Mirrors are both a necessity as well as a convenience. All of us use mirrors both within the home as well as outside of it.
Mirrors stand as a symbol of reflection – both physical and spiritual. Our thoughts, words and actions are a mirror of our feelings. A mirror is nothing but a metaphor, a reflection into our own selves.
To solve any crisis in life, we need to determine the cause of the problem. Only when we see these problems can be work towards fixing them. Now, given that mirrors are a reflection of our lives, they can help us see problems and fix them. For example, only when we look at our reflection in the mirror can we say whether we’re having a bad hair day or not!
Mirrors and Feng Shui
Mirrors have been used since ancient times across many different cultures. However, the ancient Chinese laws of Feng Shui give particular importance to mirrors and their placement.
According to Feng Shui, a mirror is a representation of water. Since chi energy can be pooled or collected with water, it can be done so with a mirror as well. This makes mirrors an extremely powerful tool – they double everything including chi energy.
All Feng Shui experts and practitioners know the power of mirrors. Mirrors are often referred to as Feng Shui’s aspirin. They can magnify, energise and alter a space dramatically. If placed properly, mirrors can even cure any space that is awkwardly shaped and lacks chi energy.
But it isn’t a mirror that is inherently auspicious. Rather, the placement of a mirror is what makes it auspicious or inauspicious. Feng Shui states that mirror placement within a home affects health, wealth and happiness. Proper mirror placement can boost and enhance chi energy around a home. This in turn can bring abundance and luck. On the other hand, an improperly placed mirror does just the opposite. Improperly placed mirrors deflect chi energy away from a home and can also cause a lot of harm. What a mirror reflects defines whether it’s placement is auspicious or inauspicious.
As I mentioned earlier – mirrors double up whatever lies in front of them. So, mirrors can attract both positive and negative energy with the same influence and efficiency. Hence, Feng Shui gives a lot of importance to mirror placement.
If you’re a Feng Shui practitioner, you must understand where and how to place mirrors within your home. While many Feng Shui practitioners may tell you to use Pa Kua (bagua) mirrors, this is debatable. Experts state that any mirror works as well as Pa Kua mirrors, so there’s really no point hoarding special mirrors. You can go with rectangular or square shaped mirrors as they can easily be found and they work just as well. Unless advised by an expert, avoid irregularly shaped mirrors.
I’m sure you’re wondering about the specifics of how to place mirrors properly in your home. So, without any further ado, let’s take a look at the Do’s and Don’ts of mirror placement according to Feng Shui. Make sure to follow them all!
Do’s Of Placing Mirrors
When it comes to proper mirror placement, there are many rules that Feng Shui practitioners abide by. While some of these rules seem strange, many of them are incredibly practical. Here, we’ll take a look at 10 of the Do’s of mirror placement, which also offer practical benefits.
- Use whole mirrors
Whole mirrors are large sized mirrors that allow you to see yourself in one piece. It is important to use whole mirrors because they give you a feeling of completeness whenever you look into them. This feeling of completeness allows you to affirm yourself and your goodness.
- Use mirrors to reflect the beauty of nature
By using mirrors to reflect the beauty of nature, you will enhance the chi energy indoors. There is a lot of healthy chi energy outdoors – in gardens, trees, blue skies and clouds. By reflecting these in your mirror, you will allow this healthy chi energy to flow within your home.
- Use mirrors to reflect your living and dining spaces
Inside a home, the living area is a symbol of prosperity while the dining area is a symbol of wealth. By using mirrors to reflect your living and dining spaces, you can magnify the wealth, abundance and prosperity in your life.
- Use mirrors to add light and movement
Every home has some dark areas where there is not enough light, for instance a long hallway. By using mirrors in such dark areas, you can circulate light and facilitate movement. In turn, this will also help chi energy circulate throughout your home.
- Use mirrors to cover problems
Many rooms with awkward shapes can be remedied with the help of mirrors. For instance, if you have a square pillar in a room, you can mirror all four sides of the pillar. This essentially makes the awkward pillar disappear from view. Mirrors can be used to cover other similar structural defects, such as a cut within your home.
- Keep your mirrors clean
Always ensure to keep your mirrors clean. A cloudy mirror will reflect cloudy images. This has a detrimental effect on you as you will associate a cloudy mind whenever you see your reflection.
- Use mirrors to reflect wealth
Many Feng Shui practitioners place mirrors to reflect jewellery and cash lockers. This reflects positive chi energy and can help bring more prosperity and wealth into your life.
- Use mirrors near entryways
Placing mirrors near entryways can bring about a great positive effect in your life. Mirrors near the entrance of a home activate the water element and allow better flow of chi energy into your home. You’ll also see a positive glimpse of yourself whenever you leave home.
- Use mirrors to broaden space
If any area of your home is narrow, then you can use mirrors to visually broaden the space. While this certainly improves aesthetics, it also facilitates easier flow of chi energy around your home.
- Make sure that your mirrors are at the right height
If you have many people living in your home, you need to ensure that your mirrors are at the right height for everyone. Everybody living with you should be able to see a good reflection of themselves in the mirror. This will help positive chi energy touch everyone’s lives.
Don’ts Of Placing Mirrors
Like I mentioned earlier, there are many, many Feng Shui rules regarding proper placement of mirrors. However, I will focus on the rules that are universal and apply to most spaces. Here are 10 such practical rules regarding the Don’ts of mirror placement.
- Don’t place mirrors opposite doors
Never place a mirror right opposite your doors. This will cause any positive chi energy to bounce back right out of your door. You’ll miss out on many opportunities in life if you do so.
- Don’t place mirrors where they reflect negative views
Your mirrors should never reflect any negative views or messy areas. Avoid placing mirrors opposite to toilets, stoves, flames, clutter, drains or poison arrows (sharp corners). If you see an ugly sight in a mirror, negative energy will only be magnified, so make sure to avoid this.
- Don’t place mirrors in your bedroom
Never place mirrors in your bedroom. Mirrors can cause an over-stimulating effect when placed in a bedroom. This in turn creates insomnia. Also, if there is a problem in a relationship, mirrors will magnify the problems. It is best to leave mirrors out of the bedroom altogether.
- Don’t use cracked or broken mirrors
Cracked or broken mirrors are a big no-no. They distort the image of every object and they harbour a lot of negative energy. Get rid of all your broken mirrors and replace them with clean, new ones.
- Don’t use antique mirrors
Antique mirrors often get distorted with time. When you look at yourself in an antique mirror, you will get a distorted perception of premature aging. It is best to avoid antique mirrors and even mirrors that have antiqued surfaces or frames around them.
- Don’t hang a mirror too high or too low
Your mirrors should be placed at an ideal height for all members of your family. Never place a mirror such that the head of a person is cut off in the reflection. Mirrors should always reflect the entire head and shoulders of an individual – regardless of how tall or short they are.
- Don’t place mirrors facing one another
Placing mirrors right opposite each other can create a funhouse effect. However, this should never be done within a home as it traps the flow of chi energy. Chi energy will be stuck between the mirrors and will never flow to other parts of your home. Avoid infinite reflections as they create a strange vortex that can cause distress and displeasure.
- Don’t place mirrors at the end of staircases
Placing mirrors at the end of staircases means that they’ll either cut the feet or the head in a reflection. You must avoid this completely. Unless your mirror can reflect a person’s entire body, never place it at the end of a staircase.
- Don’t place mirrors at the end of hallways
While placing mirrors in hallways helps the flow of chi energy, mirrors must never be placed at the end of a hallway. If you do so, your mirror will attract negative energy. This negative energy won’t leave your home easily, so make sure not to place mirrors in such areas.
- Don’t place mirrors near study tables
If you have a study table, make sure not to place a mirror next to it. Mirrors can cause a loss of concentration during study and this problem only gets magnified with time. Mirrors should be placed only where they reflect positive energy, not near a study table.
I’m sure you agree that mirrors are a very powerful tool. Not only do they help us see reflections of physical objects, but they are also a symbol of spiritual reflection.
As a Feng Shui practitioner, I always ensure that my mirrors facilitate the flow of positive chi energy in my home. While there may be thousands of do’s and don’ts regarding mirror placement in Feng Shui, I tend to follow the most practical rules. By doing so, I’ve found a lot of peace and prosperity in my life.
If you’re focused on more happiness, better self-esteem, better health and prosperity, then you should also adopt these Feng Shui rules on mirror placement. Believe me – these rules have stood the test of time and they will turn your fortunes drama
Your Grace Guru
Moods are important! Emotions are part and parcel of every human being. The tradition with human feelings – these include both good and bad vibes! If anyone tells you that they only experience good moods, please realise you are dealing with a liar or a mentally disturbed person!
As fate would have it, it always seems harder to get into a good mood but always very easy to lose it. To put it differently, you are likely to change into a bad mood faster than it will take you to adopt a positive emotion. It feels like an exercise in futility, right? … Not exactly!
