AYURVDA FOR YOUR DOSHA AND FOR THE SEASON
We are now in the transition between the wetness of Winter/Early Spring (Kapha) and the heat of summer (Pitta). Traditionally the time of spring cleaning not only our homes but our body’s internal systems. If a full-on detox sounds too much, another option I’ve been advised by my Ayurvedic consultant, is to take Triphala. One of the most well-known and commonly used herbs in Ayurveda, Triphala which means ‘three fruits’, is a combination of the fruits of three plants, which are dried, ground, and precisely blended to create a beneficial synergistic effect.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
Triphala acts to rejuvenate, according to the classical Ayurvedic text the, Charaka Samhita, taking triphala daily with honey and ghee (triphala rasayana) is said to have the power to “make a person live for one hundred years devoid of old age and diseases,” quite a claim!
From an Ayurvedic perspective, some of Triphala’s therapeutic action comes from the fact that it possesses five of the six tastes* (all but salty) which are seen as necessary for health and well-being. It also balances all three doshas and all the seven tissue layers, making it perfect for all three constitutions of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Triphala’s qualities are light and dry, adding lightness to the mind-body system. It also cleanses all the channels in the body, especially the channels of elimination, thus aiding in daily detoxification.
SOME OF THE CONDITIONS SAID TO BE HELPED BY TRIPHALA
Detoxification – One of the most well-known characteristics of Triphala is its impact on toxicity levels within the body. Research has found that the active ingredients in this blend are able to stimulate the liver and kidneys, helping to clear the body of accumulations of toxins and prevent excess inflammation in various parts of the body. It is an excellent colon cleanser.
Lowers Cholesterol – Containing oleic and linoleic acid in two of the three herbs of the blend, these ‘good’ fats are able to re-balance cholesterol levels and prevent excess deposits of plaque in the arteries.
Immune Boosting – Amla, one of the key ingredients in Triphala, is rich in vitamin C, which can stimulate the immune system.
Diabetes – Triphala is said to improve the body’s insulin sensitivity, however, excess consumption of this herbal mixture may lead to an increase in blood sugar levels, so dose is important.
Weight Loss – Improves fat storage by preventing certain foods from being stored as fats. This can improve the speed of the metabolism and boost passive fat-burning.
Enhances Nutrient Intake – Aside from optimizing digestion and eliminating constipation symptoms, Triphala can also improve the efficiency of nutrient uptake, which will increase feelings of satiety and prevent overeating.
Side Effects of Triphala – Despite the many valuable benefits of Triphala, there are some potential side effects that must be considered. As with all medications and supplements it is advisable to discuss taking Triphala with your medical or health provider.
Potential side effects include:
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Dehydration from excessive bowl movements
- Allergic reactions,
- Insomnia: Drinking the tea only on an empty stomach first thing, helps eliminate this issue.
- Drug Interactions: The effect on enzymes and hormones can sometimes negatively interfere with medication intended for depression, hyperactivity and blood clots.
- Weight Loss: Not recommended for those with eating disorders
* The Six Tastes of Ayurveda – salt, sour, sweet, bitter, astringent, and pungent
Thanks to Organicfacts.net and chopra.com
Barbara Nassar Personal Trainer – North West London
EXPERTISE FROM A SELF-CARE SPECIALIST
WHY SET A GOAL
If you want to succeed you need to set goals and this is no different when it comes to hitting the gym. Without them we lack focus and direction.
So, let’s get down to planning. Get rid of obstacles and focus on ambitions and real goals. To achieve any results, you need time and realistic goals. If you set them too high right from the start it can discourage us when the first failure comes our way.
Plan small steps on the way to your goals to see progress and to not lose confidence or faith in success. Measuring goals is an excellent motivational activity, make notes in diary regularly and record the results. Change ‘I’m going to’ for ‘I will.’ Believe In your dreams (goals) and write them down.
HOW TO ACHIEVE IT
– Make a plan and write down the individual stages of for realisation.
– Specify the steps you need to take to achieve the goals.
– Define activities for the coming year based on good models and habits.
– Get ready for changes.
HOW TO KEEP MOTIVATED
Do not impose too high of a pace at the very beginning. Did you know that the rule ‘step by step’ is very important for two reasons: This approach prevents overtraining and it counteracts discouragement. Think why you want to exercise and what will the benefits of increasing your activity. Will you be in better shape? Will you weigh fewer kilos? Will you improve your blood results? Or maybe you’ll be able to put on trousers that are 2 sizes smaller? There may be many reasons but remember those that are important to YOU are the ones that really work.
If you have been practicing for a long time and you feel like you are losing motivation then remember again what you get from your workouts, what are you striving for and what you want to achieve as a result. Choose your favourite type of exercise, which sport is the best for you? The ones you like you and enjoy.
Remember that “motivation helps to begin habits and helps you persevere.” In order to develop a habit, you need a dose of routine and repetitiveness. You will not learn how to cook just by watching cooking shows, it’s the same with any other activity. That’s why you should set the minimum amount of time you can devote in a week or in a day. If you can manage to do more – great. If not, then try stick to your plan then it will naturally become your habit.
