Bio-Energetic Yoga & Meditation Workshop
Hosted by Deb Porte Bobier, E-RYT 500 and founder of YogaBound.com
When: Sunday, November 24th and Saturday, November 30th
Where: 1201 Harbor Hills Dr., Largo, Florida
Time: 9am – 1pm
Cost: $65.00 day of. Or, pre-pay now (payment button at the end of this page) and pay just $55.00 Bring a friend and pay $45.00 ea. Sign up for both, $40.00 ea.
This is a perfect time to take some time out for yourself before the Holidays. This workshop is designed for everyone. And ideal for new or experienced teacher’s that are looking for a tune-up. Or, wanting to take their practice to a deeper level.
This is a slow, yet powerful practice that will take you inward, to deeper and deep levels of your being. It is intense and energetic, yet will leave you feeling relaxed and blissed out.
We’ll work with all the Chakra’s (the bodies energy channels of consciousness), Pranayama (breathwork), Meditation, then Yoga Nidra, or final relaxtion. Throughout the practice will be powerful messages from the teachings of the 8 limbs. As well as from the Yoga Sutras.
We’ll begin with Sun Salutations chanting the 12 Vedic names for the Sun. Continue with warm up excercises to connect the mind and the body, by arousing the 5th and 6th chakras. Move into a Hatha Yoga practice designed to awaken, harmonize and develop each of the Chakras. Starting with the first Chakra, and working our way up.
We’ll incorporate several Pranayama techniques to open the Nadi’s. Perform several sound meditations to further activate and harmonize the higher Chakras. Then end with a wonderfully relaxing Yoga Nidra.
I hope you will join me. And look forward to seeing you soon. Deb Porte Bobier
If you have any questions please feel free to zip me an email.
Ancient Teachings of Tantra and Kundalini Yoga – Nadis
Reposted with permission: TantraKundalini.com
Ida is the left channel. Ida is white, feminine, cold, represents the moon and is associated with the river Ganga (Ganges). Originating in Muladhara, Ida ends up in the left nostril.
Pingala is the right channel. Pingala is red, masculine, hot, represents the sun and is associated with the river Yamuna. Originating in Muladhara, Pingala ends up in the right nostril.
Sushumna is the central channel and is associated with the river Saraswati. Within the Sushumna nadi there are three more subtle channels: Vajra, Chitrini and Brahma nadi through which Kundalini moves upwards running up the body from just below Muladhara chakra to Sahasrara chakra at the crown of the head.
The kanda in Muladhara chakra is the meeting place of the three main nadis and is known as Yukta Triveni (Yukta: “combined”, tri: “three”, veni: “streams”). In Muladhara, Shakti, the static unmanifested Kundalini, is symbolized by a serpent coiled into three and a half circles around the central axis Svayambhu-linga at the base of the spine. The serpent lies blocking the entrance to Sushumna, the central channel with his mouth. Sushumna remains closed at its lower end as long as Kundalini is not awakened.
The technique of Kundalini Yoga consists in using Prana (the vital air), guiding its circulatory movement through Ida and Pingala down to the base of the spine into the space where Kundalini lies coiled. The vital energies of the opposite forces circulating in Ida and Pingala will be unified and Shakti Kundalini will then awaken and rise up Sushumna, energizing the seven chakras.
In Ajna chakra the meeting of the three main nadis is called Mukta Triveni (Mukta: “liberated”). Continuing beyond Ajna chakra, Ida and Pingala end in the left and right nostrils respectively.
Once the Kundalini Shakti has ascended through Sushumna to Sahasrara, the highest psychic center at the crown of the head, it is made to reverse its course and return to rest in the base center again.
Kundalini – The Nadi’s
In the context of Hinduism , the Kundalini energy is unseen and unmeasurable represented by a snake (or sometimes a dragon), who sleeps curled in the muladhara (the first of the chakras , the seven energy-circles, which is located in the area of the perineum). It is said that to awaken this serpent, the yogi controls life and death. Several doctrines used this concept of Kundalini: the yoga, the tantra, the Buddhism, the Taoism , the Sikhism and Gnosticism .
