Depression, Anxiety & Ayurvedic Mind-Harmonisation

Dylan Smith looking at the sea
Drugs for depression, anxiety, and attention problems are given out in huge numbers almost like a new panacea.
Apparently we can change our brain chemistry and balance our emotional state with drugs alone.
We aren’t being taught to first consider natural alternatives or lifestyle changes
In this approach, we are also losing sovereign composure over of our own brain chemistry.
We are now becoming dependent upon and perhaps even addicted to drugs for our sense of well-being and to maintain “balance” in our physiology throughout the circumstances of life.
This doesn’t only refer to anti-depressants, chemical sedatives, benzodiazepine (anti-anxiety), Methylphenidate (ADHD), or amphetamines alone, but we can develop an unsustainable relationship with nutraceuticals, supplements, narcotics, psychedelics, and our bi-monthly “plant-medicine ceremony.”
All the above certainly have their time and place in mental disease or imbalance, and no doubt can be extremely useful. I have seen them to be lifesaving for patients in my clinic. 
Pills
But I believe overall we need to create a greater perception for a holistic way of balancing the mind and nervous system and treating mental illness. 
Luckily, nature did not leave us without natural medicines for the mind. There are special herbs that support improvement of the mind, mental state, senses, brain and nervous system.
There are a group of herbs in Ayurveda called “Medhya Rasāyanas” that have been taken for millennia to “rejuvenate wisdom”, expand states of consciousness, promote deeper meditations, rejuvenate the mind and improve brain function.
And now, they have a new application in our modern age - to mitigate mind disturbance from screens, social media, work, relationships, collective stress, mental toxins, media etc.
One of my favorite Medhya Rasāyanas for this application is the powerful herbal formula “Bliss” by One Eleven Health.
But it is not just about supporting the body’s nervous system and mind with herbal rejuvenators, we also have to consider other such factors for balancing mental health for a radiant mind and body:
Bliss by One Eleven Health
  1. A suitable meditation practice for that individual
  2. Light cycles - what light are you exposed to in the day and after sunset?
  3. Prana (Life-force) content of food, water, and air
  4. Sun-exposure
  5. Time in nature
  6. Counseling
  7. Relationships and community
  8. Time in energetic vortexes of healing (vāstu / Vedic architecture)
  9. Electromagnetic fields
  10. Sleep
  11. Activity, work, service, role in society and community (dharma)
  12. Working with a quality health practitioner
  13. Body-work therapies and treatments
Please reach out for any support in balancing your mind and emotional state. You have the capacity to and birth-right for emotional and mental stability, we have to enliven the memory of that.
How do you promote the health of your mind and nervous system? Please comment below to inspire others.

Health Benefit of Having a Pet Dog (and kissing it) – Microbial Diversity

House dog licking a baby's face
Not only are your* reproductive organs becoming sterile, but your whole physiology as well.
You* are becoming a hyper-sensitive organism that lacks basic resiliency to the ever-changing and developing dynamics of life, which include bacteria, viruses, pathogens, and fungi.
You eat, work, sleep, defecate, and perhaps even exercise in these sterile cubicles, while artificial blue light (screens & lights) aggravates your hormones and mental state.
The only things your bare-feet touch are socks + rubber shoes, chemical floor cleaners and carpets, toxic tap water on your shower tiles cleaned with chlorine or bleach, and your dioxin rich 100% (non-organic) cotton bed sheets.

*By You/Your I exaggeratedly refer to the average of today’s collective. While this is an extreme end of the spectrum, sadly it is the truth for too many people, particularly those living in concrete jungle over-sanitised cities. 

