Ayurveda is a complete and universal science of life. Within this vast body of knowledge is the medical/health science that we simply refer to as “Ayurvedic Medicine.” It is a unified science—where spirit meets senses and mind meets matter. Ayurvedic Medicine is a truly holistic health modality, in every sense of the word.
Ayurvedic Medicine is an ancient collection of wisdom for health and wellbeing. Its philosophy lies in the ancient scriptures of Vedas that commonly bind the practices of Yoga and Ayurveda.
As the Vedic saying goes, “The Foundation of Ayurveda is Yoga. The Fruit of Yoga is Ayurveda.”
Yoga cultivates the physical-mental-spiritual link, which is a reinforcing practice that serves to encourage non-violence and oneness—the foundation of clear consciousness and balanced health—our essential nature and higher goal.
The Basics of Ayurvedic Medicine
There’s no arguing the fact that each one of us is unique; no two people are exactly alike. So, logically it follows that psychological, emotional and physical needs vary widely from person to person.
Ayurvedic Medicine’s main emphasis is to know your Self and your environment well, and to choose your diet and lifestyle in accordance to the law of nature that governs you and your surroundings.
The “Self” encompasses…
- Body (Sharira)
- Mind (Satva)
- Spirit (Atma)
- Senses (Indriyas)
The Law of Nature follows a rhythmic cycle of…
- Day and night
- Change of seasons
- Flow of time-space
- Alignment of the planets
The Main Idea of Ayurveda is Balance
Health (Swasthya) is defined as: well-balanced metabolism and happy state of the being, mind and sense organs.
Well-balanced metabolism signs are…
- Strong to moderate appetite
- Regular bowel movements
- Undisturbed 6-8 hours of sleep
To achieve health and enhance your Yoga practice, Ayurvedic Medicine recommends…
- Proper diet
- Relaxing of the mind
- Maintaining internal and external hygiene
- A lifestyle that nurtures the five senses
Healthy Habits According to Ayurvedic Medicine
Ayurvedic Medicine emphasizes healthy habits that help reduce toxicity due to undigested food and support internal hygiene.
- Eating in relaxed environment
- Chewing your food well
- Eating ¾ of your stomach’s volume
- Exercise or shower at least an hour after eating meals
- At least a 2-hour gap between meals
- Drinking minimum water with meals
- Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables
- Keeping consistent daily meal times
Wholesome Meals, Ayurvedic Style
For healthy wholesome meals, Ayurvedic Medicine recommends blending the six flavors of nature: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, hot, and astringent in food preparations. Each flavor has an essential role in restoring a healthy state of mind, body, and spirit. However, each must be consumed in moderation; excess or insufficiency is unhealthy.
The 6 Flavors of Nature According to Ayurveda
- Sweet – promotes growth of all healthy tissues
- Sour – stimulates enzymatic flow
- Salty – works as a sedative
- Hot – promotes secretions such as tears, sweat, and saliva and kills parasites
- Bitter – antibacterial and cleansing
- Astringent – promotes closing of wounds and sores, aids in joint repairs
Ayurvedic Lifestyle Hacks
With stress so much a part of modern life, calming your senses will help you stay in touch with your inner self, incorporated with daily practices such as…
- Self-oil massage
- Neti / nasal cleanse
- Tongue scraping
- Gargling with salt water
- Washing your eyes with plain water
- Use of essential oils on your temples
Teach yourself daily stress-relief habits such as breathing exercises, stretching, chanting, walking, and sharing. More importantly, manage your own time and stress levels well; you are a powerful role model for your family and friends.
Prepared by Ismat Dhala-Nathani, Doctorate of Natural Medicine, Ayurvedic Practitioner