With regard to the symbolic representation of Kundalini , mentioned above, it should be recalled that in many cultures the snake has been revered as a sacred animal. So in the ancient Egyptian civilization, the snake that the pharaohs were in their crowns, representing his divinity and high initiation (was a symbol of high expertise). Also in cultures Mayan and Aztec was worshiped the feathered serpent. The Genesis of the Bible the serpent is lying, this allegorized in black snake (as opposed to the god Yahweh). The white snake is the sacred serpent of ancient civilizations, possessed of our magical powers. Also in the same myths, is the example of the serpent of the Israelites in the desert and healed. In the culture of Ancient Greece , two snakes are depicted in the famous caduceus of Hermes and a snake in the rod of Aesculapius, symbol of medicine.
With alchemy, energy Kundalini would rise vertically through the spinal fluid through the spine, through all the chakras and feed the brain, modulating its activity. It would be an evolutionary energy, and the degree of activation in the individual would condition your consciousness.
The snake has its base in Muldhara, coiled three and a half around it, and there is usually asleep. So, after winning the opening of chakras, can be awakened with techniques such as Tantra and Kundalini Yoga. The purpose of Kundalini Yoga is therefore wake the snake and unscrew it, directing it to Sahasrara (the chakra above) to unite body and spirit, in an attempt to integrate the two principles, usually opposite, materiality and spirituality, fusing their energies into a single body. In terms of these principles would Tantric Shiva (the masculine principle or consciousness) and Shakti (female principle or energy).
To reach this state, the serpent Kundalini must pass through three main nodes:
The first is the knot of Brahman, in the first chakra . The second is the knot of Vishnu, the chakra of the heart. The third is the knot of Shiva, the eyebrows. In each of these sites, the three energy streams are combined, knotted and tangled in a kingdom.
To the extent that consciousness pervades the first knot, begin to drop attachments to all sensations, the names and shapes of things. It establishes a new relationship with the senses and sensations perceived through them. Before entering this knot, every sensation captures the mind, the captive, the distracted and the practitioner is difficult to meditate or be still. All meditations that stimulate the navel set the fire that burns that barrier and allows wake beyond its threshold.
Finally, we reach the third door on the sixth chakra . This knot is beyond the five natural elements. It’s where intertwine way , pingala , shushumna and other nadis (river). When opened, breathing temporarily balances both nostrils and furthers the sense of time and earthly identity. Then said the Trikuti , the three rivers, you become a tri kala jna (the knower of the three times (past, present and future). The yogi no longer acts only for this time but for all time. If the knot is tight, the practitioner can obtain supernatural powers, but will be attached to them.
According to some Eastern religions, when a human being reached the maximum development and activation of this energy, get the lighting, evolutionary state that transcend the ego and develop super consciousness and universal love.
The awakening of the Kundalini
The major objective of the practices yogic and tantric is the unblocking of the nadis (‘river’) and the awakening of energy Kundalini .
However, yoga instructors warn about the danger that carries a premature awakening of the serpent. In this sense, all the great spiritual teachers warn, in this regard, the need never force at all this energy.
Yoga instructors teach their students that the Kundalini Yoga is a dangerous technique. For example, Swami Prabhavananda warns about dangerous physical effects that can result from breathing exercises of Kundalini Yoga: “Unless properly done, there is a possibility of damaging the brain. And people who practice this type of breathing without proper supervision can suffer a disease which no known science or doctor can cure. ”
According to yoga instructors, inadequate and sustained practice of breathing exercises can lead to a malfunction of the limbic system, aggravating cases of apnea (stopping breathing during sleep) or snoring, both diseases that can potentially cause heart and circulatory problems. On the contrary, the practice of meditation and breathing well tours can be helpful to correct breathing problems.
