classes

CLASSES

An On Going schedule of classes on the following topics of Ayurveda will be offered as such: 

A) Organic Foods and Nutrition through Ayurveda.
B) Ayurveda Herbs for the Mind.
C) Ayurveda Herbs for Women’s Health.
D) Yoga Psychology and the unconscious mind.
E) Ayurveda Principles to optimize individual health of body and mind.

Class on Organic Foods and Nutrition through Ayurveda

The body is the product of food, and disease arises on account of faulty foods.
-Charaka

We will look at how healthy foods can be consumed to promote a wholesome body and mind. We will focus on the basic concept of a food property and its energetic affect. We will define food through its taste. By using the configuration of the five elementary (earth, water, fire, air, and space) properties found in every food we can identify their effect on the constituents of the individual body. The understanding of the properties of tastes and their energetic action of those properties can be used to promote balance and harmony for the different body types (constitutions) of individuals. Thus, food consumption can be tailored to maintain and restoration of one’s health.

The six tastes are

The six rasasor taste are shaped according to the variable quality and quantity of the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, and space – found in every edible substance. The predominance of the two of the five elements (such as earth and water in sweet) determines its unique taste and energetic action, and how it affects us. The other three elements to a lesser effect of the food substance. Thus, the specific taste is related to the greater configuration of the predominate and then lesser elements.

Taste lies dormant within the food substance until it becomes active when it touches the tongue. The food substance needs to touch the tongue for the food’s elements to come alive for the perception of taste.

The theory of five element outline a bioenergetics foundation for every food type and taste. It is taste initiates the beginning process in digestion, absorption, and assimilation of food into the body, and thus has a direct effect on the individual’s body type. Thus, the right mixture of the elements in the foods could be applied to balance or sustain that particular body type.

Ayurveda categorizes foods and their tastes along with their energetic effect on the body type. For example, honey is mostly composed of the elements of earth and water, which gives the taste of sweetness. Its elementary attributes are heavy, unctuous, smooth, and thick. Its aspects are similar to the heavier body type. Thus, it has the tendency to increase the latter body type. The excessive usage and amount of honey therefore can increase the disturbed heaviness and make the body vulnerable to gaining weight, increasing glucose levels, and causing interference with glucose resistance and cellular function. Too much sweet (over time) can possibly cause diabetes and other over-weight diseases. On the other hand, the right amount of honey and its therapeutic action of sweet taste can decrease the lighter body type disturbances. This is because the sweet taste is grounding, smooth, unctuous, heating, stabilizing, and anabolic to the expansive, light, dry, irregular, rough, and cool innate qualities of the light body type.

It is the composition of the greater two of the five elements in a substance that gives taste its experience. Every taste and its energetic action will either increase or decrease the three body types of light, medium, and heavy. The dual action of increase and decrease is similar to the acceptance of the universal law “Like attracts like.” For example, cow’s milk is sweet in taste and composed chiefly of the elements earth and water, although the remaining three of five elements exist in smaller and varying degrees. The energetic effect in sweet is cooling. Sweet acts on the body as an anabolic, tonic, and nutritious value to all seven tissues that make up the structure and functions of the body. The sour taste of lemon is the primary elements of fire and earth. Its energetic effect is heating, and its action is to stimulate taste and increase digestive power. Salty taste (such as kelp) is dominated by the elements of fire and water. Its energetic effect is heating. Its action causes an increase in saliva, adds to taste, and aids in digestion. Black pepper is pungent in taste. Its dominant elements are air and fire. Its energetic effect is heating. Pungency action stimulates digestion, clears the sinuses of mucus, cleanses circulation, and causes diaphoresis. Bitter taste is prevalent of the elements air and space, which makes its energetic effort cooling. Its action constricts and cleanses, and it is generally antibacterial in nature. Pharmaceutical dermatological products essentially include zinc oxide ingredients that are used topically to treat skin disorders because of its bitter action (constrict). The fresh gel of Aloe Vera is perhaps the best application for skin disorders. Astringent tastes are made up of the elements of air and earth. The astringent substances in pomegranate and witch hazel are energetically cooling. The action of astringency helps to absorb and dry moist areas of the body (in the case of skin wounds). It is useful to stop diarrhea. Witch hazel used both topically and orally together can help to soothe and pacify mild to moderate varicose veins in the lower extremities when caught early.

Ayurveda saw the energetic effect from food properties as having a real influence on the gross and subtle function and structure of body and mind.The energetic effect of the exogenous substance could be applied to balance and restore the individual bodily constitution back to health. The five elementary properties of a particular taste could be sought in food properties to increase and decrease dosha quality and quantity. On the other hand, wrong taste and food choices give way to an increase in the disturbance of bodily function and structure. Thus, there is a direct relationship between taste, food substance, energetic properties, and their effect on the individual function and structure.