Why A Bad Mood Is To Be Avoided
It is important to consider the negative effects of a bad mood, hoping that this will jolt you into realising why you need strategies in order to rid yourself of a bad temperament. A foul disposition sets in motion a series of negative reactions to people, events and other external stimuli.
When you are in a foul temperament, you are likely to dent your reputation through negative talk and actions. You may say something you will regret. It is also possible to throw away opportunities and people that could have helped you. In other words, a bad mood beclouds the mind and precipitates negative conduct.
How To Change Your Mood For The Better
Here are effective actions to take when your mood goes south, as it will often do. You will realise that changing your mood to the better will demand that you address certain mental, physical, social and even dietary issues:
1. Treat the cause, not the symptoms: Your moods are indicative of a deeper problem within you. Perhaps it is self-acceptance or low self –esteem. Possibly there is an unresolved problem with someone else. It is time you took the bull by its horns. Iron out the issues with the other person, or, where necessary, seek professional assistance.
2. Set goals and priorities: Your foul mood is probably due to exhaustion and feeling that you have too much to do within a very short time. Write down all the tasks that await you and prioritize them. Identify the urgent and the important and decide what to do first.
3. Adopt a positive disposition: Whenever you focus on the bad that is happening or is likely to happen around you, you tend to feel to despondent. Focus, rather, on what makes you happy. Think about your past success whenever the present seems to be going against your present desires.
4. Grab a wholesome snack or meal: Your moods plunge when you are low on energy. The best solution is to eat healthy food like fruits, nuts, vegetables, avocado and dark chocolate, to name a few. The nutrients these foods carry will elevate your mood almost immediately.
5. Engage in an enjoyable activity: What is that pastime that brings out the best in you? Just do it. Get out there are and ride a bike. Volunteer for community service. Engage deliberately in activities that have previously lifted your moods and made life enjoyable.
6. Invest in some humour: Your mood has plummeted? Watch that favourite comedian or comedy show and bring back some excitement into your life. Call the funny friend who makes you laugh simply by being around you. Go out and meet them as this will spike your mood. How about remembering events and people that made you laugh in the past?
7. Bring a smile to your face: This is where we say you should fake it until you make it. Go before a mirror and smile at the person who is looking back at you. Act happy and you will be surprised at how quickly your thoughts pick up the happy mood.
8. Engage in a distraction: Instead of focussing on that issue that has negatively affected your disposition, look for something different but more enjoyable to do. It may not be something you have done before, but it has to help your forget your reasons for being sad.
9. Work out: It is rare to find a person who is exercising being unhappy at the same time. Exercise has a way of stimulating the secretion of endorphins thus lifting up your mood. Take a brisk walk, hit the gym or perform push-ups in your living room to drive bad moods away.
10. Practice spirituality: There is a soul inside you that yearns for connection with the Supreme Being. Nurture your soul by engaging in prayer, meditation or any other activity that nourishes the inner being. The ensuing peace of mind cannot c0-exist with bad moods.
11. Listen to your favourite music: Music, especially that cool and sentimental type and spiritual vibes, has a way of lifting up your spirit and giving you a reason to be positive and to smile again, despite the negatives around you.
12. Dance: Closely related to music is the idea of moving your body in unison with the beat and rhythm music you are listening to. Dancing, like exercise, has a positive impact on your endorphins, banishing away a foul mood and bringing back the positive vibe you need.
13. Reach out to friends and family: Some bad moods stem from feelings of disconnection from the rest of the society. That is why you need to call your friend and eat out or watch a movie together. A much cheaper option is to set out on a walk or picnic.
14. Play: Which is your favourite game? Football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, badminton? Get some friends or visit the sports club and play to your satisfaction. Bad mood will eschew you.
15. Disengage social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their cousins have a way of making you feel less successful, unimportant and less attractive, especially when you look at the posts and profiles of apparently more successful peers. Give yourself a break and focus on improving your self-esteem.
Most importantly, remember you can only get out of a bad mood by taking practical steps. Whatever works for you, bring the vibe and groove back, maximize on it, and bad moods will not dictate how you live your life!
Your Grace Guru
One of the most renowned experiments on the close connection between the body and the mind is the placebo effect. Simply put, the placebo effect holds that when a sick person is given a counterfeit pill or one that resembles an actual pill but has zero effect, the patient will be cured, not because the medicine has any effect, but because of the patient’s unreserved belief in the efficacy of that pill.
The Starting Point
That will form the starting point as we seek to understand the powerful effect the mind has on other faculties of the body. Dr Lissa Rankin, a physician and researcher established in a study that the prevalence of diseases and concomitant expenditure was almost as high in poor neighbourhoods as they were in posh California areas.
The Poor And The Rich, Alike, Get Sick
While everybody would expect poor folks to have higher risks of falling sick due to poor dietary practices, lack of exercise, smoking and drug abuse among other practices, people in wealthier areas were also at risk, to the surprise of many. This study brought to the fore the fact that contrary to the teachings of conventional medicine, it was important to unleash a holistic approach to treatment of illnesses, especially to embrace the marvels of the mind.
The Law of Attraction
Another important issue to consider when pondering how strong the power of the mind is lies within the law of attraction. Over the years, philosophers, theologians, quantum physicists and other professionals have come to the conclusion that when the mind consistently holds on to a thought pattern, whatever is being thought about comes to pass.
There have been many reports of people who have transformed their financial fortunes as well as other spheres of life by using the law of attraction. Some terminally ill patients, who had been informed by physicians that they would not live for long, have been known to walk out of their hospital beds into flourishing wellbeing.
Now, To The Immense Powers Of The Mind
These and other developments in the study of the mind illustrate just how powerful this organ is. However, in order to understand, to a greater depth, the powers of the mind, let us delve into the specifics.
1. Healing Of Diseases: For many years, faith healing has been practiced but is always dismissed by most medical practitioners. The field of medicine or conventional healing has been aided to an extent by the discovery of the power of the mind. According to experimental studies carried out at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine, located in Massachusetts, patients who underwent a number of mindfulness techniques (e.g. meditation, and mantra) demonstrated significant gene changes, which helped to decelerate ageing, improve metabolism and relaxation, and regulate insulin in their bodies.
The practice of mindfulness created changes in the DNA that led to remarkable health improvements for participating patients. In essence, the power of the mind was called into action to aid conventional medicine and what resulted was more than could have been accomplished through common therapeutic means. With more experiments, we could witness a decrease in global expenditure on medicine and healthcare. The irony is that this power has always been with us yet medical practitioners did not find it prudent to try it on human beings.
2. Assuaging Of Physical Pain: The study of the mind has also led to interesting findings that have impacted the way we understand and deal with pain. To begin with, the placebo effect indicates that the mind actually has control over the body. While pain is real and cannot be wished away, it is evident that the human body has its own healing mechanisms which are domiciled in the mind. It is possible now to understand how faith-healers work, whether they (faith-healers) understand the rationale or not. The moment one believes that they are going to be healed, the mind starts to work towards the healing of that person.
The connection between the mind and the body, though unseen, is very powerful to the point of bringing relief from pain. This discovery has led many to believe that what we call ‘miracles’ of healing are merely the manifestations of the healing power of the mind on body maladies. Again, if such a discovery is actualized people will spend less on medicine and healthcare systems will not be as strained as they are today.
3. Emotional Healing: Did you know that emotional pain is as excruciating as physical hurt? The fact that people who hurt emotionally may not exhibit physical injuries does not mean that they are hurting less. Studies have established that the same mechanisms that work in emotional throbbing are the ones involved in physical pain. The brain is created in such a way that it does not differentiate between sources of pain. When people lose a loved one or go through a breakup, the aching they feel has the same potency as if they had been hurt physically.
But there is something that should worry you more. While physical pain lasts for certain duration and disappears, emotional pain stays for a longer time. Every time a person is reminded of the hurtful event that stung their feelings, chances are that the wound will become fresh again and pain even more. It takes time and deliberate acceptance of circumstances for the mind to bring about healing. Need we be careful about the emotional pain we inflict on other people? We should.
4. Managing Stress: Another important area of medical research that has benefited a lot from understanding the power of the brain is stress management. One fact about the brain is that it cannot differentiate between real threats and those that don’t exist. We all know the reality of stress even when it emanates from genuine issues that put the lives and comfort of those we love and ourselves at risk. And life has so many of these, many of which emanate from the people we interact with daily.
However, we need to understand that even imagined stress can have a devastating effect on our lives because the brain considers it stress. Whatever we imagine that can bring pain into our lives eventually hurts us. The solution, thankfully, lies in the same mind. We can visualize ourselves doing away with both real and imagined stress and it will be gone as simply as it came. The moment we realize that we can change our thinking and change our circumstances, we rid ourselves of negative stress that can easily destroy us.
5. Learning Through Visualisation: The mind is so powerful that we can use it to learn without actually being in a learning environment. The brain has a capability called neuroplasticity, which implies that it devices new pathways on a continuous basis. By repeating a routine when learning a skill, we strengthen the pathways which carry the respective action. That happens when you are in a classroom trying to learn a skill. However, the brain does not differentiate between what you actually perform and what you visualise.
