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New Year, New You – The Ayurveda Way

Good health is a life-long process. Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of health and longevity offers us many simple yet profound tips for maintaining a lifestyle that can be sustained for an entire lifetime. “Ayur’ means longevity, ‘veda’ means science, this science of longevity is user-friendly and is applicable universally. Ayurveda states that there are three body/mind constitutions that are formed by pairing up the five elements, namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

Vata is composed of air and space; and governs all movement within the body. Vata is responsible for nervous system function, respiration, elimination, childbirth and menstruation. Pitta is made up of fire and water and is responsible for digestion and metabolism. Kapha, composed of earth and water is responsible for structure, immune function and mucus production. The greatness of Ayurveda is the wisdom that we are all made of these five elements albeit in varying degrees. To experience health and well-being, these doshas must be balanced by adjusting the individual’s lifestyle and food habits.

This new year, Ayurveda can inspire us to make small and gradual changes to our lifestyle for optimal bliss and health. We can begin with a commitment to moving slower and giving every task and person your full attention. Relish and savor your interactions and activities. Be present to yourself and with others.
 
Consider the wisdom of doing less to accomplish more. Although this is contradictory to our social conditioning of constant activity, try it. Spend time taking care of yourself. Meditate, buy new japa mantra beads, learn one new mantra and chant it. Focus on what you wish to manifest and allow it the space to come to fruition.
 Good communication reflects well on us and brings us joy. This is one way to generate saatvic energy and it is good for cultivating emotional health.
 
No matter what task is begging for your attention, give sleep a chance. Get to bed by 9:30p.m. Adequate sleep is good for the nervous system, and for strengthening immune function and rejuvenating the body.
 
Eat vata pacifying food such as warm soup and sip ginger tea. Avoid dry foods such as popcorn, chips, crackers etc. Do not skip meals as this aggravates both vata and pitta. Consider eating stewed apples each day for it is warm, nourishing and light. It has more fiber than a raw apple and is beneficial for elimination. Give up coffee and stimulants or at least use in moderation. Commit to using fresh and organic foods as much as possible.
 
Relish in the healing fragrances of aroma oils. Vatas can use: basil, citrus, clove, lavender, frankinscence, jatamansi, vetivert and sage
Pittas will enjoy: ylang-ylang, sandalwood, rose, jasmine and neroli
Kaphas should favor: basil, ecalyptus, rosemary, tulsi or holy basil, lemon and juniper.

Spend some time learning pranayama. The breath can used to pacify the nervous system and to heat and cool the body. Continue to maintain your daily routine. Stay committed to being in alignment with cosmic rhythms. If your body experiences good routines, you will have better sleep, digestion and elimination.
 Exercise every day. 80% of all diseases are caused by stress. And exercising is one of the best ways of reducing stress. Be in nature, talk a walk, go swimming, practice yoga outdoors.
 
Stay motivated to make lifestyle changes. Go easy on yourself. One change a week is a good start. Spend time in silence reflecting on your experiences and life’s journey. Try to find ways to see it as a gift and treasure the wisdom you derived from it. And always remember to be grateful for what you have and enjoy it!

Stewed Apples and pears
This is a wonderful and delicious breakfast for improving digestion and elimination. You can use apples alone or pears alone or together as in this recipe. You can also add figs and raisins soaked overnight.

Stewed Apples and Pears

Ingredients:
1 apple peeled and chopped coarsely
1 pear peeled and chopped coarsely
3 cloves
1 cup water

Preparation:

Place all the ingredients in a medium sized pot and cover and cook on medium heat till the fruit is soft – about 20 minutes. If the fruit dries out, add another 1/8 cup of water and cook till it is tender.

Aparna KhanolkarBefore relocating to Santa Barbara, Aparna Khanolkar was the main chef at the Chopra Center for Well-Being in Carlsbad, Ca. She also taught Ayurvedic cooking classes and worked as a part-time chef at the prestigious Chopra Center for Living in Rancho Santa Fe. Today, Aparna continues her affiliation with the Chopra Center as their Culinary Consultant to resort chefs around the US and Europe while offering Ayurvedic lifestyle and culinary coaching services in the Santa Barbara area. She can assess your dosha and will work with you to create menus that are best suited for your body/mind. Each session includes a private cooking class, personalized lifestyle recommendations, and referrals to holistic health practioners. www.themistressofspice.com

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