Makar Sankranti 

Today is the Festival which brings people together to celebrate the beginning of Uttarayan. The Shishir rutu with it’s winter chills is part of The “Aadaan Kaal”. This is the time of the year when the body’s strength or “Bal”, capacity for digestion is at it’s peak. Hence, the “Agni” or digestion capacity is at its best and especially with the drop of temperatures the body strives for heat, that is food converted into energy. 

Sesame seeds and Jaggery is used to make Laddus, chikki and A special stuffed roti. There is a special custom of wishing everyone with a “tilgul”, to forego all bitterness and welcome the sweetness of festivities into our hearts. “Sesamum Indicum” is heaty in nature and is hence apt to overcome the seasonal changes. The oil from these seeds is used for consumption in cooking , as well as an excellent lubricating agent for the body. Hence Oil massages are recommended with this oil.

Makar Sankranti is also the festival of kites, where people of all age groups gather for Kite flying. It is a funfilled activity which goes on for as long as the sunshines. It’s great fun to see so many colourful kites flying high in the sky.

At Home it is a feast of sorts, as we eat the delicious “gul poli”, roti stuffed with jaggery sesame seeds mixture and also a special subji made of the fresh seasonal vegetables called the “Bhogichi bhaaji”. Being a true Foodie, it is the amazing food that keeps me waiting for this festival. 

Wishing you all a very happy Makarsankranti! 😄 

Seeking “Lord Dhanvantari”

National Ayurveda Day! What a splendid occasion, especially for me who is a fresher Graduate of Ayurvedic Medicine, it gives me immense pride to be a part of this announcement. A moment which celebrates Ayurveda is an achievement not in terms of Creditability but Recognition and a tool to spread Awareness.

I am super excited to do my first Dhanvantari Pujan! It’s a memorabilia from Kerala, the framed picture of Lord Dhanvantari, purchased at the exhibition of International Ayurveda Conference that I attended earlier this year. Dhanteras from this year on wouldnt only mean Diwali but so much more.

 

‘As I dwell in my shell ‘

I am extremely sorry for not being as regular! I guess I had my own short comings and I m sure you will be willing to forgive me for the same! I am just as caught up as everyone is, but now I have made a promise to myself to make it a point to blog once a month and catch up as often as possible.

Last month was all about “the Yoga International day” and so much about it that I am sure you all must be still hungover! But you know what, the real essence of Yog lies in the people who hardly need an introduction because its engraved so deep within that one look at them and you can’t help but get inspired.

In a world where we are suffering because of our wrong lifestyle choices, ailments are a definite outcome but “Yoga has the answers for its prevention and cure”. So when I got an opportunity to attend a seminar where Doctors and Yoga experts from around the country had gathered to put forward thier line of yogic treatment I just couldn’t miss it. These are the people who practice yog to cure ailments, the amount of research and experience they have is only believable after you encounter them. 

As these experts spoke for themselves and thier school of thoughts, they also supported one anothers views for there was one thread that connected them all, and that was “Yog”. It helped in looking at yoga from not only a perspective of health and fitness but “a shift in the way of living”. Its not just the body but a practise of “Complete awareness” of the mind and soul as I put it in their own words. 

The location of the venue was so serene that a field of positivity was around. The food that was given was also “sattvik” and therefore a feeling of calm had set in. 

As we came towards the end of the event, we knew we were going to return with a happy but a heavy heart as the place was soo inviting. It’s hard to not fall an impact after meeting so many yogis in person and to sum it all up they all said “Make Yoga a way of Life!”.

For more glimpses :

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10153773505715835&id=723645834&notif_t=like&notif_id=1467472867141117&ref=m_notif

‘Sleeping beauty, where’s you?’

“I am a night person! “ I’m sure there’s a whole group of people nodding in agreement.  Now isn’t this like just the perfect tagline to escape from the fact that we don’t find enough time or energy during the day and turns out the night with its sense of tranquil inspires us in different ways, but have you really thought what kind of havoc is that causing to your body? We love ourselves, don’t we?  We live life on our terms but, hey! do you really think those terms are going to be your loyalist when it comes to your health and wellbeing. I’m sorry to tell but you are causing self harm! You probably don’t drink, you probably don’t smoke, you probably don’t pile up on junk and you probably are trying to do all things right in your own little ways but are still wondering what is it that’s going so wrong? Why am I not reaping good health? Ever thought if your lifestyle is right?

A Lifestyle isn’t really about all the things fancy but a life which suits you just right. Ayurveda is the science of Life and you would be amused to know that although its an ancient science its laws still hold true. In the fast life we have somewhere forgotten our basic needs, in which “Nidra” or Sleep holds a lot of importance. It’s the least spoken aspect in our regime but in the Ayurvedic  refrences it has been mentioned that its lack can cause great peril. If you think that you catch sleep over the weekends, then that extra sleep holds no value because it isn’t going to fill up for all those days of the week when the harm is already done. It ain’t  just the number of hours that you sleep but also the time and place that makes a whole lot of difference.

