Adjustments with the Season through the principles of Ayurveda - Part 1

Walking through the Northcliffe Forest Park, it is evident that Autumn has indeed arrived in the southern hemisphere. The touch of dry, cool air on the skin, the sound of autumn crackling leaves, and the mind indulging in distractions seemingly unable to stay present. Yep, that’s vata season. It is a description of Autumn to early winter in Ayurveda, a sister science to yoga, or the science of life.

There are 3 main energetic force (called doshas: vata, pitta and kapha), which derives from 5 primary elements: space/ether, air, fire, water and earth, that governs our bodies, minds, emotions, interaction; the physical world; everything. Two of the 5 main elements constitutes a dosha; and a dosha simply reflect the qualities of the elements that exist in excess.

Here are the qualities of the 3 doshas . We all possess all three doshas – vata, pitta and kapha – but tend to have one that dominates.

Vata is made up of Air and Space and have the qualities of cold, dry, light, irregular, mobile, rarefied and rough.
Some traits of vata type are: dry/cracked skin, hair, lips, nails and heels; cracking joints; lustreless skin, dandruff, eczema, psoriasis; longitudinal ridges on the nails, early wrinkles; insufficient sweat, cold hands and feet; hates cold and loves hot. Smaller, fragile and lower weight by nature and often experience weakness or depletion when imbalanced.

Pitta is made up of Fire and Water and have the qualities of oily, hot, intense, light, fluid, malodorous and liquid.
Some traits of pitta type are: soft oily skin and hair; gray hair with a receding hairline; body temperature tends to be higher than normal; prone to rash, acne, heart burn and acidity; hates heat. Hot and intense by nature, often extremists.

Kapha is made up of Earth and Water and have the qualities of oily, cold, heavy, stable, viscous, dense and smooth.
Some traits of kapha type are: Oily/thick skin, hair and nails; repeated cold, congestion and cough; slow metabolism and digestion, tends to be overweight. Slow, steady and solid by nature and have a tendency to become sluggish, stagnant and unmotivated.

As Ayurveda operates on the principle of like increasing like, by applying the opposite actions you can maintain balance during the changing season. For example, Autumn being the season vata, juices cleanses should be avoided due to their cold, raw and rough nature. Consuming only juice for several day period is most likely going to increase the vata which is already in excess due to the qualities that Fall possesses. This can bring about a constant feeling of coldness, poor circulation, dryness, gas, constipation, light headedness and sleep issues.


5 Steps to Cleansing Part 2 .....Next

Discover your dosha type Part 3 .....Next

Ayurvedic Soul Food Kitchari Recipe Part 4 .....Coming Soon



Discover the Warrior in You

Looking back over the past few years, I couldn't help notice that remarkable and challenging events took place. I knew at the end of 2014 that 2015 would be something special. First getting my block into shape and the building. It does take a few years to observe how the block responds to every season. How the underground water flows in winter, how much the water level drops in the dam every summer, where is the best spot for a veggie patch, fruit orchard and rain water tanks, knowing the direction most likely the fire would come from, the 'fire sector', the activities of wild lives i.e. where our resident snakes hang out and respect their space as they do to ours just to name a few. It's fascinating! I'm so glad I took the Permaculture Design Course. So in 2016, I will note every beautiful moments and put them in my Jar of Best Memories. Not only are these personal developments, but I am re-discovering how valuable discipline, dedication and patience are in achieving my goals.

There is an ancient Samurai saying, "Warriors take chances. Like everyone else, they fear failing, but they refuse to let fear control them." That is how I feel today and 4 years ago since my move to Australia ... like a warrior. There comes a point in everyone's life where you just have to stand up and live life the way you want to, accept your deficiencies and flaws. You have to draw a line in the sand and say, "that's it." That means I have to concentrate on who I am and who I want to be, and not react to situations or give in to inertia. It is not about putting a mask and being fake, it's about improving for the better.

Initially you may feel you are not being yourself. Let's suppose you want to strive to be a more patient person, yet you feel stressed by having to control your emotions and you do yourself justice by getting angry. So is being angry your true nature? Biologically, the surge of energy during anger and happiness is the SAME. You have to make the decision on how to use it. It is only when thoughts come into the picture it is no longer so simple, so once we understand the importance of managing our thoughts, changing the quality of our life is truly in our hands.

