“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” – Buddha
This quote illuminates my intentions going into my personal experiment. Throughout the course of this training, I have realized that my emotions run unbridled throughout my being and my body is lethargic and at the whim of cravings I feel helpless to control. As a result, my mind is incredibly muddled, hazy, and teaming with anxiety and confusion. The focus of my personal experiment was upon integrating many of the aspects of yoga that have been highlighted in the training (Sadhana, Meditation, Asana, Ayurveda), to move far beyond simply doing the asanas to integrating yogic thinking into every aspect of life. Though this personal experiment spanned the length of 4 weeks, it has quickly turned into a life-long endeavor. I would like to share the design of my experiment and some of the preliminary results.
My experiment officially began on April 14, 2014. This was the first day that I started focusing on incorporating some of the Ayurvedic recommended practices into my daily routine. I also began to focus more on the spiritual aspect of my asana practice at the studio where I attend approximately 4 times per week. My diet was already very healthy, but I began to drink half-caffeinated coffee in a gradual process that I hoped would lead to removal of caffeine from my diet altogether. I also focused on completely eliminating processed foods from my diet. I also attempted to follow the food recommendations for my dosha (kapha) given in Vasant Lad’s book, Ayurvedic Home Remedies. This went on for 2 weeks.
On April 28th, I had an initial Ayurvedic consultation visit with Susan Bernhardt at Essence Ayurveda. This session truly inspired me to become more dedicated to Ayurvedic self-healing. At this consultation, I learned that gluten was likely causing many of the daily issues that I thought were just how life was going to be for me (constipation, gas, bloating, anxiety, depression, urinary tract infections, etc.). Susan recommended that I do a gluten free experiment for 4-6 weeks to see if these symptoms lessened. She also recommended that I follow guidelines for the elimination of excess yeast in my digestive system. This yeast (candida) was likely causing my intense cravings for sugar. In the past these have been so bad that I feel completely helpless to ignore them. She recommended that I take Latero Flora probiotic in the morning before breakfast and a probiotic supplement or food with every meal. Susan created a customized herbal formula for me to take twice a day, apart from meals. She also made a Nasya oil that I put in my nose in the morning. This helps promote a sattvic mind and eases anxiety and depression. On April 30th, I picked up the the herbal formula, Nasya oil, and Latero Flora supplement from Susan and began my full routine on April 31st.