Ayurveda is regarded as the oldest health system in the world. Not in any way linked to religion, this 5,000-year-old tradition of natural healing originates in India’s ancient Vedic culture. It was taught by skillful teachers to their disciples for thousands of years and is still practiced all over the world today.
Ayurveda is Sanskrit and is a combination of the words Ayus, meaning life, and Veda, which means science; think of it as ‘the science of life’. Ayurveda is based on the principles of finding harmony and balance between mind, body and soul. The main focus is preventing disease and maintaining vitality and health by following recommendations specific to your type; these recommendations offer insight into the ideal routine of proper diet, lifestyle, behavior and state of mind. Ridding our systems of both physical and spiritual toxins is an important part of the practice.
“Because we cannot scrub our inner body we need to learn a few skills to help cleanse our tissues, organs, and mind. This is the art of Ayurveda” – Sebastian Pole, Discovering the True You with Ayurveda
In the same way that our fingerprints are unique, Ayurveda assumes that each of us has a unique pattern of three different biological energies, or doshas, that shape our nature. This nature is determined at conception and remains more or less the same throughout our lives. While we all have three energies present in our systems, we have one or two forces that tend to be more dominant. A number of internal and external factors can influence our doshas, so it is important to provide body and soul with the right nourishment to maintain their natural balance.
The three doshas are Vata (Wind), Pitta (Fire) and Kapha (Earth). If Vata is dominant in your system, you are most likely slender, enthusiastic, energetic, and changeable. If Pitta predominates, you tend to be intelligent, tense, focused on reaching your goals and enthusiastic about life. If Kapha prevails, you tend to be easygoing, methodical, and nurturing.
For each form of energy there is a positive (outperforming) and negative (underperforming) nature. When Vata is balanced, a person is lively and creative, but when there is an excess of Vata in the system, a person tends to experience anxiety, lack of focus, insomnia, constipation and dry skin. When Pitta is perfectly balanced a person is warm, friendly, disciplined, a leader, and often a good speaker. When Pitta is out of balance, a person can be compulsive and irritable, and may suffer from indigestion or inflammatory illness. When Kapha is balanced, a person is sweet and supportive. If the balance is off, we may experience sluggishness, weight gain, and sinus congestion.
An important goal of Ayurveda is to find our ideal state of natural balance, after which it determines in what specific areas there is an imbalance. Ayurveda then offers remedies and solutions by providing a specific diet, herbs, aromatherapy, massage treatments, music, and yoga or meditation to restore and maintain that balance. And when our body and soul are in the right balance, we can be our best selves.
AYURVEDA IN PRACTICE
Six ways to embrace Ayurveda in your everyday life
1. Start your day with a glass of honey water
Stir a teaspoon of organic honey into a glass of still water. Honey and water help eliminate toxins from your system.
2. Massage in the morning
When you wake, massage your skin with our Ayurveda body oil. Massages improve circulation, stimulate the internal organs and help to relax body, mind and soul. Shower afterwards and you’re good to face the day!
3. Take a walk in nature
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise. It provides mental, physical and emotional peace without putting stress on your body.
4. Eat according to your constitution
Use healthy herbs and spices like fresh ginger, turmeric, garlic, cumin seeds and black pepper in your cooking as much as possible. According to Ayurveda, these spices have beneficial properties that aid digestion, protect vital organs and trigger the body’s metabolism.
5. Sleep well
Your body and mind need time to rejuvenate and to detoxify – sleeping is the best way to achieve this. Promote restful sleep by taking a warm, relaxing bath before bedtime.
Disconnect yourself from the outside world by taking a break. Sit down and close your eyes for just a few minutes, or download our app for a guided meditation session.
Want to find out more about the art of living wisely? Read The Wheel of Healing with Ayurveda, by Michelle Fondin. (www.thewheelofhealing.com)