It is not the right approach to describe a method of cooking mindfulness. It is not a physical ritual. If it becomes a physical ritual, the mind will find a way to automate that process too and mindfulness will be out of the picture. Processes are the way to develop mindfulness but they can also become a habit that can block the need for mindfulness. You can develop your own process that is meaningful to your consciousness. The best way to learn cooking mindfulness is to give a picture of cooking Mindfulness in practice. So I will describe my process of cooking mindfulness that has helped me a lot. As in other cases, the described process of cooking mindfulness is my personal experience so I would like to describe it in the form of a story.
I decide what I have to cook. Then I take out the ingredients and place them together. I light the cooking gas with the gratitude that I have a cooking gas. I feel the warmth that is going to convert the ingredients into a wholesome meal. I understand that this meal is important to me and my family. It is going to bring health and fulfillment to my family.
I notice the smell of different herbs and spices I hear the crackling sound of tempering I notice the nice aroma rising food getting cooked
There are different things that can bring peace to the mind, like music, arts but it can be vice versa also. Peace can bring beauty to all things. The arts are meant to give us an experience of the peace and beauty that even a simple work like sweeping can bring us.
Cooking is an essential art which every human being
should know. Cooking is a process that connects us to the basics of our lives.
And therefore, cooking is one ideal process for practicing mindfulness.
This is a process that developed unconsciously as a part of being mindful during cooking. It might help or indicate a direction in which you can find your cooking mindfulness.
Initially, mindfulness helped me get over my fear of cooking. Many people who actually love cooking are already in the state of mindfulness. This is the reason such people cook when they want to relax. For me, reading a book or writing gets me to a state of deep relaxation. I am aware of what I am doing.
However, this cannot be termed as absolute mindfulness because I forget what is happening around me in this case. For example, I used to read books while waiting for milk to get boiled and almost every time, it will get spilled. So it is merely a case of increased concentration instead of mindfulness. If you also feel that you can read a book or watch a short video while cooking or waiting in a queue, then you are just trying to fill the vacant space instead of being mindful about it.
It is natural for us to be able to concentrate on
the things that we like. But on a flip-side it causes us to dislike other
things with equal intensity. Mindfulness brings the patience to look at a
seemingly uninteresting or dull space for a long time. A shooter or a hunter
will appreciate the value of this patience – to keep staring at grassland or
forest area till the prey arrives
I feel this is level one. In the next level, we are able to look at our deep-lying fears and strong emotions. And get over them.
Cooking mindfulness is more than just being present. It must appear extremely dull to be just present. However, mindfulness is a state of Eureka or ultimate discovery every moment of our lives. The person who created the proverb “don’t cry over the spilled milk” was being mindful of the hidden treasure inside a simple incident. Newton had a moment of mindfulness when he saw the apple fall. Archimedes was mindfully aware of the water pushing his body upwards. and he ran naked, being excited by this discovery. It makes me wonder that we have so little awareness that even a moment of mindfulness can change our lives, as well as the lives of millions around us. All the major discoveries were actually not a product of laboratory experiments but of a few moments of mindful awareness. Therefore, mindfulness is far from being dull and boring. It is the gateway to the most exciting insights that can change our lives.
The ritual begins by offering gratitude towards the
gifts of nature in the form of fruits, vegetables, grains etc. All our cooking
ingredients are derived from mother nature’s bounty. This ritual just takes 2-3
sec to just feel the joy of abundance in your heart!
I prepare the ingredients (cutting, dicing,
kneading etc.) with the awareness that these food items are going to be
absorbed by our bodies and bring health and happiness to all the family
As I throw spices and other ingredients in the frying pan, I recite the words”Brahmaarpanam” (offered to the creator) or “Vishnuarpanam” (offered to the one who sustains). Fire is considered to be the messenger of the gods. I pray that all the ingredients are purified by this cooking process and made divine, to bring divine bliss to all the consumers of this food.
This is an ideal description. Sometimes, I still get lost in negative thoughts. However, now I am aware that I should not throw anything in the frying pan while thinking a negative thought, so I recite the above short verses and hope that food will be purified of my negative thoughts.
When you are too low, hearing positive music or
even sermons might help.
The most important fact is that this entire process
is mental and there are no material rituals aligned with it. Everything is in
the mind. From outside, you might never find it any different from any other
The immediate results of this process can be seen on the cook. He/she will feel satisfied and at peace, happy to achieve something divine in the simple process of cooking.