Books on yoga will consider the case of a Western practitioner of the late twentieth century, calling itself Gopi Krishna unguided said to have awakened your Kundalini meditation doing his chakra to the crown. His life after awakening was so blessed by the joy and euphoria as tormented by physical and mental discomfort. Eventually his experience stabilized. In describing the awakening of the Kundalini (the coiled serpent power) Gopi Krishna records his own experience as follows: “It was variable for many years, painful, obsessive … I’ve been through almost every stage of … types of mind mediumistic, psychotic and other, for a while I was hovering between sanity and insanity. ”
The kundalini syndrome is a set of symptoms of type sensory, motor, mental, psychological or emotional, they say some people feel who practice Yoga, Meditation or have been in a near-death experience.
The flow of Kundalini
The ida nadi is the left side, the channel of the moon. According to Hindus, gives the power of emotions in their pure state, providing the qualities of deep joy, pure love, compassion and artistic skills. This is the more feminine side of men and women. Typical problems are left of emotional attachment, depression, low self esteem, guilt or lethargy.
The pingala nadi is the right side, the channel of the sun. Would empower the rational mind, you can learn and get the strength to overcome problems through effort. It is the more masculine side of men and women. Typical problems on the right side are selfish or violent behavior, arrogance and pride.
The shushumna nadi , the central channel is the balance of the other two channels. This way you get a cooling channel and a warming sun moon channel, thus achieving a steady state in which attention keeps going from one channel to another, from sadness to euphoria, hyperactivity to lethargy , and is always in the center.
According to Hinduism, the human body has seven main chakras, which would correspond to the autonomic nerve plexus, and that would qualities such as diplomacy, compassion, wisdom and creativity. Immediately after the “spiritual fulfillment”, the chakras are activated and begin the slow process of cleaning up all the negative energy accumulated through years of self-destructive activities (such as drug addiction, alcoholism, violence, anger or bigotry of any kind ). The benefits are almost immediate, small anxieties are reduced and the joy and objectivity begin to manifest.
In ascending order, the seven chakras are:
Chakra Muladhara (Earth)
The first chakra is situated below the sacrum bone in which resides the Kundalini . Its main aspect is the innocence that is the quality that allows you to experience the pure joy, without the limitations of prejudices and conditionings. Innocence gives dignity, balance and a strong sense of right, an intuitive wisdom that is always present in children, but gradually lost, due to the conditions of modern life. This quality exists in all people, and is just waiting for the awakening of the ‘kundalini’ to be revealed in all its beauty and purity.
Chakra Swadisthana (Water)
The second chakra is the creativity, knowledge and pure attention. Is that connects to the internal source of inspiration and to appreciate the beauty of the world. Pure knowledge that this chakra gives us is not mental, but is an absolute and direct perception of reality. This center is the ability to concentrate and focus. On the physical plane, takes care of the bottom of the liver, kidneys and lower abdomen.
Chakra Nabhi, or Manipura (Fire)
The third chakra is what gives the quality of generosity and complete sense of satisfaction and happiness. When the Kundalini illuminates this chakra, provides righteousness and inner sense of morality, giving balance to the different facets of our lives.
Surrounding the second and third chakras, is the Void, which established the principle of the teacher in us. In many spiritual traditions it is called the “ocean of illusions” (in the Indian tradition is called Baba Sagara), which can only be crossed with the help of a spiritual guide. When the Kundalini awakens and goes through the Void, the principle laid down in master yogi who becomes his own guru (teacher or spiritual guide), with the ability to feel subtle problems in their fingertips, and to solve them using your own Kundalini (solar plexus).
Chakra Anahata (Air)
The fourth chakra , the heart circle, is where is the spirit, the true self. From the heart manifests love and compassion, and this chakra gives us the sense of responsibility. At its core, the breastbone, manifested as complete security and self confidence. All our fears and fears dissipate when the Kundalini through the chakra of the heart.
Chakra Vishuddhi (Ether)
The fifth chakra is the diplomacy. This chakra provides the energy required to communicate with others. His good relations affect and are correct and may be expressed as perceptions heart. This chakra is blocked with feelings of guilt and blame others when the arrogance (ie, when lacking dignity or self-employed).
