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December 15, 2009

My poor sore legs!

Many women have general aches and pains in their legs and hips during pregnancy. The two affecting me the most are calf cramps and hip ache, both at night, but I have found some simple ways to ease the pain.

Calf cramps

Ayurveda attributes most cramps to Vata, and Vata imbalance is very common throughout pregnancy as your body tries to keep up with all the rapid changes. If you get a calf cramp here are a few things you can do:
  • Stretch it out, even if this hurts a little. Down dog is the best way to stretch into your calves and is safe during pregnancy until 36 weeks, unless you find it uncomfortable.
  • Massage it. Grab the part that is cramping, this can help stimulate the marma point.
  • Warm sesame oil rubbed into your calves every day can really help.
  • Hot water bottles on the site of the cramp are soothing too.
But the winner is:
  • Epsom salt baths. I have one bath a week with 6 handfuls of epsom salts and that prevents cramps all week. Salt balances Vata.
Hip ache

My other main complaint at this point (it changes every week!) is that my hips ache at night. They feel really loose and open and sometimes it feels like my legs are going to fall out. Strange but true: apparently this is more common in women of Scandinavian descent. During the day my hips are fine so I suspect it is related to my posture when I sleep. Here's what I find helps:
  • Give thanks to your body for opening for your baby.
  • Sleep on your side with a bolster under you top knee and your bottom knee straight. The bolster should be high enough to keep your knees aligned with your hips.
  • Slip a thin pillow or a fold of blanket under your tummy. This will prevent the weight of you expanding stomach dragging down through your hip ligaments.
  • If you wake up sore roll over on to the other side and rearrange all your pillows-bummer!
  • A yoga posture that may help is to sit with one knee straight and one knee bent and push your bent knee down to the side and back up to your chest (keeping your foot on the floor). Resist your pushing hand with your leg to build up strength.
  • Avoid doing a large amount of hip opening yoga postures like butterfly.
These things do come and go so be patient. Sweet dreams!

December 02, 2009

General update and baby's first pictures

The baby hammock's going great! It still needs some finishing touches and then I'll post some pitures and how I made it, but seriously if you know how to use a sewing machine you can make one, it's dead easy.

I never posted the pictures from my 18 week scan and there are some cuties, so here they are, it's tiny little feet, a big yawn and a wave for the camera!

November 29, 2009

DIY Baby hammock

I'm in serious nesting mode, and nesting for me involves sping cleaning (ie chucking stuff out) and creating (ie making stuff). Since chucking staff out is pretty boring, unless you shop at the op-shop I donate to, I thought I write about my latest craft project.

I keep hearing about how wonderful baby hammocks are. They rock and support babies beautifully and are said to transform even the most colicy or refluxy baby. Plus they are really beautiful.

My kitchen has a cathedral style ceiling with big beams running across which makes it perfect for hanging a baby hammock from. We plan on co-cleeping but I love the idea of having the baby near me where ever I am in the house

One thing that really appeals to my au naturale baby tastes is the idea that women around the world would have just tied a piece of cloth from a tree and let there baby's hang out in there whilst they work in the fields. It just doesn't seem right to spend hundreds of dollars on something so simple.

I typed "make your own baby hammock" into google and it pumps out this blog post. God I love google! I've got a day off work this week dedicated to making stuff, so I'll let you know how I go.

November 11, 2009

22 weeks - Maternity clothes-belly bands review

After a slow start I've caught up with dates and now there is no pretending I can squeeze into my old clothes anymore. Every other day I try something on and relegate it to the drawer I've allocated for clothes I won't be wearing for a long while. First it was high waisted skirts, now it's some jeans and trousers that I'm saying goodbye to too.

But I've been learning some handy tips.

First is just to cut the elastic out of old tracky pants. Not exactly work wear but certainly comfy for round the house. You can do this properly by stitching the elastic to the waistband in two places and snipping it in between. This means there is still some stretch to them.

Next I've been extending some of my buttons by looping an elastic band around the button, through the botton hole and around the button again. This just gives a few more centimetres, but you'll need to wear a long top to cover up the open fly.

But the best maternity tip of all has to be belly bands, a thick stretchy strip of fabric to wear over jeans or skirts. I bought two kinds of belly bands, both on e-bay and was happy was both, they each have advatages and disadvantages. You can buy them at maternity shops or department stores but they cost a lot more, and I'd rather support small business.

4MUMSTUMS are only single layer thick. Single layer may be better for summer to avoid too many layers in the heat. It also means that it's not too bulky, which is good if your tummy's not that big yet or if you are wearing it with a light cotton shirt.

belly bands are double thickness. This means they are better for holding up heavy things like jeans. They also feel more supportive. The colours of mine leaked in the wash though so maybe soak them in salt and wash seperately first time.

They are both handmade, both cotton, and both cost about the same. You might like to have a look at the range of colours to see what you prefer. I bought two belly bands from each and use them for slightly different things. I love the colourful ones to add a splash of colour to otherwise boring black or white outfits.

A couple of friends have just had babies so I'm hoping to inherit some maternity clothes. I'd really like to avoid buying clothes to wear just for a few months. Work is really the only hard occasion to dress for, so if need be I'll buy a pair of maternity trousers and one maternity skirt to go with all the big flowing blouses I already own.

November 04, 2009

21 weeks - sleepless nights

Lying on my back is certainly the thing I missed the most. I don't sleep well on my side, with my rapidly expanding stomach all propped up on pillows. Rolling over pulls on my stretched tummy ligaments and I have the craziest dreams. I wake up to pee and then the baby starts kicking so I can't go back to sleep. It usually doesn't hurt me, it's more that is so exciting that I want to lie awake feeling my little baby rolling around for ages.

But seriously, this is easily the most enjoyable part of my pregnancy so far. The living-on-a-boat feeling of the first few months has passed, the baby's making itself known and I'm still not too huge to enjoy most things. And I just got the full tick of health from Dr George, my trusted Ayurvedic Doctor.

And another milsetone, my baby is now regarded as a human under Australian law!

I'm just getting to work on my home birth plan, post-natal plan and what to pack in case of a hospital transfer list. I'll publish them all here eventually.

October 28, 2009

Listeria hysteria

I love my soft cheeses and I'm not the kind of girl to do what I'm told without knowing why. For the first few weeks of my pregnancy I had to delve into the issue of soft cheeses to find out what we really should avoid when pregnant.

Listeria is a foodborne bacteria which can cause a disease is called listeriosis. If you eat contaminated food the bacteria may penetrate your intestines and travel throughout the blood stream. Listeriosis is a dangerous disease for pregnant women as is may infect the baby and cause misscarriage, stillbirth or blood infections.

But listeriosis is extremely rare, read this if you are interested in details.

What you need to know is that listeria can't survive high heats, so if you re heat left overs make sure they are really hot and generally fresh deep fried foods will be alright too.

Which brings me back to soft cheeses. In Australia all dairy products are pasturised, it is actually illegal to sell anything unpasturised labelled as a food product. Pasturisation involves extremely high heat, which kills listeria. Just make sure you store your soft cheeses in the fridge and buy them in a sealed packet.

There is a minor chance of cross contamination, which means the listeria bacteria contaminates a dairy product after it has been pasturised, but boiling milk or cooking soft cheese (like in canneloni) will fix that up anyway in case you are really worried.

I don't eat fish or meat anyway, which from what I can tell have a higher risk of carrying the bacteria, but I haven't looked into it much.

In the meantime, I'm going to sit back and enjoy my pasturised soft cheeses. I'm probably more likely to get hit by a car than catch listeriosis anyway. It just means I'm likely to get some dirty looks from people who think I'm a bad mum whilst I eat my cottage cheese on crackers.

Week 20- now that's kicking!

I just spent a week on a tropical island for a wedding, very nice! And gave me plenty of time to loll around and feel the baby kick. I think most of the time when pregnant women don't feel their baby kick it's because they are just busy. D can feel it kicking too, it's a strong little thing

October 23, 2009

What's in a name?

So much!

My husband and I have the difficult decision on choosing a surname for our babies, as well as the usual task of a first name. This is because I chose to keep my name when we married, partly because I like my name, partly for the feminist in me and partly because it's my name-I can't imagine just waking up one day with another one.

So what to do about our babies? I'm not into hyphenating, because what happens to the next generation, quadruple barreled names? I want a more sustainable option. I'm not keen on the idea that girls take the mother's name and boys take the father's name, simply because I want them all the have the same name.

So here is the idea I am currently working on. It's a bit complicated so bear with me:
  • Ms Jones marries Mr Smith and they both take each others name to become Jones Smith (no hyphen!)
  • Their children Bob and Sally take both names, Jack Jones Smith and Sally Jones Smith
  • When Bob gets married he keeps the patriarchal line, his dads name Smith and his wife keeps the matriarchal line, her mothers name Brown and they become Brown Smith
  • Their children become Brown Smith's too
  • Sally gets married and keeps her mother's name Jones and her husband adds his fathers name Green and they become Jones Green
...and so on...

But I'm not sure if I am willing or able to try this out without it becoming the norm in our society. It takes too much explaining.

First names are much more fun. Rosalie or Harriet are front runners if it's a girl but we need more boys names, Rupert currently tops the list.

Any suggestions for surnames or first names?

October 19, 2009

18 weeks - Ultrasound

We went for our first scan, first photo's of baby, though it still looks an awful lot like an alien to me. I dutifully drank the full 1.5 litres of water in an hour despite every bone in my body telling me not too. I managed to hold it down (vomiting was a much greater threat than peeing!) until the scan an hour later.

It was pretty cool. Our bub was really sleepy though, not very active and yawning an awful lot. hey got the first all the pictures they needed in twenty minutes except for one, a profile of the baby's face. It was pretty camera shy. I peed and got back on the table for more goo but the baby still wouldn't show it's face. I went for a walk and we prodded my tummy a bit, I did some squats, but forty minutes later and the little one was still just yawning and ignoring our attempts to turn it around.

We had to go back the next morning and fortunatly the baby was just facing the right direction. We got the picture we needed in about 5 minutes.

The news is all good. The baby is healthy and big for dates, even though I've still only put on three kilo's. I think this little baby's a tease!!

September 29, 2009

15 weeks - kicking?

I'm 15 weeks and 6 days and I'm sure I felt that little alien in my tummy wriggling around this morning. It's early, but I am thin and pretty sensitive so it's certainly possible.

I was sitting at my desk at work tapping away on the keyboard when I felt butterflies in my tummy, real low down. I stopped typing for a second, but then thought, no it can't be, it's too early. I kept typing but this little butterfly was insistent, the gentle tapping continued for a full minute or two so there was no mistaking it. I started giggling and emailed D straight away. I didn't tell the other girls at work, it felt like a lovely little secret between me and my baby.

September 25, 2009

Pre-natal care

As usual my approach to pregnancy is very old fashioned. I'm reading a wonderful, wonderful book called Mothering the New Mother by Sally Placksin. It is one of the few books that I highly recomend you read if you or your partner/relative/friend is pregnant. Sally Placksin discusses a woman's specific needs after childbirth and how we can have them met in modern culture (which so commonly ignores them).

Sally Placksin interviews women from various trditional cultures and find rich traditions around the world that nourish pregnant women and new mothers. One of the most beautiful stories she shares is from Luz Garcia, a Colombian who is the daughter of a physician and a midwife. Here is a brief exert:

"Birth was not ever seen as an illness, but as a sign of health and a sign of beauty and life coming through...If you could bear a child you were healthy, you were alive, every good thing was coming your way...Regardless of what the family was, that infant was cared for from the moment the mother was fund to be in estado [pregnant]. The mother got fed better, first portion came to her...[there was no prenantal care.] The mother was recomended to have long walks, to see flowers, to see baby animals at play, and to hold other babies and have good thoughts..."

September 09, 2009

Wonderful news!

I'm back in the land of blogging, and I have some wonderful news to share. I'm pregnant. It's one of the reasons I went all silent on you, I wasn't ready to share it with the world until it all settled in nicely.

For the next little while I'll be back-posting some of the posts I've been writing but not publishing to catch you up to speed. I'll be sharing with you what I have come to learn about pregnancy from an Ayurvedic perspective.

I'm thirteen weeks today, which makes the little one due in March. We are really, really happy about it all. Happy in a way I've never really experienced before. It's such a deep sense of satisfaction and really puts the trivial stressors of the world into perspective.

I'm really happy to be back blogging. I'm only working 4 days a week so I feel like I have clawed my life back. I was not designed for full time work. I'm far too multi faceted for that, and have much varied needs and desires which paid work alone cannot satisfy. Plus I'm growing a human, which is a pretty big job on it's own!

Great to be back and thanks to those of you wo have stuck out the long wait.

August 26, 2009

Yoga-first trimester

Early pregnancy can be a pretty nerve-racking cause everyone's telling you what to do and worse still, what not to do. Some helpful things I've heard regarding unwanted advice during pregnancy:
  • It's about them and not about you.
  • It's just practice for being a parent, you'll be getting plenty of unsolicited advice from here on in!
Back to yoga, I've been sifting through the advice for the useful bits and here's what I've come up with.

In the first trimester you'll likely be feeling pretty gross and exercise won't be the top of your agenda. So if you don't want to, don't do it. You really can afford to rest now and make up for it later when you feel stronger.

If you've been doing yoga for a long time and you aren't feeling too gross then you won't need to adjust your yoga routine much in the first few months. My teacher advised me to go easy on squats. If you've been doing back bends and headstands for a long time you may feel strong enough to continue. Breath of fire or bundha's (locks) in the abdomen area are no good for pregnant women. Of course mulabundha, which is a lock of the base chakra, is the same as what we call pelvic floor exercises, so this one is great.

There are some general things pregnant women ought to know about exercise:
  • Be careful about over heating, this can be quite dangerous
  • Stay hydrated, your body is making all sorts of new fluid (amniotic fluid, new blood, the embryo itself is still fluid) so don't let yourself dry out
  • Your body is making a new hormone called relaxin, which allows your body to open for birth. Relaxin also makes you more flexible so you have to be extra careful not to overstretch
  • Lying on your back may be uncomfortable, but as long as it's comfortable it's not dangerous
  • You may be experiencing both low blood pressure and low blood sugar. Be careful standing or sitting up quickly. If you feel dizzy sit straight down.
I personally felt uncomfortable with positions on my stomach (like cobra) just because of the nausea. If anything makes you feel sick, just don't do it.

August 18, 2009

Foods to avoid in pregnancy

I'm not too strict about this. Recent research shows that the stress and guilt women feel about drinking alcohol whilst pregnant has MORE effect on the unborn child than the alcohol itself. So chill out and enjoy your food. This is the most important thing.

However it is sensible to avoid certain foods where possible. Avoid anything that is too potent, sharp, pungent, hot or strong. Foods or herbs that cause uterine contractions, have a laxative effect or promote bleed should all be avoided.

I'm about to give you a big list of foods to avoid, but I want to start by saying it doesn't really matter. These foods are mostly fine in moderation. Turmeric in culinary quantities ( a pinch in a family meal) isn't a worry, but medicinal quantities (such as 1/2 teaspoon three times a day) is not such a good idea. My dad's rosemary potatoes are still on the menu but rosemary essential oil is not going in my bath.

I'm not trying to suggest that the foods on this list will cause you to miscarry, that is not the case at all. Actually it's more subtle, for example some of these foods will aggravate the baby and others may increase your pregnancy symptoms.

If you are early in pregnancy you may want to take more care to avoid foods on this list but once your pregnancy is well established you should be able to take them in food quantities, but still avoid medicinal quantities. Especially avoid the if your pregnancy is fragile or complicated.
  • laxatives including triphla and aloe vera
  • emmenagogues
  • neem
  • asafoetida
  • garlic
  • chilli
  • nutmeg
  • fenugreek
  • cloves
  • sage
  • thyme
  • rosemary
  • nigella seeds
  • poppy seeds
  • honey (this is contested, but I prefer to use jaggary which is excellent for pregnancy)
  • licorice root
  • oregano
  • dandelion root (leaves are fine)
  • dill
  • fennel
  • neem
  • sesame
  • ginger (ginger is great for morning sickness, but only in moderation, a pinch of grated fresh ginger in a cup of hot water should suffice)
  • turmeric
  • parsley
Of course if you are pregnant and you have been eating these please don't panic, everything is fine in moderation. You'd have really make an effort to eat enough poppy seeds to affect your pregnancy. It wouldn't happen by accident after eating a piece of multigrain bread. Just try and avoid making these foods your daily, staple diet.

In pregnancy your nausea and super smelling power will guide you to avoid certain foods. Garlic and vinegar both send my stomach reeling these days, your body will tell you what to do!

August 05, 2009

Week 8-telling people

I've decided to tell a few more people. At first we only told our immediate families and three of my closest girl friends. Not telling has been on the hardest things and as my symptoms get worse it's not as easy to hide anymore.

I've been looking pretty green at work and getting a few questions so I decided to come clean. I'm lucky to work in a very supportive workplace in a team of all women so they are all thrilled and full of tips for coping with the sickness. Of course at 8 weeks the pregnancy still isn't that well established, but they all understand the risks.

Before I was pregnant I believed I wouldn't tell anyone until 12 weeks, but now I'm here it's a lot more complicated than I expected.

It feels so oppressive to suffer in silence, why should all these women deal with the first trimester alone, without the support of their workplace, friends, family, other mums. Sheila Kitzinger reckons that often the first trimester is the hardest, and I think we should be able to share the good times and the bad. Whilst the risk of misscarriage doesn't decline for another 4 weeks, I'd like their support if we did lose this tiny child. I'd rather not keep my grief a secret. This is real life, shit happens and I'd like to be able to talk about it.

And they are all so excited, why wouldn't I want to incude them on this wonderful journey!

I'm not ready to completely go public just yet. Whilst I told my team I'm not telling the remaining 140 people at my workplace. I'm not posting these just yet, and it's certainly not going on face book!

All day sickness or nausea during pregnancy 2

If your pregnant nausea will most likely be on your mind during those early months. I posted a bit on morning sickness earlier and here's some more, cause it's a pretty big issue.

Herbs and remedies:
  • Pour boiling water over puffed rice, strain and drink (Seriously, this one saved me on many occasions, my Ayurvedic doctor recommended it and it has really really helped)
  • Chyawanprash is good general tonic during pregnancy
  • Roast shatavari in an iron pan with ghee, cardomom and date sugar
  • Soak ten fresh dates in a litre of ghee. Add 1 teaspoon of ginger, 1/8 teaspoon of cardomom and a pinch of saffron. Cover loosely. Keep this in a closed warm space for a week. Then eat one date daily in the early morning. (Thanks to Dr Vasant Lad, and this one also helps with anemia)
  • Hot milk with a tiny pinch of nutmeg and cardomom (nutmeg is not recomended usually in pregnancy so go easy)
  • Puffed rice with a little honey
  • The smell of rose, lemon or mint may help
  • Acupressure (known as marma in Ayurveda) point
Or you could simply try peacock feather ash!

July 29, 2009

All day sickness or nausea during pregnancy

It's totally gross and most women feel it. Nausea is a really big topic so I will write a couple of posts about it. I've searched and searched and western medicine gives no reason for morning sickness. There are a few un-tested theories and a few emetic drugs which are no longer prescribed because they deform the baby. So here is the Ayurvedic perspective. Ayurveda offers three causes of nausea during pregnancy. I'll do my best to translate these but would love some help if any of you know more!

1. Vaatha Vaigunya
Malfunction of Vata. This is like travel sickness, Vata moves around the body in the wrong way pushing other dosha's along too.

2. Dauhidra Avamaanana
Give the woman what she wants! So long as it is not detrimental to mother or her baby all her cravings must be satisfied. Unsatisfied desires cause morning sickness.

3.Garbha Nimittha
This means the embryo/feotus is pushing upwards which is what makes the mother feel nauseous or vomit.

