Tag Archives: health

From the founder of YogaFit…

It’s time for a ZENtervention. We at YogaFit and YogaLean are here to revitalize society. Physically. Mentally. Spiritually. To empower all people, no matter who you are, to achieve wellness, and in doing so, to transform lives for the better.

 

It’s as much a personal journey as a far greater one. Because the better we feel – as individuals, communities, and society as a whole – the more we can accomplish. Put simply, we want to bring wellness to the world.

 

What we offer is a new way of living, based on the philosophy of yoga, to transform yourself inside and out. It’s about creating and sustaining a balanced lifestyle that touches every aspect of how you live – from fitness and food to meditation and giving back – for realizing total mind body vitality. It’s what we call whole life wellness.

 

We understand that sometimes people need a catalyst to realize a more holistic approach to their overall wellness. We’ve developed YogaLean to do just that – YogaLean is principles for achieving optimum health and well being. YogaLean sets us on a journey to whole life wellness and positive transformation. It’s about taking the first step: thinking differently to live differently. Being more mindful – of your body, your home, and your time – to reach your optimum.

 

Over 17 years ago, Founder Beth Shaw pioneered the practice of teaching yoga. Embracing the physical exercise, then its wider philosophy – this was where the vision of For Better Self began.

 

Starting out of the trunk of her car with a passion to help people feel better and live life more fulfilled, Beth founded YogaFit, today the largest yoga fitness education school in North America. Beth’s work has helped thousands. Now, she aims to bring that knowledge, education, and best practice to all, making it simple and accessible. So everyone can be their better self.

Why YogaLean Loves Purium

Yoga is a huge step in elevating self improvement, mind-body awareness, and learning to listen to your body. But so is nutrition. Eating right is incredibly important in getting the body healthy and more balanced.

 

For someone looking to lose weight and get in better shape, nutrition plays an even more crucial role. You can’t just do yoga or cardio while still eating the same high-fat, high-sugar foods and see weight loss results.

Purim-logoClick to order!

So why is YogaLean such a big proponent of Purium products?

 

With YogaLean, you’re not just fixated on losing weight, you’re more concentrated on getting your body healthy. For me, I felt like the Purium products offered an incredible jumpstart in detoxifying the body, preparing it for a healthier, more holistic way of living.

 

I’ll be completely honest – I’ve never been the type of person who wants to do a cleanse – for 3 reasons:

1) I don’t want to lose my muscle

2) I like to eat

3) I want to have energy

 

What I found with Purium was far different than other cleanses I’ve tried in the past. For one, the powders and shakes use ingredients that are all natural and that pack a ton of energy and potency – ingredients that Chinese medicine and shamanic healers have been using for thousands of years. Their protein powders taste amazing, and I never feel like I’m limiting my body of essential minerals and nutrients when I’m taking the cleanse.

 

You’ll never find artificial ingredients in the Purium products. This includes NO

• Artificial colors

• Artificial sweeteners

• Artificial flavors

• Excipients and fillers

• Excess sugar

• Excess fat

 

The Founder of Purium and author of The Green Food Bible, David Sandoval is the mastermind behind the 10-Day Transformation Diet.

 

Purium has mastered the art of phytochemistry (the rejuvenating benefits of plants). By studying the ancient arts of Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, Amazonian herbs, the shamanic healing arts of Native Americans, and other traditional aboriginal practices, they’ve captured the most potent whole food plant extracts from around the globe to repair your body at the cellular level.

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These herbs have been revered for thousands of years for their purported ability to support the naturopathic principle that “the human body is capable of creating and supporting perfect health if given the proper tools.” No other company has such a complete holistic approach to food and nutrition.

 

Green foods are healing foods – they always have been and they always will be. Purim’s line of products contain ingredients such as cracked cell chlorella, red marine algae, organic spirulina, organic barley greens, organic kamut, and many more.

 

The first 10 days of the YogaLean Coaching Program is actually the 10-Day Purium cleanse. I built it this way, so that people can detox and lose weight quickly; then when they’re adding foods back in it acts as an elimination diet. So you can see what foods cause you gastric distress, what foods upset your stomach, what foods work with your body rather than against it. It’s a great way to jumpstart your weight loss while feeling rejuvenated and healthy.

 

This is a wonderful option for people who are maybe a little skeptical about doing a cleanse, but who want to feel better from the inside out.

 

We already know this, but it bears repeating: plants have amazing healing capabilities. Learn more about Purium and what it can do for you, by visiting their website, here.

Purim-logoClick to order!

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The Limited Reach of Red Wine’s Health Benefits

Recently, there’s a fitness rumor going around that consuming one glass of red wine is equal provides health benefits equal to the ones we get out of doing a one hour workout at the gym. This is a seductive headline– “Score!” Readers are thinking, “A glass of Cabernet every day will keep me just as fit as 60 minutes on the treadmill? Fill ‘er up!”

 

Yes, it’s no surprise that this circulating nutrition trend is attracting lots of attention. It’s easy to believe in things we want to believe in, like, for example, the notion that kicking back with a nice red will do just as much for you as sweating through a tough cardio session.

 

I feel a duty, however, to set the facts straight in the name of the yoga and fitness program I believe in so fully and those who practice it.

 

I used to enjoy drinking more than I do now. At a time when I was enjoying multiple drinks per week, I was also having a lot of trouble ridding extra bulk from my mid section. My fitness trainer asked me about my alcohol intake, and reminded me that each of my drinks was going straight to my waist despite my commitment to healthy eating and regular exercise.

 

Yes, red wine contains resveratrol, a compound that carries a variety of health benefits. But I would have had a very hard time persuading people over the past twenty years to tap into the amazing power of proper nutrition and regular exercise if it were really true that red wine does just as much for our health. Red wine delivers resveratrol, yes, but like all alcoholic beverages, it also contains ethanol, which behaves like poison in the metabolism, plus a ton of sugar and calories!

 

Daily exercise strengthens your cardiovascular system, purifies your skin, jumpstarts your body’s ability to burn calories, and releases a flood of natural endorphins that noticeably enhance your energy level and sense of well being. If there’s an equivalent trade-in for the myriad gifts of regular exercise, human society hasn’t found it. Exercise is unique in its ability to keep the body and mind happy and healthy, and while, alcohol in close moderation is not a critical impediment to overall health, I recommend that anyone aiming to truly calibrate his or her body and mood eliminates it entirely. Alcohol provides momentary relaxation and poses a subsequent obstruction of our digestion, and mood. It is a fleeting fix to a larger question of how to make ourselves feel relaxed and happy on the larger scale whereas mindful eating and fitness support big-picture wellness.

 

With regard to this popular but uninformed fitness rumor, give your right mind, instead of the vino, a minute to breathe, and get back to the mat!

Yellow Eye Bean Salad with Sorghum

Beans are a great source of protein. I enjoy experimenting with different beans to bring variety into my diet. Yellow Eye Beans are high in dietary fiber and iron, low in sodium, and contain no sugar, saturated fat, or cholesterol. One cup of Yellow Eye Beans (boiled) is approximately 250 calories. This recipe can be made with another bean if you cannot find Yellow Eye Beans.

 

I hope you enjoy this light yet satisfying bean salad. The flavors and textures make each bite enjoyable. Serve with Gluten Free crackers or rolls if you wish to add carbohydrates to the meal. Traditionally Yellow Eye Beans are cooked with honey or molasses and are made into a baked bean side dish. I love this recipe as it allows the flavor of the bean to shine, rather than overpower it with sugar. If your local store does not have dry yellow eye beans, you can find them for sale on Amazon.

 

Enjoy this YogaLean recipe and find others at HealthyRecipeVariations.

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Base Ingredients:

2 cups of DRY Yellow Eye Beans

3 cups of water

3 cups of low sodium vegetable broth

1 bay leaf

4 cups of vegetables – cut in even sizes – I used a variety of bell peppers, onion, garlic, and sweet potato.

Olive oil for sautéing vegetables

1 cup of low sodium vegetable broth for preparing the vegetables

2 cups of spinach

1 cup Sorghum ( I use Bob’s Red Mill)

 

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Variations:

Substitute your favorite bean for the Yellow Eye Bean

Substitute red cabbage (diced) for the spinach

Substitute quinoa or millet for the sorghum

Vegetables: Staples include onion or shallot and garlic

 

Combinations can include:

mushroom, bell pepper, and basil

carrot, sweet potato, and tarragon

leek, sweet potato (or potato), and parsley

 

Instructions: After the beans are hydrated, it takes 30 minutes or less.

