therapies to drive the herbal oil deeper into the layers of the skin, and remove toxins through sweating.
Benefits
• Makes Your Skin Healthy
• Relieves you of general body aches
• Improves blood circulation
• Helps you in reducing weight
• Drains toxins from deep tissues

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Concept of Prakruti and Vikruti in Ayurveda

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Concept of Prakruti and Vikruti
According to Ayurveda, your basic constitution is determined at the time of conception. This constitution is called Prakruti. The term Prakruti is a Sanskrit word that means, “nature,” “creativity,” or “the first creation.” One of the very important concept of Ayurveda is that one’s basic constitution is fixed throughout his lifetime. The combination of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha that was present in the individual at the time of conception is maintained throughout his lifetime. This is your base point. Notice that different persons can have different combination of Vata, Pitta and kapha as their basic constitution or Prakruti. This is how Ayurveda can explain the subtle differences between individuals and explains why everyone is unique and that two persons can react very differently when exposed to the same environment or stimuli. Your Prakruti is unique to you just as your fingerprint and DNA. Thus, in order to understand a person, it is necessary to determine his or her Prakruti. HolisticOnLine has developed a computerized diagnostic system that enables you to determine your Prakruti.
Ideally, your constitution remain fixed throughout your life. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Every person is subjected to the constant interaction with his or her environment which will affect the person’s constitution at any time. The body will try to maintain a dynamic equilibrium or balance with the environment. Your current condition is called your vikruti. Although it reflects your ability to adjust to life’s influences and is always changing, it should match your prakruti, or inborn constitution, as closely as possible. If the current proportion of your doshas differs significantly from your constitutional proportion, it indicates imbalances, which in turn can lead to illness. Farther your Vikruti is from your Prakruti, more ill you are. Ayurveda teaches that your Vikruti can be changed by means of diet and meditation.

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Herbal Bath

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

The Healing Bath: Bathing As An Ayurvedic Therapeutic Activity
Ayurveda sees bathing as a therapeutic activity. The morning bath is therefore an important part of the ayurvedic dincharya or daily routine. A leisurely bath relaxes tense muscles, irons out a creased brow, opens clogged pores, restores moisture to the tissues, and adds a healing dimension to your day.
Bathing in the ancient world
Bathing has always been accorded the status of a sacred activity in Indian life. During their explorations of ancient India’s Indus Valley Civilization in Mohenjo Daro, archaeologists unearthed a large pool-like structure with steps leading down at both ends. This is believed to have been a public bath. In addition, homes in this surprisingly advanced civilization had their own private baths and an elaborate drainage system.
Not just India, but several other world cultures have treated the bath as a healing activity. In ancient Greece, water was regarded as a gift of health from the gods themselves. In Rome, ruins of hot and cold sunken baths can still be seen at Pompeii. Napoleon’s wife Josephine Bonaparte’s bathtub is said to retain its musk perfume, more than 150 years after it was built.
Bathing as therapy
As the world discovered the comfort and pleasure a bath could bring, new ways were found to make it a healing experience. Ancient ayurvedic texts speak of therapeutic baths featuring rose petals, milk, honey, and turmeric. Preceded by a luxurious full-body warm oil massage and followed by the application of rich sandalwood paste and floral waters on the skin, the ayurvedic bath was designed to restore balance to mind, body and spirit.
Ayurvedic texts report many benefits from the healing bath:
• It enhances physical energy levels and improves mental clarity.
• It helps remove sweat, dirt and environmental toxins from the skin.
• It helps relax the mind and balance the emotions.
Choosing a cleanser
Cleansing the skin is a vital part of the bath routine or a prelude to applying decorative substances on the skin. Different kinds of cleansing materials are described in the ayurvedic texts. The main considerations when choosing cleansing materials for baths is well described in ayurveda:
1. The materials should be all-dosha pacifying. There are three major sub-doshas that govern the skin–Vyana Vata, Bhrajaka Pitta and Shleshaka Kapha. Vyana Vata controls circulation, Bhrajaka Pitta governs the metabolic and biochemical activity of the skin and Shleshaka Kapha is responsible for moisture balance. The cleansing materials should not aggravate any of these sub-doshas; instead, they should balance all three of these sub-doshas and enhance their coordinated functioning. Further, they should not disturb the coordination between Prana Vata and Vyana Vata, which is the connection between the tactile nerves and the whole nervous system.
2. The cleansing ingredients should possess natural intelligence–be “alive” so that they can enliven the intelligence of the skin. The ideal cleansing formulation helps the process of rehydrating the skin so that during the bath or cleansing process the skin can absorb adequate molecules of water into the cells. Charaka, the ancient ayurvedic healer, calls the outermost layer of the skin udakdhara: udak means “water” and dhara is “that which holds. This layer is also called awabhasini “that which reflects the inner radiance. Harsh cleansers that strip moisture from the skin damage the delicate wisdom that facilitates the reflection of the inner glow, called prabha in ayurveda.