Ideally the sleep should be completed during the night, so as to wake up early before the sunrise and answer nature’s call. This practice in itself cures and prevents a lot of diseases. Sleeping during the day should be avoided and if need arises then the individual must sleep before lunchtime for a period exactly half of which he missed previous night. Sleeping during the day is discouraged in all seasons except for “Grishma” or summer and in those individuals who do strenuous physical work are an exception. Also it is very normal to feel sleepy after  consuming food, but try catching sleep while in sitting position, maybe on a rocking chair or head on desk .This way you get the benefits of sleep without causing a disturbance in the tridoshas which could be compared as the cause for obesity and also disturbance in the levels of hormones due to erratic sleep hours. So instead of making excuses, sleep on time and sufficiently to experience a healthy you!

TIP: Make the most of your lunch hour and take that short power nap on your desk. It will definitely recharge you on a hectic day.

‘OIL-the-TOIL’

My grandmother always ran behind me for oiling my hair and as a kid I always wondered why was it so important. At school where oil in hair was compulsory, was such a curse that I am sure all of us looked forward to getting rid of rules. Once in college the oiling became a rare sight, for fashion and looking good took centre stage. Such is the situation with most of us, until some survey or a person of great expertise enlightens us with the truth.

There’s always been a controversy about whether to oil or not but if you ask me then Ayurvedic texts have mentioned the importance of Oil and massage. Application of oil to body,foot and external orifices like nose,ear,eye each have different effects. Our body is a machine that we literally use everyday, sometimes overused,sometimes underused or sometimes abused. Don’t you think we should take care of it so that it supports us well for the longest time?

The “shir abhyanga” or head massage is beneficial in improving our reflexes by directly stimulating the sense organs. It makes the hair indeed stronger, longer and thicker. “Karna puran” or oiling the ear is therapeutic in relieving neck and jaw stiffness, done after sunset. “Pad Abhyanga” or foot massage done with oil releases the build up tension in the body, enhances vision, lubricates and strengthens them.

A very fine example of watering the tree to keep it nurturing has been compared with oil for the body. It’s effects are noteworthy if continued in the long run. Sesame oil is preferred option as it is easily available and also has the properties to enhance health. Now you know why should always listen to your elders😉

TIP: Forget expensive pedicures, Massage feet with oil before you retire for the day starting from today and make it a daily practise.

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‘Keep Calm -n- Chill on ‘

Is it just me or the heat is for real?! The killing summer is all here and as we step into May, surrounded by mangoes and hacks to cool it off, it feels no less than a crisis. Stepping out of the house is alarming and before you know it, your energy is already zapped. The saddest part is that there’s no running away, so no matter how much of a task it seems yet it can’t come in the way of living it up.

In the meanwhile you might also notice a decline in the appetite and a rise in consumption of liquids. This is a normal phenomena and is in itself a defence mechanism to curb the loss of fluids. Ayurveda has described the regime to be followed in each season under Rutucharya and summer is called “Greeshma Rutu”.

In this season the consumption of various types of concoction, or summer drinks as we know it are mentioned. Homemade Aam panha, limbu paani, kokam sarbat, khus sarbat and coconut water are just to mention a few. Also drinking butter milk is a good option over yogurts as these are heaty in nature as mentioned in the texts. Preparations like “Morabba”, “Shrikhand” and “Raayta” shall be made a part of the meal.

Drinking sufficient water is important to remain hydrated but not out of the fridge because the body temperature rises on doing so, as the gut normalises its temperature. Instead water kept in earthen pots and dry khus added, are perfect for quenching the thirst.

Bathing with cold water and application of chandan is useful. Since the body gets more worked up during this season, hence taking a nap in the afternoon is mentioned only during this time of the year. So remain Cool and Calm, beat the heat the ayurvedic way.
TIP: Wear natural fabrics and instead of heavy workouts indulge in relaxing the body. Make the most by practising pranayam,especially “Sheetali” and “Shiitakari”. Activate chandra nadi that is the left nasal pathway and experience “internal AC”.

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‘Sweets & Smiles’

“Social Animal!!!”, thats me! And so are a lot of you who share the same crazy passion of bonding with new people and rejoicing the old ones. In our Indian culture, we are programmed to be people’s person, and ‘Atithi devo bhava’ is just the apt mantra. Often in the daily routine we are left with no time to really go out of our way and socialise but when it comes to festivals its an altogether different story. Here we are so gregarious, that we make it a point to meet all our near and dear ones. It’s galore brings us all together and it’s just a small reminder that celebration is all about adding smiles.

The festivals that we celebrate have a mythological story that some of us are well versed with but do you know that there’s also a deeper science engraved in it. For instance the festival of Gudi Padwa is celebrated with a lot of merriment as it is the beginning of a New year. Neem jaggery is offered as it signifies the bitter sweet start and improves the immune system as given in ayurvedic text. Also in Holi there is preparation of a special concoction “Thandai” which is made up of ingredients which act on our body to give it a soothing effect in the hot climate. Diwali is a grand festival, but the numerous rituals are sequenced to restore the good health. The tradition of oil message followed by rubbing of Ubtan is yet another leaf out of Ayurveda and its effects are noteworthy if continued throughout the cold season. In the same way various rituals have a significant value which we probably are not aware of but simply follow it to please our elders and if you plan to question them, then let me tell you its all got science behind it. There is such a spread of positivity when people come together that I believe half the purpose is already achieved.

The western culture has left us so fazed with thier festivals that we want to know all about it and be a part of the cool celebration but I wish we could use the same search engine to know more about our customs or better still talk to our living encyclopaedias, “our grandparents” I am sure they will have the best stories to tell.
TIP: Drink water stored in copper vessel to get its fortified effects.
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