Ayurveda: A very simple introduction

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to study with Dr. Lad at the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico. I spent a week taking classes about Ayurveda specifically related to women’s and children’s health. It was a great week and I learned so much. Now I am trying to figure out how to incorporate all of his knowledge into the work that I do with Synergy Wellness.

Most people have never heard of the word Ayurveda. It translates from Sanskrit to “the science of life”. The purpose of this science is to maintain health and heal disease through approaching physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the body and life. It is about living in harmony with yourself and the laws of nature. When in states of disease, a practitioner will often look at the disease AND the nature of the person’s lifestyle including environment, seasons, and spiritual health.

Ayurveda teaches that everything has a constitution, which is our biological and psychological make up. The constitutions are made up of the five universal energies of: Either, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. The five elements combine to create three doshas. Either and air make up vata, air and fire make up pita, and water and earth make up kapha. In today’s world most people are a combination, I am pita-vata, for example

Vata can be described as dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile, and clear. In balance vata promotes creativity and flexibility but out of balance can promote fear and anxiety. Pita can be described as hot, sharp, liquid, might, mobile, and oily. Pitta people are sharp and intelligence when in balance, they have a clear understanding and lean quickly. Out of balance promotes anger, jealousy, and inflammatory disease. Kapha is heavy, slow, dull, oily, liquid, slimy, dense, soft, static, hard, and gross. In balance it is love, calmness, and tender. When out of balance kapha leads to attachment, greed, laziness, and possessiveness.  

Disease and ill health arises when your basic constitution is out of balance. For example since I am pita-vata (fire and wind), if I have too much vata I become anxious, attached, lonely, and constipated. For me personally, I get too much “wind” by inconsistent routines, too much dried foods, travel, not enough meditation or stillness, and windy days. Unhealthy diet, excess stress, lack of rest or exercise, and repressed emotions all disturb our doshic balance. Depending on the type of changes and the person’s dosha, various ailments may arise. An increase in Kapha can create colds, allergies, upper respiratory problems, congestion and sneezing. Pita in excess can create inflammation, heartburn, diarrhea, hives, and rash. Too much vata can create constipation, sciatica, arthritis, and insomnia.  

The times of the year also fall into doshas. Summer here in Utah is pita (fire) season so it is best to keep our personal doshas balanced by not eating spicy food, eating cooling foods, staying out of the sun, and choosing exercises that do not get us too hot. Even times of the day are broken down into doshas. It is best to exercise in the morning when kapha (earth and water) is high, and eat when our digestion is at fire times (pita times of the day).

Thus health is about living in the present moment, living balanced, and making healthy food and lifestyle choices based on your body. A good practitioner has been studying for years and is able to make good recommendations based upon your doshic needs. To me, this science makes sense. It promotes nothing in excess, living in balance according to your body and pre-determined constitution, and creating balance in all areas of life: physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional.

It is much more complicated than this short blog can offer but hopefully this has increased your interest to learn more or tocontact me with any questions you have, especially regarding women’s and children’s health. 

To find out your dosha take this quiz.

 

Here is a list of books and websites that might help you learn more:

http://www.chopra.com/our-services/ayurveda

https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/ayurvedic-living/learning-ayurveda/intro-to-ayurveda/

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/ayurveda

The complete book of Ayurvedic home remedies. Vasant Lad 

Ayurveda: The science of self-healing. Vasant Lad 

Prakruti: your Ayurvedic constitution. Robert Svoboda 

The wheel of healing with Ayurveda: an easy guide to a healthy lifestyle. Michelle S. Fondin

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