Friday, September 17, 2021

Ayurveda for Obesity -- Part II: Shirodhara

 

In order to treat a disorder properly and effectively, it is essential for us to understand the components attributing to that disorder. Obesity, a common issue for much of the population, is categorized as an excess amount of body fat, but there are a number of factors contributing to that excess. The obvious and “direct” contributing factors include unhealthy eating habits, hormone imbalances, and sedentarism. The less obvious, or indirect, factors however, constitute a much longer list. Udhvartana, discussed in part one of this blog series, is a direct approach in which herbs and oils are rubbed on the skin to metabolize and liquify those excess fat cells. While Udhvartana treats obesity directly, there are a number of Ayurvedic modalities that indirectly treat obesity by remedying the indirect or more subtle causes.

Shirodhara (similar to a relaxing 7 day getaway in about 45 minutes) directly relieves a number of disorders such as headaches, migraines, insomnia, jet lag, PTSD, memory loss, anxiety, hypertension, diabetes, auto-immune conditions, and the main attraction of this blog... depression! I know, not the most uplifting topic, yet it is necessary to understand, because when depression no longer depletes our mental energy, obesity is also likely to be cured. A survey revealed that 43 percent of adults with depression were also obese. Over-all, adults with depression are more likely to be obese than those without depression. So, what is the connecting link between the two? Individuals who suffer from depression are likely to overeat, make poor food choices, and live a more sedentary lifestyle. Additionally, weight gain is a common side effect in many depression medications.

  The clear link between depression and obesity aids in the understanding of Shirodhara as a treatment for obesity. Now let’s explore what Shirodhara actually is. “Shiro” means head and “dhara” is the pouring of a substance onto points on the body. This treatment is categorized by pouring substances, most often herbal oils over the forehead in order to reduce stress, treat depression, anxiety, mental fatigue, and awaken to the essence of who we are. Shirodhara soothes and nourishes the brain cells and peripheral nerves through the skin, resulting in a tranquilized and stabilized mind. There are various types of Shirodhara based on the liquids used. These can include, but are not limited to, oils, milk, herb decoctions, ghee, buttermilk or coconut water, chosen according to the constitution and condition of the client. One session lasts for about 45-60 minutes, including a head, neck and face massage. For maximum benefits and it is recommended to receive Shirodhara every day for 7 days to a maximum of four weeks. 

      From start to finish, the procedure is relaxing and rejuvenating. Shirodhara begins with a five to ten minute head, neck and shoulder massage, and sometimes a full body massage if needed, based on the individuals’ condition and concerns. The client lies on their back on the Shirodhara/massage table. A small pillow or cloth is placed under the neck and a covering placed over the eyes for comfort and support. The Shirodhara pot is then positioned 4-6 inches above the client so that the oil falls onto the forehead in a steady stream. The Ayurvedic therapist then puts the oil into the pot and starts pouring onto the individual’s forehead. This is a continuous pouring from one side of the forehead to the other. Meanwhile, the individual receiving treatment enjoys the relaxation that naturally comes with the sensations. The oils are recollected, reheated, and re-administered, the oil is wiped off from the forehead and the individual rests on the table for a few minutes. The time of the treatment and the rest period are adjusted according to the person, the longer the treatment, the longer the rest period.

    Shirodhara is good for brain health and nourishment, and soothing and calming the nervous system, by synchronizing brain waves, stilling the mind, enhancing blood circulation to the brain, nourishing the hair and scalp and aiding in the release of stress and tension, it is energizing yet relaxing.  

            Although Shirodhara soothes the mind from the sensations, there is a scientific process that induces the benefits. The back and forth motion of pouring the oil synchronizes brain waves, enhancing blood circulation to the brain that nourishes the brain, and is soothing and calming the nervous system. Complimentary to this relaxation, stress is also reduced as a result of the serotonin secretion in the head. As the sensations in the head pass through the nerves and calm the brain, serotonin levels in the brain increase even more, decreasing mental stress and depression. Additionally, by opening the pathways in the brain, the body is able to deliver nutrients more effectively, aligning the body and mind resulting in our experience of ourselves at our source and with the nature of the soul, feeling calm, healthy, and peaceful. Over-all, Shirodhara positively affects our mood. And when we feel good mentally, we are more likely to feel less stressed, and make healthier choices for the body, including healthy weight loss. 

To learn more about our Shirodhara courses visit ChayaVeda School of Massage or our personal wellness services. 


Shirodhara Massage Treatment, Procedure, Oils & Benefits (ayurtimes.com)
Depression: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and More (healthline.com)


Friday, September 10, 2021

Ayurveda for Obesity -- Part I: Urdhvartana Powder Massage



Obesity is a pressing and increasing concern for the health and well being of all. Defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation, obesity ranks as the fifth leading risk for global deaths. According to OSHA, 2.8 million people die from obesity or obesity related conditions each year. Unfortunately, obesity is one of the very few conditions in which there is no magical cure or quick-fix pill for. Thankfully, however, Ayurvedic healing provides us with multiple modalities to actually treat obesity... naturally! In this blog, we will explore the Ayurvedic modality called Udhvartana -- what it is, how the treatment is performed, and how exactly it remedies obesity.   


