Quick and Effective cure for Dyspepsia

Two weeks ago I experienced churning pain and weird bubbly sensations in my stomach. At the time, I couldn’t figure out what it was as it was something I had never experienced. But after some learning, I found out it was dyspepsia. Thinking back I had recently been consuming more than usual cheese. I usually eat a moderate balanced diet.

 

Ghee

Yachna Yoga Ghee

 

To return balance to my system, first of all, I stopped consuming all spicy and hot foods as well as dairy for  2-3 days. Before my meal, I consumed about 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil and after I chewed 1/2 a teaspoon of fennel seeds. I also drizzled ghee on my soup, dal or whatever it was I ate. You can also sip fennel tea. Within 2 days balance was restored.

Ghee, coconut oil, and fennel are cooling in nature. All three are an antidote to pitta (increased bile). Ghee and fennel are known to aid in digestion.

Ghee

Fennel

Anti-Aging and Healing- The Mighty Sesame Oil

Sesame oil is the best antidote for vata or the air related disorders like arthritis, anxiety, depression, insomnia, constipation, gas, bloating, cold feet and hands, impatience, restlessness, nervousness, racing mind,  feeling spaced out, frazzled, all over the place, finding it hard to focus or sit still, aging, wrinkles, dry eyes and old age related conditions. Sesame oil is known as the king of oils in Ayurveda.  It is an important ingredient of many Ayurvedic preparations as it has the ability to penetrate deep into the tissues and is very rich in antioxidants and minerals.

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yachnayoga

The use of sesame oil is what helped me begin my healing journey. A decade ago I suffered from terrible anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, nervous energy etc. At the time when I first learned about the benefits of sesame oil, I had the toasted sesame oil variety in my pantry. Although the cold pressed oil is recommended over the toasted sesame (which I realized later), it still helped me tremendously.  Toasted sesame oil has a very strong flavor and smell and can make you feel nauseous.  Cold pressed on the other hand is healthier and easier to use. After some learning and reading I quickly switched to cold pressed sesame oil.Sesame oil will help calm the nerves and relax you. It will mellow you out. If you suffer from anxiety disorders massaging scalp, will help tremendously. If you suffer from cold hands and feet, massaging them vigorously with sesame oil will help increase the pitta factor in your body and bring immense warmth. Night time is the best time for this as sesame oil can relax you and help you get deep sleep. Sesame oil is rich in antioxidants.  It is a great moisturizer for the skin. It fights wrinkles and aging. Gently massaging sesame oil on acne will help dry it out within a few days.  It is antibacterial, anti viral, anti-inflammatory. Dab a few drops to coat the inside of your nostrils to protect from cold and flu viruses. Touch wood, but I haven’t had the flu in 15 years and I never get the flu shot. (Great 😦 now I’m afraid I’m going to pay for bragging). But I am also careful what I eat and how I eat based on the principles of Ayurveda.  I include herbs and rasayans based on my body type. For example I never drink cold, iced beverages in winter. I sip warm water throughout the day and also begin my day with medium hot water.  It aids in proper digestion and assimilation of food.  But my body type is pitta so I have to strike a balance between the two humors through a careful selection of what I cook and how I cook it.  Even during the summer time I consume room temperature or cool foods only. Ice/cold beverages wreak havoc on your digestive system. And in Ayurveda, majority of diseases stem from poor digestion.

If you have a vata constitution, suffer from vata disorders or live in a cold dry climate make sure to include sesame oil in your diet and also use for massaging the face, body and hair. Leave it on for at lest 30 minutes to an hour; the longer the better. You can leave it on the scalp overnight and shampoo off the next day.  Don’t overdo it. (I’m guilty, but that’s how you really learn-through trial and error). Everything in moderation only- ease into it starting with small doses.  Drizzle sesame oil in you soups, dals, breads, rice or any preparations for that matter just before you eat. This will also prevent gas, bloating, cramps, and indigestion. Don’t consume more than a teaspoon/day or you’ll feel like you have a burning fever.

Before you proceed:

  • Find out your body type
  • Follow other measures to make sure you aren’t negating your healing efforts through contradictory habits and patterns.  For example: massaging with sesame oil and then eating a bowl of ice cream or having a cold salad or shake.
  • If you suffer from deep rooted/chronic diseases, seek guidance and treatment from an experienced Ayurveda practitioner. Ayurveda treatment involves several pronged approach which consists of prevention, treatment at the root, cleansing, dietary restrictions etc.

