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Last week, we looked at a basic programme for harnessing male sexual energy by befriending body, breath and energy with awareness. We discussed how men can experience different kinds of orgasm and can gain control over their ejaculation, by utilizing certain practices on a daily basis. Once you have laid a solid foundation with the basic building blocks we described, here are some resources to deepen your practice in the direction of ejaculatory control and greater sexual satisfaction.

Taoist Secrets of Love.jpg Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy by Mantak Chia and Michael Winn is a book that has been around since the mid eighties and still is irreplaceable in teaching men how to gain ejaculatory control and work with sexual energy. A lot of important Taoist teachings are made accessible in this book.

Multi-orgasmic man.jpg The Multi-Orgasmic Man: Sexual Secrets Every Man Should Know, also by Mantak Chia, with Douglas Abrams, is a newer book aimed at teaching men how to separate orgasm and ejaculation and become multi-orgasmic.

Multi-orgasmic Couple.jpg The companion volume is The Multi-Orgasmic Couple: Sexual Secrets Every Couple Should Know by Mantak Chia, Maneewan Chia , Douglas Abrams and Rachel Carlton Abrams. This book combines Mantak Chia's Taoist knowledge with that of Holistic MD Rachel Carlton Abrams.

Develop intimacy with your partner by setting aside time each week to get to know yourself and each other better.

Margo Anand .jpg The Art of Sexual Ecstasy: The path of sacred sexuality for western lovers by Margo Anand offers intimacy-building exercises for couples to do together week by week. Each study session could culminate in lovemaking--but it doesn't have to. Many couples have found this resource helpful in building sexual, sensual and emotional intimacy and enriching their connexion.

Learn Taost sexual practices together using a CD set

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Sounds True offers a great CD set Taoist Sexual Secrets taught by Rachel Carlton Abrams and Lee Holden. This CD includes a special section for helping men learn ejaculatory control.

Find a certified Taoist teacher.

This website has a directory of teachers certified in Mantak Chia's Universal Healing Tao; look for a senior teacher or someone trained to teach Healing Love. These teaching sessions don't involve nudity or sexual contact; you learn practices to do at home.

May you have a joyful journey to greater sexual fulfilment!

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Photo Credit: Bing Image Archive: Close up of a red stag in the Scottish Highlands (© gmsphotography/Getty Images)(Bing) Via Creative Commons

I've given my talk on Sexuality and Spirituality in many cities, from New York to Denver. As I speak of accessing our potential for sexual ecstasy, the same question inevitably arises--how do we learn this?

Men in particular are intrigued to hear that orgasm and ejaculation are not necessarily one and the same. Men, just like women, can experience different kinds of orgasm. And men can gain control over their ejaculation, thus allowing for a more prolonged sexual experience and greater satisfaction for a female partner. However, finding the right way to learn this is easier said than done. Sex sells. As a result, prices may be high, while the quality of instruction offered may vary. Sometimes, instructor integrity may be a concern. In this blog I'll give some simple suggestions for a way to approach befriending and harnessing your sexual energy and next week I'll offer some tried and trusted resources to help you in this journey.

Essentially, you'll need to work with body, breath, energy and awareness.

Body

To experience your ecstatic potential, you need a basis of physical wellbeing.

  • Clean up your diet: focus on fresh fruits and vegetables. Stay away from junk food and fast food, which slows and dulls your body and mind. A vegetarian diet is ideal to support greater clarity and awareness.
  • Exercise: Taking regular exercise helps with overall energy and weight control. A basic level of physical fitness is a prerequisite.
  • Habits: As the porter says in Macbeth, alcohol, "provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance." The same might be said of marijuana, while cigarette smoking constricts the blood vessels that supply the penis. To prepare your body as a sacred vessel for higher ecstasy, limit intoxicants.
  • Kegels: Exercising your PC muscle is essential in order to gain control over ejaculation. Practice at least 30 kegels every day.