Unlike Western medicinal and therapeutic practices, Ayurvedic remedies are tailored to meet the needs of the unique qualities of each individual. So, in order to fully understand the science behind Udhvartana, we first must understand the type of individual the treatment is designed for. In the universe there are three life forces, called doshas, which intermix to create the characteristics of each unique human being. The doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Udhvartana contains healing properties specifically for Kapha type individuals, who are more prone to develop obesity. This is because the Kapha dosha becomes prominent when earth and water elements meet and elevate vitiate beyond a healthy amount and condition, creating a heavy, slow, sluggish, cold, damp and dense combination of qualities. Therefore, overeating, insufficient exercise, excessive sleep, slow metabolism, and water retention are common tendencies for the out of balance kapha type person. 


Udhvartana addresses the accumulated or vitiated Kapha properties, by the alleviation of excess water, and Shoshana properties, absorption. The treatment consists of a full body massage with the use of dry herbal powder and sometimes with the addition of flour and oils. The massage therapist lightly massages the body in an upward direction and opposite the direction of the hair with each body part placed in their respective positions. Thirty to forty five minutes is all it takes for this treatment to work its magic! The massage is followed by either a steam bath or hot shower. Benefits to Udhvartana include: stimulation of fat cell metabolism, decreasing subcutaneous fat by inducing heat and excessive sweating, that also tones the skin and underlying muscle, and gives a good sturdy figure. The specific techniques used in Udhvartana to target and remedy kapha type qualities creates a more effective remedy for weight loss than attempted remedies in the West. 


We now have an understanding of what Udhvartana is and the benefits it reaps, but how exactly does it work? Store Jiva explains, “When the herbal powders and oils are rubbed on the skin with a specific action it opens the pores, removes blockages in the vessels, increases heat in the tissues, and stimulates fat metabolism.” As the pores open, the herbal oil percolates deep into the skin and liquefies the fat. Unlike any “weight loss pill” at a drug store which you have no idea what it’s doing to your body, Ayurvedic treatments leave you feeling comfortable and confident about the science behind the treatment and what is actually happening within your body.     


In a case study, the results of a therapeutic program that includes Urdhvartana prove its steady effectiveness. A 36 year old woman, overweight, was experiencing laziness, fluid retention, high blood pressure, food cravings, anxiety, breathlessness walking up stairs, and dizziness. After one round of treatment of Udhvartana she lost 5 kg (11 lbs) and after a year of treatments she lost a total of 10 kg (22 pounds.) Her body fat percentage dropped from 40.68% to 38.64% after one treatment and after one year continued dropping to 36.47%. Her, along with many other’s body composition statistics clearly shows how beneficial Ayurveda, particularly Urdhvartana, is for treating obesity. 


To learn more about your dosha use our dosha questionnaire and schedule an Ayurvedic Consultation with Chaya. To learn more about Udhvartana and our Ayurvedic Massage & Bodywork courses visit ChayaVeda School of Massage.


MANAGING OBESITY WITH AYURVEDA | Ayurveda Kenya

Ayurveda-Test (kostenlos) | euroved

Udvartana (Ayurveda Powder Massage): A Review Article | Request PDF (researchgate.net)

Udvartana Therapy - Lose weight and control diabetes (jiva.com)

https://www.womenbuddha.com/udvartana/


Sunday, April 11, 2021

Ayurvedic Medicine and Oral Health Care


When people think of Ayurveda, the field of oral health may not come to mind. However, dentistry is included in its Shalakya Tantra, which means system of surgery. Techniques such as chewing sticks and oil pulling have been used since Ancient India and have proven benefits for overall oral health.

In the Ayurvedic practice, chewing sticks are recommended to prevent diseases. Its recommended dose is every morning and after every meal. The sticks contain herbs that can either be described as ‘kashaya’ (astringent), ‘katu’ (acrid), or ‘tikta’ (bitter) in taste. Chewing sticks are also made from fresh stems of plants taken from a healthy tree. These plants can range from, but not limited to liquorish, cutch tree, margosa and milkweed plant. Aside from the fact that the stems have anti-bacterial properties, chewing on the stems cause a lot of salivary secretion, allowing plaque control. 

The type of chewing stick that is most beneficial to the user is determined by their respective dosha. Vata is prone to developing receding gums, Kapha is prone to having pale and hypertrophic gums and Pitta is prone to inflammation and benefits from chewing sticks with a bitter taste. The concept is similar to brushing one’s teeth, however the stick is chewed instead. 

Directions to use a chewing stick: crush one end, chew it, and eat it slowly. 

