BY LINDA EGENES

IMG_0409When I was a teenager my skin was a huge challenge. Blemishes and an oily nose were two problems I remember—not to mention blotchy coloring. Now that I’m more worried about wrinkles than acne, I’ve found out something that brings my quest for healthy skin full circle—antioxidants.

Yes, it’s true. From wrinkles to non-cystic acne and other skin issues, modern research is pointing to antioxidants as the way to combat a wide range of skin problems. Found in vitamins A, B, C, and E, and in minerals such as zinc and selenium, antioxidants help stop the ravaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals are the unstable molecules your body produces when it does not fully metabolize food or is exposed to ultraviolet sun rays, environmental toxins, pollutants or stress. Free radicals attack healthy cells and can lead to acne; premature aging; dull, lackluster skin; and other skin problems.

Okay, you say, I’m all for damage control. But where do I start? It turns out that the age-old system of ayurvedic health care, practiced for thousands of years before antioxidants were discovered by modern science, is uncannily suited to reducing free radicals and increasing antioxidants. Here are some ayurvedic skin care tips to improve your health and your skin.

Tank Up with Antioxidants

The ayurvedic diet includes plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and grains. Antioxidants are especially abundant in grapes, blueberries, and pomegranates, but the key is to eat a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Did you know, for instance, that vitamin C is found not only in fresh-squeezed orange juice, but in many vegetables such as broccoli, and Brussels sprouts?

Simply by increasing the proportion of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet to 60%, you can increase your antioxidant power and improve the quality of your skin.

Detoxify Your Diet

Because free radicals can be caused by eating foods that contain toxic pesticide residues, it’s best to choose organic foods whenever possible. And stay away from packaged or processed foods, as these contain chemical additives that damage your cells and your skin. Drinking plenty of water helps flush toxins from the skin—but make sure it’s pure and chemical-free.

For teenagers and anyone with especially sensitive “reactive” skin, eating toxin-free foods and limiting the fatty, sugary, hard-to-digest junk food can help in preventing breakouts. Radiant Skin is an herbal formula that purifies and supports the liver, cleanses the blood tissue of toxins, reduces excessive heat and oiliness, and promotes digestion. Its beneficial effects can be dramatic in coping with non-cystic acne, redness and other skin sensitivities, leaving your skin radiant and ble
mish-free.

Choose Healthy Fats

Not all fats are bad for you. According to Maharishi Ayurveda, people with drier constitutions (Vata dosha) need more fat in their diets. And many people need more fat as they reach age 55 and older.

But choose your fats wisely. Recent research shows that hydrogenated oils—heavy in trans-fats and found in most processed foods—can cause inflammation throughout your body, damaging skin cells and accelerating aging.

Extra-virgin, first-cold-pressed olive oil is a monounsaturated fat that has healthy effects on the heart and skin—but it shouldn’t be heated to high temperatures above 320 degrees.

This chart provides a quick reference to the heating limits of most oils. For any oil, heating it beyond a certain point will start to destroy its nutritive qualities and create free radicals. Olive oil can be used in salads, to drizzle on vegetables or to sauté vegetables and spices at low heat. For baking or cooking at higher temperatures, use organic ghee (clarified butter), as its properties allow it to tolerate higher heat. It also has a purifying and nourishing effect on the cellular level of the skin.

For anyone in midlife or older, Maharishi Ayurvedic experts also recommend Youthful Skin Herbal Tablets, which are designed to provide nourishment to all seven layers of the skin, hydrating and rejuvenating from the inside out to promote supple, youthful-looking skin.

Reduce Stress Every Day

Free radicals also increase in your body when you skip sleep, are under stress, or “self-medicate” with cigarettes, alcohol or processed sugar. Maharishi Ayurveda recommends a daily routine that balances your activity with the regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation®technique, or other stress-reducing practices in your routine to allow the body to deal with the stress of the day. TM has been shown to be the most effective self-improvement technique for releasing stress by over 600 research studies conducted in major research institutions and universities. Daily yoga and aerobic exercise can also help keep stress in check.

Supplement Your Diet with Antioxidant Boosters

If you’re on the go and can’t balance your meals properly, Organic Premium Amla Berry is an ayurvedic formula made from Amla berries, which are rich in vitamin C. It is said to support the body’s digestive, detoxification and organ systems, helping promote soft, radiant skin.

Amla berry is also found in Maharishi Amrit Kalash Nectar, and when I take this regularly my skin seems to gets softer and more radiant and youthful looking. And no wonder—research shows that Maharishi Amrit Kalash is a rich source of a variety of antioxidants (one study alone found that a single teaspoon of Amrit Nectar contains an astonishing 1,000 times more antioxidant power than a vitamin C tablet). Due to the synergy of herbs included in this ancient ayurvedic formula, the antioxidants in Amrit are carried straight to the nucleus of the cell, beyond the lipid barrier.

In the ayurvedic tradition, Maharishi Amrit Kalash is known as the most powerful Rasayana (healing elixir) for rejuvenating your mind and body and creating beautiful, youthful skin. This age-old formula combats the stress of our modern lifestyle; nourishes, rehydrates and detoxifies the skin; and supports your immunity.

How to Make Your Own Ayurvedic Facial Cleanser for Your Skin Type

While reducing antioxidants can help anyone, other ayurvedic beauty techniques, such as the homemade facial cleansers below, are especially tailored to help your specific type of skin. If you do not want to make your own, try Youthful Skin Herbalized Clay.

DirectionsFirst choose the facial cleanser recipe that matches your skin type. Then stir together all the ingredients and apply gently on your face using your fingertips. Let the scrub set on your skin, then using very slight pressure, flake the mask off into the basin. If the mask feels too sticky, use warm water to rinse. Dab your face with a soft towel, and follow with a good moisturizer.

For Oily (Kapha) Skin:
1 teaspoon toasted wheat bran
¼ teaspoon almond powder
½ teaspoon orange-peel powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice

For Dry (Vata) Skin:
2 teaspoons quick-cooking oats
¼ teaspoon almond powder
¼ teaspoon orange-peel powder
¼ teaspoon lavender-flower powder
2 tablespoons yogurt

For Sensitive (Pitta) Skin
2 teaspoons quick-cooking oats
¼ teaspoon almond powder
¼ teaspoon rose-petal powder
¼ teaspoon lavender-flower powder
2 tablespoons whole raw milk

(I originally wrote this blog for the Maharishi Ayurveda Blog [MAPI], November 30,2012. Reprinted with permission.) 

