Ayurveda is the traditional system of medicine in Hinduism.
And there the judgment already starts. Ayurveda is a religion, Ayurveda is witchcraft, Ayurveda is just for Yogis, and, the biggest one, Ayurveda just works when you believe in it. In this blog post, I would like to offer you a different outlook. Take away the magic, the miracle, the mystical and show you Ayurveda as what it actually is: a medical approach and the longest clinical trial supported by the latest science.
If you already know all this scroll down to find 5 amazing tips on how to easily make Ayurveda a part of your daily life for more energy, health, and mindfulness.
What is Ayurveda
Ayurveda is a holistic healing practice with the target to reach the optimum physical, mental, and emotional health for people. That includes a healthy and strong body, a happy mind, and a balanced lifestyle. Traditionally, ayurvedic treatment starts with an internal cleansing process, followed by carefully designed diet, herbal remedies, massage therapy, yoga, and meditation. Some sources say that the practice of Ayurveda originated more than 6.000 years ago in India. Surely knowledge about herbs, spices, and certain foods was passed on from generation to generation but I rather tend to date the birth of Ayurveda to around 3.000 years ago when it first finds mention in ancient scriptures like the Vedas and the Samhitas. Ayurveda comes from Sanskrit and is translated with ayur for life and veda for knowledge. So Ayurveda is known as the knowledge of life. Based on the five elements, ether, air, fire, water, and earth those scriptures talk about any matter, means stone, tree, human and animal, made up of these elements. Depending on the balance in between those (we all carry all elements within) a thing, probably a human or a plant, harmonizes or counter works. All organisms hold the power to repair, restore and heal within themselves. In the modern days’ world, those abilities are often hidden under layers and layers of bad habits and over toxicity coming with inflammations, digestive issues, headaches, and low energy levels eventually leading to chronic disease. The old teachings of ayurvedic science offer a way out. Where Ayurveda mainly consists of special diets, mindfulness and cleansing practices are a big part of it as well.
Ayurveda perceives the body as one. Modern medicine is great but often focuses more on treating the symptom instead of treating the cause, the root of the problem. The quick pill fixes the symptoms but doesn’t look at the root. The cause, often, lies in the belly. Or precise, the gut. We often tend to look at the more obvious life sustaining organs like the heart, the lungs, kidney and liver first when it comes to ailments. What we often forget is that every cell of the body, unexceptional every cell of the body depends on the gut providing energy from food. That is where Ayurveda starts. Looking at the person as a one whole organism, interconnected and entangled, and not as a bunch of independent symptoms Ayurvedic practitioners provide you with a diet plan. That plan is made for you as an individual with your individual needs and healed the digestive organs first to make space for the healing of the mind and then the soul.
Often, Ayurvedic treatment can avoid modern medication lowering symptoms by taking a natural, less chemical way. It has to be said, and I want to be completely clear about this, that modern medicine saves lives with its scans, operations, and modern technologies. Especially for acute internal problems like strokles and heart attacks there is nothing better than modern medicines tools. We can be so grateful to live a life where we have access to an amazing health system. On the other hand, modern medicine treats modern diseases which we can prevent with conscious eating and a mindful lifestyle how Ayurveda teaches us. Fixing bones and replacing organs is nothing Ayurveda can do. What it can do is heal inner inflammations, eliminate energies, solve digestive issues and bring you to a much higher energy level positively affecting your everyday life. Combined, modern medicine and Ayurveda offer a way to a long, healthy and happy life.
Ayurveda sees food as medicine. How amazing is that? We all eat pretty much every day. Agni, the internal fire in the digestion, eliminating toxins, and running your digestive processes is what is meant to be stimulated or calmed down with an ayurvedic diet. Your support biotransformational and detoxification processes on a cellular level to support skin, lungs, kidneys, and digestive system with the right nutrition to make them function optimally. Agni is seen as the spark that powers your life and keeps your body, mind, and soul function. The qualities our food (the five elements) holds and the frequency of our meals weaken out the internal fire and allow mucus, fat, and toxins to settle within. To balance agni, two things are essential: observing your dosha and using certain foods supporting your body in what it does best.
Based on the qualities of certain foods aligning with your dosha, your body type, and the seasons Ayurveda follows the flow of nature. Rising with the sun and eating at the same time every day will not only give your body a solid routine but also strengthen your mind and prevent eating attacks. Sourcing seasonal foods won’t only do your health good but will contribute to less emission due to long transport and reduces plastic at the same time. As the seansons in nature, the body goes through seasons as well. If it’s already clod outside in winter, why would you challenge your body whith etaing cooling tropical foods like bananas? With a little bit of knowledge about certain, foods, herbs and spices you can find in your area, Ayurveda turns your kitchen into your pharmacy. Maybe you already know some home remedies or seasonal recepis from your mother or father or grand elders. Great! Looking deeper into ayurvedic principles you will soon find out they align pretty much with what Ayurveda teaches.
You don’t have to be a vegan to follow an ayurvedic diet. You don’t even have to be vegetarian. It doesn’t mean you can’t have your favorite foods anymore – balance is key. You can have your pleasure foods, but maybe not at night and maybe not every day. Cravings are often tracked back to an over toxicity in the body of some sort. There are so many beautiful ingredients you can use the replace sugar. To replace unhealthy snacks. To replace dairy products. Ayurveda is nothing you have to follow so strictly that you suffer from it. It is a guideline that takes you, step by step, to a healthy space of feel-good energy where cravings slowly disappear.
