My Mindful Cooking

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Cooking mindfulness

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 members.

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 cooking style.

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.

And the result of mindful cooking –

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Mindfulness

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.

This blog series is available in the form of a book in kindle –
https://www.amazon.in/Instant-Mindfulness-Zero-time-consuming-everyone-ebook/dp/B07PXMPVMV/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=instant+mindfulness&qid=1555831787&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Thanks for reading!

Satvavjay : Ayurvedic Psychotherapy

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!

Satvavjay Series

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-

  1. Ashwasana (Counseling)
  2. Kala (Arts Therapy – Music, Painting etc.)
  3. Atma Vigyana (Mindfulness)
  4. Mano nigraha (Stability of mind through meditation)

All the essentials of manonigraha are amply covered in the great spiritual texts of Ashtang yoga.

What is the best Ayurveda treatment for weight loss or maintenance?

You might not believe it but it is true. Over the past few years, I have tried some hundreds of herbs and therapies trying to reduce weight for people as well as for me, but nothing works like “nirjala” or dry fasting (without water). And I am saying this on medical grounds and personal experience.

Today, it is very hard for all of us to believe that we can get something without paying a lot of money or doing some pain-staking exercise. But doing nothing can actually get you better results.

The most important factor is control stress, because stress eating is one of the biggest cause behind any kind of weight gain. We try to find stress relief through false gratification derived through the sense of taste!

I personally started “nirjala” fasting last year and now I practiced it every month. And nothing goes wrong with a normal day, without much physical over-exertion or exposure to harsh sunlight. Nirjala fasting is an ideal method to reduce weight if you are in a sitting job. And trust me, once you get used to it, you will never feel dizzy, weak, or fainting!!!

I started with once a day meal fast, next I tried fasting only on fruits. Then I tried full day zero food fast with warm water. After that, I tried 1/2 day nirjala, as the concept of nirjala fasting made me very nervous. I was scared that I might faint or get excessive dehydration.

Here are a few benefits I found with nirjala (dry) fasting –

  • 10 kg weight loss in 2 months’ time without regaining the weight.
  • Reduced anger and frustration
  • Peaceful mind and clarity of thought
  • Effective Stress control
  • Better digestive and absorption capacity
  • Almost nil rate of diseases (seasonal cough, cold, indigestion, etc. ), better immunity
  • My chronic cold, stuffy nose and other congestive symptoms vanished. In fact, I don’t remember getting cold in the past 12 months. Earlier, I would start sneezing the moment I get up from the bed in the morning. Complete Relief from Mucus Accumulation in Sinuses through Dry Fasting – 48 Hours Ekadashi Observations
  • My skin disorder, itching, and inflammation started getting better on its own.
  • All my parameters are absolutely normal – BP, sugar, Hb, etc. (in fact, I was detected to be pro-diabetic 2 years back, now it is completely normal!)

The only condition is that you should eat properly when you are eating. So actually I do dry fasting for many days in a month. But I also eat very nutritious food for the rest of the month, so everything is balanced.

Nirajala fasting actually makes our bodies better as nutrition is more about your capacity to absorb food and not about eating more!

And with effective stress relief and regular dry fasting, it is IMPOSSIBLE to regain any weight! Trust me, I have a personal experience with this. Also let me know your experiences with dry fasting.

Thanks for reading!

Concept of Nutrition In Ayurveda

Ekadashi Links

Fast Health! Through Ayurvedic Fasting

Crucial Reason Behind Weight Gain: Real Case Discussion

Complete Relief from Mucus Accumulation in Sinuses through Dry Fasting – 48 Hours Ekadashi Observations

My Experience with Ashtami Vrata in Traditional Hindu Intermittent Fasting

Ekadashi Fasting: Amazing Effects in Dental Problems

Crucial Reason Behind Weight Gain: Real Case Discussion

The Original Health Query

I am eating a lot! Food that are not health at all: chocolates, candies, fast food, hamburger, and I am feeling this urge to eat all the time. I can’t tell you that this is making me feel bad, I am feeling so happy and realized when eating these things, specially chocolate. However, I do know that this will do me harm in the long term… That’s why I want to stop this habit and gradually move to a more healthy diet. But how do I start without feeling that I am depriving myself from the happiness derived from these foods? How to be effective but at the same time gentle with myself during this transition?

The Treatment Approach

basically, I feel that you are suffering from a mild compulsive eating disorder where you feel that you have to eat all these things. They make you happy especially chocolates and candies. In Ayurveda it is called Pragya Aparadha.

Pragya Aparadha

This word Pragya Aparadha is made up of two words – Pragya and Aparadha. Pragya means wisdom and aparadha means crime and what you are doing is a crime against wisdom.