It is so easy to pollute anything, even good things! Recently I prescribed yoga practice to a patient. However, she came back to me with weird queries like which yoga tracks and yoga mats are the best.
So, today, yoga has become a market. There is nothing wrong with this approach as it has helped yoga to become famous and accessible. However, it will be regrettable if the true spirit of yoga is lost amongst the marketing hustle bustle.
According to me, you need only a good Guru for learning yoga and nothing else. The essence of yoga is possessionlessness. This is the reason why yoga is excellent not only for physical health but also for mental health. It sets you free!
There are complications everywhere, anti-skid yoga mat, travel yoga mat, home yoga mat, and so on. You would be buying a pack of 5-6 yoga mats for each different situation. I will tell you one thing – you would genuinely excel in yogic balance if you do not have an anti-skid yoga mat, so please do not buy that at all!
Ayurvedic Minimalism will help you to live an organic life and prevent all kinds of disorders. It is critical to realize that we do not have to do different things to prevent different diseases. We just have to preserve the health of our body, and no disorders can find the weak link inside it.
If you are mentally and physically strong, you can Ace almost all kinds of diseases. At the same time, if you can maintain a tremendous digestive capacity in spite of your illness, your body will be able to burn away most of the disorders.
Minimalist Ayurvedic Life is all about how to live healthy with less. And when we are in deep contact with nature, we have everything that we need to live a healthy and fruitful life.
Recently Patanjali launched a new Ayurvedic medicine for COVID-19 infection kit. Kit comprises of three medicines available – Anu taila, shvasari vati and coronil tabs.
However Patanjali has not been able to demonstrate the use of Coronil kit in current COVID-19 patients. Therefore, I would not recommend using coronil kit at an exclusive treatment for COVID-19 patients.
However, the let’s see if coronil can help us in the prevention or management of COVID-19.
Coronil has 3 medicines – Anu Taila, Shvasari vati, and Coronil Tabs. All this has three medicines work in different manners and exert multiple effects on different parts of the body.
In this blog, Let’s look at anu taila first.
The nose is a very complex structure with a lot of convolutions inside. the convulsions in the nasal passage trap thousands of pathogens that enter inside our nose with every breath. However, if this nasal passage provides host cells for the pathogens to decide then. But, if the cells in this nasal passage have low immunity we can become host to the pathogens entering through the nose. When pathogen irritates the nasal lining the first defense response of the body is to secrete excess mucus through the security glands in the sinuses and try to trap the pathogens in the nose itself. And that is why we face running nose whenever we have an infection inside the nasal lining.
Anu Taila is a classical ayurvedic nasal drop mentioned in Ayurvedic text like Charak Samhita, Ashtanga Hridaya, Sushrut Samhita. The number and choice of herbs differ slightly from one text to the other. For example, Charak Samhita (uses 23 herbs) mentions use of Triphala, where else in Ashtang Hriday there is no mention of Triphala as an ingredients (27 herbs).
Anu Taila is considered to be a Tridosha Nashak that helps balance all 3 dosha in the body namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Let’s see how Anu Taila works.
Interestingly, Anu Taila is not a tab, it is a nasal drop. According to Ayurveda, nose is the door to head region. And therefore all kinds of disorders of his head region as well as those of the respiratory system starts with the nose. If we are able to increase immunity instant immunity in the nose region then we will be able to protect our body for all the pathogens that can enter through those. Here we can see the first and the best benefit of Anu taila.
Possible drug absorption and pathway for Anu Taila
The drug administered intranasally enters the nasal cavity through superior, middle and inferior meatus which further has six sinus openings.
The drug stimulates the olfactory cells. This Stimulation is further relyed through olfactory axons.
It crosses the cribriform plate of ethmoid bone Axons form olfactory bulbs. These bulbs form the Axons synapses with dendrils of the mitral cells. Many such synapses form olfactory glomerulai.
From olfactory glomerulai, drugs reaches olfactory cortex via axons of mitral cells continue to form olfactory tract.
Why Anu Taila is so effective? (coming next)
Preventive Action of Anu Taila
Links to supporting research studies given at the end of the blog
Anu Taila : A Mechanical Barrier
Anu taila forms an oily layer on the nasal surface that serves as an excellent mechanical barrier to all kinds of pathogens. This extra protective layer for the nasal passage also traps the pathogens before they touch the nasal lining. It is as good as a mask that we are wearing inside the nose.
