Ayurveda is often cited as a beauty secret of our favorite yogis, doctors, and nutritionists. And while it's a way of living that's been around for thousands of years, the wellness crowd has adopted some of these ancient techniques to cope with modern ailments like stress, anxiety, indigestion, and wonky skin.
Ayurveda is a system of natural medicine that originated in India over 5,000 years ago. It encompasses not only science but also philosophy, whereby the whole of life’s journey is considered sacred. Ayurveda draws on a system of scientific and practical knowledge, which is rooted in the ancient belief systems about the constitution of the human body and its close relationship with the environment it exists in.
Within the practice of ayurveda, all matter is believed to be made up of five elements: prithvi (earth), agni (fire), jal (water), vayu (air), and aakash (ether). They manifest in the human body as three basic principles: vata (ether and air), pitta (fire and water), and kapha (earth and water). These three principles—vata, pitta, kapha—govern all the biological, psychological, and physiopathological functions of body and mind. Disease and bodily discomfort are believed to be created from an imbalance in these principles.
There are a few diet and lifestyle recommendations in ayurveda that apply broadly. Daily ritual is considered very important to individual health and is a key pillar of ayurvedic living. Waking early is encouraged. Additional lifestyle additions to create balance in the elements are drinking warm water in the morning, cleaning the tongue, and oil massages before the morning shower. Understanding your dosha and body can give you vital clues about which specific ayurvedic practices—like how early to wake, what foods to eat, and what time to exercise.
Diet also plays a very important role in ayurveda, and in an interesting departure from a lot of contemporary thinking or fad diets, ayurveda doesn’t believe there are any universally villainous foods. Depending upon your dosha, some foods can be balancing or aggravating; vata types do very well with avocado, but kapha types are best suited to avoid it, for example. Here is a handy guide on ayurvedic eating by your dosha type.
Eager to integrate some of these 5,000-year-old pearls of wisdom into your life? Start with this easy one-day cleanse...perfect for every dosha!
Keep in mind that ayurveda is a lifestyle and a journey. It requires moderation and patience. If often takes a very individual approach to find the right combination of things, and we would encourage you to understand your individual constitution more fully as you explore this practice to find solutions even more customized and powerful, that make you look and feel your best.