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Ayurvedic Oil Pulling / Cleansing Technique

Ayurvedic Oil Pulling is the most amazing cleansing technique.   This ancient therapy had been “lost” for many decades – thank goodness it has regained in popularity over the last several years.  It is easy and effective.

In the morning, on an empty stomach, before brushing your teeth – put 1 TBSP of plain sesame oil in your mouth.  Swish it for 15 – 20 minutes – it will turn white (like milk) as you complete the process.  Be sure to spit it out and then rinse your mouth before eating or drinking anything.

It pulls toxins, Ama, heavy metals, viruses, bacteria, and anything that is foreign out of the body.  Doing this on a regular basis will assist your body in healing any aspect of your body.

According to Ayurveda, the tongue represents and shows the health of the entire body and thus the oil, the oil bathes your tongue and encourages all of the different organs of your body to release toxins and doshic imbalances.

Ayurvedic oil pulling is very beneficial to the mouth, gums, and teeth.  I have many patients who have dramatic improvements in their gum tissue – a few with having regrowth of gum tissue where it had eroded from receding gums.  Just about everyone comments on the fact that their teeth have whitened.  One patient had neglected her teeth for decades and was in the process of losing two very loose teeth.  She had been told that they would have to be pulled.  She oil pulled at least 3 times per day, and within a few weeks, her teeth were firm once again.  Absolutely miraculous.

You will find that when you spit it out, there is at least 3 times as much liquid coming out as you put in.  This is due to the pulling effect on the saliva.  The saliva is made up of rasa dhatu – the liquid portion of the blood, blood plasma, and lymph system.  So, Ayurvedic oil pulling encourages the blood and the lymph system to cleanse.

Contact us to be added to our monthly Ayurvedic Newsletter – interesting articles, healthy recipes, herbal information, and more!

Dr. Mary Jo Cravatta

Experience the Joy that can be experienced by the Shaktiveda Ayurveda approach to health and well being.

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Ayurveda and Menopause / Peri-Menopause

In my practice in Northern California / Grass Valley, CA, I have had the opportunity to see many peri-menopausal and post-menopausal women. In this article, you will find information explaining an Ayurvedic understanding of the reproductive hormones and get a clearer understanding of Ayurveda and menopause.

ayurveda and menopause

Every woman will respond differently as she goes through the transition of Menopause.  We mostly  hear of the difficult problems that women may have – but there is definitely the possibility that this transition can be very smooth and hardly noticeable.  This all depends on whether her Doshas are balanced or not balanced.  Women with Pitta predominant body type will be more prone to hormone problems.  This is due to the fact that Ranjaka Pitta – the Pitta in the Liver – has a very large impact on sex hormones.  But, any body type can be affected.  It is ideal that a woman prepares for at least several years before menopause to bring balance to Ranjaka Pitta.

A Ranjaka Pitta imbalance will cause an over active Liver which will “burn” the hormones.  The first to be affected is usually Progesterone.  Many peri-menopausal women have problems due to this.  A Ranjaka Pitta imbalance may be  caused by a wide variety of things:  eating Pitta aggravating foods, drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, any drugs – OTC, prescription, etc as they need to be processed by the Liver, holding on to fiery Pitta emotions such as irritation, impatience, anger, envy, dis-satisfaction, etc,

Subdoshas and Dhatus that are involved in Ayurveda and Menopause

Vata – Subdoshas – Prana Vata and Apana Vata Dhatu – Asthi

Pitta – Subdoshas – Ranjaka Pitta and Sadhaka Pitta

Kapha – Kledhaka Kapha, Bodhaka Kapha Dhatu – Meda

In order to have a more complete understanding of the information, you may wish to read my Introduction to Ayurveda Article


Is a precursor of other sex hormones, including estrogen and testosterone

Is a natural diuretic, Is a natural antidepressant,

Helps thyroid hormone action, restores sex drive, helps to normalize blood sugar levels,

Builds bone and is protective against osteoporosis, Is a precursor of cortisone (adrenal)

Progesterone has a balancing effect on Estrogen Protects against fibrocystic breasts,

Symptoms of Low Progesterone 

Headaches, low libido, anxiety, swollen breast, moodiness, fuzzy thinking, depression, food cravings, irritability, PMS symptoms

Estrogen – Estrone, Estradiol, Estriol

There are different areas of the body where estrogen is produced: ovaries, fat cells, adrenal glands, skin cells, breast tissue, etc.

