Ayurveda is a holistic science of health, focusing on maintaining a physically and emotionally balanced state. Ayurveda began about 5,000 – 6,000 years ago when Indian monks were looking for new ways to be healthy. Revering their bodies like temples, the monks believed that preserving their health would help them meditate and develop spiritually. Over thousands of years of observations, they gathered all their conclusions and advice and preserved it for future generations. This collection of knowledge came to be known as the “science or knowledge of life” — Ayurveda.
How is Ayurveda different from modern medicine?
In Ayurveda, every individual is unique and there is no diet or lifestyle routine that works for everyone.
Prevention is key. Ayurveda focuses on providing specific advice and guidance on how to maintain physical and emotional health.
Food and lifestyle routines are considered the most important medicine. If you come to an Ayurvedic doctor with a complaint, you are more likely to leave with a recipe than with a prescription for pills.
How does Ayurveda work?
Ayurveda is based on the principles of three doshas. Doshas are the energies that make up every individual, which perform different physiological functions in the body:
The 3 Dosha types:
- Vata Dosha — Energy that controls bodily functions associated with motion, including blood circulation, breathing, blinking, and your heartbeat.
In balance: There is creativity and vitality.
Out of balance: Can produce fear and anxiety.
- Pitta Dosha — Energy that controls the body’s metabolic systems, including digestion, absorption, nutrition, and your body’s temperature.
In balance: Leads to contentment and intelligence.
Out of balance: Can cause ulcers and anger.
- Kapha Dosha — Energy that controls growth in the body. It supplies water to all body parts, moisturizes the skin, and maintains the immune system.
In balance: Expressed as love and forgiveness.
Out of balance: Can lead to insecurity and envy.
Each person has all three Doshas, but usually one or two dominate. Various Dosha proportions determine one’s physiological and personality traits, as well as general likes and dislikes. For example Vata types will prefer hot weather to cold and Kapha types are more likely to crave spicy foods than other types.
Characteristics Of Each Mind/Body Type
Vata Predominant Types: Creative; Quick to learn and grasp new knowledge, but also quick to forget, Slender; Tall and a fast-walker; Tendency toward cold hands and feet, discomfort in cold climates; Excitable, lively, fun personality; Changeable moods; Irregular daily routine; High energy in short bursts; Tendency to tire easily and to overexert; Full of joy and enthusiasm when in balance; Responds to stress with fear, worry, and anxiety, especially when out of balance; Tendency to act on impulse; Often have racing, disjointed thoughts; Generally have dry skin and dry hair and don’t perspire much.
Pitta Predominant Types: Medium physique, strong, well-built; Sharp mind, good concentration powers; Orderly, focused; Assertive, self-confident, and entrepreneurial at their best; Aggressive, demanding, pushy when out of balance; Competitive, enjoy challenges; Passionate and romantic; Strong digestion, strong appetite, get irritated if they have to miss or wait for a meal; When under stress, Pittas become irritated and angry; Skin fair or reddish, often with freckles; sunburns easily; Uncomfortable in sun or hot weather, heat makes them very tired; Perspire a lot; Good public speakers; Generally good management and leadership ability, but can become authoritarian; Subject to temper tantrums, impatience, and anger; Typical physical problems include rashes or inflammations of the skin, acne, boils, skin cancer, ulcers, heartburn, acid stomach, insomnia, dry or burning eyes.
Kapha Predominant Types: Easygoing, relaxed, slow-paced; Affectionate and loving; Forgiving, compassionate, nonjudgmental nature; Stable and reliable; faithful; Physically strong and with a sturdy, heavier build; Have the most energy of all constitutions, but it is steady and enduring; Slow speech, reflecting a deliberate thought process; Slower to learn, but outstanding long-term memory; Soft hair and skin; tendency to have large “soft” eyes and a low, soft voice; Tend toward being overweight; may also suffer from sluggish digestion; Prone to depression; More self-sufficient; Gentle, and essentially undemanding approach to life; Excellent health, good immune system; Very calm; strive to maintain harmony and peace in their surroundings; Not easily upset and can be a point of stability for others; Tend to be possessive and hold on to things. Don’t like cold, damp weather; Physical problems include colds and congestion, sinus headaches, respiratory problems including asthma, allergies, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
How do I determine my type?
Most books and websites on Ayurveda will offer questionnaires that can be used to determine your mind/body constitution. My favorite one is offered by Holistic Online, which is very detailed and thorough. Most questionnaires are very similar and will provide similar results. Please keep in mind that shorter questionnaires will give a more generalized and approximate result. Also, your body changes with age, seasons, and life situations so the results will change as well. Taking a few different questionnaires will give you a more definite result for your Dosha type.
I know my Dosha type, now what?
