monica's blog

Yoga and Meditation Techniques for Balance

Meditations are most effective when consistently performed. For this reason I believe, one minute meditations for all individuals is best. Everyone can meditate for one minute! Early morning upon awakening is best. If unable to meditate upon awakening, choosing the same time each day to meditate is best. After the habit is established I would increase the meditation and possibly change the time to suit proper doshic dinacharya. (Daily Routine based on doshas)

Vata in Satva is creativity and Joy. Meditation to deepen the expression of joy – Mantra – I am Ananda

Vata in Rajas is anxious and fearful. Meditation with mantra – Om Tara tu tare ture soha -to promote idea of speech, body and mind free of fear.

Vata in Tamas is Sadness and Grief.

Meditation with mantra –

Lokah samasta sukhino bhavantu.

May all beings everywhere be happy. To keep mind centered on others. Ultimately happiness for all will include person with Vata in Tamas. Can use Vanilla aromatherapy during meditation to dispel grief.

Pitta in Satva is spiritual and logical. Meditation, that includes alternate nostril breathing to keep balance of Ida and Pingala and maintain Pitta in Satva.
Pitta in Rajas is aggressive and competitive.

Meditation with mantra – I am Samtosha – I am content. In order to dispel rajas and induce feeling in mind of non-competitiveness because all is ok as is. Can use lavender aromatherapy during meditation to dispel aggression.

Pitta in Tamas is anger and Jealousy. Meditation with pranayama focused on Ida nadi to reduce pitta and Tamas. Cooling energy that flows through Ida will help dispel anger of Pitta.

Kapha in Satva is Love and compassion. Meditation with Kapalbhati to help promote drying and lightness in kapha and maintain Satva.

Kapha in Rajas is Greedy and sentimental. Meditation emphasizing practice of releasing greed. Mantra - I am Aparigraha (greedlessness).

Kapha in Tamas is depressed and lethargic. Moving meditation (Hatha Yoga) emphasizing practice of releasing the physical body. You are not the physical body. The physical body is merely a vehicle for the meditation. Can use Ylang Ylang, aromatherapy during meditation to dispel depression.

Ultimately, meditations for each dosha can be simple as long as:

Satu dirgha kala nairantarya satkara asevitah dridha bhumih

The practice is attained to for a long time with great effort, no interuption and with consistency and devotion. (rough translation)

To learn Meditation and Yoga, you can contact Susan at Haven Yoga in San Diego.

Please note that these are the personal views of the student, and, does not necessarily reflect the view of the college.

By Susan Connor, RYT, AWP(Haven Yoga)
Teacher- Yoga Therapy, Ayurvedic Nutrition, Meditation

Ayurveda and the Mind

By Dr. Nandini Daljit

In the Bhagvad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna “Surrender to me your mind and understanding(Bhagvad Gita, 8:7)”. It is here we see the Ayurvedic distinction of the mind as “that aspect of consciousness which receives impressions. For ease of example, the mind could be thought of as the equivalent of the central processing unit (CPU) of our computer which not only takes external energy (electricity) to sustain itself as the mind takes in prana and nutrients to sustain itself. but has the dual The experiences we encounter are processed (as though a software program sifts and sorts the experience) and this new input is now compared against and organized according to previous impressions (previous data) to so we can achieve and understanding of the experience. Once the experience is recognized as similar to a previous experience we achieve understanding. Our previously imprinted feelings and emotions of experiences of the experience are then attached to further elaborate our perception of the experience to our senses and our perceptions. “Understanding is that which defines impressions and gives them meaning (Kriyananda, p. 348)”.

Whereas in the Western view the mind is often determined to be located in the brain. According to Ayurveda the mind is a conscious flow of energy that originates in the heart and flows to the brain which creates thought and pervades the body which facilitates sensation, perception and experience. When the mind receives the impression the energetic experience of the event evolves from the heart where “the heart’ is used in a Western context to mean evolving from one’s feelings, true being or soul. The next logical question would then be what is the soul?

