My mom with my brother, sister and me

My mom with my brother, sister and me

My mom was not a feminist. You could say she was a 1950s Donna Reed sort of mom, not the kind who had a job outside the home or marched in feminist rallies when I was growing up in the 60s.

She was a great cook, and because she made such fabulous, fresh meals, on time, every day, I never felt the need to learn how to cook myself. If I felt the urge to create something, it was more satisfying to sew a dress or draw a picture. A member of a 4-H club, I learned to bake brownies and cookies, and once, in high school, I spent all day preparing a ham dinner with all the trimmings—applesauce, string beans and dinner rolls—from scratch. For all my trouble, within 30 minutes it was gone, with only a few “gee thanks” left trailing in the air. To my teenage mind, it seemed like a massive waste of time.

In college I continued to feel ambivalent about cooking, helping to prepare salads during a raw foods phase and otherwise letting my roommate cook while I did the dishes. Yet when I married and set up a household of my own, it was clear to me that now was the time to learn to cook. I even remember a silly argument with my husband over who was going to cook and who was going to do the dishes—and this time I refused to slip into the passive dish-washer mode.

Why the sudden turnaround? Because I associated cooking with an expression of love. I was in love with my husband, and I wanted to cook for him.

In other words, while the way to a man’s heart may be through his stomach, I was more struck by what cooking for my man did for my own heart.

My mom’s cooking inspired my sister in a similar way. She managed to rise to the top of a major corporation while raising two daughters—and always, always found time to sit down with her family for a home-cooked meal, prepared by herself or her husband. It was the foundation for their family time.

While cooking is not the only way to convey love to your children or your husband, it is certainly a practical one. We all have to eat. Home-cooked food is far healthier and less expensive than restaurant food. According to ancient health care systems such as Ayurveda, food cooked with love is the most nourishing elixir for anyone to eat.

And the ritual of gathering around the common table, sharing the intangibles of familial love and tasty food, is the binding ritual of most cultures. Even modern research has shown that kids who gather with their parents to share at least one meal a day (rather than grazing or foraging for food on their own) perform better academically and socially in school.

All of these thoughts ran through my mind in a rush while I was reading an interesting piece in the New York Times about a feminist activist’s daughter who, although she, too, considers herself a feminist and works for a living, has found time to cook and bake for her daughter—and to be available to her when she comes home from school. She does this, she says, because she wants her daughter to feel special, to feel loved.

The author’s own mother, it turns out, had spent 12 years as a homemaker but after a difficult divorce, found herself the single parent for two. At that point she did not want to end up like her mother (the author’s grandmother), who cooked three meals a day for her family—but felt bitter and trapped and took it out on her kids. Instead, the author’s mother embraced the budding feminist movement, focusing on her own self-development and her career as an artist and activist.

She succeeded in living a fulfilling and productive life as a leader in the feminist movement, but her kids were often left alone and unfed. The author says she not only felt physically hungry as a child, but worse, unloved and abandoned.

It’s interesting that the three generations of women in this family neatly represent three stages of women’s roles in this country: 1) the historical role of homemaker and caregiver (which left multitudes of women feeling trapped and yearning for something more), 2) the phase in the late 20th century when women broke free, becoming career women and feminist activists, sometimes rejecting their feminine role in the home altogether, and 3) the modern woman, who struggles to find time to have a satisfying career and be there for her children at the same time.

While understandably many women today are overwhelmed by the demands of trying to fulfill both roles, I do see a positive trend among young women who seem to have the energy to do both. In many cases these are the same women who are reaching out to empower themselves to stay healthy and calm—through yoga, daily exercise, healthy diets, and meditation. These are women who are not afraid to take a break from their jobs and families for some daily “me” time, knowing that when they come back, they will have more energy to devote to nourishing their kids and husbands.

Dr. Kumuda Reddy, a practicing medical doctor, book author and mother of three, says, “As a parent, I have found the Transcendental Meditation technique to be invaluable. In the past I led a busy life, returning home from my practice late in the day and facing a full evening with my family. I started the habit of meditating at my office before I returned home. This worked beautifully, because I could leave the stress of the workday behind. I found that I could create a much happier environment for my children and husband when I was more relaxed and more rested. I could really be the ‘200 percent parent’ that I wanted to be: 100 percent mother and 100 percent professional woman.”

The Transcendental Meditation technique has been shown in research to improve emotional availability and family life. It makes sense—when the stress is less, when the parents and kids are rested, it’s easier to give and receive love.

And love is the real food of life. It’s the primary nourishment upon which a child grows and thrives. Certainly, love can be conveyed in an abundance of ways—by making a meal, by giving a hug, by just being there to listen. But all of these expressions of love are based on a flowing heart. You gotta have it to give it.

