What is Ayurveda?

In my “About” page I mention that I have always had an interest in how we are all the same and yet so different.  The most pivotal and defining example of this was when I was a teenager. I had an aunt who was battling cancer.

Although I had lost my grandparents by then, this was my first brush with mortality of a close family member that wasn’t an “old person” – or someone you “expected” to die as horrible as that sounds.  It gave me pause and I really wanted to understand how someone that I adored could be suffering so much.

I remember seeing a news report at the time where the health benefits of broccoli were being touted as THE best way to prevent cancer.  Well my aunt ate more broccoli than anyone I knew so why was she in such a battle with cancer? It didn’t make sense.  I believed there was something more to it. I just didn’t know what.

Over the years as her battle went on I kept searching for answers.  Why were eggs (or coffee or red wine) so bad for us and then….they were OK.  Butter? Bad…no, good…..no, not good…..  Why did it seem there was conflicting information being given to us all the time?  How could some people thrive on running long distances and others were more suited to sprinting?  I couldn’t run either, yet I could swim like a fish even when some members of my family didn’t even know how to swim.  You like the heat and I get physically sick from being overheated in the same conditions. So how could a one-size-fits-all mentality work on everyone – for everything?  

One day about 20 years ago I was reading a book and it mentioned how we are all made up of unique “constitutions”.  The author described the elements that make up all of us (earth, fire, wind, water and space) and explained constitutions as unique combinations of these elements.

fiveelements

This resonated and I read more – and am still reading and learning and teaching this concept all these years later.

The key for me was that each of us has a unique combination of things that make us who we are – but they are the same elements that make up everyone else.  It’s how we are all the same as humans and yet unique as individuals.

That led me to a study of an ancient holistic system of living called Ayurveda.  I didn’t even know how say it as I was reading the texts and trying to learn more.  (Incidentally, it is like this:  AH – UR – VAY – DA). Ayurveda stresses a holistic approach to health.  It is very different from the “take a pill to fix it” mentality we have seemed to adopt in our healthcare system- a mentality which can often mask underlying issues that can ironically take you further from health.  Throughout this blog, I will introduce you to Ayurveda and how you might be able to incorporate some of this ancient wisdom in your quest for wellness.

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