A warm summery welcome to everyone. We thank you for enriching our lives, for trusting us to care for you and for your support and interest during this past year.
It's the end of the year, the time in which we probably try to fit an impossible amount into our lives in our attempts to 'make the most of the holidays'. We want to do all the things we did not get a chance to do during the year. We want to make all our friends and family happy by spending more time with them, giving them carefully selected gifts, cooking for them.
Whatever our situation may be, this is an important time for returning to our Source after having spent so many of our resources, for finding ourselves again after loosing ourselves in our work. We need to rest and replenish our energy by nourishing ourselves with wholesome, life giving, sensual experiences such as spending time in Nature, eating Sattvic foods (see below), enjoying warmth and touch from friends and family.
There is a strong perception out there that holidays and celebration = loud parties, drinking, overeating, socialising and spending money. This may not be the way that all of us are restored to ourselves. This may be suitable for some of us but we can also be open to what we as individuals need, as this is revealed to us moment by moment by our 'messengers': emotions, intuitions, bodily sensations as well as all sorts of other signs. I find Louise Hay's affirmation particularly useful: "Everything I need to know is revealed to me".
The fluctuating qualities of the mind (gunas) are discussed below, as well as useful ideas for dealing with excess heat in the body. We hope, in this newsletter to help you to cope better with this very challenging time of year.
"The principal word for health in Sanskrit, svastha, means 'established in oneself.' Ayurveda, a pragmatic science, teaches living beings how to establish themselves in themselves.
Robert E. Svoboda
If I am on a journey towards more clarity and awareness, then, when I am not 'established in myself', there is a feeling in me that 'something is wrong'. That feeling of restrictedness or limitation is referred to in Sanskrit as duhkha. Sometimes it is translated as suffering, troubles or sickness. In order to understand duhkha, we need to understand the three qualities of mind (gunas) described by yoga.
TAMAS describes a state of heaviness, lethargy and slowness of thinking and feeling. When I am experiencing this quality, it is very difficult to make a clear decision or to take action. However, without tamas, I would not be able to sleep or rest.
RAJAS is a state of restlessness or raciness. When I am having this tendency, I want action, I want to create, I want to dance all night. It is rajas which moves our thoughts and feelings in a creative way.
SATTVA is a state of clarity and equilibrium. In this state, I am established in myself. Because of sattva I am conscious.
Whichever of the gunas is strongest in a particular moment, will express itself and suppress the others. Through the practise of yoga, massage or any other kind of mindfulness, I can become alert to the fluctuation of these tendencies. If I want to be free and independent, if I want to experience lightness and openness, then I need to cultivate a sattvic (balanced, light) state as much as possible. However, I may be addicted to drama, stimulation and excitement (rajas) even when the drama is a tragedy, so inevitably, I end up experiencing some kind of uncomfortable after-effect. Or I may be stuck in the quicksand of tamas because it is familiar and comfortable but nevertheless extremely limiting. Through these experiences and by being aware of myself, I will learn what helps me to be sattvic. Anything that raises my consciousness is sattvic for me.
Food that is pure, fresh, light, health-giving and soothing, such as ghee, organic milk, dates, rice with mung dhal, helps to promote a sattvic state. Food that is salty, acidic, sharp, hot, dry, spicy or stimulating, meat and alcohol is rajasic. Food that is impure, rotten, stale, leftover or preserved will tend to cause a tamasic state. We may need a certain small amount of rajasic food in order to stay active in the world but too much will increase mental unrest, agitation, and a critical attitude.
OVERHEATING & IRRITABILITY
At this time of year, we tend to overheat (sweating, sunburn, red rashes, itchy bites), and tempers may ignite more easily. Just like the veld fires which are fanned by wind and extinguished with cool water, an imbalance of pitta (Fire) can be increased with vata (Air/Ether) and pitta qualities, or pacified with kapha (Water/Earth) qualities. This is an illustration of the Ayurvedic principle that 'like increase like". Thus, doing something which is cooling, calming and soothing will reduce pitta, while activities such as: racing around being very active, drinking alcohol, eating meat while standing around the braai fire or eating too many hot, spicy foods will fuel the fire.
Here are some things that may help you to feel better and we hope that you will discover many more on this journey towards becoming 'established in oneself.'
SUGGESTIONS FOR COOLING DOWN:
CORIANDER - a cooling herb
Coriander improves appetite and tones the digestive tract. It helps to remove heat from the system, especially from the intestines and eyes. Coriander juice will immediately relieve any rash, whether due to allergies, insect bite or something else. Blend the leaves with a little water. Drink the juice and apply externally. Almost any dish will be beautified and enhanced with a sprinkling of fresh coriander leaves. The seeds can be fried in ghee along with the other spices for a dhal (lentil sauce).
Simply pour a cup of boiling water over a few fresh coriander leaves. Drink hot or cooled for a delicious and refreshing summer drink.
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice. Blend with
Blend until it is a paste. Makes one cup. It will last up to a week, sealed, in the fridge. Use chutneys to create a more satisfying wholesome meal using all six tastes. Try a little bit on your fork with each mouthful of your meal.
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 counselling, please contact the Centre.
Our upcoming activities for December 2003 - January 2004
Workshop: Ayurvedic Massage - Give & Receive, Module 1, 12-14 December 2003
This workshop is focused on practical experience with Ayurvedic massage. You will be guided in 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 is necessary. A vegetarian lunch prepared using Ayurvedic principals will be served as well as drinks and snacks.
Weekly Yoga classes
Please note that Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre will be closed from 23 December 2003 - 5th January 2004
On behalf of the team at Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre, we wish everybody a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday season.
Margit and Samantha
Welcome to Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre