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Digest Better: Engaging the 5 Senses with Each Bite

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In a couple weeks, here in the U.S., it will we will be time for the Fall Harvest Feast. A holiday that brings people together to share a meal, laugh, and reconnect with loved ones. It’s also a time to recognize and be grateful for all the gifts we have in our lives. While it can be a joyous day,  it can also be one of overindulgence. A day in which we tend to please our emotions and often tune out the needs of our body. Transforming active, joyous energy to lethargy.

How do we walk away from the table feeling mentally and emotionally happy while our body still feels energetic?  With room to digest the nourishment it just received.

One practice is connecting the mind and the emotions with the body through actively engaging the five senses. Using our senses to direct our mind and emotions towards love and appreciation. If we do this prior to taking the first bite, it can help bring us into the moment. Focusing our attention towards the gift of a meal and helping to prevent mindless eating.

The practice also helps prepares the body by releasing digestive juices prior to the first bite. Helping the nutrients from the joy of the day and our food digest, assimilate and absorb.

Here some tips on how to activate the sense of smell, sight, touch, sound, and taste to help bring us into the moment.

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5 Dishes to Spice Up Your Fall Harvest Feast

Looking to add a little spice to your Fall Harvest Feast this month? Here are five delicious sides (and 1 appetizer) that also happen to be vegan, dairy and gluten-free.

Happy Eating! Happy Digesting!

1. Smokin’ Sweet Cranberry Chipotle Chutney It’s amazing what a little chipotle, cumin, cinnamon, garlic and orange does to cranberry sauce. Click here for the recipe.

Chiptole Cranberry Chutney

2. It’s a Rose-Mary Citrus Party Entice those fingers to grab some pre-meal fruit. Thinly sliced citrus makes keeps it easy and clean for the chef and guests.  A  light, hydrating snack that leaves room for the main course and sides. Click here for the recipe.

Rose-Mary Citrus Platter

3. 5 Spiced Yams & Rainbow Chard Spice up yams and greens with three tasty digestive aides cumin, fennel and ginger.  A variation of the popular 5 spices and a veggieClick here for the recipe.

5 Spices w/Yams & Rainbow Chard #chitchaatchai

4. Corn in a Roasted Poblano Coconut Curry  Take the corn off the cob and this recipe can easily convert to a vegan, dairy-free creamed corn or corn dressed in a spicy coconut based sauce.  Click here for the recipe.

Corn in a Roasted Poblano Coconut Sauce - Chit.Chaat.Chai

5. Roasted Squash & Yams with Sweet Spices & a Tahini Lime Dressing This side will treat every taste the heart desires, sweet, salty, sour pungent. It’s a party in your mouth. Greek yogurt can be substituted with a vegan yogurt. Click here for the recipe.

chit-chaat-chai ayurvedic roasted squash and yam with tahini dressing

The Most Important Part of Meditation No One Talks About

Chit-Chaat-Chai-MalaWho isn’t talking about meditation these days? People in every corner of the globe are realizing its benefits. Naturally, when any ancient practice gains wide popularity, it becomes accessible in a vacuum. Most learn bits and pieces of sacred knowledge without proper context. The meaning and purpose behind it eventually lose significance. Sometimes, the application and method turn into something so far from its roots that a danger develops of creating adverse effects. A good example of this is Ashtanga Yoga or Patanjali’s 8-Limb Path.

There is a practical and functional purpose to the progressive stages of this path-Yama (Social Code), Niyama (Personal Code), Asana (Postures), Pranayama (Breathing Exercises), Pratyahara (Withdrawal of Senses), Dharana (Concentration), Dhyana (Meditation), and Samadhi (Self-Realization). Meditation comes in the latter part of our internal work towards self-realization because we first have to prepare the mind with the former stages.

Yet, how many people do you know who are putting in an equal effort with the Yamas and Niyamas, as they are in perfecting their Asana poses?

Meditation cannot be practiced in isolation to other aspects of our lives. We first need to prepare the mind. This differs from the kind of preparation associated with creating a sacred space or finding a quiet place to sit. Although creating the right physical environment is very important to our practice, it will be impossible to focus and quiet the mind if one has not done the inner work of removing resentment, anger, anxiety, and jealousy. You may be able to temporarily repress these emotions, but sooner or later they will rise, pushing you to be more authentic in your self-evaluation.  

Most people fail to sustain a meditation routine because they do not devote enough of their energy and time to creating the everyday changes that will help them create a regular practice.

This includes letting go of attitudes and patterns that limit personal growth. If these are not healed you will not be able to either continue or advance in your meditations. This does not mean you should wait to meditate until you feel like you have overcome every experience that has left a negative impression on your mind or until you have worked through the first 6 stages of Patanjali’s 8-Limb Path. Rather, begin to sit and you will gradually realize what you need to work on. It will eventually lead you to the other aspects of the yogic path.

Having a regular meditation practice will help you get to the source of your feelings. It will provide you with the tools to engage with whatever is coming up for you in an honest way. This journey calls for a willingness on your part to do the deeper work alongside a meditation practice. What this requires will be different for each person. As humans, we all have different challenges that we need to work through in life. It’s called karma.

Below are some tips on how to easily get started:

  1. Meditate for short periods of time. Start with a daily 1-minute meditation practice. Something simple like following the inhalation and exhalation of your breath will immediately put you in a calm state. Once you get into the routine of bringing your attention inward, this will spill over into the other areas of your life. You will find yourself becoming more self-reflective and intentional with your actions.
  2. Be patient. Consistency is the key to change and improvement in our lives. Keep at it. At 2 weeks you may not be where you had hoped to be, but constantly check in with yourself, at 1 month, then 3 months, 6 months….5 years! I promise you that you will see some type of positive change happen. It takes a lifetime, and in most cases many lifetimes, to reach total bliss. Instead of being discouraged by that, find comfort in knowing that you are able to take your time in this process.
  3. Create a ritual. A simple way to prevent losing motivation for a daily practice is to find something you enjoy doing and incorporate that either alongside or into your meditations. Think of this time as self-care. Journaling, saying affirmations, lighting incense, taking a walk before you sit, chanting, are all ways to help us reflect and go deeper into ourselves. Shift your thinking about activities that help you to feel centered from being optional to mandatory. Taking care of our physical and mental health are absolutely necessary and should be followed like a medical prescription.

As we go through life accumulating experiences, we discover new lenses in which to view the past, present, and future. We are continuously analyzing and re-analyzing our circumstances. With all of that mind activity, we must create the space to find steadiness in our thoughts and peace in our lives.


Rucha is a Certified Level I and II Meditation Teacher and Certified Yoga Instructor. She serves as a Spiritual Coach, inspiring others to simplify, reflect, and make time for silence.  Read Rucha’s bio to learn more about her and her company, Shanti Path.

 

 

Podcast Series: You Are What You Digest

 

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After several months of collaborating with the founding President of the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine, renowned Ayurveda/Jyotish educator, and a dear friend Mamta Landerman CAS, it is with great pleasure and excitement to share Chit.Chaat.Chai’s first podcast series! You Are What You Digest, In Conversation with Mamta Landerman CAS. A 3-episode podcast all about digestion through the lens of Ayurveda.

Mamta and I developed this series to share a holistic perspective on digestion that extends beyond the gut. Each episode is dedicated to one of the three realms: physical, emotional and mental (digestion is more than just elimination!). Using stories and analogies in each episode, we talk through each level step by step for easy digestion. As the series progresses, we discuss how all three are interconnected and work synergistically. We hope this episodic journey provides you with insight on how Ayurveda approaches digestion and supports your path to healthy digestion.

All three 30 minutes episodes are now available on iTunesSoundcloud or click on each episode to stream from the web. I will also be releasing a couple exciting interviews with women who have helped pioneer Ayurveda here in California (including Mamta!). To receive episodes as they are released, subscribe to Chit.Chaat.Chai’s podcast channel and get them in your feed! Thank you for your support.

Chit-Chaat-Chai-Podcast-Logo

Listen & Subscribe on iTunes

Episode 1. Physical Digestion

In the first episode of this 3-part podcast series, Mamta Landerman CAS and I talk about digestion as a continuous process that extends beyond the gut and into the seven tissues, through the lens of Ayurveda. Covering topics such as the digestive fire, indigestion, ama or toxins, eating habits, food choices, and how everyday kitchen spices can aid in supporting digestion within the physical body. Approximately 30 minutes

Episode 2. Emotional Digestion

In the second episode of this 3-part podcast series, Mamta and I talk about digestion on the emotional realm. Discussing the impact the subtle body has on the gross. Using the same terminology from the previous episode we show the relationship between the physical and the emotional bodies while providing a broader view on the understanding of digestion. Approximately 30 minutes

Episode 3. Mental Digestion

In the final episode, Mamta and I talk about digestion within the mental realm. Discussing Ayurveda’s view on the mind and the role the intellectual fire plays in supporting physical and mental digestion. Approximately 30 minutes

Listen on Soundcloud

Read the Transcriptions


You Are What You Digest was developed in partnership with Mamta Landerman,  a Clinical Ayurveda Specialist and Vedic Astrologer (Jyotishi). Considering their study as a lifelong journey, she teaches these subjects both privately and in different colleges across the U.S. Her keen interest in growing Ayurveda as a profession in the U.S., led her to be the Founding President of The California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine, which she served for five years. She also produced the first three International Symposia on Ayurveda at University of California at Berkeley. To learn more about this amazing woman and the services she offers visit Ayujyoti.com.

Ep.3: You Are What You Digest, Mental Digestion

You-Are-What-You-Digest-Podcast

Episode 3. Mental Digestion

In the final episode, Mamta Landerman CAS and I discuss the role of the mind in the digestive process. Providing insight on how Ayurveda views the mind and the role the intellectual fire plays in supporting physical and emotional digestion.

Listen on iTunes or Soundcloud

Read the transcription


You Are What You Digest was developed in partnership with Mamta Landerman,  a Clinical Ayurveda Specialist and Vedic Astrologer (Jyotishi). Considering their study as a lifelong journey, she teaches these subjects both privately and in different colleges across the U.S. Her keen interest in growing Ayurveda as a profession in the U.S., led her to be the Founding President of The California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine, which she served for five years. She also produced the first three International Symposia on Ayurveda at University of California at Berkeley. To learn more about this amazing woman and the services she offers visit Ayujyoti.com.

 

Ep.2: You Are What You Digest, Emotional Digestion

 You-Are-What-You-Digest-Podcast

Episode 2. Emotional Digestion

In the second episode of this 3-part podcast series, Mamta Landerman CAS and I talk about digestion on the emotional realm. Discussing the impact the subtle body has on the gross. Using the same terminology from the previous episode we show the relationship between the physical and the emotional bodies while providing a broader view on the understanding of digestion.

Listen on iTunes or Soundcloud

Read the transcription


You Are What You Digest was developed in partnership with Mamta Landerman,  a Clinical Ayurveda Specialist and Vedic Astrologer (Jyotishi). Considering their study as a lifelong journey, she teaches these subjects both privately and in different colleges across the U.S. Her keen interest in growing Ayurveda as a profession in the U.S., led her to be the Founding President of The California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine, which she served for five years. She also produced the first three International Symposia on Ayurveda at University of California at Berkeley. To learn more about this amazing woman and the services she offers visit Ayujyoti.com.

 

Ep.1 You Are What You Digest, Physical Digestion

 You-Are-What-You-Digest-Podcast

Episode 1. Physical Digestion

In the first episode of this 3-part podcast series, Mamta Landerman CAS and I talk about digestion as a continuous process that extends beyond the gut and into the seven tissues, through the lens of Ayurveda. Covering topics such as the digestive fire, indigestion, ama or toxins, eating habits, food choices, and how everyday kitchen spices can aid in supporting digestion within the physical body.

Listen on iTunes or Soundcloud

Read the transcription


You Are What You Digest was developed in partnership with Mamta Landerman,  a Clinical Ayurveda Specialist and Vedic Astrologer (Jyotishi). Considering their study as a lifelong journey, she teaches these subjects both privately and in different colleges across the U.S. Her keen interest in growing Ayurveda as a profession in the U.S., led her to be the Founding President of The California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine, which she served for five years. She also produced the first three International Symposia on Ayurveda at University of California at Berkeley. To learn more about this amazing woman and the services she offers visit Ayujyoti.com.