I promised you a variety of different topics here on the blog. Today I’ll be discussing a topic that I have lots to say about – my Ayurvedic experience. The reason for writing about this is twofold. 1) It’ll give you a bit more background about why I eat the way I do and a bit more insight about why I became so into yoga; and 2) it has made such a profound impact on my lifestyle, and I hope that sharing about it will help somebody else.
This is likely going to be a topic that will span multiple posts, so I will start by giving you a bit of background about why I even approached Ayurveda in the first place, and then going into detail about what Ayurveda is.
It all started when my stomach did not cooperate with me. Years of stomachaches and not knowing why it was happening or what was going on. In 2014, I had several months of consistent stomach issues, and finally decided to go to the doctor. A series of blood tests was performed and all came out negative except for the one for Celiac Disease, which was positive. I then went to a gastroenterologist who performed a genetic test to confirm that I did in fact have Celiac Disease. The test came back positive. Ever since then, I’ve been on a gluten-free diet.
The new diet helped for a bit, until the stomachaches started again less than a year later. I went back to the gastroenterologist with a list of foods that were not agreeing with me. The response I received, after testing negative for SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) was just to eliminate those foods.
I was so frustrated and ready to get some answers. A relative was familiar with my situation and suggested to me to approach an Ayurvedic practitioner. I was open to anything, so I went for it.
What is Ayurveda? I always tell people that it is “Indian holistic medicine.” But to give you a bit more detail: Ayurveda is a mind-body health system which originated in India over 5,000 years ago. Ayurveda is a science of life (in Sanskrit, Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge) and places emphasis on creating a state of balance with the mind and body. In Ayurveda, there are three types of energy that are found in everyone and everything: vata, pitta, and kapha. These energies play a role in the balance and imbalance that happens in our bodies and minds. There are many factors that act to create imbalance in our bodies, and Ayurveda helps us to understand when our body is in an imbalanced state, and how to bring it back in balance. To summarize: Balanced = healthy/ordered. Imbalanced = disease/disordered.
What really stood out to me about the Ayurvedic system was how personalized the approach is. It is not about treating symptoms; rather, it is about assessing each person’s lifestyle as a whole by evaluating nutrition, sleep, exercise, work schedule, stress levels, and so much more. The three types of energy come into play as well, as typically everyone has one or two dominant energies, which dictate how the body responds when it is imbalanced. This then gives us an idea of what needs to be done to shift the body to a balanced state.
I hope I haven’t lost you yet!
TL;DR: The Ayurvedic system of medicine evaluates each person individually, getting to the root of the issue rather than treating a symptom. This appealed to me after unsuccessful experiences with Western medicine.
I think that’s enough background for now. Stay tuned for the second post in this series, in which I will delve a little bit deeper about what I learned about my body type and how that impacted my diet and lifestyle.