Ayurveda considers it crucial to maintain the skin’s moisture balance because this is essential for overall skin health. Water is one of the five essential ayurvedic elements that sustain life: these five elements are space, air, fire, water and earth, and each element is “born” of the preceding element. Water, being fourth in this chain, contains within it the intelligence of space, air and fire in addition to its own intelligence. For the skin, and the whole physiology, to be in balance, it is therefore crucial that its moisture content not be depleted.
Other tips for enhancing the healing experience
• Do not bathe in a hurry, take your time.
• Practice deep breathing in your bath.
• Try to relax, so that both mind and body benefit from the bath.
• Gentle aromatherapy in the room is fine, but do not use harsh or artificial fragrances in the bathroom.
• Make sure your bathwater is also pure; use filters if necessary.

Hair Care in Ayurveda

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Ayurveda- The Indian traditional system of health care believes in a holistic approach to health care and hair care is one of the vital parts of it. Ayurveda believes that just external application and precautions are not sufficient to keep it full of life, strength, luster, sheen, color, vitality and healthy life long. This issue is discussed in almost every classical text in detail which shows that our Rishis (sages) were also aware of the importance of this field. Ayurvedic Ahara-Vihar (Diet and Lifestyle) concept are two major factors that influence whole body and the health of the hair as well. Irregular dietary habits, Poor diet, Illness and Deficiencies of any particular Vitamin and Mineral affects the quality of hair and problems like dandruff, thinning hair, early baldness, premature graying, spoil the hair quality. In an individual the condition of the hair is the reflection of the complete constitution of his physical state. If the person is not healthy then the bad health will reflect from the hair. Ayurvedic classical literatures thrust upon overall regulation for hair care.
Basic guidelines one should follow in life for wellbeing of hair are as follows:
• (I). Massage scalp regularly: Topical application of medicated hair oil improves nourishment to the scalp which helps to keep your hair long, lustrous, strong, shining and thick. The warm oil head and scalp massage, especially when done with oil infused with Keshya (hair-friendly) herbs, nourishes the hair and scalp, alleviates dry scalp, enhances circulation. Coconut oil or Sesame oil, infused with herbs like Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Bhringaraj (Eclipta alba) or Japa (Hibiscus), helps maintain the color and luster of hair. Ayurvedic herbal hair oils contain a blend of hair-friendly herbs. If you can massage two or three times a week preferably in morning (1-2 hours before bath) for nourishment. Apply Narikela (coconut) oil or Sarshapi(mustard) oil (depending upon availability and suitability) at least three times in a week. Use of Classical Ayurvedic Medicated Oils like: Bhringraja oil, Neelibhringadi oil, Mahabhringraja oil and Brahmi-Amla oil helps to control complaints related to the scalp and hair.
• (II). Regular cleansing of scalp and hair: Always keep your hair and scalp clean to avoid clogged hair follicles and itching of scalp. Cleanse with a gentle herbal shampoo or baby soap or soft home made herbal based shampoo. Over or excessive shampooing, especially with a harsh shampoo can lead to dry out the scalp and damage hair. Use lukewarm or fresh water to wash your hair, and follow with a natural conditioner. Let the hair dry naturally rather than blow-drying it. Trim hair regularly to take care of split ends and natural wear and tear. Regularly cleaning and brushing the hair is very important. When the hairs are brushed, oil-producing glands in the scalp get stimulated. This natural oil makes the hair glossy and healthy. To give extra shine to the hair, after washing rinse the hair with some lemon juice mixed in a cup of warm water.
• (III). Regulate dietary habits: Irregular or unhealthy eating habits affect over all performance of all of our systems. Healthy eating is just as important for effective digestion and absorption as the healthy diet itself. Food should be fresh and whole and prepared lovingly. Ayurveda advocates that every one should have food in properly ventilated, calm, quiet corner and should not do any other job at the time of having food like watching your favorite television show or talking and discussing any business issue. Eat with your attention on the food, in a calm and serene frame of mind, and one should chew food properly before swallowing. For a good digestion a healthy person should not drink too much water during meals, few sips of water in between bites is fine, otherwise proper watering time is half an hour after food. One should drink luke warm water if oily, spicy and non vegetarian food is consumed. Dinner should always be light. All of such restrictions are important if you wish to keep your body free of Ama (toxins). Toxins build up in the body obstructs nutrients from reaching the cells and tissues of the body. The food articles and bad habits which one should get rid off are discussed also. They are as follows: Excessive intake of tea, coffee, alcohol, meats and smoking should be avoided. Eating too much fried, oily, greasy, spicy, sour and acidic foods is always harmful. Chemical or synthetic medicines should be avoided. Low blood circulation, anemia, general weakness after disease, stress, anxiety and mental tension should be treated by improving dietary habits and routine. Diseases like typhoid fever, jaundice and hormonal imbalance cause excessive falling of hair and aggravate the incidence of dandruff.

