Donn Brennan is one of Ireland’s foremost experts on the ancient healing practice of Ayurveda. In our Summer 2020 issue, we were thrilled to learn more from him about simple health-boosting strategies from the Maharishi school of Ayurveda.
In this extract from our Spring 2020 issue, our co-editor Alison McEvoy discusses how we can maximise our brain health naturally, using principles from the ancient healing practice of Ayurveda. Read on to learn more!
The Vibes section of our magazine is always a real treat, filled with exciting news, holistic products and emerging businesses to watch out for! This edition of Vibes appeared in our Spring 2019 issue.
By Alison McEvoy
I began seeking out a healthier lifestyle in my early teens. Reheated stew was my weekly fare and my family relied way too heavily on canned and frozen food that I just couldn’t stomach anymore. Almost overnight, at fourteen years, it dawned on me that I had the power to choose.
Much to the consternation of my family, I turned vegetarian, began a yoga practice that has stayed with me through thick and thin for the past seventeen years and decided to go organic – venturing into what health stores I could find and pestering my father (which he secretly loved) to drive me out to farmers’ markets on Saturday mornings. It was on my travels back in 2005 that I first came across Ayurveda. The word mysteriously hung in the air when I spoke it to myself, beckoning me into deeper discovery. In 2016, eleven years and much googling later, I joined the first Ayurvedic Studies Diploma being taught in Ireland.
The intelligence and simplicity of Ayurvedic knowledge feels like home. It gives me a world-and-health-view that I can feel the truth of. The more I learn, the more appreciation and gratitude I experience, for the perfect potential harmony that exists between Mother Nature and her human child. It is amazing to learn how the food and herbs provided by the natural world are so attuned to our body’s requirements and needs, and about how to come back into rhythm with our body’s nature which is itself a part of Nature as a whole. The journey continues as we delve into year two…. wish me luck!
This is a CNM excerpt from our Summer 2017 issue. Read the rest of the article by subscribing soon so we can post you a copy or picking up a magazine from one of our lovely stockists all over Ireland. Tell them we said hello!
By Pamela Ryan
Ayurveda, meaning ‘science of life’, is an ancient Indian system of healing which has guided people in their pursuit of health for thousands of years. According to Ayurveda, the energy of the world is in constant flux, shifting with the seasons. Similarly, our bodies are constantly changing in response to this flux, and have an innate orientation towards homeostasis (balance) and health. Imbalances can lead to illness, and the goal of Ayurveda is to prevent illness, looking to the root cause and providing the tools required to restore health.
Ayurveda identifies three elemental groups known as doshas; Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The doshas are three particular combinations of the natural elements which are the building blocks of our bodies and the world; ether, air, fire, water and earth. Together they are responsible for everything that happens inside our bodies. We each contain all three doshas, all elements, however in varying degrees of intensity. Your dominant dosha is your ‘Prakruti’ (original nature). Once you understand your prakruti you can recognise symptoms of imbalance and implement changes to your nutrition and lifestyle to restore balance and prevent illness.
This is a CNM excerpt from our Spring 2017 issue. Read the rest of the article by subscribing soon so we can post you a copy or picking up a magazine from one of our lovely stockists all over Ireland. Tell them we said hello!
Ayurveda is an ancient system of health with its roots in the Vedic culture of India. It provides guidelines for our diets and routines related to the seasons and our Ayurvedic type or ‘dosha’. It seeks to integrate environment, body, mind and spirit for wellbeing on all levels. I met with GP and specialist Dr. Donn Brennan to find out more.
Dr. Brennan works with Vedas Beauty in Dun Laoghaire and it’s a unique space in that they also offer Ayurvedic treatments, beauty treatments and have a top floor overlooking the sea for yoga and pilates. He tells me my dosha is Vata. When Vata is in balance, they’re lively and enthusiastic, but an out-of-balance Vata may encounter anxiety and fear. He gave me detailed advice on improving my overall wellbeing, along with ways to heal specific ailments I mentioned.
Armed with an ayurvedic supplement and advice to start getting to bed by 11pm, I left his office to enjoy an Abhyanga Massage. The massage involved much more oil than a standard massage and therapist Leena used sesame oil for its detoxifying properties. It was the most enjoyable massage I’ve ever experienced and I melt even now just thinking about it.
Leena explained that a massage for a Vata type would differ from other types, as it aims to bring balance to the qualities associated with three doshas. Mine was slow and relaxing, while another person may require something more energising. It was an insightful and calming morning and I even made it to bed by 11pm that night.
Last May, Ayurveda.ie joined forces with Vedas Beauty, a stunning Day Spa located in Dun Laoghaire. I’ve had the pleasure of a consultation with the wonderful Dr. Brennan myself and an Ayurvedic massage from one of their wonderful therapists. This Saturday September the 12th, they’re inviting you in for their Open Day.
Located at 19 Lower Georges Street, Dun Laoghaire, and based over four floors, the building contains an award winning Day Spa, two large Pilates and Yoga studios, Dr Brennan’s consultation rooms, and Vedas Academy offering part time and evening courses. Their shop, stocking a large range of Ayurvedic and beauty products is located on the ground floor.
