Ayur means life. Veda means knowledge. Together, Ayurveda is the ancient wisdom or knowledge of life that is 5,000 years old. The practice of Ayurveda includes intentionally resetting the digestive system at the junction of seasons. The reset creates health, wellness and balance. There are three body-type constitutions (Doshas) in Ayurveda. Vata is fall and winter; Pitta is summer; and Kapha is early and mid-spring.
The pandemic has brought about quite a bit of change, and letting go of old patterns that no longer serve us is important. The interconnection of mind and gut are intimately related. As we reset our digestion, we make possible new ways of thinking – and breathing! We can also build our immunity naturally at the junction of seasons, by becoming and unwelcomed host. When virus and bacteria don’t find a good host, they leave. By building our digestive fire, or Agni, we help all of the tissues of the body to metabolize wastes. A healthy appetite and elimination are key part of health. Another part of well-being is to be firmly established in soul, senses and mind.
We can create this balance by neutralizing vitiated Doshas and giving ourselves a cleanse, like an oil change, for all the cells and tissues of the body. We can eat health foods (Ahara) for our constitute, choose lifestyle routines (Vihara) that support our sleep and rest and exercise as appropriate. When we go to bed when it’s dark and wake up when it’s light and have our main meal when it’s warm, we are living in balance with nature. Yoga, meditation and breathing (Pranayama) are also an important part of a healthy daily routine – as well as time in nature and eating healthy fruits and vegetables for the season.
If your digestion is too fast, or too slow, or irregular, it can be adjusted to be just right through a reset. What does that mean? One of the markers of good health is daily elimination every morning. By having the right foods in the right quantity for our body and type of digestion, we can achieve bliss every day. Ayurveda also offers us the best foods and spices to eat for each season, for each Dosha. Ayurveda gives us detailed information on balancing opposites: hot and cold, sharp and dull, oily and dry, liquid and dense and light and heavy. Why not try the wisdom from the ancients?
Yoga is a unifying force that brings together the polarities of sun and moon. Rama Jyoti Vernon, author of The Practice and Myth of Sacred Geometry, says that Yoga is “Remember the oneness that already is.” This means yoga is also the releasing of the impediments that prevent us from seeing that we are all one. We can also choose the best yoga poses for each season and for each Dosha. The art of practicing yoga can be refined with a regular practice so that we see the interconnection of all.
Schedule your simple cleanse/oil change at the junction of the seasons, around the fall or spring equinox. Taking time for yourself, journaling, practicing mindfulness and daily self-oil massage (Abhyanga) are a true joy. Giving yourself a warm foot oil massage before bed can improve sleep and focus. Taking healthy herbal teas can also help the body detox and reset. This can boost the digestive, respiratory, circulatory and nervous systems. Staying hydrated, rested and relaxed can shift the entire autonomic nervous system. Removing common toxins from the diet -- caffeine, gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, eggs, etc. – even for three days can start a profound cascade of alkalizing rebuilding.