In the summer months, it is common for tensions to grow, tempers to rise and patience to dwindle. These are just a few of the many signs of excess pitta dosha that are easy to get caught up in. However, if our goal is to have balance in body and mind, it’s important to remember that pitta, just like all the doshas, serves a positive purpose in our lives too.
Focusing only on the negative side of the doshas makes us lose sight of the direction we should be heading. This is why when I was writing the dosha lesson in Hale Pule’s 600-hour Ayurvedic health counselor program, I made a point to include the many positive aspects present when vata, pitta and kapha are well balanced. When we can talk about pitta in both its balanced and imbalanced states, we can more easily recognize what it feels like when life comes into balance, and quickly turn things around when we start to move away from that.
It’s time to rethink your smoothie habit. You know that cold, blended fruit and veggie drink that you’ve been told is a healthful meal. Be honest: How do you really feel after you have one?
On the surface, smoothies appear healthful. Fruit is filled with vitamins and fiber. Protein powders have a long list of nutrients. Nut butters are filled with good oils. Yogurt, coconut oil, cacao, maca -- what else do you toss in your blender? Taken individually, the ingredients in a smoothie seem to have all that your body needs to function.
But Ayurveda asks you to look holistically. From this view, the results are different.
Combining fruit with other foods wreaks havoc on digestion, resulting in gas and bloating. Adding ice or frozen fruit dampens agni, digestive fire. Topping everything off with a heaping scoop of protein powder fills the void with something that is unrecognizable as food to your body. All this leads to uncomfortable digestive problems that are the first step on the path to illness and disease.
If you’ve got a smoothie habit, leave them out for two weeks and replace them with our recipe of the month: a date shake.
By Lisa Åkesson Stryker
I have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day. As much as it’s a lovely idea to have day where love and attention to our fellow human beings is in focus, it has also sadly been connected with pressure, consumerism and anxiety for me in the past.
I remember in high school, we could all buy roses for our friends and boyfriends for Valentine's Day and get them delivered to the school. The one strutting home with the most blood red roses at the end of the day was perceived as the most popular person.
It would always leave me with an icky feeling in my stomach, knowing that others were not as privileged as those who could afford to buy roses. It is a clever marketing trick for the flower and gift shops, and a great way to make insecure teenagers even more apprehensive by making them attempt to find their value in a symbolic gesture.
Making friends with kapha dosha is about embracing stability, compassion and even-mindedness. Cultivate balance in kapha and you experience the sweeter side of life.
Even if kapha is not a primary part of your constitution, the qualities that make up kapha (heavy, dense, cool, wet, soft) exist in you. Your body itself is made of kapha tissues such as bones, muscles and fat. Without the structure kapha provides, vata could not move and pitta could not transform. You need to maintain balance in all three doshas to enjoy true health in body, mind and spirit.
Some days your cup feels full. You feel alive and whole and thoroughly grateful for what you have. Other days, your cup feels depleted. You gave too much without replenishing, and you feel tired and worn. These are times you need to recharge your body and mind, to get back to your true state of health and vitality. Tonight, fill your cup with warm, spiced milk.
Every bite you take can be a building block for health – especially when your meals include foods that increase ojas.
Ojas is an energy and a substance in your body that is responsible for vitality and immunity. Just like a bank account, you spend ojas through stress, lack of sleep or not eating properly. But replenishing ojas is as simple as adding foods that increase it to your meals (including high-quality fats – like ghee – almonds, and dates). Along with balancing agni and getting adequate rest, foods that increase ojas will help you feel and look as healthy as you are meant to be.
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.
You may know about panchakarma as an Ayurvedic cleanse, but the benefits go far beyond that. People have been undergoing panchakarma for centuries because it not only removes toxins from the tissues of your body, but also promotes healing and rejuvenation in your whole being. That’s because panchakarma centers on rebuilding the strength of agni, digestive fire, along with balancing the three doshas. This brings about profound effects in all aspects of your health, including your mental well-being and spiritual openness.
The beautiful thing about Ayurveda is how it can so easily be integrated into every aspect of your life, even the holidays. If you have a tradition of sharing cookies with your loved ones, here are three Ayurvedic cookie recipes that will make them feel even more loved. Each one is simple to make, lovely to eat and sweetened without even a dash of refined sugar.
There’s another benefit to these Ayurvedic cookies – they are based on foods that build ojas. Considering the role strong ojas plays in supporting health and immunity, these cookies couldn’t come at a better time as many of us are traveling during the holidays.
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.