Now you should try to follow the diet and lifestyle routine that fits your mind/body constitution. For example, if you are predominantly Vata, you should include more cooked, warm foods, stay away from icy drinks, and add more warming spices like cinnamon, cloves, and ginger to your food. This will prevent any digestion issues that Vata types tend to get, as well, as anxiety, dry skin, or insomnia. Here are some general guidelines for each type:
General Health Tips for Vata Types: Maintain regular habits, try to eat and sleep at the same time every night. Get enough rest and choose foods that are warm, cooked, nourishing, and easy to digest. Sweet berries, fruits, small beans, rice, and all nuts and dairy products are good choices for Vata types. Exercise intensity should be moderate. A more meditative yoga, Tai chi, walking, and swimming are all good. Avoid strenuous and frantic activities. General Health Tips for Pitta Types: It’s important for Pittas to keep cool by avoiding overexposure to direct sunlight and fried and spicy foods. Avoid alcohol and tobacco, overworking, and overheating. When aggravated, susceptible to feeling negative emotions like hostility, hatred, intolerance, and jealousy. Choose fresh vegetables and fruits that are watery and sweet, especially cherries, mangoes, cucumbers, water melon, and avocado. Have lots of salads with dark greens such as arugula, dandelions, and kale. Avoid conflicts. Cultivate the virtues of honesty, morality, kindness, generosity, and self-control.
General Health Tips For Kapha Types
It’s important to be active on a daily basis as Kapha types are prone to sluggishness, depression, and being overweight. Getting out of the house and actively seeking new experiences is also recommended. Be receptive to useful change, be intentional in implementing life-enhancing actions. Choose foods that are light, warm, and spicy. Tea with dried ginger and lemon is a great pick-me-up for Kaphas. Avoid heavy oily and processed sugars, which are detrimental to Kaphas. Use lots of spices such as black pepper, ginger, cumin, chili and lots of bitter dark greens.
A 200 hour teacher training is a comprehensive program of different yoga practices and soul calming techniques like hatha, ashtanga, anatomy, meditation etc but one thing which is missing the lime light is “Mudras”. Yoga Mudras are symbolic gesture practiced with the help of hand and fingers. They facilitate flow of energy in whole body so they are really beneficial for the us.
Your hands can become a drugless therapy for you, when you get them in the form of Mudras. These Mudras are highly proven methods for the cure and prevention of many ailments including hair loss. Here I will reveal to you how with simple Mudras the hair fall can become very less.
You can do many kinds of Mudras with your hands with each gives many beneficial effects. These are five best Mudras for you from 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Course:
1. Prithvi Mudra: This Mudra increases the earth element and decreases fire element of the body giving many beneficial effects including strengthening the tissues of the body and the reducing body temperature. You can do this mudra anytime of the day. Join the tip of the thumb with the ring finger and keep other fingers straight and remain in this pose for 30 -40 minutes.
2. Prana Mudra or Kapha Karak Mudra: This mudra builds the earth element of the body and increases Kapha humor. By regularly doing this pose, the hair roots get strong and long. This mudra should be performed by sitting in a Padma Asana or Lotus pose or by standing straight in the Mountain Pose or Tada Asana. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Touch the tips of your ring finger and little finger together to your thumb. The other fingers should be kept straight. Remain in this mudra for 15- 30 minute and feel the emergence of the life force.
3. Vayu Mudra: This Mudra decreases the Vayu element in the body giving many health benefits. As anxious and restless mind also causes hair fall, this mudra calms your mind and nervous system which in turn gives you lustrous hair growth. Place the tip of the index finger on the base of the thumb to form Vayu mudra. Remain in this position for 15 to 30 minutes and see the difference.
4. Prasanna Mudra: Bring your hands near the chest and rub the nails of the four fingers with each other. Do this practice for 5 to 10 minutes every day for 30 days. Remember to keep your thumbs straight. By regularly doing this pose, you are assured of strong and lustrous hair.
5. Kapha Naashak Mudra: This mudra should be done for thirty minutes every day. Bring the tip of the ring finger and the little finger towards the base of the thumb, while keeping other fingers straight. This mudra is very useful for the treatment of the coldness of skin or hair and many other winter related problems like dryness of the skin, absent of scanty perspiration, loss of appetite etc.
These are some of the five best Mudras which are the part of 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training program and do not require efforts but only your time. So when you get up early morning, open your windows to allow fresh air come in your room. Sit in a resting position, close your eyes and start with the pose in which you feel comfortable.
The Ganga is one of the seven holy rivers of Hinduism and perhaps the most important among them. The river Ganga is an earthly manifestation of Devi Ganga, who is the sister of Maa Parvati. She had come down to earth on the request of King Bhagirath and descended through the head of Lord Shiva. Ganga is tremendously sacred to Hindus all across the world and millions take dips in her waters everyday to cleanse their souls.