As Maharishi, the founder of the TM technique says in his beautiful poem Love and God, “The fortunate ones use the instrument of deep meditation and probe deep into their hearts. Then the waves of love gain the depth of the ocean, and the ocean of love flows and fills the heart and thrills every particle of being.”

Linda Egenes writes about green and healthy living and is the author of six books, including Super Healthy Kids: A Parent’s Guide to Maharishi Ayurveda, co-authored with Kumuda Reddy, M.D.


(I originally wrote this post for Transcendental Meditation for Women Blog, November 30, 2013. Reprinted with permission.)


IMG_0108Americans spend millions every year on expensive power bars and shakes to power up sagging energy levels or to replenish themselves after a workout.

If you’re spending your money on power bars, you might want to consider a different approach. Power foods are not a modern invention—Ayurveda has long recognized certain foods as natural but serious energy-boosters. The list includes fresh organic fruits, vegetables, spices, and whole grains. These foods are rich in chetna, a Sanskrit word for the healing and nurturing intelligence of nature. They are foods so lively with nature’s intelligence and purity that fatigue-causing toxins are less likely to accumulate in your body when they’re eaten.

The Secret Power of Ancient Grains

Athletes have long relied on the carbohydrates and proteins in grains for long-term endurance and energy. Yet not all carbohydrates are created alike. A croissant, for instance, is high in fat and low in nutrition. The most nutritious carbohydrates are whole organic grains, which have been found to support healthy cholesterol and blood glucose levels and promote a healthy immune response.

Maharishi Ayurveda considers organic rye, quinoa, amaranth and millet the most nutritious, because they are especially high in protein and minerals. They are also high in fiber, and because of that have a detoxifying value. These are the same auspicious grains that are described in the ancient Ayurvedic texts.

One-half cup of amaranth (measured dry), for instance, contains 14 grams of protein, 8 mg of iron, and also magnesium and zinc. The same amount of quinoa contains 13 grams of protein, 9 mg of iron and 3 mg of zinc. Rye is also high in protein, with one-half cup yielding 15 grams of protein and 4 mg of zinc. Millet is a good source of B vitamins. As mentioned earlier, all of them also contain carbohydrates that fuel your body for activity.

All of these grains contain copper, which is an essential trace mineral that improves energy and immunity, and their zinc content also boosts ojas, the finest product of digestion that creates lightness, inner energy, immunity and bliss.

How to Cook Power Grains

To prepare quinoa, rye, amaranth or millet, place two cups of water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Add a teaspoon of organic ghee and one cup of the grain. Boil for ten minutes andthen lower to a simmer. The grain-to-water ratio is two cups of water to one cup of grain. Cook until the grain is tender (usually 20-30 minutes is enough).

High-Energy Fruits and Vegetables

Other high-energy foods include fresh organic vegetables, which should constitute forty percent of the meal. Green, leafy vegetables are especially high in minerals and fiber, so they should be eaten often.

Fruits are another great source of instant energy. You can start the day with a stewed apple, and if you feel hungry in between meals, try snacking on a ripe juicy pear. If you are feeling heavy and bloated after lunch, eat a fresh papaya as they contain enzymes that aid digestion. If you have strong digestion and more Pitta in your constitution, mangoes are a rich ojas-producing food. Half a mango contains 2 mg of beta-carotene and is a rich source of Vitamin C.

According to Maharishi Ayurveda, grapes (or their dried counterpart, raisins) are among the best of fruits because they enhance sattva (purity), pacify the mind and heart, and increase the coordination between them. They are also a rich source of iron and Vitamin B6, and provide magnesium, calcium, zinc, and potassium. Raisins aid digestion and elimination when they are soaked in water overnight. One handful per person is a good amount. Nature’s massive source of Vitamin C and rejuvenation is Organic Premium Amla Berry. Every athlete should consider taking this incredible Ayurvedic herb. It contains five of the six tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, astringent and pungent. The only taste missing is salty. These five tastes give it a holistic, balancing effect on the doshas. Very few fruits have this quality. Amalaki is also a great Rasayana, revered in the Ayurvedic tradition. Rasayanas are the cream of Ayurvedic herbal substances, and have remarkable longevity-enhancing and rejuvenative qualities. Rasayanas also create ojas—the master biochemical of beauty, immunity and connectivity—in the body.

Date-Milk Energy Shake

A Date-Milk Energy Shake is a nourishing way to end the day, because it promotes sleep and calms both Pitta and Vata sleep imbalances.
4-5 whole dates (Medjool dates are ideal. If you use large Medjool dates, one or two is more than enough.)

1 cup whole organic milk (unhomogenized if possible)
1 pinch cinnamon powder

Soak the dates for several hours. Boil the milk until it creates a foam. Turn off the heat and cool until the temperature is comfortable for drinking. Combine the milk with the other ingredients and blend until the dates are ground up. Drink it warm in winter and at room temperature in summer.

