Ayurveda is a 5,000 year-old system and still thriving today. Why? It works!
If you’re already a student of Ayurveda, you know first-hand how this profound health science improves your life. But for those of us just starting to crack its surface and contemplating diving deeper into study, the ancient wisdom might seem vast & intimidating.
You may be wondering – what does it accomplish? What makes it special? Here are some of the reasons:
1. A health system born from Nature
With an Ayurvedic approach, there’s no guessing games when it comes to ethos and philosophy – you know your approach to health is rooted in Nature’s elements and principles, and your solutions will help you to better align with Nature. Ayurveda translates to “the science” (or wisdom, knowledge) of “life” – and this applies to all the life, as we know it, in our Universe.
2. Finally – a broad roadmap to sustainable living
When we align ourselves with Nature, we develop an innate sense of what is sustainable. “Sustainable” is a buzzword we’ve all heard by now, but what does it really mean? According to Ayurveda, anything that taxes the system – that counters the support of life – is unsustainable. We don’t strive for perfection in Ayurveda (for that can cause more stress!), but we do learn to evolve our daily lifestyles and orient ourselves towards the choices which best support all aspects of our lives – physical, mental, emotional health. The result is lasting solutions instead of short term, quick fixes.
3. Self-empowered health building – own it, live it, love it
Ayurveda provides the tools we need to understand what is health and what can we do to support it. We learn what we can do every day and what decisions we are constantly making which impact our health. Ayurveda calls each and every one of us to take back our power and claim our ability to manifest a healthy life. This doesn’t mean we don’t seek guidance or expert advice – quite the opposite! Ayurveda acknowledges that this is a learning path, and we must honestly admit when we face limitations and take the self-loving steps needed to find support. With the tools of Ayurveda, we can truly take charge of our health.
4. Recognition of individual power
Ayurveda helps us learn that what is unsustainable for our minds is also unsustainable in our bodies, which is likely to be unsustainable for our community, for our city, for the planet, and so on. Ayurveda calls each and every one of us to action as empowered proponents of our own individual health, and recognizes that taking care of the self is not selfish – it is also taking care of the whole!
5. Total personalization in health
In Ayurveda, there is no one-size-fits-all model. We’re not saying you’re unique to make you feel good – we’re saying it because you actually are! Ayurveda recognizes that humans all have a unique mind-body constitution, and outlines the three basic types of these constitutions which exist: the Triodshas, or Vata-Pitta-Kapha. Ayurvedic study teaches us the nature of these qualities and how to recognize them, so we can uncover how they are manifested in ourselves and define our unique needs.
6. Self love for your unique mind and body
With Ayurveda’s personalized health system, we learn constitutional qualities or not good are bad – they simply are. We are relieved of self-judgment due to comparing ourselves to others who are different. For example: do you have trouble keeping weight off and have a high amountof Kapha in your constitution? Your inability to lose weight can be partially due to your constitution, not simply an imbalance or flaw. On the slip side: have you always been tremendously thin and could never put weight on? Vata-dominant constitutions are naturally slender and do not absorb weight easily. You can’t change your constitution, but Ayurveda can help you understand what it is, why it’s occurring and how you can manage it best.
7. Increased understanding of others and improved relationships
Ayurveda recognizes that humans express not only their physical body, but also their personality in direct relationship to their Doshas. For this reason we call it a “mind-body” constitution. Recognizing what is a constitutional trait of our friends, family and coworkers can be the key to finding peace in your relationships. For example: does it bug you every time your friend forgets to call you back or mixes up the dates of your plans? You may begin to take this personally if it’s a recurring pattern; but, upon discovering your friend has a Vata-predominant constitution, you may realize it’s not personal – it’s a constitutional trait that your friend probably has a lot of trouble controlling. Instead of becoming resentful, you’ll find that giving that particular friend extra reminders and double confirming plans helps to keep your relationship functioning smoothly. If your friend learns your constitutional nature, then you both can exchange this type of loving consideration and look out for each other’s needs.
