Welcome Summer…and Changes

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2017 has been an interesting year to say the least! I know I haven’t updated on here in forever but I finally felt inspiration push me to make a post. I woke up an hour and a half early this morning and browsed through my phone as usual. I saw the post “Happy First Day of Summer!” and felt a relief wash over me – a familiar one of fresh starts. Isn’t that always the case with “first days” of anything? It’s always a great excuse to start over. Well anyway, time for some updates…

I fell off the Ayurveda/healthy track a couple months in when I lost my job a little over three months ago. My highly unethical former company found a reason to let me go after looking for one for over a year. It was a relief and shock at the same time – one that I hadn’t felt before and my entire world collapsed. Thankfully, I saw an opportunity for a position at the competition and disbelievingly, I was able to land a new job within 6 days. 6 DAYS! That must be some kind of record, right?! Well, said former unethical company thought so too, and they falsely assumed my old manager (whom I’m very dear friends with to this day) gave me a reference (another no-no according to former unethical company) and decided to let HIM go, too. This place is worth a possible future post on its own, but I digress.

My new job is only 3 miles away from where I live (meant to be?) and my coworkers there are amazing. My old workplace was highly toxic, unfriendly, and untrustworthy. Have you ever seen a dog that’s been abused find new owners who are loving and it still shakes and pees a little when you try to show it affection? Yeah, I was in the same state at my new place. I couldn’t believe that Vice Presidents could act like mentors  and actual human beings and genuinely want to see you succeed! There is an overall positive feeling of teamwork and togetherness/solidarity that was completely void at my old employer. Needless to say, I feel much happier in my environment and I’ve already been acknowledged for my work twice in the short 3 months I’ve been there. Parts of me still feel like I want more – like my brain needs more but I suppose these kind of opportunities will present themselves at the right time. Until then I knit socks, read, and create travel manuals of all the important spots to visit/stay in all the major cities of Europe to occupy my mind in between calls (I work as a Reservations Agent for a cruise line)…

For the time being, I am focusing on my health again. I had a scary scenario about 5 weeks ago where I fell ill from a skin abscess that had formed on my upper/back thigh (very fucking unfortunate location, let me tell you). It grew to a heinous size and had to be drained and I was in excruciating pain, coupled with a legitimate fever for 3-4 days. I’ve literally NEVER had anything like that happen to me before and it’s never been that difficult for my immune system to fight something off. I knew that something was off and I had a feeling it had to do with me poisoning myself again. So, I re-watched the documentary (Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead) on Netflix and I had another epiphany. I decided enough was enough and this was my big wake-up call. So, the next day without any true plan or goal, I decided I would be off meat. I told myself that I would let my intuition guide me this time and I would not resist. In the next couple of days, I decided to try out being vegan – I felt that meat and dairy were bad influences on my system. I also felt that bread was another culprit. Long story short, here I am 5 weeks later. Still vegan, bread-free, and 15 pounds lighter. I feel great and I sleep great. I have NOT been immaculate with not eating sugar (I got my period and literally could not live without some Ben and Jerry’s non-dairy brownie ice cream) but it made me feel like complete shit when I did, so it’s reminders like that, that keep me on track. Stay tuned for more updates – I WILL be returning to a full Ayurvedic routine this month.

Here’s to First Days and Continued Days – especially those of happiness! 😀

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Finally Got My Ass On The Mat!

tea-tree-yoga-matIt’s been a struggle to say the least. I’m sure you’ve all noticed due to my sporadic writing. I’ve felt guilty and dirty and hopeless after not keeping up as well as I’d promised myself. But then my awareness got the better of me and I realized I was doing the same self-defeating patterns as before my journey began, so I stopped myself right there. I let silence fill me, and I allowed the feeling of the void to take over for a while. Kind of like in yoga. When you’re sore or not doing a particular pose well, oftentimes your teacher will tell you to “breathe through it”, “allow yourself to feel the pain”, “inhale and exhale through the discomfort”. So I did. I took days here and there to check myself and to make some changes that might make me feel motivated to return to my Yoga/Ayurveda journey. I wanted to trust that I needed some space and that in the right moment, I would return.