I personally always travel with a bag full of spices – my little treasure chest and healing box. Filled with ginger, turmeric, cardamon, nutmeg, a little herb collection, and little gems like raw cacao, cinnamon, and vanilla. There is this nice saying in Ayurveda: The plants’ essence are the spices which carry the suns fire straight into your cells. I really love that and every time I unpack my little bag it makes me happy to know what healing qualities these inconspicuous powders have. With them, I can turn any meal into a culinary explosion of aromas, scents, and colors. I will soon share my favorite recipes with you here, so stay up to date to not miss one of those delicious gems.
Fasting, or detox, is definitely a big part of all this. To make sure agni has the time to recover from maybe a lifelong wrong diet, you should reset your system to give your software a boost. The conscious withdrawal of food for a very limited period of time gives your body the chance to complete the digestion process and use that energy for processes that are slowed down while the body is integrating, processing and eliminating the food. Those are, for example, detoxification processes. From all the toxins we surround ourselves with every day in this man made world, we store most of them in the body. When we have one meal after the other the body prioritizes digestion, not detoxification. Over the years we build up an immense level of over toxicity in the body which causes all different sorts of ailments and diseases starting from allergies and ending with cancer. If you want to find out more about detox and fasting, check out this blogpost.
3. Movement and Mindfulness
This doesn’t have to be Yoga and Meditation, not at all. Movement and Mindfulness simply mean that you take time to move your body. Go for a walk after a meal. Spend some time outside on the weekends. Maybe do some exercise at home. Movement makes sure that all our cells are getting the needed amount of oxygen and nutrition. Blood circulation is essential for removing dead or diseased cells. Detoxing your body can give you access to detoxing your mind as well. Mindful practices can involve all different sorts of things. Sitting down and observing your breath. Making time for yourself. Journaling. Dancing, singing or being creative. Simply doing something that brings you joy, and being entirely present with what you do.
Self- judgement is exhausting so why not take a break by writing down a few things you like about yourself? Maybe looking at the mirror and just observing your facial expression. Paying attention to what happens outside often reflects back on the inside. Smile at yourself. Do you see how beautiful you are? With being more aware of what we eat we automatically become more aware of how we feel. Firstly how we feel after food but slowly this awareness creeps up and enlightens our thoughts. We become an observer of what’s going on in the mind, there is less reactivity to triggers and, eventually, a higher level of self-love. There are many ways and I practice at least one of them every day. I’ll be happy the share them with you in upcoming workshops.
With those three main principles (which barely scratches the surface, really) combined, Ayurveda is the art and science of longevity and is often considered the fountain of youth.
In the Ayurvedic teachings, people are categorized into three doshas, body types, which are made out of the five elements. You normally have one dominant dosha whilst holding qualities of the other doshas as well. No two people hold the same unique collection of characteristics and therefore, no two treatments will be the same. If the doshas are unbalanced with one being too weak or too dominant, physical symptoms will appear. Each one of the doshas holds certain qualities, tendencies, and habits that form you as an individual, unique being. Understanding your dosha can help you to bring yourself back into harmony with using the right foods.
Vata personalities hold the qualities of ether and air. They normally appear with thin, tall, and lanky body types. They are quick-minded, very active, and beautifully inspiring airheads blessed with thriving creativity. The dry, light, cold qualities of this dosha can become unbalanced if too many astringent, dried foods and heavy spiced nightshades are eaten. To balance Vata, keep warm, calm and pay attention to a regular routine.
Pitta personalities hold the qualities of fire and water. They normally appear with medium build body types, warm and oily skin, and strong muscle development. They are quick and flexible thinkers with a lot of passion in expression that drives them to take on leading roles quite often. The hot, oily, and fluid qualities of this dosha can become unbalanced if the diet is too oily, spicy and dominated by sour fruits. To balance Pitta, avoid heat, eat cooling foods and exercicse during the cooler part of the day.
Kapha personalities hold the qualities of earth and water. Their body types tend to be larger with oily, rosy skin. With their tolerant, forgiving, and grounded energy they hold many nurturing qualities and are masters in holding space for others. The sweet, earthy, and salty qualities of this dosha become unbalanced if there is too much sleep, too little exercise and too heavy foods. To balance Kapha, avoid fat meals, daytime naps, and focus on a lot of gentle movement.
There will be more information about the doshas soon. I am preparing some delicious receipts for you guys as well, so stay tuned. You can contact me for a personal dosha determination as well. Further, I can always offer a one month diet plan for your personal needs. Just send me a quick message or leave me a comment if you have any questions.
More and more modern clinics start to see the great benefits Ayurveda offers in combination with modern medicine. More than 90% of the population around India, including Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan practice some kind of ayurvedic diet on a daily basis. Being closely connected to Chinese medicine, which is widely practiced in China, because of the same fundamental principles you could say that at least half of the earth’s population uses some kind of Ayurveda in their lives. There are countless centers all around the world offering alternative treatments and thousands of professional practitioners. I am so proud to say that I am one of them.
Ayurveda addresses all aspects of life — the body, mind, and soul. Its goal is to keep the balance because one is affecting the other. When we are sad, we eat badly. When we eat badly, we sleep badly. When we sleep badly, we are sad. When we are sad we eat bad and so on…It perceives every one of us as an individual with individual needs. Each one of us is unique, each responds differently to our environment, each possesses different strengths and weaknesses and each needs an individual treatment of the whole package. There is no quick fix or one size fits it all, no pill for every symptom but a holistic approach to holistic health.
Five tips to make Ayurveda a part of your day
- Try to rise early, 5 minutes earlier every day if it’s hard for you
- Kick start your digestion with a glass of water every day
- Avoid one processed food per day and replace it with something fresh
- Try to eat around the same time every day
- Before you got to bed, make a list of 3 positive things that happened today
Thank you so much for reading!
Contact me here for your personal dosha determination or send me an email to email@example.com to live a healthy and joyful life.