Rehydrate the beans (and bay leaf) in the liquid. I like to do this overnight.

After the beans have hydrated, slow cook them until they get soft…but still have an amount of firmness. The cooking stopping point is a moment to reflect on personal preference. If you want a little bite to your bean salad, stop cooking before the beans crack open and get soft. If you wish the soft texture to the bean salad, allow them to cook longer. Coking time is 1-2 hours.

 

Prepare the sorghum according to package directions (3 to 1 ratio). For the liquid, I use a combination of water and low sodium vegetable broth. This takes 30 minutes or so.

 

After the beans and sorghum are ready, dice the vegetables you wish to use.

 

Add the vegetables to a pan with 2 TBSP olive oil. Sautee and stir for 3 minutes then add 1 cup of low sodium vegetable broth. Allow the vegetables to soften some with the liquid.

 

When the liquid is almost absorbed by the vegetables, add the sorghum, and 3 cups of cooked beans. Stir.

 

 

Serve on a bed of spinach, stir spinach in the mixture and serve, or put the mixture in a “to go” container and take with you as a work-day lunch!

 

The dish is wonderful warm or cold. Garnish with sesame seeds or sunflower sees for added texture!

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Kathryn Herbert on Ancient Healing in the Modern World

July 27, 2015 | Emelyn Daly, YogaFit Media

Ayurveda, ‘Life Science,’ and Common Sense

Expert Ayurvedic Practitioner and founder of Ayuway of Life Kathryn Herbert has me totally convinced of the value, efficacy, and do-it-yourself easiness of the ancient Holistic healing modality she teaches and practices. Herbert, who is thrilled to share her expertise at YogaFit’s first Ayurvedic Lifestyle Coaching Retreat in Austin, TX this September, has dedicated her life to using and educating others on Ayurveda. Here, she gives us an exclusive introduction to her upcoming workshops, which focus on making Ayurveda fun, user-friendly, and 100% applicable in daily life.

What is Ayurveda? What are some of the most common misconceptions about it?

“The first thing I like to tell people about Ayurveda is that in order to use it in your daily life, you don’t shutterstock_223478743have to know how to spell or pronounce it correctly! The word may sound a little unusual, but it’s much simpler than you think. In Sanskrit, ayu means ‘life’ and veda means ‘knowledge’ or ‘science.’ ‘Life science’ isn’t just ancient Sanskrit; it’s for everybody living in modern times. To me, it is the perfect owner’s manual package of common sense for the human mind, body and spirit.”

Ayurveda comes from India, correct? How does it relate to other forms of medicine?

“So, yes, the ancient health and wellness knowledge we know as Ayurveda does come from the Indus Valley. And from there, it actually traveled East and West, influencing both Chinese and Western medicine. Hippocrates was an Ayurvedic practitioner! The father of Western medicine himself said, “let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” That is Ayurveda.”

Do you think that Ayurvedic medicine could replace Western medicine?

“No, I would never recommend that Ayurveda can or should replace Western, aka ‘Modern’ medicine, yet it certainly does complement any and every form of medicine including surgery and as a preventative, it is designed to keep you out of the doctor’s office.

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You know, in the West, we have a way of putting everything on a hierarchy. This or that has to be better or worse than something else. The East integrates healing approaches as opposed to creating that separation, which is the absolute definition of Holistic, it treats the whole person. In India, for example, an Ayurvedic doctor is a medical doctor, and there is a modern Ayurvedic hospital right next door to the modern Allopathic hospital, patients are sent back and forth by doctors from both sides. Both forms are equally valuable and used to compliment each other. I experienced this daily during my internship there.”

Which piece of your workshop in Austin are you most looking forward to?

“So many! I love my work because I get to translate this powerful knowledge into modern language and practical uses. In Austin, I’ll get to share my academic knowledge of Ayurveda, which works amazingly well with the YogaFit system. We’ll look at a couple Sanskrit words to demystify these new, hard-to-pronounce terms into common sense simplicity.

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And there’s the practical end of things, which is really exciting! I’ll be showing people how to use this stuff in their daily lives. We’ll spend time on really concrete techniques that will be easily remembered to take home and use. We’ll spend plenty of time on food, and turn the tabletop into a classroom using food as medicine to learn why your kitchen is actually a pharmacy to be in service of yourself, those you love, and those you coach. Plus there are really fun Ayurvedic treatment practicums including the ‘meda buster’ massage to reduce fat on the body—one of my favorites!”

