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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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

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.

Continue reading

7 Easy Ways to Recharge Your Gut in 2018

With all the glorious excesses of the holidays behind us—pastries, parties, and New Year’s Eve celebrations, oh my—you might be feeling a bit worn out. Fatigue, brain fog, and a few extra pounds around your middle are all signs that your digestive system could use a little tune-up. No time for a big cleanse? No worries. We’ve got your back—and some easy, age-old Ayurvedic tips to gently purify and strengthen your digestion.

Here are seven of our favorite (and simple!) strategies for restoring and maintaining gut health in 2018:

Continue reading

Stress-Free Holiday Travel: Traveling Tips From Maharishi Ayurveda

Long delays and canceled flights...traffic jams...inclement weather...crowds.....all these factors and more can make traveling during the holiday season a nightmare for many people. Yet, getting together with friends and family is a big part of what makes the season so special.

It's possible to travel stress-free. Once you understand what imbalances are caused by travel, you can take steps to protect yourself and prevent the imbalances from developing.

Continue reading

Ayurveda’s Tough Love Recipe for a Good Night’s Sleep

How many articles have you seen lately about getting a good night’s sleep? A lot, I daresay. That’s because it affects us all and any of us can fall prey to insomnia at any time.


Don’t we all wish we could sleep like a baby again?


Lack of sleep can do more than just make us cranky and reach for a cup of coffee. It can make us crazy and it can make us sick.


Our body depends on sleep to repair and regenerate. Without it, we’re vulnerable to a host of illnesses too long to list here.


And forget looking and feeling our best. It just doesn’t happen without a good night’s sleep.

Continue reading

Why Happiness Starts in the Stomach

In the 2004 documentary Super Size Me, a filmmaker decided to eat a steady diet of fast food for 30 days to see how it would affect his health. Although he and his doctors expected some changes, they were shocked by how quickly his skin turned sallow, his cholesterol levels and blood pressure skyrocketed and his weight shot up 27 pounds. Worse, his mood changed from one of vibrancy to depression.

According to Maharishi Ayurveda, there is not only a direct connection between the food you eat and your health, but food affects your happiness as well. You could even say that health and happiness have a common source in a single product of digestion — called ojas.

Ojas is the physical equivalent of both bliss and immunity. It is what causes the eyes to sparkle, the skin to look radiant and the immunity to be strong. And it's directly related to digestion.

"Ojas is the finest and most refined product of digestion and metabolism," explains Mark Toomey, Ph.D., the director of Maharishi Ayurveda programs and health practitioner at The Raj Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center and Spa. "It's very much related to how we digest and metabolize not just our food, but our very thoughts."

There is a lot written about ojas in the ayurvedic texts. Ojas is said to be slightly yellow in color, to reside in the heart and to also continually circulate throughout the body. It is cool, soft, sweet, stable, viscous, clear, and pure, and when lively in the body, these qualities can be felt in the pulse during an ayurvedic consultation.

Continue reading

Who Went and Put the Holidays Smack Dab in the Middle of Vata Season?

Who went and put the holidays smack dab in the middle of Vata Season?


This year, armed with my ever-growing knowledge of Ayurveda, I am facing the holidays with a new sense of understanding, freedom, peace, and CALM. Usually, as soon as Halloween is over, I’m filled with panic and dread.


The holidays seem to be all about staying organized, time management, scheduling, and upsetting your regular routine. Learning about Ayurveda finally made me understand why the holiday months have always derailed me.

Continue reading

Balance Restlessness

If you have ever experienced restless sensations or twitching in your body, arms or legs when you are relaxing, sitting down for meditation, or sleeping — you are not alone. Restlessness in the physiology is a common experience for many.

Ayurveda identifies this imbalance as related to Vata dosha — specifically Apana Vata, a subdosha of Vata that governs downward flow in the body. The movement associated with Vata is fast; it is the dosha that governs movement, after all. But with Vata imbalance, symptoms can be expressed as restlessness in the body, arms or legs. Ayurveda focuses on digestion as the primary source of balance and good health. When digestion is not strong due to weak agni (digestive fire), or environmental stress, our bodies can build up accumulated impurities or toxins, known as ama. These impurities lead to our doshas going out of balance, and Vata, being responsible for movement, will usually be the first to be affected. The result, in Vata-dominant people, can experience spaciness, occasional constipation, feeling cold in a temperate environment, worry and, for purposes of this article, restless limbs.

Continue reading

Fall Pick-Me-Ups for Vata Dosha

Come October, change is in the air. Leaves turn color and fall. The air feels cool — and dry. Inside your body, Vata dosha, the dosha of the season, tends to increase, often commanding Pitta and Kapha doshas to play second, and third, fiddle. This is how it is likely to be till February, when the season both outside and within you will change once again.

When Vata dosha takes over for these few months, its restless, sweeping quality can throw your physiology — and psychology — completely out of balance. Constipation, dry skin, irregular appetite, lack of sleep, stress, fatigue — an out-of-sync Vata can cause all of these problems and more.

