monica's blog

Why do bad things happen? A karmic perspective

Today's podcast is on the them why do bad things happen to good people. (Does this mean that good things happen to bad people?)

People say "Why me? I am one of the good people. Why do bad things happen? Why did it have to happen to me? Where is God when that bad thing was happening". Our students and community asks us this.

So, Pandit Atul explains why bad things happen from a karmic and vedic perspective.

The concept of compassion and being human is left on the side in today's day and age. Practicing a yoga lifestyle or Ayurveda-we should have a way of understanding this. This can be explained by Karma and Jyotish.

Click to hear more.

Bhagavad Gita for Yoga Practitioners

On the occasion of janamashtami, the appearance of Shri Krishna we have released two podcasts.

Podcast 1 by Pandit Atul on the appearance of Sri Krishna

Podcast 2 by Dr. Aparna Dandekar on laying the background story of why Bhagavad Gita was spoken focusing on yoga practitioners

Cooking as a Meditation

We all complain we don't have time to do a meditation. How about using something as mundane as cooking as a time to meditate mindfully?

We talk about cleansing our minds, using mundane activities to help our mind and meditating while doing chores-how simple is that?

What effect does food have on our minds? What is the role of consciousness in cooking? What is meditative cooking?

In this podcast, Pandit Atul Krishna talks about food and the mind.

Vastu origin story

What is Vastu (indian feng shui)- Part 1

People call Vastu the feng shui of India. However, Vastu is the vedic art of architecture, design and engineering that got condensed into what became Vastu today. I am talking about Vastu, Vastu Purusha- the entity that dwells in our house. His origin story from Siva, and, Vishvakarma-the divine architect and engineer. This podcast is an excerpt from a class at Narayana Ayurveda on Vastu principles. (I even talk about Thor and asgard--did the moviemakers look up Vastu for this city?)

Diet, Rituals and Bhagavad Gita

Bhagavad Gita series Podcast #2

Listen to Pandit Atul and Manjulali discuss Chapter 17 of Bhagavad Gita, the three modes of Nature (Trigunas:Sattva, Tamas and Rajas), and how it relates to Wicca, Magic, Rituals, Goddess worship, Divine worship, and different diets.

We talk about lactovegetarian diet, six tastes, and what is considered fresh food?

Why do we chant invocation mantras(chants)?

In my book, Ayurveda and the Feminine I have devoted an entire chapter to the actual invocation and the invocation mantras. My students and Ayurveda clients ask me all the time, hence it was time to talk about it. So, what are invocation chants? They are called mangalacaranam- literally translated as auspicious step or beginnings. So, I am talking about what are invocation chants, why and how we do it.

And, I demonstrate chanting of three different chants in this short and sweet podcast.

The script of this podcast is at this link.
https://www.ayurveda-wellness-center.com/post/invocation-chants

Episode art by my student Amy Eisenhower-Omholt.

Enjoy.

Monica B Groover

The protein myth

By R Mason
G Robinson
(Ayurveda Counselor Students)

My friend, it's time to give up the meat. I know you've heard negative things about red meat in the media, and I also know that you grew up in the same pro-meat culture I did, but let's take a serious look at what these messages mean.

The only pro-red-meat argument is cultural. There's not a scientist or doctor I know of today who is actively advocating the consumption of red meat, so let's first take Western science into consideration. Doctors have officially acknowledged that red meat leads to more health problems than health solutions, especially in modern animal agriculture, so let's make that easy decision to eliminate all the extra fats, cholesterol, and hormones from our diet to get out ahead of diabetes.

But let's also examine meat as a source of protein in general. The only reason meat gets a "pass" socially is that we've conditioned ourselves to believe that meat is the only good source of protein, but that belief is designed to sell you more meat rather than make you healthier. According to nutrition experts, the human body needs .36 grams of protein per pound of mass daily. This comes to 56 grams per day for the average man and 46 grams per day for the average woman, and this requirement is met in a single meal that includes meat. This protein intake should be spread out throughout the day, and too much protein gets stored in the body as excess fat. To ward off diabetes, you need to make protein choices that are more beneficial for the body and reduce meat proteins.

Besides being simply too much protein, let's examine the energetics of meat-based protein. Energy affects us all--we've all been in a room in which the energy changes with the addition of a single person--and food is no different. Plant-based proteins come from positive, "growth" energy in nature and are sattvic to the consumer. Animal-based proteins carry all the negative energy of the process by which they arrive on our plate, from the inhumane treatment of the animals in their agricultural environment to their inhumane slaughter and subsequent dismemberment and delivery. When we consume meat, we consume all that negative energy and deplete our prana, thereby making it harder for our bodies to heal and find balance.

So let's beat this diabetes threat and find a food plan that meets your protein requirements in a way that promotes the natural healing your body is capable of.

In Ayurveda we believe food has the power to heal. Food can be medicine. There is a life giving energy that flows through you and throughout the rest of creation that connects us to the Divine, and that same Supreme Intelligence also manifests through Mother Nature and all her bounty. By living in communion and harmony with your soul and nature, God provides everything you need to live a balanced, satisfying and healthy life. It is your choice to make whether who want to live in sync with the natural flow or in opposition to it, but if you have some faith and determination, a higher power will offer further clarity and also help grace your efforts. I can attest from personal and shared experience, you can live and function and do so quite well without eating meat.

If you do not want to give it up entirely, I assure you that you do not need to eat it everyday and if you do this, you will also feel better overall. It may take some time and experience to fully realize for yourself that the need to eat meat regularly for sustenance is a lie perpetrated collectively, in large unconsciously, by the society in which we live and sustained by a pattern you have followed your entire life, but there is another way, and if it means furthering your life rather than diminishing it, I hope you are willing to try something fresh.

You are what you eat and also how well you are able to digest it. Food that is life giving and full of the nutrients you need comes straight out of the earth. When you consume meat, you are attempting to gather all those nutrients but through a dead animal that already digested and assimilated a plant’s vitality, so your body is really doing a lot of extra work for scraps. Meat also takes a lot longer to digest than plant based food and the longer food sits in your GI tract, the more prone you make yourself to sickness and the more sluggish you’ll be feeling overall, because energy you could be using to live you life is tied up in extracting nutrients from dead flesh. Think about it.

What feeds your craving to eat more meat is that you’re eating too much meat, and now you have become prediabetic. If you can taper the meat, you will not have to crave it in the same way. Give your mind and body something new to expect, it is possible, and with that some of the sentiments you hold onto tightly will dissipate as well.

So if we can start preparing more plant based food that is rich in prana, the life giving energy I’ve been alluding to, we can try to correct the digestive impairments in your body that have surely arisen from over consumption of meat and processed foods causing toxins to accumulate and making you prone to chronic illness. In essence, you are not a meat eater, you are not a sick person, but you are a divine soul in an organic vessel, and nature’s whole ingredients have the power to heal your body.

Art of creating Ayurvedic Formulations

By Leah Cruz
(Ayurveda Practitioner Student)

Bhehsaja Kalpana is the formulation of plant and animal-based substances to create medicines that can have a therapeutic or medicinal effect.

This has come from an ancient Ayurvedic practice that has been practices and used for hundreds of years.

Creating these complex formulation is more technical then just combining a few herbs that have similar healing properties to help cure a illness or disease. This is because each dravya contains several properties that can determine the effects the dravya has in and on our bodies.

These are the rasa, virya, vipaka, gunas, and prabhava of the dravya. Depending on the classification of each property listed above will affect the outcome it will have once inside the body. These unique properties also determine the effects the herbs will have on the doshas, dhatus, srotas, and manas. Because each herb is so complex is why when one starts to combine more then one herb together there must be meditative intention behind it. There is a fine line between a dravya or kalpana becoming a poison or a remedy, the determination being the dosage and how it is administered.

Changes that have occurred in bhesajha kalpana and Ayurvedic practices in the modernization of them. In today’s modern practice of Ayurveda and bhesajha kalpana certain herbs and dravyas are becoming harder to obtain from limited scoring or scarcity of botanical species.

Because of this rareity of some dravyas, ancient formulation are being compromised by substitution of more available herbs. This can be problematic when determining if the kalpana effectiveness is a potent as the classical formulation. Another area that has been altered is that unintended chemicals and additives are being put into the kalpanas in order to prolong shelf life, make more palatable for the consumer, and cost effective for the manufacturer. These foreign ingredients could have negative impacts on the efficiency of the kalpanas and how they react in our bodies. With the demand in modern times for natural healing substances, kalpanas are becoming more popular to the masses. Because of this demand some manufacturers are taking short cuts in the growing, harvesting and manufacturing of these kalpanas.

