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Understanding the 5 Subdoshas of Kapha

ginko-leaves-picture-id946637812 Understanding the 5 Subdoshas of Kapha

According to Ayurvedic wisdom, our body and its functions are governed by a unique blend of the three doshas, or mind-body principles: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

“Kapha is that quality of our physiology which increases with close contact of water,” says Dinesh Gyawali, PhD, a classically trained Ayurveda Vaidya (Ayurvedic expert) and Assistant Professor at Maharishi University of Management. Generally speaking, Kapha has a binding quality in the body and governs structure, lubrication, and nutrition. It moderates things like weight, growth, lubrication of the lungs, and formation of the seven tissues: blood, fat, muscle, bone, marrow, nutritive fluids, and reproductive tissue. It also has a cooling influence, according to Gyawali. “Ayurveda compares Kapha with the Moon. It keeps our body nourished and cools it down just like the moon.”

Kapha is also associated with earth and water (Vata is associated with air and space, and Pitta is associated with fire and water).

Like the other two doshas, Kapha contains five distinct subdoshas that regulate specific bodily processes and regions. Understanding them will help you gain insights into the subtle nuances of Kapha dosha’s influence on your mind, body, and emotions.

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Benefits of Ayurveda and Yoga for Grandparents

older-woman-and-young-children-doing-yoga-picture-id1076818380 Benefits of Ayurveda and Yoga for Grandparents

Grandparents are like the root of a family. Being the senior most in the family, they are looked upon as mentors and role models for the younger generations. Grandchildren are the ones who usually get all their love, support and companionship. And during times of distress, parents often consult these senior members of the family for the right advice. So, it’s clear that the role of grandparents in a family is much more than we can comprehend.

However, to enjoy their companionship and to let them be the way they are, it is important to take proper care of their health. With old age come various health issues which if not taken care of properly can wreak havoc on their health. Routine visit to the doctor and all is fine but, it is more important to make them stick to some healthy regimen for their overall wellness (both physical and mental). This is where the holistic practice of yoga and Ayurveda comes in handy.

Yoga and Ayurveda are the age-old systems of preventative and curative medicine. A holistic approach to life and health, both the ancient practices have taken the health and fitness industry by storm.

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5 Reasons to Do an Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse

springsnow 5 Reasons to Do an Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse

As ice drips off the branches and tender buds start to peek through the remaining patches of snow, nature reminds us that spring is (finally) upon us. It’s Kapha season and that means it’s time to shed all the things that may have been weighing us down since winter. We recently talked with integrative neurologist and author of The Prime, Kulreet Chaudhary, MD, about why she recommends an Ayurvedic spring cleanse.

1. It’s the perfect time of year to shed toxins, according to your body’s internal clock.

We’re all familiar with spring cleaning, the annual ritual of tidying up our living space when winter subsides, but did you know that your body naturally wants to detox during this time of year, too? “One of the things that we are finding out more and more in science is how important it is to be in sync with natural cycles,” says Dr. Chaudhary. “As the snow is melting from winter going into spring, that’s an analogy to how toxins melt in our own system from winter to spring. We’re basically just aligning ourselves with the cycles of nature so that we get the most support in our detox.” Therefore, spring—the season of “regeneration, rejuvenation, and rebirth,” according to Dr. Chaudhary—is the ideal time to shed any impurities that may have built up in your physiology.

2. An Ayurvedic cleanse goes deep but can be done simply.

While most cleanses will remove superficial toxins, explains Dr. Chaudhary, Ayurvedic cleanses “release the kind of toxic buildup that has been there for years” by igniting agni, your body’s digestive fire. Without rekindling that fire, she says, you will just accumulate toxins once again.

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Aromatherapy for Perfect Balance in Every Season

essentialoil Aromatherapy for Perfect Balance in Every Season

Although single-aroma incense and floral waters are not uncommon in ayurveda, it is more typical to see blends or combinations of several different aromas. The benefits? Synergy and balance.

A synergistic blend of healing substances, according to ayurveda, delivers a holistic benefit that is greater than the sum of its parts. And careful balancing of ingredients is reported to counteract possible side effects from a single healing substance.

Ayurveda talks about restoring balance to mind, body and spirit in every season. The three ayurvedic operators — Vata, Pitta and Kapha — that control all the functions of the mind and body have seasons associated with them as well. Fall and winter are associated with Vata, spring with Kapha and summer with Pitta. There are traditional aroma blends that are particularly useful for restoring overall balance in each of these three seasons. Vata, Pitta and Kapha aroma blends are also useful for personal balance. If you need to pacify one of these doshas, these aroma blends are a convenient and very pleasant way to balance your environment.

