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A y u rv e d A t o d Ay

sprIng 2008 Volume XX, Number 4

A y u rv e d A ,

Science Life


The Healing Power of Mudra

by Vasant Lad, BAMS, MASc
The SanSkriT word mudra meanS a geSTure or poSTure. It is the ancient art of communication between the body, mind and consciousness. There are physical mudras, which involve performing certain sanas or postures. This category includes facial mudras as well as hand and finger mudras. These have a great impact on the human body. There are also non-physical mudras, used in tantra to channel energy from muldhra chakra to sahasrra. Mudra also means a governmental stamp. If this stamp is on a piece of paper, that paper becomes legal and authentic. Similarly, an ordinary person receiving mudra from a guru can become an authentic master. Mudras tell their stories through the different gestures and postures, and they are the language of spiritual stories. Mudra can specifically mean facial expression. In Kathak dance and other traditional Indian dance, the dancer tells the story by performing certain movements of the facial muscles and eyebrows and expressing inner feelings, thoughts and emotions. The dancer can show people about humility, love, compassion, happiness, joy, sorrow, anger, fear and frustration by making these gestures. These are all the play of mudra. Hatha Yoga Pradipika gives a simpler list of important mudras and bandhas, including: Mah Mudra Mah Vedha Kechar Mudra Mah Bandha (the great lock) Mla Bandha (anal lock) Uddyna Bandha (abdominal lock) Jlandhara Bandha (chin lock)

F e AT ure S

1 The Healing Power of Mudra Vasant Lad, MASc 8 Practice and Nonattachment Barbara Cook 12 Inspiration of Ayurveda K.Karuna Fluhart-Nagrete

The last three bandhas from this list are particularly important. Like the others, they are to be practiced under the guidance of a guru or teacher.
The Three Important Bandhas


14 2008 Summer Intensives 11 Food & Balance 15 2008 Spring Seminars

MudrA ANd BANdhA

Standard yoga books, such as Gheranda Samhit and Hatha Yoga Pradpik, speak a great deal about mudra. There are twenty-five mudras explained in Gheranda Samhit, and by performing these under the guidance of an experienced teacher, a yogi can attain enlightenment. These mudras open blocked kundalin shakti in the different chakras. Gheranda suggests simultaneously doing various bandha (locks) along with these mudras. The bandhas discussed include mla bandha (anal lock), uddyna bandha (abdominal lock), and jlandhara bandha (chin lock).

In mla bandha, the yogi gently presses the left heel in between the anal orifice and genitals, and the right foot is placed on the left thigh. By performing special prnyma and contracting the lower abdominal muscles, the yogi can suck the anal sphincter inside. This bandha awakens kundalin shakti and stimulates apna vyu. By controlling apna, a yogi directs the movement of kundalin upwards. After performing mla bandha, the kundalin goes to svadishthna and manipra chakras, where the yogi then does uddyna bandha. This is the famous abdominal lock, whereby the belly button and abdominal muscles are sucked in towards the spinal cord. By controlling samna and udna vyu in this way, it activates kundalin shakti to go still further upward. Kundalin from the belly button shoots up to the heart and throat chakras.

sprIng 2008

There, the yogi performs the final bandha, jlandhara bandha or chin lock. This uses prna and udna vyu from the heart and the throat chakra to send kundalin directly into the third eye. While doing prnyma, the inhalation (praka), retention (kumbhaka) and exhalation (rechaka) should have a proportionate ratio of 1:4:2. For example, use a count of four for the in breath, then retention for a count of sixteen, and exhalation for a count of eight. For about six months, one should do this prnyma without any bandhas. Then, when the person is well established in a natural suspension of breath, called kevala kumbhaka, he or she can add these three bandhas during the outer kumbhaka stage, which means the stage of holding the breath after exhalation. By and by, through persistent practice, a yogi can maintain these bandhas for a long time. Bandha means to control the flow of vta with effort. When a bandha happens naturally and spontaneously, without much effort, it becomes mudra. So in the beginning, mudra is used with bandha; then once kevala kumbhaka becomes prolonged, bandha becomes mudra.
Hasta Mudra Mudras of the Hands and Fingers

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heart and cardiovascular system, and earth element. By doing specific hasta mudras, the person activates a ndi or channels of prna flow connected to the five elements and thereby balances the related bodily organs.
Body AreA Head Neck and Chest upper Abdomen lower Abdomen extremities (arms and legs) eleMenT ether Air Fire Water earth FInger Thumb Index middle ring little

The hasta mudra are those mudras performed by the hands and fingers. These hand mudras are relatively easy to do, so we often use them in yurveda. They are particularly important in yurveda because they relate to the five great elements. Sushruta divided the human body into six parts for the purpose of anatomical study. These are called shad anga in Sanskrit. This refers to the four extremities, with the trunk the fifth part and the head the sixth. However, in yurvedic physiology, the exterior surface of the body is divided into five parts, each related physiologically to one of the five elements. The head is related to ether, the neck and chest to air, upper abdomen to fire, lower abdomen to water, and the four extremities to earth element. All the ndis of these great elements originate in the brain and terminate at the tips of the fingers. Hence, the thumb corresponds to the brain and ether element. The index finger relates to the lungs ndi and the air element. The middle finger represents the small intestine and stomach, and the fire element. The ring finger is the kidneys and water element. Finally, the little finger represents the


