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Ayurveda 101

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

In Ayurveda, the age-old medicinal science of yoga, we are aligned to the elements of nature – earth, water, fire, air, and ether. These elements combine to create doshas, or constitutions. In other words, doshas are how we relate to and with the pulsing of daily life.

Vata dosha is air and ether combined – think wind, movement, mobile, airy, drying. Those with vata dosha are creative, quick thinkers who tend toward change (restless). Vatas are energetic and love to take a risk. Because of their visionary range, they often initiate projects. Vata governs circulation, breathing, the beating of your heart, in fact, all movement of the body. Physically, a Vata tends to be on the thin side, and prone to dryness (think constipation and dry skin and nails).

Pitta is fire and water. Fire combusts nutrients, thoughts, emotions, thus is transformative. Pitta is responsible for digestion (the fire in the belly known as agni), hence metabolism. Pitta types are fiery, on point, intelligent and leaders. Pittas take the ball from Vata and create the heart of the project, detail by detail, using precision and focused action. The Pitta body is of medium but firm build and given to a warm temperature.

Kapha dosha, being water and earth, exudes strength, compassion, stamina. Think solid and dependable. Sweet and loving. A Kapha a the shining star in their community. Once Pitta has established the guidelines and boundaries of the work, Kapha keeps the momentum going. Steady to the end. A Kapha body and muscles are well developed, with thick skin, and prone to overweight.

What, how, and when you eat, along with how you cook your food, can be a balancing act according to your dosha. Or it can wreak havoc on your entire system – body, emotions, mental alertness, metabolism, immune system. Discover your dosha now. Then, browse through the attributes and recommendations for the dosha that is less balanced for you. Feeding your body according to the out-of-balance dosha will bring you back to center.


Spiced Milk – a warm way to greet the frost

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

Couple with hot drinks in winter

It finally arrived – frost! Just the other day, the stairs leaving the house when I went to teach yoga were crystaled and slippery.

Ayurveda tells us that we get a bit wind-blown in fall and as winter approaches, we get even more so – we feel colder, circulation slows, and digestion gets windy, well, that’s a nice way to say it. Sometimes we get bogged down with fluids and excess weight with the cold, damp heaviness of the winter chill.

Take the brrrrrrr out of winter with spiced milk. Tumeric, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom are warming spices and added to organic milk, can help with GI issues and insomnia as well as warm you from nose to toes. Enjoy this delicious, grounding beverage. (more…)

Apples are Falling

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

In Ayurveda, apples are abundant in the fall for a reason – they move the heat of summer out of your cells in time for winter; in so doing, your immunity is higher.  You have less chance of infectious stuff like the flu and common cold.  Yet, how they are prepared before eating can have different effects – according to this thousands year old medicine system of yoga.Autumn brings apples – lots of them.  Tree limbs are weighed down with a rainbow array of green Granny Smiths, red and golden delicious, deep red macoun, Jonathans, winesaps, pink lady, gala, and Arkansas black.  Abundant in the fall, they arrive just as the air is crispy and dry, and the smell of freshly baked apple pie announces the transition from summer to winter.

If you tend toward dryness – as in dry skin, dry eyes, constipation – eating a raw apple will add to the dryness.  So, cook it – core and bake apples with soothing ghee (clarified butter) and warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in the center.  Make applesauce (leave the skins on).  Cut an apple, microwave it for a couple of minutes, then top it with plain yogurt and maple syrup.

If you have a strong appetite, eat them raw.  Or with a caramel coating, like I find offered as treats in the apple orchards of New England (I can’t wait to get there).  For fun, place them in a large barrel filled with water and see who can bob for the most apples.

As they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.  The sages have known this for years.  Grab your jacket – let’s go apple picking!