Real Health benefits of the Surya namaskar

When it comes to exercise, motivation is a must. You might have thought of trying out the Surya-namaskar from my pervious post. When you do the Surya-namaskar regularly and faithfully with intention the entire body/mind benefits. Ideally you should do enough sets so that the body has a light perspiration. But right now begin slow.

(I searched the internet videos for the correct version of the Surya namaskar, it is this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tt9eeXo5YPk  From 4:41 sec to 5:25 sec is the ideal Surya-namaskar sequence of the 10 postures. Except do not hold the ‘downward dog’ position for 5 deep breaths as he mentions.)

Real Health benefits of the Surya namaskar

The set of 10 yogic postures is the classical Surya-namaskar. A breathing pattern has to be followed of inhaling (purak), exhaling (rechak) and holding the breath (kumbhak). And an associated mantra has to be recited mentally as you perform each posture of the set. Each posture works to set your body and mind in its perfect alignment. I am not using the names of the individual Yog-asan, just writing what will happen as you perform them,Starting posture – To begin with, you will stand straight, facing the east, palms folded in the Namaskar position, looking at the rising Sun and recite the Mantras which are to be said out aloud.

First posture – The palms in the namaskar position are raised vertically upwards and your eyesight follows them. The neck and waist has to be stiffened as the entire body has to be vertical and in a straight line. If you have round shoulders or a stoop in your back, you will feel these areas straining and stretching. The entire body stretches out. Deep breathing is required so if you are not used to deep conscious breathing you will feel your lungs and diaphragm work. The palms have to be pressed against each other slightly so a slight pressure on your entire arm till tip of fingers will be felt. Hold yourself erect and inhale deeply, hold the breath.

Second posture – Bending down with the knees straight. The palms touch the ground on both sides of the feet and the head touches the knees. The muscles of the calves, thighs, buttocks, hips, waist, back and spine are stretched out. You will feel the strain. Go very slow, if you are unfit you might black-out as all the air in your lungs is forced out. The muscles joining your shoulders and back will feel the strain. The muscles of the abdomen and waist will be pulled in. The kidneys are activated here. The solar plexus is stimulated. You won’t be able to do it perfectly at the first attempt so bend as much as you can comfortably, do not strain.

Third posture – Touching the tips of the fingers to the ground and moving the neck to look straight in the front. This activates in addition the neck, throat muscles and the shoulders. If you are suffering from stiff neck or cervical area problems, go slow here. Here you inhale. Do as much as you can without straining, this exercise will build up strength and also reduce neck/chin fat.

Fourth posture – As you jump backwards you are exhaling. And the rest of this posture is done in the ‘kumbhak’, you ‘hold’ breath. You have exhaled and there is no air in your lungs. You are pulling your abdomen in. The weight of the whole body is on your palms and toes. The wrists arms and feet/ankles bear the maximum pressure here. Also the abdomen and waist, the buttocks and the thighs. This reduces abdominal fat. This is the real ‘plank exercise’. You might not be able to do it perfectly so you can touch your body to the ground in the initial stages.

Fifth posture – Now you inhale. this is the classical snake posture. The back is curved and look up at the sky. The weight of the whole body is on the arms. Here the neck, arms and the chest benefit. The size of the abdomen will decrease and that of the chest will increase till the perfect proportion is achieved. All liver, spleen and intestinal complaints will disappear.

Sixth posture – Here you are exhale. Your body makes a triangle with your buttocks as the highest upward point. You exhale. The palms and the feet are placed flat on the ground. The muscles of the feet, calves, waist, abdomen, back, neck and upper arms are exercised. This will reduce abdominal fat. Abdominal fat is the root cause of ill-health in majority of humans.

Seventh posture – As you jump forwards you inhale and you touch your finger-tips to the sides of your feet, look straight forwards. Same as the third posture.

Eighth posture – Same as the second posture. You exhale.

Ninth posture – same as the first posture. You inhale.

Tenth posture – Same as the starting posture. You mentally recite the last posture mantra. “Om Bhaskaraya Namah”

Real Health benefits of the Surya namaskar

This is a full body workout. The entire musculature of the body benefits. The neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, back, chest muscles, abdomen, thighs, calves and ankles. The body skeleton, the joints all benefit. Most important the fluid movement of the 10 postures, fully stretch and compress the spine. This frees you from back-ache forever. Rheumatic tendencies are arrested. The ligaments and tendons of the entire body are overhauled and made to work properly.