Estrogen is beneficial to the vagina, cervix, and vulva. Decrease estrogen can lead to vaginal dryness and atrophy and predispose a woman to vaginitis and cystitis

Estrogen dominance can occur during peri-menopause and can be dangerous for women- Estrogen promotes cell growth

Phyto Estrogens are a safe, effective way to address low Estrogen. Many people confuse Plant or Phyto Estrogens with the adverse affects of Human, Animal, or Synthetic  Estrogen. Some women may not take the plant based Estrogens for this reason.  Human and Animal based Estrogens are composed of Cholesterol.  Plant based Estrogens DO NOT contain Cholesterol.  That do not hold the same danger as the human or animal based Estrogens may have.  They also assist in balancing cholesterol and maintaining bone density. The main Phyto Estrogen in Ayurveda is Shatavari. The main Phyto Progesterone in Ayurveda is Vidari Kanda.

And, many will also mistakenly believe that men or boys should not take Plant / Phyto Estrogens.  This is another sad mistake.  They will not adversely affect a growing boy.  And, they are very beneficial in assisting a man’s prostate in staying healthy.

Symptoms of Low Estrogen

Hot flashes, shortness of breath and palpitations, night sweats, sleep disorders, insomnia, vaginal dryness, dry hair, hair loss, anxiety, mood swings, headaches, depression, memory loss, frequent urinary tract infections

Emotional Affects of Decreased Reproductive Hormones according to Ayurveda and Menopause

Vata Emotions Mood swings, fear, anxiety, depression

Pitta Emotions – Anger, irritability, sadness, controlling, stubborn

Kapha Emotions – Lethargy, attachments, depression


Shaktiveda Ayurvedic Herbal Products have several different formulas to address hormonal concerns. There is a line of products for both the menstruating woman and the Post-Menopausal woman.

Shaktiveda Line of Ayurvedic Herbal Products – designed for Peri and Post Menopausal Women

Transitional Moon – for peri-menopausal women. Peri menopause may begin in a women’s late 30’s or early 40’s. 

Luna Rejuv Herbal Powder – for the very late stages of peri-menopause and for post menopausal women.

Luna Rejuv Nasya Oil – for both peri and post menopausal women

Luna Support Vaginal Oil – for both peri and post menopausal women

These may be ordered by ordering from our website or sending us an email or by phoning.


Shaktiveda Yoga (Workshops, Yoga Classes, Yoga DVDs)

Experience the Joy that can be experienced by the Shaktiveda Ayurveda approach to health and well being. With Dr. Cravatta’s siddhi to feel distance pulse,  you may have your consultation by either phone or zoom.

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Ayurveda and Thyroid – Key to Health

Our health is intimately connected to the functioning of the thyroid gland.  The far reaching effects of the thyroid hormone influence every cell in our body.  Metabolism, governed by this hormone, sets the pace for vitality and strength. Ayurveda and thyroid health are very important.

Improving Metabolism For Better Health

Ahh, yes, metabolism – how does it impact us?  A large part of cellular metabolism concerns how efficiently we burn calories to create energy and heat.   Thyroid hormone enters into each cell and is the catalyst to set off an entire cascade of events that allow for the proper performance of the various tissues in the body.  Without the power sparked by thyroid hormone, every individual cell could become weak and unable to effectively do its job.