The above is based on my own experience with sesame oil.  You can learn more about other benefits of sesame by clicking below:

According to http://naturalsociety.com/12-health-benefits-of-sesame-seeds-sesame-oil/

  • Promote Healthy, Beautiful Skin – Sesame seeds are full of zinc, an essential      mineral for producing collagen and giving skin more elasticity. Zinc also      helps damaged tissues in the body to repair. Sesame oil is also known to      sooth burns and prevent skin related disorders.
  • Great      for High-Protein Vegetarian Diet – Sesame seeds offer 4.7 grams of      protein per ounce, giving them a perfect place in a high-protein      vegetarian diet.
  • Sesame      Seed Oil for Oral Health – One of the most prominent benefits of      sesame seeds and sesame oil revolves around removing dental plaque and      boosting oral health. By engaging in an activity known as oil pulling,      which involves swishing oil around in your mouth, you can boost oral      health and even whiten your teeth. One study showcases      the oil pulling benefits on the oral level, where oil pulling with sesame      oil was shown to reduce the amount of streptococcus mutants in both teeth      plaque and mouth saliva, and boost overall health. (Click the next link to      find out what oil pulling is and learn of oil      pulling benefits).
  • Helps      Prevent Diabetes – Thanks to magnesium and other nutrients, sesame      seeds, and especially sesame oil, has been shown to combat diabetes. One      study, published      in 2011 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found      that sesame oil “improved the effectiveness of the oral antidiabetic drug glibenclamide in      type 2 diabetic patients”. Another study concluded      that “substitution of sesame oil as the sole edible oil has an additive      effect in further lowering BP and plasma glucose in hypertensive      diabetics”.
  • Reduces      Blood Pressure – As the above study concludes, sesame oil has been shown      to lower blood pressure in hypertensive diabetics. Additionally, magnesium      has been shown      to help lower blood pressure – and sesame seeds are loaded with      magnesium.
  • Promotes      Heart Health – Further adding to the health benefits of sesame      seeds, sesame seed oil can boost heart health by preventing      atherosclerotic lesions. An antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound      known as sesamol, which also harnesses anti-atherogenic properties, is thought      to be one reason for the beneficial effects. According to      GreenMedInfo, sesamol has been shown to “possess over two dozen      beneficial pharmacologically active properties, many of which may      contribute to improving cardiovascular health”.
  • Protects      Against DNA Damage from Radiation – Sesamol, a compound found in      sesame seeds and sesame oil, has been shown in      some studies to protect against DNA damaged caused by radiation. Further,      sesamol has been shown      to extend life in mice treated with radiation, partly by preventing      damage to the intestines and the spleen.
  • Prevents      Cancer – Not only do sesame seeds contain an anti-cancer compound      called phytate, but the magnesium in sesame seeds also harness      anti-cancer properties. One      study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition      found that the risk of colorectal tumors decreased by 13% and the risk of      colorectal cancer decreased by 12% for every 100 mg of magnesium taken in.
  • Boosts      Bone Health – In addition to promoting healthy skin, zinc      has also been shown to boost bone mineral density and bone health as a      whole. One study, published in      the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found a correlation      between zinc deficiency and osteoporosis in the hip and spine area. What’s      more, sesame seeds are a great source of calcium – a known trace mineral      that is essential for bone health and preventing related conditions.
  • Boosting      Digestive Health, Relieving Constipation – Sesame seeds are rich in      fiber, which is known to pave way for a healthy digestive system and a      healthy colon.
  • Provides      Relief from Rheumatoid Arthritis – A mineral that is important for      anti-inflammatory and antioxidant enzyme systems, copper is known for      reducing pain and swelling associated with arthritis. Additionally, this      mineral helps provide strength to blood vessels, bones, and joints.
  • Promotes      Respiratory Health, Prevents Asthma – Thanks to the magnesium, sesame      seeds are able to prevent asthma by and other respiratory disorders by      preventing airway spasms.

Read more:

http://naturalsociety.com/12-health-benefits-of-sesame-seeds-sesame-oil/#ixzz2rRZ77orN

http://www.youthingstrategies.com/

Happy New Year 2014!!!

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Once a Year When the Full Moon Sheds Nectar

The Hindus call it Sharad Purnima. This year it falls on Friday, October 18. In Hindu homes, Kheer or rice pudding is cooked in the evening and left overnight exposed to the moonlight which is believed to possess special high vibrational frequency healing properties.  (I would recommend a mesh screen cover). These properties are imbibed by the Kheer.  Consumption of this kheer is believed to alleviate many diseases.  There will be a penumbral lunar eclipse also on this day.  You can read more about the information at  Drik Panchang

Yachna’s Golden Spice Rice Kheer Recipe 

Yachna's Golden Spice Kheer

Yachna’s Golden Spice Kheer

1/2 cup White Basmati rice-soaked for 30 minutes, rinsed and drained

1/2 gallon Whole Milk

1 cup White Sugar (this should be the fine kitchen sugar not the coarse grains)

A few strands of Saffron aka the golden spice

Cardamom- 1 small green-shelled, seeds crushed with a rolling pin into a powder.