Class on Ayurveda Herbs for the Mind

We will take a look at ten Ayurveda herbs for the mind. These rejuvenator group of herbs have primary properties that are beneficial to enhance learning, recall and retention, better concentration, and potential cognitive enhancer. These herbs especially taken for the mind, regularly taken, have been shown to increase brain power to boost a sharp, alert, creative and active mind. 

These Ayurveda herbs act as a tonic therapy to nourish and energize the brain and nervous system to improve functions of the mind. They increase the flow of prana energy (clibe vital force) to the brain, neutralize harmful chemicals in the brain composition and balance hormonal secretion to better mind function. Their rejuvenating affect to the nerves and brain help to proliferate better communication between cells and integration of the entire brain.

They are adapt genic to help build and restore the body and mind functioning mechanism to better response to stresses encountered in daily challenges. They promote a feel of relaxation to the mind. Improve the quality of sleep that is necessary to refresh and revitalize the mind.

The Ayurveda herbs for the mind are briefly mentioned below in ashwagandha, brahmi, calamus, guducci, jatamunsi, saraswati, shankapushpi, shatavari, shilijit, and valerian.

Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha

Also known as “winter cherry.” It is an excellent tonic that reduces anxiety, nervousness and mental exhaustion and general bebillity. It does not have a stimulating effect but rather a soothing one. Thus, it is easy to take and has no adverse effects. It works at the elemental level to help you cope better with stress. It supports to regulate cortisol and adrenaline to being release in appropriate response to physical, emotional, and mental stresses. It is an excellent tonic because it calms and relaxes mental agitation. It is used in memory loss, insomnia and anxiety.

It improves adrenal gland deficiency, and thus regulate cortisol and epinephrine, dopamine levels in times of stress is used with other herbs to treat impaired neuromuscular disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia.

Brahmi
Brahmi

It is an excellent rejuvenator herb to support the nervous system. It strengthens the structure and function of the individual nerve impulse mechanism. This has shown a significant improvement to short and long-term memory performance.

Brahmi helps to support the adrenal gland. It rejuvenates the adrenal glands for times of high stress. It has been shown to reduce anxiety, panic attacks, depression, stress, irritability, insomnia related to stress, mental fatigue, and much more. Because of its regenerative capacity, it is used to reverse aging in cells composition, as it acts as an excellent and powerful antioxidant.

Jatamunsi
Jatamunsi

Is a mental herb whose specific action is to calm and relax brain activity. It promotes good mental health. The rejuvenative properties of jatamunsi are helpful in the management of anxiety, depression, hysteria, agitation, and mental exhaustion. It pacifies high-stress, tenderness nervous headaches, fear, tremors, and convulsions. It has been shown to relieve heart palpitations and angina secondary to fear and worry. It induces deep sleep without drowsiness, upon awakening. Jatamansi is very effective in reducing pulsating headache, hypertension, cough and dyspnea. It acts as an analgesic whose oil action is good for bodily muscle aches and general weakness.

Sararswati
Sararswati

A poly-herbal ayurveda formula that is beneficial as a brain and nervine tonic to enhance memory, increase concentration, and potential cognitive enhancer. It boosts the mind to stay focus, sharp, and attentiveness in thought. Saraswati calms the restless mind and reduces stress, wasted mental energy, and inversely increase mental stamina. It produces the feeling of well-being, calm, and mental clarity.

Shankapushpi
Shankapushpi

Its use is for mental clarity and concentration. Its relaxing effect pacifies anxiety, fear, depression, phobias, mental fatigue, emotional exhaustion, stress, manic phase, post-traumatic disorders, and insomnia (bedtime). It has shown good results in treating ADHD in formula with brahmi, jatamansi, vacha and licorice. Consult physician before attempting of the concoctor. It can clear the mind and improve concentration. It is a rejuvenating herb for mind and nerve tissue, and thus make them more resilient in daily activities.

Shatavari
Shatavari

Is a rejuvenator herb that helps to calm the nerves and nourish the brain. Its cooling effect brings down heated emotional/ mental states. It reduces the process of overworked thinking that may precipitate into headaches and mental fatigue. It is an adaptogenic herb that helps the body to cope with physical and mental stresses. It nourishes and strengthens the liver, adrenaline glands, nerves and brain cells that better’s communication with daily encounters.

