Ayurvedic Recipes - Summer Green Bean Salad

Ayurvedic Recipes: Summer Green Bean Salad

By AOLRC
August 23, 2017

Ayurvedic Recipes - Summer Green Bean Salad

Warm late-summer days are perfect for enjoying the bounty of the season. A fresh summer salad is a great way to take advantage of the wonderful flavor and nutritional value of in-season vegetables,  including an Ayurvedic favourite – green beans.

Regardless of your body type, or dosha, this salad is a delicious delight that will help you balance the effects of the season.

Although most beans are harder for Vata to digest, green beans are one of the exceptions to the rule. This green bean salad, with sauteed squash and red onion, is especially balancing for Vata.

Pitta may be extra aggravated during the summer months, so it’s best to introduce more hydrating and cooling foods. Salads are a summer necessity for Pitta.

Kapha is balanced by cooked, whole foods that are lighter and drier in texture. These foods are ideally served warm or hot. For a summer salad, room temperature or slightly warm cooked whole grains mixed with fresh vegetables are best for Kapha digestion.

   

Green Bean Salad

  • 1 cup of green beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup yellow summer squash, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Optional: 1/4 cup crumbled goat’s milk cheese or chevre 

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

  • 1 tsp dijon mustard or brown mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 each salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
 

Directions

  1. Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add green beans and boil for 3 minutes, or until slightly tender. The green beans should still have a light crunch.
  2. While green beans are cooking, fill a mixing bowl with ice water. When the green beans are done cooking, fill a mixing bowl with ice water. When the green beans are done cooking, drain thoroughly and immediately add to the ice water to shop the cooking process. Drain in a colander. Pat dry and set aside.
  3. To make a vinaigrette, whisk all ingredients together, adding the olive oil last. Set aside.
  4. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a saute pan on medium heat.
  5. Add red onion and cook until just tender and slightly translucent. Add yellow squash and cook an additional 2 minutes.
  6. Take squash mixture off heat and add to green beans. Stir all the vegetables together and add the vinaigrette.
  7. Serve topped with crumbled goat cheese.

For Pitta: Replace the cooked squash and onions with fresh chopped and seeded cucumber. Replace cilantro with mint for extra cooling

For Kapha: Add 1 cup cooked room temperature couscous. For easy couscous, pour 1/2 cup couscous into 3/4 cup boiling water, stir once with a spoon, cover with a lid, and remove from heat. Wait 10 minutes, and then fluff couscous with a fork. Let cool before mixing into the salad.

 
 

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

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Ayurvedic Recipes: Indian Okra

By Diana Bellofatto
August 2, 2017

Summer is here, and you may be experiencing extreme temperatures and the imbalances that accompany the high heat. One of the most effective ways to regulate body temperature and bring one’s self back into balance is through diet.

Pitta is that which is governed, mainly, by the fire element, and responds well to sweet, astringent, and bitter tastes to bring it back into balance when overheated. Therefore, it would stand to reason that the hot summer is pitta season. We want to be careful not to add too much heat to this already fiery time of the year! Choosing the appropriate seasonal foods will help pacify pitta’s predilection for pyrogenic tendencies.

   

Indian Okra

  • 2 cups okra
  • 1 tbsp ginger grated
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ¼  tsp turmeric
  • Salt (to taste)
  • ½ lime
  • Handful chopped cilantro (for garnish)

Directions

When preparing okra use dry cutting board and knife to avoid okra getting wet.  Heat ghee in pan until melted.  Add cumin seeds until they “swim.”  Reduce heat and add fresh ginger.  Add coriander powder and turmeric.  Combine okra with spice mixture and cook on low for 15 minutes or until tender.  Add salt to taste.  Garnish with a squeeze of lime and fresh cilantro.

     

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

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TAGS: art of living , Ayurveda , Ayurvedic diet , Ayurvedic Recipes , dosha , food , health , healthy lifestyle , natural lifestyle , Recipes , salad , summer , weight-loss

Ayurvedic Recipes: Sensational Summer Salad to the Rescue!

