THE HEALING POWER OF NATURE: AYURVEDA
5 min read
In the modern world, we live in innovations, scientific methods and technology. There are new methods emerging in the healthcare system every single day. Substances with chemical components and synthetic medicines aim to be a practical solution to the problems of humanity by keeping up with the speed of today’s world. But sometimes there are moments when all these advanced systems unfortunately cannot find a solution to some of the problems of humanity.
Could we be forgetting that body and soul are one at this point? Because focusing only on our body or our soul may cause us to lose sight of their communication with each other and as a result, cause diseases. As long as we don’t see them as one, perhaps some problems will continue to arise, no matter what development happens in the modern world.
At this point, we would like to introduce Ayurveda which is the healing and integrating power of nature…
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda originated in India more than 5000 years ago. It is considered to be the oldest holistic (whole-body) healing science in the world. Ayurveda means “The Science of Life” in Sanskrit. “Ayur” means life and “Veda” means science or knowledge. It is called the “Mother of All Healing”. Many natural healing methods known in the West are rooted in Ayurveda.
“The ancient Indian medical system, also known as Ayurveda, is based on ancient writings that rely on a “natural” and holistic approach to physical and mental health.”¹
According to Ayurveda, health and wellness depend on the balance between spirit and body. It also includes balance with the mind and the environment. The main purpose of Ayurveda is not to fight diseases. The main purpose of Ayurveda is to improve health. Accordingly, diseases are caused by an imbalance or stress in one’s consciousness. Ayurveda also recommends certain lifestyles and natural therapies to restore this balance. Ayurvedic treatment first begins with the process of inner catharsis/purification. It then progresses with a special diet, herbal remedies, massage therapy, yoga and meditation.
Balancing the Three Principle Energies of the Body
The Ayurvedic healing system places a great emphasis on the balance between body and consciousness. Internal and external factors in a person’s life can sometimes lead to disruption of this balance. These emotional and physical stresses can exemplify many issues. One’s emotional state, food choices, weather, physical trauma, work and family relationships and so on… But from the Ayurvedic perspective: “When one understands the nature and structure of disorder, one can re-establish order.”²
In other words, as long as the person understands the basics of these factors, she/he can take necessary measures to minimize this “imbalance” or “disorder”, that is “diseases”. Ayurveda tries to touch people’s lives in line with these teachings.
“According to Ayurvedic philosophy the entire cosmos is an interplay of the energies of the five great elements—Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth.”
These five elements combine to create three main life forces called “Dosha” in the human body. They control how your body works. These are expressed in original Sanskrit as “Vata (space and air)”, “Pitta (fire and water)” and “Kapha (water and earth)”. So these three concepts are combinations and permutations of the five elements.
“These principles can be related to the basic biology of the body. Energy is required to create movement so that fluids and nutrients get to the cells, enabling the body to function. Energy is also required to metabolize the nutrients in the cells, and is called for to lubricate and maintain the structure of the cell.”³
In the physical body, “Vata” is the energy of movement. “Pitta” is the energy of digestion and metabolism. “Kapha” is the energy that forms the structure of the body. Everyone has these three doshas but sometimes one of them can be stronger than the others. Or one may be less obvious than the others. According to Ayurvedic belief, your chances of getting sick depend on the balance of these three doshas. “To learn how to balance the body, mind and consciousness requires an understanding of how vata, pitta and kapha work together.”⁴
The Energy of Movement
- Vata is an energy associated with movement formed from Space and Air. It governs breathing, blinking, muscle and tissue movement, the pulse of the heart, all movements in cytoplasm and cell membranes.
- Vata in balance encourages creativity and flexibility. Vata that is out of balance produces anxiety and fear.
- A person with dominant Vata Life Force usually grasps very quickly but can easily forget. Vata people who are very active can talk, walk and think faster. But they can get tired easily.
- In the external world, they tend to earn money quickly and spend it quickly.
- If Vata Dosha is your main life force, you are likely to have ailments such as anxiety, asthma, heart disease, skin problems and rheumatoid arthritis.
Suggestions for Vata Energy
- Vata is cold and dry. That’s why the foods that can neutralize this are recommended. Regular consumption of hot, oily and smooth foods can prevent Vata imbalance.
- You should keep yourself warm.
- You should try to stay calm.
- You should avoid cold, frozen or raw foods.
- You shouldn’t stand in extreme cold.
- You should eat hot foods and spices.
- You should have a regular routine.
- You should rest a lot. If it’s possible, you should sleep at 22:00.
- You can take steam baths. You can do a daily oil massage before taking a shower.
- You can try methods such as Yoga and Meditation. In Particular, you can try Vata Dosha Yoga.
“Vata Pacifying Diet You Should Consume:
Hot soups & stews; hot fluids that are not cooler than room temperature, ghee, nuts, avocado, coconut, olives, buttermilk, cheese, eggs, whole milk, wheat; moist foods like melons, berries, zucchini, squash and yogurt; warm spices like ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, flaxseeds etc.; sweet forms the foundation of a vata pacifying diet so gorge but only in moderation on sweet things.
Vata Imbalance Diet to Avoid:
Cold and carbonated drinks, raw or uncooked fruits & vegetables, frozen foods and drinks, leftovers from the refrigerator.”⁵
The Energy of Digestion and Metabolism
- Pitta is an energy associated with a metabolic system formed from Fire and Water. It governs digestion, absorption, assimilation, nutrition, metabolism and body temperature.