The day will include:
· Free Yoga Classes – All day
· Free Indian Head Massages
· Pilates Demonstrations
· Free Lectures with Dr Donn Brennan at 11am & 3 pm
· A tour? of the Yoga studios and treatment rooms
– A chance to find out more about their “Vedas Academy” and training opportunities
– 20% discount on all Ayurveda products purchased on the day!
For the evening of the 12th, they have also have brought over two of India’s finest Gandharva Ved Musicians for a not to be missed concert.
By Edie O’Reilly
Ayurveda teaches us that we all have a natural balance of the 5 basic elements (ether, air, fire, water and earth). These elements will fluctuate and change depending on what we are eating, what we are doing, where we live, what our age is, and what season it is. While the elements are always moving, we can learn to be in tune with our bodies to counter the effects of them getting too high in our systems. It is only when these elements get too high that there is a concern for our health.
Summer time is the time when the element of fire is dominant due to the closeness of the sun to the earth. Some of us may be experiencing signs or symptoms of too much fire within our bodies. These symptoms would include increased anger and irritability, skin irritations such as rashes and acne, loose stools or diarrhoea, acid reflux, heartburn and infections. These are all signs that the fire element in your body has become too high, which is common during this season. If these symptoms aren’t taken care of they can lead to more serious illnesses that can have an effect on your health and well-being.
In Ayurveda, we learn that the qualities of an element can be balanced by using their opposites. The qualities of fire are hot, light and dry. You can counter the effects of too much fire by choosing foods that have the opposite qualities such as cooling, heavy and moist. In general, foods that are naturally ripe or ready to eat will balance most people during a specific season. For example, melons are ripe during summer; they are cooling to the body, heavy due to the water content, and moist. Melons are a natural way to beat the heat.
Here are some more ways to beat the heat.
Cucumbers: Cucumbers can be eaten or used in body products to help cool down the system.
Aloe Vera: Aloe is used for many body products and is best used in the summer time when our bodies have extra heat. The aloe plant can also be consumed as juice or gel to aid in cooling down the body internally.
Fresh Coriander: Coriander is an herb that will naturally cool down the system, especially the skin. For any heated skin irritation, you can blend fresh coriander leaves with a little water or aloe gel to help in greatly cooling down and combating skin irritations. You can also assist the skin in cooling down by adding coriander to foods as a spice.
Rose: The rose flower is great for cooling down the body and again it has been used for centuries in beauty products. You can drink rose water or smell the essential oil of rose to aid the body in cooling down. Adding a tablespoon of rose water to fresh lemonade in the summer time will make a refreshing drink that will cool you down.
Mints: Any mint will help to cool down the body. You can make a tea with fresh mint by boiling water in a saucepan. Then, once the water has boiled, turn off the heat and add the fresh mint leaves to the water. Never boil fresh leaves, as it greatly depletes the vital, medicinal oils found in the leaf. You can also add fresh mint leaf to salads, sauces or drinks.
Green leafy vegetables: Now is the time to eat salads. Green leafy vegetables are considered bitter and will greatly cool down the body. If you are feeling over heated this summer, having a fresh green salad with a variety of raw vegetables will help to keep the body in balance and will give you a kick of energy.
There are many foods you can eat this summer to aid you with whatever ails you. Knowing what your body needs in each season can greatly improve your health and your overall energy levels.
Edie O’Reilly is a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist trained in the United States and India. She offers consultations, body treatments, workshops and courses in Ayurveda. email@example.com
Ditch the Diet Mindset
Tune in to instincts and energies.
By Colleen Kennedy.
Everyone seems to be an expert on food and fitness lately, and while this may have unleashed some great scientific information at our fingertips, it is not always the right information to apply to all circumstances. Between the cyber world, bookshelves, health food shops and pharmacies, how do we know what to eat anymore? Why are we not listening to our own instincts on what suits our bodies?
Biochemically, we are not all the same, so surely we all shouldn’t be eating the same diet. There is no such thing as the best diet for everyone. While the science of some diets can appeal to certain sectors of the population, a good start is to begin to understand your own constitution, your own unique biochemical makeup in an ever-changing environment. The art of being able to adapt to your environment and to use your foods to rebalance and support your essence dates back to the Chinese system of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Indian system of Ayurvedic Medicine. Both of these cultures use a system of energetic and constitutional analysis. How our body responds to particular foods, activities, emotions and how we interact with other living organisms, all play a role in determining the best way to bring balance back to our lives, including what we eat.
The Chinese work from a system of Yin, Yang and the five elements. The Ayurvedic model is based on tridosha, or three types – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Both systems understand how food and herbs can interact with our physical and psychological processes.
Coleen Kennedy graduated in Herbal Medicine and Naturopathic Nutrition from CNM and lectures in Herbal Medicine at CNM Galway and Dublin. For information on CNM courses in Natural Therapies available nationwide. See naturopathy.ie