By MAPI staff writers
Ayurveda and High Performance
There are three fundamental Ayurvedic principles or goals that
support ‘high performance’ – whether physical or mental. They are
broadly summed up in three lifestyle strategies:
1. Reducing ama (toxins)
2. Balancing and strengthening digestion (agni)
3. Significantly lowering stress
Under each of these key areas are a wide variety of tactics and
sub-categories. Each of these three plays a powerful role in supporting
high performance and wellness, short and long term, according to
Balance, Strength, Speed, Endurance, Resistance to Stress
Our mind and body perform at peak levels and recover quickly when
they are balanced, low-stress, flexible, intuitive, responsive, and
energetic. In Ayurveda, performance strategy goes beyond aerobics,
muscle toning or a sole focus on isolated symptoms.
To accomplish the three goals mentioned above, Ayurveda offers many
options. Each has its own power to change and sustain a higher level of
mind-body performance. The extent to which one can adopt these
strategies will vary depending on each individual, but adopting one is
good — the effects and results are cumulative, and all are easy to
integrate into our lifestyles. These performance-oriented options
include changes in diet and routine; using stress-reduction practices
like yoga, exercise and meditation; a variety of traditional Ayurvedic
herbals; and many other tools that support high performance for athletes
and everyone else. They all have a cumulative, positive effect on
Digestion = Energy, Balance and Performance
Digestion is a central, long-term, priority focus of Ayurveda.
Great emphasis is placed on keeping digestion (agni) balanced. It is an
essential component for high-performance lifestyles where competition
dominates. In this sense, ‘balance’ means digestion is functioning at
its absolute optimum. That’s because digestion (agni) is the
engine of assimilation and transformation. Think of the engine of a car.
If the ability to assimilate the fuel is hindered by poor fuel delivery
(clogged lines) or by poor ignition (faulty electrical system), the
car, although filled with fuel, will be unable to operate at peak
This transformation ‘engine’ isn’t found just in the stomach – it is
found in every cell in the body. It is an extremely intelligent engine.
It transforms and assimilates food nutrients and food intelligence into you, and eliminates that which isn’t useful to the body and mind. Depending on the strength of our agni, either ama (toxins) or ojas
(the beneficial biochemical of balance) will be created. Ojas is the
finest and most valued by-product of digestion in Ayurveda, supporting
energy, clarity, immunity, inner happiness, physical toning, intuition,
judgment and peak emotional stability. All of these are qualities
central to athletic performance, and all other performance.
Whole-Person versus ‘Isolated Parts’ Performance
Ayurveda’s strength lies in its ‘whole person’ approach to high
performance. This means it does not isolate a narrow area of health and
exclude the rest of a person’s life. There are specific Ayurvedic
approaches supporting specific results, like faster muscle recovery
time or reaction times, discussed below. But it’s important to
understand that each of these tools is one in a number of
balance-creating, natural performance-enhancing tools available.
Ayurveda takes a holistic approach, because a holistic approach is much
more powerful. This approach is summed up in a famous phrase in
Ayurveda: “Water the root to enjoy the fruit.” The entire root is
watered, not an isolated part.
A small, famous Ayurvedic Berry for Performance
Of all the Rasayanas – Ayurvedic formulations revered for their
positive influence on the physiology – the Amalaki (Amla) fruit is
considered one of the most potent and nourishing. The Charaka Samhita
(an ancient Ayurvedic text) says, “Amalaki is the best among
rejuvenative herbs.” It contains five of the six tastes: sweet, sour,
bitter, astringent and pungent. The only taste missing is salty. This
gives it a holistic, balancing effect on the doshas. Very few fruits
have this quality. This is the beauty of this fruit: it is tri-doshic,
which means that it is pacifying to all three doshas (mind-body operating principles). It is good for all seasons, all weather conditions, and all body types.
Rasayanas have many high-performance benefits. The Ayurvedic texts
mention that they promote longevity, memory, intelligence, youthfulness,
strength and immunity of the body; strength of the sense organs; the
quality of purity (sattva); a clear voice and sweet and
successful speech; respectability (due to a pure nature, good health,
and prosperity); and invincibility. Amalaki is good for men and
especially for women.
The fruit of this plant is the only ingredient in the Organic Premium Amla Berry
tablets. It is not just ground Amla. Our Amla is produced according to
the ancient texts and concentrated in a 21-step process. Amla fruit is
also a major ingredient in Amrit Nectar and Amrit Ambrosia.
Amla Berry is one of those Ayurvedic plants with a long, celebrated
history of supporting health and energy. More specifically, for those
looking for a natural high-performance edge, Amalaki has many notable benefits:
- Aids muscle tone. Amla Berry enhances protein synthesis, which is
why it is good for strengthening muscles and building lean muscle mass.
Its unique Ayurvedic action offers athletes and body-builders a natural
way to tone muscles and build lean mass.
- Nourishes the brain and mental functioning. Amla Berry is good for
the brain. It nurtures and enhances coordination among the three aspects
of mental ability – acquisition, retention and recall, sharpening the
intellect and mental functioning. It supports the nervous system and
strengthens the senses.
- Increases vitality. Amla Berry increases energy and removes fatigue.
It supports regeneration of cells – the process by which tired, old
cells are replaced by vital, new ones.
- Supports the heart. It is “hridya,” which means it nurtures the heart, blood and circulation – the entire cardiovascular system.
- Supports the lungs and balances Kapha dosha. It is a tonic that
helps strengthen and nourish the lungs and the entire respiratory tract.
