Tag Archives: healing

Kathryn Herbert on Ancient Healing in the Modern World

July 27, 2015 | Emelyn Daly, YogaFit Media

Ayurveda, ‘Life Science,’ and Common Sense

Expert Ayurvedic Practitioner and founder of Ayuway of Life Kathryn Herbert has me totally convinced of the value, efficacy, and do-it-yourself easiness of the ancient Holistic healing modality she teaches and practices. Herbert, who is thrilled to share her expertise at YogaFit’s first Ayurvedic Lifestyle Coaching Retreat in Austin, TX this September, has dedicated her life to using and educating others on Ayurveda. Here, she gives us an exclusive introduction to her upcoming workshops, which focus on making Ayurveda fun, user-friendly, and 100% applicable in daily life.

What is Ayurveda? What are some of the most common misconceptions about it?

“The first thing I like to tell people about Ayurveda is that in order to use it in your daily life, you don’t shutterstock_223478743have to know how to spell or pronounce it correctly! The word may sound a little unusual, but it’s much simpler than you think. In Sanskrit, ayu means ‘life’ and veda means ‘knowledge’ or ‘science.’ ‘Life science’ isn’t just ancient Sanskrit; it’s for everybody living in modern times. To me, it is the perfect owner’s manual package of common sense for the human mind, body and spirit.”

Ayurveda comes from India, correct? How does it relate to other forms of medicine?

“So, yes, the ancient health and wellness knowledge we know as Ayurveda does come from the Indus Valley. And from there, it actually traveled East and West, influencing both Chinese and Western medicine. Hippocrates was an Ayurvedic practitioner! The father of Western medicine himself said, “let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” That is Ayurveda.”

Do you think that Ayurvedic medicine could replace Western medicine?

“No, I would never recommend that Ayurveda can or should replace Western, aka ‘Modern’ medicine, yet it certainly does complement any and every form of medicine including surgery and as a preventative, it is designed to keep you out of the doctor’s office.

You know, in the West, we have a way of putting everything on a hierarchy. This or that has to be better or worse than something else. The East integrates healing approaches as opposed to creating that separation, which is the absolute definition of Holistic, it treats the whole person. In India, for example, an Ayurvedic doctor is a medical doctor, and there is a modern Ayurvedic hospital right next door to the modern Allopathic hospital, patients are sent back and forth by doctors from both sides. Both forms are equally valuable and used to compliment each other. I experienced this daily during my internship there.”

Which piece of your workshop in Austin are you most looking forward to?

“So many! I love my work because I get to translate this powerful knowledge into modern language and practical uses. In Austin, I’ll get to share my academic knowledge of Ayurveda, which works amazingly well with the YogaFit system. We’ll look at a couple Sanskrit words to demystify these new, hard-to-pronounce terms into common sense simplicity.

And there’s the practical end of things, which is really exciting! I’ll be showing people how to use this stuff in their daily lives. We’ll spend time on really concrete techniques that will be easily remembered to take home and use. We’ll spend plenty of time on food, and turn the tabletop into a classroom using food as medicine to learn why your kitchen is actually a pharmacy to be in service of yourself, those you love, and those you coach. Plus there are really fun Ayurvedic treatment practicums including the ‘meda buster’ massage to reduce fat on the body—one of my favorites!”

For more information about Kathryn Herbert and her workshops at the YogaFit Ayurvedic Lifestyle Coaching Retreat in Austin, TX coming up this September, visit YogaFit.com!

Kathryn Herbert practices privately in Southern California at the Ayurway of Life facilities and conducts national workshops to promote the benefits of Ayurvedic lifestyle choices. She lives in Los Angeles with her two teenaged children, two dogs, a cat, and three horses. She hopes to welcome chickens to her home soon!

Successful Stress Management Techniques

Beth J Shaw author of YOGAFIT

Stress Management means basically, learning how to manage stress, by witnessing it, and releasing it.

