Posts Tagged ‘Ayurvedic’

What Are Chakras Anyway?

Here are the basics.  Several books and articles are available on the subject of Chakras.  In its purest form, the word Chakra originated from the ancient language known as Sanskrit and means “wheel of light.”  Chakras are wheels or spirals of energy interacting with layers of energy fields that interact with our physical body.  For exampchakras-310119_1280le, each Chakra resonates with a specific musical note.  When the musical note is created, the associated Chakra responds.  This may explain why certain sounds or music cause reactions to some listeners.

There are several Chakras throughout, above, and below our energetic bodies, but I would like to look at seven primary Chakras.

To begin, the Root Chakra, near the base of the spine, usually associates with the color red.  It focuses on natural, primal instincts, grounding, survival, and the will to live. It’s primal in nature.  An imbalance of this Chakra may cause frustration, insecurity, lack of grounding, or anger.  Areas of the body that may be affected include kidneys, nerve or blood disorders, lower spine, feet, or legs.  The Root Chakra resonates with the earth element, the astrological signs of Aries and Taurus, and the planet Saturn.

Next, the Sacral Chakra, usually identified with an orange color, is near the lower abdomen below the navel.  Its purpose centers on desire, pleasure, creativity, the will to feel, reproduction, and to express emotions.  An imbalance of this Chakra may real symptoms of repression, inhibitions, control issues, holding on to old relationships, worry, and lethargy.  Areas of the body affected may include the bladder, appendix, lumbar region, reproductive organs, and intestinal or digestive track.  The Sacral Chakra resonates with the water element, the signs of Gemini and Cancer, and the planet Jupiter. 

The third or Solar Plexus Chakra, near the upper abdomen where the ribs come together, is yellow. It’s considered the seat of one’s personal power, self-interest, the will to think for oneself, and clearing lower regions.  When out of balance, there can be signs of nervous dysfunctions, inner rage, depression, abusive behavior to others, dominance, or states of being obsessive.  Physical imbalances may show up in the liver, pancreas, stomach, gall bladder, upper abdominal disorders, or signs of poor circulation.  The Solar Plexus Chakra associates with the element of fire, the astrological sign Leo, and the planet Mars.  The commonly referred to a sense of “fight or flight” feeling originates in this same location.  You can tell when it activates because you may feel a tightness well up at the solar plexuschakra-3131632__480

The fourth is green, known as the Heart Chakra, and is at the center of the chest next to the heart.  The heart focuses on love, joy, compassion, and radiance to transform, to bridge, and to connect with others and the immediate environment.  An imbalanced Heart Chakra may lead to covetousness, coldness, dissatisfaction, resentment, greed, hostility, or bitterness.  Physical disharmony of this Chakra may affect the heart, blood, circulation, blood pressure, palpitations, ulcers, arms, chest, thymus, and hands.   The Heart Chakra resonates with the air element, the signs of Virgo and Libra, and the planet Venus.

The Throat or fifth Chakra is at the center and base of the throat. It’s blue and focuses on the will to express oneself and communication.  An imbalance of the Throat Chakra may manifest as being withdrawn, throat infections, laryngitis, hysteria, over self-concern, selfishness, possessiveness, or hyperventilation.  The areas of the body most likely affected include respiratory issues, bronchial, lungs, thyroid, parathyroid, vocal problems, ears, and mouth.  This Chakra works with the element of air, the signs of Scorpio and Sagittarius, and the planet Mercury. 

The Brow Chakra is indigo blue, sometimes referenced as the third eye,  and in the middle of the forehead.  As the seat of the mind, it focuses on intuition, clairvoyance, visioning, wisdom, and imagination.  When the Brow Chakra becomes unbalanced, there may be signs of egotistical behavior, short-sightedness, loftiness, or being overly authoritative.  Physical symptoms may relate to the pituitary gland, brain, sinuses, insomnia, nervous system, eyes, nose, ears, and headaches.  The Brow Chakra identifies with the light element, the signs of Capricorn and Aquarius, our sun, and the moon.

The seventh and final is violet (and sometimes white) and called the Crown Chakra, at the top of the skull. It’s about the higher will, searching for the truth of life and being, spirituality, and it is the seat of the soul.  Imbalanced conditions may include weakened psychic ability, a lack of understanding, creative, physical, mental, and spiritual exhaustion, being overwrought, migraines, or nervous tension.  The natural areas usually affected by this Chakra are the upper brain and the pineal gland. The Crown Chakra resonates with the element of higher thought, the sign of Pisces, and the Universe.

