Discover 11 ways to create deeper sleep on a regular basis in your life from Ayurveda and Polarity Therapy, including food, movement, marma, and common sense. These tips originated as I was working with Cate Stillman in her Cleanse earlier this year:
Get enough exercise. A 20 – 30 minute brisk walk (or whatever you can do) sometime in the day can make a big difference for deeper sleep, especially for the blood type Os amongst us. Test it out for yourself.
Turn it all off. Everything – phone, modem, the works – see if you can get it to 10 – 12 hours/night off. The research is strong here, in terms of the association between EMF and insomnia. Consider a regular weekly 24 hour wifi fast, to reset your sleep clock for deeper sleep.
Get your Vitamin D levels checked, once every year or two if you can. A serum level of 50 – 80 units is considered optimal. This supports your uptake of calcium and magnesium from your food, to relax muscles and mind.
Maximize calcium and magnesium rich foods.You need at least 600 mgs of calcium from food, and 300 – 400 mgs of magnesium/day. Many people are slowly running themselves into deficiency with “clean” dairy-free diets. Get realistic and figure what it takes to give yourself what you and your muscles, nerves and bones need, given your dietary preferences. Check out Ojas Milk, Black Sesame Seed Shake, Cleansing Almond Green Drink, and Speedy Pachak Lassi in my new book, Easy Healing Drinks from the Wisdom of Ayurveda http://www.easyhealingdrinks.com. Invite back into your food choices firm tofu, dark leafy greens, sheep or goat dairy if cow doesn’t work for you, almond or flax milk. Mineral rich options every day, not once a week. (If you’re an omnivore, tiny sardines with bones are a calcium-rich option.) Create deeper sleep with food.
Assess your schedule, activity-wise. Sometimes we’re packing so much into a day, the only way the nervous system can deal with it is through processing at night. This can lead to miserably light sleep. Conversely, some of us are under stimulated. Do you need to do a little less (or more) during the day for deeper sleep at night?
Go back to nature. If only for a night or two. Our adult daughter catches up on deep sleep during her seasonal bird research job, going to sleep with the sun and rising with it. This way she gets improbably long stretches in, 9 – 10 hours/night.
Consider your sleep companion story. Some of us sleep better with others, some sleep better alone. This can change with life conditions, like menopause. Remember when you’re on a plane, and the flight attendants give the directions for using the oxygen masks? It’s “take care of yourself first, then help your companion(s)”. Whenever possible, get your own deeper sleep sustenance program down, then address the insomniac partner, restless three year old, or unruly pet.
Deal with underlying conditions: mattress, pain, structure. It’s surprising how often discomfort can keep us awake. This cycles back into self care: do you want to consider a new fitness program to reduce pain, that could also result in deeper sleep?
Nurture healthy Kapha for deep, deep, heavy, heavy, sleep…while lightening up on other levels. This is an especially useful hint for those of us with generous amounts of Vata or Pitta. The energy of these two doshas naturally flies upward, waking us up with thoughts and feelings. Kapha’s energy heads more toward the ground, away from the head. You can build your own Kapha dosha’s tendencies by slowing down, doing long exhales as needed to stimulate your rest-and-digest parasympathetic nervous system and by oiling the soles of your feet before bedtime.
If you’re already awake in the middle of the night, may it benefit all beings. What do I mean by this wild statement? We’re here for a reason. If we’re awake, may we use the experience as positively as we can. One person I know prays; another meditates; a third does mantras. In Polarity Therapy and Ayurveda, the right hand sends energy, the left receives it. You can place your right hand on your chest and your left on your belly as you rest. thereby grounding the energy downward. (For marma fans, these are Hridaya and Nabhi, respectively.) This position increases your chances of deeper sleep. Try it out.
Tip for next summer: sleep outside when you can. Earlier in the summer, before the fires and the rain, we slept outside on the little hill behind our house on a deck. It was great, deeper sleep like being on a mini-vacation. Clearly this is not an option for everyone, especially in December, unless you have a cozy rustic cabin with a fireplace and some open windows.
Amadea Morningstar, MA, RPE, RYT is an expert in Ayurvedic health care. She meets you where you are, and is available with respect, bringing over 40 professional years of experience, academic training and hands-on knowledge to her sessions and books. Sessions with Amadea include Western nutrition, Ayurvedic nutrition and herbalism, Polarity Therapy, Marma therapy, Integral yoga, and nature-based approaches. She and Renee Lynn are co-creators together of the Easy Healing Drinks series.