According to the great Albert Einstein, you are better off with imagination than with knowledge, if you were to choose between the two. In essence, if you imagine carrying out some action using your brain, the mind will react as if you are in actual practice. Visualization is, therefore, a very important aspect of learning. This should be of great interest to educationists.
6.Goal Achievement: Now, this may shock many because it is unprecedented. Did you know that when you speak about your goals, your brain believes you have achieved them? Wow! Your mouth may be your downfall, after all. Experts have established that the moment you start telling others of the goals you intend to achieve, the brain confuses your talking for action, thus depriving you of the motivation to achieve an ‘already attained’ goal.
Talking about your goals gives you satisfaction and sends the signal to the brain that you don’t need any more inspiration and inner strength to reach out. Methinks we should keep quiet about our dreams and wait until we have accomplished them. Once again, a goal in mind tells the brain to give you the resources you need to achieve it. What a discovery!
7. Boosting Your Mood: Put a smile on your face now because there is good news. Did you know that your facial expression affects your emotions? The brain (how “confused” this organ is) cannot differentiate between a fake and a genuine smile. This means that the moment stress engulfs you, you can laugh your way out of it. A fake smile has the same effect on your brain and relieves stress the same way a real smile does. When you facial muscles move to form a smile, the brain interprets it as a positive emotion and stress takes a flight.
Something is the matter and you are stressed? Laugh at your problems. Hide from people and smile your way out. Someone is stressing you out, pretend not to be upset and smile instead. Don’t frown because this will strengthen bad moods. Make it your reaction to always meet stress with a smile because you have a brain that is so powerful that it does not realize you are pretending you are happy!
The Parting Shot
This space is not enough to elaborate exhaustively just how powerful the mind is. However, with this knowledge, you can live a better life because you can handle physical and emotional hurt as well as ubiquitous stress.
Hopefully, scientists and other interested parties will continue to discover other marvellous capabilities of the brain that would help us live happier and longer lives. Until then, let us toast to the most powerful computer ever created – your brain!
Your Grace Guru
Happiness is something that all of us crave and search for all the time. It comes and goes, sometimes very quick and sometimes it stays a bit longer! Ask any person you meet what they want from life and chances are they will mention happiness are very high. We spend a lot of money trying to attain all that bliss, we go to great lengths – to the end of the world – just to feel that serenity and gladness that we crave so much.
So why is it that we don’t remain happy for long?
Here are 10 simple things you need to do to become happier or to inculcate an attitude of happiness:
1. Live a simple life: Most of us forget that life is meant to be enjoyed and the best way to do it is to live as simply as possible. Often, it is not the money and material things that bring happiness into life. Rather, it is the simple things that matter. Appreciate the very fact that you are alive and healthy; that you can talk to people and listen to the beautiful sound of nature. Much of these can be enjoyed away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Think about it this way: how would you live if you were taken to a world without modern technology?
2. Imbibe the fresh air from outdoors: There are few things that are as refreshing and invigorating as the outdoor. You level of happiness is likely to spike when your brain imbibes fresh air. After hours of interacting with many people and machines, some of them irritating, you need an injection of freshness and happiness from nature. Create time over the weekend or after work to visit that park or lake where nature teems. The blood in your brain needs that freshness to bring back happiness.
3. Exercise gratitude: It has been proved that people who accept themselves as they are often experience high levels of happiness compared to those who are always complaining. Learn to give thanks for the people around you like family and friends. Be happy when things go right and learn to appreciate when you don’t get your way. Instead of basing your daily disposition on the weather, train your body to appreciate all kinds of weather. Grateful people often find more reasons to become happier.
4. Engage in regular workouts: Regular exercise relieves the body from stress. It stretches out your muscles and brings relaxation. Your brain becomes invigorated because fresh air is mixed in the blood. Your mood is boosted and you begin to feel happier. Rarely will you go into the gym with a foul mood and low spirit and return with the same disposition. People who exercise regularly are among the happiest on earth.
The only bad workout, is the one that never happened!
5. Focus on the good, not the bad: To become happier, you need to identify issues that make you happy and those that sadden you. Your focus should be on maximizing on the positive issues and minimizing or eradicating the negative. In life, there will always be some things and people that exasperate you. Remember you cannot control what comes your way but you can decide how to react to all stimuli. Choose to be happy. Choose to see what is good inside you instead of focussing on the bad that some people associate with you.
6. Spend adequate time on sleep: The human body is designed with its own mechanism for happiness, and part of this is getting enough sleep. There is no way you will be happy when you deprive your body of sleep. Most of the time when you are irritable and likely to pick a fight with other people, it is because you have not slept adequately. It is important that you sleep for between six and eight hours daily since this will naturally rest your body and give you greater happiness.
7. Extend a helping hand: Human life was never designed to be a lonely and selfish affair. We are what we are because someone helped us along the way, we only become happier when we extend the same kind of assistance to other people who need it. Human nature is such that when we lift the spirits of others our joy is amplified. And there are many people in need of your help. Orphans, widows, the homeless, the sick and so on, can benefit from some of the surplus resources you have.
8. Have quality social time: Your friends and relatives play a great role in your life. They know you better than anybody else. Your good and bad moments are all engraved in their minds. Your happiness is connected with theirs. It follows that as their happiness increases, so does yours. Consequently, plan to spend more quality time with those who love you. Attend special occasions such as weddings and birthday parties to show support and enjoy these people’s company, and your happiness will increase.
9. Meditate: One of the most acknowledged strategies of making you happier is to meditate. Meditation helps you to bring your mind, body and spirit into conformity. It eliminates your inner conflicts, giving you peace of mind and contentment. The moment you give your inner nature contentment, you begin to become more positive and pleasurable to live with. Learn to spend time is silent contemplation of your life, listening to your inner voice.
10. Treat yourself well: Your happiness depends on how well you value yourself and how you treat yourself. You cannot make others happy if you are not happy with yourself. The battle must begin within you. Money may not buy happiness but you can use money to increase your happiness. Treat yourself to that special meal in the restaurant you like. Make that special trip to a place where you have always craved to visit. Buy that special smartphone or latest kind of clothing or car if you can afford it. You deserve it as this will make you happier.
When all is said and done, happiness begins with you appreciating yourself. Becoming happier is possible when you extend this love to others, appreciate what life brings your way, and find little ways to make life more bearable for all human beings.
Your Grace Guru
I would like to write about a special breathing practice, which is called Paranayama. We all know that breathing is something that we do every day, 24/7, but don’t really pay any attention to it most of the time. If I tell you what life changing benefits you can get out of Pranayama, I am sure it will make you so much interested that you will start practicing it on a daily basis.
Pranayama is made up of two words i.e. “prana” meaning breath and “yana” meaning to control or restrain. Pranayama, therefore, means to control the breath. Without breathing, we obviously can’t live. Prana is a vital element of our existence on this earth. The only thing we ought to do is take good care of this precious gift God has given us. Utilization of this energy source gifted to us is crucial to ensuring we stay a healthy and disease free lifestyle.
The benefits of pranayama can’t be underscored. There are intangible (that can’t be touched) and tangible (that can be perceived by the sense of touch) advantages.
Controlled breathing rate!
I am sure you know it already or at least heard it from your friends – Yoga is great for the mind, soul and it will also help you to control your breathing a lot. So another way to practice Paranayama is trough Yoga, it will enable you reduce your breathing rate and breathe more deeply and slowly.
But can you imagine?! With Pranayama, you can reduce your rate of breathing from 13-16 breaths per minute to 5-7 breaths!
A decreased respiratory rate leads to the following
- More oxygen will be pumped into the lungs due to the slower and deeper breaths
- Lower blood pressure
- Relaxation of the body muscles and joints
- Eased nerves
- Internal organs will be relaxed leading to less wear and tear hence a healthier lifestyle
Increase in life
According to yoga, breathing increases longevity. The deeper and slower you respire, the longer you will live. For instance, tortoises breathe 4-5 times a minute, and they end up living more than 200 years.
Improved blood circulation
When we breathe, fresh oxygen enters our bodies, and we exhale carbon dioxide. Oxygen travels from our nostrils to our lungs and later on to the heart. Once it reaches the heart, it is pumped into the veins and arteries throughout the body. Therefore, deeper breaths lead to better blood circulation and a revitalized life.
A healthy heart
It’s common knowledge that the heart is the most conscientious organ in the body. Once it stops beating, that’s the end of life. It beats close to 101, 000 times a day. There is not a single minute it has stopped, whether you are resting or sleeping. Your life expectancy will mainly be determined by how healthy your heart is. The more oxygen you breathe, the more oxygen and blood is passed through the heart leading to the more youthful heart. The lesser oxygen you breathe, the lesser blood will be pumped through your veins and arteries leading to a weakened immune system and lower energy levels. You will feel weak, and your muscles and joints will be frail.