By Diana Bellofatto
July 3, 2017

Ayurvedic Recipes - Summer Salad

Summer is here, and you may be experiencing extreme temperatures and the imbalances that accompany the high heat. One of the most effective ways to regulate body temperature and bring one’s self back into balance is through diet.

Pitta is that which is governed, mainly, by the fire element, and responds well to sweet, astringent, and bitter tastes to bring it back into balance when overheated. Therefore, it would stand to reason that the hot summer is pitta season. We want to be careful not to add too much heat to this already fiery time of the year! Choosing the appropriate seasonal foods will help pacify pitta’s predilection for pyrogenic tendencies.

 

This light salad is a great way to honor your body’s nutritional needs without feeling too weighed down in the heat. See how the seasonal and light nature of this salad provides a tantalizing, tasty, and nutritionally balanced meal as each of the ingredients pave the way for pitta pacification.

(more…)

TAGS: art of living , Ayurveda , Ayurvedic diet , Ayurvedic Recipes , dosha , food , health , healthy lifestyle , natural lifestyle , Recipes , salad , summer , weight-loss
Marma - Art of Living Retreat Center

Exploring Wisdom: Revathi Raghavan on Marma

By Paige Reist
May 4, 2017

Marma - Art of Living Retreat Center

When combined with panchakarma, the practice of marma can help you find a profound sense of rest and release. We recently spoke with Revathi Raghavan, Marma Chikitsa Trainer, Ayurvedic Practitioner and Art of Living retreat host, about her journey with marma, and why she thinks it’s an essential addition to your panchakarma experience.

AOLRC: Can you explain what, exactly, marma is?
R: The word marma literally means mortal, sensitive or vulnerable. The term comes from the suchi veda, a part of Ayurveda, and it said to have origins in the martial arts and used on the battlefield to defeat enemies. Another theory is that it originated from Dhanur Veda, one of the four “upavedas” along with Ayurveda, Gandharva Veda (Music) and Staapatya Veda (vastu). Warriors wore protective armor to guard their vital points. Marma points are hidden, secret and vital. Hidden because you can’t see them, they are both inside and on the surface of the body. They’re anatomically thought of to be present at the junction of muscles, ligaments, bones, joints, tendons, and nerves. They’re sort of between mind and matter – that’s why they’re hidden. These points are also full of prana, or consciousness, which is why we refer to them as vital. It was also kept secret so that it is not misused – the knowledge was guarded and passed on mainly within families or through teacher-disciple relationship.

Sometimes we hear stories of people who are in accidents, and who may not have sustained any external injuries, but they die. Often, it’s because their vital marma points have been hit. There are points that can cause death or injury. When the same points are used therapeutically they bring enormous healing benefits.

According to Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, it is one of the most restorative therapies. The practice of Marma or Marma Chikitsa is through gentle pressure or stimulation of these vital points. This releases any stresses or blocks held in the nadis for a long time and allows for free flow of prana or energy, thereby bringing deep relaxation and rejuvenation. It is one of the most direct ways of harmonizing prana in an individual. I like to think of Marma Vidya (Science of Marma) as the grandfather of acupressure.

AOLRC: And what are the benefits of marma?
R: The practice of marma has benefits on the body, mind and spirit. On the bodily level, it brings about hydration, nourishment, hormonal balance, pain relief, balances doshas, revitalizes organs, balances digestion and elimination, relaxes muscles and is generally cleansing. On the mind level, marma strengthens, balances the gunas, helps the mind be more in the present moment, improves perception, understanding and communication. Of course it helps us clear emotions and release stresses and achieve a deep state of relaxation. It also helps clear out any fogginess thus bringing clarity.

