What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is a strong point of reference for me.   

I realize it can be scary, foreign or just plain inexplicable gobbled gook for some.

So here are a few basic concepts:

 

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Ayurveda__ (def. life-science). Its origins are reputed to be 5,000 old, from the Indus valley and the basis of much understanding about the nature of the world both practically and philosophically.

The Art oF Living Well:  Practically speaking:  We all know that living well is the best revenge and we all need a strategy for doing so. Here is one that is modern practical, elegantly simple and not all that complex. Really. The bottom line is that we need to think intuitively and with sensitivity to the needs of our physical body, emotional mind and spiritual selves in the context of our personal environment. 

 Ayurveda is a frame around the day-by-day. It introduced me to the notion that there is an art to feeling healthy, happier, more content and more satisfied. The art of living well , I have come to realize, is really a kind of alchemical process. It is an art in that requires a set of skills to execute and these skills are best  acquired by experience, study and observation.

The integration of Ayurveda into daily life relies in great part on the creativity of the mind — the imagination to link the physical body, to the thinking mind, to the spiritual mind to the intuitive senses and hold them all together without getting nauseous.

And So to those Basics:

  • Ayurveda is an ancient healing science that is really a set of tools and strategies for dealing with stress and the imbalances in our lives and bodies that can lead to disease.
  • Ayurveda complements the best that modern Western medicine has to offer.
  • Ayurveda is preventative medicine. Its wisdom, practices and suggestions give us knowledge and understanding to address our own health with intuition and awareness so that we can actually prevent many illnesses before they have the chance to develop.

Gotta Disfrute, but also Gotta inhabit a Rhythm of Life :

The Beauty and Wisdom of Ayurveda unfolds like a manual for how to live in harmony with your own true, individual nature. You have got to feed yourself with pleasure and beauty and love and joy and all of that. But it is equally important to live in sync with natural rhythms (seasonal, age etc) in the world around us.

And here is the rub…for there is always a rub:   Balance means that if you indulge one moment, you must clean up the next.  

         Stay up too late? Sleep early the next night.

         Drink too much wine? Guzzle juices, eat fruits and greens and follow a simple cleansing diet the next day.

Develop practices to keep the mind and body clean and clear. (see posts like “Daily Massage,” “ Daily Morning Routine ” and “ The Magic of YOGA ”.)

Start by understanding this simple principle and how it applies to you, yourself and you:

We each have a unique metabolic composition that shapes mental, physical and emotional tendencies. When you focus on diet, lifestyle and stress management skills, you have a simple, elegant framework that supports and offers tools and strategies to recognize, honor and support our unique individual nature. The takeaway are ways to create and maintain personal balance and to work with the power we all have within us to be our own best self-care-givers.

A few pithy maxims that explain the whole thing (more or less):

“As is the cosmic body, so is the human body

As is the cosmic mind, so is the human mind

As is the macrocosm, so is the microcosm.”

Our modern developing understanding of quantum physics leads us to understand that there is a level of pure energy smaller than the sub-atom, the Unified Field, which is the new frontier of mind-body research and which is the underlying glue for the entire universe. Ayurvedic sages have, for millennia, referred to this Unified Field as the Cosmic Field of Pure Consciousness from which all matter, including our selves, arises.

At this quantum level the distinctions between body and mind completely disappear. It is with this understanding that Ayurveda acknowledges that unhealthy physical, mental and emotional patterns and habits reflect inner dis-harmony and creates physical illness in our bodies. We get stuck. The energy does not flow. Our immune system goes down or actually fights against us.

 

“Like increases Like, Opposites create Balance”

This saying embodies one of the most essential Ayurvedic prescriptions for good health. You are most likely to get health aggravations related to your predominant constitutional (or doshic) traits. For example, if you are a fiery, motivated “Pitta” type, you may be prone to heartburn after eating. Since like increases like and Pitta is a fire element, avoid taking spicy foods and choose cooling ones instead.

 

“ What you feed or put your attention on will grow”

This maxim reminds us that we can choose to feed health and balance or we can make decisions in diet, lifestyle and fitness that undermine our health. For this reason it is supremely important that you know and understand your unique constitution and strive to keep yourself working in balance and harmony with your own true nature.

A few words about Medicine:

“One person’s medicine is another’s poison.” 

To be your best self you must determine and follow a program that is beneficial for YOU. To emulate what works for someone else may result in your being their second best self…the goal is to be your own best balanced self!

“When diet is wrong medicine is of no use.

When diet is correct medicine is of no need.”

Eat correctly for your contsitution. Pay attention to the season and time of life.

 

We know deep down what is best for ourselves…Cultivate that knowledge

As Voltaire famously said: “Cultivate Your Own Garden

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