The Importance Of Ganga Pooja
1. The worship of Maa Ganga is one of the most important rituals in Hinduism. Each evening, thousands of devotees gather at the banks of the Ganga at Haridwar and Rishikesh to witness the spectacle known as the ‘Ganga Aarti’, which pays homage to the greatness of this river.
2. Bathing in or offering worship to Devi Ganga can purify the souls of the devotees. It can absolve their sins, turn them into good, virtuous individuals and ultimately help them liberation of the soul (Moksha), in the afterlife.
3. The waters of the Ganges arte said to be magical and can even cure diseases, ailments and mental illness. This pooja is observed by millions of Hindus worldwide who are keen to seek Devi Ganga’s blessings.
Benefits Of Ganga Pooja
1. It purifies the souls of devotees.
2. Cures diseases and ailments.
3. Washes away the sins of devotees and gives peace to the souls of their ancestors.
4. Helps one attain Moksha or liberation of the soul.
Please read this Blog “Why Rishikesh is Yoga Capital of the World?” to understand why Rishikesh is Yoga Capital of the World.
The number 108 throughout the history was multidimensional. Shivaite small, tantric and Tibetan rosaries consist of 108 beads. The number 108 is also of great importance within the Rosicrucian Order, as it illustrates the time frame of some of their cycles. It is interesting that a leap year displays 366 days, and 3 × 6 × 6 gives 108.
The historical significance of number 108
The number 108 is considered sacred in many Eastern religions and traditions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and is also associated with practices of yoga and dharma. Even the diameter of the ancient Stonehenge monument is 108 feet in diameter. 108 is a number that is known to refer to spiritual completion, and it is not surprising that the early Vedic sages were famous mathematicians and in fact came up with our system of numbers. 108 is the number of the harshad, an integer divisible by the sum of its digits. Harshad in Sanskrit means “the giver of joy.” The number 108 was chosen for the simple reason that it represents the whole creation. It is said that there are 108 types of meditation.
There are 108 ways to God. In the Indian tradition there are 108 dance forms.
It is believed that there were 108 gopis in Vrndavana during Krishna’s time there, and Hindu deities have 108 names. The pronunciation of these names is often accompanied by a hewing of 108 beads of Indian rosaries (small). This is considered a sacred activity and is performed during religious ceremonies. Accordingly, the small usually consists of 108 beads.
In some schools of Buddhism it is believed that there are 108 desecrations. At the end of the year, Buddhist temples in Japan 108 times ring bells to finish the old year and greet the new one. Each of the bell bells symbolizes one of 108 terrestrial temptations that a person must overcome in order to achieve nirvana. In addition, priests wear prayer beads, consisting of 108 beads. In the Lankavatara Sutra, there is a section where the Mahdama Bodhisattva asks the Buddha 108 questions.
In the tradition of Buddhism, there are 108 earthly desires in mortals, 108 kinds of lies inherent in people, and 108 human delusions.
The esoteric presence of the number 108 can be seen in various spiritual practices and theories: in Kriya Yoga – the maximum number of repetitions that can be practiced in one session. In addition, the 108 greetings of the Sun in yoga practice are often used to express respect for change, for example, changing the seasons or during tragedies for bringing peace, respect and understanding. It is said that if a person can be so calm in meditation, practicing pranayama to perform only 108 breaths a day, he will become enlightened.
It is said that 108 energy lines or nadi, converge in the heart chakra. Marma-points are similar to chakras and represent energy intersections with fewer converging energy lines. On Sri-Yantra – 54 marma crossing point of three power lines. Each has a female aspect (Shakti) and a male aspect (Shiva). 54 × 2 = 108. Therefore, there are 108 points that symbolize the human body and Sri-Yantra or Yantra of Creation. The same rule is observed in Sanskrit with its 54 letters, each of which has female and male aspects: Shiva and Shakti, respectively, 54 × 2 = 108.
Importance in astronomy and astrology
It is assumed that the Earth’s cycle is 2160 years = 20 × 108. The distance between the Earth and the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Sun. The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. The distance between the Earth and the Moon is 108 times the diameter of the Moon. The universe consists of 108 elements according to ancient texts. The current periodic table claims somewhat more than 108.
There are 12 constellations and 9 arc segments. 9 by 12 equals 108. 9 planets, passing through 12 signs, constitute the entire existence. 9 × 12 = 108. 27 nakshatras or lunar constellations extend to 4 elements – fire, earth, air, water or 4 directions – north, south, east and west. This also constitutes the entire Creation. 27 × 4 = 108.
A few more interesting facts
108 sacred books constitute the sacred writings of Tibetans.
Vedanta, according to the tradition of Hinduism, recognizes 108 genuine doctrines (Upanishads) leading to Truth and destroying Ignorance.
In the Jainism tradition, 108 virtues are singled out.
In many Hindu and Buddhist temples there are 108 steps.