Ayurveda (Ayu = Life – Veda = Science) was created by the sages of ancient India, a health science connecting the mind and body to the extent that the mind can effectively cure illness. The foundation being thus that healthy thoughts can create a healthy body.
The main focus of Ayurveda is to optimise health and longevity potential.
The two are interconnected – we can create a positive mind-body cycle with special attention to:
- MIND: caring for the mind with regular meditation will maintain clarity and balance
- BODY: nurturing the body with a healthy vegetarian or plant-based diet – eating whole and seasonal foods
The Power of Meditation
Meditation is essentially the most important component of Ayurveda because it enhances our awareness of the power of being present. Equally, it stimulates the production of our happy hormones: dopamine, endorphins, serotonin, and oxytocin.
This balance of mind extends to balance of body, creating a positive equilibrium.
The pranayama breathing technique and yoga are also effective in establishing a balance between mind-body energy alignment.
I’ve been researching a lot about Ayurvedic diet recently. I find it fascinating that your body functions at its best by eating foods in line with the seasons. In the winter, our metabolisms function much slower as we need to insulate more fat to keep warm in the winter. Hence the desire to eat much heavier foods whereas in the summer, metabolism speeds up and appetite is significantly reduced.
The key is to eating fresh, organic, whole, & non-processed foods. It is much easier for the body to process food from the earth which means that the body isn’t put under stress during digestion. The gut is a very important organ as it is aligned with millions of neutrons and produces hormones that effect the brain; the mind-body connection resides here.
This is why you feel like absolute crap mentally and physically after chowing down a Maccie’s Big Mac meal with a McFlurry on the side.
Vegans preach about feeling the best they’ve ever felt since converting to a solely plant-based life for a reason…
The challenge to overcome your ego telling you to seek pleasure in foods saturated in batter or sugar when in reality, they’re only gonna ever make you feel good in the 5-10 minutes when you’re consuming them…
The test is to listen to what your body is craving and not the unconscious mind …
Our bodies experience three different phases during the four seasons which effects our digestion levels according to the weather. These are Kapha (late winter – early spring) Pitta (late spring – summer), & Vata (autumn – early winter).
Every single one of us has a body type that accords the best with one of these three in particular. This means that, despite eating foods by season, in order to keep our bodies at their ideal balance, we should focus on including certain foods in our diets throughout the year.
In Ayurveda there are six different flavours of food and the aim is to try and include them all with every meal if possible but ultimately, eating flavours in tune with the time of year.
These are: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, astringent and bitter.
Equally, eating the colours of the rainbow promotes longevity, as every colour of fruit and vegetable all include different essential nutrients, optimising vitamin levels.
Serving your body
Ayurveda doesn’t just on WHAT you eat but, HOW you eat. We live such busy lives these days that we hardly take the time to sit down and really appreciate our meals. Eating mindfully and slowly in a relaxed environment aids digestion. An old Vedic quotes states, “If you eat standing up, death looks over your shoulder.”
As well as eating in tune with nature, the other fundamental is to live our daily life in tune with nature. Getting plentiful sleep really is essential for our mind-body balance & physical repair.
How to know if I’m in Ayurvedic balance with nature?
When you’re in balance, your conscious mind speaks louder than your unconscious. This is enhanced by eating, exercising, rising, and sleeping in alignment with the sun’s rise and set.
When your body is out of balance, the ego is strengthened and so you’re more likely to act impulsively and crave things that will only throw your body more and more off balance. The more imbalanced, the more prone to stress and illness.
Feel. Listen. The answer is ever-present. The body can communicate in any given moment if it’s in balance by simply tuning in. Meditation is an effective tool which helps in understanding what you really need.
Be mindful in identifying which voice you are responding to when you feel an urge to do something.
Fight the ego and feed the soul.
When you love and respect your body and soul, you will choose habits which nurture it accordingly.