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Jala Rahasya: The Secret of Water in Ayurveda

“May waters filled with medicinal properties protect my body, so I may have the vision of the Sun!”
-Rig Veda, IX.9.7 (Author’s translation)

According to Ayurveda, the properties of water vary. Different types of water are thus useful for different people, disorders and times.

Unboiled water is said to take 3 hours to digest, boiled and cooled water 1.5 hours to digest and boiled water taken warm takes 48 minutes to digest according to the principles laid out in Ayurveda.

Drinking too much and over-hydrating suppresses the digestive fire and enzymes and hence can lead to disease. Especially drinking cold water can lead to various complications such as hiccups, gas, pains etc. and is thus also contraindicated in such cases (vata-rogas and kapha-rogas).

Warm and hot water helps alleviate these symptoms, especially when taken at night-time as it helps reduce the cooler properties of vata and kapha respectively.

The below isn’t at all a rigid nor exhaustive system, but one merely based on properties and generics alone, relative to jalapana (intake of water).

Note these seasons are based on the western four-season model outside of India, since India has a unique six seasons:

Vata Prakriti / old age / late autumn and early winter:

Warm water baths and warm water taken internally and warm milk with spices (ginger, cardamon etc.). For dryness, warm water taken with a little ghee is useful or castor oil with ginger at bed-time for constipation. Waters from the jungle-regions is better as it is agni-dipana or stimulating to the digestion, as well as water that has been reduced by 75% while boiling, which is good for vata.

Pitta Prakriti / middle-aged / summer, early autumn and men:

Luke-warm and cooler water baths and cool water, milk or coconut milk taken internally or aloe juices. Water that has been reduced by 50% by boiling is suitable for pitta as well.

Kapha Prakriti / young age / late winter, spring and women:

Warm to hot water baths and warm/hot water taken internally as well as honey (except when there are menorrhagia and pitta disorders / artavavahasrota rogas). Jungle-water can be taken as well for kapha. Spiced water can be taken here such as with pippali, dry ginger or trikatu formula to stimulate digestion and alleviate accumulation of phlegm. Water that has been boiled and reduced by 25% is suitable for kapha-types and disorders.

In addition:

Cold water on the face is useful for all types (except kapha) as also is not using excess hot /warm water on the head (especially vata and pitta types) as this causes excess sadhaka-pitta leading to premature balding, dry scalp, grey hairs etc.

*Geographical climates to be considered

*Women should alternate these according to hormonal changes and cycles also.

*Where there is ama or fevers, this also needs to be tweaked accordingly.

Categories
ayurveda diet natural cures ng Uncategorized wellbeing yoga for health

Ritucharya (Seasonal Routines):

[EXCERPT from Up-coming book “Ayurvedic Wellness Tips”]

© Durgadas (Rodney) Lingham/Arogya Ayurvedic Health Ltd.

All Rights Reserved.

No part of this article may be copied or reproduced in any form, without direct permission from the author. Quotes may be used in research works, providing proper citations and references are given.

Ayurveda considers the effects of seasons on our lives, due to their constant changes due to exogenous effects, that can affect our daily metabolic functions, both physically and mentally.

We have discussed in the beginning, how Ayurveda correlates various times of the day and correlates them with the doshas and their aggravation. Likewise, as a part of the Ayurvedic circadian clock, Ayurveda also looks at various effects relative to seasons (ritu), which we will now discuss here, as an important topic, relative to the scope of this book.

As a part of its preventative medicine scince, Ayurveda thus looks at the effects of these seasons and the changes they have relaive to affecting us, as individuals.

According to the traditional six-season model in India, vata accumulates in the summer-time and aggravates in the early rainy-season; pitta accumulates in the rainy or monsoon season and aggravates in the autumn and kapha accumulates in pre-winter and aggravates in the spring.

Here, the six seasons are:

Vasanta
or Spring
Grishma or Summer
Varshaor Monsoon season
Sharada or Early autumn
Hemanta or Late autumn
Shishira or Winter

Today there are many that claim to use the classical six-season system of the classics of Ayurveda (introducing shishira or late-winter / cold season and varsha or rainy / monsoon season) and apply them to western and other environments. Yet, the reality is that that we cannot use the six-season model of Ayurveda as in India, as we don’t have six seasons! Moreover, the seasons also differ in the Northern and Southern hemisphere! In Australasia for example, we celebrate Christmas in the summer-time, not in the cool winter as in the Northern Hemisphere and hence the same regimens and times cannot be superimposed. India is also a tropical nation, whereas others are not and change accordingly.

