The Graduated Diet

The Graduated Diet

The ‘graduated diet’, or sansarjana krama in Sanskrit, is a measure utilized in Ayurveda to rekindle the digestive fire (agni). It is used for the purpose of amapachana: to enhance digestion and the processing of wastes, and remove the metabolic and immunological detritus (ama) that is generated with poor digestion. The graduated diet can be utilized in a variety of situations, including whenever digestion is weak and in the treatment of diseases such as fever (jwara). The process of ‘rekindling’ the digestive fire (agni) is analogous to starting a fire in a wood stove, enkindling the agni with easily digestible foods as one would a fire with paper or kindling. Once the fire is established, in the form of a strong appetite, progressively denser and more energy-rich foods are introduced in a graduated fashion to feed the digestive fire, but never so much as to cause it to smolder or be extinguished. How much to eat? The graduated diet isn’t designed to provide a maximal source of … [Read more...]

Ayurveda In Nepal tour

Ayurveda In Nepal tour

Hidden away in the foothills of the Himalayas are the last vestiges of Indian Buddhism, and an 800-year-old tradition of hereditary Buddhist priests and Ayurvedic physicians. In February of 2017, I will be taking a small group of students to study and experience what this tradition has to offer. I hope you can join me! Ayurveda In Nepal: The Bajracharya Medical Tradition 12-day Immersion program: February 5 ‑ 17, 2017 5-week Clinical program: February 5 ‑ March 10, 2017 According to the Indian scholar AL Basham, the Buddhist-influenced period of India was remarkable in many respects, not only for its embrace of pluralistic values, but also for the high degree of peace and prosperity that it brought. At a time when Europe was struggling through its Dark Ages, the subcontinent of India was a global center of trade, technology, and higher learning. Around the 7th century in India, Buddhism had begun to evolve as a householder tradition that existed along side the older celib … [Read more...]

Ayurveda In Nepal: free lecture

Ayurveda In Nepal: free lecture

I was introduced to the Bajracharya medical tradition of Nepal by my colleague Alan Tillotson, author of the highly acclaimed One Earth Herbal Sourcebook. Alan had met the late Dr. Mana Bajra Bajracharya somewhat by chance when he traveled to Nepal in the early 1970s, suffering from the effects of poorly controlled type 1 diabetes. Through Dr. Mana's skill Alan was restored to health, and since that time, Alan maintained an ongoing relationship with Dr. Mana until his death in 2001. Known locally and internationally for his healing skills, Dr. Mana authored over 40 books on Ayurveda, and in 2000, Alan asked me to help with the publication of these works. In 2009, I finally traveled to Nepal to meet Dr. Mana's son, Vaidya Madhu, and shortly thereafter we published the first of Dr. Mana's work as Ayurveda In Nepal. This book is detailed compendium of the traditional theories and practices employed by Dr Mana, drawing from the 800 year old medical tradition that he inherited as part of … [Read more...]

Āyurveda, diet, and psychosis

Āyurveda, diet, and psychosis

After my recent post on Vegetarianism and Ayurveda, I received a question from a reader, who was curious about why I said that in Āyurveda, there is scant reference to the preferment of a vegetarian diet as a therapeutic tool, except for the disease of unmāda (psychosis). To explain myself better, I want to provide a little background on the disease to provide some more context. The term unmāda is derived from the Sanskrit root words ud, meaning ‘upwards’, and mad, which refers to the capacity to ‘excite' or ‘exhilarate’. According to Āyurveda the life force called prāṇa is received by the body not just through the lungs and digestive system, but also through the top of the head. This prāṇic energy descends downwards to guide the formation and maintenance of our bodies, connecting through our feet to the earth, from a state of etheric potentiality to one of physical manifestation. This energetic flow is symbolized by the downward-pointing triangle, representing the feminine principle … [Read more...]

Vegetarianism and Ayurveda

Vegetarianism and Ayurveda

In my blog last week, I addressed the mistaken belief held by some in the Āyurveda community that sufficient vitamin B12 can be obtained from plant-based foods. Unfortunately, this mis-perception is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the all-pervading belief both within and without the community of Āyurveda, that it is (primarily) a vegetarian-based system. Considering the decades of knowledge that we have accumulated on the very real issue of vitamin B12 deficiency, the notion that vitamin B12 can be obtained in plant foods is really nothing more than wishful-thinking, typically expressed by those who believe that eating meat is morally wrong. Normally, what someone personally believes isn’t my concern, but when this belief obscures the practice of Āyurveda, denies the basic science, and puts the public health at risk, it is important to speak out. As painful as it may be for some to hear, the very real truth is that Āyurveda is not, and never was, a vegetarian system. The … [Read more...]