We live in a very stimulated environment today. People are constantly engaging their senses and there is enormous pressure to be someone and achieve something. There is also a overuse and misuse of our senses and we end up spending countless hours on television, ipads, kindles, laptops, and you-name-it gadgets. Everyone has goals, naturally, but there is so much pressure, hurried movement and competition that we’ve begun to live in this “vata” aggravated environment. Marma gives us a break from all of this and helps release some of the stresses brought on by the overuse/misuse of the senses.

AOLRC: What inspired you to learn and teach marma?
R: I had a wonderful experience receiving marma in Bangalore ashram once, and I’ve been fascinated ever since. I’ve been an Ayurvedic practitioner for many years now, and during my training, I delved into many panchakarma therapies, including abhyanga, shirodhara, nasya, swedana, virechana, and bastis. But I felt like my Ayurvedic training wasn’t complete without learning about marma chikitsa. I had the opportunity to learn from Ann Revington, the director of the Sri Sri Ayurveda programs in Canada, in our Texas ashram, which is where my journey with marma began.

AOLRC: In your experience, what is the common experience that participants have with marma?
R: It’s amazing to see how marma affects people. Even just doing a few points, people go into such a deep state of rest or relaxation. It’s wonderful to see the stress and tension just melt away. People have reported and shared healing of all kinds. They are able to sleep better at night, let go of anxiety, relief from body aches/pain, rest like they have never gotten in years, also have a deep meditative experience. Marma is safe for all ages and groups of people. It is beneficial for post-shock and trauma, illnesses (including cancer), injury, surgery, anxiety, insomnia and many other conditions.

It’s important for the practitioner to be on a regular sadhana practice, so that they’re stress-free and centered themselves. Giving someone an experience of marma is a very meditative experience, and both the practitioner and the recipient tend to achieve a profound state of meditation, and a deep sense of intimacy and oneness with each other and the universe.

AOLRC: Why the Art of Living Retreat Center?
R: When I’m here, I feel home. I don’t feel like going back to my real world! Everyone takes such wonderful care of each other here. The kitchen staff, the office, event organizers, the teachers, the participants – so courteous and sincere and go out of there way to make you feel comfortable. You can tell that everyone here is very passionate about what they do. I feel so comfortable here, so welcome. And yes, of course, the food is delicious!!

Experience the deep and restorative practice of marma at one of our many Panchakarma Retreats, and/or join Revathi for our next Marma practitioner training in July or October. You can also join her for a skin and beauty workshop “Beauty From Within” in July or October.

 

Experience the deep and restorative practice of marma at one of our many Panchakarma Retreats, and join Revathi for Beauty From Within in July or October!

 

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: Ayurveda 101 , ayurveda detox , exploring wisdom , knowledge , marma , massage , natural lifestyle , Panchakarma , wellness , wisdom
Spring Cleansing

Wellness, Naturally: Spring Cleansing

By Diana Bellofatto
March 20, 2017

Spring Cleansing

 

We hear so much about cleansing these days. There are many ways to cleanse, and it seems like everybody is doing it! It’s all over the internet, and even celebrities are touting the benefits. If done correctly, cleansing has some phenomenal benefits. If done incorrectly, not only will the therapeutic value be lost, but imbalances can be driven more deeply into the body.

 

On a deeper level, be aware that cleansing is not just beneficial for the physical body. I can’t emphasize that enough! While the physical body benefits greatly from a cleanse, there are also amazing mental and spiritual benefits to be experienced. Each time we cleanse, the process goes a bit deeper.

 

Spring is the perfect time to embark on an Ayurvedic cleanse – and here are five reasons why.

 

Acid vs. Alkaline

In winter, we follow nature’s lead and eat seasonally, to benefit from a more acidic diet that helps us stay warm and grounded. In spring, it is important to rid ourselves of that acidity and become more alkaline. This will ensure that we don’t suffer heat imbalances as we move into summer.

 

The Opportunity for Release

We have an opportunity to process molecules of emotion stored in the fat cells during a cleanse. Cleansing allows us to release “old” thoughts and feelings that no longer serve us. As a result, we are more inclined to move away from negative behavior patterns that we repeat. We’re also more likely to open up to trying something new to achieve our desired results.

 

A Return to Emotional Balance

As the acronym SAD (for Seasonal Affective Disorder) suggests, winter is a time where we can suffer from depression and general feelings of malaise. Some people feel a spring in their step as winter thaws, but some of us experience feelings of heaviness in the body, heart, and mind, weighing us down when it rains and the snow melts in spring. The protocol of eating a lighter diet and walking in nature during the cleanse supports our ability to come back to a state of equanimity.

 

Setting up for Success

The strength of our digestion waxes and wanes throughout the year. Many of us can’t wait for the abundant buffet of delicious vegetables that come up through the earth’s floor in spring and summer. Along with that comes the opportunity to eat more salads, and other cold, raw vegetables. This will require a strong digestive fire and one of the benefits of the spring cleanse is that it resets the digestive fire to support our change in eating habits.

 

Strengthened Immunity

With a strengthened digestive fire, comes strengthened immunity that enhances our ability to thwart imbalances, such as severe allergies and sinus infections that often accompany spring. So cleansing in spring will find us out of the doctor’s office and in a place of ease and comfort, enjoying life!

 

Learn more about our Ayurvedic Detox Retreats here! 

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.

 

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5 Ayurvedic Tips For Late Summer

By Dr. Harrison Graves, MD
August 31, 2016

Pumpkin:fallLeaf

 

In Ayurveda, there are six seasons instead of four: spring, early summer, late summer, fall, early winter and late winter.  The later summer season  is called Varsha ritu or “rainy season.” August and September mark this transition from summer to fall, from heat to coolness, from spring vegetables to late summer harvest. Seasons change and so should we. We should change our eating habits and our activities to be in tune with each season — especially when it comes to the foods we eat and the activities we enjoy. In this blog you’ll find some food for thought:  5 Ayurvedic tips for late summer season.   

 

Eating According to Season

Food has an essential role in keeping you healthy.  For that reason it is very important that you adjust your eating in accordance with the seasons. In late summer,  digestion slows down.  Agni is low. As the weather starts to cool, eat more  rice and barley —  foods that are easy to digest. Salty and sour intake should also be increased during this time.  Try a delicious juice of pomegranate  mixed with honey and lime for a Pitta reducing treat.

   

Late Summer and the Doshas

During late summer, all doshas can go out of balance, especially Vata and Pitta. For that reason, Ayurveda  recommends seasonal purification practices like Panchakarma, especially for this time of year. Pitta needs to be cooled down after the long hot summer. Vatas need to stay grounded and hydrated. Herbal teas like Tulsi (Holy Basil) make an ideal late summer drink, especially for Vatas. You can spice up your Tulsi with cardamom, ginger or coriander seeds.

Regardless of your dosha, here are five Ayurvedic tips to help you with that transition from late summer to the early fall season:

 

5 Ayurvedic Tips For Late Summer

  1. Eat foods that are easily digestible, warm and light. Barley, rice and wheat are recommended. Tender coconut is a good pacifier for increased Vata and Pitta conditions.
  2. Cut back on leafy greens, uncooked vegetables and salads. Increase sweet, sour and salty foods.
  3.  Drink room temperature water (instead of ice water) to keep Agni in balance. Avoid ice cream.
  4. Consider taking an Ayurvedic liver formula daily during September—it will help support the cleansing of old pitta from the blood and liver.
  5. Take Triphala each night before bed to cleanse Pitta gently from the small intestines.

If you can incorporate the above tips into in your daily routine, you can enjoy a healthier fall season ahead. As the leaves begin to turn from green to gold and red, adjust your diet and activities accordingly. Be in tune in with Nature and the seasons…the Ayurvedic way.

 

Review Question: What late summer tea is especially good for Vata?

 

Comments?  Please share your own Ayurvedic tips and food recipes down below — those which are ideal for late summer and early fall.

 

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.

