What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is an ancient approach to wellness and healing from India that helps you to find balance in an inherently unbalanced world.
I discovered Ayurveda in 2015 while doing my yoga teacher training at Spirit Path Yoga. I spent a lot of time there and was fascinated by all of the beautiful posters for Ayurvedic treatments, talks and training, so much so that I eventually tried out one of their super affordable internship packages. I loved it so much that I decided to dive deep and take the health counselor training (and now I’m in internship!). Here’s just a small bit of what Ayurveda is all about…
Ayurveda focuses on all aspects of the self, unlike much of Western medicine, viewing symptoms as details in a larger picture of health. This holistic approach to wellness means that treatment is individualized, so that two people suffering with similar symptoms may have radically different treatment.
Patterns of symptoms, imbalances and tendencies group into what Ayurveda calls doshas, or individual constitutions. The doshas reflect larger patterns in nature that can be seen in climate, weather, age, time of day, etc. A person has born tendencies, which are their primary doshic balance (prakruti) as well as tendencies that surface in times of imbalance (vikruti).
For example, while under stress one person may overeat while another might lose his appetite, which indicates a difference in tendency. Understanding which doshas best reflect you provides powerful insight into how to improve your symptoms and your life.
What can I expect when seeing an Ayurvedic Practitioner?
When seeing an Ayurvedic Healthcare Practitioner (AHP), he/she will spend ample time getting to know your unique characteristics through a questionnaire, discussion and physical observations so that your core dosha(s) and current imbalances can be determined.
Appointments are longer and more in-depth than with traditional Wester doctors, encouraging a deeper understanding and a greater sense of support. Ideally, an AHP can be your wellness partner, providing treatment, guidance and empowerment with the ultimate goal of giving you the knowledge to help you resolve your health challenges.
What does Ayurvedic treatment look like?
Most Ayurvedic treatment introduces gentle, gradual changes into your life, which compound over time to radically shift your well-being. Areas of treatment include:
- Food: what, where, when, why and how you eat
- Stress: work, screen habits, relationships
- Digestion: a fundamental and often overlooked key to health
- Sensory input: fine tuning the quality of what you ingest through the senses
- Extra tools: herbs, essential oils, body therapies, flower essences, self-massage