Chakra Agnya, or Ajna (Light)
The sixth chakra is in charge of forgiveness and compassion, and can transcend the thinking mind consciousness to spiritual consciousness nirvichara (Sanskrit, ‘without thinking’). When this chakra is open, we understand the true meaning of forgiveness, as we become aware of the evil that makes us hate and rancor. The latter are incompatible with peace and love to a human being sucked from inside noble spirit.
Chakra Sahasrara (Wisdom)
The seventh center integrates the previous six with all its qualities and aspects. It represents the latest step in the evolution of human consciousness. Same as Swadisthan chakra, the Sahasrara chakra gives direct perception of reality, achieved by carrying through the spontaneous awakening of the Kundalini.
Once through the third knot, finally, the snake rises, harmonize all the chakras, and the light of knowledge descends to join the serpent which rises towards the Sahasrara, to be absorbed by it.At that time the individual conscience joins the universal consciousness and enters a state of knowledge, bliss and ultimate liberation.
Only the true enlightened can awaken at any time and as often as desired. And I must say that very few yogis achieve great results, although many spend their entire lives trying to get at least a moment of Kundalini awakens. The concrete and explicit method of awakening Kundalini is not taught to anyone. These practices are transmitted to outstanding disciples, and should only be exercised under the guidance of an expert teacher. As well as the snake can be extremely rewarding, it is also a powerful and dangerous if not used the right way. Awakening the Kundalini without healing the chakras would be very risky.
A tantric states that: “What we think releases, enslaved, and what you think enslaves free”.
Kundalini Yoga Mantras
- namo guru dev namo On
- Word for word translation: om the spiritual mantra, namah: ‘I revere’, gurudeva: ‘divine spiritual master’).
- Literal translation: ‘Om! I offer obeisances to the spiritual master (as God), I offer obeisances’
- Free Meaning: ‘I salute cosmic energy, the Creator and the divine path towards the light’.
- aad Gurey namah, jagaad Gurey nameh, sat gure nameh, deve namah shri guru
- Word for word translation: aad is a bija mantra (seed of a Hindu religious prayer), guru: ‘spiritual master’, yagad: ‘world’, namah: ‘reverence’, sat: ‘eternal’, Sri: prefix of respect, Spanish as “gift”; gurudeva: ‘spiritual master: God’).
- Literal translation: ‘I offer obeisance to the teacher, the teacher of the world I offer obeisances to offer him obeisances eternal master, the great master [as] I offer obeisances god’.
- Meaning free: mantra of perception and union with Universal Consciousness.
- Sat Nam
- Word for word translation: sat: ‘eternal’, n?ma: name.
- Literal translation: ‘name [God’s] eternal’.
- Free translation: ‘Truth is my identity’.
- Practice: This mantra is pronounced in all exercises (mentally or aloud). By inspiring: SAT , exhale: nam .
Mantra for meditation
- ek (number one)
- On (God, energy)
- kar (creator)
- sat (truth, the eternal)
- nam (name, identity)
- ?r? (sublime)
- wahe (mantra that stimulates ecstasy)
- guru (spiritual master).
Ayurveda’s Seasonal Wisdom in Florida – Has Spring Sprung?
By Denise O’Dunn
“Spring has sprung” is a fun alliteration, but the season didn’t really “spring” up on us. That would imply a clearly defined state of exiting one season and being firmly established in the next. Here in Florida we experience a more subtle transition from summer’s lush coverage to the trees losing leaves and then blooming. It is not as defined as the northern cycle of autumn to winter to spring. It’s not only subtle, it is inconsistent and seems to have a back-and-forth seasonal effect. We live in a place where the weather fluctuates in such a way that it seems to be a different season each day. This is apparent by looking at the condition of our trees as they are still losing leaves while they are blooming, spreading clouds of pollen and sprouting new leaves.