Photo: Earth-Moon system as seen from Mercury, thanks to Wikipedia
In Ayurveda, our nervous system and connective tissue have a special connection. They are both considered components of Majja, one of the seven essential tissues for life, the dhatus. What is Majja? It is our ability to communicate with all of our senses through the nervous system. It is the capacity to store energy within the bone, in the bone marrow. This communicative ability also manifests as the strength and resiliency of our connective tissue, the fascia. The fascia is a three dimensional web of multiple layers of loosely woven connective tissue that enfolds us from head to toe, surrounding and integrating all the structures of the body.
Skilled body workers talk about the importance of one layer of fascia being able to “slide” past another. When we’ve had an injury, often two or more layers of fascia can get “stuck” together. Once the acute injury has healed, an adept body worker, such as a deep tissue massage therapist or Rolfer, can gently get the layers moving freely once again. The purpose is to restore healthy movement and flow within the whole body, by freeing up the layers of fascia surrounding the muscles, organs, and glands. This is one way to support Majja. (MAH-JAH)
Experience can get sticky, too
We’re meant to be able to have our thoughts and feelings and experiences flow freely, too. There are so many sensations, pieces of information and input coming to us, especially in these times. The vast majority of these are processed through our nervous system. On this level, too, Majja can get “stuck”. What I observe is that sometimes two levels of experience get “stuck” to one another, just the way connective tissue can. What does this look like?
A fictitious example: A large environmental crisis explodes in some place far away from Jules. Depending on J’s resources and connections, J. may respond in different ways. On this particular day Jules goes on with life, yet when given the opportunity to act positively at work, J. turns it down. Later J. realizes that the thought, “I can’t do anything about (this environmental crisis)” got translated into “I can’t do anything about much of anything.”
Life can be intense and events around us are sometimes larger than what it appears we can impact as individuals. Many responses are possible. Some people engage in the large events, no matter how big. Others may withdraw; it’s more than their individual nervous systems, Majja, can handle in the moment.
Others of us continue to interact. Yet the impact of the larger events may “snag” on to our ability to lead our daily lives in a coherent way. The thought, “I can’t do anything about this” may be true on one level yet not at all true on another level. This confusion or snag can impede our free flow of energy. This includes what we can constructively do in our lives, work, relationships, and community. We may become immobilized by a disempowered thought and let it cling to levels of experience that have nothing to do with it, areas of life that could be moving freely.
How to support Majja nervous system
Majja is supported by fresh air, nature, healthy foods and drinks, a steady sustainable rhythm in life, whatever that means to you. It does better with non-violent conditions, enough sleep and a healthy amount of creative input. Pratyahara, the yogic process of closing one’s senses to outer distractions, helps Majja.
Stressful conditions can be processed by Majja, yet it needs time and space. We can respond to our lives in healthy ways, within what we can handle. To expect yourself to be able to take in the average amount of stimulation available in 21stcentury life may not always be realistic.
3 Tips to Support Majja, Nervous System and Fascia:
Take (ideally non-electronic) breaks when your nervous system needs it. Trust your need for normal biological experiences, like eating, sleeping, walking, resting.
Ask yourself, “What can I do for myself and others?” in whatever immediate situation you find yourself. Do what you can; don’t do what you can’t.
When clarity and energy return, feel free to act on positive plans.
Joanna told me a story today that made me smile. She and her students offer free health screenings to members of refugee communities in their area. Mrs. Jenkins is a community networker living in their city who runs a center; she is in her eighties. She has willingly offered her space for health screenings at a time and place where refugees often do not feel as welcome as she makes them feel. Her way of working with Majja has been to relax and open and do what she can where she is. Today Joanna is honoring and celebrating Mrs. Jenkins’ life and work at the Transcultural Nursing conference in San Antonio, Texas. I rejoice in everyone working with Mrs. Jenkins.
Mrs. Jenkins may not be familiar with the term “Majja” yet she is well-versed in how to work with it. From what Joanna has said about Mrs. Jenkins, she works with her own nervous system and resources in ways that bring joy and relief to herself and others. Her wisdom manifests in how she lives, who she is.
