3 Components Of An Ayurvedic Lifestyle
If you’re steeped in your yoga practice, it might be time to incorporate Ayurveda, sister science to Yoga, into your lifestyle. How do you sort out the plethora of information available on the internet and apply it to your health?
“How well do I know myself?” That is the Ayurvedic question.
With diets ranging from Paleo to Keto, Raw Food, South Beach, and Grapefruit, it’s understandable that people are confused about what to eat. We’ve been bombarded with exercise and food models that simply don’t address our individual needs. My journey started in the “low fat” era where limiting fat in the diet was supposed to help you lose weight and look lean. Now we know that having essential fats in our diets is key to brain health, hormonal balance, cardiovascular and digestive health; Ayurveda understood these thousands of years ago.
Ayurveda, which originated in India over 3,000 years ago, offers an individualized approach to whole health (not just food) that makes it unique and applicable to our modern day lifestyles. It’s not simply another food model, or rigid approach and not a temporary fad either. Ayurveda promotes a life close to nature, your own nature and the environment, and advocates a lifestyle that is in harmony with the seasons; ultimately providing a pathway to knowing the essence of your being and full potential. On a physical level, Ayurveda provides the nurturing aspects of self-care missing from western medicine.
What are the three components of an Ayurvedic lifestyle?
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The thought of a state of being which is free of thought may strike you as impossible.
Do you have racing thoughts with endless to-do lists looping around your brain? Meditation doesn’t involve controlling or uprooting thoughts. Like a surfer riding a wave, the challenge is to stay afloat as waves crash and churn beneath you, letting them carry you to smooth water. It’s an apt metaphor for meditation. Ride out those first choppy waters and you’ll find periods of deep calm and stillness.
In my own experience, meditation connected me with my inner artist ultimately redirecting feelings of grief, loss and a sense of feeling alone.
There are several ways to approach meditation: guided meditations where you may be guided through the beauty of nature; mantra meditation such as repeating So Hum to the breath and chakra meditations where you repeat sounds of the chakras called “toning”, which help align various energies in your body. Any of these approaches may work.
Ayurveda understood whole health, the gut-brain connection, before science.
You may eat the right foods, but are you digesting them well? An Ayurvedic lifestyle begins with knowing your unique mind/body type, your dosha. Dr. Deepak Chopra says on the chopra.com website, “Your natural sleep patterns, favorite activities and body type are all influenced by your unique mind/body type or dosha.” This is the foundation of Ayurveda. To discover your type, see an Ayurvedic practitioner who can evaluate your tongue and pulse and provide recommendations based on your current state of health.
When it comes to food, Ayurveda focuses on eating all six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent to promote optimal health. Knowing your dosha will provide a clearer understanding of when to focus on these specific tastes.
Ayurveda sees the body as a superhighway of channels that connect your entire being, an intricate spider web without beginning or end.
On the other hand, Western medicine sees the body as a composition of bones, joints, muscles, tissues, and organs. In Chinese medicine, these are known as meridians, in Ayurveda, they are referred to as nadis; there are 72,000 of them. When the flow of energy along these Nadi’s, or lines, is impeded we feel sluggish or ill. Shifting our bio-field we move the body toward vibrant health. Energy healing, yoga, breath work, a colorful diet, essential oils, herbs, gemstones, all increase “prana” the life force energy flowing through these channels.
I hope you take away a sense of ease in beginning your Ayurvedic path. There is so much more to explore through Ayurveda, it is all-encompassing. Remember health is not an outcome it’s a moment to moment process. It’s a question of how well do you know yourself.
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