Benefits to the body
Pranayama will have a positive effect on various body organs such as the kidneys, abdomen, heart, pancreas, intestines, diaphragm, and the lungs.
An improved digestive. Digestive system related problems will be cured with better breathing techniques.
Reduced lethargy and improved energy levels.
With more oxygen in the blood, toxins will be removed from the body leading to a better well-being and an improved immune system. Removal of toxins and a better immune system means the onset of illnesses is easily prevented.
Improved mental health
Pranayama frees us from all forms of stress and depression related issues such as anger and lasciviousness. You will be freed from all mental conditions bad characters traits such as arrogance, egotism, and greed for the earthly possessions such as money.
Yoga is great for the mind and soul. Pranayama practice will help you feel relieved, calm, a sense of body lightness, inner peace, and better concentration. You will experience better memory, improved sleep patterns, and enhanced skills.
Enhances life quality in old age.
The world is changing, and unfortunately, we are engaging in more sedentary lifestyles. We are exercising less, walking less (because we think having a car is the most important thing to own), and spending more time on our smartphones and computers. We are becoming zombies. Living such a lifestyle will lead to your lung capacity decreasing as the lung tissues grow less elastic.
Such a lifestyle means we will have a poor quality of life in our old age. Pranayama will help improve this quality and help us live a better life when we are retired.
Old age problems that yoga will reduce include:
- Hardened arteries which may lead to lower circulation of blood in the body
- Rheumatism, headaches and backaches.
- Muscle pains, stiff joints and weakened bones.
- Pranayama will also lower the buildup of uric acid in the body which can have adverse effects such as discomfort and chronic joint pains.
Once you feel stressed, your body will experience bursts of energy to counter any form of danger that may come your way. Scientifically this is known as the fight or flight effect. You will experience faster and shallow breaths which mean less oxygen will be inhaled and consequently pumped into your bloodstream.
Hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline will be produced which increases the blood pressure and heart rate. However, with breathing you can be able to control all these. Deep breathing will give you a sense of calm. Your heart, mind, body, and soul will be peaceful. Deep slow breaths reverse the effects of adrenaline by stimulating the vagus nerve in the parasympathetic nerve system which lowers the heart rates and blood pressure which eventually leads to a calm mind and body.
Your emotional state will be improved with deep controlled breathing techniques. You will be less reactive to your emotions due to a relaxed spirit.
The stages of the breathing process include
Puraka known as inhalation- Here you breathe in deep and slow, and you fill your lungs with air.
Kumbhaka i.e. retention. This is the second stage where body temperatures are raised, and oxygen is absorbed into the blood stream.
Rechaka i.e. exhalation. You release the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and the lungs and diaphragm return to its normal position.
Types of Pranayama
This means to bellow, i.e. produce a blast of air. Just as a bellow is used to generate lots of air, you ought to breathe in and out rapidly. To practice the Bhastrika Pranayama, sit in a comfortable position and inhale in and out while closing your mouth, expanding and contracting your chest.
Start with 10-15 breaths then increase them to 25-30 breaths. Remember inhaling deeply is the whole point of Pranayama. Retain the air in your chest for as long as you can, then slowly release the carbon dioxide.
Bhastrika Pranayama leads to
- Reduced throat inflammation
- Eradicates asthma
- Destroys phlegm
- Eliminates all diseases related to the lungs, throat and bile.
Ensure you are in a comfortable position such as siddhasana. Keep your eyes shut when practicing this Pranayama. Close the left nostril and slowly inhale air through the right nostril. Once you have inhaled enough air (you should be comfortable), close the right nostril with your thumb and retain the air by pressing your jaw against your chest. Increase the rates of retention until sweat is slowly excreted from the hair roots.
Exhale slowly without producing any form of a sound through the left nostril with the right nostril is still closed using your thumb.
Benefits of Suryabheda Pranayama
- It eliminates any decay in the body
- It also destroys any worms in the digestive system
- It cures illnesses such as sinusitis, rhinitis, and rheumatism
- Suryabheda Pranayama also clears the brain and purifies it.
Before beginning this Pranayama sit in the siddhasana position and keep your mouth closed at all times. Inspire slowly through both nostrils in a smooth, comfortable pace. Close your mouth once the inhaled air fills up your lungs until the end of your throat. Enlarge your chest when breathing in.
When you are inhaling, there is a weird but uniform sound that will be produced due to the partial closing of the throat. Ensure you are in a comfortable position when breathing and retaining the air in your lungs and throat. Then slowly respire through the nostrils. The best thing about Ujjayi Pranayama is that it can be performed even when during your normal day activities e.g. when at work, or even when walking.
Benefits of Ujjayi Pranayama include
- Reduces the amounts of heat in the head.
- Removes phlegm and increases the gastric fire in the body
- Curing of pulmonary illnesses such as asthma
- Reduces occurrence of heart-related illnesses
Ensure you are in a padmasana sitting position before starting the Bhramari Pranayama. Breathe in through both nostrils and expire while making the sound of a bee. Repeat the inspiring and expiring severally until the body is soaked in perspiration.
Once you feel like you have perspired enough, inhale deeply through both nostrils and retain the air as long as you are comfortable then let out the carbon dioxide slowly through the two nostrils. You will feel calm and joyful once you are done with this procedure.
- When you start the process, there will be increased body temperature and consequently improved blood circulation throughout the body
- When you conclude the process, body heat will be reduced through sweating.
This Pranayama is a little different from others as it involves folding the tongue till it touches the upper part of the mouth. Once you do that, inhale through your mouth while making a hissing sound. Ensure you are comfortable while inhaling, then respire slowly through the two nostrils.
You can choose to keep the upper and lower jaws in contact when breathing in and repeat that process severally.
- It boosts robustness and beauty. You will be full of strength and life
- Eliminating problems such as insomnia, hunger, sluggishness, and dehydration.
Sit in a comfortable position. Stick out your tongue straight and fold it like a tube. Then inhale air through the mouth while making a weird but uniform hissing sound. Expand your lungs and retain the air as much as you can. Relax a little bit, then respire the carbon dioxide slowly through the right and left nostrils.
Benefits of Sheetali Pranayama include
- Blood purity. Your blood and circulatory system will be pure and toxic waste will be exhaled.
- Quenching of thirst. You will feel better and rehydrated
- This practice also reduces the hunger pangs and cools the body.
The Plavini Pranayama is unique as it involves drinking air from the mouth to the stomach like water. ‘Drink’ the air until the stomach is ballooned a bit. You have to hear some hollow sound when you tap your stomach.
Practice the said procedure slowly. Once you have practiced enough, allow air out. Belch out the air repeatedly.
- Those who have perfected this Pranayama can float for lots of hours on water
- Persons with this skill can stay without food for several days
Sit in a comfortable position. Use your right thumb to seal the right nostril and inspire using the left nostril. Breathe in the air to the lungs and not the stomach. Seal the left nostril and expire using the right nostril. Do the said procedure repeatedly.
Then close the left nostril and inspire through the right nostril. Seal the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril. Repeat those steps severally.
Anulom-Vilom Pranayama leads to
- Stable body temperatures
- Lengthens life
- Reduces stress
- Removal of toxins from the body
- Better blood circulation
Sit in a comfortable position on the floor. Your shoulders should be straight and relaxed, and the back should be upright. Seal your right nostril with the right thumb and inspire through the left nostril. Ensure you are comfortable when inhaling to the lungs. Seal the left nostril using your right-hand index finger and exhale through the right nostril.
Repeat the procedure above for 15-20 times.
- Curing heartburns
- Stabilizes the body’s temperatures
- Cooling the body
It’s important to note that this Pranayama shouldn’t be practiced by people who suffer from low blood pressure. It should also be done only during the summer and not any other season.
Pranayama for Children
So now that you have learned the most popular Pranayama techniques, how do you go about teaching your kids such methods of cleansing the body and living a healthy lifestyle?
Pranayama helps children find inner peace and harmony. Pranayama will uplift their moods and spirit; they will learn how to deal better with nerve-wracking or anxious situations. Practicing such yoga techniques is fun.
Steam Train Method
This is particularly popular with baby class or prekindergarten kids. The first step is to sit in a comfortable position such as a crossed- legged position. Instruct them to seal their nostrils using the upper lip. Then, breathe in through the nose forcing the inhalation to sound like a steaming train.
Gradually speed up the breathing in and out. This particular Pranayama method is critical as it calms the minds of the kids and betters blood circulation in the body.
Dragon Breath Technique
This is another popular Pranayama method for children. It’s slightly different from the steam train method because it involves letting out the toxic carbon dioxide to the universe. The mouth should be kept wide open, and exhaled gas let out to the universe.
The first step is to be in a kneeling position. Instruct them to should raise their hands in the air and outstretch their fingers. Inhale through the nose slowly until the lungs are filled with air. When exhaling, the kids should stretch their arms in front and exhale through the mouth. It’s an entertaining process, and I’m also pretty sure the kids would have fun pretending they are a dragon.
