The beauty of Ayurveda is that it encompasses every aspect of life so actually, it’s already in your life! To “discover” Ayurveda means to recognize and honour it. Ayurveda can have many beginnings, from curiousity to health concerns that prompt deeper learning. Regardless of your path, Ayurveda allows you to live life from an entirely different perspective.
To begin, it helps to personalize your experience by getting a better understanding of your predominant dosha. And while your dosha is dynamic, understanding the basic principles will help guide your way.
Ayurvedic Learning Styles and Resources
One way to recognize how Ayurveda plays a role in your life is to consider your learning style, which is based on your dosha. For example, if your predominant dosha is Vata, you may be drawn to creative ways of learning where you can think big and fully express yourself. If the Vata elements are out of balance, you may start multiple projects, have trouble focusing, and find it challenging to complete your projects. One resource to help balance Vata is through a daily meditation practice. Whilst it is best to do this in the morning and/or evening, meditation can be a solo, internal practice or you can use a guided, free meditation application, like Insight Timer. To meditate without external guidance, begin with 15 minutes:
- Sit in a comfortable, upright position (engage your core to increase the energetic flow)
- Observe the surroundings with your eyes and ears
- Place your hands on your knees, palms facing up, touch the tips of the thumb and the index finger
- Relax your muscles, close your eyes and bring your awareness inward
- Allow the movement of your thoughts to come and go
If your main dosha is Pitta, you tend to thrive when you are using your analytical mind. For example, facts, structure, and connecting the dots are exciting to you. You learn best when you can apply high attention to detail and as a natural leader, you enjoy sharing what you learn with others. If the Pitta elements become out of balance, you tend to overwork yourself, set high expectations without flexibility, or you may get upset when others don’t see your perspective. One resource to balance Pitta is to have fun! Consider putting time on your calendar (every day!) to spend time in nature, connect with friends, hang out with animals or practice random acts of kindness. Getting involved with organizations like Random Acts is a great way to balance your desire for structure and need for fun.
If Kapha is your predominant dosha, you are drawn to deep, steady forms of learning. You appreciate analysis and have the ability to remember what you learn for years to come. In a group setting, you are the anchor that keeps everyone grounded. If the Kapha elements are out of balance, you may become unmotivated, stubborn, or depressed. One resource to balance Kapha is to spice things up! This line of thinking can be applied to many aspects of your life, for example, the food you digest (and don’t digest) can play a major role in your life. Eating warm foods, both energetically and in temperature will help you feel light and stay motivated. Also, cooking is a great way for Kapha types to honor their desire to nurture and be nurtured. The Ayurvedic Cookbook is a great resource that provides nutritional information from an Ayurvedic perspective, explores the doshas, and doshic specific recipes.
One Woman’s Journey
As I mentioned, we often discover Ayurveda, (or as I like to put it, Ayurveda discovers us), due to pure curiosity or a devastating health concern – more often than not, it’s a combination of both.
Sal’s journey toward Ayurveda began after she developed a stress-induced ulcer; she was overworked and she didn’t have the tools or know-how to handle it with grace. Leading up to the ulcer, she implemented a vegetarian diet that she thought was a healthy alternative to her meat-based diet. However, she didn’t know how to introduce it in a nurturing way, so it caused more suffering, which then brought on insomnia. She kept saying, “I just want to be happy.” She didn’t understand how to cultivate happiness from within.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, all of Sal’s doshas were out of balance. It began with too much Vata (air and space) in her mind and body. She was having racing thoughts based on fear, combined with cold hands and feet, and no desire to be creative or connect with herself. In addition, her Kapha elements (earth and water) were depleted. She didn’t have compassion for herself, her mind and body were unstable, and she was constantly depleted. Lastly, there was too much Pitta (fire and water) in her mind and body. She was so driven to succeed that she didn’t have the space to think outside of herself. She had chosen rigorous exercises which exacerbated her Pitta and she was trying to control everything. And though she thought she was managing insomnia, her ulcer made her stop and reevaluate everything, which led her to Ayurveda.
Sal’s learning style was predominantly Pitta based, so she thrived where structure and play were introduced. She enjoyed learning how to implement Ayurveda into her life by changing her diet to create more grounding. She practiced yoga rather than intense exercises. She made time to meditate and connect to nature and she performed abhyanga regularly. As she worked toward balancing her diet and lifestyle, she used herbs to help her sleep. Eventually, she began trusting her experience and her life began to flow in the most beautiful ways.
Whether you’re coming from a place a curiousity, or you need great change, there’s no wrong time to welcome Ayurveda into your life, it’s ready when you are!
All material provided in this article is for informational purposes only. Direct consultation of a qualified Ayurvedic Health Counselor should be sought for any specific questions or issues.