Even though we may have already celebrated 1/1/2019, the Spring Equinox is the start of the astrological year and is the start of spring for Mother Nature. It’s a good time to set some intentions or goals if you missed doing that for the first of the calendar year; and if you did do that already, it’s a good time to reaffirm those resolutions and check in on your progress so far. Make any adjustments as needed, add new things, cross things off (maybe, if you’re super-efficient, good for you).
For myself, 2019 is going to be a big year of learning. I’m starting an Ayurveda Heath Counselor Program with Kerala Ayurveda (based in CA, but I can attend online! Yay!). In preparation, I’ve started reading some books that are recommended for the course and it’s been very inspiring.
I’m going to be writing an update each month on the material that I’m learning. 1. This will allow me to share the knowledge, and 2. It will be a nice way to summarize what I’ve learned in the past month, and make sure that I’m committing it to memory by using my own way of talking about it, not just reiterating.
I’m very excited to be beginning this Ayurvedic journey. I feel very clear within the deepest parts of my being and soul that this is a good path for me, and that it will take me in the direction that I am yearning to go. As a young woman, I am starting out dedicating my work and energy to be that which is connected to my highest purpose. Versus decided to do it later on…
Sometimes I have doubts, but I know that as long as I can stay connected to that feeling of certainty within myself that I will be able to find the energy to persevere through any obstacles or difficulties I may experience along the way.
In early January, I attended CranioSacral Therapy 1 through the Upledger Institute. This was an incredible experience, I learned so much, and the quality of the education was TOP NOTCH. Best Educational Experience Ever. The instructor, Claudia Silva, PT, CST-D, CIMBE, really knows the material inside and out. She kept us engaged throughout the four full-day training. I felt that the Upledger Institute provided a very high-quality product and a professional training. It was a pleasure to experience, I could see how much time and effort has been put into creating that and maintaining that. The care of the representatives for their work with CST is clear and genuine which is an inspiration to me. Being in that environment and learning techniques that are powerful in the modalities that I’m most interested in (subtle, healing, energy work), it was a confirmation that this is definitely something I want to learn, master and incorporate into my offerings as a holistic health practitioner.
To begin… A little introduction and overview of Ayurveda.
The first book that I’ve read is:
Ayurveda & Panchakarma: The Science of Health and Rejuvenation
By: Sunil V. Joshi M.D (Ayu)
Ayurveda comes from Indian Vedic knowledge. In the Vedic perspective, there is no aspect of life disconnected from the source. Joshi invites us to entertain a view of life and health that expands upon the objective, physical orientation by incorporating the intuitive and intangible aspects of life. In Ayurveda, the fundamental perspective is that all aspects are connected; therefore, material and non-material aspects are of equal importance and are seen as integral to wholeness. This ancient paradigm has survived and thrived throughout time because of this principle of “wholeness” and foundation of looking to how nature functions and applying universal laws of nature to human life. The common understanding throughout Ayurveda is that health is a coordinated function between spirit, mind, and body with everything in creation, material and non-material. Did ya'll get that? Re-read that last sentence.
Sanskrit words ayu and veda meaning “life” and “knowledge” form the word Ayurveda. Joshi defines Ayurveda as “the complete knowledge of how to live daily life in harmony with cosmic life.” He lists the basic concepts as:
The Unchanging Nature of Ayurvedic Science
As mentioned previously, the principles of this science never change because they are based upon and derived from the universal laws of nature which are ever constant. With “modern science,” theories and understandings are constantly changing and being replaced with “new” theories, understandings and new discoveries with a discarding of the old ideas.
The Subjective Methods of Understanding
“The unseen intelligence which, for instance, orchestrates the process of growth and differentiation in a fetus or in the healing of a disease cannot be analyzed or investigated by the senses, even with the aid of technological means.” This science relies on the “in-depth observation of nature’s functioning to understand how the non-physical and the physical aspects of life function in a coordinated fashion.” As an Ayurvedic practitioner, one is able to see comparisons between how life is functioning externally and internally by incorporating subjective and intuitive observations to objective measurements.
The Five Element Theory
Ayurveda recognizes that human life is elemental within nature. The intelligence of nature that creates growth and movement within the natural environment is also present in all physiological processes within our body. These are called mahabhutas, “cosmic elements,” space, air, fire, water and earth—the building blocks of nature responsible for all physical existence.
The Theory of the Three Doshas
Dosha theory explains how the mahabhutas combine to control the physiological processes within our body.
More on these at a later point...
Prakruti: Constitutional Type
This is the most useful tool of Ayurveda, according to Joshi. Each of us is born with a unique combination of these doshas within us that creates physical, mental, and emotional differences among one person to the next. This is called prakruti. Through asking questions about habits, lifestyle, preferences, one is able to determine an individuals’ prakruti. The Ayurvedic practitioner is then able to help that individual either restore balance or maintain balance for their specific constitution which will support ideal health for that individual.
The Effects of the Seasons
We are intricately connected to our environment. Seasonal changes and climate effect our overall health. As the ratio of elements change with the season, these changes are simultaneously reflected in our bodies. For example: there is more fire in summer, there is more water is spring, there is more wind and less fire in winter, etc. In winter, a season often characterized by vata dosha, because of the excessive movement of air and lack of heat, this causes dryness in moving parts of the body (think joints) and may cause other problems including constipation, coldness, anxiety, dry skin and insomnia. Driving us to drink warm liquids, eat warm hearty meals, etc. to offset the cold and dry. Make sense?
Panchakarma: The Science of Rejuvenation
The human body knows how to heal itself. We are our own greatest healer. Continually capable of rejuvenating ourselves. Panchakarma is designed restore health to mind, body, and spirit by balancing the doshas and removing ama. Techniques are used to manage symptoms of disease and to eliminate the cause, or root, of the disease. It emphasizes preparing the body for any detoxification so that the system is not shocked and to allow whatever is the cause of the disease to become more easily unstuck from the body and the tissues for release through these different, specialized techniques. As with everything in Ayurveda, these programs are designed specifically for each individual based on their prakruti and which doshas are imbalanced.