Ayurveda: A Fresh Start to the Year

Ayurveda: A Fresh Start to the Year

TRY A 3 DAY DETOX

As we move into another New Year, it can be inspiring to take control of your health. Toxins may build up in both body and mind as a result of wrong food combinations, over-indulgence in heavy foods and poor lifestyle habits, especially over the Christmas and New Year break. Toxins can also accumulate from the air we breath, the water we drink, and emotional toxins can build up from thought patterns, stress or painful experiences we haven’t fully digested.

Ayurveda recommends detoxing on a regular basis to eliminate toxins and return to our natural state of health and wellbeing. A 3 day detox is easy to manage at home, and has great benefits, awakening your body’s capacity for self-renewal and self-regulation. Ideally, set aside 3 days when you won’t be working so that you have time to rest and rejuvenate. For example, you can commit to beginning your detox on Saturday morning and completing it Monday evening.

During your detox, eat a simplified diet to allow your body to release any accumulated toxins. Eat fresh, seasonal vegetables, which are low in calories, easy to digest and assist a detox.

Foods that Support Detoxification are easy to digest foods: Lentil soup, Kitchari (see recipe next blog), Light vegetable soups, Steamed or sautéed broccoli, carrots, zucchini, asparagus, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and beets, lightly steamed greens such as spinach, chard, and beet greens, Basmati rice, quinoa, millet, and barley, Spices such as ginger, cumin, coriander, and fennel, Flaxseeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds, Poached apples and pears; cooked apricots, prunes, and figs, Fresh berries; raspberries, blackberries, blueberries.

Foods to Reduce or Eliminate: Animal and dairy products (ghee in small amounts), Refined sugar and flour products, canned, leftover, processed and microwaved foods, fermented foods, including pickles and vinegar, cold and raw foods, fried foods, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate.

Digestion is strongest when the sun is brightest at midday, so eat your largest meal then and have a small, light dinner, such as vegetable soup. Include the six tastes (sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, astringent) in every meal so that you are eating balanced, satisfying meals. When you incorporate all six tastes, you get all the nutrients your body needs and decrease cravings for unhealthy food. Drink fresh, pure water and ginger tea. Give yourself daily self-massage, sweat out toxins, turn off electronics and nourish yourself with meditation and light yoga, and have a have a daily routine:


Morning:

  • Meditate
  • Gentle stretching or yoga
  • Self-massage
  • Warm breakfast; ginger tea with cooked cereal or grains with almond milk


Afternoon:

  • Main meal at lunch
  • Have a 10-15-minute walk after lunch to aid digestion
  • Do exercise that helps you to sweat or have a sauna
  • Meditate


Evening:

  • Light dinner
  • Short walk
  • Read something inspirational
  • Warm bath
  • Write or draw in journal
  • Bed by 10 p.m.

 

RECIPE FOR KITCHARI

The consistency of this rice and legume dish should be soft, like porridge. Kitcharis are Ayurveda’s cleansing therapy and the core of Ayurvedic nutritional healing because of their ease of digestion and assimilation, and their ability to rid the body of undigested waste (ama). They are suitable for all doshas and can be varied according to the effect required, which depends on the spices and vegetables used.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked split mung beans
  • ½ cup uncooked white basmati rice (rinse with water until water runs clear)
  • 1 tablespoon of ghee (can use sesame oil or coconut oil)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root or 1 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon each of black mustard seeds, cumin, and turmeric powder
  • Optional: ½ teaspoon each coriander powder, fennel and fenugreek seeds
  • Optional: 1 pinch hing (asafoetida)
  • 6 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt (Himalayan pink salt is best)
  • Optional: 1 small handful fresh chopped coriander leaves


Method:

Rinse the mung beans until the water runs clear, then bring mung beans to boil in 4 cups of water and turn off. Let them sit for 1 to 2 hours in the boiled water, then drain and rinse.

Heat a large pot on low heat and add ghee or sesame oil, followed by all the spices (except bay leaves) and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly. This roasting enhances the flavor but make sure they don’t burn. Add mung beans and rice and stir again.

Add water and bay leaves, increase the heat and bring to boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn heat to low, cover and cook until mung beans and rice become soft (about 30 to 40 minutes).

Add cilantro leaves as a garnish just before serving, if desired. Add salt to taste.

 

RECIPE FOR GINGER TEA

Ginger tea helps to purify the body and boosts the digestive system.

Ingredients:

  • Unpeeled ginger root
  • Hot water
  • Raw organic honey (optional)
  • Chopped mint (optional)
  • Lemon slices (optional)


Method:

To make one cup of tea, put 1 heaped teaspoon of chopped unpeeled ginger root into 1 cup of hot water. Let the tea steep for 2 minutes. Strain or allow ginger settle to the bottom. Drink.

