Taking Charge of Your Health

(upbeat music) – Welcome everyone to this
episode of Tea N’ Take. I am Dr. Pragya Jamie Marich. – And I’m Dr. Satyavani Gayatri. – And we’re back at
the scene of the crime, that is where we first met
and where the first episodes of “Tea N’ Take” were filmed. We’re in a slightly
different position here at the Amrit Yoga Institute. – The beautiful lake where we
have swam in every morning. – Look at this, look at this. All the peoples back there. – So as a lot of you know,
who listen to “Tea N’ Take”, Satyavani is an Ayurvedic clinician. And something that I’ve
learned on this journey to the Amrit Yoga Institute with her is that it is not an old wives’ tale. – Oh no. – That you shouldn’t swim after you eat. – No, it actually is not. There is this concept known
as Amah, which I think I spoke about on the first episode. – I believe. – But as a review, Amah is
toxicity that can develop in the body as a result of either food that we take in, or liquid that we take in, or if we do a combination of habits that cause things to be
stirred up in the body. So if you eat food and
then you jump in water, you take a shower, et cetera, it doesn’t allow the
digestive process to happen. And when the digestive
process doesn’t fully happen we fall into a state of malabsorption and then malabsorption
can lead to toxicity. – So every morning here we
have been doing our Sadhana, the Darshana, then swimming,
then eating breakfast which is a change in how I usually have
done my routine here. I’ve often swam directly after I’ve eaten and on the first day my Ayurvedic
mummy looks at me and says – No, no, no. There will be no swimming. – So, let’s talk about Ama because it’s– – Well, before you go into that, how do you feel swimming before? – Much better, much better. I think a lot of the changes
I have been able to make because of Satyavani’s
recommendations over this last year all I could just say, is less bloat is the best
way I can describe it. – One of the first
examples of Ama reduction, when there’s less bloat. – So, in our discussions, this week, of which there have been many, I wish we could have the camera
following us at all times. We were talking about
this concept of trauma Ama because trauma, which you
know, is my field of specialty, the idea of unhealed human
wounding that can manifest in various ways, or can happen because of various things, physical, emotional, sexual trauma, or physical, emotional,
sexual, spiritual wounding. And really when we’re talking about clinically significant trauma, it’s the presence of any unhealed wound and something I hope we’ll be working a little bit more on,
here, in some writing is the role that Ayurveda can play in supporting a trauma recovery process and really how three
of these main concepts that are discussed in Ayurveda, Ama, Ojas, and Agni, have some pretty interesting parallels to things that I discuss in
my work with healing trauma. So, let’s talk a little bit
more in depth about Ama first. Something you told me,
I found fascinating, is mental-emotional stress can be a cause of where Ama starts. – Absolutely. And it actually really is. A lot of people can relate to Ama in the body because it’s more visible. We experience it in some of the things that you were talking about, bloating, gas, acid reflux,
indigestion of any sort and when it gets really
difficult, it can manifest in the form of pain. But, Ama actually is a product of the Vata Dosha. And way back in the day
when we were talking about the basics of
Ayurveda and the doshas I had explained that Vata Dosha is made up of the elements of air and space. And for all intents and
purposes Vata is considered the queen/king dosha
because is can cause 75-90% of the imbalances that exist inside of us. And where that starts is in the mind. Vata is responsible for
everything that moves, that is transported, and is communicated inside of our mind-body complex, to use the words of Dr. Kamini Desai. And Ama immediately starts in the mind when we have an experience, whether it is a thought, whether is is a traumatic experience, a conversation, we maybe get an email or a text message that causes us to have a trigger, a memory, a wound of sorts. And that then gets processed in the mind. And ultimately if it
is not fully processed, much like the trauma
therapy work that you do, it can get stuck in the body, or stuck in the tube, the energetic tube, as we were talking about
during our training this time. And when it gets stuck
in the energetic tube and it gets embedded in our tissues then it starts to go to the deeper layers of the Dhatus and it becomes part of us that we carry with us all the time until that work is done
to remove that Ama, that toxicity. – So, if you have followed
my work in trauma, specifically connected to EMDR in any way, I hope you’re already noticing
a lot of these parallels that, until toxicity is
able to pass through, or move through, it’s going to continue
to manifest in problems one way or another. And we can try to ignore
