Ayurveda: Ancient and Universal

Written by Keith DeBoer on . Posted in Ayurveda

For those who want to explore healing alternatives outside of the medical profession, Ayurveda is a tempting path. The "science of life" is considered by many to be the sister practice to yoga, and the oldest science of natural health care, with written records more than 5,000 years old.

Several decades ago, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, of the Transcendental Meditation technique, began working with India's top Ayurvedic experts to purify and revive the tradition of Ayurveda according to the ancient Vedic texts. This expanded system, dubbed Maharishi Ayurveda, overlaps nicely with many Ayurvedic principles from other disciplines.

General Ayurveda is dedicated to an individual's health, but Maharishi Ayurveda considers societal health, the development of consciousness through Transcendental Meditation, Vedic astrology and Vedic architecture. These factors influence health and quality of life. Maharishi Ayurveda also adheres strictly to the Vedic texts. Slight changes have crept into Western Ayurveda, as it has been co-opted and diluted through the years.

An Ayurvedic fall detox

Written by Keith DeBoer on . Posted in Ayurveda

fall-seasonThe fall season is fast approaching. The night air is cooler and the grassy fields are turning brown. Interestingly, most systems of Ayurveda, including Maharishi Ayurveda, do not recognize fall as a legitimate season. Instead, they recognize only three - one for each dosha:

Vata season - November through February (late fall/winter)
Kapha season - March through June (spring)
Pitta season - July through October (summer/early fall)

According to Maharishi Ayurveda, the fall season is split between the pitta and vata doshas. The presence of pitta dosha can be seen in nature’s phenomenon of “indian summer” and the body’s own tendency to release the heat it has accumulated during the summer months. This occurs during the September/October time period.

In the hot months we naturally choose cooler, lighter foods and take it easy on hot afternoons. But when the weather cools we feel more energetic and eat warmer foods with different tastes. If we are truly in balance, we will naturally crave the foods and activities that correspond with the season change. However, if we have over-extended ourselves in the hot weather and not consumed a pitta balancing diet, we may miss nature’s cues. This seasonal change in diet and activity is called ritucharya.

Ayurveda: Breaking down kapha dosha

Written by Keith DeBoer on . Posted in Ayurveda

Don't let kapha dosha weigh you down.

The qualities of the last of the three ayurvedic doshas are heavy, oily, slow and cold. Kapha dosha governs the structure of the body and its lubrication and stability. Its presence creates a strong, solid physiology, thoughtful speech and an easy-going, compassionate personality. Strength, stamina, loyalty, graceful movements and good long-term memory are some additional signs of balanced kapha.

scaleHowever, when kapha becomes excessive or imbalanced, it may result in laziness, depression, congestion, asthma, oily hair and skin, mental dullness and weight gain, as well as greed, over attachment and lethargy.

Because kapha is the slowest dosha, it takes a long time for kapha to go out of balance. It also takes a long time to bring it back into balance once it has become disturbed.

Ayurvedic tips to stay balanced in summer

Written by Keith DeBoer on . Posted in Ayurveda

pittadoshaThe spring season awakens us from the slumber of winter and we naturally feel more energetic and drawn to outdoor activities. But then summer arrives, and we can overdo it with mid-day exercise, alcoholic beverages and spicy foods that leads to an imbalance in the doshas (biological constitutions) and potentially creates health issues for both mind and body.

In summer the weather is hot and humid. This means the physiological operating principle called pitta dosha, which governs heat and water in our bodies, may become aggravated and imbalanced. This can result in sleeping issues, a short temper, skin problems, heartburn and hair loss. To avoid these health issues Maharishi Ayurveda gives suggestions for diet, exercise and daily routine that allow us to enjoy the summer season while remaining calm, balanced, healthy and happy.

Ayurveda: Breaking down pitta dosha

Written by Keith DeBoer on . Posted in Ayurveda

Pitta dosha brings to mind the words hot, sharp, sour and wet.

This dosha controls all forms of metabolism and transformation including the processing of food and sensory experience. Its presence creates a sharp intellect, articulate speech, muscular body, powerful digestion and an ambitious personality.

Pitta is associated with heat and may become excessive during the hot, humid summer months. Signs of excess pitta include stomach acid, heartburn, waking up in the middle of the night, high blood pressure, acne, irritability and intense thoughts or emotions.