You already know that it is not healthy for you. Every time you eat it you feel that this is not healthy for me but since the food makes you happy, the food makes you content you eat it but at the back of your mind you’re feeling that you should try to stop

Pragya Aparadha is said to be the the biggest cause for disease according to Ayurveda because your mind knows that what you’re doing is not right and yet when you keep on eating these candies and chocolates, you gradually build up a sense of guilt in your mind that you are doing something wrong.

And this guilt lowers the immunity overall immunity of the body and seeks punishment in the form of the disease where you’ll fall sick and then you learn.It will create a big impression on your mind that I ate all those things and I’m sick. Now I’m not going to eat these things. It propels a kind of learning in this way. But we don’t need to learn this way since there are other ways to learn the right way of living. Any treatment in Ayurveda starts with the first and the most fundamental step that is the removal of course.

The Cause

Let’s see what is the cause in this case. To most of us, the cause will be junk food chocolates, candies and all that but if you dig deeper, you will find that the the cause is not eating chocolates or junk food. This eating of all the unhealthy food is the result of the cause the cause might be much deeper inside the cause might be lack of happiness because when you lack happiness you lack a natural sense of satisfaction through your overall lifestyle and the things that you are doing.

Then, this lack of happiness leads you to find happiness elsewhere, all the food that we eat creates a kind of satisfaction in our brain and especially chocolates, because they are sweet.They create a sense of satisfaction. Even Ayurveda says that sweet food creates sense of satisfaction, sense of security and that’s why most of the people, when they’re stressed, like eating sweet things because sweet things help them to calm down, help them feel more safe and it is a natural instinct of the body.

When we are stressed, we are in that the emergency mode, we are in sympathetic mode and sympathetic mode needs a lot of energy because it triggers flight fright and freeze response in this response you have to be ready to fight or to run away, so you need a lot of sugar. So when you eat sugar, body feels prepared and feel secure. My assumption is that you lack general happiness which will make you feel happy and satisfied in your life and because you lack that you are eating all these things and this is a very common problem now.

Stress Hidden in Subconscious Mind

Why you are unhappy is a personal cause. Sometimes we don’t realize why we are not happy, for example, if you have a real personal need but that personal need. For example, you need to leave your job. For example, you need to change your house. These are big needs.

You somehow feel deep inside that, this is not what I want to do. But there is also a sense of insecurity a sense of deep fear that it will destabilize what you already have and this fear hides the need, it hides the need, it curtains the need so you don’t see the need but still, you are unhappy inside.

Stress Eating

So you need to fill this space with chocolates and candies and hamburgers and these things are kind of painkillers for your need. So even when that these things are not healthy, you keep on eating them because you need to feel that pleasure, you need to feel that satisfaction.

So this is what I feel that there is an internal lack of happiness which needs to be filled. When you feel happy and satisfied, gradually you will see that these needs of eating chocolates or candies will fade away. You will not even remember to eat chocolate or candy.

Two Pronged Treatment

There can be a two-pronged treatment for your disorder. I will say that essentially it’s a mental disorder and not a physical disorder so the treatment has to come from the mind, the permanent treatment has to come from the mind. So here we can have two-pronged treatment, in which one is the immediate treatment and other is the long-term permanent treatment.

The first prong treatment is yukti vyapashraya, treatment by herbs and medicines. This treatment cannot bring you happiness, because that is a personal problem. You will have to figure it out. But –

YUKTIVYAPASHYA

The primary treatment in yukti vypashraya starts with a basic body detox, which you can do by general fasting, intermittent fasting. You can do it by fruit fasting, milk fasting. There are many kinds of fasting and you can choose your type.

The second prong and the most important one is going to be satyavajay or controlling the mind. In controlling the mind, we can use several methods like counseling, meditation, mindfulness, art therapy. We can explore all these options together and find out what works best for you. So these two treatments will go together.

The first treatment will prevent your body from further damage, strengthen it, give it time and space to deal with the more permanent and long-lasting treatment, that is the mental treatment. And if we practice it successfully, if we are able to find out the real cause and remove it probably it should not take more than six months for you to get completely cured.

As for tonsillitis (you also have tonsilitis), this is going to be the primary foundation treatment because tonsilitis is nothing but a buildup of all the wrong thing, a wrong metabolic pattern that is developing in your body. So, first if we do not remove the unhealthy food and unhealthy lifestyle habits tonsillitis is going to be very difficult to get cured.

However at the same time we can we can proceed with certain treatment for tonsillitis so that you get it immediate relief but the permanent treatment is going to be satvavjay or mental treatment!

Thanks for reading!

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Kanika

The Hidden Cause Behind Low Concentration

The Hidden Cause Behind Low Concentration

Namaste, I am Kanika Ayurveda physician and today let’s see what is concentration and what is the hidden factor behind the lack of concentration. 
According to Ayurveda, there are three factors to understand anything. 
Dhi means grasping. 
Dhriti means retention and Smriti means memory. 
Out of all these three steps – Dhi or grasping is a factor to concentration because you cannot understand anything or internalize it when you are not focused. 

