by David McConaghay
In late April of 2018, the National Ayurvedic Medical Association held it’s 14th annual conference in Plano, Texas. I was there to serve as a volunteer, as a soon-to-be graduate of the Ayurvedic Doctor program at Alandi Ashram, and as a COLORAMA board member.
This was my first time at a NAMA conference and it was inspiring to be surrounded by an international community of Ayurveda enthusiasts and experts. Lots of people get excited about meeting famous musicians, actors or athletes. In this case, I was mildly star-struck when I asked Robert Svoboda to sign my copy of The Greatness of Saturn. Likewise, it was meaningful to share a meal with Amadea Morningstar, having enjoyed so many meals made of her recipes in the past.
After the welcome banquet on Friday night, many of the conference attendees made their way to a nearby theater to see The Doctor From India, the recently released documentary about Dr. Vasant Lad. It was poignant to watch this heart-opening film alongside so many people whose lives have been profoundly influenced by Dr. Lad.
Ayur-celebrities aside, it was of profound practical significance to meet with various members of the NAMA board and staff to explore the near and long-term potentials for Ayurveda in the United States. Of particular interest was a meeting focused on NAMA’s relationship with the state organizations.
Approximately 25 individuals from 9 states and Canada attended the meeting to discuss relevant topics about what it takes to start and maintain a state organization, what is the proper relationship between NAMA and the state associations, and of course, the pros and cons of health freedom laws and licensure.
The first outcome of this meeting is the formation of a State Organizations sub-committee whose purpose is “to support the development of state-level Ayurveda associations and to coordinate with them in order to foster community and avoid redundancy. Ideally, the committee will serve as a center of gravity, encouraging creative cooperation between states and alignment with the NAMA mission."
As it happens, I am the chair person for this newly formed committee, and very much looking forward to helping NAMA and the states work together for the benefit of Ayurveda and everyone involved.
The conference was also full of top-notch talks on panchakarma in the modern world, the Ayurvedic approach to gastrointestinal conditions, and Ayurvedic psychology. I particularly enjoyed Arun Deva’s presentation on Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy, as well as the research posters presented by two students who looked at NOAA climate data to determine appropriate rtucharya protocols for their local environments.
Even beyond the official presentations, the casual conversations between all the practitioners and life-long students were fascinating and uplifting. I came away from the conference feeling a sense of camaraderie that gives me more enthusiasm about Ayurveda in America than ever before.
Next year’s conference will be held at the 1440 Multiversity campus outside Santa Cruz, California. It promises to be a beautiful and intimate setting to explore the theme, “Ayurveda and the Mind.” I’m already looking forward to it, and hope you will consider joining us there.
by David McConaghay
Today is May 10, 2018 and this letter is composed in Boulder, Colorado, USA.
Until May 15, both Mars and the Sun are exalted in the sky, bringing prominence to the fire element. This can bring great clarity, but also a tendency towards explosiveness, which we can see with the volcano erupting in Hawai'i, all the bluster about nuclear weapons and the (thankfully, until now, relatively minor) exchange of rocket fire in the Middle East. Individually, the fire element is associated with rakta dhatu, so watch out for eruption of pitta skin conditions which can arise when our blood is boiling, so to speak.
Last week, Mars moved into the sign of Capricorn, where it will remain in exalted dignity until November. Mars is a tamasic planet primarily concerned with keeping us alive. When it comes to survival, things are very black-and-white — you either make it, or you don’t. Mars is that part of us that will fight for our right to exist.
Capricorn is a tamasic sign, focused on avoiding what might go wrong. This awareness of potential obstacles makes Capricorn skillful in commercial enterprises, as they always have a contingency plan. However, their deep aversion to risk can prevent Capricorn from taking action on even the most robust plan — which is where Mars comes in.
Mars is exalted in Capricorn because it provides the courage and discipline needed to activate carefully laid, long-term plans. The fiery quality of Mars serves as a spark plug to set the machine in motion. Mars represents the courage of a warrior, willing to do whatever is necessary to accomplish the mission, and this quality comes with just enough impulsiveness to initiate the proceedings.
Here’s a story to illustrate this dynamic: imagine there’s an attractive person that you would like to know better. They are in your extended group of friends, you’ve seen them before, exchanged smiles, but that’s it.
Every time you see them, you spend the rest of the night thinking about what you’ll say when you meet, rehearsing how it will go. You’ve found them on Facebook and (obviously not sent a friend request; that would be crazy) discovered that they like hiking and live music, just like you (you both live in Colorado, after all). You practice the words in your head, and then out loud. You game plan for all possible scenarios. You're ready for every disaster possible in the context of this hypothetical future interaction.
Now, you are at a party with a dear old red-headed friend of yours, when this attractive person walks in the door. Your ginger friend knows about your crush, knows how perfectly prepared you are for the encounter, and also knows your fear of failure may prevent anything from ever happening.
So what happens? Of course, your slightly insane freckled friend physically pushes you towards your crush, causing you to bump into them and unavoidably engage in conversation. You mention the trail you hiked yesterday, or the last band you saw. Your crush touches your arm in disbelief — they were at that show too! And that’s their favorite trail!
