Ayurveda – The ancient Science of Life
As many of you know I have been studying Ayurveda for over a year now and am soon to take my exams and start practicing Ayurveda alongside my regular yoga classes, workshops and courses.
Ayurveda is often referred to as the sister science to Yoga. Together both Yoga and Ayurveda offer us tools for transformation, a way of life that creates harmony, health and well being on all levels.
So in this blog I wanted to explain a little about what Ayurveda is and what to expect at a consultation. But, like Yoga, Ayurveda is a huge topic and this blog will just give you a very basic outline.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is an ancient holistic medical system from India, its aim is to provide guidance regarding food and lifestyle so that healthy people can stay healthy and those with health challenges can improve their health.
Ayurveda, the science of Life – Ayu means life and Veda is knowledge.
Ayurveda has a rich history, originally shared as an oral tradition, Ayurveda was recorded more than 5,000 years ago but has been in practice much longer – in fact as long as life has existed Ayurveda has. Ayurveda focuses on maintaining or restoring health on all levels, body, mind and soul by using food, yoga, massage, herbs, diet and lifestyle routines that are specific to the individuals personal constitution. Ayurveda treats the root cause of a disease rather than just the symptoms.
How does Ayurveda work?
Ayurveda teaches us that everything living is made up of the five basic elements (or Panchamahabhutas) – space, air, fire, water and earth. These five elements combine within the human body and create the three doshas: Vata (air and space) Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (water and earth), which perform different physiological functions in the body and mind.
Each person is born with a unique combination of the doshas, whilst everybody has all three doshas, usually one or two dominate. Various dosha proportions at the time of conception determine an individuals Prakriti (unique constitution or blueprint) which is our true unchanging nature.
Dosha dominance in our life however is never constant, it changes with age, time of day or night and the season etc. this is known as Vikriti (current imbalance)
Ayurveda views illness or dis-ease as caused by an imbalance in a person’s physical or mental constitution and therefore seeks to gently bring a person’s body and mind back into a healthy balance.
What happens at a consultation?
A consultation is an assessment of your current health (physical, mental, emotional) and past medical history. The aim is to find balance and develop awareness and connection to our true individual needs.
So when you visit an Ayurvedic practitioner, be prepared to talk about yourself! Because Ayurveda emphasizes balance in all areas of your life, a consultation will involve taking an extensive personal and medical history, including questions about your daily life such as diet, working conditions, exercise routines, relationships and emotional well being.
Ayurveda really is the ultimate self awareness.
At the consultation pulse and tongue diagnosis will determine the clients individual Prakriti (unique constitution) and Vikriti (current imbalance) This process helps the practitioner identify symptoms and potential causes of imbalance and determine a suitable therapy plan.
From here we create a unique plan of a daily routine, yoga and breathing exercises, we also look at nutrition with individualised diet advice, and, if needed, herbal remedies and Ayurvedic massage recommendations.
I draw on my experience as an Ayurvedic practitioner, Yoga teacher, Well Woman Yoga Therapist and my time working as a holistic therapist in many therapies. The initial consultation will last around 60-90mins long, with a short follow-up appointment of 30 minutes a week later, then usually there will be an additional follow-up 4 weeks later.