Photo by Linda Egenes

BY LINDA EGENES

dreamstimefree_259955You know the feeling—you dread going to bed because you aren’t going to fall asleep anyway. If stress is keeping you awake at night, you aren’t alone. Millions of Americans have fallen into a vicious cycle, with stress during the day causing them to be too tense or worried to sleep well at night. And then the lack of sleep, in turn, creates more stress on the job and at home.

Since the pace of life is not likely to slow down (let’s face it, all those time-saving electronic devices have just made everything more busy), it’s time to learn how to manage the stress during the day—and sleep better at night with these ayurvedic sleep remedies.

Create a Routine to Reduce Stress

For any sleep difficulty, Maharishi Ayurveda recommends that you go to bed well before 10:00 at night. That’s because after 10:00, a more active, Pitta-quality sleep sets in. If you fall asleep before then, you’ll imbibe more slow, restful, Kapha qualities. Your sleep will tend to be deeper, and you’ll find it easier to fall asleep. Almost anyone can experience deep, restful, Stage 4 sleep by doing just this one thing—going to bed before 10:00 at night.

Being more physically active during the day can also help you sleep better at night. Sleep researchers, for instance, have documented that a brief period of moderate exercise three to four hours before bed, such as taking a brisk walk after dinner, can help deepen sleep. Other studies link physical fitness with improved sleep quality.

To relax your neck and shoulders as well as your back and abdomen, doing simple, light yoga postures before bed can release tension and help you drift into sleep.

Calm Your Mind

Practicing the Transcendental Meditation® technique has been shown to be the most effective way to reduce stress and improve mental and physical health, according to over 600 research studies at the most prestigious universities and research institutes throughout the world. It helps you to focus, to be more creative, and to accomplish more during the day—so you can rest without worry at night.

Make Your Bedroom an Oasis of Calm

Create a timeless bedroom and keep time pressures away from your sleeping place. If you have to use an alarm clock, put it in a place where you can’t see it. Preserve your bedroom as a comfortable, relaxing haven, a place for warm, intimate and relaxing relationships. Keep heated discussions, intense brainstorming, television watching, computer work, and monthly budgets out of your bedroom.

Especially avoid violent, suspenseful TV shows before bed. Instead, surround yourself with influences that cultivate your peace of mind while you fall asleep. Before bed, take pleasant breaths: using Slumber Time Aroma therapy or lavender will allow the relaxing scents to go directly to your olfactory lobe. This will help to induce sleep, sometimes within minutes.

Listening to soothing music, saying bedtime prayers, and practicing positive affirmations can help you move in the direction of being more and more peaceful.

If you’re going to be thinking of something, recall your fondest memories, particularly of childhood, where you had soothing, blissful, wonderful sleep, or when you had an amazingly restful vacation. Invite those thoughts instead of ones that cause you worry and stress.

Create Balance with Herbal Supplements

study at the University of California at San Diego by Dr. Paul Mills showed that the Worry Free herbal supplement is effective in reducing day-to-day worries and also reduces cortisol levels (a hormone associated with stress).

Blissful Sleep, which is designed to help you fall asleep naturally, has a three-fold action. Some of the herbs, such as Indian Valerian, help a person to relax into sleep. Other herbs, such as Ashwagandha, restore the body’s own inner intelligence to improve the quality of sleep. A third group of herbs helps to deal with any difficulties resulting from prolonged sleep deficiency, such as issues related to the immune system and weakened coordination between heart and mind.

Due to the synergistic combination of a variety of herbs, there are no side-effects. There is no groggy feeling (as created by modern drugs and by some single-ingredient natural remedies), but instead people report a fresh feeling of enthusiasm, increased ability to concentrate, reduced stress, and better managing ability.

Do You Know Your Sleep I.Q.?

Even if the quality of your sleep seems good, you might not be getting enough sleep at night. In assessing your sleep health, you also need to look at how you feel during the day. For example:

  • Do you experience such things as dullness, poor muscle tone, or a lack of spontaneity?
  • Do you have a tendency to be bored or feel unhappy?
  • Or, on the other hand, do you have tension, fear and excess worry?
  • Do you suffer from decreased cooperativeness, loss of acceptance of constructive criticism, irritability, temper outbursts, lowered attention span, impaired recent memory, decreased sex drive, physical complaints such as headache or backache, or decreased interest in personal care?
  • Are you addicted to coffee, cigarettes, and stimulants, or even alcohol or drugs?
  • Are you noticing a reduction in general health and joy in living?

If you answered “yes” to a majority of these questions, it might be a cue that your stress levels are too high and you’re not sleeping enough, or deeply enough, for your health.

(I originally wrote this blog for the Maharishi Ayurveda Blog [MAPI], July 3, 2012. Reprinted with permission. Photo © reprinted with permission from Dreamstime.com

Categories: ayurveda, healthy living

BY LINDA EGENES

Dilled Beans—a light cooling side dishEating local foods in season is all the buzz these days, the smart way to support the environment and the local economy. Yet according to ayurveda, the traditional health care system of ancient India, eating seasonal foods is also the best way to prevent disease.

Food is Medicine

As every Iowan knows, each season brings a dramatic change in temperature and humidity. In ayurveda there are only three seasons: the cold and dry fall/ winter (Vata season), the cool and wet spring (Kapha season), and the hot summer (Pitta season).

“As any particular season wears on, imbalances start building in your body, and if these imbalances are not addressed, they can get more rooted in the physiology and become a chronic condition,” says Dr. Sankari Wegman, an ayurvedic expert at The Raj Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center, a world-class spa  in Maharishi Vedic City that serves organic, locally-grown vegetables, fruits and herbs from the city’s farm and greenhouses for its clients’s meals, and to the public for Sunday brunch.

According to ayurveda, by the end of summer, your body becomes, well, hotter. It’s more susceptible to heat rash, skin breakouts, and fatigue. And because the mind, body and emotions are connected, the mounting heat can be expressed as irritability and anger. More serious health problems resulting from too much heat in the body include ulcers, eczema and heartburn.

The ayurvedic solution is simple: use your food as medicine.

“If during summer you eat foods that are the opposite of hot, such as cooling, light foods, you can reduce the heat in your body,” says Dr. Wegman. “You’ll feel cooler, and at the same time prevent serious health problems from developing.”

Six Tastes of Ayurvedic Cooking

Ayurvedic cooking is based on six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent and pungent.

  • Sweet: milk, butter, ghee (clarified butter), rice, wheat, and small amounts of raw sugar.
  • Sour: yogurt, lemon, aged cheeses and pickled foods using vinegar.
  • Salty: anything with salt.
  • Pungent: chilies, ginger, cumin, cayenne, black pepper, spicy foods
  • Bitter: leafy greens, basil, lettuce, nettle, bitter melon (available in Asian markets), Japanese eggplant, turmeric, fenugreek seeds, barley, jicama and aloe vera.
  • Astringent: lentils and other pulses, beans, tofu, quinoa, sprouts, apple, pear and pomegranate.

