How simple can meditation get? Meditation for the modern human “The simplest Meditation technique for everyone anywhere! “ Nothing is more important than our breath, without which we would die in a matter of minutes. Even though nothing is more important to our life than breath, at least 99% of the time we are not even aware of our breath. We are not aware that we are breathing in this essential vital energy. The breaths we take mindfully, as the three we just now took together, have a way of calming us down and cooling down the feverishness of our life and our thoughts. Just to become fully aware of the breath, though very simple, does wonders in terms of grounding us, centering us, and straightening out our priorities in life. Mindfully meditating on our breath is the simplest and the most immediately accessible form of meditation. This mindful breathing is always available to us at any time of day or night. At any time, we can pause for one or two minutes and breathe mindfully. Breathing, in English, is referred to as “respiration,” which implies two complementary movements: inspiration and expiration. During the inspiration, we are filled up and during expiration (or exhalation) we are emptying. This two-way alternation is very important to notice and very instructive. This is like the yin-yang of Chinese philosophy, where the yin is receptivity, and the yang is creativity. During our inhalation we are receptive, we receive inspiration. During the exhalation we breathe out, we become creative, and in the process, we empty ourselves, in, and through our creativity. Breathing in and out, inspiration and expiration, receptivity and creativity. This is the defining dynamic of life. The nature Even the plants and greenery we see outside are breathing in and breathing out. This is not a poetic fancy, but a scientific fact. To live, plants need to absorb carbon dioxide. And these same plants take in the CO2, then breathe out oxygen. We breathe in Oxygen and breathe out CO2. Is this mutual and life-giving complementarity not wonderful? What they breathe in is what we breathe out. And what they breathe out is what we require to breathe in. Should we not be more mindful in our everyday association with the natural world of the reciprocity by which we give each other life? I am suggesting that sometime during this week, while you are here at the convention, you find time in some
Abhyanga - The Art Of Touch And Healing! The world around you is constantly changing. Science, technology, places, seasons, human emotions, relationships - everything seems to take a course of deviation with time, showing change is inevitable. But there is something that even the greatest and most sophisticated technology could not replace - the soothing power of human touch. A delicate touch carries quite an amount of warmth and emotions that can heal both the body and mind. Ayurveda is the first to acknowledge the amazing power of human touch in healing, thousands of years back and put into use in the finest manner. A subtle artful technique where you can appreciate every inch of your body for how it is, Abhyanga or oil massage in Ayurveda remains one of the most sought after techniques adopted by healers all over the world. The history of massage technique must be as old as the human race. But its importance in healing and the science behind it is more skilfully explained and performed in Ayurvedic science than any other. That is why it is recommended to be done everyday as a part of your daily healthy routine in Ayurveda. Doing a self massage daily can invigorate your mind & body, enabling you to face the toughest of challenges life throws at you. But, it is also important to understand how to do it traditionally and scientifically as mentioned by the ancient sages, to gain the exact benefits. Who can do Abhyanga? Ayurveda considers upto 16 years as Baalya or paediatric age. They are considered as having less satwa bala due to their delicate growing age and thus many therapies are specifically contraindicated for them. But Abhyanga is an exception - it can be done right from birth and is considered ideal for the symmetrical physical development of the baby. Being the most dependent beings, babies and kids always need assistance while doing massage and it should be done in a gentle comfortable manner. A healthy adult may do Abhyanga everyday before taking a bath. This self-massage is quite different from the kind of massage done by a masseur and has its own advantages. You know your body best and have full freedom to decide the kind of pressure and time you want to spend, pampering your body. You can be at the comfort of your home, at your convenience and look forward to a productive self love
Sharat Ritucharya - Autumn Regimen Early sunsets, cozy blankets and warm tea - Autumn is a season of mystical panorama as nature embraces itself in a golden hue. When John Keats, poetically opined it as the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, we cannot but appreciate the true beauty of nature during this time of the year. A transition from the exceptionally long warm summer to the delightfully cool and serene autumn brings several changes not just in the atmosphere, but within you as well. Ritu sandhi - The Ritucharya way to let go