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Nourish Your Whole Heart with These 7 Foods

almonds for the heart Nourish Your Whole Heart with These 7 Foods

An ancient Ayurvedic proverb states, “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use; when diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” Did you know that what you eat can go a long way toward promoting heart health? The Mayo Clinic recommends a heart-healthy diet that’s rich in fresh produce, fiber, and healthy fats (like olive oil and avocados). All of these things are considered beneficial from the perspective of Ayurveda as well, though Ayurvedic cooking tends to emphasize easy-to-digest (bioavailable), cooked veggies and meals over a raw approach to food. When considering heart health, Ayurveda also considers both facets of the heart: the physical heart and the emotional heart. Below, you’ll find a list of foods Ayurveda deems especially beneficial for your whole heart.

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Back to Basics: Recharge Your Routine for the New Year

ayurvedic Back to Basics: Recharge Your Routine for the New Year

The beginning of a new year is a great time to take stock of your daily habits and routines and see if they’re in line with your goals. Do you have any big-picture plans for the year? If so, are you supporting them with your daily habits and routines?

Whatever your intentions are for the new year, following an Ayurvedic routine can help you stay rested, energized, and balanced as you pursue your dreams and make them a reality. Ready for an Ayurvedic routine restart? Let’s get back to the basics.

Cup Of Warm Water

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Be Your Best This New Year: Tips for an Ayurvedic Lifestyle

spice Be Your Best This New Year: Tips for an Ayurvedic Lifestyle

Feeling irresolute about wanting to make those New Year's Resolutions? Consider this: During your lifetime, advances in medical sciences will add about two years to your life, but changes in your personal behavior — read lifestyle — can add 15+ years. Isn't it about time to make some changes?

Ayurvedic healing, as you know, places the highest value on good lifestyle. Ayurveda describes four types of life: hita-ayu, ahita-ayu, sukha-ayu and dukha-ayu. Hita-ayu is life that is led for doing good to yourself and others. Ahita-ayu refer to actions which are not for the good of yourself or another person. Sukha-ayu refers to those healthful and blissful actions that you do for the good of your physiology, while dukha-ayu is leading a life that harms the physiology. Choose to lead the hita-ayu and sukha-ayu life, and your days will be filled with bounty in every way.

The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians shows you how to lead the hita-sukha lifestyle this year.

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De-stress During Seasonal Chaos

coupleinsnow De-stress During Seasonal Chaos

With looming to-do lists, invite lists, gift lists, wish lists, and grocery lists, the most wonderful time of the year can quickly become seasonal chaos. It’s no wonder that many of us feel so stressed out during the holiday season!

The expectations of holiday shopping, hosting or visiting family, having so much to do and so many decisions to make, may cause Prana Vata, the subdosha of Vata that governs mental functioning, to go out of balance. Aggravated Prana Vata can cause excessive worry, occasional feelings of anxiety and trouble sleeping — thus making it difficult to remain calm and stay happy during one of the best times of the year. If we become more and more stressed, we enjoy the holidays less and less.

The holiday season does not have to be stressful. Ayurveda empowers us to balance our lives, in body, heart (emotional) and mind. We can utilize healing ayurvedic herbs to stay calm, balanced and de-stressed during the holidays. The experience of holiday chaos is inversely proportional to our state of balance; the more balanced we are, the less we feel that life is chaos. Nothing may change on the outside, but how we experience our world can change — for the better.

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Give Thanks for Your Digestion!

business-people-at-lunch-picture-id515884946 Give Thanks for Your Digestion!

The holiday season brings feasts, parties, merry-making and heavy foods. Big meals complete with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy leave us sleepy and ready for an afternoon nap on the sofa in front of the fireplace. If you're concerned about increasing your immunity during the flu season, you'll want to avoid overeating.

Instead, take time to savor each bite and stop eating when you are satisfied. Before each meal, pause for a moment and be thankful for your digestive system, the food, the cooks and the Creator. Digestion is the process of taking in and assimilating Intelligence from the universe to feed and nourish our own Inner Intelligence.

Through our digestive tract and our senses, we digest and metabolize our food and our experiences. If we digest well, we maintain good health. If we don't digest so well, ama is formed (ama is the ayurvedic term for impurities, the sticky stuff that clogs the srotas, or the channels of flow). Ama is defined by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi as, "the product of unripe digestion of food and experiences." Ama is fertile ground for viruses and bacteria to multiply and cause disease.