Our microbiome, which makes up most of the human physiology and performs all the vital biological functions, is frailer than ever before.
There are a bunch of ways to enhance microbial diversity and performance, but one way is getting a pet dog!
  • A dog goes outside, gets dirty, and licks everyone.
  • They dump the dirt everywhere in the house.
  • The kids lick the dog.
  • The kid slobbers all over the parents and siblings.
This is a terrific way to get the microbes from outside into you.
Studies overseen by Dr. Brett Finlay were able to identify which families had a dog in the house by detecting (dog) microbes in the children’s feces.
While the contrary may occur (pets bring in infections), we need to drop the “good/bad” microbe/bacteria mentality and enhance our microbial diversity and resilience.
Golden Retriever Dog

How do you enhance the health of your microbiome? Comment 👇


Building Your Child’s Wellbeing

By Amelia Donnelly
Illustration of Durga Devi
Protecting the emotional safety and wellbeing of children is a fundamental concern of every parent. 
Currently, we are experiencing challenges in different ways: lockdowns, school closure, remote learning, rising mental health issues and uncertainty to name the most obvious. Navigating situations like extended lockdown can trigger a range of responses and reactions in children and prompt parents to ask questions about how to support the mental health of their children. Now, more than ever, do we need to engage in conversations that uphold and highlight solutions and strategies so we can transition as a community with greater ease, flow and confidence in the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of fostering resilient kids.  

How can parents support their children during these difficult transitions?

It is vital that parents and educators have language and tools to help not only support their own wellbeing, but nurture their child’s, too. With Google and the internet providing a plethora of information and resources to go to, parents can sometimes feel overwhelmed about where to turn and what information or guidance to follow. 
As a Vedic meditator, primary school teacher of twelve years and an author, I approach wellbeing inspired by Ayurvedic wisdom and knowledge: that what you focus your attention on, grows. 
To delve deeper into this knowledge, if ‘like increases like’, then how can we incorporate this wisdom into how we foster resilience and wellbeing in children? 
The solution? It’s quite simple: let’s bring our attention and awareness back to the present moment and anchor our daily routines in habits that nurture and nourish mind, body and soul. 
How does this connect to the ‘why?’ 
Taking the principle of ‘like increases like’, parents can begin daily conversations around: what does love look like? Feel like? Sound like? What does kindness look like? Feel like and sound like? What does respect look like? Feel like and sound like? Children are naturally intuitive and make connections between everything they see, say and do. 
Establishing values that are consistent with this Ayurvedic principle, will ensure that parents are living and role modelling values and virtues aligned to ‘increasing’ more of the same.
Parents with children outdoors
If we want to create more love, let’s focus our attention, language, emotions and thoughts on enlivening love within ourselves, our relationships and then with children.
Conscious parenting by no means ignores or devalues challenge or adversity; rather it accepts the present moment in all its fullness, and seeks to provide expression and meaning to the depth and beauty of human emotion and experience. This approach defines the ‘why’ – the pinnacle of establishing resilience is the ability to accept and acknowledge the present moment; to surrender to the Now and to gravitate towards fostering deeper connection to truth, being and purpose. 
Resilience is an ‘inside’ job. It’s how we feel. It’s how we think. It’s how we behave. It’s the choices we repeatedly make; it’s the way we communicate to each other, and it’s the values and beliefs we foster with children. 
If love is the most robust emotion, then enlivening this with children is paramount to maintaining safe, positive relationships. Children naturally absorb their parents’ approach to life; as such, they are constantly mirroring with the behavior of their parents and learning first hand by what is said and done. When stress and change take place, parents need to come back to ‘what you focus your attention on, grows.’

Establishing and maintaining daily routines for children include 3 M’s: movement, mood and meditation. 

Movement is vital for encouraging children to get outside, learn new skills, to engage in sports and activities. Fresh air, connecting to nature, exploring new places are all incredible ways to increase wellbeing.
Maintaining mood involves daily routines that work in accordance with nature’s rhythms: getting to sleep at the same time and up every morning, eating healthy, nourishing meals and being creative. Learning to express emotions in a meaningful way; singing, dancing, learning an instrument, cooking, writing, reading all help enliven and move emotions through the body.
Meditation is the corner stone of how I maintain my wellbeing and I have also shared mindfulness practices with my students. Children as young as 5, are able to learn how to breathe deep into their belly and learn how to notice the change in breathing as a response to changes in physical reactions and perceived stress. From breath awareness, mantras, chanting, belly breathing and visualisations, there are so many wonderful techniques and teachers out there who help empower children to learn how to meditate. 
Mom and daughter meditating together

The Golden Thread

In 2018, I wrote a picture story book called, The Golden Thread. Inspired by Vedic wisdom that ‘we are all one’, the golden thread is a thread of pure love that connects anyone to someone they miss or are separated from. The book is based on my own personal experience of losing my brother to a hit and run incident when I was 17.
If children are at home separated from their school, teacher and friends, they can use the golden thread as a framework to help visualise them and imagine thread of love connecting them together.
Again, this approach includes ‘like increases like’ and ‘what you focus your attention on, grows’. Ayurvedic knowledge is activated through action, intent and being; now is the time for parents to remember their nature and inspire a cascade of love in their daily routine, interaction and living.
The Golden Thread book by Amelia Donnelly

www.ameliadonnelly.com

Author of: The Golden Thread available at: www.dymocks.com.au

Content creator of: Zen Zoo Mindfulness Range available Australia wide at www.kmart.com.au


Natural Remedies for Anxiety and Depression

Hand reaching for the sky

ANTIDEPRESSANTS may stop us from feeling unhappy, anxious or depressed but that doesn’t mean we then feel happy, radiant and fulfilled.

We just stop feeling. 

We stop feeling into our natural enthusiasm to have shared experiences with other people and other things (Love).
We stop feeling our desire to fulfil the need of the time and the needs of others (Dharma).
We stop feeling gratitude and even awareness for the beauty that permeates every single corner of life (Appreciation).
It’s no secret that anti-depressants inhibit our sex drive.
Through the alteration in cortisol and other hormones, antidepressants not only inhibit our ability to experience love, happiness and fulfilment but also weaken our immunity, making us more vulnerable to nasty diseases.
Natural Remedies for Anxiety and Depression
On the bright side, antidepressants can be life-saving medications in emergency situations.
They have an ability to provide a window of time and space for a person to put their life back together. Note this is short term, and too many people “stretch” this window of opportunity and become dependent and habituated to them
In recent years, the most prevalent mental illnesses in Australia have become Depression and Anxiety, and during the COVID-19 pandemic cases have risen exponentially worldwide.  Here at Vital Veda we have received many enquiries regarding natural remedies for anxiety and depression hence this article.
At Vital Veda, we never advise anyone to go off any medications if you are already taking any. 
We aim to make you feel better mentally, then only under the guidance of your doctor may you gradually wean off the medications if that is necessary for you.

Natural ways to Treat Anxiety and Depression

According to Ayurveda, there are a variety of natural remedies for anxiety and depression. 

At Vital Veda, we explore a variety of all-natural solutions to assist people in healing anxiety and depression without the need for antidepressants.

Here are just a few things to look at and consider.

Woman Meditating on a dock

Meditate

Meditation will quickly allow for your mind to slow down, de-excite itself and achieve a state of inner calm.
Although there are several meditation techniques, Vedic Meditation is the one we recommend the most, due to its high effectiveness and how easy it is to actually learn it.
You can find a Vedic Meditation teacher close to you by clicking HERE and scrolling down to “Vedic Meditation”.

Self-Abhyanga Massage

A daily Abhyanga practice restores the balance of all biological agents, pacifies the nervous system and enhances well-being & longevity.
Your skin is your largest organ, plus it has more nerve endings than any other part of your body. So when you anoint oil on those nerve endings and massage them, it helps ground and strengthen the nervous system.

Find a full Abhyanga Massage guide HERE & Abhyanga Massage Oils HERE

Sunrise in Nepal

Wake up with the sun and go to sleep before 10pm

Waking up early in the day increases Sattva. This is the factor for purity, lightness of being and radiance in one's life. When Sattva dominates, tamas (inertia) which is the quality which leads to depression, diminishes.
When light shines, the darkness diminishes. Feed the light, and the darkness will starve itself out. 

Optimise your sleep

Many of the chemical imbalances that afflict the brain (which naturally often lead to depression, anxiety and stress) are caused by a lack of optimum sleep. Optimizing your sleep will allow for your brain to be rested and to remain strong. 

The lack of optimum sleep has many other consequences that go beyond these three conditions, but if you are trying to address these three, sleep can not be ignored.

Fresh food cooked with love.

Fresh food is full of Prana (life-force). This helps provide positivity in life (Sattva). Left over food, frozen food or microwaved food is tamas (inertia). It is dull, has a low value of Prana and therefore makes you feel low in life.

Herbs

Samadhi

Samadhi opens the physical channels and enlivens wholeness (unity) in the mind and body. It is particularly useful for those afflicted with mental stress, tension and anxiety.
It is also helpful for restoring calm during any stressful situation, including performance anxiety. It also balances Prana Vata (movement in head, central nervous system and life-force regulator).

Manasolassa Vati

It enhances mind-body coordination and connection. Helps pacify overactive and thinking minds, therefore assisting in cases where lack of sleep and insomnia are present. Helps with depression and is useful to transition off pharmaceutical antidepressants.

Drakshadi Kashayam

This nourishing tonic strengthens and stabilises the mind and body. Helps in nervous system disorders, depression, tiredness, dizziness, anxiety and schizophrenia. It is also helpful in the treatment of alcoholism and hangovers. 

Schedule a consultation

Dylan Smith (the head Ayurvedic practitioner here at Vital Veda) can help rectify the root cause of your ailment and liberate the mind and emotions so you can experience a radiant mind and participate in the richness of life.
Click HERE to schedule an online or in-person consultation. 
Have you had experiences with antidepressants and/or natural remedies for anxiety and depression? Comment below 👇

Amplified Healing Capabilities & Ayurvedic Counselling | Dr. Suhas G. Kshirsagar {Podcast #037}

Purify and divinely develop yourself by doing the inner work. This cultivates inner healing capabilities.
Then use that energy (shakti / siddhi) to profoundly influence and heal others.

This episode of The Vital Veda Podcast explores encyclopaedic Vedic wisdom that is the seed of Ayurvedic medicine" "The Science of Healing & Higher Consciousness."

Dr. Suhas G. Kshirsagar, BAMS, MD (Ayu. India)

Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar is a classically trained Ayurvedic physician and a gold medalist from prestigious Pune University.

A Rig Vedic Bramhin by tradition and an accomplished clinician, he adds tremendous value to his clients and students. He is an insightful Medical Astrologer and Vedic Counsellor.

He worked with His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for over 10 years.

During these years he and his wife Dr. Manisha, traveled extensively all around the world, teaching Ayurvedic Medicine, Jyotish, designing courses & curriculums, directing Ayurvedic Clinics and helping design new Ayurvedic formulations.

He was the Chairman for Maharishi College of Vedic Medicine, a Professor at Maharishi University of Management and the Medical Director, at the Raj Pancha-Karma center in Fairfield IA.

He is a motivational speaker, presenting Ayurvedic Wisdom and sharing stage with Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Dr. Oz and many other leaders in the field.

He currently leads an Ayurvedic Clinic offering PanchaKarma, Diet & Lifestyle consults, Vedic Astrology, Vedic Counselling, Medical dietology & herbal medicine. He currently teaches the “Ayurvedic Wellness Counsellor” & “Ayurvedic Wellness Practitioner” programs to over 200 students, at different locations in United States.

  • One of the most academically accomplished Ayurvedic Physicians in the United States.
  • A clinician who has treated more than 15000 clients successfully
  • Lead faculty at several Ayurvedic institutions, worldwide
  • Lead Formulator of Zrii & NutriiVeda
  • Ayurvedic Consultant, Faculty: Chopra Center for Well being
  • Research Consultant for numerous Ayurvedic Nutraceuticals
  • One of the only Ayurvedic Physician’s practicing Medical Astrology in USA
  • Featured presenter at NAMA, ACVA and several other organisations

In this Episode we Discuss:

The Rk Vedic Bramhin Tradition: The Seed of all the other Vedas

  • Body of vedic knowledge that is encyclopaedic.
  • The source/seed of all the vedic tradition and knowledge vedas. The oldest veda.
  • It beholds the totality of all vedas. Holistic (dynamic/silence)
  • Human physiology expressing the Veda: Rk Veda constitutes the holistic aspect of Natural Law. It therefore covers all aspects of the physiology.
  • Mantra purusha value: the vibrational primordial sound of mantra functions perfectly and orderly.
  • The most subjective of all the Vedas. The other Vedas get more and more objective.

Upaveda: Dhanurveda* (various views)

Why Ayurveda was created before humanity and as old age nature

Dr. Suhas G. Kshirsagar’s time with his holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

  • He gathered and cultivated a large movement of Vaidyas and spread Ayurveda, Jyotish, meditation, and other aspects of the Veda to the west. Re-enlivened it.
  • He brought the vedic tradition in to modern science laboratories.
  • Through enlivening Veda in the west with modern science, he re-inspired Vedic knowledge in India.

Practicing Ayurveda in the West

  • Not having an “arsenal” of Ayurvedic resources when consulting outside of India.
  • The importance of diet and lifestyle and kitchen spices.

Yukti

Using what you have available to you, increase your flexibility to be able to treat others.

Combing psycho emotional response and stress and Vedic Astrology (Jyotish).

Being aware of the cosmic weather (jyotishi) everyday and how that may influence the clients you see.

Qualities of a Vaidya (Ayurvedic physician)

  1. Daksha - Able, eligible, disciplened.
  2. Shastras - all shastras needs to be learned. Having detailed knowledge about diseases and treatments.
  3. Drsta Karma - practical experience of treatments. Practically seeing (drsta) the action.
  4. Suchi - cleanliness. actually means purity - kaya (physical cleanliness), vacha (pure speech - have to feel the patient as your child. Have to see the God in the patient),

2/3 of Ayurvedic Cikitsa (treatment) is related to the union of Veda and human mind

  1. Hand of Destiny, grand scheme of things.
  2. Sattva - boost ones moral stand, will power and discipline.
  3. Yukti - herbs, diet, lifestyles, panchakarma.
“Health is a biproduct of enlightenment…The purpose of any Ayurvedic session is to enlighten them [the patient] to the best of their ability and put them onto a spiritual evolutionary path.”
~ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

There we can manage the mind, the indriya (sensory organs), motor organs.

The Art & Science of Vedic Counselling

A guiding role that has taken many forms such as the guru, pundit (priest), acharya (sage), or vaidya, or those with such a role.

Such as could be found in each village or community, who provide guidance in all aspects of life, including recommending healing practices, rituals, Yoga, mantra and meditation to help us overcome our difficulties in life and to promote overall well-being.

Mental health starts at the embryological level.

The Alarming Mental Health Epidemics

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in USA.

Perfection of a Healer

  • The patients make you capable of you helping them.
  • The importance of Sadhana (rituals and routine) for counselling. - To charge you up and make you vital.

The importance of Suchi (purity) of a physician or counsellor.

How it provides the physician with power and divine capabilities to heal (siddhis) and take the medicine to a complete different level.

Suchi Chikitsa - the purity of the treatment.

Siddha Mantra & Siddha Vaidya (Divine Capabilities of Physicians)

Siddha Vaidya is like a mantrica (mantra) - you may say the same thing, but the way you say it would register in the person so deeply that it works as a mantra.

Chita Hasta (Healing power of touch)

Whatever you touch has the ability to heal. Whether it is in the form of pulse, treatments, or preparing medicines.
~ From Rk Veda.

Business and work life is taking away your happiness.

The impact of circadian rhythms.

“Janapada Dhwamsa” = Epidemics according to Ayurveda.

“If you don’t have time for anything else you will find time to get sick.”
Dr. Suhas G. Kshirsagar

Covid-19 and Nature's Divine Plan

  • A way of nature trying to slow us down.
  • Manifested due to adharma.
  • Extreme weather patterns is the first way nature changes.
  • The relationship with jyotishi (vedic astrology).

Dr. Suhas G. Kshirsagar believes the collective consciousness related to pandemics were exacerbated since the introduction of smart phones.

Dr. Suhas G. Kshirsagar’s time with the Raju family

“For a fast acting relief, try slowing down.”
Dr. Suhas G. Kshirsagar

Passion that you infuse into your self.

  1. Dharma (your evolutionary role in things),
  2. Kama (pleasure),
  3. Artha (wealth),
  4. Moksa (enlightenment)

Traya Upa Sthambha: 3 Pillar of Health According to Ayurveda

  1. Ahara (Food)
  2. Nidra (Sleep)
  3. BrahmaCarya (Regimen of Creation)

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Please seek advice from a qualified practitioner before starting any new health practice.


Nature Deficit Disorder

A paved path surrounded by a forrest - a good place to recover from nature deficit disorder

Yep it's actually a thing.

This contemporary phenomenon, “Nature Deficit Disorder,” is slightly controversial in the medical industry in regards to it being recognised as a mental disorder.

Richard Louv, an author who came up with this “phrase” has stated:

“Nature-deficit disorder is not meant to be a medical diagnosis but rather to serve as a description of the human costs of alienation from the natural world.”

And boy, what health costs it can have…

  • Younger generations are being at risk of having a shorter lifespan.
  • Behavioural problems are developing as well as Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD) and depression. Studies from the University of Illinois is showing a strong link to ADD, and recent studies in USA showed classrooms and other forms of education that used outdoor classrooms and other forms of experiential education produce significant student gain in social studies, science, language, arts and math.
  • Eye problems like myopia (short-sighted) due to lack of exposure to bright (natural outdoor) light are in jeopardy. (3,4).
  • Childhood obesity is a growing problem and an influential cause of it is separation from nature. (5)
  • A Harvard study showed a strong correlation with mental health as women living in the greenest environments were happier and less depressed.(1,2).

According to Ayurveda, spending time in nature or green space around plants builds “Ojas” – a substance linked to longevity, vitality and radiant health.

A plentiful reserve of Ojas is reflected in the lustre of the eyes and skin (like the glow in a baby), strong physical strength, immunity and libido, good digestion, vigour and spirituality.

It could be in your garden, or a park. It could be regularly hiking, bushwalking, camping or meditating on a beach — it all builds Ojas.

Another one of the best ways to consistently build Ojas is to eat a diet of fresh unprocessed, seasonal whole food and have a balanced agni to support the process. A handful of certain foods even metabolise to nourish and build Ojas more directly and quickly.

Depleted Ojas leaves the body vulnerable to disease.

Regularly employing these methods to building Ojas is an important action to overcome fatigue and increase vitality.

Check out this article:

Ojas: Invigorate your Vitality

Illustration of nature elements sprouting from a human being

“When you feel life coming down on you, Like a heavy weight.
When you feel this crazy society, Adding to the strain.
Take a stroll to the nearest waters And remember your place.
Many moons have risen and fallen long, long before you came.”
~ Xavier Rudd

Photo: Routeburn Track, NZ  by Dylan Smith

References
(1) http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/15-10363/
(2) https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_158317.html
(3) New research an eye opener on cause of myopia". 2011-06-01. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
(4) Nature Deficit Disorder, No Child Left Inside Archived January 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
(5) National Environmental Education Foundation