Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Q: Are Mushrooms used in Ayurveda?

A: In traditional Ayurvedic cooking, mushrooms are not highly regarded and you won’t find them widely used in India. Mushrooms are not technically vegetables, they are fungi, which Ayurveda identifies as being less than nourishing and creating some negative effects.

They grow on decaying matter and considered a polluted (dushta ahara), impure and unhygienic food (asuchi or ahara malina) and unlike plants that use chlorophyll to photosynthesize light, they lack light and it’s resulting affect on digestive capacity called agni and life force known as prana, and are thereby associated with physical and psychological disorders.

They are avoided in a mold free or anti-candida diet because they are a fungus and create damp heat in the body and contribute to fungal conditions seen on the skin, nails, hair and tongue.

For these reasons, mushrooms are considered tamasic, creating ama, which is like a toxic sludge in the body and mind, and therefore are not part of a yogic diet that also doesn’t normally include onions, garlic, or mushrooms. While not taken as food, onions and garlic can be taken as medicine depending upon the dosha and condition of the person.

Many people were brought up eating certain foods and dishes, developing a taste for tamasic foods, however they don’t have the same good effects on your mind and body and once you get used to the bright and lively flavors of prana enriched foods, you will not want to over consume tamasic foods again.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Communication: Chutzpa; Ugly or Beautiful

Since being in the health profession for over 25 years and as an Ayurvedic Practitioner, Yoga Therapist, Massage Therapist and Health Coach, relationship and communication are a core part of our curriculum, healing and teaching to support others and be a skillful leader, that it is within my scope of practice to speak and shed light on raising awareness of how we can do better to serve our clients and each other. 

This weekend I experienced a disconnected conversation with someone that is in a position of leadership in a healing institution. When this happens it catches me by surprise, because I don’t expect this from someone who considers themselves a healer, demonstrating the disconnect and dysfunction of health practitioners and those in leadership roles in such an important, visible and affecting position, contributing to the separateness of disease rather than being part of the unity of healing, and contributing to the world as a stressful upside down place rather than being part of the solution of turning it up right.

Long before wonder woman adorned herself with a golden tiara as a symbol of her royal status and  invulnerability from telepathic attacks, there was a golden tiara of a different variety.  It was the golden tiara worn by the High Priest, and a symbol within many traditions, Jewish,  Greek, Hindu and others of adorning these head pieces.

Known in Hebrew as the “Tzitz”, it was said to serve as an antidote to brazenness, aka chutzpah (both giving and receiving it, through the self actualization it creates through raising our attention to something higher than ourselves). Beholding the words, Holy unto G-d on the forehead of the High Priest, was enough to keep the beholders’ brazenness in check. In the absence of the Holy Temple and the Priestly garments that went with it, the sages say, one should always pray in a house of worship with windows open to the sky, so that one will be mindful of heaven and be humbled in its presence.

This is not to suggest that one should be meek or timid, rather that ones’ “brazenness” should be directed to heaven - channeled and utilized for the sake of heaven, meaning a connection to divinity and a higher purpose.

There’s “ugly Chutzpah” as in disrespect and then there’s “beautiful Chutzpah” - as in boldness, daring, bravery, similar to Brenee Brown’s research and subsequent book on daring to lead, and  a necessary topic of constructive discussion to counteract the negative impacts of immature, inadequate, ignorant and destructive leadership, which really is not leadership at all. It’s like hiring a life guard who may have read the book, passed the written exam, but still doesn’t have the strength or skill to swim or save another,  unless the victim also read the same book and they dog paddle together, ending up on the wrong shore. How many people will have to drown or be lost before it is recognized?

As part of this beautiful creation, we have the ability to access our divinity, perhaps symbolized by wearers of the Golden Tiara - a constant reminder of our calling to be - Holy Unto G-d, which means, be like the warrior, be bold and brave with an open heart, which results in being respectful, authentically kind, compassionate and virtuous which uplifts and empowers everyone and is at the root of healing and differs from being disrespectful, self righteous, passive aggressive, narcissistic and bullying which is disempowering and contributes to stress and the disease process.

There is no leadership or communication class you can successfully complete without purifying and opening your own heart to listen and hear the others’ and no healing relationship or leadership that can be decorous and up-leveling without it.

May we all wear our tiaras, mindfully, with humble pride, by remembering to listen with our hearts and change the world with beautiful Chutzpah, one heart at a time.