What is Concentration?


The word “concentration” in Sanskrit means ekagrata and this word has a very beautiful meaning.  It has two words in it – Ek means one and Agra means front. 
That means if you want to concentrate on anything you should have a single front, you should have a single focus, just like an arrow
Let’s take the example of light, when it is diffused, it has no power. But the same light, when amplified into the same wavelength, becomes a laser. And this laser can cut the hardest of the things in the world, it can cut even diamonds. 
And this is what we can do with our thought process. If we can aline our thoughts in one single direction just like a magnet, we can have a laser-sharp concentration 
But normally we do not have that. Normally we have lots of thoughts running in our minds but why do we have so many thoughts running in our minds? 


Here, We can find a hidden but the most crucial reason for lack of concentration which is stress. 

The Hidden Cause Behind Low Concentration


According to multiple scientific researches, stress is the single biggest factor that can cause a loss in sustainable concentration and this is because stress can actually damage our brain cells which can help us to focus and concentrate. let’s see how 

The Stress Hormone


We have a special stress hormone inside our body – serum cortisol and whenever we are stressed, the level of this hormone increases in the blood. What this hormone does is to suppress all normal body functions and prepare our body for emergency conditions. You see, this hormone can hinder the maturation process of neurons and when the neurons do not mature properly then you definitely will have less cells to concentrate with.
Let’s see what serum cortisol does to the brain cells. 

Stress hinders making of new brain cells

There are a lot of stem cells inside the brain and these cells mature into two kinds of cells – neurons and axons. 
Neurons are the main functioning cells that process the information and axons are the like. 
You know, we can compare neurons to the computer and axons are the wires of the computer. So in the brain, we have two kinds of things – we have computers and the wires connecting the computer.
Under the stress hormone, most of the stem cells mature not into neurons but into axons. 


So, if you are stressed you will have more wires inside your brain than the computers and definitely it will lead to lower concentration, lower learning ability, and loss of memory as well. 


And it does not happen only in infancy. This is a myth which has been busted by recent scientific experiment. You can develop immature neurons even as an adult.

Stress makes body environment unsuitable for normal brain functioning


Chronic stress makes us more prone to anxiety, mood swings, and these mood swings and anxiety result in low concentration.
Stress hormone affects all the systems in the body – the digestive system, excretory system, skin, everywhere. 
It is very important to note that no single organ or system works inside the body as a single separate entity. 
Everything is connected and therefore neurons very much depend on the good performance of the digestive system, excretory system, immunity and so one and so forth.  
When you are stressed, when your body is under the effect of stress hormone all these systems, 
all the systems of the body are suppressed. So you will not have good digestion, you will not be able to absorb proper nutrition, you will have a build-up of toxins in your body because the excretory system is not functioning properly
; and all this builds up into early cell death, early neuron that in the body. This makes of an environment in which neurons cannot function properly and therefore low concentration.

Stress triggers early cell death

Stress can trigger another very important process in the body – cell oxidation. Cell oxidation is a natural process by which the body removes old and aging.
However, if the rate of cell oxidation is accelerated then even the new cells will start to die and this is what happens under stress.
Stress already has led to immature neuron growth in the body, but on the other hand, it also kills the neurons which already there and functioning. 
And therefore, stress causes lack of concentration in two ways, first of all, it hinders the maturation of neurons which are capable of concentration and on the other hand, it kills neurons, it induces early death in neuron because of oxidative stress.
Besides, it produces an overall environment in which the neurons cannot function properly. 
Chronic stress does not affect only concentration. In the long run, it can also cause severe mental disorders like Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and so on. 

How Stress Affects Brain Cells

Unfortunately, even infants are stressed today. According to many scientific studies, high levels of stress during pregnancy can lead to concentration-related disorders in children like ADHD.

Ayurveda on Stress

Now let’s see what Ayurveda says about stress. According to Ayurveda, the mind is the source of the body. So, everything basically emerges from the mind. It is like a projector and the body is the projection of the mind. 
According to Ayurveda, there three mental patterns – Sattva or balance, Raja or hyperactivity, and Tamas or inactivity. 
When mind undergoes Rajo guna then it becomes hyperactive and this hyperactivity descends to the physical body


One subtype of vata dosha -prana vayu controls intelligence. 
Negative emotions like mental unrest or stress (anavasthit chitta), anxiety (chinta), fear (bhaya) can lead to an imbalance in vata dosha. 
This imbalanced vata dosha in-turn contributes to a lack of concentration.
Vata has a wasting effect on the body and as the previous studies reflect, an imbalance in vata dosha leads to gradual wasting all over the body including the neurons.


So, the low rate of maturation or the early wasting effect of neurons is basically a result of mental hyperactivity or stress.
In this context, it becomes very important to note that stress causes neurodegeneration and this neurodegeneration leads to lack of concentration.