But in nature's scheme of things, the Vata environment outside is supposed to synchronize perfectly smoothly with changes within our bodies and minds. If, that is, we stay in tune with some simple rhythms of nature.

Continue reading

Boost Your Mind & Memory this Fall: 7 Ayurvedic Tips

Autumn’s has arrived, and while that marks the end of summer, it’s also a time for exciting new beginnings. This September, you might be starting a new school year, a new career or project, or possibly even exploring post-retirement pursuits after decades in the workforce. Whatever new mental challenges lie ahead of you, Ayurveda can help you stay sharp, clear, and focused. Here are 7 Ayurvedic tips for boosting your mind and memory this fall.


Continue reading

Your Best Foot Forward: Ayurvedic Foot Care

If there is one part of your body that works hard for you, it is your feet. Every day, walking and other activities bring the weight of your entire body to bear on your feet. And that workload may come with a cost — your feet are the area of your body most subject to injury.

Yet most of us pay little attention to our feet, unless of course there is an injury or imbalance. Here are a few tips to give your soles some love and avoid hot, tired, overworked feet.

Continue reading

Where Does Wellbeing Come From? A Better Answer

It is much easier to understand what makes people unhappy than to understand what makes them happy. Happiness is undermined or destroyed by violence, poverty, illness, and other external factors, leading to the inner states of depression, anxiety, and misery. Here, the link between inner and outer poses no mystery. It seems common-sensical that by reversing the causes of unhappiness, happiness will result.

Continue reading

Ayurvedic Medicine – Top 5 Herbs & Supplements for Self-Healing

Today more and more people are looking for alternatives to prescription or OTC drugs when it comes to taking care of their health. Herbal medicines have been used for thousands of years in the treatment and prevention of disease and ailments, and have specific meaning in Ayurvedic medicine. In this blog post, we’ll look at what Ayurvedic medicine is and the meaning of a number of common herbal medicines used in Ayurveda.

Continue reading

Six Tips to Fight Stress with Ayurveda

"Brain cells create ideas. Stress kills brain cells. Stress is not a good idea," says a modern philosopher.

Whether our stress is caused from work, routine, or relationships, most of us, at some point in our lives, are faced with the uncomfortable symptoms of stress. These symptoms may manifest in a number of ways including worry, fatigue, increased anger, problems with relationships, inability to focus properly, stress headaches, trouble sleeping, and a variety of stress-related health issues.

Continue reading

Dinacharya: A Routine to Align Our Natural Rhythm

From an Ayurvedic perspective, following a dinacharya, or daily routine, aligns us with nature’s rhythms each day. There is new evidence that demonstrates that our genes may have, over time, lost their ability to hear the natural circadian rhythms of nature. Doctors are only now beginning to understand exactly how important it is for the body to stay in rhythm with nature. In our modern high-tech world, it is becoming a challenge to align our body with the laws of Nature. Our priorities have shifted from being existential to being very concerned with to-do lists, work schedules, finances, etc. Many times, we are so bent on our daily activities that we ignore our health and well-being in order to achieve what we believe is of utmost importance at that particular moment. With social media and cell phones giving us instant access to anyone in the world, these “distractions” may take us out of balance and we lose alignment with the rhythms of nature.

Continue reading

New Year Resolutions - Food! "We are how we eat."

The New Year brings new hopes, aspirations and resolutions. It is the time of the year when we set our goals to achieve for the next year. How many of us are able to actually act on our plans? Be it the promise to hit the gym every single day or make a schedule to socialize more often, even the best promise-keepers may find it hard to keep up with New Year’s resolutions. However, no matter how many times we’ve fallen behind, year after year, we never give up. And I say we shouldn’t! After all, the new year is all about starting new habits (good ones) and committing to the activities that lead to a more positive life — all leading in the direction of better health and happiness.

Continue reading

Improving Mental Health with Ayurveda: The Meditation-Ayurveda Connection

Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old system of natural medicine from India. According to the ancient Ayurvedic texts, one of the eight major branches of Ayurveda is Mental Health.

Starting in the early 1980’s, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Vedic scholar who made Transcendental Meditation® available worldwide and founded Maharishi Ayurveda, met with Ayurvedic scholars, doctors and scientists for the purpose of restoring this ancient system of medicine to its full dignity.

Continue reading

Food, Mood and Digestion: The Mind-Body Connection

Q: How does food affect our moods?

Vaidya Manohar: The food we eat has a significant influence on our minds and hearts. You could even say that the nature of our mind and feelings depends on the food we have eaten.

And conversely, the state of our mind, emotions, intellect and senses — and our overall state of contentment — all these, in turn, affect the digestion, absorption and elimination of the food we have eaten.

Continue reading

Homeopathic Ayurveda

As a western physician, I practice a type of medicine often labeled as allopathic, trying to counteract disease . As a meditating yogi, I practice homeopathic healing, working with the energy of the suffering.

Continue reading