People often ask me the question, what is Ayurveda? Ayurveda is a theory of medicine based on habits and imbalances developed in ancient India. What makes Ayurveda so unique is that it studies your body's reactions to foods, and interprets them medicinally. Not the biochemical reaction, which is western medicine's approach, but your experience of food. In other words, Ayurveda studies how food makes you feel after you swallow it. Most Ayurveda practitioners can talk at length about how your experience of watermelon, for example, might differ from cantaloupe. Ayurveda has a rich vocabulary to help you become aware of how your body reacts to food, so you can select foods that make you feel better.
Another benefit of Ayurveda is how it puts all of your signs and symptoms into perspective, into a framework that includes your whole body and mental outlook. What does this mean? Usually people make a list of problems they want to address and then try to fix them one by one. Ayurveda takes a step back, analyzes the list as a whole, and looks at how your symptoms are interrelated - literally how your symptoms are rooted in a habitual state of imbalance. Ayurveda takes a categorical approach, finding the 1,2 or 3 patterns matching your health problems. This has the advantage that, instead of having 20 answers to 20 problems, Ayurveda finds 2-3 elegant solutions that address all of your problems across the board, greatly simplifying your health and well being.
You may have heard about Ayurvedic body types or doshas as they are called. This is also an example of Ayurveda's categorical approach. Ayurveda looks at your body's shape, size, bone structure, appetite, and food cravings. Then Ayurveda tries to explain what these characteristics say about your body as a whole by matching these characteristics into one of three body types: Vata, Pitta, or Kapha. Starting with your body type, Ayurveda tries to predict your body's reaction to food and lifestyle choices, your strengths and weaknesses, your emotional tendencies, and the types of remedies likely to work for you.
Ayurveda's greatest strengths are in the areas of digestion, skin care, stress management, and fertility. In fact, Ayurveda offers some of the most advanced and cutting edge digestive health solutions out there.
You can't take the doctor home with you, but what you do at home matters. Ayurveda is a do-it-yourself health and wellness system that facilitates self care at home. It is an easy to understand, simple to do, inexpensive and practical approach used for prevention of disease, recovery from illness, and to improve vitality. It is not just a list home remedies, but an approach to help you figure out how to make choices.
As you start your journey in Ayurveda, you'll love how great Ayurveda makes you feel, and the balance it brings to your life.
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About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.