Ayurveda is the traditional medicine system of India, often considered the oldest medicine system in the world, and it has absolutely changed my life for the better! More than a mere system of treating illness, Ayurveda is a science of life (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge).
The Ayurvedic System (considered the sister science to Yoga)
- focuses on creating a healthy lifestyle as preventative medicine
- is based on aligning with nature and using natural remedies
- treats people on a truly individual and whole person basis, and
- focuses on digestive health.
It’s a sophisticated mind-body system that is also so practical, and that’s why I love it!
Daily Rhythms — Healthy Lifestyles
The Ayurvedic practice of creating a healthy lifestyle is called Dinacharya, or Daily Rhythms, and is a guideline for how to feel most vibrant, balanced and happy by cultivating daily habits that support our natural vitality.
Life, after all, is only an accumulation of days — so if we want a good life we simply need to focus on living well day to day.
In modern culture lifestyle diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancers have become the number one killers — we’ve learned habits that kill us little bit by little bit every day.
Preventative medicine makes so much more sense, not to mention is a whole lot cheaper, than living a lifestyle that leads to serious illness and ageing poorly.
But even more important, living a healthy daily lifestyle makes you feel amazing! You feel happier, more peaceful, more productive, connected to everyone and clearer about what you want and how to get it. This is what Ayurvedic Dinacharya teaches us, and this is what I focus on in my Yoga Lifestyle programs.
Nature as the Guide
It’s called a daily RHYTHM practice because Ayurveda pays attention to the rhythms of nature as our guiding force.
Our bodies, minds and entire physiology respond to the rhythm of the sun — in other words, what time of day it is — there is a natural daily rhythm for us and for all things on the planet. We can either live in a way that supports our physiology based on these natural changes through the day or live in a way that aggravates our physiology.
This is also true for how we respond to the seasons, the annual rhythm of nature. When we align intelligently to the rhythms of nature we thrive and our body functions optimally — and that’s what a daily rhythms practice and Yoga lifestyle accomplishes.
The Ayurvedic system recognises that we are a microcosm of the macrocosm, we are a mini ecosystem of the greater ecosystem — therefore, understanding Nature and connecting to the wisdom of the Earth is a vital part of living a healthy life.
We are All Unique – Constitutions
The Ayurvedic system truly approaches each person on an individual basis by evaluating that person’s constitution — it’s not a one size fit’s all approach.
I really appreciate this because we are all different, with different life circumstances, and so often handed prescriptions or recommendations that don’t take this into account.
In Ayurveda our constitution is defined as a unique combination of the five main elements — ether, air, fire, water and earth.
We all have all of these elements within us, but in varied ratios and showing up in different ways. For example, some people have fiery personalities while other are more grounded and calm; some people have fiery digestion, others windy and others sluggish and heavy.
The Ayurvedic approach first finds out what our digestive, mental, emotional and physical tendencies are — our natural constitution — and then designs healthy practices to establish balance based on our constitution.
When we find practices truly appropriate for our unique constitution they are really effective — plus, we actually enjoy doing them because they suit our life.
There are three constitution types called Doshas:
- Vata (air and ether)
- Pita (fire and water)
- Kapha (earth and water)
It is important to understand that our mental constitution can be different than our physical constitution and different again from our digestive constitution. You’ll get more out of this system if you understand the tendencies of each.
Once you have an understanding of your constitution you become empowered to make decisions that will bring you balance. You learn how to find health in your own kitchen and home, trust and understand yourself better, and live in the beautiful natural energy you were born with.
When ever I work with coaching people we always do a constitution analysis and design health and wellness strategies with this in mind.
To find out what your constitution is I recommend taking Dr. John Dullards constitution test.
It all Starts in the Gut
The Ayurvedic system believes that all disease begins in the digestive tract. If our body can not properly absorb and distribute the nutrients it’s taking in then all other systems in the body our starved of the vital energy needed to function properly.
So logically, for optimal health we need optimal digestion.
For this reason many of the Ayurvedic practices focus on digestive health, nutrition, what, how and when we eat, and how our mental and psychological states effect digestion and nourishing ourselves.
There are many Ayurvedic principle and concepts coupled with understanding your unique constitution that will bring balance to your digestive health, and the more you balance digestion, the more you balance your whole being — body, mind and spirit.