Especially after the age of forty, it is important to undergo periodic internal cleansing to flush away Ama (toxins). Triphala (mixture of equal quantity of fruits of Amalaki – Emblica officinalis, Vibhitaka – Terminalia belerica and Harad – Terminalia chebula) is a very popular, gentle, non- habit forming cleanser that can be taken frequently to regulate the digestive system.
• (IV). Nutritious diet: Ayurvedic concept of way of life strongly is of the view, that healthy and nutritious food improves body of hair, so a balanced assortment of nutrients is necessary to prevent premature hair loss and early graying.
List of beneficial hair foods include white Sesame seeds, fresh Coconut, Green vegetables, whole Grains, Dates and Raisins, Dadhi (curd), Sprouted mixture of beans, Nuts and Seeds and healthy fats such as Ghee or Oil. Ayurvedic system of medicine advises to cook food with spices and aromatic herbs as they improve digestion and detoxify our body tissues. Ayurveda advocates for regular intake of Haridra (Turmeric), Maricha (Black pepper), Methi (Fenugreek), Dhania (Coriander) and Jeera (Cumin) are both flavoring and Agni (digestive fire) enhancing. Herbs like Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Hingu (Asafoetida), Bhringraja (Eclipta alba) and seasonal fruits especially citrus fruits help to improve digestion and immunity for all age groups and all Dosha types.
• (V). Sleep Sufficiently: As per Ayurvedic concepts: Sleep is as important as nutritious food for well being of human body. Improper or irregular sleeping schedule causes disturbance to our body clock. Sleep is the phase when our body repairs tissues and reorganizes systems. One should retire to bed before 10 p.m. and should finish dinner two hours prior to sleep. Light dinner with less spice followed by a glass of milk (an hour after dinner) is always found to induce good quality sleep. Lack of sufficient sleep can lead to poor health of hair.
• (VI). Stress management: Everybody faces high levels of mental and emotional stress due to fierce competition in day to day life of modern times. Living regularly in such state of stress can lead to excessive falling, premature graying, dry, dull-looking, lifeless appearance of hair. Herbal tea enriched with any one or more of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Mandookparni (Centella asiatica), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi) supports natural ability to manage stress. Always spare time to rest and relax and practice relaxing yoga techniques and meditation to keep stress under control. Massaging scalp with medicated herbal oils is found to be helpful to mental relaxation and to control mood swings.

*Ayurvedic hair cleanser – Blend together coarsely grinded Amalaki (Embilica officinalis) – 50 Gms., Shikakai (Acacia concinna) – 30 Gms. and Arishtaka (Sapindus trifoliatus) – 20 Gms and Water – 1.5 Ltrs. make a decoction by boiling contents so that the water is reduced to 1 Ltr. and keep after straining it for washing the hair, but application of oil is always advisable prior to it. This should be made fresh.This a quantity of ingredients in this formulation is for reference only; quantities should be adjusted as per one’s daily requirement. Use of freshly made hair wash solution is always advisable.

Factors that affect Hair and Skin

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Factors That Affect Skin and Hair
The skin shows signs of age faster than any other organ, so good health and a great appearance go hand-in-hand. A good skin care system is essential for healthy looking skin, however, no skin care system is effective when the body is subjected to excess amounts of petrochemicals, pollution, smoking, alcohol, stress, emotions, sun as well as poor nutrition and insufficient exercise.
Proper nutrition and diet is the first and most essential ingredient for overall health and beauty. Healthy food and drink is necessary for beautiful skin. A good diet should include fresh, organically grown fruits and vegetables, whole grains and plenty of pure water. A good diet is reflected in your face and in your hair. A good diet enables the body to heal, regenerate and repair itself properly over a lifetime.
News For Your Skin
Synthetics and Petrochemicals
• Think of products used on your body as “external foods.”
• We should nourish our skin in the same manner we nourish our bodies … with products derived from nature.
• 90% of the raw materials used to produce cosmetic, household and consumer products are chemically processed and contain synthetic and petroleum derivatives.
• Natural products help build the resistance of the skin and naturally stimulate the skin’s own repair mechanism.
• Aveda and a few other natural lines contain naturally derived ingredients from pure distilled plant essences and herbal extracts.
Environmental Pollution
• Processing synthetics and petrochemicals creates pollution in our water, soil and air.
• Pollutants can form acids that attack the skin.
• Pollution contributes to dehydration of the skin, poor color and clogging of the pores.
• Naturally derived products reduce the amount of toxins poured into our environment.
• Purchase non-petrochemical products that improve the environment and in turn your overall health.
Smoking
• Nicotine reduces the surface blood flow, inhibiting your skin’s ability to receive nourishment.
• Upper layers of the skin may not be receiving enough oxygen, which makes the skin color is sallow or pale.
• A smoker’s skin will often be dehydrated and yellow around the mouth.
• Long-term effects of smoking include loss of skin’s elasticity, which may create wrinkles.
• In some cases, excessive nicotine in the system can give skin a yellowish cast.
Alcohol
• Excessive alcohol consumption can impair functioning of liver, kidneys and the digestive system.
• These systems function to feed the skin and eliminate waste from cell metabolism.
• Alcohol causes blood vessels to over-dilate and weakens capillary walls.
• Skin affected by alcohol may be dehydrated, sensitive, red and blotchy.
• Alcohol draws water out of tissue leaving skin dull and dehydrated.
Stress
• Innumerable clinical studies support the fact that stress affects your health and appearance negatively.
• When under stress, nerves produce a protein that triggers the immune system’s white blood cells to clog the walls of the blood vessels. This causes redness and inflammation on the skin’s surface.
• Stress may be a factor contributing to such conditions as psoriasis, hives, eczema, rosacea and acne.
Medication
• A person who takes a lot of medication also generally has very old looking skin.
• Never, ever allow your skin to get dry and stay dry. This applies to skin on the entire body, all skin requires moisture to stay wrinkle-free.
• Sesame oil processed for the skin is the best and most affordable to apply. Maharishii Ayurveda, a product line available world-wide, has the very best sesame oil for the body.
• I highly recommend sesame oil as a daily treatment before bathing. Try it and just watch those wrinkles and dry patches disappear on your arms and legs.

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Face Care in Ayurveda

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Skin is the seat of a sense organ. The senses of touch, pain, temperature, pressure are felt by it. It is a Matruj Avyava i.e. derived from mother or having maternal origin.It gives external covering to the whole body.
The seven layers of skin get their nutrition from Mansa Dhatu {muscle tissue}. It is known as an UpDhatu (secondary tissue product) of the Raktadhatu (blood) because it only mimics the Dhatu’s in beholding the body. It does not do Poshan Karma i.e. do not give nutrition to the other Dhatus.
As skin is an Upadhatu of the Raktadhatu , it is a mirror that reflects the qualities of the Raktadhatu (blood) and the Rasadhatu (body’s plasma tissue).Hence it is a common saying that ‘glowing skin is the result of good quality Rasa and Rakta’.
No amount of bleaching and facial massage or application of make-up through dexterity of a skilled beautician can hide the shallow look if the skin is unhealthy. Conversely, a healthy skin will always look attractive even when devoid of make-up.

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Characteristics of a person with ideal skin(Twak Sar / Ras Sar)
• People with ideal skin have soft, oily, thin, smooth and lustrous skin.
• They have soft, thin, scanty, oily, black and deep-rooted hair.
• Eye – brows and eyelashes are black and smooth.
• They have good eye – sight.
• In their eyes, pupils, cornea and sclera are very well differentiated.
• Mouth, Lips, Palate and Tongue are unctuous and oily.
• These persons do not suffer from skin diseases and their wounds heal quickly.
• They are intelligent and learned and have the necessary means and wealth to beget worldly pleasures.
• They like music.
• They love their family, nation, estate, and property.
• They enjoy a long, healthy and happy life.
Know Your Ayurvedic Skin Type
The first step in the holistic Ayurvedic approach to skin care is finding out your ayurvedic skin type.
Vata skin is in generaly dry, thin,delicate and cool to the touch, easily gets dehydrated, and is very vulnerable to the influence of dry windy weather. Vata skin may age faster, and tends to be dry, rough and flaky when out of balance.
Pitta skin type tends to be fair, sensitive, soft, warm, and of medium thickness. less tolerance to hot food, less tolerance to fieriness in temperament. Pitta skin types tend to be more prone to freckles and moles than the other skin types. When out of balance, Pitta skin can flare up in rashes, rosacea, acne, or sunspots.
Kapha skin tends to have all the qualities of water and earth — it can be oily, thick, pale, soft, cool and more tolerant of the sun. Kapha skin tends to age slower and form less wrinkles than the other two types. Kapha skin types may struggle with dull complexion, enlarged pores, excessive oil, blackheads, pimples, moist types of eczema and water retention.
“Combination” skin can be Vata-Pitta, skin that is both dry and sensitive, Kapha-Pitta-skin is oily and sensitive , and Vata-Kapha- skin that is generally dry with some oily zones.
The ayurvedic approach to caring for combination skin takes into account environmental and seasonal factors. For example, a person with Vata-Pitta skin would follow the recommendations for Pitta skin in summer and Vata skin in winter. The Kapha-Pitta type would follow Pitta recommendations in summer and Kapha recommendations in winter. The Vata-Kapha type would be best served by generally following Vata guidelines, with extra cleansing of the oily zones.
Vata Skin Care
For Vata skin to stay youthful, skin care products used should be very nurturing. They must include some essential oils or herbs in combination, which can nourish the skin and rehydrate it, otherwise it may be susceptible to wrinkles and premature aging.
Going to bed on time, eating regular meals, and following a regular daily routine are essential components of a holistic approach to Vata skin care, as are eating foods that help balance Vata and nourish the Vata skin.
Suggestions for caring for Vata skin:
Vata skin types, for instance, will want to eat more warm, unctuous foods and favor the sweet, sour and salty tastes to balance the dry, rough, moving Vata dosha. Provide added nourishment to your skin by including organic milk, whole grains and green leafy vegetables in your diet. Drink lots of lukewarm water everyday for internal hydration. Eat plenty of sweet juicy fruits, they help cleanse the body from within and provide hydration as well. Include a little healthy fat such as Ghee (clarified butter) or olive oil in your diet for added lubrication. A warm oil self-massage is excellent for keeping skin lubricated. Use a gentle, all-natural moisturizer to keep facial skin hydrated. Provide added deep lipid support with facial oil. Get plenty of rest so your mind as well as your body have the opportunity to recharge. Use a gentle, moisture-balancing cleanser and splash your face with water several times when you cleanse.
Pitta Skin Care
The Pitta skin type needs both cooling and nurturing. Use skin care products that help enhance resistance to the sun. Avoid tanning treatments and therapies that expose your delicate, sensitive skin to steam for extended periods of time.
The ayurvedic herb Flame of Forest can help protect Pitta skin from photosensitivity. But like other ayurvedic herbs, it needs to be used in combination with other herbs for a balanced effect on the skin.
Suggestions for caring for Pitta skin:
If you have a Pitta skin type you will thrive on sweet, bitter and astringent tastes, as found in sweet, juicy fruits, rose petal preserve, and cooked greens. Avoid hot, spicy foods. Stay away from harsh, synthetic cosmetics; they can damage your sensitive skin and cause breakouts. Avoid hot spicy foods and an excess of deep-fried foods, they add heat to an already fiery constitution. Eat lots of sweet juicy fruits and have some rose petal jam in cool milk every day. The rose is considered cooling for mind, body and emotions. Use cooling oil, such as coconut oil, for the daily massage. Cook with cooling spices such as fennel and licorice. Take extra care to protect your skin when you go out in the sun. Use gentle, natural skin care products for cleansing and moisturizing. Provide added lipid support, such as facial skin oil, every other day.
Kapha Skin Care
“Kapha skin, because of its thickness and oiliness, is more prone to accumulate ama — toxins under the skin. People with Kapha skin need to do detoxification on a regular basis, both internal detoxification and external detoxification to flush toxins from the skin,” says Mishra.
Scrubbing the skin with a gentle exfoliating clay can help external cleansing. Kapha skin types may also need to take herbal formulations to cleanse the skin from within.
Suggestions for caring for Kapha skin:
The oiliness of Kapha type skin calls for a diet that is warmer, lighter, less oily, and free of heavy, hard to digest foods. Eating more bitter, astringent and pungent tastes help stimulate digestion and balance Kapha skin.Avoid too many sweet foods or deep-fried foods, they add to the oiliness in the skin. Exercise everyday to improve circulation. A daily warm oil massage can also help circulation. Eat plenty of organic vegetables and fruits to help cleanse the body from within. Cleanse your skin twice everyday; exfoliate with a mud-mask at least once a week. Cook with warming spices such as ginger and black pepper to stoke the digestive fire and inhibit the accumulation of ama inside the body.
Nourishment for skin:
Besides following the diet for your skin type, following foods are terrific skin-enhancers: leafy green vegetables; easily digested proteins such as paneer, milk, tofu, sunflower seeds; foods high in zinc such as quinoa; and beta-carotene-rich foods such as carrots and sweet cherries. Almonds and walnuts support the skin with their protein and lubricating fat content. Some skin-friendly spices include turmeric to nourish the first four layers of the skin; cumin to rid the body of ama; black pepper to cleanse the channels, and fennel to balance the transformational ability of the skin. All antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, such as pomegranate, apple, pear, and bitter, green leafy vegetables are also excellent for the skin. Eat only fresh, whole and organic foods. Stay away from packaged, canned, frozen, processed, and packaged foods.
Effect of stress on skin:
There are three types of stress, and all three impact the skin in different ways.
Mental stress starts a chain reaction that ends in a drying out the moisture in the skin. Thinning, dryness and the shrinking of the ‘shrotasa’ (microchannels) that carry nutritive fluid to the skin result in wrinkles and stress lines.
Emotional stress also affects the skin-just notice how anger or embarrassment can turn your face red. This shows the connection between emotions and the skin. If emotional stress becomes chronic, the result is acne, sun sensitivity, and other Pitta-based problems.
Physical stress: Exercising too much, working too much, or straining the body over a period of time causes physical stress. This causes the drying out of skin moisture and rough, aged skin.
To counteract mental stress, maintain a Vata-pacifying diet and daily routine. To bring emotional stress into balance, follow a Pitta-pacifying diet and routine. For physical stress, try to limit exercise or work to fifty percent of your physical stamina.
Treatment for skin disease:
The holistic management of health problems in ayurved comprises the three fold scientific approach towards diseases through diet, lifestyle and medicine
Ayurveda has stated that skin diseases occur primarily due to sluggish liver function, which leads Pitta and Kapha Dosha dysfunction when toxins build up and the liver is overwhelmed, then the impurities show up in break-outs and other skin problems.
Another vital factor that contributes to healthy appearance is the clean bowel: hence the need for regular and complete bowel evacuation. In order to achieve this, a mild laxative like Trifala and a light diet are advisable if one suffers from constipation.
Also, be sure to drink lots of water throughout the day to help flush out the impurities. In spring you can sip hot water to help melt the ama (digestive impurities) that have accumulated.
Scientifically treatments have been classified as shodhana & shamana.
Sodhan Chikitsa:
When doshas are vitated in large guantity & disease is chronic then shodhan chikitsa should apply first.
Acharyas have classified shodhana as Basti, Vaman, Virechana, Raktamokshana (Blood letting) & nasya.
Shaman Chikitsa:
When doshas are minimally imbalanced & the body is weak. Shaman Treatment is more important.
Shaman treatment can be classified as external & internal.
Administration of proper food, medicines by mouth is internal treatment & the application of medicated oil, lepo (ointment), etc is external treatment.
Ayurveda has said that for all skin diseases ‘Khadira’ is best as oral medicine and ‘Aragwad’ is best for local application.
Shirish, Lamajjak, Nagkesara and Lodhra are used for Hyperhydrosis and as an anti sweating agent.
Tejpatra, Ambu, Lodhra, Abhay {Khas} and Chandan are used as Daurghandya- har {to prevent body odour}
Charaka has mentioned a group of 10 drugs, which are promoters of complexion. They are known as the ‘Varnya Dravya’: Chandan (Sandalwood),Lal Nagkesar (Fragrant Poon), Padmaka(Himalayan Cherry),Ushir (Cuscus Grass) ,Madhuka(Liquorice) ,Manjishtha(Madder) ,Payasa(White Yam) ,Shita (White Scutch Grass), Lata (Black Scutch Grass) .

