Lifestyle practices Lifestyle practices • All types of Pitta-pacifying activities are helpful in migraine, particularly the cooling Shitali breath given in Chapter 8 and the moon salutations illustrated in Chapter 7. • Avoid napping during the day; it slows down your metabolism! • Include the Bhastrika breath described in Chapter 8 in your daily routine. It increases the metabolic rate, so burns calories. • Make sure you take regular, high-impact exercise such as jogging and aerobics. If you can't manage this then at least build half an hour of fast walking or swimming into your daily routine.
The ancient Ayurvedic sages first wrote about obesity more than 5,000 years ago. It is a Kapha-related condition, so the first step in its management is to'reduce your calorific intake and increase your levels of exercise. The following practices can help get obesity under control, but you also need to practise self-restraint and use your willpower! Dietary guidelines • Adopt the Kapha-pacifying diet described in Chapter 6 and increase your use of digestive herbs and spices such as ginger, black pepper, cumin and coriander to speed up your metabolism. • Ideally skip breakfast altogether and eat just two meals a day. Alternatively, this natural energy drink makes a satisfying breakfast without piling on the pounds! Soak a handful of dates and almonds in water overnight with some fennel and cardamom seeds. Peel the almonds and blend all the ingredients together to make a low-fat, energizing smoothie. • Drink fresh fruit and vegetable juices in between meals to satisfy any hunger pangs. • If you must have a snack make sure it is a healthy one such as a handful of raisins, a carrot or stick of celery. • , Drink a glass of water with 1 tsp of honey daily. Home remedies • At night swallow-hsp of whole fenugreek seeds with a cup of hot ginger tea. This helps to reduce triglycerol and LDL cholesterol levels in the body.
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This is most common in older women because, after the menopause, little or no oestrogen is produced. Oestrogen is needed to convert calcium, magnesium, zinc and other essential building blocks into bone tissue. From an Ayutvedic point of view, osteoporosis is explained by the fact that, once we hit 55 years of age, Vata dosha takes control. Being made up of air and ether this increases the porous quality of out bones. The good news is that osteoporosis can be managed, and even prevented, by dietary measures and some gentle exercise. Dietary guidelines • Follow the Vata-pacifying diet outlined in Chapter 6 and ideally avoid eating any meat products. Numerous clinical studies have found that a vegetarian diet is one of the best ways to prevent osteoporosis. • Chew a handful of sesame seeds every day. Sesame seeds are rich in calcium; so help to prevent osteoporosis without clogging your arteries! • Other natural sources of calcium include all types of seaweed, quinoa, parsley, hazelnuts, cow's, goat's and soya milk products, so make sure you include these in your regular diet. • You can also take a glass of almond milk before breakfast and at bedtime. Simply soak a handful of almonds overnight, peel them and blend with a glass of cow's, goat's or soya milk and add a pinch each of cardamom, ginger powder and saffron. Home remedies • The rejuvenating herb Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) is useful in osteoporosis because it contains natural precursors to the female hormone oestrogen, which helps to improve the
• Or you might prefer to take the following herbal remedy three times a day for one month. Combine 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp of dry ginger powder, ttsp ajwain, ttsp rock salt and a pinch of asafoetida in a glass of warm water. • The Ayurvedic remedy Guggulu (Commiphora mukul), taken with 1 tsp of honey, has been used for thousands of years to treat obesity. Triphala, the Ayurvedic compound formulation, also promotes weight loss (see Appendix 2 for suppliers).
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body's ability to metabolize calcium and build healthier bones. Lifestyle practices • Diet alone is not sufficient to prevent osteoporosis. A littl gentle exercise is essential to help stimulate the metabolism to produce bone tissue. Take care, however, to avoid activities such as weight lifting, which put stress on already fragile bones. Instead, go for a gentle 30-minute stroll or try swimming. • If you are already suffering from osteoporosis yoga postures should be performed with great care. If in doubt seek the advice of a yoga teacher or stick to walking or swimming.
l'or urticaria Make a paste from 1 pinch of black pepper and+tsp of ghee and eat this concoction in the morning on an empty storl1ach: You will need to take this daily for several months to resolve this deep-rooted skin problem.
