The 2 plants, commonly referred to as Brahmi, are Gotu Kolu (Centella asiatica) or (Bacopa monniera). I will share the benefits Bacopa, a more watery plant - moist and best for Vata and Pitta. Brahmi means ‘expansive state of awareness’ so brahmi enhances cellular awareness. The literal translation meaning ‘energy of shakti’. It has a bitter, sweet taste and it has a cooling effect on the body. Its actions calm Vata, redirects flow of Vata downward (good for constipation from stress), reduces mental imbalances, increases intellect, excellent heart tonic, a rejuvenative (and especially good for nervous system), increases longevity, gives strength (especially to the mind), promotes energy, promotes sleep, alleviates skin conditions. It is indicated when we want to improve memory and concentration, enhance meditation. Aids recovery from exhaustion, stress. Useful for nervous system disorders: Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, dementia, ADHD, ADD, Asperger’s, autism, depression, drug addiction. Commonly used to treat insomnia. Can be indicated for inflammatory urinary disorders. Due to it’s cold nature, Bacopa is best combined with other herbs to protective digestive fire.
To learn if this herb is best for you please reach out.
Infrared Saunas work similarly to a fever in the body. The infrared heat penetrates the skin and works deep in the tissues, raising core body temperature to about 102°F (39°C). The body responds to this simulated “fever” by stepping up its immune response and mobilizing the antiviral and antibacterial of the immune system. Additionally, increasing the body temperature to within the range of a fever has been shown to improve the adaptive immune response. This helps the body “remember” the microbes you’ve been exposed to, and to be better prepared to fight them next time around. Near-infrared light activates white blood cells and increases antibodies against pathogens.
Saunas benefit you with Detoxification, Healthy Aging, Weight Loss, Relaxation, Cardiovascular Support, Pain Relief.
I use the time in my sauna to apply warm oil, Abyanga, and then I sit in my sauna for at least 20 minutes to allow for a good sweat before I rinse off in a cool shower. I also make sure I stay hydrated and drink at least 32 ounces of room temp water. This is also a good time for meditation and pranayama.
To get the most from your infrared sauna, I highly recommend Sunlighten’s mPulse. This sauna has three types of infrared waves in one sauna:
I'd like to take this space to honor an amazing Yogi that I had the privledge of meeting and learning from at Kripalu several years ago. I just learned of her passing (the next day my beloved Hobbes passed - so it makes me happy to know they are practicing Down Dog over the rainbow together).
Tao Porchon-Lynch (8/13/1918 - 2/21/2020) was an American yoga master and award-winning author of French and Indian descent. She discovered yoga in 1926 when she was eight years old in India and studied with, among others, Sri Aurobindo, B.K.S. Iyengar, K. Pattabhi Jois, Swami Prabhavananda, and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
She taught yoga up until the time of her death. She was also an actor, ballroom dancer and was featured on 'America's Got Talent'.
Every morning when she would wake up she would look at the sun and say, "This is going to be the best day of my life, and it will be and it always is".
Her daily practice of yoga always emphasized proper breathing (Pranayama). "The breath is teaching us - listen to it," Portion-Lynch says. "Feel your lungs expand outward, stretch your hands up towards the ceiling and feel the energy there. Breathe in the breath of life and breathe out peace".
I broke my leg almost 5 weeks ago and last week I began practicing on my yoga mat again. I can't even begin to describe the peace, healing, centering and expansion I have felt! Yoga has been my daily healing practice since 1990. I was lost without it these past weeks but now I'm out of the fog and back on the mat! I am so grateful for yoga and master teachers like Tao who made yoga a fixture of our modern culture for mental, physical and spiritual healing.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti (peace to you TAO!)
www.coppervedics.comWhen ancient people started picking through the topmost layer of earth to find what was buried underneath the soil, the first metal that they came across and started using with purpose was copper. The soft metal was easy to work into useful shapes, and although it was not strong enough to withstand heavy impacts without reforming its shape, it was perfectly suitable for making simple objects such as containers.
Thus began the first practical uses of metal by ancient civilizations some eight thousand years ago, followed quickly by the realization that copper was a particularly good material for holding and storing drinking water. Ancient copper containers dating back thousands of years have been found in civilizations around the world from ancient Egypt, Hindustan, and Central and South America.
