Monday, August 30, 2010

Eka Pada Rajkapotasana

One Legged King Pigeon Pose

After doing multiple asana daily one can find that the body gets flexible and can be easily bended. In yoga sometimes it’s not just bending that matters but one need to take form of different animals which seems simple as an observer. But in real life they might not be that simple.

Today we would be try to do “Eka Pada Rajkapotasana” a pose where the doer try to mimic the position taken by a pigeon. The words are in “Eka” means One, while “Pada” means legged, “Raj” means King and “Kapot” means Pigeon in Sanskrit. Thus this pose is also known as One Legged King Pigeon Pose.

How to do Eka Pada RajKapotasana?

1] Different yoga teacher’s start this poses in different sequence personally I would start this pose with a Vajrasna or Diamond Pose or Thunderbolt pose. Keeping both the arms on the side my legs are folded at the knee joint.
2] Now slowly lift your trunk a little bit above from the thighs and let the left leg stretch backwards as straight as possible.
3] When doing so you might need to balance and for that bring the right heel and the foot closer to the left hip.
4] We try to sit some way or other as if sitting in Hanumanasana  or Moneky Pose  notice that.
5] Keep both the arms at the side, trunk is straight and erect, may be pushed towards the back a little bit.
6] Stay in this pose for 2-4 breaths in the start and then can extend as one wants.

Caution:

1] For all those facing issues like ankle injury, knee injury or any sort of trouble with the leg should be careful while doing this pose.
2] To maintain the balance in this pose the back needs to be pushed backward in a particular way. Try to achieve that and gets the benefits.

Benefits:

1] Opens the chest and the shoulder. Some senior Vaidya’s or Ayurvedic consultant refers this post for different health conditions of the lungs including asthma.
2] Stretches the thighs, groins and the whole back.
3] Stimulates the digestive tract.
4] Also a great pose for all those who suffer with urinary disorder.

Chakra:
A pose that would stimulate the Heart Chakra or Anhatta Chakra.


Posted by Sudeep
 

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Sour Taste



Amla Ras 

Last week I wrote about an article about “Sweet Taste or Madhur Ras. Today in this post I would like to write more about yet another taste that we have in our food group called Amla Ras or Sour as what we know. Although this taste is not very common but still I personally know that I have seen lots and lots of people who enjoy sour taste especially teenagers . Sour Gummies, Tamarind ball, Pickles all are sour to taste and have huge fans too.

What is Sour Taste?

Ayurveda defines sour taste as a taste that would make one salivate more. A food group that would make one feel goose bumps all over the body as one eat it.  Eyes get constricted and so are the eye lids with a single morsel bite. All are the signs that you are eating something that is Sour or Amla Ras .

Sour Food According to Ayurveda:

The name Amla Ras is said to be derived from the fruit Indian Goose berry or Amalki which is sour to taste. So are sour Grapes, Pomegranate, Most of the Citrus fruits like Oranges, Tangerines, Tamarind all come in to Sour Taste group according to Ayurveda

Health benefits of Sour Taste :

1]  Eating Sour food is said to increase appetite and digestion. It is said that eating sour triggers increase flow of bile and other gastric juices causing hunger and proper digestion.
2] Sour taste foods are most good palate cleanser ask a chef about that. Many times due to prolong sickness we could not taste, those are the times when giving sour food like lemon can bring back the taste buds to life.
3] In Ayurveda Sour foods are said to alleviate kapha dosha and pitta dosha, but eating this also helps to remove the Vatta dosha.
4] Sour tasting food is normally good for Heart. Some regard them to give strength to the heart while some regard them healthy for the heart.

Effects of Overindulgence in Sour taste Group:

1] Excessive Amla or sour food in one’s diet brings about flaccidity in the body.
2] Persons who over indulge are prone to lot of itchy skin, different sorts of skin lesions and diseases.
3] Normally Ayurveda regards that those who are anaemic love sour food.
4] One can find increase thirst due to over intake of sour food groups.

Posted by Sudeep
photo credit

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Smoking: New Reasons why to stop the Habit



Four years ago I was traveling in transit at the most famous Amsterdam airport. Known as one of the best airport in the world I was awe stuck with one such structure or a room which was situated right in the middle of the lounge. A glass chamber that was covered by all four side with glass and had some seats and some exhaust as this was a wonderfully design smoking chamber. Keeping smokers away from the non smokers and so the smoke too, a thing that was something I never saw before.