The entire digestive system benefits, the stomach, liver, pancreas, intestines. Better digestion and absorption of food and regular bowel movements are the first step to a healthier life. As the back strengthens, the kidneys also benefit. The nervous system is invigorated. The brain, spinal cord and the functional parts of the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. Fogginess, mental fatigue, forgetfulness and other forms of mental stress are gradually removed. The intellect and the mind shine with energy. The sense organs also seem more sharp.

The circulatory system undergoes a systematic overhaul. The pumping of the heart improves. The blood circulation improves, this is very important as blood brings nutrients and flushes toxins from every part of the body. Deep breathing improves the lungs, the lung capacity and the stamina. The throat muscles are energised by the continuous compression and extension movements. Thyroid function improves. Similarly the other endocrine glands in the body are stimulated increasing health. This movement of the neck improves the circulation to the head so the hair and scalp health improves. The senses of hearing, seeing, smelling and tasting remain sharp till old age.

You are supposed to work out till you lightly perspire. This removes toxins, more important in higher altitudes where people do-not sweat naturally. A healthy skin absorbs more pran/vital energy directly from the Universe and it also glows with health.

In women, if she has been doing Surya-namaskar regularly it helps in all problems related to menstrual cycle, pregnancy, childbirth and post-partum recovery. During pregnancy it will reduce nausea and similar uncomfortable problems. Feminine charm, bust, body shape etc remains attractive, as the entire body muscles develop in a proportionate way. In men, masculine attractiveness is enhanced. Excess fat is dislodged from those difficult areas of abdomen, thighs, chin, saggy arms are corrected. Obesity will reduce. Posture related problems are corrected. In growing children the height of the body will be increased. Immunity increases. Gradually you feel more energetic and youthful. More confident, you feel capable and poised, ready for life!

Real Health benefits of the Surya namaskar

Healthy old age is a blessing which very few people in this modern age enjoy. The Surya-namaskar is the best way of postponing age as it rids the body/ mind of the products of decay/ damage/ degeneration of the body. It links you to the Sun, the source of all life. If you do Surya-namaskar with a combination of satvik food your food intake will reduce. This means vegetarian food, vegetables, rice, millets, pulses, desi cow milk and ghee made from desi cow milk. No heavy spices, no oily food, no stimulants.

By now you must be thinking that I am exaggerating. But I am not! You are using the power of the Sun, your mantra and your intention and reforging your body, breath and mind. Do your Surya-namskar for a few months regularly and then see the change in yourself. And others will also notice the healthier you. You are in control. You decide. If you practice you will gain.I wrote this ‘biology’ post on purpose, so that you read the health benefits and they register in your mind. If you are still in your teens, adopt the Surya-namaskar for a life-time of health. You will never suffer even the minor complaints of fever and cold. If you have children, make sure that they perform it, you are gifting them a life-time of health and vitality. And even if you are older or unwell, try some of the postures in whatever slow imperfect way you can. Never strain the body, if you have been unwell/ lazy for 10yrs you can’t expect the perfect set on the first day. It will take 6 months of slow committed practice, it is ok. Congratulate yourself that you have started at least.

You can start at any age. It requires no kit, no expense, not much space. Even if you make mistakes initially it is ok. The Asans will self-correct gradually. Just remember to not strain, if you feel strain/pain stop immediately, Go slow. If you cannot do it at sunrise, do it at anytime of the day (2hrs after meals, as empty stomach is essential). But do it. Secure your health, effectiveness and longevity.

 

Real Health benefits of the Surya namaskar

My brother goes to a Yog-asan class. There is a very over-weight lady too there. The trainer is really good and wanted to get this lady started on Surya-namaskar. The poor lady could not bend, forget anything else. But the trainer was like, ‘do how much every tiny movement you can from the set, the body will loosen up with time’. It was a struggle for her, but she and the trainer persevered, a tiny bit every-day. By the end of 2 months, the lady did manage to bend enough to touch her own feet, and also shed a few kgs, an amazing achievement! So however physically unfit you actually are or believe yourself to be, all you need a good teacher to guide/ motivate and the Surya-namaskar. Reclaim your health!

Using your dreams to improve your health

There are four stages of existence, when you are awake, in deep sleep, in the dreaming state and the last one is the Turiya, the indescribable. Generally all of us experience the first three stages every day of our lives. Reality exists in all these  three states of existence. Neither of them is more ‘real’ than the other. In fact the spiritual texts consider the awake state to be a Dirgha swapna, an extended dream!

