All About Ayurvedic Medicine And How To Incorporate It
Meet Your Doshas And Learn To Please Them With Ayurvedic Medicine
Believe it or not, it’s not just a fad! Ayurvedic medicine has been practiced for over 5,000 years. It originated in India and has since spread around the world, changing many people’s lives for the better. At its core, ayurveda is focused on prevention. And it’s not all just goos-fraba. Practitioners of ayurvedic medicine believe that overall health and wellness rely on a balance between mind, body, and spirit.
“Because we cannot scrub our inner body we need to learn a few skills to help cleanse our tissues, organs, and mind. This is the art of Ayurveda.”
– Sebastian Pole
Ayurvedic Studies and Proof
You know what they say – the proof is in the pudding. Not literally. Too messy. Anyway, don’t just take our word for it, look at some of the proven results of ayurvedic medicine
A study completed in 2015 showed that ayurvedic medicine can have positive effects on people with coronary heart disease. This makes sense when you understand how practices like yoga and meditation have been shown to lower blood pressure.
Inflammation can be caused by a variety of factors, including lack of quality sleep, digestive issues, and unhealthy eating habits. Ayurvedic medicine’s focus on nutrition and sleep can prevent inflammation by addressing an underlying cause. Plus, studies have shown that herbs like turmeric can help treat inflammatory conditions like arthritis and hyperlipidemia.
Snacking, caffeine, alcohol, and electronics are some of the things that can disrupt a night of quality sleep. Ayurveda’s healthy eating and mindfulness approach can help get rid of some of these sleep-disrupting items and habits, resulting in higher quality sleep. Put the phone down for a while before you go to bed! (We know, we’re not your mom. Just trust us on this one.) Also, you can use herbs like valerian root to help you fall asleep or rub jasmine oil on your temples to help relax your mind and body.
Weight Loss Assistance
Ayurvedic medicine isn’t necessarily focused on dieting, but more so on being mindful about what you put into your body. When healthy eating habits are combined with ayurvedic herbs like triphala and regular exercise like yoga, the result is an overall healthier lifestyle in which it is easier to maintain a healthy weight. Ready to bust out those old jeans you thought you’d never fit into again?
“The great thing about Ayurveda is that its treatments always yield side benefits, not side effects.”
Meet Your Doshas: Vatta, Pitta, & Kapha
Ayurvedic medicine is all about balance and this balance is achieved by the harmonization of these three doshas. Keep your doshas happy and they’ll keep you happy! Essentially, the doshas are health types that help us figure out how much an individual should sleep, eat, and exercise, as well as what their strengths and weaknesses are. Each person has a different combination of these three doshas, but everyone has some of each. Think of it like this: each individual has a percentage of each dosha, but every balanced person’s total percentage is 100%. When a person goes out of balance, they begin to fall below 100% and illnesses or health conditions may begin to occur. It’d be like going out with one shoe on and clothes that aren’t warm enough. Eventually, you’re going to feel very uncomfortable. At least when your doshas are out of balance, people won’t look at you weird. Hopefully. Anyway, let’s talk a little more about each of your doshas independently. If you’re curious about your personal ayurvedic doshas, take this quiz.
Vatta is often associated with the wind as Vatta is the dosha of movement. It’s an energy-linked dosha that’s all about flexibility and a free-flowing spirit. Vatta is associated with breathing, muscle contraction and stretching, and heart function. A Vatta dominant person is likely thin, feels cold easily, and may have dry skin. An imbalance in the Vatta dosha may result in issues like anxiety, racing thoughts, and digestive issues. Stay active to please Vatta or end up with a lotta anxiety! (A little cringey, we know.)
To correctly balance Vata, one must participate in regular exercise. Yeah, it’s a bummer. More activity, less couch time. Yoga, walking, or barefoot meditation can all balance the Vata dosha. It’s also a good idea to set limits on your use of electronics when Vata is out of balance. (Told you!) Think about your diet as well if you think your Vata is out of balance. Proteins, root vegetables, and warm, creamy drinks should help restore balance. Always stay hydrated when it feels as if any of your doshas are out of balance.
Not the bread, unfortunately. The Pitta dosha is thought to help control the metabolic, endocrine, and digestive system and is linked to the element of fire. People who are Pitta dominant are typically of medium build and have acne-prone skin. They always seem to be busy and on the move. Overachievers. (Kidding) An imbalance of the Pitta dosha results in anger, overexertion, burnout, skin irritation, and rashes.