And so it seems I have!

Last week I became more interested in my diet again. I have fallen off the Ayurveda wagon and have been indulging in crap I shouldn’t: meat, dairy, butter, processed crap, etc. etc. etc. And I have been feeling like utter, utter crap because of it. I decided to round myself up and take some action so I decided I wanted to calculate my macros because I never felt that calories are a complete way to monitor proper nutrition. I’ve never dived into the intimidating world of macros until now and I like the idea that there is more than one factor to weight gain/loss feels right. Macros are just a shortening of “macronutrients”, usually Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates. I’m going to try out macros in conjunction with Ayurveda this and next week and will weigh myself the first week of March to see how I’m doing. If you are interested in calculating your macros, the best calculator I could find is located on IIFYM.

Yoga, yoga, yoga. Why must you forsake me? More like, why must I forsake myself and be an indulgent lazy ass? Sighs. Okay okay, *reminder to be kind to myself*.

It’s been tough mobilizing myself to bend. As you can tell. I finally got over myself and my hesitations to commit and I found myself a yoga buddy at work and actually did 25 minutes on the mat today! I’m really proud :). I have committed to at least 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings with my work colleague and we actually got ourselves together and did it today! We breathed heavy, we sweat a lot even though it was a 25-minute gentle flow, and we did most of the poses wrong. And it was glorious. What’s more: my co-worker is completely brand new to yoga, so I am excited to introduce someone to this wonderful, peaceful world! Here is to revitalizing this yogi and to creating new ones :D.

I am taking baby steps and I am not looking at this as beginning my journey *again*, but simply continuing on my path to balance, using the same mentality that I hope will help heal me.

Wishing you lots of hugs and lovely motivation this Valentine’s Day week! Stay tuned for some additional yoga information this week/this month. ❤ ❤ ❤

New Year Check-In

new years eve 2017Happy 2017! 2016 flew right by! Or is it that the years always begin to fly by once you hit 25+? Anywho, I’m excited for new beginnings. Everything feels fresh, new, and untouched. Amazing how an imaginary man-made calendar can be the catalyst for such crisp motivation.

I just realized it’s been a month since I started this blog. Crazy! I also realized that I never included my weight loss on the blog, just on Instagram. So here I go. When I first started my Ayurvedic journey, I was at my highest weight of 275 lbs. And when I started this blog I clocked-in at 255, so I decided to do a weigh-in before my family visits to the Midwest. Shortly before I left for my Christmas/New Year’s vacation, I weighed in at:

253.5 lbs! That’s a 21.5 lb total loss, with another 1.5 lb in between starting my blog and this post, bitches! 

I just had a WONDERFUL vacation to Illinois and Missouri for 10 days. Visited my family, the in-laws, and met hubby’s extended family for the first time. It was magical. Seriously. And I was so apprehensive about the whole thing! I was worried I wouldn’t be accepted into his family. Was worried that I’d lose the Christmas Spirit in my parent’s house (like I did since my early adolescence) and was my general, cynical, Bah-Humbug-Self as per usual (…hello…Yoga Bitch, remember?). But I was proven wrong! And I sincerely thank the Universe that I am aware/open enough to recognize that I had a fabulous time. Just smitten over here :). I introduced my family to “Yoga Bitch” and my whole Ayurveda idea and was met with some skepticism, as expected. Special shout-out/thank you to Mom who was totally sticking up for me the whole time (and endearingly I might add), though.

My favorite part was my step dad squinting his eyes and reading through my posts and exclaiming “…I mean do you really feel the need to use the “f” word all the time?? Do you think that educated/intelligent people will respond well to that…?!” My response was: “Well yeah, I kind of do, actually. That was the whole point of me releasing the persona/idea of ‘Yoga Bitch’. I’m done with hiding who I am or sugar coating my abrasiveness. I’m just being me.” His look to my answer showed me that he mildly accepted my reasoning but remained slightly suspicious. The energy ended up clearing later on (to my smug pleasure) when he started quoting one of his favorite esoteric philosophers and as he was reading out loud, realized that the man swore throughout his whole book, too! 1-0, Yoga Bitch.