 

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TAGS: art of living Shankara spa , Ayurveda , ayurveda detox , harrison graves md , natural lifestyle , Panchakarma , wellness , yoga

How Ayurveda Helped Me Love My Body

By Lucia Whalen
August 31, 2016

R..Pulse. Credit - Rohit Tandon
Like many young women, I grew up idolizing images of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and the Spice Girls, all of whom graced magazine covers with size 2 bodies and gave off the impression to five year old girls that it was normal to wear belly shirts everyday.

 

Mixed Messages and Me

Now, I have never been a size two, and never will be. In fact, I think the closest I have ever come to a size two was on the day of my birth. As an athletic kid, I grew up with more brawn than slim. Because of this, as a young girl being fed a one-size-fits-all image by the mainstream media of what “attractive” women look like, I failed to develop an appreciation for my natural body-type. As I moved into my teenage years, my poor-body image, along with the mixed messages from the media about what I “should” and “shouldn’t” eat (Fat is Bad! Eat as many Avocados as you want! Eat cabbage soup for a month!), I developed a very distorted understanding of what my body truly needed in order to be healthy. The worst part was, I loved to eat! And the more I deprived myself in order to look a certain way, the unhappier I felt.

 

Discovering Ayurveda

After years of confusion and dissatisfaction with my body, I received a pulse reading from Dr. Lokesh, a globally renowned Ayurveda and Pulse assessment expert, when he visited my hometown of Chicago. And after years of feeling that I wasn’t the person I was supposed to be, I was suddenly reminded who I truly am.

“…after years of feeling that I wasn’t the person I was supposed to be, I was suddenly reminded who I truly am”

I sat down beside Dr. Lokesh, and he immediately asked for my wrists, skipping over the nervous chitchat played out at the usual doctor’s office visit. After a few minutes of his listening to my pulse, he announced that, out of the three doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha), I had a predominantly Pitta constitution, along with a little Kapha. What did this mean? According to Dr. Lokesh,

“Pittas are intelligent, focused, attractive, and leaders. You also have strong digestion, but because of that you often think you can eat anything. You also have a strong appetite – never skip a meal. And don’t get seconds, as you have the tendency to overeat.”

And the Kapha?

“Kaphas have a strong build and stamina. Kapha people are patient, strong, and loyal. However, you can get lazy and have a sweet tooth. Stay away from sweets and overeating to avoid weight gain and diabetes.”

All of my body-image “shoulds” were wiped away within the span of 15 minutes as I learned the reality of my constitution and what I need in terms of food, herbs, and lifestyle to experience optimal health.

“All of my body-image “shoulds” were wiped away within the span of 15 minutes as I learned the reality of my constitution”

Recognizing my Strengths

Learning about my constitution through pulse reading has helped me to identify my strengths, rather than weaknesses. For example, while I may not be a top candidate for the spot of fifth Spice Girl, I am blessed with a strong stamina and athletic build, which allows me to be a top competitor in sports, and will allow me to stay active late into life. Those competitive traits, when balanced, also support my natural leadership skills and focus.

Besides providing me emergency body-image relief, pulse readings with Dr. Lokesh have often unearthed the non-physical aspects of my life that may be affecting my health. As Ayurveda takes a holistic approach to health, incorporating body, mind, and spirit into each evaluation, guidance provided by Dr. Lokesh has helped me transition out of a dead-end job, identify how romantic relationships affect my health, and develop trust.

For those interested in receiving a pulse reading for the first time, remember that pulse assessments are not a replacement for western medicine, but rather are a strong complement, and can provide basic insights into food and lifestyle often overlooked in the pharmaceutical-dominated medical industry. Whether you are new to Ayurveda or are a pulse-diagnosis pro, I invite you to take advantage of Dr. Lokesh’s United States tour and listen in to what your pulse has to say!

lucia whalen blog writerWritten by Lucia Whalen
Editor’s Note: Thank you for sharing your life-changing experience with us Lucia.