The combination of your preparation and the endearingly spontaneous moment created by your rude (or, funny) friend sets the gears turning and you can make up the rest of the story from here.
You are Capricorn. Your ginger friend is Mars. Your crush relates to whichever house is occupied by Capricorn in your chart. Sam Geppi provides a reliable place to calculate your Vedic chart at this link.
Remember: Mars is in Capricorn from now until November 6.
It will be retrograde from June 27 until August 28.
Now, let’s go through the signs one by one...
Capricorn: Mars is in your first house. This brings the focus to your physical self. Take advantage by exercising regularly, but avoid extremes. Regularity is more important than intensity. Routine and proper technique will help settle any sense of insecurity. Be especially careful of pitta provocation.
Sagittarius: Mars is in your second house. This relates to the organs of the face — particularly the mouth, in the form of what you eat and what you say (life is all about the inputs and outputs). Cultivate discipline with your diet and discussions. Don’t eat out of habit or boredom; don’t speak just to hear your the sound of your own voice. Eat to nourish yourself; be precise with your language. Avoid excess spicy food; be extra gentle with your words.
Scorpio: Mars, your ruling planet, is in your third house, activating egoic desires and the assertion of personal will. This is a time when you can confidently approach big accomplishments, but be careful not to get too grabby about your goals, as that can backfire. When you catch the tiger by his tail, which one of you is truly caught?
Libra: Mars is in your fourth house. First and foremost, be kind to your mother. Then, take time to reflect on how it feels to have accomplished your goals. Did it give the satisfaction you were seeking? If not, what does that tell you about your current ambitions? It may be time to adjust the sails of your ship and reorient your course according to a more appropriate North Star.
Virgo: Mars is in your fifth house. What great promise! Act on your enthusiasm. There is likely to be a new project arising that will pull you out of your comfort zone. I encourage you to allow this alluring idea to take you there. Devote yourself entirely to this fresh creation. Esoteric pursuits such as astrology, palmistry and nature-based healing and spirituality are indicated.
Leo: Mars is in your sixth house and it’s time to get to work. The inspiration and planning phases are through and now is when we keep our noses to the grindstone and do what simply must be done. Cultivate your courageous heart now by embodying the archetype of the father who, like the sun, provides what is needed to nourish life and asks for nothing in return. That being said, be mindful not to burn anyone too badly if you aren’t getting anything in return for your noble efforts.
Cancer: Mars is in your seventh house, bringing the focus to your committed relationships, be they romantic or commercial in nature. You will have greater clarity and sense of purpose in these relationships, which is crucial to your evolution in this lifetime. Get clear with yourself, then approach others with courage and conviction. Don’t let them overwhelm you.
Gemini: Mars is in your eighth house, begging for transformation. It is time to set aside anger and resentment about the way the world is, the way other people are, and refocus the warrior within to focus on deeper questions. Your naturally curious nature can benefit from the courage of Mars when exploring these deeper, inevitably darker realms.
Taurus: Mars is in your ninth house, calling you to apply greater discipline with your spiritual practices. I have often heard my teacher Sam Geppi say, “Religion is what you believe; spirituality is what you practice.” So what are you practicing? Are you practicing daily? Do your habits match your high ideals? If not, you now have cosmic support in making it so.
Aries: Mars, your ruling planet, is in your 10th house. Consistency is the name of the game. If you are ever to achieve the power and prestige you seek and generally deserve, you must learn to consistently funnel your fire in the same constructive direction. It’s like zapping someone in the eye with a laser pointer, obscuring their vision, versus applying the steady, focused laser of LASIK eye surgery, which brings perfect sight. See the difference?
Pisces: Mars is in your eleventh house, calling you to apply your spiritual principles in service of society as a whole. Fight for what you know is right for everyone. There is no time for navel gazing now; the moment is ripe to get out there and instigate change based on your universal sense of right and wrong. If you do, there just so happens to be the opportunity to accrue great wealth in the process.
Aquarius: Mars is in your twelfth house, beckoning you inward. The enlightenment you seek in the world is only truly found within, and the courage you normally display in working towards the benefit of society must now be applied within. Travel abroad, perhaps to an ashram or spiritual retreat where you can evolve in solitude and learn the internal resilience that will allow you to better serve others in the future.
Look for the next edition of Seasonal Astrology on the Summer Solstice. Until then, take care. Many blessings,
Today is March 20, 2018. This letter is composed in Boulder, Colorado, USA.
Last week, on March 15, the Sun entered the mytho-poetic realm of Pisces. Two days later, on March 17, we experienced a new Moon in Pisces, initiating a month-long cycle wherein we are invited to zoom out and adopt the most expansive possible perspective on our experience of life.
Pisces is the sign of day-dreamers, often accused of being aloof, if not outright lazy. But this is an incomplete portrayal, ignoring the fact that Pisces can be highly devoted and hard-working when the task(s) at hand align with their sense of higher meaning. Pisces is the part of us that seeks for the metaphorical significance of our existence, fueled by the irrational but undeniable knowing that there must be more to life than the mundane humdrum.