So now we are onto the part of keeping the smokers away from non smokers which means now slowly and steadily Governments are working towards preventing second hand smoke. In Canada too one could not smoke in restaurants and even in public space. A smoker always when told this hardly cares about this fact that smoke can be not only hazardous to themselves but even for others. For him those seconds of pleasure is all what he or she asks for in their life. Well here are two research works that I would like all smokers pay attention too. Two seconds of a smoke can actually do a lot of damage and that is all I have to say....

1] Second Hand Smoke:

Time Magazine recently published this article which caught my attention. Here is the link for the article named “Second hand Cigarette Smoke Changes your Gene”. Researchers always knew about the hazards of second smoke but never sure off but this research conducted by Dr Ronald Crystal at Weill Cornell Medical College documented the fact of changes happening in the genes of all non smokers exposed to cigarette smoke.
To lay a man what does that means is that may be not you as a non smoker but soon your offspring or their offspring might be at a high risk of different genetic diseases like Autism {I am just giving an example, no link of autism to smoke is yet found}

2]  Third Hand Smoke:

In another development here is a link of a research paper that speaks of the third hand smoke and how it affects our health,  and especially our toddlers and infants. Scientist at National Academy of Science speaks about the nicotine released in vapour format in the surrounding being stuck to clothes, walls and carpets for days or months. It is this Nicotine that reacts to form one tobacco-specific nitrosamines or TSNA’s.
TSNA's is one of the broadly acting potent carcinogens present in unburned tobacco and its smoke. If this comes to contact with small kids either by inhaling or dermal touch can create health issues.

If you are a smoker think twice before you go for a smoke. Yes we all know smoking habit is really hard to quit. But you may find many resources that are willing to help. Here is one such article How to Quit Smoking? Have a read and hope that might help keep the world smoke free. “Live and let live” can that be our motto.

Posted by Sudeep

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Hanumanasana

  Monkey Pose

In today’s post I would be writing an interesting pose that is named after the Monkey God or King “Hanuman” for his achievement. “Hanuman” is known to leap from one part of land to another across the sea as it speaks in the famous epic Ramayana. The spilt of the legs for such leap is seen in this pose and thus the pose is named as “Hanumanasana” or Monkey Pose.

How to do this Hanumanasana ?

1] Start the pose in the way one starts the Chandrasana and proceed to the part where one’s hands are in front, one of the feet folded in the knee joint and in between both the palms. The other leg is kept straight in the back.
2] Slowly push forward the feet that is between both the palms so to stretch the leg completely. To do so one might need to push the torso a little lower to support that.
3] The leg that is behind simultaneously gets raised a little bit as one does pushes the forward leg.  
4] The hips could be now completely near the ground as much as possible, both the legs spilt and closer to the mat.
5] If you are comfortable one can bring both the palms together in Namaskar Pose and stay in that for 4 to 5 breath or as much as possible.

Caution:
1] Not everyone can do this pose to the full extend so try not to push hard on yourself . Be careful as one stretches out.
2] All those who suffer with hamstring injuries and other muscular injuries of the groin, thighs should try to refrain from doing this pose.

Benefits:
1]  A good stretch for the hamstrings and the groin areas.
2] A good exercise for all those who are athletes especially those outdoor sports like tennis, cricket, basketball and running
3] Stimulates the abdominal organs in the long run.

Chakra Effect:
Anhaata Chakra or Heart Chakra is stimulated by this pose.

Posted by Sudeep

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Sweet Taste


“Madhur Rasa”

In today’s world sweet is a taste that is loved by many but do you thing that this taste also has any health advantages. In this article I am going to present the view of Ayurveda about Sweet Taste. First of all what is Sweet taste, how to know it and what are the health benefits and its drawbacks.

Sweet Taste

When a food makes the eater feel a little sticky inside the mouth once eaten, a sensation of wohh is attained then that group of food is known as Sweet Taste or Madhur Rasa”. Something that we have assumed in this generation about each and every taste that we have completely erased from our memory the basic reflex that each group of food makes in our mouth.  Ayurveda emphases on this simple know how which is thus taken to another level.

