Ancient Ayurvedic Basics

Find balance by understanding the five elements, doshas, and how they correlate to form a healthy body.


| March 2018


Eat your way to increased energy, balanced emotions, and an overall state of calm and relaxation. In Ayurveda, India’s ancient healing system, food plays a central role in physical and mental well-being. Everyday Ayurveda Cooking for a Calm, Clear Mind: 100 Simple Sattvic Recipes (Shambhala, 2018) by Kate O’Donnell, a national certified Ayurvedic practitioner, lays out in tasty detail how a healthy diet can promote lucidity and how unwise food choices can compromise mental awareness. Profound experiences of Ashtanga yoga and Ayurveda, as well as an avid interest in the healing powers of food, have inspired O’Donnell’s study and practice of the ancient arts for the past twenty years.

While Ayurveda, India’s indigenous health system, is a vast and ancient subject, much of its common-sense wisdom is applicable today. My favorite thing about Ayurveda is the central role that food plays in well-being. Whether you like to cook or not, food is medicine for the mind, and a little intention in your diet can truly change your perspective on life. Harmonizing the energies of the mind can relieve stress, increase joy, and foster spiritual connection. What’s not to love?

To ensure success, we’ll be keeping our discussion simple in both theory and practice. This brief introduction will set the stage for our exploration of the mind, how food affects the mind, and how you can apply Ayurveda in your own life to create mental balance.

The Origins of Ayurveda

Ayurveda (pronounced “EYE-yer-VAY-da”) may be the oldest continually practiced health system in the world, dating from two thousand to five thousand years ago. The earliest information on Ayurveda is contained in the Rig Veda, one of four bodies of ancient scripture that were orally transmitted in lyrical phrases called sutras (threads). The Vedas are believed to originate from the rishis, sages in deep states of meditation. 

Ayurveda can be loosely translated as the “science of life.” The classical text the Charaka Samhita describes Ayur, or “life,” as being made up of four parts: the physical body, the mind, the soul, and the senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste). Contrary to Western models, which have traditionally focused mostly on the physical body, Ayurveda has always given attention to the health of all four of the fundamental aspects of life. The system looks at the whole person — using diet, biorhythms, herbal medicine, psychology, wholesome lifestyle, surgery, and therapeutic bodywork to address the root cause of disease. Ayurvedic hospitals and clinics abound in India, where Western medicine is often used in conjunction with the traditional methods. Whereas Western medicine excels at resolving acute situations, Ayurveda stands out as a preventive medicine — seeking to halt the pro­gression from imbalance to disease by addressing the underlying causes early on.

Thousands of Years of Trial and Error

I will occasionally quote from classic texts to remind us that this information comes from thousands of years ago and was collected over millennia by both scientists and sages. Most commonly, I use the Charaka Samhita, a seven-volume set that describes pathology and treatment for thousands of ailments, as well as a philosophical background for Ayurveda. Information on the texts quoted — the Charaka Samhita, the Ashtanga Hrdayam (a compilation of teachings from the Charaka and Sushruta Samhitas), and the Bhagavad Gita.





mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!

LEARN MORE



Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265