What are healthy eating timings according to Ayurveda ?

Krya blog post on healthy eating timings in ayurveda
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Reading Time: 11 minutes

A common misconception we hear at Krya is about healthy eating timings to follow and meal choice at each time. Today the Media is full of advice on nutrition and guides to healthy eating. Different theories abound on calculating protein and carbohydrate content of food, eating unpolished grains and ensuring higher nutrition by eating raw, unprocessed foods. It is no wonder that many of us are confused and seek advice on ahara and ahara niyama.

Is the diet and nutritional advise out there just confusing you

A key part of Ahara niyama in Ayurveda is the selection of proper / healthy eating timings. This influences the capacity to digest food, and our capacity to extract nutrients from food.

In fact, choosing the correct time to eat each meal has  a similar influence as choosing what to eat, on our health. In other words, we should spend the same amount of time planning when to eat as planning what to eat

In this post, we will see why Ayurveda pays so much attention to good eating timings and how we can improve our health and well-being by working out a healthy eating time schedule for us and our family.

Selection of healthy eating timings: Different Doshas influence different day parts

Ayurveda tells us that each day is divided into 4 hour dayparts. Each of these dayparts is connected to the slow rise, peaking and then falling of a particular dosha in our body.

Dosha surge in body corresponds to day part

The strength of the surge in the Dosha depends upon the movement of the Sun. So, for example, if there is Sunshine during a Kapha period, the effect of Kapha is slightly reduced. Similarly, if there is good Sunshine, say during a Pitta daypart, Pitta will be much more aggravated due to the influence of the sun.

In order to take advantage of these natural surges in a particular Dosha, we are advised to do certain activities during certain day parts. Our body’s internal workings also take advantage of the dosha surges in day parts.

As long as we do not tamper with our internal clock by eating at inappropriate times or sleeping at inappropriate times, we can be sure that our body is always working to ensure that we stay in good health and harmony.

An example is to wake up during a Vata day part and eat during a Pitta day part. Pitta influenced day parts are ideally suited to digest and process food. Hence a pitta day part makes perfect sense and is ideal  for our heaviest / largest meal.

Similarly, waking up during a Vata day part ensures we are able to utilize the creativity, enthusiasm and high energy that such a day part offers us.

Waking up in a Vata influenced day part helps provdie teh body with energy, and creativity

This is why our Acharyas recommend waking up during Brahma Muhurtha ( 90 minutes before sunrise) – by design Brahma Muhurta occurs after during the peak surge plus gradual drop of Vata dosha.

Waking up this time therefore gives us high energy, mental clarity and freshness through the day. In fact, many commentators say that waking up during this times allows for a “dosha re-balance” that is close to your natural state.

Selection of healthy eating timings: Choosing the correct Pitta day part for our heaviest meals

The process of kindling of appetite, production of salivary and gastric enzymes, digestion, absorption of nutrients and separation of food into useful and non useful by-products that eventually leave the body, are ALL governed by Pitta dosha and its various branches.

Pitta dosha is strongly influenced by the sun as “Agni” is one of the 2 Pancha mahaboothas that make up Pitta dosha. Therefore when the Sun reaches its Peak, with maximum Agni, the Pitta in our body is also at its peak, around noon.

Pitta energy peaks at noon due to the movement of the sun

So ideally, the correct time for our heaviest meal should be Noon.

But here comes a problem.

In traditional times, we ate one / two meals a day. In modern times this has been stretched to 3 meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner with sometimes 2 – 3 small meals / snacks between these meals.

Breakfast is usually around 8 am. Lunch around noon time and dinner is again around 8 pm. Many of us may also additionally snack on fruit juices, buttermilk, fruits, nuts and seeds or even cooked snacks between these 3 main meals.

Are you etaing many small meals on mistaken nutritional advice?

 Hence we may be overloading our body with food at the unhealthy eating timings – this leads to Ama build up in the body and weakens digestive fire.

Also, as many of us are stressed for time in the busy morning, we reserve our largest meal for our evening meal, i.e Dinner. Many families / friends also go out to Dinner during weekends to bond and catch up over food. This is great from the point of view of building relationships, but not so great from the point of your Digestive Agni and build up of Ama (toxins in the body).

There is a strong chance of over-eating and eating the wrong food for this day part in these occasions, leading to Ama build up in the body. 

Eating with groups of people at Dinner may cuase us to overeat, increaisng chances of Ama in the body

How to utilize the 2 Pitta day-parts everyday to make a healthy eating time table?

Ayurveda tells us that there are 2 Pitta strong dayparts in the day, 10 am – 2 pm in the morning and 10 pm – 2 am at night. The first Pitta daypart peaks at 12 noon approximately and the other at 12 midnight. As the Pitta peak coming at midnight is dampened by the absence of the sun, the BEST and MOST IDEALLY STRONG digestive Agni occurs at noon, in the day time.

So we should eat our heaviest meal of the day, as close to Noon time as possible . At this time, if we eat the right Ahara for our prakriti, there is the greatest chance for this food to be well digested, and properly absorbed with high nutrient retention inside the body.

Eating at teh correct time in the correct quantity strongly influences nutrient absorption in the body

 

What happens during the second Pitta day part at night?

In normal circumstances, the Pitta peak at midnight is utilized by the body to “tune up” Pitta organs like the Liver ,Spleen, etc. This repair and maintenance activity is ONLY done if Digestion is fully complete.

It takes the body upto 3 – 4 hours to digest a single meal fully. This timing slows down if the meal is extremely heavy, improper for our prakriti, improper for the Ritu, or contains a high amount of Guru foods (curd, sweets, red meat, etc), Or if Agni is weak / impaired due to Wrong Ahara and Wrong Ahara Niyama.

If the body is engaged in Digestion at the second Pitta time, the maintenance of Liver , spleen and Other Pitta organs DOES NOT TAKE Place. Habitually eating late means that these organs are under a severe strain without the time or space given to do their maintenance. This puts the body’s health under duress.

Eating at teh correct time also allows the body to do its regular maintenance activities

The ability of the body to digest is weakened severely post Sunset. So we are advised to have the lightest meal of the day as Dinner, and NOT the heaviest as is ritually the case with many of us.

It is also wise not to go out to eat for Dinner, experiment with new cuisines which may be heavy / difficult to digest or eat socially (as we often end up over eating in these situations). Instead we can reserve these activities for Noon, when our Digestive Fire + the sun can help us digest such experimental meals.

Choosing healthy eating timings: Effect on Agni + Ama when Kapha is aggravated

 In the normal course of events, we have only one Pitta rich day part to eat and digest a meal properly. Our other 2 commonly eaten meals of breakfast and dinner are BOTH in Kapha dominant dayparts of 6 am to 10 am, and 6 pm – 10 pm, respectively.

Kapha aggravation can produce “Mandagni” (reduced digestive fire), tamasic thoughts especially when food is tamasic, sloth, laziness and weight gain when ahara is improper.

In cases of Mandagni, the Agni is in a doused and weak condition. Its ability to digest food and absorb nutrients is extremely poor. So even if we feed the healthiest and best food to our body when it is in a state of Mandagni, it will be of little use to us. The body will generate Ama instead of digesting the food as the Agni is unable to handle the digestion process.

Instead of being fully digested, Food may be only partially digested. The undigested food will putrefy inside the system producing bloating, inflammation, and reducing the appetite and increasing heaviness in the body.

Heavy eating at peak kapha periods can increase chances of Mandagni in the body

This is why the combination of improper ahara and eating during a peak Kapha period is the precursor to an Ama disaster in the body.  The evening Kapha period when we have dinner is far worse than the morning Kapha period when we have breakfast.

The morning Kapha period, is weaker in the kapha surge. This is due to the presence of the Sun and increased activity on our part . This is why we have less trouble digesting our breakfast compared to digesting our dinner.

In the evening time, as the sun sets, Kapha dominance becomes extremely strong and our activity levels are on the wane . The later we eat, the worse our digestive capacity / food absorption is going to be.

Ahara Niyama (Eating guidelines) as per Ayurveda:

Here is an Ayurvedic recommendation for meals:

Breakfast moderately, lunch well, and eat dinner very sparingly.

To repeat: Eat a moderate breakfast, a good lunch and a sparing dinner

Any fruits, or in-between meal snacks should ONLY be eaten if there is good hunger and appetite. Do NOT eat because you have read that eating 6 small meals is healthy or that it is good for you “to graze”. Grazing animals have a completely different digestive system – we cannot follow their method of eating through the day.

Ideally all meals should be freshly made and hot as per Ayurveda. However, because both our breakfast and dinner is eaten during a Kapha surge, please eat food that is freshly cooked and hot. At these meals, the body’s ability to digest stale meals is impaired. Stale meals are higher in “gurutva” as per Ayurveda, so they are more difficult to breakdown and can quickly aggravate Kapha.

 

Freshly made, hot food id recommended for breakfats and dinner to counter the effect of Kapha surge

During breakfast and dinner,  Kapha rich foods like sweets, cakes, desserts, sweet fruits,  meats and foods like curd should be avoided. Any manner of cold / refrigerated food , cold drinks should also be reduced / avoided. If leftover rice is being used from the morning, we advise that you re-wash and re-steam the rice to remove some of its “gurutva” (heaviness).  

avoid kapha triggering foods like desserts and sweets during Dinner

Avoid difficult to digest food like raw food, highly complex cereals, and heavy lentils like Rajma, Channa, etc, for Dinner. They can be eaten in very small quantities occasionally at Breakfast, only if Digestive fire is good and activity level is high.

Choosing healthy eating timings: Recommendations by Prakriti

Aggravated Kapha / Kapha leaning prakriti – healthy eating timings:

For those with Kapha leaning prakriti or Kapha aggravation (weight issues, poor hair growth) we suggest eating Dinner as early as possible within the evening Kapha cycle.  

For example, eating at 7 pm means that only 1 hour has passed in the Kapha cycle of 4 hours. But eating at 9, means that the body has had 3 hours to accumulate Kapha – so digestive fire needs to be more intense to combat the coldness wetness and heaviness produced by the natural Kapha upsurge in the body.

Eat eraly dinners if Kapha prakriti is high

Apart from eating as early as possible, food must be light, well cooked, warm and devoid of kapha aggravating foods. Foods that are rich in oils, nuts and seeds, sweet foods, etc must not be eaten at Dinner.

Deepana & Pachana herbs that are recommended for Vata prakriti can also be used. In addition, mildly sour foods help kindle appetite and reduce Mandagni for this prakriti. So food can be flavoured with local tomatoes, lemon, small amount of ripe tamarind, etc. Well churned, well diluted buttermilk can also be taken at night.

Aggravated Vata / Vata leaning prakriti – healthy eating timings:

Vata leaning and Vata aggravated individuals have “Vishama agni” (Inconsistent Agni). So they will find that their appetite, ability to digest food, etc greatly varies from day to day. So here, apart from ensuring Dinner is eaten early and Kapha aggravating foods are avoided, the Agni needs to be trained and brought under control.

Vata leaning and vata aggravated individuals often have weak and dry hair, poor skin texture, suffers from bone and joint aches and disorders, abnormal skin darkening, gas, bloating, etc.

For such individuals, it is especially important to eat Deepana (appetite kindling) and Pachana (digestive) spices along with their evening meal and eat freshly cooked, hot, light , appetizing food. This food must be eaten at the same time every day as a habit. Training the body with regular meal timings and proving deepana and pachana herbs along with tasty food brings Vishama Agni under control.

Deepana and Pachana herbs and spices are excellent for Vata prakritis

Deepana and Pachana herbs that help Vishama Agni are Maricha (black pepper), Pippali (long pepper), Sunthi (dry ginger), Jeera (cumin), Curry leaf, hingu (asafetida), Black salt (small doses) and Saindhava Lavana (rock salt).

Aggravated Pitta / Pitta leaning prakriti – healthy eating timings:

Pitta aggravated / Pita leaning individuals are very sensitive to changes in eating timings and are most affected by improper dinner timings. Such individuals suffer from premature greying, hair thinning, gastritis, acidity, anger management issues, Blood pressure, acne, skin sensitivity, sun burn, etc.

Why is late dinner so problematic for Pitta aggravated/ Pitta leaning individuals?