Post Covid Rejuvenation and Recovery: The Ayurveda Way Dealing with a less known type of disease and that too a pandemic is indeed difficult. It is a truth that Covid -19 has affected human lives in a clumsy, uncomfortable way. But the good news is, the majority can recover pretty quickly without any complications if proper care and attention are given right from the beginning. Testing negative for Covid-19 is not the end of the recovery phase. It marks the beginning of a post-covid rejuvenation period when the body and the mind heal gradually and get back to normalcy. Epidemics and pandemics are explained in Ayurveda as “Janapadodwamsa”. A large population, irrespective of their Bala (strength), diet, behavior, and psychological state, is affected by the same disease, at the same time, which may destroy the community, is called ‘Janapadodhwamsa’. Covid-19 pandemic fits this category and has already affected a huge part of the population worldwide. The Covid-19 virus affects people differently. It could be asymptomatic or more often present with varied symptoms ranging from mild to moderate and severe. Often people complain of persistent fatigue, respiratory distress, body pain, loss of taste, smell, and poor appetite for weeks after the infection. The occurrence of allied medical conditions like skin diseases is also not uncommon these days. Irrespective of the strength with which the virus affected your body, a holistic natural, and systematic approach is essential to regain the lost strength and immunity. Covid-19 due to the peculiarity of the symptoms often involves all the three doshas with specific Kapha dosha aggravation. Most common symptoms such as fever, loss of taste, loss of appetite, extreme lethargy, and upper respiratory discomfort point to the diminution of the first formed dhatu after digestion - Rasa dhatu. Rasa dhatu kshaya (diminution) along with the aggravation of Kapha can further affect the Agni (biological fire) and impact the entire metabolism of the body. The presence of Ama (toxic outcome of improper digestion) accumulated in the body due to the ongoing disease process can significantly influence the general body’s immunity and strength. Ayurveda always approaches in a preventive, curative, and rehabilitative approach in any kind of illness*. In covid-19 as well, a systematic outlook to restore the lost strength and immunity by balancing the doshas and stabilizing the dhatu formation is what Ayurveda adopts. A diet involving Ayurveda herbs and spices and various lifestyle modalities that gradually improve the strength and
the ancient Ayurveda treatises to understand the importance of a healthy exercise routine and how it can therapeutically influence the overall health of a person. While explaining the definition of health, Acharya Susrutha mentions - “a person is said to be completely healthy when his doshas are in a balanced state, his Agni is in equilibrium, his dhatus and excretory system are functioning well and he enjoys a pleasant disease-free state of his soul, senses, and mind.” Ayurveda recognizes that a systematic fitness routine suitable for your body has some direct perceptible impact on maintaining this kind of perfect health.
The Tridosha Siddhanta The Tridosha theory is one of the most discussed yet very vaguely understood concepts in Ayurveda. It forms the basis of Ayurvedic physiology, pathology and pharmacology. But the lack of definite interpretations and fruitful discussions leave many questions unanswered, prompting the scientists to question even the credibility and scientific basis of Ayurveda. Ayurveda has undergone many changes over the years, not in its fundamental principles but the way it is interpreted and practiced. But there is one thing that remains the same even after generations - the insatiable human curiosity to question everything until the truth is transparent. Let’s try to unleash one of the most enigmatic theories of all times, the Tridosha Siddhanta. “If you cannot explain it simply, you do not understand it well enough” -Albert Einstein. The origin and evolution of Tridosha Siddhanta The Tridoshas or Vata, Pitta and Kapha are mostly explained as bio-energies which cannot be seen with the naked eye, yet experienced at various levels. As per Ayurvedic principles, a perfect harmony between the Tridoshas in the body contributes to health and any imbalance causes disease. But these descriptions are so vague that it leaves many basic unexplained questions as to what it really is. To get into a deeper level of analysis, it is imperative that we start afresh beginning with the origin and evolution of the theory itself. Vedas are considered as the ultimate source of knowledge and the most ancient literature scripts available now. The earliest relatable reference of Tridoshas is available in Atharva veda where the derangement of three physiological factors are claimed to be responsible for the manifestation of diseases. Those factors are described as shushka, siktha and sanchari which are translated to dry, wet and permeating respectively. So, there is every reason to think that the ancient Ayurveda Acharyas took these three as the main properties of what is considered as the basis of life, which later termed as Vata, Pitta and Kapha respectively. The ancient sages were the spectators of every natural phenomenon and this observation led to the interpretation that the living beings need gaseous air, liquid water and solid food for sustenance. These are the three forms of matter without which life is non-existent. They are interdependent too as in, air is required for the formation of water and water is needed for the formation of food & digestion. So the ultimate basis of life should also be existing