With the hand and fingers movements, the kids are stretching and relaxing their upper body.
Using a mantra in the form of a poem, encourage the children to breathe in and out. A mantra will help them improve their concentration, cleanse their bodies and enhance awareness. A chosen mantra should be something that will uplift, calm or empower the kids.
Reciting loudly or quietly, the kids can recite the mantra below.
There (inhale) is (exhale)
Nothing (inhale) that (exhale)
Can (inhale) stop (exhale)
Me (inhale) from (exhale)
My dreams (exhale)
The three named Pranayama for kids can be practiced by kids who are up to the age of 18. They can be used as a good base for teaching the more complex Pranayama techniques such as Chandrabhedan, Anulom-Vilom, Plavini, Sheetali, and Sheetkari et al. They are great for the mind, body and soul. They can be particularly useful for the children who suffer from anxiety issues, and stress related problems such as depression.
They can be performed during any season the year or whichever time of the day or night. Encourage your kids or younger siblings to practice Pranayama for kids as there is no other perfect gift – blissful moment – you can give your child or younger sibling(s).
Your Grace Guru
Ayurveda is an ancient type of medicine that originated from the Indian subcontinent. The modern world has slowly accepted this traditional system of medicine, and it’s seen as an alternative to modern medicine. In most Western European and American hospitals, this traditional form of medicine has been integrated into general applications as well as in the medical field.
Ayurveda has been in use for more than two millennia and has varied and evolved over the years. It’s said that the classical Ayurveda began with the transmission of the medical expertise from the Gods and then knowledge was passed to the sages, and finally to the human doctors. These therapies are based on complex compounds of herbal products, metals, and various mineral substances. Ayurveda also involves complex medical techniques that include surgical procedures e.g. perineal lithotomy, extracting foreign objects, suturing wounds, and rhinoplasty.
Medical scholars have asserted in the past that Ayurveda originated in the prehistoric periods, and some concepts of this traditional form of medicine were discovered since the times of Vedic period and Indus Valley Civilisation or even earlier. However, most of the medical expertise was developed in the Vedic period, with systems that include Jainism and Buddhism having some practices and concepts appearing in the Ayurveda medical system.
Under Ayurveda is three fundamental substances called the doshas.
Doshas according to the Ayurveda system are three humors that constitute the body of a human being. The dosha teachings are also commonly referred to as the Tridosha theory.
Ayurveda mainly exists because of a delicate but key balance between the three doshas or bodily humors called Kapha, Vata, and Pitta.
The three named doshas above are present in every human being, but the teachings of Ayurveda proposes that we all have at least one dominant dosha since our birth date. Ayurveda also recommends that there should be a balance between the other two doshas. Once the doshas are well balanced, we will live a healthy and disease-free lifestyle but when they aren’t, we develop diseases that are often as a result of various causes. Such causes may include:
- Poor eating habits
- Poor digestion
Most of the Eastern Asia countries have fully integrated the three doshas into their schools of medicine. Ayurveda physicians will even undertake evaluations of your body such as checking your pulse, evaluating your appearance, taking your temperature and asking questions to see how you will handle them and also how you respond to certain scenarios.
There are three doshic states…
Decreased: In this case, a certain dosha is present but in a lower than normal proportion also known as a depleted or a reduced state
Balanced: All the 3 stated doshas are present in their normal equal proportions also called an equilibrium state.
Increased: One of the doshas is present in a greater than normal proportion also known as an excess or aggravated state.
Of the three states above, the aggravated state or increased state leads to the highest number of imbalances, which often come from a range of influences such as stress in life, or a dosha aggravating budget. You could initiate a reinstatement of balance, but it would need a lot of dedication and effort. You would first need to understand your body makeup then complement the needs of your external environment with the needs of your internal environment. Ayurveda medical system offers various specific recommendations for every individual ranging from a general lifestyle change to the treatment of diseases.
Vata’s definition is derived from the elements of air and space, which translate to ‘’that which moves stuff’’. It is considered as the most significant dosha because it the greater life’s force and it controls Kapha and Pitta doshas.
Some Vata qualities include mobile, light, subtle, rough, dry and cold. A Vata person may display the mental and physical individualities in both an imbalanced and balanced condition.
Vata Pyschical Characteristics
Vata individuals have a sense of excellent adaptability, light frame and are thin. As mentioned above, the Vata influences other doshas. Energies in Vatas come out in bursts and, tend to experience unexpected bouts of fatigue. They have cold feet and hands. Their digestion is sensitive, and they sleep lightly as compared to the other doshas.
Vata persons are always on the go with energetic, creative body and minds.
Imbalance Of A Vata
When a Vata is imbalanced, it exhibits anxiety and certain disorders that may include either one or some of the following; constipation, dry skin, arthritis, pains, aches, loss of weight, weakness, and skin dryness.
A Vata individual becomes imbalanced as a result of
- Sleeping late at night and for fewer hours
- Eating while on the run
- Smoking cigarettes or shish-a
- Drinking tea, coffee or alcohol
- Eating while anxious or depressed
- Having an irregular routine
How Can Vata’s Stay Balanced?
A balanced Vata is enthusiastic, creative, lively, balanced, and gifted with a natural ability to communicate and express him or herself effortlessly.
Listed below are some guidelines a Vata can undertake to ensure they are balanced:
- Follow the dietary steps listed below
- Have enough sleep and always keep warm
- Vatas should avoid certain climatic weathers such as dry climates, windy and cold conditions
- Avoid very noisy places such as clubs and bars
- Reduce traveling and keep your movements to a minimum
- Avoid inconsistent routines and engage in exercises that are regulated and gentle in nature
- Create time for rest, having breaks between heavy and complex tasks.
- Live in a safe, peaceful and calming environment.
A Vata is known to be dry and cold and, therefore, require nourishing warm foods, of reasonably heavy texture. Fat and butter are recommended for stabilising a Vata.
Always choose satisfying, sweet, soothing and salty foods. Other diets common for Vatas include warm milk, hot cereals, butter, cream, nut butter, raw nuts, baked bread, warm soups, and stews. Sugary fruits are preferred to the sour and bitter ones. Vatas are advised to wait till fruits are extra ripe so as to consume them.
You should also have hot water and warm drinks regularly. Drinks such as hot herbal teas ought to be taken in the late afternoon.
Spices that a Vata can use in their foods include garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, and cloves.
What Types Of Food Should A Vata Reduce?
Vata should desist from drinking drinks with a lot of caffeine such as sodas and coffee. Sweets should be avoided. Cold drinks and foods such as raw vegetables, and greens, iced drinks, and salads will lead to a Vata imbalance as stated above. Avoid having unripe fruits as they deemed to be too astringent.
VATA FOOD PLAN
Stated below are steps that a Vata should undertake to ensure dosha balance and restore Vata balance if there is any imbalance.
The best fruits include grapes, avocados, lemons, fresh figs, plums, pineapples, papaya, mangoes, coconuts, berries, sweet lemons, cherries, stewed, sour oranges, plums, grapefruits, apricots, and bananas.
The fruits listed above should be well ripened.
Some fruits should be taken in moderation, and they include pears, cranberries, and pomegranates.
Dried, unripe fruits should be avoided.
The best grains for a Vata include cooked rice and cooked foods such as oatmeal cereals.
Note that the cereals should be cooked and not dried.
Grains to be taken with moderation include millet, dry oats, barley, corn, buckwheat, and wheat.
All forms of dairy are allowed.
The best meats for a Vata include chicken, turkey and sea foods all in small quantities. Generally speaking, the best meats are white meat.
Types of meat that to be taken in moderation include red meat, e.g., beef and pork
The best type of beans includes the following: pink lentils, chickpeas, tofu and mung beans. However, tofu should be taken in small quantities unlike the other listed type of beans.
Beans such as black beans, kidney beans should be taken in moderation.
The best oils for Vatas include ghee, sesame and olive oil. Olive oil is the best oil and is highly recommended due to its nutritional value and health benefits.
Spice & Herbs
Vatas should avoid having spices in large amounts. They should also desist from astringent and bitter spices and herbs that include thyme, fenugreek coriander seed, and parsley. Herbs such as turmeric and saffron should be taken in moderation.
All vegetables listed below should be cooked.
The best vegetables include the following: turnips, garlic, carrots, radishes, asparagus, onions, beets, cucumber, green beans, and sweet potatoes
Vegetables that should be taken in moderation include broccoli, cauliflower cabbage, eggplant, celery, mushrooms, sprouts, green leafy vegetables, peppers peas, potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, and Brussels sprouts
Desist from consuming raw vegetables.
Seeds & Nuts
Almond seeds are considered the best for a Vata. However, all nuts and seeds are acceptable.
All sweeteners are allowed.