Dreams have always fascinated us, it is almost magical that we go to another world as we sleep. Most of us see 5-6 dreams every night. These are the ordinary dreams triggered by whatever you were doing during the day or what was on your mind as you went to bed. If your mind was in turmoil or emotions were agitated or you were more into material/sensual things, your dreams would be haphazard and disconnected. Or you might see too many dreams, thus disturb your rest cycle. (Your body/mind/soul rejuvenates only during the deep sleep/sushupti phase.) If you have had a peaceful relaxing day and were contented as you went to bed, your dreams would be less troublesome and you will experience more deep sleep time.

Using your dreams to improve your health

 

Dreams are special as you are both the actor and the audience. You feel the emotions of only the actor. You feel like/dislike and attraction/repulsion while acting out your dream. But as the spectator you are merely the witness. Thus the ancient Rishis considered the dream phase as an important component for creating the Sakshi-bhav, the mind-set of the Witness. If you can bring this witness-mind-set into your waking state too you have achieved your spiritual goal.

Your dreams are dependent on your personal nature and inclinations. If your mind has achieved steadiness you get prophetic dreams of events to come. People who do regular spiritual practice often get guidance in such dreams. You can see significant events from your past/parallel lives which have a bearing on your present situation. Sometimes you can see your past life’s self telling you what to do. Your sub-conscious mind can give you creative or intuitive hints during dreams. The dreams seen early in the morning are the most useful of the lot. This time before sunrise is called the ‘Brahma muhurt’ and is extremely auspicious. Your ancestor spirits often communicate via dreams. If you are exceptionally spiritually inclined, you can see deities or your source of faith in your dreams. In the Indian context seeing dreams of Rishis or Gurus is very auspicious. Often you will be given valuable guidance in such dreams.

If you can control your mind you can also control your dreams. If you have achieved this you can complete significant karma in this way. Then you take on the role of the puppeteer as you direct your actor/puppet self in the dream scenes. The potential of dreams in this respect is limitless.

You mind plays games with you. If you analyse the working of your mind, you will realise that your mind does only two things 1) Imagine and 2) Discriminate. An out of control mind prefers to ‘imagine’ more than ‘discriminate’. e.g. your boyfriend has vanished, phone unreachable. You wonder why. You think he has ignored you. You start feeling hurt. You get upset. You waste your mental energy. You don’t feel like eating dinner. You meet him the next day and he tells you that he was at the hospital because his grandmom fell ill. You are concerned and you both talk normally. Things are rosy and you feel in-love again! But do you appreciate that you let your mind drive you nuts just because it ‘imagined’ things?

 

Using your dreams to improve your health

Keeping your mind in control starts with not letting it run wild imagining things, but forcing it to discriminate, analyse logically.As per Ayurved, the science of life and the living, there are three tendencies of the mind and body, called Pitta, Vaat and Kapha. Each one has one of these in excess again depending on our horoscopes. You would be surprised to know that your dreams are also linked to these, if you have dreams of light/fire you are pitta dominant. You will experience ‘heat’ in your dreams. If it goes out of balance completely you dream horrifying scenes and your forehead can get hot. If you body is Vata dominant at that time, you will see scenes with sky, winds, flying in space. If you tend towards the Kapha your dreams will be of water bodies. An easy way to balance out your Kapha-Pitta-Vaat is this. If you know from your dreams that one of these is out of balance. Then for one minute before you go to sleep do this tiny thing, Sit comfortably, back and neck straight. Close your eyes, focus at your third eye/ajnya chakra and visualise the following.

  1. A red dot – Pitta dosha will be balanced
  2. A black dot – Vaat dosha will be balanced
  3. A white dot – Kapha dosha will be balanced.

In terms of the vital energy, the udan pran is responsible for vivifying the subconscious mind who creates our dreams. If you engage in activities which regulates udan pran you will see a difference in the dreams you see. Try it out!

If you are suffering from some medical conditions then keeping track of the dreams you see, can help in determining how the disease is going to unfold. Eg if you are suffering from cold and you dream of water, it means your cold is worsening. If you are suffering from diarrohea and dreaming of cold stuff will indicate that it is going to get worse. If you are suffering from problems of the lungs, and you see yourself running or in a windy area etc the condition will get worse. So use the power of your dreams pro-actively. If you are suffering from a medical problem, you can try this simple experiment. Choose one photograph of yourself from your healthier and happier times. You should be smiling and looking visibly happy/healthy. Keep this at your bed-side table and look at it for a minute or so before you sleep. Your sub-conscious mind will ‘remember’ this past healthy state and work to get you back to this. Try this for 21 days and evaluate for yourself.

Those few minutes before you sleep are very important. Whatever you do in these few minutes will have the maximum impact on your sub-consciousness. This will be replayed in your dreams. So use this time wisely. A couple more tips. You are in bed and falling asleep, try to visualise a silvery full-moon at your third eye chakra during these couple of minutes. This will increase your life-span. Visualise the gold disc of the sun for an energetic/youthful mind and body.