So, basically, the mind affects the body, and the body in turn leads to another effect on the mind. This may become a vicious cycle because low concentration can trigger more stress in a person which in turn will lead to even lower levels of concentration.


And therefore, we see that stress is the basic, the most fundamental cause for lack of concentration. It’s not anything else. According to Ayurveda, the permanent cure for any disease lies in the removal of the cause. 
Without removing the cause, you can actually never reach a permanent state of health and this applies to the lack of concentration as well,
because if you have lack of concentration and if you do not remove the fundamentals factor stress behind this lack of concentration then you will never reach a permanent level of high concentrations 


And this is the reason why most of the medicines whether they are allopathic or Ayurvedic, fail to have any permanent result in case of low concentration because the problem is not physical. 
It is mental and no mental problem can be treated by a physical solution. 

But there are ways to achieve concentration. 
And there are two ways to achieve anything – The right one and the wrong one and the same goes for concentration as well. 


You can be the highly focused when you are in a natural, peaceful state of mind 
or when a mad dog chasing you.
So, a highly relaxed state of mind or a mind in the emergency mode, both result in the same thing – high levels of concentration. 
However, their effects on the body are very different.


In the coming videos, let’s explore what are some of the methods to achieve concentration and what are their effects on the body.
Till then, namaste and thank you for reading!

Relevant Scientific Research Links

Chronic stress has the ability to flip a switch in stem cells that turns them into a type of cell that inhibits connections to the prefrontal cortex, which would improve learning and memory, but lays down a durable scaffolding linked to anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.  https://bit.ly/chronicstressstudy

The Stress Hormone

Oxidative Stress

Stress in Pregnancy

My Article on Stress

How stress kills your body

Why some diseases don’t get cured?

Have you ever suffered from a symptom like drowsiness, lethargy, dizziness, pain etc when all the tests results are normal? But still, there is a problem and you cannot name it. And no matter how many medicines you eat, the symptoms doesn’t go away.

Today each one of us is suffering from some of the Other kind of health problem, in spite of the tremendous scientific advances in the medical field. The market is flooded with health supplements that claim to bring the perfect state of health. However, all our attempts to cure ourselves are on the physical plain. And probably that’s the problem. we are ignoring the simplest, fastest and indispensable source of perennial health – the mind.

According to Ayurveda, the mind is the supreme controller of the body. If therefore if the mind is not stable, then the body metabolism also will be unstable. According to Ayurveda if you have anxiety depression or stress, it will lead to vata vitiation in the body. Vitiated vata Dosha will cause constipation, indigestion, bloating and multiple other digestive problems.

If if you have bouts of extreme anger, then you will have a huge tendency to develop acidity, inflammation in the intestine, peptic ulcer and other pitta dosha related disorders.

If you have a dull and unexciting life, you may develop a kapha dosha imbalance leading to sluggish digestive system. In this case, you might suffer from anorexia, heaviness after meals, lethargy, indigestion.

And these problems will never be permanently corrected on the level of the body in if we do not fix them on the mental plane. Therefore, it so happens that people go on taking medications for the decades without any permanent relief.

If we look at this concept from the modern from the perspective of modern medicine, we will find a similar correlation between the mind and body.
According to modern medicine, there are two types of nervous systems working in the body. These nervous systems are the sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system. They have contrary characteristics and the balance the requirements of the human body in different conditions.

Stress, anger, anxiety, fear, and all the negative emotions Trigger the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is programmed to ensure the protection of the body in all circumstances. It stimulates a fright-flight-fight response in the body.

So if you are extremely stressed, you will naturally choose one of the above three modes of response.

The sympathetic nervous system ensures that the vital organs in the body and the muscles get more blood supply as compared to the rest of the organs which are not required for immediate protective response. According to this nervous system, muscles need more energy and nutrition to fight or to run away.

Incidentally, the blood supply to other organs like the digestive system, urinary system, skin, etc. decreases significantly under the influence of the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system also reduces the activity in all these body parts.

And this is why anger, anxiety, stress, worries immediately show a negative effect on the digestive system as the sympathetic nervous system is switched ON and it reduces the blood supply and activity in the digestive system. The sympathetic nervous system can maintain this effect for a reasonably long duration. For this reasons, ancient Hindus refrained from eating anything when unhappy!

Therefore if you are always stressed, anxious or worrying, your entire body will be working under the influence of the sympathetic nervous system. And for this reason, stressed people have dull skin, lousy digestion, lack of hunger, tiredness, and multiple other health problems.

In the body, stretched for too long under the influence of the sympathetic nervous system, the organs become too tired to work and give up. This stress is the reason for the high prevalence of lifestyle disorders like diabetes, hypertension, hormonal disorders et cetera.

It is like a man who when forced to run for a very long time, eventually drops down. He can only get dragged after that.

