Physical Health

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multicolored leaves XSmallIn Ayurveda the fall season corresponds to two major doshas: Pitta and Vata. Autumn is considered Pitta as long as hot weather prevails, and Vata as it becomes cold. Late fall and winter are known as “Vata season” because they are marked by some of the same qualities that characterize Vata: cold, dry, light, clear, and moving.

As long as these qualities are in balance, a person whose dosha is predominantly Vata will be healthy, creative, and exuberant. But when too much Vata accumulates in the body and mind, the imbalance may manifest as physical or emotional disorders, including insomnia, dry skin, arthritis, constipation, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression.

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All body types are vulnerable to Vata derangement during autumn and winter, but those who are predominantly Vata types need to be particularly vigilant about staying in balance. Here are some practical ideas to keep you grounded and vibrant during the cold months ahead.

Follow a Vata-pacifying Diet

  • Ayurvedic spicesEat foods that are warming, fresh, and well cooked; avoid dry or uncooked foods (especially salads and raw fruits and vegetables).
  • Drink lots of warming liquids such as hot water and herbal teas to prevent dehydration. You can prepare a fresh ginger tea by placing a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger into a pint  thermos  bottle and filling it with hot water.
  • Eat more of the sweet, sour, and salty tastes and less of the bitter, astringent, and pungent ones. Avocados, bananas, mangoes, peaches, lemons, pumpkins, carrots, beets, asparagus, quinoa, rice, mung beans, almonds, sesame seeds, and ghee are a few excellent Vata-pacifying foods.
  • Don’t worry if your appetite seems stronger than usual as this is a natural tendency in winter and helps pacify Vata. At the same time, of course, don’t eat to the point of discomfort.

Nourish Your Senses

  • Wear clothing made with soft fabrics in earth tones and mild pastel shades, which calm Vata.
  • Stay warm. Vata is a cold, dry dosha, so it’s important to make sure that your home and work place are well heated and that the air has enough humidity. Since Vata is extremely sensitive to moving air, it’s wise to avoid drafts or sitting near fans or ventilators.
  • Give yourself slow, gentle self-massage in the morning or before bed. Use a nourishing, warming oil such as sesame or almond. You may also want to gently rub a drop of sesame oil inside your nasal passages, which tend to become dry during winter. Find  instructions for performing an ayurvedic self-massage here.

Sleep and Restful Awareness

• Get enough sleep! This is vital for Vatas, who tend to push themselves to the point of physical or mental exhaustion. Read more about creating a restful sleep routine here.

• Learn to meditate. For the overactive Vata mind, meditation is one of the best ways to find calm and stillness. The Chopra Center recommends and offers instruction in a powerful practice called Primordial Sound Meditation, a mantra-based meditation rooted in the traditions of ancient India.

Interested in more mind-body wellness tips?

Subscribe to the Chopra Center’s free online newsletter, Agni, combining timeless wisdom with cutting-edge information that will help you get into the best mind-body shape of your life. Click here to sign up for Agni and visit our rich archive of past issues.

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Get into the Best Mind-Body
Shape of Your Life!

Go to the Newsletter home page here.

The Answer is Inside!WayneDyer_Video_Ad_July2010

In this month’s Agni Light, we invite you to:

Share a special meditation with David Simon

Meet the Masters! Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra and David Simon

Listen to a guided meditation led by davidji

Enjoy a replay of this month’s teleseminar featuring David Simon and davidji

banana bunch

When the weather is hot, your agni or digestive fire is naturally low and you may find that you appetite is decreased.  Respect this change by not overeating. Favor cool food and drink, but not ice cold. Your body will want more liquids in hot weather, but it is important not to douse the digestive fire by drinking cold liquids after a meal.  To keep your Pitta dosha in balance, favor sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes and reduce sour, salty, and pungent ones. Read this week’s earlier post on balancing Pitta dosha to learn more.

This recipe for banana-cocoa mousse is a delicious way to satisfy your sweet tooth, nurture your body, and refresh your spirit during the hot days of summer.