The wise approach Pisces as Vishnu (pictured above) does: floating at ease, enjoying beautiful Lakshmi (embodied as Venus, exalted in Pisces until March 27) and feeling perfect faith that the tides are drifting in the correct direction. Having cultivated a perspective inclusive of the entire cosmos, an individual life is clearly nothing but a speck of microscopic marine life. Prokaryotes are of course crucial to the health of the ocean as a whole, but they remain at the mercy of forces far beyond their power to influence. They may squirm this way or that, but the prevailing tides chart their predominantly predetermined course. Therein lies the wisdom of Vishnu: to relax and enjoy the ride.
The opposite of this laissez-faire strategy is embodied by the over-eager curiosity of planet Mercury, who finds himself debilitated (at his weakest) in the sign of Pisces. Mercury's youthful exuberance leads him to recklessly splash about, to flail, exhaust himself and ultimately drown in the vast ocean of consciousness. Floating calmly on one's back, one can last for days and be washed ashore; swimming frantically in one direction then the other because of a pretty fish or interesting eel leads to sinking quickly.
Mercury has been in Pisces since March 3, and will move retrograde from March 23 until April 15, finally leaving Pisces for Aries on May 10.
Takeaway: from now until May 10, be mindful of excessive outward seeking. You probably don't need to buy any new books or sign up for any more online classes, even though there are many enticing offerings available that will definitely pique your curiosity. Better for now to recommit to your established practice. Go deeper, not wider. Drop anchor and climb the crow's nest. Watch. Wait. Be the still point and just ride the passing waves.
Mars & Saturn in Planetary War
As observed by Komilla Sutton in her highly recommended monthly update for March, Mars and Saturn will be engaged in battle from March 31 to April 4. Komilla writes: "In Sagittarius, Mars is strong, yet... Saturn can be a frustrating influence as it forces reality and discipline... Mars is the action planet and when faced with the restrictions of Saturn, it feels very angry and dissatisfied."
This transit reinforces the the suggestion to take things slow. Focus extra attention on your practice of patience. Do your daily duties with diligence and faith that the little things count in a big way. The outcomes beyond our control are inexorably in motion. Therefore the best bet is to control ourselves, resist giving in to frustration or irritation, and instead keep our noses to the grindstone of inner work, knowing that the opportunity for more grandiose expressions is coming soon.
That opportunity arises in mid-April, as the Sun enters Aries (its sign of exaltation) on April 14 and Mercury turns direct and Moon is new in Aries on the 15th. The Aries cycle brings with it the fresh energy of Spring as it explodes into Summer. Our sense of power and purpose is strong with the Sun exalted, and we are now ready to break open the shell in which we've been incubating all Winter and early Spring.
Takeaway: between now and mid-April, think of yourself as a coiled spring receiving downward pressure. The squeeze is intense and claustrophobic as all your pieces are compressed into the smallest space possible. However, you can better bear this discomfort knowing it is in service of ultimate release. But until then, instead of worrying about how much more pressure you can handle, or wishing for it to end, I advise you to spend your energy aiming your spring in the correct direction. Get it tilted at the precisely proper angle so that when it comes time to be set free, you explode where you want to go and don't squander the potential benefits earned through this time of compression.
By the time Mars enters Capricorn on May 3, there will be strong momentum for more practical actions out in the world. We'll discuss that in detail in the next newsletter, set to be sent out that first week of May.
In the meantime, you can learn more about what these transits mean for you personally by calculating your own Ascendant and determining what house is Pisces and Aries in your chart. This lets you know in greater detail which area of your life these energetic patterns are likely to play out.
If you have questions or comments, please reach out! COLORAMA is nothing but our members, and we welcome your engagement. Thanks for reading and participating!
Today is February 8, 2018. This letter is composed in Boulder, Colorado, USA.
One week ago today (Jan 31) we experienced a partial lunar eclipse in the sign of Cancer. Depending on your natal chart, the few days before and after this celestial alignment may have lit you up with inspiration and clarity or plunged you into the dark depths of self-inquiry.
The veil is thin during an eclipse; it is a time when cosmic portals crack open. This can be an opportunity or a crisis. In either case, we must be very careful what exactly we invite through that portal.
The universal remedy for such moments is meditation and prayer. Listen to the lessons coming through then chant mantras for protection, to purify your subtle surroundings and activate the most benevolent potential of the transformative energies now available.
One week from now, on February 15, we will feel the second half of this cycle, with a partial solar eclipse in the sign of Aquarius. This is, in many ways, a counterpoint to the total solar eclipse that sliced across the United States on August 21, 2017. That event occurred in the early degrees of Leo, the results of which can be seen in the #metoo movement, as men in power (kings) have found their influence eclipsed by the feminine principle.
This eclipse takes place in Aquarius, the opposite of Leo. This shifts the focus from the "kings" onto the people. Abuse of power has led to the downfall of many formerly mighty individuals; this month we'll see how well the masses know how to wield their power in response. Be careful out there, as it could be a time of backlash, when people in power fear the loss of that power and therefore make efforts to suppress and oppress the population.