We often find that Pitta dominant people never have a problem with appetite, but when they eat late, they develop gastric, acidity, sour belching etc. This is because of 2 reasons:

The later we eat in the Kapha cycle, we need to utilize more Pitta energy to combat Kapha upsurge. This is already high in Pitta leaning people – so they will extract MORE Pitta energy simply to digest their food.

The second reason is that after the Kapha cycle, we are in the beginning of the second Pitta cycle which starts at 10 pm. If we eat at say 9:30, instead of Pitta energy being used up and subdued after digestion if we had eaten at 7 pm, we will experience a second wind in Pitta at 10 pm. This will excite Pitta further. This also keeps us awake, gives us poor sleep as the body is engaged in energy intensive digestion at this time, instead of repair and regeneration of important pitta organs like liver, spleen, etc which is usually the case.

Pitta aggravated / leaning individuals do very well when they have a fresh, warm meal around 8 pm without any Pitta aggravating dravyas. Such people should avoid eating fried / oily food, sour food, salty food and other Pitta aggravating foods at night.

Avoid exciting Pitta dosha heavily for Pitta individuals during dinner

Suggestions for Pitta-Kapha aggravated individuals:

For many people with high Pitta-Kapha imbalance (Acne, PCOD / PCOS, pre-diabetes, etc), we advise completing dinner before 8 pm, and then drinking a glass of hot water about 30 minutes before sleep around 9:45 pm – 10 pm.

This has a stomach clearing effect, and aids elimination of toxins out of the body. This should not be done very late and strongly into the Pitta night period as it could the re-stimulate Pitta dosha. This is why we suggest doing this at the beginning of the Pitta day part or earlier, depending upon your eating timing.

To sum up: healthy eating timings for all based on ayurveda

We hope you found this post on choosing the healthy eating timings as per Ayurveda useful. We also hope this post gave you easy to implement modifications in both your selection of food and also when and how to eat your meals depending upon your prakriti.

An ideal suggestion as per Ayurveda is to eat by 7 pm, and go to sleep BEFORE the second Pitta surge starts at 10 pm. This is most ideal for rest, recuperation, good sleep and energy the next morning. If this is not possible, we must atleast avoid eating close to 10 pm and try and complete dinner around the half mark of the Kapha period, which is 8 pm.

We often say that Ayurveda is a holistic , health giving science. As we can see in this post, the acharyas have thought through every aspect of human existence and have given painstakingly accurate, logical and holistic suggestions to maintain health and well being.

We hope you too found the suggestions given in this post useful for your and your family. If you have any questions on this, please email us.

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Ritucharya for Vasanta (Spring) – ayurvedic guidelines to get balanced and stay healthy in spring

Vasanta Ritucharya: ayurvedic seasonal regimen to reduce pollen allergies, spring fever
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Have you begun to sniffle, sneeze and put away your winter jackets? Has the season change caught you unawares? One of the most powerful concepts in Ayurveda medicine is the concept of Ritucharya – seasonal regimens to be followed to naturally balance the changes in your doshas due to the change in climate and season. This post will speak about the Ayurvedic concept of Ritucharya and also look at the Ritucharya recommended in Vasanta (spring) so that you can stay healthy in spring.

Preventive health care and staying healthy across seasons:

Ayurveda’s goal is to prevent the formation of disease by following certain guidelines of good living. This is best described by Acharya Charaka in his Sutra Sthana shlokas:

“Swasthasya Swasthya Rakshanam Aaturasya Vikara Prashamanam Cha”

He explains that the goal of medicine (Ayurveda) is to rejuvenate and preserve the health of the healthy and then to alleviate diseases in the ill. This order of first  tending to the healthy and then  treating the sick is specific to Ayurveda. It explains why so much of Ayurveda is primarily focused on health giving regimens rather than disease treatment .

This emphasis on preserving health is why Dincharya and Ritucharya regimes (regimes for daily living and special regimes to follow in specific seasons) come first in all 3 Brihat Trayee texts of Ayurveda (Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanga Hridayam).

Dinacharya: daily regimens to correct dosha imbalances and stay healthy

The Ayurvedic dinacharya is a very powerful , self healing idea that puts the responsibility for your health back into your hands. As Ayurveda’s aim is to prevent disease and keep you in health , enjoying a long productive life, The self care regimens are the cornerstone of harmony and well being.

The Acharyas split these self care regimens into 2 types: things to be done everyday (Dina-charya) and things to be done in each Season (Ritu-charya).

Dincharya comprises of regimens to be followed daily. Many of these suggested Dinacharyas may seem simplistic and even very difficult to follow. For those accustomed to waking up late, the idea of waking up 90 minutes before sunrise may seem impossible and unnecessary.

However, we can attest to the powerful, subtle and transformative nature of these Daily ayurvedic regimens. Each Dinacharya practice works in a nuanced and different way to calm down aggravated doshas, improves prana shakti and increases Ojas in the body when practiced over a long period.

We will do a more detailed post on Ayurvedic dinacharyas. For the purpose of this post, Dinacharya regimens include waking up at the right time (Brahma Muhurtha), doing correct amount of Vyayama (exercise) for the season & your prakriti, Oral care, Taila abhyanga , Hair Oiling (Keshya abhyanga) , Snana (bath) and leading a life of balance. When these tenets of Dincharya are followed, we are guaranteed a life of harmony and balance.

 

Staying healthy in Spring: Dinacharya is a daily set of practices to stay healthy.

Following the Dinacharya helps the body adjust everyday and bring back aggravated Doshas to balance on a daily basis. Dinacharya takes care of the small stresses, changes in diet, sudden change in plans, excessive travel, etc. It works like a checking mechanism bringing us back to the golden mean.

However, when Seasons change, the accompanying shifts in weather, humidity , etc leads to a larger scale shift in the dosha balance in our body. To bring these shifts under control, we add on Ritucharya practices to our existing Dinacharya practices.

The seasonal health regimens form a part of Ritucharya (seasonal tenets of living). Ayurveda divides the year into 6 seasons. Each season lasts roughly two months. The time of change of seasons usually throws the body into a series of minor health issues – these issues can be simply solved or avoided if we follow Ritucharya practices to stay healthy.

Staying healthy in Spring: What happens to us in Winter?

During winter (Hemanta and Shishira) , the severe cold weather drives Agni inwards from all parts of the body. This strongly increases our digestive capacity and hunger. So Ayurveda advises us to eat well and eat oily, rich foods that can satisfy this high Agni, in Winter.

Staying healthy in Spring: We are advised to eat heavy, rich food in winter to satisfy increased agni in the body.

At the same time, Ayurveda also recommends stronger and more intense Vyayama (exercise), Sun exposure, Regular and Frequent Taila Abhyanga, and to avoid being lazy, sleeping during the day, etc.

Staying healthy in Spring: What happens to us in Spring?

Vasanta is the spring season described in Ayurveda. The official start of Vasanta is marked by the festival of Holi. This can change slightly depending upon distance from the equator,etc.

Staying healthy in Spring: spring starts with Holi

In Vasanta, as the climate again starts to become warm, the sun rays melt all the Kapha that has been stored in our body during winter. The amount of Kapha that is stored in your body varies. It depends upon whether or not we have followed Ritucharya guidelines in Hemanta and Shishira. If instead of regular exercise, regular abhyanga along with a rich, oily and heavy diet, we have simply eaten but not done exercise or abhyanga, we would have accumulated a greater amount of Kapha in Winter.

This high accumulated Kapha melts and starts running in the body in Vasanta as Mucous through our body . This explains why so many of us are prone to spring fever, hay fever, pollen allergies and coughs and colds in this season. Even if you have not accumulated too much excess Kapha, the coming of Spring starts to melt whatever Kapha is stored in your body.

Staying healthy in Spring: Kapha liquifies through the body and flows leading to coughs, colds and seasonal allergies

This liquefied Kapha dosha, if aggravated can douse the digestive Agni. When Agni is weakened, our appetite is poor. We also have a reduce capacity to digest food and poorer nutrient absorption in the body.

This may lead to poor appetite, lack of interest in food, tiredness and fatigue. Therefore , in order to ensure our Agni is not impacted in Vasanta, we need to work on this liquefied Kapha and focus on drying it up.

Ayurvedic seasonal therapies to stay healthy in Spring :

Vamana therapy (a part of Pancha karma – controlled vomitting) and Nasya therapy (controlled application of nasal drops) are 2 Ayurvedic procedures that can be initiated by Vaidyas during Vasanta to remove aggravated Kapha dosha.

This is advised if you have Spring aggravation symptoms like severe mucous accumulation, pollen allergy, extreme lethargy, lack of energy etc, suggesting the presence of large amounts of liquid Kapha in the system.

For many of us, this may not be required. For those with normal kapha aggravation, the Acharyas have given us many milder suggestions that we can all do to dry out liquefied kapha.

Staying healthy in spring: correction routines

Avoid these foods in Vasanta (spring):

Ayurveda advises us to avoid Guru (heavy), Snigdha (oily), Amla (sour) and Madhura (sweet) foods during this season.

Heavy (Guru) and sweet  (Madhura) foods increase Kapha dosha accumulation in the body. Oily (Snigdha) and Sour (Amla) foods aggravate and increase Pitta in the body. When Pitta is stimulated, it will further melt Kapha, adding to the volume of mucous already flowing through the body.

Staying healthy in Spring: Avoid sweet, rich and heavy food that can aggravate Kapha dosha

Add these foods in Vasanta (Spring):

Apart from avoiding Kapha aggravating and Pitta triggering foods, we also need to add certain foods to our diet to help control aggravated Kapha. This is a good time to add Millets to our diet in small quantities. Millets are Laghu (light) and Rooksha (drying) so their addition can help absorb and dry out liquefied Kapha. Similarly, Yava (barley) is considered a good grain to be eaten during Vasanta.

Staying healthy in Spring: Eat drying, slightly astringent food with healing spices

Yava(barley grain) is considered to have a dual taste of both “Kashaya” (astringent) and “madhura”  (sweet) rasa. This balances the intensity of the sweetness of barley, making it  a good grain for Vasanta where we want less sweet substances.

As its guna is cold, it balances Pitta. As Yava has rooksha guna (dry property) and pungent vipaka, it also helps dry up excess Kapha well. Yava is both a mutraghna and bulk forming grain. It helps remove aggravated liquefied kapha both through urine and through feces.

In Vasanta, Yava helps us by its lekhaniya (scraping quality against excess fat), reduces picchila (sticky toxins in the body), and also ignites jataragni which could be diminished due to liquefied Kapha.

Add these spices to your food in Vasanta (Spring):

In Vasanta, it is important to use ushna but not teekshna, deepana (agni kindling), pachana (digestive), kapha drying herbs and spices. Hence the Acharyas suggest using spices like Haridra (Turmeric), Sounth (dried Ginger), Clove, Elaichi and Maricha (Black pepper) in the food.

Haridra is astringent and drying, and will help absorb excess liquids in the body. Dried Ginger is warming without being intensive and aggravating Pitta, so can be safely used to spice food. Similarly cloves and cardamom are both warming without aggravating Pitta dosha.

Staying healthy in Spring: use drying, warming spices to dry up aggravated Kapha

Maricha (black pepper) is recommended in Ayurveda to balance excess Kapha, aid digestion and open up the srotas . Maricha is a better spice choice for most people compared to red and green Chillies which are now commonly used in Indian cooking. Chillies are intensely pitta aggravating due to their teekshna and katu nature. Chillies are best avoided for everyone, but especially if you already have Pitta complaints like hair thinning, premature greying, high blood pressure, acidity, high stress, etc.

Making these minor diet corrections will help remove liquefied kapha, prevent toxin deposition and help us stay healthy in spring.

Staying healthy in spring (Vasanta): Right physical exercise

Vasanta is also a good time for physical exercise. We are advised to do it at a slightly lower level than we would have during winter.

The main purpose during exercise in Vasanta is to moderately (and not sharply) increase heat and provoke sweating in the body, to encourage drying and removal of excess Kapha dosha.

Staying healthy in Spring: Regular physical activity removes aggravated Kapha

There is another reason to recommend lower intensity of exercise. This is because we are currently in Adana Kala as per Ayurveda where the sun’s intensity is going to increase until Varsha season (monsoon ends). Adana kala is considered a time of depleting body energy as per Ayurveda.