Mudras are beneficial in mantra healing, in which healing occurs through chanting and sound. A mudra acts like a yantra, which is a geometrical figure, and this helps to attract certain energy fields or deities. Every mantra has a rishi (seer), devta (deity) and chandas (pranic meter). By performing a specific mudra along with the mantra for a specific deity, the energy of this yantra comes to the tips of the fingers, which accumulate neuro-electrical energy. The deity becomes happy and is attracted towards the devotee and one can then see the deity. Note that one has to learn this technique from a spiritual master. If you practice this on your own, you may attract some undesirable energies.

There are specific mudras for the different deities, such as Brahma mudra, Vishnu mudra, Shiva mudra and Ganesha mudra. Additionally, Brahma loves padma, jihva, bodhi and vajra mudras. Lord Vishnu loves chakra, shankha, gada and padma mudras. For Lord Shiva, one can do yoni, trishla and damaru mudras. Ganesha likes psha, ankusha and drv mudras. Krishna is attracted by venu (flute) mudra, while for Rma, one can use dhanushya mudra and bna mudra. Prrthana (prayer) mudra is done for all the deities. When performing a pj (sacred ceremony), abhaya, chin, varada, skshtkara and vidrvin mudras are all important. Abhaya mudra removes fear from the heart of the devotee, while chit mudra awakens cellular awareness. Varada mudra showers benediction and skshtkara mudra improves insight and gives inner vision (darshana) of the deity behind the eyelids. Vidrvin mudra helps the devotee and deity to merge together. We will now look at some of these mudras as they relate to Ayurvedic healing.
Important Mudras in Ayurveda

sure. A stage will come when you feel the capillary pulsation between the thumb and index finger. When these pulsations are felt, it activates the cerebral THe FIve vAyus cortex of the brain (the seat of knowledge) and prana is present in the cranial cavity upper lobes of the lungs, resulting in increased and moves downward and inward to pulmonary and cerebral circulation.
because of this movement, prana is responsible for inhalation. It also governs higher cerebral functions,

the throat, heart, lungs and diaphragm.

including thoughts, feelings, emotions and sensation. udana is the upward moving energy located in the diaphragm, which moves

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. . 2. 3. 4. 15. 16.

Jna Mudra Chit Mudra Vishnu Mudra Vyu Mudra Agni Mudra Amruta Mudra Prithvi Mudra Surabhi Mudra Unilateral and Bilateral Tattva Mudra Ankusha Mudra Abhaya Mudra Bodhi Mudra Hridaya Mudra Yoni Mudra Shankha Mudra Prrthana Mudra

Jna mudra is good for meditation and contemplation. Because the heart is in tune with this pulsation of the index finger and thumb, jna mudra enhances ones ability to concentrate. It makes the mind keen and one can experience restful alertness. Jna mudra awakens kundalin shakti, and helps the person to focus at the third eye, making the mind quiet and peaceful. In jna mudra, you can say the mantra Aum Hum Mah ksha tmakam Pushpam Samrapaymi. This means that while doing jna mudra, you are offering a cosmic flower to God. Hence, jna mudra unfolds the fragrance of supreme intelligence.

upward through the lungs and chest and into the brain, where it stimulates memory. It governs movement of the diaphragm and intercostal muscles, and helps with exhalation. udana is also responsible for speech. samana is present in the small intestine, liver and navel areas. It stimulates the secretion of digestive juices, including bile and liver enzymes, so it is closely connected with agni (digestive fire). Apana is present in the pelvic cavity, including the colon, urinary tract and sexual organs. It moves downward and outward. Apana regulates kidney functions and stimulates menstruation, defecation, and flatulence. It also

For jna mudra, one can sit in the lotus pose or svastika sana. As you perform the mudra, pay attention to the breath. When you inhale, gradually increase the pressure between the thumb and index finger, and when you exhale, slowly release the pres Even though chin is correct because of the sandhi (Sanskrit grammar rule) that happens between the words chit and mudra, it has been changed to chit so it is clear the name has to do with chitta and not chins, as in whats on the bottom of our faces.

For Chit mudra, the index finger touches the root of the thumb, with the thumb resting on the lumbosacral spine. the end phalange of the index finger. Chit means vyana is based in the heart and it awareness. When the index finger touches the root maintains cardiac activity, arterial of the thumb, it activates the thyroid gland and and venous circulation, lymphatic balances its functioning. This is good to relieve circulation, and cellular nutrition. It tension and neck pain, and it helps to relax the shoulder blade area. Chit mudra also enhances moves throughout the body and governs concentration and activates meditation. When you all reflex actions and movements of the do mantra meditation, chit mudra fixes the mind joints and skeletal muscles. into the mantra. One can sit comfortably and perform chit mudra on both sides, letting the top of the hand rest on the knees, while keeping the spine straight.

governs motor functions, especially from

By performing chit mudra and meditating for an hour in the morning and evening, one can attain the chin ma statemeaning a state of choiceless, passive awareness. One will then experience extraordinary joy and happiness in the heart.

aggravation of vta dosha. A good mantra for vyu mudra is Aum Vam Vyvtmakam Dhutam Samrapaymi. This means, I offer the divine celestial incense to the Lord, through this mantra. Doing this mudra and mantra together calms down vta in the nervous system. It is also good for arthritis, sciatica, tremors and neuromuscular disorders.

