What is ayurveda?
Ayurveda is an ancient lifestyle-based system of health and good living.
‘Ayurveda’ is a Sanskrit word that literally means “science of life”. It describes the ideal lifestyle that maximises the chance to be happy and content and grow old healthily. Ayurveda originated in India and has been used for thousands of years (that should give some indication of its effectiveness, my friends!).
As a holistic system, it looks at the body and mind as one. The mind influences the body, the body influences the mind. In the first place Ayurveda aims to prevent disease through adopting a healthy lifestyle. When work, exercise, free time, cleansing practices, and meditation are balanced your body will remain healthy.
You are unique
You’ve probably all seen the video of the 90-year old yoga teacher by now! That doesn’t mean we all have to become yoga teachers, of course… In ayurveda every person is seen as an individual. Any recommendations this system can give you for leading a healthy lifestyle are based on your personal constitution or ‘prakriti’. What is healthy for you, may not necessarily be healthy for me!
Actually, many of the preferences you have are the things that are not very good for you. For example, as I have a lot of the fire element in me I shouldn’t eat very spicy foods (ooooh but I LOVE it!). “Like increases like” so when I include lots of fiery foods in my diet I have trouble sleeping, my digestion is off, I get nervous and fidgety and I am much more likely to get a cold, to over-exercise, to stress about little nothings and so on. Enter viceous circle: because of that, I’ll drink more coffee, eat more sweets, need more exercise to get rid of the nervousness and so on. I know now that I work much better on daily meditation, warm cooked foods and less coffee (haha).
Sickness and health
In these modern times we often ignore the signals our body is giving us. At first signals are subtle and easy to ignore, and we continue as we are. Sometimes the signals are confusing and not clearly connected to their cause of existence. When we keep ignoring the signals, symptoms manifest. We’ll start having real complaints, ‘dis-ease’ as you wish, still vague maybe (a recurring headache, digestion problems,…) but definitely something is wrong.
When we keep ignoring this, disease may settle down in the body. We become more vulnerable to external threats like bacteria and viruses, our digestion starts to cause trouble, triggering lots of other responses in our body: inflammation, headaches, allergies, skin rashes, stress related symptoms,… Ayurveda aims to treat not just the symptoms, but heal its root cause. It is a totally different way of looking at health and disease.
Does it seem logic that a healthy lifestyle results in good health? Of course. But do we live by it? That’s a lot harder… Ayurveda can give you clear directions to improve your lifestyle, based on a personal routine and food schedule. Even simple changes can make a big difference in your well-being.