So the ojas in the body can also deplete if we over-exercise or over-exert ourselves in any way. In fact in Summer (Greeshma) when the effects of Adana Kala + high agni peak and severely depleting, we are advised to do the least amount of exercise – please remember that we have to continue to do some form of exercise, but these are not the seasons to do high intensity marathon training, or 3 – 4 hour sessions in the Gym.

Staying healthy in spring (Vasanta) – other activities suggested

The Acharyas encourage us to spend time in the company of good friends and in Nature. Vasanta is the season where birds abound, and when Nature is lush and green with the profuse flowering of fragrant herbs and flowers. We are advised to picnic in gardens, visit river banks, and enjoy the season in pleasant hill stations.

Staying healthy in spring: drink the right warming drinks

Ayurveda does not universally advise to drink tea or coffee due to their many disturbing qualities. Also, neither of these drinks are native to the Indian sub continent, so many of us may not be naturally accustomed to their qualities. Coffee can intensely aggravated Pitta and tea can aggravate Vata. Neither quality is appreciated in any season, but particularly so in Vasanta.

Instead, Ayurveda suggests we sip specific, herbal warm drinks in Vasanta to aid expelling of liquid kapha. We can sip plain warm water, or water which has been boiled mildly with dried ginger powder (in cases of large volumes of aggravated mucous).  Do not drink too much Ginger water as it can heat up the body in large amounts.

You can sip 1 glass of warm ginger water per day, for a few days at a time, to help move aggravated Kapha , in case of high aggravation, out of the body.

Staying healthy in Spring: Spices like dried ginger help remove aggravated kapha in spring

A Spring health recipe: How to make Dried Ginger water:

Boil one glass of water until the water comes to a rolling boil. Switch off the gas. Add 1 teaspoon of freshly ground dried ginger powder. Allow the herb to steep for 4 – 5 minutes into the water. Strain. Do NOT sweeten. Sip through the day. Do NOT OD on this.

Staying healthy in spring (Vasanta) : Modified Taila Abhyanga with Mardana:

Taila abhyanga with emphasis on “Mardana” is a good practice in Vasanta. The right taila should be chosen which is warming and mala removing and not cooling. “Mardana” is the strong pressure filled kneading of limbs is recommended during Vasanta.

This Abhyanga modification forces liquefied Kapha through the body and out of it. This ensures that excess Kapha does not cool inside the body and create blockages. The limbs should be squeezed in a downward direction and not in an upward direction. This is an excellent practice to remove fatigue and lethargy caused by aggravated Kapha and helps your maintain health in spring.

Staying healthy in Spring: Taila Abhyanga and Mardana are recommended

 

Staying healthy in spring(Vasanta) – Modified Keshya Abhyanga (hair oiling):

Keshya abhyanga us strongly recommended as a Dincharya practice to cool additional Pitta in the scalp. However, in Vasanta where there is liquefied Kapha flowing through the body, adding a cooling practice without modifications, may intensify sneezing, coughs and colds, etc.

We recommend morning hair oiling in Vasanta, instead of night oiling. This ensures kapha does not aggravate in the body. As an additional precaution, we suggest applying oil that has been warmed well on the scalp with a longer head massage compared to other seasons. This improves absorption and slows down kapha aggravation.

Additionally, ensure that you oil the head in a room without a cold / draughty atmosphere. You may continue to use the Krya hair oil of your choice for Keshya Abhyanga. Please ensure you use Rasnadi choornam diligently after every hairwash.

Stay healthy in spring (Vasanta)  – Modified Snana (bath) with astringent herbs :

Snana is to be taken with pitta and kapha pacifying, slightly astringent and rooksha herbs. The choice of rooksha herbs is to help dry up excess Kapha. The choice of astringent is to deal with vitiated Pitta. This way we can avoid the oily pus filled breakouts, prickly heat and allergic skin conditions that are common in Vasanta.

Application of these astringent herbs on skin as a paste, helps open the minor Srotas and helps in removal of mala through the body. It also enhances circulation and ensures liquefied Kapha does not get solid and block the minor channels.

Staying healthy in Spring: Snana is to be done with astringent, drying herbs

All Krya Ubtans and bodywashes contain a good volume of astringent, Kashaya and slightly rooksha herbs. So you may continue to use your existing Krya Bodywash / Ubtan in this season. We advise a few Snana modifications as given below:

  • Have a bath in warm Water. Use only warm water to make a paste with your Krya bodywash / Ubtan
  • Use large circular motions while applying the bodywash / ubtan. Once you have covered the body, repeat this scrubbing action again all over the body (without adding more product). This intensifies the Srota cleaning and Mala expelling action.
  • Once Snana is complete, quickly dry the body and dress warmly in a non-draughty room which is not cold. Do not delay this as presence of water on skin can again aggravate Kapha.
  • When doing a hair wash, always use Rasnadi choornam. Ensure you inhale the choornam as well.


12. womens ubtan

To conclude:

The emphasis in Ayurveda is always on following a life of balance and moderation, along with carefully chosen , sensible, health giving practices. When we follow this method, we are guaranteed both Ayu and Ayush (long life and health) as per our Acharyas.

Many of the problems we face as we live our busy and chaotic lives in cities is because we are unable to balance the excesses we face. So we end up over using our eyes, over commuting, eating the wrong kind of food, and ignoring what we must be doing in each season.

Following Dinacharya and Ritucharya guidelines is the greatest investment you can make in your health. We hope this post gave you an idea of how you stay healthy in Spring.  If you have any doubts in the above, please do drop a comment or write to us.

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Reduce Eye Strain & naturally nourish the eyes with Ayurveda

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Reading Time: 13 minutes

Due to the high use of electronic devices, and excessive eye engagement, many of us commonly face eye strain & eye fatigue.  We have recently been receiving a lot of queries on tackling eye fatigue and improving vision through Ayurveda. So we have re-written and expanded one of our earlier posts on this subject. This post will explore how you can easily & visibly reduce eye fatigue & eye strain with Ayurveda .

Do you have eye strain?

Do you constantly feel eye fatigue? Do you develop headaches after a long bout at your computer? Are you experiencing premature greying and hair dryness?  Do your eyes feel dry, scratchy and itchy? You could be experiencing computer vision syndrome / computer related eye strain.

Eye strain is a real and wide-spread problem today, which affects both children and adults. For several hours every day, we stare at electronic screens across phones, tablet, TV and computers.

As we continually use our eyes for subtle / sookshma purposes, we strain the  minute eye muscles and do not allow them a chance to recover or relax. So we are all affected with eye strain to varying degrees.

Do you have eye strain & fatigue? You could be suffering from Computer Vision syndrome.

The symptoms are blurred vision, double vision, dry eyes, headaches, eye pain, neck strain, eye-irritation and eye watering. The factors that induce eye strain are the number of hours of screen-time, the size of the screen, the strength of your vision, light levels and posture.

Causes for Eye Strain as per Ayurveda :

It is astonishing that our ancient Ayurvedic texts are able to give us a rationale behind a seemingly modern problem. Acharya Sushruta tells us that all Netra Rogas (diseases of the eye), occur due to the following causes:

Imbalance of hot and cold ( Ushnabhitaptasya) leading to eye strain

When the body heat is very high, there is a vasodilation of blood vessels to help excess heat to be transmitted outside. When this hot body steps into a cold environment, the dilated vessels suddenly have to constrict to ensure heat loss is minimal.

When we constantly keep having this change in temperature, we over-work all blood vessels, including the ones in the eyes, leading to eye redness, weak muscles and poor circulation.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: hot-cold imbalance causes eye strain

An example of Ushnabhitaptasya causing eye strain:

Many of us use our smartphones to read / chat whilst in our cars. The environment is usually an airconditioned one. Also, Indian roads are NOT smooth, so we travel in jerky conditions with sudden braking and stops – the eye muscle has to work harder in such a jerky / moving environment.

So apart from the strain of reading from a small device, we are also over-working the eye muscle by making it focus on a small screen in jerky, non-smooth motion.

All of this eye work is done in the cold confines of our car air conditioner, so we unknowingly causing Ushnabhitaptasya.

Vision distortion due to over-reliance on one kind of eye work – Doorekshanat :

All of us are subject to the complications of Dorrekshanat, as we have all transitioned to using our eyes for only one kind of work.

Increasingly, as we all become knowledge workers, we no longer use our eyes and muscles for doing work that involves eye work over the long distance or even over the medium distance. All work that involves using our hands to make large movements – sewing, cutting, cooking, pottery, painting, other forms of art involves both fine and moderate eye work.

Any form of outdoor physical work like working in the fields, cleaning, sweeping, walking to fill water, etc involves both medium and long distance eye work.

Instead, most of us who work in office environments work only using our laptops, computers and phones. So we substitute the wide range of work our eye is supposed to do, with a large amount of fine work or sookshma work.

This is referred to as “Doorekshanat” in Ayurveda – interestingly the Samhitas say that too much of any one kind of eye work – long distance eye work or short / fine distance eye work strains the eyes. This distorts the vision, over accustoming the eye muscle to only one kind of work.

In ancient times, the samhitas tell us that jewellers and those who worked with very fine and intricate crafts like small paintings and canvases, etc were subject to Doorekshanat.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Repeatedly straining the eyes to read fine print increases eye strain

Krodha, Shoka & Bhaya (Anger, Grief and Fear) leading to eye strain

Emotional strain in difficult environments over-aggravates the emotional qualities of Pitta and vata dosha. Krodha or anger activates Pitta dosha, and Shoka and Bhaya activates Vata dosha. The dosha aggravation strains the eye’s muscles.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Excessive anger, fear and grief increase eye strain.

Anyone who has undergone loss, depression or grief will know that the eyes feel wrung over after a bout of weeping. When this continues for a long time, it tends to affect eye health and vision quality.

A special note on PMS

Many women are prone to pre menstrual tension / depression. This is aggravated when we follow an improper diet which is high in Pitta and Vata stimulating foods. Not only can such foods increase bloating and discomfort, they can also trigger strong PMS symptoms like temper tantrums, fits of weeping, mood swings, etc. There is a lot of advertising and media driven acceptance of PMS and women are asked to “indulge” themselves during this time.

The acceptance of and acknowledgement of PMS is in itself a good thing. But unfortunately, this acceptance comes with encouraging unhealthy food habits which will further trigger PMS. For example: chocolates, wine, fried foods etc are common cravings during PMS and during periods. Chocolates and wine excite Pitta dosha. Fried foods excite Pitta and vata dosha.

If your diet consists of such foods before and during your periods, you will regularly notice that your temper is out of control and you have depressive mood swings leading to high amount of weeping, and eye strain due to binge watching television, etc. This should be observed and dealt with.

Ayurveda says that menstruating women should be cheerful and in good temper, eating healthy pathya food, and must avoid mental and physical strain at all cost. This is not just good for eye health but promotes overall feminine health and well being.

Vega vinigraha (suppression of natural urges) leading to eye strain :

In many office goers, we observe suppression of urges like urination – this is especially common among women. This leads to disturbance in Apana vayu and aggravates vata dosha throughout the body when it is carried out for a long time.

The urge to sleep (nidra) and the urge to cry (Ashru) are both urges which should not be suppressed as per Ayurveda. Working well beyond our bed time, suppression strong emotional responses, and not blinking often to help the production of tears to moisten the eyes, worsen the health of our eyes and increase eye strain.

Viruddha Ahara (incompatible food) :

Ushna, Lavana and Amla ahara (salty, spicy and sour tastes) aggravate eye strain because these  3 tastes aggravate Pitta dosha. When Pitta dosha is aggravated in the body, the amount of Agni energy in the eye increases – this weakens the accompanying muscles in the eye , causing higher eye strain and eye watering.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Foods that are sour, salty & spicy aggravate Pitta Dosha. This in turn, increases eye strain.

We receive a lot of enquiries from stressed out, type A individuals who write to ask seeing help for premature greying and hair thinning. On investigation, we find a predominance of Pitta aggravating foods being eaten by such people like curd, spicy food, chinese food, etc.