 

For more information about Kathryn Herbert and her workshops at the YogaFit Ayurvedic Lifestyle Coaching Retreat in Austin, TX coming up this September, visit YogaFit.com!

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Kathryn Herbert practices privately in Southern California at the Ayurway of Life facilities and conducts national workshops to promote the benefits of Ayurvedic lifestyle choices. She lives in Los Angeles with her two teenaged children, two dogs, a cat, and three horses. She hopes to welcome chickens to her home soon!

Sunburst Pasta

Tolerant Red Lentil Pasta has a bit of a peppery flavor when eaten on its own. When I use it in a recipe I look to find flavors that enhance the pasta’s natural flavors. This dish uses sundried tomatoes for a sweet flavor, chickpeas for a meaty texture, onions and garlic as aromatics, and mushrooms for a chewy texture. This creates not only a tasty and satisfying meal that can be a side dish or a main dish depending on the portion you make.

Base Ingredients (Serves 2):

1 Cup Tolerant Red Lentil Pasta (uncooked)

1 Cup Diced Sundried Tomatoes

½ Yellow Onion or Sweet Vidalia Onion

4-6 Cloves of Garlic depending on size

1 Cup Diced Mushrooms of Choice (I used button)

4 TBSP Oil – I use Olive Oil for this dish

1/3 Cup Vegetable Broth – I prefer to use low sodium

Variations:

Substitute 2 Shallots for Onion and Garlic

Instructions:

1. Dice onions and garlic and place in a pan with the oil. Satuee in oil

until translucent.

Pasta12. Add diced sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, and broth to pan and

sautee until broth is almost absorbed.

3. Bring 4 cups of water to a running boil. Add 1 cup of Tolerant Red

Lentil Pasta. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir from time to time and reduce

heat as needed so the water does not boil over.

4. Reserve 1/3 cup pasta water and add to the pan with the vegetables.

5. Drain Pasta and add to the pan with the vegetables.

6. Cook until liquid is absorbed.

Serve or place in an airtight container and pack for lunch!

Sprinkle with ground black pepper.

Option: Grate parmesan over the pasta.

Enjoy this low calorie, high fiber Yoga Lean meal; a satisfying meal to keep you fueled as you lead an active lifestyle.

Broccoli Greens Tofu Stir Fry

Not only do I love to eat light and healthy foods, but I also do not like to waste food. When I had an opportunity to try broccoli and cauliflower greens I was elated! This was an opportunity to experience two vegetables I love in an entirely new way. UntitledI have used the greens as a side dish on their own and have enjoyed using them in stir-fry dishes also. The great thing about a stir-fry is that it is a way to use of vegetables that you have in the refrigerator. You do not need to have a large portion of any one vegetable to make a successful stir-fry. Each time you make a stir-fry you can use a different sauce as well. It can be an ever-changing recipe. Of course, when you find a combination you like, you may want to make it time and time again!

 

1 package EXTRA FIRM TOFU (Azumaya brand is Non-GMO and Gluten Free)

1/2 a box of Thai Kitchen Stir-Fry Rice Noodles or 2 Cups cooked rice

Vegetables (aim for 4 -6 cups uncooked):

5 Large Broccoli Stems/Leaves

5 Large Cauliflower Stems/Leaves

4-6 Garlic Cloves (depending on size)

I used 1 cup Tessemae’s Lemon Chesapeake All Natural Dressing/Marinade/Dip

1/2 Cup Vegetable Broth (Unsalted is preferable).

1. Decide if you wish noodles or rice. If you wish rice, start the rice cooking as step one. If you want noodles, wait till the vegetables and tofu are done. Cooking rice is 2 cups of liquid per 1 cup of dry rice. Cook a single batch if you are not interested in leftovers, double (or more) the recipe if you wish leftovers.

2. For crispier TOFU (omit this step if you are not looking for crispy), drain the package and allow some water to be removed. I place the tofu block in a kitchen towel and place it between two dinner plates for about 1 hour. This step can be done the night before, while you are at work, or skipped entirely.

3. Wash and chop the vegetables you are using. Try to make the vegetables into even sized so they cook at the same rate. With the greens and stems, I do put thestems in the pan a few minutes before the “leafy section”.

