The World’s Most Ancient Medicine System: Ayurveda

Trish shares her learnings about Ayurveda, the “mother of all healing.”

Let me begin by saying that this is a mere introduction to the vastness of the practice of optimizing human vitality for body, mind and spirit. You may have heard of homeopathy, holistic medicine, and the practice of yoga, but there is one system, the “mother of all healing,” from which these natural healing methodologies were born. Ayurveda, translated from Sanskrit as “the science of life,” is an ancient system of natural medicine which originated in India over 5,000 years ago.

Ayurveda encompasses all aspects of a person’s health with an emphasis on preventative behavioral, lifestyle, and dietary practices to address physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Similar to our approach to wellbeing at Good Psyche, Ayurveda considers body, mind and soul equally important in bringing harmony to your quality of life.

I took an interest in Ayurveda six years ago when I discovered the concept of doshas and the power of understanding how your dosha can either empower or weaken you, depending on how you feed it. Let me explain. Ayurveda curates healing, balancing and prevention plans centered around three main constitutional types, called doshas, that relate physiological tendencies to behaviors, preferences and personality traits.

All three doshas exist in varying balances within all of us, and can shift throughout our lives depending on situational factors, but we all have a primary or natural-born dosha, called our Prakriti, and our situational or nurture dosha, called our Vikruti. The goal of Ayurveda is to balance our situational Vikruti to match our natural Prakriti. For example, Pitta is the Prakriti dosha I was born with, and Vata is my Vikruti dosha. You can probably self-identify your natural-born Prakriti dosha after reading the descriptions I’ll get to momentarily.

What’s the benefit of knowing your doshas? Ayurvedic medicine prescribes various foods, herbs, and lifestyle choices that address imbalances in your dosha qualities. For example, my primary dosha is Pitta, or the fire dosha. When out of whack, we tend to be snappy, carry excess heat, and over-indulge in salty, spicy, and acidic foods, which only increases the heat in our bodies. To remain in balance, keep our cool, and not spit fire on innocent bystanders, Ayurveda encourages Pittas to consume more cooling foods such as melon, coconut, celery, cucumbers, rice, ghee, and freshwater fish. We must also learn the importance of rest, self-care, and make room for unscheduled time and spontaneity. Being in balance will surface the best traits of our dosha.

Which dosha do you associate with most?

Vata: air + ether
Physicality: Slender, sometimes lanky build, dry skin and hair, often cold with cold hands and feet.
Traits when in balance: Creative, artistic, spiritual, intuitive, visionary.
When out of balance: Indecisive, restless, anxious, flaky.

Pitta: fire + water
Physicality: Builds muscle easily, oily skin and hair, prone to inflammation.
Traits when in balance: Ambitious, active, organized, focused, natural leader, holds oneself to high standards, hypervigilant about time.
When out of balance: Prone to anger, irritable, impatient, demanding, intimidating. Susceptible to burnout and adrenal fatigue.

Kapha: earth + water
Physicality: Heavier build, soft features, slow metabolism, often cold
Traits when in balance: Selfless, loyal, patient, reliable, affectionate, generous
When out of balance: Harbors emotions, prone to depression, people pleasing, tends to overeat and default to a sedentary lifestyle.

We all experience each of the doshas throughout various stages and scenarios in our life. There are various moments from today alone where I exhibited characteristics of each. There is power in identifying where each of your doshas may be in need of balancing.

This has been, of course, a very high level introduction to Ayurveda, as there is so much to learn about the oldest medicine system in the world. Our mission at Good Psyche is to elevate your state of consciousness and quality of life, and I have found immense relief and actionable insight in understanding both the dark and light sides of my doshas. I’ll report back on my journey to balance my Pitta/Vata energies and share more on my exploration of Ayurveda.

Until then, I encourage you to check out Sahara Rose on IG, her website where you can take quizzes to learn more about your dharma, doshas and archetype (we love quizzes), and the official Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda, which she wrote.

Share your results with us on IG!

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