8. Better collaboration and work performance
Work relationships are influenced by our constitutional balances just as much as our personal relationships. That Vata friend who is forgetful but you now have learned to forgive – does that also sound like a coworker who’s missing appointments or deadlines, or not staying focused during conversations? What about that Pitta-dominant coworker who is always on top of things and can become impatient with the Vata-dominant coworker? Ayurveda opens us up to understanding the key constitutional differences and how we can modify our expectations and behavior to collaborate optimally.
9. A simple definition of disease
Understanding constitution is one of the first steps we take when we study Ayurveda. Perhaps after identifying your Pitta-dominant coworker, you’re still scratching your head and wondering if their passive aggressive emails are also “just their constitution”? In Ayurveda there is constitution, and then there is imbalance, or disease. “Dosha” is defined as “that which can go out of balance,” so Ayurveda recognizes within its own terminology that imbalance is a constant part of living – and also provides us the framework for understanding what can be done to restore balance. Our unique mind-body constitution makes us prone to particular imbalances more than others, but a skilled Ayurvedic practitioner will be able to clearly discern between the two.
10. The roadmap to living seasonally
We know to dress for the weather and what’s in season when we visit the farmer’s market, but for some people, their relationship with “seasonal” health ends there. Ayurveda explains the what and how of seasons – what elements constitute each unique season, how they manifest and when to detect seasonal shifts, plus how seasonal qualities affect the Doshas in our minds and bodies. You begin to understand why you prefer certain seasons and what you can do to balance your system when seasonal changes begin to throw you off balance. While you may not have access to a perfectly local and seasonal source of food, Ayurveda can support you in choosing foods based on their elemental qualities, so you can still eat seasonally on an energetic level. Seasonal is not limited to just nutrition, and Ayurveda provides a host of tools for seasonal balancing through exercise, relaxation, bodywork and lifestyle routines.
12. Approach health preventatively
The golden beauty of Ayurveda is perhaps in its ability to actually prevent disease. The Ayurvedic system looks at disease as a progression, with several stages of imbalance that occur prior to a disease manifests that is detectable by conventional testing. For example, diabetes has a total of 20 stages of development according to Ayurveda – yes, 20! Living an Ayurvedic lifestyle helps to prevent disease from ever manifesting, and health care by a trained Ayurvedic practitioner allows health seekers an opportunity to detect budding illness in the earliest stages.
13. Find solutions to some those seemingly mysterious, chronic health issues
A holistic, preventive approach to health means imbalance is targeted at the root issue rather than treating symptoms and providing band aids for deeper problems. Through thorough assessment of an individual’s unique constitution, family and medical history, an all-encompassing approach is taken that takes into account mental, physical and emotional aspects to imbalances. Assessment techniques also scan for subtle disease levels using tools such as pulse diagnosis, which can detect imbalances that conventional tests may miss.
14. Light the path of your new professional destiny
Studying Ayurveda is a healing journey that impacts our individual health, relationships and career, even leading to an exciting new career development. Health professionals from all backgrounds are discovering the power of Ayurveda and enhancing their practice with its wisdom – medical practitioners, nutritionists, Yoga instructors, physical therapists, nurse practitioners, acupuncturists, massage therapists, estheticians, beauty product therapists, counselors, life coaches and more. Even more professionals from diverse backgrounds are feeling called to a career change and diving into the study of holistic health. (Ready to make a change? Check out our 9 ways to build a career with Ayurveda for some inspiration).
15. Discover an inspiring life philosophy
Ayurveda is not a religion or a spiritual system, though its elegant, all-encompassing philosophy can inspire a deep sense of grounding and connectivity. Furthermore, Ayurveda – just like other ancient, holistic health systems – is more relevant now than ever in supporting the healing of individuals as well as our planet. It feels good to be a part of the solution!