WHAT THE HECK IS AYURVEDA….?
We hear that a lot!
You may have seen this term “Ayurveda” used on food labels, to describe a type of massage or therapy, or perhaps relating to a type of herbal supplement. The term is used to give an indication of integrity, intending to suggest that the product has greater health benefit or is more natural when it has the term “Ayurveda” on the label. But rarely is the term explained and, even if you’ve googled it, you likely still unsure. So, let’s set the record straight!
What the heck IS Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a simple but profound holistic system for health and living. The term “Ayus” means life, longevity and “Veda” means knowledge or experiential wisdom. So, Ayurveda is the living knowledge of life and longevity. Like Yoga, its origins are from the Vedic traditions of India. In fact, both disciplines developed together over 5,000 years ago and traditionally have always been used as an integrative support for humanity. Whereas Yoga is the path of uniting body, mind and spirit, Ayurveda provides the path for optimal vitality alongside it.
And Ayurveda is a natural healing system that is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a healing modality.
How does Ayurveda work?
Nature provides us lots of examples of what is “optimal”. Think about a beautifully ripe and juicy peach. How about a glorious and bright patch of sunflowers on a summer’s day or that strong and stately evergreen? These are just a few examples of how truly magnificent things arise as the result of ideal conditions and right balance. The human body is also one of those magnificent things!! While we are all a little bit different, Ayurveda provides us a reference or guide for understanding how to create that optimal health for ourselves.
Am I in Balance? The fact is, the choices we make related to our diet, lifestyle, relationships and environment can cause imbalance and less than perfect conditions for ideal living. Just like we can over or under water our plants, so too can we misjudge what is right for us and so, things can get out of whack. Issues like; mental stress & strain, poor digestion, pain, allergies, anxiety, skin conditions, insomnia, body weight challenges, menstrual issues (to name a few) are all indications of imbalance.
Any of this sound familiar to you?
These are the most common and the most pervasive issues affecting us, our families and friends today. Unfortunately,they are so common, such suffering has become considered normal! While few of us would (usually 😉 consciously make choices that would cause us to suffer, most of us continue to make choices based on convenience, trends, reliance on something that’s worked for us in the past, work/family pressures or habits. What we’ve considered normal is not balanced and we are struggling.
So, what now?? How can Ayurveda help YOU?
Ayurveda uses the ever-present Power of Nature to heal. Making educated choices through, our food, herbs, diet and lifestyle we can re-establish good health; mental emotional resilience and physical strength of immunity. Yes, it’s that simple. And this knowledge can be used to create a sustained vitality and longevity.
Think it can’t be that easy? It takes good soil, proper sunlight and right temperatures to create that juicy peach, that glorious sunflower or evergreen. Why would it be more complicated to create the ideal human body? The trick is to know and understand the right combinations of choices to create the perfect conditions to thrive.
The study and practice of Ayurveda gives us a way of understanding how to live a healthy life. Through it, we can educate ourselves of the knowledge of Nature and make better choices for ourselves and our families.
“Nature has already given us proper instincts for recovering and maintaining balance. Ayurveda principles serve to answer and sharpen those instincts.” – Deepak Chopra, Perfect Health (pg. 121)
Explore AYURVEDA for yourself!
Wondering how to start? Try this simple Ayurvedic Self-Diagnosis!
- Bring your palms together and start rubbing them together vigorously. Do this for 20-30 seconds. I’ll wait here for you….
- Ok, now take your warmed-up palms, begin to massage your body starting with your feet. Take your time here, there’s no rush!
- How do your feet feel? Are they sore, tired, maybe they’re cold?
- Move up your legs, massaging your calves, knees, thighs – taking note again of how they are feeling.
- Work your way up to your low back, low belly, ribcage chest…. keep going
- Massage your hands, your upper arms, elbows, shoulder
- Work your way up to your face, your jaw, ears, nose, eyes, hair, top of head.
- Now, bring your hands back to your heart. Close your eyes and think of one thing you learned about yourself. Now, open your eyes. What did you learn? And, most importantly, what will you do next??
- If your feet are cold, go put on your socks!
- If you’re hungry, have something to eat…
- If you’re feeling tired, take a break or have a nap…
- Feeling unfocused, go for a walk, get some fresh air!
Have you tried it? If you did, I’ll bet your already feeling better! That’s basic Ayurveda my friend. Some self-awareness and common sense…..
Ready for more? Are you looking for a deeper understanding of natural tools and strategies to improve your vitality and lifestyle?
“The hidden you that wants to emerge is in perfect balance. Finding it is not a rote affair – every person achieves balance in his or her personal way.” – Deepak Chopra, Perfect Health (p.109)
Here are a couple of next steps:
- I highly recommend the book “Perfect Health” by Deepak Chopra as a wonderful introduction to the basics of Ayurveda – an Ayurveda 101. It will give you a good understanding of the high- level principles and insight into your unique nature and particular capacities.
- Having an experienced Ayurvedic Educator alongside you on this journey will make all the difference. We can all benefit from a wise mentor and experienced cheer-leader!
- Are you looking to make a real and lasting impact to your health…?
- Have you already tried everything else – nothing is working…?
- Are you just curious and want to know more about Nature….?
- Or if you are still skeptical or sitting on the fence, and need a bit more convincing…?
You’ll find the effort to learn more about Ayurveda is worth it!
A decade ago, Kim began her journey of Yoga. What began as introducing movement, peace and calm in her busy life started the process of seeking a way to live with greater integrity and harmony. It is said that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. This was certainly the case for Kim as, five years ago, she discovered AT THE CORE and The American Institute of Vedic Studies. With the blessing, guidance and support of her new teachers, Kim began her in- depth study of Yoga and Ayurveda.
Kim is a certified Yoga and Ayurveda Wellness Consultant, Ayurvedic Life-Style Consultant and Ayurvedic Yoga Educator. She is based in London, Ontario.