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Vedic Astrology for September

Vedic Astrology for September

September is a significant month of major change and personal transformation, with three major planets (Rahu, Ketu, and Jupiter) moving to new signs within a few days of each other, signaling a shift of perspective and focus over the next 12 to 18 months. We also begin a five-month intermittent pattern of Kala Sarpa Yoga in September, a planetary combination of great karmic significance that requires high ethical standards as we open to greater awareness on the planet.

A major planetary transit occurs September 8, 2017 when the powerful nodes of the Moon, Rahu and Ketu, shift signs. The nodes are called shadow planets or chaya grahas, and are connected to eclipse energies. Rahu (north node) will move into the sign of Cancer, while Ketu (south node) moves into the sign of Capricorn, staying in these signs until March 23, 2019. The nodes of the Moon are planets in Vedic astrology, and move backwards through the zodiac, shifting signs every 18 months or so. Previously, Rahu has been in the sign of Leo, and Ketu in the sign of Aquarius since January 8, 2016. Nodal transits can be very impactful, and now we can experience sudden events, life lessons, deep growth, and even some confusion involving the significations of the nodes transiting their new signs of Cancer and Capricorn.

Rahu, a psychological and material planet that rules expansion, innovation, intensity, and desire, now travels the sensitive water sign of Cancer.

Rahu

Rahu in Cancer (a sign ruled by the Moon) brings a stronger pull to be involved in nurturing activities, connect more intimately with family and friends, have a secure and safe environment to live in, and create a deeper bond with nature and within our communities. We see the value in generating more empathy and caring in our world. This is a good transit to transcend our toxic or dramatic emotions in order to experience greater peace in our lives. On the shadow side, Rahu in Cancer can increase challenges we have with family members or it can quickly amplify ungrounded fears, addictions, or worries. Learn to not over-react and be more patient. Instead, transmute these anxious energies into creative and positive projects and develop deeper heart connections.

Ketu, a non-material mystical planet that represents spirituality or moksha, detachment, intuition, hypersensitivity, loss, or rejection now resides in the practical earth sign of Capricorn.

Ketu

Ketu is a planet that asks us to let go or surrender, so in the Saturn-ruled sign of Capricorn means detaching from the desire to be in total control and be less intolerant or pessimistic. Positively, Ketu in Capricorn can help us take a more spiritual approach to our work, as we awaken to the true responsibilities in our life. We feel increased motivations to be of service to those in need. The shadow of Ketu in Capricorn can bring avoidance, not wanting to face life, sacrificing oneself needlessly, or being too hard or critical about life. Ketu in Capricorn can be a highly spiritual transit if you lean to let go of stress and not judge. Bring happiness and gratitude into your everyday life and find joy in the simple things.

Jupiter, the great benefic planet of spirituality, optimism, prosperity, and divine grace, begins its transit through the Venus-ruled sign of Libra from September 11, 2017 until October 11, 2018. The sign of Libra wants harmony and balance, so Jupiter here focuses on the need for peace and idealism. Involvement with humanitarian, charitable or non-profit organizations is highlighted now. This transit can create more opportunities for social interactions or romantic interludes. As both Jupiter and Venus (ruler of Libra) are teacher planets, attaining our educational goals is a possible theme. The challenge of Jupiter in Libra is lack of discipline or being over-indulgent. The highest expression of this transit can emphasize more diplomacy, equality, and fairness in our world. We realize how mutual respect and greater wisdom can bring more lasting peace.

From September 18 to October 1, 2017 we begin a Kala Sarpa Yoga pattern that occurs two weeks at a time, followed by two weeks out of this yoga combination. This “on and off” pattern lasts five months, beginning mid-September 2017 until mid-January 2018. Kala Sarpa means “the snake of time,” which indicates this is a pivotal and significant five month period. We last experienced this yoga in the months around the Presidential election last fall. This yoga combination occurs when all the planets are sandwiched in between the nodes of the Moon, Rahu and Ketu. Psychologically this can make us feel that we have less free will or we may feel a certain “destiny” occurring in the world. With this Kala Sarpa transit we can experience some intense highs or lows, which heighten our sensitivity – so do practices that center you, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, and breath work. High morals, a positive attitude, detachment, along with some common sense are remedies for the Kala Sarpa Yoga combination, which can bring significant healing and increased awareness. We cannot waste this opportunity to gain greater spiritual growth. We are asked to strengthen our inner foundation, evolve, and let our heart be our teacher.