Amadea Morningstar, MA, RPE, RYT is expert in Ayurvedic health care. She meets you where you are, and is available with respect, bringing over 40 professional years of experience, academic training and hands-on knowledge to her sessions and books. Sessions with Amadea include Western nutrition, Ayurvedic nutrition and herbalism, Polarity Therapy, Marma therapy, Integral yoga, and nature-based approaches. She and Renee Lynn co-created the Easy Healing Drinks series.
Autumn in the Midwest photo thanks to Iza Bruen-Morningstar
Do you struggle to get out of the house to work on time? This morning my husband Gord was wrangling with the empty glass jar of lemonade he used for sustenance yesterday. He’s a carpenter and yesterday he was tearing out walls in 90 degree Farenheit plus heat here in New Mexico, as his partner Matt put down new tile for the shower floor in the remodeled home of their esteemed client, and now, friend. (For a photo of Gord not on the job, click here.) The jar lid was so sticky Gord could barely get it open to wash it. “It’s the sugar.” I said. “Yeah,” he said, “They (Newman’s Organic Lemonade) make it twice as sweet as I need it.” “What about making lemonade yourself today?” (He is, after all, the creator of Gord’s Strawberry Lemonade, p. 77 in the new release Easy Healing Drinks from the Wisdom of Ayurveda, for all seasons.)
“No, I haven’t got time.” He sounds like the majority of my clients, smart and harried as they all are. “Plus we don’t have any lemons.”
“Can I make you some?”
Using the now clean glass Mason jar, I reach into the fridge and pull out the Lakewood Organic Lime Juice bottle (Santa Cruz Organic works fine too). Consulting his recipe on p. 77 for making lemonade, I pour just shy of ½ cup of straight lime juice (even more cooling than lemon, from an Ayurvedic perspective, and it’s what we’ve got) into the Mason jar. (These are available at any hardware store or most grocery stores, especially this time of year. Or use any clean quart glass jar with a good lid you have.) Next I put a couple packets of stevia in (you can use whatever sweetener works well for you) and fill the quart jar up to the top with water. I surreptitiously sneak in a pinch of ground coriander, to slightly lessen his chance of heat stroke in the hot day ahead. I skip the fruit in the recipe; we haven’t got banana or strawberries. I do throw in four very tasty bing cherries as festive decoration. I do not get out the blender. I screw the lid on the jar and shake it up, with a prayer. Three minutes from start to finish. It is faster than it takes to write about it. Faster than it would have taken Gord to walk into the store to buy the Newman’s. Huh. Can you imagine doing this?
Last week I was heading out of town with a good friend (Susan McDuffie of Death of a Falcon fame), and we stopped to pick up some snacks for the road. I scrutinized the shelves of unrefrigerated bottled teas and lemonades in front of me. The vast majority had caffeine and white sugar in them, even though this was a natural grocery store. I finally found some Hawaiian Ginger lemonade, sweetened with organic agave, for a couple of dollars on the top shelf. It was pretty tasty. But – it didn’t have many companions, there weren’t many other healthy choices for someone like me, whose blood sugar metabolism does a lot better without white sugar.
This is of course a big reason why photographer Renee Lynn and I did the Easy Healing Drinks: to create other choices, support people’s health and healing, offer fast simple tasty ways to be well, improve one’s quality of life, and provide earth-friendly options. Plus you can learn more about Ayurveda as you drink.
We’re in a pretty desperate state here in the US in the summer of 2018. It’s not just the decaying state of our government and its actions – we can’t even pause five minutes to make ourselves our own bottled drink, let alone lunch.
(I salute you, Margaret C.! This stellar client makes her own delicious lunches, despite a grueling work schedule. E ma ho! May your life be happy!)
Lunch is the protection. Yeah, I know you’ve probably read my evangelical stance on this before. Yet think about it. You’re too busy to stop and eat lunch, you push on or eat some small crummy thing instead. Four hours later, you’re useless. People can walk all over you at work, who cares that you’re normally sensible? By the time you head for home at the end of the day, you’ll eat or drink anything – and you most likely do.
Gord and his partner Matt protect each other. After a number of years of working well together, they don’t let each other skip lunch. They stop and eat together, either a bag lunch they’ve each made at home, or a meal at some favorite restaurant close by. This small shift in lifestyle has made a big difference in Gord’s life. He arrives home in better shape, and happier with his work flow in the second half of the day.
What about you?
