DIY Nasya Treatment

Nasya, in Ayurveda, is a nasal application of medication (usually herbal). It’s generally prescribed to open and clear the sinuses, balance kapha dosha, and to affect the function of the brain and nervous system. Here’s a simple do-it-yourself nasya treatment you can do at home to clean and lubricate the nose as well as release stress and tension.

Supplies needed:

¼ to ½ cup massage oil
Small saucepan of boiling water
Bath towel
Neti pot
2 pinches of sea salt
Ghee or Super Nasya Oil

Procedure:

1. Put the small saucepan of water on the stove and heat on high until boiling.

2. While the water is heating, massage the scalp and face with oil. Really scrub and move the scalp. Work the oil deeply into the tissues to loosen the muscles of the head. Also try pulling the hair (from the roots) a little bit to release tension – this should feel really good. When you massage the face, do lots of repetitive strokes. Circles over the temples, the forehead, the cheeks and jaw muscles. Do some deep strokes just under the cheekbones. Massage the sides of the nose, do a few strokes over the eyebrows, etc. The massage will help loosen everything up to be eliminated during your neti wash in step #4.

3. Once the water begins to boil, remove the pot from the heat. Have a seat at your dining table with the pan of steaming water in front of you on a pot holder or trivet. Drape the bath towel over both your head and the pot of steaming water to create a steam tent. Close your eyes and breathe in and out through your nose for three to five minutes, allowing the steam to penetrate into the nose and lungs. This will help to loosen mucous, open the pores in the skin, and allow the oils on the face and scalp to penetrate deeply into the tissues.

4. Fill your neti pot with luke-warm water, and add two pinches of sea salt. Once the salt has dissolved, use your neti pot (per the package directions) to wash out the nose.

5. Put 3 or 4 drops of warm ghee or Super Nasya Oil into the palm of one hand, and using the pinky finger of the other, apply the oil to the insides of each nostril. Go as deeply as you can without discomfort. Immediately lie down on your back for several minutes to allow the oil to penetrate into the nasal tissues (You will probably want to put the bath towel under your head to keep the oil off your floor/furniture).

This DIY nasya treatment can be done daily before your morning shower or bath.

The Endless Debate

Channel surfing the other day, I became aware of the controversy sparked by Tom Cruise and Brooke Shields. Brooke Shields has recently written a book on how pharmaceuticals saved her life from severe post-partum depression. She was at a point almost dangerous to the life of her child and her own life. Tom Cruise, on the other hand, is going on the circuit claiming that drugs are over-prescribed, that life style changes, nutrition and exercise are all that are necessary for the treatment of depression. Who is right?

It is obvious that they both are, but only partially. I think it is really important to understand that in our current understanding of reality, we have to really start going beyond dualistic thinking.

Is it nature or nurture?
Is it body or mind?
Is it biological organism or environment?
Is the universe particle like or wave like?

These endless debates should come to an end. A single reality differentiates into cognition (how we think), emotions and moods (how we feel), perception, behavior, biological function, environment, social interactions, interactions with natures forces, and personal relationships. They all simultaneously, interdependently co-create each other. More and more, people are understanding that that single reality is consciousness itself, the ground of being. Isn’t it time we made the study of consciousness a discipline in our academic institutions? This way we would not be bound with certitude to a fragmented perspective. We would recognize that there is a role for everything.

Drug treatment, behavioral and cognitive therapy, life style changes and everything that everybody elese is talking about. Why not integrate all these approaches.

Love to hear your thoughts.

Deepak

Why am I depressed?

Q. In the past year, I have been very depressed. I have a good family and job, but my energy is so low I have trouble getting out of bed. Outwardly, I seem fine, but inside I have lost my enthusiasm for life. Please help.

A: Depression is a complex condition with physical, biochemical, emotional and spiritual components. Although the conventional medical model tends to focus on imbalances in neurochemistry, we find that for many people, depression is the consequence of long-standing unresolved emotional issues, often from childhood, but also from later in life. The depletion of psychological energy used to repress accumulated painful feelings translates over time into depression. There are a number of things you can do to awaken your inner pharmacy and regain your enthusiasm and vitality.

First, I encourage you to learn and practice Primordial Sound Meditation. Meditation is one of the most effective ways to shift your inner reference point from the part of you that is depressed to the witnessing aspect of yourself that is beyond suffering and able to help you begin taking the steps to recovery.

This is an important time to eat in a healthy way by favoring a six tastes diet with fresh organic foods. Although you may not be in the mood for it, it is also helpful to begin some kind of exercise program, including yoga, cardiovascular and strength training activities. Getting your life energy moving will enhance the production of natural mood elevating chemicals.

Look at the emotional issues underlying your condition. Seek out a counselor who can help you see your personal issues from a more expanded framework. If your depression is interfering with your ability to function, a course of anti-depressants may be helpful and will not preclude you from exploring a more holistic approach to deeper emotional healing. We offer a program at the Chopra Center called Healing the Heart, which addresses depression from an Ayurvedic model. This process is designed to identify, mobilize, release, and replenish toxic, life-force inhibiting emoticons with nourishing life-celebrating ones.

There are a few Ayurvedic herbs which may be helpful in depression. I see these as part of a holistic program rather than as a substitute for anti-depressant medications. The most important Ayurvedic herbs to help improve the mind are Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) and Brahmi (Centella asiatica or Bacopa moniera.)

Cultivate conscious communication skills so that you are better able to identify and meet your core emotional needs. The confidence that you can cultivate healthy relationships from this point forward will help heal your heart and soul.

