Hi, I am Dr. Kanika Verma, an Ayurveda Consultant with a special interest in Preventive Ayurveda. My specialty is Ritucharya consultation ( Ayurvedic Preventive seasonal therapy) and Satvavjaya ( Ayurvedic mental health management). I am also a trained psychotherapist.
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“The Five Elements of Ayurveda: Understanding their Properties and Impact on the Body”
In Ayurveda, everything in the physical world is believed to be composed of five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and space. These elements come together in different proportions to form everything that has a tangible existence, including the human body. This is why it’s important to understand the properties and impact of these elements on the body.
The earth element gives physical presence to everything, while the water element provides taste, the air element sound, and the fire element smell. All these elements come together to form physical things, and the differences between them lie in the proportions of the elements present. For example, water has a dominance of the water element, while fire has a dominance of the fire element.
In Ayurveda, herbs also have a dominance of certain elements. For example, red chili has a dominance of the fire element and produces heat inside the body, while milk has a dominance of the water element and produces cooling. It’s also important to note that even space, which doesn’t have all five elements, has its own impact on the body.
This is why understanding the five elements and their properties is important in Ayurveda. By assessing the impact of herbs, lifestyle, and other factors on the body, we can better understand how to maintain a balanced and healthy body and mind.
In conclusion, the five elements of Ayurveda play a crucial role in shaping the physical world and our bodies. By understanding their properties and impact, we can make informed decisions about our health and wellness.
It is not the right approach to describe a method of cooking mindfulness. It is not a physical ritual. If it becomes a physical ritual, the mind will find a way to automate that process too and mindfulness will be out of the picture. Processes are the way to develop mindfulness but they can also become a habit that can block the need for mindfulness. You can develop your own process that is meaningful to your consciousness. The best way to learn cooking mindfulness is to give a picture of cooking Mindfulness in practice. So I will describe my process of cooking mindfulness that has helped me a lot. As in other cases, the described process of cooking mindfulness is my personal experience so I would like to describe it in the form of a story.
I decide what I have to cook. Then I take out the ingredients and place them together. I light the cooking gas with the gratitude that I have a cooking gas. I feel the warmth that is going to convert the ingredients into a wholesome meal. I understand that this meal is important to me and my family. It is going to bring health and fulfillment to my family.
I notice the smell of different herbs and spices I hear the crackling sound of tempering I notice the nice aroma rising food getting cooked
There are different things that can bring peace to the mind, like music, arts but it can be vice versa also. Peace can bring beauty to all things. The arts are meant to give us an experience of the peace and beauty that even a simple work like sweeping can bring us.
Cooking is an essential art which every human being
should know. Cooking is a process that connects us to the basics of our lives.
And therefore, cooking is one ideal process for practicing mindfulness.
This is a process that developed unconsciously as a part of being mindful during cooking. It might help or indicate a direction in which you can find your cooking mindfulness.
Initially, mindfulness helped me get over my fear of cooking. Many people who actually love cooking are already in the state of mindfulness. This is the reason such people cook when they want to relax. For me, reading a book or writing gets me to a state of deep relaxation. I am aware of what I am doing.
However, this cannot be termed as absolute mindfulness because I forget what is happening around me in this case. For example, I used to read books while waiting for milk to get boiled and almost every time, it will get spilled. So it is merely a case of increased concentration instead of mindfulness. If you also feel that you can read a book or watch a short video while cooking or waiting in a queue, then you are just trying to fill the vacant space instead of being mindful about it.
It is natural for us to be able to concentrate on
the things that we like. But on a flip-side it causes us to dislike other
things with equal intensity. Mindfulness brings the patience to look at a
seemingly uninteresting or dull space for a long time. A shooter or a hunter
will appreciate the value of this patience – to keep staring at grassland or
forest area till the prey arrives
I feel this is level one. In the next level, we are able to look at our deep-lying fears and strong emotions. And get over them.