The first trimester diet for a pregnant women advises lots of liquids, the embryo is still in a liquid form and the mothers body is building blood, amniotic fluid and fat. An increase in water element is very helpful.

However if you are anything like me fluids are the main offender, I just can't swallow anything liquid. I find that if I eat Vata and Pitta pacifying food as soon as a I wake up and then at 8am, 10am and 12 pm then it sets me up well for the rest of the day. You'll know what your worst time of day is (and it's not always the morning) so make sure you have food ready every two hours for that time of day.

My favourite snacks:
  • apples, bananas, grapes, pears
  • rice crackers
  • salty crackers with cottage cheese
  • plain bread, scones, chapati's
  • Blanched almonds, walnuts
  • Cold milk with ANZAC biscuits (cold milk is generally recommended during early pregnancy)
The evenings do tend to be better for me so I try and catch up on some fluids then. I sip my way very slowly through a glass or two or cold water or cold peppermint tea or cold juice at my best time of day, but don't bother with drinks when I feel gross. Personally I think comfort is my primary concern right now. Water is no good if I chuck it straight up again.

Week 7-blech!

Now I feel totally gross. I'm going to buy some of those acupressure wristbands to try and settle my stomach. I no longer feel queasy, it's now full blown nausea. Although I haven't thrown up I want to, almost constantly. Gross.

I don't like food much which is a new feeling for me, but I'm always hungry. And it's certainly an odd feeling wanting to stuff my face with food and throw up and the same time. Most smells are disgusting, though lemon, mint and coffee smell great!

My breasts are growing but they aren't much fun because they are too sore too touch. It feels like I have a huge bruise across my whole chest.

But it's not all such a drag. This week my little embryo is developing facial features and fingers and toes. Depending who you ask it's now the size of a peanut or a rasberry or a bean. Here's a portrait of the little one. Not exactly cute just yet, it still looks like a freaky mini alien to me.

July 22, 2009

Fear of miscarriage

Miscarriage is unfortunately common in the first trimester. 1 in 8 confirmed pregnancies will result in miscarriage, but don't despair, that means 7 in 8 little embryo's will hang in there for the long haul. No matter what the odds most pregnant women will have some fear of miscarriage, especially in those tentative early months.

Here are some things that help me in my moments of anxiety:
  • It's totally natural to have crazy mood swings during pregnancy. Anxiety is a sure sign that pregnancy hormones are doing their work, so if you are extremely worried it's just another symptom of pregnancy.
  • Pregnancy is preparation for motherhood. One of the greatest lessons is to realise that I am not in control. The fact that conception and birth are not dates that can be planned in stone is a reminder that although you would love to have a spring baby it's not really your choice. The universe will do what it will. Surrender.
  • Try to talk to someone who normalises pregnancy. Whilst it's great to have some friends get over the top excited sometimes this can feel like pressure, I don't want to let them down. Talk to someone who works with pregnant women all the time and will understand that pregnancy is a prefectly normal stage of life, most women do it.
  • Highs and lows are inextricably linked. Don't get too involved with your highs and you won't get too involved with your lows.
  • Go and talk to your health care provider for reassurance.
  • If you are not having bleeding or cramping there's nothing to worry about. A change or lack of pregnancy symptoms or simply not feeling pregnant does not mean you have lost the baby.
  • Dr Frawley suggests that anxiety can weaken the embryo, so let your fears go for the sake of your baby.
If you are an extremely fearful person (pregnant or not) it's best to eat well, rest well, breathe well and talk about it. Avoid anything that is very stimulating like spicy food, extreme weather, unpleasant loud noises or crowds and travel. Enjoy sex and exercise in moderation so as not to exhaust your ojas.

Finally the vast majority of pregnancies result in a healthy baby so sit back and enjoy the ride.

Week 6-Emotions

I'm a nervous wreck. I used to be such a cool cat but the pregnancy hormones have kicked in and I can't stop crying. Or singing.

Last week I was I was in heaven, I was so happy I was singing to my tiny baby all day long. Then a few days ago I had two full days of non-stop tears. I bawled my eyes out about everything, about nothing. My poor husband is exhausted!

Emotional rollercoatser rides are usually caused by Vata, so I'm trying to bring more earth an water into my life, as usual.

The weather at the moment is not conducive to calm. It's mid winter and whilst it doesn't get too cold in Fremantle we get gale force winds and torrential rain. My old weatherboard cottage feels as though it might just blow away to the land of oz. The storms certainly make me more nervous so I'm making sure I dress warmly when I go out and keep my head covered in the wind.

Eating lots of ghee and milk and whole grains all help to ground me too. A little back rub helps a lot and so does talking about it, particularly to other women who have been pregnant. They all know what I'm on about.

But to a certain degree I do feel like I need a good cry. Tears cleanse pitta and early pregnancy is an extremely high pitta stage of life. So I have a good cry, I watch my emotions come and go just trying not to buy into it. I imagine myself sitting by a raging river watching all my emotions floating along. I don't ignore them but I can feel that the emotions are not truly me. Truly I am an eternally peaceful soul. This is permanant whilst the emotions come and go.

July 18, 2009

Week 5-what to do?

So now that I know I'm pregnant I'm wondering what to do it about it.

I believe pregnancy is a very natural and normal part of a woman's life, rather than an illness or medical emergency. I'm choosing a home birth, and I feel so grateful to know about this safe and satisfying option, but this means my midwife won't be assigned until I am twelve weeks pregnant!

In the meantime what's a girl to do? I'm going crazy trying to keep it a secret and I'm choosing not to busy myself with obstetrician appointments, ultrasounds, peeing in cups, being jabbed with needles, being weighed, measured, poked or prodded. Now that I have a baby growing inside me I can see why all these women like to have obstetricians, it makes you feel like you are doing something. All I'm doing is waiting for a baby to come out.

So I read about pregnancy and childbirth and parenting. I love to read real life stories by real life women, single mothers, teenage mothers, adoptive mothers, lesbians, radicals, all women who fiercly love their babies. I dislike the medical week by week accounts assuming there is a husband involved and that all mothers sit on rocking chairs and wear aprons and alice bands. I want to hear about the emotional and spiritual changes, the pain and pleasure, the difficult decisions, the complications, the fears and anxieties, the deep desires and most of all the rewards that accompany all dark times.

The physicality of my pregnancy is just one aspect, the spiritual and emotional components feel so much more powerful to me. So I'm just gonna let things be as they are.

July 11, 2009

Constipation in pregnancy

Of course, typical to my dosha, I'm constipated before the morning sickness even hits. Read the general guidelines for constipation here, all the dot points in that post are safe for pregant women, but the informatio in this pregnancy specific post overrides any of the information in the general constipation post if you are pregnant. Ayurveda does not advise laxatives during pregnancy.

