I began studying Ayurveda in 2013 after a friend recommended that I read Deepak Chopra's book, Perfect Health. I started to integrate some of the diet and lifestyle recommedations into my life and, almost immediately, I felt less stressed out. I wanted to know more, so I enrolled in a Foundations of Ayurveda Course at Kripalu, in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. I loved it so much, I quit my job and embarked on the Ayurvedic Health Counselor Program.
Ayurveda simply translated from Sanskrit to English is "the science of life" (Ayur = life, Veda = science, wisdom or knowledge). It originated in India 5000 years ago and is the oldest form of holistic alternative medicine. Those who practice Ayurveda believe in keeping the body, mind, senses and spirit in equilibrium with nature.
Ayurveda provides guidelines on daily and seasonal routines, diet, exercise, and behavior based on each person's unique constitution or prakrti. Each prakrti is based on the three energies that govern the environment: movement, transformation, and structure, or Vata, Pitta and Kapha in Sanskrit. According to Ayurveda, each of us has a unique proportion of these three forces that shapes our nature.
An important goal of Ayurveda is to identify a person’s ideal state of balance, determine where they are out of balance, and offer interventions using diet, lifestyle, herbs, aromatherapy, massage, yoga, pranayama and meditation. One of my favourite books that explains the ABC's of Ayurveda, in addition to Perfect Health, is Eat Taste Heal. The authors are an M.D., an Ayurvedic Practitioner and a Chef. They offer a grounded, informative explanation of Ayurveda, from its roots in ancient wisdom to modern day applications in the kitchen. It is also a great cookbook full of delicious recipes. Enjoy.