Breath

As part of your preparation for gaining ejaculatory control, it's important to become aware of your breath and its relationship to the energy flow in your body. In addition to your aerobic exercise, make yoga a part of your week. You will especially benefit from types of yoga such as Shivananda Yoga, which focus on uniting breath and body.

Practice a simple daily pranayama (Conscious breathing), after your Kegels. This will help you become more in tune with your breath.

Energy

Your physical body is not your only body. You also have a subtle body or energy body, sometimes called the astral body. Becoming aware of this body is an essential component of any ecstatic or peak experience. Your breath is the link that connects you to your energy body and to the flow of your sexual energy. Chi Gong or Qi Gong practices are extremely valuable in working with energy body awareness. So if you have the opportunity to sign up for a weekly Chi Gong class in your area, that could be helpful.

There is one Chi Gong practice that is fundamental for harnessing male sexual energy--the Male Deer. This is best practiced in the morning. So now you can have a morning practice consisting of Male Deer, 30 kegels and nadi shodhan.

Awareness

Awareness comes from meditation, a practice that helps us befriend and stay aware of our body, mind and energy. Practicing at a Shambhala Centre, Insight Meditation group or Zen group in your area will help you on your journey to your full potential. Another option is to attend a meditation retreat.

Ayurveda advises us to build good habits in an incremental way. The first month or so, focus on establishing a healthy diet and exercise programme and cutting back on intoxicants. Get going with your daily kegels. The next month, start your yoga and nadi shodhan practice. The third month, it's time to look into Chi gong and introducing a daily Male Deer practice. And next month, start to make meditation a part of your life. If you already have a good lifestyle and yoga practice, start with the Male Deer. This is a journey of a lifetime--build a solid foundation.

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Tobacco chewing, also known as smokeless tobacco, is a habit that affects about 3 per cent of the US population, with more chewers in the Southern states and a majority of chewers being young adults. Yet far from being a harmless alternative to cigarettes, tobacco chewing carries all the same cardiovascular risks as smoking, while in addition being a potent cause of oral cancer. The website of the American Academy of Otolaryngology lists the following ingredients of smokeless tobacco.

Polonium 210

N-Nitrosamines

Formaldehyde

Nicotine

Cadmium

Cyanide

Arsenic

Benzene

Lead

Meanwhile, pān chewing is notorious throughout Asia and beyond as a source of stained teeth and oral cancer. Yet the habit is so ingrained that it has followed Asian migration paths around the world, with pān kiosks now being found in cities such as London. The classical texts of Ayurveda refer to tambula, or pān, as a typical part of daily routine. So is there a healthy chew? A safe alternative would give tobacco chewers and pān users a way to overcome their dangerous addiction.

Today, pān is a potent mix of betel leaf, areca nut, tobacco and slaked lime. Not only is the tobacco content carcinogenic, areca nut is also recognised by the WHO as a carcinogen in its own right.

So despite its high content of antioxidants such as gallic acid, areca nut should not be used on any consistent basis. Excess incidence of oral cancer is found even in communities that use traditional pān without tobacco. Areca nut also stains the teeth red and is the source of the unsightly red spittle so commonly seen in India. Confusion is added due to the fact that areca nut is commonly referred to as betel nut. However, areca nut is the seed of the areca palm, areca catechu, and is not in any way related to the betel leaf, piper betle, a member of the pepper family.

So what about betel leaf itself? Is that the solution for a healthy chew? According to an article in the South Asian Journal of Cancer, betel leaf has anti-diabetic, cardiovascular, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, anti-ulcer, hepato-protective, anti-infective actions. It also improves digestion when chewed after meals. In animal studies, no carcinogenic effect was found from betel leaf alone. It has a mild stimulatory effect, although not as marked as the effect of tobacco.

This said, we don't have any long term studies on the effect of chewing betel leaf alone. So I would not recommend adopting betel leaf chewing as a long-term habit. However, chewing betel leaf could be used as a means of getting rid of the smokeless tobacco habit, or the betel nut pān habit. Someone trying to get off tobacco chewing could chew a mixture of tobacco and betel leaf, gradually reducing the amount of tobacco over the course of a month. Then they could chew betel leaf alone for about a month or two, gradually reducing the frequency of chewing in preparation for leaving the chewing habit behind completely. At that point, satisfy the need to chew by munching on pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds or dry dates.

