What is Ayurveda???

Photo from Todd Caldecott

Photo from Todd Caldecott

 

Bringing Ayurveda to the masses

I want to take a moment to celebrate the 6 month anniversary of this website by defining the theme that has been the core of every article posted up until now. If you have been following any of my posts then you will recognize that I typically follow a regular format by introducing a health or diet related topic, referencing a few credible experts on the topic, and then finishing with a brief summary of the topic from the perspective of Ayurveda. I like to use this format because not many people are familiar with Ayurveda, and it allows me to introduce the concept to people without overwhelming them with foreign words and philosophies. At the same time I am able to stay within people’s comfort zone by relating Ayurvedic philosophies to well known journalists, authorities and scientists.

Are-You-Veda?

The term Ayurveda is derived from two Sanskrit words, Ayus and Veda, meaning Life and Knowledge, so when they are combined the term describes a system of medicine based on the knowledge of life. This system of medicine originated thousands of years ago in the region of modern day India, and surrounding countries. The relevance of such an ancient system of medicine may at first seem unimportant, but upon further reflection the concept is really amazing. Think about it, from Ayurveda we have access to what is essentially an instruction manual for the bodies that each of us “own”. You may wonder why you would need an instruction manual for your body, but do many of us seriously know how to properly use our bodies for maximum health and productivity? Most of what we know we initially learned from our parents who most likely have health problems and bad habits of their own. Beyond our parents, modern day scientists and medical doctors claim to have all the answers, but their focus is often on fixing you after you are broken, and sometimes even that doesn’t work. Corporations are quick to offer you solutions for improving your life, but you should probably think twice about taking lifestyle advice from these entities whose primary purpose is usually to make profit by selling you convenience and pleasure.

Food as Medicine

Sorry for being vague, but to dive deep into the mechanics of Ayurveda would require me to write a textbook. Without getting into all the details, let me just start by saying that Ayurveda is a system of preventive medicine that treats each person as a unique individual. Ayurveda focuses mainly on the diet and lifestyle of the individual not only to prevent disease, but also to recover from disease. Using the concept of Food as Medicine, natural methods are used to maintain optimal health, while pharmaceuticals and surgery are avoided as much as possible. Obviously pharmaceuticals didn’t exist thousands of years ago, so in their place herbal formulas were often used. Ayurveda may be difficult for the beginning American student or patient to understand, but it is really quite simple. Ayurveda is cooking with fresh local ingredients grown with natural methods. Ayurveda is treating the cause of disease and not only the symptoms as we often do today. Ayurveda is about having an awareness of how your body reacts to inputs from the surrounding environment, and listening to the signals your body sends rather than always relying on experts for advice. Ayurveda is achieving a balance by not over or under exposing your body to various foods, routines, or elements.

Evolution, Revolution, Love

I often claim that Ayurveda is today where yoga, acupuncture and massage therapy were about 30 years ago. Back then these disciplines were relatively unknown, but now they are mainstream and it is difficult to find a person who hasn’t either experienced them or at least heard of them. To put things into perspective, as a federal employee I receive health insurance that includes coverage of multiple visits to the acupuncturist or massage therapist each year if I choose. Sattvic Planet is now 6 months old, and I’m just getting warmed up people. Stay tuned because the best has yet to come…

“Now that I understand this right, let me take it to the mic, this revolution has just begun”

-From the lyrics for Evolution, Revolution, Love performed by Tricky

 

 

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2 thoughts on “What is Ayurveda???

    • Thank you Lisa, and it is great to know you are reading! My original goal was one post per week for one year, so I’m half way there, and should easily have enough ideas to get me through the next 6 months.

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