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Prana Gyana

Proud to be a Woman and Mother
Written by Anita Rangaswami

The new year brought in another to-be expected whirlwind of excitement on every front-  many personal and work-related interesting events and activities for the last several months that have kept me busy and away from all the constant contact (pun intended), that was kept up last year and all the previous years. Honest communication and building trust is the key to growth in all successful relationships, whether business or personal. Happy to report that Prana Gyana flexed her muscles once again, and was able to weather the storms that were tossed her way, as she doggedly continued to overcome hurdles and "Exist to enable your Transformation" in the communities served for the past 6 years :-)

On the personal front, I have embarked on a 2 year journey to get a Masters in Public Health from an accredited university, to bolster credibility in the health and wellness area.  They say there is a fine line between genius and insanity… I hope to find the genius before the insanity strikes! On a side note, there is some truth to the balance that can be reached with yoga and meditation – like blurring the lines between day and night as you pore over 150 pages of reading material each week, or taking in a deep breaths with a smile on your face, as the computer clocks for over 5 minutes because you have 30 reference websites open on 3 internet browsers J

The Sanskrit Mantra:

Matra Devo Phava, Pitra Devo Bhava
Acharya Devo Bhava, Athithi Devo Bhava

Portrays the mother, father, teacher and guest as Divine beings in an effort to shower love, affection and respect to each one.

My mother who has advanced Alzheimers and a recent hip fracture which requires her to be in bed rest is reasonably well, and we are grateful that she is peaceful and happy in her current state of being.

Wish you a Happy Mother’s Day as you enjoy the weekend with your mother, grandmother, friend, daughter, wife or loved one, taking the time to be honored and honor the woman in your life and everything that she stands for.

With love and warm regards,


May 2014 Prana Gyana Newsletter

Four Pillars Of Holistic Wellbeing During Pregnancy
Written by Anita Rangaswami

A Jewish proverb says, “God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers.” Pregnancy and motherhood have been eulogized for centuries in all cultures across the world, and we don’t want to trivialize it in the modern times. This amazing phenomenon of procreation that brings tears of joy and sighs of sleepless nights that follow cannot be taken lightly – it is a special time not only for the mother-to-be, but also for her mate whose help and support is invaluable.

The bodily changes that occur are just one part of the equation, but there is a growing awareness towards the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of pregnancy too. Oliver Wendell Holmes, a highly regarded Supreme Court Justice remarked that “the real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men – from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms.”

Naturally, along with the joys of carrying a baby, come the everyday discomforts of having to adjust to a growing body, morning or evening nausea, anemia, edema, back pain, and many other symptoms. According to Ayurveda, a 5000 year old medical science that originated in India, there are four keys to holistic health and well-being which can be applied to pregnancy as well - Nutrition (aahaar), lifestyle (vihaar), behavior (aachaar) and mental processes/thoughts (vichaar). “You are what you eat” takes on special significance during pregnancy. If you smoke, so does your baby. If you drink alcohol, so does your baby. And if you take drugs or medicines, so does your baby!

Nutrition: Getting sufficient vitamins and carbohydrates to help with growth of the baby’s bones and skeletal system, and preventing constipation with high fibre food as the pregnancy progresses is a high priority. Vitamin A can be found in cantaloupes, guavas, mangos, tomatoes, watermelons, broccoli, sprouts, spinach, sweet potatoes, brussels and carrots. Vitamins B1, B2 and B3 are found in green leafy vegetables and whole grains; vitamin B6 in bananas, brown rice and green leafy vegetables; vitamin C in citrus fruits; vitamin D in fortified cereals and dairy products, and Vitamin E in unrefined vegetable oil.

Avoid raw or unripe papaya and excessive pineapple juice during the first trimester as it can bring on early contractions and soften the cervix.

Lifestyle: Avoid excessive sleeping during the day and staying awake late at night, so that sleep patterns are not disturbed. A simple walking routine along with some gentle yoga poses - like Cat and Cow stretch, cobblers pose, butterfly, child’s pose, legs up the wall, and simple heart opening poses during pregnancy can allow the body to open up and get prepared for the arrival of the baby – these poses have been safely practiced over the centuries.

Behaviors: Be aware of excessive stimulation of the senses from TV and movies that can give rise to horror, grief, anger, or sorrow as the fetus also gets over stimulated. Avoid excessive sex in the first and third trimesters of pregnancy. Panchakarma and detoxification treatments should be avoided during pregnancy, except for occasional enema if needed.

Mental thoughts: Become aware of your tendency to ruminate over events and situations from the past. Your happy thoughts and emotions get passed on to your baby, so a simple meditation practice that can alleviate pregnancy related fears and anxieties is highly recommended. Regardless of faith or religion, by attending spiritual discourses, listening to the wisdom of ancient scriptures and soothing, divine music and chants, you can begin releasing positive “happy molecules of emotion” to flow to the baby.

An Ayurvedic Practitioner can help you take good care of yourself and your baby during this exciting time of your life.

Enjoy your journey through pregnancy and Happy Mother’s day to all Mothers in the world!