Betel leaves are available at Indian grocery stores or can be purchased online.

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Photo Credit blog.aarp.org: creativecommons.org

One effect of this year's El Niño is a very late influenza season. Influenza is usually a winter disease, with increased susceptibility in cold weather. The unseasonably warm winter hasn't freed us from the 'flu, it's simply put it off until spring. Many of my patients report having influenza recently, while in some states the epidemic is still peaking.

Influenza is a serious illness, often causing additional morbidity with illnesses such as pneumonia and bronchitis, and even leading to death in susceptible individuals. So if you really have influenza, rather than just a seasonal cold, please take care of yourself.

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"In acute fever one should avoid day-sleep, bath, massage, solid diet, sexual intercourse, anger, wind and exercise." Charak Samhita.

Stay home. This won't be so hard to do as influenza is a prostrating illness--it's difficult to get out of bed. I remember passing out on the London Underground as a young medical student, and being taken home in a police car. One moment I seemed fine and the next moment I couldn't stand up. Be part of the solution rather than part of the problem, by keeping your germs to yourself.

Rest in bed. Again, it's a prostrating illness, do what your body tells you and stay in bed. You need rest to fight the infection. If you live alone, contact a friend for shopping and other support.

Fast. You won't have any appetite anyway, but many believe they 'should' eat. Just take healing herbal teas for 'flu. (If you are pregnant or diabetic, don't fast. Consult your doctor.) Fast for four days or until your fever comes down and appetite returns--whichever is sooner.

Drink plenty. Drink your herbla teas plus extra lukewarm water.

Sweating. You may find relief by taking a warm (not too hot) bath with 1/3 cup dry ginger powder and 1/3 cup baking soda to alleviate your aching limbs. Don't take this bath if you are home alone and don't lock the bathroom door. Take every precaution to avoid passing out and drowning in your bathtub! After the bath, settle in a warm room huddled under blankets to promote sweating. However, in a pitta situation, i.e. a really high fever, cold sponging and cold compresses to your forehead may be more helpful than sweating.

Do not sweat a child who has a high fever. Use cold sponging. A child with a very high fever can potentially have a seizure.

Light Diet: After your fever drops or four days have passed, begin taking a thin gruel containing digestive spices such as ginger, coriander, and pippali (long pepper).

Gruel Recipe (Peya)

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. dry ginger
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
¼ cup basmati rice
3 .5 cups water

Preparation :

1. Coarsely powder dry ginger, pepper and coriander seeds
2. Add 800 ml of water and condense it to 400ml.
3. In this decoction of dry ginger, pepper and coriander seeds, cook the broken rice until it is fully cooked.
4. Then serve hot.


Source:

http://www.medindia.net/alternativemedicine/ayurvedaanddiet/liquiddiets/peya.asp#ixzz44DbBQeGd

For your next meal, take a thicker gruel called yavagu

Yavagu recipe

Ingredients:
1 part rice
6 parts water
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ tsp. grated ginger


Boil rice in water till rice becomes soft. This can also be can be cooked in pressure cooker. Add salt, pepper and grated ginger when rice is well cooked and stir well. Yavagu is ready to eat.

Source: http://www.ayurhelp.com/articles/yavagu-rice-gruel

Now try Mung yusha

Basic Yusha recipe:

1T green, unpeeled whole mung beans

6 cups of water

¼ t turmeric

½ tsp. cumin seeds

½ tsp grated fesh ginger

Salt and pepper to taste.

Boil until the beans are quite soft.; 30 min in a pressure cooker or an hour on the stovetop. Then add the spices to taste and serve.

As an alternative, you can have chicken broth. (Jewish penicillin)

Next have Tridoshic Kitcheri

If dark grapes are available, try to eat them.

Cleansing Herbs

Triphala tea taken at bedtime is excellent when recovering from fever.

Finally, follow our Post Flu recovery tips.