Pitta is related to the elements of Water and Fire and roughly translates to ‘’the one that cooks’’ It refers to the energy of metabolism and digestion in the body that functions through substances such as enzymes, bile, and organic acids. The liquid nature of the named elements above accounts for Pitta’s element of Water make-up.
Locations of Pitta in the body include stomach, spleen, eyes, sweat, pancreas and the small intestine. Psychologically, they govern courage, joy, jealousy, mental perception and anger. Physiologically they provide the body with energy and heat through the breaking down of complex molecules.
When you feel like your body is “overheating,” Pitta is usually the cause. Internal body temperatures should always be kept in check to avoid such scenarios.
The qualities of a Pitta include acidic, pungent, penetrating, intense, light, hot, and sharp. This dosha controls metabolism, energy production, and digestion. A Pitta’s principal function is conversion and transformation of foods into energy.
The qualities listed can be reflected in either an imbalanced or balanced state.
Emotional Features of a Pitta
Pittas have a strong ability of concentration and are powerful intellects. They are excellent speakers, good decision makers and teachers. Other characteristics of Pittas include direct, sharp-witted, precise and, ambitious, outspoken and practical. They love challenges and taking adventurous trips.
Imbalance of a Pitta
When they are imbalanced, they exhibit certain behaviours such as being argumentative, short-tempered, and emotional outbursts.
What Causes the Imbalance of a Pitta?
- Eating while furious
- Smoking cigarettes.
- Drinking alcohol, tea or coffee
- Consuming Pitta-aggravating diets
When Pittas are imbalanced, they suffer from disorders such as burning sensations, indigestion, skin rashes, peptic ulcers, and heart burns.
How Can a Pitta Stay Balanced?
- Follow the food plan listed below
- Engage in calming exercises every day such as walking, tai chi, yoga, and swimming.
- Participate in activities that relax the mind like spending time in the park enjoying the picturesque nature
- Avoid climates with high humidity, excessive heat, and steam.
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Avoid conflicts
- Avoid stimulants especially those that are artificially made
What Are The Favourable Diets?
Pittas need to have warm or cool foods with reasonably heavy textures. Pittas should desist from having hot, steaming foods. Ideal tastes include astringent, sweet and bitter tastes. Consume cool foods in the hot weather such as ice cream, salads, and milk. A good breakfast for a Pitta may include apple tea, cinnamon toast and cold cereal. Red meat should be avoided as it tends to generate heat for the body. Vegetables are best for Pittas. They should consume high amounts of vegetables, grains and milk.
Foods a Pitta Should Reduce
Pittas should avoid all alcoholic drinks. A Pitta should go slow on the consumption of fatty foods i.e. they ought to use less added fat and butter. They should skip hot drinks, nuts, honey, egg yolks, hot spices, cheese, pickles, and sour cream. They should avoid deep-fried foods that are too oily. Pittas ought to use lemon juice as a dressing instead of vinegar. Fermented diets should also not be taken by Pitta persons.
PITTA FOOD PLAN
Stated below are steps that a Pitta should undertake to maintain balance and restore balance in case of any imbalance.
The best fruits include apples, sour cherries, berries, grapefruits, pineapples, peaches, raw papaya, dark grapes, and persimmon.
A vital point to note is the fruits named above should be sweet and ripe.
Avoid any fruits that aren’t ripe and sweet especially plums, oranges, grapes, and pineapples.
The best grains include white basmati rice, oats, barley, and wheat.
Grains such as rye, corn, millet, and brown rice should be taken in moderation
The best forms of dairy for a Pitta include milk, egg whites, butter, not sour fruit sorbets and ghee.
Cheese, ice cream, egg yolk, sour buttermilk, cream & yogurt should be taken in moderation.
The best meats for a Pitta include; shrimp, chicken, turkey, and river fish. All the listed types of meat should be taken in small amounts.
Meats such as seafood and red meat should be taken in moderation
Mung beans, tofu, red lentils, and chickpeas.
Beans such as black lentils, black gram, and Ar har Dal should be taken in moderation.
The best oils for Pitta include sunflower, soy, grape seed, and olive oils.
Oils such as coconut, corn, safflower, almond and sesame oils should be taken in moderation.
Spices & Herbs
Pittas should avoid all types of spices as they too heating. However, some herbs and spices such as cumin, mint, black pepper, dill, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander seed, saffron, fennel, and turmeric can be consumed in small amounts
The best vegetables include broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, radishes, asparagus, lettuce, green leafy vegetables, okra, potatoes, mushrooms, cauliflower, celery, sprouts, squash, zucchini, parsley, green beans, and spinach.
Some of the vegetables that ought to be taken in moderation include onions, beets, tomatoes, eggplant, hot peppers and chilies
Seeds & Nuts
The best seeds and nuts for Pitta include flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin, and coconut seeds
All sweeteners are allowed except for molasses and honey.
Kapha dosha is related to the elements of water and earth and roughly translates to “the one that sticks” It refers to the energy of lubrication and constituents of the body with its physical and structural form and the smooth functioning of all human parts. In general terms, it can be referred to the body lubrication, glue and cement of the areas of the body all rolled in one.
Kaphas tend to weigh heavier as compared to the other doshas. They also possess earthier bodies than the other two types. As a result of being heavier, they can easily store fats and fluids. Their speech is slow and melodically. They are attached and naturally calm. Sometimes they have watery dreams and have heavy and thick elimination.
Locations of Kapha in the body include the following: tendons, lungs, fatty tissue, ligaments, connective tissues, chest, throat, lymph, and the head. Psychologically, they govern greed, mental inertia, forgiveness, attachment, and love. Physiologically they store energy, moistens food, and they relate to bodily fluids such as mucous, water and lymph
The fluids in a Kapha may be stored in the body and leading to a dampened system which will eventually cloud the mind and weigh down the body leading to fatigue. This accumulation of fluids in the body leads to other body disorders that include sinus congestion, obesity, and mucous related diseases. Such body disorders often, in the end, cause depression, attachment, and lethargy.
The qualities of a Kapha include steady, slow, heavy, oily, cold and soft. It governs the body structures. It is the principal that holds together cells and forms the bone, muscle, and fat. Kapha also provides immunity to the body. The core function of Kapha is safeguarding the body from diseases.
Kaphas have an excellent stamina and a strong build. Their skin is radiant and smooth. Their digestion is regular, and they sleep soundly. However, once a Kapha adds a lot of weight, he or she tends to retain lots of fluids, which eventually manifests as allergies in the body.
What Are The Emotional Characteristics Of A Kapha
They are naturally loving, thoughtful and calm. They tend to be comfortable with routine and enjoy life. Kaphas are also supportive, loyal, steady, patient, and strong. They love listening to music, relaxing and reading.
Imbalance Of A Kapha
What causes an imbalance of a Kapha?
- Eating to get rid of emotions e.g. eating sweets when stressed.
- Not engaging in any physical activities.
- Avoiding intellectual tasks.
- Spending a lot of time in cool and damp climates.
- Spending lots of time indoors especially on the TV, laptop or computer.
When imbalanced, Kaphas become lethargic and overweight. They sleep excessively. They suffer from diabetes, depression, asthma, and depression.
Kaphas also hold onto jobs and relationships when imbalanced. They show excessive attachment and are resistant to change. They are also quite stubborn.
How Can Kaphas Stay Balanced?
- Follow the food plan below
- Exercise every day.
- Engage in activities that will energise, stimulate the body and mind.
- Allow for variety in life, challenges, and excitement.
- Break off from old ways of thinking, and stagnation.
- Always keep dry and warm
- Take part in introspective activities such as writing and meditation
- Have a boundary between being taken advantage of and being nice.
What Are The Favourable Diets?
Kaphas need to have dry foods, light, warm or cooked light meals. They also do best with raw vegetables and fruits. Spicy foods are such as Indian or hot Mexican foods are good for Kaphas. Dry methods of cooking that include broiling, baking, sautéing, and grilling are preferred to moist methods of cooking such as poaching, steaming or boiling. Preferred spices include turmeric, cumin, sesame seed, and fenugreek. Tonic water, endive, and romaine lettuce are some of the foods that are good for a Kapha.
Foods Kaphas Should Reduce
Kaphas should go slow on the consumption of fatty and sweet foods, and should reduce salt consumption as this often leads to fluid retention in the body. They should avoid deep-fried foods that are too oily. Kaphas have a tendency of overeating.
They should have the main meal during the day with less heavy, dry foods in the late afternoon or night. Kaphas should desist from consuming fats, sugars, dairy products, chilled drinks, and foods. They ought to use oils and ghee in small proportions.
KAPHA FOOD PLAN
Stated below are steps that a Kapha should undertake to ensure balance and restore Kapha balance if there is any imbalance. These foods mainly affect the moist and heavy aspects of the body.
The best fruits include grapefruits, cranberries, apples, pears, prunes, papaya, berries, cherries, and pomegranates, and apricots
Dried fruits including figs, apricots, raisins, prunes, and are great for Kaphas.
