Ayurveda states that optimizing the human potential on a physical, psychological and spiritual level is a shift in consciousness. So, what does that mean to Ayurveda?
At conception you represent one unique set of possibilities in a universe full of infinite possibilities, and this unique set of possibilities crystallize to make you. Carried along with this is your past karma. This creates a unique blueprint called your Prakriti and your individual consciousness, jiva atma. Then travelling through this karmic journey, you either use Ayurveda techniques of food, lifestyle, pranayama etc. and maintain a healthy Prakriti, burn your past life karmas and build new karmas (actions) and samskaras (tendencies), to create a shift in consciousness or you continue with the old ones with no change in your human potential. This is why living your Ayurveda path is important to physical, mental and spiritual evolution.
Put simple, at conception your possibilities, individual consciousness, and Prakriti has the perfect manifestation to optimize your human potential, and then, how you live and think throughout life will create health, happiness, a shift in consciousness or not.
Most people in North America have not optimized their human potential because thinking more, learning more, working harder and believing that “scientific evidence” has the answers has not worked and will not work. But we keep trying it this way and all we are doing is distracting ourselves and wonder why it’s still all the same!
So, what has happened to us? Life and your mind get in the way of the manifestation of a life of health, happiness and bliss. You start to believe everything the mind tells you, so you start to stay up late, eat that pizza and do a multitude of other things that your body and mind cry out “NO”. and we start to erode our potential and shit the direction of our consciousness.
What Ayurveda offers to you is a plan unlike any other plan you have seen. It allows you to direct your potential, not your mind, by teaching many beautiful techniques for your unique expression. All we have to do is follow the plan, but this can sometimes be easier said than done. But there are some simple ways to start.
Optimizing your human potential and your individual consciousness begins with simple things like cooking food with love, sitting down for meals and understanding how to create optimum digestion both physically and mentally. But sometimes this just seems like too simple an answer, so we do it for a while and then stop. Mother Nature has never stopped her plan!
So where to start. Cooking with love and sitting down to eat are simple and you can start doing these every day, but you must do them every day. If you have any issues with anxiety or depression these are a must.
Secondly, you can also easily begin to optimize digestion. Here are two simple ways. One, drink hot water with ginger throughout the day, that is unless your fire is high then it may need to be room temperature. Two, eat ½ tsp. of grated fresh ginger mixed with a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt 20 minutes before each of your meals.
If you have constipation or have irregular bowels, try Triphala. Just be sure to get a decocted one. Most of the ones in the health food store are not decocted. You can buy them for Okanagan Ayurveda.
New Years Tip #3- Proper Food combining with Ayurveda.
In the American food culture, we have been taught to eat a "balanced diet." However, this sometimes is taken literally as a "balanced meal." We throw every kind of food on a single plate and have it with a big glass of milk, thinking we are getting all the different types of nutrients our body needs. From an Ayurveda perspective this whole concept is wrong. You do not need to fit protein and starch and fat and sugars and dairy all in one meal. In fact, you shouldn't because even healthy foods eaten in the wrong combination will create digestive issues (short-term) and disease (long-term).The western culture also like to mix nuts with fruit and beans with milk, not a good Ayurvedic choice.
In Ayurveda, having a “balanced diet” is accomplished by making the proper food choices for ones’ energetic constitution and unique Agni. Also, every food has its own, taste, cooling or heating effect and post digestive effect and how these are used by the individual is part of creating a balanced diet. These concepts can be complex unless you are working with a practitioner. Using food combining is a good place to start because poor food combing will create indigestion, gas, fermentation and putrification. It will also change the intestinal flora, increase candida, congestion and allergies.
Here are some simple changes you can make.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, eating bitters such as salad after a meal is better than doing so before. The bitter taste is cold and weakens agni. Taken at the beginning of a meal it can diminish the digestion of all that follows. Likewise, sweets are digested first. Desserts are best eaten before a meal or as between meal snack. Taken immediately after a meal it may upset digestion. So contrary to the western way of living!