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Just a short while ago, I heard the mountain chickadee for the first time this year. Crocuses are poking forth between snowstorms and the house finches sing as they build their nest on our porch.

During the spring season, the texts of Ayurveda encourage us to make use of the bitter taste. Similarly, in the Passover seder, bitter herbs are eaten.

Indeed, many of us do crave the bitter taste after a winter of heavier foods. Fresh little dandelion greens are poking up in the garden and baby arugula is available in grocery stores. Meanwhile, those who are preparing for spring panchakarma are heroically gulping down titka gritam, a specially medicated bitter ghee that readies our body to cleanse. But what is so special about the bitter taste?

The bitter herb kutki, a key ingredient in titka ghee, is noted for its content of compounds known as iridoid glycosides. Plants are exposed to the same hazards that we are, including viruses, bacteria, fungi and environmental toxins. While we protect ourselves with antibodies and special white blood cells, plants protect themselves by manufacturing special compounds that are beneficial to us as well as to the parent plant. That's basically how herbs work. So iridoid glycosides are a part of the immune system of bitter herbs like kutki.

And like us, plant cells are subject to oxidative stress. While oxygen is the element that keeps us alive, it's also a highly reactive element that can degenerate our DNA and hence cause ageing and chronic diseases. Think of what happens to your car if the autobody paint is damaged. The rust is the result of an oxidative process. And, unlike us, plants are constantly at risk of being eaten. If they figure our how to taste bitter, they are less likely to be eaten! So for several reasons, a number of medicinal plants produce iridoid glycosides. Despite their bitter taste, our innate intelligence guides us to consume foods that contain iridoid glycosides--substances that are analgesic, support the heart and blood vessels, protect the liver and help stop age and environmental toxins mutating our DNA. Iridoids are also anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anti-tumor. They help keep our blood sugar at healthy levels and support the flow of bile to promote digestion. Taking bitter herbs in springtime cleans up the 'rust' (oxidative damage) from our winter of holiday parties and heavy foods. What's not to like--aside from the taste!

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Iridomyrmecin

By Katarzyna Matylla - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1104054

While olives are a food source of iridoid glycosides, we typically consume a diet very depleted in the bitter taste and heavy on sweet and salty. The best way to ensure that you get your iridoid glycoside spring anti-rust treatment and tune up is to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner for a spring cleansing formula, which can be given as a stand-alone treatment or as a prelude to panchakarma.

And as we recite in the Passover seder:

See! The winter is past;
The rains are over and done.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
the cooing of turtledoves
is heard in our land.

Benfits of Panchakarma

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Photo credit: http://www.curejoy.com/content/panchakarma-the-detoxification-therapy-in-ayurveda/

There's a lot of excitement about panchakarma (PK), the Ayurvedic cleansing process, at Alandi just now. Some of the new students are preparing for their first Home PK, others are learning how to guide patients during Home PK. Second year students are taking the first steps in creating PK plans for their patients in our supervised clinic, while a select group, including some who are massage therapists, are learning how to give treatments such as four-handed synchronized oil massage. In this context, I thought it would be helpful to discuss some of the benefits of panchakarma.

Balam Indriyanam:

Gives strength to all the sense organs. PK includes special techniques to nurture eyes, ears, nose and skin, while a mono-diet enhances our sense of taste.

Dhathu Sthirtvam:

Nourishes and supports the body tissues. You don't have to be sick to benefit from PK. It forms a key part of health maintenance and disease prevention by cleansing and strengthening our seven tissue layers.

Jvalansya Dīptam:

Stimulates and promotes proper functioning of digestive fire. Digestion is the basis of health; so promoting digestion leads to overall wellbeing.

Rogaharam:

Prevents and cures diseases. While many turn to PK for optimal wellness, those who suffer from chronic illnesses may find panchakarma highly beneficial. Certain conditions, including chronic fatigue (now titled SEID), fibromyalgia, allergies, asthma, sinus problems, chronic pain syndromes and depression often respond very positively to PK. Of course, one can never guarantee that a single course of PK will cure any given individual, yet many find they get over the hump and life becomes more liveable.

