The population of bacteria within the gut is known as a microbiome. Of course, there are microbiomes throughout the entire physiology, but here we are focusing on the microbiome in the digestive system – predominantly the gut. Oftentimes when we eat, we feel like we’re eating for ourselves. However, an interesting approach is to eat for your entire population, i.e., yourself along with your microbiome. When you’re doing this, you can even feel into the entire microbiome within your gut. You may feel like that’s just your imagination, but interestingly enough, that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you’re putting attention onto the entire population, yourself along with your microbiome. In so doing, you become attentive to the greater dynamic of your digestive process.
Ayurveda has recognized for thousands of years that the health of the digestive system is a major determining factor to the health of the entire physiology. Even body builders say that it’s all about digestion. Scientists now believe not only that this is true, but also that autoimmune diseases are rooted in a microbiome imbalance.
I don’t think it’s really all that hard once you feel into the microbiome and put your attention on it. Next time you eat, why not try it out? You may find that how well a meal sits with you is largely determined by how well it fits with your microbiome.
Someone was told by a Chinese doctor that they had arthritis. The person was confused, claiming their joints always felt fine, so the doctor explained the following:
Arthritis is poison (toxins, ama) in the body. It starts in the soft tissues… skin, muscle, etc. Over time, it goes deeper and deeper until it gets into the bone. Clearing toxins clears arthritis. Of course, when too advanced, it will not likely be reversed.
Our resident chiropractor, whom some affectionately call “Dr. Muscles,” shared the following 4-minute workout with me. It is consistent with the sort of things Maharishi said about not doing intense exercise (“Why do you want to breathe like a horse?”) and also what I have been told by a number of Chinese healing arts practitioners.
It consists of four exercises. The second set of 10 reps is quite similar to the arm swinging exercise Dr. Kuai taught us. In the video below, Zach Bush alternates which arm goes up while the other goes down. It is also fine to have both go up and down together as is shown in other videos about this routine.
I understand that organic Macha from Japan is the best. The ‘ceremonial’ version is less bitter, but more expensive. Personally, I just use the culinary version and am very happy with it. I just add it to hot water, sweetener of choice, and the chai spices that are sold in the Mount Soma gift shop.
Unfortunately, some studies show that adding milk to tea (or cocoa) cancels the health benefits.
I am sure many of you are far more familiar with Matcha than I am. Comments are welcome.
Regarding the Arm Swinging technique, it is good to note that it can be done not only when you are standing still, but also when you are walking. Most every morning, I walk down to the temple and Student Union as I swing my arms and silently chant some Mantras.
And, just a reminder that according to the ancient Qigong masters, physical health has to do with development of connective tissue rather than muscle.
Watermelon is very cooling and good for Pitta. I understand that according to Chinese Medicine, the seeds are extremely cooling. Once one gets over the programming that the seeds are to be spit out, the crunch is actually enjoyable… like popcorn!
Watermelon is also, according to Chinese Medicine, very purifying… flushing out all sorts of toxins. They say that eating a large amount can result in a great excretion of fluids at first (even loose stools) which are Pitta and toxins. But then, everything normalizes as the Pitta disperses.
The sun and moon’s rays have an effect on the earth. Of course, when we refer to “rays” here, we mean it not just on the more superficial levels, but also on the astrological and Transcendental level. Normal sun and moon shine create a normal environment for the earth. Physical earth is made up of the five elements and those five elements have a certain balance under normal conditions. The same is true with our physiology.
The eclipse affects the sun and moon rays, creating an abnormal environment for the earth. This also upsets the balance of the five elements, upsetting our environment on earth and also our physiology, including our mind and emotions. Scientists have done research and found that during an eclipse, there is an increase in bacteria and viruses.
Because there is imbalance physically, it is suggested that people not eat or drink because the body does not process food and water correctly. It is a little bit like avoiding certain foods when a person is sick. Some do not eat from sunrise to sunset that day and others just avoid eating near the time of the actual eclipse. Because there is an imbalance mentally and emotionally, it is suggested that people go inward and meditate or chant mantras.
It is advised not to look at eclipses. Even if you do not look at the eclipse, the effects of an eclipse last 3-6 months. It states in the Vedas that as a result of an eclipse, there can be changes in nature and natural disasters can occur.
For people, with the lunar eclipse, the effect is on the mind/emotions, whereas with the solar eclipse, the effect is more on the whole body and health.
During the whole solar eclipse (in Asheville, this would be from 1:00-4:05pm), it is best to stay inside and not look outside or even allow light in. During the eclipse, it is best to meditate or chant, and it is a good time to go inward. Finish solid food 3 hours prior to the start of the eclipse and wait to eat 2 hours after the eclipse ends. Shower right after the eclipse and then you can start cooking. Don’t save cooked food to eat after the eclipse, including in the refrigerator. No showering, drinking, or eating during the eclipse.
If you are visiting or staying at Mount Soma, once Sri Somesvara Temple has been purified (probably after 6:00 pm), then offer a red flower to the Sun (outside at the Navagrahas), and do Pradakshina 9 times while chanting “Shri Ram Ravaye Namaha.”
This particular eclipse especially affects those people whose Moon is in the sign of Cancer, Leo, or Virgo in their Jyotish (Vedic astrology) chart. Those people whose Moon is in Scorpio or Pisces also need to make sure to follow the guidelines suggested above.
This first simple exercise was taught to me as a Kung Fu exercise. In the West, Kung Fu is often thought of as a fighting art, but it is much more. Honestly, when I first saw the exercise, it seemed far too simple to be of much value. But according to Chinese Practitioners, it is a cure all, opening every meridian and circulating Qi throughout the body. They even claim it is a cure for serious diseases like cancer and diabetes, which I don’t know about.
I have to admit that when I first did the exercise, I was amazed. I could actually feel the energy moving up my arms, through my heart, and permeating my entire body. How could something so simple be so significant? I was told to do it for about 5 minutes, 3 times daily. If I have time, 10 minutes is even better than 5.
You can watch this short video to get a feel for the exercise. Note that as the arms swing up, the palms face up and when the arms swing down, the palms face down. There are some additional points below, but most are intuitively obvious.
Feet shoulder length apart.
Flexible knees, slightly bent, bouncing a little at each swing (just as is comfortable).
Relaxed upper body, feet firmly planted.
Tongue gently touching the roof of mouth.
If you would like, your mind can focus on any God of preference.
Arm swings frontward only to shoulder height.
Whole exercise should be in a relaxed state.
In general, 30 minutes each day—can break it apart to 2-3 sessions. Even occasional sessions of a couple of minutes are beneficial.
It has been suggested by the Chinese that if a person has cancer, they do a minimum of 2,000 times daily (but we have no way of knowing the validity of this and you should have doctor’s approval).
Always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional.
This is the simplest exercise of the 3 part series. I do all 3 parts essentially every day. They have transformed my perspective on exercise as well as that of others here at Mount Soma, even people who I feel are in excellent, athletic, physical condition.
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