It is our identification with the encasement of our body which gives us our sense of self or ego. “The jiva, or soul , is individualized consciousiness: the infinite limited to, and identified with, a body (Kriyananda, p.305)”. Swami Yogananda explains that in the Bhagvad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna “Such is My lower nature (Aparaprakriti). Understand now, O Mighty-armed (Arjuna)! that My other and higher nature (Paraprakriti) sustains the soul (jiva), which is individual consciousness, and sustsans also the life-principle of the universe.” (Kriyananda, p. 305). If we accept that the soul, which is the true heart of the being, is the essence of the true being then we understand that the mind of the being emanates from the heart.

Continuing with the analogy of the computer, once the experience comes to the attention of the mind in the CPU it must now be deciphered through software. The mechanism for the software is Sadhaka Pitta. Sadhaka pitta gives momentum to the Manovaha srotas which are the channels of consciousness of the mind. When an experience is recognized in our mind, it has touched our heart and gained momentum from our Sadhaka pitta to move the energy of the experience through the Manovaha srotas. Mano vaha srota--the channels which carry thoughts, ideas, emotions, and impressions. In the analogy of the computer this could be considered data. Our mind then asseses the data for familiarity, determines level of understanding and then releases an emotional, perceptual or cognitive reaction.

When the Manohava srotas are insufficient, the affect of an individual can be reduced with lack or absence of emotion, energy and motivation that could result in depression. When the Manohava srotas are in excess, the mind and affect of the individual can become more animated, agitated or even anxious with thoughts and emotions ceasing to rest to the point where insomnia may be provoked. With the Manohava srotas being located in the heart and circulating in the heart, imbalances could affect heart fuctioning and cause imbalances in circulation of both blood and oxygen.

Analysis of Ayurvedic Herbs

By Jennifer Salvo,

Student

Using plants as medicine has been a mainstay of traditional societies around the world for dealing with health problems for thousands of years.

The Ayurvedic approach to harmony- using diet, lifestyle, and drugs (plants, minerals, and animal origins) was first written in the Caraka Samhita roughly 3000 years ago. It details preventative health and therapeutic measures to treat disease. Ayurvedic drugs were first chosen by experiment, intuition, and discussion among scholars and the therapeutic findings can be read in sutras. It is very important to take into account the dosage of the Ayurvedic drugs given. These herbs, minerals and animal products can be safe and very effective when taken correctly.

The patient must also understand that these drugs are not a “quick fix” and must be taken correctly over a period of time for the desired effects to be achieved. Also, they are most effective when combined with proper diet and lifestyle as well. Some drugs may be taken alone, but most will be given in formulations which promote and harmonize their respective actions. This results in a greater therapeutic effect then taking herbs alone.

Even though there are modern equivalent medicines for many Ayurvedic diseases and symptoms, the popularity of alternative medicine is growing in the west. Most are seeking different strategies for health care driven by the inadequacies of modern medicines to treat disease and chronic conditions.

The Three Doshas in Ayurveda

By Dr. Nandini Daljit,

Student- San Diego College of Ayurveda

At the cosmically determined time when Parusha meets the destined Atman our Prakruti is determined. Our individual Prakruti is our unique combination of the Pancha Mahabutas within our constitution - that is to say each of us as our own unique combination of the five elements of the Pancha Mahabhutas - those being ether, air, fire, water and earth. "Doshas are bio-energies composed of two of the great Five Elements (Pancha Mahabhutas) that govern our mind, body and spirit" (San Diego College of Ayurveda, Block 1 Module - Ayurveda 101, p.5/56). The three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

There are seven combinations of the doshas i.e., Vata-Pitta, Vatta-Kapha, Pitta-Kapha etc. The three Doshas can be considered as the three 'models' of body structure. In class we learned that dosha means fault and that our prakruti is our 'fault-line'. From a strengths-based perspective I would said our dosha or Prakruti is our state of natural balance and any deviation from that natural balance will result in dis-ease.

The Vata dosha (Vaya & Akasha) offers energy through movement and thus holds the Pancha Mahabhatus of Ether and Air. From the elements of ether and air the body is empowered with the energetic force of movement. Vata moves blood through the body (circulation), movement of the limbs and organs (mobility, respiration, pulse) and the movement of communication (nervous system, thought, perception). In terms of communication Vata informs the Tanmatra speech.