Will the people recognize and act on their profound power? Or will they submit to brash, reactive and ultimately empty intimidation tactics?
Aquarius themes (humility, humanitarianism, self-sacrifice) will dominate the next six weeks. Venus left Capricorn for the sign of the water-bearer on February 5, and the Sun and Mercury will follow on February 12 and 14, respectively. The Moon joins these three planets for three days, including the day of the solar eclipse (Feb 15-17).
This is a good time to cultivate a positive self-image; to build yourself up; to activate your influential potential and not be cowed by authoritarian fear-mongering. People are basically good; don't let anyone scare you into believing in and thereby empowering evil.
In March, the planets march into Pisces one by one: Venus on the 1st; Mercury on the 3rd; Sun on the 14th. Venus is exalted here, while Mercury is debilitated. Now is a time to appreciate the beauty that surrounds you, but be careful not to get swept away by it. Do one thing at a time. Chew your food carefully. Acknowledge the divinity of others before you speak.
March 7 is a day to be especially cautious as Mars moves into Sagittarius. A fiery planet in a fire sign invites explosive energies. Saturn is still there, so this might be a potent moment to take action on your big-picture projects. If you're feeling inspired, then make moves, but be sure you're moving in the direction of your highest priorities and inspiration and not taking an impulsive detour.
March 10 may be a good day to maintain silence. By all means, exercise and meditate but you're likely to feel all fired up with the Moon hemmed between Mars and Saturn in Sagittarius. This is not a comfortable place for the mind to be, caught between burning, moment-to-moment desires and long-term aspirations. For today, just observe, watch the fluctuations of the mind and do nothing. It is unwise to set fire to a library to stay warm for one night.
The next edition of the newsletter will arrive on the Spring equinox, March 20, 2018.
David McConaghay is a former four-sport athlete who discovered yoga as a means to bring ease to an overburdened body-mind complex. He will graduate in May 2018 from the four-year Doctor of Ayurveda program at Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula. He holds an Associate's degree in Vedic Astrology and is pursuing a Doctorate in Divinity from the University of Metaphysical Sciences. In addition to extensive training in the Sivananda yoga tradition, David has a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from the George Washington University. His work and play is collected at VedaDave.com.
On Friday, November 10, 2017, COLORAMA held its annual public meeting with the intent to nominate, confirm and re-elect members of our Board of Directors.
COLORAMA by-laws require that 25% of the membership attend such meetings in order to cast a valid vote. We now have 44 active members! Unfortunately, only 8 members were able to be there, three short of the 11 required.
Therefore, we are resorting to an electronic ballot. If you are a member, you will receive an invitation to vote via email. The purpose of this document is to provide further information about the individuals up for election.
The information below is compiled from letters of intent written by the candidates themselves, official board recommendations and some inevitable personal perspective by David.
If you are not a member but would like to have your voice heard in these and other matters, please join us! We have big plans for 2018, so stay tuned!
For re-election — Heather Baines
The COLORAMA board unanimously endorses Heather for re-election as president.
Heather joined the board in 2014 and was elected president in 2015. In that time, she has spearheaded important transformations in every aspect of COLORAMA.
It began with a deep audit of our financial accounts, bringing needed clarity to the underpinnings of our organization. In 2017, she secured Robert Lees as the official legal advisor to COLORAMA, simultaneously solidifying our own legal status and negotiating a deal where an eminent healthcare lawyer is available for members benefit at an extraordinarily discounted rate.
Heather is a nationally respected figure and is the driving force of our organization. She is currently working with the NAMA legal affairs committee to develop a strategy for active partnership between the national and state organizations. We are grateful to Heather for her diligent leadership and excited that she has agreed to serve another term as president of COLORAMA. Please confirm her!
New nominee — Madison waggoner
The COLORAMA board
unanimously endorses Madison
for election to the board.
Here is an excerpt from Madison's statement of intent:
I am passionate about being actively involved in our community. Last fall, I participated in Impact Denver through the Denver Chamber of Commerce where I met many highly involved professionals. Many colleagues serve on boards, and I knew I would like to get involved in an organization in that capacity. When David mentioned the COLORAMA board, I was excited that my passion for Ayurveda could intersect my passion for involvement and leadership.
Although, I have never served on a board, I am confident that I would be an asset. The past few years of my career have been focused in event planning, particularly corporate and non-profit events. I have managed the entire planning and execution of events from timelines, multiple vendors, client expectations and budgets all in high pressure environments. As program manager for Bespoke, I worked with colleagues, interns and volunteers to successfully plan and execute events. As a successful board member, I would love to work with a committee to brainstorm and execute meaningful events on the Front Range.
I would love to be able to educate and build awareness of the ancient science in Colorado through events. The time is ripe to spread the knowledge, and I would be thrilled to facilitate this!
Highlights from Madison's resume includes significant experience in corporate event planning and nonprofit fundraising. She is an Ayurvedic Practitioner having completed her studies with New World Ayurveda under Dr. Paul Dugliss, MD (trained by Maharishi International University and Maharishi Vedic University), and graduated from the University of Arizona, majoring in Business Management and Entrepreneurship and minoring in Nutrition.