I haven’t weighed myself since I got back. It’s quite possible I gained back a bit weight but it’s also possible I haven’t. I’m not sure. And I’m not going to bother checking. At least not until I get moving with some yoga. I’ve been on my period this week so I honestly haven’t felt like doing much of anything. I don’t get cramps but I bloat a crap ton and feel generally sluggish. Plus, traveling wears me the fuck out. Literally took planes, trains, and cars the past couple weeks so I am slow to get back. But, I will. And I don’t mind that it’s taking me a little while. As I’ve been repeating over and over, this is about the process for me.

I wanted to share how I get my yoga fix. It’s a cheap, simple alternative to going to a physical class. And although I do want to get my yoga teacher certification eventually, I still do feel a little embarrassed bending and heavy breathing around other yoga gazelles as I see them. I’m getting there mentally, people. It’ll take me a while to get over it.

ONEOEIGHT!: https://oneoeight.com/.

This is a website/community started by yoga_girl Rachel Brathen herself to bring yoga, community, and love to the world. I absolutely love her vision and the entire layout/style of this site. It’s only $14/month (with 10 free days) and it’s set up so you can work to balance yourself in each of OneoEight’s four “Houses”: Move (for yoga), Calm (for meditation/self-help videos), Nourish (recipe, food vids), and Explore (for yoga/meditation retreats). It’s ideal for my journey and what I need, and I don’t have to spend money every time I go to a class. I love that you can add your favorite videos to your virtual mat and that there is such a wide variety of videos. The quality is impeccable. Okay, I’m done with what sounds like an ad. But seriously check it out and yoga the fuck out!

Hugs to you all! ❤ 🙂

…Yoga Bitch…Really?

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For the first time yesterday, I doubt myself and my process. I have felt divine inspiration as I’ve embarked on my journey to balance through Ayurveda and yoga, but yesterday I wasn’t sure. I know that I need something to differentiate “me” and this supposed, eventual yoga studio I want to open. I mean, I need to, right? There’s a yoga studio opening up on every fucking street corner it seems like, especially in my city: Los Angeles. It’s the Western capital of yoga for fuck’s sake! So I sulked and I doubted. And I feared that I’m not special or interesting enough.

I don’t have an easy past. This past has shaped me: a past of being bullied, sexually molested, my parents divorcing and remarrying other people, and being a first generation American which also gave me a side of “identity crisis”. It could have been worse. It can always be worse. But it made me who I am today: vulgar, cynical, chock-full of dark humor, with an extremely tender heart that never hardened through it all. I wanted it to. I tried to break it myself. But the softness, the fragility of my inner child’s tiny heart prevailed. 🌟

I had a long talk with my mom yesterday. We talked about Rachel Brathen (the famous yoga_girl) and her incredible movement and her beautiful soul and how she reflects love and purity onto everything she touches. Although I have the exact same intentions, I am not like her, but part of me wishes I was. We’re the same fucking age and she’s conquering the world and birthing perfect spiritual prodigies and here I am in my little dark corner, almost brooding! I wish I could channel Heaven so consistently and effortlessly…

The Truth is, Hell is easier for me. I can be very abrasive and offensive and loud and my bluntness, Yin, and general allergy to bullshit has gotten me into trouble on more than one occasion. Most occasions 😳. I told my mom: “…But I don’t want to offend all the beautiful perfect yogis who are serene and in tune with their Higher Selves and The Collective. I don’t want to make noise where there should be silence! I don’t want to create controversy with my personality. I’ll scare them all away…!!!”. And she said: “So, what?”…So, what indeed. I realized that at the end of the day, people will always respond more to rawness, even if some of it is ugly. So here, I am. Enter: Yoga Bitch 😈.

The word ‘bitch’ is not derogatory to me. It’s empowering! But I understand the connotations and how people may possibly respond to this energy. I know it can even be uncomfortable to some, but that’s why I chose it. I’ve been called the name so much through my life. For my honesty, for my disregard for pointless authority, my strong opinions, for always being so misunderstood.

