Ayurvedic tips for the Fall Season

Written by the Art of Living Foundation

Autumn has arrived. Trees are turning colors, daylight is waning, and the nights are becoming cooler. Summer’s sun and heat are surrendering to the cool, soft embrace of fall weather.
At the change of seasons, we automatically change their thermostats and wardrobes. Yet, many of us do not realize the importance of changing their fitness regimen, self-care routine, and food choices.
Ritucharya: The Seasonal Routine
According to Ayurveda, seasonal and weather changes significantly affect the physical and mental body. Factors like temperature, humidity, wind, rain, and daylight hours, all influence the body’s natural cycles and vital systems. So, we must know how to adapt diet and lifestyle in order to maintain balance in digestion, sleep, immunity, and energy.
As the seasons change, so must our daily routine. This practice is known as a ritucharya. “Ritu” means “season” and “charya” means “routine”. Ritucharya is a seasonal regimen for diet and lifestyle that helps maintain health and well-being.
Autumn from Ayurveda Perspective
In Ayurveda, each season is associated with a dosha, with autumn being linked to vata dosha. The qualities of fall weather and vata dosha are dry, mobile, subtle, and cool. Plants and leaves dry up and turn color. The sun’s light is subtler. Temperatures become cooler.
In the body, excess vata manifests as dry skin, cracking joints, irregular digestion/elimination, and stiff muscles. In the mind, brisk winds and shorter days create feelings of restlessness and spiciness. Suddenly you want to do a bunch of fun projects, and find yourself starting them all, yet finishing none.
Here are five easy, effective, and enjoyable Ayurvedic self-care tips to create optimal health, vitality, and creativity in your life this fall.
Five fabulous fall self-care tips
1. Do a seasonal cleanse. As summer turns to fall, it’s important to remove excess heat from the body and mind, and prepare your immune system for winter. Observe nature and notice how trees naturally shed their leaves. Autumn is the perfect time to shed habits and foods that no longer nourish your body and mind.
2. Grounding Yoga Poses. Take a cue from nature, where her pace slows down in the amount of daylight hours and by the waning of plant life. Slow down the pace in your life. Start doing some gentle yoga practice.

3. Warm Oil Massage. The Ayurvedic fountain of youth is Abhyangha –( warm oil massage). Abhyangha pacifies the dry, subtle, and cool qualities of fall. It nourishes the body, calms the mind, relieves dry skin, improves circulation, and maintains the skin’s youthful glow. Abhyangha self-massage is easy to do before showering. A Harvest of Nourishing Foods. During autumn, nature provides the perfect foods to nourish the body and ground the mind. Enjoy the harvest of root vegetables! Roast or sauté carrots, turnips, beets, and parsnips using organic oils like coconut, olive or ghee, for extra support for the nervous system. Use spices to warm the body and stoke circulation. Enjoy kitchari once a week. Kitchari, an easy to digest dish of mung dal, rice, vegetables and spices, gently detoxes and powerfully nourishes the body.

4. A Harvest of Nourishing Foods. During autumn, nature provides the perfect foods to nourish the body and ground the mind. Enjoy the harvest of root vegetables! Roast or sauté carrots, turnips, beets, and parsnips using organic oils like coconut, olive or ghee, for extra support for the nervous system. Use spices to warm the body and stoke circulation. Enjoy kitchari once a week. Kitchari, an easy to digest dish of mung dal, rice, vegetables and spices, gently detoxes and powerfully nourishes the body.

5. Ayurvedic Date Shake. Cooler weather creates a stronger appetite. An Ayurvedic date shake is a fantastic and filling snack. Date shakes are easy to make, boost energy levels, and nourish the bone and muscle tissue. Date with tahini 5 dates, pitted 1 ½ cups cow, almond, or coconut milk 1 tbsp tahini ¼ tsp vanilla ¼ tsp cinnamon Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. This shake is perfect for vata types because it warms their delicate body type and calms an overactive mind. Tahini is high in protein and rich in calcium, potassium, Vitamin B and iron. Cinnamon improves circulation, which tends to run low in vata types. And vanilla has a relaxing effect on the mind. Fall in love with Ayurveda this fall season Celebrate fall’s colorful changes by welcoming Ayurveda into your life. Honoring baby steps when implementing change in daily habits is the best strategy to long-term success. So start with integrating 2-3 of the Ayurvedic self-care tips into your daily routine. During Autumn, many trees stop branching out and shed their leaves. With less daylight hours, it’s more effective to receive nourishment from their roots. It’s a great reminder of the sacredness of letting go. Clear your calendar to make room for rest and reflection. Reflect on what you wish to let go of in your life. Root into Ayurvedic self-care and enjoy autumn and a lifetime of health and happiness.