Prolonged exposure to the activity of the sympathetic nervous system also accelerates the rate of aging in a person. Due to the hyperactivity of the sympathetic nervous system, the body parts become overused. The body is not able to replace the old cells at the rate which can match the requirements of the sympathetic nervous system.

This lag in replacement and repair happens partly because of excessive requirements of the sympathetic nervous system, and partly due to lack of proper activity in the digestive system. The digestive system is the only source to receive nutrition in our body. If it is not working correctly, then the body’s nutritional supplies will fall short.

The only option left for the body is to deteriorate and age faster. Today most of the people are worried about health, aging, fatal disorders like cancer. Cancer cells are present in the bodies of all individuals. The disease happens only when the body is not able to kill cancer cells. Stress hormones provide a suitable condition for the cancer cells to grow in the body.

Here I would say that the law of attraction works in the case of health as well. If you are worried about any health problem, you are contributing towards creating it.

However, people don’t realize that stressful aspiration about a good life is the only cause for and for an unhealthy, short, and miserable life.

On the other hand, if you have a peaceful mind, it triggers the parasympathetic nervous system in the body. The parasympathetic nervous system relaxes the body and focuses on repair and rejuvenation.

The effect of the parasympathetic nervous system is entirely contrary to that of the sympathetic nervous system. We can compare these two effects with an example of two countries, one engaged in a war and another in peacetime. The land at war depletes its resources, whether it is the human resource or natural resource.

The war continues for a very long time, and it becomes the culture of the land. Local development subsides, basic human amenities become dear, law and order crises becomes rampant in the war-stricken country. If we look at the countries suffering from terrorism, there are unfortunate instances of even small children getting engaged in weaponry and active warfare. A body continuously under the influence of stress becomes like a country afflicted with war for details decades.

Now if we look at the effect of the parasympathetic nervous system, it provides peacetime in the body.

Major civilizations have flourished not under the influence of war but the impact of peace. Peaceful society allows time space and resources for development in all dimensions. Citizens of a peaceful reaching will have better facilities, law, and order. A non-violent society provides all the essential amenities to its citizens. Significant refinements in the form of art music and culture can happen only in the peacetime.

Now in this context, we can look at the functioning of an effect of the parasympathetic nervous system in the body. Parasympathetic nervous system triggers the “rest and digest” and “feed and breed” response in the body.

First of all, the parasympathetic nervous system relaxes nervous hyperactivity. Nervous hyperactivity creates overstimulation of all the body parts. As this hyperactivity is balanced, the blood supply gets diverted to the organs neglected under the influence of the sympathetic nervous system, like the digestive system, and the excretory system, reproductive system, etc. We cannot eat, grow, or make a baby while on the run.

Parasympathetic nervous system makes us more conscious of the body. We become aware of pain, inflammation, or other problems in the body. This body consciousness is the first step toward preventing and solving health issues. Under the influence of the sympathetic nervous system, the body gets under the effect of natural pain killer, which helps to focus all the attention on the survival.

Parasympathetic nervous system regularises heart rate. It has a cardioprotective effect contrary to the erosive force of the sympathetic nervous system.

The parasympathetic nervous system focuses the body resources on repair and rejuvenation of the cells. It activates the digestive system, stimulates hunger, and salivation reflexes. Therefore it ensures nutritional abundance in the body. The parasympathetic nervous system relieves the toxin load by activating the excretory system.

With ample nutrition available in the body, the rate of cell replacement and repair increases compared to the speed of deterioration. Therefore, we find the monks with a radiant face, flawless skin, and perfect digestion. They can maintain ideal health without the availability of the latest health supplements our other health resources just because they have a peaceful mind.

Therefore we can safely conclude that mind is the sole cause of health or disease. And it is essential to focus on the promotion of Mental Health mental state before engaging into any other kind of health activity. Because if the mind is not healthy, it is impossible for the body to maintain health with the help of external means.

For a long healthy and happy life, we must mind our body!

This article is based on another article from Sahajmarg meditation blog – https://www.sahajmarg.org/newsletter/sahajsandesh/2019.7

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The Ayurveda Channel

Mindful Fear

One thought can erase the effect of another. Fear is one strong thought that can numb other thoughts. And fear works for almost all of us. We all fear something or the other. Initially, many of us might face problems with the implementation of mindfulness. And fear can be a good tool to become more mindful of what you are doing if have more of the fear factor in your mind.

Fear mostly affects us in a negative manner. We don’t start things or continue them because we fear failure to perform. Actually, I am writing a book on mindfulness more for my own reference in future, because I have failed so many times, that I have become really good at getting back on my feet after falling. And I hope that in the future, I will be able to practice mindfulness for a longer duration than a few minutes at a time. But these few minutes have such a blissful impact that they can help us keep going in any kind of situation.

The fear factor has worked for me in some cases. I am not talking about an absolute state of panic. But a small amount of fear, that amount which prevents you from driving the wrong side of the road or telling small white lies etc. That amount of fear can bring a lot of difference in the way we think and act, that too in a positive way. 