Bala:

Increases stamina. This aspect is particularly helpful for those recovering from cancer chemotherapy or Lyme treatment or those affected by adrenal stress or fatigue.

Varna Prasadhanam:

Improves the complexion. "You look ten years longer," is something commonly heard after PK. Of course--no money-back guarantee!

Ayushya Yujitha Chirath:

Increases life span. By enahcning wellness and preventing disease, PK is believed to support longevity.

Maybe it's time to prepare for your spring cleanse!

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Baby Krishna with mother Yashoda

Currently in our gurukula we're studying prasuti tantra--the science of midwifery. And we recently had a discussion about ceremonies and rituals to honour the mother to be and welcome the new baby.

Here are some of our ideas:

The quickening: Have a ceremony for when you first feel your baby kick, or maybe when you reach the halfway mark of pregnancy. Gathering with loved ones to sing and be merry while the baby is still in the womb is a way to introduce the family's voices to the baby before he/she is born.

The family and friends who attend a quickening ceremony commit to help their pregnant friend no matter what the outcome. A woman who experiences a miscarriage or stillbirth will need practical and emotional support just as much as the new mother of a healthy baby, perhaps more.

The Blessing Way: During the third trimester, have a Blessing Way. Some ceremonies that may be used in a Blessing Way include:

  • Combing and parting the hair of the mother-to-be
  • Washing mother-to-be's feet
  • Decorating mother-to be's belly, for example with henna.
  • Everyine shares stories about the mother-to-be --memories from the past that have helped shaped her in to the woman she is today.
  • Everyone brings a special candle (beeswax or soy). All the candles are then lit during the birth (good for a home birth; make sure to set all the candles on a big cookie sheet and keep them far from draperies and protected from children).
  • Everyone writes a blessing for a baby and places them in a special blessing basket.
  • In giving gifts, consider the world into which baby is to be born. Try to avoid plastic products that will clutter the world up. Get toys and gifts made from wood and natural fibres here.
  • Gifts don't have to be new. For the sake of the environment, it's ideal to pass along baby clothes that have been used before. Babies grow quickly from one size to another, so baby clothes are typically just gently used. Toys too can be passed from baby to baby.
  • At the baby shower or blessing way, have a sign-up sheet for people to bring/make food for the depleted and exhausted new mother, or to help with household tasks or childcare of her older child.

Naming the Baby

Baby might be named during a baptism or circumcision. Otherwise, gather with family and close friends to bathe baby and announce the name. According to Ayurveda, baby should have more than one name.

  • Connect your child to family with a family name. My birth name is Olivia, and I feel proud, happy and connected when I think of sharing that name with my mother, great-aunt, great-grandmother and great-great-great grandmother.
  • Connect your child with the natural world with a name that relates to the month or season of birth, or to or creatures or plants that are prominent at the time of baby's birth. For example, my spring-born sister got the name Rachel (ewe), because she was born at lambing time.
  • Your child should have a nickname for common everyday use.
  • A Vedic astrologer will help you find your child's 'good name'. The beginning syllable of this name depends upon the nakshatra or constellation ruling your child's chart. Choose a spiritual name starting with this syllable. The 'good name' doesn't have to be part of your child's legal name and should be protected from ordinary use like school registration. It conveys your child's essence.

Ideas like these help connect us with the sacredness and wonder of birth and free us from a merely conventional approach.

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Baby Krishna's bathing and naming ceremony.

Heart Attack Prevention

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Photo credit K Sandberg Flikr Creative Commons

Note: This article is about primary prevention of heart attacks in people who have no history of heart disease. Heart patients should follow their doctor's advice and take aspirin as recommended. In addition, Ayurvedic methods of heart attack prevention can still be used.

Nobody wants to have a heart attack--and many of us have got used to the idea that popping a baby aspirin a day is a way to prevent heart attacks. Yet a recent update from the FDA reminds us that this strategy is not a safe or effective method of preventing heart attacks.