So, with Anu Taila, there is a high possibility that any pathogen entering the nose will get trapped in the nasal passage itself, without causing any damage. After regular usage, this protection spreads to the deeper regions of the respiratory system, just like the effect of smoking affects the entire respiratory system.
This layer stays on the nasal lining temporarily. However, on regular usage, it can serve as a great first defense against corona virus. So, probably we can apply Anu Taila before going outside!
In India, we have an ancient tradition of oiling the nose with cow ghee. and you can get this extra mechanical protection by applying cow ghee also. However, Anu taila offers some extra benefits as compared to plain cow ghee. And these extra benefits comes from the excellent combination of ingredients herbal ingredients it contains.
Anu Taila : An Antiviral Agent
Anu Taila contains a big list of natural anti-microbial herbs.
Below listed are some special herbs with demonstrated anti-viral effects.
Choti elaichi (Green Cardamom)
Nagarmotha (Cyperus rotundus
Pine (Cedrus deodara)
These herbs do not kill the virus, but they create a hostile and un-survivable environment for all pathogenic microbes. Their killing effect is neat. They kind of cut out the oxygen supply for the microbes. Microbes die their own death.
Selected important studies are mentioned, however there are hundreds of such studies proving the efficacy of these herbs
P. Hili, C. S. Evans, and R. G. Veness, “Antimicrobial action of essential oils: the effect of dimethylsulphoxide on the activity of cinnamon oil,” Letters in Applied Microbiology, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 269–275, 1997.View at: Google Scholar
N. Matan, H. Rimkeeree, A. J. Mawson, P. Chompreeda, V. Haruthaithanasan, and M. Parker, “Antimicrobial activity of cinnamon and clove oils under modified atmosphere conditions,” International Journal of Food Microbiology, vol. 107, no. 2, pp. 180–185, 2006.View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
L. B. Gende, I. Floris, R. Fritz, and M. J. Eguaras, “Antimicrobial activity of cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) essential oil and its main components against paenibacillus larvae from argentine,” Bulletin of Insectology, vol. 61, no. 1, pp. 1–4, 2008.View at: Google Scholar
Bayleaf – Biondi D., Cianci P., Geraci C., Ruberto G., Piattelli M. Antimicrobial activity and chemical composition of essential oils from Sicilian aromatic plants. Flavour and Fragrance Journal. 1993;8:331–337. [Google Scholar]
Anu Taila : An Anti-Oxidant
Most of the herbal ingredients esp.
Choti elaichi (Green Cardamom)
Nagarmotha (Cyperus rotundus)
have a excellent anti-oxidant effect on the body cells, esp. the respiratory tract. With their anti-oxidant effect, these herbs may improve the overall immunity of all the body cells and makes them more resistant to viral infections.
Bozan B., Karakaplan U. Antioxidants from laurel (Laurus nobilis L.) berries: influence of extraction procedure on yield and antioxidant activity of extracts. Acta Alimentaria. 2007;36:321–328. [Google Scholar]
El S.N., Karagozlu N., Karakaya S., Sahın S. Antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of essential oils extracted from Laurus nobilis L. leaves by using solvent-free microwave and hydrodistillation. Food and Nutrition Sciences. 2014;5(02):97–106. [Google Scholar]
Elmastaş M., Gülçin I., Işildak Ö., Küfrevioğlu Ö., İbaoğlu K., Aboul-Enein H. Radical scavenging activity and antioxidant capacity of bay leaf extracts. Journal of the Iranian Chemical Society. 2006;3:258–266. [Google Scholar]
Mohsen K, Zahra K, Mehrdad R, Azizi Y. Anticonvulsant and antioxidant effect of hydroalcoholic extract of Cyperus rotundus rhizome on pentylentetrazoleinduced kindling model in male mice. Med Plants Res 2011;5:1140-6.
K. R. Määttä-Riihinen, M. P. Kähkönen, A. R. Törrönen, and I. M. Heinonen, “Catechins and procyanidins in berries of vaccinium species and their antioxidant activity,” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, vol. 53, no. 22, pp. 8485–8491, 2005.View at: Google Scholar
Gruenwald, J.; Freder, J.; Armbruester, N. Cinnamon and health. Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr.2010, 50, 822–834. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Kilani S, Ben Ammar R, Bouhlel I, Abdelwahed A, Hayder N, Mahmoud A, et al. Investigation of extracts from (Tunisian) Cyperus rotundus as antimutagens and radical scavengers. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol 2005;20:478-84.
