JUNE 2011
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

Guest Column: AYURVEDA


Dilip Patel



Relentless heat, discomfort, an overbearing sun piercing your eyes, never enough shade … If this is what summer means to you, you are most likely of the pitta dosha and you need to be careful in summertime.

Ayurveda, the Science of Life, is based on elemental principles that lead to the primary forces of nature called doshas. According to Ayurveda, you were born with a unique combination of the doshas Vata, Pitta and Kapha. This is your Prakriti, or constitutional nature. Your Prakriti is fixed throughout your lifetime, but can go out of balance. Your doshic balance is influenced by the time of day, the season, your diet, environmental conditions, or your place in your cycle of life. Dosha means, that which changes. The forces of vata, pitta and kapha are constantly moving to maintain a natural state of balance.

Fire and Water are the pitta elements. Summer is pitta. In the Florida summer, you are especially prone to accumulating excess pitta. If your dosha is predominantly pitta, you are at an even higher risk of becoming out of balance because Like increases Like = Heat increases Heat. Tempers rise with the temperature and humidity. Even if you have less pitta in your Prakriti, you may find that you need to take steps to pacify Pitta to stay balanced and healthy.

Transformation is the main function of the Pitta dosha. Pitta is the heat that drives your digestive system, metabolism, and glandular functions. The stomach, liver, skin, heart and eyes are primary locations of Pitta in your body. Pitta also is responsible for sensory perception, discrimination and precision thinking. By its fiery nature, Pitta is intense, purposeful and passionate. Out of balance, the above attributes of Pitta will be weakened or overactive.

Look for these signs of aggravated Pitta: Skin irritations, any burning sensations, emotional aggression, acid indigestion, anger, excessive sweating, hypertension, diarrhea, irritability, fever, blurred vision, inflammation, and impatience. Though Pitta is aggravated in summer, elevated Pitta can occur at any time.

To ease Pitta one seeks to calm and cool the burning effects of the Pitta season. Follow these guidelines:

* Sweet: Melon, cucumber, pineapple, coconut, wheat * Bitter: Dandelion greens, kale, turmeric, pumpkin seed, maple syrup * Astringent: Pomegranate, blueberry, spinach, sunflower seed, chickpea;

Please keep in mind that if you have a dominant vata or kapha Prakriti, you already have some protection from the heat of Pitta. The best way to determine your original nature and your current doshic state is to have an ayurvedic consultation with a qualified ayurvedic practitioner.

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

Guest Column



Rain, rain, go away, come again another day,” is a wish every child wants fulfilled when he or she is not able to go out and play outside due to rain. In spite of all the wishing, Florida receives an average of 52 inches rainfall a year. Most of the rainwater falling on our roofs flows onto lawns and driveways, picking up fertilizers, pesticides and other pollutants that eventually find their way to our lakes, rivers and streams, contributing to non-point source pollution. Rainwater harvesting is an option to collect alternate source of water for irrigation purposes. Rainwater cisterns/barrels are a convenient and efficient way to collect rain water from the roof, which not only helps reduce storm water runoff, but also provides a free source of chemical-free water for irrigation. During Florida’s rainy seasons, homeowners can capture rain water from gutters and store it in barrels or cisterns for future watering. Cisterns are storage tanks that capture runoff water from a catchment area such as a rooftop. Cisterns can be located above or below ground, depending on site conditions and the preferred use of the harvested rain water. Runoff collected from roof tops is often relatively clean and can be used for irrigation. Rain barrels made of 55-gallon plastic drums are becoming popular with homeowners as a supplemental irrigation source.

Landscape irrigation can account for as much as 50 percent of total household potable (drinking quality) water use. Using potable water for irrigation is definitely wasteful since it takes a lot of treatment of surface or groundwater to meet U.S. EPA’s drinking water quality. When surface water or groundwater is scarce, then seawater is desalinated to produce drinking water, similar to the Tampa Bay Desalination plant near the Tampa Electric Big Bend Power Plant in Apollo Beach. Desalinated water is definitely more expensive to produce than groundwater or surface water. Therefore, it does not make sense to waste this valuable resource for irrigation.

Step one before designing a rain water harvesting system for your home is to calculate the rainfall potential for the catchment area available. Calculating the area is as simple as multiplying the length times the width of the roof. The key is in calculating the roof footprint, regardless of how the roof is sloped. Once you have obtained the approximate catchment area, the next step is to estimate the volume of rain water to be harvested. One inch of rain falling on one square foot of catchment area = 0.5 gallons of rain water collected. Therefore, for a 2,000 square foot catchment area and 2inches of rain, the volume of rain water collected;

2000 sq. ft. x 2 in x 0.5 = 2,000 gallons

This would give you an idea to size the cistern or barrel to harvest your rain water. In any event, you don’t necessarily have to harvest all the rainwater but enough for your irrigation needs. A single residential rain barrel with typical attachments and accessories costs around $50 for the parts if you choose to assemble it yourself. If you live in Hillsborough County and have the time and interest to attend a workshop offered by the county, then you may be eligible for a free rain barrel. If you live in Hillsborough County, check out the next workshop at (hillsborough_fyn.ifas.ufl.edu/RainBarrels)

Here is a trivia for you: the state of Colorado applies the “prior-appropriation doctrine” of water rights, which stipulates that rainwater falling on roofs must be allowed to flow downstream to those with a pre-existing right to use the water. Therefore, rain water harvesting in Colorado is illegal. Since we have the right to harvest our own rain water in Florida, I would encourage all of you to do so and use it for irrigation.

Kiron Senapati, P.E., is an environmental consultant based in the Tampa Bay area, specializing in water and wastewater treatment and alternate energy. He may be reached at ksenapati@hotmail.com

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