Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ayurveda and me


I don't believe in coincidence, only messages from the universe.


About 3 months I was feeling pretty rubbish, in fact it had gotten so bad that I went to the doctor and she diagnosed pnd(post natal depression). I was also having real problems with head colds and my sinuses. I was tired and grumpy and tearful, over weight, lethargic, apathetic and generally not feeling good at all. I was finding it increasing hard to leave the house and was clingy to the kids and Andy.

Then my dear cousin came to visit and during a conversation (about Steiner and his ideas about temperaments) she asked me if I had heard of Ayurveda.' No', I said and she told me a little about it. I was intrigued. A week or so after she returned to Scotland she very kindly sent me 2 books: Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra and Ayurveda, The Science of Self Healing by Vasant Lad . I sat and read the Chopra book from cover to cover and was deeply inspired. A few days after that I visited a friend and as I was browsing her bookshelves I spotted 2 ayurvedic cookbooks which she kindly let me borrow (I still have them and will return them soon Kirsten I promise). A few days after that I was looking for a yoga class to go to and I found an amazing teacher, very close teaching, yes you guessed it Ayurveda yoga.


At this point I was hearing the message loud and clear! So for about 3 months now I have been reading about Ayurveda and following as much of it as I can and that is right for me. The difference in my health, energy levels, emotional stability, appearance is incredible in just three months!!


So I will try and tell you a bit about it. Bare in mind that this is my take on it, I highly recommend that you follow up any reading yourself. You'll be suprised how many books your local library will have!

**Being at one with yourself**

'Ayurveda' means 'the science of life'. It is probably the most ancient 'medicine' in the world dating over 5000 years old. It origins in India and is now followed all over the world. It is based upon the idea that there is such a thing as 'perfect health'. There is a perfect state of being that all people can achieve where disease and old age cannot touch you. It is possible to achieve perfect health by doing some pretty simple things: making alterations to your diet and your life style, by carefully choosing what you put into your body and what you surround yourself with and expose yourself to.


But how do you know what alterations to make?How to get on the path towards perfect health? The first step is to understand yourself: your true needs and wants. Let me explain a little further:



Do you know how every cell in your body renews itself? Do you know how every 7 years or so each cell in your body is said to have replaced itself? This is scientific fact! What however is still unclear (in western science anyway) is how these new cells know how to make up the exact same you. I mean you don't completely change as a person every 7 years; you have the same features, the same health concerns, the same desires and likes and dislikes.



In Ayurveda it is thought that this happens because the body exists in more than one way; there is the physical body made up of atoms and bones and blood and then there is the astral body, the pure 'you' of you. Your astral body is what communicates between your mind and your body. It is, I suppose, the link between your soul and your physical self.



Ayurveda is about tuning in to your astral body, understanding it and learning how to balance it. Luckily it is pretty easy to find out more about your astral body. The first thing you need to learn about is your dosha. There are three types of dosha (body/person type) Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Most people are a mix of 2 with one being more dominant than the other. In many ayurvedic books you can find your dosha by doing a pretty straight forward quiz. This ( http://www.chopra.com/ayurveda) is a great resource and has an online quiz you can do and will explain more about dosha's and ayurveda generally.



This site also has a quiz that will show you what imbalances may be in your life and has some great suggestions as to what you can do to balance yourself and take a step on the path to perfect health.


So I'm going to stop talking generally here because it is such a massive subject. Instead I will just give you my experience.


3 months ago when I first read the above mentioned books I saw that all of the 'symptoms' I was displaying : depression, lack of energy, sinus issues, even possessiveness, difficulty leaving the house or doing new things, hoarding, comfort eating and carry extra weight, are all signs of a massive Kapha imbalance. Since discovering this I have been trying to pacify the Kapha part of my dosha which is dominant and had taken over to such an extent that it's negative attributes were affecting me physically, mentally and emotionally.


To balance Kapha I have been following a Kapha pacifying diet. Again, many ayurvedic books will give you a list of the tastes and attributes of food and will tell you which dosha they will aggriavate and which they will pacify. As I mentioned earlier this is a science that it 5000 years old so I feel I can trust what the texts say. For me this has meant that I reduce sweetness, saltiness and heaviness in particular. I've been trying to avoid in particular; sweet things, dairy, wheat, red meat. Cold is also not very good for me so I am eating warm foods and warming foods over cold things.


