Described as the Vedic Science of Life, Ayurveda is a five thousand year old healing tradition that originated in India. Ayurveda is a word in the Sanskrit language of India that literally translates to the knowledge of life. It is the sister science to yoga, best thought of as the therapeutic or medicinal aspect of yoga. Ayurveda studies the harmony between humans and the environment and uses yoga, diet, lifestyle, and herbal formulas to bring wellness to an individual’s entire well-being.
Discover the top 5 lifestyle lessons Ayurveda teaches us so that we are able to maintain optimal health; body, mind, and spirit.
1. Ayurveda honors us as individuals.
Ayurveda recognizes that not one size fits all. What we need in our diet, lifestyle, and exercise varies from one individual to the other. According to Ayurveda, there are three primary forces that control nature. These forces are the product of the different energies behind the five elements: earth, water, fire, air and space. Ayurveda recognizes each person as an individual with a different combination of these forces or elements within them. In Ayurveda these comprise three different groups, of which we find our individual body constitution; also referred to as dosha. The three doshas are: Vata (air and space), Pitta (fire and water), and Kapha (water and earth). We have all five elements in our physiology, therefore we also all have all three doshas in our physiology; we just have them in different proportions. Understanding our unique dosha helps us find our own happiness and well being through living in accordance with the natural rhythms of nature.
2. Ayurveda teaches us preventative health.
Ayurveda gives us the wisdom we need to better understand our unique body constitution and recognize our imbalances. Ayurveda also gives us the tools we need via diet, exercise, and routine to create balance before our imbalances manifest into disease.
Example: If you are highly stressed and you are starting to experience heart palpitations, Ayurveda would recommend a specific diet, routine, and exercise regime to help reduce the stress before it manifests into something greater, such as high blood pressure or heart disease.
3. Ayurveda teaches us how to simplify and streamline.
Ayurveda recognizes that stress is one of the worst things for our bodies and minds and promotes modifying our lifestyle for optimal health one step at a time. Ayurveda believes that if you make a lifestyle change for “health,” but it causes more stress, the stress it is causing outweighs the intended health benefit.
Example: You want to give up coffee because it gives you acid reflux, but it stresses you out just thinking about eliminating it from your morning routine. Ayurveda would recommend cutting back rather than fully eliminating.
4. Ayurveda helps us better communicate and maintain relationships.
By understanding the general qualities and personality traits of each dosha or body constitution, we can better communicate, maintain, and build relationships with friends, colleagues, and partners.
Example: Those that are pitta dominant tend to use more direct language. To someone who is not pitta dominant, that direct language might feel aggressive.
5. Ayurveda believes a diet isn’t a diet; it’s a lifestyle.
An Ayurvedic diet is not prescribed for weight loss. An Ayurvedic diet helps us adjust what, when, and how we eat so that our digestive fire is strong, and our body and mind are happy and healthy.
Example: While salads are often viewed as a weight loss food in a conventional diet, the truth is raw vegetables are very hard for most body constitutions to digest. When our bodies are unable to properly digest the foods we consume, it can lead to bloating and the build up of toxins in the body.
Ayurvedic Specialist and 500 Hour E-RYT