Alternatively place chopped ginger in a saucepan with required amount of water, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Strain and place in a thermos for drinking throughout the day. You can sweeten the tea with a little organic honey or chopped mint or lemon slices (optional).

Ayurvedic Christmas Eating Guide

Ayurvedic Christmas Eating Guide

AYURVEDA: Ayurvedic Advice for eating out over Christmas

It is fun and enjoyable to eat out with friends over Christmas but restaurant food is often designed to entice and stimulate the taste buds rather than support long term health goals. At restaurants, food usually has to appeal to a broad range of individuals and may not support your unique constitution. Sometimes as a result we may experience gas, bloating, heartburn, sometimes constipation, sleep disruption and a little weight gain or puffiness from the excess use of salt.

However we can still make some right choices when eating out and maintain our Ayurvedic eating principles. If you can, have your meal at lunch time, or in the early evening, followed by an evening walk to help you digest the food. Your body is better able to digest food earlier in the day, process toxins and burn off any excess calories.

Choose a healthy restaurant, if you can, that is known for freshly prepared, seasonal, local food. Eat lightly and simply in the meals both before and after your restaurant meal and don’t let yourself get too hungry before you eat out. At the restaurant, eat a responsible portion of food and order vegetable side dishes or incorporate a salad. The roughage of the salad helps elimination, the bitter taste increases bile production and flushes the gall bladder, helping you digest heavy fats, and the sour taste of vinegar in the salad dressing helps in fat metabolism by stimulating bile production. Chew your food well, as saliva has digestive enzymes. Order hot water with lemon as it cultivates digestive fire and the sour taste of lemon improves digestion. Don’t drink ice water, cold or carbonated drinks as they extinguish digestive fire, disrupting the digestive process. Favour simpler foods with fewer ingredients that are easier to digest, and avoid the complimentary bread and butter. Minimize cream sauces, excessive cheese, carbs, fried food and too much salt especially if you are trying to lose weight. Black pepper and ginger will help digestion, as will the parsley garnish.

It’s also important to focus on being thankful for the food provided and enjoy the quality time spent with your loved ones and friends, have fun, laugh a lot and don’t worry excessively about the food. Food is an important way to build relationships, and having friends and socializing is also excellent for your health and happiness. Enjoy the lead-up to Christmas.

The Power of Reiki

The Power of Reiki

THE POWER OF REIKI

Reiki is a natural and simple healing method that allows you to absorb more life force energy. The Reiki method vitalises your life force and balances the energies in your body. This natural healing energy flows in a powerful and concentrated form through the hands of the Reiki Therapist. In “laying on” of the hands directs the healing energy into the body of the receiver.

The Reiki Therapist is used as a channel to conduct the Universal Life Energy. As a result the therapist is simultaneously charged and strengthened, not at all being drained of the therapists personal energy.

Reiki energy is regarded, as life force energy at it’s most effective. With maximum vibration it is considered to have an almost divine quality and as such includes everything, in a world where problems and disorders are deemed to be due to the feeling of detachment from the world.

Reiki used regularly can promote a more joyful life and lively feelings in the receiver, energy enhancement, peace and calm and existing conflicts within a person are broken down, producing clarity and greater vitality. An improved renewal of the natural processes within the body and removal of toxins are also enhanced and rendered more effective. Energy blockages are removed allowing flow of life force energy throughout the body. As toxins and other waste products are removed from the body’s vital processes, body organs and functions become more highly tuned. When the body takes in more and more life energy, it is said that its frequency becomes higher, facilitating contact with the Universal Spirit and generating trust in the universal life force energy.

Reiki also gives you courage to change the things in your life that you would like to change. Reiki gives you more power and the energy to act and think more responsibly in your life. It will speed up your physical, mental and emotional healing and also increase your spiritual growth.

This ancient art developed in the nineteenth century in Japan is as ever useful now in our more complex and busy world as it was in the time of its conception.

There is no right or wrong way to use Reiki. Reiki can do no wrong, it is beyond this. The Reiki energy has no conditions, or right or wrongs with it. If you become confused with all the conflicting information about Reiki, remember one thing, it is our humanness that is confusing and conflicting, not the energy, the energy just is, it is pure, knows no competition, no comparison and love all equally.


Just for today,

Do no worry

Just for today,
No not anger

Just for today,
Earn your living honestly

Just for today,
Count your blessings

Just for today,
Be kind to all living things

The Magic of Mindfulness

The Magic of Mindfulness

WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?

Mindfulness is a practice that has been explored by the worlds meditative and wisdom traditions as well as various Western sciences, including medicine and psychology. It is a universal tool for cultivating self-understanding and healing and is not dependent on any particular belief system or ideology.

Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally”.

The Chinese character for Mindfulness means, “heart presence”.


