Like most Yogini’s, I have always been fascinated by it’s sister philosophy of healing, Ayurveda. Along with yoga, ayurveda is based on the Vedas, Sanskrit texts that date as far back as 1,500 BCE. In short, ayurveda is the science and yoga is the practice of the science. Therefore, when you take ayurvedic principles into your yoga practice, it creates a deeper, richer, experience on the mat that you can take off the mat into your everyday life.
A few months ago, my Orla colleague, Karolina wrote a wonderful article about the basics of ayurveda. It definitely peeked my curiosity, but the more I read about this ancient practice, the more confused I became. Dosha, Tattvas, trigunas; all these terms were like a foreign language to me, so I was delighted to find out about the Workshop on Sunday 25th October led by Dr Dacia Dalla Libera M.D.
As a certified Ayurvedic doctor and Neurologist, Dacia teaches at yoga and ayurveda schools in Italy, Switzerland and India. She has written a plethora of scientific papers on the Science of ayurveda and is considered as a leading specialist in her field.
Our Workshop group was made up of around 20 people with a mixture of backgrounds and knowledge all curious to know how they could encompass ayurvedic principles into their everyday lives.
Dacia began by explaining the history of ayurveda and the 3 dosha’s , Karolina’s article explains this in further detail, but the 3 main dosha’s are:-
Vata (Ether/Air)– Principal of Movement
Pitta (Fire/Water) – Principal of Transformation
Kapha (Water/Earth) – Principal of Cohesion
Every dosha is present in all of us, but usually one or two are more dominant and prevalent from our initial conception, right up until the time of our death. Once we are aware of our dosha, we become able to generate the circumstances for our own ‘optimal’ state of well being and ‘prevent’ diseases occurring rather than simply treating the resulting symptoms. My primary dosha is vatta and when it is balanced I am empathetic, creative and intuitive. In contrast when my dosha becomes imbalanced, I may feel anxious, unstable, nervous and even fearful. Unchecked, these imbalances may manifest themselves into physical symptoms such as; intestinal problems, aching joints, back pain and trembling.
When I read this description out to my husband, his instant response was, “What is this Sorcery?” So it’s fair to say, it’s pretty spot on when it comes to me.
Imbalances in the other two dosha’s include; Acidity and inflammation in pitta and sinus and respiratory problems in kapha, all of which can be eliminated by following the basic principals related to our dosha’s, meditating, exercising and, of course, eating the right diet.
An ayurvedic diet focuses on the different food groups; sweet/sour/salty/bitter and astringent. Depending on your dosha, some of these foods should be the main stay of your diet, whilst others should be eliminated completely. The ayurvedic diet, is also dependent on time of day, with the 3 dosha types being more active at certain times. One rule of thumb for all dosha types is to eat lunch as your main meal and ideally between the hours of 10am – 14.00pm.
The ayurvedic diet is somewhat complex, so rather than turn this ‘brief overview’ into War and Peace, watch this space for more information on the different food groups and how they relate to each dosha.
In the meantime, I would recommend a few books to find out more about how Ayurveda works:-
• Boost Your Vitality with Ayurveda: Sarah Lie – 29 Jan 2010
• Ayurveda, the Science of Self-healing: A Practical Guide: Vasant Lad – 1 Oct 1987
• Perfect Health: Dr Deepak Chopra – 1 May 2001
You can also contact Dacia directly through her facebook page.
To be continued…