Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine and longevity that comes from India. The health system has become trendy in recent due to globalization and a rising need for a holistic approach to health.
Modern science and medicine, while solving a number of detrimental issues has also created new ones because of its tendency to focus on one specific issue while ignoring the holistic state of the body. While the effects of Ayurvedic medicine are difficult to prove via the scientific method, it is the case precisely because the methods are holistic rather then individualistic.
The traditions of Ayurvedic medicine have evolved over two millennia and consist of herbal medicine, yogic practice, and theories bases on the three doshas. Pitta, kapha, and vata are the three energetic forces in nature. They reflect fire, water, and wind energies.
Vata is associated with dryness, lightness, cold, clarity, and mobility. Pitta is considered hot, sharp, liquid, and oily. Kapha is heavy, slow, smooth, dense, cloudy, and sticky. We all have these doshas in us in different quantities.
Pitta is related to digestion of thoughts, emotions, knowledge, and experiences. It governs our metabolic rates, body temperature, and deeper understanding.
Kapha is the lubricator of all cells of our bodily system. It is the protector of tissues, immunity of cells, and hydrator of the skin.
The doshas are also representations of energies that are within us. Vata governs the flow of breath, the pulsation of our heart, organs, and all communication of the mind through the nervous system
Ayurvedic healers generally associate one or two doshas as dominant. It is believed that when we are out of balance, we intuitively reach for foods and things around us to bring balance back. However, in the modern world full of chemical substances, genetically modified and processed foods our intuitive feel for the world and what our body needs can fall out of whack.
Truly understanding the intrinsic workings of the doshas and Ayurvedic medicine as a whole, is a lifetime of learning, but there are some overarching principles that everyone can follow in order to balance the body.
Although the Ayurvedic diet may consist of all food types and each dosha correlates with certain foods, the Indian Ayurvedic diet consists of largely vegetarian meals. Fresh whole grains and organically grown vegetables and fruits are best.
Genetically modified, processed food full of toxins and unrecognizable organisms is not good for the body. The human organist doesn’t know what to do with the synthetic elements, which in turn manifests disease.
Your diet should consist of fifty per cent fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as cooked vegetables. Beans and nuts are great. Spices bring therapeutic value to food and make it taste delicious, so there is a good reason why Indian cuisine is so rich in spices.
According to Ayurvedic principles each meal should contain flavours that are sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, astringent, and salty to keep the body in balance. It is also highly recommended to complete seasonal cleanses and periodic fasts.
Depending on how healthy you are already, the detox can vary from eating a light soup throughout the day, to juicing, to taking herbal tea and water only. It may last anywhere from one day to over a wee. Also remember that regular meditation, yoga or stretching combined with any sort of exercise is a vital addition to a daily regiment.
Develop a Routine
According to Ayurvedic principles it is very important to have a routine. You should wake up with the sunrise every day and move your body.
The first four hours of wakefulness are best hours for stretching, exercise, meditation, and yoga. Once you are done with your morning exercise tackle your hardest tasks and have a hearty lunch, the most important meal of the day. Eat a light dinner and complete your most creative tasks during mid afternoon and early evening. Rest well and especially during the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
Listen to Your Body
While this may sound like generic advice, finding balance is key. What that means according to Ayurvedic principles is the importance of listening to your body. You should observe changes in how you feel and look on a daily basis.
This isn’t about vanity, but to help you tune in to your current state. We often ignore signs that indicate health problems until the problem becomes so unbearable that we have to pay attention. Dark circles under the eyes may imply liver toxicity, extra weight implies issues with digestion and possibly consumption, and headaches may occur for a number of reasons (it is important to understand those reasons).
Treat Your Body Well
Perform daily and weekly tasks that will help rejuvenate the body. Daily tongue scraping will help you balance your digestion. Oil pulling will help save your teeth, gums, and keep your mouth clean.
It is also important to perform regular dry brushing to stimulate collagen and rejuvenate the skin. Staying hydrated with water and hot beverages is essential for digestion and overall health. Put technology aside at least two hours before you go to bed and take periodic technology detoxes.