There are also studies that have shown that neem extract found in Ayurvedic tooth powders/pastes cause fewer dental cavities in children. Mango leaf is also a popular tactic to help fight against dental cavities. It’s common to wash and fold the leaf into a cylindrical pack and rub it on the teeth as well as a tongue cleaner. Mango leaves contain a compound called mangiferin, which helps fight against certain strains of pneumococci, streptococci, staphylococci, and lactobacillus acidophilus.

Oil pulling” is another technique used in Ayurveda medicine to improve oral health. This concept involves swishing oil in your mouth. The oil used is typically sunflower or sesame oil. Sesame oil has many benefits such as being anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory, it is high in antioxidants, improves cardiovascular health and aids controlling blood sugar. Oil pulling has been known to help with headaches, diabetes and asthma. This technique is beneficial to those who have gum disease, mouth ulcers, fever, indigestion, or have the tendency to vomit while brushing their teeth. Studies compared oil pulling with sesame oil vs. chlorhexidine mouthwash, a prescriptive germicidal mouthwash primarily used by dentists. It was found that oil pulling showed a reduced amount of plaque.

The realm of holistic medicine is very vast and one that people can benefit greatly from incorporating into their daily routine. 

References:

Singh, Abhinav, and Bharathi Purohit. “Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health.” Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine vol. 2,2 (2011): 64-8. doi:10.4103/0975-9476.82525

Shanbhag VK. Oil pulling for maintaining oral hygiene - A review. J Tradit Complement Med. 2016 Jun 6;7(1):106-109. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcme.2016.05.004. PMID: 28053895; PMCID: PMC5198813.


Saturday, March 27, 2021

Daily Greens!!

At the end of March, we celebrate National Spinach Day. This day reminds and educates us on the health benefits of this leafy green vegetable.

Benefits of Spinach:

Nutrient Rich: Spinach is full of Vitamin K, A, and C
Antioxidants: The consumption of spinach will provide many antioxidants that aid with inflammation and disease prevention.
Disease Prevention: eating more spinach may help heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and      obesity
Brain health: Spinach helps with cognitive ability, especially with aging
Blood Pressure: Due to its source of natural nitrates, spinach aids to decrease blood pressure
Eye health: Lutein is an antioxidant that is found in spinach. It has been shown to lower risk of eye disease and vision loss

Fun Fact:

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a 100-gram serving of spinach contains 28.1 milligrams of vitamin C, 34 percent of the daily recommendation.

Nutrition Facts: 

One cup of raw spinach contains:

  • 7 calories
  • 0.86 grams (g) of protein
  • 30 milligrams (mg) of calcium
  • 0.81 g of iron
  • 24 mg of magnesium
  • 167 mg of potassium
  • 2,813 international units (IU) of Vitamin A
  • 58 micrograms of folate

Chyaya's Palak Paneer; Spinach and Paneer (fresh cheese) Recipe

Ingredients: 

• 1 cup firm paneer (recipe below) or substitute store bought or cubed sauted tofu
• 1 tablespoon ghee or oil
• 3 tablespoons ghee or mild flavored oil
• Pinch of hing (optional)
• 1½ teaspoons cumin seeds or powder
• 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
• ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds or powder
• 2 pounds spinach, coarsely chopped
• Pink Salt to taste
• Pinch of sugar
• Crème fraiche or yogurt (optional) 

Directions: 

1. Slice paneer into cubes. Sauté in the ghee or oil over medium heat, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Set aside. 

2. Heat the ghee or oil in a large wok or pot. Add the hing, cumin, ginger and fenugreek, and sauté for 1 minute over low heat, stirring constantly. 3. Add the spinach and sauté until tender. Drain off excess water, add salt and the sugar and finely chop or puree.  

4. Return spinach to the pot and gently stir in the paneer pieces.  5. Serve with a decorative drizzle of crème fraiche or yogurt if desired. Notes: For vata use more paneer and ghee, for kapha use less paneer and ghee and more fresh ginger

Notes: For vata use more paneer and ghee, for kapha use less paneer and ghee and more fresh ginger.

Paneer Recipe

Ingredients:

½ Gallon whole milk (we use local, organic milk from grass fed cows, pasteurized not homogenized)
1 cup organic yogurt or lemon juice
Yields about 1¾ cups

Directions:

1. Bring milk to boil.
2. Gently stir in the yogurt. Do not stir for more than a few seconds.
3. After a few more seconds, the curds and whey will separate. Separation is complete when the white curds are floating in yellowish whey.
4. If the liquid remains milky, stir in more yogurt or lemon juice and wait another few seconds.

Notes: 

For soft or medium panir: pour the entire contents of the pot through a sieve or a colander. Scrape off any remaining panir in the bottom of the pot. Allow to drain until the whey is gone, but not more than 1 hour.

For hard panir: Continue to simmer the coagulated panir for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, cover and let stand for no less than 10 minutes. Line a sieve or colander with cheesecloth or unbleached muslin, allowing the edges to drape over the sides. Very gently ladle the curds into it without breaking them up and scrape off the panir at the bottom of the pot. Bring up the edges of the cloth over the cheese. Cover with something flat, like a pie pan. Place a weight on it like a brick or jar of beans. Allow to drain for several hours or overnight.

Ideally, serve panir the day you prepare it or at lunch following an overnight draining. It will, however last 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator if well wrapped.

Significance:

100 gms of paneer made from cow milk provides 18.3 gms of protein, 20.8 gms of fat, 2.6 gms of minerals, 1.2 gms of carbohydrates, 265 kcal of energy, 208 mgs of calcium, 138 mg of phosphorous. It contains reasonably good amounts of fat and 45 ml cholesterol. It would be better to avoid it for those with hypertension and diabetes due to its high fat content. It can however be used in small quantities for such people, once or twice a week. It is suitable for all age groups.

Paneer is also a great source of conjugated linoleic acid — a fatty acid which helps lose weight by increasing the fat burning process in the body.  Linoleic acid belongs to one of the two families of essential fatty 

acids which means that the human body cannot synthesize it from other food components, and it is typically low in food.

Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid that must be consumed for proper health. A diet deficient in linoleate (the salt form of the acid) causes mild skin scaling, hair loss, and poor wound healing in rats, 

While making paneer from milk, don't throw away the paneer water. This nutritious water can be used for making soft dough for chapattis or can be used to cook dals.

One vaidya recommends yogurt as being more “natural” for the process. In my experience, it makes a better textured and flavored product as well. Paneer is somewhat unpredictable, how it turns out depends on the fat content of the milk, the sourness of the yogurt, the timing and temperature of just about everything involved in the process, the sun, moon and the stars.


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Not All Wounds Are Visible; Brain Injury Awareness


March is Brain Injury Awareness Month! There are more than 5.3 million children and adults in the United States who are living with a permanent brain injury-related disability. That is 1 in every 60 people, making it a leading cause of death and disability in the US. Traumatic brain injuries are more common than we think, so bringing public awareness and consciousness can help make a real change in these individuals lives. 

As part of Brain Injury Awareness Month, our communities are provided an important opportunity to bring attention to the prevention of brain injury and to promote different strategies that can improve the quality of life for people living with brain injuries and their families. In the #MoreThanMyBrainInjury campaign this March, their main goals are to have everyone join in: increasing understanding of brain injury as a chronic condition, reducing the stigma associated with having a brain injury, showcasing the diversity of injury and the demographics of the community, and improving care and support for individuals with brain injury. 

The definition of a brain injury is a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain. Brain injuries most commonly happen from a sport’s injury or car accidents. Symptoms, such as blurry vision, confusion, trouble thinking or remembering, sleeping problems, slurred speech, and difficulty concentrating, can be seen immediately or more delayed in the individual. There are two types of brain injuries: traumatic or non-traumatic, both being very serious and deadly. 

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury:  
Falls
Assaults
Car and Motorcycle Accidents
Sports Injuries
Abusive Head Trauma
Gunshot Wounds
Workplace Injuries 

Causes of Non-Traumatic Brain Injury:
Stroke
Infectious Disease (Meningitis, Encephalitis)
Seizure
Electric Shock
Tumors
Toxic Exposure
Metabolic Disorders
Neurotoxic Poisoning (Carbon Monoxide, Lead Exposure)
Lack of Oxygen (Drowning, Choking, Hypoxic/Anoxic Injury)
Drug Overdose

In the case titled, “Effective Ayurvedic management of Diffuse Axonal Injury following severe Head injury,” the researcher used an Ayurvedic line of treatment for their patient’s brain injury. The study’s main goal was to demonstrate that Ayurveda is capable of playing an important role in the recovery of complicated cases such as a traumatic brain injury, called ‘Shirobhighat’

The patient, a 28-year-old male, suffered a severe brain injury in a road traffic accident where his motorcycle slipped off the road. His first symptoms included loss of consciousness and vomiting, early signs of a brain injury. The patient was diagnosed with Diffuse axonal injury (DAI). DAI is a very common form of traumatic brain injury. This injury occurs due to sudden trauma to the head by acceleration/deceleration/rotation causing brain damage. As a result, there is diffuse damage to the brain cells that causes severe problems physically, mentally, or emotionally. The male’s treatment consisted of Ayurvedic drugs and panchakarma, including Yogbasti (enema therapy), Majjabasti (therapeutic oil applications), Nasya (nose/sinus therapy), Pinda Swedana (therapeutic bolas), Snehana (abhyanga oil massage), and Shirodhara. The combined effect of all the therapies improved the function of the brain and brought the patient to a state of consciousness, preventing convulsions, improving memory, and quieting his mind. 

In this case and others, Shirodhara was shown to be highly useful. This treatment improves vacha/speech, stabilizes the mind and gives strength to dhee/intelligence, dhriti/brings knowledge into action and smriti/enhances awareness. Shirodhara is a very beneficial part of Ayurveda and helped this man to restore his mental health. 