Certain spices and herbs are particularly good for Kapha like ginger and black pepper, I have been eating lots of very fresh vegetables and light meals and increasing foods that are Kapha reducing like barley. However Ayurveda is about balance, no where does it say I must not eat this or that. A little bit of anything is fine, as long as it is in balance with the larger picture - one biscuit at play group is fine, half a packet is not!


Ayurveda is certainly not just about what you eat, it is also important how you eat; the time of day, the way in which you sit, where you sit and with whom.



There are many other steps one can take towards perfect health including; practicing meditation daily, massage and body rubs are good to stimulate the skin: a very important sense organ. Mind/ body exercises like yoga, general exercise also. Again, certain types of exercises are better for certain types of people, for me very physical activity is good so I have been walking as much as possible and have started running again.


Pretty much everything can calm or aggriavate your dosha, everything that we see, smell, touch and hear. Certain colours are better for us than others. I should be wearing reds and oranges, bright bold colours. I should be listening to exciting music that gets the adrenaline going and makes me want to dance. I should be burning oils and inscence that are warming and stimulating. I should try new things and go to new places. I should declutter and not allow myself to become stagnant and stuck in a rut. Of course for other people, wih different dosha's they should be doing the exact opposite!


Doesn't it just make so much sense? Perhaps it should be called that; 'the science of sense' lol!


Wow this post is getting long are you still with me?


So I have talked about being in touch with a connected to 'you'. But Ayurveda is also about connecting to everything.


**Being at one with all life**



So, earlier I mentioned that our bodies are not solid things, we change and our atoms shift and move, they leave our bodies and become recycled into something else. Because of this we are truly at one with all life. We share the physical atoms and as a result we can influence all life around us and of course we are influenced by everything around us. This wholeness can lead to our own wholeness our own perfect health. Here are some ideas to tap into this:


Connecting with the earth:



Spend some time everyday touching the earth, if possible walk barefoot for at least a short time. Spend time being near an open body of water, river, lake the sea (even a big puddle)
Go outside a just be, listen to the sounds of nature, look for the changes in the seasons.

Eat seasonally, try to buy locally produced seasonal food when possible.

Women connect with the moon and your female cycle.

Rise with the sun and go to sleep with the sun, acknowledge the cycle of the day, don't ignore it and try to spend as much time outside in natural daylight as possible.

Do good things, the goodness will pass through you, like osmosis, and will enter the universe.

Think good positive thoughts, again these will help balance the negative in the world.


Oh I could go on and on. I do feel that this is a journey that I have only just begun on, but it feels so right and good to me. I shall leave it there for now but if you have any questions fire away and I will do my best to answer them.


I don't believe in coincidence, I believe that at just the right time the creator has given me this gift. The gift to perfect health. After only three short months I feel completely transformed. But more than that at the deepest of levels, in my heart, in my soul I know that following this lifestyle is right for me.

Perhaps it's not coincidence that you read this either?

8 comments:

  1. Lovely, so glad you have found something that connects with you.
    I've read the chopra book (and others by him) and they are such an inspiration.

    take care x

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  2. Thank you so much for posting this, I have just ordered the chopra book. To be honest I have the very same symptoms that you had 3 months ago, I really need to do something about it now and you have inspired me to try and change my lifestyle a little :) x

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  3. Hi Dawn,I have reada few others of hs too, I find him reall accessible and inspiring :-)
    Sue, how exciting , I hope you find the book and Ayurveda as inspiring as I do. I'd love to hear how you get on :-) x

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  4. Thank you for your post. I ordered the Chopra book at the library, but then life was so busy I never got chance to pick it up. I really need to get my hands on this book, from what I've read it really does make so much sense. Thank you for spurring me on.

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  5. Thank you. Thanky you! I need to get this book - will check the kindle store right away!

    Everything you say completely resounds with me!

    I'll report back :)

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  6. Claire, it is a really good read, so accessible and easy to follow.
    Sarah I can't wait to hear what you think about the book and it's impact on you
    hugs x

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  7. Thanks for posting this. I've actually got a book on Dosha's that I've never read! But you make it sound interesting :)

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