The Science of Taste : Astringent

Astringent taste is cooling and drying. It’s the perfect combination for summer!

Astringent taste causes mucous membranes to contract and dry up, causing a peculiar drying sensation in your mouth and a therapeutic effect on over active secretions like excess gastric juices in the stomach.

More astringent foods to add to your diet this summer are:

  • pomegranate
  • parsley
  • chickpeas
  • coriander
  • corn
  • millet
  • potatoes

Click here for a full Ayurvedic summer protocol. 

Katelynn Ingersoll, founder and lead Ayurvedic practitioner at Half Moon Ayurveda completed her Ayurvedic studies program at the Ayurvedic Institute in 2012 under Dr. Vasant Lad. She has continued to study extensively with Dr. Lad and other leaders in the field in clinical and apprenticeship settings. She sees clients one on one for diet and lifestyle consultations, Ayurvedic massages and treatments, and guided cleanses.

Schedule an Ayurvedic treatment or consultation today with Katelynn and experience the wisdom of Ayurveda for yourself. Kickstart healing. She has limited appointments in June and is looking forward to hearing from you.

The King Of Seasons

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“…and of seasons, I am the flower-bearing spring,” the king of seasons.

In chapter 10.35 of the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna reveals his true nature, “and of seasons, I am the flower-bearing spring,” the king of seasons. It is the time for growth, sprouting, and blooming.  According to Ayurveda, the qualities of spring are warm, moist, gentle, and unctuous. The warmth of spring melts the cold accumulated kapha.  This is why many people experience seasonal allergies. In addition, as flowers shed their fragrance and pollen, many people experience allergies and hay fever.

By honoring seasonal protocols, we honor the laws of nature and of the universe.  Spring is a time for cleansing and cleaning.  Celebrate spring by following seasonal guidelines mid-March through early June.

Good herbs for spring are pippali, black pepper, ginger, fennel, cumin, coriander, and fennel. To make a tea, add one teaspoon of each herb to 4 cups of water. Boil until the mixture is reduced by half. Strain and enjoy. You can also use those herbs liberally in your everyday cooking during the spring months.

Strictly avoid heavy, oily, sour, salty foods.

Limit dairy, including ghee and milk.

Favor bitter, pungent, and astringent foods.

All legumes such as lentils, pinto, and garbanzos are astringent and are highly recommendeIMG_6672d.

Astringent and pungent vegetables and spices include radish, spinach, okra, onions, garlic, black pepper, cayenne and chill peppers.

A cup of hot water with honey eases congestion.  Never cook honey though, as it can clog the channels.

This is a good season to observe fasts of juices of pomegranates and apples.

Wake up early and go for a walk or do some invigorating sun salutations.

Avoid day sleeping, as it aggravates kapha.

 

 

References,

Vasant Lad. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies, Three Rivers Press; 1999. 

By Katelynn Ingersoll

Katelynn is a yoga instructor and practitioner of Ayurveda and completed her Ayurvedic studies prScreen Shot 2017-04-01 at 12.52.30 PMogram at the Ayurvedic Institute (New Mexico) in 2012 under the guidance of Dr. Vasant Lad. Since then, she has continued to study extensively with leaders in the field of Ayurveda in clinical and intensive settings such as Dr. Claudia Welch’s mentorship program and a Gurukula setting with Dr. Lad in Pune, India. She is the director of Hot Yoga Philadelphia, Half Moon Ayurveda and Integrative Health and also the the founder of Philly Yoga Factory, a non-profit organization making yoga and integrative healing arts accessible to underserved communities in Philadelphia. Katelynn practices Ayurveda, organizes workshops, and teaches yoga at her yoga/ intergrative health clinic in Center City Philadelphia.

This Holiday Season, Give Healing. Give Ayurveda.

Half moon ayurveda gift cards are here.

With a Half Moon Ayurveda gift card, the recipient will be able to choose from a variety of classical Ayurvedic treatments, acupuncture, Thai bodywork, or traditional massage.

Browse our services here.

Gift cards are available in any amount and can be used for any product or service.

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 **Please note, when you purchase a gift card online, you will receive a printable gift card OR a link to email to the recipient. You will be given the option to personalize a note to include with your gift card at check out. **

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Emotional Indigestion

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Think of the mind as having two main facets: manas – the thinking, acting mind and buddhi – the remembering mind.

Let us take a moment to think about emotional digestion.  Digestion is happening at a biochemical, cellular, and energetic level in every aspect of our being.  We digest every experience and every emotion. Perfect health depends on perfect digestion. Perfect digestion depends on clear energetic and physiological channels, or srotamsi.  There are srotamsi for the digestion of all substance and experience.  The mind channel, or mano-vaha-strotas is the complex channel responsible for the digestion of all sensory information including mental and emotional experiences.  There are two parts to the mind: manas and buddhi.  Manas includes perception, thinking, and emotion.  Buddhi includes the intellect and the ego identity.  Buddhi is based upon past experiences which can be accumulated genetically, or experientially in this life or in a past life.  Just like we experience indigestion of incompatible foods, the mano-vaha-srotas is prone to emotional indigestion caused by trauma.  Traumas can be deep seated from past experience, or it can be experienced everyday depending on lifestyle factors such as occupational or relationship stressors.