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This is just a basic overview of a profound subject and, as mentioned earlier, there are several books available on the subject.   This has hopefully helped broaden your understanding of this ancient and magical subject, The Chakras.

 

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Let’s Make Ghee!

IMG_2767Ghee has been rightly identified as a food of the gods with a history dating back as far as 1500BCE.  It has so many uses including ceremonial, medicinal, and nutritional.  Among the law verses in India’s Dharmasutra, a code detailing religious and political requirements, ghee is referenced as a key element of religious rituals. It also appears in the Bhagavad Gita’s, chapter 9, and in at least one of the hymns titled Rg Veda.  Medicinally, Ayurvedic Medicine often uses Ghee in the preparation of herbal formulations. Medicinally and nutritionally, Ghee actually eases digestion through butyrate, a short term fatty acid.  Also, just one tablespoon supplies 15% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin A.  Since Ghee contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), it’s also a cancer fighter.  Not just a cancer fighter, CLA may also aid with insulin resistance making it very beneficial for those with diabetes and prediabetes too.  This wonderful source of natural fat also contains significant levels of Vitamin E and Vitamin D.  Though many may think of fat as unhealthy in our diets, our bodies require fat to function properly.  Ghee is also a source for Omega-3s (monounsaturated fats),  another healthy fat.  So, Ghee isn’t just another choice to coat your pan for cooking, it’s a great food choice for your healthier diet and lifestyle.

Begin with 1 pound of unsalted butter.  Unsalted tends to cook down better without the residual salt.  I’ve actually had some negative results using salted butter.  It won’t be the end of the world if you end up with salted, but keep an eye on it while you heat.  It seems to heat up quicker.  I also try to stick to good quality butter with no growth hormones etc in the milk used to produce the butter.  Raw butter is perfect. I’ve just found a good source for Amish butter and it’s wonderful!

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Place the butter in a medium stainless steel saucepan over medium heat.  Don’t use any coated pans.  Stainless steel or glass to avoid chemical transference.  Heres’s where the fun begins!  It will start to spit and sputter gently as the water and milk fats separate from the butter.  I don’t stir mine.  I may occasionally skim some of the froth off the top with a fine stainless steel mesh strainer, but stirring spreads the solids around making more work for you.

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Once the spitting and sputtering slow, the process can complete quickly so watch it closely.  Skim aside some of the froth on top to see if you have any sediment forming on the bottom.  Those are the separated milk fats.  When they are golden brown and an aroma of freshly popped popcorn presents, it’s done.  Remove it from the heat source.  If the sediment goes dark brown (and this can happen quickly once it’s turned golden brown), you’ll note a nutty aroma.  You’ve scorched the gee.  It’s not ruined, but it will have a stronger taste.  By the way, gently adding hot tap water to your pan after it’s cooled a bit to warm, to avoid burns, will make cleanup much easier.

If you have a stainless steel tea strainer, place it on the mouth of a pint mason jar and slowly pour the melted ghee into the jar.  If you don’t, be careful on the pouring to avoid any sediment getting into the jar.* Once the sediment begins to pour from the bottom of the pan, I quit. IMG_2764

 

 

Remove the tea strainer from the jar.  Screw usual mason lid on top.  Careful, it’s hot!  Leave on the counter to cool.  And there’s your ghee. 

 

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It should solidify to a nice golden color.  If it’s brown, it’s scorched/overcooked.  Don’t throw it out!  Just recall the process for next time and don’t overcook it.  Your ghee doesn’t need to refrigeration because it’s pure saturated fat.  It will keep indefinitely.  If mold should appear in the jar, it’s because you didn’t heat it long enough and all the water during the heating process didn’t evaporate and it’s begun to go rancid. 

FYI other names for Ghee are clarified butter or drawn butter!  Enjoy!  Have questions or comments contact me!

* Stainless tea strainers are great and can be found at most health food stores or tea rooms.  Once I use that tea strainer for Ghee, I don’t use it for anything else to avoid contamination.

 

Quick Reference Directions:

Ingredients:

One (1) Pound Unsalted Natural Butter with no Aditives or Hormones.

Place butter in a medium stainless steel or glass saucepan.  Heat at medium heat until sediment forms at the bottom of the pan with a distinct aroma of freshly popped popcorn.  Pour off remaining liquid (Ghee) into a one-pint canning jar.  Gently screw on the lid (careful, it’s hot!) and allow to cool on the counter.  Once cooled, it may remain on the counter or in a pantry unrefrigerated