Fertility is one of the best indicators of health, regardless of desire for children. Our bodies are built for reproduction, and when all of our systems are in balance and working together, fertility is more likely. On the flip side, when the body is undernourished, stressed, or out of balance, it can sense its unsuitability for reproduction, and fertility is compromised. Using Ayurveda for fertility helps to support the body and encourage healthy reproductive function.
Ayurveda offers powerful strategies for optimizing fertility through the improvement of overall health and constitutional balance. These strategies can be supplemented with herbal remedies to further optimize reproductive health and promote fertility. It is valuable to optimize fertility, even for those who have no interest in having children. As mentioned at the beginning of this post, fertility is an excellent indicator of overall health, and for the most part, healthy bodies are fertile (there are exceptions to this of course, but for the most part I would say this is the case).
Too often, the burden of pregnancy preparation and infertility challenges are placed on women. Women are the focus of most attention regarding pregnancy preparation, and are often seen as being at fault for a couple’s inability to conceive. It is also vital for men to prepare for conception and identify any potential roots of infertility. This post focuses on ways both men and women can use Ayurveda for fertility. Continue reading “Ayurveda for Fertility: Diet, Lifestyle, and Supplementation”→
Western medicine offers little in terms of effective treatment for the common cold. Medicines that treat symptoms can counteract the body’s natural ability to heal. Having a runny nose is a side effect of the body’s attempt to carry virus colonies out of the body through the nasal passages. Antihistamines dry up mucous and prevent the body from removing the virus. Fevers are also beneficial in combating illness by increasing the movement of white blood cells and raising the temperature outside of the preferred range of viruses.
Medications like tylenol and aspirin, which lower the body temperature, impair the body’s natural response to viral pathogens. Unlike Ayurvedic cold remedies, medications that treat the symptoms of the common cold can limit the body’s ability to heal and consequently lengthen the time of illness.
Ayurvedic cold remedies work by supporting the body’s natural defense system instead of working against it. Supplements and aromatherapy strengthen the immune system and assist the body in the natural removal of phlegm (and virus colonies) from the throat and nasal passages. Ayurvedic cold remedies can also provide relief from symptoms like sore throat and headache without impairing the ability of the body to naturally combat viral pathogens.Continue reading “18 Ayurvedic Cold Remedies – Plus Aromatherapy for Cold Relief”→
As we progress further into fall and rapidly approach winter, the weather in many regions is becoming cold and dry, and along with that comes increased Vata. Fall and early winter are considered Vata season, with the cold, dry, clear, and moving qualities that characterize Vata. If you have a Vata-dominant constitution, it is important to keep these qualities in balance. Doing so will ensure that you stay healthy, energetic, and creative.
However, if Vata becomes imbalanced in the body, you are prone to mental and physical disorders that are more common in Vata-dominant individuals. These include anxiety, depression, joint pain, dry skin, and constipation. In order to maintain physical and mental health, it is essential to keep Vata qualities balanced during Vata season.
The way you spend your morning sets the stage for the rest of the day. A great morning ritual can be a powerful tool for creating a positive and productive day. It may sound extreme, but morning rituals can truly be life-changing – bringing your body and mind into balance and helping you to achieve your greatest potential in your relationships and chosen endeavors. A morning routine also helps prepare your body for food, priming your digestive tract and clearing the body of toxins prior to consuming the first meal of the day.
It is best to wake at or before sunrise, which allows the body to synchronize with the sun. Waking early promotes proper elimination by allowing Vata to capitalize on the pre-dawn hours. Proper elimination also removes Kapha, which naturally accumulates overnight. The Vata nature of early morning also supports good meditation. If you find it difficult to wake naturally, or if you live in an area of the world where it is dark for much of the day in the winder, you can try out a light-based alarm clock.
Breakfast is an important meal, setting the tone for the day and preparing the body for digestion and activity. Breakfast can be one of the more difficult meals to plan for when transitioning to a new way of eating. We all have foods that we are accustomed to, and those foods might not do a good job of balancing our constitutions. It is important to choose foods that calm your dosha and bring the body into balance.
The importance of breakfast for you as an individual depends in part on your constitution. Kaphas often are not hungry early in the morning and can function well if they choose to fast instead of eating an early breakfast. Vatas, however, often find it important to have a solid breakfast. Pittas can vary, but usually find it best to eat something by mid-morning. Failure to do so can lead them to become agitated.
Weight loss is a common goal for those pursuing health and aesthetic goals. In western society, obesity is a growing problem, and emaciation is rarely a concern. For many, it has become important to find ways to healthfully lower levels of fat in the body. Ayurveda offers techniques for permanent weight-loss through the lowering of body fat by healthy and balanced means.
