Oh, its “New Age Ayurveda”
I just was forwarded a link to http://thedailylove.com/my-secret-to-defying-age-the-yoga-ayurvedic-lifestyle/ and asked a question about the authenticity of what the writer was claiming to be an Ayurvedic regime and tips. To my horror………..
First i wanted to thank Joan, the writer of the article for writing it so that I am able to use it as an example of what is excessively going on out there and also give my apologies as I am sure she will feel hurt that I have commented on her article and that I did not press the “like” button for it. Joan, if you read this, know that I am just as horrified at what I read as how you may be feeling about what I have written that pulls the veil down. I believe that if you are going to write an article or blog post and put it out to the public stating facts, just like mine here, you are inviting the world in to have a discussion about what you have written. Like it or not. Just as i have placed myself out there too. I guess most of the world of Yoga and Ayurveda in the west is just counting on the fact that most people that are reading it don’t have any way to verify what is being written is true or not and they will just buy into it.
Sorry, not allowing that anymore!
Joan, as it is very promptly stated in the article is a “distinguished Senior Yogaworks Teacher”. She writes this article about her daily Ayurvedic “rituals” by starting with ….
“First, scrape your tongue! The white stuff we see on our tongues in the morning is called “ama.” Ama is undigested food residue that lodges itself within the organs and channels of the body and blocks digestion. An accumulation of ama can cause sickness and disease by blocking digestive fires. We need to have a healthy digestive system to maintain good health. A tongue scraper costs about ten dollars and is one of the best investments you can make for yourself.”
A tongue scraper is not going to do diddly to get rid of ama from your system. The Ama accumulated on the tongue is just a sign of Ama. Ama is through out the entire system, not just on the tongue and further diagnostics need to be done from there to differentiate what is the imbalance. The way she states what she has leads one to believe that this is going to somehow get rid of Ama from your system. It isn’t. At all. Wrong education of what the treatment does as well as what Ama is.
Jivana lekhana i.e. Tongue Scraping only rids, “Wastes that collected at the root of the tongue and create obstruction in respiration produces bad smell, therefore one should scrape the tongue.”
Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 5#75
She then goes on to state about oil pulling, which i have written another post on so i will not comment on it here except suffice to say, it is the normal lack of knowledge of what oil pulling is but at least she doesn’t promote doing it with coconut oil
After that, “Now, it’s time to brush your skin—and yes, you read correctly, dry brushing. ”
Wow! This is not Ayurveda. Nor yoga. At All. It would not be done in either, ever.
Dry brushing will aggravate Vata, immensely. It will imbalance the doshas and only would ever be given to someone that has a major kapha imbalance in mamsa and meda dhatu (muscle or fat tissue). Even then it might not be wise. It could be used as a treatment but for specific reasons and any Ayurvedically educated person would understand this. Not only this but she does not even understand why she would be doing dry brushing in the first place. If someone had an imbalance in their lyphatic system it would be used for that but then also the direction of the brushing would only be towards the heart which she states in firm circles is the treatment. Hmmmmmmm? Extra pressure and not brushing towards the heart will lead to extra strain on the lymphatic system (clogging) which in turn will lead to varicose veins and ruptured lymphatic vessels. (Just to show that this stuff can be extremely damaging even from the western science view alone when done incorrectly much less the excess of doing it daily.)
She then states some more stuff the puts on sesame or almond oil and “Finally, jump in the shower and finish with a one-minute burst of cold water, which brings the blood circulation to the skin, helping it look fresh and smooth.”
Another totally contradictory treatment to Ayurveda. Now you have completely imbalanced your vata beyond belief. Remembering that vata is what creates disease. Where is she getting this stuff!!!!!!! Cold plunge is incredibly shocking to the body provoking vata in a big way, the cold plunge treatment after oiling is clogging to the srotas and vitiating to dhatus (tissues), and would never be done in Ayurveda, specially daily!!!!! This opposite to what abhyanga (oil massage) is done for in Ayurveda.
So it is not like there is majorly conflicting schools of thought in Ayurveda. (I guess until now) I mean, it is really pretty simple when you get down to it. Their is just ignorance and uneducated people out there now even certified by cheap and quick programs that are just taking their money.
After imbalancing her digestive fire due to the excessive increase in vata due to the previous actions she drinks warm water with lemon, which is good for spring time for only some people only but not all year around and specially not for everyone. Then she tries to eat.
She also recommends “eating a light breakfast that is easy to digest and including a green smoothie or green drink high in minerals to keep your body glowing from the inside out.”
Joan, your breakfast is causing your Ama that you are trying to scrape off of your tongue.
Ayurveda does not have green smoothies and specially mixing one with a light breakfast. That would be a breakfast called Virrudha Ahara in Ayurveda or incompatible combining of foods. (read the next post to find out more on proper dietetics)
This is just so wrong!!!!!! So very wrong. All of it. Seriously. By this I am seriously worried what she has been taught that yoga is.