Moreover, these differ as per nation as per specific climates and cycles also, especially in relation to the North and South pole, which Ayurveda understands well with desha (land or region)etc. which all of this also comes into.

The climates across the US alone can change quite dramatically, especially the South closer to the equator and the North which is closer to the North Pole! This reveals that different models are here required as seasons have different properties even in the North American continent, let alone between continents themselves and localised variations of weather patterns. Land-locked regions of the south are also different in the desert to those bordering coastlines etc.

Even ecologists today employ four-seasonal systems in temperate and sub-polar regions, but employ a six-season system for more temperate or tropical regions. Kerala for example has to be treated as a kind of “rainy season / monsoon” (varsha season) climate due to having the highest rainfall of India. Hence, such issues need to be addressed relative to these sciences, as such again doesn’t apply to the rest of the world – just as the consumption of turkey, chilies, potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkins, avocados etc. native to the Americas[1] is suitable for those habitually used to other foodstuffs in their diets for thousands of years (as Europeans) – whereas such are anti-doted with spices to aid in their digestions in the orient where they were introduced through trade in the past 400 years[2] – what is known as satmya or suitability in Ayurveda, as per cultural and social norms in dietary, lifestyle and other habits that are not always the same. Not all nations eat curries or spiced foods as India does for example and thus may not be able to handle the hotter, more pungent spices (such as Indian long pepper, ginger and garlic) traditionally used in South Asia.

Here we must remember that regions nearer the equator will have different kinds of seasonal effects to those nearer the poles, especially relative to summer and winter. India as a more tropical climate has its system centered more upon this system which differs from many other nations here and thus such properties must be assessed in a more unique manner – just as one should differentiate between predominating doshic factors in a patient, as also their vayas (age) in which doshic predominating factors are high, as also relative to their ethnicity also, as such variations exist. Smaller eyes for example are not always a sign of a vata person, just as a larger nose is not a sign of a kapha person when it comes to race. India possesses various racial types from Caucasoid, Mongoloid, Australoid and Negrito. We have to allow for differences here, just as we do for seasonal changes and changes in climatic factors and properties relative to them.

As such, the following four-season model is adapted to the west and such relative to Ayurveda. We must remember that Ayurveda considered such things as desha (location) and the effects of such regional changes, relative to how it assessed various things and gave such various properties accordingly. We know these by our own regions, once we have understood the gunas or properties of these.


[1] As per Ayurveda, these foods wouldn’t necessarily cause issues to people habitually suited to them, but may for others newly adopting them. Ayurveda often,as Indian cooking, uses spices to “anti-dote” these toxic effects of new foods and those we are unaccustomed to. 

Here, Charaka Samhita, Chikitsasthana, XXX.321-325 gives examples of, just as how the diets of Chinese, Europeans etc. doesn’t affect them, though sometimes contrary to disease, so sometimes like qualities of the doshas can alleviate them, as pitta deep within the tissues can be brought out by heat as in poultices or hot application and that excreta from a fly, though causing vomiting sensations, can also cure it (things which are normally contrary, but in certain cases help the disorder)!

[2] There is evidence to support the use of potatoes, chillies, maize, pumpkins etc. in India and Indian cooking in the pre-Columbian period.  Maize is seen on Hoysala and other sculptures in earlier times, as as early as 100AD (Sorenson, John L & Johannessen,  Carl  L: Scientific Evidence for Pre-Columbian Voyages Sino-Platinoc Papers,  Dept. of  East Asian Languages and Civilisations,  University of Pennsylvania, April 2004.).        Amaranth has also been culyivated since Indus-Valley times (source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/indus-valley-non-vegetarian-national-museum-6278349/).

Here, we know that India-America relations were possible in the earlier centuries AD, as also as early as the Ramayana and the Chola etc. Empires. Thus, it’s possible we used chilies much earlier!

According to the Asian Scientist magazine (June 1, 2018), sweet potatoes have have first been cultivated in India itself, and not the Americas as history tells us., due to fossils of leaves around 57 million years ago (Source: https://www.asianscientist.com/2018/06/in-the-lab/fossil-sweet-potatoes-asia-india/ ).


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SPRING NEWS AND UPDATES

2019 Spring News and Updates

Spring is in the air again, with kapha (phlegm) being aggravated and starting to liquefy with the warmer weather, and the time of allergies.

For allergies, place a little ghee (clarified butter) in the nostrils after cleansing sinuses with a neti pot in the morning (add a little warm water with a pinch of salt, ginger powder and cinnamon, with a drop or two of sesame oil). Otherwise, you can use Anu Taila, which you can purchase from us.

