In Sanskrit, Ayurveda means “The Science of Life”. Originating in India over thousands of years ago, Ayurveda is one of the world's oldest holistic healing methods focused on promoting body, mind, and spirit equilibrium. Ayurvedic knowledge is often called the “Mother of All Healing”. More than just a diet, the balance of an Ayurvedic lifestyle is just that; a lifestyle. Western medicine currently tends to focus on diagnosis and disease, primarily using drugs and surgery to rid the body of pathogens or diseased tissue. However, Ayurveda does not focus on disease, but instead focuses on energy in balance.
At the root of Ayurveda are the 5 basic elements found in the universe; space, air, fire, water, and earth. These combine in the body to form 3 life energies, or doshas, which control how your body works; Vata, Pitta and Kapha1. Composed of space and air, Vata is associated with the movement of the body. Composed of Fire and Water, Pitta is associated with the body’s metabolic system. Composed of earth and water, Kapha is associated with the energy that forms the body’s structures2.
When any are out of balance, the body can produce or experience fear, anxiety, anger and/or greed. The Ayurvedic Institute explains:
“We all have times when we don’t feel well and recognize that we’re out of balance. Sometimes we go to the doctor only to be told there is nothing wrong. What is actually occurring is that this imbalance has not yet become recognizable as a disease.”
Start by finding out more about which dosha is dominant for you3. Depending on your ruling dosha, there are some recommended foods to eat or avoid, and small steps to incorporate in your daily routine to maintain balance. Regardless of your dominant dosha, basic Ayurvedic eating principles for mindful eating include:
- Eating meals only after the previous meal has been digested
- Eating mindfully with concentration
- Eating slowly enough to savor the food, but quickly enough so that it doesn't get cold
- Incorporating all six rasas, or tastes, at each meal; sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent, and astringent4
- Paying attention to hunger signals to avoid overeating
Your ruling dosha can also serve as a guide for helpful meditation practices5. An overworked Kapha can result in feelings of lethargy, mental sluggishness, and overall lack of motivation. In this case, a calming walking meditation is suggested. An excess of Pitta can result in irritability, anger, frustration, etc. For this, a simple breath meditation is suggested to become aware of your emotions and recognize how they are affecting your body and breath. Finally, an overworked Vata can result in worrisome thoughts and an excess of anxious feelings. For this, a powerful mantra meditation is suggested, especially with the help of mala beads, to keep track of how often you are repeating your mantra/affirmation. All of these suggested meditations can take anywhere from 10-20 mins, and when practiced regularly can be used as a powerful tool to soothe the stress or imbalance of emotions you may feel.
Through maintaining smart decisions about diet and lifestyle, you can keep your energy balanced and your dosha(s) well attended to. Check out these books on the Ayurvedic Lifestyle to delve deeper into this ancient discipline.
About The Author
My name is Efua! I’m 22, and I’m a sagittarius sun, libra moon, and taurus rising. I'm currently a senior at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, graduating with a degree in African & African-American Studies, and a minor in Communication Design. I'm also a Content Creator and Strategist with Tablö Creative, a digital creative agency dedicated to helping small businesses leave a lasting impression online with our service offerings including content creation, copywriting, branding, social media marketing, web design and development. Our dream clients are brands whose core values are rooted in conscious & mindful operations. We believe that it's our responsibility to protect our planet from the climate crisis, not just through our personal lives, but also through our work. Our communication style supports creativity and freedom of expression by creating meaningful connections.