Three Culinary Herbs in Ayurveda for Effective Healing

Rock paintings from the Stone Age are evidence of prehistoric human interaction with nature. They reveal wood, nuts, berries, leaves, barks, and seeds as significant sources of nutrition, medicine, shelter, entertainment, and beauty. They indicate that humans learned to use specific plants, herbs, and spices to enhance their food and health.

In Ayurveda, herbs and spices have not only played a critical role in improvising the culinary experience of humans over the millennia but have also been of great importance in context with medicinal practices to offer protection from diseases, help with mental health, and aid digestion.

A vast range of herbs and spices, including oregano, garlic, mint, sesame seeds, cloves, myrtle berries, celery, turmeric, anise, lavender, dill, pepper, capers, Coriander, myrrh, galbanum, fenugreek, cinnamon, dwarf chicory, hyssop, black mustard, nutmeg, parsley, lemon grass, chives, cilantro, basil, bay leaf, green onion, ginger, green pepper, hot chili pepper, tarragon, marjoram, sage and more are used all over the world in Indian, Greek, Egyptian, Turkish, Roman, Jewish, Italian and western cuisines. Moreover, under the Ayurvedic domain, culinary herbs stand out for their health benefits and the potential to enrich taste buds.

Here is a list of five culinary herbs and their essential details, underscoring their importance in the context of health-related benefits. You can add them to your routine dietary plans and witness the fulfilling results through their nutritional values.

1. Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) – Coriander leaves and seeds are rich in calcium, manganese, magnesium, iron, and vitamin C. Often used as a condiment, the characteristic smell of ‘coriander’ is caused by aldehydic compounds (terpenes, linalool, and pinene). In many countries, it is considered an aphrodisiac and a symbol of eternal love. It is treated essentially in curry powders, vegetarian dishes, pickling spices, baked goods, grilled meats, fish, and beverages. With its medicinal properties, traditionally, Coriander is used to treat colds, fever, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, stomach worms, epilepsy, anxiety, insomnia, and joint pain. In Ayurveda, it is excellent as a carminative, tonic, diuretic, stomachic, antibilious, and aphrodisiac. It is also beneficial in external treatment for ulcers and rheumatism. Phytonutrients and bioactive compounds are the attributions of many of Corinader’s healing properties. The compounds include aliphatic lactones, terpenes, glycerides, anthraquinones, sterols, and essential oils. Coriander can also reduce lipid levels because of its ability to increase bile synthesis. The culinary herb is rich in antiarthritic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anxiolytic, anticonvulsive, antidepressant, and neuro-protective medicinal properties.

2. Black Cumin (Nigella sativa) – It is a perennial culinary herb that grows to a height of just over half a meter. The herb bears white to light yellow delicate flowers and is known for its usage in cooking and traditional medicine. In Ayurveda, practitioners frequently prescribe Black Cumin seeds after extravagant feats to calm upset stomachs. In context to the herbal medicinal systems, they are also significant in treating chronic headaches, toothaches, stomach ailments, digestive and liver ailments, intestinal parasites, respiratory congestion, amenorrhea, colds, infections, and skin conditions like rashes, sores, itching, and herpes. Black Cumin oil also strengthens and brings luster to hair and nails. Treatment of snake bites, scorpion stings, old tumors, abscesses, fever, asthma, back pain, rheumatism, and diabetes is also possible through Black Cumin. The herb is good for purifying and detoxifying the body, reducing mucous, and improving lung function. Ayurvedic practices indicate that molecules from the plant have immunemodulating, antioxidant, anti-parasitic, cardio-protective, gastro-protective, and hepato-protective properties which are also beneficiary in treating hypertension, dyspepsia, dermatitis, and even cancer.

3. Mint (Mentha genus) – The four most commonly cultivated species of mint are menthol, peppermint, spearmint, and bergamot. While vitamins A and C are the major components of ‘Mint,’ it is also known for vitamin B2, calcium, zinc, copper, and magnesium. The herb’s aerial shoots and foliage are sources of essential oil rich in carvone, menthol, linalool, and linalyl acetate.

The herb is used in the treatment of indigestion, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, common colds, nausea, morning sickness, liver and gall bladder complaints, bad breath, breathing problems, clogged respiratory passages, insect bites, spasms during endoscopy procedures, cramps, as a cooling sensation for treating minor burns and skin irritations.

Peppermint is beneficial in preventing and treating risk factors of chronic degenerative diseases. It is also used in aromatherapy to relieve sore muscles and headaches. Spearmint benefits the digestive system by relieving flatulence, constipation, and vomiting, as well as is excellent for respiratory tract ailments like bronchitis, catarrh, asthma, and sinus.

