That Time I Broke My Neck

It’s been more than five years since I’ve posted here. While I’m not any less passionate about Ayurveda or yoga, work and life got in the way of my writing. Recently, I got inspired to blog again while recuperating from a life-threatening injury. What follows is an account of what happened, my recovery, and continued journey back to health. 

Yes, you read that headline right. I broke my neck almost three months ago after a horse launched me into the air and deposited me directly on my head. It sounds dramatic, and it was. 

My injuries could’ve been much worse, but in laymen’s terms the impact from the fall caused my first cervical vertebra to break into a bunch of pieces. Because I rotated my head back as I fell, I also fractured the lower portion of the back of my skull, too.

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How to Define Health in Ayurveda

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You are what you eat — literally.

Modern medicine simply defines health as a lack of disease, injury, or pain, but it’s much more than that.

One of the reasons that Ayurveda still inspires me to this day is its broad definition of health, which is:
“Samadosha Samagnischa Samadhatumala kriyaha
Prasanna atmenindriya manaha Swasthya ityabhidheeyate”

That Sanskrit phrase is quoted from one of Ayurveda’s ancient texts the Sushruta Samhita, which was written by India’s first surgeon in 600BC.

It defines a healthy person as someone whose doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha) are all in equilibrium, the digestive fire (agni) is in a balanced state (sama), in addition to the body’s tissues (dhatus) and wastes (malas) also being in balance. The quote also states that the mind (mana) and sensory organs (indriyas) as well as a person’s spirit/soul (atma) must be also in a pleasant state (prasanna). When a person is balanced in all of those areas, he or she is considered healthy by Ayurvedic standards. Continue reading

Ayurvedic Hacks: Two Simple Remedies for Digestive Health

In computer programming, a hack refers to a clever bit of programming that solves a problem. In Ayurveda, there are also hacks (though I don’t think the original sages who wrote the Ayurvedic texts had this term in mind).

Since I began studying Ayurveda, I’ve come to learn countless simple tweaks to diet and lifestyle that can have a huge impact on health. Here are two of my favorite Ayurvedic hacks.

cardamom

Green and black cardamom. Use the green to help offset the effects of caffeine or hangovers.

Add cardamom.
This is a spice that’s rarely used in the West, but possess a unique combination of both cooling and digestive properties.

If you’ve ever had Indian chai, one of the main flavors you’ll taste is slightly sweet and spicy cardamom.

It’s no coincidence that cardamom is featured prominently in both tea and coffee in India. By adding cardamom to coffee or tea, it helps decrease the heat, acidity, as well as the overall increase in vata (excess air in the body) in the body from caffeine.

Another added benefit of cardamom: if you have a hangover, try sucking on a few green cardamom pods and eating the little seeds inside (spit out the outer shell). The seeds will help with nausea and improve stinky morning breath.

Keep reading for one more hack…

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