For most, Ayurveda is a term they have never heard of, myself included. That is until about two months ago. I was introduced to Ayurveda while reading the book Perfect Health, by Deepak Chopra. For anyone interested in healing their body through holistic practices and rituals, look no further.
Ayurveda is an ancient approach to holistically addressing the imbalance of mind, body, and spirit within an individual and providing guidance to bring them back into balance. Commonly referred to as the “science of life” Ayurveda is often seen as the first system of medicine established. Ayurveda for Beginners serves as a brief introduction to an ancient practice that stems some 5000 years. I hope that you will be inspired by the following information to dive deeper into the unique approach and find the amazing life that awaits you on the other side.
What is your Dosha?
One of the main principles within Ayurveda is the belief that we as humans are composed of both energy and matter. This rings true for the environment around us as well. The energy and matter referred to are made up of five separate elements:
- Space (Ether)
According to the National Ayurvedic Medical Association “Our five senses serve as the portals between the internal and external realms” or the five elements of space, air, fire, water. Ayurveda groups these elements into three combinations:
Otherwise, known as the three dosha’s, every person has all three, but typically one is more prevalent than the rest. The balance of all three is unique to each individual and is thought to be present at the moment of birth. Your primary dosha is known in Sanskrit as prakruti.
The main premise is to keep all three dosha’s in balance according to each unique moment in time. There is no one size fits all cure or ritual that will bring every person into a state of perfect health. If you are interested in finding out your dosha makeup, having an ayurvedic assessment completed, or having a cleanse performed to help rid your body of ama (toxins in the body) I highly recommend seeking out an ayurvedic professional.
The National Ayurvedic Medical Association is a great resource for finding an Ayurvedic Professional in your area.
Dinacharya – Daily Routine
When beginning the practice of Ayurveda, it is crucial to develop a dinacharya, or daily routine. Dinacharya will look somewhat different for everyone based on the season, their unique dosha makeup, and amount of time they have to complete it. A standard morning routine will include some of the following practices:
- Wake naturally without an alarm (if possible)
- Tongue Scrapping
- Oil Pulling
- Drinking hot water with lemon/lime
- Dry Brushing
- Oil Massage
All of the aforementioned rituals have meaning and purpose behind them. There are additional practices included in the daily routine such as walking, drinking golden milk before bed, and mantra chanting.
Panchakarma – The Ultimate Cleanse
Given that Ayurveda is primarily focused around the healing power of our bodies and living holistically, it’s no surprise that a great way to start is by having an evaluation done. Like other treatments or cleanses, this evaluation should be performed by an Ayurvedic Physician. Once a workup has been done, a physician will recommend a specific course of treatment most likely to include Panchakarma, or “five treatments”.
According to the Ayurvedic Healing, Inc. website, “Panchakarma is the ultimate mind-body healing experience for detoxifying the body, strengthening the immune system, and restoring balance and well-being.” Unlike many cleanses, Panchakarma should be monitored and administered by an Ayurvedic Physician, much similar to a medical treatment. Upon having Panchakarma performed, your body will have rid itself of toxins that have built up over time due to bad diet, lack of exercise, stress, etc. In Ayurveda this waste matter is referred to as “ama“.
It is believed that the body has the innate ability to flush out ama all on it’s own, but continued use of bad habits or subjection to foreign toxins can create a significant buildup of ama. In these cases, Panchakarma is performed to aid the body in it’s removal. Panchakarma will also balance a persons doshas.
There are many resources out there for those interested in learning more about Ayurveda, having an ayurvedic assessment done, or wanting to learn how to become a wellness counselor themselves. In my brief time studying Ayurveda I have come across the following resources. These may come in the form on websites, books, or institutions certified to teach Ayurveda.
- Ayurveda Beginners Guide – Susan Weis-Bohlen
- Perfect Health – Deepak Chopra
- Ayurveda Cooking for Beginners – Laura Plumb
- Yoga & Ayurveda: Self Healing and Self Realization – David Frawley
I have also found a wealth of knowledge at the National Ayurvedic Medical Association website as well as the Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America.
What can Ayurveda do for you?
After reading the aforementioned information, you might be feeling overwhelmed, left to wonder what more is there to Ayurveda, or completely turned off by the alternative practice of healing. Either way, I am grateful to you for taking the time to read it. I have just barely touched the surface of what is possible with this practice and way of life. I am new to Ayurveda, just like you and I am hopeful that by creating this website and creating more content you will gain insight just like me.
Ayurveda is an ancient practice that stems thousands of years. That being said, all that it has to offer is incapable of being discussed in one article. I look forward to my new journey using Ayurvedic principles, rituals, and knowledge to guide me through life. I am excited to see the actual healing power of my own body given the chance to perform at it’s most optimal level.
Ask yourself, what can Ayurveda do for you?