What is Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a science of life (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge). It offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay vibrant and healthy while realizing their full human potential. – Deepak Chopra

Before the discoveries of modern science, medicine was often administered by sages, priests, or herbalists. These prehistoric doctors often specialized in just one ailment, unlike the doctors of today. And while these practitioners rarely were able to understand the chemical properties and processes that they employed, the vast body of medical knowledge that existed did in fact provide healthful suggestions and accurate diagnoses for many people.

Ayurveda was the traditional system of medicine for modern India. Rooted in powerful herbs, theoretical conceptualizations of ailments, and general philosophies on how to best live life, this system of medicine still maintains popularity, and is largely reinforced by modern science. This makes Ayurveda an excellent complement for modern medicine, especially in regards to living in the fullness of life.

Simple Principles that Define Ayurvedic Medicine

Ayurveda is more than a doctrine of identifying an ailment and providing a cure. Rather, it offers a comprehensive set of suggestions, guidelines, and principles to live your life by. Most are rooted in common sense principles, and are easy to adopt:

  • Eat a Colorful, Whole Food Diet: Ayurveda recognizes the benefits in diversifying your plate with many different foods that are many different colors. The point is not only to be aesthetically pleasing, but also because colors in food represent different nutrient profiles and antioxidants.
  • Practice Mindfulness: In addition to meditation, it’s vital to understand your mind-body connection and how to listen to your body. Take time to quiet the mind, listen to the sounds of the soul, and be aware and present in the moment at hand.
  • Rest Well: Core to good health is good sleep. Ayurveda recognizes that sleep is the steward of the soul, and getting enough deep, refreshing sleep is essential for the proper functioning of body and mind. Avoid using substances to help you sleep, as they can create dependance and affect your body’s natural rhythms.
  • Practice Healthy Rising Routines: A lot of how we feel during the day depends directly on how we start it. Wake at the right time, and practice healthy routines that strengthen your body and immune system throughout the day.
  • Understand your Digestive Power: “Agni” is our digestive energy or fire. This is what takes the goodness from food and puts it to work in our bodies. Support your digestive health by dining at a moderate pace, consuming hot water and ginger throughout the day, and providing your body with exercise daily. Practices like these strengthen that digestive fire.
  • Take it Easy and Avoid Stress: Notably, Ayurveda places emphasis on avoiding stressfulness or our human attempts to over control the Universe. An analogy can be seen right outside your window – the grass doesn’t try to grow, it just grows. In the same way, just be yourself. Take what comes, and let go of what departs you in life. Working toward possessiveness and the avoiding the reality that you must accept changes in life wastes energy and clouds the judgement of a healthy mind.

Practicing Ayurveda with Modern Medicine

Fortunately, developments of modern science help add understanding, clarity, and support to many of the principles expounded by Ayurveda. And in the same way one gives ode to these developments, one should also understand that modern medicine too offers powerful solutions for health and wellness. (Occasionally, there can be a tension between these belief systems – but it’s not necessary, as both can support to each other and ultimately help you lead a longer, healthier, and happier life.)

That considered, feel encouraged to adopt Ayurvedic practices into your life while also taking advantage of modern medicine. At the crux, they both encourage effective ways to provide your body with various nutrients, stress-free environments, and healthy daily activities.

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