Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Earth Sweats

Forward by Dr. Vasant Lad
Ayurveda is a sanskrit word which means the “knowledge
of life”, or more accurately, “the knowledge of
longevity”.  Its roots are buried deeply in the ancient
culture of India.  In fact, Ayurvedic medicine is
considered to be the oldest system of medicine.
Ayurveda is more than a medical science, however, and
can only be understood when one realizes that it is
intricately woven into the fabric of nature.  Over five
thousand years ago, spiritually enlightened persons
known as Rishis or seers, by close observation of
nature and its relationship to man through a
supramental state of meditation, imparted that truth
from guru to disciple.  Today, however, Ayurveda exists
in texts, scribed in the form of melodious poetry.
Because the roots of Ayurveda were born out of the
realm of the spirit, only with a spiritual orientation
can one understand this knowledge.
Ayurveda contains the secrets of why people need to
cooperate with nature completely in order to ensure
their well-being.  When there is little or no
cooperation, the resultant disharmony is suffering,
disease, and finally a premature death.  Thus, in
dealing with the body in the context of the spirit,
Ayurveda is a completely holistic approach to life.
Ayurveda has suggested that a change in the
consciousness of one individual, either positive or
negative, influences the consciousness of all humanity.
Thus, it is the responsibility of every human being to
allow a radical change in his/her consciousness in
order to bring about transformation in the universe.
Ayurveda, having no standard therapy, only reflects and
reacts to what naturally occurs in nature.  Ayurveda
looks at a person completely in relation to his or her
environment, and treats each individual as indivisible.
(Excerpts, Dr. Vasant Lad, Pune, India, March 1980,
Forward to “The Hidden Secret of Ayurveda”, by Dr.
Robert Svoboda, our teacher training book of Ayurveda
study for 2015)
In spring the earth sweats...
When tendrils of heat creep into the cool of remaining
spring, the earth sweats, and so should you, naturally.
Ayurveda teaches that “like increases like”, so the
external rise of an element such as heat, enhances the
power of that principle inside the body.  The primal
resting of slow, cold, viscous winter elements in the
environment, and in our bodies, relinquishes to warmth.
Heavy, accumulated energy in many forms, especially in
our lymphatic and endocrine systems, must become fluid
and flow freely, like streams into rivers, rivers into
Sweat (Sveda) from Hatha Yoga practice, is nutritious
for the skin, and is not meant to be suppressed, wiped,
or showered away immediately.  Your own sweats,
(Ayurveda  recognizes 14 primary sweat types), their
volume, odors, timing, and subtle qualities, become a
diagnostic tool to help you adopt clean Ayurvedic diet
and lifestyle practices. The way that you smell to
yourself may actually give you subconscious information
about what foods to eat for optimum nourishment, and
even the timing of when to eat them.
Clean practices, specific to your constitution, bring
new scents to body fluids;  sweet, metallic, mineral
laden fragrances, much like the essences found in the
bitter and astringent native, edible flowers and greens
produced by mother nature.  She makes these essential
healing plants, and their tastes, for us from her
sweat, mingled soil nutrients of meadows and forests.
Ayurveda sutras classify six tastes present in
substances, and also present in the taster:  sweet,
sour, bitter, pungent, and astringent.  Each one
produces more strength (for the body) than the one
which follows it, (in the order they are listed).
Sweating during exercise not only reduces the body
temperature perfectly for each individual, but
maintains water-electrolyte and acid-base balances.
Avoiding sweating, attempting to stop it with cold
drinks, cold air, and chemical body care products, may
not be the healthful course of action you are seeking.
Recognize also that emotions triggered by conditions of
heat, those in the Pitta (fire&water) realm of energy,
such as frustration or anger unexpressed, can surface
as agitation toward the outer condition of heat.  Yoga
and meditation can help you come in closer touch with,
and gain relief from, the effects of emotions held in
the body and mind.  Sweating is a natural physical
release mechanism.  Breathe deep, relax into the heat;
understanding can help you to trace aversion to its
If you are exercising to maintain healthy weight, and
bring luster, vitality, and equanimity to your body,
mind and spirit, join the earth in a good sweat.  My
Astanga Yoga teacher, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, always
cautioned never to practice in direct sunlight, but
recommended sweating, “100 drops daily”!
Soaps are not recommended for use on your skin, or any
scrub products which are not edible, as the skin
absorbs these emollients as if they were eaten.  Rely
on gentle “Ubtans”, body pastes or scrubs used
periodically to release dead skin layers.  You can make
them from organic flours, clays, mulled herbs,
combined with fruit and vegetable juices, natural oils
or essential extracts.
For the past few days I have been craving watermelon.
As a light dinner, I will pluck some fresh mint from
the garden, juice it with the melon and mix it (by
hand) with organic white rice flour and a little
unrefined coconut oil, to make a paste with a texture
that feels good to my skin.  (In regard to eating melon
of any kind, Ayurveda says, “Eat it alone or leave it
alone”.  Melon should not to combined with any other
foods, even other fruits.
Rely on your intuition, and use Ubtans several times a
week in warmer weather, so that skin can breathe
freely;  even less during fall and winter. Just a
little research and relying on your own sensitive nose,
will lead you to the right ingredients, many of which
you may have in your kitchen already. The simpler the
mixture, the better.  Fruit enzymes can sometimes be
too harsh for certain skin types, so always test your
scrub.  A little applied inside the wrist is a good
sensitive place; never leaving on too long if it seems
to irritate.  You can even save “Time” by making a
healthful smoothie for breakfast, and smearing it on
your face!
A good resource to learn more about Sveda:  Ayurveda
today, Summer 2009 issue, “Rasayana for Meda Dhatu
Mala”, by my favorite Ayurvedic physician and teacher,
Vasant Lad, BAM&S, MAS / www.ayurveda.com
As a second recommendation, download the food
combination chart from his resources section on the web
site, and begin to incorporate combination practices as
a firm diet foundation, while you discover your
constitutional type and needs at present, and move into
an understanding of the foods best for you.
Kari has practiced Yoga, meditation, dance, 
and a holistic lifestyle since her youth, growing up on a farm in 
Harrison County, Indiana. She has spent many fulfilling years traveling 
and studying around the world, receiving a certification in Hatha Yoga 
from Yoga East in 2001.
Among her most inspiring and beloved teachers are Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (Astanga Yoga), Ramanand Patel & Francois Raoult (Iyengar Yoga), Sufi Master Adnan Sarhan (Meditation), Dr. Vasant Lad (Ayurveda), Grand Master Mingye Ding (Qigong/Taiji), Steve Schumacher (CranioSacral Therapy), Esak Garcia (Bikram Yoga) & Russil Paul (Nada Yoga). She is the founder of Onecologie: finding true health and joy through intuitive synchronicity with nature.

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