Mixing foods of opposite potencies (heating and cooling effects) can sometimes be problem. Milk, which is cool, should not be mixed with yogurt, which is warm; even though both are dairy.
Incompatible Food Combination:
Yogurt with fruit, cheese, eggs, fish, meat, milk and nightshades.
How often do you buy yogurt and fruit?
Milk with bananas, melons, cherries, bread, sour fruit, fish and meat
How often do you have banana smoothies or milk-based sauce on your meat?
Fruit should be eaten alone and not within one to two hours of other foods.
Eggs are not to be eaten with milk, fish, meat, cheese, fruit and yogurt.
How often do you eat scrambled eggs with cheese?
Nightshades with melons, cucumber and dairy.
Lemons with cucumber, milk, tomatoes and yogurt.
Carbohydrates and proteins -One of the worst food combinations
Human body requires an acid base to digest proteins and an alkaline base to digest starches --lengthen time of digestion --> cause fermentation --> bloating and indigestion
Try incorporating one food combining change at a time. There is no rush. The incorporation of the principal is more important about understanding how the digestion feels than getting it all done at one time. Also, many times if you have been eating wrong combinations, the body is use to that but it is still not a good thing to do to your digestion.
You don’t have to diet and over exercise just use all three principals and by the end of 2019 you will have more energy, lose weight and general health will improve.
AYURVEDA RESOLUTION #2:
Sit down to eat your meals and wait at least 5 minutes before you get up from the table. Again sitting to eat is more important than what you eat.
The first Ayurveda principal of eating at the same time (when to eat) is followed up by where and how to eat. At a table without the distraction of your phone or other device! And maybe a lit candle. The lit candle is representative of Agni, the digestive fires that stimulates digestion.
The gut is intricately connected to the brain. You have heard the expression gut feeling. Standing to eat, eating in your car, at your desk or in front of any device is a stressor and this stress effect the brain-gut axis (BGA)and has pathophysiological consequences on digestion. Exposure to any of these stressors affects the autonomic nervous system which affects the brain gut axis and both of these leads to the development of different digestive issues, all of which are pre cursors to ama (toxins) in the body. When you sit down to eat it allows relaxation in the mind and body and the function of the autonomic nervous system is regulated allowing for the proper digestion of food, through many systems in the gut, muscular contraction, the immune system, blood flow and peristalsis etc.
The practices of sitting down also has the possibility of positively affecting the breath which offer the possibility of reducing inappropriate activation of the autonomic nervous system (ANS).
When there is inappropriate activity of the ANS , the vital life-force , prana, is affected and it results in heightened bowel dysregulation and digestive disturbance. Of the five life-forces, the most important for the healthy functioning of the body is “Samana,” a life-force that is responsible for digestion and balancing two other major life-forces, “Apana” and “Prana.” When “Samana” is disturbed, the food ingested cannot be digested properly. This leads to over digestion (atijirnatvam), nondigestion (ajirnatvam), or wrong digestion (kujirnatvam) and this improperly digested food settles in the body and leads to diseases . If “Samana” becomes dominant, it leads to gastroesophageal problems, including epigastric pain, hyperacidity and gastric reflux. Ajirnatvam and heightened sympathetic activity (disturbed ANS) results in IBS-C constipation).Disturbed “Samana” causes an imbalance in “Apana,” and excess Apana along with parasympathetic dominance manifests as IBS-D diarrhea In other words, heightened parasympathetic activity results in IBS-D and heightened sympathetic activity results in IBS-C.
This is a small glimpse at why sitting down to eat is important to your health. It is also a simple Ayurveda principal that you can every day to accomplish better health.
New Year’s Day is resolutions day.
Here are a few musings of moments in my life that I would like to share with you. They may not be fancy or elaborate. But they are a continuing and moving story book of what I am keeping up to these days.