Debra Infante, Vedic astrologer, can be reached at (928) 639-0623 or via email for astrological consultations, either in person or by phone.

Vedic Astrology for August 2017

August marks the start of a significant and busy month that includes a fascinating eclipse season, with a lunar eclipse occurring on August 7 followed by a total solar eclipse on August 21. These eclipses are the big news this month and can bring deep, personal shifts and expanded revelations. Mars, planet of action and vitality, while being debilitated in the sign of Cancer most of August, brings lessons about how we can direct our energies more appropriately. Mercury, planet of communications, begins its retrograde motion in August suggests a time of review and revision. Then Saturn, lord of truth, goes direct at the end of August, bringing increased productivity.

Eclipses are catalysts for change and they can bring significant events into one’s life. Eclipses can reveal truths and break down barriers, helping us to grow. In Vedic culture eclipses are days for spiritual life and inner work, such as meditation, mantra recitation, pranayama, yoga, retreat, and introspection. Traditionally they are not auspicious days for material activities, such as business or financial dealings, as we may not see as clearly now or unexpected issues can surface that we have to deal with. In general, solar eclipses are more potent than lunar ones and can have more of a global effect. Also, three to six days either side of the eclipse date can be unstable, so do things that help you ground and feel supported, like connecting with family and friends and spending time in natural or peaceful surroundings.

The first eclipse is a lunar one happening on August 7, 2017 at 21 degrees Capricorn in the nakshatra of Shravana. Being in the sign of Capricorn can bring a focus on our work, business, the government and service. Shravana nakshatra is about taking the higher moral ground, having good ethics, and re-establishing order and dharma in our lives. We may need to let go of emotional attachments or any activities that pull us down. This eclipse can also prompt us to prioritize our lives, focus on our spiritual side, and decide what is truly important and heart-felt in life. We want to feel hopeful for the future.

The more powerful eclipse is the August 21 total solar eclipse, which will be visible in the United States. The last time there was a total solar eclipse visible across the United States was in 1918!Full Eclipse This eclipse occurs at 4 degrees Leo in the nakshatra of Magha. This nakshatra connects us to other dimensions or higher realms as it is ruled by Ketu, the planet of moksha, which gives a spiritual connotation. Heightened sensitivity or vulnerability can also be experienced during this eclipse. The deities associated with Magha nakshatra are the Pitris, the deified ancestors which brings an opening to heal past ancestral or familial issues. The symbol for Magha nakshatra is a throne, so it carries royal energies, signifying events could surface surrounding a member of royalty or a political leader. And as this eclipse is in the sign of Leo ruled by the Sun, we may experience insights connected to our identity, soul connections, self-esteem, and career choices.

Mercury, planet of communications and travel, will be retrograde in the sign of Leo from August 12 until September 5, 2017. It is significant that Mercury is near the eclipse on August 21 (within 10 degrees) and in the same sign, so lack of clarity, angry words, or misunderstandings can affect our communications during this time.  In general during a Mercury retrograde period, it is wise to be precise with what you say or put in writing. It’s a good time to review your plans and research ideas, back up data, and take time for inner reflection and meditation.

Mars, planet of action and energy, is a major influence the month of August. First, debilitated Mars in Cancer is somewhat close to the August 21 solar eclipse (within 7 degrees), so we must watch for being too impulsive or acting out of fear, which can later bring regret. Stay calm and be mindful.

A few days after the solar eclipse, on August 23 and 24, Mars will be at its exact degree of debility at 28 degrees of Cancer, which is a period to be extra careful in how we assert ourselves with others. Later on August 27 and 28, Mars leaves its debilitated sign of Cancer and enters the fire sign of Leo, where it will immediately conjunct Rahu (north node of Moon) at 0 degrees Leo, which can be quite a combustible combination. This conjunction of Mars and Rahu occurs at the juncture between a water sign and fire sign – called gandanta or “spiritual knot,” indicates we are Celtic Knot working through some ancient and tight karma, possibly testing our power and courage. Watch for increased agitations, rising tempers, or power struggles with others. This is a time to slow down, be neutral, and don’t get overly stimulated or project our frustrations onto others. Don’t let your fears sabotage you. Accept the journey you have taken, and don’t fight what we are here to learn. Be accepting and responsive with others. Be open to direct and channel the powerful energy generated by Mars and Rahu into creative, uplifting activities instead.