  • Melted Ghee-1 to 1 ½  tbsp
  • Heat the ghee in a deep heavy bottomed non stick pan.  Add the rice and stir on medium high for 7-8 minutes.
  • Turn the heat down for a moment. Add the milk slowly while stirring.
  • Turn up the heat to medium.  Stir the milk and rice time to time. Allow it to come to a boil. Do not cook on high heat as the milk at the bottom will start to stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
  •  Wait till all the milk is evenly heated through. The milk is cold and you don’t want to turn up the heat suddenly and try to being it to a boil at once. Adjust heat as needed to bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, continue cooking at medium heat for 2.5 to 3 hours making sure to stir time to time. Cream will form from time to time.  Just stir it back into the milk rice concoction.
  • 5 minutes before removing from heat, add the sugar and stir to dissolve well. Mix in the crushed cardamom powder.
  • Wait for the kheer to cool down before transferring to a serving dish. Kheer can be served warm or cold.
  • Before serving drizzle with the saffron infused milk.

To prepare the saffron infused milk-Crush a few strands of saffron (5-7) into ¼ – ½ cup of hot whole milk.  Let it sit for a while say 20-30 minutes to allow the flavor and color of the saffron to bleed into the milk.  You can let it bleed longer if you have the time. The milk will turn a yellowish color.  Spoon this saffron milk over the kheer before serving.  Almost all recipes of kheer ask for the saffron to be added to the milk while cooking the kheer, but the saffron flavor is lost in the process and also the health benefits.  You never want to cook saffron , just bleed it and pour.

You can read more about the health benefits of saffron here:

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/saffron.html

Ojas-The sap of Life, Vigor, Longevity, Radiant Health and Luster

What is Ojas?

According to Ayurveda, Ojas is the subtle essence that is responsible for life, radiant health, strong immunity, vigor, longevity and overall well being of an individual.

The subtle essence called ojas that is extracted from the proper digestion and efficient metabolism of food nourishes the bodily tissues of blood, plasma and lymph, muscle, fat, bones, bone marrow, semen and ojas.

Ojas also forms the basic material of the five sense organs, ligaments and lubricating fluids. Improper digestion leads to production of ama or toxins in the body.  The accumulation of ama/toxins in the bodily tissues is what leads to disease.   

The heart is the seat of the ojas. From the heart, 10 blood vessels referred to as mahaphala carry ojas to the rest of the body. Ojas is affected by not only the food we take in and its healthy digestion, but also by the sensory impressions we take in. Hence it is important to protect the physical and emotional health of the heart.

Ojas is described to have the color of ghee, the taste of honey, the smell of fried paddy/rice grain.

Signs of healthy Ojas:

A person with healthy ojas possesses:

  •    Clear radiant complexion
  •    Strong immunity against infectious disease (seldom falls sick)
  •    Cheerfulness, energy and enthusiasm,
  •    Youthfulness
  •    High threshold for stress,
  •    Mental clarity
  •    Creativity
  •    Serenity

 Signs of weakened Ojas:

Signs of a person with weak ojas :

  •     Timid
  •     Weak
  •     Anxious
  •     Depressed and  always worried
  •     Lacks luster/poor complexion
  •     Poor appetite
  •     Feel sluggish/fatigued
  •     Emaciated
  •    Suffers from disorders of the sense organs.

NOTE: Too much Ojas is also not a good thing.  It can lead to diabetes, high cholesterol etc.

What weakens Ojas?

Ojas is diminished by under eating, overeating, eating when previous food has not yet been digested, consumption of poor quality food that results in the blocking of the channels, consumption of stale foods, canned foods, fermented foods like cheese, meat, irregular diet, excessive exercise, fasting, negative emotional stressors such as anxiety, anger, sadness, grief, hatred, jealousy, long held resentment, fear, grief, consumption of alcohol, smoking,  lack of sleep, excessive discharge of mucus, blood, semen and other excreta, with age and injury by other organisms, undue exposure to wind and sun, excessive sexual activity.

What promotes or revitalizes Ojas? 

Consumption of foods that share the same properties of Ojas help increase Ojas. Ojas has the 10 properties of sweet, cold, soft, unctuous, smooth, viscous, slimy, heavy, dull and clear.  Hence a balanced saatvik diet of fresh foods, cow’s milk, ghee, fruits, rice,  sweet foods like dates, natural seeds and nuts like almonds (soaked overnight and skin removed before eating on empty stomach), healthy eating habits, moderation in exercise and diet, and consumption of rasayans (like Chyawanprash) help promote or revitalize ojas. Bathing and use of gemstones also help revitalize ojas. 

