The Mind Goes Back to School
Adapted from an article by John Peterson, M.D.
Were you one of the rare students who couldn’t wait to go back to school after the summer holidays?
Remember the thrill of getting new pencils, crayons and notebooks and meeting your new teacher? In July we couldn’t wait for summer vacation to start, but by early September we actually looked forward to beginning another school year.
It’s good to take a break. Not just for a summer, but regularly, in big and small ways. The lockdown may actually have beneficial results.
Recent research showed that subjects taking a complex mental test performed better after they had literally taken a physical step backwards. The mind makes new connections when we’re resting from actively solving a problem. Push your chair back from the computer and look out the window. Stand up and stretch. Not just once, but every half hour that you are working online.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of Maharishi Ayurveda Products International, often referred to the value of having a well-ordered cycle of rest and activity each day. Spend the night in restful sleep and practice the Transcendental Meditation ® program in the morning to prepare for the day’s activities. Then meditate again in the early evening before supper to prepare for the evening’s activities.
We all want a mind that continues to work well, decade after decade. Most of us know someone who has been affected by some form of dementia. Dementia is defined as a general mental deterioration. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia in the elderly, affecting five million persons in the U.S. In the UK dementia is thought to affect 850,000, this year 209,000 will be diagnosed, that is one person every three minutes. Our ageing population will increase its prevalence at a huge financial and emotional cost.
Alzheimer’s disease is associated with amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the neocortex and hippocampus, shrinkage of the cerebral cortex, loss of neurons and damage to the limbic system and association cortices. Memory loss is the result.
How can we prevent memory loss? How can we enhance our memory and mental clarity? Maharishi AyurVeda, the newly reintegrated form of the most ancient health care system in the world, has a host of recommendations to improve mental clarity and memory, foremost of which is to reduce stress.
The brain is a heavy user of oxygen, it is susceptible to oxidative damage. Reactive oxygen-based chemicals called free radicals, derived from environmental pollution and chemicals in your food, can build up and damage brain cells and arteries.
Maharishi Amrit Kalash is a two-part formula – Nectar and Ambrosia. Both formulae have a long and fascinating history. Taken together they enliven the underlying intelligence in the mind and body and produce widespread and synergistic health-promoting effects. Amrit Kalash Nectar has a particularly strengthening and balancing effect on the heart, mind and immune system. While the Amrit Kalash Ambrosia especially supports the function of the nervous system.
The intelligence of our neuronal tissues — lipid membranes, nerves, blood vessels and neuropeptides — is nourished by the intelligence of our food. It is important to eat foods that are pure, natural and of high quality. Food that has been genetically modified, processed, or refined has been stripped of much of its intelligence. According to some vaidyas (Ayurvedic experts) these foods disturb the intellect. Fresh is best. Avoid food that is canned or preserved with artificial additives and preservatives, or food that contains artificial colours and flavours.
How we approach and eat our food affects the intelligence of digestion. It’s better to sit to eat, paying attention to your food with all your senses. Sip on just enough warm or room-temperature liquid to meet your needs.
Eat more “brain foods” such as coconut milk, ghee, olive oil, walnuts, sweet and juicy fruits, soaked almonds, sunflower seeds, raisins and dates. Try fresh juices — especially dark grapes, apples, pears and mangoes — made with a bit of fresh ginger, to deliver nutrients quickly to your mind and body. Green leafy vegetables are a terrific source of iron and fibre. For dessert, treat yourself to a date milk shake, mango milk shake or rice pudding, as these help nourish the brain.
If you desire something sweet between meals, try sweet fruits, raisins and dates rather than soda pop or candy. The vaidyas consider diet fizzy drinks with artificial sweeteners to be especially harmful. Two dates with ghee twice a day energize, bring mental clarity and enhance ojas, the “stuff” of immunity and bliss.
Certain spices and herbs can enhance your brainpower. Black pepper helps to clear the shrotas, or channels of flow in your brain. In the early 1990s, I was with a group of four or five vaidyas at a social gathering. Just for fun I asked them for their opinions on which herbs and spices would make you smart. The question created much excitement among the group. Among the recommended herbs were tulsi (holy basil), sarsaparilla, coriander, fennel, cumin and ginger. The idea was to “heat the body and cool the mind.”
Maharishi AyurVeda Products offers a wide variety of supplements that support the three aspects of mental ability: learning, retention, and recall (dhi, dhriti and smriti). They contain traditional Ayurvedic herbs for the mind. For instance, Aloeweed (Convolvulus prostratus) enhances memory and problem-solving abilities. Indian Pennywort (Centella asiatica) as a plant resembles the shape of the human brain. It enhances memory and slows down the negative aspects of ageing.
Maharishi AyurVeda supplements to try
- Study Power (MA5724) tablets help to enliven the ability to absorb, retain and utilize knowledge, formulated to support the ability to assimilate and ‘digest’ knowledge.
- Study Power (MA3674) syrup is said to “double the strength of the mind,” by enhancing attention span, focus, and the ability to acquire new information and to apply it later.
- Regen Nerve (MA1674) tablets contain several of the ingredients found in the Peace of Mind and Blissful Joy (MA1402) tablets formulae together with others that help maintain the physical structure of the nerves.
- Peace of Mind (MA1401) tablets supports natural calmness, focus and decisiveness. Helps maintain a calm mind and emotions without reducing alertness. Maintain calm and alertness at the same time.
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Dr John Peterson, one of the most important Ayurvedic doctors in the United States, who is also an M.D. who has been practicing Maharishi Ayurveda health since 1985.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this document is presented for the sole purpose of imparting education on Maharishi AyurVeda and neither the information nor the products are intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate, cure or prevent any disease. If you have a medical condition or are pregnant or lactating, please consult a health professional and it is recommended that you speak with your physician before making significant changes to your diet or routine.