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Ayurveda has many remedies to help heal skin problems or simply to promote a beautiful, natural complexion. For dry skin • Make sure you drink plenty of water, at least two litres a day at room temperature or above. • Massage your skin regularly with the oil best suited to your constitutional type (sesame oil for Vata types, sunflower oil for Pitta types, corn oil for Kapha types). • Make a nourishing face pack by blending a handful of fresh cherries to a pulp and applying this to your face for 15 minutes before bedtime. For psoriasis • Mix 100 g ghee, 10 g of turmeric powder, 5 g of licorice powder, 30 ml of sesame oil and 5 ml of neem oil (available from many health food shops and suppliers of Ayurvedic remedies). Warm the ingredients and then massage into the affected area. Leave it on for a few minutes before washing off. Apply this three times a week for best results. For rashes and hives • For immediate relief from rashes due to allergies or insect bites, blend a handful of fresh coriander leaves to a pulp and smooth the paste over the affected area. You can drink the remaining juice. • Applying cooling melon juice or aloe vera juice over the affected area can also give rapid relief.
l'or wrinkles and pimples iii~ -'CD • Make a face pack from 1 banana, -f tsp ghee, 1tsp sesame ilit . g seeds, -2 almonds and enough water to make a paste. Put everything in a blender and apply to the affected area. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes then wash off. Apply daily ••••• before bed. For a healthy, natural complexion • In Sanskrit the word for turmeric means: 'that which beautifies the skin'. It's a spice that has been used for centuries to improve skin quality, so get in the habit of taking a capsule of turmeric every day (see Appendix 2 for suppliers) for a lustrous, healthy complexion . • Take ten minutes morning and night to cleanse, massage and moisturize your skin., Ghee is a natural cleanser and moisturiser and great for removing all vestiges of make-up. If you don't like the smell then substitute it for, the oil best suited to your constitutional type (sesame oil for Vata, sunflower oil for Pitta, corn oil for Ka,phatypes). • Give yourself a daily all-over massage with the oil best suited to your constitutional type" to preserve the texture. of your skin, improve circulation and prevent cellulite. • If your skin is very pale it. may be a sign that you are not getting enough iron, so drink a glass of carrot juice every day and notice how it improves your skin tone. • Be sparing with your use of soap as it strips the skin of its natural oils. As a general rule, you really only need to wash with soap twice a week, Pitta types may need to use soap a little more frequently as their skin tends to be more oily. • Wash in cool water if you are Pitta, warm water if you have a Vataor Kapha constitution.
This complaint is easily treated using Ayurvedic home remedies. • Gargle morning and evening with +tsp turmeric and +tsp of salt dissolved in a cup of warm water.
• Make a soothing herbal tea with tsp of grated fresh ging root, -t tsp of ground cinnamon stick, -hsp of crushed Iicoric root. Drink it up to three times. a day.
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Dietary guidelines • Follow a light diet of home-made vegetable soups or plain boiled rice and drink plenty of fresh ginger root tea after each meal. Home remedies • Combine+tsp of ground cumin powder, a pinch of asafoetid'a and a pinch of rock salt. Chew it well and wash down with warm water. • Or, dry roast -1-tsp fennel seeds, -1-tsp of cumin seeds and -1-tsp of coriander seeds. Mix them together and chew about -1-tsp of this mixture at intervals throughout the day. • Another remedy is to mix -1-sp of ajwain powder with -1-sp t t of baking soda. Chew this mixture and wash it down with a cup of warm water.
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Accept the stresses you can't change and do something about the ones you can! Don't let yourself to get bogged down in negative patterns of thought. Instead, try replacing them with more positive thoughts. Refer back to Chapter 3 for more details on how to chieve this. Let out your emotions - having a good laugh or cry are great stress busters! Take a little time out of your day to relax, unwind and be with nature if you can, it really does help to soothe overanxious minds.