The Glory of Following a Disciplinary Routine

In Sanskrit, the daily routine known as ‘Dinacharya’ is an ideal schedule celebrating nature’s rhythm. In Ayurveda, the center of attention is mobilized in the early hours of the day as it is significant in setting the mood of your day.

‘Ayurveda’ firmly believes that discipline for the body and mind strengthens immunity and purifies the body of its offscourings. With the help of a disciplinary schedule, one can clean the body and mind, balance their doshas, strengthen immunity, and begin the day on a rejuvenating note. Here is your guide to a significant routine that will help you to commence your daily chores on a blissful note –

1. Waking up at Brahma Muhurta – You should wake up about one and a half hours before sunrise to synchronize with the rhythm of the sun. Ayurveda recommends an auspicious time – the Brahma Muhurta – for waking up early. Hope, inspiration, and peace manifest at this time. The time in the early morning is considered best for meditation, self-analysis, supreme knowledge, and eternal happiness.

2. Enhance the Power of Breath – Check through which nostril your breath flows stronger. According to Ayurveda, the right nostril is solar-pitta, and the left is lunar- kapha. The right side of the brain controls creative activity, while the left controls logical verbal activity. When you breathe through your left nostril, the right side of your brain is more pre-dominant and vice versa.

3. Embrace the Positive Vibrations – Follow the custom of observing the lines in your palms and remember the deities of wealth, knowledge, and power. Rub your fingertips with your thumbs in a circular soothing manner – right clockwise and then left anticlockwise circles. Rub the palms using your fingertips, then turn the right wrist clockwise and the left anticlockwise. Kiss the palm of your side where the flow of breath is more robust, then kiss the other palm. By kissing your palm, you give the best vibrations to self-expression. Rub your hands together and move your palms slowly over your face, covering your head, shoulders, arms, and legs, creating an energy shield that wards off negative influences throughout the day.

4. Clean Up Yourself – Rinse yourself with cold water as it is an electrical conductor and can never irritate sensitive tissues. Henceforth, wash your hands, face, mouth, and eyes with cool water. Clean your nose, teeth, and tongue.

5. Meditate and Exercise – Perform ‘Pranayama’ while centering your vitality in the heart chakra or the third eye. Alternatively, take a short, slow walk in the fresh morning air. ‘Vyayama’ or physical exercise usually comprises yoga postures like ‘Surya Namaskar’ or sun salutation. Early morning exercises eradicate stagnation in the body and mind, make the digestive fire effectively stronger, reduce fat, and give you a feeling of lightness and joy as it fills your body with liveliness.

6. Pamper yourself and Bathe Right – Massage your body with sesame oil. Massaging the scalp, forehead, temples, hands, and feet for about 2-3 minutes is sufficient. Take your bath in water which is neither too hot nor too cold.

7. Make your Noon-time activities appropriate – Lunch should be taken early, between 12-1 pm, as the heaviest meal of the day. After the meal, take a walk to help the food digest.

8. Prayers and Meditations in Twilight Zone – This is a particular time of balance between day and night. It is the perfect time for evening prayers and meditations.

9. Move Forward to Dinner – Have your dinner lighter than lunch, around 6–7 pm. Take it at least three hours before bedtime, providing your body ample time to digest the food. Sleeping just after dinner with a heavy stomach should be strictly avoided. Walk for about 10 – 15 minutes or 150 steps to help digestion.

10. Bedtime Essentials – The ideal time to sleep is by 10:30 pm. You can massage the soles of your feet, palms, neck, and shoulders to calm the system before bed.

The Culture of Consciousness in Ayurveda

‘Consciousness’ is the individual counterpart, the seat of the intelligence that sprouts from conscience. Conscience is the organ of virtue and knowledge. The thinking process of consciousness embodies the mind, intellect, and ego. Your mind can imagine, think, attend to, aim, feel, and generate willingness. Your mind’s continual swaying affects its inner sheaths, intelligence, ego, consciousness, and self. Mind is mercurial by nature, elusive, and hard to grasp. Your mind is a storehouse of imprints and desires, which create excitement and emotional impressions. If the treads are favorable, they make good imprints; if unfavorable, they lead to aversion. Your beliefs generate the fluctuations, modifications, and modulations of consciousness. Therefore, if your mind is not disciplined and purified, it becomes involved with the objects and situations experienced, creating sorrow and unhappiness.

