Ayurveda is a 5000 years old form of alternative medicine that originated in India and helps us connect with our mind and body. What does it really entail and how can…
Ayurveda is a 5000 years old form of alternative medicine that originated in India and helps us connect with our mind and body. What does it really entail and how can we all practice it?
The literal meaning of the word Ayurveda is “Science of life”. It’s a life-concept that covers all aspects of one’s life, from nutrition and daily routine, to exercise.
Since we live in a modern society, we have different habits and lifestyle than our ancestors had five thousand years ago.
Today, we use some components of Ayurveda, without necessarily copying everything that worked back then.
The Concept of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is the longest continually practiced form of health care. The basic concept behind ayurveda is that every disease is caused by an imbalance. It is the art of living in harmony with nature.
In Ayurveda there are no general guidelines. It looks at every person as a unique microcosm of the macrocosm.
To begin with, an Ayurveda practitioner determines your “Dosha” or mind-body type.
There are three body types that are made out of the 5 elements: fire, earth, space, water and air.
- Vata is made up of air and space
- Pitta is a combination of fire and water
- Kapha is composed of water and earth
During your consultation, your practitioner will take your pulse, in order to get more information about your well-being.
Ayurveda is all about balance. It looks at how we function in three important areas: digestion, sleep and creative energy.
To help us stay in balance or get back into balance, Ayurveda has treatments that engage the five senses. Including recommendations for certain foods, aromatherapy, sound therapy, color therapy and some massage techniques.
Whether we want to improve our digestive system, get a good night sleep or find a way to productively channel our creative energy, Ayurveda works great for everyone (regardless if you are healthy, happy, strong or you have a health condition that you’re dealing with).
Ayurveda Lifestyle Practices
Ayurveda shows us how the universe supports us in being healthy and happy. You can implement routines and rituals that will help you keep your body in balance.
In the morning, wake up with the sunrise. The hours between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m are Kapha time.
Set aside 15-20 minutes for your morning meditation. Ayurveda recognizes meditation as one of the most powerful tools for balancing the mind and body.
Meditation increases our longevity and improves our quality of life, in so many ways!
In fact, one recent study conducted at Harvard University, found that meditation literally rebuilds the brain’s grey matter in just eight weeks.
Britta Hölzel, the author of the paper, said:
It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life.
After your morning meditation, it’s time for dosha yoga. You can do the routine for your own dosha, you can mix it up seasonally, or depending on what you want to balance in your life.
In Ayurveda there is a wonderful self massage called abhyanga that is really nice to do it before you shower in the morning…
Just warm up a little sesame oil, massage it round on the joints and long on the limbs. There are three areas to which you want to pay special to:
- top of your head
- soles of your feet
The abhyanga massage helps the body rejuvenate the skin, eliminate toxins and tones up the muscles.
Nutrition and digestion are very important in Ayurveda. When our digestion is good, then our immune system is strong.
Here are some tips to improve digestion, so that you get the most out of the nutrients in your food:
- Sit down when eating and focus on your food.
- Don’t rush or linger too long.
- Eat your meals at the same time.
- Eat light and warm dishes.
- Avoid cold meals because cold food has an adverse affect on digestion and your health.
- Include more spices in your meals. Add ginger, turmeric or cinnamon in at least one meal a day.
- After getting out of bed, drink a glass of lemon water, at room temperature. This will strengthen your immune system.
- In Ayurveda you want to avoid caffeine. Instead, for breakfast, try a spicy ginger tea.
If you are looking for a healthier lifestyle, then Ayurveda is a great place to start. At first, implement the things that you think will work for you. It doesn’t have to be all at once.