Intro to Ayurveda: Part 1

I came across the word ayurveda for the first time this spring during yoga teacher training.

Our teacher Dhyana touched on a few key principals, but after that I pretty much left it alone. I’m not an expert on the topic, in fact I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know anything about it. Curiosity has led me to find out more and I plan to share what I learn. Feel free to correct me if I mess up any details (which I’m sure I will).
 
Ayurveda is yoga’s sister science. It’s ancient India’s guide to a long and healthy life. Basically, to start the universe has three types of energies:
 

 
Read all about them here.  

These three energies are called doshas. Most of us have one primary dosha, with tendancies of the other two showing up in various ways. I took a few online quizzes to figure mine out, but all it did was confuse me. Then I read a post from this blog, which suggested seeking out guidance from an Ayurvedic expert. I googled ayurveda Philadelphia and found this website. I decided that although a consultation is pricy, it’s worth it. It’s like going to see a therapist and a doctor wrapped in one. Lilavati gave me pages of questions to fill out (kind of like those online quizzes), but this time there was an explanation along with the answer. She said that although we each have one main dosha, we all fluctuate especially according to outside elements such as the season, our age and where we are in our lives.
Lilavati concluded that my main dosha is pitta, but that I’m in a vata stage right now because of my age and all the life changes that come along in the 20’s and 30’s (hello moving into a temporary house until December, changing jobs).
This explains to me why I can be so different from my fellow pisces best friend (my gay hubby). Pisces are known to be indecisive dreamers drifting through life. That’s true for me, but I also have a goody-two-shoes graduate school side of me. Ah-ha. Pitta. That’s where the discipline comes from. We’re all in a Kapha stage during childhood with our baby fat and carefree ways. As young adults we enter Pitta as we are forced to become more organized and responsible. Vata energy is strongest during old age.
 
Ok, well what does this all mean? Well according to Ayurveda lifestyle choices can balance us out or throw us off balance. For example slow moving kaphas may benefit from spicier foods that heat up the body, while pittas generally have enough heat already and too much can push us into overdrive. Hmmmm…but I love spicy food!
(I’m not giving up Thai curry just yet…since it’s all new to me I’m picking and choosing what to start with.)

Here’s a fun explanation at Kim (from Skinny Bitch)’s blog.
My first Ayurvedic experience was the kitchari cleanse. While I wouldn’t say it was easy, I did like that I was eating rather just drinking liquid (as per a typical juice fast).
Since my visit with Lilavati last month I’ve started an Ayurvedic morning routine that I love.

Oil for acne-prone skin…who would of thought?

I started using a tounge scraper first thing, and then rubbing oil all over my body before hopping in the shower. I’m also trying to swap out my beauty products for “natural” ones as they run out. Turns out this is harder than giving up meat. More about my troubles with natural deoderant later.
 
And one last detail just for fun: celebrities and their doshas

My fellow pitta

 Have you heard of ayurveda before? Do you follow any ayurveda practices? What’s your dosha? Do you eat or do anything special because of your dosha?

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Intro to Ayurveda: Part 1

  1. So ironic! I was just on another blog earlier today who was talking about Ayurveda…yes, huge believer and really want to go to India and live on an ashram and deepen my yoga practice and learn more about auyrveda…after Skylar is older and I can do that…maybe with her!

  2. I have certainly heard of Ayurveda, and it was discussed briefly during my yoga teacher training as well. One of my best friends applied for Kripalu’s Ayurveda specialist training (and was accepted but has deferred because of financial reasons). I love the concept, but I admit that it’s a LOT of information to take in, and for me it’s difficult to sort out what works best from the Ayurvedic tradition versus, say, Traditional Chinese Medicine, medical Qi Gong, or conventional Western medicine. I’m not sure I could ever follow a devout Ayurvedic lifestyle, but I do like the idea of picking and choosing what works best for one’s body.

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  4. Pingback: Ayurveda in Autumn | veggievinyasa

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