Marma Therapy is similar to acupuncture or cupping in that it helps to maintain health by cleansing blocked energy. Marma literally means the likelihood of death or damage when these points are inflicted, it also means hidden or secret. Marma point is a juncture on the body where two or more types of tissue meet such as muscles, veins, ligaments, bones or joints.
107 Marma Points in Ayurveda
These points are doorways into the body and consciousness, and the mind is considered the 108th marma. These points correspond to the 7 chakras, or energy centers in the body. These points range in size from 1 to 6 inches.
What happens during Marma Therapy?
- Marma therapies work on many levels – emotional, mental and spiritual and can create dramatic shifts in the body.
- Relief from chronic or acute pain, both locally and distally
- Significant improvement in bodily/organ functions: immunity, digestive, respiratory, neural, and psychological
- Healthier skin and a radiant appearance
- Balances body temperature and the doshas
- Releases neurochemicals such as serotonin, melatonin for improved cognitive function and deeper sleep
- Marma works on prana (energy) levels, our sensory and motor organs, and eventually the entire mind-body complex
When I was a little girl, my dad would ask me the day of my birthday, “What is it like to be _?_ (age)?” I used to just laugh, and say it feels the same. However, as the years pass I look back, and I can clearly see how each passing year is a milestone and that so much changes from decade to decade.
Symbolism of 40
Like my entire generation, colleagues and friends, we are turning 40 this year. If you look up the symbolism of 40, it has many meanings. In the Bible, the number 40 represents transition or change; the concept of renewal, a new beginning. There are approximately 100 examples of 40 in the Bible: 40 days Jesus fasted in the desert, 40 days of Jesus resurrection, the flood of Noah lasted 40 days, Moses was on Mt. Sinai for 40 days, and in Kabbalah 40 represents the four sides of the world (esoteric powers). It is said that the gestation period of an embryo lasts 40 days.
It’s not just the Bible, but it’s cross cultural: some Hindus fast last 40 days. In Ayurveda, it is said that it takes 35 to 40 days to cleanse the body. In my own studies of Ayurveda there are 7 dhatus (tissues) in Ayurvedic medicine. It is said it takes up to 30 to 40 days to rebuild Ojas or immunity. It takes 5 – 7 days to eliminate doshic imbalances from each dhatu (tissue). During my Yoga Training, we had 40-day challenge to personal revolution.
Throughout human history 40 has been symbolic of testing, trial and deep learning. I believe what makes 40 so special is that you’ve had enough time on this earth to grow, to play, to acquire material knowledge, but at 40 you begin to ask yourself, “What mark can I make on this world that makes my life meaningful?” If you haven’t contributed to the world, then there is this deep calling in you to make it all worthwhile at 40.
Perspective Through the Decades
When I was 14, my dad took me to Chicago to see the Sears Tower. I remember looking down from the top of the building and seeing all the small cars below, and thinking man I am not the hot stuff I thought I was. And then I felt this again, when I was about 18 and went to the top of the Empire State Building. Who was I to make my mark on the world in such a vast populated world?
My last year of College, I applied to UC Berkeley to study Environmental History. My senior thesis in College was on the impact of the Colorado River, underground water supply, and its impact on California’s economic growth. It was essentially the untold history of the environment. Deep inside of me, I could see that humans were using the environment for personal and collective advancement at the costs of protecting the earth with no foresight into the long-term ramifications of how this was impacting the environment.
Instead of going to UC Berkeley, I was a typical 20-year-old who wanted to make my mark on the world. I went to work for OSPIRG, the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group in Portland, Oregon. It was started by Ralf Nader as a nonprofit advocacy group. They were doing a lot of work to protect the urban growth boundaries, air quality, mass transportation, etc. While there, I decided to get my Masters in Urban Planning with the mission of changing my hometown.
Upon returning to Louisville, I began looking at how Louisville could grow sustainably. By 2006, I graduated with my MPA with a focus in Urban Planning and went to work for a Louisville Developer who was using historic tax credits to restore historic properties. It was my first time working in the Public Sector. I have been in the Public Sector ever since, and I can say that I also have a deep appreciation of housing and affordability. I now have a deeper respect for why people live outside of the urban boundaries – affordability, demographics, and an appreciation for being closer to nature.