Stress management, is simply, a daily process to let go of tension stored in the body and mind. Without this letting go process, we become candidates for ulcers, heart attacks, migraines and premature aging. All known to be caused by stress. Stress Management techniques, allow us to discover and experience, how, we hold emotions, thoughts and experiences in out bodies. Exercises will offer us the opportunity, to tune into different moods, feelings, attitudes, and states of consciousness beside the low-grade stress levels, most people in our society, operate under. In our busy information society, we are constantly bombarded by external stimuli. A good stress management program, can help tune out the exterior world, and allow the participant to drop inside their bodies, and find a place of stillness. Some techniques that aid in this process, are deep breathing, extended stretching, and body scanning – all done in a quiet, warm room, with soft music playing, or simply, the relaxing sound of one’s own, deep breathing.

We learn to increase the probability of desired moods, and feelings through our heightened self–awareness, while simultaneously decreasing negative states of anxiety. Excess of stress can also shutterstock_224788153result in an extended period “flight or fight syndrome” which over time can drain the adrenal glands. Participants in a stress management program gain a powerful awareness of how to positively influence health, reactions, feelings and response. A good mind/body class can give clients the tools they can use for the rest of their lives.

Yoga is the 6,000 year old secret to health and vitality. Yoga can be considered technology for getting back in touch with our true essence and ourselves. It is a way of remembering the health and wholeness that is our natural state of being. Yoga, when broken down to its most simple form is breathing and feeling.

Through this breathing and feeling we learn to control our reactions to events and people. It is not the events and people in our lives that give us stress but the way we react to them. What makes yoga unique in terms of stress reduction is in its multifaceted approach. By working at the physical and psychological levels concurrently, yoga reduces stress at each level and this reduction in stress is supported by the work done at other levels. Yoga postures combined with deep breathing facilitate deep relaxation that combats stress.

Physically, yoga massages the skeletal system which supports bone mass and growth while taking the stress away from the supporting muscles and tendons. Yoga mechanically removes tension from the muscles through stretching. The steady even yoga breathing reduces stress levels in the body. Stress response, is accompanied by rapid, shallow breathing., Yoga encouraged deep diaphragmatic breathing activating a relaxation response. Yoga also massages the internal organs reducing high blood pressure, stress in the cardiovascular system at the level of the heart, arteries and blood. The nerves are massaged and stretched through yoga, conducting messages; throughout the body.

Emotionally the body believes what the mind believes. Affirmations about peace, calm, and tranquility, along with positive imagery are conveyed to the nervous system. Yoga brings greater relationship with others, life, and us. As we begin to explore these relationships more, we see which interactions genuinely support us in moving towards calmness. As we become more relaxed through yoga and stress management classes, we release addictive behaviors, which are often used to relieve stress. Yoga brings awareness to the emotional blocks that limit our experience of life. Our perception of life has been conditioned by our experiences and sometimes we close ourselves off from feelings and emotions. Through yoga we learn to bring awareness to all parts of ourselves with the understanding that through integration, we come to a natural place of balance. Many of our stressful habit patterns are conditioned. Yoga teaches a whole set of patterns which are helpful in reducing stress.

Salsa Style Blackbean Pasta

June 1, 2015 – Rene MacVay, Food Blogger | Healthy Recipe Variations

Since I had to become gluten free I have reduced my pasta intake quite a bit. Pasta used to be a great go to for me, as it was a quick meal to fix and great leftovers to take to work the following day. A few Gluten Free pastas have come along that are organic, non-GMO, high in fiber, and cook without getting soggy. I can enjoy pasta again!

Tolerant Black Bean Pasta is a great addition to my pantry as it has great texture and flavor. I was looking for something to make for a quick evening dinner and decided to us up a few ingredients I had from my recent trip to the farmer’s market. I had a little of each ingredient, so pasta was the perfect way to marry the flavors and use the fresh ingredients.

This recipe takes less than a half hour from opening the refrigerator to finishing clean up. Enjoy a healthy meal…or put it in an airtight container and take it with you for a great lunch. Enjoy as a meal on its own or a side dish with a sandwich or salad.

Base Ingredients:

1 ear of corn … corn cut off the cob (yields about 2 cups)

½ Red Onion

½ Red Bell Pepper

1 Tomato (I used vine ripe)

Basil (for garnish)

Pasta – 1 Cup Tolerant Black Bean Rotini

Olive Oil

2 TBSP Butter (unsalted)

¼ Cup Vegetable Broth

Variations in keeping with Salsa theme:Untitled

 Add a few cloves of crushed Garlic

 Substitute Shallots for Red Onion

 Add a Hot pepper like a Jalapeño, Serrano, or Habanero depending on your personal interest in HEAT

 Add a cup of diced Mango if you wish a bit of sweet flavor


1. Cut the corn off the cob

2. Use a mandolin to cut the pepper and onion into small slices (or dice small with a knife)

3. Sautee all three ingredients in a pan with 2 tbsp butter and ¼ cup vegetable broth

4. Once onions are translucent turn off heat.

5. Add 3 cups of water to a pot and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup of Tolerant Black

Bean Rotini. Stir from time-to-time. Drain after 5 minutes…reserving ¼ cup of the pasta water.

6. While pasta is cooking dice the tomato.

7. Add pasta water, diced tomato, and pasta to pan with the sautéed vegetables.

8. Cook until water evaporates.

9. Transfer to a plate, bowl, or airtight container. Sprinkle with Olive Oil and/or Basil to garnish.

Enjoy this YogaLean meal and other Gluten Free Recipes on Healthy Recipe Variations.

Kathryn Herbert on the Miracles of Ayurvedic Healing

Recently, I sat down with Ayurvedic expert Kathryn Herbert to talk herbs, doshas, and real-life miracles. Herbert, who, was diagnosed with AS (Ankylosing Spondylitis), RS (Reiter Syndrome), FM (Fibromyalgia) and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), is a living example of the downright amazing health benefits of India’s ancient healing practice. She is excited to share her wisdom at YogaLean’s first Coaching Immersion in Austin, TX this September, where her personal history and profound education will shine brightly in her workshops and lectures. Here, she gives me a glimpse her fascinating story:

What was the state of your health before turning to Ayurvedic healing?

My good health today is completely dependent on my knowledge of Ayurveda. My numerous health conditions began to affect my life to a crippling extent. As a horse trainer and single mother, my life and my job were very physically demanding. I was extremely active, often up to 18 hours a day, and my health deteriorated to the point where I was barely able to lift a feed bucket, let alone brush my own hair. I saw countless doctors and specialists, underwent countless tests, and tried practically every medication and treatment under the sun. Nothing worked, and worse, many of the treatments I underwent caused allergic reactions that left me even weaker and endangered my life.

How did you decide to change to Ayurvedic and naturopathic treatment?

After almost two years of Western medical and pharmaceutical treatments, I decided it was the end of the line. It was a scary decision, but it was clear to me that a purely Western approach was not going to work.

What were the results?

As soon as I began following an Ayurvedic dietary and herbal regimen, my health immediately transformed. While in treatment, I began discovering all of the things I’m allergic to—not just medications, but foods that were making me sick. This was crucial. My doctors had doubts, but in the weeks and months following my transition to Ayurveda, the tests amazingly kept coming back improved. The new “miracle drugs” I was using made my doctors’ heads spin! In Ayurveda, we treat all foods and natural compounds as potential medicine or poison. With herbs and nutrition, I increased my medicine and eliminated my poison. This shift had enormous impact.

What kinds of changes did you make to your diet and herbal regimen?

I made a lot of changes. It’s important to remember is that in Ayurveda, each individual is treated uniquely. The things I need to add and take away may be different from yours. Examples can be as subtle as this: I spent most of my life drinking a glass of orange juice in the morning, but discovered that oranges create acidity and inflammation in my body because of my specific make up. Something as innocent-seeming as that was poisoning me. Lemons and limes, on the other hand, create alkalinity and put me in balance.

Which herb or supplement has made the biggest difference in your health?

So many, but tumeric was the thing I started adding that really changed everything. shutterstock_140598805 (1)It is so powerful and beneficial. I put it in everything. In the classic Bible story, the three kings bring frankincense, myrrh and gold as their gifts. I think they brought frankincense, myrrh, and turmeric! It is nature’s great gift the world. Ashwaganada is another very powerful herb for protecting the nervous system. It had very positive effects on me and has proved to have amazing benefits for Alzheimer’s—but the big drug companies don’t want us knowing that!

After getting well, why did you decide to study Ayurvedic medicine?

I realized that Ayurveda makes real transformation possible. Its benefits are clear to me, and illuminated constantly in my work with cancer patients and others suffering from chronic illness.

What was your experience like studying Ayurveda?

I feel lucky to have studied Ayurveda in its classic form. My training was based on the ancient Indian texts, originally written in Sanskrit. I have a BA in biology and psychology, and coming from a science background, Ayurveda, to me, was the complete package of common sense. I got the opportunity to expand my studies in Pune, India at DPU. It was an incredible experience to study Ayurveda in its homeland at a state of the art facility. In India, an Ayurvedic doctor is a medical doctor; there is an Ayurvedic hospital right next door to the allopathic hospital. My work today is to translate this powerful ancient knowledge into modern times and uses.

What inspired you to participate in the YogaLean Coaching Immersion in Austin this fall?

I love my work! I love to share this wisdom with others. Given the miraculous transformation that Ayurveda has made in my life and health, I feel I have to share this knowledge! I feel gratitude for my illness every day because it led me to this practice. This information is a gift, and I am so excited to share it with the enlightened individuals attending the YogaLean Coaching Immersion so that they can carry it forth and benefit. Everyone should sign up and encourage your friends and families to come with you! My lectures and workshops are designed to make using Ayurveda in your daily life simple, easy, and hugely beneficial.

Kathryn Herbert practices privately in Southern California and conducts national workshops to promote the benefits of Ayurvedic Lifestyle choices. She lives in Los Angeles with her two teenaged children, two dogs, a cat, three horses and hopes to welcome chickens to her home soon.

Shilajit, the Rock-Invincible

Author Kathryn Herbert; Ayu Ct P, RYT 250 with
Dr Sachin Kotalganor; MD (India) Ayu Physician DPU, IAA Secretary

SHILAJIT, or Silajatu as it translates from Sanskrit to mean “rock invincible”, is Mineral Pitch collected from the mountainous ores found in the Himalayan region and is known also as Moomie (Russian). The ancient science of Ayurveda has valued this substance for thousands upon thousands of years.

It has gained much recent attention on the modern nutraceutical market with the health and fitness crowd- and with good reason. The ancient Physician of Ayurved states in the Charaka Samhita states “a person who is correctly using Shilajit with Sattvic diet for 3 months of Rasayana will be free of disease and ailments, and shall live long life of 100 years..” The ancient Yogi Sherpas of the Golden Age have gone down in history of having strength, virility, and longevity. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) explains mountainous ore Mineral Pitch as “Fat for the 5 Spirits” noting that it serves all of the elemental humors. A long time tradition exists in both cultures is to supplement the adult and children diet alike.
So, what is it exactly??

As the Latin Botanical name Asphaltum Punjabianum suggests, it is the tar-like substance of the Punjabi region of the world that oozes out of the mountainous ore rocks when they heat up. It then cools and hardens to a crystalline rock. This process is not unique to the Himalayas, it happens in the mountainous regions all over the world. If you have ever seen the summer sun heat up asphalt pavement until it sweats out sticky icky tar- you have witnessed the process. So of course, please don’t go out and scrape some of this stuff off of the road and consume it, that is poison! But do understand that Nature creates this process on her own, taking centuries to nurture biologic and geologic compounds to produce mineral rich pitches full of microelements in a bioactive substance that is water soluble and absorbed by the bodily tissues when consumed.

The ancient texts refer to Shilajit as coming in four varieties per the ore type. Gold, resulting in a deep red/pink color , “color of the hibiscus flower”, Silver, resulting in a whitish hue, Copper, is blueish green, resembling “color of the peacock’s nape” and Iron Ore, resulting in black tar-like substance that hardens to shiny black crystalline rock.
It is this black mineral pitch that comes from Iron ore that Ayurved uses as a “Rasayana” or a “rejuvenating” substance. It has been used classically for thousands of years in conjunction with other herbs with the ancient understanding that it is a “yogavahi” therefore a “carrier” of substances into the deep tissues by permeating the “prana” or “life force” enhancing the effects of everything we take in.

Noting that mountainous ore mineral pitch components will vary pursuant to the region of collection, modern day laboratory science has recorded composition of over 85 minerals and microelements, most notably Humic and Fulvic Acids. Modern science postulates that “Fulvic Acid is a biologically active compound with dibenzo-a-pyrones and acts as a carrier of other substances”. Yogavahi. The ancients knew that already.

Shilajit has been long used for its positive effects on the urinary-genital system and muscular stature, therefore it is prized to build male virility and potency. It’s anti-lipidemic action has been used to balance high blood sugar levels and remove fat. Circulation through the blood stream enkindles bile secretion from the liver; a function of Pitta, the doshic element of Fire responsible for transformation.

Clinical studies throughout the world today are being conducted regarding the use therapeutic use of Shilajit for a variety of research projects of condition treatment including Alzheimer’s disease. Most notably, the modern day scientific community has regards for the antioxidant effects upon free radicals. Recent studies on composition of Andean Shilajit collected in Chile show an ORAC index between 50 and 500 Trolax units/g of material which is substantially higher than Blueberries or Noni fruit, concluding that it is a powerful antioxidant phytocomplex (per NCBI; National Center for Biotechnology Information).

I know it sounds great so far, but before you run out and get some then start downing like potato chips, understand that everything (including potato chips) comes with it’s risks.

Do you remember that this substance is a “yogavahi”? In Sanskrit, “vahi” means carrier and “yog” means that there is union. Simply put, yogavahis carry other substances to the deep tissues. This means ALL substances (including potato chips). Do you remember that Charaka states “taken correctly with a Sattwic diet..” ? This means that the user will experience an increased effect in ALL of the “prana” or life force taken in from substances, good or bad. There is a fine line between enhancement vs aggravation in the delicate balance of our Doshic nature. A sattvic diet is tri-doshic and leads to blissful balance of mind and body. Everything else is a possible perceived invitation of chaos.

The perforation of the prana allows all of the body’s 40 types of “Agni”, or “fire” kindle throughout the system. This can either build tissue or burn tissue. For this reason, it is strictly recommended that the user follow a diet that does not provoke the Pitta dosha as it is governed by the element of fire. Applied to lifestyle, this means that substances that are Pungent, Sour (acidic) and Salty are to be avoided or strictly moderated to avoid systematic imbalance. Food examples, to name just a few, include chili peppers, grapefruit/oranges, pickled things, dark leafy greens and nightshades such as bell peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant. The ancient texts notably mention that Madras Gram (aka horse gram or moth bean) should be avoided- in the modern day West, we could use this theory to include all of those legume type beans that tend to be dark in color and rich sources iron. Modern science supports this as these high in iron pulses are deficient in methionine and tryptophan leading to hyperacidity. (Just as the ancient Charaka Samhita so states..)

The ancient texts teach us to take Shilajit with warmed milk; the most sattvic and life giving substance of the Universe. Our modern day factory farmed milk is grossly lacking the sattvic qualities of the sacred fluid, so please use Cow’s or Goat’s milk that is Organic and NOT homogenized from a BPA free container. If those choices are not ok for you, you may use Almond or Rice milk prepared using only almonds or rice with clean water not containing any additives, gums, fillers, flavorings or preservatives, etc. Avoid Soy and Cashew milk as these things can potentially raise Pitta. Milk is indicated as the best way to administer Shilajit as it carries the resinous substance passed the acidic condition of the stomach fluid onto deeper digestion to be utilized by the tissues.

Shilajit is contraindicated when combined with alcoholic substances. In as much that it is water soluble, it is insoluble in alcohol, chloroform and ether. Alcohol is extremely Pitta provoking and highly rajasic in nature. Do not consume alcoholic beverages if you are taking Shilajit.

Shilajit-1_(1)If you do decide to implement use of Shilajit as a part of your wellness regime, let the buyer beware and choose your product from a reputable source. Use this and all other Ayurvedic remedies under the guidance of a dually qualified Ayurvedic Practitioner and follow the recommendations.

The ancient texts place intricate emphasis on the “Rasashastra” or the correct preparation of substances through proper training of specialized chemistry. This continues to be of great importance today as there is an ever present inherent risk of contamination by poisonous heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic. Remember the tar from the road? Know what you are buying and consuming.

Wu-ling-zhi (latin botanical: feces trogopterori seu pteromi) sourced from China is illegal for US trade at the time of this writing. Information is not clear as to whether this is due to its bio-scarcity or its potential risks.

Always choose your products from a provider that has a solid reputation of bio-sustainability, can prove its source and can substantiate claims of contents by purity reports.

Wishing you harmony, happiness and health,

Kathryn Herbert; Ayu Ct P, RYT 250

With Dr Sachin Kotalgaonkar, MD (India) Ayurvedic Physician
AyurWay..your way of life