  • Never take aloe vera, triphla or castor oil during pregnancy and generally avoid any foods, herbs or medicines with a strong Apana Prana action, or downward force (Dr Sarita Shresta even advises against eating sesame for this reason)
  • First try drinking one cup of hot milk with a large teaspoon of ghee last thing at night, at least one hour after dinner, this is enough for a lot of pregnant women
  • If you need something stronger add a teaspoon of psyllium husks to your hot milk
  • Have a Vata and Pitta pacifying diet favouring warm soupy foods (if your nausea doesn't rebel against mush, mine did, just do what you can)
  • Have lightly cooked vegetables and stewed fruit, avoid raw vegetables and raw fruit
  • Put a tablespoon of ghee on every meal and drink a glass of warm water with every meal (large amounts of ghee such as this should be avoided in the last trimester)
  • Daily massage with warm sesame oil has so many wonderful benefits for pregnant women including relieving constipation
  • Failing a full body massage try just massaging your tummy very gently in a clockwise direction using your open palms (not fingers)
  • Add 30 drops of patchouli essential oil to 30ml sesame oil for a stomach massage oil that gives stronger relief

Week 4-peeing on a stick

I could smell my friends vegemite toast three rooms away so I suspected I might be in the family way. But I also knew what to look for so I didn't know if my symptoms were invented because I wanted to feel them.

So a week ago I peed on a stick and I was a bit bummed when only one control line came up. Not Pregnant. But it was our first month of trying so I wasn't really surprised, I've heard so many stories of couples trying for months and even years before concieving.

Three days later when my period still hadn't come and I was feeling hungry and tired I peed on another stick and there it was. Two lines. Up the duff.

I've been looking forward to this for years, just waiting patiently to get my health and finances in order. I felt happy and a bit teary, gave D a good squeeze and off we both went to a normal day at the office.

DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT IS!? I've just recieved the most exciting and significant news of my life and I had to rock up to work and act like everything's normal. The next few days were tough. I'm really bad at secrets, but I do want to wait till the pregnancy is better established before announcing it to the world.

April 28, 2009

Time for a break

You may have noticed I haven't been around for a couple of weeks. I've decided to make it official, I'm taking a break from blogging.

I am working full time and studying Ayurvedic post natal care for mothers and finding it all a bit hard to manage. So in the interests of my own health and sanity I'll be taking a month or two off blogging.

Stay tuned, I will be back. In the meantime I will continue to reply to your comments and questions.

April 11, 2009

Rose jam

It's coming to the end of the hot season here in Freo so it's really the wrong end of the year for me to be posting this. But I found this wonderful recipe a long time ago and have only just gotten around to it.

Rose jam is a classical remedy for high Pitta. I remember seeing pilgrims buying it in large volumes in Pushka, Rhajastan, before I really knew what rose was all about. Now I understand why this cooling jam sells so well in the middle of the desert.

Rose works especially on sadhaka pitta, the sub-dosha located in the nervous system which governs the heart and brain. People who are hot-headed, ungrateful or irritable benefit from the calming, romantic influence of rose. Rose works well for hot skin conditions, you can sprit your face with rose water in summer, this helps for pimples, heat rash and sun burn.

Make rose jam with organic rose petals to avoid any nasties and take it before bed with hot milk to promote sleep on hot nights. Thanks to Amma's special for the recipe below!

April 06, 2009

Paid parental leave

There is some talk in Australia of introducing paid parental leave in the next budget and it's about time. Australia is one of only five countries in the world that don't offer any paid maternity leave (the others are the US, Papua New Guinea, Liberia and Swaziland). The United Nations recommends 16 weeks paid at 100% for women, and 4 weeks paid at 100% for men.

There are many social, health and economic benfits to paid parental leave. Primarily bonding, breastfeeding and women in the workforce.

Getup's current campaign for paid parental leave points out that "research shows the continuous interaction between babies and parents in the baby’s first twelve months of life shapes the brain wiring – affecting how a child regulates their emotions, communicates, solves problems, thinks logically and reacts to the world." Australian women are breastfeeding their children for less than the World Health Organisation recommendation of 6 months.

Sign Getup's petition for paid parental leave here.

March 29, 2009

Gnochi all Romana

Semolina is fast becoming one of my favourite ingredients for egg free cooking, and here's yet another simple impressive recipe. Gnochi alla Romana is a little different from usual gnochi because it is baked, not boiled. And it's about a hundred times easier to make!


1 L water
2 Tbs butter
2 1/2 cups coarse semolina
1-2 teaspoon himalayan rock salt


Bring the water to boil with salt and butter in a large saucepan. Pour in the semolina slowly, whisking vigorously to avoid lumps. Keep stirring till the mixture thickens and take off the heat. Spread the mixture onto an oiled work surface about a cm thick (wet hands work well for this) and allow to cool and harden.

When firm use a small round cookie cutter to cut the semolina into rounds. Layer the off cuts on the bottom of a greased baking tray and then arrange the rounds so they overlap eachother. Drizzle with some extra melted butter and nutmeg (and choose your topping from below) and grill for a few minutes till warm an golden.


Traditionally this is topped with parmesan, butter and nutmeg, but Ayurvedically speaking parmesan is not a food to favour. Try serving with fresh herbs, pesto, ricotta, pureed roast capsicum, pinenuts...any of your favourite pasta toppings.

March 22, 2009

Sexuality and the dosha

Sex is a very individual thing, and each person has completely unique thoughts, opinions, emotions and desires regarding sex. Some of this is cultural, but a lot of it can help us to understand the dosha of a person.

Vata is creative, sensual, responsive and wary. They naturally have a low interest in sex, which serves them well physically because it can be quite imbalancing for them. Sex is important to them only as an expression of love, for they love to express themselves.

Vata may take some time to commit in a relationship, but once they do they are very faithful lovers. For this reason they may be considered cold sexually, but when they meet the right person they will be a surprisingly satisfying lover.

Vata really appreciates romance, beauty and art, and their partners would be wise to indulge them here as it will help allay their anxiety and warm their desire. They may not know it but traditional values and routine are very valuable. It can be helpful to plan to have sex ahead of time and enjoy all the courtship and foreplay that precedes.

Vata is most likely to have problems concieving due to stress, dryness, low body weight and disturbed Apana Vata. Travelling and general instability won't help, so Vata's parter can really help by appealing to their romantic side, cooking regular meals (the best thing anyone can do for Vata) and encouraging them to slow down and rest. Worry is their greatest enemy, and their sex drive can be switched off all too easily.

Pitta is fiery, ambitious, attention seeking and passionate. Their competitive nature may impede on their sex life by preventing them from ever feeling satisfied. Pitta people love to think of themselves as fantastic lovers, but a lack of patience and reliability may be frustrating for their partner. They tend to prefer spontaneity and power.

