The practices of Ayurveda allow us to prevent illness, but the science also has a lot to say about what to do in those times when you do get sick.
Illness is a time to take care of your body. It is a signal to slow down, rest and come back to balance. It is important to allow time for full recovery -- nothing else is more important. What you do during this time matters greatly in how fast you will heal and the level of health you will reach afterward. Until symptoms subside, let go of your daily responsibilities, stay in bed, avoid looking at computers or screens and, most importantly, eat only very simple foods.
Agni, digestive fire, is weak during illness, so you cannot digest the same kinds of foods you enjoyed before. Yet as you are healing, your body needs nourishment. Kunyi, a soupy rice cooked with mineral salt and ghee, offers a meal that is very easy to digest and perfect for times of illness.
By Noriko Morimoto
I had always heard that a woman’s menstrual cycle goes for about 28 to 30 days. But since I first started my period, I have never enjoyed that kind of regularity. There were times when I would have my period just once a year. When it did come, it was preceded by extreme PMS. Sometimes I would experience depression so heavy that I would have suicidal thoughts. These intense emotions would go away as soon as my period came, leaving me confused and scared for the next time. This was no way to live.
When prana is flowing without interruption, your body has everything it needs to heal itself (see the first in this series on pain relief to learn more about prana). Pain, whether mental or physical, cannot take hold in a body with an easy flow of prana. When prana is blocked, pain can become so much to bear that people often look to drugs or surgery to cope. But these methods of pain relief dull your body’s natural intelligence and further disrupt the flow of prana that is the key to healing. On the contrary, herbs and Ayurvedic treatments work with the body to address the root cause. As prana comes back into the body, the doshas regain balance and health follows.
A student came to one of our recent Yoga and Ayurveda teacher trainings wearing a corset. It was meant to prevent back pain from a slipped disc, an injury that had occurred (and healed) many years before. She had become so accustomed to the idea that she would be in pain without this support that she never questioned whether or not this was actually true.
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.
A food that is “good for you” can have quite a different effect when eaten in excess or in poor combination with other foods. We see the results of this in many clients who come to Hale Pule for Ayurvedic consultations. They believe they are doing all the right things for their health, but still experience gas, constipation, anxiety and other symptoms. When we peel back the layers of their daily habits, these clients are often overconsuming a so-called healthy food or eating it in ways that weaken agni, or digestive fire.
You peer into the mirror. There are new lines around your eyes. You see a few new white hairs popping out from your scalp. The universe is giving you a choice here: you can either resist the aging process with chemicals, surgery and fear, or you can simply accept the changes as a reflection that you, too, are a part of nature.
Everything in nature ages, including us. But aging doesn’t have to be scary (no matter what the advertisements may say). In fact, it can be a lovely, natural experience. And, by finding balance in your body and mind and embracing changes as they come, you may find that you can actually feel better with age.
Ayurveda and Yoga can serve as guides to help you feel stronger, more confident and secure as you progress in the natural process of life.
The principles of Ayurveda were first recorded about 5,000 years ago – long before stress became an epidemic and we created a world filled with a million ways to be distracted from finding your true self. But Ayurveda is based on nature’s rhythms, the same rhythms that make up everything in the world around us, including us. As such, the principles of this ancient science work in any age and any situation.
Ayurvedic treatments are a perfect example of this. These techniques have the ability to balance and heal our modern society’s uniquely modern health issues. As more people look for balance and healing, Ayurvedic treatments are gaining in popularity.
Here are three of our favorite treatments to balance modern ailments:
By Lisa Akesson
I had been dreaming making a trip to India for years when spontaneously my friend and I made the decision to go. It was an overwhelming experience, full of positive and colorful memories that gave me hope and joy! But it wasn’t all smooth sailing.
On our third day I started to feel sick. I thought it just was car sickness, but as the day went on it was clear it was more than that. After days of treating the bacteria with various medications that I would never consume at home, I finally got better. Later on during the trip when I got sick again, I knew better than to take such extreme measures.
Do you ever wonder why some people seem to get sick all the time, yet others can live with ease through cold and flu season without even a sniffle? It’s all about ojas, which is our vitality.
Ojas is both energy and represented as an actual substance in our bodies (the ancient texts say it is a yellow liquid that is produced in the heart and reproductive organs). With its cool, soft and stable qualities, ojas is responsible not just for immunity, but for spiritual unity, bliss, reproductive function and overall vitality. It creates the luster in our eyes and hair, and gives us the unctuousness that is a sure sign of health. In other words, the amount of ojas we have determines how we are able to use the energy available to us.
By Judith Michales Safford
Ayurvedic living came into my life through a so-called “coincidence.” Talking to the owner of an organic garden in Maui, my husband and I discovered that the owner's deceased sister had been a friend of ours. She lived a block away from us in the small town of Glenwood, NM. On our second visit to the garden, he shared his Ayurvedic way of eating and gave us the Hale Pule website. Having experienced digestive problems and constipation since I was a child, I tucked the information in my pocket.
Your body is meant to be free of pain, illness, and disease. The rishis who wrote the Ayurvedic texts 5,000 years ago knew this. They outlined panchakarma, a powerful Ayurvedic whole-being cleanse and rejuvenation practice. Ayurvedic wisdom is as true today as it was then.
A combination of cooked white basmati rice and split mung has been shared through centuries as a simple and nourishing way to heal your body and mind. This is kitchadi – Ayurveda’s healing food.
Why does kitchadi heal? First, the rice, mung and (optional) vegetables offer balanced nourishment for your body. Second, by adding spices, like cumin and ginger, the meal becomes cleansing, balanced and satisfying. Finally – and most importantly – by gently cooking the ingredients together to a soupy consistency, the meal is easily digestible, which gives your body a break and restores the natural strength of agni, digestive fire.
Sixteen years ago this April I founded Hale Pule Ayurveda and Yoga. In the time I have been sharing the gifts of Ayurveda and Yoga, I have run into plenty of skeptics. People ask me how these sciences, developed centuries before our current medical system, can possibly be effective. Well, I am living proof.
My personal journey to health started around the time I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 30. The prognosis from Western doctors was disheartening at best. According to them, I would face a lifetime of chronic, increasing pain and severe inflammation in my joints. If I didn’t take the medications they were offering me, which came with side effects, such as internal bleeding and kidney damage, I would become deformed and possibly unable to care for myself. I looked at the life they were telling me I would live – one of fear, pain and disconnection. I promptly walked in the opposite direction.
Allergies. Something people have to deal with each spring, right? It may be normal, but normal doesn’t always mean natural! Perhaps it’s time to take another look.
Ayurveda views allergies in the light of whole-body health. Pollens, dust, mold and other common allergens cause a response in some people because of a disturbance in the digestive system, where the root of our health lies. If agni, or digestive fire, is not functioning at full strength, it’s easier to become susceptible to allergies. So if you’re suffering from the sniffles this spring, take the steps below to improve your digestion. And if you keep your digestion strong, this could be your last bout of allergies, ever.
Hot days, after asana, during travel or after illness – there are plenty of times we can use some natural rehydration. This recipe is tasty, simple and instantly hydrating.
Traveling? Make up this recipe in bulk and store it in airport-friendly three-ounce bottles. Just drink one bottle every four hours of travel to balance the drying effects of air travel.
1 Tbsb. honey
10 drops fresh lime or lemon juice
1/4 tsp. mineral salt
Thoroughly mix ingredients with 8 ounces of warm water.