Some fruits should be taken in moderation, and they include mangoes, bananas, fresh figs, dates, and coconuts.
The best grains for a Kapha include basmati rice, buckwheat, barleycorn, millet, oats, and rye.
Grains, for instance, rice and wheat, should be taken with moderation
Kaphas are also advised to avoid steamed grains and hot cereals because they are too damp for the body.
Small amounts of whole milk, warm skim milk, camel milk, goat milk, and soy milk are good for a Kapha. They can also take eggs, but they shouldn’t be cooked with butter or fried
Eggs yolks should be taken in moderation.
The best meats include the following; lean fish, chicken, and turkey which should be taken in small amounts.
Meats such as red meat and shrimp should be taken with moderation
All legumes can be consumed.
Beans such as kidney beans and tofu to be taken in moderation.
The best oils for a Kapha include sunflower, grape seed oil, almond, and olive oil.
All oils should be used in small quantities.
Spices & Herbs
Kaphas can have all types of spices and herbs. However, the most preferred include sesame, cumin, ginger, and fenugreek. Spices and herbs are good because they improve digestion.
The best vegetables include broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, garlic, radishes, asparagus, onions, beets, lettuce, green leafy vegetables, okra, potatoes, mushrooms, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, sprouts, peas peppers, and spinach.
Vegetables to be eaten in moderation include zucchini, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
Seeds & Nuts
The best seeds and nuts for Kaphas include flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
All sweeteners are allowed but in small quantities.
Your Grace Guru
Yes, it’s that special time of the year again. Our cities and our towns are painted with the colour RED, the colour of LOVE. Love birds are drowning themselves in wine; red roses flowers are decorating our streets. All these acts of love only happen once a year, this month of February. It’s the month of love.
But first, have you marked on your calendar that Valentine’s Day is only a few days away? I know you probably are way too busy working hard, making extra money to take care of your loved ones, but the first step in ensuring such a day is a success to remember the day in the first place.
Valentine’s Day is celebrated every year on the 14th of February. It’s a great day of reminding and rekindling the passion between you and your soul mate. Book a romantic hotel for your wife or who you love, buy a bottle of wine, cook his or her favorite meal. There is so much you could do for your loved one. But is it the only month or day of the year where we manifest love in all its forms including romance, passion, intimacy, joy, friendship, communion and ecstasy? Or can we express it at anytime of the year?
Love is a very strong power, what guides us humans! I know you may not yet have met someone who you are compatible with due to one reason or another. And you won’t be happy with all the roses littering our streets and couples holding hands in your city if you are all alone this Valentine’s.
But let me make it easy for you now! The first step in attracting that person you desire this is to cultivate self-love. You’ve got first to love yourself before you find that someone you have always wanted to be with.
What is self-love?
‘You and you deserve your love and affection more than anyone else in the universe!’
Personally, I have had problems with lack of self-love before. I have sorted the approval of others after struggling with feelings of guilt and failure in my life. I have felt shame and talked to my friends and family with little success. I didn’t feel I was worth of being loved at all. So how do you come out of this dark pit?
Self-love is a word that is often thrown around and misunderstood by many. It’s not about taking great care of yourself, buying yourself the latest Nikes or buying yourself that Chanel bag you have always wanted. It’s more than the usual material possessions that make us smile. Take part in actions that will ensure the psychological, physical and spiritual growth of yourself.
Lack of self-love often leads to many other self-sabotaging traits that may include either of the following
- Hypersensitivity and defensiveness
- Poor communication skills
- Eating disorders
- Poor social life due to poor social skills
- Hyper vigilance defined as the constant fear of making mistakes
- Chaotic and stressful relationships with your loved ones
- Passive aggressiveness
Many of you who are looking forward to Valentine’s Day may be well aware of this concept called self-worth. We may accept the term and all that comes with it i.e. that we love ourselves, and hopefully, our family and acquaintances reinforce that. Things will be different out there because you know it’s a harsh world. You could encounter comparisons, judgments, and criticism.
Such negative thoughts will cloud your mind and make you believe you can’t love yourself. And once you don’t love yourself, you won’t be able to attract that person you have always wanted to be your valentine. Take it as a fact!
Being told you aren’t good enough, is detrimental as you will forget to trust yourself and rely on other people’s judgments and beliefs. If other people detest you and your ways, you will struggle to be that person who meets the needs and traits of the person who you seek. You will also not be able to meet the world’s approval, and you will end getting trapped in a negative bias.
With such kind of challenges, it’s no wonder so many persons suffer from a low self-esteem. To embrace a feeling of self-worth, we have to come up with various ideas for responding to bad input and negative criticism that often boxes us to the corner.
So how to cultivate Self-Love?!
Learn to accept
You may not always like something about yourself, like your body size or your face, or you may not be the most interesting person in your circle. You might look at some of your family members or friends and wish you were like them, but unfortunately, there are some realities in life but you can always try to change some. The most important even if you are trying to do the best of yourself and go on a diet, be more intellectual or even do nothing about it. Just learn to accept the way you are and focus your energy on more positive and productive endeavors in your life and about yourself. That way you will be able to relax your mind and heart.
Learn healthy communication and social skills
This is the best way of finding that person who you’ve always wanted and, therefore, inspire love in your life. You should be able to communicate your fears and feelings in a healthy, non-confrontational and mature way. Such are critical in ensuring you cultivate self-love thus leading to improved relationships. Everyone on this planet is insecure in one way or another, instead of diminishing or hiding them, enhance your emotional insight so as you are more authentic to those whom you approach.
What’s your passion?
What do you love doing, what is your hobby? Once you define what you like participating in, you will always find a reason for waking up in the morning. You will be eager and engaged in doing what you desire. You will be able to strengthen a confident self-perception by linking up your skills with what you are passionate about. No one will force you to be someone or something you aren’t because you will openly express what and who you love.
Forgive, forgive, and forgive
To love yourself and those close to you, you have first to forgive yourself, and then forgive others for hurting you. You forgive yourself the same way you forgive others, be it your friends or family. Offer it freely with kindness. Don’t beat yourself over a mistake you have done as it’s an exercise in futility. Offer your friends forgiveness even if they don’t seek it for one reason or the other. The ability to forgive yourself and others is a bold step in wholeness, self-respect, and self-worth.
So after attaining your self-love, how do you attract someone, in other words, how do you become a love magnet?
Where and how do you find it? What steps can you take to keep the fire burning once you find love? Why is it so hard for you to find love and your friend, colleague or cousin drowns in it every day? Those are some of the questions that may be running through your mind.
Allow natural love to flow from your heart to others.
- The first thing you should do is to let go of fear.
You should be confident by now, having gathered your self-worth. The natural state of us humans as stated above is love, and the opposite of it is distress, anxiety and fear. Once you feel anxious or anguish, build a wall, a fortress around yourself to protect you from all things related to anxiety, and negative comments. That ‘fortress’ may include dropping friends that may be bringing you down, or you could engage in other positive activities that will build your confidence such as taking part in team building activities with your colleagues or family members.
Action: Over this period, look for any issues in your life that are fear based. Take a piece of paper, indicating what you fear and how you can respond to your fears from a compassionate and positive point of view. Instead of fearing that homeless man that you always ignore at the subway, how about you buy him a sandwich or hand him a couple of dollars?
Train yourself to let go of fear by countering fear with acts of love.
- Love yourself first.
As I mentioned earlier, you should first and foremost think about yourself before you can love another person. What that statement means is you should accept your flaws as none of us is perfect. Instead of blaming yourself and others for mistakes committed in your life, why don’t you look at the positive side. Look at yourself and appreciate yourself and those close to you, reminding them of their good qualities.
Action: State down the positive traits of yourself as well as others. You look great, and you are beautiful inside and outside. Look at the positive side of everything, e.g., how you handle your colleagues or what you are great at. Once people critic you, or you critic yourself, pick up a positive response to it from the list you have written down.
Loving yourself will help you project your love towards other people, and that way true love can blossom between you and your soul mate.
- Forget about your past
Most of the people who I have spoken to, have told me that so many unpleasant things have happened in their past relationships, some of which have negatively affected their love life. You may not realize it, but every time something negative happens in your life, you register it in your subconscious. It, therefore, goes in the ‘sack’ of all unpleasant things that ever happened in your life and such things are a burden on your relationships.
Imagine having a 200-pound sack on your back? It will be tough to walk. Accumulated ‘unpleasant things’ in your head will be like a 200-pound sack on your back; it will be hard for you to move forward in life especially with regards to relationships.
Action: State all the terrible things from your past, and write them down on a piece of paper. Strike them out one by one, indicating letting go of all fear, anxiety and unpleasant things that may be weighing you down and then burn it. Let go of any anger and excessive need to control those who you love and care about.
- Define your needs.
Having needs is part of human nature. We go to school, eat, sleep, work, or even marry because we have needs. In fact having needs will help you create a relationship. You and your partner will be more connected and feel better if both of your needs are voiced and accomplished. Even after stating such, most of us are uncomfortable asking the other party to meet our needs.
