What is Ayurveda?

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Ayurveda works in harmony with nature

Ayurveda is an ancient approach to wellness and healing from India that helps you to find balance in an inherently unbalanced world.

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Ayurveda Basics: Determining Your Dosha(s)

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What's your dosha?

Ayurvedic principles provide a new (or, rather, very old) perspective on treating disease and finding greater well being. This ancient system understands the world consists of patterns and, as you are. part of the world, you also experience the same patterns, called doshas (pronounced dough-sha). By determining your dosha, you can make food, lifestyle and medicinal choices that don't just treat your symptoms but get down to the root of the imbalance that causes them. Ayurveda can help you to heal yourself and improve your life.

How to determine your pattern (dosha)

Your dosha is the core physical, mental and emotional characteristics and tendencies you were born with (prakriti). These characteristics can sometimes be quite different than the tendencies you have as an adult (vikruti), which reflect symptoms of imbalance that have evolved over many years of repeated behaviors.

To figure out your dosha the DIY way, you can use an online quiz to get a foot in the door. Most online dosha quizzes are terrible but I can recommend Banyan Botanicals and Dr. Douillard's LifeSpa body type quizzes. Keep in mind that these tools are only as good as the information you put in and most of us have certain biases when it comes to evaluating ourselves. I've found that they aren't 100% accurate for myself so if you want precision, a visit to an Ayurvedic Health Counselor will be your best resource.

The qualities of the doshas

There are three doshas: vata, pitta & kapha. We can understand the qualities of the doshas in terms of the elements of nature:

  • Vata is air and ether, which is characterized by the qualities of light, mobile, ethereal, spiritual
  • Pitta is made of mostly fire and touch of water, which is hot, intense, sharp and mobile
  • Kapha is made up of earth and water, which means it's more grounded, solid, stable and dense

Doshas in your body and mind

We are made up of all three doshas, although we usually have a dominant dosha, then a strong secondary. The third is often subtle... but not always!
DoshaBodyMindSymptoms of imbalance
VataThin
Long bones
Long features (face, fingers, legs)
Smaller eyes
Wavy, frizzy or disobedient hair
Independent
Creative
Spiritual
Playful
Unfocused, rambling
Dry skin
Gas, constipation
General dryness
Anxiety, worry
Nervousness
Repetitive thoughts
Insomnia
PittaMuscular
Deep set eyes
Average size, moderate build
Oily or reddish skin
Tends to be hot or overheats easily
Focused
Logical
Intense
Can be competitive
Passionate
Heartburn, indigestion
Rashes, red skin
Inflammation
Diarrhea
Liver issues
Insomnia, hot sleeper
Anger, resentment, impatience
Critical
KaphaRound (face, body, eyes)
Lush hair and skin
Big boned
Stocky or voluptuous

Stable
Loyal
Nurturing
Conservative
Mucousy
Sluggish digestion
Swelling
Attachment
Stubbornness
Complacency, lethargy

Why is knowing your dosha(s) helpful?

Knowing your dosha (prakriti) and the doshas that are out-of-balance (vikruti) empowers you to make decisions that align you with your capacity for greatest health and well-being. In Ayurveda, we apply this knowledge to all aspects of daily life including nutrition, sleep schedule, activities, relationships and therapies like herbs, essential oils, floral essences, mantra, yoga, etc. Applying this knowledge is a gentle, gradual process that looks something like this:

  1. Determine your core characteristics and your symptoms of imbalance
  2. Determine 1-3 actions to treat your imbalance (treatment plan)
  3. Carry out your treatment plan for 2-4 weeks
  4. Evaluate progress and deepen your treatment plan
  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4

It's a powerful system that allows you greater control over your own health journey!

Thank you for reading, I hope this brief overview has been helpful. I'm happy to answer any questions you have in the comments below!

Printouts from Ayurveda talk on 1/29/18

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Ayurveda Resources from presentation at Spirit Path on 1/29/2018

Thank you so much to everyone who came out my presentation Feel Better with Ayurveda! I was blown away by the number of people, the great questions and the enthusiasm to learn about this healing tradition. It’s exciting to see so much interest in the community for learning about Ayurveda!

Here are download links for the presentation and the handouts that you are welcome to use and share. I have posted them on my Ayurveda Resources page where I will continue to add new items as they’re available.

Intro to Ayurveda, 1/29 @ 7pm at Spirit Path

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Ayurveda works in harmony with nature

Feel better with Ayurveda

Do you experience digestive issues, trouble sleeping, stress or anxiety? Do you prefer an integral mind-body approach to achieve lasting wellness? Ayurveda, an ancient system of healthcare rooted in the same foundations as yoga, has powerful tools that can bring greater balance, peace and love to our modern lives. Through nutrition, sensory therapies, lifestyle changes and supportive coaching, Ayurveda can empower you to transform your health – and your life.
This brief presentation will introduce you to the core concepts of Ayurveda, help you to identify your imbalances and give you a taste of what Ayurvedic treatment is like. There will be a question and answer session at the end.

This is a free event.

Date: Monday, January 29, 2018
Where: Spirit Path, 505 W Northern Lights Blvd, Anchorage

Why I love going to Brazil

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It’s October and I’m in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I’m looking out from the 15th floor, across the tree tops toward an endless sprawl of high rises, surrounded by sounds of parakeets, motorcycles, trucks, a soccer game and the constant murmur of conversation.

I find the mix of tropical beauty and urban life to be a huge relief. There’s an unnamed tension to American life that you only notice once it disappears. Once I arrive, it doesn’t take long to feel the saturation of consumer goods diminish. Then several layers of personal shielding fall away and I find myself connecting with people in a more relaxed, nurturing way.

There’s definitely a lightness in the Brazilian spirit that is healing.

Being in a culture with different values also helps me to realign my own values. Instead of being obsessed with work and doing everything right, my priorities shift to connection, letting go and having fun.

What does this look like? Well, today I slept in,bhad lunch with family, did some work, hung out with friends and, soon, I’ll lake a nap before going out to hear some great house music.

Life is good.