4. In a sautee pan place 2 TBSP Toasted Sesame Oil and the vegetables. Add the marinade and broth. Cook on medium heat. Stir from time to time. If you need additional liquid to soften the vegetables, add ¼ cup of water at a time.

5. After the vegetables have started, cut the tofu and place in a second sauté pan with 2 TBSP Toasted Sesame Oil. Sprinkle pepper on the tofu if you wish the additional flavor. Cook on medium heat and rotate the tofu periodically so all sides brown and form a bit of a crust.

6. When vegetables and tofu are done, turn the burners off and let rest for a few minutes. If you are making noodles, bring a pot of water to a boil. Once a running boil is attained, break the noodles in half and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and stir once or twice. Drain noodles.

On your plate put a bed of noodles or rice then add the vegetables. The tofu can be sprinkled on top or arranged in a pattern for a finished presentation.

Enjoy and savor the flavors!

Option: Sprinkle nuts or sesame seeds over the top.

Read more Gluten Free recipes at Healthy Recipe Variations Blog. Enjoy being YogaLean as you enjoy an active lifestyle and make healthy eating choices.

Kathryn Herbert on the Miracles of Ayurvedic Healing

Recently, I sat down with Ayurvedic expert Kathryn Herbert to talk herbs, doshas, and real-life miracles. Herbert, who, was diagnosed with AS (Ankylosing Spondylitis), RS (Reiter Syndrome), FM (Fibromyalgia) and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), is a living example of the downright amazing health benefits of India’s ancient healing practice. She is excited to share her wisdom at YogaLean’s first Coaching Immersion in Austin, TX this September, where her personal history and profound education will shine brightly in her workshops and lectures. Here, she gives me a glimpse her fascinating story:

What was the state of your health before turning to Ayurvedic healing?

My good health today is completely dependent on my knowledge of Ayurveda. My numerous health conditions began to affect my life to a crippling extent. As a horse trainer and single mother, my life and my job were very physically demanding. I was extremely active, often up to 18 hours a day, and my health deteriorated to the point where I was barely able to lift a feed bucket, let alone brush my own hair. I saw countless doctors and specialists, underwent countless tests, and tried practically every medication and treatment under the sun. Nothing worked, and worse, many of the treatments I underwent caused allergic reactions that left me even weaker and endangered my life.

How did you decide to change to Ayurvedic and naturopathic treatment?

After almost two years of Western medical and pharmaceutical treatments, I decided it was the end of the line. It was a scary decision, but it was clear to me that a purely Western approach was not going to work.

What were the results?

As soon as I began following an Ayurvedic dietary and herbal regimen, my health immediately transformed. While in treatment, I began discovering all of the things I’m allergic to—not just medications, but foods that were making me sick. This was crucial. My doctors had doubts, but in the weeks and months following my transition to Ayurveda, the tests amazingly kept coming back improved. The new “miracle drugs” I was using made my doctors’ heads spin! In Ayurveda, we treat all foods and natural compounds as potential medicine or poison. With herbs and nutrition, I increased my medicine and eliminated my poison. This shift had enormous impact.

What kinds of changes did you make to your diet and herbal regimen?

I made a lot of changes. It’s important to remember is that in Ayurveda, each individual is treated uniquely. The things I need to add and take away may be different from yours. Examples can be as subtle as this: I spent most of my life drinking a glass of orange juice in the morning, but discovered that oranges create acidity and inflammation in my body because of my specific make up. Something as innocent-seeming as that was poisoning me. Lemons and limes, on the other hand, create alkalinity and put me in balance.

Which herb or supplement has made the biggest difference in your health?

So many, but tumeric was the thing I started adding that really changed everything. shutterstock_140598805 (1)It is so powerful and beneficial. I put it in everything. In the classic Bible story, the three kings bring frankincense, myrrh and gold as their gifts. I think they brought frankincense, myrrh, and turmeric! It is nature’s great gift the world. Ashwaganada is another very powerful herb for protecting the nervous system. It had very positive effects on me and has proved to have amazing benefits for Alzheimer’s—but the big drug companies don’t want us knowing that!

After getting well, why did you decide to study Ayurvedic medicine?

I realized that Ayurveda makes real transformation possible. Its benefits are clear to me, and illuminated constantly in my work with cancer patients and others suffering from chronic illness.

What was your experience like studying Ayurveda?

