Ayurveda,which means “Knowledge/Science of Life” is the ancient holistic healing system of India that has been know for over 5000 years. It is, I believe, the root of all major healing systems, including traditional Western and Chinese medicine. I’ve learned from Jon Kabat-Zinn that medicine and meditation come from the same Indo-European root: medicine as “restoration of right inward measure “; meditation as “perception of right inward measure”.
The body maintains a state of balance by depending on feedback. Communication occurs even at the level of cells. Learning to pay attention to the wisdom of the body and its messages can allow you to receive information that can direct you to a state of greater health and well being. The practices of Ayurveda consider each person’s unique make-up and circumstances and recommend a comprehensive healing plan that encompasses mind, body, breath and spirit. It goes even further and deeper than our western notion of “Preventive Medicine”, which often seems to be a search for diseases already established though perhaps in early, treatable stages. The ayurvedic belief is that by the time disease manifests in the physical body, all of the layers of existence have already been affected. By learning to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a personal yoga/breath practice and a healthy diet for your specific needs and make-up, it is potentially possible to prevent diseases from manifesting at all.
I have been studying and practicing Ayurveda for my own healing for 10 years, and find it to fit with my belief that all practices should be customized to fit each body in each moment, recognizing the role of mind, breath, season, food and environment on absolutely everything. An Ayurvedic “prescription” may well contain a personalized yoga/meditation practice as well as dietary recommendations, and recommended breath and sound practices.
The practice of Ayurveda offers us the opportunity to shift paradigms, focusing on wholeness, completeness, and restoring balance rather than on the model of brokenness, “fixing” disease by symptom alleviation without considering the root cause of the dysfunction. The practices of Ayurveda go hand in hand with yoga and mindfulness practices, and are not in any way in opposition to Western medicine. On the contrary, practicing self care by understanding the role of thoughts and lifestyle on the maintenance of health can enhance any and all traditional health care recommendations, therefore allowing us to create a sense of deep well being.
I have just completed a 60 hour certificate in Ayurvedic Nutrition with Amadea Morningstar, internationally known author and teacher and am in the process of developing Ayurvedic workshops to encompass all that I have learned-Stay tuned!