Observations From Nature
Long before ancient people began using copper to form basic cups, vases, and storage tanks, other natural substances such as wood and stone were the materials of choice for storing water. They were relatively easy to work into useable shapes and were readily available in practically every region of the planet. But copper soon became the preferred material for holding and storing water, for reasons that modern science has now made clear. For ancient people, the absence of laboratories and precision scientific equipment meant that simply observing the health results of storing water in a copper vessel would have led them to the conclusion that copper was the superior material.
Just as ancient people concluded that copper is a good material for storing water, many of ayurveda's basic tenants of health and wellness are as ancient as humanity's use of copper and come from simple observations about nature's resources and our ability to form a healthy relationship with them. Ayuveda has recorded the natural health benefits of plants, exercises, and behavior patterns for thousands of years, and these tenants are still alive in the ayurvedic practices of today.
In the case of copper, ancient ayurvedic practitioners might have made the observation that people who drank from a copper container or drank water that was stored in a copper container were sick less often than people who drank from containers made from wood, stone, or drank directly from a natural water source. Today we know that this is due to copper's naturally anti-pathogenic properties: copper is particularly effective at reducing and eliminating bacteria, viruses and fungi just by simple contact. In fact, copper can completely eliminate even the most drug-resistant strains of bacteria such as MRSA which traditional antibiotic treatments have trouble dealing with.
An ayurvedic practitioner might also have observed that people using copper vessels to drink water were more likely to have healthy skin and hair, or recover from an injury faster and more completely than expected. This is a result of the critical role that copper plays in the formation of keratin and collagen, two of the key ingredients that make hair thick, strong skin, and build connective tissues that hold our bodies together.
Or the practitioner might have observed a boost in the mental clarity of a person who switched to a copper drinking vessel. Because copper is crucial for transmitting sensory data throughout the central nervous system and facilitates the movement of electrical energy in our brains, this observation would have some basis in fact. These observations, and many more like them, probably formed the ancient practitioner's understanding of the relationship between copper, water, and human health. (https://coppervedics.com/copper-water-drinking-vessels-health)
The Old and The New
As a result of these observations, copper was most likely the first metal to be used as a trace mineral supplement, even thousands of years ago and long before the roles of minerals in the body were understood with any scientific precision. Ayurvedic practitioners used pieces of purified copper as ingredients in hot tea infusions along with herbs as remedies for various ailments. The copper piece was added to the infusion for some time and then removed, the effect being a trace amount of copper depositing into the water along with the medicinal ingredients in the herbs.
We are fortunate in modern times to understand this science with actual data to back it up. (https://coppervedics.com/copper-and-health-resources-page-the-definitive-list/) Of course, the ancient ayurvedic practitioner did not have access to microscopes and brain scanners. He or she simply observed whatever changes took place in and among his or her people and tried to draw a correlation between changes in the community's interactions with nature and changes in the community's health.
Despite increasing scientific understanding of the health benefits of copper, the metal slowly faded out of popular use as more economical materials such as aluminum, plastic and glass gained in popularity. This is true more or less everywhere with the exception of India, where copper water vessels are still common items.
More recently copper cups have made a return in popularity both with Moscow Mule style mugs (http://www.foodandwine.com/fwx/drink/5-things-you-didn-t-know-about-moscow-mule-and-where-get-original-copper-mugs) and with leak-proof copper water bottles that are well suited for modern lifestyles. This is a positive trend because whether all of the people using these containers know it or not, they are receiving the simple ayurvedic benefits of copper while using their mugs and bottles.
As with so many other basic principles of health, Ayurveda has been pointing to the benefits of using copper vessels for a long time and now modern science is finally getting around to providing the data that verifies what Ayurvedic practitioners have known for centuries. It's a good reminder to listen to ancient wisdom; it's quite often all we need.
For more info: http://www.coppervedics.com
As summer (Pitta) fades to fall/winter (Vata) we feel in nature and in our bodies this accumulation of heat as it is fanned by the winds of change. We all feel fiery! because the Pitta 'qualities' of heat and sharpness are exiting the body as the Vata season arrives to push Pitta out of the system. The presence of these Pitta qualities in the environment (wildfires, dry winds) can influence the same qualities in our bodies - especially for people who have more fire and water elements in their bodies. You may be noticing an accumulated or stagnated Pitta in your constitution in the form of heat in the body (sore throats, inflammation on the skin or in the digestive system) or maybe the dry winds of Vata are causing skin and intestinal dryness.