Cooking mindfulness is more than just being present. It must appear extremely dull to be just present. However, mindfulness is a state of Eureka or ultimate discovery every moment of our lives. The person who created the proverb “don’t cry over the spilled milk” was being mindful of the hidden treasure inside a simple incident. Newton had a moment of mindfulness when he saw the apple fall. Archimedes was mindfully aware of the water pushing his body upwards. and he ran naked, being excited by this discovery. It makes me wonder that we have so little awareness that even a moment of mindfulness can change our lives, as well as the lives of millions around us. All the major discoveries were actually not a product of laboratory experiments but of a few moments of mindful awareness. Therefore, mindfulness is far from being dull and boring. It is the gateway to the most exciting insights that can change our lives.
The ritual begins by offering gratitude towards the
gifts of nature in the form of fruits, vegetables, grains etc. All our cooking
ingredients are derived from mother nature’s bounty. This ritual just takes 2-3
sec to just feel the joy of abundance in your heart!
I prepare the ingredients (cutting, dicing,
kneading etc.) with the awareness that these food items are going to be
absorbed by our bodies and bring health and happiness to all the family
As I throw spices and other ingredients in the frying pan, I recite the words”Brahmaarpanam” (offered to the creator) or “Vishnuarpanam” (offered to the one who sustains). Fire is considered to be the messenger of the gods. I pray that all the ingredients are purified by this cooking process and made divine, to bring divine bliss to all the consumers of this food.
This is an ideal description. Sometimes, I still get lost in negative thoughts. However, now I am aware that I should not throw anything in the frying pan while thinking a negative thought, so I recite the above short verses and hope that food will be purified of my negative thoughts.
When you are too low, hearing positive music or
even sermons might help.
The most important fact is that this entire process
is mental and there are no material rituals aligned with it. Everything is in
the mind. From outside, you might never find it any different from any other
The immediate results of this process can be seen on the cook. He/she will feel satisfied and at peace, happy to achieve something divine in the simple process of cooking.
It is so easy to pollute anything, even good things! Recently I prescribed yoga practice to a patient. However, she came back to me with weird queries like which yoga tracks and yoga mats are the best.
So, today, yoga has become a market. There is nothing wrong with this approach as it has helped yoga to become famous and accessible. However, it will be regrettable if the true spirit of yoga is lost amongst the marketing hustle bustle.
According to me, you need only a good Guru for learning yoga and nothing else. The essence of yoga is possessionlessness. This is the reason why yoga is excellent not only for physical health but also for mental health. It sets you free!
There are complications everywhere, anti-skid yoga mat, travel yoga mat, home yoga mat, and so on. You would be buying a pack of 5-6 yoga mats for each different situation. I will tell you one thing – you would genuinely excel in yogic balance if you do not have an anti-skid yoga mat, so please do not buy that at all!
Ayurvedic Minimalism will help you to live an organic life and prevent all kinds of disorders. It is critical to realize that we do not have to do different things to prevent different diseases. We just have to preserve the health of our body, and no disorders can find the weak link inside it.
If you are mentally and physically strong, you can Ace almost all kinds of diseases. At the same time, if you can maintain a tremendous digestive capacity in spite of your illness, your body will be able to burn away most of the disorders.
Minimalist Ayurvedic Life is all about how to live healthy with less. And when we are in deep contact with nature, we have everything that we need to live a healthy and fruitful life.
Medical treatment is a huge yet indispensable cost for all, even the minimalists. And it is a basic need that cannot be ignored. This need and helplessness of the sick feeds the monster of present pharmaceutical business.
Unfortunately, in recent times, Ayurvedic medicine has become a fad and a great market opportunity. I am surprised that I authentic Ayurvedic preparations and medicinal herbs have become so ridiculously expensive.
Therefore I turned to nature for all the disorders that I had to cure. And surprisingly; the best, the fastest, and permanent treatments like intermittent fasting, water therapy, sun gazing and many more are not cheap; it is free!