If you’re interested to learn about your body type, register for a free telephone consultation with an Ayurvedic practitioner – click here

             

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.

 

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TAGS: Ayurveda , Ayurvedic diet , Body Image , constitution , dosha , health , kapha , natural lifestyle , pitta , Pulse Assessment , wellness
Wellness at Ayurvedic retreat center.

Discovering a Pain Free Life: Millie’s Story

By AOLRC
April 26, 2016

After struggling with PTSD for 15 years, and chronic pain that was triggered by multiple auto accidents, I decided to come here to participate in the Happiness Program and learn how to practice yoga. I wanted to find a way to exercise my body and cope with the pain emotionally and physically.

I am a biologist that does research that requires a lot of tenacity. In my field you never know what you’re going to get. One needs passion and fire in their soul to keep after those questions they have been asking, to try to find answers and solutions to real world problems. This course has empowered me to have the confidence in myself to go that extra mile, do those late night experiments, and solve those problems.

When I came here I was taking pain medicine for my back, I was unable to drive from fear of another accident, I had anxiety, and was riddled with depression and fear. I also had fear, coming here, that I would not improve, because many other methods had not worked for me.

people_Millie_Smile2
“I feel a greater sense of inner peace, calm, and feeling of victory over the things that were making my life closed and small.”
     

During my stay here I had various treatments at the spa and participated in yoga and the Happiness Program. While having an open mind and heart and  receiving care and love during my treatment I discovered that my lower back pain is gone. I have learned tangible tools to keep myself calm through any situation. I’m not waiting for my next pain pill, and I feel a greater sense of inner peace, calm, and victory over the things that were making my life closed and small.

I’ve also had insomnia for about 15 years, and with the techniques that we learned in the Happiness course I am now able to sleep soundly through the night without getting up and disturbing that precious REM sleep that restores the body and the spirit. I feel invigorated, confident, and excited to go back and do the things I enjoy without fear, anxiety, and the things that take away from everyday experiences.

One thing I could say to anyone who has post traumatic stress disorder, any kind of emotional dis-regulation, who is struggling and feeling that they can’t do the things they want in their lives, is that my experience here has changed my life.

Anyone who isn’t struggling with an emotional imbalance would love it because it gives one a sense of community, spirituality,and connectivity with nature and others.

Everyone should come here and immerse themselves in healing and peace because it will give you a new lease on life and empower you. It is something so invaluable that will carry me, happily, through the rest of my life.

 

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.

 

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TAGS: anxiety , Ayurveda , happiness , healthy lifestyle , natural lifestyle , pain , PTSD , wellness , yoga

Yoga and Anxiety, Part 2

By Sejal Shah
December 5, 2015
photo-1443527216320-7e744084f5a7
Riding the wave.

This article continues from last week’s Yoga and Anxiety, Part 1.  Regular yoga practice can help you stay calm and relaxed in daily life. Yoga also gives you the the strength to face events as they come, without losing your center. Yoga practice ideally includes the complete package of:

  • Asanas (body postures)
  • Pranayamas (breathing techniques)
  • Meditation
  • Ancient yoga philosophy

All have helped persons with anxiety recover and face life with new positivity and strength. The following yoga techniques can help calm an unsettled mind.

 

1. Practice asanas (yoga postures)
These yoga postures can help you achieve a happy and healthy mind and body. Asanas help release tension and negativity from the system. Particularly useful are:
◦ Bow Pose
◦ Fish Pose
◦ One-Legged Forward Bend
◦ Bridge Pose
◦ Cat Stretch
◦ Two-Legged Forward Bend
◦ Standing Forward Bend
◦ Downward Facing Dog
◦ Headstand
◦ Corpse Pose

Note: At the end of the yoga posture session, lay down in corpse pose to give your mind and body a few minutes of thorough relaxation. The technique is helpful in flushing out body toxins, a primary cause of stress, from the system. I use the CD by Art of Living, in which Sri Sri Ravi Shankar guides us into Yoga Nidra in his soothing voice and prayerful chants.