"The FDA has reviewed the available data and does not believe the evidence supports the general use of aspirin for primary prevention of a heart attack or stroke. In fact, there are serious risks associated with the use of aspirin, including increased risk of bleeding in the stomach and brain, in situations where the benefit of aspirin for primary prevention has not been established."

If taking aspirin might do more harm than good, what methods does Ayurveda recommend for primary heart attack prevention? Ayurveda emphasizes a threefold approach of diet, lifestyle and herbs.

Prevent heart attacks through diet:

Follow a diet diet of whole, unrefined foods, favouring local and seasonal produce. Chronic diseases such as heart attacks and cancer are partly due to "free radicals" which oxidize our tissues much as rust affects a car. Colourful fruits, vegetables and legumes are full of antioxidants to help keep our body 'rust free.' Right now, pomegranate, a powerful antioxidant fruit, is in season, so try to enjoy some. Foods high in fibre, such as vegetables, beans and whole grains, also help protect the heart, as do healthy fats like coconut oil.

Prevent heart attacks through lifestyle:

A good lifestyle plan includes both Do's and Don't's. Don't smoke, consume excess alcohol or eat junk foods and hydrogenated fats. Do exercise, practice yoga or chi gong, and meditate. Most of all--keep your heart open and stay free of resentment and bitterness. An open heart is a healthy heart!

Prevent Heart attacks with home remedies:

Turmeric is a wonderful antioxidant, blood thinner and anti-inflammatory. Turmeric also lowers blood sugar, another important component in heart attack risk. Much the same can be said for ginger. So season your food with plenty of turmeric and ginger. Use fresh ginger for vata and pitta, dry ginger for kapha. Tulsi is another herb that is antioxidant, lowers blood sugar and helps balance blood lipids. Enjoy Trinity Tea (tulsi, turmeric and ginger). Cinnamon is delicious seasoning that has strong antioxidant properties and helps keep blood sugar in balance. And triphala, a combination of three powerful antioxidant fruits, is extremely rich in polyphenols and tannins to protect your heart. So try taking half a teaspoon of triphala daily. Steep in hot water and strain; take at bedtime or upon waking.

(If you are pregnant, consult an Ayurvedic practitioner before using home remedies).

Prevent heart attacks with herbs:

The Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia offers many powerful herbs to help prevent and treat heart disease. Arjun (terminalia arjuna), strengthens the heart, lowers blood pressure and helps balance blood lipids. Various classical guggulu formulations can be used to help clear the arteries and balance blood lipids. Hawthorne berry helps normalize blood lipids. These herbs are extremely powerful and must be used properly, with attention to individual constitution and seasonal factors. An Ayurvedic practitioner can help you create the best herbals regimen to enhance your overall health and help prevent heart attacks.

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Fall Milkweed by Sadananda

It's the change of seasons. One day is hot and sunny, the next cold and rainy. We don't know whether to bring an umbrella, a sun hat or a warm jacket--perhaps we'll need all three! From an Ayurvedic viewpoint, change disturbs vata. And so in the change of seasons, a cold or mild flu-like illness is quite a natural occurrence.

Preventing Seasonal Colds

To prevent seasonal colds, take care of vata. A warm oil massage and a ginger-baking soda tub is a great way to calm vata.

How to do Abhyanga, a self-massage with oil:

Abhyanga must be done on an empty stomach (at least 3 hrs after last meal), so for most people the morning is the best time. Do not do oil massage when you are on your moon.

  1. Be sure to have old towels available to sit on and for under your feet
  2. Warm the oil by putting a small plastic squeeze bottle of it in a sink or bowl of hot water for several minutes.
  3. Oil from head to toe (cover the whole body), then begin to massage beginning from the extremities (head, hands or feet) in order to move the toxins towards the gastrointestinal tract. Make circling movements on the joints and straight strokes on the muscles, continuously moving towards the abdomen. Continue at least 30 minutes.
  4. Let the oil soak in a few minutes while you prepare your bath, or go in the steam/sauna.
  5. Be sure not to become chilled at any point.
  6. Use sesame oil for vata, coconut oil or sunflower oil for pitta and castor oil or mustard oil for kapha.