Banana-Cocoa Frozen Mousse

Serves 8

4 whole bananas (very ripe), cut into 1-inch pieces and frozen
12 ounces low-fat silken tofu, firm or extra firm, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons organic chocolate syrup, sweetened with natural sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch ground cloves
Toasted coconut flakes
Sliced almonds

Place the bananas in a food processor or blender and pulse until almost smooth. Add the tofu and chocolate syrup. Pulse until combined, then add the maple syrup, vanilla, and cloves. Continue to blend until the mousse is completely smooth. Pour the mousse into a freezer container and place in the freezer for one hour (until firm). Take the mousse out of the freezer 15 minutes before you plan on serving. Scoop out into small bowls and garnish with toasted coconut flakes and sliced almonds. You can store the mousse in a tightly covered container in the freezer.

Nutritional Facts per ½-cup serving
Calories 129, Total fat .9 g, Saturated fat .2 g, Carbohydrates 33.5 g, Protein 4.3 g

Interested in more ayurvedic recipes and mind-body healing tips?

Subscribe to the Chopra  Center’s free online newsletter, Agni, combining timeless wisdom with cutting-edge information that will help you get into the best mind-body shape of your life. Click here to sign up for Agni and visit our rich archive of past issues.

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While the sweet spot of the universe – the Chopra Center’s home in Carlsbad, California – is just emerging from a spell of unseasonably cool, mild days, much of the U.S. and Northern Hemisphere is in the midst of a full-blown Pitta season, with sunny days and intense heat that increase Pitta dosha in the body, mind, and emotions. In Ayurveda, Pitta is the mind-body principle of fire and water.

If you accumulate too much of this fiery dosha, you are likely to experience irritability, impatience, jealousy, skin rashes, acne, heartburn, hemorrhoids, or digestive problems. All mind-body types are vulnerable to Pitta imbalances in the summer, but if Pitta is your predominant dosha, it is particularly important to follow a balancing routine to maintain your naturally sweet, joyous, and radiant nature.

To keep Pitta in balance in your physiology, make choices that are cooling, sweet, and stabilizing:

  • Follow a regular daily routine.; be careful not to create unnecessary time pressures.
  • Favor foods that contain sweet, bitter, or astringent tastes. Learn more about the six tastes of Ayurveda here.
  • Include many cooling foods in your diet, such as cucumbers, sweet fruits, and melons.
  • Favor cooler colors in your clothing and environment, such as blue, green, and silver.
  • Give yourself a daily self-massage using cooling oils such as coconut or olive. Find directions for a self-massage here.
  • Choose aromas that are cooling and sweet, such as sandlewood, rose, jasmine, fennel, mint, and lavender. Sprinkle a few drops of one of these oils in a cool bath or on your sheets before you go to sleep.

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More about the Doshas
Ayurveda teaches that our existence extends beyond the boundaries of our skin. Our personal body is constantly exchanging energy and information with the environment and everything around us. Our doshas – the mind-body principles composed of the natural elements space, air, fire, water, and earth – are always at play in this dynamic exchange, linking our physiology to the world at large. For example, when it’s cold and windy outside, the Vata dosha inside you responds because its nature is also cold, dry, and moving.  Each dosha recognizes a particular kind of weather and increases in response. If a dosha increases too much, you experience imbalances that result in feelings of discomfort and, if not addressed, ultimately lead to dis-ease.

If you would like to learn more about Ayurveda, mind-body healing, and creating balance in your daily routine, sign up for the Chopra Center’s free online newsletter Agni. Each month you will receive articles from Deepak Chopra and David Simon, as well as practical guidance on creating more happiness, well-being, and true fulfillment in your life.  Click here to sign up for Agni and visit our rich archive of past issues.


Get into the Best Mind-Body Shape of Your Life . . .

The Answer is Inside!

wayne bannerThis month we invite you to connect to the rich inner wisdom of your body, mind, and spirit . . .

Begin by taking the Dosha Quiz to identify your mind-body type; join davidji for a guided meditation; practice a powerful technique to let go of food cravings; awaken your intuition through chakra-opening yoga; and watch our new video about our upcoming Journey into Healing workshop, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, and David Simon weave their messages together. In his letter, Deepak discusses how discovering and embracing your shadow can help you reclaim your hidden power, while David Simon writes about the journey to the heart and shares a special guided meditation on love.