Third is Vishnu mudra. The index finger and the middle finger of the left hand are bent, with the index finger touching the root of the thumb and the tip of the middle finger touching the heart of the palm. In the beginning, when you practice this mudra, you may get pain in the wrist area. Vishnu mudra is good when doing anuloma viloma (alternate nostril) prnyma. In this prnyma, the thumb touches the right nostril during inhalation, and the ring and little fingers touch the left nostril during exhalation. If you perform this prnyma with Vishnu mudra, it will awaken kundalin shakti and balance id and pingala channels, and it may open the central nd called Sushmna. Lord Vishnu is the protective cosmic consciousness, so by performing Vishnu mudra, one can be in tune with cosmic consciousness. Vishnu mudra activates thyroid and thymus functions, as well as being beneficial to the heart. It tonifies the heart muscles and improves circulation, because the tip of the middle finger touches a marma point connected to the heart. Next is vyu mudra, in which the thumb rests on the middle phalanx of your folded index finger. The other three fingers are stretched and kept away from the thumb and index finger. Vyu mudra calms down any

Agni mudra is also called tejo mudra. For this, the tips of the thumbs touch the tips of the middle fingers. While doing this, one can chant the following mantra:
Aum Ram Tejomayam Dpam Samrapaymi

This means, I am offering the brilliant light in the form of tejas or agni to the Almighty. Just by performing this mudra and chanting this mantra, you can activate your tejas and balance your jathara agni, dhtu agni and bhta agni. Tejo mudra can enhance cellular intelligence and bring right actions in ones daily life through pure awareness. In jala mudra, also called amruta mudra, the tip of the thumb touches the tip of the ring finger. The mantra to use is:
Aum Vam Amruta tmakam Naivedyam Samrapaymi

I am offering the divine celestial ambrosia to the Almighty Lord as naivedyam or prasd (holy food). In this mudra, when the ring finger touches the thumb, it controls the water element of the body. If there is lymphatic obstruction or water retention due to kidney failure, this mudra helps to improve the functioning of the kidneys and the water system of the body (ambu vaha srotas).

For prithvi mudra, the mudra for earth element, the tip of the thumb touches the tip of the pinky finger. One can chant:
Aum Lam Prithvi tmakam Gandham Samrapaymi

touching their matching finger on the other hand. Surabhi means all meridians come together. The mantra to use is:
Aum Sam Sarva tmakam Tambulam Samrapaymi

meaning, I am offering the divine fragrance from the earth element to the Almighty Lord. This mudra balances the functioning of the bones, cartilages and muscles, enhances mineral metabolic activity, and it improves the olfactory sense. When all five fingers come together, it is called surabhi mudra. Bilateral surabhi mudra can be performed by holding both hands together with the tips of each finger

I offer all elements to the Lord in order to receive infinite joy and bliss, like chewing betel leaves after food. To make tattva mudra, the tips of the thumb, middle finger and ring finger meet together, and the index and ring fingers stand out, like the ears of a deer. This mudra is used to activate any of the bodily tattvas. Therefore, it opens any chakra, marma or energy field. Use the mantra of a particular chakra to help open that chakra if it is blocked. Suppose there is a blockage in the heart chakra, do tattva mudra and touch the heart, and chant the mantra of the heart chakra, which is: Aum Yam Namah. Likewise, to activate the solar plexus, touch the navel with this mudra and chant Aum Ram Namah. To open the third eye, touch the forehead and

chant Aum Sam Ksham Namah. And so forth. Tattva mudra is a key mudra to open the active principle (neuropeptides) of any chakra. For ankusha mudra, the tip of the thumb touches the tip of the middle finger, and the other fingers hug the root of the thumb. Ankusha means hook. This refers to the fact that a sharp hook can control a wild elephant, and similarly ankusha mudra can control the wild mind, which moves like an elephant. It is a powerful mudra that works on the limbic area of the brain. So, when the mind is hyperactive and there is bumper-to-bumper traffic of thoughts, ankusha mudra will help to calm down the thinking. Lord Ganesha loves this mudra. Abhaya mudra is also called bhairava mudra. It is the gesture used in the West to say okay, and it is a modified form of jna mudra, whereby you show the jna mudra to another person. The same mudra with the palm facing the sky is actually jna mudra. For abhaya mudra, you have to turn your wrist in such a way that your wrist is flexed, with the palm facing forwards to another person. Abhaya mudra translates as the fear not mudra, as it takes away fear and anxiety. Abhaya mudra is used by a guru to bless a disciple, and many deities love this mudra, because it removes the ultimate fear, which is the fear of death. When that fear is removed, it may help to enhance the span of life.