A mindful person can foresee things going wrong and that’s the best time to correct them. For example, as I see myself thinking something negative while cooking, I fear that I am infusing the same thoughts in the food, with in turn be transferred to my family members eating it. So, while cooking I immediately correct my thinking, at least when I am putting any ingredient in the cooking vessel on fire. Whenever I am cleaning or dusting something, I become conscious of what I am thinking, because it looks like I am smearing that object with the same thought and it better not be a negative one. Thoughts are all around us and they create the entire environment of the positivity or negativity. That’s the reason why things touched by saints are sacred and places of worship have a peaceful environment.  

This somehow came naturally to me and it might work for someone who is more prone to fear than to other negative emotions like anger or greed. I believe that the so-called negative emotions are just emotions and can be harnessed for personal betterment. They can be treated like medicines that should not be consumed as food(in large amount) when hungry(have a vacuum in the mind) but works in a small amount to help cure diseases.

For example a lot of fear before the exam can lead to mental blockage and a big zero in the exams, however a little anxiety can save you from the little mistakes made under the influence of over-confidence.

A complete absence of fear is unnatural in humans. Excess fear is pathological. Therefore, probably we don’t need to become fearless. A person with absolutely no fear can turn himself into a monster. We can regulate the fear and use it as a signal for self-protection, and not allow it to numb us into inactivity.

Imagine that you are an human inhabitant of an ecologically ruined planet and have landed on earth at night. You have no plants, no animals on your planet. Suddenly, you hear a strange sound in the dark, something that you have never heard before. Something strange touches you and you start running for your dear life. Unfortunately, the strange thing also starts to run after you. To your horror, you discover that this thing can run faster than you, can see in the dark and has piercing shining eyes!!!

You might be already dead even before this thing reaches you, just out of fear. There is no need for the scary thing to do anything! Fear will kill you.

But in case you survive to see the strange thing, you might see a dog for the first time in your life. And dogs are loving creatures. If you survive the fear evoked from barking and let out something nice to eat, you might get a most trust-worthy friend on the earth.

You can reach the happy ending, only if you are not dead out of fear already. Little fear for survival can help you think fast, it can help you think out of box, it can help you observe things more keenly and try out things that you would never have dreamt of doing in your entire life!

So fear can be good, as good as excitement, confidence and other virtues. But in the amount proportional to the amount of salt in the food, not more, not less

Om shanti shanti shanti!

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On Road Mindfulness



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Most of us drive vehicles almost every day. Even if we are not actually driving, we travel sometimes in situations when it is not possible to read or do some other work. These are the small holes in the consciousness when past memories, or experiences, esp. the painful ones, seep in our mind and grab our attention. Normally we are not unhappy, sad or hyperemotional when we are engaged. These emotions are prevalent only when we have nothing to focus our attention to. But if we are completely focused on the present, we will not have any space for these residual thoughts.

Now driving needs so much attention. You need to be careful and alert all the time and this compulsion can create stress of conflict when your mind wants to focus on something else. We feel stressed only when we feel out of control when there are too many things to handle together. When we are worried or anxious, this need for attention on driving a vehicle has an additional taxing effect on the mind. Driving, esp. on busy roads or during the traffic jams can be even more stressful. This is the reason why many people prefer to get driven to work rather drive themselves if they can afford it.
It is a well-known truth that most of the accidents happen because of carelessness or due to a lack of focus.

Mental chatter takes over while driving because driving again is a process that can be done automatically. So there is an opportunity for the mind to start its chatter. And most of the time this chatter arises from negative feelings. We constantly try to find a solution to our problems by constant churning of thoughts in our minds. This churning eventually deepens our impressions. No solution comes out of such churning. A phase in Tulsidas Ramayana says “You cannot get butter by churning water”. Thus all this effort is wasted. This failure ignites anger and turns on the negative thought process. Therefore, there is a huge possibility that this anger will turn into road rage if any suitable condition arises. Mindfulness is an indispensable tool for road safety for us and for the others. 

Another evil of driving, road rage is a complete absence of awareness. It is when the animalistic emotions take charge of our actions. However, no gross emotion like anger, grief, obsession can take control of our mental faculty.

Mindfulness is about seeing things as they are. This practice is helpful for both a normal person and as well as for a person with some phobia associated with roads or traffic. This type of mindfulness is also helpful in recovering from some kind of emotional shock or trauma regarding a terrible road accident.

I have a personal experience related to driving mindfulness. It can be called be better called an accident mindfulness J

I used to have Luna, a very old model of a two-wheeler when I was in school. I used to be constantly absorbed in thoughts almost all the time of the day, even while driving. It was a bad time, my father expired recently and I used to be very worried about an entrance exam that I was aiming at. I desperately wanted to pass the exam to make my mom feel happy. However, I really hated studying most of the subjects. And so I used to be stressed all the time. When I look back at the way I used to drive as a student, I am able to understand that miracles do happen; otherwise, I won’t be alive today.