The ancient texts believed that a drayva purity is only as good as the optimal and auspicious environment it is grown and stored in. When one of these aspects are changed the potency and auspiciousness of the dravya is compromised. The manufactured need to be conscious and aware of the integrity of the whole herb. Modernization has also tried to extract the medicinal compound from the plant. But the ancient viadyas believe that the whole plant is necessary because there are other compounds in the plant that help deliver the herb more compatibly into our tissues.

When the compounds are extracted this benefit is lost from the dravya.

I feel that in other countries besides India Ayurveda and bheshaja kalpana is still a new practice. We try to modernize there ancient methods to make it more easily available for the consumer. But we have to realize that there are several aspects and intentions that go into the plant in order to allow for the medicinal qualities to be produces and for a specific medicinal outcome of occur. Plants are a living things that contains energy and karma that can change or be altered depending on this external environment, just like us. This can’t be overlooked as a small thing, because these factors can change the medicinal qualities of the plant and herb.
Another point mentioned in the articles that has diminished from bhesajha kalpana is the energetic intentions that the grower, manufacturer, and customer have with the kalpana.

In ancient times yanga (rituals) and mantras (chanting) you go along with the growing, harvesting, preparing, and delivering to the client. This would ensure that auspiciousness energy would be delivered onto the plant and herbs to be carried into the client to ensure healing. This ancient ritual seems to be becoming lost in the modern need to produce kalpanas in shorter time spans for the customer. In the modernization and standardization shelf life and palatability for the customer has become increasing important. In order to make these two concerns possible some ancient methods have been altered or forgotten.

The use of anupanas to help deliver the dravya or kalpanas into the tissues of the body for efficiently are being used less and less. Vati or gutikas are more desirable to the customer because one can take the kalpanas quickly and without tasting them. This can affect the outcome of the dravya, because rasa and anupana are essential and necessary aspects that the body needs to ensure that the body is responding to the karma effects of the herbs.

Another downfall of modern Ayurvedic Formulations is that the dosage is being standardized to a uniform or general recommendation. But Ayurveda believes that when determining the dosage, it is unique to each person. The disease, dosha, quality of health, age, and agni must all be considered before determining the correct dosage, in order to give the desired medicinal effect. All these points are essential and important when using dravyas as healing products.

It is an amazing thing that the need for more all-natural approaches to health and healing illness has become an essential need in society. Plus with the availability of knowledge and accessibility of products Ayurveda and kalpanas can be made available to people all over the world. But we need not to overlook or forget the ancient practices and methods for creating herbal formulation.

Because these are time proven methods that can shown to result in auspicious healing results. We need to focus our intentions of carrying on the ancient methods while making it more accessible to the consumer. With the consciousness of the people becoming a individual priority I believe that this need for natural healing will grow as well.

Ashwagandha-how to take it

In my practice as an Ayurvedic Practitioner, I have noticed almost everyone who is listing their supplements on the intake forms, mention Ashwagandha.

A part of me is delighted Ashwagandha has become so popular in USA, that even nutritional supplements, smoothie mixes are adding it in.

The practitioner in me is a little concerned because Ashwagandha is heating and has indications and contraindications just like any herb. I have heard students say Ayurvedic supplements have no contraindications. This is absolutely untrue.

Ayurvedic supplements can harm when taken incorrectly. And, yes, there are definitely contraindications.

It is better to take a supplement after visiting a Practititioner.

Problem is when people buy things online they either have no idea of doses, or, anupana (see below), or what time of day to take it.

They take Ashwagandha when convenient with food.

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, supports Thyroid, energy, stress, anxiety, respiratory tract AND aches and pains.

It is also used in conjunction with other dravya for other imbalances.

However, for each of those situations doses differ, anupana differs, time of day differs and there are certain dietary restrictions also.

Anupana means vehicle that helps deliver the herb and helps in its absorption.

I have listed how Ashwagandha has to be taken with different anupanas at different times below. Please visit your Ayurveda Practitioner before you start taking any Ayurvedic supplement.

