In ancient India, Ayurvedic physicians were paid only when everyone in the community they served was healthy.
How is that for flipping the script on wellness? Imagine if our health care system worked this way!
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian science of health and healing that has been practiced for over 5,000 years. In the United States, it has only been practiced for about 30 years. I was lucky to grow up with it as part of my family wisdom and knowledge.
Ayurveda is the complimentary sister science to yoga. Ayurvedic wisdom has been practiced by my family for generations and I've lived, trained and practiced it and seen how it can help bring balance and health to our lives.
Ayur means life and veda means the study of something. So, together, Ayurveda is the science or study of life.
Ayurveda is a holistic science that can help in everything from maintaining physical health, balancing a diet, knowing disease tendencies, providing safe and effective treatments, determining a perfect exercise routine, and improving relationships to finding a suitable career.
One thing I absolutely love about Ayurveda is how it is not a "one size fits all kind of wellness. Ayurveda respects the uniqueness of each individual and offers natural ways to treat diseases and promote health.
It emphasizes prevention and empowers all who encounter it to take responsibility for their own well-being. It is also incredibly cost effective and it works!
There are a few techniques for living an Ayurvedically-balanced lifestyle. Lifestyle is the foundation for creating peace, clarity and tranquility of mind. This kind of lifestyle includes a pure diet full of organically grown freshly cooked or raw vegetables, partaking in pure water and air, and a good exercise regime as well as internal and external cleanliness.
This purity of lifestyle includes living right (so working at things that bring happiness and joy to oneself and others and do not bring suffering or harm to oneself or others). It also includes using joyful and beautiful speech that brings happiness to those who hear it. For example, if we have a complaint or gossip, we should think twice before sharing it. It may feel satisfying in the moment, but can cause deep imbalances in our own health as well as the health of the family and community. We are responsible for creating health and balance ourselves!
Only use what your own body wisdom tells you is true for you. Ayurvedic wisdom and prescriptions are always suggestions. If any suggestion does not resonate for you or your life, disregard it!
Here are some clear guidelines from Ayurvedic wisdom to help bring joy and health to our lives:
• Though we may want to resist it, routine is key for creating balance in life. Identify a routine that works for you and stick to it!
• Get plenty of rest; get up early and try to be asleep by 10 p.m. -- follow the rhythm of nature.
• Avoid mental strain by keeping life as simple as possible.
• Keep your surroundings calming, clutter free, neat and clean.
• Eat fresh food in medium-sized, slow, regular meals.
• Exercise 3-4 times per week- do yoga, tai chi, running, walking, or any activity that you enjoy
• Drink plenty of water.
• Align with the seasons: Wear cool colors and eat cooling foods when it is warm outside!
• Take balance between rest/leisure and activity.
• Take time for appreciating the beauty of nature.
Following even some of these simple, healthy Ayurvedic wellness suggestions for a healthy lifestyle can bring lightness and joy to the mind, strengthen the body and create good health, strength and stamina.
By Susanna Barkataki, MEd., Certified Ayurvedic Wellness Practitioner and Yoga Teacher