Does it scare me to brand myself with that name? Yes. Do I feel like I have to bleed a little before I can be comfortable with it? Probably. Do I have to do it? FUCK YES. Because it’s who I am! I carry my wounds with me on my exposed, white sleeve and it hurts. But I love with everything that I am, all that I do and think, and with every action I take. And I have to trust that through this keeping unconditional love, despite my sometimes harsh demeanor, “they will come…”. Because THIS is a true balancing act! 💓💓💓

Yoga + Me

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What is the relationship between yoga and Ayurveda? It is said that Ayurveda is the science and that yoga is the practice of the science. Therefore, I would like to dedicate this blog post to yoga and my background with it. One of my goals for 2017 is to complete my yoga teacher certification through the Yoga Alliance. It’s a fairly new goal for me, but an exciting [and steep one] one at that!

History of Yoga

Yoga’s history has many places of obscurity due to its oral transmission of sacred texts and the secretive nature of its teachings, much like Ayurveda. The early writings on yoga were transcribed on fragile palm leaves that were easily damaged, destroyed or lost. The development of yoga can be traced back to over 5,000 years ago, but some researchers think that yoga may be up to 10,000 years old old. Yoga’s long rich history can be divided into four main periods of innovation, practice and development:

Pre-Classical Yoga
The beginnings of Yoga were developed by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India over 5,000 years ago. The word yoga was first mentioned in the oldest sacred texts, the Rig Veda. The Vedas were a collection of texts containing songs, mantras and rituals to be used by Brahmans, the Vedic priests. Yoga was slowly refined and developed by the Brahmans and Rishis (mystic seers) who documented their practices and beliefs in the Upanishads, a huge work containing over 200 scriptures. The most renowned of the Yogic scriptures is the Bhagavad-Gîtâ, composed around 500 BCE. The Upanishads took the idea of ritual sacrifice from the Vedas and internalized it, teaching the sacrifice of the ego through self-knowledge, action (karma yoga) and wisdom (jnana yoga).

Classical Yoga
In the pre-classical stage, yoga was a mishmash of various ideas, beliefs and techniques that often conflicted and contradicted each other. The Classical period is defined by Patanjali’s Yoga-Sûtras, the first systematic presentation of yoga. Written some time in the second century, this text describes the path of Raja Yoga, often called “classical yoga”. Patanjali organized the practice of yoga into an “eight limbed path” containing the steps and stages towards obtaining Samadhi or enlightenment. Patanjali is often considered the father of yoga and his Yoga-Sûtras still strongly influence most styles of modern yoga.

Post-Classical Yoga
A few centuries after Patanjali, yoga masters created a system of practices designed to rejuvenate the body and prolong life. They rejected the teachings of the ancient Vedas and embraced the physical body as the means to achieve enlightenment. They developed Tantra Yoga, with radical techniques to cleanse the body and mind to break the knots that bind us to our physical existence. This exploration of these physical-spiritual connections and body centered practices led to the creation of what we primarily think of yoga in the West: Hatha Yoga.

Modern Period
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, yoga masters began to travel to the West, attracting attention and followers. This began at the 1893 Parliament of Religions in Chicago, when Swami Vivekananda wowed the attendees with his lectures on yoga and the universality of the world’s religions. In the 1920s and 30s, Hatha Yoga was strongly promoted in India with the work of T. Krishnamacharya, Swami Sivananda and other yogis practicing Hatha Yoga. Krishnamacharya opened the first Hatha Yoga school in Mysore in 1924 and in 1936 Sivananda founded the Divine Life Society on the banks of the holy Ganges River. Krishnamacharya produced three students that would continue his legacy and increase the popularity of Hatha Yoga: B.K.S. Iyengar, T.K.V. Desikachar and Pattabhi Jois. Sivananda was a prolific author, writing over 200 books on yoga, and established nine ashrams and numerous yoga centers located around the world.

The importation of yoga to the West still continued at a trickle until Indra Devi opened her yoga studio in Hollywood in 1947. Since then, many more western and Indian teachers have become pioneers, popularizing hatha yoga and gaining millions of followers. Hatha Yoga now has many different schools or styles, all emphasizing the many different aspects of the practice.