Dreaming is essential for mental, emotional and physical health. Dreams are an essential self-diagnostic tool. Keep a dream-diary at your bed-side table and write a few keywords as you wake up so that you will remember your dreams. Analyse your dreams over time, you will learn a lot about yourself. If you get negative dreams for extended periods of time, take it as a signal that something is going wrong and actively work to set it right.

 

 

Using your dreams to improve your health

Vaat Kapha Pitta in Ayurved and Astrology

Ayurved is the knowledge of vitality, movement, vigour, divinity, life and living beings. Indians have used Ayurvedic principles to remain healthy in mind and spirit since time immemorial. The tri-dosh, Vaat, Kapha Pitta is a basic concept in Ayurved. ‘Dosh’ means defect, disorder, error, inconvenience, disease etc. If these Vaat, Kapha and Pitta remain in equilibrium, the body remains healthy. But generally these are out of balance because your chart and it’s planets interfere. Each planet is Vata, Kapha or Pitta by nature. So depending on their relative strengths in your chart, one of these dosh will dominate your body and mind.

Vaat Kapha Pitta in Ayurved and Astrology

Vaat

Vaat is ‘movement’ (Vaat means wind, wish etc). All the things that move in the body are intelligently managed by this energy ‘Vaat’. The movement of your thoughts to the movement of food within your intestines. Movement of blood, urine, hormones, muscles, impulses in the nerves, all that moves in the body. The movement of mind leads to emotions, creativity, speech etc. Vaat is responsible for movement of the vital energy/pran in the body. (So if you are doing Dhyan you have to be aware of how much Vaat inducing activities you are doing, this will adversely affect your Dhyan.)

If there is imbalance in Vaat, you will feel the effects first in the digestive system, nervous system, ears (equilibrium of the body is affected), especially the joints of the skeletal system and the skin (you may not realise it, but your skin moves the maximum). Planets contributing to the Vaat tendency are Saturn, Venus, Mercury and Moon. If these or their signs are strongly placed in your chart, they will unbalance the Vaat, Pitta Kapha equilibrium, to create a more ‘airy’ personality with the following keywords,

  1. Dry – dry skin and hair, constipation, rough gravelly voice, hiccups
  2. Light– thin body frame, light sleep, under weight, needs to rest more
  3. Cold– hates cold and loves warm, stiffness in muscles and joints
  4. Rough– cracked heels, brittle nails, uneven teeth
  5. Nervous– easily excited, imaginative, anxious, muscle tremors, delicate health, less children
  6. Fast– alert, speech, gait, restless, mood swings, travels, too many thoughts in mind, active, cannot save money.
  7. Alone– experiences loneliness, doesn’t have faith in a higher intelligence.

If these keywords have resonated with you then here are some simple tips which you can incorporate in your daily life.

  • Warmth – dress warmly, spicy, hot, slightly oily food (no cold foods)
  • Keep calm – massages, spa, saunas, stick to a comfortable routine, do not travel too much. Spend some quiet and quality time with your close family and loved ones.
  • Rest – You require more sleep, so aim for 8+ hrs. Try to keep away from loud sounds, bright lights, addictions and over-stimulation.

Vaat Kapha Pitta in Ayurved and Astrology

Pitta

Now Pitta is the ‘conversion process’. (Pitta means bile.) Everything that the mind/body ‘converts’ and makes ‘suitable for itself’ is through the energy of Pitta. So this covers the process of digestion and all the enzymes in the body are ‘converters’. Then on the mental level the process of converting sensory inputs to intelligence, then the ‘thinking process’ converts the ideas to understanding. This ‘conversion process’ also creates ‘heat’, so makes one sparkle with health, vitality, intelligence and wisdom. The planets contributing to the pitta in your life would be Sun, Mars and Mercury. If these are strong, or their signs are strongly placed in your chart you might be a pitta dominant personality.

So for our pitta personality our keywords would be related to ‘fire’,

  1. Hot– good digestive system, strong appetite, higher than average body temperature, dislikes more heat or bright light, receding hairline or baldness
  2. Sharp– sharp and bright features and face, sharp memory and understanding, probing mind,
  3. Oily– oily soft skin and hair, deep-fried food causes headaches
  4. Fluid– tendency to loose motions, excessive sweating, needs to drink lots of water, rashes on skin, hot skin, desires name and fame
  5. Reds /Yellows– tends to have flushed skin, often overproduction of bile
  6. Fire– acidity, excess salivation, bitter taste, nausea, burning sensations, cynical by nature, strong feelings of anger/ hate.
  7. Intelligence – excellent abilities for learning, understanding and concentrating, highly disciplined, make large amounts of money, spends on luxurious items.