It was a result of the Ayurvedic line of treatment that the patient made a full recovery without any disability, which was not the expected result of his traumatic injury. 

For those who would like to learn more, check out the case study below, or register for our Vishesh/Shirodhara Modality. The next module is June 5 & 6, with early bird through May 5, 2021.
We offer all the modalities listed above. Take 1 module or take them all and get certified as an Ayurvedic Massage & Bodywork Specialist.

If you know someone who could benefit from this treatment, please share.   

Together, we can advance awareness, research, treatment, and education and help improve the quality of life for all people affected by brain injury.

Sources:
https://www.biausa.org/public-affairs/public-awareness/brain-injury-awareness  https://www.fcneurology.net/march-is-brain-injury-awareness-month/ http://jmscr.igmpublication.org/home/index.php/current-issue/4672-effective-ayurvedic-management-of-diffuse-axonal-injury-following-severe-head-injury-a-case-study



Saturday, March 13, 2021

What's In Your Cup? National Caffeine Awareness Month

 


Annually we observe National Caffeine Awareness Month in March to raise awareness regarding its effects, including benefits and risks, and ways consumers can modify consumption. Caffeine use is increasing worldwide and is the most researched food source with valuable studies showing that caffeine has been related to many physical and mental health issues and even our mortality. 

Caffeine is believed to be the most frequently consumed psychostimulant and psychoactive drug in the world, ingested predominantly as coffee, though many other natural sources of caffeine-containing beverages and products exist and contain significant amounts of the substance, for example, tea, chocolate, cocoa beverages, soft drinks, and energy drinks. There are also synthetic caffeine substances added to products to promote arousal, alertness, energy, and elevated mood. Over the past decade, the introduction of new caffeine-containing food products, as well as changes in consumption patterns of the more traditional sources of caffeine, has increased scrutiny by health authorities and regulatory bodies about the overall consumption of caffeine and its potential cumulative effects on behavior and physiology. 

Caffeine use is increasing worldwide and is part of the diet in all countries. The underlying motivations are mainly concentration and memory enhancement and physical performance improvement. Coffee and caffeine-containing products affect the cardiovascular system, with their positive inotropic and chronotropic effects, meaning, changes to muscles and heartrate, and the central nervous system, with their locomotor activity stimulation and anxiogenic-like effects, which cause anxiety. Thus, it is of interest to examine whether these effects could be detrimental for health and human behavior. Furthermore, caffeine abuse and dependence are becoming more and more common and can lead to caffeine intoxication, which puts individuals at risk for unhealthy life, both physically, mentally and emotionally, as well as premature and unnatural death.

 With regard to cognitive functions, caffeine’s properties have been investigated in both human and animal studies. In epidemiological reports, a link between chronic caffeine consumption and a significantly lower risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, has been described. Likewise, chronic treatment with caffeine has been shown to be effective in preventing β-amyloid (Aβ) production and memory deficits in experimental models of Alzheimer’s disease. While caffeine seems to prevent or restore memory impairment due to disturbances in brain homeostasis, its cognition-enhancing properties are still a matter of debate. Besides, moderate-to-high consumers develop tolerance to caffeine and only low or non-consumers can eventually benefit from an acute administration.

The use of caffeine to stay awake and alert is a long-standing habit. Coffee is the most popular beverage after water and is consumed worldwide in daily amounts of approximately 1.6 billion cups, which is quite an impressive figure.

 The stimulant effects of caffeine on the central nervous system have been known for centuries. In the 19th century a well-known consumer was Honoré De Balzac. Saying that he loved the coffee is not enough. He was completely dependent on it and in the period in which he wrote “The Human Comedy” he went on to drink up to 50 cups a day. In 1830, he published an article in a French magazine called “Pleasures and pains of coffee”, which recounted: "coffee slips into the stomach and you immediately feel a general commotion. Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army on the field of the battle and the battle takes place. Memories come at a gallop, carried by the wind”.

 Of particular concern is the rate of caffeine intake among populations potentially vulnerable to the negative effects of caffeine consumption: pregnant and lactating women, children and adolescents, young adults, and people with underlying heart or other health conditions, such as mental illness.

 In addition, in epidemiological reports and experimental models, caffeine has been found to have a role in the prevention of motor symptoms and loss of dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson’s disease.

 With regard to physical activity, it should be noted that until 2004 the International Olympic Committee listed caffeine in its prohibited substances list. Professional athletes who tested positive for more than 12 μg/l of urine – which corresponds to drinking about 5-6 cups of coffee in a day – were banned from the Olympic games.

 In the past years, a relationship between coffee consumption and several types of cancers, such as colon, bladder, and pancreatic ones, has been postulated. Yet, the recent literature has provided no evidence of this relationship, it does see potential links to the chemicals that may be produced during the roasting process (The American Caner Society).

 Caffeine is implicated in many imbalances and diseases, affecting all the systems of the body, increasing anxiety, sleeplessness, and psychosis. In some cases, caffeine may be necessary and safe for light use, in small doses, moderate use of caffeine can be incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle and Ayurveda’s personal approach to health and rejuvenation can help us better understand how.

 Coffee and caffeinated beverages are part of the diet in all countries, and cultivating awareness of how we incorporate them into our lives for with mindfulness and education to maintain balance and integrity that is in alignment with our body type, condition and stage of life.

re: Journal of Neuropharmacology, Frontiers in Psychiatry, ChayaVeda Integrative Healing Arts 

Average amount of caffeine per cup varies per brand and what you consider a cup.
Generally 1 cup -8oz, but some shops serve 12, 16, or even larger cups

Average caffeine content per cup

Coffee: 95-128 mg (12-16 per ounce)
Starbucks: shot of expresso: 75 mg, 8 oz cup of medium roast: 155 mg
Shot of Expresso: 63 mg (1 ounce)
Black Tea: 47 mg
Green Tea: 35 mg
Hot Chocolate: 5 mg
Bang Energy: 300 mg
Red Bull: 111 mg 

Ayurvedic Education for Coffee Drinkers

1.      Know your Ayurvedic Constitution: Vata, Pitta, or Kapha

Take our dosha questionnaire

2.      Avoid coffee if there are signs of heartburn, acid reflux or indigestion.
This can be signs of excess Pitta.

3.      Avoid coffee if there are signs of dry skin and hair, anxiety, fatigue, poor sleep patterns.
This can be signs of excess Vata.

4.      Drink Coffee before 10:00 am

5.      Add boiled milk and cardamom powder to counter the acidic qualities
(why Chai is a better choice, see Chaya’s recipe below)

6.      Use organic coffee

Chaya’s Chai Tea Recipe

This recipe can be a great alternative to get your caffeine fix, all while reducing caffeine intake. Additionally, cardamom is a anti-inflammatory, alkaline-forming, digestive support.

Ingredients:
2/3 cup water
1+1/3 cup milk
½ teaspoon either black or ¾ red tea
¼ tsp Chaya’s Traditional Chai Spice mix (or make your own, recipe below),
2-3 teaspoons turbinado or jaggery sugar to taste

Instructions:
Boil all the ingredients, simmer and strain. Chai is traditionally made with Indian black tea (available at Indian grocery as Red Label orange pekoe). You can vary the tea, substituting other black teas or make a more untraditional, caffeine free version with green, red or decaf black teas.

Variations: You may vary the amounts of milk and sugar according to taste and dosha. Increasing the milk and or sugar can provoke Kapha. If you use caffeinated tea, the cardamom will help neutralize the acidic effects of the caffeine for pitta.

Summer variation: add a splash of rose water for its cooling, pitta reducing effects and good taste in summer.

Winter variation: add ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger root to add more heat, for vata and kapha reducing effects and good taste for winter.

 Chai Spice Mix:

2 Tablespoons ground ginger
1 Tablespoon black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 ½ Tablespoons cardamom
In a small bowl, mix together all of the ingredients and store in a glass jar. 

 

 

 

Friday, February 5, 2021

Go Red For Women


 
                                                          National Wear Red Day

Today is National Wear Red Day. National Wear Red Day is celebrated globally on the first Friday of February. Around the globe we unite to wear red to raise awareness, become educated, and support women suffering from cardiovascular diseases. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among women. 1 in 3 deaths in the US are caused by cardiovascular disease, this is too many. According to the CDC, there are 200,000 deaths from heart disease and stroke per year, due to lifestyle changes. They are preventable, so let’s make a change and make our hearts healthy!

                                                     What is Cardiovascular Disease?

Cardiovascular disease is an umbrella term for coronary heart disease, heart failure, hypertension, and stroke. Coronary Heart Disease is responsible for half of cardiovascular related deaths. Coronary Heart Disease includes acute myocardial infarction (heart attacks), unstable angina pectoris (chest pain), and sudden cardiac death. In the United States, every 42 seconds someone suffers a heart attack. Warning signs for a heart attack include tightness or pain in the chest, shortness of breath, flu like symptoms, arm, back, or neck pain, abnormal heartbeat, fatigue, lightheadedness, and/or nausea. A stroke occurs every 40 seconds and is the second leading cause of death among cardiovascular disease. Two of the more common symptoms of stroke include memory loss and paralysis. Paralysis occurs on the opposite side of the body of where the brain damage has occurred. Patients with right brain damage may experience vision problems and/or may behave impulsively or inappropriately. Patients with left brain damage may experience problems with their language or speech. 

                                                       Ayurveda Heart Healthy Tips:


1. Manage Stress: It is important to reduce daily stressors in your life. Stress is a component in 5 out of 6 leading causes of death in the United States. Did you know 75-90% of doctors’ visits are for stress related issues? The Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy (AYT) perspective of stress illustrates that tension is created in the natural play of opposites that exist in nature. Stress is our experience when these natural polarities are out of balance (IYT YTT Manual: 8.2)

a. Take a yoga class

b. Practice a form of Meditation, guided imagery, progressive relaxation or Yoga Nidra

c. Focus on your breath 

d. Read your favorite book

e. Step outside and breathe in the fresh air

2. Stay Active: Part of being heart healthy includes daily exercise. Cardiovascular risk factors include obesity, hypertension, sedentary lifestyle, dyslipidemia (elevated cholesterol), family history, cigarette smoking, and age. A majority of the risk factors can be avoided with weight management and a healthy lifestyle. As little as 30 minutes a day of exercise can make a huge difference! If you feel like you’re too busy to exercise for 30 minutes, split it up! You can take a 15 min walk in the morning and 15 min walk in the evening. There are plenty of ways to get in your daily dose of activity.

a. Go on a nature walk

b. Make it either a competition or cooperation with coworkers, friends or family for most miles/ steps walked this month

i. Download the app charity miles! Track the miles you walk while donating to your favorite charity

c. Have a dance party, maybe virtually for now, or safely with your pod

d. Take an online exercise or dance class 

e. Bike or walk around the neighborhood 

f. Take a swim

3. Eat Healthy: Nutrition is key, an Ayurvedic diet focuses on balancing the energy within your body. Everybody has a dominant dosha and the ayurvedic diet focuses on keeping the doshas in balance. There are specific food guidelines for each constitutional type which will support digestion and improves one’s overall health.

a. Eat according to your constitutional type; take our doshic questionnaire to find out which dosha you are

b. Follow the DASH diet (dietary approaches to stop hypertension)

c. Limit sodium and refined sugar

d. Cook; home cooked food is healthier than eating out, especially fast food

e. Eat more fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean meats

f. Swap unhealthy fats for healthy fats; unhealthy fats are fats that are hydrogenated or high in saturated fats (butter, corn oil, margarine, soybean oil)

i. Healthy Fats: ghee, olive oil, avocado, nuts, salmon (do not consume avocado oil, when it’s heated, the omega ratio becomes unbalanced)

ii. Ghee: In Ayurvedic cooking and baking we use ghee rather than butter. Ghee is easily digestible and helps improve absorption and assimilation. Ghee is acceptable for Pitta and Vata and can be used in moderation for Kapha.

g. Add spices to your dishes to stimulate and strengthen your enzyme production that enhances digestive strength.

4. Get a Good Night’s Rest; it is recommended to sleep 7-8 hours a night. Not getting an adequate amount of sleep each night can lead to many health problems, including cardiovascular diseases.

a. Rise with the sun and go to sleep by 10:00 pm

b. Trouble sleeping try reading before bed or listening to a sleep meditation

c. Turn off your electronics at least 30 minutes before falling asleep

d. Take your Medications and Keep Track of your Doctor Appointments

                                               Herbal Remedies for Heart Health:

1. Arjuna: promotes healthy functioning of the heart muscle, strengthens the circulatory system 

2. Cinnamon: lowers bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and can lower blood pressure

3. Garlic: lowers blood pressure, lowers bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and increases HDL (good cholesterol), and may reduce risk of heart attack and stroke (not advised for pitta dosha)

4. Ginger: increases excretion of cholesterol, increases circulation, burns ama (toxins)

5. Turmeric: lower bad cholesterol (LDL), reduces inflammation, and helps prevent blood clots


                                                   Heart Healthy Muffin Recipe:

Who said muffins couldn’t be healthy? A basic tridhoshic recipe, intended to be altered to create your own original muffins.

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached white flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3⁄4 teaspoon baking soda

3⁄4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup sugar

3⁄4 cup buttermilk or yogurt

3⁄4 cup water

1⁄4 cup melted ghee

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Butter 12 muffin cups.

2. Mix the dry ingredients together.

3. Mix the buttermilk, water, and oil. Pour over the dry ingredients.

4. Beat until just barely mixed, about 15 strokes.

5. Pour the batter into the muffin cups. Bake until nicely browned, about 20 minutes.

Variations:

Date-Nut Muffins: Add 2/3 cup chopped dates and 1⁄2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans in Step 3.       (Yields to 1 to 2 additional muffins.)

Orange Muffins: Add 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest and replace the water with orange juice in Step 3.

Spice Muffins: In Step 2, add 1⁄2 tsp each: ground cinnamon, ground allspice, and ground ginger; 1⁄4 tsp each: ground nutmeg and ground cloves.

Banana or Pumpkin Muffins: Add 1 cup pureed ripe bananas or pureed cooked pumpkin in Step 3. Reduce the buttermilk (but not the water) to 1⁄2 cup.

Replace no more than 1⁄2 cup wheat flour with non-wheat flours such as barley, buckwheat, cornmeal, or bran.