In the world of ‘Ayurveda’, where ‘Yoga’ and ‘Meditation’ are considered essential, the treatise on ‘Yoga’ commences by explaining the functioning of your mind. It would be best if you learned to discipline your mind. Intelligence, ego, and consciousness may be restrained, subdued, and diffused to draw yourself toward the core of your being and get absorbed in the soul. The culture of consciousness entails cultivation, observation, and progressive refinement of consciousness employing yogic disciplines. Practicing a disciplined code of yogic conduct and observing instructions for ethical action handed down by lineage, traditions, and spiritual masters are essential for the disciplinary routine. Ethical principles, translated from methodology into deeds, constitute the practice of yogic disciplines.

‘Practice’ and ‘renunciation’ are the two essential assets of the culture of consciousness.

Practice (‘Abhyasa’) is a wholehearted, unwavering, constant, and attentive search into a selected subject, tracked against all odds in the face of repeated failures, for an indefinitely longer tenure. It builds confidence and refinement in cultivating consciousness with firm resolve, application, attention, and devotion to create a stable foundation for training your mind, intelligence, ego, and consciousness. Renunciation (‘Vairagya’) is the art of learning to be free from craving for worldly pleasures and desires and paradisiacal eminence. On the doorway to renunciation, you must learn to renounce objects and ideas which disturb and hinder your daily yogic practices. Ideally, you must cultivate non-attachment to the fruits of your labor or action and develop the ability to set yourself free. Renunciation is discriminative discernment. It is the act of giving up all sensuous delights and abstention from worldly appetites and helps you to discriminate between the real and the unreal.

A bird cannot fly with one wing. In the same way, we need the two wings of ‘practice’ and ‘renunciation’ to soar up to the zenith of soul realization. If ‘practice’ (‘abhyasa’) and ‘renunciation’ or ‘non-attachment’ (‘vairagya’) is assiduously observed and welcomed with open arms in your lifestyle practices, restraint of the mind becomes possible much more quickly and effectively. Then, you can also explore what is beyond your mind and taste the nectar of immortality, excellent health, and soul realization. The intensity of practice and renunciation transforms the uncultured, scattered consciousness into a cultured consciousness, able to focus on the states of awareness. With the correct methodologies, you can develop philosophical curiosity, analyze with sensitivity, and learn to grasp material objects’ ideas and purposes from the proper perspective. Then, you can meditate on the ideas to fully understand the subtle aspects of the matter. After that, you can move on to experiencing spiritual elation or the pure bliss of meditation, finally sighting the ‘Self.’

Ten Benefits of Ayurvedic Detoxes

Proper healthcare through Ayurvedic detoxes is a centuries-old consequential practice that has helped people to remove toxins from their bodies. A full-body detox through regular organ function with the body naturally eliminating harmful substances through the kidneys, liver, skin, digestive system, and lungs; helps your body to get rid of pollutants and synthetic chemicals inhaled or consumed through preservatives or processed food items.

In the world of Ayurveda, ‘detoxification’ is a widespread catchword. Based on the doshas, ‘Vata,’ ‘Pitta’ and ‘Kapha’ under the umbrella of combinations through five elements – Vayu (air), Teja (fire), Jala (water), Prithvi (fire) and Aakash (space); the implementation of different detox practices comes to the forefront. Detoxification helps to maintain the balance between the three ‘doshas’ and the five elements. It is also significant in restoring balance to your overall health.

The traditional Ayurvedic detox involves herbs, supplements, purges, enemas, bloodletting, a dietary regimen, and stress-relieving practices like meditation and massage. Without a streak of doubt, imbalanced bodily functionalities or ‘doshas’ lead to health imbalances. Regular Ayurvedic detoxes play a beneficiary role as remedies for such health issues.

Not all Ayurvedic detoxes look identical since people have different ‘doshas.’ There are varieties in this category to cleanse your body of impurities and toxins. In addition to a physical detox, making broader changes to dietary and lifestyle routines helps you to achieve a balanced ‘dosha.’ Henceforth, an Ayurvedic detox may last 6-45 days, depending on the type of detoxing practices involved.

The world’s oldest concept of traditional healing – Ayurveda, celebrates the science of life through each of its noteworthy practices. Without any side effects or adverse effects on your mental, physical, and emotional health, you can positively rejoice in the benefits of Ayurvedic detoxes. Dietary modifications, massage, meditation, and elimination through purging, nasal clearance, and bloodletting are the conventions of effective bodily detoxification. Here is the list of benefits for taking into your notice and channelizing your goals towards reconnecting your mind, body, and self through such impactful practices.

1. Ayurvedic detox help to prevent premature aging, drain your lymphatic system, and improve your skin and hair health.

2. Under promising detox practices, various breathing techniques help you disconnect from daily distractions, decrease anxiety, lower stress levels, and enhance creativity, self-awareness, and mindfulness.