SRI SRI Wisdom to Health and Happiness

The 10 Steps To Happiness by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

1) Reduce Your Needs & Increase Your responsibilities
If you sit and make a note of all your responsibilities and all your needs, and if you find that your needs are more than your responsibilities, then life will lead to misery. But if you take more responsibility and have fewer needs, then you will be happy. This is the secret.
When you take more responsibility and your needs are less, everything simply comes to you – enthusiasm, happiness, creativity, etc.

2) Look At People Who Have Bigger Problems Than You
Once a wise man drew a line on a board and told his student to make the line shorter without touching or erasing it. How would you do it? You have to shorten a line without touching it.
The student then drew a much longer line underneath that line. So, the line automatically became shorter. The lesson here is that if your difficulties appear to be very big, lift your eyes because you are only focused on yourself.

If you lift your eyes up and look at those who are in a worse condition than you, you will suddenly feel that your burden is not as bad as you thought it was. If you think you have some big problem, look at people who have a greater problem. Suddenly, you will get a confidence that my problem is much smaller, and I can manage it.

So to be happy is to see those who have greater problems, then your problems will appear smaller. The moment your problems appear smaller, you will get the energy and confidence to deal with it or solve it. In simple words, serve those who are in greater need.

3) Don’t Be Unhappy About Being Unhappy
Never mind if you are unhappy for a little while, so what? If you think I should never be unhappy, then that becomes a cause of unhappiness.

4) Drop Unpleasant Memories Of The Past & Live In The Present Moment
How can you be happy if you’re holding onto unpleasant memories of the past? Unpleasant memories are the biggest hindrance for you to be in the present. The nature of the mind is such, it leaves all the pleasant memories and it grabs onto those few unpleasant events and chews on it. We have advanced in technology but we have not used that technology for our mind. If you are happy now, the past will not torment you and the future will take care of itself.

5) Know That Everything Is Temporary
None of the events are permanent; pleasant or unpleasant, all pass and move away. When you realize that everything is temporary, and it all fades away, then you can be perpetually happy.

6) Dedicate You Life To A Larger Goal
The key to happiness in life is to not stay stuck in ‘Me, me, & mine’. Dedicate your life to some larger goal or to the service of others around you, then you will find that only happiness flows through your life.

7) Take The Decision That ‘I Will Not Allow Any Situation To Bog Down My Happiness’

You Have To Take This Decision, Nobody Else Can Take It For You.
There is nothing great in smiling when everything is normal, and when everything is going the way you want. But if you awaken the valor inside of you, and say, ‘Come what may, I am going to keep smiling’, you will notice tremendous energy rise from within you. Then problems will feel like nothing; they just come and disappear.

Being happy, keeping the environment around you happy, and not losing your smile come what may, is the real sign of enlightenment.

8) At All Costs, Save Your Mind!
In your day to day life, people come and put some negativity in you, and that makes your mind and your determination shaky. Don’t let this happen. Put a filter to your ears and just smile through it.
It is natural and common that people will put out some negativity, but when you are deeply connected with your Self, and when you have intuition, then you will just smile through all such incidents. You will put a filter in your ears.

That is how the world is. There are some pleasant and some unpleasant things. How we manage them and keep our direction, that is what is most important.

9) Have Faith Because Faith By Itself Can Make You So Happy
What you need to remember at all times is this, ‘There is someone who loves me very dearly, and is taking care of me at all times. He cannot be without me and He is capable of removing any lack that I have’.
Knowing this too brings such joy in one’s life.

10) Share Your Happiness With Others & It Will Grow
When you are content; when you are happy, you want to share it.
The nature of joy is to share with others. Joy has the tendency to spread, and whenever a person is genuinely happy and joyful from within, they want to just share it with the whole world.

Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd

You Are What You Eat:  Written by The Art of Living Foundation.

Health Benefits of Bitter Gourd: Also Know as Karela or Ampalaya

1.Relieves Cold:
Ampalaya or Karela is used in treating fever and cough caused by cold. It has anti-inflammatory properties and that is why it is used against mucus accumulation and chest congestion.