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Ayurvedic Strategies for Healthy Holiday Eating

friendship-and-communication-concept-top-view-of-group-of-eight-happy-picture-id936575774 Ayurvedic Strategies for Healthy Holiday Eating

‘Tis the season to be snacking! From Thanksgiving through Valentine’s Day, the holidays present an extended string of festive gatherings that center around food and drinks. While living it up with friends, family, and colleagues can be fun, it can also be a bit stressful — especially with travel, gift buying, hectic schedules, and easy access to rich and sugary foods.

“When there’s stress involved, our choices can become more reactive, rather than coming from a grounded place and connected to the self,” says Sankari Wegman, an Ayurvedic consultant at The Raj who also teaches Ayurvedic cooking classes. Moreover, Wegman tells us, it’s particularly easy to feel stressed during Vata season, which falls in autumn. “Vata by nature is light and airy, and it gets thrown out of balance when there’s any kind of irregularity.”

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The Ayurvedic Take on Paleo, Keto, Vegan, and Raw Diets

groats-mung-beans-picture-id940672844 The Ayurvedic Take on Paleo, Keto, Vegan, and Raw Diets

The caveman diet. Going keto. Eating raw foods and juicing. Does it seem like there’s a trendy new diet cropping up every time you turn around? If so, you might be wondering how to keep up—which one to choose and whether you can still follow your Ayurvedic diet.

"There’s going to be a new diet literally every month, if not sooner," says Robert Keith Wallace, author of  Gut Crisis. "The value of Ayurveda is that it gives you kind of a filter. It’s a long tradition. It’s not just a fad, and it gives you an idea of how your individual, mind-body type will respond to one of these new diets."

Below, we’ll give you a rundown of the Paleo, keto, vegan, and raw diet regimens, along with some Ayurvedic insights on how each diet relates to the dosha types.

TAKE THE DOSHA  QUIZ HERE

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Focus on Fall Health

smiling-woman-looking-up-against-trees-picture-id629868062 Focus on Fall Health

As the dog days of summer wind down and a hint of crisp fall weather cools the night air, you might find yourself suddenly looking forward to going back to school or picking up the pace at work after a lazier summer.

The seasons affect us. A saying in Maharishi Ayurveda, "As is the macrocosm, so is the microcosm," captures an important principle: the outer environment affects our inner state of mind and body. When the weather is hot and humid during Pitta season (July-October), those Pitta qualities of heat build in the body as well. When the air is cool and dry in Vata season (November-February), we experience more of those qualities inside us.

Ritucharya: Staying in Balance as the Seasons Change

When the temperature, humidity, and length of days start changing as a new season begins, we respond to these changes in nature by desiring different foods and daily routine. In the hot months, for instance, most people choose cooler, lighter foods and take it easy more often, even indulging in afternoon naps when they have the chance. As the weather cools in fall, we suddenly start feeling more energetic and desire warming foods and tastes.

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Thrive in Late Summer with These Ayurvedic Tips

dandelion-silhouette-against-sunset-picture-id537716906 Thrive in Late Summer with These Ayurvedic Tips

Early fall is a transitional stage, as we move from the height of summer’s heat to cooler weather. In Ayurveda, the change from summer to fall is known as Ritu Sandhi, the gap between seasons. This gap can present a delicate time for digestion, because the weather fluctuates—along with the doshas and digestive capacity.

By the end of summer, Pitta dosha (heat) may have accumulated in your body, causing impurities that could lead to imbalances during cooler months if they’re not cleared out. And, if you’ve eaten a lot of cool foods over the summer, Vata dosha (coolness, dryness) may have built up as well.

For these reasons, this transitional period is an ideal time to gently cleanse and nurture your body. Here are seven easy, Ayurvedic ways to stay balanced during late summer.

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How to Look More Beautiful as You Age

female-beauty-applying-lotion-at-home-picture-id155879052 How to Look More Beautiful as You Age

No matter what your age, you can keep your skin looking like a teenager's by paying attention to the four pillars of youthful skin:

  • Nourish your skin all year round, both from the inside and from the outside.
  • Rehydrate your skin internally and externally — maintaining moisture balance is crucial for skin health and appearance.
  • Detoxify from both the inside and outside to prevent the build-up of toxins and help keep skin clear and radiant.
  • Practice stress management — stress is the number one enemy of youthful skin.


Paying attention to these four pillars increases prabha, the natural luster and glow of the skin, and it is important to address all four aspects from the inside and the outside.

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It’s Pitta Season – Go Jump in a Lake!

barbara-sinclair-its-pitta-season-go-jump-in-a-lake It’s Pitta Season – Go Jump in a Lake!

We’ve already suffered through a few (thankfully short) heat waves with high humidity here in the Northeastern US, and jumping in a lake is something I’m looking forward to very much. That’s Lake Michigan above and I’m headed there in just a few short weeks. I can’t wait!