How Trauma Blocks Mano-vaha-srotas

It is the buddhi that becomes affected in deep seated traumas, which can lead to impaired daily experiential perception.  Think of buddhi like this: all your memories (far reaching and recent) and how they affect you on a daily basis.  You are who you are, in part, because of your memories. Negative past experiences can be re-lived every day via our world-view.  Recent psychological studies reveal significantly altered states of agency, or “feeling in charge of your life,” in individuals with a history of trauma (Van der Kolk, 2015).  This is demonstrated in everyday statements of, “he made my skin crawl,” or “you broke my heart.”  A past experience of powerlessness due to trauma leads one to constantly give away their sense of agency.  Consider “I statements” as a way to take back your agency.  The statement, “I’m feeling very upset,” actually gives you the power to choose your emotions.  Accusational language gives away that option. Give yourself adequate time to feel upset after an incident, and then give yourself the same permission to choose to move on.     

Each strotamsi has a root, a passage, and and opening.  Mano – Vaha – Srotas, or mind channel is rooted in the heart, it’s passageway is the entire body and opening is the  sense organs.

Signs and symptoms of afflicted mano-vaha-srotas include recurrent episodes of insecurity, criticism, and comparison.  In other findings, neuroscientists noted the activation of primitive areas of brain functions responsible for self protective behaviors like cowering and startling in patients with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) during everyday socialization.  In the traumatized individuals, there was an overwhelming absence of activation of social engagement related neurons.  The constant veil of negative thoughts furthers the buildup of “emotional toxicity” within the mind channel and prevents us from social connection and presence.  We become paralyzed with fear and insecurities, leading to an inability to cope with the repeated trauma of daily life.  The cycle reinforces itself.  

Without awareness, we may find ourselves in a constant trance of fear based reaction

We must investigate the depths of these harmful behaviors, which may be subconscious in origin. Vedic tradition teaches us that we cannot stop the wheels of karma (the sum of one’s actions based on their history), but that our everyday activities and choices can actively contribute to slowing its effects.  What I mean here is simple.  We cannot change our past experiences.  However, our habitual patterns of emotional response to stimuli can either liberate or further block the mind channel.

So, how do we liberate a toxic mano-vaha-srotas?  Ayurveda tells us that there is no one size fits all method of healing for any condition. Here are some dosha-appropriate signs, symptoms and healing therapies for your consideration:

Pitta  

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Social anxiety is real. Keep your mind channel open and clean with Ayurvedic therapies.

Pitta individuals might manifest their emotional indigestion as anger, judgement, criticism. It can be directed toward the self, or others.   They are prone to a “negativity bias.”  Try journaling as a way to reflect on negative interactions.  A simple, mindfulness based meditation can help in noticing and re-directing negative thoughts.

Vata   

The ether and air qualities of vata dosha make one prone to uncertainty, fear and insecurity.  It can be disabling and permeate every interaction and life experience.  My favorite vata therapy is to take care of something.  If your circumstance allows, consider adopting a pet, engaging in childcare, or even tending to plants.  Chanting, and heart-felt meditations may soothe feelings of loneliness. Yoga is absolutely integral in maintaining a healthy vata constitution.

Kapha  

Behind the jolly, joyful kapha individuals can lie deeply rooted attachment.  Since kapha tends to hold and stagnate, I also find intense pranayamas like kapalbhati (breath of fire) or agni saar (mula lock with stomach pumps) helpful in releasing.  Vigerous yoga including sun salutations is recommended. If communication about emotions or past experience is difficult, start by opening up to an already trusted confidant.   

To find out your own Ayurvedic constitution, or for personalized Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle counseling, email Katelynn at halfmoonayurveda@gmail.com.

About the author:

Katelynn Ingersoll is a an Ayurvedic practitioner with a background in education and a passion for the science of caring.  She is the director of Hot Yoga Philadelphia, a practicing collective member at Half Moon Ayurveda, and an eternal student.

References:

Lad, Vasant.  Fundamental Principles of Ayurveda.  Albuquerque:  The Ayurvedic Press.  2002.

Van der Kolk, Bessel.  The Body Keeps The Score.  New York:  Penguin Books. 2015.