Saturn, planet of discipline and truth, goes direct at 27 degrees Scorpio on August 25, 2017, having been retrograde since April 5, 2017. This directional shift of Saturn is occurs within days of the August 21 solar eclipse which may influence Saturn’s direct motion in a significant way.  Issues that have been dormant since April may rise now to be addressed and solidified. With increased effort we find better ways to serve others.

August appears to be a fairly exciting month, but remember your intention creates your reality. Maintain your personal integrity and walk your talk. Be more dedicated with your personal practices. Don’t avoid the challenges, but move gracefully through them. Perform activities that do not create more suffering in the world. Opportunities to grow and expand in awareness are possible.

Debra Infante, Vedic astrologer, can be reached at (928) 639-0623 or by email for astrological consultations, either in person or by phone.

The Ayurvedic Corner ~ Cucumber Carrot Daikon Raita

This month I present a recipe from our very own Ayurvedic cookbook.  It can be found under the “Vibrant Vegetables” chapter.  This recipe was originally created by former 7 Centers Ayurvedic Chef Kevin Afuso.  I chose to highlight this recipe for July because of it’s cooling nature and also because it is easy to prepare without ever needing to turn on a hot oven!

 

Summer is the best time of year to integrate more cooling and Pitta pacifying tastes such as bitter, astringent, and sweet into the diet.  We visit these tastes in the following recipe by way of cucumber, carrot, and daikon vegetables.  I’ve also included my own variations.  Enjoy!

 

A fantastic side dish for both Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine
Cucumber Carrot Daikon Raita 
This recipe lowers Vata, Pitta, and Kapha as a condiment.

 

Ingredients:
Ghee
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/8 tsp asafoetida (hing)
1 tsp gound cumin
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ cup each of cucumber, carrot, and daikon (peeled and grated)
1 ½ cups yogurt (homemade preferred)

 

Warm ghee in a small pan and add the mustard seeds until they pop.  Remove from heat and add a little more ghee.  Add the cumin seeds, asafoetida, ground cumin, salt and pepper.  Saute until fragrant.  Be careful not to burn.  Set spices aside to cool.  Mix grated vegetables with yogurt stir in spices and serve at room temperature.

 

Variations~
As sometimes store-bought yogurt can be extra sour, consider using plain coconut yogurt as a replacement.  This will also lend more of the sweet taste to the overall dish.  (And it is also vegan friendly.)  The other option is to dilute store-bought yogurt with water: 1 cup of yogurt and ½ of good quality water.  Also, consider adding 1/3 cup of chopped fresh organic cilantro.  Cilantro and cucumber are two of the most useful summer ingredients.  They are cooling and they go great with other summer dishes such as bitter and astringent salad combinations.  Furthermore, as mentioned in the cookbook, you can do a variety of vegetables here.  Some of my favorites include squash, golden beets, and purple carrots.
 

Melissa Camacho, guest writer, is a licensed acupuncturist and Ayurvedic practitioner in Sedona. To contact her, please email

The Adventures of Lionheart, Temple Cat ~ For the Love of Food

In Ayurveda each of the doshas have a distinct relationship with food as the nurturance of life. The doshas reflect different  mind and body constitutions made of the five elements known as Kapha, Pitta and Vata. In the summer when the temperatures soar, and the humidity builds for the monsoons, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by Mother Nature. What we eat can make a difference in feeling unmotivated, irritated or anxious. Here at 7 Centers yoga temple, we have “the three Doshas”, their natural tendencies and what they can eat that will bring them into balance.

 

The Anthony Bourdain of cats

Kaphas can be great chefs with their natural appreciation for food as love and nourishment. However there is that little problem with plumpiness as kapha translates to “to stick”. You can see the Kapha dosha in those with the wide pear shaped hips and shoulders. Even a little morsel of a pack rat or a chipmunk can increase the padding and really stick to the bones for longer than wanted. Here are some summer suggestions to keep that Kapha in balance:
– Avoid eating large quantities of food (especially with night time hunting sitting outside the compost bin waiting for mice)
 – Reduce oils, fats, sweets and salt. Increase spicy (pepper and ginger), bitter (green leafy vegetables like chard and arugula) and astringent tastes (pomegranate and figs from the 7 Centers trees!)
– Sweeten with honey only

 
 

President of the Clean Plate Club

 
The Pittas are often gourmands and aficionados of food most interested in eating… they can wolf down a meal in minutes and be ready for more… like dessert or a bone.