3. Practicing mindfulness allows you to be in the present moment, fully aware of every movement and task. Meditation encourages you to be mindful while you eat, talk, drink, exercise, walk, and perform other routine chores.

4. Ayurvedic detox is also effective in weight loss. You will likely eat fewer calories if you switch from a highly processed diet to minimally processed, whole foods. Nutriments rich in protein, healthy fats, and fiber will keep you full for longer hours throughout the day and are essential for enhancing the functionality of your digestive system.

5. A diet plan of whole foods with limited alcohol and processed foods is the doorway to a curtailed risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and certain types of cancer (Arbhudha).

6. Under the Ayurvedic lifestyle, detoxification through water helps regulate your body temperature, lubricate joints, aid digestion and nutrient absorption, and helps your body to remove waste products. Water transports the waste products, reduces the secretion of the antidiuretic hormone, and helps in efficiently removing them through urination, breathing, or sweating.

7. Detoxification via decreasing salt intake helps reduce bloating and makes clothing more comfortable throughout the day.

8. Ayurvedic detox restores a sense of calm to the mind and the nervous system. It fosters clarity and groundedness in the mental, spiritual, and emotional spheres, which helps you to connect with your inner self more optimistically.

9. Ayurvedic cleansing restores and maintains balanced sleep cycles, formulates the tissues for deep nourishment and rejuvenation, promotes regular, balanced elimination and optimal health, and helps recover your natural balance in terms of work-life culture.

10. Detox practices nurture a refined sense of energy, vitality, well-being, and enthusiasm for life.

Six Standing Yoga Asanas for Beginners

‘Yoga’ embraces a combination of physical postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), meditation, and ethical principles. Yoga aims to achieve physical and mental well-being, inner peace, and spiritual insight. This ancient practice of holistic well-being offers numerous types of yoga poses or asanas when it comes to yoga for beginners and daily practice.

Some asanas are the perfect way to start your mornings if you are a beginner looking to indulge in yoga. These have been identified as beginner friendly and can be quickly done by yourself or under the guidance of a yoga practitioner or trainer. Here are the six basic yoga poses to practice in the following positions.

1. Virabhadrasana (Warrior Pose) – ‘Virabhadrasana’ is an asana that involves standing in a lunge position with one leg forward and the other leg back while the arms get extended overhead. ‘Virabhadrasana’ increases stamina, strengthens arms, and brings courage and grace. It is an excellent yoga pose for those in seated jobs. It is also very beneficial in the case of frozen shoulders. Individuals with recent or chronic injury to the knees, legs, hips, or back, high or low blood pressure, and heart problems should avoid practicing this asana.

2. Ardha Chakrasana (Standing Backward Bend Pose) – It involves balancing on one hand while extending the other arm and leg, creating an arc shape with the body. It stretches the front upper torso and tones the arms and shoulder muscles. Individuals with recent or chronic injury to the arms, wrists, shoulder, neck, back, or hips or any medical conditions that make inversion or balancing poses challenging should avoid practicing ‘Ardha Chakrasana.’

3. Vrikshasana (Tree Pose) – ‘Vrikshasana’ strengthens the legs and improves balance and stability. In this pose, one foot is rooted to the ground while the other is placed on the thigh of the standing leg, resembling a tree trunk. The arms get usually raised overhead to complete the pose. ‘Vrikshasana’ is an excellent yoga pose to increase focus. It makes the legs strong, improves balance, and opens the hip. It also helps those suffering from sciatica, a pain that travels from the pelvic region through the hips and thighs. Individuals with knee, ankle, or hip injuries or those who suffer from high blood pressure or vertigo should avoid practicing this asana.

4. Utkatasana (Chair Pose) – One of the yoga poses for beginners, Utkatasana or Chair Pose, is a strengthening yoga posture that targets the legs, back, and core muscles. The knees are bent, and the hips get lowered as if sitting in an imaginary chair in this pose with the arms raised overhead to complete it. It strengthens the lower back and torso, balances the body, and helps develop willpower. Individuals with knee injuries, ankle injuries, or any lower back issues should avoid practicing this asana.

5. Hastapadasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose) – ‘Hastapadasana,’ also known as Standing Forward Bend Pose, is one of the basic poses in yoga for beginners that involves a forward bend of the torso and legs. It invigorates the nervous system, makes the spine supple, and stretches all the back muscles. People with recent or chronic back, neck, or leg injuries or severe spinal conditions should avoid practicing ‘Hastapadasana.’

6. Katichakrasana (Standing Spinal Twist Pose) – It helps to stretch and twist the spine, hips, and waist. This yoga pose helps relieve constipation and strengthen the spine, neck, and shoulders. It is incredibly beneficial for people with deskbound jobs. People with hernia or spinal conditions, knee injuries, high blood pressure, or heart conditions should avoid practicing ‘Katichakrasana.’