When such Pitta aggravating foods are eaten in a time of high stress, it further compounds the body’s Pitta dosha. This leads to hair greying, hair thinning, acidity, digestive issues, inability to relax / sleep and also affects eye health and well being.

Ratri Jagarati – (Night vigil) / Insomnnia or delayed sleep  :

In the texts, the Acharyas mention that certain occupations which require Night vigil (Ratri jagrati) are more prone to eye strain like soldiers, guards, etc.

Today, Ratri Jagrati has become a common feature in many urban homes. Due to late night working, late dinners, and late television watching, we are all prone to eye strain due to use of the eyes at the wrong time.

 

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Staying up late and night and delayed bed time can also aggravate eye strain.

 

Ayurveda says that a disease must be tackled from the “Hetu” or root cause. So also, eye strain  must be treated by examining the root causes listed above.

If you have nodded yes to any of the points mentioned above like Ratri Jagriti, Doorekshanat , Virruddha ahara, etc, you must first start by correcting some of these behaviors. In addition, here are some Ayurvedic recommendations on how we can reduce / prevent eye fatigue below.

Reduce Eye Strain with Ayurveda in these easy ways:

Control the hot-cold imbalance 1 : Regular hair oiling to reduce Ushna

Keep the head cool and allow natural removal of excess ushna everyday through daily oil application. Remember, we encounter fresh stress everyday – so this fresh stress which aggravates pitta dosha must be tackled everyday by regular and frequent application of the right Ayurvedic hair oil. We have given recommendations for Krya hair oils below.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Regular hair oiling reduces eye strain and fatigue.

 

Control the hot-cold imbalance 2 – regulate the body temperature

Regulate the body temperature, especially if working in an air conditioned atmosphere. We often advise that you carry a light jacket / shawl to simulate the normal temperature outside your office. Request office admin to set temperatures between 24 – 26 degrees centigrade (this will also bring down electricity bills), and drink warming, non diuretic, and nourishing drinks in your office (so no tea, coffee, cola, cold fruit juices – instead warm water and a warm, natural spiced beverage is ideal).

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Keeping your body temperature steady and warm and avoiding hot-cold imbalance improves vision.

When in your car, avoid working your eyes. Use this time to gaze out of the window, instead and engage in long distance eye work instead. Keep the temperature at a comfortable degree. If not, lightly wrap yourself using a jacket / shawl in your car.

Alternate between “Sookshma” and far vision:

Use your complete range of eye vision – so if you are constantly on a computer, take a break every hour or so to gaze into the distance (preferably at trees or greenery). Reduce your “Night vigil” and work towards saner and more balanced work timings.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Take a break from repeated fine use of your eyes to gaze into the distance. This relieves eye strain.

If you work in an air conditioned environment, it is possible that your neck muscles and shoulders are also strained from hunching over your laptop.  A short walk around the block every 2 hours will help stretch out these muscles and also give your eyes a rest.

Most of us also have strained our blink reflex with excessive screen use. Remember to  gently blink your eyes every 4 – 5 minutes or so to ensure your eyes do not go dry. Shifting your eye range also helps in this.

Do not suppress natural urges:

Do NOT suppress natural urges like the urge to use the washroom, the urge to sleep or the urge to blink or yawn. If you are doing this often to appear polite and well mannered , you are setting up yourself for a serious range of eye diseases later on.

Suppressing the urge to visit the washroom tampers with “apana vayu” a sub set of vata dosha. This also sets up for more serious disorders related to the urinary and reproductive tract. So, when you gotta go, JUST GO!

This is very common among women who are embarrassed to use the washroom due to public scorn / ridicule. This is also a problem when we are in public places and are afraid of unclean washrooms. Again: the possibility of an infection form an unclean washroom is less of a health issue compared to not using the washroom at all.

So, JUST GO! Please encourage your children to listen to their natural urges and not “learn the bad habit of suppression”.

Reduce screen glare and over-bright light :

Control the amount of bright light your eyes work in. Many computer and smartphone screens are set to the highest level of brightness. This is unnecessary and extremely fatiguing to your eyes. This along with the bright, white office lighting and pale walls, re-create the sun even in your office.

This amount of light is fatiguing and drying to the eyes. Re-set screen brightness and switch off a few lights if the room is bright enough. But do remember too much light AND too little light both strain vision – experiment and arrive at optimal light for yourself.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Turn down your phone's screen brightness to reduce eye strain due to screen glare and blue light.

 

Re-set aggravated pitta and vata through regular abhyanga:

Balance aggravated pitta and vata through the body through regular abhyanga – a regular abhyanga helps dissipate aggravated vata and pitta dosha and moves it back to its original seat, thus bringing the body back to balance. We often see that people with high pitta aggravation experience profuse eye watering and release of hot vapour from their eyes when Abhyanga is done. This is a good indication both of how aggravated the dosha is and how powerfully the abhyanga works in restoring the body back to balance.

Reduce eye strain with Ayurveda: Regular Abhyanga Snana balances aggravated vata and pitta dosha, reducing eye strain and fatigue.

Practice regular Pada abhyanga to improve eye strength and vision clarity:

Pada abhyanga is a gem of a dinacharya that is a gift from Ayurveda. When regularly done, Pada abhyanga deepens sleep, improves energy levels the next day, removes excessive fatigue and strain stored in the legs, balances vata dosha, and most importantly , gives “drishti prasadaka” or vision clarity.

A regular pada abhyanga helps reduce eye strain by nourishing the eyes, clarifying vision

This Drishti prasadaka benefit of Pada abhyanga can be explained using references from various Ayurvedic texts. Bhela Samhita tells us that one important centre of Alochaka Pitta is the feet. Alochaka Pitta is a sub division of Pitta dosha that is responsible for good vision. Alochaka Pitta’s primary centre is the Liver – so eating Pitta aggravating food over stimulates Alochaka Pitta which leads to eye degeneration.

But by doing a regular Pada abhyanga AND adopting a Pitta balancing diet, we can temper the Alochaka Pitta and help strengthen the eye.

Acharya Vagbhatta tells us that 2 important Siras (veins / circulatory vessels) of the eye end in the feet. Through the process of pada abhyanga using special herbs and oils, we can detoxify and strengthen these 2 Siras, thus helping nourish the eyes.

 

Regulating aggravated Pitta dosha through Ahara Niyama (diet + food regulation) :

Regulating Pitta dosha helps regulate Pitta aggravation in the eye.

At Krya, we advise various means of regulating Pitta through Ahara. This can be read in detail in some of our earlier posts on this.

In short, the addition of madhura and ojas building dravyas like milk and ghee to the diet, using a careful selection of spoces that warm and aid digestion but do not irritate the body (pepper, cumin and not red and green chillies), help balance aggravated Pitta. To ensure Pitta does not flare up, we advise following ahara niyama (meal regulations) like  eating meals on time. Delayed and untimely meals are a strong aggravator of both Pitta and vata dosha.

Regulating aggravated Pitta through right food is critical for eye health

Adding cooling grains and vegetables like split mung, aged rice, and gourds (ash gourd, ridge gourd, bottle gourd, snake gourd, parwal) are also very useful help in pitta regulation.

Night gazing:

Star and Moon gazing are prescribed Ayurvedic practices to infuse cooling, nourishing energies into the eyes. This also helps counteract the strain brought by close gazing.

Night sky gazing is an excellent practice to reduce stress and improve vision and well being

Night sky  gazing is an excellent practice to counter feelings of depression, high stress, inability to switch off and aggravated Pitta-vata dosha.  At Krya, we have seen that consumers with moderate depression, anxiety and stress related hairfall, benefit greatly from this practice. It helps calm down the brain and visibly brings down stress.

Electronic cut off time:

At Krya, we often recommend a strict cut off time in cases of aggravated vata and pitta dosha. Setting limits for smartphone and laptop usage go a long way in restoring health and harmony to the body.

Many of us use broadband and wi-fi at home to surf the net / watch television, etc. We often forget to switch off this wi-fi signal at night. Many of us also sleep with our cell phones in the bedroom  near our heads.

Radiation fatigue can excite vata in the body

These practices increase the amount of radiation our body absorbs over time. Research tells us that this radiation exposure causes deep seated fatigue and vibratory responses in the body. Minute nerve cells are excited by these radiation based energies and vibrate in response to them causing depletion of ojas and fatigue in the body. So from both eye health and overall well being, an electronic and radiation cut off is extremely beneficial for the family.

Application of cooling substances like Ayurvedic Kajal to the eyes:

Many synthetic eye make up products increase Pitta dosha in the eyes. They also contain ingredients like lead and other suspect minerals and substances which are transdermally absorbed through the eyes. Ayurveda recommends using only a suitable herbal kaajal that strengthens vision and cools the eyes.

Frequent eye washing using pure, clean water

Eye washing is an approved Ayurvedic practice to clarify the eyes, remove toxins and balance aggravated Pitta.. We will do a more detailed post on this later on the Krya blog.

Eye washing is recommended using pure clean water, or herb infused water in Ayurveda in the following times: on waking up, after meals. Each of these has a slightly different effect on the eyes, which we will read about in a later post.

For the best eye cleansing, we are asked to hold clean, cool and pure water in our mouths while washing the eyes. Once you have finished washing the eyes, the water held in  the mouth can be discarded.

A Summary: ayurvedic practices to strengthen vision naturally and reduce eye strain

Infographic on simple ways to strengthen vision naturally

To conclude:

Modern choices come with many serious, dangerous fall outs, which we remain unaware off. The practice of using a cell phone is barely 20 years old in India. Apps are even more recent : just 3 / 4 years old. However, we have already begun reaping the ill effects of over use of these conveniences.

Ayurveda is always immensely practical – the Acharyas are not strict or “Methodist” in their advice. They always recommend leading a life of balance for good health.

We hope our post helped you appreciate many of the deeper reasons behind eye strain and eye fatigue. We also hope you will go through and follow the Ayurvedic recommendations we have suggested to help you get the most out of your eyes.

Krya Hair Oils to reduce Eye fatigue :

  • For very high Pitta aggravation – (premature greying, scalp dryness due to high heat, and hair thinning) – choose the Krya Vibrant hair colour hair oil . This hair oil is very potent. If you experience high premature greying, hair thinning, have anger management issues, are a type A personality and have high stress (and other such signs of classic pitta prakriti / pitta agravation), please choose this oil.
  • For moderate – high Pitta aggravation – (premature greying, scalp dryness due to high heat, and hair thinning) – choose the Krya Classic hair oil
    • Note : If in doubt whether your Pitta aggravation is moderate or severe, start with the Krya Classic hair oil . If after a month you do not see good progress, crank it up a notch with the Krya vibrant hair oil
  • For Vata aggravation due to high stress (difficult work atmosphere, frequent air travel / travel, long commute, missed / skipped meals, difficulty sleeping, long working hours AND dry and falling hair ) – chose the Krya harmony hair oil

Krya Abhyanga Oils for Pada Abhyanga :

  • Classic Abhyanga Oil – can be used by everyone in the family. Balances all 3 doshas
  • Intense Abhyanga Oil – Can be used by people with high vata aggravation, those with very high physical activity, Post partum women                                       
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Krya Body-Washes & Ubtans : Natural Intelligence for your skin

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Artificial Intelligence & machine learning in non-human systems is an accepted reality now. If it seems incredible that some human jobs could be replaced by AI, then even more incredible is natural intelligence, which is all around us but often not appreciated.

An excellent example of natural intelligence is the interaction of a good Ayurvedic Ubtan or bodywash with your skin.

Natural Intelligence for your Skin

In the Ayurvedic system, a herb & grain based powder is the ideal recommendation for clean, healthy and radiant skin. (they also recommend that you regularly apply a good skin oil pre-bath to balance aggravated doshas and nourish the skin)

All the natural orifices of the body like the ears , eyes , nose, axillia, genital organs , skin pores (sweat) and scalp secrete  waste material called “mala” , throughout the day and night. If this “mala” is not removed properly, the body loses its health and appearance of well being. This is one very important reason why a “Snana” is recommended as the first act of the day and is considered to be very beneficial.

The 3-Level cleansing process of a Ubtan & Body-wash Powder

Soaps use a purely surfactant method of dissolving all the oils and dirt on the surface of your skin , which are then removed as you pour water.