An athletic foodie with medium build and muscles, pitta dosha needs to chill out a bit to temper the fire and take a vacation from the chilis, coffee and alcohol!

Here are some summer suggestions to keep that Pitta in balance:
– Increase juicy cooling, foods favoring sweet (grapes, mangos and plums)
– bitter (green leafy vegetables, celery and cucumbers and
– astringent (apple, pomegranate and quinoa) tastes.

 
 
 
 
 

Isn’t someone going to feed me?

Missy Vata dosha with the sensitive stomach and tendency towards excess wind, bloating and vamana from fur balls, favors small plates or known in Spain as tapas  (canapes or appetizers) served every couple of hours.  A natural snacker, the Vata can be satiated by a chunk of tuna, a cocktail escargot, or an anchovy skewered on a long toothpick.

Here are some summer suggestions to keep that Vata in balance:
– Increase oily foods like avocado
–  sweet (ripe and juicy fruits like cherries, figs, dates and pomegranates)
– sour (yogurt, paneer and  cottage cheese) and
– salty (fish, eggs and ghee) tastes.
Can you find yourself among the doshas? You too can restore your natural healthy glow through conscious eating!

Vedic Astrology for July 2017

July ushers in deep healing energies with Saturn moving back into the sign of Scorpio during the next four months. We can dissolve our resistance to change by not denying the feelings of discomfort or fear that arise, keeping in mind our ultimate goal of creating a more secure and true foundation. Venus travels its own sign of Taurus this month, a more comforting transit that desires closer connections with loved ones. Rahu, the north node of the Moon, stations at 0 degrees Leo, a critical degree for 2 ½ months, which can bring intensity and unpredictability.  Mars begins its six-week transit through the sign of Cancer mid-July, indicating lessons in assertiveness and how we project our energies out into the world.

 

In July we will have two planets (Saturn and Rahu) transiting gandanta “spiritual knot” degrees, and later in August we will add a third planet, Mars, as it transits the gandanta degrees from Cancer to Leo.  Planets that transit gandanta degrees (the junction between water and fire signs) are forcing us to transcend and evolve, but at the same time can make us a bit anxious, vulnerable, and uncertain as we break old habits and let go of our stories and drama. At times we can feel we are losing everything, but in reality we are gaining a lot – especially increased awareness and a wider perspective of life.

 

Saturn, the lord of karma and truth, has been transiting the gandanta degrees of Scorpio and
Sagittarius all year, and recently has moved back into Scorpio for one final “review” from June 20 until October 26, 2017, before it fully enters Sagittarius for three years. Saturn in Scorpio energies prompt us to face our shadow, uncover our secrets and repressed emotions, and fearlessly move to the next level of spiritual growth. We are learning to let go, not to react as we did in the past, and make better and more conscious choices as we move through any resistance. This is a time to come from an open heart, and to be mindful and clear. Be with good and supportive people that uplift you. Get plenty of rest. Go within. Saturn transits are not always easy and take time. Saturn teaches patience and makes you do your work, taking full responsibility. But the end result brings maturity, wisdom, and a deeper sense of being fully present and at peace.

 

Venus, planet of love, relationships, diplomacy, and finance transits its own sign of Taurus from June 29 until July 25, 2017. Venus is happy in Taurus, and this brings the need for stability and loyalty in love and the desire for heartfelt connections with family and friends. We seek contentment and lasting pleasures in our lives. Artistic endeavors are favored, as well as connecting with nature, gardening, and working for the environment.

