Mindfulness Via Yoga

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Grains Deserve A Good Rap

IMG_0019A simple white rice with some fresh coriander leaves give such terrific health and balancing benefits at such a low price in both time and money . What’s not to like here?

I am in pursuit of the easiest way to eat heathy that will give me respite from a craving for sweets AND the quiet mind. Grains, in Ayurveda, are sweet. They are grounding for Vata and cooling for fiery Pitta, the V_P combination that seems to be in the forefront of the yoga communities of today.

Tuesday evenings at Lemon Street Market begin April 14 at 7 pm. These (not every single week) Tuesdays Around the Table in the back room are designed for small groups to learn more about using food to balance basic constitutional needs – those qualities in yourself that you cannot change but you can learn how to keep them out of excess or being starved out of balance.  Call Lemon Street Market at 717-826-0843 to sign up. If you are truly interested in this program, pay in advance to guarantee your seat.  We will limit the number of people in order to create a working group that goes home with menu plans each session. More details at http://www.lemonstreetmarket.com

Now, read on for a bit more about the grains and spices we will look at there.


Washing split mung beans on their way to adding protein to rice in the basic Indian stew Kichadi

White basmatic rice is balancing for all three doshas. Coriander (often sold as cilantro) is one of the best spices available for calming.  Add some Split Mung Beans (dal) for protein – or add meat if that suits your dosha today.

Although it is quite in vogue to eat no grains, yet the variety that is available in the marketplace today is amazing. High-protein Quinoa and its cousin Amaranth are both warm and dry (Vata take note). Wheat and Barley are both cooling ( Pitta again). Spelt is the lowest-gluten form of wheat that’s easily available by now. The ancient of ancients:  Einkorn, then Emmer, are now being grown in the fields of our country because they show some promise in restoring nutrients lost in hybridization mechanics that allow farming in volume.

Lemon Street Market sells so much variety in bulk: at least 8 kinds of rice, plus millet, buckwheat, amaranth, wheatberries, barley, oats, kamut…….

As time goes by we will schedule a trip to  farm where heritage grains are grown. One of the subjects we will consider are the various forms of sweetners that are available without causing the imbalances that set you to craving for more.  Now that jelly bean season is over.

To begin:  Read the blog about The Best Dosha Quiz on the MindfulnessViaYoga.com blog site and take the quiz. Each session will begin promptly at 7 p.m. but come a few minutes early if you want to talk about your dosha – what it is and what it was. See you there!

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The Best Dosha Quiz

Getting to know the status of your doshas can be a lifelong endeavor.

Because doshas, like dominoes, go out of balance and take their neighbors with them as they fall, it’s very important to understand and know both your prakruti and your vkruti.  Your prakruti, as we say often, is your basic constitution from the moment the sperm met the egg. Prakruti will stay constant over your lifetime but the vikruti will change with circumstances and time and life influences.

You have a ratio of doshas expressed within both prakruti and vkruti. Each dosha (kappa, pitta, vata) varies in strength. And strength differs within your different profiles: physical, mental, emotional, behavioral.

To uncomplicate all these terms, it is best to take the test with a group of other seekers and to be in the presence of a teacher who has at least some study credentials in Ayurveda.

For starters, all the factors can be averaged and this chart is the best one I have found online: http://www.ayurveda.com/pdf/constitution.pdf.  In Pioneer consultations we take a longer, more complex test coupled with discussion of ways to monitor your own dosa over time.

Vasant Lad is perhaps the eminent Ayurvedic doctor in the United SIMG_0369tates by now. This is his version of the profile. You want to take it twice: Once for the choices that are consistent throughout your lifetime. Then again for the way you feel recently. It helps to have a friend nearby who knows you well.