Keep in mind that the ideal weight for you is one that is appropriate for your constitution. This means that Kapha types will be healthiest at a weight that is higher than what is currently idolized by western culture. Vata types tend toward thinness and can function well with lower levels of body fat.
Ayurveda teaches that too much fat is more problematic than too little fat. However, fat is essential for the body in proper amounts. Insufficient fat stores in the body weaken immunity and increase stress hormone levels. Ayurveda stresses the importance of attaining a weight that is optimal for your unique body. For many, striving to constantly lose weight becomes harmful to the body.
As the body metabolizes raw material to energize the cells, the process produces waste residues, called ama, that have natural channels of elimination. In a healthy person, these residues exit the body via the lungs, skin, liver, colon, and kidneys. In addition to these internally-produced toxins, modern humans are exposed to many external toxic residues, such as heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, food additives, and food preservatives. These toxins can enter our bodies via food, water, and air supply.
When ama does not fully exit the body, it accumulates in the tissues, leading to a toxic load and causing illness. Accumulation of ama is worsened by pollution in the environment, and poisons created internally due to poor food combinations, inadequate elimination of wastes, or unbalanced doshas.
Toxins can cause disease in any part of the body, and tend to be most problematic in areas in which we already experience weakness. If we have inherent weakness in the heart, waste products are transported there and can lead to coronary heart disease. If waste products are transported to the joints, we may develop arthritis. Disease can develop wherever toxins are transported. Environmental toxins can be more dangerous that internally-produced toxins and have a tendency to target particular areas of the body.
The three areas of the body most critically affected by environmental pollutants are the brain and the reproductive and immune systems.
It is important to remove toxins from the body and support the body’s natural detoxification systems. Without following detoxifying habits, your body may accumulate toxins and develop illness and disease. Follow the steps outlined below to promote balance and health throughout the body. Continue reading “Detox with Ayurveda – 5 Strategies”→
Hair loss is a symptom of Pitta excess, so the first and most important step in healing hair loss is to balance Pitta. Follow a Pitta-balancing diet and engage in activities that alleviate Pitta excess.
Stress creates a Pitta imbalance and is a major contributor to hair loss. Consequently, it is important to engage in stress-relieving activities, especially meditation and yoga. Sleep also is critical to maintaining low stress levels. Be sure to sleep at least 7-8 hours per night to allow the body to recover from the day’s activities.
Dehydration can worsen stress on the body and contribute to hair loss, so be sure to consume adequate amounts of water throughout the day. It is also best to avoid alcoholic beverages, which can worsen dehydration and aggravate the hair.
In addition to these important balancing activities, a variety of supplements and topical treatments can be helpful in halting hair loss and promoting growth. Here, I discuss 8 Ayurvedic treatments for hair loss. All are safe and natural and can help you regain your healthy, thick, beautiful hair.Continue reading “8 Ayurvedic Remedies for Hair Loss”→
Ayurveda is a largely untapped resource for some of the best beauty secrets in the world. True to the principles of Ayurveda, Ayurvedic beauty products are designed to balance the body inside and out. Products are formulated with unique ingredients for each distinct constitution. One of the most important aspects of Ayurvedic beauty products is that all ingredients must be edible. The skin absorbs everything that is put on it, so ingredients should not introduce any toxins into the body.
There are many Ayurvedic beauty products available, but the best companies use organic, biologically active ingredients that are never tested on animals. I chose my four favorite brands that meet those criteria and are proven to be effective. All are developed by knowledgeable individuals who are trained in Ayurvedic medicine or who consult with practitioners on product development.
Once you make the move to Ayurvedic beauty products, you will never want to go back the conventional route. Organic, living, edible ingredients provide a unique experience that just can’t be found elsewhere. I love all of these products and I hope you will too! Continue reading “Top 4 Ayurvedic Beauty Brands”→
Kitchari (also called Kichadi) is a simple stew based on basmati rice and split mung dal. It is at the center of healing in Ayurveda and is suitable for almost every constitution. Kitchari can be customized to create endless variations, each of which can be used for specific purposes. It is very easily digested and assimilated, and as such is a primary food in Ayurvedic cleansing therapy.
The essential components of kitchari are ghee, spices, basmati rice, and dal. Ghee is necessary for lubrication of the digestive tract and assimilation of nutrients. Other beans can be used in place of dal for specific healing purposes, as long as they are very well cooked. Vegetables are a very common addition to kitchari and are beneficial for balancing a variety of conditions.