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When we understand our pathway to a balanced life – we thrive. This concept is a central part of Ayurveda’s holistic approach to health and healing. But with 5,000 years of ancient wisdom to wrap your head around, getting started can be intimidating.
The Doshas & Personalized Treatment
According to Ayurveda, everything and everyone is comprised of five elements: space, air, water, fire, and earth. These elements combine to form three basic energy properties called doshas. These foundational energies, known as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, are the building blocks of our universe.
Though we may sometimes forget it, we humans are part of the greater universe. Just as rays of sunlight are not separate from the sun, we are not separate from nature. We are nature. As such, we are made up of the same energetic elements as the world around us.
While all three doshas are present in every one of us, they manifest to varying degrees. Our distinct physical, mental, and spiritual traits are the result of our unique dosha constitution. You can think of it like our energetic fingerprint – no two are the same!
Ayurveda seeks to establish svastha (a state of optimal mental and physical health) by attaining and maintaining balance of the doshas. But since we all have a distinct dosha makeup, there’s no single approach that works for everyone.
The Perfect Healing Trinity
Food as Medicine: In Ayurveda, food is medicine. Your personalized Ayurveda food plan is tailored to your unique dosha picture, goals, concerns, and current life circumstances.
Ayurvedic Herbs: Using Ayurveda’s ancient wisdom, we’ll use medicinal plants to target, heal, and balance specific issues and systems within your body and mind.
Lifestyle Practices: Small tweaks to your daily routine can have a monumental impact. Practices like mudra, meditation, breathwork, and yoga-asana are a compass for the wisdom of life itself.
Our demanding lives are the source of much of our physical, mental, and spiritual turbulence. When it comes to regaining balance, they’re also one of our biggest hurdles. It’s a tricky cycle: life is stressful, and it’s making us sick – but we’re too busy to do anything about it!
Food as Medicine
While Western healthcare has begun to embrace the healing power of diet, Ayurveda has long understood that food is medicine. What (and how and when) we eat can have a profound impact on our bodies, spirits, and minds. Ayurveda offers a holistic approach to diet that honors the unique needs of every individual.
Food as Medicine program is not a diet
In the West, we tend to think of “diets” in restrictive terms. Cut calories. Banish butter. Quit the carbs. Unfortunately, this mentality starves us both nutritionally and of a healthy relationship with food. We don’t need more deprivation; we need more of what truly nourishes us.
Food as Medicine balances, heals, nourishes, and satiates. Rather than cutting out the “bad,” we focus on the food you should include. With clear and manageable suggestions tailored to your unique needs, it’s easy to weave new habits into your busy life (especially once you start feeling the benefits!).
Here are some starters:
Favor fresh, whole foods over highly-processed foods to support prana, the vital life force.
Eating three square meals at the same time each day - with no snacking in between - helps strengthen agni (the digestive fire).
Eat when you’re hungry, stop before you’re full. This nourishes the body without diverting more energy than necessary to digest.
Dinners should be light, and eaten at least three hours before bed, so the body can focus on rest and rejuvenation while you sleep.
Eat slowly and mindfully to connect fully with the energy of the food you’re consuming. (We literally are what we eat, let’s enjoy that perspective.)
Food as Medicine and the Doshas
We were all born with a unique energetic footprint, known as our prakruti. When all is well, our current doshic state, or vikruti, will be the same as our original constitution. However, disturbances to our inner and outer worlds can put the doshas out of balance.
In Ayurveda, the energetic properties of food (such as hot, moist, or oily) increase like energies in our bodies. Thus, we restore balance to the doshas by consuming foods that have the qualities opposite of the imbalance. For instance:
Fiery Pitta is best balanced through naturally sweet foods like sweet fruit, most grains, squash, root vegetables, milk and ghee. The best tastes for balancing Pitta are sweet, bitter, and astringent. Sour, salty, and pungent tastes should be minimized.
We can counteract Vata’s cold, dry, light nature with foods that are warm (both in temperature and spice), moist, and grounding (like hearty soups and healthy fats). The best tastes for balancing Vata are sweet, sour, and salty. Pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes should be minimized.
To balance Kapha’s cool, dense, oily nature, we should favor food that is light, dry, and easy to digest – ideally served warm or hot with invigorating herbs or spices. The best tastes for balancing Kapha are pungent, bitter, and astringent. Sweet, sour, and salty tastes should be minimized.
2. Ayurvedic Herbs
Once a supportive food program is established Ayurvedic herbal medicine can help to target and support specific tissues, channels, and organs. It’s important to note, however, that your custom herbal protocol isn’t always designed to treat specific symptoms. It’s designed to treat the dosha imbalance at the root of your imbalance.
Rather than treating the body, mind, and spirit as separate entities, Ayurveda recognizes the interconnected nature of one’s whole being. While clients may have a long list of health concerns - from poor sleep, to constipation, to menstrual pain - these seemingly unrelated issues are often tied to the same dosha imbalance.
By targeting imbalances at their roots, we restore equilibrium to the whole person. Often, this results in multiple symptoms clearing up at the same time – even those which have been accepted as “part of life.”
Common Ayurvedic Herbs
Ayurvedic herbal medicine serves a range of purposes, from improving sleep, to boosting immunity, supporting the digestive and reproductive systems, and even reducing stress and anxiety. While some of these herbs are familiar pantry staples - such as cinnamon, cumin, ginger, cardamom, and turmeric - Ayurveda’s knowledge of herbal energetics unlocks their capacity for targeted healing. Herbs such as Shatavari, Brahmi, and Ashwagandha are powerful healers Ayurvedic herbs becoming commonly known in the West. There are hundreds more herbs targeted for dosha and body systems balance.
3. Lifestyle Practices
The most important pillar of our Healing Trinity consists of Ayurvedic lifestyle practices.
We have countless habits that make up our daily routines. We wake and sleep. We move from place to place. We eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We breathe. These habits are the key to our wellbeing – and how we do them matters.
Time tested practices like breathwork, meditation, and yoga help keep us centered, so we can navigate our lives with greater balance, clarity, focus, and vitality. Paired with Ayurveda guidance around how we eat, sleep, and exercise, we begin to build a nourishing daily rhythm known as dinacharya.
Our energy ebbs and flows throughout the day and night. What happens in our day and environment influences our inner experience. Through dinacharya, we create a supportive daily rhythm helps us maintain harmony with the world around us and remain more energized and at peace within.
Pick a couple of practices that you enjoy whether it be yoga, Qui Qong, Meditation, Walking in Nature or Mindfulness Practices...fit one into your daily life - even if it is only 5 minutes a day...you will see the benefits quickly!
At Mudra Wellness, I provide clarity and direction to your health nees by breaking your custom health plan into three foundational pillars: Food as Medicine, Ayurvedic herbs, and Ayurvedic lifestyle practices.
If you'd like a Consultation or to Rejuvenate & Heal with an individualized cleanse go to https://www.mudrawellness.com/
and schedule with Jill Michelle Palmer.