 

On July 4 until September 8, 2017, Rahu stations at 0 degrees Leo (a gandanta degree) and Ketu is at 0 degrees Aquarius for almost 2 ½ months. This is an unusually long time for the nodes to stay at a degree, so significant events can occur during these few months. Uncertainty and intense situations can surface. Remember that the nodes of the Moon always go retrograde, so 0 degrees is the last degree they will transit in the signs of Leo (Rahu) and Aquarius (Ketu) before they shift signs on September 8. The nodes have been in Leo and Aquarius since January 8, 2016. We are learning to balance an amplified sense of self (Rahu in Leo), with serving others and working for the greater good (Ketu in Aquarius). Power struggles can arise around the issues of ambition vs. fairness as we learn to work together in a mutually supportive way.  Again, like Saturn, Rahu is at the cusp of a fire sign (Leo) to a water sign (Cancer) and can trigger an opening for a deep shift or change. As the nodes are connected to eclipse energy, this can possibly manifest as a revelation that brings in heightened energies if we are ready. With Rahu in Magha nakshatra which connects to the deified ancestors (the Pitris), this indicates a good period to work with ancestral clearings or honoring and acknowledging your parents.  Considering what you wish your personal legacy to be for your children or for the planet is a strong motivating factor that can move us in the right direction for the greater good.

 

Mars, the planet of energy and action, transits Cancer, its sign of debility, from July 11 until August 26, 2017. Cancer is a sensitive water sign, so deep feelings about home, family, and security may surface. We may feel extra emotional sensitivity and attachment, so take care to respond appropriately to others, and watch for any passive-aggressive tendencies. We can shy away from direct confrontations, and later become argumentative or defensive. Our energies can be inconsistent.

 

On the positive, this transit can increase our capacity to protect and help our families and loved ones. We can be a good advocate for others. The challenge with Mars in Cancer is sometimes the need for strong motivation in order to act, or a resistance to change. Mars, normally an assertive planet, can be weaker in Cancer, and over time gets frustrated, angry, and resentful. Become more aware of how your actions affect others. Old emotional wounds (especially around family concerns) can surface to be healed. Try not to judge yourself and be honest and own your feelings. We need a loving environment with Mars in Cancer.  Practicing yoga, getting massages, or working with any therapeutic techniques that help balance the emotions are helpful for Mars in Cancer.  Be kind. Gratitude can foster greater compassion now.
 

Debra Infante, Vedic astrologer, can be reached at (928) 639-0623 or by email 

for astrological consultations, either in person or by phone.

Ayurvedic Corner ~ Summer Coolers!

Hibiscus and Lime Sweet Tea
Hibiscus flowers decrease Pitta and Kapha doshas and increase Vata in excess. It’s rasas or tastes are astringent and sweet, with a cooling virya (potency), and sweet vipak (post digestive effect).  Refreshing and rich in color, hibiscus also makes for a great sun tea if you live in a sunny place.
Ingredients:
Serve room temperature ..ice puts out the digestive fire!
1/3 Cup hibiscus flowers
2 Tablespoons lime juice concentrate
2 Quarts good quality water
1/3 Cup organic sugar or organic coconut palm sugar
¼ Cup chopped mint leaves
1-2 Drops peppermint essential oil (optional)
Place the hibiscus, lime juice, and sugar in the water over a medium to medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5-7 minutes.  Take off heat and cool to room temperature.  Add chopped mint leaves and essential oil (if available).  Mix and serve.  Add more sugar if needed.
Summer Cooling Spray
1 4oz Cobalt blue glass spray bottle
4 oz Water (good quality)
2 drops Peppermint essential oil
2 drops Fennel essential oil
1 drop Spearmint essential oil
Combine water and essential oils together and shake.  Dr. Lad states that spearmint is more relaxing to the nervous system than peppermint, so hence here the inclusion of spearmint oil.  Both mints are cooling and work as nervines, stimulants, and analgesics.  Fennel lends an overall sweetness of smell to the mix.  Keep this spray handy and use as needed.
Aloe Vera Juice Shots
The “plant of immortality” according to ancient Egyptians
4 oz Aloe Vera juice (or gel)
Two pinches tumeric powder
1 pinch black pepper
1 pinch Himalayan salt (optional)
Mix ingredients together and drink each morning and evening for an overall health boost.  Aloe Vera is a summer Ayurvedic super food.  It is cooling, rejuvenative for Pitta, and great for agni or the digestive fire.
Melissa Camacho, guest writer, is a licensed acupuncturist and Ayurvedic practitioner in Sedona. To contact her, please click here.