To keep your ‘hot’ planets and signs ‘cool’, here are a few tips.

  • Cooling – Eat non-spicy, non-salty, non-oily foods especially in summer. Avoid going out in the summer sun. Aggression will aggravate pitta, so if you see a discussion turning into an argument use your intelligence and defuse the situation in a healthier manner.
  • Exercise in moderation and during the coolest part of the day and opt for the swimming pool. Your temper runs short, so try some some calming breathing exercises too.

Vaat Kapha Pitta in Ayurved and AstrologyKapha

Kapha is ‘fluidity which creates structure’. It is simultaneously ‘earthy’ and ‘watery’. All the cells, tissues and organs of the body and the ‘fluidity’ which links them together is Kapha. Lubrication of joints and organs, strong muscles and bones, cellular secretions, and memory retention. Planets with kapha tendency are Moon, Mercury, Jupiter and Venus. If these and their signs are strongly placed in your chart your mind/body may lean towards imbalance in the kapha.

  1. Heavy, slow and steady – movement, appetite, thirst, metabolism and digestion. A large body frame, possibly overweight but compact. A lubricated smooth movement of the joints. A heavy deep but sweet voice. Likes sitting and sleeping, can get lazy. A sense of density, ‘thickness’. Mind is contemplative, peaceful, slow to react. Often slow to start, is dull in the mornings. Has good knowledge, memory and also a strong constitution.
  2. Fluids – cold and congestion, clammy skin, water retention, over-production of saliva and mucus. Oily skin and hair. Diseases related to the ‘water’, sinus, sluggishness, excess weight, diabetes, water retention, headaches, especially on full moon days and when the weather is overcast and gloomy.
  3. Smooth and soft – skin, calm nature, gentle mind, pleasing look, compassionate, caring, kind, sometimes gullible.
  4. Cohesive – Firm body, joints, muscles. Likes physical contact, hugging cuddling. Mind is deeply attached in love and relationships. Saves money. Has a deep faith in the higher intelligence. Can get greedy and emotionally needy if unbalanced.
  5. Sweet and salty – is quite sensual in nature, craves sweet and salty food but digestion being slow puts on weight which is then difficult to shed as dislikes vigorous exercise.

Here are some small things which will help you balance your kapha tendencies.

  • Move – Exercise, walk, be a bit more active, read new things, learn new things. Vary your routine, do something exciting at least one day a week, e.g. go to a museum, go for a day-tour, visit your family/friends, go for a movie. Move!
  • Diet – Eat warm, light, moderately spicy, easy to digest foods. Avoid heavy, fatty and overly sugary-salty foods. Reduce the intake of milk/milk products and avoid cold drinks/food.
  • Sleep – Try to reduce your sleep time, stick to 8hrs no more, and no daytime naps!

So this was a very basic and simple to understand/ use post on Ayurved. If you are getting a bit interested in astrology by now and know how to read your chart, then you can also try balancing the planetary energies with the activitiesfragrances, colors and tastes associated with them. This will balance the subtle energies which are the seeds of Vaat, Pitta and Kapha and thus help you be healthier from the deepest levels. And finally, a regular spiritual practice, even for 5 mins a day, will go a long way in keeping you happy and healthy!

 

Vaat Kapha Pitta in Ayurved and Astrology

 

 

Planets energies and food you love

Today a fun post on the food you eat and how it is linked to your planets. I had written about fragrances associated with planets in an earlier post here. Your food choices are also linked to the planets in your chart. See if you can spot your favourite and maybe not so favourite food and thus your planetary influences. The food and taste that a planet likes is linked to its basic nature.

Planets energies and food you love

Sun – Sun the Ruler likes refined stimulation, he is linked to a pungent sort of taste. A Sun-dominant person prefers a combination of pungent/bitter/astringent tastes. You can increase the energies of your Sun by eating hot spices, pungent vegetables, ginger, cinnamon, peppers, mustard seeds and chillies. Sour fruits like oranges, peaches, plums, grapes etc are also liked by the ‘Sun’s’. Fasting regularly, perhaps once a week /fortnight is also beneficial for you. You like the flavour and smells of volatile essential aromatic oils. You also like stimulants and diaphoretics (foods which make you sweat!).

