Ayurveda: Healing with Foods and Meditation

Ayurveda, or the science of life, is one of the oldest systems of natural health care. Originating in India over 5,000 years ago, Ayurveda is now considered one of the leading forms of holistic medicine available in the West.

Concept

Ayurveda treats the root cause of illnesses, not just the symptoms. With the use of special herbs, massage, specific yoga/meditation techniques and sound nutritional advice, Ayurveda enhances the physical and mental health of both distressed and healthy individuals.

Ayurveda is Safe

Ayurveda medicine and other therapies are very beneficial for patients suffering from chronic diseases. Ayurvedic preparations are safe as long as they are prescribed by a professional practitioner.

Ayurvedic Dosha ( Constitutions)

Ayurveda describes three biological humors or psycho/physiological energies called doshas. These three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and each is mainly a combination of two elements. Vata dosha is made up of space and air. Pitta dosha is a combination of fire and water. Kapha dosha is made up of water and earth. Each of these doshas are further divided into five sub-doshas. Together, the doshas orchestrate all the activities that occur within us.

For good health and well-being, the three doshas within you need to be in balance.

Balancing Vata dosha

The characteristics of Vata include dryness, coolness, roughness, lightness and constant motion; qualities that are opposite to these in diet and lifestyle help restore balance to Vata dosha.

Dietary recommendations:

The three ayurvedic tastes that help balance Vata are sweet, sour and salty, so include more of these tastes in your daily diet. Cooked foods, served hot or warm, are ideal for balancing Vata. Leafy greens, beets, sweet potatoes and summer squash such as zucchini and lauki squash are the best vegetables. Avoid or minimize raw foods and salads. Drink lots of warm water through the day. Suitable spices are turmeric, cumin, coriander, dried ginger and black pepper.

Balancing Pitta Dosha:

The characteristics of Pitta include sharpness, heat, and acidity; qualities that are opposite to these in diet and lifestyle help restore balance to Pitta dosha.

Dietary recommendations:

The three ayurvedic tastes that help balance Pitta are sweet, bitter and astringent, so include more of these tastes in your daily diet.

Cooling foods are wonderful for balancing Pitta dosha. Sweet juicy fruits, especially pears, can cool a fiery Pitta. Milk, Rice, coconut  and milkshakes made with ripe mangoes are soothing, Pitta-pacifying foods. Drink sweet lassi to help enhance digestion or drink room temperature water.

Spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom and fennel offer healing wisdom.

Balancing Kapha Dosha:

The characteristics of Kapha include heaviness, softness, sweetness, cold, stability and unctuousness, qualities that are opposite to these in diet and lifestyle help restore balance to Kapha dosha.

Dietary recommendations:

The three ayurvedic tastes that help balance Kapha are pungent, bitter and astringent, so include more of these tastes in your daily diet

Light, warm foods help balance Kapha. Clear vegetable soups with beans and diced vegetables, stews made with vegetables, dhal soups and grain/vegetable are good for balancing Kapha.  Stay away from too much salt. Drink warm water through the day.

Use spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, black pepper, dried ginger, asafetida (hing), cloves and fenugreek.

 

Guru Ranjit Deora is a meditation master teacher, a holistic thinker and a life coach who enjoys helping people connect with their true selves and find happiness within. In his lessons on Mindful Meditation, the India native focuses on the mental dimensions of this ancient practice, bringing the benefits of joy as well as improved overall health.

Phone: (704) 277-6049.  Email: rdeora@charlottemeditation.com

This content was originally posted on our site in 2013.

Learn Mindful Eating through Meditation

Are your New Year’s resolutions already falling by the wayside? It’s very easy to write off your goals, continuing your old habits of 2018. Was losing weight on your list? While setting specific goals of pounds dropped is a valid approach, if you want to take care of yourself by reaching a healthy weight or living a healthier lifestyle, you may want to begin by establishing a habit of mindfulness meditation.

“Mindfulness meditation?  What does that have to do with success in weight loss when I can just (pick one) join a pre-packaged food plan/ drink those special milkshakes/ stay away from carbs/ go ‘Paleo’?”

Perhaps you have heard of “mindful eating”. Learning to distinguish between physical hunger and emotional hunger are the key. Physical hunger has cues such as your stomach growling and your body feeling low on energy. The hunger itself grows slowly over time and the food you eat is satisfying to you. Emotional eating involves very specific cravings which, when acted upon, cause lingering feelings of guilt and dissatisfaction. But how do you cultivate the awareness necessary to know the difference?

