Spring can really hang you up…

Spring can really hang you up…

[pictured above, an alder (Alnus rubra) male catkin that releases pollen] It’s officially Spring and many of you may be witnessing what some refer to as ‘yellow season’, the season of pollen dusting everything in it’s wake and wreaking havoc on our bodies. I’m reminded of one of the original bannock recipes, eaten by First Nations peoples, calling for cattail pollen, which grows in abundance for only a short few days in the spring. It’s one of the few examples of a pre-agrarian food that is comprised of tiny microparticles, and given its sticky, heavy properties, it’s probably a good thing that this special treat wasn’t available too often. In my book Food As Medicine, I make reference to research, which shows that a diet high in microparticles plays a role in gastrointestinal inflammation, which itself is a causative factor in the development of allergies and autoimmune disease. Of course, I don’t think that cattail bannock as a rare treat is the issue, but … [Read more...]

Holistic medicine meets holistic learning

Holistic medicine meets holistic learning

Most of us who come to find Ayurveda have been searching for the deeper meaning behind our existence and wanting to add purpose to our lives. A lot of us have struggled against societal norms lacking in compassion and universal awareness so we take action by practicing humanitarian values in an effort to create a stronger relationship to ourselves, our families and to our community. We consistently evaluate the health of our communities, as well as our overall culture. In search of fulfilling this desire, we find a more holistic approach to our being and it feels true that holistic medicine is the anecdote to these concerns. It seems even more natural to begin to learn in environments where this philosophy is not only embraced, but also openly practiced. With that in mind, Todd created Dogwood School of Botanical Medicine based upon this premise. We developed a video to share with you his mission in order to develop a deeper understanding of why we are not your average … [Read more...]

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 … [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...]