Minimalist Ayurvedic medicine is a series aimed to provide authentic preventive and curative Ayurvedic treatment that everyone can easily follow. It is cheap, simple and self-implementable.
99% diseases can be treated by the five elements that are present around each one of us just like the hand of mother nature – akash (space), vayu (air), agni (fire), jal (water), prithvi (earth). All these elements are free and abundantly available to all of us; we just need to discover how to use them for our benefit.
Ayurvedic minimalist medicine will help you to cure most of your current health problems naturally. According to Ayurveda, there are some fundamental factors which are common in all disorders, for example, body strength or digestion.
I will start with the preventive Ayurvedic lifestyle and gradually move to more serious disorders like hypertension, diabetes etc. However, I am confident that if you follow healthy food and lifestyle practices, 80% of your diseases can be self-cured.
(Natural News) Notice how the mainstream media has stopped talking about coronavirus “deaths” and shifted to coronavirus “cases?” That’s because the term “cases” is a misnomer. Any person who tests positive for the coronavirus is now considered a “case.” So as more testing is being conducted, more “cases” are emerging.
But I’ve got news for the corrupt medical establishment: Testing positive for a virus does not create a “case” of illness.
As every doctor and virologist knows, a “case” is only established when a person has:
1) A symptomatic expression of illness
2) The presence of an identified pathogen that is known to cause such symptoms
Merely carrying a virus is not a “case.” If that were true, then the vast majority of Americans would right now be diagnosed with “cases” of influenza, and we would be in a media-declared influenza…
Earlier, the market was a part of the community. Now, it appears that the community is a section of the market. Every day we are bombarded with a massive blast of advertising telling us how we should dress, eat, sleep, live, or breathe. It appears that our lives have no more essence than a factor that fuels the growing market.
We earn and spend and earn again, and it never seems to end. It feels like as a Whirlpool of requirements. And still, there is no spark of joy, no peace, and no contentment. The requirements are like fire. The more you fulfill them, the more they grow in size, and intensity.
A few years back, I had a very fortunate experience of extreme frustration. I wanted to get out of this endless cycle of earning and spending. I wanted to give up my MNC job because it made me feel sick. Life looked meaningless.
I felt that my company uses human beings as honey bees. We deceive them with a promise of happiness, safety, and peace and take away their hard earned money. This thought is especially true in the case of pharmaceutical companies.
I wanted to get out of this system. But it is a great trap. My job had a great package, excellent salary, and other perks. What will everyone say? my relatives and acquaintances will think that I am a loser. But after few months, I felt that these people do not matter that much. Why should I live my life for them, and not for me?
I told myself that I would not be able to live a good lifestyle if I leave this job. But, after a few months, I felt that I would rather have a simpler lifestyle than stay stuck in a sickening job.
Then I told myself that I might not be able to maintain even a mediocre lifestyle. What if there is some accident or other kind of financial problems? I told myself that I might not be able to provide for my family and me, if some unforeseen calamity were to strike me, so probably I should continue the job for some more time. I was so scared that I thought about the possibility of eating raw herbs (which is a very healthy practice, according to Ayurveda).
After few months, I started exploring cheaper alternatives to everything. And to my great surprise. I found that cheaper things are essentials. And you can have a much simpler and meaningful life when you align yourself with the essentials.
In the end, I even reflected on the possibility of even dying of starvation. However, after a few months, I thought that I would rather die of starvation then work here. And this reflection was a spring of Liberation for me.
Once you are ready for the most dreaded; you can take up any task, make any change in your world. The initial frustration was like a gestation pain that helped me to be born in the world of minimalism.
So I left my job and frantically started exploring other earning options. This experience taught me one thing – when you are frantic, then nothing comes to you! And because nothing came to me, I looked inwards and focused on minimizing my expenditure instead of trying to earn more.
The light of wisdom dawns on you when you are ready. Or, from another perspective, you can see the dawn that has been there all along once you develop the vision for it.
I saw a documentary on minimalism, which actually changed my life. It helped me to see that what I am trying to do is not unreasonable or impractical. Lots of people around the world are already deep into what I am trying to achieve. And it made me very confident about my approach.
After that, I experimented with Ayurvedic minimalism and found that all our needs can be met without any expense at all. And I want to share my experience so that we together can stop the menace of industry giants trying to control our lives.
In this series, I am aiming to provide information on two fronts –
Minimalist Ayurvedic Lifestyle
Minimalist Ayurvedic Treatment
I will keep adding more information to make them a comprehensive user manual for everyone who wants to live a healthy and medicine-free minimalist life.
In the previous videos you saw how stress can severely affect your level of concentration.
And also how artificially manufacture stimulants or smart drugs can kill your concentration permanently.
Now in this episode let us discover, what are some of the natural ways to develop excellent levels of sustainable concentration and one of the natural ways is to take ayurvedic herbs like Ashwagandha,Shatavari, Brahmi, Shankhpushpi and so on and so forth.
In this particular episode, let me discuss about Ashwagandha which is a great memory tonic, which is a great neuroprotective agent according to multiple scientific studies.
Ashwagandha and Stress Hormone
As we saw in the earlier videos, stress hormone is a huge factor to rapidly deteriorating level of concentration.
And Ashwagandha helps to reduce the levels of stress hormone. According to multiple scientific studies,Ashwagandha not only reduces the level of stress hormone. It also helps the neurons to mature faster and have a long healthy life.
Ashwagandha and Cell Oxidation
Another very important factor for lack of concentration is high rate of cell oxidation. A high rate of cell oxidation can rapidly kill the existing neurons and Ashwagandha helps to reduce cell oxidation.Cell oxidation occurs because of free radicals as we saw in an earlier episode, but Ashwagandha has a great antioxidant effect. The bio active substances in Ashwagandha, like withanone or withferin-A exert an Antioxidant effect and which has been proven by multiple scientific studies as well. This amazing antioxidant effect of Ashwagandha prevents early cell death and ensure that your neurons live a long life.
And that’s Ashwagandha eliminates the basic two factors for low concentration- the stress hormone and the cell oxidation of neurons. It ensures that your neurons thrive in a much better condition. They live longer. And they have a great productivity.
And in this way, Ashwagandha eliminates the cause for low concentration.And when there is no cause (stress), there will be no effect (neurodegeneration). And in return you will have a great level of concentration, a natural and sustainable concentration because there is no deteriorating factor hindering it.
But then these are only two of the multiple ways in which ashwagandha can help our mind and body.
Ashwagandha in Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, “samyavastha” or the balanceed state of metabolism is the key to health of mind as well as body. No organ or organ system in the body works in isolation. Everything is connected. How can we expect the nervous system to function properly when the digestive system or the excretory system is not functioning properly?
Your digestive system is the door to nutrition and when there is a lack of nutrition for neurons, how can we expect a great level of concentration?
And this is where the work of Ashwagandha is unique because it does not work only on the brain cells. It works on the entire body. It heals the entire system.
The essence is that Ashwagandha produces a natural and deep calming affect all over the body. It shuts down the emergency response mode and turns on the parasympathetic nervous system the repair and rejuvenate mode in the body, which naturally repairs all the cells in the body, including neurons.
When all the systems in the body are functioning properly and in their best capacity, there is no doubt why we should not have a very healthy nervous system and a great level of concentration, a natural and sustainable concentration.
Ashwagandha : The Rasayana
According to ayurveda, there is a special category of herbs called “Rasayana”. Now what exactly is Rasayana is a huge topic, but in short, I can tell you that Rasayana are the herbs that can normalize all the body functions. They can bring a balance, a natural level of balance in all the metabolic functions.
In fact, Rasayana are so effective that they can practically stall the aging process all over the body, including the neurons. These herbs are now classified as adaptogens according to modern medicine and Ashwagandhais a rasayan.
If you’re interested in the Dosha angle for Ashwagandha, there are namely 3 dosha in the body – vata, pitta and kapha. Vata dosha is the metabolic pattern responsible for all kinds of motion or kinetic energy in the body. It also controls large part of brain activity. In fact, nervous system is dominated by vata dosha.
Lack of concentration or other severe mental disorders like dementia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, etc. are also attributed to imbalanced Vata Dosha. Apart from its multiple other beneficial qualities, Ashwagandha is a great vata balancing agent. That means it counters the drying and wasting effect of vata dosha, especially on the neurons.
In fact, it is a “balya” rasayana. That means it strengthens all the body cells, including the neurons and therefore it ensures that the neurons have a long and healthy life, definitely resulting in a great concentration.
According to Ayurveda also, negative emotions like stress, anxiety, or worry can trigger vata imbalance and result in a low levels of concentration.
But Ashwagandha is a proven anti-anxiety agent, and therefore it brings a sustainable and natural level of concentration without any deterioration.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race!
Now Ashwagandha does not produce an instant result. So it is not like you take a tea spoon of Ashwagandha and you’ll be transformed into a human supercomputer.It has a very organic and very sustainable effect in a long term.And that is why if you want to see the real effect of Ashwagandha, consider taking it for a long duration of time, at least for a month.
And the best thing about ashwagandha is that it is not a habit-forming herb and therefore there is no question of addiction.
In fact, with every usage, it repairs and strengthen the entire system so that it can stand on its own. So, you will have a great concentration even if you do not take ashwagandha after a period of time.
How to consume Ashwagandha for concentration?
Each one of us is unique and I know one person who suffers from migraine after taking Ashwagandha. So, it is always best to consult your physician for a personalized advice regarding any herb. However, there are some basic rules that might help you to get the best benefit from Ashwagandha.
How much to take?
To determine the perfect dosage of ashwagandha for your particular need, it is best to use the ayurvedic technique of “upshay”. I have described this process of upshay in detail in one of the previous episodes “why home remedies don’t work?”
In short, upshay means that you must start taking any medicine with a veryvery small dosage. A small dosage is a very safe and simple method to implement any medical treatment. This small dosage ensures that your body able to tolerate the medicine. It helps the bodyto adjust its metabolic response to any medicine without any danger of widespread side effects.
And therefore I will advise that you can start taking Ashwagandha with half a teaspoon a day and increase it according to your convenience, probably to 100 grams a day.
However, it completely depends on your body and you must be very very careful. You must observe the changes in your body very carefully while you’re taking ashwagandha, at least for a month’s time. Once your body is habituated to the medicine, then there is no potential for any harm.
This technique of upshay will ensure that you do not face any kind of side effect or allergy from Ashwagandha.
When to take?
Vata dosha has five subtypes and one of them is “prana vayu”. Prana vayu is primarily responsible for intelligence and concentration and this prana vayu is dominant during the night time, therefore, the best time to consume any medicine for the head region is before bed.
If you want to take Ashwagandha for increasing concentration, try taking it at night time before bed. In the end, I want to say that Ashwagandha is a great remedy for low levels of concentration. It is definitely better than all kinds of synthetic stimulants. It has no side effects.And in fact, it provides long-term benefits to the bodyover all benefits to entire body.
Better Than Ashwagandha!
Therefore, if you have a choice between Ashwagandha and stimulants, always go for Ashwagandha.
However, probably, today they are more human beings on the planet than Ashwagandha plants. So if you’re not able to get Ashwagandha from a trusted source, try using a better method – meditation, because when you can make the change in the mind itself, it will naturally reflect in the body.
And meditation is the way through which you can make a permanent change in the mind.
I want to tell you one thing. I never had Ashwagandha. But I’ve been practicing meditation for past 20 years and I can tell you that it has a far better effect than Ashwagandha or any Ayurvedic herb. So let us start with Ashwagandha, but not end there. And move on to much better and subtler practices for developing a better concentration and a better life.
I sincerely hope that you benefit from all this information.