Glazed Carrots, A cookbook review, and a recipe for love by Katelynn Ingersoll

This recipe comes from the first vegetarian cooscreen-shot-2016-11-11-at-11-05-46-amkbook I’ve ever owned, Lord Krishna’s Cuisine, The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking, by Yamuna Devi. It’s a beautiful book filled with so much more than thousands of vegetarian recipes.  It is one of my favorite books.  And yet, I admit, that I have only made a few dishes.  Each preparation I’ve made has been complicated and detailed.  Things I don’t really have time for.  These days, when it comes to food, we are obsessed with convenience and speed.  But the recipes in this book are very different. Each one involves beautiful, detailed interactions with each ingredient.  The use of spices and unfamiliar vegetables are demystified. The book teaches that food preparation is a meditation of love and should always be done in the mood of  service and gratitude.

And then there’s reality…which is why I have not tried so many of these recipes.

BUT! With the holidays around the corner, I suspect that maybe there’s going to be an opportunity for us to prepare just one dish with this mood in mind. It doesn’t have to be this dish.  But if you’re looking for that stand out side dish, try this recipe.  It combines the crowd pleasing baby carrot with the flavor of digestion enhancing spices.  After several holiday meals, I think I’ve perfected the recipe…

30 baby carrots, about 1 pound, sliced in half lengthwise

3 tablespoons ghee, or coconut oil

2 tablespoons brown sugar or maple syrup

¼ teaspoon turmeric

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Make it mindful: when you chop vegetables, just chop vegetables.

½ teaspoon coarsely crushed cardamom seeds

½ teaspoon ground coriander

¼ cup orange or apple juice

⅔ cup still or sparkling mineral water

½ teaspoon salt

⅛  teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Place the carrots in a single layer in a skillet or saute pan with 2 tablespoons of the oil or ghee. Add the sweetener, turmeric, cardamom, coriander, and juice.  Boil, cover, and reduce the heat to low.  Simmer on low for 20-40 minutes, until the carrots are nice and tender.  

When almost all of the water has evaporated, bring the pot to a rapid boil until all the liquid boils away.  Shake the pan to prevent sticking and turn off the heat.  The carrots should be nice and shiny glazed by now.  Add the remaining 1 tablespoon ghee, the pepper, and the parsley.  Shake the pan again.  Just before serving, add the lemon juice.

Offer with love.

Whatever you do, do not seasonal cleanse

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Cleansing is NOT about starvation or deprivation, which can cause anxiety and distress.

With so much hype out there about seasonal cleansing and detoxification, the concept behind all the gimmicks can get lost.  The notion of seasonal cleansing fits in well with our “enjoy now, be healthy on Monday” culture.  Sometimes Monday never comes, and sometimes our body lets us know loud and clear that Monday has arrived and it is time to start new healthy habits.  Generally, the latter will happen as we enter the change of seasons. Let us find out why and take a moment to explore seasonal cleansing on a deep level.  First and foremost, we MUST understand that we are NOT separate from our environmental climate.  This not only includes the climate outside, but also the climate of our interpersonal relationships, our work, and our home life.  During the change of season, we experience a drastic change in our physical environment.  In Ayurveda we have a special name for the juncture of one season to the next and that is rtu sandhi.  Rtu sandhi is a joint where two seasons come together. In one season, we experience excessive heat, humidity, and sun, and in the next we experience excessive dry and cold.   It is after one season’s extremes and before the next season’s extremes when we experience low immunity and our physical habitual tendencies will “flare up,” like rashes, urticaria, allergies, congestion.  Usually, our bodies are never given the seasonal cleaning they need in order to recover from one season, and strengthen and prepare for the next.  It’s easy to see why we want to do seasonal cleansing during this time so we can adapt to the changing climate.

Ayurveda  recomends that we pause and reflect during
Rtu-Sandhi, the juncture of two seasons

What about the climate of our work, social life, and interpersonal relationships? How do the ever changing life circumstances affect the physical body?  Remember….we are NOT separate from our environment on any level.  We are constantly bombarded

Consider your personal relationships and what effect they have on your well being.

Consider your personal relationships and what effect they have on your well being.

with excessive demands, emotions (good and bad), time constraints, commitments, and decisions and often times we move through our days, weeks, months, and years as if we are unaffected by these things. We never give our energetic (mental, emotional, and spiritual) bodies the necessary nurturing to recover from life’s experiences and strengthen and prepare for the next one. Are you with me?

What we are trying to share here is that every day we experience seasonal changes! Maybe at home with our loved ones, it’s as if we are having a picnic on a spring day but once we interact with our temperamental boss at work, it’s as if now we are in the extreme heat of the summer.  Think of all the physical, emotional and mental stress and experiences we have in one single day and how they might affect us energetically.  Then imagine waking up and doing the same thing over and over again without taking time to rest and mentally cleanse.  Imagine your mind as the mirror over your bathroom sink. Each splash of water is a life experience.  Eventually, you need to clean the mirror or else you will no longer be able to see yourself.  Now imagine you keep your mirror clean daily.

