Ayurvedic Medicine focuses on a whole-person approach equally addressing the patient’s mind, body, community, and spirit as the means to reach optimal health. But, can Ayurveda help you reach optimal health?
Ayurvedic medicine is considered by many to be the oldest healing science, traditionally practiced in India. This form of integrative medicine focuses on a whole-person approach equally addressing each individual's mind, body, community, and spirit as the means to reach optimal health. It's often connected with yogic lifestyles and will compliment a yoga practice well. However, the two aren’t married together permanently. You can practice Ayurveda even if you don’t practice yoga.
I first became interested in an Ayurvedic life after a trip to Costa Rica in 2015 and took a workshop in Santa Teresa with The Healing Cusine and then again after I read the book The Yoga Body Diet John Douillard, which taught me about the lifestyle. Since then, I’ve read many other books on Integrative Medicine lifestyle and diet, and have only loved what I’ve read thus far.
You might have heard the term and are curious about Ayurveda, but are thrown off by terms like "dosha" and "Yoga Nidra." To gain a fuller understanding, consider the following things you should know about Ayurveda.
Ayurveda is about eating well to balance the body, and mental health. It literally means the science of life.
Integrative medicine focuses on a whole-person approach equally addressing each individual's mind, body, community, and spirit as the means to reach optimal health.
It is very different from Western medicine and does not rely on synthetic medications to treat illnesses. Rather, Ayurvedic practitioners try to heal disease by restoring balance through changes in diet, herbs, and meditation.
If you’re at all confused about it, there are several things you should know about Ayurveda before you jump to any conclusions about it.
The most important aspect you should be aware of Ayurveda is what it is! It isn’t a religion, as some people may think. Rather, Ayurveda is “the traditional Hindu system of medicine, which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing.” In a nutshell, it’s an ancient science based on balance, specific to unique body types.
Ayurveda has made its way to the Western world now, but it’s important to know where it originated from if you really want to understand it. Ayurveda was born in India about five to six thousand years ago. Ayurveda is attributed to Atharva Veda, which is the fourth Veda of the sacred Hindu texts. But this doesn’t mean Ayurveda is religious- it is simply a medical science with origins rooted in Hinduism.
THE THREE DOSHAS
A key component of Ayurveda is the presence of the three doshas or the Tridosha Theory. The three doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, which are a part of all of us, and characterized by different pairings of elements (ether, fire, water, air, and earth). But, everyone has a dominating dosha, which tells you what your “body type" is and plays a huge role in determining how you’ll live your Ayurvedic lifestyle. If you want to learn what your dosha is, you can take a quick quiz here.
HOW IT EFFECTS YOU
How exactly will Ayurveda affect me?” is an important question to ask yourself when researching this ancient science. Ayurveda will reveal what your body type is, and teach you how to eat in a way that is most beneficial to that body type (dosha).
Also, Yoga Nidra allows you to experience conscious sleep, to access your innermost source of joy, and become more capable of achieving greatness.
Both bits of knowledge of your dosha and practice of Yoga Nidra will help make you a more joyful, blissful person overall, as well as help you accomplish your goals, from weight loss to a promotion at work!
It may seem strange that there are only three doshas for about seven billion people on the planet to share! But that’s why it’s important to remember that Ayurveda is something entirely personal.
You have different levels of each dosha inside of you and should live your life accordingly. Don’t mistake the wonderful simplicity of Ayurveda for impracticality; it’s a personal science you must investigate to gain all the desired benefits.
IT TAKES DEDICATION
Making time for yoga and meditation is only half of Ayurveda. You’ll also probably need to reduce consumption of several foods that aggravate your dominating dosha, and you'll need to add others to your diet that will balance, calm and soothe it.
Of course, there’s no harm in slipping up every once in a while, but to live by Ayurveda totally and completely, you’ll need some serious dedication.
If you didn’t know much about Ayurveda before, I hope you’ve got a stronger grasp on it now!
What did you learn about Ayurveda from reading this? Do you plan on trying it out?
Valerie is a San Francisco native who loves overall health and wellness. She content creator and recipe developer, helping brands in the Fitness, Health & Wellness space tell their stories through gluten-free, mostly plant-based food, life + travel.