We need to continue our spices and herbs for the winter regimens, and also continue with those ginger drinks during this period.

Some yoga practices can also help
(these are listed further on, below).


Ayurvedic Health Tips for Spring:

  • Eat more dehydrated and dried fruits and nuts and avoid excessive intake of fresh fruit – especially in the mornings and evenings when kapha is high in our bodies
  • Use mustard oil and spices for cooking, but avoid deep-fried and fried foods
  • Wear reds, as this colour helps stimulate the mind and also heats the body, which is useful in Spring
  • Go for Spas and Saunas, as these are heating and help liquefy kapha (phlegm) build-up during this season
  • Excessive use of meats, dairy foods and seafood should also be avoided, due to kapha aggravation during Spring.
  • Drink spiced teas and beverages, such as ginger and (old) honey with warm water and a little black pepper to clear the doshas

Yoga for Spring:

Perform Kapalabhati Pranayama, which is where we ‘pump’ the stomach and force our out rapidly. This helps dispel phlegm from sinuses.

Right-nostril breathing performed faster, also helps. This helps heap the mind and body and dispel tamas or darkness and lethargy in our minds and bodies; it helps invigorate us again.

Perform heating asanas or postures such as the staff-pose (dandasana), lion-pose (simhasana) and backward bends.

Use fiery meditations to the sun, red hues, deities such as Bhairava, Murugan (Mars/St. Michael), a candle, and also mantras such as Huṃ.

Featured Article:

Ayurvedic Massages – Good or Bad?

Posted by AROGYAYURVEDAonAPRIL 26, 2019EDIT

Ayurveda has long considered the uses of massage, often as a daily palliative treatment, but performed with specific oils after a complete Ayurvedic examination by a trained professional to examine all facets of psychology, disorders, constitutional issues and others. Here, panaceas are often not the best, nor Ayurvedic per se!

Many forms of Ayurvedic massage today can actually be harmful as they can cause unwanted toxins in the body if performed outside of their required actions and techniques, which are specific cleansing actions or shodhana (purificatory) therapies; here, massages are often performed – again with specific oils, decoctions and substances – as preliminary methods (purvakarmas) to relocate toxins in the body and expel them, but in a clinical setting along with specific diets, formulas and lifestyle regimes as well. Such advanced and often aggressive methods are not to be performed for one and all, or outside specifically tailored detoxification programs, based on an individual’s disease category, age and other factors! This requires a full training in clinical Ayurveda from the classical point of view.

Other therapies are given as part of the Spa Ayurveda regimes today, which are just as bad, as such don’t target the true problems. Each disease requires specific treatment, internal and external, as a part of traditional Ayurveda over modernised New-Age Ayurveda often being practiced by Naturopaths and Yoga teachers.

For this reason, Indians were taught these sciences from youth and understood the spiritual and cultural contexts and rituals/implications that went along with this, which are important. The Hindu tradition and sciences are about specifics over generics

As an example, you wouldn’t go to a Chinese person to learn how to bake French pastries, nor would you turn to the Frenchman to teach you about authentic Qi Gong as the two cultures are completely different. Being immersed in such and understanding such means also the language behind it – which is imperative one understand from youth to gauge these nuances, over those who have culturally-appropriated and set up ‘Wellness’ businesses and organisations, who often tend to pasteurise these teachings, to the detriment of many.

Here, while massages and Ayurvedic therapies are useful, they have to be performed simply after a full clinical assessment by a trained and experienced Practitioner, not simply given based on a few quizzes alone. The therapies and manner in which they are conducted also change for the individual as well – so the use of generic oils and substances as if often done, isn’t true Ayurveda! It is merely money-making!

  • Always chose a trained, experienced Ayurvedic Professional with Clinical Training and Experience in all facets of Ayurveda, Yoga and related sciences
  • Look for those who have studied the entire tradition back to its roots, are fluent in the language (Sanskrit) as well as culture and heritage and connected to its ancient Vedic-Hindu system in practice and lifestyle
  • Avoid many vegan-based and modern veganesque and pan-Naturopathic formulas such as ‘Turmeric Coconut Milk’ and ‘Ashwagandha Coconut Milk’, Raw Food and other infusions; these are not Ayurvedic, but are simply based on other systems and aren’t good for one and all
  • Make sure you check whether or not they are simply starting a ‘Spa-Wellness’ business, or wish to share the deeper facets of Ayurveda with specific recommendations and guidelines If you are curious about Ayurvedic therapies and what might be best for you, book a consultation with us today, or fill out the form below!