Ayurveda: A Holistic System of Healing
For more than 5,000 years, healers have used Ayurvedic practices to regain and maintain health. Ayurveda means “the science of life” and originated in India. Its teachings are that all people are unique; each person’s constitution governs their disposition: physically, mentally and spiritually.
The following is a guest post by a lovely soul I got to know through our time together at Meal Garden...
Sangeeta is a lifelong vegetarian who spent most of her childhood in a rural farming community in Trinidad. Although she loved her vegetables, she ate a lot of processed foods, refined carbs and was addicted to sugar and caffeine. She was always sick and tired but by changing the way she ate, she was able to solve a lot of her digestive issues and developed a healthier relationship with food. A graduate of the University of Toronto, she is currently seeking her CNP (Certified Nutritional Practitioner) designation at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. She is continuously working on projects to educate communities on healthy eating and holistic living. Follow her on Instagram for healthy tidbits and more @gallonofgoodness
What makes Ayurveda different?
Ayurveda focuses on providing guidelines for attaining balance and harmony with the mind, body and spirit. This system of living helps us to see not where disease ends but where it begins. There are three constitutions or doshas which everyone has:
These are energies that influence our body, mind and consciousness and are manifested from the 5 elements:
Vata has qualities of Air and Space
Pitta has qualities of Water and Fire
Kapha has qualities of Water and Earth.
Together, the three doshas govern natural preferences in food and herbs/spices, digestion and metabolism, as well as emotions and moods. When your dosha is out of balance, they contribute to the negative attributes of your dosha and can lead to sickness.
Although we all have all three doshas within us, everyone has 1 or 2 doshas that dominate their constitution. The dominant dosha(s) will determine physiological aspects, personality traits as well as diet and lifestyle.
How can you find out your dominant constitution?
An Ayurvedic Doctor or Practitioner can complete a full consultation where they will be able to asses your dosha type(s)
There are several books and websites about Ayurveda that have a quizzes that will help you figure out your dosha type(s)
Understanding the traits of your dominant dosha(s), you can better understand yourself and how to cater your diet and lifestyle towards keeping yourself in balance. There are numerous traits associated with each dosha:
In balance: Quick-thinking, fast moving, communication, creativity, lively, enthusiastic
Out of balance: Fear, anxiety, dry skin and hair, forgetful, scattered thoughts
In balance: Sharp mind, strong digestion, strong metabolism, courage, willpower, leadership
Out of balance: Anger, ulcers, aggressive, demanding, rashes, inflammation, impatient
In balance: Easy going, affectionate, patient, long term memory, good immune system
Out of balance: Insecurity, envy, sluggish digestion, congestion, easy to gain weight
Ayurveda teaches that the main cause of illness is poor nutrition. It has a very individualized approach to food, where the ingredients in your meal should be catered to harmonizing your doshas, when they are out of balance. This can be difficult when sharing a meal with friends and family who all have different constitutions. An easy solution to this is making an Ayurvedic porridge that has dosha-specific toppings.
Here is a simple breakfast recipe that will keep you satiated and improve your balance: