An InDepth Look into Ayurveda
I was well into my journey through yoga when I first became aware of the practice of Ayurveda. At this point in my life yoga "the practice" had been a part of my life for many years but yoga the philosophy was only just beginning to bloom in the nethers of my consciousness and beginning to take root.
I had traveled to India yet again; party because it was the years allocated time to delve into my own personal studies, my svadhyaya if you will, and partly because I felt the call of it. It was on that trip that the powers of the universe in their eternal machinations made the dominos fall into place a certain way and without much planning, I found myself on a course learning as much as possible about the ancient practice of Ayurveda.
It was there that my traditional yogic views were first challenged and even more so were my western ideals of food wrapped on their head and became unrecognizable.
Though at this point I should clear away any misconceptions regarding what I mean when I say Ayurveda.
The term Ayurveda comes from the Sanskrit words "auyr" meaning life and "veda" meaning the science of knowledge. Thus, Ayurveda really means the knowledge of life. It was developed more than 3,000 years ago in India. The core philosophy at the heart of Ayurveda is the idea that diseases occur due to imbalances within the body and consciousness and by encouraging lifestyle changes as well as dietary changes for holistic health. The main goal is to encourage good health for life rather than attempt to fight disease however; treatments could and have been geared toward specific health problems.
The Ayurveda treatment begins as a purification process, which is consequently followed by a special diet, herbal remedies, massage therapy, yoga, and meditation.
The idea of interconnectedness, of universal oneness in the body's constitution (prakriti), and life forces (doshas) are the primary basis of Ayurveda.
Up until that trip I’d had very rigid ideals of holistic health, coming from a competitive sports background I was somewhat used to listening to what my body needed in order to maximize its potential but the approach I took was never for the best health of my body but rather increasing performance. When I eventually came to yoga I was unchallenged in my views other than transferring to a more vegetarian diet.
Studying Ayurveda I began to see that things like herbs and other plants, including oils and common spices could have incredible results. It was a true science with results you’d be able to see with your own two eyes.
I learned that people who practice Ayurveda believe that every person is made up of the five basic elements found in the universe: space, air, fire, water, and earth.
These merge within the human body to form three life forces, called doshas. They control how your body works. They are Vata dosha (space and air); Pitta dosha (fire and water); and Kapha dosha (water and earth).
While all three are present in everybody, one is usually the strongest. I learned then that for me this was the Pitta dosha and the imbalances of these doshas often coincided with the illnesses I have suffered all throughout my life.
As years went on from that point I began to relate more and more through my research of this ancient practice, which spoke not of restriction, not of diet fads or fasts and starvation but of examining oneself until you can identify exactly where a problem is coming from in order to target it specifically and eliminate it in safe and noninvasive ways.
This is a practice that when used with more traditional methods of treatment can have tremendous success and when incorporated into daily life could serve as an antithesis for future diseases and illnesses. It is why after so many years I finally became comfortable educating people on this practice and helping support its positive effect on the world.
I would encourage everyone to read further and of course, reach out to me to ask questions or have a discussion.