Ayurveda today has become the science of practices and prescriptions.Turmeric, ashwagandha and brahmi supplements adorn the walls ofhealth stores world over. And oil pulling, tongue scrubbing are thelatest additions to the list of new health fads.
But to say that Ayurveda is that is injustice. Or rather, it is extremeunderutilization of the real science. Ayurveda is more about principlesrather than practices and prescriptions.
Ayurveda is a complete manual to life and living. It is a science that understands the code of the universe, as well as the human and, has perfected the principles that will allow for both to exist in harmony.Ayurveda covers every aspect of the mind and body.
There is also a misconception that one needs to follow and Indian diet and lifestyle to follow Ayurveda. But Ayurveda is timeless and universal. It is just as relevant today as it was 5000 years ago. It entails keen understanding of the gunas or qualities we experience and
replenishing or offsetting them with appropriate consumption, through diet and lifestyle. To give you an example, if one experiences heat which can be manifested by heat in the gut, feeling hot, acne, sun intolerance or even just anger. Intuitively, the quality needed to offset this would be cooling. One should then ask, what can contribute to cooling. This could be foods like rose water, coconut, licorice or even just sounds of water, a cooler temperature, cool light blue color or floral aromas. With a little bit of curiosity, one can develop the faculty of understanding these subtle gunas and qualities in their food and consumption. And this alone, can be called the practice of Ayurveda. But to make it even simpler, if I were to suggest simple and yet
powerful ways to incorporate Ayurveda into your every day life, I would say understand the circadian rhythm and live in accordance with it. Eat a warm breakfast when the earth is wet and sluggish in the morning, heavy lunch in the afternoon as the sun shines brightly and
so does your digestive fire. Finally, wind down with a light dinner as the day becomes windy and the sun sets.
The other thing I would say is that make sure that all your foods are warm and moist. Humans, as warm blooded creatures, function best in a warm and moist environment. Warmth can be the temperature of the food but adding good spices could help too. Similarly moist could
be the basic nature of the food like avocados but adding a good fat could also do the trick.
The other aspect that often gets neglected is mental health and its close link to physical health. Ayurveda states that health is not only balance of agni, tissues, doshas and waste but also your mind, senses and soul. Every experience we have on the level of the mind generates
a chemical reaction in the body. And eventually, these chemical reactions can change the biology and biological functioning of your body. For example, stress is a hot and dry emotion that releases cortisol that also dries and heats you gut in the short term. In the long term, it can deplete the mucosal lining of your gut and myelin sheath on your nerves, making you more prone to inflammatory conditions. So regulating your mental health through mindful consumption and processing of emotions is necessary. I suggest chanting, breath-work,
journaling and meditation to enable this.
Lastly, health is a value system, not a chore or a task. It needs to be integrated into our life just as much as learning and working are. Today, the connotation of health is more the “fear of sickness.” I say health is the “freedom that comes from being in balance.
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