 

Summer is Pitta Season, according to Ayurveda, and Pitta dosha is all about HEAT.

 

Knowing some basics about Pitta dosha can help us stay healthy (and cool) during the hot summer months.

 

Ayurveda’s seasonal calendar revolves around the three doshas–Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The doshas are forces or energies comprised of the five elements–space (ether), air, fire, water and earth that make up our human physiology. The same elements that are in nature are within us, as well.

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5 Benefits of Turmeric, Ayurveda’s Golden Botanical

fresh-and-dried-turmeric-roots-in-a-wooden-bowl-picture-id690557976 5 Benefits of Turmeric, Ayurveda’s Golden Botanical

Turmeric (a.k.a. Indian Saffron) is a relative newcomer to American spice racks, but it’s been a mainstay in Indian cooking—and medicine—for thousands of years. The twisty root that gives your bowl of curry its bright, yellow color and distinctive flavor also holds a place of honor in traditional Ayurvedic medicine.

 

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Resting for Better Digestion

Resting-Dog-copy-1 Resting for Better Digestion

Resting for 15-20 minutes after a meal is a great practice that Ayurveda encourages.

 

Resting for Better Digestion

 

Approximately 60% of our daily energy goes towards digestion. If we rest for a bit after eating, our body can perform this important function more efficiently – rather than sending the energy elsewhere – to the brain and other organs needed to do things like read, write, watch TV or exercise.

 

Did your mother always tell you not to go swimming after eating? Mine did – and for years I thought I would get a cramp and drown if I went swimming too soon after a meal. My over-reaction created more anxiety in an already anxious child. But Mom was definitely onto something.

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Stress and Immunity: The Microbiome Connection

Smilingscouple Stress and Immunity: The Microbiome Connection

Life has its ups and downs, and stress is a natural part of human existence. These days, though, American stress levels are at a record high, according to the American Psychological Association. We discussed the stress-microbiome connection with Robert Keith Wallace, Ph.D., who—along with his wife and co-author Samantha Wallace—wrote Gut Crisis: How Diet, Probiotics, and Friendly Bacteria Help You Lose Weight and Heal Your Body and Mind.

Dr. Wallace is a pioneering researcher on the physiology of consciousness and the mind/body connection as applied to behavioral medicine. His seminal research on higher states of consciousness has been published in Science, The American Journal of Physiology, and Scientific American. He’s currently Chair of the Department of Physiology and Health at Maharishi University of Management, of which he was a founding President.

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12 Ways to Avoid Nighttime Worry

12 Ways to Avoid Nighttime Worry

Do you find yourself tossing and turning at night, thoughts and worries from the day running through your mind like a movie reel? Worry and trouble falling asleep tend to go hand in hand, as both have their roots in Vata dosha. Vata governs movement in the mind and body. It controls your blood flow, your elimination, the rise and fall of your breath, and the movement of your thoughts and emotions. If Vata has fallen out of balance, which is easy in Vata season (late fall and winter), you might notice an increase in anxious feelings and difficulty sleeping.

Fortunately, with a few simple diet and lifestyle changes, you can improve the quality of your sleep. Rather than treating symptoms, Ayurveda offers a holistic approach to address the root cause of worry and trouble falling asleep. Try a few of these tips for a better night’s sleep.

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Self-Care Guide: Blissful Sleep (plus 10 ways to get you to your ZZZs)

Ayurvedic-Wellness-Blissful-Sleep

A Good Night’s Sleep


Millions of Americans of all ages are affected by sleep problems — many with severe, chronic sleep deprivation. A round-the-clock, activity-driven society has meant that many individuals habitually defer sleep to get other things done. "I'll catch up later" is, however, easier said than done. Recent research indicates that pervasive sleep deprivation can lead to more serious health problems than just a dull, clouded feeling the next morning — including obesity, high blood pressure and diminished resistance to infections. While there is substantial awareness about the need for proper nutrition and exercise, many people tend to shrug off lack of sleep as not being of much consequence, and, as a result, go through life with both mind and body always performing at less than optimal levels.


The Ayurvedic Perspective

According to The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians, sleep is one of the supporting pillars of life. Along with diet, sleep is critical to good health and well-being. Quality sleep acts as a rejuvenator of mind and body, enabling us to function at peak levels during our waking hours. Even powerful medicine is of little use if the fundamental pillars of life are not strong and solid.


Sleep is important because it enhances ojas — considered in ayurveda to be the master coordinator between mind, body and the inner self. Ojas is the finest product of digestion, the main life-supporting force within the body. It acts like a shock absorber, helping to insulate the mind from day-to-day stress and enhancing the body’s innate immune systems.

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