I feel lucky to have studied Ayurveda in its classic form. My training was based on the ancient Indian texts, originally written in Sanskrit. I have a BA in biology and psychology, and coming from a science background, Ayurveda, to me, was the complete package of common sense. I got the opportunity to expand my studies in Pune, India at DPU. It was an incredible experience to study Ayurveda in its homeland at a state of the art facility. In India, an Ayurvedic doctor is a medical doctor; there is an Ayurvedic hospital right next door to the allopathic hospital. My work today is to translate this powerful ancient knowledge into modern times and uses.

What inspired you to participate in the YogaLean Coaching Immersion in Austin this fall?

I love my work! I love to share this wisdom with others. Given the miraculous transformation that Ayurveda has made in my life and health, I feel I have to share this knowledge! I feel gratitude for my illness every day because it led me to this practice. This information is a gift, and I am so excited to share it with the enlightened individuals attending the YogaLean Coaching Immersion so that they can carry it forth and benefit. Everyone should sign up and encourage your friends and families to come with you! My lectures and workshops are designed to make using Ayurveda in your daily life simple, easy, and hugely beneficial.

 

Kathryn Herbert practices privately in Southern California and conducts national workshops to promote the benefits of Ayurvedic Lifestyle choices. She lives in Los Angeles with her two teenaged children, two dogs, a cat, three horses and hopes to welcome chickens to her home soon.

Shilajit, the Rock-Invincible

Author Kathryn Herbert; Ayu Ct P, RYT 250 with
Dr Sachin Kotalganor; MD (India) Ayu Physician DPU, IAA Secretary

 

SHILAJIT, or Silajatu as it translates from Sanskrit to mean “rock invincible”, is Mineral Pitch collected from the mountainous ores found in the Himalayan region and is known also as Moomie (Russian). The ancient science of Ayurveda has valued this substance for thousands upon thousands of years.

It has gained much recent attention on the modern nutraceutical market with the health and fitness crowd- and with good reason. The ancient Physician of Ayurved states in the Charaka Samhita states “a person who is correctly using Shilajit with Sattvic diet for 3 months of Rasayana will be free of disease and ailments, and shall live long life of 100 years..” The ancient Yogi Sherpas of the Golden Age have gone down in history of having strength, virility, and longevity. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) explains mountainous ore Mineral Pitch as “Fat for the 5 Spirits” noting that it serves all of the elemental humors. A long time tradition exists in both cultures is to supplement the adult and children diet alike.
shilajit
So, what is it exactly??

As the Latin Botanical name Asphaltum Punjabianum suggests, it is the tar-like substance of the Punjabi region of the world that oozes out of the mountainous ore rocks when they heat up. It then cools and hardens to a crystalline rock. This process is not unique to the Himalayas, it happens in the mountainous regions all over the world. If you have ever seen the summer sun heat up asphalt pavement until it sweats out sticky icky tar- you have witnessed the process. So of course, please don’t go out and scrape some of this stuff off of the road and consume it, that is poison! But do understand that Nature creates this process on her own, taking centuries to nurture biologic and geologic compounds to produce mineral rich pitches full of microelements in a bioactive substance that is water soluble and absorbed by the bodily tissues when consumed.

The ancient texts refer to Shilajit as coming in four varieties per the ore type. Gold, resulting in a deep red/pink color , “color of the hibiscus flower”, Silver, resulting in a whitish hue, Copper, is blueish green, resembling “color of the peacock’s nape” and Iron Ore, resulting in black tar-like substance that hardens to shiny black crystalline rock.
It is this black mineral pitch that comes from Iron ore that Ayurved uses as a “Rasayana” or a “rejuvenating” substance. It has been used classically for thousands of years in conjunction with other herbs with the ancient understanding that it is a “yogavahi” therefore a “carrier” of substances into the deep tissues by permeating the “prana” or “life force” enhancing the effects of everything we take in.

Noting that mountainous ore mineral pitch components will vary pursuant to the region of collection, modern day laboratory science has recorded composition of over 85 minerals and microelements, most notably Humic and Fulvic Acids. Modern science postulates that “Fulvic Acid is a biologically active compound with dibenzo-a-pyrones and acts as a carrier of other substances”. Yogavahi. The ancients knew that already.