How can one protect Ojas?

Since Ojas is the result of the quality of food we eat, its proper digestion and efficient metabolism and the sensory impressions we imbibe in our daily life, in order to protect ojas it is vital to protect the mind and heart from emotional strain and stress and to adopt a healthy balanced diet.

  • Nourish your physical health by eating meals in a pleasant environment in the company of people that you enjoy.  Eating meals with people engaged in unpleasant conversations, arguments etc leads to production of toxins
  • Eat at a moderate pace. Don’t eat in a hurry, while walking or driving.
  • Don’t eat when you are emotional, angry, upset etc. as negative emotions produce toxins/ama
  • Don’t eat if the previous meal still hasn’t been digested as that will lead to the production of ama/toxins. The accumulation of ama in the bodily tissues leads to disease.
  • Eat a balance meal.  In Ayurveda, a balanced meal consists of all the 6 major tastes in moderation: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, astringent, and pungent.   People of pitta constitutions should minimize or avoid hot, pungent, spicy foods as that will further aggravate the pitta (internal fire) which could further burn out the ojas.
  • Nourish your mind through regular meditation
  • Positive thinking

For depleted Ojas:

  • Soak 10 almonds in water overnight
  • Peel off the skins and blend in blender
  • Add a cup of hot milk*
  • Add a pinch of cardamom, a pinch of cardamom, a pinch of ginger powder and 1 tsp of ghee, saffron (optional)
  • Instead of date sugar one can use turbinado or brown sugar

This almond milk is great for building ojas.  Persons suffering from high cholesterol can skip ghee.  Person who have an imbalanced Kapha (overweight, excess mucus, sinusitis, edema etc) should also avoid soaked almonds and milk, but can consume dry almonds instead.

*Can substitute with soy or rice milk.

Recommended Reading: Tejas, Prana  

Resources:Charaka Samhita, Gabriel Van Loon, Yoga and Ayurveda, David Frawley, Secrets of the Pulse, Dr. Vasant Lad

 

Self healing with Plants and Herbs

The healing arts go back in time well before there were trained doctors or medicine men.  In the beginning people gathered information on self healing from their environment and watching the plants and animals around them.  The earliest form of self healing came from the use of plants and herbs as ‘medicines’ to treat everything from a toothache to cuts, bruises, burns and fevers.  With the advent of modern day pharmaceuticals this has become a lost art as people find it quicker and easier to pop a pill, but research is showing that quicker is not always better and people are turning back to the self healing arts of Naturopathy and using plants to help fix the illnesses in our bodies.   

The truth is that many of our modern day medicines are actually derived from plant based materials.  Or at least many of them start that way until the manufacturers can find a way to recreate the plant based compounds in a laboratory and mass produce them. The problem we are finding though is that when you isolate just one or two compounds from a plant, it does not always work as well because like everything in nature, plants were created with many different working parts that all come together to heal us.  It is like going on a diet and only removing sugar.  Sure you will lose some weight, but if you are still consuming excessive carbohydrates and processed foods then your body will still not reach its optimal weight.  Just like with everything in life you have to look at the entire picture – if you take one or two pieces out of the puzzle then the picture will not be complete.   

So with this understanding in mind people are going back to using plants and herbs instead of man made chemicals to cure their common, everyday illnesses.  Plants like echinacea are turned into teas and tinctures to cure the common cold.  Arnica is made into a paste to help relieve sore muscles and get bruising to heal.  Tea tree oil is used as an antiseptic for cuts and scrapes.  St. John’s wort and chamomile are being used to treat depression and melancholy.  There is Ginseng for energy and Ginkgo Biloba for memory and increased brain function.  The list of natural plant remedies can go on and on but there is one common trend which is that people are turning back to using plants for their own self healing.  The same plants our ancestors used thousands of years ago are making a comeback and again being used in our everyday lives.  We are beginning to realize that the extra two minutes it takes to prepare an herbal tea is worth the long term benefit of not introducing harmful chemicals into our bodies.  This is not only good for the planet, to encourage a reliance on natural sources and not chemically manufactured ones, but it is also good for our own spiritual self healing to take back our personal power and once again take responsibility for our own natural health and well being.

This article was contributed by the team at mindvalley.

 

P.F. Chang Who? Lettuce Wraps

I’ve been meaning to share some of my vegetarian recipes on YachnaYoga for quite some time now.  So here is my first share. This dish makes for a great appetizer or lunch.  One time I took this to a party and it was a super hit.  I was asked for the recipe by several people. The serving dish was down to bare bones within seconds.

For the complete recipe click here.

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