- Pitta in balance encourages understanding and intelligence. Pitta that is out of balance arouses anger, hatred and jealousy.
- A person with dominant Pitta Life Force has deep thoughts and is intelligent. But they have a tendency to get angry very easily.
- Pitta people have a strong metabolism, good digestion, strong appetites and sound sleep.
- In the external world, they like to be leaders and planners. They like to have financial abundance. They have a tendency to exhibit their wealth and possessions.
- If Pitta Dosha is your main life force, you are likely to have ailments such as Crohn’s disease, heart disease, high blood pressure and infections.
Suggestions for Pitta Energy
- Pitta is hot and sharp. That’s why the foods that can neutralize this are recommended. You should avoid eating hot and spicy foods.
- You should avoid excessive heat.
- You should avoid eating excessive oil.
- You should stay away from excessive steam.
- You should consume salt in a limited amount.
- You should eat non-spicy and refreshing foods.
- In addition, being vegetarian is recommended for Pitta.
- You can exercise during the cooler hours of the day.
- You should stay away from serious discussions. You should spend time with happy and cheerful people. For example, if you feel really nervous during the discussion, you can go for a walk and come back when you feel calm.
- You can try the Pranayama technique. You can rub your forehead and feet with Brahmi oil and Pitta oil.
“Some hot and spicy foods avoid are peppers, tomatoes, citrus fruit (aside from lime), sour fruits, vinegar, garlic, fermented foods, pungent (hot) flavors (i.e. tabasco sauce, cayenne pepper, dark pepper), over the top salt, fried food and red meat.
Increase consumption of cooling foods: Some extraordinary cooling foods include coconut (oil, water and meat), lime, cilantro, parsley, ghee, sweet lassi, organic whole milk, watermelon, cucumber, pomegranate juice, bitter greens, basmati rice, dates, figs, sweet mango and avocado.”⁶
The Energy of Lubrication
- Kapha is an energy related to the structure of the body which is formed from Earth and Water. It holds the cells together. It provides water for all body parts and systems. It lubricates joints, moisturizes the skin and maintains immunity.
- Kapha in balance encourages love, calmness and forgiveness. Kapha that is out of balance creates attachment, greed and envy.
- A person with dominant Kapha Life Force is calm, tolerant and forgiving. But they may have a tendency to be lethargic.
- Kapha people are slow to understand but they have excellent long term memory.
- In the external world, they can manage to earn and hold the money thanks to their groundedness, stability and attachment.
- If Kapha Dosha is your main life force, you are likely to have ailments such as asthma and other breathing disorders, cancer, diabetes, nausea after eating and obesity.
Suggestions for Kapha Energy
- Kapha is heavy, slow, cool, smooth and delicate. Light, dry and warm foods are generally recommended.
- You should do lots of exercise.
- You should avoid heavy foods.
- You should be active.
- You should avoid dairy products.
- You should stay away from iced drinks or foods.
- You should diversify your routines.
- You should avoid fatty and oily foods.
- You should eat light and dry foods.
- You shouldn’t take a nap during the day.
- You should keep yourself warm.
- Making Ayurvedic Neti Pot every morning can help balance Kapha Dosha. Nasal cleansing ensures that all kinds of congestion from the lungs and respiratory tract are removed.
“Diet to be consumed
Consume low fat milk. Always boil milk before drinking it which makes it easy to digest, try adding turmeric or ginger to the milk before boiling it in order to diminish any Kapha-increasing qualities in the milk.
Eat lighter fruits like apples and pears. Avoid heavy and sour fruits like oranges, bananas, dates, figs, pineapples, coconuts, melons and avocados. These fruits can increase Kapha in the body.
Reduce consuming sugar products since they aggravate kapha in the body. However, honey can be consumed, it is excellent in balancing kapha.
Beans can be taken except tofu.
Avoid eating nuts.
Grains can be taken especially barley and millet. Avoid consuming too much wheat and rice because it increases kapha.
All spices can be taken except for salt.
Avoid tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes as they increase kapha.”⁷
Ayurvedic practitioners create a treatment plan tailored for you. They care about your physical and emotional state, your main life force and the balance between the three doshas. “The goal of treatment is to cleanse your body of undigested food, which can stay in your body and lead to illness. The cleansing process—called “panchakarma”— is designed to reduce your symptoms and restore harmony and balance.”⁸
Which Dosha do you think is more dominant in you? 🙂
We strongly recommend that you research the education and experience of the Ayurvedic practitioner who will guide you beforehand. We also suggest that you find out if Ayurvedic medicines and supplements interact with the Western medicines you are using. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding and if you are seeking Ayurvedic therapy to treat a child, you should consult healthcare professionals.
“While Ayurveda can have positive effects when used as a complementary therapy in combination with standard, conventional medical care, it should not replace standard, conventional medical care, especially when treating serious conditions.”⁹
“It must be emphasized that Ayurveda is not a substitute for Western allopathic medicine. There are many instances when the disease process and acute conditions can best be treated with drugs or surgery. Ayurveda can be used in conjunction with Western medicine to make a person stronger and less likely to be afflicted with disease and/or to rebuild the body after being treated with drugs or surgery.”¹⁰