Shilajit
Shilajit

A natural resinous substance from the Himalayan Mountains that formed over the span of million years to produce highest quality in minerals and vitamins. Shilajit is considered to be one of the best ayurveda herbal substance one can take to invigorate, and boost the whole immune system. In addition, Shilajit supports and strengths the circuitry to the nervous system and brain tissues which are the counter physical operatives to the expansive mind. Shilajit contains eighty-five minerals which have been proven to strengthen and fortify the body, thus empowering the mind.

Tagra (Valerian)
Tagra (Valerian)

(the Indian equivalent to valerian) is a calming herb that soothes the nervous system.It is tolerated well by the stomach (unlike its Western counterpart). It is a nervine herb that works on the central and automatic nervous system. It relaxes the sympathetic state of high nerve excitement associated in anxiety-related disorders. It is useful in mental and physical exhaustion, emotional stress, panic attacks, headaches, migraines, anxiousness, and restlessness. It is a wonderfully relaxing herb that has shown to be effective in treating insomnia. It puts you to sleep gradually. It provides sound sleep without drowsiness upon awaken. Like with any herb, it should be taken five to six days a week, and one should take one to two days off. This allows the body to react to its natural safety mechanism and regulate tolerance level.

Class on Ayurveda Herbs for Women Health

In this class we will review women’s general health and wellness, specifically the female reproductive system we will look at female hormones, menstruation, fertility, infertility, menopause, post menopause, and others.

In improving the bodily rhythm through diet, exercise (yoga), breathing techniques, mindful meditation and lifestyle changes we can optimize the structure and function of the physical and mental health of the female.

We will focus on sustaining and restoring female health by the usage of Ayurveda modalities. Although men and women share many common diseases and disorders, the reproductive system of a woman makes for specific consideration in herbal usage to sustain health and restore disease to normal levels.

The following Ayurveda herbs listed – Ashoka, Ashwagandha, Kanchnar Guggulu, and Shatavari – have specific implications to the female reproductive system.

Ashoka

 Ashoka – Grown in Bengali, South India, and Burma. Ashoka tree is the oldest known tree in India. Its name means “that which gives no grief”. 

Ashoka is one of the main Ayurveda herbs used in the treatment of menstrual disorders associated with excessive bleeding, congestion, and pain (analgesic properties). It strengthens the muscles of the uterus and reduces uterine discharge, pain in the uterus and thus useful in menorrhagia, leucorrhoea, and dysmenorrhea. The bark acts as a tonic for the endometrium of the uterus, and thus is beneficial for irregular menstrual cycle and miscarriage. Ashoka is specifically used for rakta-pradara (menorrhagia) and hence it is reference a friend of women. It is the herbal drug of choice for female infertility (endometriosis is one of the leading cause of infertility) as it promotes uterine muscular contraction, and stimulation of endometrium and ovarian functions.

Ashoka stops bleeding by contracting the uterine blood vessels.
It can be effective in reducing congestion from the mamsa dhatu, (cysts and fibroids) from the buildup of kapha disturbance.

It has hemostatic, blood purifying and anti-edematous effects. Hence, it is used in diseases of the blood and edema in the reproductive system.

By virtue of its diuretic property, it is used in (pain urine) and (stones). It prevents the formation of a calculi. Also, the Ashoka herb helps in encouraging urine flow and therefore, in treating conditions that are related to painful urination and discharge from setting.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha – is also known as “winter cherry.” The name ‘ashwagandha’ allegorically means “smell like a horse.” This is in reference to its strong smell and ability to increase strength.

As an excellent tonic, it is shown to reduce anxiety, stress, nervousness, mental exhaustion, and depression. It improves mental stamina, mood, concentration, and cognition – betters brain function (degeneration/ antioxidant).

For physical conditions, it has been shown to enhance general debility, relief from inflammation (decrease markers – C-reactive protein) and pain, decrease muscle strength, and improvement in adrenal gland deficiency. Ashwagandha oil can be topically applied to muscle cramps, spasm, pain in joints, and muscle.

It has a mild sedative effect, which is helpful to settle nervousness, anxiety, tremors, irritability and insomnia. 

It is classified as an “adaptogen” meaning it can help your body to manage stress. Cortisol is known as a ‘stress hormone’ because the adrenal glands release it in response to stress and when your blood sugar levels are too low. Chronically elevated cortisol levels can lead to high blood sugar levels.

Too much cortisol in the body has been linked to weight gain, nervous eating, and muscle lose…….and stress related weight gain tends to cause fat to accumulate around the belly. Ashwagandha works at an elemental level to help you cope better with stress. It better regulates the hormonal release of cortisol and adrenaline. Also by refurbishing (nervine tonic) and energizing the signaling mechanism along the channels of the neurons.

