Learn Healthy, Happy Habits with Ayurveda—Yoga’s Sister Science!
You’ve heard the word, but what exactly is Ayurveda? One of the world’s most ancient and sophisticated healing traditions, Ayurveda originated thousands of years ago in India as a system of maintaining harmony in body and mind. Most eastern healing traditions, including acupuncture (a branch of Chinese medicine), have roots in Ayurveda.
The word ayurveda means “science of life.” When we learn about Ayurveda, we learn how our minds and bodies function best, and how we can live our healthiest, happiest life. Many people today view health as the absence of sickness. Ayurveda takes this one step further, defining health as a sense of feeling fully alive.
The ancient system of Ayurveda is as relevant today as it was centuries ago. Ayurveda offers us common sense insights to prevent illness from taking root and to improve our quality of life.
Here are a few basic principles to get you started:
Get abundant, restful sleep.
According to Ayurveda, sleep is the nursemaid of humanity. During sleep, our body repairs and rejuvenates itself. Lack of sleep disrupts the body’s innate balance, weakens the immune system, and speeds up aging. Humans require 7-8 hours of restful sleep each night. True restful sleep is achieved through healthy sleep habits rather than the aid of drugs or alcohol. If you are unable to drift off easily, sleep through the night, and/or feel vibrant when you wake up, consider improving your sleep hygiene.
Strengthen your digestion.
In the Ayurvedic tradition, there is a saying that disease begins and ends in the belly. Ayurveda teaches us that healthy living depends on our ability to fully digest our food and our life experiences. When our physical digestion is robust, we properly absorb nutrients and eliminate waste. If our digestion becomes weak it can lead to an accumulation of toxicity. The same is true in our ability to digest life experiences. Healthy digestion includes allowing ourselves to be present to both painful and pleasurable experiences, absorbing positive affirmations as well as hard lessons, and releasing what no longer serves us.
Eat a colorful, flavorful diet.
Our food must be nourishing to generate a healthy body and mind. Ayurveda encourages a balance of all six tastes in your daily diet (sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent). Along with the six tastes, fill your plate with the full spectrum of the rainbow to promote a long, healthy life. Deep blue, purple, red, green or orange foods are high in antioxidants and other nutrients that enhance health and boost immune function.
Understand your unique mind-body type. Ayurveda recognizes that each individual has a unique constitution and mind-body type that determines best forms of diet, exercise, and lifestyle.