What can you do to avoid these seasonal imbalances? Join my seasonal cleanse and start now by enjoying the abundance of food that nature provides us this time of year. This cleanse is about resetting the system to handle the heavier foods of fall/winter so you are nourishing and building, rather than depleting the system.
This a perfect time of year for a cleanse to rebuild agni (digestion), remove excess pitta and ama (toxins) from the system, and balance vata. I offer a supportive fall cleanse (you decide how long) with herbs, seasonal grocery list and recipes, mono-diet ingredients and spices, along with a daily yoga and pranayama regime to support a healthy immune system. To schedule a cleanse now go to Services on this website.
Sweet Water Lactation Tea
2/3 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp fennugreek seeds
2 quarts spring water
1. Boil water, adding 1 tsp of the seed mixture, remove from heat, cover and steep 5 minutes or longer.
2. Drink as desired, hot or at room temperature, never cold.
3. Add the strained seeds to soups and vegetables.
Baby growth spurts are 10 days, 3 weeks, 5 weeks, 7 weeks, etc. and last 2-3 days so having the lactation tea on hand is important.
An important herbal rejuvenative tonic is Shatavari. Mix 1/2 tsp with 2-3 pinches of ginger in 1 C milk or hot water. Shatavari increases milk production, nurtures mucous membranes, nourishes and cleanses blood and the female reproductive system, balances hormones and has a calming, supportive effect while giving strength.
Shatavari combined with Ashwagandha supports nerve exhaustion, insomnia, anemia, fatigue. Ashwagandha is regenerative, regenerates the hormonal system, promotes healing of tissues, is nurturing and calming.
Are you one of more than 95 million Americans that suffer from poor digestion? Maybe you get an upset stomach after a meal or suffer from other types of mild digestive discomfort, i.e. gas, bloating, diarrhea, acid reflux, weight issues, constipation to name a few. Stress, poor diet, lack of sleep and regular exercise can all attribute to digestive distress.
Important Roles in Digestion:
-Portion size is important. During a meal eat only what would fit in your two hands cupped together. The idea is to have a 1/3 food, 1/3 liquid (warm spring water is ideal) and 1/3 empty so this mixture can assimilate.
-Increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables to 9-13 servings a day and if this is difficult consider taking JP+.
-If you eat meat make sure it is grass fed, hormone free and locally raised.
-Consider a daily yoga practice - the combination of postures, heat, hydration, and breathing supports a healthy digestive system. Yoga encourages peristalsis, which moves waste and toxins through the colon and can help to strengthen abdominal muscles and all of this contributes to a healthier gut. The breathing (pranayama) helps to oxygenate the entire body, including the digestive tract, while decreasing stress and balancing hormones.
-Increase your enzyme intake. Enzymes, biologically active proteins found throughout the body, play an important role in digestion. Many enzymes are produced in the digestive tract. Enzymes decline as we age so eating plenty of whole food fruits and vegetables is key. Again, consider JP+ if you aren’t able to eat the recommended variety on a daily basis. JP+ provides 24 different fruits and vegetable that are picked when ripe and full of nutrient dense vitamins, minerals and enzymes. The fruits and vegetables are grown without herbicides, pesticides and are nonGMO.
-Do you have a daily routine that cleanses your senses and calms the nervous system to handle stress and to aid in sleeping?
Whole Healing Ayurveda offers many options for optimizing your overall health and the most important system, our digestion.
AGNI - OUR DIGESTIVE FIRE
The first word in the ancient Ayurvedic texts is Agni, which means fire. The basic premise is that if our digestive fire is strong then we can prevent and curtail any dis-ease process that comes along. So, is it safe to say that, ‘the road of disease begins with poor digestion?” Let’s explore this further. Dis-ease can be as simple as the common cold, allergies, feeling imbalanced in the body or mind, flu, improper bowel movements or it can be big like IBS, cancer, heart disease, or diabetes.
At the time of conception we were all created with the 5 elements in our being; those being: ether, air, fire, water, earth. This in turn created our constitution of Vata (ether/air), Pitta (fire/water) or Kapha (water/earth) and usually a unique combination of these 3. We also came into this world with our own weak space or defective area in the body (khavaigunya) for attracting certain diseases in our physical and mental bodies. My khavaigunya as a child was ear infections and as I got older sinus infections. As I continue to age and modify my routine, based on the Ayurvedic lifestyle and understanding, I am narrowing this khavaigunya down to a weak digestion that really began further back into my infancy as colic. I know now that colicky babies have issues with a weak digestive system and possible imbalanced nervous system. They are gassy, bloated, uncomfortable, irritable, etc. Today, 45+ years later I can see certain patterns in my diet and lifestyle that can lead to similar digestive issues that in turn can lead to the cold or sinus issues.
What is the pathway to this dis-ease process? I learned in A&P class that bacteria & viruses love dry so one of my daily rituals is to use the neti pot, followed by nasya oil to flush out the germs and to lubricate to create balance and alleviate the dryness. Another culprit of dis-ease and a weak digestive system is the buildup of toxins (ama) in the channels of undigested food or waste materials. This is when we experience gas, excess mucus or bile.
Here’s the clincher: Ama and Agni are opposite in properties. Ama is cold, wet, heavy, cloudy, impure and Agni is hot, dry, light, clear and pure. To treat Ama we must increase Agni. Ama is the root of most colds, fevers, flus and chronic disease. Ama is increased by sweet, sour, salty food and drink1
During this holiday season we all have easy access to foods that may not be a ‘normal‘ part of our diet. There is more sugar, wheat, dairy and heavy foods that can clog up the channels of digestion. The daily stress is still there but now we have the added stress of holiday shopping, parties, family gatherings, and possible financial worries. Start to notice the patterns in your life and health that may be the cause of your dis-ease process. When we bring the balance of food, routine and lifestyle back in our lives we can see when it is very obvious that we feel our very best in mind and spirit. Other people notice if too and ask what that glow is about you. We truly are only a ‘breath’ away from being whole.
So, the next time you decide to eat that extra piece of fudge, pumpkin pie or eggnog this season take a moment to ask yourself if this will support or create a weakness in your digestion. All it takes is that one cold or flu to bring you back into awareness of what it means to feel good, to feel whole. Ayurveda is a wonderful system of looking at all stages of the digestive process with ways to tweak and modify to bring balance back into your life. It might be that you need a simple pranayama or yoga practice or a new way to look at preparing and buying food for this Vata/winter season. Maybe you could use a snehana therapy and a consult to get to your core issues. There are also some wonderful supportive herbs and foods for this Vata season to clear Ama and support our Agni.
Consider Whole Healing Ayurveda as your “reset button” at regular intervals to ensure the integration of healthy seasonal routines, as life is constantly changing and expanding. Visit my website to view Services and to make an appointment. There is no better gift than the gift of health!
1. The Yoga of Herbs, Frawley & Lad
Spring & Fall are the best times for a cleanse - the junction of the seasons. What are your reasons for wanting to cleanse? Would you like to remove toxins? Strengthen digestion? Reset metabolism & blood sugar levels? Get into a fat burning/weight loss mode? Clear the mind? Become lighter? Feel balanced with more energy? Look better? Whatever your reason(s) give me a call to set up a season cleanse!
Kapha dosha is water and earth. It has the qualities of heavy, slow, cold, damp, soft. It is the season of spring.
In spring the elements of water and earth are increased. We can feel these qualities of heavy, cool, oily, moist in nature and in our bodies. All around us the snow is melting, the rivers are running, ponds are forming, color on the trees and grasses is emerging. Mother Earth is waking up in the form of growth and upward energy. We all feel this in the air and within us. The presence of these qualities in the environment can influence the same qualities in our bodies - especially for people who have more earth and water elements in their bodies. This is known as the constitution of kapha. Due to this emergence of warm air and melting snow there is also a predominance of kapha in nature. You may be noticing an accumulated or stagnated kapha in our constitution in the form of liquids running out of the body. Maybe you have a spring cold, sinus congestion, allergies, or hay fever.
What can you do to avoid these seasonal imbalances? Avoid foods that are heavy and oily and minimize sweet, sour and salty. Anything that can cause mucous should be avoided. Instead, consume more pungent, bitter, astringent foods & herbs to dry up the mucous. There is an abundance of food that nature provides us this time of year.
Along with certain foods also be aware of how much you are eating, when you are eating, temperature of food and drinks so digestion is stimulated and not weakened or slowed down.
Whole Healing Ayurveda
The teachings of Ayurveda are as pertinent today as they were thousands of years ago.