Thursday, June 27, 2013

Using Ayurveda as a guide for diet

(Disclamer: I'm not trained in Ayurveda so this post is just based on what I've learned through my own reading, through consultations with Ayurvedic practitioners, and listening to educational talks from people with training in this field.)

According to Ayurveda, we are all born with a certain constitution called prakruti which is measured in terms of the three doshas - vata, pitta, and kapha.  Vikruti, on the other hand, is the current state of imbalances of the doshas in the body.  The doshas get out of balance due to unfavorable diet and lifestyle choices.  Long term imbalances in the dosha will cause the manifestation of various diseases in the body.  You can read a little more about prakruti and vikruti here.

Find out your prakruti and vikruti

The best way to find out your constitution according to Ayurveda would probably be to get a consultation from a practitioner.  They can usually assess the prakruti and vikruti by reading the pulse.  If you don't already know these, you can get a rough idea by taking one of more of the online quizes -- just google "dosha quiz" and several pop up.  You can try the interactive one at the Chopra Center or the printed ones at the Ayurvedic Institute (prakruti and vikruti).  

As stated in the instructions by the Ayurvedic Institute, it helps to take the quiz twice, once based on long-term tendencies for the prakruti, and once based on how one is feeling more recently for the vikruti which is why they have two forms.  The Chopra Center says the quiz is only for vikruti, but I guess if you filled it out based on long-term tendencies rather than what's been happening in the recent past, then it can be used to get an idea of the prakruti as well.

Finding balancing foods

Once you know your vikruti, you can consult an Ayurvedic food chart to learn about which foods would be best for balancing the doshas.  For example, if one finds that one is primarily pitta dosha, then one should try and eat pitta pacifying foods more often than not.  Some of the foods are pacifying/favored by all doshas.  Such foods are sometimes referred to as tridoshic foods.


I've found these guidelines to be somewhat helpful for bringing my body back into balance.   It takes a long time to heal the body just through diet changes and often the help of herbs may be needed.  However, by eating foods that agree with us, we immediately start to experience better digestion. 

My constitution is vata-pitta, so I try to eat foods that are favorable for both vata and pitta doshas.  In other words, I try and find foods that are in the columns of the food chart showing they are favorable for both vata and pitta.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Blogger template designer not working?

For several months now, I've had trouble with getting my blogger template working.  I finally came across this article which provides a detailed step-by-step guide for fixing the problem.

By reinitializing the template, even though Google Analytics reported in its status that it was "Receiving Data," it really wasn't.  When I went back and checked the template, I found that the javascript for Google Analytics was gone.  I had to reinsert that to get things working again.  A couple of useful references for this:

A brief introduction to Hinduism

When I was a student at Duke University, one of our professors in the electrical & computer engineering department, Dr. Kishor Trivedi, distributed a small booklet titled "An introduction to Hinduism."  I read it back then, but I wasn't really in a position to appreciate it.  Now, almost 15 years since I graduated, I picked up the booklet and reread it and it made a lot more sense, probably because of the time I have been spending at the Yoga Farm on Saturday evenings listening to their teachings.

I was able to find a pdf of the booklet online.  I really like the way it categorizes the ancient Hindu texts, philosophies, and beliefs.  Well worth a read if you have an interest in this subject.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Miserable and magical

Last year, I wrote about a graduation speech by Nipun Mehta on the subject of Learning to Walk.  Today, I learned via the Service Space mailing list that he had delivered another speech, this time to graduating high school students titled Miserable & Magical.

The theme of the talk is generosity.
The first key is to give
The second key is to receive
The third key is to dance
He has several inspiring anecdotes to exemplify each of those points.  Well worth a read.

This is very much in tune with the theme of the movie I Am, which I saw a while ago.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Holistic medicine going mainstream?

I recently came across an article in Duke Magazine titled "The cure for the common medical practice."  The article discusses some of the services being offered by the Duke Integrative Medicine.  It is encouraging to see holistic medicine being adopted at an institution renowned for its academic programs and hospitals in the field of western medicine.

Update 11/30/2014

Closer to home in Sacramento, I recently came across the website for Sutter Center for Integrative Holistic Health.  I have no idea how good it is as I have not yet tried it.  I also came across the following articles in Sacramento Magazine:
Update 06/04/2016

Came across this release from the NIH.  Many interesting stats:
  • Nearly 18 million adults and 927,000 children practiced meditation.
  • Children whose parents use a complementary health approach are more likely to use one as well.
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