Moon – This planet is partial to salty tastes, but also loves the heavy rich sweet taste of dairy products. Moon dominant persons are attracted to wholesome nutritive foods, which are a mix of sweet/salty/sour. Comfort foods, soothing foods and soups which remind you of maternal love and provide support to the mind and emotions. Soft foods where you don’t need to chew much. You can increase your lunar energies by consuming dairy products, milk and cream. Starchy foods like potatoes, sweet potatoes are also a favourite here. If you eat non-vegetarian stuff, Moon likes all sorts of seafood, seaweeds, fish, crab and lobster. In fruits you will prefer sweet, watery and juicy fruit like melons.

Mars – If you are a Mars dominant person you will prefer sour, acrid and a combination of bitter/pungent tastes. Mars the warrior like the tastes of fermented foods, alkaloids, poisons, stimulants and narcotics. By this I don’t mean that they eat such substances directly. Plants naturally produce such chemicals in minute quantities which are liked by Mars. Foods which are hot, spicy and pungent add to his energy. Onions, garlic, mustard, pickles, peppers and chillies are a favourite here. Alcohol and red meat also increase the energies of Mars, but these 2 are highly tamasic (heavy energies can lead to a ‘dulling’ of the spiritual self) and should be ideally avoided. Small amounts can be had at intervals but please remain in control of yourself.

Mercury – This planet favours astringent tastes. He is the thinking process, so maybe these foods help keeping his computer cool! If you are a Mercury dominant you will prefer a combination of cooling/pungent tastes. Vegetables like celery, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, green leafy vegetables, sprouts, green beans, peas, salads may be your favourites. Astringent fruits like pomegranates, bananas, cranberries and apples. Mercury likes the taste of tanins (eg tamarind) and volatile oils of a calming nature like mint and fennels.

Jupiter – The planet of expansion naturally loves oily/sweet tastes. If you are a Jupiter dominant you might like the combination of oily/sweet/pungent tastes. You might be drawn to foods like butter, ghee, sesame oil, nuts and seeds. Grains like wheat, oats and rice cooked with a bit of oil would also be a favourite. You might like tonic foods and herbs which help in building the body and the blood.

Venus – If you are Venus dominant you will prefer sweet tasting food, and the most preferred combination is sweet/bitter/astringent. Obviously the foods under this category will be sugar, honey, jaggery, sweet potatoes, mung beans, barley, candy chocolates, etc. You will like sweet fruits like dates figs, grapes, bananas, mangos, prunes etc. Venus likes the taste and flavour of fragrant essential oils and spices like basil, fennel, mint, nutmeg, saffron, vanilla etc. It is very easy to overindulge in these forms of food so be careful (Venus’s trademark – activities leading to addictions)

Saturn  – Saturn is inclined to bitter tastes, and prefers a combination of astringent/bitter. If you are a Saturn dominant person you might eat light and less. You might fast more often and prefer a diet composed of detoxifying foods, blood purifiers and raw foods. Salads, sesame seeds, sesame oil, coffee, dark chocolates, bitter gourd, greens, vegetables belonging to the cabbage family attract you. Also ‘drying grains’ like barley, millets, rye and corn. Among fruits you will prefer the astringent pomegranates and apples. You really like cooling foods.

Now in Ayurved there are 6 primary types of tastes/Rasa/essence, and for a balanced meal you should have a bit of all 6 in on your plate.

  1. Sweet – is a combination of Earth+Water. Very familiar taste in our diet. Eg sugar.
  2. Sour – is a combination of Earth+Fire. This is also a very familiar taste, it immediately increases the flow of saliva. Eg lemons
  3. Salt – is a combination of Water+Fire. We all know the taste of salt. Eg table salt.
  4. Pungent – is a combination of Fire+Air. The pungent taste is a dry heat that stimulates the tongue. Eg chillies
  5. Bitter – is a combination of Air+Ether. We tend to avoid this taste, but it is deeply cleansing and removes toxins and bad fats from the body. Eg coffee
  6. Astringent – is a combination of Air+Earth. This is a taste of dryess produced in the mouth by tannins in the bark, leaves and outer rinds of fruits and trees. Eg pomegranate

We are all quite health conscious these days and quite familiar with a healthy balanced diet and we all do strive for a healthy life style. But if you look into your food choices closely and try to match them with your horoscope and planetary energies you will find patterns. Our food and water does affect our mood. And if you so desire you can change your dietary pattern using your horoscope. So your newest astrological remedy for boosting weaker planets or balancing the energies of the horoscope is now at your dinner table!

 

Planets energies and food you love

Paraffin wax or beeswax candles?

My friend with her camphor air freshener! Now this post is on the other part of the pollution that she was creating in her house. Paraffin wax tea light candles!

