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Tantra Yoga

Tantra yoga

Tantra yoga uses breathing techniques and poses – called asanas – to reach a state of deep awareness and enlightenment.  “The aim of Tantra Yoga is to expand awareness in all states of consciousness, whether waking state, dream state or sleep state,” according to the Sanatan Society, an online tantric site. “Tantra Yoga teaches us to identify the various factors that influence our thoughts and feelings and to transcend the obstacles to our evolution arising from ignorance, intolerance, attachment to our animal nature, and selfishness.”  Spirituality aside, as if that were possible, just some of the other benefits of tantra yoga include:

  • Improved muscle tone
  • Weight loss
  • Decrease in back pain and problems
  • Mood elevation
  • Reduced stress

In general, tantra is style of meditation and ritual that seeks to connect its practitioners to every aspect of the world around them and within themselves, as contrasted to styles which seek to block out all extraneous stimulation. It isn’t one codified system, but rather an accumulation of many ideas and practices.

Of course, it’s hard to mention tantra without mentioning sex. In fact, the two are synonymous in many minds. And it’s no wonder.  Whereas many spiritual practices teach asceticism and the deflection of desire, tantra yoga accepts desire, and teaches its students to embrace this desire as a force of creativity and connectedness.

“The real purpose of Tantra is to channel the life force energy to accelerate emotional and spiritual unfoldment,” writes Dr. David Simon,  co-founder of the Chopra Center. “The beauty of Tantra is its lack of dogmatism. Rather than preaching one way to enlightenment, Tantra draws on wisdom from many branches of Eastern spiritual traditions including yoga, Ayurveda and mantra chanting.”

For further information: http://www.sanatansociety.org/yoga_and_meditation/tantra_yoga.htm#.UnhJmbK9KSM http://www.tantrayoga.us http://www.healthcentral.com/diet-exercise/c/299905/158291/spiritual/


Layered Blueberry and Mango Smoothie

Layered Blueberry and Mango Smoothie

For the mango smoothie: 

Ingredients:

  • 1 sixteen ounce bag of frozen mangos
  • 1 small frozen banana
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1-1/2 cups orange juice (don’t pour into blender until ready to blend)

Directions: Blend all ingredients together very well. Only turn blender up to the lowest speed you need to make this happen. Pour into bottom half of glasses.

For the blueberry smoothie:

 Ingredients:

  • 1 sixteen ounce bag of frozen blueberries
  • 1 small frozen banana
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons barleygreen powder (optional but very healthy & you can’t taste it!)
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberry (or another sweet juice, like apple) juice (don’t pour into blender until ready to blend)

Directions: Blend all ingredients together very well. Only turn blender up to the lowest speed you need to make this happen. Gently pour into top half of glasses over the mango goodness.  Garnish with blueberries and a sprig of mint. Layered, slushy, cold and gorgeous. They make everything feel better.

 

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Gokshuradi Guggulu

Gokshuradi Guggulu 

According to Banyan Botanicals, “Gokshuradi Guggulu is a traditional Ayurvedic compound used to support the proper function of the genitourinary tract. It strengthens and tones the kidneys, bladder and urethra as well as the reproductive organs.”  They go on to say that:  The main ingredient, gokshura, is renowned for its rejuvenating action on the kidneys and prostate. Combined with guggulu, triphala and trikatu, it detoxifies the urinary system and supports healthy urinary composition. Balancing to all doshas, Gokshuradi Guggulu revitalizes the genitourinary system by calming vata, soothing pitta and eliminating excess kapha. *” You can read more about it here: http://www.banyanbotanicals.com/prodinfo.asp?number=7141

Guggul is made from the sap (gum resin) of the Commiphora mukul tree, which is native to India. This tree has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, and Ayurvedic texts dating back to 600 BC recommend it for treating atherosclerosis.  While it has a long history, it still has modern uses.  “Today guggul gum resin is used for arthritis, lowering high cholesterol, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), acne and other skin diseases, and weight loss,” according to the website WebMD.  Triphala is a three-herb mixture known for detoxification and one of the most commonly recommended Ayurvedic preparations for basic, internal health and cleansing. Trikatu is a digestive tonic and detoxifier.  Together this combination provides powerful support for vital systems.  Of course we all know one other thing that can help support all your vital systems – and that’s a delicious and nutritious smoothie.

perfect breakfast smoothie

The Perfect Breakfast Smoothie  

 

  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 – 1 banana [always depended on how many I had left]
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave or honey
  • 1 teaspoon matcha [for your caffeine-kick]
  • 1/2 scoop whey protein [if you have any]

Directions:  If you have whey and/or matcha, what you want to do first is pour in the almond milk and then add the whey and/or matcha and blend.  Not only does this make the smoothie deliciously frothy, but it also mixes up the powders so they aren’t gross, ruining your smoothie one clump at a time later.  Once blended add blueberries, banana, agave and yogurt. I like to keep the blueberries by the top so they don’t stunt the movement and yogurt closest to the blades to help with blending. I also like to hide the agave in between the fruit and yogurt so it doesn’t get stuck to the sides.  With the bullet I blend it for about 2 minutes, 3 tops and then that’s it. You are good to go! If it’s too thick, add extra almond milk until you have it to your liking. If you’re full time fancy, feel free to put it in a glass… but be warned, that will take longer and create extra dishes.