2.Disinfectant:
It is used against bacteria as it has strong powerful antibiotic properties. It can be used as a disinfectant for minor wounds, burns and scrapes.

3.Lowers Blood Sugar Level:
Karela is used against diabetes. It is able to reduce the blood sugar level and prevents other side-effects caused by high blood sugar.

4.Immunity Booster:
Bittergourd removes free radicals from the body and fights infections which can lead to tissue and organ damage.

5.Lowers Blood Pressure:
It lowers the blood pressure because it is able to relax the vascular system. Lowering the high blood pressure is an important function because it can protect people from having a heart attack or stroke.

6.Headache Relief:
When the muscles around brain are under pressure, they cause headaches. Ampalaya reduces the pressure and alleviates headaches. Stress usually causes the pressure but ampalaya also helps in relieving tension and stress.

7.Improves Psoriasis:
People who suffer from psoriasis have confirmed that this plant has helped them a lot. Ampalaya juice can also help with fungal infections as athlete’s foot and fungi.

8.Spleen and liver Protection:
Overuse of alcohol and toxins can lead to damaged spleen and liver. This vegetable can regenerate and repair tissues in the body which were damaged by toxins. Ampalaya contains useful enzymes which maintain proper spleen and liver function.

9.Weight Control:
Obesity is linked with numerous health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and many others. A study showed that Karela juice is effective in preventing fat cells from forming.

10.Eye Problems:
Karela is rich in beta-carotene and other minerals which help with eye problems.

Punjabi Karela Sabzi Recipe

prep time: 10 mins cook time: 20 mins total time: 30 mins
serves: 2-3

karela sabzi – dry bitter gourd curry made in north indian style.
ingredients (measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml):
5-6 medium sized karela/bitter gourd
2 or 3 medium sized onions
½ tsp turmeric powder or haldi
¼ tsp red chili powder
¼ tsp garam masala powder
¼ or ½ tsp amchur powder or dry mango powder
2 tbsp oil
salt
how to make the recipe:
Peel the karelas. Wash them in running water. Chop them. You can even slice them. Remove the seeds.
Slice the onions too.
In a kadai or pan, heat oil. Add the chopped or sliced bitter gourds.
Saute the bitter gourd on medium heat for 2 minutes. Lower the flame and saute for 2-3 minutes more.
Add the sliced onions.
Mix the sliced onions with the bitter gourd.
Saute for 2-3 minutes.
Now add the turmeric powder, red chili powder and salt.
Stir. Cook the sabzi without any lid for 7-8 minutes till the both the karela and onions are cooked and sauted well. The onions will become brown. Keep on stirring in between. Check the seasoning. Add more red chili powder or salt if required.
When the Karela sabzi is ready, sprinkle the amchur and garam masala powder. Mix it with the entire sabzi.
Garnishing Karela Sabzi with chopped cilantro/coriander leaves is optional.
Serve Karela Sabzi with phulkas, parathas and a bowl of fresh plain curd/yoghurt or sweetened curd/yoghurt. Karela Sabzi also goes very well as a side vegetable dish or accompaniment with the combination of dal rice or kadhi chawal ( punjabi curd kadhi with rice)

FROM SMART PHONES TO SMART REST

Written by The Art of Living Foundation.

A phone is only a phone, until one has packed some intelligence into it so that it becomes smart and powerful. Rest is also only rest, until one has packed some intelligence and awareness into the process to make IT smart and YOU powerful! This kind of smart rest, which is done consciously, is meditation.

For most of us rest means Sleep. Sleep is a universal phenomenon. I have never heard a single debate on whether humans aught to sleep. I don’t think we even have a choice there, for when the body and mind is tired, sleep envelops our consciousness and makes us unconscious, whether we like it or not… approve or disapprove. The body and mind dips into rest, and kick starts all the physical and mental processes of rejuvenation. Any medical doctor will tell us that the physical growth in children takes place when they are sleeping. That could be the reason infant and toddlers sleep so much. Lot of accumulated toxins are eliminated by the body in sleep. Our body has a natural intelligence to heal itself and for most of us sleep is the only opportunity it gets to heal.

All of us have experienced the energy of rejuvenation that comes from a good night’s rest and the energy of depletion that comes from sleepless, troubled nights. A sleepless night is usually followed by lack of energy, irritability, mistakes, lack of clarity or creativity, obsession towards supposedly comfort foods and drinks, incorrect perception/ assessment of situations. If ever there was a devil… that devil is probably you on a sleep-deprived morning. After a few sleepless nights even the smallest goal can be difficult to achieve and even a pious person forgets to be kind!