We are excited to bring Madison into the fold to continue growing the COLORAMA community through outreach and events. Please confirm her nomination!
only active members get to vote.
If you have not received your ballot via SurveyMonkey,
please check your spam folder and your membership status.
Reach out to email@example.com with any questions.
outgoing Membership Chair
and Communications Chair pro tem
by Terra Rafael, Ayurvedic Practitioner, COLORAMA member
Common names: Gumweed, Tarweed, Rosinweed, Gumplant, Yerba del Buey
Appearance: “Leaves are green to blue green, somewhat spade shaped, and clasp the stem without a leafstalk. They are slightly toothed. When it is in bloom the plant is about 3 feet high and the many sticky yellow flowers are surrounded by pincushion-like bracts. The young flowers and buds are covered in a thick, milky exudates that smells balsamic, a device that insures pollination if insects fail, and which gives rise to its name of Gumweed, for it can be chewed like chicle.” - Michael Moore (see drawing)
Karmas / Prabhav:
Forms of medicine to use:
Tea: (leaves &/or flowers) — bronchitis, expectorant, antispasmodic for dry hacking coughs, alone or with Yerba Santa, a tablespoon in tea as needed. (Michael Moore) 6-15 g per pint of water
Tincture: (flowers preferable) — for bladder & urethra infections, one-fourth teaspoon in water every four hours. (Michael Moore) ½-3 mil, or 12-75 drops (Peter Holmes)
Topical use of tincture or poultice of crushed flowers: poison oak inflammations (Michael Moore)
Flower essence: Rocky Mountain Flower Essences (Grindelia sqauamasa), by Alakananda Ma — “[The] Gumweed pattern is illness as a turning away from life. The Gumweed person is weak, neurasthenic, frequently ill or suffering frequent relapses, may have chronic fatigue syndrome, [and] turns to invalidity as a refuge. Those Gumweed types who have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome characteristically drive themselves so hard that disabling illness is indeed their only refuge. The quality of Gumweed is the understanding of illness as a gift, the ability to learn the lesson & move on, whether to health & strength, or if the disease is a continuing karmic necessity, to transform through illness.”
Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, The Yoga of Herbs, p. 203.
Mrs. M Grieve, A Modern Herbal, pp. 376 & 377.
Peter Holmes, The Energetics of Western Herbs, pp. 202 & 203.
Michael Moore, Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West, pp. 80-82.
Alakananda, Earthkeeper Flower Essences, 1991 Handbook, p.14.
Anne McIntyre , Michelle Boudin , Dispensing with Tradition p. 70
by Susan Bernhardt
My years of studying and practicing Ayurveda and yoga introduced me from afar to India. I anticipated that a three-week trip to India last month with my Ayurveda teacher, Dr. Bharat Vaidya, and his school, Ayurved Sadhana, would make everything feel more tangible and deepen my knowledge. The trip certainly did that. And much, much more.
The majority of our trip was Ayurveda-focused:
I'm still working on sorting through photos as well as thoughts about the trip, but for now I want to share a few observations and takeaways. Some Observations
In the spirit of giving more public acknowledgments and expressions of gratitude: thank you to Dr. Bharat Vaidya and Anupama Vaidya for organizing this trip and founding a school based in traditional Ayurvedic teachings; thank you to Dr. Ujjvale Kale for organizing the clinics, being a guide for much of the trip, and for sharing your warmth, fun-loving spirit, and love; thank you to all of the local Ayurvedic doctors and others who visited with us, cared for the people who came to the clinics, and shared their knowledge and experience in order to enrich ours; thank you to those who visited the clinics, sharing your concerns and trusting our advice. Thank you also to other teachers who have shared their wisdom and helped lead me on this beautiful journey in Ayurveda, yoga, and healing, among them Dr. Sarasvati Buhrman, Shar Lee, Derik Eselius, Santosh Powell, and Baba Hari Dass and his senior students.
Mantra Purusha marries the healing sciences of mantra and marma therapy. The mantra and marma connection is very important for healing purposes. The combination of mantra and marma heals the physical body, changes the frequency of the subtle body, and removes negative patterns from the mind. It reduces the karmic code or matrix which resides in the psyche. This paper will describe the meaning, purposes, and origination of mantra and marma. It will also describe why the Mantra Purusha is the best tool in Ayurvedic medicine.
Marmas are special, sensitive points on the body; they are junction points where 2 or more tissues meet. They are located at the intersection of blood vessels, bones, and ligaments; they are most commonly found at the joints. The wrist joint is an example of a marma. These locations are places where prana can enter or leave the body. The ancient healing practice of marma is used to shape prana in the subtle body.
These special points carry energy information between the mind and the organs and tissues of the body; they are access points to body, mind, consciousness. Marmas are the intersection between: matter and energy, the physical and subtle planes, matter and consciousness, Purusha and Prakriti, ojas and prana. Each marma point contains the energies of Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Another meaning of marma is “secret”. This alternative meaning of marma is used in several contexts. One context is that the marma points exist below the surface of the skin. Another context is in connection with keeping the teachings of marma secret until the person is ready for the information. A third context is that this valuable knowledge was known only by kings and warriors to be used judiciously in battle. Sushrut promulgated the science of marma, and he used it in surgery and healing wounds in warrior battles.
