Ayurveda is one of the oldest natural healing systems in the world. Developed 5000 years ago in India by holy men and physicians through meditation and observation, it became a complete system for managing all aspects of health (physical, emotional and mental). The word Ayurveda means “the science of longevity.” It offers practical wisdom that teaches us to listen to our bodies for cues as to how our diet and lifestyle choices either promote or impair our digestion.
What makes digestion strong or weak?
Digestive fire, called agni, is the fuel for the complete digestion of food, thoughts, and emotions. Strong digestion builds good blood which helps eliminate toxins from the body. While agni can’t be measured scientifically, it’s power is experienced as steady energy through the day, minimal indigestion, good elimination, and mental clarity, When agni is low, toxins increase in the digestive tract and in the blood. Toxins are called ama. Technically, ama is undigested and poorly absorbed food that accumulates into a sticky substance that creates toxicity and stagnation in the body/mind. Ayurveda teaches that ama is the root cause of all disease.
How can we benefit from Ayurveda?
This fabulous, stress-filled world we live in seldom invites a slower pace, one that encourages paying attention to the early body cues that something is out of balance. Imagine being able to identify a cue, like a tickle in your throat, a full week before you normally would, giving you time to treat yourself properly and potentially ward off a full-blown cold.
What is your own unique body/mind constitution?
To teach us about our strengths, weaknesses, and natural tendencies, Ayurveda uses three categories called doshas. The doshas are vata, pitta, and kapha. Each dosha has varying combinations of the five basic elements: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. For instance, vata is primarily governed by air/ether and is responsible for all movement in the body/mind. Pitta is governed by fire/water and is responsible for metabolism and clarity. The kapha dosha is dominated by water/earth and is responsible for cohesion and lubrication. The doshas are genetically determined and impact our body type, mental/emotional tendencies, what type foods we are drawn to, and the general strength of our digestion.
To determine imbalances in the body/mind and to make dietary and lifestyle recommendations to clients, Ayurveda specialists use the concept of gunas, characteristics that show us how we are digesting, assimilating and responding to our diet and lifestyle. There are 10 pairs of opposite gunas (ex: heavy/light, hot/cold, dull/sharp, oily/dry, smooth/rough, dense/liquid, soft/hard, stabile/mobile, gross/subtle, sticky/clear). Similar gunas aggravate each other and opposite gunas bring balance.
When we feel vibrant, strong, relaxed, and healthy, life is amazing. But when food choices leave us with indigestion, gas, and bloating, Ayurveda becomes your trusted friend. Through practical lifestyle recommendations and customized dietary suggestions, Ayurveda helps heal your gut and strengthen your digestion. When digestive issues impact your tissues and blood, it is not uncommon to suffer with issues like diarrhea/constipation, acid reflux, malabsorption, and autoimmune responses. Ayurveda is complementary medicine and not a substitute for good western medicine. Actually Ayurveda relies on and respects western medicine especially for diagnostics, surgery/critical care and medicines that are needed.
Ayurveda is kitchen table wisdom that asks you to participate thoroughly in your own health. An Ayurvedic Digestion & Nutritional coach sees patterns within symptoms always looking for the root cause of issues. For example, if you have three primary issues like acid reflux, constipation, and insomnia, Ayurveda takes the puzzle pieces of your constitution, diet, and routines to find commonalities between reflux, constipation, and insomnia. There are many! Through food, herbs, food combining, and adopting more healthy routines, the body heals itself.
Ayurveda requires curiosity and the desire to learn more about yourself, your patterns, and what foods and routines bring you great health.