“In ayurvedic cooking, we include all six tastes in every meal,” says Dr. Wegman. “The problem with our modern diet is that it mostly contains only three tastes: sweet, salty and sour. Think of your average junk-food meal, and you’ll find those tastes in abundance. But because the body also craves bitter, astringent and pungent tastes, when you don’t get them in your diet, your health suffers.”

A Summer Palette of Tastes

While every ayurvedic meal includes the six tastes, the idea is to use them in different proportions depending on your individual body type and season.

In the hot summer season, for example, the ayurvedic cook includes more sweet, bitter and astringent tastes, as these are more cooling.

And just as important as the foods you include are the foods that you minimize during a particular season,” says Dr. Wegman. “In summer, you want to reduce heat by reducing the pungent, salty and sour tastes.”

Dr. Wegman also recommends seasoning your foods with mild spices and herbs during summer. “Many people find that their digestion is slower when the weather is hot, so it’s wise to eat lighter,” she says. “You can give your digestion a boost with cooling spices, such as cardamom, coriander, fennel, dill, turmeric, mint, basil, and cilantro.

Fortunately, the cooling ayurvedic foods—basil, cucumbers, summer squashes and broccoli—are the exact foods you’ll find in your own garden and farmer’s market during summer. So buy fresh, buy local, and buy what’s in season—and you’ve taken the first step to a healthy ayurvedic diet.

Ayurvedic Summer Foods Available Home-grown in Iowa:

  • Milk products: Organic milk, butter and ghee (clarified butter)
  • Fruits. Organic grapes, cherries, sweet berries, melons, plums.
  • Vegetables: Organic asparagus, cucumbers, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, fennel,  celery, okra, green beans and summer squashes like zucchini.
  • Herbs: Cilantro, mint, basil, dill.

Recipes

Dilled Green Beans
(from The Raj Recipe Book, available at The Raj Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center)

(serves 12–that’s kind of big, but I guess this is ideal for a summer party. I could cut it down if you need to)

  • 3 lbs. green beans
  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • 3 T ghee (clarified butter)
  • a pinch of aesofetida (hing) to taste
  • 1 T dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Bring water to boil and add beans. Cover and reduce heat. Cook 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Drain beans and plunge into cold water, strain again and set aside.

Heat ghee in a wok or frying pan, add aesofetida and cook 30 seconds. Add beans and stir occasionally until thoroughly heated. Add the dill, salt and pepper. Toss well and serve.


Fennel Soup with Watercress Purée
(from The Raj Recipe Book, available at The Raj Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center)

Ingredients: (4-6 persons)

  • 1 Tbl. butter
  • 1 large leek, white part only, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, quartered and sliced
  • 2 Tbl. chopped fennel green
  • 1 medium-sized red potato, sliced or chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 6 1/2 cups cold water.

Fennel bulb served with leeks makes a sweet-tasting soup, while the watercress adds a lively flourish. Fennel is so flavorful that ther’s no need to make a stock. In fact, using water for the liquid allows the full taste of the vegetables to come forward completely unmasked.

Serve this soup with just a swirl of watercress purée or enrich with with a spoonful of ghee (clarified butter). A handful of little croutons, sauteed in butter, always adds a nice cruncy touch to puréed soups.

Wash and slice all the vegetables first. If the inner core of the fennel is tough and stringy, remove it with a paring knife, but usually even a well-developed core will be tender.

Plum Chutney
(from The Raj Recipe Book, available at The Raj Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center)

The following recipe is good for pacifying Pitta dosha and makes 1 1/2 cups.

  • 1 1/2 c. red or purple plums
  • 1/2 Tbl. peeled, fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. each cloves, mace, cinnamon, coriander and turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. grape juice
  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • grated peel of one orange

Dry roast the ginger root, spices and fennel seeds. Add plums, salt, juice, sugar and grated orange peel.

Raise the heat slightly, and stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook the chutney about 1/2 hour.

In ayurveda there are only three seasons: the cold and dry fall/ winter (Vata season), the cool and wet spring (Kapha season), and summer (Pitta season), which can be scorching hot.

For more information on ayurvedic cooking, visit http://www.theraj.com/ or www.mapi.com.

(I originally wrote this article for Radish Magazine, July 2008. Reprinted with permission.)

IMG_0411Soaking up the sun’s rays used to be considered a safe summer pastime. My friends would slather suntan oil over their bodies and relax in the sun for hours. Somehow I never got the hang of it, though—I felt hot and irritated, and no matter how hard I tried to get a tan, I’d usually last only five minutes before running under the nearest tree to cool off. Other times, I’d get caught with a sunburn.

Now we know that too much sun damages your skin. Excessive sun exposure can result in those unsightly brown spots, burns, sensitive skin, and even skin cancer. The ultraviolet rays of the sun, which are stronger due to a thinning ozone layer in recent decades, generate free radicals that accelerate wrinkling, drying and aging of the skin as well.

How Pitta Dosha Affects Your Skin in Summer

From the ayurvedic perspective, your body is made of five different elements. Fire, called tejas, has the qualities of transformation, burning, reflecting, shining, and sharpness. The fire element is found in the mind-body operator Pitta dosha, which governs the metabolic functions of the body and is characterized by heat and sharpness.

In particular, the fire element is found in the subdosha Bhrajaka Pitta, which governs the enzymatic changes of the skin. People with Pitta dosha predominant in their body type—i.e. those with a warm complexion or fair hair—are especially susceptible to sun exposure (which is why I could never spend hours in the sun like my dark-haired, olive-toned friends).

Normally, there is a natural balance in the skin—the skin has natural means to moisturize and cool itself. If Bhrajaka Pitta gets overheated, though, the ultraviolet rays from the sun penetrate the skin, causing the overheated skin to destroy its own moisturizing functions. When this happens, such highly photosensitive people get sunburned even with a few minutes’ exposure to the sun. If this happens on a daily basis, it can cause early aging, because there isn’t enough moisture to prevent wrinkles and age spots from forming.

No matter what your skin type, the summer season’s extra heat and sun can increase Pitta dosha and affect your skin. Here are five Ayurvedic skin care tips to keep your skin cool and moist all summer long.

1. Eat Cooling Foods. To prevent summer skin damage, you’ll want to avoid foods or behaviors that increase Pitta dosha. Eating red chili peppers, vinegar, or sour foods will heat your body. Consuming leftovers, alcohol, genetically modified foods, or foods with lots of preservatives will also aggravate Pitta dosha. Avoid pungent, sour, or salty foods and favor the sweet, astringent and bitter tastes. This will have a cooling effect on your body and mind. Flavoring your foods with Organic Pitta Churna will have a balancing effect in summer.

2. Chill with cooling aromas. Diffusing Pitta Aroma oil or Blissful Heart Aroma oil as you sleep, taking  Blissful Joy tablets after lunch and dinner, and adding a teaspoon of Organic Rose Petal Preserve to water or milk (see recipes, this issue) can all help in keeping your skin cool in summer.

3. Moisturize from the inside. Drink plenty of pure water and Organic Pitta Tea, and eat more squashes, cantaloupe, and watermelon. Stay away from strong, chemical-laden, artificial skin creams, lotions, soaps, or shampoos, as these directly aggravate Bhrajaka Pitta and increase your sensitivity to sun damage.

5. Cool your emotions to protect your skin. Heated emotions can also heat the skin. This is because different subdoshas of Pitta govern the emotions and the skin, so they are closely linked. Watching violent movies, living with people who are angry, or feeling too much anger yourself can heat the emotions, and through them, your skin. You can see the connection between heated emotions and heated skin, because when people get angry, their faces turn red.

6. Protect your eyes. There is also a connection between the eyes and the skin, because both are governed by Pitta dosha. Wear sunglasses and a sun hat to protect your skin and eyes. When the eyes get overheated, that heats the emotions, and the heat reflects back to the skin. In the evening, splash your eyes with cool water. Apply a little Organic Rose Water to a cotton pad, and then lie down with your eyes closed and the pad over your eyes for five minutes. Do this daily for a refreshing effect on your eyes, and consequently a cooling effect on your emotions and skin. You’ll feel the emotional stress subsiding.

7. Prevent heat build-up with cooling coconut oil massage. In summer, you can massage your skin with coconut oil, which is a traditional youth-promoting face cream. Or try Soothing Herbal Massage Oil,as it has sesame oil as its base and contains cooling herbs. Using the Rose Herbal Cleansing Bar or Sandalwood Herbal Cleansing Bar in the bath or shower also cools and soothes the skin.

8. Use cooling skin care products. If your face and hands get mildly sunburned, try applying the juice from an aloe vera plant to your skin, as it’s considered the best natural means for dealing with sunburn. The Youthful Skin Clay, Youthful Skin Cleansing Bar, and Youthful Skin Cream will help cool and rejuvenate your skin, as they all contain Pitta-pacifying agents. Youthful Skin Cream is a botanical collagen-supporting face cream and also helpful for sun-damaged skin, because it pacifies Pitta dosha in the blood and the skin, and also supports the moisturizing function, so that heat cannot burn and dry out the skin. It is not a sunscreen, but it protects the skin from the inside. The Youthful Skin Clay squeezes out heat and balances Bhrajaka Pitta, cooling and nurturing sunburned skin.

9. And of course, wear sunscreen. By cooling your skin inside and out, you can enjoy the summer sun without damage.

(I originally wrote this blog for the Maharishi Ayurveda Blog [MAPI], June 25,2012. Reprinted with permission.) 

Photo credit: Linda Egenes

BY LINDA EGENES

IMG_2668Non-cystic acne is the scourge of teenagers and usually disappears once they are past those difficult years, but for some it continues on and off all their life. From the ayurvedic perspective minor acne can involve all three doshas (mind/body principles), but Pitta dosha and rakta dhatu (blood) are the main culprits. To learn how to get rid of acne, you need to first identify the dosha most involved. Pitta acne, the most common, is all about redness and excess heat, while Vata involves more dryness and Kapha more oiliness.

Here are three Ayurvedic detox programs to choose from based on your predominant dosha: Pitta, Vata-Pitta or Kapha-Pitta. Each program includes a detox, diet & herbal recommendations, facial mask recipe and a tea recipe.

Start with a 15-Day Deep Detox Program –

Pitta Acne Program – most common

• Taking 2 tablets of Herbal Cleanse before going to bed each night will cleanse the bowel. • Taking 2 tablets of Elim-Tox-O morning and evening will cleanse the liver, blood, sweat glands and the elimination system. • Taking 2 tablets of Genitrac morning and evening will purify the urinary tract and assist the removal of toxins.

Once you finish the 15-day detox, now is the time to start taking 2 Radiant Skin tablets AM and PM on an empty stomach with warm water. If the skin still has some irritation or redness after finishing the detox, you may add an extra 2 tablets of Radiant Skin at bedtime. Also continue 2 tablets of Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus) at bedtime. Radiant Skin is an herbal formula that purifies and strengthens the liver, cleanses the blood tissue of toxins, reduces excessive heat and oiliness, and enhances digestion. Its beneficial effects can have a dramatic effect in fighting acne, redness and other skin sensitivities, leaving your skin radiant and blemish-free. Sandalwood helps balances Pitta in the skin (sensitivity) and helps keep the skin clear. Neem is a traditional detoxifier, which helps cleanse the body of toxins. Acne can often be aggravated by emotional stress. If that is the case, it would help to add Stress Free Emotions to the daily regimen. To help pacify Pitta emotions, try aroma oils containing rose oil or sandalwood oil such as Blissful Heart or Cooling Pitta aroma.

Pitta Diet Restrictions:

It’s best to avoid food that aggravates Pitta, such as hot spicy foods or fermented foods like yeast, vinegar, pickles, soy sauce, yogurt, tomato sauce and alcohol. Other foods to avoid include tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, eggplant and seafood. Also try to avoid mixing incompatible foods such as milk with sour fruits or melons; equal amounts of honey and ghee; and milk or yogurt with any sour foods. Favor sweet juicy fruits, green leafy veggies, and squashes. Have ½ cup of aloe vera juice after meals with ½ tsp. of Turmeric powder added.

Face mask Mix: 1 tsp. of colloidal oatmeal powder, 1 tsp. of ground red lentil powder, 1 tsp. of Youthful Skin Herbalized Clay, ½ tsp. of marshmallow root powder, ¼ tsp. Turmeric, a pinch of rose petal powder with some Organic Rose Water and whole milk until you have a smooth paste.

Apply to skin; leave for 5 minutes; wash with cool water. Apply Youthful Skin toner after washing. Spray skin during the day with Organic Rose Water. Lightly dab a little Youthful Skin Cream to moisturize.

Tea Boil 3 cups of water with 1 tsp. of fennel seeds, 1 tsp. of Indian sarsaparilla, ½ tsp. coriander seeds, ½ tsp. of cumin seeds and a pinch of manjistha.

Let sit 5 to 10 minutes, then strain into a thermos and sip all day.

