By Myra Lewin
To be a human is to be in a state of constant change. From the moment we are born, we are dying. Every moment that passes creates some shift of energy, time or feeling. Even your body, as stable as it might appear, is in a state of constant renewal. But beneath all this change lies one thing that is steady and constant: you, as eternal spirit.
The purpose of all the practices of Ayurveda and Yoga -- meditation, mantra, eating for balance -- is to remember who you really are. As you come to know yourself as eternal spirit, you will learn to allow your true nature, not one of the many masks you wear, to guide your life. This creates joy and fulfillment beyond what you could ever imagine otherwise.
Pain, whether chronic or infrequent, mental or physical, is a greatly misunderstood part of the human experience. Most people want more pleasure and less pain, but when you tune in to the messages that pain is attempting to show, it can become a tool to reach moksha, or liberation in life.
The practice of Ayurveda offers a fresh perspective on how to manage pain in your life. By seeing yourself as a holistic being, you’ll see how the mind, body and spirit work together to create pain, and how you can use all these parts of you to heal from the inside out.
This is the first in a three-part blog series on how to reframe your perspective on pain and natural pain relief. In each, we’ll share Ayurvedic wisdom on pain and offer simple techniques to help you feel better for your entire life.
When people think of strength, they often think of the big muscles: biceps, quadriceps and trapezius. It’s true that these large muscles play a big role, but they’re often not the key players. There is something more subtle at play in the true source of your strength, and it comes from deep inside. This is the power of the pelvic floor.
The pelvic floor is two bands of muscle located just above the pubic bone. They span the base of the pelvis and hold the organs in place, somewhat like a hammock. They provide support for your torso and connect your upper and lower body. Even though the pelvic floor is neither large nor visible, these two small bands of tissue are one of your greatest sources of strength.
Is it possible to live in the modern world while maintaining a spiritual focus? Of course. Cultivate consciousness through regular spiritual practice and bring that into everything, everyday.
Cooking can be a spiritual act with that intention. That means turning off the cooking shows, putting away cookbooks with complicated recipes, and moving into your heart, where you have all the information you need to create simple, healing food. Allow your spirit to lead the process and you will be satisfied every time.
Kapha dosha makes our bodies and minds strong and sturdy. A daily Yoga asana practice builds on kapha’s natural strength and reduces the tendency toward weight gain that can come with excess kapha.
It doesn’t have to take a lot of time -- even 15 minutes in the morning will combat the effects of sedentary living and create enthusiasm for life that will reach far beyond your Yoga mat. Just set your wake up time a bit earlier (start before 6:00 a.m. and you’ll get the bonus of the increased energy that is present in the vata time of morning called brahmamuhurti) and make the commitment to asana as a part of your morning routine.
To balance kapha’s heavy nature, focus on invigorating poses, such as strengthening standing poses and backbends, as we have outlined in the two sequences below. Hold each pose for 10 to 15 breaths if you are feeling sluggish to awaken kapha. If you are feeling fearful, scattered or other signs of vata imbalance, hold each pose for 20 breaths.