In his book, "Awaken the Giant Within", Anthony Robbins does an excellent job of describing pleasure and pain, and how they motivate us to take acton. In order to get control over yourself, you have to control your emotions. That doesn't mean suppressing your emotions; it means learning not to attach so much meaning to events.

Most of the time, I find it quite easy to manage my initial reaction, but that is only half the battle. Sometimes, the other half of the battle proved to be the bigger challenge, and more difficult than the first. What I do is ground myself, find my centre and create as much space as I can in my heart; take a few deep breathes and check-in with my body/chakras to see where I am losing my power, and realise it is nothing to do with the person who has angered me and that it is nothing personal, but a revelation of what is unresolved in my psyche. It is a double whammy that we have to handle it NOW or the problem will come back threefold because you did not overcome it then.

"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts." - Richard Bach

My wish for you is to find your passion and seek it out. Don't worry about the challenges... just find the strength within to overcome whatever challenge you face.



Attunement to Nature

What is living in alignment with Nature? It had always been a grey area, because it cannot simply mean living in the forest and experiencing different seasons. Swami Abhedananda could not have explained it better.

While growing and achieving things, experiencing some pain is inevitable, as there can be no growth without pain. to tolerate pain for the sake of growth is called 'patience'. When a baby comes out from a mother's womb, it cries due to the pain felt, but that is the only way to come out. All of us have to go through a painful process, bet let us accept it, for the gains are great once the pain is tolerated. the way of Nature is patience; everything is slow and steady in its course. A bud gradually unfolds into a flower. if we get impatient and try opening it before it is ready, it will wilt. It takes 20 years for one beautiful mango tree to bear fruit. Nature says, 'hold on', and there is no lethargy in that patience. Patience is with movement, in which there is a high degree of regularity.

Observe the spirit of rotation and revolution of the earth, precise to many decimals. The earth is positioned in such a way that it cannot budge even an inch, and supposing it does, a big disaster follows. These facts underline that there is a high level of regularity and sincerity, which is another name for answerability. A person who is irregular cannot be predictable, as one cannot depend on nor have sufficient faith in that person.

More importantly, nothing in Nature is for itself - even the sun does not bask in its own sunshine. Everything is for someone or something else (without an agenda!) We must reflect on the message conveyed by Nature, and determine our inner nature using Nature as a guide. In essence, the outer and inner are not independent. The greater the difference between our inner nature and outer self, the greater are the struggles in life. All of this are mere representations of foolish fighting with the Laws of Nature.

Just as the fragrance of a flower is for someone else, the fragrance of life comes only when we unconsciously live for someone or something else. Loving is when you can think of others at the cost of yourself (egos), and sacrificing your own joys. Loving is seeing the situation as others see it.

Observing and living in alignment with Nature is living with persistence, patience, consistency and sincerity. Slowly and steadily you will find that things start tilting in our favour. That is the Secret!


Carpe Diem!

"How can we resent the life we've created for ourselves? Who's to blame, who's to credit, but us?  Who can change it, any time we wish, but us?" -Richard Bach

Yoga philosophy explains that our lives are in our own hands.  Through our minds, we are the cause of whatever has evolved in our personality and in the circumstances of our lives, whether they are good or bad, positive or negative.

We have consciously and unconsciously nurtured and encouraged everything that we have experienced.  You may be shocked to hear this, but in fact, it should be most inspiring to know that our entire lives has been placed in our own hands!

I realized the power we have by using one’s mind. You may think that merely focusing on your desires will allow you to achieve them, but you are short-changing yourself as your soul has much more possibility than only what your mind desires.

Instead of desiring things and pursuing them, you should quietly explore your mind and allow it to unfold by itself.  Do not let ordinary desires guide your mental process because no matter what they may be, you are placing limitations before yourself, and no desire can lead you to the highest. 

Recently, I met someone who had gone through a difficult period and still carried so much hurt and anger.  She was very negative, yet she was waiting for the perfect moment or guy to come into her life, but even if such moment or a person came, I don’t think she would realize or believe, and would sadly miss the boat.

Orison Swett Marden said, "Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them."

Through my friend, it reminded me of things I had experienced.  After 8 years in Japan, I reluctantly came back to Singapore.  I had feelings of resentment, helplessness, and frustration when I started to build my life again. Many unfortunate things happened then, and when I look back, I can see that there was something wrong emotionally and spiritually within me then. Now I understand I was merely projecting myself onto the world and seeing a reflection of me: we get what we think about. It was a sobering moment when I realized that it is not the world that was unjust …it was me.