There are 108 marmas; 37 on the head and neck, 22 on the arms, 22 on the lower extremities, 14 on the back, 12 on the chest and stomach. The mind is the 108th marma point.
Mantra finds its origin in the Vedas and is derived from the word “man” which means mind, and “tra” which means tool. Therefore, mantra is a mind tool. Mantra is asana for the mind. “Mantra puts the mind into a certain pose in which it can become a conduit for higher flow of energy and grace.” . It provides focus, strength, adaptability, and plasticity for the mind by forming new synaptic connections in the brain. Mantra works on many levels and has many purposes.
Painful memories are stored as frequencies or sound patterns in our psyche. The liver stores unresolved anger, the gall bladder stores hatred, the kidneys store fear, the stomach and colon store nervousness, the lungs store grief and sadness, and the spleen stores attachments.
Mantras can be used in Ayurvedic preparations; they empower the herbs, foods, and therapies. Since water is a vehicle for prana and emotions, one could energize the water with mantra and then use the water to release and heal the negative experiences and painful memories, and uplift our inner rasa.
The Sanskrit language is the language of the angels. It is the only language that transmits meaning through sound. It is a vibrational language and therefore it can awaken Kundalini and transform us. The Sanskrit alphabet reflects prime powers of creation. The Sanskrit syllables are “Matrikas” or spiritual mothers of our being. They are the root forms of Shakti.
There are 50 sounds and each sound relates to a place on the body or a marma. The 16 vowels relate to the head and senses, the first 20 consonants relate to the main joints on arms and legs, the last 5 consonants relate to the abdominal region, the 9 semi-vowels and sibilants relate to the tissues, mind, and soul.
There are also mappings of the language constituents to other facets of the universe. The vowels correspond to consciousness, spirit, Shiva or Purusha. Consonants relate to matter or nature or Shakti, or Prakriti. The sibilants and semi-vowels stand between vowels and consonants, between consciousness and matter.
There is even further mapping of the sounds. Gutturals symbolize pranic urges or impulses in life. Palatals connote emotional energy, and generative power. Cerebrals give stability and form to life. Dentals project force from our being. And labials express our energies to the outside world.
In order to turn the alphabet letters into mantras, an anusvara, or final “m” is added to each of the letters. For example, the letter “ai” becomes the mantra “aim”. This way the recitation of the alphabet becomes a mantra.
The Purusha mantra links marma and mantra; this mantra directs healing energy and higher prana to different places within us that need healing. Each of the 50 letters corresponds to a marma or body location. To awaken the Shakti in each Sanskrit alphabet mantra, one must recite it with deep feeling, awareness of a larger power, and with concentration of the mind and heart. The attached file contains the mantras and body parts chart. There is also a jpeg file associated with this paper that contains a more advanced version of the mantra. You can touch each area with your hands or with your mind, and recite the associated mantra. As you deepen the practice, the mantra begins to speak to you and teach you. You move from speaking the mantra to listening. Grace flows from the mantra when we are in the listening state and receptive to its Shakti. Sanskrit is the language of the angels. Practicing mantra in this way moves us to a state of listening to the angels.
As a final foot note there was an article in the NY Times about Einstein’s theory. It explains how there were 2 black holes circling each other (Purusha and Prakriti) and then they finally merged and produced a sound or frequency that was recently measured by the LIGO apparatus in Louisiana. One could surmise that the 2 black holes were Purusha and Prakriti, and the sound produced was OM. OM is the prime mantra of the Atman, or Purusha. It is the seed mantra of all other mantras
 Dr. David Frawley, "Mantra Yoga and Primal Sound, Secrets of Seed (Bija) Mantras”, 2010, p. 24.
On Tuesday, November 15, 2016 COLORAMA held its annual public meeting with the intent to nominate, confirm and re-elect members of our Board of Directors.
COLORAMA by-laws require that 25% of the membership attend such meetings in order to cast a valid vote. Unfortunately, only 8 members were able to be there, one short of the 9 required.
Therefore, we are resorting to an electronic ballot which, if you are a member, you will have received in an email. The purpose of the document you are right now reading is to provide further information about the indiviuals up for election.
The information below is a compiled from letters of intent written by the candidates themselves, official board recommendations and some inevitable personal perspective.
If you are not a member but would like to have your voice heard in these and other matters, please join us! We are planning our 2017 public meeting for April of this coming year, so stay tuned!
Here is an excerpt from Meera's letter seeking re-election:
"Dear Fellow COLORAMA members...
I am seeking reelection for another term and… ask for your support so that I may continue to serve in this premier organization. I have been actively involved with COLORAMA since 2012-2013, first serving as support and help for Dr. Lad's last two visits — spearheading the design and development of the program guide, developing sponsorship programs to foster fundraising efforts and implementing advertising efforts for the event with two time sponsor Nexus magazine. After that, I have served on the COLORAMA board for the last few years as Treasurer and was instrumental in securing our non-profit status with the IRS and Colorado state government.
If I'm reelected to the board, I hope to continue for another term as Treasurer if possible, or in some other capacity that would best serve the needs of this organization. I would greatly appreciate your vote as a message of confidence that I may continue to serve.
The COLORAMA Board unanimously endorses Meera for re-election. We appreciate her diligence and precision with the bookkeeping, and value her input on the other tasks at hand. We are grateful for her good work thus far, and feel deeply relieved that she wishes to serve the COLORAMA community for another three years.
FOR CONFIRMATION / RATIFICATION
Akacia was appointed to the COLORAMA board in January 2016 to spearhead the Events committee. Here is an excerpt from her letter written at that time:
"To the members of COLORAMA,
My name is Akacia. I am a student, musician, dog owner, outdoor enthusiast and instrument builder with a passion for Ayurveda…
What started as an irrepressible urge to become a student of Ayurveda has evolved into a full embrace of Ayurveda as a life path. I hope to bring forth my skill set to assist in the establishment of Ayurveda as a widely recognized, legitimate form of medicine in this country. This is why I am inspired to serve on the board of COLORAMA."
The COLORAMA board unanimously endorses Akacia to be ratified in her role as Events Coordinator in order to complete the next 2 years of a 3 year term. Akacia has taken on her role with gusto, convening and overseeing an events committee that put on six excellent events in 2016 with the promise for many more in 2017. Akacia is an organizing force with an instinct for innovation and the drive to improve every project with which she becomes involved.
Appointed to the board in October 2015, David started as the Membership coordinator and has recently added Webmaster to his list of duties. Here is an excerpt from his introductory letter to the membership:
"Dear COLORAMA members,
My name is David McConaghay, and I am proud to be the newest member of the COLORAMA board.
My first priority is to support you, our existing members. We are working to significantly increase the benefits of being a member, and have already taken strong steps in that direction… COLORAMA is nothing but our members, and our aim is to enhance the sense of camaraderie within this steadily growing community.
As stewards of Ayurveda in Colorado and North America, I feel it is our duty to share this living science with honesty and enthusiasm, so that others may discover and benefit from it just as we have. Thank you for being a part of this mission. We look forward to sharing the journey with you."
The COLORAMA board unanimously endorses David for ratification, so he may serve out the remaining 2 years of a 3 year term. David brings consistent enthusiasm and a work ethic that helps move important initiatives forward. As the sole member of the Membership committee, he is now Webmaster, supports the Events committee and helps with Communications.
Here is an excerpt from Sujatha’s self-nominating letter to the Board:
"Where [do] we stand today as Ayurvedic professionals state wide and in the country? As per NAMA's requirements we are working towards proper certification to be Ayurvedic practitioners at different levels. That satisfies the academic criteria. There are some other issues that need attention:
1. Ethics and Regulation of practice of Ayurveda as per COLORAMA BOARD
2. State Board certification by COLORAMA for practitioners for practicum and supervision hours and Supervisor requirements
3. Accreditation of Ayurvedic schools in Colorado through COLORAMA
4. DORA affiliation to COLORAMA.
I would like to support and be a part the board in achieving the status that Ayurveda deserves and be able to serve the people in need of our science to achieve good health. I strongly feel the people and our professionals should be protected from unethical practices with continuing education and ethical practice guidelines.
It is high time that we get recognition as professionals through education and awareness. At the least we can work towards becoming registered professionals. Yoga used to be what Ayurveda is in the 90's. I am sure we can achieve this too.
AAPNA: Founding member, Clinical chair for two years.
AAPI: Auxillary Chair for Association of physicians from Indian origin, Ohio 2003-2004
Asha ray of Hope: Non profit Organization which helps victims of domestic violence in the South Asian Community. I am a Founding member and served as Vice president, Direct services chair and Board member for more than 10 years. 2002-2014"
The COLORAMA board is grateful for Sujatha’s willingness to serve. She brings great experience and expertise in the non-profit sector with other relevant organizations. Her focus is on uplifting the professional status of Ayurvedic practitioners, an issue that is ripe for development at this time.
Here is an excerpt from AV’s letter of intent, addressed to the board:
This letter is to express my interest in one of the board positions. I understand that the available position is Secretary of Advisory Board in COLORAMA.
After establishing various thriving careers as Project Manager, Senior Engineer and Quality Engineering Manager over last 20 years, I have co-founded Ayurved Sadhana Vidyalaya along with Dr. Bharat Vaidya to provide Authentic Ayurvedic Education to like-minded Ayurvedic and local community.
I have been working as Lead Administrator for Ayurved Sadhana Vidyalaya. I am working with students and teachers for Ayurvedic Practitioner, Advanced Ayurvedic Practitioner and Ayurvedic Doula programs and collaborating with NAMA, CDA and other Ayurvedic partners. I am also working as Web Administrator for Ayurved Sadhana Vidyalaya maintaining all web page updates
Last many years, I am actively involved as Ayurvedic Cooking Instructor and Coach for RMIYA, Sacred Windows and Ayurved Sadhana Vidyalaya as well as Ayurvedic Doula Coach for Sacred Windows and Ayurved Sadhana Vidyalaya.