1. Supporting Respiratory tract--Ashwagandha with Honey and Tulsi Tea.
Time of day - 6-10 AM, 6-10 PM.
2. Supporting Stress/Anxiety-Aswagandha with Tulsi tea (Not suggested for Pitta. For pitta add Brahmi also)
Time of day 2-6 PM (1-2 hours after meal)
3. Generalized aches and pains-Ashwagandha Ghrtam (ghee), topically as Ashwagandha tailam. (Ashwagandha cooked in sesame)
4. Supporting Neurological imbalances- Not given alone. Can be suggested in conjunction with Jatamansi and/or Brahmi.
Anupana- Tulsi Tea
5. Supporting Thyroid- Ashwagandha with Kanchanar Guggulu before meals
6. Supporting Menstrual Imbalances-Ashwagandha with Shatavari and Turmeric golden milk
7. Supporting Arthritis-Ashwagandha boiled in milk twice a day
8. Supporting low energy- Ashwagandha boiled in milk. May be given with Shatavari.
9. Supporting insomnia-Ashwagandha, Bhringaraj and Brahmi with warm Golden milk(with turmeric, nutmeg, poppy seeds) one hour before bed.

You can contact Monica Groover at Ayurveda South Austin.
https://www.ayurveda-wellness-center.com/

Disclaimer: Ayurveda is a complimentary health system and NOT recognized in the West. Ayurveda practitioners are NOT allowed to prevent, treat or cure any disease. Please contact your physician if you have any health issues. The article above is for informational and educational purpose only.

Sanskrit for Ayurveda practitioners

By Dr. Mithun Baliga (Ayurveda Counselor Student)
and Lori Black

Sanskrit is the spoken language of the Devatas or Demigods, according to Vedas. Samskrtam is said to be the oldest language known. Sanskrit is such a language rich in meaning, oftentimes there is no equivalent translation of the depth in which a word or sentence may be expressed through its context. Any student who is interested in Ayurveda will inevitably turn to the Briyat Treya.

Once we realize how simplified modern translations are of the ladened meaning meant to convey, we find a desire to understand the classics a bit more. We decide to dig into what Sushruta was trying to say; or how Patanjali could say so few words by present a meaning so in-depth. Not to mention the mantra of Sanskrit traditionally is what has supplanted the classics when there were no written versions available.

We look at the history of Ayurveda and see how there was a time when Indians were precluded from possessing the texts for fear of political retribution. Therefore, memorization was often accomplished through mantra; teaching was accomplished through mantra. As it seems so appropriate that any student who is serious about Vedanta, Ayurveda or any of the amazing Indian philosophies once must embark on the quest of deepening their preliminary understanding to even peek at what is revealed from the heart of the Gods.

Ayurveda is an ancient science believed to have divine origins. The language of the time was Sanskrit. Hence all the original texts are written in that language. Of course, we now have a translation in various languages. So we can ask certainly as the question: what is the importance of Sanskrit to Ayurveda practitioners? since everything is now available in English. It is important for many reasons.

1. The arrangement of information is the texts are in poetic form. This was to facilitate memorization which is easier why set to rhyme and meter. This poetic way of delivering information has to be interpreted correctly in the original language it was written(as in all poetry). Otherwise, errors can occur.

2. Sanskrit is an original stand-alone language, meaning it has no borrowed words. So, many times it is not possible to find exact equivalent words in other languages like English. Eg: the word dosha. The closest translation could be "a fault" but we know that "a fault" is not what we mean when we say dosha in Ayurveda. For this reason, Ayurvedic practitioner has to have at least a rudimentary knowledge of the language so that they can use those Sanskrit words correctly and with confidence.

3. Some aspects of Ayurveda involve invoking mantras and or salutations. Although these can also be translated, again their inner meaning is lost. To recommend these forms of adjuncts to therapy, the practitioner may find the knowledge of Sanskrit helpful.

4. As a diagnostic tool: Although not used nowadays, in the past the ayurvedic practitioner would ask the patient to read out the syllables of the Sanskrit language. By observing the pronunciation and speech patterns, they would diagnose the patient's issues.

5. At a higher level, the Sanskrit language has divinity in itself. The syllables have a deeper meaning and specific combinations have different effects and strengths. Chanting Vedic and other hymns are known to bring about profound changes in the physical body as well as the mind and for spiritual progress.

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