The Wisdom Of Ayurveda
What if we were each born with a manual that was tailored to our own unique body type, mental traits and emotional tendencies?
We would know exactly how to look after ourselves; what types of food to eat, how many hours of sleep to get, how much water to drink each day… it’d make things so easy!
While we may not have been born with this manual, it’s all explained in the wisdom of ayurveda. And we can use ayurveda for healing both our bodies and our minds.
Ayurveda means “the science of life.” It is the knowledge of how to live happily, healthfully, and in alignment with nature’s daily and seasonal rhythms. It’s an ancient science that originated in India at least 5,000 years ago alongside yoga.
Ayurveda is still abuzz in its country of origin and slowly making its way to the US.
And all for good reason. Perhaps we Americans need ayurveda more than anyone else. Being such a new country — one where most of our immigrant ancestors tried their best to cast aside cultural traditions in an effort to assimilate — we lack the wisdom that’s normally passed down through the generations.
We’re a learn-as-you-go culture; basing all of our health information on imperfect scientific data rather than the beneficial lifestyle learned through generations of experience and taught by our elders.
We eat when we want (snacking at all hours and eating just before bed), sleep when we want (staying up until 2am and making up for lost sleep with long naps), and eat what we want (eating according to our tongue’s desires and out of season).
It’s clear that this kind of behavior isn’t working for us. Otherwise, we’d all feel fantastic the majority of the time: well-rested, energized, with glowing skin and at a healthy weight, creative, motivated, and emotionally balanced.
But this is not the way that most of us feel most of the time.
Ayurveda For Healing
It’s ayurveda that fills in the missing gaps and teaches us how to again feel healthy and happy in our own body.
On the one hand, ayurveda is a very deep and comprehensive system of holistic medicine. It describes the pathology and treatment of all manners of diseases, and has amazing success rates with illnesses we westerners deem incurable.
On the other hand, ayurveda is a lifestyle. To learn proper lifestyle might feel like a commodity, or even unnecessary, but live a balanced life in harmony with nature’s rhythms and you may never have to turn to ayurveda (or any other medicine) for disease treatment again.
You Are Unique
We intuitively know that we’re each unique. We can so easily see this in the many differences in our skin color, hair texture, body type, and how we react to stress. It’s apparent that although we have being human in common, we are definitely not all the same.
However, very little of the health information that’s spouted out at us takes our uniqueness into account. We hear that kale is a superfood and will fight cancer, and we go kale-crazy. What we fail to ask ourselves is is kale right for me?
Ayurveda would explain that no, kale is not right for everyone. It may be the perfect detoxifying food for some types, but it’s going to make others bloated and gassy.
Learning about ourselves through ayurveda gives us a basis to understand what is right for us. Ayurveda helps us to identify our unique mind-body type, and with that knowledge we come to know what diet, lifestyle, routine, exercise, yoga, work, and even relationships will help to make us feel our best.
It’s All About Lifestyle
Ayurveda is empowering knowledge. Even despite knowing one’s mind-body type, we can follow ayurveda’s lifestyle recommendations that apply to everyone.
These principles are simple but shouldn’t be underestimated.
They’re things like sleeping at night, and rising early; drinking a cup of warm water and having our biggest meal of the day at lunch; moving our bodies and breathing correctly.
Ayurveda’ dinacharya, or daily routine, describes these practices in full depth. And its ritucharya, or seasonal routine, explains seasonal practices for health.
No other system of medicine offers such comprehensive wisdom on daily rhythms. Ayurveda was far ahead of its time; as science is now proving the importance of circadian rhythms — a concept that idea had in place thousands of years ago.
Getting Started With Ayurveda
The best way to get started with ayurveda is by working with an ayurvedic practitioner. Self-diagnosis is a tricky game both in modern medicine and in ayurveda; misunderstand what’s happening in your body and your treatment may be more harmful than helpful.
An ayurvedic practitioner will analyze your mind-body type, assess any imbalances, and guide you toward the lifestyle that’s right for you.
We could all use a little (or a lot) of ayurveda in our life. Just a sliver of its wisdom can empower us to live an uplifting life of harmony and balance.