Thank you in advance for your time. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I would appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the position.
The COLORAMA board is grateful for AV’s willingness to serve. She brings powerful enthusiasm and vision to all of her work, which can be seen in her personal career as well as her many volunteer positions, not to mention her efforts as the coordinating force behind Ayurved Sadhana.
What is Ayurveda & how is it useful?
Ayurveda is the 5,000 year old system of healing from India which teaches “the way of life”. This way does not dictate one path for all, but offers understanding about the basic energies of the universe and how they manifest in differing amounts in each person. Maintaining one’s own personal balance of energies amid the changes of life allows mind, body & soul to express in the healthiest possible way. Ayurveda is being talked about more & more in alternative health magazines and yoga communities. It is a natural sister to yoga.
I became drawn to Ayurveda when I was a busy homebirth midwife, supporting women in pregnancy, birth, and postpartum with natural means. Why did some herbs and therapies work for one person with a condition, while another person with the same condition didn’t respond favorably to that same help? I saw that a piecemeal approach to using natural remedies was based on symptomatic treatment—which is one of the problems with western medicine. Just as one birth plan doesn’t work for all laboring women, one treatment doesn’t work for all women who are nauseated in pregnancy.
A holistic approach deals with the person more than with the disease, encouraging and supporting the natural healing responses in that person. Chinese medicine was becoming more popular at that time and I considered it. But when I read about it, the terms and philosophy just wouldn’t fit into my head. Then I heard a tape by Deepak Chopra, someone influential in popularizing Ayurveda in the US. Chopra’s charismatic address drew me to look further into Ayurveda. As I read about more it was like recognizing what I already knew. Many of the principles and applications fit my own intuition and experience in my body. Thus began my studies in earnest.
That was over 15 years ago. After hours & hours of classes, reading and practicing I see that Ayurveda delivers all & more than what it promised me. It is both as simple & commonplace as the sun rising each day, and as complex as all of the forces that allow that to happen & us to view it. What I’ll explain to you here is for simple & commonplace use. To delve into the more complex levels takes time & dedication. And I encourage you to go for that level, if you, like me, feel that pull to integrate your knowledge with this rich system.
Ayurveda, like midwifery, finds intuition to be the highest authority. Sometimes people get bound up in the guidelines about how to balance through diet, lifestyle, and therapies, making them into rules written in stone, and then get discouraged when they can’t follow them exactly, right from the start, so they quit. This perfectionistic view is a disease in itself. Just as written protocols might guide a new student or support when we are too tired or out of balance, so too the guidelines & principles of Ayurveda. They help you get to the point where you are clear enough & experienced enough to go with the flow with confidence. Ayurveda even recommends methods to increase our native intelligence, through increasing mental clarity.
The aspect of Ayurveda that is most commonly known is the DOSHAS. These are basic energies that act within all living beings.
VATA comes from ether and air elements.
PITTA originates from fire and some water.
And KAPHA comes from water & earth elements.
The qualities of the three doshas are outlined in Table A. All of us have all three of the doshas operating within us. We all need all of the qualities working at doing different jobs in our bodies.
Each individual has an doshic proportion set at birth. The proportion of the doshas which an individual can contain in a healthy way is called the CONSTITUTION. Our constitution is determined by the three main influences: the environment when we are conceived (climate, & thoughts, condition and constitutions of the parents); the diet, lifestyle & emotions of the mother during pregnancy; and our spiritual destiny. We can determine what this constitution is for a person through investigating the long term trends of the body & mind and by pulse diagnosis. The constitution is the benchmark of health. It can be expressed as ex. Vx Py Kz, with x, y, and z a numbers from 1 to 3, according to the proportions of the particular constitution.
Our current CONDITION shows if we are filling or exceeding our capacity for the doshas in our body/mind system. It is influenced by what we eat, the weather, the emotions of people around us, our activities, our daily routine(or lack thereof), how we breathe, our own thoughts & emotions and so forth.
Maintaining a relatively stable condition requires adjusting our choices to balance out influences which are beyond our control, such as change of the seasons or uncontrollable events in our lives.
The condition is expressed as Vx Py Kz, same as the constitution, making it easy to compare the two. The levels of the condition might go as high as 4. When our current condition levels match our constitutional levels then our body/mind is balanced & expressing in the healthiest possible way.
But this balancing act is more like surfing a wave than like a static balance. This means that the more you can tune in to what you need to balance and can discern what is vata, pitta, and kapha increasing or decreasing, the better you can ride those waves.
The condition is determined by noticing changes in our body/mind, and by pulse diagnosis. The advantage of pulse diagnosis is that subtle changes will show up in the pulse before showing up on the physical level and can be addressed more gently before they become physical.
For more about surfing the changes of the doshas in your life, contact an Ayurveda Practitioner. For more about Terra and WiseWomanhood Holistic Women's Health, go to www.wisewomanhood.com
[Excerpt from Ayurveda for the Childbearing Years by Terra Rafael, available from Amazon.]
From the professional and student members of Colorama