Foods that Drain Your Energy

Just as there are foods to boost energy, other foods drain it. Any fast foods as well as canned, frozen, packaged, leftover, or old foods—or foods laced with preservatives, chemicals, and additives—are difficult to digest and contain little nutritional content.

If you do eat some of these foods, and you feel heavy after eating, drink half a glass of water with 1/4 of a fresh lime squeezed into it. Or eat a tablet of Herbal Di-Gest to aid digestion. If you feel occasional indigestion or heartburn, try Aci-Balance, as it works quite quickly.

But if you’re feeling dull, sluggish, and drained of energy every day, it could mean that your diet contains too many energy-draining foods, which have clogged your microcirculatory channels with toxins, called ama in Ayurveda. This is an opportunity to upgrade your diet to include delicious foods that create more ojas and energy.

Adding Ayurvedic spices to your food is an easy way to increase the value of chetna, or nature’s intelligence. Try sautéing cumin, coriander, fennel, and turmeric in ghee, then combine with sautéed or steamed vegetables or cooked grains. Or add spices to your drinking water to boost your energy. The important thing is to eat foods every day that boost your energy, rather than relying on artificial boosters when you feel your energy sag. Try Organic Churnas specifically formulated to pacify Vata, Pitta or Kapha doshas.

Your body is a magnificent expression of engineering and has the potential to generate all the energy you want. Toxins are a big impediment in this regard. That’s because circulation goesbeyond veins and arteries to minute channels that supply nutrients and energy for all the billions of cells in your body. When these channels are clogged with digestive impurities, then fatigue can set in.Top of FormBottom of Form Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus)is a revered traditional Ayurvedic digestion-toning formula usually taken daily before bed. Organic Digest Tone balances the digestive fire, called agni in Sanskrit. Agni represents the transformative intelligence of digestion. It is a process of great importance in the Ayurvedic health model because it is linked to immunity, beauty, energy and detoxification. Balanced digestion reduces ama, or toxins, increases ojas, the finest byproduct of digestion and aids your ability to assimilate nutrients from any other supplement or food. Fatigue Free is another product that helps you recover your energy. It is a combination of Ayurvedic herbs and minerals that help move ama out, reestablish the flow of energy and quickly support the building of new cells.

Cumin-Mineral Water

Prepare this Cumin-Mineral Water drink at home to promote your energy and digestive power.
1 quart water
1/4 tsp. whole cumin
1/3 tsp. whole fennel
2 pinches of licorice
1 tablet Calcium Support 

Boil the water first. Place it in a thermos and add the spices. Sip the water throughout the day to promote digestion and support your energy. If you are a Pitta constitutional type, you may want to let the water cool to room temperature before drinking.


(I originally wrote this blog for the Maharishi Ayurveda Blog [MAPI], October 18,2012. Reprinted with permission.) 


dreamstimefree_245507Last spring a friend told me about an inexpensive new treatment called Maharishi Light Therapy with Gems. “It feels like you’re bathing in light,” she said. Exhausted from travel and a stint of late nights caretaking my aging parents, I thought bathing in light would be just the ticket.

A warm light spread throughout my body, washing over me in waves. It was not coming from the outside, but from within me. When the treatment was over, I didn’t move for 40 minutes, sunk in a blissful state. I felt sparkly and bright inside, like a diamond.

Later that week I found myself at The Raj Maharishi Ayurveda® Health Center in Fairfield, Iowa, where a practitioner showed me thirteen light beamers that looked like large silver pens. She explained that each beamer shines soft light through a different precious gem, and she would first assess which gems would create the best results for me.

Maharishi Light Therapy with GemsI closed my eyes as she tested my reactions. After a while, I felt so settled that I could barely speak. Then she said in a soft voice, “Now the treatment is ready to begin.”

She arranged the instruments in a rack above me so that many gems were shining on my body. If the diagnosis had been so peaceful, what would the treatment feel like? A warm light spread throughout my body, washing over me in waves. It was not coming from the outside, but from within me. When the treatment was over, I didn’t move for 40 minutes, sunk in a blissful state. I felt sparkly and bright inside, like a diamond.

Yet it was the long-lasting results that were more striking. It was as if the light had washed away the toxins and tiredness. Nine months later I still have more energy than before. How did this work, exactly?

The Healing Power of Gems

Rubies. Sapphires. Emeralds. The oldest and most refined members of the mineral kingdom, gems have long been used for their healing qualities. And while few of us can afford our own gem collection, Maharishi Light Therapy with Gems (MLG) is an affordable way to experience the orderly and healing qualities of precious gems.

Lexington Peace Palace

The light frequencies act as a carrier for the orderly structure of the gems. They resonate with subtle frequencies of our physiology and trigger profound self-healing and self-repair.

