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Short Break Ayurveda Yoga WeekendRetreat by

with The Yoga Barn©

A Few Proven Yoga Nidra Facts:
Yoga Nidra means Yogic Sleep. It is a state of conscious Deep Sleep. Yoga Nidra brings an incredible calmness, quietness and clarity. Yoga Nidra is one of the deepest of all meditations, leading awareness through many levels of mental process to a state of supreme stillness and insight.

A single hour of yoga nidra is as effective as 4 hours of sleep

Studies prove that Yoga Nidra has been used successfully to manage addiction, psychological disorders, insomnia, chronic arthritic, gastro-intestinal, musculoskeletal tension pain, migraine symptoms, bleeding & salivation during dental surgery etc. It is applied therapeutically for cancer and stroke patients

Pioneering educators are using the Yoga Nidra method as a means of increasing memory & learning function

The Benefits of Ayurveda:
Ayurveda, an ancient system of medicine, lifestyle and philosophy from India, remains a very useful health tool in today's world as a benchmark for a healthy lifestyle. "As we turn to nature to seek traditional help for modern diseases, an ancient traditional system of medicine from India, Ayurveda, offers a way to strengthen the body and prevent health problems using herbal remedies," says author Lim Wey Wen of Malaysia.  The main emphasis of the Ayurvedic lifestyle system is on preventing disease and maintaining good health. Ayurvedic practitioners use diagnostic techniques, such as examination of the pulse, tongue, face, lips, nails and eyes, to monitor the disease process. Long term lifestyle programs usually include an individualized diet, body detox through the use of fasting and enemas, meditation, yoga, counseling and spiritual therapy.
What is Ayurveda?

spices used for ayurvedic treatments
This treatment modality is thought to promote wellness and optimize overall health. Ayurveda should be used with, not in place of, standard cancer therapy.

What is Ayurveda and what does it involve? Ayurvedic medicine, similar to traditional Chinese medicine, is based on a life force and the pursuit of balance between the body, mind and nature. Illness is believed to be the absence of physical, emotional and spiritual harmony. Its emphasis is on preventing disease and maintaining good health. Ayurvedic practitioners use diagnostic techniques, such as examination of the pulse, tongue, face, lips, nails and eyes, to monitor the disease process. Treatment programs usually include an individualized diet, body detoxification through the use of fasting and enemas, meditation, yoga, counseling and spiritual therapy.

How is Ayurveda thought to promote wellness and optimize overall health?  Ayurvedic practitioners' goal is to bring about well-being, prevent disease and ensure harmony of body and mind by aligning patients' lifestyles with their personal characteristics and medical histories. Certain aspects of this healing system, such as meditation, massage and yoga, have been shown to enhance quality of life, reduce stress and tension and improve general well-being. Ayurvedic medicine's emphasis on self-care and prevention is consistent with many health maintenance programs designed to promote wellness and optimize health. Many of Ayurvedic medicine's principles can easily be used in conjunction with allopathic medicine.

What has been proven about the benefit of Ayurveda?  While Ayurveda is not recognized in the United States as a licensed treatment therapy much research is underway to study its efficacy. According to a report by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one clinical study showed that in 79% of cases, the health of patients with various chronic diseases improved measurably after Ayurvedic treatment. Laboratory and clinical studies have suggested that some Ayurvedic herbal preparations may have the potential to prevent and treat certain cancers, including breast, lung and colon cancers. However, randomized clinical trials in humans are needed to make conclusions about the role of Ayurveda in cancer prevention and treatment. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has added several Ayurvedic herbal compounds to its list of potential anticancer agents and has funded a series of laboratory studies to evaluate two Ayurvedic herbal remedies (called MAK-4 and MAK-5). Their decision was based on preliminary laboratory studies indicating that the two medicines significantly inhibited growth of cancer cells from human and rat tumors. However, until there is documented evidence from carefully controlled studies of the efficacy of Ayurvedic herbal remedies, the American Cancer Society urges cancer patients to treat their disease with proven methods of treatment. Ayurvedic health maintenance principles, such as yoga, meditation and counseling, can be used in conjunction with conventional cancer care safely.

What is the potential risk or harm of Ayurveda?  Some elements of Ayurveda, such as blood-letting, bowel purging and induced vomiting, have not been shown to have any benefit and can lead to serious medical complications.  Fasting and purging can speed up degenerative processes in cancer patients. There is very little known about Ayurvedic herbal medicines.  Check with a pharmacist or medical doctor before taking any medications.

Ayurvedic Treatments


spices used for ayurvedic treatments

Ayurvedic treatments differ from the majority of conventional cures in its unique approach towards healing. The principle of treating the sick and not the sickness is central to all forms of ayurvedic treatments. Rather than trying to cure a disease in isolatation, ayurveda takes into account an individual in his entirety.

"Samadosha samagnischa samadhatu malakriya Prasanna atma manah swastha itih abhidhiyate."

Having a balanced state of doshas, agni (digestive fire), dhatus (tissues) normal functioning of mala (waste products), cheerful state of atman (soul), sensory organs and mind are the symptoms of healthy life.

Ayurvedic treatments lay emphasis on examining the doshas/prakriti or the natural states of individuals before proceeding. The prakriti or the physical constitution, susceptibility to diseases, mental make-up and lifestyle of an individual is ascertained in accordance to the elemental constitution of the larger prakriti or the universe.