To help you balance the Pitta dosha, consider cooling activities like cool showers or a walk near a cold body of water. (when it’s not hot outside) Pitta imbalanced people should also consider loosening their schedules and taking part in spontaneous acts like last-minute vacations or adventures. Unscheduled activities? Terrifying! Avoid spicy foods when Pitta is out of balance. Instead, try cool, sweet fruits, coconut water, and grains. Acai bowl, anyone?
People associate Kapha with the Earth and water. Its stabilizing energy is thought to help supply water to the body and to help with the immune system. A Kapha dominant person is calm and forgiving and an imbalance in Kapha manifests itself through jealousy, sluggishness, and weight gain. Weight gain? Our Kapha seems to get out of balance over the holidays every year. Weird.
To balance the Kapha dosha, mental stimulation, regular exercise, and mindful activities such as meditation are in order. Avoid oily foods and heavy, dense grains like pasta when Kapha is not balanced. Opt for bitter ingredients as well as a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. No pasta? Please keep your balance Kapha!
“Ayurveda will be known as the most supremely evolved system of perfect health – from both points of view. prevention and cure.”
– Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Bringing Ayurvedic Medicine Into Your Life
Now you know your personal doshas and you understand how they all work in balance with your body. Look at you, ayurvedic genius! Time to put M.D. after your name? Let’s talk about incorporating ayurvedic medicine into your life today. Ayurvedic medicine is considered an alternative medicine and most, if not all alternative medicines carry stigmas among the practitioners of modern Western medicine. Many say it is not rooted in science and does not have the scientific data that proves its effectiveness. While this may be true for some forms of alternative medicine, it is not that black and white, especially when it comes to ayurvedic medicine. As we explained above, there have been scientific studies that have proven that ayurvedic treatments can be effective when used properly. Take that!
In fact, the National Institutes of Health has an entire department dedicated to the scientific validation of Complimentary and Alternative Medicines, many of which have achieved scientific support. Among these scientifically validated alternative medicines is of course ayurvedic medicine.
Practitioners of ayurvedic medicine focus on balancing all aspects of their life in order to create a healthy lifestyle. A strict regimen of a healthy diet, regular exercise, and mindfulness activities all work in harmony to make for a healthy body, mind, and soul. When we feed our bodies nutrient-rich foods and stay active, our bodies are better at fighting illness and disease. When we practice mindfulness through activities like meditation, we keep our stress and blood pressure levels low, preventing potential health issues long-term.
Before you make any life-changing decisions about your health, make sure to consult a doctor, especially before you stop taking medications. If you are interested in bringing ayurvedic medicine into your life, here are a few great ways that you can start today.
Lunch Is Your Biggest Meal
Timing is key in ayurveda. Daily timing, monthly timing, seasonal timing, all of it. While most people tend to either have a hearty breakfast to start the day or a huge dinner to refuel after a long one, (or both… anyone?) ayurveda suggests that your digestive system is operating at its peak around noon. If that is the case, wouldn’t it make sense that you schedule your biggest meal at lunchtime? Try eating lighter foods in the morning and smaller plates at night to better align your eating habits with your body’s natural digestive schedule. And preferably no more late-night snacks. You can do it. We believe in you!
One of the primary focuses of ayurvedic medicine is the digestive system. When it is functioning properly, our bodies absorb the maximum amount of nutrients from our food. Why eat all of those measly vegetables if we’re not absorbing as many nutrients as we can? This means cleansing and detoxing regularly. You will also want to do two major cleanses per year, coinciding with the change of the seasons, but daily detoxes are good too. Incorporate more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans into your diet. Once a day, drink a cup of warm water with lemon juice or honey to help with detoxification. Your body could use a reset after all of those burgers you’ve been eating!
This doesn’t mean you go out and eat a bunch of spicy food. It just means you should try adding some particular spices to your home-cooked meals. Sure, garlic makes your breath stink, but it has long been used to treat a variety of health issues. Ginger has been shown to help with digestive issues. As stated before, turmeric is proven to be useful as an anti-inflammatory. Black pepper promotes intestinal health and is antibacterial. Explore the benefits of all of the different spices out there and find ways to spice up your food and benefit your health. You might also be surprised to find that your cooking suddenly tastes good. You’re welcome!
Now that you better understand your personal doshas, how to tell when they are out of balance, and what to do about it when that happens, you’re on your way to an ayurvedic lifestyle that any practitioner would be proud of. Just keep in mind – at the core, ayurveda is all about keeping our bodies and minds in a healthy state. As long as you are eating healthy, natural foods and you regularly exercise both your body and mind, you’ll be one step ahead of your old self! Old you ain’t got nothing on new you.
“Ayurveda teaches us to cherish our innate-nature “to love and honor who we are”, not as what people think or tell us, “who we should be.”
– Prana Gogia