Though Yoga literally means "yoke", "unify", it is also a developed system of philosophy, as well as a practical method to realise the ultimate truth originated in ancient India and codified mainly by Patanjali. Let us look at what makes Yoga different from other systems of thought, so we can understand its metaphysical, ontological, psychological and practical view of life. Historically this may have developed well before Christ and developed side by side other systems of thought in ancient India, but we can clearly see the correlation of Yoga with the Sankhya system. In spite of the connection with the Sankhya doctrines, Yoga differs from it on matters of psychology, ethics etc. and brought a scientific approach to disciplinary practices with rigour and great clarity.
One of the greatest contributions of India is the metaphysics of self knowledge called Samkhya, which says the knowledge of an object, the object itself and the process of knowing is all one. This is the essence of wisdom and experientially accessible for anyone through the practice of Yoga. Yoga thus is the methodology to test this hypothesis of samkhya, just like we do the lab experiment to prove a theorem in modern physical sciences.
There is no single English word to convey the meaning of the Sanskrit word prana, the nearest word in English is probably "life energy" or "vital energy" that permeates the whole universe and our bodies. The breath that goes in and out of our bodies connect the microcosm within to the macrocosm and if one breath that goes out does not come back life is finished, isn’t it? Prana is in a way our real Mother in whom we are born, sustained and to whom we go back to. The inhalation is the inspiration for life itself and exhalation is the main expiration of toxins from our biological system that keeps us alive and conscious. Breath, like a power plug acts as the source of our entire energy supply to every cell.
Stress In Men Stress does not discriminate, but how we react to and manage stress is inextricably related to gender. It is astounding that a lot of men are not vocal about their struggles unlike women due to stigma and cultural beliefs that men are stronger than women. Men thus tend to suppress their emotions resulting in ineffective coping, anger issues, and substance abuse. They tend to convert stereotypically female emotions of feeling sadness and fear into more masculine emotions of anger and rage. As men are less likely to report emotional and physical symptoms of stress, they find it more difficult to manage stress than women, taking a more masked approach. Men don’t show when they are feeling stressed, but their stress-activated hormones spikes higher than women’s. As men are more prone to bottling their emotions, hidden stress might reveal itself in the form of anger and violence, as anger helps them cope with the unprecedented situation. Men tend to adopt a “fight or flight response”, where they ignore the perspective of others, while women try to reason out why they are feeling stressed. The year 2020 began as any other new year would: with our celebrations, resolutions…but as we are halfway into 2020, we all know for now that it is far from a normal year. What began with reports of some strange cases of viral pneumonia in China, rapidly spread all over the world, completely altering the way we led our lives. We are seeing derailing careers, shattering finances, and upending social lives which along with the fear of contracting the virus is giving rise to an equally deadly but silent pandemic: stress and depression. Humans are social creatures, and we crave to stay connected with others. We have been evolved to feel safest in groups and as a result, physical isolation is comprehended by our mind as a physical state of emergency. Social distancing and stay at home orders have snatched our sense of belonging and love, and both physical and mental well being get seriously compromised in such an uncertain and ambiguous situation, especially in those who have existing psychological conditions. Social isolation and loneliness can lead to an increase in stress, depression and substance abuse, which can have profound effects on physical and psychological health. What Is Stress? Stress is a normal physiological response to an abnormal situation. It enables our body to adapt and equip ourselves to the difficult