Ayurveda, the science of life, encourages us to be present and notice the subtle shifts that transpire in nature. When we are aware of these on-going changes, it is less likely that we will be caught off guard and thrown out of balance. The best way to apply the “seasonal” wisdom of Ayurveda in Florida is to look at today’s weather — and tomorrow’s forecast. Is it cool to cold and dry? That’s Vata, the Dosha or dynamic force of ether and air. When the day will be warm to hot and humid, that’s Pitta, the Dosha of fire and water. If the weather calls for cool and wet, that’s Kapha, the Dosha of water and earth. We can make appropriate decisions to maintain our personal balance when we are aware of the current Doshic influences, called Vikriti. So the Vikriti of the day includes the influences of the weather.
Everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere it is spring and so everywhere north of the Tropic of Cancer it is pollen season! The air is alive with the purposeful explosion of pollen from the variety of trees, plants, grasses and flowers that are blooming. According to Doshic principles, pollen is primarily Pitta. Pollen carries Pitta’s aggressive nature and irritating potential. The concentrations of pollen can be so high that even with no known allergies; everyone can be affected by pollen according to their Doshic nature or Prakriti. If we are a dominate Vata type our response to pollen may be sneezing, itchy eyes, wheezing or interrupted sleep. If Pitta is our dominate Dosha, Pitta will increase causing watery eyes, nasal discharge, inflamed or infected sinuses, and may be associated with fever or headaches. With Kapha dominance, pollen will influence our congestive nature with sinus congestion, swollen mucous membranes, deeper chest congestion or sluggish energy.
Whether our response to pollen manifests as Vata, Pitta or Kapha symptoms — or a combination of each, a common thread between them is the excess mucous (Kapha) created by the body to help soothe the irritated linings of our nasal passages, sinuses, throat, lungs and even your stomach. Ayurveda works on a basic principle that opposite actions contribute to greater balance. To decrease the effects of Pitta pollen and to balance the system we use cleansing, cooling and calming measures. The same traditional Ayurvedic cleansing ritual found in the daily routines of Dincharya, but with a special emphasis on the particulars of the season (Ritucharya)
This Pollen season is “Tri-Doshic” — all three Doshas are displaying their dominate natures. Below are 16 classical Ayurvedic recommendations designed to:
• Cleanse, soothe and rejuvenate the nasal passages and sinuses
• Clear the nadis or channels where prana (vital energy) flows
• Enhance circulation of blood and lymph
• Assist balanced agni or digestive fire
• Support the immune system
• Calm the mind and soothe the senses
• Balance the current Doshic influences
Keep in mind that, an essential concept in Ayurveda is that your Prakriti or birth-given Doshic type must be considered when incorporating Ayurvedic practices into your day.
Neti – Is the act of rinsing your nasal passages and sinuses with a saline solution of warm purified water and sea salt, equal to the normal saline of tears. With the use of a specially designed neti pot, the solution is poured into one nostril and drains out through the other. It is not recommended to use the neti pot if a sinus infection is suspected. Another form of neti is the simple act of swabbing your nostrils with a cotton tip dipped in rose hydrosol or rosewater. The gently cleansing and soothing application of rosewater to your nasal passages can be part of Dincharya, your daily cleansing routine.
Nasya – Is the use of herbal oil to assist with clearing and lubricating your nasal passages, opening your sinuses, enhancing sensory organs and enabling the balanced flow of prana. Nasya oil can be applied with a dropper, 3 – 5 drops of Nasya oil in each nostril. It is not recommended to use Nasya oil drops directly after using the neti pot, as the oil will drain into your sinuses. Nasya oil can also be applied with a cotton swab just inside each nostril. This application can be used daily and immediately follow the use of the neti pot or swabbing the nostrils with rosewater.
