You may have heard your yoga teacher talking about Ayurveda or seen mention of it on a healthy living bloggers website. This ancient Indian practice holds its roots in Hindu culture but does not have the same awareness as traditional Chinese medicine, like acupuncture or chi.
But before we dive in, what is Ayurveda? And how does this ancient practice benefit a modern body? For those answers, Seattle Refined turned to Sasha Swerdloff of Tending the Table who trained at the Kripalu School of Ayurveda, and is a Certified Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant registered with the National Ayurvedic Medical Association for answers.
“Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old holistic system of healing native to India,” said Swerdloff. “Ayurveda” means the “science of life” and aims to foster harmony with nature and well-being in the body, mind and soul. According to Ayurveda, the universe is made up of energy in the form of the five elements of space, air, fire, water and earth.”
The five elements combine to form three doshas: Vata comprised of space and air (the energy of movement), Pitta comprised of fire and water (the energy of transformation) and Kapha comprised of water and earth (the energy of stability). These doshas are everywhere around us from the food we eat to the movements we make, in the weather and in the seasons. According to ayurveda each of us are born with a unique combination of all three doshas which comprise our constitution and how we express our physical, mental and emotional characteristics.
“We all come into the world in a state of perfect balance, but over time, due to environmental causes, trauma, and inappropriate diet or lifestyle choices imbalances emerge,” added Swerdloff. “Ayurveda seeks to guide people back to a state of constitutional balance through diet, lifestyle, and herbs.”
Ayurveda is a highly individualized approach to healing. Knowing about how your body and your doshas work can help you find optimal health and wellness. This quiz from the Ayurveda Experience can help you figure out what dosha is most indicative of you.
“Ayurveda can help with anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia, digestive issues, skin issues, weight management, reproductive health and much more,” said Swerdloff.
For those looking to learn more about Ayurveda, Swerdloff is offering a Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse Workshop at Not Without Salt in Ballard on February 21st. Sign up here. Swerdloff also offers Ayurvedic consultations, in person or via Skype. During a consultation, she reviews health histories, health concerns and your constitution before discussing dietary and lifestyle recommendations for optimal health and wellness. Swerdloff's website, Tending the Table also offers up recipes and Ayurveda tips for those looking to learn more about this ancient practice.