Without going into any more detail about my job experiences, I have always been passionate about the environment. It has been a thread throughout my entire life. As a young mother, I nursed my children, and I made all their baby food with organic fruits and vegetables. I began to feel on a very spiritual level how toxic our world had become and that my children will inherit this world. I became very sick with fibromyalgia, and that’s when I began to awaken to all the harm I was doing to my own body with processed foods, sugar, GMO foods, and all the pesticides and chemicals in our food and water supply.
It was through this maternal nurturing that I turned in-ward and I realized that to make massive change on the environment that change needs to happen in each household with the foods and goods we consume. I realized how blind we are as consumers on the harmful products we consume whether it be food or cleaning products – you name it. While I never made huge changes in the political realm, I realized I oversaw my own life – the microcosm to the larger macrocosm. I believe deeply that to make planetary change, it has always been at the grassroots level with each of us (the butterfly effect).
I never liked politics, but I have been passionate about health and wellness for as long as I can remember. This passion began as a cross country runner. I have also been deeply spiritual for as long as I can remember. I was reading books on Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Hinduism when I was 16. What does this mean for me at 40?! I have grown to acquire this knowledge throughout my life, but it is time to truly actualize it out into the world.
Dharma – Planetary Thrive
My dharma or right way of living is to create planetary change and Thrive for myself, my family, and for all that I touch along the way. Motherhood taught me that one of the best ways to make change is to model change. If I want my child to behave a certain way, then I should model the behavior I want to see in my child. Humans influence one another. We are all derived from monkeys, and we model one another’s behavior. I hope that by holding up the values that I know to be right in health and wellness that I can inspire this change and transformation in others. At the age of 40, I realize that I am extremely powerful. When I stood on top of the Sears and Empire State Building at 14 and 18, I hadn’t evolved and grown to realize how powerful I can be. At the age of 40, I have no doubt. I welcome 40 with open arms!
When my husband and I first got married I knew I wanted a family, but I wasn’t quite ready to have children yet. We wanted to enjoy the fun of being a young married couple. Prior to marriage, he had purchased a second-floor condo in Historic Old Louisville, and we were so happy there with my cat Pinky. Life was simple in our material belongings, we lived in approximately 1,200 square ft., 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom home. We had a tiny kitchen, and enjoyed our evenings together cooking and curling up on the couch watching movies together.
Without children and a low mortgage, we could travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (where we were engaged), Mexico, Jamaica, and Hawaii for our honey moon all in one year. Marriage was better than I ever imagined it to be. We could eat out whenever we wanted, and we lived a very leisurely life. We thought we were busy, but we had no idea what busy was because we had no children. Within a couple of months, my maternal instinct was kicking in, and I told Evan that I wanted a puppy. He was furious when I showed up one evening in December with Woo, my first born! Woo is an Ocherese, and as a puppy he sat in the palm of my hand and was irresistibly cute. Evan and I had our first fight! Evan, who did not like dogs, told me that if I didn’t return Woo that he would resent me, and I in turn told him that I would resent him if I had to return Woo. Three days later, Evan was buying Woo outfits from Target.
Buying a dog came with a lot of lessons about being up in the middle of the night, to the dog sleeping with us, to us needing to find a home for the dog to pee in with a fence, and so we started house hunting. House hunting was no easy feat, and after viewing 25 plus homes, our Realtor started driving aimlessly around town just to see what neighborhoods appealed to us. I was certain we were wearing him out! After another exhausting day of house hunting, our Realtor drove us into our soon to be neighborhood. There was a sign in the yard of a California ranch, and we asked him to pull over. Evan and I were instantly drawn to this house. We loved the open floor plan and vaulted ceilings and the serene private backyard. We were able view it right away, and wouldn’t you know the house had an Invisible Fence for the Dog! Sold! We were moving, and we had a new home for a sweet puppy to run around in the yard.