Contact Barbara for tailored personal training in North West London and Bucks email Barbara_pt@aol.co.uk
SANKALPA – SETTING AN INTENTION
WHEN TO USE A SANKALPA
If you’ve attended any of my classes or workshops you’ll sometimes hear me invite you to ‘set an intention’ for your practice. This idea comes from the yogic term Sankalpa. The root of the word ‘san’ means “a connection with the highest truth,” and kalpa, means “vow’. So, ‘Sankalpa’ translates as vowing to connect with highest truth, meaning to resolve/intend to do or achieve something that is heart-felt. This is why we will always take a few moments before setting our intention so we can quiet the mind and ego becoming settled into what our ‘soul’ or inner voice is asking for. A goal can be thought of as an individual’s will, while the Sankalpa is the universal will.
We use Sankalpa whenever we are making a commitment to bringing something into our lives or letting something go. It’s not to be used lightly on a whim or for every little thing we want.
Connecting to our heart’s desire allows for the Sankalpa to be phrased as a positive declaration of intent, such as “joy is my true nature,” rather than the ego-driven “I want to be happy.”
As well as getting quiet and stating a positive declaration the Sankalpa can be sealed with a ‘mudra’. Another yoga Sanskrit term, a Mudra is a PsychoSpiritual gesture usually of the hands, that locks and guides energy back to the brain via the reflex system.
THE SANKALPA MUDRA
Left hand crosses the midline (heart energy center) and rests with palm open (receptive mode) on the right thigh.
The right hand goes over the left with the right palm facing down in a grounding mode.
Bringing the palms to face one another connects both hemispheres of the brain. All aspects of us–body, mind and energy hear the commitment and can work together to make our resolve happen.
HOW TO SET A SANKALPA
- Find a comfortable position
- Take a few deep inhales and exhales
- Let the breath return to normal and begin to get quiet
- Listen for the heart to speak
- Phase your intention in the positive, present and universal
- Check for ego demands
- Adopt the Sankalpa mudra
- Can be used not just before a yoga practice but any activity. Particularly useful before going into a potentially difficult situation of conflict.
TillyLou James, Physiotherapist, Yoga teacher and Inventor of the’ Buttafly’, an ergonomic seat for yoga, meditation and realigning the spine www.thebuttafly.com
TREAT YOUR OWN BAD BACK
We are not very kind to our backs, often spending much of our time doing the same things. Whether this means sitting or standing all day or doing activities involving repetitive movements like bending, twisting or lifting, it tends to be our back that takes the brunt of it.
Spending 5-10 minutes a day lying down with a Standard Buttafly carefully positioned under the pelvis can provide just the right kind of support for the deep muscles of the trunk to relax and facilitate for the spine to release, unravel and lengthen as you literally lie back and unwind.
This can be particularly helpful at the end of a long tiring day but also first thing when the body has been in its habitual sleeping shape during the night.
There is something very specific in the technique that avoids all pressure on the base of the spine and introduces a very gentle inversion, since the position means that the pelvis rests higher than the shoulder girdle.
It can take a bit of practice to get the position just right first time and we encourage everyone to watch our instruction videos on www.thebuttafly.com for the full instructions and helpful hints.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Lying down on our back, especially on a hard surface like the floor, most of us can get a sense of how much of our weight is taken through the triangular bone at the base of the spine – known as the sacrum.
Taking the same position with a Standard Buttafly placed low down under the pelvis effectively “floats” the sacrum – the sacrum and lower back are now off-loaded and free to move gently aided by gravity.
NEW INTERPRETATION – OLD CONCEPTS
Off-loading the spine is something physiotherapists have worked with through the ages and at one time “traction beds” were routine equipment found in clinics and hospitals. Likewise, changing the body’s relationship with gravity is not a new concept and inversion tables and gravity boots (which are used to hang upside down like a bat) have been around for decades.
HOW LONG SHOULD YOU LIE ON THE BUTTAFLY?
Start off with 5 minutes – it takes a few minutes to fully relax. Those who complain of niggles from time to time and who know their posture to be poor will likely benefit for 15-20 minutes. It’s ideal to work out for yourself what is the optimum time, working up in 5-minute increments.
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Anyone under treatment is advised to discuss with their medical practitioner. There is no guarantee that the Buttafly will work for you, but hundreds of people have found relief using it for various back issues. The most important factor is that IT MUST BE USED CORRECTLY, and the position MUST feel comfortable.
For further information visit www.thebuttafly.com
I had so many different name ideas for this site but Satisfy the Hunger seemed to encapsulate what I was hearing from so many – a need to find food and practices that nourish our depleted, stressed-out selves.
Why I decided to do a site in the first place was because my yoga students would ask where they could find out about my food and get advice on recipes and techniques and my private cook clients wanted to know more about the yoga I offered so I decided to put it all in one place.
My posts will focus on practices and techniques that nourish the body and the soul across the spectrum of food and yoga but always with an emphasis on the practical. Who has time to prepare three-hour gourmet ‘raw’ meals or two-hour early morning yoga sessions? OK maybe some, but for the rest of us we need to access practices which are do-able, fit with our lives, are effective and Satisfy the Hunger within for a life that sustains us.