Food that is Sweet to taste according to Ayurveda:

Most of the carbohydrates like rice, wheat, corn, maize are said to be Sweet in taste. Different fishes, meats like lamb, chicken, and beef pork are said to dominate by sweet taste too. Majority of the fruits which are ripe are sweet taste like Mango, Banana, and Coconut.
Milk and milk products like cheese, yogurt, buttermilk and even ghee or clarified butter are sweet to taste.

Health Benefits of Sweet Taste:

1] This is only taste group that is good and healthy right from start of our life cycle since our birth till our death. Madhur Rasa which is the basic of mother’s milk basically nourishes the body during the early age of infancy.
2] Not only this taste nourishes the body it also rejuvenates the body.
3] Its a good taste to be eaten when one is fatigued or tired as this taste refreshed the whole system.
4] Consumption of this taste definitely is known to increase weight, but in a way increases stamina and strength overall.

Effects of Overindulgence of Madhur Rasa or Sweet Taste:

Luckily Ayurveda has also taken into account for the different health hazards because of excessive eating of Sweet Taste.

1] Obesity of Gain of weight is the first and foremost issue that one can face due to eating sweet taste food a lot.
2] Eating sweet in excess can also decreases appetite and over all the digestion in the long run.
3] Diabetes or high blood sugar, risk of tumours or different glands over functioning can also be seen due to over indulgence of sweet taste.

So the next time you are about to eat sweet food enjoy it thinking what benefits it can give to you. Yes do not forget its drawbacks too thus eating them in moderation.

Posted by Sudeep

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Eye care by Ayurveda in 21 century


21 century has defiantly seen progress but on the expenses paid by us on our health. Eyes are one such sense organ that takes the heaviest toll. They are constantly exposed to either bright light from laptops or computers or television and if not this then on streets from bright neon signs. The new generation are equipped either with glasses or lens and the older generation like you and me facing many degenerative diseases of the eyes like macular degeneration and glaucoma.

In Ayurveda four major herbs or food items are known to be best when it comes to cure or prevent different disorder of the eyes. In this article we would have look and see if they still hold the magic key for good eye sight.

1] Ghee or Clarified Butter
Ghee or Clarified butter is a well known milk product for most of us Indian, but for others it seems like a product full of fats and cholesterol. Ghee in Ayurveda is said to be very cooling in nature. Over all Ayurveda speaks of ghee as a important Rasyana one that can nourish each and every cell of our body with its properties. Ghee thus acts as a tonic for our eyes too internally as well as externally and thus uses in treatment known as “Netra Tapan”. My personal experience speaks highly of the use of this treatment for macular degeneration , retinal prolapsed and other conditions of the eyes.

2] Honey:
Honey is known for its medicinal properties since ages and Ayurveda too has lot to add when using honey as medicine. The role of honey in Ayurveda is that of a catalyst. Add certain herbs with honey and the herbs are bound to reach smallest cells of the body with the help of honey.  When it comes to eyes honey works more like a cleanser. Apply some honey in your eyes with a very smooth hand and see how it feels. Tears flow from the eyes and soon one can see that your eyes are clear from all the dirt and dust. In general Ayurveda regards honey to be great herb to work on the eyes.

3] Triphala :
One of the potent herb that Ayurveda recommends when it comes to different health issue of the eyes is Triphala. Triphala or basically a combination of three fruits thus the word Tri-phala namely Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula). This combination acts like cleanser and also rejuvenates the eyes. A potent mixture for most of the diseases of the eyes, Triphala unluckily should not be just taken without the consent of your naturopaths or Vaidya or Ayurvedic practitioner. Consult your Vaidya and see what he recommends and then try this this magic herb for your eyes.

4] Breast Milk:
One of the recommendations in the books of Ayurveda when it comes to work on eyes is the use of Breast Milk. Fresh breast milk is said to be good for the eyes possibly due to its cooling action on the eyes.
I personally use instead Cow’s Milk instead of Breast Milk since the availability is an issue. After long strenuous day on computers, soak gauze in cold milk and then keep it on your closed eyes. Keep that gauze for a while and see the result. Try it now ...if you wanted.