“MLG treatments transform the mind, body, and emotions from a state of disrepair or disorder to a more natural state of order, strength, and integrity by acting as a catalyst for self-healing mechanisms already inherent within everyone,” says Dr. Keith Wegman, a practitioner of MLG at The Raj.

He adds, ”The light frequencies act as a carrier for the orderly structure of the gems. They resonate with subtle frequencies of our physiology and trigger profound self-healing and self-repair.”

A Wide Range of Health Benefits

It seems that the results are different for each person, depending on their complaints.

Jim Fairchild, a college professor in his late sixties, had lived with constant pain in his neck ever since a car ran over him when he was three years old. Over the years he consulted chiropractors and massage therapists, but nothing worked.

Then he tried Maharishi Light Therapy with Gems. At first, Jim found that light and gem therapy treatments simply made him feel more relaxed. Then, to his surprise, he felt a profound shift in his level of pain.

“I came out of a session feeling almost no discomfort in the back of my neck,” he says. “I quietly waited for the inevitable. But the pain didn’t return. My neck isn’t perfect, but the difference is profound. The amazing thing is that during the session I didn’t feel anything extraordinary in my physiology. Yet somehow relief came to me, without my even asking.”

I came out of a session feeling almost no discomfort in the back of my neck. I quietly waited for the inevitable. But the pain didn’t return.

A woman from Montreal found relief from asthma, while Adile Esen from Turkey writes, “The feeling of nourishment and balance coupled with calmness and clarity that I experienced increasingly during and after my treatments have continued,” she says. “In addition to becoming more aware, open, and clear, I realize that even in very difficult situations that could have made me doubt and tremble, I have remained calm like the pearl at the bottom of the ocean.” Others find that their experiences both in and out of meditation become more profound and filled with light.

Mark Olson from Rhode Island said that the treatment is “remarkable and I feel much lighter, almost with a sense of transparency and expanded well-being.”

Eva Bergmann, who travels the U.S. administering MLG treatments, says, “For many people who try Maharishi Light Therapy with Gems, it is an experience they never forget. That experience allows us to remember our original state of bliss and connectedness with the whole universe. And even that memory, as Maharishi has emphasized, can have an effect—it can change a person’s life.’”

MLG practitioners Jeffery and Mary Murphy

Jeffry and Mary Murphy, practitioners of MLG
from Lexington, Kentucky

Well over 2,000 treatments in the past year have provided strong evidence of the long-term benefits of this approach, says Dr. Wegman. “Individuals have reported relief from chronic disorders, such as decreased anxiety and improved emotional stability; decreased joint, muscle, and bone problems; improved sleep; and expanded self-development,” he says.

Now a six-month research study is being conducted to quantify the long-term effects of the treatment.

Combining the Ancient with the Modern

To give a little background, this unique treatment has been developed over a period of 30 years by Dr. Joachim Roller, a German Gemologist, under the direct guidance of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who founded the Transcendental Meditation technique. Dr. Roller, with his wife, Iris, started training the first practitioners in September 2008 at Maharishi European Research University in Holland.

Besides bringing a profound level of comprehensiveness and effectiveness to the treatment, Maharishi also guided Dr. Roller in the creation of larger, more powerful instruments, affectionately called “Big Beamers.” The thirteen Big Beamers contain not just one precious gem per beamer, but twelve—with a total of 145 gems to create a magnified effect.

Since I didn’t have the Big Beamer treatment, I asked Dr. Wegman to explain the difference.

“The Big Beamers are distinguished by their ability to transform any rigidity or obstruction to the flow of energy in the physiology,” he says. “The transformation is more significant than with the regular beamers.  All the frequencies in the physiology adjust to that more amplified frequency and are reorganized.”

MLG practitioner Eva Bergman

Traveling MLG practitioner Eva Bergmann:
“Maharishi has talked about the light of consciousness and how our body is a much greater miracle than we can fathom, and many experi-
ence during Maharishi light therapy with Gems that they are created of light, intelligence, warmth, and love.”

He adds, “The more powerful orderliness of the large beamers takes over any disorder, restoring balance in previously weak or compromised areas of functioning.”

Did I miss out, not having the big beamers? Dr. Wegman smiles reassuringly. “If an individual already has a good flow of energy and no physical disorders, then the regular beamers are sufficient to bring about this reorganization.”

But now I’m curious. I’ll have to try it. Like many people who now schedule regular treatments of Maharishi Light Therapy with Gems, I’m reaching for the light.