that it’s there all we want or say “it’s not there,
I’ve dealt with it” but the body will, in fact,
as we say in our world, keep the score. – It will, and I always say to a lot of my patients and my clients that if
you don’t deal with it you can run, but you can’t hide. It will find you. It will find you. So, aside from not swimming or showering right after you eat, and I know this might be
a more complex question that people who consult with you would get answered specific to them, but what are, maybe, two or three other just quick and easy practices people can do to reduce
Ama or eliminate Ama that has accumulated? – Absolutely, I like this motion because it reminds me of tongue scraping, so there you go, and I
know that you do that on a regular basis. So, scraping the tongue, also dry brushing can get
Ama off of the physical body, and of course a regular
meditation and Pranayam practice. The more that we go inward,
the more that we can process those stuck emotions, et cetera. The mind and the body
are inextricably linked and when we do external
practices in the way of Ayurvedic medical care, if you would, it penetrates inside of
the mental-emotional body. – Sure, and I know from a
trauma recovery perspective that even if there may be
deeper emotional wounds that need cleansed and healed through professional therapeutic services of any variety, hopefully
of the mind-body variety, these daily things that
we can add to our routine, to our ritual, is a big
part of what I preach or what I teach as getting
more adaptive habits formed in the brain. And I’ve always found that
people can do simple things, like turning a shower into a meditation, not after you’ve eaten, though. But to really savor that
sensation of the water moving over you, and maybe visualizing it cleansing away. And it’s not going to fix everything if you haven’t gotten
to the underlying cause, but if you add several of these cleansing, like the dry brushing idea, rituals on a daily basis,
especially if you do it with meditative intent it can help get you in that right direction. Let’s talk about Agni. – Before we go there, one of the parallels I wanted to point out is that that routine that you’re talking about from the trauma informed perspective is what we call in Ayurveda a dinacharya, which is a daily routine. So, there’s a lot of parallels that are done from the
physical Ayurvedic medical side that penetrate into the
mental-emotional-spiritual side that can ultimately
assist in trauma recovery. – Right, and when people
ask me, “Well, how many “of these practices do
I have to do each day,” or, “How long should I practice each day?” My common answer is whatever you can commit to consistently. And I think when you can bring that into this idea of daily routine it ultimately helps to retrain the brain and I was delighted to hear in Ayurveda there is a word for it. – When people ask me that same question I always answer by
saying just do one thing. Just do one thing. And once that becomes something that you don’t think about anymore, then you can choose another one thing. – Beautiful insight. So– – Agni – Agni, let’s talk about Agni. – Okay, what would you like to know? – Tell me what it means cause it sounds like a
creature in syfy movie. – (laughs) So, Agni is our digestive fire. – A-G-N-I, yes. – A-G-N-I, yes. It is pronounced ugni, not agni. – Ugni, ugni. – (laughs) It has a “uh” to it. Agni is our digestive fire and in Ayurveda everything is linked, so Ama is to Vata as Agni is to Pitta. So it is our fire inside of us that allows us to, not only
digest food and liquids, but also our experiences. And what is always happening in the body is trying to balance the Ama so that the Agni operates well. We want to balance our Agni
so that we are free of Ama. With Agni, it has a direct link to our immune system
and our levels of energy known as Ojas. So these three components of Ama, that starts in the mind, Agni, that is linked directly to the gut as well as our internal processing, it is responsible for our metabolism, our digestion, as well as transformation. So, not just transformation
in the form of elimination but also transformation in the form of, how do we transform our experiences into something that is positive or eliminate the things
that aren’t serving us. – What I’m hearing there
is that this concept is really akin to the
idea of just processing, whether that be mental-emotional, or whether it be more of
a metabolic connotation. – Absolutely, you nailed it. – And something I was
talking to Satyavani about is a teaching that I
have shared many times even back when I was working in rehab, this is something I would share in groups and it’s made its way
into some of my writing. If you think about fire,
Pittas, that element. – I have a lot of it. (laughing) – As do I. If you think about fire,
let’s say in a fireplace, especially in days or places of the world where you would need that
fire to keep a house warm, that if the fire rages out of control, you’re going to burn the house down, but the answer is not just, “Well, let me press it
away and stomp it out.” cause if I stomp out that fire and avoid the things I need to process, the house is going to go cold. – I love that metaphor because, yes, if the fire is a conflagration, and it’s burning the house down it can manifest itself not
only in digestive distress, things like acid reflux
or diarrhea, et cetera, but is can also manifest itself
in a mental-emotional way in the way of anger. When it is completely put out, then think about when you throw water on top of a campfire. What’s there is soot and that soot turns into Ama. So, not only has it not been transformed and processed in the appropriate way but it just sits there and is not being processed appropriately, is not being dealt wit. And when soot is just
sitting on the ground, it doesn’t have any energy. So it has a direct effect
on our immune system as well as our levels
of energy that we have, mental, emotional, and physical. And that leads us into
that concept of Ojas. – All right. One more question about Agni
before we get into Ojas. Just like I asked you with Ama, and again knowing there’s
finesse individual to individual, that they have to see a clinician, but what are maybe two
or three simple practices that anybody can do to
keep their Agni in balance? – I love that. Keeping the Agni stoked. That’s what we call it. Stoked man! – #StokingtheAgni – (laughing) Stoking the Agni! Ginger, including ginger and
spice in general in your food. Not overly spicy, but things like turmeric and ginger are absolutely fantastic. And having meals on a regular basis, on a regular timeline. Not having huge gaps in between meals, and also not having irregular mealtimes. – Ojas, which I have come
to understand as the mojo. – The mojo. – There’s a technical name for it. Again, mojo is a good, easy definition, but would you expound on that? – Absolutely, it’s your energy. It is responsible for
the structure, strength, and immunity and lubrication of your body. – Keep going, this is interesting. – So, we want to have a fortified body. We want to have strong
bones, strong muscles but our immune system, if that is not operating
at an optimal level, and it is compromised in any way, it is the breeding ground for disease. And especially in our culture where we do a lot of overfunctioning. – Really? – (laughing) We do a
lot of overfunctioning. With a lot of overfunctioning
that’s happening everybody’s immune system is becoming more and more compromised. We’re being bombarded all the time with all of these responsibilities and not having any rejuvenation time, so an important factor with Ojas is making sure that you get sleep. You have to have a nice balance of sleep as well as exercise, or as we have learned
over the past ten days, tension and release. And, if our Ojas is not high, or if it is not working in an optimal way, we are open for bacteria,
viruses, disease, et cetera. The way that you can really notice if somebody has high Ojas or not is you can tell it on
the glow of their skin. If the skin is gray or dulled, you can tell somebody’s kind of worn out. – That’s interesting, cause
even in watching a film here in our free time, Satyavani made a comment about this individual. You could tell her Ojas are depleted and in mental health terms we might say something like flat affect or blunted affect, even. Now, where I really heard
a chord struck for me is when you talked about lubrication cause it immediately made
me think of a client of mine who anonymously shared
some of his reflections for my book “Trauma Made Simple”. And he said trauma dries you out. It’s like having a dry piece of leather where there’s no lubrication and there’s no flexibility,
no pliability with it. – I love that word. – Isn’t that an interesting,
yet, another comparison here? – It’s dead on. When we have flexibility in our mind, when we have flexibility in our bodies, we have flexibility in our life. So, if we have lubrication and we feel like things
are flowing smoothly inside of our system, things are well lubricated, our skin doesn’t feel ruddy or dry, we don’t have popping
or stiff or dry joints, if you would, thing flow a little bit more smoothly. And so that automatically connects back to how we feel in our minds. – Beautiful. Speaking about rejuvenation, that lake is calling to me. – It’s calling me, too. – And, it’s been pretty hot out here, so we want to thank you for joining us for this episode of “Tea N’ Take”. And please stay tuned,
both in written form, and here on the podcast/webcast as we discuss these further
blends and meshes… – Of Ayurveda and trauma. – Between our worlds. There’s technically no tea out here, but– – That’s okay– – It’s Tea N’ Take– – It’s Tea N’ Lake today. (laughing) – Lake N’ Take. (speaking in foreign language) (upbeat music)

One thought on “Tea n’ Take Episode 14: Trauma Recovery and Ayurveda

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