Paraffin wax or beeswax candles?

Its very fashionable these days to have tea light candles in pretty candle holders in your house. They create a cozy feeling with the pretty golden light and also can be used for making your room smell and feel fresh with essential oils, camphor etc.

But 99% of these candles are made of paraffin wax. Paraffin wax is a by product of petroleum and certainly is not what you should be burning inside of your house so frequently. It is extremely harmful and causes several problems and allergies of the respiratory system.

  1. Paraffin wax was at one time forbidden to be burnt as it is in itself toxic. It is the sludge that remains after everything including tar/asphalt is removed from crude petroleum.
  2. Then scientists discovered bleaching agents. So chemicals like acrolyn are added to it, which release carcinogenic toxins such as benzene and toluene on burning.
  3. Some more additions to improve its look ans shelf life – Acetone, Trichlorofluoromethane, Carbon Disulfide, 2-Butanone, Trichloroethane, Carbon Tetrachloride, Tetrachloroethene, Chlorobenzene, Ethylbenzene, Styrene, Xylene, Phenol, Cresol and Cyclopentene … I think if you cannot pronounce it better not burn it in your house!
  4. Finally the candle maker companies add various other chemicals to improve texture and burning properties. Also add artificial dyes for color and synthetic fragrances to create the mood scents. Even more chemicals to be burnt then.
  5. Finally the soot produced by paraffin wax remains inside your house, your AC filter and your lungs, permanently.

So what do you do now? There is realistically only one option left, Beeswax. Do buy 100% pure beeswax from a local beekeeper or reputed sellers and make your own candles at home. Making candles is quite easy. There are several websites to help you out. You get the candle forms pre-wicked and you just need to carefully melt and pour the beeswax in them and let cool. Or buy 100% pure beeswax candles from a reputed seller. I make my own beeswax candles and here are the benefits.

  1. A totally awesome fragrance of honey when you burn it. It is obviously natural and not chemical based. It even feels so pure, like I could eat it!
  2. Burning beeswax releases negative ions. This is so ultra important that there are negative ion generators sold in the market these days. See, all pollutants and allergens are positively charged particles. When these positively charged particles enter our bodies they cause harm. So what do your beeswax negative ions do? They stick to these positively charged bad stuff and neutralises it. You get cleaner and safer air around you.

Bees are such wonderful insects, beeswax, honey, pollination for fruits and food, everything is thanks to these little industrious workers. Really our civilisation rests on their tiny wings!

 

Paraffin wax or beeswax candles?

Natural Camphor and its energy

Yesterday I went to one of my friend’s house and found that she was poisoning herself and her family with her new camphor air freshener. These air fresheners are really good, the tea-light candle heats the camphor crystals and the crystals slowly sublime releasing the aromatic molecules found in the camphor creating a freshness in the environment. But my friend was not burning real camphor, she was burning an artificial substitute of camphor and with a paraffin wax tea light. Both pollutants of the worst degree. This post will be on camphor and the next on wax. It was such a facepalm moment, a well-educated person doing this extreme silliness!

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Pure camphor costs about Rs 1500-2000 /kg and synthetic camphor substitutes sold as “camphor” cost about Rs 100/kg.

So about camphor, karpur. In most Indian households who perform daily puja, we burn a piece of camphor with a “Karpur Arti”. This burning camphor piece is waved over the Gods and taken around the house and everyone bows to it. I think now most households are using this same artificial substitute of camphor in their daily Artis. Its horrifying.

Camphor is the resin of the camphor laurel, Cinnamomum camphora. It is a natural product of a tree. When you burn it, it burns cleanly and has a very distinctive fresh smell. It is highly medicinal and is edible. Some south Indian dishes have a tiny bit of camphor put in it for the taste, delicious! Now whenever you buy camphor it should be clearly marked, “edible camphor”. It can be further marked as bhimseni camphor,  baras camphor, Patri camphor, Nagi camphor, Malay camphor, Sumatran camphor, Borneo camphor, etc but it should be “edible” written on the pack. That will ensure that you are buying the real natural camphor. It is available as irregular crystals which are flat and somewhat transparent.

camphor bhimseni
Natural edible camphor

Now to why burn it in front of your puja ghar. Camphor when burns emits quite a huge chunk of energy. This energy is absorbed by your palm chakras when you wave your hands over the arti and it helps speed up your chakra system. Natural camphor pieces have a white gold aura. Then again genuine natural camphor has really a lot of medicinal properties, listed below are a just few of them.