The Krya Ubtans & Body-wash powders work by combination of gentle exfoliation , natural surfactants and adsorption. The Ubtan powder is first made into a paste with water and then this herb paste is gently rubbed on the skin. This paste adsorbs excess oil, dead cells and dirt from your skin and then leaves it fresh and clean, as you pour water to wash off the mixture.

Because of the powder format and the quality of the herbs, this paste also gently opens up the Srotas or fine channels on your skin and cleanses the “mala” in them by suction. As the ubtan cleans, the herbs and grains also coat the skin with nutrients, oils and other bio-actives.

The Krya Ubtans and body-washes are also designed at a mildly acidic pH to match your skin so that your  skin’s micro-biome is properly maintained. So in this medium only those microbes that the skin deems beneficial are allowed to prosper while it eliminates other harmful bacteria.

Due to this highly intelligent cleaning method, your skin is nourished, thoroughly cleansed, and the skin’s moisture is protected. So you feel light and refreshed after an Ayurvedic Snana. Due to the deep cleaning of the Srotas, you will be protected from body-odour for several hours naturally without any recourse to artificial deodorants.

So a properly formulated Ayurvedic Ubtan or bodywash powder will cleanse at 3 – Levels

  1. The surface of the skin
  2. The fine channels or “srotas” and
  3. Protect & Nourish your skin micro-biome without destroying friendly microbes.

Soaps are NOT intelligent

Soap making technology was known to all ancient cultures and yet it was never accepted by Indian systems of medicine, and for good reason too. Synthetic soaps have a detergent like action that dissolves only the surface level oil and dirt on your skin and wipes it dry after your bath. Since the deeper level srotas have not been cleaned, soon after a bath, the sweat and poorly cleaned srotas will cause body-odour. Certain soaps may also unnecessarily load the srotas with scum and buildup, clogging the srotas further.

In this broad-spectrum cleaning , the soap also dries out the natural sebum of the skin , making it dry and crying out for a moisturizer. Also, because of their alkaline pH (your skin is at a mildly acidic pH) , soaps will also destroy the skin microbiome of friendly bacteria and make the body more vulnerable to disease causing organisms.

So effectively a soap bath is a superficial clean, and a deep level disturbance to your skin. It leaves your skin dry, unclean from within and robbed of its friendly microbial protective layer – this is NOT very intelligent.

The Difference between A Krya Ubtan & A Krya Body-Wash

A Krya ubtan has been formulated with special herbs to remove excess oil on an  Abhyanga (oil-bath) day. Whereas, a Krya body-wash has been designed for use on regular non-abhyanga days for use on plain , un-oiled skin. It is an ideal replacement to care for your skin by replacing harsh soaps. Customers who use our body-wash regularly are always surprised by the fact that their skin feels refreshingly clean, without needing an external moisturizer and is also naturally deodorized for several hours.

At Krya we have 14 different Ubtans and Body-Washes for men, women, kids & babies and by your skin type.

Buy natural intelligence for your skin here 

 

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Pitta Balancing Diet Part 2: pitta channelizing Dravyas & Spices

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Reading Time: 9 minutes

A pitta imbalance is responsible for many skin and hair conditions we see today like premature greying, hair thinning, heat rashes, acne, etc. Pitta imbalance is also the cause behind gastritis, GERD, IBS and high Blood Pressure.

Pitta imbalance leads to agner management issues and other hair, skin & health issues

Whenever we see signs of dosha imbalance reflected in skin and hair, it makes sense to correct the diet so we do not further overload the body. When these diet modifications are adopted ALONG with good quality ayurvedic oils and choornas, and external products and Dinacharya practices are followed, we can see a good improvement in the skin and hair condition. It can also positively impact internal issues as well.

Dravyas and Spices which are pitta channelizing:

In the first part of this series on Balancing Pitta through food,  we saw how introducing certain Rasas (tastes) into the food, helped balance aggravated Pitta dosha. Apart from this, aggravated Pitta always means that Agni is not channelized properly in the body. Aggravated Pitta dosha can travel and irritate other organ systems like skin, hair etc, as the Fire in the body is TOO high.

Aggravated pitta flows through the body aggravating other organ systems

Therefore, an important part of keeping Pitta in check is to channelise the flow of Fire (Agni) in the body. This makes the difference between an out of control forest fire which how aggravated Pitta dosha can be visualised vs a steadily burning , lamp , which represents Pitta in balance.

Dravyas and spices that are pitta channelizing help rein in and control Agni, improving the ability of Pitta dosha to work in the body and enhance metabolism and nutrient extraction while eating.

When pitta is balanced, it regulates all organ systems and keeps teh body in health & harmony

 

This is why reining in Pitta is very tricky – we cannot abruptly cool, freeze or totally bring down Pitta in the body as it is vital for digestion, metabolism , warmth and life in the body. So controlling excess Pitta does not mean dousing our Fire. It means subtly altering the fire and controlling it by using fire subduing rasas (tastes) AND by channelizing the fire by using certain spices and cooking methods.

Pitta should not be doused or frozen.

We saw some of these dravyas when we read about how the use of Opposite rasas can pull down aggravated Pitta, like Ghee. But these Dravyas are so critical to a Pitta Shramana diet, that we have discussed them separately again here.

Dairy based Dravyas for pitta channelizing:

Milk, Ghee and Buttermilk prepared to be pitta channelizing (Well churned, non-sour, watered down) are 3 important agni balancing dravyas that should be a part of a Pitta shramana diet.

All 3 of these should be preferably made from non pasteurised, organic A2 cow’s milk at home and not bought outside. We will put up a separate post on how these 3 dravyas can be taken by different Prakriti based individuals for best effect.

Carefully sourced and processed dairy help channelize pitta well

Milk (Ksheera) for pitta channelizing:

Warm, freshly boiled milk sourced ethically from an Indian desi cow is considered an elixir. It is prana positive, ojas building and is “brhmana” or nutritive and nourishing to the body and is also pitta channelizing. Depending upon your capacity to digest milk, you can have one or 2 small glasses of Milk a day as a meal in itself.

Desi cow milk is an elixer

Milk should ideally be had on an empty stomach and considered a full meal in itself. Most of us are unused to drinking plain Milk. So we recommend starting with a small glass (50 ml) of Milk , first thing in the morning to start with.

If you have any pre-existing health conditions like Diabetes, please check with your health practitioner before starting on this.

Given below are milk processing techniques for different prakritis.

Milk for Kapha leaning prakriti:

If you are overweight or have a strong leaning towards Kapha prakriti (catches colds and coughs often, tendency to put on weight) or have been diagnosed with Kapha disorders like hypothyroidism, PCOD, etc, please try this Milk combination. for effective pitta channelizing.

Boil Milk with 25% water added until the water evaporates. This is the basic ayurvedic milk boiling technique. 

Flavour this milk with a pinch of turmeric and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Drink warm and unsweetened. Drink this first thing in the morning after bowel movement, around 6 am – a small glass (50 – 75 ml) would do.

Turmeric and black pepper are ideal for milk for kapha prakriti

Give a gap of atleast 2 hours before eating breakfast and do your daily exercise in this time.

Milk for Vata leaning Prakriti:

If you are underweight, restless, prone to insomnia and are easily stressed, have panic attacks, etc, please try this Milk combination to channelize aggravated pitta.

Boil Milk in the ayurvedic way as given above.

To this Milk, please add a pinch of pepper, 1 – 2 roasted and powdered cardamom pods and organic mishri (sulpharless sugar). Start with 50 ml, and gradually build it up as you find your absorption level improving. You can drink upto 150 ml of Milk / day for this prakriti. however, Vata leaning individuals have varying digestive capacity – so the body must be gradually accustomed to this drink.

Cardamom and sugar should be used to spice milk for vata prakriti

Drink this milk after bowel movements, first thing in the morning. Gentle yogic exercises should follow, 30 minutes after this drink.

Milk for Pitta leaning Prakriti:

If you have stable body weight, are neither under / over weight and are generally Pitta prakriti prone, please try this Milk combination for pitta channelizing.

Boil Milk the ayurvedic way, as given above.

To this Milk, please add a small amount of sugar (sugar level in between Kapha and Vata Milk), and a powdered spice mix of 1 elaichi pod, a pinch of turmeric, a pinch of pepper and 2 pinches of dhania (coriander seeds) powder, roasted and ground. Pitta leaning individuals can start with 75 ml and go upto 125 ml of Milk.

Dhania and pepper should be used to process milk for Pitta prakriti

Do light household chores after this Milk (if unused to Milk) like light sweeping, folding of clothes, clearing up, watering plants, etc. and then go onto yoga.

Ghee (Go Ghrita) to balance Pitta:

A2 organic ghee is an elixir to the body. Small amounts of melted ghee help rein in aggravated pitta, channelizes pitta better, help the body absorb nutrients better and improve metabolism. This view of Ghee is not shared by Allopaths and Western Medicine. If you have a pre-existing Medical condition that frowns upon the use of Ghee, please check with your health practitioner before starting on this.

For those in good health, Ayurveda advises adding ghee to every meal. 1 – 1.5 teaspoons of melted cow ghee can be added to every meal. This helps each meal to be absorbed and assimilated better by the body. This is especially useful when Pitta is aggravated.

We have a longer, more detailed post explaining how Ghee should be sourced, why it is important to source Desi, A2 cow ghee. Please go through this post.

Takra (well churned buttermilk) to channelize pitta:

Ayurveda lists many ways of preparing Takra (buttermilk). This varies depends upon the prakriti of the individual. However, to be on the safe side, and to ensure Takra can be had by all, we suggest making well churned, fat free Takra (buttermilk).

Curd is considered Pitta-kapha aggravating and abhisyandi (producing excessive mucous secretion) as per Ayurveda. Hence it is prohibited for everyone , except in certain health conditions. When eaten, it must be eaten only in certain seasons and only with the addition of certain dravyas in it to reduce some of its harmful effects. We will delve into this in a separate post.

Curd is pitta kapha aggravating as per ayurveda

But when we churn curd with water and extract butter from it, we get Takra or buttermilk. The ayurvedic qualities of Takra are very different from Curd. Takra is astringent to the body although it is also slightly “ushna” or hot in nature.

Hence, it is allowed only in measured quantities for Pitta aggravation, provided the curd it is made from is freshly made and not sour. This Takra can be had 2 – 3 times a week or even everyday if Pitta aggravation is not too high. It helps reduce inflammations, and is very useful in conditions like Hemorrhoids, which is a common Pitta complaint.

Buttermilk or takra is slightly hot, digetsive and astringent as per Ayurveda

How to make Takra:

Watered down Takra is made by adding 4 – 6 parts Water to freshly set, home made, full-fat, desi A2 curd and churning at slow speed in a mixer or using a hand blender. The butter that separates should be carefully strained and removed and can be stored aside to make ghee.

The churning is an important part of the ayurvedic process to transform Curd into Takra.

Churn curd until butter separates to make buttermilk

The strained Takra is seasoned with rock salt, roasted jeera powder, pepper, black salt, etc, depending upon the need, and then consumed. Do not drink chilled or ice cold Takra – it is better to allow curd to come to room temperature before making Takra.

Properly prepared and spiced Takra is extremely Pitta channelizing. It is digestive and carminative in nature without overloading Pitta dosha and sharply aggravating Pitta’s qualities.

Agni balancing spices:

In our earlier post on Pitta aggravating foods, we had discussed how certain spices like cayenne pepper, red and green chillies, etc severely aggravate Pitta as they are ”teekshna” (intense), “katu” (spicy) and “ushna” (hot) in nature.

However, spices are essential in cooking as per Ayurveda. They help enhance taste, cut down some of the undesirable qualities of food , and help kindle Agni and also help metabolise food better.

For pitta aggravation, Ayurveda recommends using the following spices: Rock salt, Pepper, Jeera, Curry Leaf, Dhania (leaf and seed). Additionally spices like Fennel ,Elaichi and Cardamom can also be used.

Certain spices like Jeera help channelise Pitta dosha very well

Rock Salt:

Rock salt (saindhav lavana) is considered to have a cooling effect on the body , which is unusual given its taste. Hence it is recommended by Acharya Charaka to be used everyday in meals. Rock Salt is much better for health than using refined, chemical salts which are commonly available in a super market. This is also available as Himalayan salt, Himalayan Pink salt, or plain Rock Salt.

