The Tibetan monks who came from Hubli, Karnataka had this to teach today at the Princeton Center for Yoga and Health. How to do a job well, to focus on one item at any time and breathe in with it, taking it all in. They are mindful of creating the mandala- they focus on the process. The process consists of first making a draft of the mandala with the outline on the surface. Then using colored sand, pouring it into the cones with holes at the ends. Then you inhale and exhale lightly, settle down by bending into a comfortable position and start tapping the sand onto the design. You orchestrate your hands to move the cone a few millimeters a second to create the pattern- and all this while continuously breathing. This is an ongoing process for 6-8 days to create a beautiful mandala.
The whole point of this activity then is to do a job well and wait for the beauty to come through (or not). This is an example for how any piece of work needs to be done. The end result may not be a visible product like the mandala here. It could be a small task taken to it’s end, accomplished well.
After creating the mandala, there is a ceremony done to celebrate its beauty and the aspect of working and accomplishing something together. The monks then let go of the beauty in the mandala by sweeping the sand up- the work is done and done well. The essence of it is gathered while creating it -it is this essence which we find common in the doctrine of mindfulness. It is knowing that what needs to be done is a “do-now”. It is the “do-now” that one needs to focus upon, this moment. The rest will follow through.
(Picture Credits: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16371236)
Target Numbers for Asian Indians to Prevent Heart Disease
Non HDL Cholesterol less than 130 mg/dl 
(Total Cholesterol-HDL= Non HDL Cholesterol)
LDL-Cholesterol less than 100 mg/dl 
HDL-Cholesterol greater than 40 mg/dl for males and greater than 50 mg/dl for females 
Blood pressure: less than 140/80 mm
Waist Circumference: less than 35″ for men and less than 31″ for women
What is HDL cholesterol
High-density lipoprotein is a part of the total cholesterol measurement. It is often referred to as “good” cholesterol. The recommended level for men with diabetes is greater than 40mg/dl and for women with diabetes is greater than 50 mg/dl.
What is LDL cholesterol
Low-density lipoprotein is a part of the total cholesterol in the blood. It is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol. LDL should be less than 70mg/dl for those with diabetes and/or heart disease.
Dietary Recommendations to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol level
The National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III recommends:
1. Adjust caloric intake to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Weight gain raises LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood.
2. Choose a diet low in saturated fat (less than 7% of caloric intake), trans-fat (less than 1 % of caloric intake) and dietary cholesterol (less than 200 mg/day) by consuming a diet high in fish (especially fatty fish), non-fat dairy products, small amounts of lean meat and/or lean meat alternatives e.g. dry beans e.g. rajma, channa, soybeans (like edamame), lentils (daal) and tofu.
3. Include food sources of plant sterols & stanols. At the recommended dosage of 2 gm per day, plant sterols reduce cholesterol absorption in the intestine by up to 30% and reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol by 10%. Plant sterols have the same chemical structure as animal cholesterol which blocks the absorption of cholesterol eaten in the diet as well as
cholesterol manufactured by the liver.
4. Increase intake of viscous (soluble) fiber to 7-13g daily e.g. oats, fruits such as strawberries, apples, vegetables such as okra, eggplant, brussel sprouts and legumes such as lentils. Soluble fiber can lower LDL cholesterol 3-5%. It is recommended that adults eat 21 to 38 grams of total fiber daily.
Source: Indian Foods: AAPI’s Guide to Nutrition, Health and Diabetes
Edited by RANJITA MISRA Professor & Research Director, Texas A&M University
As one sits through the day at a screen without movement (like I have for the last two hours, looking at the clock) and wonder at the amazing technology- I also lock up the circulatory system Continue reading “movement”
Salads in India are a summer solution to extreme heat. The fruits and vegetables are the juiciest during summer. The reason being that there is ample sunshine to hasten the growth and along with enough water- they reach a full growth potential.
Salads when added to the plate take on the burden of providing roughage as well as the cooling quality to the spicy food. We see a lot of salads have curds and buttermilk added to add to the cooling element. This salad is a standard one of chopped variety that uses firm vegetables most of the time. Continue reading “An Indian salad”
I came across this note from reading Atul Gawande’s articles since the early 2000’s in the New Yorker Magazine. It took a while to fully understand the details of what he was writing until I fully understood the complicated way in which the healthcare system worked. It worked (or rather it did not work) because keeping ones health history intact and in order (book, bag, thaila, file) is a challenge and this catches up with you when some important elements of diagnosis are needed for treatment.
I was always in desperate-awe of the fact that doctors primarily went with physical diagnosis and less on what the patient was describing, almost brushing away the details as nonsense. This left me with a feeling of not being heard or a hypochondriac who never could stop talking about her health. Then I chanced upon one of Gawande’s articles where he describes how he treated a person’s actual problem by going back to his notes as described by the patients and noted and to things that were not the standard procedure. The doctor found that the small details that are built up in the patient’s medical history are a key to understanding their medical problems better. It is important to listen to the patient and pay attention to the details and it is helpful specially so in some critical diagnosis.
In this day when carrying one’s health history and carting it between doctors is such a nuisance, it makes sense to use a good electronic data maintenance system that works well.
I went around the mandi for my vegetables and was chased by young boys looking to sell their wares: small clips, rubber bands, candles, nadas, agarbathis. It is an incessant force at the mandi to get your work done and not be distracted by the small kids who try to make a living. They are like guides to the mandi but at the same time we are short-term visitors who lug back our goods and disappear like tourists, like onlookers.
The phool mandi in Hyderabad, Jam Bagh as the old timers know it, is one such place that has changed faces. Now we also have flower markets in Gudimalkapur one of the largest flower markets in Hyderabad that gets the flowers from Shankarpally, Chevella, Vikarabad. Things change and not remain the same and it makes for the case of wabi-sabi, the way imperfections last.