One day, as I was driving recklessly as usual. I don’t remember what exactly happened before the accidents. That road used to be full of dogs so most probably some dogs or something else came in front of my bike. I must have been driving at a high speed. I used the front brakes to stop the bike and the rear wheels went up in the air, throwing me in the air (I used to be very thin and underweight). And suddenly I was flying! It was a moment that I remember vividly. I can still feel that moment. I felt as if I could change anything at that moment, in fact, everything will happen according to me. I could hear the whizzing of my bike, the rushing air, and all sorts of sounds and still, it was all very quiet as if this realm of sound is a very small piece of a huge existence. That moment felt like never-ending. I did not feel fear or joy, or anything at all. I was not numbed with shock. I actually felt and still remember each and every detail, as if it is all happening right now. I feel on the divider of the road on my back. I should have fallen on my head. I remember one of my acquaintances had a similar accident. She hit the road divider hard and broke both her legs.  I don’t know how I was able to turn in the air. I did fall on the divider but fell on the muddy part. Only the end of my backbone hit the hard cemented border and it did pain for a few days. 

Since that accident, I have never had any fear of accidents. Nor do I get angry or anxious during a long wait on a jammed road. 

We see in movies or animation how ninjas are able to jump from a mountain and land safely on the ground. Or walk on trees as if they are walking on the hard ground. Or jump long distances or even fly in the air! Now I think that it is all possible. With mindfulness, you can enter into the control room of nature and make the laws of nature work your ways.

How to practice driving mindfulness.

In On-road mindfulness, we can have 2 situations – one when we are driving a vehicle, another when we are sitting in a vehicle and have absolutely nothing to do. 

Like all mindfulness practices, here I am providing a set of standard rituals for driving mindfulness. However, mindfulness is a completely personalized experience and I hope that these basics can help you find your own way eventually.

The steps described below are akin to a staircase for reaching an understanding of driving mindfulness. It also helps us to understand that mindfulness can become as natural to us as breathing. We breathe all the time and do not have to set aside some time for it, like the way we do it for meditation.

Driving Mindfulness

Be aware of your hands turning the keys of your car. Feel the steel touch of the keys. Consciously hear the starting sound of the car. Observe if it is different from other days.

Feel your hands on the steering wheel.

Observe carefully what is in front of you without thinking anything good or bad about it. It is unnatural to suppress thoughts, however, you can be so focused that the thoughts don’t grab your complete attention.

Feel the car and your body moving to different directions as you start driving.

Feel the air moving inside the car (if the windows are not closed)

If you are too engrossed in useless thoughts or are feeling negative, try listening to your favorite music (preferably light and positive music).

If you are mentally relaxed, try not to put on the music and just be aware of everything around you.

Feel the metallic keys as you stop the car. Feel the subtle push forward as you stop your car.

The mind is like a servant who behaves the way he is trained. If you have trained your mind to think without any objective, then it will keep doing so. In the process, it will drain your energy. Let us take the example of a friend who talks incessantly. If you continue to hear his blabbering, it increases in volume. But if you treat his endless chatter like an uninvited conversation and stop paying attention to it, gradually the chatter dies away.    

Initially, you will start noticing objects and your mind will present you with unrequired thoughts and ideas.

For example, if you happen to pass by a beautiful woman wearing a hot red dress, your mind can give you thousands of thoughts about her. But if you just notice the chatter without doing anything about it, it will end. There is a huge difference between noticing and paying attention. When we listen to a toddler blabbering or a car engine starting, we just notice the sounds produced. We just acknowledge their presence without actually doing anything about them. We don’t respond to them in any way, neither do we think about the sound of the baby or the car engine, unless there is something really peculiar about them. But when we are in a business meeting, we are actually paying attention. We consciously retain and mentally process all suitable information that we come across.

“Vivek” or discretion to choose the rights things to process is the process as well as the incidental result of mindfulness. Through mindfulness, we are telling our mind that there is no need to process everything. We can choose what we want our mind to process. Thus ‘Vivek” is a mental scanning process that accumulates useful information for the mind to process. And it can happen only in the space provided by mindfulness. 

Such “Vivek” is a 100% protection against any kind of accidents because there is always a way to avoid them. With mindful driving, you would connect with the cosmos and always know the right thing to do, under any circumstances.

It is not a great idea to expect instant mindful experience when you are a beginner. It is natural that above mentioned is the exact situation when you will need mindfulness the most! But let us treat mindfulness like a tree. You cannot expect fruits immediately after sowing the seeds. So let us not allow this tender seedling to wither away in hot and dry conditions. Gradually, as you sharpen your tool of mindfulness, you will be able to experience mental normalcy in the most drastic situations. Therefore, if you are just out of a hot business debate in a disturbed or angry mood and driving back home, it is better to cool down with light music or jokes, rather than trying to apply mindfulness.

