All the things you wanted to know about Ayurveda but didn’t know whom to ask
Thriive Art & Soul is the treasure trove of new and relatively undiscovered wellness therapies – almost 170+ at last count. But this time around we decided to reintroduce you to a therapy that has been around for about 5000 years. Not just that, it is also very holistic in the way it works on your mental, emotional, and physical wellness.
Let’s (re)raise the curtain on the champion of holistic wellness —Ayurveda.
What Ayurveda does
Whoever said old is gold, must have known of Ayurveda and what it is capable of. While it is a well-regarded practice in India, the world has only now come to recognize Ayurveda’s prowess. The graphic below shows some of the several physical and mental conditions that Ayurveda can help treat, as published in a report by University of Maryland Medical Center.
Ayurveda helps to achieve holistic wellness by focusing on the connection between the mind and the body—how the former affects the latter. It believes that the root of a disease has some connection to our thoughts, our moods, our lifestyle. The food we eat affects our physical and emotional health. Don’t we all know about and also experienced the emotional ‘benefits’ and physical consequences of comfort food?
Ayurveda works to ensure that the body gets all that it needs to be content and healthy—physically and emotionally.
The philosophy of Ayurveda
Getting into specifics, Ayurveda is based on the philosophy that a body is made of three energy types—doshas—as shown below:
The Vata dosha controls functions like breathing and blood circulation, anything that has to do with air and space.
The Pitta dosha controls the body’s metabolic activities such as digestion, absorption of nutrients, and so on.
The Kapha dosha helps in maintaining the body’s immune system.
The imbalance between them is what causes diseases.
For each person, the dominant dosha(s) decides their physical and emotional characteristics. Ayurveda takes this into account before prescribing treatments, thus not following a one-size-fits-all approach. Creating a balance between these energies through diet, exercise, and mindfulness is what ensures holistic fitness.
How Ayurveda works
Ayurvedic practitioners use the information about your dominant dosha(s) to prescribe activities (like meditation, breathing exercises) and dietary recommendations (like herbs, foods) to sync your lifestyle to the natural rhythm of your body. And you cannot believe how significant this becomes in ensuring that you aren’t just physically fit but that you are also mentally and emotionally strong.
Let’s quickly talk about how Ayurveda helps you with some commonplace problems:-
To control / lower your blood pressure: Ayurveda prescribes relaxation techniques that work naturally. For example, before you go to bed at night, it is suggested that you wash your feet well, clean them, and give them a nice rub. Practitioners are also known to advice techniques like breath awareness meditation or Yogasanas like the Pranayama, Anulom-viloma, Shavasana, and so on.
To detoxify your body: It prescribes a diet rich in nutrients and antioxidants, and a lot of rest. (Yes, you heard that right, rest.) You can also rub essential oils on your skin to give them the glow of health. A common piece of advice, to reduce toxins in the body, is to eat your heaviest meal for lunch, because the sun it at its highest.
To reduce stress and anxiety: Ayurvedic practitioners give you a diet that is tailored for you, to have a positive effect on your mindfulness. They also advise the practice of the Abhyanga—the Ayurvedic practice of self-massage with an organic oil, 10-15 minutes before the morning bath. Abhyanga releases stress from your body, cleans your skin, improves circulation, and works at the subconscious level to improve your mental alertness.
To improve digestion: The practitioners tell you what time of the day is right for what kind of food. Boston-based yoga teacher Kate O’Donnell’s gives a very cool piece of advice in her book, The Everyday Ayruveda Cookbook: Lying down on your left side for 10 minutes after a meal can improve digestion. The liver and the gall bladder are on the right, so lying on the left gravitates the meal down into the stomach, where food is slowly digested without putting pressure on the stomach.
With all of this, Ayurveda helps you to maintain your hormonal balance, maintain your ideal weight, and gives you a greater sense of overall wellbeing.
Benefits of Ayurveda
To sum up everything that we’ve said till now: the three doshas govern the physical and emotional characteristics. Following Ayurveda that works on the basis of the dominant dosha, you stand to gain the following benefits:
- Ayurveda helps you discover what works for you at an individual level and uses that to help you heal—physically, mentally, and emotionally. It encourages you to understand yourself, love yourself, in the unique way that you’ve been created.
- Following recommendations from your Ayurvedic practitioner can help you deal with your mood swings and restore your emotional balance—disrupting your physical wellbeing.
- Ayurveda re-establishes your connect with nature, focusing on its connect with your entire wellbeing.
Ayurveda is regarded as the oldest healing science known to man. If you are looking for a lasting transformation in your physical, mental, and emotional wellness, Ayurveda might just be what you need.
To reach out to a Thriive-verified Ayurveda expert who is just right for you, connect with us HERE .
Nikita Jhanglani is a technical and creative content writer, editor and book blogger. Currently, she is into world domination, one checklist at a time.