The Pitta dosha (Teja & Apa) brings transformative energy to the body through the Pancha Mahabhatus of fire and water. Pitta assists the body in converting raw energy and is tied to metabolism. Pitta brings fuel to the digestive fire through this conversion. Pitta informs the tanmatra of taste through the saliva and conversion of food to digestive enzymes.

The Kapha dosha (Prithivi & Apa) brings cohesion to the body and is resonsible for the buliding of muscle, connective tissue and fat. Kapha brings the Pancha Mahabhuta elements of earth and water to the body which contributes to form and mass. The Tanmatra of Kapha in terms of action is excretion which allows the body to elmininate those solids that no longer solve the body.

All bodies are in fact Tridoshic. We all hold elements of all of the Panch Mahabutas in our natural constitution of our Prackruti. The Vedas teach us that there are three potential sources of disease and suffering: Klesas (mind/body), Adhyatmakika (suffering caused by other living things) and, Adihidaivika (seasonal changesa and natural disasters). In maintaining balance of our Tridosha it is advantageous to consider all of these sources of imbalance collectively.

Often the quest for Tridoshic balance involves identification of obvious stressors that are external. As Vata is the primanry dosha of life - often it is through deep internal self-reflection that our doshas can acheive balance. In this regard

Yoga is an important part of Ayurvedic practice. "Yoga views of anatomy, physiology and psychology were originally formed by doshas (Frawley, 1999, p. 39). As we understand our doshas we also come to understand the specific practices of nutrition, sleep, physical activity, climate, nature, interaction and spirituality that connects our dosha and prakruti as a microcosm to the the universal macrocosm.

The protein myth

By R Mason
G Robinson
(Ayurveda Counselor Students)

My friend, it's time to give up the meat. I know you've heard negative things about red meat in the media, and I also know that you grew up in the same pro-meat culture I did, but let's take a serious look at what these messages mean.

The only pro-red-meat argument is cultural. There's not a scientist or doctor I know of today who is actively advocating the consumption of red meat, so let's first take Western science into consideration. Doctors have officially acknowledged that red meat leads to more health problems than health solutions, especially in modern animal agriculture, so let's make that easy decision to eliminate all the extra fats, cholesterol, and hormones from our diet to get out ahead of diabetes.

But let's also examine meat as a source of protein in general. The only reason meat gets a "pass" socially is that we've conditioned ourselves to believe that meat is the only good source of protein, but that belief is designed to sell you more meat rather than make you healthier. According to nutrition experts, the human body needs .36 grams of protein per pound of mass daily. This comes to 56 grams per day for the average man and 46 grams per day for the average woman, and this requirement is met in a single meal that includes meat. This protein intake should be spread out throughout the day, and too much protein gets stored in the body as excess fat. To ward off diabetes, you need to make protein choices that are more beneficial for the body and reduce meat proteins.

Besides being simply too much protein, let's examine the energetics of meat-based protein. Energy affects us all--we've all been in a room in which the energy changes with the addition of a single person--and food is no different. Plant-based proteins come from positive, "growth" energy in nature and are sattvic to the consumer. Animal-based proteins carry all the negative energy of the process by which they arrive on our plate, from the inhumane treatment of the animals in their agricultural environment to their inhumane slaughter and subsequent dismemberment and delivery. When we consume meat, we consume all that negative energy and deplete our prana, thereby making it harder for our bodies to heal and find balance.

So let's beat this diabetes threat and find a food plan that meets your protein requirements in a way that promotes the natural healing your body is capable of.

In Ayurveda we believe food has the power to heal. Food can be medicine. There is a life giving energy that flows through you and throughout the rest of creation that connects us to the Divine, and that same Supreme Intelligence also manifests through Mother Nature and all her bounty. By living in communion and harmony with your soul and nature, God provides everything you need to live a balanced, satisfying and healthy life. It is your choice to make whether who want to live in sync with the natural flow or in opposition to it, but if you have some faith and determination, a higher power will offer further clarity and also help grace your efforts. I can attest from personal and shared experience, you can live and function and do so quite well without eating meat.

