Are You Veady for Ayurveda?
When an ancient self-care system like Ayurveda makes it to Forbes’ list of the 10 wellness trends you have to try in 2019, then we have to ask: are we missing out?
Turns out that Ayurveda’s lifestyle approach, built around preventative health for your best life, fits perfectly with the current wellness vibe, and its holistic take on health.
In Ayurveda, a balance of mind, body, and consciousness is the goal, and there’s a ton of wisdom on how to make the lifestyle changes to achieve it. Ayurveda has a take on everything from diet to skincare to meditation to sleep.
Plus there’s a slew of exciting Ayurvedic products including body scrubs, smoothies, serums, and copper water bottles to bring its healing benefits directly into your everyday life.
What’s not to love?! Read on for answers to your most-Googled questions.
Ayurveda is the traditional medicine of India that dates back 5,000 years. The Sanskrit word Ayurveda means the science or knowledge of life.
This ancient type of natural healing emphasizes healthy habits like meditation and wholesome eating to prevent illness and restore balance.
Its main goal is to promote wellbeing, not fight disease. But treatments may be geared towards specific health problems.
It’s based on three Doshas. Ever heard of ‘em?
Practitioners of Ayurveda believe in three different mind-body types or Doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Everyone has a unique mix of these Doshas, which control various bodily functions, but most people are dominated by one. Try a free online quiz to help you identify yours.
The main goal of practicing Ayurveda is to balance all three Doshas so that your body and mind function at their healthiest. This lets you make optimal lifestyle choices about diet, exercise, supplements and all aspects of your life.
As well as benefiting from some celebrity sparkle – devotees include Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston – Ayurveda syncs with the growing interest in how people can support their health and wellbeing naturally.
And it’s tailored to suit them. Ayurveda can be seen as a way of customizing preventative wellness to the unique makeup of every person.
There’s a growing awareness of the effectiveness of traditional medicine, as people take a whole-body look at their wellness, an approach that incorporates physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing- just like Ayurveda.
Ayurveda has something for everyone.
The buzz around organic treatments and therapies free from side effects is also propelling the expansion of the Ayurveda market in the United States.
Ayurvedic lifestyle ideas echo of-the-moment advice, like limiting processed foods and being more mindful when you sit down to a meal.
The World Health Organization (WHO), has an active traditional medicine strategy built on health systems like Ayurveda. In the US, it is considered a form of complementary and alternative medicine.
Western medicine tends to focus on symptoms and disease. Ayurveda instead stems from the idea that when there is minimal stress and the flow of energy within a person is balanced, the body’s natural defense systems will be strong and better at resisting disease.
Ayurvedic treatment starts with an internal purification process, followed by a special diet, herbal remedies, massage therapy, yoga, and meditation.
Treatments aim to eliminate impurities, reduce symptoms and worry, and enhance harmony in life. Herbs and other plants, including oils and spices, are popular.
Does Ayurvedic healing actually work?
Ayurveda is a healing process that can take time and its users experience setbacks in recovery. It is not a quick-fix solution like a medical drug.
Some dismiss Ayurveda as pseudoscience. This is because Ayurvedic treatments have not been heavily researched, some traditional Indian herbal medicines controversially contain heavy metals, and it has out-of-the-box spiritual concepts.
In the US, Ayurvedic medicines are regulated as dietary supplements rather than drugs, so aren’t put through the same safety checks as conventional medicine. There’s no national standard for Ayurvedic training, but specialist schools have been approved as educational institutions in some states.
In India, Ayurveda is used by over 90% of people, and it’s seen as a form of medical care, equal to conventional Western medicine.
Ayurveda sees food as a form of medicine. The diet aspect of the tradition is inspired by an Ayurvedic proverb:
An Ayurvedic diet is more about bringing the body back to its natural state if it becomes unbalanced, than about weight loss. The emphasis is on eating for your Dosha or body type.
In Ayurveda, this usually means applying the rule of opposites so you eat foods that keep your elements in balance. If you have a fiery constitution, then you should aim for cooling foods like coconut and cucumber.
Ayurveda teaches that food must be nourishing to create a healthy body and mind. Ideal nutrition comes from consuming a variety of fresh foods.
People are encouraged to incorporate some of the six tastes in each meal: sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter and astringent. Doing so helps you feel more satisfied with your food and cuts the urge to snack and overeat.
Other healthy eating Ayurvedic practices include only eating when you’re hungry, and in a stress-free atmosphere, avoiding processed, packaged foods and using detoxifying herbs like ginger and turmeric.
The best products depend on your unique needs.
But as the tradition gets more popular stateside, the options are increasing and embrace everything from beauty products to Dosha-specific snacks.
Shrankhla Holecek, founder of natural and organic Ayurvedic brand UMA Oils, comes from a family of Ayurvedic physicians who have served Indian royalty for 800 years, and still cultivate Ayurvedic herbs in India.
She believes Ayurvedic products have come into the public consciousness as people want to take better care of themselves with an effective system that’s good for them, and rooted in tradition.
Restorative Ayurvedic herbs are going mainstream too.
“Ashwagandha, holy basil [Tulsi] and turmeric, are showing up everywhere, from adaptogenic supplements that support a healthy response to stress, to your herb-boosted green smoothie in the morning,” says Erin Stokes, naturopathic doctor and medical director at MegaFood – a supplement company with a focus on radical transparency and quality.
Products rich in Ayurvedic herbs include Maadisha’s healing Neem Enriched Soap5 for dry, irritated skin. Its formula contains Holy Basil and wild ginger, known in Ayurveda for its ability to fight infection.
Teas include organic sweet cinnamon from Mountain Rose Herbs. In Ayurveda, cinnamon bark is considered a warming herb that is stimulating to the heart yet cooling to the digestive system.
Pure Indian Foods make a chemical-free Ayurdent Toothpaste with Neem extract to cleanse your mouth of toxins and nourish your teeth and gums.
Ayurveda is super complicated – we could write a whole thesis on it! Luckily, there are ways to dip your toe in without having to give your fave doctor the boot ;). Take a Dosha quiz, try a few new Dosha-friendy foods, give meditation a spin, or cool off in the shower with herbs. Every Ayurvedic journey is different.
Discover trending, therapeutic Ayurvedic brands and their reviews on ShopStreet: