What is Ayurveda? How does Ayurveda fit into my life?

Ayurvedic Herbalism

Let’s talk Ayurveda. It seems to be a bit of buzz word these days and it is, after all, my biggest passion. The depth of Ayurveda is so vast I might need several lifetimes to take it all in. If you are not familiar with Ayurveda, I am hoping that you get a better understanding of what it is after you read this post. In a nutshell Ayurveda is the ancient science of life, which originated in India and it has been practiced for at least 5000 years. The main goal is to keep people healthy while they pursue their spiritual goals. Ayurveda is all about preventing the progression of disease through many everyday practices you might already being doing.

Just getting up in the morning having a healthy elimination, brushing your teeth, meditating, practicing yoga and showering are all important self-care routines that can keep you moving in the right direction. I think the part we have a hard time with is what comes after we get dressed, and we head out for the day. For most of us our days are a whirlwind of activity and planning, which leaves little time for practicing self-care and nurturing ourselves.  When I talk about self-care, I am talking about eating the optimal foods for your body (which is not the same for everybody), eating in an undisturbed place, stretching, moving, limiting the overuse of your senses, having a spiritual practice and spending quality time with loved ones. These are only a few examples and I am sure you can think of many more. As a clarification, an example of the overuse of your senses might mean spending too much time on social media or watching violent TV programs. Digestion is not only a function of the lower organs of our body it is also happening in the mind. If we are repeatedly taking in disturbing images and violence this could have a negative impact on our entire bodies and start the disease cycle.  I am not implying you need to hide away in a cave shielded from the world, just begin by becoming aware of your habits and perhaps ask yourself how you are being impacted by what you are taking in. When I talk about food, now that is a real tricky area and I suggest you find a qualified nutritionist or Ayurvedic practitioner to help guide you in the direction that is best suited for you. I will give you a personal example of this. For me, I am primarily a Kapha dosha. In Ayurveda there are 3 main doshas or forces in the physiology of a human: Vata, Kapha, Pitta and everyone has their own personal percentage of each type. Each of these doshas are associated with certain elements and qualities. I promise I will blog more about that in the future, so stay tuned! So, as a Kapha my elements are water and earth and my main qualities are heavy, gross, cold, and moist. One of my favorite foods is ice cream; however, if you look at the qualities of ice cream, they line up with perfectly with my Kapha dosha. What that means is that if I eat too much ice cream that will only increase my Kapha and create an imbalance such as fluid retention or sinus congestion. This might be a more decadent example, but for me this is true for cucumbers, watermelon, and raw foods. I don’t have enough digestive fire to process these yummy foods. If you are primarily Pitta you would most likely not have an issue with these.

So, you can see that Ayurveda takes the whole individual person in to account before coming up with a plan to guide them along their path. This is completely contrary to Western medicine, which has a one size fits all approach to wellness.  There are many experts including Dr. Marc Helpern, the founder of California College of Ayurveda, who believe that the field of Ayurveda is in the process of growing by leaps and bounds, which is very exciting. My hope is that in the future everyone has the opportunity to include an Ayurvedic practitioner in their healthcare team.

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