Chandraprabha

Chandraprabha

Chandraprabha Vati is a common and popular Ayurvedic medicine particularly helpful for problems of the genitourinary tract in both men and women.

Chandra means moon, and like the moon, this preparation is meant to take away the darkness of the night – by purifying and rejuvenating naturally with the body’s own healing powers.

Chandraprabha Vati is a tablet made up of small amounts of many different herbs and minerals. It contains natural ingredients which help clear up urinary tract infections.

It is also taken to reduce inflammation and aggravation of the genitals and reproductive organs and it is often prescribed to ease symptoms of certain sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea.

According to the website ayurmedinfo.com, Chandaprabha Vati balances all three doshas.

In addition to being used for a number of genitourinary problems, it is also recommended for diabetics because it affects glucose metabolism, insulin resistance and relieves diabetic neuropathy.

You can read further about the individual ingredients and what they each do here: http://ayurmedinfo.com/2012/06/29/chandraprabha-vati-benefits-dosage-ingredients-and-side-effects/

It’s a long list, but worth the read.

In men, chandaprabha can help relieve premature ejaculation and urinary flow problems caused by benign enlargement of the prostate.

In women, chandaprabha can treat a number of irritating and sometimes serious maladies, including menstrual disorders, ovarian cysts and fibroids, according to planetayurveda.com. So if your monthlies have been giving you the blues it might be just the thing to try.

Very Berry Smoothie

Gorgeous Very Berry Smoothie

Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 16oz bag of frozen mixed berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries)
  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups almond milk (might need more, depending upon consistency desired)
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • A dash or two of fresh ground Himalayan sea salt

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients into a blender; mix well.

Add more almond milk as needed to reach desired consistency (some like it thicker than others)

http://crazyadventuresinparenting.com/2013/07/gorgeous-very-berry-smoothie-recipe.html

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adult Americans and most adults deal with it at one time or another, and increasingly as we age.  While it is largely preventable with regular dental visits and good oral hygiene, certain factors – like genetics and hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy – make some people more susceptible to periodontal disease than others.

In its earliest stages gum disease is called gingivitis, characterized by puffy, bleeding gums. In its most advanced stages it’s called periodontitis and is characterized by the breakdown of the bone and tissues that support teeth.

Basically, what we’ve probably all heard since childhood is true. The mouth is a pretty dirty place, host to many, many different kinds of bacteria. That bacteria mixes with left over bits of food, saliva and mucous to form a sticky substance called plaque. If the plaque stays on your teeth long enough it hardens into tartar.

Tartar gives bacteria a place to shelter and flourish, and left long enough teeth become loose and begin to shift and the body begins reabsorbing the alveolar bone that supports teeth, creating a perfect storm that ends up with dentures.

Be sure to check out the following links for more information on periodontal disease:

WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/gingivitis-periodontal-disease

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research: http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/GumDiseases/PeriodontalGumDisease.htm

While the airways are clogged with ads for dental products, most of us are left wondering if there are more natural solutions for periodontal disease than the alcohol and chemical-laden drug store pastes and rinses we see on TV. Fortunately, alternatives do exist. A solution of hydrogen peroxide and water can be a simple and economical rinse to use twice daily to reduce bacteria in the mouth.

Neem, a natural antibacterial from the tree of the same name, has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Before the invention of disposable plastic toothbrushes, people would chew the tiny branches of the neem tree to clean their teeth.

A fascinating study from India estimates that 80 percent of the nation’s rural poor still use neem sticks for oral care. Remarkably, the study concludes neem sticks to be just as effective as regular tooth brushing at reducing plaque and gum inflammation.

If you care to read the whole report, it can be found here: http://www.ispcd.org/~cmsdev/userfiles/rishabh/09%20ajay%20bhambal.pdf <http://www.ispcd.org/%7Ecmsdev/userfiles/rishabh/09%20ajay%20bhambal.pdf>

Neem sticks may be a little hard to find in the United States, but plenty of Ayurvedic toothpastes contain it. Try your local health food store.

Another common ingredient in natural dental pastes and rinses is extracts from Salvadora persica, or as it is commonly known, the toothbrush tree. Native to Africa, the World Health Organization recommends using branches of this tree for brushing as equal to or better than traditional Western methods. You can read more here: http://www.fao.org/docrep/x5327e/x5327e1j.htm

Of course, if you do end up having to get dental work done, it’s best to stock up on plenty of smoothie ideas and ingredients since most dentists recommend soft, nutritious foods during recovery.

So Healthy Smoothie

So-Healthy Smoothie

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 small banana, sliced and frozen
  • 2/3 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped peeled mango, frozen
  • 1-1/4 cups frozen unsweetened sliced peaches

Directions

In a blender, combine all ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Pour into chilled glasses; serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/So-Healthy-Smoothies

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