Vedic Astrology for June

June is a month we start to explore the deeper, hidden aspects of self in order to dissolve any remaining barriers or limitations to new growth. Self-responsibility, clarity, and patience are also required – whether through our words or actions. Saturn, planet of truth and discipline, travels the sensitive gandanta or “spiritual knot” degrees of the zodiac for four months – creating an opening for significant transformation and understanding if we allow it. We have to believe change can happen for the better. Benefic Jupiter will go in direct motion which expands our horizons and initiates new beginnings, or it can lead to over-confidence. Both Mars and Mercury transit the air sign of Gemini this month which generates new ideas and strategies, but occasionally can lapse into critical speech. Our communication skills are highlighted, as we realize the power and impact our words can have on others.

Roberto Valturio ~De Re Militari 1472

First, Mars, planet of action and assertiveness, travels through Mercury-ruled sign of Gemini from May 27 until July 10, 2017. Passionate and energetic Mars in the communications-oriented sign of Gemini can be very penetrating, perceptive, and analytical on an intellectual level.  In addition, Mercury will join Mars in Gemini on June 18 through July 2, 2017, adding more emphasis to these Mars /Mercury energies. The challenge is finding a positive expression for all the mental energy and activity that is generated by Mars and Mercury. Without a healthy outlet, we can become either mentally scattered or our conversations become argumentative. Watch for mental anxiety or projecting our frustrations onto others.  Be mindful, think before you speak, and come from your heart. Get grounded and slow down! Truly listen to what others are really saying in a reciprocal manner. Mantra practice, yoga and pranayama (breath work), meditation, and journaling are useful remedies.

While Mars transits Gemini it will aspect Jupiter in Virgo until July 10, and this influence will be especially strong on June 24th and 25th when Mars aspects Jupiter exactly at 19 degrees. Mars and Jupiter are friendly toward one another and can express as enthusiasm and a love of adventure. Mars gives energy to Jupiter which drives us to pursue our educational goals and spiritual studies. But watch for impulsive spending or a lack of inner reflection in your life. We become more energized through charitable and humanitarian activities.  We demand truth, justice and fairness in the world.

On June 9, 2017, Jupiter, the planet of prosperity and spiritual life, goes direct, having been retrograde since February 5, 2017.  Jupiter’s direct motion can sometimes improve financial situations as we feel more expansive and generous. We become more active and motivated to change our lives for the better. Self-improvement modalities are more successful.
A major transit and opportunity takes place in June when Saturn retrogrades back into Scorpio for four months, beginning on June 20, 2017 until October 26, 2017.

Shani the sanskrit name for Saturn

Saturn will again move through the intense degrees of gandanta (on the cusp between water and fire signs), which indicates ancient karmas or lessons can surface for us to understand and transcend. While Saturn is in Scorpio, it will retrace the same degrees that it previously traveled from December 30, 2016 through January 26, 2017. Similar energies that took place five months ago can resurface in order to review or correct. Reflect on how much you have grown since then. This Saturn transit can bring up an old wound, limitation, or fear that we have avoided in the past, but now we realize we must embrace it to fully heal and evolve. Focus on those areas in your life that are stagnant or not heart-felt, and allow the needed changes to occur. This transit demands honesty within as well as in our interactions with others. We want to create stability and trust of a deeper nature.  Saturn in its wisdom slows things down so that we can make wise and clear choices which free us. We cannot be complacent any longer or we may suffer.

More specifically, from June 20, 2017 through July 4, 2017, Saturn will be at 29 degrees Scorpio, a particularly intense gandanta degree. Welcome the spiritual growth, inner strength, and self-love that are part of this process.  It’s best to be non-reactive and genuine, do self-care, be in a supportive environment, and view your life events from a wider perspective. We are re-organizing our lives with a firmer foundation, maybe even getting back to basics, but this can take time. Participate in activities that have a deeper significance can be helpful. Ultimately we are creating a more authentic and positive state of balance in our lives.

Debra Infante, Vedic astrologer, can be reached at (928) 639-0623 or by email for astrological consultations, either in person or by phone.

The Adventures of Lionheart, Temple Cat ~ Yoga Therapy for Seniors

Therapeutic yoga supports health, prevention of disease and longevity through consistent and targeted yoga practice. Recently I volunteered to be part of the yoga therapy teacher training to get my own personalized therapeutic yoga program for the summer.
 
Lionheart

Weight is equivalent to wealth in some cultures

Client: Lionheart   Age: 13     Weight:  17 lbs   or 7.71107  kilos
Occupation: Temple Cat, Advice Guru & Gourmand
Medical history – Abscess from encounter with neighborhood feline bullies. Clinical Lance with antibiotics.  One bout with depression over arrival of new kitten. Age 6.
General Complaint: Aging, Plump and Losing Fur
Symptoms:  Nearsighted occasionally misses landing spot
Mobility:  Not able to jump as far or as high
Endurance:  hunting slowing down / take more naps
Night time Habits: Increase in snoring and drooling
Weight:   All season weight gain includes a Buddha belly not from pranayama practice.

 

Student Observation:
Client is slightly overweight with excess girth settling in around the middle and hips. While generally good natured, client gets cranky when sleeping position is disturbed whether on a lap or book signifying aggravated pitta.
Diet: Call of the Wild kibble prefers fish flavors
Varieties of tuna canned food twice daily
Wild catch:  Pack rats & mice, occasional bird
Cravings:  Greenies, cupcakes with frosting, gouda cheese on crackers, raw chocolate truffles.
Digestive Agni: There seems to be a strong appetite with cravings for sweet and salty taste  –  weight “sticks around”.
Assessment: Vikruti (current imbalance) Kapha 3/Pitta 2 /Vata 2
Focus on decreasing kapha (earth/water)  for greater vitality, energy and enthusiasm.
Daily Therapeutic program
Trataka (one pointed gazing) looking at birds out the window while keeping the tail still. For eye muscles, and purify the mind of desire.
Asana:
Cat stretch to elongate the spine, emphasizing side stretch
Tiger pose to tone buttocks and hips
Roaring lion to stimulate thyroid to increase metabolism, relax facial muscles and vent frustration
Sun Mantra:  to increase energy, vitality and burn calories
Om Hrim Sum Suryaya Namaha
Brisk nightly chase facilitated by Jackson (the dog)  10 minutes
Daily Yoga Nidra with Resolution: I release everything that I don’t need.

Ayurvedic Corner ~ Ayurveda and Juicing

     Ayurvedic tradition does not always include juicing as a healthy practice I must say. It is considered part of the detox culture, usually full of vata people fasting on juice, further aggravating their vata. I remember in nutrition class at Dr. Lad’s school, being the voice of defense for juicing. I raised my hand and piped in “I know that Ayurveda doesn’t give much attention to juicing, but we can’t ignore its benefits! It’s amazing for prana, it’s so hydrating, and it is able to cleanse and nourish the blood without taxing digestion!” There was the usual response, “it always depends” and then we moved on.

Juice
Juice with everything!
Juice Guy
Here we are in spring, the most wonderful season for juicing, for cleansing and lightening the tissues in preparation for the heat of the summer. In this season, it is important to clear the system of any “ama” (toxicity that clogs the channels) so that the ama does not get “cooked” inside the body when it gets hot, and so the heat can escape the body through clear channels. So, how do we juice…. ayurvedically.

First of all, long fasts in Ayurveda are considered harmful to Agni (except maybe for kapha who can withstand longer fasts). I found this out most recently when I decided to go on a 5-day juice fast and found that it made my situation worse! I would have benefited greatly from 2 or 3 days of juicing to allow my system to reset itself, but after 5 days, my agni was so starved – not enough fuel for the fire, and drowned in liquid – it went out and left me with more problems. Everyone will be able to tolerate different amounts of time – maybe 1 day, maybe 6 days – we cannot generalize how many days, but be aware of your agni!

Second of all, what are you juicing? Every substance will have a different quality. Ayurveda is a medicine of qualities, so how can we choose our juices based upon our unique constitutional makeup?
  • Kapha dosha: Be careful how sweet you make your juice! If you are juicing all carrots, and oranges and apples and sweet fruits, this could be throwing the sugars out of whack and be careful here with propensity towards diabetes! Focus the juice more on greens, celery base and beet and add ginger to the juice!
  • Pitta Dosha: Be careful of the citrus, sour fruits (like pineapple) and beets! I was juicing with so much beet and lemon for cleansing purpose and ended up getting outraged over a situation that had nothing to do with me! PITTA. Pitta’s will be helped by the bitter greens, cucumber and celery and pomegranate.
  • Vata dosha: Be careful of the greens and cabbage family plants like cabbage and kale. Vata’s can do more of the sweet things like carrot and beet juice (root vegetables) and apple, orange, etc. There is a great juice called super orange with carrot, orange, ginger and turmeric. Vata can also benefit from fresh ginger in the juice, to help the potential gas that may come from the greens. Also, scoop off the foam from the juice, that is air element and could cause gas.