What we’re doing as a nation is too disturbing to be able to eat or drink through placidly? You’ve got a point. Not every moment can be spent supporting the ACLU in its fight to reunite families, though a lot of us are doing this. (A great article about the ACLU’s Case No. 18CV0428, Ms. L. from Congo vs. ICE can be found in the NY Times Magazine, July 8, 2018. I honor the courage and love of Ms. L. as she continues to face what she faces.) Many of my clients and I struggle to keep some kind of equilibrium in the midst of large miserable changes that directly impact people, animals, plants, and energy all over the earth. Knowing that our challenges are miniscule compared to someone like Ms. L. is very humbling.
It can be easy to think that small measures don’t make that much difference when the challenges are so large. One less empty plastic lemonade bottle in the ocean – what difference does it make? Hanging out with Tibetans has been good for my perspective on this, and my spirit in general these last couple of decades. They see life as all one soup. What we add to it, our own precious ingredients of heart, mind and action, does matter. (c.f. Khandro Rinpoche, This Precious Life )
No need to get philosophical or debate the merits of heaven or hell in any given religion. Check out the present moment. Just try this out for yourself: imagine someone you love. Close your eyes, smile, and send them love. How does this feel?
Now imagine someone you’re not so comfortable with, someone you know personally who’s done something you don’t like. Close your eyes again, see them surrounded with love. You don’t have to like them, just imagine them enfolded in love. How does this feel?
Now, if you like, play with this one. Shake out, and bring forward some critical, judgmental or grasping attitude you have. (Who? Me? Yes, you . . and me.) Nothing fancy or complicated, just something along the lines of “I’m right about this.” Or “It’s mine.” Chew on this a while, develop it some, clamp on down. How does this feel?
States of mind and heart do matter. My Tibetan teacher, H.E. Garchen Rinpoche has said, “Generosity is the remedy against self-grasping. For example, if you have a hundred dollars, you have a hundred self-graspings. Even if you give only a single dollar away, you will have one less self-grasping. . . .The benefit of generosity is that, with each act of generosity, self-grasping diminishes.” And with it, a certain tight kind of misery.
Love is a kind of generosity. A smile, an act of loving-kindness is a sort of generosity. (One simple practice of this can be found here.) You don’t have to be rich to be generous.
What state of mind do you prefer to drink in?
Whose company do you wish to drink in?
Going back to that prayer I made over the lemonade this morning. Mine was, “May this help everybody somehow.” If you were to make lemonade, what would your prayer be today?
Speaking of nourishing experiences, I’ll be in Dallas, Texas next month leading a professional Ayurveda training, Dance with Rasa, at SimpleVeda. Do join us if you can.
Photo of Gord’s Strawberry Lemonade by Renee Lynn
Amadea Morningstar, MA, RPE, RYT is an expert in Ayurvedic health care . She meets you where you are, and is available with respect, bringing over 40 professional years of experience, academic training and hands-on knowledge to her sessions and books. Sessions with Amadea include Western nutrition, Ayurvedic nutrition and herbalism, Polarity Therapy, Marma therapy, Integral yoga, and nature-based approaches. She and Renee Lynn created the Easy Healing Drinks series together.
Khandro Rinpoche, This Precious Life
H.E. Garchen Rinpoche, The Commentary on the Essential Meaning of the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas, p. 78
Liquid refreshment keeps all your tissues alive and energized, especially when you can work straight from your garden or a friend’s, with the beauty of organic flowers. Now is the time to be enjoying and harvesting roses and lavender. Where can you play? Who can you enjoy it with?
LAVENDER ROSE LEMONADE
A translucent pink, friendly, and gently aphrodisiac beverage
Bring one cup water to a boil, pour it over the lavender, rose and lemon zest in a stainless steel or pyrex bowl; stir. Cover and let sit one hour. Strain. Warm the second cup of water, take it off the heat and stir in the sweetener and lemon juice. (Do not heat the honey!) Pour the two mixtures together, add the rest of the ingredients and enjoy liquid refreshment immediately!
Effects: calms Vata, neutral for Pitta and Kapha.
This drink supports: production of digestive juices (lemon, lime, lavender), plasma, blood, temperature modulation (the lemon zest), nerves (rose and lavender), gentle aphrodisiac (the rose).
Comments: Here rose, lavender, and the coconut sugar all balance the warming quality of the citrus well.
Notes:Our recipe testers had challenges sourcing organic rose petals. As one tester wrote, “but I wouldn’t want to anger the gods by having too divine of an elixir anyway! A nice method to try with other (edible) flowers as well, maybe?” Do play!