Within three years Ainsley my angel girl was born the day after our third anniversary. Two and a half years later, Marshall our second child was born. The house was growing small, and it was time to move again or renovate. We loved the location, and opted for renovating. The next year and half, we drafted and built our dream home. At one point, the electrician told me half of the couples he saw who renovated homes over the years ended up in divorce. For anyone who has ever taken on a massive renovation, let’s just say it isn’t without challenges! Evan and I poured our hearts into our home and it wasn’t without a lot of blood sweat and tears into overseeing every detail of the home. My father, who was alive at time, was our General Contractor/Framer.
The renovation was hard, but we had a lot of fun and it was a huge creative outlet. Once we moved in, we swore we’d never leave and we’d stay until we retired or passed away. It was our forever home! Life continued to change in ways we couldn’t foresee. Within a few months, my father passed away, and I went through one of the greatest shifts in my life. Soon after his death, I went to Boulder, CO with my best friend. I was greatly grieving the loss of my dad, and needed to get away, so I went to a yoga teacher intensive week training, not to become a yoga teacher, but to heal my broken heart.
This trip changed my life and within a 6-month period, I became a yoga teacher, and within another year, I finished 600 hours studying Ayurveda, the Sister Science to yoga, an alternative form of healing/medicine out of India that integrates the body, mind and spirit using life-style practices, diet, herbal remedies, breathing practices and much more.
During this shift in my life, I realized that our family was living a life of quantity over quality. We watched the documentary the Minimalist. This documentary about consumerism taught me how out of sync I was with what brought me true happiness and joy. It wasn’t things – it was experiences my heart was longing for.
Evan and I were no longer traveling, and we spent a lot of our time maintaining our yard and not a garden, paying bills, and cleaning a ton of square footage – lost hours that I will never get back when I could have been playing with my children. Our children have been commuting on a bus an hour a day. My home was no longer matching my desires of how I want to live my life. Many people told me about the book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” The essential message or take away from the book is that whatever you own let it bring joy. It wasn’t that my home at one point wasn’t joyful, but I had new desires. The question that the book left me with is this, “Is what you choose to own how you want to live your life?” I realized that my heart was no longer aligned with my home as much as I am grateful for what it has afforded me.
This coming month, our family will kiss good-bye our beloved home. I am so grateful that my dad and I had the time to build it together before he passed away. I share so many beautiful memories of us working on the renovation together. The home that we are moving to sits on 3 beautiful wooded acres. We wish to grow a beautiful Ayurvedic herb garden, kayak with our children and fish Harrods Creek, which sits alongside our new neighborhood, and our children will be within 5 minutes of their school. There will be many adventures camping and exploring the outdoors ahead for us. We are decreasing our mortgage by half, and we will be able to return to a life of experiences over things. My father’s death taught me that life is worth treasuring and that it doesn’t have to be so tough. Thank you, Dad, for the experiences we shared, and for the home we designed together before your death. I will always cherish our home! I will always cherish the experience of building it with you! It’s not owing it that matters, it’s what we did together that will bring me joy long after you’ve departed.
I am very excited to start this blog about Ayurveda, and how it has changed my life. This topic is one that I am passionate to share because so few people know anything about it. While yoga is making a wave across the country, and becoming wildly popular – it’s Sister Science – Ayurveda has planted its seeds all over the country in the West Coast, North Carolina, New Mexico, and parts of the East Coast, but it hasn’t quite made its way into the heartland of America yet.
My first blog will just be about my journey of discovering Ayurveda, but future blogs will be about Ayurveda and Ayurvedic practices. For years, I have been on a journey to “heal my life” from what most Western doctors say is non-reversible stenosis, and degeneration of my entire cervical spine. I was born with mild scoliosis which caused bone spurs, and I developed arthritis in my early 30’s that my pain doctor said looked like arthritis of someone in their 60’s or 70’s. At 37, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, thyroid problems, anemia, leaky gut, and many other nutritional deficiencies, and I felt like I was falling apart.
Going back in time to explain how this all happened at the ripe age of 27, I was in a traumatic car accident that changed my life forever. I thought I was invincible. I was pushing 80 hours a week working full time as the Director of Sister Cities of Louisville, a one staff office, and then getting my MPA at UofL at night. As my best friend described me, “I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off.” I was hosting international visitors from abroad, training to run the pre-Derby mini-marathon, and I was at the top of my game, at least I thought I was. In one second, my life changed forever when I hit another car at the speed of about 45 to 50 miles per hour in Old Louisville. Bam! Life changed in second! When I slammed into another SUV, I was sure that I was going to die. My life did flash before my eyes. I was certain there was no way that I was going to live! That accident resulted in spinal injuries in my cervical, and lumbar spine, and I already had thoracic spine issues from birth.
