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The Yoga-Ayurveda Connection

Yoga has taken America by storm. The number of Americans who practice some form of yoga has doubled in the last five years, and is now estimated at fifteen million. Three-fourths of fitness clubs offer yoga classes, and yoga was named one of the two fastest-growing segments of the exercise industry by Trendwatch 2000, an annual report on fitness trends.

While many view yoga as a gentler way to exercise, most long-time practitioners realize that yoga is not just physical — it creates balance in mind, emotions and consciousness as well. And they are starting to realize that yoga shares the same origin and goal as ayurveda, the traditional Vedic system of health care.

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Keep Your Eyes Cool and Relaxed this Summer

Your eyes are among the most important organs in your body. Ayurveda identifies all five elements within your eyes: earth (prithvi) — muscular part of the eye; fire (tejas) — the blood vessels; air (vayu) — the color; water (apu) — the white area; and space (akasha) — the tear ducts and channels. Alochaka Pitta is the subdosha of Pitta which governs outer and inner vision, or intuition.

Alochaka Pitta can become less balanced with age, so it’s important to care for your eyes throughout your life. During the heat of Pitta season — summer — when the sun’s rays are strong, your eyes can become light-sensitive, dry, or red and irritated.

Here are a few ayurvedic recommendations to keep your eyes cool, relaxed, and healthy this summer:

Protect Your Eyes

When you are out in the bright sun, favor the shade, and wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect the skin on your face and shade your eyes, and/or wear sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.

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Recharge, Restore, Rejuvenate! The Ayurveda Way to Feel Young at Any Age

No matter what your age, there are things you can do to look and feel younger, healthier, happier. You hold the future of your health in your own hands. The wonderful thing about ayurvedic healing is that it teaches both damage-prevention and damage-reversal; so following these few basic tips from The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians can make a big difference to that image you see in the mirror.

Here’s what the Council has to say about looking and feeling young

Eat to Live Longer
How much of a change in your way of eating do you have to make to start feeling younger? “While no one has been able to quantify it, one thing is for sure. Even relatively small, painless changes in your diet — whatever your age — can make a big difference to the way you feel. I would go so far as to say your diet can lengthen your life span, if you start listening to your body and its true nutrition needs.”

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Dinacharya: A Routine to Align Our Natural Rhythm

From an Ayurvedic perspective, following a Dinacharya, or daily routine, aligns us with nature’s rhythms each day. There is new evidence that demonstrates that our genes may have, over time, lost their ability to hear the natural circadian rhythms of nature. Doctors are only now beginning to understand exactly how important it is for the body to stay in rhythm with nature. In our modern high-tech world, it is becoming a challenge to align our body with the laws of Nature. Our priorities have shifted from being existential to being very concerned with to-do lists, work schedules, finances, etc. Many times, we are so bent on our daily activities that we ignore our health and well-being in order to achieve what we believe is of utmost importance at that particular moment. With social media and cell phones giving us instant access to anyone in the world, these “distractions” may take us out of balance and we lose alignment with the rhythms of nature.

So, how do we realign our routines with the rhythm of nature? Daily responsibilities and stress aside, following this simple dinacharya will help us get on track. We can start slowly by implementing our routine in a manner that is not stressful to us or our schedule. If easy, eventually we can accommodate all the best Yogic techniques and use them as tools to keep our mind, body and spirit balanced!

Outline of Ayurvedic and Yogic Daily Routine for Healthy Adults

Morning 5:30-8:00 a.m.

Arise early in the morning, preferably 30 minutes before sunrise.
If easy and natural, evacuate bowels and bladder. If this is not natural, try taking Organic Digest Tone and/or Premium Amla Berry before bed.
Clean and brush the teeth.
Clean, or scrape, the tongue with a tongue scraper.
Clean the eyes by sprinkling with cold water.
Drink a cup of hot water, or a glass of warm water with a teaspoon of honey (honey should never be heated and one should purchase unpasteurized, unheated honey*), or drink a glass of fruit juice at room temperature.
Perform Abhyanga, a warm-oil massage, for 7-10 minutes. Abhyanga can be a daily practice. We recommend at least twice a week and especially on the weekends.
Brief warm-up exercises, stretches, Yoga postures, or 5-10 Sun Salutations for 10-12 minutes.
Bath or shower, preferably with warm water. Begin with a comfortable temperature and, if you can do so comfortably, gradually lower the temperature as low as possible. Favor washing your head and hair with cooler water — regardless of prakriti, this is something that helps to reset the nervous system first thing in the morning and enliven prana!
Wear clean and comfortable clothes, suitable to season and activity.
Practice the Transcendental Meditation® technique or the meditation of your choice.
Enjoy a well-cooked, light breakfast such as stewed apples or poached pears.**
Work, or study.

Mid-Morning 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Have a soothing drink: warm water, or herbal tea; and, if hungry, a snack: fresh fruit, fig bar, etc.

Afternoon 1:00-2:00 p.m.

A well-cooked lunch consisting of balanced foods. Check out these dosha dietary guidelines.**
Take a brief rest after lunch for about 10-15 minutes, away from work and stress.
Work or study.

Mid-Afternoon 3:30-4:30 p.m. Have a soothing drink: warm water, herbal tea, Organic Vata Tea, etc.; and a snack: fruit, fig bar, etc.

Evening 6:00-7:00 p.m.

Physical exercise of choice for 20-30 minutes. Preferable exercises are Sun Salutations, Yoga postures, swimming, or brisk walking.
Leave an interval of 20-30 minutes between exercise and dinner.
Dinner consisting of balanced foods.**
Brief walk for 15-20 minutes.
Relaxing recreational activities.
Early to bed: 9:30-10:30 p.m. The ideal is eating three hours prior to sleep. At a minimum, leave about a 60 to 90-minute gap between dinner and going to bed, as this will aid digestion and allow for deeper sleep.

* Ayurveda recognizes that heated honey changes form and is very hard to digest. It is, in fact, considered quite problematic. Infants and small children should not be given raw, unpasteurized honey. Read more about Honey Under Heat.

**Breakfast, lunch, and dinner should support a balanced diet according to your individual constitution, daily requirement, and season. Take the vpk® dosha quiz to learn more about your unique combination.

Manas Kshirsagar is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner. He comes from a Rig Vedic Bramhin tradition with an extensive Ayurvedic background. He graduated from Aloha Ayurveda Academy and completed his BS in Health and Physiology from Maharishi University of Management. He is an acclaimed Wellness Consultant, and expects to complete his Master’s program (Ayurveda & Integrative Medicine). He has worked as an Ayurvedic Consultant at MAPI and the prestigious Raj Panchakarma center in Fairfield, IA. He is a Health Educator who is passionate about health and fitness. He has worked with clients of all age groups and specializes in Lifestyle Medicine. Providing a holistic approach to medicine, his philosophy of healing revolves around Diet, Yoga, Meditation, Detoxification, Nutrition & effective Stress Management. Appointments available at Serenity Spa I Soul Yoga near Sacramento, CA.

The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.