7 Facts Yogis Should Know About Ayurveda
If you’ve spent any time in a Yoga class, you might have come across Ayurveda. It’s understandable if it still seems mysterious and complicated. Ayurveda (pronounced “ah-yer-vey-duh”) is a beautifully complex system, but if you start at the foundation, it is equally beautiful in its simplicity. Let’s start with seven simple facts.
- Ayurveda and Yoga have ancient roots in the Indian sub-continent and have evolved side by side for 5,000 years.
- Ayurveda is the science of life and living harmoniously in the body, mind, and in our environment. It literally translates as: Ayur = life, Veda = sacred knowledge.
- Ayurveda serves as a guide to healthy living and as a holistic system of medicine. The ultimate goal of both Yoga and Ayurveda is to attain a state of physical, mental, and spiritual harmony that will allow us to realize consciousness.
- At a fundamental level, Ayurveda identifies the five elements: Space, Air, Fire, Water, Earth, as the building blocks of all mater.
- According to Ayurveda the 5 elements are energetically represented in the human body by the three vital energies (Doshas): a. Vata (space & air) b. Pita (fire & water)c. Kapha (earth)
- There can be no physical health without a strong digestive fire, Agni (pronounced: “ugh-nee”). Agni is our power to transform nourishment into something we can use to grow and develop both physically and spiritually.
- To maintain health and help alleviate disease, Ayurveda focuses on diet, lifestyle, and herbal therapies to balance the vital energies.
So, the next time you come across Ayurveda you’ll have these seven simple facts to get you started. In order to create a lifestyle, diet, and utilize healing therapies that compliment your yoga practice, you may want to consider learning more about Yoga’s sister science, Ayurveda.
What Your Dosha Type Means for Your Diet
Ayurveda is Sanskrit for “the wisdom of life.” Ayurveda originated in India and pre-dates modern medicine by thousands of years.
Ayurveda healing differs from modern medicine in the following ways:
- Focuses on preventative techniques, instead of merely reacting to illness as it arises
- Diet and habits are more strongly considered when diagnosing and treating
- Emphasizes on the uniqueness of the individual and finding what works for you personally
Three Types of Ayurveda Doshas
There are three types of Ayurveda Doshas – kapha, pitta, and vata. Doshas are more commonly known as mind-body types and are derived from the five elements.
While we all have aspects of each of the three doshas, for most of us, there is one dosha that dominates. You can also be a combination of two doshas, but that is less frequent. Before you learn about the characteristics of each type of dosha, determine which one(s) are most pertinent to you by taking this quick quiz.
I took this quiz with a little bit of healthy skepticism, not expecting anyone dosha to be that much stronger than the others, but for me, the traits corresponding to vata dosha are twice as strong. There are several dosha quizzes online, all of which gave me similar results.
Once you determine which dosha pertains to you, read about the strengths and weaknesses of that dosha and what dietary changes you can make to keep yourself in better alignment. While this article focuses on dietary modifications, there are all sorts of supplements, lifestyle and yoga practices that are also beneficial.