Pranayama – Is the regulation of your breath. Your breath carries prana, your life force energy. Deep, purposeful and efficient breathing supports the purification of your blood as it is processed by your lungs. The inhalation is revitalizing; the exhalation is restoring. Nadi Sodhana (purification of the energy pathways) is an alternate nostril breathing technique used to clear the channels for prana to flow. It also helps to keep the tissue of your nasal passages resilient. To perform this calming and grounding technique: use your thumb and ring finger on the hand that you write with, close your right nostril to breathe in and out through your left nostril…slow your breath down…repeat this, breathing through your right nostril…alternately breathe through one nostril and the other in a slow and controlled manner for at least 12 rounds. If your nasal passages are clogged, keep the closed nostril partially open. To warm and ground Vata, breathe only through your right nostril — to cool and calm Pitta, breathe only through your left nostril.
Bija Mantras – Are “seed” sounds repeated to affect the chakras or energy centers of your subtle body. The vibration that is created by verbalizing these mantras has a balancing effect on the associated areas of the body. For the 5th Chakra (Vishuddha or Throat) place your hands on your throat, visualize the color blue and make a repetitive sound of “HAM” (pronounced like “lawn”) out loud to the length of each exhalation 9 to 108 times. For the 6th Chakra (Ajna or Brow) place your hands between your eye brows, visualize the color indigo and repeat a continuous sound of “AUM or OM” (pronounced like “home”) out loud the length of each exhalation 9 to 108 times.
Relaxation & Meditation – Are practices of becoming still and letting go of all that doesn’t serve you in the moment. Relaxation and meditation effectively rest the systems of your body, while purifying and rejuvenating your mind. The simple act of following the natural rhythm of your breath is a form of relaxation. The meditative practice of silently repeating the sound “So” as you inhale and “Hum” as you exhale, while being aware of the silent gap between each phase of your breath, is a powerful method of witnessing the still point of your mind.
Asana Practice – Yoga postures enhance systems of your body by stimulating the flow of blood and lymph. The circulation of lymph is passive and can only be achieved through moving your body, the lymph system is a crucial part of your immune response so movement then becomes essential in your wellness.
By systematically holding and moving through yoga postures you increase the flow of energy throughout your body and this redirects ama or toxins from tissues of your body to the proper organs for elimination. Be sure to include postures that are invigorating, but not over stimulating, and postures that encourage the upward movement of energy while, at the same time, keep you grounded. Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara) will bring you to this balance when practiced mindfully. Back arches like Bridge pose (Setu Bandhasana) are helpful in removing excess Kapha or mucous from your lungs and stimulating your thyroid gland. Include forward folds and spinal rotations, as they massage and assist the function of your internal organs. Practice standing postures, such as Warrior I and II (Virabhadrasana I and II) to open your chest with extended arms. Follow your natural breath through your asana practice; breathing-in all that you need to sustain you and breathing-out that which you no longer need.
General Exercise – Any form of moderate physical activity that you practice on a regular basis will greatly enhance the proper function of your bodily systems. Choose exercise that you enjoy and you will positively affect your body/mind response; this will support your immune system and reduce the effects of stress. Walking is an excellent exercise for all body types. Walking in the early morning is especially beneficial — as you witness nature awakening, you feel your body and spirit come alive.
Dry Brushing – Stimulation, through dry-brush massage, is an effective way to encourage your body’s internal cleansing activity, while reducing stress on the other organs of elimination. An important benefit of skin brushing is that it “exercises” your lymphatic system, which is a vital part of eliminating toxins and waste. Use a long-handled, natural bristle brush to reach all areas of your body. Apply moderate pressure when you use the dry brush on dry skin.
Abhyanga – Is an Ayurvedic oil massage, the term can also refer to a daily self-massage technique. The word Abhyanga suggests the movement of prana (subtle energy) into your body and the movement of ama (toxins) towards the organs for elimination. The main function of Abhyanga is to enhance the flow of prana by anointing your body with Dosha specific oils. Through the action of Abhyanga, impurities are released from your skin and toxins are detached from your deeper tissues to be removed by your body’s elimination system.
