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Natural Awakenings Indianapolis

Nature Rx: Yogic Lifestyle and Green Footprint a Prescription for Vibrant Health

Sep 28, 2012 05:11PM ● By Ann Collins, M.D., RYT

Ayurvedic healthcare is like gardening.  If you spend time in the garden, your harvest will be vibrant.  If you don’t spend time in the garden, weeds and climatic forces will take their toll.  Ayurveda is about paying attention. “ says Pierre Couvillion, master yoga teacher , ayurvedic practitioner, and founder of Santosha School in Indianapolis.

When we become separate from the rhythms of the earth, we lose connection with our innate wisdom, and with a deeper understanding of our physical, emotional, and spiritual nature. When separated from this awareness, we suffer the health effects of stress, physically and psychologically. The teachings of yoga and Ayurveda emphasize the importance of balance: in diet, exercise, interpersonal communication, and with the environment. Humans are microcosmic representations of the greater universe, and health is the natural benefit of living in harmony with the Earth.

5 Simple Practices to Nourish Your Health and Green Your Footprint

Celebrate Sunrise:

Hello Sunshine! Begin the morning with gratitude for the gift of a new day.  Imagine an opportunity to start fresh, without carrying forward the baggage of the past, and without worry about the future.  Trust that this day will bring precisely the experience that is needed.  Create a vital, supple body and calm mind with daily yoga asana (physical postures), breath work (pranayama) and meditation.
“Sun Salutations bring you skillfulness for moving your breath and energy. They’ll warm up your muscles and lubricate the joints. The flow of oxygen and blood to your brain nourishes it, relaxes it, and calms down the mind’s chattering.” – Ana T. Forrest, Fierce Medicine: Breakthrough Practices to Heal the Body and Ignite the Spirit

Natural Oils Nourish the Skin:

Abyhanga, ayurvedic self oil massage, is a simple and supportive practice that brings vitality to the skin, calm to the nervous system, and helps clear toxins from the lymphatics. Using food grade oils such as sesame or coconut oil, massage to the skin and scalp brings a healthy glow without exposing the body to petrol chemicals found in most commercial lotions.

Consider the Benefits of a Local, Seasonal Plant based Diet:

“Eating a vegetarian diet, walking (exercising) everyday, and meditating is considered radical. Allowing someone to slice your chest open and graft your leg veins in your heart is considered normal and conservative.”– Dean Ornish, M.D., founder of Preventive Medicine Research Institute.

Plant based food crops require less carbon energy to produce, and leave less waste to be managed than animal sourced foods. Eating a vegetarian diet, rich in minimally processed fruits, nuts, legumes, grains, and vegetables, provides dense nutrient value, and is proven to support cardiovascular health and reduce cancer risk. Locally sourced food reduces need for chemical preservatives, and minimizes the energy costs of transport over great distances.  

Embrace Moderation:

Asteya, or non-stealing, is a core principal of yogic philosophy.  Use only what is needed, and avoid ‘stealing’ thru wastefulness. Create sustainable community connections through sharing of abundance.

Play in the River and Learn about the Moon:

Awareness of the rhythms of nature enhances our understanding of the cycles and patterns of the human experience. Take time to observe and care for the rivers that bring vital water to our communities. Our bodies are made largely of water and, like the tides, are influenced by the gravitational forces of the moon.  Awareness of the moon cycle is a practice that promotes a felt sense experience of the subtle nature of human experience.  

Ann Collins, MD, RYT is co-founder of Santosha School and Cornerstone Family Physicians, PC.  Connect at and
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