Thanks to Western herbalist Lynn Childson for her inspiration on this recipe.
Organic Rose Petals or Lavender: How to have your own organic flowers early in spring. Nurture or find an organic rose bush or lavender plants. When they bloom in late spring or early summer, make an offering to them in appreciation for their beauty with a song, a pinch of cornmeal, whatever speaks to you. With a scissors cut off whatever flowers you want to gather into a basket or bowl (not all of them of course). Spread them on a cookie sheet to dry in a dry place. When they are dry (here in the arid southwest, this is in less than 24 hours) store them in a clean dry glass jar. The flowers will keep for a year.
VARIATION:To calm Pitta and Kapha, add 1 Tablespoon or more organic aloe vera gel or juice per cup. Or use lime juicein place of the lemon for Pitta.
VARIATION:For a delicious drink with anti-inflammatory action, soak 1 Tablepoon chia seeds in 1 cup of the LAVENDER ROSE LEMONADE for 30 minutes, stir in 1 Tablespoon of aloe vera and ½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger (thanks to Renee Lynn).
Special offer now through the end of May: Purchase your print copy of Amadea and Renee’s new Easy Healing Drinks from the Wisdom of Ayurveda, Delicious and Nourishing Recipes from All Seasons now and receive a free eBook, Cleansing and Sustaining Recipes. Get the same great SPRING recipes and photos as in the print book, downloadable to your devices. Available only at www.EasyHealingDrinks.com.
First, what is a dhatu? A dhatu is not an island off the continent of South America, lost in the fog over the ocean between Ecuador and the Galapagos. It is not one of the cute sun hats worn by little kids in a playground south of the center of Patzcuaro, Mexico, playing under their parents’ loving gaze. It is not a brightly colored bug quietly crawling across the border into Khazakstan, unbeknownst to any human. Dhatu is Sanskrit for an essential tissue in Ayurveda, tissues we need for our life and well being. I use the term “mining the dhatus” to mean using up physical resources we can’t afford to give away.
These vital tissues include plasma/serum/lymph, blood cells, muscles, fat, bone, nerves/marrow/fascia, and reproductive tissue. If we nourish all these well, they can function smoothly for a long while; this is the intention. If we starve them, or neglect them, they are more prone to breakdown (aka mining the dhatus). Since most of us aren’t even aware of their existence, it’s easy to ignore them – until we run into troubles.
It’s popular these days to try to prove we’re very macha or macho. Some of this is because we genuinely love to exert ourselves with physical exercise or what not. Some may be related to proving to ourselves or those around us that we really are healthy and with it. A poignant example arose in a novel I was reading recently. (I’ve been on a roll since last September, reading one South Asian novel after another, often by women authors. It has been most nourishing. I guess it’s been my way to get out of Dodge, so to speak. Thank you, blessed sisters!) Be that as it may, reading a passage in this one current book that took place in the US, I thought, “they’re mining their dhatus!” What was happening? One of the young protagonists, approaching 30, was dealing with the miserable reality of a brain tumor. His partner was working hard to be supportive and loving. They were living on the coast of California. He has just had an intense medical procedure that involved screws being inserted into his skull as part of the process. His team of doctors had generously okayed him to go camping five days later in the Big Sur area, a most kind and healing forested place in nature. So the young people go with a whole crew of their friends for the weekend. They take a gentle 5-mile hike into the wilderness the first day. Is a 5-mile hike an appropriate activity for a 20-something? Sure, could be. Yet under these conditions? What do you think? I call it mining the dhatus, taking reserves we can’t afford to give away.
This is an extreme fictional example (with thanks to Falguni Kothari), yet she’s simply communicating what we do here on diverse parts of the planet routinely. Many of us do similarly flavored things frequently. Just one more cup of coffee, just one or two or three more drinks or smokes, no time for lunch today, no problem. (Lunch: it’s the protection.) If I could have been an aging female relative in the novel who stumbles on the protagonists as they get out of their cars at Big Sur, I might have said to the guy, “Here, rest in the shade here with your sweetie, hug and snuggle. Let me get you an Easy Healing Drink…let the others go off on their hike.” (And I could send some Easy Healing Drinks with them for stamina, too.) How would I have gotten him the five miles into that peaceful place? Maybe over a number of days? These are the questions: how can we do the things that speak to us without having them kill us, literally or figuratively?
