Create balance in your life by getting practical with Ayurveda
Introduction to the 5 pathways of Ayurveda
Have you ever wondered how the ayurvedic approach to creating health and balance in your life works?
Ayurveda is based on thousands of years of old Indian philosophy - the Sankhya philosophy.
Sankhya philosophy states that everything around us - the whole universe - is made up of the 5 elements and this includes us!
These 5 elements are Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth.
They form and stand for different qualities of manifestation. Within our bodies, these elements combine in a very individual way to form our personal doshic constitution. We all need all three doshas to be active within us, what varies from person to person is how predominant each of the doshas is.
- Vata dosha - air & ether
- Pitta dosha - fire & water
- Kapha dosha - earth & water
Depending on which dosha is predominant in our bodies, the qualities of the corresponding elements will be predominant as well.
This is a very dynamic system that can change over time and sometimes even from moment to moment.
Due to our modern-day lifestyles and diets it can easily happen that our natural doshic constitution gets out of balance, which usually means that one or more of our doshas get aggravated.
Aggravated or increased doshas will start to show up as symptoms of unease or even disease within us.
For example, if your vata dosha is aggravated you might experience symptoms like nervousness, your mind and thoughts become more erratic, you have difficulties to focus.
If your pitta dosha is aggravated you might show symptoms of inflammation and too much heat and acidity in the body.
Aggravated kapha dosha might show in feeling lethargic, unmotivated, and heavy.
According to Ayurveda and the Sankhya philosophy, we can use everything around us to create balance in our bodies and to ease the symptoms of imbalance.
Ayurveda uses 5 pathways to recreate this balance:
- Yoga, Meditation & Pranayama
- Herbs & spices
We can use these 5 approaches to put opposites into place so the aggravation of the dosha will calm down and the symptoms will disappear.
Using our example of too much vata showing as a scattered mind and difficulties to focus due to too much air and space element. What we need to put into place is the opposite - using the 5 pathways in ways that promote the earth element will help to reduce vata dosha:
- Diet - cooking nourishing, warm, and grounding food, like a beautiful soup with root vegetables.
- Lifestyle - slowing down, walking in nature, connecting with the earth.
- Therapies - a beautiful self-massage with warming and nourishing oil.
- Yoga, mediation & pranayama - grounding and calming practices, like the Dru Yoga Earth sequence, Earth Meditation and alternate nostril breathing
- Herbs & spices - it is always good to check with an ayurvedic practitioner first, in general, Brahmi is a great herb that helps to calm and clear the mind.
This is how we can use the 5 ways pathways to reduce PItta:
- Diet - including lots of leafy green vegetables in your meals, use cooling spices like coriander.
- Lifestyle - do some gentle walking in nature, sit by the sea or a stream - association with water has a very cooling effect!
- Therapies - a gentle self-massage with coconut oil can nicely cool down your pitta dosha
- Yoga, Meditation & Pranayama - practice the Dru Yoga Moon sequence, meditate on the full moon and it’s cooling and calming effect, do Sitali breath for 2-3 minutes anytime you need to let go of excess heat in the body.
- Herbs & spices - add organic Aloe Vera juice to your daily diet - fill 1/3 of a glass with the pure juice and fill up with lukewarm water.
And finally here are some suggestions for the 5 pathways to reduce kapha dosha:
- Diet - spice up your diet! Get the metabolism going by adding some chili, fresh ginger, black pepper or spicy chutney to your meals.
- Lifestyle - exercise, get your body moving and active!
- Therapies - massage your feet with a small amount of mustard oil.
- Yoga, Meditation & Pranayama - practice the Dru Yoga Sun sequence, meditate on light and the sun, start to integrate Kapalabhati breath into your daily routine!
- Herbs & spices - it is better to see an ayurvedic practitioner for individualised advice.
As you can see Ayurveda has many and actually very enjoyable ways to address our wellbeing and balance. It is teaching us to live in harmony with nature - and in harmony with our own nature!
Very often we just need to do some small adjustments in our daily routine so our body's intelligence has a chance to kick in again and guide us towards more health.
Start to get practical with Ayurveda and experience it’s magic!