Seven Basic Steps to Get Started with Meditation

Meditation is the art of focusing or clearing your mind using mental and physical techniques. It gives you a sense of calm, peace, and balance, benefiting your emotional wellbeing and health to a great degree. You can also meditate to relax and cope with stress by refocusing your attention, calming, and making yourself more organized. Meditation shares duties with your daily routine and healthy lifestyle choices to balance your inner peace.

Through meditation, you can not only relax but also reduce anxiety, stress, and hypertension, increase self-awareness, enhance your creativity and imagination, increase patience and tolerance, gain a new perspective for every stressful situation in your life, eliminate negative emotions, lower resting blood pressure and heart rate, focus on the present and improve your sleep quality.

By corroborating a few simple things before you commence meditating, you can have a wonderful, fulfilling experience in meditation. Here are seven basic steps to get started with the art of meditating –

1. Choose a particular time at your convenience. Meditation is relaxation. If you are thinking about meditating correctly, give yourself time to practice it when you are comfortable and convenient. Pick a time when you want to have the freedom to relax and enjoy. Make your mind free of all odds and things in your work-life routine. The hours of sunrise and sunset are also ideal for meditation. These hours are when there is a serene calm at home, helping you to meditate easily.

2. Choose a quiet place and a peaceful environment to meditate. Meditation demands commitment and space free from distractions. Therefore, a quiet room in your house, a soft open spot in the nature or garden amidst the greenery, or even a meditation center can make your experience more soothing and enjoyable. Meditation in a calm space also helps you reconnect with your mind, body, and self, effectively channelling your inner and outer auras.

3. While meditating, your posture makes a difference. Get familiar with a comfortable seated position to rejoice in the benefits of meditating. The best way is to sit on the floor on a ‘yoga mat.’ Keep your spine straight and relaxed with your hands resting on your lap. Relax, and be steady as much as possible. Sit straight with your spine vertically upright, focus on your breathing technique, keep your shoulders and neck relaxed, and keep your eyes closed throughout the process.

4. Start with a few warm-ups before meditation to bring your attention to the present moment and prepare your body and mind for the same. If you are wondering how to start meditating, a few warm-up or subtle yoga exercises before meditation helps improve blood circulation, remove inertia and restlessness, and make the body feel lighter. Warm-up exercises such as rotating your neck, wrists, waist, and ankles are essential steps in learning to meditate, enabling you to sit steadily for longer.

5. Taking deep breaths before meditation is another essential tip for learning the soulful process. Deep breathing before beginning a meditation technique is preferable. It helps to anchor your breathing pattern in an exemplary flow and leads the mind into a peaceful meditative state. Pay attention to your breath as you inhale and exhale. Count your breaths if it helps you to stay focused. Tenderly bring your consciousness back to your breath if your mind gets diverted.

6. Keep a gentle smile on your face and feel the positivity surrounding you. Smiling gently throughout the meditation keeps you relaxed and peaceful while enhancing your experience. It helps you to bridge the gap between your heart and mind, eradicate negative thoughts and welcome the goodness of liveliness.

7. As you come to the end of the meditation, skip being in a hurry to open your eyes or move your body immediately. Instead, become aware of yourself and your surroundings, rub your palms and generate mild heat between them, cup both palms on your eyes, and gradually open them. Then slowly move your body, and you are ready for the day with a rejuvenating energy!

Importance of ‘Pranayama’ in Yoga Sutra

‘Pranayama’ regulates the incoming and outgoing flow of breath with retention. It is to be practiced only after attaining perfection in ‘asana.’ Pranayama is considered the heart of yoga. Usually, the flow of breath is unrestrained and irregular. Observing the variations of breath and conditioning the mind to control the inflow, outflow, and retention of the breath in a regular, rhythmic pattern is ‘pranayama.’ ‘Prana’ is an auto-energizing force that creates a magnetic field in the universe and plays with it to maintain and dismantle it for further fabrication. It impregnates each individual as well as the universe at all levels.

It acts as physical and mental energy, where the mind gathers information. It also acts as an intellectual energy with a discriminative faculty where information is examined and filtered. The same ‘prana’ in different contexts also acts as sexual, spiritual, and cosmic energy. Heat, light, gravity, magnetism, power, vigor, vitality, electricity, life, and spirit are different forms of ‘prana.’ All that vibrates in the universe is ‘prana.’ It is the extramundane personality, formidable in all beings and non-beings. It is the principal mover of all activity and the wealth of life.