Vata-Pitta Acne Program

To get rid of acne that is both Vata and Pitta, you will have the redness but more dryness. Follow the Vata diet with Pitta restrictions. It’s best to have less cold food and drinks, or dry and rough food.

15-Day Deep Detox Program –

• Taking 2 tablets of Herbal Cleanse before going to bed each night will cleanse the bowel. • Taking 2 tablets of Elim-Tox-O morning and evening will cleanse the liver, blood, sweat glands and the elimination system. • Taking 2 tablets of Genitrac morning and evening will purify the urinary tract and assist the removal of toxins.

Once you finish the 15-day detox, now is the time to start taking 2 Radiant Skin tablets AM and PM on an empty stomach with warm water. If the skin still has some irritation or redness after finishing the detox, you may add an extra 2 tablets of Radiant Skin at bedtime. Also continue 2 tablets of Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus) at bedtime. Radiant Skin is an herbal formula that purifies and strengthens the liver, cleanses the blood tissue of toxins, reduces excessive heat and oiliness, and enhances digestion. Its beneficial effects can have a dramatic effect in fighting acne, redness and other skin sensitivities, leaving your skin radiant and blemish-free. Sandalwood helps balances Pitta in the skin (sensitivity) and helps keep the skin clear. Neem is a traditional detoxifier, which helps cleanse the body of toxins.

Acne can often be aggravated by emotional stress. If that is the case, it would help to add Stress Free Emotions to the daily regimen. To help pacify Pitta emotions, try aroma oils containing rose oil or sandalwood oil such as Blissful Heart or Cooling Pitta aroma.

Pitta Diet Restrictions: It’s best to avoid food that aggravates Pitta, such as hot spicy foods or fermented foods like yeast, vinegar, pickles, soy sauce, yogurt, tomato sauce and alcohol. Other foods to avoid include tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, eggplant and seafood. Also try to avoid mixing incompatible foods such as milk with sour fruits or melons; equal amounts of honey and ghee; and milk or yogurt with any sour foods. Favor sweet juicy fruits, green leafy veggies, and squashes.

Face mask Mix: 1 1/2 tsp. of colloidal oatmeal powder, 1 tsp. of ground red lentil powder, 1 tsp. of Youthful Skin Herbalized Clay, ½ tsp. of marshmallow root powder, ¼ tsp. turmeric, a pinch of rose petal powder with some Organic Rose Water and whole milk until you have a smooth paste.

Apply to skin; leave for 5 minutes; wash with cool water. Apply Youthful Skin toner after washing. Spray skin during the day with Organic Rose Water.

Tea Boil 3 cups of water with: 1 tsp. of fennel seeds, 1 tsp. of Indian sarsaparilla, ½ tsp. coriander seeds, ½ tsp. of cumin seeds and a pinch of manjistha.

Let sit 5 to 10 minutes, then strain into a thermos and sip all day.

Kapha-Pitta Acne Program

For Kapha-Pitta acne, you will have the redness but with more oiliness. Follow a Kapha dietwith Pitta restrictions.

hhhh15-Day Deep Detox Program – • Taking 2 tablets of Herbal Cleanse before going to bed each night will cleanse the bowel. • Taking 2 tablets of Elim-Tox morning and evening will cleanse the liver, blood, sweat glands and the elimination system. • Taking 2 tablets of Genitrac morning and evening will purify the urinary tract and assist the removal of toxins.

Once you finish the 15-day detox, now is the time to start taking 2 Radiant Skin tablets AM and PM on an empty stomach with warm water. If the skin still has some irritation or redness after finishing the detox, you may add an extra 2 tablets of Radiant Skin at bedtime. Also include 2 tablets of Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus) at bedtime.Radiant Skin is an herbal formula that purifies and strengthens the liver, cleanses the blood tissue of toxins, reduces excessive heat and oiliness, and enhances digestion. Its beneficial effects can have a dramatic effect in fighting acne, redness and other skin sensitivities, leaving your skin radiant and blemish-free. Sandalwood helps balances Pitta in the skin (sensitivity) and helps keep the skin clear. Neem is a traditional detoxifier, which helps cleanse the body of toxins.

Acne can often be aggravated by emotional stress. If that is the case, it would help to add Stress Free Emotions to the daily regimen. To help pacify Pitta emotions, try aroma oils containing rose oil or sandalwood oil such as Blissful Heart or Cooling Pitta aroma.

Pitta Diet Restrictions: It’s best to avoid food that aggravates Pitta, such as hot spicy foods or fermented foods like yeast, vinegar, pickles, soy sauce, yogurt, tomato sauce and alcohol. Other foods to avoid include tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, eggplant and seafood. Also try to avoid mixing incompatible foods such as milk with sour fruits or melons; equal amounts of honey and ghee; and milk or yogurt with any sour foods.

Face mask Mix 1 tsp. of colloidal oatmeal powder, 1 tsp. of ground red lentil powder, 1 ½ tsp. of Youthful Skin Herbalized Clay, ½ tsp. of marshmallow root powder, ¼ tsp. Turmeric, a pinch of rose petal powder with some Organic Rose Water and whole milk until you have a smooth paste.

Apply to skin; leave for 5 minutes; wash with cool water. Apply Youthful Skin toner after washing. TIP: Adding a few drops of lemon juice to the toner will help with extra oiliness. Spray skin during the day with Organic Rose Water. It’s best to avoid the moisturizer if you have really oily skin.

Tea Boil 3 cups of water with 1 tsp. of fennel seeds, 1 tsp. of Indian sarsaparilla, ½ tsp. coriander seeds, 1 tsp. of cumin seeds and a pinch of manjistha. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes, then strain into a thermos and sip all day.

(I originally wrote this blog for the Maharishi Ayurveda Blog [MAPI], May 17, 2012. Reprinted with permission.) 

BY LINDA EGENES

sc00255e8e03You toss. You turn. You count sheep. But still your mind is whirling. For 50 percent of the nation’s population, getting a good night’s sleep is harder than mining gold. Below are ten simple yet powerful Ayurvedic sleeping tips that can help. Researchers have identified lack of sleep as a cause of many significant health issues and high stress levels. Maharishi Ayurveda honors sleep as one of the four pillars of health. And it offers a wide arsenal of tools to improve your sleep—from structuring a more relaxing daily routine to eating the right foods.

It even offers specific advice for solving various kinds of sleep problems. The first problem is the most common: difficulty falling asleep at night. This is caused by Vata imbalance or mental stress. People who toss and turn, unable to fall asleep because their mind is on overdrive, have this issue. It tends to happen to people who are anxious, worried or who have to rush around a lot during the day (sound familiar?). If it takes more than 15 minutes before the sandman visits you at night, you might try one or more of these tips to fall asleep faster and to sleep better in general.

Foods, spices and tips for sleep:

1. Eating more sweet, sour and salty foods helps balance Vata dosha, the mind-body operator that controls mental activity.

2. Eating three warm, cooked meals at the same time every day is recommended.

3. Getting to bed before 10:00 p.m. and rising by 6:00 a.m. is also advised.

4.As much as possible, avoid rushing during the day.

5. You can make your own Poppy-Seed Sleep Aid and eat it one hour before bed:

  • 1 teaspoon white poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coconut powder (fresh-grated if possible)
  • 1 pinch of cumin
  • 1 pinch of turmeric
  • Small amount of organic ghee (clarified butter)


In a small bowl mix the poppy seeds with the coconut powder, adding small amounts of water as you mix until it forms a thick paste, and set aside. Melt the ghee in a frying pan until it turns clear. Add turmeric and cumin and mix well. Remove immediately; simmer without heat until the color and aroma of the spices change slightly. Add to the poppy seed mixture, mix well and let stand five minutes. Add a little salt to taste. Eat one hour before bed for best results.

6. It’s best to avoid watching TV or using digital devices the hour before sleep.

7. Massaging your hands and feet with Rejuvenation Massage Oil before bed also helps.

8. Another suggestion is to use aroma therapy at bedtime. Pure lavender oil or Slumber Time aroma are recommended.

9. Taking Blissful Sleep herbal supplement one hour before bed helps balance Vata dosha and therefore facilitates falling asleep faster. Try Deep Rest to support sleeping deeply through the night. This herbal formula is especially targeted for those who have difficulty staying asleep, waking up in the middle of the night. But it also helps those who have difficulty falling asleep and those who awaken early in the morning after less than six hours of sleep. The herbs in Deep Rest help you to sleep deeply throughout the night — and wake up feeling refreshed, ready to take on the day.

10. Ayurvedic herbal teas can help. The herbs in Slumber Time Tea include Winter Cherry, a powerful adaptogenic that helps stabilize the mind and emotions. Arjuna myrobalans helps calm the emotions. Bacopa Monnieri and Indian Pennywort (Gotu Kola) balance and calm the mind.  Licorice pacifies both Vata and Pitta, and Cardamom is a tridoshic spice good for balancing all three doshas.

You might try adding just one of these habits a week to feel more relaxed during the day and to sink into a happy sleep at night.

Sleep well!

(I originally wrote this blog for the Maharishi Ayurveda Blog [MAPI], May 7, 2012. Reprinted with permission.) 

Photo Credit: Gerald Ward. Reprinted with permission.

 

BY LINDA EGENES

IMG_7831As more and more Americans work hard to keep the pounds off, an interesting study shows that when you eat is just as important as what you eat.

According to a study  published by researchers at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, mice dropped 40% of their weight just by not eating after 7:00 p.m.

This is a familiar idea for those of us who have been practicing Ayurvedic principles. In Ayurvedic terminology, the daily routine (called dinacharya in Sanskrit. Pronounced ‘dee-na-chari-a’), is structured around basic rhythms of the sun, moon and your body. These rhythms are powerful indeed and good things happen when we respect these natural cycles.

For instance, one of the major principles of the Ayurvedic daily routine is to eat your main meal at noon, when the sun is at its zenith and the digestive fire is strongest inside you. (Another secret to healthy weight: a strong digestive fire, or agni) And a corollary to that is: eat light at night, early in the evening, and allow your digestive system to cleanse and repair itself all through the night while you sleep.

This study is a great validation of the power of these age-old insights, this simple, natural ayurvedic weight loss secret from Maharishi Ayurveda. Sleep is considered a significant period for daily natural detoxing; and Ayurveda has long recommended herbs and other modalities to support ideal deep sleep and strong digestion.

Life in tune with the rhythms of nature has multiple benefits. Healthy weight may just be one of them.

(I originally wrote this blog for the Maharishi Ayurveda Blog [MAPI], May 25,2012. Reprinted with permission.) 

Photo credit: Linda Egenes

An Interview with Sankari Wegman, Ayurvedic Consultant at The Raj Maharishi Ayurveda Health Spa

BY LINDA EGENES

Sankari WegmanFor many women today, it’s hard to find a moment to breathe, let alone take care of your health. Whether you’re working in the office or in the home, raising your children or caring for elderly parents—it’s a balancing act just to get through the day.

Yet taking care of yourself and staying in balance mentally and physically is central to meeting all the demands of your family and career.

“Women today have so many areas of life to attend to, it’s important that they set aside time to maintain their own health and happiness,” says Sankari Wegman, an Ayurvedic expert at The Raj Maharishi Ayurveda Health Spa in Fairfield, Iowa. A wife and mother of two young children, she herself juggles work, teaching and home life.

Here she offers six simple suggestions from Maharishi Ayurveda to create more balance today.

1. Vata – The Key to Balance

“The key for women to stay in balance is to take care of Vata dosha,” Sankari says. “When Vata dosha goes out of balance, it can manifest as worry, stress and tension. And because it is fast-moving by nature, it goes out of balance easily and then leads the other doshas. So Vata dosha is the key to staying calm and healthy.”

Vata dosha, which is the mind-body operator that governs movement in the body, is quick, rough, dry, and irregular by nature.

“To balance Vata, it’s important to maintain a regular daily routine, starting with a consistent, early bedtime and waking time,” Sankari says. “Regular exercise, regular sleep, regular meditation, daily yoga, daily Ayurvedic Oil Massage, regular mealtimes—all of these things help keep Vata dosha in balance.”

2. Enlist the Help of Family

Where do you find the time to add these extra items to your daily routine? For Sankari, the solution is to involve the entire family.

“It can be hard to fit anything new into your already-busy life,” Sankari says. “But the good thing is that your family can do it with you. Then you don’t feel separate from your family while taking care of your health.”

For example, when she’s doing her daily yoga asanas, her children follow along. “They don’t have to do it perfectly, but they are learning healthy habits that will stay with them for life,” notes Sankari. “When you have a regular daily routine, the whole family is on that routine and benefits from it.”

3. Plan Time for Yourself

Once or twice a week, arrange for your husband or friend to take care of the kids so you can take a break from your chores and responsibilities.

“Taking dancing classes once or twice a week in the evening, or meeting a friend for a walk early in the morning—these are things I do just for me,” Sankari says. “I get to exercise and share time with friends. I think it’s really healthy for women to take a break, to do something that brings joy, whether it’s taking a painting class, meeting friends for breakfast, or going to the gym.”