Symptoms of Hypothyroid

Insufficient thyroid function may cause fatigue, foggy thinking, weight gain, decreased concentration, loss of memory, weak muscles, brittle hair, and temperature fluctuation.  This list could go on and on since every system in the body is affected by the thyroid.  We could include depression, hair loss, constipation, muscle cramps, and irregular menstrual cycles.  However, to some extent, any malfunction of the different bodily systems may be associated with the thyroid.

Ayurvedic Perspective on the Thyroid

In an Ayurvedic perspective, the thyroid could affect Vata, Pitta, or Kapha.  Whenever there is an underlying disturbance in any of the subdoshas, an inadequate level of thyroid hormone would more likely affect the cells or bodily systems governed by that subdosha.  For example, if someone has an Apana Vata imbalance in their abdominal area, a thyroid deficiency could weaken the muscles in the colon, slowing the digestive process; leading to either an incomplete bowel movement or constipation.

With a decreased thyroid, there may be a reduction in oxygen available in the blood and this can bring fatigue.  The sequence of events begins with the weakening of the heart muscle which in turn slows the heart rate. Oxygen production is diminished – making less available to be utilized during metabolism.  As the amount of energy that is created through cellular metabolism is lessened, fatigue will ensue.

Ayurveda and thyroid: How does the Thyroid become imbalanced?

Energetically, the thyroid is governed by the throat chakra. Physically, the thyroid is located within the subdosha Udana Vata which is located in the upper chest, neck, and throat area.  The 3 Doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha,  can be subcategorized five times each into the 15 Subdoshas. Both the Throat Chakra and Udana Vata are related to communication: speaking, hearing, listening, and the performance of action.

The Throat Chakra is also known as Vishudhi or Truth. If we are not able to fully express our inner truth this is disruptive to the well being of the Throat Chakra and to the Thyroid. The Throat Chakra also affects our living our truth which manifests as our thoughts behaviors, and actions. Any  unprocessed cellular memory that remains in the lower four chakras (Root, Sacral, Navel, or Heart) will have an influence on the well being of the Throat Chakra, Udana Vata, and the Thyroid Gland.

How Repressed Emotions Affect the Thyroid

Either hypo or hyperthyroid may be caused by subtle factors relating to expressing ourselves.  There may be an accumulation of repressed desires or emotions from a non supportive relationship.  Perhaps our words have not been valued or dealt with as being insignificant.  Other times, feeling powerless and not in a position to fulfill our needs or to take the steps necessary to advance dreams into reality.  Any of these can disrupt the natural flow of life force in the Throat Chakra and create a blockage. Ayurveda and thyroid is very important for general well-being.

Thyroid Blood Tests May Be Misleading

Thyroid tests may not show a clear picture of the body’s needs or utilization of thyroid hormone.  Blood test results for T3 and T4 are quite broad and may suggest within the normal limits; however, this may not be indicative of the needs of the individual.  Reproductive hormones play a significant role in the proper functioning of the thyroid.  A surprisingly high percentage of peri and post menopausal woman have transitioning sex hormones along with a decrease in  thyroid function.  For these woman, both the sex hormones and thyroid hormones must be addressed.  Usually, this can be attended to with safe and natural herbal therapy.

Peri-Menopause, Menopause, and the Thyroid

Going through this change of life does not need to be disruptive with symptoms that appear to be a mystery such as sleep problems, chronic fatigue, loss of  memory, unexplained dizziness, numbness or tingling in the hands along with the host of known conditions related to fluctuating hormones.

ayurveda and thyroid

Iodine and Selenium for Thyroid Health

The lack of proper nutrients has a detrimental effect on thyroid function.  Iodine is necessary to produce thyroid hormone, but may be insufficient in the diet.  Using iodized salt and including sea vegetables such as seaweed or kelp assist in having the proper amount.  Selenium is fundamental for utilization of  thyroid hormone in cellular metabolism.  Excellent vegetarian sources for Selenium include brazil nuts, sunflower, sesame, and chia seeds.  Ayurveda thyroid Shilajit  (mineral pitch) contains both Iodine and Selenium in a highly assimilable form.  Shaktiveda Herbal offers Shilajit capsules along with Thyroid Assist formula or capsules and Thyroid Relief Nasya Oil.