How to do Ginger-Baking Soda bath:

1.Be sure the bathroom is warm - avoid getting chilled at any time.

2.Use one bag of Ginger Bath Mix from Alandi's pharmacy, or 1/3 cup each of dried ginger and baking soda for each bath tubful of tolerable hot water (avoid excessive heat).

3.Soak after external oiling and then get out when beginning to sweat. This is a mild sweat, you just have to break a sweat, do not force yourself to stay in the water.

4.Cover with towels or bath robe and continue to sweat in the warm bathroom until you are beginning to cool down.

Do's and Don'ts for sweating:

  • Do not do the bath if you are pregnant or on your moon
  • Do not eat before sweating.
  • Be careful of your slipperiness after the oil massage - do not slip and fall!!.
  • Do not overheat. You should just be breaking a mild sweat over your whole body, not getting red.
  • After sweating rinse off and be careful not to get chilled.

If you feel a seasonal cold coming on:

If a seasonal cold is coming on, you might feel achey, shivery or have a slight sore throat. In this event DO NOT do oil massage. When you are going down with something, oil massage can exacerbate the toxins and clog your channels. Just do the ginger-baking soda bath without the oil massage. This will really help.

Drink a lot of tulsi-ginger tea, eat soups and soupy kitcheris and get plenty of rest. Cold cure dal is a great recipe for this situation.

(If you are pregnant, it is better not to take any herbal home remedies without specific advice from your practitioner.)

If you get a seasonal cold:

For a cold without fever, drink plenty of tulsi-ginger tea, eat soups and soupy kitcheris and get plenty of rest. Please stay home to avoid spreading the virus to others. Make roasted beet and shitake soup, carrot ginger soup. or cold cure dal. Avoid dairy products and heavy foods. Eat black grapes.

For a cold with fever, drink our recommended herbal teas for flu.

(If you are pregnant, it is better not to take any herbal home remedies without specific advice from your practitioner)

Stay at home in a warm room so you don't get chilled as well as to avoid spreading the virus to others.

Once your fever goes down, you may take soups or soupy kitcheri and eat black grapes.

Return to your daily activities slowly and with awareness of your energy level.

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In the aspen grove by Sadananda

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Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

Close bosom friend of the maturing sun... (Keats)

September is a month of transition, hanging as it does between summer and fall. The abundant harvest of late summer and early fall invites us to enjoy local, seasonal produce just as people did in the time the Ayurvedic texts were written. The first frost comes as a shock after the warmth of summer. As the weather cools, begin to shift from astringent foods such as salads to warmer soups, dals and kitcheris. A gradual change will be easier on your system.

From summer cooling drinks, reintroduce Tulsi tea to help calm vata during the change of season. To cleanse out old pitta accumulated during the summer, enjoy plenty of bitter greens. A blend of bitter herbs known as Mahasudarshan can be taken daily during September--it will help with the Ragweed allergies that plague many at this time of year as well as cleansing old pitta from the blood and liver. To cleanse pitta gently from the small intestines, take Amlaki or Triphala each night before bed.

Change is stressful to vata, especially the onset of fall, the vata season. If you have the opportunity to do pancha karma during fall, it is an optimal time, especially for those who suffer from vata-related issues such as constipation, rheumatism, arthritis and nervous system disorders. If you can't set aside the time for your pancha karma cleanse this fall, at least make sure you do some self-abhyanga (oil massage) with sesame or almond oil each weekend. This practice will be particularly useful during the change of season. You can use castor or mustard oil on areas of your body where aches and pains are starting to show up. Follow your massage with a ginger bath using a third of a cup of dry ginger powder and a third of a cup of baking soda in the tub.


By making a gradual adjustment of diet and lifestyle from summer to fall and enjoying some self-abhyanga, you can make a healthy transition between seasons and prevent problems arising further into fall.

September is a great time to visit an Ayurvedic practitioner to get back on track after summer and plan your Fall cleansing and balancing!

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