If you do not want to give it up entirely, I assure you that you do not need to eat it everyday and if you do this, you will also feel better overall. It may take some time and experience to fully realize for yourself that the need to eat meat regularly for sustenance is a lie perpetrated collectively, in large unconsciously, by the society in which we live and sustained by a pattern you have followed your entire life, but there is another way, and if it means furthering your life rather than diminishing it, I hope you are willing to try something fresh.

You are what you eat and also how well you are able to digest it. Food that is life giving and full of the nutrients you need comes straight out of the earth. When you consume meat, you are attempting to gather all those nutrients but through a dead animal that already digested and assimilated a plant’s vitality, so your body is really doing a lot of extra work for scraps. Meat also takes a lot longer to digest than plant based food and the longer food sits in your GI tract, the more prone you make yourself to sickness and the more sluggish you’ll be feeling overall, because energy you could be using to live you life is tied up in extracting nutrients from dead flesh. Think about it.

What feeds your craving to eat more meat is that you’re eating too much meat, and now you have become prediabetic. If you can taper the meat, you will not have to crave it in the same way. Give your mind and body something new to expect, it is possible, and with that some of the sentiments you hold onto tightly will dissipate as well.

So if we can start preparing more plant based food that is rich in prana, the life giving energy I’ve been alluding to, we can try to correct the digestive impairments in your body that have surely arisen from over consumption of meat and processed foods causing toxins to accumulate and making you prone to chronic illness. In essence, you are not a meat eater, you are not a sick person, but you are a divine soul in an organic vessel, and nature’s whole ingredients have the power to heal your body.

Ayurveda and the Feminine- Book

Ayurveda and the Feminine book has been published both in printed and ebook format via Kindle in April 2020.

A practical guide to ancient rituals and practices of Ayurveda, Vastu, mantras, meditation and creation of altars to invite healing and balance to a woman's life. Written by Monica B Groover, director of Narayana Ayurveda and Yoga Academy in Austin, Texas, who has been helping women as an Ayurveda Practitioner for over a decade.

Would you like to read a preview of my book Ayurveda and the Feminine for Free? Here's a link. #ayurvedafeminine

https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_nzyTEbV...

Creation of Ayurveda Formulas (Bhashajya Kalpana)

By Dr. Mithun Baliga
(Ayurveda Practitioner Student)

Bhaishaja Kalpana, Creation of Ayurveda Formulas is the art of processing of different therapeutic compounds together as a formulations. It is one of the most important aspects of Ayurveda. Ayurvedic dravya and “herb” as in western herbology are very different things although the general public think the word herb encompasses all non-allopathic/ CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) compounds.

Dravya includes not just plant-derived herbs but also animal derived substances like honey, milk, horn etc and inanimate products like metal ashes, mineral products like Shilajit etc. Not just the source as seen above but the journey that the dravya undergoes from its source until it enters the client’s body is very different in ayurvedic terms compared to western herbology.

Let’s look at the western perspective first. The focus is on extracting the active compound from a herb. This was mainly a way to preserve the degradable flowers and leaves. Either alcohol or oils were used for this as needed. This progressed on to specifically extracting the compound responsible for the therapeutic action, from the herb. The extracted ingredient could then be standardized and marketed and made accessible easily (due to standardization). Eg: turmeric. The active compound cucurmin can be extracted and purified, and standardized and sold. On the surface, this makes perfect sense. If cucurmin is the ingredient that gives turmeric its demonstrable benefit, then let us take that ingredient, concentrate it and ingest it for maximum benefit.

In contrast, Ayurveda takes a very different view. Ayurveda believes that the effects of a herb does not come from any one single ingredient that it contains but rather from the many different substances that are present in the herb. Some cause the main effects, some others potentiate it, others help in its absorption, yet others work synergistically with the body by helping in related conditions etc etc. So, Ayurveda will try to transform the entire turmeric root (the whole herb) into a product that can be consumed. This is the fundamental difference between Ayurveda and western herbology and all further differences stem from this in one way or another.

One of the results of this difference is that it is extremely difficult to prove the effectiveness of Ayurvedic herbs/preparation in clinical trials and studies. The inability to accurately list and quantify all the active ingredients and their individual and interactive actions (both good and bad) has been and still is a stumbling block when it comes to publishing studies. This lack of robust studies in Ayurveda will always be a problem when we try to compare it to western herbology. It is far easier to study/prove/publish about a single extract in in vitro, in vivo and human studies than it is to study/prove/publish about a whole herb product that might have many known and as yet unknown ingredients responsible for the herb’s overall effect.

Another big difference is that Ayurvedic herbs and kalpanas do not stand alone by themselves like a “one size fits all” solution. The very science of Ayurveda takes into account the individual’s dosha, state of agni, dhatus and srotas and the gunas and karmas of the dravya before picking the right dravya for the client. The concept of the 5 mahabhuta makeup of all things, the 10 opposing gunas of things play a very important role in matching dravya to client. Along the same lines, the delivery of the dravya using what is called an anupana is another key aspect of therapy. This again is not included in western herbology. Eg: Turmeric capsule has no specific instruction on how to take it whereas the turmeric recommended by an Ayurvedic practitioner will include instructions to take it in milk or to add it in the hot oil while cooking.

Bhaishaja Kalpana can be used as extensively as one’s practice allows. We should start by from the very first step. Proper sourcing of the dravyas, which is again an aspect of Bhaishaja Kalpana should be used by us all. Even though we are not personally collecting the herbs, checking and making sure that the companies we recommend do their sourcing according to recommendations of the scriptures is our first step. The production of the individual kalpanas have to be according to the “recipes” recommended in the appropriate texts. This is our job as the practitioner to check. We can extend the use of Bhaishaja Kalpana in our practice by making for ourselves some of the simpler products according to the proper guidelines. With enough knowledge and experience, by using Bhaishaja Kalpana, we can recommend the right anupanas and combinations to match our individual client’s prakruti and needs

Art of creating Ayurvedic Formulations

By Leah Cruz
(Ayurveda Practitioner Student)

Bhehsaja Kalpana is the formulation of plant and animal-based substances to create medicines that can have a therapeutic or medicinal effect.

This has come from an ancient Ayurvedic practice that has been practices and used for hundreds of years.

Creating these complex formulation is more technical then just combining a few herbs that have similar healing properties to help cure a illness or disease. This is because each dravya contains several properties that can determine the effects the dravya has in and on our bodies.

These are the rasa, virya, vipaka, gunas, and prabhava of the dravya. Depending on the classification of each property listed above will affect the outcome it will have once inside the body. These unique properties also determine the effects the herbs will have on the doshas, dhatus, srotas, and manas. Because each herb is so complex is why when one starts to combine more then one herb together there must be meditative intention behind it. There is a fine line between a dravya or kalpana becoming a poison or a remedy, the determination being the dosage and how it is administered.

Changes that have occurred in bhesajha kalpana and Ayurvedic practices in the modernization of them. In today’s modern practice of Ayurveda and bhesajha kalpana certain herbs and dravyas are becoming harder to obtain from limited scoring or scarcity of botanical species.

Because of this rareity of some dravyas, ancient formulation are being compromised by substitution of more available herbs. This can be problematic when determining if the kalpana effectiveness is a potent as the classical formulation. Another area that has been altered is that unintended chemicals and additives are being put into the kalpanas in order to prolong shelf life, make more palatable for the consumer, and cost effective for the manufacturer. These foreign ingredients could have negative impacts on the efficiency of the kalpanas and how they react in our bodies. With the demand in modern times for natural healing substances, kalpanas are becoming more popular to the masses. Because of this demand some manufacturers are taking short cuts in the growing, harvesting and manufacturing of these kalpanas.