Replace buttermilk or sour milk with nondairy milk or fruit juice mixed with 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

Add 1 cup drained grate carrot, zucchini, apple; reduce the buttermilk to 1⁄2 cup.


                                   How can you celebrate National Wear Red Day?

1. Wear Red

2. Promote Wear Read Day by posting on Social Media, creating a blog, posting a selfie of you doing your favorite heart healthy activity, and using #WearRedDay

3. Donate to the cause- American Heart Association

a. Donations are being matched!!

4. Become educated on cardiovascular diseases and ways to prevent cardiovascular disease and death

5. Decorate your office with red decorations or change your virtual background on zoom (wear red virtual backgrounds provided in first link below)

6. Get active

7. Create your favorite heart healthy recipe

8. Global Virtual Dance Party at 12- 12:30 pm ET!! 

9. Register: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/heart-month/wear-red-day

                                                                  Resources:

1. https://www.goredforwomen.org/en/get-involved/give/wear-red-and-give

2. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/heart-month/wear-red-day

3. https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/heartdisease-stroke/index.html#:~:text=At%20least%20200%2C000%20of%20these,managing%20high%20blood%20pressure%2C%20high 



Saturday, January 30, 2021

Keeping Up with Your New Year’s Resolutions; Ayurvedic Tips For A Life of Balance

 

We are officially one month into the new year, 2021. Have you asked yourself recently if you are proud of the progress you’ve made thus far? With the new year, comes new goals, resolutions, aspirations, and a new lifestyle for some. 

Setting goals, whether big or small, is only the easy part of the new year; the hard part comes later when the motivation starts to get lost in the stressors and chaos the new year brings. Chaya Integrative Healing Arts is here to give you some helpful Ayurvedic tips to keep the motivation alive and keep you on track to conquer whatever you have set your mind to. The first step in any healthy lifestyle is facing your obstacles with realistic strategies and structure. 

                       Below is the Ayurvedic Beneficial Daily Routine that will help you stay on track:

Rise with the sun

Clean your face, mouth, nasal passages with neti pot and nasya oil, and gargle with warm water with some sesame oil

Drink one cup of warm water with a few drops of fresh lemon

Yoga practice appropriate for your dosha and condition, coordinating breath and movement, incorporating pranayama (breathing), mantra and meditation or contemplation

Eat 3 meals per day according to your dosha and condition

Eat breakfast by 8:00am

Make lunch your largest meal around noon

Take some time after lunch for digestion

Go outside and appreciate nature

Eat a light dinner around 6:00pm, and not later than 7:00pm Relax and wind down after dinner

Offer gratitude

Go to sleep by 10:00pm

This is a great daily routine to follow to keep you focused on your whole person. By applying an Ayurvedic approach into one’s holistic life, there is a strengthened understanding of one’s makeup, and the affects that the outer world, environment, diet, and lifestyle choices make on our constitution and our daily lives. Taking this Ayurvedic approach will keep you balanced and give you a deeper relationship with yourself and the world around you. 

Along with the daily routine, here are 5 more secrets that the ChayaVeda team has put together for you to keep up with your New Year’s resolutions and have a successful and purposeful 2021:

1.      Start Small, Plan Well: It’s easy to get overwhelmed with big plans or resolutions. To avoid being overwhelmed with big, unreasonable or unattainable goals, start with small, an attainable plan. Include specific micro goals, within a given time frame, location, activity, etc. Make a list of your steps, consider obstacles and develop strategies to overcome them. Maybe try something familiar and get back on track with a lost hobby. For all our yoga teachers and practitioners and Massage Therapists out there, consider brushing up on your knowledge and skills with a Ayurvedic Yoga Immersion, YogaTeacher Training or our Ayurvedic Massage & Bodywork Course at ChayaVeda!

2.      Document Your Progress: Sometimes when we are working towards a goal, we don’t see the progress we’ve already made because we are comparing ourselves to the end product or image of what the end product will look like, rather than where we started. Keeping a journal or notepad to write down your milestones or thoughts you have along your journey. Writing down your goals and getting to cross them out will help you stay focused and motivated. It is important we observe our own progress and start from where we are now.

3.      Don’t Beat Yourself Up: Each time you judge yourself, you break your own heart and lose precious energy and focus for your goals and dreams.  We are often our own worst critic. If you are having a bad day or wanting to give up on your goals, take a step back and reflect on the positives you have accomplished and contemplate on gratitude for what you have in your life. It is important to remain patient and forgiving with yourself throughout this process and the journey of life.

4.      Build A Support System: It is important to create an inspiring and supportive environment to keep you on track with your goals. This environment may include friends and family members who will hold you accountable and positive and inspiring resources to encourage you along the way.

5.      Treat Yourself: Don’t forget to reward yourself for milestones, no matter big or small.

Always focus on your well-being. Find Freedom – Live purpose and have fun!

Contact Us to Schedule your personalized Ayurvedic Health Consultation or Program