May Week-by-Week

WEEK ONE: According to ayurveda, we are right now in Kapha season — which runs from March to June. At this time, there is a heaviness and coldness in the atmosphere that makes people more vulnerable to allergen reactions and other respiratory issues. Add to this work-pressures and failure to observe a regular routine, and you're a sitting duck for disorders and bugs.

This month, control your Kapha to make sure you stay healthy. There are very simple ways you can do this. To begin with, follow a diet that favors bitter, astringent and spicy food groups — these will help detoxify your body and balance your Kapha dosha with more fire and air elements.

Devote this week to cooking light. The ideal method is to sauté spices lightly in ghee, then add fresh seasonal vegetables and cook until done. The best grains during this time are light ones, like millet and barley. Good greens include spinach, kale and chard. Maharishi Ayurveda's premium spice blends, which include all six ayurvedic tastes, will not only make your cooking job much easier, but also add aroma and flavor to the simplest of dishes.

WEEKEND: Continue your intake of light, warm foods this weekend. This is a good time to try new flavors. Drink warm liquids throughout the weekend, and your system will flush out mucus build-up more efficiently. An easy and exciting recipe for you to try this weekend:

Nourishing Mung Dhal

WEEK TWO: Make it your goal to watch the sunrise every day of this week. The period up to 6:00 a.m. is Vata time, when there is a freshness and purity in the air. Rising at this time will help you take advantage of the morning's energizing atmosphere, and you will feel active and creative all day. After 6:00 a.m., Kapha dosha takes over — and anyone who has slept till late and awakened with a headache knows that waking up in the Kapha hours is not a good idea.

Even if you cannot watch the sunrise every day of this week, try to do it at least thrice. The secret to early rising? Sleep early! Going to bed before 10:00 p.m. brings you quality rest, because that period is again dominated by Kapha, which is associated with tranquility and heaviness.

WEEKEND: Ayurveda believes we humans are an integral part of the entire universe, but in chasing material objects and goals, we forget this basic, healing connection. In deference to this beautiful theory, spend this weekend close to nature. Step out into the yard, or take a stroll in a nearby park. Watch the birds, the blossoms and the blue skies. Connect with the earth through gardening. By the time you're ready for Monday, you will realize you have connected not only to nature's creations, but also to yourself.

WEEK THREE: If it feels good, overdo it, says a popular poster. This week, don't overdo. Moderation in everything is a key ayurvedic maxim. Be it exercise, food or entertainment, get a reasonable amount of everything. Avoid second helpings. Switch off the TV instead of surfing aimlessly. Stop jogging when you start feeling out of breath or tired. In setting these small limits, you will work toward the ayurvedic goal of balance. It is hard to practice moderation on a continual basis, but if you do it in week-sized chunks, you will soon discover how good it makes you feel.

WEEKEND: Ayurveda has always recognized that the human heart is really two hearts: the physical heart that performs the function of a pump, and the emotional heart that experiences joy and sorrow and everything in between. The two aspects of the heart are intimately related — one cannot be healthy if the other is not.

A recent research study shows that Americans need to nurture their emotional hearts. It is estimated that over 17.5 million Americans are affected by prolonged feelings of sadness, and 9.2 million have a major problem in this area.

This weekend, nourish your emotional heart by keeping the company of family and good friends. Instead of disturbing your senses with news of disaster and death from the newspaper, wake up to an inspirational, soothing piece of music. Ayurveda also has a treasury of potent herbs that can improve overall heart health. The Blissful Joy formula contains Arjuna and Ashwagandha, two such potent herbs for emotional stability.

WEEK FOUR: Focus on your breakfast. Years of research have established that those who eat breakfast regularly live longer, regardless of the kind of breakfast they eat. Even better, of course, is to eat a breakfast for balance — a stewed apple or pear, and maybe some cooked cereal. A California study found death rates were 40 per cent higher for men and 28 per cent higher for women who rarely or sometimes ate breakfast. Other studies indicate that a nutritious, high-protein breakfast will keep your blood sugar levels at a consistently high level during the day, and fill you with energy and a sense of well-being.

These modern findings are nothing new to ayurveda, which discovered many thousands of years ago that a good breakfast is one of the pillars of good health. Supplement your nutritious diet with a powerful supplement like Amrit, and you get not only energy, but also strengthened immunity.

WEEKEND: Spread the good word! Introduce a friend to ayurveda and its practical lifestyle guidelines. An excellent way to do this would be to cook a light ayurvedic meal and invite your friend to share it. Or chat about your new revitalizing resolutions as you work on your respective yards. Email the newsletter to a friend who might enjoy reading this article and others like it. You could also think up a healthful surprise gift — say an herbal neck-wrap, a bottle of ghee or an aroma diffuser.

WEEK FIVE: Nancy Lonsdorf, M.D., likes to quote a Vedic proverb: "What you see, you become." Most of us become so engrossed seeing and chasing outside objects and goals, we forget to be ourselves. One way to get back in touch with yourself is to go low-tech this week. Switch off the television, hide the alarm clock and turn down the car stereo. If you cannot imagine life without technology, go in slow steps. For instance, don't sit glued to the TV for two hours in the evening — watch it for only 20 minutes. Sleep 30 minutes early so you don't need an alarm clock to wake you up with a start. Don't use your cell phone while driving unless absolutely necessary. Tuning out outside noise will help you tune in to yourself.

Watch for more week-by-week resolutions in our next issue.

YOU'RE VITALLY ALIVE IF:
  • You don't feel an energy slump during the day
  • You don't know what boredom is
  • You sleep like a child
  • Your movements are graceful and free of strain
  • Your speech is clear and expressive
  • Your face reflects health and natural radiance

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.