The ancient texts believed that a drayva purity is only as good as the optimal and auspicious environment it is grown and stored in. When one of these aspects are changed the potency and auspiciousness of the dravya is compromised. The manufactured need to be conscious and aware of the integrity of the whole herb. Modernization has also tried to extract the medicinal compound from the plant. But the ancient viadyas believe that the whole plant is necessary because there are other compounds in the plant that help deliver the herb more compatibly into our tissues.

When the compounds are extracted this benefit is lost from the dravya.

I feel that in other countries besides India Ayurveda and bheshaja kalpana is still a new practice. We try to modernize there ancient methods to make it more easily available for the consumer. But we have to realize that there are several aspects and intentions that go into the plant in order to allow for the medicinal qualities to be produces and for a specific medicinal outcome of occur. Plants are a living things that contains energy and karma that can change or be altered depending on this external environment, just like us. This can’t be overlooked as a small thing, because these factors can change the medicinal qualities of the plant and herb.
Another point mentioned in the articles that has diminished from bhesajha kalpana is the energetic intentions that the grower, manufacturer, and customer have with the kalpana.

In ancient times yanga (rituals) and mantras (chanting) you go along with the growing, harvesting, preparing, and delivering to the client. This would ensure that auspiciousness energy would be delivered onto the plant and herbs to be carried into the client to ensure healing. This ancient ritual seems to be becoming lost in the modern need to produce kalpanas in shorter time spans for the customer. In the modernization and standardization shelf life and palatability for the customer has become increasing important. In order to make these two concerns possible some ancient methods have been altered or forgotten.

The use of anupanas to help deliver the dravya or kalpanas into the tissues of the body for efficiently are being used less and less. Vati or gutikas are more desirable to the customer because one can take the kalpanas quickly and without tasting them. This can affect the outcome of the dravya, because rasa and anupana are essential and necessary aspects that the body needs to ensure that the body is responding to the karma effects of the herbs.

Another downfall of modern Ayurvedic Formulations is that the dosage is being standardized to a uniform or general recommendation. But Ayurveda believes that when determining the dosage, it is unique to each person. The disease, dosha, quality of health, age, and agni must all be considered before determining the correct dosage, in order to give the desired medicinal effect. All these points are essential and important when using dravyas as healing products.

It is an amazing thing that the need for more all-natural approaches to health and healing illness has become an essential need in society. Plus with the availability of knowledge and accessibility of products Ayurveda and kalpanas can be made available to people all over the world. But we need not to overlook or forget the ancient practices and methods for creating herbal formulation.

Because these are time proven methods that can shown to result in auspicious healing results. We need to focus our intentions of carrying on the ancient methods while making it more accessible to the consumer. With the consciousness of the people becoming a individual priority I believe that this need for natural healing will grow as well.

Ashwagandha-how to take it

In my practice as an Ayurvedic Practitioner, I have noticed almost everyone who is listing their supplements on the intake forms, mention Ashwagandha.

A part of me is delighted Ashwagandha has become so popular in USA, that even nutritional supplements, smoothie mixes are adding it in.

The practitioner in me is a little concerned because Ashwagandha is heating and has indications and contraindications just like any herb. I have heard students say Ayurvedic supplements have no contraindications. This is absolutely untrue.

Ayurvedic supplements can harm when taken incorrectly. And, yes, there are definitely contraindications.

It is better to take a supplement after visiting a Practititioner.

Problem is when people buy things online they either have no idea of doses, or, anupana (see below), or what time of day to take it.

They take Ashwagandha when convenient with food.

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, supports Thyroid, energy, stress, anxiety, respiratory tract AND aches and pains.

It is also used in conjunction with other dravya for other imbalances.

However, for each of those situations doses differ, anupana differs, time of day differs and there are certain dietary restrictions also.

Anupana means vehicle that helps deliver the herb and helps in its absorption.

I have listed how Ashwagandha has to be taken with different anupanas at different times below. Please visit your Ayurveda Practitioner before you start taking any Ayurvedic supplement.

1. Supporting Respiratory tract--Ashwagandha with Honey and Tulsi Tea.
Time of day - 6-10 AM, 6-10 PM.
2. Supporting Stress/Anxiety-Aswagandha with Tulsi tea (Not suggested for Pitta. For pitta add Brahmi also)
Time of day 2-6 PM (1-2 hours after meal)
3. Generalized aches and pains-Ashwagandha Ghrtam (ghee), topically as Ashwagandha tailam. (Ashwagandha cooked in sesame)
4. Supporting Neurological imbalances- Not given alone. Can be suggested in conjunction with Jatamansi and/or Brahmi.
Anupana- Tulsi Tea
5. Supporting Thyroid- Ashwagandha with Kanchanar Guggulu before meals
6. Supporting Menstrual Imbalances-Ashwagandha with Shatavari and Turmeric golden milk
7. Supporting Arthritis-Ashwagandha boiled in milk twice a day
8. Supporting low energy- Ashwagandha boiled in milk. May be given with Shatavari.
9. Supporting insomnia-Ashwagandha, Bhringaraj and Brahmi with warm Golden milk(with turmeric, nutmeg, poppy seeds) one hour before bed.

You can contact Monica Groover at Ayurveda South Austin.
https://www.ayurveda-wellness-center.com/

Disclaimer: Ayurveda is a complimentary health system and NOT recognized in the West. Ayurveda practitioners are NOT allowed to prevent, treat or cure any disease. Please contact your physician if you have any health issues. The article above is for informational and educational purpose only.

Sanskrit for Ayurveda practitioners

By Dr. Mithun Baliga (Ayurveda Counselor Student)
and Lori Black

Sanskrit is the spoken language of the Devatas or Demigods, according to Vedas. Samskrtam is said to be the oldest language known. Sanskrit is such a language rich in meaning, oftentimes there is no equivalent translation of the depth in which a word or sentence may be expressed through its context. Any student who is interested in Ayurveda will inevitably turn to the Briyat Treya.

Once we realize how simplified modern translations are of the ladened meaning meant to convey, we find a desire to understand the classics a bit more. We decide to dig into what Sushruta was trying to say; or how Patanjali could say so few words by present a meaning so in-depth. Not to mention the mantra of Sanskrit traditionally is what has supplanted the classics when there were no written versions available.

We look at the history of Ayurveda and see how there was a time when Indians were precluded from possessing the texts for fear of political retribution. Therefore, memorization was often accomplished through mantra; teaching was accomplished through mantra. As it seems so appropriate that any student who is serious about Vedanta, Ayurveda or any of the amazing Indian philosophies once must embark on the quest of deepening their preliminary understanding to even peek at what is revealed from the heart of the Gods.

Ayurveda is an ancient science believed to have divine origins. The language of the time was Sanskrit. Hence all the original texts are written in that language. Of course, we now have a translation in various languages. So we can ask certainly as the question: what is the importance of Sanskrit to Ayurveda practitioners? since everything is now available in English. It is important for many reasons.

1. The arrangement of information is the texts are in poetic form. This was to facilitate memorization which is easier why set to rhyme and meter. This poetic way of delivering information has to be interpreted correctly in the original language it was written(as in all poetry). Otherwise, errors can occur.

2. Sanskrit is an original stand-alone language, meaning it has no borrowed words. So, many times it is not possible to find exact equivalent words in other languages like English. Eg: the word dosha. The closest translation could be "a fault" but we know that "a fault" is not what we mean when we say dosha in Ayurveda. For this reason, Ayurvedic practitioner has to have at least a rudimentary knowledge of the language so that they can use those Sanskrit words correctly and with confidence.

3. Some aspects of Ayurveda involve invoking mantras and or salutations. Although these can also be translated, again their inner meaning is lost. To recommend these forms of adjuncts to therapy, the practitioner may find the knowledge of Sanskrit helpful.

4. As a diagnostic tool: Although not used nowadays, in the past the ayurvedic practitioner would ask the patient to read out the syllables of the Sanskrit language. By observing the pronunciation and speech patterns, they would diagnose the patient's issues.

5. At a higher level, the Sanskrit language has divinity in itself. The syllables have a deeper meaning and specific combinations have different effects and strengths. Chanting Vedic and other hymns are known to bring about profound changes in the physical body as well as the mind and for spiritual progress.

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