Translated from Sanskrit, Ayurveda means “the wisdom of life” or “the knowledge of longevity” and considered one of the world’s oldest healing sciences, originating in India some 5,000 years ago. In accordance with its definition, Ayurveda views health as much more than the absence of disease. Health, from this perspective, is a feeling of mind-body harmony and alignment between oneself and nature. Knowledge of Ayurvedic practices enable us to establish this balance and teach us how to make lifestyle changes to bring about and maintain a state of mind-body equanimity. Most importantly, it is far from a one-size-fits-all solution. Ayurveda is based in the understanding that we are all unique with a particular mind-body composition reflective of our genes, upbringing, environment, life experiences, diet and so on.
Accordingly, it follows that any approach to mind-body health should be individualized as well. Think of it as a unique mind-body print: Just as we all have distinct fingerprints, each person has a particular pattern of energy—an individual combination of physical, mental and emotional characteristics—which comprises their unique constitution, or dosha. But doshas are like anything in life; they are fluid and affected by circumstance, emotion, or even the seasons. This is how Ayurveda can explain why some people can eat a five-course meal with ease while others can barely finish a raw salad with digestive distress, or why some people are hyperactive and fast-moving while others steady and hyper-focused. Our tendencies—preferences, habits and imbalances —are all informed by our mind-body composition.
Thus, Ayurveda takes a holistic approach to individual health, believing that all aspects of life contribute to balance including nutrition, lifestyle, seasons and long-term tendencies. In taking time to understand the unique nature of a person and situation, we see that people have a mind-body type that is specific to them, and movement away from this state is the source of health imbalances. If such imbalances are not addressed, disease may develop. Thus, the early signs of imbalance serve as a wakeup call to make gentle and natural shifts like adjusting our diet, modifying daily activities and taking herbal remedies.
While Ayurvedic principles can be used to explain the complexity of not only health, but the world around us as well, there are a few simple basics:
Ayurveda’s fundamental approach to well-being is that you must reach your unique state of balance in your whole being—body, mind, and spirit.
The first line of defense in combating imbalances is to remove the cause of the problem. If the trouble-maker is out of the picture, the body starts being able to heal itself.
If there are any lingering imbalances after removing the inciting cause, then balance is established by using opposites. For example, the Ayurvedic remedy to excess heat is to use something cooling. So for excess heat or acidity in the digestive system, you use cooling foods.
A primary starting point is to support digestive fire (agni), so that nutrition can be absorbed and waste materials can be eliminated.
The goal of an Ayurvedic program is to help you identify and understand patterns in your mind & body and learn tools to help you feel your best. This awareness is foundational for our wellbeing because health isn’t a fixed state that once established we can ignore; Rather it is a dynamic, ongoing and in direct relationship with our day-to-day experiences, the ebbs and flows of life.
If you’ve ever felt confused, overwhelmed or curious about how to know which foods, self-care practices and general lifestyle would best support you, Ayurveda is for you! Book a complimentary call today and learn how an Ayurveda can work for you.
“We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once.”