Yoga + Me

I first was introduced to yoga almost 15 years ago, when I was barely a teenager, around the ages of 12-13. My mom casually brought it up to me and we would practice it in high school during gym classes and dance classes and I had a few Bikram home videos that I would pop in every once in a while. It was the new fad. No one really understood it in the Western world yet, but we all did it because it was mysterious and holistic and seemed like it worked. Logically it made sense anyway. I always noticed that I would tend to sweat a lot when doing the yoga videos [and felt good] but perhaps it was my teenage brain that was not developed enough yet to truly appreciate the actual purpose and benefits of yoga. I remember thinking that it was too slow, too boring, and overall not worth my time.

I was a moderate athlete at that point in my life. I had grown up doing sports (although not highly competitively but nonetheless regularly) and had always been active the majority of my life. I started playing tennis at the age of 8 and continued until I was about 14. In high school, I was on the badminton and water polo teams, was in dance for 2 years, and worked out obsessively every night (this included a combination of Tae Bo®, swimming, weights, and body exercises like ab crunches). I was in the prime of my life, physically. Although I was never particularly light, I was extremely fit/lean/muscular and was pretty happy with it. At 5’7, I weighed an average of 150-160 and was a size 10 in dresses/pants. Perhaps not extremely small, and to some possibly even overweight on paper, but I looked and felt great.

…Then my hormones attacked. At the age of 17 to 18, my hormones went insanely out of whack. I started taking birth control pills and started gaining a bit of weight as I had a steady boyfriend (and we all know that it’s typical to gain weight once you’re in a relationship and once you’re on The Pill) and it created an avalanche effect to my already underlying/dormant medical condition: Metabolic Syndrome. I won’t go deep into that now, but it’s a hormonal condition which is characterized by insulin resistance aka bad news for your body and happy state-of-mind. I graduated high school and stopped being so active since I didn’t have any more school sponsored sports to participate in. My minor weight gains caused me to develop depression which in turn caused me to fall deeper into the black hole of fat as I saw it which caused me to stop caring about working out every day and that that point, I couldn’t stop gaining. And I wouldn’t for a while.

By the time I was 21, I had gained 90 lbs. And 6 years later, I’m still there. Stuck in my body like a prisoner, with not-so-distant memories of easy running, moving, and breathing. It’s torture. Thankfully, I stopped gaining weight at the age of 21 and I have remained fairly steady since then. Now at 27, I have decided that enough is enough. I have tried it all. And I’ve failed at it all. Until I woke up and realized that there may not be a genuine “victory” or “failure” at diet and overall healthy lifestyle. It’s a process, a practice, exactly like yoga and Ayurveda. Hence, my journey to balance with Ayuveda [and yoga].

Although I have been practicing yoga on-and-off these past months, I am choosing to be consistent beginning this week. My goal is to dedicate at least one day this week to the practice. It may seem like too small a goal to some, but I am trying to set myself up so it’s difficult to NOT reach the goal. Next week, I want to add 2 days, the week after that 3, until I feel comfortable to work up to 4, then 5, then everyday eventually. I am healing my tendency to negative thinking and poor habits, and through this channel, I plan to achieve that. Namaste.

Photo credit: https://coswb.as.ucsb.edu
Information: http://www.yogabasics.com/

My First Ayurvedic Shopping Trip

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Good morning and HAPPY MOTHERFUCKING FRIDAY, PEOPLE! Can you tell I’m happy it’s almost the weekend? 🙂

I completed my first “official” Ayurvedic shopping trip last night and I am proud to report how I did! Although I have been making minor changes to my diet each day and being more mindful in general, I did not have the staples at my total grasp [at all times]. Meaning, my fridge :). So, now that I have committed to writing this blog, I felt that there was no time like the present to immerse myself further.