Pitta types may suffer from impotence due to excess heat burning up the reproductive tissues or Pitta's natural flow of movement upwards, instead of downwards (like fire). Pitta may indulge in sex more often than Vata, but go more gently in summer.

In matters of sex Pitta should take care to channel their enormous energy through their heart, rather than their sex organs or brilliant intellect. This will lead to virility, compassion and nobility in sexual relationships.

Kapha is enduring, balanced, determined, nurturing and hard working. Kapha is naturally very sensual, and considered a very good prospect for marriage. Their partners need only watch out for feeling trapped by Kapha, as they become very attached and can be greedy.

Kapha is unlikely to suffer from reproductive issues and will usually bear many children very easily. Enlarged prostate, endometriosis or ovarian cysts may be caused by Kapha, but most commonly, Kapha need only lose a little weight if they have any trouble conceiving.

Kapha can really benefit from excercise, and sex is one kind of excercise Kapha can be more easily persuaded to partake in!

For the best possible sex life you would be wise to know your partners dosha, as this will help you to seduce and stimulate them, meet their needs and understand when things don't go exactly as you hoped.

Special thanks to Maya Tiwari for much of the information in this post.

March 07, 2009

Women in medicine

For most of modern medical history female doctors were considered inadequate by the institution. Many were considered quacks and others pretended to be men.

As for the history of women in Ayurveda, I would love to know more. I do know that what we have written today is the work of men. These old texts have been tampered with over the years and some of the references to women are considered to be added later.

As far as I can tell women were particularly import in medicine relating to child bearing. Women were birth attendents and supported mothers throughout. I have also heard that women didn't write their knowledge down like men did, and much was lost or altered over the years of oppression that followed.

Modern medical history is better recorded, of course because it is much more recent. So I've included a little information about some significant women in medicine around the time things began to change.

"Lovisa Ã…rberg (born in Uppasala in 1803, died after 1866), was a Swedish surgeon and doctor. She was the first recognised female doctor in Sweden; she was a doctor and a surgeon already in the 1820s, long before it was formally permitted for women in 1870. The only identified earlier female medical practitioner in Sweden, who may have had such an official recognition, was Kisamor, who didn't have any formal medical training."

"Dr James 'Miranda' Barry was a rather more unusual case. Graduating from the Medical School of Edinburgh in 1812 and forging a hugely successful career as an army surgeon, eventually becoming Inspector General of Hospitals – one of the most senior medical positions in the military, it was discovered upon Barry's death that this notorious dandy and flirt (who once even fought a duel over a woman) was in fact, female, and had lived a sensational deception all her life. The irony was that without taking on the vestiges of masculinity, Barry would never at that time have been accepted for medical training."

"Florence Nightingale was born in Italy on 12th May 1820. Despite opposition from her family she decided to devote her life to nursing and campaigning for better health care and sanitation for all. It was her work during the Crimean War that created the legend of the Lady with the Lamp and it was her experience here that drove her to continue, researching, writing and tirelessly campaigning.

Her greatest achievement was to make nursing a respectable profession for women. Florence's writings on hospital planning and organization had a profound effect in England and across the world, publishing over 200 books, reports and pamphlets."

And finally, today more than 60% of people studying medicine in Scotland are women, who have long led the way for women in medicine. I am so grateful to be living in a time when my skills in medicine are regarded equally as if I were a man.

March 02, 2009

Sattva and food

I recently told a story about the three guna's or quality's. Sattva is the desired guna, promoting peace and harmony and satisfaction. Sattva is associated with spiritual aspirations and many ascetics choose to bring more sattva into their lives. One way to do this i through what we eat.

You can easily tell which foods promote sattva because they are fresh, juicy, light, unctuous, nourishing, sweet, and tasty. They give the body energy and nutrients without taking much effort to digest. Foods that are stimulating or exciting (like chili) and foods that are old (like frozen foods or leftovers) are not sattvic.

How you prepare your food can increas or decrease it's sattva. Any food prepared with peace and love with be more sattvic, whilst anything prepared whilst you are angry or stressed will become less sattvic. Organic and seasonal produce gives more sattva and soaking increases sattva in all foods. Foods that are well cooked are more sattvic that foods that are raw or burnt or deep fried.

There are plenty of foods and herbs that promote sattva, including:
There are many food which are naturally high in sattva, but due to our modern processing and storage lose this quality. Milk for example is very sattvic, but only for four hours after milking! After that it is rajasic. Wheat is also sattvic, but becomes tamasic if it is not eaten immediately after being ground into flour-the whole grain, however, improves with age. Day old home made yoghurt is sattvic, but store bought yoghurt is not. Most of this is due to age or processing, and really is nearly impossible to avoid these days unless you live on a farm.

Guna do not correlate with dosha, though many people try to find a link. There are foods that are suitable for each dosha which are high in sattva. And again, sattva is not a black and white matter, some foods, like black pepper are highly stimulating and therefore rajasic, but the effect they have on the body can be sattvic because the cleanse and purfy the lungs. Different foods may be sattvic for different people.

If this all sounds a bit complicated, just go back to the very beginning, and choose foods that are fresh, juicy, light, unctuous, nourishing, sweet, and tasty.

To find out your guna and what areas you could work on you can a little quiz here.

February 22, 2009


Jaggary, or gur, is basically boiled sugar cane juice. The longer it is boiled the more water evaporates and the final product is drier and harder. Jaggary is a totally different product to white sugar, even thought they are both made from sugar cane. For example, sugarcane juice is found to have reduced the number of teeth cavities, whilst refined white sugar is known to increase them.

Jaggary is heavy, moist and warm, whilst white sugar is light, dry and cold. Sugarcane jouice is moist and cool just to confuse things! White sugar is recommended as an antidote to make some hot medicines more tolerable for Pitta, but not as a regular food.

Jaggary balances Vata, but is too heavy and sweet for Kapha and too warm for Pitta to enjoy regularly. It is a very important source of nutrients and can be eaten daily by Vata. It is useful in cases like convalesence, pregnancy and post natal care. It has specific action on the lungs and is a very good blood builder. It is high in iron, and can be eaten daily with black sesame seeds for Vata type anemia. Jaggary also has the advantage of being sattvic, unlike white sugar (rajasic) or treacle (tamasic).

Since it naturally contains potassium and sodium jaggary doesn't cause a blood sugar spike like refined sugar does. Jaggary may be tolerated by diabetics a little better than white sugar, but raw honey is still best in this case. This mineral salt content also makes it excellent for rehydration or blood loss.

Jaggary is most typically used in India food for making sweets with sesame, coconut or milk. But Gujarati cuisine is famous for it's unique sweetness, and jaggary is used in dahl and vegetable dishes. A typical Punjabi meal is mustard greens with corn flour flat bread and a chunk of jaggary-delicious and really fun to eat!