Sankari likes exercising with her friends, because they help motivate her. “The key to balancing Vata dosha is to be regular, so combining exercise with meeting friends is a great way to bring more encouragement and support to staying on a healthy daily routine.”

4. Melt Away Stress with Deep Rest

The importance of good sleep and daily meditation cannot be overestimated.

“There is a tendency for women to do so much for others, to get tired, so you need to make sure you schedule time to rest and rejuvenate with your daily meditation,” Sankari says. “Even though time is tight, you can juggle your schedule to make time. Alternate with your spouse, or meditate before the children come home. Just having that focus, the rest you gain in meditation goes a long way.”

Sankari and her husband, Keith, follow a set morning routine, where one practices the Transcendental Meditation® technique and the other starts the children on their Ayurvedic Oil Massage, bathing and breakfast. Then they switch roles, so they both get to meditate.

“They see us meditating, and they see it as Daddy’s turn, Mommy’s turn,” Sankari says. “And now that my son is 5, he is doing the children’s meditation, so he takes his turn too.”

Sankari says she doesn’t feel guilty about the time she spends away from her children, because her children like it when she meditates. “When you’re rested, you dive within yourself and replenish, and you come out with more love, more to give.”

5. Eat Wholesome, Non-GMO, Organic Foods

Eating regularly (at approximately the same time each day) and eating well-cooked meals helps balance Vata dosha and leads to strong immunity for the whole family.

“Learn to eat those foods that are healthy for your body type, and avoid those things that are hard to digest,” advises Sankari. “If you are tense or worried, for instance, it’s not a good idea to eat salads for lunch every day. Rather, you’ll want to soothe Vata dosha and eat warm, fresh, cooked foods and consume warm drinks.”

Preparing home-cooked meals is healthier and draws the family together. For example, for winter breakfasts, Sankari prepares hot rice cereal or cream of wheat, with cooked apples and raisins that she soaks overnight.

“This is something the kids love and is good for my husband and me too,” she says. “It’s so important for women not to skip breakfast, to sit down for a warm meal rather than eating on the go. It helps start the day right and balances Vata dosha.”

If the family has to eat outside the home at lunch, one Ayurvedic option is to prepare kitchari (a full protein made of rice and split mung-bean dhal that can be carried inside a small thermos), along with steamed vegetables.

“It doesn’t have to be complicated—you can provide a simple home-cooked meal that is much healthier than what you or your children would purchase,” Sankari says.

For the evening meal, it helps to have part of the meal prepared before you come home from work, so you don’t feel pressured and hungry while you cook. You could prep the veggies in the morning, or prepare soup or veggies with grains in a crock pot.

“Even making fresh flatbreads (chapatti) is an easy thing to do, once you get the hang of it,” Sankari says. “Kids love forming the dough into balls and rolling it out.”

Sankari finds that her children have become accustomed to warm foods and drinks, and even request them. “I’ve been giving my older son warm water or warm Organic Calming (Vata) Tea, and now he doesn’t crave cold drinks. The warm foods and warm drinks support good digestion and won’t throw Vata out of balance, thus contributing to better immunity.”

6. Support Your Mind and Body with Herbal Food Supplements

Taking herbal food supplements can help reduce stress and boost immunity.

Vital Lady is ideal for increasing energy levels and clarity of mind, and helps a woman balance so many tasks at work and at home,” Sankari says. “For women over 40, Rejuvenation for Ladies helps restore that youthful glow. It promotes cellular regeneration, which slows both biological and psychological aging.”

Sankari keeps Bio-Immune in her medicine chest to help purify toxins and to support the body’s natural immune response. She also recommends taking Maharishi Amrit Kalash regularly to rejuvenate the mind and body and improve immunity.

“I highly recommend Stress Free Mind and Stress Free Emotions,” she says. “These are wonderful, powerful supplements to help us manage the stresses we encounter every day.”Worry Free is also a powerful Vata-balancing formula. It addresses Apana Vata and is useful not just for worry, but also for general balancing of Vata.

Stress Free Mind is ideal for anyone who is under mental pressure at work, or who is prone to worry and mental tension. Stress Free Emotions helps us handle emotional stressors that are causing irritability or sadness in our lives, whether from the family, money pressures, or work relationships. Sankari cautions that because they are potent, it isn’t necessary to take a lot to get results—just follow the directions on the bottle.

Since Vata dosha also governs the cycles of a woman’s life, such as menstruation, it’s important for the busy woman to give her body extra support, Sankari says. “Smooth Cycle helps us to maintain monthly cycles that are balanced and even blissful. And for the menopause years, Midlife for Women I and II help balance Vata disturbance and help keep the menopause years smooth and comfortable,” she says.

For your best energy, emotional balance and immune strength, Ayurvedic experts emphasize the importance of maintaining a balanced state of digestion (agni). Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus), taken nightly before sleep, supports regular elimination and detoxification. It also helps the body assimilate food and other herbal formulations. It is considered the one Ayurvedic herbal to take daily.

Sankari also recommends consulting an expert in Maharishi Ayurveda to learn which herbal supplements and dietary and lifestyle recommendations are most effective for your mind-body type. And whenever you’re taking herbal supplements, she advises following a regular routine and eating the right foods for best results.

While creating balance in your life can take some effort, it’s an investment well worth making.

“Every stage gives a flavor of the next stage,” Sankari says. “You may not feel you have the time, but if you take care of yourself now, it helps you feel healthier in the future—so you can support and enjoy your family in a blissful way for many years to come. Sometimes it’s hard to see the big picture, but taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do for your family.”

(I originally wrote this blog for the Maharishi Ayurveda Blog [MAPI], November 16,2012. Reprinted with permission.) 

lower cholesterol with ayurveda

photo by Linda Egenes

BY LINDA EGENES

Are you one of 98.6 million Americans today who has elevated total blood cholesterol levels? If high cholesterol is left unchecked, you may be at risk for heart disease, stroke, and hypertension.

Right, you may think. I’ve heard all this before—I should eat less fat. Yet according to Vaidya Manohar, a Maharishi AyurVeda health expert, a certain amount of fat is important for keeping the brain and body functioning properly. “Balancing cholesterol may be more a matter of eating the right kinds of fats in the right amounts for your body type,” he says.

Here are five ways to lower cholesterol with Ayurveda.

1. Reduce toxins by eating foods that lower cholesterol. The liver not only produces cholesterol, it’s also part of the digestive system. It’s the place where toxins are screened before they enter the bloodstream. If the liver becomes overloaded with toxins, its functioning can become impaired and toxins can enter the body.

