The yoga world has a lesser-known sister and her name is Ayurveda. For thousands of years, yoga and Ayurveda were seen as necessary compliments to one another. But somewhere along the way, we fell in love with yoga and yet forgot about Ayurveda.
And although some famous mamas like Madonna, Christy Turlington, and the Grand Priestess of Get-Your-Act-Together (Oprah) have touted its health-boosting benefits, Ayurveda remains largely an exotic Indian mystery.
I heard about Ayurveda in India. I was studying with a sweet old Brahmin man named A.G. Mohan. I remember thinking, wow, this is amazing and its never gonna’ be applicable to my life back in the U.S. But the more I studied it, the more I realized that it was all about developing deep self-awareness. It was also about humbling the ego (that tells you that you really deserve an entire bar of dark chocolate) to the laws of Nature.
I feel like its time for yoga’s powerhouse sister to come out of hiding and begin infusing our practices and lives with rich, time-tested wisdom. I wanna’ help her, so here is my mini-Ayurveda primer, just for you.
Ayurveda – which means “Science of Life,” holds the following premises as true:
1. If Ayurveda were a religion (it’s not), Nature is God and the only sin is not listening to your higher-knowing.
2. Nature has cycles – daily and seasonal. When we learn them, we can ride them and glean some of their power. When we ignore them, we suffer. When we tune to natural rhythms, our body becomes more balanced naturally. (e.g. being in bed asleep by 10 p.m. instead of surfing Amazon is one example of tuning to natural rhythm).
3. The body is a wise, Spirit-infused, breathing-animal, mind-matrix charged with an electro-intelligence called prana (energy). When prana is flowing where it should, you GLOW. Plain and simple.
4. You are a unique, special snowflake, just like everybody else. Because each individual is unique, you will have different needs. This holds true whether we are talking about what you eat, how many times a month you have sex, or how often and what you do for exercise.
5. Disease can be caused by a number of things – but at its core, disease is caused by forgetting who we are – A Timeless Spirit Being.
6. There is one answer to any question in Ayurveda: It depends.
7. Energy follows focus. Our experience of life, how we see the world “out there,” and whether we are happy or not, is largely determined by our energy. When we change our energy, our thoughts change. When we change our thoughts, energy shifts in that direction.
8. Oil your machine – don’t wait for your body to start creaking and cracking before you oil it! Like any fine-tuned instrument, the body needs to be oiled. So go slap some coconut oil on your fine thighs. Now.
9. Many people are fatigued and depressed/anxious because they aren’t living the life they want to live.
10. You can’t stop constipation by eating more raw cauliflower. Okay, this one is a stretch, but raw food, if you are already constipated, ain’t gonna help. Ayurveda understands that anything can turn to poison in the body if your metabolism can’t digest it. Yes, even raw organic goji-berry-acai-kale smoothies. Lay off the cold beverages, cold sandwiches, carrots, raw nuts and raw veggies if you suffer from anxiety, insomnia or constipation. Drink some warm ginger tea, eat some soup and rub your body in oil.
I hope this list will get you started on at least becoming curious about what this philosophy and science has to offer your life.
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Awesome, Katie-ji! Love you! Thank you for sharing all of your wisdom with us!