“Vata gets vitiated immediately when a Vata constitution person uses Vata-aggravating things. Likewise Pitta and Kapha. Their vitiation leads to the loss of strength, complexion, happiness and life.” – Charaka Samhita Vimanasthana 6#16
So I went to her website to check what her education in Ayurveda is an strangely, there is no mention of it.
and funny enough, this regime which is titled age defying is actually age enhancing, as per ayurveda, as well as disease forming. But nobody cares because nobody knows real ayurveda here in the states now huh? It is a free for all and that makes her article completely okay. In fact, who am I to say it is’t Ayurveda? When asked, if asked i am sure she will just argue that it is Ayurveda. Joan, from where?
This, it seems, is how Ayurveda loses what it is and becomes whatever someone wants it to be. No actual education is needed to start to write articles on Ayurveda now. Specially if your a “distinguished senior yoga teacher”. (no attachment there, huh?) We can now read a book and then go out on our Yoga class “show” and start to teach what we have just read. Hmmmmmm? Why is this okay? Where are the ethics? Why is this acceptable to someone that is supposed to be teaching something that is of higher teachings, meaning ethics. Now you can go to Costco and buy a gallon of ketchup, bring it home and smear it on your third eye and call it shirodhara huh? (I love using extremes to prove the point) You are not gonna have the results, the Western research is going to research what they think is whatever you have turned “it” into and they will find it does not do what “it” was supposedly supposed to do as per Ayurveda just because you took poetic license to turn it into whatever you want?
Now Joan, this really is not any attack on you. You are just part of the massive wave of what is popular. Sorry again, really. I apologize for using your article of what you are advising the masses to follow.
Due to that wave of popular ignorance, Ayurveda is losing all of its actual value, treatments, knowledge, etc etc etc. and most of all it is completely losing any ability at all to take any foothold in America as a valid medical system as it is. This means, thousands of people are left with only Western allopathic medicine as treatments for stuff that Ayurveda has cures for. People will die of cancer without ever being given the choice of doing something else. Yes, there is Chinese Medicine but that is also hindered for many of the same reasons. There are thousands of Ayurvedic hospitals all over India. There are treatments and cures for so many diseases that go on being untreated and undiagnosed until they complicate into a much deeper disease here in America. It is people like this that are killing the science, killing people that could otherwise be living healthy lives, and also pissing on something really sacred.
If you are interested in how a real dinacharya (daily regime) goes https://trueayurveda.wordpress.com/?s=%24%23%21T+happens
I don’t make stuff up but give you the real ayurvedic reasons to do these daily items.
“This is Not Ayurveda”
New Age Ayurveda in the context of Ayurveda’s Globalization: between labeling and reinvention
Heidelberg, september 2010
This is a very good read. Not necessarily backing what “I” am stating but it is kinda nonbias
These are but three quick links but there are thousands..
Ankylosing spondylitis – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21547050
Studies on Brahma rasayana in male swiss albino mice: Chromosomal aberrations and sperm abnormalities – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21829300
Effect of Aloe barbadensis Mill. formulation on Letrozole induced polycystic ovarian syndrome rat model – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21731374
- There is a whole peer journal full of research. Ayurveda is a legitimate medicinal system, not a joke
- Every Ayurvedic University in India has copies of every dissertation that has been made for MD and Ph.D doctorates going back years and years (that is a lot of studies)
Then there is….
Kenneth Gregory Zysk, Associate professor Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at Copenhagen University has written many published articles on Ayurveda and India.One is, New Age Ayurveda or What Happens to Indian medicine When it Comes to America ‘ Traditional South Asian Medicine , vol 6, pp. 10-26., where he coins the term New Age Ayurveda”.
Zysk introduced the term ‘New Age Ayurveda’, apparently aiming to distinguish a new stage in the temporal and geographical evolution of Indian Medicine, at the same time insinuating the inauthenticity of this trend. More precisely, Zysk refers to contemporary Ayurvedic healing practices encountered in North America, best exemplified by three main practitioners: Vasant Lad, Robert Svoboda, and Deepak Chopra (9). Zysk and Reddy included in this cluster the ‘Maharishi Ayurveda’ which refers to the ‘Ayurvedic’ approach developed and promoted by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in West since the beginning of 1980s (3,8). Some years later, Smyth and Wujastyk differentiated four patterns of modern Ayurveda where Maharishi Ayurveda and New Age Ayurveda are two distinct paradigms (4). As the term implies, New Age Ayurveda resulted from the currents of the New Age movement that supposedly influenced the above Ayurvedic and biomedical physicians and their followers.
Ayurveda in the modern world, both in West and in the Indian subcontinent, is further evolving, going through changes determined by current trends in medicine, alternative therapies, as well as socio-political, economic and demographic factors among others. These changes should not be perceived as diminishing the value of Ayurveda, or threatening its authenticity, but as a contribution of the research and experimentation leading to progress. As Manohar observes, Ayurveda never became a doctrine, therefore, similar to modern science, it is an open system that allows for changes and improvement (2). Zysk concludes with a similar observation regarding the nature of change that Ayurveda will face in the future: “What the final form of New Age Ayurveda will eventually look like depends largely on those in the West who teach and practice it and those in India who support and encourage it” (9). As humanity is evolving, Ayurveda seems to remain exposed to embrace changes that can further enhance health and expand consciousness.
-Simona Schrammel from Ayurveda’s Evolutionary Journey, in OmYogazine
While Zysk wrote this in 2001, I do not believe he could have imagined the boom that has happened in the “Yoga business” and Ayurveda is heading the exact same direction.