 

Juicing in the Middle East

 

Juice Guy

The juice master…

Here in Palestine fresh juice is everywhere! There are little juice bars on almost every corner and you can order fresh juice in every café. Fresh pomegranate juice…. WOW. It is so much cheaper than the $5 juice you are used to in the US and it is so full of prana! My theory on why it may be so popular here is that the sun is sharp and it gets so hot and dry in the summer.  The juice is so hydrating (with all the electrolytes) and refreshing on those hot days! Sraddha and I were walking through the Old City Jerusalem one VERY unseasonably hot day. We were weary and still so far from home and stopped for fresh pomegranate juice. Pomegranate pulls heat out of the blood – amazing for pitta in rakta. We were completely revived and able to make it home after that. However, much of the juice here (at least in this season) is citrus. Orange, grapefruit, lemon and mint is very common everywhere. The Middle Eastern people LOVE their sour. They are not the pitta types that attach to the spicy foods like people in the southwest, or Mexico who must have their chilies. But they put lemon on EVERYTHING! They LOVE their lemon and have natural fermented foods with almost every meal (great for probiotics, not great for pitta). Lemon is to them, what salt is to Americans – it brings out all the flavor. Sour taste increases pitta and many people here have an increase in pitta. Just like in Mexico, or Italy, these are passionate people. Their environment is hot, and their food is pitta increasing through the sour taste, so for that, the citrus juices are not ideal. Luckily, they also have pomegranate, fennel and mint. Their “lemonade” which is always with fresh lemon and way less sugar than in the states, is blended with mint making it a lovely green color.

At our favorite juice shop, just a block from our apartment, the juice man is like the community doctor. People come in and tell them they have a sore throat or this problem or that problem and he creates a juice for their ailment. He has the wildest combinations and you can also create your own combinations. They save the papaya seeds for us because we requested them for their anti-parasitic qualities, although he thinks we are quite strange for eating them. I love to get their green shot – SO BITTER! And I add it to my lemon and mint juice with ginger and fennel, and Sraddha gets her grapefruit juice. This has become our almost daily ritual…

Mira Murphy was the Ayurvedic Chef for 7 Center’s for 6 years. She left to study the clinical aspect of Ayurveda at the Ayurvedic Institute with Dr. Lad. and graduated 2 years ago as an Ayurvedic Practitioner  and will return to 7 Centers in May  to cook for the upcoming Yoga Therapy training. Interested in an Ayurvedic consultation?  Email: Mira

The Adventures of Lionheart, Temple Cat Tourist

About that Wall…
Walls can be fun for climbing and good views

Building walls seems to have been a favorite past time of emperors from China to Rome to establish borders and separate the “cream from the milk” so to speak. For example, Hadrian’s wall was built by the Roman army, creating the north-west frontier of the Roman empire for nearly 300 years. A biography written 200 years later said Emperor Hadrian ‘put many things to right and was the first to build a wall 80 miles long from sea to sea to separate the barbarians from the Romans‘.

Sounds familiar?
Building a wall can be grueling, expensive and take years however taking one down can be a real party and happen in a day… like the dramatic dismantling of the Berlin wall in 1989, reunifying Germany and changing the course of history.

 

Art by Victor Landeta, Berlin, Germany
Now remnants of the wall are the canvas for street art
like this series of portraits of Nobel peace prize winners.
 
Currently the Israel’s Separation Wall around the West Bank
is the subject of the latest political art project by
that cat Banksy, an anonymous British street artist.
Built next to the Wall in Bethlehem,
the Walled Off hotel is designed in decadent British colonial decor
and boasts of “having the worst view in the world”.
And the best hummus.
Only a mountain goat could climb this wall 
 Perhaps the next step in consciousness  is to become obsessed about bridges.