Herbal Preparations – Chyavanprash is a rasayana (rejuvenative) in the form of an herbal jam. Made in a base of amalaki fruit, this traditional Ayurvedic formula contains a synergy of over 40 herbs. Amalaki or amla is a very rich source of vitamin C, making it a potent antioxidant and excellent rejuvenative. It nourishes and strengthens the immune system by supplying energy to all the cells of your body. This vitalizing formula is slightly warming, supporting healthy digestion and elimination, while stimulating metabolism. It serves to gently balance your nervous system and respiratory system. One teaspoon of Chyavanprash jam taken twice daily is recommended. Herbal tea blends containing cleansing, cooling and calming herbs, as well as those that support immunity, will help to balance systems of your body affected by pollen. Herbs such as, red clover, burdock root, marshmallow, (not the candy) coriander, cumin, fennel, hibiscus, tulsi, bayberry, mullein and rosehips can be used in combination with herbs that are balancing to your Doshic nature.
Aromatherapy – Is the use of essential oils to create balance through their aroma and their application to your skin. Some of the essential oils most beneficial during pollen season are eucalyptus, camphor, wintergreen, lemongrass, ginger and basil. A synergistic blend of these oils can be inhaled from the bottle or a few drops placed in a basin of steaming water, then inhaled with a towel over your head. Be careful not to get undiluted essential oils on your skin or in your eyes, it can be irritating.
Digestion & Food – Enhancing your digestion is an important way to help all of the systems of your body function optimally. Choose Dosha balancing, natural foods that are light, fresh and seasonally available, such as leafy greens, cabbage, kale, green beans and asparagus. Enjoy fresh berries or cooked fruit, like apples and pears with a pinch of cinnamon. Eat legumes and grains that have a drying quality like black beans, chickpeas, aduki beans, basmati rice, barley and millet. The proper use of spices such as turmeric, cumin, fennel, coriander, mint and fresh ginger will promote good digestion and detoxification. Start your day by drinking a cup of warm water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a spoonful of aloe vera juice; sweeten it if needed with Agave nectar. Take small sips of warm water or Doshic tea during your meals, avoid iced beverages.
Elimination – Our bodies are brilliantly designed to eliminate wastes and toxins, but if you are experiencing irregular bowel movements, constipation or diarrhea, there are naturally gentle and effective ways to assist regularity. Triphala is a classic Ayurvedic blend formulated to support proper function of the digestive, eliminative, circulatory and respiratory systems, by cleansing and nourishing their associated organs. This traditional formula contains the dried fruits of amalaki, bibhitaki and haritaki. It helps to balance the Doshas. The blend contains five of the six tastes (Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Astringent and Pungent). Triphala can be taken regularly, by all body types, as a tea or 1-2 tablets before bedtime.
Ayurvedic Treatments – Over time Doshic imbalance can result in the accumulation of Ama or toxins deep in bodily tissues. The Sodhana or cleansing principle behind traditional Ayurvedic treatments is to soften, release, and mobilize ama through the use of oil, massage and heat. This redirected ama can then find its way back into the blood stream and out through proper channels of elimination. For Pollen Season I recommend Nasyakarma, a treatment which begins with a shoulder, neck, and facial massage to relax tension and facilitate the nasal administration of warm herbal oil. This unique therapy aids in clearing and lubricating your nasal passages, opening the sinuses, enhancing your sensory organs and enabling the balanced flow of prana. Balancing cleansing methods with Rasayana or rejuvenating practices, Shirodhara is the perfect complement to Nasyakarma. In a Shirodhara treatment warm Dosha specific oil is streamed over your forehead, balancing the effects of excess Vata and calming the conditions of increased Pitta.