Mindful Traveling

This is a situation when you are not exactly driving a medium of transport but are being transported, for example, a train or a bus journey. There can be situations when you don’t have anything to do. Instead of too much use of electronic gadgets like mobile phones, laptops etc. on such long journeys; you can try to practice traveling mindfulness.

The following steps can help you to get a glimpse of traveling mindfulness. In the end, mindfulness is mindfulness, whether it is applied during traveling, sleeping or eating!

Feel your movement as you move inside a train or a bus.

Notice yourself walking towards your seat, parking your luggage and getting seated. It can be a haphazard or relaxed process.

Observe yourself seated in your place.

The most important factor in mindfulness is that we don’t have to focus our attention on something outside. We have to treat ourselves as a part of the whole and try to mindfully observe the whole!

Some people face travel anxiety. They fear the travel, about turning off the lights in the house, about forgetting important things on the journey, about losing things. They might be suffering from travel anxiety. They might also fear fatal accidents. These fears spring not from the immediate reality but from some deep-seated prejudices or disturbing past experiences. But if you are connected with your present moment, such useless thoughts or emotions will fail to grab your attention.

With the constant practice of mindfulness, you will observe yourself in a relaxed and unhurried mode while traveling. You will fail to forget important things to keep like the train tickets or to switch off the electronic appliances or to make important phone calls before traveling and so on and so forth. You will be able to apply a travel plan almost up to 100% in real life!  

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Mindful Cleaning for Mom and Child

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Cleaning Mindfulness for the new moms

I would like to share my personal experience as a new mom. I did not see very small children being brought up from close quarters. So I had a faint idea that child care might be problematic but it was much more than I could ever imagine. My daughter had feeding problems initially. All I could do was to see her cry with bloating. I tried everything – hot compress, herbal remedies, allopathic medicines, but 3 months were complete hell for me and my little princess. Sometimes, I was so depressed that we used to cry together and there used to be no one at home. There were times, when I would keep wiping the floor, keeping washing and drying the clothes, and keep cooking, because I didn’t know what to cook so that my daughter would eat it willingly. My daughter was actually underweight; however, it is a common problem with new moms that they are always anxious about the well-being of their children. The obsession to be a “good mom” and provide the best possible for the baby, is quite prevalent in first-time moms.  And I can safely say that this can trigger a deep sense of failure and depression – postpartum depression. Even while writing this, I am filled with a deep sense of regret that my daughter suffered all that in spite of all my efforts. This is good enough to push someone in a bout of depression. Thankfully, I have learned to be mindful about it!

Therefore I personally believe that new moms must equip themselves with mindfulness training with a special focus on cleaning mindfulness because they might find themselves doing that most of the time. It is extremely important to be mindful during the cleaning process – otherwise many such ideas like

I am good enough for doing this only

This is all I have now in my life

I am not able to give enough time to the baby because of the chores

No one cares to help me etc. etc.

– might pop up in the mind and continue to grow.  So it is important to be mindful of the passing moment and try not to judge the entire life on the basis of a phase of life. It takes a lot of patience to see the whole picture and most of us might lack that.  

Mindful Cleaning for Children

This is the reason mindful cleaning should be taught to children. Mindful children will not fumble for things that should be done. They will not be confused between the right and wrong choices. They will not waste their time on meaningless deviations and save the precious years of their lives. 

Mindful cleaning for children must start with decluttering. Every child should be taught to decide how many toys he/she actually wants to keep. This is common knowledge that children normally do not play with more than 10 toys at a time. You might be hoarding a lot of toys because your child might play with it someday. But let me tell you, that day might never come. So it is a better idea to teach your child to choose carefully what she wants to keep. And let her donate the unwanted toys to some charitable organization. This act of choosing will make her aware of many things. First, she will know what she loves best, it is a rare knowledge. Most of us grow into confused adults as we never face such choices day in and day out. Our lives become overwhelmed with confusing options just like the heap of unwanted toys that we never decided to do away with. Children learn that there is limited room, as there is limited time in life. And it is important to choose the best and keep it, instead of hoarding all unwanted stuff which will hide the things that you really love.

Once the best-loved toys are selected, it becomes easier to get children to clean as picking a few toys from the floor is not a daunting task. Besides, children can be made aware that if they do not choose to pick up a toy, it will be considered that they don’t need it and the toy will be taken away. This is another level of awareness, where after a point in time the child will lose interest in a particular toy and will not choose to spent time on managing it. This also makes the toy storage area a constantly changing and exciting place, where the child will find only his favorite toys and not a heap of junk. These children, as they grow up, will be freer, more flexible and open in their approach towards life. They will not get stuck with any specific thing, person or experience. They will not spend their life trying to hoard things or money. They will be able to mindful clean all aspects of their lives.

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