Ayurvedic medicine, also known as Ayurveda, is one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems. It was developed thousands of years ago in India and encompasses the idea of how to live gracefully, harmonically and wisely.
This ancient method of living and loving yourself is full of nuggets of wisdom that are suddenly starting to align with a large group of people, we are consciously undergoing a mass awakening. It draws me in for its simplicity, yet highly scientific ancient wisdom which empowers individuals to take control in the management of their own health. Not only does it support overall health, but the spiritual awakening also gifted as part of the process is significantly blissful and life changing.
Put simply it is a means of observing which substances, qualities and actions which are beneficial to our health and which ones are not. It is based around a delicate balance between the body, mind and spirit and primarily works on prevention rather than cure.
According to Ayurvedic texts, everything in the universe is connected and nothing, including ourselves should be considered separate. Good health is achieved when your mind, body, and spirit are in harmony with the universe. A disruption of this harmony can lead to poor health and sickness.
This becomes quiet obvious to me when we look at what environmental pollution can do to our health… something which appears so separate to our bodies, impacts us greatly, as we do it. Yes, everything is connected!
Sabastian Pole writes that “Ayurveda is complete as a medical system because it deals not only with the treatment and management of specific disease, but with health in all its aspects: physical health, mental balance, spiritual well-being, social welfare, relationships, environmental considerations, dietary habits, daily living trends, and seasonal variations in lifestyle.”
Anything that affects your physical, spiritual, or emotional well-being can cause you to be out of balance within yourself which can cause a blockage in the flow of life force within your body. Some things that can cause a disruption include:
- Age & genetics
- Climate & seasonal changes
- Emotions & stress
The way your body works and the effectiveness of its processes, plus your unique physical and psychological characteristics combine to form your body’s constitution (prakriti). This is believed to stay the same your entire life however your digestion and elimination processes, plus many external factors, can largely affect your constitution if they are not functioning correctly.
Every human being is made of a combination of the five basic elements found in Mother Nature: Space, Air, Fire, Water, Earth. These elements combine in the human body to form three life forces, called doshas, which largely impact the way your body works. The three doshas are:
- Vata dosha (space & air)
- Pitta dosha (fire & water)
- Kapha dosha (water & earth)
Most people have a unique combination of the doshas in their body however one is usually primary. Each dosha controls different bodily functions and when out of balance show up as various ailments across the physical body. Read more on you doshas here.
Having a basic understanding of your body type and what some of the key things which cause disruption of your body’s balance is a great way to ensure you stay on top of your wellbeing. Using many of Ayurveda’s lifestyle practices you can bring your body back into equilibrium naturally.
Yoga is a perfect example of a powerful tool which should become central to your Ayurvedic routine.
Yoga is important for dissolving physical stress and calming the mind before meditation. It is the ideal Ayurvedic exercise, because it rejuvenates the body, improves digestion, and removes stress. Yoga balances all three doshas, and different poses have different effects which can help balance any doshas that are out of balance. For example:
- Forward bends cool Pitta dosha
- Twists stimulate digestion and hence are good for Kapha
- Back bends are heating and balancing for Vata constitutions
Yoga postures tone every area of the body, they also promote mindfulness, mindful breathing and cleanse the internal organs of toxins, which is one of the goals of Ayurveda. If someone is attending a yoga class on a regular basis, he or she is starting to dislodge toxins (ama) in the body. But if they are still maintaining a lifestyle and diet that creates ama, all they are really doing is moving their sludge around. The yoga practitioner also needs to know how to detoxify through the dietary, lifestyle, and purification practices. (Source: http://www.mapi.com)
Here is a list of key lifestyle practices someone dedicated to an Ayuvedic lifestyle may do on a daily basis:
- Cleansing / Detoxing (Diet, massage, herbs, oils)
- Yoga/ Breathing practices
- Meditation / Spiritual practice
- Connecting with nature / Celebrating
Read more on some specific suggested daily Ayurvedic daily practices here.
For me Ayurveda is a complete lifestyle, is so not a fad. It’s not about dipping in and out of your practices depending on where you and your health is at.
Ayurveda offers a system of daily practices that become part of your life and support optimal health and vitality. We are blessed to have the medical advances of today which we can turn too if needed, but we still must maintain personalised rituals which give our day meaning, our life balance and help to reduce the stress and toxic load we are all exposed to on a daily basis.
So let’s all stop just moving the sludge around, and become a truly wise holistic egg who is not jumping on the Ayurvedic train because it’s suddenly rad to wear printed tights and bindis to Bollywood parties, but because it offers a natural approach to feeling blissfully healthy! xxx