Over a ten year period, I saw chiropractors, pain doctors, participated in prolotherapy, message therapy, cranial sacral therapy! You name it and if I thought it would cure me then I would do it. Then one day a message therapist said, “Have you ever considered that this might all be in your head? Have you ever done any mind body work?” I was pissed and interested at the same time! I knew I had physical symptoms (even though I didn’t yet have the science to prove from an MRI how bad the degeneration was). I then went on to get the testing done, the science based evidence that it wasn’t in fact all in my head, and that I wasn’t flipping crazy! My pain body was screaming at me, and I needed answers, and no Western treatment was taking that pain away. I came to one point in time where I wanted to throw in the towel and accept my pain as my life. In my early 30’s I was going to have to live in pain the rest of my life, and it was only going to get worse with age. Through tears and grief, I prayed that there must be a better way than drugs, epidurals, and even though not legal I had tried medical based marijuana, all of which had side effects mentally, physical and emotionally. I was getting weaker and weaker and more depressed, and then my Dad died. I felt like my whole world was crashing.
In grieving my dad’s death, my real healing journey began. Not the journey of taking drugs and accepting my diagnosis, but my journey of connecting my mind, body and spirit. Yes, it is true I cannot reverse the spinal degeneration that took over a decade to set in. However, I have learned to live a life that isn’t fully stricken with pain. For anyone who has or had chronic pain, it wears on you, living in chronic pain day in and day out is the most exhausting thing I can imagine for any human being. It is no way to live.
In trying to understand my dad’s degeneration and ultimate death, I began to understand the connection of the gut and the brain. We are literally what we eat. I also began to understand that we are our thoughts as well. What we digest in our mind, is what we digest medicinally in our body. What we take in through the five senses impacts us greatly, and Western Science is just now beginning to prove the Ancient Wisdom of Ayurveda – the gut brain connection, the heart brain connection, and that our mind and our thoughts affect our long-term health picture. Ayurveda, which developed roughly 5,000 years ago already understood this.
What is Ayurveda? It literally means the knowledge of life, and it has two principles: to keep the body healthy and free from disease, and to show us how to use health as the path to enlightenment. Two lofty goals, right? And what does that really mean? How the heck does someone remain free from disease and obtain enlightenment? And would you be shocked if I said that disease begins when we forget our true nature as spirit? And that divine essence resides within all of us? When we forget that we have a spirit and that we are just a mind and a body, then we only participate in the physical world. We eat whatever we want, drink whatever we want, stay up late, and treat our bodies however the heck we want to appease our ego. At the age of 27, I had lost my true nature as a spiritual being living in a mind and body that served my egos purposes, and from 27 to 37 my body was to serve me rather than me servicing my mind and body. Over the past two years, what does Ayurveda mean in my life: It is a daily practice of mindfulness. In future blogs, I cannot wait to share my Ayurvedic Journey! Namaste
Bear with me I am wordy, but please take the time to read how to get your metabolism in gear for the summer. In previous blogs, you have probably read that I have struggled with digestive problems my entire life. At an early age, I thought that feeling bloated and full all the time, and then starving the other half of the time was the norm, or at least it was in my family. The entire Pearman side of my family calls it the Pearman belly. My dad had these issues, my grandma did, and so I just assumed that feeling like crap after eating was the norm.
Anyone who knows me well will tell you that my whole life I’ve been able to eat whatever I want. I am known to finish off my plate, my husband’s plate, and my kid’s dinner plates once I am done with my own dinner. It used to be my claim to fame – that I thought I had this kick ass metabolism. How wrong I was to think that my metabolism was on fire!
