My first exposure to Ayurveda was about ten years ago when I attended many workshops on the Teachers Path at the Chopra Center. It resonated with me. The idea of holistic wellness and incorporating mind-body-spirit into my personal health equation, which, by the way, was far from the allopathic medicine philosophy I grew up with, struck a melodic chord. Moreover, I understood how we must strive for our own independent path toward wellness based upon our unique body type, rather than following the masses on trending diet fads, crazy exercise routines and pharmaceuticals or newfangled supplements touting health magic tricks. Ayurveda made scientific sense, plus it was backed by over 5,000 years of ancient wisdom. I had so much to learn...
Over the past nine years I devoured every book, post, lecture and lesson I could to understand more about Ayurveda and how this very ancient "science of life" could profoundly affect not only my own health and wellbeing, but those of others as well. I am particularly attracted to the biological and physiological effects emotions and stress play out on the body, and how (depending upon your genetic code, lifestyle and dosha type) each individual body will respond. I love the notion that each body strives for homeostasis and wholeness. Your body is working extremely hard to heal itself, but we, as intelligent humans, must learn to "listen to" and nourish the mind, body and SPIRIT. They all work closely in tandem to harmonize. Thats part of the beauty of Ayurveda.
Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Dr Arya Krishna. Dr Krishna graduated with a Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery from the prestigious Amrita School of Ayurveda,in Kerala, India. Her knowledge of the structure and philosophy of Ayurveda helped me to better understand why this discipline has survived for centuries and was practiced long before traditional, allopathic medicine. A few standout points which make this medicine practice different from allopathic medicine are:
Instead of focusing on alleviating symptoms, Ayurveda focuses on determining how and why the body is out of balance.
Ayurveda looks at each body independently. Each person has a combination of a different body type (known as a dosha) which was given to him at conception. Although two individuals may present the same physical symptoms, depending upon their dosha, the remedy for their situation may be entirely different. A body can be out of balance due to improper digestion, exposure to toxicity, stress, lack of sound sleep, hormonal changes, seasonal changes and more.
Ayurveda always seeks to bring the body back to homeostasis--or its natural state of balance. This is accomplished through a variety of treatments usually using natural oils and herbs and can include a variety of modalities.
Ayurveda professes a lifestyle regime which not only includes eating foods which pacify your particular dosha(s), but which includes moving your body through yoga, and pranayama to increase balance, flexibility and life force in mind and body. It encourages discovering and practicing your dharma (life purpose or passion) as a key to your own happiness. It promotes expanding your mind, perspective and behavior through learning, understanding, compassion and tolerance. Ayurveda works with your own energies to help you to optimize your wellbeing.
While we must all decide which types of alternative or integrative therapies may work or not work for us, I can only hope that you open your perspective to learn and understand how Ayurveda can help transform your wellness equation. There are many benefits to utilizing scientific technology to improve your wellbeing, but sometimes it just makes sense to return to your roots---the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda!
Wishing you happiness and the flexiblity in mind, body and spirit.