Trained practitioners offer Maharishi Light Therapy with Gems treatments daily using either small or large beamers at The Raj Maharishi Ayurvedic Health Spa in Fairfield, Iowa, and at the Maharishi Peace Palace in Lexington, Kentucky. For more information or to schedule treatments, please contact:

  • The Raj Maharishi Ayurvedic Health Spa in Fairfield, Iowa, (800) 864-8714 x5300
  • The Maharishi Peace Palace in Lexington, Kentucky, (859) 269-3803

MLG practitioners also travel with the small beamers to various TM Center locations throughout North America and to Maharishi Academies around the world.

  • For the tour schedule in the Western U.S. and in New York and New England, contact Eva Bergmann, call (917) 740-0878, or
  • For tours in all other states, contact Jeffry and Mary Murphy at or call (859) 269-3803.

This article has been revised/updated, and reprinted with permission from The Iowa SourceMarch 2010 and Enlightenment Magazine, Issue 7. Reprinted with permission.)

Photo by Jodielee used with permission from


make your healthy New Year's Resolutions stickWe all do it. We make grand resolutions on New Year’s day and break them the next. Yet there are ways to make your healthy resolutions stick. Here are some ideas.

1. Break it into baby steps. Most resolutions involve long-term goals, which can be daunting. If your dream is to get into shape, break it into small steps, like scheduling thirty minutes a day to exercise. According to Maharishi Ayurveda, it’s healthier to engage in mild exercise such as walking every day rather than doing an über-workout three times a week. Signing up for classes in dance, aerobics or yoga helps because once you pay the fee, you’ll feel motivated to show up. You’ll find yourself slimming down without even realizing it.

2. Make your resolutions concrete and action-oriented. Rather than resolving to eat a better diet, plan to eat five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. Feel more energetic from eating right today and that success will motivate you to do it all over again tomorrow.

3. Try the one-day-at-a-time plan. If your goal is to feel more rested, choose one night a week to skip TV, engage in relaxing activities like taking a warm bath or listening to music, and get to bed early, by 9:30 pm. Drink a glass of warm milk with cardamom at 9:00 pm to relax your mind and prepare for an early sleep. Create a sleep-conducive atmosphere with Slumber Time Therapeutic Aroma. The pure, organic essential oils of Sweet Orange, Marjoram, Lavender and Jasmine are blended in a precise formula to help you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply. You’ll make better choices when you wake up rested. And after you establish the habit of one night a week, you can add on another night, and then another.

4. Make it fun! Find an exercise that is appealing to you, and foods that are healthy but tasty too. Join forces with a friend to cook a new recipe in the new year. Take a trip to your local health food store and select fresh, new-to-you ingredients to make a vitamin-filled but delicious meal. Reward yourself with great food shared with great friends.

5. Wish you could effortlessly feel inspired to meet your resolutions? Schedule a detox. It’s easier to spontaneously choose the right foods when your body is free of impurities. It’s also easier to exercise when sluggish toxins aren’t making you feel tired. The most important thing to do is to prevent toxins from forming in the first place. Eating organic, whole foods is the best way to stop toxins in the digestive tract and at the cellular level. You can also improve your elimination system (which carries toxins from the digestive tract out of the body through the bowel and urine) by eating a cooked apple and figs in the morning. Figs have more fiber than any other food. Adding more organic greens and other vegetables to your diet—flavored with detoxifying spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander and fennel—also helps the body eliminate toxins.


Back to SchoolWith kids back at colleges and schools across the nation, everyone is wondering how to avoid getting the flu this fall. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 25 to 50 million cases of the flu are currently reported each year—leading to 150,000 hospitalizations and 30,000 to 40,000 deaths yearly. And while health authorities race to develop a flu vaccine for specific strains, they can only advise us to avoid traveling to affected areas and to wash our hands frequently to avoid the spread of germs.

Yet there is so much more that we can do to boost the immune system. In fact, the ancient science of Maharishi Ayurveda specializes in just this area: strengthening the body’s natural defenses. Even now, with this new virus testing our immune systems, there’s time to brush up on flu prevention.

If your body is filled with toxins, infection will find fertile ground for spreading disease, just as land that is fertile will sprout many seeds. Symptoms of the sticky, obstructive toxins that result from undigested food are stiff joints, sluggish digestion, dullness or headaches, and fatigue. If your digestion is strong and there is lightness and strength in your body, then the seeds of infection will not be able to take hold.

Here are five natural flu remedies and tips to boost your immune system.

1. Schedule a fall cleanse. Fall is a season of change—when the warm, humid days of summer are changing to the cool, dry, windy weather of autumn. This fluctuating weather can make our digestion weaker and cause us to fall sick with colds and flu in the fall.

The flu prevention antidote? Avert the danger with a cleanse during the few weeks when the weather is making its transition from summer to fall. Fall cleansing serves two purposes. First, it clears the toxins that have built up in the summer. And because digestive strength tends to fluctuate when the seasons are changing, eating lighter during this transition can actually boost your immunity and help avoid sickness.