Ayurveda has become well-known for its ability to resolve challenges that other systems of healing might miss – digestive issues, nerve support, chronic disease. Many people are now familiar with the doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Yet most of us act like the dhatus don’t exist, like we can miraculously rejuvenate deep tissues like bone or marrow in the blink of an eye or with the swallow of a pill. It takes 40 days to fully nourish all seven dhatus just once. Panchakarma (the five cleansing actions) is a revered healing adventure that more of us are using to work with these tissues. Yet how many of us think to nourish our dhatus on a regular basis?
It’s a primary reason why I wrote this new book that’s just been released, Easy Healing Drinks from the Wisdom of Ayurveda. If we know something vital and alive and beautiful exists, we can choose to protect it. (Bear’s Ears National Monument, for example, thank you Patagonia.) Nourishing our plasma, rasa in Sanskrit, is the first step to taking care of all our precious dhatus. Each dhatu needs a little bit different nourishment to stay well and strong.
In Easy Healing Drinks, each recipe lets you know what doshas it balances and what are its specific health effects. Each recipe also details what dhatus/tissues are nourished. For example, Hibiscus Sun Cooler, a great beverage from Renee Lynn, supports plasma, blood, muscle, heart, nerves and marrow, and more…It clears heat and toxins from the blood, perfect for this time of year. It tastes delicious. It’s easy to make.
Join us for Hibiscus Sun Cooler, Lavender Rose Lemonade (depicted here), Internet Recovery Tea, and Cooling Coconut Green Drink this Sunday in Santa Fe as we offer our Mother’s Day Book Launch, 2 – 5 pm MDT, at Agni Ayurveda, 1622 St. Michael’s Drive. Begin to restore those dhatus, those treasured tissues. One dollar of each book sold in Santa Fe on Mother’s Day will be donated to the Food Depot, our local food bank, for food support for kids. Win a free book while you celebrate with us – or win a free book during our FACEBOOK LIVE event the same afternoon.
Renee Lynn and I want to offer much appreciation to our whole book crew: Karen Bomm, Leslie Waltzer, Cynthia Bancale, Michele Schulz, Mary Neighbor, and Elizabeth Carovillano. Stand up and hear the joyous applause! You all are outstanding. Bravo to everyone who contributed to the book or who is supporting it with your purchase. You are the reason Easy Healing Drinks is #1 in New Releases on Amazon in its category right now. Bless you and thank you!
OK. It’s in my hands. It’s easy to use. I flip to a recipe, and 5 – 10 minutes later, I’ve got a beverage ready to drink. Wholesome liquid refreshment. The sun-lit photos make you want to play with the drinks immediately. The info is friendly and useful. Did you know now is a wise time to tend your digestive fire? Yes, while Pitta is increasing, agni is declining. Supportive digestives like peppermint, coriander and/or cardamom work well at this moment. Learn how to weave them and other copacetic spices into dozens of tasty simple beverages, all Ayurvedically balanced and gut-friendly. Join the small polite crowds of happy people who already have got the book in their hands. (Bless you, NAMA, SimpleVeda and Dallasonions!)
Renee Lynn and I are delighted to announce that the print version of Easy Healing Drinks from the Wisdom of Ayurveda with an excellent foreword from Dr. Vasant Lad is available for purchase. As co-publishers, ours was a circuitous path to this delectable result. The back story: Originally we planned to offer the book through Create Space (Amazon) and Ingram Spark with print on demand. Our print book team, Karen Bomm, Leslie Waltzer, Michele Schulz, and Mary Neighbor all worked hard and well toward this aim. Yet when we got the proofs of the book back from both companies, we had to take a moment and pause. Renee’s radiant photography did not “pop” with the POD paper. And Create Space wouldn’t let us set the price as low as we wanted. What to do?