The answer is simple: through mindfulness meditation. “Are you kidding me?? How on earth can sitting every day in meditation, letting my thoughts come and go, help me lose weight?” It all boils down to clarity, being aware of not only what you are eating but why. Only you have those answers for yourself and, in order to retrieve them, you must be relaxed and peaceful inside.

Meditation = relaxation = clarity of thoughts = knowing the cause of your suffering = knowing what to do and what not to do with confidence and success going forward.

It’s that simple.

So perhaps your weight loss journey begins by first establishing a meditation practice instead of resolving to lose 20 pounds. Through a foundation of meditation you will connect with yourself, discover what makes you “tick,” and gain the self-understanding that is necessary to achieve any goal. Losing weight and being healthy are important, but inner peace and clarity are the essential first steps.

Help Us Help Children. Become a Youth Meditation Instructor.

Youth Meditation has served thousands of children across the Carolinas.

Here is how our program is helping kids… and teachers:

“There was a lot of conflict in my family but when she [YM instructor] taught us these techniques it was like opening another door to more peace within the family and not just conflict. Whenever anyone of us is having any kind of conversation whether something simple like what restaurant we are going to eat at or something serious it really helped us be together. Even my family is starting to practice meditation and we are just trying to be better together.” ~Olympic High School Student

“My mom and I had an argument on Friday. I realized I had been replaying that argument in my head until Sunday. When she called again I used the techniques she [YM instructor] gave me and we didn’t argue. We agreed to disagree, respected each other’s position and I realized that I didn’t keep replaying it.” ~Ashley Park Teacher

“When I got home I realized I had locked myself out of my house. I was tired and angry that I had done it. I used the breathing techniques and calmed down. I felt better and knew what I had to do. It wasn’t such a big deal after all.” ~Ashley Park Teacher

“I used my breathing when I was in trouble with my grandma. I was afraid that she was going to take something away from me because I didn’t let out the dogs like I was supposed to. I was upset so I used my breathing and I took out the dogs. I didn’t say anything so my grandmother calmed down and didn’t take anything away from me.” ~Ashley Park 5th grader

“Some girl called me a name at recess and I didn’t like it. I thought about calling them something back but instead I used my breathing. I felt better and he didn’t do anything.” ~Ashley Park 1st grader

Tantra Yoga: Relax Your Mind and Improve Your Love Life

Tantra – A loving and kind meditation

Love yoga, perhaps the most popular and yet most misunderstood of yoga teachings today, is a vast ocean of ancient wisdom for enlightening the Mind and Body.

Tantra can give you a new perspective, a new way of looking at yourself and at life, a new way of living in harmony with existence…for Tantra is not an intellectual proposal, it is pure experience.

Tantrica, Tantra or Sacred Tantric Practice, in its purest form, describes both the processes and methodologies for the resolution of all conflicts of opposites.

The word Tantra in Sanskrit, the sacred language of  Vedas, derives from the root word tan, which translates as “to extend, expand, spread, continue, spin out, weave; to put forth, show, or manifest.” Like the universe we inhabit, Tantra is continually expanding, spreading, and manifesting itself like a “cosmic weave,” made up of different energies. We are part of this weave, as are our forefathers and foremothers, all life, and every type of energy and matter. This includes thoughts, actions, and all physical matter.

Tantra says yes to life. It is not a belief or a faith but a way to live life wholly. On this path, pleasure, vision, and ecstasy are celebrated rather than repressed. It embraces and enhances all forms of creative expression, such as movement, breathing, meditation, massage, healing, dance and music.

This content was originally posted on our site in 2013.

Guru Ranjit is presenting a Couples Yoga Session as a Valentine’s Day Special!

February 14th, 2019 (Note New Date!)
6.30 pm to 8.00 pm

Charlotte Meditation Studio
725, Providence Road Suite 300
Charlotte, NC
725-277-6049

These are some of the concepts that can be realized through the session:

  • Love is not about better communication, it’s about connection.
  • You will never attain a closer relationship with your man by talking to him like you talk to one of your girlfriends.
  • Male emotions are like women’s sexuality. You can’t be too direct too quickly.
  • There are four ways to connect with a man: touch, activate, sex, and routines.
  • Men want closer relationships just as much as women do, but not if they have to act like women.
  • Talking makes women move closer; it makes men move away.
  • The secret of the silent male is this: his spouse supplies the meaning in his life.