When I have anger inside me, I would see the anger in others; when I have worry in me, I would find things to worry about. The doubt within me made me doubt others, when I think that I’m going to get cheated, I would get cheated, and I was cheating myself, yet there was love and compassion in me. Thus, I had conflicting feelings all the time…

During my early twenties, I did not understand many things. But somehow I came to terms with these things and chose to be happy. When I stopped being angry, doubtful… and focus more on love, I saw less anger and life got better. You begin to have faith that the best things in life are free, is that too good to believe?

Carl Jung said, “We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.” What we resist, persists. You can see that in our wars. The more we fight, the more things we have to fight against. The more we hate, the more hate we attract – distrust, selfishness and so on. We must learn that everything in our lives is attracted there by us. Once we accept this, it is in our power to live the life we want to, in the way that we perceive it. We can immediately change our life if we understand this concept. 

Experience life with love and belief! We were not born to be bundles of nerves and tight muscles ;-) Relax and set your soul free to live as it wants to.

Strength lies in differences, not in similarities. Share your differences and add a fresh perspective  to this world of ours. We all will benefit because you are here.


Making Time For Your Wellbeing

"I can't find the time", I hear that so often. Looking back and speaking for myself, if I could prioritize and have time management, in total honesty there are activities that I can cross out to make way for something that improves my wellbeing. 

"Yoga leads to a body that is easeful, a mind that is peaceful, which results in a life that is USEFUL!" Paraphrased from Swami Satchidananda.

Here are 10 reasons for people to TRY or keep practicing Yoga.

1. Stress relief - Yoga reduces the physical effects of stress on the body. By encouraging relaxation, yoga helps to lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Related benefits include lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving digestion and boosting immune system as well as easing symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, asthma and insomia.

2. Pain Relief - Yoga therapy can ease pain. Studies have demonstrated that practicing yoga postures, and learning the art of relaxation can reduce pain for people with conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, auto-immune disease and hypertension asa well as arthritis, back and neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other chronic conditions.

3. Better Breathing - Yoga teaches to take slower, deeper breaths. This helps to improve lung function, trigger the body's relaxation response and increase the amount of oxygen available to the body.

4. Flexibility - Helps to improve flexibility and mobility, increasing range of movement and reducing aches and pains. Practitioners begin to use the correct muscles to make the movement and, over time, the ligaments, tendons and muscles gradually lengthen and elasticity is increased.

5. Increased Strength - Yoga postures use every muscle in the body, helping to increase strength, literally from head to toe. And while the postures practiced in yoga strengthens the body, they also provide an additional benefit of helping to relieve muscular tension.

6. Weight Management - Yoga can aid weight control efforts by reducing the cortisol levels as well as by burning excess calories and reducing stress. Yoga also encourages healthy eating habits and provides a heightened sense of well-being.

7. Improved Circulation - Yoga helps to improve circulation and, as a result of various poses, more efficiently moves oxygenated blood to the body cells.

8. Cardiovascular Conditioning - Even gentle yoga practice can provide cardiovascular benefits by lowering resting heart rate, increasing endurance and improving oxygen uptake during exercise.

9. Better Body Alignment - Yoga helps to improve body alignment, resulting in better posture and helping to relieve back, neck, joints and muscle problems.

10. Focus on the Present - Yoga helps us to focus on the present, to become more aware and to help create mind body health. It opens the way to improved coordination, reaction time and memory.


Beyond Face Value

A man who was ragged and appeared to be without anything in a physical sense came upon a road boss and said, "Can you help me? I need work."

The road boss said, "Fine, take that large boulder over there and roll it up and down the hill. If you need work that will fullfill your need." The man said, "You don't understand, what I really need is money." The boss replied, "Oh, if it is only money you need, here is fifty dollars. But you cannot spend it."

Again the man was perplexed. "You don't understand, what I really need is food, fuel and clothing, not just money." The boss again replied, "If you are sure this is what you need, then spend the money for food, fuel and clothing, but don't eat the food, or burn the fuel or wear the clothing."The man was finally forced to look at what he really needed which was a sense of security, peace and inner satisfaction. All totally invisible, all within the mind. All divine sustenance.

- Dr. Wayne Dyer