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:ongratulations on making the effort to read Teach yourself Ayurveda. You are now equipped with the knowledge you need 10 create a healthy, Ayurvedic way of life. Asyou will have realized, Ayurveda is not a quick fix or a magic bullet: for its benefits to be felt you need to make some sincere nd perhaps challenging adjustments to many aspects of your lifestyle. It is hoped that the insights you have gained from this hook will inspire you to start making those changes. The easiest way to get started is to get to grips with' your mind-body type and make some adjustments to your diet. Remember to keep a record of these changes, and how they make you feel, in your diary so you can monitor the progress you are making. As you start to see and feel the benefits, it is hoped that this will prompt you to make more changes to your lifestyle, such as getting up a little earlier, taking steps to combat the impact of each new season and building healing yoga practices, pranayama and meditation into your daily routine. In the final section of this book you will find useful resources and further information you can use to expand your knowledge, understanding and practice of Ayurveda still further, should you wish. Namaste (I bow to the god within you)!
We all experience stress in our daily lives. Here are some tools you can use to reduce its impact on your mental and physical wellbeing. Home remedies • Give yourself a massage with sesame seed oil if you are a Vata type, sunflower oil if you are Pitta predominant and corn oil if you are a Kapha type of person. ' • Take a relaxing hot bath with 1- cup fresh ginger and 1- cup baking soda. Soak yourself in it for 10-15 minutes. • Make a stress-busting tea with soothing chamomile or t tsp of Brahmi powder (Herpestis monnieri), which is available from most good suppliers of Ayurvedic remedies (see Appendix 2). Lifestyle practices • Good yoga postures to practise include the shoulder stand, plough, spinal twists and the lion pose. • Practise meditation and the Ujjayi breath described in Chapter 8 to help melt away feelings of tension and anxiety.
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and also means we can enjoy the dawning of a new day. Waking up early gives us some quality time to spend on ourselves, preparing our minds and bodies for the day ahead. If you need another good reason for getting up a little earlier than normal, remember that this is the time of day when Vata - which is responsible for our waste elimination processes - takes control, so early rising helps to promote proper bowel movements. If you get up late and in a rush it is unlikely that your bowels will move, especially if you are Vata or have a Vata imbalance. If you are Vata predominant, try getting up by 6a.m., Pitta by S.30a.m. and Kapha by Sa.m. Even if you only achieve this once a week, do give it a try and noticehow it increases your sense of vitality and control.
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Drink a cup of hot water
Rather than starting your day with a shot of caffeine, ease your digestive system into life with a cup of hot water. This is a bit like washing a saucepan before cooking as it effectively rinses the stomach of any food residues left over from last night's meal. It also wakes up the digestive enzymes and kick-starts the peristalsis movement ready for the first meal of the day. People with constipation will find this a particularly useful habit to cultivate.
figure 3 The doshic clock
Getting off to a good start in the morning creates a sense of calm and control that can carry us through the most hectic of days. Similarly, if we oversleep and have to run for the train we tend to feel 'behind' and hassled for the rest of the day. This is why Ayurveda puts such emphasis on preparing our minds and bodies for the day ahead via a healthy morning routine. At first glance this routine looks daunting. Indeed, critics of Ayurveda often argue that the time it takes to perform these tasks simply does not fit with the pace of modern life. In fact, these modern-day pressures make it all the more important for us to get off to a good start everyday. Try to keep an open mind and gradually build these healthy living practices into your day.
Exercise your senses
Splash your face and eyes with cold water in summer and autumn to reduce tension and tiredness. In winter and spring use lukewarm water. Just as our bodies need exercise, so do our senses of perception. The yogic practice of palming is a great way to exercise the eyes. First, roll your eyes clockwise and then anti-clockwise five times. Then close them, rub your palms together vigorously and use them to cover your eyes while counting up to ten. Uncover your eyes and look straight ahead, keeping the eyes relaxed. Look up, down, to the right and to the left, then close your eyes again and repeat the palming process. Gargle with warm water flavoured with a pinch of turmeric or, if you have a dry mouth, use pure ghee or licorice root powder to cleanse and moisten the mouth. Gargling daily exercises our facial muscles helping to prevent wrinkles and the signs of ageing.
Wake up early
Ideally, wake up just before sunrise everyday. This is the time of 'brahma murta', which translates as, 'the time of knowledge'. It is the point in time when our minds are at their most perceptive