How to Approach Religion: Laugh and Laugh Again

The
inability of some religious people to laugh at themselves betrays, I
think, a great deal of insecurity. What if God was a two-year-old
toddler and you were his mother? You’d spend your day keeping close
watch and only find calm when your child was taking a nap. But God
isn’t two years old, and he /she doesn’t need taking care of. I wish
religious people took the analogy seriously, because they are
constantly rushing in to protect God, screaming in outrage when he /she
is surely laughing. God may very well see the universe as a divine
comedy. Every exploding nova could be an explosion of laughter. Nobody
knows. But when we look around us, Nature is at play. Every wild animal
— at least when young — spends its day playing, apparently in
innocent delight. A tiger cub and a human infant have that in common.
The difference is that the tiger grows up in peace with its ferocity.
Humans grow up to find themselves burdened with guilt, shame, and
anxiety.

To relieve these afflictions, we turn to religion but also to comedy. “The Love Guru” is a ridiculous farce, and it has offended some Hindus, but I’d wager
it will do more good for people than a week’s worth of sermons.
(Personal disclosure: I am lampooned in the movie much more than
Hinduism. You might catch me at a screening. I’m the man in the aisle
seat laughing loudly.) In an age obsessed with triviality, a silly,
light-hearted comedy arouses controversy while religion keeps fostering
an unending litany of war, intolerance, and violence.

For all these reasons, more comedies should cross the line between
vulgar lampoon and reckless disrespect. Let’s catch God with his pants
down — or more especially those who peddle faith in God so
self-righteously. Christianity has been mocked in Monty Python’s “Life
of Bryan,” Judaism in Adam Sandler’s “Don’t Mess with the Zohan,” and
Islam (very mildly) in Albert Brooks

Halcyon Interaction?

Dear Friends, the older we get the more it seems that the most
valuable time is the time spent with family… What to make of this
halcyon interaction?

Halcyon.jpg

Whilst it is fun to spend time with family it also requires
bravery to face up to the past, the present and the future
simultaneously.

Family time seems to be a microcosm of the whole world and
more, bringing out all our virtues and vices forward at the speed of
light.

Each halcyon moment of interaction becomes an indelible memory
as it happens — humorous, tense-in-unison or adverserial — as if in
slow motion! Why? Any answers…

The other aspect to family time is the feeling that it moves
slowly or moves too fast but never normally. Is it our love which
creates gravity which causes time to dilate in convex or concave
curvatures?

Is this just my feeling or have you felt something similar?

What is the most valuable time spent by you and when spending it, does time go fast, slow down, or cease to exist?

All artistic and scientific answers are equally welcome!

With love and warm wishes to you and family

DK with family

DK Matai

This Omnivore’s Dilemma

I consider myself a “foodie” in every sense of the word. I LOVE to
eat good food, fresh food, home cooked food, gourmet food, food that
I’ve tried from many different parts of the world, even fast food
(well, some of it…). One of my favorite activities is deciphering the
ingredients in a dish served at a restaurant. Was that lemongrass in my
curry? A little bit of dried coriander? Was it honey that made the dish
sweeter or brown sugar?

When my first daughter was born, I delighted in feeding her — each
time I offered her a new morsel, a new taste or texture, it was as if I
were eating that food for the first time myself. It was fascinating to
see how she interacted — and I mean this in every sense of the word —
with what we put in front of her. Grabbing, squishing, smelling,
smearing, stuffing it in her ears, her nose, even her mouth at times,
and covering her face, arms, legs, torso and clothing, of course, with
it as well. My husband and I, like many new parents, were also
fascinated with the end result of all of this eating — the output in
Aanya’s diapers. What food was digested, what remained intact and the
marvelous colors of her poo….not so much the smells.

Of course, I also made it a point to make as much baby food as
possible for my daughters and reveled in the fact that I was serving
them fresh, healthy, real food. I would buy mostly organic fruits and
vegetables and puree them in the blender, freezing the leftovers in
ice-cube trays for later. When it was time for stage 2 foods, the first
thing I fed the girls was a mixture of rice and dhal called kitcherie,
which my husband would turn his nose at since it is traditionally food
served up to sick children (our version of chicken soup.) To my
disappointment, eventually my daughters turned their noses at it as
well.

I have continued to cook well for my daughters and family — using
fresh and organic ingredients as much as possible, although they do
like to eat a lot of pasta. (I joke that they must have been Italian in
their past lives…) We have a range of pasta on hand at
home…everything from Annie’s organic, whole wheat shells and pasta,
to gourmet Italian made from Durum wheat and even pasta made from brown
rice. Believe me, it’s delicious!

Given that we socialize with other families with young children
quite a bit pizza is, of course, on the menu at least once a week. We
can give you a run-down on all of the joints in the neighborhood, as
well as many other places you’ll NEED to try next time you’re in NYC.
(Hint, if you don’t live in NYC, or even if you do and decide to stay
in, Trader Joe’s makes excellent pizza dough!)

We still eat Indian food several times a week and my children are
learning well to tolerate the spices I add to their food. Anything I
cook can be eaten by all of us — most of the time, my husband and I
eat the children’s food, but at times, if I’m a bit heavy handed with
the masalas, there is always plain yogurt around to cool down
everyone’s palates.

So where am I going with all of this? Well, I just finished reading The Omnivore

Suffering is Never Alone But Shared

I feel and see the flow of life and death inside and outside of me.
Sometimes I resist in despair, saying why should this be, all the
senseless misery? Tears are unleashed. Torrents of liquid stream from
me, dripping onto the sunlit ground.

At first a puddle, then a vast pool of tears—an ocean of sorrow
from all the suffering. Oh, the flesh cries out in bewilderment. My
little ego reels under the awesome sight; a breaking and tearing
asunder.

Life must be more than the struggle of birth, sickness and
suffering, old age, and fear of death. Some drown the pain in
distractions: with some it

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