Cleansing doesn’t mean that you have to fast for two weeks. It just means eating fresh, easy-to-digest foods that give your digestion a break and help it to process and eliminate toxins. Eat warm, cooked organic vegetables seasoned with spices, rice or whole grains such as quinoa and bulgar wheat, and for proteins favor soupy split-mung dal or other soups made from lentils or small legumes. Light dairy products, such as ghee (clarified butter), whole milk, and lassi (a probiotic digestion-enhancing drink made with water and freshly made yogurt) improve digestion and enhance immunity. Avoid eating cold foods and drinks, fried foods, hard cheeses, and meat during this time. And drink plenty of hot fluids between meals, such as hot water with lemon or herbal, uncaffeinated teas.

Eating lighter will fire up your digestion, eliminate toxins, and raise your immunity quotient. Maharishi Ayurveda also recommends taking a mild herbal laxative, such as senna tea, at night during this two-week cleanse.

2. Flavor your foods with an immune-boosting spice mixture. Mild spices actually boost digestive power and prevent toxins from building up. Here’s a mixture you can make at home.

6 parts turmeric
3 parts ground cumin
3 parts ground coriander
6 parts ground fennel
1 part powdered dry ginger
1 part ground black pepper
1/4 part ground cinnamon

When cooking, measure one teaspoon of the spice mixture in one tablespoon of ghee and heat until aroma is released. Apply this to cooked rice, vegetables, or other dishes. These spices will support your immune system and digestion.

3. Take herbs to assist a cleanse and boost the immune system. Look for herbal formulas that will enhance a deep, gentle detoxification program.

4. Geting plenty of rest is a natural flu remedy. Lifestyle also impacts immunity. Staying up late, working at night, eating at irregular times, and sleeping during the day can all affect the digestion and body rhythms—and thus compromise the immune system. That’s why it’s important to follow the Ayurvedic daily routine, arising early in the morning, before 6 a.m., and retiring before 10:00 p.m. Using essential aroma oils such as lavender and sweet orange can create a calming, peaceful atmosphere conducive to sleep.

5. If you do fall sick, consult your doctor! Stay home, drink plenty of hot liquids, get plenty of bed rest, and follow all of the tips mentioned above to help strengthen you through illness faster with more comfort.

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

by Linda Egenes

A build-up of heat in the body can lead to rashes, heartburn, and irritability. Maharishi Ayurveda recommends several ways to stay cool in the heat.

Sun, sea, surf. It’s all part of the idyllic summer. Yet sunny summer brings its own health challenges. According to Maharishi Ayurveda, the hot, humid weather can cause heat to build in the body, resulting in skin rashes, breakouts, heartburn, itchy eyes, and increased susceptibility to sunburn and insect bites—not to mention hotter emotions such as irritability, frustration, and anger.

The hot Pitta dosha is the mind-body element that governs metabolism and transformation in the body, and the time of year when the sun is stronger—from July to October—is called Pitta Season.  Here are ten simple tips to chill and stay healthy this summer.

Cool It

Drink more fresh juices in summer. The four top heat busters: watermelon, lettuce, cucumber, and coconut milk. If you drink one of these several times a day, you’ll notice that the heat won’t bother you as much. Other cooling Pitta drinks: pomegranate, sweet grape, or sweet pineapple juice at room temperature. Stay away from  ice-cold or carbonated drinks, as these stop your digestion. Caffeinated drinks are drying and lead to liver and skin damage.

Between meals, drink cool, milky drinks. Boil the milk first to make it more digestible. Then let it cool to room temperature. Add cardamom or rose water—or blend the milk with dates or fresh mango for flavor that’s as appealing as a milkshake, but much more healthy.

Mango Milk: One fresh peeled and sliced ripe sweet mango, 2 cups of milk, raw sugar to taste, 1/4 teaspoon cardamom. Boil milk and allow it to cool to room temperature. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Makes 2 servings.

Summer Tea: Boil two quarts of water for two minutes. Take it off the heat and add 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, 2 rose buds, and 1 clove. Before drinking, pour it into a cup and let it cool to room temperature.

And don’t forget to drink plenty of pure water—you need it to keep your skin and body hydrated in summer.

Digest It

Summer is a great time to reduce calories—when the heat turns up outside, the body’s internal digestive “furnace” shuts down, so we naturally crave lighter foods. Think light and liquid.

Add cooling foods to your diet: coconut chutney, coconut rice, cous cous salad, baked fennel, fresh dill and cilantro, and any fresh, sweet, juicy fruit. For breakfast, eat an apple boiled with cardamom. Fruits like melons, pears, and grapes, vegetables like broccoli, cucumber, and zucchini, dairy products like milk and ghee (clarified butter), and grains like rice are all excellent choices. Favor sweet, astringent, and bitter foods, as these are cooling. Avoid sour, pungent, and salty foods like sour cream, vinegar, and ketchup, as these are heating.

Summer Spice It

For most of us the word “spice” means “hot.” Yet certain herbs and spices—such as mint, fennel, coriander, anise, licorice, and cardamom—actually cool you down in summer. And adding small amounts of spices such as cumin to your food helps pick up your digestion when the heat has shut it down.

Chill It

In summertime, the livin’ really should be easy. To keep your emotions cool and calm, minimize stress and take plenty of time for rest and leisure. Plan a relaxing summer vacation in a place of natural beauty. Practice meditation to balance mind, body, and emotions.

Smell It

Make a point to walk in cooling gardens and smell the flowers. The sweet scents of summer are cooling to the mind and emotions. Sleep with your windows open to breathe fresh air and enjoy the smells of nature. For aroma therapy indoors, fill your home with fragrant flowers and use cooling rose, jasmine, or sandalwood essential oils.

Soothe It

Slow down, listen to soothing music, chill. If your eyes burn from the heat or long hours at the computer, lie down for 10 minutes with organic rose-water-soaked cotton pads on closed eyes and feel the tension flow away. Splash rose water in your bath, spray your face with rose water spritzer when you feel overheated, and add a drop of rose water to coconut oil for a cooling summer massage. The rose is not only cooling, but it soothes the heart and emotions as well.

Gentle It

Lay off the heavy exercise in summer. Try gentle yoga, walking in the moonlight, and swimming in cool water. Avoid exercising at noon, when the sun is at its peak.

Shade It

Avoid sun exposure, especially at midday. Cover up with sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, and light-colored organic cotton clothing.

Rest It

If you toss and turn in the summer nights, try going to bed before 10:00 p.m., before the Pitta time of night has started—you’ll be amazed at how deep and peaceful your sleep can be. And you’ll wake up early, when the air is cool and fresh.

Rejuvenate It

Ayurvedic herbs can help transform tired cells that have been depleted by the heat. Amla berry is a legendary herb for balancing Pitta dosha and rejuvenating the mind, body, and emotions. Amla and other ayurvedic herbs—such as arjuna, cabbage rose, ashwgandha, nutmeg, and Indian cardamom—help balance inflamed emotions. And for a deep summer’s sleep, Indian valerian, jatamansi, dwarf morning glory, licorice, pearl, mica, and Indian tinospora are ayurvedic herbs for helping you to fall asleep easily and stay asleep through the night.

I originally wrote this article for The Source: July 2010. Reprinted with permission.



Raising Healthy Children
April 17, 2012
Super Healthy Kids: A Parent's Guide to Maharishi Ayurveda

Super Healthy Kids: A Parent’s Guide to Maharishi Ayurveda

Here is my friend Jane Dean’s book review of  SUPER HEALTHY KIDS: A PARENT’S GUIDE TO MAHARISHI AYURVEDA. Jane  is a writer and former radio host who is the executive assistant to the Director of Maharishi  School of the Age of Enlightenment and mother of two. In the past three years she has traveled to 17 different countries to promote Consciousness Based Education.

Personally, I loved this book.  Everything I learned about Maharishi Ayurveda over 20 years is comprehensively explained in Super Healthy Kids.  I advise you to read it through once and then take another stroll through each chapter (with a marker and some post-it notes). Dr. Reddy and Linda Egenes make a good argument that Maharishi Ayurveda is an effective, sensible and cost effective approach to taking care of children.   It is simple to read for the newcomer to Maharishi Ayurveda.  It is also great for parents who need a reference guide on Ayurveda. Super Healthy Kids is packed with patient’s stories, simple charts and scientific research.  Among its advantages the book has great recipes and a charming bedtime story.

Throughout the book Dr. Reddy tells the stories of her patients, all children, who have benefited from Maharishi Ayurveda mostly with a simple change of diet or a change in daily routine.  The book is, in fact, a text on a complex ancient health care system so it is not light reading.  Dr. Reddy describes how the doshas (the three dominant trends in the human body) emerge from the five elements.  She then elaborates on why each child is a unique individual with a unique health profile.  Dr. Reddy gives a detailed overview of the biology and sequence of digestion and assimilation.  This fascinating but exhaustive detail helps the parent understand the vital role good digestion plays in creating the building blocks that create healthy blood, healthy fat, healthy muscles and healthy bone tissues in a growing child.

Dr. Reddy and I relax together during her visit to Fairfield in June 2011

There are four complete chapters dedicated to the ideal daily routine of a child.  They include bedtime routines, wake-up routines and exercise.  Reddy goes a bit further and explains that a cohesive and peaceful family environment is fundamental.  She backs up her arguments against TV and video games with scientific research on the brain and recommends cultivating a softer, richly stimulating family environment.