Bodhi mudra involves one hand resting on the other hand, with the thumbs touching. This mudra brings enlightenment and supreme intelligence. Lord Buddha loves this mudra, as does Brahma, the lord of creation. Fo r h r i d a y a mudra, the index finger is coiled and the thumb rests on the index finger and touches the middle and ring fingers. The pinky finger is kept away. If you touch this mudra to the heart, it will open the heart chakra and improve circulation. Hridaya mudra nourishes the heart and strengthens the heart chakra. Hence, it is used in palpitations, tachycardia and anxiety.

Yoni mudra is complicated to perform, so I will explain a simplified version. The thumb of one hand touches the thumb of the other hand, one index finger touches the other index finger, and other three fingers of each hand hug together and fold. When you stretch the thumbs and index fingers, the space between the two hands looks like a vagina. For this reason, it is called yoni mudra, as yoni means the vagina. The yoni is a space of orgasm, birth and new life, and yoni mudra attracts divine souls. By performing this mudra, both men and women can enhance their sexual endurance and libido. Additionally, if there is a sexual trauma or blockage in the sexual chakra, causing fear of sex, anger associated with sex or other sexual disorders, this yoni mudra is most beneficial. It also helps the awakening of supreme intelligence and promotes ojas.

Shanka mudra is the conch mudra. The four fingers of the right hand grasp the thumb of the left hand, as if you are making the shape of a conch. Tuck the tips of the fingers under the base of the thumb and touch the pad of the right thumb to the pads of the ring and middle fingers of the left hand. Shanka mudra is good for tinnitus (ringing ears) and temporal headaches and, if you blow air thru this mudra, it improves the capacity of the lungs. Shanka mudra also regulates acid secretions in the stomach, so it is used for gastritis and peptic ulcers. Prrthana mudra is the namaste mudra, whereby the palms of the right and left hands touch together at the level of the heart. Most people in India do this mudra as a greeting. It brings humility, love, compassion, dedication and respect. Just by looking at the other person doing prrthana mudra, you feel the same thing in your heart. It is also used while doing prayer, and prayers done with this mudra will be more easily answered. Other mudras are more complicated and they need a great deal of discipline, proper diet and lifestyle. However, these sixteen mudras above can all be used in an yurveda practice. According to Yoga and yurveda, sana is an exterior management of disease, while prnyma is the internal medicine, and mudra is the anupna or media through which the medicine is given. So sana, prnyma and mudra together heal the body, mind and consciousness. |
Vasu, rai bahadur Srisa Chandra, translator. Gheranda Samhita. munshiram manoharlal Publishers Pvt. ltd., New Delhi, 2003. Sinh, Pancham, translator. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika. munshiram manoharlal Publishers Pvt. ltd., New Delhi, 2002.

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pracTice and non-aTTachmenT

by Barbara Cook
in The previouS arTicle, we Talked abouT The five vrittis, the movements or activities of the mind. These are: generating right knowledge, generating wrong knowledge, imagining, dreaming and remembering. Patajalis definition of yoga says it is the cessation of vritti, or activity. However, most of the following stras offer things to think about and do, so there is a strong message that the path to yoga involves a lot of well-strategized activity. The practices of yoga are meant, in the short term, to manifest the best possible outcomes using the natural activity of the mind and, in the longer term, to bring about the cessation of the minds activity (chitta vritti nirodha). After describing each kind of vritti, Patajali goes on to discuss some ways of being that are useful for dissolving vrittis and bringing about nirodha, which is the cessation of mental activity that brings about yog a. Verse 2, Chapter  says, abhysa vairgybhym tan nirodhah, that is: Nirodha comes about through abhysa and vairgya. Abhysa means repeated effort or exercise. Vairgya means non-attachment. So, the stra says that nirodha comes through repeated practice and non-attachment. To make any new way of being natural and easy, we have to practice it many times, pushing through the awkwardness of doing an unfamiliar thing, making mistakes, and picking ourselves up and trying again after relapsing into past behavior. Then, once it becomes natural, we can refine things further. Yogic practices are no different. At this point in the text, Patajali doesnt specify what is to be
 yogah chitta vritti nirodha, Ch. 1, Vs. 2: yoga is the cessation of the movements of the mind.


practiced. Ideas and suggestions for that come later. He just introduces the idea that repeated practice itself is important. Patajali goes on to clarify his definitions of the terms abhysa and vairgya. Verse 13, Ch. 1 says, tatra sthitau yatnah abhysah, that is: Abhysa is effort in maintaining steadiness or stability. Sthitau yatna means effort in steadiness or stability. It takes effort to remain steady or constant (sthiti), because distractions, change and instability are such predominant qualities in the world. It may be difficult to find anything constant in life, but Patajalis yoga philosophy says that in each of us is a spark of purusha, the unchanging observer of all fluctuations. By maintaining a steady mind in the face of external changes, we start manifesting more of this unchanging witness that Patajali calls the svarpa, or form of the self, in Verse 2, Chapter . In the state of nirodha, there is no effort. However, leading up to that state, a person has to make efforts to cultivate a certain amount of inner stillness, just as one makes efforts to cultivate any new way of being. Anyone who has implemented Ayurvedic lifestyle or dietary practices over time knows that even habits that are unusual for our culture and conditioning can become second nature after some repetition. Eventually, things that once required effort can become spontaneous. Patajali says more about steadiness. In the next verse, he describes how dridha bhmi, a firm, steady attitude, or firm ground, is cultivated. Verse 14 chap. 1 says: sa tu drgha kla nairantarya satkrasevito dridha bhmih. That is: Helpful behavior (satkra) practiced assiduously (sevita) and continuously (nairantarya), over a long time (drgha kla), brings a steady attitude (dridha bhmi). Lets look at some of the key words in this verse. Drgha kla: long time Sometimes, people try something for a few days and then say, Oh, this didnt work for me. Thats not abhysa and doesnt develop dridha bhmi (a firm attitude). Firmness is cultivated when behavior is practiced over a long period of timeweeks, months or even years. In the same way that helpful habits become firmly established after a long time, habits that are cultivated unconsciously over a long period can also be incredibly firm and difficult to break. Forced or sudden change

