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31 Aug


  Sandalwood is known in Sanskrit as chandana, which is also a word meaning “excellence.”  The Sandal tree is highly regarded in the Vedic texts, and the heartwood is considered to be sacred.  It is an evergreen tree that grows only in some areas of India, Indonesia and Australia.  In India, the Sandalwood tree is under the protection and ownership of the Indian government, even when grown on private land.  The oil from sandalwood is used in cosmetics, soaps, candles, medicines and perfumes.  The outer wood is used mostly for making beads, boxes, and small decorative items.  Sandalwood is wonderful at reducing Pitta, as it is cooling and calming for mind and body.  The oil or paste helps to heal skin problems like acne and rashes.  Sandalwood acts as a disinfectant, diuretic, expectorant and sedative.  It balances the circulatory, digestive, respiratory and nervous systems. 


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31 Aug

Dosha Strategies

When we get out of balance, it is usually because we have too much of our lead dosha in our system.  If we know what our dosha is, then we can prepare for these times, and use strategies to bring us back into a state of balance and bliss.

-Vata: When out of balance, Vata can have anxiety, and worry.  To avoid this, Vatas need to meditate regularly, get plenty of rest, and do the daily abhyanga.  If imbalance arises anyway, because of stress, or a change in routine, drink some warm, sweet tea.  Keep the hands, feet, and ears warm, and take deep, slow breaths to get grounded.

-Pitta: When out of balance, Pitta can angry.  Keep some rose essential oil nearby, as rose is most balancing for Pitta.  It is important for Pitta to maintain a regular meal schedule, so make sure there is a snack nearby if there is any danger of missing a meal. 

-Kapha: When out of balance, Kapha can get lethargic, depressed or lazy.  Kaphas need to wake up early, and exercise regularly.  They thrive on stimulation.  If Kapha is feeling out of sorts, get them up and moving.  Social activity is also good for invigorating Kapha.

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31 Aug

Ayurvedic Relationships

Living an Ayurvedic lifestyle is all about living life in balance.  It is a holistic approach to food, work, sleep and relationships.  The Ayurvedic lifestyle is actually very simple, and practical, and helps us to be our healthiest and happiest.

-Food: Eat foods that are fresh, whole and organic.  Favor foods for your dosha to optimize the digestion, assimilation, and elimination process.  Favor fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.  Foods cooked fresh each day, and with love, produce the most ojas, which are the biochemical equivalent to bliss.

-Work:  Do work that you love, and that also helps others; this is your dharma, or purpose in life.  Balance your work with play.  Keep your work life in perspective; it is a part of your life, it is not who you are.

-Sleep:  Most adults need at least 8 hours of sleep, and children need up to 12 hours of sleep a night.  Lack of sleep can cause anxiety, anger and depression, and can wreak havoc on our relationships.  Follow nature’s rhythms – get to bed by 10 pm and awake by 6 am.

-Relationships: Love and accept people for who they are, not who you think they should be.  Forgive unconditionally.  The mind always tries to set conditions, but follow the heart, which craves love, and unconditional forgiveness.  This is the healthiest thing you can do for any relationship.


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31 Aug

Ayurveda and Water 2

Water is essential in our lives, and in Ayurveda it is considered therapeutic.  Water helps with digestion, cools and balances Pitta, supports Kapha, and moisturizes Vata.  It represents soma, the nourishing and cooling quality that is associated with lunar energy.  When water is properly absorbed by the body, it can energize us, prevent constipation, enhance the skin, and help detoxify the body.  If someone has dry skin, and an unquenchable thirst even when drinking lots of water, then water is not being properly absorbed into the physiology.  To help this along, Ayurveda recommends boiling the water for various lengths of time, creating a therapeutic water called “ushnodaka.”  Boiled water is charged with heat and becomes sharper in quality, thus allowing it to penetrate deeper levels of the physiology.  Spices are also sometimes added to further aid in absorption and healing.  Ayurveda recommends sipping plain water during meals, served warm or at room temperature.  Never add ice to water, as that puts out the digestive fire.

Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way: Creating Happiness with Meditation, Yoga, and Ayurveda

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31 Aug

Ayurveda and Education

Ayurveda is the Science of Life.  It is comprehensive, and applies to all aspects of life, including education.  The Vedic education system that existed in ancient India has many examples that we can learn from and possibly even apply to our schools today.  The teacher’s home was also the school, and a small group of students studied there and stayed there, away from the hectic life of the city so they could concentrate on their work.  This residence was called a “gurukula” or the family of the teacher.  This approach is relationship based, where knowledge flowed freely.  There was not an emphasis on memorization or passing exams.  Vedic education was designed to be individual-oriented, allowing each student to learn in their own way, with their own strengths.  It takes into account each student’s needs, and interests.  The idea is that education should be personal, rather than mechanical.  What is most important is the development of character of the student.  It sees education as holistic, helping students to grow in body, mind and spirit, as individuals who will contribute to family, society and country.


