Ayurveda Seeks to Unite All Creatures in Wellness
Nov 07, 2013 03:00PM
● By Peggy Breeze
Ayurveda is not a fad diet or celebrity trend, it’s actually the oldest continuously practiced healthcare system in the world. Originating in India more than 5,000 years ago, Ayurveda is built upon an understanding that all natural beings, including humans, live by the same laws and rhythms. It seeks to understand our deepest connections to the whole universe and how those energies influence our health.
The Ayurvedic worldview is based on five elements: space, air, fire, water and earth. Space and earth are static; air, fire and water are dynamic, or always changing. Each element has specific energies that govern its functions. While we all have each of these elements in us, we have them in slightly different proportions, making each of us unique, inside and out.
While it might sound illogical to those of us that have grown up with Western medicine, there is a lot we can learn from the ayurvedic approach to health and wellness. One of the most important lessons concerns balance. Ayurveda believes that when the natural laws associated with our elemental makeup are ignored, imbalances appear, and these imbalances are the precursor to disharmony and disease in the mind and body.
For instance, we know that sugar causes inflammation and that inflammation is one of the leading causes of disease, yet many of us choose to ignore this “rule” and eat far more sugar than is good for our health. The imbalance in our bodies caused by excessive sugar intake manifests as symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, skin problems, ongoing pain, constipation, diarrhea, weight gain, food intolerances, depression and high blood pressure, to name a few.
Yet, rather than look at our mental, emotional and physical health problems as a sign that our body is not in a state of equilibrium, we tend to only treat the symptoms associated with these issues, not the underlying imbalance. One problem is treated and another appears as the body tries to communicate the real problem at hand. The cycle continues until the root cause is finally uncovered; usually after we’ve been diagnosed with a chronic illness.
By taking into account each of our unique psychological, emotional and physical conditions, as well as our environment (maybe a particular office is a high-stress workplace), Ayurveda teaches us to recognize the signs that the elements in our body are out of balance and offers guidance for how to heal our imbalances and strengthen the body, mind and spirit. The goal is to help us achieve greater wellness and maintain better health through prevention.
Ayurveda encourages us to see the interactions and connections between our body and environmental systems. It pushes us to think holistically and its core lessons are relevant to anyone seeking better health and vitality.
Peggy Breeze teaches Ayurveda/nutrition, yoga, meditation/pranayama and Iyengar, restorative, Vinyasa and yin yoga at Living Yoga Dallas. contact her at TheBalancedYogi.com.