The self-energizing force in ‘Pranayama’ is the principle of life, consciousness, and the creation of all beings in the macrocosms. All beings are born through it and live by it. When they die, their breath disintegrates into the cosmic vital force. ‘Prana’ is the hub of the wheel of life and yoga because everything gets established in it, and a yogic practitioner can get closer to the cosmic energy through ‘Pranayama.’ It is routed to the genesis of life, bringing the sun’s warmth, the moon’s gentleness, the beauty of clouds, the power of wind, the amazement of rain, the significance of earth, and all forms of matter into existence. Everything, including the man, takes shade under it. ‘Prana’ is the fundamental vivacity and the source of all knowledge.

Ayurveda says the human body contains seven constituents and three permeating humors. The seven elements – chyle (rasa), blood (rakta), flesh (mamsa), fat (meda), bones (asthi), marrow (majja), and semen (sukra) sustain the body. They keep the body immune from infection and diseases. The seven elements get churned together in ‘pranayama’ to produce the nectar of life. The spinal column acts as a whisk to churn the breath to produce energy and stabilize consciousness. And the body becomes the fountain for producing the nectar of life (Amrit), and the lord of the body (parmatma) becomes its generative force.

The generation and distribution of ‘prana’ in the human body mechanism get compared to the production and functioning of electrical energy. ‘Prana’ is like the falling water or the rising stream, similar to the energy of falling water or rising steam, which gets to rotate the turbines within a magnetic field to generate electricity. In the human body, the thoracic area is the magnetic field.

The practice of ‘pranayama’ makes the spindles act as turbines and transmit the drawn-in energy to the remotest cells of the lungs for generating energy. The energy is accumulated in the ‘chakras’ and gets distributed throughout the body through the transmission lines of the circulatory and nervous systems. ‘Pranayama’ uses in-drawn energy to maintain the entire human system, comprising the respiratory, circulatory, nervous, digestive, excretory, and reproductive systems, with optimum harmony and efficiency.

In ‘pranayama,’ the carpet of the mucous membrane of the nostrils filters and cleanses the breath as it enters inhalation. Upon exhalation, sufficient time is given for the system to absorb the in-drawn energy so that the breath may mingle with the blood. The purified blood, filled with chemical properties and hormones, is called a ‘constituent full of jewels’ or ‘the jewel of blood’ (“ratna purita dhatu”). Full use of the absorption and re-absorption of energy will allow one to live a hundred years with perfect health of body, clarity of mind, and equipoise of spirit. Henceforth, the effective practice of ‘pranayama’ is considered to be a great science and art.

Importance of Asana in Yoga Sutra

‘Asana’ is the quintessential firmness of body, steadiness of intelligence, and benevolence of spirit. In the world of yoga, it should be, practiced and experienced with a feeling of firmness and endurance in the body, goodwill in mindfulness, and awareness and delight in the intelligence of the heart. Performing the ‘asana’ should be illuminative and nourishing. The performer must solicit discipline and attention to implement each ‘asana’ to perforate its intense depths in the remotest parts of the body. Even the meditational ‘asana’ has to be cultivated by the fibers, cells, joints, and muscles in cooperation with the mind. If ‘asanas’ are performed incorrectly in yoga, they become stale, and the performer becomes diseased rather than a yogi. In any ‘asana,’ the body has to be toned, and the mind tuned to stay longer with a firm body and a serene mind.

The essential factor is performing ‘asanas’ without creating aggressiveness in the muscle spindles or the skin cells. Space must be created between muscle and skin so that the skin receives the actions of the muscles, joints, and ligaments. The skin then sends messages to the brain, mind, and intelligence, which judge the appropriateness of all those actions. In addition, various asanas purify the body’s nervous system, cause the energy to flow without obstruction, and ensure an even distribution of that energy during the ‘pranayama.’ Usually, the mind is closer to the body and the organs of action and perception than the soul. As ‘asanas’ are refined, they automatically become meditative as intelligence and mindfulness emphasize penetrating toward the core of being.

Each ‘asana’ has five functions in the yoga sutra – conative, cognitive, mental, intellectual, and spiritual. Conative action is the exertion of the organs of action. Cognitive action is the perception of the results of that action. When the two are fused, the discriminative faculty of the mind acts to guide the organs of action and perception to perform the ‘asanas’ more correctly; the rhythmic flow of energy and awareness is experienced evenly and without interruption both centripetally and centrifugally throughout the channels of the body. The body cells and the mind get energized, rejuvenated, and rekindled with joy. Then the practitioner truly feels that the body, mind, and soul are one. The feeling ultimately leads to the manifestation of ‘dharana’ and ‘dhyana’ in the practice of an ‘asana.’ ‘Dharana’ is defined as focusing attention on a chosen point or area within and outside the body. It is also termed ‘concentration.’ Maintaining the intensity of awareness leads from one-pointed attention to non-specific attentiveness.