3 Ways to Outwit Social Anxiety During the Holidays

Guru Ranjit Deora’s recent interview with Mitra Malek offers mindfulness strategies you can use to help avoid the pitfalls of social anxiety during this holiday season. 

Feel overwhelmed? Of course you do. That’s the downside to this time of year: gift shopping, house decorating, coordinating schedules, planning meals, attending events. It all adds up, leaving you riddled with anxiety.

“Anxiety during the holidays is much more than in ordinary life,” says master meditation teacher Guru Ranjit Deora, founder of Charlotte Meditation, which has a program focused on treating anxiety. “There are more activities happening in your personal life, your social life, your work.”

One major source is holiday get-togethers. They often spark anxiety because so much is in play, Deora says. “There are people who are shy. They are not outgoing. They think, ‘my sister-in-law is going to say something to me I don’t like.’”

Or someone might feel inferior, that they won’t be treated as an equal, a common family-dynamic struggle. They might think, “If I make a pie, maybe no one will like it,” Deora says.

And there are those who fear things that might not even occur to another person: “Oh no, I have to go to my friend’s house for Christmas. She has two big dogs. I’m not comfortable with dogs,” he says.

The list of triggers is endless. The steps to combat them, thankfully, is shorter.

Deora suggests using mindfulness: “thinking or doing something with a purpose in the present, without judgment.”

“If you think something is going to be a problem, how can you avoid or solve that problem?” Deora asks. “Anxiety is fear of failure in the future. We are worried about the future: What will happen? How am I going to take care of it? If you use your mindfulness, you can find a way to handle it.”

In sum, people often feel anxiety because they believe they can’t get a handle on something. “Your mind is working. The mind wants something to think about,” Deora says. “It is the job of the mind to think. Whether you think negative or positive, it’s up to you.”

Here are three mindfulness solutions to anxiety-ridden scenarios Deora has found common:

1. Be nice

 Anxiety inducer: You don’t get along with a family member.

Mindfulness solution: “Instead of expecting some sort of negative thing and worrying about it, be nice to that person,” Deora suggests. “If you’re extra nice, the other person will have an extra hard time not being nice.”

2. Listen

Anxiety inducer: Your friend’s friend demands lots of attention, always talking (let’s be honest: bragging, maybe even makings things up) about himself.

Mindfulness solution: “Listen, accept, let it go,” he says. “Purposely, just listen to the guy, accept whatever nonsense you think he’s saying, and let it go. Everybody wants to tell their own story.”

3. Make an effort.

Anxiety inducer: Your boss is a bear, always faulting you, and now you’ve got to spend out-of-office time with him at a party.

Mindfulness solution: “When the boss is nasty, you avoid him, and you don’t want to talk to him,” Deora says. “But you are creating more of a barrier. It’s better to engage.” And it can be simple: Start today, by walking by your boss’s office when you get to work. Say “good morning.” Say “good night” as you leave work. You’ll likely see a shift within two weeks, Deora says. If your runway before the office fete is much shorter, nourish your new habit during the festivities, going out of your way to say “hello” and “goodbye.” It’ll make the party more pleasant, and then you can reap the rewards of your cumulative effort in coming weeks.

This article was originally published at https://www.vitacost.com/blog/home-family/wellness/holiday-stress-and-social-anxiety.html

Journalist and yoga teacher Mitra Malek regularly writes and edits content related to personal health, including for Yoga Journal, where she was an editor. Learn more at mitramalek.com.

Managing Holiday Stress with Mindfulness and Gratitude

Starting around mid-November, my stress has a way of whirling itself into a tornado of chaos. So many things to prepare, to remember, to DO – people to reach out to, family relationships to manage, presents to buy, food to cook, errands to run! Traffic increasing, long lines at the store, bank accounts letting out more than they’re taking in… The tumult of the next six weeks is supposed to culminate in a joy-filled holiday break of reflection and celebration, infused with the spirit of giving. So HOW exactly do I maintain my peace in the midst of the madness? By finding the place inside of me where everything is quiet and still instead of expecting to find it outside of me, by depending on my own mindfulness practice of gratitude in the present moment.