Adrenal glands that are overtaxed due to overabundance of emotional, physical, and mental stresses, can lead to a condition of adrenal fatigue. Overtime, this can disrupt other hormones, such as, pregnenolone and progesterone, which can cause infertility and lower DHEA – and cause you to age faster. 

It boosts the immune system. Studies have shown that it increases the activity of natural killer cells, which are the immune cells that fight infection and help you to stay healthy.

Ashwagandha aids in improving vitality and fertility. It strengthens the reproductive system and increase sexual fluid. As a mild aphrodisiac, it can be used to increase sexual energy.

Ahwagandha may benefit sluggish thyroid function. Studies have shown it increases in serum T4 levels which indicates it has a stimulating effect on a sluggish thyiod. As an adaptogenic herb it can help one with hypo and hyper thyroid diseases (Hashimotos, Graves)

Preparation: The recommended dosage is 500mg capsule once to twice daily. Ashwagandha can be taken regularly, abstinence of one to two days after taking for three to four weeks. This allows the body to take a break so that one doesn’t grow dependent or build up a tolerance. The gap between allows the body to adapt on its own.

Precaution: should not be taking during pregnancy and breast feeding.

Kanchanar Guggulu

Kanchnar Guggulu

Medicinal Properties

Therapeutic Indications

  • Kanchnar Guggulu is an effective Ayurveda formula used in the treatment of PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome – along with Chandraprabhavati and Ashokarishta), hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism (along with arogyavadhini and yograjguggulu).
  • It corrects hormonal imbalances and offers relief from menstrual disorders like amenorrhoea and anovulation.
  • Kanchnar Guggulu also treats endometriosis (Kanchnar astringes the bleeding while the other ingredients scape the accumulated toxins), vaginal discharge and fibroids (pravalpishti/ bhasma and raktpadarripuchurna – effective to control bleeding), and enhances female reproductive health.
  • It detoxifies the body while removing excess Kapha from the tissue levels (due to its Kapha reducing properties).
  • The remedy encourages healthy elimination of toxins without aggravating the digestive fire.
  • It helps weight loss (triphala) by eliminating fluid retention in the body. It is a specific for swollen lymph nodes (flushes accumulated waste; also use Yashad Bhasma – immuno-modulatory medicine/ pure zinc) to boost immune system.
  • Researcher’s studies have shown it reduces cholesterol levels and burns fat.
  • Treatment of adhesions, swelling, lipoma and liver cyst (Arogyavardhini) by drying excessive Kapha. Addresses deep-rooted Kapha imbalances.
  • Reduces goiter and cervical adenitis.
  • Side effects – itchy skin, mild gastric irritation, and loose stool. Should not be taken during pregnancy.

PCOS is normallytreated with diabetic medicines, low dose contraceptive drugs (these are not without side effects). Alternatively, one can employ stress management, exercise (low impact), and weight loss (lower glycemic index and high fiber) diet.

Implement Ayurveda programs like meditation, diet, yoga, pranayama, and acupuncture also form part of the self-treatment for these conditions. 

Shatavari

Shatavari – It promotes healthy female hormonal balance. It is considered a powerful reproductive tonic that help support and strengthen the female reproductive tissues. It is useful in menopause conditions to treat hot flashes, low libido (aphrodisiac/arthava), cramps, excessive bleeding (raktagami), increase lactation (galactagogue), reproductive secretion (dryness during menses), and infertility. It can act as a mild aphrodisiac in male impotence and low sexual energy. 

Shatavari is used in Ayurveda to treat menstrual disorders like premenstrual syndrome, dysmenorrhea, and irregular uterine bleeding before and after menopause. The herb is considered beneficial for postmenopausal women when taking with saffron milk. It may also be useful for preventing and treating fertility concerns like endometriosis, uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts.

The constituent saponins in shatavari root has shown effectiveness in anti-aging process in the reduction of free-radical skin damage that leads to wrinkles. Shatavari also helps to prevent collagen breakdown. 

It is an adaptogenic herb that helps your body cope with physical and emotional stress.

Shatavari is a rejuvenator herb that supports majja dhatu (brain and nervine tonic). Shatavari is sattvic in nature and thus works to increase the essential biological element in Ojas. Its cooling nature calms down heated mental emotion states. Its cooling effect reduces high sadhaka pitta, which is responsible for discriminative thoughts and reason. It works to reduce pulsating headaches, overworked thinking, and high fevers of unknown origins. It cools and cleanses high pitta toxins from blood.

The overall benefit of rasa energetic effect helps with the circulation of nourishment to the vital organs.

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