If it looks light and dry it probably is, so most 'raw' sugar and 'brown' sugar likely shares more qualities with white sugar than jaggary. Find the most moist and gooey and dark sugar you can. In my experience gooey dark sugar made from coconut, date or palm has similiar qualities to that made from sugarcane, and may be more available.

It isn't as sweet as white sugar, and does affect the outcome of various baked goods, but I love it so much I use it in baking anyway. To use it in cooking you can dissolve it with a dash of warm water and use in place of syrups like honey (which shouldn't be cooked) and golden syrup (which is highly refined). This syrup is also delicious on pancakes. Dryer jaggary can be grated, and then blended to make a powder which can be used in place a regular sugar for a darker, heavier, less sweet result. Jaggary chunks can be easily dissolved in tea or porridge.

February 15, 2009

First Aid for Travellers

I am one of those people who gets sick even just at the thought of travel. This is due to Vata, the dosha which reacts badly to change, movement and lack of routine. There are lots of things you can do to minimise these aspects of travel, like eating and sleeping at regular times, travelling more slowly and spending more time in one spot.

You can also take a few herbs and essential oils to assist you in the case of minor illnesses. What you choose depend on what illnesses you personally tend towards and the illnessess associated with the place in which you are travelling. Here are my favourites:
  • Nutmeg (as freshly grated as possible)
  • triphla
  • lavender oil
  • ginger powder
  • fennel seeds
  • 1 part rock salt mixed with 8 parts grated jaggary sugar
I buy a whole bunch of little snap lock plastic bags for storage. Now here's what you can use this first aid for:

Constipation is so common when travelling due to Vata aggravation and extravagant feasting. If you are prone to constipation you could almost take triphla every day whilst travelling for a month as a general digestive aid. 1/2 -1 teaspoon in warm water before bed.

Diarrhea is especially common is less developed countries. If it is a simple case of food poisining let it run it's course. If after three days you still have diarrhea take 1-2 tspns of nutmeg in warm water before eating something soupy and go and see a doctor. See also dehydration.

Burns and bites are best treated topically with lavender oil. Take pitta reducing foods.

Travel sickness responds well to ginger. Take half a teaspoon of ginger powder in hot water before travelling. Take some more along the way for long trips. Feeling hungry or too full exacerbates travel sickness.

Dehydration often results from sun, wind, exercise, diarrhea or if water supply is not reliable. Dissolve three teaspoons of the salt/sugar mix with 2 tspns of lime juice in half a litre of hot water. Sip constantly. You can use less lime in case of high Pitta. Water that rice has been cooked in or green coconut water both make effective electrolyte drinks for rehydration too, and may better for pitta.

Headaches can be treated topically by smearing a paste of ginger powder and water on the forehead and resting in a cool dark room. Try some lavender oil on the temples. See also dehydration.

Indigestion from over eating, unusual food or bad food combining can be helped by drinking hot water with a pinch of ginger, chewing fennel seeds after meals or in stronger cases taking triphla (as for constipation).

Insomnia is common due to jetlag or lack of routine. It can be helped by taking 1/2 a teaspoon of nutmeg in hot milk before bed (not to be used in case of constipation). Try to regulate your sleeping patterns and try some deep breathing or pose of the child daily. Lavender oil is a calming scent.

Above all get adequate rest whilst you are travelling. Avoid over eating and try to keep some simple routine in you day to day life. Enjoy!

February 08, 2009

Hazelnut Shortbread

A delicious, simple, rich biscuit. Perfect for Vata, alright for Pitta, and as usual no good for Kapha. To prepare the hazelnuts dry roast them in a pan stirring constantly. When a little golden let cool then rub gently in a clean tea towel to remove the brown skins. Grind to a fine powder in a blender. To prepare the jaggary grate it, or it's a bit quicker to shave it with a knife then blend it briefly to remove any lumps.

250 g butter
1/4 cup jaggary (grated)
3/4 cup roasted ground hazelnuts
1 2/3 cup atta flour

Leave the butter out to come to room temperature. Cream the butter with the jaggary (this helps dissolve the jaggary too). Mix in the ground hazelnuts and flour well.

You can now make it look pretty by piping it into small patty pans like soft serve, or if you can't be bothered, just spoon it in. They should be very small biscuits because they are so rich. Bake for 10-15 mins at 180'.

You can use blanched almonds instead of hazelnuts and regular sugar instead of jaggary for a bit more balance for Pitta.

February 01, 2009


The ears are an empty cavity, with tiny hairs which vibrate to pick up sound. This air and movement show that the ears are a vata dominated part of the body. They are, however, prone to imbalance of any dosha, and surprisingly Kapha earaches are the most common. This is why children have earaches a lot, but tend to grow out of it. This is also why it is common to get an earache after swimming, when the ear becomes full of water (Kapha).

Earaches can be viral, fungal or bacterial. If an earache is cause by a cold and congestion it is most likely to be Kapha. Hot, red, swollen, itchy ear ache tends to be Pitta, and Vata ear ache is caused by exposure to wind or cold. More often than not more than one dosha is involved.

General treatment of earaches includes alterative herbs, which are blood purifying, taken internally, or administered through the ear or nose. Mint tea (infused not boiled) is excellent internally, whilst a few drops of ginger juice, or garlic infused sesame oil are best for application directly into the ears. Neti can work effectively as it actually creates a vaccuum which helps to draw out any toxins from the greater sinus cavity, not just the nose. With neti be especially careful not to blow your nose afterwards because if you block your nose and blow the water will be pushed deeper into the sinuses-aggravating the problem. Especially as we grow older daily oiling of the ears is very useful.

If you find loud noises very disturbing this indicates a low white blood cell count, commonly caused by anemia, dehydation or low blood pressure (usually Vata and Pitta).

January 26, 2009

How to be a cool cat...

Ayurveda, as a science of health, encompasses more than just the physical, material aspects of health. Rejuvination, one of the categories in Ayurveda for which modern science offers no equivilant, includes food, herbal and physical therapies. It also offers a more ethereal, spiritual sort of rejuvination that comes from qualities like good thoughts, good speech and a moderate, quiet mind.

The yogi's well know that one of the most important factors for longevity is keeping a cool body temperature. This coolness is most important in the head, which is why Ayurveda always protects the head during hot treatments such as baths and saunas. This cool headedness also relates to our attitude to life. Firey, passionate thoughts are considered hot, and therefore burn up ojas- the essential glue that holds our spirit in our body. Compassion, respect and devotion are all mental qualities we can cultivate in order to live a healthier, and therefore longer life.