Dinacharya – Daily Routine

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

DINCHARYA

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in Sanskrit the daily routine is called the Dinacharya. Ayurveda recommends that in order to be optimally healthy we should tune our bodies to the nature’s master cycle which in turn regulates the various other rhythms.
Everyday two cycles of change pass through us, each bringing a Vata, Pitta, or Kapha predominance.
The approximate times of these cycles are as follows:

First cycle:
6 A.M. to 10 A.M. – Kapha
10 A.M. to 2 P.M. – Pitta
2 P.M. to 6 P.M. – Vata

Second cycle:
6 P.M. to 10 P.M. – Kapha
10 P.M. to 2 A.M. – Pitta
2 A.M to 6 A.M. – Vata
Considering the above cycles the ideal schedule should be like this :
MORNING
Time to wake up: A healthy person should get up two hours before sunrise. During this hours the Vata element is dominant. Waking up two hours before dawn you utilize the Vata qualities in the nature. Vata is light, subtle and clear and this helps in tuning the body to the delicate messages the nature sends. This is the time when there is the most sattva in the air. It is the most fresh and pure time of the day. Some exceptions to this rule of rising are the very young, the old, parents with small children, and people with fevers or diarrhea.
Elimination: Drinking a glass or two of warm water helps in the elimination.
As soon as possible empty your colon and bladder. If you wait until later in the morning or during the day you are slowly poisoning yourself and creating an opportunity for chronic conditions to arise.
Cleaning of Senses: Wash the eyes with water. Preferably use rose water and Triphala to purify the sight.
Brush the teeth and scrape the tongue with a tongue cleaner to purify your mouth and sense of taste. Ayurveda considers the coating of the tongue as an indicator of ‘Ama’ or toxins in the colon.
Gargle with warm water or herbal tea to purify your voice and strengthen your teeth.
Finally do Jal neti and put a little oil in your nose to purify the sinuses and your sense of smell. The traditional Dinacharya also recommends that you inhale the smoke of medicinal herbs every morning to purify the mind, head, face, neck and lungs.

Massage: Abhyanga is the name for oil massage with sesame oil. This is typically a self massage. It is one of the main ways that Ayurveda keeps us strong and prevents us from aging.This massage need not be long and cumbersome. Massaging the Scalp, forehead, temples , hand and feet for about 5 minutes is sufficient
Exercise: Vyayama is the name for physical exercise. This is usually some Yoga postures and breathing exercises(Pranayam) but it can be anything including a walk, a swim, sun salutes or whatever. This early morning exercise removes stagnation in the body mind, strengthens the digestive fire, reduces fat and gives you an overall feeling of lightness and Joy as it fills your body with good Prana. It is not to be strenuous. In fact, exercising at one fourth to one half of your capacity is recommended.
Bathe: After exercise bath to remove any excess oil and dirt. Both showers and bathtubs are recommended in the classics. Usually warm water baths are suggested. Put on clean clothing after the bath
Meditation: For a few minutes to an hour sit down and see who you really are, put your attention towards Awareness. This is the most important aspect of Dinacharya. Simply be quiet, sit in Peace
Breakfast: This should be warm, nourishing and wholesome
Study / Work : Do what you do from now until noon.
NOON

Lunch: It should be taken early between 12 and 1 P.M. this coincides with the peak Pitta period, Pitta is responsible for the digestion. Ayurveda recommends that the lunch should be the largest meal of the day. After the meal it is good to take a little walk, a couple hundred steps only, to help the food digest.
Sciesta: Anything more than a short nap should be avoided because sleeping in the day is prohibited in Ayurveda.
Study / Work : Do what you do from now until supper.
SUNDOWN:
Sundown is a special time of balance between day and night. In this balance it is easier for your mind to stop long enough so that you can see your Self. This is the time for evening prayers and meditations in many cultures around the world.

DINNER :
It should be taken around 7 P.M. It should be lighter than the lunch. The dinner should be at least three hours before bedtime as gives the body ample time to digest the food. Sleeping just after the dinner with a heavy stomach is not conducive to a sound sleep.
Walk to aid digestion for about 10 – 15 minutes.
Ease: From dinner to bedtime just take it easy. Spend time with family, read, and relax.
BEDTIME:
Go to sleep around 10 P.M. so that you can get 6 to 7 hours of sleep before 4:30 am. A good practice is to massage the soles of your feet with a calming oil before going to bed. This will calm your system and promote well being.
And remember to take your Triphala before sleep.
One should try to keep the routine as close to the recommended Dincharya as possible. The body might resist the change for a first few days but if you do manage to persist then you are bound to get rewarded with a much healthier and satisfying life.