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Awaken Your Spine 7 Day Intensive-Ayurveda Yoga

Awaken Your Spine 7 Day Retreat Blends the wisdom of Ayurveda, Yoga, and Chiropractic.

The Awaken Your Spine – Pelvic Pattern and Heart Centered Retreat. The information contained in this course is so beneficial, that it is offered as part of our Enhanced Knowledge Program.

Dr. Cravatta has developed an amazing style of yoga to facilitate the unwinding from cellular memory.   Traditional Yoga Asanas are taught in an expanded manner that utilizes Shaktiveda Yoga’s Divine Sevenfold Path to release and rejuvenate.  From her decades as a chiropractor, she blends this information with her understanding of Ayurveda and Yoga to truly address imbalances that affect us physically and emotionally.

All Chakras are addressed with this style of Ayurveda Yoga – and the emphasis of this course is the release of cellular memory that is held throughout the entire spine – affecting both our physical and etheric bodies. You will learn in depth knowledge of cellular memory that is held in the Pelvic area – particularly the Root and Sacral Chakras – and the Cervical / Thoracic spine – Heart and Throat Charkas — and, how all of this relates to our Navel Chakra (our Power Center). Discover what your pelvic pattern is and how it relates to the cellular memory that needs to be addressed and released.  This is intimately related to the cellular memory that is held in the Heart Chakra and may manifest in the thoracic spine, shoulders, and neck. As these old imbalances begin to unwind, one feels clearer, lighter, and has the ability to view life in a renewed perspective.

This transformational course is taught in an atmosphere which allows you to go deep within.

Dates:   April 2016.

Each day is structured similarly to our Awaken Within Retreat – beginning with group yoga, pranayama, and meditation.

Fee for Awaken Your Spine – Pelvic Pattern and Heart Centered:  $1,297  plus $224 for Ayurvedic vegetarian meals – if paid in full 3 weeks before the course begins you will receive a $30 credit towards Shaktiveda Retail products.

Ask us for suggestions of places to stay while attending the course. The course is held at Shaktiveda Ranch, Grass Valley, CA.

It is important to have a basic understanding of both Yoga and Ayurveda to be able to attend this course.

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Tips for Releasing Old Patterns and Cellular Memory

Through Dr. MaryJo Cravatta’s years of practice, she has seen that in order to truly assist her patients in healing their health concerns that it is absolutely necessary to address the deeper underlying energetic imbalances that pull them back in old patterns, old ways of thinking, and old ways of reacting. To do otherwise, is really just addressing the symptoms. Of course, one may say that with Ayurveda we are addressing the Doshic imbalances. However, what may be underlying the Doshic imbalances of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha? This perspective on healing is what Dr. Cravatta calls Shaktiveda Ayurveda and is based on her experience of helping tens of thousands of patients over the last 3 – 4 decades. Her understanding is through the knowledge that was given to her by her Guru Kriya Babaji.

For the best results, we suggest a pulse reading with Dr. Cravatta. However, to get you started, here are a few suggestions:

1. To release cellular memory, we need to honestly look at ourselves – our thoughts, our emotions, our ways of acting or reacting to what may come up in our daily lives.

2. Keeping a regular journal is very helpful. Do you see themes repeating themselves of how you may be responding to your interactions with others or to any stresses that  may come up in your life?

3. Have a regular time of peace and silence each and every day. This may be: yoga, breathing techniques, meditation, and / or times of contemplation.

4. Doing at least one of the poses on the Awaken Within Yoga DVD each day and taking the affirmations to heart. Choosing one of the affirmations to look at more closely and how your life would change if you lived the wisdom of that affirmation. This assists you in unwinding from cellular memory that may be stored in your Chakras and Layers of your Etheric Body.