We wish you a wonderful month filled with peace, self-acceptance, joy, and love.

In gratitude,
The Chopra Center Staff

Bliss_Shake_SmallIn this month’s Agni newsletter we discussed the 7 steps to reaching your ideal weight, including eating for your individual mind-body type and becoming more aware of what and how you eat.

According to Ayurveda, breakfast should be a light meal, with lunch as the most substantial meal of the day. However, if you are looking to reach your ideal weight, breakfast can help you reduce the tendency to “snack” your way to the lunch hour. Studies also support the idea that our brains and our bodies need nutritional support in the morning for energy and clear thinking.

This delicious Morning Bliss Smoothie recipe can meet all your morning nutritional requirements while also being easy on the digestive tract. The aloe vera juice is also helpful for digestion, and soy powder gives a big protein boost. 

To receive more recipes and tips for getting into the best mind-body shape of your life, sign up for the Chopra Center’s free online newsletter by clicking here.

Recipe for Morning Bliss Smoothie

Serves 1
5 whole almonds, with skins, soaked overnight in ½ cup water
2 teaspoons organic raw honey or maple syrup
1 ounce soy protein powder, plain or vanilla flavored
1 pinch cinnamon
1 medium banana, peeled and sliced (for a creamier shake,
peel, slice, and freeze the banana in advance)
1 cup low-fat vanilla soy milk
1 tablespoon aloe vera juice

Drain the almonds and discard the water. Place almonds in a blender, add the other ingredients, and blend until smooth. Use as a morning protein supplement and digestive aid.

Tip: If you soak the almonds overnight, they will be softer and easier to digest.
Nutritional information per 1¼–cup serving:
Calories 424
Total fat 6.8 g
Saturated fat 2.8 g
Carbohydrates 61.3 g
Protein 29.8 g

A recipe from The Chopra Center Cookbook . . .

Enjoy the season’s bounty of ripe, delicious blueberries with this easy ayurvedic recipe made with organic ingredients. An ideal dessert for graduation celebrations and Father’s Day.

In terms of the six tastes recognized by Ayurveda, the prominent tastes in this blueberry cake recipe are sweet and astringent. Learn more about the six tastes here. Both of these tastes help pacify the Pitta dosha, which when out of balance can manifest as irritability, heartburn, skin rashes, inflammation and other conditions.

As we enter the hot months of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, it is particularly important to keep Pitta in balance by favoring cool drinks and food and the sweet, astringent, and bitter tastes, while reducing foods that are pungent, salty, and sour.  To learn more about Ayurveda and mind-body healing, subscribe to the Chopra Center’s free online newsletter, Agni. Click here to learn more and read past issues of Agni.


Cake Ingredients

2 pounds fresh blueberries
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups organic unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup turbinado sugar
¼ cup nonfat milk
¼ cup ghee    Find our ghee recipe here
4 eggs

Topping
2 eggs
¼ cup ghee
1 cup turbinado sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Note: If possible, use organic eggs, milk, vanilla, and spices.

1.)  Preheat oven to 325 (F) and spray or oil a 9 X 12-inch cake pan.

2.)  In a large bowl, toss the blueberries with the cinnamon and nutmeg; place in the cake pan. Put all the remaining cake ingredients in a bowl and beat well. Carefully pour the batter over the blueberries. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

3.)  Cream together the topping ingredients. Remove the cake from the oven, spoon the topping over it, and return the cake to the over for about 20 minutes, until the topping is browned and bubbly.

Makes 12 to 18 pieces.

In this issue of Agni Light we are featuring our Perfect Health Panchakarma Program featuring David Simon, M.D.

At Perfect Health you will:

  • Spend a week in the intimate and nurturing setting of the Chopra Center
  • Experience physical balance and emotional wellbeing
  • Receive daily ayurvedic massage treatments
  • Learn the powerful practices of meditation, yoga, and Ayurveda

Get comfortable, take a deep breath, and drift into the stillness and silence of this Journey into Healing Meditation.

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