  1. purifies the surrounding air by destroying harmful bacteria and viruses and improves the air quality.
  2. keeps insects and mosquitoes away
  3. has a medicinal effect on the respiratory system and is good for the lungs.
  4. has a medicinal effect on the skin too, stops skin from itching.
  5. added to massage oils to release pain from arthritis and muscle aches etc.
  6. added to hair oils to get rid of dandruff etc.

So as you can see our ancestors were quite smart when they added “karpur arti” in our daily routine. This ensured that we got our daily dose of camphor goodness and lived a better quality of life in a better quality of environment.

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synthetic dangerous chemical

But now we have those businessmen who have developed artificial camphor. The raw material is oleo pine resin, extracted from pine trees. From this comes turpentine, and from this comes alpha pinene which is used to make synthetic camphor. This product has no place in our daily lives. This product is opaque and you will get it in the markets in neatly packed and embossed cubes like the photo below. Burning this will not give you the benefits but just add problems. When you burn this you get a liquid residue which further burns. Now our businessmen went one step ahead and added the following and more to this synthetic camphor chemical.

  1. Hexamine – is a carcinogen and releases formaldehyde on burning, is a skin irritant causes dermatitis. Leaves no residue on burning.
  2. Hexamethylenetetramine – can cause nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal disturbances and even kidney damage in the long run.
  3. Wax – it is a petroleum product, and that says it all.

So finally, if you do want to use camphor for your artis or as a room freshener, spend a more money and buy it from a reliable supplier to get a guaranteed natural product. The artificial substitute will just damage your bodies and poison your home’s environment.

 

Natural Camphor and its energy
Karpur arti

 

Use the healing energies of Sound

Sounds have power, cutest example is, a tiny baby gives one tiny gurgle and its mom is instantly alert. That tiny gurgle carried volumes of information which the mom subconsciously understood and responded too.

The basis of creation is our first pranavmantra, Om, vibrations at the frequency of 7.83 Hz is the basis of the Sanatan dharma. To harness the power of this Om, you just need to say it out aloud, and what can be more easier than that! Try this on a holiday first, every hour you are awake, take 1 minute for yourself, close your eyes, fold your palms in the namaskar position, keep your back straight and speak Om. Feel the sound come through your belly and feel your body resonate, drag out the last mmmm sound and enjoy the silence as it ends. Do this thrice and feel your day improve.

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Next in importance is the maheshwar sutra, a sequence of 14 sutras, which are said to have emanated from Shivshankar’s damru. It is a highly complex mathematical thing, and if you dont believe me google for the number of PhDs done on this topic. This is such an important sequence that during yadnyopavit/upnayan, this is the akshar sequence taught to the young children. Our Varnamala derives from this. But coming back to the energy point of view saying this sequence once a day does activate the body nadis.

१. अ इ उ ण्।
२. ऋ ऌ क्।
३. ए ओ ङ्।
४. ऐ औ च्।
५. ह य व र ट्।
६. ल ण्।
७. ञ म ङ ण न म्।
८. झ भ ञ्।
९. घ ढ ध ष्।
१०. ज ब ग ड द श्।
११. ख फ छ ठ थ च ट त व्।
१२. क प य्।
१३. श ष स र्।
१४. ह ल्।

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Then we come to the mantras in Sanskrit. From the gayatri to the mahamrutunjai to the beej mantras, It is the magic of the sounds recited with a clear heart full of gratitude and mindful intention. You do not need to know the meanings of the mantras for them to work. Sanskrit is linked to our very souls, it works right there. Our souls deeply understand it, our conscious mind does not. So if you read somewhere that this is the meaning of the mantra, its just silly because Sanskrit is like a palimpsest or an onion with several layers of meanings hidden within each other. For utilising the full energy of the mantras they should be repeated for 108 times. This repetition causes resonance of the mantra to its highest possible energy value.

Then we come to the music which everyone can enjoy. Listen to, dance to and watch performances of. We Indians have experimented with sounds since time immemorial and thus we have our music as Raga today. It is even documented which raga is most appropriate for what time.

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And Raga can be used to heal illnesses too. The music arranged in specific rhythms has the ability to put things right.

raga diseases

To try this sometime, listen to the instrumental versions of the raga rather than the versions with vocals.

This music has the ability to shut down the conscious mind and trigger the subconscious into healing your own self deeply from within. This is the best possible healing as you yourself are doing it and also enjoying the process.

You have read so much, you are now reading this blog, but now is the time to stop reading and trying out. Look at your watch, check out the time and from the table above check out the Raga for this time. Search on youtube “Raga, the name, instrumental” and close your eyes and just listen. Let the music enter your soul and heal you deeply from within.

 

Use the healing energies of Sound