The irony is, we get into relationships to get some particular needs met.
Action: Think about your needs, write them down if you can. Then know the needs of your significant other, and those who are close to you. Go ahead, work hard and ensure all the stated needs are met!
- Do you know your relationship patterns?
If you aren’t attracting the right persons in your love life, most likely it’s not the first time. In such a case, you may be having relationship patterns that are a hindrance to you attracting the right people to your love life.
Action: Ask yourself if there is a way you behave that prevents you from causing love? What are your relationship patterns and what kind of people do you attract? Once you state your pattern, you will be able to define new ways of causing love between you and those who you crush on.
- Express your boundaries.
Boundaries are critical as they help you honor your wants, needs and protect you as well. Once you can choose to say yes or no to a request or demand from those who you love is when you know you have defined boundaries. Boundaries are important when you are well aware of your needs. Always ask those close to you to respect them. They will help you be more discerning, earn you self-respect and inspire others to treat you well.
Action: Keep in mind the boundaries that people should know, and make them aware of them in a subtle, polite manner. Be kind and open to your partner.
- What do you want?
What do you want from your relationship or your partner? Clearly and concisely state your wants. Ensure you don’t go overboard and give unrealistic and out of this world expectations. Be modest and avoid setting very low expectations. Avoid sabotaging your love life by engaging in negative behaviors, and instead, take action to create what you want.
Action: Model your love life after those relationships you value the most.
Be your own valentine
As you might already noticed, the month of February is often full of expectations, talks of love and people exchanging all kinds of gifts. Some can’t wait for it to come while some want it to pass as soon as it comes because they haven’t found someone to share the love with. Those who are single dread the day because there’s too much pressure from their friends and family who have a plus one to celebrate with.
I have highlighted a couple of ways in which you could cultivate self-love, and after that attract that one person you want to spend the 14th of February with. To be sincere, you may need to be patient to find love. It depends on the kind of a person you really want, your needs and desires. What if you don’t find that one guy or lady that you want to be with? How do you get to enjoy and have fun this month?
There is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t enjoy this month. I agree that having someone else in the picture is important as it will bring you happiness and joy. However, you don’t have to have someone so as to have the best Valentine’s Day ever in your life. You could view it positively and even name it ‘Self-love Month’ instead of Valentine’s Day. And another important point to note is you don’t have to wait till February to celebrate ‘Self-love Month’. How about we do it differently this year and celebrate it every single day of our lives. Being your own Valentine is one of the best ways of living a positive life.
So what steps could you take in being your own Valentine, not only this month but also every other single day of the year?
- Indulge yourself in a treat
I know you have probably seen lots of offers from various shopping establishments, salons, bars or even spas. Why don’t take a day off, go for a spa day or buy yourself a box of chocolates and get to remind yourself that you are worthy of such indulgence? Indulge in a treat, have an hour relaxing or reading a good book. You deserve it!
Treats and gifts are the first languages of love. Do something good for yourself. It’s not a crime to send yourself dozens of roses!
- Keep in mind how awesome you are!
Don’t wait for friends to tell you how beautiful, handsome, talented you are, or that you have a great smile. I know you feel great when other people compliment you. But compliments are even better once you praise yourself. We are often quick to blame ourselves when we do wrong, but once we do right, we never remember to pat ourselves on the back. I am all about self-improvement, and giving myself a compliment every day of my life.
Doing so has helped me live a happy and optimistic life.
- How about you challenge yourself this Valentine’s period?
Take a paper and note down your goals. What do you intend to achieve this year or this month of February? Start a project and challenge yourself to learn a new skill in the coming days or months. How about you take a day off, and learn a new recipe. Get empowered by the unlimited possibilities that are before you and take your life by the reins. Learning is a recommended way of invigorating yourself and getting to have fun this Valentine’s month.
- Eat healthy
Indulge in activities that will add value to your life. You could slow down on the alcohol and instead have more fresh juices instead. Eat healthy foods as such kind of foods are the key to supporting a healthy life. According to Anahata Chakra, the fourth main chakra of Buddhist Tantric, Hindu Yogic, and Shakta Traditions, there are certain foods key to supporting a healthy lifestyle. They include vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
Eat more vegetables, and exercise during this month.
- Reflect on your life and relax.
You could relax through a number of ways e.g. by enrolling in a yoga class. Engage in heart-opening postures under the Anahata teachings such as the Cobra Pose, Camel Pose, and Heart Melting Pose. These exercises will help increase blood flow in the veins, hence increase your flexibility and strength.
Delight and smile that you have nothing special going down on the 14th. You could catch some early sleep. Once you relax on your bed after a long day, reflect on the positives that life has to offer e.g. a simple thing like the fact that you are healthy.
And as I mentioned all above, you don’t need a date to have an unforgettable Valentines experience on February 14th. Stop frowning and live life to the fullest. In fact, this should be your happiest month of the year. Be happy, progress, and the most important thing, CULTIVATE SELF-LOVE this February.
And just live every day of your life like a Valentine and spread the love vibes out, they will come back to you more and bigger then you can imagine.
Your Grace Guru
Insomnia – that monster that befriends you just when you need sleep most – has reached alarming levels. There is an epidemic of sleeplessness. None of us is immune from this condition. It is important for us to find out what causes insomnia and how to overcome it if we really want to sleep like the babies we once were.
When sleep avoids you…
When was the last time you had a restful night and enjoyed it for two to three consecutive days? With all the cares of this life, you go to bed expecting that you will doze off as soon as you slip under the blanket. Unfortunately, many are the times you will roll and roll on your bed hoping and wishing that sleeps will come your way but in vain.
Melatonin and the science of sleep
Let us first understand the science behind insomnia. There is a neurochemical that is secreted in your brain that controls your sleep patterns. Melatonin, once released into your blood, makes you drowsy, relaxed and sends you to dreamland. This chemical is there in your system during the day but in low quantities. As the evening wears, on melatonin increases until about 2 am, when it peaks.
Interfering with melatonin flow
In essence, sleeplessness is a result of interfering with the natural flow of melatonin in the body. The solution lies in exercising mindfulness. You should know when the body is telling you to sleep. You must stop interfering with the natural cycle of melatonin in the blood. By now you know that taking caffeine drinks is one way of ensuring you don’t sleep when you expect to.
More importantly, you need to time your sleep to coincide with the melatonin wave. One way of doing this is to come to terms with your day shortly before you go to sleep. While sitting on your bed, shut your eyes and reflect on the issues that you have not resolved, then simply allow them to go. Now breathe deeply and lie down.
You can also lie on your back, concentrate on your breathing and relax your body and mental faculties as you breathe in deeply. Try as much as possible to be at ease in this position and sleep will encroach gradually into your territory. When this happens, turn to your favourite side and enjoy restful sleep.
Watching television before going to sleep
The blue light rays that come from your television, laptop and desktop computers, smartphones and other electronic screens, interferes with the secretion of melatonin by the pineal gland. Consequently, if you use such gadgets and immediately go to sleep you are likely to take some time before sleep catches up with you.
For this reason, the best time to go to sleep if you have been using these gadgets is after one hour. Ensure you finish working with these devices early enough such that you have time for other activities that will take at least one hour. How about arranging your clothes or washing dishes before you sleep?
Sleeping in a cluttered bedroom
Your bedroom should be a sacred place. The moment you allow this important room to be disorganized and cluttered you send away sleep. Avoid distracting your sleep by all means. For example, watching TV or working on the computer in the bedroom will expose you to blue light and we have already analysed the consequences of such action.
Have as few extras items in the bedroom as possible. Let every item in the bedroom be related to sleep. Ensure your beddings are clean and well-spread. Let the mattress be flat and comfortable. The pillow should also prop you up based on your body and should be comfortable enough.
Lack of exercise and relaxation
Your body needs to be relaxed before you go to sleep. You can achieve this by engaging in yoga. Begin with meditation to bring your body, mind and soul into harmony. Sit comfortably on your bed and prop you body up with a pillow or other comfortable material. Cross your legs, close your eyes and begin to stretch your body using any of the less-involving yoga exercises.
Among the recommended yoga exercises to induce sleep include seated twist, corpse pose cross-legged bend, forward bend, knees-to-chest pose, reclining twist, reclining big-toe hold and half happy baby. Regardless of the posture, make sure your mind is relaxed and that you feel every part of it. Remember to practice mindfulness as this will promote body immunity and regulate your blood pressure too.
Other reason for insomnia
Lack of sleep can also be caused by chronic pain, allergies, anxiety, depression, some types of medicine and neurological diseases. Ensure you seek medical or psychological help as the case may be because some of these issues are beyond your ability.
To sum up, you need to deal with the causes of insomnia in your life because you really deserve to sleep like a baby as this is an important step towards making yourself productive the following day. Sleep is vital; pursue it at all costs!
Your Grace Guru