I talk about sleep because everyone can relate to it and look at reality from a fresh perspective. Although this phenomenon is with us since birth, we have rarely given it enough introspection. Our worldly goals have taken up so much of us that we may have lost sight of the foundation on which it all rests. That foundation is literally rest. The more rested you are, the more successful you can be in every aspect of life.

Now, if you decide to concentrate your sleep, you will experience a concentrated form of rest, which will give you a taste of the panacea of meditation. Simply put, the difference between sleep and meditation is – sleep is relaxing unconsciously and meditation is to relax consciously. Doing any activity consciously, concentrates it. Learning a technique to relax with awareness and consciousness helps one to systematically dive deep into our source – which is abundant with energy, peace, joy and love. Even our most ambitious goals are small compared to the capabilities that our consciousness possesses. We are designed to do big things. But due to lack of knowledge about oneself, we get stressed with even small things in life.

It is said that the rest from a twenty-minute deep meditation is equivalent to four hours of deep sleep. I have been meditating for 9 years, using the Sahaj Samadhi meditation technique and can corroborate this with my own experience. Whatever benefits we have experienced with sleep multiply with meditation. Silence is the mother of creativity and also the seed of all the talents that we aspire for. This does not mean that meditation can replace sleep altogether. A balance of both is needed in our well-being and effectiveness.

Sahaj Samadhi meditation is a mantra-based technique as taught by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Each participant is initiated into a personal mantra (appropriate for him/her) and taught to use it, so that they are able to dive deep into the different layers of their consciousness. Through this process they are able to eliminate all the deep rooted stresses stored within. It comes from the Vedic tradition of masters from ancient ages, who have brought this knowledge to our generation in all its purity. The power of this technique lies in its simplicity and could be the reason why it is gaining popularity all over the world. Sahaj means effortless in Sanskrit (ancient Indian language) and Samadhi means a state of bliss, heightened awareness and peace. This technique can be learned from a trained Sahaj Samadhi instructor and takes 9 hours over 3 days to learn and will last you for a lifetime.

In order to sleep we require a comfortable bed, lights dimmed out, maybe some soothing music, a nice pillow and a prayer of hope that sleep will come! For meditation, you simply need an authentic technique, initiated in a pure tradition and a place to sit and meditate! In this jet age, this seems like a jet solution to realize all our goals happily.

Our phones have become smarter, it is time for us to get smart(er) too.

The Art of Living Happiness Program

Living Life to its Full Potential

The Art of Living Happiness Program integrates ancient yogic practices and wisdom into our lives today. Practicing these techniques enable us to be more in the present moment and live with greater clarity, creativity, peace and joy.

The Happiness Program Features

THE SUDARSHAN KRIYA

Only taught in The Art of Living’s Happiness Program, the Sudarshan Kriya is an approachable, simple yet powerful rhythmic breathing technique. It helps alleviate our physical, mental and emotional stresses, leaving us refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated and giving us a sense of peace and rest never experienced before.

PRANAYAMAS

Simple breathing exercises that remove toxins accumulated from persistent levels of stress. These techniques bring the mind, body and soul in sync – the prerequisite to being happy and living a balanced life.

YOGA

Gentle and dynamic postures that remove inertia and relax the body. Yoga raises energy levels and calms the mind, complementing meditation and magnifying the benefits of the Sudarshan Kriya.

GUIDED MEDITATIONS

One of the deepest forms of rest for your system, meditation recharges you at the level of the body and mind. Meditation leaves you calm yet alert, while revealing hidden potentials and talents you never knew about!

Gentle and dynamic postures that remove inertia and relax the body. Yoga raises energy levels and calms the mind, complementing meditation and magnifying the benefits of the Sudarshan Kriya.

PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT

Includes processes which enable you to release your inhibitions and give you a greater sense of confidence. Interactive team-building exercises develop your leadership skills to make you more active in your life.

PRACTICAL WISDOM

Applicable wisdom that help you manage daily life situations of work, family and relationships more skillfully. This wisdom can integrate into your life to deal with the challenges of life in a seamless manner.

For more information, click here:

http://www.artofliving.org/ca-en/happiness-program#acol=0