Focused on gratitude, I ALLOW myself to feel the peace and happiness that accompany it. Guru Ranjit always says that stress is resistance within my body and my mind, so by ‘flipping the switch’ of my focus towards thoughts and emotions that are easy to embrace, I remove resistance and find a path of positive forward motion. When feeling resistance to an activity, I focus on performing the activity with all of my awareness, intentionally guiding myself towards thoughts of gratitude. For instance, when I resist the logistical nightmares of lining up multiple family gatherings and preparing adequately for each one, I guide my thoughts towards how lucky I feel to have so many loved ones with whom I share the holidays and how grateful I am that I have the resources to give gifts, food and time to these people that I love.

By releasing resistance within my body, I engage more fully in whatever task is at hand. At meals I focus on eating mindfully; I worry less about calories and instead appreciate the love and energy that has gone into every bite. During cleaning, cooking and running errands, I am mindful of my breathing. Most importantly, though, during all of my interactions, I speak and listen mindfully. Tense conversations and friction at extended family functions are an opportunity to be grateful for those you love and a chance to choose silence and a smile instead of jumping into the fray.

I find that when my heart is full of gratitude, kindness comes much more easily to me. I interact with others, focusing on the hope that they are loved, healthy, happy and safe. Self-care is easier with a heart and mind full of gratitude, and by practicing kindness towards myself, I have more to offer others. As Guru likes to remind me, I can’t give to others what I don’t already have within. That’s why true charity starts at home.

So this holiday season, when the stress rises to a fever pitch, I know to turn my attention first to my breath and then to my gratitude. Resistance fades as I let the happiness and peace associated with gratefulness roll in. Then I can focus on what I need to do and truly enjoy the ride to that joy-filled holiday break of reflection and celebration.

~Ashley Moye~

Weaving a Tapestry of Laughter and Joy around the Pillars of Your Life

Carrying Guru Ranjit’s words as inspiration, “Breathing and meditation are the two pillars of life that make the building solid,” I walked in to a local elementary school, excited to begin my first solo lesson of the fall as a certified meditation teacher. Representing Youth Meditation (the non-profit arm of Charlotte Meditation), I hoped to provide these children with tools they can use in order to build a solid life of clarity and peace. Instead, through my interactions with the first and second graders during my first week of classes I rediscovered another essential tool of my own – laughter and joy. By weaving these materials around my pillars of breathing and meditation, I infuse my entire life with a sense of safety, companionship and warmth.

In our Youth Meditation curriculum, we traditionally begin our eight-week sessions with laughter yoga, using the exercises to build an open environment where we can laugh and feel comfortable with each other, ready to have fun with the next eight weeks of practice. Laughter yoga has been around for thousands of years, beginning in India as a way to bring villages together – and yes, while there is something inherently awkward and uncomfortable about forcing foolishness with each other, the awkwardness almost immediately gives way into authentic laughter. By the close of a good laughter yoga session, I end up engaging completely, dropping reservations and finding delight in nothing but the joy of laughter with others. In my Youth Meditation classes, students who were initially reserved, nervous or withdrawn bloomed in front of my eyes as I gripped their hands and looked deeply into their eyes before breaking out in to a smile, chuckling with each other for no reason besides “it’s fun to laugh together.”

This experience with the children impacted me in a powerful way. As someone who has spent a large amount of time in a troubleshooting field, seeing errors and anomalies without even looking (four leaf clovers have always been an easy find!), I often struggled to see positives when a negative was present. Guru recommended the practice of intentional meditation so I practiced purposefully being aware of all things good, positive and right surrounding me instead of the things that weren’t. I was amazed at the immediate difference it made in my interior life and in the way that people related to me and felt in my company. So many wonderful things that were ALREADY present in my daily moments slipped outside my notice when I trained my attention on the failures of myself, the world and others for the sake of “continuous improvement.” I finally saw that the potential for laughter, joy and positive connections with others was present in every mindful moment.

I stand by Guru’s statement that breathing and meditation are the pillars of life – but my experience with my students reminded me that cultivating and maintaining laughter and joy is the next essential step.  If I weave laughter and joy around my pillars of breathing and meditation, I find myself surrounded by contentment and happiness. The positive is ALWAYS present, but I have to maintain openness within my mind and body in order to truly embrace it!

~Ashley Moye~