A little more about Ayurveda
Ayurveda is India's ancient health system dating back to over 5000 years. It has a holistic approach to health looking at a person's mind, body and spirit when determining their overall health. It differs to Western medicine because it looks to treat the root cause of a person's health aliment rather than only treating their current symptoms.
Broken down Ayurveda means:
Ayu = movement/life => movement away from death by healthy lifestyle
Veda = Knowledge of life
It is the sister science to yoga which is based on the beliefs that good health can be achieved through a fine balance between mind, body and spirit. We can transform our health through awareness of these three things which ultimately gives us the knowledge of life and helps us move away from death towards a healthy lifestyle.
Ayurveda’s see us all as complete unique individuals and because of this every treatment plan will be different from person to the next, there is no one size fits all. It looks at strengthening our bodies through diet, routine and daily practises, and by this I don’t mean muscle building strength, I mean our digestive fire which is known as Agni in Ayurveda. Agni determines how well we can digest, simulate and eliminate food. We could be buying the best organic food and supplements but if our Agni is weak then we are not going to be able to reap the true benefits which can leave us malnourished and with improper food cravings.
When it comes to health aliments, Ayurveda looks at finding the root cause as to why we may be sick or have ongoing health issues. For me this is key and most exciting as when we treat the root, the health aliment has a chance to be healed instead of being masked. Western medicine treats symptoms, Ayurveda treats the root cause. They can work in tandem with each other, Western medicine helping alleviate current symptoms while Ayurveda works on making the body stronger and getting to the root of what is going on.
However, you don’t need to be ill to start Ayurveda! It can help if you have certain health problems but it can also be used to prevent illness and disease and boost your quality of life overall.
So I’ve explained a little about how Ayurveda approaches health but how do we put these things into action?
Your doshic constitution is a key part to Ayurveda. Dosha refers to Vata, Pitta and Kapha which are three physiological energies that make up the functional principles of the body. The ratio of doshas in one’s body determines their individual constitution at time of conception. When in balance a person remains in good health but when out of balance disease begins to manifest.
Vata is composed of air and ether elements. It governs all movements and activities in the body. Vata out of balance can become anxious and worried, suffer with gas/bloating/constipation and dry skin.
Pitta is composed of fire and water elements. It governs digestion, absorption, assimilation, nutrition, metabolism and body temperature. Out of balance pitta can become angry, irritable, suffer from inflammatory diseases such as IDB and Crohns disease, skin inflammations like eczema, psoriasis, acne and suffer with diarrhoea.
Kapha is composed of earth and water elements. It forms the body’s structure and holds cells together. Out of balance kapha can become depressed, lethargic, suffer from congestion and excess mucus in the body and have slow heavy digestion.
Hopefully that explains a little of what can happen when our doshas get ruffled up the wrong way. Throughout life we will go in and out of doshic balance depending on our lifestyle, what stage of life we are in, where we are living geographically, our job, our emotions, diet, stress, exercise etc. Ayurveda can help keep us in balance by identifying areas of our life that may be throwing us off course and making us ill. It is not a quick fix but rather an experiential process that makes you become more aware of your body and how to make more considered, daily choices to suit how you are feeling and your current health. Learning to understand what your body needs is an empowering process and a skill that will be indispensable to live a happier, healthier life.
You do not need to know anything about Ayurveda to begin your journey. I will break down and explain everything in an easy to understand and relatable way. It is never too late to make a change – you only have one life and you deserve to life it to the max!