Saindhava lavana is a pitta balancing salt

Ayurveda tells us that using the right salt , in quantities that are appropriate for our prakriti, aids digestion. Saindhava lavana improves digestion, aids metabolism, clears blocked channels, and aids nutrient absorption. Hence when Saindhav lavana is properly used it is pitta channelizing.

If we use too much of even Saindhava lavana we aggravate Pitta dosha. If we use iodized table salt, even in small amounts, we SEVERELY aggravate Pitta dosha. If we eat hotel food, which is often laced with high amounts of MSG, we are even MORE SEVERELY aggravating Pitta. If we eat food preserved in Vinegar and commercial salt like pickles, pickled vegetables and even so-called healthy foods like Kimchi, we are adding Petrol to the Forest Fire.

MSG laced foods aggravate Pitta severely

Mildly Ushna Spices:

Maricha (pepper) and Jeera (Cumin) are ushna  (hot), and digestive spices. However, they are considered essential for aiding digestion, taste and metabolism. When used in small amounts they help channelise Pitta and do not set it on edge. But spices like chillies, cayaenne pepper, commercial salt and vinegar all aggravate Pitta. Hence, “teekshna” or intense Pitta aggravating spices should be replaced with these Ushna, Pitta channelizing spices instead.

Digestive, Pitta balancing spices:

Certain spices like Dhania seeds, Fennel seeds, Elaichi are only mildly ushna and Pitta balancing in nature. These should be an essential part of a Pitta balancing diet and should be used to spice and season food as often as possible.

Spices like fennel should be used to make pitta balancing spice blends

For Pitta aggravation, it is worth replacing traditional masalas with specially made masalas that use the above spices. For example, Sambhar powder can be made using Mung dal(roasted) instead of Tuvar dal and pepper instead of red chilies to suit and balance Pitta aggravation.

To sum up – channelizing pitta through certain foods & spices:

In the second part of our Pitta balancing through food series, we explored the properties of Dairy based dravyas like Milk, Takra and Ghee and also looked at how they should be processed to suit various prakritis. We also looked at the benefits of a few Pitta balancing spices and seasoning substances like Rock Salt and understood their role in pitta channelizing restoring the body to a state of harmony.

Ahara niyama (food rules) are essential to maintain health and well being according to Ayurveda. The Samhitas tell us that these niyama should be subtly altered as per our individual prakriti to ensure that we what we eat support and heals our body, restoring it to a state f balance.

Pitta aggravation is a common aggravation we come across at Krya – this leads to certain skin and hair issues like premature greying, oily scalp, hair thinning, skin allergies, rashes, acne, etc. When this aggravation is tackled through food, lifestyle and external products, there is a much more holistic sense of balance achieved by the body. Therefore we are able to tackle skin and hair problems much faster.

In the 3rd part of this series, we will explore how controlling meal timings can greatly help control aggravated Pitta. We will also look at sample menu plans we could adopt if we would like to balance aggravated Pitta dosha.

For help choosing the right hair and skin products to control aggravated Pitta dosha, please call us (0-75500-89090) or write to us.

 

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What Everyone Must Know about ayurvedic oiling

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

The practice of ayurvedic oiling , i.e using ayurvedic skin and hair oils is essential for maintaining skin and hair health. Regular ayurvedic oiling improves hair and skin health, helps restore and repair these organ systems, balances dosha imbalances and gives many other important health benefits for the body.

 

ayurvedic oiling is an excellent practice ti give health and transform hair & skin.

Ayurveda also recommends the balanced consumption of “sneha” or oils & fats to keep the bones and joints in good working condition. Certain organs like the brain and the eyes are high in fat composition so the regular intake of good fats is recommended to keep these organs in good working order.

Properties of different vegetable oils – as per Ayurveda

Every vegetable oil / fat has a different quality as per traditional medicine.

Cow ghee:

Cow ghee is considered tridoshic in its nature, and helps calm down pitta and vata without increasing kapha greatly. So if your skin and hair is extremely dry or chemically damaged, the addition of cow ghee in your diet will be very beneficial. To avoid aggravating Kapha, it is better to consume only melted cow ghee. Do keep in mind that this ghee should be made the ayurvedic way from the milk of hormone and antibiotic free, A2 desi cows only.

 

Cow ghee is an excellent tridoshic fat to be consumed regularly

Sesame Oil:

Sesame oil is considered “the” base oil in Ayurveda. It goes into every external abhyanga, hair and skin formulation at Krya. Sesame is fantastic at balancing vata dosha, so if you have a lot of aches and pains, external application of sesame can go a long way in correcting this.

Sesame, however, can increase pitta – so if you have a high pitta constitution, it is better to cut down on the consumption of sesame seeds and oils, although you can continue to use this externally. High pitta dosha manifests itself as premature greying, balding, a quick volatile temper, skin that is dry due to excess heat, burning and inflamed skin conditions and hair that tends to have a reddish / brownish hue.

Sesame oil is the base oil of choice in Ayurveda. It is nourishing, intense and hot in nature

Coconut Oil:

Coconut oil is extremely nutritious and good for the body. Its composition is close to that of human breast milk, so it is very beneficial for the body. However, it is very cooling and can increase mucous in the body and also stimulates hair growth. So if you have a kapha prone body tend to catch colds easily and are also slightly hirsute, it is best not to apply coconut oil on the body.

Coconut oil is highly nutritious but very cooling and kapha aggravating

In the Winter season, coconut oil is best avoided on skin for everyone. However, it can be used for the hair , after processing with herbs, as it helps stimulate hair growth and cools the brain, scalp and eyes.

Some issues with Sneha (vegetable oils and fats)

What we have stated above are facts given in the Samhitas. However, in modern times, the properties of these wonderful base oils are altered due to the way they have been extracted. Also, we have seen that each base oil comes with its own suitability issues.

Issues due to sourcing:

We have written a detailed post on Cow ghee and how it should be sourced and consumed. If we are having ghee made the commercial way where we are not extracting ghee from naturally fermented curd / cream, or sourcing ghee form hormone and antibiotic pumped A1 cows, then we will not get the benefits of ghee that are outlined in the Samhitas.

Issues due to the essential nature of Oils:

For example, Sesame oil is a wonderful base oil, but its essential nature is pitta aggravating. So in conditions of high Pitta aggravation, it is better to temper down the properties of Pitta present in sesame. Similarly, we have seen that Coconut is hair growth promoting but is also kapha aggravating. So how do we continue to use its beneficial properties without aggravating mucous or stimulating hair growth? Let us see how we tackle both of these problems at Krya.

Issues due to extraction method followed:

All commercial brands of cooking oil unfortunately follow the chemical extraction method where “food grade” hexane is used as a solvent to extract oil. In this method, an oil seed can release almost 70 – 80% of its oil content. The recovery process in the mechanical chekku /  ghani is only upto 40%.

The solvent extraction process allows us to extract oil from even brand and husk, where oil content is very low – this explains how we are seeing new oils today like rice bran oil which were traditionally unheard of, as it is impossible to mechanically extract oil from rice bran using a chekku / ghani.

Cold pressed organic oils used at Krya : the first step towards ayurvedic oiling

We use only old fashioned chekku (in tamil) / ghani (in hindi) extracted oils that have been pressed from organically grown seeds. The chekku / ghani is a wooden press that uses mechanical pressure, sometimes aided by the use of cattle to squeeze out oil from an oil seed like copra, sesame seeds, mustard etc.

 

This kind of oil is also called a “cold pressed oil” although this is a misnomer strictly speaking as the chekku / ghani also generates a small amount of heat as the wooden crushes uses force to crush seeds and extract oil.

This “old fashioned” method of extracting oil is safe, retains the aroma of the oil and is extremely nutritious to the body.

Some of the qualities of a chekku / ghani extracted oil is that there is some degree of moisture preset in the oil. Also, the oil contains minute volatile compounds that oxidize releasing a characteristic aroma for each type of oil. As the oil ages and is exposed to oxygen, these volatile compounds start to ferment , so the oil with time will have a “riper” aroma and will eventually go rancid. This is why a chekku / ghani extracted oil will never have a shelf life of more than 9 months – it will start to go rancid.

Cold pressed oil extraction is a traditional method that retains nutrients in oil

A high quality, cold pressed oil pressed from organic seeds & nuts is the first important step in ayurvedic oiling. 

Compare this with the 3 year shelf life of a hexane extracted oil – this oil has been chemically extracted, refined, bleached and deodorised to remove all its individual characteristics and has been made to unnaturally stay edible for 2 – 3 years.

If an external products company like Krya does not use commercially extracted oil for our hair and skin oils, then you should certainly not use these oils for edible purpose at home. Think of the effect using these oils can have on your body.

Transforming a vegetable oil for for ayurvedic oiling: Tila Paka veedhi process

By sourcing only cold pressed, ghani extracted vegetable oils from organically grown nuts and seeds, we are able to solve one part of the oil sourcing  problem at Krya. We are able to avoid any chemical contamination and begin with only the purest and best form of the vegetable oil.

But how do we handle the fact that the vegetable oil is suitable only for certain prakrities? We widen its suitability and improve its bio-availability by cooking it with herbs to change its properties and make it suitable for ayurvedic oiling.

When the Tila Paka veedhi process is done correctly using the right herbs, the right process and the right temperature, the base vegetable oil TRANSFORMS. It becomes a potent, bio active rich oil by transferring the actives from herbs into the oils through this process. In this process, the base oil absorbs the properties of the herbs and its nature subtly transforms.

 

Tila Paka veedhi is a transformative ayurvedic oil manufacturing process

Depending upon the herbs used, we can make the oil less kapha aggravating (in the case of Coconut oil), and less intense (Sesame Oil). By judiciously formulating the right mix of base oils, herbs that go into the final oil, we can create an oil which is readily penetrative without being “teekshna” or intense, and which is nourishing / nurturing without enhancing mucous production. This is why we say that an oil made from an organic cold pressed oil and then further transformed using herbs by the Tila paka veedhi process is the ideal oil for ayurvedic oiling. When ayurvedic oiling is done with this kind of oil, you can see holistic and widespread benefits in hair, skin & health.

How is the Tila Paka veedhi process done?

The Tila Paka Veedhi is an ayurvedic oil manufacturing process. One of the reason this process is not used widely is because it is slow, and highly labour intensive . For example, it takes between 6 – 10 hours of SLOW boiling in the Tila Paka Veedhi process to get an oil ready for use. And it needs to be gently stirred throughout this time – so it is really tough to create but totally worth the effort.

When we do this process correctly, we start by extracting nutrients in 3 separate ways: through Herb deocotions (Kashayas), Herb Cold pressed Juices (Swarasas) and Herb churned pastes (Kalpa). Depending upon the herb you are incorporating into the oil, you should be following one of these 3 extraction methods which depends upon the nature of the herb. Juicy herbs lend themselves well to swarasas. Woody herbs to Kashayas.

Kashaya - one of the 3 bio actives added to an oil in Tila paka veedhi

Once the extraction is done correctly, each of these is added to the oil, and cooked with the oil, slowly stirring the oil mixture throughout the process. This disperses the actives which we have extracted into the oil. This also slowly and gently “nano-ises” the oil, breaking it down to smaller particles.

At the end of the process, the oil we get is highly potent and penetrative. Its texture, color and aroma are completely new and different from the base oil and it is absorbed very QUICKLY by skin and hair, allowing the body to absorb the nutrients we have so painstakingly extracted and incorporated.

Tila paka veedhi is a transformative ayurvedic oil manufacturing process

To sum up:

In this blog post, we discussed the important topic of ayurvedic oiling and explained its importance in maintaining and improving skin and hair health. The Samhitas are emphatic about the many skin, hair and health benefits we can see with frequent and regular oil application.

 

But simply using a cold pressed oil may not be enough / suitable for us. There may be issues of dosha imbalance. Also,  with the rampant use of harsh synthetics in the commercial extraction technique, these oils would be contaminated by these chemicals as well as the additives that are routinely added to vegetable oils.

We saw how we address both these important concerns at Krya . We source only authentic, organically grown cold pressed oils. We then process these oils using herbs in a special ayurvedic process called Tila Paka veedhi. Through this process, we transform the oil making it suitable across prakritis and also make it more potent, penetrative and therefore a much more effective product to help with skin and hair concerns.

If you too would like to experience the holistic benefits of ayurvedic oiling for hair & skin, do explore our wide range here. If you would like help choosing the right Krya oil for your skin / hair type, please call us (0-75500-89090) or write to us.

 

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Why krya recommends A2 Cow Ghee for Good Skin and Great Hair

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

The Ayurvedic Recommendation :

Based on Ayurvedic texts, krya recommends regular dietary use of Desi A2 cow ghee for all prakritis. When we say “desi ghee” we usually refer to ghee made from the milk & curd of indigenous Indian cow breeds,  with a prominent “hump” on their shoulder . Theseindigenous breeds are derived from the primary strain of “Zebu cattle” , descended from Indian Aurochs.


Approximately 268 – 232 BC – representation of Zebu cattle on Rampurva Capital of the Pillars of Ashoka, excavated in Rampurva-West Champaran District, Bihar

 

What is commonly available today ?

What is available commonly today is A1 milk, curd and ghee. A1 milk is derived from the European version of Bos, which migrated away from the Asian and African heartland close to 4000 years ago. This species developed a slightly different version of Beta casein in the Milk which is now called A1 beta casein, as opposed to A2 Beta casein found in Indian indigenous cattle.

Why we recommend desi A2 Milk ?

As per Ayurveda and recent research, A2 milk is easier to process and digest by our bodies. In practice, we have found that A2 milk is usually less fatty, causes less bloating and digestive discomfort, and exhibits all the properties of Milk we have studied as per Ayurveda.

Issues with Commercial dairy farming and A1 Milk

When we buy Dairy from large conglomerates, they follow a collection + aggregation model . Here Milk is sourced from small dairy farmers with any breed of cow or buffalo , mixed together, homogenised to follow government
standards of fat percentage and then sold as toned milk, full fat milk, etc.
This is the case for all major co-operative dairy conglomerates across India.

• Milk is sourced from different kinds of daily cattle and mixed together: so we have desi (A2), foreign (jersey – A1), hybrid (desi+jersey), buffalo, and sometimes goats milk being mixed together . The properties of each of these are different and will have a different effect on the body. Depending upon the mixture we get, the body may accept it better or it may not.

• As Dairy farmers are rewarded for fat percentage of Milk (higher cost paid for higher milk fat), they are incentivised to replace lean indigenous breeds with foreign breeds which are naturally high in fat. Again to conserve milk fat, they restrict the animal’s movement and can feed the Animal high fat and unsuitable diet in order to extract high fat milk.

• Unnatural, cruel dairy farming practices: To extract maximum yield from Cows, dairy farmers unnecessarily induce lactation through hormone injections. The animals are often kept in crowded and unsanitary conditions leading to diseases and antibiotic injections. As the animal is subjected to so much strain, her natural life comes down to half.

• End user contamination: Often due to the presence of a very large cold-chain, on and off there is adulteration of Milk – Urea, Detergent powder, etc are used to preserve milk for a few days till it reaches you

Ayurvedic recommednation on sourcing Milk

Milk must be sourced from a farm where the animals are treated well. When we take Milk from a cow, we are taking a portion of food that she has produced for her calf. So we incur a Karmic debt towards the Cow and her Calf. We must ensure that we treat the Cow and her Calf well, look after their health and ensure they live happily with us to reduce that Karmic debt slightly. Hence these practices are specified in Ayurveda

• Milk must be taken after the calf has had her full
• Cow must not be subjected to extended lactation period simply to get more Milk out of her
• Cow and calf must be housed in clean, hygienic and pleasing environment
• Cow and calf must both be healthy and willing to spare excess Milk. We must not take milk from a cow who has lost her calf, or whose Calf is sick.
• Cow and calf must be allowed to graze and eat their normal diet. We must not give them food that is not suitable to them and which makes them ill (both are common practices in commercial dairy practice).
• As far as possible, we must take Milk from locally available breeds – their fat content and other nutrient parameters are most suitable for the climatic conditions we live in.
• We must source Raw, unpasteurised cow’s milk which we then boil at home as per prevalent Ayurvedic practice. Hence it is “cooked” for the first time when it reaches us.
• Dairy is precious. It is made by a Mother from her dhatus for us. We must use it as necessary and should not over indulge in it or waste it.

What to look for when sourcing Desi A2 Ghee ?

If you look at the above, it is ideal to make your own Desi A2 ghee from the Milk you buy everyday from a farm that you know of personally. This is a process – many of Us may not be there as yet. So here are some guidelines to determine whether the Ghee you are planning to buy is physically and spiritually correct for you and your family

• How are the Cows treated: A conversation / visit should have you enquiring about the health of the cows. Please remember sourcing ghee from badly treated cows is going to increase your spiritual / karmic debt. Ayurveda tells us that all food is endowed with “gunas” or spiritual qualities. The state of the people making the food, the state of the cow are both important to source truly good ghee. Therefore, it is preferable to source from smal local dairy farms or gaushalas which you can trust, to source ghee & milk.

• Milk – Ghee ratio: It takes about 30-36 litres of Desi A2 Milk to make 1 Kg of Desi A2 Ghee . This ratio is assuming normal fat proportion of Bos Indicus strains which is always lower than A1 strains. If you assume this ratio to be a factor in costing, Desi A2 Ghee should cost around Rs. 1200 – 1500 / Kg or more. Again costing depends upon many factors, primarily the fat percentage of the Milk produced by the Indigenous strain. Certain breeds like Gir and Red Sindhi have slightly higher fat percentage compared to certain strains like Kangeyam. So price will vary accordingly. If it costs less than Rs.700 / Kg, you should check whether it is actually Desi A2 cow ghee.

• How is the Ghee made: We are looking for Ghee to be made using the Ayurvedic method. Hence, Malai (cream) is taken out from Milk and stored. Curd starter is added to this Malai to make a thick curd. This is churned to extract Butter + Buttermilk (fat free chaas). This butter is then heated to make Ghee. This ghee is sweet, digestive, pitta balancing and chakshushya (good for the eyes). Many households also modify this process by adding Cream removed from curd along with Cream obtained from Milk – In this case, by the time we get to making butter, the cream has already become curd due to the presence of curd starter bacteria. Sometimes this can make the cream very smelly – so we recommend the first Method.

Generally if you use good quality A2 milk, you can make about 250 gm of ghee after saving Malai for 2 – 3 weeks.

How should Ghee look / taste and smell ?

Good quality ghee should have a characteristic pleasing, ruchi inducing aroma. It should not smell burned in any way (indicates that butter was excessively heated). It should be light and easy to absorb in your food.

Good quality A2 cow’s milk and ghee can have an excellent impact on your overall health and of course will help you build good skin and hair systems. It will be an excellent one-time investment of your time to switch to a good local brand so that you can ask the farmer all the relevant questions to re-assure yourself.

 

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Is my shampoo truly natural: Krya’s perspective

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Reading Time: 9 minutes

When we describe our products and talk about how our products contain only purely natural, ayurvedic herbs, we often hear a counter: “But how can I tell if my shampoo is truly natural” (or face wash or body wash). This is an interesting and challenging question.

What makes a product “a truly natural product”? Do we go by the conventional easy definition which says that if a product’s main  ingredients are derived from renewable, plant based resources and not petroleum, a product is natural?

Is something a truly natural product? This is the modern dilemma

If we did follow the above definition, Krya would be a completely different company today and we would be selling loads and loads of shiny, water based products in bottles with pretty colours and scents. So, clearly, this is not Krya’s definition of a truly natural shampoo / face wash / face serum.

What is a truly natural product: Krya’s standard

Krya follows a much more stringent and strict standard of what consists of a truly natural product. All our products are made only from 4 kinds of ingredients:

  • Whole Plant parts (  herbs, roots, shoots, leaves, fruits, flowers and seeds). When we say the word “Whole” we mean harvested fresh or dry plant parts , not extracts, distillates or essences.
  • Whole plant based, expeller pressed, organic Oils and Butters
  • Whole Plant pressed essential oils
  • Clays, Earth and Soils with specific healing characteristics

Any ingredients that does not meet the above 4 criteria is not used at Krya. So we do not use Plant based extracts, even if they are more potent and concentrated: as they do not fall into or “Whole Plant” definition. We do not use solvent extracted oils even if they are cheaper, as they are neither organic nor cold pressed.

The 4 ingredient types behind creating a truly natural krya product

And we do not use any ingredients that are DERIVED as a secondary or tertiary by product from plants. To us these are simply chemicals which have been extracted from Plants and are not truly natural. So we use no surfactants like Sodium Coco Beteine. Nor do we try and pass of Sodium Laureth sulphate as a natural, coconut based surfactant. Because we understand that even though these ingredients may have once formed a part of a plant, their extraction and isolation process have transformed them into something else- they can no longer be called “truly natural”.

Which brings me to the second important part of what makes a product, truly natural: the way it is processed.

What is a truly natural product: Krya’s processing standard

As we have seen from the above examples, ,today even harmful chemical surfactants like Sodium Laureth Sulphate are being passed off as natural. This is because the source this chemical compound was originally isolated from was a plant.

To keep our process truly natural, and ensure such chemicals do not pass muster at Krya, we follow a stringent processing standard in our factory:

  • We start production only with WHOLE herbs – we do not work with isolates, extracts or essences as many of them are made using chemical isolation techniques

How to craft a truly natuarl product : start with whole herbs

  • The herbs are bought WHOLE, cleaned and then processed in the correct manner and then sent for final manufacturing
    • The herbs are not altered with or tampered in any way – we do not change their colour, aroma, texture or any other properties deliberately
  • We use only solid formats which do not require any preservatives. By avoiding the use of water in our products, we are bale to ensure that not a single preservative, base, or any manner of manufactured ingredient goes into our products

krya truly natural procesisng technique: use solid formats that do not require preservatives

  • The herbs used in each of our products add up to 100% – there is no OTHER filler, base or any other synthetics used in our products
  • All fresh herbs, fruits and oils used are sourced only from organic sources, in season. We do not use out-of-season, chemically treated produce.

Krya's truly natural processing technique: use of seasonal organic produce

  • Oils are made from scratch using the ayurvedic tila paka method. This method of ayurvedic oil manufacturing helps extract botanical nutrients much more efficiently into oil. It also helps us avoid the use of fillers, colours, stabilisers and preservatives.

krya natural processing technique - oils

This definition of “100% natural” or “truly natural” is unique to Krya. This definition goes way beyond legal requirement or license guidelines. Even the strictest of natural product certifications allow some inclusion of synthetics to make up a format. But we, are proud to say, that our internal requirement is the strictest and most accurate definition of a truly natural product.

This definition of creating “truly natural” product imposes some restrictions and challenges for us as formulators. It is the solving of these restrictions and challenges that lead to the differences between how natural products look and feel compared to synthetics.

 Challenges faced when creating a truly natural product

One of the reasons large corporations gravitate towards making standardized chemical formulations is their ease of use and simplicity to manufacture. Because standardized chemical ingredients are used in the making of these products, the output we get is also standard.

So your synthetic detergent will always look , feel, and smell the same. You can literally close your eyes and smell its chemical fragrance and identify what you are using.

Mass market products are consistent because they are essentially synthetic

This simplistic consistency is not possible to achieve in a truly natural product due to a number of factors. This is possibly why many Krya consumers can  observe minor variations across our batches of cleansers, oils and lepas. Sometimes there is also a variation across seasons. why does this occur? We will explain this through today’s post.

Seasonal variation in produce : truly natural products

Krya uses fresh organic produce seasonally in each of our skin and hair oils. Our skin oils use varied organic produce like pomegranates, muskmelon, pineapple, mangoes, etc. These organic fruits go into the Krya Classic skin oil and the Krya Moisture Plus skin oil and the upcoming Krya After sun Skin oil and the Krya Dauhridini Body oil.

krya's products vary slightly depending upon the seasonal organic produce that goes into them

The selection of this set of organic fresh produce depends upon season, and the problem we are trying to solve. Every single fruit comes with its own inherent colour, taste, aroma and texture. So if the organic produce that goes into the oil changes, the oil will also subtly change, echoing the characteristics of the produce that goes into it.