Shilajit has been long used for its positive effects on the urinary-genital system and muscular stature, therefore it is prized to build male virility and potency. It’s anti-lipidemic action has been used to balance high blood sugar levels and remove fat. Circulation through the blood stream enkindles bile secretion from the liver; a function of Pitta, the doshic element of Fire responsible for transformation.

Clinical studies throughout the world today are being conducted regarding the use therapeutic use of Shilajit for a variety of research projects of condition treatment including Alzheimer’s disease. Most notably, the modern day scientific community has regards for the antioxidant effects upon free radicals. Recent studies on composition of Andean Shilajit collected in Chile show an ORAC index between 50 and 500 Trolax units/g of material which is substantially higher than Blueberries or Noni fruit, concluding that it is a powerful antioxidant phytocomplex (per NCBI; National Center for Biotechnology Information).

I know it sounds great so far, but before you run out and get some then start downing like potato chips, understand that everything (including potato chips) comes with it’s risks.

Do you remember that this substance is a “yogavahi”? In Sanskrit, “vahi” means carrier and “yog” means that there is union. Simply put, yogavahis carry other substances to the deep tissues. This means ALL substances (including potato chips). Do you remember that Charaka states “taken correctly with a Sattwic diet..” ? This means that the user will experience an increased effect in ALL of the “prana” or life force taken in from substances, good or bad. There is a fine line between enhancement vs aggravation in the delicate balance of our Doshic nature. A sattvic diet is tri-doshic and leads to blissful balance of mind and body. Everything else is a possible perceived invitation of chaos.

The perforation of the prana allows all of the body’s 40 types of “Agni”, or “fire” kindle throughout the system. This can either build tissue or burn tissue. For this reason, it is strictly recommended that the user follow a diet that does not provoke the Pitta dosha as it is governed by the element of fire. Applied to lifestyle, this means that substances that are Pungent, Sour (acidic) and Salty are to be avoided or strictly moderated to avoid systematic imbalance. Food examples, to name just a few, include chili peppers, grapefruit/oranges, pickled things, dark leafy greens and nightshades such as bell peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant. The ancient texts notably mention that Madras Gram (aka horse gram or moth bean) should be avoided- in the modern day West, we could use this theory to include all of those legume type beans that tend to be dark in color and rich sources iron. Modern science supports this as these high in iron pulses are deficient in methionine and tryptophan leading to hyperacidity. (Just as the ancient Charaka Samhita so states..)

The ancient texts teach us to take Shilajit with warmed milk; the most sattvic and life giving substance of the Universe. Our modern day factory farmed milk is grossly lacking the sattvic qualities of the sacred fluid, so please use Cow’s or Goat’s milk that is Organic and NOT homogenized from a BPA free container. If those choices are not ok for you, you may use Almond or Rice milk prepared using only almonds or rice with clean water not containing any additives, gums, fillers, flavorings or preservatives, etc. Avoid Soy and Cashew milk as these things can potentially raise Pitta. Milk is indicated as the best way to administer Shilajit as it carries the resinous substance passed the acidic condition of the stomach fluid onto deeper digestion to be utilized by the tissues.

Shilajit is contraindicated when combined with alcoholic substances. In as much that it is water soluble, it is insoluble in alcohol, chloroform and ether. Alcohol is extremely Pitta provoking and highly rajasic in nature. Do not consume alcoholic beverages if you are taking Shilajit.

Shilajit-1_(1)If you do decide to implement use of Shilajit as a part of your wellness regime, let the buyer beware and choose your product from a reputable source. Use this and all other Ayurvedic remedies under the guidance of a dually qualified Ayurvedic Practitioner and follow the recommendations.

The ancient texts place intricate emphasis on the “Rasashastra” or the correct preparation of substances through proper training of specialized chemistry. This continues to be of great importance today as there is an ever present inherent risk of contamination by poisonous heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic. Remember the tar from the road? Know what you are buying and consuming.

Wu-ling-zhi (latin botanical: feces trogopterori seu pteromi) sourced from China is illegal for US trade at the time of this writing. Information is not clear as to whether this is due to its bio-scarcity or its potential risks.

Always choose your products from a provider that has a solid reputation of bio-sustainability, can prove its source and can substantiate claims of contents by purity reports.

Wishing you harmony, happiness and health,

Kathryn Herbert; Ayu Ct P, RYT 250

With Dr Sachin Kotalgaonkar, MD (India) Ayurvedic Physician
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