Faith, Gratitude and Thanksgiving
Written by Anita Rangaswami

November marks the beginning of the festive season and with Thanksgiving just around the corner, what better time than ever to be grateful for what you have! As time goes by you tend to get into your comfort zone and take things for granted in life! You are cruising along until perhaps a person, situation or event comes along or gets thrown in the mix to shake things up a little... just enough to create turmoil and even a sense of doubt in the mind. Perhaps you had sensed a perfect storm brewing in your life, but it certainly didn't seem as close to you as it is now... So what happens all of a sudden?

Everything that seemed to be running so smoothly has gone belly up, your world feels topsyturvy and out of control, and you wonder how things can change almost overnight? You feel abandoned and wonder who or what is "out there" or "up there" to take care of you and your needs - to ensure that you feel cared for, loved, nurtured and protected. You are left wondering if the Universe exists to conspire against you and deeply doubt anything to the contrary. Is anyone at all looking out for you?

Faith in the Universe's abilities to nourish you evolves just as matter evolves. Sometimes one has to rely on the experience of others in the beginning as you begin to experience faith. As a young child, how did you know the mango is sweet? One of your parents or a trusted person may have asked you to try a mango and see how it tastes. Only after eating it, could you confirm the sweetness and enjoy it. Your 'faith' in a parent figure got converted into 'knowledge' for yourself as you tasted the mango. If there was no trust at all, there would be no reason to try the mango - so how could you ever experience the sweetness of the mango? When Copernicus indicated that the Earth moves around the Sun, it took a long time for his postulations to gain credibility and for people to have "faith" in his words. Similarly we see that in the modern world, the concepts of physics have evolved over time from Newtonian Laws to Quantum Physics... this did not happen overnight! Faith is a continuous work in progress which evolves over time and with the evolution of faith, the knowledge of the relative world changes.

Thanksgiving is also a good time to thank anyone around you who has played a role in developing your sense of faith and trust - in them as well as in the Universe. Swami Vivekananda said, "As we grow spiritually our faith in separateness is destroyed only to be replaced with a newer and higher faith in universal solidarity and oneness."

Of course this is not the only time of the year to be grateful or to give thanks for everything you have - materially, emotionally, or spiritually. As Jacqueline Winspear said, "Grace isn't a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It's a way to live."


Written by: Anita Rangaswami, Nov 12' 2012

Halloween, Chocolates and Migraines
Written by Anita Rangaswami

Migraines, tension type headches, and severe cluster headaches are a common complaint in the US, and can be extremely debilitating for the person who is suffering.  The WHO (World Health Organization) indicates that nearly two thirds of males and 80% of females are affected by severe tension type headaches. Extrapolation from the figures suggest that 3000 migraine attacks occur each day for every million of the general population.

During the holidays, it is easy to stray away from During the holidays it's easy to stray away from eating healthy and keeping your body in balance. Knowing your specific mind, body type and getting educated about ways to keep yourself in balance could mean the difference between symptoms of sickness and enjoying good health.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, shocolate is aggravating to the pitta dosha and people who have excess fire in the body tend to see connections between eating chocolate and getting migraines.  A possible substitute during this holiday season is carob....

Migraines can occur due to an imbalance in the doshas. While migraines can be a manifestation of disturbance in any of the three doshas, they tend to effect the pitta dosha the most. Chocolate is aggravating to the pitta dosha and people tend to see connections between eating chocolate and getting migraines. A possible substitute this holiday season is carob.

Carob is a legume that comes from the carob tree. It is harvested and roasted, giving it its chocolate-like flavor. The health stores usually carry it, or it may be in the health aisle of the regular grocery store. Carob chips can be used for baking cooking or the powder can be used to make hot beverages.The key benefit is that unlike cocoa, carob does not contain caffeine or theobromine. Both of these chemicals are considered to be stimulants, and while caffeine works primarily on the central nervous system, theobromine stimulates the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems.

There may be some benefits to moderate consumption of caffeine and theobromine to lift your mood, lower blood pressure or to help with dilating bronchial tubes and make breathing easier. But if it triggers migraines, you may want to seriously consider an "occassional" substitute like carob to feed your sweet tooth.

Carob does not have the negative effects of chocolate, like caffeine, and instead is three times richer in calcium, has one third less calories, and seventeen times less fat. Carob also full of vitamins A and B as well as minerals like manganese, magnesium, iron and others, but it does not have the flavanols that chocolate has. It also does not have oxalic acid which is thought to prevent the the absorption of calcium and zinc. The oxalic acid in chocolates is one of the substances that contributes to teenage acne.

The only downside is that carob may not taste as good as chocolate - in fact for real chocolate lovers, this may seem like a poor substitute! However, if you are overdoing the chocolate and experiencing migraines, it may be wise to try carob and see if there is a change. It is an acquired taste!

It is important however, to dive deeper into the mind body system to understand the root cause of the migraines. Ayurveda, a holistic medical science that originated in India, provides an excellent framework and methodology to assess the well being of an individual. The right actions can be taken only when we have a full understanding of the underlying issues causing the symptoms.

At Prana Gyana Holistic Health and Wellness Center , we offer Ayurvedic consultations to determine your mind body type and help you work through these physical, mental and emotional imbalances. Celebrate the health of friends and family this season and purchase a gift certificate online.

Written by: Anita Rangaswami                      Date: Sep 30th, 2012

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Prana Gyana
1801 S. Jentilly Lane, Ste A-20 Tempe, AZ 85281
Phone: (480) 598-9961
6400 W. Del Rio Street Chandler, AZ 85226