A yogic practice that is based on genuine interest and love is sustained naturally and deepens over time...

often doesnt last long, because it causes a backlash as the unprepared personality, so long identified with the previous way of being, reacts strongly against it. Incremental, gradual changes are better integrated into the personality, and these can generally be sustained. The timeframe of a process of change is different for everyone and every circumstance. A sincere person who is always looking for ways to improve what they do will naturally develop in a integrated way, as time and experience unfold their wisdom and bring about natural discipline. Nairantarya: continuity The meditation room is valuable as a place where a person can explore yogic practices in a more conducive atmosphere than is sometimes found in other places. However, there is no continuity in the practice of a person who sits piously at the altar in the morning and then goes to work and causes trouble for himself and others because of a lack of awareness and discipline in worldly situations. Continuity is about integrating yogic behavior into every situation, whether on the yoga mat or away from the meditation room, and even when the people around us dont necessarily require or expect us to uphold yogic ideals. As mentioned previously, the value of a meditation practice can be measured in the improvements it brings in ones relationships with others and in the value of service that it enables a person to offer. There are many stories about yogis who do their practice naked in the snow, or while sitting in the center of a circle of fires, or who maintain an sana continuously for years on end. In this way, a yogi cultivates continuity, by ensuring the practice can be maintained even when comfort and other attachments are pushed to the limit. In the world as it is today, we may not need to take such measures. If were really sincere about living our yogic ideals, well notice that ordinary daily life offers an endless source of opportunities to implement them in difficult circumstances, and to refine them in situations of complexity and subtlety. Satkra: attention, care; true and respectful behavior. Satkra is the balance for dridha bhmi (a firm attitude), because the care, consideration and respectful behavior that come from having awareness keeps ones firmness and resolve from becoming rigid and fanatical.

To have a firm, resolved practice that is continuous in all situations and is sustained over a long time does require that we implement good boundaries. We need to impose limitations on activities, places, people and thoughts that derail our attention. This cultivates steady ground for us to work from. However, when we talk about being firm and resolved, we also need to remember that the nirodha is an effortless state of no-thought, no action, no resistancea blissful and silent oneness with the unmoving, passive witness (purusha). Satkra, behavior characterized by care and consideration, entails being vulnerable and accessible to the influence of spirit. It requires awareness, love, sensitivity, innocence and non-deterministic thinking. We cant embody those characteristics when we become hard and fanatical. Satkra sevita means to practice assiduously great awareness and care. It can sometimes be difficult to balance discipline with the vulnerability, innocence and flexibility that characterize a spiritual attitude. However, these words convey the possibility of establishing disciplined behavior without becoming a dictator and should-ing the enthusiasm out of oneself. In a previous article in this series, it was mentioned that a person should take a passive approach in relation to spirit and an active stance toward material nature. In other words, one should actively, deliberately engage with matter, time, space and energy and employ appropriate boundaries in that realm, and be passive, vulnerable and fully accessible in relation to that which is beyond those limitations. Balancing the passive and the active, the soft and the hard, firmness with vulnerability, is the essence of satkra sevita dridha bhmi. People can be compelled by a dictator or by inspiration and love. Inspiration gives a person a natural, effortless dridha (firmness). Practices based on love and inspiration are more likely to last, because few distractions are more interesting. A yogic practice that is based on genuine interest and love is sustained naturally and deepens over time, becoming more intimately woven into the
Continued on page 0 9

Practice and Non-attachment, Cont. from page 9 persons life. You will soon find reasons to abandon a practice that is based on a dictatorial mindset. Next, Patajali turns his attention to describing more about vairgya. Verse 13, Chapter 1 says: drishtnushravika vishaya vaitrshnasya vashkra sanj vairgyam. This describes vairgya (non-attachment) as full satisfaction with, or renunciation of, any object that can be seen or heard (vishaya vaitrshnyam). In other words, vairgya is about shifting a material orientation to one that is more attuned to those things that cant be perceived with the mind or senses. Going back to the first stra we looked at in this article, it is worth noting that Patanjali introduces abhysa and vairgya together in a pair. They do have an important relationship. It is difficult to remain steady in ones practice if one is overly attached to getting, avoiding or otherwise reacting to the various objects perceived in the outer or inner worlds. Vairgya is not just about not wanting things; its also about accepting what is without resisting or having great aversion to things. If we have become too rigid, its probably because were trying to resist something, or to push something away. Vairgya (non-attachment) supports abhysa (repeated effort) by helping to bring flexibility to our firmly established practices. Abhysa, in turn, is the taming and training process that helps to cultivate vairgya. One Sanskrit text says, na mantro naushadham tatra na kimchid api vidyate vin jpyena siddhyeta sarvam uccht andikam, that is: There is no mantra, no medicine, nor anything else known, by which non-attachment to all can be attained without repeated effort. (Klaka Stotram, Chandi Pthah) There is no external thing that will magically give a person non-attachment (vairgya). It comes through repeated effort (abhysa). Patajali describes another way that vairgya comes about. Verse 14 says: tat param purusha khyter guna vaitrshnyam, that is: From knowing the supreme spirit comes guna vaitrshnyam, the end of desire for anything governed by the gunas. Contentment and renunciation are dual meanings of the word vaitrshnyam, and that may imply that the thirst for the material cant just be renounced; it has to be slaked.

In the state of nirodha, there is no effort.

If one has become satisfied that there is no more to be gained from the material, then renunciation is automatic. If there is still an appetite to experience something of material nature, then efforts to renounce it may not be effective. However, an appetite for one thing may be redirected or transmuted into an appetite for something else. In this case, Patajali is saying that when one knows param purusha, the supreme purusha, the thirst for material nature is naturally quelled as one sees a superior truth. We can experience some version of this in daily life. For example, the most sustainable way of implementing good dietary practices is not to forcibly deny oneself the natural enjoyment that comes from eating food, but rather to gradually simplify or refine ones tastes. That way, the natural flavors of nourishing foods become more attractive and pleasurable than the stimulating flavors of processed or unnatural foods. For someone experiencing the deeper pleasures of a really good diet, a bag of nutritionally-bereft, flavored chips or too sweet candy simply looks unattractive, so there is no real discipline needed to avoid it. The vairgya is natural. When a person sees the truth, then living that truth is more effortless. In love, there is also a natural kind of vairgya. A woman who, before having a baby, would have balked at the idea of changing diapers several times a day, usually becomes quite unfazed about doing so after falling in love with her newborn child. Going without sleep is a hardship when its due to stress or illness, but its not in the least difficult for people in love, who wish to spend their nights getting closer to each other. Similarly, if you get caught in a downpour, it will probably be felt as a setback, but if the same thing happens when youre with someone you like a lot, its kind of fun. In love, preferences and desires can change drastically and automatically. In a similar way, Patajali describes the automatic renunciation that comes from knowledge or experience of spirit. Experiencing the silence and stillness of purusha brings a natural preference for things that cultivate a relationship with spirit. |

About the Author

Barbara Cooks Sanskrit studies led her to Ayurveda in the mid1990s. After graduating from the Ayurvedic Studies Program in 1997, she continued studying Ayurveda with Dr. Lad and spent her summers getting more Sanskrit training with Dr. Ram Karan Sharma. Barbara taught Sanskrit in the first and second year programs at the Ayurvedic Institute for three years before moving to New Zealand, where she now co-runs AyurLab, a company that facilitates consultation and education services, including distance learning, in Ayurveda, Sanskrit and Jyotisha.

Food & Balance

Creamy dandelion salad
Dandelion greens are among the first leafy greens to arrive at spring markets. Thanks to their bitter nature, they are a quintessential spring vegetable to assist the liver in its cleansing from the rich, oily and heavy foods of winter. As enticing as the cleansing action may sound, for some people dandelion greens are difficult to enjoy on their own. eaten with this sweet, light and creamy sauce, they are like a dessert. Additional spring benefits of this salad are daikon radish, which aids the liver in assimilating fat, and carrots, which help to cleanse and nourish the liver.  bunch dandelion greens 2 small carrots 2-inch piece daikon radish /2 cup almonds, soaked overnight and peeled /4 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed /2 cup fresh coconut milk* /2 tsp. cumin seeds, lightly dry roasted and ground /2 tsp. coriander seeds, lightly dry roasted and ground /2 tsp. mineral salt optional garnish: /4 cup unsweetened, desiccated coconut, lightly toasted remove the spines from the dandelion greens. Finely chop the green leaves and place them in a bowl. Using your fingers, work the mineral salt into the chopped greens. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the fibrous nature of the dandelion greens to soften. While the dandelion greens are resting, finely grate the carrots and daikon radish in a separate bowl. by Michele Schulz In a blender, make a cream by blending the almonds, lime juice, coconut milk and spices. To the chopped dandelion greens, add the grated daikon radish and carrots along with the coconut-almond cream. mix together gently. Garnish with toasted coconut, if desired. Serves 4 as a side salad. Vata and pitta pacifying. To harmonize for kapha, add freshly ground black pepper.

serves 4

Y For those who dont have time to crack

open a coconut, heres a quick way to prepare fresh coconut milk: soak 2 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut in 2 cups boiling water for 0 minutes. blend the coconut and its soaking water in a blender or food processor for a minute. Strain the mixture through a cheeseclothlined colander. Gather the cheesecloth to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the squeezed coconut meat. The coconut milk not used in the above recipe can be refrigerated for a day or two and is delicious for use in sauces, smoothies, soups, grains or over fresh fruit. Although Ayurveda discourages processed food, in a pinch should you need to use coconut milk from a can, dilute the coconut milk with water (/4 cup water to /4 cup coconut milk). |
mICHele SCHulz is an Ayurvedic yoga therapist and teaches Ayurvedic nutrition and hands-on cooking classes. She is grateful to her mother, from whom she received an initial infusion of holistic nutrition.

In t e g ra t i n g Ayur veda

inSpirAtion of AyurvedA
by K. Karuna Fluhart-Negrete, MA
my firST Seminar on ayurveda waS in 1986. dr. Lads teachings on Polarity were the perfect outlet for me to apply the laying on of hands healing I was gifted with earlier that year. The description of healing modalities such as herbs, yoga, diet, gems and color applied through Ayurveda, along with Dr. Lads beautiful soul and creative teaching style, drew me to New Mexico, where I lived for over 19 years. Through those years, I gained a good foundation of Ayurvedic philosophy and the skills to practice observation and assessment. I have always approached my clientele holistically. Ayurveda taught me the importance of identifying characteristics through the elements, their gunas and constitutional doshas. In any health modality, it is important to know whom we are working with. Only then can we recommend or apply the correct remedy to re-establish harmony. Another pearl of wisdom I received early on from Dr. Lad was that, to become seriously versed in this healing system, it was important to embrace ones spiritual path. This rang true to me and I took it deeply to heart. In my clinical work as an herbalist, my Buddhist teachers words came to life: In healing it is important to work with ones mind. For it is from within the subtle layers of mind and spirit that many imbalances stem. I witnessed that for people to heal, their state of mind required attention too. So, I followed the advice of my Vedic astrologer and acquired professional licensure. What flowed naturally for me was a Masters Degree in Clinical Counseling with simultaneous training as a Polarity practitioner. This combination covered the legality of maintaining hands-on healing and marma chikits (acupressure) in my work with clients. Eight years into my studies, I began weaving the requirements of allopathic medicine into an Ayurvedicbased holistic career. Manas (mind) and mano vaha srotas (the channel of the mind), a major srotas of Vedic medicine, were the modalities I used to implement this integrative science. The mrga or pathways to the body would be through mmsa dhtu, majj dhtu and the chakra system. Each of the psychoemotional centers connects to a nerve plexuss along the midline of the human body. I now had a format to integrate my world of psycho-spiritual healing within an Ayurvedic-based healing protocol. My intention and vision to heal with color and the five elements was not just an intention anymore. With Dr. Lads support and guidance, it manifested as reality. I had subconsciously utilized color for self-healing throughout my B.A. training in Fine and Liberal Arts. In Kentucky, I had studied color and symbology and experimented with color in my environment and wardrobe. My relationship to color was not one of pursuit. Though pleasing, it was something I was drawn to through varied instances of divine guidance. One instance stands out: I witnessed the most beautiful sunrise I had ever seen. It was unique, in that each color of the rainbow, all seven chakra colors, were shown to me individually. As a result, universal prna circulated throughout my entire being and I remembered my wish to utilize color as a healing modality. A position opened within the Panchakarma Clinic at the Ayurvedic Institute, and I shifted my role there from herbalist to therapeutic technician. It was time to present my desire to create a color therapy component to the Administrator. As fortune had it, I was blessed to find Dr. Lad shared my inspiration. Dr. Lad worked closely with me for four years, as I researched and perfected a color therapy system that could be utilized above a massage table. He specifically chose the color combinations of one to three gels to get the right vibration and hue for each chakra as I held the gels up to the New Mexico sunlight through his office window. We had been discussing the marma protocol and dhtus or tissue layers that connected to each chakra color. I queried him on the specific protocols he would like within a color therapy session. In the meantime, I had completed my Masters degree in counseling at Webster University along with the clinical internships I needed towards licensure as a professional mental health counselor. My focus was the process of death and dying, psycho-neuro-immunology and alternative healing protocols for women in depression. On return from pilgrimage to India, I was hired as Panchakarma assistant. I worked part-time with Dr. Lad and Ed Danaher in assessing and counseling panchakarma clients. Because of my


background in Polarity and psychotherapy, I received requests for Body-Mind Synchronization sessions. This combination of Ayurveda, Polarity and psychotherapy became an adjunctive service that allowed people to begin integrating their healing process more fully. Eventually, I wove these integrative skills into Ayur-chrome, the color therapy treatments, and Dr. Lad suddenly began referring clients for these sessions. He recommended treatments of one or two colors per person. Surprised but happy I began with a half-hour session. We had originally discussed two protocols: a seven-chakra treatment and an individualized session based on the persons specific constitutional considerations. Under the influence of his referrals, I quickly created a one-hour standard seven-chakra protocol. The healing invoked through these light sessions brought significant change and benefit to those who received it. For some, it lifted the weight of psycho-emotional trauma. For others, physical pain diminished. Many would find relief through the self-understanding attained during the session. Others received nervous-system rejuvenation from the experience of a deeply restful state. I can testify that everyone who received Ayur-chrome showed significant shifts, recorded by the light in their eyes (ojas) and relaxed facial muscles as they exited the treatment room. Dr. Lad bestowed upon me the basic ingredients for a healing session. I then followed universal guidance, my own intuition and applied Ayurvedic wisdom. The combination of colored light, marma chikits, and recitation of bja mantra and chakra sounds, provided a ground for pranic energy to circulate and awaken the clients body-mind-consciousness. Gentle physical support, keen observation skills and psychospiritual attention from the therapist created an interactive field of non-judgmental healing for many. These became the basic ingredients to ground vta or pitta and welcome the client to present experience. I believe colored light has the ability to balance the agnis. Colored light activates ones own internal source of tejas or light of wisdom as well. Combined with the touch of prna, each colored ray penetrates the grosser layers of body-mindsoul. States of tamas (dull mind) are awakened and the clarity received offers a source of nourishment. I have witnessed the combination of Ayurvedic assessment, subtle therapeutics and contemplative psychotherapy as a powerful combination for healing root causes of psycho-spiritual and physical imbalance.

The green ray of the heart chakra, as in my early morning sunrise experience, became a bridge for connecting the persons physical experience and lifes difficulties to the comfort and inspiration of inner knowing, self-expression and spiritual support from the niguna, or higher centers. Through color therapy, I focused on the five elements throughout the chakra system to establish balance of sattva, rajas and tamas. It also presented a way to tridoshically approach the five types of vyu or air element. Mldhra (root) and Svdhishthna (sacral) chakras both support apna vyu. Manipra (solar plexus and the agni chakra) helps to maintain balance within samna vyu, especially with an application of clear yellow light to the hypogastric area. Emerald green light applied to Anhata (heart chakra) circulates throughout the body-mind. It supplies cellular nourishment to the body through the support of vyna vyu. The chakra system completes its elemental support at Vishuddha, the throat, with a brilliant sky blue color. The upper two chakras of ja (third eye center) and Sahasrra (crown) both support prna vyu and the gateway to higher consciousness. The higher centers function beyond elemental correlation, without sensory stimulation of the elements. Hakomi therapy, the body-mind based psychotherapy I practice, can easily incorporate Ayur-chrome within its experiential format. First, I do a general assessment while meeting my client. Then I establish mindfulness within the client as we work in awareness towards accessing deeper states of consciousness. Similar to working with the pulse, specific information is relayed that can then be addressed through integrative exploration. This can be done more traditionally with the use of a massage table; perfect for incorporating the subtle ingredients of Ayur-chrome sparsha (touch), shabda (sound) and colored light applications. I do so consciously, wherein at each step the client participants, thus signaling my choice of protocol to supply the missing elements. At times, the client may need a more standardized setting and elements of an Ayur-chrome session could be utilized within the psychotherapeutic office. No problem. I have developed a five-element color exercise I find accurately displays imbalances supported

About the Author

K. Karuna FluhartNegrete, MA, NCC, is a Certified Hakomi Therapist. She provides Integrative Counseling and has taught BodyMind Integrated Healing for 20 years. See her August 9th, 2008 at Naropa Institute. Karuna practices in Santa Cruz, California and visits Albuquerque, NM as well. Contact her at www.colorheals. com, (831) 535-8693 or (505) 252-4924.

Continued on page 4 3

Inspiration of Ayurveda, Cont. from page 3 through pulse reading. Within a psychotherapeutic session, I find the utilization of Ayur-chromes subtle components to be indispensable. Sometimes I turn on a colored light in the room. Often I utilize corresponding seed sounds to neutrally express an issue. Sparsha (touch) is sometimes introduced through the kinetic experience of Sand Tray Therapy in which the miniatures used are grouped in five-element categories dependant on their symbolic gunas. Otherwise, I may assign self touch-points within a reflective experiment. I have also become adept at touching others energetically through focused attention of clear mind. Whether someone needs stabilization or deeper psychological processing, my training in Ayurveda, Hakomi and meditation have been indispensable. I hope my story inspires you and supports the claim that Ayurveda is a truly holistic avenue for self-healing. |



2 0 0 8 S P r I N G & FA l l S e m I N A r S
Tanmatra Chikitsa: Healing Through the doors of perception and Bringing right Action into life May 16 18 | vasant lad Doshas can be balanced with subtle therapies addressing the five senses, sound (shabda), touch (sparsha), form and vision (rupa), taste (rasa) and smell (gandha). Therapies discussed will include mantra, yajnya, marma, yantra, meditation, food, herbs and aroma. Ayurvedic Beauty Concepts: special reference to Custom Blending and shirodhara sept. 8 12 | sonia Masocco enhance your knowledge with the fundamentals of a 5,000year-old science while learning new techniques in health and beauty. under ms. masoccos expert direction, you will rediscover and make yours the notions of beauty from the east. Improve your dexterity with prime materials such as herbs, pastes, clays, essential oils and carriers. learn how to custommake mixtures and preparations suitable to each individual clients needs. limit 20 students. For more information, visit our website at www. and click on the Event Calendar

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