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Newsletter 1


We would like to welcome you to Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre, situated in Hout Bay, but not limited to a physical place.

The vision of our Centre is to facilitate the sharing of Ayurvedic knowledge and to make this accessible for the empowerment, enjoyment and improved health of all who are drawn to learn about it.

We offer Ayurvedic massage, massage retreats, Ayurvedic lifestyle and dietary counselling, medical evaluation and Ayurvedic yoga therapy teaching for individuals; as well as group workshops on the general Ayurvedic approach to healthy living (Doshas, Diet & Digestion) and more specifically, on massage (Give & Receive).

As we are moving into springtime, it seems appropriate that we launch our first newsletter.

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda means "the wisdom of life" in Sanskrit. It is a very ancient healing art which originated in the Vedic culture of India, yet remains equally relevant today, and is not limited to a particular culture or belief. It offers us a time-tested knowledge of all aspects of life. With Ayurveda we can gain a profound insight into how to live in harmony with nature and how to live a life without disease.

In Ayurveda food is considered the first medicine and often the first cause of illness too. Once we gain some basic understanding of correct diet for ourselves we become immersed in good health and lifelong vitality. In Ayurveda there is no "one diet fits all" - each of us are individual and require a unique diet. What we eat should also follow the seasons and the great cycles of our lives.

Central to understanding the Ayurvedic approach is the concept of doshas, which are the primary motivating forces in the Universe. Vata, Pitta and Kapha, respectively, are responsible for movement, intelligence and structure/stability.

The main attributes of Vata dosha are dryness and coldness (think of wind or air), of Pitta dosha is heat (think of fire) and of Kapha dosha is coldness and wetness (think of the earth) We are all made up of these biological humors in a unique combination which determines what we as individuals need to balance ourselves and what factors will cause "dis-ease".

Spring is an invigorating and exciting time of gusty winds bringing new possibilities. The crispness of the air is enlivening and bracing. However, it can also be a time of Vata imbalances because of the cold, the wind and the fluctuation in temperature and weather. (Change of any kind can be Vata aggravating.) We are particularly susceptible to Kapha imbalances too, due to the cold and the wetness.

As our external environment liquefies, so does our internal environment, aggravating kapha. Examples of kapha imbalances are: excesses of mucous, water retention, lethargy. Typical Vata symptoms of this time are anxiety and dryness (e.g. skin, joints, constipation, dry cough). Kapha and Vata both respond well to warmth.

Caring for yourself in the springtime

Dress warmly, have warm baths, spend evenings in front of the fire and practice regular self-massage with warm sesame oil. As food is one of the most important medicines in Ayurveda, at this time of year it is best to eat warm (temperature) and warming (effect) foods. Use the heating spices such as ginger, mustard seeds, chilies in your cooking. Soups are excellent but if there is an excess of mucous, dry foods such as vegetable bakes may be more beneficial. If Vata dosha is dominant, avoid excess cold, dry foods and if Kapha dosha is aggravated, avoid sweet, salty, cold, oily foods.


RED LENTIL SOUP for pacifying Vata and Kapha

1 cup red lentils

soaked overnight if possible. Rinse, cook in

5 cups water

until tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Set pot aside. Heat

2 tspn ghee or oil

in a pan. When medium hot, add

1-tspn cumin seeds

1-tspn black mustard seeds

1 pinch hing or asafoetida

2 bay leaves.

When mustard seeds start to pop, add

2 cloves garlic

and brown lightly. Lastly, add

1/2 tspn turmeric

and mix quickly. Stir this mixture into the soup, and then add

1/2 tspn salt.

Adjust thickness of soup according to taste. Boil for two minutes and serve over rice or with chapatti or bread.

Asafoetida/hing enhances proper and complete digestion, reducing gas and bloating. It also encourages secretion of progesterone. It is used ritually to banish negative energy.
Red lentils contain high levels of protein as well as calcium and iron.
Ghee is clarified butter, which is highly valued in Ayurvedic healing as a rejuvenative source, and it aids absorption.

Because we are all unique individuals, the suggestions we have given may not be suitable for your particular condition. If you would like to see someone for Ayurvedic lifestyle and dietary counseling, please contact the Centre.

Our upcoming activities for Oct 2003

Ayurveda - Doshas, Diet & Digestion, 11 October 2003
This one-day introductory workshop, offers simple tools promoting good digestion, which plays an important role in the maintenance of health in Ayurveda. You will be introduced to the five elements, the six tastes, agni (the digestive fire) and abhyanga (self massage) and some Ayurvedic recipes. No previous knowledge or experience is needed.

Ayurvedic Massage - Give & Receive, 17-19 October 2003
This workshop is focused on practical experience with Ayurvedic massage. You will practice basic movements for: foot, head, back, leg, and self-massage.
You will feel the effect of the treatments on your own body. Massage cannot be learned on an intellectual level as a technique. The body has to create a memory of receiving and giving touch. No previous knowledge of Ayurvedic massage is necessary.

Ayurvedic Massage Retreats, over 1, 3, 5 and 7 days
These retreats can be run on a half or full day basis. During this time, you will experience a variety of different Ayurvedic treatments. You can choose to have Ayurvedic cleansing techniques, to activate your digestive system and help eliminate toxins from the body. An Ayurvedic Massage retreat can be a deeply cleansing, pampering and balancing experience for body mind and soul.
A vegetarian lunch prepared using Ayurvedic principals will be served as well as drinks and snacks. We are happy to arrange your accommodation.

On behalf of the team at Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre, we wish everybody a healthy and inspiring springtime.

Margit and Samantha


Welcome to Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre