Despite the many different approaches to diet and wellness that Ayurveda offers, some universal principles are at play. One of the most important is the practice of dinacharya or daily routine. From setting a consistent time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to incorporating a daily self-care routine, establishing a rhythm is good for your body and mind. From a digestion standpoint, this creates consistency for your digestive system and prepares it to receive food at set times.
The second golden rule is to eat local and seasonal foods. From an Ayurveda perspective, foods that are freshly ripened in their natural environment are rich in prana, or Alife force. This prana is then assimilated in the digestive tract and nourishes our cellular and energetic structure. Foods that are shipped and stored thousands of miles from their point of origin can be depleted of prana and nutrient-rich energy, which is why Ayurvedic medicine recommends eating locally grown and seasonal foods whenever possible.
The final golden rule is to eat slowly and mindfully. Ayurveda teaches that eating when you are angry, upset, or stressed can be very detrimental to the digestive process and lead to the accumulation of ama, or undigested food material. It is because the energy of those emotions is infused into your meal and can negatively impact your ability to digest it properly, leading to poor health. It is also recommended to eat alone and not while reading, driving, or engaging in conversation to promote a mindful and healthy dining experience.
The term “ayurveda” is derived from the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and Veda (science or knowledge). Ayurvedic medicine teaches that health depends on the balance of the physical body, mind, and spirit and the environment around us. It emphasizes lifestyle interventions and natural treatments like herbs, diet, and massage therapy.
Ayurvedic medicine takes into account that each person has a unique genetic constitution, known as Prakriti. It uses herbs to increase circulation, boost liver function and detoxify the system. They also encourages healthy sleep patterns, a balanced diet, and exercise. It uses practices such as Abhyangam, the practice of rubbing the body with herbal oils, and Shirodhara, the therapeutic treatment in which a stream of medicated oil is dripped onto the forehead while the recipient lies on their back.
Ayurvedic practitioners believe that diseases and ailments stem from imbalances or stress in a person’s consciousness. They focus on treating the root cause of the illness rather than symptomatic treatment and use herbs to reduce inflammation, improve digestion, lower cortisol levels, support immune function, and more. Studies have shown that yoga, meditation, and other practices can help improve neuro adaptability, a mechanism in the nervous system that allows the brain to change how it responds to reoccurring stressors over time. It can make it easier to cope with anxiety and depression and decrease the chances of a chronic stress response causing physical health problems. It can also promote positive emotions and a greater sense of well-being.
Toxins, known as ama in Ayurveda, are one of the major causes of disease and disorder. Ama is a sludge that accumulates in the digestive tract and when left untreated can disrupt healthy blood circulation, cause indigestion, increase fatigue, weaken the immune system, and contribute to weight gain. While everybody has a certain level of toxins in their body, it is when this accumulation becomes severe that symptoms begin to appear.
Ayurvedic detoxification techniques like massages with nourishing oils, herbal steam baths, and cleansing enema procedures have been found to improve digestion and reduce the accumulation of toxins in the body. They also help strengthen the immune system, prevent aging, and balance hormones.
The main reason why detox is important is to restore the balance of the three doshas, or energies, in the body. When this balance is restored, the body can fight off toxins and maintain a healthy state of health.
Ayurvedic practitioners believe that healthy eating and lifestyle habits are the best way to eliminate toxins from the body. These practices include following balanced dietary guidelines, getting adequate sleep, and using home remedies that promote healthy digestion and natural energy levels. They also help re-calibrate mental and goal-based settings in the body. It helps balance hormones, overcome fertility problems, and help women achieve a natural pregnancy or menstrual cycle. They also help to manage stress, which is a key factor in many diseases and disorders.
Ayurveda, which translates to “knowledge of life,” was developed in India more than 3,000 years ago. It’s based on the idea that health problems arise when your mind, body, and spirit are out of balance. Ayurvedic treatments include herbal remedies, massage therapy, yoga, and meditation.
Some of the most popular Ayurvedic treatments can relieve back and neck pain, reduce stress, help with weight loss, and improve circulation. For instance, Shirodhara is an oil treatment that involves pouring warm, medicated oil over your head to reduce headaches and calm your nerves. Other Ayurvedic practices, such as pranayama (breathing exercises), may help with stress and anxiety.
Ayurvedic practitioners recommend that you eat a plant-based diet, which is good for your heart. And some Ayurvedic herbs have antioxidant properties, which can help prevent long-term illnesses like high blood pressure and arthritis. One small, short-term study found that an Ayurvedic combination of herbs helped people with rheumatoid arthritis better than conventional medicine alone. And another trial found that turmeric, an herb in Ayurvedic medicine, helped ease the inflammation of ulcerative colitis.
But it’s important to remember that Ayurvedic treatment isn’t a replacement for medical care. If you’re thinking about trying it, check with your doctor first. And be sure to find a certified Ayurvedic practitioner with a strong background in science and the proper training. Also, because Ayurvedic herbs and supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, they don’t have to meet the same safety standards as Western medications. Some have been linked to toxicity, including lead poisoning.
Ayurvedic medicine is a holistic system of healing that originated in India and gained momentum during the New Age movement in the 1980s. The foundation of Ayurvedic philosophy is that disease, illness, and unhealthiness arise from imbalances in the body-mind-spirit connection. It is based on the idea that poor food choices, lack of sleep and exercise, inadequate digestion, environmental pollutants, and stress are among the main causes of disease. Ayurvedic treatments include herbal remedies, detoxification techniques, such as massage, and diet and lifestyle changes.
An important part of Ayurvedic practice is that a patient must be an active participant in his or her own healing journey. The treatment approach considers a person’s unique bio-individuality and uses an integrated healthcare model that includes mindfulness, meditation, and spiritualism. Ayurvedic practitioners also believe that illness and disease result from an imbalance of three basic energy principles called vata, pitta, and kapha.
Vata, which relates to movement and circulation, is the primary source of vitality in humans. Pitta, which relates to digestion and metabolism, and kapha, which relates to the structure of the body and lubrication, are the other two primary energy principles.
Ayurvedic medicines sold in Australia must be labeled with an AUST L (listed) or AUST R (registered) code and meet Australian safety standards to ensure they are safe for use. Medicines sourced from overseas, or brought into Australia without meeting these regulations, may contain harmful ingredients. Ask for a full list of ingredients before you buy or take any herbal preparation. Do not stop taking any prescribed medicine or alter the dosage without consulting your doctor.
The basic principle behind Ayurvedic medicine is that health problems occur when the body’s three primary energy systems (that’s your tri-dosha) are out of balance. Ayurveda treatments are intended to help restore this balance by focusing on restoring your healthy circadian rhythm, which benefits everything from hormones to your appetite. Ayurvedic practitioners also examine your mouth, tongue, and gums, look at how much sleep you get, and talk to you about the relationships in your life and how you eat to figure out what might be contributing to an imbalance of the doshas.
In terms of herbs, certain things can cause side effects if taken in high doses or over a long period. For example, Triphala (a combination of the herbs belleric myrobalan, haritaki, and amla) can cause abdominal discomfort and diarrhea when taken in high doses. Guggul can cause nausea, vomiting, hiccups, and belching, and Boswellia can cause allergic rashes when applied to the skin.
However, most Ayurvedic treatments have no side effects at all if they are properly administered by an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner. The key is finding a Vaidya who understands you and your unique body’s needs so that it can provide you with the proper dosage of each herb.
Sri Yogi Anand is an ordained Yogi, Yoga, Mindfulness, Meditation and Spiritual Master. He is a Software engineer, musician, writer, orator, and founder of Adwait Yoga School.
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