Of course, ayurveda has drawn the most comprehensive picture of human body and the natural world, saying that, the elements of the nature—the Panchamahabhuts: kshit (earth), ap (water), marut(air), tejas (fire), and vyoma (space or ether or akash), are also, the components of human body,which are manifested in three types of physic—kaph (water/earth), pitta (fire), vata (ether/ air).These three types are further recognized by ayurveda as tridoshas or the three faults—vata, pitta and kapha irregularities. The smooth functioning of the body is hampered owing to the imbalances in the three doshas (prakriti) causing all kinds of diseases.

Ayurveda takes into consideration the body, mind and soul of an individual as the unit for diagnosis. Hence, it recognizes negative emotions like anger, fear, insecurity, jealousy and greed as incorrect thinking on the part of an individual. These can directly create an imbalance in the doshas. Sattva, or peaceful equilibrium, rajas, or excessive activity and tamas, or inertia—the three tendencies or gunas of mind influence the imbalances in the three doshas. Hence the mind-body imbalance impairs the creative functioning of man.

Vata Prakriti/Type
Vata, which is identified with the cosmic element of vaayu or air and akash or ether, control all types of movements and is responsible for respiration too. This is the kinetic force in all kinds of biological forms, and controls the body's auto-functions (nerve impulses, circulation, respiration, and elimination and heartbeats etc.) therein. In case of an imbalance (vikruti), vata prakriti individuals, who are quick in their mental process and initiation of action, tend to suffer from diseases of the neurological system especially motor functions. The diseases are pronounced during the old age, which is the period of vata (vata kala). The disease mostly affects the lower parts of the body since they are the predominant seats of vata dosha. Also, individuals belonging to this type suffer from angina (hridgraha).

Pitta Prakriti/Type
Pitta Prakriti is consists of agni or teja, the element of heat energy. It is responsible for maintenance of body heat and transforming in nature. All types of outside elements an individual takes-in are transformed into inside elements (microcosm) of the body by pitta. It governs the digestion or proper assimilation of physical, mental and emotional elements of a biological entity. Hence, Pitta is responsible for metabolism in the organ and tissue systems, as well as cellular metabolism. The persons of this prakriti are sharp, quick in action and normally possess a very good intellect as well as grasping power. The pitta prakriti persons are prone to diseases of the digestive and metabolic systems. The diseases mostly affect the abdomen i.e. the area between the chest and umbilicus. Also, pitta disorders are pronounced in the middle ages, which is the period of pitta (pitta kala).

Kapha Prakriti/Type
Kapha prakriti or dosha consists of prithvi (earth) and jala (water). Jala or ap, is essential for sustenance of life. Prithvi, or earth, is responsible for structure and bulk of the material. Kapha is responsible for body form and structure (fluids, fats, bones and muscles). The kapha prakriti endows the individuals with a good physic and strong perseverance but they are slow in their activities. The cold quality of kapha results in poor appetite as their agni or digestion is poor. In case of an imbalance (vikruti), individuals tend to suffer from the diseases of the respiratory system especially phlegmatic disorders. The diseases normally affect the upper parts of the body i.e. chest and above. The diseases are pronounced during the early ages (childhood), which is the period of kapha (kapha kala). Generally people are a combination of two doshas i.e. dwandvaja prakriti. They possess characteristics of both doshas involved depending on the percentage of the combination. In this case, one is a primary and the other is the secondary dosha. Sometimes people are a combination of all the three imbalances of doshas. But, it is extremely rare to find a balanced state of all the three doshas. Not only the humans but also everything (animals, plants, geographical locations, times of day, seasons and activities performed etc.) in the universe is categorized according to these three doshas. An ayurvedic practitioner formulates a diet plan and recommends herbs for a patient after taking into consideration all these aspects. That's why in ayurveda different people with the same disease sometimes receive different diet and herb plans.

Effect of Seasons on the Prakriti Types
The condition of human body depends on the continuous interaction between internal and external factors. Environmental factors include the nature of the land, water and various atmospheric phenomena such as temperature, humidity, wind, rain and snow shortly, the seasons and climes. Food and proper digestion of it in our systems is considered vital to maintain a reasonable balance of the three doshas of vata, pitta and kapha. Food is digested by agni (heat/fire) within us just as it is cooked by agni (heat/fire) outside.

According to ayurveda, there is a "stimulus-response" relation between the agni within us and the outside agni—the sun. When the agni outside is strong (i.e. summer) the agni inside us (the digestive energy) is weak and vice-versa. Basing on this principle the Indian food customs (even festival delicacies) and of course, the diet and lifestyle regimen (Dinacharya and Ritucharya) of ayurveda have been adapted to seasonal changes.

Ayurvedic Remedies
Specialized ayurvedic remedies such as panchakarma, marma chikitsa, sirodhara or following an ayurvedic diet, basically endeavor to restore the harmony of the tridoshas. The purpose of all ayurvedic remedies and herbal medicines is to keep the doshas or the humors in equilibrium, since an imbalance indicates a disease condition. Samsodhana (cleansing process), samsamana (palliative measures) and nidanaparivarjana (treating the causes) are the three main stages through which ayurvedic remedies usually progress.

Of these three remedial phases, samsodhana is considered a prominent process and according to ayurveda, should be administered with full care. Panchakarma is synonymous with this process. In fact, panchakarma is a group of five ayurvedic remedies, all of which are not practiced in all diseases.

For additional information on Ayurveda:
Ageless Body, Timeless Mind. Deepak Chopra, M.D. New York, NY:  Harmony Books, 1993.
Ayurveda:  The Science of Self-Healing. Vasant Lad. Wilmont, WI:  Lotus Press, 1984.
Perfect Health:  The Complete Mind/Body Guide. Deepak Chopra, M.D.  New York, NY:  Harmony Books, 1991

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