So, it stands to reason that if a company says it is adding an organic mango into its product, you should not see this variant in february. It should only be available in the organic mango season!

Time to be suspicious?

 Availability of herbs : a challenge faced when creating truly natural products

The Ayurvedic Samhitas and Nighantus document several thousand herbs with many variations in sub species depending upon geography and climatic conditions. However, due to dwindling interest, urbanisation and lack of proper collection mechanisms, many of these herbs are not easily available to us.

But, as we expand our product base and widen our search, we stumble upon certain herb collectors or organisations who can source some of these herbs for us. Therefore, our formulations always have a small percentage kept aside for these kind of rare herbs. Whenever they become available to us, we add them into our formulations.

An example of this is “kaala haldi” or Curcuma caesia. This is a rare variety of Zeodary which is documented as being found in the eastern wetlands of Bengal and Assam.

Curcuma caesia is a renowned herb to help cure certain skin diseases, reduce vata aggravation and joint pain, etc due to its high camphoraceous content.

Black turmeric: renonwned ayurvedic herb for inflammation, skin cleaning, etc

We have been searching for reliable suppliers of Kali haldi for a few years now and have just stumbled on a source. So when we get access to herbs like this, they find their way into our formulations.

So formulae can also vary / change depending upon availability of herbs. This affects the way the final products looks / feels and smells.

The effect of regional and geographical differences on herbs:

The Ayurvedic Samhitas tell us that the “kala” (season) and “desha” (geography) from where a herb is harvested alters the properties of the herbs subtly. This is because of the climatic conditions under which the herb grows and also the richness and natural nutrients available in the soil.

An example of this is one variety of organic turmeric which we source from Meghalaya. This variety of turmeric is the same species of turmeric which is used across Indian households in cooking. But due to its cultivations in this hilly region, presence of abundant rain and relatively un-urbanized and pristine surroundings, the turmeric has a much higher percentage of Curcumin as is seen in the plains. This makes the turmeric slightly higher in oil content, and its colour is a distinct yellow-orange with a strong and rich aroma.

high curcumin turmeric is used in krya's skin care products for its potent skin healing properties

In this example, the herb is distinctively different from its counterpart that grows on the plains. But this does not make it superior to other varieties of organic turmeric – just different and more suitable to its “desha”.

We see subtle differences across many herbs depending upon “desha”. For example: the Sapindus trifoliatus (soapberry) we use across our products has regional differences when sourced from wet climates vs dryer climates – the colour of the fruit, aroma and foam head all differ depending upon geography.

 Seasonal variations in herbs

The Ashtanga hridayam tells us that herbs are less juicy, intense and more woody in Adana Kala and in seasons like Greeshma Ritu (summer season).  So when we make our hair and skin oils in Summer vs say Winter, there is a marked difference in the Swarasas (fresh juices) , Kashayas (deocotions) and Kwathas (herb infusions) we make as a prequel to making our final oil.

The Swarasas make in dry season is typically darker, more intense in its aroma and is much more concentrated. This makes the oils made in this season look darker and feel slightly thicker.

All these above reasons cause minor , subtle variations in truly natural products like Krya’s hair, skin and home care products. These differences do not affect how the products works for you, but it will affect the consistency of aesthetics you come to expect from a product.

The Krya “Signature” – what continues unchanging across all our batches

Someone reading this could very well ask what unites our products across batches despite minor changes in the formulations. Yes a truly natural product can expect to get perfect consistency across every single batch due to all the factors listed above. But, at Krya, we try and ensure there are a few uniting factors across our formulations:

Use of Signature Ingredients in Krya’s products:

In some of our products, we use certain “Signature Ingredients”. An example of this is Chamomile and Green Tea which go into the Krya Classic face wash formulation. Since our test launch of this product in January 2013, these signature ingredients go into almost every batch of the formulation.

Signature ingredients in Krya classic face wash: chamomile and green tea

We have, so far, made only one batch without the use of organic Chamomile due to lack of availability from our regular supplier. Regular customers were quick to pick up this difference and demanded to know why their facewash was not smelling the way it used to!

Signature Colours across Krya’s products / product categories:

Many Krya hair oils and skin oils have a signature colour or belong to a specific colour family. For example, the Krya traditional Baby massage oil usually has a reddish-brown colour due the use of Manjishta in the formulation.

Krya traditional baby massage oil - caries a signature colour, aroma and texture

Both the Krya Abhyanga Oils (classic and Intense) also have this reddish brown colour and a distinctive fragrance due to the use of certain herbs like bala, ashwagandha, nochi leaf, etc.

Signature properties across each batch

Notwithstanding the minor differences in formulation depending upon seasonality, herb availability, etc, obviously the one major uniting factor across each batch is the way each Krya product works for you.

We take care to ensure that the texture of the product is similar across batches. This is especially important in products meant for sensitive skin like the Krya toddler bodywash for Sensitive Skin and the Krya Sensitive Bodywash for Adults.  Here due to the dosha vitiation in skin, skin is particular sensitive to rough edges in the product and a small texture change can trigger a reaction like a rash.

Similarly, despite minor formulation changes, our skin products meant for Pitta prakriti skin like the Krya Classic range or the Krya After Sun range is always designed to cool, soothe and draw out excess Pitta from skin. So the products always feel refreshing during use and skin feels lighter and fresher after use.

Signature properties: krya's aftersun range always balances pitta and soothes skin

To Sum up:

Truly natural products are a minuscule minority. Most often , we have standardised commercial products hiding under the guise of a truly natural product. Therefore, when we do come across truly natural products, we are taken aback at their aesthetics and the textural and minor differences we see across batches.

I hope this post educated you on why these differences in texture, aroma or colour could exist in a truly natural product. I also hope this post helped you appreciate the many challenges behind creating a truly natural product.

If you too would like to try our truly natural range of skin, home and hair care goodies, please explore our offerings online. For product queries or doubts please write to us or call us on (0)75500-89090.

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What time to do an Abhyanga?

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We often speak at Krya about the health giving benefits about doing an Abhyanga. The question we are often asked is what time to do an abhyanga? Should abhyanga time be chosen by prakriti? This post will answer this question.

Choosing the right abhyanga time: body clock

Everything in Ayurveda is calibrated to the body clock which in turn has a strong correlation with the movement of the Sun. This clock varies subtly according to season, and also depends on whether the Sun is in Uttarayana or Adana Kala (travelling northwards or Southwards).

However, given these subtle variations, we can practically set our clock, by the body clock. The body will carry out its repair and re-set functions relentlessly during the day according to schedule.

So all things going well, our liver will proceed to re-calibrate and repair itself around 11 pm which is the second peak Pitta period. The liver is considered an organ of Agni , therefore strongly influenced by Pitta dosha in Ayurveda.

Brahma Muhurtham – second Vata peak, ideal for waking up

Similarly, we are advised to wake up in Brahma Muhurtha which is roughly 90 minutes before Sunrise which is smack in the middle of the second peak Vata period. Due to the increase in Vata in the body at this time, we can wake up without strain (if we have eaten and slept properly the previous way). The body is full of lightness and mobile energy at this time influenced by Peak Vata dosha.

On the other hand, the later we wake up up after Sunrise, we find ourselves in Peak Kapha territory. This makes us hit the snooze button, sleep some more and feel heavy and lazy.

Choosing the right abhyanga time: depends upon what you are trying to correct

By this time it should be obvious to you that depending upon what you are trying to fix, you should choose your abhyanga time. Each dosha peak time lasts around 4 hours. The beginning and ending times of this period are lighter times and times when one dosha is subtly morphing into the next one.

So at 5:55 am for example, Vata is subtly moving into Kapha territory. So BOTH doshas are at their weakest point.

But at 8:30 am, we are right in the middle of Kapha peak time where Kapha is at its strongest best. So if we have a Kapha prakriti, we will have the strongest disinclination to do an abhyanga at this period – we will be tempted to eat something, or sleep in and will try and dismiss the abhyanga to the next day. So the texts advise that we be aware of both this clock and our prakriti when we choose abhyanga times!

Choosing the correct Abhyanga time - The ayurvedic body clock

Difference between Peak & non-Peak Dosha period

Peak Kapha period

Having said the above, there is a difference between the peak Kapha time in the morning (6 am – 10 am) and the evening (6 pm – 10 pm). In the morning, the Kapha time is tempered by the energy of the rising Sun. Therefore, even though this is peak Kapha time, this period is considered nourishing and dhatu building in Ayurveda. This is why we can have a light breakfast or drink a glass of milk at this time. Due to influence of the sun, the digestion will be smooth and food will not sit in the system, unless we over-eat, do not chew well, or do not follow other ayurvedic eating rules, etc.

But the evening Kapha period does not have this advantage. As the Sun has already set, the evening Kapha period is much stronger in its scope. So if we over-eat, eat Kapha aggravating foods, etc, we will produce excess Ama in the body , put on stubborn weight, create a feeling of lassitude and heaviness in the body.

Although each dosha repeats itself twice during 24 hours, only one of these are very strong – we call these peak Dosha times.

Peak Pitta: 10 am – 2 pm (mid morning Pitta)
Peak Vata: 2 am – 6 am – (before sunrise Vata)
Peak Kapha – 6 pm – 10 pm (late evening & night Kapha)

Peak Pitta period

Peak Pitta is the morning Period between 10 am – 2 pm. Hence we are supposed to AVOID stepping out, getting into a strong Pitta flaring argument, over-eating spicy food , tamarind and curd and any sudden shocks to the system (like a bath, swimming, etc) which can interfere with Pitta building up in the system as is natural.

An Abhyanga at this time will NOT have the effects we want as Pitta is already building upto a crescendo in the system due to the Sun. Instead Abhyanga will interfere with Pitta building and douse the Pitta in the system suddenly if done at this time.So we should have bathed long before this phase has started.

The dead centre of this phase is best for digestion. Hence Ayurveda advises to have the largest meal of the day at this time, as the body has enough Pitta to digest food well.

Peak Vata period

Peak Vata period is 2 am – 6 am (early morning). Ayurveda says this is the time when brain activity has re-started so there are rapid eye movements in this stage. This is NOT the time of deep sleep. Instead the body is preparing to wake up having processed everything. So if we GO to sleep at this time (as is common among night shift employees), the body will feel tired, dissipated and restless as we have tried to sleep at the time when it wants to wake up.

Abhyanga to centre aggravated vata

An abhyanga is advised towards the end of this peak Vata period – around 5:30 am, just around sunrise. If we do it in the middle of this period (say around 4 am), there is too much Vata in the system for Abhyanga to re-set. Towards the end, if we catch the body when Vata is winding down and BEFORE Kapha increases, we will be energetic and be able to re-set aggravated Vata dosha.

We have tackled Vata prakriti and Kapha prakriti doing Abhyanga and what time they should choose. So what about Pitta prakriti?

Abhyanga to settle aggravated Pitta

As per the clock, it seems like we should be doing Abhyanga at 9:45 am! But by this time, we are supposed to have bathed and eaten breakfast, drunk our milk , etc. Abhyanga cannot be done unless atleast 2 hours have passed after last meal. This would bring our Abhyanga close to 11 am which is at the time Pitta is building up.

Hence for Pitta prakriti people, we choose the first hour after Sunrise. As the sun climbs, it becomes more and more uncomfortable for Pitta prakriti people. They may not have the resistance to physical work that Kapha prakriti people can have, so they need not stick to doing Abhyanga around Sunrise. But the later the wait, the more uncomfortable it will become for them, so we suggest 1 hour within Sunrise.

So to sum up:

This post described the ayurvedic body clock and explained how each peak and non peak dosha period allows our body time to re-pair and re-set itself. The post also explained the rationale behind choosing the correct abhyanga time for each kind of dosha aggravation.

  • For strong vata aggravation : The right abhyanga time is 30 minutes before Sunrise or just around Sunrise
  • For strong Kapha aggravation: The right abhyanga time is around Sunrise or within 30 minutes of Sunrise
  • For strong Pitta aggravation:  The right abhyanga time is within 1 hour of Sunrise – this can be stretched to slightly later if weather is not too hot

 

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