In our daily routine we usually allow time for external cleaning, like brushing our teeth and having a shower, and most of us allow for cleaning the channels of waste like going to the toilet or clearing our sinuses. Less of us give time for cleansing our minds of mental toxins, which is considered very important in Ayurveda. To cleanse you mind you can put aside some time every day, preferably early in the morning after cleaning the physical body and it's channels, for prayer, meditation or mantra chanting to gently and subtly rejuvinate your mind and cleanse it of ama.

This mental cleansing benefits your ojas and lifespan, and also gives a more peaceful, tolerant, detached view of life. Try it out, in whichever way works for you. I meditate for an hour every morning, but a friend of mine does 15 minutes of mantra chanting. Or you could simply take some time to give thanks for all the good things in your life, or even pray for a cool head!

January 18, 2009

Mental Constitution Chart

I'm kind of doing this in backwards order, since I haven't really explained the three guna yet, but I want to share a "Mental Constitution Chart" written by Dr David Frawley (slightly shortened from his book Ayurveda and the Mind). I really like this chart because it doesn't just lock you into a box, it invites you to make changes in you life. It also gives a good idea of what each guna involves, so I guess, in a way, I am explaining them!

DIET a) Vegetarian b) Some meat c)Lots of meat
DRUGS, ALCOHOL a) Never b) Occasionally c) Frequently
NEED FOR SLEEP a) Low b) Moderate c) High
SEXUAL ACTIVITY a) Low b) Moderate c) High
SPEECH a) Calm and peaceful b) Agitated c) Dull
CLEANLINESS a) High b) Moderate c) Low
WORK a) Selfless b) Personal goals c) Lazy
ANGER a) Rarely b) Sometimes c) Frequently
FEAR a) Rarely b) Sometimes c) Frequently
DESIRE a) Little b) Some c) A lot
PRIDE a) Modest b) Some ego c) Vain
DEPRESSIONa) Never b) Sometimes c) Frequently
LOVE a) Universal b) Personal c) Lacking
VIOLENCE a) Never b) Sometimes c) Frequently
CONTENTMENT a) Always b) Sometimes c) Never
FORGIVENESS a) Easily b) With effort c) Holds grudges
CONCENTRATION a) Good b) Moderate c) Poor
MEMORY a) Good b) Moderate c) Poor
WILL POWER a) Strong b) Variable c) Weak
CREATIVITY a) High b) Moderate c) Low
SPIRITUAL STUDY a) Daily b) Occasionally c) Never
MANTRA. PRAYER a) Daily b) Occasionally c) Never
MEDITATION a) Daily b) Occasionally c) Never
SERVICE a) Daily b) Occasionally c) Never

  • a) SATTVA:
  • b) RAJA:
  • c) TAMAS:
No cheating, only enlightened beings are pure sattva, the rest of us will have to settle for Rajas moving towards Sattva, which is far preferable to tamas. If you want to build sattva, look at the a) list and see what can be improved in your day to day life. At it's essence Sattva is a peaceful mind, so don't develop rajas in the mind in you ambition to be a clean freak or super creative. Just do works for you.

January 12, 2009

Diet for pregnancy

Pregnancy is such a special and important time in a woman's life. Ayurveda offers so much detailed advice on how to support your gowing baby, as well as stay strong mentally and physically yourself. Here is just a very brief overview.

Diet is, of course, of upmost importance during pregnancy. If you know a pregnant woman cook for her! She deserves to be treated like a queen at this stage. Pregnant women will need plenty of moisture; like soups, stews and teas. Iron rich foods and good quality organic fats (read: ghee) are vital. Meals should be small and regular, maybe six times a day. Vata can be kept in check with minimal travelling, high fluid intake and a good routine.

Cravings in pregnant woman are the desires of their baby. Unless they are detrimental to the health of the mother these cravings should be satisfied, so that the baby is happy!

Here are a few of the lesser known things women should avoid whilst pregnant:
  • Honey (use iron rich jaggary instead)
  • Asafoetida
  • Nutmeg
  • Fenugreek ( but excellent for lactation post partum)
  • Vata aggravating foods (dry, cold, raw)
Your baby will also feed of your mental disposition whilst you are pregnant, so if you want a peaceful baby meditate and spend plenty of time in beautiful, natural places like walking by the river or sitting on the grass.

January 04, 2009

A story-sattva, tamas and rajas

I haven't really written about sattva, tamas and rajas, which are integral concepts to Ayurveda. They are mental qualities, which are acquired by the ego, personality, attachment, desire, imagination etc. Whilst the soul is immortal, the personality displays these different qualities, called guna. All three qualities are needed for life, but on the spiritual path we should develop sattva.

In England Babaji gave a talk explaining sattva, rajas and tamas very simply by relating the guna of characters in the Mahabhrata.


"Those who are selfish, wicked, enjoy harming people, prone to greed, anger, jealousy, robbing others, full of false-pride are described as tamasic ... the wicked character Duryodhana would fit into this description - always acting on his own selfish imaginations, supported by his father the king."


"The second type of ego, rajasic, is mainly concerned with personal glory, even though it might be in a noble way. Again in the epic, the characters of Bhishma who was noble and valiant, and Drona who taught all the princes the science of archery, could be described as rajasic. Even though they had many noble qualities, when it came to the famous scene when Princess Draupadi was threatened with public disrobing, they didn't protect her. They used excuses such as " I must always support the king", and comments like this. But they didn't simply do the right thing and stand up for a woman's honour in this situation, because they were more interested in their personal glory.

"...They knew what was right and what was wrong, but they didn't try to simply protect her when she was in trouble like this. Draupadi asked for Bhishma's help - he was respected by all in the court. Though he knew that this was wrong ... he didn't protect her, saying, "Without the king's order, I cannot protect you." This is rajas - acting for personal glory."


"This is how Lord Krishna worked - not for personal glory, but for the larger cause. Just like when the war in the story of the Mahabharata was going to start, Krishna announced that each side could have either Him, or His army - whichever they chose. But if they chose Him, He would not actively fight for that side. Arjuna was noble and devoted to Krishna, so he asked Krishna to be on his side and steer his chariot - even if He didn't fight. Hearing this the wicked Duryodhana said, 'Arjuna is an idiot. Now I have Krishna's whole army fighting on my side, while he has chosen to have only Krishna on his side - and Krishna will not be fighting for him at all.'

"Krishna's satvic nature meant He was concerned with the larger cause. Thus at one point in the battle, He picked a wheel to use as a weapon to kill Duryodhana, simply for the sake of dharma (Righteousness). Seeing Krishna doing this, Arjuna told him, 'You said you wouldn't fight in this battle.' But Krishna replied, ' It is no problem. If I do this and kill Duryodhana, only my personal name and reputation will be damaged, but all the people of the kingdom will be benefited.' That is how a satvic ego behaves - for the larger cause.

Visit Babaji's website for more of his teachings.I'll write some more about the three gunas and how to develop sattva a little later.