Moksha (mok’sha):a Sanskrit word meaning to release, liberate, let go.
Moksha evokes the potential to let go of anything limiting our full expression of health, joy and spiritual awareness.
Moksha Center is the home of Gina Mastroluca’s healing practice and center for exploring the path to complete health and happiness through ayurveda, yoga and polarity therapy. In her 16 years of practice, Gina’s focus has been women’s health and emotional wellness. She integrates nutrition, aromatherapy, breath, mindfulness and hands on energy balancing to restore health and wholeness. Through individual consultations, energy bodywork sessions, classes and retreats, Gina helps women nurture mind, body and spirit especially in times of transition such as career change, divorce, menopause, childbirth, illness, and loss.
Polarity therapy and ayurveda attend to the root cause of emotional stress and physical tension. This allows us to let go of old patterns, connect with our own healing wisdom and experience the creative possibilities for health and living fully.
The span of life, health, energy, metabolism, complexion, strength, enthusiasm, luster and the vital breath are all dependent on agni.
Dr. Vasant Lad
Agni is a vedic term that means burning or transforming and is the biological fire that governs digestion, metabolism and immunity. Maintaining the balance of agni allows food to be digested efficiently and vital nutrients to be transported to the bodily tissues. Agni, the digestive fire, imparts energy to the enzymes and gastric acid in the stomach and small intestine. Even the healthiest, organic foods will be of little benefit if our agni is weak and our digestion disturbed. Undigested or partially digested food ferments, creating toxins and leading to gas, cramping and indigestion. According to ayurveda, accumulation of toxins is said to be the root cause of all disease. Balanced agni destroys foreign bacteria and toxins in the gut and is key to strong immunity. Attending to our agni may the most important thing we can do for our health.
Signs of strong agni:
Mind and senses feel clear and steady
Having energy to change your life or act in the world in positive ways.
Body can digest and assimilate food to the fullest and eliminate waste products fully.
Signs of weak agni:
Weak appetite and coating on tongue
Physical and emotional dullness
Hopelessness, heaviness, stagnation
Ways to improve agni:
In the morning drink a cup of warm water with fresh lemon or lime.
Drink hot ginger tea ½ hr before all meals. Pitta reduce ginger in the summer months.
Add agni stimulating herbs and spices to foods including cumin, cilantro, fennel, lemon grass, mint, thyme, rosemary, cinnamon and coriander.
Reduce raw foods especially in cold months
Enjoy eating in a relaxed and calm environment.
Eat portions that are satisfying but not overeating.
Eat largest meal at midday when agni is strongest.
Avoid drinking cold or iced drinks especially with food
Recognizing a few food combining principles helps avoid stagnation, fermentation, and ama as foods have different processing times in the stomach.
Eat fruit separate from other food (1/2 hr before or 2 hrs after.)
Eat dessert 1 to 2 hrs after meal
Chew foods well (20-40 times)
Eat at regular times
Cook with Ghee (clarified butter)
Abhyanga, Warm Sesame Oil Self-Massage
Ayurvedic essentials for
Abhyanga, oil massage, is an essential component of an ayurvedic daily routine in the cold seasons of autumn, winter and early spring. The warmed sesame oil relaxes the muscles, calms the nervous system and nourishes the largest organ of the body—the skin! The sanskrit word sneha translates as both “oil” and “love.” So, oiling the skin regularly can impart the warmth and stability of feeling loved. This simple 15 minute addition to your bathing routine has immediate and cumulative benefits. Even if you can do abhyanga once or twice a week you will immediately notice the benefits of feeling more relaxed in your body and resilient to stress. This nurturing practice is simple and transformative. Enjoy!
Supports better sleep
Nourishes and strengthens the whole body
Strengthens resilience to stress
Decreases the drying effects of aging
Stimulates the internal organs and circulation
Detoxifying tissue layers
Anti-inflammatory effect on joints
How to do Abhyanga:
1) Start with Organic raw sesame oil (not toasted!). Pour about a ½ cup of sesame oil in small (4oz-8 oz) plastic container with squirt top. Sesame oil is medicinal for dry skin, tight muscles and increased vata. It is rich in vitamins A, B, E as well as the minerals iron, calcium, magnesium. A person with increased pitta may benefit from a lighter and cooling oil like coconut or sunflower. Those with increased kapha may use sesame oil (sparingly), corn oil or massage without oil. A practitioner can customize an herbal infused and aromatic oil specfic for your constitution.
2) Submerge plastic container in mug of hot water to gently warm the oil.
3) Create a warm and comfortable space in your bathroom.
4) Massage warm oil from soles of feet to head. Massage as much of your back and spine as is possible.; With loving attention, massage in circular motions for joints, abdomen and chest. For arms and legs use long patient strokes. You don’t have to do your face if you have sensitive skin and you can skip your head if you don’t want to get your hair oily. It is soothing and beneficial to massage the top of the head with warm oil, if this appeals to you.
5) Allow this to be an unhurried, restorative time. You can stretch and breath and enjoy the quiet or listen to soothing music.
6) After your body is coated lightly with oil, return to sore or stiff joints or body parts that could benefit from more attention. Then, bathe or shower.
7) There is no need to soap up skin (just soap up private areas.) Allow the hot water and steam to penetrate the oil into your body. Towel dry.
8) Ayurvedic texts caution pregnant women to avoid Abhyanga.
To learn more about Ayurveda and vata, pitta, kapha go to Ayurveda article.
• Healing Benefits of Brahmari Breath Practice
Pranayama is the yogic practice of breathing that cultivates a deep connection with the flow of life force throughout the body. Breath practices deliver prana to every cell and balance the nervous system. Ayurvedic Doctor, Vasant Lad, says pranayama destroys all disease. Disease is when prana becomes stagnant. Brahmari breath can reduce anxiety, expand joy and allow you to relax in your body!
How to do brahmari breath (bee breath)
Begin by closing off ears and eyes with thumbs in your ears and fingers over your eyes. Inhale through your nose allowing your abdomen to expand. Exhale a breath thru closed mouth- humming. The hum or buzz creates a vibration throughout your head and throat. Start with 7 inhales and exhales. Rest and notice how you feel. Contraindicated for those with chest pain, extremely high blood pressure, a recent history of epilepsy or ear infection.
Benefits according to Dr Vasant Lad:
Stimulates the thyroid gland increasing metabolism
Activates serotonin release for balanced moods
Balances high blood sugar
Balances logic and intuition – the two hemispheres of the brain
Used for alzheimer’s disease