Ayurvedic Skin Type

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Vata Skin
Description: Vata skin is dry, soft, thin, fine pored, delicate and cool to the touch but easily gets dehydrated.
Balanced Vata: In balance your complexion is delicate like porcelain, with a doll-like complexion.
Imbalanced Vata: Vata skin can suffer with excessive dryness, rough and flaky skin.

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Potential problems: Because Vata Skin is thinner & gets quite dry – it has a tendency to premature ageing & tends to develop wrinkles earlier than other skin types.
Bad digestion can make Vata skin appear dull and is more susceptible to disorders such as dry eczema and fungal infections. Emotional stress – worry, fear and lack of sleep, has a debilitating effect on Vata skin and can make it look tired and lack-lustre.

Inside Beauty: To help enhance your Vata Skin, you need to nourish your skin from the inside. Include healthy fats for ‘internal moisturising’, such as an omega rich seed oil like Hemp. Make sure to include plenty of nourishing whole grains, nuts and green leafy vegetables in your diet. Drink lots of lukewarm water throughout the day for internal hydration & eat plenty of sweet juicy fruits, as they help cleanse the body and also provide extra hydration as well. Vatas benefit from quiet walks & also deep breathing exercises to help ground them.

Vata Skincare tips: Just as fine china easily cracks, vata skin needs special care and attention to prevent premature wrinkles. In the morning, wash your face in lukewarm water, or even better some warm chamomile tea, for its soothing properties.
Moisturise frequently and avoid any harsh or drying products on your face.
Sesame oil is the most highly recommended oil for Vata in Ayurveda because of its heavy texture and nourishing properties. It also subtly stimulates blood flow, and is an excellent face oil and body moisturizer. Other good Vata oils include: avocado, safflower and pomegranate. These oils are all very rich, so if you are worried about looking greasy or getting oil on your clothes, you can opt to oil your skin before showering. Simply slather your skin and body first thing in the morning and let it absorb while you eat breakfast and get ready. Then, rinse off in the shower without soaping up and towel off. Vata skin will be left soft, supple, lightly oiled skin.

Pitta Skin

Description: Pitta skin is fair, sensitive, soft, warm,with a rosy or golden glow. Pitta skin tends to be more prone to freckles and moles than the other skin types.
Balanced Pitta: In balance, Pitta complexions are clear and subtly radiant, the classic “peaches and cream” complexion.
Imbalanced Pitta: Pitta skin is quick to become irritated in hot, sunny weather and easily reacts to stress, hormones, poor diet, and chemicals in skincare products.

Potential problems: Pitta is the fiery one! Pitta skin tends to have more breakouts, pigment disorders, rashes, rosacea, acne, photo sensitivity. Your skin will be less tolerant to hot food & can flare up when its feeling out of balance, aggravated by emotional stress, especially suppressed anger, frustration, or resentment. Of all the three skin types, Pitta skin has the least tolerance for the sun, is photosensitive, and most likely to accumulate sun damage over the years.

Inside Beauty: To keep fiery pitta skin beautiful, you must look after your liver. If you keep your liver as cool as a cucumber, then your skin will remain calm & cool. This means keeping away from liver burdening substances such as alcohol, soda, junk food, and unhealthy fats &
avoiding fermented and acidic foods. Your skin will flourish with cooling fruits and vegetables – coconut, zucchini, cucumber, melon, mint tea … add plenty of cooling and detoxifying spices like coriander and turmeric to your daily diet.
Listen to soothing music & don’t go out in full sun when its too hot, pittas should try to keep in the shade! Coconut oil is best for Pitta skin because it is an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. This oil also makes an excellent scalp treatment as it is very light and rinses out easily. Coconut oil is ideal for this because high Pitta can also lead to hair loss when excess heat dissipates from the body through the head, drying out and weakening our hair follicles.
Ghee is another great natural moisturizer for Pitta, according to Ayurveda. It too is good for inflammation and is commonly used in traditional oil treatments called “bastis”. Other Pitta-friendly oils include olive, argan and jojoba. These are all medium weight oils that do not stimulate sensitive skin types.

Kapha Skin

Description: Kapha skin is one of the most resilient, it is thicker, so less chances of drying out & copes well in the sun. Kapha skins are rich in collagen and connective tissue, so less prone to wrinkles!
Balanced Kapha: Soft, smooth skin with a dewy, moon-radiant complexion!
Imbalanced Kapha: If out of balance, Kapha skin will have enlarged pores, excessively oily skin, moist eczema, blackheads, acne and water retention.

Potential problems: As Kapha skin can become oily, cystic acne may be a problem when younger, and older Kaphas may be prone to weight gain, which can leave skin puffy & loose. Keeping your oilier skin healthy requires cleansing and exfoliation but harsh skincare products will strip your skin of oils & actually encourage your skin to produce more oil.

Inside Beauty: When feeding your skin from the inside, steer clear of fried foods, rich desserts, and other heavy, sweet, or fatty foods. Include kapha-balancing spices in your daily diet: turmeric for detox & fenugreek, which improves both sugar and fat metabolism. Drink ginger tea to fire up your metabolism. Working up a good sweat a few times a week also helps control weight and will keep your skin and pores deeply cleansed and toned from the inside out.

