AYURVEDA, THE “SCIENCE OF LIFE”
Florence has been studying Ayurveda since 2005 with internationally renowned teachers from India and Nepal. In 2010, she graduated as an Ayurvedic Lifestyle Counselor from MMI in California. She is currently continuing her education with Doctor Lad at the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico.
Florence authors seasonal articles and incorporates the wisdom of Ayurveda into her massage sessions and Yoga classes.
WHAT IS AYURVEDA?
Ayurveda, the ancient medical system of India, is the oldest holistic system of healing still practiced today and recognized as such by the World Health Organization. From the Sanskrit words “Ayu” which means “life”, and “Veda” which means “knowledge”, Ayurveda encompasses the healing of body, mind and spirit through diet, lifestyle, and medicinal herbs when needed. Both prevention and healing are addressed through natural modalities.
Ayurveda is not a passive form of therapy. It considers each individual as unique and ultimately responsible for his or her daily living. As the outer and inner environments of our lives change and challenge us, Ayurveda encourages us to take simple actions in diet and lifestyle to maintain or regain health and balance.
According to Ayurveda, man, nature, and the entire universe, are made of a combination of five elements: ether (space), air, fire, water and earth. These elements combine into the three vital energies or doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Our health depends on the balance and harmony of these three energies. To maintain this balance, Ayurveda emphasizes the use of practical tools in our daily lives, and takes into account the physical, emotional and psychological dimensions of each individual.
During a consultation, an Ayurvedic Lifestyle Counselor identifies your unique doshic constitution (Prakruti), and potential imbalances (Vikruti) to this original “blue-print”. He or she then recommends pragmatic actions to enhance or reclaim optimal quality of life. These recommendations may include:
- Dietary guidelines and food preparation advice
- Lifestyle routines in harmony with the seasons and the cycles of life
- Personal care such as tongue scraping and self-massage
- Physical exercise
- Stress management techniques: Yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises
For example, and in oversimplified terms, a person whose constitution is essentially Vata, the dosha of ether and air, might be advised to adopt a regular daily routine, choose warm food and spices, practice self massage with warm sesame oil, favor gentle exercise, and get plenty of rest. Conversely, a Kapha person, the dosha of earth and water, might be encouraged to vary her routine, eat light and dry food, get plenty of vigorous exercise, get up early, and avoid naps.
The introduction above represents only a tiny fraction of the immense wisdom and profound science of Ayurveda. May it give you the desire to learn more about the art of living in harmony with the simple laws of nature, for health, happiness, and love!
I would like to pay tribute and express my gratitude to my teachers, Dr. Lad, Dr. Singh, Dr. Apte, Dr Shrestha, Dr. Mannur and Kam Thai Chow.
My two other influential teachers are my Mom, and our neighbor shepherd and farmer Marcel. I grew up in rural France following Marcel as he herded goats and sheep to the high mountains in the transhumance season, intensely watching, smelling, and tasting, as he collected edible herbs and plants for food and natural remedies. At home, my Mom brought love and respect to every stage of food preparation and presentation. She always cooks every meal with love in her heart. They planted the seeds for my love for Ayurveda!