2. Practice pranayamas (breathing techniques)
Giving some attention to the breath will work wonders. Taking deeper, slower breaths can help free the mind of the unnecessary clutter of thoughts that breed anxiety. Try the following breathing practices:
◦ Deep Yogic Breaths
◦ Alternate Nostril Breathing (where the exhalation is longer than the inhalation)
◦ Bee Breath (Bhramari)

3. Meditate to enjoy the gift of a relaxed mind
Meditation can be an excellent technique to relax a distracted mind and give you a sense of calm and peace. Meditation also allows you to observe the tendencies of your own mind. Observing how your mind tends to stick to small, petty things gives you freedom from them. Similarly, meditation can help you not worry too much or get anxious about the unknown future.

4. Apply yoga philosophy in your life
Knowing and applying the ancient yoga knowledge in daily life can be the secret to happy and healthy living. Some simple yet profound principles of yoga (yamas and niyamas), directly address anxiety.

For instance, the Santosha principle (niyama) teaches the value of contentment. The Aprigraha principle can help us overcome greed, often a reason for stress and anxiety. Also, the Shaucha principle talks about cleanliness of the mind and body. This rule can particularly help if you tend to get too anxious about your health.

The yamas and niyamas of yoga also help us eat nutritious food and live a healthy lifestyle. Both aide in overcoming anxiety and stress. To understand the yoga philosophy, you may consider listening to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Commentary on Patanjali Yoga Sutras.

 
download
Finding balance through yoga.

5. Pray, keep faith and smile!
Prayer is the best form of reassurance and support to keep you anxiety-free. Developing habits of daily prayer, chanting ancient mantras, or singing devotional songs fills you with positive energy and helps calm the mind. They also instill a sense of deep faith that all happens for the best and there is a higher power that takes care. Moreover, make a conscious effort to smile more and more. It will instill confidence, calmness and positive vibrations instantaneously. Try it out right now!

6. Engage in some service for others
When we constantly remain stuck in ‘me and mine,’ it makes room for stress and anxiety. We keep worrying about what will happen to us. Rather, if we shift our attention to how we can be of some use to others around us and engage our self with some voluntary activities, we can experience deep satisfaction and immense joy.

7. Know the impermanence of the world
When this realization sets in that everything around us is temporary and changing, we become relaxed and settled from within. A feeling of ‘this too will pass and not remain forever’ arises in us and frees us from anxiety.

8. Remember a similar past situation in which we overcame anxiety
Recall how we have felt this anxiety in so many situations in the past, yet each time you have made it through the situation and became stronger having done so. This fills us with immense courage that we can overcome the current situation. Remember your capacity and know that the universe gives us only those situations or problems that we can handle.

9. Keep positive company around
When we spend more time with positive-minded people, we are influenced by similar thoughts, which reflect in our attitude to life. In the company of a positive person, joy, peace and relaxation arise in our own mind.

 

It’s important to note that yoga is more than a one-time activity. It is a way of living. While an allopathic doctor helps you understand the type of anxiety disorder you may have, a yoga teacher will guide you to handle your life with a broader perspective.

Although yoga can positively impact one’s health, it is not a substitute for medicine. It is important to learn and practice yoga postures under the supervision of a yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, practice yoga postures after consulting a doctor and a trained yoga teacher.

 

If you are interested in trying out #1 today, click the button below.

 

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If you haven’t already, check out Yoga and Anxiety Part 1.

 

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.

 

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TAGS: anxiety , beginning yoga , natural lifestyle , yoga

Yoga and Anxiety, Part 1

By Sejal Shah
November 15, 2015

40 million U.S. adults suffer from anxiety (that’s around 18 percent of Americans age 18 and over), making it the most common mental illness in the country. This number is gradually increasing; even those who have not been diagnosed are prone to experience stress, tension and anxiety in their day-to-day life. Today, many are anxious about how to deal with their anxiety!

 

Stress, fear, anxiety – if we start counting all those instances in life when we have experienced these emotions, we may lose count! Anxiety and nervousness over passing an important exam like the SAT, or our parent’s reaction to our report card, or a first date or a job interview– we have all lived through moments like these.

 

A little bit of fear is normal. In fact, just like salt in food, some small amounts of fear can be good, helping us stay disciplined, focused and dynamic.

Yoga and Anxiety - surfing the wave
The skill and ability to surf the wave of anxiety – that is yoga.
 

The problem starts when fear becomes so persistently intimidating that it interferes with our everyday life. Everyone suffers mild anxiety from time to time, but chronic anxiety takes a tremendous toll on our body, draining our energy and leaving the body in constant stress. These effects are magnified when combined with an unhealthy lifestyle, which can result in:
·      Muscle tension.
·      Constricted breathing.
·      A mind whirling in a swirl of thoughts that feed the problem.
Eventually, it can become an anxiety disorder, a state of excessive, chronic uneasiness, worry, or fear of the unknown. This is where techniques for managing the mind can help.

Do something spontaneous. Anxiety is always related to some anticipated action.

 

Techniques to Manage Anxiety

Here are some ways you can manage anxiety:
·       Sing, dance and celebrate. The very intention to celebrate will pull you towards a harmonious state.

·       Have faith and let go to the universe, or higher power. Know that the universe loves you and accepts you totally. A sense of security comes with the feeling of belongingness.

·       Remind yourself of the big picture and commit to a greater goal. Just look at the sky and see how small your problems appear. At the same time, know you are one of a kind.

·       Do something spontaneous. Anxiety grows from thinking too much about some anticipated action.

·       Be ready to face the worst. This will bring stability to your mind.

·       Finally, I recommend practicing yoga and, in particular, Sudarshan Kriya. This is a powerful breathing technique that uses specific, natural rhythms of breath to get you unstuck from stress. Sudarshan Kriya is a time-tested technique that millions of people across globe practice. One of its many benefits is a tension-free mind. 6 years ago, I learned this technique at an Art of Living Happiness Program. Every day since, I have been practicing it because it helps me to de-stress and recharge.

 

Yoga and Anxiety

Yoga is not just asanas, the physical body postures. The full tradition of yoga includes meditation, pranayama (breath-work), and ancient wisdom. Whether we know it or not, many of us have actually practiced yoga to calm our mind. For instance, have you ever told yourself or a friend in a difficult situation to just take a deep breath? That is using the rhythm of our breath to affect our mind, a practice of yoga. It is the ancient “chill pill.”

 

Humans have an innate ability to heal; what stops that healing is the stress and tension of daily life. Yoga calms our entire system. Today yoga is synonymous with peace of mind, relaxation and stress reduction. Through it, we can manage anxiety and release physical tension by moving our attention to the concrete reality of our body and breath.

 

You may have heard the phrase “adrenaline rush.” An adrenaline rush happens when we get stressed about a potential threat. Faced with such fear, the level of adrenaline rises, causing our heart to beat faster, muscles to tense and the body to sweat profusely. Scientific research shows that regular yoga practice can help significantly to reduce the level of this stress hormone.

 

For practical tips on how to incorporate yoga into your life, check out my next blog article, “9 Yoga Tips to Overcome Anxiety Disorder.” And of course, I do recommend also looking into the Art of Living Happiness Program!

 

One thing I mention in my next post is how beneficial it can be to lay in corpse pose at the end of your yoga session. Taking time for this asana gives your mind and body a few minutes of thorough relaxation. The technique is helpful in flushing out toxins, a primary cause of stress, from the system. I use the CD by Art of Living, in which Sri Sri Ravi Shankar guides listeners into Yoga Nidra in his soothing voice and prayerful chants. Click the button below to test it out for yourself!

 

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For more on Yoga and Anxiety, check out Part 2.

 

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: anxiety , natural lifestyle , yoga