So often in life, we shrug off the inner voice that guides us. When something doesn't feel right, we usually get that little notion within ourselves to change something about the situation. But how often have we just chosen to not listen, turn a blind eye and do the complete opposite of what we know … Continue reading Trust your inner voice
Ojas is the essence or nectar of the 7 bodily tissues (Plasma - Blood - Muscle - Fat - Bone - Marrow - Reproductive Fluid.) In Western terms, it is referred to as the body's immunity. It is far more than this however. Ojas is the binding fluid that exists in every cell of our body, protecting us continuously as we interact with other people and nature. It is often described as our body's ability to fight disease. Without this protective shield, our body is prone to rapid and severe aging, both physically and mentally. Apart from not having energy to function and perform daily tasks, we may become forgetful, absent-minded and unmotivated. Ojas is called our vital force, because it does just that - it gives us vitality, strength, enthusiasm and courage.
Fairly new to the western world, the Ayurvedic herb known as Ashwaghanda (Withania somnifera), is slowly but surely gaining popularity. It is affectionately known in Sanskrit by a variety of names, each of which denoting its powerful properties. Some of the more popular names are Vajinama, Balada, Vrusha - all of which express the strengthening and sexual vigor-promoting qualities of Ashwaghanda. It provides the strength and vitality of a horse, and smells like one too! It is a fairly light herb to digest, and is nourishing because it promotes moisturization and lubrication within the body. It has 3 primary tastes - sweet, astringent and bitter. It's potency is hot, therefore it is used to treat conditions such as Constipation, Paralysis, Asthma, Fatigue, Insomnia and Pain. In combination with other drugs, Ashwaghanda has also been used in effectively treating Rheumatoid Arthritis. A mixture of 5gms of Ashwaghanda powder + 10gms of Ghee in a glass of hot milk with a dash of sugar acts an excellent tonic, is nutritious and induces peaceful deep sleep. It should be taken atleast 1 hour before sleeping. Ashwaghanda has also proven to work effectively in treating nervine conditions such as Alzheimer's Disease, ADHD, Parkinson's and other degenerative disorders. It strengthens the heart, muscles, brain and reproductive fluid of both males and females. It is used as the drug of choice to promote the body's natural Immunity, known as Ojas. It helps to build tissue quickly and is often used by body builders and athletes. If taken in capsule form, it is best taken under the guidance of an Ayurvedic Physician. If taken incorrectly, it can promote excessive growth and developmental abnormalities, as well as lethargy, indigestion, bloating etc.
Pippali, one of the most commonly used Ayurvedic herbs, is warm in nature. It is not too hot, nor too cold. It is used to pacify diseases and disorders primary stemming from an imbalance of Vata or Kapha Dosha. It's main taste is Katu or Pungent, so in excess, it may be harmful to Pitta Dosha conditions, such as Ulcers, Burning sensations throughout the body, Stomatitis etc. However, due to its warm, unctuous nature, it is used very often as an appetizer. It improves the function of the digestive system and helps to break down toxic matter known in Ayurveda as Ama. It is used in combination with Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Ginger and Cumin, to boost the appetite. Pippali when applied locally, acts as an analgesic. It also alleviates Constipation, Loss of Appetite, Indigestion, Colic, Pain, and Liver or Splenic conditions, such as Hepatomegaly and Splenomegaly. It's blood purifying qualities, help the circulatory system function to its optimum, and though it is warm in nature, it is often used with Ginger to treat bleeding. For the respiratory system, Pippali is often the drug of choice when treating coughs, hiccups and asthma. It helps melt Kapha Dosha, and expel it from the channels, thereby relieving dyspnoea. Pippali, a great rejuvenator, helps to restore the proper functioning of the male reproductive system. It reduces seminal debility and acts as a natural aphrodisiac. Pippali, though vastly beneficial, can be harmful if taken in too large quantity. It is always recommended that one takes this herb under the guidance of an Ayurvedic Physician.
Ideally, asana practice brings us closer and closer to a balance point, to a state of stability, ease, and inner stillness from which health and happiness blossom. But as practice progresses, you may feel “stuck” in a particular part of the body. One area of common complaint, especially for those developing a sitting posture for meditation or pranayama, centers around the hips and the pelvis. And considering that the hip joints must bear weight and provide structural stability to the whole body while at the same time allowing us to walk, run, jump, bend over, and sit, it’s no wonder problems develop there. The pelvis is the foundation for...