Have you ever wondered why oil is such a significant part of Ayurveda? From the top of your head to the bottoms of your feet, the oil treatments recommended in the Ayurvedic texts provide healing benefits inside and out. Here’s a quick look at why Ayurvedic self-care and treatments recommend oil for health and healing.
By Judy Michaels Safford
I often find my hand resting on my heart in gratitude for natural healing.
In 2013, I found myself in a time of sickness, facing what appeared to be an allergy to most foods. Nine months of coughing and hives led me to a specialist. Two cortisone shots and surgery seemed to relieve the problem. I was ecstatic and relieved to sleep and eat again until the doctor told me more. I was informed that cortisone would be my friend twice a year along with sleeping on a wedge pillow for silent reflux. Stunned and puzzled, a fork in the road appeared. The road pointed to Western medicine or natural healing. I had no clue where to begin. Intuition, coincidence, inner guidance or something I have no name for attracted me to Hale Pule and Myra Lewin. The natural Ayurvedic way brought peace to my digestive system. Food allergies and silent reflux are no more.
Nature shows us how to take care of our bodies – our part is to pay attention. The augmenting nature of beets ground and nourish us, a needed change after the colder months of winter have passed.
Beets are sweet, grounding and they cleanse rakta dhatu, red blood cells. In this month’s recipe, we’ve combined beets with takra, or buttermilk, in a simple and delicious soup that gently cleanses and replenishes your body.
By Stephanie Stillman
I was 13 years old. Snow on the ground, stillness in the air, an average January evening. My mom and I were watching television. During a commercial break I went to play on a pull-up bar that was suspended between the doorframe. Like I had done many times before, I ran and jumped to the bar. But on this particular evening, the bar collapsed from its support. I remember opening my eyes, lying on the floor still clutching the bar. Something wasn’t right. The hospital visit revealed that I had a fractured vertebra in my neck. I was placed in a halo apparatus that I wore permanently for three months.
By Julie Burger
I used to think that I was treating my body pretty well. I ate organic food, was gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and enjoyed protein shakes daily. I had even stopped smoking (though I was still vaping, so not free of the addiction). Since quitting smoking had made me extremely constipated, I did daily enemas, which I had read was a healthy option. While enemas remedied the issue, they had a big impact on my life – imagine trying to date and explain to someone that you have to step out to do an enema.
But constipation was not a new experience for me. I’ve had issues with digestion throughout my whole life. I’ve also struggled with headaches and fatigue and was used to taking daily naps. I tried colon cleanses, gallbladder cleanses – it was always something. I spent too much time Googling symptoms and finding few answers. I thought this was how my life was going to be. But that was before panchakarma.
By Rachel Saum
For most of my life, I’ve struggled with skin problems. I was teased for having acne in elementary school, long before kids my age even understood what a zit was. I grew up believing that I had inherited oily, acne-prone skin that could not be helped. As a teenager, I spent years going to a dermatologist, trying every cream, cleanser and pill they had to offer. Some were effective for a time, but before long the skin on my face, back and chest would break out again, now a lot more dried out from the harsh medications. It was an expensive cycle and I grew increasingly frustrated and self-conscious the longer it went on.
By Lisa Akesson
The first time I really understood what meditation is, I was at a 10-day silent meditation course in Sweden.
I was at a crossroads in my life, not really sure how to move forward. Tired of having advice thrown at me from all directions, my motivation to go was to have these 10 days in silence alone. It seemed like a brilliant idea to retreat away and make space for my own guidance to come to me. It was one of the best things I have ever done.
Can a warrior practice ahimsa, or kindness, consideration and respect? The answer is yes – a spiritual warrior can. Everyone can become a spiritual warrior; it just means finding the strength and courage to shave the edges off of your ego so your divine spirit can lead you in life.
By Shannon Wianecki
During a recent spring-cleaning session, I scoured my cupboards for hidden toxins and synthetic chemicals. I opened my toiletries bag and chucked half-used jars of fancy face cream. I eighty-sixed harsh cleaners and petroleum-based first aid items. I replaced these chemical-laden cast-offs with simple, sustainable alternatives—many of which I already had in my kitchen. Here are a few examples:
By Judy Michaels Safford
“Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows”
My definition of emotional sobriety is to allow and be present with whatever emotion presents itself. I welcome the emotional waves and their accompanying gifts today. This is a far cry from the past where my thoughts linked emotional sobriety with spirituality. I used to think:
By Stephanie Stillman
It’s simple: we inhale and we exhale. When I flow freely through emotions and life, my breath flows freely through each inhale and exhale. When I attach to fear and uncomfortable emotions, my diaphragm tenses and my breath is restricted. The breath is our prana, our life force. It’s a tool we have to see what’s really happening inside on a mental and emotional level. Knowing the power of the breath now, it’s no wonder to me why I felt so disconnected in my life — I had never felt connection with my breath.
By Myra Lewin
When I was a child, I lived in a crowded house with a very small kitchen. My mother’s rule was that only one of us was allowed in the kitchen when she was cooking. I felt special whenever I was that person. Helping her prepare meals for our family of seven was the reason I developed the love for wholesome, home-cooked food that grew with my study of Ayurveda.
We say that “food is medicine” in Ayurveda because nothing else has the same power to nourish, heal and bring together community (even if that community is a parent and child cooking together in a small kitchen). When you study Ayurveda, you learn that all foods have distinct properties that can bring you closer to or further from health, depending on your individual constitution. But Ayurveda also teaches that not all food is equal. Food that is filled with prana, cooked gently with digestive spices and served in a sattvic home environment is the medicine that we should seek.
When you sit down to meditate or eat a freshly cooked Ayurvedic meal, you can feel a sense of peace come over your whole being. That feeling has a word – sattva. It means balance and harmony representing the light, and can act as a guide for every aspect of your life.
Sattva is a quality you can cultivate every day, in everything you do. This March, we’re offering 31 ways you can bring in this light of consciousness every day for the entire month. These tips and activities are all simple ways to breed more sattva within you, and many of them will take less than five minutes. Taking on these sattvic actions will bring forth a shift in the way you relate to yourself and the world around you, a change that will last much longer than 31 days.