Different herbs and spices on a marble background with silver spoons

What is Ayurveda?


Over the last couple of posts, I have been giving you insights into alternatives to conventional medicine. Why? Because I strongly believe that health in its intricacies can and is so much more than sometimes a “band aid” on a problem. And because I know from personal experience that sometimes health can be tricky and compromised. And in that turn, it can also mean that we have to look elsewhere in order to get the answers we sometimes need. I have had a lot of people reach out to me on similar subjects and with your health challenges, so I know I am (unfortunately) not alone in this. I sincerely hope this entire series is helping a bit with opening you up to different solutions re. your health journey. So today’s topic is: What is Ayurveda?

Different herbs being mixed in a small wooden bowl on the edge of a wooden table
Nathan Dumlao auf Unsplash

What is Ayurveda?

As always, let’s start with the basics. What is Ayurveda? Ayurveda is a more than 3000 year old medicine that originally comes from India. It translates to “ayur” (“life”) and “veda” (knowledge) and means the knowledge of life. Ayurveda believes in living in harmony with your body, and the rhythms of nature. That means waking and sleeping both with the sun and moon cycles, eating seasonally, and eating in line with your circadian rhythm.

Ayurveda combines lifestyle and care practices. It is a system that looks at the prevention of disease and optimal maintenance of health. Do you see a pattern here? All holistic medicines introduced look first and foremost at the whole body, at the prevention of disease and at keeping the entire bodily system in harmony. The idea in Ayurveda is to keep the body, mind, and spirit in alignment, and eliminates stress as that is usually the main contributor to disease.

Turmeric on spoons and roots lying next to each other
Tamanna Rumee auf Unsplash

How Does an Ayurveda Treatment Work?

In Ayurveda, you usually start with an internal purification process, which is then followed and supplemented by a special diet, herbal remedies, messages, yoga, meditation, prayer, and chanting. Your body’s constitution (prakriti) and your life forces (dosha) usually largely define your treatment plan in order to bring you back into harmony. The ayurvedic treatment is meant to help you get rid of impurities, reduce stress and disease in your body, reduce the symptoms of disease, increase your resilience, and your harmony in life. Traditional ayurvedic medicine uses a lot of different herbs and spices that are all individually designed based on yours and your body’s needs. The entire process is very tailor-made towards your needs.

Fire burning in the night
Joshua Newton auf Unsplash

What Are The Three Different Types of Doshas?

Your doshas are the energy forces that govern our body and mind. You are born with these and those are not ones that you can change over time. All three energy forces are present in the body, but usually one or two are more dominant than the others. Depending on your dosha, your body has different needs and also different things that can bring it out of alignment (or make it stay within alignment). The idea is that our body is made of five elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space). Your dosha tends to have one of these elements as the primary one:

  • Vata – Air and space elements
  • Pitta – Fire and water elements
  • Kapha – Water and earth elements

Doshas are influenced by the environment, seasons, diet, and age. Understanding your primary element will allow you to understand what keeps you in alignment and what may bring you out of alignment as well. I will not go into what each of the different doshas constitute.This would completely blow this post out of proportions. But you can find out which dosha you are by speaking to an ayurvedic medical professional.

Hands picking up earth
Gabriel Jimenez auf Unsplash

How Do Doshas Get Out of Alignment?

There are two main ways how doshas get out of alignment. The first one is that the elements are not released from the body and replaced by new ones. For example, breathing in and out air or drinking enough water, and eliminating it whilst replenishing with fresh water. The second one is that balance does not mean that all elements should be equal. They should all be constantly renewed, which brings in the balance and harmony.

Flower petals held in a hand
Roberta Sorge auf Unsplash

When Choosing An Ayurvedic Medical Professional

Please be mindful that Ayurveda has not been approved as an official medicine in the US. Thereby, especially medicine is only treated as dietary supplements rather than medicine, which means different regulations from the FDA. Always choose a practitioner you trust and that has the appropriate training. Also be sure to let your conventional doctor know about using Ayruveda as a supplement treatment.

The Takeaway From This Post

I hope these series of posts has shown you that there is a lot more out there in terms of health and how to tackle potential health challenges than simply relying on conventional medicine. Personally, I have seen great benefits with both Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, and they have improved my overall health significantly.

Also check out my posts on:

Beautiful cover photo by Calum Lewis on Unsplash.

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