‘Dhyana’ is defined as the state when the attentive awareness between the consciousness of the practitioner and his practice is unbroken. The pairs of opposites do not exist in the correct performance of any ‘asana.’ Perfection in ‘asana’ is reached when effort ceases, instilling infinite poise and allowing the finite vehicle – the body to merge with the seer.

The performer of the ‘asanas’ can be considered firm in his body posture when preserving the effort is no longer required. Under stability, the performer grasps the physiology of each of the ‘asanas’ and deeply reconnects with the benefits of performing the ‘asanas.’ Then the practitioner gains the art of relaxation and extends the rejuvenation of the body and consciousness. With the development of the sensitive mind, they train their thinking capability to read, study and penetrate the infinite. The practitioner (‘sadhaka’) gets immersed in the boundless state of oneness, which is indivisible and universal.

Four Types of Yoga Sutras and Their Importance

Yoga is an art, a science, and a philosophy. It touches the life of a human being at every level – physical, mental, and spiritual. It is a practical approach to making one’s life purposeful and noble. It empowers the entire human system and body mechanism to attune to its essence, the conscious seer within. Yoga enables the practitioner to perceive and experience the universal energy within and around himself/herself, to concatenate with the divine joy of all creation, and then to share and rejoice in the nectar of heavenly wealth, peace, and happiness for a lifetime.

The ‘Yoga Sutras’ are concise and compact. Practicing ‘Yoga’ regularly helps the lethargic and plodding body to become active and vibrant. It harmonizes the mind and transforms the body, mind, and self, reconnecting them in a thread of integrity, purity, and divinity. Here are the four ‘Yoga Sutras’ to know about to grasp the heritage, which is concerned with the science of learning and realizing the spiritual oasis lying within us.

1. Samadhi pada (on contemplation) – ‘Sama’ means level, alike, straight, upright, impartial, just, reasonable, and virtuous, and ‘adhi’ means the indestructible seer. Comprised of these words, ‘Sama’ and ‘adhi,’ the ‘Samadhi pada’ is directed towards those already thoroughly metamorphosed to empower them in maintaining their advanced state of cultured, matured intelligence and wisdom. Before ‘samadhi’ is experienced, the functioning of the consciousness depends upon five factors: correct perception, misperception, misconception or ambiguousness, memory, and sleep. Once the practitioner gets attached to practice and renunciation in the ‘Samadhi Sutra,’ it helps him to cultivate friendliness and compassion, delight in the happiness of others, and to remain indifferent to virtue and vice. It allows him to maintain his poise and tranquility.

2. Sadhana pada (on practice) – This yoga sutra is composed of eight yogic disciplines – ‘yama’ and ‘niyama,’ ‘pranayama’ and ‘asana,’ ‘dharana’ and ‘pratyahara,’ ‘dhyana’ and ‘samadhi.’ The sutra works on three types of afflictions – self-inflicted, hereditary, and discomforts caused by the imbalance of the elements in the body. Practice and renunciation in the eight yogic disciplines support to envelop purification of the body, senses, and mind, build an intense domain where impurities vanish, innocence replaces arrogance and pride, body, mind, and consciousness are in communion with the soul, and the practitioner reaches a state of serenity in which he/she merges with the universal spirit.

3. Vibhuti pada (on properties and powers) – Under this yoga sutra, the practitioner has complete knowledge of the past, present, and future and the solar system. The practitioner gets cautioned to ignore their temptations and pursue the spiritual path. If the practitioner succumbs to the lure of the yogic achievements, he/she will be like a person running away from a gale only to be caught in a whirlwind. On the contrary, if he/she resists and perseveres on the spiritual path, he/she will experience the indivisible, unqualified, undifferentiated state of existence.

4. Kaivalya pada (on freedom and emancipation) – In this stage of yoga sutra, the practitioner (‘sadhaka) lives in a positive state of life, above the ‘tamasic,’ ‘rajasic’ and ‘sattvic’ influences of the three properties (‘gunas’) of the nature. Yogic practices lead to a spiritual and contended life; non-yogic actions bind a person to the materialistic world. Desire, action, and reaction are spokes in the wheel of thought, but when consciousness becomes steady and pure, eliminating other impurities becomes evident. Movements of mind come to a complete stop. The practitioner becomes a perfect yogi with skillful actions. The ‘yogi’ differentiates between the wavering uncertainties of thought processes and the understanding of the ‘Self,’ which is changeless. The ‘yogi’ resides in the experience of wisdom, untinged by emotions of desire, greed, exasperation, anger, pride, ego, malice, jealousy, infatuation, and intimate and sexual desires.

Ayurvedic Secret of Knowing Your Health Imbalances

As translated from Sanskrit, Ayurveda, or the Science of Life, is an ancient science of health and healing. It believes that everything in the universe consists of the Five Great Elements (Panch Mahabhutas) – Space (Akasha), Air (Vayu), Fire (Agni), Water (Jal), and Earth (Prithvi).

Ayurveda works on the principles of these five essential elements. It explains the importance of balancing these elements for a healthy body and mind.

One of the five elements impacts an individual more than the others because of one’s natural constitution or ‘Prakriti.’ Three ‘doshas’ are categorized under ‘Prakriti,’ which are as follows –

  • Vata dosha – where the elements, air, and space control your body
  • Pitta dosha – where the element fire controls your body
  • Kapha dosha – where the elements, earth, and water control your body

Mainly, ‘Prakriti’ (body nature) combines two doshas in the human body. Doshas affect your body’s shape, bodily tendencies (like food preferences and digestion), mind, and emotions.

Like, the earth element in your body with Kapha dosha is apparent in their solid, sturdy body type and emotional steadiness. A disparity in any of these doshas causes ailments. Let us know more about the doshas and the effects of an imbalance in any of the doshas.

Vata Imbalance

One of the most important of the three doshas is the Vata Dosha because a prolonged Vata imbalance can cause the other two doshas (Pitta or Kapha) to become imbalanced.

Physical symptoms of Vata Imbalance –

  • Flatulence or distension in the abdomen
  • Dehydration
  • Constipation
  • Bodyache
  • Dry and Rough Skin
  • Loss of strength, fatigue, low vitality
  • Dizziness or feeling spaced out
  • Tremors and twitches
  • Astringent taste in the mouth
  • Disturbed or lack of sleep
  • Sensitivity to cold and a desire for warmth

Behavioral symptoms of Vata Imbalance –

  • Feeling confused, fearful & shaky
  • Feeling ungrounded
  • Excessive movement or talking
  • Irrational, Anxious, Nervous, Agitated, Impatient

Effects of Vata Imbalance –

  • Pain in the muscles
  • Joint pains
  • Stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Cramps
  • Convulsion, tremors, paralytic attacks
  • Colic
  • Dryness, scaling
  • Phobias

Pitta Imbalance

The ‘Pitta dosha’ is connected with fire or heat. Wherever there is a change, the Pitta Prakriti is at work. Pitta affects the gastrointestinal tract, liver, skin, eyes, and brain.

Physical symptoms of Pitta Imbalance –

  • Excessive thirst or hunger
  • Heartburn and acidity
  • Burning sensation in eyes, hands, and soles of the feet
  • Hot flushes in the body
  • Skin rashes, acne, and boils
  • Vomiting bile (yellowish water)
  • Hypersensitivity to light
  • Strong body odor
  • Nausea and headache
  • Loose Motions
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Sensitivity to heat and desire for a relaxed environment

Behavioral symptoms of Pitta Imbalance –

  • Snappy speech and actions
  • Judgmental or criticizing tendencies
  • Anger issues, irritability, hostile
  • Argumentative, aggressive
  • Impatient and restless
  • Frustrated

Effects of Pitta Imbalance –

  • Hyperacidity
  • Inflammations
  • Bleeding
  • Burning sensations
  • Excess eliminations
  • Skin rashes, pimples, boils
  • Obsessiveness
  • Hypertension

Kapha Imbalance –

Kapha is the heaviest of all the three doshas. It furnishes structure and lubrication to the body. It helps to counterbalance Vata’s movement and Pitta’s metabolism.

Physical symptoms of Kapha Imbalance –

  • Lethargy
  • Little or no appetite, nausea
  • Water retention
  • Congestion, mucous formation
  • Secretions in the mouth
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Excessive sleep
  • Sweetness in the mouth

Behavioral symptoms of Kapha Imbalance –

  • Feeling of heaviness
  • Depressed, sad
  • Dull, inactive
  • Feeling a lack of support or love
  • Feeling greedy, entangled, possessive

Effects of Kapha Imbalance –

  • Obesity
  • Swelling
  • Water retention
  • Excess mucus production
  • Depression

Understanding the ‘doshas’ in Ayurveda and the results of their imbalance helps one ascertain the cause of their illnesses, and redirect their lifestyle towards transformational goals. Contact our team of VEDAbySonia if you witness any of the symptoms and effects mentioned above. VEDAbySonia will help you restore balance to your ‘doshas’ through effective Ayurvedic remedies and suitable dietary changes in your routine nutritional plan.