Panchakarma – Is the traditional Ayurvedic cleansing, rejuvenating and balancing program for your body, mind and spirit. According to the Vedic texts, the formula for optimal wellbeing is good digestion, efficient elimination, harmony between your mind, senses and consciousness, and a natural balance of the elemental energies of your being called the Doshas. Ayurveda explains that your natural state of balance and wellbeing can be challenged by rhythms that occur in nature, like seasonal changes. For this reason, Ayurveda recommends that you receive Panchakarma during the transition between seasons, so that you can be clear of the prior season’s excesses before the start of the next season. Everyone, especially those who suffer from seasonal allergies, can benefit from this wisdom. As the seasons seem to change day to day here in Florida, anytime is a good time for Panchakarma.
With awareness and the ways of Ayurveda you can experience balance & bliss in this blossoming time of year!
Disclaimer: This article was written for educational purposes only and is based on the tradition of Ayurveda. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, prescribe or heal any health condition or to replace standard medical treatment or advice.
Pranayama – The Practice
The breath is the most vital process of the body. It influences the activities of each, and every cell. And, most importantly, it is intimately linked with the performance of the brain. Human beings breathe about 15 times per minute, or 21,600 times per day. Respiration fuels the burning of oxygen, and glucose, producing energy to power every muscular contraction, glandular secretion, and mental process.
The breath is intimately linked to all aspects of human experience. Most people breathe incorrectly, using only a small part of their lung capacity. The breathing is then generally shallow”, depriving the body of oxygen, and the prana essential to its good health. The first five practices given in this section are preparatory techniques which introduce correct breathing habits.
In addition, they help focus the awareness on the breathing process which is otherwise normally ignored. Practitioners develop sensitivity to the respiratory process, and retrain the muscles of the pulmonary cavity, enhancing their vital capacity, and preparing them for pranayama.
Rhythmic, deep, and slow respiration sublimates, and is stimulated by calm, content, states of mind. Irregular breathing disrupts the rhythms of the brain, and leads to physical, emotional, and mental blocks. These in turn, lead to inner conflicts, imbalances, personality disorders, destructive lifestyles, and disease. Pranayama establishes regular breathing patterns, breaking this negative cycle, and reversing the process.
It does so by taking control of the breath, and re-establishing the natural, relaxed rhythms of the body, and mind. Although breathing is mainly an unconscious process, conscious control of it may be taken at any time. Consequently, it forms a bridge between the conscious, and unconscious areas of the mind. Through the practice of pranayama, the energy trapped in neurotic, unconscious mental patterns may be released for use in more creative, and joyful activity.
Breathing and life span…. In addition to influencing the quality of life, the length, or quantity of life is also dictated by the rhythm of the respiration. The ancient yogis, and rishis studied nature in great detail. They noticed that animals with a slow breath rate such as pythons, elephants, and tortoises have long life spans. Whereas, those with a fast breathing rate. such as birds, dogs, and rabbits, live for only a few years.
From this observation they realized the importance of slow breathing for increasing the human lifespan. Those who breathe in short, quick gasps are likely to have a shorter life span than those who breathe slowly, and deeply. On the physical level, this is because the respiration is directly related to the heart. A slow breathing rate keeps the heart stronger, and better nourished, and contributes to a longer life.
Deep breathing also increases the absorption of energy by the pranamaya kosha, enhancing dynamism, vitality, and general wellbeing. Pranayama and the spiritual aspirant Pranayama practices, establish a healthy body by removing blockages in the pranamaya kosha, enabling an increased absorption of prana. The spiritual seeker, however. also requires tranquility of mind as an essential prelude to spiritual practice.
To this end, many pranayama techniques utilize kumbhaka, or breath retention, to establish control over the flow of prana, calming the mind, and controlling the thought process. Once the mind has been stilled, and prana flows freely in the nadis, and chakras, the doorway to the evolution of consciousness opens, leading the aspirant into higher dimensions of spiritual experience.
In The Science of Pranayama, Swami Sivananda writes, “There is an intimate connection between the breath, nerve currents, and control of the inner prana, or vital forces. Prana becomes visible on the physical plane as motion, and action, and on the mental plane as thought. Pranayama is the means by which a yogi tries to realize within his individual body, the whole cosmic nature, and attempts to attain perfection by attaining all the powers of the universe.”