- Nurtures all the dhatus (body tissues), and helps keep
menstruation regular and healthy. It supports the reproductive systems
of both men and women. It is especially nurturing for a woman’s
- Promotes food absorption. Regular use supports digestion, absorption
and assimilation of food. In addition, it improves assimilation of iron
for healthy blood.
- Helps the urinary system. It supports natural diuretic action, helping eliminate waste from the body.
- Acts as a body coolant. It is especially effective in the hot season
to cool Pitta dosha, and is especially good for Pitta and Vata body
types. It is regularly recommended to balance Pitta dosha.
- Strengthens the eyes. Amla Berry is called chakshushya, which means “strengthening the eyes” – so it is literally a “Rasayana for the eyes.”
- Fortifies the liver and supports the functions of the liver. It also
stimulates the liver, helping it in eliminating chemicals, additives
and other toxins from the body.
- Acts as an antioxidant. Amla Berry is an effective broad-spectrum
antioxidant and free radical scavenger, helping slow the aging process.
- Supports immunity.
- Balances stomach acids. It calms mild-to-moderate hyperacidity and
other Pitta-related digestive problems. It should always be taken with
food in this case.
- Excellent source of Vitamin C, easily assimilated by the human body.
Gram for gram, Amla has 20x the Vitamin C content of an orange. The
Vitamin C in the Amalaki fruit is bonded with tannins that protect it
from being destroyed by heat or light.
- Good for the skin. This herb moisturizes the skin and cleanses the tissues of toxins. It helps enhance glow and luster.
- Regulates elimination. Amla Berry helps with the downward flow of
energy in the body. This helps keep the function of elimination regular
and eases occasional constipation.
- Promotes healthy hair. Amla Berry boosts absorption of calcium, thus
creating healthier bones, teeth, nails and hair. It helps maintain
youthful hair color, helps with premature graying, and supports the
strength of the hair follicles, so there is less thinning with age.
Supporting the ‘whole’ person is a big focus in Ayurveda. Listed
below are core Ayurvedic herbal products supporting key areas of health.
Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus)
– This blend of herbs is a powerful tonic for the digestive system.
Balanced digestion supports high performance. If you are feeling
sluggish, dull or occasionally constipated, chances are that toxins are
building up in your body. Toxins accumulate when your digestion — and
elimination — are out of balance. This is an every-night overnight detox
and digestion balancer, supporting assimilation, balanced agni and
– This is a digestion-supporting (agni-balancing) herbal formulation.
Occasional acid indigestion is a sign of a Pitta imbalance, according to
Ayurveda. Too many hot, spicy foods can spark excess digestive fire and
too much stomach acid. Over time, this can push digestion out of
balance and lead to a variety of health problems.
Deep Rest – Rest is the basis of high-performance activity. The herbs in this formula support sleeping deeply through the night
and waking up feeling refreshed. Specifically, the formula is for those
who have difficulty staying asleep and wake up in the middle of the
night. It also helps those who have difficulty falling asleep and those
who awaken early, after less than six hours of sleep.
– The inability to fall asleep naturally, according to Maharishi
Ayurveda, is largely due to stress, frustration, heavy food and sensory
overload. If you’re worried or agitated before bed, your mind stays
connected to the senses, keeping them active. The Ayurvedic herbs in
this formula produce a calming, balancing effect on the body, mind and
emotions. Sleep becomes deeper and more restful. For published research
on Blissful Sleep, please see this page.
Worry Free – This traditional formula helps high-level performance, because it simultaneously calms the nervous system while
supporting mental acuity. These herbs help you meet challenges. It’s
not about a different attitude — it’s about changing the automatic and
immediate emotional reaction you have to stress, and supporting a
healthy emotional response to stress. For published research please see
Stress Free Emotions – This traditional formulation promotes
self-confidence, positive thinking and feelings of fulfillment by
balancing the subdosha of Pitta that governs emotional health (Sadhaka
Pitta). Arjuna, Ashwagandha, Mica Bhasma, Pearl Bhasma and Holy Basil in
this potent new formula promote coordination of mind and emotions. The
formula also supports natural resistance to emotional stress and
– It takes over six months to prepare the herbs in this formula for
use. This traditional formulation combines purifying herbs with
nourishing minerals, including Mica. These herbs promote a healthy
resistance to stress and aid in the assimilation and metabolism of
nutrients. They support communication between cells, an Ayurvedic key to
healthy immunity. The herbs and minerals also help eliminate digestive
impurities and toxins that can affect natural immunity, aid healthy
liver function, and help purify the blood.
Organic Youthful Mind
– The Ayurvedic herbs in this formulationhelp remove the toxins that
can block mental ability. They also promote a healthy response to mental
stress – regardless of age. The herbs in Organic Youthful Mindsupport
innate learning ability, clarity and recall, mental energy and alertness
levels, the growth of consciousness and full high-performance mental potential.
Cardio Support – The Ayurvedic herbs in this formula promote
healthy arteries. They do this by supporting digestion and balanced fat
metabolism. The herbs nourish the blood, muscles and functioning of the
heart, to help keep the heart healthy as you age. According to
Maharishi Ayurveda, the heart is the seat of ojas, a substance
underlying vigorous life energy, dynamic calm and alertness.
– From the Maharishi Ayurveda perspective, a sedentary lifestyle, lack
of proper nutrients and urine retention can impact prostate health. The traditional Ayurvedic herbs in this formula
deliver nutritional support over a broad range of targeted areas. They
help balance testosterone levels and support vitality, promote healthy
prostate size and function, purify the urinary tract, and support the
body’s natural immune system.
(Amla photo By By lalithamba, Flickr Creative Commons)
(Cover photo – couple cycling in the mountains, Julian Alps, Slovenia, Europe)