“All that is in the universe you will find in yourself.
You are a miniature of creation.
If you know yourself, you know the whole world”
Swami-Krishnananda translation of Taittiriya Upanishad
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is the world’s oldest holistic health science and offers a classical model of re-balancing cellular metabolism. It’s foundations are based on the science of nature. Everything has its cycle- including us. Cause and effect is well-understood in Ayurveda, and still today is the most comprehensive approach to health.
Ayurveda helps us to live a healthy life which fosters a sense of wellbeing and a feeling of harmony. Being healthy makes us happy, and when we feel happy we can’t help but radiate a sense of positivity. This positive energy creates a healing cycle within us and out into the wider community. Collectively, we all benefit from this never ending healing cycle: it is a direct reflection of our collective wellbeing, and is underpinned by our health.
HOW can I find better health?
“Balanced” health is like finding the Holy Grail.
We live in a state of perpetual change.
“The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really wise.”
– Euripides (484 BC – 406 BC)
Understanding more about Ayurvedic principles can help tremendously in finding optimum health. The wisdom of Ayurveda provides a framework that everyone can understand because it comes from the science of nature. A lot of it is common sense. Ayurveda reminds us we are responsible for how we feel body, mind and emotionally. What we expose ourselves to on a. day to day basis through food, environments, relationships etc directly impacts how we feel. We have a choice to continue with a mindset and life that depletes our overall well being, or gradually make shifts to bring a healthier, happier way of existing.
How does it connect to Yoga & Life?
Ayur– means “life” or “living” (from the root “ayus”) and veda can be translated as “science” or “wisdom”. It is the science of living; the wisdom of Living. Ayurveda teaches us to live “intelligently” and “intuitively” to create greater health and happiness in every part of life. Sounds obvious doesn’t it?
Often described as the “sister science” to yoga this potent system is believed to have influenced ancient Chinese, Egyptian, Greek and Arabic medicinal practices. Ayurveda is often said to be practiced/utilised before commencing a committed Yoga practice. Ayurveda deals with the body and mind, preparing a person for a spiritual Yoga journey. Once some basic principles of Ayurveda are established in life we are able to move closer to our optimum health and well being and therefore be better Yoga practitioners. It (ayurveda) is also part of the Yoga of Living; bringing “yoga” off the mat and out in to life.
Basics of Ayurveda
What the Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Space is this all about?
Ayurveda views all things including us to be a composite of five elements: earth; water; fire; air; and space. Each individual is seen to be a microcosm of the macrocosm (the greater environment). This aligns to the Tantric perception of what is outside, is inside: what lives in me, lives in you. Just as our bodies are made up of trillions of little cells, we are each little cells in a vast universal organism.
What’s a Dosa- Dosha? (…Can I have coconut chutney with that?)
No- Dosa or “dosha” as it is pronounced is not a yummy South Indian style pancake (my favourite!) it’s the organising of the elements in our human organism. Ayurveda splits the five elements into 3 doshas – vata (air and space), pitta (fire and water) and kapha (earth and water). Each of us has all 3 of these doshas within us, in unique and varying combinations.
Dosha actually means excess and what this signifies is that we all have one (dosha) that is more prominent in us at birth. This is known as our prakriti and the idea is to live in a way that keeps our unique prakriti stable, in a life of continual change. Think of it as a bit like surfing a wave: moving with it, and ideally staying on top without getting pulled down beneath, as the wave moves towards the shore.
What is my type?
This is something we determine through several one to one sessions. N.B: It is not as black and white as some books/sources may like you to think!
We are all born with a unique stamp, our prakriti.
There are many ways to determine this stamp, and a very basic summary of the physical and mental qualities of each dosha are outlined below. An Ayurevdic consultation with me would entail reading your pulse, eyes, ears, tongue (as well as a detailed discussion of your bowel movements!).
The three dosha types:
Remember: You have all 3 in you.
VATA The “Creative”
Vata people are usually of a slim frame, whether tall or short (think small boned) with (generally) dry skin and hair. Vata types are always “doing”/multitasking, walking and talking fast! Can be prone to constipation, bloating and gas.
When balanced (sattvic) this type is creative, light, inspirational and communicative.
When imbalanced, can become addictive, fearful, scatty, prone to insomnia, nerves and distraction.
PITTA The “Leader”
Driven, ambitious, loves knowledge/understanding how things work, of athletic build and prone to get hot easily. Pitta types tend to have a fast metabolism.
When balanced (sattvic) they are warm, courageous and exhibit leadership qualities.
When imbalanced they can be prone to inflammation in body and mind! (Anger, jealousy, envy, competitive and aggressive).
KAPHA The “Nurturer”
Of heavier frame with large solid bones, soft skin and plentiful thick hair. Slower to move in contrast to the other two doshas. Can have a slow, sluggish digestion/metabolism but are steadfast, loving and of good stamina. Prone to mucus infections, sinuses issues and chesty coughs.
When balanced (sattvic) they are loving, nurturing (think the earth mother/father types), devoted, steadfast and loyal.
When imbalanced they can become too attached, materialistic, lazy, greedy, and prone to weight gain; with too much mucus in the system.
As mentioned- life is constantly changing. By determining our prakriti, our unique constitution, we can start to make healthier choices over the longer term about the way we live, the activities we enjoy, careers we pursue, our diet and, of course, the yoga we practice.
The Art & Science of Digestion:
It’s all about AGNI!
When diet is wrong medicine is of no use.
When diet is correct medicine is of no need.
I work with people of all ages seeking a healthier, better experience of life on all levels.
What ever their circumstance or situations, the first places I begin with is the state of the digestion. According to Ayurvedic principles- if we can digest our food and have a healthy digestive capacity, we can digest our thoughts, emotions and experience of life. In short- we have good health.
If there is weakness in the digestion it can cause a whole host of dis-ease. As Hippocrates (the father of western medicine) said: “Every disease begin in the stomach”. He was referring to this foundation of health that Ayurveda bases it self on. The digestive health is know as AGNI- the FIRE. If it’s tended to and respected it provides heat, light, vital energy for life. If its mis-used and becomes too strong- it burns and destroys. If it becomes too weak- it cannot give vitality required for healthy living.
Weakness in digestion (a weak Agni) is the root cause for most of the ailments we suffer from today.
Do any of the following sound familiar?
Sleep issues/insomnia, general fatigue, skin outbreaks, arthritis, gas throughout the day, bloating, water retention, loose bowels, constipation (going once or less in a day is constipation), heart burn, reflux, nausea, brain fog, imbalanced emotions, PMS, fast signs of ageing, anxiety, dark circles around the eyes, various forms of depression, emotional stress, allergies, asthma… the list is endless. And these are the conditions that so many of us go to a doctor to get prescriptions for. The prescription is really putting a band aid over the ailment.
Ayurveda goes to the ROOT of the issue. And it begins in balancing the GUT.
Learn more about Ayurveda, how to create better digestive health, understand more about your constitution and how to align your daily routine and diet to optimise your health…