Almost all the herbs in Anu taila have a great immuno-modulatory impact on the nasal lining.
Majdalawieh, A.F.; Carr, R.I. In vitro investigation of the potential immunomodulatory and anti-cancer activities of black pepper (Piper nigrum) and cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum). J. Med. Food2010, 13, 371–381. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Gruenwald, J.; Freder, J.; Armbruester, N. Cinnamon and health. Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr.2010, 50, 822–834. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Stavinoha, R.C.; Vattem, D.A. Potential neuroprotective effects of cinnamon. Int. J. Appl. Res. Nat. Prod.2015, 8, 24–46. [Google Scholar]
Bisht A, Bisht GR, Singh M, Gupta R, Singh V. Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of essential oil of tubers of Cyperus rotundus Linn. collected from Dehradun (Uttarakhand). Int J Res Pharm Biomed Sci 2011;2:661-5.
Samejima K., Kanazawa K., Ashida H., Danno G.-i. Bay laurel contains antimutagenic kaempferyl coumarate acting against the dietary carcinogen 3-amino-1-methyl-5 H-pyrido [4, 3-b] indole (Trp-P-2) Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 1998;46:4864–4868. [Google Scholar]
Imam H, Zarnigar, Sofi G, Seikh A, Lone A. The incredible benefits of Nagarmotha (Cyperus rotundus). Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis [serial online] 2014 [cited 2020 Jul 15];4:23-7. Available from: http://www.ijnpnd.com/text.asp?2014/4/1/23/124611
Anu Taila : Ayurvedic Tridosha Nashak
According to Ayurveda, all these are kapha balancing herbs and they make body cells more resistant to all kinds of pathogens related to cough and colds.
With prevention of vata and pitta dosha imbalance, Anu Taila prevents multiple symptoms like headache, loss in sense of smell or hearing etc. However, these points are more relevant in COVID-19 management. I will elaborate on these points in the COVID-19 management section.
Anu Taila as an Antiviral Humidifier
At any time, Anu Taila is a far better humidifier than vapor as it moistens the nasal lining. And the oily layer protects the natural moisture of the nasal lining. This quality of Anu Taila, combined with the natural anti-viral effect, protects the nasal lining from dryness and increased vulnerability to virus attack.
Therefore, we can see that Anu Taila can be a potential complementary preventive support in case of COVID 19.
Besides, the present corona infections are being treated by managing the symptoms. In the next blog, let’s see how Anu Taila can help to manage COVID19 symptoms in the infected patients.
This blog series about mindfulness is more about my personal experience about mindfulness and how I have tried to implement it in my life.
Right now, my daughter is playing some game on my mobile phone and I am typing these pages of this blog. And my mind is almost burning since I hate her to play with mobile or TV or any other gadget for a long time. I try my best to create games or other healthier diversions for her so that she watches less and less of the mobile or TV. But still, in spite of everything I do, there are times when I am angry over something and I spent a lot of time getting over it while my daughter plays mobile or watches TV. Later, I have a huge feeling of guilt that I am a bad mother. Earlier, as a new mom, I was so much into being present for my daughter that I starved myself of even my basic needs. And still, there is constant anguish over even small lapses that I make as a mother.
I am not trying to teach mindfulness as I am beginner myself. Past 18 years of meditation were all washed away with my daughter and with the stress that I faced as I gave up my job to be a stay at home mom. The most terrible thing happens when you try to be the perfect mom!
After birth of my daughter, I suffered from post partum depression. Normally, it is never diagnosed in India. I know it now after 6 years that I was under depression for some time.
Only meditation and mindfulness has pulled me away from deep depression and other health problems. Still, I get angry very fast and take a long time to regain my mental balance. But now, I know that there will be peace again in my mind and my life. This is the only thing that I have learned till now. Hope that you benefit much more from this series. And I know that with more people like you the world will be a better place for my daughter.
Here is a list of my first few articles on how I have tried to implement mindfulness in my own life. I will try to add more soon.
The word satva is used in many senses in Sanskrit. Satva means the mind, it also means virtue/rightousness or morale. Satva is one of the 3 guna (satva, raja and tama) that runs the world as the 3 dosha run the bodies of living organisms.
The 3 guna are basically 3 types of mental orientations. They are a set of assumptions that help us to understand ourselves. Gunas give us emotional and intellectual context for thinking and logic. Gunas are like modes in a video game, where you can choose to play the good guy, the bad guy or the side artist. These gunas form the learning program for all of us.