Deep tissue massage, dry brushing & herbal steam baths also help detoxify sluggish skin. Mustard seed oil is one of the best oils for Kapha during body massage. It is so invigorating that you can feel a slight heating sensation and tingling as it helps to mobilize fat cells and shake up water-retention. Though, this oil is too stimulating to use on the face, so more gentle oils must be applied to this delicate area instead.
Hazelnut oil is a good option for treating Kapha facial skin. It helps to regulate sebum production, as this dosha tends to over-secrete its own natural oil. Black cumin oil is another good choice; this oil has a light texture as well as disinfecting properties, which counteract Kapha’s accumulating nature.

Ayurvedic approach to Beauty

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

AYURVEDIC APPROACH TO BEAUTY

In a time when beauty is often equated, in many cultures, with a “fair” complexion or a fashionably thin figure or the shape of the nose, it is interesting to look back to a time when beauty was defined in holistic terms, and beauty was within every woman’s reach. Ayurveda, the 5,000-year-old healing system from India, has a unique perspective on beauty.
Holistic, all-encompassing, the Ayurvedic definition of beauty reads thus — “Roopam, gunam, vayastyag, iti shubhanga karanam.” According to Ayurveda, there are three pillars of beauty. Roopam is outer beauty — personified by shining healthy hair and a clear radiant complexion. Gunam refers to inner beauty — the beauty that shines from within, characterized by a warm pleasing personality and innocence of mind and heart. And vayastyag means lasting beauty – looking, and feeling younger than your chronological age. Thus, Ayurveda does not focus only on cosmetics to achieve the state of true beauty.
Roopam does not specify a type of figure or the color of the skin or the length or style of the hair. Outer beauty, according to Ayurveda, is a reflection of good health – good digestion and healthy eating habits and lifestyle. The frame of the body is dependent on the type of structural components you were born with. Whether thin, medium or big, each type of body structure can be beautiful as long as good health exists.
You are what you eat. Ayurveda takes this notion very seriously. In fact it goes a step further to say “You are what you digest. A radiant clear complexion begins with proper nutrition, efficient digestion and assimilation of nutrients by the body and regular elimination. It’s all about diet. There are simple Ayurvedic principles you can follow, even if you are a newcomer to the system.

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• Eat your largest meal at mid-day: your digestive fire is strongest at that time
• Eat to three-fourths of your capacity
• Focus on your food, don’t divide your attention with TV or work
• Don’t drink ice-cold beverages: they dampen your digestive fire
• Try and include several different tastes at each meal – sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent and astringent
• Don’t skip meals!
• Include lots of sweet juicy fruits and green leafy vegetables in your diet
• Sip warm water through the day to help flush toxins from the body
These suggestions sound simple. But how many of us really follow them? In our time-constrained, deadline-oriented society, good eating habits are hard to maintain. But good diet and digestion are crucial for long-term beauty, because beauty begins with good health. Ayurveda also emphasizes herbal supplements as aids to beauty. A supplement to help keep the skin clear through the purification of the blood or one to internally balance the moisture and elasticity of the skin or one to pep up the functioning of the liver — an Ayurvedic dermatologist might recommend herbal combinations for any of these, or related purposes.
Sleep is second only to diet according to Ayurveda to achieve and maintain true beauty. The body needs rest in order to rejuvenate itself. Modern research is finding out that sleep deprivation has very adverse impact on health and well-being, but Ayurvedic practitioners knew it centuries ago. Quality of sleep is as important as quantity. Here are
• Go to bed before 10 p.m. — staying up much beyond that can impact the quality of rest you get
• Start your day with a full-body massage with an herbal
• Don’t take your work into your bedroom
• Focus on calming activities as bedtime draws near
• Take a relaxing warm bath a couple of hours before bed
• Slip a sachet of dried lavender under your pillow
• Eat a light meal at dinner, at least 2-3 hours before bedtime
If you go to bed right after watching a horror movie on TV, or have an argument with someone at bedtime, you’re not likely to have a restful night. Cutting down on stimulants such as caffeine is also helpful. Once you start following some of these tips, you’ll notice a marked differenc e in the quality of your sleep. This will help you feel rested, alert and yes, beautifully fresh each morning.
While diet and sleep are the cornerstones, other factors are important too. Stress management is critical. Again, a daily massage can help. Practice meditation, listen to uplifting music – anything you can do to balance the mind and emotions will be reflected in your appearance. Gunam — inner beauty — reflects the beauty of the mind and the soul. Serenity, a positive attitude, and purity of thought, word and action — all of these contribute to making you beautiful.
According the Charak Samhita, the principal Ayurvedic text, recommends that you seek the company of the young at heart. Don’t always focus on your biological age. Always talking or thinking about your age or those lines you’re seeing on your face will make you feel old. Laughter, seeking new experiences, and the company of good friends can keep you looking, and feeling, beautiful, no matter what your biological age. With the dawn of a new millennium, let us go beyond the color of the skin or the height of the cheekbones to find beauty in every woman.