Here’s where Nataraj Books, Inc. came in. A publisher/printer/distributor in Virginia specializing in South Asian books, they’d recently gotten more interested in Ayurveda and Yoga titles. They were handling the book sales for the National Ayurvedic Medical Association conference, at that time coming up in less than six weeks. They were kindly willing to sell our POD self-published books at the conference in Plano, Texas. Yet when we ran into snags with the quality of POD, they said, “Look, maybe we can work together.” In an astoundingly short period of time, Salil Mahajan of NBI arranged for a high quality print version of the book to be ready for the Ayurvedic conference. And it was printed in the US with non-toxic materials and bio-degradable inks, ready for Earth Day. We hold the publishing rights; NBI is the printer and distributor. They distribute widely, to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, and many smaller schools, bookstores and businesses. They’ve been great to work with, responsive, clear and informed. As a longtime Ayurveda writer, it feels wonderful to be working with an East Indian family-owned business. It’s like coming home. Being able to sign books at NAMA last weekend together with other authors debuting their fine new work: Susan Weis-Bohlen, Batool Merali (signing the book she co-wrote with Z Light Miller) and Laura Plumb was a joyous time. In order to be able to pull off this miracle, we invested in a print run of 5,000 books.
Now we need to get this book to you! If you want to buy a copy immediately, go to www.EasyHealingDrinks.com, and it will arrive in your hands this week. If you’re a New Mexico local, track down Renee or Amadea anywhere and we’ll be glad to sell you an autographed copy. Come party with us this Mother’s Day, May 13, 2 – 5 pm MDT at Agni Ayurveda in Santa Fe and get your signed copy, enjoy easy healing drinks and say hi to the folks on FB Live.
Yes, we’ll be doing a virtual launch the same day, Mother’s Day. If you’re an Amazon shopper, this day, May 13, is a great time to buy your copy of Easy Healing Drinks, during our 24-hour virtual launch. Write a review! Buy one for a friend! You’d be amazed how often I (Amadea) have been told over the years by some seasoned, healthy soul, “Your book was the first one I ever read about Ayurveda.” They’re user-friendly and beautiful. If you’ve got someone you think would benefit from owning Easy Healing Drinks, feel free to gift them one.
If you’re more the support-local-business kind of person, please come directly to our locally owned and operated website, and get your copies this way. (We even just got our own city business license, fire inspection and all. As one local present at that moment wryly observed, “It’s not every new book that has its own fire inspection.”) Get your copy today – unless you are good at restraining desire and wish to join us Mother’s Day for our official launch. That’s great, too.
If you’re not wishing to be encumbered by material items, the full All Seasons eBook version is scheduled to come out in a few months. Or enjoy our shorter, one season eBooks, including Easy Healing Drinks: Cleansing and Sustaining Recipes, available for purchase now.
Amadea Morningstar, MA, RPE, RYT is an expert in Ayurvedic health care. She meets you where you are, and is available with respect, bringing over 40 professional years of experience, academic training and hands-on knowledge to her sessions and books. Sessions with Amadea include Western nutrition, Ayurvedic nutrition and herbalism, Polarity Therapy, Marma therapy, Integral yoga, and nature-based approaches. She and Renee Lynn are co-authors, co-owners and co-publishers together of the Easy Healing Drinks series.
Have you ever struggled to regain your emotional equilibrium in the midst of an unexpected change? If so, you were working with your mahagunas or what Ayurveda would call in English your mental qualities. It’s easy to get mad or scared or want to hide these days. It can be harder to keep your temper, courage and momentum. Yet sometimes doing just that is going to help everybody.
While we come into life with a particular fairly immutable balance of the doshas known as our constitution or prakruti (like it or not), the mahagunas are ours to create – and change. What does this mean? Say you’ve got a Kapha constitution. You’ve heard that you’re destined to be loyal, lovable, solid – and stubborn. Yet you have more control over this than you might suspect. The mahagunas – sattva, rajas, and tamas – are how we relate to circumstances mentally. They are our hidden resource and treasure, as well as challenge. When we’re stubborn, in a tamasic frame of mind, we’re more likely to respond habitually without thought, with an old pattern of behavior. We’re more likely to contract in on ourselves and assume that nothing new can possibly happen. Is this Kapha? No, it’s tamas. Anybody can get tamasic.
What do rajas and sattva look like? If we’re in a rajasic state of mind, we could be fiery and passionate, get infuriated over injustice, speak out loudly for our truth. If we bring forward more sattvic qualities of mind, we’re more likely to respond with love, compassion, wisdom, open curiousity. We all have the capacity to express all three mahagunas.
There are three mahagunas because we need them all. There are times when we hold with our deepest spiritual ideals and express them simply by being loving and kind (sattva). There are moments when we hold with that love and intention strongly with energy (rajas) as millions of us did during the women’s marches. There are times when we need to not budge (tamas). All of these qualities came forward positively on a massive level with the marches.