5. Drinking one cup of Shaktiveda’s Healing Within tea – nice to have before meditation or yoga. As this powerful herbal formula loosens old cellular memory, we suggest that you only drink one cup per day. This is one of our main herbal products for releasing cellular memory.

6. Applying Shaktiveda’s Neuro Pattern Release Nasya Oil once or twice per day. This amazing oil is one of our main herbal products for releasing cellular memory.

7. Joining us for our distance Mind / Body Group Cleanse which is offered three times each year: January, May, and September. We offer our cleanse in two parts. Part 1 – Liver Cleanse – is highly effective for releasing physical and emotional imbalances. Part 2 also releases cellular memory with an emphasis on releasing toxins / ama from body and mind. You may join either Part or both Parts. Each Part is 14 days.

8. For those who want to delve even further into releasing cellular memory, we suggest either attending our inperson retreats: Awaken Your Spine and / or Awaken Within.

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Almond Milk Recipe

 Almond Milk photo

Almonds are truly a super food. High in vitamins, minerals, protein, antioxidants, and  mono-unsaturated fatty acids.

This queen of nuts protects our tissues and increases the ability of each cell to function optimally. According to Ayurveda, they are one of the most sattvic foods. Increasing our level of sattva assists all of our cells to flourish and rejuvenate. A food is categorized as being sattvic when it enables us to strengthen our inner wisdom, purity, harmony, and balance.

Have you ever made your own almond milk? The taste and nutritional benefits far exceed the commercial boxed variety. The average processed almond milk contains 1 gram of protein per cup, while your homemade almond milk has approximately 6 grams of protein. The amount of calories in this recipe will depend on the amount of water and honey. You may first want to try this recipe exactly as it is written, and then experiment by changing the ratio of nuts to water.


3/4 cup almonds soaked overnight (at least 8 hours)
4 cups of water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt or to taste
1 – 2 TBSP honey

This recipe went through a number of versions. Other almond milk recipes use the soaked nut with their skins and then strain the pulp through a sieve or nut bag (creating a massive amount of wasted nutrition). A high powered blender such as a Vitamix will literally liquify the peeled nut. If you do decide to strain the milk, there is hardly any remaining residue. To strain or not to strain, that is the question. Depends on your personal preference. Pouring boiling water over the almonds will blanch them to ease the peeling process. Pinch the nut between your thumb and index fingers – the peel will just slip off.

Put the peeled almonds in the blender container along with 2 cups of water (yes, begin with 1/2 of the water), the vanilla, salt, and honey. Blend on the highest speed until the nuts are completely processed. If using a Vitamix, blend until you feel the outside of the container is becoming warm to the touch. Then, decrease to a very low speed and slowly add the remaining 2 cups of water. Taste your almond milk to determine if you need to add any additional honey or if you would prefer to put it through a strainer. If it is grainy, you may just need to blend for a longer time. Store in the refrigerator in a glass bottle. Stays fresh for approximately 4 days.


You may desire to use a different sweetener such as Turbinado Sugar or Maple Syrup. Honey is listed in the recipe as it is also a sattvic foods.

Adding 1 tsp of Rose Water is divine.

Adding 1/4 tsp of cardamom is delicious plus Vata pacifying.

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Ginger Quinoa Greens


1/2 cup Quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water
1 large Carrot – chunks
1/2 tsp No-Chicken Bouillon
Salt – few sprinkles
1 TBSP Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Hing
12 – 15 Walnut halves
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
Kale  – 1/2 bunch
1/4 Lemon


We will prepare this dish in two steps – first the Quinoa, then the walnuts and greens.


Put 1 cup of water in a saucepan adding the salt and No-Chicken Bouillon.  Bring to a boil.  Add the quinoa and carrot chunks.  Let simmer on low for approximately 25 minutes.