Satva : the good, signifies light
Raja : full of desires
Tama : signifies darkness
Now, why would a person choose tama or raja guna? Have you seen people who would kill for money? for them, a monk would be no more than a fool who should be punished for his idiocy. Besides, there are also people who would die for a cause even when there is no need to die! But they do die because they are trapped by sattva guna. They have an acute emotional need to show that they stand for good. Thus all gunas are said to be blindfolds, only their colors might be different. Tama might be black in color, raja red, and satva might be white, but still, blindfolds are blindfolds!
Thus the mind is limited by all the 3 guna , even the satva guna. Yes! ond these guna, we can realize the full potential of our mind.
Satvavjaya chikitsa is more about gaining control over the mind. According to Bhagavata Geeta, when mind desires something and fuses its existence with something, event or quality, it develops an imaginary world around it. This imaginary world traps the mind and prevents it from seeing reality. The desire is called “kama”. This can be called the first stage for any mental disorder. Kama is a driving force. It is a force that extinguishes the
lamp of discretion and reason.
Sometimes, we know that something is wrong but still we devise reasons and logic to justify it. Kama creates illusions and false assumptions to justify itself. It hides in the subconscious; behind an umbrella of illusion. A person is driven by a desire sometimes does not even know the real cause of his actions. He comes under the influence of “moha” or self-deception.
This is the sunset for wisdom and advent of the night of destiny, where the mind is completely engaged in a dream-world.
An insecure person becomes naturally greedy. Greed creates a
lust for more. More accumulation of wealth, power, or even information helps to
fortify and secure the dream world of the person. Deep down we all know that
the truth is indestructible. Thus we want to make sure that our dream world is
the lasting one. Instead of trying to discover the real world, we try to thrust
over the dream world over the real one. Greed or “Lobh” is a tool that helps to
achieve his end.
Most interesting is the greed for knowledge, good deeds or acceptance. People make big sacrifices, devote their lives in service, or unconsciously choose a miserable life, just to prove a point or to become valued.
In the next stage, the individual tries to protect his imaginary world by creating false assumptions, asking and expecting other people to endorse his world-view. He feels threatened when anyone questions his beliefs. This is the dawn of anger. The person is out to protect his dream world. He might be ready to kill or die for it. ” krodha” or anger is the second level of mental disturbance.
Thus all the mental disorders seem to emerge from the influence of desires. When a person fuses with his desires, prejudices, anger or misery, he becomes an automaton, a robot!
Satvavjaya Chikitsa is mainly about freeing people from their own mental traps and helping them to accept the truth as it is. And this can happen when you tame the mind – the most powerful resource we have.
Satvavjay: Time for Revival
Unfortunately, most of the ancient texts are lost.
But, I observed that essential Satvavjay chikitsa was never completely lost. It was always present deeply ingrained in all ancient cultures, in the form of religious practices. And we can find bits of Satvavjay chikitsa in every culture and civilization.
Today, there is more need of Satvavjay chikitsa than before. I very sincerely believe that all wisdom dwells in the cosmos and we can receive it if we align ourselves with the supreme energy (brahma). So, let us meditate on this science and revive it with the power of a million hearts put together!
In this blog series, let’s explore together different dimensions of Satvavjay and how we can effectively implement it in our lives.
Interestingly, Satvavjay chikitsa includes a number of treatment methods. I don’t know about details because very less is mentioned in ancient Ayurvedic text available today. Most of the Ayurvedic text in BAMS focuses on yuktivyapashraya or body based treatment through medicines etc. However, there are small excerpts mentioning the importance and role of Satvavjay.
So, in 2018 I opted for a PG Diploma in Modern Psychotherapy to understand and find some links to this ancient healing wisdom. And it was a great decision because my course started with Freud and ended with mindfulness meditation.
Since then, I have practiced mindfulness in almost all my patients and have always seen a great result. My Ayurveda practice in the past few years have completely convinced that there can be no physical diseases without something wrong with the mind.
However, mindfulness is only one of many types of treatments. Here is a list of the treatment types that I found in Charak samhita and other classical texts. I will elaborate on all of these in future blogs, according to my understanding-
Kala (Arts Therapy – Music, Painting etc.)
Atma Vigyana (Mindfulness)
Mano nigraha (Stability of mind through meditation)
All the essentials of manonigraha are amply covered in the great spiritual texts of Ashtang yoga.