When toxins mix with the fat tissue, it changes the quality of cholesterol. This mixing of toxins with fat tissue is the main cause of high cholesterol. There are two kinds of toxins: environmental and digestive. To avoid environmental toxins, drink pure water, avoid air pollution, and avoid exposure to harmful chemicals. Eat organic vegetables, as these are grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and thus protect the body from toxic overload.

The other kind of toxin is called ama, and is caused by weak or incomplete digestion. To strengthen your digestion, eat fresh whole foods and cooked foods and avoid leftover, processed, canned, or frozen foods. The way you eat also affects digestion—eat your main meal at noon, when digestion is at its peak. Eat lighter at breakfast and dinner. And try eating your meals at the same time every day—your digestion will thrive on a regular routine.

2. Avoid bad fats like the plague. Certain fats are impossible to digest and cause ama. Take the modern invention of trans fats (also known as hydrogenated vegetable oils). These have been formed by adding hydrogen to liquid fats to make them more solid, adding to shelf life and taste. Used in fast foods and most processed foods, they are blamed for rising cholesterol levels. Another kind of bad fat, saturated fats—found in butter, hard cheeses, coconut and palm oils, red meat, and chicken skin—should also be avoided. Difficult to digest, they cause imbalances in cholesterol production.

3. Eat good fats. The best good fats for nourishing the brain and body alike are olive oil and ghee. Ghee (clarified butter, made from simmering butter for an hour and separating out the milk solids) is by far the ayurvedic favorite, because it is medhya, or brain-enhancing, while also being more easy to digest. Ghee provides essential fatty acids, vitamin A, and vitamin C. It’s also practical—it can be heated at high temperatures without destroying its nutritional qualities. This makes it a good choice for baking and sautéing foods.

Olive oil is the other good fat recommended. It’s a mono-unsaturated fat that lowers cholesterol and triglycerides. But it’s important to choose cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil, which means that the oil is pressed from the olives without heat or unnatural processing. This ancient method of processing doesn’t destroy the nutritional quality of the oil. It’s also important not to heat olive oil at high temperatures for cooking. If you need to heat the oil at higher temperatures, it’s better to use ghee.

4. Eat for your body type. How much fat you need depends on your body type and health needs. For people with high cholesterol, it’s usually recommended to follow a Kapha-pacifying diet and daily routine. This means avoiding sweet, sour, and salty tastes. Stay away from heavy, fried, or fatty foods, and eat very small amounts of good fats. Eat more pungent, bitter and astringent foods, such as spiced, freshly cooked green vegetables, to tone the digestion and stoke the digestive fire.

Cholesterol Lowering Spice Mixture

3 parts ground turmeric 6 parts ground cumin 6 parts ground coriander 6 parts ground fennel 2 parts ground fenugreek 1 part dried powdered ginger 1 part ground black pepper

Combine and store in a sealed container. When preparing your meal, sauté a teaspoon of spices in a small amount of a   ghee or olive oil. Combine with vegetables or grains to give them a satisfying flavor and to enhance digestion.

5. Take herbal supplements. Specific formulas used to lower cholesterol naturally help improve bile production, strengthen liver function, improve fat metabolism, and flush cholesterol from the elimination system, thus helping produce lower cholesterol levels and preventing disease.

(I originally wrote this article for The Iowa Source, September 2009. Reprinted with permission.)

How to Beat Fatigue
May 5, 2014

BY LINDA EGENES

IMG_0020 Are you feeling mentally frazzled, emotionally stressed out, or just plain pooped? If so, you have company. Researchers report that the majority of adult Americans today suffer from stress and tiredness.

A stress-driven body and mind is the major cause of fatigue, and unfortunately, for many people this is a normal state of living in today’s hectic world. Most people have lost touch with the normal experience of “calm energy,” which is a state of low tension and high energy that allows for optimism, confidence, and the stamina necessary to enjoy success, love and happiness.

Happily, Maharishi Ayurveda is well-equipped to restore balance and combat the underlying causes of the general, stress-related tiredness that many Americans suffer from today. Here’s how to beat fatigue the natural way, with diet, exercise and herbal supplements.

Causes of Fatigue

According to Maharishi Ayurveda, fatigue is caused by overuse, misuse or no use of the mind, emotions or body. For instance, your job may be easy for you, but if you have to put in a lot of overtime, that can result in fatigue.

Misuse is doing something that is against your nature. If you are an honest person, and you find yourself in a situation where you feel pressured to lie or cheat, that misuse of your mental faculties could cause you to feel fatigued.

An example of physical misuse is knowing that a physical task is beyond your capability, but doing it anyway. Or perhaps your heart is very tender, and you are surrounded by people who are habitually angry—an example of emotional misuse.

Even lack of use can cause fatigue. “Use it or lose it” applies not only to the body, but to the brain and emotions as well.

The first step in correcting fatigue is to determine the cause. You can ask yourself if your fatigue is caused by physical, mental or emotional factors. And is it caused by overuse, misuse or lack of use?

Once you know which behavior is causing the fatigue, one should try to modify or stop the behavior. Become familiar with your stress-point and your own level of comfort. The solution to the problem of fatigue is found in one sentence: proper use of the mind, body and emotions.

Three Kinds of Fatigue

There is a relationship between the three doshas(mind-body operating principles) and the three main types of fatigue. Mental fatigue is associated with an imbalance in Vata dosha, emotional fatigue is caused by an imbalance in Pitta dosha, and physical fatigue is caused by an imbalance in Kapha dosha.

Ama, or impurities caused by undigested food, is a major cause of all three types of fatigue. To avoid all types of fatigue, avoid leftovers, fast foods, foods grown with chemical fertilizers or sprayed with pesticides, or packaged, canned, frozen or processed foods. And practice the Transcendental Meditation technique to gain deep rest, release mental and physical stress, and bring all three mind-body types into balance. TM is a holistic way to rejuvenate, re-energize and re-enliven your inner  intelligence, as shown by over 350 peer-reviewed research studies that report improved sleep, more energy, clearer thinking, less doctor visits, reduced blood pressure, enhanced well-being and improved mental health among people who practice the TM technique twice daily.

To burn away ama, boil two quarts of water and steep with the following herbs:

  • 3 leaves of holy basil
  • 3 leaves of mint
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin seed
  • 1 piece of clove
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander

Drink it throughout the day. Depending on your mind-body type and imbalances, you may be more susceptible to certain types of fatigue.

How to fight fatigue

For Mental Fatigue:

For Emotional Fatigue:

 

For Physical Fatigue:

By consulting a physician trained in Maharishi Ayurveda, you can learn specific recommendations for restoring your natural energy levels based on your body type and imbalances.

(I originally wrote this blog for the Maharishi Ayurveda Blog [MAPI], August 14,2012. Reprinted with permission.)

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