In Ayurveda, the Vata constitution has a lot of movement in their digestion. They go from having zero appetite, and then the next minute they could eat a 5 course meal. Vatas are the Ectomorphs of the population with skinny lanky frames. The Pittas are the Mesomorph’s with a medium body build, and the Kapha’s are the Endomorphs with the stockier frame. Actually, it is the Pitta’s with the medium build that are blessed with the digestive fire. I fall into the Vata category.
So what is Ama, it is the toxic gunk (mostly undigested food) that is plugging up the channels of your body. Agni is the digestive fire that burns away the ama, the polar opposite of ama. That coating on your tongue when you wake up in the morning is the ama that is plugging up the channels of your body. What you see on your tongue is a window into what is clogging you up inside. Even if you eat a stellar diet, we are all exposed to ama in a modern society through pesticides, pharmaceuticals in our water supply, skincare products, or in essence unmetabolized waste! In Ayurveda, ama is the root cause of all disease. It has a massive impact on how we age. If our agni isn’t balanced and strong, then ama accumulates and agni takes a dive.
So what are some of the other symptoms of ama in our body from an Ayurvedic perspective? Prime examples would be bad breath, fatigue, headaches, constipation, acne, foul body odor, congestion, lymph congestion, water bloating, water retention, joint and muscle pain, etc.
Avoid ice in your beverages
Here are some of the tips that I have to start to digest and reduce ama that I practice in my own body. The first one, which wasn’t terribly hard for me is to avoid drinking cold beverages. In Ayurveda, you want to drink warm liquids like tea to keep the digestive fire alive. Putting ice cubes in your water is a sure way to put out the digestive flame.
Eat until you’re 75% full
The one that has changed my digestion the most lately is eating until I am ¾ full. I have a secret that will change how you digest food. When you eat, you will notice two bubbles of air come up at different times during your meal. The second bubble of air means that you are ¾ full. I never noticed this until I started studying Ayurveda. Once I started tuning into my meals, I notice this phenomenon every meal, and I never even knew I was doing it. It isn’t a bulch, and it isn’t anything that anyone else will notice, but it is just a real subtle action happening within your body.
Reduce alcohol consumption
The third tip I have is to reduce alcohol consumption. I grew up around French food and wine, and admiring the French way of eating and drinking. For a long time, I thought that there wasn’t anything wrong with having a glass of wine at dinner. However, after doing my first elimination diet, I noticed that the joint and muscle, neck and back pain went away after eliminating alcohol from my diet. In the United States, it has become so commonplace and acceptable to have a drink with your dinner meal. However, I have learned that while we are told one glass of red wine is good for us, it still dehydrates the body and causes inflammation because it isn’t alkaline.
Eat your biggest meal at lunch when the digestive fire is at it’s prime!
My fourth tip that is changing my digestion, bloating and constipation is eating my biggest meal at lunch. When we go to bed at night, our body is cleansing itself. The liver, or the night janitor, needs to have the time to do its job, and if we are full and have had alcohol then we are putting extra work on the night janitor to clean house. Again, changing from eating my biggest meal from dinner to lunch has been hard because that is the time when my family comes together to share in our day, but I am decreasing our portion sizes or not making as many side dishes.
Hydrate in the morning
And finally, drinking water until you eliminate in the morning, preferably warm tea and or water with lemon or lemon oil. I cannot tell you how much more rejuvenated I am starting my day fully hydrated. While I haven’t quit my caffeine addiction, I am making sure that I push fluids in the morning because as my day gets going, it is harder and harder for me to remember to take the time to drink and hydrate.
Get your digestive fire roaring in the morning hours
Okay, I have one more tip that is my latest, while I have been waking up and doing yoga stretches for some time now, I am now waking up to do some cardio work in the last week. Again, I am trying to start my day with my digestive fire ramping up, so that I can metabolize my food the rest of the day. This isn’t easy with the kiddos, so my goal is to start waking up at 5:30 am when my hubby gets up to get my juices flowing both mentally and physically. I’ll let you know how it goes as I am not a morning person!!!
If you are interested in accelerating your digestive fire, Thrive Yoga Health and Wellness will be starting a 10 week book club and Thrive program to get you started on your own Body Thrive. Message us for details, and or we will be posting them on our Facebook and webpage soon.
Breathe, Eat, Flow, Grow, Thrive.