A Complete Guide to the Practice o Meditation

JOIN SOULSPRING FOR CONSCIOUS INSIGHTS.

...on all things life, wellness, love, transformation and spirituality... PLUS! Get your FREE Guide: 12 Mindfulness Practices to Create a Peaceful Mind.

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.”

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

 

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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

30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

Join Soulspring for conscious insights...

...on all things life, wellness, love, transformation and spirituality...

 PLUS! Get your FREE Guide: 12 Mindfulness Practices to a Peaceful Mind