Light body

A SPIRITED SOUL - Jeannie E. Javelosa () - April 17, 2011 - 12:00am

Ayurveda is an “exotic” Indian word often heard around. It has been very popular in the West and has found its way back to the Philippines in the past couple of years, perhaps also helped by the popularity of yoga. Through the years, I would hear and read snippets about this ancient art and tradition of 5,000 years back but could never get the real essence of what it is about — until recently. I attended a series of Ayurvedic lectures on diet, digestion and nutrition given by the Arogya Ayurveda Center in Makati. Now, there have been many visiting international teachers who have come, through the years, to try to teach Ayurveda, but it has only been in the past year that a real healing center has finally opened — where traditional Ayurvedic healing treatments are given, and where a certified Ayurvedic practitioner is in charge.

The lectures were rooted in the classical Vedic texts of close to 5,000 years back. Historically, Ayurveda is the world’s original system of healthcare. It is the basis of ancient Greek medicine, which is the root of much of Western medicine. While the traditions are ancient, the applications are all the more relevant to our times today — times which are full of stress, where so many people are imbalanced and where the world itself is tilting out of balance.

Many so-called Ayurvedic doctors abound in the West. But it was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (founder of the Transcendental Meditation) who actually introduced Ayurveda to the West. He worked with Ayurvedic physicians and scholars in India, authenticating the knowledge in its traditional completeness. And what was the main reason he introduced this? Because he found out that as he taught transcendental meditation or TM, people meditated and raised their consciousness, but their bodies were giving them problems. They had to also align their bodies with their expanding consciousness. In other words, as people became more attuned and connected to their spirits and souls, their bodies (the dense matter form) had to also be enlivened and enlightened. Thus, Ayurveda’s main purpose surfaced: to keep the body in a balanced and elevated form, strengthening the body’s defense system and self-repair mechanisms to prevent diseases. A lighter body/vessel had to be worked on so that it could contain the spiritual essence of light.

Ayurveda awakens the main intelligence of mind and body through very down-to-earth balancing processes of choices of food and the kind of lifestyle we choose to have. Ayurveda promotes a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.

It begins with identifying the three energy types, or the three principles that govern the physical body called doshas. These are Vatta, Pitta and Kapha types. There is a lot of information in the Internet and books about these three doshas. Without going into too jargonic a discussion here, it’s sufficient to say that each person has a predominant dosha which must always be kept balanced. And because our world is so dirty, polluted, congested, noisy, it’s so easy for everyone to be imbalanced and disease to come in. These diseases are not just of the body, but may also be diseases of the mind such as depression and stress. Balancing our bodies must also attune to our inner work (and thus meditation) to help raise consciousness.

While there is so much more depth in Ayurveda, here’s some tips that I got as an Ayurvedic dabbler.

Eat clean food. This is of utmost importance and is central to balancing our lives. The food we put into our mouths create the bodies we have now. Food must be as clean, pure, cooked and prepared well, with a lot of awareness and love. Depending on one’s dosha, different kinds of food are recommended. Microwaves are a no-no. Food cooked and kept overnight in the fridge are already “dead” food with no nutrients for the body — so don’t keep left-overs, hoard food or reheat food. (Yes, sigh, I, too, am still finding a way how to change my own fast-lifestyle).

Be a locavore. Eat local food or with ingredients and produce found in the area closest to you, and also your country of birth (especially if you live abroad). 

Eating time. Filipinos love to snack, every hour on the hour! Ayurveda says only eat after the last meal has been digested (three to six hours depending on your metabolism). Three main meals must be taken daily, with the heaviest meal at lunch.

How we eat. We need to focus and concentrate on the food. Give thanks and bring awareness to the process of chewing, rather than talk and talk, or watch TV. Arguing while eating is the worst of all. Also, it would be great to have the six different food tastes in each meal to get the most satisfying and nutritional effect — sour, sweet, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent.

Sleep. We need to sleep by around 10 p.m. the latest because if not, we will begin to get hungry by midnight, and eating midnight snacks result in undigested food rotting in the tummy!

Digestion. Spices and black pepper help in digestion. Cleanse the digestive track every morning with lukewarm water, with lemon juice and honey mixed together.

Water. Water should be treated as a food and is also digested. Cold water takes longer to digest. Take this hot water secret. Lose weight and clean off the toxins by sipping hot or warm water, which has been boiled for at least 10 minutes. Sorry, hot water from the dispenser or tap doesn’t count because the water needs to be boiled for impurities to be taken out, making the water lighter and easier for tissues to assimilate. Sip every half hour throughout the day. If you want to add taste, mix turmeric, a slice of ginger, fennel seeds or lemon. When eating a meal, do not drink water before the meal as this puts out the digestive fire. Rather, drink sparingly during the meal and give time to drink water after the meal. If you drink right after a meal, all the nutrients of the food would have washed away.

Tidbits to think about. Never cook with honey or put honey in any hot drink like coffee or tea. This makes the honey toxic. Carbonated Coke can be drank to help digestion once in a while, but it’s got to be regular Coke and not the diet type. Ice cream is given as treatment to certain types of imbalanced. Cheese should only be taken in the morning so it can be digested.

The Bible stories recount how Jesus Christ rose from the dead and had on a “body of light.” Esoteric traditions have also stated that Jesus learnt all the advanced Eastern yogic techniques during his disappearance from the Bible accounts from the age of 13 to 29 years old. There are records of ancient yogis deep in the Himalayas who have perfected the metabolizing of their own body tissues to spiritualize and fill them with light. I won’t be surprised if Ayurveda, alongside meditation, holds the secret of this process of working towards a light body.

(Call Arogya Ayurvedic Center at 403-4048 to schedule a check of your “dosha” diet and a variety of oil massage treatments to bring back balance. The center also treats a variety of diseases such as high blood, diabetes, heart issues and cancer. Intro to Ayurveda talks offered at ECHOyoga. Check http://echoyoga.echostore.ph)

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