Speed Mathematics Using the Vedic System

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31 Aug

Ayurveda, Stress and Skin

According to Ayurveda, stress can trigger, or aggravate skin disorders such as acne, hives, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, warts, cold sores and blisters.  This is because skin is an organ, connected to our physiology and also our mind.  Skin is affected by stress much as any other organ would be.  In stressful situations the fight-or-flight mechanism kicks in, sending the flow of blood and nutrients to areas of the body that are necessary to respond to the stress, and away from areas considered non-essential, such as the skin.  If this happens often enough, the skin is deprived of both blood and oxygen, making it dull, dry, and more prone to clogged pores.  Stress impacts our immune system, and also our digestion.  Poor digestion affects skin health because the nutrients of the foods are not properly absorbed, and the undigested impurities accumulate in the body faster than the body can get eliminate them.  What to do?  Ayurveda recommends a holistic system for stress management and skin health:

-Meditate to help keep the mind and emotions balanced.

-Eat a balanced diet of fresh foods recommended for your dosha.  Avoid caffeine.

-Make sure you get the sleep you need, both quantity and quality

-Exercise, but don’t overdo it.  Practice yoga, pranayama (breathing exercises) and walk to relax the mind and tone the body.


Absolute Beauty: Radiant Skin and Inner Harmony with the Ancient Secrets of Ayurveda

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31 Aug

The Four Immeasurables

The Four Immeasurables are a series of virtues and Buddhist meditation  practices designed to cultivate those virtues.  They are also called the four sublime attitudes, as they are good qualities to possess in god measure. They form a sequence of Buddhist virtues recommended in the Brahmavihara Sutta.

-Metta/Maitri: loving-kindness.  “The wish that all sentient beings, without any exception, be happy.”

-Karuna: compassion.  “The wish for all sentient beings to be free from suffering.”

-Mudita: sympathetic joy.  “The wholesome attitude of rejoicing in the happiness and virtues of all sentient beings.”

-Upekkha/Upeksha: equanimity, or learning to accept both loss and gain, praise and blame, success and failure with detachment, equally, for oneself and for others.  “To not distinguish between friend, enemy or stranger, but regard every sentient being as equal.  It is a clear-minded tranquil state of mind, not being overpowered by delusions, mental dullness, or agitation.”


The Four Immeasurables: Cultivating a Boundless Heart

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31 Aug

Nail Care

According to Ayurveda, our fingernails are a by-produce of our bones. And the condition of our nails is a reflection of the condition of the condition of our body tissues.  If we’re having problems with our nails, then we need to look at the balance and nourishment of the whole body.  Here are some examples of what we can find by looking at our nails:

-Horizontal indentations indicate a weakened digestion.

-Vertical ridges indicate that we are not metabolizing minerals or proteins well, and that we have a deficiency in Vitamin B12 and Iton.

-White spots indicate a calcium or zinc deficiency.

-Hang nails indicate a lack of protein, Vitamin C, and folic acid.

-Brittle nails indicate low iron or low Vitamin A, an imbalanced thyroid or kidney function and poor circulation.

-Yellowish nails indicate a liver imbalance.

-Bluish nails indicate a lunch and heart imbalance.

-Pale nails indicate anemia, and low liver and kidney energy.


In addition, we can look at the particular finger where a nail has a problem, and note that there may be an imbalance in the corresponding organ.

-Thumb: brain

-Index finger: lungs and colon

-Middle finger: small intestine

-Ring finger: kidney

Little finger: heart and female reproductive organs


Ayurvedic Beauty Care

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31 Aug


Nirvana is a Sanskrit word that has made its way into western vernacular.  We use “nirvana” to describe a heavenly state.  And the Sanskrit roots support this.  Nirvana means perfection, Peace, freedom.  It is considered a state of enlightenment because, when it is reached, all the traces of karma have been swept away and we are absolutely free.  In the yoga tradition, it is believed that this state of bliss is achieved when the mind has been controlled to the point of pure stillness.  The Mahabharata says: “Yoked by that joy, he delights in the practice of meditation.  Thus do the yogis go to nirvana, free from ill.”


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31 Aug

Ayurveda and Vegetarianism

Although a vegetarian diet is preferred in Ayurveda, it is not mandatory.  There are certain instances when eating meat, or drinking meat broth can be beneficial, especially in times of illness.  The tradition of vegetarianism comes from India’s religious background.  The Manu-smriti, a Vedic guide for human behavior says, “having considered the origin of flesh foods and the cruelty of fettering and slaying corporeal beings, let man entirely abstain from eating flesh.”  It goes on to say that eating meat “involves killing, and consequently leads to karmic bondage (bandha).”  The Mahabharata, another ancient Indian text, explains that a healthy vegetarian diet is sattvic, increasing purity of consciousness and longevity.  Other references in Vedic literature refer to fruits, vegetables, grain, nuts and dairy products as fit for human consumption.  And the Bhagavad Gita says that lovingly offering food to others also helps us to shed our karma. 

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