Reddy and Egenes give a fresh perspective on the prevention of sickness. They show us how Maharishi Ayurveda health and life style habits create health in childhood and beyond.



If you practice yoga, you’re working with the mind-body connection every day. You know first-hand how your yoga practice affects not only your energy levels, your strength and your flexibility—but your ability to focus and stay calm under pressure. In the same way that the mind and body are connected, yoga and Maharishi Ayurveda are connected.

Preventing Disease

Both yoga and ayurveda help prevent disease. Yoga does this by purifying and balancing the organs and systems in the body. In the same way, Maharishi Ayurveda brings balance through daily and seasonal routines and identifying food that is suitable for keeping the three mind-body principles, or doshas, in balance. Yoga and Ayurveda complement each other—eating pure foods can only increase your strength and flexibility, and in turn, yoga tones the digestion and purifies the organs.

Correcting Imbalances

Just as specific yoga postures are known to cure disease, ayurvedic therapies correct mental, physical and emotional imbalances. These natural therapies include internal cleansing and rejuvenation (panchakarma), holistic herbal compounds, and modalities that use the five senses, including sound therapy, light and gem therapy, massage, aroma therapy, and healing tastes. Like yoga, these ayurvedic therapies heal the whole mind and body in a way that does not cause harmful side effects.

A Common Tradition of Knowledge

Yoga is part of ayurveda, mentioned in the ayurvedic texts as the ideal ayurvedic exercise, because it rejuvenates the body, improves digestion, and removes stress.

Yoga balances all three doshas, and different poses have different effects. Forward bending postures cool the hot Pitta dosha. Twists are good for the slow-moving Kapha dosha because they stimulate digestion. Backward bends are heating, and thus balancing to the cool and delicate Vata dosha, as long as the person has the strength to do them. Yoga postures tone every area of the body and cleanse the internal organs of toxins, which is one of the goals of ayurveda.

At the same time, yoga practitioners have traditionally benefited from the ayurvedic daily routine as part of their yoga practice. For instance, ayurvedic daily massage helps remove toxins from the body and relaxes the muscles for yoga practice. Traditional yoga schools have always taught ayurvedic principles as well as yoga asanas, because the two are so interdependent. The yoga practitioner can benefit from detoxifying the body through the dietary, lifestyle, and purification practices of Maharishi Ayurveda.


Both yoga and Maharishi Ayurveda are based in the wisdom of the Vedic tradition of ancient India. They both aim to develop higher states of consciousness. Yoga literally means “union,” and in its highest sense means to join the mind with the transcendental self in meditation. The ayurvedic texts of Charaka speak of this same integration of mind, body and consciousness—and development of consciousness is the goal.

Linda Egenes is the co-author of three books on ayurvedic health care, including Super Healthy Kids: Happy and Healthy Children with Maharishi Ayurveda, due out in spring 2010. 

Stay Well this Flu Season
November 3, 2009

A friend of mine has been down with the swine flu for eight days. This is a person who never gets sick, and it’s hard to see her suffer. I have two elderly parents that I am caretaking, so I didn’t go over to visit her when she was sick. Even though I feel pretty strong right now, I don’t want to tempt fate.

One good thing about writing in the health field as that you tend to find yourself doing the healthy things you write about. In ayurvedic medicine, the traditional health care system of India, which I write about a lot, good digestion is considered the foundation for strong immunity. And immunity is considered to be the weakest in the fall, when the sun’s strength is waning. So I’ve been eating light, easy-to-digest foods this autumn, to keep my digestion and immunity strong.

Here are a few ayurvedic tips for preventing colds and flu, excerpted from some articles I wrote for the Iowa Source and other publications.

1.Eat smaller quantities of food. By eating less, the digestive fire becomes stronger. This helps digest impurities and strengthen immunity. Even doing this for a few days in fall can help give your digestion a rest and increase its strength.

2. Eat lighter food. This means less cold or heavy food. During autumn the digestion is weaker, so eat less meat and cheese. Avoid leftovers and processed food. Eat fresh, organic vegetables and grains that are freshly cooked and served warm.

3. Get extra rest. As the days grow shorter and darkness falls sooner, it’s important to be attuned to nature and go to bed earlier during fall. For best quality sleep, it’s ideal to go to be in bed before 10 p.m. and rise early.

4. Exercise every day. Exercise keeps your digestion and elimination running smoothly, and helps purify toxins and create overall well-being.

5. Eat your meals at the same time every day. Plan to eat your meals at the same time every day. When your meals are on a regular schedule, your digestion runs more smoothly and efficiently, creating less undigested food and toxins.

6. Eat your main meal at noon. This is when the digestive fire is at its peak and can handle larger quantities of food. Make breakfast and supper lighter meals.

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