AYURVEDA THEORY AND PRACTICE

AYURVEDA:Ayurveda means the ‘science of life’ in Sanskrit. It is based on the 5 Elements Theory that all living and non-living matter is made up of earth, fire, water, air, and ether. Working out which elements predominate in your own body is just the beginning. Once you know this, you will also learn which foods will energize, balance, aid weight-loss, irritate or aggravate. It’s fascinating stuff! Ayurveda offers a completely holistic way of living. All Ayurvedic advice considers not just the effect upon our body, but also the effect on our emotional and spiritual health. I would never want to eat in a certain way solely to lose weight or alter my appearance – the really crucial thing for me is that I FEEL wonderful in my own skin, and have a calmer and happier outlook ( Holistic approch). Recent research has identified the link between our gut health and our mental health is (95% of serotonin is made in our gastrointestinal tract). Remarkably, given that Ayurveda a 5000-year old medical science, they knew that our gut health held the key to our wellbeing. The Ayurvedic diet focuses on promoting optimal digestion and metabolism (called Agni) but also on eating for your own unique body type. It is also high in sattvic foods, which naturally leave us feeling happier, calmer, peaceful and positive; happiness is a happy stomach!Start by adding smart spices to your food, and adapt the herbs and spices you use season by season. Then start adapting your daily menu to include more sattvic foods and dosha-supporting ingredients – sattvic foods are whole, pure, organic and uplift our senses, they are full of life’s energy, but always ‘light’ on the stomach and easily digested: nuts and nut milk, seeds, organic seasonal fruits and vegetables, legumes (mung or yellow split lentils ideally) and herbal teas. By doing these simple things more often than not, and eating the foods that best support you seasonally and individually, you will be giving yourself a solid and strong foundation of good health that you can then build on if Ayurveda continues to interest you.Ayurveda is seasonal, it is individualistic, it is about promoting optimal gut health – all things that we know, in modern life, are important if we are to eat healthily in a practical and long-term way. It is also kind, moderate and adaptable – which is why it’s so perfect for modern life. There are foods that do not best support your body and those that do, and it’s about balancing the two. Food is medicine, and we need it more than ever in the 21st century! Ayurveda is a realistic and livable foundation for modern life – and it’s so simple to adopt.Ultimately, the most important thing that Ayurveda helps us with though, is in decoding the language of our own bodies. It encourages us to adapt our diets based upon how we feel. It makes us listen more closely. It aids us in understanding why we crave certain foods – if you are serially imbalanced it is very likely you’ll continually crave one or two of the 6 Ayurvedic Tastes that do you the least good. For me, being predominantly the fire element, when I start to crave very salty or very sour foods I know I need to listen up and work on lowering my stress levels with the right tastes (so that is more sweet, bitter & astringent foods). It has helped me understand my body in a much deeper, and more appreciative way. Ayurveda soon becomes a second language that then becomes second nature, and, for me, has resulted in an outlook that is calmer, a mindset that is stronger, and body that feels lighter and happier – and, in a truly holistic sense, a more balanced self, every day, regardless of what life throws at me.Find your Dosha:Ayurveda, or ‘life-knowledge’ in Sanskrit, is a system of holistic medicine that has evolved over millennia and is still widely practiced today in many parts of the world. The accumulation of thousands of years of knowledge has resulted in a science and philosophy that have been continuously proven and perfected. It is also being increasingly adopted in the West due to its effectiveness as a natural form of healing that complements modern Western practices. At the core of Ayurveda lies the concept of achieving harmony between the mind, body, and soul. When these three are not in balance with each other, we can see and feel the effects on our health and wellbeing, both internally and externally.Ayurveda is based on the belief that in order to achieve and maintain balance, we should pay attention to our lifestyle as a whole. Regular exercise, rejuvenating sleep, and a nourishing diet all play an important role, as does look after your wellbeing according to your dosha type.Dosha is the name given to the energies that govern every individual. There are primarily three types of dosha: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each type corresponds to a set of physical and emotional traits. Often one dosha dominates, however some individuals find that a combination of two, or in rare cases all three, doshas best defines their character.When our particular dosha is balanced, our mind, body, and soul are in perfect harmony, which is revealed through radiant, healthy skin. Yet when our dosha is imbalanced, we notice the ill-effects, including on our skin. Being aware of our dosha type means we can make choices to help balance these energies to achieve wellness, peace and calm, all of which contribute to younger-looking, stress-free, beautiful skin. Ayurveda Tip: Face massage!Forehead: Press your left middle and ring fingers together and do the same with your right middle and ring fingers. Alternatingly massage from the bridge of your nose between the eyebrows upwards towards your hairlineEyes:Place your ring finger beneath the eyebrow where it meets the nose and glide outwards using a very light touch, following your eye socket around beneath the eye and back to the starting pointCheeks: Use your index finger to massage from chin to nose along the smile line, then use your fingertips to massage your cheeks upwards from the edge of mouth to the templesNose: Starting at the side of each nostril, use your index and middle fingers to massage up the length of the nose continuing on to the middle of the foreheadChin and Jaw: Place the index finger of your right hand in the cleft above your chin, and the middle finger beneath the chin. Slide your fingers up the jawline to your right ear. Repeat on the left side using the left handNeck: Lightly massage upwards from collarbone to chinTo finish: Using all 4 fingers of the right-hand sweep the fingers from left to right across the forehead, then use the left hand and sweep fingers from right to left across the forehead. You can also gently run your fingertips down your face. This creates a relaxing sensation of tension draining away from your face, leaving you calm and balanced

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