I’ve been reading Yoga Essays for Self Improvement. In his chapter on “Lessons of Life”, Swami Jyotirmayananda ponders that 'despite man’s amazing academic knowledge, he is unable to control his anger and restless moods.' He further says that 'man does not know how to cope with his own problems in daily life, nor does he understand his own mind, nor does he experience true happiness and peace.'
It has been my experience, after meeting tens of thousands of people in my 66 years of life, that what Swami Jyotirmayananda states is true. As humans, we struggle to find peace and happiness, cope with daily problems, control anger and balance our restless natures.
He shares important lessons from the ageless wisdom of sages and saints of the past. Here are just a few of the lessons.
“Rather than giving credit to your ego when prosperity develops, recognize the glorious workings of the Divine Hand and be thankful to God. When affected by adversity, do not lose sight of the Divine Hand that sustains your every step; in fact what seems adverse is nothing but prosperity in disguise.”
…”Everything that happens to person has been designed for the unpliftment of his soul.”
Loving Life and Living Love,
Thank you to Banyan Botanicals and Rumin Jehangir for this great article and yummy recipes. See more about Rumin at the end of the blog.
Warming Herbal Chai Recipes for Each Dosha
Clarifying Herbal Tea Brrr...it’s cold outside! Gray days are calling for some inside time—preferably on the couch, curled up with a soft blanket, watching a classic film. Add a toasty fire to this story and we’re visualizing a lovely Sunday.
During this cold month, being dormant (like the plants) sounds perfect and natural. According to Ayurveda, the winter season is the time to slow down and reserve nutrients (similar to the plants) in order to sprout anew on a warm spring day, with an immune system ready to conquer the year ahead.
During the winter months, it feels instinctive to want to hibernate and spend more time indoors. The air outside can feel too cold and heavy to move through. At the same time, a lack of movement can decrease the internal heat we generate from normal activity.
Understanding and appreciating these seasonal qualities is important in supporting the immune system. Combined with the cold qualities in the external environment, the body can succumb to an increase of cold energy. As the season progresses, this may lead to seasonal imbalances.
Ayurveda recommends a counterbalancing lifestyle approach to help prevent imbalances: in the winter, balance the cold with warmth.
Herbal spiced chai is a delicious beverage for generating internal warmth and keeping the digestive fire burning. The pungency of spices like cardamom, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, tulsi, and turmeric can ease the stagnation that can stem from the cold, supporting movement and flexibility. The rich, enlivening aroma awakens the senses, adding a little pep to the step, even on those gray days when the sun seems to have disappeared.
These spices, along with ajwain (carom), licorice, and fennel support the respiratory system, circulation, elimination, and activate digestion. The combined benefits can help lessen the impact of winter’s influence while nourishing the immune system.
So, the next time the sofa calls for a snuggle under a warm blanket, spice it up with a cup of herbal chai, as it’s going to get colder before it gets warmer.
Turn off the heat and add the tulsi leaves. Let the leaves steep for 3–5 more minutes, then add milk (optional) to your liking. Stir in the milk, strain, and serve. Makes about 2–3 servings.
*Honey—adding honey to hot tea reduces its beneficial properties, according to Ayurveda. It is best to add honey to the tea once it has cooled slightly. For the optimal results, do the pinkie test. If the pinkie can remain in the tea for 10 seconds, add the honey.
Rumin Jehangir is a NAMA certified ayurvedic wellness counselor who incorporates jyotish (vedic astrology) and ayurvedic nutrition into her holistic practice. Her website is chit.chaat.chai.
Loving Life and Living Love,
With the start of the New Year, many of us make New Year Resolutions and either vow to begin on the path to a healthier lifestyle or like me, we choose to renew our commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Statistics show that fitness centers and gyms are at their highest attendance in January each year.
I find it interesting to note in myself that while I’ve not had a cup of coffee in more than five years, nor alcohol, nor meat, my challenge is with sweets. Especially during the holidays, when the familiar favorite cookies, cakes and other sweet treats are seemingly inseparable from our family’s traditions, I felt the cravings for overindulgence resurface.
Occasional sweet treats are not an issue. Ayurveda is a proponent of moderation and right choices made most of the time. The more balanced our body becomes, the occasional ‘not ideal choices’ in food and drink become less of an issue, as our body quickly resets and recovers. One-offs are not the problem.
After I managed to keep the caffeine, alcohol and meat out of my system for more than a year, I’ve had little desire for these one-time staples in my daily life. I don’t consciously decide to not have them, I just have no interest in them. The present quality of my life and lack of the powerful side effects of the coffee, alcohol and meat have been effective dissuaders for me. I sleep better, digest better, no longer have puffy eyes in the morning or swollen ankles at night, and I have fewer headaches and no hangovers.
Sugar and sweets, for me, have proven much more challenging to keep in moderation. For the most part, I’ve slowed my appetite for them and can be satisfied with much less quantity than my pre-yoga and Ayurveda days. Yet, this holiday season, I noted myself eating way too many cookies and other sweet treats. I passed the mark of moderation. The positive is that I observed the setback and am determined to get back to better balance.
You might ask, ‘How do you tell if you are past moderation?’.
How much is too much? Or Why not splurge a little?
For each person the answers to these questions are a little different. For me, the indicator of a concern is that I start trying to talk myself out of eating something that is calling to me. The healthy me knows that there will be repercussions from overindulgence. More than a day or two of overconsumption inevitably results in negative effects. I become less energetic, feel the effects of stressful situations more, am more emotionally sensitive, start feeling deprived and increasingly want more sweets than the day before. Unfortunately, when that conversation begins in my head, most of the time, the craving wins - that’s when I know I’ve passed the mark.
Usually, there is no conversation going on in my head. If I feel like a sweet treat and am in a healthy balance, I have a small portion, enjoy it and don’t think twice about it. I may not have another sweet for days or weeks. When I’m out of balance, the cravings have a hold on me.
Each time I passed the cookie dish or candy tray while I was home, the voice in my head began. At the ashram there is less temptation, it is true. But there are still plenty of sweet treats available there, if I choose to have them. The cravings at home may have more to do with the nostalgia of holidays, and that requires some meditation about what that all means for me.
I know I’ve still got work to do regarding my strong attraction and attachment to sweets. Hence my New Year’s renewed commitment to a healthy lifestyle. I am grateful for the opportunity.
Good luck with your New Year resolutions, whatever they may be!
May 2020 be filled with blessings for each of us.
Loving Life and Living Love,