JULY 2014
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida
MINDBODY

Using Mantra-Japa to create Happiness, Success and Peace

Lavanya Dinesh

By DR. Maulik Trivedi, MD

There is no statement about our life that is truer than the following: The level of success and happiness in our life are directly related to the health status of our brain/mind. Essentially, as the Buddha said, "You are what you think." Said another way, we are the sum of everything that we have thought of. In fact, the reality of our personal life is the direct product of what we have thought of. More specifically said who we are and what we have is the direct manifestation of what and how we think!

The Rishis (sages, wise men/women) of ancient India understood and advised on this science thousands of years ago. They taught that our outer life is clearly and directly created by our inner self. They professed the inner mind of humans to be made of four distinct and specific segments with their own characteristic attributes. This understanding about the mind is the basic underpinning of every modern psychological concept and theory.

The Rishis called the mind Antahkarana, which, in Sanskrit literally translates to "inner conscience" or "the manifest mind." They claimed that this mind apparatus operates from four different stances. They named these parts as 1. manas (the mind), 2. chitta (the memory), 3. buddhi (the intellect) and 4. aha?k?ra (the ego). The job of the manas is to conduct the random indiscriminate mental chatter that goes on in our mind at all times. This random thought process is superimposed on pre-existing memory, which the Rishis called chitta. The work of chitta is to compare and contrast what we are thinking with what we already know in our memory. In plain English, this process is referred to as contemplation.

Beyond the random thoughts and our memory lies our capacity to utilize intelligence to sort out these contemplations. This is the job of our Buddhi, or the intellect. Buddhi determines, decides and logically comes to a conclusion. The Buddha was named after this word, signifying that the mind that achieves the highest awareness of the total reality is a Buddha. Each of us is a potential Buddha!

The last segment of the mind is the Ahankar. Ahankar is the mind's misperception of the physical body and thinking apparatus mind to be the doer of deeds. In western psychology, this is aptly named ego. 

The rishis professed that these four parts contrive the totality of our outward reality. Thus, the Rishis identified the cause of our outward life. Beyond the identification of its components, they also prescribed what we can do to manage and even control our outward manifest reality. They envisioned humanity adhering to these prescribed methods to create unlimited happiness and success that leads to inner peace for every individual that pervades all human beings.

One such method prescribed for making the mind capable of directing our manifested reality is the practice of Japa. As you may be aware, Japa is the repetition of a single word or short chain of words with full concentration of the mind applied to the words. Sometimes, Japa is performed using mala-beads. Modern science has shown the positive effects of mantra-japa practice on the human mind with objective observations. Mantra-Japa is proven to create mental clarity and focus as well as decrease emotional disturbances that cause anger, anxiety and depression. Furthermore, Mantra-japa practice is proven to eliminate harmful effects of stress on human mind and body.

The Rishis even identified the sounds and words for such mantras, which are to be used for Japa practice. According to the Rishis, the sounds of these ancient mantras activate certain energy centers in the body called Chakras. According to the Rishis, the body is a Yantra, which stands for ‘machine’ in Sanskrit. Through the mantras, our mind maintains the capacity to control the mechanisms of the body through each chakra. This, Mantras control the Yantra. These energies, in turn, are responsible for manifesting particular realities in the body and outside world of the person practicing mantra-japa. The more capable we are of specifically and actively managing our mind and body, the more we are in alignment with manifesting success and happiness in our life and in the life of those around us.

So what are you waiting for?  Take any mantra you know, or even Google for a mantra on the Internet, and start doing your japa. Use the ancient science actively living inside each of us to manifest your own capacity for success, happiness and peace! Strive to become the Buddha!

Maulik Trivedi, MD, is a practicing psychiatrist and a MindBody physician. For details, visit www.FMCmindbody.com You can also follow him on Twitter @MindBodyYogaMD


Ayurveda

Ayurveda and Sleep

DENISE O’DUNN

By DENISE O’DUNN,
CAP, LMT, E-RYT500

We all understand that sleep is an important factor for normal biological function. Ayurveda considers the quality and quantity of our sleep to be as essential to our health and well-being as our dietary habits. The right amount of restful sleep affords our bodies and minds not only an opportunity to be restored, but time to absorb and assimilate the day’s intake. There are processes that occur during sleep that can’t be reproduced while we are awake.

The ancient science of Ayurveda explains that we are under the constant influence of the essential forces of nature called doshas. Each dosha consists of specific elemental qualities that affect us according to personal, daily and seasonal rhythms. Ayurveda teaches that there is a certain period of the day that is optimal for sleeping and that the amount of sleep we need varies individually and even seasonally.

Sleeplessness, called nidranasha in Sanskrit, may include an inadequate amount of sleep and/or poor quality of sleep. Occasional lack of sleep may leave us tired the next day, but chronic sleep deprivation can lead to a decline in our physical and mental health. Lack of adequate sleep interferes with the ability of our bodily systems to repair and rejuvenate. Without sufficient rest our digestion, metabolism, cell regeneration, emotional balance, creativity, mental clarity and motor skills are impaired.

There are a number of factors that can inhibit sound sleep including lifestyle, environmental stimuli, travel, health disorders, and our emotional and mental state. In our modern ‘24-hour world’ we can work and play whenever we choose, but we are still intrinsically regulated by the cycles of nature. Ayurveda proposes that the more we align ourselves with nature’s rhythms, in accordance with our individual nature, the more we will experience life in balance.

Ayurvedic recommendations that promote sound sleep:

For more information about Ayurveda and the doshas, go to www.balanceandbliss.com Visiting a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner for a consultation will determine your doshic constitution and provide personal recommendations.

Disclaimer: This article was written for educational purposes only and is based on the tradition of Ayurveda. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, prescribe or heal any health condition or to replace standard medical treatment or advice.

Denise O’Dunn, president and founder of Balance & Bliss Inc., is a certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Licensed Massage Therapist (ma58502) and yoga teacher. She received her degree in Ayurveda from the Florida Vedic College and is a professional member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association. She can be reached at balanceandbliss@gmail.com or visit www.balanceandbliss.com


Nutrition

MAKE THE BIG B’S YOUR FRIENDS

BHAVI NIRAV

By BHAVI NIRAV

The family of Vitamin B (obtainable in Vitamin B complex) helps harness energy from the food we eat, form red blood cells, and maintain health of skin, hair nails, eyes and liver. They are mostly water-soluble vitamins not stored by the body.

The human body stores several years worth of B12 in the liver, so low levels in the body are rare. Decreases in B12 levels are more common in the elderly and vegetarians.

A slight deficiency of vitamin B-12 can lead to anemia, fatigue, mania and depression. Vitamin B12 can only be manufactured by bacteria and only found naturally in animal products. However, synthetic forms are widely available and added to many foods such as cereals. Seafood is a good source of B12. Foods such as milk, yogurt, and eggs can provide B12 for lacto-ovo vegetarians. Vegans can get B12 from fortified foods, nutritional yeast, and dietary supplements.

Nutritionists recommend supplementing with the bioactive form of B12 known as methylcobalamin (1 to 5 mg per day taken sublingually) to regulate circulating levels of this critical brain nutrient.

Just 100 grams, or about 1 cup of nori contains 41.4 grams of protein. In addition, the seaweed is rich in vitamins A, C and B12.

Vitamin B sources are fish, poultry, meat, eggs and dairy products, green vegetables, beans and peas. Many cereals and some bread have added B vitamins.

Vegetarian Sushi: Vitamin B-rich sushi with pickled ginger

Mix soy sauce 1 tbsp, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar. Pour the mixture on cooked sticky rice. Steam all veggies except for avocado and cucumber. Cut all veggies into matchsticks. Place nori sheet onto cutting board and spread 1/4 inch thick layer of rice near the end of nori sheet, sprinkle black sesame seeds on rice.  Place the veggies in center of rice. Wet both the ends of the sheet. Pick up the edge of the nori sheet, fold the bottom edge of the sheet up, enclosing the filling, and tightly roll the sushi into a cylinder. Once the sushi is rolled, wrap it in the wax paper and gently squeeze to compact it tightly.  And then cut into about 1.5 inch cylinders.

Serve with wasabi paste mixed with soy sauce, pickled ginger, Dijon mustard.

To our health!!!

Bhavi Nirav is a Registered Dietitian/M.S., R.D., L.D., certified yoga practitioner, and can be reached at swarayog@gmail.com


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