Ayur what? …….Ayurveda…….Oh right, what’s that? Is pretty much the most common reaction I get when I say I am studying Ayurveda . Whilst her sister science yoga is all pervasive in the West these days with a yoga studio on nearly every corner, Ayurveda is just beginning to gain recognition in the West, but cannot yet be said to be mainstream. So I thought today I would try to shed some light on this all encompassing ancient science.
So what is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda, literally the science of life, combines the two sanskrit words, Ayur meaning Life and Veda meaning Science, wisdom, Sacred Knowledge (you will recall from my post Prana baby…..that’s what I’m talkin’ about! that sanskrit is a vibrational language and as such cannot be translated into English using one word). It is an ancient personalised holistic healing system that is indigenous to and still widely practiced in India. It was first recorded in the Veda’s the world’s oldest extant literature and has been practiced for over 5000 years.
Ayurveda is based on the premise that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between mind, body and spirit, and recognises that each and every individual is perfectly unique in their oneness. We are all comprised of the 5 great elements, space, air, fire, water and earth but the proportions of each in all of us is entirely unique. As such, that which balances one, may not another. One size does not fit all.
Ayurveda can also be described as ‘the way of living with awareness and promoting longevity’. Its primary focus is to promote good health. It provides guidelines on diet and lifestyle to help maintain one’s individual balance of the elements, and in so doing, health and vibrancy. Its principles can also be applied to rectify or reduce imbalance manifesting as health challenges, illness and disease to bring us back into harmony with our true nature, vibrating in sync with the universe.
Ayurveda views health and dis-ease in holistic terms, taking into consideration the inherent relationship between the individual and the cosmos or cosmic consciousness, energy and matter. It includes every aspect of life in a philosophy where mind, body and spirit are considered to be integrated and whole. Nothing in the world is considered in Ayurveda to be separate from anything else, we are all one. One, yet uniquely individual. Ayurveda teaches us to better understand our own inner nature and thereby fulfil our full human potential.
To do this, Ayurveda cultivates an intimate understanding of and relationship with nature, both our own individual nature and all living things. Its wisdom is expressed as a way of life that flows with the changes of the seasons, weather, time, and place. It studies the tastes, smells, textures and qualities of nature, and endeavours to reconnect us with our own nature and the natural rhythms of the cosmos.
In Ayurveda, health is more than the absence of disease, it is the whole ‘raison d’etre’, because without health you cannot enjoy or pursue the goals of your life.
One of the most beautiful things about this vast science is that it empowers the individual. Through studying the teachings of Ayurveda the practical knowledge of self healing may be acquired by anyone. This concept is fundamental to Ayurveda, the ability we all have to heal ourselves.
Ayurveda teaches us that any food can be turned into medicine, no food is un-ayurvedic, all foods have Ayurvedic benefits if taken in the right proportions and combinations at the right times for the individual. One doesn’t have to learn about or source strange esoteric sounding uncommon herbs, in order to take advantage of the lessons and wisdom Ayurveda can teach us to maintain our health and vibrancy. All those herbs and spices that are common in most peoples kitchen, basil, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ginger, black pepper, coriander, nutmeg, thyme, rosemary, cardamon (to name just a few) have wonderful medicinal benefits.
Naturally, given the vastness of this all encompassing holistic science, it is not possible to cover all aspects or indeed any one particular aspect in detail in this post. The above is just a flavour of what it is all about to whet your appetites. I will however be introducing a new feature to my blog called Thursday’s Healing Kitchen, which, yes you’ve guessed it, will be posted every Thursday and will discuss the healing properties, benefits, uses and contra-indications of common kitchen herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables and will include recipes and tips to share what I am learning with all of you to spread the wisdom of this wonderful healing science and bring it into your kitchen and daily lives.
So if this interests you, tune in next Thursday for the first instalment of Thursday’s Healing Kitchen.
Until next time beautiful souls.