Introduction to Ayurveda
Yoga has gained widespread popularity in America as an alternative way of wellness and fitness. It has gained Americans’ trust and now stands as a strong alternative to traditional western medicine. Even though there are estimated to be over 55 million yoga enthusiasts in the United States, many people do not know about Ayurveda which originated in ancient India about 5000 years ago, making it one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems.
One of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems, Ayurveda originated in India about 5000 years ago. Yoga and Ayurveda serve as two important pillars to wellness and fitness of our body, one cannot exist without the other. Even though they share the same vedic roots, they are two different healing sciences. The former’s goal is to free your body, mind and spirit through asanas and meditation while the latter’s goal is to heal your body and prevent diseases through adequate diet and lifestyle.
Ayurveda believes that every person is composed of five elements: earth, fire, water, air, and space. These elements are further combined in the body to form three different dispositions called Doshas. These doshas are believed to be responsible for a person's mental, emotional, and physiological health.
Ayurveda can help us in achieving correct dosha levels for bodily functions.
Everyone is born with a unique combination of these elements but we all have the three doshas; however, everyone has different doshas set as primary, secondary, and the least prominent. This does not mean that one Dosha is less important than the other, but can have implications on our preferences and personalities. For example, some of us like salty food, while others have a sweet tooth. Some of us hate winters from the bottom of our hearts, while others hate summers and sweating. These feelings are mainly due to our varying dosha levels.
There are three types of Doshas:
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Air and space combine to create vata which is said to control our movement, creativity, and respiration. Also, it maintains heart health and cleanses your intestines by disposing of waste.
The imbalance of Vata dosha can cause restlessness, headaches, constipation and breathing problems such as Asthma. Moreover, it also can cause skin dryness, indigestion, gas bloating, fear, depression, and body pain.
The disruption and imbalance of Vata dosha occurs due to:
- Living in frigid or arid environments
- Consumption of junk food
- Irregular meal schedule
- Lack of discipline and punctuality in life
- Excessively walking, exercising, sexual activities, talking, and laughing.
You can keep your Vata dosha in balance by following these tips:
You should eat three meals a day around the same time. This will keep you energetic and focused during your day. Your diet should be healthy and balanced, and you should avoid junk food as much as possible.
Drinking 8-10 glasses per day will help maximize the body’s physical performance.
Getting Enough Sleep
Getting 8-9 hours of sleep will help your body get the rest it deserves. You’ll wake up feeling rejuvenated. Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule helps a lot in Vata balancing and otherwise in daily life.
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The majestic fire and water combine to create pitta which governs the body’s metabolic system, digestion, nutrition absorption, and body temperature.
The imbalance of Pitta dosha can cause inflammatory disorders and excess heat within the body. It can also cause bleeding gums, acidity, bleeding in women, skin rashes, frustration, anger, and jealousy.
Pitta dosha’s imbalance is mainly due to:
- Excess consumption of caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine in excess.
- Overexposure to sunlight
- Overconsumption of oily, hot, fermented, and dry foods.
- Consumption of acidic foods
To balance your Pitta Dosha, here are a few tips:
Carving out time in your daily schedule for meditation can provide you with a much needed break. Ease yourself from your hectic schedule and meditate for a while every day. The ideal time for meditation is in the morning, but you can always play around with different timings to figure out the best match.
Balancing Work and Play
In order to prevent yourself from becoming burnt out. Working from home can be a tiring experience as your brain is unable to make the switch to non-working mode, as it used to when you stepped out of your office. You should take some time off from work every day to do something relaxing. Get yourself to do an activity where you can be yourself and relax without any judgments such as doing exercise just for the sake of it.
The Pitta Dosha is the root cause of many skin problems such as inflammation, redness, rashes, and many other irritations.
Doing Abhyanga一a medieval Ayurvedic practice of massaging your body with warm oil can help keep skin diseases away. This practice is calming, relaxing, and rejuvenating, so it’s recommended that you put Abhyanga into your daily schedule.
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The combination of Earth and Water forms to create Kapha. The word Kapha derives from the root word word ‘slish,’ meaning to hold or bind together.
The imbalance of Kapha Dosha results in excessively oily skin which is a breeding ground for a plethora of skin problems. It can also result in sinus pain, excessive sneezing or coughing, and obesity. It can also make you feel more greedy and envious.
It is often imbalanced due to:
- Overeating or eating heavy meals.
- Lack of physical activity
- Holding onto the past and draining yourself emotionally
- Cold climate
- Having sweets, extra-sugary and sour fruits, and dairy
Keep your Kapha Dosha balanced with these tips:
Self-Love & Focus
Our busy life stands as a barrier between us and our free time. We often forget to take time out for ourselves. We wake up, work, come home, eat dinner, and sleep. We usually have a series of personal tasks pending, but we cannot even start them because we have no energy left by the end of the day.
We can fix this by starting small. Break your task into many smaller tasks. The mind finds an enormous task overwhelming and distracting. But when we divide the tasks into smaller ones, our mind focuses better, and we can finish them with ease.
Break your daily routine cycle and surprise yourself by going out on adventures and meeting new people. It will make you happy and will serve as fuel for the rest of the week.
Doing physical activity should be an essential part of our routine. It’s not necessary to do intense exercise. You can instead groove to your favorite songs as well. It’s all about what keeps you in shape!