Does Competition Lead to Contentment? How to Cultivate Santosha.

What is contentment? The oxford dictionary defines contentment as a state of being satisfied, and also as a state of tranquil happiness.

In Sanskrit, contentment is referred to as Santosha and is one of the key practices required in Yoga and Ayurveda.

So, an important question to ask yourself is, “how would you define contentment? And, are you content?”

Contentment for me is a state of being in acceptance from which comes inner joy, peace and harmony. These are not dependant on any external events or things.

Contentment allows me to just be rather than having to be or become someone else. I am not always content, but the development of contentment is a part of my spiritual practice.

I have had times were I have felt completely content and during these times I felt free from the agony of dissatisfaction.

We each have equal capacity to be content and the seed of contentment is buried within us. We were born to experience joy, happiness and tranquillity.

Somewhere along the way we lost our connection to our inner joy because we started looking at things outside of us for a sense of fulfillment.

From a young age happiness starts to elude us. We become dissatisfied with what we have, always thinking someone else is happier because they have a bigger and better toy.

As a mom I see this with my own kids. They get treated the same but still one of them always looks to the other and wants what the other has.

They develop the syndrome of “I want what he has because it will make me feel better.”

By doing this over and over again our reserve of contentment dries up, leaving us to think that we have to look outside of us for bigger and better things to get replenished.

This same lack of content follows students into a yoga class. I observe students in class comparing their flexibility to that of their peers.

As a result the gratification from their yoga practice is lost to thoughts of competition and comparison with others. Continue reading

Is Your Yoga Practice Harming Or Healing You – The Art Of Yoga Therapy

Everyone can practice Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy and reap the joyful benefits it gives.

It doesn’t matter what your age or health level is. All you need is the willingness to explore with an open mind.

Practicing Yoga postures with Ayurvedic yoga principles is generally a safe practice, providing you use proper techniques.

The Ayurvedic yoga postures should begin gradually under the guidance of an experienced and competent teacher; someone who has training as an Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist.

The teacher whether it is you or someone else needs to understand the student’s nature or constitution and look at their constitution from an objective point a view.

The teacher or therapist needs to understand the student’s nature on all levels which includes their physical, functional, emotional and psychological constitution. That’s why in Ayurveda yoga therapy, an Ayurvedic assessment is done on the person or oneself.

In yoga therapy, you should never push or strain for immediate results, as doing so could cause injury. One has to apply the principle of Ahimsa – non–violence restraining from hurting or injuring another or oneself. It is essential to be patient, disciplined and prepared.

It is important to surrender your ego – your  competitiveness for a deeper, healthier and holistic practice. For example, you may really want to practice an advanced headstand for 5 minutes but if you have an excess of Pitta (lots of fire), it would be best to practice headstand for only 10 breaths and then move into a strong cooling posture.

Practicing Ayurvedic yoga therapy is systematic, designed to calm, balance and regulate the systems of the body. It is a vast science that can help heal conditions of the mind and body. Continue reading

Ayurveda Gem Therapy And Healing

How is gem therapy  used in Ayurveda?

Gem therapy uses the color properties of the gems and the corresponding planets (to balance out their influences) for the healing process. Specific gem stones both “precious” and “semi-precious” can be worn as rings (on the appropriate fingers) or  as pendants.

In fact Ayurveda considers all rocks, stones and gems to contain prana or life energy which when tuned into your vibrational energy and used with specific intentions or mantras can be very healing for the the mind, body and emotions.

Gems can also be placed on certain areas of your body during meditation or healing sessions. In addition one can carry a gem or stone in their pocket to help heal certain conditions or create positive conditions and environments.

Gems work well and in relation to Vedic Astrology to reveal a wide vast of characteristics and traits that can help you on your yogic path and journey. In Vedic Astrology one gets their chart done and analyzed by an astrologer to determine what gems are beneficial for them.

In Ayurveda, some gem preparations can be taken internally – only under a complex process and should be recommended by an experienced doctor or Ayurvedic specialist with knowledge of in internal gem therapy.

In relation to both Ayurveda and Vedic astrology, gems are used to treat physical, mental and spiritual disorders. Their main action is on the level of life-force affecting the subtle and mental energies and help to balance all 3 doshas.

Below is a list of some gems that are good for Vata, Pitta and Kapha dosha. Continue reading

The secrets of Dinacharya – An Auyrvedic Routine For Optimum Health

One of the most important ways to increase longevity, maintain a youthful appearance and enhance vigor, vitality and health is to establish daily wellness routines known as Dinacharya in Ayurveda.

Dinacharya is best done first thing in the morning upon awakening – it helps set your intention and establishes positive daily actions towards your health and wellness.

If there was one thing I could recommend to improve and sustain one’s health, it would be this. Dinacharya in yoga and Ayurveda is therefore crucial for optimum health.

There are a few important Ayurvedic regimes that one can slowly incorporate into a morning routine. I am outlining here a general practice with some options that anyone can follow. Here they are in the order of importance.

1. Wake Up Early. The first thing is to establish a habit of waking up early. This means being disciplined in going to bed early enough to get enough sleep. Over sleeping or sleeping in too late promotes tamas – inertia, sluggishness or slothfulness.

2. Prayer or Positive Intention. Upon waking it is important to create the right mindset. This is best done by saying a prayer, stating your intentions for the day and/or saying some positive affirmations. This can take as little as 2 minutes and can be done right from your bed or bed -side.

3. Empty Bowels and Bladder. The next important thing is to remove the obvious buildup of toxins from your body. If the time is not right for emptying your bowels then try to do this anytime within first hour.

4. Wash and Cleanse Hands and Face. Washing creates a sense of cleanliness and purity. One option is to have a quick cold or warm shower (never too hot) being conscious of the act of purifying. The other options is to simply use soap (an Ayurvedic soap) and wash your hands, face and eyes – your main organs of actions that carry the most bacteria. Continue reading

How To Find Stillness Everyday And Maintain Youthfulness

In our daily busy lives it is easy to get caught up in so many different things that we forget our real purpose in life – stillness.

Stillness is essential in anything and everything that we do because without it we lack performing our actions successfully with true awareness.

In addition, when we forget to find stillness in our daily activities we begin to age more rapidly.

The movement of time innately leads to aging, to which we are all subjected to through our cycles of births, lives and deaths. No one is excluded from this law.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, linear time isn’t the only thing that affects the aging of our mind and body. But, movement also increases the rate at which we age – our biological time-clock which is a result of motion of both our body and our mind.

Therefore, the faster we move the more quickly our body decomposes, deteriorates and ages. This relates not only to the movement of our physical body, but it also relates largely to the movement of our minds.

When our mind is still, we experience things in the eternal moment of “now” and therefore each moment passes slowly. Time has gone by without really realizing it and therefore doesn’t affect us biologically. Continue reading

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