My take on the mahagunas of Ayurveda is: we are not helpless victims of our constitution (or, as our daughter as a kid famously wailed one time, “You made me want to do it!”) Rather, we’re working with our personality, emotional makeup, physiology, and structure – all things that are part of our constitution – with awareness. How does this look for Kapha? Kapha is cool, slow, solid, grounded, sustaining. A sattvic Kapha could respond to a surprising change with loving kindness, wisdom and open interest. The same Kapha when in a rajasic frame of mind (because we’ve all got the potential for all three qualities of mind inside, right?) might get mad and refuse to talk about what’s happening. That same Kapha in the face of a shocking change, responding with tamas, might shut down, get depressed and engage in self-destructive behaviors. We’ve got choices. Some times the only choice we’re offered is how we respond to conditions. This is where the mahagunas are particularly powerful.
Like learning a new language, sport, or dance step, being able to move from one state of mind to another takes practice. Sattva in particular can be the hardest to maintain – and the most valuable to express.
Let’s look at the mahagunas manifesting in a different constitutional type, Vata. Vata dosha/constitution is light, cool, dry, flexible – and can get worried. A sattvic Vata person might take a deep breath, plant their feet firmly, and look at the surprising unexpected worrisome change with love and determination. No opinions or ideas yet, just love and determination. That same person in a rajasic state of mind, might jump to conclusions, label somebody else wrong and be anxious to create a plan of action, well-considered or not. This very same individual responding in a tamasic way, might raise specters and fears from the past: “I knew it would go badly, I was afraid it wouldn’t work and it didn’t. I’m scared it could be even worse than I imagine.” This Vata person, mustering their sattva quality inside, might respond to their own dark state of mind with, “Hold on. Stick with your loving. Don’t jump to conclusions yet. Let’s see what can happen here.”
Pitta constitution is warm, sharp, oily, light. As the reader, you’re in the position now to describe a sattvic, rajasic and tamasic Pitta, right? What would you say? Yes, you’ve got it – the sattvic Pitta works on holding their temper in the midst of radical changes, and resting in curiosity, love and openness as best they can. The same person in rajas mode holds forth with a host of opinions, and knows they’re right. This self same Pitta in a tamasic frame of mind will head for whatever their lowest default position is – rage, despair, frustration, destruction.
Is this fair? Didn’t I start by saying you could bring forward all three mahagunas in a single experience positively, like the women’s marches? I did. We can be loving and kind (sattva), act energetically (rajas) and hold our ground (tamas).
So why am I going for the more difficult end of things? Because it’s there. These other examples from daily life are offered so that you can recognize the three mahagunas in your own life (and mine). You can choose how you want to respond, regardless of your constitution. There is a certain freedom here. In the example one paragraph back about the tamasic Pitta, we can choose to invite the sattvic Pitta within them forward. We might do this by holding their hand, giving them a hug, dragging them out for a long walk in fresh air, giving them the opportunity to re-consider how they want to respond to this distressing radical change that just knocked them off balance. We can do this with ourselves, as well: drag ourselves out for the walk in fresh air et al.
The mahagunas/mental qualities, are how we relate to circumstances, both every day ones and unexpected ones. They can be our hidden resources and treasure – or our favorite drug of choice. Drug of choice? Yes, when we head for a familiar state of mind that does us no good, it is like some kinds of drug. We can lose control, be bowled over by fear, anger, desire, inertia – or not.
Can you simultaneously hold with your love (sattva) while angry (rajas)? Well, maybe not instantly. But what about with practice? Can you muster some patience (sattva) with yourself and others in the midst of desperate fear (rajas and tamas)? What about kindness (sattva)? Can you invite yours to co-habitate with desire (rajas and tamas)?
It takes a certain amount of rajas to be a blog writer. May I settle down and smile at you with friendly sattva. And take a deep lazy tamasic breath as I break for dinner.
Amadea Morningstar, MA, RPE, RYT is an expert in Ayurvedic health care. She meets you where you are, and is available with respect, bringing over 40 professional years of experience, academic training and hands-on knowledge that includes: Western nutrition, Ayurvedic nutrition and herbalism, Polarity Therapy, Marma therapy, Integral yoga, and nature-based approaches.
She is participating in the upcoming National Ayurvedic Medical Association conference, Ayurveda for a Healthy World, this April 20 – 22 in Plano, Texas. Join her there.