"Outcome is important to the ego, process is important to awakening"
• Ashtanga Toe
Ashtanga toe is the peeling back of the skin on the big toe that can happen from the vinyasa known as jumping back. When the force and friction from landing in chataranga dandasana repeatedly or just from propelling yourself forward while walking barefoot peels the skin off the big toe, it is usually an imbalance in the body’s pH. When the body gets too acidic, skin can become weakened and tear easier than when the body is in a more alkaline state. In fact all soft tissue which includes blood, bone, tendon, ligament, muscle-skin and viscera can become weakened. If it is bone it is called osteoporosis, if it is skin, sagging and wrinkles occur or Ashtanga toe. If it is ligament or tendon, joints can become unstable. If it is your intestine, you could get leaky gut, diverticulitis, colitis, or Crohns disease. This is much more dangerous than Ashtanga toe as it severely compromises digestion, elimination and absorption of nutrients, causing moderate to severe health problems. An important correlation to remember is that the outside of the body is a reflection of the inside.
The temporary fix is a band aid, but as always band aids of any type are only short term solutions. The real fix is a dietary change to a more alkaline diet. There is a lot on the net about alkaline diets but the basics are more fruits and vegetables and less grains, beans, dairy and animal protein. A ratio of 80% raw food to 20% cooked food is advisable. In addition to the need for high enzyme, alkalizing foods, good quality fats are essential. This is probably why they are called EFAs, ESSENTIAL fatty acids. The standard American diet (SAD) is too high in omega 6s and 9s and trans fats, so eating more omega 3s like hemp and flax is advisable. High vitamin cod liver oil is great for non-vegetarians as is ghee from grass fed cows for non-vegans. How could Krishna be wrong? It is important to mention that the omega 3’s from vegetarian sources are not the same as from animal sources. Where the omega 3’ from animal sources are already in the form of EPA and DHA, the vegetarian omega 3’s have to be converted by endogenous enzymes (enzymes secreted by the body) and not all people have this ability. I applaud all that are helping heal the planet by not supporting the commercial meat industry. My suggestion is, not to take this so far that your health suffers. We can be responsible caretakers of Mother Earth and also listen to the needs of our bodies. Fundamentalism of any type is an imbalance. No matter what you think about Indian cooking or any type of cooking with oil, if you look at the history of cardiovascular and arteriosclerotic disease, it parallels with the increased use of vegetable oils like sunflower, safflower, corn, and canola. A derivative of sunflower oil is used as an immune depressant to help the body not reject organ transplants. Read some of the research done by Weston A. Price, this famous doctor, actually, dentist, would show up at the bedside of a dying person with high vitamin cod liver oil and butter oil from grass fed cows. He was a proponent of grass fed ruminant meats also. I believe one can be healthy on a vegetarian diet but it does take some research and study. Many vegetarians are less healthy than meat eaters. It is my opinion that a well balance vegetarian diet of mostly raw food is not only the healthiest for your body but also for Mother Earth. This was probably not the case before factory farming and all the unsustainable farming practices that are now a huge problem. The indigenous people honored every living thing, as not just the source of vitamins and calories, but as an aspect of Source itself, God. They left no destructive foot prints in their path through life.
You might be asking how much protein you need. Dr. GoIdhammer, a well know Hygienic doctor in the lineage of Dr. Herbert Sheldon, found that up to 200 grams of protein is recycled in your body every day. This protein comes from the recycling of broken down internal tissues, used up enzymes, denatured bacteria, blood and lymphatic fluids. Many authorities in the area of nutrition disagree with the minimum daily requirement for protein (MDR) believing it is much less. I will mention right now that this is very personal, and has nothing to do with yoga as knowing God, yoking to the One. If what you are doing is really working for you, like they say, if it is not broken, don’t fix it. There are ways to find out whether your lifestyle is truly working without waiting until you have a genuine health concern. I have worked with many people who thought they were in good shape only seeing me for what they thought was a hurt muscle or something they never would have related to diet. They were hardly ever correct in that assumption.