HOW WILL IT HELP ME?

Benefits of practicing mindfulness include:

  • Mental clarity, focus, and improved concentration.
  • Increased self-awareness and emotional intelligence, assisting us to relate to others and one’s self with kindness, acceptance and compassion.
  • Greater confidence in our ability to know, understand and act on our own inner wisdom.
  • Improved physical health via relief of stress; lowering blood pressure, reducing chronic pain, improving sleep and alleviating gastrointestinal difficulties.

Mindfulness Coaching sessions at Aspects of Healing involve learning about the mind both theoretically through practical Yoga psychology, and experientially through a range of simple mindfulness practices. Mindfulness coaching allows you to find personal ways to practically bring the art of mindfulness into everyday life, moment to moment.

“Knowledge does not mean mastering a great quantity of different information, but understanding the nature of mind. This knowledge can penetrate each one of our thoughts and illuminate each one of our perceptions.”  Matthieu Ricard

The Daily Routine of Ayurveda

The Daily Routine of Ayurveda

DINACHARYA (SANSKRIT: दिनचर्या “DAILY-ROUTINE”) is a concept in Ayurveda that looks at the cycles of nature and bases daily activities around these cycles. In Sanskrit, the word ‘din’ means day or daily and ‘charya’ can mean activity, behaviour, conduct, practice, performance, custom or routine. Embodied in the word, dinacharya, ‘acharya’ refers to following the inherent wisdom of nature by being close to the natural cycles of the day.

In Ayurveda, the activities of dinacharya are synchronized with the natural daily cycle of the sun and performed on a regular basis, because it is believed that daily routine can bring about radical change in the body, mind and consciousness. Routine helps to establish balance in your individual constitution, it regulates your biological clock, helps with digestion, absorption, assimilation and elimination, and it generates self-esteem, discipline, a peaceful mind, happiness and longevity. As human beings we are naturally a part of nature, and need to be in tune with the rhythms of nature so that we become closer to our true selves.

The sequences of dinacharya are daily activities that are performed at optimal times of the day, dominated by the energies of Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas. The heavy and stabilizing qualities of Kapha affect us between 6-10 in the morning and evening, the dynamic and transforming attributes of Pitta affect us between 10–2 during mid-day and mid-night. The light and inspiring potential of Vata has affect on us between 2–6 in the evening and morning. In Ayurveda’s dinacharya we make small and gradual changes to establish a routine that is suited to our unique doshic nature, and because this is done everyday it has an accumulative and lasting effect.

There are routines around waking and sleeping, cleansing and eliminating, practices for body, mind and spirit, practices for eating, work, creative play and relaxing activities, which are created to suit your individual needs and dosha or constitutional type. These routines are easy to introduce into your daily life and can make a huge difference to your health and wellbeing.

Trusting the Body: Kalarippayat

Trusting the Body: Kalarippayat

TRUSTING THE BODY – KALARIPPAYAT 

Kalarippayat is an ancient Indian martial and healing art-form that evolved alongside Yoga and Ayurveda and shares elements of both.

The tradition aims to bring peace to worldly conflict – inner and outer. Both Kalari practice and treatments holistically develop an individual; beginning from physical health, mental balance and progressing to the unification of the mind, body and spirit.

Kalarippayat is still relatively unknown because the British banned the practice whilst occupying India. However, Kalari continued as it had for thousands of years as a closed oral tradition. It is now re-emerging around the world as people are re-discovering the benefits of this ancient science.

Kalari treatments follow the fundamental principles of Ayurveda, but are also influenced by Siddha medicine and other regional Indigenous knowledge systems of India. Like Chinese and Tibetan medicines, Ayurveda and Kalari view a human being as a microcosm of the natural world. Treatments work on curing the root cause and not the symptoms of an imbalance. Therapists assist the body to return to a state of balance so that it can ultimately heal itself.

What distinguishes the Kalari therapist’s medical expertise from that of other specialists is their psychophysiological training as a martial artist. Before a practitioner can begin their studies in the healing arts they must spend several years in intensive physical and meditational training. This gives the practitioner extraordinary control over their body and mind and thus control of the vital energy or wind (prana vayu). The efficacy of treatment is based on this ability to control and channel prana (energy) while giving treatments.

Being tantric in origin, Kalari places great trust in the wisdom of the body to heal itself when given the chance;

“Slowly you renew yourself, you are regenerating yourself. If you can have this generation of energy, that is the real meaning. That you can generate energy from your body, you begin to become radiant. You are conscious of the flow of blood, the flow of breath, the taste of water and the feel of air after movement. Your whole body is vibrant. The body can be reclaimed as a source of energy and strength.” Chandralekha

Prana Chikitsa – Energy Treatment 
Kalari Uzichil – Kalari Physiotherapy