WHAT IS AYURVEDA?
Ayurveda is one of the worlds most ancient natural holistic healthcare systems, it is a fascinating subject and by implementing some small and simply changes to your lifestyle and routine you can dramatically improve the quality of your life. Essentially Ayurveda gives guidelines about lifestyle and diet according to our individual make – up and body type. It’s about striking a balance between our environment, body, mind, and spirit.
It describes 3 fundamental energies that govern our inner and outer environments movement, transformation, and structure. Known in Sanskrit as Vata (Wind), Pitta (Fire), and Kapha (Earth), these primary forces are responsible for our individual characteristics of our mind and body.
Very simply, each of us have a unique proportion of these three forces that shapes our nature. If Vata is dominant, we tend to be thin, light, enthusiastic, energetic, and changeable. If Pitta predominates in our nature, we tend to be intense, intelligent, and goal-oriented and we have a strong appetite for life. When Kapha prevails, we tend to be easy-going, methodical, and nurturing. Although each of us has all three forces, most people have one or two elements that predominate.
For each element, there is a balanced and imbalance expression. When Vata is balanced, a person is lively and creative, but when there is too much movement in the system, a person tends to experience anxiety, insomnia, dry skin, constipation, and difficulty focusing. When Pitta is functioning in a balanced manner, a person is warm, friendly, disciplined, a good leader, and a good speaker. When Pitta is out of balance, a person tends to be compulsive and irritable and may suffer from indigestion or an inflammatory condition. When Kapha is balanced, a person is sweet, supportive, and stable but when Kapha is out of balance, a person may experience sluggishness, weight gain, and sinus congestion.
Some time ago I had a 1 hour private consultation with Dr Donn Brennan. Many of you will have already heard for Dr Donn Brennan but for those of you who haven’t, Doctor Donn Brennan, from County Kildare, was one of the first western medical doctors to train in India in Maharishi’s Vedic Approach to Health. He is also a GP. Liz Richards one of our highly experienced yoga teachers who is an avid ayurveda practitioner once said to me that Donn is the closest she has some to meeting an enlightened person. Donn’s ayurveda health clinic is located in Dunlaoghaire in Dublin.
During the consolation he firstly established what my body type was, vata, pitta or kapha. We then chatted about my lifestyle, my routine and my diet. He made some suggestions according to my body type, for example, that I should eat my main meal at lunch time rather than the evening, that I should go to bed 1 hour earlier than I have been doing, that I should steer clear of certain foods and eat more of others. I already eat a very healthy diet but there were some foods that he felt I would do better eating less of and more of others. He made other recommendations also. I was amazed to see the positive impact that just by implementing these 3 simple changes made to the quality of my life and how quickly I was able to reap the benefits.
Ayurveda is a sister science of yoga, the two go hand in hand. Ayurveda is a fascinating subject and is something that everyone can benefit from, you don’t need to be a purist or advanced yoga to learn about ayurveda and benefit from it’s recommendations.