Took a trip to Ralphs; for some of you, it’s known as Kroger. It’s a big supermarket chain here in Southern California. Before my trip, I looked up the “YES” and “NO” list for my dosha, Pitta-Kapha. I am choosing to not focus on my “Moderation” list, which essentially includes foods that I am allowed to eat in moderation (specifically once every 4-5 days), because I feel that I have a lot of work to do to re-balance my body and diet. So before I allow myself to indulge in some of the deliciousness on my moderation list, I am ‘cleaning house’. The Pitta-Kapha food guidelines are designed to be anti-inflammatory and anti-congestive, which makes total sense as this dosha is ruled by Fire and Earth. Here were some main points I made sure to remember before I left:

“YES” FOODS

There were a lot of foods in my “yes” lists that I was really excited about because I enjoy them a lot:

  • YES Fruits: Applesauce, sweet berries, pomegranates, pears
  • YES Vegetables: Artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, green beans, leafy greens, mushrooms, cooked onions, white potatoes
  • YES Legumes: Black beans, black-eyed peas, chick peas, red and brown lentils, tempeh, white beans
  • YES Meat/Animal Products: White meat chicken, egg whites, freshwater fish, turkey
  • YES Grains: Barley, couscous, sprouted wheat bread
  • YES Oils: Sunflower, ghee, canola

“NO” FOODS

These were even more important to take note. Some big (and disappointing) points that I made sure to remember for myself:

  • NO Fruits: Bananas (it’s a sad day), green grapes (another mourning period for me), kiwi (:(), oranges (seriously, just take it all away at this point), pineapple (maybe I should rethink this whole thing…?)
  • NO Vegetables: Green olives, raw tomatoes
  • NO Legumes: Miso, soy sauce
  • NO Dairy: My dosha ideally should actually never have dairy. This one will take a while for me. I LOVE my steamed milk in my morning with coffee…
  • NO Meat/Animal Products: Beef (this one is tough too), dark meat chicken and turkey (leaving me with no tenderness here I swear :(), seafood (this is DEVASTATING!!!), lamb (*-_-*)
  • NO Grains: Bread with yeast, brown rice
  • NO Nuts/Butters: almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts

OK, I had to do it. I had to whine through my whole freaking “NO” list. Fire has always been my main ruling element and not allowing to express myself in my usual, fiery ways can make me feel unfulfilled! As you can tell, I pretty much was fed up with even bothering to make exasperated exhaling comments/sounds because nuts are fucking delicious and I’m not even allergic and oh the irony and god dammit I love peanut butter and and and…But, it makes sense. I need to stay away from the foods with the most fat. The foods which I love the most. The foods which also have contributed to my weight/fat gain the most. And the foods which have contributed to my Kapha imbalance the most. Sighs.

SO, WHAT DID I ACTUALLY BUY?

Here is a ‘highlight’ list of foods I actually came home with:

  • Pomegranates
  • Applesauce
  • Avocados
  • Napa cabbage
  • White onions
  • Zucchini
  • Spinach
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Fresh Thyme and Chives
  • Sprouted whole grain bread (my favorite brand is Food for Life’s Ezekiel 4:9 bread)
  • Ground turkey
  • Egg whites
  • Coconut milk
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Quinoa
  • Kombucha

It’s not completely psychologically easy, but I look forward to coming up with some unique recipes that I will create and post on here and Instagram that will be featured in my eventual recipe book! I want it to be as easy for others as it’s feeling for me so far, so it will be my goal to create meals that are doable in almost every scenario. Also I did not bother buying any new spices as I already have a lot of the spices that are central to Ayurveda (and good for my Pitta-Kapha dosha) including: tumeric, basil, cinnamon, cumin, dill, mint, and saffron.

A pattern in Ayurveda that I have truly noticed in these past few weeks is that most of the foods in my “No” lists are foods I naturally already dislike (and have always disliked). I do not believe it’s a coincidence! This pattern is making it really easy for me to make the necessary changes, which is making me even more excited and motivated to keep this going! I plan to weigh myself on Monday morning for a weight update.

Stay tuned and Happy Weekend! 🙂

Ayurveda = Life Science

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The term “Ayurveda” combines the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge). Ayurvedic medicine, as practiced in India, is one of the oldest systems of medicine in the world. Many Ayurvedic practices predate written records and were handed down by word of mouth. Three ancient books known as the Great Trilogy were written in Sanskrit more than 3,000 years ago (and some sources claim even longer) and are considered the main texts on Ayurvedic medicine. They are called: Caraka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita, and Astanga Sangraha.

These classical texts are completely central to Ayurveda. They are quintessential.

Here is a more in-depth look at these texts:

CHARAKA SAMHITA

Charaka was a physician who was always traveling. He was a disciple of Agnivesha who wrote the Atreya Samhita. Charaka rewrote the Agnivesha samhita (in about 1000 BCE). Around 400 ACE, Drdabala worked upon charaka samhita and re-formed it. This re-formed version of Drdabala is available to us as the “Charaka samhita”.

Many chapters in Charaka samhita are in the form of symposiums; where in groups of sages take in certain topics for discussion. The text, which is written in Sanskrit, is in the form of prose and verses. It contains 8,400 metrical sentences. The focus is on “Kaya chikitsa” the internal medicine, which aims to balance the “Agni”, or the digestive fire, responsible for metabolism.

SUSRUTA SAMHITA

The word “Susruta” means “one who listens very well”. Susruta was a surgeon. He was the disciple of Divodasa Dhanvantari of the Dhanvantari lineage. The text dates back to around the 6th century BCE. Due to his contribution to surgery he is recognized as the “Father of Surgery.”

Later, around the the 2nd century BCE, the text was re-edited by Nagarjuna. The text explains various surgical procedures and includes techniques to repair a torn ear lobe, cleft palate and disfigured nose, uniting the torn intestines, removal of the prostrate gland, removal of cataracts, draining of abscesses, and also some surgical procedures in the brain. In BCE! Isn’t that INCREDIBLE?! He has explained about the dissection of cadavers and the method to preserve them besides describing 101 kinds of blunt instruments (yanra) and 20 kinds of sharp instruments (shastra).

ASHTANGA SANGRAHA

Around 5th century AD, Vagbhatta compiled a treatise named Ashtanga sangraha. It combines both the above treatises, explaining all the 8 parts of Ayurveda including, Kaya chikitsa (internal medicine) and Shalya tantra (surgery).

Ashtanga sangraha excels in explaining the basic concepts of Ayurveda. It explains all the basics of Ayurveda, such as the

• Theory of 5 elements (panchamahabuta tatva)

• Theory of 3 functional principles (tridosha siddhanta)

• Theory of 7 structural principles (sapta dhatu tatva)

• Theory of 6 tastes (shad rasa siddhanta)

Seeing that the text Ashtanga sangraha is very elaborate the same author Vagbhatta has also written a text called ‘Ashtanga hrdayam’. Ashtanga hrdayam is more concise; it covers all the 8 parts of Ayurveda. Ashtanga sangraha is written in both prose and in the poetry form while Ashtanga hrdayam is completely written in poetry form, which is easy to memorize.

~*~

I believe that there is still so much that is not written in books about Ayurveda. There is still so much out there that is left to uncover. As it was originally a word-of-mouth tradition, there by default are branches of complexities that have not even been wholly documented. This is my assumption (and I feel it’s true after I have begun my extensive research). But in total sincerity, how fucking AWE-INSPIRING is it that this ancient tradition that began in India by sages was documenting surgery. And not just “minor” cuts, but major operations! This feels like the time I found out that Kabbalah mentions atoms. ATOMS BEING MENTIONED THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO, PEOPLE!!! BLEW. MY. MIND.

Some may doubt that word-of-mouth traditions are concise or consistent (I mean hey, who hasn’t played the game “Telephone” in elementary school?), but one of the things I learned as I was studying to earn my Bachelor’s in English, is that before written documentation, traditions passed down through generations through story telling (or word-of-mouth) were extremely coherent and precise, even when passing through different people. As before written history existed, word-of-mouth was the primary form of communication and therefore had to be consistent and legitimate, by necessity.

I look forward to uncovering more Ancient Truths as my journey continues!

Information from: http://www.medindia.net/ayurveda/ayurveda-classical-texts2.htm