Ayurveda as a way of life
Ayurveda is an ancient healing modality from India that has been around for thousands of years. Translated as ‘knowledge of life’ it dates back 5,000 years to the Vedas - the ancient Sanskrit texts. A preventative system, it focuses on holistic health examining our physical make up, emotional nature and spiritual outlook in the context of the universe.
This is vastly different than the Western medicine approach of treating symptoms of disease and illness. It’s based on the premise that for a body to be truly well, it must continuously cleanse and detoxify through every day nutrition and practices, and by balancing our individual doshas - our unique life force energies - in an optimum way.
In Ayurveda there are three doshas that represent each persons physical and mental constitution: Pitta, Vata and Kapha. Each of us is made up of all three, but we typically have a primary dosha that dictates our inherent make up, with then a secondary and tertiary dosha. When our doshas are in alignment, we are at our most healthy.
Our Prakruti, our genetic body type or nature that makes up our individual constitution, guides what we are best suited to eat, how we are best to move, and which other practices such as essential oils, supplements, sleep and waking times are most suited for us to become radiantly and sustainably well. Our current health imbalance is known as Vikruti.
Each of the three doshas is made up of five elements: water, air, fire, earth and ether. Our health issues arise from an imbalance of one or many of these elements. The three doshas can be explained as follows:
Pitta: Dominated by the fire element (and with water), it’s fiery and intense, strong willed, intense, prone to irritabilty, moderate build, good muscle tone, often has skin that freckles and reddens easily when working out or in the sun, competitive, natural leaders, masters new skills and concepts easily, impatient, strong appetite with good digestion, prone to health conditions like inflammation, acne, and other things driven by heat.
Vata: Ether and air; a slower and cooler constitution, body constitution tends to be slight and lanky, mentally and physically active, creative, sociable, flexible, imaginative, prone to anxiety, may seem flaky and have an inability to meet commitments or stick to a routine, lack of follow through; cold hands and feet and likes a warm temperature, cracking joints, dry skin, low immunity, insomnia, sensitivity.
Kapha: Earth and water; strong and sometimes heavy set frames, tendency to gain weight, naturally athletic, stable, compassionate, loyal, logical and methodical, likes a set routine. When unbalanced Kapha types can become stubborn, lazy, complacent, unmotivated; metabolism slows down as does their appetite.
Working with an Ayurvedic Doctor or practitioner is a wonderful way to restore your natural state of health and bring all of the elements of your being into balance. You can also read a wealth of information online, including questionnaires to determine your dosha, seek out recipes and practices to balance your particular dosha makeup. I highly recommend The Path of Practice: A Woman’s Guide to Ayurvedic Healing by Bri. Maya Tiwari for further reading on your healing journey.
I understand and take care of my unique health and wellbeing needs.
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Photo Credit : Annie Spratt