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Thanks to Ayurveda and yoga, every day can bring cleansing and new experiences.

The more you work to clean your mirror, the stronger you are and the more easily you move through all the experiences that life hands you. Sure you are still going to have splashes of water daily which will appear temporarily, but you will clean it again in the morning so you can see yourself clearly everyday.  Your new clarity of self perception can allow you to explore your vast possibilities and accept your limitations.

The good news is that we have a toolbelt full of powerful tools thanks to Ayurveda and yoga.  If we access our tools daily, then we should be able to handle all the seasonal changes and stresses life throws our way.  Things like our daily yoga practice and our daily Ayurvedic routines like oil pulling, abyhanga, and eating fresh prepared, vegetarian, simple foods will strengthen our immune systems and build up our tolerance to stress.  With repetition over time, these daily practices make us bulletproof.  We can then see that there might not be a need for a formal cleansing.

STILL…a good tuneup is good every now and then, and our tried and true seasonal cleanse program promises to be personalized with as much or as little “austerity” as you prefer, gentle, and effective.  We’ve been leading group and solo cleanses every season for over five years.  If you ARE interested in seasonal Ayurvedic cleansing, please email me at katelynn@bikramphilly.com.

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Upcoming Ayurvedic Workshops With Special Guest Presenter!

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Balancing Your Hot Yoga Practice

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We don’t need to enumerate the benefits of a hot yoga practice at a hot yoga studio! But you might be surprised to learn that without finding ways to balance this fiery, detoxifying practice, hot yoga practitioners can end up depleted and overheated physically, mentally, and emotionally. Come learn how to maximize Bikram yoga’s ability to detoxify while keeping your liver, the body’s major organ of detoxification, happy. With a few Ayurvedic tricks, you can stay cool, calm, and balanced no matter how high the thermostat gets.


Daily Detox

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It seems like everyone is on a cleanse these days, but do we even know what exactly we are cleansing? And how do we know the cleanse we have chosen is safe and effective? Ayurveda has been in the “business” of eliminating toxins for over 5,000 years, and as a living tradition, Ayurveda is sublimely equipped to help us reduce our modern toxic loads. Come learn about the toxins that bombard us daily (from the air we breathe, the food we eat, the news we read, to the cell phones we carry in our pockets) and simple ways that we can detoxify our bodies, minds, hearts, and lives without undertaking elaborate, expensive, and sometimes dangerous cleanses.


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About The Presenter

Suzanne Lang was born with the desire to be a healer. She aced the pre-medical program at Dartmouth College, but finding the Western approach to medicine troubling, Suzanne abandoned her dream of becoming a physician and became a professor. After years of searching, she found her healing home in Ayurveda, the world’s oldest system of healthcare. Suzanne is a certified Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant through the American Institute of Vedic Studies. She is trained in pulse diagnosis and marma therapy through her guru, Vaidya Mishra, with whom she continues to study as an advanced practitioner. Suzanne is also a 200 hour certified vinyasa yoga teacher with additional yin yoga training. To schedule a consultation with Suzanne, e-mail her at zannelangayurveda@gmail.com.

 

Summer Season

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Rtu Sandhi is the  Junction between two seasons.  

Stay balanced with the wisdom of Ayurveda as we transition from the growth of spring into the intensity of summer.

Let ancient knowledge guide your lifestyle choices this, and every season for optimal preventative health and well being. 


 

Signs and Symptoms Caused by Excess Summer Heat:
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Irritability Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 9.14.30 AM
  • Skin rashes and hives
  • Diarrhea
  • Acid indigestion
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Hot flashes (non hormonal)
  • Burning sensations in the hands and feet
  • Anger or rage
Summer Protocol:IMG_0482
  • Avoid midday sun
  • Exercise only in the early am or after the sun has set
  • The diet should contain light kitcheree, salads
  • Eat greens – the more bitter the better!
  • Go swimming or spend time near water
  • Spend time in forests or in shaded parks
  • Avoid being overly critical and anger of any sort
  • In general, food should be light and easy to digest
  • Take cool or lukewarm showers
  • Avoid overly sour, spicy, oily or fried foods
  • Take slow moonlight walks
  • Use sunglasses and hats
  • Do natural, gentle purgation
 Herbs and Substances to Reduce Heat:
  • Coconut oil for self massage
  • Astringent taste – found in greens and small legumes
  • Aloe vera juice – 1 oz after meals
  • Milk
  • Ghee
  • Shatavari
  • Cardamom
  • Cilantro
  • Limes
  • Tumeric
  • Bitter greens
  • Sweet, juicy berries (avoid sour!)
  • Fennel (whole vegetable or seeds)
  • Manjishta
  • Basmatti rice
  • Maple syrup
  • Triphala for purgation (use amalaki for loose stools)