A Return to Ayurveda
I was introduced to Ayurveda when I took my first yoga teacher training in 2007. Though it was the most basic and cursory introduction, I felt an immediate connection to it. I felt drawn to it enough to know that I wanted to know more, that I needed to know more. I took some online dosha (body/mind type) quizzes and bought a few Ayurveda cookbooks and thought that I knew a lot.
Then I bought Dr. Vasant Lad’s Textbook of Ayurveda. I knew that Dr. Lad was credited with bringing Ayurveda to the west. The book blew my mind. But, not in the way you think. I read it cover to cover. I learned nothing. It was so over my head. I put it in my bookcase and bought a few more books. I could relate to these books on varying levels; most were either written by Indians, who grew up with Ayurveda and then spent years studying it at universities, or by Westerners who had gone to India to study it. Their knowledge was vast, but I still couldn’t figure out how to put Ayurveda into my own life. I needed something practical and applicable.
In 2010, I found what I was looking for – an online Ayurveda course for yogi householders, taught by a western woman who was also a mom with a small kid. I signed up and dove into a deep study of the everyday, practical ways I could use Ayurveda to create a healthier and happier life for myself and my family. I loved it. I loved my teacher. I stayed with this teacher for years and learned so much. While I will always be grateful for the teachings I received, there came a point when I began to see a lack of ethics and personal integrity in this teacher. The unfortunate consequence of that was that it pushed me away from Ayurveda for some time. I wasn’t able to separate the teaching from the teacher, so I pulled away from Ayurveda.
It took me a couple of years to feel the pull back to the study and lifestyle of this beautiful science. I began to follow other Ayurveda teachers and read different books and had to remind myself over and over that Ayurveda was not my teacher. Ayurveda was a thousands year old practice, a beautiful system and practice for living. It is not, cannot be personified by an American woman born in the 1970s. It cannot be personified by any one person. I’ll be writing a lot more about Ayurveda, as I prepare my Ayurveda for Modern Yogis online course, which will begin in mid-November.
So, for those of you who know little or nothing about it, here is a short list of ways that a knowledge and practice of Ayurveda can make lives better:
- Ayurveda gives us an understanding of our personal mind/body constitutions, so we can eat, exercise, sleep and work in the best way possible
- Ayurveda connects us to the natural world, and helps us to eat and live in accordance with the seasons
- Ayurveda teaches us to deeply know our bodies and those of our loved ones, helping us to recognize early signs of sickness and dis-ease and often prevent them from manifesting (this is HUGE for parents!)
- Ayurveda has been teaching the benefits of daily habits for centuries before Charles Duhigg and James Clear made them buzz-words for the super-successful
- Though Ayurveda is an ancient practice, it is non-dogmatic and was designed to grow and evolve change as humanity does
- A knowledge of Ayurveda can help to heal digestive and other chronic health issues
- Contrary to popular belief, Ayurveda does not ask you to adhere to a strict or specific diet; it is very flexible and forgiving
Because I know that many of my readers are yogis, I want to emphasize this point – Ayurveda is not a separate thing from yoga. Ayurveda is yoga. Ayurveda is the diet and lifestyle practices of yoga. It is yoga off the yoga mat.
Why does Ayurveda recommend seasonal detoxing?
Because we are part of nature, when nature goes through a seasonal transition, we do as well. After summer, we all have accumulated heat in our bodies, as do animals and plants. Heat accumulates and rises. We see this in the trees, as heat rises to their leaves, the leaves then turn colors, dry and fall off. That is how trees detox and rid themselves of summer heat.
After the harvest, when there are no more fruits or berries for the wild animals to eat, they naturally detox, just due to lack of available food. That is how they dissipate heat and prepare for winter.
What happens to us if we do not cleanse the heat from our bodies? The heat rises and dries out our sinuses, making them less able to protect us from pollen and other airborne irritants. This causes the sinuses to produce excess mucus. All this equals lots of fall allergies and predisposes us to colds and other winter sicknesses.
A gentle fall cleanse helps remove the excess heat and sets us up for a healthier fall and winter.
I’ll be leading an online fall detox, starting October 13. It’s suitable for both the new and experienced detoxer. It can be gentle or deep. And it’s probably the most affordable online detox you’ll find. You’ll get a lot for your investment.
Learn more here.
What can you do now?
As we transition from summer to fall, continue to eat the fruits and vegetables of the season. Apples are particularly good at removing heat from the body. Melons, green juices and salads are still good. Though it’s tempting to dive into heavier warming foods as the temperatures begin to drop, it’s not quite time. Opt for a lighter soup and some root vegetables when you’re yearning for cold-weather food. It’s transition time, but it needs to be taken slowly. If it’s at the farmers market, it’s a go. Eat what’s in season and you can’t go too far wrong.
I hope you’ve found my intro to Ayurveda and cleansing interesting. More to come.