Walnuts & Greens:

While this is cooking, put the oil in a saute pan – add the Hing and walnut halves.  Saute on low heat for approximately 5 minutes – allowing the walnuts to become a golden brown (be careful to not burn them).  Remove the walnuts from the pan – add more oil if necessary to saute the chopped kale. Add the grated ginger and sprinkle the kale with a little salt.  Cover the kale and saute on low heat for approximately 5 – 8 minutes – stirring occasionally (and adding a little water if necessary).

Putting It All Together:

Combine the cooked Quinoa, Kale, and Walnuts in the pan.  Stir gently. Sprinkle with lemon juice.  Enjoy!

Ayurvedic info:

Walnuts are basically a TriDoshic food – being balancing to all three Doshas.  The predominant taste is sweet and astringent. This recipe is great for all 3 Body Types.  All Six Tastes are represented in our Ginger Quinoa Greens recipe.

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Creamie Greenie Soup

Are you so “over” the Green Smoothie fad with raw Kale?

Then, this recipe is for you!

Green Smoothies with raw vegetables go against basic guidelines of Ayurveda – and are particularly Vata Dosha aggravating.


1 medium Zucchini or Yellow Crooked Neck Squash

Medium pile of fresh baby Greens – ie: Chard, Kale, or Spinach

1 cup water

¼ tsp salt

Few sprinkles of black pepper

1 TBSP Olive Oil

½ Lemon

To prepare:

Chop the squash into small piece s and place in a medium sauce pan in the 1 cup of water.  Add the Salt and Pepper.

To cook:

Bring the pot to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.  After 3 minutes, place the baby greens in the pot along with the olive oil.  Continue to cook for another 10 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked.

Remove from the heat and blend with a hand blender until a smooth consistency.

To serve:

Add the lemon juice and then serve.

Serves:  2

This soup is suitable for all body types and especially balancing to Pitta Dosha.

Read my upcoming article on the perils of Green Smoothies in our next newsletter.

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Red Lentil Kitchari with Butternut Squash

Red Lentil Kitchari with Butternut Squash

Red Lentil KItchari with Butternut Squash - Version 2


2 cups Water

2/3 cup Red Lentils – washed and drained

1/3 cup White Basmati Rice – washed and drained

1/2 tsp No Chicken Bouillon (optional)

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp Hing  (optional)

1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1/4 cup Golden Raisins

3/4 cup Butternut Squash – chopped into 1/2 inch cubes

1 1/2 tsp Pitta Spicing Blend (or other curry powder)

2 TBSP Shredded Coconut

Place all of the ingredients in the water in a medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook approximately 45 minutes. You may use  more water if you prefer to have this to be a soupier consistency.

Sprinkle with lime or lemon juice after you have removed it from the heat.

Serves approximately 2 to 3

This Kitchari contains 5 of the Ayurvedic Six Tastes. When we add a green vegetable, we then have a delicious meal with all Six Tastes.

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Chia Seed / Coconut Smoothie


4 – 5 oz Coconut Milk (Silk)
4 – 5 oz Soy Milk (Silk) or Almond Milk
2 TBSP Chia Seeds
1 Ripe Banana
2 – 3 Clementines
1 Ripe Pear
Optional – Blue Berries or a combination of berries
Optional – 2 TBSP Protein Powder
Optional – 1 TBSP Pecan Butter

Soak the Chia Seeds in the Milks approximately 4 – 8 hours – may be left on the counter.

Put all of the ingredients in the Blender or Vita Mix and blend well. If using frozen berries, be sure to blend until at least room temperature or slightly warm.

Serves 1 – 2

This Smoothie recipe is suitable for all 3 Doshas.  Chia Seeds are an excellent source of Omega 3’s, protein, and anti-oxidants.  The word Chia means strength – and with being packed with all of the super nutrients in these tiny seeds, we can see why they have been given this name.  They are known for being an energy booster – assisting in maintaining proper blood sugar levels, thereby stabilizing energy.  The nutrients in Chia Seeds is also known to facilitate hair growth.