Raw oils are by far the most healthful. Coconut is one of the best foods for anyone. The coconut tree was known to ancient yogis as the tree of life. The oil of the mature coconut has numerous healing properties. If you are thinking now about the propaganda you have heard over the years about the risk of using coconut oil and its’ contribution to cardiovascular disease, just know that it was all put out there by the vegetable oil industry and is completely bogus. We don’t grow many coconuts in the USA, and since greed forbids recommending anything that can’t be personally profitable, the lobbyists for the large food companies misinform the public to steer business their way.. Coconut oil and lard from grass fed cows never caused arterial disease. Again, I am pro-vegetarian, but would much prefer the ancient wisdom in eating to what has become an epidemic in nutritional deficiency, digestive problems, cancer and the like. The USA is not even in the top 40 or 50 healthiest nations. Great Britain, Germany and the US lead the way in obesity.
The water of the young or green coconut is so well-balanced in electrolytes that it has been used in place of plasma when plasma is in shortage. Read the article on this site for more about minerals and remineralizing the body after profuse sweating. After years of intense Ashtanga practice where I would lose 5 to 10 pounds of sweat in every session, my bones started to weaken and every tooth in my mouth could be wiggled. After learning and experimenting with the alchemy of minerals and adding some natural vitamin C (not ascorbic acid) that was all remedied. Check out my personal formulas.
If you are eating mostly vegetarian and continue to have symptoms of acidity like Ashtanga toe, look at the one beer or glass of wine a night, try skipping the toast you have with your fruit salad or change from dairy to nut milk or from cooked oils to raw. Peanut butter, especially inorganic can be a problem with a lot of folks, often times being loaded with mold (aflatoxin). A good method of finding out what it is acidifying your body is to cut out all dairy, meat and grains, and heavy starches; go mostly raw for awhile, eating vegetables and fruits. Later grains like quinoa, amaranth, millet, barley, rice and some legumes, especially mung and adzuki beans, can be eaten in lesser amounts, also adding back in the heavier, starchy vegetables. Whether you are eating raw or cooked, it is best to sprout the grains and beans. Make vegetable soups, green smoothies or vegetable juices. Joint pain and stiffness, stomach upset, insomnia, cramps, bleeding gums and a whole assortment of problems can be remedied. Then you can add food back into your diet one at a time to see what triggers your body to become acidic, or not. You can also monitor your pH with litmus paper. First thing in the AM, spit on a piece and pee on a piece, immediately comparing the color with the chart that is included. If your pH is still acidic, less than 6.5 for saliva and less than 7 for urine continue with the dietary changes recommended and supplement with liquid ionic minerals, calcium, magnesium, potassium and liquid ionic trace minerals. Many companies make alkalizing drops or powders. One of my favorite formulas is a mixture of Bion Water (high grade fulvic and humic acid called shilajit by the ancient Hindu and Tibetan yogis) with the ionic minerals already mentioned. If I have been sweating a lot, I add extra drops of liquid ionic trace minerals which contains sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, sulfate, lithium and boron (check my favorite nutritional supplements and personal formulas). Always use a natural salt that dissolves in water, like Celtic or Himalayan salt. Salt is good for us despite all the bad press. If none of this works do an entire cleanse. Clean out the colon. Juice fast on raw vegetable juices or raw vegetable smoothies (look at the section on recipes I use.). I add some fruits to these drinks to make them taste better. Dr. Norman Walker, a famous nutritionist, colon hydro-therapist and raw food and juice advocate said the only food combining rules he used, was to combine what worked for him. Learn what works for your body through experience but don’t hesitate to study the many books and web sites on this subject. It is good to develop your own intuition, but a little research can speed up the process. Dr. Norman Walker lived until he was one hundred and seven. Remember that love, joy and contentment are the most alkaline-forming of all foods. Worry and all negative thought forms are definitely acidic. Oh yeah, speaking of acidic, citrus, especially lemons, limes and grapefruits, when eaten by themselves or with alkaline vegetables are alkaline forming. One of the most alkaline teas you can drink is yerba mate, if you like a caffeine buzz. Also use lime or lemon in place of vinegar. If you do use vinegar make sure it is raw.