Besides all those food group carrots, green vegetable like spinach , herbs like bilberry fennel are known to be good for our eye sight and to prevent and cure different eye issues. Lastly it all comes down to prevention rather than cure and thus trying avoid all those triggers such conditions in general.  

Posted by Sudeep

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Chandrasana

The Crescent Moon Pose

In today’s pose we would have a look on a very interesting pose called as The Crescent Moon pose or Chandrasana .The word “Chandra” means the moon and as the body takes the form of a crescent shape this pose is called as Chandrasana or The Crescent Moon Pose.

How to do this pose?

1] To start this pose one need to be Vajrasana pose or the Thunderbolt pose. Both the legs folded in knee joint, arms on the side, the whole body sitting on the calf muscles and the buttocks placed on the heels. {Read more on How to do Vajarasana}
2] Slowly push your trunk forward to so that one can be on all four extremities like for a Cat pose or Marjarasana. {Read how to do Marjarasana}
3] Now inhale in and slowly bring your right leg forward in between both the palms and also parallel to them. The right foot should be well place and the heels touching the ground. In this pose the right leg would take a 90 degree angle with the ground.
4] Now slowly bring both your palms together right in front of your heart thus forming a “Namaskar pose”. Keep the spine straight and erect in this pose.
5] Advanced students are often asked to go further and inhale in and lift both the arms up with palms held together. Eyes can be either facing above or in front.
6] Some teachers do enjoy the other leg either being touched to the ground or either lifted a little bit above the ground. Choose what one feels comfortable.

Caution:
1] Try to do this pose as slowly as possible and avoid being in a hurry to take any steps though being very simple.
2] Try not to over stretch and hurt yourself. Be careful...
3] Keeping the spine erect is very important in this pose.

Benefits:
1] A good stretch for the limbs legs and the hands.
2] Tones the muscles of the legs and the hips in general.
3] Increases blood supply to the pelvic area.
4] By giving a slight compress to the abdomen on one side increases the peristalsis.
5] Help in preventing sciatica.

Chakra Effect:

Anahatta Chakra or The Heart Chakra is stimulated by this pose

Posted by Sudeep

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Jathara Parivartanasana or Spinal Twist  
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Bakasana or The Crane Pose



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Friday, August 13, 2010

How to get rid of Pesticides from Vegetables and Fruits?


In these hard economic times not each and everyone who wanted to be healthy can always eat fresh and organic vegetables and fruits. It is simply costly to buy them and thus one just tends to purchase and eat regular vegetables and fruits with pesticides. Last month The Environmental Working group, a U.S. non profit health organization reported that most of the vegetables and fruits other than organic contains high amount of pesticides.{link} Now this report simply puts all those like me and you in jeopardy. So what are our choices, how can we remove those pesticides? Here are some of the ways to work on that, with their drawbacks :

1] Cleaning as our Granny would do :
The first thing that was taught to me when dealing with kind of fruits or vegetables would be to wash them under tap water for at least one minute. An age old method to clean not just pesticides but also external dust and germs this method does remains very effective. Not only this is some kind of fairy tale but the Department of Analytical Chemistry at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), stands with that folklore with its extensive study showing the effectiveness of this method.
Draw backs:
  • If pesticides are in the system that hardly can be touched with such methods.
  • Same remains true with wax coated fruits, washing does not helps.
2] Peeling:
Another method which I completely disagree with remains true with all fruits and vegetables those are waxed and have skin like apples would be pealing the skin. At least we do not ingest that wax applied on the fruits.
Drawbacks:
  • Skin in most vegetable and fruits sometimes do contain high amount of nutrients that are lost with this method.
3] Steaming:
Steaming is a method that has been recommended by many with either peeling or washing. Leafy vegetables can lose lot of volatile chemicals from them when steamed in perfect way. Yes one need to avoid over or under steam otherwise it’s of no use.
Drawbacks:
  • Over cook your vegetables, you lose nutrients.
  • Again not effective with pesticides in the system of the vegetables and fruits .
So it’s clear we can take some of those pesticides, but not a lot from our fruits and vegetables. Meaning we are bound to eat some of those poison daily accepts it or not. The only option that we are left with is to make sure we keep our immune system healthy to fight that stuff internally. What is your take on it?
Do you use any other method to clean your vegetables and fruits let us know too?

Posted by Sudeep

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